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45s In 69: Guess What? By Mike Nessing

Undun – The Guess Who-Really sweet ensemble playing with the drums and that swingin’ jazzy guitar. Vocal performance by Burton Cummings pushes it over the top. Nice one.

Up On Cripple Creek – The Band-I wrote about a month ago on how influential these guys were. Of course to those in the know it qualifies as another “no duh!” moment. The song itself is very much a snapshot of what The Band were. They had the kind of musical chops across the board to make it sound like they were laid back.

Venus – Shocking Blue-The guitar bit at the top is so eerily similar to Pinball Wizard, released in March of that same year. This came out later, so it may have been nicked but who’s to say. One thing’s for sure it was a worldwide #1 and in 1969 that meant a lot more than it does today.

Victoria – The Kinks-From the amazing “Arthur” album, another testament of the genius of Raymond Douglas Davies.

Volunteers – Jefferson Airplane-The lyrics are the only thing here that make you think it’s dated cause aside from that, this thing rocks like not much else released this year. Blistering hot stuff.

Walk A Mile In My Shoes – Joe South- Prior to winning the Grammy in ’68 for “Games People Play”,this guy wrote quite a few hits for other people in addition to being quite the accomplished studio cat. This tune would go on to be a staple of Elvis Presley’s Vegas live performances.

Walk On By – Isaac Hayes-The single mix of the awesome “Hot Buttered Soul” track.

We Can Be Together – Jefferson Airplane-Flip side of “Volunteers”, but the opening track to the album. Lyrics like “Up against the wall, motherfucker” pretty much insured that no DJ in his right mind would spin the B-side.

We Have All The Time In The World – Louis Armstrong-A secondary theme to a James Bond movie. Sweet vox by Louis, like roses growing on a gravel road. I remember when he died in 1971, NYC TV stations WPIX, FOX and WOR all interrupted their programming to broadcast the funeral. The entire city stopped that day, and I would humbly state here that something like that will never happen again for the likes of a recording artist.

Wedding Bell Blues – The Fifth Dimension-Marilyn Mc Coo, lead vocals, Laura Nyro, Songwriter.

What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) – Jr. Walker & The All Stars This thing has layer upon layer of greatness. The sax of course, the ever present tambourine, and that glorious vocal blend come to mind initially. In the long run tho’ it’s the entire mix of the record. It just rules plain and simple, right down to the fade out.

When Will We Be Paid? – The Staple Singers-Not much chart info on this one , but it’s really good. I would not be surprised if the subject matter was too confronting in nature to give it much airplay.

Where’s The Playground Susie – Glen Campbell-Between this, “Guess I’m Dumb” and other singles, it’s interesting to hear how Campbell had yet to find his country/western niche. If any of these other lushly orchestrated ballads somehow hit it big, it could have totally changed his direction.

Which Way You Goin’ Billy? – The Poppy Family-Masterminded by the aforementioned Terry Jacks, who would score a big hit in the mid-seventies with “Seasons In The Sun”. Unbelievably, nothing by this band has ever been re-released on CD or digital format. A strong contender to my ears for best song of 1969.

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