Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Bloodrock - USA

Bloodrock
USA


Released 1971 on Capitol
Reviewed by Lawrence, 09/03/2014ce


Bloodrock were not a highly regarded band by critics. Like Black Sabbath, they had a pretty grim message that many in the hippy generation did not want to hear. Personally I actually think that their fourth album, USA, is one of the most important albums of the 70s.

Many people think the hippy movement ended with Manson, but that was just the beginning of the end. It is my belief that the hippy movement really died with the Kent State massacre. After that happened, the scene started to sell itself out. It was the final thing that got Big Business' attention. So now Big Business tries to sell the hippies things that will appeal to them (ie health food, cigarette papers, environmentally-friendly goods, etc.) Since then the hippies became less of a political threat and very little protests would get going, and talk of revolution would end.

Bloodrock were a psychedelic band from the politically-hostile state of Texas. Their sound was often the heavier side of the genre, inspired by Iron Butterfly and only occasionally the Southern Rock that was brewing around them. The song "DOA" would make them infamous for its lurid description of a motorcycle crash. It was by their third album that they would turn to social commentary, ending it with a pointed critique of the United States.

USA, for the most part, was a more musically-restrained album for Bloodrock. The lone ballad here (Crazy 'Bought You Babe) does sound a bit weird even for Bloodrock, with chromatic guitar leads. But most of this is the theme of the hippy generation selling itself to a metaphorical Satan. You can easily get the point from the gatefold sleeve suggesting a demon had taken over the American government just to fuck with peoples heads (essentially...) They even cover how the nation's rock scene had allowed itself to be corrupted by greed, sex and drugs (on Rock and Roll Candy Man.)

Surely if this group was hated by the critics before, they'd be even more detested for telling the truth on this album. Gone was the idea that the kids could have a revolution. After this rock and roll would just be about the fame, the money and the groupies. Hippies would become conservative two decades later, and hence you have Ted Nugent (seeing that review before mine...)

So I think this is an important album not just about hippies, but about punks or any other subculture trying to break out of political confinement.


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