wichita lineman no. 3: spotniks, “wichita lineman” (1974)

This is ostensibly from an album entitled Live in Berlin 1974 and it’s awful. Deeply awful.

What’s happening here: it’s instrumental and it goes on for four minutes and seventeen seconds. There is crowd applause at the beginning and the end. The organ is wrong: it sounds convincingly fake, although I know that in 1974 you couldn’t have had a MIDI organ (more on that presently). There’s electric jazz guitar over the top, starting off by pretending to be tasteful & Spanish and then giving in to the impulse to have a big electric Lynyrd Skynyrd-style rave-up, which happens about three minutes in. Live drumming, of course.

It’s maybe worth noting that the “Wichita Lineman” content gets mostly taken care of in the first minute and a half, at which point things start getting wobbly and proggish. It’s a false alarm, though: they go back and do another verse before, at the two-and-a-half minute mark, they go off and do their own thing with guitar solos.

Why would you do this? Who goes around thinking “What if we played ‘Wichita Lineman’ but made it more awesome?” Or maybe they just wanted a song to function as a framework in which to be more awesome and “Wichita Lineman” is something everybody knew – which matters, I suppose, if you’re trying to get a response out of a crowd.

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