Free (1973 D: Bert Tenzer), used in Cin-a-Rock (Late 1973) and The Day the Music Died…and the connection to a used album find

First, I would like to say that this post is first and foremost dedicated to the people who visit this place every now and then possibly in the hopes of seeing something new. Thanks for visiting.

Second, I would like to dedicate this post to all of the classic Rockers who also visit. Jimi Hendrix and Steppenwolf are people who I listened to through my life and they seriously remain in the pinnacle of my favorites. Expect more Rock, Punk Rock, Garage Punk, and other Music-themed posts here.

Now, for the story. A couple of days ago, I went into an antique store and discovered an album called the 600 Second Miracle, which turned out to be a pitch for Magnus Organs. Bert Tenzer was the one who created the unique recording which is something of a small Cult Classic in the world of Sales Pitch recordings. It’s obvious that Tenzer was really part of that scene in the Early 60’s as he was also behind a record called Birth of a Salesman. I found a copy with a little note attatched to it suggesting that the record be returned in exchange for a free gift, which I guess was a starters’ learning book that taught one how to play the Magus Organ without even learning how to read music (and I’m sure that the organ itself sounded nowhere near the Dramatic Organ used on the record).

LOVE that cover!

Now, this is where the story gets good…

I remember reading about Tenzer in my research, but not too many times. In 1969, he Dirceted a film called 2000 Years Later for Warner Brothers/Seven Arts, which was not among the box office winners of all time (in fact, it possibly played only a few theaters) and it’s turned into a small Cult Classic in itself. In fact, it’s a good guess that the plot of the film, and maybe the message if there was one, was sparked by his experiences in Sales. Sadly, I still have to see some clips to finally offer at least a small review, but from what I have read it sounds very interesting and a part of it’s time.

On July 17. 1970, The New York Pop Festival was held on Randall’s Island, which sparked another idea in Tenzer to create something that would follow in the footsteps of Woodstock as there were a hell of a lot of these films being made, some not seeing release (I wonder if the Goose Lake Festival that year also planned for some kind of release). With all of the editing and done, it received a premiere in Chicago in March, 1973 according to the IMDb, with it’s rating given by the MPAA mentioned in a January 15’th 1973 issue of Boxoffice. The film was Distributed by Indiepix, certainly not to be confused with another Indie Pix who released Scream Bloody Murder around the same time. Tenzer’s company was on the East Coast.

In a way, this looks FAR better than the professionally-made Woodstock in my book. While the well made hit flick was certainly something that caught the eyes of the public, this was more down to the real deal featuring many classic performers. The festival was filled with troubles, including being picketed by The Weather Underground and The Black Panthers, and in a way it was one of the many dark clouds of the Rock Festival scene which started as early as Late 1969 (Altamont being the major warning sign). Thankfully, the music was at least something of a highlight for the festival featuring some well-respected musicians.

Here’s the clip many will want to see. The legendary Jimi Hendrix, only a couple of weeks before his all to early passing.

This clip is from the Day the Music Died version of the film, but wait just a minute on this clip and you will hear the sounds of Steppenwolf’s classic epic song “Monster,” something I think many people will relate to even now.

One of the more under-rated performances at the festival is by a band called Rhinoceros with “Better Times Are Coming.” The band were one of the many on Elektra in it’s legendary Late 60’s Early 70’s years, and the song was the title track on their last album. The band featured Danny Weis, an original guitarist of Iron Butterfly who was on their debut album Heavy before moving on to this band.

OK, onto the final round…the Roadshow Presentation!

Sadly, Free was a late-comer into the Rock Festival Film scene, already dated by that time, so the ever-inventive Tenzer decided to put it into a Roadshow presentation called Cin-a-Rock where the film would be presented along with live performances from local bands and others who just wanted a gig. In a report in a Nov. 26, 1973 Boxoffice, it was reported that Bo Diddley as well as the Soul band Rufus were among the live performers at one show. The presentation was brought to Canada in March 1974, promoted by Thomas Ira Ross, who I’m convinced was the Thomas I. Ross of The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go infamy (you know how I still love that mis-fire!).

In 1977, Tenzer’s film was turned into The Day the Music Died featuring Murray the K, released by Atlantic Releasing.

I read that there were plans for a Cin-a-Country, featuring one of the many Country Music Show flicks of the day (I don’t know, but I can say that Donald A Davis’ Here Comes That Nashville Sound would have been perfect!).

How’s that for a return to Blogging?

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~ by screen13 on March 20, 2012.

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