1972 was a remarkable year in the history of rock. It stands out as my personal favorite year just because of the sheer volume of magic that was released on vinyl by artists such as Poco, The Eagles, Crosby & Nash, Loggins & Messina, Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Dan Fogelberg, Batdorf & Rodney, England Dan & John Ford Coley (before they had hit singles), Colin Blunstone, The Hollies, Peter Frampton, Seals & Crofts, Fleetwood Mac, Rick Nelson and the list goes on to include the first album by Jackson Browne and more.
But there was one album released that year that defines the time for me more than any other record - the debut of Aztec Two-Step. Please reward yourself with 40 plus years of music from this legendary band.
- Dean Sciarra - Classic Music Vault
In 1972, Aztec Two-Step, whose name comes from a poem by beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, burst upon the scene with their self-titled debut album on Elektra Records. Since then Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman have spent a lifetime making music together as the folk/rock duo Aztec Two-Step. Their first album, along with their subsequent albums for RCA Records were staples of progressive FM and college radio and helped to bring the music of the 1960s into the 70s.
As their recording career continued, so did the critical acclaim. In 1987 Living in America, received the New York Music Award for Best Folk Album and was named in Billboard’s year-end critic’s poll. They have been praised in countless major US newspapers and magazines, including Rolling Stone, and have appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, such as the David Letterman Show, the King Biscuit Flour Hour, and World Café Live. In 1999 they were the subjects of the documentary, No Hit Wonder, which was aired on PBS. Of their 2005 release, Days of Horses,” the Boston Globe said “fans of the duo’s harmony-driven tunes and easygoing acoustic guitar riffs will recognize their James Taylor-meets-Simon & Garfunkel sound. What’s new is the mood. This album sits back on its haunches as Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman look back wistfully at American pop culture and their own ride through it.” 2007 saw several hallmark events for the duo. In June, Aztec Two-Step performed “The Persecution and Restoration of Dean Moriarty (On The Road)” at a very special Lowell Celebrates Kerouac Festival as the author’s hometown marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of On The Road.
Also In June 2007, Real Simple, a popular national lifestyle magazine, named Aztec Two-Step one of the top five classic folk albums joining work by Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Tom Rush and Phil Ochs. The article cites the duo as “surpass[ing] Simon and Garfunkel for exquisite harmonies, musicianship and emotion.” Rhino Records released Forever Changing-The Golden Age of Elektra Records 1963-1973, a five-CD box set that tells the story of this landmark record label and the music that defined an era. The collection includes Aztec Two-Step’s “The Persecution and Restoration of Dean Moriarty (On The Road).” Live at TCAN, a new DVD was released, featuring a 35th anniversary concert at The Center for Arts in Natick, Massachusetts, a performance of the self-titled debut album in its entirety, plus other fan-favorites from Aztec Two-Step’s long and distinguished career. The DVD also includes interviews with Rex Fowler, Neal Shulman and longtime Aztec Two-Step bassist Fred Holman, as well as comments recorded on the Aztec Two-Step “fan-cam.” Aztec Two-Step continues to impress audiences with intelligent songwriting, dazzling acoustic lead guitar, and inspiring harmonies. They are one of acoustic music’s most popular and enduring acts.
Aztec Two-Step - 35th Anniversary Performance
RUN TIME: 1:45:27
Join Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman, the original Aztec Two-Step, along with bassist Fred Holman in concert on the 35th Anniversary performance of their first landmark, self-titled album from 1972 on Elektra Records. This performance was recorded in early 2007 in Natick, Massachusetts with a throng of adoring fans in attendance. They perform their first album in sequence along with a host of other fan favorites.
Play sample above
Baking / Killing Me / The Persecution and Restoration of Dean Moriarty (On The Road) / The Infidel / So Easy / Prisoner / Strangers / Almost Apocalypse / Dancers All / Cockroach Cacophony / Highway Song / Velvet Elvis / Dance / Whiskey Man / Better These Days / Find Somebody New / Faster Gun / Cosmos Lady / Walking On Air