DSX-50053 At Your Birthday Party
Produced by Gabriel Mekler
Released on March 1969
US CHART POSITION #7
Find it at GEMM
DSX-50053 diecut cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 3.0: PEACE OF KAY. One of the forgotten steppenchildren of the psychedelic blues-rock era (along with Spirit), Steppenwolf is overdue for a little respect. Released in the middle of an amazing three-year, seven-album span, At Your Birthday Party was their ambitious third effort, a nasty and knowing record that attacked its generation at both ends: the free-love culture (“Sleeping Dreaming,” “Jupiter Child”) and pro-war patriots (“Chicken Wolf, “It’s Never Too Late”). The songs follow the psychedelic blues-rock sound of Traffic (“Round And Down”), Rolling Stones (“Lovely Meter”) and other late 60s pioneers, with instrumentals and ambitious bits from Gabriel Mekler filling in the rest. These days, Birthday Party is remembered mostly for “Rock Me” (the album’s most succinct rock song) and the dated appeal for peace, “It’s Never Too Late.” However, the album holds up well today as an ambitious bit of historical rock that captures the angst and energy of the Vietnam Era. Certainly songs like “Chicken Wolf,” “It’s Never Too Late” and “Don’t Cry” would have resonated with kids in 1969 whether they were high or not (and if they were, so much the better for “Sleeping Dreaming” and “Jupiter Child”). Like the early albums of Spirit, Uriah Heep or BOC, Birthday Party has grown a little stale over the years, but there are still some tasty bits to be found. Many felt their next record, the politically charged Monster, was a major misstep for the band, and this party paves the way for part of that politicking. Steppenwolf were too smart to suffer a biker-band image for long; like many of their long-haired compatriots they had more on their mind than sex and drugs and rock & roll. It may feel like Born To Be Weird in a few spots, but Birthday Party rewards repeated playings and shows the ‘Wolf had more under its cylinder head than heavy metal and heat.

TRACK LISTING

  1. DON'T CRY    (Gabriel Mekler)    3:04
  2. CHICKEN WOLF    (Michael Monarch/John Kay)    2:51
  3. LOVELY METER    (Gabriel Mekler)    3:12
  4. ROUND AND DOWN    (Michael Monarch)    3:15
  5. IT'S NEVER TOO LATE    (John Kay/Nick St.Nicholas)    4:05
  6. SLEEPING DREAMING    (Nick St.Nicholas)    1:11
  7. JUPITER CHILD    (Michael Monarch/John Kay/Jerry Edmonton)    3:24
  8. SHE'LL BE BETTER    (Gabriel Mekler/Jerry Edmonton)    5:15
  9. CAT KILLER    (John Goadsby)    1:30
  10. ROCK ME    (John Kay)    3:39
  11. GOD FEARING MAN    (Michael Monarch)    3:50
  12. MANGO JUICE    (Jerry Edmonton/Michael Monarch/John Goadsby/Nick St.Nicholas)    3:14
  13. HAPPY BIRTHDAY    (Gabriel Mekler)    1:20

CREDITS

JERRY EDMONTON --
JOHN KAY --
GOLDY McJOHN --
MICHAEL MONARCH --
NICK ST. NICHOLAS --
Bill Cooper -- engineer
Richard Podolor -- engineer

return to STEPPENWOLF discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US March 1969 ABC Dunhill LP DSX-50053 diecut gatefold cover
UK 1969 Stateside LP SSL-5011  
FRA 1969 EMI/Stateside LP 2C-062-90048  
VEN 1969 Odeon LP DSX-50053  
US 1994 MCA CD/CS MCAD/MCAC-1668  
UK 2002 Beat Goes On CDZ BGOCD-336 repackaged w. STEPPENWOLF 7

 

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