Did you ever think about moving to Hollywood and becoming a star? A movie star…a TV star…a rock ‘n’ roll star? It’s one of the great American dreams. In fact, people from around the world pack their bags and move to Los Angeles every day because they believe they have what it takes. They have the looks, the chops, the savvy, the whatever it takes to make it in Hollywood. It’s an appealing premise, the idea that if you work hard and you’re good at what you do, you’ll be embraced by the king-makers and be made into a star. But it turns out that Hollywood, like a lot of our institutions, isn’t exactly what you’d call a meritocracy. And you don’t need to go much further than your television set or your local multi-plex to see the evidence of that.
We have a sort of love-hate relationship with Hollywood. We love the idea that you can get on a bus in Ohio and get off at the corner of Sunset and Vine, land a job waiting tables between auditions, and before you know it, you’re walking the red carpet. But as much as we love that idea, we know it’s not true. We know that’s not how it works. And this isn’t exactly what you’d call news. As far back as 1937, Johnny Mercer satirized the notion that anybody could be a star with his lyrics. In “Hooray for Hollywood” he wrote, ‘If you think you can be an actor, see Mr. Factor, he’ll make a monkey look good, within a half an hour you’ll look like Tyrone Power.’ So yeah, it’s long been acknowledged that there’s a distinct lack of integrity in La La Land. It’s like Fred Allen said, ‘You can take all the sincerity in Hollywood, place it in the navel of a fruit fly and still have room enough for three caraway seeds and a producer’s heart.’ So today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is a salute to Tinseltown and the people who make it what it is. But “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from Ethel Merman. Instead, we’ll hear from Elton John, Loudon Wainwright III, Billy Joel, The Eagles, and a Deep Ttrack from a band called Charlie. But first a film about a man that’s sad and lonely. And all he had to do was “Act Naturally.”
|The Beatles||Act Naturally|
|Loudon Wainwright III||Hollywood Hopeful|
|Billy Joel||Say Goodbye to Hollywood|
|Elton John||I’ve Seen That Movie Too|
|Eagles||King of Hollywood|
I think it’s fair to say we can take Hunter S. Thompson’s observation about the record industry and generalize it to say that show business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. That’s “King of Hollywood” from the Eagles LP The Long Run. A song that fades in and fades out, just like a screenplay. A song sung with all the menace of the powerful who can give you what you think you want. As long as you’re willing to be real nice. That one reminds me of the S.J. Perelman quote about Hollywood being a dreary industrial town controlled by hoodlums of enormous wealth. Before that, a Deep Track from Charlie, a band formed in the UK in the early 70’s. We played their ode to La La Land called “L.A. Dreamer” from their album Lines, that came out in 1977.
Before that, the Piano Man and his buddy. Billy Joel, from Turnstiles, saying “Goodbye to Hollywood” and Elton John from Goodbye Yellowbrick Road, singing about that film where the players are acting surprised, saying love’s just a four letter word between forcing smiles with the knives in their eyes. Yeah, “I’ve Seen That Movie Too.” The other Deep Track in that set was from Loudon Wainwright III. The guy holed up in a Hollywood hotel suite? With tequila to drink and avocado to eat? That’s Loudon, a guy with more Hollywood experience than anybody else in that set, having done everything from televison’s M*A*S*H to a big screen turn as a priest in The 40 Year Old Virgin. And at the very top, from Yesterday and Today, Ringo singing about how he was going to be a big star and all he had to do was “Act Naturally.” Well, we could go on forever doing songs about Hollywood but I’ve got an audition to get to before I drop off a copy of this screenplay I’ve been working on, so until next time from the Way Back studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh saying thanks for listening. I’ll be back before you know it with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Americans love their cars. From the Model-T to the Prius, you’ll find enthusiasts for anything that ever rolled off the assembly line. The Nash Rambler, the Corvair, The Edsel. It doesn’t matter, someone out there collects them or belongs to a club of fellow devotees. For a lot of folks, cars represent freedom and independence, for others they’re hard-earned symbols of success, and for some they’re simply a way to compensate for whatever they otherwise lack. We celebrate the automobile in a lot of ways. We have car museums, car magazines, car shows, and car rallys. And we’ve been singing about ‘em since at least 1915 when Billy Murray sang “Little Ford Rambled Right Along.” And while it’s true that we love cars in general, we have a special affinity for fast cars with big engines. The muscle car. From the Beach Boys’ “Little Deuce Coupe” to Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” there are more songs about cars and driving than maybe any single subject other than love. So today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl combines the two; it’s all about our love for hemis and flat-heads , twin-choke carburetors and overhead cams.
Oddly enough, I got the idea for the set while listening to Simon and Garfunkle, not exactly the first group that comes to mind when thinking of V-8 engines. But there it was, at the end of “Baby Driver” the sound of a big car engine, revving up and flying by with the Doppler effect. Off the top of my head I could think of two other songs with the same sound effect at one end or the other, perfect for segues. Then I found a third, the somewhat obscure “Stick Shift” by a group called The Duals. After that, we’ll make some Thunderbirds, visit the “Cadillac Ranch” and cruise around playing the radio with no particular place to go. Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.
|Simon & Garfunkle||Baby Driver|
|The Steve Miller Band||Living in the U.S.A.|
|The Duals||Stick Shift|
|The Beach Boys||409|
|Chuck Berry||No Particular Place to Go|
|ZZ Top||She Loves My Automobile|
|Bob Seger||Makin’ Thunderbirds|
|Bruce Springsteen||Cadillac Ranch|
|Steve Earle||Sweet Little ’66|
|The Beatles||Drive My Car|
The Beatles wrapping up our ode to the automobile with “Drive My Car.” Before that, we drove by the “Cadillac Ranch.” One of six songs about cars or driving from Bruce’s album The River. Elsewhere in the set, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, “Makin’ Thunderbirds” and ZZ Top singing about how “She Loves My Automobile.” Then we found Chuck Berry parked out there by the Kokomo, trying to get that girl’s belt loose but couldn’t.
Now a funny thing about the first half of that set: We started off with four songs tied together by the sound effect of big, revving car engines. We heard The Steve Miller Band’s “Living in the USA” which isn’t even ABOUT cars. He mentions diaticians, televisions, politicians, and mortitions but no cars. But he opens and closes the tune with that sound effect of racing cars. Before that, “Baby Driver” from Bridge Over Troubled Water where Paul Simon at least scoots down the road, wondering how your engine feels. Then there was The Duals, an obscure guitar duo from 1961, doing an instrumental called “Stick Shift” which was the only clue it was a car song until they added that engine sound effect. So it turns out the only track in the first half of the set that was literally about cars was The Beach Boys “409.” Well, I could go on all day playing car songs but I gotta go wax the “Pink Cadillac” and take “Mustang Sally” for a ride. From the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back before you can say “Hot Rod Lincoln” and I’ll have a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, bored and stroked, so I hope join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
On May 10th, 1961, Newton Minow, the head of the FCC, invited members of the National Association of Broadcasters to sit down in front of their television sets and watch all day long. He said, “I can assure you that what you will observe is a vaste wasteland.” And that was before cable. Well, as you might have guessed, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is all about the boob tube. Well, not exactly ALL. The last song has nothing to do with the idiot box. So why’s it there? Well, I was putting the set together and wondering why I don’t have a copy of Remote Control by The Tubes because their track “TV is King” would have been perfect, but well, we live in an imperfect world so I pulled out John Fogarty’s Centerfield because (A) I’ve got it and (B) it contains one of my favorite songs about television which ends with John quoting a riff from one of the great Creedence songs and, being unable to resist such things, I went with a segue instead of staying with the theme of the set. So there’s that.
You know, someone once said, “The human race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime television.” Of course that was before satellite radio… speaking of which, there are lots of songs about radio just like there are a lot of songs about television. Interesting thing is that the radio songs tend to be positive while the songs about television are universally negative. “I may be vile and pernicious, but you can’t look away. I make you think I’m delicious, with the stuff that I say.” We’ll hear that one from Frank’s Overnight Sensation along with Gil Scott-Herron explaining that the revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner because “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” And, despite that, we’ll be “Watching TV” with a group called Charlie, just before Bruce starts complaining about the programming. But first, from my scratchy copy of Glass Houses, here’s the piano man…
|Billy Joel||Sleeping With The Television On|
|The Blues Brothers||Theme from “Peter Gunn”|
|Bruce Springsteen||57 Channels (And Nothing On)|
|Gil Scott-Herron||Revolution Will Not Be Televised|
|Frank Zappa||I’m The Slime|
|Earle Hagen||Theme from “I Spy”|
|John Fogarty||I Saw It On TV|
|Creedence Clearwater Revival||Who’ll Stop The Rain?|
If you’ve been trying to figure out how that last track fits in with the previous seven, you can stop right now. The only reason we did “Who’ll Stop the Rain” is that segue we got coming out of “I Saw It On TV” where, at the end, Fogarty quotes one of his own riffs from that Creedence song, forcing me to do the mix. And that’s not the first time John’s been accused of playing with himself. He got sued one time for self-plagerizing. Mr Saul Zaentz, who I’m guessing doesn’t get Christmas cards from Mr. Fogarty sued John, claiming that his song “The Old Man Down The Road” was essentially “Run Through The Jungle” with different lyrics. The latter being one of the many songs Mr. Zaentz owned the rights to. But in a happy ending, a jury found in favor of Mr. Fogarty.
As for the rest of the set, our ode to the boob tube, we started with Billy Joel’s “Sleeping With the Television On,” followed by the Blues Brothers version of the theme to “Peter Gunn” a TV series that ran from 1958 to 1961. After that, a deep track from a band called Charlie, we heard “Watching TV.” Then it was Springsteen from Human Touch with “57 Channels (And Nothing On).” Then it was Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” Frank Zappa’s “I’m The Slime” and the theme to “I Spy.” Actually I should say ‘one of the themes’ to I Spy because Earle Hagen composed an original score for each episode of the series which, as far as I know, had never been done before and hasn’t been done since. So there’s our nod to the idiot box. And speaking of a vast wasteland, if you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries, you can find ‘em on that series of tubes known as the Internet, just drop by billfitzhugh.com and poke around. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
It’s been suggested that everyone on earth is, on average, approximately six steps away from any other person on earth. The idea has been around for decades, sometimes referred to as the Human Web, but it was popularized in John Guare’s play, Six Degrees of Separation. Now the problem with the theory, when strictly interpreted, comes when you consider some of the isolated tribes still lurking in the jungles of South America. So maybe it’s not universally true, but a narrower version of the theory appears to be. They say that everyone in Hollywood is five or fewer steps away from having been in a movie, television show, or a commercial with Kevin Bacon. I mean, consider this: the play was made into a film starring Will Smith who was also in “Men In Black” with Vincent D’Onofrio who was in “The Player” with Tim Robbins who was in “Mystic River” with, that’s right, Kevin Bacon.
That’s all good and well, but what’s it got to do with today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl? Well, the music business works much the same way. A lot of what goes on happens simply because of the proximity, interrelations, and associations of musicians. A guitar player who knows this singer who can hook you up with a sax guy you won’t believe, that sort of thing. Fortuitous hook-ups, arranged mergers, and right-place-at-the-right-time combinations of producers and players have led to some of the great records in the Deep Tracks library and today’s set stands as exhibit A in that argument. So if it really is a small world after all, you just have to ask yourself whether it’s small enough to connect Rita Coolidge to Lynyrd Skynyrd in five steps. Well, the good money says there’s probably more than one way to do it, but in this set we manage by using two Englishmen, a guy out of Seattle, and one New Yorker. What’s interesting is that instead of the artists you’re about to hear, we could just as easily have played Bob Dylan, The Isley Brothers, Strawberry Alarm Clock, and Kris Kristopherson. They all connect somehow. Feel free to figure it out as we go along. From her debut album on A&M records, with Stephen Stills on guitar, here’s Rita Coolidge.
|Rita Coolidge||Second Story Window|
|Joe Cocker||Girl From The North Country|
|Dave Mason||To Be Free|
|Jimi Hendrix||Still Raining, Still Dreaming|
|Al Kooper||Albert’s Shuffle|
|Lynyrd Skynyrd||Simple Man|
In case you joined us somewhere in the middle of that set and found yourself wondering, what’s this all about, well, I’ll tell you. That was a Six Degrees of Separation set. And for those of you who joined us at the top, the question is: Did you figure it out? Six Degrees separating Lynyrd Skynyrd, Al Kooper, Jimi Hendrix, Dave Mason, Joe Cocker, and Rita Coolidge. Here’s the solution to the puzzle: Lynyrd Skynyrd was discovered by Al Kooper who heard them playing at club in Atlanta. Al went on to produce Skynyrd’s first three albums. Before “Simple Man” we heard Kooper doing “Albert’s Shuffle” from his album Al’s Big Deal. As it turns out, Al Kooper played with Jimi Hendrix on Electric Ladyland as did Dave Mason.
In the middle of this set we heard Jimi’s “Still Raining, Still Dreaming” from Electrick Ladyland. Before that we heard “To Be Free” from Dave Mason’s album Headkeeper. Now Dave wrote “Feelin’ Allright” which was a big hit for Joe Cocker who made a career out of covering other people’s songs. This time we heard Joe covering Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country.” And we started the set with one of Joe Cocker’s favorite back-up singers, Rita Coolidge doing a song called “Second Story Window” which featured Steve Stills on guitar. Now, “Second Story Window” was written by Marc Benno who was in the Asylum Choir with Leon Russell who played with Joe Cocker on lots of records many of which, like Mad Dogs and Englishmen, featured Rita Coolidge as a backup singer. Oh, and by the way, Rita also did vocals on several Dave Mason albums, including Headkeeper. And speaking of The Delta Lady, let’s check to see what her Bacon number is. Rita Coolidge was in the film “A Star is Born” with Sally Kirkland. Sally Kirkland was in “JFK” with Kevin Bacon. So Rita’s got a Bacon Number of just two. And here’s another way to make the link. Kevin Bacon and brother Michael have a band they call the Bacon Brothers and they deliver some high quality Americana rock if you’re interested.
Anyway, back to Rita for just a second, she was discovered by Marty Lacker, a personal aide and friend of Elvis Presley. A guy named Rob Galbraith played percussion on Elvis’s album I Believe. And, as it turns out, Rob Galbraith also produced a couple of albums by … the Bacon Brothers. It’s a small world after all here in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us right here in the Deep Tracks.
I dare say that today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features two artists who have never – in the entire history of radio – have never been played back to back. So if you want to know what it sounds like when the Earl Scruggs Review follows something off a Vanilla Fudge album, stay tuned because that’s later in the show. Now, about the Earl Scruggs Review, we’ve played something from this album before. The record is an all-star’s list of all stars, everybody from Leonard Cohen and Loggins and Messina to the Pointer Sisters and Johnny Cash. But the track we’ll be hearing was written and sung by Loudon Wainright III and it ends with something that reminded me of the beginning of “Highway 61 Revisted.” So that’s the road down which we’ll travel.
So right about now you may be asking yourself, what kind of set features Earl Scruggs and Vanilla Fudge? Well, admittedly, it’s not the sort of set we typically produce here in the Way Back Studios. What we have here is a big plate of leftovers. See, every now and then I’ll find two songs that mix nicely with other or make for a fun segue but then, I can’t find anything else to go with them. So I set those aside and move on to something else. But now I’ve got so many of them, I figured I’d just jam a few of them together and let her rip. Somewhere near the middle of the set we’ll turn the Cosmic Wheel and drop Donovan’s “The Music Makers” smack into the middle of Traffic’s “Rock & Roll Stew.” Before that, a couple of little gypsie-like ditties in the form of short instrumentals from Steve Forbert and Paul Simon.
Carole King will get the whole thing started because I needed some piano to lead into the Todd Rundgren that follows. And here I must confess that the transition from the first Todd track into the second one is a serious groaner. It’s like a really bad pun and if you’re not paying attention to the words, you’ll miss it, so I’ll leave that up to you. And with that introduction, here’s one from Tapestry.
|Carole King||Home Again|
|Todd Rundgren||We Gotta Get You a Woman|
|Todd Rundgren||Hello It’s Me|
|Paul Simon||Hobo’s Blues|
|Traffic||Rock ‘n’ Roll Stew (part 1)|
|Donovan||The Music Makers|
|Traffic||Rock ‘n’ Roll Stew (part 2)|
|Vanilla Fudge||(Voice Intro)|
|The Earl Scruggs Review||Swimming Song|
|Bob Dylan||Highway 61 Revisited|
Mr. Dylan asking and answering the age old question about where can you get rid of forty red, white, and blue shoe strings and a thousand telephones that don’t ring. It can be successfully done out on Highway 61. I believe that’s Bob himself blowing the police whistle on that one. Before that, Loudon Wainright III with a song he wrote called “The Swimming Song” which he recorded on his album Attempted Mustache but here we heard the verion he did with the Earl Scruggs Review. Now if you joined us at the top and you were waiting to hear the mix from Vanilla Fudge into Earl Scruggs that I mentioned, I may have overstated that a bit. See I needed something to act as a transitional element from the end of Traffic’s “Rock & Roll Stew” into the Earl Scruggs, so I played the opening eight seconds of the first Vanilla Fudge album which sounds like this. (INSERT).
Before that, for your listening enjoyment we stirred Donovan’s “The Music Makers” into the middle of “Rock & Roll Stew” from Traffic’s Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. We opened the set with Carole King’s “Home Again” and followed that with two from Todd. From Runt, “We Gotta Get You A Woman” and from Something Anything, Todd’s second version of “Hello, It’s Me.” I hope you caught the terrible pun that caused me to put those two next to each other. Following Todd, Paul Simon with Stephan Grappelli on violin doing “Hobo’s Blues” and Steve Forbert with an instrumental called “Lucky.” And that completes our set of orphaned segues and random song selection. I do hope you enjoyed it. If you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries, you can find them, along with the shocking interview and the embarrassing photographs, on the website, billfitzhugh.com. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
The world of rock and roll is a strange brew of surprising associations and unexpected connections. Connections so varied that they can take you from a hippie folk-country jug band to a hard rock power trio to some rock steady R&B and some Georgia Cotton field jazz without breaking a link in the chain of fools who make up today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. For example, let’s say we played some Lovin’ Spoonful, a band featuring John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky. Zal was in the Mugwumps with Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty who went on to be half of the Mamas & the Papas, meanwhile, Cass Elliot recorded an album with Dave Mason so that gets us to Traffic as well as some obscure Fleetwood Mac and that’s not all because Dave also recorded with Phoebe Snow who recorded a duet with Paul Simon and also toured with Donald Fagan’s New York Rock and Soul Review that takes us to Steely Dan and, well, the point is that from any given starting point in the Deep Tracks, you can choose an almost infinite number of paths to follow.
By way of example, let’s return to the Lovin’ Spoonful. Instead of following the connections from the Mugwumps, let’s follow a path with John Sebastian. In addition to his solo career, he played harmonica on Jesse Colin Young’s 1965 album, Young Blood. Now the Youngbloods, recorded some songs written by Gail Collins who also wrote some of the songs on Cream’s album Disraeli Gears which was produced by her husband and writing partner Felix Pappalardi who was in Mountain and later, with Jack Bruce from Cream, formed West, Bruce, and Laing. And from there we can get to Aretha Franklin and the Crusaders but you’ll have to wait until after the set to see how we do that. Oh, and then there’s the criminally negligent homicide part of the story that will have to wait as well. So, from the Way Back Studios, let’s head to Nashville with the Lovin’ Spoonful.
|Lovin’ Spoonful||Nashville Cats|
|John Sebastian||Rainbows All OVer Your Blues|
|The Youngbloods||The Wine Song|
|Cream||Strange Brew (part 1)|
|Cream||Strange Brew (part 2)|
|Aretha Franklin||Rock Steady|
|Leslie West||Storyteller Man|
|The Crusaders||Georgia Cottonfield|
From 1972, that’s The Crusaders doing a Joe Sample composition called “Georgia Cottonfield.” Now if you look at Joe’s resume you’ll see that he’s played with everybody from Boz Scaggs to Eric Clapton. The same is true for the rest of the Crusaders and that was the whole point of that set. The connections between the musicians who make up the library here in the Deep Tracks. So if you’re keeping score, here we go: Before “Georgia Cottonfield” we heard from Leslie West, stepping out of Mountain with a song called “Storyteller Man” featuring the bass of Chuck Rainey who also played with The Crusaders. Chuck also played on “Rock Steady” with Aretha Franklin from her 1971 album, Young, Gifted, and Black.
In the middle of the set we took Cream’s “Strange Brew” and, during the false ending, we inserted Mountain’s “Silver Paper.” And that’s where things start to get interesting. Gail Collins co-wrote “Strange Brew” with Clapton and her husband, Felix Pappalardi who formed Mountain with Leslie West in 1969. About 14 years later Collins shot Felix in the neck and killed him. Turned out Felix had been having an affair and Gail found out. The jury bought her story that it was an accident and convicted her of criminally negligent homicide instead of 2nd degree murder. Before all the shooting broke oue we heard The Youngbloods, John Sebastian, and the Lovin’ Spoonful. The connections being that The Youngbloods also recorded songs written by Gail Collins. John Sebastian played harmonica on a Jesse Collin Young album and of course was one of the founders of the Lovin’ Spoonful.
And speaking of connections, both Aretha Franklin and Leslie West have a Bacon number of 2. Aretha was in “Blues Brothers 2000” with John Goodman who was in “Death Sentence” with KB. And Leslie West was in “The Money Pit” with Wendell Pierce who was in “Sleepers” with KB. I could go on but we’re all out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
One of the great things about the Deep Tracks library is the wide range of musical influence you hear on a daily basis. A lot of it, maybe even most of it, reflects the influence of the Mississippi Delta blues and what happened to them after they moved to Chicago. But there’s so much more than that. The folk rockers are reflections of Pete Seger, Woody Guthrie and all those guys. Country rockers show the influence of Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and Bill Monroe. And then there’s progressive rock where we hear the influence of so-called classical music. And by “classical music” I’m talking about symphonies, concertos, sonatas and all that. The classic rock of the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries, more or less. A good example of this influence is Jethro Tull. They took Bach’s “Bouree in E Minor” and made it an FM rock staple. Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is a showcase for all that long-haired music.
If you were flipping through someone’s record collection ’68 / ‘69, you’d find some Beatles, some Stones, Dylan, the Animals and all the rest. And you wouldn’t be surprised if you came across an album called Switched On Bach by Walter Carlos. It was an enormously successful record that popularized the moog sythensizer. Somewhere in the middle of the set we’ll hear part of the 2nd Movement from the Brandenberg Concerto and, at the very end, we’ll hear a 2 Part Invention in F Major. Perhaps the second most influential synthesizer record of classical origin was Tomita’s Snowflakes are Dancing from 1974, a collection of Debussy compositions also renderered on the Moog. Elsewhere we’ll hear some Yes, The Beatles, and of course, The Electric Light Orchestra. But first, lest we take all this serious music, too seriously, let’s go to the Contractual Obligation album for “Decomposing Composers.” Here’s Monty Python.
|Monty Python||Decomposing Composers|
|NBC Symphony Orch.||Beethoven’s 5th (excerpt)|
|The Beatles||Roll Over Beethoven|
|Walter Carlos||Brandenberg Concerto, 2nd movement|
|Yes||Cans & Brahams|
|Electric Light Orchestra||Roll Over Beethoven|
|Budapest Symphony Orch.||William Tell Overture (excerpt)|
|Walter Carlos||2 Part Invention in F Major|
That’s a “2 Part Invention in F Major” as performed by Walter Carlos from the wildly popular album Switched on Bach, one of the earliest records featuring the moog synthesizer. But you won’t find that on cd by Walter. Now you’ll find it under the name Wendy Carlos, along with the rest of her synthesized catalogue. Earlier in the set from the same album, we played the 2nd Movement of Bach’s “Brandenberg Concerto.” Before the “2 Part Invention” we heard one of my all-time favorite pieces of music, an excerpt from Rossini’s “William Tell Overture,” which most of us think of as the Lone Ranger part of the thing. I don’t care how classical that is, it rocks. And I’m willing to bet that’s the first time The Budapest Symphony Orchestra has visited the Deep Tracks.
At the very top of the set, we had a little fun with Monty Python’s “Decomposing Composers.” After that, the legendary Arturo Toscanini conducting the NBC Symphony Orchestra with an excerpt from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony followed by The Beatles version of “Roll Over Beethoven.” I had planned to play the original version but, much to my surprise, it’s not on either of the two Chuck Berry Greatest Hits albums I have, one of which is a two-record set. How is that possible? In the middle of the set from the Fragile album, “Cans and Brahams,” Rick Wakeman’s arrangement of the third movement from the Fourth Symphony in E minor by Brahams. That came out in 1971, no doubt influenced by the work of Walter/Wendy Carlos. After that, Tomita’s arrangement of Debussy’s “Children’s Corner, No. 6” from his album Snowflakes are Dancing. And then, the inevitable, Electric Light Orchestra’s classical take on “Roll Over Beethoven.” From the Way Back Studios, that’s more culture than you’ll find in a petri dish. Listen, if you’d like to correct me on any of my mispronunciations or whatever else I got wrong in this little excursion, feel free to drop by my website or facebook page and shoot me an email. I’m not proud. I’m Bill Fitzhugh back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here, in the Deep Tracks.
Tumbleweed Connection was Elton John’s third album. It was recorded and released in 1970. It contained ten tracks. It went to #5 on the album charts. So here’s a trivia question: which was the highest charting single from the album? Was it “Where to Now St. Peter?” “Burn Down The Mission?” Or “Amorena” the song that played over the opening credits of the Al Pacino film “Dog Day Afternoon”? The answer is: none of the above. And it wasn’t any of the other seven tracks which most listeners of a certain age know almost by heart. As it turns out there were no charting singles from the album. So how is it we know all these songs if they weren’t hit singles? First they were ubiquitous on FM rock radio. This raises the question: how come?
And the answer is: there’s not a bad track on the album. Here’s another bit of trivia: During the sessions for Tumbleweed Connection they also recorded a couple of versions of “Madman Across The Water” which would turn out to be the title track for Elton’s next album. But they didn’t use any if the original versions; they rerecorded it in 1971 with Rick Wakeman guesting on the organ. But today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features one of the versions from the Tumbleweed Connection sessions, though I’m not sure which one owing to some ambiguously written liner notes. The version we’ll play is nearly nine minutes long with a couple of passages that are so quiet you might think the song is fading out. And that’s where we’ll fade into and out of the “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” a couple of times. At the back end of the set, a song by Ballinjack that I’ve been wanting to play for a long time, from their third album we’ll hear “Try To Relax.” But we’re going to start with one from the album Rolling Stone ranked as #206 on the list of the 500 greatest albums: From Tea For The Tillerman, here’s a “Hard Headed Woman.”
|Cat Stevens||Hard Headed Woman|
|Elton John||Madman Across The Water (part 1)|
|Traffic||Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (part 1)|
|Elton John||Madman Across The Water (part 2)|
|Traffic||Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (part 2)|
|Ballinjack||Try To Relax|
From the album Special Pride, that’s Ballinjack, a group founded in 1969 in Seattle by Luther Rabb and Ronnie Hammon. They had a minor hit on their first album, a song called “Super Highway” and another track from that record, “Found A Child,” also got some play on FM rock radio. Ballinjack played at all the big music festivals in the early 70s and they opened for Jimi Hendrix on the Cry of Love tour but they never broke through to a wider audience for reasons we’ll never know. At the other end of the set, we heard “Hard Headed Woman” but not the one Elvis recorded for King Creole in 1958, instead we went with Cat Stevens from his 1970 album Tea for the Tillerman.
In between those two, we did a little hand mixing in and out of Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” and one of the versions of “Madman Across The Water” that was recorded during the sessions for Tumbleweed Connection, a year before the Madman album came out. The version that ended up as the title track for album was about six minutes long; the version we were playing with was closer to nine minutes and may (or may not) have featured Mick Ronson on the guitar. The liner notes are unclear. And by the way, for the sake of truth-in-advertising, we played Madman off the Tumbleweed Connection CD since that’s the only place you can find it. Everything else in the set was strictly vinyl. By the way, if you see something that looks like a star and it’s shooting up out of the ground, and your head is spinning from a loud guitar you’ve probably been in the Way Back Studios.
And if you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries or the photos you’ve heard so much about, drop by my website or the Way Back Studios Facebook page. They’re all linked together for your convenience. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sooner or later and I hope you’ll join us, right here, in the Deep Tracks.
Not long ago we put together a set of songs dedicated to the city, the people, and the music of New Orleans. I prefaced it by making a vast over-simplification suggesting that the culture of Louisiana could be looked at as a simple dichotomy of the city versus the country: we’re talking oysters Rockefeller versus jambalaya; or the high society coctail parties of The Garden District versus dance hall gatherings in Terrebonne Parish; or the second line beat of New Orleans brass bands versus the rural sounds of traditional Cajun music. Just think about Paul Simon standing on a corner in Lafayette, wondering where a city boy could go, to get a little conversation, drink a little red wine, and catch a little bit of those cajun girls, dancing the zydeco.
Now, we could go on all day trying to make distinctions between traditional Cajun music and Zyedeco but how much fun would that be? Let’s just generalize and say the former is rooted in the ballads of the French speaking Acadians, while the latter is more of a musical gumbo, integrating the waltz with shuffles, two-steps with the blues and other forms of dance music. Both of them feature fiddles and accordians but if you’re gonna play the zydeco, you’re gonna wanna bring your scrub board. Now, while zydeco is a distinctly regional form of American music, it’s influence has spread far and wide which explains why today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl opens with guy from Ireland followed by a guy from England and features artists born in Berkeley and New Jersery, and bands from Michigan and Los Angeles. And then, for authenticity and comparision’s sake, we’ll play some of the real deal, featuring folks from the parishes of Cameron and St. Landry deep in Cajun Country. Along the way you’ll hear a couple of references to Clifton Chenier and, at the end, we’ll hear the zydeco man himself. But first, that Irishman I mention earlier? Here’s Rory Gallagher.
|Rory Gallagher||The King of Zydeco|
|Richard Thompson||The Flames of Hell|
|Ozark Mountain Daredevils||Homemade Wine|
|Paul Simon||That Was Your Mother|
|John Fogarty||Diggy Liggy Lo|
|Little Feat||Cajun Girl|
|Commander Cody||Armadillo Stomp|
|Doug Kershaw||Jambalaya (On the Bayou)|
|Clifton Chenier||I’m the Zydeco Man|
|Sidney Babineaux||(Spoken word)|
That’s Sidney Babineaux with a track off an old zydeco compilation album that didn’t have any liner notes, so I don’t know a thing about the guy. But with that accent, that accordian, and a name like Sidney Babineaux you know he’s about as Cajun as they get. In fact I’d go so far as to say he’s a coonass, in the positive sense of the word. The reason I played that is so you could hear Sidney explaining the origin of the word ‘zydeco.’ It turns out that one of the early songs in this style was called “The Snapbeans Ain’t Salty,” and the reason they weren’t salty is that the person who made them was so poor he couldn’t afford any salt pork, a situation a lot of Acadians could identify with. Of course the song title was in French, not English. In French, ‘the Snapbeans’ is ‘Lez Haricots.’ Over time, ‘Lez Haricots’ was corrputed to become zydeco which is where the musical style got it’s name.
Before that, “The Zydeco Man” himself, Mr. Clifton Chenier. At the top of the set, Rory Gallagher mentions Mr. Chenier in his song, “The King of Zydeco.” We followed the Irishman with the Englishman Richard Thompson doing “The Flames of Hell.” That’s from a great compilation disc of cajun music called Angeline Made which is also where we caught John Fogarty playing “Diggy LIGGY Lo” a song that had been a big hit for Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw, though he called it “Diggy DIGGY Lo.” Speaking of Doug Kershaw, we heard his version of the Hank Williams hit, “Jambayla (On The Bayou).” Elsewhere in the set, we heard The Ozark Mountain Daredevils “Homemade Wine” and Little Feat’s “Cajun Girl.” Commander Cody did the “Armadillo Stomp” and the other guy singing about Clifton Chenier was Paul Simon with Good Rockin’ Doopsie and the Twisters doing “That Was Your Mother.” Well, like Rory Gallagher said, if your taste runs to the gumbo, you know where to go, across my back yard to the Way Back Studio where I make a pretty good one with chicken and andouille. By the way, if you’re looking for the set lists, the show commentaries, or my gumbo recipie, drop by my website or one of the Facebook pages and we’ll hook you up. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Frequent visitors to the Way Back Studios know that every now and then we like to take a closer look at the different types of music that have influenced the Deep Tracks library. We’ve done sets of blues rock, country rock, jazz rock, progressive rock, and others. But recently it dawned on me that we haven’t yet considered folk rock. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl hardly addresses that issue. Why? Well before there was folk rock, there was just folk. But what exactly IS a folk song? Broadly speaking, it’s traditional music of a specific group, by unknown composers, typically handed down by mouth, and performed on acoustic instruments. The songs told stories of the culture’s past, their wars, and their heroes. In contemporary folk, the songs were more topical, frequently, but not always, about political protest. In the 1930s and 40s guys like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seger were collecting and writing folk songs. And the guys from that generation influenced the generation that followed. In the early 60s, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton and others picked up the ball and ran with it. Then in 1965, somebody came along and electrified the form, giving birth to folk rock. And that somebody was The Byrds. And at the very end of today’s set, we’ll hear one from Roger McGuinn and the boys. But before we get to the folk rock, we’re going to wade into some plain old folk. In November of ’92, Bob Dylan released an album consisting entirely of traditional folk songs and covers. We’ll hear Bob’s renditions of an old Australian folk song and, later in the set, a Canadian-English folk song. And be sure to listen to the guitar. It’s one of the best recorded acoustics I’ve ever heard. We’ve also got a cover of a Pete Seger / Lee Hays classic from Peter, Paul, and Mary. Elsewhere we’ve got James Taylor, Jim Croce and Joan Baez doing some contemporary folk songs. And we’ve got a couple of instrumentals too. Taj Mahal doing something traditional from his album Oh So Good and Blues, and then there’s this one, simply titled, “Instrumental.”
|Bob Dylan||Jim Jones|
|Taj Mahal||Buck Dancer’s Choice|
|James Taylor||One Morning in May|
|Jim Croce||Railroad Song|
|Joan Baez||Outside the Nashville City Limits|
|Peter, Paul & Mary||If I Had a Hammer|
That, my friends, is Roger McGuinn’s attempt to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity, or so he said. That’s “5D” the title track from the Byrds album 5th Dimension. Now, if you joined us somewhere in the middle of that little folk festival, you might have thought you’d tuned into The Village up on channel 62. But as your display says, this is the Deep Tracks and we’ve just finished exploring the folk out of the library. Before The Byrds, Peter, Paul, and Mary covering the Pete Seger / Lee Hays classic “If I Had a Hammer.” Now, I got the idea of a folk set while listening to Bob Dylan’s album Good As I Been To You from which we heard the old Australian folk song “Jim Jones,” and the old English-Canadian folk song “Canadee-I-O.” We also heard two from James Taylor. The first was an instrumental called “Instrumental” (one of two on One Man Dog) and the second was “One Morning in May” both written by Taylor but with a distinctly English folk feel to them. The other instrumental in the set was “Buck Dancer’s Choice” a traditional covered here by Taj Mahal. In the middle of the set, some contemporary folk tracks. Jim Croce’s “Railroad Song” from early in his career followed by Joan Baez “Outside the City Limits of Nashville.” That’s from her 1971 two record set Blessed Are, produced by the great Norbert Putnam. That album came with a bonus 7” single (which you played at 33 1/3) and featured the Woody Guthrie song “Deportee.” That was the only way to do bonus tracks back in the day of vinyl. Well it’s only because of our limited time and record collection that we couldn’t get across the pond for some of the English folkies like Steelye Span, Fairport Convention, or Pentangle. Maybe anon. In the meanwhile, as always, you’re invited to drop by the Way Back Studio Facebook page or my website, billfitzhugh.com where you’ll find the set lists, commentaries, and the details of my other life. I’m Bill Fitzhugh thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sooner or later and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.