I got a couple of questions for you. Do you own a copy Eric Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard? If so, which version do you have? The original or the other one? How do you tell the difference? Well, on the original release, the second track on side one was “Give Me Strength.” But owing to a dispute over songwriting credits, later pressings of the album featured “Better Make It Through Today” as the second track, a song that was originally on the album There’s One In Every Crowd which came out the year after 461 Ocean Boulevard. Now what’s most interesting about all this is that today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl has nothing to do with either one of those tracks. I just thought I’d mention it. Instead, we’ll be playing “Motherless Children” from the album. Why’s that? Well, the answer has to do with the rhythm of a song written by Lindsey Buckingham.
Here’s what happened: I was here in the Way Back Studios one night listening to an album called Belle of the Ball by Richard Torrance and Eureka. What’s he got to do with it? Well, it turns out he does a perfect cover of the Buckingham Nicks track “Don’t Let Me Down Again” a song with a rhythm that reminds me of “Motherless Children.” So we did a little hand mixing to get things started. But after those three songs I couldn’t think of any others with the same rhythm. But did I let that bring me down? No. Did I let it break me down? Of course not. I just seized on the word ‘down’ from “Don’t Let Me Down Again” and made the rest of the set into a theme-time-radio-half-hour-head-trip featuring Graham Parker, Neil Young, Steve Earle, Steve Stills, the Beatles, and the Boss. So sit yourself down on the corner, or get on down the road and get the wax out of your hearing holes. Here’s old Slowhand.
|Eric Clapton||Motherless Children|
|Buckingham Nicks||Don’t Let Me Down Again (part 1)|
|Richard Torrance||Don’t Let Me Down Again (part 2)|
|Graham Parker||Don’t Let It Break You Down|
|Neil Young||Don’t Let It Bring You Down|
|Steve Earle||Down the Road|
|Stephen Stills||Sit Yourself Down|
|The Beatles||Don’t Let Me Down|
|Bruce Springsteen||I’m Goin’ Down|
Well that was a serious downer, man. “Don’t Let Me Down” “Don’t Let Me Down Again” “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” “Don’t Let It Break You Down” “Down The Road” “Sit Yourself Down” “I’m Going Down” and one song about how nobody treats you like a mother will when your mother is dead, lord, that is a downer. I just hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. We opened that set with Clapton’s take on the traditional “Motherless Children” from 461 Ocean Boulevard. The churning rhythm of the song is provided by drummer Jim Fox who was one of the founders of the James Gang. And it reminded me of the rhythm of the Lindsey Buckingham track, “Don’t Let Me Down Again” that was on that great Buckingham Nicks album that came out in 1973 and mysteriously tanked. A year later, Richard Torrance and Eureka covered the song so faithfully on their album Belle of the Ball that we just mixed from one to the other about halfway through without missing a beat.
After that, it was all downhill. We heard “Don’t Let It Break You Down,” from Graham Parker’s album The Mona Lisa’s Sister. Followed by Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down.” Steve Earle was in there with “Down the Road” from his debut album, Guitar Town, an album that not only made the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time but also made CMT’s list of the 40 Greatest Albums in Country Music. “Sit Yourself Down” was Stephen Stills with Mama Cass, John Sebastian, David Crosby and Graham Nash on backup vocals. “Don’t Let Me Down” was the B-side of the single release of “Get Back” and was credited to The Beatles with Billy Preston. And speaking of singles, “I’m Goin’ Down” was the sixth of a record seven top ten singles from Springsteen’s Born in the USA. And now the clock’s run down and we’re all out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.
As far as I know, in the history of rock and roll, there’s only one group that started its career with three two-record sets. Most of the artists in the Deep Tracks only have one or two in their entire catalogue if you leave out the live albums and greatest hits compilations. The Beatles, the Stones, Springsteen, and Van Morrison each did one, and Van didn’t get around to his until album number 23. The Who, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Todd Rundgren each did two. And Dylan has two or three, depending on how you categorize The Basement Tapes. And of course Frank Zappa released several over the years. But Chicago came out of the gate with three two-record sets, back-to-back-to-back. Their first two were impressive collections of pop-rock-jazz fusion with a three man horn section threatening to overpower the standard rock quartet. But on their third album they ventured into new territory, songs featuring acoustic guitars and even the pedal steel. And that’s the style that sets the tone for today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. Following one each from America and Fleetwood Mac, we’ll hear Chicago sounding as country as they could on “What Else Can I Say.”
Toward the end of the set we’ll get “The Treasure” from Steve Stills and Manassas. Followed by Mr. Stills with his buddies Nash and Crosby, and I don’t mean Ogden and Bing. But we’ll start in 1973. Long before he became a multi-faceted corporation, Jimmy Buffett was just a great songwriter. And his album A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean stands as proof. Now there aren’t any fancy segues in this set, just six songs that work like a finely tuned relay team with each handing off to the next in perfect stride, never dropping the baton. So here’s that man from Margaritaville singing about the “Death of an Unpopular Poet.”
|Jimmy Buffett||Death of an Unpopular Poet|
|America||Never Found the Time|
|Chicago||What Else Can I Say?|
|Manassas||The Treasure (Take One)|
|Crosby, Stills, Nash||Pre-road Downs|
Coming in at number 259 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, those guys from The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies; Crosby, Stills, and Nash with “Pre Road Downs” a tune that wins the award for the best advice in a pop song: be sure to hide the roaches. Before that, Manassas, the band Bill Wyman said he would leave the Rolling Stones to join. We heard take one of “The Treasure” from their debut album which is a remarkable two record set. Speaking of which, before the Manassas, the only group in rock history to start with three two-record sets: Chicago. From their third album, complete with uncharacteristic slide guitar instead of horns, we heard “What Else Can I Say?” Now I looked all over the place but I couldn’t find any credits for who played that slide part. If you know, drop me a line. You can find an email link at my website. Just do a search for hand mixed vinyl and you’ll find it.
We opened the set with the “Death of an Unpopular Poet” from Jimmy Buffett’s album A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, which is a little pun on an old Marty Robbins tune, “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation.” After that we “Never Found the Time” an acoustic gem from Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, and Dan Peek, three guys whose harmonies rivaled those of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. That’s from America’s debut album in 1972. After that, in the middle of the set, “Sometimes” a Danny Kirwin composition off Fleetwood Mac’s Future Games. And that’s it. We’re out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl from the Way Back Studios to the Deep Tracks.
Every now and then we have visitors here in the Way Back Studios. Some are mysterious drifters while others are vague acquaintances hiding from the law. But this one time, I was out here with my friend and fellow writer, Jim Fusilli. Jim is the author of some fine crime novels and one of my favorite short stories, “The Ghost of Rory Gallagher.” He also wrote a terrific book on the classic Beach Boy’s album, Pet Sounds. And, as if that’s not enough, Jim’s also the pop and rock critic for the Wall Street Journal. In other words, dude knows his music. So anyway, we’re out here smoking cigars, and I’m trying to stump-the-music-expert, though without much luck. But I figured I could get him with something from the late, great Willy DeVille, the man Doc Pomus described as looking like a cross between a bullfighter and a Puerto Rican pimp. But I was wrong. Turned out Jim’s been a fan since Willy was Mink, back in ’77 when DeVille’s Cabretta came out. Well, at that point I knew I was wasting my time trying to stump Jim, so I decided to give that up and just make a set of it. And that’s how we got today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl.
Well, one thing led to another, and before you could say lower middle-class hillbilly hipster, I’d pulled a Ricki Lee Jones EP, because we both wanted to hear her version of “Walk Away Rene.” And what we discovered was a really nice mix into Willie DeVille’s “Assassin of Love.” Well, that led us to Dire Straits, JJ. Cale, and Stevie Wonder. But we’ll start with something from an album that landed right in the middle of the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It sold five million copies. It won three Grammys. And it hit the top of the Billboard charts. She’s “Nobody’s Girl.” From the Way Back Studios, here’s Bonnie Raitt.
|Bonnie Raitt||Nobody’s Girl|
|Ricki Lee Jones||Walk Away Rene|
|Willie DeVille||Assassin of Love|
|Dire Straits||Six Blade Knife|
|J.J. Cale||Cajun Moon|
One of the enduring mysteries of life is why certain musicians never reach a mass audience. The phenomenon of the cult artist. I mean if Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, and Lynyrd Skynyrd like you, how come everybody doesn’t? The answer? Don’t ask me. But we just heard from several artists who suffered that very fate. Like for example, J.J. Cale. We just heard his “Cajun Moon” from his album Okie. In the middle of the set, two more talents relegated to the pop culture sidelines. Ricki Lee Jones, the Duchess of Coolsville, came out of the gate with a huge album, featuring the hit “Chuck E.’s in Love.” After that, no matter how good her records were, she never reached that level of popularity again. Here we heard Ricki Lee’s cover of “Walk Away Rene.” After that, the cultest of cult artists, the late, great Willie DeVille. A guy who made some brilliant albums but who remains largely unknown. DeVille’s debut album, Cabretta, was a sleeper masterpiece. It came out about a year before the first Dire Straits album and I was always struck by how similar DeVille and Mark Knopfler sounded but I thought I was the only one. So imagine my surprise a decade later, when Knopfler produced and played on Willie DeVille’s “Assassin of Love.” And, just to prove the point, we followed Assassin with “Six Blade Knife” from Dire Straits.
At the top, Bonnie Raitt, who started out on the cult circuit but who finally broke through to the masses with her tenth album, and just in the Nick of Time. After that, a guy who was always a star: Stevie Wonder. We heard “Superwoman” from Music of My Mind. By the way, if you’re looking for any of the set lists or if you’re just curious about the show, drop by my website or track me down on Facebook. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back sooner or later with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.
The music in the Deep Tracks is a lot like America. It’s a melting pot, a gumbo, a hybrid, a mixed breed, a mutt. And all the better for it. Each generation of musicians grows up listening to the previous generation, some were influenced by the blues artists who preceded them, others were influenced by country, folk, jazz, or a combination of them all. Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl takes a look at the influence of one particular jazz composition you may not know on two songs you do: Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.” The great pianist and composer Horace Silver wrote “Song For My Father” in 1963. It’s the title track to an album that was one of hard bop’s most famous recording dates. It’s a Bossa Nova in F minor, about seven minutes long, and it has six false endings, though we only have time to use a couple of them. We’ll break the song into three parts and we’ll rearrange them for maximum edification.
Steely Dan integrated jazz forms into their music more consistently than perhaps any other group in the Deep Tracks. It’s well known that Becker and Fagen took the bass line from “Song For My Father” as the starting point for “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” But what’s less well known is that Stevie Wonder took the descending horn line from “Song For My Father” and used it for the chorus of “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing.” Elsewhere in the set, a guy who incorporated jazz into his songs every bit as well as Steely Dan, Van the Man. We’ll hear his cover of Cannonball Adderly’s “Sack o’ Woe.” And before that, we’ll hear the Electrifying Eddie Harris along with Les McCann doing their famous live take of “Compared to What,” a soul jazz pop monster recorded live in 1969. But first, that Horace Silver track. Listen to the bass line for Steely Dan, and the horns for Stevie Wonder. From the Way Back Studios, here’s “Song For My Father.”
|Horace Silver||Song For My Father (part 1)|
|Stevie Wonder||Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing|
|Horace Silver||Song For My Father (part 3)|
|Steely Dan||Ricki Don’t Lose That Number|
|Les McCann & Eddie Harris||Compared to What?|
|Van Morrison||Sack o’ Woe|
|Horace Silver||Song For My Father (part 2)|
Wrapping up that jazzy little set, an excerpt from Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father.” At the top of the set we heard the opening minute and a half of the song to highlight its influence on Stevie Wonder as he composed “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” where Stevie’s chorus mimics that descending horn line from Silver’s composition. In the middle of the set, we cut to the last minute or so of “Song For My Father” to show exactly how Steely Dan appropriated the bass line from the song to create their biggest hit, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” Proving the old adage that good writers borrow but great writers steal. By the way, the albums Pretzel Logic and Innervisions both made the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Albums of all time.
Following the Steely Dan, we heard the soul jazz masterpiece “Compared to What.” That was Les McCann and the Electrifying Eddie Harris recorded live in 1969. Funny how those lyrics seem so contemporary. “The President, he’s got his war. Folks don’t know just what it’s for. Nobody gives us rhyme or reason. Have one doubt, they call it treason.” We came out of that bit of the truth into Van Morrison’s cover of Cannonball Adderley’s “Sack o’ Woe.” Taken from the album How Long Has This Been Going On which was recorded live (but without an audience) at the famous London jazz club, Ronnie Scott’s. Well, to paraphrase Stevie Wonder, Everybody needs a change, a chance to check out the new, but you’re the only one who sees, the changes in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. If you’ve got any questions, comments, or suggestions, drop by my website and send me an email. Meanwhile, I’ll be here on the dusty fringes of Los Angeles, working on a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl for your listening pleasure, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Other than some mystical musings by the Moody Blues, I can think of only one album in my entire collection with a poem on it. That would be Chicago III. The first track on side four is a poem called “When All The Laughter Dies in Sorrow.” It’s read by Robert Lamm and was written by a guy named Kendrew Lascelles. Lascelles is an English writer best known for an anti-war poem called “The Box” which he recited once on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, around 1971. John Denver recited it for the last track of his album Poems, Prayers, and Promises. If you’re interested, you can find that on You Tube. In any event, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl revolves around a mix I used to do back in the day where I took “When All The Laughter Dies in Sorrow” and played it over Steve Miller’s “Space Intro” timed so that the poem ends just as “Fly Like an Eagle” begins.
As for the rest of the set, it’s a completely characteristic combo platter of FM rock classics, some of which were hits, some of which weren’t. Since I don’t need to tell you about the hits, I’ll tell you about The Sopwith Camel instead. According to their web site it was the second Bay Area band signed to a national record label, the first being Jefferson Airplane and the third being the Grateful Dead. Sopwith Camel had one hit with a kitchy little number called “Hello Hello” when they recorded for the Kama Sutra label. A couple of years later, on Warner Brothers, they released The Miraculous Hump Returns From the Moon from which we’ll hear a song called “Fazon.” But first, some Pink Floyd. Depending on how you look at it, there are either three songs titled “Another Brick in the Wall” or there’s one song by title, done in three parts. “Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)” was a huge single, topping the charts in 1980, the most over-played Pink Floyd song since “Money.” And that’s just one of the reasons we’re going to play “Part 1” instead.
|Pink Floyd||Another Brick in the Wall (part 1)|
|Steve Miller Band||Space Intro|
|Chicago||When All the Laughter Dies in Sorrow|
|Steve Miller||Fly Like an Eagle|
|Joni Mitchell||Just Like This Train|
|Canned Heat||On the Road Again|
Wrapping up a set that sounds like FM rock radio on a Saturday afternoon circa 1970, at least there at the end, that’s Donovan with the Jeff Beck group doing “Barabajagal” a single that made it all the way up to #36. Before that, another FM rock classic that crossed over to AM success, Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again” made it to #16 on the charts. Now my sources are conflicted when it comes to whether or not “Nature’s Way” was released as a single. But even if it wasn’t, it got enough air play on FM radio to make you think it had been. That’s from Spirit’s celebrated album The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. Before that, a couple of songs that definitely weren’t released as singles: Joni Mitchell’s “Just Like This Train.” And “Fazon” by the Bay Area band, The Sopwith Camel from their album The Miraculous Hump Returns From the Moon which was best described by Mark Allen for the All Music Guide, thusly: “Imagine a jazzy John Sebastian who’s into Eastern culture and vaudeville. This is pleasant, unambitious hippie groove music for a lazy, sunny afternoon. If you’re in that mood, it will take you to a warm, fuzzy place.” Ain’t that the truth?
At the top of the set, also not released as a single, “Another Brick in the Wall (part 1).” Part 2 was a single, in fact it was a #1. We followed the Floyd with a favorite old mix of mine: we took the poem “When All the Laughter Dies in Sorrow” from Chicago’s third album and played it over Steve Miller’s “Space Intro” before going into his big hit, “Fly Like An Eagle.” Well it’s like Steve said, time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future which is where you’ll find me, in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you know it, right here in the Deep Tracks.
I always thought it was Shakespeare who said, “Oh! what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.” But it turns out that was Sir Walter Scott. Well, there’s no practice to deceive in today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl but there is a tangled web that weaves in and out between the sacred and the profane, the latter of which is supplied by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, down the basement with their needle and their spoon and a bunch of “Dead Flowers.” But back to that tangled web. This set starts off with a mix of Little Feat singin’ about their semi-smokin’ mama in between two songs by Dave Mason. Any connection there? Well Bonnie Bramlett sang back up vocals on Dave Mason’s Alone Together and on Little Feat’s Dixie Chicken. She’s also one of the vocalists on the Earl Scruggs Review album, more about which later. Now, Bonnie Bramlett’s daughter, Bekka, was with Fleetwood Mac at the same time Dave Mason was with the group. And of course Bonnie was half of the famous and influential Delaney and Bonnie whose first album, Accept No Substitute was a favorite of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, among many others, including Jimi Hendrix.
Delaney Bramlett once told the story of a press conference where a reporter asked him what he called his music. Delaney said he didn’t know. Was it rock or gospel or what? Again, he said he didn’t know. As it turns out, Jimi Hendix was taking part in this press conference. Jimi quietly stepped to the microphone and said, “I’ll tell you what you call it. Call it spiritual and leave it at that.” And that’s how we get to the sacred part of this set. One of the highlights of Accept No Substitute is a great gospel ballad called “Ghetto,” which features Leon Russell on piano, who was also on Dave Mason’s Alone Together. And as long as we’re in the gospel mode, we’ll get to that Earl Scruggs Review, Anniversary Special album featuring Bonnie Bramlett on the rousing gospel track “Royal Majesty.” We’ll also hear from Jonathan Edwards and Jesse Winchester but first, from the Way Back Studios, it’s “Just a Song.”
|Dave Mason||Just a Song|
|Little Feat||Feats Don’t Fail Me Now|
|Dave Mason||Silent Partner|
|Rolling Stones||Dead Flowers|
|Jonathan Edwards||When The Roll is Called Up Yonder|
|Jessie Winchester||Midnight Bus|
|Delany and Bonnie||Ghetto|
|Earl Scruggs Review||Royal Majesty|
Billy Joel and Earl Scruggs? How’s that for an unlikely combination? That’s “Royal Majesty” from a great album called The Earle Scruggs Review Anniversary Special from 1975. There’s not enough time to list all the artists on the album, but here are the people who played just on that song: In addition to Billy Joel’s piano, we had Earl, Gary, and Randy Scruggs on banjo, bass, and acoustic guitars, Roger McGuinn and Alvin Lee on electric guitars, and Charlie Daniels on electric slide guitar as well as vocals. The other vocalists are the great Tracy Nelson, The Pointer Sisters, Joan Baez, and Bonnie Bramlett, who I like to think of as the Kevin Bacon of rock and roll. I swear you can connect her to anybody in the business in six moves or less. And the reason for that was her partnership with Delaney Bramlett. Before “Royal Majesty,” we heard Delaney and Bonnie doing “Ghetto” from their album Accept No Substitute.
There were two other gospel tracks in that set: Jesse Winchester put us on the “Midnight Bus” and Jonathan Edwards delivered a stirring take on the traditional “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder.” Those come from two albums that are worth finding: Winchester’s Third Down and 110 To Go and Jonathan Edwards’s Have A Good Time For Me. At the top of the set, Dave Mason’s “Just a Song” from Alone Together, an album featuring Bonnie Bramlett on background vocals. That led us into “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now” from Little Feat, a group Bonnie sang backup for on the Dixie Chicken album. After that it was another one from Dave, song called “Silent Partner.” Then it was down to the basement with the Glimmer Twins, Mick and Keith, who once said that one of their favorite records from 1969 was Delaney and Bonnie’s Accept No Substitute. There’s more to say but no time to say it. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Every now and then I like to take a minute to explain what it is we do here in the Way Back Studios because as you know new folks are jumping on the Deep Tracks bus every day of the week – and you might be one of them. And if so you might be asking yourself, what’s this guy up to? Well, the main thing is, we’re tryin’ to have some fun with the music. As we like to say, it’s not just what we play, it’s how we play it. Sometimes, we’re all about mash-ups and segues and plunder-phonics. Other times we find a theme and we stick to it, a sort of head-trip theme-time radio half-hour if you will. Occasionally we’ll just concentrate on putting the right songs in the right order. In other words, we like to mix things up, keep things interesting, variety being the spice of life as they say. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is a good example because it’s none-of-the-above. Instead, we’re going places. From the Grand Opera House in Belfast to Cobo Hall in Detroit. From the Santa Barbara County Bowl to the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis. From the Park West in Chicago to the Brixton Academy in England.
But we’re gonna start with Loudon Wainwright III at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Los Angeles in 1978. Loudon once famously sang, “God I hate women, they mess up your life. I’ll kill your mother if you’ll kill my wife.” Maybe we can all chip in and pay for some anger management classes for Loudon. Reviewing his album, A Live One, Rolling Stone said: “it’s a comprehensive and cracked compendium of one lunatic’s refusal to deal with the world on any terms other than his own.” Be sure to listen for Loudon’s imitation of Van Morrison toward the end of the song; it’s fabulous. Later in the set we’ll hear one from Van himself, and later still, we got Bob Seger doing a cover of Morrison’s “I’ve Been Working.” We’ll also hear from The Pat Metheny Group, by themselves, and later, as Joni Mitchell’s backing band. And we’ll round it out with one each from Pete Townshend and Bonnie Raitt. Music the way it’s supposed to be heard: performed live. So sit back, relax, and enjoy another All Hand Mixed Vinyl concert.
|Loudon Wainwright III||Kings and Queens|
|Pat Metheny||(Cross The) Heartland|
|Pete Townshend||Save it For Later|
|Van Morrison||Into the Mystic/Inarticulate Speech of the Heart/Dweller on the Threshold|
|Joni Mitchell||Free Man in Paris|
|Bob Seger||I’ve Been Working|
|Bonnie Raitt||Three Time Loser|
From the last show of her tour in 1980, that’s Bonnie Raitt on stage at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota with “Three Time Loser.” Before that, from Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan, 1975, Mr. Ramblin’ Gamlin’ Man, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet band gave us a cover Van Morrison’s “I’ve Been Working.” A little earlier in the set, from March of 1982, Van himself live from the Grand Opera House in Belfast. Starting with a tricky little intro, the band does a few bars from “Into the Mystic” before segueing into a few bars of “Inarticulate Speech of the Heart” before segueing into “Dweller on the Threshold.” And sticking with the Van Morrison theme for a moment, the set opened with Loudon Wainwright the third, recorded live at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Los Angeles in 1978. Toward the end of “Kings and Queens” Loudon lapses into an imitation of Van Morrison, and admits it.
After the Dead Skunk guy, we heard one from The Pat Metheny Group performing at Park West in Chicago. We heard “Cross the Heartland” which was originally on the album American Garage from 1980. Two songs later, we’d moved to the Santa Barbara County Bowl for a date on Joni Mitchell’s Mingus tour where she was backed by a variation of The Pat Metheny group with Lyle Mays, Jaco Pastorius, Don Alias, and the late great Michael Brecker on Joni’s classic “Free Man In Paris.” And somewhere near the middle of the set, we dipped into Pete Townshend’s Deep End Live album for a cover of “Save It For Later,” a song that was the English Beat’s biggest hit in the U.S. And that’s all the time we’ve got for stoking the star making machinery behind the popular song. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and you can read all about it at billfitzhughdotcom. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you know it and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Like a lot of folks, I find I can get by with a little help from my friends. In fact today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl ended up, quite accidentally, featuring a lot of friends – artists and producers who worked with one another in different bands that have connections to other artists in the set which we’ll talk about afterwards. But the set started with an idea from one of our best friends and a frequent visitor to the Way Back Studios, D. Victor Hawkins. Seems he was listening to Rory Gallagher one night, more specifically, the Live in Europe album from 1972 – one of the great live blues rock albums of all time. The second track is a Gallagher composition called “Laundromat” and there was a riff in the song that reminded Victor of “Bad Motor Scooter” by Montrose. And, speaking of friends, something in the Montrose reminded victor of a riff from former Montrose member Sammy Hagar’s “Three Lock Box.” So far so good but too short for a set.
So I did some poking around in the hard rocking section of the library and came up with Cactus and their furious version of a Mose Allison standard. And then, from another one of the all time great live rock albums, Johnny Winter And Live. We took “Mean Town Blues” and broke it into two parts, put one near the top, and one near the bottom. And then to wrap it up, we grabbed B.B. King’s Live & Well from which we’ll hear “Let’s Get Down to Business.” We put it all together and guess what? If you could graft a pair of lips onto this set, it could suck start a rusted Harley. It’s a juvenile delinquent suite with a little something extra for the loud motorcycle enthusiast on your Christmas list. It’s prison time on Parchman Farm. It’s a woman with blood red lipstick and something in her eyes that isn’t fear. It’s leather and chrome rock ‘n’ roll plugged into a mile high stack of Marshall amps turned up to eleven. And it goes a little something like this…
|Sammy Hagar||Intro to Three Lock Box (voice intro)|
|Johnny Winter||Mean Town Blues (part 1)|
|Montrose||Bad Motor Scooter|
|Sammy Hagar||Three Lock Box (song)|
|Johnny Winter||Mean Town Blues (part 2)|
|B.B. King||Let’s Get Down to Business|
If that set didn’t clear the carbon outta your pipes you might wanna seek professional help. As I mentioned at the top, there are a lot of connections among the artists in that set. See if you can follow this. We ended with “Let’s Get Down To Business” from B.B. King of the blues and his album Live & Well, produced by the prolific Bill Szymczyk. Now it turns out that Szymczyk was the technical director on Edgar Winter’s They Only Come Out at Night, a record featuring Rick Derringer and Ronnie Montrose. Before the B.B. King, we heard the end of “Mean Town Blues” from Johnny Winter playing with Rick Derringer and the late Randy Jo Hobbs who were in the McCoys together when they did “Hang On Sloopy.” Later, Hobbs joined Sammy Hagar, Ronnie Montrose, Bill Church and the rest to record the Montrose album Jump On It. But we heard an earlier incarnation of Montrose on the track “Bad Motor Scooter,” from an album produced by Ted Templeman who also produced Edgar Winter as well as Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey which featured Ronnie Montrose and Bill Church. You still with me?
After Montrose broke up, Sammy Hagar went on to make a slew of solo albums, one of which was Three Lock Box, featuring Bill Church on bass. Near the top of the set, Cactus nearly tore the front gates off Mose Allison’s “Parchman Farm.” Now Cactus was one of the early super-groups, a group formed by artists who had previously been in other well known bands. Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert came out of Vanilla Fudge. Jim McCarty came from Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels and Rusty Day had been in the Amboy Dukes. Oh yeah, and smack in the middle of the set, and unrelated to anybody else in there, was Rory Gallagher doing “Laundromat” from the Live in Europe album. Well it’s time for me to get on my bad motor scooter and ride but I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sooner or later. Thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I hope you’ll join us next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.
When it comes to the taxonomical organization of the music in the Deep Tracks, I think we can generally agree about who tends to play what. Deep Purple’s hard rock. Arlo Guthrie’s folk rock. Steely Dan? Jazz rock. Charlie Daniels? Country rock. Where you find yourself getting into arguments and the occasional fist fight, is when you try to pin down the first record in any given category. For example: a lot of people say the first country rock album is The Gilded Palace of Sin by the Flying Burrito Brothers. Here, you might get an argument from The Byrds or Buffalo Springfield since they’d both started down that path years before. And no discussion of the subject is complete until someone brings up the one album by The International Submarine Band. Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl ain’t lookin’ to pick a fight, but it is lookin’ to play some country rock.
Now, at some point in the evolution of rock radio, the range of musical styles getting air-play began to narrow. Now if you don’t believe in evolution, just think of this as unintelligent design. But this much is true: once upon a time in rock radio, you were just as likely to hear The Flying Burrito Brothers twanging up the rock as you were to hear Black Sabbath being heavy with it. But then somebody let the consultants in with their research that said we all wanted to hear the same 200 songs for the rest of our lives. After that, things changed. If you wanted to hear a Whole Lotta Led, they changed for the better. But if you liked a little fiddle and some pedal steel with your rock, well, sorry. The consultants took most of the evidence of the country rock movement and they burned it out in the desert, near Joshua Tree, like it was the body of Gram Parsons himself. Well, we went and dug it up. So, from the Way Back Studios, here’s another reason to be thankful for satellite radio. Rosen up your bow, this is what we call country rock.
|Linda Rondstadt||Silver Threads and Golden Needles|
|Loggins and Messina||Listen To a Country Song|
|Poco||High and Dry|
|Marshall Tucker Band||Blue Ridge Mountain Sky|
|Charlie Daniels Band||The South’s Gonna Do It|
|Dan Fogelberg||Long Way Home|
If you didn’t know you were listening to vinyl before the end of the Fogelberg, you know now. That scratchy old record is my original copy of Dan’s first album from thirty-seven years ago, he said, reaching for his medicare card. That’s “Long Way Home (Live in the Country)” with a guy named Buddy SpiKer on the violin. Spoke to Buddy on the phone recently. Seemed like a nice guy, and he’s still giving lessons if you’re interested. We started that set with Linda Ronstadt’s second version of “Silver Threads and Golden Needles.” She first recorded it in 1969 for the Hand Sown, Home Grown album. Four years later she recorded it again with a guy named Gib Guilbeau on the fiddle. That’s from her album Don’t Cry Now. After that, Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin’ In along with Al Garth playing violin on “Listen to a Country Song.”
We followed that with Manassas, a track called “Fallen Eagle” featuring Byron Berline on fiddle. The only song without a fiddle was right in the middle of that set, we heard “High and Dry” from Poco’s album Cantamos. Then it was Charlie Daniels back-to-back: first playing with the Marshall Tucker Band on “Blue Ridge Mountain Sky” and then, name dropping some southern musical favorites from Dickie Betts and Grinderswitch to Wet Willie and Elvin Bishop who might not be good looking but he sure can play. The Charlie Daniels Band with “The South’s Gonna Do It” from one of the quintessential country rock albums: Fire on the Mountain. You know it occurred to me while I was mixing this set that if you had stolen my eight track tape collection in 1974 – if you had reached into that beat up Ford Galaxy and snatched that black faux alligator carrying case – if you had done that, you would have had all the music necessary to do this set.
Food for thought from the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh thanks for listening. I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you know it. And I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what would happen if you took a musical interpretation of a gothic horror story and mixed it with an instrumental about a troubled musical genius and combined that with a Brazilian jazz interpretation of a classical German tone poem based on a philosophical novel that doubles as the theme to a classic sci-fi film and then spiced it all up with a snappy Latin beat? Me neither, at least not until today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl which is easier to listen to than it is to explain. So how do I say this? Imagine Pink Floyd’s tribute to Syd Barrett as filmed by Stanley Kubric based on a screenplay by Edgar Alan Poe with a soundtrack by the Alan Parsons Project based on his interpretation of “The Fall of the House of Usher” while Eumir Deodato simultaneously updates Richard Strauss with occasional incursions by Carlos Santana. That about sums it up.
So right about now you’re either flipping over to Classic Vinyl or you’re asking yourself, what the hell’s a tone poem? Which is what I did, and here’s what I discovered. A tone poem is a piece of orchestral music in which the content of some non-musical source – in this instance Nietzsche’s philosophical novel “Thus Spake Zarathustra” – is illustrated or evoked. Now, Richard Strauss wrote the original “Thus Spake Zarathustra” in the late 19th Century. About eighty years later, Eumir Deodato gave it a pop jazz reinterpretation that got significant airplay on FM radio. But the set opens with an excerpt from side two of The Alan Parson’s Project album Tales of Mystery and Imagination, essentially a tone poem based on Edgar Alan Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher.” That leads into a two minute mash-up with parts of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” that you don’t want to miss. After that, a couple of nice segues with Deodato’s “2001” broken into two parts and mixed with two from Santana’s third album. So, from the Way Back Studios, here’s some mystery and imagination.
|Alan Parsons Project||Fall of the House of Usher (excerpt)|
|Pink Floyd||Shine On You Crazy Diamond (part 1)|
|Deodato||Also Sprach Zarathurstra (part 1)|
|Deodato||Also Sprach Zarathurstra (part 2)|
|Santana||No One To Depend On|
Creed Taylor was a trumpet player before he moved to the other side of the microphone. Once on the business side of the record industry, he ended up with his own label, CTI. CTI was one of the prime movers in jazz-fusion and one of the biggest records they ever released was Eumir Deodato’s album, Prelude. His nine-minute interpretation of Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zerathustra” became a wildly improbable hit. We used to play the whole thing on the FM side, but it was so popular, CTI issued a single version edited to about five minutes; that hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on Adult Contemporary charts. We took the nine minute version and broke it into two parts, mixed with a couple from Santana’s third album. “No One to Depend On” at the end of the set and “Guajira” right in the middle.
At the top of the set we had some fun with the Alan Parsons Project and Pink Floyd. Now, Parsons is best known for having been the engineer on Dark Side of the Moon which came out in ‘73. After that, Parsons joined with Eric Woolfson to form the Alan Parsons Project. In 1975 they released Tales of Mystery and Imagination, a sort of musical interpretation of several of Edgar Alan Poe’s short stories. We heard an excerpt from the gothic horror tale “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Three minutes into that, we did a fun mash up with a couple of minutes of Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond,” a song written in nine parts, from the album Wish You Were Here, all of which is a tribute to Syd Barrett, a guy whose life is tragic enough that he could have been the subject for a story by, say, Edgar Alan Poe.
Well, to quoth the raven nevermore, we’re all out of time. Thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and you can read all about it at billfitzhugh dot com or look for me on Amazon dot com. Either way, I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you know it. And I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.