One of the Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus is a song called “Space Child.” It’s an instrumental, about three minutes long that breaks into three distinct parts. The first and the third parts are nearly identical and revolve around a riff that’s remarkably similar to the riff Steely Dan used eight years later for their song “FM.” We took the open and the close of the Spirit and sandwiched Becker and Fagen in between, and we followed that with one of my favorites by the Doors without Jim Morrison, a song called “Ships with Sails.” Then, because we don’t like to waste anything here in the Way Back Studios, we tagged the middle part of “Space Child” onto the end of the set. So that’s the mix at the center of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. And if we lived in the best of all possible worlds, these various parts would have acted as the organizing principal behind the whole but, as you may have noticed we live elsewhere. So, the remainder of the set sounds like an iPod on shuffle, with songs loaded by the ghost of Big Daddy Tom Donahue. And that’s a good thing.
One of the artists who pops up on random is Shawn Phillips, a singer-songwriter with nearly 20 albums to his credit who somehow remains largely unknown. Phillips ‘problem’ – if that’s the right thing to call it – is that he was ‘different,’ employing unusual instrumentation along with classical and jazz influences in his work. His eleventh album, Do You Wonder, came out in 1975. From that we’ll hear a typically, atypical song of his called “Blunt and Frank.” Five years before that, Phillips made an album called Contribution, featuring most of Traffic, speaking of whom, we’ll hear one from Jim Capaldi’s solo album, Short Cut Draw Blood. But we’re going to start with another singer-songwriter. Jackson Browne’s younger brother, whose debut album, oddly enough, was on Motown. “It’s Just a Matter of Time.” Here’s Severin Browne.
|Severin Browne||Just a Matter of Time|
|Shawn Phillips||Blunt and Frank|
|Jim Capalid||Living On a Marble|
|Spirit||Space Child (part 1)|
|Spirit||Space Child (part 3)|
|The Doors||Ships With Sails|
|Spirit||Space Child (part 2)|
When Jim Morrison died on July 3, 1971, a lot of people figured The Doors had died as well. And that was their mistake because the genius of the band didn’t reside solely in their lead singer. Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger, and John Densmore brought plenty to the table as evidenced by the songs on “Other Voices” the album they were working on during the fateful summer of ‘71. Before that jazzy little bit of Spirit at the end of the set, we heard “Ships with Sails” a song that sounds like it could have escaped from L.A. Woman. At the top, we heard “Just a Matter of Time” from Jackson Browne’s younger brother Severin. The story goes that he was at Motown pitching songs when Barry Gordy walked in and asked if he’d like to make an album. Naturally, Severin looked up and said, “No.” But evidently he changed his mind.
We followed Mr. Browne with Mr. Blunt and Mr. Frank a song by the inexplicably overlooked Shawn Phillips, from his 1975 album, Do You Wonder. Five years before that, Phillips recorded an album called Contribution, featuring Chris Wood, Steve Winwood, and the late great Jim Capaldi. So we followed the Shawn Phillips with “Living On a Marble” from Capaldi’s album, Short Cut Draw Blood, featuring Steve Winwood on bass and the late great Barry Beckett on piano. In the middle, a little experiment to test the similarities between Spirit’s “Space Child” and Steely Dan’s ode to frequency modulation, “FM.” We zeroed in on the similar piano figure in both songs just to prove a point. Well, it’s like the guy said, “Bury the bottle mama, it’s grapefruit wine, kick off your high heeled sneakers, it’s party time” here in the Way Back Studios, so I need to get going.
By the way, if you want to see the set lists for the shows or what goes on behind the scenes, drop by my website and poke around. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, scratchy perhaps, but no static at all here in the Deep Tracks.
Sometimes a song just hands you a segue. For example, in the middle of the “South California Purples,” Chicago quotes the Beatles, “I Am The Walrus” which allows you to do this: [Insert segue] Well, as you might guess, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features just such a segue. In fact, it contains two such segues. The starting point is 1969 and the second album from Blood, Sweat, and Tears. The third track on side two is called “Blues (Part 2).” Don’t bother looking for Part 1 because there isn’t one, at least not on that album. Anyway, “Blues (Part 2)” proves that BS&T was fairly characterized as a jazz rock band. The track is nearly twelve minutes long and, as frequently happens with jazz guys, in the course of playing the song at hand, they’ll quote other songs. In this case, about halfway through the track, Jim Fielder starts quoting the bass riff from “Sunshine of Your Love,” Cream’s top 5 single from 1968. So that’s where we go. After that, we return to “Blues (Part 2)” where the horn section is quoting the Sunshine riff. Then about 40 seconds later, Fielder starts quoting from Willie Dixon’s “Spoonful” a song that Cream covered on their debut album in 1966. So we segue over to Cream for that before returning to part three of “Blues (Part 2).”
Given all those blues, you might think that opening the set with a menacing prog rock track from Emerson, Lake, and Palmer would be a disaster, but you’d be wrong. And not only does it work, but it also helps prove my point about musicians quoting from other musicians. ELP’s first LP was released in the US in 1971. The track “Knife Edge” is based on the first movement of a work called Sinfonietta by a Czechoslovakian composer whose name I’m not even going to try to pronounce. In the middle of the track, there’s an instrumental section that includes an extended quotation from Bach’s first French Suite in D minor, or so I’m led to believe. The song ends with that dramatic turntable-coming-to-a-halt effect that makes for a good transition into the BS&T. So, tread the road cross the abyss and take a look down at the madness from the Way Back Studios, here’s “Knife Edge.”
|Emerson, Lake, and Palmer||Knife Edge|
|Blood, Sweat, and Tears||Blues (Part 2) (part 1)|
|Cream||Sunshine of Your Love|
|Blood, Sweat, and Tears||Blues (Part 2) (part 2)|
|Cream||Spoonful (part 1)|
|Blood, Sweat, and Tears||Blues (Part 2) (part 3)|
|Cream||Spoonful (part 2)|
Like so many other things in the Deep Tracks, “Spoonful,” traces its ancestry back to the Mississippi Delta. It might go back as far as the legendary Charlie Patton who was doing a song called “A Spoonful Blues” in the early nineteen hundreds. Fifty or sixty years later, Willie Dixon, wrote “Spoonful” a song that Howlin’ Wolf recorded in 1962 on the record that’s come to be known as The Rocking Chair album. The actual name is just Howlin’ Wolf, but the cover art featuring a guitar leaning against a rocking chair led to the popular renaming, sort of like the White Album. Anyway, it’s been pointed out that a lot of Americans never heard the blues until it had been absorbed by young white musicians in the UK and then returned to the US as blues rock. And there’s no better example of this than Cream. We took their version of “Spoonful” from their debut album Fresh Cream in 1966, an album that also featured songs by blues legends Robert Johnson, Skip James, and Muddy Waters, all of whom came out of the Mississippi Delta.
Earlier in the set we heard Cream’s big hit, “Sunshine of Your Love” from Disraeli Gears. And the reason we played all that Cream in the first place is because Jim Fielder, the bass player for Blood, Sweat, and Tears kept interrupting their song, “Blues (Part 2)” with quotes of the Cream tracks. We broke “Blues (Part 2)” into three parts and mixed in the Cream for a high cholesterol set of blues and jazz rock. At the top of the set, we caught Emerson, Lake, and Palmer quoting, not from the blues masters, but from the classical. We heard “Knife Edge” most of which derives from the first movement of Leos Janacek’s “Sinfonietta.” The song also features an organ solo directly quoting the first French Suite in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach, a guy who probably would have loved it here 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, and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Right about now you may wanna take your protein pills, put your thinking cap on, and sharpen your number two pencil, because it’s time for another Way Back Studios pop quiz. Here’s today’s question: What do a Swiss scientist and an inventor from the Midwest have to do with some of the most famous songs in the Deep Tracks? The answer? Plenty. Lester William Polsfuss was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin in 1915. He went on to invent the solid body electric guitar, the instrument that made possible the sound of rock and roll. Lester was also a pretty fair guitar player who went by the name of Les Paul. As for the Swiss scientist, Albert Hoffman’s contribution to the Deep Tracks was a little something we call LSD, which he first synthesized in 1938 around the same time Les Paul was working on the multi-track recording process. Flash forward about thirty years and we find John Lennon taking acid and writing “I Am the Walrus” a song that was on Magical Mystery Tour, an album that wouldn’t have been possible without multi-track recording or LSD.
The same can be said about In Search of the Lost Chord, the Moody Blues album that gave us the track at the heart of today’s trippy batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. A lot of people think the song is called “Timothy Leary’s Dead,” when the actual title is “Legend of a Mind,” even though those words aren’t in the lyrics. Never one to leave well enough alone, I’ve broken the song into three parts and used the natural transitions between the parts to create some great segues, so get the wax out of your hearing holes and get ready for those. We’ll hear one going from a Ray Thomas flute solo into a trippy little flute part from Ian Anderson. The other two segues involve tracks from Magical Mystery Tour. One, “Your Mother Should Know” and then, at the end of the set, that song about the large amphibious sea mammal. But first, speaking of psychedelic, here’s the guy who gave us “Purple Haze.”
|Shawn Phillips||The Only Logical Conclusion|
|Moody Blues||Legend of a Mind (part 1)|
|Beatles||Your Mother Should Know|
|Moody Blues||Legend of a Mind (part 2)|
|Jethro Tull||With You There To Help Me|
|Moody Blues||Legend of a Mind (part 3)|
|Beatles||I am the Walrus|
The story goes that John Lennon took parts of three different songs he was working on and cobbled them into that one about the corporation t-shirts and stupid bloody Tuesday. Around the same time he heard that a teacher at his former school was having students analyze Beatles’ lyrics, an idea John seems to have considered ridiculous, so he took some nonsense lyrics from an old nursery rhyme, added them to the song and said, “Let ‘em work that one out.” Before the Walrus, we had our way with one from the Moody Blues, one of those bands whose records could make a deejay kinda jumpy, at least back in the day when we were still playing vinyl on turntables. That’s because the songs on their albums tended to segue into one another, sometimes pretty abruptly. If you weren’t on your toes you could slip from one track into the next after you’d started another record, and the whole thing was an aural disaster. Here, instead of getting all jumpy, we just took advantage of it, and did our own segues.
First, we waited for one of tempo changes in the Moody Blues track “Legend of a Mind” and instead of allowing it to happen, we made the transition to the Beatles, “Your Mother Should Know.” Later, during Ray Thomas’s flute solo in the middle of “Legend of a Mind” we took the easy way out and slid over to Ian Anderson’s fluty intro for “With You There to Help Me.” But my favorite segue was at the end of “Legend of a Mind” where it sounds like a downward buzzing airplane that mixes perfectly with the swooping string intro of “I Am the Walrus.” Now, in keeping with the psychedelic nature of the set, we opened with Jimi Hendrix playing a space alien by the name of Mr. Paul Caruso. And we followed that with an instrumental by Shawn Phillips called “The Only Logical Conclusion OR Get Up Off Your Ass and Dance.” Well, I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together in the Way Back Studios. 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.
If you’ve been listening to our little show long enough, you’ve probably heard me talk about a guy named Francis Grasso. He was club deejay in New York from the late sixties to the early eighties and he invented what we call the slip-cue, the method of holding a record still on a moving turntable with the help of a felt pad between the two, and letting it go at the right moment so it hits on the beat of the song that’s currently playing so there’s no jarring change in the tempo. Slip cuing is also useful when you’re trying to beat match from song to song. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features a perfect example of exactly that. I was listening to Harry Nilsson’s album, Son of Schmilsson and the track “Ambush” came on.
In the middle of the song, most of the band stops playing but the drummer keeps the beat while Nilsson talks over the top saying, “Now this time through, we want everybody to listen to the punch line.” And as the drummer keeps playing, all I can think of is the beat to Steely Dan’s “Chain Lightening.” So we do a nice little slip cue and, that’s exactly where we end up. That’s later in the set, but first, something completely different, something that reminded me of a conversation I had recently with my friend Jim Fusilli, who covers music for the Wall Street Journal. He’d just seen Lucinda Williams in concert and he asked me how I defined the type of music that’s referred to as Americana or Alt Country. I said it’s music played with the standard instruments and traditions of country, that country radio won’t play: everybody from Lyle Lovett and Buddy Miller to Guy Clark and Lucinda Williams. Well, long before those guys showed up, we were listening to Americana in the songs of Jim Croce, Bob Dylan, Willis Alan Ramsey, and Jesse Winchester. So, from the Way Back Studios, here’s some “Dangerous Fun.”
|Jesse Winchester||Dangerous Fun|
|Willis Alan Ramsey||Ballad of Spider John|
|Bob Dylan||Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door|
|Simon and Garfunkle||Kathy’s Song|
|Jim Croce||Walkin’ Back to Georgia|
|Harry Nilsson||Ambush (part 1)|
|Steely Dan||Chain Lightening|
|Harry Nilsson||Ambush (part 2)|
At a press conference in 1968 John Lennon and Paul McCartney were asked to name their favorite American artist and they both said the same thing: Harry Nilsson. The guy released around twenty albums covering a wild range of material. He did an album of Randy Newman covers. The soundtrack for an animated film that spawned the hit “Me and My Arrow.” And in 1972, he released Son of Schmillson which gave us the track we just heard, “Ambush.” Among the many great songs on that album is a lively sing-along with the residents of a nursing home on a ditty called “I’d Rather Be Dead Than Wet My Bed.” It’s an astounding album that’s worth tracking down. Anyway, in the middle of “Ambush” we did a nifty little beat match to segue right into Steely Dan’s “Chain Lightening.” Before the Nilsson, we heard J.J. Cale doing a song called “Cherry” from his album Trubadour, which also happens to be the name of a famous club in Hollywood out of which Harry Nilsson and John Lennon were thrown after they got drunk and heckled the Smothers Brothers.
At the top of the set, some early Americana, starting with “Dangerous Fun” from Jesse Winchester’s album, 3rd Down, 110 to Go. After that, we heard the “Ballad of Spider John” by Willis Alan Ramsey from the only album he’s ever released. It came out in 1972 on the Shelter label and is legendary among songwriters. Among the artists who have covered him over the years are Jimmy Buffet, Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, and Shawn Colvin. Rumor has it Mr. Ramsey is working on that long-awaited follow-up album. All I can say is, take your time. It’s only been thirty-seven years. Elsewhere in the set, Jim Croce, Simon & Garfunkle, and Bob Dylan, knock, knock, knockin’ on the door to the Way Back Studios which means our time is up. By the way, if you want to see the set lists or send us an email or find out what else we’re up to around here, you can drop by my website or the Facebook page or track me down on Amazon. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll have a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Phil Lesh, Jack Bruce, and David Crosby have at least two things in common. First, and most obviously, they were all in seminal rock bands from the Sixties and Seventies. The other thing they have in common is that they’ve all had liver transplants. And that means they’re also lucky because most of the people waiting for organs, don’t get them in time. Why? Because there’s a shortage of human organs donated for transplant. And that’s why the medical biotech industry is busy trying to perfect what’s called xenografting which is any transplant done between two different species. Mostly they’re trying to create transgenic pigs, even though non-human primates might be better suited for the task. It’s pretty complicated and mostly revolves around solving the problem of hyperacute rejection. And how would I know all this? Well because I wrote a book called The Organ Grinders that deals, in its own bizarre way, with this particular area of science. One reviewer likened it to something that might have resulted from a collaboration between Carl Hiaasen and Michael Crichton. So right about now, you’re probably saying, okay, and what’s that got to do with anything other than blatant self-promotion? And that’s a fair question. Here’s the answer. The plot of The Organ Grinders revolves around the possibility of transgenic baboons and that gave me the idea for today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl.
Unfortunately like human organs, there’s a severe shortage of songs with ‘baboon’ in the title. But I didn’t let that stop me. Instead, I turned to the baboon’s fellow primates because it turns out there’s a ton of monkey tunes in the Deep Tracks, none of which are by Phil Lesh, Jack Bruce, or David Crosby. Instead, we’ll hear from Mother’s Finest, The Stones, The Traveling Wilbury’s, Smokey Robinson, Steely Dan, and Mink DeVille. But we’ll start with the biggest primate of them all. He’s got arms like legs. He’s got hands on his feet. Got a nose like a donut. And a tendency to over eat. From the Way Back Studios, he’s still a Gorilla.
|The Rolling Stones||Monkey Man|
|Willie DeVille||Keep Your Monkey Away From My Door|
|Mother’s Finest||Mickey’s Monkey (part 1)|
|Smokey Robinson||Mickey’s Monkey (part 2)|
|Steely Dan||Monkey in Your Soul|
|Travelling Wilburys||Tweeter and the Monkey Man|
|The Monkees||Monkee’s Theme Song|
What’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys? How that brachiating batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl wrapping up with the “Theme Song” for all 58 episodes of The Monkees television series. That was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart whose songs were covered by a lot of artists, including Iggy Pop of all people. The Monkees weren’t exactly the Milli Vanilli of their day but they started off in the neighborhood inasmuch as they were a made-for-tv act and didn’t actually play the instruments they appeared to play on the show. The producers auditioned about 500 actors and musicians for the gig, among them, Steven Stills and Harry Nilsson. And, among the many studio musicians credited on that first Monkees album are Jim Gordon and Glen Campbell. Before the Monkees, we heard “Tweeter and the Monkey Man” from the Traveling Wilburys, Volume One.
In the middle of the set, following Steely Dan’s “Monkey In Your Soul,” we monkeyed around with “Mickey’s Monkey” taking the first part of the Holland-Dozier-Holland song as performed by Mother’s Finest and mixing that into the original version by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles from 1963. At the top, keeping with the primate theme, James Taylor’s “Gorilla,” followed by the Stones’s “Monkey Man” and a great tune from Mink DeVille, “Keep Your Monkey Away From My Door” from the album Where Angels Fear to Tread. By the way, if you joined us in the middle of the set and you’re wondering what all this monkey business was about, just go to Amazon dot com and search for The Organ Grinders. That’ll explain everything. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and we’re all out of time and monkeys. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you can say I’ll be a monkey’s uncle and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
As far as I know, no one has ever made a movie called Brown Foxy Sugar Lady, though I think someone ought to. The title brings to mind the image of Pam Greer in a dark alley, waving a switchblade at the man. But instead of a blaxploitation film with a big pimp budget, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features a mix as smooth as Billy D. Williams. We’ll take the Jimi Hendrix classic “Foxy Lady” and break her into two parts and mix those with a little “Brown Sugar,” also done in two parts. And when I say “Brown Sugar” I don’t mean the one by the Glimmer Twins. I’m talking about the one by that little ole band from Texas, Z.Z Top. Now, as much as I’d like to take credit for this one, I can’t. Here, I’m standing on the broad shoulders of our frequent Way Back Studios pal and un-indicted co-conspirator, D. Victor Hawkins who created the set many years ago at WZZQ-FM, and he named it Brown Foxy Sugar Lady.
Both songs use guitar feedback in similar ways which allows us to mix back and forth between the tracks a couple of times for your amusement and listening pleasure. But the mix only adds up to about eight minutes so I had to surround it with some other stuff. To my surprise, I discovered that the end of “Foxy Lady” dovetails nicely with the little slide part at the start of Little Feat’s “Skin it Back.” So that’s at the far end. At the front, I found a cover of an Elmore James song called “Bleeding Heart” that mixes neatly with the first part of “Brown Sugar” and coincidentally, the cover is by none other than Jimi Hendrix, from his Blues collection. Given that, it should come as no surprise that we’ll hear one from the Allman Brothers, right after Bonnie Raitt does another cover. We’ll hear her take on Steven Stills’ “Bluebird” right after a song that Eric Clapton covered on his album, Slowhand, one called “May You Never.” But instead of that cover, here’s the original by the late, great, John Martyn.
|John Martyn||May You Never|
|Allman Brothers||Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’|
|Jimi Hendrix||Bleeding Heart|
|Z.Z. Top||Brown Sugar (part 1)|
|Jimi Hendrix||Foxy Lady (part 1)|
|Z.Z. Top||Brown Sugar (part 2)|
|Jimi Hendrix||Foxy Lady (part 2)|
|Little Feat||Skin It Back|
That’s those little bitty feat doing “Skin it Back.” Before that, the hand-mixing part of the set, conceived by our friend D. Victor Hawkins using all that feedback from Z.Z. Top’s “Brown Sugar” and from Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” to create what he called the Brown Foxy Sugar Lady mix. Little Feat followed that because of the sliding guitar note that mixed so nicely out of the Hendrix. Leading into all that was the Band of Gypsys, Jimi with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles working an Elmore James blues called “Bleeding Heart.” And keeping with the blues rock form, we heard the Allman Brothers from Idlewild South. “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’.”
Before that, Bonnie Raitt from one of those records that always makes me wish I’d been a fly on the wall during the sessions. For me there’s something about the spare production of certain artists’ early records that gets lost later in their careers, to their detriment. And Bonnie backs me up on this in the liner notes to her first album from which we heard her cover of “Bluebird.” She said they recorded live on four tracks because they wanted a spontaneous, natural feeling in the music, a feeling often sacrificed when musicians know they can overdub their part on a separate track until the life’s sucked out of it. At the very top of the set, the late, great John Martyn a guy who released thirty some-odd albums yet managed to be largely ignored by radio programmers. We heard “May You Never,” a song Eric Clapton covered on his Slowhand album. Eric was quoted somewhere as saying John Martyn was so far ahead of everything it’s almost inconceivable.
Sort of like the passage of time, that of which we are out. From the Way Back Studios on the dusty fringes of Los Angeles, I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for tuning in. I hope you’ll join us again next time for another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Every now and then these sets come together with very little effort and they’ll follow the same thread from beginning to end. Other times there’s a little more work involved and we end up cobbling together two or more smaller sets with a common theme. This is one of those. The first part comes from June of 1965 when The Byrds released their first album and their first single, both of which were called “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Those opening notes and the sound of Roger McGuinn’s 12 string Rickenbacker were irresistible and like nothing we’d heard before. Or had we?
Well, that depends on when you bought another album that was released in June of 1965 featuring a guitar sound that was virtually identical to what McGuinn achieved on Tambourine Man. And it wasn’t just the sound of the guitar either, but the actual sequence of the notes as well. The song’s title was “What You’re Doing” and the US version of the album was called Beatles VI. And these are the songs that got us started on today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. Fortunately for what we do, “What You’re Doing” has a false ending that allows us to slip neatly into the Byrds and back again before moving to the second part of the set.
Since we started by mixing songs with similar guitar riffs, I figured we’d keep going down that path, and in no time at all, I had five more tracks to work with. And, as luck would have it, three of those had false endings. A regular embarrassment of riches that left us with nine songs done in thirteen parts when all was said and done. Five of the tracks involve George Harrison and / or Eric Clapton. Two feature the Beatle-esque sounds of Badfinger, with the crunchy guitar riffs of Joey Molland. And with all those false endings, the set becomes an eccentric exercise in waiting for the other shoe to drop. So, playing songs you know in ways you’ve never heard before, from the Way Back Studios, here’s the Fab Four.
|Beatles||What You’re Doing (part 1)|
|Byrds||Mr. Tambourine Man|
|Beatles||What You’re Doing (part 2)|
|Cream||Badge (part 1)|
|Ringo Starr||It Don’t Come Easy|
|Cream||Badge (part 2)|
|George Harrison||What is Life (part 1)|
|Badfinger||No Matter What (part 1)|
|Badfinger||No Matter What (part 2)|
|The Byrds||All I Really Want to Do|
|George Harrison||What is Life (part 2)|
The last twenty-five minutes or so is a virtual catalogue of classic rock guitar riffs. Ending with one from an album featuring the guitars of George Harrison, Dave Mason, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Pete Ham and Joey Molland. I just wish Roger McGuinn had played on it too for reasons that will be clear in a minute. But for now, let’s just leave the Byrds out of this and focus on Badfinger, the Beatles, and George Harrison. Their songs at the end of the set used to be in one of their own. And after putting it together, it occurred to me the set had a seriously morbid subtext. Check this out: “All Things Must Pass” was produced by future convicted murderer Phil Spector. In 1999 Harrison was nearly murdered by a knife-wielding lunatic before dying prematurely of cancer two years later. At the false ending of what, in this context, is the ironically titled, “What is Life?” we mixed over to a song by Badfinger, a group whose primary creative forces, Pete Ham and Tom Evans, both committed suicide. In the middle of Badfinger’s “No Matter What” we heard the Beatles screaming for ‘Help,’ a song written primarily by John Lennon who was murdered by a crazed fan. How’s that for creepy?
The common thread in the set was George Harrison. Obviously he played on the two Beatles tracks and his solo album, but George also co-wrote “Badge” with Eric Clapton which we heard in the middle of the set and he played on and produced Ringo’s “It Don’t Come Easy”; he also played guitar on and started off as the producer of Badfinger’s “Straight Up” album before Todd Rundgren took over. And, as mentioned at the top, Badfinger also played on All Things Must Pass. The only connection I found to The Byrds was from an interview where Roger McGuinn talked about visiting George once and playing the Rickenbacker George had played on “A Hard Day’s Night.” Well, I could go on for days, but I’m out of time. If you want to find out more, drop by the website or Amazon or Facebook and poke around till you find me. I’m Bill Fitzhugh in the Way Back Studios and I hope you’ll join us next time for another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl right here in the Deep Tracks.
Whenever someone asks what I do here in the Deep Tracks I say my job is like being the curator at a museum where we have a lot more art than we have wall space to display it. And it’s my job to select six or eight pieces at a time and arrange them in just the right way to create an exhibit. And since museums typically name their exhibitions, we’ll call this batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl: “Goin’ Wild on Rock and Roll.” It started with this great collection called Chess Records Original Rhythm and Blues Hits. This is a French reissue package with all sorts of great artists including Etta James, Koko Taylor, and a guy named Bobby Deab doing a song listed as “Going Wild on R and R” with a songwriting credit that says, “Unknow” not ‘unknown.’ Well it turns out the folks at Mode Records not only can’t proof read very well, their research also leaves something to be desired.
Turns out the song is actually called “Just Go Wild on Rock and Roll” credited to a writer named Bullock and performed by a guy named Bobby Dean, not Deab. Well, as they say, mon Dieu. Anyway, the song rocks and it sets the tone and the pace for the rest of the set, even though it’s near the end, just before a jump blues beauty from the great Finis Tasby. Now, elsewhere in that same collection is the original version of “Rocket 88” which I almost played but instead, we’re gonna hear a version by guitarist extraordinare Arlen Roth. That’ll pop up during the false ending of Huey Lewis and the News “Workin’ For a Livin’” which is followed by one of the many great tracks from 2008’s Donna Jean and the Tricksters. We’ll also hear “Walkin’ the Road” from Peter Green. And Stevie Ray Vaughn weighs in with his furious little instrumental “Scuttle Buttin’.” But the set gets started with another rockin’ instrumental. Now, if you’re driving, you might want to cinch up that seat belt a little and keep an eye on the speedometer. From the Way Back Studios, here’s “Rough Mix” from Ronnie Lane and Pete Townshend.
|Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane||Rough Mix|
|Huey Lewis and the News||Workin’ For a Livin’ (part 1)|
|Arlen Roth||Rocket 88|
|Huey Lewis and the News||Workin’ For a Livin’ (part 2)|
|Donna Jean and the Tricksters||No Better Way|
|Peter Green||Walkin’ the Road|
|Stevie Ray Vaughn||Scuttle Buttin’|
|Finis Tasby||Jump Children|
That’s Finis Tasby doing the title track to his disc Jump Children. And if you like that one, I can recommend the whole disc, which I admit I was playing off CD because it was never released on vinyl. I came across the disc one night when I was staying at a place just outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi, on the old Hopson Plantation. The Shack Up Inn is a B&B which for them means Bed & Beer since they don’t get up early enough to cook you breakfast. I’ve got some pictures of the place on my website and they’ve got their own site as well. If you’re ever in that part of the Delta, I highly recommend you stay there. And be sure to tell ‘em I sent you. Now, speaking of Clarksdale, Mississippi, the original version of “Rocket 88” is credited to Clarksdale native Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, but the song was actually worked out by Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm at the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale long before the Shack Up Inn opened for business. Well, earlier in the set we heard Arlen Roth’s version of “Rockett 88” with Janey Schram on lead vocals. That’s from a great album called Guitarist.
Also in that set, we went all the way back to 1957 for Bobby Dean’s “Just Go Wild For Rock and Roll.” We also heard a little blues rocker from ex-Fleetwood Mac guitarist, Peter Green, a song called “Walkin’ the Road.” There were two instrumentals in the set, one from Stevie Ray Vaughn’s album, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, a song called “Scuttle Buttin’.” And at the top, we heard the instrumental “Rough Mix” the title track from the collaboration between Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane. Other than the Finis Tasby, the only other track we played from CD, came from the 2008 release, Donna Jean and the Tricksters doing “No Better Way.” And back to vinyl, we heard one from Huey Lewis and the News. We’re takin’ what they’re givin’ ‘cause we’re “Workin’ For a Livin’” 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, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Have you ever considered the term “acoustic guitar”? Think about it. The term is what’s known as a retronym, that’s a word or term somebody had to coin after a technological development rendered the original term inadequate. Another good example of a retronym is “terrestrial radio.” Used to be just “radio.” But once we started delivering the content through satellites, we needed a new term. And that term is satellite radio, but you can call us Sirius-XM. In any event, the same was true for the guitar. Up until about 1930 if you said guitar, there was only one instrument you could be talking about. And it was acoustic. Then somebody came along and stuck a tungsten pickup on the thing and after that, you had to specify if the guitar you were talking about was electric or acoustic. And the reason I bring this up is that today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is all about the acoustic guitar. Why? Because I love the way they sound. Always have. I don’t care if you pick it or strum it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a six string or a twelve, as long as it’s acoustic. You can sing along or play an instrumental. Either way is fine with me. And today’s set has some of both.
The set got its start back in 1975 when a guy named Brian Protheroe released an album called Pick Up. For me, the stand out track was one called “Enjoy It.” It’s propelled by a catchy upbeat acoustic guitar riff. A year later, Joni Mitchell released Hijira, an album featuring both Joni and Larry Carlton on acoustic guitars. The moment I heard “Coyote” I knew I had a segue. It ends the same way “Enjoy It” begins. But before we get there we’ll hear the acoustic guitars of Jose Feliciano, Richard Torrance, Dan Fogelberg playing with Joe Walsh, and Alex Chilton and Chris Bell of Big Star. But we’ll start with a song written and performed by a guy who used to write comedy for the Smothers Brothers. Here is Mason Williams.
|Mason Williams||Classical Gas|
|Jose Feliciano||I’m Leavin’ (part 1)|
|Richard Torrance and Eureka||The Jam|
|Dan Fogelberg||Part of the Plan|
|Big Star||Watch the Sunrise|
|Jose Feliciano||I’m Leavin’ (part 2)|
|Brian Protheroe||Enjoy It|
That’s a guy named Brian Protheroe who put out a few albums on Chrysalis in the mid 1970s before switching to television where he’s had a successful acting career. We segued into Protheroe’s song “Enjoy It” coming out of Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote” where she had help on guitar from Larry Carlton. Before that we heard the second part of Jose Feliciano’s “I’m Leavin’” from his 1973 album Compartments. That was produced by the legendary Steve Cropper who made a name for himself starting out at Stax Records in Memphis which happens to be where the group Big Star was formed in 1971. Big Star was most famous for not becoming as famous as everybody thought they would. Their first two albums were hailed as masterpieces but owing to botched distribution and promotion by Stax Records, they never reached a national audience. The resulting frustration led to infighting and the clichéd demise of the band. But not before they produced a third record, featuring the guitar work of the aforementioned Steve Cropper.
In the middle of the set we heard Big Star’s “Watch The Sunrise” from their first album, #1 Record. Elsewhere in the set, we heard Joe Walsh producing and playing on Dan Fogelberg’s “Part of the Plan.” Before that we heard Richard Torrance and Eureka doing “The Jam.” Leading into that, was the first part of Jose Feliciano’s “I’m Leavin’.” And we started the set with one of my favorite acoustic guitar songs of all time: Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas” a tune that picked up three Grammys in 1969. And now? We’re all out of time. By the way, if you’d like to see the set lists for the shows or what goes on behind the scenes, drop by the old website or the Facebook page and poke around, maybe send me a note. I’d love to hear from you. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Throughout the 1960’s the three bands with the most Top 40 hits in the U.K were The Shadows, The Beatles, and The Hollies. Other bands had more number one hits, but The Hollies were a force to be reckoned with. They were a great pop band whose songs centered around their bright vocal harmonies. Songs like “Bus Stop” and “Carrie-Anne.” While The Hollies were cranking out that host of radio-friendly singles, another band from the UK was busy working the other side of the street. Fleetwood Mac started as a serious blues rock outfit more focused on albums than singles. In fact their first album didn’t have any singles and it still reached #4 in England. You’d be hard pressed to find two bands that sounded less alike, there being very little common ground between, say, “Rattlesnake Shake,” on the one hand, and “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” on the other. But then a funny thing happened. Fleetwood Mac released Kiln House featuring a song called “Tell Me All the Things You Do.” And not long after that, The Hollies released the single “Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress.” And those are the two tracks that get us started on today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl.
“Long Cool Woman” actually starts with two different riffs. The opening bars sound a little bit like Roger McGuinn but it’s the riff after that that connects it sonically to “Tell Me All the Things You Do.” And speaking of the blues, we’ll hear a great little mix of Grand Funk Railroad’s “I Don’t Have to Sing the Blues” and the Beatles track, “Rain.” We’ll break both songs into two parts and do the segue using the big drum beats the songs have in common. That’s followed by another guitar mix that goes to show how similar George Harrison and Roger McGuinn could sound, something we’ve explored before. Elsewhere in the set, one each from Steven Stills and Janis Joplin. So, take your harpoon out of your dirty red bandana and tell me all the things you do…
|The Hollies||Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress|
|Fleetwood Mac||Tell Me All the Things You Do|
|Grand Funk Railroad||I Don’t Have to Sing the Blues (part 1)|
|Beatles||Rain (part 1)|
|Grand Funk Railroad||I Don’t Have to Sing the Blues (part 2)|
|Beatles||Rain (part 2)|
|The Byrds||Chimes of Freedom|
|Janis Joplin||Me and Bobby McGee|
He’s a Rhodes scholar and Phi Beta Kappa to boot. And I read somewhere that he knows how to fly helicopters. Kris Kristofferson has written a lot of songs in his day, but that’s still my favorite and my favorite version, courtesy of the girl from Port Arthur, Texas. Before that the Byrds covering Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom” from the Mr. Tambourine Man album. In the middle of the set we mashed the Beatles up with Grand Funk Railroad of all people. We took “Rain” which was the B-side to “Paperback Writer” and “I Don’t Have to Sing the Blues” from Grand Funk’s third album, Closer to Home. We broke ‘em both in half and had our way with them for your listening pleasure. Before all that we heard Stephen Stills playing with his wah-wah on “Maryanne.”
And at the top, The Hollies with the least Hollies-like song they ever recorded. In fact most reviews talk about how much it sounded like something from Creedence Clearwater Revival. “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” is like a noir short story with a rock soundtrack. There’s a guy working undercover for the FBI, a femme fatale who’s five foot nine and has a pair of 45s that made him open his eyes and kept him from turning her over to the D.A. Tony Hicks’ guitar part in “Long Cool Woman” has always reminded me of Danny Kirwin’s riff on Fleetwood Mac’s “Tell Me All the Things You Do” which explains why played ‘em back-to-back.
Now if ever there was a group that had more crazy people run through it than Fleetwood Mac, I’d like to know who it was. After reading the bios on Peter Green, Danny Kirwin, and Jeremy Spencer, I was reminded of a line Jack Nicholson’s character says in the movie “As Good As It Gets.” ‘If you’re selling crazy, you’ve come to the wrong place, we’re all full up here’ in the Way Back Studios. 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 can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.