In the summer of 1975, Dave Mason was touring the US ahead of the release of Split Coconut while Poco was on the road promoting their new album Head Over Heels. On July 22, 1975, Poco opened a show for Dave Mason at the North Hall Auditorium in Memphis, Tennessee. And I have in my possession a ticket to that very concert. It was assigned seating and I had Seat 319 in Row B in the second tier of the auditorium. Price of the ticket? Eight bucks. At the time, I was living about three hours south of Memphis, in Jackson, Mississippi. So me and a couple of friends bought our tickets and hit the road. Now you may have noticed I said I was in possession of a ticket, not a ticket stub. The reason it’s not a stub has to do with some unfortunate business involving the Mississippi State Highway Patrol and the six hours it took to straighten out the whole mess from the inside of the jail there in Hernando, Mississippi. Well, as you might have guessed, my friends and I didn’t make it to the show that night. And I dare say I’m not the only one with a story about that show you never made it to. And if you’d like to share yours with the rest of us, send me an email with the gory details. I’m sure we’d all love to know exactly what happened.
Given that little confession, it should come as no surprise that today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is a concert mix. Imagine a big rotating stage, a veritable lazy Susan of your favorite acts. Among them, two pairs of former lovers: we’ll hear James Taylor with Carly Simon followed by Bob Dylan with Joan Baez. We’ll also hear from Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, CSN&Y, Joe Cocker, and Jonathan Edwards. But we’re gonna start with Urubamba, also known as Los Incas, the group that put the Peruvian folk flavor into Simon and Garfunkle’s “El Condor Pasa.” But here, they’re giving that same flavor to a different song. From Live Rhymin’, here’s Paul Simon and “The Boxer.”
|Paul Simon||The Boxer|
|Jonathan Edwards||That’s What Our Life Is|
|Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young||Find the Cost of Freedom|
|James Taylor and Carly Simon||The Times They Are a Changing|
|Bob Dylan and Joan Baez||Mama You Been on My Mind|
|Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen||Oh Mama Mama|
|The Band||Rag Mama Rag|
|Joe Cocker||Sticks and Stones|
Not just one of the top ten live albums from the 1970’s, Mad Dogs and Englishmen holds up as one of the best live rock albums ever. Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, the Master of Space and Time, the Gentle Giant, Lunar Teacake Snakeman, and all the others right there with a rollicking version of “Sticks and Stones.” Before that we had a mama thing going on: We heard The Band’s classic “Rag Mama Rag” from Rock of Ages. Before that, “Oh Mama Mama,” Live From Deep in the Heart of Texas, that was Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. And we heard Bob Dylan with his old flame Joan Baez doing “Mama You Been On My Mind.” That was recorded during the Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1975, which was the first time Bob and Joan had performed together since their romantic break up many years earlier.
The other couple in that set was James Taylor and Carly Simon, from the No Nukes Concerts in 1979, with further vocal harmony provided by Graham Nash, one of my favorite versions of “The Times They Are a Changing.” Elsewhere we had Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young trying to “Find The Cost of Freedom” from Four Way Street. Before that, Jonathan Edwards recorded at the Performance Center in Cambridge, Mass backed up by his friends from the group Orphan. Song called “That’s What Our Life is,” from the 1974 album Lucky Day. And we started that concert set with Paul Simon backed up by his pals Los Incas, doing a Peruvian folk flavored version of “The Boxer.” Well, that’s it. Show’s over. They’re turning on the lights and running us out of the Way Back Studios. 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 can join us. Right here in the Deep Tracks.
Somewhere back in the mid to the late 1970s I committed what turned out to be both a state and a federal crime when I illegally recorded a phone conversation between the general manager of a radio station where I worked and some other guy. I knew at the time the tape could be used for blackmail, but I’m not really the blackmailing type, so I just used it for entertainment purposes, playing it for friends and family. Unfortunately it turns out that’s also a crime, which means I can’t play any of it here, but if you ever make it to the Way Back Studios… Anyway, thirty some odd years later it dawned on me that I could use the tape for fictional blackmail. And that’s what led me to write the novel Radio Activity, a story about a guy who’s hired to program a classic rock radio station and is given total creative freedom, which is further proof that I write fiction. The plot revolves around the investigation into a blackmail scheme that led to a murder. And while that’s going on, the program director takes the time to muse on the true meaning and definition of classic rock. In the end, he decides it’s very simple: with a few exceptions, it’s the music made by the generation of musicians born in the 1940s. Lennon, McCartney, Page, Plant, Hendrix, those guys.
But, like I said, I write fiction. In reality, terrestrial radio plays a list of 200 songs and that’s it. As far as I know, they never put new music by old artists into regular rotation. So even when legendary artists release great new records, you might never hear them. That, of course, explains why we’re listening to Deep Tracks. Amazing satellite radio beaming you today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl which is all digital because all six tracks were released in the past ten years and only on CD. There’s one curveball in the set, so be listening for that. But first, from the Streets of New York, here is Willie Nile.
|Willie Nile||The Day I Saw Bo Diddley in Washington Square|
|Ian Hunter||Soul of America|
|Graham Parker||I Discovered America|
|Van Morrison||Precious Time|
|Katy Melua||Crawling Up a Hill|
|Bob Dylan||Things Have Changed|
From the soundtrack to the film “Wonder Boys” that’s Bob Dylan with “Things Have Changed.” And that was sort of the theme for the set. You know, back in the day, we could count on rock radio to play the latest stuff by our favorite artists but since then, things have changed. Now, if you want to hear what legendary rockers have been up to lately, well, it’s as easy as tuning into the Deep Tracks. We just heard six songs recorded in the past few years by some of our favorite artists of the past few decades. Before the Dylan, the curveball I promised. “Crawling Up a Hill” was a song by John Mayall that was recorded in 1966 during sessions for The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. But it wasn’t released until 2006 on the album’s deluxe 40th anniversary edition. But instead of the original, we heard Katy Melua’s cover version from her album Call Off The Search. That came out in 2003 when she was just nineteen; the same year John Mayall turned 70.
Also in the set, Van the Man from his 1999 release, Back on Top, we heard “Precious Time.” Before the Irishman, a couple of Brits helping us to see ourselves through their eyes: Ian Hunter’s “Soul of America” from his brilliant Shrunken Heads disc and Graham Parker’s “I Discovered America” from Don’t Tell Columbus. And we started the set with the great Willie Nile. We heard one from Streets of New York, hands down, my favorite album from 2006. Well, it’s like John Mayall wrote, ‘Minute after minute, second after second, hour after hour goes by’ and the next thing you know, we’re all out of time. By the way, if you’ve got a comment or suggestion, drop by my website or track me down on Facebook and send me an email. I’d love to hear from you. 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.
They say the heart is a lonely hunter. They say the heart has reasons that reason cannot understand. They say, wherever you go, go with all your heart. Ah, the metaphorical heart, seat of emotion and love and longing and the subject of many a song. But no one ever writes songs about the literal heart. That muscular little organ that plays its song at seventy-two beats per minute and makes all things possible. Maybe it’s just too hard to rhyme atrioventriuclar, I don’t know, I’ve never tried. So instead of writing a song about the human heart, I wrote a book instead. It’s called ‘Heart Seizure.’ It’s a political satire about what happens when two people need the same heart for a transplant. One of them is a sweet, little old lady who has made it to the top of the transplant list. The other is the president.
Politics being what it is, the president’s people steal the heart. But the sweet little old lady’s son steals it right back, kidnaps a beautiful heart surgeon, and takes off for points unknown. I mean you’ve got to ask yourself, what would you do if it was your mom? Well, the FBI gives chase, trying to retrieve the heart. But the president’s political opponent sends a two-man team from the CIA to make sure whoever stole the heart gets away with it, thus improving her chance of moving into the White House. Obviously, there’s plenty of keen political insight but there’s also a nervous banker, a gay cop, a stoned-out skateboard champion, and a Morman basketball team, all of which probably has you asking yourself, I wonder if he’s heard from the Pulitzer Prize people yet. I tell you what, I’m going to go wait for their call. Meanwhile, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl will get straight to the heart of the matter. Eight cardiac related tracks, including one called “Heart of the Matter,” from Jon Anderson. We’ll also hear from Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker, Buddy Miles, the Beatles, Steve Miller, and the Yardbirds. So, from the Way Back Studios, and the bottom of my heart, here’s Tom Petty.
|Tom Petty||A Mind With a Heart of His Own (part 1)|
|Bruce Springsteen||Two Hearts|
|Joe Cocker||Unchain My Heart|
|Buddy Miles||Heart’s Delight|
|Jon Anderson||Heart of the Matter|
|The Beatles||Devil in Her Heart|
|The Steve Miller Band||Can’t You Hear Your Daddy’s Heartbeat?|
|The Yardbirds||Heart Full of Soul|
|Tom Petty||A Mind With a Heart of His Own (part 2)|
Back in 1960, Connie Frances had a #1 hit with “My Heart Has a Mind of its Own.” Sadly, I don’t have a copy of that, so instead I went with Tom Petty’s variation on that theme, “A Mind With a Heart of its Own.” And, since it’s got a false ending, I used it to bookend that heartfelt set. Now, if you joined us somewhere in the middle of all that you might’ve found yourself wondering what’s with the cardio-vascular theme? Well, it’s a nod to a little book called ‘Heart Seizure,’ a novel I highly recommend for anyone with a pulmonary artery. Now, as you might imagine there’s no shortage of songs with ‘heart’ in the title so the eight tracks here hardly scratch the surface. For example, five years after Connie Frances had her heart hit, The Yardbirds had a hit of their own with “Heart Full of Soul” which was written by Graham Gouldman who went on to have a nice career with 10CC whose song, “Bridge to Your Heart” is just one that we didn’t have time for.
Before the Yardbirds, The Steve Miller Band from Brave New World, “Can’t You Hear Your Daddy’s Heartbeat.” I think it’s slightly irregular, probably just needs a pacemaker. At the top of the set, after the first part of “A Mind With a Heart of its Own” we went down to The River for Springsteen’s “Two Hearts” followed by Joe Cocker’s “Unchain My Heart” a song Ray Charles had a hit with. That was followed by the late, great Buddy Miles doing “Heart’s Delight,” and Jon Anderson doing “Heart of the Matter” from his second solo album, Song of Seven. After that it was The Beatles with George Harrison on lead vocals, covering a song that was originally titled “Devil in His Heart.” Well it’s like the man said, Once a woman has given you her heart, you can never get rid of the rest of her… but you can drop her off at the Way Back Studios and we’ll make sure she gets home. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with a heartless batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl right here in the Deep Tracks.
As you know, you can’t get to rock ‘n’ roll without passing through the blues first. Just ask Eric Clapton and Keith Richards about their role models. All those guys up in Chicago who plugged in and started to wail, guys like Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf, and Willie Dixon. All those guys who came out of the Mississippi Delta. Well, just before all that happened, there was this legendary recording session that took place at a radio station outside the small Delta town of Leland, Mississippi. The story goes that one night, three local bluesmen, Blind Buddy Cotton, Crippled Willie Jefferson, and Crazy Earl Tate made a recording under mysterious circumstances, and possibly at gunpoint. Depending on who’s telling the story, a guy named Pigfoot Morgan might have played with them that night, but no one seems to know for sure. But one thing we do know is that a man by the name of Hamp Doogan got killed that night, just like in the Bob Dylan song, right out there on Highway 61. Another thing we know for sure is that Pigfoot Morgan got hauled off to Parchman Farm for the murder, though his guilt remains in doubt.
Anyway, the tapes from the radio station disappeared and for the last sixty years, blues scholars have been looking for them. They’re known as the Blind, Crippled, and Crazy sessions, supposed to be some of the best blues ever recorded. A private detective I know, guy named Rick Shannon, got hired to find the guy who produced the sessions, a man by the name of R. Tucker Woolfolk. But the day after Rick found him, Woolfolk was murdered. And a week later, so was the engineer from that session, an old guy name of Lamar Suggs. Neither murder has been solved. It’s a mystery you might call Highway 61 Resurfaced. Well, I wish I was here to play those tapes but they’re still out there, waiting to be found. Meanwhile, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl will have to do. To quote Van Morrison, “Hearing the blues changed my life.” So, from the Way Back Studios, let’s hear some.
|Paul Butterfield||Shake Your Money Maker|
|Eric Clapton||I’m Tore Down|
|Buddy Guy and Junior Wells||Dirty Mother For Ya|
|John Lee Hooker||Dimples|
|Rolling Stones||2120 South Michigan Avenue|
|Albert King||Crosscut Saw|
|Howlin’ Wolf||Who’s Been Talking?|
A man whose voice has been compared to the sound of heavy machinery operating on a gravel road, that was Chester Arthur Burnett, who showed good show business instincts when he decided that Howlin’ Wolf would be a better stage name. That was from the infamous London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions, which includes Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Steve Winwood, and others. The album wasn’t without its faults, but if you skip over a few rough spots, you’ll find gems like the one we just heard, “Who’s Been Talking?” That was one of three Eric Clapton-related projects in that set. In the middle of all that we heard “Dirty Mother for Ya” from the album Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Play the Blues, a record Clapton co-produced and played on. The album came about in 1970 when Buddy Guy and Junior Wells were opening for the Rolling Stones on a tour. During a three night stand in Paris, Eric dropped by, ran into Ahmet Ertegun, and told Ahmet he should sign the two. Ahmet said he would if Eric agreed to produce the first record, and the deal was struck.
Elsewhere in the set, the first all blues album Clapton released, From The Cradle, we heard “I’m Tore Down.” Speaking of the Stones, that instrumental we heard was called “2120 South Michigan Avenue” which was the address for Chess Records in Chicago where the track was recorded. Before the Stones, John Lee Hooker doing “Dimples” which we played off the original VeeJay vinyl. And after the Stones, the great Albert King did “Crosscut Saw.” We also heard B.B. King of the Blues doing “Caledonia,” and at the top, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band covered the Elmore James classic “Shake Your Money Maker” in the Way Back Studios. We’d appreciate it. By the way, if you want to see the set lists for any of the shows, drop by my website and poke around till you find what you’re looking for. And if you don’t find it, send me an email and I’ll find it for you. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, and.I’ll be back before you know it with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl right here in the Deep Tracks.
Back around 1978, after working in radio for several years, I decided to sell everything I owned and move to the Virgin Islands. Figured with my years of experience behind the mic at a 100,000 watt FM rock station in a decent sized market, I’d have no problem landing a gig in the Lesser Antilles. The idea was to get an afternoon shift, maybe evenings, buy a small boat, and live some variation of Jimmy Buffett’s life. So I moved into a small place on St. John, a few miles up East End Road, above Cruz Bay. And I sent out my tapes and resumes to all the stations, then I sat back and waited for the job offers to pour in. Well, before you knew it, I was working on a squalid freight charter boat running between St. Thomas and St. John, ferrying the gas truck back and forth between Cruz Bay and Red Hook. I never did get on the radio down there, but I listened to it a lot and heard some great stuff. Local steel bands, reggae, some calypso, a little dancehall, the odd bit of rocksteady, you name it, they played it. And it’s these various island styles that inspired today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl.
But instead of the usual suspects, Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff, and all those guys, we’re going to hear how they influenced the likes of Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, and Manassas. We’ll hear one from Loudon Wainwright III that sounds like one from Paul Simon that we’ll also hear. Elsewhere in the set, Bonnie Raitt covering Calypso Rose, the Tabagonian Calypsonian on “Wah She Go Do.” From the album Full Sail, we’ve got Loggins and Mesinna who took the rhythms of the West Indies and applied them to Hawaii. But we’ll start with a song from the Bahamas, an old sea chanty, rearranged by Brian Wilson and performed by the Beach Boys. From the Way Back Studios, here’s “Sloop John B.”
|Beach Boys||Sloop John B.|
|Loggins and Messina||Lahaina|
|Stephen Stills||Song of Love|
|Bonnie Raitt||Wah She Go Do?|
|Elton John||Jamaica Jerk Off|
|Loudon Wainwright III||Lowly Tourist|
|Paul Simon||Mother and Child Reunion|
Well there’s an eight-song example of how Afro-Caribbean folk music styles like calypso and reggae influenced some of our favorite pop and rock artists. We ended up with Paul Simon, famous for wondering into foreign musical fields and folding their influences into his compositions. Back in the eighties and nineties, he hooked up with South African and Brazilian artists for his albums Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints, but back in ‘72 he called on reggae to help craft one of his biggest hits. Before that we heard Loudon Wainwright III’s “Lowly Tourist” which almost sounds like it’s based on “Mother and Child Reunion.” That’s from Loudon’s 1975 album Unrequited. At the top of the set, the dazzling harmonies of the Beach Boys on an old sea chanty that originated in the Bahamas. We heard “Sloop John B” from Pet Sounds. Among those who know about these things, it’s generally agreed that Brian Wilson didn’t intend the song to be on Pet Sounds but that’s where it ended up.
After that, we sailed out to the Pacific with Loggins and Messina for “Lahaina.” We followed that with Stephen Stills and Manassas doing “Song of Love” which doesn’t have the same island groove as the other tracks, but managed to fit into the set and give us the dandy mixes us coming out of the Loggins and Messina, and going into Bonnie Raitt’s “Wah She Go Do.” Then we heard the only Fleetwood Mac song I can think of with a reggae feel, from Mystery To Me, we heard “Forever” leading into “Jamaica Jerk Off” from Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Well, I don’t want to give you false hope on this strange and mournful day, so I’ll just come right out and say it: we’re all out of time. To find out more about the show, including the set lists, and what goes on behind the scenes, drop by Facebook or my website and take a look around. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl from the Way Back Studios and I hope you can join us, right here, in the Deep Tracks.
I’m sure you’ve heard the old expression, there’s more than one way to skin a cat? Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl just goes to prove that point. I was out here in the Way Back Studios one day working on a set with some very tasty segues involving Blood, Sweat, & Tears, Fleetwood Mac, and two each from Santana and Stephen Stills. I had the pieces to the puzzle and all I needed was to figure out how they all fit together, and as soon as I did, a piece of my audio gear crapped out. Had to put it in the shop for a two week stay. When I got it back, I rushed out here to do the set without taking the time to see if I remembered how to put it together, which, as it turns out, I didn’t. But that didn’t matter because like the old expression about the cat, it turns out there’s more than one way to do some of these segues.
The set features two tracks from Stephen Stills’ second solo album: “Open Secret” and “Bluebird Revisited.” Both of them start out one way but end in a completely different style and tempo which lets you segue into songs you’d never guess were coming. “Open Secret” starts like a big rock and roll track, but it ends in a smooth Latin percussion groove which allows a nice segue into Santana’s “Singing Winds, Crying Beasts.” And “Bluebird Revisited” starts as a calm acoustic piece, with Stills singing softly over a quiet organ, but it ends up with these huge horn charts that just beg for some Blood Sweat and Tears, which of course we’re happy to supply. Now, back to the Santana for a moment. “Singing Winds, Crying Beasts” segues into “Black Magic Woman” a song written by Peter Green and originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac. Not being one to leave well enough along, we’ll segue from the Santana to the Fleetwood Mac version and back again because the Santana version ends with Carlos getting some feedback out of his guitar which lets us segue into Jimi Hendrix getting some feedback out of his guitar at the start of “Izabella.” By the way, if you’ve ever wondered if I’m really using vinyl here, a couple of the albums in this set will put all doubts to rest, including this one. Here’s Mr. Stills.
|Stephen Stills||Bluebird Revisited|
|Blood, Sweat, and Tears||Spinning Wheel|
|Stephen Stills||Open Secret|
|Santana||Singing Winds, Crying Beasts|
|Santana||Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (pt. 1)|
|Fleetwood Mac||Black Magic Woman (pt. 2)|
|Santana||Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (pt. 3)|
A long way from playing the chitlin’ circuit, which he once did, there’s Jimi Hendrix from Woodstock Two, doing “Izabella.” At the top of the set, a couple of songs from Stephan Stills 2, starting with “Bluebird Revisited,” a song that ends with those huge horns that took us straight into the Blood Sweat and Tears hit, “Spinning Wheel,” a song that made it to #2 on the charts. While that was playing, we flipped to the other side of the Stills album and cued “Open Secret.” Now when that starts, the last thing you’re thinking about is how nice it’s going to segue into something by Santana, but then, toward the end of “Open Secret,” Stills segues into some smooth Latin percussion, and that lets us mix right into “Singing Winds, Crying Beasts,” off Santana’s Abraxas; we actually played the two songs simultaneously for thirty or forty seconds.
Now, as regular visitors to the Way Back Studios know, one of the things we like to do here is to play with your expectations. And Abraxas gives us a lot to work with in that regard, not just because it’s one of those records everyone has heard a thousand times, but also because all the tracks on side one segue into one another in such a way that when you hear the end of one, you’re anticipating the start of the next. So, when Carlos gets the guitar feedback going at the end of “Black Magic Woman,” you begin to anticipate the start of “Oye Como Va” the way you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But instead, we just segued over to that guitar feedback from Mr. Hendrix. We also had some fun when we mixed over to the original Fleetwood Mac version of “Black Magic Woman” and then back again to the Santana. And speaking of magic, somebody made all the time disappear. By the way, if you’ve got any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Drop me an email. You can find the address at my lovely little website. 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.
As you know, new folks are diving into the Deep Tracks every day – and you might be one of them – so I thought I should try to explain what we do here in the Way Back Studios. Main thing is we try 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. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is good example. It starts off with a segue involving Johnny Rivers and The Beatles. Now keep in mind that on the Sergeant Pepper album, the first song on side one is the title track and that’s the single version of “Sergeant Pepper” that segues into “With A Little Help From My Friends.” But when you flip the album over, there’s another version of the song, the reprise, which is a shorter and much harder rocking version of the original. So, with that in mind, a guy by the name of Bruce Owen came up with this one about forty years ago while working at WJDX-FM. It starts with the Johnny Rivers classic, “Summer Rain.” The chorus, which is only sung twice among the five verses, features the lyrics, “All summer long we spent dancin’ in the sand, and the jukebox kept on playing Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” After playing through the chorus the first time, the band quotes a riff or two from the Beatles which is where Bruce would segue over to the reprise of Sergeant Pepper with that big drum beat. [INSERT DRUM LICK] After the reprise, Bruce would always return to the Johnny Rivers, but we’re going to go in a different direction based on that drum lick. It’s a good, all purpose beat. A regular Ajax Acme Do Good B-flat rock and roll bit of drumming that I was pretty sure I’d heard before. [INSERT] Like this one. Which is kinda like this one. [INSERT] Which isn’t too different from this one. [INSERT] Well, you get the idea. No real Deep Tracks in this set, in fact, it’s more of a primer for starting a band in your garage with simple pop rock favorites. So strap on your guitar and break out your drum kit. Here’s a fresh batch from the Way Back Studios.
|Johnny Rivers||Summer Rain (excerpt)|
|The Beatles||Sgt. Pepper’s LHCB (Reprise)|
|Shadows of Knight||Gloria|
|The Rolling Stones||Get off of my Cloud|
|Bob Seger System||Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man|
|ELO||Don’t Bring Me Down|
|Guess Who||No Time|
|Ramsey Lewis Trio||The In Crowd|
I gotta tell you no one was more surprised by that last track than I was. See, what happened is that I had added up the times of the eight songs before it, and thought I had all I needed for the set. But about halfway through “Suzie Q” I realized that either my math was wrong or the time listings on the albums were, and in any event, I was going to need about three more minutes. So I scrambled around and we ended up with “The in Crowd,” by the Ramsey Lewis Trio, a version of that song that went to #5 on the charts a mere seven months after Dobie Gray took a vocal version of the song to #13. Only in 1965 could that happen. Before that, what could have been a set list from every respectable garage rock band ever formed. We had the Shadows of Knight doing “Gloria,” the Stone’s with “Get Off My Cloud,” The Bob Seger System’s “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” from ELO, and the album version of “No Time” by the Guess Who, that’s about a minute and a half longer than the single we all know and love. After that it was Creedence doing “Suzie Q,” which reached #11 in 1968. The song was written by Dale Hawkins who took it to #27 on the charts in 1957. “Suzie Q” was covered by a lot of folks over the years, including the Stones, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Johnny Rivers, the guy who started this set with his hit, “Summer Rain.” But then, when he starts singing about how all summer long they were dancin’ in the sand and the jukebox kept on playing, “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” we mixed over to the Beatles in a segue created by my old pal Bruce Owen. Well, it’s like Burton Cummings said, I got, got, got no time for any more today. By the way, if you’ve got any suggestions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Just drop by my website or the Way Back Studio Facebook page and drop me an email. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.
I started working in radio while I was in high school. One of the deejays at the station took me under his wing, showed me the ropes, and gave me a lot of good advice. I remember when he said, “Get out while you can. You’re still young. Trust me, you don’t want to work in radio.” But I did, more than anything, at least until the consultants showed up. Another bit of advice he gave me was about putting together song sets. He said the first thing you do before cueing a record is listen to the end of the song, so you know what to play after it. See if it fades or ends cold or with drums or horns or whatever. You won’t get a jaw-dropping segue every time, but you will get a set that adheres. And every now and then you’ll sit two perfect songs next to one another and someone listening will hear your voice through the music you play and the way you play it and they’ll smile and think, ‘that sounded good.’ And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl just goes to show what sound advice that was.
It’s mostly singer-songwriters. It’s mostly songs you’re familiar with. Songs with words that glow with the gold of sunshine. Songs played on a harp unstrung. And we’ll hear their voices come through the music, and we’ll hold them near as if they were our own. Songs about life and death, longing and loneliness, lost love and hope. We’ll hear Andy Pratt and Neil Young, Randy Newman and James Taylor, The Grateful Dead and Elton John. But we’ll open with a song from one of the best albums in the Deep Tracks library. It came out in 1971. Not a bad track on the record. The tunes are deceptively simple. And the lyrics? “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes. And Jesus Christ died for nothing, I suppose. Here’s a little story from John Prine.
|John Prine||Sam Stone|
|James Taylor||Sweet Baby James|
|Jimmy Buffett||Come Monday|
|Randy Newman||He Gives Us All His Love|
|Neil Young||Journey Through the Past|
|Elton John||This Song Has No Title|
|Andy Pratt||Avenging Annie|
That’s Andy Pratt wrapping up an eight song set that was All Hand Mixed, but not all Vinyl. We had to play the last one off cd, despite the fact that I have three vinyl copies of that album. And believe it or not something’s wrong with all of them, so that was digital. Everything before that, however, was vinyl. Including one of the more obscure tracks from Goodbye Yellowbrick Road, a two record set with seventeen tracks, four of which became hit singles, which might explain why it sold the first 20 million copies. But I think the reason it ended up selling over 30 million is that the rest of the songs are so good. We heard the only solo performance on the entire record, a track called, “This Song Has No Title.” Just words and a tune.
Before Sir Elton, Neil Young with “Journey Through the Past” from a great album called Time Fades Away, a record that came out a year after Harvest but which is a much darker affair. The album was never officially released on CD and the vinyl went quickly out of print. I saw one copy on a used record site, selling for $450. And if you’re interested in that, drop me a note. I bet I can undercut that price just a little. The other guy on piano in the set was Randy Newman, the master of writing with unreliable narrators, as evidenced by the one we heard, “He Gives Us All His Love.” At the top, John Prine with a narrator telling it like it was in his classic Viet Nam War era tale, “Sam Stone.” We also heard James Taylor with the title track to Sweet Baby James, “Ripple” from the Dead’s American Beauty, and Jimmy Buffet’s first hit single. Well from that brown L.A. haze that envelopes the Way Back Studios I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. If you’re looking for the set lists or associated ephemera, feel free to drop by my website and poke around, maybe send an email, I’d love to hear from you. I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
They get off the bus every day, coming to Hollywood to become stars. Self gravitating spheres of plasma in hydrostatic equilibrium, with an agent, a manager, and an entertainment attorney who’ll talk about ‘em at lunch. For most people, the nearest star that’s not the sun is Proxima Centauri. But here in Los Angeles you’re just as likely to run into Dustin Hoffman at the bookstore, which happened to me one time. Seemed like a good guy. I gave him a copy of one of my books and we had a nice little chat. He told me that being a star is all about inverse beta decay, electron degeneracy pressure, and getting your hands on the right script and having a director who understands you and knows which is your good side. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a black dwarf, or a red giant. You can have your own star set in concrete on Hollywood Boulevard, people walking right over you. Or if you stick around long enough without having a hit, they’ll walk over you without benefit of the concrete.
The gravitational pull is too much for some people. They come from New Jersey, Texas, Oregon, Mississippi and everywhere else. They just want to see their names in lights. Flashy little shiny little two timin’ mamas. They want to be stars baby and they don’t care what it takes. How badly to they want it? Are they willin’ to sacrifice and be real nice? You bet they are. But stardom can be blinding. As a forgotten movie star once said: “To be a star is to own the world and all the people in it. After stardom, everything else is poverty.” Well, to help put stardom in perspective, we turn to the theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking who said: “We’re just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star.” Well. No matter how you look at it, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is star-studded: Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, The Kinks, Sly and the Family Stone, and others. But for starters, let’s go to One Particular Harbour with Jimmy Buffett.
|Jimmy Buffett||Stars on the Water|
|The Patti Smith Group||So You Want to Be (A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star)|
|Deep Purple||Highway Star|
|Sly and the Family Stone||Everybody’s a Star|
|Crosby, Stills, Nash||Dark Star|
|Bob Dylan||Shooting Star|
Wrapping up a star-studded set with a tale of lost love and regret, that’s Bob Dylan as produced by Daniel Lanois down in New Orleans in 1989. The album, Oh Mercy. Before that, another song about relationships, but one that goes in the opposite direction of the one Bob was singing about. “Dark Star” was written by Stephen Stills. “Dark Star” is also the title of a Grateful Dead standard, which is a completely different song composed, if that’s the right word, by the entire band. And I would have included it in this starry little set except the version I have is twenty-three minutes long. By the way, the Crosby, Stills, Nash album featuring their “Dark Star” was called CSN. When it first came out, the photo of the cover showed the trio in serious-artist pose on the deck of a sailboat. After striking this pose, they started laughing and another photo was taken. They later decided they liked the laughing photo better and that’s the one that blessed the cover of all subsequent copies of the album.
And speaking of sailboats, we started the set with “Stars on the Water” from son of a son of a sailor, Jimmy Buffett’s 1983 release, One Particular Harbour. A song written by the great Rodney Crowell. After that, we heard the Patti Smith Group doing “So You Want To Be (A Rock & Roll Star), Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” the Kinks’ “Starmaker” and Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everybody is a Star” And that’s it. The star set from The Way Back Studios. Thanks for joining us, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back with a fresh batch next time. And remember, you can trust your car to the man who wears the star and listens to All Hand Mixed Vinyl right here, in the Deep Tracks.
Since I’ve never been one to shy away from oversimplifying any given subject, let me just say this about the great state of Louisiana. You can break it down into two parts: the city and the country. There’s New Orleans and then there’s the rest of it. City folk work indoors. Country folk, outdoors. City folk eat that refined Creole cooking. Country folk eat that hearty Cajun food. City folk gave us jazz and R&B. Country folk gave us zydeco. And sooner or later I’m going to do a show about the influences of zydeco, but not today. Today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is dedicated to the people, the spirit, and the music of New Orleans.
Now New Orleans is, and always has been about, if not sex exactly, then at least promiscuity. It’s always been a place of unrestrained appetites. Extravagant eaters, debauching drinkers, wanton druggies, fornicators of all stripes. And of course the politicians who screwed everything, including the pooch. Literal or figurative, sex was subtext to the whole, humid, thing. The streetcar was named Desire, after all. Drinks are served in wide mouth glasses to go, so as not to tie you down. Plates are smothered with so much rich food you can offer a bribe with the leftovers. New Orleans is a place to lick your lips and satisfy your oral urges. That’s always been the lure. The sweet bait on the hook. Hell, even the language is fattening. A patois, all butter cream and praline, every bit as French as a warm tongue in your mouth. And it isn’t just the what; it’s the how much. It’s the excess and the promise of promiscuity that defines the place, makes it the draw it is, a conventioneers’s wet dream, no matter what your proclivity. You want a wholesome vacation? Go to Disneyland. Meanwhile get ready for some of that second line back beat music. From Marcia Ball to The Meters, and right in the middle of the set, be sure to listen for Stevie Ray Vaughn on lead guitar playing with Dr. John and the great saxophonist Bennie Wallace on a tune called “All Night Dance.” This one’s for everybody down in The Big Easy.
|Marcia Ball||That’s Enough of That Stuff|
|Bennie Wallace||All Night Dance|
|The Meters||Hey Pockey Away|
|Ron Cuccia and the Jazz Poetry Group||Streets|
|Ron Cuccia and the Jazz Poetry Group||My Darlin’ New Orleans|
|Dr. John||Junko Partner|
Wrapping up a set of songs that’s the aural equivalent to a big bowl of gumbo, there’s a man who came out of the hospital with the name Malcolm and eventually took to calling himself the Night Crawler, but most of us know him as Dr. John. The inimitable Mac Rebennack doing a New Orleans standard called “Junko Partner.” The liner notes on the album, Dr. John’s Gumbo, says “Junnko Partner” was the anthem of dopers, whores, pimps, and cons which is why we like it so much here in the Way Back Studios. It resonates. That’s also a song they sang at Angola, the infamous state prison farm in Louisiana. The rhythm was even known as the ‘jailbird beat.’ Earlier in the set we heard Dr. John playing piano on and producing the great Bennie Wallace album, Twilight Time that came out on Blue Note records in 1985. If you can get your hands on it, by all means do. We heard the instrumental “All Night Dance” which, in addition to Bennie’s fine tenor playing, featured Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar.
We opened the set with Marcia Ball’s “That’s Enough of That Stuff” from her 1985 Hot Tamale Baby, a record she dedicated to the great zydeco player, Clifton Chanier. After that, but recorded ten years before Marcia Ball, we heard Taj Mahal doing a song called “Aristocracy.” That was followed by the Meters with their New Orleans classic “Hey Pockey Away” and then, about as deep a track as you’ll find. Ron Cuccia and the Jazz Poetry group, a band of jazz hipsters who released an album on the Takoma label in 1980, managed to capture the essence of The Crescent City with the two tracks we played, “Streets” and “My Darlin’ New Orleans.” Well we’ve let the good time roll as long as we can and now we’re all out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll see you later on Decatur with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. And I hope you can join us, if not at the Café Du Monde, then right here in the Deep Tracks.