Most of Paul Simon’s album Rhymin’ Simon was recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. I think one track was done in London but the remaining track, a song called “Learn How to Fall” was recorded at Malaco Studios in my hometown, Jackson, MS. The drummer on the track was James Stroud who went on to produce a couple of hundred country hits in Nashville (and who generously consulted on my book, Fender Benders), and the organ player was a guy named Carson Whitsett who grew up right across the street from me. Carson played in his brother’s band, Tim Whitsett and the Imperials. I remember whenever they’d start rehearsing we’d all run across the street and press our little faces to the screened windoss of their living room like they were the Beatles or maybe the Dave Clark Five. But I swear, I don’t remember them ever rehearsing anything but Smokey Robinson’s “I’ll Be Doggone.” In any event, while today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features a song from Rhymin’ Simon, it’s not the one recorded at Malaco, we’ll do that another time. I just wanted to tell that story.
Instead, we’ll hear “Loves Me Like a Rock” featuring those great background vocals by the Dixie Hummingbirds. Before and after that spiritual groove we have a set that sort of rambles from rhumba to gospel to boogie. And near the end, we’ll get to the two songs that got us started on this set in the first place. Van Morrison’s “Give Me a Kiss” and Steve Miller’s “Lovin’ Cup.” There’s something about the two songs played side by side that brings out the best in both of them. By coincidence we’ll hear from two former members of the Rising Sons, Ry Cooder, doing the traditional “Tamp ‘em Up Solid” and Taj Mahal doing Bilind Willie Johnson’s “You’re Going to Need Somebody on Your Bond.” And we’ll wrap the whole thing up with one from Elvin Bishop. But for starters, I needed something with a funny little funky beat. So first, from the Way Back Studios, “There is a Mountain.” Here’s Donovan.
|Donovan||There is a Mountain|
|Jesse Winchester||Rhumba Man|
|Ry Cooder||Tamp ‘em Up Solid|
|Paul Simon||Loves Me Like a Rock|
|Taj Mahal||You’re Going To Need Somebody On Your Bond|
|Van Morrison||Give Me a Kiss|
|Steve Miller||Lovin’ Cup|
|Elvin Bishop||Let It Flow|
You know, if mama ever actually catches us doing the rhumba. Mama is just gonna pitch a fit. Up near the top of the set, we heard from the “Rhumba Man” himself, Jesse Winchester. From his album Nothing But a Breeze. That came on the heels of Donovan’s “There is a Mountain” which means we can blame him for the Allman Brothers “Mountain Jam.” And speaking of the brothers Allman, Dickie Betts is just one of the guest musicians on Elvin Bishop’s album Let it Flow, from which we just heard the title track. Some of the other folks on that album include the late great Toy Caldwell of Marshall Tucker Band fame, Charlie Daniels, Vassar Clements, and Sly Stone. Before the Bishop, we had a couple of deep tracks, one from the Joker and one from His Band and the Street Choir. In fact it was the two from Van Morrison and Steve Miller that got this whole set started. “Give Me a Kiss” and “Lovin’ Cup” just rang a bell when I heard ‘em next to each other so I put ‘em together and built the rest of the set around ‘em.
Just before the Belfast Cowboy, we heard Taj Mahal doing Blind Willie Johnsons, “You’re Going to Need Somebody on Your Bond.” Ry Cooder, who was once in a band with Taj Mahal was in there somewhere doing the traditional “Tamp ‘em Up Solid” from one of his best albums, Paradise and Lunch. And right in the middle, the consecrated boy, the singer in the Sunday choir, Paul Simon with the Dixie Hummingbirds. She “Loves Me Like A Rock.” Well, it’s like Donovan said, first there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then we’re all out of time. By the way, if you’re looking for the show schedule, the set lists, the show commentaries, or a behind the scenes look at the Way Back Studios, drop by my Facebook page or my website and take a look around. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sooner or later and I hope you’ll join us, right here, in the Deep Tracks.
For the sake of discussion let’s say this is your first trip to the Way Back Studios. You might be wondering what’s all this Hand Mixed Vinyl they’re talking about? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s about having fun with the music. Now, we don’t do it the same way every time mind you, where’s the fun in that? We like to mix it up. One day we might do a batch that’s thematic, say, songs about people. The next day we might focus on a sub-category of rock, country-rock, folk-rock, jazz-rock, you never know. And other days, we’re all about segues and mash-ups, plunderphonics and other sonic surprises. And today is one of those. As we like to say, it’s not just what we play, it’s how we play it. This time we’ve got seven songs and one comedy bit played in fourteen parts for your listening enjoyment. Here’s what happened…
It was after midnight. I was in some legal trouble and I found myself thrashing around in bed, on the threshold of a dream, but not quite able to get there, like I needed a better travel agent or something. Flying seemed like the best way out of the problem. But she’d put up the bail and I couldn’t do that to her, so I got to thinking, which, after all, is the best way to travel – at least that’s what Mike Pinder kept telling me. He said, call your attorney, tell him your plans. I said, I don’t want to go back to the city. It gets so hot there. He understood and he said, knock on my door and even the score. Yeah, okay, lovely to see you too again my friend, but what the hell is that supposed to mean? He said, walk along with me till the next bend and I thought, what do I have to lose? So off we went. Next thing I knew he had a peephole into my brain and he could see me as I really was. Then he started talking about Andy Warhol, but he pronounced the name hul instead of whole, or vice versa, and he said, thinking is the best way to travel. And I got the strangest sense of deja vu, but without the whole Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young thing. Well, you can probably figure where the story goes from here, right out to the Way Back Studios for a trippy little batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl.
|Moody Blues||Best Way to Travel (part 1)|
|Radio Free Comedy (simultaneous with next track)||Shaftem, Dickem, Hosem, and Marx|
|The Steve Miller Band (simultaneous with Radio Free Comedy)||(SFX intro to:) Children of the Future|
|The Steve Miller Band||Children of the Future|
|Moody Blues||Best Way to Travel (part 2)|
|Moody Blues||Best Way to Travel (part 3)|
|Mark-Almond||The City (part 1)|
|Moody Blues||In the Beginning|
|[At one point, Mark-Almond, Moody Blues, and Bowie are playing simultaneously]|
|David Bowie||(Intro to:) Andy Warhol|
|David Bowie||Andy Warhol|
|Moody Blues||Lovely To See You|
|Mark-Almond||The City (part 2)|
|Mark-Almond||Return to The City|
That’s Jon Mark and the late Johnny Almond, collectively known as Mark-Almond. They never had any big hits but they got some FM airplay with their tracks “What Am I Living For” and “The City” which came out on their debut album in 1971. In 1976 they released To the Heart which featured “Return to the City” which we just used to wrap up that set.
Now, at some point in the production of that breathless exercise in plunder-phonics, it dawned on me that if you don’t know the precise details of song sequencing for In Search of the Lost Chord and On the Threshold of a Dream as well as those of David Bowie’s Hunky Dory, you may actually have a life. Downside is you probably missed some of the nuance in that set. We just did seven songs in fourteen parts, one of which was the Moody Blues’ “Best Way to Travel,” a song we broke into three parts. Between parts two and three we inserted the only true instrumental the Beatles ever did, a song called “Flying.”
Between parts one and two, we inserted Steve Miller’s “Children of the Future.” And not only that, but during the cacophony that is the minute-long intro to “Children of the Future,” we mixed in a spot for the law firm Shaftem, Dickem, Hosem, and Marx. That’s from Radio Free Comedy, a show I wrote and produced with some pals in Seattle in 1983. In the middle of the set, we were playing three albums simultaneously; that’s right, at the same time: We had The Moody Blues “In the Beginning” and David Bowie’s preamble to “Andy Warhol” playing over the first part of Mark Almond’s “The City.” And just as it could have gone either way, we opted for “Andy Warhol” before coming back to say “Lovely To See You.”
If that doesn’t make any sense to you, then you understand what I meant when I said you might have missed some of the nuance in that set. But like Van said, it’s too late to stop now. Although we have to because we’re all out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sooner or later, right here in the Deep Tracks.
We have a rule about songs here in the Way Back Studios that says if you find a hole in one, stick something in it. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is built around a song with more holes than ethics legislation, just the way we like it. It’s a Fleetwood Mac track from 1969 when Peter Green was driving the bus. According to the survey I conducted for today’s show a lot of people know the song but they don’t know the title. They recognize the opening guitar lick and the lyrics about the guy who can’t help about the shape he’s in. Can’t sing. Ain’t pretty. And his legs are thin. “Oh well.” The song’s nine minutes long, starting as a furious Delta blues rock workout before making a transition into a gentle acoustic Spanish guitar piece. When released as a single, the record company split the song into parts one and two, roughly between the electric and acoustic. But the song has several false endings within each half, and that allows us to have some fun.
I took those two parts and broke them into five. During the first break, Joe Jackson jumps in with his cover version of the electric half of the song. During the second break, you’ll hear the first great cowbell segue in All Hand Mixed Vinyl history. It’s a beauty, so you’ll want to be paying attention for that. Tucked away in the middle, after the song slips into the subdued Spanish style, we’ll hear Jose Feliciano covering Lennon and McCartney, then it’s back to the Mac for a minute before we get to the Bridge over Troubled Water with Simon and Garfunkel’s Peruvian excursion, “El Condor Pasa.” That takes us back to Fleetwood Mac before we get to the Streets of New York, with your guide Willie Nile, armed with a Spanish guitar and a cell phone. This is one of our all time favorite sets, we get a lot of email about it, so stick around. I think you’re going to enjoy this one. And having said all that, don’t ask me what I think of you … I might not give the answer you want me to.
|Fleetwood Mac||Oh Well (part 1)|
|Joe Jackson||Oh Well|
|Fleetwood Mac||Oh Well (part 2)|
|Rolling Stones||Honky Tonk Women|
|Fleetwood Mac||Oh Well (part 3)|
|Jose Feliciano||And I Love Her|
|Fleetwood Mac||Oh Well (part 4)|
|Simon and Garfunkle||El Condor Pasa|
|Fleetwood Mac||Oh Well (part 5)|
|Willie Nile||Cellphones Ringing in the Pockets of the Dead|
History tellin’ stories that a sailor won’t repeat, believers and infidels fighting in the heat, while bodies of the innocent are covered with a sheet. And the cell phones keep ringing in the pockets of the dead. A startling image from Willie Nile who wrote that one after the terrorist train bombings in Madrid in 2004. That’s from his brilliant Streets of New York. My hands-down favorite album from 2006. If you think about it, it makes the perfect companion piece for New York, Lou Reed’s 1989 ode to the Big Apple. If you don’t have those two, go get ‘em. You can thank me later. And that wraps up what we’ll call the “Oh Well” set. It’s what you get when you take a two-part, eleven minute Fleetwood Mac track from 1969, and break it down further into five parts and mix it with, among things, an 18th century Peruvian folk song, with original lyrics by Paul Simon. “El Condor Pasa” is one of the early examples of Paul’s cross-cultural musical samplings that led eventually to Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints.
Also in there, from his most acclaimed pop album, we heard Jose Feliciano’s cover of Lennon and McCartney’s “And I Love Her,” a song we first heard on the soundtrack to A Hard Day’s Night. At the top of the set, during the electric half of “Oh Well,” we jumped from 1969 to 1991 when Joe Jackson gave us a cover of “Oh Well” from his album Laughter and Lust. And then, in the next break, we rolled into the Stones with a Honky Tonk cowbell segue the likes of which you won’t hear anywhere else. Which explains why we’re tuned into the satellites. By the way, if you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries or if you want to check out some photos of the Way Back Studios, you can track ‘em down on Facebook and on my website. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back with more Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Recently I’ve noticed that whenever I play something by Taj Mahal, I also tend to play something by Ry Cooder, and vice versa. Of course that’s not really surprising, given their tendency to swim in the same musical waters, much of which flowed out of the pre-war acoustic blues styles of the Mississippi Delta. And that probably goes a long way towards explaining how the two of them ended up in a group called The Rising Sons in the mid 60’s. In any event, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features both Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder, but not in The Rising Sons. Instead we’ll hear a couple from their solo albums, Recycling the Blues and Other Related Stuff and Paradise and Lunch. Add to that, one each from two other artists who specialize in early Americana, and all the sudden we’ve got a four-song set of what we might call alt folk country blues or dust bowl roots music. The middle of this set consists of “Ophelia” by The Band, Taj Mahal’s “Cakewalk Into Town,” “Jesus on the Mainline” from Ry Cooder, and Bonnie Raitt doing Mose Allison’s “Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy,” from her album Takin’ My Time which features a lot of great guest musicians, including Taj Mahal.
And while those four songs make a fine set, it’s a short one. So I had to add a few more tracks. And while you might expect the Van Morrison at the end of the set, what you might not expect is the British invasion at the beginning that serves as the unlikely intro for the whole alt ethnic Americana slide on the national steel-bodied guitar extravaganza that follows. But such are the pleasures of the Way Back Studios. See, the horns at the start of The Band’s “Ophelia” have always reminded me of some horns at the end of a Beatles track. So I dropped the needle until I found what I was looking for. And that’s how we ended up with the late sixties psychedelic moment that kick starts the whole thing. In any event, these artists have been going in and out of style but they’re guaranteed to turn your dial. So may I introduce to you the act you’ve known for all these years. Here’s Traffic.
|Traffic||Heaven is in Your Mind|
|Beatles||Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band|
|Taj Mahal||Cake Walk Into Town|
|Ry Cooder||Jesus on the Mainline|
|Bonnie Raitt||Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy|
|Van Morrison||Purple Heather|
The way I see it, if you produce a single great album, you’re an artistic success. I don’t just mean something popular but something that even decades later people agreed was important, something that helped define an era, something that was original. So consider the fact that between 1968 and 1972, Van Morrison produced five albums in a row that are still considered seminal records of the period. Astral Weeks, Moondance, His Band and the Street Choir, Tupelo Honey, and Saint Dominick’s Preview. You can’t name many rock artists who have five great albums in their entire catalogue, let alone five in a row. The Beatles, the Stones, Dylan. After that list gets short. We just heard Purple Heather from Van’s Hard Nose the Highway, the record that got lost in the wake of the five that preceeded it.
Earlier in the set we went proto alt country with Bonnie Raitt, the Band, Taj Mahal, and Ry Cooder doing the traditional Jesus on the Mainline from his album Paradise and Lunch. As it happens, Ry Cooder once formed a group called The Rising Sons with none other than Taj Mahal who we heard recycling the blues and other related stuff like Cakewalk Into Town. The Band’s Ophelia came from the horns of the Lonely Hearts Club Band that itself came out of one from Traffic that was far out enough that it could have been on Magical Mystery Tour. Well like they said, heaven is in your mind when you’re in the Way Back Studios. Thanks for tuning us in, I’m Bill Fitzhugh, back next week with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl in the Deep Tracks, XM 40.
A recent university study has shown that in the Deep Tracks library, different songs make listeners do different things. Some songs make you play air guitar, others compel you to pound out drum solos on your steering wheel, but today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is about the kind of song that makes you sing along. More specifically, it’s about two particular songs that make you sing along with the chorus. In fact there’s something about these two songs that make other singers want to sing along, which explains why they’ve been recorded so many other artists. I’m talking about Lowell George’s “Willin’” and Robbie Robertson’s “The Weight.” Two songs about travelers, as it turns out. “Willin’” is the weary trucker’s lament. Itg first appeared on Little Feat’s 1971 debut album, featuring Ry Cooder on slide guitar. The next year, they re-arranged and re-recorded it for the album Sailin’ Shoes, trading Ry Cooder’s slide for Sneaky Pete Kleinow’s pedal steel. Two years later, Linda Rondstadt recorded a version for her album Heart Like a Wheel. And four years after that Little Feat released a live version on Waiting for Columbus.
But it doesn’t matter which version you hear, when the singer gets to the part about the weed, whites, and wine, you just naturally start singing along, whether you’re in Tucson or Tucumcary. “The Weight” is about a traveler’s encounters with the characters of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, the home of Crazy Chester, Carmen, Luke, and Miss Anna Lee. The original version of “The Weight” is on Music From Big Pink. As with “Willin’” you might sing along with a verse or two, but you’ll always join in with that chorus. And so it’s during the choruses of the two songs that we’ll do some fun hand mixing. Before we’re done, we’ll hear these two songs broken into eight parts and performed by six bands. And then a seventh band will do the entire song (“The Weight”) in a whole new way. But before we do any of that, we’re gonna start with a quintessential example of mystical cosmic hippie folk rock from a guy who gave guitar lessons to Joni Mitchell. From his album Collaboration, here’s Shawn Phillips.
|Linda Rondstadt||When Will I Be Loved?|
|Jesse Winchester||Isn’t That So?|
|Linda Rondstadt||Willin’ (part 1)|
|Little Feat||Willin’ (part 2)|
|Linda Rondstadt||Willin’ (part 3)|
|The Band||The Weight (part 1)|
|Staple Singers & Marty Stuart||The Weight (part 2)|
|Smith||The Weight (part 3)|
|The Band & Staple Singers||The Weight (part 4)|
|The Band||The Weight (part 5)|
|Joan Osborne||The Weight|
Coming in at number 41 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, that’s “The Weight” written by Robbie Robertson. We just heard a sort of hip-hop reading of the song by Joan Osborne from her album How Sweet It Is. Before that, the end of the original version from The Band’s album Music From Big Pink which is also the version we started with. In between during the famous chorus parts we handed the song off to some other folks. The second and third verses came off an album called Rhythm, Country, and Blues, which paired up various country and R&B artists, in this case Marty Stuart singing with The Staple Singers. After that, the group Smith, from the soundtrack to Easy Rider. Weirdly, the film itself featured The Band’s original version of the song but some legal issues prevented it from being on the soundtrack album, so we got the Smith’s instead.
After that, The Staple Singers again, this time with The Band. That’s from The Last Waltz album, though not from the concert itself; that was recorded on a sound stage at some other point in the proceedings. And then it was back to Big Pink for the last verse of the original version. Before that, we did the same thing to Lowell George’s “Willin’.” We started with Linda Rondstadt’s version, segued over to Little Feat’s live version, and then back to Linda for the end. At the top of the set, Shawn Phillips gave us one called “Moonshine.” We followed that with two questions: “When Will I Be Loved?” and “Isn’t That So?” by Linda Rondstadt and Jesse Winchester respectively. FYI, if you’re looking for our set lists or if you want to send me an email, drop by my website or the Way Back Studio Facebook page and knock yourself out. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. And remember, if you give me weeds, whites, and wine, I’ll reserve a seat for you, right here in the Way Back Studios. I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us right here in the Deep Tracks.
Right now, I’ve got a great big, honkin’ Hohner in my hand. It’s called a Pocket Pal. Sounds like this. [Blow the harp.] My dog Ava, who is no longer with us, used to sing along whenever I played, sort of like Teddy, the dog in the intro to The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Mr. Bojangles.” Remember this? [INSERT Nitty Gritty Dirt Band excerpt] Well, here’s Ava during rehearsals for the Way Back Studio theme song. [INSERT AVA.] As you can hear, Ava was a little temperamental in her old age and just tended to bark at me more than sing. Anyway, as you might have guessed by now, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is all about the harmonica, the tin sandwich, the Mississippi saxophone. Now the harmonica showed up around 1820. There are a lot of different types: the chromatic, diatonic, tremolo, octave, orchestral, and others. But the blues harp, the one with ten holes and nineteen notes? That’s what’s at the heart of today’s set.
As for who’s blowing the old mouth organ this time around, we’ve got one guy from England, one each from Minnesota and Louisiana, two guys from Mississippi, and who knows where Earthquake Anderson is from, but he blows a mean harp on Jesse Colin Young’s cover of the “T-Bone Shuffle.” We’ll also hear John Mayall doing one called “Play The Harp.” Jonathan Edwards gives us a take on the traditional “Morning Train.” Then it’s the great Jelly Roll Johnson playing with my pal Mississippi Fred Knobloch, followed by another guy from the Magnolia State, Steve Forbert. And we’re gonna start with yet another guy from that neck of the woods, Greg ‘Fingers’ Taylor with the great Memphis band, Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers reading off a menu that goes a little something like this.
|Larry Raspberry & the Highsteppers||Dixie Diner|
|Jesse Colin Young||T-Bone Shuffle|
|John Mayall||Play the Harp|
|Jonathan Edwards||Morning Train|
|J. Fred Knobloch & Jellyroll Johnson||House up on the Hill|
That’s Steve Forbert playing guitar and blowing the harpoon on a song called “Thinkin’” from his great debut album, Alive on Arrival. Steve is one those guys who makes me shake my head at the way things sometimes work out. He should’ve been huge but for reasons unknown he didn’t blow up the way a lot of people thought he would. But he’s still out there recording great albums and performing all over, so if he shows up in your neighborhood, get out and see him. You’ll be glad you did. Before that, Steve’s fellow Mississippian J. Fred Knobloch with his buddy Jelly Roll Johnson recorded live at the world famous Bluebird Café in Nashville on a song called “House up on the Hill.” Elsewhere in the set, we heard from the Honky-Tonk Stardust Cowboy himself, Jonathan Edwards, doing one called “Morning Train.” You know, he’s another one of those guys, like Forbert, who delivered one great record after another and still managed to remain largely unknown.
In the middle of the set, a man who is no stranger to the harmonica, John Mayall. You might have thought, how come he’s not playing “Room To Move” in this set? Well, as John once said to someone who out for that song at a show, he said, “No, there’s no more ‘Room to Move.’ Why’d you come here, to hear an old record or something?” Well, yes, that’s exactly why we’re here. But instead of “Room to Move” we heard “Play the Harp” from his album Memories. Before the Mayall, Jesse Colin Young doing the T-Bone Shuffle with Earthquake Anderson on the blow tube. And at the top of the set, “Dixie Diner” from Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers featuring Greg Fingers Taylor. Greg got the nickname ‘Fingers’ from a guy named John Buffaloe when they both played in the Buttermilk Blues Band in Jackson, MS. A few years later, when I was going on the air for my first radio shift, John Buffaloe was the deejay who handed the board over to me. And he said, sorry but we’re all out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sooner or later and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
In 1785, Robert Burns wrote a poem called “To A Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest, with the Plough.” This, after having done just that, because, after all, even in 18th Century Scotland it was impossible to make a living as a poet, which explains why he was also a farmer. And, having destroyed the mouse’s nest, he wrote the poem with that famous line about how the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Well, the same is true for the best laid plans of deejays. See I was listening to Steely Dan’s Katy Lied one night and there was something about the guitar part of “Bad Sneakers” that brought to mind the smooth Philly-Soul sound of the Stylistics. More specifically, their 1971 hit “You Are Everything,” a song that’s very of it’s time, complete with electric sitar. So I thought, why not do a set that revolves around the sitar? You know, some late Sixties Beatles, a little Traffic, some Ravi Shankar, stuff like that.
But even as I stomped down the avenue by Radio City, with my transistor and a large sum of money to spend I just couldn’t find enough sitar solos. So much for the best laid plans. But then it hit me, breaking like the waves at Malibu. This batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl wasn’t about the sitar. It was about jazzy pop. So I found Leon Russell singing about how you like to listen to Miles Davis and Stan Kenton and all that jazz. And he might as well have been talking about Joni Mitchell when he said she should stop running around with the saxophone man. Probably talking about Tom Scott. And then Van Morrison mentioned something about the massage parlor with the classical music station playing in the background soft and low. Made me wish it was a jazz station, but you can’t stop now and change that, so we just gathered the Pointer Sisters, Maria Muldaur, and some Traffic to round things out, but I kept coming back to that Stylistics song. I couldn’t make the whole thing work, but I thought, as long as we’re in the Way Back Studios, it might be fun to do this.
|Stylistics||You Are Everything (excerpt)|
|Steely Dan||Bad Sneakers|
|Joni Mitchell||Trouble Child|
|Van Morrison||Snow in San Anselmo|
|Traffic||Giving It to You|
|Leon Russell||Stop All That Jazz|
|Pointer Sisters||Save the Bones for Henry Jones|
|Maria Muldaur||We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye (excerpt)|
From her 1976 release, Sweet Harmony, that’s Maria Muldaur with the second half of “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye.” The song starts as a ballad, which didn’t fit where we were using it. But halfway through the song, there’s a pause, followed by that jazzy little romp at the end. Before that, we were “Saving The Bones for Henry Jones” from back in the day when they recorded for the Blue Thumb label, that’s The Pointer Sisters, Anita, Ruth, Bonnie, and the late June Pointer, somewhere between The Manhattan Transfer and The Andrews Sisters with soul. That’s from their 1975 album, Steppin’. Before that, Leon Russell singing about how he likes the jazz and all, but tends to get the blues when he gets home. We heard the title track from his album, Stop All That Jazz.
The snazzy instrumental before that was Traffic doing “Giving to You.” They released two versions of that song, one on the album Mr. Fantasy and the other as the B-side to the single “Paper Sun.” The single version opens with a verse sung by Steve Winwood where the album version opens and closes with that jive talkin’ hipster going on about how the song’s not where it’s at, man, and wasn’t making it because it’s, like, jazz. Cheech and Chong provided some jive talkin’ of their own on Joni Mitchell’s “Twisted.” And we slipped Van Morrison’s “Snow in San Anselmo” between that and Joni’s “Trouble Child.” And at the top of the set we had “Bad Sneakers” and a pina colada my friend, Steely Dan from Katy Lied and a guitar part that sounds like it escaped from a Stylistics recording session. You Are Everything and everything is possible in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and my time’s up but I’ll be back sooner or later with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
You can’t swing a dead cat in the Way Back Studios without hitting a record by somebody with a connection to Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. Something about their mix of gospel, country, and rock drew famous musicians into their fold like senators to a fund raiser. Eric Clapton, Dave Mason, Duane Allman, George Harrison, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, Bobby Whitlock, and so many others. The cast of characters changed so often in fact that they were referred to simply as Delaney and Bonnie and friends. Delaney and Bonnie themselves never sold a lot of records, but their friends sure did. And though the Bramletts never went platinum they and / or the band they formed would go on to be the rhythm section on several million sellers, including Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, and All Things Must Pass.
Delaney and Bonnie’s biggest hit was “Never Ending Song of Love” which was on their album Motel Shot from 1971, about eight years before Bonnie either punched or slapped the crap out of Elvis Costello at a Holiday Inn bar in Columbus, Ohio after an admittedly drunk Costello made some disparaging remarks about Ray Charles. But that’s a whole nuther story. Delaney and Bonnie’s second biggest hit was their cover of Dave Mason’s “Only You Know and I Know” and that’s the song at the center of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, though it started while I was listening to Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard. The last track on side two, “Mainline Florida,” has a drum beat and rhythm that reminded me of “Only You Know and I Know” so we’ll do a little hand mixing between Dave’s and Delaney and Bonnie’s versions of the song along with “Mainline Florida” to see how it works. Be sure to listen to the end of “Mainline Florida” when Eric gets starts getting silly with his wah-wah pedal leading us back to All Things Must Pass. That’s later, but first, the rest of the set is just people passing by, staring in wide wonder, as the inside jukebox roars out just like thunder. Here’s Van Morrison.
|Van Morrison||Wild Night|
|Joni Mitchell||Free Man in Paris|
|Delaney & Bonnie||Only You Know and I Know (part 1)|
|Dave Mason||Only You Know and I Know (part 2)|
|Eric Clapton||Mainline Florida (part 1)|
|Dave Mason||Only You Know and I Know (part 3)|
|Eric Clapton||Mainline Florida (part 2)|
|George Harrison||Wah Wah|
Allegedly written after a fight with Paul who complained that his band mate was over using a certain guitar effect, that’s George Harrison and friends doing “Wah Wah” from All Things Must Pass. And speaking of his friends, take a look at who played on All Things Must Pass and you’ll see a list of musicians who honed their chops playing with Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Dave Mason, Jim Gordon, Duane Allman, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock. And those are just a few of the influential friends who played with the guy from Pontotoc, MS and his wife out of east St. Louis. In 1970 alone some or all of the Bramlett camp played on Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Eric Clapton’s first solo album, and Dave Mason’s Alone Together. And somewhere in the middle of the set we hand mixed Delaney and Bonnie’s version of “Only You Know and I Know” with Dave Mason’s version and then with “Mainline Florida” off Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard.
And speaking of friends, the rest of the set wouldn’t have been the same without Ronnie Montrose who played guitar on a couple of Van Morrison albums. At the top of the set we heard him on “Wild Night” from Tupelo Honey. Joni Mitchell employed her friends from the LA Express and several of the Crusaders on her album Court and Spark. And on “Free Man in Paris,” she got extra help from her pals Jose Feliciano, David Crosby, and Graham Nash. And that was Steve Miller sitting, getting higher in the back of a limousine with his friends Boz Scaggs, Ben Sidren, and Nicky Hopkins. From the album Number Five. A song called “Tokin’s.” That’s all the time we’ve got for stoking the star making machinery behind the popular song here in the Way Back Studios. Thanks for tuning in and by the way, if you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries, drop by my website or track me down using your favorite form of social media. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and only you know and I know when I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Let’s say you’re standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona and you stopped the first ten people who came along. I bet most of them could name a rock ‘n’ roll guitar player. Some could name drummers and piano players too, but how many do you think could name a pedal steel player? Not too many is my bet, and that’s a shame because the Deep Tracks wouldn’t be the same without them. For some groups, the pedal steel was part of the band, like Toy Caldwell with Marshall Tucker and Rusty Young with Poco. But most bands didn’t have anybody in-house, so they brought in a session player, and it’s their work that’s at the heart of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl.
Sometimes they were called in just to add a grace note here, or a little touch there, but other times, the pedal steel made the whole song. Take Pete Drake’s four note riff that opens and repeats throughout Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady Lay.” That’s what makes the song work. And if you don’t believe me, listen to Duran Duran’s or Ministry’s cover versions of the song. Another of the great session players was Sneaky Pete Kleinow. After playing with the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, Sneaky Pete worked with just about everybody, from Little Feat to Frank Zappa. In the middle of this set we’ll hear him with Linda Rondstadt. Now this set is built around one of my favorite song-to-song segues where the last chord of the first song is an exact match for the opening chord of the second as we go from Jonathan Edward’s “Have A Good Time For Me” into Dave Mason’s “Every Woman,” featuring Bill Keith and Richard Bennett respectively on pedal steel. We’ll also hear Al Perkins playing with Manassas. But the guy who gets the most air time in this set is the late, great Red Rhodes. He’ll bring the liquid yearning to James Taylor’s “Anywhere Like Heaven” and the heartache to Willis Alan Ramsey’s “Goodbye Old Missoula.” But we’re going to start with one from the group he played with the most. Michael Nesmith’s First National Band. Here’s Red Rhodes on “Mama Nantucket.’
|Michael Nesmith||Mama Nantucket|
|Jonathan Edwards||Have a Good Time For Me|
|Dave Mason||Every Woman|
|Bob Dylan||Lay Lady Lay|
|Linda Rondstadt||It Doesn’t Matter Any More|
|James Taylor||Anywhere Like Heaven|
|Willis Alan Ramsey||Goodbye Old Missoula|
From his one and only album so far, that’s Willis Alan Ramsey from 1972 doing “Goodbye Old Missoula.” That was on Shelter Records and playing with Mr. Ramsey on that one is Leon Russell on piano, Carl Radle on bass, Jim Keltner on drums and the late, great Red Rhodes on pedal steel. Before that, from Sweet Baby James, that was Red Rhodes again playing pedal steel on James Taylor’s “Anywhere Like Heaven.” Like all the pedal steel players in the set, Red did session work with an impressive list of artists: The Byrds, The Rolling Stones, Carole King, and others. But at the top of the set, we heard Red as a member of a group. Michael Nesmith’s First National Band. We heard “Mama Nantucket” from a fine album called Magnetic South. After that, it was the title track to Jonathan Edwards’ “Have a Good Time For Me.” That was Bill Keith playing pedal steel and giving us a great segue into Dave Mason’s second version of “Every Woman” featuring Richard Bennett on the instrument in question.
We followed that with the two Petes. Pete Drake playing with Bob Dylan on “Lay Lady Lay” and Sneaky Pete Kleinow playing with Linda Rondstadt on “It Doesn’t Matter Any More,” a song written by Paul Anka. After that, we heard Al Perkins with Stills and Manassas doing “Colorado.” Al’s resume includes time with the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Eagles, the James Gang, and a host of others. By the way, if you want to take a look at the set lists or the show commentaries, you can find them at my website, billfitzhugh.com. And, due to popular demand, I’ve also posted some photos of the Way Back Studios on our Facebook page, so check ‘em out. 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.
People come up to me all the time and say, Bill, why can’t you just leave well enough alone? The answer’s simple. I say, because you can get well enough alone the rest of the time. Why not a little something different now and then? No reason to be afraid. I mean, it’s the reason we say that in the Way Back Studios it’s not just what we play, it’s how we play it. The whole point is to have some fun with the music, and today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is a perfect example. So, are you sitting comfortably? Do you have a beverage? Good. Take another sip and see what you’ll see because with the help of The Moody Blues, Al Stewart, and Mike Oldfield, we’re going to take a look at the days of future past through the eyes of a 16th Century prognosticator, a provincial doctor by the name of Nostradamus who published something called The Centuries in 15 and 55. Inarguable as a horoscope, necessarily vague, and prone to misinterpretation, the doctor suggested that he saw a lot of things that would come to pass, but — in all his wisdom — he didn’t include a single quatrain about his book being turned into a song by Al Stewart in 19 and 74. Let alone did he shed any light on Year of the Cat.
Be that as it may, we took the Al Stewart track from Past, Present, and Future, diced it into three parts and filled in the blanks with two from the Moody Blues, also chopped in three. There’s one about standing alone on the threshold of a dream and seeing the golden galleons on the crystal sea. And not only that, but they’ll pose epistemological questions like: Are you real? And have you heard Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” lately? Okay, that’s not really epistemological but it applies nonetheless. Somewhere in the middle, we hear from that band Pete Best and Stu Sutcliff used to be in. And at the very end, we’ll hear a Joni Mitchell classic covered by Randy Scruggs. But here’s the best part: the whole thing unfolds right before your ears.
|Al Stewart||Nostradamus (part 1)|
|Moody Blues||Are You Sitting Comfortably?|
|Beatles||You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away|
|Al Stewart||Nostradamus (part 2)|
|Moody Blues||Have You Heard (part 1)|
|Al Stewart||Nostradamus (part 3)|
|Moody Blues||Have You Heard (part 2)|
|Michael Oldfield||Tubular Bells (excerpt)|
|Nitty Gritty Dirt Band||Both Sides Now|
From the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s three record set, Will The Circle Be Unbroken, an album brimming with over 30 musicians and singers, that one stands out as the only solo performance. Just Randy Scruggs and his guitar covering Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” Before that, a stereo record that cannot be played on old tin boxes no matter what they are fitted with. If you are in possession of such equipment please hand it in to the nearest police station. That’s the liner note written on the back sleeve of Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells from which we just sampled the last third of side one. The story goes that Oldfield got some free studio time from a friend of his who had a studio associated with a small mail-order record business. Oldfield then shopped the tapes and was rejected by all the major record companies who said it was unmarketable. So his friend formed a record label and ended up selling around 16 million copies of the record. The label was called Virgin and his friend was a guy named Richard Branson who went on to do about two and a half billion dollars worth of other things.
Before the “Tubular Bells” we had a six part mash up of Al Stewart’s “Nostradamus” and the Moody Blues asking questions like “Are You Sitting Comfortably” and “Have you heard?” In the middle of that, a brief reminder that you’ve got to hide your love away, from the soundtrack to the film starring Leo McKern and Eleanor Bron. The same film that answered the questions: Will John live to sleep in his pit again? Will Paul ever get back to his electric organ? Will George be reunited with his ticker-tape machine? And Ringo — will he ever play the drums again? Tune in again next time for the answers to these and other burning questions, same Way Back Time, Same Way Back station. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll have another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you know it and I hope you’ll join us right here, in the Deep Tracks.