We have rules here in the Way Back Studios. We also have exceptions to those rules. More about that in a minute. A few years ago, after long, thoughtful deliberation and a couple of drinks, I reached the conclusion that the music commonly referred to as Classic Rock originated (more-or-less) between 1964 and 1977, roughly from the time of the Beatles first appearance on Ed Sullivan to the Band’s Last Waltz. For more on that you can read my novel Radio Activity. A little over a decade of music derived from previous decades and previous generations and distinct from what was to come. Around 1977 this era of classic rock began evolving into corporate arena rock while simultaneously being displaced or influenced by punk, new wave, and disco.
As far as I’m concerned, “Classic rock” – in the common use of the phrase – is the music recorded during that time frame by the generation of artists born in the 1940′s: Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Page and Plant – that generation. Musicians who grew up listening to and expanding on the music of two previous generations, the blues men born after the turn of the century, guys like Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters and the generation of rock and roll originators who were born in the 1930′s: guys like Elvis, Duane Eddy, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Regular visitors to the Way Back Studios know that we usually stay within the confines of this definition of classic rock. And that brings us back to what I mentioned at the top because today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is all about the exceptions to the rules. We don’t usually stray into the mid 80s but here we go. 1985 and 86 saw new albums by Steve Winwood, James Brown, Eric Clapton, and The Pretenders. Of course you can make a good argument that the Pretenders don’t qualify as classic rock artists since they debuted in 1980 and their music was quasi-punk and new wave pop but Chrissie Hynde had all the swagger of Jagger so, for her, we’ll make an exception. The final exception in this set is a group called Guadalcanal Diary who debuted in 1983. Here, they’ll take a riff from the Beatles “I Call Your Name” and turn it into the Fear of God.
|Guadalcanal Diary||Fear of God (part 1)|
|Eric Clapton||It All Depends|
|James Brown||How Do You Stop?|
|Pretenders||Hymn To Her|
|Steve Winwood||The Finer Things|
|Guadalcanal Diary||Fear of God (part 2)|
|The Beatles||I Call Your Name|
Completing a rare set from the mid 1980′s, that’s Guadalcanal Diary, a band out of Marietta, Georgia. We took a track called Fear of God and broke it in half to bookend the set of exceptions to the rules. And yes, that opening guitar lick comes from the Beatles I Call Your Name, a great segue waiting to happen some other time. Before that, the other relative youngster in the set, thirty-five year old Chrissie Hynde at the time, from the Pretenders album, Get Close and the song, Hymn to Her. That’s h-y-m-n, hymn to her.
In the middle of the set, proving this music’s not always a young man’s game, we heard from James Brown who was near sixty when he recorded his album Gravity produced by Dan Hartman who, as it turned out did some background vocal work on forty year old Steve Winwood’s album, Back in the Highlife from which we heard The Finer Things. And in that tangled web we so often weave, that was Steve Winwood playing synthesizer on the James Brown track How Do You Stop?
Elsewhere in the set, forty-something year old Eric Clapton, produced by thirty-something Phil Collins back in 85, the album Behind The Sun, the track It All Depends with Chris Stainton and Peter Robinson doubling up on synthesizers to sound a lot like . . . Steve Winwood. And that concludes our set of exceptions to the rules of the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, rooting through the shallower end of the Deep Tracks. Thanks for listening, I’ll be back next time with something else all together right here, on XM 40.
As far as I know, the only song written by Duane Allman and recorded by the Allman Brothers Band was “Little Martha” the 2:08 acoustic gem from Eat A Peach that Duane wrote and recorded shortly before his death. Leo Kottke called it the most perfect guitar song ever written. Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl takes its cue from this beautiful acoustic duet and features eleven other tracks that are all about the acoustic guitar. We’ll hear some other little acoustic gems, in the form of instrumentals from Buckingham Nicks, Cheryl Dilcher, and the aforementioned Leo Kottke among others and we’ll mix them with a few vocals from Simon and Garfunkle, James Taylor, and the Doobie Brothers.
But back to Little Martha for a second. The story goes that Duane had a dream where Jimi Hendrix showed him the tune’s melody in the bathroom of a Holiday Inn, using the sink’s faucet as a fret board. Duane Allman and Barry Oakley are buried side-by-side in the Carnation Ridge section of Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia. The band members spent a lot of time at the cemetery back in the day, sometimes playing music, sometimes engaged in other activities. It’s also where they found titles for at least two of their songs. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Little Martha,” named for twelve year old Martha Ellis who died in the 1800s and whose grave is topped by a statue of a little girl. Like Elizabeth Reed, Little Martha is named for one person but is actually about someone else. Allman is said to have written the tune for his girlfriend at the time, woman by the name Dixie Meadows. If there’s a prettier song in all of the Deep Tracks, I can’t think of it. Here’s “Little Martha.”
|Allman Brothers||Little Martha|
|James Taylor||You Can Close Your Eyes|
|Simon & Garfunkle||Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall|
|Jefferson Airplane||Embryonic Journey|
|Doobie Brothers||Slat Key Soquel Rag|
|Leo Kottke||Can’t Quite Put It Into Words|
|Doobie Brothers||Toulouse Street|
|America||Don’t Cross the River|
That’s America from their album Homecoming with “Don’t Cross The River.” Before that, one of the two Doobies in that set, the title track from Toulouse Street. Earlier we heard their instrumental, “Slat Key Soquel Rag” tucked into the instrumental portion of our program where we also heard “Stephanie” from Buckingham Nicks and “Butterfly” from Cheryl Dilcher. After that, one of the finest fingerpickers in the pack, Mr. Leo Kottke doing one called “Can’t Quite Put It Into Words” which wins the award for best title for an instrumental. After that, we heard the Paul Simon classic, “Duncan.” We started the set with the Allman Brothers’ “Little Martha” followed by James Taylor doing a pretty little song called “You Can Close Your Eyes.”
Elsewhere, another instrumental, “Embryonic Journey” from Jefferson Airplane a song that makes me think of early Simon and Garfunkle every time I hear it and I dare say that’s the only song by Jefferson Airplane that does so. That’s Jorma Kaukonen bringing his peerless playing to the platter. Now I found a couple of Simon and Garfunkle tracks that worked with “Embryonic Journey” including, “Kathy’s Song” but I settled on “Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall” from the album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and wouldn’t you know it, we’re all out of Thyme. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. We’ve got all the set lists and show commentaries posted on my website in case you’re trying to remember the name of that song you liked so much, so drop by and poke around billfitzhugh.com. While you’re doing that, I’ll be here in the Way Back Studios cooking up a fresh of All Hand Mixed Vinyl for next time, when I hope you’ll join us right here in the Deep Tracks.
In the time it takes to listen to today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, the average person could walk a mile in my shoes. Or walk a mile for a camel. And by mile I mean the statute mile: 5280 feet, not to be confused with the nautical mile which varies in length but on average is just over six thousand feet. And I’m not talking about the Roman mile either, which was exactly five thousand feet, or the 6720 foot Irish mile or the Scottish mile, which weighs in at 5928 feet and is also known as the Royal Mile. The mile we’ve come to know and love originated by statute of the English parliament in 1592. So you’re probably asking yourself: How the hell’d they come up with 5280 feet? Well, 415 years ago somebody thought it made sense to have the mile be the length of eight furlongs. A furlong being the length of ten surveyors chains, each of which is 22 yards long (which is also the length of a cricket pitch, and probably without coincidence or simple explanation). So twenty-two times ten, times three, times eight, equals 5280 feet. That’s the how, don’t ask me the why.
In any event, the basis for today’s set was laid down forty years ago and roughly sixteen hundred statute miles (as the crow flies) from where I sit here in the Way Back Studios, on the dusty fringes of Los Angeles. A guy by the name of Bruce Owen at WJDX-FM, did a segue involving the Who and the Byrds. He simply overlapped the drum and guitar lick at the very end of “Eight Miles High” and the similar lick that opens “I Can See For Miles.” Not only do the songs go together musically, there’s the added benefit of thematic unity. From there, I just rooted through the Deep Tracks for some other songs with similar characteristics and we ended up with a set that’s 2,608 miles away from nowhere that somehow takes us from Peter, Paul, and Mary to the Who in an orderly fashion. How? Well, to paraphrase Confucius: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single song by Hedy West.
|Peter, Paul, and Mary||500 Miles|
|Cat Stevens||Miles From Nowhere|
|James Taylor||Nothing Like a Hundred Miles|
|Fleetwood Mac||Miles Away|
|The Byrds||Eight Miles High|
|The Who||I Can See For Miles|
In 1965 the British government started a program to make all their road signs metric – but the program was put on hold a few years later and never started again. And that’s a good thing. I mean who’s going to sing along with “I Can See for Kilometers”? We just heard the Who from The Who Sell Out. Before that, the Byrds with “8 Miles High” which, in the metric system, would be 12.874 kilometers high, which just doesn’t work for the song. The story behind the song is that while the Byrds were on tour in England, Gene Clark, who suffered from aviophobia, asked Roger McGuinn about their plane’s altitude. Roger said they were probably seven miles high. But when they wrote the song they opted to take the plane up to 42,000 feet, as eight miles high scanned better. It was the Byrd’s last top 20 single, peaking at #14, and it probably would have gone higher but for the hysteria spurred by knuckleheaded radio programmers who caved in to pressure not to play the song because of its alleged celebration of drug use. Roger McGuinn has said that his guitar work in the song, especially the introductory solo, was inspired by John Coltrane’s sax work on the song “India” from Live at the Village Vanguard.
At the top of the set, Peter, Paul, and Mary with “500 Miles,” from their debut in 1962. After that, Cat Stevens took us “Miles From Nowhere,” at which point we ran into the Walking Man himself, James Taylor, explaining how there’s nothin’ like puttin’ a hundred miles between you and whoever breaks your heart. Then we went another “2000 Miles” with the Pretenders, followed by Fleetwood Mac doing “Miles Away” at which point we’d reached the end of the road for today’s show, with miles to go before we sleep here in the Way Back Studios. And remember it’s less than a mile to my website where we keep all the set lists and show commentaries, so drop by billfitzhugh.com and poke around. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
They said all you need is love. Maybe that’s true. But even if that’s all you need, it’s not all you get. Love’s a powerful force and one to be reckoned with but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In the same way that up has no meaning without down, that white makes no sense without black, and left doesn’t exist unless there’s right. You can’t have love without having hate. I suspect it’s what Freud was writing about in: “Antithetical Meanings of Primary Words.” But I never read it so I can’t say for sure. In a metaphorical way, we can apply the laws of physics. For every action there’s an equal and opposite RE-action. Let’s call that Newton’s Third Law of E-Motion. Love and hate are opposite sides of the same coin. It’s like William Congreve said, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned.” And that was back in 1697 so this ain’t exactly a new idea.
Now if it’s true that songs are the sounds that emotions make, how come love songs outnumber songs of hate? My guess is the reason there are more love songs is because songwriters are such a romantic lot. They see relationships through rose colored glasses and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. And even when they acknowledge the negative side of love, it’s usually with self-pity, me and my broken heart, poor poor pitiful me. Well, self-pity’s one way to respond to having your heart broken, but it’s not the only way. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl takes a look at the alternative. It’s a set for anyone who’s had a broken heart and got pissed off about it. And while there aren’t nearly as many hate songs as there are love songs, there are still too many to fit in one set. We had to leave out the J. Geils classic. Been through diamonds, been through minks, been through it all. Love stinks. And while Lou Reed’s “Vicious” would have worked, turns out somebody stole my copy of Transformer, otherwise we’d have heard Lou suggesting his former flame should just swallow some razor blades. All you need is love? Here’s Kip Addotta.
|Persuaders||Thin Line Between Love and Hate|
|Loudon Wainwright III||Whatever Happened to Us?|
|The Kinks||Hatred (a Duet)|
|Harry Nilsson||You’re Breaking My Heart|
|Jimi Hendrix||Hey Joe|
|Pretenders||Thin Line Between Love and Hate|
Wrapping up a hateful little head-time theme-trip, that’s Chrissie Hynde explaining how the sweetest woman in the world can be the meanest woman in the world, if you make her that way. And what’s the other line in that song? Action speaks louder than words? Well in addition to the two versions of “Thin Line Between Love and Hate” we heard about Joe, taking some action with that gun in his hand. That’s just one of the ugly outcomes that’s possible when affairs of the heart crash and burn. Of course as Harry Nilsson showed, you don’t have to shoot anybody to show that you’re pissed off. You can just curse at ‘em the way does in “You’re Breaking My Heart.” That’s from his album, Son of Schmillson, which reminds me of the title of a Spooky Tooth album: “You broke my heart so I busted your jaw.” Somewhere in the middle Tonio K from his debut album, Life In The Foodchain, we heard my all-time favorite pissed-off-ex-lover-song: “H-A-T-R-E-D”. The line in there about Jackson Browne and “Fountain of Sorrow” is priceless.
The Kinks were in there too with “Hatred (a Duet)” — “Why don’t you just drop dead and don’t recover? You hate me and I hate you. So at least we understand each other.” A couple of comedians in there as well, at the very top we heard Kip Addotta with a bit called “Separation” from his album “I Hope I’m Not Out of Line” and that was Loudon Wainwright III explaining how they used to be in love but now they are in hate, she used to say he came to early but turns out she’s the one came too late. Well, much as I hate to say it, we’re all out of time. Thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and you can track me down on Amazon or Facebook or my website, billfitzhugh.com. Otherwise, just stick around and I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sooner or later, and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Not long ago I told a story about a Dave Mason concert that I never made it to thanks to the work of a vigilant Highway Patrolman. Well, it turns out I’m not the only one with a tale to tell about a show they planned to attend before life intervened. To my surprise, the police were involved in only one of these stories. So you’re probably wondering what else could keep a true rock and roll fan from seeing their favorite artist? Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl has the answer. I’ve got tales of hurricanes, funerals, and parents, specifically Richard’s mom down in Plantation, Florida and Craig’s folks in New Jersey. More about them later.
First let’s return to 1969. John and Cathy were dating and decided to hitchhike from Buffalo down to the Atlantic City Pop Festival. First three days of August, a couple of weeks before Woodstock. On the bill: Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, Three Dog Night, Johnny Winter, and a dozen other major acts. John and Cathy got to Atlantic City with two rides. The way John remembers it, there was a hurricane watch in effect when they arrived. Doing a little research, I found out it was actually Tropical Storm Anna, but the guy who gave them the ride to Atlantic City talked it up like it was a Category 5 hurricane. Still, instead of fleeing the city, John and Cathy got a room in a boarding house and panhandled on the boardwalk to stay fed. A few days later, having never set foot on the festival grounds, they were hitchhiking back to Buffalo when a limo pulled over and offered a ride. Inside was the Grease Band, Joe Cocker’s backup group. They took John and Cathy to breakfast, then drove ‘em all the way to New York City. By the way, John and Cathy have been married now for 37 years. As a side note, John admits that one time he missed a Yardbirds show because he was siting in the parking lot of the venue, so goofy he couldn’t figure out how to get into the building.
I’ll tell you about Richard, Craig, and Heidi after the show. Right now, just imagine a giant rotating stage with one band following another, like a lazy Susan of rock and roll. From the Way Back Studios, here’s another All Hand Mixed Vinyl Concert.
|Climax Blues Band||You Make Me Sick|
|Grateful Dead||Big Boss Man|
|Three Dog Night||Eli’s Coming|
|Rolling Stones||Street Fighting Man|
|Johnny Winter||Good Morning Little School Girl|
|Frank Zappa||Big Leg Emma|
Joni Mitchell wrapping up another Hand Mixed Vinyl concert with “Carey” from Miles of Aisles. We also heard some Zappa, Johnny Winter, and Three Dog Night Live at the Forum. We started the set with the Climax Blues Band followed by the Grateful Dead doing “Big Boss Man.” And that’s for Heidi who sent an email about a show she missed back in 1995. She was supposed to celebrate Father’s Day at Giant’s Stadium with her dad and the Grateful Dead. Sadly, Heidi’s grandfather passed away the Friday before the show. The funeral was on Sunday, the day of the concert. So she missed it, the concert, not the funeral. Making matters worse, Jerry Garcia passed on six weeks later. So Heidi missed her last chance to see Jerry with the band.
In the middle of the set, the Stones from Get Yer Ya Yas Out, which brings us to Richard’s story. A high school junior in Massapequa, NY in 1972. Sitting in class one day, filling out postcards for a lottery, hoping to get tickets to a Stones show at Madison Square Garden. He mailed in a fistful of the cards and didn’t think about it again until later that summer, while he was in Ithaca, taking some classes presumably because he wasn’t paying attention that day he was filling out the postcards. Anyway, Richard’s on the phone with mom when he asked if he’d gotten any mail while he’d been gone. She said, “Yeah, you got something about some concert tickets.” Arrggh. It’s enough to give a Stones fan 19 Nervous Breakdowns. Turns out she didn’t mention it because she didn’t think Richard would be able to get down to the city from Ithaca, figured there was no point in bringing it up.
And finally, there’s Craig from New Jersey who says he missed Lynyrd Skynyrd opening for The Who because he’d been grounded for “getting in trouble with the law.” Well that covers a lot of ground but we’re out of time so we’ll have to pick up with Craig’s sordid life next time. If you’ve got a concert story to tell, send me an email and I’ll share it with the class. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and you can find the set lists, show commentaries, and my email address at billfitzhugh.com. I’ll be back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here n the Deep Tracks.
I believe it was St. Matthew, chapter 7, verse 7 who said, “Ask and it shall be given to you.” Now I never thought that would apply here in the Way Back Studios, but today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl just goes to show you never know. See, not long ago I asked everyone with a favorite old segue or with an idea for a new one to drop me line. Much to my surprise, I heard from Rick, Steven, Kimberly, Jeff, Frank, Beth, and Michael, all scattered around the Sirius-XM Nation, from Oregon, Michigan, Georgia, and places that went unnamed. Between cranking out the tax returns, Scott in Cleveland has LOTS of good ideas, mostly involving at least one record I don’t have in my spotty little record collection, but I’m working on it, so keep those ideas and tax returns coming.
Fortunately I had the albums necessary for two other ideas that came in, though I bet the first one’s not done the way its author intended. In his email Michael said, “there’s a dialogue portion in Wing’s ‘Rock Show’ about halfway through that I’m almost certain would segue with the dialogue part of “Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Well, I tried it and couldn’t make it work, maybe I was doing it wrong. But I found another way to mix the two songs that works just fine so that’s what we’ll hear. After that, we’ve got a nice mix idea from our buddy Kim at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She said she was wading through the Deep Tracks one day when she heard Leon Russell’s “Prince of Peace” and that made her think of Traffic’s “Medicated Goo.” She thought the two might make for a nice segue and sure enough, it’s a beauty. I put Kim’s and Michael’s mixes together but still came up a little short on time so I went fishing for something to fit at one end or the other and again much to my surprise, ended up with three guys with acoustic guitars, starting with the great, Michael Gulezian. From Unspoken Intentions, here’s “20 Park Avenue.”
|Michael Gulezian||20 Park Avenue|
|Taj Mahal||Country Blues Number 1|
|Paul Simon||Armistice Day|
|Wings||Venus and Mars|
|Wings||Rock Show (part 1)|
|Rocky Horror||Time Warp|
|Wings||Rock Show (part 2)|
|Traffic||Medicated Goo (part 1)|
|Leon Russell||Prince of Peace|
|Traffic||Medicated Goo (part 2)|
There’s the Prince of Peace along with Pretty Polly Possum, Freaky Freddy Frolic, Aunty Franny Pricket and Uncle Lou, all helping themselves to a little bit of Traffic’s “Medicated Goo.” That’s a mix suggested by Kim down in Georgia. Before that my interpretation of an idea that came from an All Hand Mixed challenge sent by Michael who might be in Connecticut or may be down in Florida not far from Kim, he didn’t say. He did say he thought there might be a good segue involving Wings and Riff Raff, the character played by the mastermind behind the Rocky Horror Picture show, Richard O’Brien.
We heard the title track to “Venus and Mars” which segues on its own into “Rock Show” which has that false ending which is where we slipped into the “Time Warp” before returning to Wings for the exciting reprise. So a big Way Back Studio thanks to Kim and Michael for their contributions to today’s set which opened with that great acoustic guitar instrumental, “20 Park Avenue” by Michael Gulezian. After that, Henry St. Clair Fredericks, aka, Taj Mahal doing “Country Blues #1 .” We followed that with Paul Simon, grousing about his congressman in “Armistice Day.” Which really isn’t about the anniversary of the end of World War One so much as it’s about Paul being tired of waiting on his duly elected representative to show up and do something.
I’ve waited such a long time, I’ve about waited all I can here in the Way Back Studios which is another way of saying that, my friends, is all we have time for today. But tomorrow, let’s say you’re looking for the set lists and show commentaries, well, you can find ‘em posted on billfitzhugh.com along with some scandalous photos, the unsanitized biography, and various notions and sundries. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back some day with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Way back near the dawn of time, the cheapest way to have music in a bar was to put a jukebox in the corner. Somebody else provided the equipment and the customers payed by the song. Problem was all the silence between songs prevented any momentum from building up. But all that changed with the introduction of the club deejay. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is dedicated to one of the pioneers in the field, a guy outta Brooklyn by the name of Francis Grasso. He’s credited with inventing what’s called the slip cue. He’s also thought to be the first deejay to beat-match records, seamlessly mixing from one song to another. Now, that was easy during the disco era, when deejays categorized their records by beats per minute. But before the simple beat of disco, Grasso was working with increasingly complicated rock albums whose tracks weren’t so easy to blend. He was famous for playing two songs simultaneously for long stretches. From what I’ve read, it was around 1969 that Grasso came up with his most famous mix where he took the percussion break from Chicago’s “I’m a Man” and laid it over the psychedelic mid section of Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love.’
And that’s exactly what we’re gonna do, but with a little something extra because I found a way to break the two songs into five parts with the big overlap in the middle. Now since that’s only a total of thirteen minutes, I took a pair of previously assembled sets that, coincidentally, involve Zeppelin along with Grand Funk, and an excerpt from “Aqualung” to complete the set. But even then, we came up a few minutes short. Now, I suppose you could make the argument that I should just leave well enough alone, but I’d argue otherwise. And by argument I mean a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition, not just the automatic gainsaying of any statement another person makes, that’s just simple contradiction. Well, here I’ll let these guys explain.
|Monty Python||The Argument Clinic|
|Led Zeppelin||Living Loving Maid|
|Jethro Tull||Aqualung (excerpt)|
|Grand Funk Railroad||Aimless Lady|
|Led Zeppelin||Good Times, Bad Times (part 1)|
|Led Zeppelin||Whole Lotta Love (part 1)|
|Chicago Transit Authority||I’m a Man (part 1)|
|Led Zeppelin||Whole Lotta Love (part 2)|
|Chicago Transit Authority||I’m a Man (part 2)[actually both Zeppelin and CTA]|
|Led Zeppelin||Whole Lotta Love (part 3)|
|Led Zeppelin||Good Times, Bad Times (part 2)|
That’s part two of “Good Times, Bad Times” one of three Zeppelin tracks in that set, all of which came from 1969, but from two different albums. Their debut was released in January of that year, featuring the song we just heard. Nine months after that was released, they dropped their second album which gave us “Living Loving Maid” which we heard near the top and “Whole Lotta Love” which we broke into three parts and mixed with Chicago Transit Authority’s “I’m a Man” broken in two. And we did all that in honor of the late, great New York club deejay, Francis Grasso, the guy who invented slip cueing and beat matching, the indispensable tools of the modern club deejay. The last thirteen minutes of that set is my variation of how Mr. Grasso used to mixed “I’m a Man” and “Whole Lotta Love” back in 1969 when he was deejay at night clubs like Haven and Sanctuary. There’s an entry on the All Music Guide website that gives Mr. Grasso his due, check that out for more details. Before all that we did a mix coming out of Grand Funk Railroad’s “Aimless Lady” and into Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times” using the identical drum beats.
We broke the Zeppelin in two, put the good times at the top, the bad times at the bottom. And why not? Earlier in the set, a segue I used to do back on the FM, going from the abrupt ending of “Living Loving Maid” into the middle part of “Aqualung.” And at the very top of the set, just for the funny of it, we heard Monty Python’s “Argument Clinic,” featuring the connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition such as: if you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries, you can drop by my website, billfitzhugh.com. 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 can join us right here in the Deep Tracks.
I’m going to ask you a straightforward question: isn’t it true that you have, perhaps unwillingly, acquired a certain habit through association with certain undesirable people? That’s a line from Reefer Madness, the cult classic from 1936. A cautionary tale about innocent high school students lured into sampling the evil weed, a tragic mistake that leads invariably to hit-and-run driving, manslaughter, rape, suicide, and a gradual descent into madness. The sweet pill that makes life bitter, the film’s poster said. Women cry for it, men die for it. On the other hand, I understand it makes good rope and that rhymes with dope. [“Marijuana! Marijuana, Exhibit A.”]
Compared to Reefer Madness, today’s batch of All Hand Rolled Vinyl takes the alternative view on the subject. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve never smoked it in your life — or if you did but you didn’t inhale. If you were listening to FM rock radio in its heyday, you can probably sing along with most of these songs. And by all means, feel free. And there’s no shortage of songs to choose from, in fact, due to time constraints we didn’t have room for some of our favorites like “I Got Stoned and I Missed It” and the rest of “Coming into Los Angeles.” And you know the chronic wasn’t just a popular subject for the rock and roll crowd. Those jazz guys got there first. Cab Calloway did “Reefer Man” in 1932, a good decade before any of the Classic Rock generation was even conceived. Fats Waller came out with “The Reefer Song” in 1943 the year Mick Jagger was born. We’re going to open and close the set with a funny little monologue that comes from Paul Davis’s album Southern Tracks and Fantasies, talking about the marijuana problem on the streets of Jackson, Mississippi. So from the Way Back Studios, light up or leave me alone, here’s a set that’s ghanja getcha.
|Paul Davis||Magnolia Blues (spoken intro only)|
|Brewer & Shipley||One Toke Over The Line|
|Jesse Winchester||Twigs and Seeds|
|John Prine||Illegal Smile|
|Fraternity of Man||Don’t Bogart Me|
|Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen||Stems and Seeds Again Blues|
|New Lost City Ramblers||Wildwood Weed|
|New Riders of the Purple Sage||Panama Red|
|Little Feat||Don’t Bogart That Joint|
|Paul Davis||Magnolia Blues (spoken outro only)|
She’s like a rainbow coming, colors in the air. Acapulco Gold. Angola black. Jersey green. Mexican brown. Tennessee blue. And of course Panama red. Doesn’t matter if you call ‘em left handed cigarettes or wacky tobaccy. That was a major cash crop of songs about the Wildwood Weed. Somewhere in that cloud of smoke we heard the New Lost City Rambler’s version of the Don Bowman/ Jim Stafford song with the happy ending. Those two guys sittin’ on that sack of seeds. Before that, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen all of whom had a bad case of the Stems and Seeds again Blues, that’s from Deep In The Heart of Texas. Earlier in the set, Jesse Winchester had a similar complaint about how the twigs and seeds just don’t deliver the punch that the old head needs. We opened and closed with the spoken word intro and outro to “Magnolia Blues” where that feller’s talking about the police not being able to control the marijuana on the streets of my home town, Jackson, Mississippi. That’s from Southern Tracks and Fantasies, an album by the late Paul Davis.
We followed that with Brewer & Shipley’s classic, “One Toke Over the Line” followed by Jonathan Edwards from his great debut album. Fill it, light it, shut up, and close the door. Let’s lay around the shanty and put a good buzz on. From the soundtrack to Easy Rider we heard “Don’t Bogart Me” by the Fraternity of Man, with a reprise of the chorus courtesy of Little Feat. And John Prine was in there with that “Illegal Smile” of his, from his debut album in 1971. Well, I think the pipe’s about out and so is our time. Thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and you can read all about it at billfitzhugh.com or look for me on Amazon or your favorite social media site. Either way, I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you know it. [TOKE] And I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Three things you can count on in this world. Death. Taxes. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. A man I’ll call Scott G, back in Cleveland, was knee deep in both death and taxes one night as he prepared a decedent’s final tax return while listening to Deep Tracks. Speaking of death, the late Tommy Bolin came on with “Post Toastee” and somewhere in the song Scott thought he heard a possible segue with Dave Mason’s “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave,” which sounds like the punch line to a tax joke. As you probably know, “Post Toastee” is a nine minute cautionary tale about the very thing that killed Tommy Bolin at the tender age of 25. He’s one of two artists in this set who died tragic early deaths, more about that later. Anyway, Scott sent an email about the idea and next time I was out here in the Way Back Studios, I got under the hood and looked at the thing. Turns out Scott was onto something.
“Post Toastee” breaks down into three parts, so my job was figuring out the hows and whens and wheres of merging two other tracks into the transitions. Long story short, it turns out the Dave Mason breaks into two parts that fit in the second break and at the end of “Post Toastee.” So I still needed something to slip into that first break. And once again, death reared its fearsome head. Instinct made me grab the first studio album by the late Jaco Pastorius where I found a track that worked like nobody’s business. I can’t say for sure, but I think it’s called “O-kon-kil-e y Trompa.” Even if I said that wrong, you’re still gonna love the sound of the mix. So that’s the bulk of the set. At the top I tacked on one by those Disgraced Schoolboys, The Kinks, a song called “The Hard Way.” But we’re going to start with something from one of my favorite albums of 1980. Willie Nile’s debut, a track called “Vagabond Moon.”
|Willie Nile||Vagabond Moon|
|The Kinks||The Hard Way|
|Tommy Bolin||Post Toastie (part 1)|
|Jaco Pastorius||Okonkile y Trompa|
|Tommy Bolin||Post Toastie (part 2)|
|Dave Mason||Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave (part 1)|
|Tommy Bolin||Post Toastie (part 3)|
|Dave Mason||Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave (part 2)|
Seems the simple things are hardest to explain. That’s from Alone Together, Dave Mason’s first solo effort after leaving Traffic. We heard that off the original pressing of the album which was done in that very cool, multi-colored marble-looking vinyl. The album featured most of the big names who played with Joe Cocker on the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. Delaney and Bonnie, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge and others. The idea to mix “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave” with Tommy Bolin’s “Post Toastee” came from our pal Scott G in Cleveland. But those two songs weren’t enough for a whole show, so I added “O-kon-kil-e Y Trompa,” that electric bass, French horn, and percussion instrumental earlier in the mix, courtesy of the late Jaco Pastorius who was born the same year as Tommy Bolin. Two enormous talents with equally enormous drug problems. Jaco had the added burden of mental illness and ended up broke, homeless, and beaten to death at the age of 35 by a nightclub bouncer somewhere in Florida, the same state where Tommy Bolin died of a drug overdose at the age of 25.
“Post Toastee” by the way, was the last song Tommy Bolin played while opening a show for Jeff Beck in December of ‘76. Still alive and well at the top of the set, we heard Willie Nile doing “Vagabond Moon” from his debut album. If you can track it down, get it. It’s a fabulous album. We also heard “The Hard Way” from The Kinks album Schoolboys in Disgrace. You do it your way and I’ll do it my way and we’ll see who’s the one to survive in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. In case you’re wondering, we’ve got the set lists and the show commentaries posted on billfitzhugh.com, along with everything you ever wanted to know about that guy Carl Hiaasen called a ‘deeply disturbed individual.’ I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you can join us. Right here in the Deep Tracks.
I’ll be right up front and tell you this one doesn’t make any more sense than a necktie that’s fallen asleep or a carpet that needs a haircut. But it works like a man in baggy pants with a lonely face and a crazy grin. It started one day when I picked up a compilation album called Teen Beat, featuring instrumental rock singles recorded between ‘57 and ‘65, the heyday of such stuff. Had B. Bumble and the Stingers on it, The Piltdown Men, and the Phil Upchurch Combo, among others. But today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl was triggered by Track 3 on Side 1. Guy named Sandy Nelson played drums for The Teddy Bears, Phil Spector’s band that had a hit with “To know him is to love him.” Sandy later recorded several albums on his own and had a minor hit with a track called “Let There Be Drums” which is the song that got me started on today’s set.
Not long after getting the record, I heard the end of side 2 of Abbey Road, you know that big drum part leading into “The end” [INSERT DRUM PART] and I could just imagine Ringo and Sandy tangling in a wild and wooly drum segue that’s worth waiting for. But that wasn’t enough. I still needed fifteen minutes. So I backtracked from “Golden Slumbers,” and that turned the first half of the set into a parade of desperate men wading deep into retro-introspection and alcohol, urgently reaching out to tell their tales of love, hope, and disillusionment. What was it Leonard Cohen said to Janis Joplin? ‘You said you liked handsome men, but for me you’d make an exception.’ Something like that. And who can forget Don McClean’s line: ‘You know I’ve heard about people like me, but I never made the connection.’ It doesn’t matter if you’re lying in a burned out basement with the full moon in your eyes or if the telephone’s out of cigarettes. Listen to the words in the first half of this set and the segues in the second. And remember, some people are in a hurry to leave, but Tom Waits.
|Tom Waits||The Piano Has Been Drinking|
|Bruce Springsteen||Wild Billy’s Circus Story|
|Leonard Cohen||Chelsea Hotel No. 2|
|Neil Young||After the Goldrush|
|Beatles||Carry the Weight|
|Sandy Nelson||Let There Be Drums|
That’s the lazy man’s version of hand mixing. I just used the existing segues from the medley on the second side of Abbey Road – it’s really just a collection of songs and snippets of songs that George Martin and Paul McCartney put together from various recording sessions. We heard “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End” which contains the only drum solo Ringo ever recorded for the Beatles. And that’s what led me to insert Sandy Nelson’s 1961 hit, “Let There Be Drums.” I stumbled on that track a few months ago at a used record store and decided to put it in that set. Probably hadn’t heard the song in 35 years. Then a week or two later I happened to tune into Tom Petty’s Buried Treasure show and he was playing that song. What’re the odds of that?
The first half of that set was a regular singer-songwriter convention. Tom Waits got us started with “The Piano Has Been Drinking” from his album, Small Change, followed by Springsteen doing “Wild Billy’s Circus Story” about the fat lady, big mama, Missy Bimbo, yawning while the man-beast sniffs his popcorn. After that we checked in to Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel #2”a song said to chronicle his relationship with Janis Joplin. That’s from his album New Skin for the Old Ceremony. After that the guy who can kill you softly with his song, Don McClean with a track called “Crossroads.” As the last piano note decays at the end of the song, we dreamed we saw the nights in armor coming, saying something about the queen. Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush,” a name he borrowed from the title of a screenplay written by his friend, the actor, Dean Stockwell. There were children crying and colors flying all around the Way Back Studios and that’s a sign that we’re out of time. Thanks for listening. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. back sooner or later with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.