One of the things we like to do here in the Way Back Studios is play with your expectations. This assumes a certain familiarity with the music on your part like, for example, when you hear the medley on side two of Abbey Road. You expect “Sun King” will be followed inevitably by “Mean Mr. Mustard,” “Polythene Pam,” and “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window.” But what if we re-insert “Her Majesty” between “Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam” the way it was originally assembled? And what if the Joe Cocker version of “Bathroom Window” comes on where you’re expecting the Beatles to continue? Well, it just makes your ears smile. That’s the whole idea. And we’ll be doing that Beatles / Joe Cocker mix in a few shows but today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl assumes you are familiar with Todd Rundgren’s magnum opus Something / Anything. I got an email recently from Joe Lewis in Cary, Illinois. He had a stack of mixing ideas for me, including one from side two of Something / Anything, the so-called cerebral side of the album. The side begins with “Intro” also known as the Sounds of the Studio game which goes straight into the instrumental “Breathless.” Joe didn’t have any specific ideas, he just thought there might be something fun to do in place of “Breathless.”
Well, I’d been meaning to give that a try, and I found exactly what the doctor ordered on Rick Wakeman’s album, The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Since all the songs on that album are instrumentals, they don’t have anything literal to do with the biographical facts of the women in question. In the album’s liner notes Rick explained that the songs are his personal conception of the various wives in relation to his keyboard instruments which goes a long way toward explaining how people were thinking back in 1973. Now since Todd and Rick are all about keyboards and synthesizers, I figured it made sense to pile on a few more played by the likes of Edgar Winter, Jan Hammer, Kraftwerk, and Three Dog Night. But before we go any further, let’s join Todd in his studio, and see what he’s up to.
|Rick Wakeman||Anne of Cleves (part 1)|
|Edgar Winter||Jump Right Out|
|Rick Wakeman||Anne of Cleves (part 2)|
|3 Dog Night||Chest Fever|
|Rick Wakeman||Anne of Cleves (part 3)|
|Kraftwerk||Autobahn (6th part)|
|Jan Hammer||Miami Vice|
That’s Todd Rundgren’s “Breathless” from his album Something / Anything. At the very top of the set, we did the track that you expect to lead into “Breathless”: “Intro” also known as the Sounds of the Studio game. But instead of letting nature takes its course and leaving well enough alone, we did some hand mixing into Rick Wakeman’s instrumental “Anne of Cleves” from his album The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Anne was Henry’s fourth wife, and one of the few to meet a happy ending. Two of his wives died of natural causes, two died after giving birth, and two died from having their heads cut off. By the way, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were the wives who didn’t need to go hat shopping after being married to the King. Now, Anne of Cleves was married to Henry for about 6 months. As I’m sure you could tell just by listening to Rick’s instrumental, their marriage was annulled on the grounds they hadn’t consummated it as well as on some other nuptial technicality. But lucky for Anne, she ended up with a good settlement instead of with her neck on the chopping block.
However, here, she wasn’t so lucky. We took her and chopped her into three parts, inserting Edgar Winter’s “Jump Right Out” in the first break and Three Dog Night’s version of “Chest Fever” in the second. By the way, as far as I know, Rick Wakeman has been through only three wives all of whom still have their heads. That part of the set was inspired by a suggestion from Joe Lewis in Cary, Illinois. If you’ve got a segue idea or if you just want to say hi, drop by billfitzhugh.com and send me a note. I’d love to hear from you. After all that hand mixing, we slipped into an excerpt from Kraftwerk’s twenty-two minute long “Autobahn” and then mixed into Jan Hammer’s “Miami Vice” one of several variations of that tune that he recorded for the television series which was one of the first to be broadcast in stereo. From the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back before you know it with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.