Pianos, like politics, can make for strange bedfellows, and today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl stands as exhibit A in that argument. Though it may not sound like it, there’s usually some sort of method to the madness that leads to the construction of these sets. In this instance, we started with a suggestion from my pal Jay Snider in New Jersey. This is Jay’s second idea to get into a mix, making my job that much easier. Jay said he thought the opening piano part of “Hey Bulldog” sounded a lot like the slower, descending piano part at the end of “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor.” And sure enough, it works. Now, since “Hey Bulldog” ends on a fade, making potential transitions less elegant, my best bet was to build in the other direction, to find a song with piano leading into “One Man’s Ceiling.” As fate would have it, I found the song I needed on an album with a cartoon drawing of a big bulldog on the front. Ben Sidran’s Don’t Let Go, from 1974. We’ll hear a humorous little ditty about exercising self-control. Now Ben Sidran’s singing style has always reminded me of Mose Allison and I’ve always wanted to do a set putting them side by side, so to scratch that itch, I took a Duke Ellington composition that Mose covered on his album Middle Class White Boy.
And since Mose tends toward jazzy, I found myself backing up into June, Bonnie, Ruth, and Anita – the Pointer Sisters from their jazzy album That’s a Plenty. From there I just kept working backwards in search of more pianos. Not surprisingly we ran into Dr. John but somewhat surprisingly we found him tickling the ivories for a Maria Muldour classic. Before that we’ll hear one from Randy Newman’s Good Old Boys, a plea to the Commander in Chief coming on the heels of a Wild Tale from Graham Nash. But we’ll start with one from After The Goldrush. On piano from the Way Back Studios, here’s Neil Young.
|Graham Nash||I Miss You|
|Randy Newman||Mr. President|
|Maria Muldour||Don’t You Feel My Leg|
|Pointer Sisters||Shaky Flat Blues|
|Mose Allison||I’m Just a Lucky So ‘n’ So|
|Ben Sidren||Down to the Bone|
|Paul Simon||One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor|
Nine tracks, plenty of piano, and all vinyl, the last of which from Yellow Submarine, the only Beatles album generally considered to be non-essential, that’s one called “Hey Bulldog.” Leading into that, based on a suggestion from New Jersey Jay Snider, we had Barry Beckett playing piano for Rhymin’ Paul Simon on the track “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor.” At the top we heard Neil Young on piano telling his lover that it’s over, followed by Graham Nash singing about his broken heart in a simple song called, “I Miss You.” After that, the first of two songs produced by Lenny Waronker. First, with his childhood pal, Randy Newman we heard “Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)”. That’s followed by the sultry tones and supply thighs of Maria Muldaur backed by none other than Dr. John on piano. The classic: “Don’t You Feel My Leg.”
We also pulled two tracks from albums released on the Blue Thumb label, both from1974. First, we heard the Pointer Sisters’ “Shaky Flat Blues” featuring Tom Salisbury on piano. The second blue thumber was a guy who doesn’t need to hire anybody to play keyboards. Ben Sidran, perhaps best known for his work with the Steve Miller Band. But this time from one of his many solo albums, this one called Don’t Let Go, we heard his amusing little ditty, “Down To The Bone.” And in between those two, the guy from Tippo, Mississippi who blazed the trail for Ben Sidran, Mr. Mose Allison covering the Duke Ellington classic, “I’m Just a Lucky So ‘n’ So.” Well, like Paul Simon was singing earlier, There’s been some strange goin’s on, and some folks have come and gone from the Way Back Studios and I’m about to be one ‘em. And remember: many of the answers to your questions can be found at billfitzhugh.com. I’m Bill Fitzhugh thanks for listening. 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.