Back around 1975 I went shopping for a new pair of speakers. The salesman steered me towards a pair of Klipsch Heresys, the smallest speakers Klipsch made at the time. And I think they weighed about fifty pounds each. They came in couple of different finishes, but to save fifty bucks, I bought the unfinished version. And 35 years later, after having the woofer re-coned once, I’m still using them here in the Way Back Studios. At the store where I bought them, they used one album to demonstrate the speakers. The album was called I’ve Got The Music In Me by Thelma Houston and Pressure Cooker, a group of some of LA’s best studio musicians, including Tom Scott, Jim Gordon, Larry Carlton and others. It was produced by Sheffield Labs and recorded direct to master disc and the sound is unbelievable. There’s an instrumental called “Dish Rag” featuring a trombone part that still makes the hair stand up on my neck. And that’s the song that made the sale.
But today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features a different song from the album, a cover of “Got To Get You Into My Life.” The horns at the end mix nicely into the horns at the start of the fab four’s “Magical Mystery Tour” whose horns later segue beautifully into a track by the Electric Light Orchestra which is the song that got me started on this set to begin with. I heard “Boy Blue” recently and every time the chorus came on, I found myself singing the chorus to “Hang On Sloopy.” Trust me, this is a very cool little segue in the middle of the set. And as luck would have it, Sloopy ends cold with a big drum lick that matches the drums at the start of “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band,” a song with two false endings. Well, as you know, when we find a song with a hole, we stick something in it. In this case we stayed with the rock and roll theme. But first, we’ll hear another Beatles cover from a former member of Sha Na Na. From the Way Back Studios, here’s Henry Gross.
|Thelma Houston||Got to Get You Into My Life|
|The Beatles||Magical Mystery Tour|
|Electric Light Orchestra||Boy Blue|
|The McCoys||Hang On Sloopy|
|The Moody Blues||I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band (part 1)|
|The Beatles||Rock ‘n’ Roll Music|
|The Moody Blues||I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band (part 2)|
|Elton John||Your Sister Can’t Twist But She Can Rock and Roll|
|The Moody Blues||I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band (part 3)|
Written by John Lodge, who won an ASCAP songwriting award for it, that’s from The Moody Blues album, Seventh Sojourn. The song was John’s way of saying, don’t look to me for any answers, “I’m Just A Singer (in a rock and roll band).” We broke the track into three parts and, in keeping with the rock and roll theme, inserted “Your Sister Can’t Twist (but she can rock and roll)” and the Beatles covering Chuck Berry’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music.” We opened the set with Henry Gross covering the Beatles’ “Help” followed by Thelma Houston and Pressure Cooker from the album I’ve Got The Music In Me, a direct-to-master-disc recording that’s hands down the best sounding album in my collection. If you can find a clean copy of this record, get it.
From Thelma’s cover of the Beatles “Got To Get You Into My Life” we mixed into the Fab Four themselves doing “Magical Mystery Tour” which then segued into The Electric Light Orchestra doing “Boy Blue” and from there we went to Union City, Indiana, for The McCoys featuring Randy Zehringer and his brother Rick who later changed his last name to Derringer. The McCoys also featured Randy Jo Hobbs who would go on to play bass with both Johnny and Edgar Winter. “Hang On Sloopy” was a #1 hit in 1965 and it’s the official rock song of the state of Ohio. Why Ohio, not Indiana? Well there seems to be some argument about whether the band was actually from Dayton, and not Union City, Indiana, not far away. Another one of life’s great mysteries, unlike our set lists and show commentaries which you can find at billfitzhugh.com along with the truth behind the rumors and a list of recommended reading. Well I’m just a deejay on a rock and roll station and I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, and I hope you’ll join us. From the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh in the Deep Tracks.