Segment 117

The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get. That’s the title of Joe Walsh’s second solo album. Its most famous track is “Rocky Mountain Way,” but it also gave us the FM rock standard, “Meadows,” a song I can’t listen to without singing the chorus for Deep Purple’s “Woman From Tokyo.” The two songs rely on a remarkably similar guitar riff, which is exactly what got us started on today’s set. Funny thing is that while the set started that way, it ended up being less about Joe Walsh and Ritchie Blackmore than about a couple of guys who worked behind-the-scenes at Hitsville, U.S.A., also known as Motown. Now when you think of Motown, you either think of their signature acts, like the Four Tops, the Supremes, the Temptations, and all the rest, or you think of the guys behind the curtain, like label founder Berry Gordy, or the Funk Brothers, Motown’s house band, or the famous songwriting and producing team of Holland, Dozier, and Holland. But there was another songwriting and producing team at Motown whose names weren’t as well known, but whose songs were. Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote a lot of Motown’s biggest hits, among them, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Psychedelic Shack.”

But the songwriting teams at Motown weren’t set in stone. Every now and then, members would switch teams, as was the case for the song at the center of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. “I Know I’m Losing You,” was written by Norman Whitfield and Eddie Holland, along with Cornelius Grant who was the guitarist for the Temptations. The song topped the R&B charts and made it to #8 on the pop charts. It was later covered by Rare Earth and Rod Stewart, among others. So, keeping all that in mind, from the Way Back Studios, here are six songs, mixed in twelve parts all of which adhere to the Motown motto: “It’s what’s in the grooves that counts.”

Rod Stewart (I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 1)
Rare Earth (I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 1)
The Temptations Psychedelic Shack
Rare Earth (I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 2)
Rod Stewart (I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 2)
Rare Earth (I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 3)
Deep Purple Woman From Tokyo (part 1)
Joe Walsh Meadows (excerpt)
Deep Purple Woman From Tokyo (part 2)
Rare Earth (I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 4)
The Temptations (I Know) I’m Losin’ You
Rare Earth (I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 5)

The Rare Earth version of (I Know) I’m Losing You is just about eleven minutes long. We took about half of that, broke it into five parts and mixed it with Rod Stewart’s version of the song done in two parts and the original version by the Temptations, done in one. The song was written by Eddie Holland, Cornelius Grant, and a guy named Norman Whitfield who produced both the original version and the one by Rare Earth. Whitfield showed up at Motown when he was nineteen and badgered Berry Gordy until he got a job. Whitfield eventually replaced Smoky Robinson as the main producer for The Temptations and he moved them from the established Motown sound of pop R&B into the realm that came to be known as psychedelic soul or funk rock with songs like “Cloud Nine” “Ball of Confusion” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Psychedelic Shack” all of which Whitfield co-wrote with his usual writing partner, Barrett Strong. Rare Earth was the first band signed to a new label under the Motown umbrella. At the time, the label didn’t have a name. The band suggested Rare Earth, and Rare Earth Records was born.

In the middle of all that psychedelic soul we did a mix of Deep Purple and Joe Walsh. “Woman From Tokyo,” with that signature guitar riff, was recorded in Rome in July of 1972. A few months later, (and before anyone had heard the Deep Purple) Joe Walsh recorded “Meadows,” a song with an almost identical guitar riff, requiring me to do that thing we do, playing songs you know, in ways you’ve never heard before. Thanks for listening. By the way, if you’ve got comments or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you. You’ll find an email link at my website which you can find with a Bing or Google or the search engine of your choice. From the psychedelic shack we call the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll have a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, right here in the Deep Tracks…

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