Way, way back in the mists of time, somewhere in the mid-1980’s, there was a radio station in Seattle: K.J.E.T. K-Jet, 15-90 on the AM dial. They were one of the first stations to play the likes of Camper Van Beethoven and Wall of Voodoo. K-JET’s program director was a guy named Steve Larson who moved to the Emerald City after doing album rock radio at KBPI-FM in Denver. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is anchored by a brilliant segue created by my pal Steve. It happened like this: One night, KBPI was hosting a Supertramp concert. Prior to the show, as was the norm, they were playing the station’s feed over the venue’s sound system. Steve says that just before the lights dimmed they were playing Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You.” As the song winds down with its bluesy acoustic guitar and Robert Plant singing the closing lines, Supertramp took the stage and began playing “School” which opens with an extended harmonica part. Well, Steve knows a good segue when he hears one, but at that moment he didn’t know exactly how good it was. So after the concert he returned to the station and pulled Zeppelin’s debut album and Supertramp’s Crime of the Century and discovered it was a doozy. Smack in the middle of today’s set is perhaps the single best song-to-song segue in the history of mankind. And as you listen, keep in mind there is no harmonica on the Zeppelin record.
But of course two songs does not a full set make, so we’ll go from “School” to “School’s Out” a song that ends with what sounds like someone stopping the record on the turntable, which is the same sound effect David Bowie used to transition from “Momma’s Little Jewel” into “All The Young Dudes” on that Mott the Hoople album he produced, resulting in yet another fun segue. But before those Classic Vinyl war horses, we’ll go a little deeper. From Jethro Tull’s Benefit: “Sossity, You’re a Woman.”
|Jethro Tull||Sossity, You’re a Woman|
|Led Zeppelin||Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You|
|Alice Cooper||School’s Out|
|Mott the Hoople||All the Young Dudes|
You gotta like an album that wears panties. Back in 1972 when you brought home your copy of Alice Cooper’s School’s Out and you slid the album from the sleeve with your trembling little fingers, you found it wearing a pair of cheap blue panties. A pair of which I currently have in my possession. They didn’t do that sort of thing with cds. And you can’t do it with MP3 files. But they did it with vinyl. Rumor has it the original release of the album was recalled because the panties weren’t flame retardant, which raises the questions: who figured that out and under what circumstances? In any event, if you joined us in the middle of that set you may have thought you’d tuned into Classic Vinyl, what with all the rock standards being trotted out. But as I’ve explained before, here in the Way Back Studios, the segues determine the songs we play, not the other way around. So when we noticed “School’s Out” ends with the same sound effect you hear at the start of “All the Young Dudes,” well, we just couldn’t help ourselves.
But the real beauty in that set was a mix created by my friend Steve Larson when he was at KBPI-FM in Denver back in the mid Seventies. Going from Zeppelin’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” into Supertramp’s “School,” we overlapped thirty-some-odd seconds of Rick Davies harmonica part over the end of the Zeppelin. What’s most amazing is how they both break at the same time, several times during that thirty seconds. In fact, it sounds like Davies is playing harmonica with Led Zeppelin. Steve Larson, by the way, was the program director for K.J.E.T., Seattle when we met in the early Eighties. KJET was one of the country’s first new wave stations, and also the first station in the nation to carry a show called Radio Free Comedy, a little something you can read about in the archives section of my website, Billfitzhugh dot com. At the top of the set, we went deep with Jethro Tull’s “Sossity, You’re a Woman.” Maybe those panties belong to her. From the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh not wearing the cheap blue panties. I’ll be back eventually with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks