The world of rock and roll is a strange brew of surprising associations and unexpected connections. Connections so varied that they can take you from a hippie folk-country jug band to a hard rock power trio to some rock steady R&B and some Georgia Cotton field jazz without breaking a link in the chain of fools who make up today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. For example, let’s say we played some Lovin’ Spoonful, a band featuring John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky. Zal was in the Mugwumps with Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty who went on to be half of the Mamas & the Papas, meanwhile, Cass Elliot recorded an album with Dave Mason so that gets us to Traffic as well as some obscure Fleetwood Mac and that’s not all because Dave also recorded with Phoebe Snow who recorded a duet with Paul Simon and also toured with Donald Fagan’s New York Rock and Soul Review that takes us to Steely Dan and, well, the point is that from any given starting point in the Deep Tracks, you can choose an almost infinite number of paths to follow.
By way of example, let’s return to the Lovin’ Spoonful. Instead of following the connections from the Mugwumps, let’s follow a path with John Sebastian. In addition to his solo career, he played harmonica on Jesse Colin Young’s 1965 album, Young Blood. Now the Youngbloods, recorded some songs written by Gail Collins who also wrote some of the songs on Cream’s album Disraeli Gears which was produced by her husband and writing partner Felix Pappalardi who was in Mountain and later, with Jack Bruce from Cream, formed West, Bruce, and Laing. And from there we can get to Aretha Franklin and the Crusaders but you’ll have to wait until after the set to see how we do that. Oh, and then there’s the criminally negligent homicide part of the story that will have to wait as well. So, from the Way Back Studios, let’s head to Nashville with the Lovin’ Spoonful.
|Rainbows All OVer Your Blues
|The Wine Song
|Strange Brew (part 1)
|Strange Brew (part 2)
From 1972, that’s The Crusaders doing a Joe Sample composition called “Georgia Cottonfield.” Now if you look at Joe’s resume you’ll see that he’s played with everybody from Boz Scaggs to Eric Clapton. The same is true for the rest of the Crusaders and that was the whole point of that set. The connections between the musicians who make up the library here in the Deep Tracks. So if you’re keeping score, here we go: Before “Georgia Cottonfield” we heard from Leslie West, stepping out of Mountain with a song called “Storyteller Man” featuring the bass of Chuck Rainey who also played with The Crusaders. Chuck also played on “Rock Steady” with Aretha Franklin from her 1971 album, Young, Gifted, and Black.
In the middle of the set we took Cream’s “Strange Brew” and, during the false ending, we inserted Mountain’s “Silver Paper.” And that’s where things start to get interesting. Gail Collins co-wrote “Strange Brew” with Clapton and her husband, Felix Pappalardi who formed Mountain with Leslie West in 1969. About 14 years later Collins shot Felix in the neck and killed him. Turned out Felix had been having an affair and Gail found out. The jury bought her story that it was an accident and convicted her of criminally negligent homicide instead of 2nd degree murder. Before all the shooting broke oue we heard The Youngbloods, John Sebastian, and the Lovin’ Spoonful. The connections being that The Youngbloods also recorded songs written by Gail Collins. John Sebastian played harmonica on a Jesse Collin Young album and of course was one of the founders of the Lovin’ Spoonful.
And speaking of connections, both Aretha Franklin and Leslie West have a Bacon number of 2. Aretha was in “Blues Brothers 2000” with John Goodman who was in “Death Sentence” with KB. And Leslie West was in “The Money Pit” with Wendell Pierce who was in “Sleepers” with KB. I could go on but we’re all out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.