As you know, things don’t always turn out as planned. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is a fine example of that. I was here in the Way Back Studio listening to Tumbleweed Connection. I was basking in the imagery of the American West that had captured Bernie Taupin’s imagination when Gordon Huntly started playing steel guitar and that made me think of Elton’s “Texan Love Song” with Davey Johnstone’s tasty banjo part. And then I started thinking about other English musicians and their take on American country blues. Well, before I knew it The Rolling Stones were deeply involved and then Rod Stewart showed up to do what I’ve always thought was an American folk hymn but which turned out to have been written by a former British slave trader who was later ordained in the Church of England which just goes to show you can learn something every day. But after that, the English part of the plan fell apart. Next thing I knew we had folks from California, New York, Oklahoma, and Kansas in the set. In the middle of the thing we ended up with a blues classic written by Robert Johnson or Elmore James, depending on who you believe. On either side of that, we’ve got songs written by Mississippi Fred McDowell. Now the funny thing about Mississippi Fred is that he’s from Tennessee but that’s neither here nor there. The Stones covered one of McDowell’s songs on Sticky Fingers and Bonnie Raitt covered another one on her album Takin’ My Time. Tucked between the two is Taj Mahal from his album, Oh So Good ‘n’ Blues. At the end of the set, we abandon the entire theme for J.J. Cale and Los Lobos. But that left me about a minute and a half short, so I reached out to Joe Walsh. I said, Joe, I need 90 seconds. He said, I can give you 58. I said I need 90. He said, take it or leave it. I said, okay but it’s gotta be a blues. He said, no sweat. So, here’s a little ditty from So What.
|All Night Laundry Mat Blues
|No Shoestrings on Louise
|Write Me a Few of Your Lines / Kokomo
|Dust My Broom
|You Gotta Move
|Takin’ Care of Business
|How Will the Wolf Survive?
Produced by T-Bone Burnett and released in 1984, that’s the title track from the breakthrough album by Los Lobos. They had released a few things before that but this is the record that made ‘em famous and rightly so. Ultimately ending up on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Before that, from his eighth album, J.J. Cale “Takin’ Care of Business.” We opened the set with a bit of silliness from Joe Walsh because we needed an extra sixty seconds and he gave us a ditty called the “All Night Laundry Mat Blues.” That led us into Elton John’s “No Shoestrings on Louise” which I’ve always thought had a bit of a country lilt to it. Consequently we slipped into the country blues portion of the program with “Dear Doctor” from Beggar’s Banquet, an album that featured a couple of other nods to American country music. A couple of songs later the Stones returned with the blues, “You Gotta Move,” from Sticky Fingers, written by the great Mississippi Fred McDowell. Speaking of whom, Bonnie Raitt also covered Mississippi Fred in that set. From her album Takin’ My Time, we heard “Write Me a Few of Your Lines, Kokomo Blues.” Then it was Taj Mahal covering the lassic “Dust My Broom” which has been credited to both Robert Johnson and Elmore James and I’m not the guy to get to the bottom of that argument so don’t ask me. Rod Stewart was in there too, with a little bit of “Amazing Grace” which is on Every Picture Tells a Story but isn’t acknowledged in the credits, it’s just there. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found, usually in the Way Back Studio. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. We keep the set lists and show commentaries on my website billfitzhugh dot com and we’ve got a Facebook page for further interaction, so drop by and make us a friend. I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.