Kids if you want some fun, the Way Back Studios is the place you wanna be. We’re always laughing and playing the record machine here on dusty outskirts of Los Angeles. And today is no different except maybe a little bit. Because this batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl consists of seven tracks that revolve around something that’s not exactly what you’d call Ajax Acme Do Good B-flat rock and roll. In fact some of the songs in today’s set have what you might call a funny beat. Some of it stems from Afro-Caribbean carnival music: call it calypso, chutney, or steelpan. Others stem more from the rhythms originating in Jamaica: ska and rock-steady, verging on reggae where the accent’s on the off beat, sometimes known as the skank or the blue beat. A rhythm that eventually takes us down to New Orleans for that second line back beat Mardi Gras music as played by The Meters. The funky sort of groove that inspired Lowell George and his Little Feat to cook up that “Dixie Chicken” the way they did.
Now, as much as we all might enjoy it, we’re not going down to the dock to hear Harry Belafonte do the “Banana Boat Song” but we do end up in “Montego Bay,” a big hit for Bobby Bloom back in 1970. Unfortunately, that turned out to be his only hit. At the age of 28, he was shot and killed while scuffling with a man who was never identified. And, as usual, the fight was over a girl, a girl whose name, like the killer’s, was lost in the gunsmoke, but we’ll call her “Cecelia” for reasons that become apparent about three songs in. Of course since none of the songs have exactly the same beatn they pretty much defy being segued. But that’s never stopped me before, so consider yourself forewarned. In any event, all this music comes from fun-in-the-sun places which is why we call this the resort music set. So put on your Bermuda shorts and plenty of sun screen, stick an umbrella in your drink and turn up the volume because “Everyone’s Gone To The Movies.”
|Steely Dan||Everyone’s Gone to the Movies|
|Art Garfunkle||I Shall Sing|
|Simon and Garfunkle||Cecelia|
|Bobby Bloom||Montego Bay|
|Robert Palmer||Man Smart, Woman Smarter|
|The Meters||Hey Pockey Away|
|Little Feat||Dixie Chicken|
For a guy born in L.A., and I don’t mean lower Alabama, Lowell George sure could sound like he grew up down in New Orleans or at least near the bright lights of Memphis and the Commodore Hotel. Sort of like Randy Newman in that respect except where Randy conjured that Southern image with his lyrics, Lowell did it with that funky southern syncopation. Before “Dixie Chicken” we heard from some guys who ARE New Orleans. The Meters gave us a lot of great music over the years but none greater than “Hey Pockey Away.” That’s from their Rejuvination album in 1974. Robert Palmer was big fan of The Meters and used them as a back up group on some of his recordings but on “Man Smart, Woman Smarter,” he’s got most of Little Feat sitting in with him. That’s from an album called Some People Can Do What They Like. Like having Little Feat sit in with you.
Before the Robert Palmer, we heard Bobby Bloom’s one hit, “Montego Bay.” Earlier I told you about the unfortunate circumstances of Bobby’s death at the age of 28. Here’s the rest of the story, or at least some of it: Bobby’s producer Jeff Barry, who co-wrote “Montego Bay” with Bloom, was surprised one day to found out he was the sole beneficiary of Bloom’s life insurance policy. Now that’s a friend. At the top of the set, Steely Dan shared the smutty little story of Mr. LaPage with his 8 millimeter projecter showing the kids things they’d never seen before in “Everyone’s Gone To The Movies.” Then it was Art Garfunkle from Angel Clare covering Van Morrison’s “I Shall Sing” which was reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkle’s “Cecelia.” It’s been many years since she ran away, and yes, that guitar player sure could play in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. If you want to find out more about the show, just give me a Google and drop by the website. It’s all there. I’ll be back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl right here in the Deep Tracks.