As far as I know, in the history of rock and roll, there’s only one group that started its career with three two-record sets. Most of the artists in the Deep Tracks only have one or two in their entire catalogue if you leave out the live albums and greatest hits compilations. The Beatles, the Stones, Springsteen, and Van Morrison each did one, and Van didn’t get around to his until album number 23. The Who, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Todd Rundgren each did two. And Dylan has two or three, depending on how you categorize The Basement Tapes. And of course Frank Zappa released several over the years. But Chicago came out of the gate with three two-record sets, back-to-back-to-back. Their first two were impressive collections of pop-rock-jazz fusion with a three man horn section threatening to overpower the standard rock quartet. But on their third album they ventured into new territory, songs featuring acoustic guitars and even the pedal steel. And that’s the style that sets the tone for today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. Following one each from America and Fleetwood Mac, we’ll hear Chicago sounding as country as they could on “What Else Can I Say.”
Toward the end of the set we’ll get “The Treasure” from Steve Stills and Manassas. Followed by Mr. Stills with his buddies Nash and Crosby, and I don’t mean Ogden and Bing. But we’ll start in 1973. Long before he became a multi-faceted corporation, Jimmy Buffett was just a great songwriter. And his album A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean stands as proof. Now there aren’t any fancy segues in this set, just six songs that work like a finely tuned relay team with each handing off to the next in perfect stride, never dropping the baton. So here’s that man from Margaritaville singing about the “Death of an Unpopular Poet.”
|Jimmy Buffett||Death of an Unpopular Poet|
|America||Never Found the Time|
|Chicago||What Else Can I Say?|
|Manassas||The Treasure (Take One)|
|Crosby, Stills, Nash||Pre-road Downs|
Coming in at number 259 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, those guys from The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies; Crosby, Stills, and Nash with “Pre Road Downs” a tune that wins the award for the best advice in a pop song: be sure to hide the roaches. Before that, Manassas, the band Bill Wyman said he would leave the Rolling Stones to join. We heard take one of “The Treasure” from their debut album which is a remarkable two record set. Speaking of which, before the Manassas, the only group in rock history to start with three two-record sets: Chicago. From their third album, complete with uncharacteristic slide guitar instead of horns, we heard “What Else Can I Say?” Now I looked all over the place but I couldn’t find any credits for who played that slide part. If you know, drop me a line. You can find an email link at my website. Just do a search for hand mixed vinyl and you’ll find it.
We opened the set with the “Death of an Unpopular Poet” from Jimmy Buffett’s album A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean, which is a little pun on an old Marty Robbins tune, “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation.” After that we “Never Found the Time” an acoustic gem from Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, and Dan Peek, three guys whose harmonies rivaled those of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. That’s from America’s debut album in 1972. After that, in the middle of the set, “Sometimes” a Danny Kirwin composition off Fleetwood Mac’s Future Games. And that’s it. We’re out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl from the Way Back Studios to the Deep Tracks.