Like a lot of folks, I find I can get by with a little help from my friends. In fact today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl ended up, quite accidentally, featuring a lot of friends – artists and producers who worked with one another in different bands that have connections to other artists in the set which we’ll talk about afterwards. But the set started with an idea from one of our best friends and a frequent visitor to the Way Back Studios, D. Victor Hawkins. Seems he was listening to Rory Gallagher one night, more specifically, the Live in Europe album from 1972 – one of the great live blues rock albums of all time. The second track is a Gallagher composition called “Laundromat” and there was a riff in the song that reminded Victor of “Bad Motor Scooter” by Montrose. And, speaking of friends, something in the Montrose reminded victor of a riff from former Montrose member Sammy Hagar’s “Three Lock Box.” So far so good but too short for a set.
So I did some poking around in the hard rocking section of the library and came up with Cactus and their furious version of a Mose Allison standard. And then, from another one of the all time great live rock albums, Johnny Winter And Live. We took “Mean Town Blues” and broke it into two parts, put one near the top, and one near the bottom. And then to wrap it up, we grabbed B.B. King’s Live & Well from which we’ll hear “Let’s Get Down to Business.” We put it all together and guess what? If you could graft a pair of lips onto this set, it could suck start a rusted Harley. It’s a juvenile delinquent suite with a little something extra for the loud motorcycle enthusiast on your Christmas list. It’s prison time on Parchman Farm. It’s a woman with blood red lipstick and something in her eyes that isn’t fear. It’s leather and chrome rock ‘n’ roll plugged into a mile high stack of Marshall amps turned up to eleven. And it goes a little something like this…
|Intro to Three Lock Box (voice intro)
|Mean Town Blues (part 1)
|Bad Motor Scooter
|Three Lock Box (song)
|Mean Town Blues (part 2)
|Let’s Get Down to Business
If that set didn’t clear the carbon outta your pipes you might wanna seek professional help. As I mentioned at the top, there are a lot of connections among the artists in that set. See if you can follow this. We ended with “Let’s Get Down To Business” from B.B. King of the blues and his album Live & Well, produced by the prolific Bill Szymczyk. Now it turns out that Szymczyk was the technical director on Edgar Winter’s They Only Come Out at Night, a record featuring Rick Derringer and Ronnie Montrose. Before the B.B. King, we heard the end of “Mean Town Blues” from Johnny Winter playing with Rick Derringer and the late Randy Jo Hobbs who were in the McCoys together when they did “Hang On Sloopy.” Later, Hobbs joined Sammy Hagar, Ronnie Montrose, Bill Church and the rest to record the Montrose album Jump On It. But we heard an earlier incarnation of Montrose on the track “Bad Motor Scooter,” from an album produced by Ted Templeman who also produced Edgar Winter as well as Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey which featured Ronnie Montrose and Bill Church. You still with me?
After Montrose broke up, Sammy Hagar went on to make a slew of solo albums, one of which was Three Lock Box, featuring Bill Church on bass. Near the top of the set, Cactus nearly tore the front gates off Mose Allison’s “Parchman Farm.” Now Cactus was one of the early super-groups, a group formed by artists who had previously been in other well known bands. Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert came out of Vanilla Fudge. Jim McCarty came from Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels and Rusty Day had been in the Amboy Dukes. Oh yeah, and smack in the middle of the set, and unrelated to anybody else in there, was Rory Gallagher doing “Laundromat” from the Live in Europe album. Well it’s time for me to get on my bad motor scooter and ride but I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sooner or later. Thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I hope you’ll join us next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.