When it comes to the taxonomical organization of the music in the Deep Tracks, I think we can generally agree about who tends to play what. Deep Purple’s hard rock. Arlo Guthrie’s folk rock. Steely Dan? Jazz rock. Charlie Daniels? Country rock. Where you find yourself getting into arguments and the occasional fist fight, is when you try to pin down the first record in any given category. For example: a lot of people say the first country rock album is The Gilded Palace of Sin by the Flying Burrito Brothers. Here, you might get an argument from The Byrds or Buffalo Springfield since they’d both started down that path years before. And no discussion of the subject is complete until someone brings up the one album by The International Submarine Band. Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl ain’t lookin’ to pick a fight, but it is lookin’ to play some country rock.
Now, at some point in the evolution of rock radio, the range of musical styles getting air-play began to narrow. Now if you don’t believe in evolution, just think of this as unintelligent design. But this much is true: once upon a time in rock radio, you were just as likely to hear The Flying Burrito Brothers twanging up the rock as you were to hear Black Sabbath being heavy with it. But then somebody let the consultants in with their research that said we all wanted to hear the same 200 songs for the rest of our lives. After that, things changed. If you wanted to hear a Whole Lotta Led, they changed for the better. But if you liked a little fiddle and some pedal steel with your rock, well, sorry. The consultants took most of the evidence of the country rock movement and they burned it out in the desert, near Joshua Tree, like it was the body of Gram Parsons himself. Well, we went and dug it up. So, from the Way Back Studios, here’s another reason to be thankful for satellite radio. Rosen up your bow, this is what we call country rock.
|Silver Threads and Golden Needles
|Loggins and Messina
|Listen To a Country Song
|High and Dry
|Marshall Tucker Band
|Blue Ridge Mountain Sky
|Charlie Daniels Band
|The South’s Gonna Do It
|Long Way Home
If you didn’t know you were listening to vinyl before the end of the Fogelberg, you know now. That scratchy old record is my original copy of Dan’s first album from thirty-seven years ago, he said, reaching for his medicare card. That’s “Long Way Home (Live in the Country)” with a guy named Buddy SpiKer on the violin. Spoke to Buddy on the phone recently. Seemed like a nice guy, and he’s still giving lessons if you’re interested. We started that set with Linda Ronstadt’s second version of “Silver Threads and Golden Needles.” She first recorded it in 1969 for the Hand Sown, Home Grown album. Four years later she recorded it again with a guy named Gib Guilbeau on the fiddle. That’s from her album Don’t Cry Now. After that, Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin’ In along with Al Garth playing violin on “Listen to a Country Song.”
We followed that with Manassas, a track called “Fallen Eagle” featuring Byron Berline on fiddle. The only song without a fiddle was right in the middle of that set, we heard “High and Dry” from Poco’s album Cantamos. Then it was Charlie Daniels back-to-back: first playing with the Marshall Tucker Band on “Blue Ridge Mountain Sky” and then, name dropping some southern musical favorites from Dickie Betts and Grinderswitch to Wet Willie and Elvin Bishop who might not be good looking but he sure can play. The Charlie Daniels Band with “The South’s Gonna Do It” from one of the quintessential country rock albums: Fire on the Mountain. You know it occurred to me while I was mixing this set that if you had stolen my eight track tape collection in 1974 – if you had reached into that beat up Ford Galaxy and snatched that black faux alligator carrying case – if you had done that, you would have had all the music necessary to do this set.
Food for thought from the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh thanks for listening. I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you know it. And I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.