As far as I know, no one has ever made a movie called Brown Foxy Sugar Lady, though I think someone ought to. The title brings to mind the image of Pam Greer in a dark alley, waving a switchblade at the man. But instead of a blaxploitation film with a big pimp budget, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features a mix as smooth as Billy D. Williams. We’ll take the Jimi Hendrix classic “Foxy Lady” and break her into two parts and mix those with a little “Brown Sugar,” also done in two parts. And when I say “Brown Sugar” I don’t mean the one by the Glimmer Twins. I’m talking about the one by that little ole band from Texas, Z.Z Top. Now, as much as I’d like to take credit for this one, I can’t. Here, I’m standing on the broad shoulders of our frequent Way Back Studios pal and un-indicted co-conspirator, D. Victor Hawkins who created the set many years ago at WZZQ-FM, and he named it Brown Foxy Sugar Lady.
Both songs use guitar feedback in similar ways which allows us to mix back and forth between the tracks a couple of times for your amusement and listening pleasure. But the mix only adds up to about eight minutes so I had to surround it with some other stuff. To my surprise, I discovered that the end of “Foxy Lady” dovetails nicely with the little slide part at the start of Little Feat’s “Skin it Back.” So that’s at the far end. At the front, I found a cover of an Elmore James song called “Bleeding Heart” that mixes neatly with the first part of “Brown Sugar” and coincidentally, the cover is by none other than Jimi Hendrix, from his Blues collection. Given that, it should come as no surprise that we’ll hear one from the Allman Brothers, right after Bonnie Raitt does another cover. We’ll hear her take on Steven Stills’ “Bluebird” right after a song that Eric Clapton covered on his album, Slowhand, one called “May You Never.” But instead of that cover, here’s the original by the late, great, John Martyn.
|John Martyn||May You Never|
|Allman Brothers||Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’|
|Jimi Hendrix||Bleeding Heart|
|Z.Z. Top||Brown Sugar (part 1)|
|Jimi Hendrix||Foxy Lady (part 1)|
|Z.Z. Top||Brown Sugar (part 2)|
|Jimi Hendrix||Foxy Lady (part 2)|
|Little Feat||Skin It Back|
That’s those little bitty feat doing “Skin it Back.” Before that, the hand-mixing part of the set, conceived by our friend D. Victor Hawkins using all that feedback from Z.Z. Top’s “Brown Sugar” and from Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” to create what he called the Brown Foxy Sugar Lady mix. Little Feat followed that because of the sliding guitar note that mixed so nicely out of the Hendrix. Leading into all that was the Band of Gypsys, Jimi with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles working an Elmore James blues called “Bleeding Heart.” And keeping with the blues rock form, we heard the Allman Brothers from Idlewild South. “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’.”
Before that, Bonnie Raitt from one of those records that always makes me wish I’d been a fly on the wall during the sessions. For me there’s something about the spare production of certain artists’ early records that gets lost later in their careers, to their detriment. And Bonnie backs me up on this in the liner notes to her first album from which we heard her cover of “Bluebird.” She said they recorded live on four tracks because they wanted a spontaneous, natural feeling in the music, a feeling often sacrificed when musicians know they can overdub their part on a separate track until the life’s sucked out of it. At the very top of the set, the late, great John Martyn a guy who released thirty some-odd albums yet managed to be largely ignored by radio programmers. We heard “May You Never,” a song Eric Clapton covered on his Slowhand album. Eric was quoted somewhere as saying John Martyn was so far ahead of everything it’s almost inconceivable.
Sort of like the passage of time, that of which we are out. From the Way Back Studios on the dusty fringes of Los Angeles, I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for tuning in. I hope you’ll join us again next time for another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.