Somewhere back in the mid to the late 1970s I committed what turned out to be both a state and a federal crime when I illegally recorded a phone conversation between the general manager of a radio station where I worked and some other guy. I knew at the time the tape could be used for blackmail, but I’m not really the blackmailing type, so I just used it for entertainment purposes, playing it for friends and family. Unfortunately it turns out that’s also a crime, which means I can’t play any of it here, but if you ever make it to the Way Back Studios… Anyway, thirty some odd years later it dawned on me that I could use the tape for fictional blackmail. And that’s what led me to write the novel Radio Activity, a story about a guy who’s hired to program a classic rock radio station and is given total creative freedom, which is further proof that I write fiction. The plot revolves around the investigation into a blackmail scheme that led to a murder. And while that’s going on, the program director takes the time to muse on the true meaning and definition of classic rock. In the end, he decides it’s very simple: with a few exceptions, it’s the music made by the generation of musicians born in the 1940s. Lennon, McCartney, Page, Plant, Hendrix, those guys.
But, like I said, I write fiction. In reality, terrestrial radio plays a list of 200 songs and that’s it. As far as I know, they never put new music by old artists into regular rotation. So even when legendary artists release great new records, you might never hear them. That, of course, explains why we’re listening to Deep Tracks. Amazing satellite radio beaming you today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl which is all digital because all six tracks were released in the past ten years and only on CD. There’s one curveball in the set, so be listening for that. But first, from the Streets of New York, here is Willie Nile.
|The Day I Saw Bo Diddley in Washington Square
|Soul of America
|I Discovered America
|Crawling Up a Hill
|Things Have Changed
From the soundtrack to the film “Wonder Boys” that’s Bob Dylan with “Things Have Changed.” And that was sort of the theme for the set. You know, back in the day, we could count on rock radio to play the latest stuff by our favorite artists but since then, things have changed. Now, if you want to hear what legendary rockers have been up to lately, well, it’s as easy as tuning into the Deep Tracks. We just heard six songs recorded in the past few years by some of our favorite artists of the past few decades. Before the Dylan, the curveball I promised. “Crawling Up a Hill” was a song by John Mayall that was recorded in 1966 during sessions for The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. But it wasn’t released until 2006 on the album’s deluxe 40th anniversary edition. But instead of the original, we heard Katy Melua’s cover version from her album Call Off The Search. That came out in 2003 when she was just nineteen; the same year John Mayall turned 70.
Also in the set, Van the Man from his 1999 release, Back on Top, we heard “Precious Time.” Before the Irishman, a couple of Brits helping us to see ourselves through their eyes: Ian Hunter’s “Soul of America” from his brilliant Shrunken Heads disc and Graham Parker’s “I Discovered America” from Don’t Tell Columbus. And we started the set with the great Willie Nile. We heard one from Streets of New York, hands down, my favorite album from 2006. Well, it’s like John Mayall wrote, ‘Minute after minute, second after second, hour after hour goes by’ and the next thing you know, we’re all out of time. By the way, if you’ve got a comment or suggestion, drop by my website or track me down on Facebook and send me an email. I’d love to hear from you. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl right here in the Deep Tracks.