I’m sure you’ve heard the old expression, there’s more than one way to skin a cat? Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl just goes to prove that point. I was out here in the Way Back Studios one day working on a set with some very tasty segues involving Blood, Sweat, & Tears, Fleetwood Mac, and two each from Santana and Stephen Stills. I had the pieces to the puzzle and all I needed was to figure out how they all fit together, and as soon as I did, a piece of my audio gear crapped out. Had to put it in the shop for a two week stay. When I got it back, I rushed out here to do the set without taking the time to see if I remembered how to put it together, which, as it turns out, I didn’t. But that didn’t matter because like the old expression about the cat, it turns out there’s more than one way to do some of these segues.
The set features two tracks from Stephen Stills’ second solo album: “Open Secret” and “Bluebird Revisited.” Both of them start out one way but end in a completely different style and tempo which lets you segue into songs you’d never guess were coming. “Open Secret” starts like a big rock and roll track, but it ends in a smooth Latin percussion groove which allows a nice segue into Santana’s “Singing Winds, Crying Beasts.” And “Bluebird Revisited” starts as a calm acoustic piece, with Stills singing softly over a quiet organ, but it ends up with these huge horn charts that just beg for some Blood Sweat and Tears, which of course we’re happy to supply. Now, back to the Santana for a moment. “Singing Winds, Crying Beasts” segues into “Black Magic Woman” a song written by Peter Green and originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac. Not being one to leave well enough along, we’ll segue from the Santana to the Fleetwood Mac version and back again because the Santana version ends with Carlos getting some feedback out of his guitar which lets us segue into Jimi Hendrix getting some feedback out of his guitar at the start of “Izabella.” By the way, if you’ve ever wondered if I’m really using vinyl here, a couple of the albums in this set will put all doubts to rest, including this one. Here’s Mr. Stills.
|Blood, Sweat, and Tears
|Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
|Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (pt. 1)
|Black Magic Woman (pt. 2)
|Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (pt. 3)
A long way from playing the chitlin’ circuit, which he once did, there’s Jimi Hendrix from Woodstock Two, doing “Izabella.” At the top of the set, a couple of songs from Stephan Stills 2, starting with “Bluebird Revisited,” a song that ends with those huge horns that took us straight into the Blood Sweat and Tears hit, “Spinning Wheel,” a song that made it to #2 on the charts. While that was playing, we flipped to the other side of the Stills album and cued “Open Secret.” Now when that starts, the last thing you’re thinking about is how nice it’s going to segue into something by Santana, but then, toward the end of “Open Secret,” Stills segues into some smooth Latin percussion, and that lets us mix right into “Singing Winds, Crying Beasts,” off Santana’s Abraxas; we actually played the two songs simultaneously for thirty or forty seconds.
Now, as regular visitors to the Way Back Studios know, one of the things we like to do here is to play with your expectations. And Abraxas gives us a lot to work with in that regard, not just because it’s one of those records everyone has heard a thousand times, but also because all the tracks on side one segue into one another in such a way that when you hear the end of one, you’re anticipating the start of the next. So, when Carlos gets the guitar feedback going at the end of “Black Magic Woman,” you begin to anticipate the start of “Oye Como Va” the way you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But instead, we just segued over to that guitar feedback from Mr. Hendrix. We also had some fun when we mixed over to the original Fleetwood Mac version of “Black Magic Woman” and then back again to the Santana. And speaking of magic, somebody made all the time disappear. By the way, if you’ve got any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Drop me an email. You can find the address at my lovely little website. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you know it and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.