The way I figure it, if something sounds nice, why not do it twice? Even at the risk of being redundant, repetitive, and redundant. I’ve been guilty of worse. So, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is like a rerun except that it’s all brand-spanking new. A semi-fraudulent case of deja vu, if you will because somewhere in the echos of the Way Back Studios you can still hear a mix we laid down one time with Willie Deville, Dire Straits, and J. J. Cale. And now it’s happened again . . . sort of. Last time, we had the “Assassin of Love” with a “Six Blade Knife” under a “Cajun Moon.” This time we’re dealing with a “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl,” who mixes nicely into Dire Straits’ “Water of Love,” which in turn flows smoothly into J.J. Cale’s “Don’t Cry Sister.” Now true, technically, it’s Mink this time instead of Willie Deville but that’s getting into semantics and what’s the point? A Deville by any other name is just a Cadillac. That’s all in the second half of the show.
But first, something completely different: four songs from four albums that have one thing in common. The moody and atmospheric production of Daniel Lanois. Probably most famous for his work with rockers like U2 and Peter Gabriel, Lanois has also spent his share of time in the studio with more acoustic artists. In 1995 he played on and produced Wrecking Ball for Emmylou Harris, two years later, he did the same for Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind. A year after that, he and Willie Nelson holed up in an old movie theatre in Mexico to record Teatro, and in 2003 he hooked up with Billy Bob Thornton to produce The Edge of the World. In fact a lot of people don’t realize that Lanois produced the soundtrack to Thornton’s Academy Award winning film, Sling Blade. Steve Earle’s hiding in there somewhere as well, I’ll let you figure that out yourself, but first, from his second solo album, here’s Billy Bob Thornton.
|Billy Bob Thornton
|The Edge of the World (reprise)
|It’s Not Dark Yet
|Everywhere I Go
|Mixed Up Shook Up Girl
|Water of Love (excerpt)
|J. J. Cale
|Don’t Cry Sister
I remember a Rolling Stone review of one of J.J. Cale’s albums where the reviewer called him a ‘Dust Bowl Dire Straits.’ And the All Music Guide said Dire Straits built their sound on the laid-back blues-rock of J.J. Cale. Which just goes to show I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Here, we put ‘em together so you could hear it for yourself, as we went from J.J. Cale’s “Don’t Cry Sister” into “Water of Love” from Dire Straits. Leading us into Dire Straits, a guy who sometimes sounds a lot like Mark Knopfler. We heard Mink Deville’s “Mixed Up Shook Up Girl” from his great debut album Cabretta that came out in 1977. A year later, when Dire Straits released their first album, I was struck by how much their sounds had in common. Ten years later, much to my surprise, Knopfler ended up producing Deville’s album Miracle. And speaking of producers…
The first half of that set was a sample platter of what can happen when you let Daniel Lanois into the control room. Actually, he not only produced the first four tracks in that set, he played on them as well. Starting out on an instrumental from Billy Bob Thornton’s second solo album, we heard the reprised to “The Edge of the World” with Billy Bob on drums and Lanois on everything else. After that, from Emmylou Harris, a Steve Earle composition called “Goodbye” with Steve sitting in on guitar. Then it was Mr. Lanois and Mr. Dylan from Time out of Mind we heard “Not Dark Yet” and that led us to Willie Nelson from a terrific album called Teatro. A song called “Everywhere I Go” featuring Emmylou Harris on background vocals. Well, it’s like Bob said, Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day. It’s too hot to sleep and time is running away here in the Way Back Studios. Hey, If you’re looking for the set lists, I’ve got ‘em posted on my website so you can drop by and check ‘em out, and see what else goes on around here. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.