Chester William Powers, Jr., isn’t exactly a household name. But everybody knows his work. Among the songs he wrote was “Get Together,” a top five hit for The Youngbloods. He also wrote a bunch of songs for Quicksilver Messenger Service, including the only one of their songs to break into the top fifty, a track called “Fresh Air.” So how come his name doesn’t ring a bell? Well, in the case of “Get Together” it’s probably because that song is so strongly associated with Jesse Colin Young and the Youngbloods. As for “Fresh Air” and all the other songs he wrote for Quicksilver, it’s probably because he wrote most of them under a pseudonym. For example, he wrote “Fresh Air” under the name Jesse Oris Farrow. Other times he called himself Jackie Powers, but most of us know him as Dino Valenti, one of the founding members of Quicksilver Messenger Service. Unfortunately, Dino (or Chester) had a habit of getting arrested for drug possession. And not only arrested, but convicted, and sentenced to a couple of years in jail which explains why he was only occasionally in the band.
In any event, a year after “Fresh Air” was on the charts, Quicksilver recorded “I Found Love,” written by band member Gary Duncan. The two songs are completely different. But there’s one part of both songs that’s nearly identical which is why they’re the songs at the heart of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. The common element is in the chorus of both songs, and that’s where the Hand Mixing comes in. But you’ll have to wait for the second half of the set to hear the segues that resulted. Before we’re done, we’ll hear nine songs done in thirteen parts. Including The Tourists, Santana, James Brown, and Ducks Deluxe. But first, from the Way Back Studios, let’s start with another one of our haphazard comparisons of Roger McGuinn and George Harrison. Starting with one of the single greatest chords in all of rock ‘n’ roll…
|The Beatles||Hard Day’s Night|
|The Byrds||Feel a Whole Lot Better|
|Ducks Deluxe||Please, Please, Please (part 1)|
|Beatles||Please Please Me|
|Ducks Deluxe||Please, Please, Please (part 2)|
|Tourists||I Only Want To Be With You|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||I Found Love (part 1)|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||Fresh Air (part 1)|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||Fresh Air (part 2)|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||I Found Love (part 2)|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||Fresh Air (part 3)|
|James Brown||I Got To Move|
The Godfather of Soul could go on all night doing that vamp and in fact he almost did – that goes on for over seven minutes but I ran out of time and figured a little James Brown was better than none at all. The origin of that record is as convoluted as some of JB’s paternity suits, so try to keep up. The album title (In The Jungle Groove) comes from an August 1970 recording that remains mostly unissued. They took the opening rap from the album, that part where he yells, “Hit me!” And they tacked it onto the beginning of “I Got To Move” which comes from that same 1970 recording session. We heard the second of two versions that James recorded, both of them restructured from his 1967 hit “There Was A Time,” which was itself an extension of an earlier hit called “Let Yourself Go.” In The Jungle Groove was essentially a compilation of stuff recorded between 1969 and 1971. Some of the tracks had been released only as singles, others had been on albums, but in different mixes, and “I Got To Move,” was previously unreleased in any form.
Coincidentally, James Brown’s first big hit was titled, “Please Please Please.” And near the top of the set, doing a different song with that same title, we had Ducks Deluxe followed by the Beatles with “Please Please Me.” In the middle of the set, The Tourists, a British synth pop band featuring Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart a year before they became Eurythmics. We heard their cover of the Dusty Springfield hit, “I Only Want to Be With You.” The second half of the set was a doozy of Hand Mixed Vinyl, five-parts Quicksilver Messenger Service, and one part Santana. We took “Fresh Air,” broke it into three pieces, and mixed it with “I Found Love” broken into two parts, and mixed back and forth during the oooooos. And we stuck Santana’s “Persuasion” into one of the breaks in between because that’s what we do here in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. Right here in the Deep Tracks.