All due respect to the novel, but for my money, the best Frankenstein is the 1931 film from Universal Pictures directed by James Whale with Boris Karloff as the flat-headed monster with bolts in his neck. Unlike the original tale, in the movie, we have Fritz the hunchback robbing graves to gather the gooey parts used to create the creature. A torso here, a leg there, and, the crowning touch: the brain of a deranged criminal. It’s just like how we put our sets together here in the Way Back Studios. So this is one I suspect Mary Shelly would have liked. It’s a modern vinyl prometheus. A tale of displaced passion and brutalism – a veritable rage against the industrial revolution, or maybe just the machine that was the music industry circa 1975. At least that’s how the whole thing starts.
Today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is a case of inanimate matter imbued with the spark of life at 33 1/3, organic parts from different sources, rendered into twenty-six minutes of what F. Scott Fitzgerald described as the real dark night of the soul, where it’s always three o’clock in the morning, day after day. A bleak reflection of modern life, anxiety and dread, madness, death, fear of judgement, existential brooding, and sexual anxiety. A trek into the first third of a modern day Divine Comedy. A veritable Dante’s Inferno of synthesizers and sound effects from Edgar Winter and Gino Vanelli. Cymbols like a steam engine struggling to pull out of the station on a “Hellbound Train.” Slow, yet relentless at first, the pace and the pulse quicken until it’s a runaway and you’re strapped onto the front of the thing like Jon Voight on a hellish ride into a netherworld of garish nightmarish images. No brakes, no one at the wheel. Go ahead, son, have a cigar.
|Pink Floyd||Have a Cigar|
|Savoy Brown||Hellbound Train (part 1)|
|Pink Floyd||Shine On You Crazy Diamond|
|Savoy Brown||Hellbound Train (part 2)|
|Edgar Winter||Frankenstein (excerpt)|
|Gino Vanelli||Mama Coco|
They Only Come Out at Night. And with the outfits and haircuts they’re sporting on the album cover, you can understand why. The Edgar Winter Group, available in quadrophonic at the time which was 1972, which explains the outfits and haircuts. That was originally titled, “The Double Drum Solo” but that got changed to “Frankenstein” because the song was assembled from parts of different takes of a longer composition. And they weren’t working with ProTools either. This was back in the day when they were cutting magnetic tape with razor blades, strips of tape draped all around the studio which they then had to physically rearrange and splice back together with adhesive tape, hence the Frankenstein reference. That’s got everything but a bolt in its neck. I read somewhere that it’s the second most popular rock instrumental behind Booker T and the MG’s “Green Onions.” Earlier we took the famous synthesizer part from the end of the song to come out of the abrupt conclusion of Savoy Brown’s “Hellbound Train,” which we bifurcated in order to slip in several parts of Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”
And the synthesizer-driven “Mama Coco” was Gino Vannelli and his brother Joe from the album Storm at Sunup. At the top, Pink Floyd again, this time with guest lead vocal by Roy Harper who stepped in after Roger Waters strained his vocal chords doing “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” Anyway, wishing you were here having a cigar in the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. We’ve got the set lists and show commentaries, along with all those scandalous photos posted at billfitzhugh.com and you can also track me down on Facebook and Amazon. You might be surprised at what you find. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.