If you’ll pardon my generalization, I think it’s safe to say that once you’ve heard “Takin’ Care of Business” and “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet,” you’ve got a pretty good idea of what Bachman Turner Overdrive sounds like. The same is true for, say, “American Woman” and “No Sugar Tonight.” Again, generally speaking, after hearing those two songs, you’ll have a pretty good sense of The Guess Who. You won’t have a complete idea, but you’ll know what their basic sound was and the type of song they had success with. But you won’t get any sense of their range or the musical chances they were willing to take.
So this week’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sets out to highlight another side of Bachman, Turner Overdrive, The Guess Who and five other artists you know and love. We’ll be playing tracks that go to show that the hits don’t necessarily define an artist’s sound. For example, we’ll show that Spirit was a lot more than just “I Got a Line on You.” And that there’s a lot more to The Steve Miller Band than “Fly Like An Eagle.” But it’s not just that we’ll be playing some of the less familiar songs by these bands, after all, that’s what we do here in the Deep Tracks. No, the unifying aspect of the set is the similar sound of the songs.
I hesitate to describe these songs as smooth and jazzy, lest the fuzak image of Kenny G start dancing in your head, but generally speaking these songs are both smooth and jazzy. So it’s not too surprising that we’ll hear a few bars from Steely Dan somewhere in the middle of all this. Given that introduction, you might not think Tommy Bolin would fit in a set like this since he’s probably best known for his hard rock masterpiece, “Post Toastie” but it turns out his “Gypsy Soul” fits perfectly. As does Ben Sidren’s “Midnight Tango” as filtered through the Steve Miller Band. But before we get to all that and the Boss and BTO and the Guess Who, we’ll start with one from Farther Along, Spirit’s overlooked album from 1976, and a song called “World Eat World Dog.”
|Spirit||World Eat World Dog|
|Steve Miller||Midnight Tango|
|Bachman Turner Overdrive||Lookin’ Out For #1 (part 1)|
|Bachman Turner Overdrive||Lookin’ Out For #1 (part 2)|
|Steely Dan||Black Cow (excerpt)|
|Bruce||Spirit in the Night|
|Tommy Bolin||Gypsy Soul|
“There was a time when courtesy and winning ways went out of style, when it was good to be bad, when you cultivated decadence like a taste.” That’s the opening line from “Greasy Lake,” a great short story by T.C. Boyle that was inspired by Springsteen’s “Spirit In the Night.” You’ll find that in Mr. Boyle’s collection: The Human Fly and Other Stories. Following the Boss we ended the set with an acoustic gem from the late great Tommy Bolin. We heard “Gypsy Soul” from the Private Eyes album. Before that we took a tenderloin from Steely Dan’s “Black Cow” coming out of the second part of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Lookin’ Out For Number One.” A song from their 1975 album, Head On and one you’ll find on their Greatest Hits package. The question is why, since it didn’t chart in the Top 40. The answer is that the cocktail jazz of “Lookin’ Out For Number One” was the only Bachman Turner Overdrive track to land on the Easy Listening Charts. By the way, I hope you noticed the mix from BTO into the Guess Who where we not only had a musical segue, but we managed to rhyme ‘Number One’ with ‘Come Undone.’
From 1970 and the album, Number Five, we heard “Steve Miller’s Midnight Tango,” a song written by Ben Sidren who recorded it four years later on his solo album Don’t Let Go where he calls it “Ben Sidren’s Midnight Tango.” And the set opened with a favorite of mine from Spirit’s underrated album Farther Along, from 1976, the song “World Eat World Dog.” Well, as you know, Crazy Janey and her mission man were back in the alley tradin’ hands when ‘long came Wild Billy with his friend G-man all duded up for Saturday night. Well Billy slammed on his coaster brakes and said anybody wanna go on out to the The Way Back Studios? I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll have another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.