As you know every now and then we’ll take a closer look at one of the many subgenres of music that make up this vast library we call the Deep Tracks. And with that in mind, we’re gonna put the spotlight on the country side of album rock featuring Way Back Studio favorites like the Outlaws from their debut album. We’ll also hear some of Rusty Young’s steel guitar with Poco featuring Timothy B. Schmidt before he flew over to join the Eagles. Steve Stills and Manassas give us one that’s as country as they ever sounded and Jonathan Edwards delivers a beauty called “Don’t Cry Blue.” But you’ll have to wait because that’s that’s all in the second half of the set. First, let’s go back to somewhere around 1970 when Leon Russell hooked up with Denny Cordell to form Shelter Records. I don’t know who their A&R guy was, for all I know it was just Denny and Leon. But whoever it was, was good at the job. Along with Leon’s early records, Shelter released albums by Tom Petty, J.J. Cale, Dwight Twilly, Willis Alan Ramsey, Jim Horn, and the group that got us started on today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl: Richard Torrance and Eureka.
Their second release on Shelter was called Belle of the Ball, came out in 1975. Among the many great tracks on the album is one called “Singing Springs” and I swear it sounds like it might have come from a Doobie Brothers album, say Stampede, which features the song “Neil’s Fandango” which sounds like a continuation of “Singing Springs” which explains why we put the two of ‘em back-to-back. Now, by coincidence, one of the guest artists on the Stampede album was Ry Cooder, a guy who’s been described as an acoustic instrument fetishist, and I think in the positive sense of the phrase. We’ll hear Ry’s “Great Dreams From Heaven” from his fine album Into the Purple Valley. But first, here’s a One Man Dog, sweet baby James Taylor, “Back on the Street Again.”
|Back on the Street Again
|Great Dreams From Heaven
|Richard Torrance and Eureka
|Stay With Me
|Another Time Around
|Don’t Look At My Shadow
|Don’t Cry Blue
That’s Jonathan Edwards from his debut album in 1971, a record remembered mainly for the big hit, “Sunshine” which is a shame because the entire album is an absolutely great mix of singer-songwriter, folk and country stuff. Another album like that, but twice as long is Manassas, the rare two-record set that was brilliant from top to bottom. Song-for-song, I think it’s better than Chicago’s first two albums which are two of my favorites. In fact, for my money, that first Manassas record holds up as well or better than Exile on Main Street, Layla, The White Album, or any other two record set you care to name. Each side of the album had a theme and a title. Here we heard “Don’t Look at My Shadow” which comes from side two, the country side, which was called The Wilderness. Before that we went “Another Time Around” with Poco, from the album Cantamos.
In the middle of the set, we did a little musical juxtaposition to show the similarities between Richard Torrance and Eureka’s “Singing Springs” and “Neil’s Fandango” from the Doobie Brothers. We followed that with the Eagles-like harmonies and shimmering guitars of The Outlaws from their great debut album, a great country rock sing-along called “Stay With Me.” At the top of the set, James Taylor from an album recorded mostly in his home studio, One Man Dog, we heard “Back On The Street Again,” followed by that beautiful instrumental “Great Dreams From Heaven” from Ry Cooder’s Into The Purple Valley. Well, like Mr. Edwards said, The highway’s just a two lane road, connected either way, and I’ve seen enough of this end for a while. If you want to see the other end, drop by my website or track me down on Amazon or Facebook and see what there is to see. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back another time around with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.