Before we get started, take a moment and try to imagine what it might have sounded like if Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had written a Broadway musical about a serial killer along the lines of Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. But instead of setting it in 19th Century London, they put it in 20th Century Boston. Of course there wouldn’t be any meat pies in their story. Just some lunatic whose gonna smash down your plate glass windows and put a fist through your steel plated doors. Actually, you don’t have to imagine what it would sound like, all you have to do is listen to the first track in today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. “Midnight Rambler” takes the point of view of a roving murderer who jumps the garden wall and leaves his footprints up and down your hall. And right in the middle of the crime, where they bring the song down to a hush, that’s where Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks come creeping in wearing that black cat cloak and singing a song of sadness, sweetened with some of their signature Texas swing. It’s enough to make the “Evening Breeze” cry. See, Dan Hick’s problem was that he knew she was leaving and he still let her get away, which goes a long way toward explaining why his song is one of sadness, even if it is upbeat.
Ian Hunter, on the other hand, says he knows what she wants, just a lick of your ice cream cone. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the lyrics. It’s all in there. This one’s a heavy package of death, sex, and heartache. And that’s not all, so don’t answer yet. We also have fat cats driving around in jeeps through the city wearing big diamond rings and silk suits. But you ain’t no pimp, you ain’t no hustler. And how would I know? Because a pimp’s got a Caddy and lady’s got a Chrysler but I think you saw that coming. What I’m trying to say is that today’s set grabs you like a judo hold on a black man’s bones. Like a knife stuck down your throat. And it hurts as good as it sounds. Listen, along with that serial killer, we got corrugated tin shacks full up with kids, a girl breaking hearts and making clean getaways, and old man Tyler crashing his car down on Fortune Highway. I got three words for you. Let it Bleed.
|Midnight Rambler (part 1)
|Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks
|Midnight Rambler (part 2)
|Mott the Hoople
|Young Americans (part 1)
|Middle of the Road
|Young Americans (part 2)
There’s that slinky vagabond. Our thin white duke with his blue-eyed soul and David Sanborn on sax doing the title track from Bowie’s long player from 1975. You might have noticed that, in the middle of that break where Bowie asks (insert) we jumped over to the “Middle of the Road” with our plans behind us. From the great Pretenders album Learning to Crawl. Before those “Young Americans” showed up we were “Jerkin’ Crocus” with All The Young English Dudes, from Mott The Hoople’s classic glam album. I have no idea what “Jerkin’ Crocus” means. Pulling flowers? You tell me. At the top of the set, like breaking a neck, we took the “Midnight Rambler” and snapped him in two. In the middle, we mixed over to “Evenin’ Breeze” from Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, from their first LP, Original Recordings. Then we got back to the second half of “Midnight Rambler,” a song inspired (if that’s the right word) by the exploits of the so-called Boston Strangler. Guy named Albert DeSalvo confessed to the murders of 13 women in Boston in the early 60’s but doubts remain as to his guilt. But the song rocks.
As a side note, while doing today’s show I suddenly realized I’d inadvertently put together a set with a case of six degrees of separation. Try to follow me on this: Tommy La-pooma who produced Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, also produced David Sanborn who played sax on Young Americans for David Bowie, who produced Mott the Hoople’s All The Young Dudes and who recorded “Dancing in the Street” with that Mick Jagger guy from the Rolling Stones, who had several of their shows in 2002 opened by The Pretenders. Whose original guitarist, James Honeyman-Scott, had played in a group called Cheeks with Verden Allen one of the founders of Mott the Hoople. Like the guy said, it’s a tangled web we weave here in the Way Back Studios. If you’re looking for more information, you can track me down on Amazon or drop by your favorite independent book store. They’ll explain the whole thing. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for tuning in. I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.