I remember it like it was just thirty-five years ago. A song like I’d never heard hit the airwaves. It was a perfect radio song but unlike any I’d heard before. Over the next three years, several other songs along the same lines followed, songs that I mentally filed into the same category. They all opened with an infectious guitar riff – sometimes electric, sometimes acoustic – but it was a riff you couldn’t resist, like this one: [“Listen To the Music” riff]. The riff played for a bar or two before the rhythm section kicked in and grabbed you like a meat hook. After 1973, a lot of groups did songs in this vein, Edgar Winter’s White Trash, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Skynyrd and others. But it was The Doobie Brothers who not only created the template for this kind of song, they also perfected it. You know the songs I’m talking about. Half of them hit the top twenty on the charts. They were early seventies summertime monsters, AM, FM, jukebox smashes.
They were the songs for sunny Saturday afternoons at the park, throwing the Frisbee with friends. Or when you finally got you license, a car, a full tank of gas, and a clean windshield. You had the eight track cued to the start of the song and you’d wait until you got to the top of the ramp before you popped it into the deck and gave it some gas. Then you shot onto the highway, elbow out the window, sun on your arm, and the rhythm section coming in as you hit seventy. These were songs that made you feel like you were finally free, on the road, rockin’ and rollin’ down the highway, just lettin’ it ride. But the songs alone aren’t what make today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl so darn much fun. See, most of them had false endings that were followed by a return to that opening riff. Well, as you know, we have rules about that sort of thing here in the Way Back Studios. And, as we like to say, it’s not just what we play, it’s how we play it. Eight songs broken into eleven parts and rearranged just to flummox your musical expectations. So here we go, playing songs you know in ways you’ve never heard before.
|Doobie Brothers||China Grove (part 1)|
|Edgar Winter’s White Trash||Free Ride (excerpt)|
|Doobie Brothers||Long Train Runnin’ (part 1)|
|Doobie Brothers||China Grove (part 2)|
|Bachman Turner Overdrive||Let It Ride (part 1)|
|Lynyrd Skynyrd||You Got That Right (part 1)|
|Bachman Turner Overdrive||Roll On Down the Highway|
|Doobie Brothers||Rockin’ Down the Highway|
|Lynyrd Skynyrd||You Got That Right (part 2)|
|Charlie Daniels Band||Feelin’ Free|
|Bachman Turner Overdrive||Let It Ride (part 2)|
Proving once again that it’s not just what we play, it’s how we play it. That’s Bachman Turner in Overdrive wrapping up a set from the heyday of the eight track tape. An ode to the summer of ’75. We took eight songs and diced ‘em into eleven parts and did a little rearranging just to mess with your expectations. Five of those songs charted in or near the top twenty, but none of them reached the top five, let alone #1. And to my great surprise, neither “Rockin’ Down the Highway” nor “You Got That Right” even reached the top 40, though they got a lot of airplay. The only truly deep track in that set was Charlie Daniels from Fire on the Mountain, a song called “Feelin’ Free.” Near the top we had the first part of Edgar Winter’s “Free Ride” and a little later, Bachman Turner’s “Let it Ride.” Elsewhere BTO did “Roll on Down the Highway” followed by the Doobies “Rockin’ Down the Highway.” Skynyrd checked in with “You Got That Right” from their album Street Survivors and elsewhere we fired up a couple of other Doobies: we did the first part of “Long Train Runnin’” followed by the second part of “China Grove” just because we can.
Well, my time’s up, and like Mr. Skynyrd said, ‘when my time’s up, I’ll hold my own. You won’t find me in an old folks home.’ Instead, I’ll be here in the Way Back Studios, working on a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. By the way, if you want to see the set lists, show commentaries, and what else we’re up to, you’ll find all the answers at billfitzhugh.com or drop by your nearest book store and ask them to explain. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch and I hope you’ll join me, right here in the Deep Tracks.