Two low-pressure areas merge into a large flow of warm air from the south, a blast of cold from the north, and moisture feeding from the Gulf Stream, simultaneously. That’s a perfect storm, a disastrous confluence of individually innocuous events. It’s rare but when it happens, the negative consequences are magnified, like when Billy Bob Thornton hooked up with Angelina Jolie. Hard to believe such things can happen. But they do, and when they do, the results are. . . unpleasant. But what if a series of discrete events could add up to something positive? Something greater than the sum of its parts? It happened once right here in the Way Back Studios. I knew there was a series of songs I could link with similar sound effects, like rainstorms, and thunder, and crashing waves. I was tempted by the Who’s Quadrophenia. But I resisted. Same with the Doors. “Riders on the Storm” would work, but it was too obvious. .
Then, in the South Side of the Sky I could see it. The Storm at Sunup. And a figure, a man named Gino Vannelli, in a white shirt, unbuttoned to reveal copious and, apparently combed, chest hair staring out from the album cover. In the background, a woman, languid in a slip with the strap slipping down her right shoulder. Staring out the window, chin in hand, elbow on knee, knee deep in ennui. Her profile seems to be saying, love me now. Fragile? Yes. Certainly, though not obvious at first. Still, the two records came together like a perfect storm to create a one of our finest batches of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. Two tracks each from two albums, re-imagined in seven parts as if originally conceived that way. And then, because it fit so nicely, we added a little Spirit at the end with the great sax-man Ernie Watts sitting in on the track “Stoney Night” from Spirit’s album Farther Along. But first, “We Have Heaven.”
|Yes||We Have Heaven|
|Gino Vannelli||Storm at Sunup (part 1)|
|Yes||South Side of the Sky (part 1)|
|Gino Vannelli||Storm at Sunup (part 2)|
|Yes||South Side of the Sky (part 2)|
|Gino Vannelli||Love Me Now|
|Yes||South Side of the Sky (part 3)|
|Yes||We Have Heaven (reprise)|
You can call that what you will, but that’s what I call transitional shenanigans. We spent the first twenty minutes of that set going back and forth between a couple of tracks each from Gino Vannelli’s third album, Storm at Sunup and the fourth album from Yes, simply called “Fragile.” The set opened with “We Have Heaven” which, at the end, slips into some storm sound effects and segues into “South Side of the Sky.” But, unwilling as we are to leave well enough alone, we slipped into the storm sound effects at the start of Gino’s “Storm at Sunup,” a song that begins as a melodramatic ballad, transitions into a furious bit of jazz rock fusion, before returning to the melodrama and ending on a sustained synthesizer note that segues into “Love Me Now.” During those transitions, we mixed in and out of “South Side of the Sky.” What’s really cool about it is that you never have to lift a needle on either album. The two records play like a handshake with the sound effects and other transitional elements presenting themselves as if by design. .
Some say it was pure dumb luck, others talk about instinct. Either way, it turns out you can mix back and forth between the movements of the four songs, playing them in exactly the order they appear on their respective records, with nothing left out. But when all was said and done, we were still a few minutes shy of a full set. So I pulled two more records from the shelf: one, an old sound effects album with storm sound effects, and the other, Spirit’s under-appreciated L.P. Farther Along. We used storm effects to transition from “South Side of the Sky” into “Stoney Night” which opens with a few claps of thunder and the great sax work of Ernie Watts. Then, bringing the whole thing full circle, we flipped Fragile over and closed with the very end of side two. At the end of “Heart of the Sunrise”, you hear the sound effect of a door opening followed by a reprise of “We Have Heaven.” Bringing us right back where we started. And now we’re where we end. Thanks for joining us. In the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll have another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl soon enough, right here in the Deep Tracks.
All right everybody, it’s time to take your protein pills and put your helmets on or, if you prefer, your conductor cap. Because this week we’re taking the train to the Way Back Studios. Here I was listening to Quadrophenia, Daltry singing about how he remembered distant memories, recalled other names, rippled over canyons, and boiled in the train. Oddly, it wasn’t the train that caught my ear, though that would come into play later. It was Chris Stainton. Now don’t shoot him, he’s just the piano player. Played all the piano parts on Quadrophenia, including the barrelhouse riff that got this batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl started.
Funny thing is, he’d used the same riff before on a different record. And that’s what caught my ear. Four years earlier Chris had played it on Joe Cocker’s “Hitchcock Railway.” Which brings us back to that train Daltry was singing about. Two train tickets into LA, one round trip the other way. Well, once we got on board, we ran into the Thin White Duke throwing darts in lovers eyes. Now, he swore it wasn’t the side effects of the cocaine, but the story of “Casey Jones” suggests otherwise. Better watch your speed. And by the way, don’t that brakeman look good, flaggin’ down the Double E? Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you when your train gets lost. Get your tickets ready, the European cannon is here. All aboard.
|The Who||Drowned (part 1)|
|Joe Cocker||Hitchcock Railway (part 1)|
|The Who||Drowned (part 2)|
|Joe Cocker||Hitchcock Railway (part 2)|
|David Bowie||Station to Station|
|Bob Dylan||It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry|
|Grateful Dead||Casey Jones|
Like the man said, it takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry, but it took a piano player to get that set started. The Grateful Dead played the caboose there with their ode to the infamous toot-fueled train conductor. Before that, longtime Dead friend, Blind Boy Grunt from the Rolling Thunder Review Tour, 1975. Howie Wyeth on piano. In the middle, Roy Bittan who most people associate with Springsteen, played piano on Bowie’s “Station to Station.” And Chris Stainton who was a member of the famous Grease Band and also shared piano duties with Leon Russell on the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, played the keyboards on the first two tracks of that set, taking the riff he used first on Joe Cocker’s “Hitchcock Railway” then recycling it four years later on Quadrophenia. .
Now, after all that you may find yourself wondering why a train engineer can’t be electrocuted, it’s because he’s not a conductor. From the Way Back Studios, I’m the little engine that couldn’t resist that bad joke. Back next time with another batch of Fitzhugh’s All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Train Tracks.
So there was this woman, name of Lucretia McEvil. A regular back-seat Delilah. Tail shakin’, home breakin’, truckin through town. Never done a thing worthwhile. You know the type. Anyway, one day Lucretia says, “Don’t crush that dwarf, hand me the pliers.” Well, strictly speaking that’s not true. I made that part up. Let me explain. See, there was this guy, David Wolinski, a keyboard player, songwriter, and producer, nickname of Hawk. He worked with everybody from Quincy Jones and Rufus to The Guess Who and Chicago. Now, Chicago was on the Columbia label and they were produced in their early years by in-house producer, James Guercio, who was from Chicago, and who also produced the second album for Blood, Sweat, and Tears, also under contract to Columbia. Another group that came out of Chicago was Madura, featuring the keyboardist David Wolinski and a vocalist by the name of Lucretia McEvil..
Well, OK, that last part’s not true. But it is true that Madura once opened for Chicago and they were also produced by James Guercio, who also produced a couple of records for Firesign Theater, including the famous single “Station Break” one of the few 45’s they released for, that’s right, Columbia records. Which raises the question: How can you be two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all? The answer: more sugar! Then, around 1970 a group called Ballinjack came out of Seattle. Like Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Ballinjack had a big fat horn section. Ballinjack was also on Columbia, so guess who produced them… If you said Nick Danger or James Guercio, you’re wrong and I don’t know why, but they all refused to have anything to do with that tramp, Lucretia McEvil. Jethro Tull, on the other hand, uses a nifty flute segue to sneak into today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, despite having nothing to do with any of these people or Columbia Records. So, having said all that, here’s a horny little batch from the Way Back Studios. But first, a station break…
|Firesign Theater||Station Break|
|Blood, Sweat & Tears||Lucretia McEvil|
|Ballin’ Jack||Festival (part 1)|
|Madura||Johnny B. Goode|
|Ballin’ Jack||Festival (part 2)|
|Jethro Tull||With you there to help me|
|Blood, Sweat & Tears||Lucretia McEvil (reprise)|
From their third album, simply called Blood, Sweat, and Tears. “Lucretia McEvil” peaked at #29 on the Billboard charts, which qualifies as a lesser hit for a group used to reaching #2 on a regular basis. But what we just heard never charted at all. That was the reprise to the song which is on their third album but which was edited from the single version Columbia released, which we heard near the top of the set. But at the TIP top of the set we heard another group that recorded for Columbia. Firesign Theatre. We heard “Station Break,” a single released in 1969 that was produced by James William Guercio, who at the time was an in-house producer for Columbia and who had produced the second album by Blood, Sweat, and Tears, along with the first several albums by Chicago. A city that also produced a group called Madura who we heard in the middle of the set, doing a version of “Johnny B. Goode” which was also produced by James Guercio for Columbia records. Also in that set, and also on Columbia, and also a horn band like Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears, we heard Ballinjack, a group out of Seattle that wasn’t produced by Guercio. We took Ballinjack’s song “Festival” from their debut album in 1970 and we broke it into two parts, inserting the Madura into the middle.
Near the end of the set, the only group in there not on Columbia Records, a band named after an 18th Century agriculturalist, Jethro Tull, inventor of the seed drill. From the album Benefit we heard, “With You There To Help Me,” also from 1970. The song starts with Ian Anderson’s flute, some of which I believe was recorded and then played backwards which made for a nice segue out of the flute part at the end of the Ballinjack. Well, as David Clayton Thomas said, Hard luck and trouble bound to be your claim to fame here in the Way Back Studios. Thanks for listening. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and someday soon, I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.
When I was a kid, we didn’t have Guitar Hero or Rock Band. What we had was a record player, a broom, and some tennis rackets. With these props and some invisible drums and keyboards, we’d put our favorite records on the turntable and pretend to be the band. Sometimes we did this in our rooms, but other times, being brave and wanting an audience, we’d stand out on the front porch and play to the cars passing by. Sure, no one ever noticed, but we didn’t care. We were rock stars. One day we might be the Stones, the next, we’d be The Animals. But my older brother and his friends always made me be the bass player. I wanted to play lead guitar or even drums so I could at least wave my arms around like I was actually doing something. But no, I was always Bill Wyman or Chas Chandler, or Rick Huxley on the days we were the Dave Clark Five. I never got to be Keith or Mick or Dave or Eric. I was always shuffled off to the side, just standing there, the Rodney Dangerfield of the band. Well, this bottom heavy batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl brings the bass to the front. Gives it the respect it deserves. But there’s no Rick Huxley, maybe next time..
We will hear from the great jazz bassists Jim Hewart and Ray Brown playing with Tom Waits and Maria Muldour. Jaime Leopold plucks the fat strings for Dan Hicks with his Hot Licks on the track You Got To Believe, from their album Striking It Rich. But the set opens with John Francis Anthony Pastorius III, better known as Jaco. In 2006, nineteen years after his tragic death, the readers of Bass Player Magazine voted Jaco the best bass player who ever lived. We’ll hear him working with Joni Mitchell on her tribute album to the great jazz bassist, Charles Mingus but we’ll open with a pair from Jaco’s brilliant debut album, on Epic in 1976, from the Way Back Studios, here’s “Kuru” and “Speak Like A Child.”
|Jaco Pastorius||Kuru/Speak Like a Child|
|Joni Mitchell||Dry Cleaner from Des Moines|
|Tom Waits||Step Right Up|
|Dan Hicks||You Got To Believe|
|Maria Muldaur||Walkin’ One and Only|
Christ, buddy, you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak. There’s a big dose of west coast hipster swing for you, led down the path by some of the best bass players ever to pluck a string. We ended up with that waitress from the donut shop, Maria Muldaur, from her debut album in 1974, featuring the jazz great Ray Brown on bass and — much to my surprise — Ed Shaughnessy on drums. If you’re old enough, you might remember Ed playing with the Tonight Show band back when Johnny Carson was still behind the desk. We heard Maria covering the Dan Hicks tune, “Walkin’ One and Only.” Before that Dan Hicks covering himself, in all modesty on a track called, “You Got To Believe,” featuring Jamie Leopold on bass. By the way, if you liked what you heard, be sure to check Jamie’s Facebook page to hear what he’s been up to lately..
Smack dab in the middle of the set we heard Tom Waits, the king of twenty-first century beatniks, doing “Step Right Up” from his album Small Change, featuring Jim Hughart on bass, a guy with a resume about a mile long. He played with everyone from Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass to Johnny Rivers and The Monkees. We opened that set with the troubled but gifted Jaco Pastorius. We heard two from his debut album, the tracks: “Kuru” and “Speak like a Child,” followed by Jaco playing on one from Joni Mitchell’s tribute to another great jazz bassist, Charles Mingus – with whom Ed Shaughnessy also played at one point. Here we got “The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines.” Well, it’s like Tom Waits said, the large print giveth and the small print taketh away, and the small print says we’re out of time. But I’ll be back sooner or later with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl from the Way Back Studios. Thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh, in the Deep Tracks.
Several years ago, my friend George Taylor Morris and I were talking about favorite old segues from back in the day when we worked with vinyl. I told George about one that a guy named Bruce Owen used to do on WJDX-FM going from Johnny Rivers into the Beatles. In his song “Summer Rain,” Rivers sings the line about how all summer long they were dancing in the sand and everybody just kept on playing “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” That lyric is followed by the same drum lick Ringo uses for the reprise to “Sergeant Pepper,” and that lets you to go seamlessly into the Beatles, if you do it right. Well, it turned out George had a segue just like that, involving a different song by the Beatles. So I took George’s idea as the basis for this week’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl.
It all starts with a song from Chicago Transit Authority. It was written by Robert Lamm, apparently after he’d spent some time here in Los Angeles. Based on the lyrics, it sounds like he might have been here during the June Gloom and he couldn’t handle all the grey skies. In fact it was so depressing that writing a mere blues was inadequate, so he wrote the “South California Purples.” Now, about five minutes into the song, for reasons we may never know, the band lapses into a couple of bars from “I Am The Walrus.” And that’s when we segue over to The Beatles. From there we go to the Spooky Tooth version of that track before returning to the second part of the Chicago right where we left off with the I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. After that, it’s a Beatles mash-up of “Strawberry Fields” by Todd Rundgren, broken into three parts and mixed with a one minute excerpt of Peter Gabriel’s version of “Strawberry Fields,” along with a twenty-three second sample from “Magical Mystery Tour,” and the Beatles instrumental, “Flying.” So, from the Way Back Studios, here’s the southern California purple walrus flying over the strawberry fields for about twenty-three minutes. It’s a regular magical mystery set.
|Chicago Transit Authority||South California Purples (part 1)|
|Beatles||I am the Walrus|
|Spooky Tooth||I am the Walrus|
|Chicago Transit Authority||South California Purples (part 2)|
|Todd Rundgren||Strawberry Fields Forever (part 1)|
|Peter Gabriel||Strawberry Fields Forever (excerpt)|
|Todd Rundgren||Strawberry Fields Forever (part 2)|
|Beatles||Magical Mystery Tour (excerpt)|
|Todd Rundgren||Strawberry Fields Forever (part 3)|
It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out. We ended that Beatle-centric set with one of the few songs credited to all four of the moptops, from Magical Mystery Tour, that’s called “Flying.” Before that, we took Todd Rundgren’s version of “Strawberry Fields” from his album Faithful and we chopped it into three parts. In between the second two parts we inserted the last twenty-three seconds of “Magical Mystery Tour.” In between the first two parts, we segued over to a minute of Peter Gabriel’s version of “Strawberry Fields” that you’ll find on the soundtrack to the film All This And World War II. A film that was described by at least one reviewer as a triumph of audacity and bad taste where they match actual film clips from World War Two to cover versions of Beatles songs, like, for example, the German army retreating to Rod Stewart’s version of “Get Back.” O-kay.
At the top, “I Am The Walrus” and “South California Purples” – two songs complaining about the weather: The Beatles sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun which doesn’t come so they end up with a tan from standing in the English rain. And Chicago grumbling about how it’s cloudy every morning, sun don’t ever shine. But the weather reference is just a coincidence. The real reason we put those two songs together is the segue where Chicago does a couple of bars of “I Am The Walrus” and we slip over to the original version. That’s a mix created by our friend George Taylor Morris some years ago and used here with permission. And as long as we were singing about that massive sea mammal, we decided to let Spooky Tooth chew on their version of the song before we got back to the Chicago track, right where we left off with I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. Right here, in the Deep Tracks.
Unless you’re driving or doing surgery, I want you to close your eyes and picture Little Richard. Head thrown back with six inches of hair piled up on top, hands stretching for the piano. Good golly miss molly. Or Jerry Lee Lewis? The killer? Kicking the bench out of the way, standing a few feet back so he has to bend over to wail on the keys. Great balls of fire! Or Fats Domino giving it up on “The Fat Man” one of those songs that’s always on the list as the first rock and roll record. These were the guys who invented the music. And those pianos were iconic. But, somewhere around Duane Eddy and Chuck Berry, the electric guitar took over as the symbol of rock and roll. Now I like guitars as much as the next guy but today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is all about the 88’s.
The late, great Nicky Hopkins is one of the most important session musicians in rock history. He recorded the Beatles, the Stones, the Who, the Kinks, the Airplane, and the Steve Miller Band among others. He earned the nickname Edward as a result of his composition and performance on “Edward, The Mad Shirt Grinder,” a nine minute piano masterpiece from the Quicksilver Messenger Service album Shady Grove. Well, it turns out there’s a false ending in the middle of the song that allows Chuck Leavell to slide onto the bench and launch into the great Sea Level track, “Rain In Spain,” which, as it turns out, also has a false ending. As you might imagine, hand mixing ensues. Chuck’s resume as a session guy is nearly as impressive as Nicky’s. In addition to his career with the Allman Brothers and Sea Level, he’s played with the Stones, Clapton, and many others. At the end of the set, we’ve got a surprise from the Isley Brothers, but before we get there, how about a surprise from one of the icons of New Age music? George Winston covering The Doors. Trust me. But first, from the Way Back Studios, let’s join Cheech and Chong as they try to give a piano lesson to little Jimmy.
|Cheech & Chong||Jimmy (excerpt)|
|George Winston||Love Me Two Times|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||Edward, the Mad Shirt Grinder (part 1)|
|Sea Level||Rain in Spain (pt 1)|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||Edward, the Mad Shirt Grinder (part 2)|
|Sea Level||Rain in Spain (part 2)|
|Isley Brothers||Work to Do|
The Average White Band does a great version of that song, but I’ve always preferred the Isley Brothers take on “Work to Do.” From their 1972 album, Brother, Brother, Brother. Chris Jasper on piano. Before that we tossed Quicksilver Messenger Service into a hand blender with Sea Level mixing “Edward, The Mad Shirt Grinder” with the “Rain in Spain,” done in two parts each. Nicky Hopkins, one of rock’s most influential piano players, handled the keyboards for Quicksilver and Chuck Leavel did the same for his Allman Brothers-era side project. Before the first part of the mad shirt grinder, we heard an instrumental version of The Door’s “Love Me Two Times.” If you looked at the display on your radio, you might have thought, uh, that can’t be right. George Winston, the Windham Hill New Age guy? Sure enough. That was from his 2002 release, Night Divides The Day – The Music of The Doors on Dancing Cat Records. I didn’t know it at the time, but Mr. Winston went to middle school about three blocks down the street from where I grew up. Which just goes to show, you never know.
We started the set with a little comedy from Cheech and Chong, trying to teach Jimmy how to play the piano. From my scratchy copy of their 1976 album, Sleeping Beauty, a reference to the design of the album itself, which, when you opened it looked like a huge seconol, a popular barbiturate from the seventies, known as a red. By the way I’m sure you remember Cheech and Chong’s “Basketball Jones,” but do you remember who played on it? How about George Harrison, Tom Scott, Jim Keltner, and three keyboard players, Billy Preston, Carole King and – you guessed it – Nicky Hopkins. Well, the piano sounds like a carnival and the microphone smells like a beer here in the Way Back Studios. Thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sooner or later, right here in the Deep Tracks.
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.
Only one thing is certain in this life after death and taxes. And that is, if you carry a record collection around long enough, some of the records will get scratchy. It’s the nature of vinyl. But the blip in the Neil Young that starts today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl only lasts for a couple of revolutions, so bear with me. Recorded during his 1973 tour, the album Time Fades Away is one of only two Neil Young albums that was never made officially available on CD. The tour followed two major events in Neil’s life: the multi-platinum success of Harvest and the drug overdose death of Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten who had been fired during rehearsals for the tour. While the audiences wanted to hear sweet acoustic rockers like “Heart of Gold,” Neil was coming from a darker place. The emotions stirred by Whitten’s death combined with Young’s tendency not to pander to his audience, Neil delivered a series of concerts that Mark Deming called “a ragged musical parade of bad karma and road craziness.” Here we’ll hear Neil, alone at the piano doing “The Bridge.”
The songs that follow, sound like they might have been chosen for Whitten’s memorial service: “I Shall Be Released,” “Teardrops Will Fall,” and “Long, Long, Long,” one of the great, semi-forgotten Beatles songs. By the way, there’s a little something funny to listen for during Ry Cooder’s “Teardrops Will Fall.” At the very end of the song, it sounds as if the record skips. In fact I thought I’d hit the turntable. But I hadn’t. I’ve got both the vinyl and the cd of Ry’s album Into The Purple Valley – and BOTH of them have what sounds like a goofed up edit right at the end, so listen for that. The second half of the set is a trip down south to “Old Virginia” from America, “Sweet Virginia” from the Stones, and the “Mississippi Half Step Uptown Toodle-loo” from the Grateful Dead. But first, here’s Neil Young.
|Neil Young||The Bridge|
|The Band||I Shall Be Released|
|Ry Cooder||Teardrops Will Fall|
|Beatles||Long, Long, Long|
|Rolling Stones||Sweet Virginia|
|Grateful Dead||Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodle-loo|
That’s the “Mississippi Half Step Uptown Toodle-loo” from Wake of the Flood, the first album the Grateful Dead released on their own label and the first one recorded following the death of founding band member Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan, At the top of the set, Neil Young from Time Fades Away, the first album Neil recorded following the death of his friend, Crazy Horse guitarist, Danny Whitten. In the middle of the set, we heard “Long, Long, Long” from The White Album, which was the first album the Beatles recorded following the death of their manager, Brian Epstein. That’s a creepy little pattern I didn’t see until I was writing this. “Long, Long, Long” was written by George Harrison and produced by George Martin who also produced the song that followed in the set, “Old Virginia” from America’s album, Hearts.
Elsewhere in the set, we heard the Rolling Stones scraping the shh-tuff right off their shoes, from Exile on Main Street, a track called “Sweet Virginia.” We also heard some Music From Big Pink, the Band covering Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” followed by Ry Cooder doing “Teardrops Will Fall” from his great album Into The Purple Valley, a collection of traditionals and other early Americana that I highly recommend. By the way, if you want to see the set lists for any of the shows, we’ve got ‘em all posted on the website for your convenience, billfitzhugh dot com, where you’ll also find scandalous photos, the unauthorized history of how the show came about, the much talked about interview with former porn star, Geoff Young, just kidding, Geoff’s actually a respectable magazine publisher but he said it was all right if I called him a porn star. In any event, thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh in the Way Back Studios. I’ll have another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.
One of the very first shows we did here in the Way Back Studios revolved around an identical piano riff that I found in two different songs. I was listening to side three of Quadrophenia one night, and when “Drowned” came on, I knew I’d heard that piano riff somewhere else. Turned out to be Joe Cocker’s “Hitchcock Railway.” By the way if you listen closely you’ll hear the two riffs in the introduction to our show. If you’re not paying attention you might not even notice they’re from different songs, but they are. Now what are the odds that two piano players recording three years apart would use the exact same riff? Well, that’s a trick question because it turns out they’re both played by Chris Stainton, one of the original members of Joe Cocker’s Grease Band who did some session work with The Who. In other words, he nicked the riff from himself.
Well, this week’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl came about in the same way, though this time, it’s a guitar riff and two different guitar players. What happened was this: while listening to the David Bowie hits collection, ChangesOneBowie and the track “John, I’m Only Dancing,” I was struck by the opening guitar riff. I’d heard it somewhere else. The question was where. And the answer was Elton John’s Honky Chateau, specifically the song “Hercules” featuring Davey Johnstone on guitar. I’m not sure if it’s Bowie or Mick Ronson playing guitar on “John, I’m Only Dancing,” but it’s a perfect match for Johnston’s riff in “Hercules.” What’s even better is that “Hercules” has a false ending in the middle allowing a great segue into the Bowie which has a cool ending which allows a nice mix back to the Elton John. After that little beauty, I just went looking for more songs with acoustic guitars to fit with the rest of the set. We’ll end up with Mrs. Robinson, but we’ll start with a great Van Morrison track from Veedon Fleece, a song you just don’t hear often enough. It’s called “Bulbs” and it goes a little something like this.
|Cat Stevens||Tuesday’s Dead|
|Elton John||Hurcules (part 1)|
|David Bowie||John, I’m Only Dancing|
|Elton John||Hurcules (part 2)|
|Simon & Garfunkle||Mrs. Robinson|
Put that in your pantry with your cupcakes. That’s Simon and Garfunkle with Mr. Robinson’s less than faithful wife. The story goes that Paul Simon had agreed to write three songs for The Graduate soundtrack but when it came time to deliver, he had only one written and parts of another song that was all about the past, with references to Mrs. Roosevelt, as in the wife of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Mike Nichols, who was directing the film suggested to Paul that the song was now about Mrs. Robinson, thank you very much. You can find one version of the song on the soundtrack for The Graduate, though it’s not the actual version that’s in the movie. You can find the number one hit single version that we just heard on the Bookends album.
Before that, we did some fancy hand mixing in and out of Elton John and David Bowie, all based on a similar guitar riff. From the Honky Chateau album we mixed a cat named “Hercules” with “John, I’m Only Dancing” which was a single never released on a proper album. The song’s heritage is so complicated I’m not sure I’ve got it figured out, but the way I understand it, the original version was recorded in 1972 during the sessions for Alladin Sane. It was released as a single in the UK, with “Hang On To Yourself” as the B-side, but not released in the US. The version we just heard was a 1973 re-recording that was accidentally included on the early versions of ChangesoneBowie, an error that was corrected on later releases of that collection – but don’t quote me on that. Coming out of the second part of “Hercules” we made the transformation as a rock and roll “Star,” from Ziggy Stardust.
The set opened with Van Morrison from Veedon Fleece, a song called “Bulbs” that was released as a single but for reasons I’ll never understand, didn’t chart in the top 40. We followed that with “Tuesday’s Dead” from the Cat Stevens album Teaser and the Firecat. And now, we’re all out of time. Thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl satellite delivered from The Way Back Studios to the Deep Tracks.
Some people argue that swing started in 1924 when Louis Armstrong joined Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra. Others say it started in 1935 when Benny Goodman’s Orchestra caught on. What’s interesting about all this is that, as far as I can tell, nobody really agrees on what swing is in the first place. Is it a combination of simple melodic lines written against a rhythmic background or is it when a group performs in such a rhythmically coordinated way as to command a visceral response from the listener? Might be both, I suppose, but the description I’m going with says swing is “an irresistible gravitational buoyancy that defies mere verbal definition.”
Well, whatever it is, and whenever it started, one thing’s for certain: it won’t go away. Remember the film ‘Swingers’ with Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn? Came out during the great swing revival of the late nineties? All the sudden everybody was discovering all those Sammy Davis, Dean Martin Rat Pack tracks, not to mention the Louis Jordon and Count Basie catalogues. One thing led to another and before we knew it, we were swinging with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Royal Crown Review, Squirrel Nut Zippers, the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and all the rest.
Well this week’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl just goes to show that they weren’t the first generation to rediscover the joys of swinging. In fact this set has more swing than you’ll find on a playground. It’s so money, you can stick it in the bank. It features a couple of classics like Joe Jackson’ take on “Five Guys Named Moe,” and Bette Midler’s cover of the Andrew’s Sisters’ hit, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” And, since we are in the Deep Tracks, we’ll throw in a couple of curves like the Good Rats doing “Fred Upstairs and Ginger Snappers,” “Parker’s Band” from Steely Dan, and the Pointer Sisters doing “Cloudburst.” So call it what you will, define how you like but remember, “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.”
|Brian Setzer||Dirty Boogie|
|Bette Midler||Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy|
|Good Rats||Fred Upstairs and Ginger Snappers|
|Joe Jackson||Five Guys Named Moe|
|Joni Mitchell||Raised on Robbery|
|Steely Dan||Parkers Band|
|Jazz Crusaders||Young Rabbits|
How’s that for a swing set? The Jazz Crusaders doing a Wayne Henderson composition called “Young Rabbits.” The group consisted of Henderson on trombone, Joe Sample on keyboards, Wilton Felder on tenor sax, and Stix Hooper on the drums. Like Tom Scott and the L.A. Express, the members of The Crusaders were in serious demand as session players, you’ll find their names on records by Jackson Brown, Randy Newman, Joe Cocker, Taj Mahal, and Joni Mitchell just to name a few. And proving that very point, we heard “Raised on Robbery” from Joni’s Court and Spark, an album featuring members of both the Crusaders and the L.A. Express.
Before “Young Rabbits,” it was Anita, Bonnie, June and Ruth, The Pointer Sisters from their great debut album in 1973, a song called “Cloudburst.” At the top of the set, one time rockabilly revivalist turned big band leader, Brian Setzer and his orchestra doing the title track to their 1998 release, “The Dirty Boogie” which led us into the Divine Miss M, from the bath houses to Broadway, Busty Bette Midler sounding like a long-lost Andrews Sister on the hit “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” That band with the smooth style of syncopation somewhere in the middle was Steely Dan from Pretzel Logic we heard “Parker’s Band,” as in Charlie Parker spending a Dizzy Gillespie weekend, smacked into a trance. Elsewhere a white as light as moonjune, a band as tight as Mancini’s, all the way from Long Island, those positive rodents: Good Rats. From their very Tasty album, we had a show with ten toe tappers, “Fred Upstairs and Ginger Snappers.” We also heard some Jumpin’ Jive from Joe Jackson, the classic, “Five Guys Named Moe.” Big Moe, Little Moe, Four-eyed Moe, Eat Moe, and No Moe, as in we got no mo’ time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh in the Way Back Studios, saying thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.