I was cruising along the Ventura Freeway the other day when a red Cadillac blew past me like I was standing still. I had to look quick, but I saw that old bumper sticker sayin’: get in, sit down, shut up, and hold on. Well, it was like an inspiration going ninety-five miles an hour and the first thing that came to mind was “Hot Rod Lincoln.” Not the original twelve-cylinder song but the one’s that got eight, and uses ‘em all. It’s got overdrive too, just won’t stall. By now you can probably guess where we’re going with today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. If not, here’s a hint: It’s got dyna-flow and power glide. It’s bored and stroked and it satisfies. That’s right, it’s all about fast cars, faster women, and going to jail if you’re not careful. In fact, you better “Slow down.” You’re moving way too fast. Next thing you know, there’s a red light in the rear view and you’re locked up in county where prisoner forty-eight says to number 1-0-3, you’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see. And who needs that?
Elvis Costello revs things up in the middle with the second shortest track from My Aim is True and then we’ve got Jake and Elwood rockin’ the cell block. Meanwhile, standing on the side of the road, wearing a pair of alligator shoes, that’s Rory Gallagher and his date’s whose got on her cat clothes, just waiting for Little Feat to pick ‘em up and get rolling on down Highway 95 with the cruise control in overdrive. This set is so tight it’s guaranteed to get your motor running right. In fact, we just might lose control tonight here in the Way Back Studios. But before we do, we’ll hear from Willie Nile, talking about this girl in his neighborhood. You know the type I’m talkin’ about. And then, the Glimmer Twins, gonna raise some hell down at the union hall, drive us all right over the wall. So dig these sounds on the radio. Flip, flop, fit to drop. Come on now, we’re gonna let it rock.
|She’s So Cold
|Hot Rod Lincoln
|Let It Roll
|Cruise On Out
|Rip This Joint
Dig that sound on the satellite radio. A set full of four barrel carburetors, duel exhausts, good brakes, and fair tires. Going so fast at the end, the telephone poles started looking like fence posts. That’s Bobby Keys wailing on the saxophone with the Stones doing “Rip This Joint.” Now, here’s an interesting bit of trivia. Something I didn’t plan at all. There’s a line in that song that goes, “Short Fat Fanny is on the loose.” Now it turns out “Short Fat Fanny” was the title of a top ten hit in the late 1950’s for New Orleans singer-songwriter, Larry Williams. The very same Larry Williams who wrote “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” and “Slow Down” which we heard earlier in the set covered by the Beatles. That was followed by another track originating in the fifties, “Hot Rod Lincoln,” redone in the seventies by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. And in keeping with the times, a third song from that decade, featuring Spider Murphy on the tenor saxophone and Little Joe blowing on the slide trombone or words to that effect. John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd covering Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller’s “Jailhouse Rock” – a #1 hit for Elvis in the fall of 1957.
The other Elvis, Costello, dropped by in the middle of all that to show us the “Mystery Dance.” The rest of the set was full scale commotion and a pace that wouldn’t stop. As Rory Gallagher said, “You better leave town gracefully if you’re too pooped to pop.” Little Feat was in there too like a smooth stretch of highway and a cool summer breeze. And we started with Willie Nile. A song called “She’s So Cold.” Here’s another coincidence: the Stones recorded a different song with that same title in which Mick says, “I tried rewiring her and I tried refiring her. I think her engine is permanently stalled in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for tuning in. And for those seeking a little something extra, extra read all about it, you can do just that at billfitzhugh.com. I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Just for the sake of argument, let’s say you find eight songs that have been broken into twelve parts. The parts are scattered all over the place and your job is to put them back together again, like a vinyl Humpty Dumpty. The question is, how would you do it? Who would you call? All the king’s horses and all the king’s men? What would you use? Elmer’s glue? No. All you need is love, a caulking gun, and a large tube of Fitzhugh’s All Hand Mixed Vinyl. The application’s easy and the clean up’s a snap. That’s right, it’s the same product Walter Becker and Donald Fagan use to put the shine in their Japan and the sparkle in their China. It’s the perfect solution for all your household problems. Fixing a whole in the ocean? Trying to make a dove tail joint? Well, looking through the bent back tulips to see how the other half lives, we find Lennon and McCartney using All Hand Mixed Vinyl for fixing a hole where the rain gets in, as well as for putting their glass onion back together again. All of which goes to show that Fitzhugh’s All Hand Mixed Vinyl is waterproof and capable of withstanding extreme temperatures. Whether it’s Rod Stewart’s fast back, mid-engine Porche, Bob Seger’s diamond ring, or his Cadillac car well, I could go on like that all day but I think I’ve made my point.
Today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is proof positive that here in the Way Back Studios, when we find a song that has a hole, we stick something in it. And we’ve got plenty to choose from this time out, each of which will be explained as amply as a fat bottomed girl at the other end of the show. And when you’ve got all those holes, what better to stick in them than a strap-on Steely Dan, the heroic minded ones for your enlightenment and entertainment pleasure. Here’s five, four, three, two, one song from Countdown to Ecstacy.
|Bodhisattva (part 1)
|Glass Onion (part 1)
|Glass Onion (part 2)
|Bodhisattva (part 2)
|Mary Lou (part 1)
|Rain (part 1)
|Mary Lou (part 2)
|Glass Onion (part 3)
|El Dorado Overture
|I Can’t Get It Out of My Head
|Fat Bottomed Girls
Wrapping up with those fat bottomed girls we love so much, we just took eight songs, broke ‘em into twelve parts, and rearranged ‘em for maximum amusement. Here’s what happened. I was listening to Classic Vinyl one afternoon when they played “Glass Onion,” John Lennon’s tongue-in-cheek response to the whole ‘Paul is dead’ thing, a song I’ve heard a thousand times before. But this time I noticed the two false endings and those slowly fading strings at the end, all the ingredients we need for what we do here. After the false endings in “Glass Onion,” the song always returns with Ringo’s big drum lick, so all I needed was two songs starting with a drum lick and one with some strings at the top. In the first break, we turned to Rod Stewart’s “True Blue.” Then it was back to “Glass Onion.” In the next break we went with Bob Seger’s “Mary Lou” which, as fate would have it, also has a false ending. In Seger’s break, we stuck the first part of the Beatles, “Rain,” which also has a false ending. At this point, the set starts to get like something out of Alice in Wonderland. When we got to the break in “Rain” we returned to the second half of the Bob Seger followed by the third part of “Glass Onion,” ending with those strings.
So, naturally, we turned to the Electric Light Orchestra, slipping into the “El Dorado Overture” which segues on its own into “I Can’t Get It Out of My Head” which ends with those soaring voices that matched those at the top of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls.” But even with all that, the set came up short. Well, one thing led to another and then to Steely Dan’s “Bodhisattva” which, as it turns out, also has a false ending. So I had to reconfigure the whole thing, sticking the second part of “Bodhisattva” somewhere in the middle. What a tangled web we weave here in the Way Back Studios. You can read all about that at billfitzhugh.com. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for tuning in. I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
It’s time to sharpen your number two pencils for another Way Back Studios pop quiz. Ready? Here we go. Name the song that contains the following lyrics: “Remember me to the one who lives there. She once was a true love of mine.” Okay, time’s up. If you said Bob Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country,” you’re right. So if you said, Simon and Garfunkle’s “Scarborough Fair,” you’re also right. And if you said, but those are completely different songs, you’re also right. And that raises the question: How’d that happen? The answer to that is found in the year 1670 where we find a Scottish ballad titled “The Elfin Knight.” Now, according to the people who keep track of these things, “The Elfin Knight” was the source for an English folk ballad called “Scarborough Fair.” Scarborough being a town on the North Sea coast where, during the late Middle Ages, they held an annual trading event known as Scarborough Fair. A few hundred years later the English folk singer, and occasional member of Steeleye Span, Martin Carthy taught this traditional ballad to Bob Dylan and later to Paul Simon. Bob took the two lines from the original ballad and incorporated them into his “Girl From the North Country.”
Three years later, Simon and Garfunkle took a different approach. They used one of the many versions of the ballad and sort of hand-mixed it with a Paul Simon song called “The Side of the Hill,” singing the two songs simultaneously as melody and counter melody. For reasons unexplained they titled the resulting track “Scarborough Fair” slash “Canticle.” I say unexplained because a canticle is typically a hymn with lyrics taken directly from the Bible as opposed to Paul Simon. Also unexplained is why today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features a Dylan song from Blood on the Tracks instead of “Girl From the North Country.” We’ve also got a nice segue suggested by our pal Kimberly featuring Fleetwood Mac and the Doobie Brothers. But first we’ve got a sweet little mix involvingb John Lennon and the one-time guitarist for Glass Harp, Mr. Phil Keaggy.
|Oh My Love
|Simon & Garfunkle
|Scarborough Fair / Canticle
|If You See Her Say Hello
|Jewel Eyed Judy
That’s what Fleetwood Mac sounded like in 1970 after Peter Green hit the road. Before that, the Doobies from 1972. Those last two tracks were suggested by our pal and favorite national wildlife refuge system employee, Kimberly. She sent me an email to say she was listening to Toulouse Street one night and couldn’t help but notice that the Doobie Brothers’ “White Sun” sounded a lot like Fleetwood Mac’s “Jewel Eyed Judy” so we gave it a try and sure enough, it’s a nice little mix. Thanks Kimberly. By the way, if you’ve got any segue suggestions, I’m all ears. You can find an email link at billfitzhugh.com. Before the Doobie Brothers, we had “No Expectations.” The Stones from Beggar’s Banquet which segued nicely out of The Allman Brother’s “Melissa.” And leading into that was another acoustic beauty from the Cat Stevens album Teaser and the Fire Cat. A song called “The Wind” which I think is the third shortest song he ever recorded.
At the top, a brief instrumental called “Evensong” by Phil Keaggy that segued nicely into John Lennon’s “Oh My Love.” After that, Simon and Garfunkle did a mix of their own. They took the traditional English folk ballad, “Scarborough Fair” and sang it simultaneously with an early Paul Simon song called “The Side of the Hill.” Two songs for the price of one. Earlier we talked about how “Scarborough Fair” and Bob Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country” shared that lyric about remembering me to the one who lives there. Well I tried “Girl From the North Country” in the set but it didn’t quite work. So we went with a different Dylan track that had similar sentiment. “If You See Her, Say Hello.” Well, that’s all the Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme we have this week. Thanks for listening. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
I think it was Joe Walsh who said, ‘I was born in the city, my back against the wall. Nothin’ grows and life ain’t pretty. No one’s there to catch you when you fall.’ Yeah, well, they say there are eight million stories in the naked city, Joe, and today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is just one of them. It’s an unsentimental soundtrack about crime, violence, and the urban nightmare. A hardboiled set of circumstances dropped onto the turntable and played out smack in the middle of the concrete jungle. That’s right, it’s hot time, summer in the city, when the back of your neck gets dirt and gritty. Like it says in the Bible: Woe to the bloody city! It’s all full of lies and robbery. The prey departeth not. Or as Stevie Wonder said, it’s a place that’s cruel and couldn’t be much colder. This one got started when I realized I had three songs that used urban sound effects, like sirens, car horns, and jack hammers. An unlikely trio: Stevie Wonder, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and America. But I figured out how to dice and splice ‘em into a tasty urban mix. So be sure to keep your ears open for all those honking horns as mix between the three.
Before we get there, we’ll hear “City, Country, City” and the definitive urban theme song, “Shaft.” So yeah, this one’s all about the big, bloody city, teeming with rootless and uprooted people, low lifes and bad attitudes. A place where danger lurks around every corner. Hey, it’s a jungle out there. Nothing but con men and thieves, pimps and hustlers. Greedy landlords, corrupt cops, and political fixers. A place where everything’s for sale and anybody can be bought. Carol Leifer had a great line about the ultimate city, New York. She said, “It’s the only city where people make radio requests like, ‘This is for Tina. I’m sorry I stabbed you.’” From the Way Back Studios, here’s our ode to life in the big city.
|City, Country, City (part 1)
|City, Country, City (part 2)
|Living For The City (part 1)
|Summer in the City (part 1)
|Living For The City (part 2)
|Summer in the City (part 2)
|Living For The City (part 3)
|Summer in the City (part 3)
|Bob Seger System
From the East Coast to the West, life in the big city has inspired a lot of artists to write songs about urban existence and we just heard a few good examples. That was America singing about “Hollywood.” Before that, we spent ten minutes mixing back and forth between the social commentary of Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City” and The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer in the City.” We broke the two songs into six parts and had our way with them, proving once again that it’s not just what we play, it’s how we play it. “Summer in the City” started out as a poem written by John Sebastian’s brother, Mark, while in high school. When they turned it into a song, John added some darker lyrics at the top to provide contrast to the more upbeat chorus. Band member Steve Boone added a piano part and those city sound effects and the song went straight to number one. All around, people looking half dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head. What a great lyric.
We started the set with the opening couple of minutes of War’s “City, Country, City” before mixing over to a song so urban, it didn’t need the word city in the title. Instead it had that black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks. “Shaft” from the late, great Isaac Hayes, also known as Chef on South Park. Can you dig it? Following “Shaft” we returned to the body of “City, Country, City” with Lee Oscar on harmonica, Charles Miller on sax, Lonnie Jordon on organ, and Howard Scott on guitar. Well, we just hit the city limits on this one. Hope you enjoyed it. If you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries, we’ve got ‘em posted somewhere on billfitzhugh .com. Drop by and poke around ‘till you find ‘em. Or send me an email, I’ll point you in the right direction. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl in a New York minute and I hope you’ll join us right here in the Deep Tracks.
I’m just going to come right out and say this: I trust Wikipedia. Not for everything of course but for simple fact-checking like, for example, when you need to know the surface temperature of the sun or whether baboons are a highly dimorphic species, as you sometimes need to know. The reason I bring this up is that I was trying to find the term used by percussionists to refer to the action of tapping a drumstick against the rim of the snare, because that’s sound at the heart of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. My friend, and frequent Way Back Studio co-conspirator, D. Victor Hawkins, said it’s called a rim shot. But I’ve always thought a rim shot was the drum and cymbal sting played to accentuate the punch line to a joke, and usually a bad one. So I looked it up. According to Wikipedia, there are three types of rim shots. The most common is the normal rimshot, played with the tip of the stick about three inches from the rim. The second is called a “ping shot,” where the tip is closer to the rim and produces a higher pitched sound. The third, called a “gock,” is produced by putting the tip of the stick at the center of the drum, the rim making contact closer to the hand than in a ping or normal rimshot.
The Wikipedia entry also warns that the rimshot should not be confused with the cross stick technique, in which the tip of the drumstick is placed on the head near one of the bearing edges, and the shaft of the stick is struck against the rim opposite the tip, creating a dry, high pitched “click”: this is called a rim knock. All of which just goes to show that too much information’s no better than too little. Because even after all that, I don’t know if the starting point of today’s set is a rim knock, a ping shot, a gock, or a normal rim shot. Listen to the first three songs and drop me an email if you can correctly identify what’s what. After that, things devolve into wood blocks and cowbells but they keep the mood going. So now, with or without you and with every breath you take, remember: time waits for no one, someday never comes, and here’s the boss.
|I’m on Fire
|Creedence Clearwater Revival
|Someday Never Comes
|Time Waits for No One
|The Chambers Brothers
|Time Has Come Today
|With or Without You
|Every Breath You Take
The idea for that set came when I was listening to one of my all-time favorite Creedence songs, “Someday Never Comes.” The song fades in and out with Doug Clifford tapping his drumstick against the rim of his snare. It sounds like a train clacking down the tracks which makes it the perfect song to come out of Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” which ends with Bruce howling like a train whistle over the tap, tap, tap of Max Weinberg knocking on his rim in the same way that percussionist Ray Cooper uses the technique to invoke the tick tock of a clock in the open and close of the Stones’s “Time Waits for No One.” In addition to that percussive technique, the songs also share a mood and a sense of coming to an understanding of something that had previously escaped comprehension. Something you just didn’t get until now. But that new understanding doesn’t bring a eureka moment of the ‘ah ha’ variety so much as an understated, almost disappointed, ohhh, now I get it. Someday never comes. Time waits for no one.
After that, the Chamber’s Brothers classic, “Time Has Come Today” substituting a cowbell for the rim knock but with a message that matched: ‘I’ve been loved and put aside, been crushed by the tumbling tide.’ The last two tracks in that set didn’t share the exact same percussive element as the first four but they sustained the mood. Like a man realizing he can’t live with or without her or who recognizes that he’s been lost without a trace since she left. And what’s worse, these things almost seemed inevitable. Like the passing of time, or every breath you take or the next batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. From the Way Back Studios, I’m your host, Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. By the way if you‘d like to see our set lists or the show commentaries, just give me a Google and drop by Bill Fitzhugh.com. If you’ve got comments or suggestions you can also send me email from the site. I’d love to hear from you. I’ll be back sooner or later with a fresh batch, and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Here’s a concept for you, the concept album. Not to be confused with the rock opera, the concept album is, generally speaking, an album unified by a theme of some sort. We didn’t actually set out to have today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl revolve around concept albums, but that’s how it turned out. And we ended up with a doozy of a mash-up. A breathless exercise in plunderphonics, sampledelica, and a little bit of bastard pop involving two bands you might expect in this category and one you might not. The Moody Blues and Pink Floyd are veterans of the concept. Both bands also did a lot of segues on their records which is a sign of the concept album but no guarantee. The concept behind the Moody Blues “In Search of the Lost Chord” is the search for spiritual fulfillment as well as the search for a mythical set of harmonically related notes. Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” is one of the best and most famous of the concept albums. It deals with the nature of the human experience from birth and aging, to greed, consumerism, madness, and death.
Jefferson Starship is the band you might not expect in this category. In fact there’s some argument about whether the album “Blows Against The Empire” is Paul Kantner’s first solo project or the first album by Jefferson Starship or the first by the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra. But in any event “Blows Against the Empire” is a narrative concept album about a plucky band of counter-culture types who steal a starship from the government and journey into space with the plan to restart the human race and presumably to build their city on rock and roll. Coincidentally, there’s a break in the middle of the Starship track “Hijack” that’s surrounded by acoustic guitars that reminded me of Queen’s “’39” which happens to be a story about a plucky band of space explorers who embark on what they think is a year-long voyage only to be surprised to find that Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity was actually correct and the loved ones they left behind are now all dead. So, on that happy note, let’s go searching for that lost chord.
|Home / Have You Seen The Stars Tonight? / XM
|Speak to Me / Breathe / On The Run
|Sunrise / Hijack (part 1)
|’39 (part 1)
|’39 (part 2)
|Hijack (part 2)
Sailing out into the grasshopper night to seek the righteous poison that’s the second part of Jefferson Starship’s “Hijack” from their concept album “Blows Against the Empire.” Earlier in the set we mashed up some other tracks from that album with a couple of tracks from The Moody Blues “In Search of the Lost Chord” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” See if you can follow this: We took “The Actor” and “The Word” from Lost Chord and mixed into Starship’s “Home,” which segues into “Have You Seen the Stars Tonight” and (ironically enough) a track called “XM” which we used to mix with Floyd’s “Speak To Me / Breathe [and] On the Run” from “Dark Side of the Moon” which then mixed with Starship’s “Sunrise” which segues into “Hijack” which has a false ending into which we inserted Queen’s “’39” which also has a false ending into which we inserted the shortest Beatle track on record, “Her Majesty,” which was originally found between “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam” in the medley on side two of Abbey Road which is the other album in this set on which Alan Parsons worked, the first being “Dark Side of the Moon” which, like “Blows Against the Empire” features a lot of what is called musique concrete, which is what you call it when you take recorded sounds and other noises that aren’t inherently musical, and use them to make music.
As I said at the top of the show, it’s just a coincidence that this set ended up drawing on three concept albums, but with their use of musique concrete and all the internal segues, it’s not altogether surprising. And here’s another concept: we’re all out of time. So to paraphrase Mr. Floyd, “For long you live and high you fly, but only if you ride the tide. And balanced on the biggest wave, you race towards the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. Right here, in the Deep Tracks.
If I could have your attention for the next twenty-five minutes or so, I think you’ll find it worth your while. Now I know that’s asking a lot what with your busy schedule and all, but if you just take your protein pills and put your helmet on, I’ll serve up a tasty dollop of radio nostalgia and then you can get back to where you once belonged and whatever it was you were doing at the time. Now according to my calculations, sixty-two and a half percent of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl comes from 1969. And it’s ninety percent full of transitional shenanigans most notably with three tracks from The James Gang. Funk #48 came out on their debut album in 1969. A year later, the James Gang gave us Funk #49 and a track called Asshton Park which, for now, we’ll call Funk #50. Musically, the songs are sort of variations of each other, so I took the liberty to remix the three tracks into five parts. Before that, let’s call them, Funk numbers 46 and 47: Which is actually Cold Blood doing “I’m a Good Woman” with a funky segue into “You Just Can’t Stop It” from the Doobie Brothers playing with the Memphis Horns. After all the funkiness, we’ll take a sharp left turn onto Abbey Road for Ringo’s ode to cephalopod aquaculture, followed by Simon and Garfunkle’s plea for customer satisfaction and Blood, Sweat, and Tears’s famous declaration of complete contentment, all of which were recorded or released in 1969. A year that saw the Beatles give their last public performance, from the roof of Apple Records of all places. And the same year the Plastic Ono Band Recorded “Give Peace a Chance.” Which just goes to show how crazy those darn hippies were. From the Way Back Studios here’s Lydia Pense and Cold Blood.
|I’m a Good Woman
|You Just Can’t Stop It
|Funk #49 (part 1)
|Funk #49 (part 2)
|Asshton Park (repeated)
|Simon & Garfunkle
|Keep The Customer Satisfied
|Blood, Sweat, & Tears
|You’ve Made Me So Very Happy
With one exception, everything in that set was either recorded or released in 1969. That’s when Simon and Garfunkle were in the studio building their Bridge Over Troubled Water from which we heard “Keep the Customer Satisfied” which ends with that wailing horn chart. Now I wanted to give credit where it’s due but I looked on the album and on the CD and in All Music Guide and nowhere are the horn players given credit. Well, whoever they were, they led us into Blood, Sweat, and Tears who released their second album in 1969 featuring the hit “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.” Before the customer satisfaction, we were in the “Octopus’s Garden” with you and the Beatles on Abbey Road, which was released, that’s right, in 1969.
By the way, there’s a guy who calls himself DJ Lobsterdust who does a very cool mashup of “Octopus’s Garden” and Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” Be sure to check that out on line sometime. At the top of the set, we heard “I’m a Good Woman” from Lydia Pense and Cold Blood from their debut album also from 1969. After that, the anomaly in the set was the Doobie Brothers “You Just Can’t Stop It” from 1974’s What Were Once Vices Are Now Things We Engage in on a Regular Basis. After that, the James Gang. They released Yer Album in 1969 the same year they recorded The James Gang Rides Again. Those two albums gave us “Funk #48” and “Funk #49” along with “Asshton Park” the instrumental which is essentially a variation on the rhythm track from “Funk 49.” And we liked it so much, we played it twice. Well, it’s the same old story. Everywhere I go, I get slandered, libeled, I hear words I never heard until I got to the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh saying thanks for listening. I’ll be back eventually with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.
All right everybody, sharpen up your number two pencils. It’s time for another Way Back Studios pop quiz. Here’s question number one: Who was the first white artist to perform on Soul Train? The answer is unclear. Might’ve been Elton John, could’ve been David Bowie, or possibly Gino Vannelli. Okay, question number two: Where am I going? Well, that’s actually a trick question. It’s also the title to a song from Gino Vanelli’s album Storm At Sunup. And not surprisingly, it’s the song at the heart of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. Here’s what happened: I got an email a while back from my friend Karen Gilder. She told me she’d gone down to New Orleans to hear Gino at one of the casinos. She had third row center seats in a room with maybe 300 other people. “I felt like I was in high school all over again,” she said. “Giggling the entire time.” Karen said the show was terrific. In fact, her review was so enthusiastic, I came out to the Way Back Studios and dropped a needle on Storm at Sunup.
The record’s made up almost entirely of keyboards, synthesizers, percussion, and Gino’s vocals. “Where Am I Going?” is seven minutes, forty-seven seconds of melo-dramatic pop and tight jazz rock, with a couple of tempo changes that allow for some tasty transitions. And there was something about the keyboards and synthesizers that reminded me of Stevie Wonder, so I found a couple of Stevie tracks to mix with Gino. But it wasn’t quite enough. So. I had to find another song. So. I thought of Peter Gabriel. So I grabbed his 1986 release, “So.” Co-produced by the always atmospheric Daniel Lanois, we found a moody little track to lead us into the whole Gino and Stevie thing. But that still wasn’t enough. So, we dug deeper until we came to Brian Eno. And speaking of atmospheric, we’ve got an excerpt from his album Ambient 1, Music for Airports. And taking us quietly to the airport, is everybody’s favorite lower middle class hillbilly hipster, here’s Ricki Lee Jones.
|Ricki Lee Jones
|On Saturday Afternoons in 1963
|Voyages of Past Travelers
|Where Am I Going (part 1)
|All in Love is Fair
|Where Am I Going (part 2)
|Heaven is Ten Zillion Light Years Away
|Where Am I Going (part 3)
I do love the sound of those synthesizers. That’s Gino Vannelli’s brother Joe playing but I have no idea what because they didn’t bother to list the specific instruments on the album sleeve. It just says synthesizers. We just deconstructed Gino’s synthesizer driven “Where Am I Going” and intermixed the three parts with a couple of tracks from Stevie Wonder. Now I’m guessing Stevie was playing some sort of synthesizer on “Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away” but since they didn’t bother to put the information on that album sleeve either, I can’t say for sure. About the only thing I can say for sure is that one of the background singers on the record is Paul Anka. Earlier in the set we heard “All in Love is Fair” with Stevie playing both acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes and we know this because they do list the instruments on the sleeve for his album “Innervisions.” By the way and coincidentally, it turns out Gino was the opening act for Stevie during a tour in the late 70’s.
We opened the set “On Saturday Afternoons in 1963.” That’s the title of the track from Ricki Lee Jones debut album, followed by former Roxy Music keyboardist, Brian Eno with an excerpt from his album Ambient 1, Music for Airports. That led us to synthesizer afficiando Peter Gabriel playing a CMI, a Prophet, and a CS80, whatever that is. From his album, “So,” we heard a song dedicated to the poet Anne Sexton who wrote a play in 1969 called “Mercy Street.” Confessing all the secret things in the warm velvet box, to the priest, he’s the deejay, he can handle the shocks from the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. You can find the set lists and show commentaries at billfitzhugh.com along with the shocking photos and the truth behind the rumors. I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
One of the things we like to do here in the Way Back Studios is play with your expectations. This assumes a certain familiarity with the music on your part like, for example, when you hear the medley on side two of Abbey Road. You expect “Sun King” will be followed inevitably by “Mean Mr. Mustard,” “Polythene Pam,” and “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window.” But what if we re-insert “Her Majesty” between “Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam” the way it was originally assembled? And what if the Joe Cocker version of “Bathroom Window” comes on where you’re expecting the Beatles to continue? Well, it just makes your ears smile. That’s the whole idea. And we’ll be doing that Beatles / Joe Cocker mix in a few shows but today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl assumes you are familiar with Todd Rundgren’s magnum opus Something / Anything. I got an email recently from Joe Lewis in Cary, Illinois. He had a stack of mixing ideas for me, including one from side two of Something / Anything, the so-called cerebral side of the album. The side begins with “Intro” also known as the Sounds of the Studio game which goes straight into the instrumental “Breathless.” Joe didn’t have any specific ideas, he just thought there might be something fun to do in place of “Breathless.”
Well, I’d been meaning to give that a try, and I found exactly what the doctor ordered on Rick Wakeman’s album, The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Since all the songs on that album are instrumentals, they don’t have anything literal to do with the biographical facts of the women in question. In the album’s liner notes Rick explained that the songs are his personal conception of the various wives in relation to his keyboard instruments which goes a long way toward explaining how people were thinking back in 1973. Now since Todd and Rick are all about keyboards and synthesizers, I figured it made sense to pile on a few more played by the likes of Edgar Winter, Jan Hammer, Kraftwerk, and Three Dog Night. But before we go any further, let’s join Todd in his studio, and see what he’s up to.
|Anne of Cleves (part 1)
|Jump Right Out
|Anne of Cleves (part 2)
|3 Dog Night
|Anne of Cleves (part 3)
|Autobahn (6th part)
That’s Todd Rundgren’s “Breathless” from his album Something / Anything. At the very top of the set, we did the track that you expect to lead into “Breathless”: “Intro” also known as the Sounds of the Studio game. But instead of letting nature takes its course and leaving well enough alone, we did some hand mixing into Rick Wakeman’s instrumental “Anne of Cleves” from his album The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Anne was Henry’s fourth wife, and one of the few to meet a happy ending. Two of his wives died of natural causes, two died after giving birth, and two died from having their heads cut off. By the way, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were the wives who didn’t need to go hat shopping after being married to the King. Now, Anne of Cleves was married to Henry for about 6 months. As I’m sure you could tell just by listening to Rick’s instrumental, their marriage was annulled on the grounds they hadn’t consummated it as well as on some other nuptial technicality. But lucky for Anne, she ended up with a good settlement instead of with her neck on the chopping block.
However, here, she wasn’t so lucky. We took her and chopped her into three parts, inserting Edgar Winter’s “Jump Right Out” in the first break and Three Dog Night’s version of “Chest Fever” in the second. By the way, as far as I know, Rick Wakeman has been through only three wives all of whom still have their heads. That part of the set was inspired by a suggestion from Joe Lewis in Cary, Illinois. If you’ve got a segue idea or if you just want to say hi, drop by billfitzhugh.com and send me a note. I’d love to hear from you. After all that hand mixing, we slipped into an excerpt from Kraftwerk’s twenty-two minute long “Autobahn” and then mixed into Jan Hammer’s “Miami Vice” one of several variations of that tune that he recorded for the television series which was one of the first to be broadcast in stereo. From the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back before you know it with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Ever taken one of those aptitude tests that involves looking at a group of pictures or a list of things and deciding which thing doesn’t belong with the others? Take this list for example: a snake, a skunk, a scallop, and a senator. Obviously the scallop doesn’t belong, right? And not just because the others aren’t bivalves. Well, you could use the artists in today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl the same way. I’ll read the list. You decide which one doesn’t belong. The Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin, Robin Trower, Jimi Hendrix, Donovan. It’s safe to say the acoustic folk hippie guy doesn’t belong with those heavy rocking electric guitar guys, right? Well, actually, no. And I’m as surprised as you are. Here’s how we got there. I started putting this set together with two Zeppelin tracks, both of which are powered by John Bonham’s huge drum licks and both of which have false endings and other elements that are perfect for what we do here in the Way Back Studios. So there I was, chopping the two songs into five parts and trying to figure out what to stick in the holes when an idea came out of left field. It was during a quiet passage in one of the Zepplin tracks that Donovan came to mind. What I didn’t realize at the time was how perfect that was. Not just for the transition but because of the history of The Hurdy Gurdy Man.
There are contradictory stories out there but here’s the one I like: According to Richie Unterberger writing for All Music dot com, the electric guitar, drums, and arrangement for Hurdy Gurdy Man are done by Jimmy Page, John Bonham, and John Paul Jones. Three quarters of Led Zeppelin. In fact Jones and Page have said that Zeppelin itself was formed during the sessions for the Hurdy Gurdy Man album. Another story has it that Donovan wanted Jimi Hendrix to record the song or at least the guitar part but he was unavailable. Still, it’s a nice coincidence that we have Jimi in the second half of the set along with Jimi’s aural doppelganger, Robin Trower. As you might expect, this one’s not for the faint of heart, so get the wax out of your hearing holes and cinch up your seat belts. Here are the Allman Brothers.
|The Allman Brothers
|Trouble No More
|The Ocean (part 1)
|Hurdy Gurdy Man
|The Ocean (part 2)
|Hots on for Nowhere (part 1)
|The Ocean (part 3)
|Hots on for Nowhere (part 2)
|Day of the Eagle (part 1)
|Born Under a Bad Sign (excerpt)
|Day of the Eagle (part 2)
That’s Robin Trower from Bridge of Sighs. I had the eight track tape for that one, had the album too but somewhere along the line it disappeared from my collection. Now all I’ve got is the CD, so I’m just telling you that set wasn’t ALL vinyl. Couldn’t have been because the Hendrix we played came from a posthumous release called Blues that came out in 1994, long after they stopped pressing albums. And since I’m in a confessional mood, I have to admit I played about twenty-four seconds of Zeppelin’s “The Ocean” from a CD simply because I’d need three turntables in my system to do that set and I’ve only got two. But I promise, the rest was all vinyl. And, except for the Allman Brothers at the top, the first half of the set was all Led Zeppelin, even when we were playing Donovan. The story goes that all the members of Zeppelin, except Robert Plant, played on “Hurdy Gurdy Man.” But there are other sources who say a guy named Alan Parker (not the film director) played the electric guitar part. In any event, we dropped the “Hurdy Gurdy Man” into a break between parts of Zeppelin’s “The Ocean” which we broke up into three parts. We also broke “Hots on For Nowhere” into two parts and mixed that in for your listening pleasure.
The second half of the set started off with Trower’s “Day of the Eagle,” a song that starts off like a house on fire, then, about halfway through, it slows to a nice little blues where the bass player, James Dewar, slips into an indirect quote of the bass line for “Born Under a Bad Sign,” a song made famous for some by Albert King and for others by Cream. But here we played an excerpt from the Jimi Hendrix version. Wine and women is all I crave, a big legged woman gonna carry me to … the Way Back Studios. By the way, if you’ve got any questions, you can probably find the answers at billfitzhugh.com. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back whenever they let me with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the DeepTracks.