In keeping with our policy of truth in advertising here in the Way Back Studios, let me just say right up front that today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is really two short sets held together by little more than a few licks on a cowbell and some Three Dog Night. The first set is one of those percussion mixes that comes naturally with early Chicago and Santana. In this case, CTA’s classic cover of a Steve Winwood track that we’ll split in two, during the extended percussion break, and mix into a track from Santana’s third album before returning to the Chicago. After that, we go live to the Forum in Los Angeles for some Three Dog Night before getting to that second set which consists of an improbable mix involving Poco, Deep Purple, and Rory Gallagher. Right about now you’re probably thinking, you can’t segue from Poco to Deep Purple, can you? Well, admittedly, it’s one of those things you don’t want to try at home but I’m a trained professional, so, trust me, just let go and let the cowbell carry you forward.
The idea for this bit came when I heard a Deep Purple track I’d forgotten a long time ago. It’s a track from the 1974 release, Burn. When I heard it recently, I couldn’t help but notice that the cowbell part is virtually identical to the one in the opening track from Poco’s live album, Deliverin’. And while the transition from Poco to Purple is fine and dandy, the best was yet to come. Because it turned out the Deep Purple track has a false ending. Actually three false endings in row that sound exactly like the opening to a Rory Gallagher track from his album Photo Finish. It’s one of the best little segues we’ve stumbled across in years. So keep your hearing holes open for that. And by the way, just so you know we’re really working with vinyl here, somewhere near the end of the set, you can hear me bump the turntable, just like we did in the old days. Oops. Just think of it as a bit of radio authenticity. And now, before we get to all those cowbells, here’s perhaps the most recognizable bass line in the Deep Tracks library.
|Chicago Transit Authority||I’m a Man (part 1)|
|Chicago Transit Authority||I’m a Man (part 2)|
|Three Dog Night||Nobody|
|Poco||I Guess You Made It|
|Deep Purple||You Fool No One (part 1)|
|Rory Gallagher||Cruise On Out|
|Deep Purple||You Fool No One (part 2)|
In keeping with our rule that if you find a hole in a song, you have to stick something in it, we took Rory Gallagher’s “Cruise On Out” and stuck it into that perfect little opening we found in Deep Purple’s “You Fool No One.” What’s funny about that is that the original idea for that part of the set was based on the similar cowbell lick in both the Deep Purple and the Poco that preceded it, a song called “I Guess You Made It.” But then, much to my surprise, the Purple had that perfect false ending that led us to that beauty of a segue with “Cruise On Out.” Now for those of you keeping score at home, this is the second batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl featuring a cowbell segue. And speaking of cowbells, I can’t hear one without thinking of Christopher Walken. He was in a very funny Saturday Night Live sketch spoofing the VH1 show, “Behind the Music.” In the sketch, Walken plays the producer during the recording of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear The Reaper.” During the sketch, Walken keeps giving these loopy speeches punctuated with the phrase, “I gotta have more cowbell, baby.” Well, we got your cowbell right here.
We bridged the two halves of the set with “Nobody” by Three Dog Night, Live at the Forum. At the top of the set, two more songs with plenty of cowbell. We did a mix from Chicago Transit Authority’s “I’m a Man” into “Batuka” from Santana’s third album. “Batuka” by the way is the Swahili word for cowbell. Just kidding. I think it actually means ‘awakening.’ Well, as Rory Gallagher said, when the fat man plays that upright, he freeze you at the knees, his band’s in full control, of 37 and one half of the keys to the Way Back Studio. If you’re looking for any of the the set lists or the show commentaries, just drop by website, billfitzhugh.com and you’ll find ‘em there along with the rest of the story. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back sooner or later with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
One of the many things that irks me about FM’s classic rock format is that they more or less abandoned acoustic artists in favor of hard rockers only. Another annoyance is how they only play songs you’ve heard ten thousand times out of the fear that you won’t listen to something you don’t recognize in the first five seconds. So it’s not surprising that one of the many things I love about working in the Deep Tracks is that I can play anything from the library without worrying about bogus research designed to find songs that people don’t dislike instead of just finding great songs. Today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features six songs you will most likely never hear on FM rock radio, one song you might hear once a year, and one you’ll hear now and then. All of which helps explain why we’re listening to Deep Tracks. The set starts folky and acoustic and ends up with a classic from the Animals. Before that we’ll hear Country Joe and the Fish sounding so much like the Doors it’s scary, with a track from their album Electric Music for the Mind and Body which comes out of the Doors doing a bluesy one from L.A. Woman.
J.J. Cale provides the transition between the acoustic opening and the bluesy end with a little something from his 1976 release, Troubadour, the album that gave us the original version of “Cocaine.” In the first half of the set we’ll hear Taj Mahal doing an American folk standard about love gone bad to the point of murder. We’ll also hear an original from Bonnie Raitt and one from a guy you may never have heard of. Michael Gulezian comes from the Leo Kottke, John Fahey school of acoustic picking. He released his first album on his own label, Aardvark Records. After Fahey heard it, he approached Gulezian about re-issuing the record on Fahey’s Takoma label. They dropped a couple of songs and added a couple of new ones and released it under the title, Unspoken Intentions in 1979, which remains one of my favorite albums. But first, satellite delivered from the Way Back Studios, here’s James Taylor from One Man Dog.
|James Taylor||New Tune|
|Michael Gulezian||Ian and Nisa|
|Taj Mahal||Frankie and Albert|
|Bonnie Raitt||Nothing Seems to Matter|
|J.J. Cale||You Got Me on So Bad|
|The Doors||Cars Hiss by My Window|
|Country Joe & the Fish||Bass Strings|
|The Animals||Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood|
Originally recorded by the great Nina Simone in 1964, that’s The Animal’s version from a year later, a song that Rolling Stone ranked 315 out of the best 500 songs of all time. Before that some Electric Music For The Mind and Body. That’s the title of the first album by Country Joe and The Fish, a group most people remember for the so-called “Fish Cheer” as performed at Woodstock along with the “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag” which is really a shame because they were so much more than that. Somewhere in the middle of the set, we opened The Doors L.A. Woman, the last album featuring the original quartet. We heard the track, “Cars Hiss By My Window.” At the end of which we heard Jim Morrison doing his best harmonica imitation, leading us into Country Joe and the Fish, doing “Bass Strings” and sounding as much like the Doors as the Doors ever did. We also heard J.J. Cale’s “You Got Me On So Bad.” And Bonnie Raitt before that doing one of her own compositions, a song called “Nothing Seems To Matter.” And from the album Oh So Good ‘n’ Blues, Taj Mahal gave us “Frankie and Albert” which is a variation on an old folk tune also called “Frankie and Johnny.” A song that’s been recorded by over 250 artists, from Leadbelly and Mississippi John Hurt to Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder. In fact even Lindsey Lohan did a version, in the film “A Prairie Home Companion.”
At the very top of the set, James Taylor gave us a little ditty called “New Tune” which we followed with the instrumental “Ian and Nisa” from a fine guitarist and composer named Michael Gulezian and his album Unspoken Intentions. We heard it off the original vinyl but I think it’s now available on CD and it comes highly recommended. Well, I’m just a soul whose intentions are good but whose time has run out. If you’re looking for the set lists or show commentaries or if you’re just wondering ‘who is this guy?’ you’ll find it all at billfitzhugh.com. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll have another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
It was released in the U.S. on October 1st, 1969. Between the US and the UK charts, it was number one for a total of seventeen weeks. It’s been certified as twelve times platinum and Rolling Stone Magazine ultimately declared it the 14th greatest album of all time. In other words, it’s one of the most well known records of a generation, maybe two. The album? Abbey Road. On side two you’ll find the famous medley, one of those things FM rock radio used to play in its entirety almost without exception. If you turned on the radio back in the day and you heard “You Never Give Me Your Money” you could name the six songs that would follow over the next sixteen minutes. And since this beloved medley is at the heart of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, you might ask: Bill, why don’t you just leave well enough alone? Well, the answer is because you can get well enough alone the rest of the week. Besides, something this well known provides the perfect opportunity for me to play with your expectations, one of the things we live for here in the Way Back Studios.
I’d been working on an idea involving “Sun King” (the second track in the medley) and “Gnik Nus,” from the Beatles’ Love cd, where they took the vocal track from “Sun King” and played it in reverse, renaming it, “Gnik Nus” which is “Sun King” spelled backwards. Then, one day, I got an email from Jay Snider in Bayville, New Jersey. He suggested a segue involving “Sun King” and an instrumental from Fleetwood Mac in the Peter Green era. Well, a little research uncovered a George Harrison quote saying that “Sun King” was, in fact, inspired by this very instrumental. So that’s how we’ll work our way into the medley. And once we’re in, the fun begins. We’ll hear “Gnik Nus/Sun King” mash-up and we’ll reinsert “Her Majesty” to her original position so you can hear how the medly was first assembled. Then we’ll have some fun with Joe Cocker, coming through the water closet window before before we exit the medley in favor of Leonard Cohen, the Young-Holt Trio, and The Capitals, for reasons I can’t possibly explain. But before we get to that Fleetwood Mac instrumental, here’s a quick one from Savoy Brown.
|Beatles||(Medley)Sun King / Gnik Nus / Mearn Mr. Mustard / Her Majesty / Polythene Pam|
|Joe Cocker||She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (part 1)|
|Beatles||She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (excerpt)|
|Joe Cocker||She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (part 2)|
|Leonard Cohen||The Future|
|The Young-Holt Trio||Wack Wack|
|The Capitols||Cool Jerk|
“Cool Jerk” and “Wack Wack.” Two songs that seem to roll off the same track. “Wack Wack” was released in 1967 by the Young-Holt Trio. Bassist Eldee Young and drummer Redd Holt had been the rhythm section for the Ramsey Lewis Trio before setting out on their own for a while. “Cool Jerk” was released by The Capitols in 1966. It was a huge hit which explains why you can find it at least a hundred r&b and rock compilation albums. Todd Rundgren includes a few bars of the song in the medley on side two of his album, A Wizard, A True Star. And speaking of medley’s on the second side of albums… We took a chunk of the famous Abbey Road medley and had our way with it. We took “Gnik Nus” the backwards vocal track from the Beatles Love album and mixed it with “Sun King” going forward. Then, following “Mean Mr. Mustard,” we reinserted “Her Majesty” where it was original positioned. The story goes that Paul didn’t like how it sounded in that sequence, so he told the engineer to cut it out and toss it. But the engineer had been told never to toss anything the Beatles recorded. So he cut it out as instructed but then, at the end of the record, he spliced in fourteen seconds of leader tape followed by the twenty-three second track, “Her Majesty.” And there it stayed, until now.
After that, we returned to “Polythene Pam” before we shoved Joe Cocker through the bathroom window and did a little hand mixing back and forth between his version and the original. The set opened with two instrumentals. The dreamy “Gypsy” by Savoy Brown which led us into the Fleetwood Mac instrumental, “Albatross,” a song that inspired the Beatles to write what was originally called “Here Comes The Sun King.” Later shortened to “Sun King” to avoid confusion with you know what. After the remixed medley we time traveled to “The Future,” the title track to Leonard Cohen’s 1992 album. As Mr. Cohen said, “Give me back my broken night, my mirrored room, my secret life, it’s lonely here, there’s no one left to torture…” in the Way Back Studios. That’s all I’m saying. Still, if you’re looking for more, you can track it down on billfitzhugh.com or Amazon or drop by your favorite independent book store. They’ll explain the whole thing. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Pianos, like politics, can make for strange bedfellows, and today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl stands as exhibit A in that argument. Though it may not sound like it, there’s usually some sort of method to the madness that leads to the construction of these sets. In this instance, we started with a suggestion from my pal Jay Snider in New Jersey. This is Jay’s second idea to get into a mix, making my job that much easier. Jay said he thought the opening piano part of “Hey Bulldog” sounded a lot like the slower, descending piano part at the end of “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor.” And sure enough, it works. Now, since “Hey Bulldog” ends on a fade, making potential transitions less elegant, my best bet was to build in the other direction, to find a song with piano leading into “One Man’s Ceiling.” As fate would have it, I found the song I needed on an album with a cartoon drawing of a big bulldog on the front. Ben Sidran’s Don’t Let Go, from 1974. We’ll hear a humorous little ditty about exercising self-control. Now Ben Sidran’s singing style has always reminded me of Mose Allison and I’ve always wanted to do a set putting them side by side, so to scratch that itch, I took a Duke Ellington composition that Mose covered on his album Middle Class White Boy.
And since Mose tends toward jazzy, I found myself backing up into June, Bonnie, Ruth, and Anita – the Pointer Sisters from their jazzy album That’s a Plenty. From there I just kept working backwards in search of more pianos. Not surprisingly we ran into Dr. John but somewhat surprisingly we found him tickling the ivories for a Maria Muldour classic. Before that we’ll hear one from Randy Newman’s Good Old Boys, a plea to the Commander in Chief coming on the heels of a Wild Tale from Graham Nash. But we’ll start with one from After The Goldrush. On piano from the Way Back Studios, here’s Neil Young.
|Graham Nash||I Miss You|
|Randy Newman||Mr. President|
|Maria Muldour||Don’t You Feel My Leg|
|Pointer Sisters||Shaky Flat Blues|
|Mose Allison||I’m Just a Lucky So ‘n’ So|
|Ben Sidren||Down to the Bone|
|Paul Simon||One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor|
Nine tracks, plenty of piano, and all vinyl, the last of which from Yellow Submarine, the only Beatles album generally considered to be non-essential, that’s one called “Hey Bulldog.” Leading into that, based on a suggestion from New Jersey Jay Snider, we had Barry Beckett playing piano for Rhymin’ Paul Simon on the track “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor.” At the top we heard Neil Young on piano telling his lover that it’s over, followed by Graham Nash singing about his broken heart in a simple song called, “I Miss You.” After that, the first of two songs produced by Lenny Waronker. First, with his childhood pal, Randy Newman we heard “Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)”. That’s followed by the sultry tones and supply thighs of Maria Muldaur backed by none other than Dr. John on piano. The classic: “Don’t You Feel My Leg.”
We also pulled two tracks from albums released on the Blue Thumb label, both from1974. First, we heard the Pointer Sisters’ “Shaky Flat Blues” featuring Tom Salisbury on piano. The second blue thumber was a guy who doesn’t need to hire anybody to play keyboards. Ben Sidran, perhaps best known for his work with the Steve Miller Band. But this time from one of his many solo albums, this one called Don’t Let Go, we heard his amusing little ditty, “Down To The Bone.” And in between those two, the guy from Tippo, Mississippi who blazed the trail for Ben Sidran, Mr. Mose Allison covering the Duke Ellington classic, “I’m Just a Lucky So ‘n’ So.” Well, like Paul Simon was singing earlier, There’s been some strange goin’s on, and some folks have come and gone from the Way Back Studios and I’m about to be one ‘em. And remember: many of the answers to your questions can be found at billfitzhugh.com. I’m Bill Fitzhugh thanks for listening. I’ll be back sooner or later with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
To casual listeners, it may seem like the Way Back Studio is a lawless backwater where chaos reigns but in fact we’re guided by a set of rules. First, we refuse to leave well enough alone. Second, if we find a hole in a song, we stick something in it. And third, given any opportunity, we toy with your musical expectations. Another rule that offers guidance says that you can’t make two songs segue if they don’t want to. Doesn’t matter how hard you try, you can’t make a smooth transition from, say, Janis Ian to Black Sabbath. In other words, the segues determine the songs we play, not the other way around. Now, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl started out as an amusing deconstruction of the big hit track from Paul Simon’s Graceland. The one about that guy with the short attention span and the nights that are so long. The song breaks neatly into three sections and has two elements that begged for segue, first the big horn parts and second, that great bass line break by Bakithi Kumalo that’s played forward first, and then flipped around and played backwards. The horn part sent me to Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key of Life and his tribute to the giants of jazz.
And speaking of jazz, Kumalo’s bass line sent me to Joni Mitchell’s collaboration with the great Charles Mingus and a song we’ve played before about a dry cleaner from somewhere in Iowa which features Jaco Pastorius on bass. As for playing with your expectations, we return to Songs In The Key of Life. It was released long before the CD era and with albums, you’re locked into the song sequence. Turntables lacking, as they do, a ‘random’ button. So halfway through side one, as you listened to the great jazz fusion of “Contusion” you knew that when it reached its sudden end, it would be followed immediately and inevitably by the opening horns of the next track. But not today, so much for your expectations. Elsewhere in the set, we’ll hear an instrumental from Sea Level. But first, from the album To the Heart, here’s a nice bit of jazz rock from Mark-Almond.
|Mark-Almond||Busy On The Line|
|Sea Level||Storm Warning|
|Paul Simon||You Can Call Me Al (part 1)|
|Stevie Wonder||Sir Duke|
|Paul Simon||You Can Call Me Al (part 2)|
|Joni Mitchell||Dry Cleaner From Des Moines|
|Paul Simon||You Can Call Me Al (part 3)|
Paul Simon wrapping up the set with the final third of “You Can Call Me Al.” After putting that set together I realized that, with the exception of the two instrumentals, the set told four different stories. And even the titles to the instrumentals suggest narratives. First, Sea Level’s “Storm Warning” and then “Contusion.” But the main story and the starting point for building that set was the one about a guy named Al. A guy like a lot of us, with a lot more questions than answers. Like, why am I soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard? Where’s my wife and family? And what if I die here? Then there was Mark-Almond at the top of the set, telling the tale of the guy waiting for a call from that girl who says she’s never home, even when there’s a busy signal on her line. Sounds an awful lot like a girl I dated once.
After Stevie Wonder gave us that “Contusion” earlier, he told us a less bruising story about the greats of jazz: Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Glen Miller, Ella Fitzgerald, and the king of all, Sir Duke, also known as Edward Kennedy Ellington. Now, Charles Mingus was a jazz great too but Stevie didn’t have time to mention everybody. So instead, we had Joni Mitchell working with Mingus and Jaco Pastorious to create the tale of “The Dry Cleaner From Des Moines,” a guy who could put a coin in the door of a john and get twenty for one, like Midas in a polyester suit who went looking for the set lists and the show commentaries and found them, along with several stories I wrote in the form of novels at billfitzhugh.com. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. And remember, if you’re looking for a photo opportunity or a shot at redemption and you don’t want to end up in a cartoon graveyard, join us next time right here in the comfort of the Way Back Studios for a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl satellite delivered from the dusty fringes of Los Angeles to the Deep Tracks.
Back around 1975 I went shopping for a new pair of speakers. The salesman steered me towards a pair of Klipsch Heresys, the smallest speakers Klipsch made at the time. And I think they weighed about fifty pounds each. They came in couple of different finishes, but to save fifty bucks, I bought the unfinished version. And 35 years later, after having the woofer re-coned once, I’m still using them here in the Way Back Studios. At the store where I bought them, they used one album to demonstrate the speakers. The album was called I’ve Got The Music In Me by Thelma Houston and Pressure Cooker, a group of some of LA’s best studio musicians, including Tom Scott, Jim Gordon, Larry Carlton and others. It was produced by Sheffield Labs and recorded direct to master disc and the sound is unbelievable. There’s an instrumental called “Dish Rag” featuring a trombone part that still makes the hair stand up on my neck. And that’s the song that made the sale.
But today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl features a different song from the album, a cover of “Got To Get You Into My Life.” The horns at the end mix nicely into the horns at the start of the fab four’s “Magical Mystery Tour” whose horns later segue beautifully into a track by the Electric Light Orchestra which is the song that got me started on this set to begin with. I heard “Boy Blue” recently and every time the chorus came on, I found myself singing the chorus to “Hang On Sloopy.” Trust me, this is a very cool little segue in the middle of the set. And as luck would have it, Sloopy ends cold with a big drum lick that matches the drums at the start of “I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band,” a song with two false endings. Well, as you know, when we find a song with a hole, we stick something in it. In this case we stayed with the rock and roll theme. But first, we’ll hear another Beatles cover from a former member of Sha Na Na. From the Way Back Studios, here’s Henry Gross.
|Thelma Houston||Got to Get You Into My Life|
|The Beatles||Magical Mystery Tour|
|Electric Light Orchestra||Boy Blue|
|The McCoys||Hang On Sloopy|
|The Moody Blues||I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band (part 1)|
|The Beatles||Rock ‘n’ Roll Music|
|The Moody Blues||I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band (part 2)|
|Elton John||Your Sister Can’t Twist But She Can Rock and Roll|
|The Moody Blues||I’m Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band (part 3)|
Written by John Lodge, who won an ASCAP songwriting award for it, that’s from The Moody Blues album, Seventh Sojourn. The song was John’s way of saying, don’t look to me for any answers, “I’m Just A Singer (in a rock and roll band).” We broke the track into three parts and, in keeping with the rock and roll theme, inserted “Your Sister Can’t Twist (but she can rock and roll)” and the Beatles covering Chuck Berry’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music.” We opened the set with Henry Gross covering the Beatles’ “Help” followed by Thelma Houston and Pressure Cooker from the album I’ve Got The Music In Me, a direct-to-master-disc recording that’s hands down the best sounding album in my collection. If you can find a clean copy of this record, get it.
From Thelma’s cover of the Beatles “Got To Get You Into My Life” we mixed into the Fab Four themselves doing “Magical Mystery Tour” which then segued into The Electric Light Orchestra doing “Boy Blue” and from there we went to Union City, Indiana, for The McCoys featuring Randy Zehringer and his brother Rick who later changed his last name to Derringer. The McCoys also featured Randy Jo Hobbs who would go on to play bass with both Johnny and Edgar Winter. “Hang On Sloopy” was a #1 hit in 1965 and it’s the official rock song of the state of Ohio. Why Ohio, not Indiana? Well there seems to be some argument about whether the band was actually from Dayton, and not Union City, Indiana, not far away. Another one of life’s great mysteries, unlike our set lists and show commentaries which you can find at billfitzhugh.com along with the truth behind the rumors and a list of recommended reading. Well I’m just a deejay on a rock and roll station and I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, and I hope you’ll join us. From the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh in the Deep Tracks.
The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get. That’s the title of Joe Walsh’s second solo album. Its most famous track is “Rocky Mountain Way,” but it also gave us the FM rock standard, “Meadows,” a song I can’t listen to without singing the chorus for Deep Purple’s “Woman From Tokyo.” The two songs rely on a remarkably similar guitar riff, which is exactly what got us started on today’s set. Funny thing is that while the set started that way, it ended up being less about Joe Walsh and Ritchie Blackmore than about a couple of guys who worked behind-the-scenes at Hitsville, U.S.A., also known as Motown. Now when you think of Motown, you either think of their signature acts, like the Four Tops, the Supremes, the Temptations, and all the rest, or you think of the guys behind the curtain, like label founder Berry Gordy, or the Funk Brothers, Motown’s house band, or the famous songwriting and producing team of Holland, Dozier, and Holland. But there was another songwriting and producing team at Motown whose names weren’t as well known, but whose songs were. Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote a lot of Motown’s biggest hits, among them, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Psychedelic Shack.”
But the songwriting teams at Motown weren’t set in stone. Every now and then, members would switch teams, as was the case for the song at the center of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. “I Know I’m Losing You,” was written by Norman Whitfield and Eddie Holland, along with Cornelius Grant who was the guitarist for the Temptations. The song topped the R&B charts and made it to #8 on the pop charts. It was later covered by Rare Earth and Rod Stewart, among others. So, keeping all that in mind, from the Way Back Studios, here are six songs, mixed in twelve parts all of which adhere to the Motown motto: “It’s what’s in the grooves that counts.”
|Rod Stewart||(I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 1)|
|Rare Earth||(I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 1)|
|The Temptations||Psychedelic Shack|
|Rare Earth||(I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 2)|
|Rod Stewart||(I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 2)|
|Rare Earth||(I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 3)|
|Deep Purple||Woman From Tokyo (part 1)|
|Joe Walsh||Meadows (excerpt)|
|Deep Purple||Woman From Tokyo (part 2)|
|Rare Earth||(I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 4)|
|The Temptations||(I Know) I’m Losin’ You|
|Rare Earth||(I Know) I’m Losin’ You (part 5)|
The Rare Earth version of (I Know) I’m Losing You is just about eleven minutes long. We took about half of that, broke it into five parts and mixed it with Rod Stewart’s version of the song done in two parts and the original version by the Temptations, done in one. The song was written by Eddie Holland, Cornelius Grant, and a guy named Norman Whitfield who produced both the original version and the one by Rare Earth. Whitfield showed up at Motown when he was nineteen and badgered Berry Gordy until he got a job. Whitfield eventually replaced Smoky Robinson as the main producer for The Temptations and he moved them from the established Motown sound of pop R&B into the realm that came to be known as psychedelic soul or funk rock with songs like “Cloud Nine” “Ball of Confusion” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Psychedelic Shack” all of which Whitfield co-wrote with his usual writing partner, Barrett Strong. Rare Earth was the first band signed to a new label under the Motown umbrella. At the time, the label didn’t have a name. The band suggested Rare Earth, and Rare Earth Records was born.
In the middle of all that psychedelic soul we did a mix of Deep Purple and Joe Walsh. “Woman From Tokyo,” with that signature guitar riff, was recorded in Rome in July of 1972. A few months later, (and before anyone had heard the Deep Purple) Joe Walsh recorded “Meadows,” a song with an almost identical guitar riff, requiring me to do that thing we do, playing songs you know, in ways you’ve never heard before. Thanks for listening. By the way, if you’ve got comments or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you. You’ll find an email link at my website which you can find with a Bing or Google or the search engine of your choice. From the psychedelic shack we call the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll have a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, right here in the Deep Tracks…
Judging from what you hear on classic rock radio you would think that the influence of Latin music on rock ‘n’ roll began and ended with Carlos Santana and a little bit of War. But here in the Deep Tracks, we take a broader view. Charting it on a time line you could argue that it started in 1958 with Ritchie Valens and “La Bamba.” In the early sixties, over in the world of pop, leaning toward the middle of the road, we heard Latin influences in the records of Herb Alpert and Sergio Mendez. Around 1962, Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria had a hit with a cover of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” and in 1970, El Chicano delivered “Viva Tirado” while Simon and Garfunkle gave us “El Condor Pasa.” Los Lobos has been delivering great albums with south-of-the-border influence since the early 1980s, including a nice cover of “La Bamba.” It turns out that if you poke around a little, you’ll find that a lot of rock and rollers like to pull out the congas now and then. Stephen Stills is a good example. He spent part of his childhood in Costa Rica and the Panama Canal Zone and those rhythms stayed with him. Think of “Cuban Bluegrass” on the original Manassas album and “Pensamiento” from Down The Road.
In fact today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl was inspired by the release of previously unreleased tracks from the original Manassas sessions. The disc is called Pieces and there’s a short instrumental track that Stills later turned into “Pensamiento.” Of course there’s some low-hanging fruit in the set with one each from Santana and War, and for the more adventurous listeners we’ve got something from by Osibisa; also the “Desperation Samba,” and one from Mink DeVille. Now, we’ve got two surprises in here, the first, three songs into the set, and the second at the end; just try to guess who that last one is without looking at the screen. But we’ll start with something from Chicago’s seventh album, a track I dare say has never seen the light of day on terrestrial rock radio. So break out the salsa, along with the tangos and mambos, from the Way Back Studios, here’s a serious case of “Mongonucleosis.”
|Santana||Para Los Rumberos|
|Herb Alpert||Walk Don’t Run|
|Mink DeVille||Demasiado Corazon|
|Osibisa||Music For Gong Gong|
|Manassas||Tan Sola Y Triste|
|Jimmy Buffett||Desperation Samba|
|The Blues Image||Consuelate|
Closing the set with something from Open, the second album from The Blues Image. That’s an instrumental called “Consuelate.” At the top of the set, we had a track from Chicago’s seventh album, that went platinum based on a couple of middle-of-the-road hits, but one that also featured some more interesting and jazzier stuff. We heard one called “Mongonucleosis.” That was followed by “Para Los Rumberos” from Santana’s third album. After that, we had a little surprise: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass from the album Going Places, we heard their cover of the Ventures’ hit, “Walk Don’t Run.” In the middle of the set, we went a little deeper, first with another great track by Mink DeVille, “Demasiado Corazon” from the album Where Angels Fear to Tread. That was followed by a song from the debut album by Osibisa, a group formed in 1969 by a Ghanian sax player by the name of Teddy Osei. Osibisa generally showed more African and Caribbean influence than Mexican or South American but the track we heard, “Music for Gong Gong” fit perfectly in that set.
The short instrumental after that was Stephen Stills and Manassas, one of the previously unreleased tracks from the original Manassas sessions, a piece Stills later turned into “Pensamiento.” After that, Jimmy Buffett’s “Desperation Samaba” with none other than Harrison Ford cracking the whip; that’s from Last Mango in Paris. And there toward the end, that guy who don’t use no gas ‘cause he don’t drive too fast, ‘cause he’s a “Low Rider.” If you’d like to see the set list for this or any of the other shows, you can find them on my website, just give me a google. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back and sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
When older songwriters write about being young, they do so with the advantage of having been there and done that. But what do you get when young songwriters, write about getting old? Well, that depends on the songwriter. Paul McCartney famously wrote “When I’m Sixty-Four” at the tender age of sixteen. It’s a sweet little song that takes a gentle look at people as they get on in years. Pete Townshend took a different point of view with all the contempt a twenty year old can muster, when he wrote “My Generation” with its celebrated line, “I hope I die before I get old.” And Elton John was only twenty-three when he penned his rather despairing, “Sixty Years On.” So, yes, it’s true, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is about our twilight years, the downward slope, senior citizenship. But hey, like they say, getting old beats the alternative. Or does it? To find out, we’ll return to 1967, when young Art Garfunkle took his tape recorder to a couple of nursing homes where he recorded conversations with the residents. The result was a track on the Bookends album, called, “Voices of Old People” which is a beautiful lead in for the song, “Old Friends” which contains the line, “How terribly strange to be seventy,” which Paul Simon wrote when he was twenty-six.
So the set starts off in somber mood. In fact it was so serious and lacking in humor that I was reminded of one of my favorite sayings: You don’t stop laughing because you get old, you get old because you stop laughing. And nobody knew that better than Harry Nilsson who would still be laughing if he hadn’t had that heart attack back in ’94. Harry had a great sense of humor which is on full display on the rousing singalong, “I’d Rather Be Dead” which features the Senior Citizens of the Stepney & Pinner Choir Club No. 6 of London. Now it’s been said that one of the first signs of old age is the realization that the volume knob also turns to the left. It’s a funny line, except of course as we loose our hearing, we have to keep turning it up. So with that in mind, here are the “Voices of old people.”
|Simon & Garfunkle||Voices of Old People|
|Elton John||Sixty Years On|
|Simon & Garfunkle||Old Friends|
|Simon & Garfunkle||Bookends Theme|
|Neil Young||Old Man|
|Randy Newman||Old Man|
|Harry Nilsson||I’d Rather Be Dead|
|The Beatles||When I’m Sixty-Four|
|The Who||My Generation|
One of the ironies of “My Generation” is that, technically speaking, most of the people who grew up singing along with it weren’t from Pete’s generation. Baby Boomers who make up most of the fan base for all the artists in that set, were born between 1946 and 1964. So the only true boomer in there was Elton John, born in 1947. The rest of ‘em? Bunch of geezers. Before The Who, Paul Simon, with a song simply called “Old” which he recorded ten years ago, when he was about sixty. You do the math. At the top of the set, from 1968 when Simon and Garfunkle were both twenty-six, we heard several tracks from their great album Bookends. We started with “Voices of Old People” an audio collage recorded by Art at some nursing homes. Powerful enough by themselves, we took the recordings and played them over the string sections of Elton John’s “Sixty Years On” to heighten their impact. That was followed by “Old Friends” and the “Bookends Theme.” Elsewhere in the set, the Beatles with the inevitable “When I’m Sixty Four.”
And before that, a guy who the Beatles loved, Harry Nilsson from his wildly eccentric album Son of Schmilsson. We heard “I’d Rather Be Dead” (than wet my bed) a jaunty little sing along done with a choir of senior citizens. In the middle of the set, two grumpy old men. Neil Young and Randy Newman both wrote songs called “Old Man.” Neil’s ended up on Harvest while Randy’s ended up on Sail Away. By the way, if you want to see the set lists or the show commentaries, I’ve got ‘em on my website which you can get to directly or by way of various forms of social media. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, drop me an email and I’ll point you in the right direction. In the meanwhile, to quote John Barrymore, “A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.” And I regret to say we’re all out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl right after I cash my Social Security check. I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
In the late 1970’s terrestrial rock radio began to change, and not for the first time. From the start the format had evolved in generally predictable ways, going from pure free-form to underground to AOR. Over the years they’d expanded from a solid base of blues and folk based rock to embrace a wide variety of hybrids, including psychedelic and progressive rock. But as the seventies waned and what came to be known as corporate arena rock began to hold sway, another generation was coming of age and they were tired of what had come before. They didn’t want to cover the songs of Elmore James and T-Bone Walker, let alone the sensitive singer-songwriter types who had flourished in the wake of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. In fact they were in pure rebellion against all things popular and mainstream like, for example, the ubiquitous SoCal Pop-Rock Radio juggernaut that Fleetwood Mac had become by 1977.
As a deejay, I was at a bit of a loss when I first heard The Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, The Ramones, Joe Jackson and the rest of the so-called new wave and the punk. But I got over it. Eventually even embraced the change. But that didn’t keep me from being surprised recently when I heard a Joe Jackson song that immediately brought to mind a soft-rock smash from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors. It’s the base line that does it. They’re virtually identical. But you’ll have to wait for that, since it’s later in the set. Just before an excellent segue I’ve been wanting to do for years involving Nazz and The Rascals both playing around with either wind chimes or a theremin, I can’t say for sure. But before we get there, we’ll hear from Bodacious D.F. the band Marty Balin formed after his on-time departure from Jefferson Airplane and his arrival with Jefferson Starship. We’ll also hear one from Leon Russell’s Will o’ the Wisp. But we’re going to start with one from Aqualung. Here’s Ian Anderson as he floats into the kitchen tasting the smell of toast as the butter runs.
|Jethro Tull||Wond’ring Aloud|
|Leon Russell||Lady Blue|
|Bodacious D.F.||Driving Me Crazy|
|Joe Jackson||It’s Different For Girls|
|Nazz||Letters Don’t Count|
|The Rascals||A Beautiful Morning|
Their first single after dropping the “Young” from Young Rascals, that’s just the plain old Rascals from 1968, their hit “A Beautiful Morning” a song that begins with those groovy wind chimes that mixed so nicely with the end of the Todd Rundgren composition, “Letters Don’t Count” from Nazz Nazz, a song that ends with what sounds like wind chimes and/or a theramin. Now the way I understand it, the Nazz Nazz album was pressed on red, blue, and black vinyl with the black vinyl being the rarest of the three. Just so you know, we were playing off the red vinyl version. Before that, two artists whose juxtaposition you might expect to be jarring: angry new-waver Joe Jackson, from I’m The Man and radio-friendly Fleetwood Mac from Rumors. We found some common ground with the bass line of “Dreams” and “It’s Different for Girls.” At the top of the set, my favorite kind of Jethro Tull, acoustic. We did the brief but to the point, “Wond’ring Aloud,” which is the third shortest track from Aqualung, clocking in at 1:53. That was followed by a couple of crooners: Leon Russell coming down the middle of the road with “Lady Blue” from his 1975 album Will o’ the Wisp followed by Bodacious D.F., a group formed by Marty Balin and some Bay Area friends. They released their only album in 1973 from which we heard “Drivin’ Me Crazy.”
And oh, by the way, if you want to see the set lists or the show commentaries, we’ve got ‘em on the website which you can get to directly at billfitzhugh.com or by way of various forms of social media. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, drop me an email and I’ll point you in the right direction. In the meanwhile, to quote those Rascals, So long. I’ve got to be on my way now because we’re all out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.