When I think about classic 60s R&B, I break the artists down into three categories. Motown, Atlantic, and others. Motown and Atlantic were the big shots, and the others were more regional labels like Stax in Memphis and Philadelphia International. Motown had consistent, almost formulaic, songwriting teams and artists like The Four Tops, The Temptations, and The Supremes. Atlantic was grittier and more varied in their songwriting, with artists like Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett. Motown was primarily an R&B label, though they did sign Rare Earth and, weirdly, Jackson Browne’s singer-songwriter brother Severin. The Atlantic stable, on the other hand, was filled with not only R&B acts, but some of rock’s biggest stars. Now, with a few exceptions, if you look back at radio play and album sales you’ll see the charts were pretty segregated. If you turned on an R&B radio station you weren’t going to hear Bob Dylan or The Beatles any more than you were going to hear Gladys Knight and the Pips on an FM rock station. Now the exceptions that I mentioned were the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Sly and the Family Stone who could pop up on either format.
So while it’s true that most of the artists didn’t cross-over from one format to the other, the songs did. A few examples? Aretha Franklin had a huge hit with Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” She also charted with songs by Lennon and McCartney, Elton John, and The Band. You’ll find a cover of Todd Rundgren’s “We Gotta Get You a Woman” on the Four Tops greatest hits. And Wilson Pickett hit the charts with a cover of “Hey Jude,” which, by the way, featured Duane Allman on guitar. And today’s batch of AHMV just goes to show that this cross-over of songs wasn’t a one-way street. Rock and rollers loved to cover the songs of Holland-Dozier-and-Holland, Isaac Hayes, and others. I think I’ll just let the songs speak for themselves, starting with one I’ve been wanting to play for a long time. Here’s Graham Parker covering The Jackson Five.
|Graham Parker||I Want You Back|
|The Rascals||In the Midnight Hour|
|The Rolling Stones||Ain’t Too Proud to Beg|
|Elvin Bishop||My Girl|
|The Blues Brothers||Soul Man|
|Phil Collins||You Can’t Hurry Love|
|J. Geils Band||Where Did Our Love Go?|
|Creedence Clearwater Revival||I Heard it Through the Grapevine|
Wrapping up a set of classic R&B tunes as interpreted by some of rock’s biggest names, there’s a song with a complicated history. Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1966, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” was first recorded by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles but Barry Gordy didn’t think it was single material so that version wasn’t released. Marvin Gaye then recorded a version but it wasn’t released either. Then Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded it and it topped the R&B charts in 1967. After that, Whitfield again suggested Motown release the Marvin Gaye version as a single. Gordy thought that was a bad idea since Gladys Knight had already had a hit with it. But they included it on Marvin’s 1968 album, In The Groove. It became the most played song from the album and deejays prevailed upon Motown to release it as a single which they did. It topped the charts for seven weeks and eventually outsold the Pips version. After that, Motown re-issued the album, retitled I Heard It Through the Grapevine. CCR recorded an eleven minute version for the album Cosmos Factory in 1970. We just heard the edited radio single version that was released a few years later, after CCR had already broken up.
Before that, J. Geils and Phil Collins both covering songs made famous by The Supremes. The Blues Brothers gave us their cover of Sam and Dave’s “Soul Man.” Elsewhere The Rascals, The Stones, and Elvin Bishop, covering Wilson Picket, The Temptations, and Smokey Robinson. And we opened with a favorite of mine, Graham Parker’s take on the Jackson Five hit, “I Want You Back,” played off my old 45… Well, like the Stones, I ain’t too proud to beg either. So next time you’re out surfing, drop by our Facebook Page or my website or track me down on Amazon. 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.
Looking back over the studio log book, I see it’s been a while since we’ve had a Way Back Studios pop quiz, so sharpen up your number two pencils, take your protein pills, and put your thinking helmets on. In fact, why don’t we do a warm-up question first? Ready? Here we go: Who co-wrote roughly half of the Derek and the Dominoes album? The answer: Bobby Whitlock. The reason I ask is, I was going to put a set together based on Bobby’s solo version of “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” from his album Rock Your Sox Off. It has a completely different feel and tempo than the Dominoes version and someday I swear, I’ll play that for you. But while I was listening to the album, I came across another song. A song with a funky little guitar riff that sent me off in a completely different direction. See, I knew there was another song with a guitar part that would mix nicely with the song in question. But what was it? And no, that’s not the pop-quiz question. I’ll get to that in a minute. So I went looking for that song that was in my head. I pulled one album after another. It wasn’t on Jesse Winchester’s Let The Rough Side Drag. So I tried Ry Cooder’s Into The Purple Valley. But again, no. Then I thought maybe it’s on Willie Niles’ debut album, the one Robert Hilburn described as “the kind of rare collection that reawakens you to the inspiring qualities of rock’n’roll”. But it wasn’t there either. But that led me to a song on Mink DeVille’s debut album. And then I took a left turn to a Paul Simon track that sounds like something from Graceland but wasn’t recorded until six or seven years later. Well, I never did find the song I was looking for but we’ll hear something from all those other albums, along with one each from Arlo Guthrie and Steve Earle. But before we do that, let’s get back to the pop quiz. Name the songwriter whose compositions were recorded by John Denver, Steppenwolf, and Three Dog Night. No? How about the songwriter covered by Ringo Starr, Elvis Presley, and The Kingston Trio? Turns out, it’s the same answer for both questions. The late great Hoyt Axton. And somewhere in today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, we’ll hear one of his songs. The question you gotta ask yourself is, which one is it?
|Steve Earle||San Antonio Girl|
|Mink DeVille||Spanish Stroll|
|Willie Nile||It’s All Over|
|Ry Cooder||On a Monday|
|Arlo Guthrie||Lightening Bar Blues|
|Bobby Whitlock||Sweet Mother’s Fun|
|Jesse Winchester||Step by Step|
That’s Jesse Winchester’s “Step by Step” from his album Let The Rough Side Drag. Before that, a rare one from Paul Simon called “Thelma.” That’s from his box set covering the years1964 to 1993. And if I’m reading the credits right on that, Paul doesn’t even play on the track. Andrian Belew is one of the guitarists playing along with several guys from the Rhythm of the Saints sessions. In the middle of the set, the answer to the last question I asked before we got started. From his album Hobo’s Lullabye, Arlo Guthrie with a cover version of the late Hoyt Axton’s “Lightning Bar Blues.” Among the many great players on Hobo’s Lullabye is Ry Cooder who we heard earlier doing the Huddie Ledbetter composition, “On a Monday.” Leadbelly, as he was better known, was a man with a legendary temper which is one of the reasons he kept landing in prison. At the top of the set, a guy who did a little time of his own. Steve Earle with his band The Dukes from the album Exit 0, we heard “San Antonio Girl.” After that, two great songs from two great debut albums: Mink DeVille’s “Spanish Stroll” and Willie Nile’s “It All Over.” Now the song that got me started on that set was Bobby Whitlock’s “Sweet Mother’s Fun.” Something about the guitar part just caught my ear and wouldn’t let go. That’s from his solo album Rock Your Sox Off which was on the Capricorn label which explains why it also features Les Dudek (who recorded with The Allman Brothers) two guys from Sea Level and three from Grinderswitch. One big happy family down there in Macon, Georgia. Well, like Hoyt Axton, I don’t need no diamond ring, I don’t need no Cadillac car, all I want is a nice beverage to enjoy here in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. If you want the the set lists or the show commentaries, they’re on my website. We’ve got some fun photos on the Facebook page, and we keep multiple sets of books over on Amazon. So if you’re in the mood for some fiction, drop by and check it out. I’ll be back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
In 1973 New World Pictures released a small film set in Jamaica, but it didn’t do what they call boffo at the box office. But not long after that, the film hit the midnight movie circuit and The Harder They Come turned intoa cult hit. It starred Jimmy Cliff and the theme song became a reggae standard and helped usher the musical form into the mainstream. A year later, Eric Clapton had a hit with Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.” And before you knew it, FM rock radio was playing Toots and the Maytalls, Jimmy Cliff, and Bob Marley and the Wailers. It’s been suggested that the music’s popularity was enchanced by the whole ghanga connection, but that’s another story. The evolution of reggae is far too complicated to explain in the time allotted here but suffice it to say it’s been around since the Sixties and developed out of the Jamaican musical styles called ska, dub, and rock steady. Now, reggae’s not to be confused with calypso which came out of Trinidad and first came to the attention of most Americans in 1957 when Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song” became a huge Top 40 hit.
Today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is all about that music with the emphasis on the off-beat known as the skank. For the most part we’ll hear how reggae sounded when filtered through rock ‘n’ roll. We’ll also hear a couple of faithful covers of reggae standards by Steve Earle and Jim Capaldi. Then we’ll wander deep into the Deep Tracks for the likes of The Johnny Average Band, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons, and the group that wins the best name award: Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band. And we’re going to bookend the set with a couple of cool old 45’s. At the end we’ll hear what most people think of as the first reggae track to play on American radio. Johnny Nash’s #1 hit from 1972. But three years before that Desmond Dekker and the Aces came ouf of Jamaica with this Top Ten hit.
|Desmond Dekker & the Aces||Israelites|
|Steve Earle||Rivers of Babylon|
|Jim Capaldi||Johnny Too Bad|
|JoJo Zep & The Falcons||Hit and Run|
|Led Zeppelin||D’yer Mak’er|
|Johnny Average Band||Whatcha Gonna Do…|
|Root Boy Slim & Sex Change Band||Too Sick to Reggae|
|Johnny Nash||I Can See Clearly Now|
Wrapping up our reggae special, that’s Johnny Nash with his big hit from 1972. Before that, on Warner Brothers Records, Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band with The Rootettes, best known for their song, “Boogie ‘Til You Puke” (which is on the flip side of this album) we heard “Too Sick to Reggae.” Prior to the Sex Change, a group about whom I know very little. The Johnny Average Band. Their album, Some People, came out in 1980 and I’ve kept the record ever since because of the song we heard, “Whatcha Gonna Do (When the Reggae Breaks Your Heart)?” The other seriously Deep Track in that set came from a group out of Australia (roughly nine thousand miles from Jamaica, for those of you keeping score) Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons had been a successful R&B outfit down under, but one thing led to another and the next thing they knew, they had a reggae-influenced hit called “Hit and Run” on their 1979 album Screaming Targets. The song in the middle of the set brings to mind the old joke where one guy says to the other: My wife went to the West Indies. The other guy says, Ja-make her? No, the first guy says, she went of her own accord. At the top of the set, what is arguably the first reggae song to play on American radio. Desmond Dekker and the Aces had a hit in 1969 with their song “Israelites.” Dekker was probably the biggest reggae star in Jamaica until Bob Marley showed up. After that ,two songs that were on the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, but here we heard cover versions. First, Steve Earle, with his take on “Rivers of Babylon” with Emmylou Harris on the backup. And then the late, great Jim Capaldi covering “Johnny Too Bad.” And looking at the clock I can see clearly now that we’re outta time. But if you’re looking for the set lists or show commentaries, you can find them at billfitzhugh.com. If you’re looking for the rest of the story, track me down on Facebook or Amazon. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’m going to go roll a great big batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl for next time and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
In the late 1960s, the FCC started to require license holders to offer original programming on their FM bands, instead of simply simulcasting their AM signal. As a result, one of the formats that emerged to compete with Top 40 AM, was so-called Underground Radio. The formats differed in several ways. First, while the Boss Deejays on AM Top 40 screamed at you between every song, the jocks on FM talked to you in a soothing, human voice. Second, a lot of the songs on the FM side were too political for A.M programmers. A third difference was the length of the tracks. Pop artists made singles for Top 40 Radio and, with some exceptions, most of the songs came in around three minutes. But when bands started making albums, they weren’t so constrained. And FM radio was free to play songs that seemed to get longer and longer with each year. Consider this: The Spencer Davis Group’s A.M. Top 10 hit, “I’m a Man” came in just under 3 minutes. The Chicago Transit Authority’s version, an FM standard, is nearly eight minutes long. Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand” is a full ten minutes. Well, once the genie was out of the bottle, it was inevitable that someone would do a song that took up an entire side of an album. And eventually, we got “Thick as a Brick” which takes up two sides. And I’m still trying to figure out how to use that one in a set. In the meanwhile, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl revolves around the longest track ever recorded by Cat Stevens. It takes up the entire first side of the album he released in 1973. The track, featuring Cat mostly on piano, is just over 18 minutes long and we’ve taken about half of it, in three excerpts, to mix with excerpts from a couple of other piano songs, one from an eleven minute track by Elton John. We’ll also hear Billy Joel, Joe Jackson and Paul McCartney playing their pianos. But we’re gonna open with a political message from Johnny Rivers who reminds listeners that you gotta Dick Nixon before he dicks you.
|Johnny Rivers||Use the Power|
|Billy Joel||Somewhere Along the Line|
|Cat Stevens||Foreigner Suite (excerpt #1)|
|Elton John||Funeral/Love Lies Bleeding (excerpt)|
|Joe Jackson||Be My Number Two|
|Cat Stevens||Forgigner Suite (excerpt #2)|
|Paul McCartney||Maybe I’m Amazed (excerpt)|
|Cat Stevens||Foreigner Suite (excerpt #3)|
That’s the last three or four minutes of Cat Stevens’ “Foreigner Suite,” the third of 3 excerpts we took from the eighteen minute composition, which takes up all of Side One of his album Foreigner from 1973. A few years ago, Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, thought about suing the band Coldplay for copyright infringement, saying that the melody for their hit “Viva la Vida” derived from the melody of this last portion of “Foreigner Suite” that we’ve just heard. A few years before that, Joe Satriani filed suit against Coldplay claiming they had copped the melody for “Viva la Vida” from his instrumental, “If I Could Fly.” Coldplay denied all the accusations, and I believe a court dismissed the case, leading to talks of a good, old-fashioned out-of-court-settlement. As for Yusuf, he said he didn’t think they had done anything intentionally, said he’d love to sit down with the boys from Coldplay and have a cup of tea. Bet his lawyer hated that. Earlier in the set we took a four minute bite out of Elton John’s “Funeral For a Friend / Loves Lies Bleeding” which led us to Joe Jackson and a song called “Be My Number Two.” That’s from his 1984 release, Body and Soul, the cover of which is a near perfect immitaiton of the Sonny Rollins album, Volume Two. We followed that with the second excerpt from “Foreigner Suite” and then the main portion of Sir Paul’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” At the top of the set, Johnny Rivers from 1972, reminding voters that you gotta Dick Nixon before he does you. That’s from the album L.A. Reggae. That was followed by Billy Joel’s “Somewhere Along the Line” and the first excerpt from “Foreigner Suite.” And maybe I’m amazed at how quickly the time goes by, but we’re all out of it. The set lists and show commentaries are posted on my website, billfitzhugh.com and if that’s not enough be sure to check us out on Facebook and Amazon too. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back before you can sue me and I’ll have another of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you can join us, right here, in the Deep Tracks.
Long time listeners know that every now and then we like to go live here in the Way Back Studios. That’s not to say I have a satellite uplink that allows me to do the show live live which would be fun except I don’t really have the room for one of those thirty foot NT-7 Satellite trucks here in the back yard. And you know how the neighbors get when you raise one of those 2.5 meter, four-port AVL satellite dishes. No, when I say we like to go live, it just means that we pull out the concert albums and do our segues during the applause. Long time listeners might also remember that story I told about that Dave Mason and Poco concert I didn’t get to attend back on July 22, 1975 owing to an encounter with a vigilant member of the Mississippi Highway Patrol. By the way I found the ticket for that show and posted it on the Way Back Studio Facebook page for your amusement. Anyway, after telling my story, a few folks wrote in with their own. Craig in New Jersey confessed that he was about sixteen years old and had tickets to go hear Lynyrd Skynyrd opening for The Who at an unnamed venue in Pennsylvania. But instead, he ended up being grounded for (and here he was a little vague) for “getting in trouble with the law.” Well, that covers a lot of ground and we don’t really have time to speculate on what sort of illegal activities Craig might have been involved in. But then Craig suggested another category of concert-related stories, namely, those you went to, but can’t remember. For example he says he knows he saw Buddy Miles and The Allman Brothers at a hockey rink in New Jersey but that’s all he remembers. Now my only point here would be to say that that’s not a story. A story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. All we have here is evidence of drug use. Well, they’re dimming the lights. (sniff) Hey, Craig, what’re you smoking? Here’s Bruce Springsteen.
|Bruce Springsteen||Bishop Danced|
|Neil Diamond||Dry Your Eyes|
|Warren Zevon||Splendid Isolation|
|Tom Petty||Even the Losers|
|Pete Townshend||Eyesight to the Blind|
|James Taylor||Steamroller Blues|
Recorded in November of ‘92 for his first live album, that’s James Taylor with “Steamroller Blues.” The album was the result of a three week tour specificially designed with a live album in mind. They played fourteen different venues and picked the best performance of each of the songs, but the liner notes don’t say where any given track was recorded. Otherwise, I’d tell you. And yes, that was on CD since that wasn’t released on vinyl. Before that, on vinyl, some blues from Pete Townshend, a cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Eyesight to the Blind.” That’s from the Deep End Live album, recorded in Brixton, England. Also recorded in England, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers did “Even The Losers.” At the top of the set, “Bishop Danced” That’s early and relatively rare Bruce Springsteen. Recorded live at Max’s Kansas City in New York on January 31, 1973. You can find that on the four CD set called Tracks, but here we played it off vinyl because that’s the only version I’ve got. From New York we headed out to Max Yasgur’s farm for that big hippie festival they had in 1969. The fourth track on side three of Woodstock II, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young doing “Marakesh Express.” Seven years later and on the other side of the country, we found ourselve at The Winterland Ballroom for The Last Waltz and a great track from Neil Diamond called “Dry Your Eyes.” And in the middle of the set, the only other song we played off CD, “Splendid Isolation.” The late great Warren Zevon recorded at Bogarts in Cincinnati, Ohio. Listen, if you’ve got a concert story you think the rest of us would like to hear, shoot me an email. There’s a link on my website, billfitzhugh.com or you can go through the Way Back Studios Facebook page. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll have another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
As you know, things don’t always turn out as planned. And today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is a fine example of that. I was here in the Way Back Studio listening to Tumbleweed Connection. I was basking in the imagery of the American West that had captured Bernie Taupin’s imagination when Gordon Huntly started playing steel guitar and that made me think of Elton’s “Texan Love Song” with Davey Johnstone’s tasty banjo part. And then I started thinking about other English musicians and their take on American country blues. Well, before I knew it The Rolling Stones were deeply involved and then Rod Stewart showed up to do what I’ve always thought was an American folk hymn but which turned out to have been written by a former British slave trader who was later ordained in the Church of England which just goes to show you can learn something every day. But after that, the English part of the plan fell apart. Next thing I knew we had folks from California, New York, Oklahoma, and Kansas in the set. In the middle of the thing we ended up with a blues classic written by Robert Johnson or Elmore James, depending on who you believe. On either side of that, we’ve got songs written by Mississippi Fred McDowell. Now the funny thing about Mississippi Fred is that he’s from Tennessee but that’s neither here nor there. The Stones covered one of McDowell’s songs on Sticky Fingers and Bonnie Raitt covered another one on her album Takin’ My Time. Tucked between the two is Taj Mahal from his album, Oh So Good ‘n’ Blues. At the end of the set, we abandon the entire theme for J.J. Cale and Los Lobos. But that left me about a minute and a half short, so I reached out to Joe Walsh. I said, Joe, I need 90 seconds. He said, I can give you 58. I said I need 90. He said, take it or leave it. I said, okay but it’s gotta be a blues. He said, no sweat. So, here’s a little ditty from So What.
|Joe Walsh||All Night Laundry Mat Blues|
|Elton John||No Shoestrings on Louise|
|Rolling Stones||Dear Doctor|
|Bonnie Raitt||Write Me a Few of Your Lines / Kokomo|
|Taj Mahal||Dust My Broom|
|Rolling Stones||You Gotta Move|
|Rod Stewart||Amazing Grace|
|J.J. Cale||Takin’ Care of Business|
|Los Lobos||How Will the Wolf Survive?|
Produced by T-Bone Burnett and released in 1984, that’s the title track from the breakthrough album by Los Lobos. They had released a few things before that but this is the record that made ‘em famous and rightly so. Ultimately ending up on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Before that, from his eighth album, J.J. Cale “Takin’ Care of Business.” We opened the set with a bit of silliness from Joe Walsh because we needed an extra sixty seconds and he gave us a ditty called the “All Night Laundry Mat Blues.” That led us into Elton John’s “No Shoestrings on Louise” which I’ve always thought had a bit of a country lilt to it. Consequently we slipped into the country blues portion of the program with “Dear Doctor” from Beggar’s Banquet, an album that featured a couple of other nods to American country music. A couple of songs later the Stones returned with the blues, “You Gotta Move,” from Sticky Fingers, written by the great Mississippi Fred McDowell. Speaking of whom, Bonnie Raitt also covered Mississippi Fred in that set. From her album Takin’ My Time, we heard “Write Me a Few of Your Lines, Kokomo Blues.” Then it was Taj Mahal covering the lassic “Dust My Broom” which has been credited to both Robert Johnson and Elmore James and I’m not the guy to get to the bottom of that argument so don’t ask me. Rod Stewart was in there too, with a little bit of “Amazing Grace” which is on Every Picture Tells a Story but isn’t acknowledged in the credits, it’s just there. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found, usually in the Way Back Studio. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. We keep the set lists and show commentaries on my website billfitzhugh dot com and we’ve got a Facebook page for further interaction, so drop by and make us a friend. I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Recently I was at the Deep Tracks page on Facebook where I got involved in an interesting two-part discussion. The first part was about what constitutes a ‘deep’ track in the first place. There was general agreement that a so-called ‘deep’ track is one that’s relatively obscure, one that you wouldn’t hear on Classic Vinyl or FM classic rock. Within that definition, I’d say there are two sub-categories of obscurity: first is a rarely heard song from a familiar artist, say, “My Sunday Feeling” by Jethro Tull. The second kind of obscure is anything from artists who are never played on Classic Vinyl or FM classic rock, for example, anything by Mink DeVille or Ballinjack. Now, one of the problems you run into is that for some people, anything by Little Feat is obscure. For others, like me, you have to go to the very bottom of their catalogue before I’d consider it rare. The second part of the discussion was about whether Deep Tracks should play anything that’s not ‘deep’ by whatever definition you come up with. There were purists who argued that you should never hear a well-known song on Deep Tracks, that it’s a violation of the very name of the channel. The reason I bring all this up is that today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl contains two tracks that will drive those purists to distraction. Believe me, they don’t get any more overexposed thant the Steely Dan and War songs I’m going to play in this set. BUT, I’m playing them in service of a greater good; this is one of those times where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The Steely Dan comes out of a Moody Blues track with such a perfect beat match, that I had to play it. And not only that, but then I found an obscure J.J. Cale track that sounds a lot like the Steely Dan AND is very similar in style to the War track. But all that’s later. Before we get there, we’ll hear a rare track from an obscure artist, but first, an obscure track from a familiar artist. Here’s Joni Mitchell.
|Joni Mitchell||Woman of Heart and Mind|
|John Martyn||Head and Heart|
|Moody Blues||It’s Up To You|
|Steely Dan||Do it Again|
If you tuned in during the middle of Steely Dan’s “Do it Again” and you thought to yourself, what’s this, Classic Vinyl? Well, you should’ve heard the commentary at the start of the show. As I’ve said before, the segues determine the songs we play, not the other way around. And the perfect beat match we got with the Steely Dan coming out of the Moody Blues track is a perfect example of what I mean when I say that. Before the set we were talking about a discussion on the Deep Tracks page on Facebook where listeners were debating the meaning of ‘deep’ in Deep Tracks and whether you should ever hear a familiar song here or only obscure tracks. Personally I like about an 80-20 mix of obscure to familiar, but that’s just me. Your tastes may vary. The one thing we all agreed on during this debate is that there’s a reason they have all those buttons on the radio. But getting back to the set, we followed the Steely Dan with a deep track from J.J. Cale, an obscure instrumental called “Durango.” As far as I know the only place you’ll find that is on a career retrospective collection, and not on any of his proper albums. And as long as we were grooving along with a semi-Latinish syncopation, we slipped into War’s “Cisco Kid.” By the way, if you’re interested, there’s a Rhythm Heritage mash-up out there called “Do it Again Cisco Kid.” At the top of the set, an obscure track from a familiar artist, Joni Mitchell’s “Woman of Heart and Mind.” Then a deep track from a deep artist: the late, the great, the underappreciated John Martyn with a song called “Head and Heart.” That’s from his album Bless the Weather. And bless your heart, we’re out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. You can find the set lists at billfitzhugh dotcom and you can track me down on Facebook and Amazon too. While you’re doing that, I’ll be working on another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.
When you think about the artists from the heyday of album rock – that period from the late Sixties to the late Seventies – who comes to mind? The Who, The Beatles, The Stones, Creedence, ZZ Top, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and so on, right? Now what’s the one thing they all have in common? Not their styles, their record labels, it’s not their country of origin; it’s their gender. Sure, you’ll find the occasional female backup singer on their records but other than that, rock ‘n’ roll tended to be pretty macho territory. Now I hate to be the one to have to say this, but like a lot of other areas in our world, women just don’t get the respect they deserve. You may recall a controversial single John Lennon released on that very subject. So you gotta ask yourself, would the Deep Tracks be the same without Janis Joplin? Would Jefferson Airplane even get off the ground without Grace Slick? Where would we be without Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, and Linda Rondstadt? And what about Carole King, Joan Baez, Phoebe Snow, Laura Nyro, Rita Coolidge, Karla Bonoff, and, well, I think you get the point. Today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is all about the distaff side of the equation. It’s Ladies Night in the Way Back Studios. And what’s interesting is that we could put together any number of sets without playing a single one of the women I just named, which just goes to show James Brown wasn’t necessarily right when he said “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” We’ll hear from Cold Blood with Lydia Pense who was most frequently compared to Janis. Elsewhere in the set, another one of the great voices of rhythm, rock, and blues: Bonnie Bramlett. We’ll also get a little Joan Armatrading, Wendy Waldman, Maria Muldaur, Minnie Ripperton, and what is arguably the first all-woman rock ‘n’ roll outfit, a group called Fanny. But before we get to all that, let’s check in with everybody’s favorite lower middle-class hillbilly hipster. Here’s Rickie Lee Jones.
|Rickie Lee Jones||Easy Money|
|Joan Armatrading||Show Some Emotion|
|Maria Muldour||It Ain’t the Meat, It’s the Motion|
|Wendy Waldman||You Got To Ride|
|Delaney & Bonnie||When the Battle is Over|
Wrapping up Ladies Night in the Way Back, that’s the late, great Minnie Ripperton, famous for her amazing five-octave vocal range. That track is from her album Perfect Angel, produced with a little help from Stevie Wonder. Sadly, we lost Minnie to cancer at the age of thirty-one but she left us some great music along with a very talented daughter, the actress and comedian Maya Rudolph. Before that, the original godmothers of chick rock, as they call themselves, Warner Brothers recording artist Fanny doing a song called “Borrowed Time.” They were the first all-woman rock group to sign with a major label. Fanny consisted of sisters June and Jean Millington, Nickey Barclay, and Alice de Buhr. They released five albums, were critically acclaimed, but never got any real traction and just kinda disappeared. At the top of the set, the Duchess of Coolsville, Rickie Lee Jones from her debut album doing a song she wrote called, “Easy Money.” After that, the unique vocal and songwriting style of Joan Armatrading. We heard the title track from her album, “Show Some Emotion.” Then it was down to the donut shop where we heard Maria Muldaur doing “It Ain’t the Meat, It’s the Motion.” More often than not, Muldaur covered songs by other songwriters. She was especially fond of songs by Wendy Waldman who was also in the set. From her album Gypsy Symphony, we heard “You Got to Ride.” Elsewhere, from “Accept No Substitute,” we had Bonnie Bramlett belting out “When the Battle is Over.” That was right after Cold Blood with a vocalist every bit as bold, brassy, and bluesy as Bonnie, the great Lydia Pense doing a track called “Visions.” If you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries, they’re at billfitzhugh dot com. You can also track me down on Facebook and Amazon. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Okay, I know we’ve had this discussion before but I think it bears repeating whenever we have a set featuring two songs that reached number one on the pop charts. I mean, this is the Deep Tracks, right? Songs so obscure that the artists don’t even recall recording them. And it doesn’t matter that the two songs in question topped the charts over forty years ago; a hit’s a hit. What’s it doing in the Deep Tracks? It’s a fair question. And I wouldn’t play either one of these songs if they didn’t work in the set, but they do, and of course I get special dispensation from whatever rules and regulations exist so that I can make today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl an exercise in recreating the mood of summertime spent in the park throwing Frisbees, an audio time-capsule designed to catapult us back to a year that never actually existed. It’s a soundtrack for tie-dye t-shirts, bell bottoms, and those head bands that seemed like such a good fashion idea at the time. This is the sort of set that demonstrates how the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts, how a series of songs can recreate the sound and feeling of a time that might look better in the rear view than it ever was at the actual moment it happened, and what’s the point of nostalgia if you can’t look back on stuff with rose colored granny glasses? And of course it’s not all hits, we have some seriously deep tracks in here as well, and not just as a question of balance; they’re here because they work, and here in the Way Back Studios, that’s all that matters. The set leans heavily towards the West Coast with two bands out of San Francsco and one each from Long Beach and Seattle. There’s one group out of New York and a solo artist who ended up there after starting out in South Africa. And we’ll hear from one of the more famous outfits that called Memphis home. Given all that you shouldn’t find it surprising that the set’s rich with rhythem and blues and blue-eyed soul, it’s also got some Latin grooves, a little light funk, and a dash of world music to round it out. So, from the fine folks who brought you “Coke, Suede, and Waterbeds” and The Miraculous Hump Returning From the Moon, here’s Sopwith Camel.
|Sopwith Camel||Orange Peel|
|War||All Day Music|
|Booker T & the MGs||Groovin’|
|Hugh Masekela||Grazin’ in the Grass|
Wrapping up a set that takes me back to a summer in the early 70s, that’s Ballinjack from their album Special Pride with one called “This Song.” Ballinjack was founded in Seattle by Ronnie Hammon and Luther Rabb both of whom, as it turns out, later joined War who we also heard in the set. Luther Rabb also played with Santana for a while. Someone else in that set who played with Santana for a few years was Carlos Santana’s younger brother, Jorge. But before he did that, Jorge was fronting his own band, called Malo. Near the top of the set we heard their best known track, “Suavecito” which was an FM rock standard in the early 70’s while a severely edited version of the song cracked the pop Top 40 over on the AM side. Following Malo with War from 1971, we heard the title track to their album All Day Music. Then we heard two versions of “Groovin’,” first from Booker T & The MGs, then the original from The Young Rascals, a track that reached #1 on the charts. The instrumental version from Booker T came out about four months later and topped out at #21. By the way, once they became successful, The Rascals dropped the ‘Young’ from their name because they never liked it. Turns out their manager had forced it on them to begin with. We came out of “Groovin’” into the other song in the set that hit #1 on the charts, a song that nowdays brings to mind that SNL sketch with Christopher Walken calling for “More cowbell!” We heard Hugh Masekela’s hit, “Grazin’ in the Grass.” And at the top of the set we were deep enough in the tracks to hear “Orange Peel” from Sopwith Camel’s album The Miraculous Hump Returns From the Moon. Well, it’s like those Young Rascals were saying, “I can’t imagine anything that’s better, the world is ours whenever we’re together,” here in the Way Back Studios. Listen, if you’re curious about any of the rumors you’ve heard about what else goes on back here, drop by my website or the Way Back Studio Facebook page and poke around till you find what you’re looking for. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with more Hand Mixed Vinyl next time and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
You might think that if you took one song, played it in ten parts, done by five different groups, including the original as well as the complete cover versions by The Grateful Dead, The Buckinghams, The Who, and Eddie Money, you’d think that if you did that, you’d have enough for today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. But you’d be wrong, at least in this instance. So what we have here is two very distinct sets with nothing more than Mike Nesmith’s First National Band standing between the two in an attempt to maintain some semblance of aesthetic order. The second set is a shorty, just three familiar tracks that start and or end with some similar guitar feedback, allowing us to slip seamlessly from one to the next until we all feel fine which is my way of saying that after we flip the record over and play the First National Rag, we’ll hear from Jefferson Airplane, The Rolling Stones, and The Fab Four. Now, about that song we’re going to hear five versions of. It was a big hit back in 1966. #1 on the charts. The first of several #1s by this group out of New York City. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s got a false ending that makes it perfect for what we do here in the Way Back Studios. And better yet, almost everybody who covered it, included the false ending. So, that’s where we’ll have our fun. After all that you’d think you’d have enough for today’s set, but again you’d be wrong which explains why we’re going to start with a song that’s been recorded by all sorts of folks, everybody from Jimmy Reed to The Yardbirds and The Animals to Aerosmith. First put to tape in 1959, the version we’re going to hear was recorded in 1980, live at the Universal Amphitheter in Los Angeles, which is now called the Gibson Amphitheater, and features Tom Scott, Paul Schaeffer, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Steve Cropper and the rest of the gang fronting for Elwood and Joliet Jake, those sensational soul revivalists known as The Blues Brothers.
|Blues Brothers||I Ain’t Got You|
|The Buckinghams||Good Lovin’ (Pt. 1)|
|Grateful Dead||Good Lovin’ (Pt. 1)|
|Young Rascals||Good Lovin’ (Pt. 1)|
|Eddie Money||Good Lovin’ (Pt. 1)|
|Grateful Dead||Good Lovin’ (Pt. 2)|
|The Who||Good Lovin’|
|The Buckinghams||Good Lovin’ (Pt. 2)|
|Eddie Money||Good Lovin’ (Pt. 2)|
|Young Rascals||Good Lovin’ (Pt. 2)|
|Grateful Dead||Good Lovin’ (Pt. 3)|
|Michael Nesmith||First National Rag|
|Jefferson Airplane||Somebody to Love|
|Beatles||I Feel Fine|
Following that marathon of “Good Lovin’” we slipped in a bit of what we call interstitial programming courtesy of Michael Nesmith’s First National Band (that was the part where we flipped the record over to get to the second portion of the show). So the last three tracks were a little set of their own where we used the guitar feedback at either end of the songs to tie ‘em all together. And if I had another seventeen minutes of songs like that I could do a complete show along those lines, and I’ve been looking for those songs for years to no avail, so I finally decided just tag that on to another set and be done with it. The bulk of that batch consisted of four cover versions of “Good Lovin’” along with the original from The Young Rascals. In the middle of which, the only version I found that didn’t have the false ending in it; that was The Who from the BBC Sessions. We started with the first half of a live version by The Buckinghams, a group out of Chicago that had a handful of top 20 hits, including “Kind of a Drag.” We followed that with the first of three parts by The Grateful Dead from the album Shakedown Street produced by Lowell George. Then we did the first part of the Young Rascals’ original take on the song before giving Eddie Money a crack at the old chestnut. That’s from his 2007 release called Wanna Go Back featuring covers mainly of Sixties R&B hits. Once we got part one from everybody we went back and heard their part two, and in the case of the Dead, part three as well. But even all that wasn’t enough for a full set, so we opened with some rhythm and Blues Brothers doing the classic “I Ain’t Got You.” But fortunately you’ve got me, delivered by satellite from the dusty fringes of Los Angeles to your little hearing holes. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. And remember, everything you need from the truth to the rumors is available at billfitzhugh.com and on Facebook. And while you’re poking around on the web, I’ll be here mixing up another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl for next time and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the D.T.