Adding a horn section to your rock and roll outfit doesn’t make you a jazz combo any more than adding strings makes you a chamber orchestra. But when groups like The Electric Flag, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, and Chicago showed up with their big, honking horn sections, the rock press had to call them something and they decided to call them jazz-rock. Hey, the guy was blowing a saxophone, he said to his editor. Still, it was a misnomer since, with few exceptions, the groups didn’t really stray into the compositional or improvisational territory of true jazz. You want jazz rock? Try Bitch’s Brew by Miles Davis or something by Soft Machine or John McLaughlin.
So what do we call today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl? Well, let’s just say it’s a big load of brassy rock, mixed with some rocky funk, and spiced here and there with some Latin flavors. We’ve got six tracks broken into eight parts and, quite by accident, it turns out that seven of the eight come from the West Coast. Chicago being the odd fellow in the set. First, we’ve got Tower of Power out of Oakland, then, it’s across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco where we’ll hear from Cold Blood, Santana, and Donna Jean and the Tricksers, then it’s up the coast a bit, to the Emerald City, one of my favorite bands from one of my favorite towns, Ballinjack, an outfit formed in Seattle in 1969 by some guys who were childhood pals with Jimi Hendrix. Ballinjack recorded a couple of really good records for Columbia and Mercury and why they didn’t break through to a larger audience is another one of life’s great mysteries. In the second half of the set, from Ballinjack’s debut album, we’ll hear “Hold On,” a song that provides a great little drum segue into Chicago’s “Free” and back again, so keep your hearing holes open for that. But to get things started, let’s just head on down to the nightclub and hope it doesn’t show while we’re driving down the road that we had too much to drink.
|Tower of Power||Down to the Nightclub|
|Cold Blood||Down to the Bone (part 1)|
|Donna Jean and the Tricksters||Weight of the World|
|Cold Blood||Down to the Bone (part 2)|
|Ballinjack||Hold On (part 1)|
|Ballinjack||Hold On (part 2)|
Formed in Seattle in 1969, that’s Ballinjack from their debut album on Columbia records. The next year they were on the road, opening for their childhood pal, Jimi Hendrix on his Cry of Love tour. We just heard Ballinjack’s “Hold On” done in two parts with Chicago’s “Free” segued into the middle, using all those drum licks from Daniel Seraphine and Ronnie Hammon. The first half of the set was a Bay Area sample platter featuring bands and players who moved around so much it’s impossible to explain all the overlaps, but we’ll give it a shot. We started with Tower of Power, a band formed in Oakland by Emilio Castillo. We heard their funky classic, “Down To the Night Club” from their second album, Bump City. Tower of Power’s first album was on Bill Graham’s San Francisco Records. That’s the same label that signed Cold Blood. And, over the years, you’ll find more than a few members of Tower of Power playing with Cold Blood who we heard doing “Down to the Bone” instead of the nightclub, a track featuring percussion by Pete and Coke Escovedo who were with Santana at various points in time.
And in the middle of the set we heard a track called “Waiting”; it was the first song on the first side of the first album from Santana, an album featuring Tower of Power on horns; that came out in 1969. Thirty-nine years later, Donna Jean Godchaux , the only woman allowed on stage with another Bay Area band, The Grateful Dead, showed up with Tricksters. We heard one of the many great tracks from their debut album in 2008, a song called “Weight of the World.” And that, my friends, is all we have time for today. If you’re looking for the set lists and show commentaries, I’ve got ‘em posted my website along with scandalous photos, notions, toiletries, and cosmetics. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back some day with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Anybody tuning in late for today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl might be confused and think they’d tuned in up at B.B. King’s Bluesville. Confused maybe, but they won’t be sorry. From the Way Back Studios, it’s Bluesville in the Deep Tracks. Where all that rock and roll came from in the first place. But of course there’s blues and then there’s blues. Right? I mean, in the beginning, it was all rural and acoustic. Field hollers and spirituals. Melismatic vocals rendered in twelve bars with flatted third, fifth, and seventh notes of the scale. Sexual metaphors riding in on bent notes. Get your mojo working and let me play with your poodle, if you know what I’m saying. But it was one thing to play an acoustic guitar and blow harmonica at a rent party or a levee camp with a small crowd of workers so tired they couldn’t make a peep. But after WWII and the great black exodus from the south, those rural acoustic blues had to adapt if they wanted to be heard in those big noisy cities. Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf showed the way. They plugged it in and turned it up. But even before that, you wanted to be heard in a crowded juke joint where the skin ball was letting the deal go down and men were throwing dice and hollering about the snake eyes, you had best go electric.
So it was born on the plantations and juke joints of the Mississippi Delta. Towns like Leland, Greenwood, and Clarksdale. But it grew up in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Chicago where you couldn’t get away with that was slow, old, draggy stuff. Up there the jobs were better. Everybody had a few nickles to rub together and they wanted to dance. So you had to pick up the pace. Next thing you know, the jump blues showed up and brought some wailing saxophones with it. So we’ll do a little of that too. But for starters, let’s hear from one of the great new voices in the blues, a personal friend of mine, a guy I went to high school with back in Jackson, Mississippi. . .
|Zac Harmon||Yazoo City|
|Finis Tasby||Mercy’s Blues (I Believe)|
|William Clarke||Complainer’s Boogie Woogie|
|Bob Dylan||Summer Days|
|Big Joe Turner||Shake, Rattle, and Roll|
|Howlin’ Wolf||Highway 49|
Never hurts to have a good nickname if you’re going to sing the blues. I mean, if you had to choose between hearing some guy named Chester Burnett or one named Howlin’ Wolf, who you gonna pick? We just heard old Chester doing “Highway 49.” That was from the infamous London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions with his admirers, Steve Winwood, Bill Wyman, and Eric Clapton who we heard earlier in the set covering Freddie King’s “Hideaway.” Now Highway 49 is the other highway cutting through the Mississippi Delta besides the one that gets revisited and resurfaced every now and then, Highway 61. 49 runs right in front of the old Hopson Plantation and takes you down to Jackson, by way of Yazoo City, which happens to be the title to the first song in the set. Written and performed by my friend Zac Harmon, a guy I went to high school with back in Jackson. Zac has earned a trophy case of music awards, including the Sirius-XM Nation’s Best new Blues Artist in 2005. Check his website for his schedule and get out to see him if he’s playing anywhere near you. You’ll be glad you did.
There were a couple other guys in the set you might not have heard of. Somewhere between Chicago Blues and California swing we had the late, great William Clarke blowing harp and singing the “Complainer’s Boogie Woogie.” And Finis Tasby, a man who traveled an awfully long road before recording his great record, Jump Children. We heard him doing “Mercy’s Blues (I Believe).” Elsewhere, Big Joe Turner, like a one-eyed cat peepin’ in a seafood store doing the jump blues classic, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.” Before that, Blind Boy Grunt, also known as Bob Dylan, checked in with “Summer Days.” Sucking the blood out of the genius of generosity, I’m Bill Fitzhugh, wishing I’d written that one. Instead, I’ll be working on another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, satellite delivered sooner or later from the Way Back Studios to the Deep Tracks.
Some song titles are self-explanatory. For example, “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” You don’t need a PhD to figure that one out. Other titles are somewhat more cryptic, like Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35.” Nowhere in the lyrics is there is any mention of, nor explanation for, these women. Who are they? Why are they numbered? We may never know. Even with all the resources of the Internet, I can’t find a good explanation for that one. And then there’s the song that got me started on today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. It’s called “Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska.” Being an instrumental, there are no clues to be found in the lyrics. It’s on the album Them Changes by the late great Buddy Miles. I’ve had this record since it came out in 1970 and I always wondered who “Paul B. Allen” was. Well this time, the Internet delivered. I found the Facebook page for Paul B. Allen III. So I sent him an email and he wrote write back. He said Paul B Allen, Senior was his grandfather. He and Paul B. Allen, Junior owned and operated Allen’s Showcase lounge, the hottest nightclub in Omaha in the 1950’s and 60’s. Greats like Fats Domino, Red Foxx, and James Brown all performed there. And it wasn’t just big acts. They like to nurture new artists as well, and among those was a young local guy by the name of Buddy Miles. Paul B. Allen III, by the way, is the lead vocalist of the current incarnation of The Platters.
As for the rest of the set, we cover a lot of ground. No fancy segues or mash-ups, it’s more like a relay team with each song handing the baton in perfect stride to the next. Now, on the one hand, you might get disgusted and start thinking that I’m strange. On the other hand, you must know you have a certain charm and feel the time is right. Either way, let’s take a cue from George Ivan Morrison who said: ‘Hey, Mr. DJ, I just want to hear some rhythm and blues music on the radio.’ So, on the radio, here’s Buddy Miles with “Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska.”
|Buddy Miles||Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska|
|Fleetwood Mac||Spare Me a Little of Your Love|
|Steely Dan||With a Gun|
|Blues Brothers||Soul Finger|
|The Buckinghams||Mercy, Mercy, Mercy|
|Chicago Transit Authority||Questions 67 and 68|
|Graham Parker||Heat Treatment|
You gotta admire a guy with the courage to rhyme swallow, hollow, follow, and wallow. That’s Graham Parker, title track from his album, Heat Treatment. Before that, Chicago Transit Authority. Now despite extensive and rigorous research, I still have no idea what “Questions 67 and 68” are. The lyrics themselves consist of only five or six questions. And while the title is a lyric, it’s sung only once at the very end of the song but without any explanation of what those questions are or what the preceding 66 might have been. Before that, from 1967, “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy,” from The Buckinghams, produced by the same guy who produced the Chicago, James Guercio. The song was written by Joe Zawinul of Weather Report fame and was originally a hit instrumental for the Cannonball Adderly Quintet in 1966. In the middle of that most precious wellspring of contemporary music, a song and a band which historians in the far future might catalogue under 20th Century pre-light-emitting-diode euphoric. Jake and Elwood. The Blues Brothers covering the Bar-Kay’s classic “Soul Finger.” Before that, Van Morrison’s “Domino,” Fleetwood Mac with Christine McVie’s “Spare Me a Little of Your Love,” and Steely Dan with a story about a man with a gun in his hand. The kind of guy who pays his bill by leaving another man lying in the rain. That’s from Pretzel Logic.
At the top, the late great Buddy Miles from Them Changes, an album the All Music Guide calls, “quite simply, one of the great lost treasures of soul inspired rock music.” We heard the instrumental “Paul B. Allen, Omaha, Nebraska,” for reasons explained earlier. And mercy, mercy, mercy, we’re all out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll back sooner or later with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you can join us, right here, in the Deep Tracks.
The way I figure it, if something sounds nice, why not do it twice? Even at the risk of being redundant, repetitive, and redundant. I’ve been guilty of worse. So, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is like a rerun except that it’s all brand-spanking new. A semi-fraudulent case of deja vu, if you will because somewhere in the echos of the Way Back Studios you can still hear a mix we laid down one time with Willie Deville, Dire Straits, and J. J. Cale. And now it’s happened again . . . sort of. Last time, we had the “Assassin of Love” with a “Six Blade Knife” under a “Cajun Moon.” This time we’re dealing with a “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl,” who mixes nicely into Dire Straits’ “Water of Love,” which in turn flows smoothly into J.J. Cale’s “Don’t Cry Sister.” Now true, technically, it’s Mink this time instead of Willie Deville but that’s getting into semantics and what’s the point? A Deville by any other name is just a Cadillac. That’s all in the second half of the show.
But first, something completely different: four songs from four albums that have one thing in common. The moody and atmospheric production of Daniel Lanois. Probably most famous for his work with rockers like U2 and Peter Gabriel, Lanois has also spent his share of time in the studio with more acoustic artists. In 1995 he played on and produced Wrecking Ball for Emmylou Harris, two years later, he did the same for Bob Dylan’s Time Out of Mind. A year after that, he and Willie Nelson holed up in an old movie theatre in Mexico to record Teatro, and in 2003 he hooked up with Billy Bob Thornton to produce The Edge of the World. In fact a lot of people don’t realize that Lanois produced the soundtrack to Thornton’s Academy Award winning film, Sling Blade. Steve Earle’s hiding in there somewhere as well, I’ll let you figure that out yourself, but first, from his second solo album, here’s Billy Bob Thornton.
|Billy Bob Thornton||The Edge of the World (reprise)|
|Bob Dylan||It’s Not Dark Yet|
|Willie Nelson||Everywhere I Go|
|Mink DeVille||Mixed Up Shook Up Girl|
|Dire Straits||Water of Love (excerpt)|
|J. J. Cale||Don’t Cry Sister|
I remember a Rolling Stone review of one of J.J. Cale’s albums where the reviewer called him a ‘Dust Bowl Dire Straits.’ And the All Music Guide said Dire Straits built their sound on the laid-back blues-rock of J.J. Cale. Which just goes to show I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Here, we put ‘em together so you could hear it for yourself, as we went from J.J. Cale’s “Don’t Cry Sister” into “Water of Love” from Dire Straits. Leading us into Dire Straits, a guy who sometimes sounds a lot like Mark Knopfler. We heard Mink Deville’s “Mixed Up Shook Up Girl” from his great debut album Cabretta that came out in 1977. A year later, when Dire Straits released their first album, I was struck by how much their sounds had in common. Ten years later, much to my surprise, Knopfler ended up producing Deville’s album Miracle. And speaking of producers…
The first half of that set was a sample platter of what can happen when you let Daniel Lanois into the control room. Actually, he not only produced the first four tracks in that set, he played on them as well. Starting out on an instrumental from Billy Bob Thornton’s second solo album, we heard the reprised to “The Edge of the World” with Billy Bob on drums and Lanois on everything else. After that, from Emmylou Harris, a Steve Earle composition called “Goodbye” with Steve sitting in on guitar. Then it was Mr. Lanois and Mr. Dylan from Time out of Mind we heard “Not Dark Yet” and that led us to Willie Nelson from a terrific album called Teatro. A song called “Everywhere I Go” featuring Emmylou Harris on background vocals. Well, it’s like Bob said, Shadows are falling and I’ve been here all day. It’s too hot to sleep and time is running away here in the Way Back Studios. Hey, If you’re looking for the set lists, I’ve got ‘em posted on my website so you can drop by and check ‘em out, and see what else goes on around here. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Chester William Powers, Jr., isn’t exactly a household name. But everybody knows his work. Among the songs he wrote was “Get Together,” a top five hit for The Youngbloods. He also wrote a bunch of songs for Quicksilver Messenger Service, including the only one of their songs to break into the top fifty, a track called “Fresh Air.” So how come his name doesn’t ring a bell? Well, in the case of “Get Together” it’s probably because that song is so strongly associated with Jesse Colin Young and the Youngbloods. As for “Fresh Air” and all the other songs he wrote for Quicksilver, it’s probably because he wrote most of them under a pseudonym. For example, he wrote “Fresh Air” under the name Jesse Oris Farrow. Other times he called himself Jackie Powers, but most of us know him as Dino Valenti, one of the founding members of Quicksilver Messenger Service. Unfortunately, Dino (or Chester) had a habit of getting arrested for drug possession. And not only arrested, but convicted, and sentenced to a couple of years in jail which explains why he was only occasionally in the band.
In any event, a year after “Fresh Air” was on the charts, Quicksilver recorded “I Found Love,” written by band member Gary Duncan. The two songs are completely different. But there’s one part of both songs that’s nearly identical which is why they’re the songs at the heart of today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. The common element is in the chorus of both songs, and that’s where the Hand Mixing comes in. But you’ll have to wait for the second half of the set to hear the segues that resulted. Before we’re done, we’ll hear nine songs done in thirteen parts. Including The Tourists, Santana, James Brown, and Ducks Deluxe. But first, from the Way Back Studios, let’s start with another one of our haphazard comparisons of Roger McGuinn and George Harrison. Starting with one of the single greatest chords in all of rock ‘n’ roll…
|The Beatles||Hard Day’s Night|
|The Byrds||Feel a Whole Lot Better|
|Ducks Deluxe||Please, Please, Please (part 1)|
|Beatles||Please Please Me|
|Ducks Deluxe||Please, Please, Please (part 2)|
|Tourists||I Only Want To Be With You|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||I Found Love (part 1)|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||Fresh Air (part 1)|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||Fresh Air (part 2)|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||I Found Love (part 2)|
|Quicksilver Messenger Service||Fresh Air (part 3)|
|James Brown||I Got To Move|
The Godfather of Soul could go on all night doing that vamp and in fact he almost did – that goes on for over seven minutes but I ran out of time and figured a little James Brown was better than none at all. The origin of that record is as convoluted as some of JB’s paternity suits, so try to keep up. The album title (In The Jungle Groove) comes from an August 1970 recording that remains mostly unissued. They took the opening rap from the album, that part where he yells, “Hit me!” And they tacked it onto the beginning of “I Got To Move” which comes from that same 1970 recording session. We heard the second of two versions that James recorded, both of them restructured from his 1967 hit “There Was A Time,” which was itself an extension of an earlier hit called “Let Yourself Go.” In The Jungle Groove was essentially a compilation of stuff recorded between 1969 and 1971. Some of the tracks had been released only as singles, others had been on albums, but in different mixes, and “I Got To Move,” was previously unreleased in any form.
Coincidentally, James Brown’s first big hit was titled, “Please Please Please.” And near the top of the set, doing a different song with that same title, we had Ducks Deluxe followed by the Beatles with “Please Please Me.” In the middle of the set, The Tourists, a British synth pop band featuring Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart a year before they became Eurythmics. We heard their cover of the Dusty Springfield hit, “I Only Want to Be With You.” The second half of the set was a doozy of Hand Mixed Vinyl, five-parts Quicksilver Messenger Service, and one part Santana. We took “Fresh Air,” broke it into three pieces, and mixed it with “I Found Love” broken into two parts, and mixed back and forth during the oooooos. And we stuck Santana’s “Persuasion” into one of the breaks in between because that’s what we do here in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl. Right here in the Deep Tracks.
All due respect to the novel, but for my money, the best Frankenstein is the 1931 film from Universal Pictures directed by James Whale with Boris Karloff as the flat-headed monster with bolts in his neck. Unlike the original tale, in the movie, we have Fritz the hunchback robbing graves to gather the gooey parts used to create the creature. A torso here, a leg there, and, the crowning touch: the brain of a deranged criminal. It’s just like how we put our sets together here in the Way Back Studios. So this is one I suspect Mary Shelly would have liked. It’s a modern vinyl prometheus. A tale of displaced passion and brutalism – a veritable rage against the industrial revolution, or maybe just the machine that was the music industry circa 1975. At least that’s how the whole thing starts.
Today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is a case of inanimate matter imbued with the spark of life at 33 1/3, organic parts from different sources, rendered into twenty-six minutes of what F. Scott Fitzgerald described as the real dark night of the soul, where it’s always three o’clock in the morning, day after day. A bleak reflection of modern life, anxiety and dread, madness, death, fear of judgement, existential brooding, and sexual anxiety. A trek into the first third of a modern day Divine Comedy. A veritable Dante’s Inferno of synthesizers and sound effects from Edgar Winter and Gino Vanelli. Cymbols like a steam engine struggling to pull out of the station on a “Hellbound Train.” Slow, yet relentless at first, the pace and the pulse quicken until it’s a runaway and you’re strapped onto the front of the thing like Jon Voight on a hellish ride into a netherworld of garish nightmarish images. No brakes, no one at the wheel. Go ahead, son, have a cigar.
|Pink Floyd||Have a Cigar|
|Savoy Brown||Hellbound Train (part 1)|
|Pink Floyd||Shine On You Crazy Diamond|
|Savoy Brown||Hellbound Train (part 2)|
|Edgar Winter||Frankenstein (excerpt)|
|Gino Vanelli||Mama Coco|
They Only Come Out at Night. And with the outfits and haircuts they’re sporting on the album cover, you can understand why. The Edgar Winter Group, available in quadrophonic at the time which was 1972, which explains the outfits and haircuts. That was originally titled, “The Double Drum Solo” but that got changed to “Frankenstein” because the song was assembled from parts of different takes of a longer composition. And they weren’t working with ProTools either. This was back in the day when they were cutting magnetic tape with razor blades, strips of tape draped all around the studio which they then had to physically rearrange and splice back together with adhesive tape, hence the Frankenstein reference. That’s got everything but a bolt in its neck. I read somewhere that it’s the second most popular rock instrumental behind Booker T and the MG’s “Green Onions.” Earlier we took the famous synthesizer part from the end of the song to come out of the abrupt conclusion of Savoy Brown’s “Hellbound Train,” which we bifurcated in order to slip in several parts of Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.”
And the synthesizer-driven “Mama Coco” was Gino Vannelli and his brother Joe from the album Storm at Sunup. At the top, Pink Floyd again, this time with guest lead vocal by Roy Harper who stepped in after Roger Waters strained his vocal chords doing “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” Anyway, wishing you were here having a cigar in the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. We’ve got the set lists and show commentaries, along with all those scandalous photos posted at billfitzhugh.com and you can also track me down on Facebook and Amazon. You might be surprised at what you find. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
Lemme ask you a question. Have you ever wondered what The U.S. Copyright Act of 1909 has to do with many of your favorite songs? Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is happy to provide the answer. It all starts with a one-chord blues, a riff that Cub Koda said launched a million other songs. It also launched a lawsuit forty-three years after the original song was recorded. That song was “Boogie Chillen” by a guy out of Clarksdale, Mississippi, name of John Lee Hooker. The lawsuit was known as La Cienega v. ZZ Top. Here’s the background: Hooker first recorded “Boogie Chillen,” in 1948. He did it again in 1950, and again in 1970 with Canned Heat. Hooker and his partner, Bernard Besman, formed the publishing company La Cienega Music, but they relied on state common law copyright to protect the composition instead of complying with the requirements of the Copyright Act of 1909. Now, ZZ Top released “La Grange” in 1973. Hooker and Besman eventually filed suit in the Central District Court of California, claiming “La Grange” was too similar to “Boogie Chillen” and they were owed royalties.
However, the original case and subsequent hearings before the California Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ended up not even dealing with the issue of whether “La Grange” was derived from “Boogie Chillen” (which it obviously was). But rather whether “Boogie Chillen” had already fallen into the public domain when ZZ Top did their deriving. All of that hinged on the failure by Congress in 1909 to define what exactly constituted ‘publication’ of a song. And, perhaps more importantly, Besman’s failure to renew the song’s copyright for a second 28 years (which he could have done) thus making the whole thing a moot point. So with that, let’s step out of the Way Back Studios and head on down to Hastings Street and Henry’s Swing Club, see what all the fuss is about.
|John Lee Hooker||Boogie Chillen (part 1)|
|Van Morrison||Boogie Chillen (part 1)|
|ZZ Top||La Grange (part 1)|
|Rolling Stones||Shake Your Hips|
|ZZ Top||La Grange (part 2)|
|Canned Heat||Woodstock Boogie|
|Norman Greenbaum||Spirit in the Sky|
|Canned Heat||Fried Hockey Boogie (excerpt)|
|Foghat||Chateau Lafitte Boogie (excerpt)|
|Van Morrison||Boogie Chillen (part 2)|
|John Lee Hooker||Boogie Chillen (part 2)|
As I mentioned at the top of the show, “Boogie Chillen” was at the center of a lawsuit in the 1990s when John Lee Hooker and his partner, Bernard Besman, sued ZZ Top claiming “La Grange” violated their copyright. Six years later, as a result of the lawsuit, Congress passed several amendments to the Copyright Act of 1909 which effectively overturned the original decision (which had been in ZZ Top’s favor) after which Hooker and Besman settled for the always popular undisclosed amount. Now, according to All Music Guide, there are 138 versions of “Boogie Chillen” – but that’s only the number of songs that used the original title. As we just heard, there’s no shortage of bands that took the basic riff, added some lyrics, and called it their own.
For example, we heard part of Canned Heat’s “Woodstock Boogie” and their “Fried Hockey Boogie,” neither of which gives credit to John Lee Hooker. We also heard the part of Foghat’s “Chateau LaFitte Boogie” where they break into Hooker’s riff like they owned it. One question that remains is why they didn’t sue Slim Harpo or a lot of other artists. As we just heard, The Rolling Stones covered Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips” and they made it sound even more like Hooker than Harpo had. And there were lots of other songs that might have prompted an attorney to file suit. Among those that derive from Hooker’s original composition, is Junior Parker’s “Feelin’ Good,” Sammy Lewis’s “Feel So Worried,” and Slim Green and the Cats from Fresno with the “Old Folks Boogie.” (Which is not the same as the Little Feat song.) And, as we heard in the middle of the set, Hooker’s riff even shows up in Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In the Sky.” Well, the list goes on from Hastings Street to Henry’s Swing Club to The Way Back Studios but we’re outta time and we gotta boogie. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time right here in the Deep Tracks.
When you turned on the radio in the early Sixties, you weren’t going to hear a lot of international influence in the music. Things were All American back then. In a typical twenty minutes you might hear Elvis, The Four Seasons, Johnny Mathis, Brenda Lee, Chubby Checker, and Neil Sedaka. That’s what the Top Forty sounded like. But then, in November of 1962, along came Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass with their first big hit, “The Lonely Bull.” Over the next five years, they landed thirteen songs in the Top 40, all of them with, what must have seemed at the time, that exotic south-of-the-border sound. They even made “Zorba The Greek” sound like he was from Guadalajara.
Two years later, Stan Getz jumped on board with his Top Five bossa nova hit, “The Girl from Ipanema.” And a couple of year later, Sergio Mendez and Brazil ’66 joined the crowd. After that, you weren’t surprised when you turned on the radio and heard the Baja Marimba Band, Hugh Masakela, or Ray Barretto. And when FM radio came along, we got our Latin rhythms from Santana, War, Osibisa, and Malo. Well, today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl got its start when I was listening to The Mongo Santamaria Band’s cover of Hancock’s “Watermelon Man.” That led me to another jazz composition, also done in a Latin style. The group El Chicano had a big hit with a version of Gerald Wilson’s “Viva Tirado.” From there I just let the congas and bongos take us from one country to another and from one song to the next. Rhythms from South America, Africa, and Cuba. Bits of tangos and rumbas. Mambos and salsas. And loads of batucada. And somehow in the middle we end up with Leonard Cohen and Roxy Music, but the beat went on. A sultry Latin mood pushed by that tumbao rhythm. So, “Oye Como Va,” as they say. Listen how it goes, this rhythm’s good for dancing.
|Mongo Santamaria||Watermellon Man|
|Paul Simon||Further To Fly|
|Leonard Cohen||Here It Is|
|Roxy Music||My Only Love|
|El Chicano||Viva Tirado|
|Santana||Oye Como Va|
If that on line encyclopedia can be believed, the opening line of “Oye Como Va,” literally means, listen how it goes. But colloquially it’s more like, ‘Hey, check it out.” This rhythm’s good for dancing, or something along those lines. That classic track is a great example of musical recycling. Santana covering the late Tito Puente’s composition which I’m led to believe is actually a rewrite of another tune composed and recorded in the 1930s. Before that, more recycling. From 1970, the group El Chicano, formerly the VIPs, with their cover of Gerald Wilson’s “Viva Tirado” which, thirty years later, ended up as the basis for Kid Frost’s Chicano rap single, “La Raza.” At the top, all the way from Havana, we heard Mongo Santamaria who played with Tito Puente, Perez Prado, and many others. Here he covered Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” a song Herbie recorded on his first solo album. Paul Simon after that with another serving from his international sampler platter, this time with all that Brazilian percussion, that batucada, from Rhythm of the Saints, a track called “Further to Fly” featuring Ringo Starr on guitar of all things.
That led us into Leonard Cohen’s moody little samba, or tango or whatever it was from the album, Ten New Songs. This one called, “Here It Is.” And there was something about the mood of that song that led me to Roxy Music and the one tune in the set that got in on mood alone, a track called “My Only Love” from the album Flesh and Blood. And now it’s time to gather my bongos and congas and rumba on out of here. By the way, if you’re just dying to find out more, it’s all on my website and the Facebook pages and Amazon, so be sure to stop by next time you’re surfing around. From the Way Back Studios, I’m Bill Fitzhugh 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.
There’s a two-way street leading to the Way Back Studios. A digital drive, paved with e-mail and I figured now was as good a time as any for shoutin’ back to the likes of Gary standing on a corner in Patagonia, Arizona, Ian in Canada who grooved on one of our Latin sets, and Steve in Las Vegas who keeps buying records no matter what Jo says. There’s Dave somewhere in Southern California, Neil in Indianapolis, and Andrew of the Deep South Radio Hour. We heard from Sneaky Pete’s pal, Lisa, Blake who enjoyed our Reefer Madness set, and Denise who swears she’s just another slave to rock and roll. Then there’s Steve in Illinois and Tim Crowe who both read “Pest Control” and got all my Bob Dillon jokes. Kevin’s listening in Hartford, Connecticut, Artie and Mary are sitting on the patio in Texas, I think, and Ron in the Netherlands listening on line. And let’s not forget Sweet as Pie Peggy down in Baton Rouge and Brenda at Johns Hopkins Dept of Neurosurgery where they don’t have any rocket scientists, just brain surgeons. There’s Lenny in Lake Mary, Florida, and the Reverend Mark Christian who swears he listens to the show religiously. Well, amen to that.
Every now and then I even get suggestions for segues. Scott in Cleveland always has good ideas, Michael delivered one we did with Wings and Rocky Horror, and my pal Kim at U.S. Fish and Wildlife? She’s the one who had the idea about Traffic and Leon Russell that turned out so good. Now, the suggestion that got me started on today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl comes from my friend Steve Larson. It’s a segue he used to do at KBPI-FM in Denver involving a riff that Deep Purple admittedly stole from It’s a Beautiful Day. After that we’ve got a Deep Track from Audience and an instrumental from Van the Man. But we’ll start with a little sorcery. Steeleye Span’s version of an English folk tune about the ugliest witch in the North Country. And as long as were singing about women with special powers, we’ll hear Donovan’s perplexing package of provocative paranoia from 1966. I keep waiting for some rapper to do a cover version of the song, probably call it, “Season of the we-atch.” Here’s Mr. Leitch.
|Donovan||Season of the Witch|
|Steeleye Span||Allison Gross|
|It’s a Beautiful Day||Bombay Calling|
|Deep Purple||Child In Time (edit)|
|Audience||Buy Me An Island|
If you’re looking at your radio for the song title and it says “Instrumental” and you’re thinking, duh, I can hear it’s an instrumental, what’s it called? It’s called “Instrumental.” Van Morrison with Georgie Fame and the boys from Too Long in Exile. Before that, going deep into the tracks, that was Audience swinging in the coconut trees and swimming in the sea. From their album Lunch, a track called “Buy me an Island.” Before that, testing the limits of heavy metal excess, and plagarism, we heard a part of Deep Purple’s “Child in Time.” According to the liner notes from one of their greatest hits collections, Deep Purple stole that organ riff from It’s a Beautiful Day’s “Bombay Calling” which explains why we heard that just before the purple. A segue I got from my pal Seattle Steve Larson. It turns out that organ riff wasn’t the only thing Deep Purple took from David LaFlamme’s Bay Area band. The instrumental line for Deep Purple’s “Wring That Neck” was, as they say, borrowed from It’s a Beautiful Day’s “Don and Dewey.”
At the top of the set we got all folked up with some Scottish and English troubadourism, starting with Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” followed by a traditional English folk tune about the ugliest witch in the north country, “Alison Gross.” Steeleye Span from 1973 and their album Parcel of Rogues. And, just so you know, if you’re looking for the set lists or the show commentaries I’ve got posted on my website, billfitzhugh.com along with lots of naughty photos and the truth behind all the rumors. And don’t forget, the beatniks are out to make it rich, the rabbits are running in the ditch, and you’ve got to pick up every stitch here in the Way Back Studios. We like to keep it neat. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back again next time with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.
As you know every now and then we’ll take a closer look at one of the many subgenres of music that make up this vast library we call the Deep Tracks. And with that in mind, we’re gonna put the spotlight on the country side of album rock featuring Way Back Studio favorites like the Outlaws from their debut album. We’ll also hear some of Rusty Young’s steel guitar with Poco featuring Timothy B. Schmidt before he flew over to join the Eagles. Steve Stills and Manassas give us one that’s as country as they ever sounded and Jonathan Edwards delivers a beauty called “Don’t Cry Blue.” But you’ll have to wait because that’s that’s all in the second half of the set. First, let’s go back to somewhere around 1970 when Leon Russell hooked up with Denny Cordell to form Shelter Records. I don’t know who their A&R guy was, for all I know it was just Denny and Leon. But whoever it was, was good at the job. Along with Leon’s early records, Shelter released albums by Tom Petty, J.J. Cale, Dwight Twilly, Willis Alan Ramsey, Jim Horn, and the group that got us started on today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl: Richard Torrance and Eureka.
Their second release on Shelter was called Belle of the Ball, came out in 1975. Among the many great tracks on the album is one called “Singing Springs” and I swear it sounds like it might have come from a Doobie Brothers album, say Stampede, which features the song “Neil’s Fandango” which sounds like a continuation of “Singing Springs” which explains why we put the two of ‘em back-to-back. Now, by coincidence, one of the guest artists on the Stampede album was Ry Cooder, a guy who’s been described as an acoustic instrument fetishist, and I think in the positive sense of the phrase. We’ll hear Ry’s “Great Dreams From Heaven” from his fine album Into the Purple Valley. But first, here’s a One Man Dog, sweet baby James Taylor, “Back on the Street Again.”
|James Taylor||Back on the Street Again|
|Ry Cooder||Great Dreams From Heaven|
|Richard Torrance and Eureka||Singing Springs|
|Doobie Brothers||Neil’s Fandango|
|Outlaws||Stay With Me|
|Poco||Another Time Around|
|Manassas||Don’t Look At My Shadow|
|Jonathan Edwards||Don’t Cry Blue|
That’s Jonathan Edwards from his debut album in 1971, a record remembered mainly for the big hit, “Sunshine” which is a shame because the entire album is an absolutely great mix of singer-songwriter, folk and country stuff. Another album like that, but twice as long is Manassas, the rare two-record set that was brilliant from top to bottom. Song-for-song, I think it’s better than Chicago’s first two albums which are two of my favorites. In fact, for my money, that first Manassas record holds up as well or better than Exile on Main Street, Layla, The White Album, or any other two record set you care to name. Each side of the album had a theme and a title. Here we heard “Don’t Look at My Shadow” which comes from side two, the country side, which was called The Wilderness. Before that we went “Another Time Around” with Poco, from the album Cantamos.
In the middle of the set, we did a little musical juxtaposition to show the similarities between Richard Torrance and Eureka’s “Singing Springs” and “Neil’s Fandango” from the Doobie Brothers. We followed that with the Eagles-like harmonies and shimmering guitars of The Outlaws from their great debut album, a great country rock sing-along called “Stay With Me.” At the top of the set, James Taylor from an album recorded mostly in his home studio, One Man Dog, we heard “Back On The Street Again,” followed by that beautiful instrumental “Great Dreams From Heaven” from Ry Cooder’s Into The Purple Valley. Well, like Mr. Edwards said, The highway’s just a two lane road, connected either way, and I’ve seen enough of this end for a while. If you want to see the other end, drop by my website or track me down on Amazon or Facebook and see what there is to see. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back another time around with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.