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.
|Ian and Nisa
|Frankie and Albert
|Nothing Seems to Matter
|You Got Me on So Bad
|Cars Hiss by My Window
|Country Joe & the Fish
|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.