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.