I got a couple of questions for you. Do you own a copy Eric Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard? If so, which version do you have? The original or the other one? How do you tell the difference? Well, on the original release, the second track on side one was “Give Me Strength.” But owing to a dispute over songwriting credits, later pressings of the album featured “Better Make It Through Today” as the second track, a song that was originally on the album There’s One In Every Crowd which came out the year after 461 Ocean Boulevard. Now what’s most interesting about all this is that today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl has nothing to do with either one of those tracks. I just thought I’d mention it. Instead, we’ll be playing “Motherless Children” from the album. Why’s that? Well, the answer has to do with the rhythm of a song written by Lindsey Buckingham.
Here’s what happened: I was here in the Way Back Studios one night listening to an album called Belle of the Ball by Richard Torrance and Eureka. What’s he got to do with it? Well, it turns out he does a perfect cover of the Buckingham Nicks track “Don’t Let Me Down Again” a song with a rhythm that reminds me of “Motherless Children.” So we did a little hand mixing to get things started. But after those three songs I couldn’t think of any others with the same rhythm. But did I let that bring me down? No. Did I let it break me down? Of course not. I just seized on the word ‘down’ from “Don’t Let Me Down Again” and made the rest of the set into a theme-time-radio-half-hour-head-trip featuring Graham Parker, Neil Young, Steve Earle, Steve Stills, the Beatles, and the Boss. So sit yourself down on the corner, or get on down the road and get the wax out of your hearing holes. Here’s old Slowhand.
|Eric Clapton||Motherless Children|
|Buckingham Nicks||Don’t Let Me Down Again (part 1)|
|Richard Torrance||Don’t Let Me Down Again (part 2)|
|Graham Parker||Don’t Let It Break You Down|
|Neil Young||Don’t Let It Bring You Down|
|Steve Earle||Down the Road|
|Stephen Stills||Sit Yourself Down|
|The Beatles||Don’t Let Me Down|
|Bruce Springsteen||I’m Goin’ Down|
Well that was a serious downer, man. “Don’t Let Me Down” “Don’t Let Me Down Again” “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” “Don’t Let It Break You Down” “Down The Road” “Sit Yourself Down” “I’m Going Down” and one song about how nobody treats you like a mother will when your mother is dead, lord, that is a downer. I just hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. We opened that set with Clapton’s take on the traditional “Motherless Children” from 461 Ocean Boulevard. The churning rhythm of the song is provided by drummer Jim Fox who was one of the founders of the James Gang. And it reminded me of the rhythm of the Lindsey Buckingham track, “Don’t Let Me Down Again” that was on that great Buckingham Nicks album that came out in 1973 and mysteriously tanked. A year later, Richard Torrance and Eureka covered the song so faithfully on their album Belle of the Ball that we just mixed from one to the other about halfway through without missing a beat.
After that, it was all downhill. We heard “Don’t Let It Break You Down,” from Graham Parker’s album The Mona Lisa’s Sister. Followed by Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down.” Steve Earle was in there with “Down the Road” from his debut album, Guitar Town, an album that not only made the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time but also made CMT’s list of the 40 Greatest Albums in Country Music. “Sit Yourself Down” was Stephen Stills with Mama Cass, John Sebastian, David Crosby and Graham Nash on backup vocals. “Don’t Let Me Down” was the B-side of the single release of “Get Back” and was credited to The Beatles with Billy Preston. And speaking of singles, “I’m Goin’ Down” was the sixth of a record seven top ten singles from Springsteen’s Born in the USA. And now the clock’s run down and 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, right here in the Deep Tracks.