I always thought it was Shakespeare who said, “Oh! what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive.” But it turns out that was Sir Walter Scott. Well, there’s no practice to deceive in today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl but there is a tangled web that weaves in and out between the sacred and the profane, the latter of which is supplied by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, down the basement with their needle and their spoon and a bunch of “Dead Flowers.” But back to that tangled web. This set starts off with a mix of Little Feat singin’ about their semi-smokin’ mama in between two songs by Dave Mason. Any connection there? Well Bonnie Bramlett sang back up vocals on Dave Mason’s Alone Together and on Little Feat’s Dixie Chicken. She’s also one of the vocalists on the Earl Scruggs Review album, more about which later. Now, Bonnie Bramlett’s daughter, Bekka, was with Fleetwood Mac at the same time Dave Mason was with the group. And of course Bonnie was half of the famous and influential Delaney and Bonnie whose first album, Accept No Substitute was a favorite of Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, among many others, including Jimi Hendrix.
Delaney Bramlett once told the story of a press conference where a reporter asked him what he called his music. Delaney said he didn’t know. Was it rock or gospel or what? Again, he said he didn’t know. As it turns out, Jimi Hendix was taking part in this press conference. Jimi quietly stepped to the microphone and said, “I’ll tell you what you call it. Call it spiritual and leave it at that.” And that’s how we get to the sacred part of this set. One of the highlights of Accept No Substitute is a great gospel ballad called “Ghetto,” which features Leon Russell on piano, who was also on Dave Mason’s Alone Together. And as long as we’re in the gospel mode, we’ll get to that Earl Scruggs Review, Anniversary Special album featuring Bonnie Bramlett on the rousing gospel track “Royal Majesty.” We’ll also hear from Jonathan Edwards and Jesse Winchester but first, from the Way Back Studios, it’s “Just a Song.”
|Just a Song
|Feats Don’t Fail Me Now
|When The Roll is Called Up Yonder
|Delany and Bonnie
|Earl Scruggs Review
Billy Joel and Earl Scruggs? How’s that for an unlikely combination? That’s “Royal Majesty” from a great album called The Earle Scruggs Review Anniversary Special from 1975. There’s not enough time to list all the artists on the album, but here are the people who played just on that song: In addition to Billy Joel’s piano, we had Earl, Gary, and Randy Scruggs on banjo, bass, and acoustic guitars, Roger McGuinn and Alvin Lee on electric guitars, and Charlie Daniels on electric slide guitar as well as vocals. The other vocalists are the great Tracy Nelson, The Pointer Sisters, Joan Baez, and Bonnie Bramlett, who I like to think of as the Kevin Bacon of rock and roll. I swear you can connect her to anybody in the business in six moves or less. And the reason for that was her partnership with Delaney Bramlett. Before “Royal Majesty,” we heard Delaney and Bonnie doing “Ghetto” from their album Accept No Substitute.
There were two other gospel tracks in that set: Jesse Winchester put us on the “Midnight Bus” and Jonathan Edwards delivered a stirring take on the traditional “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder.” Those come from two albums that are worth finding: Winchester’s Third Down and 110 To Go and Jonathan Edwards’s Have A Good Time For Me. At the top of the set, Dave Mason’s “Just a Song” from Alone Together, an album featuring Bonnie Bramlett on background vocals. That led us into “Feats Don’t Fail Me Now” from Little Feat, a group Bonnie sang backup for on the Dixie Chicken album. After that it was another one from Dave, song called “Silent Partner.” Then it was down to the basement with the Glimmer Twins, Mick and Keith, who once said that one of their favorite records from 1969 was Delaney and Bonnie’s Accept No Substitute. There’s more to say but no time to say it. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back next time with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.