Phil Lesh, Jack Bruce, and David Crosby have at least two things in common. First, and most obviously, they were all in seminal rock bands from the Sixties and Seventies. The other thing they have in common is that they’ve all had liver transplants. And that means they’re also lucky because most of the people waiting for organs, don’t get them in time. Why? Because there’s a shortage of human organs donated for transplant. And that’s why the medical biotech industry is busy trying to perfect what’s called xenografting which is any transplant done between two different species. Mostly they’re trying to create transgenic pigs, even though non-human primates might be better suited for the task. It’s pretty complicated and mostly revolves around solving the problem of hyperacute rejection. And how would I know all this? Well because I wrote a book called The Organ Grinders that deals, in its own bizarre way, with this particular area of science. One reviewer likened it to something that might have resulted from a collaboration between Carl Hiaasen and Michael Crichton. So right about now, you’re probably saying, okay, and what’s that got to do with anything other than blatant self-promotion? And that’s a fair question. Here’s the answer. The plot of The Organ Grinders revolves around the possibility of transgenic baboons and that gave me the idea for today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl.
Unfortunately like human organs, there’s a severe shortage of songs with ‘baboon’ in the title. But I didn’t let that stop me. Instead, I turned to the baboon’s fellow primates because it turns out there’s a ton of monkey tunes in the Deep Tracks, none of which are by Phil Lesh, Jack Bruce, or David Crosby. Instead, we’ll hear from Mother’s Finest, The Stones, The Traveling Wilbury’s, Smokey Robinson, Steely Dan, and Mink DeVille. But we’ll start with the biggest primate of them all. He’s got arms like legs. He’s got hands on his feet. Got a nose like a donut. And a tendency to over eat. From the Way Back Studios, he’s still a Gorilla.
|The Rolling Stones||Monkey Man|
|Willie DeVille||Keep Your Monkey Away From My Door|
|Mother’s Finest||Mickey’s Monkey (part 1)|
|Smokey Robinson||Mickey’s Monkey (part 2)|
|Steely Dan||Monkey in Your Soul|
|Travelling Wilburys||Tweeter and the Monkey Man|
|The Monkees||Monkee’s Theme Song|
What’s more fun than a barrel of monkeys? How that brachiating batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl wrapping up with the “Theme Song” for all 58 episodes of The Monkees television series. That was written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart whose songs were covered by a lot of artists, including Iggy Pop of all people. The Monkees weren’t exactly the Milli Vanilli of their day but they started off in the neighborhood inasmuch as they were a made-for-tv act and didn’t actually play the instruments they appeared to play on the show. The producers auditioned about 500 actors and musicians for the gig, among them, Steven Stills and Harry Nilsson. And, among the many studio musicians credited on that first Monkees album are Jim Gordon and Glen Campbell. Before the Monkees, we heard “Tweeter and the Monkey Man” from the Traveling Wilburys, Volume One.
In the middle of the set, following Steely Dan’s “Monkey In Your Soul,” we monkeyed around with “Mickey’s Monkey” taking the first part of the Holland-Dozier-Holland song as performed by Mother’s Finest and mixing that into the original version by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles from 1963. At the top, keeping with the primate theme, James Taylor’s “Gorilla,” followed by the Stones’s “Monkey Man” and a great tune from Mink DeVille, “Keep Your Monkey Away From My Door” from the album Where Angels Fear to Tread. By the way, if you joined us in the middle of the set and you’re wondering what all this monkey business was about, just go to Amazon dot com and search for The Organ Grinders. That’ll explain everything. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and we’re all out of time and monkeys. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl before you can say I’ll be a monkey’s uncle and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.