Have you ever considered the term “acoustic guitar”? Think about it. The term is what’s known as a retronym, that’s a word or term somebody had to coin after a technological development rendered the original term inadequate. Another good example of a retronym is “terrestrial radio.” Used to be just “radio.” But once we started delivering the content through satellites, we needed a new term. And that term is satellite radio, but you can call us Sirius-XM. In any event, the same was true for the guitar. Up until about 1930 if you said guitar, there was only one instrument you could be talking about. And it was acoustic. Then somebody came along and stuck a tungsten pickup on the thing and after that, you had to specify if the guitar you were talking about was electric or acoustic. And the reason I bring this up is that today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl is all about the acoustic guitar. Why? Because I love the way they sound. Always have. I don’t care if you pick it or strum it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a six string or a twelve, as long as it’s acoustic. You can sing along or play an instrumental. Either way is fine with me. And today’s set has some of both.
The set got its start back in 1975 when a guy named Brian Protheroe released an album called Pick Up. For me, the stand out track was one called “Enjoy It.” It’s propelled by a catchy upbeat acoustic guitar riff. A year later, Joni Mitchell released Hijira, an album featuring both Joni and Larry Carlton on acoustic guitars. The moment I heard “Coyote” I knew I had a segue. It ends the same way “Enjoy It” begins. But before we get there we’ll hear the acoustic guitars of Jose Feliciano, Richard Torrance, Dan Fogelberg playing with Joe Walsh, and Alex Chilton and Chris Bell of Big Star. But we’ll start with a song written and performed by a guy who used to write comedy for the Smothers Brothers. Here is Mason Williams.
|I’m Leavin’ (part 1)
|Richard Torrance and Eureka
|Part of the Plan
|Watch the Sunrise
|I’m Leavin’ (part 2)
That’s a guy named Brian Protheroe who put out a few albums on Chrysalis in the mid 1970s before switching to television where he’s had a successful acting career. We segued into Protheroe’s song “Enjoy It” coming out of Joni Mitchell’s “Coyote” where she had help on guitar from Larry Carlton. Before that we heard the second part of Jose Feliciano’s “I’m Leavin’” from his 1973 album Compartments. That was produced by the legendary Steve Cropper who made a name for himself starting out at Stax Records in Memphis which happens to be where the group Big Star was formed in 1971. Big Star was most famous for not becoming as famous as everybody thought they would. Their first two albums were hailed as masterpieces but owing to botched distribution and promotion by Stax Records, they never reached a national audience. The resulting frustration led to infighting and the clichéd demise of the band. But not before they produced a third record, featuring the guitar work of the aforementioned Steve Cropper.
In the middle of the set we heard Big Star’s “Watch The Sunrise” from their first album, #1 Record. Elsewhere in the set, we heard Joe Walsh producing and playing on Dan Fogelberg’s “Part of the Plan.” Before that we heard Richard Torrance and Eureka doing “The Jam.” Leading into that, was the first part of Jose Feliciano’s “I’m Leavin’.” And we started the set with one of my favorite acoustic guitar songs of all time: Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas” a tune that picked up three Grammys in 1969. And now? We’re all out of time. By the way, if you’d like to see the set lists for the shows or what goes on behind the scenes, drop by the old website or the Facebook page and poke around, maybe send me a note. I’d love to hear from you. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and I’ll be back sooner or later with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl, right here in the Deep Tracks.