For the sake of discussion let’s say this is your first trip to the Way Back Studios. You might be wondering what’s all this Hand Mixed Vinyl they’re talking about? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s about having fun with the music. Now, we don’t do it the same way every time mind you, where’s the fun in that? We like to mix it up. One day we might do a batch that’s thematic, say, songs about people. The next day we might focus on a sub-category of rock, country-rock, folk-rock, jazz-rock, you never know. And other days, we’re all about segues and mash-ups, plunderphonics and other sonic surprises. And today is one of those. As we like to say, it’s not just what we play, it’s how we play it. This time we’ve got seven songs and one comedy bit played in fourteen parts for your listening enjoyment. Here’s what happened…
It was after midnight. I was in some legal trouble and I found myself thrashing around in bed, on the threshold of a dream, but not quite able to get there, like I needed a better travel agent or something. Flying seemed like the best way out of the problem. But she’d put up the bail and I couldn’t do that to her, so I got to thinking, which, after all, is the best way to travel – at least that’s what Mike Pinder kept telling me. He said, call your attorney, tell him your plans. I said, I don’t want to go back to the city. It gets so hot there. He understood and he said, knock on my door and even the score. Yeah, okay, lovely to see you too again my friend, but what the hell is that supposed to mean? He said, walk along with me till the next bend and I thought, what do I have to lose? So off we went. Next thing I knew he had a peephole into my brain and he could see me as I really was. Then he started talking about Andy Warhol, but he pronounced the name hul instead of whole, or vice versa, and he said, thinking is the best way to travel. And I got the strangest sense of deja vu, but without the whole Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young thing. Well, you can probably figure where the story goes from here, right out to the Way Back Studios for a trippy little batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl.
|Moody Blues||Best Way to Travel (part 1)|
|Radio Free Comedy (simultaneous with next track)||Shaftem, Dickem, Hosem, and Marx|
|The Steve Miller Band (simultaneous with Radio Free Comedy)||(SFX intro to:) Children of the Future|
|The Steve Miller Band||Children of the Future|
|Moody Blues||Best Way to Travel (part 2)|
|Moody Blues||Best Way to Travel (part 3)|
|Mark-Almond||The City (part 1)|
|Moody Blues||In the Beginning|
|[At one point, Mark-Almond, Moody Blues, and Bowie are playing simultaneously]|
|David Bowie||(Intro to:) Andy Warhol|
|David Bowie||Andy Warhol|
|Moody Blues||Lovely To See You|
|Mark-Almond||The City (part 2)|
|Mark-Almond||Return to The City|
That’s Jon Mark and the late Johnny Almond, collectively known as Mark-Almond. They never had any big hits but they got some FM airplay with their tracks “What Am I Living For” and “The City” which came out on their debut album in 1971. In 1976 they released To the Heart which featured “Return to the City” which we just used to wrap up that set.
Now, at some point in the production of that breathless exercise in plunder-phonics, it dawned on me that if you don’t know the precise details of song sequencing for In Search of the Lost Chord and On the Threshold of a Dream as well as those of David Bowie’s Hunky Dory, you may actually have a life. Downside is you probably missed some of the nuance in that set. We just did seven songs in fourteen parts, one of which was the Moody Blues’ “Best Way to Travel,” a song we broke into three parts. Between parts two and three we inserted the only true instrumental the Beatles ever did, a song called “Flying.”
Between parts one and two, we inserted Steve Miller’s “Children of the Future.” And not only that, but during the cacophony that is the minute-long intro to “Children of the Future,” we mixed in a spot for the law firm Shaftem, Dickem, Hosem, and Marx. That’s from Radio Free Comedy, a show I wrote and produced with some pals in Seattle in 1983. In the middle of the set, we were playing three albums simultaneously; that’s right, at the same time: We had The Moody Blues “In the Beginning” and David Bowie’s preamble to “Andy Warhol” playing over the first part of Mark Almond’s “The City.” And just as it could have gone either way, we opted for “Andy Warhol” before coming back to say “Lovely To See You.”
If that doesn’t make any sense to you, then you understand what I meant when I said you might have missed some of the nuance in that set. But like Van said, it’s too late to stop now. Although we have to because we’re all out of time. I’m Bill Fitzhugh, thanks for listening. I’ll be back with another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl sooner or later, right here in the Deep Tracks.