In 1785, Robert Burns wrote a poem called “To A Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest, with the Plough.” This, after having done just that, because, after all, even in 18th Century Scotland it was impossible to make a living as a poet, which explains why he was also a farmer. And, having destroyed the mouse’s nest, he wrote the poem with that famous line about how the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Well, the same is true for the best laid plans of deejays. See I was listening to Steely Dan’s Katy Lied one night and there was something about the guitar part of “Bad Sneakers” that brought to mind the smooth Philly-Soul sound of the Stylistics. More specifically, their 1971 hit “You Are Everything,” a song that’s very of it’s time, complete with electric sitar. So I thought, why not do a set that revolves around the sitar? You know, some late Sixties Beatles, a little Traffic, some Ravi Shankar, stuff like that.
But even as I stomped down the avenue by Radio City, with my transistor and a large sum of money to spend I just couldn’t find enough sitar solos. So much for the best laid plans. But then it hit me, breaking like the waves at Malibu. This batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl wasn’t about the sitar. It was about jazzy pop. So I found Leon Russell singing about how you like to listen to Miles Davis and Stan Kenton and all that jazz. And he might as well have been talking about Joni Mitchell when he said she should stop running around with the saxophone man. Probably talking about Tom Scott. And then Van Morrison mentioned something about the massage parlor with the classical music station playing in the background soft and low. Made me wish it was a jazz station, but you can’t stop now and change that, so we just gathered the Pointer Sisters, Maria Muldaur, and some Traffic to round things out, but I kept coming back to that Stylistics song. I couldn’t make the whole thing work, but I thought, as long as we’re in the Way Back Studios, it might be fun to do this.
|Stylistics||You Are Everything (excerpt)|
|Steely Dan||Bad Sneakers|
|Joni Mitchell||Trouble Child|
|Van Morrison||Snow in San Anselmo|
|Traffic||Giving It to You|
|Leon Russell||Stop All That Jazz|
|Pointer Sisters||Save the Bones for Henry Jones|
|Maria Muldaur||We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye (excerpt)|
From her 1976 release, Sweet Harmony, that’s Maria Muldaur with the second half of “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye.” The song starts as a ballad, which didn’t fit where we were using it. But halfway through the song, there’s a pause, followed by that jazzy little romp at the end. Before that, we were “Saving The Bones for Henry Jones” from back in the day when they recorded for the Blue Thumb label, that’s The Pointer Sisters, Anita, Ruth, Bonnie, and the late June Pointer, somewhere between The Manhattan Transfer and The Andrews Sisters with soul. That’s from their 1975 album, Steppin’. Before that, Leon Russell singing about how he likes the jazz and all, but tends to get the blues when he gets home. We heard the title track from his album, Stop All That Jazz.
The snazzy instrumental before that was Traffic doing “Giving to You.” They released two versions of that song, one on the album Mr. Fantasy and the other as the B-side to the single “Paper Sun.” The single version opens with a verse sung by Steve Winwood where the album version opens and closes with that jive talkin’ hipster going on about how the song’s not where it’s at, man, and wasn’t making it because it’s, like, jazz. Cheech and Chong provided some jive talkin’ of their own on Joni Mitchell’s “Twisted.” And we slipped Van Morrison’s “Snow in San Anselmo” between that and Joni’s “Trouble Child.” And at the top of the set we had “Bad Sneakers” and a pina colada my friend, Steely Dan from Katy Lied and a guitar part that sounds like it escaped from a Stylistics recording session. You Are Everything and everything is possible in the Way Back Studios. I’m Bill Fitzhugh and my time’s up but I’ll be back sooner or later with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you’ll join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.