I’ll be right up front and tell you this one doesn’t make any more sense than a necktie that’s fallen asleep or a carpet that needs a haircut. But it works like a man in baggy pants with a lonely face and a crazy grin. It started one day when I picked up a compilation album called Teen Beat, featuring instrumental rock singles recorded between ‘57 and ‘65, the heyday of such stuff. Had B. Bumble and the Stingers on it, The Piltdown Men, and the Phil Upchurch Combo, among others. But today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl was triggered by Track 3 on Side 1. Guy named Sandy Nelson played drums for The Teddy Bears, Phil Spector’s band that had a hit with “To know him is to love him.” Sandy later recorded several albums on his own and had a minor hit with a track called “Let There Be Drums” which is the song that got me started on today’s set.
Not long after getting the record, I heard the end of side 2 of Abbey Road, you know that big drum part leading into “The end” [INSERT DRUM PART] and I could just imagine Ringo and Sandy tangling in a wild and wooly drum segue that’s worth waiting for. But that wasn’t enough. I still needed fifteen minutes. So I backtracked from “Golden Slumbers,” and that turned the first half of the set into a parade of desperate men wading deep into retro-introspection and alcohol, urgently reaching out to tell their tales of love, hope, and disillusionment. What was it Leonard Cohen said to Janis Joplin? ‘You said you liked handsome men, but for me you’d make an exception.’ Something like that. And who can forget Don McClean’s line: ‘You know I’ve heard about people like me, but I never made the connection.’ It doesn’t matter if you’re lying in a burned out basement with the full moon in your eyes or if the telephone’s out of cigarettes. Listen to the words in the first half of this set and the segues in the second. And remember, some people are in a hurry to leave, but Tom Waits.
|Tom Waits||The Piano Has Been Drinking|
|Bruce Springsteen||Wild Billy’s Circus Story|
|Leonard Cohen||Chelsea Hotel No. 2|
|Neil Young||After the Goldrush|
|Beatles||Carry the Weight|
|Sandy Nelson||Let There Be Drums|
That’s the lazy man’s version of hand mixing. I just used the existing segues from the medley on the second side of Abbey Road – it’s really just a collection of songs and snippets of songs that George Martin and Paul McCartney put together from various recording sessions. We heard “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End” which contains the only drum solo Ringo ever recorded for the Beatles. And that’s what led me to insert Sandy Nelson’s 1961 hit, “Let There Be Drums.” I stumbled on that track a few months ago at a used record store and decided to put it in that set. Probably hadn’t heard the song in 35 years. Then a week or two later I happened to tune into Tom Petty’s Buried Treasure show and he was playing that song. What’re the odds of that?
The first half of that set was a regular singer-songwriter convention. Tom Waits got us started with “The Piano Has Been Drinking” from his album, Small Change, followed by Springsteen doing “Wild Billy’s Circus Story” about the fat lady, big mama, Missy Bimbo, yawning while the man-beast sniffs his popcorn. After that we checked in to Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel #2”a song said to chronicle his relationship with Janis Joplin. That’s from his album New Skin for the Old Ceremony. After that the guy who can kill you softly with his song, Don McClean with a track called “Crossroads.” As the last piano note decays at the end of the song, we dreamed we saw the nights in armor coming, saying something about the queen. Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush,” a name he borrowed from the title of a screenplay written by his friend, the actor, Dean Stockwell. There were children crying and colors flying all around the Way Back Studios and that’s a sign that we’re out of time. Thanks for listening. I’m Bill Fitzhugh. back sooner or later with a fresh batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl and I hope you can join us, right here in the Deep Tracks.