Midnight Rider Allman Brothers
CC Ryder Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
Hey Big Brother Rare Earth
Monkey Man Rolling Stones
Blue The Jayhawks
I’m Movin’ Frijid Pink
What a Way to Go BB King
Shanty Jonathan Edwards
If It Is Love Hollerado
Because the Night Patti Smith Group
Out in the Woods Leon Russell
96 Tears Question Mark and the Mysterions
Rocket Reducer no 62 MC5
Those Were the Days Cream
Goin’ Up the Country Canned Heat
My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.
Artimus Pyle Band, Makes More Rock
Rush, Here Again
David Bowie, The Width Of A Circle
Max Webster, Oh War!
Jimi Hendrix, Machine Gun (live, from Band of Gypsys)
Chris Whitley, Narcotic Prayer
Argent, Dance In The Smoke
Teenage Head, Somethin’ Else
Eagles, Teenage Jail
Van Halen, Beautiful Girls
The Rolling Stones, So Young
Martha and The Muffins/M + M, Several Styles Of Blonde Girls Dancing
Alvin Lee, Rock & Roll Girls
J.J. Cale, City Girls
The Who, Cry If You Want
Wishbone Ash, Errors Of My Way
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, F*!#in’ Up
Deep Purple, This Time Around/Owed to ‘G’
Faces, I’d Rather Go Blind (live)
The Moody Blues, Veteran Cosmic Rocker
Rory Gallagher, A Million Miles Away
My track-by-track tales:
Artimus Pyle Band, Makes More Rock . . . A leftover, of sorts, from my recent tribute show to the late Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington. I pulled some Rossington Collins Band stuff for that tribute from a fine compilation album, Lynyrd Skynyrd Solo Flytes, I bought eons ago. It’s heavy on the Rossington Collins Band – which was the most prolific of the splinter groups that formed a few years after the 1977 plane crash that claimed several members of Skynyrd – but has some other stuff including this rocker by Skynyrd drummer Pyle’s subsequent band.
Rush, Here Again . . . Bluesy rock cut from Rush’s self-titled debut album in 1974. Heavily influenced by such bands as Led Zeppelin and Cream, the first album became something of an outlier in Rush’s discography once Neil Peart replaced John Rutsey on drums and became the prime lyricist for the second album, Fly By Night, as the band adopted a more progressive hard rock persona.
David Bowie, The Width Of A Circle . . . I’ve played this before, long ago now, but it came up in an article I was reading about Bowie deep cuts and I thought, I’ve been all over that, so here it is, again. From the 1970 album The Man Who Sold The World. A memorable extended piece merging blues rock/hard rock almost metal, and progressive rock.
54-40, She-La . . . From 1992’s Dear Dear album, probably the record that got me into 54-40, as much as I’m into them which really isn’t all that much although I saw them live in 2004 with a then-girlfriend who wanted to see them. Excellent show. 54-40’s She-La, not to be confused with the different but equally fine Aerosmith song Shela from the Done With Mirrors album, made No. 38 on the Canadian singles charts.
Max Webster, Oh War! . . . From Max’s 1977 album High Class In Borrowed Shoes. It was not released as a single but is a well-known song, at least in Canada. Nice borrowed shoes on the band members, too, on the album’s cover photo. Definitely 1970s fashion and not knocking it; I grew up then.
Jimi Hendrix, Machine Gun (live, from Band of Gypsys) . . . The rat-a-tat guitar attack protest song against the Vietnam War and conflict in general, recorded as 1969 passed into 1970 at the Hendrix shows at the Fillmore East, New York City.
Chris Whitley, Narcotic Prayer . . . Whitley went somewhat grunge (the big thing at the time via bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden etc) on his second album, 1995’s Din Of Ecstasy, an appropriate title given it’s a noisy departure from the brilliance of his roots rock, bluesy debut Living With The Law. But, while one wonders why an artist of Whitley’s calibre would feel a need to follow trends, I like it. Whitley was an amazing artist – deep, sometimes dark, a bare his soul human being sadly lost to us to lung cancer in 2005 at age 45.
Argent, Dance In The Smoke . . . The progressive rock band Argent, led by former Zombie Rod Argent, is best known for the hit Hold Your Head up and for God Gave Rock and Roll To You (covered by Kiss), but is so much more, evidenced by this cut and many others. Worth checking out, if you haven’t.
Teenage Head, Somethin’ Else . . . The Canadian punk/new wave rockers with their treatment of the Eddie Cochran hit. It appeared on the great Frantic City album, 1980.
Eagles, Teenage Jail . . . I’ve always liked this brooding track from The Long Run, an album that always seems to get short shrift from critics and even the band, which was fraying at that point, but to me it’s every bit as good as its predecessor, Hotel California.
Van Halen, Beautiful Girls . . . I don’t deliberately play singles, as this is (supposed to be) a deep cuts show, although I’ve been known to dredge up the occasional single not heard in ages. So this maybe fits although poor research on my part, I simply forgot it was a single. It was the second single from Van Halen II, didn’t chart anywhere but the US where it made No. 84, so, deep cut it is, in my book. Even better was its B-side, D.O.A., one of my favorite Van Halen songs, but I’ve played that one likely too much.
The Rolling Stones, So Young . . . A rocker recorded during the Some Girls album sessions, it first appeared – outside of bootlegs – as the B-side, in various countries including Canada as I have it on the CD single, of Love Is Strong from the Voodoo Lounge album in 1994. It has since resurfaced on the expanded re-release of Some Girls.
Martha and The Muffins/M + M, Several Styles Of Blonde Girls Dancing . . . Second of a few songs with ‘Girls’ in the title, the result of me calling up Van Halen’s Beautiful Girls in the station’s computer system. These things happen, and often good things result, especially when you get what I think are fun, jarring changes in the show flow from rock to new wave, via this cut from The Muffins. For a few years in the mid-1980s the band changed its name to M + M after some lineup changes fostered by disputes and subsequent departures. M + M never really ‘took’ though, as lead singer Martha Johnson acknowledged. “Our legacy was Martha and The Muffins.” Best known for their 1980 hit Echo Beach, the Muffins are still around, having released a studio album as recently as 2010. There were apparently plans for a new album in 2022 but I’ve not seen nor heard of it, not that I care that much about the band anymore. But I was into them during the Echo Beach period and up to Danseparc, the 1983 album from which I pulled Several Styles Of Blonde Girls Dancing.
Alvin Lee, Rock & Roll Girls . . . A rockabilly tune from the late Ten Years After leader’s 2004 solo album, In Tennessee. It’s not only a good album – I’m a big fan of TYA and Lee’s solo work – but it’s notable for the presence of Elvis Presley’s noted guitarist Scotty Moore in Lee’s band.
J.J. Cale, City Girls . . . From the forever dependable late great Cale’s 1982 album Grasshopper. Dependable in the sense that, like AC/DC in my opinion, you know just what you’re getting with J.J. Cale but his genius was his ability to do seemingly the same thing every song and album, yet be different enough each time out as to always be compelling and worth a listen.
The Who, Cry If You Want . . . A leftover from my recent good songs on bad albums show. I played Eminence Front from It’s Hard, and that’s clearly the best song on that 1982 record but Cry If You Want, to me, is second with little other competition. Nice drumming by Kenney Jones.
Wishbone Ash, Errors Of My Way . . . An old friend of mine with whom I’ve reconnected via the show told me some back that I’ve turned him on to the hard progressive rock of Wishbone Ash. I love that about music. This one’s from their self-titled debut in 1970.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, F*!#in’ Up . . . Good rocker from the appropriately titled Ragged Glory album, released in 1990. Canadian stalwarts Junkhouse later covered it, live only, and put a version of it on a compilation album.
Deep Purple, This Time Around/Owed to ‘G’ . . . Funky stuff from Come Taste The Band, the one and only album the band did with guitarist Tommy Bolin, who replaced the departed-to-form Rainbow Ritchie Blackmore. This is the type of song, co-written and sung by bass player Glenn Hughes before the instrumental coda by keyboardist Jon Lord, that critics – and even some band members – cite when they deride the record as not really being a Deep Purple album. I’m tired of that what I consider nonsense. I’m a huge Purple fan and have loved the album since it came out in 1975. It’s as nonsensical – and lazy – as saying the Stones’ Some Girls is a disco album because the biggest hit was Miss You, a total outlier on that album but a wisely chosen single to cash in on a genre that was hot at the time, 1978. Come Taste The Band has lots of rockers and bluesy rockers like the opening cut Comin’ Home, Lady Luck, Drifter, Gettin’ Tighter . . . Were I in the band I’d be proud to have it as a Deep Purple album because it reflects the group’s myriad abilities in terms of styles. So why am I playing this funky track? Well, for stated reasons plus I considered it as a song for my recent ‘good songs on bad albums’ show but I decided it’s only a ‘bad’ album to the aforementioned nonsensical and lazy critics. So I went with a truly shitty Purple album, the Joe Lynn Turner (yecchh)-sung Slaves and Masters, from 1990, with only King Of Dreams, the song I played, worth listening to.
Faces, I’d Rather Go Blind (live) . . . I’ve been digging out albums in my collection I haven’t played in ages over the last week or so and it’s been a fun trip, and much of what I revisit will likely be making its way into future shows. This one’s the live version of the song made famous by Etta James, which Rod Stewart covered (to her thumb’s up) on his 1972 album Never A Dull Moment. It was released during the 1969-74 period of superb Stewart stuff when he was maintaining parallel careers of solo work while still in Faces, most members of whom backed him on his solo albums. This live version is from Rod Stewart/Faces Live: Coast To Coast Overture and Beginners, released in 1973. The live cut is a shade over two minutes longer, at 6:04, than the studio version which allows guitarist Ronnie Wood room for a terrific extended solo. And, as with all Stewart/Faces stuff at the time, the liner notes on the album are worth the price of admission. To wit, in naming the personnel:
* Rod (he’s in hospital ‘cos he fell off his wallet) Stewart – throat
* Ian (he’s got so many teeth, when he smiles it looks like his tongue’s playing the piano) McLagan – keyboards, what throat?
* Ron (I’m not saying he’s dull, but his favorite color is light grey) Wood – guitar, some throat!
* Kenney (I’m not saying he’s unlucky, but when he was young he had a wooden horse that died) Jones – drums.
* Tetsu (I’m not saying he’s thin, but he wants his job back as a dipstick) Yamauchi – bass and trombone.“Let nothing be said against: Pimm’s No. 1, with lemonade and assorted fruit; Courvoisier, Teacher’s, Coors, and vino, as these implements are the mainstay of our melodic frolics.”
Ah, Faces, sex, drugs, booze and shambolic down and dirty rock and roll.
The Moody Blues, Veteran Cosmic Rocker . . . From Long Distance Voyager, a big hit comeback of sorts album from the Moodies in 1981. I was visiting my parents in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time, my dad had just taken a job there and I recall how the Moodies, Kim Carnes with Bette Davis Eyes and Blue Oyster Cult with Burnin’ For You were dominating radio airplay at the time. So I always think of San Francisco when I play or hear any of those songs.
Rory Gallagher, A Million Miles Away . . . For a buddy of mine who has yet to get off his butt and buy, at minimum, a Rory compilation, at my recommendation which he asked for but has not acted upon. You try to help people . . .
In this episode of my radio take-over podcast I just got a whole bunch of cool new modules: Pittsburgh Modular Giraffe, Intellijel Quad VCA, Expert Sleepers Disting MK1, Erica Synths Pico LFO/S&H, ADDAC Dual Filter and 4MS Row Power (not racked yet) I chat about these and try to quantize a random sample & hold in the background while talking about “The Modular Journey” that many people speak about.
The featured solo artist is Steve Castellano aka ElettronicaSperimentale. Check out his bandcamp page and support his music here: https://elettronicasperimentale.bandcamp.com/
Check out his Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/@SteveCastellano
This episode was broadcast on CKMS 102.7FM Radio Waterloo: Original Air Date: Feb 25th 2023 https://www.youtube.com/@CKMS1027FMRadioWaterloo
WCSWR supports women and children who are experiencing domestic violence. Not just physical violence, but also emotional, financial, psychological, coercive control. Support is through emergency shelter, outreach services, transitional housing, and other support services. There are 45 beds in each location, Haven House in Cambridge and Anselma House in Kitchener. Both are at capacity. The units are hotel-style, with adjoining rooms available for women with children. With the housing crisis, stays can be from eight to twelve months. The long stays prompted the start of the transitional housing program, at Aspen Place, which is three units to house up to twelve people. And housing placement workers will help women get permanent housing. The need for services has increased 92% over the last two years, and that’s related to the additional stresses from Covid.
Women don’t need to stay at the shelters to access the WCSWR services. Help is available through the two support phone numbers, and online at https://wcswr.org/ The online chat was implemented at the start of Covid, and is staffed by a social worker. The web site has a safety exit that deletes all the history from the WCSWR web site.
WCSWR started the She Is Your Neighbour podcast to talk about the fact that domestic violence is happening to people in all different neighbourhoods, doesn’t matter what their background. They wanted to bring a face and a voice to the issue – the women experiencing abuse are not like they’re portrayed in mainstream media, these are strong women. WCSWR hired a professional photographer, Hilary Gauld to take pictures of the podcast participants. The podcast is aimed both at the general public, but also at women experiencing domestic violence, knowing they’re not alone in this experience. This is Season Four, Understanding Femicide. It’s six episodes discussing what happens when domestic violence becomes lethal.
Discussing the serverity of femicide: In 2022 there were 52 femicides in 52 weeks. The word “Femicide” is hardly ever heard in mainstream media. The issue of femicide appears to be getting worse, and more so due to the pandemic. Women need to know they can reach out for support. It’s difficult to know who is experienci domestic violence because women don’t always report it, or reaches out for help. There is a lot of shame and stigma surrounding domestic violence. Women may be afraid to call the police or come out to an emergency shelter. But all kinds of people come to the shelter, all different backgrounds, wealthy people, older women. There is domestic violence in same-sex relationships, but violence against women is disproportionally by men.
There are a lot of male allies and supporters, some of whom are on the podcast. Men can help by being supportive, providing information on the WCSWR support lines, but not necessarily asking women to leave their relationship right away.
What does it take to produce a podcast? It’s a long process, especially when it comes to safety concerns. It starts about six months in advance when they reach out to their guests. Lillie and Jenna write questions, pre-interview guests, have the photographer take pictures. The first seasons were ten episodes, but now reduced to six episodes to make it more manageable. There is a mix of ways they find their guests. Big names have appeared on the podcast, such as Anna Maria Tremonti. Bob had not imagined that someone as high-profile as Anna Maria Tremonti would be a victim of domestic violence. Lillie and Jenna reached out to her agent, and also through Twitter. Some people they reach out to don’t want to be on the podcast, other people have approached them. Ensuring the safety of their guests is a primary concern.
Before Covid the interviews were done in person, now they’re done remotely. That has given Lillie a bit more prominence. They’re using Riverside FM as their remote recording sofware, and ensure the guests have a good microphone and setup. Bob geeks out over the technical specs of the software. The podcast is minimally edited to keep the guests as authentic as possible. The podcast started very small in a room at WCSWR and has turned into a bigger and better thing than expected. Bob says the podcast is very well done.
Plans for the future? the next four episodes are airing weekly through the social media channels and the website. They’re trying to make She Is Your Neighbour as big as it can possibly be. Then they’ll start choosing next season’s theme and the guests. And they’re making She Is Your Neighbour into more than a podcast. There is a group called Neighbours And Loved Ones, standard training for community members who are worried about someone or who want to know about the services WCSWR provides. That’s run by a social worker on request. There is also a She Is Your Neighbour podcast club, like a book club but better because you don’t have to read anything. There’s a merch line to try to keep the project sustainable. There are several sponsors, some for individual episodes, and Rogers has sponsored the entire last two seasons. Sponsors come from contacts at the various events WCSWR runs throughout the year. It’s difficult to put a cost on the podcast, it’s rolled into all the other work Lillie and Jenna do.
Future episodes feature experts and survivors. Episode three will have Dr. Myrna Dawson, and episode four has local guest Sarah Robertson. Other guests are Sofia Aresta and Marlene Ham.
WCSWR coordinates with other shelters out of the region when there aren’t enough spaces locally. WCSWR is one of the biggest crisis services organizations in Ontario. It used to be two separate organizations, Anselma House and Haven House, and people still remember it that way. WCSWR is biggest for a variety of reasons, not necessarily that things are worse here. Any women and their children who are experiencing any form of domestic abuse can make use of the support services. Lillie and Jenna repeat the contact information for support.
Talking about how WCSWR is funded: 60% of the funding is from the Ontario ministry of Children and Community Services, the rest is from fundraising. Some programs, like music therapy are completely funded by donors. There are two signature events, the next is Hats Off To Mom, the annual Mother’s Day brunch, the first time it’s being held in-person in three years. Angie Hill is hosting, Juneyt is providing music.
CKMS Community Connections Hour One airs on CKMS-FM 102.7 on Monday from 11:00am to Noon, and Hour Two airs alternate Fridays from 3:00pm to 4:00pm.
My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.
Ringo Starr, It Don’t Come Easy (live, from The Concert for Bangladesh)
Paul McCartney/Wings, Morse Moose And The Grey Goose
John Lennon, Gimme Some Truth
John Lennon, How Do You Sleep?
Paul McCartney/Wings, Let Me Roll It
George Harrison, Isn’t It A Pity
John Lennon, I Found Out
Paul McCartney, The Song We Were Singing
Ringo Starr, No No Song
Ringo Starr, Husbands and Wives
John Lennon, Crippled Inside
Paul McCartney/Wings, Beware My Love (live, from Wings Over America)
George Harrison, I’d Have You Anytime
Ringo Starr, Oh, My My
John Lennon, I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama
Paul McCartney, Ain’t No Sunshine (live, from Unplugged: The Official Bootleg)
George Harrison, Beware Of Darkness
Paul McCartney/Wings, Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)
Ringo Starr, I’m The Greatest
John Lennon, Out The Blue
George Harrison, It’s What You Value
Ringo Starr, Snookeroo
John Lennon, Steel And Glass
George Harrison, Blow Away
John Lennon, Meat City
Paul McCartney/Wings, Cafe On The Left Bank
George Harrison, Tired Of Midnight Blue
Paul McCartney/Wings, Go Now (live, from Wings Over America)
My track-by-track tales:
Ringo Starr, It Don’t Come Easy (live, from The Concert for Bangladesh) . . . Live version of one of Ringo’s biggest hits, the 1971 single he wrote with help from George Harrison, although only Ringo is credited.
Depending on what you hear or read, though, Harrison may have written the song outright – and there are versions of him singing it available online – and just gave it to Ringo out of the goodness of his heart, although in liner notes to a compilation I have, Ringo says he was proud of himself for the line “got to pay your dues if you want to play the blues’.
Anyway, all of the now former Beatles were helping each other out on their respective solo work in the immediate aftermath of the breakup and for a few years after – aside from the fact everyone was pissed at Paul McCartney so nobody helped him. Not, arguably, that McCartney really needed it, amazing talent that he remains although his solo work until Band On The Run was somewhat spotty. And, all four Beatles wound up together, sort of, albeit never in the same studio all at the same time, as they helped out on the ‘Ringo’ studio album released in 1973.
Meantime, back to It Don’t Come Easy. Harrison produced the studio single and plays guitar on it as well as the Bangladesh live version from Harrison’s all-star fundraiser, also in 1971 – a precursor to such later events as Live Aid and Live 8.Interesting reading about Ringo while I was putting this show together. I always aim for deep cuts and was encouraged by a friend about some but frankly, aside from a few songs including one from the Goodnight Vienna album I’m playing later in the set, I admit I’m not as familiar as I could be with Ringo’s stuff beyond the mid-1970s, and beyond the hits. Which may be a common issue except to extreme die-hards like my friend, a credit to him.
To quote from The Rough Guide series book (an excellent series about various bands/artists) on The Beatles, in their solo work section: “Most listeners have got the measure of Ringo’s talent by now. No matter how competently made his records are – and he manages to attract some considerable talent to come and help out – they are still Ringo records. And (key point here, my thought) other than a blip of commercial credibility in the early to mid-1970s, the public has voted with their feet and stayed away in their millions. Which is a shame in a way, because they’re (the albums) not bad, but it’s also understandable because they’re not that good, either.”
My sentiments, exactly. Most fans of bands/artists do try to travel with them, try hard to like their stuff but at certain points, you might abandon them.
Paul McCartney/Wings, Morse Moose And The Grey Goose . . . I played this ages ago, to great acclaim (at least from one friend). It’s McCartney unleashed, in a fun, great way, if you ask me, on this extended rocker from the London Town album, 1978. It’s the type of track people who criticize him for being soft, or not creative, for not taking chances, ought to listen to if they haven’t heard it. It’s not as if it’s unconventional by any measure, certainly not if you have any appreciation for McCartney’s deeper cuts. In some ways I’d equate it to Uncle Albert/
Admiral Halsey in terms of being multiple songs in one. Yet unlike that song, which appears on McCartney compilations hence is known to the masses, Morse Moose remains somewhat (unfairly) obscure. But, happily obscure in that it’s not overplayed, or played much at all.
John Lennon, Gimme Some Truth . . . Angry John, from the Imagine album.
John Lennon, How Do You Sleep? . . . Angrier John, from Imagine, his famous rip job on Paul McCartney. Brilliantly done, actually, and I could not choose between the two guys/have no favorite as far as the brilliant music they did together, and apart.
Paul McCartney/Wings, Let Me Roll It . . . Many thought this song, from the Band On The Run album, was McCartney’s response to Lennon but nobody will ever likely truly know except for McCartney himself, who has said it was simply about smoking pot. Besides, he had other songs previous to this – Too Many People for one – about Lennon, which probably prompted How Do You Sleep? As listeners/fans, we all benefited.
George Harrison, Isn’t It A Pity . . . Harrison’s great full-fledged debut album All Things Must Pass was his, largely, unleashing of songs, like this one, that The Beatles had apparently rejected but which he could finally put on a solo album, post-breakup. Originally written in 1966, the song has also come to be seen as a reflection on the band’s breakup. It was the B-side to Harrison’s smash single My Sweet Lord.
John Lennon, I Found Out . . . Down and dirty stuff and as always from Lennon lyrically potent, from his first proper solo album, 1970’s Plastic Ono Band. I didn’t realize this until looking up the song but the Red Hot Chili Peppers covered it. Decent, not as good, too drone-like/lazy sounding if you ask me.
Paul McCartney, The Song We Were Singing . . . Lead cut from McCartney’s 1997 album Flaming Pie which yielded the (to me) memorable single The World Tonight. The Song We Were Singing wasn’t among the three singles released from the album, but could easily have been. I’d suggest the lyrics could be about The Beatles, all those years later – it always came back to the songs they were singing, despite their various issues, until they could no longer overcome them.
Ringo Starr, No No Song . . . Hoyt Axton wrote so many great songs, many of which rock/pop artists turned into hits, like Steppewolf with one of my favorties of theirs, Snowblind Friend, and this one from Ringo.
Ringo Starr, Husbands and Wives . . . A Roger Miller tune, from Ringo’s Goodnight Vienna album. “The angry words spoke in haste, such a waste of two lives, it’s my belief pride is the chief cause in the decline in the number of husbands and wives.’
John Lennon, Crippled Inside . . . Another good one from the Imagine album but forever it’s been the title cut and nothing else on radio, which is why radio outside of (I’m biased) independent radio no longer really exists in a commercial sense, musically.
Paul McCartney/Wings, Beware My Love (live, from Wings Over America) . . . I wrestled over which version to play, the studio cut from Wings At The Speed Of Sound or this live one but settled on the more, let’s say aggressive, live version from Wings Over America, a terrific tour document.
George Harrison, I’d Have You Anytime . . . Beautiful song, co-written with Bob Dylan ad with Eric Clapton on lead guitar. It was the opening cut on All Things Must Pass. There’s extensive literature available on how the song came about, space does not permit but worth looking up.
Ringo Starr, Oh, My My . . . A No. 5 US pop hit for Ringo, released in 1973, charted in 1974. As mentioned earlier in my drawing from the Rough Guide to The Beatles book, Ringo (like, it comes to mind, Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones) always had many musician friends of great repute ready and willing to lend a helping hand on his albums/songs. On this one, we have Billy Preston on keyboards, longtime Beatles’ associate (especially on solo stuff) Klaus Voorman on bass, drummer Jim Keltner, horn player Jim, uh, really, Horn (also on many 70s Stones’ albums) along with backup singers Martha Reeves of The Vandellas and Merry Clayton, she of the immortal contribution to the Stones’ Gimme Shelter.
John Lennon, I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama . . . One of my favorites from Imagine. It’s suggested, in a book I have, that Lennon’s sentiments were not so well expressed on the song, terming it “a feverish, semi-coherent rant’. If so, maybe that’s why it’s good. Maybe someone not wanting to be a soldier sent off to die for the misguided policies of politicians and militarists, or not wanting to be a conformist in any way to what society seems to expect, might rant feverishly. Critics. Eye rolls.
Paul McCartney, Ain’t No Sunshine (live, from Unplugged: The Official Bootleg) . . . A great cover version from a great live album issued in 1993 when ‘unplugged’ albums were a ‘thing’, of the Bill Withers smash hit. Hamish Stuart of McCartney’s band handles lead vocals while Macca drums on the track. The album is a mixture of McCartney/Beatles/covers. Great stuff.
George Harrison, Beware Of Darkness . . . What a ridiculously good album All Things Must Pass is. Yet another example here.
Paul McCartney/Wings, Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me) . . . The genesis of the song results, apparently, from a meeting a vacationing McCartney had with actors Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen on the set of the movie Papillon. McCartney dined with Hoffman, who challenged him to write a song about ‘anything’ if presented with ‘anything’ to write about. What Hoffman presented was a magazine featuring the death of Picasso and his last words and, presto, “he’s doing it’ Hoffman raved to his wife about McCartney’s innate creativity.
Ringo Starr, I’m The Greatest . . . A John Lennon-penned tune, from the ‘Ringo’ album, 1973. See previous thoughts on solo Beatles helping out solo Beatles on their solo albums, post-breakup. So, why didn’t they just stay together, one might wonder. It’s fine, long ago reality, we got some great music out of it, regardless.
John Lennon, Out The Blue . . . From the Mind Games album, one of the many songs Lennon wrote in tribute to Yoko Ono, during a period when they were separated, which prompted some of Lennon’s best work and their eventual reconciliation.
George Harrison, It’s What You Value . . . From 33 1/3, released in 1976. It was the album’s fourth single, lyrically – “someone’s driving a 450 . . . ” a reference to Harrison paying drummer Jim Keltner with a Mercedes 450 SL, apparently at Keltner’s request, in lieu of money for Keltner’s playing on Harrison’s 1974 Dark Horse album tour.
Ringo Starr, Snookeroo . . . Another hit from Ringo’s Goodnight Vienna album, this one written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Like many Ringo songs/hits, almost as interesting as the song is who plays on it. In this case it’s: Robbie Robertson of The Band on guitar. Elton John, piano. James Newton Howard of Elton’s band and later to become a renowned movie score writer (Pretty Woman, Space Jam, The Fugitive, The Dark Knight, etc.) and award winner, on synthesizer. The aformentioned Klaus Voorman and Jim Keltner on bass and drums, respectively and Bobby Keys of Rolling Stones fame on horns.
John Lennon, Steel And Glass . . . Lennon, to read some books or magazine articles, dismissed 1974’s Walls and Bridges album as the work of an uninspired soul in the midst of a separation from the love of his life, during his infamous year-long ‘lost weekend’ of partying and other debauchery while apart from Yoko Ono. Maybe he said it for Yoko’s benefit. And maybe he should have stayed away because I think it’s a great album, as do many. But, pain is often great inspiration for creativity.
George Harrison, Blow Away . . . The hit single from Harrison’s self-titled 1979 album, marking something of a comeback for him at the time. It did better business in North American than on Harrison’s home turf the UK, though. It was No. 7 and 16 in Canada and the US, respectively, but only No. 51 in the UK. I remember when the album came out, liked the single, never bought the album, had the single on compilations only until fairly recently when I bought the album on CD for a buck or two at a flea market.
John Lennon, Meat City . . . Always liked this aggressive boogie funky noise from the Mind Games album. Lennon was often at his best when he just flat-out rocked.
Paul McCartney/Wings, Cafe On The Left Bank . . . From the London Town album, 1978. Good tune, always liked it, I suppose I’m playing it because I mentioned it recently when talking about the maybe weird ways in which songs I play come to mind. The example was me choosing Flash And The Pan’s Man In The Middle because I picked the middle of three wine bottles at the store, prompting me to speculate that I’d have played Cafe On The Left Bank had I picked the bottle on the left. I’ve been back to the liquor store at least once since, still haven’t picked a bottle on the left. And I’m left-handed. Right, that’s enough. Next!
George Harrison, Tired Of Midnight Blue . . . From 1975’s Extra Texture, easily one of the standout cuts on that album in my opinion. Leon Russell, who had been part of Harrison’s Concert For Bangladesh in 1971, contributes on piano.
Paul McCartney/Wings, Go Now (live, from Wings Over America) . . . A song made famous to pop/rock listeners via The Moody Blues version released in 1964 and sung by Denny Laine who reprised it with Wings on the tour that yielded the triple live album released in late 1976. The song was originally done, also in 1964, by R & B/soul singer Bessie Banks, and a great version that one is, too.
Albert’s Shuffle Al Kooper,Mike Bloomfield,Steven Stills
Let’s Spend The Night Together The Rolling Stones
Cinnamon Girl Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Motor City is Burning John Lee Hooker
Time The Alan Parsons Project
Mr. Skin Spirit
Ya Ya Lee Michaels
Behind Blue Eyes The Who
Around the Plynth Faces
That’s No Way to Get Along Robert Wilkins
At Last Neko Case
Waide Nayde JuJu
Medicated Goo Traffic
Time Has Come Today The Chambers Brothers
After broadcast on SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/user-163878073/sets/quinte-jazz DS Wilson Nightfall SKYLINE 2023 www.dswilsonmusic.com Freddie Fox Well Alright SINGLE 2023 www.freddiefox.com Gil Nothing (Leslie’s Song) BETTER DAYS forthcoming 2023 www.gilsings.co Leo P Black Cat COMING UP ACES 2022 www.yamaha.com/artists/leop.html Greenhouse Ensemble Toupet Carre REZ DE CHAUSSE 2023 www.greenhouse-ensemble.com Marcia Miget We Return SINGLE 2023 mee-j.com The Maple Blues Band Let’s Go LET’S GO 2023 www.maplebluesband.com The Braxton Brothers Let’s Have A Good Time 2023 SINGLE thebraxtonbrothers.com The Ostara Project Bye Bye Blackbird THE OSTARA PROJECT 2022 jodiproznick.com/the-ostara-project The Ostara Project Delta Sky THE OSTARA PROJECT 2022 jodiproznick.com/the-ostara-project Tina Hartt Absence Of You ABSENCE OF YOU tinahartt.com 2023 Boney James Detour DETOUR 2023 boneyjames.com Dave Koz Wrapped Up In Your Smile SiINGLE 2022 www.davekoz.com
In this episode of the AWH radio take over, I’ve got my Moog Mavis connected and a second NiftyCase connected with the NiftyEars and I’m still working on a new album live on the radio while talking Modular Gear and featuring solo artists. This episode’s artist is Brad Weber aka Coy Haste from many bands that I am a fan of. To hear more of his music go to the Coy Haste Bandcamp here: https://coyhaste.bandcamp.com/
My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.
Black Sabbath, E5150/Into The Void
Dio, Stand Up And Shout
Deep Purple, The Battle Rages On
Vanilla Fudge, Season Of The Witch
Flash and The Pan, Make Your Own Cross
Jethro Tull, With You There To Help Me
The Guess Who, Power In The Music
Ry Cooder, Get Rhythm
The Animals, I’m Crying
Bob Dylan, TV Talkin’ Song
Bruce Springsteen, 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Fooled Again (I Don’t Like It)
Emmylou Harris, Two More Bottles Of Wine
Joe Jackson, What’s The Use Of Getting Sober (When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again)
Elton John, Elderberry Wine
Warren Zevon, Detox Mansion
REO Speedwagon, Ridin’ The Storm Out (live)
Graham Parker and The Rumour, Watch The Moon Come Down
The Rolling Stones, Moonlight Mile
J.J. Cale, After Midnight
Led Zeppelin, Bring It On Home
Pink Floyd, A Saucerful Of Secrets (live, Ummagumma album version)
My track-by-track tales:
Black Sabbath, E5150/Into The Void . . . These songs, E5150 the instrumental intro to the title cut of the Mob Rules album, don’t actually go together but I figured I’d marry the Ronnie James Dio-era Black Sabbath track to the Ozzy Osbourne-era Into The Void. Lots of available reading ‘down the internet rabbit hole’ about what E5150 means (apparently, evil), how it and Sabbath connect to Van Halen, who opened for Sabbath in the late 1970s as Sabbath was then fading and Van Halen ascending, about Eddie Van Halen’s studio 5150 and the Van Hagar-era album 5150. But I’ll leave it at that, as space does not permit, and let you explore at your leisure, if so inclined.
Dio, Stand Up And Shout . . . I’ve always preferred the work of Ronnie James Dio singing for Black Sabbath or, before that, Rainbow, rather than as frontman for his own namesake band but he did do some compelling work as Dio. Like this rocker.
Deep Purple, The Battle Rages On . . . I thought of this one while doing my recent ‘good songs on bad albums’ show. It’s the title cut from the 1993 album, easily the best on a mediocre album, but not as bad as the preceding album Slaves and Masters with Joe Lynn Turner singing, from which I chose the only good song, King of Dreams, for the ‘bad albums’ set. The Battle Rages On is the last studio work with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore in the band and the forever battle between him and lead singer Ian Gillan was indeed raging on to the point that Blackmore finally up and quit in mid-tour promoting the album. He was replaced by Joe Satriani, who finished the tour and was invited to join Purple but declined in order to maintain his solo career although he’s subsequently opened for Purple and I saw him in a great performance in that slot in 2004 in Toronto. Purple eventually settled on guitarist Steve Morse, who was in the band for eight studio albums until giving it up last year to care for his ailing wife. He’s been replaced by Northern Irish guitarist Simon McBride, who is excellent, based on live clips I’ve seen of him with Purple.
Vanilla Fudge, Season Of The Witch . . . One of the many covers of the great Donovan tune, another (and one I’ve also played) being the lengthy version on the Super Session album featuring Al Kooper and Stephen Stills. Mike Bloomfield is also on that album but doesn’t play on Season Of The Witch, having left the sessions to be replaced by Stills.
Flash and The Pan, Make Your Own Cross . . . Flash and The Pan songs keep occurring to me during my daily running around. A week or so ago, it was Man In The Middle when I picked the middle bottle of wine in a group of three at the liquor store. This week, I drove by a church, hence this tune. I suppose I should play Media Man since I’m always reading/watching the news. We’ll see. Can never get enough Flash and The Pan.
Jethro Tull, With You There To Help Me . . . Another from the ‘my older brother (RIP) was a huge musical influence’ file. He introduced me to so much music, Tull, Hendrix, Zep, Blind Faith, Cream, Deep Purple . . . A great, valued thing and fond memory. This one’s from Tull’s third album, Benefit, which doesn’t seem to get talked about much as one of the band’s great albums, but it is. Arguably, they all are but I’m a huge Tull fan.
The Guess Who, Power In The Music . . . One of those vamp-style songs at which Burton Cummings is so good, in my view. It’s the title cut from the last album he did with The Guess Who, released in 1975, before he departed for a solo career. Nice guitar from the late Domenic Triano on his second outing with the band, after the previous Flavours album. Apparently, Cummings didn’t like the jazz rock direction Triano’s influence was taking the group, accounting in part for his moving on. If true, that reminds me of Ritchie Blackmore’s issues in Deep Purple when they started going a bit funky – and nicely done, to me, on some songs on albums like Stormbringer and later, full bore, without Blackmore, on Come Taste The Band – thanks to the influence of bass player/singer Glenn Hughes. Cummings and Blackmore were senior, longtime members and in Blackmore’s case, founders of their respective groups so given what should have been their ‘pull’, why they didn’t put their foot down and say, no, we’re not doing that, if it bugged them so much, I don’t get. Which tells me that, really, they wanted to move on, regardless. Power In The Music, the album, didn’t do well commercially, in home country Canada, even, more likely to me accounting for Cummings’ departure as he saw the writing on the wall.
Ry Cooder, Get Rhythm . . . Cooder’s title cut cover, to his 1987 album, of the Johnny Cash song. Cash’s version was originally released in 1956 as a Sun Records B-side of I Walk The Line then re-released, with some overdubbing, as an A-side that reached No. 60 on the pop charts in 1969. Session drummer to the stars Jim Keltner plays on the Cooder album.
The Animals, I’m Crying . . . Written by lead singer Eric Burdon and organist Alan Price, it was the band’s first original composition released as a single and was the followup to the smash hit The House Of The Rising Sun. It made No. 6 in Canada, No. 8 in the UK and No. 19 in the laggard USA. Not a criticism of the United States because songs do different business in different countries, often depends on release dates, record label decisions, etc. All of which reminds me of a chat I had with friends last week about such things. A friend of mine was talking about seeing Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band in concert and Colin Hay of Men At Work fame was in the group. That led to a discussion of Men At Work during which I mentioned that years ago, before Men At Work broke big in the US, they were already big in Canada and I remember mentioning them to one of my younger brothers, who was living in the US with my parents at the time. He’s musically aware, but hadn’t a clue about them . . . until about six months later.
Bob Dylan, TV Talkin’ Song . . . A leftover from my recent ‘good songs on bad albums’ show. It’s from Dylan’s 1990 album, Under The Red Sky, an album suggested to me although I wound up choosing a different Dylan album, the ‘Dylan’ album of covers from 1973 and Dylan’s take on Jerry Jeff Walker’s Mr. Bojangles. Under The Red Sky was a worthy pick as well, though. It followed but didn’t remotely measure up to the brilliant Oh Mercy album from 1989. But, this song is a fun up-tempo travelogue through media/celebrity culture.
Bruce Springsteen, 57 Channels (And Nothin’ On) . . . A sort of leftover from the same ‘good songs on bad albums’ show. It’s from Human Touch, one of two albums, the other being Lucky Town, that Springsteen released on the same day in 1992 as he followed what Guns N’ Roses did in 1991 with the two Use Your Illusion albums. Lucky Town was suggested to me as a ‘bad album’ candidate which resulted in a discussion of the two albums and my mentioning of this song. So, here it is. How times and things change. If Springsteen wrote it today, he’d maybe title it “Unlimited Channels (And Nothin’ On) or some such, a million channels/streams, whatever. In 1979, the Pink Floyd song on The Wall album, Nobody Home, contained the lyric “I got 13 channels of shit on the TV to choose from”. Time flies.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Fooled Again (I Don’t Like It) . . . Yes, I love The Rolling Stones so I perhaps too much hear them in many things, but this cut from Petty’s self-titled debut album in 1976 is very Stones-ish to me, circa their Exile On Main St. period or maybe It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll with the ‘I don’t like it’ part and Petty’s wonderfully raunchy, cynical vocals. And then that beautiful, oh-so-brief but arresting stop-start guitar figure by Mike Campbell at the two-minute mark.
Junkhouse, Drink . . . As we enter the booze phase of the show with this brooding track from the Tom Wilson-led band’s Birthday Boy album, released in 1995.
Emmylou Harris, Two More Bottles Of Wine . . . First appearance for Emmylou on my show, largely because I picked up a cheapo greatest hits CD of hers on a record show trek with some friends last weekend. $1 for a compilation of such a class, great artist. Amazing.
Joe Jackson, What’s The Use Of Getting Sober (When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again) . . . From his brilliant 1981 album of swing and jump blues classics, which is when you knew that JJ wasn’t your average artist, and certainly moving well beyond categorization especially from his start as an angry young man punk/new wave artist.
Elton John, Elderberry Wine . . . Another of those cuts, from the 1973 album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player during the period when Elton John could do no wrong, that could easily have been a single. It was the B-side to the hit Crocodile Rock and became popular in its own right.
Warren Zevon, Detox Mansion . . . I was discussing Zevon, and in particular the Sentimental Hygiene album, with a friend the other day. So, as usually happens, it inspires me to play something from the record. And it fits with the booze-related set-within-a-set theme.
REO Speedwagon, Ridin’ The Storm Out (live) . . . I first became aware of REO via their cleverly-titled You Can Tune A Piano But Can’t Tuna Fish album in 1978. I think it’s clever, anyway, although it made some ‘worst album titles of all time’ lists and the cover art of a fish eating a tuning fork topped some ‘worst album covers of all time’ polls. To each their own. Distinctive, in any event. Not that I own the album, of course. I’m not much into REO, have never played them on the show before, only first actually heard them via their ubiquitous commercial monster breakthrough album Hi Infidelity in 1981. But, I do like some of their earlier material that I’ve heard, including this live version of Ridin’ The Storm Out that the band (or record company) figured was worthy, placing it and not the studio version on a greatest hits album. It features some nice guitar work.
Graham Parker and The Rumour, Watch The Moon Come Down . . . There was a production mishap during the recording of the Stick To Me album, released in 1977. The original tapes were ruined, so the band had to quickly re-record the album as they prepared for a tour. But, as Parker himself has said, that resulted in a ‘very intense, grungy-sounding record but I kind of like it now for that reason . . . If a band made a record like that now, it would be hailed as a great low-fi record.” I agree. I hate overproduced shit. Too bad Parker found domestic bliss and happiness, lost his edge and I lost interest, by the early 1980s, after being a huge fan. Good for Graham, bad for my listening to him habit, at least for new material.
The Rolling Stones, Moonlight Mile . . . I was going to play this song a couple weeks ago as my regular Stones’ song, but then jazz great Wayne Shorter died so I went with the Keith Richards-penned and sung tune How Can I Stop from the Bridges To Babylon album, because it features a nice Shorter sax solo. But, I promised to get back to this classic from Sticky Fingers, so here it is. I was discussing deep cuts, in particular Stones’ deep cuts, at my friendly neighborhood music store the other week and this song came up as we were talking about how we’d love to see a full deep cuts concert but have to accept that, to please the masses, the Stones and other such ‘legacy’ bands sort of ‘have’ to play the same old hits but they do manage to squeeze in the occasional rarity. Like Moonlight Mile, which I was blown away to hear them do, very well, on the No Security tour, in 1999, at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, now Scotiabank Arena.
J.J. Cale, After Midnight . . . Interesting song in terms of its development. It was originally released by Cale in 1966 in the fast version Eric Clapton heard and used as the template for his cover, which became a hit for Clapton when he released it on his self-titled debut album in 1970. Cale heard it, started making royalty money from it and was thus encouraged by a friend and producer to re-record it – and he did, in this slower, bluesier version – and put it on his own first full album, Naturally, which was released in 1972. Clapton later had another hit with Cale’s song Cocaine and the two artists went on to become friends and sometime collaborators, finally releasing a studio album, The Road To Escondido, together in 2006.
Led Zeppelin, Bring It On Home . . . Deep blues track initially that rips into hard rock 1:45 in, from the Zep II album. It’s another of those controversial ones re songwriting credits as was the case with many Zep songs they begged, borrowed from or outright stole from old blues artists, while refashioning them as hard rock tunes, which is to Zep’s credit even though their plagiarism in general pisses me off. In the end, the usual cash settlement was made (cue Robert Plant’s onetime comment ‘happily paid for’) and eventually Willie Dixon, on some reissues, was credited as sole songwriter.
Pink Floyd, A Saucerful Of Secrets (live, Ummagumma album version) . . . Ummagumma is a two-disc album, one a live album of 1969 performances, the other a studio set featuring solo compositions from each member of the group. The studio album is not to everyone’s taste, experimental and avant-garde as it is in spots. Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict, anyone? – which I’ve actually played on the show and eventually will, again, maybe in a ‘weird’ show including stuff like The Beatles’ Revolution 9, also a previous play. The live album, though, is sublime early Pink Floyd, arguably eclipsing the studio versions of A Saucerful Of Secrets, Astronomy Domine, Careful With That Axe, Eugene and Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.
A tribute set to guitarist Gary Rossington, who died last Sunday, March 5, at age 71. I was originally going to do just a few songs but, what the heck, one can always do with a heavy dose of Lynyrd Skynyrd and friends. Still mainly in my usual deep cuts vein, the set features songs Rossington wrote, co-wrote and/or played lead or did a guitar solo on, with both the pre- and post-crash versions of Lynyrd Skynyrd, as well as the short-lived Rossington Collins Band. That group, formed in 1979, produced two albums until disbanding in 1982 and was comprised of several survivors of the 1977 crash – guitarist Allen Collins, bassist Leon Wilkeson and keyboard player Billy Powell. The Rossington Collins Band also featured singer Dale Krantz, later to become Rossington’s wife.
Before The Rossington Collins Band formed, the surviving Skynyrd members, according to the liner notes on a compilation album I have, discussed a project with Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers, another with members of the Atlanta Rhythm Section and one with Lowell George of Little Feat, which had broken up (later to reform without the late George).
After broadcast on SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/user-163878073/sets/quinte-jazz
B Thompson Cuban Dreams POINT OF VIEW 2023 www.bthompsononline.com/about Adam Hawley Right On RISIN UP 2021 adamhawley.com Kimberley Brewer Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long SINGLE 2023 www.instagram.com/kimberlybrewer1/?hl=en Carn Davidson 9 Wisely If Sincerely THE HISTORY OF US 2021 www.williamcarn.com/cd9 Laranah Phillps Ray & La Funkalicious Power Of Love SINGLE 2022 laranahphippsray.hearnow.com Nick MacLean Quartet Dolphin Dance SINGLE 2023 Nick MacLean nicholasmaclean.com Michael Paulo Hang Time SINGLE 2023 michaelpaulo.com Shaun LaBelle Feel The Breeze Single 2023 shaunlabelle.com Jacques Kuba Seguin Je Suis La PARFUM 2023 jacqueskubaseguin.com/en Sim Streeter Bring It Home SINGLE 2023 kaosrecordsllc.com
Radio Nowhere plays Rock and Roll from the sixties and seventies — some standard tunes as well as more obscure deep cuts — along with a taste of rhythm and blues, some modern alt rock, soul, funk, blues, punk, alt country and Afrobeat.
Something familiar and hopefully something new and a better appreciation of the roots and future of the most revolutionary and popular form of music in history..
Radio Nowhere is hosted by Don Janzen and airs on CKMS-FM on Sunday from Midnight to 1:00am.
The fourth season of She Is Your Neighbour, Understanding Femicide will air on CKMS-FM starting Monday, 13 March 2023. The guests share impactful stories, and we can learn how to prevent these tragedies from happening.
In this series, we explore what happens when domestic violence becomes lethal. You will hear stories from survivors, experts, and family members of women and girls who lost their lives to femicide. In this six-episode series, we find out how they persevered in the darkest times and managed to take action following these tragedies.
The series kicks off with two episodes: “A Family Story of Femicide with Fallon Farinacci” and “When Systems Fail with Dr. Jennifer Kagan-Viater”. These stories are truly incredible. Fallon is an Indigneous woman who lost her parents to femicide and is now using her story to empower others. And you may have heard about Kiera’s Law in the news, which Jennifer Kagan-Viater has been advocating for since she lost her daughter.
The six episodes of She Is Your Neighbour: Understanding Femicide air on CKMS-FM Mondays at 1:00pm-2:00pm from 13 March 2023 until 17 April 2023.
My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.
The Rolling Stones, One Hit (To The Body)
Deep Purple, King Of Dreams
Aerosmith, Eat The Rich
Black Sabbath, Get A Grip
The Who, Eminence Front
Foreigner, Lowdown and Dirty
Rod Stewart, Passion
Motley Crue, Hooligan’s Holiday
Stevie Wonder, Race Babbling
Genesis, The Serpent
Pink Floyd, Learning To Fly
Elton John, Johnny B. Goode
AC/DC, Sink The Pink
Bad Company, Holy Water
Bob Dylan, Mr. Bojangles
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, My Wheels Won’t Turn
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Nighttime For The Generals
Van Halen, Fire In The Hole
Queen, Put Out The Fire
The Clash, This Is England
The Doors, Ships W/Sails
Fleetwood Mac, These Strange Times
My track-by-track tales:
The Rolling Stones, One Hit (To The Body) . . . Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame provides a solo on this killer cut that opened the critically-panned and loathed by some fans album Dirty Work, although honestly I’ve never gotten what all the fuss is about over the Page solo. I think it’s more of a ‘wow, Page is playing on a Stones’ song’ than anything else. I saw/heard the Stones play it on the Steel Wheels tour stop in Toronto in 1989 and didn’t hear anything that Page did that Keith Richards and/or Ronnie Wood couldn’t or didn’t. But then, while I respect his abilities, I’m not a big Jimmy Page fan. My judgment, rightly or wrongly, is admittedly affected by his/Zep’s plagiarism issues, or at least widespread accusations, lawsuits and settlements to do with plagiarism, and his scuzzy character, at least during Zep’s heyday, as revealed in books like Hammer of The Gods. In any event, I’ve always liked the Dirty Work album. The Stones were falling apart, fighting each other, yet they still produced in my view – and of course I’m a big fan – a kick butt album that reflected that anger with songs like One Hit, Dirty Work the title cut, Had It With You, and others. I remember noted rock critic Peter Goddard of The Toronto Star celebrating it for those reasons, upon release. And “Bad’ is arguably a relative term, in terms of this set list, such judgments dependent on people’s expectations of a band/artist and so on – although many of the source albums are, indeed, certainly not the various artists’ prime slabs.
Deep Purple, King Of Dreams . . . The Slaves and Masters album is often disparagingly called a “Deep Rainbow’ album due to the presence of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s friend and post-Ronnie James Dio lead Rainbow singer Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. I didn’t like Rainbow after Dio left and singers like Graham Bonnet and then Turner came in and the direction went way too pop for my tastes, and I don’t like Deep Rainbow. Aside from this song. King of Dreams is, by light years, the best song on the only Deep Purple album I almost never play beyond this opening cut. And Purple is one of my favorite bands. The record might be good but there’s nothing else compelling enough that has ever prompted me to repeat listens. I tried again in putting together this show and, no. Same result. Even Blackmore realized it, had to admit reality and soon enough, Ian Gillan was back at the Purple mic for The Battle Rages On album in 1993, the perpetual battle between Gillan and Blackmore indeed raging on to the point that Blackmore finally up and quit in the middle of that tour, to be temporarily replaced by Joe Satriani and, eventually, permanently by Steve Morse. Morse has since, alas, left Purple after eight creatively productive studio albums to care for his ailing wife, with Northern Ireland guitarist Simon McBride replacing him as a full-fledged member.
Aerosmith, Eat The Rich . . . The Get A Grip album, from 1993, was suggested to me by show follower Ted Martin, who mentioned he never progressed further in the Aerosmith catalog. So, he was spared the agony and eye-rolling disillusion fostered by crap like the Music From Another Dimension album and other such overproduced Bon Jovi-type schlock of Aerosmith’s latter, albeit hugely commercially successful days of outside songwriters and power ballad hair metal type hits. I cannot stand that sound. Music From Another Dimension came out in 2012 and is the last studio work of original material by Aerosmith, after which guitarist Joe Perry I recall reading said ‘nobody wants new Aerosmith songs’ or something like that. The sentiment is often true of many so-called legacy classic rock bands but in Aerosmith’s case, thank Christ for no new stuff, if they were to continue with the schlock shit they were releasing from, say, after the Pump album in 1989 onward. Now, I will backtrack a bit. Get A Grip is actually not a bad album. I think Nine Lives (1997) and Just Push Play (2001) are way worse, but I’ve never played them enough, beyond knowing the singles like Falling In Love (Is Hard On The Knees) or Jaded to know them well enough to find a decent ‘good song on a bad album.’ This sad state of affairs from the band that gave us such classic hits as Walk This Way, Sweet Emotion and deep cuts like Nobody’s Fault from the Rocks album, until they decided outside writers was the way to go and it made them loads of money but at the expense, arguably, of their integrity. Maybe they should have continued doing drugs and boozing. Anyway, Get A Grip gave us hits like Livin’ On The Edge, Cryin’ and Amazing, which are ok, but Eat The Rich, the album opener and a less successful single, is easily the best song on the record, harkening back to early Aerosmith in at least some respects.
Black Sabbath, Get A Grip . . . Speaking of Get A Grip, the Aerosmith album does have a title cut, it’s pretty lousy, so since this is a ‘good songs on bad albums’ show I thought it would be fun to use a different song with the same title, from Sabbath’s 1995 album Forbidden. The record was crucified by critics, many fans and even band members but again, I actually like it. But I like every Sabbath album. It’s from the I think underappreciated Tony Martin on vocals era, with guitarist Tony Iommi as always holding the fort and firing away from his arsenal of heavy riffs. I think the album failed for at least two reasons: the cartoon-type cover of the Grim Reaper, and more so the fact it was produced by a rapper, Ernie C of the rap metal band Body Count, with Body Count member Ice-T helping out on vocals on the album opener, The Illusion Of Power. Many people apparently couldn’t get beyond that, but I’ve never listened to Body Count so I really have no opinion on the matter.
The Who, Eminence Front . . . From It’s Hard, the second studio album The Who did, after Face Dances, with former Face Kenney Jones on drums replacing the dear departed Keith Moon. To many, including at least at first, Roger Daltrey who didn’t think Jones was the right fit, The Who was no longer really The Who without Moon, although of course the band, without Jones, continues on with live work and has released two more studio albums since It’s Hard in 1982. It’s Hard is a wimpy album, inferior to Pete Townshend’s solo stuff at the time. I barely play it aside from two cuts – Cry If You Want which has nice military-type patter drumming from Jones and Eminence Front – by far the best song on the album and the only one that’s still played live and deemed worthy of a spot on Who hits compilations.
Foreigner, Lowdown and Dirty . . . Not a massive Foreigner fan but I do like their early hits like Cold As Ice, the entire Double Vision album and the slightly later hit Urgent. Anyway, singer Lou Gramm left Foreigner in 1990, later to return, but in the meantime in came onetime, latter-day Montrose singer Johnny Edwards for 1993’s Unusual Heat album. The record bombed, Edwards returned to obscurity, I eventually traded the record in and replaced it with a hits compilation – which is all I really need from Foreigner – that included this worthy rocker, which stiffed as Unual Heat’s single, unfairly, I thought.
Rod Stewart, Passion . . . Stewart had lost me by the time of 1980’s Foolish Behaviour album, which I did buy on vinyl at the time only for this song, the lead single, and a deserved hit it was. I no longer have the album, having traded in most of my vinyl when CDs came into existence. But that’s what hits compilations are for, songs like this when you couldn’t care less for the rest of the studio record.
Motley Crue, Hooligan’s Holiday . . . This will likely be the only time I ever play a Motley Crue song although come to think of it I may have played this long ago. More on that later, as to why. I absolutely loathe this band. Utter, hair metal garbage in my opinion, the absolute worst most successful band in rock history. To each their own of course but I just don’t get their success. Dr. Feelgood is an OK song, but . . . actually, it’s garbage too, I just listened to it to check. Maybe I despise them for effing up The Beatles’ Helter Skelter, Brownsville Station’s Smokin’ In The Boys Room (I guess they needed a hit and figured nobody would remember the original) and, most egregiously, the Stones’ Street Fighting Man. But no, I just despise them in general and in particular, Vince Neil’s awful singing. Nails on the blackboard stuff, to my ears. Which is why I like Hooligan’s Holiday. Neil doesn’t sing it. It’s John Corabi, a far better singer on the one, self-titled album Motley Crue did with him, released in 1994 during a time when Neil had left the band. Naturally, the fan base didn’t accept the grungier-sounding Crue without Neil and he soon returned, alas. I actually, unfortunately, saw Vince Neil in concert. He was touring in support of his first solo album, while out of the Crue, and opened for Van Halen when I saw the Van Hagar version on Canada Day, 1993 in Barrie, Ontario. Van Halen was great but my funniest memory of the show is Neil’s set so in a way glad I saw it. He was awful, people were pissed, throwing water bottles and such at the stage, demanding he leave and for the first time in my concert experience I saw a performer give himself his own encore. “I’m not finished yet!” Neil screamed amid the deluge, and went into another, unwelcome, song. What a joke.
Stevie Wonder, Race Babbling . . . Wonder had an amazing run of albums through the 1970s, from 1972’s Talking Book with the big hit single Superstition, among other great songs, through Innervisions, Fulfillingness’ First Finale and Songs In The Key Of Life in 1976. Then came the concept album/soundtrack Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants Volume I which, while yielding the hit single Send One Your Love, otherwise largely confused people and is probably why there never was a Volume II. Side point: Bad move to call an album Volume I. There rarely is a Volume II. See, for example, Van Halen’s Best Of Vol. I (although there was a later Best of Both Worlds, split between David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar-sung songs) and Blue Rodeo’s Greatest Hits Vol. I (there’s never been a Vol. II). As for Secret Life Of Plants, it’s a worthy listen, especially to my ears this hypnotic, near-nine minute sonic exploration.
Genesis, The Serpent . . . From the first Genesis album, released in 1969 when the band members were still schoolboys. The album was a flop, but I hear elements of the future progressive Genesis sound in The Serpent.
Pink Floyd, Learning To Fly . . . I suppose I could have picked The Final Cut, essentially a Roger Waters solo album, but A Momentary Lapse Of Reason was suggested to me and it’s similar in that it could be argued it’s essentially a David Gilmour solo album, after the acrimonious split with Waters. The cover is cool, all those beds on the beach, and they were actual beds, not trick photography or computer graphics. The album title is ridiculous, when you think about the fact that the band had just lost its main lyricist and conceptualist, so it could be argued it was a lapse of reason indeed in soldiering on as Pink Floyd. But maybe it was tongue in cheek just to piss Waters off even more because he’s so full of himself he almost dared Gilmour to try to pull an album off without him, Gilmour did, lawsuits ensued and here we are. Other titles that were considered: Signs Of Life (the first piece on the album, an instrumental with the nice sounds of someone rowing a boat, and the album was recorded on Gilmour’s houseboat studio), Of Promises Broken and Delusions Of Maturity. I don’t listen to it much other than this excellent track although in putting together the show I did listen again and aside from songs like Dogs of War where Gilmour steps out of character and seemingly tries to channel Waters in terms of cynical worldview, it’s an OK album. Learning To Fly was the hit single, deservedly so, and reflects Gilmour’s love of flying, as he was learning to be a pilot at the time of the record’s recording. The album sounds like Pink Floyd, or at least what one might expect of Floyd, given Gilmour’s guitar playing but it suffers lyrically due to the absence of Waters, who famously called the album “a pretty fair forgery.” I thought that line was hilarious.
Elton John, Johnny B. Goode . . . Elton John was somewhat lost in the late 1970s. His commercial fortunes were in decline, disco was the big thing at the time so, like many classic rockers of the period he tried his hand at that genre with 1979’s Victim Of Love album. The result was this interesting, extended (eight minutes) take on the Chuck Berry hit. It’s somewhat like Devo doing the Stones’ Satisfaction, hence it’s at least not bad – and I love Devo’s take on Satisfaction – because the source material is so good. The album was a relative failure but, like many in this list, probably more because it was Elton John doing it and expectations for him and the type of music he was known for put him in a box. Not saying it’s a great album, but had it been issued by someone else, it may have done better.
AC/DC, Sink The Pink . . . Few people ever talk about 1985’s Fly On The Wall, which was arguably the nadir for AC/DC commercially, during the 1980s although many bands would sell their souls for sales of one million units, some of which is obviously automatic buying from fans, based on reputation. I rarely play it, although in compiling this show it hit me that it’s not as mediocre as I remember, raw and down and dirty. Sink The Pink along with Shake Your Foundations are the best songs and both received new leases on life after being re-released on 1986’s Who Made Who, the soundtrack to the Stephen King film Maximum Overdrive, based on his short story Trucks.
Bad Company, Holy Water . . . I’m not a fan of the Brian Howe on lead vocals period of Bad Company. I’m usually more open-minded but the Howe-fronted Bad Co., while commercially successful, reaked of that overproduced 1980s sound I so loathe. It sounds like bad Foreigner. That said, I’ve always liked this title cut to the band’s 1990 album. Otherwise, I’m definitely of the “no Paul Rodgers singing, no Bad Company’ persuasion.
Bob Dylan, Mr. Bojangles . . . From 1973’s Dylan album. Dylan didn’t want it released, maintaining the various cover songs, including Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, were just warmups for studio sessions. But Columbia Records, miffed that Dylan had left the label for a brief fling with David Geffen’s Asylum Records, released it anyway, apparently out of spite. So, we got Dylan’s take on such tunes as Jerry Jeff Walker’s Mr. Bojangles. Dylan, according to a book I have, later said “I didn’t think it (the album) was that bad, really.” However, when he soon returned to Columbia, he demanded the album be deleted from the catalogue. I found my copy in a used bin years ago, and being the completist I am for artists I like, had to have it.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, My Wheels Won’t Turn . . . From Freeways, the 1977 album that represents the last studio work of the original BTO, although they reunited for another album in 1984 without the late drummer Rob Bachman. Freeways was a different sort of record. It moved away from the usual sledgehammer sound of BTO and, even moreso than its predecessor Head On that featured such songs at Lookin’ Out For #1, embraced jazz, light rock and pop. It didn’t do well. My Wheels Won’t Turn didn’t chart, although it’s a song akin to earlier BTO and I remember it, briefly, being played on radio.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Nighttime For The Generals . . . Another from the suggestion box. The title cut from the American Dream album, essentially a Neil Young solo song, was the hit but I’ve always liked this somewhat overproduced (it was 1988, after all) but biting commentary written and sung by the late David Crosby.
Van Halen, Fire In The Hole . . . Ah, Van Halen 3. Named ‘3’ because by 1998 the band was on its third singer, Extreme’s Gary Cherone, after having parted ways with first David Lee Roth and then Sammy Hagar, both of whom later returned, and left, and returned, as was the way with Van Halen. The Cherone period was forgettable, it took me about 20 listens to finally ‘get’ the album as, at the time I was commuting two hours a day back and forth to work and wanted to like it and finally sort of did. Upon finally ‘getting it’ I realized it’s not all that bad. It just was completely out of sync with what most Van Halen fans wanted or expected. Lots of long songs, for instance, few immediate hooks, and, hate to say it but maybe over the heads of some headbangers. I’m not suggesting it’s the band’s best album, it’s their worst including a dreadful or let’s be kind and say interesting vocal performance by Eddie VH himself on one track, How Many Say I. He even (yikes) did it in concert, which took some, er, balls to do. But, for all of that, had it been issued under a different name, the album may have been more accepted. As for Fire In The Hole, it’s arguably one of the more typical Van Halen-ish tracks on the album, a rocker that features fine guitar playing. In that respect it is Van Halen, after all.
Queen, Put Out The Fire . . . From 1982’s Hot Space album, on which Queen went further in the funk, rhythmic and disco direction that began on the previous album, The Game via the hit Another One Bites The Dust and such tracks as Dragon Attack. Hot Space divided fans and critics who derided the full-blown move to synthnesizers – interesting because on their 1970s albums Queen made a point of putting verbiage like ‘no synthesizers used’ in their liner notes, just in case people thought they might be ‘cheating’ with some of their operatic opuses. Put Out The Fire, written by guitarist Brian May, sounds like more ‘traditional’ earlier Queen. I’ve always liked the album. It represents the sometime conundrum of art vis-a-vis expectations. If a band continues as many fans and critics expect, sounding a certain way, they can then be criticized for not progressing. But if they try something different, they upset those who want the sound they’ve grown accustomed to. The artist can’t win.
The Clash, This Is England . . . From Cut The Crap, the Clash album done after Mick Jones departed, leaving Joe Strummer fully in charge. By all accounts it is crap, but I wouldn’t really know, never owned it, barely heard it and only have This Is England on an ‘essential’ Clash compilation I have in addition to all the other studio albums. Not a bad song, though, one that could easily have fit on the reggae-tinged Sandinista! album.
The Doors, Ships W/Sails . . . Extended jazzy, percussive piece from the first of two albums the band did, 1971’s Other Voices, after the passing of lead singer Jim Morrison. Lead vocals were shared by keyboard player Ray Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger. This song became an extended jam on the subsequent tour supporting the album. It’s not a bad effort by any means, but the remaining members ran out of steam by the second post-Morrison record, Full Circle, in 1972. I suppose I should have mined Full Circle, more appropriately, for a ‘good song on a bad album’ but I don’t know that record well enough. Both albums were reissued in a two-fer package, by Rhino Records, in 2015.
Fleetwood Mac, These Strange Times . . . A spoken word track from 1995’s Time album, with drummer Mick Fleetwood (!) on vocals. It was only the second time he was lead vocalist on a Mac track, the other time being Lizard People, a B-side from 1990’s Behind The Mask album sessions. These Strange Times is much better and I like it. I’ve played it before on the show and it’s the only one on the album I really know or listen to, a slow-building track that among other things, name drops band founder Peter Green’s songs Man Of The World and The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown). Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham were not on board for the album although Buckingham did backing vocals on one song, Nothing Without You. Those Mac stalwarts were replaced by country singer Bekka Bramlett (daughter of Delaney and Bonnie) and guitarists Dave Mason, of Traffic fame, and Billy Burnette. The album bombed, of course.
My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.
Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 5
Electric Light Orchestra, Roll Over Beethoven
Muddy Waters, The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock & Roll
Joe Walsh, I Can Play That Rock & Roll
Chicago, Anyway You Want
Stanley Clarke, Rock ‘N Roll Jelly
Roger Waters, What God Wants, Part I
Flash And The Pan, Man In The Middle
Murray Head, One Night In Bangkok
Roxy Music, In Every Dream Home A Heartache (live, from Viva! Roxy Music)
The Butterfield Blues Band, Love Disease
Fleetwood Mac, Black Magic Woman
Arc Angels, Sent By Angels
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Tightrope
Gov’t Mule (with Jimmy Vaughan), Burning Point
Deep Purple, Mistreated
Billy Cobham, Stratus
Genesis, The Knife (from Live, 1973 release)
Kansas, A Glimpse Of Home
The Byrds, Goin’ Back
The Rolling Stones, How Can I Stop (Wayne Shorter, RIP, on saxophone)
My track-by-track tales:
Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 . . . I was sorting and shelving CDs and came across some items in my classical collection and figured, what the heck, let’s play some Ludwig. It’s not often I dip into the 18th and 19th centuries, after all, Beethoven’s lifespan being 1770-1827, with his music eternal. Not the full symphony but a five or so minute excerpt. And it makes for some fun as a setup for the next song. Subconsciously, I might also have been thinking of Beethoven thanks to a text conversation with a friend during which he jokingly inserted Walter Murphy into a chat about The Beatles. You had to be part of the conversation but suffice it to say it was favorable to the Fab Four. Time and space don’t permit other than to say it had to do with The Beatles’ acumen as a live band and people’s perception as to their ability to rock. They could, not only throughout their career – see the rooftop concert for instance – and, hmm, anyone ever hear of their Hamburg days? Or The Cavern Club? Etc. Anyway, Murphy’s Big Apple Band had the disco instrumental hit A Fifth Of Beethoven in 1976, then he kept doing that sort of thing with Mozart and other classical artists but people grew less and less interested as he went to the well too often. Murphy is still active with an extensive resume writing music for films and TV shows including, going way back, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on up through Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Family Guy, among many others.
Electric Light Orchestra, Roll Over Beethoven . . . Full eight-minute version of ELO’s take on the Chuck Berry classic, including the opening nod to Beethoven’s 5th. A killer cut, appeared on ELO 2.
Muddy Waters, The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock & Roll . . . From Hard Again, one of three studio and one live albums guitarist Johnny Winter produced and played on near the end of Waters’ life and career. Hard Again in 1977 was followed by I’m Ready in 1978, Muddy ‘Mississippi’ Waters Live in 1979 and King Bee, Muddy’s final studio album in 1981. Also helping out in the series of albums were, among others, piano man Pinetop Perkins and James Cotton on harmonica.
Joe Walsh, I Can Play That Rock & Roll . . . In the liner notes to a compilation I own, Walsh said he was paying homage to The Rolling Stones with this track and that’s clearly evident with the Keith Richards-like guitar sound and opening riff. It’s from Walsh’s 1983 typically humorously-named album, You Bought It – You Name It. I’ll name it pretty good.
Chicago, Anyway You Want . . . Kitchener, Ontario’s Charity Brown had a No. 6 Canadian hit with this Peter Cetera-penned song, sung by Cetera on Chicago VIII in 1975. I’ve lived in Kitchener for years now and Brown’s version has been something of an earworm since my teen years in Oakville, Ont. But I still prefer Chicago’s version from back when they still had the jazz-rock fusion and sometimes funky thing going to at least some extent, while guitarist Terry Kath was still alive.
Stanley Clarke, Rock ‘N Roll Jelly . . . From the eclectic bassist’s 1978 album Modern Man. It came to mind while watching a YouTube ‘rate the albums’ show that wasn’t about Clarke although he came up in the conversation the guys on the show were having. It’s a great up-tempo instrumental featuring Jeff Beck, who almost steals the spotlight on lead guitar but from what I’ve read, Clarke has been that sort of bandleader on his solo material, letting others shine. I first learned of and saw Clarke – most of whose vast body of work is in the jazz fusion idiom including his work with Chick Corea’s Return To Forever – when he was a member of The New Barbarians. That was the band featuring Rolling Stones guitarists Ron Wood and Keith Richards that toured the US to promote Wood’s Gimme Some Neck album. But they’re best known for opening for the Stones at the 1979 Oshawa, Ontario benefit concert that fulfilled one of the conditions of Richards’ sentence for possession of heroin. I was there and still amazed I managed to get tickets; there were only 10,000 to be had for the separate afternoon and evening concerts in the 5,000-seat hockey arena. My college buddy and I saw the afternoon show, tried to linger for the second show, we hid in a bathroom, but were found and booted out. Great shows, both the Barbarians and the Stones. The Barbarians set finishes, Keith Richards grabs an acoustic guitar, sits on a stool, stage dark aside from the spotlight. He starts strumming and then out comes Mick Jagger, all dressed in white and it’s suddenly the 1969 US tour again that yielded the live album Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out as Mick and Keith go into the Rev. Robert Wilkins blues cut Prodigal Son that appeared on the Beggars Banquet album. Then out come the rest of the Stones for Let It Rock and it’s on with a terrific and historic show. As I recall, Clarke later joined the Stones for the set closers Miss You and Jumpin’ Jack Flash.
Roger Waters, What God Wants, Part I . . . Speaking of Jeff Beck helping out Stanley Clarke, here’s the late great guitarist again on a typically acerbic song from Waters’ 1992 album Amused To Death. The album title was inspired by Neil Postman’s 1985 book Amusing Ourselves To Death, which changed my life/way of thinking, at least in terms of the vacuous nature of celebrity culture. The book, whose genesis came from Postman’s appearance on a panel discussing George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, is subtitled Public Discourse In The Age of Show Business and remains relevant. The late Postman’s view was that the modern world was more a reflection of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where people are oppressed more by their addiction to amusement than oppression by the state, as in Orwell’s dystopia although both visions are valid. John Lennon arguably beat Postman to the punch by 15 years in his 1970 classic Working Class Hero where they ‘keep you doped with religion and sex and TV.’ But to perhaps correct Lennon and go back to Postman, it’s not necessarily ‘they’. It’s us. Bread and circuses, happily consumed.
Flash And The Pan, Man In The Middle . . . Crazy where inspiration comes from. As often mentioned, lots comes from conversations, or something I see or hear or, in this case, buying a bottle of wine earlier this week. I happened upon the rack holding one of my regular selections, took the middle of the three bottles in the front row and the Flash And The Pan song popped into my head. Wonderful/amazing/crazy how the brain works. I suppose. Had I picked the bottle on the left, perhaps I’d be playing Paul McCartney and Wings’ Cafe On The Left Bank, or some such, and Traffic’s Roll Right Stones had I gone for the bottle on the right. Next time, perhaps. I’ll call it ‘the wine selection show.’
Murray Head, One Night In Bangkok . . . The versatile actor/singer Murray Head went from his brilliance as Judas on the 1970 Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack to another impressive performance, rapping out the verses on this catchy hip-hop type tune from the Chess musical soundtrack in 1984. It was developed by renowned author/lyricist Tim Rice of The Lion King fame, and two members of ABBA. The Bangkok single was a worldwide smash hit, much bigger than the actual musical production which first drew my interest because I love the game of chess, arguably humankind’s greatest invention. The song is the only reason I ever bought the original vinyl album, which I lost or traded in along the way but I found the song again recently in a used rack, on a CD compilation of 1980s new wave hits. Yes, I could always access the song online but I still like owning physical copies. To quote The Who, I’m talking about my generation. And one never knows when some bean counter might decide to remove a song from online streaming circulation, same as happens with movies and TV shows. Purge at your listening peril, as I keep warning a friend. That’s you, Ted. 🙂
Roxy Music, In Every Dream Home A Heartache (live, from Viva! Roxy Music) . . . Live take of a song about emptiness and inflatable dolls that first appeared on Roxy’s second studio album, 1973’s For Your Pleasure. Spooky, sinister, weird, great. Probably would get banned in today’s so-called cancel culture although I shouldn’t be so harsh – the song was used as recently as 2019 in the TV crime drama series Mindhunter. I’m not much of a TV show watcher outside of Star Trek and have never watched Mindhunter but the song seems a good choice for a series based on the FBI’s criminal profiling/serial killer unit.
The Butterfield Blues Band, Love Disease . . . From 1969’s Keep On Moving album. It’s appropriately titled in that it continued the band’s move away from the straight blues of the early albums starting with the debut in 1965 to a more R & B/soul/horns-drenched approach as guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop eventually moved on. Good music, still, in my opinion despite waning interest from fans and critics – and the 1970 album Live, featuring the expanded lineup, is a fine listen.
Fleetwood Mac, Black Magic Woman . . . One of those originals, like Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower reimagined by Jimi Hendrix, that relatively few people seem to have heard, at least in comparison to the more celebrated cover. Like many I, too, was introduced to Black Magic Woman by Santana’s version on the Abraxas album but as is usually the case, was rewarded by going back to the source material, from Fleetwood Mac’s blues band days with Peter Green. Same scenario for me with Dylan’s original. I can sincerely say that I have no preference among any of the four versions of the two songs, all excellent in their own ways. It could be argued that, because the famous covers are ubiquitous and overplayed, the originals are the more welcome listens. But that’s just my opinion.
Arc Angels, Sent By Angels . . . From the lone, self-titled studio album released in 1992 by the blues rock outfit formed after Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash in 1990. It featured two members – drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon – from Vaughan’s band Double Trouble, plus guitarists/singers Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton. They’ve reformed sporadically for live shows over the years and as of 2022 were back again, minus Shannon, for live work. Based on the excellent lone studio release, new recorded work would be welcome.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Tightrope . . . Up-tempo tune with typically great solos from SRV from 1989’s In Step, his last studio album with Double Trouble.
Gov’t Mule (with Jimmy Vaughan), Burning Point . . . SRV’s brother and fellow guitarist Jimmy of The Fabulous Thunderbirds fame helps out the Mule on this one from the 2017 album Revolution Come . . . Revolution Go.
Deep Purple, Mistreated . . . I played a live version of the title cut from 1974’s Burn album the other week when I did a live albums set. It prompted a show follower to mention how he wore the Burn studio album out back then. Me too. So, I decided to return to that record via this powerful, extended blues cut dominated by Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar and David Coverdale’s compelling vocals.
Billy Cobham, Stratus . . . Extended jazz fusion from drummer Cobham’s debut solo album, 1973’s Spectrum after he had made big contributions to such albums as Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew and work with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, all part of a wide-ranging resume in jazz and rock. Cobham’s album featured future Deep Purple guitarist Tommy Bolin, who replaced Ritchie Blackmore when Blackmore quit Purple in 1975 to form Rainbow. Purple’s then-singer David Coverdale was a big fan of Spectrum and Bolin’s playing and recommended Bolin to his bandmates after Blackmore left. The result was Purple’s Come Taste The Band album, which divided critics, the fan base and even the band members due to its, in spots, funky and soulful approach with songs like one of my favorites, You Keep On Moving. Keyboardist Jon Lord was quoted as saying that while he liked the album, especially coming at it for a fresh listen years later, ‘in most people’s opinion, it’s not a Deep Purple album.’ As a big Purple fan, I disagree – it’s a great album that displays the band’s versatility and embracing of different musical forms and it’s gained in stature among critics, over time but in any event we all hear things differently. Some artists can’t win, really. If they branch out, as often happens when new members are integrated, they might lose some fans, while maybe gaining others. If they stay the same, they retain their core audience but are perhaps accused of not progressing. AC/DC, to name one band, doesn’t give a shit and their talent is doing essentially the same album multiple times while still sounding compelling and I sincerely mean that as a compliment. Longtime Purple singer Ian Gillan, who wasn’t involved, has echoed Lord’s remarks about whether Come Taste The Band is ‘real’ Purple. I find Gillan’s view interesting – and I’m not sure when he voiced it, his thoughts may have changed – in that the latter day Purple with guitarist Steve Morse and Gillan back at the vocal helm did some similarly interesting, more diverse material than ‘was allowed’ when the mercurial and somewhat controlling, albeit obviously brilliant Blackmore was in the band – which was always a source of his conflicts with Gillan.
Genesis, The Knife (from Live, 1973 release) . . . I was going to play something from Genesis Live when I did my live albums show recently, but couldn’t fit it in, chose something else, whatever. So, here you go, a ferocious live take on the song that arguably eclipses the studio version from 1970s Trespass, after which guitarist Anthony Phillips and drummer John Mayhew moved on, replaced by Steve Hackett and Phil Collins, respectively. Those additions solidified the band’s so-called classic lineup – at least during the purely progressive rock period – that also included singer Peter Gabriel, guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks. And, of course, The Knife forever reminds me of a drunken, fun ‘fight’ with an old friend over whether Genesis could ‘rock’. I’ve long since come to realize that they could.
Kansas, A Glimpse Of Home . . . Not sure how to explain it other than the evolution of my ears, so to speak, but I’ve gotten more into progressive rock as I’ve aged and, in particular, more into arguably one of America’s best exponents of the genre, Kansas. For the longest time I knew and listened to essentially just three songs – Dust In The Wind, Carry On Wayward Son and Portrait (He Knew), so a bare-bones Kansas hits compilation was enough for me. Then I started digging deeper and have been rewarded. It’s not like they’re my favorite band, but there’s lots of great listening in their extensive catalog and they’re still at it, 50 years later, releasing new material and touring.
The Byrds, Goin’ Back . . . Yet another from the vast songwriting catalogue of onetime married couple Carole King and Gerry Goffin. Covered by many, it caused division among The Byrds as David Crosby, soon to be fired by the band, thought it was lightweight. So they recorded it anyway and released it as a single, although it made it to just No. 89 in the US and didn’t chart in the UK. So maybe Crosby was right, although I like the ‘that’s life’ tune.
The Rolling Stones, How Can I Stop (Wayne Shorter, RIP, on saxophone) . . . Lots of jazzy stuff in today’s show, reviewing the set. Not sure how that happens but one just goes with the flow. How Can I Stop is another of those slow, jazzy, bluesy tunes Keith Richards, perhaps belying his reputation as just a riff rocker, has been so adept at on Stones albums, probably harkening back to All About You from the Emotional Rescue album or even You Got The Silver from Let It Bleed. How Can I Stop was the last track on 1997’s Bridges To Babylon album. I was going to play a different Stones song, Moonlight Mile from Sticky Fingers which I’ll get to in a coming show but decided on How Can I Stop when news came of renowned jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter’s death Thursday at age 89. He plays a wonderful solo on this Stones’ song. And what an amazing catalogue Shorter had, with Miles Davis, with Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, on his own, on various rock/pop albums including Santana, Joni Mitchell, Don Henley . . . rest in peace.