My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Not Fragile
Aerosmith, Sick As A Dog
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Feelin’ Blue
Keith Richards, Will But You Won’t
Jethro Tull, Hunting Girl
Fleetwood Mac, Hypnotized
Tom Cochrane, Just Like Ali
Wilson Pickett, Hey Jude
The Allman Brothers Band, Rockin’ Horse
Patti Smith, Midnight Rider
Santana, Anywhere You Want To Go
Dire Straits, Once Upon A Time In The West
R.E.M., How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us
Little Feat, Mercenary Territory
Colin James, Into The Mystic
Van Morrison, A Sense Of Wonder
The Beatles, You Won’t See Me
Linda Ronstadt, I Won’t Be Hangin’ ‘Round
Paice, Ashton, Lord, Remember The Good Times
Lou Reed, There Is No Time
ZZ Top, Neighbor, Neighbor
Spirit, Topanga Windows
Pete Townshend, Exquisitely Bored
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Surfer Joe and Moe The Sleaze
Tony Joe White, Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll
The Doors, Moonlight Drive
My track-by-track tales:
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Not Fragile . . . Title cut from the Canadian band’s 1974 album to honor the recent passing of BTO drummer Rob Bachman, age 69. Sadly, this obviously will continue to happen, as so many classic rockers are now well past official senior citizen age. Heavy rock lyric – ‘you ask do we play heavy music well are thunderheads just another cloud, we do’ – and, as usual, most of the best BTO songs, in my opinion, were sung by C.F. (Fred) Turner.
Aerosmith, Sick As A Dog . . . From Rocks, one of my favorite Aerosmith albums. Full of great songs, especially deep cuts – the true test of an album – like this one, Nobody’s Fault (arguably my favorite Aerosmith tune, certainly among their deep cuts, but I resisted playing it yet again), etc.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Feelin’ Blue . . . Bluesy jam tune from Willie and The Poor Boys, the band’s third – third! – album release in the calendar year of 1969. All of them – Bayou Country, Green River and Poor Boys – were excellent and full of hits like Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising, Down on the Corner and Fortunate Son, just to name four among the many more hits/well known CCR tracks. Amazing songwriter, John Fogerty, from the hits to the deep cuts.
Keith Richards, Will But You Won’t . . . The distinctive riffology of the, er, so-called Human Riff. From his second of three, to date, solo albums, 1992’s Main Offender.
Jethro Tull, Hunting Girl . . . Speaking of riffs, I can never get enough of the descending Martin Barre riff on this one, from Songs From The Wood. And that’s just one facet of this great song.
Fleetwood Mac, Hypnotized . . . It was a tossup between two of my favorite, and somewhat similar, Bob Welch-era Mac cuts last Monday. I chose Bermuda Triangle, from the 1974 album Heroes Are Hard To Find album. And I almost played Hypnotized, as well, but decided against doubling up in the same show. So, here it is, from Mystery To Me, in 1973. Hey, that rhymes. OK, I admit it, did it on purpose.
Tom Cochrane, Just Like Ali . . . Another from the ‘I couldn’t decide between two songs from the same artist’ file. This past Saturday, I went with Cochrane’s Willie Dixon Said, and promised to soon play a similar song of his, one mentioning the late great heavyweight champion boxer. Voila!
Wilson Pickett, Hey Jude . . . Duane Allman on guitar to start a mini-Allman Brothers-oriented set.
The Allman Brothers Band, Rockin’ Horse . . . From the last studio album the band recorded, 2003’s Hittin’ The Note and an excellent album it is. Dickey Betts had been booted from the band due to substance/alcohol abuse (the other members had cleaned up by then), so the guitar tandem was Warren Haynes, in his second go-round with the group, and young gun Derek Trucks, who joined the Allmans in 1999 and has since achieved his own deserved fame alongside his wife Susan in the Tedeschi Trucks Band, formed in 2010. Derek is the nephew of the late Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks.
Patti Smith, Midnight Rider . . . Back I go to the Twelve album, Smith’s 2007 covers release. It’s terrific and includes songs by Jimi Hendrix (Are You Experienced), the Stones (Gimme Shelter), Beatles (Within You Without You), Tears For Fears (Everybody Wants To Rule The World), Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit) among others, some of which I’ve played before on the show. Eventually, I imagine, I’ll get to all 12.
Santana, Anywhere You Want To Go . . . From IV, the 2016 reunion album featuring most of the original Santana band that produced the first three albums in the early 1970s. Naturally, it sounds just like those amazing records.
Dire Straits, Once Upon A Time In The West . . . Opening cut to Communique, the second Dire Straits album, released in 1979. Typically bluesy, reliable rock from the Mark Knopfler-led band. Some people think it’s an homage to the Sergio Leone western. Lyrically I don’t really see it, at least on the surface, but if you go to various ‘songfact’ sites, there are interesting discussions about it.
R.E.M., How The West Was Won And Where It Got Us . . . I just had to play this one after the Dire Straits tune. They’re actually somewhat similar: bluesy, hypnotic, great. It’s from the 1996 album New Adventures In Hi-Fi.
Little Feat, Mercenary Territory . . . The review site allmusic describes this track as ‘sublime’. I agree. It’s from The Last Record Album. It wasn’t the band’s last record – the title (and cover art) actually alludes to the 1971 movie The Last Picture Show.
Colin James, Into The Mystic . . . Good cover of the Van Morrison classic by the Canadian blues rocker. It’s from his 2005 album Limelight. If you go to the track on YouTube, some suggest it’s better than the original to which I would respectfully say, ‘no’. It’s good but, sorry, nobody’s going to match Van’s original. So why didn’t I play Van’s version? Because I’ve played it too recently, so figured I’d give James a spin.
Van Morrison, A Sense Of Wonder . . . And here’s Van The Man himself, with the beautiful title track from his 1985 album.
The Beatles, You Won’t See Me . . . I’ve been digging into Rubber Soul a fair bit recently when I play The Beatles. In fact, I may have played this too recently, can’t keep track and been too lazy to check. In any event, Rubber Soul is a great album, as are they all by the Fab Four.
Linda Ronstadt, I Won’t Be Hangin’ ‘Round . . . From Ronstadt’s self-titled 1972 album, her third studio release which was significant as it brought together future members of the Eagles. Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon all played on the album, after which they formed the Eagles.
Paice, Ashton, Lord, Remember The Good Times . . . From the short-lived project featuring singer Tony Ashton along with Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice and keyboard player Jon Lord, resulting in the excellent Malice in Wonderland album released in 1977. Many of the songs, rockers most of them, also have an infectiously effective funky feel, like this one. This collaboration beat Nazareth to the album title by three years, Nazareth using the title for their 1980 release that featured the hit Holiday.
Lou Reed, There Is No Time . . . A good rocker from the New York album. The year 1989 was a pretty good one for longtime classic rock artists. Among the other solid albums released that year were Eric Clapton’s Journeyman, Neil Young’s Freedom, Bob Dylan’s No Mercy and Steel Wheels by The Rolling Stones.
ZZ Top, Neighbor, Neighbor . . . From the first album, titled – wait for it, ZZ Top’s First Album. According to guitarist Billy Gibbons, the album was so named because the band wanted people to know there’d be more coming. And, of course, there was.
Spirit, Topanga Windows . . . Folky psychedelia from the first Taurus album, 1968. Topanga is a community in western Los Angeles County, where Taurus band member Randy California lived.
Pete Townshend, Exquisitely Bored . . . In my opinion, the two best songs on Townshend’s 1982 album All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes weren’t issued as singles. They are this track, my favorite from the record, and The Sea Refuses No River, the latter of which has found a righful place on some Townshend compilations. The actual singles? Face Dances Pt. 2 and Uniforms. I don’t get it, either.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Surfer Joe and Moe The Sleaze . . . Love the title, love the song, love the grungry hard rock 1981 album from which it came, Re-ac-tor, even though critics didn’t. Eff ’em.
Tony Joe White, Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll . . . From the swamp rocker, known as the Swamp Fox and best known for the song Polk Salad Annie, also done by Elvis Presley. Trolls was issued as a single in 1972. Didn’t chart. Ridiculous.
The Doors, Moonlight Drive . . . B-side to the Love Me Two Times single from The Doors’ 1967 album Strange Days. A well-known track, as it’s appeared on various Doors’ compilations.
My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.
Muddy Waters, All Aboard (from Fathers and Sons featuring Otis Spann, Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, Sam Lay and Buddy Miles)
The Chieftains with The Rolling Stones, The Rocky Road To Dublin
The Rolling Stones, Surprise, Surprise
James Brown, I’ll Go Crazy (from Live at The Apollo)
Tom Cochrane, Willie Dixon Said
Jeff Beck, Beck’s Bolero (from Truth)
Jeff Beck, Diamond Dust (from Blow By Blow)
Jeff Beck, Morning Dew (from Truth)
Jeff Beck Group, Plynth (Water Down The Drain) (from Beck-ola)
Jeff Beck, Wild Thing (UK-only single, 1986, Beck lead vocals)
Split Enz, What’s The Matter With You
Deep Purple, Strange King Of Woman (live, from Made in Japan)
Bruce Hornsby, Talk Of The Town
Social Distortion, I Was Wrong
Carole King, Corazon
Warren Zevon, The Sin (live, from Stand In The Fire)
Joe Jackson, Throw It Away
The Yardbirds, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on guitars)
Jeff Beck, Rock My Plimsoul (from Truth)
Jeff Beck, Freeway Jam (from Jeff Beck with The Jan Hammer Group Live)
Jeff Beck, Big Block (from Guitar Shop)
Beck, Bogert, Appice, Jizz Whizz (previously unreleased track, recorded 1973, issued on Beckology box set, 1991)
Jeff Beck Group, Going Down (from Jeff Beck Group ‘orange’ album)
Jeff Beck, Gets Us All In The End (from Flash)
The Band, (I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes (live, from Rock Of Ages)My track-by-track tales:
Muddy Waters, All Aboard (from Fathers and Sons featuring Otis Spann, Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, Sam Lay and Buddy Miles) . . . Not much more to say beyond my list of who plays on Muddy’s 1969 album, other than it’s great. It was wonderful how, as an elder statesman of the blues by then, Muddy’s ‘sons’ flocked to help him out on albums, including as the decade of the 1970s progressed, Johnny Winter who played on and produced three late period Muddy albums plus the fabulous Muddy ‘Mississippi’ Waters live record.
The Chieftains with The Rolling Stones, The Rocky Road To Dublin . . . Listen closely and you’ll hear the Stones sneak a little snippet of the Satisfaction riff into this 19th century traditional covered by the Irish band. It’s from 1995’s The Long Black Veil album, a collaborative effort that, besides the Stones, featured Mick Jagger on another track, Marianne Faithfull, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits fame, Sinead O’Connor, Sting, Tom Jones and Van Morrison.
The Rolling Stones, Surprise, Surprise . . . I always play the Stones, my favorite band, my show, my rules…although I wasn’t going to necessarily do that once I got the Saturday morning gig in addition to my longtime Monday show. But I can’t help myself. Here are the rules, if anyone cares. Every Monday there’s a Stones’ track, or something Stones-related, from what I call Stones, Inc. ie solo material from any band member or associate, past and present. Saturdays: I’m not committed (although I probably should be) to the Stones in terms of my set list but…here they are again. Anyway, I was of two minds for Saturday’s show. This track, Surprise, Surprise, an early, up-tempo number from 1965 I’ve always liked. Or, another early Stones’ song, The Spider and The Fly but done up for the 1995 semi-acoustic live album Stripped. In the end, I chose Surprise, Surprise because I thought it fit with me playing a Chieftains track which may not be so unusual in that I’m into all forms of music but perhaps unusual given my usual fare on the show. But of course, the random element was the Stones’ participation. And enough about that, time to move on to the next song. Thank Christ, I hear the chorus.
James Brown, I’ll Go Crazy (from Live at The Apollo) . . . Short, sweet, kick butt stuff from the “Hardest Working Man In Show Business’, the “Godfather of Soul’ and he who went by assorted other nicknames, via one of the greatest live albums of all time. It was recorded in late 1962 in Harlem and released in 1963. There wound up being four ‘live at the Apollo’ albums – Vol II in 1968, Revolution Of The Mind: Live At The Apollo Vol. III, from 1971 and Live At The Apollo 1995, the last live album Brown recorded before his death in 2006. All are excellent, typically high-energy James Brown, to me not much to choose between them musically, because as many artists repeatedly prove, as they age they can still ‘bring it’. But the original remains arguably definitive as a landmark album that cemented Brown’s reputation critically and commercially.
Tom Cochrane, Willie Dixon Said . . . I like a lot of Tom Cochrane’s work including his days in Red Rider, the obvious hits, Big League, Life Is A Highway, the Red Rider stuff like Lunatic Fringe, Light In The Tunnel/Human Race, Napoleon Sheds His Skin, the latter three of which I’ve played over time on the show. As for this Willie Dixon-themed tune, I must admit that, years ago, when you had to buy music, I bought Cochrane’s Xray Sierra album specifically for this cut in honor of one of the blues greats. Here’s a tease: He’s got another, similar, great one, about boxer Muhammad Ali. I played it long ago. I’ll play it again soon.
Jeff Beck, Beck’s Bolero (from Truth) . . . Interesting track in terms of songwriting. It’s always credited to Jimmy Page but if you read up on it, Beck claimed credit too, but never apparently got one. Wouldn’t be the first time Jimmy Page was involved in a songwriting controversy yet somehow he and Beck remained friends, apparently. Great track, in any event, featuring a supergroup – Beck, Page, future Zep bassist/keyboard player John Paul Jones and The Who’s drummer Keith Moon. Beck opens with it on the Live At Ronnie Scott’s album/DVD/Blu-ray and streaming, also on YouTube, a concert worth checking out.
Jeff Beck, Diamond Dust (from Blow By Blow) . . . Beautiful stuff from a terrific album.
Jeff Beck, Morning Dew (from Truth) . . . A song by Canadian writer Bonnie Dobson covered by so many including Nazareth and the Grateful Dead. Among the covers, I’ve always found it difficult to choose between the Nazareth and Jeff Beck Group versions. But since much of this set is in tribute to the late great Beck, here’s the version from the groundbreaking Truth album, lead vocals of course by Rod Stewart.
Jeff Beck Group, Plynth (Water Down The Drain) (from Beck-ola) . . . Cool stop start sort of track, written by Rod Stewart, Ron Wood and Nicky Hopkins for the second, and last, album by the first incarnation of The Jeff Beck Group.
Jeff Beck, Wild Thing (UK-only single, 1986, Beck lead vocals) . . . If you go back through Jeff Beck’s material dating to the Yardbirds, he could sing as well as play guitar. Maybe not perfectly, maybe not a true vocalist, but not too shabby, actually. This version of The Troggs hit got wider exposure via Beck’s 1991 box set release, Beckology. It’s an amazing 3-CD compilation. So good, in fact, that in tribute to Beck I considered just playing Beckology for Saturday morning or, at least, as much of it as I could squeeze in in two hours. But, I had a show planned already, then adjusted upon the sad news of Beck’s death, for a half-Beck, half other artists set.
Split Enz, What’s The Matter With You . . . Remember these guys? Some of the key members eventually morphed into Crowded House. Split Enz’s big hit was I Got You but I’ve always preferred this track which wasn’t even a single, although it had fairly good airplay at the time, 1980, in Canada, at least.
Deep Purple, Strange King Of Woman (live, from Made in Japan) . . . Total play off the Split Enz track ie what’s the matter with you, you strange kind of woman but of course totally different genres, the hard rock of Purple live vs the pop/new wave of Split Enz. But, it all works in musicland, I say.
Bruce Hornsby, Talk Of The Town . . . Not sure when the last time was, or if there was such a time, that I played Bruce Hornsby. Beyond the two obvious hits he had, way back when, The Way It Is and The Valley Road, he’s an interesting/amazing artist, on his own, in sessions, and on the road in latter day versions of the Grateful Dead. Much respect to artists like him who do what moves them rather than what might bring them commercial success. So, in that sense, he especially belongs in a set largely dedicated to a similar artist, the late great Jeff Beck. Lovely piano as one would expect from Hornsby on a compelling tune about an interracial romance.
Social Distortion, I Was Wrong . . . I got into Social Distortion via this song, from the 1996 album White Light, White Heat, White Trash back when commercial rock radio was still at least occasionally playing new material by relatively new bands, or even new music from longstanding bands. Social Distortion was into their fifth studio album by then, but thankfully I heard it and became a fan. Great lyrics.
Carole King, Corazon . . . Funky, Santana-esque track, something many might not expect from the singer-songwriter who produced the amazing Tapestry album, released in 1971. Corazon is from King’s Fantasy album, two years after Tapestry. I pulled it from a compilation I bought years ago, The Essential Carole King. It’s a nicely done compilation. The first CD features King as singer/songwriter/performer. The second disc is her songwriting, as done by others including well-known tunes like The Monkees’ Pleasant Valley Sunday and Little Eva’s The Loco-Motion, also done by Grand Funk Railroad.
Warren Zevon, The Sin (live, from Stand In The Fire) . . . To my knowledge, this is the only version available of this song, recorded live in 1980 in West Hollywood, California. It was a new song at the time, debuted live, rock and roll, and there it sits on the Stand In The Fire album. The album was released in 1980 but quickly became hard to find, going out of print, apparently, before I had a chance to buy it. It finally was re-released on CD in 2007. Well worth having/listening to, all available online now of course. But be wary. Online stuff doesn’t always stay there.
Joe Jackson, Throw It Away . . . I played JJ’s A Slow Song last Saturday so I figured I’d go with one of his fast ones this week. Just to show him that he, too, often turned music into the ‘savage beast’ he referenced in A Slow Song. And that’s great. Killer stuff from his debut, Look Sharp!
The Yardbirds, Happenings Ten Years Time Ago (Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on guitars) . . . Back into the late great Jeff Beck we go on this rousing Yardbirds team-up featuring two of that band’s legendary guitarists, the other being Eric Clapton.
Jeff Beck, Rock My Plimsoul (from Truth) . . . It’s hard to find words for the songs on Truth. The album is ridiculously great – a template for so much of the hard, bluesy rock it influenced.
Jeff Beck, Freeway Jam (from Jeff Beck with The Jan Hammer Group Live) . . . This is why Jeff Beck was so great. He stepped out, into other genres, with different musicians, often on his previous tunes, like this one that first appeared on Blow By Blow, while incorporating all of it into who and what he was.
Jeff Beck, Big Block (from Guitar Shop) . . . I always owned it but didn’t fully get into Guitar Shop until I heard a live version of this track on a later Jeff Beck release, Jeff Beck Live + from 2015. So, I went back to the original studio version and, as often happens, was rewarded. Worth the price of admission for the intro alone.
Beck, Bogert, Appice, Jizz Whizz (previously unreleased track, recorded 1973, issued on Beckology box set, 1991) . . . From the early 1970s power trio, Beck and two-thirds of the original Vanilla Fudge, on a previously-unreleased 1973 recording that only saw the light of day on the aforementioned Beckology box.
Jeff Beck Group, Going Down (from Jeff Beck Group ‘orange’ album, 1972) . . . Great cover of the Don Nix classic by the second Jeff Beck Group, this one comprised of Beck, Bobby Tench (vocals), Max Middleton (keyboards), Clive Chaman (bass) and Cozy Powell (drums) as opposed to the original Beck group featuring Rod Stewart on lead vocals and Ronnie Wood on bass.
Jeff Beck, Gets Us All In The End (from Flash) . . . Killer riffology to start the track, which suffers a bit from 1980s overproduction. It was released in 1985 but yet another indication of Beck’s guitar prowess.
The Band, (I Don’t Want To) Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes (live, from Rock Of Ages) . . . A friend of mine mentioned he was listening to this album the other night, New Year’s Eve in fact which is when much of the album was recorded as 1971 passed into 1972. So, as always, a thought is planted and I play something. Hanging it up now, until Monday’s show.
This week’s show features music not heard previously on this show, selected from the #PunkandNewWaveClassics tournament on Twitter that can be found on the “Everything 80’s” feed curated by @Oliver_Shergold. Check it out by clicking here!
My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.
Peter Gabriel, On The Air
Elton John, Funeral For A Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)
Styx, Miss America
Neil Young, Motorcycle Mama
The Rolling Stones, If You Really Want To Be My Friend
Phil Collins, Thru These Walls
Harry Chapin, Taxi
Harry Chapin, Sequel
Marianne Faithfull, Reason To Believe
The White Stripes, One More Cup Of Coffee
Bob Dylan, Sara
Roxy Music, While My Heart Is Still Beating
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, No Man’s Land
Fleetwood Mac, Bermuda Triangle
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Taxman
Ringo Starr, Back Off Boogaloo
The Flying Burrito Brothers, Lazy Days
Robert Plant/Alison Krauss, Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)
The Allman Brothers Band, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (live, At Fillmore East album version)
The Alan Parsons Project, The Turn Of A Friendly Card (The Turn Of A Friendly Card, Pt. 1/Snake Eyes/The Ace of Swords/Nothing Left To Lose/The Turn Of A Friendly Card, Pt. 2)
Set list with my track-by-track tales
Peter Gabriel, On The Air . . . Gabriel’s first four solo albums were all simply called ‘Peter Gabriel’ so they came to be known by their album covers. This is from his second album, the ‘scratch’ record. No big hits but it’s arguably one of his most interesting albums, not least due to the presence of guitarist Robert Fripp, of King Crimson fame, on many of the songs.
Elton John, Funeral For A Friend (Love Lies Bleeding) . . . Classic, epic opener from the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. So why didn’t I open with it today? Well, I did open a show with it a few years ago. And I was going to again, but then decided Gabriel’s tune fit better, by title.
Styx, Miss America . . . Not a big Styx fan, one of my younger brothers was so I couldn’t help but know their stuff, and this rocker is one of their best, in my opinion.
Neil Young, Motorcycle Mama . . . From 1978’s Comes A Time, with the late Nicolette Larson sharing lead vocals with Young.
The Rolling Stones, If You Really Want To Be My Friend . . . Lovely ballad from the It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll album, featuring Philadelphia soul crooners Blue Magic on backing vocals.
Phil Collins, Thru These Walls . . . Phil Collins pretty much lost me after his first two solo albums but I like this spooky track from the second album, Hello, I Must Be Going! It was the first single released, albeit only in the UK, where it only managed to make No. 56 on the charts. Much more successful was the album’s second single, the worldwide smash cover of You Can’t Hurry Love, the song made famous by The Supremes.
Harry Chapin, Taxi . . . The story of Harry the cab driver and Sue, his old flame.
Harry Chapin, Sequel . . . Eight years later, in 1980 for his album Sequel, Chapin picks up the story, as they meet again . . . It’s a beautiful pairing of songs, with the touching ending: “I guess it’s a sequel to our story, from the journey ‘tween Heaven and Hell, with half the time thinking of what might have been and half thinkin’ just as well . . . I guess only time will tell.” Chapin, a noted philanthropist, died in a traffic accident in July of 1981, at age 38, on his way to playing at a benefit concert. I remember hearing the report on the radio.
Marianne Faithfull, Reason To Believe . . . Faithfull’s 1967 cover of the 1965 Tim Hardin classic, done by many artists including The Carpenters and Rod Stewart, to great effect, on his 1971 album, Every Picture Tells A Story. The B-side of Stewart’s single version was Maggie May, which radio stations started playing more than the A-side as Maggie May became a huge hit. As for the Faithfull version, her at this point sweet vocals are a sharp contrast to the later world-weary sound of her voice, changed by drug abuse and cigarettes, as it appeared on her big 1979 comeback album, Broken English. It’s like listening to two different artists, and both sound great, suited to the songs.
The White Stripes, One More Cup Of Coffee . . . Cover of one of my favorite Bob Dylan tunes, from his 1976 album, Desire.
Bob Dylan, Sara . . . Speaking of the Desire album . . . Again, inspiration coming from everywhere and anywhere, a friend of mine mentioned he was listening to the album last week, which prompted me to think of One More Cup Of Coffee and others among my favorites from the record. This is one of them, a touching love song to Dylan’s then-estranged wife Sara, who visited the studio when he recorded it, telling her ‘this is for you.” They later reconciled, but finally divorced in 1977.
Roxy Music, While My Heart Is Still Beating . . . Yet another beautiful song from the wonderful Avalon album, a lovely soundscape from start to finish.
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, No Man’s Land . . . Haven’t played Seger in a while, and a great one this is, musically and lyrically, from the Against The Wind album. The album wound up knocking Pink Floyd’s The Wall from its No. 1 perch atop the charts.
Fleetwood Mac, Bermuda Triangle . . . Haunting track from the fifth and final album, Heroes Are Hard To Find, of the guitarist/songwriter Bob Welch period of Fleetwood Mac. It’s the middle, arguably underappreciated time between the early, Peter Green-led blues band and the later Stevie Nicks-Lindsey Buckingham commercial behemoth.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Taxman . . . Cover of the Beatles/George Harrison tune, which I played recently, that appeared on Vaughan’s posthumously-released first greatest hits album in 1995. According to the album’s liner notes, the song was done for a never-completed animated film project initiated by Michael Jackson, who owned the publishing rights to The Beatles’ catalog. The record company suggested Vaughan’s band do Taxman, but what band members have described as ‘Howlin’ Wolf Sings The Beatles’ due to the growly vocals, remained unreleased until after Vaughan’s death.
Ringo Starr, Back Off Boogaloo . . . Ringo usually employed outside songwriters, include his fellow Beatles. This is one he wrote himself, inspired by a conversation with Marc Bolan of T-Rex, who used the phrase Ringo wound up taking as inspiration and song title. Among the players on the tune are George Harrison (slide guitar), Gary Wright (keyboards) and longtime Beatles’ associate Klaus Voorman (bass), who appeared on several solo albums by the various members except for Paul McCartney.
The Flying Burrito Brothers, Lazy Days . . . Infectious country/rockabilly toe-tapper written by Gram Parsons.
Robert Plant/Alison Krauss, Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) . . . While Jimmy Page continues to spend his time re-remastering and re-releasing Led Zeppelin albums for the billionth time, Robert Plant just gets on with interesting things like the wonderful 2007 collaboration with country/bluegrass artist Krauss that resulted in the Raising Sand album. This is their version of the Everly Brothers song. In 2021, the duo released their second album together, Raise The Roof.
The Allman Brothers Band, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed (live, At Fillmore East album version) . . . One of the band’s finest of many instrumentals written by guitarist Dickey Betts, about a woman he was involved with. Betts used the name of a woman he saw on a headstone in a cemetery as a means of cloaking the real person’s identity.
The Alan Parsons Project, The Turn Of A Friendly Card (The Turn Of A Friendly Card, Pt. 1/Snake Eyes/The Ace of Swords/Nothing Left To Lose/The Turn Of A Friendly Card, Pt. 2) . . . Epic 16-minute track broken down into five individual songs, from the prog band’s 1980 album.
My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.
Led Zeppelin, Out On The Tiles
Billy Joel, Travelin’ Prayer
David Bowie, Up The Hill Backwards
Bad Company, Crazy Circles
Taste, Blister On The Moon
The Rolling Stones, Ventilator Blues
The Kinks, Art Lover
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Runaway Trains
The Byrds, The Day Walk (Never Before)
Eric Clapton, Sign Language
Genesis, The Musical Box
Joe Jackson, A Slow Song
Dire Straits, Millionaire Blues
The Cars, Double Life
George Harrison, Crackerbox Palace
The Who, Drowned
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Comin’ Home
Rod Stewart, Gasoline Alley
Beck, Bogert & Appice, Superstition
Peter Green, White Sky (Love That Evil Woman)
Spooky Tooth, Evil Woman
Frank Zappa, The Torture Never Stops
Set list with my track-by-track tales:
Led Zeppelin, Out On The Tiles . . . Da doona doona doona doona….My vocalization of that infectious I’d describe as descending riff on this one from Zep III. I always remember my older brother’s original vinyl copy cover sleeve with the spinner thing (called a volvelle, or wheel chart) – via which one could spin to see the various images through holes in the front cover. Endless fun while listenig to the record.
Billy Joel, Travelin’ Prayer . . . Country/bluegrass banjo-driven blast of fun which was the third single from Joel’s 1973 Piano Man album. The single did fairly well, inside the top 60 depending on the chart. Country artists loved it. Earl Scruggs covered it in 1974 and Dolly Parton earned a 1999 Grammy Award nomination for her version.
David Bowie, Up The Hill Backwards . . . Ashes To Ashes and Fashion were the big hits on Bowie’s 1980 album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), but Up The Hill Backwards is arguably the album’s most interesting track. I always find it to be one of those songs that, when one hears it, it’s ‘oh yeah, I remember this one’ because you’d listened to the full album and without you realizing it, all the tracks embedded themselves in your consciousness. As a single, though, the song was arguably too complex for mass consumption, making ‘only’ No. 32 in the UK and No. 49 in Canada.
Bad Company, Crazy Circles . . . I’ve always liked this one, the maybe obvious lyrics nevertheless working their magic on my then age 20 mind, second year of college and the world continuing to reveal itself. The song was the B-side to the hit Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy.
Taste, Blister On The Moon . . . A, er, blistering track from the Rory Gallagher-led band’s self-titled debut album in 1969.
The Rolling Stones, Ventilator Blues . . . Hypnotic track from Exile On Main St. and one of only two songs on which guitarist Mick Taylor received an official writing credit alongside Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The other is Criss Cross, an outtake from 1973’s Goats Head Soup that didn’t see official release until a 2020 re-release featuring assorted demos and previously unreleased tracks. I’ll have to do a Stones (or anyone’s) previously unreleased bonus tracks show at some point – just a matter of getting off my lazy butt and doing it.
The Kinks, Art Lover . . . Lovely tune musically, possibly creepy lyrically, apparently written from the perspective of a pervert/stalker. But as Ray Davies said, it’s deliberately ambiguous. It’s worth reading about on ‘song meaning’ sites.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Runaway Trains . . . Let Me Up (I’ve Had Enough) is something of a ‘lost’ album amid Petty’s best known/big hit works, and it took a while for it to resonate with me. But it’s one of those albums, and this track is an indication of that, that rewards repeat listens.
The Byrds, The Day Walk (Never Before) . . . A bit of a Satisfaction riff drives this Gene Clark-penned track, an outtake from 1965’s Turn! Turn! Turn! album. It didn’t come out until later re-releases of the record. It’s a nice tune, but, some stories suggest, it was originally left off the album due to the other band members’ resentment of Clark’s songwriting dominance within the group. He wrote or co-wrote many of the early Byrds’ hits like I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better and Eight Miles High, among others.
Eric Clapton, Sign Language . . . When The Band released their influential debut album, Music From Big Pink, in 1968, Clapton was quoted as saying he wanted to be in The Band. He never was, although their sound influenced his post-Cream work and he sort of joined them, or they joined him, as all The Band members appeared on Clapton’s 1976 album No Reason To Cry – on which this Bob Dylan-written song appears. Dylan and Clapton share vocals on the song, which Dylan himself never officially released. Ronnie Wood plays guitar on the track and wound up getting another Dylan song, Seven Days, out of the deal. Dylan originally offered it to Clapton, who declined it, but Wood recorded it for his 1979 album, Gimme Some Neck. Joe Cocker also covered Seven Days on his 1982 album Sheffield Steel.
Genesis, The Musical Box . . . Never box yourself in, musically, I say. So we go from the roots sort of rock of Clapton’s tune to some prog with Genesis, who I have not played in a while.
Joe Jackson, A Slow Song . . . I was going to stick this in the middle of my hard rock/metal show last Saturday, just for a laugh amid the mayhem, given JJ’s lyrical diatribe about some people turning music into a ‘savage beast’. I probably should have, but in the end just carried on because, Joe, love your music but, to again quote from A Slow Song’s lyrics, you might get tired of DJs but, sorry, it IS always what he (me) plays. So there. Great tune from a great album – 1982’s Night and Day – by one of my favorite artists.
Dire Straits, Millionaire Blues . . . Typical fun, cynical lyrics from Mark Knopfler on this somewhat obscure track which was originally on the CD and 12-inch vinyl single versions of Calliing Elvis, from the last Dire Straits album, 1991’s On Every Street. I saw that tour. Excellent, but what else would one expect from Knopfler/Dire Straits?
The Cars, Double Life . . . Third single from the second Cars album, 1979’s Candy-O. It didn’t chart after the hits Let’s Go and It’s All I Can Do but to me, it’s arguably the best of the three, albeit probably not as instantly catchy which is the usual driving force for singles.
George Harrison, Crackerbox Palace . . . Great track, a top 20 single from Harrison’s 1976 album 33 and 1/3.
The Who, Drowned . . . A discussion with my two sons about The Beatles on Thursday afternoon led me down a YouTube rabbit hole that settled on some Roger Daltrey interviews, wherein he was singing the praises of Pete Townshend as a writer and Quadrophenia as an album. So, inspiration wonderfully coming from anywhere and everywhere, I dug into that album and picked out this great rocker which, apparently, was one of all Who band members’ favorite tracks to play live. Another one of those Who tracks (arguably all of them) where Keith Moon’s unique let’s call it rat-a-tat drumming style is so evident.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Comin’ Home . . . Early, beautiful Skynyrd from the post-plane crash posthumous release, Skynyrd’s First and . . . Last album which was later expanded and re-released as Skynyrd’s First: The Complete Muscle Shoals Album. It features early tracks, recorded in 1971 and 1972, originally intended for release as the band’s debut album. That plan was shelved and 1973’s Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd instead became the official debut. The First and . . . Last sessions included Rickey Medlocke on drums on many of the songs, although he doesn’t play on Comin’ Home. Medlocke later formed Blackfoot and returned, as a guitarist, to post-crash versions of Skynyrd and he’s been in latter-day versions of the group since 1997.
Rod Stewart, Gasoline Alley . . . Title cut, written by Stewart and Ronnie Wood> It’s from Stewart’s second solo album, during the 1969-74 period when Stewart could seemingly do no wrong while maintaining parallel careers as a solo artist along with his lead vocal/frontman duties with Faces – most of whom backed him on his solo work.
Beck, Bogert & Appice, Superstition . . . Cover of the Stevie Wonder hit by the power trio of guitarist Jeff Beck, bassist/singer Tim Bogert and drummer/singer Carmine Appice, from the one and only studio album released by BBA, in 1973. The song has its genesis in a jam between Beck and Wonder, with Wonder giving it to Beck for the BBA album originally scheduled to be released before Wonder’s Talking Book. However, Wonder’s version wound up coming out first, was an obvious massive hit, and the rest is history, as the saying goes. Wonder’s is the definitive version, but the BBA one ain’t bad, either.
Peter Green, White Sky (Love That Evil Woman) . . . Extended piece, title cut from Green’s 1982 album and likely my favorite of the original Fleetwood Mac leader’s solo songs.
Spooky Tooth, Evil Woman . . . Gary Wright, later of Dream Weaver fame, wrote most of Spooky Tooth’s stuff but this one was written by American musician Larry Weiss, perhaps best known as the writer of Glen Campbell’s No. 1 hit Rhinestone Cowboy. Spooky Tooth’s heavy, nine-minute version was released on the band’s second album, Spooky Two, in 1969. Weiss recorded his own song, in a three-minute version that appeared, along with Rhinestone Cowboy, on his 1974 Black and Blue Suite album.
Frank Zappa, The Torture Never Stops . . . Bluesy, extended piece from Zappa’s 1976 album Zoot Allures.
Bloomfield/Kooper/Stills, Stop . . . And so we come to a stop, until Monday’s show, with this instrumental from the classic Super Session album, 1968. It features multi-intrumentalist and producer Al Kooper along with guitarists Mike Bloomfield (on this track) and Stephen Stills.
Public Service Announcements: Doug Ford is forcing unsustainable urban sprawl on municipalities.
Thanks to listeners at CFRU-FM in Guelph! The concerns of youth with climate change. Henriette tells how she got involved in social and economic justice. The organizations in Waterloo Region involved in climate justice: Faith groups, a group to write letters to the editor, there’s an e-newsletter that goes to over 100 members, TransformWR workshops and webinars, and Bill-23 rallies. And Henriette still has time for other interests like music! Introducing the next song, in recognition of climate anxiety affecting all ages.
Public Service Announcement: Doug Ford is threatening to override our sustainable Regional official plan.
Kevin gives his background, how he got involved in environmental justice. How Waterloo Region set up its own environmental protections. Kevin helped set up a greenbelt area in Europe, from Finland to Bulgaria. Now the provincial goverment is coming to take away Waterloo Region’s protections. Kevin still has time to raise his children in the outdoors. Kevin introduces the next song.
Kevin has seen Sarah Harmer in concert, Henriette hasn’t, but loves her music. Jeff introduces the next PSA.
Public Service Announcement: Despite our unique global success…
Henriette explains how these PSAs address the issues in fighting Bill 23 in three ways: 1) There are real-world effects of political decisions, eg. housing shortages. 2) These real-world effects are not just affecting people, but creatures and whole ecosystems. Bill 23 is undoing the work that has been done to see how interconnected we really are. 3) Bill 23 is undermining trust in government and politicians. Without trust the fabric of society comes apart. Kevin says over 41 individuals and community groups provided funding for producing the PSAs. Fighting Bill 23 has brought together groups that have never worked together before, that were at odds with each other over other issues. The previous PSA was specific to Waterloo Region like our Regional Plan, a bold document which has set the tone for the entire region. It has done things that were rarely done before, eg. the Blue Box program, the LRT, the Countryside Line. Other areas like Hamilton are now emulating our success, eg. the LRT and stopping urban sprawl. Our plans were unanimously supported by the Region’s municipalities, but the province just overrode that by requiring growth on farmland and the Greenbelt. Henriette acknowledges the support of the Small Change Fund, how it has enabled their group to communicate broadly and deeply about important matters. Kevin says we’re lucky to live in this community with groups to bring their resources together: Kevin’s environmental contacts, Henriette’s faith-based groups, Jeff’s agricultural people. The entire community needs to be involved, there are opportunities for everyone, eg. submitting comments on the Environmental Registry of Ontario to give suggestions indicate concerns. Some consultations are getting tens of thousands of comments from people across the province, almost unanimously opposing these plans. Henriette says Indigenous leaders are saying that the provice has not exercised its duty to consult with First Nations. She finds it inconceivable that governments can trample over people’s rights. Kevin is disturbed by the lack of response — protests are held in front of empty offices, where the politicians and staff have been told to not come in to work to avoid the protests. Henriette introduces the next song, which provides hope that another world is possible.
Public Service Announcement: Doug Ford has just used his majority to force Bill 23 into law.
Kevin brings a positive message, other countries are making good environmental decisions. Henriette gives tribute to the young environmental leaders, Indigenous leaders, and land defenders from East Africa, and partners from Kairos who spoke at COP27 and the biodiversity event in Montréal. Henriette stongly encourages everyone who has been hesitating to get involved to do it now: Write your MPP, write a letter to the editor, submit a comment to the Ontario Environmental Registry. Do it now. Contact, reach out, learn, and get involved. Don’t delay.
My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.
Fight, Into The Pit
Queen, We Will Rock You (fast version, from Live Killers)
Alannah Myles, Rock This Joint
Triumph, Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine
Montrose, Space Station #5
Stray, Feel Like I’ve Been Here Before
Hawkwind, Silver Machine
Judas Priest, Painkiller
KK’s Priest, Hellfire Thunderbolt
Ted Nugent, Stranglehold
The Beatles, Helter Skelter
The J. Geils Band, Musta Got Lost (live, including Peter Wolf stage rap, from Blow Your Face Out)
Midnight Oil, Redneck Wonderland
Status Quo, Big Fat Mama
Deep Purple, Lady Double Dealer
The Rolling Stones, Lies
Budgie, Crash Course In Brain Surgery
Black Sabbath, Supernaut (Ozzy Osbourne vocals)
Black Sabbath, Neon Knights (Ronnie James Dio vocals)
Black Sabbath, Digital Bitch (Ian Gillan vocals)
Black Sabbath, Get A Grip (Tony Martin vocals)
Thin Lizzy, The Rocker
AC/DC, The Furor
Headstones, Flight Risk
Iron Maiden, 2 Minutes To Midnight
Set list with my track-by-track tales:
Fight, Into The Pit . . . A thrash metal scorcher from Rob Halford’s short-lived band, early 1990s, during a period when the lead singer left Judas Priest. Priest carried on for two studio and a couple live albums and concert video releases with Tim “Ripper” Owens, a Halford sound-alike recruited from a Priest tribute band, on lead vocals. Owens departed when Halford returned but has since returned to the Priest fold as that band has splintered. Owens is now lead singer for former Priest guitarist KK Downing’s band KK’s Priest, a track of whose I’m playing later in the set.
Queen, We Will Rock You (fast version, from Live Killers) . . . I’ll never forget them opening with this when I saw the Jazz album tour at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens in early December, 1978, a couple months after the album’s release. In those pre-internet and instant information availability days, the speeded up arrangement version was a total, fantastic surprise in what was one of the best concerts I’ve seen. Blistering. Queen closed the show with We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions in the version as it appeared on the double single from 1977’s News Of The World studio album, followed by their usual instrumental closer, God Save the (then) Queen.
Alannah Myles, Rock This Joint . . . The song and the title fit my mood in putting this show together. It’s from her 1989 debut album, the one featuring the blockbuster single Black Velvet.
Triumph, Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine . . . Title cut from the Canadian hard rockers’ second album, released in 1977. I’m not a big Triumph fan. I thought a lot of their later stuff – when they were actually more commercially successful, certainly in the US market – suffered from 1980s overproduction, although I probably haven’t investigated it thoroughly enough although I just checked out one of their, apparently, hits, A World Of Fantasy (it’s on their first compilation album) and, ugh but it’s approaching Starship schlock, to my ears. To each one’s own of course but how does such shit appeal to people?All that said, I do like Triumph’s earlier material, like Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine. I suppose it comes down to four Triumph tracks, for me, counting Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine. The other three, in no particular order, if anyone’s interested:
* Lay It On The Line – which, music often being a place and time thing, reminds me of a college girlfriend and our relationship. I remember the song playing one night, on the radio, when I was at her place and how it resonated. We broke up soon after, maybe due to the song, maybe not, but in some ways, although never look back, one of those ‘what-if’ scenarios albeit in what was in the end an insignificant, early relationship.
* Rocky Mountain Way, Triumph’s cover of the Joe Walsh/Barnstorm band tune.
* Blinding Light Show/Moonchild, an epic hard rock/prog combo track from the debut album that I’ve previously played on the show, and will again.
Montrose, Space Station #5 . . .Well, I spent way too much time on Triumph than I intended to. Might happen with Montrose, too. It’s how my mind sometimes works. Originally, I just had that Rock ‘n’ Roll Machine was the title cut of Triumph’s 1977 album, but reconsidered and thought I should say more, so then my stream of consciousness thought process got the better of me, perhaps. On to Montrose, which reminds me of what I love about music, almost as much of the actual music and that’s the various threads and connections, which results in people (not me, so far) making money from things like designing and writing about rock family trees. It’s true of any industry, of course, but music is a popular culture thing so it’s arguably of more interest, especially to obsessives like me. So . . . Guitarist Ronnie Montrose, the titular head of the band, was originally a session musician and played on such albums as Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey (one of my favorites), which was produced by Ted Templeman, who produced the first Montrose album, and later produced the early Van Halen albums and then co-produced For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, by which time Sammy Hagar, Montrose’s original lead singer, was three albums into and firmly in place replacing David Lee Roth as Van Halen’s singer. Montrose was also in Edgar Winter’s band, specifically for the album They Only Come Out At Night and hit singles Frankenstein and Free Ride. As for Space Station #5, the title says it – a ‘spacey’ rocker, and a good one.
Stray, Feel Like I’ve Been Here Before . . . Perfect song, because I’ve said this before but bears repeating. I discovered Stray via a compilation, I’m A Freak, Baby – A Journey Through the British Heavy Rock and Underground Scene, 1968-72 that a friend excitedly recommended to me years ago now. “You have to get this!’ he advised me one night on Facebook Messenger. So, I got it, the 3-CD compilation that was released in 2016. Later, I was the one recommending he get the subsequent “I’m A Freak Baby 2” comp that came out three years later, expanding the palate to include 1973. And there’s a ‘Freak Baby’ third compilation, issued in 2021, all of them excellent. As for Stray, I liked the band so much via the one track – All In Your Mind which I’ve played before – on the original Freak Baby comp that I bought a Stray anthology, from which I discovered this ‘galloping’ track. Future Iron Maiden members were probably listening, and planning.
Hawkwind, Silver Machine . . . Lemmy Kilmister’s band before he formed Motorhead. And, in a hard rock show, I forgot to play Motorhead, today at least. Next time. Which might be as soon as Saturday morning’s show. Or not. I might go totally singer-songwriter acoustic, depends on mood. Stay tuned.
Judas Priest, Painkiller . . . And so it is, intentionally, that after my opening cut, by the Rob Halford-led Fight, we come ’round to Judas Priest via the thrash metal title track to arguably Priest’s heaviest album, from 1990. Intense stuff.
KK’s Priest, Hellfire Thunderbolt . . . And intense is also this, from the aforementioned band formed by former Priest guitarist KK Downing, featuring former Priest singer Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens. As someone on YouTube commented: ‘there’s now 2 Priests? I’m in heaven!’ Or hell. I agree.
Ted Nugent, Stranglehold . . . Heavy, hypnotic riff. Not necessarily a fan of the man’s politics but his music that I like, I like, a lot. Always cracks me up with some people who, when an entertainer comes out with views they might disagree with, state (usually in self-righteous public fashion these days on social media) that said entertainer is dead to them. Fine, whatever. But you’re going to give up what entertains you simply due to a differing point of view? 1. Sounds strange and narrow-minded to me. 2. I doubt such people actually do give it up, although they’d never admit to it.
The Beatles, Helter Skelter . . . The Beatles were often trailblazers and some have suggested this might be the first heavy metal tune, from 1968’s White Album albeit I’d dispute that given some prior work by the likes of, say, Link Wray and so many others. It’s actually hilarious, at least in one video I’ve seen, which purports to reveal who originated heavy metal but no answer is arrived at after the host goes through just about anyone with even the slightest connection to the genre. Put it this way: stuff evolves; everything is influenced by everything else, the present is built on the past. In any event, obviously a great tune, blisters on Ringo’s fingers included.
The J. Geils Band, Musta Got Lost (live, including Peter Wolf stage rap, from Blow Your Face Out) . . . This might actually be the slowest-paced song among all these fast songs today, in part due to the inherent slowdown of Geils’ lead singer Peter Wolf’s classic rap to open the song, which was one of the fairly successful hit singles Geils had before the massive commercial heights of the Freeze Frame album era that featured such hits as Centerfold.
Midnight Oil, Redneck Wonderland . . . One might not typically think Midnight Oil belongs in a hard rock set but they went close to metallic on this title cut from the Australian band’s 1998 album. Love it. And I love the cover art – a kangaroo toting a rifle. Two years later, I was covering the Sydney Olympics for my newspaper and saw such a kangaroo employed as security. Just kidding. I did see kangaroos, in an enclosure at the media village. No rifles.
Status Quo, Big Fat Mama . . . Another kick-butt rocker from the appropriately titled Piledriver album.
Deep Purple, Lady Double Dealer . . . Aren’t they all? Kidding. Maybe. From the Stormbringer album. I, and I think a lot of Purple fans, have never understood Ritchie Blackmore’s dislike of the 1974 record, the last of the so-called Mark III version of Purple with Blackmore on guitar and featuring lead vocalist David Coverdale and bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes. Too funky for Blackmore’s tastes yet, and I’m no guitar expert, his playing seems more than fine to me including on this rocker. Who can truly know the creative, mercurial mind? In any case, Blackmore was soon on to form Rainbow.
The Rolling Stones, Lies . . . Stones go particularly punk on this one from Some Girls. I used to consider it one of the weaker cuts on the excellent album, too overtly an attempt at putting it to the punk rockers who had called out by then establishment bands like the Stones, who of course were among the original punks, but it’s grown on me over time. Had it been, say, a Ramones song, it likely would be on a greatest hits compilation by that band which, while great and influential and I like them, arguably just did the same song over and over.
Budgie, Crash Course In Brain Surgery . . . Short, sweet, typically great riff rock from Budgie.
Black Sabbath, Supernaut (Ozzy Osbourne vocals) . . . I probably play this too often but can never get enough of it and that great riff courtesy guitarist Tony Iommi. First of a set of four Sabbath tunes, with four different singers, over time and various lineup changes.
Black Sabbath, Neon Knights (Ronnie James Dio vocals) . . . Ozzy leaves, in comes Dio, at the time most recently with Blackmore’s Rainbow. As with any big band getting a new singer, people wonder. So the band places this as lead cut on the Heaven and Hell album and, people no longer wonder. Sabbath sailed on.
Black Sabbath, Digital Bitch (Ian Gillan vocals) . . . An almost out of control vehicle of a song screeching along, on the one and only Sabs album fronted by Deep Purple’s most renowned singer. Gillan apparently joined the band sometime amid a drunken evening with Sabs’ guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler, after which Gillan’s agent lamentably advised Gillan to please consult him in such future decisions. In any event, out came the what I think is the brilliant Born Again album in 1983, all of this despite Gillan’s hilarious struggles with lyrics and such on the subsequent tour – read his book, Child In Time, or various other accounts of a tour which at least in part inspired the classic rock spoof movie This Is Spinal Tap. The amp goes to 11! Etc.
Black Sabbath, Get A Grip (Tony Martin vocals) . . . The Tony Martin era, where Tony Iommi soldiered on with assorted players, with original bassist Geezer Butler in and out on various albums, is generally considered the runt of the litter of the band’s output but I like the Martin albums as much as those done with the other various vocalists. Really. Worth checking out, if one has an open mind. Some of Iommi’s most prodigious riffs lurk, largely unheard, on many of the Martin records.
Thin Lizzy, The Rocker . . . Title says it all, really. What a great band Lizzy was, so much more than The Boys Are Back In Town. “In walks this chick and I knew she was up to something . . . “ Probably would be held to account on misogynist grounds for such an obvious realistic situation lyric, these days. It’s the birds and the bees, you know? Amazing guitar, too, by Eric Bell.
AC/DC, The Furor . . . Love this cut from Ballbreaker, just the way it opens, the arrangement, the lyrics, Phil Rudd’s solid, serve the song drumming, all of it. Saw the tour. Great stuff. Two hours of power, as the friend I went with termed it.
Headstones, Flight Risk . . . Another blistering cut from Headstones, this the title cut from their most recent, late 2022-released album. I’ve said it before, but a very consistent band, rarely an easily-dismissed track, their albums are always good, front to back listens, to my ears.
Iron Maiden, 2 Minutes To Midnight . . . I suppose I should have played this on my Saturday morning show, which was New Year’s Eve. But, I didn’t. In any event it’s about war, the threat of wars, not new years, none of which ever seem to change much.
My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.
Pearl Jam, Spin The Black Circle
U2, New Year’s Day
Graham Parker, Mercury Poisoning
Jimi Hendrix, Manic Depression
Smashing Pumpkins, Drown
Alice In Chains, Dam That River
Soundgarden, Jesus Christ Pose
Mother Love Bone, Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns
Dead Kennedys, The Man With The Dogs
Megadeth, Anarchy In The UK
Nash The Slash, Dead Man’s Curve
Ike & Tina Turner, Sexy Ida – Part 1
Ike & Tina Turner, Sexy Ida – Part 2
Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Folsom Prison Blues
Johnny Cash, Solitary Man
Jason and The Scorchers, 19th Nervous Breakdown
The Rolling Stones/Mick Jagger, Memo From Turner (Performance movie soundtrack version featuring Ry Cooder on slide guitar)
David Baerwald, Hello Mary
Fludd, Cousin Mary
Tommy James, Draggin’ The Line
AC/DC, Dogs Of War
James Gang, The Bomber
Alice Cooper, Devil’s Food/The Black Widow
Joe Cocker, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (live, Mad Dogs & Englishmen album version)
The Guess Who, Coming Down Off The Money Bag/Song Of The Dog
Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town
Pearl Jam, Last Kiss
Set list with my track-by-track tales:
Pearl Jam, Spin The Black Circle . . . Pearl Jam goes punk about their love for vinyl records amid ambiguous lyrics arguably, depending on various interpretations, comparing addiction to music to drug addiction. All songs, if one digs into them, have interesting histories and backgrounds as does this one, from the band’s Vitalogy album, 1994. Not all band members, apparently, were on board with the punk rock direction the song took, but it was an outlier, for the most part, amid the album overall.
U2, New Year’s Day . . . I don’t usually play hits, it’s a deep cuts show as I probably say too often in perhaps trying to ‘excuse’ playing hits. Thing is, though, that this song is 40 years old now (!!??) and 1. The show is called So Old It’s New (so, theoretically, this could be new to some). 2. one of my catchphrases for the show has forever been “old bands, old tracks, old bands, their new stuff if they’re still active plus occasional singles one may not have heard in a long time’. And by that I mean singles from not only very prominent bands but singles from others like, dunno, say Stray or Savoy Brown or The Velvet Underground or whoever, that never charted. In any event, so, I present to you New Year’s Day with the great – and almost always true – opening verse lyric: Nothing changes on New Year’s Day. And it usually doesn’t, just as on Christmas or any other ‘special’ day, stuff still happens, good and bad. They’re all just another day amid the flawed human condition, albeit all of them celebrated for obvious reasons and the idealistic hopes and dreams they promise and, sometimes, deliver.
Graham Parker, Mercury Poisoning . . . The then very angry young man’s diatribe about his former record label. And it’s good, musically, too, so you actually listen to it. And by that I mean, there’s many great songs lyrically but if you don’t have compelling music to carry it, nobody’s going to listen to/hear it.
Jimi Hendrix, Manic Depression . . . Look at the track listing for Hendrix’s 1967 debut album Are You Experienced and it’s essentially a greatest hits album, but then that was the case for the three Experience studio records. Amazing stuff, amazing artist. Anyway, Manic Depression is one of the tracks and I’m using it for two reasons. 1. It’s great and I like it. 2. It introduces a ‘depressing’ Seattle grunge sounds set from the 1990s when bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and so on broke big with great music and often depressing, lived-life lyrics. Not that other artists had ever written about such things, they had, but the Seattle sound seemed ALL about that to the point that one was like, people, try to be happy and they probably were but perhaps it was also a clever marketing tool. In any event, great music resulted. A lot of those bands, some who made it bigger than others, were featured on the 1992 Singles movie soundtrack album, from which I’ve drawn much of the succeeding set.
Nirvana, Polly . . . I’ve always loved and hated this song. Check that. Hated is too strong a word. I’ve always been uncomfortable with liking it, perhaps better expressed, and that’s due to its subject matter which is of course what makes great art – we can love it but it can also make us uncomfortable. It’s a compelling and arresting song, musically, but it’s about the abduction, rape and torture of a 14-year-old girl returning home from a concert in Tacoma, Washington, in 1987. Horrible.
Smashing Pumpkins, Drown . . . I don’t play guitar – have one but have been too lazy to learn, maybe a 2023 resolution – but love the what I’ll term the ‘scratchy’ guitar on this one. It’s the extended version of the track, from the Singles soundtrack of Seattle sounds that broke big via Nirvana, that I mentioned earlier.
Alice In Chains, Dam That River . . . Hard, bleak, brilliant. “Maybe I don’t give a dam anyway’. Yeah.
Soundgarden, Jesus Christ Pose . . . Kick butt tune from Badmotorfinger, the 1991 album that first brought Soundgarden to mainstream notice before their blockbuster breakthrough with 1994’s Superunknown album and hits like Black Hole Sun and Fell On Black Days.
Mudhoney, Overblown . . . Hard, fast stuff from one of the somewhat less well known Seattle bands, still around, always interesting reading about the family trees of such groups which, in Mudhoney’s case, featured future members of Pearl Jam – Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard.
Mother Love Bone, Chloe Dancer/Crown Of Thorns . . . See my thoughts on Mudhoney, re the band. As for the music, a great extended track – it’s I suppose grunge if one wants to categorize such things but it’s also at parts progressive, ‘naked’ vocals just out there over a bed of largely acoustic instrumentation at first, just a cohesive, interesting, compelling track.
Dead Kennedys, The Man With The Dogs . . . If you need a head shred to, as Funkadelic once titled a great album I’ve drawn from, free your mind and your ass will follow, I suggest playing the Dead Kennedys. Crazy good.
Megadeth, Anarchy In The UK . . . Kick ass cover of the kick ass Sex Pistols tune.
Nash The Slash, Dead Man’s Curve . . . Screeeech on the brakes and turning the musical wheel as we negotiate the curve, musically, from the grunge and such to this as always interesting in whatever Nash The Slash did, cover of the 1964 Jan and Dean hit. On to some funk.
Ike & Tina Turner, Sexy Ida – Part 1 . . . As I said, funk. Crazy good. Tina, perhaps more, justifiably, celebrated as a performer, wrote this sexy sucker.
Ike & Tina Turner, Sexy Ida – Part 2 . . . Tina wrote this continuation, too.
Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Folsom Prison Blues . . . Cover of the Johnny Cash tune by the brilliant Canadian combo of Tom Wilson, Stephen Fearing and Colin Linden. Another of those instances where a side project becomes a working band.
Johnny Cash, Solitary Man . . . Somebody covers Cash, Cash covers somebody. In this case, Neil Diamond on what is my favorite Neil Diamond song and just a great tune, regardless and no artist could eff it up. Nor does Cash.
Jason and The Scorchers, 19th Nervous Breakdown . . . I find it interesting that my favorite band, The Rolling Stones, don’t often play this great tune live yet it’s been covered by many, including this, er, scorching version by The Scorchers.
The Rolling Stones/Mick Jagger, Memo From Turner (Performance movie soundtrack version featuring Ry Cooder on slide guitar). . . . Interesting history on this tune. This is the version, essentially a Jagger solo version and likely the best known as it appears as a Rolling Stones track on some compilations, from the movie Performance. Ry Cooder shines on slide guitar. The Stones did their own, jauntier, arguably rawer since Keith Richards was on guitar, version which later appeared on the grab-bag Metamorphosis compilation issued during the Stones/Allen Klein/Abkco Records battles, but the Performance version likely remains the best take.
David Baerwald, Hello Mary . . . From one of the two Davids (the other, Ricketts, went into production work) from the one and only brilliant David + David Boomtown album release in 1986. Baerwald, amid film soundtrack and other work, has released sporadic albums since, this one from his first solo release, Bedtime Stories, in 1990. He did a few widely-released albums released via conventional physical means after that but since then any new music, so far, from him has been released only on the web and even so it’s difficult to find.
Fludd, Cousin Mary . . . From the ‘old singles you haven’t heard in a while so they fit in a deep cuts context’ file.
Tommy James, Draggin’ The Line . . . As with the Fludd tune. He had lots of hits but this is likely my favorite.
AC/DC, Dogs Of War . . . From the 2014 album Rock Or Bust, the first to feature rhythm guitarist Stevie Young, replacing his uncle Malcolm, who was ailing at the time and eventually died. Stevie had also replaced Malcolm, then battling alcohol abuse, during the band’s 1988 Blow Up Your Video album tour.
James Gang, The Bomber . . . Extended killer cut from the Joe Walsh-led band’s second album, Rides Again, 1970.
Alice Cooper, Devil’s Food/The Black Widow . . . Vincent Price is, er, priceless near the end of the first tune, and a great rocker it is, from Welcome To My Nightmare, the first Alice album after the breakup of the original band which was a name Vincent Furnier adopted but also the name of the band to that point. Great combo track.
Joe Cocker, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (live, Mad Dogs & Englishmen album version) . . . Beatles cover, of course. And brilliantly done by Cocker, arguably one of the kings of covers.
The Guess Who, Coming Down Off The Money Bag/Song Of The Dog . . . Such a fantastic ditty from the Share The Land album. It came after Randy Bachman left the band, which then increasingly became the Burton Cummings band as he asserted dominance albeit within the context of brilliant post-Bachman guitarists like Kurt Winter, Greg Leskiw and, later, Don McDougall.
Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town . . . Cover, done by many but I think this is the best one, for me at least, since it’s a more rock-oriented take, of the Mel Tillis tune. I always think of my late dad when I hear it. I remember him playing it, was first time I heard it. He emigrated from Europe after World War II, was into classical and opera but interestingly developed a love for country and country-ish music, from whence I by osmosis got into such artists as Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell. And this tune. An old work colleague once told me he thought it was a shitty song. What? Ridiculous. Also, interestingly, the ‘crazy Asian war’ in the lyrics is usually assumed to be about the Vietnam War but Tillis always said it referred to the Pacific war in World War II, mainly the USA vs Japan although other countries like the UK and its then-empire were heavily involved.
Pearl Jam, Last Kiss . . . Cover of the 1961 hit by Wayne Cochrane. And on that note, a last kiss to 2022 as we embark on 2023. Back on Monday, Jan. 2. Happy New Year, everyone.
Set list with my track-by-track commentary follows the bare-bones list.
Chicago, Sing A Mean Tune Kid
Van Halen, Mean Street
Black Sabbath, Warning
April Wine, Crash and Burn
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Flat Broke Love
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, F*!#N’ Up
Atomic Rooster, Stand By Me
Golden Earring, Stand By Me
Warren Zevon, Nighttime In The Switching Yard
Savoy Brown, Hellbound Train
Rainbow, Man On The Silver Mountain
Deep Purple, The Mule
Electric Light Orchestra, Poker
Them, One Two Brown Eyes
The Rolling Stones, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
Yes, Heart Of The Sunrise
Led Zeppelin, Achilles Last Stand
Set list with my track-by-track tales:
Chicago, Sing A Mean Tune Kid . . . Extended funky jazz-rock fusion track that was the lead cut on Chicago III, 1971.
Van Halen, Mean Street . . . Speaking of mean tunes. . . . Best song on Van Halen’s dark 1981 album Fair Warning. Played it too recently but, it fits the theme.
Black Sabbath, Warning . . . A fair number of long tracks today, including this one from the debut Sabbath album. Spooky.
April Wine, Crash and Burn . . . Longtime great Canadian band goes proto-metal in attempt to break the US market in 1981 via The Nature Of The Beast album. It worked, although I largely prefer the earlier stuff. Kick butt tune, though.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Flat Broke Love . . . I watched an excellent documentary on Randy Bachman the other night. So, naturally . . .
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, F*!#N’ Up . . . And Neil Young, Bachman’s longtime friend and sometime collaborator, was in the documentary but what really prompted me playing this was that I was talking with friends the other night about Young’s ‘distortion’ album Ragged Glory, although for the life of me (might have been the beer) couldn’t at the time remember the name of the album. None of my friends, did, either but then again we flit from topic to topic so fast who could be expected to keep track?
Atomic Rooster, Stand By Me . . . Not the Ben E. King tune, covered by so many. This is an entirely different song, by the Brit prog/hard rockers.
Budgie, Parents . . . Another of the extended pieces in tonight’s set, 10 minutes of slow, fast, soft, hard stuff of the type Budgie did so well.
Golden Earring, Stand By Me . . . Again, not the Ben E. King tune, covered by so many. This is an entirely different song, not by the Brit prog/hard rockers Atomic Rooster that I played earlier, either. Can’t people think of unused song titles? Especially with well-known classics like Stand By Me. Many people might assume your song is a cover and not give it a chance because they figure, correctly in many cases, that the original can’t be improved upon. But what do I know? Nice guitar work, though.
Warren Zevon, Nighttime In The Switching Yard . . . I’m playing this not only because it’s one of my favorites from Zevon’s Excitable Boy album (actually, every song from that terrific album is) but because the lyrics mention trains and I’m shamelessly using it to set up the next track.
Savoy Brown, Hellbound Train . . . Kim Simmonds, the only constant member of Savoy Brown from its formation in 1965 to 2022, died of colon cancer on Dec. 13. The band had still been active live and on record throughout, including studio material as recently as 2020, until in August of 2022 Simmonds announced all activity was ceasing as he was undergoing chemotherapy for stage four of the disease. A sad loss for blues rock. I saw Simmonds and his band at the Kitchener Blues Festival in 2013. Good show, with some video evidence of it and of course other shows, albums and assorted songs, on YouTube and other online sources.
Rainbow, Man On The Silver Mountain . . . From the first Rainbow album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, 1975, the first of three featuring Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals. After that, Blackmore wanted to go in a more commercial, almost pop, direction, Dio lost interest, and so did I – although I’m a big Blackmore fan.
Deep Purple, The Mule . . . From Fireball. Inside joke I share with a good friend, on this one. It’s probably petty, I realize, but I know someone I call the mule due to their narrow-mindedness and the fact that talking to them and trying to get them to even remotely consider alternate points of view – you know, have an open mind – is like talking to a brick wall since they’re stubborn as a, well, mule.
Electric Light Orchestra, Poker . . . Another from my ‘recent conversation inspiration’ files. Was out with the boys the other night, music inevitably comes into the conversation along with everything else under the sun and moon, and ELO was a brief topic. None of us are huge fans, but all of us remembered – but didn’t go see – when ELO on their late 1970s Out Of The Blue album tour had a stage set that included a flying saucer the band played under, the saucer housing the lights and such. ELO was a massive concert draw then, one of the biggest acts in the world at the time. A reported 70,000 people filled Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium to see them. Poker, quite the rocker, at least for ELO, isn’t from Out Of The Blue but from an earlier album, 1975’s Face The Music which yielded the hits Evil Woman and Strange Magic.
Them, One Two Brown Eyes . . . From 1965, I’ll call it a hypnotic shuffle rocker, written and sung of course by Van The Man Morrison. It appeared on an album simply titled Them in the US. In England, the album was more creatively called The Angry Young Them, but One Two Brown Eyes wasn’t on that version, back in the days when US and UK releases of the same album were often quite different in content, title and artwork.
The Rolling Stones, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking . . . Keith Richards’ hellacious opening riff kicks off the song, one of three tracks I’ve played before but not for a long time. I could (and have) listen to that opening riff, and then Charlie Watts’ drums coming in, bap bap, countless times without getting tired of it. And then of course Mick Taylor with his extended Santana-esque coda. From Sticky Fingers.
Yes, Heart Of The Sunrise . . . One of the many tracks that puts a lie to the claim made by some that progressive rock isn’t really rock. Try that opening riff on for size. And it repeats throughout this epic from Fragile.
Led Zeppelin, Achilles Last Stand . . . Back to the boys in the bar and my ‘recent conversation inspiration’. Another guy in the group and I have radio shows and we were chatting about song selections and such. I mentioned that one time, I was doing a double show, four hours, filling in the slot behind me for a DJ who was ill or whatever, and after my first two hours I put Zep’s Achilles on, great extended opener to the Presence album. Next thing I know, an old high school and college pal with whom I’ve reconnected via my show and our shared love of music, sends me a message saying ‘bathroom break?” Yup. So this is, in part, for him.
A Christmas show for Christmas Eve morning, at risk of being a show, at this busy time of year, that perhaps poses a variation on the question “if a tree falls in the forest and nobody’s there, does anyone hear it?” I’m leading off with classical guitarist Liona Boyd’s wonderful instrumental sampling of various carols. The set is anchored by Jethro Tull’s Christmas album, released in 2003 and featuring some traditionals and other re-recorded Tull tracks by the version of the band, in terms of personnel, as it then existed. As Tull leader Ian Anderson writes in the album’s liner notes, if you fancied the song Bouree, from Stand Up, and the Songs From The Wood album, you’ll likely enjoy the record. It is a truly fine Christmas – or any other time – set of songs.
Speaking of Christmas records, I forgot to include one of my favorite artists, Bob Dylan, croaking his Dylan-esque way through various carols on his 2009 Christmas In The Heart. Perhaps next year. Merry Christmas, all.
Liona Boyd, Christmas Overture
The Payolas, Christmas Is Coming
John Lennon, Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
Elton John, Step Into Christmas
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, I Believe In Father Christmas
The Kinks, Father Christmas
The Who, Christmas
The Jethro Tull Christmas Album (2003)
Birthday Card At Christmas
A Christmas Song
Another Christmas Song
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Jack Frost And The Hooded Crow
Last Man At The Party
First Snow On Brooklyn
Fire At Midnight
We Five Kings
Ring Out Solstice Bells
A Winter Snowscape
Paul McCartney & Wings, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reggae
Argent, Christmas For The Free
McKenna Mendelson Mainline, Don’t Give Me No Goose For Christmas, Grandma
AC/DC, Mistress For Christmas
Tom Waits, Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis
Chuck Berry, Merry Christmas Baby
Ramones, Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)
Talking with Brian Chris about the Christmas album, the book that goes with it, and the origins of the song. Introducing Chris Collins, Brian’s producer. Talking about Brian’s trip to Nashville, and the song he performed there, Now Or Never.
Talking about live performances, needing an agent, connections in the music industry. Chris Collins has written music too, but hasn’t recorded any. Working with other artists, like rapper Li’l White Lie. Shoutout to Street Hop for local Hip Hop music. Talking about some of Brian’s older music. Introducing Something About Christmas.
Talking about Brian and Chris’s musical background. Brian’s musical instrument collection and album and CD collection. Learning music from the Internet. “Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect.” Chris has been collecting instruments in his studio, and keeps stuff like lava lamps around for inspiration. Brian gets inspiration from everywhere.
Talking about Brian’s books. They’re inspirational books for kids. Brian reads an excerpt from Play Your Way, illustrated by Brian’s wife, Brittany Barr. The Broken String is the first book Brian wrote. Brian gives a synopsis of the story, and his aspirations as an author.
Chris’s son heard the lyrics “It’s the worst time of the year” and didn’t realize that it was a joke. But Brian says Christmas is tough, and hopes this song resonates with that feeling. Introducing Special Stuff, and Bob gives the end credits.
Smooth Contemporary QUINTE JAZZ Christmas Holiday Music Saturday December 24 at 9 AM 102.7FM Radio Waterloo http://kwvoip.ca:8000/radiowaterloo After broadcast on SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/user-163878073/sets/quinte-jazz
Kim Scott Glorious SINGLE 2022 kimscottmusic.com Johnathan Fritzen Deck The Halls SINGLE 2022 www.jonathanfritzen.com Olivia Rox Jingle Bells AN OLIVIA ROX CHRISTMAS 2022 oliviarox.com Blake Aaron Sleigh Ride SINGLE 2022 www.blakeaaron.com/home ? Gabriel Mark Hasselbach I’ll Be There SINGLE gabrieljazz.com ? Laila Biali My Favorite Things SINGLE 2022 lailabiali.com Blair Bryant Christmas With You SINGLE 2022 www.blairbryantmusic.net Jessy J What Child Is This JESSY J CALIFORNIA CHRISTMAS VOL2 2022 www.jessyj.com Dean James Arnette’s Holiday SINGLE 2022 www.deanjamesjazz.com Chris Big Dog Davis White Christmas CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT 2022 chrisbigdogdavis.hearnow.com Dave Koz And Friends Happy Christmas CHRISTMAS BALLADS 2022 www.davekoz.com ? Emilie Claire Barlow My Dear Acquaintance LUMIERES D’HIVER 2017 www.emilieclairebarlow.com
Set list with my track-by-track commentary follows the bare-bones list.
Black Sabbath, Turn Up The Night
Pantera, Cowboys From Hell
Metallica, Of Wolf And Man
Megadeth, Kill The King
Slayer, Dead Skin Mask
Judas Priest, Beyond The Realms Of Death
Van Halen, Atomic Punk
Link Wray, Climbing A High Wall
The Rolling Stones, Living In A Ghost Town
George Harrison, Brainwashed
Ian Hunter, Lisa Likes Rock ‘n’ Roll
The Clash, Pressure Drop
Rockpile, Play That Fast Thing (One More Time)
Elton John, Your Sister Can’t Twist But She Can Rock and Roll
T. Rex, Hot Love
Gordon Lightfoot, Make Way For The Lady
Iggy Pop, Nightclubbing
Otis Redding with Carla Thomas, Tramp
Queen, Get Down, Make Love
Pat Travers Band, Material Eyes
Bad Company, Master Of Ceremony
The Firm, Fortune Hunter
Shirley Bassey, The Fool On The Hill
April Wine, Mama Laye
Blackfoot, Road Fever (live)
Set list with my track-by-track tales:
Black Sabbath, Turn Up The Night . . . In a hard rock/metal mood, at least for the first few songs tonight. If you don’t like it, wait, as Mick Jagger once told a concert audience, on the Love You Live El Mocambo side, if memory serves. My mood changes. You’ll see. This rocker kicks off the second of the Sabbath albums, 1981’s Mob Rules, with Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne, to great effect.
Pantera, Cowboys From Hell . . . Title cut from the 1990 album from whence Pantera shed its original glam metal roots for the harder, metallic/thrash sound for which they came to be known. Very Metallica like, to me. A good blueprint to follow, obviously. Speaking of which . . .
Metallica, Of Wolf And Man . . . One of these days, when I play Metallica, I’ll play something from their early thrash metal days. Which I like. But I suppose I’ve been playing 1991’s so-called Black Album on up through Loads I and II because they’re just as good, albeit obviously more commercial, than their predecessors, despite some fans’ continuing carping that the band ‘sold out’. As if Of Wolf And Man is ‘selling out’. Yeah, maybe, but if you can get more people to listen to you and buy your stuff, that gives you the freedom to later – as Metallica has – go back, at least somewhat, to your thrash roots. Smart business practice, really. And you can always play all of it, live.
Megadeth, Kill The King . . . This machine-gun delivery type track first appeared on the, as far as I have researched, since deleted Capitol Punishment contractual obligation final record with the label. It was a best-of album Megadeth released in 2000. It’s since appeared on various newer collections issued by the band on current labels. A rare, perhaps, example of a track recorded for a compilation that is actually well worth hearing and not just a cheap inducement to buy other songs one already owns. This one’s definitely worth it.
Slayer, Dead Skin Mask . . . If you don’t like thrash/speed metal, find it too intense/relatively tuneless and non-melodic, best not listen to Slayer. I like the band, every album, their brand of metal freed my mind somehow for instance seemed to focus me, bizarre as that may sound, driving through blizzards when I was commuting. But I’ll admit to this day, part of me thinks of some of their stuff (and Pantera’s) as “is this even music” while other parts of me are “yeah!”. But if you do want to sample the band, I’d suggest the album from which I pulled this track, Seasons In The Abyss. It’s more melodic, such as it is, and is essentially just good, listenable hard rock. The title cut, which I’ve played before, is also well worth a listen.
Judas Priest, Beyond The Realms Of Death . . . Power ballad rocker from the Stained Class album, one of those great fusions of guitar with Rob Halford’s typically powerful vocals. And that’s the thing with bands like Priest, which I was discussing with a friend and fellow fan of the band over beers the other week. People who haven’t heard them, or enough of them, consign them to some hard rock/metal place they may not want to visit, yet the band also has beautiful songs like this which, yes, ascend in parts to metal heights but actually within a ballad context well worth exploring. And remember, this is the band that covered Joan Baez’s absolutely beautiful Diamonds and Rust, rocked it up for a hit, then later did it acoustically, more faithful to the original Baez version, to great effect. Priest can do such things thanks to its amazingly versatile singer, Halford.
Van Halen, Atomic Punk . . . Wild intro leads into one of the heaviest cuts on Van Halen’s debut album, 1978.
Link Wray, Climbing A High Wall . . . He sings! Link Wray, I mean. Usually he just plays the instrumental shit out of his guitar, which he does here, too. The dean of distortion leans hard into this one from 1969’s Yesterday-Today album, a combo record of previous material on one side of the original vinyl and new, to that point, songs like Climbing A Wall on the other side.
The Rolling Stones, Living In A Ghost Town . . . Stones’ pandemic single, issued in 2020 when everyone was under lockdown. A good song, regardless and to my knowledge and research, the last studio song by the band, to date, on which the late great drummer Charlie Watts appeared. The Stones played it as part of their set lists on their most recent, first tour without Watts, Steve Jordan now on the drum stool with Watts’s blessing.
George Harrison, Brainwashed . . . Many years later, 2002, Harrison essentially channels old mate John Lennon’s lyrics from Working Class Hero from 1970 on this title cut from Harrison’s final studio album, issued after his death in 2001. The difference being, Harrison seems to perhaps see God as the ultimate answer where Lennon addressed that, too, in an obviously different way, in his own song titled God.
Ian Hunter, Lisa Likes Rock ‘n’ Roll . . . Although this isn’t rock. It’s more Clash-ish reggae/dub/etc, not surprisingly as it comes from Hunter’s 1981 Short Back ‘n’ Sides album, produced by The Clash’s Mick Jones at a time Jones’ band was dabbling deeply into Caribbean island sounds.
The Clash, Pressure Drop . . . Speaking of which, here’s the Clash’s cover of the Toots and The Maytals tune. A friend of mine was talking about the Clash version a fair bit of time back and I meant to eventually get to playing it on the show.
Rockpile, Play That Fast Thing (One More Time) . . . A Nick Lowe-penned and sung tune from Seconds Of Pleasure, the one and only Rockpile album but not the only album the band recorded. What, you say? Well, Lowe and Dave Edmunds were the principals in the band and at one point in 1979, Rockpile backed Lowe on his Labour Of Lust album and also Edmunds on his Repeat When Necessary. I’m simplifying things in the interests of brevity but then they all reassembled for the one and only standalone Rockpile album, 1980’s Seconds Of Pleasure.
Elton John, Your Sister Can’t Twist But She Can Rock and Roll . . . Speaking of fast songs . . .Here’s one of EJ’s fastest, from the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. Elton came to mind via a recent chat with my two sons, one of whom is going to be in the UK in the new year and will be seeing EJ on his farewell tour.
T. Rex, Hot Love . . . Interesting how things happen. I was watching a documentary on the dinosaur and it occurred to me I hadn’t played the band in a while.
Gordon Lightfoot, Make Way For The Lady . . . Nothing necessarily to do with music but Gordon Lightfoot does, or did, pay his TV cable bill on an annual basis. How do I know this, as I related last week to my beer-drinking, chicken-wing scarfing fat-inducing weekly group of great pals I’ve foolishly (fitness wise) rejoined recently? Well, someone in the group raised the point of people maybe foolishly paying by the year. So I said, that may be true but you know, Gordon Lightfoot does – although I doubt he has to worry about financial concerns. At least he did pay annually, at one point up to recently and perhaps even now. I know he did at least at one point, because I briefly in my retirement had a part-time gig in a call center and, lo and behold, one afternoon who calls up to renew, not Gord himself but his wife. True story. As for the music, this beautiful song is from his 1980 album Dream Street Rose, a somewhat under the radar release in that it yielded no big hit singles and arguably marked the beginning of a commercial though not necessarily creative decline after 1978’s Endless Wire album.
Iggy Pop, Nightclubbing . . . Inspiration comes from everywhere, quite often conversations, which is often a lot of the fun in putting together shows. A good buddy told me he had a crazy week so, out came a glass or two of his beverage of choice and on went the music. I’ve always said the best bands/artists ever are the ones you are listening to, right now, if you like them, because it’s all so subjective, rendering ‘best ever’ lists irrelevant, albeit interesting to discuss, in my view. So Iggy Pop’s The Idiot, which my friend recently purchased on a prized pristine vinyl copy, went on his platter so I figured I’d play this cut from the album in both his and Iggy’s honor. It’s a great album, The Idiot, not idiotic at all but rather creative, industrial in spots and interesting, David Bowie, Iggy’s pal, is on it, helped write some tunes.
Otis Redding with Carla Thomas, Tramp . . . And then artist 2 inspiration from my friend. He was listening to an Otis live album which I don’t have, nor could I find it in the station computer so I went with this fun collaboration with the Queen of Memphis Soul.
Queen, Get Down, Make Love . . . Long been one of my favorite Queen tracks from News Of The World and among all the great cuts in the band’s catalog. I couldn’t begin to describe it. Start, stop? Yes. Great drumming? Magnificent. Vocals? Progressive-type sounds? Yes. Ah, hell, you know it, listen to it. From back when albums were a thing and, among the great bands at least, every cut on a record was usually well worth listening to – hence deep cuts shows like mine.
Pat Travers Band, Material Eyes . . . Somewhat experimental, musically, progressive in spots track. It’s from Travers’ Crash and Burn album. I saw him at a recent Kitchener Blues Festival. Good show.
Bad Company, Master Of Ceremony . . . Another of those extended, groove-type pieces you’ll never likely find on a compilation and I’m not down on compilations by any stretch. I own my share. But this is a great example of a deep cut by a band that had many hit singles yet had much depth in its albums via tracks like this one from Burnin’ Sky.
The Firm, Fortune Hunter . . . Here’s a similar track from the Bad Company singer, Paul Rodgers, during his 1980s teamup with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page for what became a two-album project. This Zep-like extended cut was on the second and final Firm album, Mean Business, in 1986. To me, it could easily have fit on Zep’s Presence album. It was written by Rodgers, Page and Chris Squire of Yes, who had collaborated on an unreleased demo of the track with Page for the aborted 1981 XYZ (for ex-Yes/Zeppelin) project that also included Yes drummer Alan White.
Shirley Bassey, The Fool On The Hill . . . I’ve always loved Bassey’s Goldfinger, the theme song to the James Bond movie which I’ve played before and likely will again at some point. To wit, at one point I bought a CD featuring all the Bond themes, then decided I’d dig deeper and bought a Bassey compilation, of which this Beatles’ cover was part.
Can, Spoon . . . They’re cracking down on plastic spoons in Canada soon. Here’s what the band Can thinks. No, not really. But anyway . . .
April Wine, Mama Laye . . . Forever For Now, April Wine’s 1977 album, is a diverse release featuring country, blues, rock and this Caribbean-type track. The album had a sort of delayed effect, only gathering momentum months after its January release once radio and the public discovered what became the band’s biggest hit single to that point, You Won’t Dance With Me.
Blackfoot, Road Fever (live) . . . Smoking hot live version from an album, Highway Song Live, that initially appeared only in the UK. It’s from an early 1980s tour by the southern rock stalwarts led by Rickey Medlocke. He was the drummer in an early version of Lynyrd Skynyrd, before they released an album, later becoming a full-time guitarist in the post-plane crash version of that band.