The Mars Volta released their first album in 10 years and toured for the first time in about the same amount of time. Both were fantastic! This new album is the third Mars volta album added to the Mano A Mano Concept album hall of fame. Check it out here:
Check out all of the other albums featured on the mosaic:
Bobby Keys, Command Performance . . . Longtime Rolling Stones’ saxophone player Bobby Keys kicks us off with a funky tune from his 1972 all-instrumental solo album. It featured a who’s who of players including George Harrison and Ringo Starr, Dave Mason of Traffic and solo fame, Leslie West, Corky Laing and Felix Pappalardi of Mountain, Beatles’ solo album collaborator and bassist Klaus Voorman, Stones’ session and 1970s tour trumpet player Jim Price, Cream’s Jack Bruce and session star to the Stones and other artists, pianist Nicky Hopkins.
Tim Ries, Paint It Black . . . From the first of two “Tim Ries Rolling Stones Project’ albums, released in 2005. The album is made up of jazz and jazz-rock reinventions of Stones songs, put together by Ries, a latter-day tenor saxophonist in the Stones’ touring band. Paint It Black is a 10-minute instrumental jazz take on the Stones’ classic. It starts with the 1966 hit’s recognizable riff, takes flight with a long middle section before closing with the original riff. It’s one of the few of the album’s 11 tracks not to feature any members of The Rolling Stones or their various recent collaborators/touring band members. Backup singers Lisa Fischer and Bernard Fowler, bassist Darryl Jones plus Stones members Keith Richards, Ron Wood and Charlie Watts all appear, together and individually, on various selections.
Charlie Watts and Jim Keltner, Art Blakey . . . From the Charlie Watts-Jim Keltner Project, a collaboration between the late Stones drummer and session ace drummer/percussionist Keltner, released in 2000. Each of the album’s tracks are named after famous jazz-oriented drummers.
Quicksilver Messenger Service, Edward, The Mad Shirt Grinder (featuring Nicky Hopkins) . . . From Quicksilver’s 1969 Shady Grove album on which session man to the stars, including the Stones, Hopkins was actually a full-fledged Quicksilver band member. This epic track showcases “Edward’s” keyboard talents, Edward being a nickname bestowed on Hopkins by original Rolling Stone Brian Jones. Jones, the story goes, was tuning his guitar and wanted an ‘E’ note from Hopkins, on piano, during a 1967 recording session. But due to other studio noise, Hopkins couldn’t hear Jones properly so the guitarist yelled out “Give me an E, like in Edward!”
Bill Wyman, Nuclear Reactions . . . A buddy of mine, after I played Wyman rcently, called him ‘a barnacle on the Stones’. So I thought I’d torture my pal, again. This one’s from Wyman’s self-titled 1982 synth-pop/new wave album that featured Si Si (Je Suis un Rock Star), which made the top 10 singles lists in various countries.
Hopkins/Cooder/Jagger/Wyman/Watts, Highland Fling . . . From Jamming With Edward, “a nice piece of bullshit’ according to Mick Jagger’s liner notes, that the assembled musicians – Nicky Hopkins (Edward), Ry Cooder, Jagger, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts – put together while waiting for Keith Richards to return to the studio during 1969’s Let It Bleed sessions. Richards and Cooder didn’t get along, at least at the time, which apparently accounted for Richards’ absence. Cooder, meantime, accused the Stones of stealing some of his licks, calling them “a reptilian bunch of people.” Richards has been up front about Cooder teaching him open-G guitar tuning, a prominent feature of the subsequent Stones sound on such tracks as Gimme Shelter, Brown Sugar and Start Me Up. Jamming With Edward didn’t see the light of day until its release in 1972.
Billy Preston, That’s The Way God Planned It . . Live version from George Harrison’s 1971 Concert for Bangladesh show and album. Preston, of course, played with The Beatles on their Let It Be album, on several of their post-breakup solo albums and was essentially a member of the Stones from Sticky Fingers through the Black and Blue album, both in studio and on tour.
Mick Taylor, Spanish/A Minor . . . Long, bluesy instrumental cut, with a nod to one of Taylor’s finest Stones’ moments, Time Waits For No One. The track appeared on Taylor’s self-titled 1979 debut solo album, five years after he left the Stones.
Keith Richards, Whip It Up . . . From Richards’ solo debut album, Talk Is Cheap, 1988.
Mick Jagger with The Red Devils, Checkin’ Up On My Baby . . . A Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) tune Jagger did with the California blues band. While working on what became his 1993 solo album Wandering Spirit, Jagger recorded several blues standards with The Red Devils, ostensibly for a possible album but only Checkin’ Up On My Baby eventually was released, on The Very Best of Mick Jagger compilation that came out in 2007. The seeds of a great blues covers album were obviously there.
Ron Wood, Sure The One You Need . . . Mick and Keith wrote and gave this one to Ronnie before he was even in the band. It appeared on Wood’s first solo effort, I’ve Got My Own Album To Do. The album features various members of the Faces and the Stones, including Mick Taylor, who was soon replaced by Wood. For my money, it’s tied with 1992’s check Slide On This as Woody’s best solo record.
New Barbarians (Ron Wood, Keith Richards and friends), Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Roller (live) . . . Chuck Berry tune that opened most Barbarians shows during the band’s short but spirited life and 1979 tour that included the combined Keith Richards/Stones benefit for the blind concert in Oshawa, Ontario, Richards’ penance for his 1977 drug bust in Toronto. Still amazed that I managed to get tickets and attend the first of the two shows that April afternoon in Oshawa’s 5,000-seat hockey arena.
Keith Richards, Will But You Won’t . . . He is, after all, known as the riff master. From Richards’ second solo album, Main Offender, released in 1992.
Mick Jagger, Evening Gown . . . Jagger is great at ballads like these, whether in the Stones or solo. I’ve selected a series of them, as you’ll see/hear. This one’s from 1993’s Wandering Spirit album, the most Stones-like of his solo releases.
Keith Richards, Yap Yap . . . You talk too much, the lyric goes. Probably talking about Mick.
Mick Jagger, Hang On To Me Tonight . . . Another of those great ballads. I like ’em, anyway. From Wandering Spirit.
Ron Wood & Bo Diddley, They Don’t Make Outlaws Like They Used To (live) . . . From a 1987 show at the Ritz, New York that came out on Live At The Ritz in 1988. A mixture of Bo Diddley, Faces, Stones and solo songs, it made No. 40 in Japan.
Mick Jagger, Party Doll . . . Best song, to me, this ballad from Jagger’s critically-panned 1987 Primitive Cool album. The thing with Jagger solo albums is that, aside from Wandering Spirit, they’re not like Stones albums – because they’re solo albums – so if that’s what people are expecting, going in, chances are their judgments are going to be based on that with the risk being perhaps not granting the work an open-minded listen. I, too, prefer Stones-like material, but repeat listens reveal Primitive Cool, for all its 1980s overly slick production and so on, to be not nearly as bad as the savaging it took upon release. Songs like War Baby, Kow Tow, Peace For The Wicked, the title cut, among others, are pretty good. But Jagger didn’t help himself by releasing Let’s Work, likely the album’s weakest cut, as the lead single.
Ron Wood, Must Be Love . . . From Slide On This, Wood’s excellent 1992 album. It came during a fertile period 1992-93 period, solo-wise, from the Stones. Wood had this album, Keith Richards released Main Offender, also in 1992 and Mick Jagger followed with Wandering Spirit in 1993. All were released once the band realized that solo albums needn’t be a source of friction between them, especially Jagger and Richards, but possible fuel for future band collaborations. The result was 1994’s Voodoo Lounge, one of the group’s best latter-day albums.
Marianne Faithfull, Sister Morphine . . . Twelve-inch single version of the song she co-wrote with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and released as a Faithfull single, produced by Jagger, in 1969. The Stones’ own version, featuring slide guitar from Ry Cooder, was recorded during the Let It Bleed album sessions in 1969 but didn’t appear until 1971’s Sticky Fingers album. This Faithfull version appeared on expanded editions of her 1979 album, Broken English.
Marianne Faithfull, Why D’Ya Do It? . . . My pick for the most vitriolic, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned songs/lyrics ever. It was absolutely jarring to hear on first listen. From the Broken English album.
Keith Richards, You Don’t Move Me . . . Well, that’s why I did it, you don’t move me anymore. Actually, it’s a shot at Mick Jagger, during the so-called mid-1980s World War III between the Stones’ leaders, and appeared on Richards’ first solo album, Talk Is Cheap, in 1988.
Heart, Rock and Roll (live) . . . Fun intro from Ann Wilson channelling John Lennon’s “thank you on behalf of the group’ , from the Beatles’ rooftop concert, before Heart rips into covering one of their favorite bands, and inspirations, Led Zeppelin. The live cut appeared on Heart’s Greatest Hits/Live compilation release in 1980.
Rory Gallagher, Big Guns . . . Fast cuts only today, like this one from the late great Gallagher.
Bob Dylan, Neighborhood Bully . . . Dylan is not generally known for rockers but he kicks butt on this defiant defence of Israel. It’s from 1983’s Infidels album as he broke from his Christian-born again album trilogy (Slow Train, Saved and Shot Of Love) on a terrific record which featured Mick Taylor, Mark Knopfler and the Jamaican rhythm section team of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare.
Aerosmith, My Fist Your Face . . . From, in many ways, the last ‘original’ Aerosmith album, Done With Mirrors, 1985. It was their last album before they started using outside writers, ascended to greater commercial mainstream heights, but lost much of their earlier raunch and roll edge.
Jethro Tull, Cross-Eyed Mary . . . I wanted to play a Tull rocker, settled on this one, from 1971’s Aqualung album. Iron Maiden covered it in 1983. Ian Anderson’s reaction: “A spirited rendition by a young Bruce (Dickinson) testing out his vocal range in a key not really suited to him!”
The Rolling Stones, Bitch . . . One of my favorite Stones’ songs, great guitar tandem work by Mick Taylor and Keith Richards including what Taylor described as one of Richards’ best solos, mid song. The story goes that during the recording of the Sticky Fingers album, the band, at first without Richards who was late to the studio, was struggling with the track. He walks in, goes to the studio kitchen, starts eating a bowl of cereal, sits and listens for a bit, gets increasingly frustrated at what he hears as an aimless racket, asks for a guitar, and the song we know is born. It reminds me of another story I’ve read about Richards, and Taylor. It was long after Taylor left the Stones, mid-1980s he’s doing a club tour. I saw one of the shows; he was the opening act to John Mayall at Ontario Place in Toronto and sat in with his old mentor Mayall on some tunes. Due to his contributions to the tune, Taylor generally includes at least the long instrumental passage from Can’t You Hear Me Knocking in his sets. But on this particular night, Richards is in the audience, Taylor calls him up on stage and an intoxicating jam performance of the song results. I have it on bootleg, from a New York state club show, Dec. 28, 1986.
Santana, Hope You’re Feeling Better . . . Nice rocker, outside of Black Magic Woman likely my favorite track from the Abraxas album.
The J. Geils Band, First I Look At The Purse (live) . . . One of my favorite songs, by anyone, done the way Geils ought to be heard, live from Full House. The band was from the Boston area but their second home, due their popularity there, was Detroit, where this was recorded.
Ted Nugent, Motor City Madhouse . . . Speaking of the motor city, and the Motor City Madman . . .
Blue Oyster Cult, Cities On Flame With Rock and Roll . . . All one generally hears of BOC on commercial radio is (Don’t Fear) The Reaper or Burnin’ For You. Excellent songs, obviously, but so is this one, well known to BOC fans and, as a deep cut, a reason why my show exists.
Bob Seger, Heavy Music/Katmandu (Live Bullet version) . . . Speaking, again, of Detroit . . . Michigan guy, Seger, Michigan venue, Detroit’s Cobo Hall, great live album that upon its early 1976 release broke the then-journeyman artist to a wider audience and deservedly so.
Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell . . . Heavy music, indeed…Title cut from one of those albums, like AC/DC’s Back in Black, where a new singer (Ronnie James Dio) comes in to replace an icon like Ozzy Osbourne as Brian Johnson did Bon Scott, the fan base wonders how things will go . . . and all is well.
AC/DC, Evil Walks . . . Speaking of AC/DC, as our songs/titles delve into dark realms.
Atomic Rooster, Death Walks Behind You . . . An old buddy from early in my newspaper career was major into Atomic Rooster who, at the time, early 1980s, I had heard of but not heard. Thanks to him, got into them, and the rest is history.
Budgie, Homicidal Suicidal . . . Not that I’m on a death or downer kick but again, look at the last few song titles. Just coincidence, really, picking out hard rock songs.
Van Halen, D.O.A. . . . I like both the David Lee Roth and Sammy (Van Hagar) versions of Van Halen but this is the type of vocal performance, not to mention the insistent Eddie Van Halen riff, that proponents of the ‘Van Halen is only Van Halen when Roth is singing school’ might point to. Unless, that is, they listened to the Tokyo Dome Live In Concert album, recorded on the reunited band’s 2013 tour and released in 2015. I took it back. It’s terrible. The playing is fine, but Roth can’t sing anymore; if he ever really could, although he sang his way – being more an entertaining and effective ad-libber talk-singer. On the Tokyo album it’s just embarrassing.
Headstones, Headlight Holds A Deer . . . Another good one from the just released Flight Risk album from the take-no-prisoners Canadian rockers. I played Hotel Room from the same album last Saturday on my early morning show. It’s a great record, but no surprise, the Headstones I find are pretty consistent.
Accept, Fast As A Shark . . . Fun intro with the Germanic beer/dance hall stuff, then the needle scratching the vinyl, the scream, the riff and we’re into some speed/heavy metal.
Motorhead, The Chase Is Better Than The Catch . . . Often true. Then comes the actual relationship, the compromises, etc. What a concept.
Megadeth, Peace Sells . . . But, as the lyrics go, who’s buying? Nobody, really, ever, if human history is a judge. We humans tend to talk about it a lot, though. Wasted words, apparently, to quote an Allman Brothers Band song title.
Metallica, Better Than You . . . The Load and Reload albums totally split the Metallica fan base, which started splintering an album earlier upon release of the more mainstream monster sales album Metallica, aka The Black Album, 1991. So the band changed their look, got haircuts, changed their sound a bit, so what? The music’s still good, just maybe different, and they’ve since largely returned to their thrash metal roots. All a matter of preference and taste, of course. This one’s from Reload.
Judas Priest, One For The Road . . . Likely largely forgotten track from Rocka Rolla, the band’s debut release in 1974. It was a different Priest, then, heavy, but more progressive and pscychedelic, quite good, to me, although the album stiffed and the band’s future was in question. Still, this song, in spots, could be seen as a precursor to the full hard rock/metal the band later regularly issued, even as soon as the very next album, Sad Wings Of Destiny. That title cut and other songs like The Ripper set Priest on the road to mass popularity.
Deep Purple, Comin’ Home . . . Love this rocker from the very diverseCome Taste The Band album, the one and only record featuring the late great Tommy Bolin, who replaced iconic original guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Reviews were mixed, even some band members like Jon Lord didn’t consider it truly a Purple album, but its merits have become more appreciated over time since it came out in 1975. I’ve liked it from first listen, upon release.
R.E.M. (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville . . . A single from the band’s second album, Reckoning, which failed to chart in 1984 when the group was still something of an underground act, albeit critically acclaimed. It’s about a real place, Rockville, Maryland, part of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Band member Mike Mills wrote the tune as a plea to his then-girlfriend not to return to the city, where her parents lived.
Atlanta Rhythm Section, Doraville . . . A tribute to the Atlanta suburb where the group formed, originally as the session band at Studio One in Doraville.
Joe Cocker, Inner City Blues . . . Cocker’s cover of the Marvin Gaye tune, from Gaye’s 1971 blockbuster What’s Going On album. Cocker’s version appeared as a bonus track on expanded re-releases of his 1982 album Sheffield Steel.
Led Zeppelin, I’m Gonna Crawl . . . Bluesy cut from the band’s final studio album, In Through The Out Door, released in 1979.
Headstones, Hotel Room . . . Typical blistering track from the Canadian band’s just-released new album, Flight Risk.
David Bowie, Win . . . From Young Americans, 1974. Bowie described the album as ‘plastic soul’, a term for soul music that is believed to lack authenticity. “It’s the definitive plastic soul record,” Bowie was quoted as saying about Young Americans. “It’s the squashed remains of ethnic music as it survives in the age of Muzak, written and sung by a white limey.” I like it. The quote and the music.
Colin James, National Steel . . . Acoustic blues title song, one of the few non-covers of great blues tunes but not at all out of place among them, from James’ 1997 album. The record earned James the 1998 Juno Award for best blues album.
Bill Wyman, Every Sixty Seconds . . . From Wyman’s second solo album, 1976’s Stone Alone, which followed Monkey Grip, released in 1974. A long list of musician friends helped Wyman out on the record, including Van Morrison, Joe Walsh, Ron Wood, Dr. John, Jim Keltner and Danny “Kootch’ Kortchmar. Stone Alone is also the name of Wyman’s 1990 book on The Rolling Stones.
Long John Baldry, It Ain’t Easy . . . Title song from Baldry’s 1971 album. Excellent stuff, with members of Faces and Elton John’s band at the time helping out.
10cc, The Second Sitting For The Last Supper . . . Nice riff to this one from The Original Soundtrack, the 1975 album that featured the band’s big hit, I’m Not In Love.
Steely Dan, Kings . . . Speaking of nice guitar playing, check out the solo by session ace Elliott Randall, who also did the well-known solo and played lead on Reelin’ In The Years, also from the band’s 1972 debut album, Can’t Buy A Thrill. I didn’t play a track from the album for this reason, but noticed in putting the set together that Can’t Buy A Thrill is 50 years old now (!!??), released in November 1972. Where does the time go?
Neil Young, Coupe de Ville . . . I love this spooky, brooding track from Young’s 1988 This Note’s For You album.
Donovan, Young Girl Blues . . . One of those songs – and a good one it is – that comes up, via title association, while I’m searching from something else among the many tunes from my collection that I’ve downloaded into the station’s computer. It’s a fun, somewhat random way of putting together at least part of my sets each time.
Townes Van Zandt, Colorado Girl . . . Same ‘related search’ thing with this tune from the troubled Townes, whose own demons of drugs and alcohol often inspired his art but, ultimately, sadly did him in at 52.
David Wilcox, My Eyes Keep Me In Trouble . . . Title song from the Canadian icon’s 1983 album. Many men can relate to the sentiments expressed within, I’d suggest. Not that one necessarily acts on those sentiments.
Simon and Garfunkel, Cecilia . . . It’s a deep cuts show and this was a big hit, top five and better in most countries, but what the heck? My show is called So Old It’s New, after all, and when’s the last time you heard it unless you’ve listened to the Bridge Over Troubled Water album or a Simon and Garfunkel compilation, lately? I knew a Cecilia in Grades 7 and 8. Pretty girl, very nice, had the last (slow) dance with her at a school dance in Grade 8. Nothing developed, though, given my not finely-tuned antennae at the time.
Rod Stewart, You’re My Girl (I Don’t Want To Discuss It) . . . So, here’s the ‘girl’ song I was actually looking for when all the other ones preceding it in my set list came up. Nice rocker from Gasoline Alley, Stewart’s second solo album, 1970, when he was maintaining parallel careers alongside Faces, most members of whom backed him on his terrific solo releases between 1969 and 1974.
Dickey Betts, Bougainvillea . . . Co-written by actor and sometime musician Don Johnson, probably best known via the 1980s TV show Miami Vice. Johnson also does backing vocals on the track, a seven-minute piece featuring typically fine guitar from Betts, of Allman Brothers fame. It’s from the 1977 album, Dickey Betts & Great Southern (his backing band).
Steppenwolf, Monster/Suicide/America . . . Extended title cut from the band’s most politically-charged album in a career full of them, released in 1969.
The Notting Hillbillies, Railroad Worksong . . . From the wonderful one-off project by Mark Knopfler and then-Dire Straits bandmate Guy Fletcher. It resulted in just the one album, 1990’s Missing . . . Presumed Having A Good Time.
Dire Straits, Telegraph Road . . . Epic, 14-minute opener to the band’s 1982 Love Over Gold album.
Trapeze, Medusa . . . This is what happens when you get around to at least sort of tidying your place, specifically your spare room where the CD shelves are housed . You find and remember albums and songs from bands you’ve never played on the show because, well, you couldn’t find the damn record to download into the studio computer. Anyway, title cut from the 1970 album by Trapeze, the band singer/bassist Glenn Hughes was in before he was recruited for and joined Deep Purple in 1974. Hughes re-recorded the track for the 2010 debut album by Black Country Communion, the hard rock band also featuring guitarist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham and keyboardist Derek Sherinian.
Deep Purple, The Battle Rages On . . . Title track from the band’s 1993 album, the last one featuring the classic so-called Mk. II lineup of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, singer Ian Gillan, bassist Roger Glover, drummer Ian Paice and keyboardist Jon Lord. It was the second reunion of the lineup, during which Blackmore finally had enough, mostly about fighting with Gillan in their mutual loathing society, and quit in the middle of the tour promoting the record. Guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani came to the rescue to finish the tour and was asked to join the band but declined, preferring to focus on his solo career although he did open for Purple on subsequent tours, one of which I saw in 2004 with Steve Morse on guitar. Purple’s productive and excellent Morse period, which included eight studio albums between 1996 and 2021, ended in 2022 when Morse took first a temporary hiatus and then permanent departure to care for his wife, who is battling cancer. Simon McBride, an Irish singer/guitarist who stepped in for Morse on tour, has since been named a permanent replacement/full fledged member of Deep Purple, which is planning a new studio album for 2023.
In 2002 Cyanide Kiss released their first demo CD. Created in a basement studio created with minimal effects and all running through a tape machine for playback/input separation. 20 years after this first music release Rob & Jeff McKenna combine solo audio projects Audio Boffins and All Weather haulage to create a combination track that can be heard at the Mano A Mano Bandcamp page.
A spooky title cut to Alice Cooper’s 1971 album serves as a sort of Halloween song but it’s more my way of introducing something of a tribute show to Jerry Lee Lewis, who was known as The Killer. The last man standing of the great 1950s rock and rollers, he died last Friday, Oct. 28, at age 87. I had planned to do a ’50s rock and roll show soon, but upon Lewis’s passing I decided to move things up. So, here we are with Lewis and many of his 1950s contemporaries, plus a few cover tunes by some of the later greats who were inspired by them.
Alice Cooper, Killer
Jerry Lee Lewis, Chantilly Lace
Jerry Lee Lewis, Breathless
Jerry Lee Lewis, High School Confidential
Jerry Lee Lewis, What’d I Say
Jerry Lee Lewis, Thirty Nine and Holding
Jerry Lee Lewis, Me and Bobby McGee
Elvis Presley, Little Sister
Screaming Jay Hawkins, Little Demon
Chuck Berry, The Downbound Train
Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, Shakin’ All Over
Gene Vincent, Race With The Devil
Little Richard, Lucille
Smiley Lewis, I Hear You Knocking
Jackie Brenston, Rocket 88
Vince Taylor and his Playboys, Brand New Cadillac
Duane Eddy, Rebel Rouser
Frankie Ford, Sea Cruise
Lloyd Price, Lawdy Miss Clawdy
Buddy Holly, Well All Right
The Coasters, Yakety Yak
Johnny & The Hurricanes, Reveille Rock
Johnny Burnette and The Rock ‘N’ Roll Trio, The Train Kept A-Rollin’
Larry Williams, Short Fat Fannie
The Ventures, Walk – Don’t Run
Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent
The Champs, Tequila
Dion, Runaround Sue
Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry, Ain’t Got No Home
Larry Williams, Bony Moronie
Danny and The Juniors, Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay
The Rolling Stones, Let It Rock (live, Leeds University 1971)
Johnny & Edgar Winter, Rock & Roll Medley (Slippin’ and Slidin’/Jailhouse Rock/Tutti-Frutti/Sick and Tired/I’m Ready/Reelin’ and Rockin’/Blue Suede Shoes/Jenny Take A Ride/Good Golly Miss Molly)
Teenage Head, Disgusteen . . . Nice day for a party, isn’t it? Great spoken intro, plays on scenes from The Exorcist, hypnotic hook, what else can one ask for?
Ramones, Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio? . . . The Ramones under the influene of exacting “wall of sound’ producer Phil Spector, from their 1980 album End Of The Century. The marriage was a divorce waiting to happen, given Spector’s painstaking, perfectionist producing of a band that was, by its nature, anything but polished and was used to doing things very quickly and damn the details. Yet for all that, what is something of an outlier album in the Ramones’ ouvre is the highest-charting (No. 44 on Billboard) of their records and achieved its intent – breaking the band to a more mainstream audience.
Sex Pistols, EMI . . . An eff you to their previous record company, which dropped them out of fear of the label’s reputation being damaged due to the band’s antics. Kick-butt tune, musically, as is the entire Never Mind The Bollocks album.
Graham Parker & The Rumour, Passion Is No Ordinary Word . . . Never a single yet one of those tracks that becomes widely associated with an artist. He even used it as the title to his excellent 1993 two-CD compilation album.
Elvis Costello, I’m Not Angry . . . Yes you are. Or were. That’s why I bracketed you with GP and JJ, the other two ‘angry young men’ of that late 1970s period when punk and new wave were all the rage, coinciding with my college years. Great times.
Joe Jackson, Mad At You . . . One can never account for why and how some things succeed and others don’t. The easy answer is that if something’s good, it will be successful, and vice-versa. But art is not so cut and dried, obviously. The Beat Crazy album, to me, is one of JJ’s finest achievements, the third and last of his early, new wave period. Cut for cut, it’s easily as good as his first two, Look Sharp and I’m the Man. Yet it didn’t get much airplay and bombed, relatively speaking, as did this infectious, bass-driven beauty, which was the first single.
Blondie, 11:59 . . . Up-tempo tune from Parallel Lines, the 1978 album full of well-known tracks like Heart of Glass, Hanging On The Telephone and One Way Or Another, in many ways the core of Blondie’s catalog.
Talking Heads, Drugs . . . The hypnotic music perfectly matches the title in this creation by the band and producer Brian Eno, who co-wrote the track with head Head David Byrne.
The Clash, Charlie Don’t Surf . . . Cue the classic scene, featuring Robert Duvall, from Apocalypse Now. From Sandinista! It’s a sprawling album, three vinyl records worth upon release in December 1980. It followed the double album mainstream breakthrough London Calling, and while the argument is often made by critics that double or (rare) triple studio albums would be better edited down to one, tighter release, I disagree but grant that it likely depends on the album. I was listening to Sandinista in the car this week, first time in a long time listening to it all the way through. And while one could argue there’s some filler, the album wouldn’t be the same without it as the band fuses myriad genres into an intoxicating whole. It’s akin to The Beatles’ White Album, which acclaimed producer George Martin said would better have been shaved to one disc. With all due respect to Sir George, I disagree.
Flash And The Pan, Walking In The Rain/Lights In The Night . . . Two songs from two different albums, Flash And The Pan’s debut and the title cut from the album that followed it, but to me they’ve always been of a piece in style and content, so I always tie them together. Great lyrics, at least to me, particularly in Lights In The Night: Talking to the ceiling, feeling kinda ill, if the radio doesn’t get me, the TV will. . . . Kiss another bottle, sink another drink, throw away the feeling, throw away the pill, if the bottle doesn’t get me, the thinking will.
Ian Dury, Wake Up And Make Love With Me . . . So there I was, first year college student still, like the brother back at home with his Beatles and his Stones from Mott The Hoople’s David Bowie-penned All The Young Dudes, and a new classmate puts on the New Boots and Panties album as we drive to a party. I was hooked. My big, tough football teammates thought I was insane and wondered what happened to the Beatles, Stones, Deep Purple, Zeppelin, etc. in my listening habits. I said, open your ears and minds; they’re all still there, you can like more than one thing at once. Then I put on the Talking Heads to drive them even more nuts.
Television, Friction . . . It took me ages to get into Television’s Marquee Moon album. I could never ‘get’ why it was considered such a classic. Then, one day, it all clicked.
Dead Kennedys, The Prey . . . Spooky track, scary subject, an assault.
The B-52’s, Lava . . . I must admit I’m not that big on the B-52’s, the band I mean. The drink’s ok, although I haven’t had many, never having acquired much of a taste for the so-called hard stuff. I’ve dabbled, just never gone further. As for the band, outside of Planet Claire, easily their best song, and maybe Rock Lobster, which I don’t think has aged well, the B-52’s are more, to me, a goofball curio from a place and time although they’re still around. Anyway, I figured a show featuring late ’70s/early ’80s punk/new wave would be lacking without one of their songs, so here you go. Yeah, I know, what a backhanded endorsement. So be it.
Martha and The Muffins, Paint By Number Heart . . . Third single from their Echo Beach-dominated 1980 debut, Metro Music. Nice saxophone work by Andy Haas.
BB Gabor, Big Yellow Taxi . . . As we transition, via Gabor’s reinvention of the Joni Mitchell hit, from a punk/new wave show into my more typical fare, so-called classic rock. I just realized I forgot to play Devo in the new wave portion, and The Police, too. Probably others. Oh well, the show is set and, well, maybe next time.
Bruce Springsteen, Drive All Night . . . I was reading a review of The River album, one of my favorites by Springsteen along with Born To Run and Darkness On The Edge of Town, wherein the critic mentioned Springsteen’s sometimes ‘overwrought’ singing which is the best description I’ve heard and is evident towards the end of this track. Still, it’s a fine, lengthy piece about lost love or, in the words of the same reviewer about the whole album: ‘a bitter empathy, these are the wages of young romantic love among those who get paid by the hour.’ It’s the root of Springsteen’s appeal, or at least was, during his early days.
Gregg Allman, Dark End Of The Street . . . Allman’s version of the classic soul song, covered countless times by various artists and worth reading up on. This one’s from Allman’s excellent 1997 album Searching For Simplicity.
The Allman Brothers Band, Dreams . . . I was cruising the web the other day and up popped an article detailing ‘the five Allman Brothers deep cuts you must hear”. Maybe because I’m a big fan of the band, I never thought of Dreams as a deep cut; it’s quite well known. At least to Allmans fans. On the other hand, aside from Ramblin’ Man, which made No. 2, the Allmans never had a top 10 single, amazingly enough, perhaps. So, I suppose to casual listeners, Dreams would be a deep cut. Works for me.
John Mellencamp, Circling Around The Moon . . . Every now and then you go back to albums you haven’t listened to in ages, like Mellencamp’s 1996 release Mr. Happy Go Lucky and think, wow, that’s a great album, and that’s a great song. And it is. What a relatively unknown, underappreciated gem, musically and lyrically: “On the day we met, I began to want you; on the day we met I began to lose you, too.”
Van Morrison, Hymns To The Silence . . . Lengthy title cut, a shade under 10 mnutes, from Van The Man’s 1991 album. A brilliant artist on so many levels, he’s very good at long songs, always compelling, never boring, seemingly shorter than their actual length because time passes quickly listening to them.
The Rolling Stones, Goin’ Home . . . From Aftermath, the fine 1966 album which, for the first time, featured no cover tunes, all songs by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as the band continued to blossom creatively. Going Home is perhaps an atypical Stones’ track, certainly in terms of length. At 11 ½ minutes, it was, at the time, the longest studio track ever released by a major rock band. And, on that note, I am goin’ home.
Pink Floyd, Welcome To The Machine . . This song, and much of the Wish You Were Here album, particularly Have A Cigar, is about record company BS but it could also be taken in a dystopian sense which, by titles at least, my first few selections tonight represent although as always there are stories, inspirations and motivations behind playing them.
Yes, Machine Messiah . . . This came up by word association while searching Welcome To The Machine. So, while I’ve played it fairly recently but not too recently, I thought what the heck, it fits the early theme of the show in both a prog rock, lyrical and song title sense. It’s from the sort of outlier Drama album by Yes, 1980, when singer Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman had left the band and in came singer Trevor Horn and keyboardist Geoff Downes from The Buggles and Video Killed The Radio Star fame. It seemed a bizarre addition but then out came Drama, leading off with this epic and it was like relax, Yes fans, we’re still prog rock and . . . perhaps even a bit metallic. Cool cut from one of my favorite Yes albums.
Genesis, The Colony of Slippermen . . . Any time I listen to or hear anything from The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway album I inevitably think of an old and still, from afar, buddy of mine, Gerry. He loved and still (I think) loves Genesis and would always wax rapturously about the album, starting by saying simply, “The Lamb…” and then getting into whatever point he was making. He follows the show, much appreciated. This one’s for you, friend. I like it, too.
Soft Machine, Chloe and The Pirates . . . Chloe is stuck with pirates on the colony of slippermen. No, I don’t know that, just felt like connecting the two and who knows what Chloe is or was thinking and doing? Nobody is talking because by this point, Soft Machine was an instrumental jazz progressive rock band.
Rush, Cygnus X-1 . . . From likely my favorite Rush album, A Farewell To Kings, all things considered. It’s the one I grew up with, know best and play most often although as with any great band, the catalog is deep and worthwhile listening throughout, even some of the mid- to late 80s synthesizer-dominated stuff, to a point. Playing this song tonight resulted from an auto correct typo. I was texting with one of my boys on Saturday evening and one word in whatever it was I said became Cygnus and I didn’t notice it before sending. So, I quickly recouped, blamed auto correct (not my poor editing skills), mentioned it was a Rush song, or at least part of one, and so here we are. Cygnus X-1 is, as many know, a black hole in the constellation Cygnus. Many bands write about sex, drugs and rock and roll. Rush writes about black holes which I suppose could be taken sexually. In fact, I remember although never saw the 1979 movie The Black Hole, which one of my buddies at the time in college referenced with respect to another friend’s girlfriend and, well, I better shut up now especially given the often ‘cancel culture’ nature of society these days. It’s a joke, people! As for Rush, Cygnus X-1 is part one of a two-parter. Full title Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage, it was the last song on A Farewell To Kings. On the next album, Hemispheres, they completed the epic by opening with Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres. Yeah, I know, perhaps I should have paired them today but I did that long ago and, well, just didn’t feel like it but perhaps a revisit is in order on some future full-blown prog rock show. Wonder what might have happened if, after Book I, the band broke up after promising a Book II? Well, it didn’t happen but it’s like when (Van Halen Best of Volume I comes to mind) a band releases a ‘volume I” compilation album but, due to breakup, whatever, there’s never a Volume II. I wouldn’t risk the possible bad karma, but that’s me. Anyway, Rush of course survived until retirement.
FM, Black Noise . . . From the Canadian band from which Nash The Slash came. Great track. Love the instrumental transition then heavy into the bass around the seven-minute mark of the 10-minute epic. But that’s prog rock for you, and a great thing.
King Crimson, Moonchild . . . From the ridiculously brilliant debut album, 1969, In The Court Of The Crimson King. Still and forever, although I like all their stuff, my favorite King Crimson album.
Joe Walsh, Decades . . . We depart from the prog theme of the first seven songs, although this is still prog-ish, in length at least, at 12 minutes. I wanted to play something from the sometimes almost deliberate but not necessarily true goofball persona that is Joe Walsh and here he, the apparent forever joker, comes with serious shit. It’s Walsh’s overview observations, sometimes autobiographical, decade by decade, of humanity’s various exercises in nonsense, mostly war, over the century of the 1900s. Worthwhile reading of the lyrics, even if you’re not into the music. From his 1992 album Songs For A Dying Planet. It bombed commercially, interestingly enough, since he mentions the A-bomb in this song’s lyrics.
The Rolling Stones, 2000 Man . . . Walsh’s album came out before the 20th century was out, so I’m having the Stones fill in the blanks up to 2000, so to speak, by title, in this somewhat prescient tale from 1967 and the Satanic Majesties album. “Well my name is a number a piece of plastic film . . . ” “I’m having an affair with the random computer.” Etc. Kiss covered 2000 Man on their Dynasty album, released in 1979 and containing their disco-ish hit I Was Made For Lovin’ You which, and I’m not a Kiss fan, to me is a brilliant track although it naturally confused and split their fan base.
Deep Purple, Flight Of The Rat . . . Propulsive rocker from In Rock, the brilliant first album (and fourth overall under the Deep Purple moniker) released in 1970 by the Mk. II and most famous and successful version of the band: Ian Gillan (vocals); Ritchie Blackmore (guitar); Roger Glover (bass); Ian Paice (drums); Jon Lord (keyboards).
Led Zeppelin, Four Sticks . . . From Zep IV, the one with the overplayed (albeit great) Stairway To Heaven on it. Hypnotic stuff.
Saga, The Security Of Illusion . . . From the Canadian prog rockers, and they’re from my hometown of Oakville, Ontario, too. Nice lyrics. Sort of fit, or could be applied to, my concluding two tracks from Jethro Tull and Ian Anderson’s diatribes against organized religion. As a recovering Catholic long distanced from the church or any organzied religion, I approve of such diatribes. There is faith, especially in oneself, there is spirituality. Religion and especially religious dogma are irrelevant societal/business constructs.
Jethro Tull, My God . . . I blew my then age 9 or 10 elder son’s mind playing this track from Aqualung for him one night. To that point, he had only heard or been into Tull’s best-known songs/hits. So, we laid on the floor, between two speakers, and just let it wash over us. He popped up and said “dad, holy shit.” About the lyrics. And the music. Later on, as he was learning/becoming expert on guitar, we did the same between the headphones thing one night listening to the live version of the Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil, from Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out as my son so wonderfully explained the separation in a great guitar tandem (Keith Richards and Mick Taylor then) between rhythm and lead playing as so well exemplified on that Stones track where first Richards, with a brilliant solo, then Taylor to finish up, are out of this world.
Jethro Tull, Wind Up . . . Another perfect title to end a show and, while I usually, unless I’m doing a themed show, don’t play two in a row from a band, I’ve always seen My God and Wind Up, also from Aqualung, as lyrically connected although they are separated by other songs on the album.
Here, there and everywhere we go with the Fab Four. My Beatles’ listening habits tend to focus on the Rubber Soul album forward, Rubber Soul being the first of the band’s studio albums I ever heard, upon release in 1965 via my older sister’s collection. But in putting together today’s show, I found myself rediscovering albums I like a lot but seem to play less often, like the UK version of Help! and, in particular 1963’s With The Beatles from which I drew Please Mr. Postman, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Not A Second Time and the relatively obscure gem Don’t Bother Me. Don’t Bother Me was George Harrison’s first credited composition on a Beatles’ disc. I hadn’t heard it in ages but, as with many relatively obscure Beatles’ tunes, my reaction was “oh, I remember this.”
Great stuff from an amazing band, particularly when one considers how these are deeper cuts yet because it’s The Beatles, many of the songs are as well known as their big hit singles. Like, for instance, the slowed down White Album version of Revolution 1, coupled with the wacky weirdness of Revolution 9. Numbah 9…Numbah 9…on with the show which, as is often my wont, in several spots tells interconnected tales via song titles and lyrics within.
Good Morning Good Morning
I’m Only Sleeping
I’m So Tired
The Night Before
Dizzy Miss Lizzie
And Your Bird Can Sing
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
Five Man Electrical Band, We Play Rock ‘N Roll . . . And the sign said the band known mostly for that great song, Signs, did a lot of other good stuff. Like this one, cliché band making music lyrics aside.
Jethro Tull, When Jesus Came To Play . . . 1991’s Catfish Rising album, from which I pulled this typically hilariously cynical Ian Anderson-penned cut, seems to get short shrift, even from Tull fans of which I am a big one. Not sure why, except for the reality that everyone hears things differently and that’s cool. It’s one of my favorite Tull albums – good hard rocking bluesy stuff for the most part full of great songs like Rocks On The Road, Roll Your Own, this one and many others.
Doug and The Slugs, Thunder Makes The Noise . . . The tyranny of too many choices ruling our lives but particularly our TV and internet packages and indeed home entertainment options these days means, unless we’re disciplined, that we often don’t get to or, hell, don’t even know all that’s available to us. Like, for me, The Documentary Channel in my TV package I only recently discovered I have but then I’m not a huge TV or for that matter streaming service consumer. I just have what I have, mostly for sports channels, then find that things like The Documentary Channel come with it. All of which is my usual stream of consciousness way of saying that I recently noticed, and recorded, a documentary on Doug and The Slugs, which prompted me playing the band today. Have I watched the doc yet? Of course not. It’s in my ‘to watch’ list along with books, etc. I’ll get to it, eventually, but definitely sooner than later. I saw the Slugs in 1979 in a bar in Oakville, Ontario thanks to a girl I was dating at the time during my college days, before most people knew of the band.
Fleetwood Mac, One Sunny Day . . . Need I tell you the story again of my older brother bringing home the Then Play On album and how much of a great musical influence he was on me? Anyway, another from that terrific album, the last of the Peter Green era.
The Rolling Stones, Loving Cup . . . This was one of mine when a Twitter music aficionado acquaintance last week asked people to name four favorite tracks from Exile On Main Street. I did add the point that, favorites are, really, each of the 18 songs on arguably the Stones’ best album, and likely my favorite album of theirs although so difficult to pick.
Murray McLauchlan, Playin’ Your Emotions . . . He’s obviously well known to people of a certain vintage but the breadth of McLauchlan’s songwriting and musical talent is truly revealed by the 2-CD Songs From The Street compilation, also available online, that came out several years ago and was an important release for those who still like physical product, since many of his albums have gone out of print, alas.
The Lovin’ Spoonful, Darlin’ Companion . . . I first heard this song, written by the Spoonful’s John Sebastian, via Johnny Cash covering it in a duet with his wife, June Carter Cash, on my dad’s Johnny Cash At San Quentin live album. Sebastian later wrote Welcome Back, the theme song to the 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter along with of course the big Spoonful hits Do You Believe In Magic and Summer In The City, the latter co-written with his brother Mark and Spoonful bandmate Steve Boone.
Elton John, Blues For Baby And Me . . . Sometimes credited as Blues For My Baby And Me. Either way, another great early to mid-1970s EJ song, a time when everything he touched turned to gold. Or platinum. Multiple times. This one’s from the Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player album.
Bob Dylan, Love Sick . . . The joy of having fellow music aficionado friends: You get texts like this, out of the blue: “When was the last time you listened to Time Out Of Mind straight through? Highly recommended for someone in need of something making sense. Just finished! Two bourbons and phew, peace for a minute.” It’s been a while, for me, listening to Dylan’s brilliant 1997 album, front to back but I will again soon, thanks to my friend’s text. And I promised him I’d play something from it today, inspired by his message and reminder of the record. Love Sick, the opening song on the Time Out Of Mind album, was released as a single but as is often now typical for classic rock artists, didn’t chart that I’m aware of and in fact made a list of ‘greatest Dylan songs that aren’t the greatest hits.” It’s pretty great, to me. But then I’m a huge fan and admire and like all his work. And I do mean all of it, even those songs that might be considered by some to be outlier failures, like some of his Christian period material for instance.
Meat Loaf, Life Is A Lemon and I Want My Money Back . . . Arguably a guilty pleasure for me, Meat Loaf. Just so over the top and bombastic, it’s great. Plus, sometimes, one can’t help but agree with the song title. This comes from the second Bat Out Of Hell album, Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, released in 1993. It was almost as good as the first blockbuster, released in 1977. The third and last in the series, Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose, came out in 2006. It wasn’t as successful but it did spawn a tour which yielded a great DVD, 3 Bats Live, taken from a London, Ontario show from that trek. Great show, during which Meat Loaf did justice to the Stones’ Gimme Shelter in a closing concert assault of covers that also featured Black Betty and Mercury Blues. I confess that, while I own a Meat Loaf 2-CD compilation that covers some of his other stuff, all I ever really listen to are the first two Bat Out Of Hell albums. And speaking of Meat Loaf DVDs, also well worth seeking out or finding online is The Original Tour, a 1978 German Rockpalast show from the original Bat Out Of Hell tour.
Van Morrison, T.B. Sheets . . . I think this is one of Van The Man’s best but of course they are so many, this one being yet another of those where his voice is an amazing instrument in itself. A dark tale about tuberculosis, I can’t do justice to analyzing it but it is worth reading the Wikepedia entry on it which delves into various reactions to and interpretations of it.
Eric Burdon and War, Blues For Memphis Slim . . . Extended, 13-minute piece of jazzy funk blues including the “Mother Earth’ segments noting the truism of men (and some women) coming out of somewhere then spending the rest of their lives trying to get back in. Burdon and War were an amazing combination over the three studio albums they did together.
Jon Lord with The Hoochie Coochie Men and Jimmy Barnes, 12 Bar Blow Jam (live) . . . The late great Deep Purple keyboardist at the helm for this kick ass jam from the Live At The Basement album, recorded in Australia and released in 2004.
John Mayall/Bluesbreakers, Ain’t No Brakeman . . . I was playing a 1990s period Mayall compilation, from his days on the Silvertone label, in the car last week. This came up, so in it goes, on the show. Originally on 1995’s Spinning Coin album.
Stephen Stills, Johnny’s Garden . . . Amazingly, this was not a single from the Manassas album, released in 1972. It’s well-known though, and rightly so.
Bloomfield/Kooper/Stills, His Holy Modal Majesty . . . Speaking of Stills, he’s credited on the overall Super Session album project but didn’t play on this tribute to John Coltrane. It’s Mike Bloomfield on guitar, before he left the sessions claiming he was having issues sleeping. So Al Kooper, who was running the show, called Stills in for the songs – including a great, extended cover of Donovan’s Season Of The Witch – that appeared on side 2 of the original vinyl album release.
The Moody Blues, English Sunset . . . I’m not typically fond of synthesizer-driven tracks but I do like this up tempo one from the 1990 Strange Times album, which barely scraped into the Top 100. English Sunset, the opening cut on the album, was the only single. It didn’t chart.
Love, You Set The Scene . . . From the the Forever Changes album, Love starts us down the scenic route (you’ll see) to close the show.
Billy Joel, Scenes From An Italian Restaurant . . . From the blockbuster The Stranger album. Interestingly, his record company was close to dropping Joel before he produced arguably his finest work and a deserved hit album commercially and creatively. Not a single although a well-known and popular Joel track. As for the wine of which he speaks, I started with whites but once I took a chance and realized it didn’t trigger my migraine headaches, moved to reds. And, thankfully, the migraines have faded to almost never having them, as I’ve aged. Must be the red wine. Who knew?
Bob Seger, The Famous Final Scene . . . Haven’t played Seger in a while. This is a studio cut from Stranger In Town but occurs to me in playing it that I meant to include something from Seger’s Live Bullet on last Saturday’s all live albums show, but I forgot amid the various other tracks. So many great songs, so little time, even with now two, two-hour shows for me each week. I’m sure I’ll get to Live Bullet again, either independently or on another live albums show somewhere down the line.