The Rolling Stones, Flip The Switch . . . One of those great kick butt album openers by the boys. At that point, it was 1997’s Bridges To Babylon album, the latest in a line of bracing opening tracks including Sticky Fingers’ Brown Sugar, Exile On Main St.’s Rocks Off, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll’s If You Can’t Rock Me, Start Me Up from Tattoo You and One Hit (To The Body) from Dirty Work. And then in 2005 came Rough Justice, from the band’s most recent but to this fan hopefully not last full album of original recorded material, A Bigger Bang.
Jefferson Airplane, Blues From An Airplane . . . Opening cut from the band’s debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, in 1966. Written and sung by Marty Balin, before Grace Slick joined the group. Signe Anderson was the female vocalist at the time – with powerful lead singing on the record’s Chauffeur Blues – before quitting to raise a family. Yeah, I know. Why didn’t I play Chauffeur Blues, then? Didn’t think about it. Soon, perhaps.
Status Quo, Paper Plane . . . Good rocker from the appropriately titled Pile Driver album. It made No. 8 on the UK singles charts.
The Kinks, Give The People What They Want . . . Title cut from the band’s 1981 album. I like the tune, great lyrics as always from Ray Davies, but I’m playing it deliberately to set up a request I had after last Monday’s show.
Ry Cooder, Tattler . . . That request was for some Ry Cooder. No song specified, so I randomly picked this one from Cooder’s 1974 album Paradise and Lunch, featuring his typically fine guitar work. Linda Ronstadt covered the tune, written by American gospel artist George Washington Phillips under the title You Can’t Stop A Tattler, as The Tattler on her 1976 album Hasten Down The Wind.
Bert Jansch, Angie . . . Wonderful acoustic guitar picking instrumental from the influential Scottish artist and founder of the band Pentangle.
The Doobie Brothers, Steamer Lane Breakdown . . . Aside from the song Takin’ It To The Streets, I’m not big into the Michael McDonald-fronted, massively commercially successful version of The Doobie Brothers. But there’s a track here and there amid what I consider largely schlock that I like, like this toe-tapper instrumental by founding and forever band member Patrick Simmons.
Black Oak Arkansas, Jim Dandy . . . He’s not a household name, especially all these years later from the band’s1970s heyday, but were it not for Black Oak frontman Jim “Dandy’ Mangrum, Van Halen’s David Lee Roth might never have existed, so to speak. Check out some old live clips of Black Oak Arkansas.
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Lost In The Ozone . . . One drink of wine, two drinks of gin, I’m lost in the ozone again.
Pete Townshend/Ronnie Lane, Nowhere To Run . . . From one of those albums, 1977’s Rough Mix, you pick up at random because you’re a Who and Faces fan and are endlessly rewarded for it to this day and forever. One of the best albums of all time, period.
Leon Russell, Out In The Woods . . . Love this funky gumbo type stuff.
Steve Winwood, Night Train . . . Such a talent. Winwood played every instrument on his breakthrough 1980 solo album Arc Of A Diver, from which this track comes.
Supertramp, Brother Where You Bound . . . Epic, 16-minute title track from the band’s 1985 album, the first after the split between chief songwriters Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson, who departed for a solo career leaving Davies in charge. The group produced arguably a harder-edged album than some of the syrupy commercially-oriented material that had brought them mainstream success with Breakfast In America, and this song is indicative of that. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame guests on guitar.
Danny Kirwan, Ram Jam City . . . Up-tempo ditty from the late former Fleetwood Mac guitarist’s debut solo album, Second Chapter, released in 1975.
Warren Zevon, Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead . . . From the Mr. Bad Example album, 1991. I was chatting with fellow music fan friends the other night, we were talking about great session players populating myriad albums and there he is, drummer Jim Keltner, on this track.
UFO, Mother Mary . . . Three words: Guitarist Michael Schenker.
Nick Lowe, Switchboard Susan . . . A minor hit single, in Canada at least, from Labour Of Lust, the album that got me into Lowe during my college days.
Headstones, Supersmart . . . Typical raunch and roll from one of my favorite bands, Canadian or otherwise.
Bob Dylan, Ballad Of A Thin Man . . . Because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones? Poor Mr. Jones. So much available literature on this song. Worth reading.
Junkhouse, Down In The Liver . . . Harrowing lyrics by Tom Wilson, the subject matter reminiscent of Kris Kristofferson’s Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.
Rush, Cinderella Man . . . One of my favorite Rush songs, from probably my favorite Rush album, 1977’s A Farewell To Kings. It’s one of the few songs whose lyrics weren’t written by drummer Neil Peart after he joined the band after the debut album, replacing John Rutsey as the group went in a more progressive rock direction. Bassist/singer Geddy Lee wrote the words.
Kansas, The Pinnacle . . . American prog from a band likely best known to the masses for the hits Carry On Wayward Son and Dust In The Wind but a catalog with far more depth than those two excellent songs. Kansas is celebrating its 50th anniversary (!) in 2023, with a comprehensive new 3-CD career-spanning compilation just out to mark the milestone. It covers from their first release up to their most recent studio work, the 2020 album The Absence of Presence.
King Crimson, Red . . . British prog. Sort of. The highly-influential Crimson is a bit of everything, really, isn’t it? Metal, hard rock, ballads, inventive progressive stylings, often all in the same song. It’s what’s made them consistently great, amid myriad lineups under the direction of leader Robert Fripp, since the debut album in 1969.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Trilogy . . . More British prog, featuring beautiful piano from Keith Emerson on a track that eventually highlights the prowess of all the players including the ethereal vocals of Greg Lake.
The Beach Boys, Shut Down . . . OK, that’s enough. Here come The Beach Boys to shut down that indulgent prog stuff with a short rock and roller that was the B-side to Surfin’ USA and later a hit single in its own right.
T Bone Burnett, Kill Switch . . . Stones open with Flip The Switch. T Bone closes with Kill Switch. Outta here until Monday. Take care, all.