So Old It’s New ‘2’ set list for Saturday, March 4, 2023 – on air 7-9 am ET

My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.

  1. Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 5
  2. Electric Light Orchestra, Roll Over Beethoven
  3. Muddy Waters, The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock & Roll
  4. Joe Walsh, I Can Play That Rock & Roll
  5. Chicago, Anyway You Want
  6. Stanley Clarke, Rock ‘N Roll Jelly
  7. Roger Waters, What God Wants, Part I
  8. Flash And The Pan, Man In The Middle
  9. Murray Head, One Night In Bangkok
  10. Roxy Music, In Every Dream Home A Heartache (live, from Viva! Roxy Music)
  11. The Butterfield Blues Band, Love Disease
  12. Fleetwood Mac, Black Magic Woman
  13. Arc Angels, Sent By Angels
  14. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Tightrope
  15. Gov’t Mule (with Jimmy Vaughan), Burning Point
  16. Deep Purple, Mistreated
  17. Billy Cobham, Stratus
  18. Genesis, The Knife (from Live, 1973 release)
  19. Kansas, A Glimpse Of Home
  20. The Byrds, Goin’ Back
  21. The Rolling Stones, How Can I Stop (Wayne Shorter, RIP, on saxophone) 

    My track-by-track tales:

    1. Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 . . . I was sorting and shelving CDs and came across some items in my classical collection and figured, what the heck, let’s play some Ludwig. It’s not often I dip into the 18th and 19th centuries, after all, Beethoven’s lifespan being 1770-1827, with his music eternal. Not the full symphony but a five or so minute excerpt. And it makes for some fun as a setup for the next song. Subconsciously, I might also have been thinking of Beethoven thanks to a text conversation with a friend during which he jokingly inserted Walter Murphy into a chat about The Beatles. You had to be part of the conversation but suffice it to say it was favorable to the Fab Four. Time and space don’t permit other than to say it had to do with The Beatles’ acumen as a live band and people’s perception as to their ability to rock. They could, not only throughout their career – see the rooftop concert for instance – and, hmm, anyone ever hear of their Hamburg days? Or The Cavern Club? Etc. Anyway, Murphy’s Big Apple Band had the disco instrumental hit A Fifth Of Beethoven in 1976, then he kept doing that sort of thing with Mozart and other classical artists but people grew less and less interested as he went to the well too often. Murphy is still active with an extensive resume writing music for films and TV shows including, going way back, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on up through Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Family Guy, among many others.
    2. Electric Light Orchestra, Roll Over Beethoven . . . Full eight-minute version of ELO’s take on the Chuck Berry classic, including the opening nod to Beethoven’s 5th. A killer cut, appeared on ELO 2.
    1. Muddy Waters, The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock & Roll . . . From Hard Again, one of three studio and one live albums guitarist Johnny Winter produced and played on near the end of Waters’ life and career. Hard Again in 1977 was followed by I’m Ready in 1978, Muddy ‘Mississippi’ Waters Live in 1979 and King Bee, Muddy’s final studio album in 1981. Also helping out in the series of albums were, among others, piano man Pinetop Perkins and James Cotton on harmonica. 
    2. Joe Walsh, I Can Play That Rock & Roll . . . In the liner notes to a compilation I own, Walsh said he was paying homage to The Rolling Stones with this track and that’s clearly evident with the Keith Richards-like guitar sound and opening riff. It’s from Walsh’s 1983 typically humorously-named album, You Bought It – You Name It. I’ll name it pretty good.
    1. Chicago, Anyway You Want . . . Kitchener, Ontario’s Charity Brown had a No. 6 Canadian hit with this Peter Cetera-penned song, sung by Cetera on Chicago VIII in 1975. I’ve lived in Kitchener for years now and Brown’s version has been something of an earworm since my teen years in Oakville, Ont. But I still prefer Chicago’s version from back when they still had the jazz-rock fusion and sometimes funky thing going to at least some extent, while guitarist Terry Kath was still alive. 
    2. Stanley Clarke, Rock ‘N Roll Jelly . . . From the eclectic bassist’s 1978 album Modern Man. It came to mind while watching a YouTube ‘rate the albums’ show that wasn’t about Clarke although he came up in the conversation the guys on the show were having. It’s a great up-tempo instrumental featuring Jeff Beck, who almost steals the spotlight on lead guitar but from what I’ve read, Clarke has been that sort of bandleader on his solo material, letting others shine. I first learned of and saw Clarke – most of whose vast body of work is in the jazz fusion idiom including his work with Chick Corea’s Return To Forever – when he was a member of The New Barbarians. That was the band featuring Rolling Stones guitarists Ron Wood and Keith Richards that toured the US to promote Wood’s Gimme Some Neck album. But they’re best known for opening for the Stones at the 1979 Oshawa, Ontario benefit concert that fulfilled one of the conditions of Richards’ sentence for possession of heroin. I was there and still amazed I managed to get tickets; there were only 10,000 to be had for the separate afternoon and evening concerts in the 5,000-seat hockey arena. My college buddy and I saw the afternoon show, tried to linger for the second show, we hid in a bathroom, but were found and booted out. Great shows, both the Barbarians and the Stones. The Barbarians set finishes, Keith Richards grabs an acoustic guitar, sits on a stool, stage dark aside from the spotlight. He starts strumming and then out comes Mick Jagger, all dressed in white and it’s suddenly the 1969 US tour again that yielded the live album Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out as Mick and Keith go into the Rev. Robert Wilkins blues cut Prodigal Son that appeared on the Beggars Banquet album. Then out come the rest of the Stones for Let It Rock and it’s on with a terrific and historic show. As I recall, Clarke later joined the Stones for the set closers Miss You and Jumpin’ Jack Flash.
    1. Roger Waters, What God Wants, Part I . . . Speaking of Jeff Beck helping out Stanley Clarke, here’s the late great guitarist again on a typically acerbic song from Waters’ 1992 album Amused To Death. The album title was inspired by Neil Postman’s 1985 book Amusing Ourselves To Death, which changed my life/way of thinking, at least in terms of the vacuous nature of celebrity culture. The book, whose genesis came from Postman’s appearance on a panel discussing George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, is subtitled Public Discourse In The Age of Show Business and remains relevant. The late Postman’s view was that the modern world was more a reflection of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where people are oppressed more by their addiction to amusement than oppression by the state, as in Orwell’s dystopia although both visions are valid. John Lennon arguably beat Postman to the punch by 15 years in his 1970 classic Working Class Hero where they ‘keep you doped with religion and sex and TV.’ But to perhaps correct Lennon and go back to Postman, it’s not necessarily ‘they’. It’s us. Bread and circuses, happily consumed.
    1. Flash And The Pan, Man In The Middle . . . Crazy where inspiration comes from. As often mentioned, lots comes from conversations, or something I see or hear or, in this case, buying a bottle of wine earlier this week. I happened upon the rack holding one of my regular selections, took the middle of the three bottles in the front row and the Flash And The Pan song popped into my head. Wonderful/amazing/crazy how the brain works. I suppose. Had I picked the bottle on the left, perhaps I’d be playing Paul McCartney and Wings’ Cafe On The Left Bank, or some such, and Traffic’s Roll Right Stones had I gone for the bottle on the right. Next time, perhaps. I’ll call it ‘the wine selection show.’
    1. Murray Head, One Night In Bangkok . . . The versatile actor/singer Murray Head went from his brilliance as Judas on the 1970 Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack to another impressive performance, rapping out the verses on this catchy hip-hop type tune from the Chess musical soundtrack in 1984. It was developed by renowned author/lyricist Tim Rice of The Lion King fame, and two members of ABBA. The Bangkok single was a worldwide smash hit, much bigger than the actual musical production which first drew my interest because I love the game of chess, arguably humankind’s greatest invention. The song is the only reason I ever bought the original vinyl album, which I lost or traded in along the way but I found the song again recently in a used rack, on a CD compilation of 1980s new wave hits. Yes, I could always access the song online but I still like owning physical copies. To quote The Who, I’m talking about my generation. And one never knows when some bean counter might decide to remove a song from online streaming circulation, same as happens with movies and TV shows. Purge at your listening peril, as I keep warning a friend. That’s you, Ted. 🙂
    1. Roxy Music, In Every Dream Home A Heartache (live, from Viva! Roxy Music) . . . Live take of a song about emptiness and inflatable dolls that first appeared on Roxy’s second studio album, 1973’s For Your Pleasure. Spooky, sinister, weird, great. Probably would get banned in today’s so-called cancel culture although I shouldn’t be so harsh – the song was used as recently as 2019 in the TV crime drama series Mindhunter. I’m not much of a TV show watcher outside of Star Trek and have never watched Mindhunter but the song seems a good choice for a series based on the FBI’s criminal profiling/serial killer unit.
    2. The Butterfield Blues Band, Love Disease . . . From 1969’s Keep On Moving album. It’s appropriately titled in that it continued the band’s move away from the straight blues of the early albums starting with the debut in 1965 to a more R & B/soul/horns-drenched approach as guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop eventually moved on. Good music, still, in my opinion despite waning interest from fans and critics – and the 1970 album Live, featuring the expanded lineup, is a fine listen. 
    3. Fleetwood Mac, Black Magic Woman . . . One of those originals, like Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower reimagined by Jimi Hendrix, that relatively few people seem to have heard, at least in comparison to the more celebrated cover. Like many I, too, was introduced to Black Magic Woman by Santana’s version on the Abraxas album but as is usually the case, was rewarded by going back to the source material, from Fleetwood Mac’s blues band days with Peter Green. Same scenario for me with Dylan’s original. I can sincerely say that I have no preference among any of the four versions of the two songs, all excellent in their own ways. It could be argued that, because the famous covers are ubiquitous and overplayed, the originals are the more welcome listens. But that’s just my opinion.
    1. Arc Angels, Sent By Angels . . . From the lone, self-titled studio album released in 1992 by the blues rock outfit formed after Stevie Ray Vaughan died in a helicopter crash in 1990. It featured two members – drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon – from Vaughan’s band Double Trouble, plus guitarists/singers Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton. They’ve reformed sporadically for live shows over the years and as of 2022 were back again, minus Shannon, for live work. Based on the excellent lone studio release, new recorded work would be welcome.
    2. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Tightrope . . . Up-tempo tune with typically great solos from SRV from 1989’s In Step, his last studio album with Double Trouble.
    1. Gov’t Mule (with Jimmy Vaughan), Burning Point . . . SRV’s brother and fellow guitarist Jimmy of The Fabulous Thunderbirds fame helps out the Mule on this one from the 2017 album Revolution Come . . . Revolution Go.
    1. Deep Purple, Mistreated . . . I played a live version of the title cut from 1974’s Burn album the other week when I did a live albums set. It prompted a show follower to mention how he wore the Burn studio album out back then. Me too. So, I decided to return to that record via this powerful, extended blues cut dominated by Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar and David Coverdale’s compelling vocals. 
    2. Billy Cobham, Stratus . . . Extended jazz fusion from drummer Cobham’s debut solo album, 1973’s Spectrum after he had made big contributions to such albums as Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew and work with John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, all part of a wide-ranging resume in jazz and rock. Cobham’s album featured future Deep Purple guitarist Tommy Bolin, who replaced Ritchie Blackmore when Blackmore quit Purple in 1975 to form Rainbow. Purple’s then-singer David Coverdale was a big fan of Spectrum and Bolin’s playing and recommended Bolin to his bandmates after Blackmore left. The result was Purple’s Come Taste The Band album, which divided critics, the fan base and even the band members due to its, in spots, funky and soulful approach with songs like one of my favorites, You Keep On Moving. Keyboardist Jon Lord was quoted as saying that while he liked the album, especially coming at it for a fresh listen years later, ‘in most people’s opinion, it’s not a Deep Purple album.’ As a big Purple fan, I disagree – it’s a great album that displays the band’s versatility and embracing of different musical forms and it’s gained in stature among critics, over time but in any event we all hear things differently. Some artists can’t win, really. If they branch out, as often happens when new members are integrated, they might lose some fans, while maybe gaining others. If they stay the same, they retain their core audience but are perhaps accused of not progressing. AC/DC, to name one band, doesn’t give a shit and their talent is doing essentially the same album multiple times while still sounding compelling and I sincerely mean that as a compliment. Longtime Purple singer Ian Gillan, who wasn’t involved, has echoed Lord’s remarks about whether Come Taste The Band is ‘real’ Purple. I find Gillan’s view interesting – and I’m not sure when he voiced it, his thoughts may have changed – in that the latter day Purple with guitarist Steve Morse and Gillan back at the vocal helm did some similarly interesting, more diverse material than ‘was allowed’ when the mercurial and somewhat controlling, albeit obviously brilliant Blackmore was in the band – which was always a source of his conflicts with Gillan.
    3. Genesis, The Knife (from Live, 1973 release) . . . I was going to play something from Genesis Live when I did my live albums show recently, but couldn’t fit it in, chose something else, whatever. So, here you go, a ferocious live take on the song that arguably eclipses the studio version from 1970s Trespass, after which guitarist Anthony Phillips and drummer John Mayhew moved on, replaced by Steve Hackett and Phil Collins, respectively. Those additions solidified the band’s so-called classic lineup – at least during the purely progressive rock period – that also included singer Peter Gabriel, guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks. And, of course, The Knife forever reminds me of a drunken, fun ‘fight’ with an old friend over whether Genesis could ‘rock’. I’ve long since come to realize that they could.
    4. Kansas, A Glimpse Of Home . . . Not sure how to explain it other than the evolution of my ears, so to speak, but I’ve gotten more into progressive rock as I’ve aged and, in particular, more into arguably one of America’s best exponents of the genre, Kansas. For the longest time I knew and listened to essentially just three songs – Dust In The Wind, Carry On Wayward Son and Portrait (He Knew), so a bare-bones Kansas hits compilation was enough for me. Then I started digging deeper and have been rewarded. It’s not like they’re my favorite band, but there’s lots of great listening in their extensive catalog and they’re still at it, 50 years later, releasing new material and touring.
    1. The Byrds, Goin’ Back . . . Yet another from the vast songwriting catalogue of onetime married couple Carole King and Gerry Goffin. Covered by many, it caused division among The Byrds as David Crosby, soon to be fired by the band, thought it was lightweight. So they recorded it anyway and released it as a single, although it made it to just No. 89 in the US and didn’t chart in the UK. So maybe Crosby was right, although I like the ‘that’s life’ tune.
    1. The Rolling Stones, How Can I Stop (Wayne Shorter, RIP, on saxophone) . . . Lots of jazzy stuff in today’s show, reviewing the set. Not sure how that happens but one just goes with the flow. How Can I Stop is another of those slow, jazzy, bluesy tunes Keith Richards, perhaps belying his reputation as just a riff rocker, has been so adept at on Stones albums, probably harkening back to All About You from the Emotional Rescue album or even You Got The Silver from Let It Bleed. How Can I Stop was the last track on 1997’s Bridges To Babylon album. I was going to play a different Stones song, Moonlight Mile from Sticky Fingers which I’ll get to in a coming show but decided on How Can I Stop when news came of renowned jazz saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter’s death Thursday at age 89. He plays a wonderful solo on this Stones’ song. And what an amazing catalogue Shorter had, with Miles Davis, with Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, on his own, on various rock/pop albums including Santana, Joni Mitchell, Don Henley . . . rest in peace.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.