So Old It’s New ‘alphabet soup’ set for Monday, April 3, 2023 – on air 8-10 pm ET

A 26-song trip from A to Z, using band/artist names, for tonight’s set. My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.

  1. The Allman Brothers Band, Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
  2. The Beatles, Because
  3. Johnny Cash, I Won’t Back Down
  4. Donovan, Season Of The Witch
  5. Eagles, Visions
  6. Fairport Convention, Reno, Nevada
  7. Golden Earring, Instant Poetry
  8. Hawkwind, Black Elk Speaks
  9. It’s A Beautiful Day, White Bird
  10. Jefferson Airplane, Comin’ Back To Me
  11. The Kinks, Muswell Hillbilly
  12. Led Zeppelin, Black Country Woman
  13. John Mellencamp, Country Gentleman
  14. Nazareth, All Nite Radio
  15. Ohio Players, Time Slips Away
  16. Pink Floyd, If
  17. Queen, The Hitman
  18. The Rolling Stones, Rain Fall Down
  19. Santana, Africa Speaks
  20. Ten Years After, Don’t Want You Woman
  21. U2, Walk To The Water
  22. The Velvet Underground, Rock & Roll
  23. Wolfmother, 10,000 Feet
  24. XTC, Ten Feet Tall
  25. Neil Young, For The Turnstiles
  26. Warren Zevon, My Ride’s HereMy track-by-track tales:

     

    1. The Allman Brothers Band, Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More . . . From Eat A Peach, written and sung by Gregg Allman in the wake of his brother Duane’s death in a motorcycle crash. An upbeat tune musically albeit touching, lyrically, on grief, the fleeting nature of time, and our use of it.
    1. The Beatles, Because . . . Stories about recording sessions are interesting and often unintentionally funny. There’s so much literature about the Beatles’ recording sessions, for all their albums, that I won’t get into it too deeply except for the two stories coming out of the Abbey Road sessions that have always made me smile. 1. Things were so acrimonious by then (even though Abbey Road is often romanticized as the group truly pulling together for one last, great gasp of creativity) that John Lennon for a time wanted all his songs on one side of the original vinyl release and Paul McCartney’s on the other. 2. Recording engineer Geoff Emerick favored Everest brand cigarettes. And boy, these guys smoked a lot, evidenced by the Get Back documentary. So anyway, due to Emerick the working title for the album was Everest. But when it was suggested the group fly to the Himalayas for a cover shoot – and I can just imagine scene, ‘ah, screw that idea’ – nobody could be bothered so they just went outside the studio for the iconic crosswalk photo we all know, love and many have imitated on trips to London. Beautiful three-part harmonies by Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison on the song, apparently inspired by Yoko Ono playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to Lennon. Who says Yoko didn’t contribute to Beatles’ music beyond clinging to Lennon in the studio and being grudgingly tolerated by everyone else?
    1. Johnny Cash, I Won’t Back Down . . . I watched a documentary on Johnny Cash recently. A few minutes into the 90-minute show, I realized I’d seen it, or at least parts of it, long ago. But the repeat viewing was worth it and inspired me to play Cash’s cover of this Tom Petty tune. It appeared on American III: Solitary Man, one of the series of excellent albums Cash did with producer Rick Rubin late in The Man In Black’s career. 
    2. Donovan, Season Of The Witch . . . I’ve played cover versions of Donovan’s tune, by Vanilla Fudge, and Al Kooper and Stephen Stills from the Super Sessions album. Not sure I’ve ever played the original, so here goes.
    3. Eagles, Visions . . . Co-written by guitarist Don Felder, who contributes the fine work that earned him the nickname ‘Fingers’. It’s the only Eagles song on which Felder handled lead vocals despite his stated desire to do more. But the band was in the controlling hands of main songwriters/singers Glenn Frey and Don Henley and it truly was a case of three’s a crowd. It eventually led to Felder’s dismissal, a tell-all book he wrote, a lawsuit he filed against what he termed “The Gods”, Frey and Henley, and an eventual undisclosed settlement.
    4. Fairport Convention, Reno, Nevada . . . Great jam that was included on an expanded 2003 re-release of  the band’s 1968 self-titled debut. It was the lone Fairport album to feature singer Judy Dyble, before Sandy Denny joined the group. I stopped in Reno once, spring of 1981 while helping my dad do the driving to California, from Calgary, to set up shop in the San Francisco Bay Area for his new job. I never got into the casino scene or gambling at all, but it was my first experience playing a casino slot machine, just to try it, back before casinos (and now TV commercials for betting sites) sprung up everywhere outside of Nevada and I guess Atlantic City. As I recall I won a few pennies, then lost them, coming out even before we hit the road again. As for Reno, Johnny Cash also shot a man there once, just to watch him die. Just lyrically, of course, in Folsom Prison Blues.
    5. Golden Earring, Instant Poetry . . . A stand-alone hard rocking single released in 1974, a year after Golden Earring’s worldwide success with the Moontan album and its big hit, Radar Love.
    6. Hawkwind, Black Elk Speaks . . . From 1990’s Space Bandits album. The hypnotic track is a tribute to indigenous icon Black Elk, who fought at the Battle of Little Bighorn and later toured with and performed in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show.
    7. It’s A Beautiful Day, White Bird . . . Signature, beautiful song from the aptly named San Francisco psychedelic band, from its 1969 self-titled debut album.
    8. Jefferson Airplane, Comin’ Back To Me . . . Another beauty, written and sung by Marty Balin, from 1967’s Surrealistic Pillow. It was the first Airplane album to feature Grace Slick, who sang Somebody To Love and White Rabbit, the band’s biggest hits. Balin said he created the song while indulging in some ‘primo’ marijuana given him by blues singer/harmonica player Paul Butterfield. Richie Havens and, much later, Rickie Lee Jones on her 1991 covers album Pop Pop, did notable versions.
    9. The Kinks, Muswell Hillbilly . . . I’m forever heaping praise on The Kinks and, in particular, their 1971 album Muswell Hillbillies. Yet it bombed commercially. This title cut country rocker, full of social commentary typical of Ray Davies’ writing, is one of the few remaining songs from the album I’ve not yet played on the show. And how can you not be pulled in by an opening line like “Well, I said goodbye to Rosie Rooke this morning. I’m gonna miss her bloodshot alcoholic eyes . . . ‘
    10. Led Zeppelin, Black Country Woman . . . Acoustic rocker that builds to something of a stomper. Not on the order of, say, Trampled Underfoot, but it moves. It’s from Physical Graffiti, complete with the plane flying overhead at the start (they were recording outside, in a garden) and the wise decision to ‘yeah, leave it”.
    11. John Mellencamp, Country Gentleman . . . From 1989’s Big Daddy album, a diatribe against then-US President Ronald Reagan. Terrific album, spare, lyrically deep, Mellencamp once said he considers it his best, or one of them, as he was maturing lyrically. I agree, even though commercially it didn’t reach the heights or widespread listenership of some of his previous work like The Lonesome Jubilee, Scarecrow, Uh-Huh and his 1982 breakthrough American Fool. To me it’s perhaps akin to Bruce Springsteen going from the maybe calculated, over the top success of the Born In The USA album in 1984 to the more introspective, personal Tunnel Of Love record three years later.
    12. Nazareth, All Nite Radio . . . I love the guitar picking on this one from 1983’s Sound Elixir album. It’s country-ish, almost, but ever-changing into maybe a metallic soul, a genre and phrase I just now made up. And maybe a bit too polished for Nazareth fans of, say, Hair Of The Dog but as I said the other day while playing and discussing Nazareth (playing them again so soon, I needed an ‘N’ band for the alphabet): They are known as a hard rock band but deeper investigation reveals some interesting and diverse directions.
    13. Ohio Players, Time Slips Away . . . Soul/funk/jazz/rock fusion. Intoxicating.
    14. Pink Floyd, If . . . Floyd’s 1970 album Atom Heart Mother album, two releases before the monster commercial breakthrough that was The Dark Side Of The Moon, is an interesting listen. Side one of the original vinyl is the near 24-minute orchestral Atom Heart Mother Suite, complete with choir. Side two ends with the off the wall Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast, kitchen sounds, someone eating cereal, frying bacon etc. I’ve played both before. In between those are three musically beautiful, more conventional pieces: Roger Waters’ If, keyboardist Richard Wright’s Summer ’68 and David Gilmour’s Fat Old Sun. I simply randomly picked the Waters-penned track.
    15. Queen, The Hitman . . . Heavy riff rock from 1991’s Innuendo, the last Queen album released during lead singer Freddie Mercury’s lifetime. It’s one of my favorite albums by the band in part because it marked a return to the Queen I most liked: bombastic, sometimes operatic hard rock with Brian May’s guitar prominenly featured. A terrific return to form for fans of earlier Queen.
    16. The Rolling Stones, Rain Fall Down . . . A funky tune Mick Jagger has said he wrote about London and his feelings about the city, and living in it, at the time of its release on the A Bigger Bang album in 2005.
    17. Santana, Africa Speaks . . . Title cut from Santana’s 2019 album, to my ears a Latin rock classic on par with the early 1970s Santana of which I am so fond.
    18. Ten Years After, Don’t Want You Woman . . . Acoustic boogie blues from the band’s self-title debut album in 1967.
    19. U2, Walk To The Water . . . Beautiful, moody B-side to The Joshua Tree’s first, and a No. 1, single With Or Without You. Walk To The Water was later included on the compilation The Best Of 1980-1990 which featured hit singles, some live stuff and B-sides. They followed it up with the equally interesting – depending on which version you purchased, the one CD version or the one that included the rarities disc two – The Best Of 1990-2000.
    20. The Velvet Underground, Rock & Roll . . . The Velvets can be an acquired taste, probably why in 1970 their record company asked for an album “loaded with hits’. Hence the album title, also a double entendre for being stoned or drunk. But despite this single and Sweet Jane, two of the band’s/Lou Reed’s best known songs, the album still failed to chart. But, as the saying about the Velvets goes, few people bought their albums but everyone who did, formed a band due to their influence. It just occurred to me, maybe strangely so ‘duh’ on me, after all these years of listening to it, that Reed by accident or design sounds like Bob Dylan on the track. Perhaps he always did, it just never occurred to me previously.
    21. Wolfmother, 10,000 Feet . . . Wolfmother comes out with its first, self-titled album in 2005 and my older son, then age 17 and playing music in his own bands, says to me when I mention how I like this then new band Wolfmother: “Dad, it’s Zep”. Yeah, so? It was a fun little moment. I haven’t asked my now nearly age 35 son what he thinks of the truly Zeppelin-like Greta Van Fleet. This one’s from Cosmic Egg, Wolfmother’s second album. They’re since up to six albums, although nobody seems to talk about them anymore. I’ve got three of them, my last one being their 2015 release, plus a solo album by bandleader Andrew Stockdale, who essentially IS Wolfmother. I have some catching up to do on the catalog, online or otherwise.
    22. XTC, Ten Feet Tall . . . From Drums and Wires, the 1979 album that, via the big hit single Making Plans For Nigel, brought XTC wide acclaim. Ten Feet Tall wasn’t a single, but I recall hearing it a lot on radio back then, my college days. But that’s when commercial rock radio actually played deep, or near deep, cuts.
    23. Neil Young, For The Turnstiles . . . Nice banjo guitar pickin’, Neil. From On The Beach.
    24. Warren Zevon, My Ride’s Here . . . He was so great. “I was staying at the Marriott with Jesus and John Wayne” . . . “I was staying at the Westin, I was playing to a draw when in walked Charlton Heston with the Tablets of the Law . . . ‘ And I haven’t even mentioned his references to Keats, Shelley and Lord Byron. Title cut from the late great’s second-last album, released in 2002. He died just over a year later. 

     

     

2 thoughts on “So Old It’s New ‘alphabet soup’ set for Monday, April 3, 2023 – on air 8-10 pm ET”

    1. Thank you! Cool. Glad I could introduce you to some stuff you may not have heard. Take care, and thanks for the ongoing support.

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