So Old It’s New set list for Monday, March 25, 2024

My track-by-track tales follow the bare-bones list:

1. Peter Gabriel, Intruder
2. Led Zeppelin, In The Evening
3. The Rolling Stones, Fingerprint File
4. Peter Frampton (I’ll Give You) Money (live, from Frampton Comes Alive!)
5. Headstones, Captain Of The Shit Out Of Luck
6. Gov’t Mule, Have Mercy On The Criminal (Elton John cover)
7. Black Oak Arkansas, Mutants Of The Monster
8. Richie Havens, Rocky Raccoon (Beatles cover, live)
9. Bruce Springsteen, Adam Raised A Cain
10. Johnny Winter, I’m Yours And I’m Hers
11. Little Feat, Willin’ (original version, from 1971 self-titled debut album; updated and better-known version appeared on 1972’s Sailin’ Shoes album)
12. Linda Ronstadt, Roll Um Easy (Little Feat cover)
13. Dave Edmunds, (I’m Gonna Start) Living Again If It Kills Me
14. John Lee Hooker, Tupelo
15. Nirvana, Polly
16. Soundgarden, Fresh Tendrils
17. Thin Lizzy, Opium Trail
18. John Hiatt, Perfectly Good Guitar
19.Thunderclap Newman, Accidents
20. Canned Heat, Gotta Boogie (The World Boogie)

My track-by-track tales.

1. Peter Gabriel, Intruder . . . Spooky opening track to Gabriel’s third solo album, all of them to that point simply called “Peter Gabriel’ so the third album became known as ‘Melt’ due to its cover art of Gabriel’s face melting. Gabriel’s old Genesis bandmate Phil Collins guests on drums using the ‘gated reverb’ audio proecessing sound technique for the first time, which Collins later used to great effect on his hit single In The Air Tonight on his first solo album, Face Value. I’m no drum or instrument expert, so I leave the audience to look up ‘gated reverb’. Bottom line, it’s a great drum sound.

2. Led Zeppelin, In The Evening . . . I was going to start this evening’s show with this, from In Through The Out Door, makes sense of course but then I thought, the Intruder is, er, intruding In The Evening. Some have criticized Robert Plant’s vocals for being barely understandable. Yeah, maybe, never occurred to me all that much, actually. Most rock songs, let’s face it, you only focus on certain lyrics anyway, the chorus, the signature line, whatever, I mean we’re not talking Bob Dylan or whoever all the time, it’s bloody rock and roll, after all and this is a pulsating, extended rock track with a nice riff; it kicks butt. So there.

3. The Rolling Stones, Fingerprint File . . . This is why you listen to full albums, not just hits compilations. Amazing funk/rock by the boys, Mick Jagger even goes into a spoken-word rap before rap was a big thing, from 1974’s It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll album which got mixed reviews but some rock critics I think are looking to write something more interesting and provocative, being negative towards great artists, than what they might actually be listening to, if they took the time to really listen. Their loss, in my opinion.

4. Peter Frampton, (I’ll Give You) Money (live, from Frampton Comes Alive!) . . . Nice rocker from the live album that finally made Frampton a big solo star, some years after he had left Humble Pie and released several solo records. The studio version of this song is on his fourth studio album, simply titled Frampton and issued in 1975, and it’s good, but as with most of his material it’s long since been eclipsed, to most people, by the versions on Frampton Comes Alive!

5. Headstones, Captain Of The Shit Out Of Luck . . . Short (2 minutes, 14 seconds) sweet, typically blistering Headstones, great song title, from their 2017 album Little Army. Nice harmonica break by lead singer Hugh Dillon.

6. Gov’t Mule, Have Mercy On The Criminal (Elton John cover) . . . The Mule, led by guitarist/vocalist Warren Haynes, is a band that emerged in the 1990s as a side project out of latter-day versions of The Allman Brothers Band to become a top entry in its own right. The Mule does their own great, original blues-based rock but are also excellent at classic rock covers, either in studio or live versions, this studio version of the Elton John/Bernie Taupin tune from the Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player album among them. It appeared on the bonus 3rd disc of the band’s 2021 mostly blues covers release, Heavy Load Blues.

I like The Mule’s classic rock covers so much that, years ago, I burned a CD of their versions of such material: The Beatles’ She Said She Said and Helter Skelter, Free’s Mr. Big, Steppenwolf’s Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam, Black Sabbath’s War Pigs, Humble Pie’s 30 Days In The Hole, King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man, Deep Purple’s Maybe I’m A Leo, Grand Funk Railroad’s Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother, The Who’s We’re Not Gonna Take It and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man. The band has also done tribute albums of Pink Floyd (Dark Side Of The Mule) and The Rolling Stones (Stoned Side Of The Mule) material. They’ve also done a reggae album of covers and their own stuff, Dub Side Of The Mule. Great stuff, all of it, a fair bit of their work produced by Canadian Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar fame.

7. Black Oak Arkansas, Mutants Of The Monster . . . Two things about Black Oak Arkansas, the southern hard rock/country rock/boogie rock band fronted by Jim “Dandy’ Mangrum. 1. Van Halen’s David Lee Roth was obviously influenced by Mangrum, just listen, read, look at photos. Not criticizing, I liked Roth as Van Halen’s singer during his heyday (his vocals during various reunions tours were embarrassing; he’d lost it), just saying. It’s pretty evident to anyone. 2. Great tune, Mutants Of The Monster, from an even better named album: 1972’s If An Angel Came To See You, Would You Make Her Feel At Home?

8. Richie Havens, Rocky Racoon (live) . . . Havens reinvented various Beatles tunes including Eleanor Rigby, Lady Madonna, Here Comes The Sun, several others in addition to various Bob Dylan tunes. Here’s his speeded up take on this White Album track and, as is often the case it’s his fast acoustic guitar strumming that draws you in for the duration.

9. Bruce Springsteen, Adam Raised A Cain . . . So, I was on Twittter, now of course known as X, the other day posting a previous show of mine and someone was throwing out one of those sorts of random rock and roll questions that can be irresistible. The question: favourite Springsteen album? I couldn’t really pick between what are and always will be my three favourites from that amazing run Springsteen had starting with 1975’s Born To Run, then 1978’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town and 1980’s The River. So I cheated and listed all three. I like the first two Springsteen albums, preceding those three, and subsequent stuff like Nebraska and Tunnel Of Love and assorted great songs throughout the catalog but if forced to pick, it would be those three and if forced to narrow it down to one it might well be Darkness. And then picking a track from that? Well, so many good ones including the title cut which resonates so much, lyrically, to me. But I threw darts and hit on Adam Raised A Cain. No way to go wrong with that album, really.

10. Johnny Winter, I’m Yours And I’m Hers . . . Usually, it was Johnny Winter covering The Rolling Stones (Jumping Jack Flash, Let It Bleed, Silver Train) but the Stones actually at least once covered Winter. They played this tune, from Winter’s 1969 debut album, to open the 1969 Hyde Park tribute concert to the then-recently deceased Brian Jones. It apparently had been Jones’ favorite song.

11. Little Feat, Willin’ (original version, from Little Feat’s self-titled debut album in 1971; updated and likely best-known version appeared on 1972’s Sailin’ Shoes album) . . . A more spare, acoustic take on the Lowell George-penned tune, Willin’ also later done by the next artist in my set.

12. Linda Ronstadt, Roll Um Easy (Little Feat cover) . . . Speaking of Lowell George, he plays slide guitar on this cover of his tune that Ronstadt did for her 1975 album Prisoner In Disguise. Ronstadt covered Willin’ a year earlier on her Heart Like A Wheel album.

13. Dave Edmunds, (I’m Gonna Start) Living Again If It Kills Me . . . It can be interesting what happens as time passes. Case in point, this song. And in fact the album from which it came, Edmunds’ 1981 release Twangin’. I had gotten into him during my second-last year of college when he had a fairly big hit album, Repeat When Necessary, featuring such commercial tracks as Elvis Costello’s Girls Talk and Graham Parker’s Crawling From The Wreckage. All three artists by then had become favorites of mine but when Twangin’ came out, I remember buying it and being disappointed because to my still obviously developing ears, there was nothing immediate that struck me. Years later, I like the album and this song, both in its ballad but slightly rocked up pace but more so, the lyrics about moving on from the past. Sometimes, you have to live for a while for things to resonate.

14. John Lee Hooker, Tupelo . . . So good. One of my favorite Hooker tracks, any era, this one from his late 1980s-1990s rebirth with various guest stars that started with 1989’s The Healer album. But this spare, acoustic blues is all Hooker, from his 1995 album Chill Out. Carlos Santana, Van Morrison and Booker T. Jones are among the guests on the album but this track is just Hooker, his guitar, his voice. Sublime.

15. Nirvana, Polly . . . Disturbing subject matter always makes it a difficult listen for me and I almost hesitate to play it, but I do like the song, musically. It was written, from the perspective of the perpetrator, about the abduction, rape, and torture, with a blowtorch, of a 14-year-old girl returning home from a punk rock concert in Tacoma, Washington in 1987. The girl managed to escape and the perpetrator was arrested and convicted. He’s serving two consecutive 75-year prison terms.

16. Soundgarden, Fresh Tendrils . . . One of those songs that seems and is familiar – love the sort of descending, backwards riff is how I’d describe it – that one might think it was a hit single but that’s what happens with blockbuster albums, like Superunknown. It’s a terrific album, broke Soundgarden big during that early- to mid-1990s period where it seemed the Seattle grunge sound was taking over music, yet Fresh Tendrils, with its catchy ‘long time coming’ refrain wasn’t a single on an album full of them (Black Hole Sun, Fell On Black Days, Spoonman, maybe my favorite Soundgarden song, among them).

17. Thin Lizzy, Opium Trail . . . Yet another of those songs, this one from the Bad Reputation album (which features that also great title cut) in 1977, that shows Lizzy as being far more than just The Boys Are Back In Town. But Lizzy fans know the depth of quality of the band’s catalog, it’s up to others to investigate if they so choose.

18. John Hiatt, Perfectly Good Guitar . . . Hiatt is one of those artists, like Tom Waits, perhaps, where more people have hits with his songs (Bonnie Raitt with Thing Called Love; George Thorogood a minor hit with The Usual) than Hiatt has had himself. I remember hearing Perfectly Good Guitar, great song, I think so anyway, on the radio when the album of the same name came out in 1993. But, turns out, it wasn’t a chart hit, nor was the album which charted, according to my research, only in Australia where it made the lofty heights of No. 83. I shouldn’t have mentioned The Usual. Now I want a drink. To Hiatt’s songwriting.

19. Thunderclap Newman, Accidents . . . One album, one big hit single, Something In The Air, one big name producer and benefactor, The Who’s Pete Townshend, and then, well, we still have this extended piece from 1969’s debut and only record, Hollywood Dream. Guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, later of Paul McCartney and Wings who died as a result of drug and alcohol abuse at age 26 in 1979, was among the personnel on the Thunderclap Newman album and his solo is a featured portion on Accidents.

20. Canned Heat, Gotta Boogie (The World Boogie) . . . That John Lee Hooker Boogie Chillen riff . . . As we boogie on out of here.

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