So Old It’s New set list for Monday, June 10, 2024

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

1. Joe Walsh, I Can Play That Rock & Roll
2. Black Sabbath, Heaven And Hell
3. Elvis Costello and The Attractions, Goon Squad
4. Tracy Chapman, The Rape Of The World
5. Atlanta Rhythm Section, Champagne Jam
6. Gov’t Mule, Monkey Man (Rolling Stones cover)
7. The Rolling Stones, Out Of Time
8. Aerosmith, The Farm
9. John Mellencamp, You’ve Got To Stand For Somethin’
10. Led Zeppelin, The Battle Of Evermore
11. Neil Young, Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)
12. Paul McCartney, Only Mama Knows
13. Free, Wild Indian Woman
14. The Black Crowes, Goodbye Daughters Of The Revolution
15. Bachman & Turner, Can’t Go Back To Memphis
16. Bruce Cockburn, Hoop Dancer
17. Bobbie Gentry, Ace Insurance Man
18. Bob Dylan, Isis
19. Ian Hunter, Old Records Never Die

My track-by-track tales:

1. Joe Walsh, I Can Play That Rock & Roll . . . Listen to the opening riff before the vocals kick in – and the entire song in fact – and you’d think it was a Rolling Stones track. And, according to Walsh, it is, or at least is a tribute to the Stones. The song was the lead cut on Walsh’s typically humorously-titled 1983 album You Bought It – You Name It but Walsh describes the genesis of the track in the liner notes to his Look What I Did! The Joe Walsh Anthology compilation, a 2-CD set released in 1995. Although Waddy Wachtel is not credited as a co-writer on the 1983 album, Walsh does name Wachtel, a pal of Keith Richards who later played in Richard’s solo band The X-Pensive Winos, as helping inspire the song.
“Written with Waddy Wachtel. Waddy showed me 5-string tuning that Keith Richards uses. We were trying to be The Rolling Stones. This is a tribute to them.” It’s a good one.

2. Black Sabbath, Heaven And Hell . . . Epic title cut to Sabbath’s 1980 album, the first with former Rainbow singer Ronnie James Dio taking over from Ozzy Osbourne. It’s one of those albums where a band loses its well-known and usually original lead singer yet manages to continue on to, sometimes, even more success, depending upon how one might define success whether it be commercial sales or critically successful artistic accomplishment. The other examples that immediately come to mind for me are AC/DC, which brought in Brian Johnson after the death of Bon Scott and released the monumental Back In Black, and the so-called Van Hagar version of Van Halen, when Sammy Hagar replaced David Lee Roth and the band, albeit with a different sound and lyrical approach, actually went on to bigger commercial success even though the Van Hagar band divided some of the original fan base. In any event, Heaven And Hell, the album and the song, rejuvenated Black Sabbath, which had been in decline for various reasons including substance abuse, over the course of the two previous albums with Ozzy, Never Say Die! and Technical Ecstasy which have their moments but were relative disappointments both commercially and critically.

3. Elvis Costello and The Attractions, Goon Squad . . . One of those songs with a driving beat one gets into for the music and then over time the lyrics start embedding themselves. Essentially a diatribe against attempts at groupthink control, at least that’s how I interpret it, released on 1979’s Armed Forces album.

4. Tracy Chapman, The Rape Of The World . . . An environmental activisim song by Chapman from her 1995 album New Beginning. She’s of course known for her breakthrough 1988 hit Fast Car and, later, Give Me One Reason from the New Beginning album but, now essentially retired from the industry, she’s not released any new material since 2008, alas. She has said she withdrew from performing because she was uncomfortable with being in the public eye which perhaps leaves the door open to her releasing new studio material at some point. Her most recent release was a hits compilation, issued in 2015.

5. Atlanta Rhythm Section, Champagne Jam . . . Title cut from the band’s 1978 album. The hit was Imaginary Lover but the band had come to prominence two years before with the hit single So Into You. So, they earned an opening slot – and they were excellent – on The Rolling Stones 1978 summer tour of the United States, my first Stones’ show, July 4, 1978 at what was then called Rich Stadium, where the NFL’s Bills play. Also on the bill were April Wine, whose set we missed because our tour bus from Toronto got stuck in ridiculous traffic entering the stadium, and pre-Steve Perry on lead vocals Journey.

6. Gov’t Mule, Monkey Man (Rolling Stones cover) . . . The Mule, led by guitarist/singer/songwriter Warren Haynes, who first attained prominence in Dickey Betts’ solo band then joined The Allman Brothers Band at the behest of Betts, is an amazing band in its own right playing its own material. But The Mule is also a fantastic covers band and has released many covers of classic rock tunes, live and studio versions, including material by Steppenwolf, Humble Pie, Deep Purple and many others. The Mule has also released full compilations of covers of bands they admire, like Pink Floyd (Dark Side Of The Mule) and the Stones, Stoned Side Of The Mule, from which I drew this cover originally on the Stones’ Let It Bleed album.

7. The Rolling Stones, Out Of Time . . . And here are the Stones, from the UK version of the Aftermath album, released in 1966 during a time when UK and USA track listings were somewhat different with bands like the Stones, Beatles and Kinks. I first heard this track on the 1967 North America-only compilation Flowers which my older sister owned and which collected singles and deeper cuts from the Stones’ previous UK releases that hadn’t made the US issues of their albums. The Flowers’ version was shortened by almost two minutes from the original 5-minute plus Aftermath release, which I’m playing tonight. The Stones played the song in the opening show of their current American tour, apparently the first time they’d ever played it live in the USA.

8. Aerosmith, The Farm . . . From 1997’s Nine Lives album, a hard rocking dronish tune harkening somewhat back to Aerosmith’s raunch and roll 1970s output.

9. John Mellencamp, You’ve Got To Stand For Somethin’ . . . Or you’ll fall for anything, as the lyrics state. From Mellencamp’s 1985 album Scarecrow.

10. Led Zeppelin, The Battle Of Evermore . . . The late great Sandy Denny, one of my favorites singers, of Fairport Convention fame, helps out Robert Plant on this one from the fourth Zep album; the one with Stairway To Heaven on it.

11. Neil Young, Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets) . . . From Young’s second solo album, 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, backed by Crazy Horse. I leave it to Wikipedia entry for background:

“Running Dry (Requiem for the Rockets)” is dedicated to The Rockets, the six-piece band that evolved into Young’s collaborators Crazy Horse. Rocket violinist Bobby Notkoff plays on the track. Young expresses his feelings about breaking up The Rockets in the 1997 film Year of the Horse: “I asked those three guys to play with me as Crazy Horse. And I thought the Rockets could go on, too. But the truth is, I probably did steal them away from the other band, which was a good band. But only because what we did, we went somewhere. What they were doing, it didn’t go anywhere at that time, so this thing moved, this thing took off, and the other thing didn’t. But the other thing could have gone on, I guess. That’s the hardest part, is the guilt of the trail of destruction that I’ve left behind me.”

12. Paul McCartney, Only Mama Knows . . . Starts slow, then rocks. One of those great tracks by an amazing artist who most people always go back to for the obviously worthy tried and true like McCartney’s hits with The Beatles and Wings but if you keep following the guy and dig deeper, you get gems like this one from 2007’s Memory Almost Full album. McCartney re-released it on the 2016 compilation Pure McCartney, which came in 2- and 4-CD versions.

13. Free, Wild Indian Woman . . . Been a while since I’ve played Free. This one’s from the 1969 debut, Tons Of Sobs. All of the guys in the band including singer Paul Rodgers who of course later achieved great fame in Bad Company, were still teenagers at the time yet they sound like a veteran blues rock band.

14. The Black Crowes, Goodbye Daughters Of The Revolution . . . First single released from the 2008 album Warpaint by which time the Crowes had evolved from the hitmakers of their 1990 debut Shake Your Moneymaker to a jam type band, still quite quality material but not the type of stuff that sells or makes the charts. So, the single bombed and so, relatively speaking, did the album but the band persevered and, through various breakups is back together and continues to release music, the most recent of which is the fine 2024 album Happiness Bastards.

15. Bachman & Turner, Can’t Go Back To Memphis . . . Funky hard rocker from Randy Bachman and C.F. (Fred) Turner’s 2010 album which essentially, and it’s a good tune, sounds like an update on Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s 1970s glories. They had to be billed as Bachman & Turner due to various complicated lawsuits over band naming rights to do with who owns what re various former members of BTO, similar to the seemingly constant battles Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings have been fighting with former colleagues in The Guess Who.

16. Bruce Cockburn, Hoop Dancer . . . Hypnotic sort of spoken word intoxicating tune from Cockburn’s 1983 album The Trouble With Normal. This is why you listen to full albums. There’s the hits, like the title cut. Then there’s stuff like this amazing track.

17. Bobbie Gentry, Ace Insurance Man . . . She’s best known for her massive 1967 hit Ode To Billie Joe (sometimes writtten as Billy Joe) but her importance to music goes beyond that. She was one of the first female artists to write, produce and manage the direction of her own music and career and for that, subsequent artists owe a debt. And then, as of 1982, she elected to retire, quit, disappear, she lives in gated communities in either Memphis, Tennesse or Los Angeles, nobody’s quite sure. Good for her.

18. Bob Dylan, Isis . . . On one of his live albums, Dylan introduces this track from the 1975 studio album Desire with ‘this is a song about marriage’.

“Isis, oh, Isis, you mystical child
What drives me to you is what drives me insane . . . ”

19. Ian Hunter, Old Records Never Die . . . It’s never been absolutely confirmed but Hunter’s Short Back n’ Sides album came out in 1981 at a time when lots of people were doing tributes to John Lennon, who had been slain in December 1980. And the opening lyric:

“Sometimes you realize that there is an end to life
Yesterday I heard them say
A hero’s blown away.”

Would seem to indicate as much. In any event, beautiful, poignant song the spirit of which – old records never die – also serves my show.

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