So Old It’s New set list (Charlie Watts tribute) for Monday, Aug 30/21 – on air 8-10 pm ET

All tracks feature Charlie Watts and are Rolling Stones songs, except tracks 23-26 which are from side projects including his jazz band.

1. Flip The Switch . . . And Charlie comes crashing in right off the bat on this, the opening cut to the Stones’ 1997 release, Bridges To Babylon. My two boys and I used to ‘play’ this one in our air guitar band when they were young, and then my older son, then 9, saw/heard the band play it in April 1998 when I took him to his first Stones’ show, and concert, ever.

 

  1. If You Can’t Rock Me . . . Opening cut from the It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll album, with Watts kicking things off in fine fashion, and throughout. “The band’s on stage and it’s one of those nights…the drummer thinks that he is dynamite” Yes, he is/was.
  2.  Soul Survivor . . . Suggested by my older son, Mark, as we were discussing Watts’ passing, for how in Mark’s words Watts ‘enters’ the song at the four-second mark. Always loved this song, from Exile On Main St, perhaps sort of a different song construction, I’ve heard it described as a ‘sideways’ riff from Keith Richards.
  3.  Shake Your Hips . . . A cover of the hypnotic Slim Harpo tune, also from Exile. Great stuff.
  4. Let It Bleed . . . Here he comes, crashing in at 13 seconds. That part alone has always ‘made’ the song for me but it’s great throughout.
  5. Moon Is Up . . . One of two tunes for this Watts-inspired set, suggested by a friend, Ted Martin who, before I even decided to do a Watts-tribute show, sent me a list of his favorite Watts moments. I like this one, too. It’s from 1994’s Voodoo Lounge album. Watts is credited as playing ‘mystery drum’, which actually was a turned-over steel garbage can.
  6.  Slave . . . Just a great jam, from Tattoo You. Originally recorded during the mid-1970s sessions for the Black and Blue album, it wasn’t released until 1981 when the Stones cobbled together unfinished tunes from previous sessions and put them together for the Tattoo You album. Features Sonny Rollins on sax and a great drum-guitar duel between Watts and Keith Richards over the last two minutes of the six-and-a-half minute cut. The song was originally five seconds under five minutes long on the original album release but when the band released remastered versions, they left in the extra 90 seconds as Keith and Charlie just kept on going as the tapes rolled.
  7.  Driving Too Fast . . . propulsive piece from A Bigger Bang in 2005. Watts, as always, as metronome.
  8.  Down The Road Apiece . . . From the early days, 1965 when Stones albums – in this case The Rolling Stones Now! – were populated largely with blues and R & B covers, and boogie-woogie entries like this one, written by Don Raye and first recorded in 1940. Chuck Berry, who the Stones drew much inspiration from, Jerry Lee Lewis and Foghat are some of the other notables to have covered it.
  9. Terrifying . . . What I’ve described as a roiling track from 1989’s Steel Wheels. It swings, which is what Watts was all about, the ‘roll’ in the rock, in the words of Keith Richards.
  10. When The Whip Comes Down . . . It’s a production thing as well but the drumming on the Some Girls album is so sharp, snappy, solid and just plain great.
  11.  I Go Wild . . . Another from Voodoo Lounge, the first album the Stones did after Bill Wyman left and Darryl Jones came in on bass. Over his own objections, Watts was put ‘in charge’ of making the final call by the band but he knew he had to, given drums and bass form the rhythm section in a rock band. Apparently fuelled by this newfound authority, Watts is said to have yelled ‘turn me up’ at one point in the sessions, all the resulting tunes of which feature his typically terrific drumming.
  12.  Factory Girl . . . Watts plays tabla (twin hand drums) on this one, from Beggars Banquet. He said in a 2003 interview that he played it with sticks, instead of his hands. “I was doing something you shouldn’t do, which is playing the tabla with sticks instead of trying to get that sound using your hand – it’s an extremely difficult technique and painful if you’re not trained.”
  13.  Jigsaw Puzzle . . . One of my favorite Stones tunes. The drumming speaks for itself in what’s been described as a Dylan-esque tune. “and the drummer, he’s so shattered, trying to keep on time…” “and the Queen is bravely shouting, ‘what the HELL is going on?’ ”
  14.  Rocks Off . . . kick butt rocker that opens the Exile album, likely my favorite by the Stones.
  15. Dirty Work . . . Title cut from what’s been described as an ‘angry’ 1986 album, the height of the so-called World War III between Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. But the entire band was in tatters, Watts was uncharacteristically dabbling in heroin for a brief time, yet he was well enough to, uh, smack his way through this kick-ass track. The album got savaged by critics and many fans, but I’ve always loved it.
  16.  Everything Is Turning To Gold . . . Funky, propulsive track was the B-side to the Shattered single, from Some Girls, in 1978 and appeared on the 1981 compilation Sucking In The Seventies.
  17.  Moonlight Mile . . . beautiful track, second one suggested by Ted Martin from a list of his favorites featuring nice work by Watts. From the Sticky Fingers album and rarely played live, I saw/heard them do it at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on 1999’s No Security tour.
  18. The Lantern . . . From the Satanic Majesties album, 1967. It’s always been – along with 2000 Light Years From Home, 2000 Man and Citadel – one of my favorites from that controversial album, the Stones’ lone dabble in psychedelia.
  19. Let Me Go . . . I’ve always liked the tune but hadn’t thought of it, for a Watts’ tribute show, until I read it mentioned in an article about the late drummer. From the Emotional Rescue album. Good pick by the writer.
  20. Ride On, Baby . . . Nice Watts work on this one, from the Aftermath album sessions but not released until the North American compilation Flowers, in 1967. Along with the Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) compilation, both of which my older sister had, Flowers served as my introduction to the Stones.
  21. Surprise, Surprise . . . Another one from the early days, great stuff from 1965 and the North American release, Now!
  22. Tim Ries, The Rolling Stones Project, Honky Tonk Women . . . We all know the amazing drumming on the hit single version of this tune, and mine is a deep cuts show so I thought I’d go in another direction with it to start a maybe offbeat section of the show. It’s from the first of two Stones’ covers projects, this one released in 2005, by Ries, an American saxophonist who was a member of the Stones’ touring band from 2003-14. Ries has taught jazz at various academic institutions, including the University of Toronto. His version of the song features Lisa Fischer, who toured with the Stones from 1989-2015, on vocals, Darryl Jones on bass, Keith Richards on guitar and Watts on drums.
  23. Charlie Watts/Jim Kelter Project, Billy Higgins . . . Experimental track from the album Watts did with noted session superstar Keltner, released in 2000. Each of the album’s nine tracks is named for a drummer and honors their specific approach, in this case American free jazz and hard bop stickman Higgins. Watts plays drums on this and all tracks, with Keltner handling percussion, samples and ‘odd drum bits’. Great stuff.
  24. Hopkins/Cooder/Jagger/Wyman/Watts, Highland Fling (from Jamming With Edward) . . . From the one-off album put together by pianist and longtime Stones’ session player Nicky Hopkins (nicknamed Edward), guitarist Ry Cooder, Mick Jagger, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts in 1969 but not released until 1972. From the liner notes: “Howdy doody whoever receives this record. Here’s a nice little piece of bullshit about this hot waxing which we cut one night in London, England while waiting for our guitar player to get out of bed. It was promptly forgotten (which may have been for the better) until it was unearthed from the family vaults by those two impressive entrepreneurs – Glyn Johns and Marshall Chess. It was they who convinced the artists that this historic jam of the giants should be unleashed on an unsuspecting public. . . . I hope you spend longer listening to it than we did making it.” – Mick Jagger.
  25. Charlie Watts Quintet, Someone To Watch Over Me . . . A Gershwin tune, lyrics by Ira, music by George, recorded and released in 1993 by Watts’s jazz outfit. Longtime Stones’ backup singer Bernard Fowler provided vocals.
  26. Not Fade Away (live, from Stripped) . . . From the Stones’ semi-unplugged 1995 live release. It was one of Watts’s favorite albums by the band. “One of the best we’ve made in the past few years was the album called Stripped,” Watts said in the book According To The Rolling Stones. “I think that’s one of the most interesting records we’ve done, the best-played record we’ve made for years. . . . The version of Not Fade Away is fantastic.” Indeed.
  27. Heaven . . . You might not think it’s the Stones, if you didn’t know the band’s deep cuts. It’s what I enjoy so much about them; their eclecticism and willingness to try anything yet still sound like themselves. Nice, slow-burning groove from the Tattoo You album, I’ve loved it since the album came out in 1981. Even better with headphones.

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