David Wilcox, That Hypnotizin’ Boogie . . . From Wilcox’s debut album, Out Of The Woods, released in 1980. I was working in a bar, putting myself through college at the time and remember him playing this, before the album was released. As soon as the record was released, I bought it and have been a Wilcox fan since.
Foghat, Chateau Lafitte ’59 Boogie . . . Speaking of boogie. . . I saw Foghat at the Kitchener Blues Festival some years back, good show.
Paul McCartney & Wings, Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five . . . One of the great deep cuts from Band On The Run but I suppose, given how solid that album is, it’s a fairly well-known track.
The Plastic Ono Band, Blue Suede Shoes (live) . . . From Live Peace In Toronto 1969, the Rock ‘n’ Roll revival concert that featured such ’50s fathers of rock as Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Little Richard as well as Chicago, Alice Cooper and The Doors. I love the MC’s intro to the song: “Get your matches ready” (nowadays it would be, get your smart phones ready” and then John Lennon’s slightly sheepish “OK we’re just gonna play numbers we know, you know, cuz we’ve never played together before and mumble mumble . . . ” And it was true, that version of The Plastic Ono Band – Lennon, Eric Clapton, bassist Klaus Voorman, drummer Alan White (later of Yes) and singer-in-a-bag Yoko Ono, was put together quickly when Lennon was invited to play the show, rehearsed on the plane and the result is a fine, raw live album and a historic moment in rock and roll history.
Traveling Wilburys, Tweeter and the Monkey Man . . . Bob Dylan handles lead vocals on this one, backed by his Wilbury brothers George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, with session drummer to the stars Jim Keltner on skins. Roy Orbison, the fifth Wilbury, sat the session out. There’s varying opinions on who actually wrote the song – which Canada’s Headstones rocked up to great effect on their debut album Picture Of Health in 1993. The song is registered to Dylan’s publishing company, but Harrison said it was co-written by Petty with some lyrical input from him and Lynne. Who really knows; I’ve always considered it a Dylan song but in any event it’s a great one.
Graham Parker and The Rumour, Devil’s Sidewalk . . . It wasn’t a single but it’s always been my favorite song from The Up Escalator album. That opening guitar hook did its job, reeling me in forever from the first time I heard it. It’s a great album, features Bruce Springsteen on backing vocals on the song Endless Night and E-Street Band keyboardist Danny Federici throughout. I’m a huge Parker fan and I’d put the record in a tie with Squeezing Out Sparks as maybe Parker’s best, although The Up Escalator didn’t meet with the widespread positive reviews Sparks did. Of course, then there’s earlier albums like Howlin’ Wind, Heat Treatment and Stick To Me so let’s just say that, early on, Parker was near-perfect. I suppose The Up Escalator resonates best with me, as much music does for anyone, because it was a time-and-place record and the first album of his I actually owned, although I knew his earlier hits like Local Girls from Sparks.
Moon Martin, Bad News . . . Moon Martin is one of those artists largely known to the masses by one song, his 1979 hit Rolene. But he was great, beyond that. For one thing, he wrote Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor Doctor) that Robert Palmer turned into a hit. Anyway, Martin started his music career as a rockabilly artist and he incorporated the genre into much of his work, including this cut from his 1980 album Street Fever.
The Rolling Stones, I Got The Blues . . . “At three o’clock in the morning I’m singing my song to you.” I always think of that line when I think of this song, from Sticky Fingers. A slow blues tune maybe best in fact listened to at 3 a.m., half drunk, headphones on, lamenting a lost love.
Peter Tosh, No Sympathy . . . Followers of the show have often detected a symmetry, at least sometimes, to my set lists and despite my internal reservations that I risk being contrived, I find I just naturally make certain connections between songs and artists in my shows. That’s whether it be by title, by lyrical content or, as in this case, by artists’ collaborations and song title. Peter Tosh, likely, being the straight shooter he was, would have had no sympathy for someone lamenting a lost love, and he also later collaborated with and opened for The Rolling Stones. So, here you are, from his fine Legalize It album in 1976, the album before he was signed to Rolling Stones Records and opened for the band on their 1978 tour. I saw that tour but alas, Tosh wasn’t on the bill I saw on Buffalo, July 4, 1978. I got April Wine (which we missed due to a traffic jam coming into the stadium), Atlanta Rhythm Section (great show) and Journey (meh, Tosh would have fit well there, instead). A later journalism colleague of mine saw the same tour, in Cleveland three days earlier I found out nearly 40 years later, and he got Tosh as an opener.
Aerosmith, Reefer Headed Woman . . . Sometimes listed as Reefer Head Woman – in fact most of the YouTube posts refer to it that way although on Aerosmith’s Night In The Ruts album itself it’s listed as Reefer Headed Woman. Whatever, it’s a great Aerosmith treatment of an old blues cut from an album most critics dismissed but is in fact a kick-butt ‘Smiths album.
Van Morrison, Big Time Operators . . . My favorite Van the Man cut many people may not know, a bluesy track from 1993’s Too Long In Exile album. It’s a great lyrical ‘eff you’ to the music industry with great lead guitar from Van himself.
Steve Earle and The Dukes, Better Off Alone . . . I like Steve Earle, lots, got into him via the Copperhead Road album and single way back when and went back and forward with him and have most of his stuff. But I didn’t have, and hadn’t heard, his Terraplane album, from 2015, until a Twitter music acquaintance of mine suggested it and so here we be. Fantastic, all-originals bluesy album.
Billy Joel, The Stranger . . . Title cut from his breakthrough album in 1977, was a single in some countries, notably Japan where it hit No. 2 but in any case just another great song from a great album.
Townes Van Zandt, Brand New Companion . . . Playing a Steve Earle tune reminded me of Townes Van Zandt because Earle did a whole album of Townes tunes, called Townes, in 2009. This track was on it and this is the late great, troubled but appealingly warts and all human Van Zandt’s original.
Free, Be My Friend . . . Great song from the band’s 1970 album Highway and a long overdue return to playing the band on the show.
Bad Company, Heartbeat . . . And playing Free naturally, due to the band connections (Paul Rodgers especially on lead vocals) brought me to Bad Company.
U2, Tryin’ To Throw Your Arms Around The World . . . I was trying to figure out a semi-deep cut from the Achtung Baby album to play which is arguably difficult since most of the tracks on the record are, deservedly, so well known. It came down to this one, or Until The End Of The World, whose lyrics I love, but that was a fairly successful single in some countries and this is supposed to be a deep cuts show and I’ve played it before. So, I’m playing this.
Steely Dan, Aja . . . Jazzy title cut from the album.
Stephen Stills, Treetop Flyer . . . Neil Young, and he’s great, is often more critically acclaimed than the other members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young but really, each guy has done fine work on his own, particularly, I would submit, Stills as with this one from his excellent 1991 Stills Alone album.
Roxy Music, Re-Make/Re-Model . . . Great funky freaky tune from the early, more experimental days of Roxy Music and a deliberate choice because what follows are a couple cover tunes that indeed are remakes/remodels of well-known songs, which as I’ve often said are my favorite types of covers – they become new songs, essentially.
Patti Smith, Smells Like Teen Spirit . . . An acoustic reinterpretation of the Nirvana song that broke that band big. It’s from an excellent album I’ve periodically mined, Smith’s 2007 covers album Twelve.
Jose Feliciano, Light My Fire . . . I remember seeing Feliciano on some variety-type show my parents watched in the late 1960s or early ’70s. I didn’t get into him at the time but never forgot his performance and so, as let’s say a music explorer, eventually found my way back to him. The same thing has happened, maybe a function of age, who knows, for me with various artists my parents listened to – Tom Jones, Glen Campbell, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash . . . on and on. It’s a cool thing.
Golden Earring, Kill Me (Ce Soir) . . . Said it a zillion times, Golden Earring so much more than the two hits they are best-known for, especially in North America – Radar Love and Twilight Zone.
Frank Zappa, Muffin Man . . . “He turns to us and speaks. . . . Some people like cupcakes better. I for one, care less for them.” “Goodnight Austin, Texas, wherever you are.” Great Zappa madness, great tune, amazing guitar, what a fantastic artist and brilliant, thoughtful, no BS man he was.