So Old It’s New set list for Monday, April 24, 2023 – on air 8-10 pm ET

I’ve divided tonight’s show into segments: progressive rock followed by metal/hard rock, then singer/songwriters, then some new wave from my college days before finishing up with The Doors, a different version of Bad Company featuring Paul Rodgers soundalike vocalist Robert Hart, The Rolling Stones and a Mark Knopfler project, The Notting Hillbillies.

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

  1. Genesis, Deep In The Motherlode
  2. Pink Floyd, A Pillow Of Winds
  3. Yes, And You And I
  4. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Knife-Edge
  5. King Crimson, Fallen Angel
  6. Black Sabbath, Falling Off The Edge Of The World
  7. Tipton, Entwistle and Powell, Resolution
  8. Judas Priest, Traitors’ Gate
  9. Iron Maiden, The Clairvoyant
  10. Deep Purple, A Gypsy’s Kiss
  11. Joni Mitchell, The Beat Of Black Wings
  12. Cat Stevens, Lady D’Arbanville
  13. Murray McLauchlan, Train Song
  14. Bruce Cockburn, Justice
  15. The Clash, Ghetto Defendant
  16. The Specials, Gangsters
  17. Flash And The Pan, Captain Beware
  18. Blondie, Dragonfly
  19. The Doors, Orange County Suite
  20. Bad Company, Abandoned And Alone
  21. The Rolling Stones, I Got The Blues
  22. The Notting Hillbillies, Will You Miss Me

    My track-by-track tales:

    1. Genesis, Deep In The Motherlode . . . From the . . . And Then There Were Three . . . album, released in 1978. The record saw the band – with the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett, two albums after the departure of original lead singer Peter Gabriel – reduced to the trio of singer/drummer Phil Collins, keyboardist Tony Banks and bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford. I had always been aware of Genesis but aside from Pink Floyd and knowing Yes songs like Roundabout and ELP stuff like Lucky Man, had not to that point been much into progressive rock. So the album was my full listening gateway into Genesis via the single Follow You Follow Me, a hit that presaged the transformation of the band into a more widely accessible act. But the album retained, albeit in shorter songs, elements of earlier Genesis on tracks like Deep In The Motherlode and I soon was going back to the beginning, and advancing with the band through the Duke album and beyond.
    2. Pink Floyd, A Pillow Of Winds . . . Speaking of Pink Floyd . . . a beautiful, atmospheric piece from the Meddle album. You do feel as if you are floating on the wind.
    3. Yes, And You And I . . . As one reviewer of the Close To The Edge album suggested, if one wants an example of progressive rock, at least Yes’s version of it, this would be a good song to sample, “blending four part vocal harmony with expert musicianship.”
    4. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Knife-Edge . . . I mentioned Lucky Man earlier. This was its B-side, from the band’s self-titled debut album in 1970 and more representative of the group’s overall sound. But singles entice people to buy albums. If they don’t like the rest of it, and that can definitely happen with some artists, that’s why hits compilations exist.
    5. King Crimson, Fallen Angel . . . The debut Crimson album, 1969’s In The Court Of The Crimson King, will always be my favorite but 1974’s Red, from which I pulled Fallen Angel, is up there. The album has been described as displaying a balance between bone-crushing brutality and cerebral complexity. On the surface, one might not tend to see a marriage between prog and metal, but Red is a heavy album and an influence on metal acts and much of King Crimson’s extensive output rocks. The band’s genius has been that ability to merge heavy material with cerebral complexity.
    6. Black Sabbath, Falling Off The Edge Of The World . . . From 1981’s Mob Rules album, the second studio release with singer Ronnie James Dio, who delivers, along with rest of the band, an epic metallic masterpiece performance.
    7. Tipton, Entwistle and Powell, Resolution . . . Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton released a solo album, Baptizm of Fire, in 1997, with Who bassist John Entwistle and noted drummer Cozy Powell among the session players. Tipton took the songs that didn’t make that album, like this melodic heavy rocker, and released them, in memory of the recent deaths of his friends and colleagues, in 2006 as the Edge Of The World record. Like Baptizm of Fire, it sounds like a Judas Priest album without Rob Halford singing, and while some Priest fans have criticized Tipton’s singing, I don’t mind it.
    8. Judas Priest, Traitors’ Gate . . . From 2018’s Firepower. It’s Priest’s most recent album. released in 2018 and an absolute corker, melodic metal mayhem from start to finish. It’s somewhat rare for a longtime band to come up with such a classic so late in their career, but Priest pulled it off. Meantime, Tipton has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and while he played on Firepower, the affliction has limited his touring with the band and he’s been replaced by English guitarist Andy Sneap for stage performances since 2018 although Tipton has appeared occasionally for a song or two, usually encores. At one point, Priest singer Rob Halford suggested he still tour using backing tracks or a backstage guitarist to cover for him, but Tipton, to his credit I think, rejected those options.
    9. Iron Maiden, The Clairvoyant . . . A Maiden classic from the 1988 album Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. Looked at cynically, the lyric “there’s a time to live but isn’t it strange that as soon as you’re born you’re dying’ is maybe a lame, obvious attempt to sound profound. But on the other hand, it’s akin to essentially all of the lyrics for Pink Floyd’s Time from The Dark Side Of The Moon, including the passage: “. . . the sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death.” Someone has to publicly articulate such thoughts. And on that happy albeit realistic note . . .
    10. Deep Purple, A Gypsy’s Kiss . . . A scorcher from 1984’s Perfect Strangers album, it reminds me of Highway Star in the sense you can imagine yourself driving, too fast, down a long, otherwise empty stretch of highway while grooving to the song turned up to 11. The album reunited the so-called Mark II classic Purple lineup of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, singer Ian Gillan, drummer Ian Paice, bassist Roger Glover and keyboardist Jon Lord. But as usual, Gillan and Blackmore got at each other’s throats again and, to make a long well-known story I’ve told before short, another studio album ensued, a fractious tour, another breakup, another reunion, then a final breakup of the Mark II version in the middle of another tour. There’s a funny 3-minute video clip from years ago, around the time of the first reunion’s first breakup, called “Blackmore-Gillan battle of words” on YouTube where the two men, separately, discuss their differences. Gillan calls Blackmore a giant among guitarists but ‘he’s an intellectual dwarf . . . I didn’t say that . . . he’s insecure . . . I didn’t say that . . . yes I did.” Cut to Blackmore in a separate interview, deadpan with a bit of a twinkle in his eye: “One of these days when we’re playing, on the road, I’m going to attack Ian Gillan in the back alley . . . he’s bigger than me, he’s probably a better fighter, so I’m going to do it with a few friends of mine, probably Swedish, and we’ll beat him up, but he won’t know it’s me.”
    11. Joni Mitchell, The Beat Of Black Wings . . . From Mitchell’s 1988 album Chalk In A Rainstorm, a compelling tale of an embittered Vietnam War veteran who has difficulty getting the sound of helicopter blades from his head. I don’t have the album. I like Joni’s stuff well enough and have the albums Blue, Court and Spark and one of her live albums, Miles of Aisles and a few others, but am mostly into her well-known singles. What I also have, though, is a terrific compilation of her lesser known material that she selected, released in 1996, called Misses. It’s a companion album to Hits, released on the same day on the proviso that the record company also accede to her request and issue Misses, which is where I first heard The Beat Of Black Wings, and other great deep cuts.
    12. Cat Stevens, Lady D’Arbanville . . . Written about a former girlfriend, actress Patti D’Arbanville, it appeared on the interestingly titled 1970 album Mona Bone Jakon – a name Stevens coined for his, er, penis.
    13. Murray McLauchlan, Train Song . . . From the Canadian singer-songwriter’s 1976 album Boulevard. Such great stuff, MM’s work, as a trip through an excellent 2-CD career retrospective, Songs From The Street, also available online, reveals, if you don’t have or know the individual albums.
    14. Bruce Cockburn, Justice . . . What’s been done in the name of, you name it, religion, peace, civilization itself, etc. Lyric “list’ songs like these are usually effective, John Lennon’s God being a prime example, although obviously the music has to be compelling enough to prompt people to listen. It’s from 1981’s Inner City Front album, with Cockburn concluding that ‘everybody loves to see justice done . . . on somebody else.” Murray McLauchlan contributes backing vocals on the album.
    15. The Clash, Ghetto Defendant . . . Terrific, different, partially spoken word track, easily my favorite on the Combat Rock album, featuring vocal contribution from Beat Generation writer/poet Allen Ginsberg.
    16. The Specials, Gangsters . . . First Specials song I ever heard, as I recall on Toronto TV station City’s The New Music show, during my late 1970s college days. It was a single, a terrific track and I was hooked, prompting my younger brother’s classic reaction – ‘what’s happened to you?’ – as I dug deep into The Specials, The Selecter, Madness and so on. Love my siblings but he was, to quote Mott The Hoople’s David Bowie-penned hit All The Young Dudes, still ‘back at home with his Beatles and his Stones . . . ” I was, too, but that didn’t preclude expanding horizons.
    17. Flash And The Pan, Captain Beware . . . From Lights In The Night, the second Flash And The Pan album, released in 1980. I read where some critic said the synthesized vocals get tiring. Uh, the synthesized vocals are a big part of the point of Flash And The Pan.
    18. Blondie, Dragonfly . . . Interesting sci-fi-themed mini-epic from The Hunter, the band’s 1982 album. It was a relative failure commercially and critically, particularly in comparison to hit albums Parallel Lines, Eat To The Beat and Autoamerican that preceded it. I don’t have The Hunter, having given up on Blondie by then, but I did along the way pick up a two-disc compilation of hits and album tracks issued years later. It’s called The Platinum Collection, which is how I became familiar with Dragonfly.
    19. The Doors, Orange County Suite . . . Originally a piano-only piece written in 1969 by Jim Morrison, about his partner Pamela, it was later dressed up with added instrumentation by surviving members of The Doors after Morrison’s death. The reworked track, which retains the spare approach of the original, was released on the band’s 1997 box set and on an expanded 2006 re-release of the L.A. Woman album. All versions are available online, at least on YouTube.
    20. Bad Company, Abandoned And Alone . . . It sounds like Paul Rodgers singing on this one from 1995’s Company Of Strangers album, but it isn’t. It’s Robert Hart, who replaced the previous Rodgers replacement, Brian Howe. Bad Co. had lots of commercial success with Howe singing, but I didn’t like the overproduced 1980s sound of those years, corporate rock it’s derisively called, and could only tolerate one song, the title cut from the Holy Water album. But while Paul Rodgers is without doubt THE Bad Company singer, and has been back at the mic since 2008 as the band continues to tour, Hart was a fine replacement, certainly much better than Howe was to my ears, and Company Of Strangers is a good album harkening back to the original Bad Company sound. Hart sang on one more album, the 1996 record Stories Told & Untold. That hybrid of new material and reworkings of Bad Co. classics like Can’t Get Enough wasn’t as good as Company Of Strangers as, perhaps strangely, Hart started sounding like Howe on the new material amid a baffling, to me, return to the studio slick gunk production. That was that, and Hart moved on to other projects, becoming become lead singer of the latest incarnation of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in 2011.
    21. The Rolling Stones, I Got The Blues . . . Billy Preston, a regular session player on Stones albums in the early 1970s who also toured with the band, contributes a fine organ solo on this late night lament to a lost lover, from the Sticky Fingers album.
    22. The Notting Hillbillies, Will You Miss Me . . . From the wonderful one-off 1990 country rock, bluesy album Missing . . . Presumed Having A Good Time. And the band, led by Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, indeed does have a blast on a low-key album of covers, traditional songs and some originals.

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