Triumph, Street Fighter/Street Fighter Reprise . . . Two-part rocker that transitions into a softer, then back to rock reprise piece at the 3:35 mark. It’s from the self-titled debut album in 1976, later re-released on CD with a different cover and re-titled In The Beginning.
The Rolling Stones, Who’s Driving Your Plane? . . . Bluesy, Dylanesque boogie-woogie B-side to Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? Relatively unknown to all but Stones’ fanatics, it’s appeared on some unauthorized Decca/London Records compilations like No Stone Unturned, released by the band’s old label when they acrimoniously terminated their contract with Decca in 1971. It also appears on the 3-CD Singles Collection: The London Years package when the pre-1971 Stones’ albums came out in remastered versions in 2002.
Klaatu, Around The Universe In Eighty Days . . . Prog rock from the Canadian band that, at first, some people in the mid- to late 1970s thought was The Beatles under an assumed name. The rumors started when a US journalist speculated that Klaatu’s at least somewhat Beatles-sounding music might be the Fab Four operating under a pseudonym. I like what the UK’s New Musical Express wrote about the rumor, according to Wikipedia: “Deaf idiot journalist starts Beatle rumor”.
Bruce Springsteen, Meeting Across The River . . . Haunting track that was the B-side to the Born To Run single, featuring terrific trumpet playing from Randy Brecker, a bandleader and session player whose work appears on countless albums in a diverse career covering jazz, funk, R & B and rock. It’s quite amazing when one looks at his discography. The song itself is about a small-time criminal needing to borrow money from his friend, Eddie, and having to meet a man ‘across the river.” I like most of Springsteen’s stuff, particularly the trilogy of albums comprised of Born To Run in 1975, Darkness on the Edge of Town in 1978 and The River in 1980. But I’m not on the level of fan to know every detail of his catalog and can’t find any references to it, but it strikes me that the song might have been inspired by the 1973 movie The Friends Of Eddie Coyle, starring Robert Mitchum and based on a 1970 novel by George V. Higgins.
Muddy Waters, Deep Down In Florida (live) . . From Muddy “Mississippi” Waters Live, with Johnny Winter on guitar. It’s a song that first appeared on Hard Again. That was the first of three late 1970s albums from Muddy produced and played on by Winter, released in 1977. Then came I’m Ready in 1978 and King Bee in 1981.
Roger Waters, Amused To Death (live) . . . Live version, from In The Flesh, of the title cut from Waters’ 1992 album which was inspired by Neil Postman’s seminal 1985 book, and one of my bibles, Amusing Ourselves To Death. It posits that it was more Aldous Huxley than the more celebrated, and obviously prescient, George Orwell, who more accurately described in Brave New World where the human race was headed. From the forward: “What Orwell feared was those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.” Etc. The forward goes on in more depth and, in this short attention span world, for those not inclined to read the full 163-page Postman book, I’d recommend finding it in a library or bookstore or wherever you can, and just reading the page and one-quarter forward, it tells you all you ought to think about.
Humble Pie, As Safe As Yesterday Is . . . Or isn’t. Sometimes the album title and its title cut are listed with the ‘Is’, sometimes not. In any event, I find it a great, almost prog tune in spots, from the Steve Marriott-Peter Frampton-led band’s debut album, 1969.
Tom Waits, A Sight For Sore Eyes . . . Lots of great old-time baseball player references in this one. And a good song, too, in typical Waits fashion.
Steely Dan, Green Earrings . . . Funky tune from 1976’s The Royal Scam album that, it never occurred to me before prepping it for this week’s show but in some ways presages the later Talking Heads ‘world music’ sound from that band’s Remain In Light period. Maybe I’m wrong, but just what I heard on most recent listen.
Free, Heavy Load . . . Can never get enough of Free’s bluesy sound, or Paul Rodgers’ voice.
Midnight Oil, King Of The Mountain . . . Third single from the Blue Sky Mining album that made only No. 76 in Canada compared to No. 3 (alternative) and 20 (mainstream) on the US charts. I find that interesting in that Canada embraced Midnight Oil long before the US did, which also happened with, for instance, another Aussie export, Men At Work. Even the Aussie charts only took it to No. 25. Good song, regardless.
The Jeff Beck Group, Rice Pudding . . . Beck, on guitar of course, Ronnie Wood on bass and session man to the stars Nicky Hopkins display their prowess on this instrumental from Beck-Ola. To quote a Dire Straits song title, heavy fuel.
The Mamas & The Papas, Free Advice . . . Too lazy to check but I feel like I’ve played this song far too recently. But, so what? The title leads perfectly into the next track, title-wise anyway, in today’s show.
Rod Stewart, You’re Insane . . . Funk rock tune from Footloose and Fancy Free in 1978, shortly before Stewart went totally schlock.
Ohio Players, I Want To Be Free . . . Speaking of funk . . .
David Bowie, Somebody Up There Likes Me . . . I’m sure loads of people, ‘up there’ if there is an ‘up there’, do like Bowie and all the others in heaven’s rock band.
Peter Green, Seven Stars . . . Speaking of which, a spiritual song, lyrically, from Green’s In The Skies album. And what mellifluous guitar playing, which of course was to be expected from the late great Green.
The Specials, Rat Race . . . A top 5 single in the UK that, as has been the practice there, did not appear on the second Specials album More Specials, although it was on the album here in the colonies. A great tune musically and lyrically, about the realities and arguable unfairness of privilege, accidents of birth, that type of thing.
The Byrds, Satisfied Mind . . . Cover tune, written by Joe “Red’ Hayes and Jack Rhodes, done by many including the Byrds, great interpreters that they were, on the Turn! Turn! Turn! album. Essentially, the song says, money isn’t everything, can’t buy satisfaction or happiness, etc.
Neil Young, Ordinary People . . . Second week in a row I wrap up with an 18-minute, compelling story song (last week, Foreigner Suite by Cat Stevens). Listen to the lyrics and the song will fly by. Another of those long ones that seem much shorter.