The Rolling Stones, Time Waits For No One . . . Stellar solo by Mick Taylor, a hypnotic, continually building line that remains one of his most memorable contributions to the Stones. It came to mind to play this over the past week as the world lost three icons: basketball and human rights pillar Bill Russell, trailblazing actress Nichelle Nichols, communications officer Uhura of Star Trek fame, and sports broadcaster Vin Scully, best known the voice of baseball’s Brookly/Los Angeles Dodgers but also widely acclaimed for his work on national network broadcast baseball games, NFL football and golf.
Black Sabbath, When Death Calls . . . Sticking with the death theme . . . From Sabbath’s 1989 Headless Cross album. It’s one of the five Sabbath studio albums featuring Tony Martin on lead vocals, which is more studio albums than Ronnie James Dio appeared on (three) and four fewer than the records with original singer Ozzy Osbourne. The Martin-sung albums were always the runts of the litter commercially and often critially speaking, produced amid ever-changing lineups during periods when guitarist Tony Iommi – the lone fixture on every Sabbath album – was doing his best to hold the band together until Ozzy or Ronnie might be convinced to return. Musically, the Martin albums are good, anyone actually giving them an open-minded chance would I think concede. And, somehow, to my ears anyway, perhaps because the songs aren’t as familiar or overplayed, Iommi’s riffs are somehow more powerful, cascading waterfalls of heavy guitar sound.
Rory Gallagher, In Your Town . . .Sometimes I think I should stop doing these commentaries, especially when it pertains to Rory Gallagher, one of my favorite artists. Not sure what else I can say about him, other than it’s mind-boggling he wasn’t bigger, on a wider commercial scale, than he was both while leading Taste and then going solo as on this track from his Deuce album.
King Crimson, Eyes Wide Open . . . I read in a YouTube comments field that King Crimson’s The Power To Believe album, which came out in 2003 and from which I pulled this track, is to be their final studio album statement. It would seem so, give that’s 19 years ago now although one never knows what leader Robert Fripp might come up with, or when, and put it under the Crimson banner.
Yes, Perpetual Change (live, Yessongs version) . . . One of those happy accidents over the last week. I pulled out the Yessongs live album. Hadn’t played it in ages. Geez, it’s good. It came out in 1973 as Yes compiled it from tracks supporting their then most recent albums, Close To The Edge and Fragile, classics both, although Perpetual Change is from the earlier The Yes Album. Alan White is the drummer on most of the live tracks although founding Yes member Bill Bruford, also noted for his work with King Crimson and live playing with early post-Peter Gabriel live Genesis, shines on this piece.
Nazareth, Beggars Day/Rose In The Heather . . . Rocked up version of Beggars Day, a Nils Lofgren-penned Crazy Horse (sans Neil Young) tune, paired with Nazareth’s own Rose In The Heather. It’s from the Hair of The Dog album.
The Doobie Brothers, Cotton Mouth . . . From Toulouse Street, during the down and dirty pre-Michael McDonald commercial juggernaut days of the Doobies. I’m not down on McDonald by any means. He’s a great artist, singer-songwriter and one of my favorite Doobies’ songs is his Takin’ It To The Streets and I also like his 1982 solo hit, I Keep Forgettin’. I just like the pre-McDonald Doobies a lot better.
King Curtis with Duane Allman, Games People Play . . . Instrumental take on Joe South’s hit, with Allman on guitar. It’s from the saxophone master’s Instant Groove album but also appears on one of two terrific compilations of Duane Allman’s session and some Allman Brothers’ work, titled An Anthology and Anthology Vol. II. Worth searching out; most of it’s available on YouTube.
Tracy Chapman, Telling Stories . . . Title cut from her 2000 album. Chapman, who shuns the spotlight, has not released new original studio work since 2008, alas, although she has told media she is not retired. Whatever she decides to do, her musical legacy is secure.
The Allman Brothers Band, Heart Of Stone . . . The Brothers do the Stones, in fine style, on their final studio album, 2003’s excellent Hittin’ The Note.
Jethro Tull, Fat Man . . . From, arguably, my favorite Tull album, Stand Up.
John Mayall, Took The Car . . . Mayall always produces great sounds, doesn’t he? It makes for a nice musical pairing, too, with Tull’s Fat Man, to my ears, anyway. This one’s from USA Union, the 1970 album that, via my older brother whose music influence I often cite, introduced me to Mayall. Speaking of cars but not related to the song: Sunday morning on my daily walk, I’m ambling down the trail beside some homes and I see two cars parked, one in front of the other, in a driveway, garage door closed. Next thing I know, the car in front starts up, lurches, then drives right through the garage door. Big bang. Funny and startling, could barely believe my eyes but I also immediately thought, geez, wonder if the driver had a heart attack or seizure or something, stepped on the gas and, boom. So I stopped and watched what ensued, considered heading over to check until someone emerged from the house, yelled ‘what the (you know what)!” called the driver an idiot and so I figured all was at least relatively well, health wise. I walked on. Not sure what the driver might have been thinking, or if he/she was thinking or drinking (although it was about 10 am) given there was nowhere to go, backwards or forwards. I can only assume the garage door opener didn’t work.
Mark Knopfler, Boom, Like That . . . I’ve never much been into Knopfler’s solo work, certainly not to the extent I love his stuff with Dire Straits. It’s just never resonated with me to the degree Dire Straits does. However, I’m starting to get there with Knopfler’s solo material, although the fact this single from his 2004 album Shangri-La was just his second solo Top 40 placing in the UK charts, behind Darling Pretty from his first solo record Golden Heart, maybe says I’m not alone in preferring Dire Straits to their leader’s solo work. This is definitely a good one, though.
Faces, Three Button Hand Me Down . . . It was suggested during a chat with friends that a Faces/Small Faces family tree type show would be fun. Such a theme would have many roots and branches: Rod Stewart, Ron Wood/Rolling Stones, The Jeff Beck Group (featuring Stewart and Wood), Humble Pie with Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton/Frampton solo, The Who (Kenney Jones), among others. For another week, perhaps. For this week, just Faces with this nice chugging tune.
Uriah Heep, Wonderworld . . . I’m playing this in fun, just to piss of those people who denigrate Uriah Heep. I like ’em, particularly the early stuff although all I actually own is a single disc compilation and comprehensive two-CD collection.
Mott The Hoople, Momma’s Little Jewel . . . A nice, er, jewel from the All The Young Dudes album that finally broke Mott The Hoople big via the David Bowie-penned title cut. The band was on the verge of breaking up until the Bowie tune salvaged the situation.
Steppenwolf, Tighten Up Your Wig . . . “Just before we go, I’d like to mention Junior Wells, we stole this thing from him, and he from someone else . . . he plays the blues like few before may he play forevermore.” As credited on Steppenwolf’s second album, The Second, the melody is from Wells’ Messin’ With The Kid. Good tunes, both.
Led Zeppelin, Black Country Woman . . . Great folk-rock tune from Physical Graffiti that was originally intended for the previous album, 1973’s Houses of The Holy. You can hear a plane flying overhead at the start of the song, as it was recorded outside in a garden at Stargroves, a manor house in the English countryside owned by Mick Jagger during the 1970s. The pre-song chatter is fun, as the band settles on leaving the sound of the aircraft in.
Bonnie Raitt, Gnawin’ On It . . . By the time of her 2002 Silver Lining album, the massive commercial success that Raitt achieved between 1989 and the mid-1990s that was so well-deserved as she worked her way up the ladder was gone, but of course she continues to release great music, as she did before radio discovered her. This infectious, snarling tune is an example.
Cat Stevens, Foreigner Suite . . . Foreigner, the band, came up in a barroom discussion with buddies last week about lousy successful bands, or those that got worse the more commercially successful they became. Bands like Chicago, Journey and some latter-day Genesis, although we conceded their ability to produce annoyingly catchy earworm music. Not playing Foreigner, whose stuff I actually for the most part like, the hits anyway, along with the Double Vision album, which to me is the only one from which I can legitimately draw decent deep cuts like Love Has Taken Its Toll. I’ve played that one on the show, albeit long ago. To finally get to the point of all this, the word foreigner stuck in my head (did I mention earworms?) so here we are with Stevens’ epic 18-minute love song. It’s one of those long tracks that seems shorter as it’s never aimless and one can listen to it for the varied music within, the lyrics, or both.