Chicago, Sing A Mean Tune Kid . . . From Chicago III, typically amazing guitar, including wah wah, from the late Terry Kath but a song that displays all the assets of early, and best (to me) Chicago.
Pink Floyd, The Great Gig In The Sky … Perfect example of the voice – in this case session singer Clare Torry – as instrument. According to Wikipedia, Torry delayed her contribution by a week because she wanted to see a Chuck Berry concert in London. When she did come in, she was unsure how to sing the part until, according to other sources, David Gilmour suggested she use her voice as if it were a saxophone.
Rare Earth, We’re Gonna Have A Good Time . . . Another great funky tune by Rare Earth. Must be somehow subliminal that I chose this one, since a friend of mine texted me last week raving about an Average White Band album he picked up, Cut The Cake, if memory serves. So we got talking about largely white bands doing funky soul stuff. Hence, likely, me playing Rare Earth, a band I’ve always liked and remember first hearing at day camp, remember those things your parents sent you to for part of the summer, in 1972 as one of the counselors had the band’s 1971 live album, Rare Earth In Concert, on cassette and was playing it.
Lou Reed, Rock N Roll (live, from Rock N Roll Animal) . . . Extended version of the tune from the blistering live album.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Anything That’s Rock N Roll . . . As promised last week thanks to some of my own silly wordplay about damning torpedoes, a TP cut this week. From the self-titled debut album, this short rocker was released as a single in the UK, made the top 40, but was not a single elsewhere. Good tune. Does Petty have a bad one?
Accept, Balls To The Wall . . . Apparently some people confuse this monster metal track with AC/DC, at least from what I’ve read on YouTube. I never did. I mean, I can see it. But geez lots of metal bands might sound like the great AC/DC, which I’ve always considered hard rock, not metal, but whatever. Just a great track, regardless.
Nick Lowe, American Squirm . . . I played Nick last week and didn’t intend to this week but when digging through the station computer system, to which I’ve contributed thousands of tunes, ha ha, this came up while looking for something else. So, why not? Great song from the Labour Of Lust album, 1979 which turned me on, in my college days, to Lowe. My first vinyl copy was the American version, which contains this track – which wasn’t on the UK version. Since then and only recently, I happily found the album on CD but obviously found the initial UK version since my CD doesn’t have the song. I pulled it off a Lowe compilation I have. I know, who cares, way too much info.
The Mamas & The Papas, Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) . . . Same deal with this one as the previous, Lowe, track. Just came up in the system, I’ve loaded so much in there I should be getting paid for supplying but anyway it does reduce the workload more than somewhat in terms of having to load more stuff show by show. Whatever, typically great track by the band.
The Allman Brothers Band, Melissa . . . Love the tune and now often think of my younger of two sons who startled me some years back when I mentioned how much I like the Allmans and he cited this track as one of his favorite songs, at least in part I suppose from hearing it among all the other classic rock of mine he grew up hearing.
The Cars, Candy-O . . . Title track from the second album. It could not possibly measure up to the ridiculously great debut, which is essentially a greatest hits album. But the Cars’ sophomore effort is still a pretty damn fine album.
Rod Stewart, Handbags and Gladrags . . . One of my favorite alltime tunes, written by Mike D’Abo who at that time was in The Moody Blues and arranged and played piano on the Stewart version. It’s a beautiful interpretation, which Stewart has always been wonderful at, particularly during his peak solo period, 1969-74. D’Abo also sang the King Herod role in the original Jesus Christ Superstar, an album, the 1970 version, I must get back to. In fact, I had it out for this week but one thing led to another and I didn’t get to it. Next time, soon. I’ve played a lot of it over time on the show, but it’s so great, that’s never enough.
Steppenwolf, It’s Never Too Late . . . Love Steppenwolf, a band that is so much more than the usual hits one hears on radio – Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride, etc. Thought of this one after hearing it while browsing in a used record store last week.
Jackson Browne, Lives In The Balance . . . Very political song, the title cut from his 1986 album, stands up, always, lyrically, re governments and their sins, regardless the generation.
Hawkwind, Brainbox Pollution . . . An extra, typically pulsating track added to the expanded re-issue of 1972’s cleverly-titled Doremi Fasol Latido album, the first to feature later Motorhead leader Lemmy on bass. Too much to go into here, but it’s worth reading up on the album, particularly Lemmy’s views on his own playing, which he didn’t like.
Talking Heads, Take Me To The River . . . The song that, again during college days, 1978, got me into the band, a cover of the more funky Al Green tune that the Heads turned into a more bluesy version. Uncharacteristic in the Heads’ experimental-type catalog.
Jethro Tull, Back To The Family . . . Ah, the Stand Up album. A bedrock album for me, thanks to my older brother by eight years bringing it home along with Led Zeppelin II back when our family lived in Peru for a few years in the late 1960s. At the time, my elder brother and sister, along with most in their age group, went back to North America for high school but came back each holiday season with treasures from the north. Easily one of Tull’s best albums, yet perhaps somewhat lost in the shuffle amid such more widely celebrated works as Aqualung and Thick As A Brick.
The Tragically Hip, The Luxury . . . Not sure how to analyze it or if it’s even necessary, other than to say I just have always loved this cut from Road Apples.
Outlaws, Green Grass and High Tides . . . Song one in the set (wait, you’ll hear the second next) from a southern rock band that, like the more well-known Lynyrd Skynyrd, has in its arsenal a Freebird-like piece, manic guitar work and all. The title is a play on the 1966 Rolling Stones’ compilation Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass).
Molly Hatchet, Fall Of The Peacemakers . . . See above. It seems every southern rock band has their one ‘signature’ extended piece, like this one.
Elvis Costello, 13 Steps Lead Down . . . Costello pretty much lost me by the early 1980s but I happened to be in a used record store the other day and lo and behold saw a compilation I’d never heard of, Extreme Honey, from 1997. It pulls together 18 tracks, with a couple then new ones, from his work from ‘the Warner Brothers years”, albums like Spike, Mighty Like A Rose, Brutal Youth and All This Useless Beauty which I tried but never got into. But, via the compilation decided to sample, again. At $4.99, the price was right and playing this track, a No. 59 single in the UK from Brutal Youth, is the result. A good one, which is not surprising since he recorded it with the reunited Attractions, his original band. Never said he wasn’t or remains a great songwriter, I just preferred him during his angry young man phase. But perhaps now I’ll discover some stuff I overlooked.
The Beatles, Girl . . . One of a few tunes in tonight’s set brought about by a music discussion with a friend, and isn’t that the beauty of it. Somehow, a discussion prompted by my buddy about Keith Richards’ vocal style/enunciations became a Bob Dylan discussion I initiated about so-called ‘bad’ singers actually being good, and then this Beatles’ tune, from Rubber Soul, came into it. Great song. And another from my childhood when my elder siblings would, merely by their playing them, introduce me to such things and set the foundations for my listening experiences. My sister had Rubber Soul, the first Beatles’ studio album, aside from compilations or hit singles on 45s, that I ever knew.
ZZ Top, A Fool For Your Stockings . . . One of my favorite ZZ tracks, from 1979’s Deguello, in memory/honor of Dusty Hill, the band’s bass player who died just last week. The band continues on, out on tour now with, on Hill’s recommendation to Billy Gibbons, the band’s longtime guitar tech Elwood Francis replacing Hill.
The Rolling Stones, How Can I Stop . . . A direct result, this one, of my discussion with a friend about Keith Richards’ vocals. He was citing work from Richards’ solo albums but I mentioned some of the slow, jazzy type stuff he’s done on latter day Stones’ albums, like this great cut from 1997’s Bridges To Babylon album. The track features Wayne Shorter, who played with Miles Davis and co-founded Weather Report, on saxophone.
Billy Swan, I Can Help . . . This one was lying there in the system when I called up How Can I Stop, so I decided to play it. A hit single in 1974, I can’t remember if I played it during a ‘one hit wonder’ type show I did some months ago. Good tune, and it works with the song titles in closing the show. Keith’s asking how can he stop, Billy says he can help, and Fludd, next, says just get the you know what outta here.
Fludd, Get Up, Get Out, Move On . . . Probably my favorite from Fludd, which had a bigger hit with Cousin Mary but I like this one better. And, of course, Gregg Godovitz, who later formed Goddo, was in the band. Great stuff. And, yes, time to, as the song title says. Until next week.