Tramp, Put A Record On . . . Who is Tramp? Well, they were an on again, off again British blues band often comprised of assorted members of Fleetwood Mac like drummer Mick Fleetwood, original bassist Bob Brunning, who formed Tramp in 1969, and guitarist Danny Kirwan. Tramp, fronted by the brother sister guitarist/singer combo of Dave and Jo Ann Kelly, released just two albums. The debut was out in 1969 and then in 1974 came Put A Record On, the title cut of which appears on a Fleetwood Mac Family Album CD I have. The album features the outside and solo work of the various Mac members over the many years and lineups of the parent group. Jo Ann Kelly was so highly thought of that both Canned Heat and Johnny Winter wanted her to join their bands, but she declined due to her desire to stay in England. Sadly, she died in 1990 at age 46 of a brain tumor.
The James Gang, The Bomber . . . Haven’t played the James Gang in a while. So I figured I’d bring them back into the loop via this epic, from the second album, Rides Again.
The Who, The Punk and the Godfather . . . An old friend of mine loves The Who and always swore by Quadrophenia as their best, or at least his favorite album by the band but then he’s into ‘concept’ albums and likes The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway by Genesis, which I’ve never fully gotten into so, there’s that if one is considering sources, ha. He’s also the guy I once got into a fun drunken argument with over whether Genesis was even rock akin to, say, the raunch and roll of The Rolling Stones, his argument being “ever heard The Knife, dammit!” So yeah, I’ve heard The Knife, it’s heavy, it’s on the Trespass album; Genesis can play rock, of a sort though not raunch, so I concede the point but anyway . . . back to The Who. I like Tommy, which is a concept album, but of The Who’s works I’d say I like Who’s Next, Who Are You and yes, The Who By Numbers, which I grew up with, more. But I’m more a song guy than a concept guy, when it comes to music. I do like Quadrophenia, certainly several of the songs from it, like The Punk and the Godfather, so here you go. I’d still take the more well-known 5:15, The Real Me and Love, Reign O’er Me from Quad, ahead of it, though, but this is a deep cuts show. Actually, while I’m writing these commentary notes, I just put on the Lamb and, you know, I could get more deeply into it, actually, and I realize I do know the album pretty well, The Cage, Carpet Crawlers, the title cut, etc. Next!
Bob Dylan, Everything Is Broken . . . Up-tempo Zimmy to kick off his fine 1989 album, Oh Mercy, wall to wall one of his best, any era. But you’ll get that when you hire Canada’s own Daniel Lanois as producer. Anything he touches turns to gold, ask U2, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Robertson, on and on. Lanois is not a bad music maker in his own right, either, judging by his solo albums.
Joan Baez, Diamonds and Rust . . . Speaking of Dylan, this 1975 song is all about him and for my money is one of the finest songs about love, love lost and all that stuff, ever written. Always brings a tear to my eye. It’s brilliant, sung by the voice of an angel. Judas Priest, of course, later in the 1970s covered it in their metal fashion, had a hit with it and Baez liked it. A long time later, in the 2000s, Priest re-did it in acoustic, Baez style to great effect but one would expect nothing less, given Priest lead singer Rob Halford’s pipes.
Leon Russell and Willie Nelson, Heartbreak Hotel . . . Leon and Willie team up on the song Elvis Presley made famous. It’s actually credited to Willie Nelson and Leon Russell but I pulled it from a Leon Russell compilation I own so I put Leon first. Just to be different.
The Kinks, Hatred (A Duet) . . . Famously feuding and fighting brothers Ray and Dave Davies have great fun on this one, from The Kinks’ last studio album, Phobia, which came out in 1993. It’s a great commentary on their always-tempestuous relationship, and society in general. “Why don’t you just drop dead and don’t recover. I’m the mirror to your mood, you hate me and I hate you so at least we understand each other.” Ah, brotherly love. I imagine they had a riot recording it.
Tim Curry, No Love On The Street . . . Great original tune by the multi-talented Curry, who came to fame as Dr. Frank-N-Furter (you’ll recall Sweet Transvestite) in The Rocky Horror Picture show. I was major into the whole Rocky Horror schtick at the time so when I heard Curry’s Fearless album playing in a record store in 1979, I liked it, bought it and soon owned the three albums he released between 1978 and 1981. He always had major music people helping him, too, like producers Michael Kamen and Bob Ezrin and guitarist Dick Wagner of Alice Cooper and Lou Reed fame. Curry, who was a scream in the 1985 movie adaptation of the board game Clue, alas is confined to a wheelchair after suffering a stroke in 2012, although he still does voice work.
Bee Gees, Lonely Days . . . Probably my favorite Bee Gees’ song, essentially three songs in one as it quietly builds to a crescendo, calms down again, then rebuilds to another peak. These guys were so good, yes, even the disco stuff. Just great songwriters.
Steppenwolf, It’s Never Too Late . . . Yet another great one by the Canadian-rooted band which is SO much more than endless classic rock station plays of Magic Carpet Ride and Born To Be Wild, great songs of course but . . .
Bad Company, Company Of Strangers . . . Title cut from the band’s 1995 album, with Paul Rodgers soundalike Robert Hart on lead vocals. An old work colleague of mine once said that Bad Company without Rodgers singing isn’t Bad Company. I agree for the most part, certainly given the overproduced (though commercially successful) schlock they released with Brian Howe on lead vocals during the 1980s, which is when my old work friend commented. But Company of Strangers, which features founding guitarist Mick Ralphs and drummer Simon Kirke, is pretty good, actually. It could pass for the band’s 1970s work with Rodgers, I think.
The Rolling Stones, Sway . . . Great guitar work, especially on the outro, from Mick Taylor on one of those what I term ‘effortlessly and effectively lazy’ Stones cuts, which nobody does better than, well, the Stones. This one’s from Sticky Fingers.
The Guess Who, Key . . . A nice combo of psychedelia and pop rock on this epic, near 12-minute excursion from 1969’s Wheatfield Soul album.
Simon and Garfunkel, Baby Driver . . . Like many 1960s and 70s albums, Bridge Over Troubled Water is so good any of its songs could have been singles. This one wasn’t though, which tells you what a quality work the album was.
Steve Miller Band, Space Cowboy . . . By now this is a well-known Miller tune but it arguably wasn’t when it came out in 1969 on the Brave New World album when the Steve Miller Band was still in its psychedelic/blues rock phase. The band was still some years away from its commercial mid- to late-1970s heyday starting with The Joker album and subsequent releases Fly Like An Eagle, Book of Dreams and the ubiquitous Greatest Hits 1974-78 album. But if you’re looking to sample earlier Miller, I’d recommend The Anthology and The Best of 1968-73 compilations, either physical copies or online.
Blue Rodeo, Diamond Mine . . . I’ve been meaning to get to some Blue Rodeo, was discussing them with a friend recently and mentioned to him that I ought to play them. Reason I haven’t, to be honest, is that my place is an unholy mess, CDs not racked (it’s a forever project) because I’m too lazy to put them away after each show. In a way, I think it helps my set list creativity because I just randomly pick up a disc, yeah I still own CDs, and load them into our station computer. So anyway, was rummaging around and, voila, found a Blue Rodeo disc so I figured I’d play the title cut, probably my favorite song of theirs, from their 1989 album. It’s quite Doors-ish, in my opinion, akin to The End or When The Music’s Over.
Elton John, High Flying Bird . . . Here’s the problem with Elton John in the 1970s and doing a radio show just once a week. How are you supposed to choose among his many great songs and we’re talking deep cuts, let alone hits. So, at first I was going to go with Street Kids, a rocker I like from Rock of The Westies but I realized I’ve played that fairly recently. Then up came Slave, a nice country blues-ish tune from Honky Chateau which I’ve never played I don’t think, but then that CD rummage session revealed Elton’s Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player album so it came down to either High Flying Bird or Have Mercy On The Criminal, and Bird won out. But, now you have an indication of some Elton John titles to look for in future shows.
Bloomfield Kooper Stills, His Holy Modal Majesty . . . From the legendary Super Session album, which features Al Kooper and guitarists Michael Bloomfield and Stephen Stills. It was a two-day session but Bloomfield, who played on this tribute to jazz giant John Coltrane, left – apparently he was having trouble sleeping and wanted to rest – so Kooper scrambled and brought Stills in to finish the album. The whole project, either guitarist, is terrific.
Rory Gallagher, Calling Card . . . Anyone who knows me, and the show, knows how much I like Rory Gallagher, from his days leading Taste to his extensive solo work. Just a brilliant guitarist and songwriter, yet in many ways not well known to the masses. But his brother Donal has kept the late Rory’s music alive over the years via various reissue projects, compilations, concert film re-releases and the like. That’s a good thing. Rory was amazing. Asked once how it felt to be the greatest guitarist in the world, Jimi Hendrix is said to have said, “I don’t know. Go ask Rory Gallagher.”. But of course Hendrix said similar things about Chicago’s late great Terry Kath, and B.B. King said of Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green that Green was ‘the only living guitarist to make me sweat. He had the sweetest tone I’ve ever heard.” Which really says it all about all these guys; it’s not a competition. It’s about their respective creative muses, and resulting mutual respect and admiration.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Sedan Delivery . . . Kick butt distortion tune, which is what Neil Young does when Crazy Horse is in the building with him. From 1979’s Rust Never Sleeps. Young originally recorded Sedan Delivery during the sessions for his 1975 album Zuma but it didn’t make the cut. The song was offered to Lynyrd Skynyrd for their final pre-plane crash album, Street Survivors, but they passed on it.
Ocean Colour Scene, The Riverboat Song . . . What an infectious, irresistible riff from these Britpop boys. I’m not super up on them but heard them playing in one of my favorite local independent record stores some years back, that would be Encore Records in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada (free plug, boys), bought a compilation and here we are.
Chuck Leavell, Evening Train . . . This is an interesting one, perhaps, in how I came to play it. Pianist/keyboard player Leavell, of course, is a former Allman Brother and has been playing live and on studio records with The Rolling Stones since the 1980s and also at one time fronted the Allmans’ offshoot band Sea Level, which I’ve periodically played. Anyway, I was digging through my stuff and back in 2019, the Stones’ Keith Richards was ‘guest editor’ of MOJO music magazine so the mag included with purchase a CD of some of Keef’s favorite tunes. It’s a diverse disc, featuring stuff like Funkadelic, Buckwhat Zydeco, Dion, Toots and The Maytalls (Richards loves reggae), Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. And, this bluesy Leavell track from his 2013 album, Back To The Woods, a tribute to the pioneers of blues piano.
Ringo Starr, Goodnight Vienna/Goodnight Vienna Reprise . . . Title cut, a fun rocker and its short reprise, from Ringo’s 1974 album, written by John Lennon. And on that note, goodnight until next week.