Jethro Tull, To Cry You A Song . . . I always listen to music in the gym but been using my workout time lately to dig back into and savor many of my favorite albums, particularly ones I haven’t listened to in a while, because I think what often happens is, for me at least, is you know an album so well that it’s as if you don’t need to play it because you know it in your mind. But then you actually do play it again and you think, wow, is this ever good. Like Tull’s third album, Benefit, from which this song comes. As always, credit to my late older brother for introducing me to Tull all those years ago.
R.E.M., Oh, My Heart . . . Beautiful song from the band’s final album, 2011’s Collapse Into Now. It’s worth reading the Wikipedia entry about the album, which details how the group, which was on the down slope of commercial success, came to the decision to disband and it wasn’t just due to sales. And, also, how they developed the album as they accepted that times had changed concepts of what an ‘album’ meant. To pull a bit from Wikipedia, the group did videos for each song on the album, not just the singles,of which Oh, My Heart was the fourth. Lead singer Michael Stipe: “The idea was to present a 21st-century version of an album. What does an album mean in the year 2011, particularly to generations of people for whom the word ‘album’ is an archaic term? An album for me as a teenager in the ’70s was a fully-formed concept. It was a body of work from an artist I liked or trusted or who excited me. I wanted to present an idea of what an album could be in the era of YouTube and the internet. This is what we do. We put together and sequenced the strongest body of work we could possibly come up with at this moment in time and put it onto this record.” I love listening to creative people discuss their work, whoever it is because, while I like them, I’m not even a massive R.E.M. fan.
George Harrison, I Dig Love . . . Same thing here as with my comments re the Jethro Tull song/album I started today’s show with. I hadn’t listened to Harrison’s All Things Must Pass in a long time but did so in the gym, over two workouts, last week. It’s a sprawling album, of course, three vinyl records in its original configuration as Harrison unleashed his muse after the breakup of The Beatles, using some material that didn’t ‘make’ Beatles’ albums, and his records is filled with gems. Like this very interesting, almost experimental/somewhat unconventional track. Very cool.
The Beatles, She’s Leaving Home . . . Interesting how things change as time offers perspective. I always liked this song, and the whole Sgt. Pepper album, but as time and life experience goes on, it’s moved up to become one of my favorites on the album. Same with George Harrison’s sitar-laden and ultimately influential Within You Without You on Pepper, which in my youth was a song I skipped – and I wasn’t alone – by lifting the needle from the vinyl record (no programming in those days).
Tyrannosaurus Rex, By The Light Of A Magical Moon . . . Great jaunty mid-tempo ballad with some nice guitar from 1970’s A Beard Of Stars, the last of four studio albums by the Marc Bolan-led band before they shortened their name and continued as T. Rex.
The Doors, The Spy . . . Nothing intentional, just developed this way, maybe it’s some Freudian sort of thing, who knows, but many of the songs in the set tonight have to do with relationships. Like this one from the bluesy Morrison Hotel album.
Johnny Cash, No Expectations . . . As I’ve often said, to me the best covers are reinventions, the most famous arguably being Jimi Hendrix’s reinterpretation of Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower. No Expectations by the man in black isn’t as well known, but in 1978 he took the great Rolling Stones’ track from 1968’s Beggars Banquet and gave it the Cash rockabilly-type treatment. Great stuff.
The Rolling Stones, Dance (Pt. 1)/If I Was A Dancer (Dance Pt. 2) . . . And, speaking of the Stones, now for something completely different, from 1980’s Emotional Rescue album. Part 1 was the opening cut on the album but Part 2 didn’t appear until the 1981 compilation, Sucking In The Seventies. I’ve slotted them back to back, and thanks to whoever, on YouTube, for connecting the tunes into one 10-minute package that I’ve used for the usual song clips on my Facebook page.
Elvis Presley, Little Sister . . . Always loved this Elvis tune. And, see how it goes from the Stones’ Dance to Elvis’s Little Sister, a nod to the Stones’ Dance Little Sister? Clever, aren’t I? Ha.
Van Morrison, Precious Time . . . I need to listen to this tune and its lyrics more because I have too many interests, which results in me having difficulty prioritizing, at times. Time is indeed precious, to be used wisely.
Delaney and Bonnie (with Eric Clapton), Comin’ Home . . . Here’s what happens when you dig into a box set you haven’t listened to in a while, in this case Clapton’s 1988 release Crossroads. You remember this band and this song, a good rocker from the group/then married couple of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett and friends which at various times featured Clapton, Duane and Gregg Allman, Dave Mason, George Harrison (under the pseudonym L’Angelo Misterioso), Bobby Keys, Gram Parsons, on and on and which led to the formation of . . .
Derek and The Dominos, Got To Get Better In A Little While . . . Three members of Delaney Bramlett’s band, who had helped Clapton out on his first, self-titled solo album, had a falling out with Bramlett. So, Clapton scooped up keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon and the result was Derek and The Dominos. This is an early version, from the Crossroads box and without Whitlock, of a rocker scheduled for what was to be a second Dominos album, after the Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs album.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, It’s Just A Thought . . . Who says CCR was just a hit singles band? They have many great deep cuts, like this nice groove tune from the Pendulum album.
Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, 49 Tons . . . Cool shuffle from the Canadian combo of Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden and Tom Wilson. What began as something of a fun side project by guys with their own gigs – Fearing solo, Linden lots of production work and some solo stuff and Wilson with Junkhouse and assorted other projects – soon became a full-fledged band, and a good one.
Rod Stewart, Stone Cold Sober . . . I feel like I’ve played this one too recently, although I can’t find it in 2021 shows but in any event, what the heck. Good, fun rocker from Stewart’s 1975 Atlantic Crossing album, his first after he moved to the United States and first without most members of Faces as his backing band for his solo work. The album was the first of a great run in Stewart’s second distinct solo period, one that brought him great commercial and critical success up until about 1980, after which he lost the plot, went schlock, and lost me.
Joe Jackson, What’s The Use Of Getting Sober (When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again) . . . J.J.’s version of a song Louis Jordan took to No. 1 on Billboard’s ‘race record chart’ (really, a ‘race’ record chart) in 1942. It appeared on Jackson’s 1981 jump blues/swing album Jumpin’ Jive, at which time, after his early angry young man punk/new wave period, I realized Jackson was an artist I wanted to follow in his various directions. He’s never disappointed me.
Heart, White Lightning and Wine . . . I like most Heart stuff but prefer the 1970s stuff, like this album track from 1976’s Dreamboat Annie, to the band’s (typically for the period) at least somewhat overproduced 1980s sound, although that sound gave Heart huge commercial success for a few 80s albums.
Mark Knopfler, Why Aye Man . . . I prefer Dire Straits to Knopfler’s solo material, which some friends remember I drunkenly and loudly proclaimed one day a few summers ago while throwing back beer on a lakeside patio. But I do like his solo work, like this tune, and need to dig back in.
Dire Straits, Telegraph Road . . . One of those epic tunes, 14 minutes worth, that is so good the time just flies by.
Buddy Guy, It’s A Jungle Out There . . . Written by Guy, the lone self-penned cut from his terrific 2001 album, Sweet Tea, which deservedly was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
Bruce Cockburn, Tibetan Side Of Town . . . From the Big Circumstance album in 1988, nice groove and guitar picking by Cockburn and a nice sax solo by Richie Cannata, a member of Billy Joel’s band during my favorite Joel period, the mid- to late 1970s.
The Allman Brothers Band, Instrumental Illness . . . Typically great extended (12 minutes) Allmans instrumental, from what turned out to be their last studio album, 2003’s Hittin’ The Note, although the band continued playing live until retiring in 2014.