So Old It’s New set list for Monday, Feb. 21, 2022 – on air 8-10 pm ET

  1. Fleetwood Mac, Before The Beginning . . . Then Play On, the 1969 album that was Peter Green’s swan song with the band he founded, is likely my favorite by the group. I love blues which were the foundation of Green’s version of the band, but Then Play On had a broader stylistic scope, dabbling in blues rock, folk rock and psychedelia. This Green-penned and sung track is a good example. Not that I ever need reminding of the album but I was prompted to play it by a review list last week on allmusic.com of Mac releases that people who know the band only from the Buckingham-Nicks commercial monster period might not be aware of. And, it’s also worth checking out the band’s middle period, up until 1974 and also mentioned by allmusic, when guitarist-songwriter Bob Welch was a member. It’s a great period I’ve mined before on the show and will again.
  1. Sly and The Family Stone, Family Affair . . . A No. 1 hit single in 1971. I normally don’t play singles on this deep cuts show but figured it fit, in terms of the title at least. The lyrics, not so much.
  1. Family, See Through Windows . . . I just had to get a song in by the band Family. So diverse, Family’s blend of various styles – hard rock, jazz rock, psychedelia – into a stirring stew. Among the members was Ric Grech on bass, violin and cello and he appears at the end of tonight’s set, as a member of Blind Faith. This one’s from Family’s 1968 debut album, Music In A Doll’s House, which prompted a name change for a record The Beatles were working on at the time. The fabs had planned to call their record A Doll’s House but when Family’s album came out in July, The Beatles changed their title to simply The Beatles for the album which has long since become better known as the White Album. It wasn’t released until November of 1968.
  1. Genesis, The Return Of The Giant Hogweed . . . I’ve been trying to get this in for a while but it didn’t fit the tone of the last few shows. Not sure it really does now, but in terms of title it fits a pattern as you’ll see as we move along. Besides, sometimes I’ll play songs that fit a musical theme, other times I like to mix things up, sometimes drastically, like a ballad followed by a metal tune. Not doing that so much tonight though. Deliberately over the top lyrics about the invasive – and dangerous if you’re not careful with its toxic sap – species giant hogweed presented in typical early Genesis progressive style. From Nursery Cryme, 1971. It was the band’s third album and first to feature drummer/vocalist Phil Collins and guitarist Steve Hackett along with lead singer Peter Gabriel, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and keyboard player Tony Banks – the classic lineup of the group’s full-blown progressive rock period.
  1. Bruce Springsteen, Jungleland . . . From hogweed to the jungle, get it? OK, that’s enough of that nonsense with song titles. Maybe. Great tune/lyrics from Born To Run. If a nearly 10-minute song can be too short, this may well be an example.
  1. Jethro Tull, Hunt By Numbers . . . Now, if you listen to the lyrics, a cat is going hunting, maybe in the jungle. Remember, I did say ‘maybe’ with the title stuff. Last one, though. Promise. Good riff-rocker, interesting subject matter, from 1999’s j-tull dot com album, which I’ve been revisiting lately. It received lukewarm to poor reviews from critics but isn’t that generally the case with latter-day albums by veteran bands, with rare exceptions – like the mostly positive reviews Tull’s new album, The Zealot Gene, is deservedly getting. I played a track from the new one a few weeks back and will get back to it at some point as that release grows on me with repeated plays. As for j-tull dot com, it’s typically diverse Tull and I’ve always liked it, but I’m a big fan of all the band’s work – even to an extent their 1984 electronic, synth-laden release Under Wraps. The j-tull dot com (that’s how the title was written) record also stirs fond memories of the tour, my elder son’s first exposure, at age 12, to Tull live in July, 2000 at Hamilton Place. It was a great show, including Hunt By Numbers in the set. We saw the next three tours together, the last in 2007 at Massey Hall in Toronto. Just two years before that, we attended a fantastic 27-song Tull performance at Massey but sadly, Ian Anderson’s voice was pretty much totally shot, at least for live purposes, by 2007 at the same venue. It was still a good show, but my son and I agreed that it was over for us as far as live Tull was concerned.
  1. Gov’t Mule, Helter Skelter (live) . . . Smokin’ live version of the Beatles’ track, from the Mule’s Bald Boy album. Just kidding and more on that in a bit. Actually, it’s from a sprawling 3-CD live album called Mulennium the group recorded as 1999 became 2000, at the Roxy Theatre in Atlanta, Ga. While I like the Mule’s original material, the Allman Brothers offshoot led by guitarist/vocalist Warren Haynes does terrific covers of classic rock tunes so I burned my own CD of them some years ago. Among the tracks, besides this one – King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man, Humble Pie’s 30 Days In The Hole, Steppenwolf’s Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam, Free’s Mr. Big, Deep Purple’s Maybe I’m A Leo. The list is long, so I’ll have to do my own Vol. II, and beyond, at some point. The band has also done two separate live covers albums dedicated, respectively, to Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones: Dark Side Of The Mule and Stoned Side Of The Mule. The Stones’ covers album was a limited, vinyl-only release, to my knowledge, for a recent Record Store Day although it’s all available online, at least on YouTube.
  1. David Bowie, All The Madmen . . . If you’re doing a deep cuts show, Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World album from 1970 (1971 in the UK) is a surefire place to go for material. Brilliant record. No huge commercial hits, not even the title cut which went somewhat unnoticed until Lulu covered it for a No. 3 UK hit in 1974 on a version produced by Bowie and guitarist Mick Ronson. Nirvana covered it and it was released on their acclaimed 1994 MTV Unplugged album.
  1. Robin Trower, A Tale Untold . . . Starts out kinda funky, uptempo, with typically great guitar by Trower and vocals by the late great James Dewar before transitioning into a slow blues for the last minute or so of the five and a half minute song.
  1. Hawkwind, Magnu . . . Epic space rock from 1975’s Warrior On The Edge Of Time album. It was bassist Lemmy’s last album with Hawkwind. He was fired on the eve of the record’s release after an arrest for drug possession. Then came Motorhead.
  1. Glenn Hughes, Into The Void . . . Not the Black Sabbath song, although a then messed-up on drugs and booze Hughes was briefly in Sabbath during a turbulent revolving door lineup period in that band’s history, the mid- to late 1980s after singer Ronnie James Dio departed. This one’s from the former Trapeze and Deep Purple bassist/singer’s 1994 album, From Now On. A touch overproduced for my taste, but a good song, nevertheless.
  1. Blackmore’s Night, Village On The Sand . . . Celtic-type tune from former Deep Purple and (when the band is active) Rainbow guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s now longtime folk rock/medieval rock project with his lead singer/multi-instrumentalist wife Candice Night.
  1. Carole King, Way Over Yonder . . . This is a deep cuts show but to me there really isn’t a deep cut on Tapestry, one of the greatest albums ever, by anyone. All the songs are well known but we’ll call this a deep cut since it wasn’t one of the singles from the record.
  1. Bobbie Gentry, Okolona River Bottom Band . . . She’s known for the great Ode To Billie Joe. But as I say probably every time I play her, Gentry, who retired at age 40 in 1982 and by choice virtually disappeared from view, is far more than just that one song, a No. 1 hit in 1967. Also a guitarist, she was a trailblazer, among the first female artists, in the United States at least, to write and produce her own material. Like this song, featuring her versatile vocals, in this case taking a sultry, raunchy approach. Gentry, now 79, is living in a gated community in Tennessee. But nobody knows for sure. That makes her forever cool, to me.
  1. The Band, The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show . . . Great shared vocals by Rick Danko and Levon Helm on this jaunty tune from Stage Fright.
  1. Chicken Shack, I’d Rather Go Blind . . . A song co-written and made famous by Etta James and covered by many including Rod Stewart, this version features Christine Perfect (later McVie) of future Fleetwood Mac fame on lead vocals during her brief period, 1968-69, with the British blues band.
  1. The Rolling Stones, Stray Cat Blues (live, from Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out!) . . . A slower, bluesier arrangement than the rocking, raunchy studio version on Beggars Banquet. Equally excellent.
  1. Pat Travers Band, Is This Love . . . A buddy of mine suggested I think Jamaica for this week, implying reggae. I said if you want reggae, get your own show and stop trying to influence mine. Then mentioned I had played Peter Tosh recently so, so there. Kidding around, bud! About the ‘get your own show’ part. I love reggae. Actually I do appreciate suggestions, at least of genres, because they trigger the thought process and I did tell him it was a worthy one. Maybe a reggae show soon, or a segment of one. The risk with a full themed show – although my recent blues show went over big – is that you might lose listeners who might not be into a full genre-based show. And the station does have reggae shows. All of which is a roundabout way of saying I did think Jamaica – Canadian rocker Travers covered this Bob Marley tune on his 1980 Crash and Burn album. A nice version, too.
  1. Steve Miller Band, Jackson-Kent Blues . . . Amazing song in my opinion, both musically and lyrically, about the Kent State and Jackson State shootings of students by the National Guard (Kent) and state police in 1970. Great wah wah guitar, for one thing. It was released on Miller’s 1970 album, Number 5, still a few years before the band transitioned from their early (and terrific) more psychedelic sound to the more melodic rock and pop that brought big commercial success with songs like The Joker and the Fly Like An Eagle and Book of Dreams albums. For those not up on early Miller, it’s worth checking out.
  1. The J. Geils Band, Night Time . . . Cover of a tune by 1960s New York City band The Strangeloves. It appeared on Geils’ 1980 album, Love Stinks. Interesting creation, The Strangeloves, well worth reading about. They were a three-man songwriting and production team comprised of Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer who wrote such hits as My Boyfriend’s Back by American girl group The Angels. They then decided to form a foreign beat group, pretending to be a band of Australian brothers raised on a sheep farm, complete with fictional backstory. Trouble arose when they got successful enough to tour, which they did but were much more comfortable being in the background, writing and doing studio work. So they hired a group of musicians to play on the road while they continued writing. Somewhat the reverse of The Monkees who, at least at first, wrote very little of their own material. Highly recommended reading, about The Strangeloves. All three members are still around, having made a major mark on the music industry including co-founding Sire Records and working with such artists as Blondie, Eric Burdon & War and Marshall Crenshaw.
  1. Blind Faith, Do What You Like . . . I love the one and only Blind Faith album, introduced to me by my older, late brother so many years ago. But I hadn’t played this near-16 minute album-closing epic in ages. Silly me. The reason was, while I always liked the groove for the majority of the tune, I recalled a long drum solo by Ginger Baker. And you know how it can be, say, in a concert, with drum solos. Or any solos, the self-indulgent ones where everything comes to a stop as an artist the audience knows can play has to show us that he or she can, indeed, play. I rarely, for instance, listen to the 16-minute live version of Cream’s Toad on the Wheels of Fire album, with of course Baker drumming. Lots of people love it, Baker was a great drummer, but I much prefer the five-minute version on Cream’s debut album, Fresh Cream where it’s more of an actual song.That’s why I like The Allman Brothers; they’re a so-called jam band but their solos are always incorporated nicely into the song, so they don’t come across as interminable and a good excuse for a bathroom or beer break. I like Santana a lot but I remember seeing the band ages ago in Toronto and sheesh, first Santana himself takes a solo, or maybe it was the drummer but then the bass player got into it, too. Three extended odes to excess, back to back to back. I was there with my then-wife but a friend of mine, also a big Santana fan, and I the next day at work compared notes on the show, which was otherwise great. I asked him what he thought of the solos, knowing he’s a guitarist fanatic. “Oh, I went to the bathroom during that,” he said. But maybe he was referring to the bass or drum solos.

    Anyway, off on another tangent I just went. All,in a ridiculously roundabout way, to stress that my memory of this great Blind Faith tune was faulty. Baker’s drum solo is only about four minutes long, from the nine-minute mark to 12:51 and, Allmans-like, it fits perfectly as part of the hypnotic, extended piece. The rest of the band – guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Ric Grech of Family fame and singer Steve Winwood – rejoin the parade at 12:51, making this the epitome of an extended supergroup track. I’ll never stop after track five of the six-song album again.

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