So Old It’s New set list for Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 – on air 8-10 pm ET

  1. Nazareth, Morning Dew . . . Written by Canadian singer-songwriter Bonnie Dobson and covered by so many, including the Rod Stewart-fronted Jeff Beck Group on Truth, The Grateful Dead, Lulu, Robert Plant, Long John Baldry, early incarnations of what became The Allman Brothers Band and many others. I could do a whole Morning Dew show, or leave it to you, the listener, to try the various versions, all good, that are readily available online including a stirring duet between Dobson and Plant during a 2000s Plant concert. So hard to choose, but Nazareth’s extended seven-minute version from their self-titled 1971 debut album remains among my favorites, particularly for its pulsating, hypnotic, intro. Most of the well-known covers follow the rocked-up pattern of the Tim Rose version, for which he controversially claimed a writing credit after rearranging Dobson’s more pure folk version. Lots of interesting literature about the song, a post-apocalyptic lament Dobson was inspired to write and sing in her ethereal tone by the 1959 movie On The Beach, starring Gregory Peck. It’s a good movie (spoiler alert) about inhabitants of the earth’s southern hemisphere, specifically Australia, awaiting the inevitable as air currents slowly carry nuclear fallout south from the devastated north.
  1. The Beatles, Rain . . . The B-side to Paperback Writer, yet another example of bands as fine as The Beatles having B-sides or album tracks that most bands would sell their souls for. Ringo considers it his best recorded drumming and the song demonstrated the band’s increasing use of the studio as an instrument in itself, what with a backing track recorded at high speed, then slowed down for release, and the opposite being done on John Lennon’s lead vocal. As detailed in a Beatles’ book I own, “the juxtaposition of speed and laziness heightened the unearthly tension of this brilliant record.” Indeed.
  1. The Rolling Stones, Child Of The Moon . . . Spacey track with remnants of the sound of 1967’s Satanic Majesties album, this was the B-side to the Stones’ return to kick-butt rock and roll, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, in 1968.
  1. Paul McCartney/Wings, Famous Groupies . . . Fun little ditty of the type McCartney has always done so well, in my opinion. It just happened to come up while I was plotting this little Beatles-Stones mini-set, so I decided to play it. From 1978’s London Town album.
  1. Ron Wood, Ain’t Rock ‘n’ Roll . . . Terrific cut from, for me, Wood’s best solo album (and he’s got many good ones), 1992’s Slide On This.
  1. The Monkees, Daily Nightly . . . One of my favorite Monkees’ tunes (and there are many), this somewhat spooky 1967 song about the 1966 Sunset Strip curfew riots in Hollywood, penned by guitarist Mike Nesmith and sung by drummer Mickey Dolenz, is apparently one of the first commercial rock/pop songs to feature the Moog synthesizer, played by Dolenz.
  1. Free, Broad Daylight . . . Haven’t played Free in a while. I have played Bad Company, the band which evolved out of the ashes of Free. Bad Co was of course much more successful commercially, but in many ways I (and many others) still prefer the rawer, bluesier, in some cases heavier band that was Free, both groups fronted of course by the incomparably great rock singer Paul Rodgers. Hard to pick between the two bands, though, both great. Nice guitar solo by the late great Paul Kossoff on this one, from the second, self-titled, Free album.
  1. Jeff Beck, Blue Wind . . . Written by Jan Hammer, who by the time of 1976’s Wired album was collaborating extensively with Beck. Great jazz/rock/funk fusion, Beck’s fingers are on fire on the fretboard. You actually used to hear stuff like this on commercial FM radio during the 1970s.
  1. George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Want Ad Blues . . . Nice bass line to open this extended cover of the John Lee Hooker tune. Thorogood, of course, doesn’t write much, but he built a solid career out of his ability, born of his love for the music that inspired him, for choosing and covering/re-interpreting some fine material. All with gloriously ‘dirty’ guitar, of course.
  1. Aerosmith, No Surprize . . . Lead cut telling the story of the band from the kick-ass Night In The Ruts (Right In The Nuts on the back cover) album, 1979. It got critically panned, the band was largely out of it on booze and drugs, guitarist Joe Perry left partway through but many Aerosmith fans, me included, consider it among their best albums. It rocks. The black and white cover of the band, all grimy in a mine shaft, with “Aerosmith” and the album title scrawled on the rocks, is cool and, well, it’s just a great album, critics be damned. One of those examples in rock and roll of a band fraying at the edges yet still producing good music. And the best part, paradoxically, is that because it wasn’t hugely successful, the album has not been overplayed to death over the years so remains fresh. And how can you beat a lyric like “Midnight lady situation fetal vaccinate your ass with a phonograph needle” or the bang-on commentary on the music industry: “Candy store rock and roll corporation jelly roll play the singles it ain’t me it’s programmed insanity” ‘Nuff said.
  1. Humble Pie, I Wonder . . . Out goes guitarist Peter Frampton for a successful solo career, in comes Clem Clempson for 1972’s Smokin’ album, which lived up to its title and, thanks to the hit single 30 Days In The Hole, became the Steve Marriott-led band’s best-selling album. Clempson’s guitar work on this extended slow blues cut ain’t bad, either.
  1. Rod Stewart, My Way Of Giving . . . The Small Faces originally did this one, written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, before Rod Stewart and Ron Wood came out of The Jeff Beck Group to form what became Faces – many of whom, as was typical of the period, played on Stewart’s solo version of the track, on 1970’s Gasoline Alley album.
  1. Led Zeppelin, Over The Hills And Far Away . . . For some unknown reason, this song, and a good one it is, was playing in my head the other night when I got up in the middle of the night to answer nature’s call. So I went back to bed, got up in the morning and was thinking “what’s the name of that Zep song that starts slow, with ‘hey lady’ and then gets gloriously heavy? I should play it.” So, I am.
  1. Fleetwood Mac, Although The Sun Is Shining . . . Beautiful song, penned by guitarist Danny Kirwan for the final Peter Green-led Mac album, 1969’s brilliant Then Play On. One of the formative records of my youth, among many brought home to me by my older brother, eight years senior. What a resource and influence he was.
  1. John Stewart, Gold . . . Speaking of Fleetwood Mac, remember this hit single by Stewart from 1979? Great tune, nice memories, pulled from a “Fleetwood Mac Family Album” CD I own that features various Mac members and their solo and/or collaborative ventures. Stevie Nicks of Mac is on backing vocals. Apparently Stewart, who also wrote The Monkees’ Daydream Believer, grew to dislike Gold, refusing to perform it live, calling it ‘vapid’ and ’empty’ and having no meaning for him, saying he did it for the money and to please his record company. I can see his view. If you research Stewart he was an accomplished artist and songwriter who then perhaps became associated with one song that to him perhaps became an albatross. But a good tune, nonetheless, and a deserved hit.
  1. Eagles, Hollywood Waltz . . . Not much to say about this one. Hadn’t heard it in a while, came up on the computer while programming something else, nice tune from the One Of These Nights album, decided to play it.
  1. Queen, Sleeping On The Sidewalk . . . I’ve said it perhaps too many times, and I haven’t actually added them up but I’d say most of my favorite Queen songs are those written by guitarist Brian May; this being yet another. Nice bluesy tune from News Of The World, 1977, a terrific album overshadowed by the good, but by now ridiculously overplayed, particularly in sports arenas, hit singles We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions.
  1. Elton John, Slave . . . So, a few weeks back I mentioned I was having difficulty choosing between several Elton John tunes, and would eventually get to them all. Songs on the docket were three from 1973’s Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player (High Flying Bird, Have Mercy On The Criminal and Midnight Creeper) and this one, Slave, a countryish tune from Honky Chateau in 1972. All that’s now left to play from my list, in an upcoming show, perhaps next week, maybe later, is Midnight Creeper.
  1. ZZ Top, A Fool For Your Stockings . . . One of my all-time favorite ZZ tunes, from 1979’s Deguello, a few years before synthesizers and huge commercial success came into the equation. I read it described by a rock journalist as ‘a fine fetish blues.”
  1. Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey . . . Title cut from Van Morrison’s 1971 album, simply, to me, one of his finest ever songs.
  1. Leon Russell, Out In The Woods . . . Such a funky, cool track; the instrumentation and of course the vocals. It’s obvious and self-evident but vocals, the styling, the tone, the pitch, are such an immense instrument in themselves in music.
  1. Peter Tosh, Equal Rights/Downpressor Man (live) . . . It didn’t occur to me while I was planning the show but perhaps some sort of thing was going on because today, Monday, January 17 is Martin Luther King Day in the United States. And so, unplanned yet fitting, here’s this combo track from Tosh’s great Captured Live album. “Everyone is crying out for peace, none is crying out for justice. But there will be no peace, ’til man gets equal rights and justice.”
  1. Bob Marley & The Wailers, Could You Be Loved . . . Funky reggae from the late great . . . and great lyrics, too, open to interpretation in an individual or collective sense. To each one’s own.
  1. The Allman Brothers Band, Old Friend . . . Fantastic acoustic guitar pickin’ by Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks on this blues cut. Not sure they intended it this way because the band kept up with live performance for many years until retiring in 2014, so there was always the possibility of another studio album. But perhaps in retrospect and appropriately, it’s the last song on the last Allmans studio album, 2003’s Hittin’ The Note. The whole album is terrific but I’m a huge fan. In any event, they did hit the note on what became their final studio release.
  1. Shirley Bassey, If You Go Away . . . Many versions of this song but I love Shirley Bassey’s vocals and she did several James Bond themes including the immortal version of Goldfinger, which I’ve played before and will again, perhaps in another ‘Bond’ set at some point. In any event, this came up as I was sorting CDs and came across a Bassey singles collection I own. Beautiful, sad song. And on that note, going away until next week.

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