The Kinks, Juke Box Music . . . A single from the 1977 Sleepwalker album that, as with so many great Kinks’ songs it seems, didn’t chart. Absurd! So, it’s a deep cut, says me.
New Barbarians (Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards and assorted members of Rolling Stones, Inc.), Rock Me Baby (live) . . . Drunken, stoned, ramshackle, sloppy, raunchy, beautiful rock and roll on the blues standard tune by the New Barbarians. That was the band Wood put together to tour in support of his 1979 album, Gimme Some Neck. The lineup of Wood, Richards, jazz fusion bassist Stanley Clarke, drummer Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste of funkmeisters The Meters, Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan and Stones’ henchman saxophonist Bobby Keys toured the United States but first appeared at a show I somehow was lucky enough to get tickets to, the April, 1979 Oshawa charity concert Richards did for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind as penance for his 1977 drug bust while the Stones were in Toronto for their El Mocambo shows. Those two nights were famously captured on one side of the Love You Live album and, more recently, the full club show release, which is excellent. The Barbarians opened the Oshawa concert, then on came the Rolling Stones for a short set, maybe an hour which is interesting because Mick Jagger long ago was quoted as saying that the best concert would be an hour or less, hit ’em hard, in, out, leave them wanting more. Which is what the Stones did that day. Anyway, I pulled this not from that show, which has never been officially released (many bootlegs available) but from a 2006 release on Wooden Records (get it?) called Buried Alive: Live In Maryland, from the Barbarians’ U.S. tour. The one-off group later opened for Led Zeppelin at Zep’s final big show, the Knebworth Festival in August, 1979.
Carlos Johnson, Out Of Control . . . From a covers CD I picked up some time back in my music travels, Chicago Plays The Stones. This is a, I’ll call it rockabilly blues reinterpretation by guitarist Johnson, and I love it, of the Stones’ tune from their 1997 Bridges To Babylon album. Which proves two things: Reinterpretations are worth listening to at least once (and more, in this case) and that latter-day Stones’ albums – like those of many major artists still doing it – are well worth anyone’s open-minded while.
Tommy Bolin, Bustin’ Out For Rosey . . . Great riff and song from the late great guitarist, often a replacement member (Deep Purple, James Gang) but an amazing talent in his own right. His playing is well worth checking out on Purple’s Come Taste The Band album, his James Gang records and his solo stuff – this one from the Private Eyes album.
AC/DC, Sweet Candy . . . So, having played Bustin’ Out For Rosey as the previous track, one would expect me to, if going with an AC/DC song next, to play Whole Lotta Rosie, no? Well, no. Hah. I admit I did consider it of course but . . . that’s . . . just what you’d be expecting. So I went with a more recent AC/DC tune, from 2014’s Rock Or Bust album. It’s a good one and fits with my show mantra, old bands, old tracks, old bands, their new stuff if they’re continuing to produce material.
The Beatles, Wait . . . I was listening to Rubber Soul the other day. So . . . Want to hear my story – again – about how my sister had the album when it came out, which is how I got into it? Well, that’s pretty much the story. And she liked dancing to it, as mentioned before; she even wrote she liked dancing to it on her copy of the album. “Good dances”. Enough. On to the next track.
Pretenders, The Wait . . . I was watching one of my Pretenders’ concert DVDs the other night once I got tired of reading and couldn’t watch TV due to my we’ll let them go unnamed but everyone knows who it is, internet provider’s screwup, and the band did a rousing version of this live so I decided to play the studio cut, from the debut album.
Led Zeppelin, Baby Come On Home . . . Blues track that was recorded in 1968 but did not appear officially until the 1993 Boxed Set 2 compilation.
Graham Parker and The Rumour, Empty Lives . . . The Up Escalator, the 1980 album from which this song comes, tends to get critically trashed, especially in comparison to Parker’s previous offering, Squeezing Out Sparks. To each their own; I like both albums equally and in fact was introduced to Parker via The Up Escalator.
Eagles, The Sad Cafe . . . Same thoughts as with the Parker tune and album, above. This one’s from The Long Run, which followed the monster Hotel California and was critically panned and also criticized by the band itself, yet I like each album equally, little to choose between them, for me. And The Long Run made No. 1 as well in most countries, so . . . ?
Chicago, Loneliness Is Just A Word . . . From the pre-schlock glory days (my opinion) of Chicago, the first three albums especially, this one from III, and up until Terry Kath’s passing.
Jefferson Airplane, Lather . . . The typewriter song. Listen, you’ll hear it, along with Grace Slick’s typically great vocals.
Bruce Cockburn, Understanding Nothing . . . Spooky track from his 1988 Big Circumstance album.
Elvis Costello, Beyond Belief . . . This one, from Imperial Bedroom, is on various Costello compilations yet while well known, wasn’t a single. Could easily have been.
Headstones, Pretty Little Death Song . . . Perhaps they’ll play this upbeat (ha) tune when they play the Kitchener Blues Festival in August.
Link Wray, Climbing A High Wall . . . I can only smile in appreciation and admiration of the razor-like guitar assault on this tune, one of the few with vocals from one of the fathers of distortion. The guy was amazing and so influential to the point where one thinks, this is Hendrixian stuff yet Wray came first, so maybe Hendrix, who I really like, was in many ways Wray-ian.
Iggy Pop, Cold Metal . . . Had to play this one when, while playing the Wray track online, I noticed a comment suggesting Iggy Pop/Stooges ought to be paying Link Wray royalties. A worthy thought. This one’s from Pop’s 1988 Instinct album. The record company expected a pop album, given, er, Pop’s previous pop-oriented and commercially successful Blah Blah Blah album. Naturally, Pop ignored the company and delivered a hard rock/metal record. Good for him.
Black Sabbath, Eternal Idol . . . Title cut from the band’s 1987 album during a state of flux period where guitarist Tony Iommi was the lone remaining original member. Yet while unsuccessful commercially without the lead vocals of original singer Ozzy Osbourne or great replacement Ronnie James Dio, it’s still a great album. Lead vocals by Tony Martin, for anyone with an open mind willing to listen to it and many of the Sabbath albums of the period. And that’s a testament to Iommi’s perseverance and, of course, amazing heavy riffs.
The Electric Flag, Another Country . . . From the Mike Bloomfield-led psychedelic jazz blues band. I love the transition around the 4:15 mark of this extended piece, from psychedelia back to more conventional jazzy rock.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Country Home . . . Raunchy track, typical of the distortion-heavy 1990 album Ragged Glory. It was originally recorded in the 1970s but didn’t appear on a studio record until Ragged Glory.
The Guess Who, Old Joe . . . Obscure one from Canned Wheat, but that’s what we’re about here – often obscure but nevertheless great tunes, this one written by and featuring typically great Burton Cummings vocals.
Buddy Guy, She Got The Devil In Her . . . Guy’s Sweet Tea album, 2001, is so good. Here’s yet another example.
George Harrison, Behind That Locked Door . . . A rare country-ish tune by Harrison, from All Things Must Pass and apparently written for Bob Dylan as encouragement for Dylan to return to the concert stage, which he did for Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh. Dylan hasn’t stopped since on what’s become known as the Never Ending Tour.
Bob Dylan, Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands . . . Forever memories for me of getting into the Blonde on Blonde album in 1981 (yes I know, late to the 1966 party despite my older brother’s influence), lying on a couch in a shared residence with friends, alone as everyone else was out on a Sunday afternoon, listening to my buddy’s cassette tape of the album. I knew Dylan’s hits of course, but that day prompted me to go back and get all the studio albums I’d missed, and moved on with the artist from there.
Dickey Betts, Long Time Gone . . . Ramblin’ Man-ish tune (and why wouldn’t it be, he wrote it) from the Allman Brothers Band guitarist, from his 1974 debut solo album, Highway Call. And on that note, we call it a night, for another week.