J.J. Cale, Rock And Roll Records . . . As some of the comments in the YouTube clip of this song suggest, only thing wrong with J.J. Cale’s music is that most of his songs are too/so short. Like this one, at just two minutes, five seconds to kick us off.
Aerosmith, Lightning Strikes . . .Great track, likely the best, from the Rock In A Hard Place album in 1982, the band’s only record not to feature guitarist Joe Perry. Jimmy Crespo replaced him. Regardless, still one of the band’s best songs in my opinion and I play it in honor of the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup – even though I’m a Montreal Canadiens’ fan. Great team though, the Lightning. Good for them.
The Law, Laying Down The Law . . . This was the successful, No. 1 on some charts, single from the one-off 1991 project by Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company) and Kenney Jones (Faces/Small Faces, Who) in 1991. Main guitarist on the album was studio session man Jim Barber, who has worked on Mick Jagger’s solo records. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Bryan Adams and Chris Rea also appeared as did latter-day Who bassist Pino Paladino.
The Rolling Stones, Hand Of Fate . . . Back, for a second straight week (played Melody last week) I go to the Black and Blue album for one of my favorite Stones’ tunes. Great solo by Wayne Perkins, who has an extensive resume including work with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eric Clapton, Bob Marley, on and on.
Stevie Wonder, Black Man . . . Typically great funk groove, even better lyrics, perhaps, in Wonder’s call for worldwide interracial harmony.
Quicksilver Messenger Service, Fresh Air . . . The most successful single, made No. 49 in 1970, from the San Francisco-area psychedelic band whose arguably better-known contemporaries from that scene include the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.
Billy Gibbons, Desert High . . . ZZ Top is still around, apparently planning another studio album and tour after a 50th anniversary tour was put on hold due to the covid-19 pandemic. In the meantime, guitarist Billy Gibbons got into the solo album game six years ago and is now up to three releases. This great bluesy tune is from his latest work, Hardware, out just a month ago and a truly fine album.
Tim Curry, Simplicity . . . Another slow bluesy tune from the Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter. Title cut from the multi-talented Curry’s third and, to date, final album, in 1981. Sadly, Curry suffered a stroke in 2012 and is confined to a wheelchair but continues to do voice-over work and some musical performances.
David Bowie, The Width Of A Circle . . . Amazing early Bowie from The Man Who Sold The World, featuring the late great Mick Ronson on guitar.
Saga, Humble Stance . . . I don’t think I’ve ever played Saga, from my hometown of Oakville, Ontario, on the show. An oversight rectified by yet another plow through my CD collection and an “oh yeah, these guys.” Jaunty rocker, this, Supertramp-like, to my ears, at least in spots. Or maybe the other way around, Supertramp sounds like Saga. Regardless, good stuff.
The Flying Burrito Brothers, Sin City . . . And now for something completely different. No, not something by the Monty Python troupe but some cool country rock by the Burritos.
AC/DC, Sin City . . . And here’s AC/DC’s version of the Burritos’ tune. Just kidding. Different song and one of my favorites by the hard rockers, Bon Scott era.
Pretenders, Dance . . . I love this one from the Get Close album, 1986. Funky, hypnotic, almost electronic. Not what one would expect from Pretenders, probably, if one knows only their hits.
David Baerwald, Dance . . . And Baerwald’s version of the Pretenders’ tune. Just kidding again and obviously having way too much fun with song titles. Different song, this one from the guy who came to prominence on the fabulous David + David album Boomtown, teaming with David Ricketts for their one and only offering in 1986. Dance is from Baerwald’s debut solo album, Bedtime Stories, in 1990. He releases music sporadically but is active in songwriting for film and television. Ricketts went into production work after David + David split up, and both Davids played on Sheryl Crow’s 1993 debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club.
Albert King, I’ll Play The Blues For You (Parts 1 and 2) . . . Such soulful vocals, and of course great guitar, by one of the masters of the blues.
Howlin’ Wolf, I Asked For Water . . . And she brought him gasoline. Great stuff from another blues master.
Alvin Lee, The Bluest Blues . . . George Harrison plays slide guitar on this slow blues from Lee, famous of course from his days with Ten Years After. It came out in 1994. Wonderful work by both guys, both sadly long gone now.
Rod Stewart, Fool For You . . . My favorite Rod Stewart solo period is 1969-74 when he was usually backed by Faces, with whom he maintained a parallel career. But his stuff after that, up to 1977’s Foot Loose & Fancy Free, is damn good as well. This one’s from his 1976 big hit album, A Night On The Town.
Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Flat Broke Love . . . One of my favorites by the band, from 1975’s Four Wheel Drive. For the most part, I prefer BTO’s songs sung by C.F. (Fred) Turner, and this is another of those.
Black Sabbath, Who Are You . . . I always think of my Grade 10 English class when I listen to 1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath album. I wasn’t into the band then, that came a bit later for me. Anyway, we were doing a poetry segment and one of the guys in the class, not in my circle, brought in the lyric sheet from the album to read as poetry. Most of the class thought he was nuts, me too, perhaps being less open-minded then. But credit to him, and to the teacher for allowing a wide range of contributions. Somehow or other, perhaps, it fueled my coming interest in the band.
The Who, 905 . . . Ah, John Entwistle and his acerbic wit. About test tube babies, cloning, etc. Great stuff, from Who Are You in 1978, Keith Moon’s last album with the group.
Queen, Spread Your Wings . . . Not released as a single in North America, it was a top-30 hit in Europe and yet another indication of the depth of quality in most albums by the great 1960s and in Queen’s case, ’70s bands.
Elton John, Tell Me When The Whistle Blows . . . As I was saying about the Queen track above. Elton John was on another level in the early- to mid-1970s – and he was releasing two albums a year, as per his contract, for some of that time. One of my favorite songs by EJ, this one from Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirty Cowboy, 1975.
Pat Benatar, Rated X . . . A B-side on the I Need A Lover single from Benatar’s 1979 debut album In The Heat Of The Night. It was an A-side, later, in France. I’ve never understood why it’s not on any Benatar compilations. Great tune, written by Canadian Nick Gilder of Sweeney Todd and solo fame. No matter, I’ve long had the album and of course these days music is so widely available you can hear it anytime you wish.
Ramones, Out Of Time . . . And, I am out of time for another week. The Ramones’ version of the Rolling Stones’ tune which features one of my favorite lyrical put down lines in music – “you’re obsolete, my baby.” From Acid Eaters, the Ramones’ 1993 covers album of some of their favorite 1960s songs.