Chris Isaak, Let’s Have A Party . . . Isaak became well known via his big hit Wicked Game, which to me remains his best song and, released in 1989, is now more than 30 years old! But Isaak’s other material is top-notch; I’m not a major fan but I do like this rocker and much of his other stuff. He does a nice cover of Cheap Trick’s I Want You To Want Me which I almost chose, but thought we’d start the party with this one.
Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) . . . I like and respect Kenny Rogers’ later work that turned him into a superstar but have always gravitated to his two big hit songs – this one and Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town – while with the First Edition, who I remember hosting the show Rollin’ on Canadian TV, early 1970s. I first heard Ruby when my dad, who emigrated from Europe after WW2, played it. He was more into classical and opera but also had a love for American country music so probably liked Ruby due to it being written by Mel Tillis and was curious about the First Edition’s cover. Mel’s version is much more country/rockabilly than the rockier First Edition version.
Ron Wood, Am I Grooving You . . . From Woody’s first solo album, 1974’s I’ve Got My Own Album To Do and a track which quickly became one of my favorites. I always play a Stones’ or Stones-related track on the show, they being my all-time favorite band and I’ve Got My Own Album To Do is a real demonstration of what I like to call Stones Inc. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards appear on it and contributed two songs (Act Together and Sure The One You Need), then-Stone (who Wood replaced) Mick Taylor contributes guitar, bass and synthesizer and it’s truly, beyond the Stones, an all-star cast on the record. Also appearing to varying degrees are George Harrison, David Bowie, Rod Stewart…terrific album.
Ten Years After, 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain . . . TYA is likely most widely known for the immortal version of Goin’ Home from Woodstock and their wonderful single I’d Love To Change The World. But, led by Alvin Lee, such a solid band, great, consistent blues-rock material with some elements of psychedelia as on this one from 1970’s front-to-back solid Cricklewood Green album.
Deep Purple, Shield . . . From The Book of Taliesyn album, the middle one of their first three albums representing the early psychedelic/progressive side of the band before Ian Gillan and Roger Glover replaced original singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper, respectively, in 1970 for the In Rock album. As I’ve often stated, I like every version/lineup of Deep Purple, major fan, but over the years have really dug into the first three albums, which I think are brilliant.
Van Morrison, Tupelo Honey . . . Title cut from his 1972 album. Great stuff, one of my favorite Van The Man tracks. Made No. 35 and 47, respectively, on the Canadian and US singles charts.
Atlanta Rhythm Section, Champagne Jam . . These guys were pretty hot for a while there in the mid- to late 1970s what with great singles like So Into You and Imaginary Lover, which they played when I saw them as one of three opening acts for The Rolling Stones’ July 4, 1978 show at what was then known as Rich Stadium, outside Buffalo, where the NFL’s Bills play. ARS opened with this title cut from their 1978 album which they were touring behind that year. Other acts on that Stones’ bill were Journey and April Wine, but we missed April Wine, dammit, due to our tour bus being stuck in a massive traffic jam heading into the stadium. Fantastic day, though, my first time seeing the Stones.
Emerson, Lake & Powell, Mars, The Bringer Of War . . . Yes, Emerson, Lake & Powell, not Palmer. More on that in a minute. Anyway, a slightly different ELP’s version of the first movement (of seven) from English composer Gustav Holst’s great epic 49-minute orchestral suite The Planets, written between 1914 and 1917. It appeared on the one and only Emerson, Lake & Powell album, in 1986. The band wanted to do a new Emerson, Lake & Palmer album but Palmer was contractually tied up with the band Asia at the time so, after unsuccessfully auditioning a few drummers, they contacted Powell, a friend of Emerson’s, and voila! Fortuitously, given Powell’s surname they could keep the ELP moniker although, according to Wikipedia, the band did approach ‘Phil Pollins’ and ‘Ringo Parr’ before Powell agreed to join. What a diverse artist Cozy Powell was: Metal/hard rock (Black Sabbath, Rainbow, etc.) blues (some work with Peter Green), progressive rock (ELP).
Tipton, Entwistle and Powell, Walls Cave In . . . And here’s Powell in another combo with Glenn Tipton of Judas Priest and John Entwistle of Who fame. This is from the Edge Of The World album released by Tipton in 2006, after his mates had passed, but dating back to sessions he did with Entwistle and Powell between 1994 and 1997 that were intended for Tipton’s 1997 solo album, Baptizm of Fire. According to Tipton’s liner notes, the majority of his work on what became Baptizm of Fire featured Entwistle and Powell. The record company liked the material but suggested the band was too ‘old school’ and that Tipton use younger musicians, which he did on an album that, among other songs, included a cover of the Stones’ Paint It Black. I played Tipton’s cover eons ago on the show and will again, it’s a cool metallic treatment of the Stones’ classic. But Tipton liked the unused material done with Entwistle and Powell and decided to put it together and release it as a tribute to his friends.
Moon Martin, Hot Nite In Dallas . . . Remember him, of Rolene fame? And he wrote Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor Doctor) which Robert Palmer rode to hit status in 1979. Martin was (died in 2020 of natural causes at age 74) really good. Great, usually up tempo rocker stuff. Check out a ‘mix’ of his on YouTube sometime. Oh, real name John David Martin, apparently given the nickname Moon due to the presence of ‘moon’ in many of his lyrics.
Nick Lowe, I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass . . . What a great artist Nick Lowe is and that thought was reinforced as I was working through his material and reminding myself to play him again/more often, while prepping the show. He came to wide prominence, arguably, with the Labour of Lust album in 1979, which is when and where I discovered him, brilliant album. This is from the preceding record, also great, his first solo effort, Jesus Of Cool, in 1978. The album was re-titled Pure Pop For Now People (a slogan on the original UK release) with a different track listing in the USA. Haven’t been able to find a definite reason but given US religious bullshit I can imagine Jesus Of Cool wouldn’t fly in some of the colonies, as some insult on Jesus. Anyway, great tune from a great artist who was also a member of Brinsley Schwarz, for whom he wrote the song (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding that became a hit for Elvis Costello, Rockpile (with Dave Edmunds) and Little Village (with John Hiatt, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner). And latter day, Lowe has some terrific rockabilly, countryish, singer songwriter stuff.
The Beatles, Cry Baby Cry . . . Haven’t played the boys in a while, some of their solo work but overdue for a Beatles’ tune. One of my favorites from the white album, such a great record and such great vocals by John Lennon on this one. Plus the cool “Can You Take Me Back” coda sung by Paul McCartney at the end. These guys were ridiculously good.
David Wilcox, God Is On A Bender . . . Given the usual state of the world, yeah, probably. Actually, the world to me is OK. It’s the people in it, me included, that cause problems. Just kidding. Sort of. Maybe. Sometimes. Anyway, nice bluesy fun tune and a nice intro to the next one, by title, at least.
Paul Rodgers, Morning After The Night Before . . . From Rodgers’ solo debut in 1983 after the first, classic original version of Bad Company broke up. He played all instruments on this one, produced the record and it may as well have been another Bad Co. album. Quite good. I had already planned to play this tune but was gratified on Sunday when someone on Twitter asked about albums that were truly ‘solo’ and I put forward this one, to great feedback.
Patti Smith, Are You Experienced . . . from Smith’s covers album, Twelve, released in 2007. This cover of a Hendrix tune goes out to my old pal Gerry Telford with whom, when I played another Smith track recently, I got into a discussion of her work and I recommended he try this album along with what he was recently discovering in her catalog. Did you get it yet, Gerry? 🙂
Concrete Blonde, Walking In London . . . She’s not as well widely known, likely, but I really think Johnette Napolitano is one of the all-time best female rock singers, and singers, period. Sultry, throaty, sexy, powerful, great range, just brilliant. Evidenced, to me, by this title cut from the now defunct band’s 1992 album.
Joe Jackson, Right and Wrong . . . from one of my favorite artist’s Big World album, 1986. About Ronald Reagan, great, typically cutting Jackson lyrics. Could apply at any time, really. I saw the tour promoting this album, first time (of two) I saw JJ. Great show.
Sniff ‘n’ The Tears, Poison Pen Mail . . . These guys are much more than the brilliant hit single Driver’s Seat. Like this song. Usually considered a one-hit wonder and I get it, but try more of their tunes if you’re so inclined and there’s lots more good stuff.
Montrose, Space Station No. 5 . . . From whence Sammy Hagar sprang. Great rocker from the debut, self-titled Montrose album.
Goddo, Anacanapana/So Walk On . . . These ‘have’ to be played together for the transition alone, between the instrumental and into So Walk On. I saw Goddo 5-6 years ago in Cambridge, Ontario in a wonderful reunion with some old childhood friends from Peru. A great show enjoyed by all.
The Allman Brothers Band, Instrumental Illness (live) . . . This extended cut first appeared on what turned out to be the final studio album by the boys, Hittin’ The Note in 2003. Twelve minutes on the album, this is the almost 17-minute version from the great live album by the latter-day band, One Way Out. There is an extended drum solo within but still, what to me has always made the Allmans great is how they can do long tracks, particularly instrumentals, and never bore you.