Triumph, Blinding Light Show/Moonchild . . . From the Canadian band’s 1976 self-titled debut, later re-released and retitled In the Beginning. Fast, slow, acoustic interlude, progressive hard rock/metal, great stuff.
Little Feat, Let It Roll . . . Rollicking title track from the band’s 1988 album, a return to studio recording for the band after a nine-year hiatus following the death of founder member and leader Lowell George.
Aerosmith, Round and Round . . . Led Zeppelin-like relentless pounder from Toys in the Attic. As allmusic.com reviewers have said, Aerosmith, sometimes considered an American Rolling Stones, actually is more a Stones/Zep combo, resulting in something that is . . . Aerosmith.
Blackfoot, Train, Train . . . Great harmonica intro by Shorty Medlocke, a blues and bluegrass musician who wrote the song and was Blackfoot leader Rickey Medlocke’s grandfather. The younger Medlocke was originally in an early version of Lynyrd Skynyrd, playing drums, before leaving before the band’s first official studio album to become guitarist and frontman for Blackfoot before winding up back on guitar, and the man can really play, in latter-day versions of Skynyrd. Rickey Medlocke’s drumming with Skynyrd eventually appeared on the archival release, Skynyrd’s First . . . and Last, which was itself eventually expanded and re-released as Skynyrd’s First: The Complete Muscle Shoals Album.
ZZ Top, Goin’ Down To Mexico . . . Late great bassist Dusty Hill handles lead vocals on this typical blues rocker from ZZ’s first album. It’s called, wait for it, ZZ Top’s First Album.
Lighthouse, Hats Off To The Stranger . . . From what could be termed Canada’s own jazz-rock answer to early Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears. Or, just a great jazz-rock band, a version of which continues to tour to this day while many of its members have gone on to be successful in various aspects of the music industry and beyond.
The Guess Who, Sitar Saga . . . Early stuff from the band, a cool instrumental with Randy Bachman on sitar and Burton Cummings, who had apparently just learned how to play the instrument, on flute. The track was inspired by the next one in tonight’s set, by a Liverpool mystic.
The Beatles, Within You Without You . . . George Harrison’s song from Sgt. Pepper, reflecting his immersion in Hindu teachings, backed not by his Beatle mates but London-based Indian musicians. It’s interesting how one’s tastes change. I can remember in the original vinyl days, and I wasn’t alone among my friends, picking up the needle to skip this song when playing Pepper. Then I got into Ravi Shankar at least a bit via Harrison’s Concert For Bangladesh and I’ve never skipped Within You Without You since.
John Lennon, Steel and Glass . . . Likely my favorite song on Lennon’s Walls and Bridges album. Unless Old Dirt Road is, or the hit single, Whatever Gets You Thru The Night, or . . . Today, it’s Steel and Glass. Great track from a great album.
J.J. Cale, Hey Baby . . . Typically cool shuffle by the master. Eric Clapton and Dire Straits send thanks for J.J.’s influence on some of their works.
Jeff Beck Group, Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You . . . The second, 1970s version of the Jeff Beck Group, with Bobby Tench instead of Rod Stewart on lead vocals, turns Bob Dylan’s country-ish tune from the Nashville Skyline album into a more bluesy, soulful tune. Both versions are excellent.
April Wine, Slow Poke . . . Great bluesy tune. Myles Goodwyn’s lead vocals were actually slowed down in the studio, to better fit the song.
Paice Ashton Lord, I’m Gonna Stop Drinking Again . . . From the one and only album from Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice and keyboardist Jon Lord, and a good one it is, 1977’s Malice In Wonderland. The project also featured late English singer/keyboardist Tony Ashton, whose credits included sessions with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Jerry Lee Lewis before he found his way into the Deep Purple orbit via some collaborations on the various members’ solo projects. Nazareth used the same album title for its 1980 release, the record featuring the hit single Holiday.
The Rolling Stones, Do You Think I Really Care . . . Dead Flowers-ish country tune that got official release status on the 2011 expanded re-issue of the Stones’ Some Girls album.
The Who, Cry If You Want . . . I confess I don’t listen to The Who’s It’s Hard album, from 1982, all that much. I don’t know anyone who does. It’s not a bad album but arguably not up to previous standards as, by that time, Pete Townshend seemed to be holding back his best material for his own solo albums like 1980’s smash Empty Glass and the good but not quite as, 1982 release, All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. But, all that said, Cry If You Want, featuring nice drumming by Kenney Jones and angry vocals by Roger Daltrey (maybe pissed at Pete for holding his best stuff back), along with the classic Eminence Front, are top-notch tunes from It’s Hard.
Thunderclap Newman, Accidents . . . Speaking of The Who and Townshend, he produced and played bass (under the fun pseudonym Bijou Drains) on Hollywood Dream, the only Thunderclap Newman studio album. The band, championed by Townshend and Who manager Kit Lambert and featuring future Paul McCartney and Wings guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, is best known for the hit Something In The Air. This is the 9-plus minute album version of Accidents, a pop/progressive piece that was shaved down to three minutes and change and released as the album’s second single.
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Framed . . . Title cut, written by the hit factory that was (Jerome) Leiber and (Michael) Stoller, from the Harvey band’s 1972 debut album. It’s amazing how many hit songs – more than 70 chart hits – Lieber and Stoller penned including Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock. Also amazing is how much like Harvey AC/DC’s Bon Scott sounded, at least to my ears and, at least, based on this track as compared to, say, AC/DC’s Jailbreak.
T-Bone Burnett, Shut It Tight . . . From T-Bone’s 1983 release Proof Through The Night which featured a host of all-star friends including guitarists Pete Townshend, Mick Ronson and, on this track, Richard Thompson on guitar and mandolin. Which is probably why, with Thompson, it could easily be, sounds like, a Fairport Convention song.
Tom Waits, Whistlin’ Past The Graveyard . . . Jaunty, up-tempo tune from the Blue Valentine album, 1978.
Dire Straits, Single Handed Sailor . . . What a great song, about sights and sounds around the Greenwich area of London, England, including the 19th century ship the Cutty Sark – which I first knew to be a brand of whiskey, from a spy novel whose name I can’t remember, read in my early teens. I never developed a taste for the so-called hard stuff so never did try Cutty Sark but perhaps I should. I’ll ask some friends of mine who are into Scotch but I sampled some stuff with them once and they banished me from the room because I kept spoofing their treatment of the tasting as some sort of seance-like religious experience. I didn’t get it, obviously. We’ll see how it goes. If and when they read this, it probably won’t go well. But hey, if you can’t disagree with and have fun with your friends, what kind of friends could they possibly be?
Mountain, For Yasgur’s Farm . . . Dedicated to Max Yasgur, who owned the farm where the 1969 Woodstock Festival was held. He died young, just age 53, of a heart attack in 1973.
Rainbow, Gates Of Babylon . . . Closing out tonight’s set with some harder rock, this epic from Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, the last Rainbow album, in 1978, featuring the late great Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals. Aside from the songs All Night Long and Since You’ve Been Gone from 1979’s Down To Earth album with Graham Bonnet on lead vocals, only Dio Rainbow is good Rainbow, in my opinion. Aside from the two tracks I just mentioned, and even they are somewhat dubious, the rest of Rainbow (aside from maybe, maybe, the harder-edged 1995 rebirth Stranger In Us All album with Doogie White on lead vox) is way too poppy and overproduced, blatantly, for the American market at the time, pretty much utter shit. What was Ritchie Blackmore thinking? And then, horrors, he brought his latter-day Rainbow singer Joe Lynn Turner into Deep Purple for one ill-fated album, 1990’s one good song (King Of Dreams) disaster, Slaves and Masters. What in god’s name, Ritchie? People rightly called the album Deep (post-Dio) Rainbow. Sell your soul for rock and roll, I guess.
Black Sabbath, Falling Off The Edge Of The World . . . Here’s Ronnie again, fronting the next band he joined, Black Sabbath. I’ve always said that, while I like Dio with his own band, Dio, I’ve always preferred his work with Rainbow and Sabbath. Seems to me he was best working with outstanding guitarists/songwriters like Ritchie Blackmore and Tony Iommi.
UFO, Lights Out (live) . . . Notice how we started tonight’s set with a Blinding Light Show and conclude it with Lights Out? Clever, huh? God, I’m good. Or silly. From UFO’s terrific 1979 live album, Strangers In The Night. See ya next week, thanks for listening/following.