The Beach Boys, Add Some Music To Your Day . . . From 1970, when The Beach Boys were past their surfer-hit prime but still making good music that was often ignored. This was a single, only made No. 64, from the Sunflower album.
Chicago, A Hit By Varese . . . Jazz-rock fusion from Chicago V in 1972. Saturday In The Park was the big commercial hit from the album but it’s this kind of funky/jazzy groove tune that made early Chicago so great. Written and sung by Chicago keyboardist Robert Lamm, it’s a tribute to influential composer Edgard Varese, who counted Frank Zappa among his biggest fans.
Electric Light Orchestra, So Fine . . . Ooh la ooh la ooh la ooh . . . Up-tempo tune from 1976’s A New World Record album. Wasn’t a single – tough competition from what were singles from the album, Do Ya, Telephone Line and Livin’ Thing – but a pretty well-known track nonetheless, especially the ooh la intro and the African drumming/percussion middle section played by ELO drummer Bev Bevan on a then-cutting edge Moog processor/synthesizer. Quick side note on Bev Bevan in terms of how versatile musicians can be in what may seem disparate associations: he also played drums/percussion for Black Sabbath during the 1980s, the period between Ronnie James Dio’s and Ozzy Osbourne’s stints in the band when Sabbath carried on, led by forever guitarist Tony Iommi and a sometime cast of thousands.
The Beatles, Dig It . . . Just thought I’d throw this 50-second snippet, the one that appears on the Let It Be album, in front of I’ve Got A Feeling. It segues into Let It Be on the original album. The Dig It that appears on the original Let It Be album is actually a snippet within the longer, four-minute version of Dig It available via the Get Back documentary and on various expanded re-releases of the original record.
The Beatles, I’ve Got A Feeling . . . From Let It Be and the famous rooftop concert. I just (finally) watched Get Back, the current documentary reworking of the original Let It Be movie. It’s excellent and does show that, at least musically, The Beatles (particularly once they repaired to their Apple studio from the cavernous Twickenham) were still an excellent functioning band despite the tensions that tended to be the focus of the original Let It Be movie. The new documentary is broader and, I think, provides a more complete picture. There’s no doubt the band was fractured by this point but musically, when push came to shove, professionalism and shared vision in the fact they knew who they were and what standards they had set, took precedence in producing yet more great music.
Bruce Cockburn, And We Dance . . . From Cockburn’s typically excellent 1981 album, Inner City Front. No particular reason for playing the song, other than it comes from an album thta happened to be on top of a CD pile and therefore in line with tonight’s ‘floor show: top of the ‘to file’ pile’ theme, but one never needs an excuse or reason to play Cockburn’s music.
Garland Jeffreys, We The People . . . Reggae tune from Escape Artist, his 1981 album that featured various members of Bruce Springsteen’s band and Graham Parker’s Rumour.
Leon Russell, Stranger In A Strange Land . . . It didn’t occur to me before programming this song for this week but, and I haven’t read anything to that effect in reading about Axl Rose, but it strikes me that the Guns N Roses singer seems influenced by Russell’s vocal style, albeit in a different milieu.
Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane, Street In The City . . . I don’t like repeating myself, or at least not too soon between repeats, not that I suppose anyone is necessarily keeping score, but this might be one of the few tracks from the great 1977 Rough Mix album that I have not yet played on the show.
Neil Young/Crazy Horse, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere . . . Title cut from his 1969 album, a country rocker that seems to indicate that, at that point, apparently disillusioned with his life in California, at least from what I’ve read, Young pondered a return home, to Canada.
Mick Jagger, Hang On To Me Tonight . . . The type of ballad I think Mick Jagger does so well, from his excellent – and most Stones-like – 1993 Wandering Spirit album. Nice harmonica break, too, from Jagger, late in the song, proving what Keith Richards has said, that the purest Jagger is when he plays harmonica.
Buddy Guy with Mick Jagger, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) . . . A bluesy reinvention – with Jagger on backing vocals – of one of my favorite Stones’ tunes, the second single, behind Angie, from 1973’s Goats Head Soup. Guy’s version came out on a wonderful 2018 compilation, Chicago Plays The Stones, that apparently was a tribute response by Chicago blues artists to the Stones’ own 2016 blues tribute/covers album, Blue and Lonesome. Wonderful stuff, all of it.
Dusty Springfield, Tupelo Honey . . . Perhaps surprisingly, Dusty’s lovely 1973 cover of one of my favorite Van Morrison tunes didn’t make much of an impact on the charts.
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Nightwatchman . . . Funky one, and one of my favorites, from Petty’s 1981 Hard Promises album.
Genesis, Watcher Of The Skies . . . Nightwatchman to Watcher, clever, no? From Foxtrot, 1972. The album truly fit my ‘top of the pile’ theme for tonight but it’s also nice to be able to play this because, as it happens, a Genesis tribute band, The Genesis Experience, was in Waterloo last week. By all accounts, including photos from a friend of mine, the group gave a terrific performance – both musically and visually, a key component of that period of Genesis – that included Watcher Of The Skies. I’m not a shill for tribute bands, but the highly professional ones I’ve seen in my time, Beatles and Pink Floyd for instance, tend to be really good.
Pink Floyd, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (live, Ummagumma version) . . . Speaking of Floyd . . . Great version from the live, and I maintain best, side of 1969’s Ummagumma album.
Emerson Lake & Palmer, Bitches Crystal . . . Continuing the prog theme…from Tarkus. I thought of playing the title cut, which I have before and will again, but at 20 minutes, the show would be over now. Maybe one day, particularly if I’m feeling lazy, I’ll do a five-song show – Tarkus, Genesis’ Supper’s Ready, Yes’s Close To The Edge, Pink Floyd’s Echoes and then, just to change things up to southern rock/jam band, the Allman Brothers’ 33-minute live version of Mountain Jam. Come to think of it, I’ve over time played each of those epics, just not all within the same show.
Arthur Lee with Band-Aid, You Want Change For Your Re-Run . . . Arthur Lee of Love fame had talked with Jimi Hendrix about possibly collaborating, although they never officially did. But, a couple years after Hendrix died, here came Lee with a solo album, Vindicator, backed by a band of session players he branded as Band-Aid in honor of a name that might have been used for a Hendrix-Love union. Vindicator is a very Hendrix-like album, different from the Love sound of, say, Forever Changes, as evidenced by this track.
Oasis, The Shock Of The Lightning . . . Pulled it from an Oasis comp that was laying atop one of my CD piles. Apparently the first/only Oasis single, from their final album, that didn’t debut at No. 1 in the UK.
Gov’t Mule, Game Face . . . Typically great hard, bluesy rock delivered Mule style.
Status Quo, Gerdundula . . . Great Celtic boogie. I have no idea what the title means, despite searches. Might be some German connection, apparently.
The Allman Brothers Band, Come And Go Blues . . . Wasn’t at the top of any pile of CDs in terms of tonight’s theme but came up while I was plugging in other songs and, well, one can never have enough Allman Brothers, I say.
Deep Purple, Drifter . . . Come Taste The Band album was often derided as being too funky, or soulful, for Deep Purple, when it came out in 1975 after Ritchie Blackmore left to form Rainbow. His replacement, Tommy Bolin, was different, sure, but great in his own way, as was Purple. Great album cover, too, five guys’ faces in a glass of wine and then the glass, empty of course, on the back cover.
Elton John, Sixty Years On . . .One of those examples from EJ’s 1970s period up until 1975 or so, where his deep cuts were as good, often arguably better, as his big solo singles.
AC/DC, Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution . . . I second AC/DC’s motion.