So Old It’s New set list for Monday, May 1, 2023 – on air 8-10 pm ET

My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.

  1. The Rolling Stones, Hey Negrita
  2. Kris Kristofferson, Blame It On The Stones
  3. Humble Pie, Hot ‘N’ Nasty
  4. AC/DC, Stormy May Day
  5. Led Zeppelin, In My Time Of Dying
  6. Blue Oyster Cult, Shooting Shark
  7. Curtis Mayfield, Pusherman
  8. Trooper, The Boys In The Bright White Sports Car
  9. The Beatles, Lovely Rita
  10. Taj Mahal, The Celebrated Walkin’ Blues
  11. John Mayall, Dry Throat (live, from Jazz Blues Fusion)
  12. Bruce Springsteen, Jungleland
  13. Roy Buchanan, Hey Joe (live)
  14. The Byrds, Chestnut Mare
  15. Eric Clapton, Stars, Strays and Ashtrays
  16. Chilliwack, 148 Heavy
  17. David Bowie, Lady Grinning Soul
  18. Dire Straits, Lions
  19. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Luna
  20. The Stills-Young Band, 12/8 Blues (All The Same)
  21. Montrose, Dancin’ Feet
  22. George Thorogood and The Destroyers, Want Ad Blues 

    My track-by-track tales:

    1. The Rolling Stones, Hey Negrita . . . Terrific groove on this one featuring what is likely Ron Wood’s top contribution to the Black and Blue album, his staccato lead guitar work on this track. “Rehearsing guitar players” is how Keith Richards described the sessions for the album, which was put together in the wake of Mick Taylor’s departure after 1974’s It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll album release. Among those at the sessions were Jeff Beck, Peter Frampton, and Rory Gallagher, all of whose actual contributions, if any, didn’t make it to tape while Wayne Perkins’ terrific solo on Hand Of Fate and former Canned Heat member Harvey Mandel’s playing on Hot Stuff and Memory Motel did make the final cut. While Wood isn’t a virtuoso of the calibre of some of those auditioning, the Stones wound up going with who they considered to be the best fit for the band. Wood once related a story where Eric Clapton apparently told him “I could have had that job’ to which Wood replied, ‘yeah, but Eric, you gotta live with ’em, too.” And it’s true and, in fact, Wood was key to holding the band together during the so-called World War III between Richards and Mick Jagger during much of the 1980s. As a big Stones fan, while having the likes of the various mentioned luminaries in the band sounds amazing on the surface, I don’t think it would have worked or lasted with the likes of Clapton, Frampton, Gallagher or Beck as it would have become or been perceived as “the Stones with . . . ” as those players were also songwriters and major solo artists in their own rights. Could they have fit, even been subjugated, in such a band? Former Stones’ bassist Bill Wyman actually spoke to that very dynamic in an interview that’s available on YouTube and came to the conclusion that Wood was indeed the right choice.
    1. Kris Kristofferson, Blame It On The Stones . . . Lead cut on Kristofferson’s self-titled debut album, released in June, 1970. The song references negative impressions older generations had of The Rolling Stones at that time, especially having come off their 1969 Altamont concert where a man, Meredith Hunter, was stabbed and killed by the Hell’s Angels who were in retrospect ludicrously used as security.
    1. Humble Pie, Hot ‘N’ Nasty . . . “Roll it, baby” indeed, as lead singer Steve Marriott intones at the start of this raunch and roller from the 1972 album Smokin’, the first Humble Pie album without Peter Frampton, who had departed for a solo career. Hot ‘N’ Nasty actually did better on the singles charts, hitting No. 35 in Canada and No. 52 in the US, than 30 Days In The Hole, which remains likely Humble Pie’s best-known song and propelled Smokin’ to the top 10 on album charts.
    1. AC/DC, Stormy May Day . . . From 2008’s Black Ice. The opening reminds me of the song I’m playing next.
    1. Led Zeppelin, In My Time Of Dying . . . A gospel blues song by Blind Willie Johnson, originally released in 1928 but given an 11-minute Zep treatment on their Physical Graffiti album. It was also done by Bob Dylan on his 1962 self-titled debut album with the title In My Time Of Dyin’.
    1. Blue Oyster Cult, Shooting Shark . . . A different sort of track for BOC as they, too, embraced a more processed, synthesizer 1980s sound for at least some of their 1983 album The Revolution By Night. Yet while I’m not usually into that sort of stuff, I don’t mind this extended, somewhat spooky, hypnotic song about a bad on-again, off-again relationship, inspired by a Patti Smith poem. Smith had an association with the band dating to her vocals on their song The Revenge Of Vera Gemini from the 1976 album Agents Of Fortune, which yielded the hit single (Don’t Fear) The Reaper.
    2. Curtis Mayfield, Pusherman . . . So funky. From Mayfield’s third solo album, Superfly, after he left The Impressions. It served as the soundtrack for the 1972 film of the same name.
    1. Trooper, The Boys In The Bright White Sports Car . . . A song originally on the band’s 1976 album Two For The Show, it was slightly re-worked and became a successful single when released on 1979’s Hot Shots compilation, an album no doubt in just about every Canadian home, certainly those of baby boomers. At the time, the compilation went quadruple platinum in Canada, platinum in this country being 80,000 copies, breaking records for a recording by a Canadian act.
    2. The Beatles, Lovely Rita . . . I could listen to the intro to this Sgt. Pepper tune forever without getting sick of it, just the way Ringo’s drums kick in at the 10-second mark. The rest of it’s pretty good, too, including Paul McCartney’s pronunciation of ‘buuk’ or ‘boook” in “I caught a glimpse of Rita, filling in a ticket in her little white book”. Piano solo by producer George Martin. The song is described in one of my Beatles’ books as “a glorious throwaway”. Agreed.
    3. Taj Mahal, The Celebrated Walkin’ Blues . . . From Mahal’s self-titled 1968 debut album, it features guitarists Jesse Ed Davis of solo and session fame and Ry Cooder, with whom Mahal had earlier formed the blues/rock/folk band Rising Sons.
    1. John Mayall, Dry Throat (live, from Jazz Blues Fusion) . . . Exactly what the album title describes, jazz/blues fusion. Great stuff from Mayall and his band, recorded live in New York and Boston in late 1971 and released in 1972. Mayall is another of the many artists I got into via my older brother. He brought home Mayall’s USA Union album in 1970 and off I went with Mayall, to this day. It was perfect, really, having a brother eight years older, because, born in 1951, he was in his teens through the heyday of the British Invasion and other 1960s music. So he sort of passed the baton to me and my sister, who was four years older and had her own favorites and discoveries, all of which I at least investigated and maybe added to my own expanding music universe. A wonderful foundation of great memories.
    1. Bruce Springsteen, Jungleland . . . Epic from Springsteen’s breakthrough album, 1975’s Born To Run, notable for the late ‘big man’ Clarence Clemons’ sax solo.
    1. Roy Buchanan, Hey Joe (live) . . . If you know Hey Joe via the Jimi Hendrix version, Buchanan’s live take on it, this one from The Definitive Collection compilation, is a total reinvention. It’s slow blues, talk singing, accompanied by piano and guitar accents, then an explosion around three minutes in, major soloing/riffing at close to five minutes in and then back to the beginning, so to speak, for the last three minutes of the eight-minute plus excursion. What a trip.
    2. The Byrds, Chestnut Mare . . . Full version of a five-minute track from the Untitled album in 1970. It was cut in almost half for single release, at least in the UK and Europe, where the tale of a man’s quest to tame a wild horse, also seen as a commentary on humankind’s attempts to control the environment, did much better on the charts. It went to No. 19 in the UK as opposed to not even making the top 100 in the US.
    3. Eric Clapton, Stars, Strays and Ashtrays . . . Beautiful country blues track, a Clapton-penned outtake from the Slowhand album sessions in 1977 that finally saw official release on a deluxe edition of the album that came out in 2012. That reissue includes a bonus disc of a previously unreleased 1977 concert at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. The iconic venue is now called the Eventim Apollo, due to naming rights/sponsorship.
    4. Chilliwack, 148 Heavy . . . 1979’s Breakdown In Paradise album is the lone non-compilation Chilliwack album I own. I like the band, saw them in a rousing performance a few years ago at the Kitchener Blues Festival, but for me their hits are all I need. Except that there’s two songs they did that I quite like that aren’t on any compilation. Well, check that. The song Communication Breakdown (not the Led Zeppelin tune) is on a hits album. But it’s a truncated version, more than a minute shorter and, damn it, I want the full version, complete with what I think is a cool partially spoken word intro before the band rips into the song. So because of that, and 148 Heavy which I remember instantly liking when I heard it on FM radio while in college, back when radio dug deeper, I simply had to own Breakdown In Paradise. “Heavy’, by the way, is an aviation term used to describe an aircraft’s wake turbulence, which can be dangerous to other aircraft flying in its wake. Typically, and I’m quoting from an encyclopedia, aircraft create the most wake during takeoff, departure, approach and landing, hence the song’s lyrics “148 heavy, landing in Toronto.” I know it’s obvious in terms of time zones but I’ve always loved the lyric, from this British Columbia band, ‘when you left in the west it was only afternoon, half alive and awake you’re flying into the moon . . . ” To again reference my late older brother, I recall one Christmas, we all got together in our parent’s new home in Calgary where mom and dad had moved for my dad’s work. Rob, my older brother, was the first among we siblings to have to get back east home in his case Nova Scotia where he was serving in the military. He calls back upon arrival to advise he got home safe and he says “I’m wide awake and want to party but everyone else is tired and just wants to go to bed.”
    5. David Bowie, Lady Grinning Soul . . . How many rock songs mention the card game canasta? Besides which, what a great tune, jazzy, atmospheric, twinkly piano by Mike Garson who, perhaps amazingly, has contributed in a very cool fashion to YouTube posts of this Aladdin Sane album song by thanking people in comment fields for praising his playing on it. And Garson, who played on 13 Bowie albums – he was Bowie’s longest-serving and most frequently appearing band member – including the studio classics Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs and Young Americans, deserves such praise. His long and varied discography also includes sessions with Mick Ronson, Nine Inch Nails, bass superstar Stanley Clarke and Smashing Pumpkins.
    1. Dire Straits, Lions . . . What can one say about Dire Straits’ self-titled debut from 1978? It’s great, it’s far more than the hit single and a great song it is, Sultans of Swing, but every song is terrific, like this one.
    1. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Luna . . . Not sure if I’ve played this before. I don’t think so because, you know how you maybe know an album yet you sort of don’t know it? Or maybe it’s just me. Anyway, I’m a big Petty fan yet aside from a few albums like, mostly, the early ones like the breakthrough Damn The Torpedoes and then Hard Promises, his non-Heartbreakers stuff like Full Moon Fever, I confess I’ve tended to fall into a compilation of his hits rut even while owning it all, studio albums, compilations, box sets. Breakdown, still to me one of his greatest songs, is obviously on compilations so I rarely listen to it from the first, self-titled studio album. Yet the other day, I did when I put that record on and Luna of course came up. Ridiculously great tune, haunting, hypnotic bluesy excellence with that distinctive Petty voice, an instrument in itself, as with so many great artists.
    2. The Stills-Young Band, 12/8 Blues (All The Same) . . . According to one of those track-by-track analysis books I have, this one on Neil Young, the 1976 Stills-Young Band album was originally planned as a sort of return to Buffalo Springfield, at least in terms of creative spirit. Then, David Crosby and Graham Nash were invited to participate and it looked like the sessions would result in a new CSNY album. But internecine warfare ensued and it reverted to a Stills-Young project, this being a Stills-penned tune and a good one it is. Certainly lyrically, in terms of relationships and I’m not talking about the band, it’s about the male-female often flawed communication dynamic. “I got the miserables . . . help me . . . I wanna talk to you . . . .listen too . . . too many times I’ve swallowed my words. Is it a crime to want to be heard?” I’ve always been into Neil Young, always thought he was ‘the’ guy in CSNY and obviously solo, and he still largely is, but as the years go by and I have dug deeper into Stephen Stills, wow.
    1. Montrose, Dancin’ Feet . . . It’s akin to the Deep Purple story, circa 1974 when Purple introduces the previously unknown singer David Coverdale to the world and goes on to further success with the Burn and subsequent albums, Coverdale of course going on to found and front the hugely successful Whitesnake. In this case, Sammy Hagar leaves Montrose and, similarly later to Judas Priest bringing in tribute band singer Ripper Owens when Rob Halford left, Montrose brings in unknown singer Bob James from a Montrose tribute band to take over lead vocals. And it works for two albums including this funky rocker from the band’s 1975 album Warner Bros. Presents Montrose! Cool album cover, too.
    2. George Thorogood and The Destroyers, Want Ad Blues . . . Typically raunchy cover, great bass intro, in this case of a John Lee Hooker tune, from arguably the master coverer-turn-em-into rock tracks artist, Thorogood. From his 1993 album Haircut.

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