Joe Jackson, 1-2-3 Go (This Town’s A Fairground) . . . Uptempo tune from the terrific soundtrack to Mike’s Murder, a movie starring Debra Winger that bombed. The soundtrack album was released in 1983 and is, musically, essentially a sequel to JJ’s 1982 Night and Day record. That is, until JJ actually released a Night and Day II in 2000. Night and Day II is a good album but naturally suffers in comparison to the brilliant original, and Jackson has said he regrets naming it as a sequel for that reason. I’ll play something from it sometime soon.
Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick . . . Monster single in the UK, it didn’t chart in the North American colonies but remains one of Dury’s best-known songs. I remember getting Dury’s Do It Yourself album simply because it included a 45 of Rhythm Stick which, in typical (at least up to then, 1979) UK fashion, wasn’t on the album proper.
Flash and The Pan, Atlantis Calling . . . My fun Aussie friends kick off a three-song set somewhat to do, title-wise anyway, with H2O.
Elton John, Crazy Water . . . A relatively unknown single, arguably, released only in the UK where it made the top 30. It’s from the 1976 Blue Moves double album which, aside from the massive single Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, signaled the beginning of a commercial decline for EJ. It’s maybe my favorite from the album, an uptempo tune with catchy percussion and bass work.
Blind Faith, Sea Of Joy . . . Dum dum dum dum, dum dum, dum dum dum dum, dum dum … dum … pitter pitter patter pattter (drums). That’s my typewritten interpretation of the intro to this excellent track from the one and only album by the supergroup of Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech. Heck, every song on the album is excellent.
Little Feat, Old Folks’ Boogie (live, Waiting For Columbus version) . . .Well, the show is called So Old It’s New, and I’m getting up there, most so-called classic rock listeners/follower are, so what the heck. And one can never get enough Little Feat, particularly live. Saw them in a small club in Hamilton in 2004.
The Band, Across The Great Divide (live, Rock of Ages version) . . . Difficult to choose between this live version and the studio cut that opens ‘The Band’ album. So I flipped a coin. The live version is about a minute longer with more prominent horns via a five-man section augmenting the core group.
David Bowie, The Supermen . . . I like almost all Bowie but his early stuff is not only great but prime fodder, I find, for a deep cuts show like mine. Like this track from 1970s The Man Who Sold The World. Great vocal performance, cool sort of stair step mantra from a tight band featuring guitarist Mick Ronson in his first of five 70s albums teamed with Bowie as Bowie – and Ronson as a well-known guitarist – ascended to superstardom.
Bruce Springsteen, Racing In The Street . . . “I got a ’69 Chevy with a 396 fuelie heads and a Hurst on the floor.” I always remember sitting around my college newspaper’s newsroom shooting the breeze one day and one of the editors, an upperclassman, just impromptu launched into the lyric. A song about so much more than drag racing in the street, of course.
Blood, Sweat & Tears, Children Of The Wind . . . A David Clayton-Thomas penned number from 1968 that didn’t see the light of day, officially at least, until the 1995 compilation What Goes Up!
Sniff ‘N’ The Tears, Gold . . . Lovely ballad from the band best known for their great hit Driver’s Seat. The song, about a relationship, perhaps resonates with me due to – although they’re about conquest – the lyrical references to Latin America, having spent part of my youth in Peru.
Robin Trower, Alethea . . . What a team during the 1970s, Robin Trower on guitar and the late James Dewar, who you rarely hear about when great rock singers are discussed, on bass and vocals. Trower is still going strong, releasing an album every year or two right up to 2022 with his No More Worlds To Conquer release. I admit I have some catching up to do but what can you with these old energetic farts like him, Van Morrison and Neil Young who just keep pumping stuff out?! Thank god for the internet.
Humble Pie, Live With Me . . . Not a cover of the Rolling Stones’ song from Let It Bleed but rather an eight-minute slowly-building blues workout with typically great vocals from the late great Steve Marriott, speaking of great singers.
Peter Frampton, Lines On My Face (live, Frampton Comes Alive version) . . . And here’s Marriott’s old mate, once he went solo, from his blockbuster live album.
Heart, White Lightning and Wine . . . Love early Heart. Great lyrics about a one-night stand, ending with “in the morning light you didn’t look so nice guess you’d better hitch hike home.” Akin to the Faces’ “Just don’t be here in the morning when I wake up’ in Stay With Me.
Coverdale-Page, Absolution Blues . . . For all the catty comments that went back and forth, mostly from Robert Plant, when David Coverdale of Deep Purple and Whitesnake fame got together with Jimmy Page, I say they produced a damn fine album.
Rare Earth, Child Of Fortune/One World . . . 13-minute bluesy cut that, after an organ break, goes almost progressive.
Van Halen, Mine All Mine . . . From the OU812 album, second of the Van (Sammy) Hagar era. They opened with this when I saw them at a Canada Day show in Barrie, Ontario in 1993.
The Rolling Stones, All Down The Line (live, El Mocambo 1977 version) . . . Well-known Stones’ track from Exile On Main St. and played often on various tours. I’m playing it today because this is a terrific version from the must-have for Stones fans just-released full El Mocambo set, four blues covers of which first appeared on 1977’s Love You Live. Love the Stones, but especially when they’re stripped down, like here, to basically the core unit, and firing on all cylinders.
Genesis, Deep In The Motherlode . . . And Then There Were Three tends to get short shrift in the Genesis catalog, but I’ve always liked the album. It’s not my favorite, I’d say A Trick of The Tail and of the Peter Gabriel era, Selling England By The Pound likely but with music it’s obviously subjective and often depends upon one’s mood and/or time and place memories. I always say the best band/artist or album/song ever is the one you are listening to now, if you like it. But I do have a soft spot for And Then There Were Three, likely due to it being the first Genesis album I really got into, via the single Follow You, Follow Me, before going back, and forward with them from there. And yeah, I even like most of the pop-oriented stuff aside from, yecch, the title cut to Invisible Touch although I do grant that, as a musician friend of mine has said, it’s a very well-constructed song.
David Gilmour, So Far Away . . . From the Pink Floyd guitarist’s first, self-titled solo album, 1978. Nice piano (played by Gilmour) dominated ballad, good for a late night with a refreshment.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Comin’ Home . . . Beautiful, haunting, life-lived lyrics to a great tune.