- The Beatles, Good Morning Good Morning . . . It’s arguably difficult to find a Beatles’ deep cut, since almost everything they produced is so well known, like this one, one of my favorites from the Sgt. Pepper album. Just love everything about it, the lyrics, the tune, the playing. Someone on You Tube commented that the lyric “everything is closed it’s like a ruin’ was prescient to these covid times. Indeed. Sadly.
- John Lennon, Gimme Some Truth . . . Vitriolic Lennon cut from the Imagine album. It led off side two of the original vinyl album, quite the contrast to the placid, hopeful title track that led off side one. Great guitar work by George Harrison, who played on half the original album’s 10 songs.
- Alice Cooper, Some Folks . . . From Welcome To My Nightmare, Vincent Furnier’s first solo release after the breakup of the original Alice Cooper band, after which he adopted the name as both his legal and stage names. Canadian Prakash John, who later formed R & B band The Lincolns, had played with Lou Reed and joined Cooper’s band for this and several subsequent albums.
- Little Feat, Fat Man In The Bathtub . . . The ‘good’ trouble with playing Little Feat, and I played Roll Um Easy about a month ago, is that you then want to play them all the time. So, here comes another one from the same Dixie Chicken album that produced Roll Um Easy and so many other great ones, including the title cut. My Little Feat phase continues.
- The Rolling Stones, Out Of Control (live) . . . Extended 8-minute version of the track that originally appeared on 1997’s Bridges To Babylon album, with a bass line similar to The Temptations’ Papa Was A Rolling Stone. One of my favorite latter-day Stones’ songs, or favorite songs of theirs, period – especially this live version from the No Security album. Killer guitar and harmonica work, especially once things really ramp up at about the five-minute mark. Always reminds me of Midnight Rambler in the sense that the live version (especially, with Rambler, the one on Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out) eclipses the studio recording.
- Jason and The Scorchers, 19th Nervous Breakdown . . . More Stones, only in a, er, scorching version done by Jason and the boys. Such a great tune, regardless who does it or in what arrangent. Nash The Slash’s cover of it, which I’ve played previously, comes to mind. Pulled this one off Cover You: A Tribute To The Rolling Stones, one of many available tribute albums to the Stones.
- Pearl Jam, Crazy Mary . . . One of my favorite songs done by Pearl Jam. It’s written by singer-songwriter Victoria Williams but was released first by Pearl Jam on Sweet Relief: A Benefit For Victoria Williams, who had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It’s a tribute record comprised of Williams songs, covered by alternative rock bands and released in 1993. I was reminded of this one by a recent thrift store run with two good friends during which one of my buddies picked up the album and was contemplating buying it. I told him to get it, if just for Crazy Mary alone. Heck, it was about a buck at the thrift store. So, he did buy it, put it on as we drove to our next stop, and he liked it. Who wouldn’t?
- Graham Parker & The Rumour, Protection . . . From the great Squeezing Out Sparks album in 1979. It’s the one that, via the Local Girls single, introduced me to Parker during my college days when he, Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello were arguably the big three among the ‘angry young men’ of the era. Parker lost me by the mid-1980s but he’s still going, perhaps worthy of re-investigation. No, check that. I just did. Nothing resonates with him, sadly, anymore.
- Joe Jackson, TV Age . . . Speaking of angry young men . . . I got into Joe Jackson via Toronto rock station Q-107’s old ‘album replay’ show, where they’d play full albums between midnight and about 6 am on Friday or Saturday nights. Back when commercial FM rock radio was open-minded, creative and therefore outstanding, not tied to the same old, same old. So anyway, one night I listened, the Look Sharp album was on, I loved it and out I went the next day to buy it, another from that musically-expansive experience that were my college days of the late 1970s. Jackson quickly branched out though, departing the punk/new wave scene after three albums, with 1981’s jump blues/swing covers release Jumpin’ Jive and then 1982’s brilliant, jazzy Night and Day album. He had served notice that he was going to take his music wherever his muse directed, and I’ve chosen to follow him everywhere he’s gone, to great reward.
- Elvis Costello, Brilliant Mistake . . . From King Of America, 1986. I bought the album, had been up to then into all Costello’s work. And lasted one more album, But it’s also around the time I started to lose interest in him, which is interesting, perhaps, because while I’ve faithfully followed Joe Jackson’s musical travels from day one, I’ve not done the same with Costello. But as I get older, I find myself catching up to the material I missed. Like the album he did with Burt Bacharach. This track was not originally a single but became one of Costello’s better-known songs and is now on several compilations. Good tune, with typically good lyrics.
- Ian Dury, There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards . . . Another college days discovery who I was really into for a number of years. Clever title, clever, interesting song, musically, by a very diverse artist.
- Bryan Ferry, Tokyo Joe . . . Great up tempo track from Ferry’s 1977 solo release In Your Mind, the first solo release on which he wrote all the songs. Roxy Music was on hiatus at the time but the energetic album is very Roxy-like and does feature Roxy guitarist Phil Manzanera, who contributed to several Ferry solo albums.
- Jeff Beck, Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You . . . Nice cover of a Bob Dylan tune originally on Nashville Skyline and featured on Beck’s 1972 release. Bobby Tench handles lead vocals on this fourth and final Jeff Beck Group album, the second version of the band that originally featured singer Rod Stewart and bassist Ron Wood that resulted in the classic Truth and Beck-Ola albums.
- Savoy Brown, Stay While The Night Is Young . . . Great mid-tempo track from Savoy Brown’s Raw Sienna album. Led by lone original member Kim Simmonds, the group is still around, releasing occasional albums and playing live. I saw them, billed as Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown, at a Kitchener Blues Festival a few years ago. Great blues-rock show.
- The Notting Hillbillies, Railroad Worksong . . . From the one-off Dire Straits offshoot band album, Missing…Presumed Having A Good Time, released in 1990 and featuring Straits men Mark Knopfler and Guy Fletcher. The album was almost entirely covers of traditional tunes, like this excellent selection.
- Queen, ’39 . . . Beautiful, Brian May-penned track from A Night At The Opera, one of my favorite Queen tunes and I find so many of them are written by May.
- Iggy Pop, Cold Metal . . . Hard rocker from Iggy’s 1988 Instinct album, the song leads us into a metal/hard rock set within the overall show.
- Metallica, Holier Than Thou . . . Kick-butt banger from “the black album’ which, given big singles like, particularly Nothing Else Matters and The Unforgiven, introduced the band to a more maintream audience but also miffed some of their metal fans. This track, though, is one of many on the album proving Metallica had not abandoned its roots, merely let them flower. Great vitriolic lyrics. Probably about a relationship breakup. More than probably.
- Black Sabbath, The Shining . . . From the largely underappreciated, perhaps aside from big Sabbath fans, Tony Martin on lead vocals period. The Martin-fronted albums feature some great Sabbath stuff relatively few people have heard, with guitarist Tony Iommi the lone constant, holding it all together with his typically huge heavy riffs. I find it a fascinating period in Black Sabbath history including the fact it was on and off. Ronnie James Dio left, in comes Martin. Dio returns, out goes Martin, then back in he comes. Etc. And all the while, there is/was Iommi. Much respect to him.
- AC/DC, Gone Shootin’ . . . From the Bon Scott period and 1978’s Powerage, one of my favorite albums by the band. So much quality stuff on this album that I often mine for the show, so I essentially just threw a dart and it hit this boogie-like track with its insistent, hypnotic riff. You can’t go wrong with anything from this album.
- Ian Gillan Band, Clear Air Turbulence . . . Funky track from Ian Gillan’s first post-Deep Purple project, this the title cut from the band’s second album, in 1977. Not the type of thing he would have done with Deep Purple when he was in that band, certainly likely not if Ritchie Blackmore had any say in the matter. Yet, if you listen to Purple now, during the very good and creative Steve Morse era, they are doing material like this as they continue to explore more diverse paths.22. Ohio Players, Fopp . . . Great funk from the Honey album, 1975. It’s the one with the great No. 1 single, Love Rollercoaster. This was the third single from the album, made No. 30 on the pop charts and No. 9 on the R & B list. Great band, great provocative and erotic album covers, along the lines of early Roxy Music cover art.
23. The Tragically Hip, So Hard Done By . . . One of my favorite Hip tracks, from 1994’s Day for Night album. I love the introductory build into the hard riff that propels a tune featuring some great lyrics. “It’s a monumental big screen kiss, it’s so deep it’s meaningless.” . . . “Just then the stripper stopped in a coughing fit, she said ‘sorry I can’t go on with this.’ ” . Etc. etc. Great song. Every time I listen to this I think back to the year I took off to work, between high school and college. I grew by leaps and bounds that year, hanging out with adults in the working world at my dad’s engineering company and recognizing that adults were a barrel of laughs no matter how old they were, that we all had things in common. I kept them young, they educated me. Case in point, going to a strip joint after work and the stripper was playing with an ice cube, tossed it towards our table, it splashed into one of my friends’ drink, a martini I guess and the impact of the ice cube ejected the olive from my buddy’s drink. Laughs all around, including the stripper who, unlike in the song, did go on with things.
24. Murray McLauchlan, Burned Out Car . . . Great tune about a sad subject, homelessness, co-written with Junkhouse leader Tom Wilson. Junkhouse recorded it, with Sarah McLauchlan helping out, for their 1995 Birthday Boy album. Murray McLauchlan, with Wilson on backing vocals, released it on his excellent, comprehensive 2007 double-disc compilation Songs From The Street.
25. Junkhouse, Oh, What A Feeling . . . Speaking of Junkhouse . . . A friend of mine recently mentioned the Canadian band Crowbar, which like Junkhouse leader Tom Wilson came out of Hamilton, Ontario. So, while I was fiddling with the McLauchlan/Junkhouse connection, I remembered Junkhouse had done a cover of Crowbar’s hit tune. So, here it is. Such a great artist, Wilson – with Junkhouse, solo work, Blackie and The Rodeo Kings and Lee Harvey Osmond. I saw a reunited Junkhouse at a recent Kitchener Blues Festival and ran into Wilson at a coffee shop the next morning. What a pleasant, humble individual; I just said hi, I really enjoy your work and we had a brief chat, I mentioned I was a journalist so we had the writing, albeit in different forms, in common at least somewhat. And while I was thinking of songs to play today, I hit upon an interview with Wilson on You Tube during which he was asked about his myriad projects. His answer? For a creative person it’s a need to do it; it’s like he has to. His reward is just that he can keep on doing it. I’m glad he does.
26. Led Zeppelin, Tea For One . . . Great blues track. It closes the Presence album and is one of my two favorites on the album and by the band in general, the other being the set opener, Achilles Last Stand.