Fleetwood Mac, These Strange Times . . . Appropriate song title for these times we’re living in but aside from that an interesting spoken word track – with Mick Fleetwood handling lead vocals – from the Mac’s 1995 album, Time. The album, without Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, bombed commercially and I confess I don’t listen to it much, but I do like this cut, one of the rare Mac songs written by Fleetwood, who also plays guitar on it. Good lyrics, including references to former Mac leader Peter Green: ”these strange times, I think of a friend they said was a man of the world. . . . ”. The record featured ex-Traffic guitarist Dave Mason and singer Bekka Bramlett, the daughter of Delaney and Bonnie, who worked with Eric Clapton, among others.
Genesis, In The Cage . . . Another fitting title for current circumstances, and just a tour de force extended piece from 1974’s The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway album, Peter Gabriel’s last with Genesis before going solo.
Eagles, Journey Of The Sorcerer . . . Great instrumental from One Of These Nights, featuring Bernie Leadon on banjo in his last album with the band. The music was used as the theme music for Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy BBC radio series in 1978 and ’79.
Wishbone Ash, Throw Down The Sword . . . Progressive rock featuring the twin guitars of Andy Powell and Ted Turner. The album was produced by Martin Birch, well-known for his work with Deep Purple, Ronnie James Dio-period Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, who in their early days at least, acknowledged that they were heavily influenced by Wishbone Ash’s work.
Link Wray, The Shadow Knows . . . From one of the, if not the, acknowledged fathers of distortion and power chords. Love his diabolical laugh on what is otherwise, like most of his work, an instrumental.
Family, See Through Windows . . . I first heard of Family via my older brother’s copy of Blind Faith’s one and only album, which featured Ric Grech who was the bass, violin and cello player in Family. This is from the Music In A Doll’s House album in 1968. The Beatles apparently wanted to title the album they were working on at the time A Doll’s House, but Family released their album so The Beatles went with the self-titled album that quickly came to be better known as the White Album.
Izzy Stradlin, Somebody Knockin’ . . . Great Stones/Keith Richards/Ron Wood-ish track from Stradlin’s first album after he left Guns N’ Roses in 1991. The album, Izzy Stradlin and The Ju Ju Hounds, came out in 1993, around the time the individual Rolling Stones were doing lots of solo work. Wood plays guitar on one track on the album, his own Take A Look At The Guy, while sometimes-Stones session players Nicky Hopkins and former Face Ian McLagan contribute on piano and organ, respectively.
Chicago, Movin’ In . . . Great jazz-rock fusion from the second Chicago album. I love early Chicago, particularly the first three albums and on up until guitarist Terry Kath died, after which the band was never the same, albeit commercially more successful with schlock.
The Doors, The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat) . . . Great track from perhaps my favorite Doors album, L.A. Woman, arguably the band’s grittiest and bluesiest. I’m in a bit of a Doors phase after a discussion with a friend about our favorite albums of theirs, so you might see some stuff from their debut and Morrison Hotel, the two others we talked about, in the coming weeks.
The Rolling Stones, Tops . . . From 1981’s Tattoo You, the album the band cobbled together from various outtakes and unfinished tracks from over the years as they wanted something to tour behind that year. This one goes all the way back to 1972 and features Mick Taylor, who left the band in 1974, on guitar. He wasn’t credited on the album and sued the band for royalties.
Dire Straits, The Man’s Too Strong . . . From Brothers In Arms, which featured the big hit Money For Nothing, an obviously great if overplayed tune, as so many hits are. I first heard this one while browsing in Sam The Record Man on Yonge St. in Toronto. I was already a big fan of the band so would have bought the album anyway, but hearing the track clinched an instant purchase that day.
Rush, Cinderella Man . . . One of my favorite songs from perhaps my favorite Rush album, A Farewell To Kings. I remember getting it for the hit single, Closer To The Heart, first Rush album I ever bought, to great reward. Cinderella Man’s lyrics were written by bass player Geddy Lee, one of the few Rush songs whose words were not written by drummer Neil Peart.
Neil Young, Motorcycle Mama . . . Something of an outlier rock track on the otherwise more folky Comes A Time album, released in 1978. The late Nicolette Larson shares lead vocals with Young on the song.
The Mamas & The Papas, Straight Shooter . . . Great tune from the debut, If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears, another album I got into via my older sister and the one with the cover of the band in a bathtub. Wasn’t a single, but easily could have been from an album whose singles were Go Where You Wanna Go, California Dreamin’, Monday Monday and Do You Wanna Dance?
Heart, Love Alive . . . Early, and my preferred version of Heart, before the big production (and big hits) mid-1980s to 1990s version. I like that stuff, but much prefer the earlier, more earthy version of the band. This is a great example of that period which also of course featured great rockers like Barracuda, etc.
Johnny Winter, Memory Pain . . . Blues-rock from Second Winter, the first Johnny Winter studio album I bought way back when, likely if memory serves for his great cover of Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited.
David Lee Roth, Ladies Nite In Buffalo? . . . From Roth’s first post-Van Halen album, Eat ‘Em And Smile. A bluesy, funky kind of shuffle, it’s easily the best solo song he’s ever done, in my opinion.
Bruce Springsteen, She’s The One . . . I was going to play this for old friends who recently celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary, but it was suggested that I play Thunder Road instead, since it was more applicable, lyrically, to their story. But, I promised I’d play this one eventually, so here you go.
The Cars, Dangerous Type . . . The second Cars album, Candy-O, had a hard act to follow after the classic debut. But it’s still a decent album, and this might be my favorite from it, perhaps tied with the title track.
Elton John, Amy . . . One of my favorite EJ deep cuts, from the terrific Honky Chateau album. Jean-Luc Ponty plays electric violin.
The Grateful Dead, Easy Wind . . . From the rootsy Workingman’s Dead album. Lead vocals by keyboardist/harmonica player Pigpen (Ron McKernan). With a nice harmonica solo.
Deep Purple, No One Came . . . Always difficult for me to pick a Purple track, since I like all of the band’s work, all lineups. This propulsive song is from the Fireball album.
Steve Winwood, Night Train . . . Such a great album, Arc of A Diver, my favorite of Winwood’s solo stuff. And it’s truly a solo album, as Winwood plays every instrument on it.
The Beach Boys, Sail On Sailor . . . One of my favorite Beach Boys tunes, from 1973’s Holland album. It’s sung by Blondie Chaplin, perhaps best known in recent times thanks to his work as a backup musician/singer on Rolling Stones’ tours and sessions. Released, twice, as a single, it made No. 79 in 1973 and No. 49 on a reissue in 1975. Ridiculous. Great song.
Ian Hunter, Old Records Never Die . . . Could be the theme song for my show. This one from Short Back ‘n’ Sides in 1981. Mick Jones (guitar) and Topper Headon (drums) of The Clash contribute to the album along with then-regular Hunter guitarist, the late great Mick Ronson.