Madness, One Step Beyond . . . Lead and title cut from the UK ska band’s debut album, 1979. It’s a cover of a tune by Jamaican ska singer Prince Buster, recorded in 1964. Madness hooked me with this particular tune, although I’m not a huge fan of the band. I first saw/heard it as a video on Toronto TV station CITY-TVs old The New Music show – predating the more celebrated US MTV. The spoken-word intro makes you sit up and take notice, then off you go riding the main riff and simple lyrics – just the title, shouted occasionally – the rest of the way. Some people I know didn’t get it. To quote one of my younger brothers, used to me mostly listening to raunch and roll stuff like the Stones: “What’s happened to you?” Nothing. It’s called having an open mind.
Doug and The Slugs, To Be Laughing . . . I like Doug and The Slugs anyway but was prompted to play them after watching a terrific documentary, released this year, Doug and The Slugs and Me, on the Documentary Channel in Canada. It’s well worth a look.
The Rolling Stones, Let It Loose . . . We’re about to, er, let loose, via this great gospelish Stones’ tune from Exile On Main St., with the kick-butt tunes that follow.
MC5, Kick Out The Jams (live) . . . What kind of band issues a live album as their first release? The MC5 did. Great intro, to all mothereffers. Listen to it and you’ll hear what I mean, if you don’t already.
The Stooges, 1969 . . . The MC5 album was released in 1969 so I figured I’d play one from their punk-ish brothers, Stooges.
Lou Reed, Vicious . . . From his most commercial album, Transformer, the one with Walk On The Wild Side on it. Vicious was a B-side and then later a single on its own. Didn’t chart. Ridiculous.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse, T-Bone . . . Got mashed potatoes. Ain’t got no T-bone. Seven words. Repeated, around grungy guitars and other assorted instruments, for 9-plus minutes. That takes talent, in my book. Hypnotic.
Argent, Thunder and Lightning . . . Former Zombie Rod Argent, singer-guitarist songwriter Russ Ballard and friends did far more than their well-known song Hold Your Head Up. Here’s an example. This pulsating track reminds me of some of the work of the one-off Deep Purple late 1970s offshoot, Paice Ashton Lord, which reminds me to get back to playing some of their work. So much music, so little time.
Delaney and Bonnie, Soul Shake . . . Funky tune from the then-married singer-songwriter duo of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, who famously toured with Eric Clapton and other music friends and released a live album from it. Duane Allman guests on guitar, on this one.
Johnny Jenkins, Down Along The Cove . . . Another one featuring Duane Allman I pulled from one of two outstanding Anthology double-disc CD compilations – An Anthology and An Anthology Volume II – that feature his session work and Allman Brothers Band material. This one’s a cover of the Bob Dylan tune, from the 1967 John Wesley Harding album, released by blues master Jenkins on his 1970 record Ton-Ton Macoute!
The Allman Brothers Band, Melissa . . . A single from the Eat A Peach album, didn’t chart. Absurd. One of my younger son’s favorite songs. Good taste.
Eric Burdon & War, Gun . . . An amazing combination of rock, funk, soul and R & B, Burdon and War. This tune is yet another example, from The Black-Man’s Burdon, the second of the two albums (the other, Eric Burdon Declares War) from their collaboration.
Tim Curry, Paradise Garage . . . From the Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Dr. Frank N. Furter’s Fearless album, released in 1979. I was into the movie and its attendant activities at the time and remember being in Toronto’s downtown Sam The Record Man, just browsing one day, and the album was playing on the sound system. It turned into a worthwhile impulse buy.
Bruce Cockburn, Burn . . . “Never mind what the government said, they’re either lying or they’ve been misled.” Great lyric, pretty much applicable to any government and circumstance.
Murray McLauchlan, Out Past The Timberline . . . I only came to this song some years ago via a compilation album. But to me, lyrically, musically, it’s arguably MM’s best song. It rings so true, as McLauchlan cuts to the bone about elites vs ‘real’ people in terms of who and what truly represents a country.
Syd Barrett, Octopus . . . Solo, weird-ish work from the onetime, late great, Pink Floyd leader.
The Hollies, King Midas In Reverse . . . A song that, apparently, was the impetus for Graham Nash’s eventual departure from The Hollies. He wrote the tune, which was different than most Hollies’ more pop-ish stuff to that point, 1967. It was a hit, but didn’t match their previous chart success and soon enough, Nash had moved on to collaborations with David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Neil Young.
Arlo Guthrie, City Of New Orleans . . . Cover of the Steve Goodman-penned well-known tune was the son of Woody Guthrie’s lone top 40 hit, although he issued much quality music including Alice’s Restaurant.
April Wine, Juvenile Delinquent (live) . . . From April Wine’s Live at the El Mocambo album, recorded the weekend they played there in support of The Rolling Stones’ famous club gigs. It’s written by Bob Segarini, an American singer-songwriter who had some success in Canada in the late 1970s and 80s. He performed at a pub during my college days. As far as I can tell, April Wine never recorded a studio version of it.
Camel, Slow Yourself Down . . . One of those prog songs that neatly wraps up so much, including various time signature changes, all within just under five minutes.
Elton John, Mellow . . . Haven’t played EJ in a while. Overdue. So I threw darts at my Honky Chateau album board and hit this one, not that one could go wrong picking any 1970s Elton John tune.
Jethro Tull, No Lullaby . . . Great drumming by Barriemore Barlow introduces this epic from Tull’s Heavy Horses album.
Wishbone Ash, Time Was . . . An old friend of mine tells me I’ve turned him into a Wishbone Ash fan by my occasional playing of that progressive/hard rock/guitar-oriented band’s stuff. Cool.
The Guess Who, So Long, Bannatyne . . . Title cut story song from the band’s 1971 album. Bannatyne is a common name for streets, schools and other landmarks in Winnipeg, The Guess Who’s hometown, honoring one of the city’s leading citizens.