Tom Petty, The Last DJ . . . Caustic lyrics about the music industry and commercial radio, pretty much encapsulates why I started and continue to do this show. A minor hit single and title cut from Petty’s 2002 album, the song was banned by many stations – proving Petty’s point.
Roxy Music, Same Old Scene . . . Didn’t do huge business as a hit single, at least in North America, but a great tune from the Flesh and Blood album, 1980 which was panned upon release as I recall . But, as is typical, “retrospective’ reviews have been kinder. All of which proves that early reviews, and in fairness to rock critics, are based on a few listens where many if not most albums take repeated listens to resonate.
The Byrds, Goin’ Back . . . Covered by many artists, by the songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. David Crosby didn’t want The Byrds to do it, thought it was fluff, which caused a divide in the band and eventually Crosby left/was fired. Which was probably justified, if he didn’t like this tune. Maybe it’s lightweight. But it’s good.
Talking Heads, Electric Guitar . . . One of those hypnotic Heads’ tunes they started doing once they hooked up with the experimentally-oriented Brian Eno. This one’s from Fear Of Music, which is full of one-word song titles, for whatever that’s worth. Good album, regardless.
Paul Rodgers, Talking Guitar Blues . . . From Rodgers’ first solo, truly solo (he played everything) album, Cut Loose, 1983, after the original lineup of Bad Company broke up. Sounded pretty much like a Bad Co. album, which means it’s good.
Grand Funk Railroad, Paranoid (live) . . . Not the Black Sabbath track. This is Grand Funk’s own song, a guitar workout both in studio and on this live version.
Led Zeppelin, Celebration Day . . . Fantastic intro, fantastic up-tempo tune.
Gordon Lightfoot, Talking In Your Sleep . . . Ah, the secrets we might unintentionally share.
Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Summer Side Of Life . . . Great cover of the Lightfoot tune by the Canadian collective of Stephen Fearing, Colin Linden and one of my favorite alltime artists, Tom Wilson of Junkhouse and various other projects’ fame.
Sniff ‘N’ The Tears, Rodeo Drive . . . Known best for their big 1979 hit single, Driver’s Seat, this one came a year later, totally different, extended, hypnotic, great stuff. It bombed, alas.
Oasis, I Am The Walrus (live) . . . Oasis worships and acknowledges the huge influence of The Beatles (and the Stones and Who and so on) on their music,so why the heck not do this one? Nice version. As are their stabs at the Stones’ Street Fighting Man and The Who’s My Generation. Worth checking out.
Peter Frampton, Penny For Your Thoughts/(I’ll Give You) Money (live) . . . Nice little guitar ditty from Frampton Comes Alive I segued into the great rocker, Money, from the same monster-selling album.
The Kinks, A Gallon Of Gas . . . 42 years after this song’s release on the Low Budget album, it appears little has changed as gas prices soar.
Elton John, It Ain’t Gonna Be Easy . . . Great extended blues cut from the A Single Man album, 1978. The huge hit 70s glory days had faded, the band was different, Bernie Taupin wasn’t around much, but it’s a terrific album for my money.
Bob Dylan, All Along The Watchtower . . . Call me crazy and I’ve always loved the Jimi Hendrix version, so did Dylan, who attempted to then play it in Hendrix style live, but I’ve always liked Dylan’s original better. The key with Dylan is not only the tunes, which are usually great, but the lyrics, how they fit the tune, and how he enunciates them. No different with Watchtower. First non-compilation Dylan album I remember – my older brother and huge musical influence brought it home. So began my Dylan experience. Tentative at first, then fully immersed.
Jimmy Buffett, He Went To Paris . . . Speaking of Dylan, he apparently liked this story tune. It’s a good one. I confess to knowing little of Buffett aside from obvious hits like Cheeseburger In Paradise. But a fellow music aficionado I’ve ‘met’ on Twitter is a huge fan and posts regularly about him, so I figured I’d dip into the catalog for a tune.
George Harrison, Tired Of Midnight Blue . . . Same Twitter friend was doing a ‘list several tracks from X artist” thing the other day. Harrison was his artist for the day. Being a deep cuts guy, this was one of my offerings. It’s a from 1975’s Extra Texture album.
Freddy Cannon, Tallahassee Lassie . . . Pulled this from a compilation I have that features songs that influenced The Rolling Stones and/or tunes they covered. They did cover this one and released it on the expanded Some Girls album re-release a few years ago but while I like the Stones a lot, Cannon’s version is best.
The Rolling Stones, She Smiled Sweetly . . . I’ve been into the Brian Jones early era of my favorite band of late. So inventive, so different, much pop (which is interesting in that Jones was the sworn blues guy in the band) yet such quality in terms of experimentation and instrumentation, directions the band never reallytook again once Jones was gone. But it’s all down on the albums,forever, thankfully, preserved.
Warhorse, Ritual . . . Original Deep Purple bassist Nick Simper formed Warhorse, a hard rock/progressive band, after he and original singer Rod Evans were sacked in favor of Roger Glover and Ian Gillan. The band released two albums, lasted from 1970-74 and has reunited for live work sporadically since.
Hawkwind, Steppenwolf . . . Epic cut from the space rockers. One of the band members had been reading Herman Hesse’s book, hence the song title.
Steppenwolf, Jupiter’s Child . . . So Steppenwolf the song segues, naturally, into Steppenwolf, the band. And, seeing as I just watched (again) the Jupiter-centric 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel 2010 (underappreciated I think) as they both came on TV last week, I figured this would be a logical tune to play. Great song, regardless, by a great band, Steppenwolf, that is so much more than all you ever seem to hear on radio – Magic Carpet Ride and Born To Be Wild.
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Born To Run . . . From 1993’s The Last Rebel album, the second, at the time, from the reconstituted post-crash band. People seem of two views, understandably, about the latter-day Skynyrd. People consider them either a glorified covers band – despite, to me, much quality in the post-crash studio work – or a band continuing to honor the legacy of those who came before. I tend to the latter view, that they continue to honor the legacy. One thing can’t be argued – they still kick butt live. Saw them in 2004. Great show.
Zephyr, Sail On . . . So I was in my favorite local music store, Encore Records, last week and a great tune was on. Turned out to be this one, from one of Tommy Bolin’s early bands. And I thought, I have this tune, and indeed I do on a great (and I believe out of print) 2-CD Bolin compilation (The Ultimate) which features his early work, including Zephyr, plus his solo/session work, and that with Deep Purple and The James Gang. Zephyr had a great singer, the late Candy Givens who to me rivals Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, among others. Great stuff.