Five Man Electrical Band, We Play Rock ‘N Roll . . . And the sign said the band known mostly for that great song, Signs, did a lot of other good stuff. Like this one, cliché band making music lyrics aside.
Jethro Tull, When Jesus Came To Play . . . 1991’s Catfish Rising album, from which I pulled this typically hilariously cynical Ian Anderson-penned cut, seems to get short shrift, even from Tull fans of which I am a big one. Not sure why, except for the reality that everyone hears things differently and that’s cool. It’s one of my favorite Tull albums – good hard rocking bluesy stuff for the most part full of great songs like Rocks On The Road, Roll Your Own, this one and many others.
Doug and The Slugs, Thunder Makes The Noise . . . The tyranny of too many choices ruling our lives but particularly our TV and internet packages and indeed home entertainment options these days means, unless we’re disciplined, that we often don’t get to or, hell, don’t even know all that’s available to us. Like, for me, The Documentary Channel in my TV package I only recently discovered I have but then I’m not a huge TV or for that matter streaming service consumer. I just have what I have, mostly for sports channels, then find that things like The Documentary Channel come with it. All of which is my usual stream of consciousness way of saying that I recently noticed, and recorded, a documentary on Doug and The Slugs, which prompted me playing the band today. Have I watched the doc yet? Of course not. It’s in my ‘to watch’ list along with books, etc. I’ll get to it, eventually, but definitely sooner than later. I saw the Slugs in 1979 in a bar in Oakville, Ontario thanks to a girl I was dating at the time during my college days, before most people knew of the band.
Fleetwood Mac, One Sunny Day . . . Need I tell you the story again of my older brother bringing home the Then Play On album and how much of a great musical influence he was on me? Anyway, another from that terrific album, the last of the Peter Green era.
The Rolling Stones, Loving Cup . . . This was one of mine when a Twitter music aficionado acquaintance last week asked people to name four favorite tracks from Exile On Main Street. I did add the point that, favorites are, really, each of the 18 songs on arguably the Stones’ best album, and likely my favorite album of theirs although so difficult to pick.
Murray McLauchlan, Playin’ Your Emotions . . . He’s obviously well known to people of a certain vintage but the breadth of McLauchlan’s songwriting and musical talent is truly revealed by the 2-CD Songs From The Street compilation, also available online, that came out several years ago and was an important release for those who still like physical product, since many of his albums have gone out of print, alas.
The Lovin’ Spoonful, Darlin’ Companion . . . I first heard this song, written by the Spoonful’s John Sebastian, via Johnny Cash covering it in a duet with his wife, June Carter Cash, on my dad’s Johnny Cash At San Quentin live album. Sebastian later wrote Welcome Back, the theme song to the 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter along with of course the big Spoonful hits Do You Believe In Magic and Summer In The City, the latter co-written with his brother Mark and Spoonful bandmate Steve Boone.
Elton John, Blues For Baby And Me . . . Sometimes credited as Blues For My Baby And Me. Either way, another great early to mid-1970s EJ song, a time when everything he touched turned to gold. Or platinum. Multiple times. This one’s from the Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player album.
Bob Dylan, Love Sick . . . The joy of having fellow music aficionado friends: You get texts like this, out of the blue: “When was the last time you listened to Time Out Of Mind straight through? Highly recommended for someone in need of something making sense. Just finished! Two bourbons and phew, peace for a minute.” It’s been a while, for me, listening to Dylan’s brilliant 1997 album, front to back but I will again soon, thanks to my friend’s text. And I promised him I’d play something from it today, inspired by his message and reminder of the record. Love Sick, the opening song on the Time Out Of Mind album, was released as a single but as is often now typical for classic rock artists, didn’t chart that I’m aware of and in fact made a list of ‘greatest Dylan songs that aren’t the greatest hits.” It’s pretty great, to me. But then I’m a huge fan and admire and like all his work. And I do mean all of it, even those songs that might be considered by some to be outlier failures, like some of his Christian period material for instance.
Meat Loaf, Life Is A Lemon and I Want My Money Back . . . Arguably a guilty pleasure for me, Meat Loaf. Just so over the top and bombastic, it’s great. Plus, sometimes, one can’t help but agree with the song title. This comes from the second Bat Out Of Hell album, Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, released in 1993. It was almost as good as the first blockbuster, released in 1977. The third and last in the series, Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose, came out in 2006. It wasn’t as successful but it did spawn a tour which yielded a great DVD, 3 Bats Live, taken from a London, Ontario show from that trek. Great show, during which Meat Loaf did justice to the Stones’ Gimme Shelter in a closing concert assault of covers that also featured Black Betty and Mercury Blues. I confess that, while I own a Meat Loaf 2-CD compilation that covers some of his other stuff, all I ever really listen to are the first two Bat Out Of Hell albums. And speaking of Meat Loaf DVDs, also well worth seeking out or finding online is The Original Tour, a 1978 German Rockpalast show from the original Bat Out Of Hell tour.
Van Morrison, T.B. Sheets . . . I think this is one of Van The Man’s best but of course they are so many, this one being yet another of those where his voice is an amazing instrument in itself. A dark tale about tuberculosis, I can’t do justice to analyzing it but it is worth reading the Wikepedia entry on it which delves into various reactions to and interpretations of it.
Eric Burdon and War, Blues For Memphis Slim . . . Extended, 13-minute piece of jazzy funk blues including the “Mother Earth’ segments noting the truism of men (and some women) coming out of somewhere then spending the rest of their lives trying to get back in. Burdon and War were an amazing combination over the three studio albums they did together.
Jon Lord with The Hoochie Coochie Men and Jimmy Barnes, 12 Bar Blow Jam (live) . . . The late great Deep Purple keyboardist at the helm for this kick ass jam from the Live At The Basement album, recorded in Australia and released in 2004.
John Mayall/Bluesbreakers, Ain’t No Brakeman . . . I was playing a 1990s period Mayall compilation, from his days on the Silvertone label, in the car last week. This came up, so in it goes, on the show. Originally on 1995’s Spinning Coin album.
Stephen Stills, Johnny’s Garden . . . Amazingly, this was not a single from the Manassas album, released in 1972. It’s well-known though, and rightly so.
Bloomfield/Kooper/Stills, His Holy Modal Majesty . . . Speaking of Stills, he’s credited on the overall Super Session album project but didn’t play on this tribute to John Coltrane. It’s Mike Bloomfield on guitar, before he left the sessions claiming he was having issues sleeping. So Al Kooper, who was running the show, called Stills in for the songs – including a great, extended cover of Donovan’s Season Of The Witch – that appeared on side 2 of the original vinyl album release.
The Moody Blues, English Sunset . . . I’m not typically fond of synthesizer-driven tracks but I do like this up tempo one from the 1990 Strange Times album, which barely scraped into the Top 100. English Sunset, the opening cut on the album, was the only single. It didn’t chart.
Love, You Set The Scene . . . From the the Forever Changes album, Love starts us down the scenic route (you’ll see) to close the show.
Billy Joel, Scenes From An Italian Restaurant . . . From the blockbuster The Stranger album. Interestingly, his record company was close to dropping Joel before he produced arguably his finest work and a deserved hit album commercially and creatively. Not a single although a well-known and popular Joel track. As for the wine of which he speaks, I started with whites but once I took a chance and realized it didn’t trigger my migraine headaches, moved to reds. And, thankfully, the migraines have faded to almost never having them, as I’ve aged. Must be the red wine. Who knew?
Bob Seger, The Famous Final Scene . . . Haven’t played Seger in a while. This is a studio cut from Stranger In Town but occurs to me in playing it that I meant to include something from Seger’s Live Bullet on last Saturday’s all live albums show, but I forgot amid the various other tracks. So many great songs, so little time, even with now two, two-hour shows for me each week. I’m sure I’ll get to Live Bullet again, either independently or on another live albums show somewhere down the line.