Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Still . . . You Turn Me On . . . Well-known and beautiful ELP song. It was considered as a single from the Brain Salad Surgery album, and is somewhat in the vein of Lucky Man from the debut. But the band decided against it since drummer Carl Palmer didn’t play on the song, and the ballad didn’t fit with the overall more aggressive tone of the album.
Robert Palmer, Love Stop . . . Cool song from the Secrets album, 1979, which along with the next year’s Clues record, are my two favorites from the late Palmer. And I just realized I opened with Emerson, Lake & Palmer and then here I come with Robert Palmer. Although of course we’re talking Robert, not Carl. Must be some sort of Freudian thing, but enough of that rot. Robert Palmer’s cover of Moon Martin’s Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) was the big hit single from Secrets, Jealous (which I’ve played before) less so, but the whole album is quality and another of those I got into during my college days.
Joni Mitchell, Passion Play (When All The Slaves Are Free) . . . From 1991’s Night Ride Home, which I don’t own. But I got into a lot of Mitchell’s great deep cuts, like this one, via her Misses compilation album, released on the same day in 1996 as Hits. Her record company wanted to issue a greatest hits album so Mitchell said, fine, but how about you agree to also issue an album collecting some of my own favorite deep cuts. She picked the tunes and voila, Misses. It’s a great way to get into lots of her lesser-known and perhaps less commercial work.
The Rolling Stones, If You Really Want To Be My Friend . . . American R & B and soul group Blue Magic contributes backing vocals on this one from the It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll album. Every time I hear it, and it’s a great tune, I think of an old high school and college football teammate just breaking into the opening verse one day as we hung around either waiting for class or practice.
Boz Scaggs, Loan Me A Dime . . . Before his 70s hits like Lowdown and Lido Shuffle, Scaggs played in early, bluesy and psychedelic versions of the Steve Miller Band (before that group’s big commercial hit singles success) and then went solo. This great blues track, written by singer/guitarist Fenton Robinson, appeared on Scaggs’ second solo album, Boz Scaggs. It came out in 1969 and features Duane Allman on guitar on four songs, including this one.
Elton John, (Gotta Get A) Meal Ticket . . . Good rocker from Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirty Cowboy. EJ was so consistently excellent during the 1970s, one of those artists whose deep cuts could easily have been singles.
Chris Smither, Rock & Roll Doctor . . . A different, up-tempo shuffle treatment, complete with foot percussion, of the Lowell George-penned Little Feat tune, from the veteran American singer/songwriter/guitarist Smither. Great stuff.
Steely Dan, Show Biz Kids . . . Typically great playing and caustic lyrics on this one from Countdown To Ecstasy, in 1973. The boys in the band foresaw, nearly 50 years in advance, the arguably vaccuous selfie culture to come via lyrics like “show biz kids making movies of themselves you know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else.”. Lead single from the album, it managed to make No. 61. Rick Derringer is on slide guitar on the track.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Luna . . . I’ve always really liked this one, from Petty’s debut album in 1976. Kinda spooky, with those unique Petty vocals.
John Lennon, I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama . . . Producer Phil Spector’s ‘wall of sound’ comes into play on this dirge-like track from the Imagine album. Canada’s Cowboy Junkies had an interesting take on it – including a rap segment – on their 2005 covers album, Early 21st Century Blues. Mad Season, the grunge supergroup made up of members of Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Screaming Trees, covered it 10 years earlier on their lone album, Above.
Black Sabbath, Supernaut . . . And now for a two-song hard rock/metal interlude, starting with what I consider maybe Tony Iommi’s best Black Sabbath riff, although there’s so many great ones it’s obviously difficult to pick.
Metallica, My Friend Of Misery . . . From the self-titled monster ‘black’ album that opened all kinds of doors in terms of audience for Metallica, ticking off some fans who wanted them to forever stay in thrash mode. Great bass intro by the since departed Jason Newsted and wicked guitar soloing by Kirk Hammett starting around five minutes into the nearly seven-minute track.
Ian Hunter, The Outsider . . . Not a bad tune, including this slow-building one, on Hunter’s You’re Never Alone With A Schizophrenic album, from 1979. With his trusted sidekick, the late great Mick Ronson, on guitar.
David Bowie, Saviour Machine . . . Speaking of Ronson, he of course also worked extensively with David Bowie including on this rather amazing rocking, almost prog track from Ronson’s first album with Bowie, 1970’s The Man Who Sold The World.
Johnny (Guitar) Watson, A Real Mother For Ya . . . Great funk rock from the widely influential Watson. Among those inspired by him were Frank Zappa, who took up guitar after listening to Watson’s 1950s work, with Watson later appearing on several Zappa albums. This song was Watson’s highest charting single, making No. 41 on the pop charts and No. 5 on the R & B list in 1977. He died at age 61 in 1996, on stage during a gig in Japan. Not a bad way to go, doing what you love.
Johnny Winter, All Tore Down . . . Great blues rocker, gritty vocals from Winter, from 1973’s Still Alive And Well album.
Ten Years After, The Stomp . . . Hypnotic John Lee Hooker type track from 1969’s Ssssh album.
John Lee Hooker, Back Biters and Syndicators . . . Speaking of whom, here’s the real thing.
Mose Allison, Swingin’ Machine . . . The song does just that, swing. So influential an artist, Mose Allison. Lots of people, like The Who, covered his songs. Space does not permit. Read up on and better yet, listen to him.
Dr. John, Iko Iko . . . Typical, er, gumbo from Dr. John’s Gumbo, his 1972 covers album of New Orleans classics.
Steve Earle, Back To The Wall . . . Fairly well-known tune from Copperhead Road, the title cut from the album likely is the best known yet no singles, surprisingly, were officially released from the album in North America. This was released as a single in the UK but didn’t chart.
Free, Walk In My Shadow . . . Perhaps amazingly, given the heavy blues nature of the album, none of the members of Free were even 20 years old when Tons Of Sobs was released in 1969. Walk In My Shadow was co-written by all four band members – Paul Rodgers, Paul Kossoff, Andy Fraser and Simon Kirke. Rodgers and Kirke, of course, later went on to form Bad Company.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Keep On Chooglin’ . . . CCR is so well-known, and rightly so, for their many hit singles but they’ve got some amazing extended pieces, like this one.