Keith Richards, Whip It Up . . . From Richards’ first solo album, Talk Is Cheap, 1988. Solo albums were something Richards previously had said he didn’t want or need to make because he could fulfull his creativity within The Rolling Stones. But, as is well-documented, by the 1980s the relationship between him and Mick Jagger was almost (but thankfully not) irreparably frayed so Richards finally relented, almost in response to Jagger’s debut solo album, She’s The Boss, of the previous year. Mick won the sales battle, Keith that of the critics, many referring to his album as the best Stones album in years. By 1989, they were back together for the Steel Wheels album and tour, the reunion coming with the realization that band members, particularly the two chief songwriters, could do solo work without sinking the mother ship.
George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Howlin’ For My Baby . . . Typical Thorogood raunch, from the Haircut album.
Styx, Prelude 12/Suite Madame Blue . . . Not a Styx fan, really, one of my younger brothers was major into them during the 1970s and I know and like their hits. But this well-known but arguably deep cut may be my favorite.
Garland Jeffreys, 96 Tears . . . Great cover of ? And the Mysterians’ big hit. It prompted me to buy Jeffreys’ Escape Artist album, to further reward.
Johnny Winter, Memory Pain . . . I played Edgar last week, so here’s Johnny, this week.
Love, Signed D.C. . . . Beautiful song, my favorite by Love, about a harrowing subject, heroin addiction.
Aerosmith, The Hop . . . From Done With Mirrors, a relative commercial failure from 1985. It was the last release, and a down and dirty one it was, from Aerosmith before their big comeback, often using outside writers, via such albums as Permanent Vacation, Pump and so on. All good stuff, but I still prefer the earlier material. As someone on a rock show I watched the other day said, the more cleaned up from drugs and booze the boys in Aerosmith became, the worse their music got – at least to those of us more fond of the raunchier stuff.
Buckwheat Zydeco, The Wrong Side . . . From Memory Motel: Inside The World Of Keith Richards, a collection of the Rolling Stones’ guitarist’s favorites, from various artists. I have own a Buckwheat compilation but pulled this one from a rock magazine I bought some years ago. It was on one of those promo CDs stuck to the cover. One never knows where one finds music, which is the beauty of it.
Pretenders, Bad Boys Get Spanked . . . Pretenders II didn’t have the immediacy, or the hits, of the self-titled debut by the band, but it’s still a solid record, evidenced by this propulsive track. Concrete Blonde, a band I like very much, might have been listening in 1981 when this was released, because Ghost Of A Texas Ladies Man, released in 1992 on their Walking In London album, seems very much influenced by it.
Van Halen, Dirty Movies . . . No bit hits on it aside from Unchained, but Fair Warning might be my favorite Van Halen album, although that’s a dangerous thing to say because, as I often say and believe, the best album or band or artist ever is the one you are listening to right now, if you like it. And I like the deep, dark tone of this record, and this tune.
Alice Cooper, Luney Tune . . . I’ve mentioned it before and it’s obvious but nevertheless amazing/crazy how the brain works. Or maybe it’s just me. Somehow or other the other day, while perusing YouTube in watching a music show I like, I happened upon some old Flintstones cartoons – Fred and Barney were bowling – which then got me thinking about old cartoons, like the classic Looney Tunes stuff (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, The Roadrunner, Tweety and Sylvester, etc.). Which then brought me to this deep Luney Tune, different spelling, from the School’s Out album.
Patti Smith, Midnight Rider . . . Back to the Twelve album I go. It’s the covers album Smith released in 2007 and well worth checking out. This time, she tackles the great Allman Brothers Band tune.
The Allman Brothers Band, Can’t Lose What You Never Had . . . Speaking of which, the Allmans themselves tackle a cover, in this case a Muddy Waters song. It appeared on 1975’s Win, Lose or Draw album.
Steppenwolf, Desperation . . . Bleak yet hopeful “think positively’ lyrics set to an appropriately dark arrangement on this one, from Steppenwolf’s debut, 1968. The album gave us Born To Be Wild as well as The Pusher and Sookie Sookie, among others.
The Tragically Hip, Bring It All Back . . . Bluesy, raunchy, great guitar on this terrific cut from Road Apples.
Fairport Convention, Sloth . . . I’m feeling lazy. I think I’ll listen to Fairport Convention for nine minutes and change.
Graham Parker and The Rumour, Empty Lives . . . Great tune, great lyrics including the line ‘on the up escalator going down all the cracks’ that gave its parent album, The Up Escalator its name and was my full blown intro to Parker in 1980, having somehow at first missed the previous breakthrough, Squeezing Out Sparks. Anyway, I quickly caught up, went back and then forward with the then ‘angry young man” but soon enough, he found domestic bliss, the music got worse the happier he became and I lost interest. But, good for him on the home front. I have no idea what he’s up to, at home or on record, since about 1991. That’s when, after several albums I bought by habit and loyalty until I realized I was wasting money, I gave up. He’s still out there, though, and I’m not usually so judgemental so perhaps I should pay an old friend a visit sometime. OK, I just did. Verdict? No. Sorry GP. Cloud Symbols, from 2018, cool album cover but…and you know you’re pretty much done commercially when you redo Squeezing Out Sparks, acoustically, as a 40th anniversary reissue for 2019. As well, it’s trouble when you can’t even link to any albums on Wikipedia since 1991. I think I’ll stick to my early stuff plus the terrific compilation Passion Is No Ordinary Word: The Graham Parker Anthology, from 1993. I’m not really that down on GP, just having fun because one could say similar things about lots of longtime artists and I do have immense respect for the fact they’re still out there and in many cases still very successful. Just not necessarily for me, anymore. And the stuff they did that I do like is obviously readily available to listen to at any time. “He passed it on” as Keith Richards has said about musicians’ legacies.
Robert Plant, Like I’ve Never Been Gone . . . So, it’s two years after John Bonham dies and Led Zeppelin calls it quits and Plant does what one would think would come naturally and kudos to him, he pursues a solo career with a terrific first album, Pictures At Eleven, from which I pulled this song. And more has consistently come, from Plant, up until the present day. Meantime, his partner in songwriting/plagiarizing crime Jimmy Page spends his time trying to get Plant to reunite while dabbling in some semi-successful bands like The Firm and Coverdale-Page while endlessly remastering and reissuing Zep albums. OK, rant over. Next!
Aretha Franklin, The Weight . . . Aretha does The Band’s tune, helped by Duane Allman on guitar on one of many sessions he did outside and often before forming The Allman Brothers Band. I’ve mentioned it before but there’s two terrific Duane Allman collections out there – An Anthology and An Anthology 2 – featuring the band’s work but arguably more interestingly, his session stuff. Find them, by however means. You won’t be disappointed.
Elvis Costello, Riot Act . . . Speaking of angry young men like Graham Parker who I eventually gave up on. . . Well, as with every artist, we have what they’ve left behind in recorded form. Terrific cut from Get Happy!
Bruce Cockburn, What About The Bond . . . I’ve probably played this too recently, but so what? I love the Humans album, arguably Cockburn’s best, and I’ve always liked this track. So, here it is.
Warren Zevon, Genius . . . This is a superb song. Lyrically, of course, because Zevon was such a great writer. So much so that sometimes, his lyrics arguably overshadow his music and you need good music to pull people into listening to your lyrics. Mission accomplished here. The late great must have liked the song a lot himself, bccause one of his compilations, released in 2002 a year before his death, was titled Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon. It originally appeared on the studio album, My Ride’s Here, released earlier the same year.
The Who, However Much I Booze . . . I was discussing drinking with a friend the other night. This is the result, at least in terms of my set for this show.
Joni Mitchell, This Flight Tonight . . . A big hit for Nazareth, of course, so much so that Mitchell took to jokingly introducing it as “a Nazareth song’ when she played it live. It’s one of three examples that come immediately to my mind of a hard rock band taking a folk tune or ballad, rocking it up, getting a hit out of it and, arguably, redefining it. The others are Jimi Hendrix with Bob Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower and Joan Baez’s tearjerker Diamonds and Rust reinvented by Judas Priest. All of which tells you a further cool thing; it doesn’t matter what genre you actually work in, most people listen to everything with an open mind and in the case of musicians, obviously think, “We can do something with that.” And they do, with often wonderful results although I like Dylan’s original a lot and Baez’s Diamonds and Rust, her paean to former flame Dylan, often brings tears to my eyes.
The Guess Who, Bye Bye Babe . . . As we say bye bye for another week, on Mondays at least. Starting this Saturday morning, Sept. 24, I’m beginning a new show, So Old It’s New 2, from 7-9 am. The station has some available slots open, so I’m filling one and going to wake up the neighbors with more of the same of what I currently do but I’m also going to use the extra slot for stuff that I can’t cram into my Monday show, or I may do some themed shows like heavy rock/metal, or reggae, or punk/new wave, or full album plays. It’s a blank canvas I plan to fill by following my muse.