Fu Manchu, Cyclone Launch . . . Launching with Fu Manchu’s heavy heavy monster sound of stoner rock.
Flash and The Pan, Don’t Vote . . . Not a commentary on the Canadian federal election, honestly. Wasn’t going to even remotely touch on it but this tune, from the Headlines album, happened to come up in the station computer system while I was searching for something else. And it’s a nice up-tempo rocker with those distinctive Flash and The Pan vocals, with lyrics that I suppose could be interpreted in myriad ways.
AC/DC, Down Payment Blues . . . from the Powerage album, Bon Scott era.
Family, A Song For Me . . . Nine minutes of powerhouse psychedelic/hard rock from these arguably underappreciated Brits. The band from which Ric Grech of Blind Faith fame came, although by the time of this title cut from Family’s 1970 album, he was already in Blind Faith. And then out, as that supergroup (Cream’s Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, Traffic’s Steve Winwood) flamed out after their one amazing studio album.
Link Wray, Switchblade . . . it cuts like a, er, switchblade. Great stuff from one of the highly influential early doctors of distortion.
Dire Straits, Six Blade Knife . . . Another of those tracks that came up while searching another (Link Wray’s Switchblade, above) I’d earlier downloaded into the station system. I’ve thrown so many tracks in there now over the last year or so, thousands, that my shows are starting to schedule themselves, in a manner of speaking. I look for one song, many others yielded from the word search come up and I think, heck yeah, I like that one, too. Hence of late, if anyone’s noticed, many songs with similar words in their titles. More coming, as you’ll see. Anyway, Six Blade Knife is a typically nice, Dire Straits shuffle, much in the vein of J.J. Cale, from the debut album in 1978.
Kris Kristofferson, Blame It On The Stones . . . I came to the multi-faceted Kristofferson long ago now, probably sometime in the 1990s but still relatively late. Always knew, of course, about his acting – I remember seeing the football movie Semi-Tough, and that he wrote Me and Bobby McGee which Janis Joplin (who he briefly dated) made famous. But never delved into his music much beyond that but once I did, was rewarded with his deep catalog. This one, a fun take on the often negative views older generations held about the ‘bad boy’ Rolling Stones, was the lead track on Kristofferson’s self-titled debut album in 1970. The album, which also featured Me and Bobby McGee, didn’t sell particularly well until Joplin took that song to the top, after which Kristofferson’s album was re-released with a new title, Me and Bobby McGee, and hit the charts.
The Rolling Stones, Down In The Hole . . . Great original blues from the Emotional Rescue album.
Tom Waits, Way Down In The Hole . . . Used as theme music, in various versions including Waits’ own, for the TV show The Wire. That was news to me since I don’t watch much TV, besides sports and documentaries. I hear it is/was a good show. Good song, regardless. It’s arguably amazing how many Waits warbles have been covered into hits by other artists, or used on TV shows or movies, yet he’s always remained something of a cult artist, certainly widely known, immensely respected, yet not to wide commercial tastes.
King Crimson, Frame By Frame . . . From the second phase of Crimson’s career, the new wave-like, Talking Heads-ish period that yielded the trio of albums that are somewhat of a piece – Discipline, Beat and Three Of A Perfect Pair, starting in 1981. This one’s from Discipline.
Soft Machine, Drop . . . From 5, the, yeah, fifth Soft Machine album. I find this progressive/jazz/rock/experimental band fascinating for their numerous lineups alone and how they developed and changed musically. This album is a perfect example. Recorded in 1971 and ’72, it was released in 1972. The 1971 sessions formed side one of the original vinyl album, with 1972, featuring some different personnel, featured on side two. Drop is from side one, after which some members, in true Soft Machine fashion, dropped out.
Spooky Tooth, Lost In My Dream . . . I own just two Spooky Tooth releases. One is a terrific two-CD compilation I’ve drawn from for, as an example, their progressive, Vanilla Fudge-like treatment of The Beatles’ I Am The Walrus which, come to think of it, I should soon revisit. The other album I own is Spooky Two, arguably the band’s finest individual album and from which Lost In My Dream comes. The album includes the killer nine-minute cut Evil Woman, which I’ve played before, and the Gary Wright-penned By You, Better Than Me, which Judas Priest later covered to such effect that many consider it a Priest original. Wright, of course, went on to solo success, best known for Dream Weaver and Love Is Alive.
Bad Company, Cross Country Boy . . . Jaunty little track from Rough Diamonds in 1982, the last studio album by the original Bad Co. lineup. Not just due to the title but this song always reminds me on Peace River, Alberta, where I lived briefly to start my journalism career, and where I first bought the Rough Diamons album, on vinyl.
Bobbie Gentry, Big Boss Man . . . Best known for Ode to Billie Joe, Gentry has a very deep catalog of great material I like to dip into periodically both for listening pleasure and my show. She was among the first women to compose and produce her own material. And then she essentially disappeared, by choice. Fascinating story.
Cowboy Junkies, Black Eyed Man . . . Second of several songs in the ‘man’ phase of the show again, as described earlier in my commentary, arrived at via search words in the station computer as I hunt for songs. Inn this case Bobbie Gentry search yielding this one and it’s never a bad thing to listen to the Junkies and Margo Timmins’ ethereal voice.
Gov’t Mule, Blind Man In The Dark . . . The Mule takes us into a three-song Allman Brothers Band-related set. This tune originally appeared on the band’s second studio album, Dose, in 1998. This version is a similar but more raw treatment released on the archival Tel-Star Sessions album in 2016.
Gregg Allman, Whippin’ Post . . . A more acoustic arrangement of the tune he wrote for the Brothers, it appeared on Allman’s terrific 1997 solo album, Searching For Simplicity. Nice playing by short-lived Allman Brothers’ Band guitarist Jack Pearson. Pearson, widely acclaimed in the music industry, was in the Allman Brothers from 1997-99 until he reluctantly left due to tinnitis (ringing in the ears).
Sea Level, Canine Man . . . Up tempo tune by Sea Level, a rock/jazz fusion outfit led by keyboard player Chuck Leavell that grew out of the late 1970s breakup of the Allmans. The band name comes from a play on C. Leavell. Leavell has since been a regular touring and recording partner of The Rolling Stones.
Fairport Convention, Cajun Woman . . . Fast-paced tune from the fine British folk-rock artists, founded by guitarist Richard Thompson and, in the early days, featuring the wonderful vocals of the late great Sandy Denny. They’re still around and still in the lineup is guitarist/singer Simon Nicol, a founder member, and longtime member Dave Pegg who also had various stints in Jethro Tull.
Pretenders, Walk Like A Panther . . . Slinky tune, slinky vocals by Chrissie Hynde, from the band’s solid 2002 release, Loose Screw.
Ian Gillan, Candy Horizon . . . Kick-butt rocker from Gillan’s 1991 solo release, Toolbox. Arguably the last album on which he could still scream like the banshee that did such Deep Purple classics as Child In Time. Great stuff.
Eric Burdon, Can’t Kill The Boogieman . . . From Burdon’s 2004 album, My Secret Life. Great album. The riff to this tune sounds like ZZ Top’s La Grange, which in turn sounds like John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillen and Slim Harpo’s Shake Your Hips. When the ZZ Top tune came out in 1973, the band was sued by the copyright holder to Boogie Chillen but it was found that the traditional boogie blues rhythm was in the public domain.
Bob Dylan, What Was It You Wanted . . . Caustic lyrics, at least I find them so, in typically great Dylan fashion, on this song from, for my money, one of his best albums,1989’s Oh Mercy. Produced by Daniel Lanois, who tends to bring out the best in anyone with whom he works.
Tracy Chapman, Change . . . She’s so great, lyrically and musically, although dormant as far as new material since her last studio album in 2008. Hope she does new music soon but if not, we have the brilliance she’s left us to date.
Van Morrison, And The Healing Has Begun . . . Haven’t played Van the Man, one of my favorite artists, in a while. Just beautiful stuff, this.