So Old It’s New set list for Saturday, April 22, 2023 – on air 7-9 am ET

I’m going fairly deep for Saturday, drawing from a wonderful compilation series  called I’m A Freak, Baby – A Journey Through The British Heavy Psych and Hard Rock Underground Scene 1968-72. I’m digging into the first 3-CD compilation that was released in 2016 and I was turned on to by a fellow music aficionado friend. There’s since been two more releases, in 2019 and 2021, expanding the palate to 1973 and I intend to get to those songs eventually, individually or collectively, as I’ve done piecemeal since first release. There’s 154 songs, total, over the series so far. It’s great stuff from which I’m drawing half of this set, the rest being my usual classic rock deep cuts and otherwise fare. My track-by-track tales follow this bare-bones list.

  1. Rory Gallagher, Bullfrog Blues (from Live In Europe)
  2. Wicked Lady, I’m A Freak
  3. The Gun, Race With The Devil
  4. Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Rapid Transit
  5. Iron Claw, Skullcrusher
  6. The Move, Brontosaurus
  7. Third World War, Ascension Day
  8. Chicken Shack, Going Down
  9. BTO, Amelia Earhart
  10. Bachman and Turner, Moonlight Rider
  11. Skid Row (Ireland), Go, I’m Never Gonna Let You
  12. Bare Sole, Flash
  13. The Open Mind, Cast A Spell
  14. Stack Waddy, Bring It To Jerome
  15. Writing On The Wall, Bogeyman
  16. Barnabus, Apocalypse
  17. The Who, Under My Thumb
  18. Aerosmith, 3 Mile Smile
  19. The Tragically Hip, An Inch An Hour
  20. Midnight Oil, Best Of Both Worlds
  21. Romantics, A Night Like This
  22. Dave Edmunds, Almost Saturday Night
  23. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Betty Lou’s Gettin’ Out Tonight
  24. Ian Hunter, Overnight Angels
  25. The Deviants, I’m Coming HomeMy track-by-track tales:


    1. Rory Gallagher, Bullfrog Blues (from Live In Europe) . . . From Irish guitar legend Gallagher’s first live album, recorded and released in 1972, culled from shows throughout Europe in February and March of that year. Guitarist The Edge of U2, according to Live In Europe’s 1999 expanded re-release liner notes, was inspired by the album to learn the instrument and play in a band. I often think of Rory Gallagher as I do The J. Geils Band. I like their studio stuff, but they’re arguably best heard live and thankfully both artists have multiple live albums available.
    2. Wicked Lady, I’m A Freak . . . First of a bunch of songs, comprising half my set today, of relative obscurities from the British hard rock and psychedelic scene released between 1968-72. I’m A Freak, from 1972, is a Motorhead-like propulsive track recorded three years before there was a Motorhead, and serves as a sort of title track for a compilation I’m drawing from for the show. A 3-CD set released in 2016, it’s called I’m A Freak, Baby . . . A Journey Through The British Heavy Psych and Hard Rock Underground scene 1968-72. It’s a terrific compilation I was directed to around the time it came out by a music aficionado friend who sent me a succinct message on Facebook: ‘You have to get this!” So I got it. I liked it. I still like it. So much so that since then, I’ve purchased the sequels – I’m A Freak Baby 2 and 3, released in 2019 and 2021, respectively, as further journeys through that underground scene, this time covering 1968-73 although for this show I’ve selected material only from the first compilation.Off the top I said ‘relative obscurities’ because the compilations are relative to one’s depth of musical knowledge of such bands. Most of them were unknown to me when I bought the first compilation, but all three comps are spiced with material from very well known acts like Deep Purple (and some of its family tree bands, like Episode Six and Warhorse), early, bluesy Fleetwood Mac, The Yardbirds and Uriah Heep and maybe some slightly less widely known to the masses bands like The Move (out of which Electric Light Orchestra formed), Groundhogs, Atomic Rooster, Budgie and Love Sculpture, among others. I’ve delved into individual tracks from the compilations over time, but this is the first show where I’m devoting a large portion of my set to those releases, and I imagine I’ll be doing another, similar show again at some point given the volume of material – 154 songs – available. Deep cuts, indeed.
    3. The Gun, Race With The Devil . . . Heavy, primal, propulsive hard rock from 1968 with a nod at the start to Cream’s hit White Room, released around the same time. Judas Priest recorded this song by The Gun during sessions for Priest’s 1978 album Stained Class, and it appeared as a bonus track on the expanded 2001 re-release of Priest’s 1977 album Sin After Sin.
    4. Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Rapid Transit . . . I’d say Neil and Crazy Horse, mostly used when he’s in a heavy rock mood wanting to make lots of noise, fits with the I’m A Freak stuff. Rapid Transit is from 1981’s Re-ac-tor record, which most critics dismissed but, well, whatever. It’s great. Who else do you know who can get nine-plus minutes of magnificent distortion mayhem out of seven words – Got mashed potatoes, ain’t got no T-bone’ – as Neil and Crazy Horse do on T-Bone, which I’ve played before from the album, and no doubt will again sometime.
    5. Iron Claw, Skullcrusher . . . Doom-ish rock from 1970 that, yeah, crushes it. Iron Claw were Black Sabbath obsessives/soundalikes from Scotland but perhaps followed their heroes a bit too closely. According to the I’m A Freak compilation liner notes, Iron Claw sent Sabbath a demo of their first album in hopes of getting some promotional support but instead, Sabbath management made veiled threats of possible legal action. Good song, Skullcrusher, but I can see Sabbath’s point. To my knowledge, no lawsuits resulted, Iron Claw disbanded by 1971, briefly reformed in 2010 and released an album in 2011 before splitting again. Their early 1970s sessions didn’t yield an album at that time but tapes of 16 songs recorded between 1970 and 1974 were released on CD in 2009 after an earlier bootleg of the recordings was issued by a German label in 1996.
    6. The Move, Brontosaurus . . . Heavy rock from Looking On, the third Move album, released in 1970. It was the first with singer and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Lynne, who later formed Electric Light Orchestra with Move co-founder Roy Wood, who handles lead vocals on this one. The duo was recording the first ELO album, which came out in 1971, at the same time as Looking On, and elements of the early ELO sound are evident in Brontosaurus.
    1. Third World War, Ascension Day . . . Hard rock blues and apparently a big influence on early punk, from the band’s 1971 self-titled debut. Always interesting to me are the roots and branches of musical groups and Third World War is no different. Thunderclap Newman bassist Jim Avery was in the band and also appearing on various tracks on the debut album were English keyboardist/singer Tony Ashton, perhaps best known for his collaborations with various members of Deep Purple, and Rolling Stones sidemen Jim Price (trumpet and trombone) and Bobby Keys (saxophone).
    2. Chicken Shack, Going Down . . . Who hasn’t covered Don Nix’s Going Down? It’s as ubiquitous as the much-covered Bonnie Dobson-penned tune Morning Dew. Not that this is a bad thing – they’re both great songs. And this is another good version, from Chicken Shack’s 1972 album Imagination Lady, via the I’m A Freak Baby compilation. By this point, the lady in the Shack, Christine (Perfect) McVie had long since left to join Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack was down to a harder-rocking trio of guitarist/singer Stan Webb, drummer Paul Hancox and bassist John Glascock. Glascock later joined Jethro Tull and played on the studio albums Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young To Die, Songs From The Wood, Heavy Horses and some of 1979’s Stormwatch. Glascock, who had a congenital heart valve defect exacerbated by his party lifestyle, died in 1979 at age 28.
    3. BTO, Amelia Earhart . . . Extended soft-rock ode to the American aviation pioneer, who disappeared over the Pacific Ocean while attempting a circumnavigational flight of the earth in 1937. The song is on the 1979 album Rock ‘n’ Roll Nights, the second, after 1978’s Street Action, by the band after the departure of guitarist/songwriter/singer/producer Randy Bachman. That resulted in a trademark agreement with Bachman, requiring the band to release the two albums remaining on its existing record contract as BTO, not Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The albums featured former April Wine member Jim Clench, who sings Amelia Earhart, on bass with singer/bassist C.F. (Fred) Turner moving to guitar in tandem with Blair Thornton. I prefer the heavier sound of Street Action, a deliberate move by the remaining members, who chafed at Bachman’s mostly mellow direction on the previous album Freeways to the extent that Turner said it should have been a Bachman solo record. So it’s interesting that they then did a ballad like Amelia Earhart but by that point, unlike on Street Action, outside songwriters like the team of Jim Vallance and Bryan Adams were brought in and it was becoming a latter-day Aerosmith, or a failed attempt at that hit-making level of success. I do like the song Amelia Earhart, perhaps because her story fuels fascination. But while the albums have their moments, they weren’t widely accepted by critics or customers, and, not surprisingly given the loss of such a key member as Randy Bachman, they sold poorly. But I’m a completist, with some bands, anyway, and one is sometimes rewarded with interesting discoveries and even hidden gems.
    4. Bachman and Turner, Moonlight Rider . . . Essentially BTO without the Overdrive, again due to contractual and legal issues that resulted when so-called classic era BTO members Rob Bachman and Blair Thornton sued to prevent Randy Bachman and Fred Turner from recording and touring as BTO. Which is interesting, given what happened earlier and as described above, when Randy Bachman left after the Freeways album and Turner was still in, er, BTO although that scenario seemed mutually amicable. Ah, naming rights issues in rock. In any event, Randy Bachman was working on a solo album, thought Turner’s vocals fit a tune, sent it to him, things clicked and the result was the Bachman & Turner album released in 2010. It features songs Turner had written between 2002 and 2004, including Moonlight Rider, some Bachman tunes and some co-writes. I was late to the Bachman and Turner album but I like it. It mostly harkens back to early 1970s BTO in terms of heaviness and most of the songs have a nice groove, like this well put-together tune that features some nice soloing by Bachman and Turner’s distinctive, gruff and gritty vocals.
    5. Skid Row (Ireland), Go, I’m Never Gonna Let You . . . Back to I’m A Freak, Baby we go. This isn’t the Skid Row once fronted by Canadian-born singer Sebastian Bach. That Skid Row is still around, two or three singers moved on from Bach as the lineup changes in music tend to spin. I was never into that Skid Row, although I remember the Slave To The Grind album. This Skid Row was formed in Dublin in 1967 with future Thin Lizzy frontman/bassist Phil Lynott as lead singer although the band didn’t record any material with Lynott, at least nothing that’s available. Later, another future Thin Lizzy member, guitarist Gary Moore, joined the group, after Lynott left. Moore was on board for two albums, 1970’s Skid and 1971’s 34 Hours, so named for the amount of time it took to record. 34 Hours included this near nine-minute epic featuring some fine soloing and shredding by Moore, who then went on to Thin Lizzy, with Lynott, for stints in 1973-74 and 1977-79. Skid, without Moore, hit the, er, skids.
    6. Bare Sole, Flash . . . Bare Sole was well thought of enough that they earned opening act slots for The Small Faces, The Move, Status Quo and Family. Or, maybe those band picked them because they didn’t want to risk being upstaged and thought Bare Sole wasn’t good enough to do so. Trust me, some bands want to be pushed, others don’t. In any event, Bare Sole’s manager took this sort of ever-ascending track, it’s decent enough, to Decca Records, who turned it down. Well, Decca turned down The Beatles too, so Bare Sole has that feather in its cap. I think one of the issues with some of these bands is their names. I’m serious. Call the band Flash and the song Bare Sole, maybe. Look down the list, past this tune. Writing On The Wall, band name; song name, Bogeyman. Wouldn’t the reverse be better, more memorable? Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, Bogeyman! Same with Barnabus (band name) and Apocalypse (song). Wouldn’t Apocalpyse be a more memorable name for a band? But who knows what possible duplication/legal issues may be involved.
    7. The Open Mind, Cast A Spell . . . A short, shade over two-minute psychedelic trip from 1969 that, when I first heard it, nagged at my brain because it’s derivative of something but I just couldn’t place what. Then it occurred to me that it sounds sort of like Cream, but also, maybe strangely, especially the chorus “it’s all in the mind” like some songs by hard rock Aussie band Wolfmother, which didn’t exist until 2004. Which means Wolfmother, which is derivative of bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer, may have given Cast A Spell a listen or two. Cast A Spell was the B-side to Magic Potion, which if you’re old enough, it’ll start and you may think, oh yeah, I remember that song. It’s a heavy, driving rocker with an insistent riff including some wah-wah guitar pedal work. Why the powers behind the I’m A Freak Baby, series didn’t put it on the compilations as well is beyond me. But, it’s available on YouTube, at least.
    8. Stack Waddy, Bring It To Jerome . . . Killer cover – or as the Freak compilation liner notes suggest – untutored assault – on the Bo Diddley tune. It’s infectious, menacing. Lead singer John Knail (no word on whether that’s a stage name) seems to come in sideways off the guitar riff, sort of how I’d describe Ozzy Osbourne on some early Black Sabbath records, a voice suddenly appearing, from some dark elsewhere, although Knail sounds more like AC/DC’s Bon Scott, actually. Anyway, he, er, nails the vocal. The band was known for cover tunes. This one’s from their first, self-titled album, released in 1971 after they had caught the attention of noted British DJ John Peel, who signed them to his short-lived Dandelion Records label. The debut includes another Diddley tune, Roadrunner, plus Susie Q and Muddy Waters’ Rolling Stone. Stack Waddy recorded one more album, Peel again serving as executive producer, named it Bugger Off! And then did exactly that, buggered off, although they have reunited now and then, most recently in 2007. Peel did the liner notes for the second album and related that the band did every song in a single live take, refusing to use overdubs or any studio tricks in order not to compromise their raw sound. Peel recalled that he made the mistake of asking for a second take of a song to which the band responded “Bugger off, Peel”, resulting in the album title. The band would likely have been bigger had they done more original material although George Thorogood has done well by covers and, oh, had Knail not relieved himself on the audience at a gig set up by Dandelion Records in an effort to impress the president of the label’s US distributor, Elektra. Knail, what were you thinking?
    9. Writing On The Wall, Bogeyman . . . The Scottish band starts this one with 40 seconds of Scotland The Brave on harmonica before ripping into an infectious, heavy riff. Accept used a similar intro idea for its 1986 song Fast As A Shark, using a snap, crackle and pop old vinyl recording of a traditional German tune before you hear the needle scratching the record as all speed metallic hell is unleashed. Bogeyman is from Writing On the Wall’s one and only album, The Power Of The Picts, released in 1969. John Peel, a man obviously of good taste given his support of previous entry Stack Waddy, was involved to some extent with Writing On The Wall. He recorded them for his BBC Radio sessions, but the band’s progress was stymied by eventual issues with its manager/record label owner, according to the I’m A Freak liner notes.
    10. Barnabus, Apocalypse . . . Heavy shit, as the saying goes. These guys were on the periphery of and rubbed shoulders with more successful outfits, opening for Hawkwind among others, and winning a stage in a contest, featuring Black Sabbath members Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi as judges, run by then hugely influential Brit weekly music magazine Melody Maker. But, while good and interesting, as all of the material on these very enjoyable Freak compilations is, that has to be at least a factor in why so many of these bands remained obscure, or never made it past one album or single: they were influenced by but perhaps too derivative of bands like Black Sabbath. This Barnabus song, for instance, is pretty much a dead ringer for Sabbath’s War Pigs, to my ears. I like it, but . . . So it becomes a case of, well why should I get into another Black Sabbath-type band when I already have Black Sabbath to listen to? It’s a common issue, obviously, to this day. It’s difficult to be original. That said, the beauty of the Freak comps is that they have introduced me to good music I’d otherwise likely never have heard. And in one case, with the band Stray who I’ve previously played on the show, it prompted deeper investigation to the point where I acquired a fine 2-CD Stray compilation that gets regular rotation on my players. And there’s other such bands that, wallet permitting, will no doubt repeat the pattern. Yes, I can listen online of course but as often stated, I’m still a physical product guy with stuff I like.
    11. The Who, Under My Thumb . . . When Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones were busted and jailed on drug charges in 1967, The Who rallied in support of their colleagues, releasing a cover of this Stones tune, coupled with The Last Time. The Who’s intention was to keep recording and releasing Jagger/Richards songs as long as the Stones’ songwriters were jailed, but they were quickly released before The Who had a chance to dig deeper into the Stones’ catalog. Good that the Stones were released, but it would have been interesting to hear what The Who next selected to cover, and how they’d have played it. I like The Who version of Under My Thumb, they’re a great band, it’s a great song, pretty difficult to mess up, really. The Who version was later reissued on the expanded 1998 re-release of the Odds & Sods album, a great compilation of previously shelved stuff that Who bassist John Entwistle put together for original release in 1974. It was, essentially, a new/old Who album, it filled a gap between Quadrophenia in 1973 and The Who By Numbers in 1975 and was so good that it made No. 10 on the UK charts and No. 15 in the US and left many people wondering why the band had held such great material back.But that’s true of so many great artists. Bob Dylan comes to mind. In 1991, Dylan released the first of his archival Bootleg series, a 3-CD set issued as Volumes 1-3 that followed by a few years the Biograph box set compilation which, Dylan ever the trend-setter, prompted the box set bonanza that really took off, commercially, via Eric Clapton’s Crossroads. Dylan is now up to Volume 17 in his bootleg series and it’s an amazing trip for Dylan fans through unreleased songs, different versions, different versions of albums, live stuff, etc. But in 1991, stuck in among the many songs on Volumes 1-3 was the mind-blowing Blind Willie McTell in honor of the blues legend, that Dylan had seemingly inexplicably left off his 1983 album Infidels. Infidels is one of my favorite Dylan albums, it’s a great record and as a creative person I have at least some inkling as to how such a mind works so maybe Dylan thought Blind Willie McTell might overwhelm Infidels and leave such great songs as Jokerman, I and I and so on, less appreciated. Hence, maybe his reasoning for holding it back. In any event, it eventually came out and, like many of the previously unreleased songs on The Who’s Odds & Sods, reveals the just damn goodness of these great artists, the depth of their creativity.
    12. Aerosmith, 3 Mile Smile . . . From the down, dirty, band is drugged and boozed out, in chaos and breaking up but they’re so good they still kick ass 1979 album Night In The Ruts. Zeppelin-ish which is interesting because Aerosmith’s so-called Toxic Twins of singer Steven Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry are often compared to, and indeed drew inspiration from, The Rolling Stones Glimmer Twins tandem of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. And Aerosmith is, obviously, Stones-like. But I think it was Perry, or someone around the band, or a rock critic, who once said that Aerosmith, at least early Aerosmith, is at least as much Zeppelin-ish as Stones-ish. I agree. Anyway, great track from a great album that critics dismissed but most Aero fans revere as the last great, kick butt, no outside writers or syrupy in pursuit of mainstream hits production, version of the band.
    13. The Tragically Hip, An Inch An Hour . . . Smokin’ track from one of my favorite Hip albums, the maybe dark but good because it is dark, 1994 album Day For Night. I haven’t played these Canadian boys in a long time, love ’em, especially their early stuff and up to about 2000 when as previously stated I think they either lost the ability to write compelling hooks, did so on purpose in pursuit of ‘art’, or became the late great Gord Downie’s backing band in his pursuit of the obscure. For those who suggest they’re Canada’s best ever band, again, I like loads of their stuff but, no. Ever hear of The Guess Who, just a for instance. Rush? Bands that actually people outside Canada know of? Not I guess that such things should matter, but, I think they do. It’s like a maybe good local artist in a city who nobody outside the city has ever heard of. You can talk management, promotion, this that as reasons why but bottom line, if you’re good enough, resonate enough, talent knows no boundaries and let’s be honest, in that sense the Hip, for whatever reason, was limited. Or limited themselves. In no way are they Canada’s best ever band, they were terrific but reality is their sales, even in Canada, were in sharp decline the latter part of their career because they were no longer releasing tunes with hooks that made you want to listen again. Anyway, enough rambling. My old pal 4C will appreciate me playing this one/The Hip.
    14. Midnight Oil, Best Of Both Worlds . . . From before Midnight Oil broke big outside Australia via the Diesel and Dust album, the Beds Are Burning and magnificent to me The Dead Heart singles. This one’s from 1984, three years before the worldwide breakthrough, kick ass metallic punk rock take no prisoners stuff from the Red Sails In The Sunset album. I well remember hearing in the mid-1980s about this ’emerging’ hard ass politically-fuelled band. Emerging to we North Americans, but they had already been kicking ass Down Under since 1978, my college days when I got into so much new stuff but somehow missed them. But, in fairness, that was pre-internet, you didn’t hear Midnight Oil on radio, and you didn’t come to things as quickly as we can now. In any event, Diesel and Dust came out, I finally got a Midnight Oil album, went back, and forward ever since, and been always rewarded.
    15. Romantics, A Night Like This . . . One of those, “this came up in the system while searching for something else, listened to it, cool, I like it, let’s play it”, songs. It’s often a fun way to fill out a set because there are obviously so many songs from which to choose. So, danger danger, lol, it’s the computer, AI, helping out which seems to be the current media-created bullshit fear. Hey, I’m a Battlestar Galactica fan; we create them, if they come for us, whatever, let’s see what happens. This is from the second Romantics album, National Breakout, released in 1980. They were coming off their hugely successful self-titled debut from earlier that year which featured the hit What I Like About You which seemed to be a much bigger hit than its actual chart placing, No. 49 on Billboard in the US. It probably did better in Canada, based on my recollections of hearing it in college days, but I can’t find any Canadian chart info.
    16. Dave Edmunds, Almost Saturday Night . . . Another that just came up via search but one can never get enough Dave Edmunds. And, soon, it will again be Saturday night. And yes, there’s quite a few ‘night’ songs in a Saturday morning show, but it’s of course intentional via my twisted mind.
    17. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Betty Lou’s Gettin’ Out Tonight . . . She’s a bad babe, Betty Lou. The song is from, maybe surprisingly, Seger’s only No. 1. album, Against The Wind. It dislodged Pink Floyd’s The Wall from that summit way back then, 1980.
    18. Ian Hunter, Overnight Angels . . . Title cut from the former Mott The Hoople main vocal man’s 1977 album. I’ve always liked the album cover, Hunter in caricature black and white, in full cry. Two years later he broke big as a solo artist with the brilliant You’re Never Alone With A Schizophrenic album, a title some doctors castigated him for because, more accurately, it should be You’re Never Alone As A Schizophrenic but whatever, it’s a great album.
    19. The Deviants, I’m Coming Home . . . Spooky stuff, acknowledged by the band as Velvet Underground inspired. See ya Monday night! Take care all, thanks for listening and following. 



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