So Old It’s New set list for Saturday, April 27, 2024 – on air 8-10 am ET

My track-by-track tales follow the bare-bones list.

1. R.E.M., The Wake-Up Bomb
2. ZZ Top, Bedroom Thang
3. Talking Heads, Popsicle
4. Midnight Oil, No Time For Games
5. Roxy Music, Beauty Queen
6. Judas Priest, Never Satisfied
7. Joe Jackson, We Can’t Live Together
8. The Stone Roses, Love Spreads
9. The Rolling Stones, Dirty Work
10. Jason and The Scorchers, 19th Nervous Breakdown
11. Stray, All In Your Mind
12. Steve Earle, Snake Oil
13. AC/DC, Spoilin’ For A Fight
14. Paul McCartney/Wings, Soily (live, from Wings Over America)
15. Leslie West, Blind Man
16. Queen, The Hitman
17. Guns N’ Roses, Locomotive (Complicity)
18. Grateful Dead, Terrapin Station
19. Alvin Lee, Can’t Stop
20. Black Sabbath, Into The Void

My track-by-track tales:

1. R.E.M., The Wake-Up Bomb . . . 8 a.m. on a Saturday, the show’s starting, rise and shine, here’s your alarm clock. From the band’s New Adventures In Hi-Fi album, released in 1996. It was the last with the band’s founding drummer Bill Berry, who retired in 1997, became a farmer, then returned to the music industry in 2022 by forming the band The Bad Ends with various musicians from Atlanta and R.E.M.’s original home base in Athens, Georgia. The Bad Ends’ debut album, The Power and the Glory, was released in early 2023.

2. ZZ Top, Bedroom Thang . . . Sticking with the bedroom and what might happen there. From ZZ’s first album, called – wait for it – ZZ Top’s First Album.

3. Talking Heads, Popsicle . . . More bedroom activity. Listen to/read the lyrics. As for the music, it’s a funky piece recorded during sessions for 1983’s Speaking In Tongues album but not officially released until the 1992 compilation Popular Favorites 1976–1992: Sand in the Vaseline.

4. Midnight Oil, No Time For Games . . . “Let’s rock!” is how lead singer Peter Garrett introduces the song, shortly after the opening guitar riff. Then, they rock. Early Oils, from their 1980 EP, Bird Noises.

5. Roxy Music, Beauty Queen . . . A somewhat spooky ballad with touches of progressive and art rock. But that’s Roxy Music for you, an often intoxicating listen. This one’s from the band’s second album, 1973’s For Your Pleasure. It’s the second and final one to feature synthesizer and sound effects specialist Brian Eno – who went on to work with and/or produce such artists as David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, U2 and Talking Heads among many others – as a member of the band.

6. Judas Priest, Never Satisfied . . . Early Priest, from the first album, Rock A Rolla, released in 1974. It’s heavy, but more blues-rock heavy than the fully metallic direction the band later took.

7. Joe Jackson, We Can’t Live Together . . . “We can’t live together, but we can’t stay apart.” Which might sum up some if not many relationships. This one’s from Big World, an atypical, perhaps, live album JJ released in 1986. What differentiates the record from most live albums is you don’t hear much if any applause or crowd reaction. Jackson’s band had road-tested the material in rehearsals and club gigs but as stated in the album’s liner notes, once recording day came, the audience at the Roundabout Theatre in New York City was asked to keep as quiet as possible, with the band recorded directly, no mixing or overdubbing possible as is the usual case in how most albums are put together.

8. The Stone Roses, Love Spreads . . . I don’t listen to The Stone Roses much. When I do, it’s this song, one of those cases when a good song is a good song is a good song no matter who it’s by or whether you’re a particular fan of a band or artist. Infectious guitar riff. Yet while it was a big hit in some places, like home base the UK where it was the band’s highest-charting single at No. 2, it didn’t do huge business in many other places, like Canada, where it topped out at No. 67, No. 55 in the US.

9. The Rolling Stones, Dirty Work . . . Rocking title cut, biting lyrics, from the band’s 1986 album. It was critically panned, the band was on the verge of breaking up during the so-called “World War III” period when chief songwriters Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were at odds, even some fans (I think overly influenced by critics’ reviews) dismiss it without perhaps really listening to it. It is an ‘angry’ album, as I recall at least one critic, Peter Goddard of the Toronto Star, terming it when it came out, but he was talking about the music, not band relationships, in his positive review. He was right. It is ‘angry.’ And aggressive. That’s also why it’s good, critics be damned. But to each their own, of course, in a subjective situation like rating music.

10. Jason and The Scorchers, 19th Nervous Breakdown . . . Scorching, er, cover of the Rolling Stones’ 1966 hit single. The Scorchers’ version was released on their 1986 album Still Standing.

11. Stray, All In Your Mind . . . I’ve told this story before, but was long ago so I’m going to repeat myself. Years back, a friend sends me a message on Facebook. “You have to get this!” “This’ being a CD compilation called I’m A Freak Baby: A Journey Through The British Heavy Psych & Hard Rock Underground Scene 1968-72. So I got it, and the two subsequent releases in the series that started with the debut compilation in 2016, and I’ve done shows using those compilations and will again. The first compilation is how I got into Stray, to the extent that I quickly bought a 2-CD compilation of theirs. Initially active from 1966-77, Stray had a couple reunions during the 1980s and 1990s and at last look, reunited again in 2023 – with all the original members, which is maybe surprising these days – with a new album, About Time. They’ve picked up where they left off with their hard rocking psychedelic and sometimes progressive sound. Iron Maiden covered All In Your Mind as the B-side of its 1990 single Holy Smoke from Maiden’s No Prayer For The Dying album.

12. Steve Earle, Snake Oil . . .From Copperhead Road, the 1988 album (and title cut hit single) that brought Earle’s music to a wider audience. Earle called the album the first blend of heavy metal and bluegrass. A good rocker, Snake Oil, with a fun part coming at the very end: “I knew there was a first-taker on this album somewhere!’ Earle exclaims.

13. AC/DC, Spoilin’ For A Fight . . . Typical AC/DC, nice guitar licks, great opening riff, the usual formula which, as I’ve said before, AC/DC does so well so, why change? That’s the magic, at least if you like the band. If you don’t, then it’s the same old thing, and I can see it, but the band’s in on the joke. “I’m sick to death of people saying we’ve made 11 albums that sound exactly the same,” guitarist Angus Young said some years ago. “In fact, we’ve made 12 albums that sound exactly the same.” Which is not really true, of course, if you listen. This one’s from the 2008 album Black Ice, which topped charts worldwide.

14. Paul McCartney/Wings, Soily (live, from Wings Over America) . . . The band is on fire on this rocker. In fact, it’s prompted me to pull the full album out and listen to it. Again.

15. Leslie West, Blind Man . . . Heavy, bluesy rock from West’s 1969 album, titled Mountain, after which West and bassist/producer Felix Pappalardi formed the band Mountain, of Mississippi Queen, etc. fame.

16. Queen, The Hitman . . . A rocker from Innuendo, the 1991 album that harkened back to the band’s 1970s sound and was the last recorded by Queen while singer Freddie Mercury was still alive.

17. Guns N’ Roses, Locomotive (Complicity) . . . Epic near-nine-minute track from the Use Your Illusion II album, released with its companion piece Illusion I on Sept. 17, 1991. A riff rocker, fine guitar solos by Slash eventually settling into a piano-led coda.

18. Grateful Dead, Terrapin Station . . . Multi-part, 16-minute plus suite and title track from the Dead’s 1977 album. Usually, they’d take a three-minute studio cut like Dark Star and extend it in concert to 23 minutes, as the band did on 1969’s Live/Dead, which turned that song into one of their signatures after the 1968 studio single stiffed. For Terrapin Station, they figured, why wait for the concert, let’s extend it in studio.

19. Alvin Lee, Can’t Stop . . . Nice groove tune from the late great Ten Years After axeman, issued on his 1981 album RX5 under the moniker of The Alvin Lee Band.

20. Black Sabbath, Into The Void . . . There’s the Tony Iommi guitar riffs, Geezer Butler bass lines and Bill Ward drumming that hit you on, especially, the early Black Sabbath stuff like this one from 1971’s Master Of Reality album. Then on some songs in particular, like Into The Void, there’s Ozzy Osbourne’s vocals, often coming in seemingly sideways from parts unknown is how I’d describe it. Creepily effective.

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