So Old It’s New set list for Saturday, March 30, 2024 – on air 8-10 am ET

An all-instrumentals show, including a Pink Floyd song suite I put together, cheating a bit with Clare Torry’s improvised ‘wordless vocals’ on The Great Gig In The Sky, drawing from various of their albums. My track-by-track tales follow the bare-bones list.

1. The Allman Brothers Band, Instrumental Illness
2. The Alan Parsons Project, Lucifer
3. The Alan Parsons Project, In The Lap Of The Gods
4. Pink Floyd, The Great Gig In The Sky/Marooned/On The Run/Cluster One/Terminal Frost/Signs Of Life
5. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Hoedown
6. Jeff Beck, Beck’s Bolero
7. The Butterfield Blues Band, East West
8. Eagles, Journey Of The Sorcerer
9. Santana, Soul Sacrifice (live at Fillmore West, 1968)
10. Deep Purple, Son Of Alerik
11. Joe Jackson, Zemeo
12. Genesis, Los Endos

My track-by-track tales:

1. The Allman Brothers Band, Instrumental Illness . . . Twelve-minute track from the final studio album by the band, Hittin’ The Note, released in 2003, serves as the title cut for my all-instrumental song show. Interesting, maybe, for me it is, how the set lists can develop. I enjoy the process of putting things together, developing a flow, throwing the occasional deliberate curveball with a genre change from one song to another, etc. Not to overanalyze it but it’s revealing perhaps in terms of how our brains work, how one thought leads to another, and in this case, the decision to do an all-instrumentals show came from searching for Gram Parsons and Flying Burrito Brothers songs in our radio station’s computer system. Searching his name also brought up The Alan Parsons Project, so I listened to that group’s instrumental In The Lap Of The Gods and that was my eureka moment for this week. Out went Gram Parsons, for this show at least, in came instrumentals, and who better to start with than a band, the Allmans, well known for them. It’s a long list that includes In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed, Pegasus, Mountain Jam to name just a few. And, I’m throwing in a couple from The Alan Parsons Project, too.

2. The Alan Parsons Project, Lucifer . . . A hit in Europe, from the 1979 album Eve. I think most people might recognize the groove, soon enough you’re thinking ‘I know that tune”. The song has been used as the theme music to a German political affairs magazine show, Monitor. Damned If I Do was the hit from Eve in North America (No. 16 in Canada, No. 27 in the US).

3. The Alan Parsons Project, In The Lap Of The Gods . . . And here’s the random song that inspired the set, via the Gram Parsons search. It’s from Pyramid, the 1978 album that preceded Eve.

4. Pink Floyd, The Great Gig In The Sky/Marooned/On The Run/Cluster One/Terminal Frost/Signs Of Life . . . I’m cheating with The Great Gig In The Sky as the lead cut in a nearly half hour suite of Pink Floyd instrumentals I’ve put together, given the spoken word parts and, more so, session singer Clare Torry’s stunning, improvised ‘wordless vocals’ on the track from The Dark Side Of The Moon. Interestingly enough, it’s an album on which Alan Parsons served as a studio engineer and suggested Torry, who he had worked with before, as someone who could add something to keyboard player Richard Wright’s composition. The band had no lyrics for the tune, asked Torry if she could improvise something, and the rest is history. She was originally credited as the vocalist, but later sued and received an undisclosed settlement and a songwriting credit. Marooned, Cluster One (both from The Division Bell album), Terminal Frost and Signs Of Life (from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason) are from the post-Roger Waters, David Gilmour-led version of Pink Floyd while On The Run is also from The Dark Side Of The Moon.

5. Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Hoedown . . . An arrangment of a composition by Aaron Copland, who did the music for the ballet Rodeo, which premiered in 1942 and on which his version, titled Hoe-Down, appeared. ELP released their interpretation, with Copland’s permission and credit to him, on their 1972 album Trilogy.

6. Jeff Beck, Beck’s Bolero . . . Writing space, even though it’s unlimited on the web 🙂 does not permit all the insights and intrigue about this track which finally appeared on album on Beck’s seminal 1968 release Truth. But the truth about the track itself is rather murky and has taken many twists and turns over the years. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame wrote it, or Jeff Beck might have, or they both did, and either Page, Beck or other people produced it. Gee, Jimmy Page involved in disputes or at least questions about credits? Nah, can’t be. See Led Zeppelin and plagiarism. Oh, also, drummer Keith Moon of The Who, credited as “You Know Who” played on it, so did noted session pianist Nicky Hopkins and future Zeppelin bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones and for a while some combination of those guys might have become the first lineup of Led Zeppelin. And Who bassist John Entwistle was also hanging around the studio at the time. Worth reading up on. As for the song itself, you know it, you love it, you’ll know you know it when you hear it.

7. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, East West . . . Another piece that books, or at least long essays, have been written about. It was apparently inspired by an LSD trip taken by guitarist Mike Bloomfield and incorporates elements of jazz, what’s now called ‘world’ music and psychedelic acid rock. It’s the title cut of the second Butterfield band album, released in 1966. It truly is quite the trip.

8. Eagles, Journey Of The Sorcerer . . . The long and winding road that is the root of this instrumental show brings us back, sort of, to Gram Parsons and The Flying Burrito Brothers. That’s because Bernie Leadon, who had been in the Burritos along with Parsons before joining the Eagles, wrote this piece that appeared on the One Of These Nights album, after which Leadon left the band, being replaced by Joe Walsh of solo and James Gang fame. Leadon did return to tour with the Eagles from 2013-15.

9. Santana, Soul Sacrifice (live at Fillmore West, 1968) . . . Not the famous 1969 Woodstock performance that made Santana stars but a 14-plus minute version from an earlier gig, recorded in December of 1968 on the band’s home turf of San Francisco, eight months before the first studio album was released. The performance finally saw physical copy release in 1997 on the Live At The Fillmore 1968 album.

10. Deep Purple, Son Of Alerik . . . Bluesy 10-minute guitar showcase for Ritchie Blackmore with tasteful input from keyboardist Jon Lord, apparently about a Visigoth king, more commonly spelled Alaric. It’s from the Perfect Strangers album in 1984, the first reunion record released by the celebrated so-called Mark II version of Purple – Blackmore, Lord, singer Ian Gillan, bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice. An edited version was the B side to the Perfect Strangers single and, later, the full version was added as a bonus track on CD re-releases of the album.

11. Joe Jackson, Zemeo . . . Extended moody piece from the excellent Mike’s Murder movie soundtrack album, released in 1983. The movie, starring Debra Winger and about the seedy side of the Los Angeles entertainment world, bombed at the box office. It had a tortured history, was revamped before release and most of Jackson’s music was replaced with a score done by John Barry, noted for his James Bond movie music and theme. But the soundtrack album is to me one of Jackson’s finest and is essentially a companion piece to his 1982 album Night and Day, although he later released Night and Day II, in 2000.

12. Genesis, Los Endos . . . Ending the show with the final track, appropriately titled, from the first album, A Trick Of The Tail, Genesis did after the departure of lead singer Peter Gabriel. That left drummer Phil Collins, somewhat reluctantly at first and surprising as it may seem now, to eventually take the microphone as new frontman after new singer auditions proved fruitless. Collins sings a barely audible snippet from Supper’s Ready, the epic song from the Gabriel era, on the fadeout as a tribute to the original lead singer.

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