I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: sometimes, when you have a song playing, another song pops up and says "play me next!". So you do, and while that one is playing, another song says "play me next". So you do. And so on. If you're lucky, it will go on that way for an entire show. If not, you take a break, back announce what you just played and then start the whole thing again. That, in a nutshell, is the essence of free-form rock radio programming. It doesn't happen all the time. Sometimes you have to come up with some sort of structure to get you through instead. But when it does, it's magic. This week's show is one of those.
Title: Neanderthal Man
Source: 45 RPM single
Sometime around the end of 1968 Eric Stewart, the former member of the Mindbenders who had provided the lead vocals for A Groovy Kind Of Love, along with songwriter Graham Gouldman and a guy named Peter Tattersill, went in together on a recording studio, renaming it Strawberry Studios in early 1969. A deal with American bubble-gum music impressarios Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz to book the studio for three months. This gave the trio the cash to upgrade their equipment. Working with fellow musicians Lol Godley and Kevin Creme, Stewart came up something called Neanderthal Man to test what they could do in the studio with the new equipment. The experimental piece came out so well that they decided to issue it as a single under the name Hotlegs. Over the next couple of years the trio, joined by Gouldman, began the build up the studio's clientele, which included, among others, Neil Sedaka. Finally, in 1974, the four of them decided to become a real band, taking the name 10cc. The rest is history.
Title: Soul Sacrifice
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Label: Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Although this is the original recording of Santana performing Soul Sacrifice at Woodstock, it does not sound quite the same as what you may have heard on the Woodstock original movie soundtrack album. That's because they doctored the recording a bit for the original soundtrack album, adding in audience sounds, including the crowd rain chant that seques into the piece on the original LP. They also edited out nearly five minutes of the actual performance. More recent copies of the movie itself sound even more different because the people doing the remastering of the film decided to record new versions of some of the percussion tracks. Now, thanks to the box set Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm, you can enjoy hearing exactly what the audience heard back in 1969.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: For A Thousand Mothers
Source: CD: Stand Up
Writer(s): Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
For years, the only copy I had of this track was a homemade cassette tape. As a result I was under the impression that this was actually two separate songs. Long silences will do that. Long silences will also trip automatic sensors on automated radio station equipment, which partially explains why such a great track has always gotten far less airplay than it deserves.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: The Crunge
Source: CD: Houses Of The Holy
Led Zeppelin channeling James Brown. 'Nuff said.
Artist: David Bowie
Source: CD: Sound+Vision Sampler (originally released as bonus track on CD reissue of Hunky Dory)
Writer: David Bowie
Year: Recorded 1971, released 1990
When CDs fist started coming out in the mid 1980s, the track lineups were the same as the album versions. One of the first companies to include bonus tracks was Ryko with its Sound+Vision series of remastered David Bowie albums in 1990. Bombers was an unissued 1971 recording that appeared for the first time on the remastered Hunky Dory CD.
Artist: Firesign Theatre
Title: Alien Invasion Top SecretTraining Film
Source: LP: Everything You Know Is Wrong
By 1974 the Firesign Theatre had declined somewhat in popularity, which is a shame, since that was the year they released one of their consistently funniest albums. Everything You Know Is Wrong is presented as the "latest in a series of mind-breaking records" by "Happy" Harry Cox, and Art Bell type that specializes in revealing hitherto unknown truths about paranormal phenomena. The Alien Invasion Top Secret Training Film (my title, not theirs), is an example of one of those revelations.
Artist: James Gang
Title: Standing In The Rain
Source: CD: Bang
Writer(s): Tommy Bolin
Tommy Bolin was already becoming well-known among his fellow musicians by the time he was asked to replace Dominic Troiano as the James Gang's lead guitarist. The band had pretty much disappeared from the radio after the departure of original lead guitarist Joe Walsh, and had been dropped by the ABC label following their fifth studio LP. Bolin's presence, however, helped secure the band a new contract with Atco Records, with their 6th LP, Bang, being released on the label in 1973. Although Roy Kenner provided most of the album's lead vocals, Bolin's presence dominated the album right from the first track, Standing In The Rain (a Bolin composition). Bolin would stick around for one more album, Miami, before departing for a solo career (and a brief stint as Ritchie Blackmore's replacement in Deep Purple) in 1975.
Artist: Savoy Brown
Title: A Hard Way To Go
Source: LP: Raw Sienna
Writer(s): Chris Youlden
A Hard Way To Go is the opening track of the fifth Savoy Brown album, Raw Sienna. One of the group's best albums, it was also the last to feature the lead vocals of Chris Youlden, who also wrote A Hard Way To Go. Sadly, Youlden's solo career has been less than stellar, although I suppose he makes a living at it.
Artist: Steely Dan
Title: The Caves Of Altamira
Source: CD: The Royal Scam
Label: MCA (original label: ABC)
Steely Dan had a reputation for bringing in some of the finest guest musicians available to help them on their albums. The Caves Of Altamire, from their fifth LP, The Royal Scam, is a good example. The piece, based on a book by Hans Baumann, features a tenor saxophone solo from John Klemmer.
Artist: Jeff Beck
Title: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
Source: LP: Wired
Writer(s): Charles Mingus
One of Jeff Beck's most celebrated tracks is his cover of the Charles Mingus classic Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. To this day, the tune is one of the centerpieces of Beck's stage repertoire.
Title: You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover
Source: CD: Cactus
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Label: Wounded Bird (original label: Atco)
Cactus was kind of an accidental supergroup formed in 1969, when plans for a new band featuring bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice from Vanilla Fudge, along with former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, had to be scrapped due to Beck being injured in a car accident. Instead, Bogert and Appice recruited guitarist Jim McCarty, a veteran of Mitch Ryder's Detroit Wheels who had more recently been working with the Buddy Miles Express, and vocalist Rusty Day from the Amboy Dukes to form Cactus. The group released their self-titled debut LP in 1970. The album featured a mix of originals and high-energy covers of blues classics such as Willie Dixon's You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover, which had originally been recorded by Bo Diddley. The Cactus version of the tune runs six and a half minutes and includes some wailing guitar work from McCarty, who would eventually leave the band over creative differences with the other members.
Artist: James Gang
Title: Funk #49
Source: LP: The Best Of Joe Walsh (orginally released on LP: James Gang Rides Again)
Following the release of their first LP, Yer' Album, the James Gang toured extensively, giving them little time to work up material for their followup album. Nonetheless, they managed to turn out a classic with the 1970 release James Gang Rides Again. The album starts with a song that all three band members agree was already worked out by the time they hit the studio, Funk #49. The tune is now considered the band's signature song, and was included in the Eagles' repertoire when guitarist Joe Walsh hooked up with that group in 1977.