Eric Clapton – Cocaine

This song has been covered by so many bar bands that the smell of beer comes with the song.

This was written and originally recorded by no other than J.J. Cale. Clapton gave Cale a huge boost he recorded Cale’s song “After Midnight” in 1970 and released it as his first solo single. This helped earn Cale a record deal.

This was on Clapton’s album Slowhand. The version that was a hit was the live version from Just One Night. 

Thighs Wide Shut | Tag Archive | No Snow No Show

In his autobiography Clapton, Clapton said when he recorded this song he had kicked a serious heroin habit but was filling his body with cocaine and alcohol. His attitude at the time was that he could manage his addiction and quit at any time…he just didn’t want to; that’s why he could sing so objectively about a drug that was consuming him.

After he cleaned up, Clapton removed this song from his setlist because he thought it gave the wrong message about cocaine use. He started playing it again after he rearranged the song to include the line, “That dirty cocaine” into the choruses.

The song peaked at #30 in the Billboard 100 and #3 in Canada in 1980.

 

From Songfacts

When Clapton was looking for songs for his Slowhand album, he once again looked to Cale, and chose “Cocaine,” which became the first song on the set. Clapton would later cover Cale’s song “Travelin’ Light,” and in 2006, the pair teamed up to record an album together called The Road To Escondido.

The lyrics are about drug addiction, something Clapton knew quite well. As he When he finally did get off drugs and alcohol, he had to learn how to make music while sober, which was a big transition as everything sounded very rough to him. He also realized how damaging his addiction was to himself and others on a personal level, and became active in helping others get through their addictions; in 1998 he opened the Crossroads rehab center in Antigua, where clients go through a 29 day wellness-centered approach to treatment.

During the Slowhand sessions, Clapton and his band got to see a J.J. Cale concert, and Cale brought Clapton on stage to duet on this song.

This is one of Clapton’s most famous songs, but the studio version was never released as a single. Clapton included the song on his 1980 live album Just One Night (Live At Budokhan), and the version from this show was released as the B-side of “Tulsa Time,” which was also taken from the concert. This single charted at #30 in the US.

When J.J. Cale wrote this song, he envisioned it as a jazz number. His producer, Audie Ashworth, convinced him to make it a rocker, which required some overdubbing by Cale, since he played very simple guitar parts. Cale did three single-string overdubs of the riff. He played the bass himself, but had session pro Reggie Young play the guitar solo. Clapton’s version has a much more complex guitar line and vocals that are more prominent in the mix.

After Clapton recorded this song, J.J. Cale saw many new faces at his concerts, but many of them expected him to sound like Clapton. Cale didn’t conform, and took a more laid-back approach to his next album, 5, which was released in 1979. There were no hits on that one, although a Santana cover of one of the cuts, “The Sensitive Kind,” made #56 in 1981.

Cocaine

If you want to hang out, you’ve gotta take her out, cocaine
If you want to get down, get down on the ground, cocaine

She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie,
Cocaine

If you got that lose, you want to kick them blues, cocaine
When your day is done, and you want to ride on cocaine

She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie,
Cocaine

If your day is gone, and you want to ride on, cocaine
Don’t forget this fact, you can’t get it back, cocaine

She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie,
Cocaine

She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie,
Cocaine

Rolling Stones – I’ve Got The Blues—–Sunday Album Cut

This is a perfect song for a slow Sunday…kick back and enjoy this 1971 classic song by the Stones.

Mick Jagger wrote the lyrics about his breakup with Marianne Faithfull.

Bobby Keys played the saxophone on this track and Jim Price, who also came up with the horn arrangements, played the trumpet. They both joined The Stones for their 1970 European tour. Billy Preston also played the gospel organ on this track.

Sticky Fingers was the first album The Stones recorded on their own label and the first in which Mick Taylor played guitar on nearly all the tracks. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, and #1 in Canada, and the UK.

Many consider this and Exile on Mainstreet their best albums.

I’ve Got The Blues

As I stand by your flame
I get burned once again
Feelin’ low down, I’m blue

As I sit by the fire
Of your warm desire
I’ve got the blues for you, yeah

Every night you’ve been away
I’ve sat down and I have prayed
That you’re safe in the arms of a guy
Who will bring you alive
Won’t drag you down with abuse

In the silk sheet of time
I will find peace of mind
Love is a bed full of blues

And I’ve got the blues for you
And I’ve got the blues for you
And I’ll bust my brains out for you
And I’ll tear my hair out
I’m gonna tear my hair out just for you
If you don’t believe what I’m singing
At three o’clock in the morning, babe, well
I’m singing my song for you

Lynyrd Skynyrd – The Ballad of Curtis Loew

Curtis Loew is not the name of an actual person from Ronnie Van Zant’s life. Curtis Loew is a composite of different people, including Skynyrd lead guitarist Ricky Medlocke’s grandfather, Shorty Medlocke. Despite the song’s lyrics, Shorty was not black.

When Ed King was writing the liner notes for the Second Helping album, he decided to name the character after Loew’s Theater thus giving an old bluesman a Jewish name.

Personally, I think it’s one of their best songs. It has an old feel about it and the slide is perfect.

Many bands go into the studio without complete songs written and work on them in there. The two bands I’ve read about that were ready when they walked into a studio were this band and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Ronnie Van Zant ran the band with an iron fist and they were rehearsed like crazy. If someone missed a note on stage…it would not be a happy time afterward.

This song was on their second album Second Helping. Their first two albums were great and the next few dipped a bit but they came back strong with their last studio album Street Survivors.

Since the song mentions a dobro…A dobro is a resonator guitar with a mechanical amplifier. It was originally released in 1927. Gibson now owns the rights to the dobro guitar.

Ref:# 00559 - This is a very beautiful 1973 Dobro Model M-66S (S ...

They had many great album cuts and this is one of them. It never was released as a single but remains on the playlist of classic rock stations.

The Ballad of Curtis Loew

Well, I used to wake the mornin’
Before the rooster crowed
Searchin’ for soda bottles
To get myself some dough
Brought ’em down to the corner
Down to the country store
Cash ’em in, and give my money
To a man named Curtis Loew

Old Curt was a black man
With white curly hair
When he had a fifth of wine
He did not have a care
He used to own an old Dobro
Used to play it ‘cross his knee
I’d give old Curt my money
He’d play all day for me

Play me a song
Curtis Loew, Curtis Loew
Well, I got your drinkin’ money
Tune up your Dobro
People said he was useless
Them people all were fools
‘Cause Curtis Loew was the finest picker
To ever play the blues

He looked to be sixty
And maybe I was ten
Mama used to whoop me
But I’d go see him again
I’d clap my hands, stomp my feet
Try to stay in time
He’d play me a song or two
Then take another drink of wine

Play me a song
Curtis Loew, Curtis Loew
Well, I got your drinkin’ money
Tune up your Dobro
People said he was useless
Them people all were fools
‘Cause Curtis Loew was the finest picker
To ever play the blues

Yes, sir

On the day old Curtis died
Nobody came to pray
Ol’ preacher said some words
And they chunked him in the clay
Well, he lived a lifetime
Playin’ the black man’s blues
And on the day he lost his life
That’s all he had to lose

Play me a song
Curtis Loew, hey Curtis Loew
I wish that you was here so
Everyone would know
People said he was useless
Them people all were fools
‘Cause Curtis you’re the finest picker
To ever play the blues

Kinks – (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman

I hope everyone had a great July 4th!

I liked every era of The Kinks but I first bought their current records in the late half of the 70s and early eighties. This song was on the album Low Budget released in 1978.

This song was written by Kinks singer/songwriter Ray Davies, he called this “a very political song about people going on strike.”

Clive Davis who ran  Arista Records wanted the Kinks to do a club-friendly song.

The Kinks didn’t love disco but it was huge at the time. They found a groove they liked and infused it with their sound. Davies sings about how an ordinary person has to be Superman to survive in these difficult times…kinda applies today also.

Ray Davies:  “It was kind of a joke, taking the piss out of Clive wanting us to do a club-friendly record.”

The song peaked at #41 in the Billboard 100 and #43 in Canada in 1978.

Dave Davies:  “I think that one [‘Superman’] was, not the biggest mistake, but it could’ve been one of the biggest mistakes we made. I remember I had quite a difficult time with Ray while we were making the record, because I didn’t like the direction it was going. It was a strange time for music in general, anyway. The fact that it’s funny, that it was a humorous song, saved it. I don’t feel bad about that song at all, but it could have been a big mistake.”

The live version is a little more guitar based than the studio version.

(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman

Woke up this morning, started to sneeze
I had a cigarette and a cup of tea
I looked in the mirror what did I see
A nine stone weakling with knobbly knees
I did my knees bend press ups touch my toes
I had another sneeze and I blew my nose
I looked in the mirror at my pigeon chest
I had to put on my clothes because it made me depressed
Surely there must be a way
For me to change the shape I’m in
Dissatisfied is what I am
I want to be a better man

Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman I want to be like superman
I want to be like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman

Woke up this morning, what did I see
A big black cloud hanging over me
I switched on the radio and nearly dropped dead
The news was so bad that I fell out of bed
There was a gas strike, oil strike, lorry strike, bread strike
Got to be a superman to survive
Gas bills, rent bills, tax bills, phone bills
I’m such a wreck but I’m staying alive

(Look in the paper, what do I see,
Robbery, violence, insanity.)

Hey girl we’ve got to get out of this place
There’s got to be something better than this
I need you, but I hate to see you this way
If I were superman then we’d fly away
I’d really like to change the world
And save it from the mess it’s in
I’m too weak, I’m so thin
I’d like to fly but I can’t even swim

Superman superman I want to fly like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman wish I could fly like superman
Superman superman I want to be like superman
Superman superman I want to fly like superman

Bruce Springsteen – Independence Day

But they can’t touch me now
And you can’t touch me now
They ain’t gonna do to me
What I watched them do to you

Great song by Bruce Springsteen that was written and recorded in 1977 for the Darkness on the Edge of Town album…but Bruce later included it on The River. They Ain’t Gonna Do To Me What I Watched Them Do To You. Lines like this keep me coming back to Bruce. This is one of the strongest songs on that album and one of my favorites of Springsteen.

According to Bruce’s autobiography and his song introduction, this song is about Springsteen’s relationship with his dad. They didn’t get along, but later in life, Bruce realized his father worked very hard to support his family and came to appreciate his efforts. Bruce can also thank his dad for inspiring the rebellious spirit that led him to follow his dreams. Determined not to work a typical factory type job like his dad, Springsteen followed his dreams and made music for a living.

Bruce Springsteen: “I could never talk to my old man, he could never talk to me, my mother couldn’t talk to him. So I was glad when I finally got old enough and I started to live alone. Then for about ten years I never saw my folks that much. And just recently we came back from Europe and I got a phone call a night or two later that my father had gotten sick.

I went out to California where he was in the hospital there. I started thinkin’ on the way about all the things that I always wanted to say to him and I never said and I always figured, well, someday we’ll sit down and we’ll talk about why it was the way it was when I was young, talk about why he felt the way he did. But the years go by and it never comes up. I guess it feels like a dangerous subject or something. But he got sick and I realized that he was gettin’ old and that if I had somethin’ to say to him, I should say it now.”

 

 

Independence Day

Well Papa go to bed now it’s getting late
Nothing we can say is gonna change anything now
I’ll be leaving in the morning from Saint Mary’s Gate
We wouldn’t change this thing even if we could somehow
‘Cause the darkness of this house has got the best of us
There’s a darkness in this town that’s got us too
But they can’t touch me now
And you can’t touch me now
They ain’t gonna do to me
What I watched them do to you

So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day
All down the line
Just say goodbye it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day this time

Now I don’t know what it always was with us
We chose the words, and yeah, we drew the lines
There was just no way this house could hold the two of us
I guess that we were just too much of the same kind

Well say goodbye it’s Independence Day
It’s Independence Day all boys must run away
So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
All men must make their way come Independence Day

Now the rooms are all empty down at Frankie’s joint
And the highway she’s deserted down to Breaker’s Point
There’s a lot of people leaving town now
Leaving their friends, their homes
At night they walk that dark and dusty highway all alone

Well Papa go to bed now it’s getting late
Nothing we can say can change anything now
Because there’s just different people coming down here now
And they see things in different ways
And soon everything we’ve known will just be swept away

So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
Papa now I know the things you wanted that you could not say
But won’t you just say goodbye it’s Independence Day
I swear I never meant to take those things away

 

 

Van Morrison – Almost Independence Day

The intro to this song is worth the price of admission. Van Morrison and guitar player Ron Elliot are trading guitar licks and then Lee Charlton joins with some great jazz-influenced drums. Van has said it was written in a stream of consciousness style. The recording was more of a jam than a thought out rehearsed process. It’s easy to get lost in this song.

Morrison released this song and album Saint Dominic’s Preview in 1972. I “found” Van in the 80s. I had heard Domino, Blue Money, and Wavelength (on SNL) when I was a kid but first heard “Brown Eyed Girl” when I was 18 years old. Why it took me so long I don’t know but after that, I had to know everything about him.

I was lucky to see him in concert in 2006 at the Ryman. If you ever get the chance to see him…don’t pass it up. His voice is even better in concert than on record and that is saying something.

Van Morrison: I picked up the phone and the operator said, “You have a phone call from Oregon. It’s Mister So-and-So.” It was a guy from the group Them. And then there was nobody on the other end. So out of that I started writing, “I can hear Them calling, ‘way from Oregon.” That’s where that came from.

Almost Independence Day

I can hear them calling way from Oregon
I can hear them calling way from Oregon
And it’s almost Independence Day

Me and my lady, we go steppin’ (we go steppin’)
We go steppin’ way out on China town
All to buy some Hong Kong silver
And the wadin’ rushing river (we go steppin’)
We go out on the, out on the town tonight

I can hear the fireworks
I can hear the fireworks
I can hear the fireworks
Up and down the, up and down the San Francisco bay
Up and down the, up and down the San Francisco bay
I can hear them echoing
I can hear, I can hear them echoing
Up and down the, up and down the San Francisco bay

I can see the boats in the harbor (way across the harbor)
Lights shining out (lights shining out)
And a cool, cool night
And a cool, cool night across the harbor
I can hear the fireworks
I can hear the people, people shouting out
I can hear the people shouting out (up and down the line)
And it’s almost Independence Day

I can see the lights way out in the harbor
And the cool, and the cool, and the cool night
And the cool, and the cool, and the cool night breeze
And I feel the cool night breeze
And I feel, feel, feel the cool night breeze
And the boats go by
And it’s almost Independence Day
And it’s almost, and it’s almost Independence Day

Way up and down the line
Way up and down the line…

Mad and Cracked Magazine…a quick look

To those that it applies…Happy Independence Day! I’ll have a couple of songs coming up related to Independence Day.

I never got into comic books like Marvel or DC…I would save up my allowance for Cracked and Mad magazine…and records of course. Mad Magazine was by far the most popular out of all of the satire comic magazines. William Gaines was the publisher of Mad magazine and was brilliant.

William Gaines – sendingdeadletters

1952 – Present…now you an only get Mad from Comic Book Shops or order it. The new editions consist of mostly material from their archive.

Cracked was known as the poor man’s Mad but I still liked it and the magazines shared some writers and artists through the years. I bought my first Cracked Magazine when Mad was sold out but I never missed an issue after that.

1958-2007 Now the name is alive on a website but no longer a comic.

Alfred E Newman and Sylvester P. Smythe

Sylvester P. Smythe | The Belated NerdSylvester P. Smythe | Cracked Wiki | Fandom

Don Martin was my favorite artist. He was one of Mad’s most famous artists. He was there from 1956 to 1988. He was known as “Mads Maddest Artist” and then moved to Cracked and was jokingly known as “Cracked’s Crackedest Artist.”

Fellow Cracked artist Dan Clowes: “As far as I could tell, he was happy,  don’t think he ever seemed to notice that Mad was respected, whereas Cracked was loathed.”

Completely Mad Don Martin TPB (1974 Warner Books) A MAD Big Book ...

Cracked #235 May 1988 cover by Don Martin | Mad magazine, Vintage ...

 

Devo – Peek-a-Boo!

Happy Friday! This song will get it off to a…strange start. But strange is good.

Ok…there is NO one like Devo. No one before or after… they were one original band. They are the best at what they do because no one does what they do but them. Am I a big fan of Devo? No, but sometimes just to break the monotony I play one…nothing breaks the monotony like Devo.

I’ve told this story before but…I showed my son the SNL clip of Devo (De-Evolution) when he was around 10-12 years old and I looked around at his confused/scared look… his mouth was hung open. He asked me slowly…Dad, what was that? Son, that was Devo…it still works…whatever IT is.

The song was written by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale. The song was produced by Roy Thomas Baker…the same producer that produced Queen, The Cars, Alice Cooper, and Cheap Trick to name a few.

It was on the album that peaked at #47 in the Billboard Charts and #10 in New Zealand. With this album, they moved away from guitars to all synthesizers which angered some fans but the band had been saying that was their goal.

DevoOhNoItsDevo.jpg

It was released in 1982 and peaked at #13 in the US Billboard Bubbling Under The Hot100 Chart.

 

Peek-a-Boo!

Peekaboo
I can see you
And I know what you doSo put your hands on your face
And cover up your eyes
Don’t look until I signal
PeekabooHa ha ha ha
Ha ha ha ha
Peekaboo

The way that we weren’t
Is what we’ll become
So please pay attention
While I show you some
Of what’s about to happen

Peekaboo
I know what you do
Cause I do it too

So put your hands on your face
And cover up your eyes
Don’t look until I signal
Peekaboo

Ha ha ha ha
Ha ha ha ha
Peekaboo

Laugh if you want to or say you don’t care
If you can not see it, you think it’s not there
It doesn’t work that way

Peekaboo
I can see you
And I know what you do

So put your hands on your face
And cover up your eyes
Don’t look until I signal
Peekaboo

Ha ha ha ha
Ha ha ha ha
Peekaboo

ZZ Top – La Grange

The dynamics of this song makes it. When La Grange kicks in…it kicks in with a vengeance. The song has an interesting back story.

This song is about a certain house of ill repute. It was called “The Chicken Ranch,” or Miss Edna’s Boarding House in La Grange Texas, it was probably the oldest establishment in Texas, catering to the oldest profession.

All good things must come to an end. In 1973 Marvin Zindler, a reporter from KTRK-TV in Houston decided to make a real name for himself and started bringing media attention to the Ranch. He claimed his motive for exposing the Ranch was for the Texas Department of Public Safety and local police to combat organized crime and corruption at the Ranch. Governor Dolph Briscoe was forced to close the establishment due to excessive media coverage.

A very successful musical was written about the Ranch. Edna herself had a silent role in the Broadway production which later turned into a movie, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”.

A footnote to the story… Two lawyers from Houston bought the building and land and moved the main house to Dallas in 1977. It opened as The Chicken Ranch restaurant in September of 1977, with Miss Edna as the hostess. The building and furniture have since been auctioned off and the remainder of the original house has been left on the property in very poor condition. Edna later died in 2012 in Phoenix, AZ at the age 84.

The song peaked at #41 in the Billboard 100 and #34 in Canada in 1974. It was on the album Tres Hombres.

Billy Gibbons: “‘La Grange’ was one of the rites of passage for a young man. It was a cathouse, way back in the woods. The simplicity of that song was part of the magic – only two chords. And the break coming out of the solo – those notes are straight Robert Johnson. He did it as a shuffle. I just dissected the notes.”

ZZ Top bass player Dusty Hill: “Did you ever see the movie, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? That’s what it’s about. I went there when I was 13. A lot of boys in Texas, when it’s time to be a guy, went there and had it done. Fathers took their sons there.

You couldn’t cuss in there. You couldn’t drink. It had an air of respectability. Miss Edna wouldn’t stand for no bulls–t. That’s the woman that ran the place, and you know she didn’t look like Dolly Parton, either. I’ll tell you, she was a mean-looking woman. But oil field workers and senators would both be there. The place had been open for over 100 years, and then this a–hole decides he’s going to do an exposé and close it. And he stirred up so much s–t that it had to close.

La Grange is a little bitty town, and little towns in Texas are real conservative. But they fought against it. They didn’t want it closed, because it was like a landmark. It was on a little ranch outside of town, the Chicken Ranch. Anyway, we wrote this song and put it out, and it was out maybe three months before they closed it. It pissed me off. It was a whorehouse, but anything that lasts a hundred years, there’s got to be a reason.”

La Grange

Rumour spreadin’ ’round
In that Texas town
About that shack outside La Grange
And you know what I’m talkin’ about
Just let me know if you wanna go
To that home out on the range
They got a lot of nice girls

Have mercy
A haw, haw, haw, haw, a haw
A haw, haw, haw

Well, I hear it’s fine
If you got the time
And the ten to get yourself in
A hmm, hmm
And I hear it’s tight
Most ev’ry night
But now I might be mistaken
Hmm, hmm, hmm

Have mercy

The Box Tops – The Letter

Alex Chilton was sixteen when he recorded this song for the Box Tops. The Box Tops formed in Memphis Tennessee in 1967. They would go to have seven top 40 hits. This one was their most successful single. It peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, and #5 in the UK in 1967.

After the Box Tops, Alex Chilton would help form one of the best ever power pop bands of all time that no one ever heard of… Big Star. One of my all-time favorite bands.

Nashville songwriter Wayne Carson Thompson wrote the song after his father gave him the line, “Give me a ticket for an aeroplane.”

When the group recorded this they still did not have a name. One band member suggested…”Let’s have a contest and everybody can send in 50 cents and a box top.” Producer Dan Penn then dubbed them The Box Tops.

Rolling Stone magazine included the Box Tops original at number 372 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”

The band was known for this song, Cry Like A Baby, and my favorite Soul Deep.

From Songfacts

This song is about a guy who gets a letter from his former love telling him that she wants him back, and the guy wants to fly out and see her immediately. 

Thompson gave the song to The Box Tops on the recommendation of his friend, Chips Moman, who ran ARS Studios and liked the sound of an unnamed band headed by then-16-year-old Alex Chilton, who auditioned for him in 1967.

Thompson played guitar on the recording. He didn’t like the singing, believing the lead vocal was too husky, and wasn’t fond of the production either. The addition of the jet sound “didn’t make sense” to him. When producer Dan Penn added the airplane sound to the recording, Wayne Carson Thompson clearly thought that Penn had lost his mind. He hadn’t – several weeks later it became one of the biggest records of the ’60s, and The Box Tops went on to score with a few other Thompson compositions, including their follow-up release, “Neon Rainbow” (#24, 1967), “Soul Deep” (a #18 hit in 1969) and “You Keep Tightening Up On Me” (their last chart hit, which peaked at #74 in 1970). A few years later, Thompson won a Grammy for cowriting the hit “Always On My Mind.”

At 1:58, the Box Tops’ version of this was the last #1 hit to be shorter than two minutes in length.

Cover versions were US hits for two other artists, The Arbors (#20 in 1969 – arrangement by Joe Scott) and Joe Cocker (#7 in 1970). Cocker’s version is a live recording featuring Leon Russell; a studio version appears on his album Mad Dogs & Englishmen.

The title is never sung in this song: his baby writes him “a letter.”

The Letter

[Chorus]
Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane
Ain’t got time to take a fast train
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter

I don’t care how much money I gotta spend
Got to get back to baby again
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
My baby, just-a wrote me a letter

Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn’t live without me no more
Listen mister, can’t you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more
Anyway, yeah!

[Chorus]

Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn’t live without me no more
Listen mister, can’t you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more
Anyway, yeah!

[Chorus]

Hawkwind – Silver Machine

I’ve always liked Lemmy Kilmister. He was a good bass player and very aggressive on vocals. He also gave some of the best interviews I’ve ever heard. He is best known for forming Motörhead in 1975. He joined Hawkwind in 1971.

He also was a roadie for Jimi Hendrix and went frequently to see the Beatles at the Cavern Club before they hit.

Hawkwind was a UK psychedelic heavy metal band…that often sang about science fiction. They were also called a Space Rock Band. They formed in London in 1969 as Group X. They changed their name shortly to Hawkwind Zoo and then Hawkwind. Although this was their only hit, their space-age rock albums sold consistently well throughout the ’70s.

This was by far the biggest hit for Hawkwind, peaking at #3 in the UK and getting played on the TV show Top Of The Pops. Hearing Hawkwind on BBC radio was very strange for many of their fans, as the group was far off-center and notoriously anti-establishment.

Kilmister is singing lead on this track. Lemmy wasn’t the group’s main singer…that was Bob Calvert. Calvert’s attempts to record the vocal didn’t quite make it, so Lemmy did the singing on this one.

A version of the band is still together with Dave Brock as the only original member.

 

From Songfacts

Hawkwind guitarist Dave Brock wrote the music to this track, and their frontman Bob Calvert composed the lyric. According to Mojo magazine September 2011, Calvert’s lyric was inspired by an Alfred Jarry short story called How To Construct A Time Machine. However, rather than writing about a “cosmic space travel machine” he made it about his new silver racing bike.

“Lemmy had a high voice but it was just very much more powerful, he had a gruffness with it, so we decided to use his vocal,” their manager Doug Smith explained. Calvert, who was hospitalized at the time for manic depression, didn’t find out that his vocal had been replaced until later. When he did, he was not pleased.

Released as a single, the song was recorded live from the Roundtree in London on February 13, 1972. The live performance had vocals by Bob Calvert, but they were replaced by Lemmy’s when the song was mixed and overdubbed at Morgan Studios.

When this song took off, the British music magazine NME put Lemmy on the cover with no sign of his bandmates. This gave the impression that he was the frontman and leader of the band, when really he rarely sang lead and had just joined the outfit.

A self-described “space rock” band from North Carolina named themselves Silver Machine after this song.

 

Silver Machine

I, I just took a ride in a silver machine
And I’m still feeling mean

Do you want to ride
See yourself going by
The other side of the sky
I’ve got a silver machine

It flies
Sideways through time
It’s an electric line
To your zodiac sign

I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine

It flies out of a dream
It’s antiseptically clean
You’re gonna know where I’ve been

Do you want to ride
See yourself going by
The other side of the sky
I’ve got a silver machine

I said I just took a ride
In a silver machine
And I’m still feeling mean
It flies
Sideways through time
It’s an electric line
To your zodiac sign

I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine
I’ve got a silver machine

ELO – Strange Magic

With ELO and Jeff Lynne, you knew you were getting a quality pop/rock song and it would be very catchy.

Strange Magic was written by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne, “Strange Magic” was on Electric Light Orchestra’s fifth studio album Face the Music.

By this time, the band had toned their orchestral sound to make it brighter and more radio-friendly. The strategy paid off, as this song and “Evil Woman” were both big hits.

The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #42 in Canada, and #38 in the UK in 1976. The album Face The Music peaked at #8 in the ===Billboard album charts and #35 in Canada.

Jeff wrote the song on various pianos in separate places while on tour in England with the band, presumably during the Eldorado tour.

From Songfacts

The song is about a captivating woman, but “Strange Magic” is also a good description for this song’s sonics. Compressed to a tight 3:27 for the single release (it runs 4:29 on the album), the song packs in an intriguing array of harmonies and hooks while integrating the famous ELO string section. The lyric is suitably trippy, and very repetitious, with the title appearing five times per chorus.

The weepy-sounding guitar lick is provided courtesy of Richard Tandy, who was somehow persuaded to take his hands off his various keyboards to pick up a guitar. Normally, Tandy’s array of Moog synth, clavinet, mellotron, and piano was so omnipresent that it led to the stereotype of prog-rock bands having a stack of keyboards onstage.

Some of you movie-music fans may cringe at this, but this song was also used in the 2007 stage production of Xanadu. Fear not, it was not part of the 1980 film soundtrack, although the soundtrack was the least of that film’s problems… or so we’re told.

The Pan-Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, doubled as the set of “Xanadu.”

Strange Magic

You’re sailing softly through the sun
In a broken stone age dawn
You fly so high

I get a strange magic
Oh, what a strange magic
Oh, it’s a strange magic
Got a strange magic
Got a strange magic

You’re walking meadows in my mind
Making waves across my time
Oh no, oh no

I get a strange magic
Oh, what a strange magic
Oh, it’s a strange magic
Got a strange magic
Got a strange magic

Oh, I’m never gonna be the same again
Now I’ve seen the way it’s got to end
Sweet dream, sweet dream

Strange magic
Oh, what a strange magic
Oh, it’s a strange magic
Got a strange magic
Got a strange magic

It’s magic, it’s magic, it’s magic
Strange magic
Oh, what a strange magic
Oh, it’s a strange magic
Got a strange magic
Strange magic
Oh, it’s a strange magic
Oh, it’s a strange magic

Got a strange magic
Strange magic
Oh, what a strange magic
Oh, it’s a strange magic

Got a strange magic
Strange magic
You know I got a strange magic
Yeah I got a strange magic
Strange magic

 

Rolling Stones – She’s A Rainbow

Take one listen and suddenly you are walking along Carnaby Street in Swinging London in 1967.

While under the influence of what was going on at the time…The Stones dipped their toe in the wild and colorful Psychedelic water. This was right after Sgt Peppers and experimentation was in the air.

The result was Their Satanic Majesties Request. I know some Stones fans that won’t mention this album but I’ve always liked it. 

It didn’t suit them as well as their earlier pop and later rock and blues style but the album did have some high points.

The string section was arranged by John Paul Jones, who was doing session work two years before he joined Led Zeppelin. Nicky Hopkins also played piano on this song.

This song was written by Jagger and Richards.

She’s A Rainbow peaked at #25 in the Billboard 100 and #9 in Canada.

The song returned to Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart in 2018 as a result of its appearance in a commercial for the all-new Acura RDX.

Mick Jagger: There’s a lot of rubbish on Satanic Majesties. Just too much time on our hands, too many drugs, no producer to tell us, “Enough already, thank you very much, now can we just get on with this song?” Anyone let loose in the studio will produce stuff like that. There was simply too much hanging around. It’s like believing everything you do is great and not having any editing.

She’s A Rainbow

She comes in colors ev’rywhere
She combs her hair
She’s like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

She comes in colors ev’rywhere
She combs her hair
She’s like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

Have you seen her dressed in blue?
See the sky in front of you
And her face is like a sail
Speck of white so fair and pale
Have you seen a lady fairer?

She comes in colors ev’rywhere
She combs her hair
She’s like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

Have you seen her all in gold?
Like a queen in days of old
She shoots colors all around
Like a sunset going down
Have you seen a lady fairer?

She comes in colors ev’rywhere
She combs her hair
She’s like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

She’s like a rainbow
Coming, colors in the air
Oh, everywhere
She comes in colors

Grateful Dead – Casey Jones

Driving that train, high on cocaine
Casey Jones is ready, watch your speed

As a teenager, this song blasted from the car stereo with the windows down. The rebellion had kicked in and just to sing along with “cocaine” made us all giddy…although none us would have known cocaine if it was in front of us. Great song by the Dead.

The song was on the album Workingman’s Dead released in 1970. With it’s Americana sound…it became with the American Beauty one of their most popular albums. The song was written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter.

“Casey Jones” is very loosely based on the real-life happenings of the heroic engineer Casey Jones, who was the subject of the famous 1902 song “The Ballad Of Casey Jones.” It was doubtful that Jones was high on cocaine when he took over the train, and although his life was ended when he was hit by a train traveling the wrong way, he sacrificed his life so those on board could be saved.

Casey Jones was not released as a single and did not chart. It remains one of their most popular songs known by non-Dead Heads.

 

 

The Real  CASEY JONES  1864-1900

American folk hero Casey Jones was born John Luther Jones on March 14, 1864, in a rural part of southeastern Missouri. He would work as an engineer on the railroad later in life.

On April 30, 1900, Jones volunteered to work a double shift to cover for a fellow engineer who was ill.  He had just completed a run from Canton, Mississippi, to Memphis, Tennessee, and was now faced with the task of returning on board Engine No. 1 headed southbound.

When he pulled out of the Memphis station in the early hours of April 30, the train was running late so he hurried to make up for lost time. As the train rounded a curve near Vaughan, Mississippi, it collided with another train on the tracks, but not before Jones told his fireman to jump to safety. Jones remained on board, supposedly to try to slow the train and save his passengers, and Jones the only person to die in the accident.

Following Jones’s death, Wallace Saunders, an African-American railroad worker in Mississippi, developed a ballad about the fallen engineer that became popular with other men in the railroad yards.

https://www.biography.com/personality/casey-jones

From Songfacts

Ask if the song grates his nerves when he hears it…Jerry Garcia: “Sometimes, but that’s what it’s supposed to do. It’s got a split-second little delay, which sounds very mechanical, like a typewriter almost, on the vocal, which is like a little bit jangly, and the whole thing is, I always thought it’s a pretty good musical picture of what cocaine is like. A little bit evil. And hard-edged. And also that sing-songy thing, because that’s what it is, a sing-songy thing, a little melody that gets in your head.”

Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter came up with the line “Drivin’ that train, high on cocaine, Casey Jones you’d better watch your speed,” which he wrote down and put in his pocket. He didn’t think of it as part of a song until he looked at it later and decided to complete the lyrics.

When they put the song together, Hunter looked for ways to omit the word “cocaine,” which at the time was a controversial word for song lyrics (they had taken some heat for using “Goddamn” in “Uncle John’s Band”). Hunter tried some other phrases – “whipping that chain,” “lugging propane” – but couldn’t find an acceptable substitute, so Casey Jones ended up high on cocaine as originally written.

Casey Jones

Driving that train, high on cocaine
Casey Jones is ready, watch your speed
Trouble ahead, trouble behind
And you know that notion just crossed my mind

This old engine makes it on time
Leaves central station ’bout a quarter to nine
Hits river junction at seventeen to
At a quarter to ten you know it’s travelin’ again

Driving that train, high on cocaine
Casey Jones is ready, watch your speed
Trouble ahead, trouble behind
And you know that notion just crossed my mind

Trouble ahead, lady in red
Take my advice you’d be better off dead
Switchman’s sleeping, train hundred and two is
On the wrong track and headed for you

Driving that train, high on cocaine
Casey Jones is ready, watch your speed
Trouble ahead, trouble behind
And you know that notion just crossed my mind

Trouble with you is the trouble with me
Got two good eyes but you still don’t see
Come round the bend, you know it’s the end
The fireman screams and the engine just gleams…

Lynyrd Skynyrd – I Never Dreamed—- Sunday Album Cut

On Sundays, I am going to start posting a good album cut.

When I think of forgotten great album cuts…this one is one of the first songs that come to mind. If you haven’t heard it give it a try. The song has a good riff starting out and the arrangement of the melody is a little different than some of their previous songs. I credit that to new guitarist Steve Gaines… Gaines and Van Zant wrote this song.

Give this song a try…The song takes a while to get going but the melody, guitar work, and the bass are great in this one.

Steve joined the band as a guitarist in 1976. Gaines had an immediate impact, writing or co-writing four of the eight songs on Street Survivors, which was released three days before the group’s plane crashed in Mississippi, killing Gaines, his sister Cassie (a backup singer with the group) and Van Zant.

It is my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd song hands down. The band never played this live…the original or the new edition.

Street Survivors peaked at #5 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1977.

I Never Dreamed

My daddy told me always be strong son
Don’t you ever cry
You find the pretty girls, and then you love them
And then you say goodbye
I never dreamed that you would leave me
But now you’re gone
I never dreamed that I would miss you
Woman won’t you come back home

I never dreamed that you could hurt me
And leave me blue
I’ve had a thousand, maybe more
But never one like you
I never dreamed I could feel so empty
But now I’m down
I never dreamed that I would beg you
But woman I need you now

It seems to me, I took your love for granted
It feels to me, this time I was wrong, so wrong
Oh Lord, how I feel so lonely
I said woman, won’t you come back home

I tried to do what my daddy taught me,
But I think he knew
Someday I would find
One woman like you
I never dreamed it could feel so good Lord
That two could be one
I never knew about sweet love
So woman won’t you come back home
Oh baby won’t you come back home