Tonio K – Life In The Foodchain

Watching the shadows for anything moving
And hoping they don’t come around

My friend CB (Cincinnati BabyHead) introduced me to Tonio K a few weeks ago and I’ve been listening to him heavily. I liked him right away because he mixes it up in his songs. His songs all have a great groove to them…  and will roll you like wholesale carpet. What intrigued me the most though were the witty lyrics he throws out plus some out of the box arrangements…that work.

The album I listened to is called Life In The Foodchain released in 1978. Click on that link and it should take you to the complete album. There are a lot of good songs on this album. The title track alone should have made the charts.

Who is Tonio K? He was born Steve Krikorian on July 4, 1950, in California. He is a singer/songwriter, whose songs have been recorded by Charlie Sexton, Bette Midler, Peter Case, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Vanessa Williams, Bonnie Raitt, Brian McKnight, and others. His most successful song is “Love Is”… a #1 hit for Vanessa Willams with Brian McNight.

Krikorian and Alan Shapazian (rhythm guitar) formed a band called The Raik’s Progress which recorded one single for Liberty Records, released in 1967. In 1973, he appeared as a member of the former Buddy Holly backing band the Crickets on their album “Remnants”.

By 1978, Krikorian went solo, adopting the name of Tonio K, possibly a reference to the Thomas Mann novel Tonio Kröger, with Life In The Foodchain.

In 2004, he reunited with the Crickets for a track on their album, The Crickets and Their Buddies, singing lead on the Holly song, “Not Fade Away.”

The record was produced by Rob Fraboni ( who produced The Band, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker) and featured a cast that included Earl Slick, Garth Hudson, Dick Dale, and Albert Lee. What a cast that is!  It was also the first Pop/Rock record to feature the percussive sounds of an AK-47 firing live ammunition. The album garnered much critical acclaim.

The track list is

Life In The Foodchain
The Funky Western Civilization
Willie And The Pigman
Ballad Of The Night The Clocks All Quit (And The Government Failed)
American Love Affair
How Come I Can’t See You In My Mirror
Better Late Than Never
A Lover’s Plea

I picked just 3 songs below…click the link in the article to check the album out.

Tonio K: I lived at Shangri-La for much of 1978, and we recorded Life In The Food Chain there. Shangri-La is The Band’s studio out there, the studio that’s in The Last Waltz. The place, I think it was built by Kaiser Aluminum in the ’40s. Real cool California ranch style house. I think Kaiser used it to entertain corporate guests, which is to say they used it basically as a brothel. They would send guys out there and send women out there with them, way north of Malibu, at Zuma Beach.

But, anyway, Garth was my neighbor there. He and Molly, his wife, would spend a lot of nights there. They had a farm somewhere further up in Decker Canyon or somewhere. But I got to know him and he played on my first two records, Garth did. And he’s pretty trippy.

Life In The Foodchain

Well your mother was there to protect you
Your papa was there to provide
So how in the world did the excellent baby
Wind up in this hotel so broken inside
You lie on your bed in the midnight darkly
Listening to every sound
Watching the shadows for anything moving
And hoping they don’t come around

‘Cause it’s dog eat dog
And it’s cat and mouse
It’s watch your step and cross yourself
And get back in the house
And it’s do or die
It’s push and shove
Because everybody’s hungry
And there isn’t quite enough

That’s right, we’re talkin’ about the good life
In the foodchain
Love among the ruins
I guess that you’ve finally got to accept
That there’s nothing you can do about it
It’s kind of like carving the turkey
It’s kind of like mowing the lawn
Everything gets to this certain dimension
Winds up on a customer’s plate and then gone

‘Cause it’s dog eat dog
And it’s the cat and mouse
You know it’s cut the cake and grab a plate
And hope it goes around
I said it’s a do or die
It’s push and shove
It’s because everybody’s hungry
And there just isn’t quite enough

Well it’s dog eat dog
And it’s the cat and mouse
You know it’s cut the cake and grab a plate
And hope it goes around
And it’s do or die
It’s push and shove
That’s because everybody’s hungry
And there just isn’t quite enough

Ranking Beatle Albums

For anyone who has talked to me in person or through the blog…the number one choice is NOT going to be a surprise. The rest of the bunch might be a little but not number 1. It’s also an almost impossible task for me to do this. The Stones albums were easier to rank.

 I’ve seen Hanspostcard to this before but I’ve never tried it. Since it would be convoluted to include the American versions…I’m sticking with the UK versions only…except with Magical Mystery Tour. Magical Mystery Tour was released as two eps in the UK but an album in the US…now the album is considered the standard.

I was struck again by how far they came. Please Please Me and four years later I Am The Walrus. Who makes that big of a jump?

As with my Stones list a while back… I will do this on personal preference. When people mention the best Beatle album…many say Revolver or Sgt Pepper. Artistically I always thought Revolver is at the top but not personally.

The only easy selection for me was the bottom two but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them both. Many bands would make a career out of the bottom two. The hardest part was comparing the early albums with the others. That is not all…how do you compare Strawberry Fields with I Want To Hold Your Hand to Something off of Abbey Road?

I have some readers who are pro-early Beatles and some who are pro-middle to late. I’ll take them all. They were innovative to start off with…not just middle to late. I know that many will disagree and I hope you do… that’s the fun of these lists! If I made this tomorrow…only the top pick and the last two would be the same. I have over 40 revisions of this post…yea it was hard. 

Yellow Submarine

13. Yellow Submarine (Soundtrack) – This was the dumping ground of the not wanted songs for a while. The Beatles would keep sending songs to this album but just because it was last doesn’t mean it wasn’t any good. The album also had songs from other albums on this one.

Favorite Song – Hey Bulldog

Beatles for Sale

12. Beatles For Sale – The cover tells the story. Beatlemania had worn them down physically and emotionally. Six out of the fourteen songs on the album are cover versions. They were good cover versions but were running low on gas at this point.

Favorite Song – No Reply

Let It Be

11. Let It Be – My love for this album has grown but I’ve always liked it. Lately, it has drawn new fans into the Beatles because of the Get Back film. Why oh why did Phil Spector leave off Don’t Let Me Down? This is another album that I hated to rank as low as I did.

Favorite Song – Two Of Us

Please Please Me

10. Please Please Me – I love this debut album. They recorded most of it in one day… on February 11, 1963. Recording this in one day shows you how well they knew their material. It takes people days just to start on an album…much less get it done. It really hurts to rank this as low as it is.

Favorite Song – Please Please Me

Magical Mystery Tour

9. Magical Mystery Tour – I remember buying this album as a kid I liked it better than Sgt Pepper at the time. Many of the songs had already appeared on singles like Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, Hello Goodbye, I Am The Walrus.

Favorite Song – Strawberry Fields Forever

With The Beatles

8. With The Beatles – This album was close to its American counterpart (Meet The Beatles) without I Want To Hold Your Hand. It had many more covers.  I think Meet The Beatles could be a little better because it was totally made up of Lennon-McCartney songs with Harrison’s first original song…Don’t Bother Me.

Favorite Song – It Won’t Be Long (one of my favorite Beatles songs of all time)


7. Help! – For me this album gets underrated and this is where you can start hearing the change between Beatlemania and more mature Beatle music. It opens the door for Rubber Soul and then Revolver.

Favorite Song – The Night Before

Abbey Road

6. Abbey Road – This album has been said to sound more modern than the other Beatles albums. The reason is they recorded on a 16-track recorder just installed at the time in Abbey Road. It was the last album they all worked on together.

Favorite Song – The “mini pop opera” on side B

Sgt Pepper

5. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The most famous album of the Beatles and quite possibly of all time. As John Lennon said it wasn’t really a concept album after the first two tracks and the refrain…it worked because they said it worked. If The Beatles would have included Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane…this could be my number 1. 

Favorite Song: perhaps my favorite of all time… A Day In The Life

Rubber Soul

4. Rubber Soul – This was known as their pivotal album. I think Help! was the album that you started to know the change between the early Beatles and mid-Beatles but this one was full-blown. It shows their folk and drug influence with their great melodies. 

Favorite Song – In My Life

A Hard Day's Night

3. A Hard Day’s Night (Soundtrack) – I think this is the best album they released during the Beatlemania days and on some days it could be listed even higher. Songs such as the title track, Tell Me Why, I Should Have Known Better, If I Fell, Anytime At All, and many more.

Favorite Song – I’ll Cry Instead


2. Revolver – I think Revolver is the Beatle’s best album artistically. It’s not the most popular with the masses but it’s a masterpiece of an album. I’m biased but this one or Pet Sounds? I would take Revolver any day of the week…and I love Pet Sounds! It’s as close to a perfect album as you can get.

Favorite Song – Tomorrow Never Knows

The White Album

  1. The Beatles (White Album) – This not only is my favorite Beatles album…but my favorite album of all time. It gives such a wide palette of music…  there is something that everyone would like on here somewhere. Unlike Abbey Road or Sgt Pepper…it’s not slick…it’s them playing in a room. I like the well-known songs and I love the album tracks even more. Actually, all are album tracks technically because there were no singles (except for an overseas single) from this album. Songs included Back in the USSR, Helter Skelter, Dear Prudence, Sexy Sadie, Cry Baby Cry, Revolution 1, and so many more. 

Favorite Song: Sexy Sadie

Stems – At First Sight

I’m really into this band at the moment. This is one band I wish I would have known about in the 1980s. This song was on their album At First Sight, Violets Are Blue. The album is still rated as one of the best Australian guitar pop releases. In the early nineties, Rolling Stone included it in the top 100 Australian releases of all time. At First Sight became their signature song. 

The Stems were a garage punk band formed in Perth, Western Australia in late 1983 by member Dom Mariani. They were hugely popular in Australia. They would release 7 singles, 2 albums, and 2 EP’s between 1985-1987.

They debuted in March 1984 and released a series of independent records on Sydney’s Citadel Records. Each release made it to number one on the Australian alternative charts. Dom Mariani’s earliest influences included The Beatles, The Raspberries, Badfinger, and Big Star. He formed his first band (The Go Starts) in 1981 and The Stems in 1984. The members included Mariani (songwriter, guitar, and vocals) Richard Lane (guitar/keyboard/vocals), Gary Chambers (drums) and Julian Matthews (bass).

The band broke up after this album in 1987. They regrouped in 2003 and played to packed houses across Australia and Europe. They disbanded again in 2009 and regrouped in 2013 and still play from time to time.

The song peaked at #90 in the Australian Kent Music Charts but I’ve read where it peaked at #1 on the alternative charts there as well…along with two more singles from this album.

On the 30th anniversary of the album….founding member Dom Mariani: “It seems like a long time, doesn’t it? Music’s one of those funny things that never dies, it’s there forever. It’s always going to be there and what we did 30 years ago has connected with people, and it’s a bit of a historical thing. Personally, I’ve kept doing it (playing music) because it gave me the confidence to keep writing songs and stay interested in it. If it had been a flop I might have taken a different path.”

Back then I would have never thought much of it. You can’t look into the future but we had high hopes, and thought we’d be chart topping & tour the world etc. We were lucky enough that what we did was popular, we had some good tunes, and we loved what we were doing. Where I’ve ended up, I’m pretty happy with though. If we’d had any degree of success that was ‘life changing’, we probably wouldn’t have done all the music that we did since then. I’ve had a great journey, and it’s always been about rock and roll. The art form is more important than owning a mansion.”

At First Sight

Just say the word and I would die for you
And I’ll be a flower if you wanted to
‘Cause I never met anyone quite like you
I lose my head my heart starts pounding too
And all I had to do was look at you
At first sight

I’ll be the motor in your car
And I’ll be the fire in your flaming star
And I’ll be the water in your waterfall
‘Cause I’d hit the ceiling I’d feel ten feet tall
And all I had to do was look at you

At first sight

Just say the word and I would die for you
And I’ll be a flower if you wanted to
‘Cause I’ve never met anyone quite like you
I lose my head my heart starts pounding too
All I had to do was look at you
At first sight

All I had to do was look at you
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight

At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight
At first sight

Who – Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand

This song was on the album called The Who Sell Out. I’ve said before that titles sometimes grab my attention and this one certainly did. This one has had many covers from other bands and artists.

The Who Sell Out is A Pop Art album that was fashioned after Pirate radio. The Who created spoof promo slots for Radio London, Premier Drums and Rotosound Strings, recorded in the brash ad-speak of 60s pirate radio. John Entwistle wrote two commercial jingles for Heinz Beans and Medac spot pimple cream.

Pete Townshend: “I’d already written two songs for [co-manager] Kit Lambert for the American Cancer Society – Little Billy and Kids! Do You Want Kids? – and I had Odorono, about a girl who loses a record contract. It wasn’t meant to be a commercial, it was just a song about body odor.”

I always thought it was a brilliant idea and remains a great satirical take on 60s consumerism.

The song would be the B side in America to I Can See For Miles.

The album was released on December 16, 1967. It peaked at #13 in the UK and #48 in the Billboard Album Charts. Their album Tommy would be released 2 years after this one and it would be their breakthrough all over the world.

Critic Dave Marsh called it “the greatest rock and roll album of its era” and “the Who’s consummate masterpiece, the work that holds together most tightly as concept and realization”.

Pete Townshend on the album: I’d demoed ‘Tattoo’ in my hotel room in Las Vegas during our three-day vacation, and a song called ‘Odorono’, named after a deodorant stick. ‘Odorono’ led us to the most perfect pop idea of all time: we would make our next record a vehicle for advertising. When we called Kit to explain, he was as excited as we were. I suggested we link the gaps between songs with jingles like those on commercial pirate radio.

John and Keith leapt on the idea, and, inspired by ‘Odorono’, began making up advertising jingles for all kinds of things, like Medac spot cream, Premier Drums and Heinz Baked Beans. But when the album was ready to be put together we were still short of tracks. John’s track didn’t feel right either, so he quickly produced a demo for another song called ‘Silas Stingy’, which, to be honest, was equally eccentric. But this was obviously going to be a very eccentric record.

Who – Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand

I danced with Linda
I danced with Jean
I danced with Cindy
Then I suddenly see

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Mary is so pretty
The prettiest in the land
Guys come from every city
Just to shake her shaky hands

Linda can cook
Jean reads books
Cindy can sew
But I’d rather know

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Mary-Anne with the shaky hands
What they’ve done to her man
Those shaky hands

Jackson 5 – Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Merry Christmas to the entire WordPress world. This is a great community we have going on and I hope everyone has a beautiful day today.

I just heard the  Jackson 5 version again yesterday. I need to write the Bruce version up…I never have since I’ve been blogging which is dumb.

I’ve never been a huge Michael Jackson fan except with the Jackson 5. He was immensely talented and had some great-selling albums. Maybe it was just being burned out hearing him.. The Jackson 5 though I really liked and still do. I thought they had some great pop/soul/bubblegum singles in the early to mid-seventies.

This version was released in 1970 and it peaked at #46 in the Billboard 100 and came off the Jackson 5 Christmas Album album. The album peaked at #53 on the Billboard Album Charts and #45 in Canada.

According to Wiki: The album spent four weeks at the number one position on Billboard magazine’s special Christmas Albums chart that the magazine published in December 1970, making it the best-selling Christmas album of that year and also of the year 1972 in the United States.

According to a Top 30 list released by the performance rights organization ASCAP in December 2014, this is the most-performed holiday song of all time. “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” was ranked second and “White Christmas” third.

This was written in 1932 by Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots. They had trouble convincing anyone to produce it because it was seen as a kids’ song, which would have been very hard to sell. The big break came when Eddie Cantor sang it on his radio show in 1934, and the song became an instant hit. Coots was a writer for Cantor’s show and pushed for the host to perform it. Cantor was going to pass on the song but was convinced by his wife, Ida, to give it a try.

One of the most successful Christmas carols of all time, this was outsold only by “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “White Christmas.”

Santa Clause Is Coming To Town

Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

He is making a list
And checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice

Santa Claus is comin’ to town, oh yeah
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

Oh, you d better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why

Oh, Santa Claus is comin’ to town, oh yeah
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town, woo hoo

Woo hoo
Woo hoo
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

Little tin horns
And little toy drums
And rump-a-tum-tums
Curly-haired dolls
That tootle and coo
Elephants, boats and kiddie cars too

Oh, Santa Claus is comin’ to town, oh yeah
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

One more time now

Santa Claus is comin’ to town, oh yeah
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

Big Star – Don’t Lie To Me ….Power Pop Friday

This will wrap up Power Pop Friday for this year…it will return in 2023. 

I never travel far, without a little Big Star
The Replacements

I hold Big Star’s music up along with The Who, Beatles, Stones, and Kinks…they never had the sales but they did have a giant influence. Big Star released their debut album #1 Record in August of 1972. 

Alex Chilton and Chris Bell wrote most of the songs and wanted to emulate Lennon/McCartney and they did a great job but with an obvious American slant to make it their own. After the commercial failure of this album, Chris Bell quit but the other three continued for one more album and then bass player Andy Hummel quit after the second album, and Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens recorded the third.

When their albums were finally discovered by eighties bands, they influenced many artists such as REM, The Replacements, Cars, Cheap Trick, Sloan, Matthew Sweet, KISS, Wilco, Gin Blossoms, and many more. They influenced alternative rock of the 80s and 90s and continue to this day. Billboard went as far as to say, “Every cut could be a single” on their debut album.

Big Star returned in 1993 with a new lineup when guitarist Jon Auer and bassist Ken Stringfellow joined Chilton and Stephens. Auer and Stringfellow remained members of the Posies. In 2005 the reformed band released their last album called In Space

Jody Stephens: “All of a sudden I’m playing with these guys that can write songs that are as engaging to me as the people I’d grown up listening to, so I felt incredibly lucky.” 

Here is the reformed Big Star with original members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens in 1994. Filling out the rest was two Posies members Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow. 

I did find a date that I will go to when I get a time machine..March 31, 1974. Big Star opened for Badfinger. 

Below is Big Star on that date. 

Don’t Lie To Me

Don’t lie to me
Don’t lie to me
Don’t lie to me
Don’t lie to me

I know where you been
And I know what you been doing
Don’t lie to me

Don’t push me ’round
Don’t push me ’round
Don’t push me ’round
Don’t push me ’round

I don’t like that
Now, I’m telling you
Don’t push me ’round

Don’t cross me babe
Don’t cross me babe
Don’t cross me babe
Don’t cross me babe

You said you wouldn’t
And I’m just making sure
Don’t cross me babe

Rolling Stones – Happy

I had to double-check my index to make sure I didn’t post this song before. Well no I haven’t and I can’t believe it because it’s WAY up there in the top 3 of my favorite Stones songs. My order probably goes as follows… 1. Memory Motel, 2. 100 Years Ago, and 3. Happy.

This song is on one of my favorite double albums. Since I made a short list of my top 3 favorite Stones songs…I’ll make a short one of my favorite double albums. Number 1 is also my favorite album of all time…The Beatles The White Album, 2. would be Exile On Main Street (and that is where Happy is found), and number 3 The Clash London Calling. I’m thankful none of them were trimmed down.

I love Keith Richard’s voice. I wish he would have had lead vocals on more than he did. I think Jagger is terrific and the perfect singer for them but it’s a raw quality about Keith’s voice that I like. I’ve read that he sang in the choir as a youngster until cigarettes and other substances made it a little raw. The song is great and I can’t believe that Mick didn’t fight to sing this one.

I love the studio version but I also like the 1972 tour version of this song with Mick Taylor with his fat Gibson-sounding guitar driving it also. Everyone who reads me knows I’m a huge Mick Taylor fan. It’s not that I don’t like Ronnie Wood…he fits them perfectly but his and Keith’s guitar sometimes sound too much like each other with the same tones. There was no mistaking Taylor.

A few years ago Mick Taylor joined them onstage and they had that sound again as soon as he was chugging away at the chords. I want to mention one more thing about that era. Mick Taylor contributed as I said but also Jimmy Miller their producer. He needs a hell of a lot of credit for the success they had with that 5-album stretch. Without Jimmy Miller who knows if those albums would have had the same sound. Once he left…so did that sound.

Happy was recorded at Keith’s Villa Nellcote in France when The Stones left England to avoid paying taxes. They used the basement as a recording studio but had a hard time getting everyone together at once because of the party atmosphere. The only people to play on this were Keith (guitar, bass, vocals), producer Jimmy Miller (drums), and horn player Bobby Keys (percussion). Horns were dubbed in later.

The song peaked at #22 on the Billboard 100 and #9 in Canada. The B side was a song that is just as good as this one… All Down The Line. Exile On Main Street peaked at #1 on The Billboard Album Charts, Canada, and the UK in 1972.

Keith Richards:  “That’s a strange song, because if you play it you actually become happy, even in the worst of circumstances. It has a little magical bounce about it. I wrote it one afternoon when we were cutting Exile on Main St. in France and the studio was in my basement. And Bobby Keys was with me and they got this lick going. So we went down and I recorded it with just guitar and Bobby Keys on baritone saxophone. While we were doing that, Jimmy Miller, who was our producer at the time, came in. And he was a very good drummer as well. So we said, well let’s put down a dub, we’ll just sort of sketch it out and play it later. But it’s another one of those things that ended up being on the record. It was just one of those moments that you get that are very happy. And I can play it now and it gives you a lift. I don’t know why except for maybe the word.”


Well I never kept a dollar past sunset
It always burned a hole in my pants
Never made a school mama happy
Never blew a second chance, oh no

I need a love to keep me happy
I need a love to keep me happy
Baby, baby keep me happy
Baby, baby keep me happy

Always took candy from strangers
Didn’t wanna get me no trade
Never want to be like papa
Working for the boss ev’ry night and day

I need a love to keep me happy
I need a love, baby won’t ya keep me happy
Baby, won’t ya keep me happy
Baby, please keep me

I need a love to keep me happy
I need a love to keep me happy
Baby, baby keep me happy

Never got a flash out of cocktails
When I got some flesh off the bone
Never got a lift out of Lear jets
When I can fly way back home

I need a love to keep me happy
I need a love to keep me happy
Baby, baby keep me happy
Baby, baby keep me happy

Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, baby won’t you keep me
Happy, oh, keep on, baby, keep me
Happy, now baby won’t you squeeze me
Happy, oh, baby got to feel it
Happy, now, now, now, now, now keep me
Happy, my, my, my, keep me
Happy, keep on baby, keep me
Happy, keep on baby, got to
Happy, my, my, baby keep me happy

Beths – Expert In A Dying Field ….Power Pop Friday

I learned about this band from Graham at Aphoristic Album Reviews. I think the subject of this song is brilliant. It’s the title song on the album Expert In A Dying Field. The album was released in September of 2022 and is their 3rd studio album to date. It peaked at #1 in New Zealand and #80 in Australia in 2022.


Through the years in power pop…the lyrics take a back seat to the music many times.  The Beths music excites me because they don’t produce empty songs…they have substantial lyrics to go along with their irresistible hooks.

The Beths are a band out of New Zealand, that was formed by Elizabeth Stokes in 2014. The songs are full of guitar hooks along with Stokes’s clever writing and voice… make them fun to listen to. They have some 90s indie sound with a little of the 60s thrown in at times.

The members include Elizabeth Stokes ( lead vocals, rhythm guitar ), Jonathan Pearce (lead guitar, backing vocals), Benjamin Sinclair (bass, backing vocals)
and Tristan Deck (Drums, backing vocals).

Here is a link to the entire album on youtube.

From Allmusic by Marcy Donelson on the album

After quickly building a fan base in New Zealand and Australia with their live shows, Auckland’s the Beths burst onto the broader indie scene with an infectious, hook-crammed debut, 2018’s Future Me Hates Me. As suggested by the album’s title, Elizabeth Stokes’ self-depreciating lyrics were part of its charm, and the follow-up, 2020’s Jump Rope Gazers, reflected an even more hapless outlook as it explored strained relationships caused by the band’s new life on the road. Without skipping a hook, third album Expert in a Dying Field delves still deeper into melancholy, with lyrics navigating a breakup as well as pandemic life. Churning fuzz and ringing lead guitar begin a downcast but nonetheless driving opening title track that asks, “How does it feel/To be an expert in a dying field?/How do you know/It’s over when you can’t let go?” The song’s chorus picks up multi-tracking, vocal countermelodies, group harmonies, and crashing cymbals by its final incarnation.

It could be said that much of the album continues in kind, with memorable melody after memorable guitar hook after air-drum-compelling fill on a series of songs that border on midtempo, but the way it plays out is something much more off-balance. The Beths lean on the accelerator three tracks in, on the polyrhythmic “Silence Is Golden,” for instance, a song whose punky, racing rhythms and guitar histrionics are matched by a rambling, lilting vocal that only stops to breathe before the chorus’s repeated “Silence is golden.” Nearing the halfway point of the track list, the two-minute “I Want to Listen” is a gentler, McCartney-esque ditty with more complex chords and shifting harmonic progressions than are typical for the onetime jazz majors. Later, the chanting “Best Left” (“Some things are best left to rot”), while still wistful in tone, plays to the arena crowds. The group have said that Expert in a Dying Field was made with live performance in mind, and on that point, it delivers, right up until the plaintive closing ballad, “2 a.m.,” which finds Stokes left alone in a flash of headlights (“There’s a song that never fails to make you cry”). The album also delivers on vulnerable, rock-solid songs, a juxtaposition the Beths continue to master.

Elizabeth Stokes: “I really do believe that love is learned over time. In the course of knowing a person you accumulate so much information: their favorite movies, how they take their tea, how to make them laugh, how that makes you feel. And when relationships between people change, or end, all that knowledge doesn’t just disappear. The phrase ‘Expert in a Dying Field’ had been floating around my head for a few years, I was glad to finally capture it when writing this tune.”

Elizabeth Stokes: “When I first started this band … I was looking back towards [what] I liked when I was younger, sweetly sung melodies and super depressing lyrics”

Expert In A Dying Field

Can we erase our history?Is it as easy as this?Plausible deniabilityI swear I’ve never heard of itAnd I can close the door on usBut the room still existsAnd I know you’re in it

Hours of phrases I’ve memorizedThousands of lines on the pageAll of my notes in a desolate pileI haven’t touched in an ageAnd I can burn the evidenceBut I can’t burn the painAnd I can’t forget it

How does it feel (how does it feel)To be an expert in a dying field?And how do you know (how do you know)It’s over when you can’t let go?You can’t let go, you can’t stop, you can’t rewindLove is learned over time‘Til you’re an expert in a dying field(How does it, how does it feel?)

The city is painted with memoryThe water will never run clearThe birds and the bees and the flowers and treesThey know that we’ve both been hereAnd I can flee the countryFor the worst of the yearBut I’ll come back to it

How does it feel (how does it feel)To be an expert in a dying field?And how do you know (how do you know)It’s over when you can’t let go?You can’t let go, you can’t stop, you can’t rewindLove is learned over time‘Till you’re an expert in a dying field

Can we erase our history?Is it as easy as this?Maybe in other realitiesThe road never took this twistAnd I can close the door on usBut the room still exists

How does it feel (how does it feel)How do you know (how do you know)Can’t stop, can’t rewindLove is learned over time‘Til you’re an expert in a dying field

Oh, an expert in a dying field

My top 10 Favorite Stones Albums

This is an almost impossible task. It is of course subjective. How do you compare Between the Buttons to Some Girls… Steel Wheels to Goats Head Soup? There was such a difference in eras…and in the Stones case decades apart.

When making these lists the question always comes to mind…do I make the list of my favorite albums or what I think artistically their best albums are in history. I’ve just gone with my personal favorite.

Beggars Banquet

1: Beggars Banquet 1968 – This was the second Stones album I ever owned and with songs like Prodigal Son, Jigsaw Puzzle, and the filthy Stray Cat Blues it’s hard to resist. Their rock/blues peak started with this album into a stretch of 5 great albums in a row. The common dominator was producer Jimmy Miller in all 5. This album was the last one to feature Brian Jones.

Favorite song – Stray Cat Blues

Sticky Fingers

2: Sticky Fingers 1971 – Is this the best Stones album artistically?  I would have to say yes. There is not a weak track on this album. After reviewing it and comparing it to Exile on Main Street…I have to give it to Sticky Fingers as artistically the best Stones album…but it’s my second. They had a lot of competition that year with The Who Who’s Next and Led Zeppelin IV.

Favorite song – Dead Flowers

Let It Bleed larger

3: Let It Bleed 1969 – The first album with Mick Taylor. This was the second album into their gold stretch of 5 great albums. The Mick Taylor years are said by some to be their best albums. I do miss Brian Jones’s coloring of the musical pictures though. They were more flexible with Jones than anyone else but it’s hard to beat Mick Taylor’s fat guitar sound.

Favorite song – Monkey Man

Exile On Mainstreet

4: Exile On Mainstreet 1972 – This was my favorite Stones album at one time. It was mostly recorded in the  Nellcôte in France in a damp basement. It’s one of the greatest double albums ever. Not much I can say about this album that hasn’t already been said.

Favorite Song – tied… Happy and All Down The Line

Some Girls

5: Some Girls 1978 – What a filthy-sounding title track and I mean that in the best way. This album was great…personally, I think it’s their last great album…but the next one on the list is close.

Favorite Song – Before They Make Me Run

Tattoo You

6: Tattoo You 1981 – Over the hill… Geritol-drinking old geezers…those are some of the comments I heard about the Stones while they were 39 and 40! This album was a hodgepodge of outtakes and older songs put together for an album. For me…this was their last brush with greatness. Not that some of the later albums weren’t good…they were but not at this level of good.

Favorite Song – Worried About You

Between The Buttons

7: Between The Buttons (American Version) 1967 – This was the first Stones album I owned. I had to add a Brian Jones-era album. This period gets overlooked too much. They were adventurous during this period and tried new things…I wish that would have carried over more later on instead of the blues/rock on and on….but they did touch a little funk and reggae later on.

Favorite song – Ruby Tuesday

Goat's Head Soup

8: Goats Head Soup 1973 – The new deluxe mix has moved this one up. It was a drop-off from Sticky Fingers and Exile on Mainstreet but they were hard to compete with.

Favorite song – 100 Years Ago

black and blue

9: Black and Blue 1976- This was not known as a great album and it’s not. You would need a scorecard to see what guitar player they were auditioning on each track.  It contains my all-time favorite Rolling Stones song…Memory Motel. They do mix it up with different styles with this one.

Favorite song – Memory Motel

It's Only Rock and Roll.jpg

10: It’s Only Rock and Roll 1974 – This was a drop from the previous 5 albums and the last album featuring Mick Taylor. It does contain some good songs like the title track, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, If You Can’t Rock Me, and others.

Favorite Song – If You Can’t Rock Me

Honorable Mention

Get Your Ya Yas Out

Get Your Ya Ya’s Out 1970 – I didn’t include any live albums but if I did this one would be in there. I also liked Still Life but this one to me is their best by far.

Favorite Song – Jumping Jack Flash

Their Satanic Majesties Request

Their Satanic Majesties Request 1967 – I know Stones fans who either hate this album or love it. I like it because they showed some more range in this one. They tried something different after Sgt Pepper was released and some of it works.

Favorite Song – She’s A Rainbow

The Rolling Stones Steel Wheels | Classic Rock Review

Steel Wheels 1989 – My favorite album after Tattoo You would be Steel Wheels by far. It contained the songs Mixed Emotions and Rock in a Hard Place. I missed this tour and the last one with Bill Wyman playing bass.

Favorite Song – Sad, Sad, Sad

Below is Happy from the 1972 tour…for my money, they never sounded better. One big reason was Mick Taylor and his Les Paul. Also, I like hearing Keith sing lead and backup…no it’s not perfect but it’s the Stones…no professional backup singers, please.

Rolling Stones – Midnight Rambler

Sorry if you have seen this already today but it vanished in the reader so I’m republishing it. it…thank you.

Today we look at a song that is best known by the live version. Midnight Rambler is up there with Sympathy For The Devil for setting an eerie atmosphere. I’ve always liked this one…partly because it’s not worn out like many other Stones songs of this era.

The Boston Strangler was the likely inspiration for this song. As for the song, while the lyrics do not directly relate to the case, Jagger implies it when he sings, “Well you heard about the Boston…” before an instrumental stab cuts him off.

n 1965, Albert DeSalvo (the Boston Strangler), who was serving time in a mental institution on rape charges, confessed to the murders and was later sentenced to life in prison. There was no clear physical evidence that DeSalvo committed the crimes, however, and his confession has been questioned, with some forensic experts stating that there may have been multiple killers. DeSalvo died in prison in 1973; new evidence has come up in the case from time to time.

This song was on their great Let It Bleed album released in 1969. But the version that is more known is the version on what I think is their best live album… Get Your Ya Ya’s Out…it was released in 1970. They recorded the version in Madison Square Gardens on their 1969 tour. The sound they had with Mick Taylor was fantastic. His guitar tone was raw and fat and it is instantly recognizable. When he joined the Stones onstage recently…the Stones had that great sound again. Since Mick Taylor left they sound really thin live…to me.

Brian Jones is credited with percussion on the studio version. Even though he died before this album was released, a few of the songs were recorded during the Beggar’s Banquet sessions in 1968.

Keith Richards: “When we did Midnight Rambler, nobody went in there with the idea of doing a blues opera, basically. Or a blues in four parts. That’s just the way it turned out. I think that’s the strength of the Stones or any good band. You can give them a song half raw and they’ll cook it.”

Mick Jagger: “That’s a song Keith and I really wrote together. We were on a holiday in Italy. In this very beautiful hill town, Positano, for a few nights. Why we should write such a dark song in this beautiful, sunny place, I really don’t know. We wrote everything there – the tempo changes, everything. And I’m playing the harmonica in these little cafés, and there’s Keith with the guitar.”

Studio Album Version

Midnight Rambler

Did you hear about the midnight rambler
Everybody got to go
Did you hear about the midnight rambler
The one that shut the kitchen door
He don’t give a hoot of warning
Wrapped up in a black cat cloak
He don’t go in the light of the morning
He split the time the cock’rel crows

Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
The one you never seen before
Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Did you see him jump the garden wall
Sighin’ down the wind so sadly
Listen and you’ll hear him moan
Talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Everybody got to go

Did you hear about the midnight rambler
Well, honey, it’s no rock ‘n’ roll show
Well, I’m talkin’ about the midnight gambler
Yeah, everybody got to go

Well did ya hear about the midnight gambler?
Well honey its no rock-in’ roll show
Well I’m talking about the midnight gambler
The one you never seen before

Oh don’t do that, oh don’t do that, oh don’t do that
Don’t you do that, don’t you do that (repeat)
Oh don’t do that, oh don’t do that

Well you heard about the Boston…
It’s not one of those
Well, talkin’ ’bout the midnight… sh…
The one that closed the bedroom door
I’m called the hit-and-run raper in anger
The knife-sharpened tippie-toe…
Or just the shoot ’em dead, brainbell jangler
You know, the one you never seen before

So if you ever meet the midnight rambler
Coming down your marble hall
Well he’s pouncing like proud black panther
Well, you can say I, I told you so
Well, don’t you listen for the midnight rambler
Play it easy, as you go
I’m gonna smash down all your plate glass windows
Put a fist, put a fist through your steel-plated door

Did you hear about the midnight rambler
He’ll leave his footprints up and down your hall
And did you hear about the midnight gambler
And did you see me make my midnight call

And if you ever catch the midnight rambler
I’ll steal your mistress from under your nose
I’ll go easy with your cold fanged anger
I’ll stick my knife right down your throat, baby
And it hurts!

Who – Getting In Tune

This song was originally on the Who’s Next album released in 1971…my favorite album of that year and maybe of the seventies. That year was an incredible time for albums. Led Zeppelin would release their most remembered album Led Zeppelin IV a few months after Who’s Next.

There is not a bad song on the album. Roger excels on this song and it builds up in the middle for good dynamics. In 2016, Rolling Stone ranked Getting In Tune number 8 on its list of the 50 greatest songs by The Who. Nicky Hopkins plays piano on this song.

The Who’s Next album is one of the most sonic-sounding albums I’ve ever heard. Glyn Johns produced it and said this: “I have a residing memory of sitting in the truck, my hair being parted by what was coming out of the speakers, a massive amount of adrenaline coursing through my veins. There have been a few occasions over the years when I have been completely blown away, believing without a doubt that what I was listening to would become much more than just commercially successful but also a marker in the evolution of popular music, and this was one of those moments.”

Pete Townshend originally wrote this about a character in his “Lifehouse” project, which was going to be a film similar to The Who’s Tommy and Quadrophenia. Townshend never finished “Lifehouse,” but the songs ended up on the great album Who’s Next.

Pete Townshend wrote this as part of his “Lifehouse” project. He wanted to release a film about a futuristic world where the people are enslaved… but saved by a rock concert. Pete couldn’t get enough support to finish the project, but most of the songs he wrote were used on the Who’s Next album.

ARP Synth

Townshend’s use of the ARP synthesizer on Who’s Next was groundbreaking. He didn’t just add texture to it but the ARP became part of the structure of the songs. This was not like today’s synthesizer where you just took it out of the box. It had to be programmed and connected together…and not many people knew how to do it. He took a risk using it because technology in general always moving ahead, Who’s Next could have sounded dated a few years afterward but it still sounds fresh and interesting today…unlike some 1980s synth music.

The album peaked at #4 on the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in the UK, and #5 in Canada in 1971. It also peaked at #7 on the US Billboard Top Pop Catalog in 2014.

Getting In Tune

I’m singing this note ’cause it fits in well with the chords I’m playing
I can’t pretend there’s any meaning hidden in the things I’m saying

But I’m in tune
Right in tune
I’m in tune
And I’m gonna tune
Right in on you
Right in on you
Right in on you

I get a little tired of having to say
“Do you come here often?”
But when I look in your eyes, I see the harmonies
And the heartaches soften

I’m getting in tune
Right in tune
I’m in tune
And I’m gonna tune
Right in on you (right in on you)
Right in on you (right in on you)
Right in on you

I got it all here in my head
There’s nothing more needs to be said
I’m just bangin’ on my old piano
I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
Getting in tune to the straight and narrow
(I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
Yeah, I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow
(I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow)

I’m singing this note ’cause it fits in well with the way I’m feeling
There’s a symphony that I hear in your heart, sets my head a-reeling

But I’m in tune
Right in tune
I’m in tune
And I’m gonna tune
Right in on you (right in on you)
Right in on you (right in on you)
Right in on you

Baby, with you
(Baby, with you)
Baby, with you
(Baby, with you)
Baby, with you

I’ve got it all here in my head
There’s nothing more needs to be said
I’m just bangin’ on my old piano
I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow

Getting in tune to the straight and narrow
I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow
Getting in tune to the straight and narrow
I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
Yeah, I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
Yeah, I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
Yeah, I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow, yeah
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
(Getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
(I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
Yeah, I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow
(I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow)
(I’m getting in tune to the straight and narrow)

Led Zeppelin – Out On The Tiles

This one is a great deep cut by Led Zeppelin. It was on Led Zeppelin III and is looked over but it has a great riff by Jimmy Page. It’s nice to find a Zeppelin song that hasn’t been played to death…the guitar riff is killer on this song.

In Japan, this was mistakenly placed on the B-side of “Immigrant Song” rather than “Hey, Hey What Can I Do.” Those copies are rare collector’s items.

Robert Plant remembered an 18th-century cottage called Bron-Yr-Aur he had visited in his youth and felt it would be a great place to temporarily escape life in the fast lane and commune with nature. Plant invited his co-writer, guitarist Jimmy Page, and in the spring, the two men took their instruments and supplies to the retreat to recharge their batteries. The place had no running water or electricity at the time.

Robert Plant: “It was time to take stock, and not get lost in it all, and what better way to keep it real than at a place with no electricity, candles for light, water from a stream, and an outside toilet?”

Many fans didn’t embrace Led Zeppelin III like their first two albums. The band would routinely bludgeon their audiences with hard rock. This album had a lot of acoustic mixed in with rock guitar. I think it’s the most underrated album in their catalog. The next two albums would combine these two elements perfectly. Led Zeppelin III was the turning point of Led Zeppelin…after that album. To my ears…this is when Led Zeppelin grew up musically.

Led Zeppelin III peaked at #1 in the US, Canada, and UK in 1970-71.

Drummer John Bonham would talk about going “out on the tiles,” meaning to bars – the title is a British term for going out on the town. Jimmy Page wrote this song around the phrase. Bonham, along with Page and Robert Plant, got a writing credit on the track.

 Jimmy Page: “That’s ambient sound. Getting the distance of the time lag from one end of the room to the other and putting that in as well. The whole idea, the way I see recording, is to try and capture the sound of the room live and the emotion of the whole moment and try to convey that. That’s the very essence of it. And so, consequently, you’ve got to capture as much of the room sound as possible.”

Jimmy Page: “When Robert and I went to Bron-Yr-Aur we weren’t thinking: ‘Let’s go to Wales and write.. The original plan was to just go there, hang out and appreciate the countryside. The only song we really finished while we were there was That’s The Way, but being in the country established a standard of traveling for inspiration and set a tone for Led Zeppelin III.”

Below Jason Bonham tells the story of Out On The Tiles

Out On The Tiles

As I walk down the highway all I do is sing this song
And a train that’s passin’ my way helps the rhythm move along
There is no doubt about the words are clear
The voice is strong, is oh so strong

I’m just a simple guy, I live from day to day
A ray of sunshine melts my frown and blows my blues away
There’s nothing more that I can say but on a day like today
I pass the time away and walk a quiet mile with you

All I need from you is all your love
All you got to give to me is all your love
All I need from you is all your love
All you got to give to me is all your love
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah

I’m so glad I’m living and gonna tell the world I am
I got me a fine woman and she says that I’m her man
One thing that I know for sure gonna give her all the loving
Like nobody, nobody, nobody, nobody can

Standing in the noonday sun trying to flag a ride
People go and people come, see my rider right by my side
It’s a total disgrace, they set the pace, it must be a race
And the best thing I can do is run

All I need from you is all your love
All you got to give to me is all your love
All I need from you is all your love
All you got to give to me is all your love
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

Bob Seger – Against The Wind

I’ve met some Seger fans who basically stopped liking his music when this album came out. I don’t understand that really because this is one of my favorite Seger songs although I do like his earlier ones the best. Classic Rock radio has really worn this one thin but I still listen to it when it comes on. The older I get the more I can relate.

I always thought Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then was a great line. Funny enough…Seger was going to scratch that line because he said it didn’t sound right grammar-wise… he changed his mind when people told him it was the best line in the song.

The album Against The Wind was huge. It is his only number 1 album to date. Fire Lake is what attracted me to the album and I had it many years ago. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada,  and #26 in the UK in 1980.

The title track peaked at #5 on the Billboard 100 and #6 in Canada in 1980.

In the lyrics he mentions “Janey”…who was thought to be long term girlfriend Janey Dinsdale. He confirmed it in an interview at the time: Janey says to me all the time, ‘You allow more people to walk on you than anybody I’ve ever known.’ And I always say it’s human nature that people are gonna love you sometimes and they’re gonna use you sometimes. Knowing the difference between when people are using you and when people truly care about you, that’s what “Against the Wind” is all about. The people in that song have weathered the storm, and it’s made them much better that they’ve been able to do it and maintain whatever relationship. To get through is a real victory. 

Half the album was recorded with his Silver Bullet Band and the other half at Muscle Shoals studio with their rhythm section.

Seger won the 1980 Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal Grammy award for this song.

Bob Seger: “My old friend Glenn Frey of the Eagles had an idea that our guitarist Drew Abbott should play along with the piano solo. He and I then went out and did the background vocals together. The line ‘Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then’ bothered me for the longest time, but everyone I knew loved it so I left it in. It has since appeared in several hits by other artists, so I guess it’s OK.”

“The only thing that bothered me about that phrase was the grammar. It sounded grammatically funny to me. I kept asking myself, ‘Is that correct grammar?’ I liked the line, and everybody I played it for – like Glenn and Don (Henley) – were saying, ‘That’s the best line in the song,’ but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t right. But I slowly came around. You have to understand that songwriters can’t punctuate anything they write. I work in such a narrow medium that I tend to second-guess things like that. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen that line in a few other songs since I came up with it, so I guess it was okay after all.”

Against The Wind

It seems like yesterday
But it was long ago
Janey was lovely she was the queen of my nights
There in the darkness with the radio playing low
And the secrets that we shared
The mountains that we moved
Caught like a wildfire out of control
‘Til there was nothing left to burn and nothing left to prove
And I remember what she said to me
How she swore that it never would end
I remember how she held me oh so tight
Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then

Against the wind
We were runnin’ against the wind
We were young and strong, we were runnin’
Against the wind
The years rolled slowly past
And I found myself alone
Surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends
I found myself further and further from my home
And I guess I lost my way
There were oh so many roads
I was living to run and running to live
Never worried about paying or even how much I owed
Moving eight miles a minute for months at a time
Breaking all of the rules that would bend
I began to find myself searching
Searching for shelter again and again

Against the wind
A little something against the wind
I found myself seeking shelter against the wind

Well those drifter’s days are past me now
I’ve got so much more to think about
Deadlines and commitments
What to leave in, what to leave out

Against the wind
I’m still runnin’ against the wind
I’m older now but still runnin’ against the wind
Well I’m older now and still runnin’
Against the wind
Against the wind
Against the wind

I’m still runnin’ against the wind
I’m still runnin’ against the wind (against the wind)
I’m still runnin’ (against the wind)
I’m still runnin’ against the wind (against the wind)
Still runnin’ (against the wind)
Running against the wind
Running against the wind (against the wind)
See the young man run (against the wind)
Watch the young man run (against the wind)
Watch the young man runnin’ (against the wind)
He’ll be runnin’ against the wind (against the wind)
Let the cowboys ride (against the wind)
Oh (against the wind)
Let the cowboys ride (against the wind)
They’ll be ridin’ against the wind (against the wind)
Against the wind (against the wind)
Ridin’ against the wind (against the wind)
Against the wind

Who – Live At Leeds

My friend Dave first posted this article I wrote here on an episode of Turntable Talk. For those who didn’t see it…here it is.  Cincinnati Babyhead also reviewed this on Hanspostcard’s site. 

Dave asked a question:  Is there an act that actually comes out better on live releases than studio ones?

First, let me say…overall I’m more of a record guy…I usually like the studio version of songs but yes there are some bands that can come off better. I would say The Who, Allman Brothers, Cream, The Grateful Dead, Aerosmith, The Stones (1969-1972), and Bob Dylan’s “1966 tour.” However, there is one condition to this.

I think you have to take into consideration the era you are talking about with each band or artist. If we are talking about the peak years then yes. The Rolling Stones for instance…for me it would be 1969 through 1974. When they had Mick Taylor on guitar…they had a huge raw sound live they haven’t had since. With Dylan, the 66 tour for me was the top and I could listen to those versions all day. The Who it would be 1969 through 1976 when they were untouchable live. But I’m not saying I don’t like other years with these artists…but those are known as the peak years.

When the Who took Tommy on tour I think the live recordings beat the studio album by a long shot. That leads me to…my favorite live rock album of all time.

From Classic Rock website ranking Who albums:We usually don’t include live albums in our rankings, but ‘Live at Leeds’ is no ordinary live album. Like ‘Live at the Apollo,’ ‘At Fillmore East,’ ‘At Folsom Prison’ and a handful of other classic concert records, it transcends the genre, turning a quick record-company cash turnaround into a statement of purpose.”

The Who: Live at Leads. If you are a rock and roll fan, a rock fan, or even a heavy metal fan…everyone can find something on that album. This is guitar rock at its best. Listening to the sound of that record, it’s no telling how loud they played. They weren’t the loudest in the Guinness Book of World Records for nothing! When Pete hit a power chord you could almost feel your eardrums retract in and out like a speaker.

It’s not being loud though that makes it so great. Personally, I’ve never heard a band as tight as they were during this tour. They wanted to release a live album and soundman Bob Pridden had 38 shows taped. Pete wanted Pridden to go through all shows and tell him which one was best. Because of constant touring Pridden could never get through all of the shows. The day came and Pete asked him ok…which shows. He couldn’t give Pete an answer.

They had a show at Leeds and Hull coming up on the schedule. In a move he’d later label one of the stupidest decisions of my life,” Townshend told Pridden to burn the tapes so that they’d never wind up in the hands of bootleggers. So, instead of more shows from that era…we have very few.

So…now the tapes were burned and the Leeds and Hull concert was coming up. They had a lot of pressure to get it right for the live album.

Pete Townshend: “I played more carefully than usual and tried to avoid the careless bum notes that often occurred because I was trying to play and jump around at the same time. The next day we played a similar set in City Hall in Hull. This was another venue with good acoustics for loud rock, but it felt less intense than the previous night.”

They played most of the Tommy album and their “oldies” on this tour, which was songs only around 5-6 years old. The original Live at Leeds didn’t have any Tommy songs on it. This album was like a marker for the pre-Tommy Who coming to an end. The deluxe re-released version had the complete show full of Tommy material

The recordings had a few clicks in the tape and Townshend tried to maneuver around them.

Townshend tried slicing out the clicks with a razor blade and quickly realized it would be impossible to get all of them. But subpar-sounding bootlegs were flooding the market at this time, so the band just added a note to the label saying the clicks were intentional! The album cover was a faded stamp reading “The Who: Live at Leeds” on brown paper, mirroring the look of illegal vinyl bootlegs of the era. Later on, Aerosmith had a similar live bootleg album cover.

What impresses me is the only overdubbing on the album was the backup vocals because they were poorly recorded. John Entwistle and Pete did the backup vocals in one take in the studio to stay true to the live album. What you hear on the album is what the good people at Leeds heard that night. No massive overdubbing to tighten anything up.

By 1970 The Who had been touring almost non-stop since 1964 and it showed on this album. After the album, the band didn’t tour as much as before. They worked in the studio on more complex albums Who’s Next and Quadrophenia. Their tours were not the marathon tours of the sixties.

This was before Won’t Get Fooled Again, Baba O’Riley, and  Quadrophenia’s complex music that required backing tapes live. This album was The Who as nature intended… a very loud tight rock band and possibly the best live rock album.

BTW…Bob Pridden worked as The Who’s soundman until 2016 when he retired.

Here are three examples. Young Man Blues. Listen to Moon and Entwistle intertwine with each other. You also have Summertime Blues and A Quick One, While He’s Away.

The Who : Maximum R&B at it’s best.

Beatles – She’s Leaving Home

I got this album when I was 10 years old and they even included the cutouts 10 years after it was released.

This song was on the Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album. The album was probably the most influential rock album ever released. Other bands followed with psychedelic albums with varying results. The Zombie’s Odessey and Oracle was a great one but the Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request disappointed many fans. Sgt Pepper worked well but The Beatles would completely move on after their next EP – Album Magical Mystery Tour.

Not only were the songs different but the sound was different than their last albums. The two that stood out were Ringo’s drums and his use of toms on songs like A Day In The Life. Paul’s bass playing was brilliant. His bass on the album and especially Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds stands up to anything today…the sound of the bass also was crystal clear.

She’s Leaving Home took me a while to appreciate but when I got older I was blown away. This song was inspired by a real runaway named Melonie Coe. She had been on the television show, Ready, Steady Go, and won a prize for a miming and dancing contest. The Beatles were performing on the program and it was Paul who presented her with her prize.

Fast forward a couple of years and Melanie ran away from home in the afternoon leaving a note for her mother to find when she returned.  Melanie was running away with her boyfriend because she was in the early stages of pregnancy. She ended up breaking up with the guy.

The story of her disappearance was reported in the British newspaper, The Daily Mirror, and when Paul McCartney read it, he began to write the song She’s Leaving Home. The headline read: A-Level Girl Dumps Car and Vanishes.

It’s doubtful if Paul remembered Melanie from their brief encounter.

In the article, her father said “I cannot imagine why she should run away, she has everything here … even her fur coat.” And Lennon and McCartney turned that into “We gave her everything money could buy.”
Melanie moved to Los Angeles, having decided to become an actress. She didn’t make it and her only claim to fame was that she dated Burt Ward…a.k.a Robin in the television series Batman. She moved back to England and then on to Southern Spain where she became a real estate agent.

Melanie Coe 3

Paul was excited about this song and rang George Martin up to do it NOW. George couldn’t record when Paul wanted to so Paul recruited  Mike Leander…another producer. That didn’t sit well with Martin and he was hurt but there wasn’t much he could do.

George Martin: “It was the song that got away, It was the song I wanted to do…It was just one of those silly things. He was so damned impatient and I was up to my eyes with other work and I just couldn’t cope. But Paul realizes now, though he was surprised that I was upset.”

Melanie Coe: “The amazing thing about the song was how much it got right about my life, It quoted the parents as saying ‘we gave her everything money could buy’ which was true in my case. I had two diamond rings, a mink coat, hand-made clothes in silk and cashmere and even my own car. Then there was the line ‘after living alone for so many years,’ which really struck home to me because I was an only child and I always felt alone…I heard the song when it came out and thought it was about someone like me but never dreamed it was actually about me…I must have been in my twenties when my mother said she’d seen Paul on television and he’d said that the song was based on a story in a newspaper. That’s when I started telling my friends it was about me.”

Melanie Coe: “I first heard the song when it came out and I didn’t realize it was about me, but I remember thinking it could have been about me….I found the song to be extremely sad. It obviously struck a chord somewhere. It wasn’t until later, when I was in my twenties, that my mother said, ‘You know, that song was about you!’ She had seen an interview with Paul [McCartney] on television and he said he’d based the song on this newspaper article. She put two and two together.”

Paul McCartney: “We’d seen a story in the newspaper about a young girl who had left home and not been found. There were a lot of those at the time, That was enough to give us a story line. So I started to get the lyrics: she slips out and leaves a note and then the parents wake up and then…It was rather poignant. I like it as a song, and when I showed it to John, he added the Greek chorus, long sustained notes, and one of the nice things about the structure of the song is that it stays on those chords endlessly. Before that period in our songwriting we would have changed chords but it stays on the C chord. It really holds you. It’s a really nice little trick and I think it worked very well.”

“Greek chorus” entails by adding: “While I was showing that to John, he was doing the Greek chorus, the parents’ view: ‘We gave her most of our lives, we gave her everything money could buy.’ I think that may have been in the runaway story, it might have been a quote from the parents.”

John Lennon: “Paul had the basic theme for this song, but all those lines like ‘We sacrificed most of our life…we gave her everything money could buy,’ those were the things Mimi used to say to me. It was easy to write.”

She’s Leaving Home

Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins
Silently closing her bedroom door
Leaving the note that she hoped would say more
She goes downstairs to the kitchen clutching her handkerchief
Quietly turning the backdoor key
Stepping outside she is free

She (We gave her most of our lives)
Is leaving (Sacrificed most of our lives)
Home (We gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown
Picks up the letter that’s lying there
Standing alone at the top of the stairs
She breaks down and cries to her husband “Daddy our baby’s gone
Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly?
How could she do this to me?”

She (We never thought of ourselves)
Is leaving (Never a thought for ourselves)
Home (We struggled hard all our lives to get by)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

Friday morning at nine o’clock she is far away
Waiting to keep the appointment she made
Meeting a man from the motor trade

She (What did we do that was wrong)
Is having (We didn’t know it was wrong)
Fun (Fun is the one thing that money can’t buy)
Something inside that was always denied
For so many years (Bye bye)

She’s leaving home
Bye bye