Clash – Train In Vain

I’m on a business trip this week so I won’t be responding as normal most of the time. I’m not driving so I should be able to check comments here and there on my phone. I’ll be back more regularly on Friday but will post every day till then.

This was the first song I ever knew by the Clash when I heard it on the radio in 1980. The song is credited to Mick Jones and Joe Strummer like most Clash songs. Mick Jones takes the lead vocals in this one.

They started off as a punk band but The Clash, unlike some other Punk bands, could really play and sing well…, especially Mick Jones. He is was probably the best pure musician in the band.

The song was said to come from the train rhythm in the song combined with the theme of being lost. You also hear a reference to Tammy Wynette’s 1975 hit single Stand By Your Man. Train In Vain also contains a pointed reference to his flat being burgled in early 1979 and to his feelings of depression (“I need new clothes, I need somewhere to stay”).

The original vinyl copy of London Calling “Train Is Vain” isn’t listed on the track listing on the sleeve. The story is that the song was recorded for an NME promotional flexi-disc once the London Calling sessions were done, and the flexi-disc idea then fell through, leaving the song with no home. The band hastily tacked the song onto the end of the album just before vinyl pressing, but the sleeve had already been designed and there was no time to add it to the track listing.

The only clue of its existence is in the run-out groove on Side 4, where the name is carved into the vinyl. On all subsequent releases (including the CD copy) “Train In Vain” is included on the track listing on the sleeve.

The song was released in 1979 and reached #23 on the Billboard Charts. It is listed by Rolling Stone Magazine at 298 in the top 500 songs of all time. Train in Vain was written by Mick Jones and Joe Strummer.

Train In Vain

Say you stand by your manTell me something I don’t understandYou said you love me and that’s a factAnd then you left me, said you felt trappedWell, some things you can explain awayBut my heartache’s in me ’til this day

You didn’t stand by meNo, not at allYou didn’t stand by meNo way

All the times when we were closeI’ll remember these things the mostI see all my dreams come tumbling downI can’t be happy without you aroundSo alone I keep the wolves at bayAnd there’s only one thing that I can say

You didn’t stand by meNo, not at allYou didn’t stand by meNo way

You must explain why this must beDid you lie when you spoke to me?Did you stand by me?No, not at all

Now I got a job, but it don’t payI need new clothes, I need somewhere to stayBut without all these things I can doBut without your love, I won’t make it throughBut you don’t understand my point of viewI suppose there’s nothing I can do

You didn’t stand by meNo, not at allYou didn’t stand by meNo way

You didn’t stand by meNo, not at allYou didn’t stand by meNo way

You must explain why this must beDid you lie when you spoke to me?Did you stand by me?

Did you stand by me?No, not at allDid you stand by me?No wayDid you stand by me?No, not at allDid you stand by me?No way


Beatles – All My Loving

This is the first song America heard on February 9, 1964, on the Ed Sullivan Show.

I love this song for one big reason. John Lennon plays a hell of a rhythm in the background. He makes it sound so deceptively easy but it’s not. I need to start focusing on some of their earlier music instead of just their late sixties tracks. I have some readers that just like their early stuff and others who like just the mid or later. I love both because it’s the same band… early, middle, or late… both have great melodies but just different tones of instruments.

What is great about the early part is their harmonies. When I played in a band we didn’t do many Beatles songs although they were being requested. If we did we did a later song like Get Back without those harmonies. It takes a band with 2 or better yet 3 singers who can do those harmonies. Not easy to do when you are teen playing instruments at the same time. We stuck with Rolling Stones and CCR songs without the complicated harmonies. Now we couldn’t do I Am The Walrus either because of the craziness of the instruments.

Meet The Beatles

This song was on the first Beatles album I listened to…the American version of With The Beatles named Meet The Beatles with their faces in shadow. We had a clubhouse and my older cousin bought the album and I was hooked…for life. It’s hard not to get hooked by the songs.

On February 9th, 1964, an estimated 73 million viewers watched this much-hyped young Liverpool band perform five songs ‘live’ from CBS-TV Studio 50 in New York City. Capital Records kept rejecting Beatles songs until I Want To Hold Your Hand. A few radio stations started to play the song and soon Capitol realized that they could not reject them anymore. They didn’t like British records and only would release novelty British songs in America. When they started to get behind Meet The Beatles the dam burst.

They chose All My Loving to start the set and made an immediate good first impression and kept that huge television audience tuned in for the whole show. What separated the Beatles from other bands? The thousands of hours they already had under their belt from rocking in Hamburg, The Cavern, and all around Europe. At one point they very well could have had more hours on stage than any other rock band. Another thing was the quantity and more important the quality of the songwriting of the band that would continue to their end.

It’s a Lennon-McCartney song but mostly McCartney. The song peaked at #1 in Canada and New Zealand. It surprisingly only peaked at #45 on the Billboard 100 in 1964.

Paul McCartney:  “I don’t know that I was thinking specifically of Jane Asher when I wrote this, though we were courting. It’s probably more of a reflection on what our lives were like then – leaving behind family and friends to go on tour and experience all these new adventures.”

All My Loving

Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you
Tomorrow I’ll miss you
Remember I’ll always be true
And then while I’m away
I’ll write home every day
And I’ll send all my lovin’ to you

I’ll pretend that I’m kissing
The lips I am missing
And hope that my dreams will come true
And then while I’m away
I’ll write home every day
And I’ll send all my lovin’ to you

All my lovin’, I will send to you
All my lovin’, darlin’, I’ll be true

Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you
Tomorrow I’ll miss you
Remember I’ll always be true
And then while I’m away
I’ll write home every day
And I’ll send all my loving to you

All my lovin’, I will send to you
All my lovin’, darlin’, I’ll be true
All my lovin’, all my lovin’
Ooh ooh, all my lovin’, I will send to you

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Suzie Q

This song has one of the most recognizable guitar licks in rock history.

A bar band needing another song to get through the night? This is the one that the guitar player would noodle around and get it and the band could kick in without rehearsing. I saw the clock turn to 3am playing this song many times… if you could see the clock through the smoke. The guitar riff on the original version was created by the then-15-year-old James Burton.

The song took Dale Hawkins and his band three months to perfect the song on the stages throughout the south. He was the original singer of the song and it came out in 1957.  The song was credited to Dale Hawkins, Robert Chaisson, Stan Lewis, and Eleanor Broadwater. The song peaked at #24 on the Billboard 100 and #7 on the R&B Charts.

This song is the only top 40 song for CCR not written by John Fogerty. This song started it all for Creedence. After this, they were one of the most successful bands in the world. The song peaked at #11 on the Billboard 100 and #10 in Canada. Fogerty wanted to make their identity with this song.

CCR’s version became popular on the West Coast before it was available on vinyl. The band brought a cassette tape of the song to a San Francisco DJ, who played it in appreciation for the group’s earlier support of a DJ strike. Fantasy records then had to get the single out. The song was on their debut album called Creedence Clearwater Revival released in 1968. It peaked at #52 on the Billboard Album Charts.

The Rolling Stones also covered it on their 1964 12 x 5 album.

John Fogerty:  “I knew I needed to work on arranging the song so that the band would sound like Creedence Clearwater Revival, would sound professional, mysterious and also have their own definition. The song I chose was ‘Susie Q.’ I decided not to write the song myself. I decided to pick something that existed because it’d just be easier. I’d be less self-conscious about doing things.”

John Fogerty on hearing it for the first time:  “I went crazy and immediately began banging on the dashboard.”

When asked what the rhymes are in the latter part of the song, bass player Stu Cook said, “They were just simple rhymes. John hated it when songwriters used simple rhymes just to make things rhyme, so this was a statement against that. It was sort of anti-Dylan.”

Suzie Q

Oh Susie Q, oh Susie Q
Oh Susie Q baby I love you, Susie Q
I like the way you walk
I like the way you talk
I like the way you walk
I like the way you talk
Susie Q

Well, say that you’ll be true
Well, say that you’ll be true
Well, say that you’ll be true and never leave me blue, Susie Q

Well, say that you’ll be mine
Well, say that you’ll be mine
Well, say that you’ll be mine, baby all the time, Susie Q

Uh uh
Uh uh
Uh uh
Uh uh

Oh Susie Q, oh Susie Q
Oh Susie Q, baby I love you, Susie Q

I like the way you walk
I like the way you talk
I like the way you walk I like the way you talk, Susie Q

Oh Susie Q, oh Susie Q
Oh Susie Q, baby I love you, Susie Q

Band – Across The Great Divide

Happy New Year to all my readers. This is my first post of the year other than the New Years’ post this morning at 12:01 AM CST. My next post in one hour will be just for all of my readers…

My friend CB (Cincinnati Baby Head)  reminded me of this song not too long ago…so thank you CB.  Man…wasn’t The Band a truly great band? Not many bands could get away with a name like that…but it is no question they lived up to it. They made pure music for the people…

Standin’ by your window in painA pistol in your handAnd I beg you, dear Molly, girl,Try and understand your man the best you can.

Not a good way to start your day.

Canada has given us Neil Young, The Guess Who, BTO, and many more but…to me, this band was their best export.

The Band had 3 great singers and a good one in Robbie. Robertson wrote most of the songs and wrote for the other three voices. He was smart enough to step aside and let his bandmates sing his songs. Not many singer/songwriters would do that but it worked well.

This song was on their second album called The Band released in 1969. The album is one of the best albums ever. It contained these songs, Up On Crippled Creek, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, Whispering Pines, Rag Mama Rag, and more.

They recorded this album not in a recording studio but at Sammy Davis’s house in California. They remodeled the adjacent pool house into a recording studio. The Band fashioned a makeshift workshop environment similar to the one at their former home, Big Pink.

The album peaked at #2 in Canada, #9 on the Billboard 100, and #25 in the UK. This song was not released as a single.

Levon Helm: “Sometimes we would grow the songs from scratch, right there in the pool-house, sometimes we would just pull them out of thin air. We had story songs, we had picture songs and we had songs that emulated things we had heard. One thing that helped is that we had two different styles of rhythm section, with Richard and me swapping drum duties. That was done mainly to accommodate Garth’s ability to trade instruments around. Of course, Garth could play percussion, woodwind, bass—just about anything.”

Across The Great Divide

Standin’ by your window in painA pistol in your handAnd I beg you, dear Molly, girl,Try and understand your man the best you can.

Across the Great DivideJust grab your hat, and take that rideGet yourself a brideAnd bring your children down to the river side

I had a goal in my younger daysI nearly wrote my willBut I changed my mind for the betterI’m at the still, had my fill and I’m fit to kill

Across the Great DivideJust grab your hat, and take that rideGet yourself a brideAnd bring your children down to the river side

Pinball machine and a queenI nearly took the busTried to keep my hands to myselfThey say it’s a must, but who can ya trust?Harvest moon shinin’ down from the skyA weary sign for allI’m gonna leave this one horse townHad to stall ’til the fall, now I’m gonna crawlAcross the Great Divide

Now Molly dear, don’t ya shed a tearYour time will surely comeYou’ll feed your man chicken ev’ry SundayNow tell me, hon, what ya done with the gun?

Across the Great DivideJust grab your hat, and take that rideGet yourself a brideAnd bring your children down to the river side

Replacements – Black Diamond

If you are a KISS fan…yes you are reading this right. On their 1984 album Let It Be the always unpredictable Replacements put a KISS cover in the middle of their album. It felt out of place on the album but was a fun cut. The Replacements and Big Star were similar…not music as much but as an influence. Every punk band that got huge in the ’90s, especially Nirvana and Green Day owes a major debt to the Replacements.

The Replacements have been described as being one of the best live rock and roll bands ever witnessed…or if they were in a playful or pissed-off mood…they might play covers all night long and some very bad on purpose. They started off as a punk band and doing KISS covers was not high on the punk list…neither was guitar player Bob Stinson idolizing Yes’s prog rock guitar player Steve Howe.

They gradually morphed into a great rock band after their second album. I’ve known people who saw them in the 80s…say that yes they could compete with the best rock band on earth when they were on. When they were not on…they would at least entertain you.

In the mid-80s they were playing at CBGB’s and near the set’s end, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons walked in. Peter Jesperson (Replacements manager) was at the soundboard. “They had a talkback system at CBGB where you could communicate from the booth into the monitors.” He alerted Paul Westerberg to Simmon’s presence, and the band went right into “Black Diamond.” “Simmons was looking all around like ‘How did they know I was here?’” recalled Jesperson. The ’Mats’ “suck ass version” quickly chased Simmons from the venue. The band followed up with an X-rated version of the “Ballad of Jed Clampett,” then whistled their way through the theme from The Andy Griffith Show before finally leaving the stage. Someone was watching them from the audience that night…the one and only Alex Chilton.

When the Replacements went through their routine, Chilton had a grin plastered on his face. After the show, both Jesperson and Chilton were waiting to get paid by CBGB owner Hilly Kristal. Jesperson offered to buy breakfast the next morning. Chilton accepted. That started a friendship between Chilton and the band.

Seymour Stein was the head of Sire records which was owned by Warner Brothers. He was interested in the band and listened to their albums and finally got to see them a few nights after the CBGB disaster…he was knocked out by how great they were. They went all out and were definitely on. That is how big the contrast was with their shows.

The song was written by Paul Stanley.  Black Diamond is the closing track on the band’s eponymous first album, Kiss, released in 1974. Paul Stanley did the intro vocal and then Peter Criss takes over. This is a good example of why Criss’s voice is the one I like best of all of them. It has a raspy feel to it.

The Replacements version changes it somewhat and they make it more of their style…is it a great cover? No, but it is interesting. If you asked me my favorite rock band of the 80s…The Replacements would be my pick. They played rock with intelligent lyrics and they were armed with Westerberg who I would place among the best songwriters of his era.

Paul Westerberg: ““That was, in 1974, dangerous, exciting rock-and-roll for us, I was ashamed to admit it at that time, but now I’m smart enough to know that that music was the thing that got me going.”

Paul Stanley (KISS): “‘Black Diamond’ was a song that I wrote about New York. New York was very dear to us, and life there was all we could write about. Seeing hookers on the street, whether we lived it, we saw it and it kind of gave us something to fantasize about.”

Black Diamond

Out on the street for a livingYou know it’s only begunThey’ve got you under their thumb

Out on the street for a livingShits only begunDoing whatever killed himThey got you under their thumb

Oooh, black diamondOooh, black diamond

Out on the street for a countryAnd it’s only a dreamGot other people marchingAnd it’s only a way

Oooh, black diamondOooh, black diamond

Out on the street for a livingAnd it’s only begunRegardless a street or a countryThey got you under their thumb

Oooh, black diamondOooh, black diamond

Shocking Blue with Mariska Veres

A few years ago I posted nothing but Shocking Blue songs the entire weekend…when I was doing 2-3 posts a day. I received great feedback on their material. Most people have only heard Venus and some Nirvana fans have heard Love Buzz that they covered.

This is a band that I found when I first started to blog. I always liked their hit Venus but their other songs are just as good or better to me. The stringy guitar song Mighty Joe and the melodic Never Marry a Railroad Man are great songs.

They were a band out of the Netherlands with a  sensational singer named Mariska Veres who hit internationally in 1970. She sounded like Grace Slick to me…maybe a little stronger. Robbie van Leeuwen was the guitar player who wrote the songs.

Shocking Blue successfully combined Beat music and R&B with psychedelic elements of the time like sitar and odd production techniques. Robbie didn’t mind if the band included a few covers, as it took the pressure off him to constantly come up with new material. “We wrote a lot of our own stuff and the radio DJs preferred us to do original songs, but we had so many albums to do the band had to fill in with a few covers. It was quite exhausting writing all the lyrics and song myself”.

They were together from 1968-1974. Shocking Blue was known as a one-hit-wonder with Venus but their other songs were big hits in the Netherlands.

They were not smooth…they were raw… hence why I like them. Venus is probably my least favorite…maybe because I’ve heard it too much and it’s been covered a few times by different artists.

I like finding artists that have been largely forgotten. I never knew about Shocking Blue…with the exception of Venus until 3 or 4 years ago. I do listen to some new music on Youtube but I like digging and finding good bands that deserve attention. To me they are new…

Mariska sadly died in 2006. With her voice, I’m shocked she didn’t have a more successful solo career.

Never Marry a Railroad Man

Mighty Joe

Love Buzz


Band – The Last Waltz

Happy Thanksgiving! Watching The Last Waltz is just as part of Thanksgiving as the meal with the family…that and Alice’s Restaurant which is coming.

The Band on Thanksgiving in 1976 at the Fillmore West. The film starts off with THIS FILM MUST BE PLAYED LOUD! A cut to Rick Danko playing pool and then it then to the Band playing “Don’t Do It”…the last song they performed that night after hours of playing. Through the music and some interviews, their musical journey and influences are retraced.

This film is considered by many the best concert film ever made. It was directed by Martin Scorsese. I love the setting with the chandeliers that were from the movie Gone With The Wind. The quality of the picture is great because it was shot with a 35-millimeter camera which wasn’t normally done with concerts.

Before the Band and guests hit the stage, Bill Graham, the promoter, served a Thanksgiving dinner to 5000 people that made up the audience with long tables with white tablecloths.

The Band’s musical guests included

Ronnie Hawkins, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Dr. John, Paul Butterfield, Van Morrison (my favorite performance), Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton and Muddy Waters

The Staple Singers and Emmylou Harris also appear but their segments were taped later on a sound stage and not at the concert.

Robbie wanted off the road earlier and that is what the Last Waltz was all about…the last concert by The Band with a lot of musical friends. He was tired of touring and also the habits the band was picking up… drugs and drinking. Richard Manuel, in particular, was in bad shape and needed time.

The rest of the Band supposedly agreed but a few years later all of them but Robbie started to tour as The Band again. Richard Manuel ended up hanging himself in 1986. Rick Danko passed away in 1999 at the end of a tour of a heart attack attributed to years of drug and alcohol abuse. Levon Helm died of cancer in 2012.

The Band sounded great that night and it might be the best version you will ever hear of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

The Last Waltz is a grand farewell to a great band and a film that I revisit at least twice a year… once always around Thanksgiving.

The complete concert is at the bottom…without cuts.

Miss O’Dell: Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton… by Chris O’Dell and Katherine Ketcham

I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s almost like a fantasy book. You are a fan and suddenly you get thrown into the world with The Beatles as friends and co-workers. You move from the Beatles to the Stones, CSNY, Bob Dylan and the list kept growing. 

I will say this… as a Beatle fan, this book gave me insight that I never had before. Chris O’Dell happened to meet Derek Taylor (press officer of the Beatles) in Los Angeles in 1968…she worked for him for a few weeks in LA as a PA. He told her she should come over to London to check out the new company that The Beatles were starting called Apple. He didn’t promise her a job but she took a chance and sold her records and borrowed from her parents to go to London. She was like Alice down the rabbit hole, O’Dell stumbled upon a life even she could not have dreamed of.

She took a chance and went over and that started her career working at The Beatles record company Apple. It took her a few months to get hired full time but after the Beatle’s inner circle knew she could be trusted she was there. She met Paul on her very first day. She said all of them were extremely nice and made her feel welcome. She spent the first few months showing up at the office and making herself useful and securing her place. She was especially close to George as a friend and later Ringo as a little more. 

Chris O'Dell George

After all was said and done…she had 3 songs written about her. Two by Leon Russell called Hummingbird, Pieces Apple Lady, and George Harrison’s Miss O’Dell. She was also the “Mystery Woman” on the Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street cover. She was in the Joni Mitchell song “Coyote” with the line He’s got another woman down the hall…the song about Sam Shepard who Chris O’Dell and Joni Mitchell were seeing. She ended up singing on the Hey Jude recording in the final Na Na chorus.

She was one of the first if not the first female tour manager in rock. The tours she worked on were The Rolling Stones, CSNY, Santana, Bob Dylan, Earth Wind and Fire, Jennifer Warnes, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Led Zeppelin, Phil Collins, Echo and the Bunnymen, ELO, and more.

We also get a glimpse into the personalities of Bob Dylan, Jagger and Richards, CSNY (and the disfunction), Eric Clapton, and more. 

Chris O'Dell's Rockstar Life Revealed

Like all of us through life…she made some cringe-worthy decisions. I’m not trying to play it down but most of the time everything worked out in the end. She was in the right place at the right time and took advantage of that. She remains close friends with Pattie Harrison, Ringo Starr (her son’s Godfather), and many of her old famous acquaintances.

This is not a kiss-and-tell book and she doesn’t trash people which made me happy. The only person to come out of this book bad at all is Eric Clapton who was admittedly jealous of Pattie and Chris’s friendship. After the Stones tour, she got into drugs really bad but managed to quit them only to start up again. She, later on, became a drug counselor and helped people. 

This book is for more than just Beatle fans…it gives you what life was like on the road in the 1970s. Some of the highlights in the book for me were: 

  • How the Apple Office worked including the Hell’s Angels visitors
  • How even the biggest stars had deep insecurities
  • Bob Dylan forgot his harmonicas before the Isle of Wight concert and Chris O’Dell arrived by helicopter to give them to him.
  • Keith Richards sending her to pick up a “package” in LA in the middle of a tour
  • Reading about David Crosby’s complaints of no “cross ventilation in his hotel room”
  • When Roger Taylor of Queen realized that she was Miss O’Dell from George’s song.
  • Insight into Pattie Boyd and Maureen Starkey who is hardly covered in Beatles books
  • Reading about how Bangledesh started and how George got his musician friends to participate. 
  • Being on the roof during Get Back brief concert

Chris O’Dell: I think being a Beatle became very difficult for them. They had a different set of problems than the Stones and CSN&Y.  They didn’t tour that much, they couldn’t go out of their hotel rooms, and they lived in a bubble. I think breaking up for them, and I can only guess, was a relief and very difficult at the same time.

Chris O’Dell:  It was like being let go in Disneyland. That’s what it felt like. It’s like here are the keys to Disneyland, go and enjoy yourself. And I was constantly aware that I was watching history in the making and that was exciting. So every day had some, or certainly every week, had something, a twist to it that made it really exciting

Chris O’Dell now: I am happily remarried to a wonderful man who supports me and accepts me as I am. My twenty-three-year-old son is amazing and gives me some credibility as a parent! I have a private practice in Tucson, specializing in addiction and mental health counseling.  My two dogs are happy and life is just better than I would have expected. 

Excerpt from the book: On being in a room with Mick and Keith before the 72 tour. 

“Listen to this fucking article in Rolling Stone about Harrison’s Bangladesh concert,” Keith said. He started reading from the article.
“The Concert for Bangladesh is rock reaching for its manhood.” Keith raised an eyebrow. “Under the leadership of George Harrison, a group of rock musicians recognized, in a deliberate, self-conscious, and professional way, that they have responsibilities, and went about dealing with them seriously.”
Keith looked at Mick and then at me. “Do you believe this shit? But wait, it gets better. Harrison is “a man with a sense of his own worth, his own role in the place of things… with a few parallels among his peers.”
“Bollocks.” Keith laughed, tossing the magazine on the coffee table. “What a fucking load of shit.”
I knew that Keith wasn’t really amused. He could be terribly insecure.
What a paradox Keith was- a sweet sensitive soul who wrote songs about needing love to be happy and yet he lived his life as if he couldn’t give a shit about anything.
But at that moment I wasn’t too interested in Keith’s feelings. I sat at the far end of the sofa, my legs and arms crossed, smoking a cigarette and drinking my Scotch and Coke as if it were straight Coke. I was pissed. Sure, I knew they were just being competitive, but I couldn’t stand listening to them make fun of George. I wanted to jump into the conversation and tell them to leave him alone. But what could I do? I worked for the Stones now, not the Beatles. This is weird, I know, and particularly strange in the context of the Stone’s remarkable longevity, but at that moment I had a sinking feeling that I was beginning my climb down the ladder. I’d started at the very top with the Beatles and now I was on the rung below. I found myself thinking at that moment that the Stones were sometimes a little too raw, too raunchy, too negative. I liked their music, and I liked each of them individually, but if I had to choose, the Beatles would win.
“You know,” I said, trying to smile but having a hard time of it,
“George is my friend.”
Mick looked over at me as if he had forgotten I was there. “Oh yeah, Chris, you’re a Beatle person, aren’t you? Sorry about that”
We let it go, then, but after I dropped Mick at his house and headed home through the dark canyons, I felt a sudden, intense longing to see Pattie and George. Mick was right. When it came right down to it, I was a Beatle person.”

Miss O’Dell

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to say
About the war
Or the rice
That keeps going astray on its way to Bombay.
That smog that keeps polluting up our shores
Is boring me to tears.
Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to fear
From the waves
Or the rice
That keeps rolling on right up to my front porch.
The record player’s broken on the floor,
And Ben, he can’t restore it.
Miss O’Dell.

I can tell you
Nothing new
Has happened since I last saw you.

I’m the only one down here
Who’s got nothing to say
About the hip
Or the dope
Or the cat with most hope to fill the Fillmore.
That pushing, shoving, ringing on my bell
Is not for me tonight.
Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

Why don’t you call me, Miss O’Dell?

Cream – Anyone For Tennis

It was my senior year in high school and I was listening to Cream’s greatest hits on a spring day. I had the greatest hits cassette in my car…I heard this song with the windows down and at first, I thought…no this can’t be Cream. It grew on me and I love the song. I like when a band does something different. After blitzing audiences with Crossroads, Whiteroom, Sunshine of Your Love, and Strange Brew…out comes this song. It’s not my favorite Cream song…that would be Badge but this one always makes me smile.

The song was recorded during the Wheels On Fire album sessions but not released on that album. Eric Clapton and Martin Sharp wrote the song for the film  The Savage Seven released in 1968. It peaked at #64 on the Billboard 100, #37 in Canada, and #40 in the UK and was released on that soundtrack and a single.

Cream released four albums in four years and called it a day in 1969. They would split with Clapton having the most successful career. They would reunite in 1993 for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They had a proper reunion in 2005 with four shows at Royal Albert Hall and three shows at Madison Square Gardens.

I remember the 40th Atlantic Anniversary concert held on May 11, 1988. It was rumored that Led Zeppelin and Cream were going to reunite. Led Zeppelin did, probably to their regret, but Cream didn’t attend. I watched it hoping that Cream would play.

Cream appeared on the Smothers Brothers and mimed this song. Who the hell knows what it means but when I heard “And the elephants are dancing on the graves of squealing mice. Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?” I was hooked. It’s hard to get it out of your head once you listen to it.

Anyone For Tennis

Twice upon a time in the valley of the tears
The auctioneer is bidding for a box of fading years
And the elephants are dancing on the graves of squealing mice.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

And the ice creams are all melting on the streets of bloody beer
While the beggars stain the pavements with fluorescent Christmas cheer
And the Bentley driving guru is putting up his price.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

And the prophets in the boutiques give out messages of hope
With jingle bells and fairy tales and blind colliding scopes
And you can tell they’re all the same underneath the pretty lies.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

The yellow Buddhist monk is burning brightly at the zoo
You can bring a bowl of rice and then a glass of water too
And fate is setting up the chessboard while death rolls out the dice.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

Led Zeppelin: The Biography …by Bob Spitz

This is the second Led Zeppelin book I’ve reviewed in a row…hope you are not getting too tired of it. I’m moving on to something else with my next book.

This is a good book about Led Zeppelin by Bob Spitz. This book surprised me when I read it. The reason is that Spitz wrote a biography of the Beatles that felt uninspired with no new info…I was thinking this one might be the same. Well, I was wrong…this book is the best book I’ve read on Led Zeppelin and that includes Hammer of the Gods and others.

The book uncovered things I didn’t know and gave a different point of view on instances that happened. There are constants about the band that run through every book about them. John Paul Jones was the constant professional and multi-instrumentalist of the band. John Bonham was an incredible drummer but could flash in a violent rage at any minute. Robert Plant the optimistic never say die singer who would change after his family’s bad car accident. Jimmy Page was the absolute leader of the band until he couldn’t function in that role because of the different chemicals he was taking.

Below is a Swan Song band Detective with a weary Jimmy Page asleep on the couch behind them.

Detective Band
Detective… A Swan Song band with Jimmy Page fast asleep at the photo session.

One thing that was known about the band is that they had an inferiority complex about The Rolling Stones. This is explored more in this book. They couldn’t understand why the press and celebrities hung out and liked the Stones and not them… although Zeppelin outsold them. The answer to that was pretty obvious…other bands such as The Who could shrug off bad reviews and go on…Led Zeppelin would call the critics out from the stage. The press was also threatened by manager Peter Grant and touring manager Richard Cole to give good reviews. Zeppelin also barred the press for years…so it wasn’t a big mystery here except to them.

On the 1977 tour the press was given some rules by the band:

  1. Never talk to anyone in the band unless they first talk to you.
  2. Do not make any sort of eye contact with John Bonham. This is for your own safety.
  3. Do not talk to Peter Grant or Richard Cole – for any reason.
  4. Keep your cassette player turned off at all times unless conducting an interview.
  5. Never ask questions about anything other than music.
  6. Most importantly, understand this – the band will read what is written about them. The band does not like the press nor do they trust them.

Hmmm….wonder why they weren’t as liked as much as the Rolling Stones by the press and public? They also became more separated from their audience in the later 70s.

The book also focuses on their vanity label Swan Song. Drugs had taken over by that time and no artists were really cared for except Bad Company who was hot right out of the gate. Any questions from a Swan Song artist would fall on deaf ears because no one was really running the label. By this time, Grant carried a bag of cocaine and dipped it out with a bowie knife. He stayed secluded at his mansion surrounded by his security cameras… like in a scene out of Scarface.

The band was the top band in the world but in 1975 it all changed with Robert Plant’s car accident that left him recouping for months while his wife was hurt more seriously. In 1977 a guard that worked for Bill Graham stopped a kid from getting a Led Zeppelin sign off their door…all hell broke loose. That was Peter Grant’s son. Grant rounded up his “security” people and beat the guard and they almost popped his eye out.  After that happened they played what was to be their last show in America. A few days later Robert Plant’s son Karac died of a respiratory virus.

All in all, it was a good book and I would recommend it to any rock fan. I am a fan of the band, especially the albums between Led Zeppelin III and Physical Graffiti. I wasn’t a big fan of the bombastic blues songs as much as the light-heavy moments. The book tells you how management built walls around them while being surrounded by violence, threats, and later on drugs.

Raspberries – Go All The Way

I wrote this for Dave’s Turntable Talk at A Sound Day. Be on the lookout for that series at A Sound Day. He has some interesting topics. This one was on One Hit Wonders.

This song has a mixture of The Who, Beach Boys, and The Beatles… a pretty good mixture! I’m cheating a bit…The Raspberries had 4 top 40 hits but this was the only top ten hit and the song they are most known for. The song starts off with a strong Who-like loud riff then continues on with hooks galore.

When people think of The Raspberries this is the song most think of. Personally, I always thought Overnight Sensation was their best song but this one is great and the masses agreed.

The song peaked at #5 on the Billboard 100 and #5 in Canada in 1972. This song was on their self-titled debut album released in 1972. The American and Australian versions of this LP carried a scratch-and-sniff sticker with a strong raspberry scent.

They were one of the 3 great power pop bands of the early 70s. Badfinger, Big Star, and The Raspberries. Out of those three, Badfinger was the most successful but all were good. Many alternative bands that followed would list all three or at least one of them as an influence. The Raspberries released 4 albums in total between 1972 and 1975. They broke up after their last album Starting Over (#143) and the great single Overnight Sensation only charted at #18. After you listen to Go All The Way…check out Overnight Sensation…it’s an epic song.

I moved to a different town when I was 8 and in a new school (we would move back later that year) we went on a field trip to some college. Thinking back, it was a small college and the students there put on a small show for us kids. After the show, they showed us the grounds and I remember Go All The Way booming out of a room. It’s funny how music can send you back to a place and I can remember the smell also.

Eric Carmen said he was inspired by The Rolling Stone’s performance of “Let’s Spend The Night Together” on the Ed Sullivan Show when Mick Jagger had to sing it as “Let’s spend some time together.”

This was before Eric Carmen went solo and started doing ballads and songs on soundtracks such as Dirty Dancing. Carmen hit it big solo but personally, I think his music with the Raspberries was the best he did.

This song appears in the 2000 film Almost Famous but was not included on the soundtrack. It did make the soundtrack to the 2014 film Guardians Of The Galaxy, which went to #1 in America and revived many ’70s hits. My son got the soundtrack mostly for this song.

Fans of the band included John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen. They did reunite in November of 2004 and toured shortly until 2006.

Eric Carmen: “I knew then that I wanted to write a song with an explicitly sexual lyric that the kids would instantly get but the powers that be couldn’t pin me down for.”

Eric Carmen:  “I remember ‘Go All The Way’ vividly. The year was 1971. I was 21. I had been studying for years. I had spent my youth with my head between two stereo speakers listening to The Byrds and The Beatles and later on The Beach Boys – just trying to figure out what combinations of things – whether it was the fourths harmonies that The Byrds were singing on ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ – I must have worn out 10 copies of that first Byrds album listening to it over and over, and turning off the left side and turning on the right side trying to figure out why these certain combinations of instruments and echo and harmonies made that hair on your arms stand up. I did the same thing with Beatles records, and I tried to learn construction.

Go All The Way

I never knew how complete love could be
‘Til she kissed me and said

Baby, please, go all the way
It feels so right (feels so right)
Being with you here tonight
Please, go all the way
Just hold me close (hold me close)
Don’t ever let me go

I couldn’t say what I wanted to say
‘Til she whispered, I love you

So please, go all the way
It feels so right (feels so right)
Being with you here tonight
Please, go all the way
Just hold me close (hold me close)
Don’t ever let me go

Before her love
I was cruel and mean
I had a hole in the place
Where my heart should have been

But now I’ve changed
And it feels so strange
I come alive when she does
All those things to me

And she says
(Come on) Come on
(Come on) Come on
(Come on) Come on
(Come on)
I need ya (come on)
I love ya (come on)
I need ya (come on)
Oh, oh, baby

Please, go all the way
It feels so right (feels so right)
Being with you here tonight
Please, go all the way
Just hold me close (hold me close)
Don’t ever let me go no

Favorite Rock Lyrics

Here are some cool lyrics to some songs. My all-time favorite is the first one…I’ve used this one over and over whenever at work and in our world. I could have filled this up with Dylan lyrics but I wanted to spread the wealth.

The Who | Music legends, Music pics, Rock and roll

Meet the new boss/same as the old boss…The Who (No truer words have been spoken)

What isn't shown in The Beatles: Get Back — Class A drugs, Yoko baiting and  the dodgy accountant | Times2 | The Times

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make…The Beatles

Chuck Berry: 20 Essential Songs - Rolling Stone

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back
And started walking toward a coffee-colored Cadillac… Chuck Berry

Jimmy Webb on John Lennon's Lost Weekend, Frank Sinatra - Rolling Stone

And I need you more than want you,
And I want you for all time…Jimmy Webb

How Peter Gabriel Conquered the World With 'So'

You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a fire…Peter Gabriel.

Grateful Dead - Wikipedia

Shake the hand that shook the hand of P.T. Barnum and Charlie Chan… Grateful Dead

Revolutions: Rolling Stones "Beggars Banquet" - YouTube

I wasn’t looking too good but I was feeling real well… Rolling Stones

Johnny Cash photographer reveals truth behind San Quentin Prison shot

But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die… Johnny Cash

Bruce Springsteen – The Highlight Reel (1973-1975) – Pretty In Sync.

We learned more from a three-minute record, than we ever learned in school…Bruce Springsteen

Why Hank Williams Won't Be Reinstated in the Grand Ole Opry - Rolling Stone

The silence of a falling star lights up a purple sky… Hank Williams Sr.

The Band Shares Previously-Unreleased "The Weight" From Royal Albert Hall,  1971 [Listen]

I just spent 60 days in the jailhouse/for the crime of having no dough…The Band

lynyrd skynyrd - one more time

I drank enough whiskey to float a battleship around… Lynyrd Skynyrd

Jimmy Buffett

I blew out my flip-flop stepped on a pop-top/cut my heel had to cruise on back home… Jimmy Buffet

Bob Dylan

She knows there’s no success like failure and that failure’s no success at all… Bob Dylan

Bob Seger

Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then… Bob Seger


In Jersey, anything’s legal, as long as you don’t get caught… The Traveling Wilburys

Ricky Nelson

You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself…Ricky Nelson


Because celluloid heroes never feel any pain and celluloid heroes never really die… Kinks

Pinkees – Danger Games ….Power Pop Friday

Aphoristical brought this song up to me a year or so ago and I have been waiting to write about it ever since.

Danger Games is a good dose of power pop and it reminds me a little of Squeeze. This song spent a total of 9 weeks on the UK charts peaking at #8 in 1982. The Pinkees career hit the skids amid a dispute between their label Creole Records and then High Street record store giant Our Price.

Guitarist Andy Price said: “People said our record had been hyped into the charts, after that nobody would touch us, Radio One refused to play our follow-up single ‘Holding Me Tight’, and the Pinkees sort of fizzled out.”

The Pinkees have a second life now. Jay Reynolds, son of Pinkees drummer Paul Reynolds, is a Grammy Award winner mixer and he asked his dad why his old band’s songs were not on Spotify.

Creole Records has gone through many ownership changes but now they are owned by BMG’s Sanctuary Records. A deal was made…now their album has been remixed by Jay Reynolds and released again. The Pinkees are not together anymore but Andy Price and Paul Reynolds are in a band together doing cover songs. They never did any Pinkee covers but they might now since their album was released again to the world.

Danger Games

Two lovers part
It’s just the start
Before too long they’ll be at war
Nobody phones their both alone
Just like they were before
Out on a limb more more suffering
It’s just a game that lovers play
Two broken hearts when love departs
It getting worse each day

It loves who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart away

Love people say can, can change the way
They feel its just to late to try
Lights up a fag calls are a drag
A tear drops from her eye
She’s out in the car he’s drunk in the bar
They lead there lives in separate ways
We’re all the same we play the game

It happens every day
Its love who love
Danger game we play It drags you down
Throws your heart away

It love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart
It love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart
It’s love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart
It’s love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart away

Kinks – Set Me Free

The Beatles, Who, and Stones are the most famous bands that came out of the British invasion. The Kinks should have been one of them but an American ban on touring in a big chunk of the sixties hurt their career. Instead of sounding like their American influences like the Beatles and Stones…Ray Davies didn’t hide his roots at all.

They came back strong in the seventies and eighties though. On May 17, 1983, I was able to see The Kinks in concert. Ray Davies was 39 years old and was all over the stage like a 20-year-old. That remains one of the best concerts I ever attended. It’s up there with The Who, McCartney, and Stones…in fact maybe a little better because they were still in their prime and releasing new material.

Set Me Free peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, and #9 in the UK in 1965. Set Me Free was heard in the Ken Loach-directed Up the Junction, this marked the first appearance of a Kinks song on a film or TV soundtrack.

When you listen to their discography it’s amazing the ground they covered. There are tons of different musical styles, which the group has explored throughout their career. Starting with the pre-punk rock of You Really Got Me, acoustic anthems like Victoria, the beauty of Waterloo Sunset, the concept albums, music hall influences, hard rock, and even some new wave in the 80s.

The band seemed to be always on the brink of breaking up but they stayed together until 1996. In 2021 it was reported that the Kinks were at work in the studio once again.

Ray Davies: “the trouble is, the two remaining members — my brother Dave and Mick [Avory, the original drummer] — never got along very well. But I’ve made that work in the studio and it’s fired me up to make them play harder, and with fire.”

Dave Davies: “This has really been going on for a couple of years, we keep going backwards and listening to a lot of old stuff. Some of that is very good, and some of it needs a bit of work.”

Set Me Free

Set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,

Set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free, free.

I don’t want no one,
If I can’t have you to myself,
I don’t need nobody else,
So if I can’t have you to myself,

Set me free,
Set me free.

Oh set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,
Free, free.

I don’t want no one,
If I can’t have you to myself,
I don’t need nobody else,
So if I can’t have you to myself,

Set me free,
Set me free.

Oh set me free, little girl,
All you gotta do is set me free, little girl,
You know you can do it if you try,
All you gotta do is set me free, free,

Set me free,
Oh, set me free

Turn It UP! My years with Lynyrd Skynyrd…. by Ron Eckerman

Not long ago I had to fly somewhere and I’m a nervous flyer. I usually dread getting into a plane but I was determined I would enjoy this flight to Texas and then Colorado. We got into the air with my right ear-popping like crazy and I decided to listen to an audiobook once we were flying. I opened my audible library selection and just picked one at random. Well, needless to say, I picked this one. I was 30 minutes into the book before I discovered the irony of the situation. I quickly picked another book (Grateful Dead bio) and listened to that but…I finished this one on the way back while… driving safely on the ground.

This is not an autobiography of the band… it is an account of their mid to late-70s tours. The book was written by an insider (the road manager) book from 1974 to the 1977 plane crash. Lynyrd Skynyrd was a wild bunch who was ruled by lead singer Ronnie Van Zant with an iron fist. It was partly about babysitting a bunch of up-and-coming rock stars and yes…very entertaining. These guys learned from the best… they had opened for The Who on the Quadrophenia tour in 1973. Keith Moon showed them the path to destruction in hotels across the globe. They took it to a new level though…not only fighting with people who annoyed them…they fought each other. Contrary to popular belief…most of them were well-read and intelligent men but with a wild side. 

The band was managed by Peter Rudge who was known to be very cheap with bands. He also managed the Stones and The Who. It was Ron Eckerman’s (tour manager) job to collect the money and figure out the most economical way of traveling. In early 1977 he saw that traveling by plane would be cheaper than by bus. The band toured constantly and was rarely at home adding to the short tempers. They lost their guitar player Ed King in 1975 because of that plus madness exploding out of pure exhaustion. Keeping a road crew together while you are not touring was near impossible unless you play over 200 – 250 shows a year. 

Reading this book is truly like being transported in time back in the seventies rock world. It was back to a time when bands had to build up an audience. It didn’t happen with a youtube video or a Facebook page. There were no auto-tune or backing tracks to save you in concert. Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of the best live bands around. They played at Knebworth in 1976 and were heralded in the press as the next great band in league with the Stones and Who. They never got that chance and were different than most bands. They had no production values at all…just a mirror disco ball. Ronnie Van Zant did not dance around like Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler…he was more like a field general directing his troops to conquer the audience. 

After losing Ed King, a great California guitarist… they picked up Oklahoma native Steve Gaines who would have had a chance to be a huge star. Gaines was an absolute phenom on guitar and had he not died at 28 in the plane crash, he might well be a guitar legend now. The book is hilarious in places but you know what is coming. They climbed the rock ladder and the new album Street Survivors showed what they might do. The album was not a “southern rock” album…it was a rock album by a band from the south. 

They never would get a chance to fulfill their promise. The new album was their biggest yet and in two weeks’ time, they would have headlined Madison Square Garden for the first time. It really did look like they were about to be elevated to the top bracket of touring rock bands.

I was a kid when all of this was going on but I am amazed at how much the world has changed since then. If a band, no matter how successful, would do what they did in today’s world…the band would be in jail and shunned. Not only Lynyrd Skynryd but Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Who, and a host of other rock bands. The book will truly transport you back to that time. Even if you are a fan or not…it’s worth a read. Ron Eckerman was in the plane when it crashed and his description is truly chilling. 

Eckerman took the blame for the crash but it wasn’t one man’s fault. A short while after releasing the book he died of acute myeloid leukemia. His wife said he never got over the guilt for the crash and he died three years after the book was published.