Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues

But I shot a man in Reno, Just to watch him dieJohnny Cash

It doesn’t get much better than that.

The man in black was The Man. Not many performers can cross genres like Johnny Cash did and still does. He first recorded this song in 1955 at Sun Records as the B side to “S3o Doggone Lonesome” but it was the live 1969 version that hit.

The At Folsom Prison album helped revitalize Cash’s career. Up to this point, his last Country top 40 entry was in 1964. This was recorded live at Folsom Prison in California on January 13, 1968, and that album came to define his outlaw image. The record company told him it wouldn’t work but Johnny recorded at the prison anyway.

Folsom Prison Blues peaked at #1 on the Billboard Country Charts, #1 on the Canadian Country Charts, #32 on the Billboard 100,  and #17 on the Canadian Pop Charts.  The song and album generated a lot of interest in the rebellious Johnny Cash, who made prison reform his political cause of choice. He started regularly performing in jails, doing about 12 shows a year for free mostly in Folsom and San Quentin.

The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Country Charts, #13 in the Billboard Album Charts, and #27 in Canada.

Johnny Cash Flipping Bird

This iconic picture came from Folsom Prison. According to photographer Jim Marshall…he asked Cash to express what he thought of the prison authorities when he played the show. Marshall told Cash “let’s do a shot for the warden” and the picture was born. 

Cash saw Crane Wilbur’s 90-minute film Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison while stationed in Germany. It left an impression on Cash, who emphasized the tale of the imprisoned men, and inspired him to write a song. Johnny Cash: “It was a violent movie, I just wanted to write a song that would tell what I thought it would be like in prison.”

Cash’s first prison performance occurred in 1957 when he performed for inmates at Huntsville State Prison. The favorable response inspired Cash to perform at more prisons through the years. His next hit, recorded in San Quentin Prison, was the humorous “A Boy Named Sue,” which proved that he could be clever and funny.

Cash came off as a champion for the oppressed.  He got his own national TV show in 1969 and became one of the most popular entertainers of his era. His guests included Derek and the Dominos,  Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Mickey Newbury, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, James Taylor, Tammy Wynette, and Roy Orbison.

Isn’t that list incredible? Cash was considered a Country-Folk artist but look at the range of performers. The late sixties and seventies were like this ….and it’s the reason I like them so much…all the generations intersected at that point in time. I mean you have Eric Clapton and then you have Tammy Wynette on the guest list.

The lyrics to this song were based on a 1953 recording called Crescent City Blues by a bandleader named Gordon Jenkins with Beverly Maher on vocals. After filing a lawsuit, Gordon Jenkins received an out-of-court settlement from Cash in 1969. I have to say it does sound really close.

Johnny Cash: “I don’t see anything good come out of prison. You put them in like animals and tear out the souls and guts of them, and let them out worse than they went in.”

Rosanne Cash: “He was a real man with great faults, and great genius and beauty in him, but he wasn’t this guy who could save you or anyone else.”

Folsom Prison Blues

(Hello, I’m Johnny Cash)

I hear the train a-comin’
It’s rollin’ ’round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine
Since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom Prison
And time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a-rollin’
On down to San Antone

When I was just a baby
My Mama told me, “son
Always be a good boy
Don’t ever play with guns”
But I shot a man in Reno
Just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowin’
I hang my head and cry (play it to the verse, yeah)
(Sue it)

I bet there’s rich folks eatin’
From a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee
And smokin’ big cigars
Well, I know I had it comin’
I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a-movin’
And that’s what tortures me (hit it)

(Howdy-ho)

Well, if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on, a little
Farther down the line
Far from Folsom Prison
That’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle
Blow my blues away

(yeah)

Robert Johnson – Come On In My Kitchen

This is an old Robert Johnson song that I’ve always liked. I learned about this song from a bootleg of Leon Russell, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Eric Clapton many years ago. Eric wasn’t in the best of shape when this was recorded during the Bangladesh rehearsals. George takes the solo in this blues song and makes it fit really well. I added this version along with Johnson at the bottom of the post.

Robert Johnson recorded it on November 23, 1936, at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas and it was produced by Don Law. Johnson only recorded 29 songs in total with 13 surviving outtakes.  In one hotel room, Johnson performed and in a second adjoining room, the recording equipment was housed.

In 1990 the compilation album The Complete Recordings was released and peaked at #80 in the Billboard Album Charts. It also won a Grammy Award in 1991 for “Best Historical Album. This song has had over 100 known cover versions by other artists.

Robert Johnson was a huge influence on guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Jimi Page, Peter Green, Brian Jones, and many more. He sounded different than his peers at the time which could have contributed to him not being better known in the 1930s. His style was ahead of his time and it took til the 1960s for him to catch on. In 1961, King of the Delta Blues Singers was released with 16 of his songs on the album…a generation of musicians was influenced.

Johnson died in 1938 at the age of 27. Some say Johnson had been flirting with a married woman at a dance, and she gave him a bottle of whiskey poisoned by her husband…he died two days after drinking it. That is not known for sure but we will probably never know.

Eric Clapton – His music is like my oldest friend, always in the back of my head and on the horizon. It’s the finest music I’ve ever heard.  I’ve always trusted its purity. And I always will.’ I don’t know what more you could say….”

Bob Dylan: If I hadn’t heard the Robert Johnson record when I did, there probably would have been hundreds of lines of mine that would have been shut down—that I wouldn’t have felt free enough or upraised enough to write.

Come On In My Kitchen

You better come on in my kitchenWell, it’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoorsAh, the woman I love, took from my best friendSome joker got lucky, stole her back againYou better come on in my kitchenIt’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors

Oh, she’s gone, I know she won’t come backI’ve taken the last nickel out of her nation sackYou better come on in my kitchenIt’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoorsOh, can’t you hear that wind howl?Oh, can’t you hear that wind would howl?You better come on in my kitchenWell, it’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors

When a woman gets in trouble, everybody throws her down

Lookin’ for her good friend, none can be foundYou better come on in my kitchen

Babe, it’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoorsWintertime’s comin’, it’s gon’ be slowYou can’t make the winter, babe, that’s dry, long, soYou better come on in my kitchen, ’cause it’s goin’ to be rainin’ outdoors

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

Venus

Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant Massacree

Hello everyone and those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving I hope you have a great one with your friends and family! Those of you who don’t…have a great day and weekend coming up. I know Thanksgiving is an American holiday mostly but I have talked to a few who celebrate it from other countries…like Bruce my friend from New Zealand.

Every Thanksgiving I listen to Alice’s Restaurant and this is the fourth year in a row that I’ve posted it on the 4th Thursday of November. Sorry if you are tired of it but it’s not Thanksgiving until Alice’s Restaurant is played…and the Last Waltz is watched but that is a different story.

The movie that Arlo movie made called Alice’s Restaurant is a fun watch.

It’s not Thanksgiving without listening to this 1967 song. This song did not chart but he did have another version that did chart…it was called Alice’s Rock and Roll Restaurant that peaked at #97 in the Billboard 100.

Many radio stations play this on Thanksgiving. This is usually the only time they play it, since the song is over 18-minutes long.

There have been mixed reviews about the movie that was made…I’ve always found it enjoyable. It’s not going to be confused with Gone With The Wind but it’s a fun period movie.

In 1991, Arlo bought the church where this took place and set up “The Guthrie Center,” where he runs programs for kids who have been abused.

From Songfacts

Running 18 minutes and 34 seconds, this song is based on a true story that happened on Thanksgiving Day, 1965. Arlo was 18, and along with his friend Rick Robbins, drove to Stockbridge, Massachusetts to have Thanksgiving dinner with Alice and Ray Brock. Alice and Ray lived in a church – the former Trinity Church on Division Street in Stockbridge – and were used to inviting people into their home. Arlo and Rick had been traveling together, Arlo working his way up in folk singing and Rick tagging along. A number of people, Arlo and Rick included, were considered members of the family, so they were not guests in the usual sense. 

When Ray woke up the next morning, he said to them, “Let’s clean up the church and get all this crap out of here, for God’s sake. This place is a mess,” and Rick said, “Sure.” Arlo and Rick swept up and loaded all the crap into a VW microbus and went out to the dump, which was closed. They started driving around until Arlo remembered a side road in Stockbridge up on Prospect Hill by the Indian Hill Music Camp which he attended one summer, so they drove up there and dumped the garbage.A little later, the phone rang, and it was Stockbridge police chief William J. Obanhein. “I found an envelope with the name Brock on it,” Chief Obanhein said. The truth came out, and soon the boys found themselves in Obanhein’s police car. They went up to Prospect Hill, and Obie took some pictures. On the back, he marked them, “PROSPECT HILL RUBBISH DUMPING FILE UNDER GUTHRIE AND ROBBINS 11/26/65.” He took the kids to jail.The kids went in, pleaded, “Guilty, Your Honor,” was fined $25 each and ordered to retrieve the rubbish. Then they all went back to the church and started to write “Alice’s Restaurant” together. “We were sitting around after dinner and wrote half the song,” Alice recalls, “and the other half, the draft part, Arlo wrote.”

Guthrie, the son of legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie, greatly exaggerated the part about getting arrested for comic effect. In the song, he is taken away in handcuffs and put in a cell with hardened criminals. 

In the song, Guthrie avoids the draft and did not have to serve in Vietnam because of his littering arrest. In reality, he was eligible but wasn’t drafted because his number didn’t come up.

Guthrie performed this song for the first time on July 16, 1967, at the Newport Folk Festival.

This reflected the attitude of many young people in America at the time. It was considered an antiwar song, but unlike most protest songs, it used humor to speak out against authority.

After a while, Guthrie stopped playing this at concerts, claiming he forgot the words. As the song approached its 30th anniversary, he started playing it again.

Guthrie made a movie of the same name in 1969 which was based on the song.

Over the years, Guthrie added different words to the song. He recorded a new, longer version in 1995 at The Guthrie Center

Alice’s Restuarant

This song is called Alice’s Restaurant, and it’s about Alice, and the
Restaurant, but Alice’s Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant,
That’s just the name of the song, and that’s why I called the song Alice’s
Restaurant.

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant

Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on – two years ago on
Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the
Restaurant, but Alice doesn’t live in the restaurant, she lives in the
Church nearby the restaurant, in the bell-tower, with her husband Ray and
Fasha the dog. And livin’ in the bell tower like that, they got a lot of
Room downstairs where the pews used to be in. Havin’ all that room,
Seein’ as how they took out all the pews, they decided that they didn’t
Have to take out their garbage for a long time.

We got up there, we found all the garbage in there, and we decided it’d be
A friendly gesture for us to take the garbage down to the city dump. So
We took the half a ton of garbage, put it in the back of a red vw
Microbus, took shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed
On toward the city dump.

Well we got there and there was a big sign and a chain across across the
Dump saying, “Closed on Thanksgiving.” And we had never heard of a dump
Closed on Thanksgiving before, and with tears in our eyes we drove off
Into the sunset looking for another place to put the garbage.

We didn’t find one. Until we came to a side road, and off the side of the
Side road there was another fifteen foot cliff and at the bottom of the
Cliff there was another pile of garbage. And we decided that one big pile
Is better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up we
Decided to throw our’s down.

That’s what we did, and drove back to the church, had a thanksgiving
Dinner that couldn’t be beat, went to sleep and didn’t get up until the
Next morning, when we got a phone call from officer Obie. He said, “Kid,
We found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of
Garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it. ” And
I said, “Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope
Under that garbage. ”

After speaking to Obie for about forty-five minutes on the telephone we
Finally arrived at the truth of the matter and said that we had to go down
And pick up the garbage, and also had to go down and speak to him at the
Police officer’s station. So we got in the red vw microbus with the
Shovels and rakes and implements of destruction and headed on toward the
Police officer’s station.

Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at
The police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for
Being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn’t very likely, and
We didn’t expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out
And told us never to be seen driving garbage around the vicinity again,
Which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer’s station
There was a third possibility that we hadn’t even counted upon, and we was
Both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said “Obie, I don’t think I
Can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on. ” He said, “Shut up, kid.
Get in the back of the patrol car. ”

And that’s what we did, sat in the back of the patrol car and drove to the
Quote Scene of the Crime unquote. I want tell you about the town of
Stockbridge, Massachusets, where this happened here, they got three stop
Signs, two police officers, and one police car, but when we got to the
Scene of the Crime there was five police officers and three police cars,
Being the biggest crime of the last fifty years, and everybody wanted to
Get in the newspaper story about it. And they was using up all kinds of
Cop equipment that they had hanging around the police officer’s station.
They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and
They took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles
And arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each
One was to be used as evidence against us. Took pictures of the approach,
The getaway, the northwest corner the southwest corner and that’s not to
Mention the aerial photography.

After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was going to put
Us in the cell. Said, “Kid, I’m going to put you in the cell, I want your
Wallet and your belt. ” And I said, “Obie, I can understand you wanting my
Wallet so I don’t have any money to spend in the cell, but what do you
Want my belt for? ” And he said, “Kid, we don’t want any hangings. ” I
Said, “Obie, did you think I was going to hang myself for littering?”
Obie said he was making sure, and friends Obie was, cause he took out the
Toilet seat so I couldn’t hit myself over the head and drown, and he took
Out the toilet paper so I couldn’t bend the bars roll out the – roll the
Toilet paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape. Obie
Was making sure, and it was about four or five hours later that Alice
(remember Alice? It’s a song about Alice), Alice came by and with a few
Nasty words to Obie on the side, bailed us out of jail, and we went back
To the church, had a another thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat,
And didn’t get up until the next morning, when we all had to go to court.

We walked in, sat down, Obie came in with the twenty seven eight-by-ten
Colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back
Of each one, sat down. Man came in said, “All rise.” We all stood up,
And Obie stood up with the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
Pictures, and the judge walked in sat down with a seeing eye dog, and he
Sat down, we sat down. Obie looked at the seeing eye dog, and then at the
Twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles and arrows
And a paragraph on the back of each one, and looked at the seeing eye dog.
And then at twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy pictures with circles
And arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one and began to cry,
’cause Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American
Blind justice, and there wasn’t nothing he could do about it, and the
Judge wasn’t going to look at the twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy
Pictures with the circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each
One explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. And
We was fined $50 and had to pick up the garbage in the snow, but that’s not
What I came to tell you about.

Came to talk about the draft.

They got a building down New York City, it’s called Whitehall Street,
Where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected,
Neglected and selected. I went down to get my physical examination one
Day, and I walked in, I sat down, got good and drunk the night before, so
I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning. ‘Cause I wanted to
Look like the all-American kid from New York City, man I wanted, I wanted
To feel like the all-, I wanted to be the all American kid from New York,
And I walked in, sat down, I was hung down, brung down, hung up, and all
Kinds o’ mean nasty ugly things. And I waked in and sat down and they gave
Me a piece of paper, said, “Kid, see the phsychiatrist, room 604.”

And I went up there, I said, “Shrink, I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I
Wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and
Guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill,
Kill, kill. ” And I started jumping up and down yelling, “kill, kill, ” and
He started jumping up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down
Yelling, “KILL, KILL.” And the Sargent came over, pinned a medal on me,
Sent me down the hall, said, “You’re our boy.”

Didn’t feel too good about it.

Proceeded on down the hall gettin more injections, inspections,
Detections, neglections and all kinds of stuff that they was doin’ to me
At the thing there, and I was there for two hours, three hours, four
Hours, I was there for a long time going through all kinds of mean nasty
Ugly things and I was just having a tough time there, and they was
Inspecting, injecting every single part of me, and they was leaving no
Part untouched. Proceeded through, and when I finally came to the see the
Last man, I walked in, walked in sat down after a whole big thing there,
And I walked up and said, “What do you want?” He said, “Kid, we only got
One question. Have you ever been arrested? ”

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the Alice’s Restaurant Massacre,
With full orchestration and five part harmony and stuff like that and all
The phenome… – and he stopped me right there and said, “Kid, did you ever
Go to court? ”

And I proceeded to tell him the story of the twenty seven eight-by-ten
Colour glossy pictures with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on
The back of each one, and he stopped me right there and said, “Kid, I want
You to go and sit down on that bench that says Group W…. Now kid!! ”

And I, I walked over to the, to the bench there, and there is, Group W’s
Where they put you if you may not be moral enough to join the army after
Committing your special crime, and there was all kinds of mean nasty ugly
Looking people on the bench there. Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father
Rapers! Father rapers sitting right there on the bench next to me! And
They was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible crime-type guys sitting on the
Bench next to me. And the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one, the meanest
Father raper of them all, was coming over to me and he was mean ‘n’ ugly
‘n’ nasty ‘n’ horrible and all kind of things and he sat down next to me
And said, “Kid, whad’ya get?” I said, “I didn’t get nothing, I had to pay
$50 and pick up the garbage. ” He said, “What were you arrested for, kid? ”
And I said, “Littering.” And they all moved away from me on the bench
There, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I
Said, “And creating a nuisance.” And they all came back, shook my hand,
And we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
Father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the
Bench. And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of
Things, until the Sargeant came over, had some paper in his hand, held it
Up and said.

“Kids, this-piece-of-paper’s-got-47-words-37-sentences-58-words-we-wanna-
Know-details-of-the-crime-time-of-the-crime-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-
You-gotta-say-pertaining-to-and-about-the-crime-I-want-to-know-arresting-
Officer’s-name-and-any-other-kind-of-thing-you-gotta-say”, and talked for
Forty-five minutes and nobody understood a word that he said, but we had
Fun filling out the forms and playing with the pencils on the bench there,
And I filled out the massacre with the four part harmony and wrote it
Down there, just like it was, and everything was fine and I put down the
Pencil and I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the
Other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on
The other side, in parentheses, capital letters, quotated, read the
Following words:

(“KID, HAVE YOU REHABILITATED YOURSELF?”)

I went over to the Sargent, said, “Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to
Ask me if I’ve rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I’m
Sittin’ here on the bench, I mean I’m sitting here on the Group W bench
’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough join the army, burn women,
Kids, houses and villages after bein’ a litterbug. ” He looked at me and
Said, “Kid, we don’t like your kind, and we’re gonna send you fingerprints
Off to Washington. ”

And friends, somewhere in Washington enshrined in some little folder, is a
study in black and white of my fingerprints. And the only reason I’m
singing you this song now is cause you may know somebody in a similar
situation, or you may be in a similar situation, and if your in a
situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk into
The shrink wherever you are, just walk in say “Shrink, You can get
Anything you want, at Alice’s restaurant. “. And walk out. You know, if
One person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and
They won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
They may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.
And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
Singin a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an
Organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said
Fifty people a day walking in singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and
Walking out. And friends they may think it’s a movement.

And that’s what it is, the Alice’s Restaurant Anti-Massacre Movement, and
All you got to do to join is sing it the next time it comes around on the
Guitar.

With feeling. So we’ll wait for it to come around on the guitar, here and
Sing it when it does. Here it comes.

You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant

That was horrible. If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.
I’ve been singing this song now for twenty-five minutes. I could sing it
For another twenty-five minutes. I’m not proud… Or tired.

So we’ll wait till it comes around again, and this time with four part
Harmony and feeling.

We’re just waitin’ for it to come around is what we’re doing.

All right now.

You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Excepting Alice
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant
Walk right in it’s around the back
Just a half a mile from the railroad track
You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant

Da da da da da da da dum
At Alice’s Restaurant

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. This first premiered on November 20, 1973, on CBS and won an Emmy Award. Great Thanksgiving special as always with the earlier Peanuts.

The Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Peanuts specials I always looked forward to. The way their world was only for kids where grownups were heard but only as noise in the background.

It starts off with Lucy tempting Charlie Brown with that football. Just one time I wanted to see Charlie kick the football…or Lucy.

It’s Thanksgiving and Peppermint Patty invites herself and Marcie over to Charlie Brown’s house but Charlie and Sally are ready to go to their grandmothers. Charlie talks to Linus and he suggests having two Thanksgiving dinners.

The only thing Charlie can come up with is feeding his friends toast and cold cereal which does not make Peppermint Patty happy whatsoever. She lets Charlie have it really bad until Marcie reminds her that she invited herself over.

Not going to give it away for those who have not seen this wonderful holiday cartoon. The music by Vince Guaraldi is excellent and makes every Peanuts cartoon special.

Fats Domino – My Blue Heaven

Fats Domino (Antoine Dominique Domino Jr.) was a one-of-a-kind artist. He wasn’t wild or flashy like his peers but he was just good or better. When I think of the fifties…this is just me personally…I think of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers, Elvis, and last but not least… Fats Domino. Vastly different styles but all are great.

Domino was the youngest of eight children in a musical family, he spoke Creole French before learning English. At age 7 his brother-in-law taught him how to play the piano. By the time he was 10, he was already performing as a singer and pianist.

My Blue Heaven was released in 1956. It peaked at #19 on the Billboard Charts, #5 on the R&B Charts.

My Blue Heaven was written by Walter Donaldson and George A. Whiting in 1924. The lyrics were written by George Whiting and the music was composed by Walter Donaldson. The music was published by Leo Feist Inc. of New York, New York in 1927. The song was used in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1927.

Gene Austin released this song in 1928. It charted at #1 including one million sales of sheet music. This has been covered by the Smashing Pumpkins, Frank Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Al Jolson, and Dolly Parton to name a few.

There are two different movies called My Blue Heaven, and both used this song. The first was a 1950 musical where it was performed by the stars, Betty Grable and Dan Dailey. The second was a 1990 comedy starring Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. Fats Domino’s version was the theme song in that one.

My Blue Heaven

Day is ending
Birds are wending
Back to the shelter of
Each little nest they love

Nightshades falling
Lovebirds calling
What makes the world go round?
Nothing but love

When Whip-poor-wills call
And ev’ning is nigh
I hurry to
My blue heaven

I turn to the right
A little white light
Will lead you to
My blue heaven

You’ll see a smiling face,
A fireplace,
A cozy room
A little nest
That’s nestled where
The roses bloom

Just Mollie and me
And baby makes three;
We’re happy in
My blue heaven

doo doo doo doo doo
da da da da da

You’ll see a smiling face
A fireplace,
A cozy room
A little nest that’s nestled where the roses bloom

Just Mollie and me
And baby makes three;
We’re happy in
My blue heaven

We’re happy in my blue heaven

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.

Chicago – Colour My World

When I was sixteen I was playing with our band in a bar…no we shouldn’t have been at that age… and the owner paid us one night to learn this song. Not exactly an energetic song to learn but it did go over very well. I didn’t like playing it because it was so slow but I’ve grown to like it and the memories of it. The crowd absolutely loved it.

This was written by Chicago’s trombone player, James Pankow, and sung by Terry Kath. Pankow came up with the melody on the road at a Holiday Inn on a keyboard. He also came up with a melody for flute, he couldn’t wait, so he woke up Walter Parazaider, the saxophone/flute player in the band, and they worked out the song in Pankow’s room.

After Kath’s death in 1978, the band did not play the song for several years, eventually bringing It back with Bill Champlin on vocals when he joined in 1981. Champlin soon got tired of singing it and handed it off to Robert Lamm.  Since 2009, it has been sung by trumpeter Lee Loughnane. It gets handed down like a family recipe.

It was used as the B-side not once…but twice with Make Me Smile in April 1970, and as the B-side of “Beginnings” in June 1971. The song never charted.

James Pankow: “I titled it ‘Colour My World’ because it affected a lyric that again mirrors the emotion of love. In this case, I used the emotion of love and description as a Technicolor movie that takes places in my heart. It colors, it gives color and vivid definition to my life, like bringing this emotion to it.”

James Pankow: Frank Sinatra called our publicist and said, ‘Ask that kid to write another verse for that song.’ I thought about it, I called him back and said I can’t do it it’s like sewing another arm on your kid, I can’t do it.”

Colour My World

As time goes on
I realize
Just what you mean
To me
And now
Now that you’re near
Promise your love
That I’ve waited to share
And dreams
Of our moments together
Colour my world with hope of loving you

Happy Thanksgiving… Mr Obvious

For everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving…I hope you have a wonderful day with your family and friends.

This is from the Bob and Tom show…a Thanksgiving episode of Mr. Obvious. I always enjoyed this one…it’s a parody on call in shows.

(hi hello,
this is Mr. Obvious,
and welcome to the Mr. Obvious show.
let’s take a call.)
um
hello is this Mr. Obvious?
(speaking.)
hi Mr. Obvious,
long-time listener,
first-time caller.
(well, thanks very much for the call.)
well, thank you Mr. Obvious
for taking my call.
(well, you’re very welcome.)
all right, bye.
(now remember,
if you have a problem
you too can call
the Mr. Obvious show
and speak to me personally,
why? it’s Mr. Obvious,
let’s take another call.)
um
hello is this Mr. Obvious?
hi Mr. Obvious,
long-time listener,
second-time caller.
(well welcome to the program caller, how can i help?)
well Mr. Obvious, i need some advice on cookin’ a turkey.
(well to be quite honest caller, it’s not as difficult as it may sound.)
well,
that’s what they say Mr. Obvious,
but i tell you what,
i tried cookin’ one the last five years,
and i just haven’t had any success.
(well now, let’s start at the beginning,
do you have a big roasting pan?)
oh sure do Mr. Obvious.
(good, now do you have an oven?)
well of course i do Mr. Obvious.
I’m no idiot Mr. Obvious.
I’m not like a lot of those people that call your show.
(now please don’t take offence caller.
it’s just that sometimes my callers
are
well…
how should i put this,
a little naive.)
i got you Mr. Obvious.
(so again caller, don’t take offence at this question.
do you actually have a turkey?)
sure Mr. Obvious, i got a nice big 25-pound turkey.
(great.
well caller,
i don’t mind telling you
that you do in fact seem
a little more astute
than many of my callers.)
jeez thanks Mr. Obvious.
coming from you that means a lot.
(okay you have a turkey?
you have a pan?
you have an oven?
have you stuffed your turkey caller?)
oh yeah that’s all done.
(pre-heated the oven?)
yup.
(again caller, i don’t want to belabour the point,
but you really have something on the ball.
it’s callers like you that i hoped to attract
when i first started the Mr. Obvious program.)
thanks again Mr. Obvious, makes me proud.
(in fact, Mr. Obvious is a little bit puzzled at this point
as to why you haven’t been able to successfully
cook your turkey in the past.)
well i am too Mr. Obvious.
(all right,
what exactly has happened in the previous years when you tried to cook your turkey.)
um well you know, usually the problem is the turkey’s just too tough.
(hmmm too tough you say…)
oh yeah, real-real tough.
(now do you baste the turkey?)
yup, i tried that and it didn’t seem to help.
(have you thought about putting the turkey in a bag?)
in a bag Mr. Obvious?
(yes siree caller.
many people swear by this method of cooking a turkey.)
that sounds kind of hard Mr. Obvious.
(hard?
why no caller,
it’s not hard at all.)
well if you say so.
can you hang on a second,
and I’ll give it a try well I’ve
got you on the phone here?
(well…
normally Mr. Obvious
is pressed for time,
but for a caller like you,
I’ll spare a few seconds.
go ahead,
put your turkey in the bag.
I’ll hold on.)
great.
thanks Mr. Obvious.
I’ll be right back.
alright, come here boy…
get in this bag…
(what?
what’s goin’ on there?)
calm down boy.
come on,
get in the bag
little feller.
(what’s goin’ on there?
caller?
CALLER!!
hello?)
OW god damn it!
(why do i even try,
oh boy…)
Mr. Obvious?
(yes caller?)
it’s not gonna work I’m tellin’ you.
he’s just too tough. i can’t get him in there.
i figure, even if i did get him in there,
if he can get out of a roasting pan
like he has in the last five years,
i don’t think a paper bag is gonna hold him very long.
(your turkey’s alive isn’t he caller.)
oh yeah he’s alive, there’s no doubt about that.
he’s a tough old bird.
(you’ve been trying to cook the same “live” turkey for five years caller?)
sure have, and i haven’t had a bit of success Mr. Obvious.
(well i can’t help but say Mr. Obvious is saddened by this turn of events.)
yeah i know what you mean Mr. Obvious,
my little girl,
she get’s sad every year
when i try to pop this dawg-on turkey in the oven.
(apparently I’m not the judge of character and intellect that i presumed that i was.
caller, hey here’s an idea.
have you ever thought about killing the turkey?)
tell you what Mr. Obvious,
I’ve sure thought about it a couple of times,
man, when that sucker bites me i just want to wring his neck.
sometimes all that gobbling drives me up the wall.
I’ve never been so mad that i actually seriously thought about killin’ him…
(ah-huh.
caller, you can’t cook the turkey till he’s dead.)
really?
(yes really,
you cook dead turkeys, not live ones.)
hmm…
i never really made the connection.
(hey,
that’s all the time we have for today…)
hey Mr. Obvious?
(yes caller.)
thanks Mr. Obvious,
you’re a lifesaver.
(i appreciate it.
join us next week for another…)
hey Mr. Obvious?
(yeah?)
one more thing…
(ah-huh?)
how long do turkeys typically live?
(join us next week
on the Mr. Obvious show.)

Ringo Starr – The No No Song

This week I’ll be posting two posts every day…the second one will be a Thanksgiving post. Some of them will be reruns with added info.

This was a fun novelty song that fit Ringo’s voice and personality. At the time Ringo was living the jet-set life and did his share of drinks and chemicals mentioned in the song.  The No No Song was written by country music singer Hoyt Axton and bass player David Jackson. Hoyt Axton struggled with drug abuse early in his career and was poking fun at himself in the song.

Asked about his most memorable guests in the studio…Ringo: “Hoyt Axton was one of them on the Ringo album. We were doing ‘No No Song’ with the biggest spliff and a large bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”

In 1988 Ringo entered rehab with his wife, Barbara, and got clean. Soon after he would start his Ringo and his All-Star tours that he still does to this day.

This was first released in America as a double A-sided single with “Snookeroo.” Ringo and his record company didn’t think radio stations would play “No No Song” because of the drug references, but they did, pushing the song to #3 and giving Ringo his seventh Top 10 hit Stateside. Unsurprisingly, the flip side, a song celebrating snooker, was largely ignored.

In the UK, “No No Song” wasn’t released as a single for fear that it would get banned. In 1976, it was used as the B-side of “Oh My My.”

The song peaked at #1 in Canada and #3 on the Billboard 100 in 1974. This would be Ringo’s last top 10 song in the Billboard 100.

The song was on his album Goodnight Vienna which was released in 1974. His hits started to dry up after this album. Ringo had a lot of friends helping him on this album including  Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann, Robbie Robertson, Harry Nilsson, and John Lennon who wrote the title track.

The No No Song

A lady that I know just came from Columbia
She smiled because I did not understand
Then she held out some marijuana, ha ha
She said it was the best in all the land

And I said
No, no, no, no, I don’t smoke it no more
I’m tired of waking up on the floor
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze
Then it makes it hard to find the door

A woman that I know just came from Majorca, Spain
She smiled because I did not understand
Then she held out a ten pound bag of cocaine
She said it was the finest in all the land

And I said
“No, no, no, no, I don’t (sniff) it no more
I’m tired of waking up on the floor
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze
And then it makes it hard to find the door”

A man I know just came from Nashville, Tennessee
He smiled because I did not understand
Then he held out some moonshine whiskey, oh ho
He said it was the best in all the land

And I said
No, no, no, no, I don’t drink it no more
I’m tired of waking up on the floor
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze
And then it makes it hard to find the door

The Music of 1968

Dave from A Sound Day (check out the other posts on Dave’s “Turntable Talk”) posted this on November 5, 2022. He wanted a group of us to write about what we thought was the best year in music…I ended up picking the turbulent year of 1968.

When I think of the best year of music …for me it’s between 7 years. I would pick 1965 through 1971. I cannot pick all so here it goes…I pick 1968. It had some of the greatest albums and singles ever.

It was a turbulent year, to say the least. We lost two proponents of peace—Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy. Other events include the Vietnam War’s Tet Offensive, riots in Washington, DC, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and heightened social unrest over the Vietnam War, values, and race.

The music was also toughened up by moving away from psychedelic music. The social climate and The Band’s album Music from Big Pink had a lot of influence on this. You still had psychedelic music released but overall, music was more stripped down to the basics.

My favorite album of all time was released by The Beatles. My favorite album by The Rolling Stones was released that year as well. Let’s look at the albums released in 1968…it’s outstanding.

The Beatles – The Beatles (The White Album)

The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet

The Kinks – Are the Village Green Preservation Society

The Band – Music From Big Pink

Small Faces – Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland

Cream – Wheel Of Fire

The Byrds – Sweetheart Of The Rodeo

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Big Brother and Holding Company – Cheap Thrills

Johnny Cash – At Folsom Prison

The Zombies – Odyssey and Oracle

The Grateful Dead – Anthem of the Sun

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks

Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul

Simon and Garfunkel – Bookends

Traffic – Traffic

That list could be on my desert island list… those albums are still being played today. I’ve only scratched the surface of the albums that year.

The Holy Trinity of Rock all released music that year… which would be The Beatles, The Who, and The Stones. I can’t imagine living in the era when these bands were in their prime and roamed the earth. The Who didn’t release an album, but they did release some singles and were gearing up for the following year. Let’s look at some of the singles of that year.

The Beatles – Hey Jude/Revolution

The Beatles – Lady Madonna

The Who – Magic Bus

The Rolling Stones – Jumping Jack Flash

Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild

The Doors – Hello, I Love You

The Rascals – People Got To Be Free

Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love

Otis Redding – The Dock of the Bay

The Supremes – Love Child

The Chamber Brothers – Time Has Come Today

Janis Joplin – Piece of My Heart

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Suzie Q

Joe Cocker – With A Little Help From My Friends

The year featured the debut album of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Brian Jones made his final album with the Rolling Stones and it was the start of their great 5 album stretch. The Who started to record the album that would break them worldwide with Tommy. Dock of the Bay would be released posthumously after Otis Redding died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967. The Grateful Dead would release their second album Anthem of the Sun and continue to build one of the largest fan bases ever. Jimi Hendrix was breaking barriers with his experimentation in the studio as well as live.

The Band would change the game by releasing Music From Big Pink. It influenced nearly everyone at the time to go back to a rootsy kind of music. Fleetwood Mac would release their debut album this year. Jeff Beck would release his legendary album Truth.

FM radio was getting huge at this time and showed that audiences didn’t have to have top 40 hits to buy albums. Take Van Morrison for instance. Astral Weeks didn’t have a “hit” on the album but continued to be played and sell. The Beatles  The White Album is as diverse as you can get… Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Reggae, Avant-Gard, Blues, Hard Rock, and some 20’s British Music Hall thrown in for good measure. No singles were released from this album or Sgt Pepper the previous year. They treated singles and albums as two different things. Hey Jude and the hit version of Revolution was recorded during the White Album but yet they left those two off. The Stones would do the same and leave off Jumpin’ Jack Flash from  Beggars Banquet.

1968 set the stage for the coming decade’s rock music. Bands like The Who, Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin didn’t need hit singles. You bought the album now and listened to the music in the context of that format. There were still pop/rock singles but the albums were gaining traction.

To wrap it up…I think any of the years between 1965-1971 could have a strong argument for my tastes. If you are into disco or synth music…not as much.

Carl Perkins – Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby

I learned about Carl Perkins through George Harrison and The Beatles. On their first tour, they all adopted “stage names” and George’s was George Perkins. A wonderful title for this song.

This gets kind of confusing. It was written by Carl Perkins, but it’s also very similar to another song by the same title by Alabama country singer Rex Griffon in 1936. Carl modernized it by the same sound he was getting out of Blue Suede Shoes.” Meanwhile, the melody was also borrowed from the Hank Williams song “Move It On Over” and “Mind Your Own Business.” Rock Around The Clock also borrowed from this.  Anyway…it is credited to Carl Perkins.

Carl Perkins was on the rise fast in 1956. He just had 3 top-10 hits in that year. On March 22, 1956, Perkins was severely injured when the car he was riding in crashed on Route 13 between Dover and Woodside, Delaware. Perkins and his band were headed to New York City for a Mar. 24, 1956, appearance on NBC-TV’s Perry Como Show after playing a show in Norfolk, Virginia, on Mar. 21, 1956. Perkins had sustained three fractured vertebrae in his neck, a severe concussion, a broken collar bone, and lacerations all over his body. Perkins remained unconscious for an entire day.

Worse than that…his brother Jay Perkins had a fractured neck and severe internal injuries. Later he developed a malignant brain tumor and died in 1958.  It had been planned on the Como show to present Carl with a gold record for Blue Suede shoes. When the wreck happened the song had peaked at #1 on the Country Charts and #2 on the Hot 100. Perkin’s career was never the same after that.

After 1956 he had 6 more top 40 hits in the country charts but never a top 10 hit again. One of those songs peaked at #31 in 1986 called “Birth of Rock and Roll.” Throughout the rockabilly revival of the 80s Perkins worked with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and many more.

Carl Perkins continued to achieve many successes throughout his career, such as writing the 1968 number one country hit “Daddy Sang Bass” as recorded by Johnny Cash as well as Glen Campbell and The Statler Brothers. He played for about ten years with Johnny Cash, playing lead guitar on Cash’s number one country hit “A Boy Named Sue.” He even appeared on the Johnny Cash Show playing “Matchbox” with Derek And The Dominoes.

Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby was recorded in March of 1956 in Sun Studios with no other than Sam Phillips producing.

The Beatle’s version was recorded their version on October 18, 1964. They did it in one take not counting Ringo overdubbing a tambourine and George doubling his voice. It was released on the Album Beatles for Sale released in December of 1964. It was not their best album by any stretch. They were worn out and the album included a lot of covers. The album was not available in the United States and Canada until 1987. The song appeared on their US-only album Beatles 65.

George Harrison sang lead because he was a huge fan of Perkins. It was his showcase song on early tours.

Everybody Is Trying To Be My Baby

Well they took some honey from a tree
Dressed it up and they called it me

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Woke up last night, half past four
Fifty women knocking on my door

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Went out last night, I didn’t stay late
‘Fore I got home I had nineteen dates

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Went out last night, I didn’t stay late
‘Fore I got home I had nineteen dates

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

Well they took some honey from a tree
Dressed it up and they called it me

Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby
Everybody’s trying to be my baby, now

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?

Leon Russell – Tight Rope

Tight Rope came out in 1972. I remember the song as with many others riding in my sister’s Vega a few years later while carrying a case of oil in the hatchback that looked somewhat like this. We would stop at least 3-4 times a week to feed it oil.

1972 Chevrolet Vega - Hot Rod for Sale - YouTube

The B-side for “Tight Rope” was “This Masquerade”, also written by Russell, which became a Top 10 hit for George Benson in 1976.

The album Carney would peak at #2 in the Billboard Album Charts and #4 in Canada. Tight Rope peaked at #11 on the Billboard 100 and #5 in Canada in 1972. It was Leon’s most popular song in his career.

His real name was Claude Russell Bridges. He was born in Oklahoma and in high school he worked with future Bread singer-songwriter David Gates. . That is a pair that is hard for me to imagine.

Leon did a lot before the public ever heard of him. He was part of the Wrecking Crew who played on Beach Boy records and hits like This Diamond Ring for Gary Lewis.

Leon Russell

The list of artists that he worked with is staggering.  Some include  The Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, Elton John, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bruce Hornsby, Merry Clayton, Delaney & Bonnie, Doris Day, Ray Charles,  the Byrds, Barbra Streisand, Willie Nelson, Badfinger, Steve Winwood, Frank Sinatra, The Band, Bob Dylan, J. J. Cale, B. B. King, Glen Campbell, Joe Cocker, and the Rolling Stones. He recorded 33 albums and at least 430 songs.

He sang, wrote, arranged, produced, and was one of the most sought keyboard players of his time. He was a musicians musician. He wrote the Gary Lewis hit Everybody Loves a Clown, Help Me Make It Through the Day by Freddie King, Delta Lady by Joe Cocker, and more.

You didn’t hear much about Leon by 2009. Elton John at one time opened up for Russell in his earlier days and decided to reach out to him. They made an album together in 2010 called The Union with 16 songs written by either Russell, John, Taupin, and T Bone Burnette. The album peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #7 in Canada, #24 in New Zealand, and #12 in the UK.

It brought Leon Russell back into prominence. He worked up until his death on November 13, 2016. He had already planned a tour starting in January 2017.

At the 7-minute mark… Leon Russell thanked Elton John with some heartfelt words at Leon’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. 

Tight Rope

I’m up on the tight wireOne side’s ice and one is fireIt’s a circus game with you and meI’m up on the tight ropeOne side’s hate and one is hopeBut the top-hat on my head is all you see

And the wire seems to beThe only place for meA comedy of errors and I’m fallingLike a rubber-neck giraffeYou look into my pastWell maybe you’re just too blind to see

I’m up in the spotlightOh does it feel rightOh altitude seems to get to meI’m up on the tight wireFlanked by life and the funeral pyrePutting on a show for you to see

Like a rubber-neck giraffeYou look into my pastWell maybe you’re just too blind to see

I’m up in the spotlightOh does it feel rightOh the altitude really gets to get to meI’m up on the tight wireFlanked by life and the funeral pyrePutting on a show for you to see

Shivvers – Teen Line ….Power Pop Friday

I featured a song by The Shivvers a couple of years ago. Most of the songs I heard from them are very good. It’s a shame they couldn’t get a big label interested in the early 80s.

The Shivvers were a power pop band from Milwaukee, active from 1978 to 1982. Milwaukee was not exactly the center of the rock universe at the time. They had their roots in the 60s music, They were more new wavey than punk but retained from the latter a sense of urgency that could be heard in their sole single “Teen Line” released on the Fliptop independent label in 1980.

They thought about moving to LA or New York in the 80s but decided not to. It’s a shame because they did have some famous fans that included Lou Reed and Eric Carmen. In 1993, Kossoris moved to Nashville, where she worked with The Mavericks among others, and recorded a record, “Invisible,” released in 2001.

The Shivvers were Jill Kossoris (vocals), Jim Richardson (drums), Mike Pyle and Jim Eannelli (guitars) and Scott Krueger (bassist/songwriter).

Jill Kossoris:  I’ve been influenced by so many different kinds of music. My parents listened to everything. My sister listened to everything. They were all into power pop like Badfinger, Big Star, the Flamin’ Groovies, Motown music. I liked really catchy, soulful, well-written songs.

Jill Kossoris: You can always look back and see how you could have improved your life in a lot of ways. But at one point, we were just so frustrated that we kind of imploded. You can really get stuck in that whole “bar band” thing. Back in those days, most bands played AT LEAST three- or four hour-long sets. Not to brag, but we were all pretty tight before we started doing that. We were all pretty seasoned musicians. Our time was there. We were ready. Everybody doesn’t get better by grinding it out on the club circuit for five years.

Teen Line

Last night I got a call on the telephone
As long as it can ring I am not alone
And the night don’t seem so far away
It’ll be alright someday
And the sun don’t have to shine
Because my heart’s on a teen line

All you do is call in this love on a teen line

You say feel so fine, you’ve got everything
You’ve got a big black car and bird that sings
And it’s right, ’cause you called me yesterday
And I had so much to say
And the sun don’t have to shine
Because my heart’s on the teen line

All you do is call in this love on the teen line
Nothing matters at all (not at all)
Give us just a little and call on your teen line
Say that you love me and that you’ll think of me tonight

If we were older, we wouldn’t have to wait so long
But as long as you love me, nothing really matters at all

Last night I didn’t know, I was wondering
I sit by the phone waiting for your ring
And the sound makes my heart beat fast
‘Cause you had so much to say
And I know this love will last
‘Cause my heart’s on the teen line

All you do is call in this love on a teen line
Nothing matters at all
Give us just a little and call on your teen line
Say that you love me and that you’ll think of me tonight

Love on the teen line makes me feel loved
Love on the teen line
Love on the teen line
Love on the teen line
Love on the teen line