Badfinger – Money ….Power Pop Friday

Badfinger is the band that got me into power pop. After reading about them my interest widened into The Raspberries and Big Star. If any of you readers have a time machine I could use…take me back to January 19, 1973, at the Chicago Aragon Ballroom…where The Raspberries opened up for Badfinger. That would be a power pop dream.

This song was the B side to Badfinger’s hit Day After Day released in 1971. It was a good song written by bassist Tom Evans…  I zeroed in on this song from the album Straight Up. I’ve heard it used for some radio bumper music for talk and sports shows. The melody and harmonies stand out in this one.

Straight Up has two of their big hits…the beautiful Day After Day and what I consider the best power-pop song of all time…Baby Blue. It’s not just the hits that are good….the band had three songwriters with Pete Ham, Tom Evans, and  Joey Molland.  Tom and Joey were not at their bandmate’s writing level but they were very good. There is not a bad song on the album.

On the album, the song Money was connected with the Evans and Molland song Flying. They flow into each other to make a really good melody… similar to what the Beatles did on Abbey Road.

If you want to try out a Badfinger album that is not a greatest hits package…this is the one to start at. Badfinger was not known as an album band but this one I would consider one of the best power pop albums ever. Pete Ham wrote the best songs for Badfinger without a doubt but Tom and Joey did come up with some absolute winners. Pete was sometimes compared to Paul McCartney and George Harrison in his songwriting abilities.

The band started out as the Iveys with Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Ron Griffiths, and Mike Gibbins. Tom played guitar in that lineup but Griffiths had to quit because of family problems. Tom took over bass and they recruited Liverpudillian singer-songwriter Joey Molland for guitar.

Joey Molland is the only member left with us from the original lineup. He still tours as Joey Molland’s Badfinger.

Allmusic Critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine about Straight Up:

Straight Up winds up somewhat less dynamic than No Dice, largely because that record alternated its rockers, pop tunes, and ballads. Here, everything is at a similar level, as the ballads are made grander and the rockers have their melodic side emphasized. Consequently, the record sounds more unified than No Dice, which had a bit of a split personality. Todd Rundgren’s warm, detailed production makes each songwriter sound as if he was on the same page, although the bonus tracks — revealing the abandoned original Geoff Emerick productions — prove that the distinctive voices on No Dice were still present. Frankly, the increased production is for the best, since Badfinger sounds best when there’s as much craft in the production as there is in the writing. Here, there’s absolutely no filler and everybody is in top form. Pete Ham’s “Baby Blue” is textbook power-pop — irresistibly catchy fuzz riffs and sighing melodies — and with its Harrison-esque slide guitars, “Day After Day” is so gorgeous it practically aches. “Perfection” is an unheralded gem, while “Name of the Game” and “Take It All” are note-perfect pop ballads. Tom Evans isn’t as prolific here, but the one-two punch of “Money” and “Flying” is the closest Straight Up gets to Abbey Road, and “It’s Over” is a fine closer. Still, what holds the record together is Joey Molland’s emergence as a songwriter. His work on No Dice is enjoyable, but here, he comes into his own with a set of well-constructed songs. This fine songwriting, combined with sharp performances and exquisite studio craft, make Straight Up one of the cornerstones of power-pop, a record that proved that it was possible to make classic guitar-pop after its golden era had passed.

Money

Money stole my lady
Fools have a way of making me crazy
Money buy you freedom
Rules have a way of making me lazy

So we grow a little older
With another tale to tell
So we grow a little colder
With another tale to tell

Money make you feel unhappy
Fools have a way of making me crazy

So we grow a little older
With another tale to tell
So we grow a little colder
With another tale to tell

Rare Earth – (I Know) I’m Losing You

I remember this single because of the label…it was given to me when I was around 10. I love the artwork of many of these old singles. The music is not that bad either with this one.

Rare Earth – (I Know) I'm Losing You (1970, Vinyl) - Discogs

Rare Earth began as a popular Detroit club band called The Sunliners in 1960. They couldn’t get anywhere for years. The band decided that part of the problem might lie in their name and that a more contemporary one was needed.   The band came up with Rare Earth which seemed cool, back to nature, and more reflective of the times.

They were then introduced to Barney Ales the vice-president of Motown Records.  Ales had come to see the band on the recommendation of Berry Gordy’s ex-wife Margaret who was acquainted with Rare Earth’s manager. Barney Ales was looking for white rock acts for a new Motown division that reflected the album rock that was growing on FM radio at that time.

This was Rare Earth’s follow-up to their hit Get Ready. Motown pressured Rare Earth to record another Temptations hit, this time with Norman Whitfield – who had co-written and produced the original version.

The result was another major success for Rare Earth. (I Know) I’m Losing You peaked at #7 on the Billboard 100, #15 in Canada, and 20 on the Billboard R&B Charts in 1970. The song was on the album Ecology, Rare Earth’s sophomore effort and it peaked at #15 in the Billboard Album Charts.

Members of the band started dropping out and being replaced beginning in 1971. The group stopped touring together in 1974 when a split happened. Two members, including original member Peter Hoorelbeke, left to form a short-lived group called HUB.

The remaining Rare Earth members continued with replacements and recorded Back to Earth in 1975. They produced seven more albums and continue to tour. A roster of band members from 1960 to the present contains over 30 different musicians, with founding member Gil Bridges being the only constant.

Lead singer Pete Rivera: What made it so interesting, was that he actually got on our case for trying to sound like the Temps the first time we did the song the way we thought it should be. Whitfield listened for a while and then he spoke up and said, ‘You guys sound great on this tune, but I think you should give it a different flavor and presentation.

“The song was originally about 45 minutes long, Norman cut it down to 12 minutes for the album [Ecology] and then down to 3 minutes for the single. He was a master at editing.”

(I Know) I’m Losing You

Your love is fadin’, I feel it fade
Ah, your love is fadin’, I feel it fade
Ah, your love is fadin’, woman I feel it fade

Ah, woman, woman your touch, your touch has gone cold
As if someone else controls your very soul
I’ve fooled myself long as I can
Can feel the presence of another man

It’s there when you speak my name
It’s just not the same
Ooh babe, I’m losing you
It’s in the air
It’s there everywhere
Baby, baby, babe, I’m losing you

When I look into your eyes
A reflection of a face, I see
I’m hurt, down-hearted and worried, girl
‘Cause that face doesn’t belong to me
It’s all over your face
Someone’s takin’ my place
Ooh, baby, I’m losing you
You try hard to hide
The emptiness you feel inside
Ooh, babe, I’m losing you

I can’t bear the thought of losing you
Ah, woman, can’t you see what I’m goin’ through
I’m losin’ my mind (losin’ my mind)
And it’s all because of you
I can’t bear the thought of losing you
I’m losin’ my mind (losin’ my mind)
And it’s all because of you
I can’t stand the thought of losing you

Mavericks – All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down

The country I liked in the nineties was this…NOT Garth Brooks. I also listened to Dwight Yokum as well.

The Mavericks’ front man, Raul Malo, co-wrote this with the country songwriter, Al Anderson. Malo hs said that Buck Owens was a big influence on this one. It does have that Bakersfield sound and it reminds me of Dwight Yokum. It has a cool stringy telecaster sound during the solo. It also has that Tex-Mex sound that was popular then.

When I hear a song…the last thing I think of is…WOW, I want more accordion! With this song though it fits like a glove. The accordion was played by Grammy Award-winning Tejano music accordionist Flaco Jiménez.

This is their highest charting song to date. It peaked at #13 on the Billboard Country Chart and #15 on Canada’s Country Charts in 1996.

This song was on the Mavericks’ fourth studio album. The album features the Country musician, Trisha Yearwood, who duets with the band on a cover of the Frank and Nancy Sinatra song, “Somethin’ Stupid.”

The album peaked at #9 on the Billboard Country Charts, #3 in Canada’s Country Album Charts and #58 in the Billboard Pop Album Charts, and #54 in Canada.

Co-writer Al Anderson: “I thought that was a dumb song. Like I was doing, ‘What the hell is this?’ Then I heard the record on the radio, and it was the best – that’s my favorite record of all time. I’m able to zone in on Raul when it comes to songs. I really enjoy writing with him.”

All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down

I can’t sleep a wink anymore
Ever since you first walked out the door
Then I just started drinking to forget
But I don’t think the worst has happend yet

All you ever do is bring me down
Making me a fool all over town
They all wonder why I wear a frown
That’s ’cause honey all you ever do is bring me down
Hear me now, I go, whoo

It’s funny how my whole world fell apart
I think I saw it coming from the start
I tried to tell myself that you’d be true
But I expected way too much of you

All you ever do is bring me down
Making me a fool all over town
They all wonder why I wear a frown
That’s ’cause honey all you ever do is bring me down
I take ma’m

All you ever do is bring me down
Making me a fool all over town
They all wonder why I wear a frown
That’s ’cause honey all you ever do is bring me down
That’s ’cause honey all you ever do is bring me down
Honey all you ever do is bring me down
Two, three, four

Loretta Lynn 1932-2022

Very sad news that Loretta Lynn passed away at the age of 90. I met the lady one time and she was wonderful. She was the definition of the word classy.

When I was eight years old, my mom took me to Loretta Lynn’s ranch. I actually had breakfast with Loretta Lynn. My mom knew someone who knew her… we were at her Ranch that was just opened to the public. She saw us and pointed and said “come in here” and we sat at the table and ate with her. She was very nice. She kept asking if I needed anything and if I was having a good time.

She was one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met. Even though I was young, she didn’t talk down to me…she talked to me. It was a wonderful experience and even I knew at that age it was special…that this didn’t happen all of the time.

She wrote about real-life situations with women during her career. Her songwriting was honest and pure.

It saddens me that she just passed away. She is up there with Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, and a host of other country legends. I was happy back in 2004 when Jack White of the White Stripes produced her album Van Lear Rose.

Jack White of the White Stripes is a huge fan of Loretta Lynn. The White Stripes dedicated their 2001 album, ”White Blood Cells,” to her and invited her to share a bill with them at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.

Jack White produced her album “Van Lear Rose” and he asked Loretta to write all 13 songs for the album. The title refers to the Van Lear Coal mines from her youth. White said he would have been happy just to play tambourine on the album as long as he got to work with her.

Country radio snubbed “Van Lear Rose,” and the album received no CMA Awards nominations but it still reached #2 on the country charts and #24 on the Billboard 200. Lynn notched five Grammy nominations for her new music. In February 2005, she and White won Grammy awards for best country album and best country collaboration.

The album is great and this is the song that I liked best. If modern country music was this…I would actually listen! As I type this…I get mad all over again by the way country radio treated this album.

Van Lear Rose

One of my fondest memories
Was sittin’ on my daddy’s knee
Listenin’ to the stories that he told 
He’d pull out that old photograph
Like a treasured memory from the past 
And say child This here’s the Van Lear Rose

Oh how it would bring a smile 
When he talked about her big blue eyes
And how her beauty ran down to her soul
She’d walk across the coal miner’s yard 
Them miner’s would yell loud and hard 
and they’d dream of who would hold the Van Lear Rose

She was the belle of Johnson County
Ohio river to Big Sandy
A beauty to behold like a diamond in the coal
All the miner’s they would gather ’round 
Talk about the man that came to town
Right under their nose 
Stole the heart of the Van Lear Rose

Now the Van Lear Rose could’ve had her pick
And all the fellers figured rich
Until this poor boy caught her eye
His buddies would all laugh and say
Your dreamin’ boy she’ll never look your way
You’ll never ever hold the Van Lear Rose

She was the belle of Johnson County
Ohio river to Big Sandy
A beauty to behold like a diamond in the coal
All the miner’s they would gather ’round 
Talk about the man that came to town
Right under their nose 
Stole the heart of the Van Lear Rose

Then one night in mid July
Underneath that ol’ blue Kentucky sky
Well, that poor boy won that beauty’s heart
Then my daddy would look at my mommy and smile
As he brushed the hair back from my eyes and he’d say
Your mama
She’s the Van Lear Rose

[Chorus]

Right under their nose
Stole the heart of the Van Lear Rose

Prisoners – Far Away

When the organ leads off…I would have sworn this song is from 1967 but no…it’s from 1983. They were part of the Mod revival in the 80s minus the mopeds and parkas of the early sixties.

It’s a song that I listened to once and thought…that song is ok…then I wanted to hear it again an hour later…after that, I listened to it all day at work. I like the small hooks placed strategically in the song.

All the instruments are on the mark and the singer has a voice that bends but never breaks. As I wrote this post…I’ve listened to it around 4 or 5 times…it’s almost like potato chips…you can’t stop at one listen…at least not me. It sounds like it could have been a cool Doors album track.

This British band formed in 1980 and debuted in 1982 with  A Taste Of Pink, on their Own Up label. They ended up with a few record companies that included Stiff Records. This song was on their album 1984 The Wisermiserdemelza.

They ended up making 4 studio albums altogether but called it quits in 1986 and later regrouped for a final single in 1997 but they failed to find commercial success.

Far Away

Donovan – Catch The Wind

I watched a Bob Dylan film in the 80s called Don’t Look Back and it covered his 1965 UK tour. In that documentary (which I highly recommend) Donovan comes into Bob’s hotel room and starts playing this folk song called “To Sing For You.” The small audience there is captivated. In the middle of the song, Dylan shouts, “Hey, that’s a good song, man!”

It surprised me because at that time I watched this…all I knew from Donovan were these psychedelic songs like Mellow Yellow and Hurdy Gurdy Man.  The melody to Catch The Wind borrows heavily from Bob Dylan’s “Chimes Of Freedom” but Bob didn’t say a word in the documentary.

Donovan and Dylan also made their UK chart debut in the same week, Donovan with Catch The Wind and Dylan with “The Times They Are A Changin’.” Donovan was often dubbed as Britain’s answer to Dylan…NEVER a good thing to be the “new” Dylan/Elvis/Beatles anywhere. There will be no doubt who influenced him though after a listen to the song. It’s a very accessible folk song.

He dated model Linda Lawrence, who was then the girlfriend of the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones soon after writing this song. He bumped into her four years later and they married in 1970.

The song was added to his first album What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid released in 1965. This was released right after Donovan turned 19. The album peaked at #3 in the UK and #30 on the Billboard Album Charts. I could not find an entry in Canada.

The song peaked at #4 in the UK,#10 in Canada, and #23 on the Billboard 100 in 1965. It has been covered by hundreds of artists including Sammy Hagar, Bruce Springsteen’s first band The Castiles, The Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs, and Rickie Lee Jones.

Donovan: “‘Catch The Wind,’ I wrote it for Linda, although I hadn’t really met her yet. It is a song of unrequited love, yet I hadn’t really met her, so how could I miss her? And I seem to write prophetic songs in the sense of the Celtic poet and I wrote this song before I met Linda, of a love I would like to have had and lost.”

‘She was the first paparazzi-worthy girlfriend and was going out with the most charismatic rock star in Britain, Brian Jones. When I met her she’d just split from Brian, and she told me she wasn’t ready for another serious relationship. We had a passionate love affair, but parted in 1965 as she needed some time away from the limelight in which to grow up. She was only 16 when she and Brian had a child together, Julian, who later I’d raise as my own.

Catch The Wind

In the chilly hours and minutes
Of uncertainty, I want to be
In the warm hold of your love and mine

To feel you all around me
And to take your hand along the sand
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

When sundown pales the sky
I want to hide a while behind your smile
And everywhere I’d look your eyes I’d find

For me to love you now
Would be the sweetest thing ‘twould make me sing
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

Di di di di, di di di di
Di di di di, di di di di
Di di di

When rain has hung the leaves with tears
I want you near to kill my fears
To help me to leave all my blues behind

For standin’ in your heart
Is where I want to be and long to be
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind

Velvet Crush – Time Wraps Around You ….Power Pop Friday

I first heard this band through a song called Hold Me Up a while back. Cool hooks, guitar sound, and melodies. This band has the distorted and jangly sound well mixed together. This song came off of the 1994 album Teenage Symphonies to God which is probably their best-known album. I have listened to this album a bunch and the songs sound like classic songs that have been forgotten. 

Vocalist/bassist Paul Chastain and drummer Ric Menck are the band’s two constant members. They had previously worked together in 3 other bands…Choo Choo Train, Bag-O-Shells, and The Springfields in the 1980s. 

 Guitarist Jeffrey Underhill played with them on their first three albums. The  album was produced by Mitch Easter who would produce R.E.M among other artists. He gets such a warm sound with Velvet Crush. Matthew Sweet has also worked with this band. 

Chastain, Menck, and Underhill reunited in 2019 to tour. 

Time Wraps Around You

To the summer of love, from the winter of fearSeasons change us around, the reasons not clearSo turn the pageTheir innocence can’t be savedBeginning again

Like the motions you make, the wave of your handLike the time that it takes to know that you canStanding byTo try and make you feel alright

This time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youYou know I’ll stay

Through the summer of love, the winter so nearSeasons scatter good friends, and more every yearLooking backThen you findLearning thatIt’s time to leave the past far behind

You know it’s alrightThis time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youThis time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youThis time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youThis time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youThis time wraps around youAnd I’ll wrap around youKnow I’ll stay

Doors -Break On Through (To The Other Side)

When I went through my Doors phase as a teen…this one was one of the songs that drew me in. I still like the band but I have sympathy for the members not named Morrison. When they played live in the later part of their career…he could be a handful.

This was the first song on The Doors debut album, and also their first single. It got some airplay on Los Angeles radio stations after their friends and fans kept requesting it. Light My Fire…did just that after this single. Break On Through peaked at #126 in the Billboard Charts, #64 in the UK, and #28 in New Zealand in 1967.

“She gets high,” was in the original chorus but their producer Paul Rothchild thought that would limit the song’s airplay potential, and convinced the group to leave it out. Instead, “high” was edited out, making it sound like, “she get uuggh,” but the “high” line can be heard in live versions and the high was restored in the 1999 remaster.

Elektra Records boss Jac Holzman commissioned a promotional film for this song…later known as a music video. Like The Beatles, The Doors were innovators in the music video medium, creating films of various kinds to their songs. Videos saved bands’ trips to TV studios to mime their latest record. MTV used them as their business plan two decades later.

Doors Billboard Break On Through

Elektra Records promoted the album with a billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood with a photo of the band and the headline, “The Doors Break On Through With An Electrifying Album.” It gave a lot of attention to the band at the time.

John Rechy’s 1963 book City of Night was a huge influence on Morrison in writing this song. There is a passage that Rechy wrote “place to place, week to week, night to night” and Jim turned it into Made the scene, Week to week, Day to day, Hour to hour.

Jim Morrison: “I like ideas about the breaking away or overthrowing of the established order. I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that seems to have no meaning.”

Break On Through (To The Other Side)

You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day
Tried to run
Tried to hide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side, yeah

We chased our pleasures here
Dug our treasures there
But can you still recall
The time we cried?
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side

Yeah
Come on, yeah

Everybody loves my baby
Everybody loves my baby
She get
She get
She get
She get high

I found an island in your arms
Country in your eyes
Arms that chain us
Eyes that lie
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through, oww
Oh, yeah

Made the scene
Week to week
Day to day
Hour to hour
The gate is straight
Deep and wide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through
Break on through
Break on through
Break on through
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Cinderella – Heartbreak Station

Any song that contains train references I usually like and this one is no exception. I was surprised when I heard this song was by Cinderella. They had changed themselves into a bluesy hard rock roots band. The other song that I heard off the album at the time was Shelter…and that one I loved also.

The song peaked at #44 on the Billboard 100, #60 in Canada, #54 in the UK, and #13 on the Billboard Rock Charts in 1991.

In 1990 we were the house band at club at the time. We never played new music but I learned this one just to see the faces of the people when we played a new song. We did this one and Jealous Again by the Black Crowes.

They never really got a chance to follow this momentum up with another album. n 1991, Keifer lost his voice due to a paresis of his vocal cords. After operations, they didn’t follow up this album until 1994 (Still Climbing) and by then grunge had taken over and Cinderella was dropped from the record company after the album went nowhere.

They reformed in 1996 and would tour off and on until 2014.

Heartbreak Station

Waiting at the station
Tears filling up my eyes
Sometimes the pain you hide
Burns like a fire inside

Lookin’ out my window
Sometimes it’s hard to see
The things you want in life
Come and go so easily

She took the last train out of my heart
The last train
And now I think I’ll make a brand new start
The last train out of my heart

Watching the days go by
Thinking ’bout the plans we made
Days turn into years
Funny how they fade away

Sometimes I think of those days
Sometimes I just hide away
I’m waiting on that 9:20 train
I’m waiting on a memory

She took the last train out of my heart
The last train
And now I think I’ll make a brand new start
The last train out of my heart, yeah

My lady’s on the fly
And she’s never coming back
My love is like a steam train
Rolling down the tracks, yeah, yeah

The last train out of my heart
The last train
And now I think I’ll make a brand new start
Took the last train out of my heart, yeah

she took the last train, out of my heart
(The last train) she took the last train
And now I think I’ll make a new start
Last train out of my heart

Byrds – Goin’ Back

Before I start…I’ll be off and on this weekend because I’m traveling to Memphis to see Big E’s house…Graceland… for the 3rd time.

Power pop can be traced back to George Harrison and Roger McGuinn’s 12-string Rickenbackers. This was right before the Byrds dived into country rock with Graham Parsons and made the Sweethearts of the Rodeo album.

Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers

The Notorious Byrd Brothers cover controversy. It has been said that McGuinn or the other Byrds wanted to insult the fired David Crosby by placing a horse in the stall beside them in his place. McGuinn had the best response to this… “If we had intended to do that, we would have turned the horse around.”

The album (The Notorious Byrd Brothers) marked Gene Clark’s brief return to the band. He had left The Byrds the year before and made a solo album that was critically praised but failed commercially. His supposedly fear of flying had a huge impact. After the album was released he toured with the band briefly but after an anxiety attack in Minneapolis, he quit.

David Crosby was fired by McGuinn and Hillman before the album was finished. He was upset at the rest of the band for finishing one of his songs and using it among many things. Crosby was not in favor of doing this song written by “two Brill Building writers” and they should only record their original music. They bickered back and forth and Crosby was fired. Crosby went on to fame in Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Parsons and Hillman would, later on, form the Flying Burrito Brothers. 

Crosby also fought with drummer Michael Clarke and Clarke soon quit before it was finished. This left McGuinn and Hillman and that is when they got Gene Clark to take Crosby’s place which lasted only 3 weeks.

Clarence White, the future Byrd the following year, helped out on the album with pedal steel guitar. Goin’ Back was a Goffin and King song. The first version/hit was by Dusty Springfield and it peaked at #10 in the UK in 1966.

The single was released a few months before The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Goin’ Back peaked at #89 on the Billboard 100 in 1967.

Gene Clark:  “The fear of flying wasn’t why I quit the group, When you’re 19, 20 years old and you start on a fantasy, then six months later you’re hanging out with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, it can cause you to become a little disturbed. The reason for the group’s breakup was much less the fear of flying than it was we were too young to handle the amount of success that was thrown at us all at once.”

David Crosby: “I started going up and hanging out with Roger and Gene, we would sing together at The Troubadour, Gene was from a family of 11 from somewhere like Mississippi, he had no clue what the rules were, so he would just do it in a way that somebody else hadn’t thought of. And Roger was so smart, who listened to and go, ‘Well, we could just do this and this to it,’ and boom, it’s a record! I almost hate giving Roger as much credit as I do, but you can’t deny it – he was a moving force behind that band, and he did create the arrangements for the songs.”

Photographer Gus Webster: I get asked about this cover shot for The Byrds all the time. This was shot a couple of years after I first worked for them. The picture was done up in [Topanga] Canyon. The group was going through changes. I got a call to shoot the album cover. They wanted to go out to the country, since their first album cover was shot in a studio.

So I found this abandoned barn with four open windows. There was a horse in the field. I put each one of the guys in the windows. And in the last window I put the horse. I was mistakenly accused of denigrating David Crosby. It wasn’t to replace Crosby, who had been fired; it wasn’t to insult anyone. It was just to balance the composition. It was just a space and a horse — and what an image.”

Goin’ Back

I think I’m goin’ back
To the things I learned so well in my youth,
I think I’m returning to
The days when I was young enough to know the truth

Now there are no games
To only pass the time
No more coloring books,
No Christmas bells to chime
But thinking young and growing older is no sin
And I can play the game of life to win

I can recall a time,
When I wasn’t afraid to reach out to a friend
And now I think I’ve got
A lot more than a skipping rope to lift

Now there’s more to do
Than watch my sailboat glide
Then everyday can be my magic carpet ride
And I can play hide and seek with my fears,
And live my life instead of counting my years

Let everyone debate the true reality,
I’d rather see the world the way it used to be
A little bit of freedom, all we’re left
So catch me if you can
I’m goin’ back

I can recall,
I can remember

I can recall,
I can remember

I can recall,
I can remember

Robert Johnson – Sweet Home Chicago

Was Robert Johnson the most influential guitarist in the history of blues and rock? That very possibly could be true. It wasn’t until the 80s that I started to read and hear more about him. Reading interviews with Clapton, Jimmy Page, and others…they all owed a huge debt to Johnson.

My introduction to Robert Johnson came from Eric Clapton while playing with Cream. Johnson was a great blues guitarist that supposedly sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads to be able to play the blues. Some of the songs he wrote played into this myth. He only cut 29 songs that he recorded in a two-year period between 1936 and 1937.

Movies such as the 1980s film Crossroads brought Johnson many more fans. Many people have searched for Johnson after listening to artists that were influenced by him. His voice will haunt you after you listen to his recordings. His songs are pure and timeless.

With this song…I heard it before I heard Robert Johnson’s version… I knew the Blues Brothers version of it the best. Robert Johnson is listed as the writer but the origins are before that.  Scrapper Blackwell’s “Kokomo Blues” and Kokomo Arnold’s “Old Original Kokomo Blues,” both similar to Johnson’s original right down to their “baby don’t you want to go” choruses, were recorded years before Johnson first entered a studio but Johnson owns it.

Now when it’s played in movies or sold on CDs… Stephen LaVere’s family gets half the royalties and Johnson’s the other half. LaVere entered the picture in 1973, persuading Johnson’s elderly half-sister Carrie Thompson to sign a contract ceding him 50 percent of the profits from Johnson’s music. He went out and marketed Johnson’s music and it paid off in millions for both parties. 

Sweet Home Chicago

Oh, baby, don’t you want to go?
Oh, baby, don’t you want to go?
Back to the land of California
To my sweet home Chicago

Oh, baby, don’t you want to go?
Oh, baby, don’t you want to go?
Back to the land of California
To my sweet home Chicago

Now one and one is two
Two and two is four
I’m heavy loaded, baby
I’m booked, I gotta go

Crying baby
Honey, don’t you want to go?
Back to the land of California
To my sweet home Chicago

And two and two is four
Four and two is six
You gonna keep monkeyin’ ’round here friend, boy
You’re gonna get you business all in a trick

Crying baby
Honey, don’t you want to go?
Back to the land of California
To my sweet home, Chicago

Now six and two is eight
Eight and two is ten
Friend-boy she trick you one time
She sure gonna do it again

But don’t cry, hey hey!
Baby, don’t you want to go?
Back to the land of California
To my sweet home Chicago

I’m going to California
From there to Des Moines Iowa
Somebody will tell me that you
Need my help someday

Crying, baby
Baby, don’t you want to go?
Back to the land of California
To my sweet home Chicago

James Brown – It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World

James Brown was the man. Not many go on a stage and leave everything on it like he did. He drove his band hard, really hard to follow him. I so wish I could have seen this man live in concert. Every song he did sound as if it were a sermon coming from a pulpit.

That’s not to say that trouble didn’t find Brown or that Brown didn’t find trouble every so often. In 1963 in Macon, Georgia, James Brown attempted to shoot his musical rival Joe Tex. It seemed Tex had done a parody of Brown on stage, and James didn’t like it. The incident caused people to get shot and stabbed. Brown got his agent and a few thousand dollars to make the situation disappear. When the shootout was over, each one of the injured was given one hundred dollars apiece not to carry it no further and not to talk to the press. Brown was never charged for the incident.

James Brown first recorded this song in June of 1964 in Chicago under the title “It’s a Man’s World”. But it was Brown’s second version of the song, retitled in 1966 that became a hit, with the final title echoing the Oscar-winning It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  The music was written by James Brown and most of the lyrics by Betty Jean Newsome.

The lyrics to the song emerged from a road trip tour James Brown was on with his backup singer, Betty Jean Newsome. She has said they were on a 20-hour drive from Harlem, through South Carolina, and further west into the Deep South.

In 1963 Brown co-wrote “I Cried” with Famous Flames bandmate Bobby Byrd The song was recorded by 18-year-old Tammy Montgomery, who had been a backup singer with the James Brown Revue in live concerts. Later on, she would become Tammi Terrell. He used the same chord progression for It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.

The song peaked at #1 on The Billboard R&B Charts, #8 on the Billboard 100, #25 in Canada, and #13 in the UK in 1966.

It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s, World

This is a man’s world, this is a man’s world
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl

You see, man made the cars to take us over the road
Man made the train to carry the heavy load
Man made electric light to take us out of the dark
Man made the boat for the water, like Noah made the ark

This is a man’s, man’s, man’s world
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl

Man thinks about our little bitty baby girls and our baby boys
Man made them happy, ’cause man made them toys
And after man make everything, everything he can
You know that man makes money, to buy from other man

This is a man’s world
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing, not one little thing, without a woman or a girl
He’s lost in the wilderness
He’s lost in bitterness, he’s lost lost

Guess Who – No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature

I grew up with the Guess Who and Bachman Turner Overdrive on AM radio. I always thought these two songs flowed together well.

Randy Bachman wrote No Sugar Tonight. When he presented the song to the band he was told the song was too short. To solve the problem they pieced the Burton Cummings song New Mother Nature together with this one on the album American Woman.

This is the last hit song that Randy Bachman played on with The Guess Who. He would leave soon after because of his Mormon beliefs didn’t go with the Guess Who’s touring rock lifestyle. They wouldn’t play together again until 13 years later in 1983.

The song peaked at #1 in Canada, #13 on the Billboard 100, and #19 in the UK in 1970.

Before I knew about the Who or Guess Who…when I heard the name I thought they were the same band. Their name came about when their label Quality Records released their first hit single (“Shakin’ All Over”) credited only to “Guess Who?” in an attempt to build a mystique around the band. They wanted the public to believe that this was a possible British band. The real name of the band was “Chad Allan & The Expressions,” but radio station DJs continued to refer to them as “The Guess Who.” when playing subsequent singles.

The Guess Who tried to get The Who to change their name.

Randy Bachman: “When I was in the Guess Who, we found out about this English band called the Who and were determined to force them to change their name, so, we were in London, and the Who were playing at the Marquee club. Down we went to confront them. They were being filmed for German TV at that show, so we had to wait around for about four hours. Eventually, we get to meet them and say: ‘Look, we were here before you. So, change your name, it’s confusing people, Pete Townshend looked at us and replied: ‘There’s the Yardbirds and the Byrds. Nobody’s confused by that. So bugger off.'”

The two bands became friends after that according to Bachman. . “And that phrase ‘bugger off’ was our in-joke, We’d check into a hotel and find out the Who were there, so we’d call up one of the guys at 3AM and when they answered we would say: ‘Bugger off!’ then hang up. They’d do the same to us.”

John Presho…security for Randy Bachman: “Randy told me that the inspiration for writing ‘No Sugar Tonight’ came to him from an experience he had walking in downtown Berkeley, California. Randy was walking and talking with a bandmate when he looked up and saw four big biker guys walking on the same sidewalk approaching them. Randy made up his mind to cross the street rather than confront the bikers, then he heard the skidding of car tires. Just as Randy was stepping off the sidewalk the car came to a skidding stop and a biker lady got out of the car, walked over to one of the bikers and engaged in a heated conversation with him. When the argument ended the biker lady walked back to the car, opened the door, turned around, then shouted to the biker, ‘One more thing honey, you’re not getting any sugar tonight’ indicating he was not going to get any sex that night from her. The car took off, Randy crossed the street went back to his hotel and started writing the song based on that experience.”

No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature

Lonely feeling
Deep inside
Find a corner
Where I can hide
Silent footsteps
Crowding me
Sudden darkness
But I can see

No sugar tonight in my coffee
No sugar tonight in my tea
No sugar to stand beside me
No sugar to run with me

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dow-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow

In the silence
Of her mind
Quiet movements
Where I can find
Grabbing for me
With her eyes
Now I’m falling
From her skies

No sugar tonight in my coffee
No sugar tonight in my tea
No sugar to stand beside me
No sugar to run with me

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dow-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow

Jocko says “Yes” and I believe him
When we talk about the things I say
She hasn’t got the faith or the guts to leave him
When they’re standing in each other’s way
You’re tripping back now to places you’ve been to
You wonder what you’re gonna find
You know you’ve been wrong but it won’t be long
Before you leave ’em all far behind

‘Cause it’s the new mother nature taking over
It’s the new splendid lady come to call
It’s the new mother nature taking over
She’s gettin’ us all
She’s gettin’ us all

Jocko said “No” when I came back last time
It’s looking like I lost a friend
No use callin’ ’cause the sky is fallin’
And I’m getting pretty near the end
A smoke-filled room in a corner basement
The situation must be right
A bag of goodies and a bottle of wine
We’re gonna get it on right tonight

‘Cause it’s the new mother nature taking over
It’s the new splendid lady come to call
It’s the new mother nature taking over
She’s gettin’ us all
She’s gettin’ us all

(Lonely feeling) Jocko says “Yes” and I believe him
(Deep inside) When we talk about the things I say
(Find a corner) She hasn’t got the faith or the guts to leave him
(Where I can hide) When they’re standing in each other’s way
(Silent footsteps) You’re tripping back now to places you’ve been to
(Crowding me) You wonder what you’re gonna find
(Sudden darkness) You know you’ve been wrong and it won’t be long
(But I can see) Before you leave ’em all far behind

‘Cause it’s the new mother nature taking over
It’s the new splendid lady come to call
It’s the new mother nature taking over
She’s gettin’ us all
She’s gettin’ us all

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dow-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow
Dat’n-doo-dow dow

Dat’n-doo-dow dow-dat’n-doo-dow

Elvis Presley – All Shook Up

I was still on my blogging sabbatical when August 16 came around and I missed the anniversary of Elvis’s death in 1977. So I wanted to include an Elvis post.

This is one of those songs that I grew up on and I would play over at my relative’s house. I mean…how could you ever not listen to a song that starts off with:

A well’a bless my soul
What’sa wrong with me?
I’m itchin’ like a man in a fuzzy tree
My friends say I’m actin’ wild as a bug
I’m in love
I’m all shook up

Not exactly poetry but the Big E made it flow so well. This is the Elvis that I like a lot…the pre-army Elvis. He was THE rock star at the time. Don’t believe me? He had 12 number 1 songs from 1956 through 1959. After he entered the Army…he wasn’t the same…still good…but the danger was gone quicker than you could say, Colonel Tom Parker.

Otis Blackwell wrote this on a dare. One of the owners of Shalimar Music (Blackwell’s publishing company) wandered into Blackwell’s office as he struggled to create a follow-up to Don’t Be Cruel. Al Stanton approached Blackwell, Stanton was shaking a bottle of Pepsi. Stanton said to Blackwell, “I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you write a song called All Shook Up? Otis then finished the song a couple of days after that.

All Shook Up peaked at #1 on the Billboard 100, in Canada, in the UK in 1957. It was ranked #352 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Although Otis Blackwell is listed as the sole composer, Presley shared the songwriting credit. The reason is that it was demanded by Colonel Tom Parker. Parker had said…Elvis doesn’t record the song unless he gets songwriting credit. The same thing happened with Don’t Be Cruel. Personally, I think this was wrong on many levels but unless the songwriter had money and clout…if he wanted it recorded by Elvis…he had to go along with it.

Speaking of the Colonel…there is a famous story about Dolly Parton’s song that she wanted Elvis to record. It happened in 1974, just after the release of Parton’s hit single I Will Always Love You. Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker made an effort to reach out to Parton with an offer in exchange for Presley recording her song. Again Parked demanded that Elvis get the co-writer credit on the song. She turned Parker down and kept the song to herself. That was a smart decision that paid off when Whitney Houston recorded the song and it made millions for Parton.

Dolly Parton: “I was desperate for Elvis to sing my song and I’d told everyone he was going to sing it, but I couldn’t let that happen. It’s my song, my publishing rights. It broke my heart but I had to turn him down.”

A well’a bless my soul
What’sa wrong with me?
I’m itchin’ like a man in a fuzzy tree
My friends say I’m actin’ wild as a bug
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

Well, my hands are shaky and my knees are weak
I can’t seem to stand on my own two feet
Who do you think of when you have such luck?
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

Well, please don’t ask me what’sa on my mind
I’m a little mixed up, but I’m feelin’ fine
When I’m near that girl that I love best
My heart beats so it scares me to death!

Well she touched my hand what a chill I got
Her lips are like a volcano when it’s hot
I’m proud to say that she’s my buttercup
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay

My tongue gets tied when I try to speak
My insides shake like a leaf on a tree
There’s only one cure for this body of mine
That’s to have that girl that I love so fine!

She touched my hand what a chill I got
Her lips are like a volcano that’s hot
I’m proud to say that she’s my buttercup
I’m in love
I’m all shook up
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay, yay
Mm mm mm, mm, yay, yay
I’m all shook up

Ronnie Lane – One For The Road

This song doesn’t have a catchy chorus or a commercial feel at all but I love it. The first time I heard it I was at a bar at closing time…drinking rum and coke. It’s pure music by Ronnie Lane who walked away from the successful Faces to do his own thing. 

This was the title track off of his album One For The Road released in 1975. He did this album with his band Slim Chance. The album was overlooked at the time but now is praised. I had the album at one time…it’s a good album…very consistent. 

Ronnie Lane was a Britsh songwriter and bass player. He started with the Small Faces as the bass player and he and Steve Marriott wrote most of bands songs. The Small Faces never toured America so they never really broke out big. They did have 11 top twenty hits in the UK but only one in America with Itchycoo Park charting at #16.

Steve Mariott left the Small Faces in 1968 and Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood joined Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Ian McLagan to start The Faces. The Faces released four albums between 1970-1973… First Step, Long Player, A Nod is as Good as a Wink…to a Blind Horse and Ooh La La. They were one of the top grossing touring bands.

After Rod Stewart’s solo career took off his interest in the band began to wane and in 1973 Ronnie Lane quit. After Ronnie left the Faces, they made no more studio albums.

Ronnie started his own folk-country band named “Slim Chance” and released a surprise hit single “Come On” in 1973 and it went to #11 in the UK. Ronnie had a unique idea of touring. His tour was called “The Passing Show” which toured the countryside with a circus tent and included a ringmaster and clowns.

During the recording of “Rough Mix” Lane diagnosed with was Multiple Sclerosis. He still toured with Eric Clapton and others afterward and released an album in 1979 called “See Me.”

Ronnie Lane died of Pneumonia while in the final stages of Multiple Sclerosis in 1997.

BBC Sessions version

One For The Road

[Verse 1]
I’ve had my friends
All them that come and they ate with me
All them that come and they drunk with me
I’ve had my friends

[Verse 2]
And there’s been loads
All that said they would stand by me
All that said they could see what I could see
I’ve had my friends

[Verse 3]
Oh, I’ve had my dreams
New moon and roses like a foolish kid
Do unto others like I do to me
I’ve had my dreams

[Chorus]
And it’s one for the road, yes it is
One for the cat’s eyes, yes and
One for the white line
That’s takin’ me back home

[Verse 4]
Oh, now, I’ve had my way
All them that’s took me there and back
All them that’s left me way off the track
I’ve had my way

[Verse 5]
Oh, now, I’ve had my day
Just like that doggy the story goes
Oh, but night time comes and you got no bones
But, I’ve had my day

[Chorus]
And it’s one for the road, yes it is
One for the cat’s eyes, yes and
One for the white line
That’s takin’ me back home

[Instrumental]

[Verse 6]
Oh, now, I’ve seen my woman
Take her gardenia, now she stares away
Stares out the window and her eyes are grey
I’ve known my woman

[Verse 7]
Oh, yeah, I’ve had my dreams
Full moon and roses like a crazy kid
Do unto others like I would to me, yeah
Oh, I’ve had my dream

[Chorus]
Stil’ it’s one for the road, yes and
One for the cat’s eyes, yes and
One for the white line
That’s takin’ me back home

[Chorus]
Yes it’s one for the road, yes and
One for the cat’s eyes, yes and
One for the white line
That’s takin’ me back home