Dwight Twilley Band – I’m On Fire ….Power Pop Friday

You know…I haven’t been living up to my page’s name. I’ve had very little power pop on powerpop.blog lately. I hope to solve that coming up. Here is a song I’ve always liked from the mid-seventies. Dwight Twilley is one of those artists who had great songs but only had 2 hits in his career…and this is one of them.

This is a great power pop song from 1975. It peaked at #16 in 1975 on the Billboard 100. The band was formed by Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour. I always thought Twilley should have been more popular.

This was his first single from the album Sincerely. The song was released in 1975 and it did quite well.  There was one big problem… the label he was on was Leon Russell’s Shelter Records and they were barely making it. Shelter Records could not release the album until a year after this single was out which killed the momentum of the single.

Shelter Records was formed by Leon Russell and Denny Cordell in 1969 and ran until 1981 but Leon Russell left in 1976 as it was falling apart. Tom Petty was also part of the label for a while. It seems like many power pop artists are accompained by a story similiar to this.

Dwight Twilley: We thought we were indestructible. And we were proven
wrong really quick! We had so many problems right from the get-go. The album
didn’t even come out until a year after “I’m On Fire,” and it would have gone
gold if it had come out then. They believed in it so much they were going to
release two more singles before it came out. They released the second single
and then the company went under. 

Dwight Twilley on knowing Leon Russell: “I learned a lot from Leon. We were a Tulsa-based band when we were originally signed, and Leon lived here. And we ended up being signed to his label. A lot of people thought that Leon was the driving force behind it. But we didn’t really meet Leon until after we’d had our hit single ‘I’m On Fire.’ And I guess the surprising thing was just what a kind man he was, and how generous he was. He invited us into his own home studio and had us recording in his 40-track studio. And for little kids who six months ago had only been in a 4-track studio, that was a big deal. He was very kind and super talented, and he really didn’t say much. Just by following and by example we could see some of the things that he did that were just amazing. And I think he’s a terrific talent. I’m really proud of the way that he has sustained, that he’s out there still doing it.”

I’m On Fire

Got your lady on the line
Got your name on the cover
Though your friends are ninety-nine
Honey you ain’t got no lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no other

I remember the feelin’ that I could be free
Now I know it could never ever be me
‘Cause I’m on fire
Got myself on fire 

Got your joker on the table
You’ve been told from time to time
I’ll be willin’, I’ll be able
You could read between the lines

But you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no other

I remember the feelin’ that I could be free
Now I know it could never ever be me
‘Cause I’m on fire
I’m-a I’m on fire

But you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover, lover
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no other, other, other, other
And you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover

I’m on fire
I’m on fire (and you ain’t, you ain’t, you ain’t got no lover, lover, lover)
I’m on fire (lover, lover, lover, lover)
I’m on fire (lover, lover, lover)

John Lennon – Isolation

Many people posted this song during the lockdown and I can see why.

I always liked the song and understood that isolation doesn’t equate to loneliness. You can be in a crowd of people and yet feel isolated or alone. You can be physically isolated from others yet still feel very much connected to others.

The bass player on this track was Klaus Voormann, who was a friend of the Beatles from their Hamburg days. He was also an artist… he is the artist who designed the cover of Revolver. Ringo Starr also lends a hand with drums on this track.

JLPOBCover.jpg

The song was released on his true debut album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in 1970. Arguably one of if not his best album. Like Paul’s debut this one was not big in production but unlike Pauls…this album was not light pop songs. You can feel John releasing his inner feelings for everyone to see on this album. Not an album to play to get a party going. You can hear John’s disillusionment with life, fame, and his three former bandmates.

This was during the time John Lennon went to see Doctor Arthur Janov in scream therapy. A way to bare his soul for his feelings like his mom that was killed when he was a teenager.

John Lennon: ‘Isolation’ and ‘Hold On John’, they’re the rough remixes. I just remixed them that night on seven-and-a-half [inches per second tape] to take them home to see what else I was going to do with them. And then I didn’t really, I didn’t even put them onto fifteen [IPS], so the quality is a bit hissy on ’em too. By the time I’d done everything, I started listening. I found out it’s better that, with ‘Instant Karma’ and other things, you remix it right away that night. I’d known that before, but never followed it through.

I usually don’t pay much attention to covers. I ignore actors turn singers but I did find a very good version of this song out there. In 2020 Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp recorded this song and Beck’s guitar work is great. Depp also does the vocals justice in this.

Isolation

People say we got it made
Don’t they know we’re so afraid
Isolation
We’re afraid to be alone
Everybody got to have a home
Isolation

Just a boy and a little girl
Trying to change the whole wide world
Isolation
The world is just a little town
Everybody trying to put us down
Isolation

I don’t expect you, to understand
After you caused so much pain
But then again, you’re not to blame
You’re just a human, a victim of the insane

We’re afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
Isolation
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years
Isolation

Triumph – Magic Power

I always liked trios and the Canadian band Triumph was a great one. I’ve come to appreciate Rik Emmett’s guitar playing more and more through the years. Whenever I post a Canadian band…I can’t help but think of my Canadian friends Dave and Deke. Deke has this review of the 40th anniversary of Allied Forces, the album this song was on. Deke also hosts a video show Scotch on the Rocks with some great authors, musicians, producers, and everyone else in between. Check it out if you can.

You know this song has some age to it when a person in the song is waiting for their favorite DJ to play their favorite song. Those days have been gone for a long time with streaming music, unfortunately…but the spirit remains. This song makes me feel 16 again listening to it.

This song was written by the band… drummer Gil Moore, bassist/keyboard Mike Levine, and guitar/singer Rik Emmett. Along with Rush and Saga, Triumph was one of the big Canadian rock bands with progressive leanings. Triumph was popular in America and Canada in the 70s and 80s. In some parts more popular than Rush.

This song was on their fifth studio album Allied Forces. The song peaked at #14 in Canada, #51 in the Billboard 100, and #8 in the Mainstream Rock Charts. The album peaked at #13 in Canada, #23 in the Billboard Album Charts, and #64 in the UK. This was the highest-charting song in the US and Canada.

Rik Emmett left the band in 1988 and it took 20 years for the trio to play again, which took place in shows in Sweden and Oklahoma in 2008. They did reunite for an invitation-only three-song reunion show in 2020, which will be featured in the documentary Triumph: Rock and Roll Machine… it was released on May 13th…I have a trailer below.

Rik Emmett: “I wrote it about myself as a 9-year-old with a transistor radio, and then I changed the pronouns to ‘she’ and ‘her.’ If there hadn’t been a John Sebastian ‘Do You Believe in Magic?’ and a Pete Townshend ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’/Who’s Next, ‘Magic Power’ might not have ever been born.

Magic Power

Something’s at the edge of your mind, you don’t know what it is
Somethin’ you were hopin’ to find but your not sure what it is
Then you hear the music and it all comes crystal clear
The music does the talkin’ says the things you want to hear

I’m young, I’m wild and I’m free
Got the magic power of the music in me
I’m young, I’m wild and I’m free
Got the magic power of the music in me

She climbs into bed, she pulls the covers overhead and she turns her little radio on
She’s had a rotten day so she hopes the DJ’s gonna play her favorite song
It makes her feel much better, brings her closer to her dreams
A little magic power makes it better that it seems

She’s young now, she’s wild now, she wants to be free
She gets the magic power of the music from me
She’s young now, she’s wild now, she wants to be free
She gets the magic power of the music from me

If you’re thinkin’ it over but you just can’t sort it out
Do you want someone to tell you what they think it’s all about
Are you the one and only who’s sad and lonely, reachin’ for the top
Well the music keeps you goin’ and it’s never gonna stop
Never gonna stop
Never gonna, never gonna, never gonna stop

The world is full of compromise, and infinite red tape
But the music’s got the magic, it’s your one chance for escape
So turn me on turn me up it’s your turn to dream
A little magic power makes it better than it seems

I’m young now, I’m wild now I want to be free
I got the magic power of the music in me
I’m young now, I’m wild and I’m free
Got the magic power of the music in me

Blackfoot – Train Train

How many grandfathers write your biggest hit song? This one was written by Shorty Medlocke and later covered by his grandson Rickey Medlocke’s band Blackfoot. Shorty was a bluegrass and Delta blues musician and played the blues harp intro on the track. This song doesn’t play around…it’s straight seventies boogie rock and comes straight at you.

On a side note…train songs. There are so many great ones. Big Train From Memphis, Love Train, Midnight Train to Georgia, Peace Train, Train In Vain, Downbound Train, Train Kept a Rollin’ and I could go on and on but I’ll stop.

Before founding Blackfoot, Rickey Medlocke was also an early member of Lynyrd Skynyrd as a second drummer. Blackfoot had a number of hit albums but proved to be more popular in Europe than in the United States. Blackfoot Strikes was their first platinum album and produced their only Top 40 hits: “Highway Song” and this one.

They named themselves Blackfoot because they decided to change their name to represent the American Indian heritage of its members. Jakson Spires had a Cheyenne/French father and a Cherokee mother. Rickey Medlocke’s father was Lakota Sioux and Blackfoot Indian, and his mother’s side is Creek/Cherokee, Scottish and Irish. Greg “Two Wolf” Walker is part of Eastern (Muskogee) Creek. Charlie Hargrett was the only one without Native American heritage in the original, classic line-up.

Train Train peaked at #38 in the Billboard 100 in 1979. While this song was in the Charts, they opened up for the Who in 1979. The album Blackfoot Strikes peaked at #42 in the Billboard Album Charts.

The group disbanded in the early 1980s but has reunited a few times since then, the second time including all the original members except Medlocke, who had rejoined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996. 

This song has been covered by hard rock band Warrant and… Dolly Parton.

They did go through different names as many bands do… Fresh Garbage, Hammer, and Free.

Charlie Hargrett (guitar player): The band found out there was another Hammer already in operation. We needed a new name quick, Since we were moving up north to start a big recording career, we thought, ok, we’ll call it ‘Free’, because we’re free now. And then All Right Now came out, and we were like, ‘Shit’. So Jakson came up with Blackfoot, because of his Native American heritage.”

Train Train

Oh, here it comes

Well, train, train, take me on out of this town
Train, train, Lord, take me on out of this town
Well, that woman I’m in love with, Lord, she’s Memphis bound

Well, leavin’ here, I’m just a raggedy hobo
Lord, I’m leaving here, I’m just a raggedy hobo
Well, that woman I’m in love with, Lord, she’s got to go

Well, goodbye pretty mama, get yourself a money man
Goodbye, pretty mama, Lord, get yourself a money man
You take that midnight train to Memphis
Lord, leave me if you can
Oh, take that midnight train to Memphis
Lord, leave me if you can
Oh, take that train, baby

Canned Heat – On The Road Again

Such an underrated band.  What made this band real to me was their live album with John Lee Hooker called Hooker ‘n Heat…it is incredible. They also represent part of the Woodstock era well. When I think of Woodstock…this song and Going Up Country come to mind.

Their appearance there raised their stock higher. They had two hit singles Going Up Country and  On The Road Again. They were both written by Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and based on old blues songs. His unusual voice came from him trying to mimic the voice of old blues singers. Wilson was not the lead singer of Canned Heat but did sing on some songs.

Wilson’s nickname, “Blind Owl,” was bestowed upon him by friend John Fahey during a road trip in 1965 from Boston to Los Angeles and was a reference to the extra-thick lenses Wilson wore.

He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the blues. Wilson and Bob Hite founded the band in 1965. Lead singer Bob “The Bear” Hite was extroverted and a terrific 300lb showman. Wilson was just the opposite. He was very intelligent, awkward, suffered from depression, and was not a prototypical rock star. He was a great guitar and harp player.

Alan Wilson and Bob Hite, 1970. : r/blues

Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite

The song peaked at #16 in the Billboard 100, #8 in the UK and #8 in Canada in 1968. This song was on Canned Heat’s album “Boogie with Canned Heat.”Alan Wilson played a tamboura on this song to get the droning effect. Wilson’s falsetto was in the style of Skip James. The song was written by Alan Wilson and Floyd Jones.

Alan Wilson died on September 3, 1970. No one knows if it was a suicide or an accidental overdose of Seconal… Later in 1981 Bob “The Bear” Hite would also die of an overdose in 1981.

The band is still touring. They have drummer Adolfo de la Parra who has been with them since the sixties as the only long term member.

On The Road Again

Well, I’m so tired of crying
But I’m out on the road again
I’m on the road again
Well, I’m so tired of crying
But I’m out on the road again
I’m on the road again
I ain’t got no woman
Just to call my special friend

You know the first time I traveled
Out in the rain and snow
In the rain and snow
You know the first time I traveled
Out in the rain and snow
In the rain and snow
I didn’t have no payroll
Not even no place to go

And my dear mother left me
When I was quite young
When I was quite young
And my dear mother left me
When I was quite young
When I was quite young
She said “Lord, have mercy
On my wicked son”

Take a hint from me, mama
Please don’t you cry no more
Don’t you cry no more
Take a hint from me, mama
Please don’t you cry no more
Don’t you cry no more
‘Cause it’s soon one morning
Down the road I’m going

But I ain’t going down
That long old lonesome road
All by myself
But I ain’t going down
That long old lonesome road
All by myself
I can’t carry you, baby
Gonna carry somebody else

Elmore James – Dust My Broom

I first heard about Elmore James from a Rolling Stones book…Brian Jones was a huge fan of the blues artist. The song also helped bring Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, and Brian Jones together to form the Stones.

On November 23, 1936, Robert Johnson was in San Antonio Texas for his debut recordings. The first song he did was “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” in two versions, his second song was “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” and his third was “Sweet Home Chicago.” Johnson is usually credited with writing all three songs. Elements of this song can be traced back to several other blues songs. In 1934 Kokomo Arnold was in the studio in Chicago. He recorded Sagefield Woman Blues at a session, which contains maybe the first mention of the phrase “Dust My Broom” in the lyrics.

Elmore recorded and released his version in 1951. On the single, the song was credited to Elmo James. The song peaked at #9 in the R&B Charts in 1952. Elmore James’s version is probably the most popular version of the song. James’ “Dust My Broom” was inducted into the Blues Foundation Blues Hall of Fame in 1983… it was stated that it received more votes than any other record in the first year of balloting for singles.

Artists who have covered this song include Johnny Winter, Derek Trucks, ZZ Top, Ike and Tina Turner,  Robert Jr. Lockwood, John Littlejohn, Hound Dog Taylor, Homesick James and Frank Zappa.

Bill Wyman (bass player for the Rolling Stones): “The very first time Brian heard it, he played Elmore James’ ‘Dust My Broom.’ And Brain said the earth shattered and seemed to go off its axis, it was such an important moment in his life. He just went away and just tried to learn to play like Elmore James. And he sat in with the band, the Alexis Korner band, and played ‘Dust My Broom.’

By pure chance, that day Mick and Keith and a couple of their mates who’d been trying to put a band together in Dartford – unsuccessfully – went to see the Alexis Korner show as well, after reading about it in the music press. And they saw Brian Jones sitting onstage, this little white cat, sitting onstage and doing Elmore James, and it blew them away! So that was the Stones. Elmore James was a very, very important part, and if that hadn’t happened – that moment – maybe the Rolling Stones wouldn’t be here.”

Derek Trucks: “You can remember almost every Elmore James solo by heart because he was playing songs. Nothing’s wasted. Nothing’s throwaway. It doesn’t feel like somebody’s practicing in front of you, or running scales; these are melodies that are pouring out, and those are the players that I listen to. They move me.

Dust My Broom

I’m gettin’ up soon in the mornin’
I believe I’ll dust my broom
I’m gettin’ up soon in the mornin’
I believe I’ll dust my broom
Out with the best gal I’m lovin’
Now my friends can get in my room

I’m gonna write a letter, telephone every town I know
I’m gonna write a letter, telephone every town I know
If I don’t find her in Mississippi
She be in East Monroe I know

And I don’t want no woman
Want every downtown man she meets
No I don’t want no woman
Want every downtown man she meets
Man, she’s a no good doney
They shouldn’t allow her on the street, yeah

I believe, I believe my time ain’t long
I believe, I believe my time ain’t long
I ain’t gonna leave my baby
And break up my happy home

Don Williams – I Believe In You

We are going in a different direction today…some older country from 1980. Don’s voice is just so good…he doesn’t have an exaggerated southern drawl…it’s just quality.

My friend Matt (observationblogger) posted two songs (Amanda and I Recall A Gypsy Woman) by Don Williams and it reminded me of my memories of meeting Don Williams as a pre-teen and teenager. His popularity was much more international than I ever knew at the time. This song for instance was very popular in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. During that time I thought country music was only popular in the southern US.

I was around 10-12 and I played baseball at the city ballpark. I would go there after school and practice. There were days I would just hang around and talk to people. I saw this man mowing the grass that had this old cowboy hat on. After a little while, he stopped and talked to me and asked me how I was doing. I knew the guy’s face and it came to me… I was talking to Don Williams. The reason I knew him was because of my mom’s country albums. I wasn’t into country music but some songs I did like.

I would see him off and on throughout my teenage years and he always was as nice as can be. I went to school and played baseball with his son. Don would mow the city park and the high school field. I’m not sure if he was bored or just wanted to help the community…he was a super guy either way.

This song was released as the first single and title track from Don Williams’ I Believe in You album, this became his 11th #1 on the Country chart. It also peaked at #1 in Canada on the Country Charts. It ended up being Don Williams’ only Top 40 song on the Billboard 100, the song peaked at #24 in the Billboard 100, #4 in New Zealand, and #20 in Australia.

All together Williams had 21 #1 singles on the Country Charts and a total of 25 studio albums and 62 singles.

Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend were admirers of Don Williams and both covered his songs. Eric Clapton would cover Tulsa Time and take it to #30 in the Billboard 100.

I Believe In You

I don’t believe in superstars
Organic food and foreign cars
I don’t believe the price of gold
The certainty of growing old
That right is right and left is wrong
That north and south can’t get along
That east is east and west is west
And being first is always best

But I believe in love
I believe in babies
I believe in mom and dad
And I believe in you

Well I don’t believe that heaven waits
For only those who congregate
I like to think of God as love
He’s down below, he’s up above
He’s watching people everywhere
He knows who does and doesn’t care
And I’m an ordinary man
Sometimes I wonder who I am

But I believe in love
I believe in music
I believe in magic
And I believe in you

I know with all my certainty
What’s going on with you and me
Is a good thing
It’s true, I believe in you

I don’t believe virginity
Is as common as it used to be
In working days and sleeping nights
That black is black and white is white
That Superman and Robin Hood
Are still alive in Hollywood
That gasoline’s in short supply
The rising cost of getting by

But I believe in love
I believe in old folks
I believe in children
I believe in you

I believe in love
I believe in babies
I believe in mom and dad
And I believe in you

Alarm – Sixty Eight Guns

I saw The Alarm open up for someone and I think it was Dylan in the late eighties. At that time I didn’t know who they were but I liked them right away. I kept up with them after that concert. This song stood out from all the ones they did.

When they first started out…like most rock bands they were rebellious. “Sixty Eight Guns” was their battle cry, a call to arms against the establishment. This attitude was formed in their hometown of Rhyl, North Wales, where they grew up in bleak economic times and fought naysayers who saw no need for another rabble-rousing rock band.

The song was written by bass player Eddie Macdonald and lead singer Mike Peters. Many reviews at the time compared them to U2…also calling them U3 at times. The Alarm gained a huge audience by opening up for…guess who? They opened for U2 on a large 1983 tour. This song was released in 1983 and peaked a #39 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks and #17 in the UK.

In 1991 The Alarm was doing a concert and lead singer Mike Peters suddenly said “We’ve shared some great moments in time over the last ten years and tonight I would like to thank all the people who have supported me from the beginning to the end. Tonight this is my last moment with the Alarm, I’m going out in a Blaze of Glory – my hands are held up high”…… It would have been nice if he would have shared this little bit of info with his bandmates before the concert!

They did regroup occasionally and they have switched up members but have continued to release albums in the 21st century under the name The Alarm MM++.

Mike Peters: “It was about young people at that difficult age where you’re too cool for school, but not wise enough or eligible enough for adult life, So, it’s about people like that – like I was, once. We hung around on street corners, we started bands, we bought clothes, we identified with each other, and we credit these very bonded groups of individuals. And that’s how the Alarm grew.”

“It was a gang that made The Alarm special, ‘Sixty Eight Guns’ is really the description of the feeling that you could make change for yourself and make your life a better place to be in.”

Sixty Eight Guns

And now they’re trying to take my life away 
Forever young I cannot stay
Hey
On every corner I can see them there
They don’t know my name they don’t know my kind
They’re after you with their promises
(Promises of love)
They’re after you to sign your life away
(Yeah, yeaoh)

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
Oh, the Sixty-eight

Living in the backstreets 
That’s our home from home
The painted walls were all we’ve ever known 
?he Guns Forever’ that’s our battle cry
It is the flag that we fly so high 
For every day they’ll try and drag us down
(Drag us down and down)
I cry with anger I have done no crime
No
(Yeah, yeaoh)

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
The Sixty-eight

Up on the terrace I can hear the crowd roar 
Sixty Eight Guns
And in the subway I can hear them whisper 
Sixty Eight Guns
Through all the raging glory of the years 
We never once thought of the fears 
For what we’d do when the battle cry was over . 
Nothing lasts forever is all they seem to tell you when you’re young 

(I, I do swear
To unbreak the promise
To unbreak the vow

Unbreak it)

When you’re young
Have no illusion, no disillusion

Unbreak the promise
Unbreak the vow
Uphold the promise

SIXTY EIGHT GUNS

Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns will never die
Sixty-eight Guns our battle cry
Sixty-eight Guns
Sixty-eight Guns
The sixty eight guns
Sixty eight guns
The sixty eight guns

Fabulous Thunderbirds – Wrap It Up / Tuff Enuff

I couldn’t pick between these two songs from The Fabulous Thunderbirds so I thought we would have two songs today. I love the riff that kicks off Wrap It Up. It was a minor hit for The Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1986. The band featured Jimmy Vaughan on guitar who was the older brother of Stevie Ray Vaughan. This band helped a blues revival in the 1980’s that included Robert Cray and SRV.

I must admit when I heard these songs for the first time I liked them a lot. I thought the band would have more hits.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds didn’t just hit out of nowhere. They formed in 1974 with original members Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson (singer), Keith Ferguson, and Mike Buck. Austin vocalist Lou Ann Barton also performed occasionally with the group during its early years.

These two songs were on their 5th album Tuff Enuff, produced by Dave Edmunds. The album peaked at #13 on the Billboard Album charts, and eventually went platinum. It was their breakout album and one they could not duplicate.

Tuff Enuff and Wrap It Up received heavy airplay on MTV. That was the secret of success in the 1980s…if you have MTV pushing… you would probably be alright.

Tuff Enuff peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100 in 1986 and Wrap It Up peaked at #55 in the Billboard 100.

They are still touring today with Kim Wilson (lead singer) the only original member left. Jimmie left the band in 1990 to work with his brother. Stevie and Jimmie made an album together that was released in 1990 called Family Style. It was released on September 25, 1990, and Stevie died a month before on August  27, 1990.

Art Honoring Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Vaughan Planned for Dallas –  Billboard

Stevie Ray Vaughan talks about his older brother Jimmie:

“Jimmie would leave his guitars around the house and tell me not to touch ’em. And that’s basically how I got started. I actually wanted to be a drummer, but I didn’t have any drums. So I just go into what was available to me at the time.”

“I was little brother, especially then” 

“What happened was he was moving ahead a little faster than me and I guess I was dragging it down a bit, so that didn’t work out too well. But I think with any brothers there’s a period of time when the little brother always gets in the way. That’s just brother-to-brother shit. It wasn’t anything between us that lasted. Hell, now we can’t see enough of each other.”

After being told that Jimmie brags on him in interviews Stevie said…”Well, I think he’s the better guitar player – so there.”

Eric Clapton just announced a tour with Jimmie Vaughan later this summer in the US.

Wrap It Up

I’ve been watchin’ you for days now baby
I just love your sexy ways now baby
You know our love will never stop now baby
Just put your lovin’ in my box now baby

Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it

Well no more will I shop around now baby
I know I got the best thing in town now baby
I’ve seen all I want to see now baby
Bring your lovin’ straight to me now baby

Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it

Well I’m gonna treat you like the queen you are
Bring you sweet things from my candy jar
You’ve got tricks you ain’t never used
Give it, give it to me, it won’t be abused

I’ve been watchin’ you for days now baby
I just love your sexy ways now baby
You know our love will never stop now baby
Just put your lovin’ in my box now baby

Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it

Wrap wrap
Wrap wrap
Wrap

Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it

Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it
Wrap it up I’ll take it

Ramones – Judy Is A Punk

The Ramones played the most basic form of rock but it never gets old. I’ve heard them described as punk, bubblegum, rock, hard rock, punk/pop/rock, and everything in between. They were greatly underappreciated in their time.

This song was released in 1976 on the Ramones’ debut album. In that year you had disco and slick pop going on everywhere…on the other hand, you had the Ramones. They bucked the trend of radio at the time. They developed a reputation in 1975 for playing rapid sets in and around New York City, often blasting through about 12 songs in 25 minutes. By the time they recorded this, they had honed their songs during many performances and included it on the album.

I first heard this album in the early 80s…and I liked the simplicity of their sound. There was a reason for that. The Ramones had a very sparse budget at the time… The entire album cost just $6,400 to make.

They were no-frills and to the point. No long solos or instrumental breaks. Just 2-minute blasts full of energy.

Like many Ramones songs…it is not your typical song story. This song tells a very vague story of two adventurous girls… Jackie and Judy. We know that Jackie is a punk and Judy is a runt, and they’ve decided to join the SLA – the Symbionese Liberation Army. The SLA was a fringe political group that was in the news for kidnaping the heiress Patty Hearst in 1974.

Lead singer Joey Ramone wrote the song and we think it was purely fictional.

The Ramones recorded a sequel song… “The Return Of Jackie And Judy” on their 1980 album End Of The Century.

Sequel Version

Judy Is A Punk

Jackie is a punk
Judy is a runt
They both went down to Berlin, joined the Ice Capades
And oh, I don’t know why
Oh, I don’t know why
Perhaps they’ll die

Jackie is a punk
Judy is a runt
They both went down to Frisco, joined the SLA
And oh, I don’t know why
Oh, I don’t know why
Perhaps they’ll die

Bobby “Blue” Bland – Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

When I listened to this for the first time, my first thought was… Damn this is good! When I read music books about artists…one artist will talk about another and they will talk about another. It’s like a river with all the twists and turns and you never know who you will hear about next.

If you listen to this song grab some headphones and listen to his wonderfully smooth-rough voice. Also, keep an ear out for the fuzz guitar doing runs in the background. When you hear someone like Gregg Allman say that Bobby “Blue” Bland is one of his singing idols…you know something great is there waiting to be heard. This I have heard before and was impressed even without Mr. Allman’s recommendation.

“Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” was written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh, a pair of journeymen songwriters who wrote different kinds of music like The Grass Roots’ 1970 hit “Temptation Eyes.”

Bobby was the first to record this song and it was released on his 1974 album Dreamer. The song peaked at #9 in the R&B Charts and #91 in the Billboard 100.

Bland began his career in Memphis, Tennessee, with bluesman B.B. King and ballad singer Johnny Ace (all three were part of a loose aggregation of musicians known as the Beale Streeters). He had some hits in the 50s and early 60s but had some financial troubles in 1968 and had to break up his band.

His record company was then sold to ABC Dunhill and he started up his career again and continued to chart til the 1980s. Of all bands…Whitesnake covered this song in 1978 and it charted in the UK in 1980.

Boz Scaggs: “I made a point of getting to know him over the years, not that I knew him well. But he came down to the studio when we were making the Memphis record a couple of times. He sat in the control room and listened to the playback of some of the songs, and he was treating me very fatherly, where he’d say ‘Here’s where you’re going to go here,’ and he was singing to me as the track was playing back. Then we got a chance to talk.

“It was like a lot of that part of his life, his music, was intact, and he was very vivid about that, vivid in talking about his early influences, it was all there. He was obviously frail, and it was hard for him to get around, but when he settled down, he loved talking about his life and his craft.”

Gregg Allman: “We were doing “Turn On Your Love Light,” because we had heard Bobby “Blue” Bland do it, and, man, you talk about an original talent—there will be, and can be, only one Bobby “Blue” Bland.”

Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, and it’s sure ’nuff a pity
Ain’t no love, ’cause you ain’t around

When you were mine
Oh, I was feeling so good
‘Cause your love lit up this old neighborhood
And now that you’re gone
You know the sun don’t shine
From the city hall to the county line
That’s why I said

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, and it sure is a pity
Ain’t no love, ’cause you ain’t around

Every place that I go
Oh, it seems so strange
Without you there
Things have changed
The night time calls
There’s a blanket of gloom
Another teardrop falls
In my lonely room

I said ain’t no love
In the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, ain’t any pity
Ain’t no love ’cause you ain’t around

And now that you’re gone
Oh, the sun don’t shine
From the city hall to the county line, I said

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of town
Ain’t no love, it sure is a pity
Ain’t no love ’cause you ain’t around
‘Cause you ain’t around

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in this great big old town
Ain’t no love, and ain’t it a pity
Ain’t no love ’cause you ain’t around

Ain’t no love in the heart of the city
Ain’t no love in the heart of this town

Tremeloes – Here Comes My Baby

This is a fun mid-sixties pop song by The Tremeloes. I like the live party atmosphere they created. Here Comes My Baby was written in 1966 by Cat Stevens. It was almost released as Steven’s first single, but “I Love My Dog” was thought to be stronger.

After “I Love My Dog’s” success, “Here Comes My Baby” was shelved for several months. The Tremeloes picked it up and it became their breakthrough hit in America and their first hit in the UK since their lead singer Brian Poole left them. The song’s success helped establish Cat Stevens as a songwriter and he included it on his first album Matthew And Son.

The Tremeloes had been a backup band for Brian Poole and when they split in 1966 after 8 UK hits, they looked to be another backing band set for junk pile. They bought in Len “Chip” Hawkes as their bassist and lead singer and their career took off.

Some trivia about the Tremeloes. Decca was looking to sign a guitar group in 1962 and the Tremeloes (at the time known as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes) and The Beatles auditioned… Decca picked The Tremeloes over The Beatles mostly because they were closer, based in London…while The Beatles were far away in Liverpool (Whoops!). That decision would haunt Dick Rowe (Decca Executive) for the rest of his life…He did end up signing The Rolling Stones though after a suggestion by George Harrison.

The song peaked at #13 in the Billboard 100, #4 in the UK Charts, and #7 in Canada in 1967.

This is one of those songs that I never get tired of and it always makes me feel good.  They did have some success after this song…Silence is Golden #13, Even the Bad Times Are Good #37, and several successful singles in the UK.

Cat Stevens version

Here Comes My Baby

In the midnight moonlight hour
I’ll be walking a long and lonely mile,
And every time I do,
I keep seeing this picture of youHere comes my baby, here she comes now,
And-a it becomes as no surprise to me
with another guy,Well, here comes my baby, here she comes now,
Walking with a love,
With a love that’s oh so fine
Never to be mine, no matter how I try,

You’ll never walk alone,
and you’re forever talking on the phone
I try to call you names,
but every time it comes out the same

Here comes my baby; here she comes now,
And-a it becomes as no surprise to me
with another guy,

Here comes my baby; here she comes now,
And-a it becomes as no surprise to me
with another guy

Here comes my baby.

Wilson Pickett – Hey Jude

It’s rare that I post a cover of a Beatles song but this one is worth it. This song was a groundbreaker in the world of R&B and Soul because of the song selection and Duane Allman. This is a great performance of a great song. For me, it’s up there with Joe Cockers With A Little Help from My Friends as one of the best Beatle cover versions.

Duane Allman was working at Muscle Shoals playing on records in 1968. He played on some Clarence Carter records and then in walked Wilson Pickett. The problem was they had no song for Pickett to sing at the booked sessions. Duane Allman brought up Hey Jude to cover in front of Pickett and Rick Hall the producer.

Wilson Pickett and Rick Hall said no they didn’t want to cover the song. Hall and Pickett had objections that the song was currently moving up the charts and  the length of the song made getting it played on the radio almost impossible if you were not the Beatles,

Rick Hall told Allman that it didn’t make sense…the Beatles were the biggest band in the world and their version was clearly going to number 1. He told Allman it would be crazy to do it. Allman shook his head and said no it wouldn’t be crazy. Yes, he said the Beatles are the biggest band in the world and yes it will hit number 1 but that is the reason we should do it. He said just think of the attention we will get having a black artist cover this new Beatle song. Hall thought about it and soon agreed with Allman.

Rick Hall: ‘Their single’s gonna be number one. I mean, this is the biggest group in the world! And Duane said, ‘That’s exactly why we should do it — because [the Beatles single] will be Number one and they’re so big. The fact that we would cut the song with a black artist will get so much attention, it’ll be an automatic smash.’ That made all the sense in the world to me. So I said, ‘Well, okay. Let’s do it.’”

Pickett was not as easy to persuade.  Allman was firm but gentle with Pickett and finally, Wilson relented and he recorded it. It turned out to be an R&B classic. The head-turner was when Pickett started to scream and in came this electric slide guitar of Allman. At that point, you didn’t hear much electric slide on records outside of the blues. After this record, R&B and soul producers started to bring in more rock guitars to compliment what they had.

This record changed Allman’s career in ways he couldn’t have known. One of Duane’s guitar heroes heard this version and called Atlantic records (Wilson’s record label) and asked who is that guitar player? I want to know now. That guitar player who asked was Eric Clapton.

Later when Clapton was recording the Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs album his producer Tom Dowd asked him if he would mind if Duane Allman dropped by and watch him play. Clapton turned and confirmed that Allman was the guitar player on Pickett’s Hey Jude and when Dowd said yes…Clapton said yes tell him to come by because I want to see HIM play. Allman would end up playing and contributing to most of the Layla album.

The song peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100 and #13 in the R&B Charts in 1969. The rhythm guitar player in Muscle Shoals Jimmy Johnson later credited Allman’s performance on Wilson Pickett’s album Hey Jude as the beginning of Southern Rock. This was recorded a few months before the Allman Brothers formed.

Eric Clapton: “I remember hearing ‘Hey Jude’ by Wilson Pickett and calling either Ahmet Ertegun or Tom Dowd and saying, ‘Who’s that guitar player? To this day, I’ve never heard better rock guitar playing on an R&B record. It’s the best.”

Wilson Pickett: “He stood right in front of me, as though he was playing every note I was singing, and he was watching me as I sang, and as I screamed, he was screaming with his guitar.”

As a Beatle fan…the ironic thing about this song is that George and Paul got into a big disagreement with the Beatle version. George wanted to add guitar fills in between lines to echo them…that is what Duane Allman did in this version.

Hey Jude

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.

Hey Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin,
Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain,
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

Hey Jude, don’t let me down
You have found her, now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart,
Then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you, hey Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin,
Then you’ll begin to make it
Better better better better better better, (make it Jude) ooh

Na na na nananana, nananana, hey Jude (Repeat)

Yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Ju- Jude-y Jude-y Jude-y Jude-y Jude-y oow-wow

Elvis Presley – Good Rockin Tonight

When I think of Elvis …I admire him on one hand and on the other I pity him for how he ended up. When the big E was coming out of the Memphis radios on Sun Records…there was not anyone around that could touch him as a live rock and roll performer. Then came Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis became a huge star but with a steep cost.

Roy Brown first wrote and released this song in 1947. Elvis covered it and released it in 1954. His release was his second Sun Record release and the B side was a song called “I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine.” I wish Elvis could have stayed on Sun a little longer. Soon he would be gone to RCA. Great records but he had a sound on Sun that he never got back. His band was Scotty Moore on lead guitar and Bill Black on the double bass. The song didn’t chart many places but it did peak at #10 in Sweden.

His first single for Sun was “That’s Alright Mama.” On June 7, 1954, WHBQ Radio in Memphis became the first station to play this song when their disc jockey Dewey Phillips aired it on his Red, Hot and Blue show the day after Elvis recorded it. It soon built up regionally after that.

A Sun Records Tribute Assembles Old Timers of Rock & Roll - Frank Beacham's  Journal

On November 20, 1955, Elvis signed with RCA and after that, his records were everywhere. RCA could give him distribution all over the world but I wish they would have kept recording the Sun Studios with Sam Phillips. Mr. Phillips owned Sun Studios since 1952 and he would have a star-studded roster of Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and more.

He was also an early investor in the Holiday Inn chain of hotels and an advocate for racial equality, helping to break down racial barriers in the music industry.

The B Side I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine

Good Rockin Tonight

Well, I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight
Well, I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight
I’m gonna hold my baby as tight as I can
Tonight she’ll know I’m a mighty, mighty man
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

I said, meet me and a-hurry behind the barn
Don’t you be afraid ’cause I’ll do you no harm
I want you to bring along my rockin’ shoes
‘Cause tonight I’m gonna rock away all our blues
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

Well, we’re gonna rock
We’re gonna rock
Let’s rock
Come on and rock
We’re gonna rock all our blues away

Have you heard the news, everybody’s rockin’ tonight
Have you heard the news, everybody’s rockin’ tonight
I’m gonna hold my baby as tight as I can
Well, tonight she’ll know I’m a mighty, mighty man
I heard the news, there’s good rockin’ tonight

Well, we’re gonna rock, rock, rock, rock
Come on and rock, rock, rock, rock
Let’s rock, rock, rock, rock
Well, let’s rock, rock, rock, rock
We’re gonna rock all our blues away

Cowboy – Please Be With Me

Beautiful melody and touching lyrics…this song is a lost gem. It would later be covered by Eric Clapton but I favor the 1971 original by Cowboy. If you don’t know this one…give the Cowboy version a listen.

Cowboy was a Southern folk-rock band formed in 1969 in Jacksonville, Florida, by singer-songwriters Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton.  The band also featured pianist Bill Pillmore, bassist George Clark, guitarist Pete Kowalke, and drummer Tom Wynn.

Please Be With Me was one of the last songs Duane Allman recorded before his tragic motorbike accident on October 29, 1971.  He played the dobro and it made the song. This song appears on 5’ll Getcha 10, the second record by Cowboy, a band that had landed a contract thanks to their friendship with Duane.

Please Be With Me — Cowboy | Last.fm

The band opened up for the Allmans on their 1970-1971 national tour. The album came out in October 1971. They would go on to release four albums in the early seventies.

Galadrielle Allman, daughter of Duane Allman, used this song title for her book title instead of one of many Allman Brothers songs. It’s a very good book.

Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman - Allman, Galadrielle

Butch Trucks (Drummer for ABB): ‘A few weeks after Duane died, when I still hadn’t really let loose or accepted it, I put on Please Be With Me and the dam burst and I started crying and crying, just racked with grief. I was sitting there listening to the song over and over and crying. To this day I can’t hear it without getting choked up.’

Scott Boyer:“I was sitting in this motel room all by myself and just for busy work I grabbed a pad and pencil and started writing freeform. Whatever popped into my head. About 10 minutes later and I had like 10 verses and three choruses, but nothing rhymed and nothing made any sense. It was just right out of my head and onto the paper. And I started connecting things. Put the third line from the third verse with the fourth line in the eight verse. Not necessarily because they made sense but because they rhymed. And I put together like three verses and a chorus and I put the pad down and I rolled over and went to sleep. And Duane (Allman) came into town the next day and said, ‘I want to play on this record with ya’ll but I want to play something brand new.’ We started tossing things around. And I said, ‘Well I wrote this thing last night. There’s nothing much to it.” And I played the song for Duane and (producer) Johnny Sandlin was also in the room and when I finished it they both went, ‘Wow, you wrote that last night, man? That’s beautiful.’ It is? [Laughs.] But that’s how the song got recorded because Duane wanted to play something brand new and I had this thing I had tossed off the night before. And I loved what Duane played on it. That dobro he played on it just comes to life when that thing comes on, man.”

Gregg Allman: The group Cowboy was on Capricorn, and we played their album 5’ll Getcha Ten quite a bit at the Big House. Scott Boyer had been in the 31st of February with Butch, and Cowboy had a sort of southern-folk sound to them. 

Please Be With Me

Upon my word what does it mean?
Is it love or is it me
That makes me change so suddenly
From looking out to feeling free?

I sit here lying in my bed
Wondering what it was I said
That made me think I lost my head
When I knew I lost my heart instead

So won’t you please read my signs
Be a gypsy
Tell me what I hope to find deep within me
And because you can find my mind
Please be with me

Of all the better things I’ve heard
Loving you has made the words
And all the rest seem so absurd
‘Cause in the end it all comes out I’m sure

So won’t you please read my signs
Be a gypsy
Tell me what I hope to find deep within me
And because you can find my mind
Please be with me