Friday, September 30, 2011

Cream: Those Were The Days

Today’s flip comes from Cream’s best selling double LP “Wheels of Fire” and was the flip to the album’s popular single “White Room.” “Those were the Days” was co-written by drummer Ginger Baker who supplied lyrics to a composition by jazz pianist Mike Taylor. Taylor does not play on the recording. It should not be confused with the song of the same title that had been recorded by Mary Hopkin.

While Ginger lends his vocals to another collaboration with Taylor (“Pressed Rat and Warthog”), it is bassist Jack Bruce who sings the lead. Of course, Eric Clapton is on guitar. Baker provides the back beat as well as marimba and tubular bells. Producer Felix Pappalardi adds a nice touch with Swiss hand bells.

This is a great little tune. “Golden cymbals flying on ocarina sounds?” What it means, I don’t know as no ocarinas were harmed in the recording of this tune.


When the city of Atlantis stood serene above the sea,
Long time before our time when the world was free,
Those were the days.
Golden cymbals flying on ocarina sounds,
Before wild Medusa's serpents gave birth to hell
Disguised as heaven.
Those were the days, yes they were; those were the days.
Those were their ways, miracles everywhere, are they now?
They're gone.
Those were their ways, yes they were; those were their ways.
Those were the days, yes they were; those were the days.
Tie your painted shoes and dance, blue daylight in your hair,
Overhead a noiseless eagle fans a flame.
Wonder everywhere.
Those were the days, yes they were; those were the days.
Those were their ways, miracles everywhere, are they now?
They're gone.
Those were their ways, yes they were; those were their ways.
Those were the days, yes they were; those were the days.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Richard Marx: Right Here Waiting

I was stressing on what I was going to feature for this week’s TV Thursday selection when a promo came on TNT for the show Leverage. All of the cast members are singing their rendition of Richard Marx’s hit “Right Here Waiting.” This is a beautiful love ballad that touched the hearts of many people – the chart action in 1989 speaks for itself.

In the US, it went gold within six week of its release and within three months and 2 million sales later it was certified platinum. “Right Here Waiting” was also a number one single in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and in the US on both the Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary charts. It charted at #2 in the UK. I was doing mobile DJ work back in 1989 and bought this song as a 3 inch single - it may have been the first of a few of these I purchased. The song was written for and about Marx’s wife Cynthia Rhodes.

A Different Live Version

While Marx typically plays piano on this cut live, here is a recording of him playing acoustic guitar in Nashville for a PBS production of “Legends & Lyrics.”

Leverage Promo

I never noticed this before, but Richard Marx makes a cameo appearance at the end and gets decked by Timothy Hutton. It adds a subtle humorous touch.


Oceans apart day after day
And I slowly go insane
I hear your voice on the line
But it doesn't stop the pain

If I see you next to never
How can we say forever

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you

I took for granted, all the times
That I thought would last somehow
I hear the laughter, I taste the tears
But I can't get near you now

Oh, can't you see it baby
You've got me goin' crazy

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you

I wonder how we can survive
This romance
But in the end if I'm with you
I'll take the chance

Oh, can't you see it baby
You've got me goin' crazy

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Alive And Kicking: Tighter,Tighter

It’s One-Hit Wonder Wednesday and I am taking you back to 1970 with some friends of Tommy James – Alive and Kicking. The Shondells and Alive and Kicking became acquainted because both bands were label mates on Roulette Records. Tommy James originally had written “Crystal Blue Persuasion” for his friends, but decided that it was such a good song that he and the Shondells would record it instead. Thank goodness, as it would be hard to fathom someone else doing this tune.

The replacement, which soared to number 7 on the charts, was a Tommy James/Bob King composition entitled “Tighter,Tighter.” James also produced the recording. The stereo mix of the song has lead vocalists Pepe Cardona and Sandy Toder singing in different channels, but mixed into the middle by the time they sign together. There is a little glitch in the fading of Sandy Toder’s voice on the line “Tighter.”

One of things I find memorable about this cut is the guitar lead as the song is ending. It is truly classic 1970 one-hit wonder gold as the single was a million seller.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Band of Heathens: Let Your Heart Not Be Troubled

While tune on the surface seems like a gospel song, “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled” is not. The band’s name as The Band of Heathens is testimony of that. With that aside, it is a great recording by a band whose name was coined via a misprint in the local mistake. The heathen designation stuck. Today’s tune was recorded on the Music Fog Celebrity Coach in Nashville. The original studio version comes from the CD “One Foot in the Ether.”

The lead vocal is provided by Cordy Quist who, I believe, is playing a Gibson Southern Jumbo. Ed Jurdi, who strums a Gibson Hummingbird guitar, provides back-up vocals. Colin Brooks also provides backing vocals and sports an Epiphone MM 50F – a copy of the legendary Gibson F-5. Rounding out the quintet are Seth Whitney on bass and drummer John Chipman on percussion. It’s a nice tune from this Austin, Texas based band.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Episode 700 - Second Anniversary

It is a double anniversary today – my 700th post comes on the second anniversary of this blog which was started on September 26, 2009. I counted during the 600th post and discovered that if I hesitated to post on two days that these two anniversaries would coincide. I took one day off for a break and the second missed page was due to a power failure in July.

Monday is a day when just about anything could be featured and today it is fitting that we utilize the Little River Band’s “Happy Anniversary” from the LP “Diamantina Cocktail.” This was the first LRB LP that I owned and largely I purchased it on the strength of a single released in Australia, but not in the US – “Home on a Monday.” “Happy Anniversary” was not released as a single in their native land, but it was in the US where it charted at 16 in 1977.

“Happy Anniversary” was written by one of the band’s three guitarists: David Briggs. Glenn Shorrock handled the lead vocals on this as well as other songs by the band. “Happy Anniversary” was the second single release in the US from this LP – the first being “Help is on the Way,” which charted at #14.

RBTG’s 700th Post Retrospect

Like I had reported with the 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th, 500th, and 600th posts, I took a look backward on how we are doing visitor wise. I began this blog on September 26, 2009, but did not start monitoring the visits until October 16, 2009. Currently, we have 32 declared followers of the blog – up from 26 in June 2011. There are many others who have visited frequently without declaring themselves as followers. The statistics are listed below:

Unique Visitors34,382
Times Visited39,021
Number of Pages Viewed59,657
People Visiting 200+ Times887
People Visiting 101-200 Times365
People Visiting 51-100 Times264
People Visiting 26-50 Times185
Number of Visitor Countries Represented142
Percentage of Visitors Referred from Search Engines57.68%
Percentage of Visitors Referred from Other Sites32.34%
Percentage of Visitors via Direct Access9.98%

The Top Ten Charts

As one would find in music trade magazines, I have prepared some Top Ten Charts for "Reading between the Grooves."

The Top Ten Visitor Countries

Since the 600th post on June 17, 2011, the number of visitor countries increased from 133 to 142. The same countries made the Top 10 since the 200th anniversary.

Since picking up 9 new countries, we are still 3 away from having all of South America – we are missing the Guianas – French Guiana, Surinam, and Guyana. Central America is now complete. The biggest hole in the Americas remains the Caribbean. Two additional European countries, Jersey and Moldava, were added and we are still missing visitors from Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Montenegro, Sark, and Andorra.

No new areas were gained in Asia and the same states remain missing. These include the following: Brunei, North Korea, Yemen, Myanmar, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Timor-Leste. Some of these countries we may never reach.

Most of the gains this time around were in Africa – which remains an area that is lacking penetration.

1United States20,269
2United Kingdom3,131
9The Netherlands627

The Top Ten Pages via Direct Access

While most people (3,095) have visited the home page for “Reading Between the Grooves,” others enter distinct pages through page specific links and via search engine returns. One new page joined the list – Faces’ “Ooh La La.” The Art Reynolds Singers’ original version of “Jesus is Just Alright,” a new song to the list last time, moved from #9 to the fifth slot. This particular chart is slow moving as it is cumulative – newer features on this site will have to be really popular to catch up to the total direct accesses of these ten songs.

The Top Days by Total Visits

This chart represents the days that encountered the most visits and the content that was featured on those particular days. Only four were on the list at the 600th post and Mason Proffit’s “Eugene Pratt” also placed in the top 10 on the 500th post. The remaining six numbers were new.

The top two cuts are anomalies as they represent two days that had intensive viewing of the entire blog by two new visitors. These two individuals spent a great deal of time on the blog and looked at hundreds of pages during one single weekend.

RankDayDateAssociated ContentVisits
1SAT16 JUL 2011Nektar – Let it Grow625
2SUN17 JUL 2011Liberty ‘N Justice & Robert Fleischman – The Lord’s Prayer271
3SAT17 SEP 2011Emerson, Lake, & Palmer – Still . . . You Turn Me On223
4THU14 APR 2011Placebo Running Up That Hill205
5SUN27 MAR 2011Beach Boys: Our Prayer205
6SUN21 AUG 2011Lovell Sisters: One Day I Walk205
7SUN31 JUL 2011Dan Peek – Lonely People204
8SAT27 AUG 2011Split Enz – I Got You201
9SAT2 FEB 2011Mason Proffit: Eugene Pratt188
10SAT14 MAY 2011Novo Combo: Too Long Gone187

The Top Days by New Visitors

This chart represents the days that encountered the most visits by first time visitors and the content that was featured on those particular days. All but two of these songs are new to this chart and eight are not older than 100 posts.

RankDayDateAssociated ContentNew Visitors
1SUN31 JUL 2011Dan Peek: Lonely People 112
2SUN27 MAR 2011Beach Boys: Our Prayer108
3SAT6 AUG 2011Donovan: Riki Tiki Tavi 108
4THU9 JUN 2011Sonny Boy Williamson: Unseen Eye107
5MON5 SEP 2011Huey Lewis: Working for a Living107
5THU25 AUG 2011Queen: Crazy Little Thing Called Love 107
6THU1 SEP 2011A-ha: Take on Me106
7SAT27 AUG 2011Split Enz: I Got You106
8MON8 AUG 2011Justin Hayward & John Lodge: Blue Guitar106
9THU8 SEP 2011Simple Minds: Don’t You (Forget About Me)105
10FRI23 SEP 2011Grand Funk Railroad: Aimless Lady105

As always, I want to take this time to thank all of you for your support of this site and the encouragement to keep going forward. Thanks again for Reading between the Grooves.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Susan Tedeschi: Lord Protect My Child

Penned by Bob Dylan, “Lord Protect My Child” was originally intended for his “Infidels” LP; however, it was not released until 1991 when it appeared on the box set “The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3.” The song was one of 11 cuts from the 80s included in the set that spanned three decades.

This is a rather nice rendition from Susan Tedeschi’s 2005 release of “Hope and Desire.” The album was nominated for the Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2006, but did not win the Grammy.

The slide guitar is played by her guitarist husband Derek Trucks who is the front man for The Derek Trucks Band and a member of the Allman Brothers Band. His uncle, Butch Trucks, was a founding member of the band. The couple now perform together in their own ensemble – the Tedeschi Trucks Band.


For his age, he's wise
He's got his mother's eyes
There's gladness in his heart
He's young and he's wild
My only prayer is, if I can't be there,
Lord, protect my child

As his youth now unfolds
He is centuries old
Just to see him at play makes me smile
No matter what happens to me
No matter what my destiny
Lord, protect my child

While the world is asleep
You can look at it and weep
Few things you find are worthwhile
And though I don't ask for much
No material things to touch
Lord, protect my child

He's young and on fire
Full of hope and desire
In a world that's been raped, raped and defiled
If I fall along the way
And can't see another day
Lord, protect my child

There'll be a time I hear tell
When all will be well
When God and man will be reconciled
But until men lose their chains
And righteousness reigns
Lord, protect my child

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rory Gallagher: Cradle Rock

Well the official anniversary of this blog is on Monday, I started this blog on the fourth Saturday in September 2009. The song I chose that first day came from one of my favorite live albums – Rory Gallagher’s “Irish Tour ‘74.” I chose the cut “Million Miles Away.”

Today’s bubbling under track comes from the same album and features that same classic line-up: Rory Gallagher on guitar and vocal, Rod deArth on drums, Gerry McAvoy on bass, and Lou Martin on Keyboards. Today’s selection is the first cut on the album and it was my introduction to Rory Gallagher as it was my first album by this guitar legend.

Digitally Remastered Version

I am featuring several versions of the song. The first is a better audio quality cut of “Cradle Rock.”

Live Film Recording

Essentially the same cut as above only accompanied by Tony Palmer’s film of the performance. The audio is not as good as above, but it does show Rory in his finest form – live.

Studio Recording

Here’s the original version of “Cradle Rock” from Rory’s 1973 studio album “Tattoo.”

Long live Rory Gallagher.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Grand Funk Railroad: Aimless Lady

If you were one of the many who did not listen to the B side of your 45 rpm singles, shame on you as you often missed some good music. Today’s Friday flipside, “Aimless Lady,” comes from 1970 and was flip of Grand Funk Railroad’s hit “Closer to Home.” The song also appeared on the LP “Closer to Home.”

It is classic Grand Funk and features a searing guitar lead from front man Mark Farner. My copy of this single was pressed out of round so the song speeds up and slows due to the hole being drilled off center. It’s noticeable in Capitol Record’s target label style of the day. Since I bought my copy used at a flea market in 1971, I couldn’t take it back – nonetheless, I could still enjoy “Aimless Lady” off my copy of the LP.

If I remember correctly, I got several bad pressings of both LPs and singles from Capitol Records during this period. I’m not sure which pressing plant was responsible, as they had several including Los Angeles, CA; Scranton, PA; Jacksonville, IL; and Winchester, VA.

Some of the albums and singles I own from that era have bits of filler that bubbled up in the vinyl and cause surface noise. Being a mere teenager at the time, I didn’t know you could return a record to the store – so I am stuck with some of these. Ah, yes – youth is wasted on the young.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shiny Toy Guns: Burning For You

Used in a 2009 commercial for Lincoln MKS, I cannot believe that I hadn’t featured Shiny Toy Guns rendition of Blue Öyster Cult’s “Burning for You.” While I’ve always liked the original from 1981, I have a soft spot in my heart (some would say brain) for techno-pop. I guess it’s the old keyboard player in me.

Sisely Treasure

My favorite part of this tune is the vocoder. It just gives it a nice flavor. The dyed in the wool rockers will hate this version, but I am a little more open for different things than most. The vocals are by Sisely Treasure who fronted the band from 2008 to 2010. Treasure replaced the original vocalist, Carah Faye Charnow, who returned to the band and replaced Treasure in 2011.

The Original from BÖC

While this was not one of BÖC’s biggest charting songs, it remains one of my favorites. It sneaked into the Top 40 by peaking at 40 on the Hot 100. It did better on the Rock charts scoring the number one slot. My favorite line in the tune is “time to play B sides” or is it “time to play besides.” I think it is the former.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Timbuk 3: The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Today’s one hit wonder comes from 1986 and is near and dear to my heart as it was a song that I used to perform in my last two bands, The Game and Lyvyn Daylitz. I also performed it during my only two gigs with City Chicken. I sang lead and played harmonica on this tune.

One of the last times I performed this tune. May 1989 with City Chicken.

“The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades,” which is pretty grim by nature, was Timbuk 3’s only Top 40 hit. The songs message was an impending nuclear holocaust – and the resulting jobs to clear up the mess.

Timbuk 3 was only two people and a boom box – the two were former husband and wife Pat and Barbara K. MacDonald. The band and the marriage simultaneously ended in 1995. “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” peaked in 1986 at #19 on the Hot 100 and did slightly better at #14 on the Mainstream Rock chart.

AT&T is reported to have offered the MacDonalds $900K for rights to use the song in a commercial. The duo refused the offer; however, the song has been used in at least four motion pictures and scores of TV shows. The couple, however, probably was not hurting for finances with the synchronization rights to the films and the performance rights from TV and radio. Today, both former members are still performing; Barbara lives in the US and Pat resides in Spain.


I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades,
I gotta wear shades

I've got a job waiting for my graduation
Fifty thou a year -- buys a lot of beer
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

Well I'm heavenly blessed and worldly wise
I'm a peeping-tom techie with x-ray eyes
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Appalatin: Shady Grove-Gotita de Lluvia

This coming Monday, it will be a double anniversary for me and it perchance happens, by luck, that my 700th post falls on the second anniversary of “Reading Between the Grooves.” Every once and a while when I inch up towards an anniversary of this blog, I start considering that I cannot possibly continue to do this any longer. When that happens, someone usually writes or calls me explaining what value they have gotten from this simple tome.

This week, I've had two such emails – one was from an old musical friend from the 1970s who played in the Lightning Bar Band in Pittsburgh with the late Nick Brack, the late Rodd Willings, and my brother Chuck. King Richard, the harmonica player, dropped me a line yesterday.

I believe I only had the pleasure of playing with him once and that was at Mann’s Hotel in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania in 1978. I played my Wurlitzer electric piano at that gig; it was one that I will never forget. To get to this suburban hangout built in 1803 or thereabouts, I rode on the back of Nick Brack’s motorcycle through Pittsburgh until we made it to Mann’s. Nick took the curves hard and I think I lost a few years off my life.

I lost track of King Richard decades ago and he now makes his home in San Diego. His email explains how he found me.
“I read your history of Chuck Owston bio and was hoping to see Lightning Bar Band mentioned. I was bummed, but.......

Anyhow, this last July I came back to Pittsburgh and was determined to find Chuck (hadn’t seen him in 35 years).

I tracked him down on Carson St. at Club Café. My wife and I crept in and sat down in a booth in the back. I saw Chuck sitting in the front row and was stoked. I let him play a couple of tunes and then went over to him and surprised him!

We had a great chat reminiscing old times, and gigs in the Burgh. Ask him about it. I hope to see him again someday when I can get out of San Diego and fly back again.

BTW your web site is the bomb!! Check ours out sometime:

Richard’s blog deals with all types of music – much like this one and I encourage my visitors to check out his. I hope that I have more than made up for my glaring omission of this band in the aforementioned bio of Chuck. King Richard states that the experience was “one of the coolest things I have done in my life and on the bucket list.”

The other important email deals with my feature artist from last Tuesday: Appalatin and their tune “Canta mi Gente.” Yani Vozos, who plays lead guitar and mandolin and provides vocals for Appalatin, wrote the following:
“We read your blog today about our song Canta mi Gente. Thank you so much for your interest in the music!

We had a great time in West Virginia last weekend and can't wait to come back beautiful people and beautiful landscapes.

WV public radio is doing an extended piece about us this weekend, see here

I am sending you an MP3 version of Shady Grove so that you can listen. It features Fernando Moya from Ecuador on the charango (Andean lute/ukelele) with cajon for percussion and acoustic guitars. I would like to send you a hard copy of our CD as well, it really shows the breadth of musical styles that we cover and how we blend all of the flavors from the Andes to the Carribean to Appalachia.

Please send me your address and I will put one in the mail for you. Until then you can listen on our website,
I got permission from Yani to post “Shady Grove-Gotita de Lluvia.” It is a great little number. He mentions the charnago – an instrument I always wanted to try since I heard a band named Chacabuco feature the instrument in the 1980s. It has double course strings like a mandolin and a total range of a ukulele. The strings are nylon. Some charangos are made from the shells of dead armadillos. For those not familiar with the instrument, it was used by Simon and Garfunkel on “El Condor Pasa.”

Yani also mentions a great little percussion instrument named the cajon. This versatile drum can mimic a number of different types of drums and it takes up little space when packing up the equipment for the evening. I haven’t had an opportunity to try one out – maybe someday.

The first song by Appalatin that I had a pleasure to hear was their rendition of the tradition “Shady Grove,” which shares a kinship to the English folk song “Matty Groves.” I normally don't feature an artist more than once in a month, but Appalatin is worth it. I hope you think so too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Nick Oosterhuis: Lady, We Can . . .

Back in 1982, Dutch musician Nick Oosterhuis released an album, “We Gotta Stop Meeting Like This” and a maxi-single of the cut “Lady, We Can . . .” Instead of using his name, Oosterhuis released these recordings under the name of Chris Garner.

This taking of a pseudonym was done so that English speaking audiences would not overlook the recording due to difficulty that most Americans (and perhaps others) would have in pronouncing his surname.

This year Oosterhuis has taken the 12-inch mix and updated it. He has re-released it on the CD appropriately titled as “The Mysterious Disappearance of Mr. Garner.” The tune was written by Bernd Jost and Oosterhuis.

The instrumentation includes Nick Oosterhuis on vocals, guitars, and keyboards; Peter Weihe on guitars; Anselm Kluge on bass; and Dicky Tarrach on Drums. Nearly 30 years later, this classic recording is now available again to the public.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Allison Krauss: Down In The River To Pray

Today’s Spiritual Sunday selection is a traditional tune that found its way on the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack. Allison Krauss headlines on the tune “Down in the River to Pray” on this CD that won the Best Album of 2002 Grammy.

It sounds as though she has a cast of thousands singing with her on this very tastefully done a cappella recording.


As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the starry crown?
Good Lord show me the way!

O sisters let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O sisters let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the robe & crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O brothers let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
Come on brothers, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the starry crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O fathers let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O fathers let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the robe and crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O mothers let's go down
Come on down, don't you wanna go down?
Come on mothers, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studding about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the starry crown?
Good Lord show me the way

O sinners, let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O sinners, let's go down
Down in the river to pray

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good ol' way
And who shall wear the robe and crown?
Good Lord show me the way

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer: Still . . . You Turn Me On

It’s Bubbling Under Saturday and we step back to 1973 with an album cut by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s LP “Brain Salad Surgery.” Typically, every ELP album had a Greg Lake ballad and it usually was released as a single. Although “Still . . . You Turn Me On” was not issued as a 45, it did manage to get a fair amount of airplay on the album stations and some on the Top 40 side.

Several things stick out in my mind regarding this tune. First, it gives the audio experience of being recorded live in concert. Second, Greg Lake adds a wah-wah guitar as part of the accompaniment. Third, Keith Emerson adds a trio (at least) of keyboards that include a piano, synthesizer, and a harpsichord. Fourth, there appears to be a koto on this track – but, I can’t swear to it. Fifth, there is an interesting percussive sound which could have come from the guitar, keyboards, or even tunable percussion. I simply do not know.

The granddaddy of them all is the lyrical content of one line in particular: “Every day a little sadder; a little madder; someone get me a ladder.” It’s such a bizarre rhyme that I love it. You can’t blame Pete Sinfield on this one – it’s all Greg Lake. It is a great little ballad that showcases the softer side of ELP.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Peter and Gordon: Morning's Calling

Peter Asher and Gordon Waller were one of my favorite British Invasion groups. Their close ties to The Beatles gave them the opportunity to record some of their songs like “A World Without Love,” “Nobody I Know,” “I Don’t Want To See You Again,” and “Woman.” The latter was penned by Paul McCartney under the pseudonym of Bernard Webb.

“Morning’s Calling” is a real folkie ballad that could have been performed by The Byrds in their early days as the verse sounds similar to their early recordings – the chorus is more of a pop treatment than the verse. It was the flip of their last top-ten hit record, “Lady Godiva,” which placed on the Hot 100 at #6 – in fact it was their second highest charting single only to be eclipsed by the Lennon/McCartney authored “A World Without Love” two years earlier.

Peter & Gordon at the Raleigh County Armory - mid 1960s.
WWNR was the last station for which I worked.

 “Morning’s Calling” is completely different from the A-side, but it shows you the depth of the type of music that Peter and Gordon could perform.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ben Harper: Amen Omen

Today’s TV Thursday song comes from Liberty Mutual’s commercial series for “Doing the Right Thing.” Our feature is Ben Harper’s “Amen Omen” from his sixth CD “Diamonds on the Inside” from 2003. Apparently the song also appeared in the TV show “The Vampire Diaries” as well. What an interesting play on two similarly spelled words amen and omen.

Our feature version comes from a live performance in France.

Liberty Mutual Commercial

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Silkie: You've Got To Hide Your Love Away

During the height of the British Invasion and Bealtlemania, it didn’t hurt to have a little bit of support from the Fab Four. Just ask Peter and Gordon, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, The Fourmost, Cilla Black, and The Silkie. All were managed by Brian Epstein’s NEMS Enterprises and all recorded Lennon and McCartney compositions.

Having formed in 1964 at Hull University, The Silkie included Mike Ramsden (guitar and vocals), Sylvia Tatler (vocals), Kevin Cunningham (bass), and Ivor Aylesbury (guitar and vocals). After being signed to NEMS Enterprises, The Silkie recorded “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” in August 1965 with some help from three of the Fab Four. The song, characterized by Paul McCartney as John Lennon doing Dylan, was offered to The Silkie.

Having just been released as part of The Beatles’ “Help” soundtrack, this folk oriented tune was a perfect vehicle for The Silkie to launch to their professional career. John Lennon produced the single, Paul McCartney played guitar, and George Harrison provided the percussion. While it only charted at #28 in the UK, it peaked at #10 in the US. It was their only top 40 hit.

Live Version

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Appalatin: Canta Mi Gente

I believe that it was sometime last week I heard an interview and feature with the band Appalatin on West Virginia Public Radio. They described their music as a fusion between Appalachian and Latino styles and hence their unique name combines both elements of these two divergent musical approaches.

To illustrate how they do this, they played the traditional tune “Shady Grove” using the Andean equivalent to the mandolin – the charango. Unfortunately, this song was not available on YouTube. Most of what was available were live recordings of today’s feature song “Canta Mi Gente.”

While performed well, the audio on these tracks were not of a sufficient quality for me to feature. I was able to find the studio version of this tune and have included it here. While the Appalachian elements are virtually nonexistent, the use of Latin percussion is reminiscent of Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va.” That is probably where the comparisons stop.

Not having a physical copy of the CD, I can only guess to the nature of the instrumentation. I can hear guitar, bass, congas, timbales, guiro, and what I believe is an Andean flute. My assumption is based on the unique harmonic overtones of the instrument; however, the flautist uses techniques you would expect from someone playing a Boehm transverse flute – so I am not altogether certain.

I sure I am also missing some of the percussion in the song – although the guiro really adds. I have one – and having used it in a variety of settings, it makes a nice addition. Although not proficient in Spanish, Babelfish tells me that the title means “My People Sing.” While verse lyrics are in English, I can make out a few other Spanish words utilized in the bridge such as “quando” – when, mañana – tomorrow, “muchacha” – girl, and “amor” – love. Gee, I almost feel bilingual. Enjoy “Canta Mi Gente.”

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rapture Riders Mashup

If there is any cut that I’ve featured recently that fits the category of Mélange Monday, it is today’s feature – a mashup of Blondie’s “Rapture” and The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm.” Mark Vidler created the mix and it shows what can be done with two radically different tunes.

Jim Morrison’s vocal track over “Rapture’s” instrumentation creates a different flavor as the chord patterns are different – but it works. “Riders on the Storm” peaked at #14 in 1971, while its counterpart in this mashup was a number one single ten years later.

While I tend to find fault with the numerous mashups, this is one of the better contrived song versions out there.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dave Pettigrew: There Is Hope

Where were you when you heard about the events of ten years ago today? I was in my office of the John W. Eye Conference Center at Mountain State University. I had the only office on that particular floor – so it was a quiet environment most of the time. Shortly before 9:00 AM, my wife called me on that Tuesday morning and said a plane had just slammed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

She was convinced that it was a terrorist induced activity – I was not until she screamed that a second plane hit the other tower. My comment at that time was that it was “Bin Laden.” The rest of the morning was a blur as the news began reporting about the plane that hit the Pentagon and the fourth plane that crashed in Somerset County, PA.

Reports were coming in about the FAA ordering all planes to land immediately and that American airspace was closed to all traffic except military aircraft. Later that afternoon, my friend Dave Robbins (our corporate pilot) brought me a copy of the FAA notice closing US airspace – I still have this stashed away among some papers.

Some of our international students were being harassed by locals from the community, but thankfully this did not get out of hand.  Most of the classes were cancelled for the rest of the day as students and faculty could not cope with the routine during this tragedy.  I canceled my Tuesday night web design class as it was too much for me to process.

I remember that morning also getting an email from my 7th cousin Tim in England expressing his condolences about the events of the day and how the British have had to live in fear of terrorist attacks for years. It was an attack on American soil – the first of such a magnitude since the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. I remember in church that Sunday one of our leaders standing up stating that “we lost some of our freedom this week.”

The images of the burning towers and their eventual collapse are indelibly etched on the minds of Americans who were old enough to remember. Dave Pettigrew has recorded a tribute to 9-11 and he reminds us, that in a world that is as bleak as ours is, “There is Hope.” All proceeds from this release are channeled to Tuesday’s Children – a charity that benefits those who were directly impacted by the events of September 11, 2001 as well as those who suffered due to more recent terrorist events.

Let us never forget that “There is Hope.”


Ten years later I remember blue September skies
I remember how the city streets were so alive
Ten years later there are questions that still haunt my mind
Answers that are hard to find, places that remind me of you
In this life there are no guarantees

There’s a hope, there’s a faith, there is love for the whole human race
There’s a hope, we receive, that lets us hold on tight to all we believe
Hope never quits, hope never dies, hope is still alive

Ten years later you are still the shelter from the storm
You are still the rock that I have built this house upon
Ten years later even though the tears still fall,
God you’ve held me through it all, And I can still call on you
And you alone are the savior of us all

There’s a hope, there’s a faith, there is love for the whole human race
There’s a hope, we receive, that lets us hold on tight to all we believe
Hope never quits, hope never dies, hope is still alive

In our hearts there is a God, who will go to any length
And a holy cloud of witnesses who pray to give us strength
The author and perfecter gives us faith to overcome
And on our knees we pray the words, let your will be done

There’s a hope, there’s a faith, there is love for the whole human race
There’s a hope, we receive, that lets us hold on tight to all we believe
Hope never quits, hope never dies, hope is still alive

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Billy Idol: Rebel Yell

In looking for a bubbling under hit for this week, I stumbled on one of the more innovative artists of the 1980s: Billy Idol. I also realized that Idol and I were born only hours apart. That’s beside the point as the song “Rebel Yell” was one such hit only peaking on the Hot 100 at 46. It did much better on the Mainstream Rock chart peaking at 9.

The UK release fared worse by peaking only at 62. “Rebel Yell” saw its biggest chart action in the southern hemisphere where it placed at #7 in Australia and #3 in New Zealand. Although I remember playing this on the air, my greatest memory of this tune is playing it with the Second Story Band from Mullens, WV. Everyone in the band except me graduated from Mullens High School whose mascot was the Rebels. It was always a crowd favorite when we played in Mullens.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Three Dog Night: It Ain't Easy

In 1970, ABC-Dunhill Records issued Three Dog Night’s ninth single release, “One Man Band.” While the song would come from the band’s forthcoming LP “Naturally,” its flip was the title cut of their previous LP “It Ain’t Easy.” That particular LP was my first album by Three Dog Night and the first from my new subscription to the Capitol Records Club.

“It Ain’t Easy” was penned by singer/songwriter Ron Davies (the older brother of future country music sensation Gail Davies). Davies had released the tune twice – in 1970 and 1973. The song was issued on the only two albums he had recorded “Silent Song through this Land” and “U.F.O.”

Three Dog Night’s cover has a bluesy feel; however, the album, unfortunately, does not credit the harmonica player. It’s a little known great tune.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Simple Minds: Don't You (Forget About Me)

I think that most anyone from my generation will identify Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” with the Brat Pack and the 1985 movie “The Breakfast Club” – you know, that movie that stared Martin Sheen’s other son. As for my 15 year old daughter who heard it on the radio this last weekend, she recognized it as the music for the TV promo for “Psych’s” 2011 season. Hence, it’s my TV Thursday song.

This song written by Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff for “The Breakfast Club” was first offered to The Fixx – who refused to record it – then to Brian Ferry who also said no – and to Billy Idol who turned the down the songwriters, but would later cover it in 2001.

The next right of refusal was extended to Simple Minds who initially passed on the song as well, but later rethought their position and recorded it during a three hour session. It turned out being a good move for the band as the song charted on the UK charts for two solid years.

It also was a number one record in the US, The Netherlands, and Canada. It was a top five hit in Italy, Belgium, Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, as well as #2 on the European Top 100 charts. It placed #1 on two different US charts – the Hot 100 and the Top Rock Tracks.

Even though the song was the biggest one of Simple Minds’ career, it was one they began to loathe. While it was on the movie soundtrack, it was omitted from the band’s 1985 LP “Once Upon A Time.” It finally showed up on Simple Mind’s 1992 compilation LP: “Glittering Prize 81/92.”

12 Inch Dance Mix

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tony Joe White: Polk Salad Annie

Wednesday’s one-hit wonder takes us back to the 1969 hit by Tony Joe White: “Polk Salad Annie.” This song took nine months to chart within the top forty, and when it finally did, it peaked at #8 on Billboard’s Hot 100. It was his fifth single release on Monument Records and was a cut from White’s debut LP: “Black and White.”

We may have missed hearing this song ever on the radio had it not been the popularity of White’s performances in the south. Record stores clamored for copies of the single, but none were available, so White intervened and had a thousand copies sent from Monument Records in Nashville.

When the singles arrived, they were marked “promotional copy – not for sale” and White and his band marked out the prohibition so the stores could legally sell the recordings. The record finally broke in Los Angeles and the rest is history.

The cut was recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals studio and was produced by Billy Swan who later had a hit on Monument Records in 1973 with “I Can Help.”  I imagine it's the famed Muscle Shoals Horns that accompanied White on this single.  White does a great job on some simple harmonica accompaniment. Listen for the wah-wah lead towards the end of the tune.

The song referenced a plant found in Louisiana and akin to turnip greens and spinach and locally called “polk salad.” In an interview, White mentioned that his family which included seven children had to subsist on “polk salad” on occasion.

While Tony Joe White contributed another major song to the world of rock with “Rainy Night in Georgia,” it would be Brook Benton who scored the hit with that tune. "Rainy Night in Georgia" was an example of a different flavor from the swap rock sound of “Polk Salad Annie.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jethro Tull: Requeim

Most people are familiar with the hits and the often played album cuts of Jethro Tull; however, there is a traditional side to this rock band of the 60s onward. Today’s traditional Tuesday cut is an Ian Anderson composition that has a traditional bent.

It features Anderson on guitar and flute and is an excellent example of the other side of this musician. His flute playing is more melodic rather than raucous as we have grown to expect.

“Requiem” was recorded in Monte Carlo for Jethro Tull’s 1975 release “Minstrel in the Gallery.” While it is not usually placed in the pantheon of Tull LPs, it did rather well when released. “Minstrel in the Gallery” peaked at #7 on Billboard’s Album Charts. A remastered version on CD with bonus tracks was released in 2002.


Well, I saw a bird today –
Flying from a bush and the
Wind blew it away.
And the black-eyed mother sun scorched the butterfly
At play – velvet veined.
I saw it burn.
With a wintry storm-blown sigh, a silver cloud blew
Right on by.
And, taking in the morning, I sang – O Requiem.
Well, my lady told me, “Stay.”
I looked aside and walked away along the Strand.
But I didn't say a word, as the
Train time-table blurred
Close behind the taxi stand.
Saw her face in the tear-drop black cab window.
Fading in the traffic; watched her go.
And taking in the morning, heard myself singing –
O Requiem.
Here I go again.
It's the same old story.
Well, I saw a bird today – I
Looked aside and walked
Away along the strand.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Huey Lewis And The News: Workin' For A Livin'

In the US, its Labor Day and a perfect song for a day like today is the Huey Lewis and the News single from 1982 – “Workin’ for a Livin.” Actually, this song could have qualified for the bubbling under category as it only peaked at #41 – just barely missing the top forty charts.

As an album cut, it did much better on the mainstream rock charts at #20. The song came from the band’s second LP: “Picture This.”

Country Version

In 2007, Huey Lewis teamed up with country music great Garth Brooks to record the tune as a duet. The song peaked on the country charts at #19. It also missed the Hot 100 by charting at 115.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Moya Brennan: Hear My Prayer

Formerly known by her birth name of Máire Brennan, the first lady of Celtic music and former lead singer and harpist of Clannad is now identified as Moya Brennan. As a committed Christian, Moya added “Hear My Prayer” to her seventh album – “Signature.”

It is a beautiful song that fuses traditional and electronic instrumentation to tell part of her story in song on this autobiographical album. The song was composed by Brennan, Sinéad Madden, and Fionán De Barra.


Hear my prayer
Bring me through the darkness, hear my heart
Draw me in
On this bright, new morning

Here I am, stay with me
Never too late to forgive
Here I am, set me free
Sing Hallelujah

Angels walk with me
Guide me to the water's edge
Wash away my doubts, my fears
Lord, strengthen me and bring me back to you

Change my heart
With a gentle touch you change my world
Hold me close
Fill my life with beauty

Hear my voice, stay with me
Bring cool water to my lips
Hear my prayer, set me free
Sing Hallelujah

Angels walk with me
Guide me to the water's edge
Wash away my doubts, my fears
Lord, strengthen me and bring me back to you

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Outlaws: Green Grass And High Tides

It’s Saturday and time now for a bubbling under hit. In 1975, the Southern rock band the Outlaws released their debut self-titled album. Although not released as a single, “Green Grass and High Tides” became an AOR staple. The song was such a favorite among fans that the band often closed their shows with this very popular early recording.

The song was a tribute to rock stars who passed away and its title was influenced by The Rolling Stones’ compilation “Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass).” The album cover featured the late Brian Jones at the forefront of the band.

The Outlaws are probably best known for the twin lead guitars of Hughie Thomasson’s Fender Stratocaster and Billy Jones’ Gibson Les Paul. On “Green Grass and High Tides,” Jones’ guitar leads are in the left channel while Thomasson’s can be heard in the right. This show stopper is 11 seconds shy of 10 minutes in length and remains on the Outlaws’ best known recordings. Although it is a studio recording, it has all the flavor of a live cut.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thin Lizzy: Jailbreak

For this Friday’s flipside, I am including a song from the late Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy – “Jailbreak.” Not only was this the title of their 1976 LP, it was the flip of their hit single “The Boys are Back in Town.”

While it was a flipside, it got enough airplay on album radio stations that it became their second best known song in the US.

The A-side, “The Boys are Back in Town,” charted at #12 in the US, at #8 in the UK and Canada, and it was a number 1 record in their native Ireland. While “Jailbreak” was an A-side on a separate single in the UK where it peaked at #31, it did not garner its own single release in the US.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A-ha: Take On Me

Recently, GEICO has been featuring a commercial that has a version of the A-ha hit from 1985 being played by Mr. Butters and his pet cockatoo. While the commercial is amusing it mimics one of the biggest hits of 1985, the rise to the number one slot by this Norwegian band was not easy.


The Original Version and Video

“Take On Me” started out as “The Juicy Fruit Song” and was recorded by the band Bridges – an early version of the band A-ha. When A-ha was formed, the song had evolved into a version named “Lesson One.” After deconstructing and reconstructing the tune, A-ha transformed the song into a recognizable version of what would become a hit as “Take on Me.”

In 1984, A-ha recorded the original version of “Take on Me” and filmed a video of the band in a mock concert setting. Although this rendition is somewhat different from the hit, their performance is as good – just different; however, the video was not outstanding enough to capture the attention of audiences. While the vocals are very similar to later version, the keyboard accompaniment is different and worth a listen. I personally like the ending on the 1984 non-hit recording better than the actual hit.

The Hit Version sans video

In 1985, A-ha returned to the studio to re-record “Take on Me” with production assistance from Alan Tarney. This version was released internationally; however, it did not capture the attention of audiences and, therefore, failed to chart.

The Hit Version with video

To support the single, the band cut a video that was unusual in that it married live action with rotoscoped images. The same version of the single was re-released; however, it was supported by this groundbreaking video. The addition of the video proved that the “third time’s a charm” for A-ha. The song peaked at #2 in the UK and was a #1 single in the US. A-ha was the first Norwegian artist to have an American #1 single.

In addition, the band captured six of the eight MTV awards for which they were nominated. They were also nominated for Best Video in 1986 by the American Music Awards; however, Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love” garnered the top slot.

12-inch Remix

As was done with many single releases in the ‘80s, A-ha remixed the single into a 12-inch dance record. The maxi-single peaked at #36 on the dance charts.

The GEICO commercial