I’m not much of a Clapton fan. As a matter of fact, anything he did in the past 25 years I likely don’t know.

But there’s a new Showtime doc on Clapton that you guys are bound to run into pretty soon. I stumbled into it and was interested enough to stick with it from about Cream through the middle of Clapton horndogging after George Harrison’s wife. Switched to the local news then, but I recorded it to watch the rest of what I want to later.

Anyway, Clapton went to see the Allmans. which led to the recording of Layla, of course. What struck me was a quote from Duane Allman saying something like, “I played the Gibson all the way through and he played the Fender all the way through.”

The movie then plays the Allman Layla guitar track naked and I never realized how much that gritty Gibson undertune contributes to the greatness of the song.

Forgive me if this is common knowledge to the Dave Marshers. I point it out because the Dave Marshers usually point out stuff like lyrics and jazz.

I’ve always been a Gibson man.

Wish I had the naked Allman track, but the best I can do is the whole song. Hopefully you can pick out the Gibson base guitar part (not bass guitar part). Watch the movie.

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, 1969

The subject applies to so many things these days, but of course the subject is the name of a song. A Rolling Stones’ song.

It is a Rolling Stones’ song from the days of Andrew Loog Oldham, Brian Jones, and Nanker Phelge, attributed to Jagger-Richards. Recorded in 1965, it was the Stones’ first No. 1 hit. Mick Jagger said the song is the one that made the Stones different than other bands. He’s surely right, at least up to a point a few years later.

So it isn’t amazing or anything that the Stones played this song at their 1969 shows at Madison Square Garden. These shows became the meat of Get Yer Ya Yas Out, one of the great live albums of all time.

But what I found tonight was the video of the Stones playing the song at the Garden during those Ya Yas shows, mostly because I was looking for Janis Joplin things and she was standing beside the stage that night.

The original is a riff-based song where the music totally propels the satirical lyrics.

This live version introduces Mick Taylor to the band, and the results are not surprisingly magical. What is old becomes new. This doesn’t diminish the brilliance of what Mick and Keith started, and Brian Jones arranged, but how awesome to add lovely guitar solos!

I hadn’t heard this before. If you have, please be patient. I’m not saying it’s the best version. But it is a fantastic version by a band operating at peak effect.

And Janis Joplin, how I got here, is standing in the crowd.

Roxy Music

We’ve talked about them but not enough. They’re every bit as good the Beatles and the Stones and the Dolls and Howlin Wolf. The truest mark of greatness is that it keeps revealing. As it happens I have a dead speaker, which means I only hear one channel. Listening to Roxy with only one channel is amazing. What a band, including every single bass player, and there’s a different great one on every album. I mean, check out the bass on this, not to mention everything else. I also believe that Ferry writes lyrics to match anyone’s, including this song if only because he’s “growing potatoes by the score.”


Classic Nuggets: Paul Revere & the Raiders, “Sometimes”

I am not sure why Sometimes of all songs from my past popped into my head the other day. I think someone asked me a question, and I answered “sometimes,” and poof, there you go.

But, I am glad because I remember loving the shit out of this song when I bought Paul Revere’s third album Here They Comethough it was never a hit or even released as a single. It was covered later by The Cramps and The Flamin’ Groovies, however.

The Raiders were certainly a hot band in 1963. I saw them twice in the early 60’s opening for the Beach Boys (whom I actually saw six times and was in attendance August 1, 1964 when Beach Boys Concert album was recorded) and with music and television growing, The Raiders became a house band on Dick Clark’s Where the Action Is, his follow-up to Bandstand aimed at the next generation of pop music kids.

But, talk about an advanced sounding song, recorded in 1965, Sometimes was produced by Terry Melcher. Melcher was a principal producer for Columbia Records at the time, and was the son of Doris Day. Melcher had a band–The Rip Chords–who had an early 60’s hit (Hey Little Cobra) and as part of Bruce and Terry (Here Comes Summer).

Bruce, was Bruce Johnson who eventually became a member of the Beach Boys, but Melcher also was tied to Charles Manson. Melcher rejected Manson’s audition tapes, clearly pissing Manson off. Melcher had owned the home where the Tate-LaBiancha murders took place, but (obviously) did not live there any longer when Manson’s minions did their dirty work.

Rumor has it that some of the recording of Here They Come was performed by The Wrecking Crew, but Drake Levin probably did play the guitar and his solo is pretty hot. Levin was a pioneer with guitar pyrotechnics, having been among the first to double-track a solo on Just Like Me.

To me, however, Sometimes sticks out as an actual substantive song as opposed to a lot of what turned into the car song pop dreck that highlighted pop music, along with surfing, before the Beatles and Brit Pop rescued us. Nothing represents this pre-genre better than Hey Little Cobra.

Compare that to Sometimes.

And, will try to write here more often. The re-launch of Creativesports, and work on my latest book have distracted me!

More Kevin Bacon

Good Old Boys made me think of Waylon Jennings and Waylon Jennings made me think of my favorite Waylon song, Honky Tonk Heroes written by Billy Joe Shaver.

If there’s a morality tale in this song I don’t know what it is and I don’t much care. I particularly like when it kicks in at about 1:30 and I like even better when it kicks out with the riff at 3:20.

It’s a testament to the musical world we live in that everybody has a Johnny Cash shirt, no one has a Waylon Jennings shirt and no one even knows who Billy Joe Shaver is. (No offense to Johnny Cash – it’s not his fault.)

Robbie Robertson Goes to Little Willie John, and then to Hell?

A few weeks back Peter noted some great stuff about Little Willie John on the site.

And, that kicked my brain cells back to Robbie Robertson’s eponymously named debut album which is a killer in my meager opinion.

Employing Peter Gabriel and U2 and the Bodeans among others to help with instruments and especially vocals, the album really goes all over the map musically, with each song a little stronger than the cut before.

This one, Somewhere Down the Crazy River is clearly the one that tripped the Little Willie John wires:

But, this song, Hell’s Half Acre is as driving and kickass a rocker as ever lived. I can actually leave it in a loop for five or six playings on my phone it is so good and visceral.

Here is hoping everyone out there has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Cooking with Little Willie John

I was making dinner tonight. Sauteed green beans and broccoli rabe with a creamy lime dressing, and some shrimps. For some reason I put on Little Willie John, who I see has been referenced on the site only once. His biggest hit, a John Cooley/Otis Blackwell tune called Fever, is no remnant. But I think we’ve been neglecting a great singer who sang great songs.

Mr. John, as the Times would say (no they wouldn’t), was a hit making machine for a while, and like many hit making abusers of alcohol, he died in jail.

His brother wrote this song.

This is a terrific song. This is the version I hear when I think of the song.

This is great.

So is this. This is the blues.

Charming interview with LWJ’s sons and biographer. A story of Detroit.