Song of the Week – The Things That I Used to Do, Guitar Slim

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

Guitar Slim cut a record for the Specialty label in 1953 that would play a significant role in the history of rock & roll – not only for the singular performance but also for the impact it would have on future artists.  The track was produced by a then 23-year-old Ray Charles!

Slim applied his trademark distortion on “The Things That I Used to Do,” an effect that influenced guitarist legends.  You can connect his sound to guitarists from bluesmen Buddy Guy and Albert Collins to iconoclast Frank Zappa.  Hendrix, Johnny Winter, and Stevie Ray Vaughn recorded versions of Slim’s standard as did Elvin Bishop, Ike & Tina Turner, and countless others.

This Hendrix recording was released on the 2018 album Both Sides of the Sky.  It was cut at a session that featured Winter joining Hendrix on a second guitar, Billy Cox on bass and Dallas Taylor (who was playing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at the time) on drums.

“The Things That I Used to Do” was voted as one of the 500 that shaped the rock genre by former Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator, James Henke.

Enjoy… until next week.

Song of the Week – Old Times Good Times, Stephen Stills

IGNORED OBSCURED RESTORED

Stephen Stills had a pretty good career going by the end of 1968. He’s already scored a hit with “For What It’s Worth” and several critically acclaimed albums with the Buffalo Springfield and recorded the Super Session with Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield.

But it wasn’t until he teamed up with David Crosby and Graham Nash that he really broke through to super stardom with the release of Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969 and Déjà vu with Neil Young joining in 1970.

By November of ’70, Stills was already trading on his brand with his first solo album, Stephen Stills. It’s a good, but not great album and contained another of his hits – the gospel infused “Love the One You’re With.” The album also holds the distinction of being the only album that both Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix play on (though not together).

Hendrix contributed to today’s SotW, “Old Times Good Times.”

The song’s lyrics trace from Stills’ youthful days in New Orleans through to his time in New York City and later California.

When I was young and needed my time alone
Jump in the pirogue, pole down the Bayou
Bogue Falaya river was dark and cold
Seven years old, I couldn’t find my way home

When I was twelve, I learned how to play the guitar
Got myself a job in a jax beer bar
Got myself together, went to New Orleans
Found myself workin’ for rice and beans
And it was good times

New York city was so damned cold
I had to get out of that town before I got old
California and rock and roll dream
Got too high and we blew our whole scene
But we had a good time

Old times, good times
Old times, good times

It’s a rocker that follows the template drawn up with songs such as the Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m a Man.” It’s a vehicle for an R&B jam session, albeit a very short one. It chugs along with Stills on organ and Hendrix on guitar trading riffs most of the way through.

I don’t know the exact date of recording session for this song, but the album was recorded in June/July 1970. Hendrix died a couple of months later on September 18th, 1970, making this one of his last sessions. (Stills dedicated the album to Hendrix on its back cover.) Too bad, I would have liked to hear them work together again, perhaps with both on guitar another time. Sadly that’s wasn’t to be. But at least we have “Old Times Good Times.”

Enjoy… until next week.