Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday Random 10: Fancy That

Time for 10 more random selections from my music stash, with accompanying trivia.

"Fancy That"/Ed Askew/Ed Askew. Askew made one album, in 1969 (re-released in 2005), on which he played something called the tiple, a 10-stringed instrument not quite a lute and not exactly a mandolin. "Fancy That" sounds like what you'd get if you locked David Bowie in a room with only a guitar and without food, then rolled tape after he'd been in there a couple of days.

"Skyman (for Duane)" and "Alabama"/Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters/Grateful Heart: Blues and Ballads.
"Skyman" is Earl's tribute to Duane Allman, a quiet and introspective tune. However, it would have been entirely appropriate for Earl to fly, because Allman got the nickname "Skyman" from Wilson Pickett, after Pickett had been dazzled by the screaming solo Allman played on Pickett's version of "Hey Jude." Which was recorded at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, "Alabama." (See, nothing is ever really random.)

"So Very Hard to Go"/Tower of Power/Sounds of the Seventies: Rock & Soul Seventies. When you hear people talking about romantic slow jams, this is what they mean. Gorgeous singalong soul, with a terrific trumpet solo.

"If You Want My Love"/Cheap Trick/One on One.
Hard to figure how this missed the Top 40 in the summer of 1982--except that maybe it was too much of a 60s throwback amidst the first rush of the MTV era.

"Landslide"/Fleetwood Mac/Fleetwood Mac. More evidence that while Rumours sold gazillions, Fleetwood Mac is the Mac's true masterpiece.

"Hoochie Coochie Man"/Eric Clapton/From the Cradle.
"Got a black cat bone/Got a mojo too/Got a John the Conqueroo/Gonna mess with you." As originally recorded by Muddy Waters, "Hoochie Coochie Man" is the source for nearly every note of electric blues that's followed it to date. Of course Clapton was going to record it.

"The Philosopher's Stone"/Van Morrison/Back on Top. The "philosopher's stone" is the mythical substance medieval alchemists hoped to find, which would turn lead into gold. Morrison used it to create one of the loveliest and most indispensable tracks of his long career.

"Sherry Darling"/Bruce Springsteen/The Agora Club, 1978 (bootleg).
The inestimable Jefito posted this entire boot back in January, a terrific document of the days when Springsteen's passionate intensity made people believe that rock and roll might be able to save the world.

"You Got My Letter"/Boz Scaggs/Some Change. This track opened 1994's Some Change, the first Boz album in six years at the time, with the announcement that Boz's 1980s soft-rock days were over, and bluesman Boz was back in town.

Recommended Reading: The Chicago Tribune's Mark Caro riffs on some of the best intros of all time. And the Rolling Stones get Krispie, circa 1964. (Turn your speakers down a little bit first, especially if you're at work.)


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