Music Labyrinth Episode 032
Resentment / Kesha (feat. Brian Wilson, Sturgill Simpson and Wrabel)
Hello, and welcome to episode 32 of The Music Labyrinth. For the majority of those episodes we have been finding (or fabricating, depending on your point of view) some link between each of the songs we play here. Now, next week, we will be departing slightly from our usual conventions. Next week’s episode will be a stand-alone episode in which I will play a number of cover versions of well-known songs and try to provide some justification for my assertion that they are superior to the original versions. I mention all that at the start of this episode because you have one week to inject your contributions into next week’s show, and the best way to do that is to hop over to Twitter and find and follow us by searching for @MusicLabyrinth. Or, if Twitter has de-activated your account because your messages were widespread and misunderstood, you can make a comment on the web page set up as an adjunct to this program, and you can find that by going to www.nonshedders.net and clicking the link to The Music Labyrinth. Right! Enough! On with episode 32. We commenced this week where we ended last week, and that was with Resentment by Kesha from her 2019 album High Road. As I mentioned last week, Brian Wilson made contributions to the recording of that track. Four years earlier, Brian Wilson had released his 10th solo album No Pier Pressure and, on it, he reunited with former Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks for this track.
The Right Time / Brian Wilson (feat. Al Jardine and David Marks)
From 2015 that was Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks with The Right Time. The fact that those three men were early members of the Beach Boys obliges us to turn now to the music of the Beach Boys. For mine, its hard to go past Good Vibrations as the greatest of their songs, but, gee, this one goes VERY close.
God Only Knows / The Beach Boys
Welcome back to The Music Labyrinth where we last listened to God Only Knows, from the Beach Boys album, Pet Sounds. That album set all sorts of benchmarks for the production of recorded music. The whole process involved an enormous number of contributors, and the complex project was designed and managed by Brian Wilson. On the track we just heard, the musician Jim Gordon is credited with playing plastic orange juice cups. Over and above his cup virtuosity, Jim Gordon was a highly talented session drummer who, in later years, experienced a violent psychotic episode and murdered his mother. However, prior to that tragic event, Jim Gordon had been the drummer with Derek and The Dominoes; and I want to propose that his greatest contribution to music was on neither the drums nor the plastic orange juice cups. Jim Gordon composed and played the beautiful piano coda on Layla which, I think, sets the song apart as a great rock music composition. Here it is.
Layla / Derek and The Dominoes
From the 1970 album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs, that was Derek and The Dominoes with Layla. Derek and The Dominoes was the very definition of a supergroup, featuring Eric Clapton who had rocketed to fame via The Yardbirds, The Bluesbreakers, Cream and Blind Faith. The band also included Bobby Whitlock, the Memphis soul musician who had played with Sam & Dave and Booker T & The MGs; Clapton’s long time bassist, Carl Radle; and, as I mentioned earlier, the well known session drummer Jim Gordon. The event that caused those well-known musicians to coalesce into a band was the recording of George Harrison’s solo album All Things Must Pass, to which they all contributed. From that album, here is the greatest, perhaps the only, anti-sectarian hymn.
My Sweet Lord / George Harrison
This is The Music Labyrinth and, just prior to those messages, that was George Harrison with My Sweet Lord from his solo triple album of 1970 All Things Must Pass. Twelve months later George Harrison was sued for plagiarism on the basis that the melody of My Sweet Lord was copied directly from our next song. Just before we go there, it is worth noting that the plagiarism suit got REALLY complicated when Harrison’s manager and legal adviser, Alan Klein, subsequently purchased the company which owned the rights to the next song - making Klein the plaintiff in the case in which he had represented the defendant. Then, to complicate things even further, Harrison purchased the company from Klein, making him - oh, I don’t know. Anyway, this is The Chiffons from 1963 with He’s So Fine.
He’s So Fine / The Chiffons
From 1963 that was the Chiffons with He’s So Fine, the song which George Harrison was accused of plagiarising for his hit, My Sweet Lord. George Harrison, it appears, was not one to relinquish having the last word. After the dust had settled on the plagiarism suit - which did not happen for a decade - Harrison wrote and recorded This Song (that is a title and also a description as we are about to play it) as a response to the whole affair. If you listen carefully to the lyrics you will probably pick up on several references to the matter, but he spells it out in the lyric This song ain't black or white and as far as I know, don't infringe on anyone's copyright, so this song, we'll let be. Here is This Song.
This Song / George Harrison
One of George Harrison’s long term musical collaborators, who featured on the song we just listened to, was the keyboard player Gary Wright. In 1975 he enjoyed a massive solo success with this next song, which, as a 13 year old music fan, I adored at the time, but which probably has not been impervious to the sands of time. Anyway, for the sake of nostalgia, here is Gary Wright with Dream Weaver.
Dream Weaver / Gary Wright
This is The Music Labyrinth where we have spent a fair bit of this episode locked in the 1970s, most recently in 1975 with Gary Wright and his hit Dream Weaver. I think we need an exit that teleports us to another era. Over the best part of the last three decades, Ringo Starr has taken a live act on the road which he has called the All Starr Band. There have been 14 incarnations of the All Starr Band, and Gary Wright was a member of incarnations 10 and 11. He was joined in incarnation 10 by Colin Hay, the former singer with Men At Work. Hay was a member of All Starr Bands 8, 10, 13 and 14. This gives me a perfect opportunity to play one of the great songs. This is Colin Hay’s wistful, quirky, self-reflective Waiting For My Real Life To Begin.
Waiting For My Real Life To Begin / Colin Hay
Colin Hay is a musician, singer, songwriter and actor. He combined all of those abilities for at least one appearance on camera, and several musical appearances in the TV series Scrubs. That series also showcased the music of the American singer, songwriter and musician Joseph Arthur. Here he is with In The Sun.
In The Sun / Joseph Arthur
From his album Come To Where I’m From, that is Joseph Arthur. Now, I played that because its a nice song, but also because it has allowed us to finish this week’s show with a soaring, beautiful piece of music which I am sure you will love. More on that in a moment. Don’t forget that next week we take a break from our usual progress through the Labyrinth and instead we will broadcast a cover versions episode which is sure to create controversy. Don’t miss it. Tell your friends. Have your input via Twitter or via our webpage. As ever, thanks for listening to The Music Labyrinth. To end this week’s show, we turn to a project which was 18 years in the making. In the early 90s, multiple artists gathered at Peter Gabriel’s New World Studios near Bath in England, and recorded a whole bunch of music. In 2008 that project was released under the title Big Blue Ball. From it is this glorious song which I cannot speak highly enough of. This track features Joseph Arthur, Roman Browne, Deep Forest, James McNally, Iarla O Lionaird and Vernon Reid; and it is called Altus Silva.
Altus Silva / Big Blue Ball