Music Labyrinth Episode 044
Slippery People / Talking Heads
Hello Listener, and welcome to episode 44 of The Music Labyrinth. Now, I am aware that the listener is prone to playing along with the introduction game, so for episode 44 I am determined not to make the obvious references to firearms or President Barack Obama. I will just quietly observe that 44 is a poker game which involves a mix of cards dealt face down to each player, only to be revealed during the course of the game. And that’s not a bad metaphor for what we do here at The Music Labyrinth, where the songs are face down to you, the listener, and the links taking us from one song to the next are progressively revealed by me. So, players, place your bets! As is our custom, we started our show this week where we ended last week, with what must be one of the coolest songs ever: Slippery People by Talking Heads. The lyric of that song mentions a wheel within a wheel, which is almost certainly a reference to the Book Of Ezekiel, ch 1:16, which speaks of a wheel in the middle of a wheel. The meaning of the verse has been the subject of a variety of theories which include (I am sure you will not be surprised to hear) UFOs. I’m not going to speculate on that any further, but it did make me consider other Old Testament references in contemporary music, and the first one which came to mind was the opening bars of Highway 61 Revisited when God said to Abraham kill me a son. So, lets have a listen to that song, but not the original version. This is Ben Sidran, with his cover of that Bob Dylan tune.
Highway 61 Revisited / Ben Sidran
From his 2009 album, Dylan Different, that was Ben Sidran with Highway 61 Revisited. Ben Sidran has a long pedigree in the music caper, which goes right back to the late 60s when he was a member of the Steve Miller Band. In 1968 he co-wrote and performed on this Steve Miller Band track. Pay particular attention to the backing vocals which I will tell you more about shortly. This is Celebration Song.
Celebration Song / Steve Miller Band
Congratulations, you have remained with The Music Labyrinth where we last listened to the Steve Miller Band from 1968 with Celebration Song. Backing vocals on that tracks, according to the album liner notes, were performed by Paul Ramon; which is a psuedonym for a slightly better known Paul, Paul McCartney. So, lets scoot forward 44 years in the lengthy career of “Paul Ramon”, to 2012 when he hooked up with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear to record this track. This is Cut Me Some Slack.
Cut Me Some Slack / Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear
From the 2012 album Sound City: Real To Reel, that was Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear with Cut Me Some Slack. The song comes from the soundtrack album of the documentary film directed by Dave Grohl about the sale and decommissioning of Sound City studios in Los Angeles in 2011. Many artists contributed to recording songs for the production of the film, including Jessy Greene, a singer and and cellist, who had been a member of The Jayhawks. Here she is in that capacity from 1997 with The Man Who Loved Life.
The Man Who Loved Life / The Jayhawks
That was The Jayhawks from their 1997 album Sound of Lies with The Man Who Loved Life. The Jayhawks have been around since the early 80s and the two constant members of the band across the years have been Gary Louris and Marc Perlman. In 1995 Louris and Perlman joined up with a bunch of other highly regarded musicians in the Minneapolis area to form the supergroup Golden Smog. Here they are with Glad and Sorry.
Glad and Sorry / Golden Smog
You are back with The Music Labyrinth where we last heard the Minneapolis supergroup Golden Smog with Glad And Sorry. Allegedly, Golden Smog was a nickname given to Fred in an episode of The Flintstones - but its certainly one that has not lived in the part of my brain that stores memories of The Flintstones. That song, Glad And Sorry was written by Ronnie Lane who is probably best remembered as a key member of this next band, and a co-writer of this next song.
Lazy Sunday / Small Faces
That was the Small Faces with Lazy Sunday, from their 1968 concept album Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. Shortly after the release of that album, guitarist, singer and songwriter, Steve Marriott, parted company with the band. The remainder of the Small Faces (Ronnie Lane, Ian McGlagan and Kenney Jones) then joined up with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood to form The Faces, and soon they were back at the top of the charts with this song.
Stay With Me / The Faces
That was The Faces from 1971 with Stay With Me. You will have recognised the vocals of Rod Stewart on that track. The other members of The Faces (at least, the early ‘70s version) were Ronnie Lane, Ronnie Wood, Ian McGlagan and Kenney Jones. In 1993, Rod Stewart performed an MTV unplugged special in which he reunited with Ronnie Wood and performed a number of old tunes, including the one we just heard. They also recorded a pretty awful cover of this classic.
Tom Traubert’s Blues / Tom Waits
Here at The Music Labyrinth we just spent that short break musing on the magnificent poetry of Tom Waits’ lyrics in Tom Traubert’s Blues. Bones Howe, the mixer, engineer and producer of that recording, who went on to become an executive in the music industry, has said that, whenever he speaks to songwriters who are struggling, he gives them a gift - and the gift is the lyric: “... a battered old suitcase to a hotel someplace, and a wound that will never heal”. Speaking of Bones Howe, in 1966 he was the recording engineer for this great tune of the era.
California Dreamin’ / The Mamas And The Papas
From their second album If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears, that was The Mamas And The Papas with California Dreamin’. In 1977 a film of the same name went into production, and this next band were commissioned to record a cover of the Mamas And The Papas tune for the final credits of that movie, however the movie was delayed in production and the band wandered off to do other things. From 5 years earlier, this is that band, America, with Ventura Highway.
Ventura Highway / America
Thanks very much for your company on this week’s episode of The Music Labyrinth. Please join us again when we are back next week with episode 45, which will commence with this next track. I wonder, as we all just listened to Ventura Highway by America, whether you picked up on the title of this next tune in the lyric? I promise you its there. Until next week, here is Purple Rain.
Purple Rain / Prince