Tuesday, October 31, 2017

2017-10-31 (Sweet Leaf - Black Sabbath)

I have had Black Sabbath songs in the running, to write about, all month. Why Halloween? Why this song? I'll get to that in a minute. Black Sabbath are considered one of the original Heavy Metal bands. It is dark and it is heavy. They truly were pioneers. They had no reference point for Heavy Metal. They came on the scene the same year as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, who many consider the inventors of Heavy Metal. But, when you follow the path of the genre from this point on, through Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Metallica, Megadeth and even hair metal bands like Motley Crue and G&R, they all have much more in common with Sabbath. 

In my teen years, I was introduced to Metal through Metallica -- and I rejected it, mostly. I mean, I rocked out to "One" and I had to agree with Jeff Cayton that the lyrics were deep and poetic. I also remember a few hazy afternoons at Cayton's listening to these guys (Sabbath) and this song ("Straight people don't know what you're about. They put you down and shut you out"). But, I never got into it... until... you guessed it, Widespread Panic. Panic is not a Metal band, but they are fans of Metal and they certainly can play it. Over the years (especially early on), they have played a lot of Metal covers and I guess because of the darkness of it, they liked to bust them out at Halloween. During my 3 year Halloween streak with Panic (1994-1996), they pulled Sweet Leaf out a couple of times - among others (Dirty BusinessMaggot BrainCream Puff Warand Werewolves of London)

I know, it's a bit literal for poetry and basically cheesy from the start (cough, cough, cahacahacahcaha!!...). It's a love song, written to weed. But, then that guitar lick and Ozzy's voice - in command. Ozzy had (has) an ability to cut through the noise with screams of emotion, but also with clarity. And, the tempo change and solo starting around the 2:30 mark is the reason why. The reason why this song works. The reason why Panic played it at Halloween. 

Alright now
Won't you listen?
When I first met you, didn't realize
I can't forget you, for your surprise
You introduced me, to my mind
And left me wanting, you and your kind, oh yeah
I love you, oh you know it
My life was empty, forever on a down
Until you took me, showed me around
My life is free now, my life is clear
I love you sweet leaf, though you can't hear, oh yeah
Come on now, try it out
Straight people don't know, what you're about
They put you down and shut you out
You gave to me a new belief
And soon the world will love you sweet leaf, oh yeah baby
Come on now, oh yeah
Try me out baby, alright, oh yeah
I want you part of this sweet leaf, oh yeah
Alright, yeah, yeah, yeah, oh try me out
I love you sweet leaf, oh
Songwriters: Michael Butler / Ozzy Osbourne / Tony Iommi / William Ward  

Widespread Panic 10/31/94
Omni Orrington Grand Ballroom, Evanston, IL
1: Papa Legba > Fishwater > Hatfield, Makes Sense To Me > Me And The Devil Blues > Porch Song, Little Kin, Werewolves of London
2: Sweet Leaf > Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, Heroes, Space Wrangler > I Walk On Guilded Splinters > Maggot Brain > Blackout Blues, Coconut > Mr. Soul
E: Let's Get Down To Business, Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys
[First 'Let's Get Down To Business'; 'Maggot Brain' with spoken word introduction; 'Freebird' jam during 'Space Wrangler'; 'Linus and Lucy' by JoJo before 'Let's Get Down To Business'; From Good Homes opened]
Song Stats
SongLTP DateLTPL3TP#/10#/100#/Ever
LTP (Last Time Played):
L3TP (Last 3 Times Played):
Number of shows since song was last played.
Average of last 3 LTP for song.
Number of times played in last 10 shows.
Number of times played in last 100 shows.
Total number of times played.

Monday, October 30, 2017

2017-10-30 (Mountain Jam - The Allman Brothers Band)

"It's funny, but I've never, ever thought of us as a jam band. When we started out almost 20 years ago, the old, four-piece Panic literally scared the hippies away, and at this point, jam bands can kiss my ass. Most of 'em can't write a fuckin' song. I don't want to hear someone noodle aimlessly. If I want to hear a jam, I want to hear a master of their instrument playing theme and variation on a great melody. Why can you listen to 35 minutes of 'Mountain Jam?' Because it's a great melody. Why can Jerry Garcia interpret 'My Funny Valentine' for 20 minutes? Because it's a great melody. Without a great song, there is no great melody. Without a great melody, there is no jam." -- Dave Schools (bass player for Widespread Panic)

I was happy to find this quote online, although I heard him talking about this years ago on Sirrius-XM radio show that Stef Scamardo (Warren Haynes wife) had on the JamOn station. 

There Is a Mountain - Donovan (1968)

All of my favorite jams are just what Schools is talking about - variations on a great melody. I believe that's one of the things that gave the Grateful Dead so much jam material and makes them the ultimate "jam band". Jerry and Bob Hunter wrote great songs first, before they expanded them with jams. Plus, their choice of covers brought in tons more great melodies via Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, The Beatles... Often, at jam band shows cover songs and band classics are most popular for the crowd. It is much easier to recognize and relate to a great jam when the melody of the song is familiar and clear in your mind.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

2017-10-28 (Lookin' Out My Back Door - Credence Clearwater Revival)

I was disappointed to read that John Fogerty didn't write this song about an acid trip. Understandably, he used dreamy imagery to appeal to his then 3 yr old son. Does it matter what he meant? 

The first time I remember having some semblance of real independence in life was when my friends got their driver's licences. And, the summer after my sophomore year, it became incredibly easy for us to gather - here and there. I remember falling into a pretty sublime routine that summer. My Dad would leave for work around 1:00 and my Mom would get home around 4:15. I called that unsupervised time "Happy Hour" at our swimming pool. Many friends had a standing invitation, but the regulars were the Cecil twins, Jared Hayes, Nevin Goeble, with the occasional showing from the Becky/Alana/Michelle crew, Cliff Stewart or John Shearer. It would usually look like the Cecils showing up with 8-15 warm Budwisers. We would get them on ice, give them a spin and start cracking them open. The guys might have to help me finish up my chores -- suckering tomato plants or mowing the yard. Then, a dip in the pool and it was time to get out of there. Nevin ('s Dad) had a pontoon boat docked on the Kentucky River, down on 4-mile. If we had money to gas it up, we might take it out for an hour or two, and then onto whatever summer nights in Funchester might bring -- cruising "The Pig", a pool party at "Breakers", or heading out to the country to raise a little hell. 

The soundtrack of that summer was long and varied but probably due to Tom Cecil's influence, early Who and CCR "Chronicle" dominated the air waves during "Happy Hour". 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

2017-10-26 (Seneca - Tortoise)

Tortoise fills a gap for me. It is home base music, in the same way as Lambchop or Widespread Panic. I've never had to consider what other people think about them, critical acclaim, technical merits.... They are a band that hits the spot. What spot? Well, the best way for me to describe it - when life (or just my day) feels chaotic, when I feel overwhelmed by the million things and can't focus on what's in front of me, this music understands. They tend to ease into their compositions, building slowly then falling into an already full speed song. They use odd timings and uncommon instrumentation. That's where the "understanding" is -- it sort of matches the chaos. Then, they thread calm and wise melodies throughout. Six Pack is another great example from this album. 

One of my biggest musical regrets is missing them at the Orange Peel back during tax season (March 21st). They all have other projects, so the band doesn't tour a lot. They are definitely high on my bucket list.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

2017-10-23 (I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight - Richard and Linda Thompson)

I Want To See the Bright Lights Tonight - Richard and Linda Thompson (1974)

This is just one of those songs that seems perfect - the arrangement, the groove, the simplicity of the lyric and the emotion in her voice. I know almost nothing about these guys. They were part of an early 70's British folk movement, made some critically acclaimed albums together and split sometime in the 80's. 

I had a coworker at the record store who was a huge fan. Because of him, I listened to a fair amount, especially of Richard's stuff, but it never took. But, every time I hear this song (usually on WNCW), it gets my attention. For some reason, my first thought is always that it is Blondie. I'm not sure why. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

2017-10-23 (You're Still My Woman - B.B. King)

This is not the song I was thinking of at lunch today. This one comes from a great album. I was never a huge fan of B.B. and his Chicago blues sound. But, when this came over the PA system before a show (I forget which) at the Grey Eagle, I had to ask the sound man what it was. Another of my favorite tracks on this album is King's Special.  

Sunday, October 22, 2017

2017-10-22 (Who Built the Moon - Shinyribs)

A sort of contemporary gospel song. To me, as compelling of a tale as any other. I mean, why not? It explains what needs explaining. Why are we here, lonely, looking at the moon? 

From the same album as po peepl sto and kountry kul.