Let’s give some overdue respect to a band of 4 great players who knew how to rock. Here’s a guitar-driven update on an old blues classic, from one of the best live albums of the ’70’s. As a bonus, we take a side trip to explore the origins of a familiar guitar riff.

“Honey Hush” (Lou Willie Turner) Copyright 1963 Unichappell Music Inc

— This show is one of the many great podcasts on the Pantheon Podcasts network. Collect ’em all!

What’s the difference between a “riff” and a “lick”? Between “reverb” and “slapback echo”? We try not to get too technical on this podcast, but occasionally some listeners will get stumped by some of the terminology. So for our 75th episode, I thought I’d explain some of the terms we use on this show– and why it’s necessary to have this “language” to begin with. (Because there’s no sheet music notation for “fuzz tone”.)

— This show is one of many great music-related podcasts on the Pantheon network. You should check them out! And remember to subscribe to this show, so you never miss an episode.

When Matthew Sweet, Shawn Mullins & Pete Droge (aka The Thorns) recorded “No Blue Sky” almost in 2002, they had no idea that the skies over the Western US would be thick with smoke, or that a global pandemic would isolate us in our homes. “It ain’t right, it feels like forever…” pretty much sums up the year 2020. I’m fascinated in how songs can find new relevance years later. Let’s listen to this gorgeous song and watch the sun go down together.

“No Blue Sky” (S. Mullins, P. Droge, M. Altman, G. Phillips) Copyright 2003

— This show is one of many podcasts on the Pantheon podcast network — THE place for music geeks, nerds, junkies & diehards. Or just fans!

To say Rush has a devoted fan base would be an understatement. I know, because I was a card-carrying member of the “Rush Backstage Fan Club” back in the ’80’s. Perhaps no Rush song connected so directly with their fans as “Subdivisions”. On this episode, we celebrate Neil Peart with a deeper look at this fan favorite.

“Subdivisions” (Music by Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson, Words by Neil Peart) Copyright 1982 Core Music Publishing

Michael Carpenter is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer & engineer from Australia who, in a better world, would be a lot more famous. A master of hooks & harmony, he’s one of the best modern power pop artists out there. Here’s a track that’s a personal favorite of mine. Check it out & then go buy some of his music. 

“Kailee Anne” (Michael Carpenter) Copyright 2000 Michael Carpenter; Copyright 2000 Not Lame Recording Company

There’s no shortage of great songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, but “Gimme Shelter” may be the song that tops them all. Dark and foreboding as only the Stones can do, this track has all the hallmarks of the Rolling Stones at their best: iconic guitar riffs by Keef, Jagger at the top of his game, and the Watts/Wyman rhythm section doing what they do best (plus Nicky Hopkins on piano).  But what pushes this one from merely brilliant into sublime is the vocal performance by Merry Clayton– for my money, one of the greatest moments on record. All together, this one belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Rock. 

“Gimme Shelter” (Mick Jagger & Keith Richards) Copyright 1969 ABKCO Music Inc.

“Rain” was the first glimpse of The Beatles exploration of psychedelia. Perhaps more than any other Beatles track, this song highlights the rhythm section with brilliant performances by Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. Add Lennon’s lyrics and great vocals, and you’ve got one of the best songs to come out of the trippy, mind-expanding ’60’s. On this episode, we take a closer look at the individual performances and studio trickery– backwards, forwards, sped up & slowed down– that went into this classic track. 

“Rain” (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) Copyright 1966 Northern Songs

If you know Richard Lloyd at all, it’s either as a member of Television (the first band to play CBGB’s) or as the guitarist on many of Matthew Sweet’s best tracks.  But Richard released some great solo work in between those gigs, including an album called Field Of Fire.  Overlooked & forgotten, this is one of the best records of the 1980’s (in my opinion, of course).  The title song features some of his best ever guitar work.

On this episode, we’re listening to a great rockin’ track called “Backtrack” that’s as close to “classic rock” as Richard Lloyd will ever get– and I mean that in the best possible way.  Keith Richards would be proud of this guitar riff.

“Backtrack” (Richard Lloyd) Copyright 1985 Richard Lloyd (ASCAP) Anapestic Music/Basement Music LTD. (PRS)

70 years ago this month (June 2019), George Orwell’s “1984” was first published.  So let’s give George an ol’ Rock & Roll salute by looking at one of the many songs inspired by his book.  Sure, I could’ve done David Bowie’s “1984”, but that would be too easy.  I’m a big Utopia fan, so this is a good excuse to take a look at another one of their tracks.  It’s Utopia in dystopia!

For more 1984-inspired songs, check out Eurythmics “Ministry of Love”, Radiohead’s “2+2=5”, or “Standards” by The Jam, just to name a few.

“Winston Smith Takes It On The Jaw” (Utopia) Copyright 1983 Unearthly Music/Fiction Music (BMI) Terrestrial Music/Fourth Floor Music (ASCAP)

On this episode, we revisit the Destroyer album and take a look at the song “King Of The Night Time World” to see how it evolved from an obscure track by a short-lived LA band into a teenage anthem by larger-than-life rock legends.  We’ll listen to both versions and hear what changed & what remained.  Come live your secret dream!

“King Of The Nighttime World” (Kim Fowley/Mark Anthony/Paul Stanley/Bob Ezrin) Copyright 1976 Cafe Americana, Inc/Kiss Songs, Inc (ASCAP)/Bad Boy Music/Eighth Power Music/All By Myself Publishing Co Ltd. (BMI)