Old Curiosity Shop
By Bob Davis dnry122@yahoo.com

Bobby Boy’s Old Curiosity Shop for September 2017

 Roaming in the Record Racks for More All-Time Favorites, and looking to the future.

Back in 2016 I did a list with notes about some of my favorite recordings from 1929 to 1958.  A few months ago, we did 1958 to the early 70s.  About two years ago, I joined a Facebook group devoted to recorded music of the 1970s, and they usually allow anything from 1965 to 1985.  Sometimes I’ll invoke seniority and post something from the early 60s or even the 50s, but what they call the “core years” is a Mother Lode of songs that are fun and/or though provoking.

We’ll start out by back tracking (so to speak) to the early 1970s and a couple of songs I left out of Part 2:

Superstar by the Carpenters.  About two years ago I was shopping for shoes at the Big 5 store in East Pasadena.  A haunting song came over the PA system that I remembered from the 70s, but had forgotten the title and the artist.  An inquiry on the “I listen to 70s music, and love it!” group on Facebook soon brought forth the answer.  Just recently, I did a bit of trivia hunting and found that this was a cover—the song was written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell, and originally recorded by Delaney & Bonnie and Friend for the Atco label.  This segues right into our next number:

Only You Know and I Know by Delaney & Bonnie.  One of my favorite songs from the early 70s; I was reminded of it when Jenn Gibbons, as “Funkyjenn and the Fringe Benefits” covered it at a CD release event at The Mint in Los Angeles.  Then, a few months later, at a gig in the Olde Town Pub in Pasadena, she and the band not only played it at my request, they dedicated it to my wife Pat and me.

I Love Makin’ Love to You by Evie Sands.  Is it hot in here or is it just Evie’s song?  One of Evie’s chart records from the mid 70s, she has sung this on occasion with Adam Marsland’s Chaos Band.  We could pair this up with another sultry number, While I Look at You from her Women in Prison CD.

Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac.  “Mac” started out in the 1960s as a “blues revivival band; one of the members was Jeremy Spencer, who could just about “channel” the slide guitar and vocals of Elmore James.  After a few years of upheaval, they became a more pop/rock oriented band and added two women to the ensemble.  They cracked the Top Ten with this song in 1977, and their Rumours album was a best-seller for years.  The song has been a popular cover on Adam Marsland’s Chaos Band Seventies Sessions, and AMCB drummer Kurt Medlin aces the drum part.

Two More Bottles of Wine/I’m Movin’ On by Emmylou Harris.  Many years ago my wife and I went to a theatrical presentation in an old building on Sepulveda Ave.  A line from Two More Bottles of Wine came to mind, “sweepin’ out a warehouse in West LA”.  There are live performance videos of this on YouTube, and they remind us that Emmylou can captivate an audience without dressing like a Hollywood Blvd. “pavement princess”.  I’m Movin’ On was originally written and recorded by Hank Snow, but Emmylou and her Hot Band do a masterful cover.  The line about the “big eight wheeler movin’ down the track” was written back when steam locomotives were still common, but it’s still accurate, because nearly all Amtrak diesels have eight wheels.  Trivia note: Emmylou shares a birthday with Dr. Demento, the late Marvin Gaye and Bobby Boy.

We Belong to the Night by Ellen Foley.  This recording never made the charts, but I post the video of it on the “70s Music” Facebook group.  It’s a powerful performance, with Ms Foley just pouring her heart out to a backing that Phil Spector would be proud of.

We Belong by Pat Benatar.  One evening back in 1984, I was on my way to work for the 10 PM to 6 AM shift when this song came on the radio.  It blew me away, to the point that I stopped at the long-vanished Licorice Pizza record store in Hastings Ranch (East Pasadena) and bought a copy.  Belonging is very important to many of us.

Fly Like a Bird by Boz Scaggs.  Here’s another song that’s connected to the place where I first heard it.  Long after it was released in the 1980s, it was in the mix on the sound system at the Panda Express in Monrovia, where I often stopped for lunch when out in the company truck dealing with telecomm troubles in the early 2000s.  It has a very Louisiana vibe, with a swingin’ accordion part, but I didn’t know the title and had to consult with my son-in-law who fills some of the gaps in my musical knowledge.

I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.  One of few records from the early 80s that I bought when it first came out—it made me a card-carrying Joan Jett fan up into the 1990s.  Back in 1992 I took my future wife to a Joan Jett concert in downtown LA on Feb 14.  She wore a shirt with the various forms of “love” in Latin (she IS a Harvard graduate) and I wore a JJ Fan Club issued T-shirt.  Pat noticed all the dedicated fans wearing black leather, and commented “I’ve never seen so many dead cows….”  One young fellow asked me where I got my shirt, and I told him, “You have to be in the Joan Jett Fan Club,” which left him quite impressed.

What’s New by Linda Ronstadt with the Nelson Riddle Orch.  Some artists and groups tend to stay with the musical style that put them into the Top 40 or better yet the Top Ten. I’d have to check with a Beach Boys expert to be sure, but I’ve heard that as the 1960 rolled along, Brian Wilson wanted to broaden the band’s musical horizons, while other members of the group wanted to stay with the “sun, surf and hot rod” songs that had made them internationally famous.  In 1982, Linda Ronstadt left her country-flavored rock behind and teamed up with esteemed conductor-arranger Nelson Riddle to record songs that she had heard on her parents’ radio as a child.  She made a total of three albums, and did a series of live shows with a full orchestra.  I took my daughter Vicky to one of these shows at the Los Angeles Greek Theatre.  It was a splendid performance, but we were annoyed by some chatty people in the row behind us.  I tried to just focus on the stage, but Vicky turned around and said, with just the right amount of firmness and asperity, “WE came to hear the music!”  They got the message and observed silence until the intermission.  It should come as no surprise that not many years later, Vicky graduated from Law School and now has a day job as a staff attorney.

Good Music by Joan Jett.  This number won the “Bobby” award for 1986, and in some ways, it’s Joan Jett’s magnum opus.  It came in two versions, the shorter one probably designed for airplay and jukeboxes, and the longer album version.  Not only does Joan sing her heart out, she has backing from about 60% of the Beach Boys and the soulful voice of Darlene Love.

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2.  Although it went to #1 on the Billboard charts in 1987, I didn’t really get into this one until the 2000s.  It’s a song that we can relate to on a number of levels, and right near the end, there’s a guitar lick that just nails it to the wall.

Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman.  I think I first heard this one on the radio at work.  That wicked guitar work sold me the first time I heard it.  And just a few weeks ago, it was playing on the PA system at our nearest CVS drugstore—and one of the clerks was singing along!

Release Me by Wilson Phillips.  Talk about the apples not falling too far from the tree: We have Brian and Marilyn Wilson’s daughters and the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of the Mama and the Papas teaming up to make a #1 record in 1990.  Gorgeous harmonies, solid backing making a wonderful song.

I Just Wanta Have Fun by Sheryl Crow.  Some songs in this set I can tell almost exactly where I was when I heard it first.  I was driving south on I-91 in Oct. 1994, going from the Connecticut Trolley Museum (which I had never been to before) to what is now Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven CT.  It was rather strange to hear about Santa Monica Blvd (which is part of Historic Route 66) about as far away from Hollywood as on can get and still be in the US.  I few days later, I was in Boston, and bought a copy of Ms. Crow’s Tuesday Night Music Club at the Strawberries record shop in North Station.

Hand in Pocket by Alanis Morisette.  About a year later, I heard this one on the radio, noting that at one point some of  the words were “obscured” or “scrambled”.  So I bought the Jagged Little Pill CD and found the reason for the “bleeping”.  Another hit song from the CD, You Oughta Know, has even stronger language.  Maybe it’s a good thing that few if any record shops have listening booths anymore.  The band backing Hand in Pocket reminded me of Don Bowman’s Hello DJ novelty record of the 70s.

San Onofre Meltdown by the Surf-Liners.  I’ve never surfed at San Onofre, heck I don’t even swim.  But according to legend the “Trestles” area between San Clemente and the power plant is a primo surfin’ spot.  But the now inactive nuclear generating station is where I did some work for Southern Calif. Edison, and it’s the inspiration for the title of this surf instrumental, featuring John Moore, Jr. on the guitar and my daughter Vicky on the electric bass.  If I were announcing it on the radio, I’d say “Brought to you by San Onofre Surf Wax, the nuclear grade wax that puts a glow on your board!”  Meltdown is on the Surf-Liners Where’s the Surf CD, and I also have one of their home-made cassette tapes which I used to play when I had a car with a tape deck.  I was driving up US 101 west of Ventura one morning and it was chilly and foggy.  I stuck a Surf-Liners tape in the slot, their music started and in just a few miles, the fog lifted and it was bright and sunny on the coast.  This music has powerful mojo!

The Surf-Liners, with their matching Mosrite axes

I Ain’t Done Yet by Evie Sands.  Anyone who has been following this column for more than a few months knows that I’m a member of what local music expert Jonny Whiteside dubbed “The international cult of Sands worshippers”.   Back in November 2000, Pat (my wife) was reading the San Gabriel Valley section of the LA Times.  She asked me, “Ever hear of a singer named Evie Sands?” I answered, “Yes, she did the original I Can’t Let Go.  It’s on one of my Rhino Girl Group compilation CDs.  Why do you ask?” “She’s going to be at the Borders bookstore in Pasadena tonight.”  I didn’t have anything else planned, and I had wanted to see what Borders was like.  Most of you know the rest of the story—she started the show with this song and Cool Blues Story, and I became a fan right there.

Evie Sands, in her Guitar Goddess mode, accompanying Adam Marsland at Brennan’s Pub in Marina Del Rey back in 2012.

Old Trails by Adam Marsland/Cockeyed Ghost.  When he wants to take a break from the music business, Adam Marsland likes to explore the desert areas of the southwest and look for traces of old roads, especially predecessors of Route 66.  Parts of the Mother Road were sections of the National Old Trails Highway, and the stretch from Victorville to Needles is still called National Trails Highway (at least the parts that haven’t been covered by I-40).  The power line that fed the various settlements between Oro Grande and Barstow was the Old Trails 33 kV line.  When you’re a songwriter, just about anything can inspire a composition, and Adam even mentions an obscure abandoned bridge in Arizona that only the more intrepid highway historians have crossed in the last 50 or more years.

Here’s Adam with his 12-string guitar, singing The Big Bear.  That’s Evie Sands on the left, Teresa Cowles on the far right, and Bobby Boy sitting in on the keyboard (holding down two notes).  Out of the photo in the back is Kurt Medlin on drums.

I’m Here for the Party by Gretchen Wilson.  I don’t normally watch the pre-game shows before the Super Bowl game telecasts—they usually have a lot of bloviating, and musical entertainment by people I don’t care about.  But a few years ago I did turn in early, because the featured artist was Gretchen Wilson, a Country and Western singer whose big hit “I’m Here For the Party” would be featured.  We have a compilation CD that segues into Ms. Wilson’s hit song from Wanda Jackson’s Let’s Have a Party, which made the Top 40 in 1960.

We paused in our 2007 cross country RV trip to make a brief visit to her hometown in Illinois,
about 42 miles east of St. Louis MO.

Something in the Water by Chris Webster.  Another artist recommended to me by daughter Vicky.  A great contemporary blues number, with a smokin’ group backing the singer.  We’re not sure whether the water referred to is in the Sacramento River, Putah Creek or the UC Davis water tower.

Shoulda Been My Lover by FunkyJenn (Jennifer Gibbons).  From Jenn’s EPCD Rock and Roll Voodoo Queen—I first heard it at the CD release party, and a few years later, she dedicated it to me at a Terry Okey’s Second Sunday show at Adams Pack Station.  I met Jenn a few years ago at a Chaos Band show at the Cinema Bar in Culver City, when she covered an Elton John song (probably Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me).

Au Revoir My Darling by Anny Celsi.  Anny is another one of the lovely ladies of song whom I have met when she was “sitting in” with AMCB.  The video for this number was shot in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, so it’s very colorful.

Don’t Look Back (Don’t Look Down) by Evie Sands.  For years, the only way to hear this song was to attend an Adam Marsland’s Chaos Band show.   One night the band was playing at Molly Malone’s Pub on Fairfax Ave. (a bit over a mile south of Canter’s Deli), and Adam spotted me out in front.  He said, “I’m glad you’re here tonight; Evie’s going to do one of your favorites.”  So the show starts, and after a number of songs, Adam asks, “Is there a Seventies Soul singer in the house?” (spotlight shines on Evie) “Why it’s Ms Evie Sands!  Tell me, Evie, do you have a song for Bob tonight?”  and she says, “I sure do!” and swings into Don’t Look Back (Don’t Look Down).  In 2006, it was recorded as part of Adam Marsland’s Long Promised Road CD, which was captured live at Brennan’s Pub in Marina del Rey.  Evie plans to do a studio version of it some time in the near future.

Evie laying on that last guitar lick that she uses to wind up Don’t Look Back.  She doesn’t use a slide,
but it sounds almost like the end of
I Believe by Elmore James.

Like a Rock by Evie Sands.  For years, fans of Evie (whom Jonny Whiteside dubbed “The international cult of Sands worshipers”) have wondered when she would do another album. This spring (April 2017), the question was answered in part when Evie released Shine For Me an EPCD with six songs on it.  We received an advance copy, and I picked Like a Rock as my favorite (and it is no relation to the Bob Seger song that was used in Chevy commercials).  When I mentioned this to Evie, she said, “I figured you’d like it—very bluesy.”  But wait!  Will there be more?  Evie has several songs that she’s done in shows that I would love to have on record—an studio version of Don’t Look Back (although the Long Promised Road version is wonderful), Last Teardrop, Another Night on the Other Side of the Line, Beautiful Lie and a few I can’t recall right now.  Something to look forward to (while we’re waiting for Phase 2B of the Gold Line Foothill Extension construction to get under way.)

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