A Bit Like You And Me Radio

November 14, 2013

The Other Side - Walking Down the Road (1966)

This band was originally a surf outfit calling themselves The Topsiders, formed at Washington High School in Fremont, California circa 1964. The members of The Topsiders were Jim Sawyers, Ken “Toad” Matthew, Tom Antone, and David Tolby (born David Phelps). In early 1965, Skip Spence briefly joined the band, before being convinced by Martin Balin to join Balin’s band as their drummer. When Balin’s band rejected the band name proposed by Spence, favoring instead to call themselves Jefferson Airplane, Spence suggested that The Topsiders should use it. They did, and from then on, The Topsiders were known as The Other Side.

For the duration of the band, personnel changes were very common. The band often stole and swapped members with another local act, The Chocolate Watchband. When Jim Sawyers left the group to join The Vejtables (citing that he didn’t get along with Sawyers), the band replaced him with Ed “Ned” Torney III, the lead guitarist of The Chocolate Watchband. In turn, David Tolby left The Other Side to join The Chocolate Watchband. Born David Phelps and using the stage name David Tolby, he again switched his name (this time to Sean Tolby) when he joined The Chocolate Watchband.

At this point, The Other Side was made up of Ken “Toad” Matthew, Tom Antone, and ex-Chocolate Watchband guitarist Ed “Ned” Torney. Torney’s departure from The Chocolate Watchband had an effect on his ex-bandmates Jo Kemling and Danny Phay, who soon followed Torney’s lead by leaving the Watchband and joining The Other Side. This was the lineup of the band which reached the most acclaim, but it didn’t last long. In January 1966, Torney was drafted into the Army and was only able to practice and play with the band on the weekends. To help fill his void, the group brought in Martin Van Slyke Battey. But by May 1966, Torney re-joined the band full time, thus making the group a little too large. Rather than ejecting the newest member, Battery, the group decided to part ways with Jo Kemling, who was soon followed by a departing Danny Phay. The last personnel change of the band came when they recruited Alan Graham, a guitarist from the Lord Jim Quintet that was brought in to assist on vocals. It was this final lineup of the band which recorded The Other Side’s only single, heard below.

The demise of the band began shortly after Tom Antone received his draft notice. With Antone being plucked from the group, Battey soon quit the band. To replace the two, the remaining members recruited Wayne Paulsen and renamed themselves Bogus Thunder. The Other Side was no more.

To reiterate, at the time of the recording heard below, the group consisted of original band members Ken “Toad” Matthew and Tom Antone; Ed “Ned” Torney, previously of The Chocolate Watchband; Martin Van Slyke Battey; and Alan Graham, previosuly of The Lord Jim Quintet. The song heard below was written by R. Kleinsinger and J. Darion, featured as the A-Side to their sole single, and released in December 1966. It was backed with the B-Side “Streetcar,” which was written by Battey and Graham of the band.

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The Other Side - Walking Down the Road (1966)

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Lyrics:

Walking down this road to my town
Walking down this road to home
Traveling through these hills and valleys
Traveling and I'm all alone

Gonna see my woman
I'm gonna see my pa
I’ve been a long time movin’
It gets ya wonderin’ how they are

Walking down this road to my town
Walking down this road to home
Traveling through these hills and valleys
Traveling and I'm all alone

Walking down this road to my town
Walking down this road to home
Traveling through these hills and valleys
Traveling and I'm all alone

Gonna see the parson
If I can catch him in
I bet he’s down there fishin’
Fishin’ with my brother Jim

And if I ever get there
I’ll tell ya what I'm gonna do, yeah
I'm gonna write ‘em all a letter
And tell them “I’ll be seein’ you”

Walking down this road to my town
Walking down this road to home
Traveling through these hills and valleys
Traveling and I'm all alone

Walking down this road to my town
Walking down this road to home
Traveling through these hills and valleys
Traveling and I'm all alone

November 13, 2013

Hot Tuna - Water Song (1972)

Jack Casady (b. April 13, 1944) and Jorma Kaukonen (b. December 23, 1940) had first met in the city which they were both born, Washington, D.C. in the United States, while growing up. Together as teenagers, the duo formed their first band together called The Triumphs. While Casady remained enrolled in high school, Kaukonen went off to Ohio for college, before abruptly following his family to live overseas. Eventually Kaukonen found his way back to the States and re-enrolled in college in California. In 1965, Kaukonen joined Jefferson Airplane and, within a matter of months, recruited Casady to join the band on bass, replacing Bob Harvey. Although Jack and Jorma wound find great success with the psychedelic sounds created in Jefferson Airplane, it was the blues to which they always remained loyal. In 1969, Jack and Jorma began a side project, this band, which allowed them to perform the blues and record original material of their own. Although Jefferson Airplane would eventually split up, and although Jack and Jorma have each had their own share of solo albums and guest appearances on other records, it is only Hot Tuna which still remains intact today. From 1969 until the present, the band has never broken up, continues to release new material, and continues to put on live shows which can last anywhere from three to six hours.

The first two albums released by Hot Tuna were live albums (Hot Tuna from 1970 and First Pull Up, Then Pull Down from 1971). The album that this song appeared on was the group’s third release, but first studio-recorded album, titled Burgers, and released in February 1972. Written by Jorma Kaukonen, the song featured Kaukonen on guitar, Jack Casady on bass, and Sammy Piazza on drums.

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Hot Tuna - Water Song (1972)

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Lyrics:

(instrumental)

November 07, 2013

The Allman Brothers Band - Melissa (1971)

When Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971, The Allman Brothers Band had been in the middle of recording what would be their fourth album. As a result of his death, Duane’s guitar work was only heard on tracks four through nine of the nine-track album. Earlier in his career, Duane had once been asked by the media what he was doing to help the revolution occurring in the country at the time, to which he responded, “There ain’t no revolution; it’s evolution. But every time I’m in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace.” To honor Duane, the band named their album Eat a Peach. It was released February 12, 1972, reached number four on the charts, and has sold over one million copies.

Although this song is most famously known as the third track on The Allman Brothers’ 1972 Eat a Peach album, it was actually written in 1967 by Gregg Allman, and first recorded in 1968 by a band called The 31st of February. The 31st of February was a band made up of Gregg and Duane Allman, who had joined the remnants of a band called The Bitter Ind. (which stood for Independents). One of the members of The Bitter Ind. and The 31st of February was drummer Butch Trucks, who would go on to co-create The Allman Brothers Band with Duane and Gregg Allman in 1969.

The song heard below is the version recorded by The Allman Brothers in 1971 and released on their 1972 Eat a Peach album. It was one of the three tracks on the album that didn't involve Duane, due to his death, and was thus also one of the first songs the group recorded without him. Regarding the choice of the name in the song, Gregg Allman has said that when he initially wrote the song, he wasn’t sure which female name to use. The name “Melissa” sprang on him as he stood in line at a grocery store and heard a mother calling out to her daughter, Melissa, to come back to her after wandering off too far.

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The Allman Brothers Band - Melissa (1971)

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Lyrics:

Crossroads
Seem to come and go, yeah
The gypsy flies from coast to coast
Knowing many, loving none
Bearing sorrow, having fun
But back home he'll always run
To sweet Melissa

Freight train
Each car looks the same, all the same
And no one knows the gypsy's name
No one hears his lonely sigh
There are no blankets where he lies
In all his deepest dreams, the gypsy flies
With sweet Melissa

Again the morning's come
Again he's on the run
Sunbeams shining through his hair
Appearing not to have a care
Well, pick up your gear and gypsy roll on
Roll on

Crossroads
Will you ever let him go? Lord, Lord
Will you hide the dead man's ghost?
Or will he lie beneath the clay?
Or will his spirit roll away?
But I know that he won't stay
Without Melissa

Yes, I know that he won't stay
Without Melissa

No, no

November 06, 2013

Neil Young - The Needle and the Damage Done (Live) (1971)

After Buffalo Springfield broke up, Neil Young signed a record deal as a solo artist with Reprise Records on the recommendation of his friend Joni Mitchell. Although his first two albums, Neil Young (November 1968) and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (May 1969) didn’t initially chart very well, his third album After the Gold Rush (August 1970) gained much more attention, primarily in thanks to his increased exposure from joining Crosby, Stills & Nash in August 1969.

By the end of the summer in 1970, CSN&Y completely imploded and disbanded. That very same autumn, Young decided to go on an acoustic tour of the United States, playing songs from his Buffalo Springfield, CSN&Y, and solo catalogs. As the tour went on, Young began to introduce more and more of his newer material to live audiences. The song heard below was played before a live audience on one such occasion on January 30, 1971. As the tour concluded, Young befriended a group of musicians (whom he dubbed The Stray Gators) which he would use as the session musicians on his fourth solo album, the critically-acclaimed Harvest (February 1972). The only song to appear on Harvest from Young’s acoustic tour was “The Needle and the Damage Done,” heard below.

The song heard below was written by Neil Young, spotlighting the detriments of heroin on the people around him. Specifically, the song was inspired by Danny Whitten, the guitarist of Crazy Horse, a band whom Young had hired to back him on his second and third albums that were eventually signed to their own record deal. When Young’s Harvest album became a huge success, reaching number one in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada, Young quickly made plans to start a tour to support it. He called upon Whitten among others to rehearse with him for the impending tour. Upon their rehearsals, it was evident that Whitten was still using heroin, as his guitar playing was hardly a shadow of his former abilities. On November 18, 1972, Young fired Whitten from the band, giving him fifty dollars and a plane ticket back to Los Angeles. That very same night, Whitten died from a fatal combination of Valium and alcohol, the former being taken for knee arthritis and the latter taken to try and quell the heroin cravings. It took years for Neil Young to stop blaming himself for Whitten’s death.

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Neil Young - The Needle and the Damage Done (Live) (1971)

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Lyrics:

I caught you knocking at my cellar door
I love you, baby, can I have some more?
Ooh, ooh, the damage done

I hit the city and I lost my band
I watched the needle take another man
Gone, gone, the damage done

I sing the song because I love the man
I know that some of you don't understand
Milk-blood to keep from running out

I've seen the needle and the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every junkie's like a setting sun

November 01, 2013

The Lively Ones - Night and Day (1962)

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, the band known as The Surfmen began to deteriorate around the departure of the band’s lead man, Ray Hunt. As subsequent members began to leave the band and get replaced by newer guys, it quickly became the case that the group’s drummer, Tim Fitzpatrick, was the last remaining original member of the band. Having no allegiance to the band’s “Surfmen” name, Fitzpatrick and his bandmates switched their group’s name to The Lively Ones. The group featured Tim Fitzpatrick on the drums, Jim Masoner on lead guitar, Ed Chiaverini on rhythm guitar, Ron Griffith on bass, and Joel Willenbring on drums. They signed with Del-Fi Records and hired a manager, Bob Keane (the famed manager and producer of Ritchie Valens). Although the group never reached much stardom, they most recently had a resurgence of interest when their 1963 song, “Surf Rider,” was used in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 film, Pulp Fiction.

The song below is one of the many cover songs performed by The Lively Ones. Although they had a few original songs, it was songs such as the one heard below that the band was known for. Originally written and released in 1932 by Cole Porter, this song was introduced to the masses by Fred Astaire in his last Broadway performance, the musical play titled Gay Divorce from 1932. Porter claimed that the song was inspired by his trip to Morocco, where he heard Adhan, or, the Islamic call to worship. The song, which originally had lyrics to go along with it, was so popular and closely associated with Cole Porter that when a movie was made about his life in 1946, the film was titled Night and Day. Besides The Lively Ones surf instrumental cover, the song has been covered by Eartha Kitt, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, U2, and many, many more.

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The Lively Ones - Night and Day (1962)

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Lyrics:

(instrumental)