Breakfast Blend: Fleetwood Mac, “Underway/Show Biz Blues”

Perhaps no band in rock history is more enigmatic than Fleetwood Mac.

Among a zillion brilliant refugees from John Mayalls Bluesbreakers, John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums) started a great blues band right around the same place and time that the Stones were forming and playing under the same aegis of Brian Jones’ love for American Rhythm and Blues.

Augmented by guitarists Jeremy Spencer, and the brilliant Peter Green, and then joined by Danny Kirwin as a third guitar player, the Mac produced a handful of killer pop tunes that slowly started to move towards mainstream. Two albums, Fleetwood Mac and Mr. Wonderful preceded the iconic Then Play On which featured Green’s equally iconic Oh Well, Parts I and II.

Then Play On featured a great variety of killer songs, and this one, Show Biz Blues really drives home the guitar band’s focus.

But, after the release of Then Play On, leader and guitar player supreme Peter Green (check out how much Carlos Santana plucked from Green’s style) left due to deteriorating mental and physical health, and McVie’s wife, Christine joined the band as they put together arguably the most beautiful homage to 50’s rock, Kiln House ever recorded in my meager view. And, this cut, Station Man pretty much defines the period.

Then came the dull Bob Welch years, but following the departure of the guitarist/Dodgers pitcher, Buckingham/Nicks joined and though not so much true to the original vision of Green, the band still killed on some great pop tunes and produced their biggest and most accessible album, Rumors which gave us this killer tune with great Lindsey Buckingham guitar pyrotechnics complementing McVie’s and Fleetwood’s ever steady rhythm section.


Love the Mac. For sure.

The Only Ones, City of Fun

Another great Only Ones tune.

Covered by Come, perhaps unnecessarily but effectively, in a Peel Sessions show in 1993.

What’s striking about the difference between these two versions is first, Peter Perrett’s voice, which is distinctive, assertive, brash.

But also, while Come rock it hard, the original is full of production tricks. Shifts of focus, subtle volume emphases, this is record making, while Come are playing live. The only known cover of this excellently energetic and melancholy tune.

Breakfast Blend: ELO, “Illusions in G Major”

I have not meant to be neglecting writing here, but truly, the last six weeks have been among the busiest of my life, with travels to Southern California, New York, the Sierra, and now Chicago.

But, it doesn’t mean I have not been thinking about what to post here.

I have indeed been peppering a lot of golf in my daily mix of stuff, no matter where I am, but especially when home and in my car, I have been enjoying listening to spacier, more reflective rock, just because it sort of seems to relax me for the mental challenge of whether to use a driver or a three-wood on a particular hole.

As part of this troll, El Dorado, Electric Light Orchestra’s really great album from 1973 has made the mix. When the album came out, it quickly shot to my favorite list, where the disc remained until the late 70’s when punk took over everything rock and roll for me in the best possible way.

I listened to El Dorado here and there to see if any magic remained but it was sort of like watching Gone with the Wind and its outdated and hopelessly romantic view of the South, racism, and slavery. As in, it just didn’t do it.

I don’t really know what prompted me to reclaim El Dorado out of the huge stack of CD’s I have, but I found myself first sticking the disc into the player, and then humming along to songs I really did know by heart.

So, I really did rediscover the whole thing in a good way.

Now, I get if the strings Jeff Lynne stuck into his band are not your cup of tea, and, well, if you watch the video, I am not sure if we will ever get over the hair and clothes from the 70’s (I doubt I ever wore any of that shit, being a devotee of jeans and tennis shoes pretty much my whole life, but it does sort of hurt to look) but, make no mistake, Lynne is a rocker at heart.

We all know his treatment of Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven and I think the Move’s original Do Ya is as killer a cut as exists.

But, this little ditty from El Dorado, Illusions in G Major, does indeed show Lynne’s roots are indeed with the Chuckster. Strings or not, they kill it.


Breakfast Blend: Jason Isbell, “Super8 Motel”

OK, I am not dead, and I apologize for my Remnants absence.

I actually had this great piece all ready to write, back when B.B. King passed away, but aside from a bunch of crazy baseball and football junk to write, we went up to the Lake for a respite. And, I began working on an outline for a long piece about god and life and golf, though I am not sure where it is going.

So, enough cheap excuses.

As a member of the BileTones, I have been turned onto a lot of stuff I did not previously know that well. New Order, Uncle Tupelo, Hayes Carll, and the Drive-By Truckers for instance, are all performers I now really like a lot.

Well, Jason Isbell was a guitar player for the Truckers for eight years, from 2001-2007 and worked on some of my favorite Truckers material from the album A Blessing and a Curse.

Isbell did some solo work, then formed his band, The 400 Unit, in 2009, worked with Neko Case, and in 2013 released the brilliant Southeastern, which features your accompaniment to Sunday Eggs Benedict and a latte (or whatever other virtual chow you choose), Super8 Motel (which is currently a standard part of the Tones setlist).

I mean, even if you are in a Super8 Motel, if you cannot get Eggs Benedict, maybe this song will be a tonic.

Breakfast Blend: Wilco (and the BileTones), “Outtasite (Outta Mind)”

I am a big fan of the Chicago-based band, Wilco, in fact their fantastic Yankee Hotel Foxtrot made my essentials list.

The wonderful thing about Yankee Hotel is that it was recorded when the band was signed to Sony Records, and they delivered the album which Sony determined was “unlistenable,” so the the brains at Sony rejected the disc and released Wilco from their contract.

Undaunted, the band toured, performing songs from the album, looking for a new deal. During their road adventures, the band delivered the same buzz that got them signed in the first place (well, that and they formed out of the terrific Uncle Tupelo so that helped), and suddenly there was a bidding war which was won by Interscope records who gave the band a $200,000 signing bonus.

Yankee Hotel went on to become a critics fave, much to the chagrin of Sony, but the real beauty is that Interscope is owned by Sony, meaning they paid another $200K to be able to release the album they rejected in the first place.

Ah, sweet karma.

But, this tune is from the band’s fine Being There disc, and it totally rocks. In fact, the BileTones are such Wilco fans that we have a half-dozen of their songs on our ever growing set list, and always play two or three per show.

And, of all those songs, Outtasite is a mainstay.

So, first, here is the band killing it on Letterman.

And, for fun, here are the Tones at Raymond’s in Cazadero, Ca, near the Russian River.

Hot Chocolate/Stories, “Brother Louie”

It was the cover of this tune, by Stories, that was a big hit in the US in 1973. The arrangements of the songs are different. Hot Chocolate has more of a soul feel, with flangy guitars and strings, while Stories rocks the guitars more, but the biggest difference in this story of interracial love is the point of view.

Hot Chocolate wrote the song, so you have to give their version primacy. In Hot Chocolate’s version, contrasting vignettes of Louie and his gal at their respective parents’ homes, and their fathers’ spoken word intolerance demonstrate that there is no difference between black and white in the worst possible way.

Stories version changes the story, as it were. Louie brings his black gal home and there is some kind of unspecified scene. That’s it. Gone is the equal opportunity prejudice, as well as the strings and the spoken word. In Stories’ version the white parents are the bad guys, in a vague way, and they shouldn’t be. You know what I mean?

I remember at the time hearing that this song was an answer song to Richard Berry’s Louie Louie, which is apparently not true.

Louie C.K. adopted Brother Louie as the theme song for his show, Louie, in which he plays a dad in an interracial marriage that is now defunct. Interestingly, the show uses the Hot Chocolate arrangement of the song, with vocals by Stories’ Ian Lloyd.

Bebeca Garcia, “Accredita Em Mim”

So this Brazilian song sounds like a Stones song that has a completely different arrangement (and obviously Garcia singing in Brazilian is different than Jagger in English). What is that song? I’m blanking right now. But I’m sure in the morning we’ll all get it, unless it was on Metamorphosis.

When we figure it out I’ll post the Stones song, to complete the blend!