A real rock bent to this week's list, ranging over three decades, just because...I don't know...it's cold today?
Do you really need a reason? It's Throwback Tracks, an excuse to listen to some great music from the 20th century...
The Guys From do not hold the rights to any of these songs, it is more our hope to expose our readers to new (*cough*) and different retro music, or re-expose them to things they may have forgotten about.
At the top of each section, will be the song name, followed by the artists' name linked to their website (if possible...which is totally hit and miss with oldies), so you can fall down the rabbit hole, finding and supporting what you dig.
Funk #49 - James Gang
Seems like we can't get away from Joe Walsh here on Throwback Tracks the past couple of weeks: starting us off this week is "Funk #49" off of the James Gang's second studio album James Gang Rides Again. While the song (and album) achieved moderate success, it would be obviously be later bands where Joe Walsh would find success ("Funk #49" being released in 1970, before his time with Eagles...and everywhere else...), but there's something charming about "Funk 49": it's a damn good 70s rock track, using a really addictive guitar lick, as well as a really good use of all three of the bands members (Walsh, Dale Peters & Jim Fox) vocals.
The thing with James Gang is their sound changes greatly over the course of their music, but considering the band had just shy of 25 different members (and I'm not even going to pretend to figure out band lineups...) over their recording prime, and reunions...let's just enjoy "Funk #49", shall we?
No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature - The Guess Who
"No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature" is a song that I have liked for as long as I can remember; admittedly, when I was younger, it was all about the "No Sugar Tonight" half, and it took me years to really come to appreciate "New Mother Nature" and what The Guess Who (woo, Canadian Content!) were doing with the song. Originally released as the B-Side to "American Woman" (hell of a 7" there), then eventually released as a single on it's own (which, depending on the charts, usually got up to somewhere between 1-5), and finally as a part of the album American Woman.
Usually I'd talk more, but I found (via Randy's Vinyl Tap radio programme; Show 170 Saturday, October 18, 2008), this description from Randy Bachman way more fun than any points I could make:
...the inspiration for the song arose after an incident when he was visiting California. He was walking down the street with a stack of records under his arm, when he saw three "tough-looking biker guys" approaching. He felt threatened and was looking for a way to cross the street onto the other sidewalk when a car pulled up to the men. A woman got out of the car, shouting at one of them, asking where he'd been all day, that he had left her alone with the kids. The man suddenly was alone and his buddies walked away. Chastened, he got in the car as the woman told him before pulling away: "And one more thing, you're getting no sugar tonight". The words stuck in Bachman's memory
The combination works quite well, as well, using the Burton Cummings written "New Mother Nature" to extend upon the same themes (and the fact that they're both written in the same key helps too), and is just another great song, but one of the greatest Canadian bands of all time.
Simple Man - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Often over looked by casual rock fans, who when you mention the great 70s southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, always say "Sweet Home Alabama!" (or if you're lucky "Free Bird"), but "Simple Man", from their 1973 debut album (pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd), is easily one of their best songs. Now I should not suggest that it is an "unknown" song, for it is actually their third best selling single all-time, however compared to their two monster hits...it's a little quiet on the "Simple Man" front.
It's actually a rather sweet song, about a mother talking to her son, and giving him advice, accented by roaring southern blues rock guitars, which I can only imagine would have been amazing to see live, before the unfortunate plane crash cut Lynyrd Skynyrd's meteoric rise short (their album Street Survivors that came out just after the crash went double platinum--their third album to do so...). You can obviously still see a variation of the band touring today, with a re-jigged lineup...but "Simple Man" is yet another reminder of the potential we lost in 1977...
Better Man - Pearl Jam
After listening to "Simple Man" so much, this just naturally felt like it should be here.
Plus, I'm probably making Dave really, really happy.
"Better Man" was one of the first songs Eddie Vedder wrote; he stated in an interview in the LA Times (December 22, 1996) "Sometimes I think of how far I've come from the teenager sitting on the bed in San Diego writing 'Better Man' and wondering if anyone would ever even hear it." While it was never released as a single (it was released as a part of Pearl Jam's third album Vitalogy) "Better Man" ended up hitting #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts and staying there for 8 weeks, which is really a testament to how good of a song it is. Plus, as you already know, I have a fondness for English Beat's "Save it For Later", which "Better Man" definitely shares some melody with.
Sister Christian - Night Ranger
Wrapping up this week is this 1984 power ballad from San Fransisco rock band Night Ranger, "Sister Christian" off of their second studio album Midnight Madness. "Sister Christian", despite probably being Night Rangers' best known song, is probably more known as "that motorin' song". I have, on more than one occasion, seen the name "Sister Christian" and thought "I have no idea wha--Ohhhhhh".
That said, "Sister Christian" is a really good 80s ballad, and Night Ranger is one of those bands that often gets overlooked when talking about 80s rock, despite the fact that their first three albums all achieved Platinum sales...Plus, there is always something to be said about a band whose drummer is also the lead singer (as is the case here with Kelly Keagy). I think I perhaps like it as much as I do thanks to it's pitch-perfect use in Boogie Nights, as well as it's repeated appearances in American Dad.
Here is the July 2016 Throwback Playlist done in the usual fashion of trying to make it sound a bit like a set (which is never easy without transitions, or just yapping until I change genres)...this one was tricky thanks to Dave's journey through pre-Pearl Jam songs not really going with anything but themselves, but we've got a playlist!
In case you missed our previous Throwback Track playlists, here they are:
I will see you again next Thursday with some new....oldies...*cough*, and the August Throwback Tracks Playlist!