Saturday Single No. 188

It’s a dreary and humid Saturday. I just got in from running a few errands, and the Texas Gal is happily working in the garden; today’s task include planting potatoes and carrots and spreading straw as mulch. (If early returns hold true, we’re going to have plenty of wax beans and radishes; it’s way too early to know much about anything else, although I’m not encouraged by the state of the eggplant.)

We have some chicken leg quarters in the refrigerator, and one of the items I picked up on my errands this morning was a bottle of sweet onion barbecue sauce. I suspect that sauce will meet poultry sometime late this afternoon. By that time, I think it will have rained at least a little, and the Texas Gal and I will no doubt settle into the living room to watch the Belmont Stakes. (There’s no Triple Crown at stake this year, but we watch the race every year.)

In other words, it’s an utterly normal late spring Saturday here, and despite having wracked my brain for much of the last few hours, I have nothing special to write about today. So here are six tracks at random from the RealPlayer:

First up is “Hey Joe” by the Leaves on Mira 222. One of the great garage rock singles, “Hey Joe” was the Leaves’ only hit, reaching No. 31 during a four-week stay in the Top 40 during the summer of 1966. Unless I’m horribly wrong, the flip side of the record was the Leaves’ cover of “Girl From The East,” written by Bobby Jameson under the name of Chris Lucey for the album Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest.

Then we get a rendition of “Ol’ Man River” by the Louisiana group Potliquor. The track, from the 1972 album First Taste, begins with an odd a capella introduction and then shifts to a more typical southern rock sound. Potliquor recorded three albums for the Janus label and one for Capitol during the 1970s. I vaguely remember the group from that time, but I’ve come across three of the four albums in the past few years, and they’re interesting if not truly great.

Third track up this morning is from Fred Neil’s final album, Other Side of This Life, a 1971 LP that, according to All-Music Guide, “was an odd, stitched-together affair matching one LP side of live, acoustic material with a side of studio leftovers.” One of those leftovers was a brief alternate version of a previous recorded song titled “Felicity,” which AMG says was inspired by “an obscure folk singer/songwriter named Felicity Johnson.” The alternate version feels kind of perfunctory, but Neil’s arresting voice still packs a punch.

One of the CDs of vintage material I picked up a couple of years ago was an anthology of the music of the Mississippi Sheiks, a string band from the 1920s and 1930s that blended blues and folk music. The quality of the recordings is sometimes shaky, and the fiddling and the singing are sometimes imprecise, but there’s something about those old recordings that resonates with me. This morning, the player settled on “Bootlegger’s Blues,” recorded in San Antonio, Texas, in June 1930, and it’s a nice stop along the way.

Next comes “What Were We Thinking” a track from Joss Stone’s 2007 album, Introducing … Joss Stone, an effort that didn’t interest me nearly as much as the British singer’s earlier work. It’s not bad, just – from where I listen – unremarkable.

And our sixth track this morning comes from a 1971 album by one of the many folk-rock duos of that era. John Batdorf and Mark Rodney recorded three albums of mellow tunes during the early 1970s. They reached the charts twice in 1975, says AMG, with the singles “You Are a Song” and “Somewhere in the Night,” and then they split up. Their music is nothing spectacular, I guess, but it’s mellow and pleasant and very definitely of its time. And that’s certainly good enough for a Saturday Single:

“Me and My Guitar” by Batdorf & Rodney from Off the Shelf [1971]


One Response to “Saturday Single No. 188”

  1. Simon says:

    That’s a good mix of tunes. I was listening to that version of Hey Joe just last week; and Joss Stone is so nearly as good as she thinks she is.

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