Rarities, oddities, and other fun stuff

Out Of The Vault: Earth Day Show – April 20, 2013

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The Beatles – MOTHER NATURE’S SON – "Mother Nature's Son" is a Lennon–McCartney song, written primarily by Paul McCartney and released by the Beatles on The Beatles (The White Album). It was inspired by a lecture given by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi while the Beatles were in India.  McCartney recorded it on 9 August 1968. He recorded 25 takes singing and playing acoustic guitar simultaneously. Take 24 was perceived to be the best (This is take 2, which later appeared on Anthology 3). McCartney recorded overdubs of timpani, another guitar, and drums the next day. The drums sound more like bongos and this was achieved by putting the drums halfway down an uncarpeted corridor with the mics at a far end which resulted in a staccato sound.  Lennon did not play on the recording, but McCartney said he contributed some words to the song in India. When Lennon — who hated it whenever McCartney recorded without the rest of the band — walked into the studio with Ringo Starr after McCartney had finished, "you could have cut the atmosphere with a knife," recalled engineer Ken Scott.

The Eagles – NO MORE WALKS IN THE WOOD – "No More Walks in the Wood" is a song by The Eagles , using the words from "An Old-Fashioned Song," a 21-line poem (without choruses either in the poem or song) by John Hollander. The song is in four-part harmony with guitar chords, but mostly sung a cappella. Taken from Long Road Out of Eden, the seventh studio album by the Eagles, released in 2007 on Lost Highway Records. Nearly six years in production, Long Road Out of Eden is the first studio album from the Eagles since 1979's The Long Run, and along with the four original tracks on 1994 Hell Freezes Over, and two songs in 2003 ("Hole in the World") and 2005 ("One Day at a Time"), the only original material since.
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Sting – FIELDS OF GOLD – "Fields of Gold" is a 1993 song by Sting from his album Ten Summoner's Tales. "Fields of Gold" and all the other album tracks were recorded at Lake House, Wiltshire, mixed at The Townhouse Studio, London, England and mastered at Masterdisk, New York. The harmonica solo is played by Brendan Power and the Northumbrian smallpipes are played by Kathryn Tickell. The music video was directed by Kevin Godley.  "Fields of Gold" was the second single released from the album after "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You". The song was included in Sting's first compilations album issued by Sting under the title Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984–1994 and released in 1994 and in a later compilation The Very Best of Sting & The Police in 1997. It was also re-recorded by Sting in 2006 as a bonus track for his classical album Songs from the Labyrinth, whereby the song was accompanied entirely by a lute.

Neil Young – THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND – "This Land Is Your Land" is one of the United States' most famous folk songs. Its lyrics were written by Woody Guthrie in 1940 based on an existing melody, in critical response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America", which Guthrie considered unrealistic and complacent. Tired of hearing Kate Smith sing it on the radio, he wrote a response originally called "God Blessed America". Guthrie varied the lyrics over time, sometimes including more overtly political verses in line with his sympathetic views of communism, than appear in recordings or publications.  Guthrie wrote the song in 1940 and recorded it in 1944. The song was not published until 1945, and copyrighted in 1951.  Guthrie's melody was very similar to the melody of "Oh, My Loving Brother", a Baptist gospel hymn that had been recorded by the Carter Family as "When the World's On Fire" and had inspired their "Little Darlin', Pal of Mine."  He used the same melody for the chorus and the verses.  Guthrie's song, however, had a different melodic structure from the hymn or the similar Carter family melodies, and he used only the first half of those melodies in his song.  This version is taken from the Neil Young album Americana. It was Young's first collaboration with Crazy Horse since the Greendale album and tour in 2003 and 2004. The record is a tribute to unofficial national anthems that jumps from an uncensored version of "This Land Is Your Land" to "Clementine" and includes a version of "God Save the Queen", which Young grew up singing every day in school in Canada.  Americana is Neil Young's first album composed entirely of cover songs.

Spirit – NATURE’S WAY – Spirit was an American jazz/hard rock/progressive rock/psychedelic band founded in 1967, based in Los Angeles, California.  In 1970, Spirit started working on what is widely considered to be their best LP, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. On the recommendation of Neil Young the band chose David Briggs as the producer. It was a prolific time for the group's writers and the album was finally released in late 1970. Especially memorable was Randy California's poignant "Nature's Way," which was written in an afternoon when the group was playing at the Fillmore West in San Francisco.

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Marvin Gaye -  Mercy Mercy Me - "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" was the second single from Marvin Gaye's 1971 album, What's Going On. Following the breakthrough of the title track's success, the song, written solely by Gaye, became one of his most poignant anthems of sorrow regarding the environment. Led by Gaye playing piano, strings conducted by Paul Riser, multi-tracking vocals from Gaye, the instrumentals provided by The Funk Brothers and a leading sax solo by Wild Bill Moore.  As the single became his second million seller from What's Going On, the album started on the soul album charts in the top five and began charging up the pop rankings. "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" soon became one of Gaye's most famous songs in his extensive catalogue. In 2002 it was his third single recording to win a "Grammy Hall of Fame" Award. Like "Inner City Blues", Bob Babbitt, not James Jamerson, plays the bass line.

Quicksilver Messenger Service – WHAT ABOUT ME – What About Me is the title track of the fifth album by American psychedelic rock band Quicksilver Messenger Service. Released in December 1970 and recorded partly at the same sessions that produced Just for Love, the album is the last to feature pianist Nicky Hopkins and the last pre-reunion effort to feature founding members David Freiberg and John Cipollina.

Counting Crows – BIG YELLOW TAXI – "Big Yellow Taxi" is a song written and originally recorded by Joni Mitchell in 1970. Mitchell said this about writing the song to journalist Alan McDougall in the early 1970s: “I wrote 'Big Yellow Taxi' on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart... this blight on paradise. That's when I sat down and wrote the song.”  Counting Crows featuring Vanessa Carlton (on back-up vocals) cover of the song is featured on the soundtrack to the movie Two Weeks Notice and is the most successful version to date (U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40). Originally the song was a hidden track on the band's 2002 album Hard Candy and did not include Vanessa Carlton until it was to be featured in the movie. New releases of the album included it as a track with her added, as with her in the video, although Counting Crows and Vanessa Carlton did not appear in the video together or record together. This version slightly changed Mitchell's original lyrics to describe when the eponymous taxi took "my girl" away, instead of Mitchell's "my old man".

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Uncle Tupelo – ATOMIC POWER – Written by The Louvin Brothers and Buddy Bain.  The Louvin Brothers were an American country music duo composed of brothers Ira Lonnie Loudermilk (1924–1965) and Charlie Elzer Loudermilk (1927–2011), better known as Ira and Charlie Louvin. They helped popularize close harmony, a genre of country music. The brothers are cousins to John D. Loudermilk, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member.  Taken from the Uncle Tupelo CD “March 16-20, 1992.

The Doobie Brothers (with John Hall & James Taylor) – POWER – Written by John & Johanna Hall.  From his piano lessons at age 5 to his medal-winning french horn performance at the Ithaca College Music Festival, from his folk days of singing Weavers, Peter Paul and Mary, and Bob Dylan songs, from his obsession with the Ventures, Beach Boys, Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, John Hall learned three things: Play, Write, Listen. In early 1972, John's local jam band in Woodstock turned into Orleans when first Wells Kelly and then Larry Hoppen joined the ensemble. Later that year, Lance Hoppen joined on bass, freeing Larry to play guitar and keyboard. Orleans recorded four albums in the seventies, scoring radio hits with 'Still The One' and 'Dance With Me'.  John left Orleans in 1978 and made two solo records, "John Hall" and "Power". The latter featured the anti-nuclear anthem which later became the theme of the No Nukes concerts, recorded by the Doobie Brothers with James Taylor, which is where this cut was taken from.

Barry McGuire – EVE OF DESTRUCTION - "Eve of Destruction" is a protest song written by P. F. Sloan in 1965. Several artists have recorded it, but the best-known recording was by Barry McGuire. This recording was made between July 12 and July 15, 1965 and released by Dunhill Records. The accompanying musicians were top-tier LA session players: P. F. Sloan on guitar, Hal Blaine (of Phil Spector's "Wrecking Crew") on drums, and Larry Knechtel on bass. The vocal track was thrown on as a rough mix and was not intended to be the final version, but a copy of the recording "leaked" out to a DJ, who began playing it.  The song was an instant hit and as a result the more polished vocal track that was at first envisioned was never recorded.  The song had initially been presented to The Byrds as a Dylanesque potential single, but they rejected it. The Turtles, another LA group who often recorded The Byrds' discarded or rejected material, recorded a version instead. Their version was issued as an album track shortly before McGuire's version was cut. The song was also recorded by Jan and Dean on their album Folk 'n Roll in 1965, and by The Grass Roots on their first album Where Were You When I Needed You in 1966.  McGuire also mentioned that "Eve of Destruction" was recorded in one take on a Thursday morning (from words scrawled on a crumpled piece of paper), and he got a call from the record company at 7:00 the following Monday morning, telling him to turn on the radio—his song was playing.

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