Back in 1972, I went to a studio in Atlanta that was owned by a good songwriting friend of mine named Buddy Buie. I was producing an album for Warner Bros. of my backing band Frankie & Johnny and using various members of the Atlanta Rhythm Section. We would work from noon till eight everyday and then after dinner go clubbing every night. I heard some great bands and decided to start a label, move to Atlanta, and buy into the studio, which I did in short order.
The first two bands I signed were Mose Jones and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The second two bands were a soul horn band from Los Angeles (couldn’t resist) and The Blues Project, planning to record our 1973 Central Park reunion concert. So I have selected ten tracks that are not often heard because, other than Skynyrd, the other releases never got from the original vinyl to the US CD market. I hope you enjoy them and if you like anything below, I have confidence you will Google your way to figuring out how to purchase them. I haven’t a clue!
Below is a jukebox containing all the songs I picked this week. After you read about them below, go back and listen to whatever you like by just clicking on that title in the jukebox, or stream the whole playlist by clicking on the "play" icon at the top. It's free and it's the entire song. We're not selling anything. We're just in the business of hopefully making your days better by listening to great music.
We apologize to our readers/listeners who are trying to enjoy the playlists via mobile devices like iPhones/iPads and are finding that they can't; these are, unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control. At present, Grooveshark is not compatible with those operating systems, and in order to stream the playlist, you will need to use a PC or Mac.
1. "Bar Room Sweeper" — Mose Jones (3:05)
This is one of the first tracks we cut for the label. I used to think of Mose as my Beatles and Skynyrd as my Stones. I guess it’s pretty apparent on this track. They were between keyboard players when we cut this one, so I sat in and played piano and organ. Bassist Randy Lewis sang lead on this and did a mighty fine job. We thought this was a hit single back then. America did not concur.
2. "Does Your Mama Know About Me" — Mose Jones (3:34)
With the addition of Steve McRay, we now had a great keyboard player and yet another lead singer. This is a cover of the previous hit by Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers and Steve sang a mighty lead and played great organ. I played acoustic piano so we could record all the instruments live. This was from their second album, which was produced by my pal Charlie Calello (Four Seasons, Laura Nyro).
3. "Was I Right or Wrong" — Lynyrd Skynyrd (4:06)
This was one of the first songs I heard by them and thought the lyric was amazing. It kinda got lost in the initial albums so here it is, from the audition demo we cut, for your perusal. This band has led an almost Gothic existence in their mortality rate. I really miss the ones who are gone.
Skynyrd heads onstage, Atlanta Stadium,1974
4. "I Ain't the One" (Live, 1973) — Lynyrd Skynyrd (3:49)
This was from a Memphis radio broadcast early in their career. They really knocked down everyone in their path with performances like this. I went with them and engineered the show. This was the track that really floored me when I first heard them. It leads off the first album and I never have gotten tired of it to this day.
Linda Blair and Ronnie "The Devil" Van Zant
5. "Woman of Mine" (Live, 1973) — Lynyrd Skynyrd (4:46)
This is from the same above concert. I always thought of this as Lynny’s tribute to the Zombies, right down to Billy Powell’s Rod Argent-style piano solo. This is the only recorded version of the song so I have repeatedly tried to cajole The Zombies into recording their interpretation over the years to no avail. Colin Blunstone could easily sing this without betraying his Zombie voice. I STILL think it’s a great idea.
6. "My Baby Oooo" — Elijah (2:46)
This is the west coast horn band I signed. They came down to Atlanta and we cut the album there. I rewrote some of the horn charts but they had the whole rest of it pretty much together . This is my favorite one.
7. "It's Easy" — Elijah (2:56)
More uptempo than the former. The horn break features Thelonious Monk-type licks. The horns are recorded quite well in retrospect. Haven’t heard this in decades.
8. "Flute Thing" (Live, 1973) — The Blues Project (9:01)
All three of these tracks are from the Central Park concert. This one is extremely rare as it didn’t even make the vinyl release. I think these three tracks capture the uniqueness of this band. Spoken intro by still uber-promoter Ron Delsener. Bassist Andy Kulberg pioneered the early usage of electric flute. Sampled by the Beastie Boys in their heyday.
9. "Fly Away" (Live, 1973) — The Blues Project (3:28)
We had been known to also do folk-rock projectiles from the likes of Eric Andersen, Donovan, Patrick Sky and Bob Lind. This one’s an original I wrote about my crumbled first marriage.
10. "Two Trains Running" (Live, 1973) — The Blues Project (10:09)
Featuring guitarist/vocalist Danny Kalb, this is probably the best Project version of the Muddy Waters staple. The musical freedom we all employed required careful listening. By this time, we totally understood each other’s playing abilities. I think this closes out this era perfectly.