WARMER MIXTAPES #1438 | by Allan Preston Sachs [Alan Merrill] of The Lead, Godzilla And Yellow Gypsy, Streak, Vodka Collins, Runner and Arrows
Photo by Michi Nakao
1. Free | All Right Now
I saw Free in Tokyo in 1971 and they were amazing. I became friendly with Kossoff and we jammed a bit in Tokyo in the bars on Acoustic guitar. Anyway, the song All Right Now has all the dynamics of a great crowd pleaser. Lots of space in the instrumentation. Simple flirty seduction lyrics. Great vocals by PR. Nice gang chorus. Andy Fraser's bass break is classic, Kossoff's guitar is perfect in it's simplicity. It's a fantastic recording.
2. David Bowie | Rebel Rebel
The riff, the song construction, the production, camp vocals, the pure simplicity of it. A great Glam Rock record. Can't go wrong with those teen vs. parents lyrics in Rock 'N' Roll. It defines the times, every generation. I first heard this song when I was living in Tokyo in 1972 I guess, and I worked out the guitar riff after one listen. Simple, very effective. Years later, when I played guitar with Rick Derringer in 1980, we played it live on stage. Always a popular song with Rock audiences.
3. The Rolling Stones | Honky Tonk Women
This song hit me like a meteor falling from the sky when I heard it first. I was shopping in Harrods London and it came on the speakers in the store's trendy clothes shop on the top floor. I was buying silver crushed velvet trousers in fact. I walked right up to the speakers and listened. After that I shook my head and thought, The Rolling Stones have raised the level of Rock Music again. Ground breaking record. I almost cried, the record was so perfect, because I truly love great Rock Music. This song would become a template for many Rock songs to come.
4. The Left Banke | Walk Away Renée
This is a heartbreaking song of unrequited love sung with passion and vulnerability by a young Steve Martin Caro. The strings add a lot of melancholy emotion to the track and the harmonies are top notch and sophisticated. Great band. Lots of great Music has come from them. Bad management destroyed their formidable potential. Great drums on the track by session man Ron Rogers, who nailed those simple rolls into the chorus with prefect timing before the rousing chorus. I first heard it on the radio. It sounded like a hit first time I heard it. The recording has some inexplicable Magic to it.
5. T. Rex | Bang A Gong (Get It On)
Marc Bolan found his Rock 'N' Roll groove on this track and he did it so very well. The spacey lyrics, strong vocal hook in octaves and the funky Chuck Berry variation on a theme stylistic guitar part with the unique spikey stabs - all add up to a great recording. Arguably his peak recording. I first heard this in Tokyo as well, early 70s. I had been a Tyrannosaurus Rex fan so I wanted to hear Marc's new Electric Warrior LP. The whole album is great, but this is the stand out track.
6. Larry Williams | Slow Down
One of the first songs I ever learned in a band to play. It's a Classic Rock song and it has all the right peaks and valleys when played right. Dynamics are the key. I first heard it by John Lennon in 1964, but later heard the original. I love the song. I do it on stage every time I play a show these days. It's always fresh to me. A lot of people have covered it, including me, and the song begs to be tried on for size by any performer who loves Rock Music.
7. Jerry Lee Lewis | Great Balls Of Fire
This has so much energy as a song I had to have a go and record a cover of it myself. But, I first saw Jerry Lee do it in 1958 at the Loews Paradise theater, Alan Freed show, in the Bronx, with my babysitter (my mom got us tickets from Atlantic Records) and it was an amazing show. He was an insane performer. It was like he was possessed. Jerry Lee and the song made a very big impression on me at 7 years of age. He had the longest hair I had ever seen on a man, it was a vision. It was all slicked back in a teddy boy quiff, but when he shook his head it cascaded about 2 feet down over the piano. Surreal for the time.
8. Elvis Presley | (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear (with The Jordanaires) (Loving You Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
I get chills when I hear this song, it reminds me of the first light of Rock 'N' Roll. Nobody compares to early Elvis. I respect him so much. He had it all. This song is a romantic sentiment about giving a present (a ring to wear around her neck) to a romantic interest. He wants to be her Teddy Bear. A sweet sentiment, but when Elvis sings anything there's always a sexual innuendo in the voice. I love the song, the vocal. It all works. All of Elvis's early work is magic to me.
9. Arthur Alexander | Anna (Go To Him)
Another song I first heard sung by John Lennon (the man had immaculate taste in Rock 'N' Roll song choices) and that brought me to listen to Arthur, who wrote it. A great song. I've covered it. Always fun to sing live. Arthur was an artist's artist. He wrote superb songs. This song is about a man who loses his fiancée to another man, but he wants back his ring. Arthur wrote a lot of loser in Love songs that served him well. I'm sure given the text of his lyrics he suffered a great deal from failed relationships. Lucky for us, because he left us with great Music as a result.
10. Muddy Waters | Rollin' Stone (Delta Blues song 'Catfish Blues' Cover)
Song about a rootless wandering man who is fooling around with somebody's wife. By the end of the song he's moving on down South on the first train out of there. I love the lyric. I listened to this over and over in a small hotel room in Tengenji, Tokyo, in 1995 and got deep into the feel of the song. Since then I've been performing it live and the audiences love it. It's the song that The Rolling Stones based their band name on and it suits them. Muddy Waters does the whole song on only one chord, which is a challenge, but it works and there's never any monotony because his guitar and vocal dynamics make up for the droning E chord. Four verses and they're all fun to sing. A lot of bands who cover the song use a few more chords than Muddy did on the instrumental breaks. Not necessary in my opinion. I think the one chord works very well.