Friday Five : |ˈfrīdā – fīv| : On the sixth day of every week, I hit the shuffle button in iTunes and share the first five tracks and thought for each track. Sometimes there is a playlist involved, occasionally we’ll have a guest, but most of the time it’s just me. The rest is up to you, our friends and readers! Fire up the media player of your choice and share the first five random tracks from your shuffle in the comments.
“Little Red Rooster” (live) by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (from Soundstage Live, 2004)
There are very few attempted idioms that TP &TH doesn’t do at least passably well, and this slow blues is no exception. It’s not the most deeply felt rendition ever captured on record, but it’s a fine excuse for some scholarly slide playing from Mike Campbell and Ben Tench steps out a little farther here than any of us is quite used to. Tom pleads his case with his usual knowing wink.
“Black Cat Bone” (live) by Johnny Winter (from True To The Blues: The Johnny Winter Story, 2014)
It suddenly looks as if it’s live White-Boy Blues Day on the ol’ random shuffle, and Johnny just blew TP and the boys not only outta the water but onto some very dry land. This one’s a barn-burner right out of the gate and the level of Johnny’s conviction here immediately paints Tom Petty as the pampered Hollywood Hills rock star that he ultimately is. In fairness, though, try imagining Johnny’s attempt to deliver a convincing “Free Fallin’”!
“Heart of Mine” by Bob Dylan (from Reference Recording Studios Outtakes: Vol. 5 – Where The Monkey Dances [1973 – 1981])
A perfectly reasonable alternate take of a perfectly reasonable Bob Dylan tune. The most notable element of the track may in fact be the bootleg series from which it originates – an impressive, career-spanning 8-volume/16-disc set from a label called Hollow Horn – which could be said to be a physical manifestation of the sort of devotion that Bob is singing about here.
“Goodbye My Lover” by James Blunt (from Back To Bedlam, 2004)
I swear that when the vocal came in I thought that this was some obscure Tracy Chapman album cut. Instead it’s a piano ballad that I’m certain had the recording engineer’s head propped up by his hand, with thought bubbles of his take-in dinner order circling ‘round. He clearly amused himself by capturing a LOT of piano pedal noise and other keyboard atmospherics.
“Waitress In The Sky” by The Replacements (from Tim, 1985)
More squandering of Paul Westerberg’s talent by Westerberg himself (of course), this time in the form of a slim rewrite/tribute to Harold Dorman’s magnificent “Mountain of Love.” Dorman had a hit with the song in 1960, but it was Johnny Rivers’ fantastic 1964 version that really nailed the tune. Bruce Springsteen subsequently made it a concert staple of his, all of which makes “MoL” far more interesting than this useless Replacements track.