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Drop The Needle – April 1st

Drop The Needle – April 1st

On this episode of Drop The Needle we are honored to have two of Cleveland’s preeminent rock and roll icons, Wally Bryson and Jim Bonfanti of The Raspberries joining the ranks here on Drop The Needle. Our own Mike Olszewski wrote a little intro for each. We look forward to having them be a part of all of this along with our regular group of gonzo writers Pritch, Dom, Zeek, Mack, Bear and Mike O.

Wally Bryson – There used to be an old saying for the phone company, “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking”. In the case of Wally Bryson, he lets his fingers do the talking and over the years the soft-spoken guitar legend has had plenty to say. From his early days recording with The Choir, as a power pop pioneer with the Raspberries and playing with some of the biggest names in rock history, Bryson continues to prove time and again that the true spirit of rock and roll continues to thrive through its many changes. He offered us his take on his “go to” songs that link him to some of the legends of popular music

Jim Bonfanti – Another long time veteran of the Northeast Ohio rock scene, Jim Bonfanti influences are reflected in the tunes that inspired him as a member of the Choir, the Raspberries and his continuing musical career which luckily for us keeps going on.

Now on to this version of Drop The Needle April 1 2024

All Right Now – Free

In need of a rocker to keep the audience asking for more, “All Right Now” was written in about ten minutes following a gig that didn’t go down as well as expected. Free needed a strong show closer and following its release on the Fire and Water LP, Billboard magazine hailed the song as a “funky beer blues swinger”. – Wally

Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End – The Beatles

The Beatles sure knew how to conclude an album.  The famous Abbey Road medley builds to a frenzied pitch with everyone taking a solo and…..it’s the end.  In show biz they say “always leave them wanting more”, and with the Beatles you never had enough. –Jim

People Get Ready – Jeff Beck And Rod Stewart

I missed church yesterday so I listened to this epic going to heaven song to make up for it. Rod is golden and Jeff Beck is just outstanding on this version – Pritch

Hot Sauce – Thomas Dolby

This catchy tune is from the album Aliens Ate My Buick. Once in a while along comes an album where every song is good! You’ll find yourself listening to the album and listening again. If you would like to see him up close, mark your calendar for July 28th at Blossom. – Dom

Substitute – The Who

I saw this one close up opening for the Who when I was with the Choir. Pete Townshend and I had a musical kinship, both of us trying to master the power chord as a means of audio assault to deliver the intense energy of music as a motivator. Oddly enough, the song was inspired by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ line “Although she may be cute, she’s just a substitute” from the song “The Tracks of My Tears”. The Who take the song to an exciting new level on 1970’s “Live at Leeds”. The studio version has been included on various compilations. – Wally

Baby Please Don’t Go – John Lennon And Frank Zappa

It was obvious that Frank Zappa and John Lennon had mutual respect, but they had their differences, too. When Lennon visited Zappa and his latest version of the Mothers of Invention at New York’s Fillmore East in June 1971, Lennon said he thought he’d see Zappa on a toilet like the famous poster of the day, “Phi Zappa Crappa”. Zappa countered by saying he thought John and Yoko would be nude ala the “Two Virgins” LP cover. They decided that Lennon and Ono would join the band for an encore and the first song was one Lennon said he hadn’t sung since his Cavern / Liverpool days. It was Walter Ward’s “Well (Baby, Please Don’t Go)”. During the performance Zappa tears off one of his great guitar improvisations, and it later showed up on Lennon / Ono’s “Some Time in New York City” LP. There might have been a breakdown in communications between the two camps. Zappa reportedly didn’t like the mix, especially his guitar solo, and he later released his own version on the “Playground Psychotics” LP. – Mike O

It’s Cold Outside – The Choir

It’s just a coincidence that “It’s Cold Outside” pops up on my list the week two of the guys that made it a hit are here “wink”, no really this is a song that has been on my playlist it seems forever, I even have a 45rpm of it in my jukebox. How does this song not hook you right at the start with Jim Bonfanti infectious beat on the drums leading to Wally Bryson kicking off the song right before the vocals. This was Cleveland’s version of Surf Rock and I’d put it up against anything coming from the West Coast – Bear

Whiter Shade Of Pale – Procol Harum

Recorded by Procol Harum it’s a song that screams “Summer of Love”.  One of John Lennon’s favorite records, Gary Brooker’s voice against the C Major organ melody haunts you in the best possible way.  – Jim

My Back Pages – The Byrds

There’s a good argument that the genius of Bob Dylan because a lot more radio friendly with covers of his songs, and the Byrds certainly did their part to get his music to the masses. Covered by everyone from Keith Emerson’s Nice to the Ramones, this version released in 1967 really sells the line, “Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now” to a generation contemplating the future as well as its current place in the world.  – Wally

Gravity’s Done – Drive By Truckers

Listened to this one with the heading to the bottom humorous lyrics coupled with some great rock/country flare guitar work!  – Pritch

How Sad, How Lovely – Connie Converse

Okay this one has a back story that kind of creeps people out. In a nutshell, Elizabeth Converse worked under the name Connie Converse and was frustrated that she didn’t get the breaks needed to make it in the music industry. Back in the 1950s she was working secretarial jobs and made only one known public performance in a brief television appearance in 1954 on CBS-TV’s The Morning Show with Walter Cronkite. Suffering from depression, just days after her fiftieth birthday in August 1974 Converse packed up her Volkswagen and left never to be heard from again. There was a rumor she had relocated to another state and her family considered getting a private detective but decided she just didn’t want to be found. Since that time her few recordings have been lauded as masterpieces.  – Mike O

Can’t Go Back Home – Tony Joe White (feat. Shelby Lynne)

Last week I gave you another tune of his and I couldn’t pass up this one. The Swamp Fox as he was known with his soulful guitar and deep voice make this tune one to try.  – Dom

Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who

This song just works on every level.  Roger Daltrey’s soaring vocals, John Entwistles’s rumbling bass and Pete Townshend’s powerful guitar all driven by Keith Moon’s drums make this a true gem on one of the best overall rock albums ever.  – Jim

And Your Bird Can Sing – The Beatles

I was a fan of the Beatles, and John Lennon had kind words for the Raspberries especially the song “Overnight Sensation”. This Lennon song recorded during the Revolver era features both George Harrison and Paul McCartney on guitar, and was inspired by a gift to John from his first wife, Cynthia. It was later included on the American LP release Yesterday and Today.  – Wally

Scenes From An Italian Restaurant -Billy Joel

Just a song about Billy Joel observing life passing by in New York City, every person with a story behind them.  Billy’s just the guy to tell them.  – Jim

Porcelain  – Moby

I’ve always loved this haunting tune. Released in 2000 this song is about how life isn’t nice anymore and how dreams are the only escape. If you’re feeling the same this song is for You! – Dom

Hotel California  – Eagles

There’s a reason this song by the Eagles is one of the top selling discs of all time.  It’s just that good!  The balance of music and vocals along with introspective lyrics create a piece of work that affects you from the first listen and many times after.  – Jim

She Said – Hasil Adkins / The Cramps

So where do we start with Hasil Adkins?  Born to poverty in West Virginia during the Great Depression he started his music career in the 1950s as a one-man band with songs focusing on chicken, decapitation and sexual intercourse.  One of the pioneers of what would become “psychobilly”, Adkins got a major boost in the 1980s from Norton Records which helped him expand his base beyond his native West Virginia?  Prolific?  He was said to have written more than 7000 songs, but his unique performance style was an acquired taste. Fueled by heavy doses of liquor, cigarettes, gallons of coffee and lots of chicken, Atkins toured to support his Norton album “Poultry in Motion” with what is described as “dancing go-go chicken dancers”.  In a career where he was occasionally on the wrong side of the law, Adkins was discovered by a new audience when The Cramps did a cover of his song “She Said”.   In April 2005, a teenager riding an out of control ATV hit Adkins as he was sitting in his front yard and was found dead in his home eleven days later most likely from unattended injuries.  He was found just three days shy of his 68th birthday.   – Mike O

Can’t Get It Out Of My Head – Electric Light Orchestra

With Jeff Lynn announcing ELO’s Final Tour this year I thought a little reminder of how good this band is was in order. The concert stop in Cleveland is September 14.  – Dom

She Just Satifies- Jimmy Page

After a long and successful career as a session player that he gave up when asked to do what he called “muzak”, Page was urged by his then girlfriend Jackie DeShannon to try singing a tune as a solo artist. The single never really took off but if it was released today you might find it would fit in well with the Chesterfield Kings catalog. Look at the charts in ’65 and it seems obvious why it didn’t catch on.  – Mike O


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