Song: The Chain
Artist: Fleetwood Mac, England/Palo, CA/Phoenix, AZ
Notes: Opening this week's special Chains edition of L&F (every song is linked to the next one), interestingly, this was the only tune on their iconic album to be written by all five members of the band. It was never released as a single but remains one of their signature songs - the BBC used it as its theme music for their popular Formula 1 Grand Prix television coverage for decades. The once-again reunited band - sans Christine McVie - is headed out on the road this month, when they will no doubt perform songs from the album, now 36 years young, which was co-produced with Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat ...
Artist: Colbie Caillat, Malibu, CA
Album: Coco, 2007
Notes: An exceptional ballad, inexplicably only included as an iTunes bonus track on her maiden album. It remains her most successful long-player to date having sold more than five million copies worldwide. Co-produced by her father Ken Caillat and co-written with Mikal Blue. The bulk of the album was, however, inked with Jason Reeves...
Song: Just Friends
Artist: Jason Reeves, Iowa City, IA
Notes: Born in Texas, but raised in Iowa before moving to California in 2005, the tunesmith met Colbie Caillat and moved in with her family so they could write songs together for her first album. 10 years' worth of recordings from him to date have yielded five albums and not a duff one amongst them - he truly knows how to craft top-drawer folk-pop. Singing backing vocals on this track - the exceptional Angel Taylor ...
Song: Hometown Glory
Artist: Angel Taylor, Sylmar, CA
Album: Not available
Notes: The vocal class and interpretative quality of an L&F favorite with an extremely rare recording of a song which she often performs in concert. The horribly under-appreciated Los Angeles-based songstress, who's just turned 25, has only recorded one album to date, the exceptional 'Love Travels.' She once opened for Adele on an NPR radio special called 'Live Fridays' in January 2009. Those familiar with this song will know it was written by? - Adele ...
Song: Make You Feel My Love
Artist: Adele, England
Album: 19, 2008
Notes: The world conquering singer from North London with the achingly pleading evergreen ballad tucked away on her debut album. The composition has been much covered in recent years - Kelly Clarkson, Garth Brooks, even his wife Trisha Yearwood are among several artists who've given it a try, but perhaps the best version is Billy Joel's, although he didn't write it. That honor belongs to Bob Dylan ...
Song: Precious Angel
Artist: Bob Dylan, Duluth, MN
Album: Slow Train Coming, 1979
Notes: On March 29th, 1979, Dire Straits performed the last date of their first US tour at the Roxy in Los Angeles. In the audience was one Bob Dylan. Impressed by their debut single 'Sultans of Swing' and the guitar playing of the group's leader Mark Knopfler, he went backstage and asked whether he would play electric guitar on his upcoming album - the first he recorded after his conversion to Christianity. In the ensuing years, the album is perhaps best remembered for Knopfler's guitar work however ...
Song: Sailing To Philadelphia
Artist: Mark Knopfler featuring James Taylor, England/Boston, MA
Notes: Deftly chronicling the pioneering spirit and work of 18th century British land surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon. (They surveyed the line which takes their name in the resolution of a border dispute between the British colonies and Colonial America.) On that brilliantly conceived storytale song, Dire Straits' former leader takes the vocal role of Dixon, while the timeless vocal class of James Taylor, whose recording career began on The Beatles' Apple label, plays Mason ...
Song: In My Life
Artist: Beatles, England
Album: Rubber Soul, 1965
Notes: Hard to select a lost nugget since everyone seems to know every recording they ever made. Nonetheless that was never a single and perhaps one of their finest lesser known outings. Ranked 23rd on Rolling Stone's 'The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time' in 2004 and named Mojo's 'Best Song Of All Time' in 2000. There is much conjecture as to how much of the song was written by Lennon and how much by McCartney. What is not in doubt is the contribution made by their longstanding producer, the great Sir George Martin ...
Song: End Of A Love Song
Artist: American Flyer, Columbus, OH/Brooklyn, NY/New York, NY/Long Island, NY
Album: American Flyer, 1976
Notes: A simply gorgeous one-minute orchestral beauty, co-written and produced by The Beatles' musical director, George Martin, it closed a disgracefully overlooked 1976 album. Just two LPs from a quartet comprising Craig Fuller of Pure Prairie League, Steve Katz of Blood Sweat & Tears, Doug Yule of The Velvet Underground and The Blues Magoos' singer-songwriter, Eric Kaz. Kaz went on to create a canon of beautiful songs, including 'Love Has No Pride', 'Cry Like A Rainstorm', 'All I Have' and ... 'Blowing Away' ...
Song: Blowing Away
Artist: Bonnie Raitt, Burbank, CA
Album: Home Plate, 1975
Notes: How this incredible ballad hasn't been a hit for anyone at any time is beyond belief, especially in this definitive version by a singer whose recording career has spanned 42 years. The daughter of Broadway star John Raitt, who created the role of Billy Bigelow in 'Carousel' in 1945, she has probably done as much as anyone to bring the blues into the mainstream. After a series of critically-acclaimed albums, it wasn't until 'Nick Of Time' and 'Luck Of The Draw' were released that she finally turned that acclaim into sales success. The latter album featured what is probably now her signature tune, 'I Can't Make You Love Me' ...
Song: I Can't Make You Love Me
Artist: Bruce Hornsby featuring Debbie Henry, Williamsburg, VA
Album: Not available
Notes: As good as the song is, and as Bonnie Raitt's singing is, her version was defined by the signature-playing of Hornsby. He then began performing the evergreen chestnut in concert with backing singer Debbie Henry taking the lead vocal role - this version was recorded on November 20th, 1993 in Cleveland. The song was inked by country tunesmiths Allen Shamblin and Mike Reid, the former Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman and probably the only NFL player to have written a hit.
Artist: Bruce Hornsby, Williamsburg, VA
Album: Halcyon Days, 2004
Notes: Simple, fluid, the easy-flowing craft of the incomparable Hornsby, a lovely song written for his twin sons, featuring Elton John on co-vocals. The track is buried on a largely unnoticed album, which also featured Eric Clapton and Sting among its stellar guests. Before Elton made it, he was a much in-demand session keyboard player, including playing on 'Mr. Boyd' the first solo single by Roger Hodgson, the future bassist and vocalist of Supertramp ...
Artist: Supertramp, England
Album: Crime Of The Century, 1974
Notes: Never a hit in the US in its original studio version, though it did score as a live version in 1980. Made by the distinctive high vocal sound of Roger Hodgson, who quit the band in 1983. Since then, he has pursued a sporadic solo career with three studio and two live albums to date. He has however toured often, even joining Ringo Starr on one of his All-Starr Band jaunts. A couple of years ago, a rift deveoped between Hodgson and Supertramp's Rick Davies over the performing of his songs live by Supertramp. He claimed it went against an agreement that the pair had made years earlier. In any event, a Rick Davies-fronted Supertramp is still going with long championed L&F favorite Gabe Dixon on keyboards ...
Song: Even The Rain
Artist: Gabe Dixon & Alison Krauss, Augusta, GA/Decatur, IL
Album: One Spark, 2011
Notes: A Gabe Dixon demo was played on the very first L&F more than two years ago. Ever youthful but a true old school talent, he's been making A+ music for more than ten years, though still sorely undiscovered - his work harks back to the best melodic singer-songwriter fare of the 1970s, often reminiscent of Billy Joel at his best. On this song co-written with Tia Sillers, he's joined by bluegrass queen Alison Krauss ...
Song: Killing The Blues
Artist: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, England/Decatur, IL
Album: Raising Sand, 2007
Notes: A tune that has been covered by the likes of John Prine and Shawn Colvin but perhaps definitely recorded here by the former Led Zeppelin frontman with bluegrass queen Krauss resulting in a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. Few people know that for all its ancient blues feel this great song was actually written by a chap called Roly Salley, who since 1985 has been the bassist with Silvertone - the backing band for Chris Isaak ...
Song: Let Me Down Easy
Artist: Chris Isaak, Stockton, CA
Album: Always Got Tonight, 2002
Notes: Note perfect easy-breezy music for a Sunday. If you've ever wondered why the telegenic singer-songwriter has an imperfect buckled nose it's because he used to be an amateur boxer before his music career got underway. He's built an impeccable canon of work as a sort of latter day Roy Orbison - but he's also made occasional forays into acting. If you look closely he played an unnamed SWAT Commander in 'The Silence of the Lambs'. HIs debut album, released nearly 30 years ago, was named after his backing band Silvertone ...
Song: Made Of Stone
Artist: Stone Roses, England
Album: The Stone Roses, 1989
Notes: In 1989, UK indie label Silvertone Records signed one of the pioneering bands of the Madchester movement. Their debut album is frequently voted the Top British Album of its era and a landmark recording. After an acrimonious and lengthy split which began in 1996, the ever-hip combo finally reunited in 2011 and will be playing their first US dates in eons at the Coachella Festival next month. The US success they had was in large part due to signing with David Geffen's Geffen label. But his first label was Asylum Records:
Song: Jesus Was A Crossmaker
Artist: Judee Sill, Oakland, CA
Album: Judee Sill, 1971
Notes: Starting out in the William Morris Agency mailroom before becoming personal manager to several music acts, David Geffen founded Asylum Records as an outlet for one of his acts, who happened to be Jackson Browne. However his first signing was an extraordinary singer-songwriter who led a life which belongs in a movie - drug addiction, jail time, alcoholic mother, abusive step-father. Judee died age 35 after years of drug abuse, found alone in her Hollywood apartment the day after Thanksgiving in 1979. This great song was inspired by her lover at the time, J.D Souther, and produced by Graham Nash ...
Song: Teach Your Children
Artist: Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Los Angeles, CA/Dallas, TX/England/Canada
Album: Deja Vu, 1970
Notes: Written by Graham Nash when he was still a member of The Hollies, but not recorded until his supergroup's second album, with Jerry Garcia featured on pedal steel guitar. The story goes that Garcia agreed to play the part in exchange for CSN&Y teaching the Grateful Dead how to sing harmony vocals. CS&N re-recorded the song in 1994 for the 'Red Hot + Country' album. So recorded twice, but on neither occasion was Neil Young a part of the timeless harmonizing ...
Song: Comes A Time
Artist: Neil Young, Canada
Album: Comes A Time, 1978
Notes: The lovely rolling track which featured Nicolette Larson and the great J.J. Cale among its musical guests. The two time Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductee has refused to be boxed in or classified over his magnificently rich career, deliberately flitting from grunge rock to country to beautiful acoustic folk. In 1996 he started his own Vapor Records label, which has always had a tasteful if meager roster. Head to www.vaporrecords.com - you'll see on the website one of their first signings - his fellow compatriots, Tegan & Sara ..
Song: I Was A Fool
Artist: Tegan & Sara, Canada
Album: Heartthrob, 2013
Notes: Currently Canada's finest, with a track from perhaps their most accomplished, mature and full-formed long-player to date, finally synthesizing all of the promise evident on their six prior CDs. The album was co-produced by Greg Kurstin, who incidentally also played piano on this cut. The Grammy-nominated writer and producer is also one half of the Bird & the Bee ...
Song: My Love
Artist: Bird and the Bee, Los Angeles, CA
Notes: A cute, curious lost ditty by the indie-pop duo of Greg Kurstin (The Bee) and Inara George (The Bird), who rather interestingly were signed until 2011 to the otherwise iconic jazz/blues label, Blue Note. Los Angeles-based with three delicious long-players to date, Kurstin has a string of writing and production credits behind him, including Dido, Ke$ha, P!nk, Kelly Clarkson, K.T. Tunstall and Foster The People. Inara George is the daughter of the late great Lowell George ...
Song: 20 Million Things
Artist: Lowell George, Arlington, VA
Notes: A solo track from the co-founder and frontman of '70s blues/country rockers, Little Feat, who took their name from George's dainty shoe size. Also an alumnus of Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention musical workshop and producer of Grateful Dead's 'Shakedown Street', but died too soon from heart failure at the age of 34 in 1979 - the same year his only solo album was released. A few weeks after his death, his friends put on a benefit concert for his family. The all-star lineup included Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Nicolette Larson and Jackson Browne - who subsequently wrote a song for George's daughter Inara ...
Song: I'm Alive
Artist: Jackson Browne, Germany
Album: I'm Alive, 1993
Notes: An absolute cracker that never charted from a singer-songwriter who couldn't be more West Coast if he tried, despite being born in Heidelberg, West Germany. His father was an American serviceman stationed there. The ever youthful Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is still feeling alive at the age of 64, and will embark on an acoustic tour with Sara Watkins in July following a couple of stadium dates with Jimmy Buffett in May. This track was co-produced by the legendary session guitatist Waddy Wachtel, who is also the long time guitarist for Stevie Nicks ...
Song: Cheaper Than Free
Artist: Stevie Nicks featuring Dave Stewart, Phoenix, AZ/England
Album: In Your Dreams, 2011
Notes: Deceptively strong lyrics, simple sentiment, and that timless black-laced voice on a song, whose title was actually given to her by the actress Reese Witherspoon. (Witherspoon was visiting the studio with Nicks and offered to let her stay in her Nashville condo. Nicks remarked 'Oh that would be cheap' to which Witherspoon responded 'Cheaper Than Free' - and a song was born.) The song features prominent guest vocals by its co-writer and producer Dave Stewart, he of course being one half of Eurythmics with the one and only Annie Lennox ...
Song: Pattern Of Life
Artist: Annie Lennox, Scotland
Notes: Released as a single but sorely overlooked by all and sundry from the Scottish singer, who if one tallies up all the records sold by her both in her partnership with former partner Dave Stwart and indeed solo, has shifted some 80 million units since bowing in 1977. The song is a cover of 'Closer Now', a top-drawer lost B-side by British pop-rockers Keane ...
Song: Fly To Me
Artist: Keane, England
Album: Not available
Notes: Little more than a demo, incredibly only ever released on the flip-side of an old UK-only single, it's among the melodic British pop-rock combo's best work. As with all their music, it's hallmarked by the gifted keyboard work of the band's main songwriter, Tim Rice-Oxley who formed the band with lead singer Tom Chaplin in 1998 - however, just before Keane emerged, Rice-Oxley was asked to become the keyboard player for another newly formed British group - Coldplay. No doubt the hardest part was turning them down ...
Song: The Hardest Part
Artist: Coldplay, England
Album: X&Y, 2005
Notes: The driving guitar work and piano rolls on that number are too good and rarely heard on the radio. The song was actually written as a tribute to Michael Stipe and R.E.M. In discussing its origin and referencing Stipe, Chris Martin said: 'I've lost all respect for fame, but I haven't lost all respect for respect. So the one great thing about being famous is that I get to meet people who I respect. Our relationship is akin to a dog and its master. I'll always look up to him.' Martin, always generous sharing his talent, even wrote a song with Timbaland, Danja and Nelly Furtado ...
Artist: Nelly Furtado, Canada
Album: Loose, 2006
Notes: A lost R&B/pop shuffler in the US, although a huge hit around the rest of the world. The Canadian songstress was an old friend of Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, and when they bumped into each other at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards ceremony, she told him she was working on a new album. The following night Martin showed up at The Hit Factory - the result of the evening's work this splendid record. Three years later, she teamed up with another UK talent, James Morrison ...
Song: Details In The Fabric
Artist: Jason Mraz featuring James Morrison, Mechanicsville, VA/England
Notes: Some fabulous vocal switching and harmonies throughout this quiet little corker which was recorded the same year as Morrison's duet with Nelly Furtado. Mraz has cut a series of terrific albums in the last decade and has frequently collaborated with peers such as Ingrid Michaelson, Jack Johnson and Colbie Caillat. He leads an interesting life outside of music, owning an avocado farm near San Diego and being an active supporter of several charities. Last year he ended a nine-year relationship with fellow singer, Tristan Prettyman ...
Song: I Was Gonna Marry You
Artist: Tristan Prettyman, San Diego, CA
Album: Cedar + Gold, 2012
Notes: Written about her engagement to and subsequent break up with fellow musician Jason Mraz by the former Roxy model who was diagnosed with vocal cord polyps after the release of her 2008 album 'Hello.' To prove her life is not one of constant unhappiness, she co-wrote 'Lindsay Goes To Rehab', an affectionate tongue-in-cheek (sort of tribute) to the troubled actress Lindsay Lohan with friends Anya Marina and? - Greg Laswell ...
Song: This Woman's Work
Artist: Greg Laswell, San Diego, CA
Album: Covers (EP), 2009
Notes: Kate Bush's original was played on L&F a few weeks ago, but this is a top-drawer update by one of L&F's absolute favorite artists. His version of the lost classic is one of five reverential treatments of some of his favorite songs on his 'Covers' EP. Bush's original appeared in the 1988 Kevin Bacon-starring film 'She's A Having A Baby'. A haunting profoundly emotive piece, composed by Kate from a man's perspective, when events take an unfortunate and life-threatening turn while he helplessly watches his wife trying to give birth to their unborn child. In a career of consistent brilliance, she has rarely collaborated with other artists, but one with whom she did (thank goodness) was Peter Gabriel ...
Song: Games Without Frontiers
Artist: Peter Gabriel, England
Album: Peter Gabriel, 1980
Notes: The whistling lost corker from the World Music great's third eponymous LP. In a 2011 interview with the arty Quietus.com music website, he revealed for the first time that his original choice for co-vocalist on 'Don't Give Up' wasn't Kate Bush, but Dolly Parton. The original lead singer of Genesis, when it was a progressive rock band, after he left for a solo career in 1975, their drummer stepped up to take over the lead vocals - none other than Phil Collins ...
Song: The Roof Is Leaking
Artist: Phil Collins, England
Album: Face Value, 1981
Notes: A lost treasure from his very first solo album, which featured the much better known tracks 'In The Air Tonight', 'I Missed Again' and 'If Leaving Me Is Easy'. The singing drummer continued a heady career as both a soloist and a member of Genesis - in fact, along with Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, he has sold more than 100 million records as both a solo artist and as part of a group. He also had success as a producer (Eric Clapton, Frida, Adam Ant) as well as lending his distinctive drumming to scores of artists, including Tears For Fears ...
Song: Woman In Chains
Artist: Tears For Fears, England
Album: The Seeds Of Love, 1989
Notes: Not only distinguished by the drumming of Phil Collins, but also by the vocals of Oleta Adams, the song was a Top 40 hit in several countries, including the US for the British duo of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. The Seattle-born Adams was discovered by the duo while performing in a hotel bar in Kansas City, while they touring the US in 1985. Two years passed before they contacted her and asked her to be a part of their band and to sing on their next album. L&F - bookending this week's special Chains show with the final link.