The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random tracks at a time

I can’t believe it’s Sunday again – boy, this first week of 2022 flew by really quickly! Well, this means it’s time for another installment of my favorite weekly feature where I time-travel to celebrate music of the past and sometimes the present, six tunes at a time. Off we go!

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble/Chitlins con Carne

Let’s kick it off with a great jazzy instrumental by Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of my favorite electric blues guitarists. Chitlins con Carne is from the fifth and final album of Vaughan and his backing band Double Trouble, appropriately titled The Sky Is Crying. This record appeared in November 1991, 14 months after Vaughan’s tragic and untimely death in a helicopter crash. He was only 35 years old – what a huge loss! Chitlins con Carne, composed by jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell, was first released on his 1963 album Midnight Blue. In case you’re curious you can check out the original here. Following is Vaughan’s excellent rendition!

Christine McVie/Got a Hold on Me

Christine McVie is best known as keyboarder, vocalist and songwriter of Fleetwood Mac, which she joined in 1970, coming from British blues band Chicken Shack. At the time she became a member of the Mac, she was the wife of bassist John McVie whom she had married in 1968. Their union fell apart after Christine had an affair with the band’s lighting engineer Curry Grant during the production of the Rumours album in 1976. Let’s just say there were many on and off relationships within Fleetwood Mac! Christine McVie wrote some of the band’s best-known songs, such as Don’t Stop, You Make Loving Fun (about her affair with Grant, though at the time she claimed it was about a dog!) and Say You Love Me. To date, she has also recorded three solo albums. Got a Hold on Me, co-written by her and Todd Sharp, is from her second solo effort Christine McVie, which came out in January 1984. I’ve always loved this pop-rock tune – simple and a bit repetitive, but quite catchy!

James Taylor/Fire and Rain

Last Sunday, I caught a great CNN documentary, Carole King & James Taylor: Just Call Out My Name, focused on their 2010 Troubadour Reunion Tour – I could still kill myself that I completely missed that tour! Anyway, one of the tunes they played was Fire and Rain, my favorite James Taylor original song. I also love his rendition of King’s You’ve Got a Friend. Fire and Rain is off Taylor’s sophomore album Sweet Baby James from February 1970. The tune also appeared separately as a single in August that year. It became his first hit, reaching no. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, no. 2 in Canada and no. 6 in Australia. It also charted in the UK (no. 48) and The Netherlands (no. 18). Here’s a beautiful live performance captured from the BBC’s In Concert series in November 1970. James Taylor, his smooth voice and his great guitar-playing – that’s really all you need!

Them/Gloria

Next, let’s jump back further to December 1964 and some dynamite British garage rock: Gloria by Them, a band formed in April 1964 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Fronted by Van Morrison (lead vocals, saxophone, harmonica), the group’s original line-up also included Billy Harrison (guitar, vocals), Eric Wrixon (keyboards), Alan Henderson (bass) and Ronnie Milling (drums). Gloria, penned by Morrison, was first released in November 1964 as the B-side to Baby, Please Don’t Go, Them’s second single. The tune was also included on the group’s debut album The Angry Young Them from June 1965, which in the U.S. was simply titled Them. This song’s just a classic. I wish I could say the same about Van Morrison these days!

Elvis Presley/Heartbreak Hotel

As frequent visitors of the blog may recall, my childhood idol was Elvis Presley who, btw, would have turned 87 yesterday (January 8). While I no longer idolize him or anyone else for that matter, I still dig Elvis, especially his early period. One of the coolest songs I can think of in this context is Heartbreak Hotel. Credited to Tommy Durden, Mae Boren Axton and Presley, the slow jazzy blues tune first appeared as a single in January 1956 and became Elvis’ first big hit. Among others, it topped the charts in the U.S., Canada and The Netherlands, and reached no. 2 in the UK. Heartbreak Hotel was also included on the compilation Elvis’ Golden Records from March 1958. In addition to Presley’s regular backing musicians Scotty Moore (electric guitar) and Bill Black (double bass), the recording featured Chet Atkins (acoustic guitar), Floyd Cramer (piano) and D.J. Fontana (drums). Feel free to snip along!

Mark Knopfler/Prairie Wedding

And once again, this brings me to the sixth and final track in this installment. It’s yet another tune my streaming music provider recently served up as a listening suggestion: Prairie Wedding by Mark Knopfler. The song is from the former Dire Straits frontman’s second solo album Sailing to Philadelphia that came out in September 2000. Written by Knopfler like all other tunes on the album, the track features Gillian Welch and her musical partner David Rawlings on backing vocals, as well as Guy Fletcher on keyboards. Fletcher also served in that role in Dire Straits from 1984 until the band’s final dissolution in 1995. Great tune with a nice cinematic feel!

Here’s a playlist of the above tunes:

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube; Spotify

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15 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

  1. After watching the six covers I thought you would present “Sailing To Philadelphia” which was dueted with James Taylor. Maybe there would be an overdose 😉

    Great tune of SRV.

    Never been a fan of Fleetwood Mac I remember the voice of Christine McVie in “Temporary One”. I really love this song.

    Have a nice Sunday! It’s getting dark here in Vienna!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The James Taylor tune really got to me this afternoon. As a kid I liked the song but didn’t understand its meaning. After learning who the song was about and also linking it to my life experiences, it got to me. Great video of Taylor doing the song. His looks never grabbed me when I was younger, but watching this video, ooh la la. Neat to learn Chet Atkins played guitar on the Elvis song. I also like the bass in there, gives a lot of class. I like Christine McVie’s stuff. My favorite song by her:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa. And sorry “Fire and Rain” touched you more than I imagine you wanted to. I’ve always loved that song for its beautiful melody, as well as Taylor’s singing and excellent guitar-playing. Frankly, I wasn’t aware of its rather serious background.

      And, yes, Bill Black’s double bass in “Heartbreak Hotel” definitely is one of the reason’s I love this tune as much as I do. Also Scotty Moore’s electric guitar and Floyd Kramer’s bar-like piano. And of course Elvis’ singing. It’s just a cool tune all around!

      Last but not least, I didn’t know “Warm Ways” – another great tune by Christine McVie. From “Fleetwood Mac” I also dig the Stevie Nicks tunes “Rhiannon” and “Landslide,” as well as “Say You Love Me,” another song by Christine McVie.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I heard a long time ago about they were making that documentary with James Taylor and the Troubadour, but I didn’t know it was on CNN now and I missed it. And yes, Fire and Rain is one of the greatest singles ever.
    I wasn’t a fan of Elvis a long time ago, but now I am. Heartbreak Hotel used to be my favorite Elvis song, but now I got new favorites. Blue Moon, Suspicious Minds, Mystery Train, Can’t Help Falling in Love, Burning Love, Devil in Disguise. Those are all right up there with Heartbreak Hotel. And probably a few more too.
    And of course I also love Gloria.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome picks! Fire and Rain never gets old to me…its like three small stories into one… and for the rest…Gloria and Heartbreak Hotel…perfect!
    Hey man…after getting snow and shutting down Nashville…yesterday we got flash floods all day! It never ends.

    Liked by 1 person

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