The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random tracks at a time

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are when reading this – welcome to another Sunday Six. In this weekly feature, I’m embarking on imaginary time travel journeys to celebrate the beauty of music in different flavors from different decades, six tunes at a time. Hop on for the ride and fasten your seatbelt.

Wayne Krantz/For Susan

Today, I’d like to start our little trip with beautiful instrumental music by Wayne Krantz, an American guitarist and composer who has been active since the ’80s. Telling you he “was good enough” for Walter Becker and Donald Fagen to tour with Steely Dan and appear on Fagen’s 2006 solo album Morph the Cat should suffice. Krantz has also worked with jazz artists Billy Cobham, Chris Potter, David Binney and Carla Bley. And since 1990, he has released eight studio albums as a band leader. Let’s give a listen to For Susan, a soothing track from what appears to be Krantz’s first solo album Signals, released in 1990. Check out this amazing guitar tone – not surprisingly, it was instant love for me!

Fleetwood Mac/Sometimes

I think it’s safe to assume most folks best know Fleetwood Mac from their “classic period” between 1975 and 1987, which among others includes their most successful album Rumours (February 1977). But there’s more to the Mac who started out as Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac in July 1967, a blues rock band led by amazing blues guitarist Peter Green. In April 1970, Green who was in the throes of drug addiction and mental illness left the group. This started an interesting transitional era that initially featured Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan on guitars, in addition to co-founders John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). They were soon officially be joined by Christine McVie (born Anne Christine Perfect), who in 1968 had married John McVie – the first of many complicated relationships among members of the Mac! By the time they released their fifth studio album Future Games in September 1971, Spencer had been replaced by guitarist Bob Welch. Here’s Sometimes, a great country rock tune off that record, penned by Kirwan – the Mac’s early blues rock days were in the distant past!

Fastball/Fire Escape

With their recent release of a nice new album, The Deep End, Fastball have been on my mind. The Texan band was formed in 1994 in Austin by Tony Scalzo  (vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar),  Miles Zuniga  (vocals, guitar) and Joey Shuffield (drums, percussion), a lineup that remarkably remains in place to this day. You can read more about the group and their ups and downs in this feature I posted in February this year. I’d like to take us to March 1998, which saw the release of Fastball’s sophomore album All the Pain Money Can Buy, their breakthrough and most successful record. Instead of The Way, their biggest hit that initially brought the band on my radar screen, I’d like to highlight Fire Escape, another excellent tune. Written by Zuniga, the song also became the album’s second single. While it made various charts in the U.S. and Canada, surprisingly, it did fare far more moderately than The Way.

World Party/The Ballad of the Little Man

I still remember when I heard Ship of Fools for the first time in the ’80s and thought, ‘gee, the vocalist sounds a bit like Mick Jagger.’ The vocalist, of course, was singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Karl Wallinger, who had started World Party in 1986 as a solo music project after his departure from The Waterboys. His debut album under the World Party moniker was Private Revolution, which came out in March 1987. It would be the first of five released over the following 13 years. In February 2001, Wallinger had an aneurysm that left him unable to speak and sidelined his career until 2006. While over the next 14 years he occasionally toured with a backing band as World Party and released the compilation Arkeology (2012) and a live album, World Party Live! (2014), Wallinger appears to have been inactive since 2015. Here’s The Ballad of the Little Man, a tune from Private Revolution. I love the cool ’60s vibe in many of Wallinger’s tunes!

The Doors/Light My Fire

The time has come to travel back to the ’60s for real. In January 1967, The Doors, one of my favorite groups, released their eponymous debut, and what a great record it was! Break On Through (To the Other Side), Soul Kitchen, Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) and the apocalyptic The End are among the gems here. And, of course, the mighty Light My Fire, which was primarily written by guitarist Robbie Krieger, though it was credited to the entire band. The song also became the group’s second single and their breakthrough. But I’m not featuring the shortened single edit. At CMM, we don’t do things half-ass! Ray Manzarek’s organ part is sheer magic to my ears. I never get tired of it!

Santana/Anywhere You Want to Go

Once again we’re entering the final stretch of yet another Sunday Six. When it comes to Carlos Santana, who has been a favorite since I listened to the 1974 compilation Santana’s Greatest Hits as an 8-year-old, I’ve always loved his first three albums the most. This “classic period” spanned the years 1969 to 1971 and includes gems like Evil Ways, Jingo, Soul Sacrifice, Black Magic Woman, Samba Pa Ti and Everybody’s Everything. Needless to point out I was intrigued when sometime in early 2016 I learned Carlos had reunited with most of the surviving members from the band’s early ’70s lineup for a new album: Gregg Rolie (lead vocals, keyboards), Neal Schon (guitar, vocals), Michael Carabello (congas, percussion, backing vocals) and Michael Shrieve (drums). Sure, 46 years is a very long time and I couldn’t expect Santana IV would sound the same as those first three records. But I still liked what I heard. Perhaps best of all, I got to see that version of Santana live during a short supporting tour, which also featured Journey. I’m leaving you with Anywhere You Want to Go, penned by Rolie. Feel free to groove along!

Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a Spotify list of all the above tunes.

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube; Spotify

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18 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

  1. Good list! World Party are a vastly under-rated act. I think Max, if I’m not mistaken loved the ‘Frie Escape’ song…oddy I don’t remember hearing it back then though ‘The Way’ was huge , and rightly so , where I was

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    1. Now that you mentioned it, I think you’re right about Max and “Fire Escape”. This may have well been a subconscious trigger for my pick – love that tune! Also agree about World Party. Wallinger really wrote some good songs. It’s a pity he appears to be retired.

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  2. Thanks for posting Fire Escape! That is my favorite Fastball song! Also thanks for posting a Fleetwood Mac song that is before 1975…don’t get me wrong…I love those also but it’s nice to hear what they were.

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  3. That Santana song is pretty good. I’m surprised that it sounded so much like their original style on the early albums. This is cuz Greg Rolie is back this time and he was the best member of Santana. He sang on all their best songs and he must have been the real rock guy in the group because after he left is when they started getting too far into that jazz fusion stuff . I think I read that it’s the reason he left, cuz he and Carlos Santana disagreed about that. And of course Greg was right, because they were never as good again after he left. He didn’t sing on my very favorite Santana song though, Everything’s Coming Our Way. But everything else besides that one.
    I also like that Fleetwood Mac song, even though usually Peter Green didn’t write or sing nearly as good as Bob Welch. He’s the only one I really liked in the early days. Peter Green was at least better than Christine though, I’ll tell you that. I never thought she was any good really.
    And also , Can you believe I like the shorter version of Light My Fire better than the long version. It’s not so much that I like it better, but if I have the choice I’d rather listen to the short version.

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    1. By the time Fleetwood Mac recorded the “Future Game” album, Peter Green had left. I like music from each of the band’s three phases: The Peter Green era, the period in-between their early blues rock days and the beginning of their pop rock area, as well as the later. I feel that transition period oftentimes tends to get overlooked, even though there’s some good music here.

      As for “Light My Fire”, I just love the epic organ sound on that tune, so I don’t mind the long version at all! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m also okay with the single edit.

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      1. Oh yeah, that’s right. Peter Green was already gone. And how could I forget that he wrote Black Magic Woman, while we’re speaking of Santana. ha ha.

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