A Little Is Enough

Episode 4 Tracklist:

  2. LITTLE FEAT: “Hi Roller”
  3. QUEEN: “Killer Queen” (acapella)
  4. ALICE COOPER: “Never Been Sold Before”
  5. FACES: “Maybe I’m Amazed”
  6. MICHAEL HEDGES: “She Drives Me Crazy”
  7. PAUL SIMON: “Armistice Day”
  8. STING: “An Englishman in New York” (Timothy White Session)
  9. RY COODER: “The Very Thing That Makes You Rich Makes Me Poor”
  10. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & THE E STREET BAND: “Backstreets” (Live, Hammersmith Odeon, London 1975)
  11. DAVID BROMBERG: “Watch Baby Fall”
  12. JOE WALSH: “Theme from Baroque Weirdos”
  13. JOE WALSH: “The Friend Song”
  14. RY COODER: “Alimony”
  15. STEVIE WONDER and Sting: “Higher Ground”/”Roxanne”
  16. VAN MORRISON: “John Henry”
  17. JACKSON 5: “Never Can Say Goodbye” (acapella)

Song Notes:

CLASSICAL INTRO > Pete Townshend: “A Little Is Enough”
Ahh, the days of making mixed tapes with my old Nakamichi 500 cassette deck. I was always playing around, looking to concoct some fun segue. In this case I randomly taped a classical station on the radio and thought it would work nicely mashed up with Pete Townshend’s “A Little Is Enough.” I was totally enamored with Pete’s 1980 solo record, Empty Glass. For my taste it was one of the two best records of the year. It had killer songs and I love Pete as a vocalist because his voice isn’t that of a classic “lead singer.” Like Joe Walsh — another favorite singer of mine — Pete has to work at his vocals and own them. I guess it’s his authenticity that attracts me. —John Stix

Little Feat: “Hi Roller”
Little Feat again, this time a 1977 studio recording of a song that eventually became a concert classic of theirs. From the the underrated Time Loves a Hero album.
—Rock Stamberg

“Hi-Roller” is one of those Little Feat songs I often turn to. It’s not a hit, it’s not a fan favorite, but it is among this fan’s favorites. They have the Tower of Power horns on there and those guys add punch and plenty of energy in just the right way. I love playing this one while driving. —JS

Alice Cooper: “Never Been Sold Before”
A rockin’ gem from the original Alice Cooper Band’s swan song, 1973’s Muscle of Love. Notice how the production values (horn section, song arrangement, sound) were employed by Aerosmith during their late ’80s “comeback” on albums like Permanent Vacation and Pump? (That’s a compliment, BTW). —RS

Faces: “Maybe I’m Amazed”
I saw the Faces perform this one live at the Fillmore East with a bill that included the jazz rock band If and the American debut performance of Black Sabbath. I love the way Paul McCartney does this song and I also love the way Faces do it. The song itself is so perfect that if you play it, you must do all the parts including the guitar solo exactly as Paul McCartney recorded it. So to make this song your own you have to have a ton of personality. They did and this does. —JS

Michael Hedges: “She Drives Me Crazy”
This Michael Hedges version of Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy” is one of the most played songs on my iPod. Yes, I still use an iPod to carry around thousands of songs. I’m still looking for this concert, which I originally taped off WNEW-FM radio. Michael Hedges was opening for Crosby, Stills & Nash when they performed at the UN in NYC. I have seen several live versions of Hedges performing this on YouTube, but none are half as good as this one. If one element of great music is about capturing a great moment, then this is great music. —JS

Paul Simon: “Armistice Day”
What a strange yet alluring tune from Paul Simon’s eponymously titled first solo album from 1972. Talk about tension and release … just listen to his strident guitar and how he uses the horn section like a fire engine’s blare. Intense. —RS

Ry Cooder: “The Very Thing That Makes You Rich Makes Me Poor”
Rock and I were talking about tension and release in music and I chose “The Very Thing That Makes You Rich Makes Me Poor” by Ry Cooder, with a big assist from David Lindley. This track just sizzles with the players understating everything they play. It’s from my other favorite album of 1979, Bop Till You Drop. I played both sides of this LP until they turned grey. —JS

Bruce Springsteen: “Backstreets”
I’m a Springsteen fan and have a ton of live performance recordings, but I’ll tell you this one legit recording Live from the Hammersmith Odeon 1975 is flat-out one of the all-time best. “Backstreets” has all the cinematic drama and high stakes rock ‘n roll that Springsteen does better than anyone. I love the original studio recording tune from Born to Run, but this version is in 3D. —JS

David Bromberg: ”Watch Baby FalL”
OMG what a story, what a melody, what lyrical soul-bearing. A rare original written by Bromberg himself. Don’t let the pretty music or Bromberg’s easy delivery fool you. Heart-wrenching stuff delivered pretty. —RS

Joe Walsh: Theme from Baroque Weirdos” > “The Friend Song”
I don’t remember exactly why we cooked up the idea of playing songs that might just make you cry for this episode, but this duo of tunes, “Theme From Baroque Weirdos” and “The Friend Song,” set me off every time. I could be in the car or walking on the beach and if either one comes on, my eyes well up. Joe Walsh is a master of simplicity, minimalism and silence. His singing draws me in like The Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde’s does. When I hear either one I am sucked in and listen hard. —JS

Ry Cooder: “Alimony”
Apparently a favorite of Ry’s, this is a live version captured on his 1976 Tex-Mex-flavored tour and released on ’77’s warts-’n-all Show Time collection. Ry’s played this many times in many different styles and this one begins with an exquisite acapella intro sung by his backing vocalists Bobby King and Terry Evans. Chicken skin music indeed. Wow. —RS

Stevie Wonder & Sting: “Higher Ground”/”Roxanne”
Of the songs that deserve a standing ovation we chose Stevie Wonder and Sting’s two-song medley of each other’s hits from their performance at the 25th Anniversary of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame celebration. I was there and it was this great. This show featured one of my all-time favorite bills: CSN with guests Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor and Jackson Browne. Then Paul Simon followed by Simon & Garfunkel. Stevie Wonder with Sting, and B.B. King and Jeff Beck followed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. “Higher Ground/Roxanne” was a performance highlight. But for me the highlight was Bonnie Raitt singing “Love Has No Pride” with Crosby and Nash. You looking for chills? Go find this on YouTube or Spotify. —JS

Van Morrison: “John Henry”
Feel the spontaneity? One of Van’s misty raucous off-the-cuff recordings, recorded in 1975 but not released until 1998’s 2-CD rarities collection, The Philosopher’s Stone. —RS

Michael Jackson: “Never Can Say Goodbye” (Acapella)
How good was Michael Jackson? Just listen to the naked vocals. That’s why you “Never Can Say Goodbye.” —JS