This Week’s Theme: Keyboardist Ralph Schuckett
Chances are that you have never heard of Ralph Schuckett, and up until this week neither had I. But I’ve been listening to his keyboard playing all of my life without knowing it. He was a session player for a lot of artists, a founding member of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, and a composer and producer. Ralph Schuckett died on April 4, 2021 so this seems like a good time to become more familiar with his work.
Welcome to Radio Faux Show number six.
First things first – click a link to start listening and then come back to read about this week’s songs.
Songs from this week’s theme
Clear Light “Black Roses”: Although he wasn’t an original member of the mid-’60s psychedelic band Clear Light, Schuckett played keyboards on their only album after the original keyboardist was fired during the recording session. Schuckett’s first claim to fame may be the story of how the band became overnight sensations after Schuckett had a run-in with a drunk fan during a live show.
The Monkees “Porpoise Song”: This is one of The Monkees strangest songs, but also one of their most beloved. The song was written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and is the theme song from the film Head.
Daryl Hall and John Oates “Everytime You Go Away”: The Paul Young version is a much bigger hit, but this is the original from the Hall and Oates album Voices. Schuckett’s organ shines throughout this one.
Carole King “Sweet Seasons” and James Taylor “Hello Old World”: This is a pair of songs from Schuckett’s prolific early ’70s session work. Schuckett performed on many Carole King albums, including her classic Tapestry.
Todd Rundgren “Just One Victory”: This is the final song on Rundgren’s classic, highly influential album A Wizard, A True Star. In order to record the album Rundgren brought in Moogy Klingman to set up a special recording studio. During recording Klingman brought in the rest of his band The Rhythm Kingz, which included Schuckett on keyboards. These recording sessions then led to the creation of the band Utopia.
Todd Rundgren’s Utopia “Freedom Fighters”: This is the third track on the first Utopia album. And here’s a live performance. Schuckett’s keyboards are fantastic, but CHECK OUT THOSE DUDS!
Clarence Clemons and the Red Bank Rockers “Savin’ Up”: In addition to his keyboard work, Schuckett was a producer for several artists. This song was written by Bruce Springsteen for Clemons to use on his 1983 album Rescue. Schuckett not only played keyboards on this song but also arranged the horns and produced the entire album.
Artist of the Week: Malcolm Cecil
Malcolm Cecil was a bassist, producer, engineer, and electronic music innovator.
He began his music career as an influential member of the British jazz and blues scene of the late ’50s and early ’60s. He was a founding member of the Jazz Couriers and was an original member of Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, a group formed in 1961 which featured a who’s who of British blues musicians throughout the early ’60s.
In the late ’60s, Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff formed an electronic duo called Tonto’s Expanding Head Band. They only produced two albums in the early ’70s but their goal was not to become pop stars. The true goal of their recordings was to present their new invention to the world. They named their invention TONTO, or The Original New Timbral Orchestra.
Stevie Wonder and TONTO
The TONTO was influential on the sound of music in the ’70s. It was used by a slew of artists including Quincy Jones, Weather Report, Isley Brothers, Doobie Brothers, Billy Preston, Gil Scott-Heron, and many more. But most importantly, it was used on almost all of Stevie Wonders’ classic ’70s albums.
The Original New Timbral Orchestra is used on Wonder’s albums Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervisions, and Fullfillingness’ First Finale. Wonder is famous for producing his albums and performing all of the music himself, but for these albums Margouleff and Cecil are both listed as Associate Producers, Engineers, and Programmers. They both won an Engineering Grammy for Innervisions.
2 For “Two”day
The first double shot this week is from Artist of the Week Malcom Cecil. The first song is Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City” off of the album Innervisions and the second is “Cybernaut” from the first TONTO’s Expanding Head Band album Zero Time.
The next double is Carole King. First she plays piano on B.B. King’s “Chains and Things” and second is the song “Sweet Seasons” from King’s album Music.
The third twofer is Big Country’s “Chance” and “Harvest Home” from the album The Crossing.
The Monkees “Porpoise Song”
Stevie Wonder “Living for the City”
Lisa Stansfield “This is the Right Time”
Gin Blossoms “Hey Jealousy”
Billy Squier “Rock Me Tonite”
Air Supply “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”
Bonnie Tyler “Total Eclipse of the Heart”
Cecil Taylor: Artist of the Week (died March 28, 2021)
Ralph Schuckett: This week’s theme (died April 4, 2021)
Morris “B.B.” Dickerson: Bassist for War (died April 2, 2021)
B.B. Dickerson was the bassist on all of War’s classic ’70s albums.
Cory Wong and Metropole Orkest “Jax”
Kirby “Don’t Leave Your Girl”
3 Chunks of Funk
War “Get Down”: This song is from War’s album All Day Music and is one of their funkiest songs.
The Brothers Johnson “Get the Funk Out Ma Face”: The Brothers Johnson were a fairly successful funk group in the late ’70s. They had three Number 1 R&B hits that also hit the Top 10 on the pop charts, including their cover of Shuggie Otis’ “Strawberry Letter 23,” but my favorite of their songs is this one which is their only other Top 40 hit.
Cory Wong and Metropole Orkest “Jax”: Guitarist Cory Wong is an extremely prolific songwriter, podcaster, and producer, and is most well known as the virtuoso rhythm guitarist for the funk group Vulfpeck. I won’t go into much detail about Vulfpeck here, but if you don’t know this band then you should set aside some time to go do some listening. The Metropole Orkest is an amazing group of close to a hundred musicians. It was created in 1945 in The Netherlands, has won multiple Grammy awards, and is the largest ensemble of its kind in the world. Their record Sylva with the amazing band Snarky Puppy is a Faux household favorite and a Grammy winner. They also recently won a Grammy for a song recorded with Jacob Collier, another artist that you should go listen to if you don’t already know his work. Recorded Live In Amsterdam, “Jax” is the fourth track from the 2020 album by Cory Wong and the Metropole Orkest.
Happy Birthday (April 11)
Lisa Stansfield “This is the Right Time”: Lisa Stansfield is a very successful artist in the dance music genre who had four hits in the early ’90s and is still touring throughout Europe and North America. She continues to record new dance music, and her last album was released in 2018.
Doug Hopkins: Doug Hopkins was the original lead singer and songwriter for the Gin Blossoms. “Hey Jealousy” was their first hit.
Joss Stone: Joss Stone is a British singer/songwriter who had massive success when she broke onto the soul revival scene at the turn of the century. “Super Duper Love” is from her debut album The Soul Sessions and was originally recorded by Sugar Billy.
Stuart Adamson: Adamson was the lead singer and guitarist for the Scottish band Big Country. When they started, Adamson was compared to Jimi Hendrix for his guitar playing and they were the first band to have a major hit with that now-so-familiar guitar delay sound that is identified with U2’s The Edge. Although they were heralded as leaders of a new wave of rock, Big Country’s success did not last long and U2 is now one of the most recognizable bands in the world. After his death, The Edge stated that Adamson wrote the songs that U2 wished they could write.
The Get Down
MC Lyte “Lyte as a Rock”: This is the title track from the first full length album by a solo female rapper. MC Lyte is a pioneer and one of the most important rappers of all time.
Video for the first song by a solo female rapper to be certified Gold in sales.
Beastie Boys “Egg Man”: This is from their classic 2nd album Paul’s Boutique.
Arrested Development “Mama’s Always On Stage”: This is from their debut album, the best rap album of 1992. That harmonica sample is a classic.
Down at the Crossroads
This week’s trio of blues is a masterclass in blues guitar from three guitarists with very different styles.
Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band (featuring Buddy Guy) “We’re Ready”: Here is the original song that was sampled for the Arrested Development song “Mama’s Always on Stage”. This track is from one of the greatest blues albums ever recorded, Hoodoo Man Blues.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble “Pride and Joy”: This is a great song by a blues guitar legend from his debut album Texas Flood.
B. B. King “Chains and Things“: This song is from the album Indianola Mississippi Seeds, one of King’s best albums and arguably the greatest blues crossover album. “Chains and Things” features Carole King on piano, was a Top 10 Black Single, and almost hit the Top 40 pop charts.
Aretha Franklin “Do Right Woman – Do Right Man”: This is one of the greatest songs ever written. It was recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals studios during the Never Loved a Man sessions.
Kirby “Don’t Leave Your Girl”: This is a 2020 single from soul artist Kirby.
Joss Stone “Super Duper Love”: This is from Stone’s debut album The Soul Sessions.
All Hail Jim Steinman
This week’s show ends with a trio of songs produced by Jim Steinman. Rock and roll dreams do come through!
Billy Squier “Rock Me Tonite”: This one isn’t as obviously a Steinman production, but you can hear it once you know he produced it. It is Billy Squier’s biggest hit, but some claim that the video led to the end of Squier’s success. I’d like to think that the world is more tolerant now than it was in the ’80s.
Air Supply “Making Love out of Nothing at All”: Steinman tries to give Air Supply an edge. Good luck with that!
Bonnie Tyler “Total Eclipse of the Heart”: After Meatloaf, this is the most well known Steinman production. Turn around bright eyes.
Thanks for listening (and reading)!
|1||Clear Light||Black Roses|
|2||The Monkees||Porpoise Song (Theme from Head)|
|3||Stevie Wonder||Living for the City|
|4||TONTO’s Expanding Head Band||Cybernaut|
|5||Daryl Hall and John Oates||Everytime You Go Away|
|7||The Brothers Johnson||Get the Funk Out Ma Face|
|8||Cory Wong and Metropole Orkest||Jax|
|9||Lisa Stansfield||This is the Right Time|
|10||MC Lyte||Lyte as a Rock|
|11||Beastie Boys||Egg Man|
|12||Arrested Development||Mama’s Always On Stage|
|13||Junior Wells’ Chicago Blues Band feat. Buddy Guy||We’re Ready|
|14||Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble||Pride and Joy|
|15||B.B. King||Chains and Things|
|16||Carole King||Sweet Seasons|
|17||James Taylor||Hello Old Friend|
|18||Todd Rundgren||Just One Victory|
|20||Big Country||Harvest Home|
|21||Gin Blossoms||Hey Jealousy|
|23||Aretha Franklin||Do Right Woman – Do Right Man|
|24||Kirby||Don’t Leave Your Girl|
|25||Joss Stone||Super Duper Love|
|26||Clarence Clemons & the Red Bank Rockers||Savin’ Up|
|27||Billy Squier||Rock Me Tonite|
|28||Air Supply||Making Love Out of Nothing at All|
|29||Bonnie Tyler||Total Eclipse of the Heart|
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