One of the really nice parts of having a radio program like the Galaxy is the ability to feature songs that one never really hears much through other radio stations. Tonight is one such night. We start with the Guess Who, a band that came out of Winipeg, Manitoba, back in the late ’60s/early ’70s. While they are easily best known for American Woman, their big #1 hit that was resurrected in 1999 and featured in one of the Austin Powers movies, they recorded a number of well constructed and well played songs that are worthy of a hearty listen. Several of these songs were written by singer/pianist Burton Cummings with their original lead guitarist Randy Bachman, who left the Guess Who to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive, while others were written with the late Kurt Winter, who was brought in after Bachman left the group. Tonight we heard No Time, No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature, American Woman, Hand Me Down World, Share the Land, and Hang On To Your Life.
We next heard a few songs from the Who. They did so many excellent songs that it can be difficult for me at times to choose. So we ran with a few selections from Who’s Next that I chose for their excellent songwriting and notable performances: Getting In Tune, Going Mobile, and Behind Blue Eyes. As we are using the Deluxe Edition, which includes a live set that they did in London during the recording of Who’s Next (when Pete Townsend had been planning for it to be a concept album, like Tommy), we also included a few excellent live cuts: Love Ain’t for Keeping (a song that was eventually issued as part of Who’s Next), Pure and Easy (which had been written to be a part of the concept album, but when the concept album idea was discarded, the song eventually was selected for omission from the album), and Young Man Blues, which had been a live staple of the band’s.
We concluded the show with a striking piece by the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler. His Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth) probably should have been his Ninth Symphony, but the extremely superstitious Mahler avoided numbering it as his Ninth because of “The Curse of the Ninth“, where death is associated with a composer’s Ninth Symphony (i.e. Beethoven). So he wrote the piece, and simply didn’t refer to it as a symphony. There were probably other issues underlying the situation, as Mahler deals with the subjects of life, parting, death and salvation in the work. Ironically, after completion of the work, he did write and complete his Ninth Symphony, but died while writing his Tenth. Tonight’s recording is an excellent recording from 2000 that features Wagnerians Ben Heppner (tenor) and Waltraud Meier (mezzo-soprano), with Lorin Maazel leading the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.