This time around, Rhapsody's Classic Rock Vault gets bluesy, moody, smoky and soulful. We kick off with a pair of Beatles-related cuts. First up is John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band's snarling, dirge-like ["Yer Blues,"] from the [Live Peace in Toronto 1969] album (and yes, that's Eric Clapton shredding all over the place). After that, soul great Wilson Pickett and guitarist Duane Allman invent Southern rock with their Muscle Shoals-recorded rendition of "Hey Jude," originally released as a single in 1969.
And speaking of the American South, "Country Life" is a wonderful little slice of country-gospel fusion from Bobby Whitlock. In addition to cofounding Derek and the Dominos with Clapton, the Memphis-born singer and guitarist released a handful of top-notch solo albums in the '70s (the highlights of which comprise the recently released anthology Where There's a Will There's a Way: ABC-Dunhill Recordings). Additional Southern chestnuts are to be found in the form of Bobby Charles' "Street People," Big Star's "Don't Lie to Me," Delbert McClinton's "Victim of Life's Circumstances" and Eddie Hinton's "Everybody Needs Love." (If you're unfamiliar with Hinton, you should change that ASAP; a key player in the Muscle Shoals story, he was a one-of-a-kind talent who never fully received his due before passing away 1995.)
Mixed into all this Southern-fried goodness is a heaping spoonful of classic British blues rock. Ten Years After's "Hear Me Calling," from the 1969 album Stonedhenge (stoner alert!), is a train that eventually jumps the rails in a fit of chugging ecstasy. And don't overlook The Groundhogs and the [title track] to their harrowing, anti-war masterpiece [Thank Christ for the Bomb] -- a profound and emotional tune.