We All Shine On: Celebrating The Music Of 1970 is a Big Stir Records/Spyderpop Records release and will be out on August 26, 2022.
John M. Borack produced this compilation, featuring 22 of the finest current indie pop/rock acts offering their interpretations of the sounds of 1970. Sweet Sweet Music spoke to him about Neil Diamond, a not-so-well-known Donovan tune, Mitch Easter, The Brothers Steve, the vitality and versatility of music, and much more.
Celebrating the musical 70s. Where do you start! How did you start this project?
I’ve always been a fan of the music of the ‘70s; it’s the music I grew up listening to and loving, particularly those AM radio hits of the early-to-mid-‘70s. 1970 seemed to be a particularly fruitful year for amazing tunes, so I thought, “Why not pay tribute to the first year of the decade?” From there it was a matter of contacting artists I wanted to have participate and making sure they were paired up with tunes they wanted to record.
And what did you hope it would be when it was finished?
My hope was that each artist would have a blast recording these songs and that their joy would shine through in the final product. In my opinion, that mission was certainly accomplished. Beyond that, I was looking for a group of songs and artists who would be able to express the vitality and versatility of the music of 1970. In that respect, my hopes were exceeded.
Yellow River just seems to be made for The Armoires. What a delicious version it turned out to be. I think they should cover Mouth and McNeal’s How Do You Do now. Never mind, how did the song choice come about?
Well, they—or should I say “we,” since I am the Armoires’ drummer—had a blast recording it. When we were looking for songs that might be good fits for certain artists, I recommended that one to Rex and Christina and they agreed. Coincidentally, I later found out that Rex’s father used to cover “Yellow River” back in the day in the band he was in. If you listen at the song’s fadeout, you can hear the elder Mr. Broome singing. As far as that Mouth & MacNeal tune, I love it—Rex and Christina, are you listening?
The playlist could also have been a deejay set. There would be a lot of smiling faces on the dance floor, don’t you think?
It does sort of play like a really cool DJ set, doesn’t it? There were so many excellent songs released in 1970 that it was difficult to narrow We All Shine On down to just 22 tracks, but I really think all of them are fabulous tunes.
Did people fight over a Neil Diamond song? And did Jeff Whalen simply have the biggest muscles? (I wish I was there when they did the papapapa-thing.)
There were a few different folks who would have loved to cover one of Neil’s tunes. (Hello, Michael Simmons!) But man, you can practically hear Jeff Whalen smiling as he’s singing “Cracklin’ Rosie,” right? I think the Brothers Steve nailed it.
An ode to the 1970s could also have included Punk, Springsteen or Journey. Did you consciously not do that?
The comp covers the year 1970 only, not the entire decade. But hey, there is one punk song—or maybe it’s more of a proto-punk song—on the comp: the Used Electrics do a pretty kickass version of the Stooges’ “Loose.” Punk as hell, it is.
If you could put together a super 70s band with musicians from the past what would that band look like? Mine: Steve Perry sings, Berton Averre plays guitar, Max Weinberg drums, Elton John on keys and Mike Procaro on bass.
Wow, that’s tough, but lemme see…completely off the top of my head…Lindsey Buckingham on guitar, Paul McCartney on bass, Bruce Gary (The Knack) on drums, and Pete Ham (Badfinger) on vocals.
It is deliberately not a Power Pop album?
It’s really not deliberately any sort of album. The artists had free rein to do whatever they wanted to do with the songs they chose and what you hear are the results. If Mitch Easter wants to do a soul number and Richard Barone wants to record a not-so-well-known Donovan tune, who am I to argue? They’re both great.
This could easily be the start of a whole series, I think. What do you think should happen?
I could definitely see this evolving into future releases spotlighting more songs from different years of the 1970s, so please encourage your readers to buy multiple copies of this one to help make my dreams come true!
sparkle*jets U.K. sounds like the best band in the world. What happened?
They’re pretty wonderful, aren’t they? Their version of the Archies’ “Sunshine” is one of my favorite tracks on the comp, and Michael Simmons, Susan West and Jamie Knight are all super people and supremely talented instrumentalists and vocalists. They’ve been busy over the past several years with their day jobs and other projects, but the word on the street is that you might be hearing more from them in the not-too-distant future. I’m proud to call Simmons my best friend and I’m not overstating things when I say he is hands down the most talented and versatile musician I’ve ever been fortunate enough to know.