Fricke's Picks Radio: X, P.F. Sloan and Johnny Winter

X, Hooray For Earth, P.F. Sloan and Johnny Winter
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Christopher Principe of Hooray For Earth
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Sometimes, in this game, you just get lucky. I was in Los Angeles on assignment on a recent weekend, with an unexpected free night. I went shopping at Book Soup, a print heaven on Sunset Boulevard, and discovered that L.A. folk-rock phantom P.F. Sloan – who ruled local studios in the Sixties as a songwriter, producer and session guitarist on hits for the Grass Roots ("Where Were You When I Needed You"), Johnny Rivers ("Secret Agent Man") and Barry McGuire ("Eve of Destruction") – was making a rare live appearance, reading from his new memoir, What's Exactly the Matter With Me? (Jawbone), co-written with S.E. Feinberg. "Reading" proved to be a small word for Sloan's two-hour performance: performing those songs and more between extended recollections of his heyday and subsequent self-imposed exile.

That was on top of two nights with X at the Roxy, catching full, live resurrections of 1982's Under the Big Black Sun and '83's More Fun in the New World. It was also a week for fine, new records by the Brooklyn-based Hooray for Earth and punk icon Bob Mould and, sadly, the passing of guitarist Johnny Winter, who cut the searing "Fast Life Rider" in the thick of his sudden success, in 1969 – then showed, against the odds that followed, that he was always in the blues for the long haul.