Talkhouse Playlist: Step into a Time Machine with F.J. McMahon

The '60s folk musician shares some of his favorites, past and present.

F.J. McMahon is a folk musician from Santa Barbara, California who had one “lost” album, Spirit Of The Golden Juice, released in 1969. Almost 50 years later, Anthology Records unearthed this masterpiece and will reissue the album August 11 for another generation to hear. In honor of the reissued record, F.J. personally compiled some of his favorites in this Talkhouse playlist.
—Keenan Kush, Talkhouse Marketing Manager

Johnny Winter — “Rollin’ And Tumblin'”
You want to get your listeners tuned in and tappin’ their feet. Johnny plays straight Texas blues, but with a take-no-prisoners attitude and more notes than ten pregnant Texas jackrabbits have babies.

Fairport Convention — “Meet On the Ledge”
If this song does not pull you in, nothing will. This is English folk/rock as good as it ever gets. They started out as England’s Jefferson Airplane, but went their own road and really made a ton of wonderful music.

Walter Trout Band — “Life In The Jungle”
Real, real honest-feeling music with blood pumping through it. If you don’t know Walter, he is a blues monster from southern California, where he plays clubs and small theaters. In Europe, he fills stadiums with screaming fans.

Stephen Stills — “Black Queen”
How to play an acoustic: Be sure to have some Band-Aids handy. Most people know Stills; Crosby, Stills & Nash; or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Stephen Stills has written some of the best songs and laid down some of the best guitar ever.

John Stewart — “Mother Country”
Here is how you tell a story in song and leave people clapping and in tears. John replaced Dave Guard in the Kingston Trio, then went on to a solid solo career that was about five decades long. California Bloodlines is state of the art in folk/rock.

Danny Kalb and Stefan Grossman — “Eagles On The Half”
How to Play Acoustic Lead 101. Danny Kalb played with The Blues Project and Grossman is a longtime expert in urban and country blues. This song is a beautiful example—simple and powerful at the same time.

Everly Brothers — “Claudette”
How to play acoustic and sing harmony, what else? They were some of the original ’50s rock & rollers who invented it. The driving acoustics and the super-tight searing harmonies are all you really need to “Rock This Town.”

Sandy Bull — “Blend”
This is how you use space, not just jamming notes. Sandy was one of the first music experimenters to play Bach on banjo, blues/rock on an oud, and then combine them on a folk album. His guitar work on “Manhã de Carnaval” is perfect.

Jimi Hendrix — “Third Stone From The Sun”
Really, I have to give a reason?

Anything by this band—you can’t go wrong! I found these guys by accident, and it was a lucky day for me. They’re beautiful musical souls who are serious about their work and doing it so very well. I can put on any of their CDs and let it roll just being absorbed by the vibe, harmony, and stories. I could have easily heard this music walking through Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in 1967, and it would have been so much at home.