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Mason Williams — Classical Gas
Album: The Mason Williams Phonograph Record
Avg rating:
8.2

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2847








Released: 1968
Length: 3:00
Plays (last 30 days): 1
(Instrumental)
Comments (320)add comment
The tuba and trombone players lips were buzzing after this one...
Ironically, I was thinking earlier about songs I'd automatically turn up in volume when they came on, and this was the song that I had in mind.  So I'm turning it (way) up, the better to appreciate this masterpiece.
 below72 wrote:

68'....
Amongst all of the psychedelic music, boogie music, the Temps singing Cloud Nine, long hair, my first doobie, bell bottoms (which I had to hide at a friends house cause mummy and daddy didn't want me to be a hippie), Chuck Taylors, Vietnam propaganda, draft-dodgers, more propaganda, draft card burning, (FU Westmoreland, you sinister a-hole), carpet bombing, Laos, Cambodia, Bobby, MLK...
In the middle of all of THAT, comes this angelic song. It was so different from EVERYTHING else (it's hard to describe in words).  It was heaven sent.  It stood above the fray.  And eveyone from anywhere in America loved it.



Awesome story and thanks for sharing the memory! FWIW, 20-20 hindsight has shown us that Westmoreland was a sh*tty general. Anybody who supported the war should have NOT supported Westmoreland. And the blind support for Westmoreland, his strategy, and the war drove us to a national tragedy. Unfortunately our generals in Afghanistan took Westmoreland's lead, and that led us to an identical outcome. 
I was searching for this after having heard it on LP- Record in '74 in 20th century:o}
The vinyl were lost during some moves I made at that stage of youth.
Thank YOU for getting it back!
Excellent! Thanks RP! And the hits keep coming...
 lily34 wrote:


ah! you're from "the 'burgh?" me too.  

 How yinz dewin'?
I just read a story about Mason Williams this morning, and this gets played. William is in my head again. 

Earned 3 Emmys!
 eyke wrote:
This takes me back about 55 years and KDKA-AM 


ah! you're from "the 'burgh?" me too.  
GREAT TUNE!!!   I also like the 1968 MCI busses on the album cover!
As much as I love this I think I will always remember him for the wonderful little poems he wrote. Moose Goosers, Toad Suckers,  Dog Kickers. . . 
How bout them toad suckers, ain't they snappy. . . 
 Zocket wrote:

Brilliant seque; only Bill could bring it off!

Cows with Guns
Classical Gas

Cows with Guns? On here? @William you must play Cows with Guns! Have not heard that since I listened to KPIG.

This takes me back about 55 years and KDKA-AM 
Nothing brings back memories of the 70s like this song. Great tune.
Man, almost no RP song has this kind of rating!
Different and still inspiring!
As if welded to our senses, maybe the first piece of music in which some of us, of a certain age, heard band, orchestra, classical guitar, presented with a rock rhythm. And then came Chicago, and Blood, Sweat, and Tears.
I've probably already commented on this, but this just does everything right - the music, the memories. Made me take up classical guitar. Ok, I ended up a violinist, but I still pull one out and play this now and again. Yes, I have the LP...
 Halfway up 'my' top ten of all time!
My first '10'
That outro is pretty amazing for the 1960s... unlike any sort of musical ending from that era.
 KudaRey wrote:
 idiot_wind wrote:
Ahhhh. racing slot cars on huge public tracks while listening to this on the juke box.
 
Slot cars? Go look them up. The big ones were really alot of fun.


One of the few things my dad, my brother and I did together back in Ft. Walton Beach circa 1966-67. I think my 91 year dad old still has them stashed in and old box in his garage. The twin engine Lotus would never stay on the track. That baby was fast.🏎


I had had a 1/24 scale Cox La Cuccaracha with an oversized Mabuchi motor back then! Real fast & took turns super great!!!  Very cool!!




 idiot_wind wrote:
Ahhhh. racing slot cars on huge public tracks while listening to this on the juke box.
 
Slot cars? Go look them up. The big ones were really alot of fun.


One of the few things my dad, my brother and I did together back in Ft. Walton Beach circa 1966-67. I think my 91 year dad old still has them stashed in and old box in his garage. The twin engine Lotus would never stay on the track. That baby was fast.🏎





Search out the Glen Campbell version on a Strat. 

I remember trying to learn to play this. 
I always enjoy Classical Gas - very much an a time great. Our hosts Bill and Rebeca followed up with Michael Hedges “Aerial Boundaries” - the transition between the two tracks was truly masterful. We are indeed fortunate to have the Goldsmiths at our home, in the car and at the game!
Still fun after all these years!
As much as I love this and all the memories. What I love the most is recalling his poems from the Smothers Brothers show. Dog Kickers, Moose Goosers,  Toad Suckers. . . All of them!
 hackbraten wrote:

Really outstanding! But there seems to be an issue with the audio quality?

Compression issues plus a bit of blasting/clipping?

Nothing brings back the late 60s, early 70s for me like this one does.  Great arrangement.
I almost regret observing that although this was well out of the stream of American music when it was released and utterly saturated radio, it's not really all that good as a composition, I think. It is steeped in the conventions of its era and is competent, but the more I hear it these days, its dated qualities are what I notice. In a vast number of ways, standards have been raised in the intervening years.
 musikluvr wrote:
Great song. Bill, you should play the acoustic version by Tommy Emmanuel sometime. Wow.
 
I second that. I just played Tommy Emmanuel's version last night to a friend who didn't know the original....how can  a 60yo not know the original?  Tommy version is fantabulous. 
This had just been released and formed the soundtrack to my last days at school. Loved it then, love it now.
 janac13 wrote:
A song that highlights what a great arranger can do. Love it
 

Anybody else having flashbacks of Match of the Day....
A song that highlights what a great arranger can do. Love it
What there not to love about this tune
 Laptopdog wrote:
 SquiddlyDiddly wrote:
Oh the memories.

In the 70's I was mobile DJ and often finished my set at the end of the night with this. 

Why? Because almost no-one could dance to it. 
 
Almost no one!



 
He'll make a fine Dad one day 
Really outstanding! But there seems to be an issue with the audio quality?
Takes me back, for sure. What a great arrangement. Timeless.
This instrumental piece should be the National Anthem!
Great selection as always, but to help those who were linking to earlier copies of this video that might not be on YouTube anymore, here it is posted by Mason Williams' account:



https://youtu.be/viyufRQKlto
Haven't heard this in an age.  Thanks, Bill!  
 SquiddlyDiddly wrote:
Oh the memories.

In the 70's I was mobile DJ and often finished my set at the end of the night with this. 

Why? Because almost no-one could dance to it. 
 
Almost no one!



Music to race slot cars by!  Big track. 
The first song that I ever wanted to know the name of ... many thanks for more fond memories.

Keep well everyone in these difficult pandemic times.
Brilliant seque; only Bill could bring it off!

Cows with Guns
Classical Gas
One of the best instrumental pop songs ever. Thanks mr. Williams!
Oh the memories.

In the 70's I was mobile DJ and often finished my set at the end of the night with this. 

Why? Because almost no-one could dance to it. 
Wish this could be above 10
Some music is eternal, right for any person, any place, any time... And always be uplifting, no matter what mood you wear. This goes up there with a 10, for being one such piece. Thank you RP.
With amazing backup from:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wrecking_Crew_(music)
This song has NEVER, EVER gotten too old or too overplayed for my ears!!  It's why the number "10" was invented!  Thanks so much, Bill, for playing it exactly when I was ready for it (which is pretty much ANYTIME) 
 below72 wrote:
68'....
Amongst all of the psychedelic music, boogie music, the Temps singing Cloud Nine, long hair, my first doobie, bell bottoms (which I had to hide at a friends house cause mummy and daddy didn't want me to be a hippie), Chuck Taylors, Vietnam propaganda, draft-dodgers, more propaganda, draft card burning, (FU Westmoreland, you sinister a-hole), carpet bombing, Laos, Cambodia, Bobby, MLK...
In the middle of all of THAT, comes this angelic song. It was so different from EVERYTHING else (it's hard to describe in words).  It was heaven sent.  It stood above the fray.  And eveyone from anywhere in America loved it.
 
And Europe
Ahhhh. racing slot cars on huge public tracks while listening to this on the juke box.
 
Slot cars? Go look them up. The big ones were really alot of fun.
And on top of being a great guitarist with an all time classic song- there is this:

It was on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour that he (Mason Williams) created and perpetuated the 1968 "Pat Paulsen for President" campaign, an elaborate political satire.[20] Williams also helped launch the career of entertainer Steve Martin. Martin was hired by Williams as a writer on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, for which his contributions were initially paid out of Williams' own pocket.[22] In 1968, he won an Emmy Award for his work as a comedy writer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.[23]

Other television personalities he has written for include Andy WilliamsGlen CampbellDinah ShoreRoger Miller, and Petula Clark.[24] In 1980, Williams briefly served as head writer for NBC's Saturday Night Live, but left after clashing with producer Jean Doumanian.[25] In 1988, Williams received his third Emmy nomination as a comedy writer for his work on The Smothers Brothers 20th Reunion Special on CBS.[23]

Bought this as a 7" single when it came out. Beautiful! 10
Love It!

{#Bananajam}
This and Goodbye Columbus just shoot me back in time
Damn .. missed this by just a few minutes {#Neutral}
 VH1 wrote:
Ab Fab!{#Clap} One of the best melodys I have ever heard! Or maybe because when I first heard it, I was still a kid and had a great ime, it reminds me of that time.

 
Agreed!  This tune always grabbed me as a kid.  I knew someone who could play it on the piano and made an absolute pest of myself requesting it.  And if I could play it on the guitar, I'd count mine as a life well lived.
 
Strictly a Nostalgia Trip
Jumping Jack Flash!
Instrumentals - often Top Ten in the past.

but not these days....... 
Ab Fab!{#Clap} One of the best melodys I have ever heard! Or maybe because when I first heard it, I was still a kid and had a great ime, it reminds me of that time.
 flyboy50 wrote:
One of the first guitar lessons.  Any reason I no longer play.

 
Wow. Cruel teacher.
 unclehud wrote:

Oh you kids!  Scratches and hiss from an LP was just part of the deal.  I can't listen to CD versions of CSN&Y, Yes, Beatles, ZZ Top — without hearing the pops and crackles embedded in the LPs I wore out.

 
I heard a great interview a few years back with Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips. When his mother passed, he and his siblings wanted to make a mix tape of all her favorite songs - songs she had played to the family while they were growing up. However when they put it together, they all realized it would not work because the versions were too pristine, they did not include any of the scratches, pops and hisses that they had come to know on his Mom's 45's and albums. Its a great story, one that has really stuck with me through the years. 
One of the first guitar lessons.  Any reason I no longer play.
 below72 wrote:
68'....
Amongst all of the psychedelic music, boogie music, the Temps singing Cloud Nine, long hair, my first doobie, bell bottoms (which I had to hide at a friends house cause mummy and daddy didn't want me to be a hippie), Chuck Taylors, Vietnam propaganda, draft-dodgers, more propaganda, draft card burning, (FU Westmoreland, you sinister a-hole), carpet bombing, Laos, Cambodia, Bobby, MLK...
In the middle of all of THAT, comes this angelic song. It was so different from EVERYTHING else (it's hard to describe in words).  It was heaven sent.  It stood above the fray.  And eveyone from anywhere in America loved it.

 
{#Clap}
68'....
Amongst all of the psychedelic music, boogie music, the Temps singing Cloud Nine, long hair, my first doobie, bell bottoms (which I had to hide at a friends house cause mummy and daddy didn't want me to be a hippie), Chuck Taylors, Vietnam propaganda, draft-dodgers, more propaganda, draft card burning, (FU Westmoreland, you sinister a-hole), carpet bombing, Laos, Cambodia, Bobby, MLK...
In the middle of all of THAT, comes this angelic song. It was so different from EVERYTHING else (it's hard to describe in words).  It was heaven sent.  It stood above the fray.  And eveyone from anywhere in America loved it.
 Steely_D wrote:
Only one thing happens each time this comes on:
All the major art works flash through my brain as fast as they can, just like they did when I saw it on the Smothers Brothers.

 
try this link

https://vimeo.com/612081 
That's godlike because the history, the tons of covers and the great rythm
This was THE song to race "slot cars" by.

Anybody remember racing slot cars on big indoor tracks? Cool.  
the good ole days....
I think I read that Mike Post was the arranger on this - you can totally hear the dna of the Rockford Files Theme.
Having flashbacks of the great summer of 68; next up would be 'Sky Pilot' and then 'Hey Jude' among other musical offerings then.
 Steely_D wrote:
Only one thing happens each time this comes on:
All the major art works flash through my brain as fast as they can, just like they did when I saw it on the Smothers Brothers.
\
That video is the freaking coolest thing ever. Some dude recreated it entirely from scratch- what a labor of love.

 


 catsoup wrote:
I love the song, but wow is the recording showing its age. Does someone have the master recording somewhere? I'd buy this all over again to hear the low sax clearly and the full range of the brass.
 
Oh you kids!  Scratches and hiss from an LP was just part of the deal.  I can't listen to CD versions of CSN&Y, Yes, Beatles, ZZ Top — without hearing the pops and crackles embedded in the LPs I wore out.
 zurcronium wrote:
This is a BIll only selection. Bill, along with other decades, gets the 60s. 

 
Second that.
 averybadcat wrote:

This is the song that made me first pick up a guitar.  Oh thank you.

 one would think this would be the song to make you put it down.

This is the song that made me first pick up a guitar.  Oh thank you.
Only one thing happens each time this comes on:
All the major art works flash through my brain as fast as they can, just like they did when I saw it on the Smothers Brothers.



This is a BIll only selection. Bill, along with other decades, gets the 60s. 
Wow, takes me back to my youth in LA. Used to take an old reel to reel and record songs off KCLA. Mason Williams was one of my first.
Great song. Bill, you should play the acoustic version by Tommy Emmanuel sometime. Wow.
I don't think I'll ever get tired of this song.
I think the term 45 used as a noun gave it away.
I am in the same club.

Rootmann wrote:
This was this first 45 I ever bought.... WOW.  I guess I'm over 18, huh??  LOL
 



re cover: I agree. It's just cool.


 
sajitjacob wrote:
Fan-bloody-tastic tune.
I love the album cover, I have no idea why, so don't ask me.

 


 jmkate wrote:
I remember being a little kid, and noting that the whole family stopped, or at least slowed down, to appreciate this song...

 
Can completely relate - my Dad use to crank this up in the car
This was this first 45 I ever bought.... WOW.  I guess I'm over 18, huh??  LOL
This is about as perfect a song can get.
Fan-bloody-tastic tune.
I love the album cover, I have no idea why, so don't ask me.
I can really turn sour on dated songs,  but this one so kicks ass it's hard to not still have this played loud {#Dancingbanana}
 Boy_Wonder wrote:

Picky!! It is 45yrs old, not something that's just been recorded - give him a break!

Still a goosebumps moment for me - and Radiohead are still dirging away on the main feed! 

 
Yes. Different times and different musical tastes, Hannio. This has really grooved for a lot of people over the decades. As for Radiohead, I think people will turn on them eventually--"dirging away" indeed. 

johnjconn wrote:
Someone left the cake out in the rain??

  
And it took so long to bake it. But you still have the recipe...right?  {#Propeller}
Still hooks my brain from the very first notes, after all these years ...
Proof that any day, no matter how bad, can get better. Thanks for the memories and the moment.

My world began to change with this song.


I remember being a little kid, and noting that the whole family stopped, or at least slowed down, to appreciate this song...
So nice to hear the original instead of Tommy Emmanual...
This had to be for TV series about a maverick cop out for justice?

Superb.
 gillespp wrote:
Back in the day there was nothing like this.

 

Agreed
  ferwoman wrote:
When I saw this on the Smothers Brothers Show in the early 70's, I was mesmerized by the combination of sounds and sights (each painting from the Louvre flashed by during the song's playing, some of it quite fast). When it finished, all I could say was, "Wow! I want to see that again!" So much fun.
  
  kurtster wrote:

I was just thinking the same thing and wanted to post the same thought.

{#Whisper}  But it was the late 60's, not the 70's.

 
kurster, you are RIGHT AS RAIN! It was late 60's.

I just looked at a playlist of episodes and was amazed at the stars they had on that show.

From Wikipedia (and confirmed on https://smothersbrothers.com/episodes.htm):

George Harrison,
Joan Baez,
Buffalo Springfield,
Cass Elliot,
Harry Belafonte,
Cream,
Donovan,
The Doors,
Janis Ian,
Yank Barry,
Jefferson Airplane,
Peter, Paul and Mary,
Spanky and Our Gang,
Steppenwolf,
The Who,
Simon and Garfunkel,
Ray Charles,
The Hello People
and even
Pete Seeger were showcased during the latter years of the show despite the advertiser-sensitive nature of their music.
Well, I was going to post about how this brought back great childhood memories as one of my parents favorite recordings, as it was blasted thru the house quite often. Then just glancing thru the comments quickly, I am obviously not alone in the "childhood memory" department! Great stuff! {#Tongue} Thanks, RP!  
Reading the reactions below . . . I'm more on the "this is great music" side of the house   . . . meh?       C'mon!
 Hannio wrote:


I agree.  Very overproduced.
 
And yet 45 years on still gets airplay and still gives goosebumps. Go figure. I guess most people just have no taste...
 ferwoman wrote:
When I saw this on the Smothers Brothers Show in the early 70's, I was mesmerized by the combination of sounds and sights (each painting from the Louvre flashed by during the song's playing, some of it quite fast). When it finished, all I could say was, "Wow! I want to see that again!" So much fun.
 
I was just thinking the same thing and wanted to post the same thought.

{#Whisper}  But it was the late 60's, not the 70's.
When I saw this on the Smothers Brothers Show in the early 70's, I was mesmerized by the combination of sounds and sights (each painting from the Louvre flashed by during the song's playing, some of it quite fast). When it finished, all I could say was, "Wow! I want to see that again!" So much fun.
I remember hearing this song the first time as a child, and stopping, completely, to absorb it.

Love the song that followed as well,  guitar riffing as a bridge..
Ground broken. Seeds planted.
 Hannio wrote:


I agree.  Very overproduced.
 
Picky!! It is 45yrs old, not something that's just been recorded - give him a break!

Still a goosebumps moment for me - and Radiohead are still dirging away on the main feed! 
Back in the day there was nothing like this.

 
Hannio wrote:


I agree.  Very overproduced.
 
Try this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSOUJbg6TAE&list=FLO3Bcbj1TIVHisTi99JRCaA&index=19
Totally agree with all the "guitar"comments. 8 for me but could be more........
And what about Mason Dixon, who liked to do lines?

 
lemmoth wrote:
Always used to confuse him with Mason Reese.

 


But the name says it - it is a.... and that's just the way it was done in then; memorable.
Hands up all ex (or current) dj's who used this as an intro or outro for their set or show. . . 
I agree that the guitar is the best part but I still give this a very rare 10. I could listen all day. 
 Laurelai wrote:
If this song could just stop at the guitar.  The guitar is lovely.  The rest...... meh
{#Snooty}
 

I agree.  Very overproduced.
If this song could just stop at the guitar.  The guitar is lovely.  The rest...... meh
{#Snooty}
i think there are some parts in gordon giltrap's fear of the dark...right?
 CCinSB wrote:
Always laughed at this title! {#Lol}
 
When Mozart eats beans?