Monday, August 3, 2020

Grace Potter - Twilight Hour, Volume 2 - Home Concert, Topanga, CA, 5-4-2020 to 5-11-2020

About a month ago, I published the a home concert by Grace Potter. It was the first of bunch, and this is the second. You might want to read what a wrote there for some general information. In short, she's been performing home concerts that are roughly an hour long once a week for most of the coronavirus lockdown. For this album, I had to combine two such home concerts for there to be enough material for an album. This one is an hour and two minutes long.

Sometimes for her home concerts, Potter has performed mostly or entirely her own songs. But for these two shows, nearly all the songs are covers. There are two originals towards the end. Some were performed solo, but the vast majority were played with a small band, generally just a drummer and lead guitarist, plus Potter on keyboards or guitar.

For these shows, Potter clearly was just winging it most of the time. I had to cut out a lot of songs because she only tested the waters, typically playing just one verse. For instance, for the second show, she played portions of the following songs, which I didn't include: "That's Alright Mama," "I Can't Stand the Rain," "Stacey's Mom," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Grandma's Hands," "You Really Got Me," "Whipping Post," and "What a Wonderful World." I hope she returns to full versions of those later!

I only included the songs that were done in full and clearly worked. No doubt, a lot of these have been done by her and her band in concert in the past, because they sounded good. Others were done for the first time. For the second show, which is comprised of songs 11 through 17, most of the songs were about mothers in some way, because the show took place close to Mother's Day. I'm guessing that more of those were done for the first time.

Anyway, if you haven't heard Grace Potter before, this is a good time to jump on board, due to her mostly doing classic songs that you're probably familiar with. Hopefully you'll discover that she's an excellent vocalist, but also a talented instrumentalist, and she has great taste in music.

01. Into the Mystic - Van Morrison
02. Jolene - Dolly Parton
03. Out on the Weekend - Neil Young
04. Gold Dust Woman - Fleetwood Mac
05. White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane
06. When Doves Cry - Prince
07. Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
08. Ring of Fire - Mystery Train - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Johnny Cash / Elvis Presley / Sherman Brothers
09. Love the One You're With - Stephen Stills
10. Wild Horses - Rolling Stones
11. Every Heartbeat - Grace Potter
12. True Fine Mama - Little Richard
13. Come to Mama - Ann Peebles
14. Mama Told Me Not to Come - Randy Newman / Three Dog Night
15. Big White Gate - Grace Potter
16. That's the Way - Led Zeppelin
17. Tell Mama - Etta James

Here's the usual song list:

01. Into the Mystic (Grace Potter)
02. Jolene (Grace Potter)
03. Out on the Weekend (Grace Potter)
04. Gold Dust Woman (Grace Potter)
05. White Rabbit (Grace Potter)
06. When Doves Cry (Grace Potter)
07. Whole Lotta Love (Grace Potter)
08. Ring of Fire - Mystery Train - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Grace Potter)
09. Love the One You're With (Grace Potter)
10. Wild Horses (Grace Potter)
11. Every Heartbeat (Grace Potter)
12. True Fine Mama (Grace Potter)
13. Come to Mama (Grace Potter)
14. Mama Told Me Not to Come (Grace Potter)
15. Big White Gate (Grace Potter)
16. That's the Way (Grace Potter)
17. Tell Mama (Grace Potter)

For some, but not all of Potter's home concerts, she had made some promotional artwork using a chalkboard in her house. The mother-themed show of May 11, 2020 had such artwork made for it. I enjoy her artistic style, so I used that for the cover. I made a few minor changes to the lower half, changing the date mentioned from "May 11" to "May 4 - 11," and removing some other text.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Jimi Hendrix - Highway Chile - Various Songs (1966-1967)

It's important to note that I have already posted this album. But I'm posting it again because I've made some major changes, and I want to be sure that every Jimi Hendrix fan notices this version. I've doing a revision of the Hendrix stray tracks albums I did up until his Band of Gypsys period, so once I finish that, I'll delete the original version.

So what's different? I added five early Hendrix songs, and to make room for them, I kicked a similar number of songs to the next album in this stray tracks series. I feel these five songs are an important but almost totally forgotten part of Hendrix's musical legacy, so some explanation about them is in order.

The standard story of Hendrix musical origins, which I believed until recently, goes like this: Hendrix spent several years as a sideman in a variety of soul music bands, playing for the Isley Brothers, Little Richard, and many others. Eventually, he hooked up with little-known soul singer Curtis Knight, who gave him more of a spotlight, letting him solo more and even occasionally sing lead. But Hendrix's musical career was still going nowhere until Chas Chandler, former bassist for the Animals, discovered him playing in a New York City club, decided to manage him, and sent him to start anew in England. Hendrix recorded his first single, "Hey Joe," with his new band the Experience, and soon was a superstar. After he became famous, his recordings with Curtis Knight were endlessly rereleased and repackaged, but were generally totally shitty, and only suckers would ever buy them. His career began with "Hey Joe," and anything prior to that is basically worthless.

Like I said, that's what I thought. But it turns out the truth is more complicated than that. I remember reading somewhere that Hendrix's very first songwriting effort was the song "Stone Free," which he quickly wrote when the single "Hey Joe" (which is a cover) needed a B-Side. Not true at all. It turns out that Hendrix's songwriting began years before. Many of the songs he did after he was famous actually got started during his time with Curtis Knight, or possibly even earlier. For an eye-opening look at this earlier part of his career, I suggest this live collection I made:

It cuts out all the songs sung by Knight and keeps only the one sung by Hendrix. You'll see a lot of songs (mostly covers) that Hendrix often did in concert later, such as "Killing Floor," "Bleeding Heart," "Driving South," and so on, further showing the continuity of his music before and after he moved to England and became a star.

Anyway, most of the recordings Hendrix did with Knight are bad. Knight was a soul singer of limited talent who's only true claim to fame is his brief connection to Hendrix. Most of the songs are generic versions of famous soul songs that were done much better by others, or originals that were second-rate knock-offs of more famous songs. But in among that are a number of Hendrix originals, mostly instrumentals, that show off both Hendrix's emerging songwriting talent as well as his lead guitar prowess. Those instrumentals make up most of the extra five songs I've added to this album. I think they're all worthy of being heard alongside his more famous stray tracks material, also included on this album. I figure they've remained obscure almost entirely due to record company rights issues.

However, the first song is actually Hendrix's first lead vocal on record, not another instrumental, and it especially needs to be heard by any Hendrix fan. Actually, it's kind of his first lead vocal. I did some editing to make it that way, so that needs to be explained as well. Another early collaborator with Hendrix was Lonnie Youngblood. In 1966, Youngblood released a single called "Wipe the Sweat." It started out with Youngblood singing lead vocals, but then halfway through it switched to Hendrix doing most of the singing. The B-side was an instrumental version, with some great lead guitar from Hendrix. So I cut out the Youngblood vocals, started with the Hendrix vocals instead, and then stitched on Hendrix's lead guitar from the B-side. The result is a fun "new" Hendrix song, one that he co-wrote.

All the songs here are in chronological order, at least as close as I could get it. I think I moved "No Such Animal" after the "Hey Joe" single songs so there wouldn't be three instrumentals in a row. But note the final instrumental with Knight, "Hush Now," actually comes after "Hey Joe" and other singles. That's because in the summer of 1967, after Hendrix already was a superstar, he went back and recorded some more with Knight! That blows the simple notion of his career starting with "Hey Joe" and all Knight stuff being shit that is easily ignored right out of the water.

Are any of these five newly added obscure songs great? No, but they're all good, and I think one can appreciate them in a new light hearing them surrounded by Experience songs instead of other Curtis Knight songs. People at the time would have sat up and taken notice at Hendrix's guitar prowess based on those instrumentals alone, had they been presented in the right way at the time.

As for the other songs that make up the rest of this stray tracks collection, they only include some of the greatest songs of all time! Not just "Hey Joe," but also "Purple Haze," "Stone Free," "The Wind Cries Mary," and more. These are the A- and B-sides from the "Are You Experienced?" era of his career. In the US, some of those songs made the album, but they didn't in Britain, and I'm basing everything off the British album versions. A couple other early songs, "Mr. Bad Luck," and "Taking Care of No Business," were recorded around the time of those album sessions, but not released until much later. Note that both of those songs are examples of songs that were written by Hendrix well before the Experience, back in the Curtis Knight time period, or earlier.

Anyway, I hope you'll find this album an enjoyable musical listen, even as it bridges the gap between the Curtis Knight recordings and the Experience recordings. To sum up what I said above, although Hendrix did essentially get famous overnight with the "Hey Joe" single, his musical maturation was a gradual process, and the seeds of his greatness were evident in some of the recordings with Knight, most especially the instrumentals that he wrote.

This album is almost exactly 45 minutes long, which is an ideal length for albums from that era.

01. Wipe the Sweat [Edit] (Jimi Hendrix with Lonnie Youngblood)
02. Hornet's Nest [Kato's Special] [Edit] [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix with Curtis Knight)
03. Knock Yourself Out [Flying On Instruments] [Edit] [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix with Curtis Knight)
04. Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
05. Stone Free (Jimi Hendrix)
06. No Such Animal [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix with Curtis Knight)
07. Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
08. 51st Anniversary (Jimi Hendrix)
09. The Wind Cries Mary (Jimi Hendrix)
10. Highway Chile (Jimi Hendrix)
11. Mr. Bad Luck [Look Over Yonder] (Jimi Hendrix)
12. Taking Care of No Business (Jimi Hendrix)
13. Hush Now [Edit] [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix with Curtis Knight)

I used the same cover for my earlier version of this album. It shows Hendrix with the rest of the Experience some time in 1967.

Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris - Warfield Theater San Francisco, CA, 9-10-1999

I imagine you'd heard of Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, two great singers with long careers. The two of them joined up with Dolly Parton and put out a couple of albums as a trio, including one in early 1999. Then, later in 1999, Ronstadt and Harris put out their only album as a duo, called "Western Wall: The Tuscon Sessions." After the album came out, the two of them went on tour, but it seems they only did a small number or shows. Unfortunately, Ronstadt's voice began deteriorating around 2000, and she ended her music career around 2009. That means there won't be any other Ronstadt and Harris concerts other than the few ones in late 1999.

So we're lucky that we have a bootleg of their concert collaboration at all. But we're even luckier that this bootleg recording sound absolutely fantastic! I'm guessing the show might have been professionally recorded for a possible live album, because it sounds that good. The only snag with it is that the soundboard is so excellent that one could barely hear the audience at all. To compensate for that, I've boosted the cheering after each song, to make it sound like a typical live album.

In terms of musical content, the two singers stayed on stage for the entire concert and generally sang harmonies on each other's songs. They were backed up by a top-notch band. They leaned heavily on their new album "Western Wall," playing pretty much every song from it. They also did songs from the most recent trio album, "Trio II," as well as songs from earlier in their careers. Overall, the song list is pretty different from typical song lists of when they did concerts on their own, even from that general era.

The concert is fairly long, at two hours and ten minutes. If you're a fan of either singer, you should check this out. But I think they sound even better together than they do on their own. Too bad their collaboration didn't last longer, probably due to Ronstadt's vocals problems.

01. Loving the Highwayman (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
02. For a Dancer (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
03. Raise the Dead (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
04. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
05. Icy Blue Heart (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
06. The Blue Train (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
07. Valerie (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
08. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
09. It Doesn't Matter Anymore (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
10. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
11. Blue Bayou (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
12. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
13. 1917 (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
14. Green Pastures (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
15. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
16. Orphan Girl (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
17. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
18. Telling Me Lies (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
19. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
20. All I Left Behind (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
21. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
22. Get Up John (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
23. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
24. Hello Stranger (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
25. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
26. Sweet Spot (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
27. He Was Mine (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
28. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
29. Sisters of Mercy (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
30. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
31. This Is to Mother You (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
32. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
33. Falling Down (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
34. Goin' Back to Harlan (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
35. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
36. [Talk to Me Of] Mendocino (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
37. Heart like a Wheel (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
38. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
39. Wheels (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
40. Born to Run (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
41. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
42. Feels like Home (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
43. Rose of Cimarron (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
44. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
45. Pancho and Lefty (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
46. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
47. High Sierra (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
48. talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)

The cover art photo isn't the best photo of Ronstadt and Harris together. I found better. But I'm using it because it comes from the exact concert in question, which I consider a nice lucky break. Ronstadt has the dark hair.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Melissa Etheridge - The Eagles Tribute - Home Concert, Los Angeles, CA, 5-3-2020

Since the start of July 2020, Melissa Etheridge's home concerts have continued, but behind a pay wall. If she thinks she can make some money that way, I don't want to undermine her. So I won't be posting anything from after that time, unless her policy changes. But I still have some material from before she made that change. Here's another one.

As you can see from the title, it's a tribute to the Eagles. There's about 22 minutes of music, plus another 15 minutes of talking, for a total of 40 minutes. Etheridge has some interesting stories to tell, especially since she's met and performed with Eagle Don Henley.

There's not much else to say other than if you enjoyed the previous Melissa Etheridge concerts I've posted, you should enjoy this one too. The sound quality is the same as on the earlier ones, which means it's very good.

01. talk (Melissa Etheridge)
02. Desperado (Melissa Etheridge)
03. talk (Melissa Etheridge)
04. The Boys of Summer (Melissa Etheridge)
05. talk (Melissa Etheridge)
06. Intro to Peaceful Easy Feeling (Melissa Etheridge)
07. Peaceful Easy Feeling - Take It Easy - Peaceful Easy Feeling (Melissa Etheridge)
08. talk (Melissa Etheridge)
09. Intro to Witchy Woman (Melissa Etheridge)
10. Witchy Woman (Melissa Etheridge)
11. talk (Melissa Etheridge)
12. Lyin' Eyes (Melissa Etheridge)
13. talk (Melissa Etheridge)
14. Take It to the Limit (Melissa Etheridge)

Instead of the usual screenshot of Etheridge performing at the home concert in question, I thought it would be more interesting if I could find a photo of her with one or more of the Eagles. I did. This photo is of her with Don Henley at a 2002 MusicCares concert honoring Billy Joel.

Fleetwood Mac - Live and Rare, Volume 2 (1968-1970)

Yesterday, I posted "Live and Rare, Volume 1." This is more of the same. It's the second and final album dealing with songs Fleetwood Mac played in concert during the Peter Green years that are officially unreleased and were only recorded on rough sounding bootlegs.

As I wrote for that previous volume, beware that the sound is far from perfect. That said, it's very listenable. I make these albums mainly for myself, and I'm not going to put up with something that sounds like crap. Like I wrote yesterday, these often are good sounding songs from otherwise rough sounding bootlegs.

How is that possible? One way is that it often is harder to record vocals well than the instrumentation. And four of the songs this time around are instrumentals. As I explained with that earlier volume, many of these instrumentals have no easily identifiable name. It's likely for at least some of them that they were spontaneous blues jams with no name at all. So I came up with my own names, using the town names. (I had to add the year for two of them, since there are two from Stockholm, Sweden in different years.)

This album ends in early 1970 because that's when Peter Green left the group. Also, when he left, the variety of songs the band played in concert was drastically reduced. I think the live improv instrumentals came to a halt as well.

Both this volume and the previous one are about 50 minutes long.

01. Goin' Down Slow (Fleetwood Mac)
02. San-Ho-Zay [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)
03. Stockholm '69 Improv [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)
04. Gothenburg Improv [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)
05. If You Let Me Love You (Fleetwood Mac)
06. All Over Again [I've Got a Mind to Give Up Living] (Fleetwood Mac)
07. It Takes Time (Fleetwood Mac)
08. Stockholm '70 Improv [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)

As with the cover art for Volume 1, I didn't have a lot of great photos of the entire Fleetwood Mac band, so I decided to use one of lead guitarist Peter Green, at a further tribute to his recent passing (which happened a few days ago as I write this).

Friday, July 31, 2020

Fleetwood Mac - Live and Rare, Volume 1 (1967-1968)

As I wrote yesterday, legendary guitarist Peter Green died just a few days ago. To further commemorate his passing, I have some more music to post from the time he led Fleetwood Mac.

Be warned that this album isn't for everyone. It contains interesting rare songs performed live that didn't fit anywhere else in my music collection. All of them are officially unreleased. But generally speaking, these songs come from audience bootlegs, so the sound quality isn't up to my usual standards. Some are rougher than others. That said, all of them pass my listenability test, or I wouldn't bother including them.

It's truly remarkable how many different songs Fleetwood Mac performed in concert back in their Peter Green-led years. All of these, I believe, never appeared on any official albums, and most of them only show up on one or a couple of different bootlegged concerts. (There are even more that I wish I could have included, but the sound quality was too poor, or they didn't get bootlegged at all.)

In some cases here, these songs happened to be the best from some fairly bad sounding bootlegs. For instance, there might have been a bootleg where the vocals were recorded badly, but an instrumental from it sounds just fine. The first three songs are all like that. They come from 1967, a year of no decent sounding Fleetwood Mac bootlegs, but for some reason these songs stood out in terms of sounding listenable.

I'll follow this with a second and final "Live and Rare" volume. I have to admit that there are some instrumentals on them with names that I can't identify. It could be they were just blues jams that never had a name in the first place. In such cases, I came up with my own name, using the town they were performed in. There's only one such case here, the song I call "Windsor Improv."

The last song, "All Over Again (I've Got a Mind to Give Up Living)," is kind of a bonus track. I have a different version on "Live and Rare, Volume 2." This one is from 1969, so it doesn't fit with the other songs here from 1967 and 1968. But Peter Green's slow blues guitar playing on "All Over Again" is always amazing, so I want to have every decent sounding version the band did in my collection. Thus, I've stuck one on here, instead of having two versions on "Volume 2."

Finally, thanks to my musical associate MZ for his assistance with this album. He helped me find some of the rare versions here, and also used his sound editing skills to make them more listenable.

01. Evil Woman Blues (Fleetwood Mac)
02. Windsor Improv [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)
03. I'm Goin' Home (Fleetwood Mac)
04. Bleeding Heart [Edit] (Fleetwood Mac)
05. Don't Know Which Way to Go (Fleetwood Mac)
06. The Sky Is Crying (Fleetwood Mac)
07. Too Late to Cry (Fleetwood Mac)
08. Crossroads (Fleetwood Mac)
09. Call It Stormy Monday (Fleetwood Mac)
10. All Over Again [I've Got a Mind to Give Up Living] (Fleetwood Mac)

Good photos of Fleetwood Mac from 1967 or 1968 are very rare, and I've used just about all of the decent ones I could find. Since Peter Green died recently, and he was the leader of the band back then, I decided to honor him by featuring him on this cover. I don't know when or where this photo is from exactly, but I'm guessing it's from around 1968.

Norah Jones - Home Concerts 6, New York City, 6-12-2020 to 6-22-2020

Here's the next in a long series of Norah Jones home concerts. She continues to play about four songs a week in this format. May she keep it up forever! ;)

There's not much to say for this one. If you liked the previous five home concert albums of hers I've posted, you'll like this one too. The sound is perfectly good except for one thing: for many of these songs, the vocals are rather low in the mix. She's on piano for this, and I'm guessing that she kept her face too far from the microphone. But that's just a minor blemish.

Most of the songs are from her most recent album, or previous albums. But there's one very off the wall cover: "Song of the Highest Tower." This was first done by the Cut Worms in 2018. As usual, Jones makes the song her own.

By the way, I want to keep posting more of Jones's home concerts, and I will, but I've run into a snag. While I was on vacation earlier this month (July 10th), she gave a mini-concert that I missed. Instead of posting her performance on her YouTube channel, as usual, she gave a concert for "Amazon Live." She played four songs: "To Live," "Flame Twin," "I'm Alive," and "It's Gonna Be." Unfortunately, it seems Amazon only had this up for a few days, and it has since disappeared. If you have a recording of this show, please let me know so I can keep posting without having a big gap.

01. To Live (Norah Jones)
02. Hurts to Be Alone (Norah Jones)
03. Heartbroken Day After (Norah Jones)
04. I'm Alive (Norah Jones)
05. What Am I to You (Norah Jones)
06. After the Fall (Norah Jones)
07. Stumble on My Way (Norah Jones)
08. talk (Norah Jones)
09. Song of the Highest Tower (Norah Jones)
10. talk (Norah Jones)
11. Those Sweet Words (Norah Jones)
12. Thinking about You (Norah Jones)
13. talk (Norah Jones)

For the album cover, I took a screenshot from the first home concert here.