Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Allman Brothers Band - One More Ride (Edited Song) (1970)

Here's something I'm pretty psyched about. I feel like I've created a "new classic Allman Brothers Band song from their heyday! Maybe not, but I'd be curious what you think.

I don't know anything about this song except that it was co-written in 1970 by band members Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts. It first appeared as an instrumental just under three minutes long on the 1988 box set "Dreams." Then an instrumental "remix" just under four minutes long appeared as a bonus track on a "super deluxe" edition of the "Idlewild South" album in 2015.

Yet there's another version of the song available only as a bootleg that's seven minutes long, and it has vocals by Gregg Allman, with perfectly good lyrics! So it's not really meant to be an instrumental after all. If you listen to the instrumental versions, there are long stretches where not much is happening, for instance no soloing. Clearly, those are the parts where the vocals were supposed to go.

Normally, I would just put the superior version with vocals on one of my stray tracks compilations. But unfortunately, the sound quality for that version sucks. It sounds really muddy and muffled. That's probably why that version is hard to find even on bootleg. So I decided to try to merge the two versions together.

First, I used a sound editing program to try to reduce the muddiness of the vocal version. I only had limited success, since I'm far from an expert in this kind of thing, and there's usually only so much even experts can do. But I think it helped some. Then I patched the vocal parts into the longer of the two instrumental versions. I had a hard time getting the timing just right, because there were slight changes in the speed of the song as it went along, in both versions, since they were recorded by fallible human beings many years before most recordings became computerized and the variability of drumming was lost in favor of metronome-like consistency (and soullessness). Still, after a lot of tinkering, I think I got pretty close on the timing.

I also had to put an instrumental version of the verse at the start of the song, because otherwise the vocals came in when the intro drumming bit was still going on, and it didn't sound good. I think this change works out fine, because there's a little guitar riff going on that keeps the instrumental version of the song interesting.

The end result doesn't sound perfect by any means, but hopefully it's close enough for horseshoes. One can clearly hear the change in sound quality each time the vocals come in. But I feel it's better to have it like that than have the whole song in poor sound quality.

By the way, the unreleased version is longer than the others in part because it has a drum solo in the middle that lasts for about two minutes. I don't think it's a big loss missing that, since most people aren't fans of drum solos (including myself). In fact, I think the song works a lot better here at four minutes long. It could and should have been played on the radio.

Here's the link:

I really like the vocal version of this song. I could totally imagine it being a regular concert staple for the band. I am baffled why the vocal version has been left officially unreleased until now. Surely the professionals could do a good job (better than mine!) improving the sound quality of that version, if there's a problem with it. But I think it's much more likely that there's no problem if one works from the master recordings, and it's the usual bootleg copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy problem that created the poor sound. So I don't see any excuse.

As mentioned above, a "super deluxe" version of "Idlewild South" has been released in recent years and the vocal version wasn't included on that, A box set of Duane Allman's guitar playing, "Skydog," was also released in recent years, and it wasn't included on that either, even though it features a very nice Duane Allman guitar solo. So I think the odds are low that that version will ever be officially released.

It's very baffling that this song slipped through the cracks, especially since the Allman Brothers Band were not prolific songwriters. It's not like the lyrics are objectionable, or it sounds too much like some other song, or it's a poor performance, etc... And I don't think the song was ever played live, either with vocals or as an instrumental. But at least there's this.

I put this together while I was working on posting another album of Allman Brothers Band stray tracks soon. I imagine I'll include this edit on that once I have that ready, unless I get feedback that I screwed this up somehow.

Badfinger - In Concert at the Hippodrome (1973)

This is essentially a continuation of my last post (Badfinger's "In Concert at the Paris Theatre"). As I said in that, there's only one good official live Badfinger album, called "BBC In Concert." But it's taken from two concerts, and I think it works better as two albums. So here's the second part, taken from a concert professionally recorded by the BBC at the Hippodrome in London in 1973.

But it's not that simple. The actual Hippodrome part is only 29 minutes long, which is rather short for an album. I wanted to use this (and the other live Badfinger album I just posted) to gather all the remaining live Badfinger in excellent sound quality that I didn't post already or are repeats of songs. So I've fleshed this out with four songs recorded for a short-lived British TV show called "Set of Six," plus another song played on the TV show "The Midnight Special" in 1973.

I haven't changed the songs at all, but I've edited the crowd noise after the extra songs to make it sound like they all came from the same concert. Some of those extra songs had no audience noise at all, or only a few seconds before the recording came to a sudden halt. So I reused crowd noise from other songs, but edited them to remove specific noises making it obvious that it was a repeat.

The end result is an album that's 46 minutes long. One benefit of splitting the BBC album in two is that it's okay to have some repeats between this album and the Paris Theatre one I just posted.

Unfortunately, I don't know of any good live Badfinger recordings after 1973, until the band fell apart in 1975.  There is a popular bootleg recorded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1974. But the audio quality was too poor to interest me, even as bonus tracks.

By the way, the recording of "Day After Day" was missing about the first 30 seconds. So I found a different version of that song and patched that in. You can probably hear the transition if you listen for it, but I figured it was better to do it that way than just having the start of the song missing.

01. Day After Day (Badfinger)
02. Sweet Tuesday Morning (Badfinger)
03. Take It All (Badfinger)
04. Better Days (Badfinger)
05. No Matter What (Badfinger)
06. Love Is Easy (Badfinger)
07. Blind Owl (Badfinger)
08. Constitution (Badfinger)
09. Icicles (Badfinger)
10. Matted Spam (Badfinger)
11. Suitcase (Badfinger)
12. I Can't Take It (Badfinger)

I made the cover art using a photo of the band playing on the British TV show "Top of the Pops" in 1973. (I assume the recording of that performance is either lost or was a lip-sync to a record.)

Badfinger - In Concert at the Paris Theatre (1972)

I'm trying to improve the problem of Badfinger live recordings. There are only two official live albums of the band in their early 1970s prime, and one ("Day After Day") is best forgotten. (It was a bad recording to begin with, and horrible 1980s drums were added to it, among other problems.) The one good live album, "BBC In Concert," has its own issues, but I'm going to try to fix them with this post and the next one.

"BBC In Concert" is largely based on two concerts recorded in front of audiences for the BBC, one at the Paris Theatre (which is located in London, not Paris, by the way) in 1972, and the other at the Hippodrome (also in London) in 1973. The songs all sound great, since these two shows were professionally recorded and played on the radio by the BBC. The only real problem is that it should be two albums, not one. So I've split them up. Here's the first one.

The vast majority of live Badfinger bootleg material sounds poor to awful. I've already posted two albums here, one of a soundboard quality concert in 1970, and the other of actual performances in the BBC studios with no audiences. You can find those here:

Aside from those, and the live BBC album, it's pretty slim pickings in terms of sound quality. But by splitting the BBC album in two, I ended up with two rather short live albums that had room for some bonus tracks. So Ive added the few live songs recorded in high quality that aren't repeats. I've added two songs to the start of this album, from another 1972 concert.

The result is an album that's 44 minutes long. The album I've made of the rest of "BBC In Concert" ends up being about the same length.

01. No Matter What (Badfinger)
02. Sometimes (Badfinger)
03. Better Days (Badfinger)
04. Only You Know and I Know (Badfinger)
05. We're for the Dark (Badfinger)
06. Sweet Tuesday Morning (Badfinger)
07. Feelin' Alright (Badfinger)
08. Take It All (Badfinger)
09. Suitcase (Badfinger)

For the album cover, I found some photos of Badfinger playing at the BBC in early 1972. I think it was one of the times they lip-synced to their songs, not this show. The photos happened to include four good close-ups of each band member, so I've put four photos together for the cover.

Friday, September 20, 2019

The Who - Acoustic Duo, 2005-2014

I'm able to post a lot of albums here in a relatively short period of time because I spent decades collecting this music and organizing it before I ever started this blog. But sometimes I come across new stuff, and today was one of those days. In double checking that I have all the good stuff for the Pete Townshend album I just posted, I came across some material by the Who, and I'm so pleased with it that I want to post it straight away.

Clearly, the Who are a rocking band, and I like them that way. But many of their songs sound good in solo acoustic format, as Pete Townshend has shown with various acoustic performances over the years. I knew the Who played in a stripped down format for the Bridge School Benefit in 1999 and some other occasions, but that included a bass player and drummer. What I didn't know until today is that Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey have played just as an acoustic duo on some very rare occasions in the last fifteen years or so.

They've only done a couple of songs here and there, seemingly for promotional appearances when the rest of the band wasn't available. So I searched out all the acoustic duo performances I could find and compiled them into this album. Luckily, it turns out that all of these performances have very good sound, usually professionally recorded sound. As a result, in my opinion, it sounds like one longer concert instead of a bunch of short ones.

In 2006, the Who put out an album of new songs called "Endless Wire." Four of the songs here are from that album. But, in my opinion, they sound better stripped down to the acoustic basics. All the other songs are Who classics from the 1960s and 70s, plus a cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire."

Speaking of that cover, that performance plus "Who Are You" actually only feature Daltrey. But you'd be hard pressed to hear that, because Daltrey plays acoustic guitar as he sings in a very impressive Townshend-esque style. I didn't know he had it in him to play guitar that well!

I included those two Daltrey solo tracks but not any Townshend solo tracks because I have tons of versions of Townshend playing Who songs in solo acoustic format. I don't really collect Daltrey solo stuff, but I figure those two Daltrey solo acoustic songs must be very unusual for him. Besides, including them here keeps the focus on Daltrey singing lead for the vast majority of the time on these songs.

The Who has raised some waves earlier in 2019 for acoustic performances of "Won't Get Fooled Again." I see one version has three million views on YouTube. So I'm glad to say I have an acoustic version of that song here, from 2014, when Daltrey's voice was in better shape. But also, if you liked hearing that in an acoustic version, check out the rest of these songs, because they all sound interesting that way.

On a minor note, Daltrey really screwed up the lyrics to "Bargain." He mostly sang the right lines, but in a mixed up order. So I carefully did some audio cutting and pasting to fix his most obvious errors.

I like it when I can put together albums that are between 35 and 50 minutes - long enough to set a mood and make a statement but not being too long to outstay its welcome. By chance, this is 47 minutes long, which is right in that sweet spot.

01. talk (Who)
02. Real Good Looking Boy (Who)
03. Man in a Purple Dress (Who)
04. Behind Blue Eyes (Who)
05. talk (Who)
06. Mike Post Theme (Who)
07. Tea and Theatre (Who)
08. Who Are You (Roger Daltrey)
09. Ring of Fire (Roger Daltrey)
10. Pinball Wizard (Who)
11. talk (Who)
12. Substitute (Who)
13. Bargain (Who)
14. The Kids Are Alright (Who)
15. talk (Who)
16. Won't Get Fooled Again (Who)

The last four songs come from a performance at Ronnie Scott's, a club in London, in 2014. The cover photo comes from that show. Daltrey and Townshend were situated rather far from each other on stage, so I cut out some of the space between them so I could show both of them with decent size.

Pete Townshend - It Must Be Done - Various Songs (2004-2015)

I've posted a long series of albums of Pete Townshend stray tracks. This is the last one, at least until more songs come to light. I must admit I don't think his stray tracks from the 1990s were consistently strong when compared to his earlier work. But, in my opinion, he does better here. Yes, it covers a decade of time, but this makes for a consistently solid listen.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think I count five cover versions: "Stone (Evolution)" by Ronnie Lane, "No Face, No Name, No Number" by Traffic, "Three Steps to Heaven" by Eddie Cochran, "Corrina, Corrina," a traditional song famously done by Bob Dylan, and "Chameleon" done by and with Des Horsfall's Kuschty Rye.

The latter, by the way, is a band that is extremely influenced by Ronnie Lane's music, naming themselves after one of his songs and including some members of his band. So "Chameleon" sounds uncannily (in a good way) like a Townshend-Lane collaboration that could have been found on their 1977 album together, "Rough Mix."

Two of the original songs, "In the Ether" and "Endless Wire," are solo versions of songs from the 2006 Who album "Endless Wire." They sound very different (and in my opinion better) in stripped down versions here, without any Roger Daltrey. Note that the era of this album overlaps with the "in the Attic" recordings Townshend did from 2005 to 2007. I haven't included any performances here that are on that, though a couple of the song are the same, but different versions.

Here's the link to the "In the Attic" album. If you've a Townshend or Who fan at all, you really should give it a listen:

One of the most recent songs here, "Guantanamo," is going to be on a new Who album coming out at the end of 2019, which will simply be called "Who." This version of the song came out on a 2015 Pete Townshend greatest hits album. But the Who version is going to be called "Ball and Chain," even though the lyrics indicate it's the same song. So I've included that new name as a subtitle.

Six of the songs are officially unreleased. For a few of those, the sound quality is a little less than the others, notably "Three Steps to Heaven." But it's nothing too bad.

I haven't found anything worthy of inclusion from after 2015, so this should be the last album in this stray tracks series, as I mentioned above. However, I have a whole other series of albums dealing with Townshend's demos for Who songs. I'll start that series soon.

01. Stone [Evolution] (Pete Townshend & Slim Chance)
02. In the Ether (Pete Townshend)
03. Endless Wire (Pete Townshend)
04. No Face, No Name, No Number (Pete Townshend)
05. Three Steps to Heaven (Eric Clapton & Friends with Pete Townshend)
06. Corrina, Corrina (Pete Townshend)
07. Guitar Instrumental (Pete Townshend)
08. It Must Be Done (Pete Townshend & Nathan Barr)
09. You Stand by Me (Pete Townshend & Eddie Vedder)
10. Chameleon (Pete Townshend & Des Horsfall's Kuschty Rye)
11. How Can I Help You (Pete Townshend)
12. Guantanamo [Ball and Chain] (Pete Townshend)

For the album cover, I used a photo of Townshend from a 2014 awards ceremony.

Cat Stevens - Two Radios Shows (2009)

I recently posted a Cat Stevens (a.k.a. Yusuf Islam or Yusuf) concert from 2015. I commented then that his vocals and his performance abilities haven't changed one iota from his 1970s heyday until now. This is another example of his seeming ability to defy aging. And, like that 2015 concert I posted, the sound quality here is flawless.

In 2006, Stevens returned to secular music with the album "An Other Cup." In 2009, he followed that up with a second album, "Roadsinger." To promote "Roadsinger," he did a lot of live appearances. Two radio shows stand out for their exceptional sound, one on "Morning Becomes Eclectic" in California on May 12th, and one for the BBC in Britain on June 3rd. The shows were very similar, with the same small, mostly acoustic band.

What I've done is combine the two of them and eliminate any songs in the second show that were played in the first show. Also, for both shows, the audiences were either very respectful or under orders not to make any sounds until each song was over. That allowed me to eliminate the clapping at the end of each song, giving the impression that Stevens and his band played these songs in an empty studio. I did leave in any instance when he talked between songs, but he didn't talk much.

The reason I combined the shows is because each show consists of only half an hour of music, after one eliminates the duplicate songs. That's pretty short. By combining them, it makes for an hour-long album. I think it's a much more satisfying listen that way. The two shows were so similar in sound that there's really no way to tell when one show ends and the other begins.

I stated in my last Cat Stevens post that I wasn't impressed with his first couple of albums after his return to secular music. I still feel that way, and I also feel they've gotten better with each new album, with his 2017 album "The Laughing Apple" the best (comeback) one yet. But only six out of 17 songs here are from his 2006 or 2009 comeback albums, and he generally played the strongest ones. Mostly, he does his classics from the early 1970s, but with some nice unexpected choices, such as "Portobello Road" and "Blackness of the Night" from his 1960s pop era, or "Ruins," one of his better songs from later in the 1970s.

Both these shows are from bootlegs, but they were played on TV and/or the radio, and were professionally recorded. So this is as good as if they had been recorded for an official album.

01. Welcome Home (Cat Stevens)
02. All Kinds of Roses (Cat Stevens)
03. Lilywhite - Don't Be Shy (Cat Stevens)
04. Thinking 'bout You (Cat Stevens)
05. Maybe You're Right (Cat Stevens)
06. Boots and Sand (Cat Stevens)
07. Ruins (Cat Stevens)
08. Roadsinger (Cat Stevens)
09. Oh Very Young (Cat Stevens)
10. Where Do the Children Play (Cat Stevens)
11. Miles from Nowhere (Cat Stevens)
12. Wild World [Zulu Version] (Cat Stevens)
13. talk (Cat Stevens)
14. Portobello Road (Cat Stevens)
15. talk (Cat Stevens)
16. Blackness of the Night (Cat Stevens)
17. Into White (Cat Stevens)
18. Father and Son (Cat Stevens)
19. To Be What You Must (Cat Stevens)

The photo I used for the cover art comes from a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London in December 2009.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Rockpile - Fool Too Long - Various Songs (1978)

Some days ago, I posted an album of stray tracks from Rockpile, the band where Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds joined forces from 1977 to 1980. During those years, Lowe and Edmunds generally put out solo albums every year or two, and they usually were backed by all four members of Rockpile for those albums. The challenge I've given myself in this series of albums is to not use any of the performances from those albums, since I listen a lot to those albums anyway.

Instead, I'm using versions of songs from those albums as well as other songs Rockpile did that didn't make it onto any of those albums. The vast majority of these performances come from concerts, since there is very little studio material available from the band other than those albums, yet they toured frequently while they were together. I believe three of the songs were not recorded in different versions on any of those solo albums: "Fool Too Long," "Let's Eat," "Stuck in the Fog,"

Two of those exclusive songs - "Let's Eat" and "Stuck in the Fog" - have been officially released. All these rest come from concert bootlegs. Luckily, there are enough bootlegs for me to find versions of these songs with good sound quality, even though some of them are from audience recordings, not soundboards. As I often do, I removed the audience noise to make these all consistently sound like studio tracks.

01. So It Goes (Rockpile)
02. Goodbye Mr. Good Guy (Rockpile)
03. I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass (Rockpile)
04. It's My Own Business (Rockpile)
05. Fool Too Long (Rockpile)
06. Trouble Boys (Rockpile)
07. Never Been in Love (Rockpile)
08. Let's Eat (Nick Lowe & Rockpile)
09. Stuck in the Fog (Billy Bremner)
10. Here Comes the Weekend (Rockpile)
11. Love So Fine (Rockpile)
12. Deborah (Rockpile)

I couldn't find many good photos of Rockpile from this time period. I had to resort to a photo from 1979 instead of 1978. I also used a photo that only shows Lowe and Edmunds. I could have used a different photo, but I like how this looks, especially with all the sweat dripping down their faces.