Saturday, April 17, 2021

Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity - This Wheel's on Fire - Various Songs (1968-1969)

Yesterday, I posted a stray tracks collection from Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity. (Yes, that their unwieldy band name.) That dealt with the years 1966 and 1967. This continues where that left off, and deals with the years 1968 and 1969. The band broke up after that, and Driscoll switched musical styles, so that's where things end.

I wasn't alive at the time, but I understand this band was quite big in Britain in the late 1960s, with Driscoll in particular being known as a fashion trend setter as well as her vocals. They released a bunch of singles, but only one was a big hit: "This Wheel's on Fire" (originally by Bob Dylan and the Band) made it to the Top Five (though it didn't even reach the Top 100 in the US). Five of the songs here are A-sides, and there's one B-side.

The rest of the songs are officially unreleased. Generally speaking, these are cover versions the band played in concert but didn't put on album. (Note that most of the songs the band in general were covers.) "I'm a Believer" and "Come On Up" come from a TV special called "33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee" that was supposed to feature the Monkees, but it wound up featuring this band prominently as well. "I'm a Believer" is sung with Micky Dolenz of the Monkees, but done very different from the famous hit version. "Knock on Wood" is from another TV show, and is essentially a duet between Driscoll and Chris Farlowe.

Three of the songs here, and one from the earlier stray tracks album, are from BBC performances. I plan to later post an album of all this band's surviving BBC sessions. It'll include those exact four performances again, but many other songs too. 

This album is 47 minutes long, which would have made a good album length for that era.

01 I Am a Lonesome Hobo (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
02 Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
03 This Wheel's on Fire (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
04 I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
05 I Don't Know Where You Are (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
06 The Road to Cairo (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
07 Shadows of You (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
08 After Loving You [Edit] (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
09 I'm Not Talkin' (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
10 Old Jim Crow (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
11 I'm a Believer (Micky Dolenz & Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
12 Come On Up (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
13 Knock on Wood (Chris Farlowe & Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
14 What You Gonna Do (Brian Auger & the Trinity)

The cover art photo comes from a TV show appearance from that era, though I don't know the details. Obviously, some genius set designer thought "The hit song is 'This Wheel's on Fire' - let's do circles!" ;) I took the band name from some single artwork to add to the period flavor. I also added the record company logo, since that was put on the band's albums at the time too.

Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity - That Driving Beat - Various Songs (1966-1967)

Some weeks back, I posted a collection of songs by the Steampacket. One could call this an early "supergroup," but only in retrospect, because the main band members weren't well known then, but Rod Stewart, Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll, and Brian Auger later went on to greater fame and fortune. That band only existed about a year. Stewart and Baldry left. But Driscoll and Auger stayed together, and were romantically linked for a while. Their new group had the very unwieldy name "Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity."

This band only put out two albums, "Open" in 1967 and the double album "Streetnoise" in 1969. But they did a lot of other songs together, enough for me to put together two stray tracks albums together. This is the first one. On top of that, both Driscoll and Auger put out solo album projects in the late 1960s, but I'm not including songs from those unless it's a performance they did together that differs from the album version.

I must admit that I'm in this mainly for Julie Driscoll. I consider her one of the best female singers in Britain in the late 1960s. Also, unlike most female singers at the time, she was a talented songwriter too. Brian Auger is a fine organist, sure, but I'm not that keen on his stuff unless Driscoll's singing is there. I think Driscoll is underappreciated these days. One big reason for that, in my opinion, is that she quit music for a while at the tail end of the sixties when this band broke up. She soon got back doing more music, but she went in a different experimental jazz direction (under the name Julie Tippetts) that generally isn't my cup of tea. 

Driscoll and Auger put out a bunch of singles of songs that didn't make it to album at the time. I have seven such songs here, some Driscoll solo, some Auger solo, and some with both of them and the Trinity. (There are a handful more on the second stray tracks album I'll be posting here, including their big hit "This Wheel's on Fire.") This also includes two bonus tracks from "Open" that weren't released at the time. Plus there's "This Driving Beat," which only came out decades later on an archival release. It's a fun and lively song; too bad it wasn't a single.

Finally, there are a couple of still unreleased songs. "A New Awakening" is a song that would end up on Driscoll's first solo album, simply called "1969." I'm including a BBC version here because she did it with Auger and the Trinity. The other unreleased song, "Don't Wait Too Long," is super obscure. In 1967, a Dutch TV show recorded some footage of Driscoll recording a song in a studio that was intended for her first solo album. It never made it to the album, so the only version that's available is from the TV show, featuring just her voice and an acoustic guitar. Unfortunately, the show would feature some of the song being sung in the studio, then cut away to Driscoll being interviewed, then cut back to the song, then cut back to the interview, etc... I painstakingly put the parts of the songs together and cut out the interview sections. For the most part it holds up as a song. However, there is one missing chunk near the end of the song. If I recall, instead of another verse, I just have the chorus repeat again before the song ends.

01 I Know You (Julie Driscoll with the Blossom Toes)
02 Don't Do It No More (Julie Driscoll with the Blossom Toes)
03 I Didn't Want to Have to Do It (Julie Driscoll)
04 That Driving Beat (Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger)
05 Red Beans and Rice, Parts 1 & 2 [Instrumental] (Brian Auger & the Trinity)
06 I Know You Love Me Not (Julie Driscoll)
07 Tiger (Brian Auger & the Trinity)
08 Save Me (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
09 I've Gotta Go Now (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
10 Inside of Him (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
11 Don't Wait Too Long [Edit] (Julie Dirscoll)
12 A New Awakening [Edit] (Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity)
13 As She Knows (Brian Auger & the Trinity)

The album cover art shows Driscoll and Auger at the Marble Arch in London in 1968. I took the band name from a rare version of the "Open" album cover, for a more authentic 1960s style. But I made some changes, including changing the colors. I also edited her eyes, because she was looking away from the camera and he wasn't.

Herman's Hermits - BBC Sessions, Volume 2 (1966-1967)

Here's the second of four volumes of Herman's Hermits at the BBC. I've already made the case for not overlooking this band in two previous posts, so I won't repeat myself here. But to sum it up in one sentence, if you like British Invasion pop by the likes of the Hollies, don't overlook this band (despite their lightweight reputation and dumb name). 

Out of the four BBC volumes I'm posting here, I think volume one is the weakest. This one is markedly better. How anyone can dislike a song like "No Milk Today" - written by the great Graham Gouldman - is beyond me. In fact, this band probably covered more Gouldman songs than any other. He also wrote a few others here, such as "Listen, People" and "East West."

I'm not that familiar with every last song by this band, so I don't always know which songs here were only done in BBC versions. But I do know there were at least a couple here that are unique, such as "All Thing Things I Do for You Baby," "Little Boy Sad," "Tell Her," and the Tim Hardin classic "If I Were a Carpenter."

As with all these volumes, every single performance here remains officially unreleased. I had the usual problem of BBC DJs talking over the starts of some songs, but I got lucky with this volume, as there are only four such cases (marked with "[Edit]" in the title). As usual, I did my best to edit those voices out.

01 Listen, People (Herman's Hermits)
02 You Won't Be Leaving (Herman's Hermits)
03 Got a Feeling [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
04 This Door Swings Both Ways (Herman's Hermits)
05 For Love (Herman's Hermits)
06 The George and Dragon (Herman's Hermits)
07 Little Boy Sad [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
08 Je Suis Anglais [L'Autre Jour] [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
09 No Milk Today (Herman's Hermits)
10 All Thing Things I Do for You Baby (Herman's Hermits)
11 East West (Herman's Hermits)
12 Dial My Number (Herman's Hermits)
13 There's a Kind of Hush (Herman's Hermits)
14 Jezebel (Herman's Hermits)
15 My Reservation's Been Confirmed [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
16 If I Were a Carpenter (Herman's Hermits)
17 Tell Her (Herman's Hermits)
18 I Can Take or Leave Your Loving (Herman's Hermits) 

The album cover photo dates to August 1966.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Britain, 10-21-1993

Mary Chapin Carpenter has been known as a folky singer songwriter type for a long time. But for the first half of the 1990s she was considered a country rock artist. For a long time, I was looking for an excellent sounding concert from those years. I finally found one, which only started being traded as a bootleg a few weeks ago. In this concert, she played with a fully band, and frequently rocked out. Normally, I'm all for mellow acoustic stuff, but in her case I wish she would rock a lot more.

This concerts dates to 1993. That's a significant time for her, because her "Come On Come On" album released the year before was the peak of her popularity, selling four million copies in the US. It has no less than seven hit singles on the country charts, and she plays most of those here. 

This concert was recorded for a live radio broadcast in Britain. As such, it's professionally recorded. There was one snag though. Apparently, it was edited down to fit into an hour long time slot. So there problem were some missed songs, as well as some missed banter between songs. 

However I made up for that a bit because it turns out there actually were two concerts recorded for live radio broadcast in Britain just two days apart, one in Glasgow and the other in Edinburgh. The same bootlegger recorded them both off the radio. I've compared the two shows, and found two songs played in Edinburgh that weren't played in Glasgow. So I've added those two to the end. If you include those songs, the concert totals an hour and ten minutes. That's not far off from the typical concert length of her musical genre at the time, which I would guess at an hour and twenty minutes to an hour and thirty minutes. So if there is some missing music (and there probably is), at least it's not that much.

01 I Feel Lucky (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
02 He Thinks He'll Keep Her (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
03 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
04 I'm Going Out Tonight (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
05 Rythm of the Blues (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
06 Read My Lips (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
07 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
08 How Do (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
09 Only a Dream (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
10 Down at the Twist and Shout (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
11 The Hard Way (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
12 I Take My Chances (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
13 Passionate Kisses (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
14 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
15 Come On Come On (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
16 Hearts in Her Eyes (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
17 I Am a Town (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
18 Party Doll (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

The cover art photo comes from an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in 1993.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Louis Jordan - Unique Soundies & Radio Broadcasts (1942-1947)

Here's something out of left field compared to what I usually post here. I've never posted music from the 1940s before. Generally speaking, I only have a limited appreciation of music before the rock and roll era (which began around 1955), but I'll make a big exception for Louis Jordan. I enjoy the "jump blues" style that he was the king of. In my opinion, it was the most rocking music prior to rock and roll, and it has lots of humor and period charm. I think he gets underappreciated these days compared to some other famous pre-rock and roll artists, but he was massively popular with black audiences in the 1940s, and with good reason.

I never posted any of his music prior to this, because everything I had from him was officially released, and I don't like to post that sort of thing unless I have a special reason. But recently I discovered that there's a bunch of his songs that STILL have never been officially released, and they're generally really good! 

The reason many of these recordings exist due to a strange, short-term phenomenon called "soundies." You can see the Wikipedia entry about that here:

Soundies - Wikipedia

Here's how I see it. When soundies began in 1940, television as we know it hadn't even been invented yet. Soundies were much like music videos of later decades, giving fans a rare chance to actually see as well as hear the musicians they loved. You put a dime into a machine and then were able to watch a visual performance of a song. Louis Jordan made more soundies than most, probably because he was so popular, plus he and his band had a lot of visual charisma that fit the format well. At the same time, albums hadn't caught on much yet (his first album wasn't released until 1946, despite him having many hits prior to that), so he could only release a limited number of songs as singles. Thus, many of the songs he performed as soundies were never otherwise recorded in the studio. 

I was able to find a collection of his soundie videos (through SoulseekQT) and converted them to mp3s. There are many more than what I've presented here, but I've only included songs that I believe aren't on any of his archival albums. In addition, about half of the songs are ones that he performed for various radio shows but again weren't recorded in the studio. (Technically, many of these songs have been released on album, but I believe those are dubious "grey market" releases that aren't officially sanctioned, so I don't count those.)

By the way, the soundies phenomenon ended in 1947, when the main company making them folded. I suspect that was due to a changing market after World War II (which ended in 1945), especially the sudden rise of television.

I think many of these songs are among his best. I particularly like the first one, "Old Man Mose." You can watch the soundie for that one and many of the others on YouTube. In that video, he gives an amusing parody performance of an evangelical preacher.

The only problem with these soundie recordings is that some of them are fairly rough. There were a couple of songs I excluded because they were too rough. There are three more I've only included as bonus tracks, due to sound quality issues. A couple more that I did include here, such as "Good Morning Heartache" are borderline. But the most of the songs sound surprisingly good for unreleased recordings going all the way back to the 1940s.

This album is 37 minutes long, not including the bonus tracks.

By the way, I've recently come across some other interesting and rare Louis Jordan music. Let me know if you're interested in me posting that here, since this type of music is different from what I usually post.

01 Old Man Mose (Louis Jordan)
02 Down, Down, Down (Louis Jordan)
03 Fuzzy Wuzzy (Louis Jordan)
04 Jordan Jive [Instrumental] (Louis Jordan)
05 If You Can't Smile and Say Yes [Please Don't Cry and Say No] (Louis Jordan)
06 Let Your Hair Down, Baby (Louis Jordan)
07 When I Grow Too Old to Dream (Louis Jordan)
08 Re-Bop [Instrumental] (Louis Jordan)
09 Baby, You're Just Too Darned Good to Be True (Louis Jordan)
10 Seventh Avenue (Louis Jordan)
11 Honey Child (Louis Jordan)
12 Tillie (Louis Jordan)
13 Sweatin' on Swing Street [Instrumental] (Louis Jordan)
14 Good Morning Heartache (Louis Jordan)
15 Wham, Sam [Dig Them Gams] (Louis Jordan)

Hold On (Louis Jordan)
In the Land of the Buffalo Nickel (Louis Jordan)
Long Legged Lizzie (Louis Jordan)

I'm happy at how the cover art turned out. I based it on a poster for a 1946 movie called "Beware" that starred Louis Jordan. I cropped it, changed the text, and made other changes to get the best parts of the rectangular poster into a square space. I also added the record company logo and a couple other little touches to mimic the look of his earliest albums.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Dukes of September (Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald & Boz Scaggs) - The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, 9-29-2010

A few days ago, I didn't even know this group existed. I randomly stumbled on this recording while searching for something else. I was so impressed by the sound quality of this bootleg recording, as well as the performance, that I'm sharing it straight away.

The Dukes of September are mainly made up of Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, and Boz Scaggs from his long solo career. From time to time, some artists who were big in earlier decades have teamed up with others so they can still play larger concert venues. For instance, Bob Dylan shared a billing with Paul Simon for a tour so they could fill the largest stadiums. But this is different. This isn't just a case of one person doing a set of their hits, followed by someone else doing their hits, etc... Instead, all three stars stayed on stage the whole concert and played and/or sang on all the songs. For another, while they did do some of their best known hits, about half of the songs are covers that none of them had previously done on record.

You can read more about the Dukes of September at the Wikipedia entry here:

The Dukes of September - Wikipedia

My short summary is that these three stars went on tour together from 1989 to 1992, along with some other less famous stars, such as Phoebe Snow, Eddie Brigati of the Rascals, and blues legend Charles Brown, under the name The New York Rock and Soul Revue. They released a live album in 1991 entitled "Live at the Beacon." They revived their partnership with a new name and more concert tours from 2010 to 2012, though this time without the other stars. However, two female vocalists were included, Carolyn Escoffery and Catherine Russell, and they sing lead vocals on a few of the songs here.

Personally, based on this recording, I prefer the Dukes of September over the New York Rock and Soul Revue, and I much prefer this concert bootleg over that other band's live album. It helps that this one is a lot longer, at two hours and eight minutes compared to an hour and six minutes. But also, I think it works better with more of a focus on the three major stars instead of including a bunch of lesser stars. For instance, on "Live at the Beacon," Boz Scaggs only sang lead on one song, whereas here he sang a bunch.

Strangely, the Dukes of September never released any official album, live or studio. They closest they came is a performance recorded in New York City and played as part of "Great Performances" on PBS. It was later released as a DVD, but not in any audio format. About half of the songs on that are different than the ones here, so maybe I'll find enough material to post a different concert from this bunch someday.

It seems Donald Fagen of Steely Dan was the main impetus for this group. His wife was the producer for their tours and those of their earlier incarnation, and Fagen acted as an MC of sorts, doing most of the talking between songs.

As I mentioned above, the sound quality of this is absolutely fantastic. It's hard to believe it's only a bootleg, because it's recorded and mixed so well that it sounds better than many official live albums. I can only guess that this was professionally done with plans for a possible official album that never came to fruition. 

There's only one snag, and it's a rather big one, in my opinion: the soundboard recording was so very good that not much of the audience could be heard after each song. But there was enough there so that I was able to boost the volume until it more or less sounded like a typical cheering crowd.

If you're a fan of Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers, and/or Boz Scaggs, you should check it out. As nice as their versions of their own songs are, I think it's even more interesting hearing this bunch do lots of unexpected cover songs. They played songs by Don Covay, the Grateful Dead, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Aretha Franklin, the Band, Mink DeVille, the O'Jays, the Beach Boys, Thunderclap Newman, and more. I think it's pretty clear they were having an especially good time playing songs other than their same old hits that probably bored them by this point in their careers.

01 Sookie Sookie (Dukes of September)
02 Heighty Hi (Dukes of September)
03 talk (Dukes of September)
04 Don’t Mess Up a Good Thing (Dukes of September)
05 talk (Dukes of September)
06 Shakedown Street (Dukes of September)
07 talk (Dukes of September)
08 You Never Can Tell (Dukes of September)
09 talk (Dukes of September)
10 I've Got News for You (Dukes of September)
11 Green Flower Street (Dukes of September)
12 talk (Dukes of September)
13 Miss Sun (Dukes of September)
14 talk (Dukes of September)
15 I Keep Forgettin' (Dukes of September)
16 talk (Dukes of September)
17 Rock Steady (Dukes of September)
18 talk (Dukes of September)
19 Rag Mama Rag (Dukes of September)
20 The Shape I'm In (Dukes of September)
21 Love TKO (Dukes of September)
22 talk (Dukes of September)
23 I Live the Life I Love (Dukes of September)
24 talk (Dukes of September)
25 Cadillac Walk (Dukes of September)
26 talk (Dukes of September)
27 What a Fool Believes (Dukes of September)
28 IGY [What a Beautiful World] (Dukes of September)
29 talk (Dukes of September)
30 Lowdown (Dukes of September)
31 Takin' It to the Streets (Dukes of September)
32 talk (Dukes of September)
33 Reelin' in the Years (Dukes of September)
34 Love Train (Dukes of September)
35 talk (Dukes of September)
36 Help Me Rhonda (Dukes of September)
37 Peg (Dukes of September)
38 talk (Dukes of September)
39 Something in the Air (Dukes of September)
40 talk (Dukes of September)
41 Sookie Sookie [Reprise] (Dukes of September) 

The cover art shows, from left to right: Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs, and Donald Fagen. It was taken in August 2010, but I don't know the location.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Herman's Hermits - BBC Sessions, Volume 1 (1964-1966)

Some weeks back, I posted an unreleased cover songs album by Herman's Hermits that should have been released around 1968. I hope a lot of people here got to listen to it and realize the band is better than their reputation, because, let's be honest, their reputation is awful. When people look back at the big British Invasion bands, Herman's Hermits are usually considered the most slight and forgettable. To be honest, some of their material is rather cringe-worthy. But they also did a lot of excellent stuff. Yeah, they were very poppy, but in my opinion there are few things better than a really catchy and well put together pop song.

It doesn't surprise that Herman's Hermits played for the BBC a lot in the 1960s. I have no doubt the conservative BBC was more comfortable with their type of music than the likes of Pink Floyd or Jimi Hendrix. But what does surprise me is that NONE of the band's BBC recordings have been officially released. I suspect that's because their uncool image still dogs them until the present day. But that's a shame, because I think one can make a stronger case for the band through their BBC material than their albums and singles. The BBC versions tend to be less produced and more spontaneous, and those are almost always good things, in my opinion. But also, they played a fair number of songs they never recorded in the studio, and these songs are often more rocking. There's only a bit of that on this early volume, but they do play the blues classic "Got My Mojo Working" and the Carl Perkins rockabilly classic "Matchbox."

If you like the pop style of the Hollies, you should give this a try. I think they're still hurt by their image. For one thing, their name is awful. "Herman's Hermits" sounds like a name you shouldn't take seriously, something for teenyboppers. I wonder how different their reputation would be simply if they'd had a cool name, or even a generic name. And the looks and persona of lead singer Peter Noone also suggested an entertainer aimed at teenyboppers. But if you can look past all that and just focus on the music, there's a lot to like, even though there may be a few clunkers here and there. 

This album is 45 minutes long. It's the first of four volumes.

Ironically, the bonus track "Fortune Teller" is the only officially released song here, yet it easily has the worst sound quality. (Thus its bonus track status.) I included it because it's a very rare example of the band playing in concert in their early days. Apparently when they got started they could hold their own with other British bands that were heavily influenced by American R&B, and this is an example of that.

01 Ain't That Just like a Woman (Herman's Hermits)
02 Show Me Girl (Herman's Hermits)
03 Can't You Hear My Heartbeat (Herman's Hermits)
04 Silhouettes (Herman's Hermits)
05 Wonderful World (Herman's Hermits)
06 Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter (Herman's Hermits)
07 Dream On [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
08 I'm Henry the VIII I Am (Herman's Hermits)
09 Travellin' Light (Herman's Hermits)
10 I'm Talking about You (Herman's Hermits)
11 Got My Mojo Working (Herman's Hermits)
12 Just a Little Bit Better (Herman's Hermits)
13 Sea Cruise [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
14 Take Love, Give Love [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
15 Walking with My Angel (Herman's Hermits)
16 The Man with the Cigar (Herman's Hermits)
17 Matchbox [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
18 A Must to Avoid (Herman's Hermits)
19 Hold On (Herman's Hermits)
20 Where Were You When I Needed You [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)

Fortune Teller (Herman's Hermits)

The cover art photo comes from 1964. I find it interesting to see them dressed in leather, given the tame image they would be known for.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

David Bowie - Acoustic Demos (1968-1971)

I'm a big fan of David Bowie's music, but I like some eras of his music career more than others. My favorite era stretches from about 1968 to 1973. One thing I like about his music from that time was that it was often acoustic based, helped by the fact that I favor acoustic versions of songs in general. So I've created this collection of acoustic performances. All of these versions are versions that I haven't included on any other Bowie albums I've posted at this blog.

All but four of the versions here have been officially released. The four unreleased ones are bunched together near the end, tracks 11 to 14. Most of the rest have only been released in recent years. Perhaps some of those versions weren't released earlier because their sound quality is fairly rough. The songs "In the Heat of the Morning," London Bye Ta-Ta," and "When I'm Five" sounded worse than the others. So I asked my musical friend MZ for help. He made some tweaks to help, but there's only so much one can do, so those still sound worse than the others.

A couple of the songs I had sounded even worse than the ones mentioned above. So I've demoted those two, "Amsterdam" and "Bombers," to bonus track status.

This album is 52 minutes long.

01 In the Heat of the Morning (David Bowie)
02 London Bye Ta-Ta (David Bowie)
03 Angel Angel Grubby Face [Version 2] (David Bowie)
04 Space Oddity [Duet Version] (David Bowie with John 'Hutch' Hutchinson)
05 When I'm Five (David Bowie)
06 Conversation Piece (David Bowie)
07 Lover to the Dawn [Early Version of Cygnet Committee] (David Bowie with John 'Hutch' Hutchinson)
08 Let Me Sleep Beside You (David Bowie with John 'Hutch' Hutchinson)
09 Ching-A-Ling (David Bowie with John 'Hutch' Hutchinson)
10 An Occasional Dream (David Bowie with John 'Hutch' Hutchinson)
11 Quicksand (David Bowie)
12 Changes (David Bowie)
13 Kooks (David Bowie)
14 Right On Mother (David Bowie)
15 Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
16 Lady Stardust (David Bowie)

Amsterdam (David Bowie)
Bombers (David Bowie)

I don't know when or where the cover art photo comes from. But based on his appearance, I'm fairly confident it's from 1971 or 1972.

Gregg Allman - Acoustic, Volume 1 (1972-1974)

Gregg Allman is most famous for being the main lead vocalist and keyboardist for the Allman Brothers Band, but he also had an occasional solo career from the early 1970s until his death in 2017. As part of his solo work, he sometimes played songs in a solo acoustic format. Personally, I really like his solo acoustic style, but he never released an entire album like that. So I've gathered two albums of songs in that format. Here's the first one.

The thing about Allman playing solo acoustic is that he had a small number of favorite songs, such as "Melissa" and "These Days," and he mostly just played those. But what I've done is including only one version of each song across these two albums. A few of the songs were also played by the Allman Brothers Band, such as "Midnight Rider," but most of these songs were from his solo albums instead, where they were usually played with a full band.

All but three of the songs here come from an official compilation called "One More Try: An Anthology," which was released in 1996. Nearly all of the performances from that album were previously unreleased. But for whatever reason, Allman didn't like that album. He pulled it from the stores after a short time, and it's remained out of print ever since. Most of the songs from it are studio versions done as outtakes from his solo albums. The first song has appeared elsewhere as a bonus track. The last two are officially unreleased, but they sound great because they were done for a radio station appearance.

This is very different from the Allman Brothers Band with extended solo work. The songs are generally just Gregg Allman singing and playing an acoustic guitar, or occasionally a piano or keyboards. So if you like acoustic music like I do, definitely check this out.

01 These Days (Gregg Allman)
02 Catfish Blues (Gregg Allman)
03 God Rest His Soul (Gregg Allman)
04 Multi-Colored Lady (Gregg Allman)
05 Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Gregg Allman)
06 Adam's Song - Shadow Dream Song (Gregg Allman)
07 Bring It on Back (Gregg Allman)
08 One More Try (Gregg Allman)
09 Midnight Rider (Gregg Allman)
10 Melissa (Gregg Allman)

I'm not sure exactly where or when the cover art photo comes from, but I would guess from Allman's appearance that it's from the 1970s.

Robyn Hitchcock - Tromso, Kaptein & Love from London Acoustic Versions (2013)

I've posted a lot of Robyn Hitchcock albums at this blog, maybe more than any other artist. I've posted several types of albums. One of those consists of acoustic versions of his studio albums. His albums "Tromso, Kaptein" from 2011 and "Love from London" from 2013 are some of his lesser known albums, since they come from a time when he was keeping a lower profile. As a result, I couldn't find enough songs to make an acoustic album for each one. Thus, this album has songs from both. 

The first five songs come from "Tromso, Kaptein." The remaining songs are from "Love from London." Actually, I did pretty well and found most of the songs from "Love from London" (with nine of ten included here). The problem is "Tromso, Kaptein," where I only found five of ten. 

In terms of sound quality, every single performance is officially unreleased. It helps that nine of the 14 songs come from radio shows, which are generally recorded very well.

01 Dismal City (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Light Blue Afternoon (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Old Man Weather (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Savannah (Robyn Hitchcock with I Was a King)
05 The Abyss (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Harry's Song (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Be Still (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Stupefied (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 I Love You (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Strawberries Dress (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 Death and Love (Robyn Hitchcock)
12 Fix You (Robyn Hitchcock)
13 My Rain (Robyn Hitchcock)
14 End of Time (Robyn Hitchcock) 

Since this album is split between acoustic versions of songs from two albums, I used a split of the two official covers for the cover art.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Norah Jones - Dear Someone - Various Songs (2018-2019)

I've been so busy posting Norah Jones's home concert collections that I haven't posted as many of her stray track collections. I've only got a couple of them left to go though before I catch up to the present day. Here's one more.

As I've mentioned previously, Jones is very musically adventurous with her non-album projects. It seems she's up for collaborations with just about anyone. That's especially true for this album. Only two songs here are credited just to her. Those two are the only unreleased songs, and they feature her doing rare cover versions in concerts. The rest are all collaborations, generally for other people's albums or singles. Note also that one song, "Christmas All Over Again," is done by Puss N' Boots, a band she's a part of.

There's one more collaborative song as a bonus track. "Make No Mistake" is a Keith Richards song and is performed with him. The only problem is that it comes from a concert bootleg and the sound quality isn't as good as the rest, thus the bonus track status.

01 Searching for Love (Doyle Bramhall II with Norah Jones)
02 What Is This Thing Called Love (Willie Nelson & Norah Jones)
03 Okolona River Bottom Band (Mercury Rev with Norah Jones)
04 Don't Go to Strangers (Norah Jones)
05 Borderline (Norah Jones)
06 Christmas All Over Again (Puss N Boots featuring Norah Jones)
07 Never My Love (Jakob Dylan & Norah Jones)
08 Dear Someone (Lila Downs & Norah Jones)
09 Take It Away (Norah Jones with Tarriona Tank Ball)
10 I'll Be Gone (Norah Jones & Mavis Staples)
11 I Forgot (Norah Jones & Rodrigo Amarante)

Make No Mistake (Keith Richards & Norah Jones)

The cover art photo comes from the Monterey Jazz Festival in September 2018.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Back from Vacation and Rolling Stones Volume Control

I just got back from vacation. (I had a really good, covid-safe time.) I managed to post a couple of Rod Stewart albums I'd prepared in advance while I was gone. I was going to post more albums, but I was in a place in Mexico where the Internet was so terrible that it was barely existent every now and then, so I decided not to bother with it too much. Now that I'm back, I'll post those soon.

On a different note, I think I forgot to mention before I left that I recently redid all the Rolling Stones album I've posted here in order to better balance the volume levels from song to song. While I did that, I added or moved a song here or there. So you might want to redownload all their albums. I also did the same for all the Manfred Mann albums.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Another Rod Stewart Album

Yesterday, I posted another Rod Stewart album, “Once in a Blue Moon.” But because I prepared it a few days ago, before I left for vacation, it shows up a couple of albums down from the top. I’m writing this to make sure people don’t miss it.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Rod Stewart - Vagabond Heart - Alternate Version (1991)

Rod Stewart has had a checkered  musical history. He's sold over 250 millions albums worldwide, making him one of the most commercially successful musicians in history. As recently as 2012, he had an album that went double platinum in the US. 

But despite all that success, most serious rock fans think that he lost his musical mojo a long time ago. The common perception is that he did great with the Jeff Beck Group, the Faces, and his solo albums in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but as the 1970s went on, he sold out, becoming the poster boy for the excessive rock star lifestyle, with drugs, sex, and material goods overwhelming his love of the music. The disco hit "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" is scoffed at to show how drastically he'd changed. Since then, his reputation has only gotten worse, with a series of "Great American Songbook" albums in the 2000s that sold like hotcakes but were critically derided.

I generally agree with all that. Stewart's career since about 1976 has been a disappointment, even though he's put out many worthy hit songs. But I would add an important caveat. I think he had a mini-career revival in the early 1990s. This can best be seen by the critically successful "Unplugged" album he released in 1993. I've already posted a complete version of that here. But he also put out a couple of decent albums around that time. What I'd like to do here is present an alternate version of one of them that removes the weakest songs and replaces them with some better stray tracks. Had he actually released this version of the album, I think the reputation of his early 1990s material would be much improved.

In my opinion, a key problem with his music from the mid-1970s onwards was that he was a follower of musical trends that haven't aged well. First, he latched onto disco. Then, went new wave became the big thing in the early 1980s, he latched onto that, slathering his recordings with synthesizers and big drums and all the other 1980s overproduction techniques that are often derided today. Thankfully, in the early 1990s, that sound fell out of favor. It seems around that time Stewart returned to more of the classic rock sound that made him a superstar in the first place. Mind you, there still were poppy and cheesy elements that serious rockers wouldn't approve of, but it wasn't as heavy as with his 1980s recordings. I think he especially looked to the Motown sound of the 1960s for inspiration, which was a sound that was both soulful yet poppy and very popular. He even had a hit with a song called "The Motown Song!"

One other problem albums had in this time period, in my opinion, is something I call "CD bloat." In the late 1980s, the maximum length of a single album went from around 50 minutes to about 77 minutes, thanks to the widespread popularity of the new CD medium. Many artists that had had to edit themselves to get their albums down to 50 minutes of less went wild and put out albums cover to 77 minutes. "Vagabond Heart" is an example of this, clocking in at 58 minutes.

So what I've done is cut the 14 songs down to eight. Then I added three more back in, for a total of 11. This cuts the length of the album from 58 minutes to 44 minutes, and in this case, I think less is more. (Note that I consider the song "Downtown Train," a 1989 hit, as one of the original 14. Technically, it's a bonus track, but it's been available on most versions of the album.) 

The three added songs are: "Highgate Shuffle," "Sweet Soul Music," and "Somebody to Hold." The first two are live covers from 1991 that were released on an archival live album. The last one is a less common bonus track.

If you're only a casual Rod Stewart who gave up on his albums prior to the start of the 1990s, you should give this a try. No, it's not the second coming of his 1971 classic "Every Picture Tells a Story." Yes, it's still somewhat dated to its time. But it's a pretty darn good album in my opinion, much better than the bloated official version.

01 Rhythm of My Heart (Rod Stewart)
02 Rebel Heart (Rod Stewart)
03 Broken Arrow (Rod Stewart)
04 Highgate Shuffle (Rod Stewart)
05 It Takes Two (Rod Stewart & Tina Turner)
06 The Motown Song (Rod Stewart with the Temptations)
07 Sweet Soul Music (Rod Stewart)
08 Go Out Dancing (Rod Stewart)
09 Downtown Train (Rod Stewart)
10 Somebody to Hold (Rod Stewart)
11 Have I Told You Lately (Rod Stewart)

The album cover pictured above is very different from the official version. This comes from a DVD of his 1991 tour, also called "Vagabond Heart." So all I had to do was remove the word "Tour" from the bottom of the flying red heart.

Friday, March 26, 2021


I'm going on vacation for the next week, so I may or may not be able to post anything new during that time. I have a few posts ready to go, but I'll see if I'm able to post them from the road or not. It's an experiment since I've never done that before. I hope to be able to log in and at least comment, but I'm not sure about that either. At the very least, I'll be back in a week.

Fleetwood Mac - The New Mac Plays the Old Mac (1975-1977)

Here's something a little different. Every now and then I've put together a thematic album, like an album of Heart playing Led Zeppelin songs, or Sheryl Crow playing Rolling Stones songs. This is similar, except it's the "new" Fleetwood Mac - meaning the band from 1975 onwards, playing songs of the "old" Fleetwood mac, meaning the band from its start in the late 1960s to the early 1970s. 

They're almost two different bands in terms of musical style and personnel. The "old" band was dominated by lead guitarist Peter Green and his love of the blues. The "new" band was dominated by three singer songwriters: Lindsay Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, and Christine McVie, and they found massive success with a pop rock style. The only consistency throughout was the drummer, Mick Fleetwood, and the bassist, John McVie. 

In 1977, the "new" band released "Rumours," which is one of the most successful albums of all time, selling over 40 million copies. From that point on, the band hardly ever played songs made famous by the "old" band, because they had more popular songs to play than they could fit into a concert. Thus, there really was only a short window of time, 1975 to 1977, when the new band played some of the old band's songs. I'm compiled all those songs together that I could find in worthy sound quality. About half of them come from the 1975 tour. The other half come from a bootleg of rehearsals for the 1977 tour.

This album mostly features Buckingham and McVie on lead vocals. As the only male lead vocalist in the 1975 to 1977 time period, it was natural for Buckingham to sing the songs previous sang by Peter Green or Bob Welch. McVie features because she joined the band around 1971 (after a graduation transition period), so she had some of her own "old band" songs to sing with the "new" band. I don't think Stevie Nicks sings lead anywhere here, but of course she frequently can be heard on backing vocals.

I think this is an interesting album because it's almost like a lost album of the famous "Rumours" line-up. Buckingham in particular had a key role in crafting that "Rumours" pop rock sound, and you can hear his influence in rearranging these songs to make them a mix of old and new styles.

This album is 45 minutes long. That doesn't include the two bonus tracks, which are bonus tracks because of poorer sound quality. Note the last song, "Mystery Train," is a cover of a song made famous by Elvis Presley.

01 Get like You Used to Be (Fleetwood Mac)
02 The Green Manalishi [With the Two Prong Crown] (Fleetwood Mac)
03 Station Man (Fleetwood Mac)
04 Spare Me a Little (Fleetwood Mac)
05 Why (Fleetwood Mac)
06 Hypnotized (Fleetwood Mac)
07 Believe Me (Fleetwood Mac)
08 Oh Well, Part 1 (Fleetwood Mac)
09 Tell Me All the Things You Do (Fleetwood Mac)
10 Mystery Train (Fleetwood Mac)

Jumping at Shadows (Fleetwood Mac)
Sunny Side of Heaven [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)

For the album cover, I didn't want to have a picture of the "new" band and thus leave out the "old" band, and vice versa. So instead I went with some art. This picture comes from a Fleetwood Mac concert poster. I think it's from 1973. It was longer, but I had to cut the rectangular poster to fit into the square album cover format. The band name was there in the original art. I just added the text at the bottom.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Rod Stewart - Once in a Blue Moon - Alternate Version (1992)

As I commented recently when I posted an alternate version of Rod Stewart's 1991 album "Vagabond Heart," I feel Stewart had a minor career revival in the early 1990s. I'm not talking about sales, since his stayed strong for decades; I mean a critical revival. For a few years, he at least partially returned to his early 1970s classic rock and R&B roots.

The problem is this change wasn't well reflected on his studio albums at the time. "Vagabond Heart" had many good songs on it, but it was bloated with some weak songs, being nearly an hour long. "Once in a Blue Moon" is a much worse case, because it wasn't really released at the time. It only came out in 2010, despite being recorded in 1992!

The reason it wasn't released was because of his 1993 live album, "Unplugged... and Seated." His record company correctly figured this would be a huge seller. By the early 1990s, most established artists like Stewart waited a couple of years, at least, between studio album releases. The record company didn't want to put an album out and then have another album come out while singles were still being released from the first one. 

So instead, they did something strange with the songs recorded for "Once in a Blue Moon." They released an album in Britain and Germany only called "Lead Vocalist." It had just five of the songs recorded for "Once in a Blue Moon." It contained another seven songs which were some of his greatest hits from the late 1960s and 1970s. This was a terrible decision, in my opinion. It didn't have enough new songs to be seen as a new album, yet only seven older songs wasn't nearly enough for a decent greatest his collection. Not surprisingly, the album sold only a tiny fraction of "Vagabond Heart."

That's a shame, because it was a good album. Unlike most of his albums, it was basically a covers album, with only one original song. The songs were well chosen, with a mix of recent songs and older classics, including two by Bob Dylan. 

That said, I think the 2010 version of "Once in a Blue Moon' has some issues. There were a couple of songs on it that I didn't like. For instance, the cover of "Ruby Tuesday" rubbed me the wrong way. The Rolling Stones version is so iconic and perfect that it just doesn't sound right when Stewart sings it. So I left that off. I also prefer the "fast version" the Motown classic "First I Look at the Purse," which was only included as a bonus track. So I used that instead of the regular album version. Furthermore, an archival box set called "The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971 - 1988" was released in 2009. It contained different versions of many of the "Once in a Blue Moon" songs. I often prefer these versions, as they're earlier versions that don't suffer from overproduction. "Windy Town" is especially different, with this version basically being just Stewart's voice and a piano.

Another key change is that I replaced "Ruby Tuesday" with a 1992 version of "In a Broken Dream." That song was a hit for the band Python Lee Jackson in 1972, but with Stewart singing lead vocals. Stewart came up with what I consider to be a superior version in 1992, featuring some excellent guitar work from Pink Floyd lead guitarist David Gilmour. But unfortunately that version wasn't released at the time, and only came out on the 2009 box set.

I think if Rod Stewart released a "Vagabond Heart" in 1991 close to the version I posted recently, followed by "Once in a Blue Moon" in 1992, followed by "Unplugged... and Seated," he would have had an undisputed critical revival, as well as continued commercial success. It's too bad that didn't happen, but at least it can happen retroactively with these revised albums.

01 The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar (Rod Stewart)
02 Shotgun Wedding (Rod Stewart)
03 The Downtown Lights (Rod Stewart)
04 Let the Day Begin (Rod Stewart)
05 First I Look at the Purse [Fast Version] (Rod Stewart)
06 Tom Traubert's Blues [Single Version] (Rod Stewart)
07 In a Broken Dream [1992 Version] (Rod Stewart with David Gilmour)
08 This Wheel's on Fire (Rod Stewart)
09 I Wanna Stay Home (Rod Stewart)
10 Windy Town [Piano Version] (Rod Stewart)

The album cover here is similar to, but not the same as the 2010 official cover. I used the photo on the back, which was similar to the photo on the front. I kept the text exactly the same, in the same place.

J. J. Cale - The Early Years, 1958-1967

J. J. Cale had a long and successful career with his laidback singing and lead guitar style, from his first album in 1972 until his death in 2013. But did you know that he spent well over a decade in the music industry before he could put out his first album? That's what this album is about, Cale's little-known early years.

This album isn't for everyone. It took a long time for Cale to find his distinctive style. Some of his early stuff is fairly generic and forgettable. But there are some gems there too, including a version of his classic "After Midnight" that was released as a B-side in 1966. If you're a J. J. Cale fan, you may well find this interesting, but if you're not, this isn't the place to start.

Cale spent many early years mostly as a sideman prized for his lead guitar skills. But even so, he sang lead as far back as 1958 on some fairly obscure singles, and wrote a lot of songs too. I've created two versions of this album. The first one is 39 minutes long, and contains just the songs where Cale sang lead vocals, or instrumentals that prominently featured his guitar work. The second one is an hour and 12 minutes long (32 minutes longer than the other version). That one includes all the same songs, plus many more songs where he played lead guitar on other people's songs. A lot of those extra songs aren't that great, so the long version is more for the J. J. Cale die-hard fan.

Before I say any more, I should point out that this album is almost entirely the work of MZ, a musical friend of mine. You may recognize his name because he's helped with audio editing from time to time. A few days ago, he came to me with this idea, and a list of songs for it. I told him "go for it." I didn't do much except to come up with the idea of creating two versions. So here's a big, big thanks to MZ. 

Note the first batch of songs are credited to "Johnny Cale." He switched to "J. J." at some point in the mid-1960s. Apparently, a club owner made the suggestion, saying that there were too many other guitarists at the time named Johnny, such as Johnny Rivers, and J. J. would stand out more. I've put the "J. J. Cale" part in parentheses for consistency's sake. And rest assured that for band like the Starlighters and the Leathercoated Minds, Cale was a member. He bounced around a lot in the 1960s, joining and leaving bands while doing studio work. He often worked with keyboardist Leon Russell. You'll see Russell's name a few times in the credits for the full version (including when he went by "Leon Russell Bridges"). but there are quite a few additional songs where he and Russell worked on the same songs, but just didn't get their names on the records.

Thanks again to MZ for making this. He says he's going to follow this up with one or more albums of Cale rarities from the rest of his career, so look forward to that soon, knock on wood.

Here's the streamlined 39 minute version:

01 Shock Hop [Instrumental] (Johnny Cale [J. J. Cale])
02 Sneaky [Instrumental] (Johnny Cale [J. J. Cale])
03 Ain't That Lovin' You Baby (Johnny Cale [J. J. Cale])
04 She's My Desire (Johnny Cale [J. J. Cale])
05 Purple Onion [Instrumental] (Johnny Cale Quintette [J. J. Cale])
06 Troubles, Troubles, Troubles (Johnny Cale Quintette [J. J. Cale])
07 Creepin' [Instrumental] (Starlighters)
08 Hot Licks [Instrumental] (Starlighters)
09 It's a Go-Go Place (J. J. Cale)
10 Dick Tracy (J. J. Cale)
11 In Our Time (J. J. Cale)
12 Outside Looking In (J. J. Cale)
13 After Midnight (J. J. Cale)
14 Slow Motion (J. J. Cale)
15 Sunset and Clark [Instrumental] (Leathercoated Minds)
16 Non-Stop [Instrumental] (Leathercoated Minds)
17 Arriba [Instrumental] (Leathercoated Minds)
18 Pot Luck [Instrumental] (Leathercoated Minds)

And here's the longer 112 minute version, including songs where Cale prominently played lead guitar on other people's records:

01 Shock Hop [Instrumental] (Johnny Cale [J. J. Cale])
02 Sneaky [Instrumental] (Johnny Cale [J. J. Cale])
03 I Hate Myself (Al Sweatt with Johnnie Cale & the Valentines)
04 Let's Paint the Town Red (Al Sweatt with Johnnie Cale & the Valentines)
05 There's a Big Wheel (Jerry Adams & the Starlighters)
06 Old Black Joe (Jerry Adams & the Starlighters)
07 All Right (Leon Russell Bridges & the Starlighters)
08 Swanee River (Leon Russell Bridges & the Starlighters)
09 Ain't That Lovin' You Baby (Johnny Cale [J. J. Cale])
10 She's My Desire (Johnny Cale [J. J. Cale])
11 Purple Onion [Instrumental] (Johnny Cale Quintette [J. J. Cale])
12 Troubles, Troubles, Troubles (Johnny Cale Quintette [J. J. Cale])
13 Creepin' [Instrumental] (Starlighters)
14 Hot Licks [Instrumental] (Starlighters)
15 Black Cherry (Junior Markham & the Tulsa Review)
16 Gonna Send You to Georgia (Junior Markham & the Tulsa Review)
17 It's Alright with Me (Leon Russell)
18 Everybody's Talking 'bout the Young (Leon Russell)
19 It's a Go-Go Place (J. J. Cale)
20 Dick Tracy (J. J. Cale)
21 In Our Time (J. J. Cale)
22 Outside Looking In (J. J. Cale)
23 After Midnight (J. J. Cale)
24 Slow Motion (J. J. Cale)
25 The Green Hornet [Instrumental] (Super Dupers)
26 I'm Puttin' You On (Sunday Servants)
27 Who Do You Love (Sunday Servants)
28 Lazy Me (Jimmy Boyd)
29 Sunset and Clark [Instrumental] (Leathercoated Minds)
30 Non-Stop [Instrumental] (Leathercoated Minds)
31 Arriba [Instrumental] (Leathercoated Minds)
32 Pot Luck [Instrumental] (Leathercoated Minds)

It should come as no surprise that good photos of Cale before he became famous in the 1970s are few and far between. In fact, I couldn't find a single color photo of him from that time. The photo I used is black and white and I colorized it. I'm not sure when and where it was taken, but I would guess roughly 1966 to 1969. MZ found another photo of him in 1965 with a similar "poofy" haircut, though it was much more combed and slicked back.

The Hollies - BBC Sessions, Volume 4 (1971-1976)

Here's the fourth and final album of the Hollies playing at the BBC. Actually, to be honest, by this time the Hollies lost some popularity and the BBC had fewer sessions for artists in general, other than full concerts. Furthermore, more of the band's BBC sessions from the early 1970s appear to have been lost. So most of the songs here are from other TV or radio shows.

There's a grand total of one song here that's been officially released: the first one, "Too Young to Be Married." That comes from the "Radio Fun" album. Five of the last six songs come from a 1975 concert that was broadcast on TV. I don't know the details about this, other than it was apparently from Switzerland, though some sources say Germany.

The sound quality is generally very good, even though most of the songs were done in front of audiences and thus have some clapping. The song "What a Life I've Led" must have been put on a vinyl LP at some point, because it was filled with pops and scratches. But I was able to edit most of them out. I also had some trouble with the last song, "Draggin' My Heels." The version I found had many microgaps of total silence in it, often less than a second long. Luckily, I discovered that if I closed those gaps in my audio editing software, no music was lost.

To be honest, the Hollies still did some TV and radio shows after 1976, but my interest in the group rapidly wanes after that. They were hit by the dreaded disco bug in the late 1970s, and generally followed some musical trends that didn't fit well for them. So this series ends here.

01 Too Young to Be Married (Hollies)
02 Hold On (Hollies)
03 What a Life I've Led [Edit] (Hollies)
04 Long Dark Road (Hollies)
05 The Day that Curly Billy Shot Down Crazy Sam McGee (Hollies)
06 Long Cool Woman [In a Black Dress] (Hollies)
07 I Can't Tell the Bottom from the Top (Hollies)
08 Another Night (Hollies)
09 4th of July, Asbury Park [Sandy] (Hollies)
10 I'm Down (Hollies)
11 The Air that I Breathe (Hollies)
12 Draggin' My Heels [Edit] (Hollies)

The cover art photo shows the band playing on the "Top on the Pops" TV show in 1974.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Boz Scaggs - The Roxy, Los Angeles, CA, 4-7-1976

Boz Scaggs has been a musician since the 1960s until today (as I write this in 2021). He's had critical success, but only a medium amount of commercial success for most of his career. But there's one big exception to that: his 1976 album "Silk Degrees" was a huge hit. It was a number one or two hit album in many countries around the world. It sold over five million copies and spawned four hit singles. This basically is a live version of that album, plus the best of his songs from his previous albums.

The main reason I'm posting this bootleg is because of the sound quality. If there wasn't an excellent soundboard from that 1976 tour, then I would pass on having live music from that time. Luckily, there actually are two soundboards. The best one is the main one I'm using here, from the Roxy in Los Angeles. But he had a fairly consistent set list on that tour, and that recording misses four songs. There's a run of three missing songs in the middle of the concert ("Angel Lady," "Running Blue," and "Georgia"), plus the encore, "'Cause You're Mine." The encore is especially interesting because the rest of the songs are all predictable choices of originals from Scaggs' albums, but the encore is a cover of a Vibrations song that Scaggs has never officially released in any form. 

Anyway, for these four missing songs, I used versions from the other soundboard bootleg from the tour, which comes from a concert in Central Park in New York City. I highly doubt you'll notice the difference between the two sources because they sound nearly the same.

By the way, in my opinion, the main reason Boz Scaggs had such success with "Silk Degrees" was because, for that one album only, he had a songwriting partnership with David Paich, the keyboardist in his band at the time. Together they wrote the hits from that album, including "Lowdown," "What Can I Say," and "Lido Shuffle." Paich seems to be the secret sauce for hit making success. After the album, he and most of the rest of Scaggs' backing band left to form their own group, Toto. Paich went on to write or co-write other big hits for Toto like "Hold the Line," "Rosanna," and "Africa."

This album is an hour and 12 minutes long.

01 Lowdown (Boz Scaggs)
02 You Make It So Hard [To Say No] (Boz Scaggs)
03 talk (Boz Scaggs)
04 What Can I Say (Boz Scaggs)
05 Might Have to Cry (Boz Scaggs)
06 talk (Boz Scaggs)
07 Jump Street (Boz Scaggs)
08 Angel Lady (Boz Scaggs)
09 talk (Boz Scaggs)
10 Running Blue (Boz Scaggs)
11 talk (Boz Scaggs)
12 Georgia (Boz Scaggs)
13 Slow Dancer (Boz Scaggs)
14 It's Over (Boz Scaggs)
15 talk (Boz Scaggs)
16 Lido Shuffle (Boz Scaggs)
17 Dinah Flo (Boz Scaggs)
18 talk (Boz Scaggs)
19 I Got Your Number (Boz Scaggs)
20 'Cause You're Mine (Boz Scaggs)

The cover art photo comes from a concert in New York City in November 1975.