Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Tracy Chapman - WMFO Studio, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 1-2-1984

Here's something I'm excited to present.  In 1988, Tracy Chapman's debut album, simply called "Tracy Chapman," was released. It was an instant classic, going on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide, making it one of several dozen of the best selling albums of all time. I think that album and her second one are by far her best albums. Over the years, I got the suspicion that she had dozens of songs she'd written in the 1980s that she never released. Even decades later, there haven't been any archival releases or deluxe editions or the like. I've posted an album of unreleased songs she played in concert from 1988 to 1991, which I called "Where the Soul Never Dies," and in my opinion that also is some of her best work. But almost no recordings of her prior to her 1988 debut have been publicly available.

Until now, that is. I recently came across this radio show on a torrent site of concerts bootlegs. It was from earlier this year (2021), so maybe it hasn't been publicly available prior to that. I don't know, but it's been extremely low profile in any case. Even now, if you Google anything about this show, almost nothing comes up. 

That really surprises me, because it's great! It dates all the way back to 1984, four years prior to her debut album, at a time when she was a musical unknown. But it's as I suspected: this early work of hers is some of her best. There are many unreleased songs by her, and they are really good. Consider this includes songs like "Talkin' about a Revolution" and "Baby Can I Hold You," two of the most popular songs on that debut album that sold all those millions of copies. She clearly had serious songwriting skills even prior to 1984. But those two, plus "Born to Fight," which would appear on her second album, are the only songs to be released later. There's another 12 songs still unreleased. I think Chapman is making a big mistake keeping all this early work of hers unreleased and unheard.

At the time, Chapman was a student at Tufts University, and WMFO was the college radio station. It sounds like one of the DJs had her on for about an hour, interviewing her and letting her play her songs on acoustic guitar. I've edited this slightly to remove some of the unnamed DJ's comments, while keeping all of Chapman's comments. Her talking is interesting, but the vast majority of the time is her singing and playing her songs. Most of them are pretty short, so she manages to do 15 songs in only 42 minutes, including time for the talking too.

I made a few minor changes to improve the listening experience. There was a certain amount of hiss throughout the show. I used noise reduction to greatly reduce that, but only during the talking tracks. I found that the hiss was hardly noticeable at all once she was strumming her guitar, so I didn't change anything there. 

Also, whoever recorded the show clearly turned the tape recorder off and on between songs sometimes. I strongly suspect there's more talking that got lost. I know this because sometimes the recording stopped in mid-sentence. I made some edits to salvage as much of Chapman's comments as possible. For instance, if she said, "...is a song I wrote..." and from context one can figure out she started the sentence with "This," I would find another instance from the show when she said "this," and patch it into the sentence, allowing one to her "This is a song I wrote..." I'm pretty sure I made these edits so carefully that you won't even notice them.

Anyway, if you're a Tracy Chapman fan at all, this is a must have. The sound quality is surprisingly good for being something this early in her career. Plus, you have all those unreleased songs. I believe two of those songs are also included in different versions on my early stray tracks album "Where the Soul Never Dies" mentioned above, "My Sweet One," and "Missile Blues." But the other ten don't seem to even have been bootlegged on anything else. 

That makes me think there probably are even more quality early original songs of hers that remain frustratingly obscure. If you know of others than the ones here and on "Where the Soul Never Dies," please let me know so I can hopefully share them with others.

01 talk (Tracy Chapman)
02 My Sweet One (Tracy Chapman)
03 talk (Tracy Chapman)
04 Born to Fight (Tracy Chapman)
05 talk (Tracy Chapman)
06 Stormy Skies (Tracy Chapman)
07 talk (Tracy Chapman)
08 This Joy Called Love (Tracy Chapman)
09 talk (Tracy Chapman)
10 Missile Blues (Tracy Chapman)
11 talk (Tracy Chapman)
12 Tell Me Why (Tracy Chapman)
13 talk (Tracy Chapman)
14 Baby Can I Hold You (Tracy Chapman)
15 talk (Tracy Chapman)
16 When the Sun Goes Down (Tracy Chapman)
17 Beauty Is My Slave (Tracy Chapman)
18 talk (Tracy Chapman)
19 Talkin' 'bout a Revolution (Tracy Chapman)
20 talk (Tracy Chapman)
21 Box Car Willy (Tracy Chapman)
22 talk (Tracy Chapman)
23 So Long (Tracy Chapman)
24 talk (Tracy Chapman)
25 Knocking (Tracy Chapman)
26 Everybody's Looking (Tracy Chapman)
27 talk (Tracy Chapman)
28 Suicide (Tracy Chapman)

https://www13.zippyshare.com/v/kCtjetiy/file.html

As I mentioned, I'm very psyched to find this early music of hers, so it's only fitting that I had another stroke of luck and found a worthy early photo to use as the cover art. By chance, the only really early photo of her I could find is from a 1984 newspaper article about her. It was in black and white, so I colorized it. There also were some large letters on that big white piece of paper on the wall behind her. It wasn't enough to make sure what was written there, but I found the letters distracting, so I used Photoshop to make them disappear.

Monday, November 29, 2021

BBC Progress and Plans

If you've been following this blog lately, you've probably noticed I've been posting a lot of BBC sessions albums. That's all part of a big project I'm doing. I've explained a little bit here and there, but let me explain my plans in full.

BBC recordings are a great treasure in general, due to their consistently high sound quality. But the 1960s and early 1970s BBC recordings are the greatest treasure of all in my opinion, both because there was so much good much in those years, and because BBC sessions are often the best sounding recordings we have of many musical artists, other than their officially released albums and singles. In fact, in many cases, those are the only other known recordings, period. And not only are all the BBC versions different performances than the studio versions, but many artists played songs for the BBC that they never otherwise recorded at all.

Despite this, the BBC recordings of many artists from that era have never been released. Or, if they have been, they're often incomplete, poorly organized, and/or not at the best sound quality. Furthermore, many such albums have gone out of print, or are very hard to find.

On top of all that, up until about 1970 or 1971, many BBC DJs had the annoying habit of talking over the starts and endings of the songs they were playing. Well, some people like that for the period charm, but it's highly annoying to me. I wouldn't mind so much if there were alternate versions without the DJ talking, but that's almost never the case.

Since I started this blog in 2018, I tried to fix this DJ banter problem with the limited means I had at the time. Mostly, that meant editing the songs by patching in repeated instrumental sections from later in the songs, or sometimes even patching in sections from the non-BBC studio versions. But this was a non-ideal band-aid at best.

Happily, about a year ago, audio editing programs like Spleeter and X-Minus started to emerge. Taking advantage of new AI (artificial intelligence) technology, these programs can split songs into different instruments in ways I'd never dreamed possible before. Using these programs, I found I could almost always completely wipe the BBC DJ talk while leaving the underlying music.

Thus, I've set myself the task of fixing all the important BBC recordings from the 1960s and early 1970s that have this DJ banter problem. That has meant going back to the original sources and redoing all the songs I'd already posted here. While I was at it, I also fixed the volume balance between songs, and changed the way I do the mp3 tags. On the last point, people have complained that I've included all the source info in the album title tags. So, if you're using iTunes or other similar programs, the programs often get confused and treat that as a bunch of albums instead of just one. So I'm putting just the album title in that spot, and moving the rest of the source information to the comments tag.

Fixing the volume balance and mp3 tags has been something I've been working on in general for a few months. It's a slow process, because I've posted over 1,500 albums here, and most have needed fixing. But for all the artists where I've fixed their BBC recordings recently, I've fixed the volume balance and mp3 tags for ALL the albums of theirs I've posted here, not just the BBC ones. If that means something to you, you might want to redownload those.

Here's a list of all the artists where I've fixed their BBC recordings (and volume balance and mp3 tags in general) in recent weeks. I've done a lot of this without announcing it anywhere, but hopefully anyone interested will find out from reading this, now:

Bluesbreakers
David Bowie
Cream
Spencer Davis Group
Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger and the Trinity
Easybeats
Faces
Fairport Convention
Marianne Faithfull
Fleetwood Mac
Herman's Hermits
Hollies
Elton John
Kinks
Love Sculpture
Lulu
Manfred Mann
Mindbenders
Moody Blues
Pink Floyd
Pretty Things
Small Faces
Dusty Springfield
Cat Stevens
Traffic
Troggs
Yardbirds
Zombies

That's a lot, including many big names with lots of albums. But there's even more to go. Here are the artists that I'm currently working on fixing (I'm happy to say, my musical friend Lilpanda is working on fixing some of these instead of me):

Animals
Badfinger
Jeff Beck Group
Brinsley Schwarz
Joe Cocker
Leonard Cohen
Deep Purple
Donovan
Bobbie Gentry
Jimi Hendrix
Honeybus
Idle Race
Led Zeppelin
Marmalade
Move
Nice
Rolling Stones
Al Stewart
Richard and Linda Thompson
Tomorrow
Who

Most of those are ones I've posted already, and those are my first priority. But some are new, such as Deep Purple, Donovan, the Nice, the Idle Race, Al Stewart, and Tomorrow.

Finally, there's an even longer list of artists who have BBC recordings from the time period I'm focusing on. I may or may not fix and post their BBC material. Some of these I don't like, or I only like a little, but I would consider fixing anyway because this DJ talking problem is so annoying and nobody else seems to be working on it, aside from Lilpanda and myself. Frankly, I don't know how many of these I'll get to before my enthusiasm for this project may run out. So if you feel strongly about getting some of these fixed, please let me know which ones. 

And if there are any artists you think I've missed, please let me know that too. Keep in mind that just because an artist put out music from the right time period, that doesn't mean they have BBC sessions. These were mostly limited to British artists, and some just didn't promote themselves through the BBC for whatever reason, or they only had one or two sessions, or the sessions were lost, etc... That said, I'm sure I missed some key ones here and there, because I don't know of any definitive list to consult.

Like the other lists above, this is in rough alphabetical order:

Amen Corner
Kevin Ayers
Syd Barrett
Beatles
Captain Beefheart
Bee Gees
Alan Bown
Blodwyn Pig
Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band
Arthur Brown
Sandy Denny
Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera
Georgie Fame
Marc Bolan / T. Rex
Caravan
Dr. Feelgood
Episode Six
Everly Brothers
Family
Free
Genesis
Grapefruit
Herd
Mary Hopkin
Humble Pie
Kaleidoscope
John Mayall (non Clapton eras)
Mott the Hoople
Harry Nilsson
Patto
Pentangle
Procol Harum
Queen
Roxy Music
Savoy Brown
Searchers
Seekers
Simon and Garfunkel
Soft Machine
Spooky Tooth
Bridget St. John
Status Quo
Steampacket
Sweet
Taste
Ten Years After
Them
Tir Na Nog
Tremeloes
Scott Walker
Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band
Yes

Thanks for any and all feedback. I'll update this list and/or repost it if there are significant changes.

Adele - An Audience with Adele, The Palladium, London, Britain, 11-6-2021

I think a lot of popular music these days sucks. That's not to say there isn't plenty of good new music being made, but to my ears, the more popular it is, the less I generally like it. However, there are exceptions. Adele is massively popular, selling tens of millions of albums. She clearly has an incredible voice, but she also is a talented songwriter, and she doesn't ruin her music with bad production. 

I'm particularly impressed with her most recent album, "30," which was released earlier this month as I write this (in November 2021). I thought her previous albums were bogged down by too many sad ballads, but she varies the tempo a lot more on this one, and her songwriting has improved even more.

I won't post that album here, because that would be against my policy on posting widely available and unchanged albums. However, she performed a couple of concerts to promote her new album. One of them was filmed in Los Angeles and broadcast on US TV. The other one was filmed in London and broadcast on British TV. I came across an excellent bootleg recording of the London show, so I'm posting it here.

Both TV shows were not just typical concerts. The US show alternated between concert footage and an interview Adele did with Oprah Winfrey filmed at a different time and place. The British show was all from the concert, but at five separate points, there were extensive sections in which Adele took questions from the audience. And instead of fielding questions from ordinary people, all the questions came from stars like Samuel Jackson, Alan Carr, and Emma Thompson.

I want this to be an album with replay value. I think having all those question and answer sessions bogged down listening to it as a musical experience, so I cut them all out. However, I left in whatever talking Adele did between songs when it was just her talking to the audience. 

As a result, this ends up sounding like a typical concert after all. However, it's rather short as concerts go, at only 52 minutes long. But if you're not familiar with her music, this is a great place to start. She played the best songs from her new album, as well as her biggest hits from previous albums.

01 Hometown Glory (Adele)
02 Hello (Adele)
03 talk (Adele)
04 Send My Love [To Your New Lover] (Adele)
05 Easy on Me (Adele)
06 talk (Adele)
07 I Drink Wine (Adele)
08 Rolling in the Deep (Adele)
09 talk (Adele)
10 Hold On (Adele)
11 talk (Adele)
12 Set Fire to the Rain (Adele)
13 talk (Adele)
14 Someone like You (Adele)
15 Love Is a Game (Adele)

https://www21.zippyshare.com/v/ePMoBSp4/file.html 

For the album cover, I used a photo taken at the concert in question. I also copied her name from some of the show's promotional material. I then wrote the bottom text using a similar font.

Cream - More BBC Sessions (1966-1968)

First off, I have completely overhauled the two Cream BBC sessions albums I've posted already. It turns out the band's officially released BBC album is derided by serious fans. It seemed the powers that be just used bootlegs as sources instead of finding the best sounding versions, then they clumsily applied noise reduction and other damaging techniques to make the sound worse.

So for my overhauled versions, I'd drawn from the excellent work of Prof Stoned. He runs a blog where he's improved the sound of many albums, mostly from the 1960s. You can find it here:

Prof Stoned: Rare & Deleted Vinyl

I used his versions whenever possible. What he came up with, in collaboration with other serious Cream fans, is significantly better than the official album. So if you're interested in downloading this, I strongly suggest you download the revised versions of the two Cream BBC albums I posted here already. They have new cover art, and even new names ("BBC Sessions" instead of "At the BBC," to be consistent with the other BBC albums I've posted from other bands.

Here are the links:

Volume 1:

https://albumsthatshouldexist.blogspot.com/2018/11/cream-at-bbc-1967-1968.html

Volume 2:

https://albumsthatshouldexist.blogspot.com/2018/11/cream-at-bbc-1967-1968_27.html

So what's this album about, then? As I've said many times before, I generally dislike having two versions of the same song on one album. So those other two albums included the best sounding versions of every song Cream played for the BBC. In a few cases, I did use two versions, if I could chronologically fit one on Volume 1 and the other on Volume 2. This is everything that's left over.

That said, I think the music is worthy in its own right. Cream was known for the musical interplay of the three members, with a particular focus on the lead guitar heroics of Eric Clapton. They never did a song the same way twice. So you'll find a lot of excellent performances here. And in terms of sound quality, about half are as good as the versions of Volumes 1 and 2. The others generally sound at least good, although "I Feel Free" and "Tales of Brave Ulysses" are a bit rough.

There's really only one song that sounds out and out poor. That's "N.S.U.," which I demoted to bonus track status.

I also included three songs that weren't actually done for the BBC. "Dance the Night Away" and "World of Pain" come from a 1967 concert bootleg. I've included them because the band almost never played those songs in concert. In fact, this recording may be the only such time for both. The concert took place during the recording of the album they were on, so they were briefly remembered enough to give them a try. The sound for those two is merely okay, but still well above the bonus track.

The third song I included is a version of "Sunshine of My Love" recorded for the Glen Campbell Show. It's the only officially released song here, as this version was released on the "Those Were the Days" box set.

01 I'm So Glad (Cream)
02 Steppin' Out [Instrumental] (Cream)
03 I Feel Free [Live Vocals Over Remixed Studio Version] (Cream)
04 Traintime [Edit] (Cream)
05 Take It Back (Cream)
06 We're Going Wrong (Cream)
07 Dance the Night Away (Cream)
08 World of Pain (Cream)
09 Strange Brew (Cream)
10 Tales of Brave Ulysses (Cream)
11 We're Going Wrong (Cream)
12 SWLABR [She Walks like a Bearded Rainbow] [Alternate Take] (Cream)
13 Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)

N. S. U. (Cream)

https://www79.zippyshare.com/v/pnDopzex/file.html

I'm not sure when or where the cover art photo is from, but I liked it, so I used it. Ginger Baker, at the bottom, was a little lower in the original, but I used Photoshop to raise him up a bit, so I could fit all three faces in the frame without having the text over them.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Marianne Faithfull - BBC Sessions (1965-1967)

I have to admit I'm not a big Marianne Faithfull fan. However, I'm keen to post all the worthy 1960s BBC albums that I can, since there hardly seems to be anyone else so far removing the BBC DJ talking over the music. Expect to see many more such BBC albums in the near future.

Faithfull's music career had a remarkable transformation. She started out in the mid-1960s with some hits that relied on her pure and high voice. But in the late 1960s she got heavily involved with drugs. Maybe it was that, or smoking, and/or other factors, but her voice changed drastically, dropping at least a full octave by the end of the decade! By the time of her big comeback album "Broken English" in 1979, her voice had become so low and gravely compared to what it was before that it's remarkable to consider it's the same person.

This album entirely dates to that earlier time when her voice was sweet and high. So if you only know her from her later era of more sustained success, prepare to be surprise. The style of music is drastically different too.

All the music here is officially unreleased. Eight of the 14 songs (plus the bonus track) that actually come from the BBC had the problem of BBC DJs talking over the music. (I'm looking at you yet again, Brian Matthew.) I used the X-Minus audio editing software to wipe that talking out while keeping the underlying music. Those are marked with "[Edit]" in the titles.

I've added three songs at the end that aren't from the BBC. "Plaisir d'Amour," sung in French, was broadcast on French TV in 1966. "Sadness" is from an obscure 1966 movie. And "C'e Chi Spera," sung in Italian, was from an Italian music contest and broadcast on TV.

The one bonus track sounds as good as the others. It's a bonus track because I don't like having two versions of the same song on one album, and that's the second version of that song.

01 Can't You Hear My Heartbeat [Edit] (Marianne Faithfull)
02 Come and Stay with Me (Marianne Faithfull)
03 In My Time of Sorrow [Edit] (Marianne Faithfull)
04 Go Away from My World [Edit] (Marianne Faithfull)
05 The Sha La La Song [Edit] (Marianne Faithfull)
06 This Little Bird (Marianne Faithfull)
07 Paris Belle [Edit] (Marianne Faithfull)
08 Summer Nights (Marianne Faithfull)
09 Lullaby (Marianne Faithfull)
10 The Last Thing on My Mind [Edit] (Marianne Faithfull)
11 Yesterday [Edit] (Marianne Faithfull)
12 As Tears Go By [Edit] (Marianne Faithfull)
13 Cockleshells (Marianne Faithfull)
14 Tomorrow's Calling (Marianne Faithfull)
15 Plaisir d'Amour (Marianne Faithfull)
16 Sadness (Marianne Faithfull with Ornette Coleman)
17 C'e Chi Spera (Marianne Faithfull)

Go Away from My World [Edit] (Marianne Faithfull)

https://www14.zippyshare.com/v/hpDo5OsM/file.html

The cover photo of Faithfull dates to 1965, but I don't know anything else about it.

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Home Concerts 5, Afton, VA, 10-18-2020 to 1-3-2021

Here's the fifth out of six home concert albums from Mary Chapin Carpenter. She started doing this in early 2020 and continued into early 2021. The songs here are chronologically ordered, as usual, and just barely dip into 2021 on the last song.

As with previous albums in this series, Carpenter played solo acoustic and talked a fair amount before each song. But also like those previous albums, I cut her talking down quite a lot, removing repetitive parts she said before each song as well as updates about her pets, and keeping the parts relevant to the songs she was playing.

For the last album in this series, I spent most of my write-up talking about the sound program created by the dog's squeaky toy. I'm glad to report that that toy didn't make much of an impact on this album. I think the only song where it can be heard is "Keeping the Faith." But luckily that was mainly during instrumental parts that were repeated, so I was able to eliminate most of the squeaking by replacing one part with another from elsewhere in the song. There's only a little squeaking at the last few seconds. There also is some squeaking in a couple places during the comments, but not enough to be annoying, in my opinion.

I believe there was only a single time Carpenter played piano instead of guitar during this entire series, and that's here, on the song "Thanksgiving Song."

This album is 48 minutes long.

01 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
02 Girls like Me (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
03 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
04 The Moon and St. Christopher (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
05 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
06 Keeping the Faith [Edit] (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
07 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
08 It's OK to Be Sad (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
09 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
10 I Feel Lucky (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
11 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
12 Thanksgiving Song [Edit] (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
13 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
14 Bells Are Ringing (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
15 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
16 Christmas Carol (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
17 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
18 The Longest Night of the Year (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
19 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
20 New Years Day (Mary Chapin Carpenter) 

https://www57.zippyshare.com/v/9mw0coMx/file.html

As mentioned above, Carpenter made rare use of the piano on one of the songs here, so I took a screenshot of her at the piano on that song and used it for the album cover photo. The resulting image was rectangular in order to fit both the piano keys and her head into the frame. So I have some black space on both sides.

The Yardbirds - BBC Sessions, Volume 3 (1966-1968)

Here's the third and final volume of the Yardbirds at the BBC. However, I made one more album of all the additional versions of songs the band did more than once for the BBC. I can post that here as well if there's interest.

The first three songs here, from June 1966, feature Jeff Beck as lead guitarist. Shortly afterwards, Jimmy Page joined the band, and the band coexisted with two lead guitarists until about November 1966. Unfortunately, none of the performances here are from that period. Instead, from the fourth song to the end, it's just Page as lead guitarist. 

So this should be of interest for Led Zeppelin fans, since of course Page would be the lead guitarist in that band starting in late 1968. In fact, if you're a serious Zeppelin fan, you probably know that band was billed as the Yardbirds when they first started out.

Speaking of Led Zeppelin, if you listen to "Dazed and Confused" here, you'd be forgiven if you'd think this is Led Zeppelin already, but with a different lead vocalist. "White Summer" is a song that band would play in concert sometimes. And this version of "Train Kept A-Rollin'" has some parts that sounds like another Zep song.

By the way, "Train Kept A-Rollin'" and "Jeff's Boogie" are songs that were featured on earlier volumes in this series. I've included them here both because those earlier versions were separated in time by a year or more, and also because the soloing is significantly different from version to version.

The sound quality is generally excellent. The one exception is "Rack My Mind." It's the only song here that is officially unreleased. But I've included it because it's a very rare song for the band to have played live, and I think the sound quality just barely makes the cut.

Six of the songs were hindered by the usual BBC problem of DJs talking over the music. (They're the ones with "[Edit]" in their names.) But I used the X-Minus audio editing software to wipe out the talking while keeping the underlying music.

This album is 40 minutes long.

01 The Sun Is Shining (Yardbirds)
02 Jeff's Boogie [Instrumental] (Yardbirds)
03 Rack My Mind [Live] (Yardbirds)
04 Drinking Muddy Water [Edit] (Yardbirds)
05 Little Games (Yardbirds)
06 Most Likely You Go Your Way [And I'll Go Mine] (Yardbirds)
07 Goodnight Sweet Josephine [Edit] (Yardbirds)
08 My Baby [Edit] (Yardbirds)
09 Think about It [Edit] (Yardbirds)
10 White Summer [Instrumental] [Edit] (Yardbirds)
11 Dazed and Confused [Edit] (Yardbirds)
12 Train Kept A-Rollin' (Yardbirds)

https://www6.zippyshare.com/v/o4kuj1mt/file.html

The cover art photo is from 1967. You may recognize Jimmy Page - he's the one with the brown tie and the blue striped shirt.

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Mindbenders - BBC Sessions (1966-1968)

I'll be explaining more what I'm doing in a different post soon, but I'm going through a phase where I'm posting as many BBC sessions as I can, even if it's from musical artists I'm not a big fan of. BBC sessions need to be better known in general, especially when there's no official album for a given artist. And now that I'm using the audio editing programs Spleeter and X-Minus to wipe the BBC DJ talking from the music in a better way than ever before, I feel even more of a need to post these sessions.

I'm happy to say that I'm not the only person working on improving BBC sessions lately. My musical friend Lilpanda feels the same way I do, and has also learned how to use the X-Minus program. This particular album is almost entirely his effort. Most importantly, he wiped the DJ vocals. I merely added the info to the mp3 tags and balanced the volume levels from song to song.

Lilpanda turned me onto the Mindbenders. I knew there was a British group called Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders that had the big international hit "The Game of Love" in 1965. I also knew Fontana split from the band in 1966 (for a solo career that quickly fizzled out), and the Mindbenders had a big international hit of their own later in 1966, "A Groovy Kind of Love." But after that, their popularity declined, and they broke up in 1968.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on them:

The Mindbenders - Wikipedia

Beyond that, I didn't know much, and I hadn't heard their music beyond a hit or two. However, I was intrigued when I found out that allmusic.com is very high on them. Here's what their write-up on the band says after discussing their "A Groovy Kind of Love" hit:

"Had the group only succeeded in locating a decent follow-up, they might well have developed into one of the finest British bands of the late '60s. Instead, a series of disastrous choices of 45s condemned them to the ranks of rank also-rans, and it is only later that the sheer quality of their other work -- material hitherto lost on two Mindbenders LPs -- had been re-evaluated sufficiently to let listeners state that here was one of the greatest of all Britain's post-beat bands."

What also intrigued me is the band's connection to the 1970s group 10cc. After Wayne Fontana left, the band's lead vocalist and main songwriter was Eric Stewart. He would later be one of the lead vocalists and songwriters in 10cc. And when one of the other three members of the band left in early 1968, the replacement was expert songwriter Graham Gouldman, who would be one of the other lead vocalists and songwriters in 10cc. Unfortunately, the record company wasn't very interested in Stewart's songwriting, so most of the songs they did were covers. And Gouldman joined too late to have much of an impact, although "Schoolgirl" and "Uncle Joe the Ice Cream Man" were written by him. (He probably plays on the last five songs here.)

If you enjoy British pop from the 1960s like the Hollies and the Move, you should enjoy this. I wish they would have done more originals and fewer covers of very well known songs, but you can't have everything. 

Thirteen of the 22 songs here have "[Edit]" in their titles. Those are the ones where Lilpanda wiped the BBC DJ talking while keeping the underlying music. 

All of the songs are officially unreleased. Many of the songs here were not released by the band in studio versions, such as "Ride Your Pony," "We Can Work It Out," "Rock Me Baby," "Omaha," and "My White Bicycle." to name just a few.

This album is 55 minutes long.

01 A Groovy Kind of Love (Mindbenders)
02 Love Is Good [Edit] (Mindbenders)
03 Don't Cry No More [Edit] (Mindbenders)
04 The Way You Do the Things You Do [Edit] (Mindbenders)
05 Can't Live with You, Can't Live without You (Mindbenders)
06 All Night Worker [Edit] (Mindbenders)
07 Seventh Son (Mindbenders)
08 Ashes to Ashes (Mindbenders)
09 Ride Your Pony [Edit] (Mindbenders)
10 Cool Jerk [Edit] (Mindbenders)
11 I Want Her She Wants Me (Mindbenders)
12 Homework [Edit] (Mindbenders)
13 The Morning After [Edit] (Mindbenders)
14 We'll Talk about It Tomorrow (Mindbenders)
15 The Letter [Edit] (Mindbenders)
16 We Can Work It Out (Mindbenders)
17 Rock Me Baby [Edit] (Mindbenders)
18 Blessed Are the Lonely (Mindbenders)
19 Hold On Baby (Mindbenders)
20 Omaha [Edit] (Mindbenders)
21 Uncle Joe the Ice Cream Man [Edit] (Mindbenders)
22 My White Bicycle [Edit] (Mindbenders)

https://www62.zippyshare.com/v/6bIxjQoB/file.html

The photo used for the cover art is from 1967, before Graham Gouldman joined the group.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Yardbirds - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1965-1966

Yesterday, I posted Volume 1 in this series of three albums of the Yardbirds at the BBC. I sorted out all three albums at the same time, and I'm keen on posting them, so here's Volume 2 already.

This album represents the peak of the band's popularity. As a result, they were able to have many BBC sessions. As I explained for Volume 1, when I had the choice of different versions of the same song, I went with the one with the best sound quality (assuming the band's performances would always be solid). So that's what you'll find here. But I've gathered the other versions and will post those later.

Although there are no songs repeated on this album, the first two songs also appeared on Volume 1 in this series. That's because the versions of Volume 1 featured Eric Clapton on lead guitar. These versions feature Jeff Beck instead, and I figure that's a big enough difference to include them here and not on the repeats album that will come later.

You may note that six of the songs have "[Edit]" in their names. Those are the cases where BBC DJs talked over parts of the music. Using the X-Minus audio editing program, I was able to wipe their talking while keeping the underlying music.

All the versions here have been officially released. But I was able to use the work of Yardbirds fan DocDandy to select the official releases that sounded the best for each song.

Generally speaking, the band liked to frequently promote their best known songs, like "I'm a Man" and "Shapes of Things." But there also are some rare songs here where the only recorded version known is the BBC one, such as "The Stumble," "Dust My Blues," and "Baby Scratch My Back."

The previous volume in this series has one song that doesn't sound as good as the others, and the next volume has one like that too. But all the songs in this volume sound great.

This album is 41 minutes long.

01 I Wish You Would [Edit] (Yardbirds)
02 Louise (Yardbirds)
03 I'm a Man [Edit] (Yardbirds)
04 The Stumble [Instrumental] (Yardbirds)
05 Evil Hearted You (Yardbirds)
06 Still I'm Sad (Yardbirds)
07 Hang On Sloopy [Edit] (Yardbirds)
08 Smokestack Lightning (Yardbirds)
09 You're a Better Man than I (Yardbirds)
10 Train Kept A-Rollin' [Edit] (Yardbirds)
11 Dust My Blues (Yardbirds)
12 Shapes of Things [Edit] (Yardbirds)
13 Over, Under, Sideways, Down (Yardbirds)
14 Baby Scratch My Back [Edit] (Yardbirds)

https://www112.zippyshare.com/v/GfyrLe31/file.html

The album cover photo was taken in early 1966, while Jeff Beck was in the band, but before Jimmy Page joined. (The two lead guitarists were in the band together for a few months.) Also, Beck is the one sitting at the bottom in front of the others. Originally, he was much lower, so only his head was showing. But I used Photoshop to raise him up. I think that improved the composition of the photo.

Dusty Springfield, and the BBC

I just posted a couple of Dusty Springfield albums. I want to make this separate post to explain what I've done, 'cos it's a bit complicated.

In a larger picture sense, I've been using the audio editing programs Spleeter and X-Minus recently. One thing that I've been able to use that for is improving the quality of the BBC sessions I've posted here, wiping out the BBC DJs talking over the song intros while keeping the music. I've been systematically redoing all the BBC albums I've posted, and I just finished fixing Dusty Springfield's albums.

But while I was doing those fixes, I found a bunch of performances I'd previously missed. Rather than write updates on the various albums, which most people will probably fail to notice, I'm simply going to list them here. These are the added songs and the albums they're on:

Mockingbird - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 1
Won't Be Long - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 1
Time after Time - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 2
Live It Up - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 2
Meditation - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 3
(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 4
Haunted - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 4
Round Every Corner - On TV and Radio, Volume 1
Tell All the World about You - On TV and Radio, Volume 2
Maria Christina - On TV and Radio, Volume 3
Can'’t We Be Friends - Pick Yourself Up - Let'’s Get Away from It All - On TV and Radio, Volume 3
We Can Work It Out - The Long and Winding Road - On TV and Radio, Volume 8
Of All the Things - On TV and Radio, Volume 8
Baby I Need Your Loving - On TV and Radio, Volume 8

I also deleted a different version of "Tell All the World about You" from a later volume (maybe 4? I forget) because this one sounds a lot better.

A couple of the volumes were over an hour long already, and these extra songs made them longer still. So that's why I split a couple of them up, which resulted in the two albums I've just posted, " Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 3" and "On TV and Radio, Volume 8."

But if you're interested in her music, please don't just download those two. Most of the songs on them were on previous versions of albums that got reshuffled. But I've made changes all the way through all these albums. For one thing, I've fixed the volume balances between songs. For another, I improved how I got rid of the BBC DJs talking over the music. I also redid the mp3 tags to make it easier for people who use iPhones to play albums as a whole. And I found slightly better sounding versions of some songs here and there.

Oh, finally, I changed the names of all the albums. Previously, the volume numbers weren't a part of the titles. But now they are.

Dusty Springfield - On TV and Radio, Volume 8: 1972-1973

Here is the eighth and last of the Dusty Springfield albums that contains songs she only did on TV or the radio and never recorded in the studio. It's practically an entire alternate career for her in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Most of the previous albums in this series each covered one year. But this time, one album covers two years. That's because her popularity started to wane in the early 1970s, and she had fewer appearances on TV and radio. That would culminate in her recording an album in 1974 that her record company wouldn't release, and then her essentially going into retirement for a few years. So this marks the end of an era for her.

However, even though the number of her appearances was tapering off, what she did was still high quality. Luckily, this era ends before disco and other popular trends marred her music in the late 1970s.

Every song but one here is officially unreleased. That one is "Stepping Out with My Baby," which comes from the "Goin' Back" box set. The other songs are generally from Springfield's appearances on the TV shows of other stars, such as Tom Jones, Lulu, and Bobby Darin.

This album is 41 minutes long.

I created this album on November 22, 2021. Volume 7 grew so long that I split it in two. So I highly recommend you redownload that one too, if you have it already. I also made changes to a bunch of other Dusty Springfield albums at the same time, which I describe in a different post.

01 Up On the Roof (Dusty Springfield)
02 We Can Work It Out - The Long and Winding Road (Dusty Springfield)
03 Scarborough Fair (Dusty Springfield & Lulu)
04 I Wanna Be Where You Are (Dusty Springfield)
05 Since I Fell for You (Dusty Springfield)
06 I Am Woman (Dusty Springfield)
07 You've Got What It Takes (Dusty Springfield & Tom Jones)
08 Stepping Out with My Baby (Dusty Springfield)
09 Baby I Need Your Loving (Dusty Springfield & Bobby Darin)
10 Of All the Things (Dusty Springfield)
11 The Magnificent Sanctuary Band (Dusty Springfield)
12 Love the One You're With (Dusty Springfield)
13 But Alive (Dusty Springfield)

https://www22.zippyshare.com/v/evnBmdvb/file.html

I had previously used this album cover on Volume 7 in this series. But went I split that album in two, this cover went with Volume 8, because the photo dates from 1972. I changed the text to fit the new volume.

Dusty Springfield - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 3: 1968

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dusty Springfield gave many performances on TV and radio, helped by the fact that she hosted her own British TV show for several years. I've divided them up into two series: one called "On TV and Radio" for all the songs she never put on record, and this series, "Alternate TV and Radio Appearances," for the songs she did put on record. 

There had been three albums in this series. But I did a little more digging and found some more songs. Many of them were from this time period. So I took a bunch of songs that had been on Volume 2 and moved them here, added some newly found songs, and created this album. What had been Volume 3 is now called Volume 4.

As I mentioned above, Springfield had her own TV show for several years. In 1968, it was called "It Must Be Dusty." All but the first two and last three songs here are from that show. The rest are from appearances on other TV shows. Every single song on this album is officially unreleased. 

The sound quality varies. I believe I found all of these songs from YouTube videos, and some of those sound better than others. But I have standards, and nothing here falls below what I'd call "good" (though there isn't much here that sounds "great").

This album is 43 minutes long.

01 Magic Garden (Dusty Springfield)
02 Meditation (Dusty Springfield)
03 [They Long to Be] Close to You (Dusty Springfield)
04 Where Am I Going [Edit] (Dusty Springfield)
05 All I See Is You (Dusty Springfield)
06 Another Night (Dusty Springfield)
07 Second Time Around (Dusty Springfield)
08 I Can't Wait until I See My Baby's Face (Dusty Springfield)
09 Who [Will Take My Place] (Dusty Springfield)
10 A House Is Not a Home (Dusty Springfield)
11 If You Go Away (Dusty Springfield)
12 I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten (Dusty Springfield)
13 I Will Come to You (Dusty Springfield)
14 Ain't No Sun Since You've Been Gone (Dusty Springfield)

https://www77.zippyshare.com/v/mky3TLNg/file.html 

I don't know where or when the cover art photo is from. But this is roughly what she looked like around 1968. I had previously used this as the cover for Volume 2 in this series. But I moved it to better fit the time frame.

The Yardbirds - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1964-1965

Boy, am I glad to post this album. The Yardbirds are a no-brainer fit for the kind of music I post at this blog, but up until now I hadn't posted any of their music. For some artists, that's just because I hadn't gotten around to them yet. But for the Yardbirds, I wanted to, but I was daunted by the sheer mess of their musical discography.

In my opinion, the Yardbirds' musical legacy has been treated shabbily from day one up until current day as I write this (in November 2021). Some artists have been treated great, with lovingly created deluxe editions, box sets, and the like. While others have been treated terribly, or ignored, like the Easybeats. The Yardbirds are a more confounding case, because many archival releases and editions have come out, but few of them have hit the nail of the head. One gets some things right, another gets other things right, etc... So that leaves it to someone like me to have to sort through all that stuff.

Luckily, when it comes to the Yardbirds' BBC recordings, someone else has paved the way for me. A music collector named DocDandy created a list of what he considered the best sounding version of each BBC performance the band did. So I almost always followed his advice.

But there is another problem. As a rule, I don't like having multiple versions of the same song on the same album, yet the Yardbirds tended to play their small number of hits on TV and radio over and over again. So I listened to each version, and chose the one that I thought had the best sound quality. However, a big part of the Yardbirds' appeal, maybe the biggest part, are the guitar solos from their three stellar lead guitarists, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. That means even versions with lesser sound quality are desired by many fans. So I'll be posting this album, plus two more, with almost no repeated songs. Then I plan on posting a fourth album that has all the other unique BBC performances, usually with poorer sound quality.

Speaking of those famous lead guitarists, although many fans know Eric Clapton was a member of the Yardbirds, he actually wasn't with the band for that long. As soon as they started to get famous with their first big hit, "For Your Love," in early 1965, he jumped ship, feeling the band was too poppy and not bluesy enough. As luck would have it, he's only on the first two songs here, which also happen to be the only ones from 1964. All the rest feature Jeff Beck on lead guitar.

There have been a few official Yardbirds BBC albums over the years. But I'll argue that, once this three-album series is done, you'll find these albums sound better than any of those, thanks to that list made by DocDandy. All but one of the songs in the three albums have been officially released, including all the songs here. But these are the best sounding from those various albums.

Furthermore, sometimes BBC DJs talked over the song's intros. I've used the X-Minus sound editing program to remove such talking while keeping the underlying music. Luckily, that only happened once on this album, on the last song. But it's more common on the other two (as well as the extra fourth album of duplicated songs).

Only the first two songs here were done before a cheering audience, the same two 1964 songs with Clapton. But luckily those were recorded with excellent sound quality, especially for the 1964 Yardbirds. Frankly, those songs (taken from a TV show) sound better than the songs from their early live albums.

By the way, the sound quality of the song "I've Been Trying" isn't as good as the others. But I figured it was worth including, and not as a bonus track, because this is the only known recording of the song by the band. It was originally done by the Impressions.

This album is 38 minutes long.

01 Louise (Yardbirds)
02 I Wish You Would (Yardbirds)
03 I Ain't Got You (Yardbirds)
04 For Your Love (Yardbirds)
05 I'm Not Talkin' (Yardbirds)
06 Spoonful (Yardbirds)
07 Bottle Up and Go (Yardbirds)
08 Hushabye [All the Pretty Little Horses] (Yardbirds)
09 Steeled Blues (Yardbirds)
10 Heart Full of Soul (Yardbirds)
11 I Ain't Done Wrong (Yardbirds)
12 I've Been Trying (Yardbirds)
13 Jeff's Boogie [Instrumental] (Yardbirds)
14 Love Me like I Love You (Yardbirds)
15 Too Much Monkey Business [Edit] (Yardbirds)

https://www112.zippyshare.com/v/Wxtg6OQF/file.html

The cover photo is from 1964, and includes Eric Clapton. It would have been more accurate for me to use a photo with Jeff Beck in the band, since he's on most of the songs here, but I figured this was my only opportunity to use the Clapton photo, so I took it. In case you're curious, he's on the right, in the back row.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Marmalade - I See the Rain - Various Songs (1965-1967)

I must be a weird dude, because I'm often more interested in music from the 1960s than that of today. And I'm not just talking about the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. In my opinion, the quality of music in the late 1960s in particular was so high that often even the "bad" music was pretty darn good.

Marmalade is a case in point. They had a lot of hits in the late '60's and early '70s, but they were largely dismissed as a lightweight pop band, similar to the Herman's Hermits or the Hollies. In the decades since, it seems they've been dismissed even more, with their songs rarely played on the radio. 

I think they're getting a bad rap. I find the situation somewhat similar to the Yardbirds. The Yardbirds were a talented band with musical chops and songwriting talent. But for their last couple of years, they were unfortunately paired with producer Mickie Most, who completely misunderstood the band and saddled them with songs like "Ha Ha Said the Clown" and "Goodnight Sweet Josephine" in an attempt to get more hits that didn't fit with who they were musically at all. 

In the same way, the Marmalade's record company seemingly was only interested in hits, and wouldn't even let them put out an album for their first two years (1966 and 1967). But one of the songs foisted on them, a cover of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" by the Beatles, was a huge hit, going to number one in Britain almost entirely due to the fact that the song was a can't-miss hit, but the Beatles didn't release it as a single. This stereotyped them as a poppy singles band who mainly relied on covers. 

But in fact, they actually were very talented in writing their own music. My favorite song of theirs is the title song for this stray tracks album, "I See the Rain." At the end of 1967, a year filled with many all-time classics, Jimi Hendrix called that song "the best cut of 1967." But it must have been badly promoted, because while it was a number one hit in the Netherlands, it didn't make the charts at all in the US or Britain. It has slowly gained status over the years, appearing in movies and commercials, but it still isn't as well known as it should be, in my opinion.

This album gathers up pretty much all the band's A- and B-sides from 1966 and 1967.  There aren't that many of those, but I've also added three songs at the start from 1965 and 1966, when the band was known as "Dean Ford and the Gaylords." That was the exact same line-up. It's just that in mid-1966 the band's management decided their name wasn't the best and demanded a change.

I've also added a couple of cover songs the band performed for the BBC, "(I Know) I'm Losing You" and "Sixty Minutes of Your Love." Unfortunately, no good concert recordings of the band are publicly available, as bootleg or official release. But we do have a fair number of BBC recordings. I've taken the songs the band never otherwise recorded and included them on stray tracks compilations like this one. Then I've taken the rest and will post those as a separate BBC sessions album.

Admittedly, the Marmalade were never a top-tier band. But I'd argue that if you compare this album with other second-tier British bands from that time period, it holds up very well. And the vast majority of the songs here were still originals. One could imagine an alternate universe where the band signed with a different record company that appreciated their original music and properly promoted it, instead of trying to turn them into a poppy hits band. They probably would have a much higher reputation today, and written and recorded a lot more quality music.

By the way, I gather this is one of those bands where sometimes there's a "the" in front of their name, and sometimes there wasn't. According to Wikipedia, technically, they were known as "The Marmalade" until 1972. Since then, everything that gets released just uses "Marmalade." That's also what Wikipedia calls them, so that's what I'm calling them too. 

This album is 35 minutes long.

01 That Lonely Feeling (Dean Ford & the Gaylords [Marmalade])
02 He's a Good Face [But He's Down and Out] (Dean Ford & the Gaylords [Marmalade])
03 You Know It Too (Dean Ford & the Gaylords [Marmalade])
04 It's All Leading Up to Saturday Night (Marmalade)
05 Wait a Minute Baby (Marmelade)
06 [I Know] I'm Losing You (Marmalade)
07 Can't Stop Now (Marmalade)
08 There Ain't No Use in Hanging On (Marmalade)
09 I See the Rain (Marmalade)
10 Laughing Man (Marmalade)
11 Man in a Shop (Marmalade)
12 Otherwise It's Been a Perfect Day (Marmalade)
13 Sixty Minutes of Your Love (Marmalade)

https://www12.zippyshare.com/v/Dwf9qpA2/file.html

For the album cover, I used the cover of the "I See the Rain" single. But I made some changes that I think improved the look. I lightened some colors and darkened others to provide more contrast. I also added stereo and record company logos that appeared on other releases by the band around that time.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Band du Lac with Eric Clapton, Gary Brooker - Wintershall Estate, Bramley, Britain, 6-11-2005

For many years, Eric Clapton and Gary Brooker (lead singer of Procol Harum) had a fun and little known tradition going on. From at least 1988 to 2011, they held a concert about once a year that would differ from their usual concerts. These concerts featured a variety of stars taking turns singing lead vocals and collaborating with each other. They went by a variety of names, but most often used the name "Band du Lac." 

Apparently, Clapton and Brooker are friends, and both live in the Bramley area of England. These concerts were generally private, attended mainly by the local upper class, and done for various charity causes. Most often they were held at the Wintershall Estate, a private property with a lake on it. That explains the band name, which in French means "band of the lake." Sometimes the band did two shows a year, and other times they went a few years without any shows. But maybe the tradition is over, since it seems to have been over ten years since the last concert.

Nothing by this band has ever been officially released. I've found and listened to a handful of "Band du Lac" bootlegs. But generally speaking, the sound quality is good, since they're all audience bootlegs and there's only one concert to potentially record a year, if that, instead of entire tours. But recently I came across an excellent sounding version of the band's 2005 show on YouTube. What makes this one different is that a professional DVD was filmed and released of this show, called "One Night Only Live." I converted it to mp3s and broke it into individual tracks. In my opinion, it sounds as good as a typical official live album, and way better than all the bootlegs by this band, so this is the one to listen to.

Eric Clapton is probably the biggest name here, but Gary Brooker had a more important role in this show. He stayed on stage playing keyboards for virtually the entire show, and was the emcee that introduced the other artists. Clapton, by contrast, stayed on stage for about half of the show. I've included his name for the songs where he was involved. I was able to know for sure which ones those are, due to the video footage.

Generally speaking, the other stars in these concerts are the friends of Clapton and/or Brooker. For instance, Phil Collins played a lot of these shows, though he wasn't at this one. (Although, oddly, the last song was one if his Genesis hits, "I Can't Dance.") There tended to be lots of repeat appearances, but each year's show would have different artists, with different set lists. Ringo Starr probably needs no introduction - the drummer for the Beatles. If you don't know, Roger Taylor was the drummer (and occasional songwriter) for Queen. Paul Carrack was in Ace, Squeeze, Mike + the Mechanics, and had some solo hits. The Drifters is a famous soul group, though all the members from the band's classic years were long gone by the time of this concert. Chris Barber is a jazz musician most popular in the 1950s who helped launch the skiffle music trend that was pivotal in the development of rock and roll in Britain. Andy Fairweather Low was the lead singer of Amen Corner in the 1960s.

Katie Melua is the odd one out in this concert in two respects. For one, all the others are friends from an older generation. But also, many of them generally played on each other's songs for this concert. For instance, Andy Fairweather Low stayed on stage most of the time and took the occasional lead guitar solo. But for Melua's three song set, all the other musicians departed the stage and were replaced by Melua's band. I must say I'd never heard of her before (apparently she's bigger in Britain than in my country, the U.S.), but I liked her songs here.

This concert is one hour and 53 minutes long.

01 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
02 Tequila (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
03 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
04 Over My Shoulder (Paul Carrack with the Band du Lac)
05 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
06 Reconsider Baby (Eric Clapton with the Band du Lac)
07 Lay Down Sally (Eric Clapton with the Band du Lac)
08 How Long (Paul Carrack with Eric Clapton & the Band du Lac)
09 Willie and the Hand Jive (Eric Clapton & Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
10 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
11 Crawling Up a Hill (Katie Melua with the Band du Lac)
12 talk (Katie Melua with the Band du Lac)
13 My Aphrodisiac Is You (Katie Melua with the Band du Lac)
14 The Closest Thing to Crazy (Katie Melua with the Band du Lac)
15 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
16 Glory, Glory - Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Andy Fairweather Low with the Band du Lac)
17 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
18 Say It's Not True (Roger Taylor with the Band du Lac)
19 These Are the Days of Our Lives (Roger Taylor with the Band du Lac)
20 I Want to Break Free (Roger Taylor with the Band du Lac)
21 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
22 This World Is Rich (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
23 talk (Ringo Starr & Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
24 Act Naturally (Ringo Starr with the Band du Lac)
25 talk (Ringo Starr with the Band du Lac)
26 Photograph (Ringo Starr with the Band du Lac)
27 talk (Ringo Starr with the Band du Lac)
28 With a Little Help from My Friends (Ringo Starr with the Band du Lac)
29 A Whiter Shade of Pale (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
30 talk (Gary Brooker with the Band du Lac)
31 Call It Stormy Monday (Chris Barber & Eric Clapton with the Band du Lac)
32 Under the Boardwalk (Drifters with Eric Clapton & the Band du Lac)
33 talk (Drifters with Eric Clapton & the Band du Lac)
34 Stand by Me (Drifters with Eric Clapton & the Band du Lac)
35 Cocaine (Eric Clapton with the Band du Lac)
36 I Can't Dance (Gary Brooker with Eric Clapton & Band du Lac)

https://www14.zippyshare.com/v/4wfKAidY/file.html

For the cover art, I wanted a picture of as many of the band members as possible. I took a screenshot from the end of the concert, when many of the stars were on stage. The picture is dominated by the Drifters, who are the four guys in the red suits. But you can see some of the others if you look closely. For instance, Brooker is playing keyboards on the far left, and Clapton is in a purple suit behind one of the Drifters on the far right.

Peter Gabriel - Rarities, Volume 3: Studio Recordings, 1978 (A MIKE SOLOF GUEST POST)

First off, I must apologize to Mike Solof for taking so long to post this. I feel like that guy in a "Kids in the Hall" skit who kept saying "It slipped my mind," but it kept slipping my mind. I'll try to do better in the future.

Anyway, hopefully by now you've seen enough albums in this series to understand what this is. Mike has collected all of Peter Gabriel's stray tracks from 1978. Turns out there's enough for an album, even though that was the same year he put out his second solo album (simply titled "Peter Gabriel").

Mike prefers to create a PDF file and then give his own explanation about the music in that, so I'll keep this short. Make sure to read his PDF for more.

This album is 41 minutes long.

01 Merrily upon High (Peter Gabriel & Tom Robinson)
02 On the Air [Instrumental Version] (Peter Gabriel)
03 Perspective [Single Version] (Peter Gabriel)
04 Bully for You [Instrumental Version] (Peter Gabriel)
05 D. I. Y. [Rerecorded Single Version] (Peter Gabriel)
06 Mother of Violence [Single Mix] (Peter Gabriel)
07 Exposure [Combined Mike Mix] (Robert Fripp, Peter Gabriel, Daryl Hall & Terre Roche)
08 Water Music - Here Comes the Flood (Robert Fripp & Peter Gabriel)
09 D. I. Y. [Sax Edit] (Peter Gabriel)
10 Me and My Teddy Bear (Peter Gabriel)

https://www87.zippyshare.com/v/fhGSuira/file.html

I made the album cover, after getting Mike's okay on the photo to use. This one comes from 1978, when Gabriel didn't have much hair. The shadows of the hands on the wall are unchanged from the originals.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Love Sculpture (with Dave Edmunds) - BBC Sessions (1968-1969)

I'll explain more in another post soon, but suffice to say that I plan on posting lots of BBC session albums in the near future. This is a collection of all the BBC sessions from Love Sculpture. If you haven't heard of them, you've probably head of Dave Edmunds, who had a long successful solo career, as well as being part of the band Rockpile with Nick Lowe in the late 1970s. He led this band in the late 1960s.

Love Sculpture has a fairly small musical footprint, because they were only together for two albums, plus a couple of non-album singles. Furthermore, there doesn't seem to be any live recording of them publicly available, either officially released or on bootleg. So this is probably the closest we'll get to hearing them live, as they played live in the BBC studios.

This is a bootleg, but the sound quality is excellent. Furthermore, we're lucky as it seems the BBC DJs didn't talk over any of the music.

This collection also adds significantly to their small discography, because some of the songs here were otherwise never released by them in any form: "Do I Still Figure in Your Life," "Sweet Little Rock and Roller," "Promised Land," "Evening Blues," "The Inner Light," and "Great Balls of Fire." And yes, "The Inner Light" is a version of the obscure Beatles B-side, though done in a very different (and quite interesting) arrangement.

Edmunds went solo in 1970, and immediately had a hit with "I Hear Your Knocking." As far as I can tell, he never did any studio or live BBC sessions as a solo artist, at least not until years later with Rockpile. I also didn't find any instances of them performing on TV or something like that. So this is everything that fits.

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 Brand New Woman (Love Sculpture)
02 The Stumble [Instrumental] (Love Sculpture)
03 River to Another Day (Love Sculpture)
04 Do I Still Figure in Your Life (Love Sculpture)
05 Sweet Little Rock and Roller (Love Sculpture)
06 Wang Dang Doodle (Love Sculpture)
07 Don't Answer the Door (Love Sculpture)
08 Promised Land (Love Sculpture)
09 Sabre Dance [Instrumental] (Love Sculpture)
10 Evening Blues (Love Sculpture)
11 The Inner Light (Love Sculpture)
12 Farandole (Love Sculpture)
13 Great Balls of Fire (Love Sculpture)

https://www42.zippyshare.com/v/t7e03wi8/file.html

For the cover art, I used a promo photo from 1969. The colors seemed off, with their skin looking inhumanly pale, so I made some tweaks in Photoshop to hopefully improve that.

Fairport Convention - You're Gonna Need My Help - More BBC Sessions (1967-1969)

A few days ago, I posted a Fairport Convention concert from 1968. That reminded me that I have another album of the band playing for the BBC that I haven't posted yet. The reason I didn't post it until now is because these are all songs they played for the BBC on other occasions, which I have posted. So these are extra versions, basically. However, the sound quality is generally excellent (with a couple of exceptions), and any 1960s music from this band is good, in my opinion. So here it is.

All but three of the versions here have been officially released. The three unreleased ones are "I'll Keep It with Mine," "Percy's Song," and "You're Gonna Need My Help." But they're from BBC sessions, and they sound as good as the others. 

Ironically, the worst sounding song here is the last one, "A Sailor's Life," even though it has been released. It's the only live performance here, from an unknown location in 1969.

One of the songs, "Fotheringay," has a BBC DJ talking over the intro. But I've used the audio editing program X-Minus to wipe out the talking while keeping the underlying music. That's why it has "[Edit]" in the name.

I'm making a concerted effort these days to use these new audio editing programs to redo ALL the BBC performances that had DJ talking over the music. I'll be writing more about that later. But note for now that not only did I fix this one song on this album, but in recent days I've fixed all such instances on all the Fairport Convention albums I've posted. Furthermore, I fixed the volume balance between songs, and redid the mp3 tags. So you might want to redownload everything from this band for some improvements here and there.

I also renamed all the band's BBC albums, adding "Volume 1," "Volume 2," etc... I updated the cover art with these changed names too. This one doesn't get a volume number, since it's extra versions that are not in chronological order like all the other albums in the series.

This album is 40 minutes long.

01 One Sure Thing (Fairport Convention)
02 Time Will Show the Wiser (Fairport Convention)
03 Autopsy (Fairport Convention)
04 Meet on the Ledge (Fairport Convention)
05 I'll Keep It with Mine (Fairport Convention)
06 Percy's Song (Fairport Convention)
07 You're Gonna Need My Help (Fairport Convention)
08 Fotheringay [Edit] (Fairport Convention)
09 A Sailor's Life (Fairport Convention)

https://www21.zippyshare.com/v/ruDVlP81/file.html

There aren't many good photos of the band from around this time period. I used a photo taken from the same photo session as the album cover for the "How to Treat Another Heart" stray tracks album, taken in Sandy Denny's parent's backyard.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Home Concerts 4, Afton, VA, 7-12-2020 to 10-11-2020

I'm trying to get back to posting more of the home concerts from 2020 that I'd missed. Here's another one from Mary Chapin Carpenter. 

There's one frustrating problem with this album that almost caused me to give up on posting the rest of her home concerts. Ever since she started posting songs performed from home on YouTube in early 2020, she'd made a big deal out of her two pets, her cat White Kitty and her dog Angus. White Kitty seemingly slept close to 24 hours a day, so was almost never seen or heard from. But Angus was usually there in the video, hanging around the same room Carpenter was in.

This typically wasn't a problem, since the dog generally stayed quiet and didn't bark in the middle of songs. But around the time frame of this album, a squeaky toy showed up, and got used. I've tried with various sound editing programs, but there doesn't seem to be a way to get rid of the squeaky toy squeaking. I guess it's too close in range to the human voice, so removing one tends to remove the other. 

I've tried to get around this in two ways. For three songs, there was so much squeaking that I decided they were unlistenable, and I haven't included them here. Those are "The Way I Feel," "We Traveled So Far," and "Where the Beauty Is." If you want to hear them, they're still on YouTube, squeaks and all. The other thing I did is that the squeaking tended to be worst during her talking before songs, since she typically engaged with Angus, petting it and so forth. Once the song started, the dog almost always settled down and stayed quiet, though there were exceptions such as those three songs mentioned above. So with the talking, I cut out more of the dialogue, if a lot of squeaking was going on at the same time.

So this is mostly squeak-free, but there's still some here and there. Hopefully, it won't annoy you too much. The good news is, this album coincides with a time in which the squeaky toy was popular. For whatever reason, it pretty much disappeared after this, so the last two volumes in this series are largely squeak-free.

01 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
02 I Have a Need for Solitude (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
03 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
04 Late for Your Life (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
05 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
06 Secret Keepers (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
07 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
08 Lafayette Square (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
09 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
10 Twilight (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
11 Grand Central Station (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
12 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
13 The Times They Are A-Changin' (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
14 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
15 Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
16 talk (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
17 American Stooge (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

https://www118.zippyshare.com/v/MJPIN94o/file.html 

Since my write-up is mainly about the squeaky toy problem, I thought it was fitting to include a screenshot that includes the dreaded toy. Carpenter is holding it while Angus is chewing on it. I had to use a rectangular shaped image to get both her head and the toy in view. So there's some blank space on the sides.

Fairport Convention - Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 9-13-1968

Fairport Convention has made a lot of great music over the years, and they're still going as I write this in 2021. But for me, their peak was in 1968 and 1969, while they had both Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny in the band. This version recorded many songs for the BBC that survived, but until relatively recently, I never knew of any actual live recordings that had survived in good quality.

The good news is, such a thing does exist, in the form of this bootleg. The bad news is that it's quite short, at only 22 minutes long. But still, that's better than nothing. Only one song from this concert has been officially released. "Mr. Lacy" came out on the relative obscure compilation "Fairport Unconventional." But that version sounds the same as the bootleg one, so I used the same source all the way through.

I had refrained from posting this concert here because the sound quality was pretty rough. But the main problem was that the vocals were too low. Now that I'm using the sound editing programs Spleeter and X-Minus, I realized this is another concert I could improve. I'm not marking the songs with "[Edit]" because every track was edited with one of those programs, even the talking tracks to lessen the hiss there.

The end result? Okay, it's still rather rough. But it's markedly better than before, and I think it's very listenable. It certainly sounds better than I'd expected for any live recording of the band from 1968. The key is that these songs were recorded by the Dutch TV network VRBO and played on TV at the time. There clearly was more to the show, since the band mentioned coming back for a second set. But this is all we've got, in any form, thanks to it getting on TV.

Iain Matthews does all the talking between songs. Matthews and Denny do most of the singing, though Thompson sings lead on "If It Feels Good, You Know It Can't Be Wrong." It's also interesting to hear how very small the crowd was. Based on the applause, it sounds like only a dozen or two people

There's one other bootleg of this band from 1968 that I know of. The sound quality is significantly worse. It's a short recording from the Whittlesey Barn Barbeque two months before this. Most of it isn't listenable for my ears. But I rescued one song from it that sounds passable, helped by the fact that I boosted the lead vocals for that one too. It's a cover of Bob Dylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry." I'd added that as a bonus track.

Oh, regarding the date of this concert, it may or may not be true. This bootleg is generally listed as taking place in September 1968. I dug a little deeper and found the band's visit to the Netherlands that month was very short, from September 11th to September 14th. The show could only have taken place on the nights of September 12th or September 13th, so I guessed!

01 I Still Miss Someone (Fairport Convention)
02 talk (Fairport Convention)
03 Bird on a Wire (Fairport Convention)
04 talk (Fairport Convention)
05 If It Feels Good, You Know It Can't Be Wrong (Fairport Convention)
06 talk (Fairport Convention)
07 I'll Keep It with Mine (Fairport Convention)
08 talk (Fairport Convention)
09 Mr. Lacey (Fairport Convention)

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Fairport Convention)

https://www84.zippyshare.com/v/b3xaTNm2/file.html

I couldn't find any color photos of the band in concert in 1968. I decided the world needs at least one, so I colorized this one. (Heck, I was happy to even find a decent black and white one.) Apparently, it's from the summer of 1968. I assume the personnel from left to right is Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson, Iain Matthews, and Ashley Hutchings. Thompson has said he was very shy at this point in his career and often played his guitar solos with his back to the audience. It looks like this is such a case.