Monday, April 6, 2020
As I mentioned with the Thompson post, if you kind out about home concerts such as these from talented artists, please let me know, because they're easy to miss. Today, I was looking over my musical collection to see which artists I'd like to see play a home concert, and I was disappointed to realize just how many of my favorites have died or retired. :( I need to find some younger musicians who are just as talented as the best of previous generations. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.
A Keb Mo home concert is particularly welcome for me because I've had issues with the production on most of his studio albums. He keeps putting out music that veers towards "adult contemporary," a la James Taylor, when I most enjoy him playing acoustically. So this concert is great, because it's just him and his acoustic guitar, and there's no crowd noise to mar the sound quality. The Richard Thompson home concert unfortunately was recorded at a low streaming rate, but that's not a problem here. Mo recorded this in a music studio, and the sound quality is fantastic.
Actually, there's one snag about the sound quality, and that's the fact that the concert started out with an extremely low volume for the first couple of songs. Happily, that's something I was easily able to fix with a sound editing program. Mo's talking between songs was also unusually quiet, so I boosted the volume there too.
I did some editing between the songs. If he spend some time tuning his guitar, I usually cut that out. I also cut some of his talking that wasn't interesting. For instance, it's not entirely true that Mo was all alone for the concert. His unnamed wife was never seen, but she was apparently in a nearby control room and occasionally gave him some remote feedback. I edited out some of their back and forth that was technical in nature. For the comments from his wife that I kept it, I had to boost the volume a very large amount, since she was barely audible. So you'll hear a lot of hiss the few occasions when she spoke. All in all, I probably only cut out about five minutes from the concert in total.
Virtually all the songs are Keb Mo originals. But this concert took place a day or two after soul legend Bill Withers died, so he did a cover of "Grandma's Hands" in tribute to him.
01. talk (Keb Mo)
02. Muddy Water (Keb Mo)
03. talk (Keb Mo)
04. Grandma's Hands (Keb Mo)
05. talk (Keb Mo)
06. Better Man (Keb Mo)
07. talk (Keb Mo)
08. I Remember You (Keb Mo)
09. talk (Keb Mo)
10. Change (Keb Mo)
11. talk (Keb Mo)
12. Life Is Beautiful (Keb Mo)
13. talk (Keb Mo)
14. Woman in Charge (Keb Mo)
15. talk (Keb Mo)
16. Tell Everybody I Know (Keb Mo)
17. talk (Keb Mo)
18. Rita (Keb Mo)
19. talk (Keb Mo)
20. Every Morning (Keb Mo)
21. talk (Keb Mo)
22. She Just Wants to Dance (Keb Mo)
23. talk (Keb Mo)
The cover art photo is a screenshot I selected from the home concert.
Sunday, April 5, 2020
The late show is just the same as the early show in terms of stellar soundboard sound quality and performance. If you like that one, you'll like this one. The one snag is that the first song, "Cynthia Mask," was missing the first twenty seconds or so. Happily, I found a bootleg from just a few days later, March 30, 1995, in which he also played that song. So I used that version to patch the missing section. The sound quality for that isn't as good, so you might notice the transition, but I figure it's better than nothing.
Also, this show is about eight minutes shorter than the early show (52 minutes compared to one hour). That suggests that maybe one or more songs are missing, since I've noticed with concerts that late shows are often a bit longer than early ones. However, if that's the case, we'll probably never know, and this is all we've got.
In terms of song selection, the vast majority of the songs are different than the ones played in the early show, so you'll probably want to hear both. Three songs are repeated: "De Chirico Street," "I Something You," and "The Yip Song."
01. Cynthia Mask [Edit] (Robyn Hitchcock)
02. Shuffling Over the Flagstones [Instrumental] (Robyn Hitchcock)
03. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
04. Each of Her Silver Wands (Robyn Hitchcock)
05. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
06. De Chirico Street (Robyn Hitchcock)
07. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
08. Statue with a Walkman (Robyn Hitchcock)
09. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
10. Vegetation and Dimes (Robyn Hitchcock)
11. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
12. My Wife and My Dead Wife (Robyn Hitchcock)
13. Beautiful Girl (Robyn Hitchcock)
14. I Something You (Robyn Hitchcock)
15. Bass (Robyn Hitchcock)
16. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
17. The Yip Song (Robyn Hitchcock)
18. She Doesn't Exist Anymore (Robyn Hitchcock)
19. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
20. Listening to the Higsons (Robyn Hitchcock)
If you compare the cover art photo here with the one for the early show, I think it'll be obvious to you that they both come from the same concert. He's wearing the same shirt, and the lighting is the same. I don't know what show that was exactly, though, except that it took place in 1995.
And what a good show it is! The sound is fantastic, and the hour-long performance is excellent as well. All the songs are written by Hitchcock. The only slight disappointment for me is that he doesn't talk between songs as much as he sometimes does. But you can't have everything. I didn't have to do anything to fix the sound, except I broke the talking between songs into their own tracks, as I usually do.
For the most part, Hitchcock is accompanied by nothing but his acoustic guitar. However, towards the end of the show he switches to solo electric guitar for a little bit. He also is sometimes joined by Donny Benet on violin.
01. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
02. Satellite (Robyn Hitchcock)
03. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
04. Balloon Man (Robyn Hitchcock)
05. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
06. Alright, Yeah (Robyn Hitchcock)
07. Man with a Woman's Shadow (Robyn Hitchcock)
08. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
09. De Chirico Street (Robyn Hitchcock)
10. Sinister but She Was Happy (Robyn Hitchcock)
11. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
12. The Devil's Coachman (Robyn Hitchcock)
13. Raining Twilight Coast (Robyn Hitchcock)
14. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
15. I Something You (Robyn Hitchcock)
16. So You Think You're in Love (Robyn Hitchcock)
17. talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
18. The Yip Song (Robyn Hitchcock)
19. I Am Not Me (Robyn Hitchcock)
20. Autumn Is Your Last Chance (Robyn Hitchcock)
21. Never Stop Bleeding (Robyn Hitchcock)
22. Arms of Love (Robyn Hitchcock)
23. Zipper in My Spine (Robyn Hitchcock)
24. Only the Stones Remain (Robyn Hitchcock)
The cover art photo is taken from an unknown 1995 concert. I had used it for another Hitchcock album cover, for "Acoustic Covers, Volume 2." But I decided it fits better here, since there's an early show and late show, and I'm posting them both, and I found this one and another one come from the same source. So I've put a different cover on that "Volume 2" album.
This time, all but three of the songs were played at the BBC, and were on the official "BBC Sessions" album. The three exceptions come from a Dutch TV show called "Hoepla." One of those, "Catfish Blues," was released on the official "Blues" album. The other two remain officially unreleased. The "Hoepla" show was recorded very well. It was in front of a live audience, but I've removed the clapping as much as possible.
Other than that, there's no much to say for this album. However, as I mentioned earlier in this series, Hendrix played some songs for the BBC that he rarely or never played "live" (in the studio) again. One can especially see that on this volume, with rare songs like "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window," "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Wait Until Tomorrow," "Day Tripper," and even a "jingle" he wrote for the BBC called "Radio One."
01. Burning of the Midnight Lamp (Jimi Hendrix)
02. Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window (Jimi Hendrix)
03. Hoochie Coochie Man (Jimi Hendrix)
04. Driving South [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix)
05. Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
06. Catfish Blues (Jimi Hendrix)
07. Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix)
08. Hear My Train A-Comin' [Alternate Take] (Jimi Hendrix)
09. Radio One (Jimi Hendrix)
10. Wait until Tomorrow (Jimi Hendrix)
11. Day Tripper (Jimi Hendrix with Robert Wyatt)
12. Spanish Castle Magic (Jimi Hendrix)
The cover art photo was taken in the TTG Studios in Los Angeles in October 1968.
Note that I've already posted three albums of Pink Floyd playing at the BBC (done in the BBC studios with no audience present). Since I'm continuing with three more BBC albums from them, I've decided to rename those earlier albums slightly, so they all have "Volume" in the title. For instance, the first one was known as "BBC Sessions, 1967," but now I'm calling it "BBC Sessions, Volume 1." I've just renamed those and updated the cover artwork accordingly. This one, then, is Volume 4.
Although this is live, it was professionally recorded, and it widely considered one of the few really great concert recordings of the band. It was included on the official box set "The Early Years." I'm including it here to continue the BBC series, plus it really should be heard on its own.
I've broken the talking between songs onto their own tracks, but other than that, I didn't need to change anything. Note that the concert was hosted by legendary BBC DJ John Peel. He's the one that does all the talking between songs.
The concert took place while the band was in the middle of recording the album "Atom Heart Mother." So it's not surprising that it features three songs from that album, "If," "Fat Old Sun," and "Atom Heart Mother." We're especially fortunate that "If" was included, because the band only played that excellent song a handful of times. The song "Atom Heart Mother" had been played a few times already, using the clunky title "The Amazing Pudding." They wanted something better, and realized that had to come up with something fast so that Peel would have a new title to give it for this BBC show. Luckily, they came up with the new title shortly before the concert when band member saw the headline "Atom Heart Mother Named" in a newspaper article about a nuclear-powered pacemaker.
Also note that the song "Atom Heart Mother" really needed a full choir, plus a full orchestra, to play right. For this concert, they hired a professional choir and professional orchestra to back them. Later, when they played the song on tour, they had to make do with a revolving group of back-up musicians who often didn't perform nearly as well. As a result, they shortened the song in concert and cut out the parts that needed the choir and orchestra. So this is probably the definitive live version, especially due to the sound quality.
01. talk (Pink Floyd)
02. Embryo (Pink Floyd)
03. talk (Pink Floyd)
04. Fat Old Sun (Pink Floyd)
05. talk (Pink Floyd)
06. Green Is the Colour (Pink Floyd)
07. Careful with that Axe, Eugene (Pink Floyd)
08. talk (Pink Floyd)
09. If (Pink Floyd)
10. talk (Pink Floyd)
11. Atom Heart Mother (Pink Floyd)
The cover art photo comes from a Pink Floyd concert later in 1970, at the Fillmore East in New York City.
Friday, April 3, 2020
As I mentioned in my description of Volume 1, four of the songs here (the first four) chronologically belong with Volume 1, but I put them here in order to cut down on the duplications of the same song on one album. That's also the case for the last song, which should belong on the next volume in this series.
You may note that three of the songs here have "Alternate Take" in their names. That's because when Hendrix played at the BBC, he sometimes did more than one take of the same song, then only one version was played on the radio. Luckily, recordings of these alternate takes survived, and in just as good sound quality. If these are "inferior" versions, I don't hear that. They just have different solos and such.
For this volume, five of the 14 songs have not been officially released. Four of those come from Hendrix performing for TV or radio shows other than the BBC. There also is one song ("Burning of the Midnight Lamp") that was officially released, but not on the official BBC releases because it was from one of those other TV or radio shows.
Also, one of the unreleased songs WAS from the BBC: an instrumental medley of the Motown hits "I Was Made to Love Her" and "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." However, only about half of that version was included on the official "BBC Sessions" album, and this is the whole thing. By the way, that medley, plus an instrumental known as "Jammin'" also feature Stevie Wonder on drums.
As with the other volumes in this series, I was highly selective on what to include in terms of sound quality. There are other songs played on TV or the radio at the time that didn't make the cut, usually selections from concerts that are marred by lots of crowd noise. So the sound quality here is uniformly high. Even better, my musical associate MZ edited some of the unreleased songs to make them sound better than the commonly circulating bootleg versions.
01. Foxy Lady [Alternate Take] (Jimi Hendrix)
02. Hey Joe [Alternate Take] (Jimi Hendrix)
03. Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
04. Stone Free (Jimi Hendrix)
05. Fire (Jimi Hendrix)
06. The Wind Cries Mary (Jimi Hendrix)
07. Burning of the Midnight Lamp (Jimi Hendrix)
08. Jammin' [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix with Stevie Wonder on Drums)
09. I Was Made to Love Her - Ain't Too Proud to Beg [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix with Stevie Wonder on Drums)
10. Hound Dog (Jimi Hendrix)
11. Driving South [Alternate Take] (Jimi Hendrix)
12. Little Miss Lover (Jimi Hendrix)
13. Catfish Blues (Jimi Hendrix)
14. Hear My Train A-Comin' (Jimi Hendrix)
The cover art photo shows Hendrix in a recording studio in October 1967.
Thursday, April 2, 2020
The official "BBC Sessions" album certainly is a good one. But they missed a few songs. More importantly, there are some performances for TV or radio shows that sound just as good, except they weren't done for the BBC. I've expanded the reach of the "BBC Sessions" to include this non-BBC material as well. That has allowed me to make four albums of this stuff instead of two. This is the first one.
One nice benefit to putting these performances on four albums is that I have carefully organized them to reduce the number of times one album has two or more versions of the same song on them. For whatever reason, the vast majority of Hendrix's TV or radio appearances were in 1967. His song repertoire was small back then at the start of his fame, and he only had a few hits. So he tended to perform the same songs over and over again, especially "Hey Joe" and "Purple Haze."
Due to that fact, as well as the fact that there's a ton of Hendrix material out there, I've chosen to only include the versions that sound the best, without repeating songs too much. For this album, the only duplicate I have is two versions of "Hey Joe." Note that I've generally stuck to ordering these albums by the dates they were recorded. But I've made a few exceptions to reduce the duplications. So, for instance, I've moved versions of four songs ("Hey Joe," "Purple Haze," "Foxy Lady," and "Stone Free") that were recorded in early 1967 to the next album in this series.
Three of the 14 performances on this album are still officially unreleased. In addition, two more are from official releases other than either of the BBC albums. One of those, "Burning of the Midnight Lamp," actually was played on the BBC, but on a TV show instead of the radio. That one was only available as a rare bonus track for the "Jimi Hendrix Experience" box set.
I'm glad to say that none of these performances are marred by BBC DJs talking over the music. If there were instances of talking before or after songs, I've cut that out to keep the focus on the songs.
I've included one bonus track, an unreleased version of "Rock Me Baby." This also was played for the BBC. But unfortunately, the last minute or so got cut off, so I faded it out. I suspect that's why it wasn't included on the official BBC albums. The sound on that one is a little rough, but my associate MZ worked on editing it to at least make it sound better than it had been.
01. Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
02. Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix)
03. Stone Free (Jimi Hendrix)
04. Love or Confusion (Jimi Hendrix)
05. Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
06. The Wind Cries Mary (Jimi Hendrix)
07. Killing Floor (Jimi Hendrix)
08. Fire (Jimi Hendrix)
09. Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
10. Manic Depression (Jimi Hendrix)
11. Burning of the Midnight Lamp (Jimi Hendrix)
12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Jimi Hendrix)
13. I Don't Live Today (Jimi Hendrix)
14. Driving South [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix)
Rock Me Baby (Jimi Hendrix)
The cover art photo shows Hendrix playing "Purple Haze" at the BBC's "Top of the Pops" TV show in March 1967. I didn't include any music from this performance because he sang to the recorded version of the song.