Monday, April 30, 2018

Traffic - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: In Concert, Paris Theatre, London, Britain, 4-30-1970

There are two Traffic concerts in 1970 recorded with excellent sound and later released on bootlegs. Both of them have similar setlists, which lean heavily on the "John Barleycorn" album. One, in April, is from an "In Concert" John Peel show in London on the BBC. The other is from the Fillmore East in New York City in November.

What I've done is present the entire London show, but with commentary from Peel between songs removed. Then I've added in all the songs performed in the Fillmore show that weren't performed at the other show. There were four of them, and I've put those near the end. Also, I adjusted the volume of the audience noise after the Fillmore songs to match the London songs, so it all sounds like one concert. (The music for the different shows were at a similar level, but the audience noise was much louder at one than the other.)

The result is a kind of ultimate 1970 Traffic show, including virtually all the songs they played live that year. It totals an hour and 18 minutes, which would have made a good double album for that era. If you want only one live show from Traffic in 1970, it should be this one.

01 Who Knows What Tomorrow Will Bring (Traffic)
02 Every Mother's Son (Traffic)
03 No Time to Live (Traffic)
04 Medicated Goo (Traffic)
05 John Barleycorn (Traffic)
06 Pearly Queen (Traffic)
07 Stranger to Himself (Traffic)
08 Empty Pages (Traffic)
09 Glad (Traffic)
10 Freedom Rider (Traffic)
11 Heaven Is in Your Mind (Traffic)
12 [Roamin' thro' the Gloamin' With] 40,000 Headmen (Traffic)
13 Means to an End (Traffic)
14 Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic)
15 Can't Find My Way Home (Traffic)

Originally, I used the cover of a popular bootleg for this concert. But much later, I decided it simply wasn't a very good picture. So I replaced it with a photo of the band playing at Middlesborough, Britain, in March 1970.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Neil Young - It Might Have Been - Non-Album Tracks (1968-1972)

Neil Young was so prolific early in his career that he was leaving stray tracks off albums left and right. This album imagines if he would have gathered up all the songs he'd performed in the studio or on stage that weren't put on other albums or done as part of his CSNY collaboration. There's just enough material to have given him a very solid album between "After the Goldrush" and "Harvest" in 1971, a year in which he didn't release a studio album of original material.

I took some songs from live performances and then removed the crowd noise to make them fit in better with the other studio material. Some of these songs did appear on albums later, for instance "See the Sky about to Rain" made it onto "On the Beach" in 1974 (but done in a different style than the solo acoustic version here). "Sugar Mountain" was an early B-side that didn't get onto an album until the "Decade" collection in 1977. "Dance, Dance, Dance" later transformed into "Love Is a Rose," with a very similar verse melody. And so on.

No doubt there are other songs that he wrote around this time that he never put on album or even on his "Archives" collection. For instance, "You Know I Love You," which he apparently played just once in concert, in early 1969, but it didn't get bootlegged.

If you add up the material I could find for this, it makes up a 37 minute album, which is a decent album length for that era.

01 Winterlong (Neil Young)
02 Dance, Dance, Dance (Neil Young)
03 Wonderin' (Neil Young)
04 Sugar Mountain (Neil Young)
05 Everybody's Alone (Neil Young)
06 It Might Have Been (Neil Young)
07 Journey through the Past (Neil Young)
08 Don't Let It Bring You Down (Neil Young)
09 Soldier (Neil Young)
10 War Song (Neil Young with Graham Nash)
11 Bad Fog of Loneliness (Neil Young)
12 See the Sky about to Rain (Neil Young)
13 Love in Mind (Neil Young)

I'm not entirely sure where the cover art photo comes from. But I think it dates to 1972.

Richard Thompson - Mirror Blue - Acoustic Version (1994)

Richard Thompson is another one of the all-time musical greats in my opinion, both for his work with Fairport Convention and solo. I plan on posting a lot of his stuff here.

In 1994, he put out the album "Mirror Blue." But, as the Wikipedia article on his says: "'Mirror Blue' was released in 1994 to often negative reviews sparked by the production decisions that Thompson and [producer Mitchell] Froom took."

I have to agree - the production was bad. Luckily, Thompson did many appearances at radio stations to promote the album, playing the songs in solo acoustic style. I was able to find 10 out of the 12 songs from the album performed that way, in excellent sound quality and without any noise. So that's this album, plus two cover versions of Buddy Holly songs added at the end that he also did during those radio shows.

This is about as close as you can get to a studio-quality acoustic version of the album, freeing it of its poor production.

01 Taking My Business Elsewhere (Richard Thompson)
02 Beeswing (Richard Thompson)
03 King of Bohemia (Richard Thompson)
04 Mingus Eyes (Richard Thompson)
05 I Can't Wake Up to Save My Life (Richard Thompson)
06 MGB-GT (Richard Thompson)
07 Easy There, Steady Now (Richard Thompson)
08 I Ride in Your Slipstream (Richard Thompson)
09 For the Sake of Mary (Richard Thompson)
10 Shane and Dixie (Richard Thompson)
11 Learning the Game (Richard Thompson)
12 Well... All Right (Richard Thompson with T-Bone Burnett)

I don't know where or when the cover photo is from.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Paul Weller - More Wood (Little Splinters) (1994)

I think Paul Weller is another one of the all-time musical greats - with the Jam, the Style Council, and solo. But he's one of those greats who has a habit of releasing all kinds of interesting things that he doesn't put out on albums, including keeping up the tradition of releasing lots of B-sides.

I'm going to post all sorts of things by him here. But if you only have his official albums and nothing else, here's sort of an official album to get you started. In 1993, Weller hit a creative peak with the album "Wild Wood." He was at such a peak, that all his stray tracks from this period are very good. A bunch of them were collected as an album with a well-thought out track order, but the album only came out in Japan. About half the tracks were previously released B-sides, and about half first came out on this album. Here it is. (Buy it if you live in Japan!)

The title - "More Wood (Little Splinters)" - is very apt, because it continues the mood and musical style of "Wild Wood" exactly.

By the way, the last song on this album is a remix of a song from his first solo album, "Paul Weller," which came out before Wild Wood. It's my favorite remix of all time!

This album is 45 minutes long.

01 This Is No Time (Paul Weller)
02 Fly on the Wall (Paul Weller)
03 Another New Day [Instrumental] (Paul Weller)
04 Feelin' Alright (Paul Weller)
05 That Spiritual Feeling [New Mix] (Paul Weller)
06 The Loved (Paul Weller)
07 All Year Round (Paul Weller)
08 Everything Has a Price to Pay (Paul Weller)
09 Ends of the Earth (Paul Weller)
10 Black Sheep Boy (Paul Weller)
11 Kosmos SXDUB 2000 (Paul Weller)

This cover is exactly the same as the official one.

Nick Drake - Last Session - Non-Album Tracks (1974)

In 1974, two years after the release of "Pink Moon," Nick Drake returned to the recording studio to record another album. Unfortunately, he died before the album was completed.

Four of the songs were released in 1979. Since then, a few other things have come out  Most importantly is "Tow the Line," a fifth song sung by him, officially released in 2004. Then there's an unreleased instrumental from 1972 ("Plaisir d'Amour") which I'm including here because I don't want to touch the great Pink Moon album. Finally, there's another unreleased instrumental from 1974 that's said to be him just doodling around while testing the recording o equipment. It's nice, but very repetitive, so I edited it down some to make it more listenable.

When you put all that together, you're left with less than 20 minutes of music. That makes it half of an album. Normally, I would try to put it with something else to make for a longer listen, but I think in this case it's good if it stands on its own, to better understand his state of mind shortly before his death. He did additional takes of some of these songs in 1974, but I'm going to put them on a different album so as to not make this one too repetitive, since they are very similar.

What a loss, that he was never able to finish this off and then go on to live a long life with a lot more music to share with the world.

01 Plaisir d'Amour [Instrumental] (Nick Drake)
02 Rider on the Wheel (Nick Drake)
03 Black Eyed Dog (Nick Drake)
04 Hanging on a Star (Nick Drake)
05 Voice from the Mountain (Nick Drake)
06 Tow the Line (Nick Drake)
07 Instrumental (Nick Drake)

Regarding the cover, there are no photos of him that I know of from the last three years of his life. And there are very few color photos of him at all - I guess people like the black and white mood to help make him look serious and sad. I used a color photo of him looking out over London and the River Thames around 1970 - looking serious and sad.

Nick Drake - Family Tree - Alternate Version (1967)

The officially released Nick Drake album "Family Tree" is good overall, but it has some serious flaws when it comes to what songs are included or are not included.

First off, I've already moved all the Drake originals to a revamped "Time of No Reply," so they don't appear here. Secondly, there are so tracks from Drake's youth that I don't want to repeatedly here - two songs performed by his mother and him giving a clarinet recital to some relatives when he was a teen. So I cut those out.

That leaves us with just folk songs he did written by others, most of them performed by him in 1967. It's good have all of these together, because the songs he wrote are done in a very unique style and don't really fit with his cover versions. But... for some inexplicable reason, the album omitted four of his cover songs that have appeared on bootlegs and are just as good as the rest. Plus, another song  ("Betty and Dupree") is only available on rare versions of the album as a bonus track.

So this leaves out all the songs that don't fit, and adds in the five that do. It makes for a nice collection of all the songs by others that he covered (not counting "Been Smoking Too Long," which I put elsewhere because it was written by a personal friend and sounds more like a Drake original).

The album ends up being 44 minutes long, which would have been a fine length had it come out in the late 1960s. I didn't make any changes to the cover.

01 Winter Is Gone (Nick Drake)
02 All My Trials (Nick & Gabrielle Drake)
03 Betty and Dupree (Nick Drake)
04 Strolling Down the Highway (Nick Drake)
05 Cocaine Blues (Nick Drake)
06 Black Mountain Blues (Nick Drake)
07 Tomorrow Is a Long Time (Nick Drake)
08 If You Leave Me (Nick Drake)
09 Here Come the Blues (Nick Drake)
10 Blues Run the Game (Nick Drake)
11 My Baby So Sweet (Nick Drake)
12 Milk and Honey (Nick Drake)
13 Kimbie (Nick Drake)
14 Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (Nick Drake)
15 Courting Blues (Nick Drake)
16 Summertime (Nick Drake)
17 Let's Get Together (Nick Drake)

The album cover is simply the official cover, unchanged.

Pete Townshend - Acoustic Psychderelict - Mayfair Hotel, London, Britain, 7-2-1993

I was disappointed with Pete Townshend's "Psychoderelict" album when it came out, and I'm still not a big fan of it. I thought many of the songs weren't up to his usual high standards and it had production issues and too many other voices singing the lead parts.

Happily, I recently came across this. Around the time Townshend was releasing that album, he put on a special performance of all the songs from it to a select small audience of reporters. They were to not to clap, as he was recording it, but nothing from it has been released yet, except for a version of "English Boy." Anyway, somehow, some, but not all of the songs from the show that day have become public. The only musician in the performance was Townshend with his acoustic guitar, but it also included some actors reading their spoken parts from the album. I edited all those bits out, partially because they seem jarring in this context, but also because most of them were incomplete and faded in or out.

What we're left with is a purely acoustic performance that allows one to reassess the album. Personally, I think it comes off much better like this, without the typical 1990s overproduction, but  then again I'm partial to acoustic-styled music.

The song "Outlive the Dinosaur" isn't from that show, but it was done acoustically by him as one of his demos, and it fits in seamlessly. I put it in the track order where it would be if we had a recording of him doing that along with the rest of the album.

This is a short album, just a tad under 30 minutes long. Hopefully, someday the rest of the show will come to light.

01 English Boy (Pete Townshend)
02 Let's Get Pretentious (Pete Townshend)
03 I Want That Thing (Pete Townshend)
04 Outlive the Dinosaur (Pete Townshend)
05 Now and Then (Pete Townshend)
06 I Am Afraid (Pete Townshend)
07 Don't Try to Make Me Real (Pete Townshend)
08 Predictable (Pete Townshend)
09 Fake It (Pete Townshend)

The photo for the cover art is of Townshend in concert in 1993. But it's from a different concert (Brooklyn Academy of Music on August 7, 1993).

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Nick Drake - Time of No Reply - Alternate Version (1969)

Nick Drake's music is special. The three albums released in his lifetime - Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter, and Pink Moon - are perfect as they are. But... all the music that has been released since his death have come out in ways that need serious rearranging.

I'm greatly puzzled by the musical decisions of the Drake estate. For instance, Drake recorded five essential songs with vocals on them in one last recording session in 1974. Four of them were released in 1979. The fifth one "Tow the Line" wasn't released until 2004. Why?! I could go on and on about puzzling decisions like that. If it's because they only discovered some recordings later, that's strange too since he's had such a small body of recorded work, and no career of recorded concerts.

It seems to me the rest of his music needs to be organized in a more logical fashion. I'm keeping the album title "Time of No Reply" from his most well known posthumous release, and keeping about half the songs. But I'm repurposing it to contain all of his original songs (plus one song - "Been Smoking Too Long" - by a friend) that aren't on the three albums released in his lifetime or from his 1974 recording session. If I do that, the album is 42 minutes long, which is a fine album length for that era.

The other songs from the original "Time of No Reply" will be moved to other albums that will follow here soon. I have four more albums from him on the way (plus the original three) that should logically sort out the rest of his catalog.

I've included a few short instrumentals that are widely available on bootlegs but have inexplicably remained officially unreleased. These were recorded on a tape recorder, and each of them comes to a sudden halt in mid-song when the recorder gets turned off. So I faded the songs out at the very end of each, rather than have the mellow mood of his music jolted by the loud click of the recorder being turned off.

I included the version of "Time of No Reply" with strings because I plan to put the string-less version on a different album where it will fit better. You'll see what I mean soon.

01 Time of No Reply [String Arrangement] (Nick Drake)
02 I Was Made to Love Magic (Nick Drake)
03 Joey (Nick Drake)
04 Clothes of Sand (Nick Drake)
05 Brittle Days I [Instrumental] (Nick Drake)
06 Mayfair (Nick Drake)
07 Been Smoking Too Long (Nick Drake)
08 Strange Meeting II (Nick Drake)
09 Brittle Days III [Instrumental] (Nick Drake)
10 They're Leaving Me Behind (Nick Drake)
11 Blossom (Nick Drake)
12 Far Leys [Instrumental] (Nick Drake)
13 Bird Flew By (Nick Drake)
14 Rain (Nick Drake)
15 Come into the Garden (Nick Drake)
16 Brittle Days II [Instrumental] (Nick Drake)

Note that the album cover is the same as the original, but cropped slightly to remove some text at the bottom touting the number of previously unreleased songs and so on. 

Also, I year or so after I first posted this album, I colorized the black and white original.

Beck - Arabian Nights - Non-Album Tracks (1999-2000)

Here's another Beck album. Easily more than half of the Beck music I listen to isn't on any of his official albums, so I'll be posting lots more of his stuff in the future.

This covers the "Midnite Vultures" era. Like that album, this is upbeat party music.

Note that the song here entitled "Midnite Vultures" isn't actually on the Midnite Vultures album. Beck later explained that he finished off a song that was mostly instrumental after the album came out and couldn't think of a title for it, so he named it after the album.

A couple of songs here ("Bloodless" and "California Radio") are studio tracks yet extremely rare. Apparently they only got played once on a radio show a few years later. The sound of "Let the Doctor Rock You" is less than great, since it comes from an audience concert recording. But that's the only known version of the song.

"Diamond Dogs" really is from 2001, but I put it here because it fits in better with this bunch of songs.

01 This Is My Crew (Beck)
02 Salt in the Wound (Beck)
03 Let the Doctor Rock You [Live] (Beck)
04 Arabian Nights (Beck)
05 Dirty, Dirty (Beck)
06 California Rodeo (Beck & Kool Keith)
07 Midnite Vultures (Beck)
08 Bra (Ozomatli & Beck)
09 Bloodless (Beck with Cornelius)
10 Diamond Dogs (Beck)

Jet Engine (Forest for the Trees with Beck)

I can't possibly imitate the wild and weird album covers Beck chooses. So I'm going to stick with using the covers of his singles as often as possible. This is the cover of the "Mixed Bizness" single, with only the words changed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Beck - Deadweight - Non-Album Tracks (1998)

Generally, I'm not as fond of musicians who got their start in the 1990s or later as I am fond of earlier artists. (That said, I could be missing a lot, and I always appreciate strong recommendations.) However, one very big exception for me is Beck. I think he's one of the all-time greats.

Unfortunately, like some of the greats, such as Dylan, Hendrix, Springsteen, and Neil Young, Beck has a habit of leaving all sorts of good songs off his albums. At least in case of the other four I just mentioned there have been plenty of archival releases over the years. But with Beck, there basically have been none so far (with a deluxe edition of Odelay a very rare exception). So I hope to feature a lot of Beck albums here to help make up for the way he's let so many songs slip into obscurity. (And that's considering what's become publicly available - apparently he's written many more songs that haven't even been bootlegged.)

For all his major 1990s albums, one can make another album of all the best songs he didn't put on the album around that time. And that's exactly what I've done. :) Mutations is my favorite album by him, so here's my version of what should be his other Mutations era album.

All the songs were released in some form or another, usually as B-sides, except for the last one, "Maria Bethania." That's a live duet between Beck and Brazilian star Caetano Veloso, from a bootleg. I figure that fits in with the MPB / tropicalia Brazilian feeling that clearly was influencing Beck at the time.

Normally, on my stray tracks albums such a this one, I try hard to avoid duplicating any songs released on any well-known official albums from that era. I've made a partial exception here. You may recognize that "Strange Invitation" is fundamentally the same song as the hit "Jack-Ass" from the previous album Odelay, but it's done in such a different style that Beck gave it a different name.

I chose "Deadweight" as the name of this album in part so I could use the cover of the Deadweight single for the album cover. The album is 44 minutes long, which is four minutes shorter than Mutations.

01 Deadweight (Beck)
02 SA-5 (Beck)
03 Erase the Sun (Beck)
04 Strange Invitation [Jack-Ass] (Beck)
05 Black Balloon (Beck)
06 Halo of Gold [Furry Heroine] (Beck)
07 Runners Dial Zero (Beck)
08 Diamond in the Sleaze (Beck)
09 One of These Days (Beck)
10 Electric Music and the Summer People (Beck)
11 Maria Bethania [Live] (Beck & Caetano Veloso)
12 Devil Got My Woman (Beck)

The cover art is the cover from the "Deadweight" single.

Cat Stevens - Morgan Studios Demos 1971

Here's the second of the two acoustic Cat Stevens albums. Don't be fooled by the similar album covers and titles - these contain completely different songs, with no overlap.

I said pretty much all I needed to be said when I posted the first one. So I'll just emphasize that if you like Cat Stevens' music at all, you really need to listen to this. The sound quality is great.

Also, sadly, there's no publicly available demos from 1972 or beyond. Even the live acoustic shows disappear after 1971. I suppose he switched to more of a full band sound at that point.

Note that since I first posted this album around 2019, super deluxe editions of his albums "Tea for the Tillerman" and "Teaser and the Firecat" have been released. Between them, the vast majority of these versions have now been officially released.

Three of the songs here are still unreleased though: "Trouble," "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out," and "Peace Train." However, in my opinion, the bootleg sound quality is so good that you can't tell the difference. I carefully checked the official and unofficial versions, and I discovered that two of them were totally different performances. So I've put one of each of those on the "Morgan Studio Demos 1970" album, and one here. Those are the first two songs on this one.

This album is 36 minutes long.

01 Trouble [Alternate Version] (Cat Stevens)
02 If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out [Alternate Version] (Cat Stevens)
03 Tuesday's Dead (Cat Stevens)
04 Moonshadow (Cat Stevens)
05 Peace Train (Cat Stevens)
06 Don't Be Shy (Cat Stevens)
07 Rubylove (Cat Stevens)
08 If I Laugh (Cat Stevens)
09 Changes IV (Cat Stevens)
10 How Can I Tell You (Cat Stevens)
11 Morning Has Broken (Cat Stevens)

I'm not sure what year the cover art photo is from exactly, but it's around 1971.

Cat Stevens - Morgan Studios Demos 1970

As I mentioned previously, I have a particular love for when songs are stripped down to their acoustic basics, and here's one of my favorites when it comes to that. The songs on Cat Stevens' early 1970s albums were already lightly produced, but this is usually just him on guitar (or sometimes piano), plus he's typically accompanied by second guitarist Alun Davies.

This is based on a bootleg that came out a few years ago. The sound quality and performance is so superb that they really need to be officially released. I split the bootleg into two albums, because some songs were recorded in 1970 and some in 1971. Here's the first.

When I first posted this album in 2019, the vast majority of the versions were officially unreleased. But since then, super deluxe editions of the albums "Mona Bone Jakon" and "Tea for the Tillerman" were released. Both of them included some, but not all, of these acoustic demos. I think the record company missed a golden opportunity - an album of just acoustic demos would have done well. But at least some released are better than none. Only three remain officially unreleased: "I've Got a Thing about Seeing My Grandson Grow Old," "Lady D'Arbanville," and "Tea for the Tillerman."

Some of the official versions were previously unbootlegged, so that's nice. One of those, the demo for "Mona Bone Jakon," sounds rougher than the rest, but it's still acceptable. Frankly, the sound quality of the bootleg and released versions were nearly identical, overall.

Note that the last song, "Hard Headed Woman," isn't actually a studio demo. Instead, it comes from a performance on the German TV show "Beat Club." But it's done in a solo acoustic style, and fits in well with the others, so I couldn't resist adding it in.

This album is 43 minutes long.

01 I've Got a Thing about Seeing My Grandson Grow Old (Cat Stevens)
02 Katmandu (Cat Stevens)
03 Time (Cat Stevens)
04 Fill My Eyes (Cat Stevens)
05 Lady D'Arbanville (Cat Stevens)
06 Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens)
07 Trouble (Cat Stevens)
08 Maybe You're Right (Cat Stevens)
09 I Think I See the Light (Cat Stevens)
10 Mona Bone Jakon (Cat Stevens)
11 I Wish, I Wish (Cat Stevens)
12 If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out (Cat Stevens)
13 Miles from Nowhere (Cat Stevens)
14 Wild World (Cat Stevens)
15 Hard Headed Woman (Cat Stevens)

I made the cover using an early 1970s photo by George Wilke.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Rockpile - Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds Sing the Everly Brothers - Expanded Version (1979)

This is a fun little thing. In August 1979, Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds of Rockpile played an session for the BBC with just the two of them and their acoustic guitars. They must have been in a big Everly Brothers mood, because they played five Everly Brothers songs in a row, then two of their own songs, then two other old cover songs. They jokingly called themselves the "Beverly Brothers."

A year later, Rockpile finally released a studio album (Seconds of Pleasure) after backing each other's solo albums for a few years, and they included four of the Everly Brothers covers from this session as a bonus EP. But the other songs were never released, except on a bootleg that didn't include the released songs. Here are all of the songs, together and in the order they were performed. They're short songs, so it's only a 22 minute album, but it's a fun one.

01 Problems, Problems (Rockpile)
02 Take a Message to Mary (Rockpile)
03 Crying in the Rain (Rockpile)
04 Poor Jenny (Rockpile)
05 When Will I Be Loved (Rockpile)
06 What Looks Best on You (Rockpile)
07 I Knew the Bride [When She Used to Rock and Roll] (Rockpile)
08 Blue Moon of Kentucky (Rockpile)
09 The Race Is On (Rockpile)

The cover art is based on the EP cover, but I made some changes. (The original specifically mentioned four song titles, but that doesn't work anymore when there's nine songs.)

The Beach Boys - Acappella: 1963-1966

In their prime, the Beach Boys' harmonizing abilities were a true wonder. As my Beach Boys collection has grown, I've seen some stray tracks here and there of them doing songs acappella style (meaning all vocals, no instrumentation), but I haven't seen any sort of collection of them, official or otherwise. So I decided to make one.

I have three albums like this. This one covers their early years, from 1963 to 1966. I also have an acappella version of the "Pet Sounds" album. Then I made another album covering them from 1967 to 1977. If there's interest, I can post those other two albums.

There's one song here that technically isn't acappella - "God Only Knows." That's because I have a purely acappella version on the Pet Sounds mentioned above. This version also has Brian Wilson playing piano.

I'm not as die-hard a Beach Boys fan as some, so if anyone knows of acappella versions I missed, please let me know and I'll add them in.

The album is 57 minutes long. The songs are in rough chronological order.

01 Farmer's Daughter [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
02 Little Deuce Coupe [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
03 Be True to Your School [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
04 Catch a Wave [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
05 In My Room [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
06 Surfers Rule [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
07 Little Saint Nick [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
08 The Lord's Prayer [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
09 Don't Worry Baby [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
10 All Summer Long [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
11 Hushabye [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
12 Fun, Fun, Fun [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
13 Girls on the Beach [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
14 I Get Around [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
15 When I Grow Up [To Be a Man] [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
16 She Knows Me Too Well [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
17 Wendy [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
18 Dance, Dance, Dance [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
19 Don't Hurt My Little Sister [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
20 Do You Wanna Dance [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
21 Help Me, Rhonda [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
22 Kiss Me Baby [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
23 California Girls [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
24 Girl from New York City [Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)
25 God Only Knows [Vocals and Piano Version] (Beach Boys)
26 Their Hearts Were Full of Spring [Live Acappella Version] (Beach Boys)

I made the cover art, using a photo of the Beach Boys singing "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring" acappella style on a TV show, and that version is the last song on the album. The rest of the art is inspired by a fake cover made by "I Design Album Covers."

The Who - The Who Sell Out - Double Album Alternate Version (1967)

"The Who Sell Out" is one of the greatest albums of all time. Rolling Stone magazine ranks it #113 on its list of top 500 albums of all time, and also calls it the best concept album of all time. But what's amazing yet frustrating for me is that it works just as well as a double album. A deluxe version of the album was released decades later, but that just threw some bonus tracks on a second disc without much apparent thought to track order and theme. Plus, some key tracks from the time period were missed, most especially the hit song "Pictures of Lily."

I normally don't want to use this blog to simply post an album that's already widely available. But in this case, I'm including both the original album and a second album. I also break with tradition by sticking songs right into the existing order of songs on the original album.

There's a good reason for this second idea. In Dave Marsh's 1983 book "Before I Get Old - The Story of the Who", Marsh argued that while the album is great overall, the pop art/commercial theme of the album fizzled out before the middle of the second side, after the song "Medac." He wrote, "For the rest of the side, the concept disappeared." Then he quoted a review of the album by Nik Cohn back in 1967, which noted the same thing, and said, "The problem is that the idea hasn't been carried right the way through; it has only been half-heartedly sketched in."

Marsh and Cohn are right. From the start of the album through "Medac," there are mock commercials between virtually every song, and some of the songs are commercial in nature as well, like "Medac," "Heinz Baked Beans," and "Odorono." But then, for the last four songs, it's as if that concept is forgotten entirely.

So I fixed this by putting more mock commercials between all those songs (and also adding "Rael 2" and the end to complete "Rael 1). This may seem jarring if you've listen to the album countless times without them there, but please give it a chance and let it grow on you.

Then I continued the concept for an entire second album. The original album was 39 minutes long. Adding some commericals and "Rael 2" to it made it 43 minutes long. I was very pleased to discover that, after gathering all the quality material I could, I was able to make a solid second album, that's also 43 minutes long. And just like the first album, there are commercials between every single song.

I'm amazed at how well it all worked out. I feel like this was how the album was meant to be the whole time. Back in 1967, the Who couldn't realistically put out a double album - that idea didn't really catch on in the rock world until after the success of the Beatles' "White Album" in 1968. But after all these years, we can fulfill a larger double album vision, because the group left so many great stray tracks around, including lots of mock commercials.

As I usually do while reconstructing albums, I like to gather up all the quality tracks from a certain time, if I can. So I included some songs the Who did in 1967 that weren't included on the deluxe edition of the album.

In doing my best to continue the album's concept, I made some edits to existing songs. The commercial "Great Shakes" was an actual commercial the band got paid for around the time, and there's a talkover section in the middle of it that sounds too much like really trying to sell a product rather than the parody feeling of their other commercials. So I seamlessly edited that out. I did the exact same thing to another real commercial the band did, for "Sunn Equipment," removing the talkover section. 

Also, I took part of an early version of "Relax" on the deluxe edition and edited it to be a mellow coda to finish the album. I thought it was nice having that song from the first album briefly come back on the second album, in the same way that "Odorono" makes a brief return.

Furthermore, I sometimes cut down the seconds of silence at the ends of some songs, if that went on for five seconds or longer. The idea for the album was to pretend to be a pirate radio station, and one thing such a radio station would try hard to avoid was more than a few seconds of "dead air." I also made all the little mock commercials their own tracks. (Please don't listen to this on a music player that automatically inserts a couple of seconds of silence between every song, because there often is no silence at all between some tracks.)

Sometimes things come together in a really satisfying way. This is one of those times for me. As I mentioned already, I'm amazed at how well this all fits together. For instance, I wound up with the exact number of mock commercials that allowed me to have one between every single song on both albums. I strongly encourage you to give this a listen!

UPDATE: In early 2021, a "super deluxe" edition of "The Who Sell Out" was officially released. For my purposes with this album, the content was largely the same, but there were some extra little bits here and there that I could use. So, on May 5, 2021, I made some minor changes across both albums.

Also, it turns out that some of the mock radio commercials were real commercials or radio station announcements that the Who simply used whole hog, much like sampling in rap music. For instance, the little snippet of a female voice singing "It's smooth sailing, with the highly successful sound of wonderful Radio London" was a real bit of audio played on Radio London around that time. The Who even got sued for using some of these bits without permission, but apparently nothing ever came of the lawsuits.

Anyway, given those precedents, I found some other real commercials and/or radio station announcements from the time that fit the general album vibe, and I sprinkled those in here and there. Some of them tout "Radio London," or use its nickname "Big L." If you look at the mp3 tags, those are the ones mentioned as being officially unreleased. By using those, I was able to replace some other little bits that were somewhat repetitive such getting rid of a second version of the "John Mason's Cars" commercial and the second version of the "Premier Drums" commercial.

Oh, also, I looked at some Internet forums and found that Who fans generally felt the versions of the songs on this latest super deluxe edition sound better than on previous editions. So I replaced all the songs I could with the latest versions. That meant replacing nearly all the songs, except for a few that came from other releases only, like the "BBC Sessions" or "Odds and Sods." 

I also used alternate versions of "The Last Time" and "Under My Thumb" from the super deluxe box set. To me, they sound exactly the same as the previous versions, except they're a little bit longer, so they come to proper ends instead of fading out. Plus, they're in stereo instead of mono. The only songs left in mono, I think, are "Pictures of Lily" and "Doctor, Doctor." If you know of good stereo versions of those, please let me know so I can replace them.

Album 1:

01 Monday to Sunday (Who)
02 Armenia City in the Sky (Who)
03 Wonderful Radio London (Who)
04 Heinz Baked Beans (Who)
05 More Music (Who)
06 Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand (Who)
07 Premier Drums (Who)
08 Odorono (Who)
09 Smooth Sailing with Radio London (Who)
10 Tattoo (Who)
11 Church of Your Choice (Who)
12 Our Love Was (Who)
13 Pussycat - Speakeasy - Rotosound Strings (Who)
14 I Can See for Miles (Who)
15 Charles Atlas (Who)
16 I Can't Reach You (Who)
17 Choir Big L (Who)
18 Medac (Who)
19 Radio 1 [Happy Jack] (Who)
20 Relax (Who)
21 Radio London News (Who)
22 Great Shakes [Edit] (Who)
23 Silas Stingy (Who)
24 Bag O'Nails [Edit] (Who)
25 Sunrise (Who)
26 Things Go Better with Coke (Who)
27 Rael (Who)
28 Rael Naive (Who)
29 Track Records (Who)

Album 2:

01 Wonderful Radio London [Have You Heard] (Who)
02 Pictures of Lily (Who)
03 John Mason Cars (Who)
04 Radio 1 [Boris the Spider] (Who)
05 Doctor, Doctor (Who)
06 Big L Action (Who)
07 The Last Time (Who)
08 Top Gear (Who)
09 My Way (Who)
10 News Bulletin (Who)
11 Jaguar (Who)
12 Coke After Coke (Who)
13 Early Morning Cold Taxi (Who)
14 Radio One Jingle [My Generation] (Who)
15 Someone's Coming (Who)
16 Pearl Perm Shampoo (Who)
17 Summertime Blues (Who)
18 Odorono [Final Chorus] (Who)
19 Big L Happy Difference (Who)
20 Sodding About [Signal 30] [Instrumental] (Who)
21 Sunn Equipment [Edit] (Who)
22 Girl's Eyes (Who)
23 Big Fry Bars (Who)
24 Under My Thumb (Who)
25 Music - Wonderful Big L (Who)
26 Glittering Girl (Who)
27 Toffee Glees (Who)
28 In the Hall of the Mountain King [Instrumental] (Who)
29 You're Hearing Things [Radio London] (Who)
30 Relax [Coda] (Who)

The art works out great as well. The original album had a back cover that was essentially a second front cover. So one can just imagine that the group released two albums at once, and this second picture was the cover for the second album. I made some minor edits to the second picture to remove a few minor things that betray it isn't an album cover, such as a record company logo which wasn't on the first picture.

Note also that when I updated the album in May 2021, I updated the artwork too. The images are exactly same, but it turns out I'd used badly miscolored versions. I replaced them with better versions.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Posies - Acoustic Duo - 99X FM, Atlanta, GA, 5-5-1996

The Posies are a drastically underappreciated band. Maybe their problem is they had their heyday in the wrong place at the wrong time - Seattle in the 1990s. That was the heyday of grunge, and they tried to fit in, but in my opinion their strongest suit is there acoustic material.

For instance, this album. It's not nothing but two acoustic guitars, two voices harmonizing like angels, and excellent songwriting. Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer play songs from the latest Posies album "Amazing Disgrace," and earlier albums.

I've added two songs at the end that are also done in acoustic duo style from the same year, for a different radio show. That fleshes the album out to a pleasing 42 minutes.

01 Throwaway (Posies)
02 Please Return It (Posies)
03 Going Going Gone (Posies)
04 Golden Blunders (Posies)
05 Solar Sister (Posies)
06 Like Me Too (Posies)
07 Flavor of the Month (Posies)
08 Ontario (Posies)
09 Everyone Moves Away (Posies)
10 Fight It [If You Want] (Posies)
11 Precious Moments (Posies)

In early 2021, I changed the photo for the cover art after finding a better one. (The original was in black and white and low-res.) I don't know when or where this photo was taken, but judging by their appearance it's from their early years.

Morning - Morning (1970)

I didn't do anything to this album - I just really love it and want to help more people discover it. I would consider it a five-star album that's similar and equal to the best albums done by Crosby, Stills and Nash, the Byrds, America, and the like, in the mellow country rock vein.

In a better world, this album would have sold millions of copies. But instead the band is so obscure that Wikipedia doesn't even have a page about them, and it's hard to find anything about them on the Internet at all. However, I did come across this one informative essay:

In short, this was a group that had multiple singers and songwriters, and were briefly together for this album plus one in 1972, "Struck like Silver," that isn't nearly as good. I don't know what it is, but this album had a spark that one did not. My least favorite song here would be better than the best song on that second album. This is the one to have.

A lot of great music that was ignored when it came out has been rediscovered decades later. Nick Drake's music is a good example of that. But, unfortunately, Morning remains just as obscure as ever. Maybe it's not weird enough for the types of people who like to discover obscure gems? These guys were writing songs that should have been hits, with lush multiple part harmonies, good lyrics, and catchy melodies.

This album is 38 minutes long.

01 Angelena (Morning)
02 Early Morning (Morning)
03 Tell Me a Story (Morning)
04 Easy Keeper (Morning)
05 Roll 'Em Down (Morning)
06 Sleepy Eyes (Morning)
07 New Day (Morning)
08 As It Was (Morning)
09 Time (Morning)
10 It'll Take Time (Morning)
11 And I'm Gone (Morning)
12 Dirt Roads (Morning)

The album cover is the official cover, unchanged.

Derek & the Dominos - Live and Rare (1970)

If you want to listen to the best live Derek & the Dominos, check out their albums "Live at the Fillmore," or "In Concert." Both of them cover two nights at the Fillmore East on October 23 and 24, 1970. Better yet, listen to the versions posted here that contain full sets from both nights. Those were the only two nights the band was ever recorded live at soundboard quality.

But, assuming you're a big fan of the group and you already have that material, you should get this too. Unfortunately, the band was only in existence for a short period of time, and most of their live shows that got recorded by bootleggers don't have great sound quality. What I've done is try to select the "best of the rest" based both on song selection and sound. The band had a lot of great songs that they rarely performed in concert, such as "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Keep on Growing."

Furthermore, they occasionally did some unusual covers and/or played with special guests. One song here is sung by Delaney Bramlett of Delaney and Bonnie fame. A member of the group, Bobby Whitlock, sings the blues classic "Call It Stormy Monday."

However, probably the most interesting thing here are two songs with sometimes band member Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. He joined the band for a couple of concerts, but only one, in Tampa, Florida, was recorded with anything approaching decent sound quality. Unfortunately, it's not that decent, IMHO. Some people really like it, but most of it is too muddy for me to want to listen to repeatedly. However, the song "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" is done in a sparse arrangement that sounds surprisingly clear compared to the rest of the show, so I included that here. The sparks really fly as Clapton and Allman wail away on their guitars. 

I also included the song "Layla" from the same show. The sound isn't so good on that one, but it was one of only about three times the band ever played the song live, and it also has Allman on it.

So, overall, while the sound on this album isn't soundboard quality, it's still generally pretty good, and the song selection and/or the special guests make this something any fans of the band should hear.

The length is an hour and a half, which would have been an ideal length for a double album in that era. The songs are from seven different shows, and they're ordered chronologically.

I found a little known bootleg and included three songs from that: "Roll It Over," "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," and "Bad Boy." The reason it's little known is because it only contains four songs, and its location is unknown. It is known it comes from one of the August 1970 concerts in England, but that's it. I decided to include songs from this source because the sound quality is unusually good, by the modest bootleg standards for this band. I didn't include the fourth song, "Blues Power," because the vocals went into the red too much and didn't sound good. 

All three of the songs from this source ended badly. It seems the bootlegger was worried about running out of tape, so turned the tape off the moment the song ended. Thus, I used audience applause from a different bootleg by the band and added them to the ends of these songs. In the case of "Roll It Over," I found a song in the same key ending on the same chord, so I was able to let the final notes ring out while the applause started. 

I edited the songs "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Layla" using the X-Minus sound editing program to boost the vocals.

01 Crossroads (Delaney & Bonnie with Eric Clapton)
02 Don’t Know Why (Delaney & Bonnie with Eric Clapton)
03 Roll It Over [Edit] (Derek & the Dominos)
04 Have You Ever Loved a Woman [Edit] (Derek & the Dominos)
05 Bad Boy [Edit] (Derek & the Dominos)
06 Bell Bottom Blues [Edit] (Derek & the Dominos)
07 Keep on Growing (Derek & the Dominos)
08 Call It Stormy Monday (Derek & the Dominos)
09 All Night Long (Derek & the Dominos with Delaney Bramlett)
10 Have You Ever Loved a Woman (Derek & the Dominos [Including Duane Allman])
11 Layla [Edit] (Derek & the Dominos [Including Duane Allman])
12 Crossroads (Derek & the Dominos)

The cover photo comes from a concert in Detroit on December 3, 1970. I adjusted the brightness and contract to make the picture look better.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Jimi Hendrix - Highway Chile - Non-Album Tracks (1968)

Jimi Hendrix is not only widely acclaimed as the greatest guitar player of all time, but he was also a surprisingly talented singer and songwriter.  He was a remarkably prolific songwriter and performer as well. In just three years as his own act, he recorded more quality material than many artists record in a long lifetime.

However, he only put out four albums while he was alive (if you include the live Band of Gypsys album) and the various people in charge of putting out material posthumously have typically done a poor job of it. Happily, it's been hard to screw up live show releases, as one just has to release the show. But with the studio material, time after time, albums have been put out like "Voodoo Soup" or "People, Hell and Angels" with seemingly no logic to them other than collecting a bunch of songs from all parts of his career. (Not to mention problems with overdubs and edits and the like.)

I'm going to post a series of albums that attempts to at least do a better job organizing his best studio material (of songs not on the studio albums put out in his lifetime) by dividing the material into various time periods. Here's the first such album, "Highway Chile." This covers the best of the studio material from the start of his career heading his own band in late 1966 through the end of recording the Electric Ladyland album in 1968. Some of the songs were released as A- and B-sides, but about half of them didn't come out until long after he'd died. The album is similar to "Are You Experienced?" or "Axis: Bold as Love" in that it mostly consists of short, tightly structured songs.

Much of this material is inferior to Hendrix's first three albums, but those are some of the greatest albums of time (all three are included in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the top 500 albums of all time), so even the leftovers make for an album that's better than most music being released at the time. Besides, about four of the songs are on greatest songs of all time lists. This album could have come out in late 1968 or early 1969 as a sort of Hendrix equivalent to "Last Exit" by Traffic, which also gathered up stray 1967 and 1968 tracks, including some previously unreleased stuff. As it was, some of the songs on this did come out on the "Smash Hits" greatest hits in 1969, but most of that repeated songs from his other albums.

I didn't include any alternate takes of any of the songs on his first three albums, though I have another compilation of the best of those that I might post here later. I included a  Noel Redding song, since he was sort of the George Harrison or John Entwistle figure of the Experience, getting to do his own song every now and then. Plus, it has Hendrix playing guitar on it.

Note that when it comes to not overlapping with the "Are You Experienced?" album, I considered the British version of the album, not the American one. In general, I consider the British versions of 1960s albums the standards, because that almost always better reflected what the artist envisioned.

As far as the album title, I figure that by the time this album would have come out in late 1968 or early 1969, the hits like "Purple Haze" and "Hey Joe" would have been old news. So I went with a less well known song title.

This album is 45 minutes long.

01 Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
02 Stone Free (Jimi Hendrix)
03 51st Anniversary (Jimi Hendrix)
04 Highway Chile (Jimi Hendrix)
05 There Ain't Nothing Wrong [Little One] (Noel Redding, Jimi Hendrix & Dave Mason)
06 The Stars that Play with Laughing Sam's Dice (Jimi Hendrix)
07 Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
08 Mr. Bad Luck [Look Over Yonder] (Jimi Hendrix)
09 South Saturn Delta [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix)
10 Taking Care of No Business (Jimi Hendrix)
11 Three Little Bears (Jimi Hendrix)
12 Somewhere (Jimi Hendrix)
13 Tax Free [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix)
14 The Wind Cries Mary (Jimi Hendrix)

Note that I made the cover art, based on a photo from the "West Coast Seattle Boy" box set.

Pete Townshend - In the Attic, Volumes 1 and 2 - Non-Album Acoustic Tracks (2005-2007)

How is it that every Who / Pete Townshend fan doesn't know about Townshend's In the Attic performances?! It should be a must have bootleg for every such fan who collects bootlegs, and yet I don't know of any such bootleg that exists (until now, with this). Luckily, there are a bunch of YouTube videos, so I was able to collect them together. That means the sound quality isn't awesome, but it's more than acceptable since the songs were recorded in studio conditions.

So what exactly are the In the Attic performances? If want you to know the full story, check out Wikipedia:

As well as Townshend's website:

The short version is that Townshend's then girlfriend Rachel Fuller (they finally married in 2016) posted musical webcasts on the Internet about once a week from 2005 to 2007. Townshend performed one or more songs in nearly all of them. This is a dream come true for serious Who / Townshend fans, because instead of performing the same old songs done hundreds of times in concerts, he played some real obscure gems, many of which he's never played before or since (not counting the original recordings). Furthermore, all of his performances are solo acoustic! Only two of his performances were ever publicly released, on an album about In the Attic that's gone out of print.

I collected these songs a few years ago, and I've sequenced them in the order they were performed. Because there's so many, I've split them into two albums of nearly an hour each. Unfortunately, by the time I discovered these YouTube videos existed, some of them disappeared, judging by the lists of all the shows on Townshend's website. More rare gems like "Time Is Passing," "Imagine a Man," and "Keep on Turning" were played but aren't included because I couldn't find them. If you have them and can share them, please let me know.

Occasionally, Townshend performed with other guests, though I only included one of these - Chris Difford of Squeeze. (There are a few others I didn't include because they wouldn't fit the all acoustic format here, such as him playing a rocking version of "The Seeker" with Jack White and the Raconteurs, or where he had only a minor role, such as singing back up for Lou Reed on three of Reed's songs.) His future wife Fuller was usually in the room whenever he played. She joined him for a couple of duets, though if you listen closely she sometimes added a little bit here and there on other songs, for instance some backing vocals on "A Quick One while He's Away."

You can still watch many of these videos on YouTube (including the ones with White and Reed) - just search for "Pete Townshend" and "In the Attic." Usually, the videos are much longer, with lots of talking and/or other people playing their songs. I cut all that out so one just gets Townshend's songs.

Sometimes, Townshend and Fuller took their In the Attic thing on the road and played short sets in small clubs. Whenever I took a song from such a performance, I tried to reduce the audience noise down as much as possible to maintain a studio recording feeling. I generally succeeded in getting rid of all the clapping.

Most of the webcasts were done in 2006, the same year the Who put out their album "Endless Wire." So there are a handful of songs from that album (as well as others that have disappeared from YouTube). One song, "How Can I Help You," would come out on Townshend's 2015 greatest hits "Truancy," and another, "Uncertain Girl," is still unreleased. "Devil in Disguise" is an Elvis Presley song. "Here for More" is a Who song, but one of the very, very few written by Roger Daltrey. "Ambition" was meant for a 1972 album by the Who called "Rock Is Dead - Long Live Rock" that never came out. There is a Who version of the song, but it's never been released or played live.

VOLUME ! - 2005-2006:

01 Sunrise (Pete Townshend & Rachel Fuller)
02 Heart to Hang Onto [Live] (Pete Townshend)
03 Let's See Action [Nothing Is Everything] [Live] (Pete Townshend)
04 I'm One (Pete Townshend & Rachel Fuller)
05 How Can I Help You (Pete Townshend)
06 Blue, Red and Grey (Pete Townshend)
07 God Speaks of Marty Robbins (Pete Townshend)
08 Real Good Looking Boy (Pete Townshend)
09 Two Thousand Years (Pete Townshend)
10 Man in a Purple Dress (Pete Townshend)
11 Tattoo (Pete Townshend)
12 Uncertain Girl (Pete Townshend)
13 [You're The] Devil in Disguise (Pete Townshend)
14 Ambition (Pete Townshend)
15 Barefootin' (Pete Townshend & Chris Difford)
16 Let My Love Open the Door (Pete Townshend)

VOLUME 2 - 2006-2007:

01 Here for More (Pete Townshend)
02 Sheraton Gibson (Pete Townshend)
03 Cut My Hair (Pete Townshend)
04 Too Much of Anything (Pete Townshend)
05 Save It for Later (Pete Townshend)
06 Bargain (Pete Townshend)
07 A Quick One while He's Away (Pete Townshend)
08 Sensation (Pete Townshend)
09 Acid Queen (Pete Townshend)
10 In the Ether [Live] (Pete Townshend)
11 Endless Wire [Live] (Pete Townshend)
12 Greyhound Girl [Live] (Pete Townshend)
13 Drowned [Live] (Pete Townshend)
14 The Real Me [Live] (Pete Townshend)
15 I Can't Reach You (Pete Townshend)

Originally, I had Peter of the Albums I Wish Existed website make a very literal cover, since all the photos I could find of Townshend in an actual "In the Attic" session came from low resolution YouTube videos. I've kept that, lower in this post. But I have since tried to make a cover using the best of those low res pictures I could find. That's at the top. It features Townshend with his wife Rachel Fuller, which was common in those videos (I don't know who is in back). For the text, I took that from an official compilation of "In the Attic" performances (which unfortunately only feature one song from Townshend).

Since this is a double album, you might want to use both covers.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Grateful Dead – Days Between - Non-Album Tracks (1995)

With the exception of one minor tweak, this album reconstruction is not my work. Instead, I found on the web someone else who did a much better job than I could (since that person is a die-hard Deadhead and I’m not). I’m just passing this on in hopes of giving it more exposure. Apparently, the person who did it is Tony Sclafani, author of the book the "Grateful Dead FAQ."

In short, the Dead had come up with a bunch of songs for a new album in the 1990s, but they never really got it together in the studio before Jerry Garcia died in 1995. So what Sclafani did was take the best versions for that album that could have been. Most of them are live versions, but they’re taken from flawless soundboards and the crowd noise is edited out, so you’d never know they weren’t studio tracks. The work done on this really is impressive.

The actual surviving Grateful Dead members toyed with putting out an album of these songs after Garcia died, but they never got it together and instead put some tracks out on the "So Many Roads" box set. You can read about the “lost album” here:

I swear, the Dead should just release Sclafani’s version! The studio versions from the box set generally lack inspiration and energy, so Sclafani only used two of those.

Note that I did not include four of the songs on Sclafani's version: "Liberty," "Corinna," "Way to Go Home" and "Lazy River Road." That's because this album is already quite long as it is (57 minutes), and those songs will eventually fit onto a stray tracks album for the time period just prior to this.

01 Easy Answers (Grateful Dead)
02 So Many Roads (Grateful Dead)
03 Eternity (Grateful Dead)
04 Childhood's End (Grateful Dead)
05 Whiskey in a Jar (Grateful Dead)
06 Wave to the Wind (Grateful Dead)
07 Samba in the Rain (Grateful Dead)
08 If the Shoe Fits (Grateful Dead)
09 Salt Lake City (Grateful Dead)
10 Days Between (Grateful Dead)

I don't remember where I got the album cover from. I think I just found some fan-made art using Google. Sorry that I can credit whoever made it.

The Kinks – Where Was Spring? - Non-Album Tracks (1968-1969)

This is the last of my albums gathering up stray tracks from the Kinks 1960s golden era. This covers 1968 and 1969. I’m not sure what happened to the band after this time, but even though the next couple of Kinks albums were strong, the amount of non-album tracks made public after this drops off dramatically. Given that the next three albums have gotten the deluxe edition or even super deluxe edition treatment, either more songs simply don’t exist or the Kinks don’t think they’re good enough to ever release.

But 1969 was still a great year, especially since Dave Davies was planning a solo album (probably called "A Hole in the Sock of Dave Davies") that never got released. As a result, this is an unusually Dave-heavy album, with seven songs written and sung by him and seven by Ray. But that’s fine, because Dave was coming up with the best songs of his career.

The first three songs were B-sides. The fourth, "Plastic Man," was an A-side and a minor hit in Britain. The rest all weren't released until later. They came out on albums like "The Great Lost Kinks Album," "Hidden Treasure," "Unfinished Business," and as bonus tracks to certain deluxe versions of "Arthur" and "The Village Green Preservation Society."

There’s a curious story behind the album title I chose. Ray Davies was commissioned to write songs for a six-episode BBC series called "Where Was Spring?" Apparently, he did five, and his versions (presumably backed by the Kinks) were broadcast on each show with animations made to fit the lyrics. All of the episodes have been lost, apparently. Two of the Kinks songs survived and were later released: "Where Did the Spring Go?" and "When I Turn Off the Living Room Light." The audio of another, "Darling I Respect You," exists on YouTube, but the quality is so poor that it’s pretty much unlistenable, so I didn’t include that here. The other two are "We Are Two of a Kind" and "Let’s Take Off All Our Clothes."

Anyway, there was a plan to release an EP or album called "Where Was Spring?" with those songs from the BBC series on it, but that never happened. I’m using the title for my album here, since it was a title the Kinks wanted to use in 1969, even though it was a different sort of project.

In this series of Kinks albums, I’ve included virtually every song they recorded that has become public, except for a small number of instrumentals. But there’s an exception this time around. I didn’t include “Are You Ready Girl,” even though it has vocals. Partly that’s because it’s a Dave song and the album is already very Dave heavy, but mostly it’s because I just don’t think it’s a good song. To me, it’s the exception that proves the rule: the fact that there’s only one sung non-album track by the Kinks in this era that doesn’t stand up to repeated listenings in my opinion suggests the incredible quality of their songs during this time.

I plan to also post the Dave Davies solo album at a later time, using alternate versions for a bunch of the tracks to make that a less repetitive thing. "Are You Ready Girl" will be on that.

By the way, the late 60s instrumentals I didn’t include on these albums are: "Little Women," "Easy Come, There You Went," "Egg Stained Pyjamas," "Mick Avory’s Underpants," and "Spotty Grotty Anna." In my opinion they’re okay, but nothing special. The main appeal of the Kinks for me are the lyrics, the melodies, and the singing. Dave Davies is a very talented (and often underused) lead guitarist, but those instrumentals are more like backing tracks that never had the vocals added (and in fact that probably is the case for some of them), so there’s no impressive soloing.

Note that the song "(Could It Be) You're Getting Old" IS a Ray Davies solo piano demo from 1968. I made some edits to it, which are explained here:
This album is 39 minutes long.

01 King Kong (Kinks)
02 Mindless Child of Motherhood (Kinks)
03 This Man He Weeps Tonight (Kinks)
04 Plastic Man (Kinks)
05 Mr. Shoemaker’s Daughter (Kinks)
06 Pictures in the Sand (Kinks)
07 Till Death Us Do Part (Kinks)
08 Climb Your Wall (Kinks)
09 Groovy Movies (Kinks)
10 Where Did My Spring Go (Kinks)
11 I’m Crying (Kinks)
12 When I Turn Off the Living Room Light (Kinks)
13 Do You Wish to Be a Man (Kinks)
14 (Could It Be) You’re Getting Old [Edit] (Kinks)
I stumbled across some drawings that Klaus Voormann (who designed the Beatles' Revolver album cover, amongst other things) did to illustrate the Kinks songs done for "Where Was Spring?" So I figured that was as close as we'd ever get to something fitting for the cover art. I added a slightly colorful background to make it a bit more interesting.

The Kinks – Four More Respected Gentlemen - Non-Album Tracks (1967-1968)

"Four More Respected Gentlemen" is the name of a Kinks album that almost got released in 1968. This is NOT my attempt to make that album. You can read all about that one at Wikipedia, including the track listing:

Instead, this is the continuation of my series rounding up all the non-album tracks by the Kinks. There’s a lot of overlap between this one and that planned one, but that’s coincidental, because my purpose is different. I’m using the same album title since this is an album title the Kinks were actually thinking of using in 1968.

The Kinks were still in the middle of their most productive and creative time, as can be seen by the fact that a great album can be put together from non-album tracks all hailing from about one year.

In a couple of the earlier albums in this series, I ordered the tracks mostly chronologically. But as the variety of Kinks songs has grown, and there are more Dave Davies songs, I’ve switched to organizing them to make a good flow. For instance, "She’s Got Everything" is a lively opening number and "Days" is a natural closer.

By the way, "She’s Got Everything" is actually a 1966 song that wasn’t released until 1968, and then only as a B-side. I think it would have been a hit if it came out shortly after being recorded. That's yet another instance on a long, long list of the Kinks sabotaging themselves. I considered putting that song on an earlier album, but I think it makes a nice throwback to their earlier sound in this context.

Also, as if the Kinks weren’t prolific enough already, it turns out Ray Davies wrote nine songs for a BBC show in early 1968 called "At the Eleventh Hour." They were sung on the show by a woman, but presumably Davies made demos of each of them so BBC musicians could learn the songs.

Apparently, all but two episodes were lost, and those two aren’t publicly available. The song titles are intriguing: "You Can’t Give More Than What You Have," "If Christmas Day Could Last Forever," "We're Backing Britain," "Poor Old Intellectual Sadie," "Could It Be You're Getting Old," "Just a Poor Country Girl," "The Man Who Conned Dinner from the Ritz," "Did You See His Name," and "That Is What the World Is All About."

The Kinks did do a version of "Did You See His Name," which is included here. The rest haven’t been made public. Unfortunately, a new super deluxe version of "The Village Green Preservation Society" came out in 2018 and they weren't included, so it seems they've probably been lost forever. However, a demo version of "Could It Be You're Getting Old," did come out as a bonus track for the super deluxe version of "Arthur," and I've included that on the next album in this series.
The album is 39 minutes long. That was typical for the era. For instance, the "Village Green Preservation Society" album from the same year is 40 seconds longer.

01 She’s Got Everything (Kinks)
02 Susannah’s Still Alive (Kinks)
03 Mr. Songbird (Kinks)
04 Polly (Kinks)
05 Berkeley Mews (Kinks)
06 Hold My Hand (Kinks)
07 Misty Water (Kinks)
08 Autumn Almanac (Kinks)
09 There’s No Life without Love (Kinks)
10 Lincoln County (Kinks)
11 Did You See His Name (Kinks)
12 Wonderboy (Kinks)
13 Creeping Jean (Kinks)
14 Days (Kinks)

Note that I'm not sure where I got the cover art from, but I believe it was made in recent years by a fan and not something the Kinks actually considered using. If you made it, please let me know so I can credit you. I made some changes, such as redoing the lettering and the photo in the middle, because the only version I could find was at a low resolution.

The Kinks – Occupations - Non-Album Tracks (1965-1967)

Next for the Kinks is "Occupations." This covers all the non-album songs in 1966 and 1967 (though two of the songs were recorded in 1965 and not released until 1966). The Kinks were great already, but they were really hitting their stride here, where every song was golden, even the rare stuff.

 The title is based on a planned 1996 EP, "Occupations," that was never released. The songs were supposed to be about people with various jobs. "Mr. Reporter" was one such song, and "Session Man" could have been another good fit. In any case, I’m almost certain the Kinks wouldn’t have given this name to a 1967 album, but at least it’s a title they were going to put on something from the time period involved.
Eight of the songs here were A- or B-sides released at the time. Those include the hit songs "Dedicated Follower of Fashion," "Dead End Street," and "Mr. Pleasant." The remaining six songs come from the archival releases "The Great Lost Kinks Album" or "Picture Book."

This album is 39 minutes long.

01 Dedicated Follower of Fashion (Kinks)
02 Sittin' on a Sofa (Kinks)
03 And I Will Love You (Kinks)
04 All Night Stand (Kinks)
05 I'm Not like Everybody Else (Kinks)
06 Mr. Reporter [Ray Vocals Version] (Kinks)
07 Dead End Street (Kinks)
08 Big Black Smoke (Kinks)
09 Mr. Pleasant (Kinks)
10 Good Luck Charm (Kinks)
11 Lavender Hill (Kinks)
12 Rosemary Rose (Kinks)
13 Act Nice and Gentle (Kinks)
14 This Is Where I Belong (Kinks)

I included the version of "Mr. Reporter" sung by Ray Davies, because that was done in 1966. In 1969, as he was working on a solo album, Dave Davies replaced Ray’s vocals with his own to the same backing track.

The Kinks – Kwyet Kinks - Non-Album Tracks (1965)

Next up for dealing with the Kinks’ stray tracks is "Kwyet Kinks," covering 1965. All the songs put together make for a very good and cohesive album that in my opinion is better than the official Kinda Kinks album that year – as well as 10 minutes longer. It’s surprising how many good songs were never released at the time, and often only exist in demo form.

Once again, I generally put the songs  in the order they came out, or were recorded (since so many weren’t released). Virtually all of them were recorded in April and May of 1965. I did move "Hide and Seek," which was done a few months later, so it wouldn’t disturb the mellow run of the last bunch of songs.

Like the last Kinks album I made, I picked the title from an EP title during that year.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the song "She’s My Girl," a song written and sung by Dave Davies during the "Kink Kontroversy" sessions. It’s never been officially released, and it’s so obscure that I couldn’t even find it on YouTube. Based on the version appearing on various bootlegs, there’s good reason for that, due to the sound quality. The overall sound actually isn’t that bad, but it was taken from an acetate, which is a test run made out of poor material, so it would degrade to the point of being ruined after just a small number of listens. And apparently this copy was listened to too many times!  The first ten seconds especially sounded terrible, with so much crackling and hissing that it makes me cringe. The rest was fairly okay, though one hears some loud pops and crackles at times.  So what I did was simply lopped off the first ten seconds of the song.

I’ve included that edited version as a bonus track here for you to use or discard. I think it’s a pretty decent song for the time, if one can get over the remaining sound quality issues. Probably, it wasn’t developed or released because it was written by Dave, and Ray was dominating the songwriting.

Trust me, you’re not missing anything in those first ten seconds, unless you like lots of loud crackling. Plus, luckily, the song takes a while to get going, so I think it works quite well with those seconds removed. If I didn’t tell you, you’d probably never notice.

There’s another early Kinks era song called “Listen to Me” that I didn’t include. It also has sound issues, but they’re much worse. It sounds like it was recorded a few rooms away. Plus, it’s either a terrible song that’s a total rip off of “You Really Got Me” or it’s an early and far inferior version of that song.

On a different note, whomever decided which songs to record and release at this time should have been fired! For instance, "I Go to Sleep" later became a classic Pretenders tune, and the Kinks only ever made a demo of it. And Dave Berry’s version of "This Strange Effect" actually was a number one hit in some countries, but the Kinks only ever did it once for the BBC, and never in the studio. Sigh!
In 2021, a musical friend named MZ sent me a previously unbootlegged Kinks demo from December 1965 called "Never Say Yes." Incredibly, it was intended for Elvis Presley to sing in a movie of the same name. But that didn't work out, probably because the name of the movie was changed to "Spinout." The version I had had a radio DJ talking over the intro and ending. Luckily, he only talked over instrumental sections that were repeated elsewhere in the song, so I was able to edit his voice out.

This album is 38 minutes long.
01 Wait Till the Summer Comes Along (Kinks)
02 Such a Shame (Kinks)
03 A Well Respected Man (Kinks)
04 Don't You Fret (Kinks)
05 Set Me Free (Kinks)
06 I Need You (Kinks)
07 Hide and Seek (Kinks)
08 Time Will Tell (Kinks)
09 See My Friends (Kinks)
10 Never Met a Girl like You Before (Kinks)
11 I Go to Sleep (Kinks)
12 Tell Me Now So I’ll Know (Kinks)
13 A Little Bit of Sunlight (Kinks)
14 This I Know (Kinks)
15 There's a New World Just Opening for Me (Kinks)
16 This Strange Effect (Kinks)
17 Never Say Yes [Edit] (Kinks)
She’s My Girl (Kinks)
The cover art shown here is from the EP of the same name with no changes.