Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Beach Boys - The Fading Rock Group Revival - Non-Album Tracks (1967-1969)

Today, the "Albums Back from the Dead" blog posted a couple of "lost" Beach Boys albums. That reminded me to post my own versions of such.

The typical "lost" Beach Boys albums focus on 1969 or 1970 or thereabouts, because the band went through various versions of albums under various proposed names that got rejected by their record company. "Landlocked" is a particularly popular title for this, even though that was pretty much just the name for the "Surf's Up" album before the song "Surf's Up" was added to it.

I'm taking a somewhat different approach, which is usually how I approach major artists with lots of stray tracks. I'm not so interested in hearing historically accurate "what if" albums as I am gathering up all the good stray tracks and making coherent albums out of them, even if the track listing wasn't exactly something the band envisioned.

And so it is here. Although I'm using one of the lost album titles, I'm just gathering up all the good non-album songs from 1967 to 1969 and putting them on one album, ordered chronologically by year. I don't start earlier because "Pet Sounds" and "Smile" are huge things that are big projects in and of themselves, and I'm not such a big fan of their music prior to 1966. (While I think the early Beach  Boys have many great songs, there are many songs from then that I don't like, and I haven't seen anything close to an album's worth of rare tracks.)

Anyway, with that premise in mind, I found 43 minutes worth of good songs from 1967 to 1969. 1970 is probably the peak of good stray tracks for the band, because I plan to follow this with an album just covering that year.

By the way, I should mention that one song, "Ol' Man River," uses a special edit, which was made by Scott G. of the blog "Alternative Albums and More." There are various recorded snippets of the Beach Boys doing that song, but none of them felt like a proper song. For instance, the version on the "Made in California" box set is only one minute and twenty seconds long. He stitched the snippets together to make something coherent that lasts a full four minutes.

01 The Letter (Beach Boys)
02 Can't Wait Too Long (Beach Boys)
03 You're Welcome (Beach Boys)
04 With a Little Help from My Friends (Beach Boys)
05 Mona Kana [Instrumental] (Beach Boys)
06 A Time to Live in Dreams (Beach Boys)
07 Love Affair [Demo] (Beach Boys)
08 The Gong (Beach Boys)
09 Well You Know I Knew (Beach Boys)
10 My Little Red Book (Beach Boys)
11 Soulful Old Man Sunshine (Beach Boys)
12 I'm Going Your Way [California Slide] (Beach Boys)
13 San Miguel (Beach Boys)
14 Where Is She (Beach Boys)
15 Break Away (Beach Boys)
16 Celebrate the News (Beach Boys)
17 Ol' Man River [Long Version] (Beach Boys)

The cover was made by Picassoson as a mock cover for an imagined "Carry Me Home" single. I changed the text of the title.

The Bangles - What I Meant to Say - Non-Album Tracks (1984-1989)

I've posted an album that covers the Bangles' stray tracks from 1981 to 1983. This one carries on to 1989, the year the Bangles broke up (only to reunite about ten years later).

This album is a grab bag of all sorts of things. It includes hit songs ("A Hazy Shade of Winter") as well as unreleased live tracks, B-sides, demos, soundtrack songs, and so on. Note that the first five songs plus "I'm Not Talking," "A Hazy Shade of Winter," and "Creeque Alley" are covers. "Happy Man Today" is a band original, but apparently was only ever played in concert.

There are two songs by "Rainy Day," which was a "supergroup" of sorts of members from various Paisley Underground bands coming together for a one-off album of covers of beloved 1960s songs. Bangle Susanna Hoffs sings lead on just two of the songs on that album, so those are the two I've included here.

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 7 and 7 Is (Bangles)
02 Where Were You When I Needed You (Bangles)
03 I'll Keep It with Mine (Susanna Hoffs & Rainy Day)
04 I'll Be Your Mirror (Susanna Hoffs & Rainy Day)
05 Going Home (Bangles)
06 I Got Nothing (Bangles)
07 Walk like an Egyptian [Acapella Mix] (Bangles)
08 I'm Not Talking (Bangles)
09 Happy Man Today (Bangles)
10 A Hazy Shade of Winter (Bangles)
11 Waiting for You [Demo] (Bangles)
12 Everything I Wanted (Bangles)
13 What I Meant to Say (Bangles)
14 Eternal Flame [Demo] (Bangles)
15 Creeque Alley (Bangles)

I made the cover art based on a publicity photo from 1987.

The Who - Pure and Easy - Non-Album Tracks (1971)

For the Who, 1971 was the year Pete Townshend's vision of a concept album called "Lifehouse" collapsed, but from the pieces came the classic album "Who's Next." There are a lot of other people with blogs such as this one who have made their own versions of "Lifehouse." For instance, I recommend the version by soniclovenoize, which you can find here:

Instead of trying to do that sort of thing yet again, I decided on another approach. Sometimes, I like to hear "Lifehouse." But other times, I just like to hear "Who's Next," since it's what I grew up with. So I've come up with a companion album to "Who's Next." Just like that album, it treats all the 1971 songs and just songs and not as pieces in a larger concept.

Unfortunately, there are a few "Lifehouse" songs that the Who never got around to recording, or the recordings have been lost to time. I consider these as Who songs in spirit, so I've avoided putting them on any of my stray tracks Townshend albums. I refer to "Teenage Wasteland," "Greyhound Girl," and "Mary." Since Townshend typically sang on a couple of songs per Who album, just imagine these are the ones he sings on this album.

Clearly, in 1971, the Who were at their peak, both in terms of songwriting and performance. It's understandable that the band gave up on "Lifehouse" as being too ambitious and put out "Who's Next" instead. But it's a shame that they only put out a couple of the remaining songs at the time as A-sides or B-sides, because even the leftovers make a five star album, in my opinion.

01 Pure and Easy (Who)
02 Teenage Wasteland (Pete Townshend)
03 Too Much of Anything (Who)
04 Bony Moronie (Who)
05 Greyhound Girl (Pete Townshend)
06 Baby Don't You Do It [Don't Do It] (Who with Leslie West)
07 I Don't Even Know Myself (Who)
08 Mary (Pete Townshend)
09 Time Is Passing (Who)
10 Let's See Action [Nothing Is Everything] (Who)

Thanks to The_Lifehouse for the cover art.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Pete Townshend - Praying the Game - Non-Album Tracks (1977-1979)

It's been a while since I've posted any of Pete Townshend's solo material, but I've got a lot more to post. This album finishes of his demos from the 1970s. All the songs are from 1977 or 1978, but most of them were recorded late in 1978, after the release of the Who's "Who Are You," so I figure if this was a released album, it would have come out in 1979.

The songs here represent an unusual bunch, fairly different from what he did before and after. I found some quotes from the book "Before I Get Old - The Story of The Who" by Dave Marsh to help explain things. Glyn Johns, producer of the 1978 album "Who Are You," speaks of the demos that Townshend brought to the Who around 1977:

"The demos were not really reproducible by the band. In other words, he's written grooves and certain sound ideas which were not really the Who - not with Keith Moon in 'em, anyway. Pete's preparation was good, the amount of material was as much. But he'd gone into a different musical thing - which I, for one, was tremendously impressed with. Unfortunately, a lot of it didn't really suit the Who as the Who saw themselves. ... I would have loved to see the Who go in the direction those demos went. They certainly, all of them with the exception of Moonie, had the ability, and I liked the idea of a slight change. But it wasn't to be."

Marsh explains that, "in the wake of the punk upheaval [in 1977], Townshend felt liberated from having to fly the flag of rock and roll. He wanted to turn once again to extended and more 'mature' forms of music."

The songs generally had an acoustic feel. But there also was a large classical influence, with strings featured prominently on many songs. Clearly, this was way out of step with the kind of music the Who usually put out, as well as what was popular in the late 1970s. So the Who took the most "Who-like" songs from the bunch and made the "Who Are You" album out of it. The rest was fully developed on these demos here, but Townshend's solo career hadn't really started yet (his first "real" solo album would come in 1980 with "Empty Glass), so he never released any of these at the time.

Eventually, all but one of these songs would come out in his "Scoop" archival releases, but piecemeal. By putting the songs together chronologically, one can see the musical consistency of what he was trying to do in the late 1970s.

By the way, the song "No Road Romance" came out as a bonus track on the Who album "Who Are You." But that clearly is a recording of a Townshend demo, not a full Who performance. So I'm treating it as such and not including it on a Who collection. (Another "Who Are You" bonus track is "Empty Glass," which is also another Townshend demo. But I'm not including that since the song would end up on his "Empty Glass" solo album.)

01 Never Ask Me (Pete Townshend)
02 Brooklyn Kids (Pete Townshend)
03 Football Fugue (Pete Townshend)
04 I Like It the Way It Is (Pete Townshend)
05 The Ferryman (Pete Townshend)
06 Love Is Wine (Pete Townshend)
07 No Road Romance (Pete Townshend)
08 Broken Nails [From Six Thousand Miles] (Pete Townshend)
09 Praying the Game (Pete Townshend)

Thanks to The Lighthouse for the album cover art.

Belle & Sebastian - A Century of Fakers - Non-Album Tracks (1997)

Yesterday, I posted an album of Belle and Sebastian songs from 1994 and 1995. The band has no stray tracks I could find from 1996 (they released two albums that year), but here's an album of stray tracks from 1997.

The core of this album are the two officially released E.P.s, "Lazy Line Painter Jane" and "3.. 6.. 9 Seconds of Light." I've simply included those two E.P.s, except that I changed the order of one of the songs. That's because the songs "A Century of Elvis" and "A Century of Fakers" use the exact same backing track, but one has spoken word over the music while the other has a sung melody to totally different words. Putting the two E.P.s together in the order they were released almost puts the two songs back to back, so I moved the latter one towards the end of the album.

In addition to the two E.P.'s, I found one very rare rarity to add to the end. It's an instrumental called "Tigermilk." That name is also the title of the band's first 1996 album, but this song not only didn't appear on that, it's never been released officially anywhere.

Finally, I've added one bonus track to the very end. This is a version of "Seeing Other People," a song from the 1996 "If You're Feeling Sinister" album, but done in a different slow version for the BBC, also in 1996.  For some reason, it wasn't included on the official "BBC Sessions" album, even though one of the songs on that comes from the exact same BBC session.

01 Lazy Line Painter Jane (Belle & Sebastian with Monica Queen)
02 You Made Me Forget My Dreams (Belle & Sebastian)
03 A Century of Elvis (Belle & Sebastian)
04 Photo Jenny (Belle & Sebastian)
05 Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie (Belle & Sebastian)
06 Beautiful (Belle & Sebastian)
07 Put the Book Back on the Shelf (Belle & Sebastian)
08 Songs for Children (Belle & Sebastian)
09 A Century of Fakers (Belle & Sebastian)
10 Tigermilk [Instrumental] (Belle & Sebastian)

Seeing Other People [Slow Version] (Belle & Sebastian)

The cover is the cover of the "Lazy Line Painter Jane" EP, but with the title changed.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Richard & Linda Thompson - Break My Mind - Non-Album Tracks (1972-1973)

I've posted one Richard and Linda Thompson stray tracks album already, covering their earliest years. This is the second, covering the rest of 1972 and all of 1973.

The last album only had one song actually credited to Richard and Linda Thompson, although they sang together on some of the other tracks. This is really where their collaboration begins. In 1972, Richard Thompson released his first solo album, "Henry the Human Fly," and the two of them got married.

By the end of the year, they started touring as a duo. The first six songs here come from the one and only 1972 acoustic concert they did that got bootlegged. The sound quality is a bit below my usual standards, but I think it's still acceptable.

Then there are four officially released tracks dating from 1973, one from a box set, one from a compilation album and two from archival BBC performances. They recorded all of their classic "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" album in 1973, but for some reason their record company sat on it for a full year before releasing it.

I haven't included any songs here from that album, even though they were starting to play some of them in concert. Instead, I've concentrated either on songs that never got any official release from them, or songs from Richard's "Henry the Human Fly" album. The latter is because that was done solo (although Linda did help out on some songs) and the duo versions are often quite different. Also, that album was done with a full band, and these versions are all acoustic. Many of the other songs here that weren't on that solo album are cover versions, such as "She May Call You Up Tonight" (originally by the Left Banke) and "The Wild Side of Life."

The last six songs here come from what apparently is the only bootlegged 1973 concert from them. The sound quality is better, but still not great.

As I often do, I've removed the audience noise whenever I could.

01 She May Call You Up Tonight (Richard & Linda Thompson)
02 Brand New Way to Hurt a Woman (Richard & Linda Thompson)
03 Painted Ladies (Richard & Linda Thompson)
04 Twisted (Richard & Linda Thompson)
05 Break My Mind (Richard & Linda Thompson)
06 The Poor Ditching Boy (Richard & Linda Thompson)
07 Mother and Son (Richard & Linda Thompson)
08 Dragging the River (Richard & Linda Thompson)
09 The Neasden Hornpipe [Instrumental] (Richard & Linda Thompson)
10 The World Is a Wonderful Place (Richard & Linda Thompson)
11 Napoleon's Dream (Richard & Linda Thompson)
12 Poppy-Leaf Hornpipe [Instrumental] (Richard & Linda Thompson)
13 Shaky Nancy (Richard & Linda Thompson)
14 Angel of Death (Richard & Linda Thompson)
15 You Gotta Hi De Ho (Richard & Linda Thompson)
16 The Wild Side of Life (Richard & Linda Thompson)

The cover art photo is from their appearance at The Old Grey Whistle Test in London on March 7, 1975.

Dusty Springfield - Goin' Back - Non-Album Tracks (1966-1967)

Dusty Springfield's studio recordings from the 1960s and 1970s are a mess. Generally, her British and American albums were very different, and there were all sorts of stray tracks, such as A- and B-sides of singles, and outtakes.

This particular album is made up almost entirely of A- and B-sides, with a couple of outtakes as the end. Strangely, there are eight A-sides compared to only four B-sides. (The other B-sides were also included on albums.) 

Springfield released an album in 1967, "Where Am I Going," and there's no overlap between that one and this one. As one can see here, the record company could have easily made another album just from all the A's and B's. And it's probably a stronger album, due to having so many A-side hits on it.

This album is 41 minutes long.

01 Little by Little (Dusty Springfield)
02 You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (Dusty Springfield)
03 Every Ounce of Strength (Dusty Springfield)
04 Goin' Back (Dusty Springfield)
05 I'm Gonna Leave You (Dusty Springfield)
06 All I See Is You (Dusty Springfield)
07 I'll Try Anything (Dusty Springfield)
08 The Corrupt Ones (Dusty Springfield)
09 Give Me Time (Dusty Springfield)
10 The Look of Love (Dusty Springfield)
11 What's It Gonna Be (Dusty Springfield)
12 Small Town Girl (Dusty Springfield)
13 I've Got a Good Thing (Dusty Springfield)
14 Time After Time (Dusty Springfield)
15 Don't Forget about Me [Unreleased 1967 Version] (Dusty Springfield)

I originally used the cover of the "Goin' Back" single for the album cover. I merely cleaned it up and removed some unnecessary text at the bottom. But I wasn't happy with it, and over a year later, I came up with a different cover that still used parts of the same green design as the single cover. I don't know where or when the photo was taken. 

I'm including the old cover here at the bottom, in case anyone prefers that one.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Beck - Leave Me on the Moon - Non-Album Tracks (1995)

I've posted a lot of Beck material from the 1990s already, and I'd like to move on to the 2000s. But there's still more stray tracks of his from the 1990s I should get to first, to be systematic about it.

Here's yet another album that could have been. The songs all have two things in common: 1) they are done acoustically, and 2) they're from 1995. That's the year between "Mellow Gold" and "Odelay" when he didn't release anything. But this album is nothing like either of those. Five of the 14 songs are covers of traditional tunes ("Devil Got My Woman," "Grinnin' in Your Face," "John the Revelator," "Waiting for a Train," and "John Hardy.") Of the originals, most are obscure. Most of the songs here are taken from radio shows, and he used those to try out songs that he sometimes never played in concerts at all.

Some songs did get repeated elsewhere there. For instance, "Canceled Check" appeared on his 1998 album "Mutations." But this version is very different, since it's just him and an acoustic guitar. "It's All in Your Mind" both appeared on the deluxe version of the 1994 album "One Foot in the Grave" and the 2002 album "Sea Change." This version is from the 1995 Bridge School benefit concert, and was released on an official compilation of performances from various Bridge School shows. A different version of "Leave Me on the Moon" was on the "One Foot in the Grave" deluxe edition as well. Also, a studio version of the cover "Devil Got My Woman" was a B-side in 1997. "Waiting for a Train" was done on the 1994 album "Stereopathic Soul Manure," but that was more on a snippet, one minute long, whereas this is the full song.

So this is a bit of a grab bag of different things. But at its heart you have an album of mostly original acoustic material that could have been the heart of a 1995 album. However, he probably avoided doing that because everyone expected big things to follow "Mellow Gold," and a low-key acoustic effort would have been seen as a let down. In retrospect though, it's yet more quality Beck music.

Oh, by the way, I've made a lot of edits to these songs. Since most of them come from radio shows, he often would introduce each one with a little bit of talk, often just a single sentence to say what the song title was. I cut all that out, so the focus could be on the music. And for the song "Grinnin' in Your Face," it ended very abruptly, due to the radio show time slot coming to an end. Rather than have a fast fade out pretty much the same second Beck stops singing, I recycled a snippet of instrumental music from earlier in the song that extends the song about 20 seconds. The song is very short, only a minute long, so making it a bit longer helped some anyway, I think.

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

01 Devil Got My Woman (Beck)
02 Woe on Me [Feel the Strain of Sorrow Never Ceasing] (Beck)
03 Canceled Check (Beck)
04 Grinnin' in Your Face [Edit] [Piano Version] (Beck)
05 Curses (Beck)
06 John the Revelator (Beck)
07 Spirits (Beck)
08 Twig (Beck & Chris Ballew)
09 Leave Me on the Moon (Beck)
10 Waiting for a Train (Beck)
11 Sticks and Stones (Beck)
12 Sleeping Bag (Beck)
13 John Hardy (Beck)
14 It's All in Your Mind (Beck)

For the album cover, I used a cover of a bootleg and changed the text.

Belle & Sebastian - Dog on Wheels - Non-Album Tracks (1994-1995)

I'm a big Belle and Sebastian fan, so expect to see a lot of their stray material posted here.

As I usually do, I want to start by going back to the beginning of the band's career. This album shares the same title as the band's first E.P., released in 1995. But that's only half of it.

Stuart Murdoch, the leader of Belle and Sebastian, had chronic fatigue syndrome in his late teens and early twenties, before he started the band. That's when he began songwriting, and apparently he wrote many, many songs that have never been released. However, four of them have leaked out on bootlegs, so those four start this album out.

The first song, "Rhoda," is the only one here credited just to Stuart Murdoch, because it dates from before any version of Belle and Sebastian was formed. Note that I made an edit. In the middle of the song, there was an instrumental section about ten seconds long that was full of annoying clicks, no doubt from a scratchy vinyl album. Strangely, there are few to no significant clicks before or after, just that one section in the middle. I tried using Audacity's click remover function, but it didn't do anything. However, there was nothing important going on in that short section, and I realized I could edit out those ten seconds, so I did. Trust me, you're not missing anything.

This album is fairly short, only 31 minutes. But I want to stick to chronological order with my various stray tracks albums, and the next bunch of songs are from 1997. (The band is well covered in 1996, because it released two albums that year.)

Oh, I should mention that the four songs from the "Dog on Wheels" album were demos that were recorded in 1995, but only released in 1997, after the success of the band's two 1996 albums. I'm much more interested in when music was made than when it happened to be released, so I'm considering them 1995 songs here.

One more thing. The song "The State I Am In" is also on the 1996 album "Tigermilk." But this is the demo version, and I figure it's different enough from the album version to merit inclusion.

01 Rhoda [Edit] (Stuart Murdoch)
02 Hurley's Having Dreams (Belle & Sebastian)
03 London Has Let Me Down (Belle & Sebastian)
04 Pocketbook Angel (Belle & Sebastian)
05 Dog on Wheels (Belle & Sebastian)
06 The State I Am In (Belle & Sebastian)
07 String Bean Jean (Belle & Sebastian)
08 Belle and Sebastian (Belle & Sebastian)

The cover uses the picture of the "Dog on Wheels" EP, except the color has been changed and the text changed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Bangles - I Want You - Non-Album Tracks (1981-1983)

I've posted some stuff from Susanna Hoffs here, and I plan on posting more. But I've got some from the band she belonged to, the Bangles.

I'm a bit reluctant to post this particular album, because it has a lot of overlap with the official album "Ladies and Gentlemen... The Bangles," which is a 2014 compilation of material from before the band's first album in 1984. But I think there's enough difference here to justify posting it. Plus, it's the first of several stray tracks compilations from them, and it makes a lot of sense to have all of those posted here.

The core of this album is the A- and B-sides of the Bangles' first single in 1981, and their four song EP in 1982. I got turned on to those songs since the 1980s, and I like it better than most of the rest of their music. They were more rocking, and almost punky (somewhat like early music by the Go-Go's). The album is filled out with some demos, live songs, and a couple of other stray tracks, all in the same vein.

It makes for a short album, but in this case, I say less is more. I've added a couple of live songs not on the official "Ladies and Gentlemen" album. But I also left a few off, either because they're demos that are nearly identical to other versions or they're just not very good (such as a thirty second promo that isn't really a song). I've also left off one song because it's from 1984, and this covers only until 1983, so that one will be on the next Bangles album I post here.

If you haven't heard the early Bangles, you really should give 'em a listen. You might be surprised, because this is quite different from "Eternal Flame." I named this "I Want You" after one of the songs on the EP, because it's one of my favorite hidden gems by any band. In a better world, that song would have been a big hit.

By the way, the last two songs are the live ones. They come from an audience tape that's below my usual standards. But it's the only recording of them doing these songs. One of them ("Renaissance Man")  apparently is an original, and the other one ("Find It") might as well be, because it's a cover of a song from the obscure "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" soundtrack. If the sound isn't good enough for you, just remove those two and you'll still have much of the Bangles' best music here. 

The bonus track, "Brian's Coat," appears to be an original, but has really rough sound quality.

This album is 34 minutes long, not including the bonus track.

01 Getting Out of Hand (Bangles)
02 Call on Me (Bangles)
03 Outside Chance [Demo] (Bangles)
04 Steppin' Out [Demo] (Bangles)
05 Bitchen Summer - Speedway (Bangles)
06 The Real World (Bangles)
07 I'm in Line (Bangles)
08 I Want You (Bangles)
09 Mary Street (Bangles)
10 How Is the Air Up There (Bangles)
11 The Rock and Roll Alternative Program Theme Song (Bangles)
12 I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better (Three O'Clock & the Bangles)
13 Renaissance Man (Bangles)
14 Find It (Bangles)

Brian's Coat (Bangles)

The cover art is the exact art of the 1982 Bangles EP.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Jimi Hendrix - Machine Gun - Non-Album Tracks (1969)

The last Jimi Hendrix album I posted covered the first part of his time between the demise of the Jimi Hendrix Experience in early 1969 and the start of the Band of Gypsys in late 1969. There was so much quality material from this time that I couldn't fit it all on one reasonably long album. So this is the second album from that time.

I've ordered all the songs on both albums by exact recording date, so this covers the second half of that time period, from May to November 1969. I might have ordered the songs differently if some great song order leapt out at me, but none did so I figure going strictly chronologically works as well as any other approach.

Note that this version of "Message from Nine to the Universe" is edited. The original version was 18 minutes long, which I thought was way too long. Someone else already made a six minute edit, so I used that.

Note also that many Hendrix fans are under the impression that there is no studio version of "Machine Gun," but there actually is. He recorded it in the studio twice on the same day. Different parts of each take were good, so bootleggers have created a version using the best bits. Again, I simply used that. It's not as great as the stellar officially released live version, but it's still interesting to hear it done this way.

It's a similar situation with "Lord I Sing the Blues for You and Me." The original recording of that was over 10 minutes long. I edited it way down. I'm not against long songs if the length is justified. For instance, the version of "Machine Gun" I chose here is 11 minutes long, which is a few minutes longer than one of the two studio takes. But Hendrix was sometimes just experimenting in the studio with the tape rolling, and not every last minute of every recording he did is great.

The rest of the songs are thankfully unedited. This makes a 43 minute long album. I could have included some more music and still kept it within the normal album length limits of the time. However, in this case, I felt less was more. Frankly, it was not one of his better eras. I avoided a lot of his short-lived Electric Church band stuff, because most of that didn't turn out as well as what came before or after. But still, there's lots of good music here. 

UPDATE: On January 28, 2023, I updated the mp3 download file with one song I'd missed, "Monday Morning Blues."

01 Villanova Junction [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix)
02 Bleeding Heart [Blues Version] (Jimi Hendrix)
03 Message from Nine to the Universe [Edit] (Jimi Hendrix)
04 Easy Blues [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix)
05 Machine Gun [Edit] (Jimi Hendrix)
06 Lord I Sing the Blues for You and Me [Edit] (Jimi Hendrix)
07 Monday Morning Blues (Jimi Hendrix with Mike Ephron)
08 Valleys of Neptune (Jimi Hendrix)
09 Lonely Avenue (Jimi Hendrix)

Thanks again to Peter at the Albums I Wish Existed blog for the cover art.

Crosby, Stills & Nash - After the Storm - Alternate Version (1994)

I've posted a bunch of Crosby, Stills & Nash or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young albums so far, working my way chronologically through their long career. Here's another one, and I've got a lot more to go.

My last CSN album posted here was a revamp of their 1990 "Live It Up" album. Unfortunately, the official version of that album was poor, and the cover was notoriously bad. This album is a revamp of their 1994 album "After the Storm." Happily, the official  version album is much better, so much so that I've kept the name. The production was also better, though still somewhat problematic at times. However, there are a few duds that really bring the album down as a whole. So what I've done is replace those duds with better songs they did from the same time period.

A good example of a dud is the song "Bad Boyz." Just from the title, and especially the spelling of "Boyz," I was pretty sure I was going to dislike the song even before I heard it, and I was right. I also removed "Only Waiting for You," "Find a Dream," and "Street to Lean On." Additionally, I didn't like "It Won't Go Away" at all, but in concert it was performed in a solo acoustic style that turned a bad song into a good one, in my opinion. So I used an unreleased live version for that one.

After removing four songs, I added four. Some of the solo albums done around this time were pretty good, so I didn't want to take songs from them if I could help it. Thus, for three of the added songs, I've used unreleased versions, generally taken from concerts. But there was one song, "Yvette in English," that I thought is really good and I couldn't find any alternate version, so I've used the version from David Crosby's "Thousand Roads" album. If you have that album and don't want the duplication, just remove that song and you'll still have a solid album here.

"After the Storm" was the lowest selling album in CSN's long career. Even with better songs and better production than their last album, they were still badly out of sync with the times, and the record company reportedly gave it next to no push. But in retrospect, I think it's better than its reputation suggests, especially with the song changes. You should give it a try.

01 Thousand Roads (David Crosby)
02 Panama (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
03 Unequal Love (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
04 Camera (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
05 It Won't Go Away (Crosby Stills & Nash)
06 Till It Shines (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
07 Amazonia (Stephen Stills)
08 These Empty Days (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
09 Rusty and Blue (David Crosby)
10 After the Storm (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
11 Yvette in English (David Crosby)
12 In My Life (Crosby, Stills & Nash)

I made the cover using a graphic from a CSN T-shirt from the era of the album.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Jimi Hendrix - Send My Love to Linda (Edited Song) (1970)

Here's something a little different, because this is just a single song, instead of an album.

I'm posting this because I've made some drastic edits that I think turned out well. I plan to include this on an album of all acoustic Jimi Hendrix songs from 1970, but I probably won't get around to post that for a good while, since I want to go through the rest of his stray track albums in chronological order as well as some other stuff before I get to his acoustic stuff. In the meantime, the world needs a decent version of this excellent Hendrix song! ;)

Hendrix recorded two very different versions of "Send My Love to Linda." One was just part of the song, about a minute and a half, with him singing and playing an acoustic guitar by himself. The other was an instrumental version done with a full band. In early 2018, a "new" official Hendrix album "Both Sides of the Sky" was released. In my opinion, it was a severe disappointment. If you listen to it, it seems as if they're scraping the bottom of the barrel, when in fact I know from bootlegs there's a lot of great material that has yet to see official release. But just as bad as the poor inclusion choices are the clumsy and strange edits they've made. "Send My Love to Linda" is probably the worst case. They took the short acoustic version and merged it with the full band instrumental version, sticking them together with a very obvious edit in the middle of the song. Anyone with a music editing problem could have done better. It's a shame that Hendrix's musical legacy is being treated so shabbily.

I also have drastically edited the song, but I've tried a very different approach. In my opinion, the acoustic and full band versions are too different to be joined together. However, I discovered from a bootleg that Hendrix actually played the song acoustically three times on January 16, 1970, the one day he recorded the song that way. Sadly, each of the three takes are incomplete, with the minute and a half version being the longest. But each take is different, with slightly different lyrics and guitar work. So I carefully edited different parts of all three takes to make one version that's three minutes and 14 seconds long. I took various pieces from here and there to give the song an intro and outro, so it sounds like a full version of the song, even though it actually isn't.

Is it right to tinker with the work of a genius like Hendrix? Probably not. But his record company already did a hack edit job on his latest official archival release. This shows that if you're going to do that, it can be done in a better way.

Larkin Poe - More Tip 'O the Hat - Various Cover Versions (2017-2018)

I recently posted an album by Larkin Poe called "Tip O' the Hat." It's simply a collection in chronological order of cover songs they've posted on their YouTube page. They've done so many cover songs that here's a second album of them. (A third album is still in the making.)

You should read that prior post to see what the Tip O' the Hat is all about. But suffice to say that Larkin Poe are a kick-ass pair of sisters (Rebecca and Megan Lovell) who, in addition to writing and performing their own songs, play this covers to give a tip of the hat to the musicians who have inspired them. Unlike most of their own material, which is recorded with a full band, these songs are done with just the two of them and one or two guitars. Often, the only accompaniment is Megan on a lapsteel slide guitar.

Check it out! As you can see from the song list, they do a lot of famous classic rock songs, but also mix in some blues classics, since the blues is a key part of their sound. This probably isn't the first place to start, but if you haven't heard of this duo, you really should give them a listen.
01 Whole Lotta Love (Larkin Poe)
02 No Particular Place to Go (Larkin Poe)
03 In My Time of Dying (Larkin Poe)
04 Preachin' Blues (Larkin Poe)
05 Johnny B. Goode (Larkin Poe)
06 Forever Young (Larkin Poe)
07 Mean Old World (Larkin Poe)
08 I Don't Want to Know (Larkin Poe)
09 Highway to Hell (Larkin Poe)
10 Spoonful (Larkin Poe)
11 Good Golly, Miss Molly (Larkin Poe)
12 Cocaine (Larkin Poe)
13 Little Martha [Instrumental] (Larkin Poe)
14 Paint It, Black (Larkin Poe)
15 Rollin' and Tumblin' (Larkin Poe)
16 The Wild One (Larkin Poe)
17 Mercedes Benz (Larkin Poe)

Once again, thanks to Peter at the Albums I Wish Existed blog for the cover art.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Led Zeppelin - Bron-Yr-Aur - Non-Album Tracks (1970)

I've posted two albums of Led Zeppelin stray tracks that roughly correspond with the studio albums "Led Zeppelin I" and "Led Zeppelin II." This one compliments "Led Zeppelin III." All the songs from it were recorded in 1970, the same year that album came out.

The band's third album was surprisingly acoustic in sound compared to the first two. This is connected to the fact that the band spent an extended time practicing and songwriting in a cottage in rural Wales known as Bron-Yr-Aur. This was a very creative time for the band, writing many songs not only for "Led Zeppelin III," but also a bunch of songs that would appear on later albums.

As a result, this album has some musical consistency, even though it comes from a variety of sources, both official and unreleased, and live and studio. There are a few rockers, but most of the songs are acoustic in nature.

Some songs here are very well known, especially "Hey, Hey What Can I Do," a B-side that still get frequently played on classic rock radio stations. There are a few other songs that were released on various additions of the "Coda" outtakes album. But others are obscure, some even by serious fans of Led Zeppelin bootlegs.

For instance, with the instrumental "Guitar Melody," I listened through an entire album of acoustic instrumentals from around 1970. Most of them were unremarkable, but I liked this one. It had no time, so I gave it one to differentiate it from the other acoustic instrumental on the album. There are a few bum notes played by the lead guitar. I tried to fix some of those by patching in the same note being played elsewhere in the song. But that didn't work every time, so I had to leave some of the bad notes alone.

The bonus track also deserves some explanation. The band initially recorded the rocking instrumental "Jennings Farm Blues." They recorded the song many times, and considered not only putting it on the album but also releasing it as a single. But somehow after lyrics were added it turned into the thumping acoustic song "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp," and put it on the album. I wasn't impressed with the instrumental. However, somone on YouTube named slumpytube cleverly added just the vocals from "Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp" to the instrumental "Jennings Farm Blues." I liked that more, but it was only two and a half minutes long, while the instrumental ran  longer. So I edited his edit to include another minute and a half of some nice guitar soloiing.

I only included this as a bonus track because it's not that different from the song that made it on the album. But still, I think most fans of the band will find it interesting.

01 Hey, Hey What Can I Do (Led Zeppelin)
02 St. Tristan's Sword [Instrumental] (Led Zeppelin)
03 Poor Tom (Led Zeppelin)
04 I Gotta Move - Bottle Up and Go (Led Zeppelin)
05 Untitled Acoustic Song [Instrumental] (Led Zeppelin)
06 We're Gonna Groove (Led Zeppelin)
07 Boogie Chillun - Fixin' to Die - That's Alright, Mama (Led Zeppelin)
08 White Summer [Instrumental] (Led Zeppelin)
09 Key to the Highway - Trouble in Mind (Led Zeppelin)
10 Guitar Melody [Instrumental] (Led Zeppelin)

Jennings Farm Blues [Early Version of Bron-Y-Aur Stomp] [Edit] (Led Zeppelin)

Thanks again to Peter from the Albums I Wish Existed blog for the cover.

The Grateful Dead - Midnight Hour - Non-Album Tracks (1966)

Here's the second of two albums dealing with the best of the cover songs performed by the Grateful Dead in 1965 and 1966. This album just covers the second half of 1966.

I said this only covers "the best of the cover songs," so let me explain what I mean by that. The Dead played tons of songs in 1966. (Very little survives of them from 1965, other than some studio recordings.) The website, lists 70 different songs played by the band in 1966, compared to only 33 in 1967. Twelve of those were originals, which I compiled on the album I called "Mindbender." That still leaves nearly 60 songs, and between this and the other covers album I just posted, I've only included 25 songs.

So how and why did I whittle this down to only 25 songs? I wanted to make these two albums something I'd like to listen to a lot. So the first thing I did was remove nearly all the songs that the Dead would go on to perform lots of times later in their career, because I (and any typical fan of the group) would already be very familiar with those. There are lots of songs like that, such as "Viola Lee Blues," "Me and My Uncle," "Cold Rain and Snow," "Sitting on Top of the World." and so on.

I did include a couple of songs like that for various reasons. For instance, I included "Good Lovin'" because it was sung by Bob Weir, whereas Ron 'Pigpen' McKernan would sing it for the next bunch of years until he died in 1973. I included "Dancing in the Street" and "In the Midnight Hour" because I wanted a couple of lively songs where the band got to stretch out and jam, since that was a key part of their 1966 sound, where they often tried to balance being both daneecable and jammy.

There's another big bunch of songs I didn't include either because there were no recordings at all, or none of high enough sound quality.

There are also many songs that I just didn't feel were good enough for inclusion. One thing I strove for was to have some balance between songs sung by Jerry Garcia, Weir, and McKernan, even though McKernan tends to dominate. There were a bunch of McKernan-led bluesy songs that weren't that different from each other. Had I included a lot of those, it would have changed the overall sound of the album from lively and danceable into slow and bluesy. I did include some of those however, especially when I thought Garcia's lead guitar work was particularly impressive.

On the first album, all but one of the performances have been officially released. But on this one, about half are still unreleased. Those are all taken from a series of concerts at The Matrix in San Francisco in late November and early December 1966. These concerts are all excellent soundboards (I assume recorded by Stanley). I surprised that nothing from those concerts have been officially released (yet?).

By the way, there's one song here, "It's My Own Fault," taken from one of those Matrix shows, where the voice of the lead vocalist is unclear. It's definitely not McKernan, and it doesn't sound like Weir or Garcia either. Doing some Googling, I see that some people speculate it either was someone else in the band who rarely sang lead, or it was some unknown guest vocalist. It's definitely the Dead playing though, as you can tell from Garcia's great guitar work.

Oh, one other note. The version of "In the Midnight Hour" comes from an official release (the "30 Trips Around the Sun" box set), but it's edited by me. That's because that version started out playing fast, then about a minute in there was some kind of tape glitch, followed by some wobbly sounds, and then the rest of the song was at a slow pace and a different pitch. That sounded bad to me, no doubt due to some tape damage, so I cut out the worst couple of minutes. Then I changed the tempo and pitch of the first part to match the rest and created a seamless edit. The result is a couple of minutes shorter than the official version (yet still 13 minutes long), but I think it sounds a lot better.

01 Nobody's Fault but Mine (Grateful Dead)
02 Keep Rolling By (Grateful Dead)
03 He Was a Friend of Mine (Grateful Dead)
04 One Kind Favor [See that My Grave Is Kept Clean] (Grateful Dead)
05 Overseas Stomp [The Lindy] (Grateful Dead)
06 I Just Want to Make Love to You (Grateful Dead)
07 Big Boy Pete (Grateful Dead)
08 It's a Sin (Grateful Dead)
09 You Don't Love Me (Grateful Dead)
10 It's My Own Fault (Grateful Dead)
11 In the Midnight Hour [Edit] (Grateful Dead)

I called this "Midnight Hour" because I couldn't think of a better name. None of the song titles worked that well, I felt. If you have a better title suggestion, please let me know.

Thanks to Peter at the Albums I Wish Existed blog for the cover art.

The Grateful Dead - Don't Ease Me In - Non-Album Cover Versions (1965-1966)

I just posted an album of the Grateful Dead's original songs from 1965 and 1966. But during that time period, the Dead were much more of a covers band. So I have two albums to post of the best cover songs from that time. There are so many that both albums are nearly an hour long, and there are many songs I didn't include. This is the first of the two.

In 1965 and 1966, rock and roll was very di
fferent from how it would be once the psychedelic era peaked in 1967. People came to concerts mostly to dance. That was true even for the Dead, despite the fact that their occasional famous "Acid Test" performances began in early 1966. So the band's set list had more short, lively songs and fewer long jammy ones. Also, the band was much more steeped in rhythm and blues. That was the forte of Ron 'Pigpen' McKernan, so he dominated the band in a way he never did again. Probably a majority of the songs the band played were sung by him.

That said, the band was quite consistent throughout its career. From the very beginning, Jerry Garcia's lead guitar playing was a big draw, and he sang a lot of songs as well. Bob Weir also had a prominent singing role right from the start.

Some of these songs come from studio sources, but more of them are from live sources. However, I've removed the crowd noise to make it a consistent listen. The sound quality is surprisingly good for time, probably because key people like Owsley Stanley began recording soundboards of their concerts from early 1966.

As I mentioned, I have so much material of their cover songs that I've made two albums. I've put them in chronological order, so this covers late 1965 to early 1966.

By the way, I couldn't think of a really good album title. I went with "Don't Ease Me In" because that was the A-side of the band's only single in 1966 (and their only official release in this time period).

01 Early Morning Rain (Grateful Dead)
02 I Know You Rider (Grateful Dead)
03 Hey Little One (Grateful Dead)
04 On the Road Again (Grateful Dead)
05 Promised Land (Grateful Dead)
06 Empty Heart (Grateful Dead)
07 Don't Ease Me In (Grateful Dead)
08 Stealin' (Grateful Dead)
09 Gangster of Love (Grateful Dead)
10 Don't Mess Up a Good Thing (Grateful Dead)
11 Dancing in the Street (Grateful Dead)
12 Hi-Heel Sneakers (Grateful Dead)
13 It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Grateful Dead)
14 Next Time You See Me (Grateful Dead)

Thanks to Peter from the Albums I Wish Existed blog for the cover art.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Grateful Dead - Mindbender - Non-Album Tracks (1965-1966)

I've posted some Grateful Dead here, but I've got a lot more to post. This time, I want to go all the way back to the beginning, in 1965 and 1966. This is an album containing all original material, that has mostly been forgotten, even by most Deadheads.

I won't go into the history of the Grateful Dead's first years, except to say the band was formed in 1965, released an obscure single in 1966, and then put out their first album in 1967. I'd never paid attention to their music prior to that first album, probably because it hasn't been well served by official releases. There is an official album called "The Birth of the Grateful Dead," which is okay, but it misses a lot. Other official albums have come out here and there, including one called "Rare Cuts and Oddities," and some live material from 1966 has come out too.

But due to the scattershot nature of the releases, I'd had no idea that the band actually had composed an album's worth of original material in 1966 that basically never got released, except for some of the songs on some archival material many years later. This is especially surprising considering that the A and B sides of their 1966 single were cover songs, and only two songs on their 1967 album "The Grateful Dead" were originals.

But one has to remember that musical tastes were changing rapidly at that time. A song that sounded good in 1966 might have been seen as badly dated by 1967. That's what appears to have happened here. Only two of the band's 1966 originals survived to be officially recorded, as well as played after 1967: "Cream Puff War" and "Caution (Do Not Stop on Tracks)." Probably a key reason is that lyricist Robert Hunter didn't start writing lyrics for the band until 1967. (He first got involved with the classic song "Dark Star.") I'm not sure who actually wrote most of the 1966 songs, especially the lyrics, since they are generally just credited to the group as a whole.

That said, most of these are good songs, and even the lyrics are pretty good. No, these songs don't compare with the big run of classic songs the band would soon be making, but by 1966 standards these songs help explain why the Grateful Dead soared to become one of the most popular bands in the San Francisco Bay Area and soon got a nationwide record contract.

I've put all of them together on this 39 minute long album to show the band's early talent at songwriting.1966 was also a big year for the Grateful Dead covering many interesting songs. But I'm going to post two albums of all of those. Normally, I would mix originals and covers together if they're from the same time period, but I think it's more useful to do it this way, because  I've looked all over, and I haven't seen any such collection of 1966 originals.

The sound quality of these songs are surprisingly good, considering how they're from before the band got very popular. If you like the Grateful Dead at all, you should check this out. The songs are in rough chronological order.

01 Mindbender [Confusion's Prince] (Grateful Dead)
02 Caution [Do Not Stop On Tracks] (Grateful Dead)
03 The Only Time Is Now (Grateful Dead)
04 Can't Come Down (Grateful Dead)
05 You See a Broken Heart (Grateful Dead)
06 Cream Puff War (Grateful Dead)
07 You Don't Have to Ask (Grateful Dead)
08 Tastebud (Grateful Dead)
09 Standing on the Corner (Grateful Dead)
10 Cardboard Cowboy (Grateful Dead)
11 Down So Long (Grateful Dead)
12 Alice D. Millionaire (Grateful Dead)

The cover comes courtesy of Peter from the Albums I Wish Existed blog.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Larkin Poe - Tip O' the Hat - Various Cover Versions (2017)

I'm a very big fan of Larkin Poe. They should be hugely popular. They're good songwriters, musically talented, young, and beautiful. I've already posted one album of theirs, which contains acoustic versions of some of their recent songs.

As good as their own songs are, it also is a treat for them to perform covers. Since June 2017, they've had a feature on their YouTube channel called "Tip O' the Hat." Here's how they describe it on their channel:

"To build a fire of creativity, you need fuel. As artists, we aspire to keep learning the songs that move and inspire us. Art begets art. While we’re at it, we want you to share in the experience — these are some of the songs that have shaped us."

To that end, they release steady series of videos of them performing cover songs, about once a week. The recordings are spontaneous and lo-fi - they just sit down in front of a webcam and play the songs without any overdubs or assistance, just the two of them and a guitar or two. They have very wide ranging musical tastes which happen to overlap closely with mine. Most of the songs they choose have been hits, except that the blues are a big part of their sound so they often play blues classics, sometimes fairly obscure ones.

I've gathered up all the Tip O' the Hat performances and made albums out of them, of about 45 minutes each. This one is just the first. I haven't included most of the songs they've done, but not all of them. Sometimes, I don't include the song because they've done it in better sound quality elsewhere. But sometimes i just wasn't that impressed by their performance, and I want to keep the quality level high.

If you want to hear some of the best songs of all time played acoustically by two kickass female musicians, this is the album for you!

01 War Pigs (Larkin Poe)
02 Little Wing (Larkin Poe)
03 Short Skirt, Long Jacket (Larkin Poe)
04 I Am the Highway (Larkin Poe)
05 Fly Away (Larkin Poe)
06 One Way Out (Larkin Poe)
07 Within You, Without You (Larkin Poe)
08 Nessun Dorma (Larkin Poe)
09 Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (Larkin Poe)
10 Old Time Rock N' Roll (Larkin Poe)
11 Dream a Little Dream of Me (Larkin Poe)
12 Soul of a Man (Larkin Poe)
13 Fortunate Son (Larkin Poe)
14 Dazed and Confused (Larkin Poe)
15 The Thrill Is Gone (Larkin Poe)
16 Mary Had a Little Lamb (Larkin Poe)
17 Wildflowers (Larkin Poe)

The cover was made by Peter from his Albums I Wish Existed blog.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Norah Jones - Deceptively Yours - Non-Album Tracks (2001)

Norah Jones is a curious case for me. I don't actually like many of her official studio albums that much. Too often, she sounds like "easy listening" or "adult contemporary," with the songs fading into forgettable background music. That said, she has one of those special, distinctive voices. I don't know what it is about that voice, but I really enjoy hearing her sing, as long as she sings good songs. Unfortunately, as a songwriter, she's hit or miss, with a lot of misses.

Luckily, it turns out that Jones's career as represented by her studio albums are just one part of her overall career. She seems willing to play and sing with just about anybody. As a result, her stray track album material is MUCH more varied and interesting than what she puts on her albums. She covers songs by everyone from AC/DC to the Kinks to Soundgarden to Nick Drake, in just about every genre. Not content to coast on her huge fame and fortune, she's taken part in all sorts of side projects, from country, folk, jazz, electronica, and even something close to punk rock!

So my point is, don't dismiss Jones based on a surface impression of her big hits. She has a much more interesting career than that.

The first six songs all come from an album she did with the Peter Malick Group. It was recorded in late 2000 and should have been released in 2001, which is why I've included it with other 2001 songs. But it didn't actually get released until 2003, after Norah Jones hit it big, selling over 10 million albums. However, the album didn't have her face or name on it, so it remained fairly obscure.

Most of the rest of the songs are outtakes from her first album, the one that would go on to sell all those millions. Although most of them are unreleased, you'd never know it, since they sound just as good as any other studio tracks. One of them did get released years later, "Picture in a Frame." I'd had that on a much later stray tracks album (and I'd even used the song title for the album title!). But I've moved it here after finding out it was an outtake from the first album. 

This album is 48 minutes long.

01 New York City (Peter Malick Group with Norah Jones)
02 Strange Transmissions (Peter Malick Group with Norah Jones)
03 Deceptively Yours (Peter Malick Group with Norah Jones)
04 All Your Love (Peter Malick Group with Norah Jones)
05 Heart of Mine (Peter Malick Group with Norah Jones)
06 Things You Don't Have to Do (Peter Malick Group with Norah Jones)
07 Picture in a Frame (Norah Jones)
08 When Sunny Gets Blue (Norah Jones)
09 Daydream (Norah Jones)
10 Hallelujah, I Love Him So (Norah Jones)
11 The Only Time (Norah Jones)
12 A Dream Today (Norah Jones)
13 I Didn't Know about You (Norah Jones)

I'm not sure when the photo I used for the cover art was taken, but her haircut matches the one she had in these early years of her career.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Paul Weller - Talisman - Non-Album Tracks (2002-2003)

Oops! I messed up and posted the wrong Paul Weller album, in terms of chronological order. I want to keep things in order, so I'm posting two, and changing the order of my posts.

This is nearly all from 2002, with only the last song from 2003.

The songs here come from a wide variety of sources. Five of the songs are live versions of songs from Weller's first band, The Jam. Three are bonus tracks from his "Illumination" album. Three are collaborations with other musicians. There are two other cover songs. But all of it sounds like classic Paul Weller.

By the way, I'm putting all of his acoustic stray tracks on other albums. An acoustic album from roughly this time period will be the next Weller album I post here. 

This album is 43 minutes long. 

01 Town Called Malice (Paul Weller)
02 A Man of Great Promise (Paul Weller)
03 Thunder Park (Noonday Underground & Paul Weller)
04 Brother to Brother (Terry Callier & Paul Weller)
05 Instant Karma [We All Shine On] (Paul Weller)
06 Monday (Paul Weller)
07 So You Say You Lost Your Baby (Death in Vegas & Paul Weller)
08 Push Button, Automatic (Paul Weller)
09 Horseshoe Drama (Paul Weller)
10 Talisman (Paul Weller)
11 Pretty Green (Paul Weller)
12 I Forgot to Be Your Lover (Paul Weller)

I made the cover art from a 2002 concert poster which already had the text at the top. I added the text at the bottom.

Paul Weller - Circles - Non-Album Tracks (1999-2001)

A new Paul Weller studio album, "True Meanings," has been released today. I've only heard it once so far, but I already can tell it's one of his better ones. I hope you support good musicians and buy it.

To celebrate, it's time to post more from my long series of Weller's stray tracks. This covers studio songs from 1999 to 2001.

The songs are the usual grab bag of covers, B-sides, and other. The first song, funnily enough, is from a tribute album to his first group, The Jam, despite the fact that he was the main singer and songwriter in that band. The last two songs are from a Steve Marriott tribute concert.

The album is from the time he released his official album "Heliocentric." Three of the songs are B-sides from singles off that album. That album wasn't that well received. I think this album is about as good, if not better.

01 All You Need Is Love (Paul Weller)
02 No One in the World (Paul Weller)
03 Back in the Fire (Paul Weller)
04 There's No Drinking After You're Dead ['Noonday Underground' Remix] (Paul Weller)
05 Bang Bang [My Baby Shot Me Down] (Paul Weller)
06 Helioscentric [Instrumental] (Paul Weller)
07 Circles [Instant Party] (Paul Weller)
08 Better [Demo] [Early Version of Rip the Pages Up] (Paul Weller)
09 Become like You (Paul Weller)
10 I'm Only Dreaming (Paul Weller)

I made the cover art from a 2001 Weller bootleg.

Richard & Linda Thompson - Shady Lies - Non-Album Tracks (1971-1972)

Today (as I write this in September 2018) is the release date for "13 Rivers," a new studio album by Richard Thompson.

In celebration of that, I want to post more of his stuff. I posted one album of his a while back, but I want to start posting things systematically. That means going back to the start of his solo career around 1971, when he left Fairport Convention. (I'm dealing with that band separately.)

In 1971, Richard Thompson was only casual acquaintances with the singer Linda Peters. (They'd met in 1969.) But by 1972, they would link up musically and romantically. They would get married that same year and she would change her name to Linda Thompson. That's the name she's used ever since. (To be consistent, I'm using her "Thompson" name instead of her "Peters" name in all of the mp3 tags.) This album covers the two years of them musically joining forces. 

In 1972 Richard Thompson, put out his first solo album, "Henry the Human Fly." Only after that did he begin putting out albums with Linda. So some of the songs here are outtakes from that album, or other random projects he was a part of at the time.

Seven songs come from the 1972 "Rock On" album, by the Bunch. (The last one here is a bonus track.) This was a diverse group of British folk rock musicians. The album was all cover songs of rock and roll classics. There were four lead singers on the album. The album is a mixed bag overall, but I've selected the best songs that are sung by either Richard or Linda. I guess working on the album together was the opportunity that kindled their romance and led to them getting married later that year. One song, "When Will You Be Loved," is a duet between Linda and the legendary folk singer Sandy Denny.

The next album in this series will feature all Richard & Linda Thompson material from 1972 and into 1973. But even though the songs of this album come from different sources and many don't feature them together, it's all good music and important in showing how Richard Thompson's long, great solo career got started.

01 Albion Sunrise (Richard Thompson)
02 You Got What You Wanted (Richard Thompson)
03 Someone Else’s Fancy (Richard Thompson)
04 Bad News Is All the Wind Can Carry (Richard Thompson)
05 Amazon Queen (Richard Thompson)
06 Restless Boy (Richard & Linda Thompson)
07 Sweet Little Rock and Roller (Bunch)
08 The Loco-Motion (Bunch)
09 Crazy Arms (Bunch)
10 My Girl in the Month of May (Bunch)
11 Jambalaya [On the Bayou] (Bunch)
12 When Will I Be Loved (Bunch)
13 High School Confidential (Bunch)
14 Shady Lies (Richard & Linda Thompson)

Re: the cover art, I originally used a black and white photo that I tinted. I found very few good photos of this duo in their early years together, and pretty much all of them lack color. Many months later, I found a different black and white photo I liked more, and colorized it. It's from 1974.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Van Morrison - Manchild - Non-Album Tracks (1974)

I've still got a lot of great Van Morrison 1970s material to release. This album takes us through 1974.

Why did I call this album "Manchild?" Because that was one possible name Morrison mentioned starting around this time for an upcoming album. I have no idea what it means exactly, or how far along such an album might have been, or what the songs on it could have been. I just figure it's better to use an album title he was actually considering than making something up from scratch.

If you've been following my series of Morrison's stray tracks albums, this is more of the same. In my opinion, all of this stuff is excellent and should have been released at the time. I've seen some quote from Morrison that his record company was "minimalist" and only wanted him to release one single album a year. But he was clearly coming up with more than that, and often the songs that didn't get released were as good or better than the ones that did.

A couple of the songs here actually were released at the time. "Caldonia" and "What's Up, Crazy Pup?" were the A- and B-sides to a single that virtually nobody noticed and failed to make the charts. The second and third songs here have been officially released on "The Philospher's Stone" rarities collection. The rest of the songs are all still unreleased.

Note that I've only included the song "Naked in the Jungle" as a bonus track. It's a great song and should have been a hit, but it never even got released at the time. The reason it's only a bonus track is because there are two known and somewhat different versions from the 1970s. I consider this the (slightly) inferior one. The other version will appear on the next Morrison album I'll be posting.

01 Caldonia (Van Morrison)
02 It's Not the Twilight Zone (Van Morrison)
03 Flamingos Fly [First Version] (Van Morrison)
04 Foggy Mountain Top [T for Texas] (Van Morrison)
05 Much Binding in the March [Instrumental] (Van Morrison)
06 What's Up, Crazy Pup (Van Morrison)
07 I Like It like That (Van Morrison)
08 Street Theory [First Version] (Van Morrison)
09 Heathrow Shuffle [Instrumental] (Van Morrison)

Naked in the Jungle [First Version] (Van Morrison)

Thanks to Mike for the album cover art. He also made a back side for a CD, so I've included that here too.

Lou Reed - Solo Acoustic, Radio 3, Madrid, Spain, 6-5-1998

I just posted some acoustic demos by the Velvet Underground, at the start of Lou Reed's musical career. Here's something acoustic by him nearer to the end of his career.

In the late 1990s, Reed, finally caught the "unplugged" bug, a few years after the acoustic concert trend had peaked. This show was done before a studio audience in Spain. The audience was remarkably polite and hardly ever clapped or hollered during his songs. In a few cases, there was some clapping for the first few seconds of a song, but I got rid of that by patching in the strumming of the same chords from later in the song. The result is that it sounds exactly like Reed playing an acoustic guitar alone in your living room.

The show is on the short side. I found an extra song to make it a bit longer. Reed played a solo acoustic version of "Heroin" for a TV documentary the same year as the concert. You'd never know it wasn't part of the concert, based on the sound.

With the extra song, this still is only 27 minutes. It's short, but sweet.

01 I'll Be Your Mirror (Lou Reed)
02 Dirty Blvd. (Lou Reed)
03 Talking Book (Lou Reed)
04 Walk on the Wild Side (Lou Reed)
05 Pale Blue Eyes (Lou Reed)
06 Sweet Jane (Lou Reed)
07 Heroin (Lou Reed)

The cover is from a video of Reed playing this concert in 1998.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Velvet Underground - Prominent Men - Early Demos (1965)

I've got some really good Velvet Underground albums to post. It makes sense to start at the beginning, with their 1965 acoustic demo recordings.

Most of these songs were included on the "Peel Slowly and See" box set. However, I thought they were presented in a really dumb way. For the first six songs here (all acoustic demos recorded in July 1965), multiple takes were included, but in each case they were lumped together as one track. So, for instance, you couldn't just hear a demo of "All Tomorrow's Parties," you had to hear five versions of the song, each version almost exactly the same as the last. I grow very tired of bootlegs that have the same song repeated over and over. So I picked the best version of each song and only included that.

The next five songs are more acoustic demos, from a December 1965 session. These also are from the box set, but they were put on another disc. I think it's better having all these demos together. Finally, there's an unreleased instrumental from very early January 1966 as the last song. It fits the acoustic sound of the rest of the album, because it's just a guitar and bass playing.

This makes up a nice 44 minute long album. Seven of the 12 songs would never be done by the Velvet Underground again (with the partial exception of "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" - Nico did it for her 1967 solo album, and the rest of the Velvet Underground backed her on that recording.)

01 Venus in Furs (Velvet Underground)
02 Prominent Men (Velvet Underground)
03 Heroin (Velvet Underground)
04 I'm Waiting for the Man (Velvet Underground)
05 Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (Velvet Underground)
06 All Tomorrow's Parties (Velvet Underground)
07 There Is No Reason (Velvet Underground)
08 Sheltered Life (Velvet Underground)
09 It's All Right [The Way that You Live] (Velvet Underground)
10 I'm Not Too Sorry [Now that You're Gone] (Velvet Underground)
11 Here She Comes Now (Velvet Underground)
12 Green Onions [Instrumental] (Velvet Underground)

For the album cover, I used the cover of the recording tape box for some of the demos on this album. It comes from the "Peel Slowly and See" box set.

Led Zeppelin - Born in Darkness - Non-Album Tracks (1969-1970)

I must say, out of the five stray tracks Led Zeppelin albums I've made, I'm happiest with this one. I think it holds up very well as an album. It mostly covers 1969, with the last two songs from 1970. If you're a Led Zeppelin fan and you don't have this, you're missing out.

The centerpiece to this album has to be the lead song, "As Long as I Have You." This requires some explanation. The song was a minor soul hit originally written and performed by Garnet Mimms. Led Zeppelin played it in concert at least 80 times (only in 1968 and 1969), which makes it one of their most frequently performed covers in their career. They totally transformed the song, turning it from a light soul song to a heavy rocker, and using it to go into a long medley of other songs.

As chance has it, most of the performances of the song were never bootlegged, or were only recorded poorly. But luckily, there's one pristine soundboard recording of it from April 1969 that's extraordinary. The song is 18 minutes long, and it's a medley with "As Long as I Have You" for a few minutes at the start and about a minute at the end. Unfortunately, I felt the medley was so long that it loses coherence as an actual song. So I decided to split it in two.

I did some editing, and created a ten minute version of "As Long as I Have You" with the start and the end parts joined together, while also including some other parts of the medley, namely instrumental versions of "Fresh Garbage" by Spirit and "Bag's Groove" by Miles Davis. I think this now holds together as a very solid song. Then, what remains becomes another solid song of the blues classic "I'm a Man" in a medley with the Chuck Berry hit "No Money Down." It too is done in a very different and interesting way, so much so that the "I'm a Man" part is almost unrecognizable.

Maybe it's a sacrilege to break the song in two like that, but I think it works better musically that way. I've inserted a cover of the blues song "Sittin' and Thinkin'" - from the same soundboard concert - between the two songs to help make them sound like individual entities.

By the way, it's incredible to me that no version of Led Zeppelin's "As Long as I Have You" has been officially released. The bonus tracks that have been added to deluxe editions of their official albums in recent years make it seem like they're scraping the bottom of the barrel, with most of them the same songs on those albums but with some minor differences. Meanwhile, some of the band's greatest musical performances remain unreleased and obscure. It's very strange.

The rest of this album contains quality songs too. All the songs are in chronological order. The next three songs are from "BBC Sessions." "La La" is an instrumental which is an officially released bonus track. The last three songs are solid cover versions done live in concert with the audience noise removed.

I was tempted to call this album "Led Zeppelin II and a Half," because if you like "Led Zeppelin II," you should like this. It has a very similar sound, and it's a few minutes longer. The sound quality is top notch all the way through.

01 As Long as I Have You - Fresh Garbage - Bag's Groove - As Long as I Have You (Led Zeppelin)
02 Sittin' and Thinkin' (Led Zeppelin)
03 I'm a Man - No Money Down - I'm a Man (Led Zeppelin)
04 The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair (Led Zeppelin)
05 Somethin' Else (Led Zeppelin)
06 Travelling Riverside Blues (Led Zeppelin)
07 La La [Instrumental] (Led Zeppelin)
08 The Train Kept a-Rollin' (Led Zeppelin)
09 Long Tall Sally (Led Zeppelin)
10 C'mon Everybody (Led Zeppelin)

By the way, I normally use a song title for the album title if no other obvious title presents itself. But in this case I used "Born in Darkness," which is the starting lyric of "As Long as I Have You," because I thought it sounds better as an album title than any of the song titles do.

Peter from the Albums I Wish Existed blog made the cover art.