Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Beck - Stereopathic Soulmanure - Alternate Version (1994)

Sometimes, less is more. In my opinion, this is one of those times.

In 1994, Beck actually released three albums of original material: his big hit "Mellow Gold," and two under the radar releases, "Stereopathic Soulmanure" and "One Foot in the Grave." ("Mellow Gold" and "Stereopathic Soulmanure" actually came out only one week apart!) The mostly acoustic and bluesy "One Foot in the Grave" is solid all the way through, especially the bonus tracks version, which doubles its length.

"Stereopathic Soulmanure" is much more of a mixed bag. Wikipedia calls it "anti-commercial," because that's what most of it is. It has some songs that are just blasts of feedback or other noise experiments. It is also contains some random found sounds, including a couple of songs that feature a random homeless guy singing instead of Beck. Some people like all that stuff, in which case the full length 63 minute album is for them. But for me, some of the songs were only worth a couple of listens.

I've cut the album is half here, from 63 minutes to 35 minutes. All I did was remove songs, with nothing added. I think the result is a much more solid and listenable album. There are some great songs here that tend to be forgotten due to the noise experiments they were mixed with. Most famously, "Rowboat" was covered by Johnny Cash, and it's one of Beck's best songs in my opinion.

So here's my version of the album. I've kept a few of his stranger things, such as little spoken word bits, to give more of a flavor of the album as a whole. But mostly these are actual well-constructed songs.

01 Rowboat (Beck)
02 Thunder Peel (Beck)
03 Dialogue from 'Normal' (Ross Harris)
04 The Spirit Moves Me (Beck)
05 Crystal Clear [Beer] (Beck)
06 One Foot in the Grave (Beck)
07 Today Has Been a Fucked Day [Lonesome Day] (Beck)
08 Puttin' It Down (Beck)
09 Cut in Half Blues (Beck)
10 Jagermeister Pie [Instrumental] (Beck)
11 Ozzy (Beck)
12 Satan Gave Me a Taco (Beck)
13 8.4.82 (Beck)
14 Tasergun (Beck)
15 Modesto (Beck)

Since this is just a shortened version of the album, I'm using the exact same album cover.

Beck - Heartland Feeling - Non-Album Tracks (1992-1993)

I want to move on to posting Beck's great stray tracks from the 2000s to today. However, I still have more from the 1990s to cover.

Beck started writing songs in the late 1980s and recording then in a non-professional way on cassettes.  There are lots of these early cassettes floating around, most from the 1990s. To be honest, there was a learning curve and most of his early songs just aren't that good. A lot of them are experimental and/or novelty songs.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of his early efforts. Luckily, his songwriting improved dramatically around 1993. So even though I've listened to dozens of his songs from 1988 to 1993 (before his big "Mellow Gold" breakthrough in 1994), all the songs here are from 1992 or 1993, thanks to that improvement in his songwriting. This is a really boiled down "greatest hits" from his early years. I probably could have posted four of five albums' worth of songs if I was being thorough, but instead it's just one album of about 50 minutes of music.

Note that I have two versions of the song "MTY Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack." I think it's hilarious, and one of his best early songs. The version that starts this album is the one released as a single. The one that ends the album was played on a radio show, and I like it even better. He mocks his own song and performs a swinging lounge version of it.

I've included a couple of songs from a radio show that was actually in early 1994, even though this album focuses on 1992 and 1993. That's because one 1993 song, "Heartland Feeling," has some great dialogue about the heartland music concept. Then, as an introduction to one of the 1994 radio performances ("It's All Gonna Come to Be"), he makes reference to some of that dialogue. So I thought those two belonged on the same album.

01 MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack (Beck)
02 To See that Woman of Mine (Beck)
03 Mexico (Beck)
04 Heartland Feeling (Beck)
05 Super Golden Black Sunchild (Beck)
06 Gettin' Home (Beck)
07 Whimsical Actress (Beck)
08 Deep Fried Love (Beck)
09 Steve Threw Up (Beck)
10 Death Is Coming to Get You (Beck)
11 Whiskeyfaced, Radioactive, Blowdryin' Lady (Beck)
12 Dead Man with No Heart (Beck)
13 Its All Gonna Come to Be (Beck)
14 MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack [Lounge Version]  [Live Vocals Over Instrumental Recording] (Beck)

For the album cover, I used the cover of a remix single and change the text.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Elliott Smith - I Figured You Out - Non-Album Tracks (1996)

Here's the next stray tracks Elliott Smith album.

As I said with the last Smith posting, I'm not a big fan of his work as part of the band Heatmiser in general. But his songs gradually improved within that band. In 1994 and 1995 he put out two acclaimed acoustic solo albums. So by the time the band's last album came out in 1996, "Mic City Sons," his songs on it were less the loud grunge rock typical of the time that didn't suit him. They were more influenced by his new acoustic style, although some of them were still definitely rocking.

As I result, I've included all but one of the songs he wrote on "Mic City Sons," plus an A-side, after including almost nothing from Heatmiser on the previous stray tracks album. One can tell Smith was happier with this last batch of Heatmiser songs because he played most of them in concert as a solo artist while pretty much giving up on nearly all of his earlier Heatmiser songs.

The rest of the songs on this album are Elliott Smith solo songs from a variety of sources, generally just him and his guitar.

You may note that I didn't include any songs from "New Moon" after including a bunch last time. That's because my next posting here will be an entire album of songs from that source, all from 1996. As I said previously, I think the songs from that album are better served if they're broken up into chunks based on the years they were recorded.

01 Plainclothes Man (Heatmiser)
02 Get Lucky (Heatmiser)
03 The Fix Is In (Heatmiser)
04 You Gotta Move (Heatmiser)
05 Half Right (Heatmiser)
06 Everybody Has It (Heatmiser)
07 You Make It Seem like Nothing (Elliott Smith)
08 I Figured You Out (Elliott Smith)
09 The Real Estate [Solo Version] (Elliott Smith)
10 I Don't Think I'm Ever Gonna Figure It Out (Elliott Smith)
11 Coast to Coast [Early Version] (Elliott Smith)
12 Plainclothes Man [Solo Version] (Elliott Smith)
13 Abused (Elliott Smith)
14 Burned Out, Still Glowing (Elliott Smith)

I made the cover art from a photo of Smith in concert in 1996.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Los Lobos - La Bamba - Alternate Version (1987)

I've always considered "La Bamba," the soundtrack to the 1987 movie about Richie Valens, a de facto Los Lobos album. However, I've had a couple of problems with it. One, it's rather short, at only 31 minutes long. And two, it has 12 songs, and four of them aren't Los Lobos at all, but other musicians featured in the movie. So I made some changes.

I don't consider any of those four songs by other artists essential, especially the imitation of Jackie Wilson by a fairly obscure singer. So I cut all four of them. This made the album only 20 minutes long. Luckily, it turns out that Los Lobos did a number of other 1950s covers around this time, even if they weren't Richie Valens songs per se. Two songs come from a Los Lobos box set, and I was able to find five more from soundboard bootlegs of concerts from 1985 to 1987. I also included another Los Lobos cover of a Richie Valens (see the explanation below.) Adding those songs doubles its length, to 42 minutes, and makes it a real, all-Los Lobos album.

Well, almost all Los Lobos. One of the four songs I discarded from the original soundtrack is a remake of "Who Do You Love" by Bo Diddley. It turns out that after the soundtrack was released, there was a concert filmed for TV in which most of the artists on the soundtrack played their songs. The others went on their own, but Diddley was backed by Los Lobos when he did "Who Do You Love." I've included that, so really you're only missing three songs from the original.

Note that this post has been updated on December 28, 2018. Originally, there was one song I wanted to include, but I couldn't find: the Los Lobos version of "That's My Little Suzie." It's an actual Richie Valens song, so it couldn't fit the theme of this album any better. I wasn't able to find it at first, but now I have, so the zip file and song listing have been updated to include it. I found it on an official but extremely rare live album called "Chuy's Tape Box, Vol.1." Apparently, this was meant to be the start of a series of official bootleg releases by Los Lobos, but so far they've only released the one, which is of a 1984 concert.

01 La Bamba (Los Lobos)
02 Come On, Let's Go (Los Lobos)
03 Ooh, My Head (Los Lobos)
04 We Belong Together (Los Lobos)
05 Framed (Los Lobos)
06 Donna (Los Lobos)
07 Charlena (Los Lobos)
08 Goodnight My Love (Los Lobos)
09 Who Do You Love (Bo Diddley & Los Lobos)
10 That's My Little Suzie (Los Lobos)
11 Rip It Up (Los Lobos)
12 I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday (Los Lobos)
13 The Town I Live In (Los Lobos)
14 Walking with Frankie (Los Lobos)
15 Farmer John (Los Lobos)
16 Buzz, Buzz, Buzz (Los Lobos)

For the album cover, I just used the original cover, but I erased the names of the other artists on it, since they no longer appear on the album.

Mike Oldfield & Maggie Reilly - Moonlight Shadow - The Best of Mike Oldfield and Maggie Reilly (1982-1996)

I absolutely adore the song "Moonlight Shadow" by Mike Oldfield, sung by Maggie Reilly. Every note and word in it is perfect. I especially like the fact that I only discovered the song a few years ago despite being a huge music fan, and despite it being a top five hit all over the world, suggesting to me there are still some great songs out there I haven't discovered yet.

But what I love the most about the song is Maggie Reilly's voice. As soon as I heard the song, I immediately wanted to seek out more by this great vocalist. To my disappointment, there wasn't that much. Reilly was in an obscure 1970s band that put out one album in a style that didn't suit her. In the 1980s, she sang on a bunch of songs for Oldfield, but he mainly does instrumentals, and when he uses vocalists, Reilly has been only one of many he's chosen, both male and female. Reilly went on to finally start a solo career in 1992, but unfortunately I don't find her that talented of a songwriter, and only found a few of her solo songs that I liked. It's the combination of Oldfield with his songwriting, instrumental work, and production, and Reilly with her voice, that works best.

So what I've done here is collected nearly all the songs where Oldfield and Reilly teamed up. (I skipped a couple, which were basically unremarkable instrumentals with Reilly singing wordlessly, like another instrument.) Naturally, "Moonlight Shadow" is the highlight, but there are a few other worthy hits here as well. ("Family Man" was a hit for Hall and Oates, but this is the original version.) I've also included the three Reilly solo songs I like the best, including her one hit (in certain countries), "Everytime We Touch." Altogether, it makes up just under one hour of music.

I like the song "Moonlight Shadow" so much that I've included a second version at the end. It's an unreleased live version done acoustically with just Oldfield and Reilly for a benefit concert in 1986.

01 Five Miles Out (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)
02 Family Man (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)
03 [It Was A] Mistake (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)
04 Ireland's Eye (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)
05 Moonlight Shadow (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)
06 Foreign Affair (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)
07 To France (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)
08 Tricks of the Light (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly & Barry Palmer)
09 Crystal Gazing (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)
10 Talk about Your Life (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)
11 Blue Night (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)
12 Everytime We Touch (Maggie Reilly)
13 Wait (Maggie Reilly)
14 Listen to Your Heart (Maggie Reilly)
15 Moonlight Shadow [Live Acoustic] (Mike Oldfield with Maggie Reilly)

I had a really hard time finding a good photo of Oldfield and Reilly together. I had to resort to capturing a screenshot from a YouTube video of them playing "Moonlight Shadow" on Top of the Pops.

Also, note that Blue Jinn has made an alternate cover. I think it's pretty good, so I'm including that here too, to give you an option. See the comments below for more information on it.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Heartland - Non-Album Tracks (2000-2002)

Last week, I posted my version of the 1999 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album "Looking Forward." There were just too many songs to put on that, because I liked all of the songs on the original version of the album (though I generally chose different versions) and there were a bunch of songs from that time that I wanted to include too. Thus, I put five songs on their next album, this one, plus other songs they came up with through 2002.

It's my strong belief that CSN(Y) still wrote and sang lots of excellent songs well beyond their 1960s and 70s heyday, it's just that they kept failing to bring it all together on record, over and over again. This album is further proof of that. CSNY went on tour in 2002 after doing so in 2000, despite having no new album to promote. As this album shows, they definitely had lots of good new songs for such an album. It's just that the usual problems (especially ego clashes) got in the way again.

Like my revamp of "Looking Forward," most of the songs here are live versions (with the audience noise removed) to get around the seemingly inevitable production problems latter day CSN(Y) has suffered from. The three Neil Young songs are all done live with CSNY but are taken from his 2002 album "Are You Passionate?" It was a very disappointing album, but luckily he salvaged the three best songs from it here. (CSNY did a fourth in concert, "You're My Girl," but I felt it wasn't good enough of a song to include.)

Eight of the 12 songs on the album are performed by CSNY. Of the remaining four, two come from a Graham Nash solo album, one from a David Crosby solo album, and one from a Stephen Stills album (with Young a key participant on the song).

The album is an hour long, which is longer than I would like, but all of the songs seemed worthy of inclusion.

I still have four more stray tracks albums to post before CSNY called it quits around 2015, but Young's role as a creative participant dropped way off after this point, so the remaining albums are all just CSN.

01 Faith in Me (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
02 Let's Roll (Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young)
03 Stand and Be Counted (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
04 Blizzard of Lies (Graham Nash)
05 Goin' Home (Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young)
06 Round the Bend (Stephen Stills with Neil Young)
07 The Chelsea Hotel (Graham Nash)
08 Dream for Him (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
09 Two Old Friends (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
10 Seen Enough (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
11 Heartland (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
12 Just like Gravity (David Crosby)

I happened to have a copy of a fun parody of Picasso's "Three Musicians" painting featuring CSNY, so I made the cover out of it. I don't know who made the art for it.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Robyn Hitchcock - Acoustic Soft Boys Songs (1987-2016)

I still have a bazillion Robyn Hitchcock albums to post. But here's something a little different from the types of albums I've been posting so far. I've already posted one album of Hitchcock covering other artists, and I have a lot more of that coming. Here he is covering himself - meaning doing acoustic versions of songs from his days leading the Soft Boys.

The Soft Boys were definitely a rock and roll band. Hitchcock's solo career often bounces between rocking and acoustic albums, but he's been much more acoustic-based, especially with tons of solo acoustic concerts. Generally speaking, he hasn't drawn much on his Soft Boys material in those concerts. But from time to time he has pulled out an acoustic version of a Soft Boys song. This album has a very wide range, from 1987 to 2016. By scouring nearly his entire solo concert career, I've managed to find about an hour's worth of sounds in high sound quality that fit this theme.

If you like Hitchcock at all, you should check this out. In my opinion, the Soft Boys' "Underwater Moonight" is a definite five star album, and he does most of the songs from it, but giving them an acoustic twist. The other songs are reborn in their new arrangements too. As usual, I removed all the crowd noise I could, so it sounds like Hitchcock is playing your favorite Soft Boys songs on an acoustic guitar in your living room.

UPDATE: On December 16, 2021, I updated the mp3 download file. Previously, I'd only included "Rock N' Roll Toilet" as a bonus track because it had lively drums on it, which pushed the envelope of the theme here. But I used the audio editing program Spleeter to drastically reduce the loudness of the drums, making it fit in better. So I've included it in the regular song list. By the way, how can you not love a guy who writes a song with the title "Rock N' Roll Toilet?" ;)

01 Sandra's Having Her Brain Out (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Strange (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Old Pervert (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Tonight (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Wey Wey Hep Uh Hole (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Queen of Eyes [Solo Electric Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Kingdom of Love [Solo Electric Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Insanely Jealous (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 I Got the Hots (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Give It to the Soft Boys (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 Rock 'N' Roll Toilet [Edit] (Robyn Hitchcock)
12 Only the Stones Remain (Robyn Hitchcock)
13 I Wanna Destroy You (Robyn Hitchcock)
14 Give Me a Spanner, Ralph (Robyn Hitchcock)
15 Human Music (Robyn Hitchcock)
16 I Like Bananas [Because They Have No Bones] (Robyn Hitchcock)

I made the cover using the Soft Boys crab logo plus some text.

Belle & Sebastian - Paper Boat - Non-Album Tracks (1998-2000)

Here's the next Belle and Sebastian stray tracks album, covering 1998 to 2000. I like all their music, but many think they peaked in the late 1990s, so this is the band during their prime.

Belle and Sebastian has mostly been led by Stuart Murdoch, but a number of other band members have been have been key contributors too, much like George Harrison's role in the Beatles. Some of these band members have released solo albums. I generally have found those solo albums to be significantly weaker than B&S albums, but most of them have at least a song or two that are of a high caliber. So I've gone through all of those albums and have selected the best tracks for these stray track albums. This is the first album in which we get some of those, in the form of a couple of Isobel Campbell songs.

Most of the rest of this album comes from a B&S EP and single ("This Is Just a Modern Rock Song" and "Legal Man," respectively). But I've also included three unreleased songs. One is a French song sung by Campbell. The other two are actually quality B&S originals that were inexplicably never released in any form: "Paper Boat" and "Landslide." By the way, the latter is often identified on bootlegs as a cover of the famous Fleetwood Mac song, but just one listen will make clear it's a totally different song.

By the way, I have more B&S songs from 2000, but those will be on the next album in this series.

01 Poupee de Cire, Poupee de Son (Belle & Sebastian)
02 Paper Boat (Belle & Sebastian)
03 This Is Just a Modern Rock Song (Belle & Sebastian)
04 I Know Where the Summer Goes (Belle & Sebastian)
05 The Gate (Belle & Sebastian)
06 Slow Graffiti (Belle & Sebastian)
07 Landslide (Belle & Sebastian)
08 Weathershow (Isobel Campbell & the Gentle Waves)
09 A Chapter in the Life of Mathiew (Isobel Campbell & the Gentle Waves)
10 Legal Man (Belle & Sebastian)
11 Winter Wooskie (Belle & Sebastian)
12 Judy Is a Dick Slap [Instrumental] (Belle & Sebastian)

The cover art comes from the cover of the "This Is Just a Modern Rock Song" EP. I added the title at the bottom.

Elliott Smith - Angel in the Snow - Non-Album Tracks (1983-1995)

I've been on a big Elliott Smith kick in recent days, so I'm going to start posting some of his music, even though I already have a ton of other artists I've started dealing with and haven't finished off. I'll get to all of them in time, I promise. Smith was a musical genius. I've got a lot of his stuff to post because he left all sorts of quality songs off his official albums.

As I usually do, I want to start at the beginning and move forward chronologically. One might think of this as a 35 minute album covering his stray tracks from 1993 to 1995, plus four songs at the start of the album, from six to ten years earlier. Those first four songs are kind of juvenilia - Smith was only 14 at the time of the first one, and he was still finding his style and his voice. Heck, he wasn't even Elliott Smith yet, as he was still going by his birth name "Steve Smith." But they're all good songs, so I've included them.

As for the rest of the album, by 1993, Smith was living in Portland and was in a loud "alt. rock" band called Heatmiser. He wrote and sang about half of their songs. Unfortunately, most of their music wasn't very good. And that's not just my opinion - Smith himself felt the same way, calling his singing on their early albums as "embarrassing" and his songs with the band "loud rock songs with no dynamic." Here's a longer quote from him about his time in the band:

"I was being a total actor, acting out a role I didn't even like. I couldn't come out and show where I was coming from. I was always disguised in this loud rock band. [In the beginning] we all got together, everyone wanted to play in a band and it was fun, then after a couple of years we realized that none of us really liked this kind of music, and that we didn't have to play this way. You didn't have to turn all these songs you wrote into these loud... things."

Heatmiser put out two albums and an EP in the time period covered by this compilation, but I've only chosen to include one song from any of that. However, they did put out a final album in 1996, "Mic City Sons," that's much better. I'll include a bunch of Smith's songs from that on my next stray tracks album. Also, some of the Heatmiser songs will reappear on later stray track albums done in Smith's more fitting acoustic style.

Smith also released his first two solo albums in this time frame, "Roman Candle" in 1994 and "Elliott Smith" in 1995. I'm not including any songs from either of those, because any Smith fan should have them already. But there is an official album that I am using: "New Moon." That's an archival double album released four years after Smith died. All the songs on it are good, but I don't think it hangs well as an album, since it covers four years of his career, and the only reason those songs were packaged together is because those were the years he was signed to a particular record company. Instead, I've divided the songs on that album into the different years they were recorded. The first chunk appears here.

01 Untitled Guitar Finger Picking [Instrumental] (Elliott Smith)
02 I Love My Room (Elliott Smith)
03 The Machine (Stranger than Fiction)
04 The Real Estate (Stranger than Fiction)
05 Where I Get It From (Elliott Smith)
06 Antonio Carlos Jobim (Heatmiser)
07 No Confidence Man (Elliott Smith)
08 Crazy Fucker [Another Standard Folk Song] (Elliott Smith)
09 Angel in the Snow (Elliott Smith)
10 High Times (Elliott Smith)
11 Riot Coming (Elliott Smith)
12 Georgia, Georgia (Elliott Smith)
13 Whatever [Folk Song in C] (Elliott Smith)
14 Big Decision (Elliott Smith)
15 Talking to Mary (Elliott Smith)
16 Some Song (Elliott Smith)

I made the cover art from a photo of Smith playing in concert in 1995.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Imelda May - Dealing with the Devil - Non-Album Tracks (2002-2006)

Imelda May is a great talent, and I plan to post a lot of her music here. She also is a character out of time. She was born and raised in Ireland, where her family listened to lots of music from the 1950s and earlier. So even though she got her career rolling in the early 2000s when she was still in her mid-20s, for most of her career her music sounds like lost recordings from the 1950s or earlier. Heck, look at the album cover here - she even looks like a star from an earlier era.

I love Imelda May because she's got a fantastic voice, and also is a talented songwriter. Since the 1980s, the likes of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion have made oversinging all the rage, especially for female vocalists, where one shows off vocal gymnastics instead of doing what best suits the song. The musical "America's Got Talent" type TV shows have made this misuse of talent even more popular. Thankfully, May never oversings.

The music on this album mostly dates to 2004. At that time, May was an unknown, and she got started by latching onto musicians who already had recording contracts. So three of the songs here are from albums headlined by rockabilly artist Darrel Higham (who would become her husband and band member for many years). But more of the songs come from the 2004 album "Almost Grown" by Mike Sanchez, who has a long career as an R&B artist. Sanchez is definitely musically talented, but unfortunately I find his voice utterly ordinary, while I find May's voice exceptional. Sanchez is the lead singer on seven of the album's songs, and May is the lead singer on the other seven (including one in which they both sing). I simply included the May-led songs only.

At this stage, May was doing nearly all cover songs, mostly rockabilly, but also soul and R&B. Later on, she would develop into a songwriter and expand her musical range. But if you want retro rock, a la the Stray Cats, this is as good as it gets, in my opinion.

By the way, the song "Dealing with the Devil" can also be found on the 2003 Imelda May album "No Turning Back," but this is a live version done with a different band. If you like this album, I highly recommend you get that one too. It's very little known because it was done well before May became famous (unfortunately in Ireland and Britain only, so far), back when she was known by her birth name Imelda Clabby.

Oh, and "Drown in My Own Tears" is on a different album also ("Talk to Me"), but this too is a live version done with a different band.

This album is 36 minutes long.

01 Dealing with the Devil (Darrel Higham with Imelda May)
02 Stop Whistlin' Wolf (Darrel Higham with Imelda May)
03 Let the Good Times Roll (Mike Sanchez & Imelda May)
04 Voodoo Voodoo (Mike Sanchez & Imelda May)
05 I'll Go Crazy (Mike Sanchez & Imelda May)
06 If I Can't Have You (Mike Sanchez & Imelda May)
07 Matchbox (Mike Sanchez & Imelda May)
08 Easy Easy (Mike Sanchez & Imelda May)
09 My Man (Mike Sanchez & Imelda May)
10 Drown in My Own Tears (Mike Sanchez & Imelda May)
11 Temptation (Darrel Higham with Imelda May)
12 Do What I Want to Do (Imelda May)

This cover is based on a photo from the early 2000s.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Van Morrison - Not Working for You - Non-Album Tracks (1975-1976)

Before I say anything else, if you've downloaded the last Van Morrison album I've posted, "Mechanical Bliss," please downloaded it again, because I've added another song to it. The reason is because right as I was about to post this album, I randomly stumbled upon another song for it which I never knew even existed - "Oh, Didn't He Ramble." (Morrison does all the vocals for it, and it dates to 1976, but it actually appears on a 2011 anthology album by Chris Barber.) This addition made this album over 50 minutes long, and the previous one was just over 40 minutes long, so I moved one song ("John Henry") to make both albums within the reasonable album length limits of the time.

Anyway, with this album, we're finally getting to the end of an era, from about 1968 to 1976, in which Van Morrison pretty much had an unreleased album's worth of quality material for every single year! I do have one more stray tracks album from 1977 to post, but it's entirely made of cover versions. After that, I only have one more stray tracks album covering the late 1970s and early 1980s.

I read that Bob Dylan claimed that up until about the start of 1968, new songs came to him easily and often, but ever since then he's had to put a lot of mental effort into writing a new song. I think we can surmise that something similar happened to Morrison around 1975, since there's a noticeable drop in both the quantity and quality of his songwriting right after that, in my opinion. (Only two of the songs here actually date from 1976, and both of them are covers.) Of course, he still had lots of great music to make after 1976, but it was usually more hit and miss. From 1967 to 1975, he must have had one of the greatest songwriting runs of any musician, ever!

For the album title, I once again stole one of the titles he was considering at the time, but never used. It's close to the title of the first song here. Plus, it's a reflection of his longstanding antagonism towards his record companies. I think it's a safe bet that he's written more songs about feeling ripped off by his corporate overlords than any other major musician.

By the way, the last song here, "Tura Lura Lural," is a traditional Irish song he did for "The Last Waltz" in 1976. But the version that made that album is a live one, and this is a much less well known (but still excellent) rehearsal version.

01 I'm Not Working for You (Van Morrison)
02 Western Plain (Van Morrison)
03 Feedback on Highway 101 (Van Morrison)
04 Come On Out Child (Van Morrison)
05 Oh Didn't He Ramble (Van Morrison with Chris Barber & Dr. John)
06 Down to Earth (Van Morrison)
07 It Hurts to Want It So Bad (Van Morrison)
08 You Move Me (Van Morrison)
09 Tura Lura Lural [That's an Irish Lullaby] (Van Morrison & the Band)

The photo on the cover comes from the Last Waltz concert in 1976.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Looking Forward - Alternate Version (1999)

I remember when "Looking Forward" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young came out in 1999. I'd been very hopeful that CSNY would put out something great, and I was disappointed by what actually came out. In retrospect, it isn't a bad album, it's just that it couldn't live up to the standards set by earlier works such as the "Deja Vu" album.

Taken one by one, the songs were actually pretty good, but something seemed off. I think the production was one big problem. It wasn't outright bad, like the production on some earlier CSN albums, but there was something off about the sound. Maybe it was too slick and digital. The backing vocals in particular were odd. They sounded massed and processed, so one couldn't make out the interaction of the individual voices.

I've done two things to fix the problems of the original album. First off, I've changed some of the songs on it. Actually, I like nearly all of the songs. However, CSNY in its various permutations recorded some songs in the late 1990s that deserved to be on the album. For example, in 1998, CSN released "Half Your Angels," but only for free through their website. The CSNY song "Climber" only came out on the David Crosby compilation "Voyage." So I've included a total of six songs not originally on the album. To make room, I'm bumped five of the original songs onto my next CSNY album, which I imagine could have come out in 2002.

Secondly, I tried to address the production problems. Luckily, in 2000, CSNY went on tour and played all but three of the songs from the album. Also luckily, a high quality soundboard bootleg exists of one of the concerts. I've used that to replace all the songs I could, while also removing all the audience noise. This results in more of a rough, "warts and all" sound, but I much prefer that to the overproduction, and especially over whatever weird thing they did with the massed backing vocals.

I wouldn't say this is a great replacement for the original "Looking Forward," since five of the songs from it are on the 2002 album I've made, and they're some of the better songs. Instead, hopefully you'll listen to that one too once I post it, and judge what CSNY was doing around the turn of the millennium as a whole.

By the way, there are only three songs here that are the exact performances on the original album: "No Tears Left," "Queen of Them All," and "Sanibel." I did find a live version of "No Tears Left," but it was only performed rarely in concert, and the sound on the bootlegged version is merely okay, so I stuck with the original,

01 Looking Forward (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
02 Wounded World (Stephen Stills with Graham Nash)
03 Climber (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
04 Half Your Angels (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
05 Acadienne (Stephen Stills with Graham Nash)
06 Slowpoke (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
07 Time Is the Final Currency (Crosby & Nash)
08 No Tears Left (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
09 Out of Control (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
10 Morrison (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
11 Someday Soon (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
12 Queen of Them All (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
13 Sanibel (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)

The cover art comes from a press conference in 1999 to promote the new album.

Tracy Chapman - Where the Soul Never Dies - Non-Album Tracks (1988-1991)

In 1988, Tracy Chapman released one of the most remarkable debut albums of all time, simply titled "Tracy Chapman." It went on to sell nearly 20 million copies. Wouldn't it be great if she'd done another album just like that, which hasn't been made public until now?

Well, that's kind of the case with this album. It turns out that Chapman actually wrote many songs prior to her first album, and just about all of them have remained unreleased. I remember some years ago, when I was putting this album together, lists of dozens of her songs from before 1988, nearly all of which have never even been bootlegged. Hopefully, someday she'll be willing to share what she has in her private archives. In the meantime, luckily, there are an album's worth of songs that have been bootlegged, and even more luckily, nearly all of them were recorded in very high quality.

Are these songs as good as the ones on her debut album? Unfortunately, no. But still, I prefer these over the songs on most of her later albums. Eight of the songs here are Chapman originals. The rest are generally covers of all-time classics ("Imagine," "A Change Is Gonna Come," "Amazing Grace") or lesser known covers ("Where the Soul Never Dies" and "Troubles, Troubles, Troubles"). I included her song "Give Me One Reason," which would become a big hit for her in 1995, because this song is done in solo acoustic style.

Unfortunately, for one song, "When We Talk," I could only find a version with middling sound quality. So I've added that as a bonus track at the end.

01 Where the Soul Never Dies (Natalie Merchant & Tracy Chapman)
02 No Time (Tracy Chapman)
03 Why You Do Me Wrong (Tracy Chapman)
04 Be My Baby (Tracy Chapman)
05 Sweet One (Tracy Chapman)
06 Troubles, Troubles, Troubles [Leaving Blues] (Tracy Chapman)
07 Give Me One Reason (Tracy Chapman)
08 What Child Is This (Tracy Chapman)
09 A Change Is Gonna Come (Tracy Chapman)
10 Missile Blues (Tracy Chapman)
11 Still I Cry (Tracy Chapman)
12 Imagine (Tracy Chapman)
13 Amazing Grace (Tracy Chapman)

When We Talk (Tracy Chapman)

For the album cover, I used the cover to the "Talkin' 'bout a Revolution" single, and changed the text.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Indigo Girls - Heartache Central Time - Various Cover Versions (1982-1987)

A couple of days ago, I posted an album containing the best Indigo Girls original songs from 1982 to 1987, the years before they hit it big. This album spans those exact same years, except all the song are cover versions. And, like that other album, all the songs are performed acoustically.

The two Indigo Girls Emily Saliers and Amy Ray are excellent singers and harmonizers, and I love Emily's tasteful lead guitar work. So it's no surprise that their cover versions are always excellent. The problem I had with making this album is audio quality. Neither this nor the other album I've posted would have been remotely possible had it not been for the website, which is an incredible repository of Indigo Girls music, all free for download. But even with that site, there are only a limited number of bootlegs from before the duo hit it big in 1989, and nearly all of them are middling audience concert recordings.

The first five songs here come from a homemade cassette called "Tuesday's Children" the Indigo Girls made back in 1982, when they were still in high school. It's basically an entire album of cover songs, with only two originals. However, the sound quality is merely good, not excellent, and the duo was still growing into their musical talent, so I only picked what I considered the best performances. I also tried to pick lesser known songs. The covers I left behind are: "Carolina on My Mind," "Her Town Too," "Rock Me on the Water," "Father and Son," "Come Down in Time," "It's Too Late," "You've Got a Friend," and "A Heart in New York." IF you like the music on this album and want more along similar lines, then consider getting the rest of that album from the Lifeblood website.

The rest of the songs here are from concert bootlegs. Luckily, there were a couple of early concerts recorded in soundboard quality, incredibly enough, and i used those as much as I could. I would have been able to make this a double album of covers, except there were many songs I had to let go because the only recordings of them were dodgy sounding audience bootlegs.

However, from time to time, I got lucky. A few of the songs here, such as "Girls Talk," "Love the One You're With," and "Drift Away" do come from dodgy sounding bootlegs, but for whatever reason, on those particular songs the sound quality was better. For instance with "Girls Talk," that particular bootleg was marred by a constant murmur of people talking over the music, but that talking pretty much disappeared for the duration of that one song. Perhaps it was a case that the more lively strummed songs quieted the crowd some, and also ended up being recorded better than the more quiet, fingerpicking-styled songs.

Ultimately, the sound quality here is variable, but in my opinion, what I included is all very listenable. And all of it is unreleased, or very nearly so ("Finlandia" is from a 1985 EP that quickly went out of print). Covers of "Finlandia" and "All Along the Watchtower" have been released by the Indigo Girls, but those are different versions, performed years later.

01 The House at Pooh Corner (Indigo Girls)
02 Danny's Song (Indigo Girls)
03 Junkie's Lament (Indigo Girls)
04 Dancing Shoes (Indigo Girls)
05 Long Ago and Far Away (Indigo Girls)
06 Finlandia (Indigo Girls)
07 Drift Away (Indigo Girls)
08 The Weakness in Me (Indigo Girls)
09 Malachy's (Indigo Girls)
10 Girls Talk (Indigo Girls)
11 Heartache Central Time (Indigo Girls)
12 Love the One You're With (Indigo Girls)
13 Killing Time (Indigo Girls)
14 All Along the Watchtower (Indigo Girls)

I've had a heck of a time finding good Indigo Girls photos for cover art. But I finally found a keeper. This one dates all the way back to 1982, back when they were briefly known as the "B" Band. The original was in black and white, but I colorized it.

Van Morrison - Mechanical Bliss - Non-Album Tracks (1974-1975)

As far as "lost" Van Morrison albums go, "Mechanical Bliss" is by far the most famous. This is puzzling to me, because if you've been following what I've been posting on this blog, Morrison left entire albums' worth of songs all through the 1970s. There are a number of album titles bandied about, and "Mechanical Bliss" is just one. There hasn't been any fixed song list for such an album, so various reconstructions are just wild guesses.

Maybe it's that there was specific cover art that was made - which is the cover I'm using here. Since the cover was never used, Steely Dan bought the artwork and used it for their "Royal Scam" album.

Or maybe it's just that Morrison had put out an album a year since the start of his solo career, but in 1975 he didn't put out an album at all. Then he didn't put one out in 1976 either. So there must have been a lot of scuttlebutt at the time wondering what he was doing, or not doing.

IF there was a credible album song list from another this time, I would use it. But since there isn't, I'm just continuing what I'm doing, which is sorting songs by the year they were recorded. This album contains four songs from 1974 and five songs from 1975. I've got many more songs from 1975 which will go on the next album.

Had this album come out in 1975, or one along these lines, I'm sure it would have done as well as his other 1970s albums. In particular, the song "Naked in the Jungle" is great, and should have been a hit.

01 Naked in the Jungle (Van Morrison)
02 Mechanical Bliss (Van Morrison)
03 Harmonica Boogie [Instrumental] (Van Morrison)
04 John Henry (Van Morrison)
05 When I Deliver (Van Morrison)
06 Tell Me (Van Morrison)
07 I Have Finally Come to Realise (Van Morrison)
08 The Street Only Knew Your Name (Van Morrison)
09 Joyous Sound [First Version] (Van Morrison)
10 Buffy Flow [Instrumental] (Van Morrison)

Thanks to Peter at the Albums I Wish Existed blog, who pointed out that the Mechanical Bliss cover differs somewhat from the Steely Dan version, in that the Steely Dan one added a man sleeping on a bench at the bottom. I have replaced the cover with the more accurate one.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Los Lobos - And a Time to Dance (1982-1984)

I consider Los Lobos a great band, and I plan on posting a bunch of albums from them. I'm going to start near the beginning of their career and go forward chronologically, as I usually do.

In 1978, Los Lobos put out an all Spanish language album. But I don't see any reason to tinker with that. So we go forward to their next major release, an EP in 1983 called "....And a Time to Dance." I've used that as the core of this album. But that EP is short, only 16 minutes long if one removes "Come On, Let's Go," the song that is repeated on their 1987 soundtrack album "La Bamba." I do remove that, because I try hard to avoid repetition.

So my goal here was to find enough worthy music from the time to stretch the EP into a full-length album. I did so by grabbing one song from 1982, another song from 1983, and four songs from 1984. The songs come from a variety of sources, but all are of high audio quality - the two from live bootlegs are based on excellent soundboards. Just as importantly, the musical quality is solid too.

As it so happens, I pretty much doubled the length of music here, from 16 to 34 minutes. If I found  more quality songs, I would have added more, but these are all the good ones I found from those years.

By the way, I changed the title slightly. The EP begins with three dots. I dropped the dots, to indicate this is something different, and also because I think it's awkward beginning an album title with that kind of punctuation.

Also, here's an interesting anecdote I came up with while researching songs for this album. The members of Los Lobos were so poor in 1983, then when they had some success with their EP that year, they used the money to buy a van, which enabled them to go on tour to other towns for the first time. How different it would be just a few years later, when they'd have a number one hit!

01 Let's Say Goodnight (Los Lobos)
02 Walking Song (Los Lobos)
03 Anselma (Los Lobos)
04 How Much Can I Do (Los Lobos)
05 Why Do You Do (Los Lobos)
06 Ay Te Dejo en San Antonio (Los Lobos)
07 Diablo Con Vestido [Devil with the Blue Dress On] (Los Lobos)
08 I'm Sorry (Los Lobos)
09 We're Gonna Rock (Los Lobos)
10 Soul Twist [Instrumental] (Los Lobos)
11 300 Pounds of Heavenly Joy (Los Lobos)
12 Sleep Walk [Instrumental] (Los Lobos)

The cover art is the exact cover for the "And a Time to Dance" EP.

The White Stripes - Let's Shake Hands - Non-Album Tracks (1997-2000)

A couple of weeks ago, someone posted a comment here suggesting that I gather up all the early stray tracks by the White Stripes. To be honest, there aren't a lot of rock bands from the last 20 years or so that interest me as much as those from the 1960s to 1980s. But I definitely consider the White Stripes worthy. So this is the first of several albums from them.

The songs here actually start before the White Stripes even existed. The first three songs are by a duo called the Upholsterers, made up of future White Stripes frontman Jack White and Brian Muldoon of the band Muldoons. They only released three songs, which came out in 2000, but actually were recorded in 1997. But don't worry, these songs sound exactly like early White Stripes songs.

The other songs here are mostly A- and B-sides. But I was very careful to make sure there was no overlap between any of these songs and the songs on the official White Stripes albums. I also did a deep dive and found a couple other interesting songs, such as a live version of the classic soul tune "Love Potion No. 9" recorded at the White Stripes' very first public performance.

There are 17 songs here, which normally would be a lot, but they're all pretty short, so this only totals 39 minutes of music.

01 Apple of My Eye (Upholsterers)
02 I Ain't Superstitious (Upholsterers)
03 Pain [Give Me Sympathy] (Upholsterers)
04 Love Potion No. 9 (White Stripes)
05 Signed D.C. (White Stripes)
06 I've Been Loving You Too Long (White Stripes)
07 Let's Shake Hands (White Stripes)
08 Look Me Over Closely (White Stripes)
09 Lafayette Blues (White Stripes)
10 Candy Cane Children (White Stripes)
11 Hand Springs (White Stripes)
12 Red Bowling Ball Ruth (White Stripes)
13 Jolene (White Stripes)
14 Lord, Send Me an Angel (White Stripes)
15 Party of Special Things to Do (White Stripes)
16 Ashtray Heart (White Stripes)
17 China Pig (White Stripes)

Thanks to The Lifehouse for the cover art.

Led Zeppelin - Lighter than Air - Non-Album Tracks (1971-1973)

It's strange how things work out sometimes. This is the fourth stray tracks Led Zeppelin album I've made. The first three all had a majority of original songs. But this one is almost entirely make up of cover versions, generally of classic 1950s rock and roll songs. Since I've ordered these chronologically, I can't take credit for giving this thematic unity. I guess the band was just really into 1950s music in this time period, because the number of such covers goes way down after this.

As far as I can tell, the only originals here are "Walter's Walk," the instrumental "Lighter than Air," and "Sugar Baby," which I guess is also known as "Strawberry Jam." The other songs generally come from live concerts, where I removed the audience noise to make them sound like studio tracks.

Four of the songs actually come from the official live album "How the West Was Won," although that isn't obvious at first, because they're not on the song list. That's because they're all from a  25-minute long "Dazed and Confused." Most of that isn't "Dazed and Confused" at all, because of these four fully formed songs inside it - "Boogie Chillun," "Let's Have a Party," "Hello Mary Lou," and a "Going Down Slow" that's almost nine minutes long.

That last five songs come from a 1973 soundcheck in Chicago, where Led Zeppelin played a bunch of cover songs for over an hour, most of which they never played before or since. It's actually not as good as it sounds, because for some of the songs they clearly were bluffing their way through songs they didn't really know, and it showed. Sometimes, the song would stumble along and then break down before getting to the end. So I left a few of these songs behind, such as covers of "Nadine," "Reelin' and Rockin'" and "Down the Line."

The band did some other covers during this time that I didn't include due to the poor sound quality of the recordings or just because they weren't very good. Examples include "Weekend," "For What It's Worth," and "Louie, Louie." Due to my quality control, what one is left with is mostly Led Zeppelin at the height of their musical powers acting much like a 1950's covers band!

01 My Baby Left Me (Led Zeppelin)
02 A Mess of Blues (Led Zeppelin)
03 Lighter than Air [Instrumental] (Led Zeppelin)
04 Boogie Chillun (Led Zeppelin)
05 Let's Have a Party (Led Zeppelin)
06 Hello Mary Lou (Led Zeppelin)
07 Going Down Slow (Led Zeppelin)
08 Walter's Walk (Led Zeppelin)
09 School Days (Led Zeppelin)
10 Shakin' All Over (Led Zeppelin)
11 Move On Down the Line (Led Zeppelin)
12 Please Don't Tease (Led Zeppelin)
13 Sugar Baby [Strawberry Jam] (Led Zeppelin)

Thanks to The Lifehouse for making the cover art.

Robyn Hitchcock - You and Oblivion - Alternate Version (1985-1987)

Here's the other 1987 Robyn Hitchcock album I've made (though many of the songs on it date from 1985 or 1986).

I call it "You and Oblivion" because all but one of the songs come from his 1995 archival album by that name. That album had 22 songs on it, all from 1981 to 1987. I used up most of those songs on earlier stray tracks albums, as I tried to put his songs into a better chronological order. I was left with this bunch all from 1987 or thereabouts.

Confusingly, this album does not include the song "You and Oblivion." But then again, neither does Hitchcock's 1995 album that also uses that name. Instead, that song came out on "Moss Elixir" in 1996.

Also confusingly, I have one song on here that doesn't come from his "You and Oblivion" album, yet I put one song from that album on the 1987 "Poisonous Angel" album I just posted. The reason for that is because that song, "Mr. Rock 'n' Roll," is a rocking song done with a full band. All the songs here are acoustic. So that song would have stuck out like a sore thumb if "d included it here. The song I swapped from the other 1987 collection is also solo acoustic, thus creating a unified acoustic sound for all the songs here.

It's a bit complicated, but the bottom line is one gets the mostly full band "Poisonous Angel" and then this, the all acoustic "You and Oblivion," to finish off what Hitchcock was doing circa 1987.

By the way, this album is a bit short, only 31 minutes long. Oh, and "Polly on the Shore" is a cover. I included it here instead of my covers collections because it's a studio track.

01 If I Could Look (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Vegetable Friend (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 You've Got (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Don't You (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 August Hair (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 The Dust (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Polly on the Shore (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Fiend Before the Shrine (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 September Cones (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Take Your Knife Out of My Back (Robyn Hitchcock)

Since I kept the same name as the official compilation "You and Oblivion," I've used the same cover.

Robyn Hitchcock - Poisonous Angel - Non-Album Tracks (1987)

In 1987, Hitchcock didn't release an album. However, he was so prolific in the 1980s that there's material for two albums from him that year. This is the first one. It's generally a full band effort, though the last few songs are solo acoustic. One song here, "Agony of Pleasure," would also appear on his 1990 album "Eye." But this is the full band version and the "Eye" version is done solo acoustic.

Most of the songs here are from the 2008 archival collection "Bad Case of History." They generally were never played live, never bootlegged, and often had never even been heard of until that collection came out. Who knows how many more songs Hitchcock has that he's never released for one reason or another?

Two other songs were also officially released. That leaves just "Donna Summer" and "The Angel Upstairs" as unreleased ones. Both come from concert bootlegs.

01 Agony of Pleasure [Band Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Live Man Die (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Furry Baby (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Bad Case of History (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Poisonous Angel (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Hanging Out with Dad (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Mr. Rock 'n' Roll (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 The Ghost Ship (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Evil Guy (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Donna Summer (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 The Angel Upstairs (Robyn Hitchcock)

I made the cover art out of the cover art for the 1987 single "Balloon Man." All I did was change the text.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Indigo Girls - Lifeblood - Non-Album Tracks (1982-1987)

Once upon a time, the Indigo Girls were a very popular and critically acclaimed musical duo. Their mainstream debut album "Indigo Girls" sold a couple million copies, for instance. Their musical journey as a duo continues, but since the end of the 1990s, their popularity has gone down a lot. Unfortunately, I think that's because their first few albums were solid all the way through, with some really classic songs, whereas their more recent albums have been more hit and miss affairs.

That said, I'm still very fond of their music, and I'm going to use this blog especially to highlight their peak time in the 1980s and 1990s.

The music on this album goes back to their earliest years. When their mainstream album debut "Indigo Girls" album came out in 1989, it seemed to most people that that was the beginning of their career, but they actually had been playing and singing together since 1981, when they were still in high school. They put out an EP and a single in 1985, and an album, "Strange Fire," in 1987. But these all came out on minor labels, in limited numbers.

The "Strange Fire" album was re-released after their 1989 album hit it big, but their EP and other assorted early releases have remained obscure. Furthermore, it turns out they had a number of good, original songs that never have been officially released in any form. This album gathers up all their quality original songs from the start of their career up to, but not including, the 1987 "Strange Fire" album.

It seems the Indigo Girls have pretty much forgotten about or moved beyond this early part of their career. Only one song here, "Back Together Again," is widely available today, because that was included on the live album "1200 Curfews" (even though it's not a live recording). They put out an archival album called "Rarities" in 2005, and didn't include any of their early originals, so chances are these songs will never been officially released. That's a shame, because I think this album, and the 1987 "Strange Fire" album, are quite solid. Frankly, I'd rather listen to this early stuff than most of what they've put out in the last 20 or so years.

I was careful not to include any cover versions in this album, because they did many covers in the early part of their career, and I've made another album just of covers that covers the same time period. That'll be posted here soon.

By the way, these songs represent the best of their early original songs. There are even more songs I didn't include. For instance, Indigo Girl Amy Ray made an entire album's worth of original songs in 1982, but I didn't find any of them worthy of inclusion here. It took a few years before they mastered the art of songwriting, which is not surprising for anyone.

Some songs also weren't included due to sound quality issues. Generally speaking, I think these all have good to excellent audio quality, even though more than half of them are unreleased and sourced from concert bootlegs.

Also, by the way, as I mentioned above, I've avoided including any songs from the 1987 "Strange Fire" album, since you should own that album if you're an Indigo Girls fan. However, there's one song, "High Hopes," that only appeared on an early version of that album (before they hit it big and the album got rereleased). So I've included that here as a bonus track.

01 Back Together Again (Indigo Girls)
02 Everybody's Waiting [For Someone to Come Home] (Indigo Girls)
03 Lifeblood (Indigo Girls)
04 Never Stop (Indigo Girls)
05 If You Live like That (Indigo Girls)
06 Holy City (Indigo Girls)
07 Peace Song (Indigo Girls)
08 The Untitled Song (Indigo Girls)
09 Running from the Cold (Indigo Girls)
10 I Don't Know Your Name (Indigo Girls)
11 Emily's Song [Instrumental] (Indigo Girls)
12 Don't Give Up on Me, Baby (Indigo Girls)

I had a very hard time finding early photos of the Indigo Girls to use for an album cover. This cover is based on the 1985 "Crazy Game" single, so at least I know it's from the right time period. I added the blue blob and text at the bottom.

The Kinks - Artificial Light - Non-Album Tracks (1977-1978)

The Kinks had a ton of songs around 1977 that didn't make any album. The band regularly released one album a year for all of the entire 1970s, but they didn't release any album in 1976, so it makes sense they would have two albums' worth of songs in 1977.

The highlight of the album has to be the 1977 A- and B-sides "Father Christmas" and "Prince of the Punks." There also are some bonus tracks from the 1977 "Sleepwalker" album, plus one song ("Elevator Man") that was released on an obscure 1994 EP but actually dates from 1977. Two songs, written and sung by Dave Davies, comes from the archival album "Decade." There's one more Dave Davies demo, "Violet Dreams," which was released on the 2016 archival album "Fragile."

There actually still are a bunch of Kinks songs from this time that continue to be unreleased and unbootlegged, such as "Child Bride," "Power of Gold," "Stagefright," "Restless," "Back to 64 - Decade" (which is NOT on the new "Decade" album), "Lazy Day," "Everything Is Alright," and "One Woman Man." So eventually there may be another album's worth of stray tracks, if and when all those songs become public.

This album is 38 minutes long.

01 Father Christmas (Kinks)
02 Prince of the Punks (Kinks)
03 Violet Dreams (Dave Davies)
04 Artificial Light (Kinks)
05 Elevator Man (Kinks)
06 Same Old Blues (Dave Davies)
07 The Poseur (Kinks)
08 On the Outside (Kinks)
09 Give You All My Love (Dave Davies)
10 Islands (Dave Davies)

The cover is from a bootleg. I changed the title text.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Tracy Chapman - Acoustic Demos (1986-1988)

I try not to let mention my political opinions on this music blog, but sometimes I can't help myself. Today, with the disappointment of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation vote in Washington, I find myself drawn to listening to Tracy Chapman and her strident calls for truth and justice.

Chapman burst onto the musical world in 1988, with her debut album eventually selling nearly 20 million copies. For a long time, pristine acoustic demos of five Chapman songs have been floating around the Internet. The demos are of unknown origin, but they appear to date from 1986. I also found one more acoustic demo from 1986, apparently from a very obscure compilation album.

Those six songs make up a nice listen, but one that's only about 20 minutes long. I couldn't find any other early demos. However, I did know of two 1988 solo acoustic concert bootlegs that have such great sound that you could practically hear a pin drop. So I edited some songs from those shows by removing the audience noise, to make it seem they were more demos. And when I mean edit, I really mean edit. I aggressively removed every shriek and clap I could find, even in the middle of songs, by patching in bits from other parts of the songs.

I'm very happy with the results. I think a listener wouldn't be able to tell that some of these are studio demos and others are from a concert bootleg, because they all have the same excellent crowd-free sound quality. But give it a listen and decide for yourself.

This album contains every song from her 1988 debut album, "Tracy Chapman," except for one (the vocals-only "Behind the Wall") as well as four songs from her second album, "Crossroads." Both albums have fairly minimalistic arrangements on them, for the most part, but still, it's interesting to hear these songs done with just Chapman's unique voice and her acoustic guitar.

Note that I have some still officially unreleased songs from this time period, but I didn't put them on this album. That's because my next Chapman post will be an album just of early unreleased songs.

01 Baby Can I Hold You (Tracy Chapman)
02 Talkin' 'bout a Revolution (Tracy Chapman)
03 This Time (Tracy Chapman)
04 Mountains O' Things (Tracy Chapman)
05 For You (Tracy Chapman)
06 For My Lover (Tracy Chapman)
07 Material World (Tracy Chapman)
08 Across the Lines (Tracy Chapman)
09 Fast Car (Tracy Chapman)
10 She's Got Her Ticket (Tracy Chapman)
11 Born to Fight (Tracy Chapman)
12 Why (Tracy Chapman)
13 If Not Now... (Tracy Chapman)
14 All That You Have Is Your Soul (Tracy Chapman)

I'm still not back in album cover making mode yet. However, I knew of a photo of Chapman busking in Harvard Square, Boston, in 1985, and I couldn't resist using it here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Beach Boys - Awake - Non-Album Tracks (1971-1973)

While I'm on a Beach Boys kick, here's one more stray tracks collection. This one covers 1971 to 1973.

Most of the "lost" Beach Boys album reconstructions I've seen focus on 1969 and 1970, since there are lots of non-album songs from that time. It turns out there are a bunch of songs from 1971 to 1973 as well, but while the earlier songs are nearly all officially released from box sets and such, most of the songs from this album are still unreleased. But I was selective, and in my opinion, the music on this is just as solid as on the previous two stray tracks albums I posted, if not better.

A couple of songs here need some explanation. In 1970, a South African rock group known as "The Flame" (or "The Flames") released an album produced by Beach Boy Carl Wilson on the new Beach Boys owned record company, Brother Records. The Beach Boys liked this group so much that two of its members, Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin, joined the Beach Boys in 1972. Also in 1972, the Beach Boys played one of the songs from that 1970 Flame album, "Don't Worry, Bill." The song was done in concert as part of a medley with the song "Wonderful." I've extracted "Don't Worry, Bill" from the medley so the song can be appreciated on its own.

"TM" is a song from an album by jazz saxaphonist Charles Lloyd about transcendental mediation. Technically, it's not a Beach Boys song, but it sure sounds like one to me, because most of the singing is done by Beach Boys Mike Love, Carl Wilson, and Al Jardine. There are a few other Lloyd songs from this time period with a lot of the Beach Boys on them, such as "How Sweet" and "All Life Is One," but I didn't consider those strong enough for inclusion here, especially because Lloyd has prominent lead vocals on them.

By the way, the last song on this album, "Carry Me Home," is especially strong. It was written and sung by Dennis Wilson, who often had good songs that were ignored and unreleased by the Beach Boys in the 1970s. Apparently the only reason it hasn't been officially released is because he openly sings about his fear of dying, and he died in 1982.

Even though I consider 1973 to be the end of the "golden era" of the Beach Boys, from 1966 to 1973, I still have a lot more of their stuff to post, starting with stray tracks from 1974 and 1975. But I'm going to switch my attention to some other bands for a while.

01 Fourth of July (Beach Boys)
02 [Wouldn't It Be Nice To] Live Again (Beach Boys)
03 Awake (Brian Wilson)
04 Won't You Tell Me (Beach Boys)
05 I've Got a Friend (Beach Boys)
06 Ten Years of Harmony (Beach Boys)
07 Don't Worry, Bill (Beach Boys)
08 Out in the Country [Demo] (Beach Boys)
09 TM (Charles Lloyd & the Beach Boys)
10 We Got Love (Beach Boys)
11 Hard Times (Beach Boys)
12 Carry Me Home (Beach Boys)

I'm still not in a position to make more album covers. But I'd stumbled across some cover art by someone named jiggy22, and all I had to do was change the title.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Beach Boys - Reverberation - Non-Album Tracks (1970)

I recently posted an album of Beach Boys stray tracks from 1967 to 1969. This is the next album in a series, covering 1970.

My method is the same as in the last album. Namely, I'm not trying to replicate any of the "lost" Beach Boys albums, even though I'm using the name of one of them, for a lack of any better name. If you're interested in those lost albums, you can start by checking the Wikipedia page for the Beach Boys album "Sunflower." It shows how that album was first known as "Sun Flower," then "Add Some Music," then "The Fading Rock Group Revival," then "Reverberation," then "Sunflower" again (but without the space between the "sun" and the "flower.") There are some tentative song lists there as well.

Instead of that, I'm just pulling together all of the non-album tracks from 1970. It was a very fruitful year for the group. "Sunflower," which was released in 1970, has 12 songs on it. This album I've created which I call "Reverberation" also has 12 songs on it. Personally, I think it's just as strong of an album.

Most of the songs on it came out on later archival releases, such as the "Good Vibrations" and "Made in California" box sets. But two of the songs are still officially unreleased. To be, it really is a mystery why so many of these songs stayed in the vaults for so long. Personally, I think the band peaked from about 1966 to 1973. That puts 1970 right in the middle of that peak

However, not every song was good, in my opinion, so there were a few I left off. For instance, in 1970, Brian Wilson made a demo of a Halloween novelty song called "My Solution." Some people like it, but I don't. There were a few others like that I thought were marginal and left off. What remains makes up a solid album, in my book, that's 40 minutes long.

I've also included a bonus track, which is a 1970 version of "Big Sur," a song that eventually was released on 1973's "Holland" album. I've included it both because this version is significantly different from the 1973 version and also because this early version is still officially unreleased. It's only a bonus track though, since it's not totally different from the other version.

UPDATE: On March 8, 2019, I updated the mp3 download zip and the song list with four more songs. The reason for that is that some more music was officially released at the end of 2018, but obscurely, mainly for the record company to maintain copyright rights.

01 We're Together Again (Beach Boys)
02 Walkin' (Beach Boys)
03 Walk On By [Edit] (Beach Boys)
04 Passing By [Vocals Version] (Beach Boys)
05 Susie Cincinnati (Beach Boys)
06 Games Two Can Play (Beach Boys)
07 Barbara (Beach Boys)
08 I Just Got My Pay (Beach Boys)
09 Fallin' in Love [Lady] (Beach Boys)
10 Back Home (Beach Boys)
11 Sweet and Bitter (Beach Boys)
12 Loop De Loop [Sail Plane Song] (Beach Boys)
13 Cotton Fields [The Cotton Song] [Single Version] (Beach Boys)
14 H.E.L.P. Is on the Way (Beach Boys)
15 It's a New Day (Beach Boys)
16 Sound of Free (Beach Boys)

Big Sur [Early Version] (Beach Boys)

I found the cover at an Internet forum, made by someone named Picassoson.