Friday, November 30, 2018

The Kinks - God's Children - Non-Album Tracks (1970-1971)

Here's is another stray tracks album from the Kinks. It's from the tail end of what I consider their late 1960s golden age. The quality is still high here.

Some of this album comes from bonus tracks to various versions of the Kinks albums "Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One" and "Muswell Hillbillies," plus a couple of other songs. But about half of it consists of the songs from the "Percy" soundtrack - the ones with vocals. The Kinks put out an entire album for the "Percy" movie, but it was short to begin with (33 minutes) and half of it consisted of very forgettable instrumentals that could have been done by anyone for any incidental movie music. However, the songs with vocals are up to the usual high standards of Kinks songs from this era.

All in all, I think this is a very solid album, and better than many of the official albums that would follow in the 1970s.

This album is 43 minutes long.

01 The Good Life (Kinks)
02 Anytime (Kinks)
03 Marathon (Kinks)
04 If You Are Leaving (Dave Davies)
05 God's Children (Kinks)
06 The Way Love Used to Be (Kinks)
07 Moments (Kinks)
08 Animals in the Zoo (Kinks)
09 Dreams (Kinks)
10 Willesden Green (Kinks)
11 Mountain Woman (Kinks)
12 Lavender Lane (Kinks)
13 Kentucky Moon (Kinks)
14 Nobody's Fool (Kinks)

Thanks to Peter from his Albums I Wish Existed blog for the cover. It's the cover of the Percy soundtrack with the text changed.

Los Lobos - Till the Hands Fall Off the Clock - Non-Album Tracks (1988-1992)

I've got a lot of Los Lobos stray tracks albums to post. They've been very prolific. This album covers 1988 to 1992. It's one of my favorites, because I think the band peaked in the second half of the 1980s through most of the 1990s.

Los Lobos has a history of doing a lot of songs for tribute albums and movie soundtracks. Sometimes, they've performed great originals for such projects, like the song "Beautiful Maria of My Soul" here. But more often, they've done originals. They have an unusually wide range of material they can do justice to, from traditional songs sung in Spanish to 1950s-based roots rock to soul music to long guitar solo jams on classic rock songs. This album has all that and more. They even do a swing song from an old Disney movie.

About half of the songs here come from concerts, with four of the songs coming from live bootlegs. But don't worry, because Los Lobos has long had a policy of giving bootleggers permission to do their thing, so they are all drawn from high quality soundboard recordings.

 Los Lobos played "This Land Is Your Land" with Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead in 1989. It's rather strange in that they performed this in a stadium parking lot with no crowd, and then had the performance played on ABC's evening news broadcast that evening. But it was never officially released.

01 I Wanna Be Like You [The Monkey Song] (Los Lobos)
02 Pigfoot Shuffle [Instrumental] (Los Lobos)
03 Till the Hands Fall Off the Clock (Los Lobos)
04 This Land Is Your Land (Los Lobos, Jerry Garcia & Bob Weir)
05 Someday (Los Lobos)
06 Up the Line (Los Lobos)
07 Bertha (Los Lobos)
08 Beautiful Maria of My Soul (Los Lobos)
09 Politician (Los Lobos)
10 La Iguana (Los Lobos)
11 El Zapateado [Instrumental] (Los Lobos)
12 Shotgun (Los Lobos)
13 What's Going On (Los Lobos)

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

George Harrison - Fear of Flying - Song Edit (1980)

I want to say upfront that I didn't have much to do with this. Credit should go to Walrusz for his musicianship here.

In 2014, George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison played a one-minute-long snippet of a song George recorded around 1980 with just his voice and acoustic guitar. It was a cover of a song by Charlie Dore released in 1979, but it sounds pretty much exactly like a Harrison original. I found that snippet and found a way to repeat parts of it and make it about two minutes and twenty seconds long. I posted that here, as part of an album of acoustic Harrison songs:

I had also previously posted an album of Harrison's stray tracks from 1970 and 1971, which I called "Cosmic Empire." Unusually for me, for five of the songs there, I used versions with extra instruments and vocals overdubbed by a fan, named Walrusz. People call this kind of thing an "outfake," and normally I disdain them, but in this one case I included them because they were so well done, with lots of musical talent. They sound exactly like you'd expect a Harrison full band version of these songs would sound like, complete with slide guitar and backing vocals.

Anyway, I don't know Walrusz from Adam, but he found my blog and discovered my edit to "Fear of Flying." He took that and added his overdubbing musical talent to it. In addition to adding in drums and bass and all the rest, he added in a guitar instrumental section in the middle, and extended the outro, making the song over three minutes long. I think it sounds great!

I hope you'll agree. He emailed the mp3 to me, and he's also posted it on YouTube. Here it is:

I think it's pretty remarkable that this has come to exist thanks to a mere one minute snippet of a solo acoustic performance played on the radio one time. Thanks to Walrusz for doing this.

Oh, and if you like his overdubs on this song, make sure to check out the five other Harrison songs he gave the same treatment to on the "Cosmic Empire" album I put together:

Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left - Acoustic Version (1969)

If you're a fan of Nick Drake's music, what do you think of the orchestrations on his first two albums, "Five Leaves Left" and "Bryter Layter?" Personally, sometimes I like them, but sometimes I feel they're a bit much and I wish I could hear those albums without them. I have attempted to do just that: make versions of those albums with all the strings stripped away.

Here's my version "Five Leaves Left." I'll post my version of "Bryter Layter" another time. (There's no need for an acoustic version of "Pink Moon," since it's all-acoustic to begin with.)

I wish it were as simple as finding multitrack versions of these albums and then editing each song to remove the track or tracks with the orchestration. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. There's only been one Drake album released with more than the two stereo tracks. That's a compilation known as "A Treasury," which has a few songs from each of his studio albums. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get editable multitracks from that. If you know of such things, please let me know.

Luckily, someone else did make stripped down mixes of a handful of Drake's songs using the multitracks from that album, and posted them on YouTube. The version of "Fruit Tree" here is one of those. It's exactly the same as the album version, just minus the strings.

The rest of the songs here come from other sources though. They're all alternate versions Drake played with just his voice and guitar (or piano) that were released on "Time of No Reply," "Fruit Tree," or "John Peel Session," plus two versions taken from bootlegs. These performances are sometimes a little different from the album versions, but generally he played and sang his songs very similarly each time. So this is as close as an orchestra-free "Five Leaves Left" as you're likely to get, unless the full multitracks are released for all his songs someday.

Frankly, some songs don't sound that different, because they were pretty close to being all acoustic anyway. But others were heavily produced, such as "'Cello Song," "Way to Blue," or "Man in the Shed," and these versions sound quite different. This version is a full four minutes shorter than the official album, since things like the bongo-based instrumental section at the end of "'Cello Song" aren't included.

I'd be curious to hear from people, if you prefer this version or the orchestral version, or if you like both.

01 Time Has Told Me (Nick Drake)
02 River Man (Nick Drake)
03 Three Hours (Nick Drake)
04 Way to Blue (Nick Drake)
05 Day Is Done (Nick Drake)
06 'Cello Song (Nick Drake)
07 The Thoughts of Mary Jane (Nick Drake)
08 Man in a Shed (Nick Drake)
09 Fruit Tree (Nick Drake)
09 Saturday Sun (Nick Drake)

Regarding the cover, if you remember the artwork for the original album, the back cover prominently features a photo of Drake leaning against a wall while a man quickly walks past him. There were some outtakes from that photo session. I used one of the outtakes to replace the front photo. I otherwise kept the art the same, except I changed the title.

Also, here's another alternate I considered, that I colorized.

Kirsty MacColl - Real - Non-Album Tracks (1983-1984)

Kirsty MacColl put out her first album, "Desperate Characters," in 1981. By 1983, she was ready to put out her second album. It was so close to coming out that it had a name, track listing, and cover art. But the record company balked at the last minute, worried it wouldn't sell enough to be worth their bother.

This is my attempt to recreate that album. I must admit that it's an imperfect attempt though, because it was due to have 12 songs on it, and only nine of them have come to the public either officially or on bootleg. So I filled out the rest of the album with five other songs from 1984. One of them, "A New England," was a hit for her in Britain.

Only one of the songs intended for the album, "Berlin," was released at the time, as an A-side. Four more were released later on compilation albums. The last four, "Germany," "Goodnight Paris," "Lullaby for Ezra," and "Up the Grey Stairs," remain unreleased, but their sound quality is very good, since they are studio versions.

Is it the lost album "Real?" No. But is it up to MacColl's usual high standards? Pretty much. I say "pretty much" because some of the unreleased songs meant for the album apparently were demos and not fully developed. I hope that someday the rest of the album will see the light of day so we can see exactly how the whole thing was supposed to sound

By the way, the songs from "Real" that still haven't become public in some way are: "Bad Dreams," "Man with No Name," "Time."

The last song here, "London Girls," needs some special explanation. The song was written by MacColl as the opening theme song for a short-lived British TV show called "Dream Stuffing." It was never officially released in any form. Like a lot of TV theme songs, it was quite short, in this case less than 40 seconds long. However, I noticed that it ended with a musical snippet that repeated a snippet near the front of the song. So I used that to edit it to repeat itself without a pause in the middle. Even with the repeat, the song is only one minute and twenty seconds long. But now it sounds more like a song to me instead of a snippet.

This album is 54 minutes long.

UPDATE: On January 22, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. Four of the songs intended for the "Real" album, "Germany," "Goodnight Paris," "Lullaby for Ezra," and "Up the Grey Stairs," became public sometime in 2021, and I finally found out about them and added them. That makes this a much more accurate version of "Real." I also moved the song "I Want Out" to the previous stray tracks collection "You Still Believe in Me," because I thought it was intended for "Real" and apparently it was not. I swapped it with "Berlin," which apparently was supposed to be on "Real."

01 Berlin (Kirsty MacColl)
02 Annie (Kirsty MacColl)
03 Germany (Kirsty MacColl)
04 Goodnight Paris (Kirsty MacColl)
05 Sticked and Stoned (Kirsty MacColl)
06 Camel Crossing (Kirsty MacColl)
07 Lullaby for Ezra (Kirsty MacColl)
08 Up the Grey Stairs (Kirsty MacColl)
09 Roman Gardens (Kirsty MacColl)
10 A New England (Kirsty MacColl)
11 Patrick (Kirsty MacColl)
12 I'm Going Out with an Eighty Year Old Millionaire (Kirsty MacColl)
13 Shutting the Doors (Kirsty MacColl)
14 London Girls [Edit] (Kirsty MacColl)

When I first posted this album, I used a cover that I thought was the real cover for the intended album. But I later found out it a fan creation and had no relation to whatever cover may have been planned. Although it's good, it lacks color, so I decided to make my own. This one uses a photo from 1981. I couldn't find any good ones of her from 1983.

Robyn Hitchcock - Another Eye - Non-Album Tracks (1990)

So far, I've typically posted two Robyn Hitchcock albums for each official studio album he put out, one of stray tracks from that time, and one of acoustic versions of the songs from the official album. But his 1990 album "Eye" was all acoustic, so an acoustic version of that would be pointless. Still, I was able to come up with a stray tracks album from that time.

"Eye" is one of my favorite Hitchcock albums. So I'm not surprised the songs from that time are similar and also good. The first nine here are from various bonus tracks and archival releases. Then there are three unreleased songs done live in concert (with the crowd noise stripped away, as usual). A couple of those are a bit rough in terms of sound quality, coming from audience bootlegs. If you don't think any of them are up to snuff, just delete them and you'll still have a nice album.

The last song I took from "Eye" itself. In my music collection, I remove it from the "Eye" track listing and put it here instead. That's because "Eye" has two versions of the song "Queen Elvis," one called "Queen Elvis" and the other called "Queen Elvis II," but to my ears they sound pretty much exactly the same. I don't see the point of having both on one album, especially since it's already an hour long without it. I find I can appreciate "Queen Elvis II" here much better.

Unlike some other Hitchcock stray track albums, I don't have an alternate, almost-used title for the album title. I went with "Another Eye" in part, because that's literally true, it's like another "Eye" album, but also in part because I thought I could have fun making a cover with a giant eyeball on it. Which I did. ;)

01 Century (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Shimmering Distant Love (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Lovers Turn to Skulls (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 She Reached for a Light (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 The Beauty of Earl's Court (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 I Wanna Go Backwards (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Lightplug (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Toadboy (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Lovely Golden Villains (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Snow Strike (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 It Should Be Darker (Robyn Hitchcock)
12 Love Is What [Frightens You the Most] (Robyn Hitchcock)
13 Queen Elvis II (Robyn Hitchcock)

For the album cover art, I found a picture of a giant floating eye. Then I found another picture for the background, and merged the two together. Sorry I don't know the name of the artist who did the eye.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Evie Sands - The Best of Evie Sands (1965-1974)

For the most part, I've been posting stray tracks collections from well known artists. However, there's another bunch of albums I could post, which are best of collections from lesser known artists. Some artists have been underappreciated, and often have never had a decent official best of album (if they even had one at all). If there's interest, I could post more albums of this type.

Here's a good example. As far as I know, there never have been any sort of best of representing Evie Sands whatsoever. And that's a real shame, because in a better world, Sands should have been a big star. Looking at the album cover here, it's plain to see that she was gorgeous, and she had a great voice, plus charisma. But making it big in the music business requires some amount of luck, and she never got a lucky break.

You can read about her career in Wikipedia here:

But the gist of it is that she recorded many songs that should have been hit singles for her, but weren't for one reason or another. Mostly, her record companies were too small or incompetent. For four different songs, she did the earliest version, but other artists had the hit with it. For instance, she was the very first to record and release "Angel of the Morning," but her record company was going out of business at the time. Later that same year, 1967, another little known singer, Marrliee Rush had a top ten hit single with it, and it has since gone on to be covered by dozens of artists and has been a hit over and over again.

On top of everything else, Sands was a talented guitarist and even evolved into a pretty good songwriter. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of most of her 1970s work, because she fell a victim to the trends of the times, such as disco in the late 1970s. She retired from recording music after that for a long time.

However, she resumed her career in 1999 with the release of the album "Women in Prison." I have this album and I like it a lot. She's gone on to put out more good music since then, unfortunately still in obscurity. She continues to tour and record to this day.

I haven't included any of the music from her latter career, since that's a different kettle of fish, done in a somewhat different style. Her earlier material was done for a variety of different labels, so it's highly unlikely any company will ever gather all the rights together for a good best of album. But here's my version. It's 49 minutes long, and arranged in rough chronological order.

01 I Can't Let Go (Evie Sands)
02 You've Got Me Uptight (Evie Sands)
03 Take Me for a Little While (Evie Sands)
04 Run Home to Your Mama (Evie Sands)
05 Picture Me Gone (Evie Sands)
06 Angel of the Morning (Evie Sands)
07 Billy Sunshine (Evie Sands)
08 But You Know I Love You (Evie Sands)
09 Any Way that You Want Me (Evie Sands)
10 Close Your Eyes, Cross Your Fingers (Evie Sands)
11 It's This I Am (Evie Sands)
12 I'll Hold Out My Hand (Evie Sands)
13 Tell Me How to Feel [Live] (Evie Sands)
14 A Woman's Work Is Never Done (Evie Sands)
15 I Love Makin' Love to You (Evie Sands)

Sands is so obscure today that I had a hard time finding a decent color photo of her from her younger years. The cover art comes from her 1974 album "Estate of Mind." I cropped it and tweaked with the coloring to make it less reddish.

Sheryl Crow - Live Acoustic - Radio 3 FM, Hilversum, Netherlands, 9-17-1998

This live acoustic Sheryl Crow concert where she plays her big hits from her era of peak commercial popularity.

As I've said elsewhere, I think Crow is a very talented singer and songwriter. However, she can be hit or miss with her songwriting, and suffers from some mediocre filler-type songs on her albums. Also, her production is generally okay on a song-to-song basis, but across an entire album, it tends to sound too slick and "adult contemporary" to be ideal, in my opinion.

That's why I particularly like to hear Crow in an acoustic setting. It allows one to strip back the gloss to better highlight her considerable talent. And on a show like this, she plays her best songs.

This is mostly from one 1998 concert in the Netherlands. It was broadcast over the radio, so the sound quality is excellent. However, the first four songs are from another 1998 concert, with the same excellent sound. I found two acoustic shows with very similar song lists, so I just added the few songs that were different. I put those at the front, because the main concert comes to a natural climax, and I didn't want to lessen that with some more songs at the end. She is only accompanied by guitarist Tim Smith for both shows. He sings lead for much of one of the songs ("She Will Have Her Way").

Note that the first song in the Netherlands concert, "Everyday Is a Winding Road," is done acoustically like the others, but it has a final chord ring out to total silence instead of any crowd noise like all the others. I don't know what's up with that. Maybe it comes from a soundcheck?

The album is one hour and six minutes long. If you don't include the first four songs from a different concert, it's 45 minutes long.

01 It Don't Hurt (Sheryl Crow)
02 The Difficult Kind (Sheryl Crow)
03 Anything but Down - She Will Have Her Way (Sheryl Crow with Tim Smith)
04 Everday Is a Winding Road (Sheryl Crow)
05 talk (Sheryl Crow)
06 My Favourite Mistake (Sheryl Crow)
07 talk (Sheryl Crow)
08 Riverwide (Sheryl Crow)
09 talk (Sheryl Crow)
10 A Change Would Do You Good (Sheryl Crow)
11 talk (Sheryl Crow)
12 If It Makes You Happy (Sheryl Crow)
13 Leaving Las Vegas (Sheryl Crow)
14 talk (Sheryl Crow)
15 Strong Enough (Sheryl Crow)
16 talk (Sheryl Crow)
17 Mississippi (Sheryl Crow)
18 All I Wanna Do (Sheryl Crow)

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Paul Weller - Tobacco Ash Sunday - Non-Album Tracks (2005-2006)

I have so many Paul Weller stray tracks albums to post. Some of them are all-acoustic albums, but this is an example of the other kind, the usual collection of B-sides and rare live songs and the like.

I think this is a particularly strong collection, as far as Weller stray tracks albums go. He does one Jam song, "In the Crowd." and one Style Council song, "Long Hot Summer." A particular highlight is two duets of classic tunes with Amy Winehouse. Most of the rest of the songs are originals.

By the way, one more song that's a cover is "Tobacco Ash Sunday." It's an obscure song done by the obscure group "Harsh Reality" from 1968. The fact that Weller even knew this song existed shows what a massive music collector and fan he is.

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 Super Lekker Stoned [Instrumental] (Paul Weller)
02 I Wanna Be Where You Are (Carleen Anderson & Paul Weller)
03 I Don't Need No Doctor (Paul Weller)
04 Don't Go to Strangers (Amy Winehouse & Paul Weller)
05 I Heard It through the Grapevine (Amy Winehouse & Paul Weller)
06 In the Crowd (Paul Weller)
07 Long Hot Summer (Paul Weller)
08 Small Personal Fortune (Paul Weller)
09 Tobacco Ash Sunday (Paul Weller)
10 Wild Blue Yonder (Paul Weller)

I made the cover art of a photo of Weller playing the song "Tobacco Ash Sunday" at a radio show.

Kirsty MacColl - You Still Believe in Me - Non-Album Tracks (1981-1982)

This is a  Kirsty MacColl stray tracks album that deals with the years 1981 to 1982. MacColl had put out an album in 1981 called "Desperate Character" to get her solo career off the ground, but it didn't have much success. So she released some more singles. 
Most of those didn't make much impact on the charts. But one did, "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis." It reached the Top Twenty in the British charts. A version of that was included on her "Desperate Character" album. However, I've included it here because she released two versions of the song. They aren't that different, but this one is the somewhat more country-styled version.
The first six songs here are all A- and B-sides of singles. The rest are all still unreleased studio tracks. That's pretty surprising, considering the number of archival releases she's had.
This is all good stuff, showing what a talented singer and songwriter she was even at an early stage. There also are two unreleased demos included that are just as good.
This album is 34 minutes long.

UPDATE: On December 16, 2023, I updated the mp3 download file. Thanks to the release of the "See That Girl" box set in 2023, I added a couple of songs from other albums, and moved a couple others to the 1983 album "Real," where they had a better fit.

01 Keep Your Hands Off My Baby (Kirsty MacColl)
02 I Don't Need You (Kirsty MacColl)
03 There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis [Country Version] (Kirsty MacColl)
04 Over You (Kirsty MacColl)
05 You Still Believe in Me (Kirsty MacColl)
06 Queen of the High Teas (Kirsty MacColl)
07 A Boy like That (Kirsty MacColl & Alan Lee Shaw)
08 Don't Ask Me (Kirsty MacColl & Alan Lee Shaw)
09 Love Is Cruel (Kirsty MacColl)
10 Goodnight Paris (Kirsty MacColl)
11 Germany (Kirsty MacColl)

The cover photo is from a 1981 promo photo session.

Cream - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1967-1968

Here's the second of two volumes of Cream performing for the BBC. The songs are in rough chronological order. So while the first album covers 1966 to 1967, this covers 1967 to 1968.

As I did with Volume 1, avoided the use of versions from the official BBC album, as the sound quality is poorly regarded by serious fans. Instead, I relied on the versions used by Prof Stoned from his blog whenever possible. He worked with other serious Cream fans to figure out the best sounding versions, despite the fact they're all unreleased ones.

Also, as I explained with Volume 1, I don't like having two versions of the same song on the same album. So I've created another album called "More BBC Sessions," and I've put the best sounding versions on Volume 1 and here, and the lesser versions on the "More" album. 

However,  there are four songs here that also are on Volume 1. That's due to the fact that these albums are ordered chronologically, and the band played some of the same songs at widely different times, often resulting in significantly different versions. For instance, "Steppin' Out" was played at the BBC in 1966, and again in early 1968. The other songs found of both volumes are "Sunshine of Your Love," "White Room," and "Crossroads."

Boy, how I dislike Brian Matthew! He's the smarmy sounding BBC DJ who loved to talk over BBC broadcasts of great 1960s and 1970s bands like the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks, Led Zeppelin, and many more. He reminds me of a real life version of Troy McClure, a Z-list actor and product promoter voiced by Phil Hartman in the first few years of The Simpsons TV show.

Matthew's voice mars nearly every archival BBC release out there. Luckily, he only spoke over one song on Volume 1. However, he marred four songs in this volume, which are marked with
"[Edit]" in their titles. I used the X-Minus audio editing program to wipe those vocals while keeping the underlying music.

Two more songs have "[Edit]" in their titles for different reasons. An excellent sounding version of "We're Going Wrong" only lasted about three minutes out of the expected four and a half. There's a lesser quality version for the last minute an a half. I edited the two versions together so one can hear the complete thing with the best sound quality. There's a very noticeable drop off between versions though. Also, the lead vocals to "White Room" were too quiet for my tastes in places, so I used X-Minus to boost those vocals.

Unfortunately, although Cream stayed together until around the end of 1968, their last BBC session was in January 1968. This predates their last two albums, "Wheels of Fire" and "Goodbye." So to get more of their later songs represented, I used alternate sources for the last six songs. The first three of those come from the French TV show "Bouton Rouge." You shouldn't notice the change in terms of sound, because they performed for the show without an audience present. 

The last three songs do come from a concert. Technically, these are sourced from the BBC, because they come from a BBC documentary about the band called "Farewell Concert" that extensively used film footage of their last concert as a band in November 1968. This documentary was heavily criticized when it came out for its poor sound, as well as having talking over parts of the songs, and generally having poorly shot video footage. Furthermore, the band members didn't think much of their final show performance. Luckily, this documentary was released on DVD many years later, and that version improved the sound and got rid of the talking over the music. So I've used those versions. The poorly shot video footage doesn't matter to the audio. As to the performances being disappointing, I've only chosen three of the better played songs for that reason.

By the way, technically the song "SWLABR" doesn't have a subtitle, but I added one - "She Walks like a Bearded Rainbow" - because so few people know what the band intended "SWALBR" to stand for. Don't ask me what the heck it means though!

This album is 59 minutes long.

01 Born Under a Bad Sign (Cream)
02 Take It Back [Edit] (Cream)
03 Outside Woman Blues (Cream)
04 We're Going Wrong [Edit] (Cream)
05 Politician [Edit] (Cream)
06 SWLABR [She Walks like a Bearded Rainbow] [Edit] (Cream)
07 Steppin' Out [Instrumental] (Cream)
08 Blue Condition [Edit] (Cream)
09 Spoonful (Cream)
10 Sunshine of Your Love (Cream)
11 Tales of Brave Ulysses [Edit] (Cream)
12 White Room (Cream)
13 Crossroads (Cream)
14 Sitting on Top of the World (Cream)

For Volume 1, I used a photo of the band playing on the "Ready Steady Go" TV show in 1966. I believe this is also from that show, but for an appearance in 1967.

Cream - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1966-1967

The vast majority of the Cream BBC performances here have been officially released. Unfortunately, the versions on the band's official BBC album don't sound very good. A blogger named Prof Stoned has found and mixed much better unreleased versions of the same performances. So I've used his versions whenever possible.

I don't like having more than one version of the same song on one album, unless they're very different from each other. In total, there's enough material for three BBC albums. So I took the best versions of each song and used those to make up Volumes 1 and 2. Then all the other versions of songs, sometimes with lower sound quality, were put on a third album called "More BBC Sessions." The end result is that the sound quality for this volume is generally excellent.

All but one of the songs here are from actual BBC sessions. Surprisingly, there's no BBC version of "White Room," one of the band's best known songs. However, I found an unreleased studio version that's quite good, so I've included it. I find it interesting that this version dates from July 1967, which would have given the band plenty of time to include it on their "Disraeli Gears" album released in November 1967. However, they kept tinkering with it and didn't release it until their "Wheels of Fire" album in June 1968.

"Rollin' and Tumblin'" has "[Edit]" in the title due to the usual problem of BBC DJs talking over the music. I was able to fix this using the X-Minus audio editing program. Luckily, that was the only song affected like that on this album (though there's a bunch more on Volume 2).

"Sunshine of Your Love" is edited for a different reason. The version available has excellent sound quality, but it stopped before the proper end point, during the last part of the last chorus. So I patched in a section from earlier in the song to finish off that chorus. Then it fades out using the same chords that followed the first appearance of the chorus earlier in the song. A fade out isn't an ideal way to end the song, since the band finished it differently, but using the ending from a different version would have had its own problems. As it is, this edit only affects about the last 15 seconds of the song.

This album is 51 minutes long. 

01 Sweet Wine (Cream)
02 Wrapping Paper (Cream)
03 Steppin' Out [Instrumental] (Cream)
04 Sleepy Time Time (Cream)
05 Rollin' and Tumblin' [Edit] (Cream)
06 Crossroads (Cream)
07 Cat's Squirrel (Cream)
08 Traintime (Cream)
09 Hey Lawdy Mama (Cream)
10 I'm So Glad (Cream)
11 I Feel Free (Cream)
12 Four until Late (Cream)
13 N. S. U. (Cream)
14 Toad [Instrumental] (Cream)
15 Strange Brew (Cream)
16 Tales of Brave Ulysses (Cream)
17 White Room (Cream)
18 Sunshine of Your Love [Edit] (Cream)

The album cover uses a photo of the band playing on the TV show "Ready Steady Go," in November 1966. Note how unusual it is that the drums were out in front, as if they were the lead instrument.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fight Fire - Non-Album Tracks (1965-1969)

I think Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) was a great band. That shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has seen the kind of music I've been posting here. However, they're not a band that left a lot of stray tracks off their official studio albums. In fact, almost none whatever! I'm guessing that CCR put out albums at such a remarkable rate - three classic studio albums in the year of 1969 alone! - that they used every song they could come up with.

However, there is one notable exception to this: the music CCR made in the years leading up to and including their first album in 1968. The group had a surprisingly long "pre-history," with the four musicians on the first CCR album having played in a band together all the way since 1959! They put out their first singles in 1961 and 1962 when they were still known as the Blue Velvets, but, to be honest, their music was highly derivative and not very good.

In 1964, they changed their name to the Golliwogs and started putting out more singles. Unfortunately, many of these weren't very good either. However, they did have some gems here and there. I've listened to all of this early music and separated the wheat from the chaff so you don't have to. The songs on this album are in rough chronological order. All the songs from the first one through "Call It Pretending" were first released under the Golliwogs name. ("Call It Pretending" was released as a B-side in mid-1967, then the exact same recording was released a few months later under the CCR name. The A-side, "Porterville," was put on the first CCR album.)

The last four songs here are stray tracks after the CCR name change. The very last one, "Suzie Q," is kind of a bonus track. It's the single version, instead of the album version. It's just the album version edited down. But I think it's quite different when it's only a four minute long song instead of a nine minute one.

01 You Better Be Careful (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
02 Fight Fire (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
03 Fragile Child (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
04 You Better Get It Before It Gets You (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
05 Tell Me (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
06 You Can't Be True (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
07 Call It Pretending (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
08 Crazy Otto [Instrumental] (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
09 Before You Accuse Me (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
10 Glory Be [Instrumental] (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
11 Susie Q [Single Version] (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

The cover was made by Peter at his Albums I Wish Existed blog. It's based on the cover of a CCR compilation.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Kirsty MacColl - Desperate Character (1981)

I'm a big, big fan of Kirsty MacColl's music. Some women get famous because they're beautiful. Some get famous because they have remarkable voices. Some get famous because they're excellent songwriters. But MacColl was a rare case of a woman was all three of those things. I especially appreciate her songwriting talent. Her murder in 2000 was a particularly great loss, because her last album was her best one in my opinion, and she was just starting down an exciting path of mixing her English pop with Latin music.

"Desperate Character" is MacColl's first album, from 1981. I normally don't post official studio albums, but I'm doing so here for two reasons. One, the album remains unfairly obscure and out of print. And two, I've added four songs at the start which are from two singles she put out in 1979. This makes a big difference, because all four songs are very good, and the first one, "They Don't Know," is an all-time classic (and a good example of her songwriting ability).

Unfortunately, MacColl was half-hearted about her solo career for about the first ten years of it, rarely playing concerts and doing little promotion otherwise. She was shy, and spent more of her time singing backing vocals on dozens of famous records instead. So she helped Tracey Ullman have a top ten hit with "They Don't Know" in 1983. She even re-sang the "Baby!" yell near the end of the song when the music stops for a couple of seconds, because Ullman couldn't sing that high.

I'm also posting this here because it was MacColl's only album until 1989. Once I post the next couple of stray tracks albums, you'll have all of her music prior to 1989, which has never been properly collected in one place.

This album is 42 minutes long.

01 They Don't Know (Kirsty MacColl)
02 Turn My Motor On (Kirsty MacColl)
03 You Caught Me Out (Kirsty MacColl)
04 Boys (Kirsty MacColl)
05 Clock Goes Round (Kirsty MacColl)
06 See That Girl (Kirsty MacColl)
07 There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis (Kirsty MacColl)
08 Teenager in Love (Kirsty MacColl)
09 Mexican Sofa (Kirsty MacColl)
10 Until the Night (Kirsty MacColl)
11 Falling for Faces (Kirsty MacColl)
12 Just One Look (Kirsty MacColl)
13 The Real Ripper (Kirsty MacColl)
14 Hard to Believe (Kirsty MacColl)
15 He Thinks I Still Care (Kirsty MacColl)

The cover art is just the official album cover.

Paul McCartney - Goodnight Tonight - Non-Album Tracks (1979-1980)

Here's the next in a long series of stray track albums from Paul McCartney.

This one covers 1979 to 1980, which is my opinion was a strong time for him musically after he'd coasted a little bit in the late 1970s. It contains three songs which were considered hits in the sense that you can still hear them played on the radio sometimes: "Goodnight Tonight," "Daytime Nighttime Suffering," and "Wonderful Christmastime."

Since this is still in his Wings period, a couple of the songs aren't mainly by him, but by his Wings cohort Denny Laine ("Weep for Love" and "Say You Don't Mind") and his wife Linda McCartney ("Love's Full Glory"). I could have added a lot more by these two, but these are the only songs I felt rose to being as good as Paul's songs from around this time. One of the Laine songs, "Say You Don't Mind," actually dates from around 1967 or so, and it was played live by Wings since 1972. But it wasn't until the late 1970s when a quality studio version with Wings personnel was recorded. By the way, even Paul's daughter Heather gets in the act, singing some on the song "It's Not On," despite being only about 16 years old at the time.

The time period of this album includes when McCartney was recording the "McCartney II" album. That included some musical experiments, mostly with synthesizers. Two such experiments here were way, way too long for my tastes. The official version of "Secret Friend" goes on for ten minutes, and the official version of "Check My Machine" goes on for nine minutes. I edited those way down, to three and a half minutes and three minutes respectively.

By the way, note that I have a lot of John Lennon solo material to post too. But I don't want to get lost posting albums from too many different artists at once. His stuff, and that of many other artists, will come later.

01 Goodnight Tonight (Paul McCartney)
02 Daytime Nightime Suffering (Paul McCartney)
03 Weep for Love (Denny Laine with Paul McCartney)
04 Cruising Ahead (Paul McCartney)
05 Wonderful Christmastime (Paul McCartney)
06 Blue Sway [Instrumental] (Paul McCartney)
07 Secret Friend [Edit] (Paul McCartney)
08 Check My Machine [Edit] (Paul McCartney)
09 Say You Don't Mind (Denny Laine with Paul McCartney)
10 Give Us a Chord, Roy (Paul McCartney)
11 Love's Full Glory (Linda McCartney with Paul McCartney)
12 It's Not On [Demo] (Paul McCartney with Heather McCartney)
13 Seems like Old Times (Paul McCartney)

The cover was supplied to me by The Lighthouse. I edited it by removing the word "Wings" and replacing that with "Paul McCartney" at the top.

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Talking Heads - Gangster of Love - Non-Album Tracks (1986-1992)

I've had a problem with making albums out of the Talking Heads' stray tracks. When I looked at their career, such tracks came in three clusters: one in their formative years, 1975 to 1977, one during a big gap between official albums, 1982 to 1983, and then a mere four songs in the tail end of their career, 1986 to 1992. But those four songs are too good to ignore.

So I've made an album with those four songs, plus the best solo songs from that time period. Is it a Talking Heads album. Only sort of. But it is an album of solid music? Definitely!

The Talking Heads ended with a whimper instead of a bang. They stopped touring entirely in 1983 (with the tour stretching a little bit into 1984), but they released three more studio albums after that. The last album, "Naked," came out in 1988, but they got together to finish off a "Naked" outtake, "Sax and Violins," for a 1991 movie soundtrack. Then they finished off another outtake in 1992, "Gangster of Love," for a best of compilation. And that was it. They've done nothing together since (except for a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame appearance in 2002) and bad blood between members makes it likely there never will be a reunion.

So of course I included those two songs, plus two more "Naked" outtakes that were released years later, "Lifetime Piling Up" and "In Asking Land." Personally, I think all four of these songs, which were at least attempted during the "Naked" sessions, are better than most of the songs that made the final cut of that album.

But I'm still left far short of an album's worth of music. So I chose my four favorite songs from David Byrne's first solo album, 1989's "Rei Momo." One of those, "Loco D'Amor," was actually released three years earlier for a movie soundtrack. I also included the one minor Jerry Harrison hit from this time period, "Rev It Up," and one Tom Tom Club song, "Love Wave." Tom Tom Club released two albums during this time, but didn't have any real hits. However, I think that one song is my favorite from those albums.

Someone else putting an album like this together may well have selected different songs. Especially with the Byrne material, there aren't four songs that are universally considered the best of that album. But these are the ones I like the most. I think if all these solo songs would have been done by the Talking Heads, it would have made for a very excellent final album.

By the way, the songs are in chronological order. I think it works pretty well, even though it results in three solo David Byrne songs in a row.

01 Loco D'Amour (David Byrne with Celia Cruz)
02 Lifetime Piling Up (Talking Heads)
03 In Asking Land (Talking Heads)
04 Rev It Up (Jerry Harrison)
05 Dirty Old Town (David Byrne)
06 Good and Evil (David Byrne)
07 Lie to Me (David Byrne)
08 Sax and Violins (Talking Heads)
09 Love Wave (Tom Tom Club)
10 Gangster of Love (Talking Heads)

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

Richard & Linda Thompson - Together Again - Non-Album Tracks (1975-1976)

Here's the next in a long series of Richard Thompson albums. I'm still chronologically working through the Richard and Linda Thompson years before getting to his solo years.

The album is a grab bag of different things. A good chunk of it is cover songs from concerts (with the audience noise removed, as usual). But probably the highlight is a live version of "The Calvary Cross." It was on the 1974 album "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight," but that was a four minute version, and this is a 13 minute version with some epic guitar soloing. So I figured that was different enough to warrant its inclusion here, even though I don't like to repeat songs released on official studio albums.

There also are some songs from "(guitar, vocal),"  a curious Richard Thompson odds and sods compilation that was released in 1976. There are two instrumentals done specifically for that album. In addition, there's the curious case of "Poor Willy and the Jolly Hangman." That was an unreleased Fairport Convention outtake from 1970, when Richard was still in that band. But in 1975, Linda added her vocals to that version, making it both a Richard and Linda Thompson and Fairport Convention recording at the same time. (By the way, one of the "covers" elsewhere on this album, "Now Be Thankful," is actually another Fairport Convention song, but done differently in the Richard and Linda Thompson version here.)

I've added one song only as a bonus track: "A Heart Needs a Home." That's because it's a popular  Richard and Linda Thompson song, first done on the 1975 "Hokey Pokey" album. But this is an alternate version with notably different instrumentation that first came out on the "(guitar, vocals)" album, so I'm including it for completists.

01 I'm Turning Off a Memory (Richard & Linda Thompson)
02 Wishing (Richard & Linda Thompson)
03 The Dark End of the Street (Richard & Linda Thompson)
04 Last Chance (Richard & Linda Thompson)
05 Wanted Man (Richard & Linda Thompson)
06 Together Again (Richard & Linda Thompson)
07 Why Don't You Love Me (Richard & Linda Thompson)
08 Now Be Thankful (Richard & Linda Thompson)
09 It'll Be Me (Richard & Linda Thompson)
10 Flee as a Bird [Instrumental] (Richard Thompson)
11 Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman (Richard & Linda Thompson & Fairport Convention)
12 The Pitfall - The Excursion [Instrumental] (Richard Thompson)

I made the cover, which comes from a 1975 concert video.

Robyn Hitchcock - Queen Elvis - Acoustic Versions (1989)

It's time to post another Robyn Hitchcock album.

Usually, I have two albums for every officially released album, one of stray tracks from that time period, and one of acoustic versions of the songs from the official albums. In 1989, Hitchcock released the excellent "Queen Elvis" album. I already released the stray tracks (as "Mr Thrusty's Fruit Club"), so this is the acoustic versions album.

As it happens, I was able to find acoustic versions of nine out of ten songs on the "Queen Elvis" album. (The one is missed is "Knife.") I also found a version of one of the songs from the stray tracks album I made of the time, so I added that towards the end. (It's the cover song "Polly on the Shore.")

Note that I'm not sure about the song "Consider Her Ways." That would seem the logical title based on the lyrics, but the only other time he played the song other than this one that I know of was for a radio show where he introduced it as "Mr. Thrusty's Fruit Club." I'd assumed that was a joke name, but if you listen to the lyrics a "Mr. Thrusty" actually does get mentioned, though a fruit club does not. So maybe that's the real name, who knows. I've included that as an alternate title.

01 Madonna of the Wasps (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 The Devil's Coachman (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Wax Doll (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Swirling (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 One Long Pair of Eyes (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Veins of the Queen (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Freeze [Solo Electric Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 You've Got (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Superman (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Polly on the Shore (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 Consider Her Ways [Mr. Thrusty's Fruit Club] (Robyn Hitchcock)

I made the album cover from an obscure Hitchcock compilation from 1989 called "Chronology." I changed the text at the bottom, of the name of the album.

David Bowie - Velvet Goldmine - Non-Album Tracks (1971-1972)

In 1971, Bowie released "Hunky Dory," followed by "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" in 1972. Both albums are considered all-time classics. Personally, this is my favorite Bowie era. So it's no surprise to me that the stray tracks from this time are high quality too.

If this had been a real album, I think it would be a  really solid one. The only snag is that it contains four cover songs ("Around and Around," "Amsterdam," "I'm Waiting for the Man," and "White Light-White Heat,") plus a remake of a song, "The Supermen," that had been first released only a year earlier. The remake came out at the time on a various artists compilation.

The famous hit song "All the Young Dudes" isn't a cover song, since it was written by Bowie. He gave the song to Mott the Hoople, and they had the hit with it. There are a few different versions from the time period sung by Bowie, live or studio. This version actually is the same as the hit version, except Bowie is singing guide vocals on it.

I've added one song only a bonus track, "I  Feel Free." It's another cover version. But my main problem is that is it's taken from an audience concert bootleg, and the sound quality is only okay.

01 All the Young Dudes (David Bowie & Mott the Hoople)
02 Around and Around (David Bowie)
03 Holy Holy (David Bowie)
04 Amsterdam (David Bowie)
05 Bombers (David Bowie)
06 The Supermen [Alternate Version] (David Bowie)
07 I'm Waiting for the Man (David Bowie)
08 Velvet Goldmine (David Bowie)
09 John, I'm Only Dancing (David Bowie)
10 Sweet Head (David Bowie)
11 White Light-White Heat (David Bowie)

I Feel Free (David Bowie)

In November 2021, I changed the artwork for this album. I realized the previous version looked too similar to the cover for the Ziggy Stardust acoustic demos album. So instead, I used a different photo from 1972.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Larkin Poe - Reskinned - Alternate Version (2016)

I love Larkin Poe, and you need to go buy all their albums right now. ;) So I'm happy to tell you they just released a new album a few days ago, called "Venom and Faith." I heard it and it's great, so go get it! ;)

That said, Larkin Poe frustrates me because they seem determined to release their music in a way that gets the last amount of attention, if they release it at all. For instance, they are champions of the EP format, having released six EPs of all new material in their relatively short career, compared to only four full albums.

Furthermore, one of those albums hardly counts as an album. In 2014, they released the "Kin" album, which is fantastic. If you buy just one album from them, I suggest that one, especially because it contains "Stubborn Love," which I think is one of the very best songs by anyone this decade. Then in 2016, they released "Reskinned." But it only had five songs of new music, a measely 17 minutes. The rest were repeats of songs from "Kin." That would have been okay if they redid those songs in some different way, but they were the exact same versions!

So, to celebrate the release of their new album and hopefully turn some new people on to this great musical duo, I've made my own version of "Reskinned." The first five songs are the exact same versions of the five new songs on the official version. But then I flesh the album out with five more songs, for a total of 41 minutes of music. Four of the five additional songs are originals that haven't been officially released anywhere, and the fifth, "New Pony," is a cover of an obscure Bob Dylan song that sounds just like an original. Why they repeated so many songs from "Kin" when they had these quality originals available at the time is beyond me!

Three of the additional songs come from a concert, but it was one that was played in a recording studio of sorts, so the sound quality sounds just as good as studio recordings, in my opinion. I was able to completely eliminate even a hint of audience noise. The other two were done live in the studio for radio shows, and sound just as good.

By the way, their new album is also only 32 minutes long. Larkin Poe, what's your deal with so many EPs and short albums?! And then all sorts of good original songs that go unreleased? Sigh!

01 Sucker Puncher (Larkin Poe)
02 Trouble in Mind (Larkin Poe)
03 When God Closes a Door (Larkin Poe)
04 P-R-O-B-L-E-M (Larkin Poe)
05 Blunt (Larkin Poe)
06 Thief in the Night (Larkin Poe)
07 Mad as a Hatter (Larkin Poe)
08 I Hate the Way You... (Larkin Poe)
09 New Pony (Larkin Poe)
10 Hey Sinner (Larkin Poe)

In keeping with Larkin Poe's seeming effort to try to get you to NOT buy their albums, the official cover of "Reskinned" is exactly the same as "Kin" in every way, except for the different title, plus it's in black and white. That makes it both confusing and worse than the nice color cover. It deserves a different cover, so I've made one here using a publicity photo from around the time of the album release. 

Van Morrison - Pacific High Studios, San Francisco, CA, 9-5-1971

I said there are three great Van Morrison full concert recordings from 1970 to 1971, and I'm going to post them all here before I start posting my compilations of his best live songs from other shows around that era. Here's the third of those three shows.

The first show was kind of a live version of the "Moondance" album. The second show was notable for having lots of cover versions and other rarities, such as acoustic versions. This show doesn't really stand out in any particular way. It dates from less than a month from the second show (at the Lion's Share in San Anselmo, California), so it's not surprising that the song selection isn't that different. However, the performance is excellent and the sound quality is too, so the show is a must-have because there are so few concert recordings this good from this early in his career. Also, at one hour and 35 minutes it's a long show, 20 minutes longer than the Lion's Share one.

It was recorded in Pacific High Studios, a recording studio in San Francisco, in front of a small audience. That studio was used by the Grateful Dead to record "Workingman's Dead" in 1970, and Morrison used it around this time to record "St. Dominic's Preview." Local radio station KSAN used it to record live shows and play them over the radio, which is how this got bootlegged. So the sound quality is about as good as a live album from 1971 could possibly get.

01 Into the Mystic (Van Morrison)
02 I've Been Working (Van Morrison)
03 Friday's Child (Van Morrison)
04 Que Sera Sera [Whatever Will Be, Will Be] - Hound Dog (Van Morrison)
05 Ballerina (Van Morrison)
06 Tupelo Honey (Van Morrison)
07 Wild Night (Van Morrison)
08 Just like a Woman (Van Morrison)
09 Moonshine Whiskey (Van Morrison)
10 Dead or Alive (Van Morrison)
11 You're My Woman (Van Morrison)
12 These Dreams of You (Van Morrison)
13 Domino (Van Morrison)
14 Call Me Up in Dreamland (Van Morrison)
15 Blue Money (Van Morrison)
16 Bring It on Home to Me (Van Morrison)
17 Buona Sera (Van Morrison)

I used the cover of a popular bootleg for this concert, called "The Inner Mystic." I changed the text.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Paul Weller - Shine On - Non-Album Tracks (2004-2005)

Here's yet another Paul Weller stray tracks album. The man is so prolific! As usual, I'm alternating between posting all acoustic albums and stray studio tracks. This is the latter.

In 2004, Weller put out the all cover versions album "Studio 150." The first six songs are a continuation of that. They're B-sides of singles from that album, and they're six more cover versions.

Then there are three songs Weller did live at a memorial concert for Ronnie Lane of the Small Faces and the Faces. Lane is one of Weller's musical heroes. He wrote a tribute song about Lane called "He's the Keeper." There's an acoustic version of it on the last Weller album I posted ("Tales from the Riverbank.")

The remaining four songs are mostly B-sides, with two more covers. So there are only two Weller originals on this album. But all the songs sound uniquely Weller, as usual.

By the way, the version of "Come Together" here is different from the one he did in 1995 as part of the Mojo Filters, a one-off band with Paul McCartney and Noel Gallagher.  This one is just Weller.

01 Coconut Grove (Paul Weller)
02 Corrina, Corrina (Paul Weller)
03 Family Affair (Paul Weller)
04 Let It Be Me (Paul Weller)
05 Needles and Pins (Paul Weller)
06 Don't Go to Strangers (Paul Weller)
07 Ooh La La (Paul Weller, Ronnie Wood & Slim Chance)
08 Spiritual Babe (Paul Weller & Slim Chance)
09 The Poacher (Paul Weller & Slim Chance)
10 Come Together (Paul Weller)
11 Alone (Paul Weller)
12 Love (Paul Weller)
13 Shine On (Paul Weller)

I made the cover based on a 2004 bootleg. I changed the text under Weller's name.

The Beatles - White Album Era Demos (1968)

The Beatles are my favorite musical act of all time, easily. But I haven't posted any Beatles albums here until now because they're so very popular, lots of other bloggers have posted just about every sort of album one could think of, many times over. But a few days ago, the 50th Anniversary Edition of "The White Album" was released, and that gave me an idea on how to celebrate that while posting that hopefully a lot of Beatles fans would find useful.

First off, I need to say that the White Album's 50th Anniversary Edition is great, and everyone who really likes the Beatles should get it. I'm especially happy that it includes all of the Esher Demos. It's a shame those weren't a stand-alone release decades ago - I think that would have sold millions. But better late that never. Plus, there are no less than three more albums of outtakes.

However, the release could have been even better, because there were lots of great tracks that weren't included. In particular, for some reason, 1968 was a year the Beatles recorded a lot of acoustic demos, many more by far than any year before or after. So my goal here was to make an album of all the acoustic demos not included on the 50th Anniversary Edition. I couldn't use anything from that release, or any other official releases.

One challenge was to find acoustic demos of the songs that made it on the White Album that weren't included as part of the Esher Demos. These are the ones I found:

Helter Skelter
Why Don't We Do It in the Road

And here's all the ones I didn't find:

Wild Honey Pie
Don't Pass Me By
I Will
Long, Long, Long
Savoy Truffle
Revolution 9
Good Night
Hey Jude (not a White Album track, but it was recorded at the same time)

So I didn't have much success there. For some of those songs, there can't be any demos because the songs were made up on the spot in the studio. That's the case with "Wild Honey Pie," "Birthday," and "Revolution 9," at least. With "I Will," there are a couple of alternate takes included on the 50th  Anniversary Edition that serve as acoustic demos, since it's an acoustic song. For the others, if you are aware of demos/acoustic versions that I missed, please let me know, and I'll update this album.

Since I only found two songs that made it on the "White Album," the vast majority of songs here are other songs written in 1968 that got on later releases, including solo releases, or never got officially released at all. The Beatles are said to have written between 30 and 48 songs during their stay in India between February and April 1968. Then add to that all the other songs written the rest of that year, and you have a lot more songs than could even fit on the double LP "White Album."

Some of the songs I've included here were recorded by one or more of the Beatles as part of the "White Album" recording sessions. But more of them were recorded essentially as solo works, including some from the tail end of 1968, after the "White Album" record sessions ended in mid-October 1968. But I label all of them Beatles songs because I consider virtually everything the four of them did in 1968 to be Beatles material since their solo careers hadn't started yet, and any of these could have wound up as Beatles songs. However, in the mp3 tags I make clear which demos were done by whom.

A few of these songs deserve some explanation. The 50th Anniversary Edition included Take 18 of "Revolution 1." It's a very interesting 10 minute long take, because it starts out sounding like the song "Revolution," but by the end it morphs into "Revolution 9." This actually was recorded first, then John Lennon used the second half of it as his starting point for "Revolution 9." That's why there are parts that are exactly the same as on the final version of "Revolution 9," such as Yoko Ono saying "Then you become naked."

However, it's a shame the 50th Anniversary Edition didn't include Take 20 instead, because I like that even better than Take 18. They're the same basic track, except that more sound effects were added. The main difference is a loud, alarm-like whooshing sound effect that gets repeated a lot and makes the whole thing sound very different than Take 18. So I've included Take 20 here, as it is mostly acoustic, even though it's not really a demo.

"Spiritual Regeneration" is an original song done performed by all the Beatles while they were in India. It's done in homage to the Beach Boys style, because it was a birthday present to Beach Boy Mike Love, who was with them in India. I had to edit this song to make it shorter though, because the only version of it I could find includes a spoken section by famous D.J. Wolfman Jack, since the song was played on his radio show once. He talked right over a guitar solo in the middle of the song, explaining the details of where and when it was recorded, so I just cut that solo out. If anyone has the complete version without Wolfman Jack's talking, please let me know.

Around the Thanksgiving of 1968, George Harrison visited Bob Dylan where he lived in Woodstock, New York. The two of them wound up co-writing two songs, "Nowhere to Go," and "I'd Have You Anytime." I wasn't going to include these, because the only recordings I'd ever heard of them had extremely poor quality. (Better sounding demos of both songs were recorded by Harrison later, which I've included in some Harrison albums I've posted here.)

However, while putting this together a few days ago, I found versions that sounded significantly better, so I've included them after all. But there still were parts that sounded horrible, due to lots of crackling noise. In the case of "Nowhere to Go," the recording already missed all of the first verse, then there was about ten seconds of that crackling before the chorus came in. So I just cut out the crackling part and faded the song in from that point. Trust me, you're not missing anything. Luckily, with "I'd Have You Anytime," the crackling takes place during some fiddling about before and after the song is performed, so nothing was missed there when I cut those bits out. What's left for both songs has almost no crackling whatsoever.

I'm not a big fan of Dylan's backing vocals on the two songs, but hey, it is Dylan and a Beatle recording together, so it's of historic interest, if nothing else.

There are still other songs written by the Beatles in 1968 that I could have included, except I couldn't find any demo recordings of them from 1968. "Dehra Dun" by George Harrison and "Teddy Boy" by Paul McCartney are examples, where I only know of versions from 1969. Again, if you know of any recordings that I missed, please let me know.

All together, there's 46 minutes of music here. Not all of it great. Some of the songs are just goofs, or needed more work, for instance. But I think it's all interesting, and it's all stuff that could have been included on the 50th Anniversary Edition if they were more inclusive.

By the way, I've added one bonus track. It doesn't fit the acoustic demo theme, and it's an "outfake" or mash-up, but I think it's worthy of hearing. George Harrison wrote the song "Sour Milk Sea" in India, and it's included as one of the Esher Demos. During the "White Album" sessions, he produced a version of the song for a single by little-known singer Jackie Lomax. That was practically a Beatle recording, because it had Harrison on lead guitar (including playing the guitar solo), Paul McCartney on bass, and Ringo Starr on drums. In addition, Eric Clapton added lead guitar fills, and Nicky Hopkins played piano.

It's a very good song, and a good performance. Record Collector magazine has called it "the greatest record the Beatles never made." It's actually much more of a Beatles song than lots of songs on the "White Album" since only 16 of the 30 songs on it have all four Beatles on them, and many of those other 14 were essentially solo tracks. The problem was that Jackie Lomax did the singing. However, somebody, I don't know who, removed Lomax's vocals and replaced them with Harrison's vocals from his Esher Demo of the song. So it is a mash-up, but it's like discovering another great Beatles song you never knew existed.

01 Spiritual Regeneration [Edit] (Beatles)
02 The Maharishi Song (Beatles with Yoko Ono)
03 Revolution 1 [Take 20] (Beatles)
04 Helter Skelter (Beatles)
05 Gone Tomorrow, Here Today (Beatles)
06 Brian Epstein Blues (Beatles)
07 Look at Me (Beatles)
08 The Way You Look Tonight [Improvised Variant of I Will] (Beatles)
09 Why Don't We Do It in the Road (Beatles)
10 Oh My Love (Beatles)
11 Nowhere to Go (Beatles with Bob Dylan)
12 I'd Have You Anytime (Beatles with Bob Dylan)
13 Heather (Beatles with Donovan)
14 How Do You Do (Beatles with Donovan)
15 Everybody Had a Hard Year [Early Version of I Got a Feeling] (Beatles)
16 Don't Let Me Down (Beatles)
17 A Case of the Blues (Beatles)
18 Goodbye (Beatles)

Sour Milk Sea [Merged Version] (Beatles)

I made the cover art using a photo of John and Paul playing guitar in Rishikesh, India, with Ringo looking on. There are some diagonal whitish areas due to the photo being shot through a chain link fence.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Indigo Girls - Love by You - Various Cover Versions (1988-1994)

Here's a companion to the Indigo Girls album I posted last week. That one covered mostly original songs done in the studio from 1988 to 1990. This is all live performances, from concerts, TV, or radio show appearances, and all cover versions. It also covers a longer time period, from 1988 to 1994.

I like the Indigo Girls both because of their songwriting and their musical talent, especially their intertwining harmonies and Emily Salier's tasteful lead guitar playing. Unfortunately, their songwriting can be hit or miss, in my opinion. But when they cover great songs, you can't go wrong with their performances, especially since they usually play the songs in the acoustic style that they excel in. This is mostly an acoustic album, with a few exceptions, like their rocking version of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer."

This album has two types of cover songs, in my opinion. Mostly, they do famous, classic songs, such as "Summertime," "American Tune," and "Melissa." But they also do a lot of covers of much less well known songs, often by artists from Georgia that they know personally.  This includes "White House Blues," "Love by You," and "Tired of Talking."

The sound quality is generally excellent, even though all of the songs come from bootlegs. One partial exception is their version of "Good Times (Let the Good Times Roll)." Since it's a bit rough, I've included it as a bonus track.

01 Summertime (Indigo Girls)
02 White House Blues (Indigo Girls)
03 Love by You (Indigo Girls)
04 Love of the Common People (Indigo Girls)
05 American Tune (Indigo Girls)
06 Melissa (Indigo Girls)
07 In the Bleak Midwinter (Indigo Girls)
08 Daddy's All Gone (Indigo Girls)
09 Bartender's Blues (Indigo Girls)
10 The Water Is Wide (Indigo Girls)
11 Cortez the Killer (Indigo Girls)
12 Tired of Talking (Indigo Girls)
13 Duncan (Indigo Girls)

Good Times [Let the Good Times Roll] (Indigo Girls)

I have no idea when or where this photo for the cover art is from, but I'm guessing it fits the time frame of this album.

Van Morrison - The Lion's Share, San Anselmo, CA, 8-8-1971

Here's the second of three Van Morrison concerts in the 1970-1971 time period that I want to post before I start posting my compilations of his live songs from the early 1970s. As I mentioned previously, I consider all three concerts "must have" recordings, both in terms of sound and performance quality.

This concert is from the Lion's Share, a club in San Anselmo, California, on August 8, 1971. The previous concert I posted, from the Fillmore West in April 1970, was over a year earlier, and mostly considered of live version of songs from the "Moondance" album. This song list is surprisingly different, with only one song ("These Dreams of You") played in both shows. There are a lot of rare cover versions ("Que Sera Sera," "Hound Dog," "Let It Be Me," "Just like a Woman" and "Buona Sera"), plus many songs from the "His Band and Street Choir" and "Tupelo Honey" albums. (The latter would be released two months later.) There's an additional treat in that the first four songs are performed acoustically.

Morrison actually performed two shows at the Lion's Share that night. However, the songs played in the two shows were nearly exactly the same. Thus, I've only included the second show here, plus one unique song from the first show, "I Wanna Roo You," placed at the beginning. A cover of "Tennessee Waltz" was also played in the first show, but I didn't include that because I've already included that exact performance in my album of Morrison's country songs from this time period, "Down by the Riverside," which you can find here:

This album is an hour and 16 minutes long.

01 I Wanna Roo You [Acoustic Version] (Van Morrison)
02 Sweet Thing [Acoustic Version] (Van Morrison)
03 Street Choir [Acoustic Version] (Van Morrison)
04 Tupelo Honey [Acoustic Version] (Van Morrison)
05 Que Sera Sera [Whatever Will Be, Will Be] (Van Morrison)
06 Hound Dog (Van Morrison)
07 These Dreams of You (Van Morrison)
08 When That Evening Sun Goes Down (Van Morrison)
09 Let It Be Me (Van Morrison)
10 Moonshine Whiskey (Van Morrison)
11 Just like a Woman (Van Morrison)
12 I've Been Working (Van Morrison)
13 Gloria (Van Morrison)
14 Domino (Van Morrison)
15 Buona Sera (Van Morrison)

Thanks to Peter at the Albums I Wish Existed blog for the cover. Apparently, it's based on the cover of a bootleg of the show.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Van Morrison - Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA, 4-26-1970

A few days ago, I posted "Live in Boston 1968," a newly available recording of a legendary "lost" Van Morrison concert. It's gotten more attention than anything else I've posted at this blog so far, so I'm going to post some more great Morrison material while some of his fans are here.

I've already posted a series of mostly unreleased Morrison studio albums from 1969 to 1977 that any Morrison fan should check out. The sheer quantity and quality of his non-album material from that era is incredible. I still have more of his studio work from after 1977 to post, but I'm going to focus more on his live material from the early 1970s. I've created a series of compilations of his best live songs from that time.

However, before I get to posting that, I want to make sure every serious Morrison fan has three excellent shows from 1970 and 1971. In the live compilations I've made, I've been careful to avoid including any songs from these three shows, since they should be heard in their entirety.

Here's the first one, from the Fillmore West in San Francisco, in April 1970. The sound quality is excellent, as good as any officially released live album from that time, and the performance is just as great. Essentially, it's a live version of the classic "Moondance" album, released in January 1970. All but one of the ten songs on that album are played here. (The one that isn't, "Brand New Day," apparently wasn't played by him in concert until about 1973.) Add to that two songs from "Astral Weeks" and his 1967 hit "Brown Eyed Girl."

01 Moondance (Van Morrison)
02 Glad Tidings (Van Morrison)
03 Crazy Love (Van Morrison)
04 Come Running (Van Morrison)
05 The Way Young Lovers Do (Van Morrison)
06 Everyone (Van Morrison)
07 Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
08 And It Stoned Me (Van Morrison)
09 These Dreams of You (Van Morrison)
10 Caravan (Van Morrison)
11 Cyprus Avenue (Van Morrison)
12 Into the Mystic (Van Morrison)

The cover is the exact cover used on a bootleg of the show.