Sunday, December 30, 2018

Bob Dylan - The Hotel Room Tapes - Various Song Edits (1966)

So far, I've mostly posted early Bob Dylan material, from 1961 to 1964. I've got a ton more Dylan stuff to post, and I'm trying to move through it all chronologically. Before I could tackle his 1965 to 1966 period though, I wanted to make some song edits to his 1966 "hotel room tapes," and now I have. I'll present these songs as part of a 1966 stray tracks album later, but I want to highlight them here while the edits I made are still fresh in my mind.

In 2015, the archival Dylan album "The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12 - The Cutting Edge" was released. You could buy it in various formats, but only if you bought the 18 (!) CD version would you get any of the songs on the 18th CD, which contains various raw and low-hi recordings made of Dylan in hotels in 1965 and 1966. The first half consists of duets with Joan Baez done in 1965. I'm only dealing here with the second half, which is of songs Dylan did in two hotel rooms in 1966, with guitarist Robbie Robertson accompanying him.

Most of these 1966 songs are really interesting. No doubt, most or all of them would have been included on Dylan's follow-up album to his classic "Blonde on Blonde." Except Dylan got in a motorcycle accident later in 1966, and in the wake of that he decided to do in a very different musical (and personal) direction. So these songs were left behind, and the only records we have of them are from these hotel room tapes.

However, there are problems with the recordings. For starters, the recording quality ranges from okay to terrible. (I didn't include one original song,"If You Want My Love," because the sound quality is so bad and hissy.) But also, the songs were brand new at the time, and Dylan generally didn't play them all the way through successfully, because didn't know them well yet. So what I've done is stitch the different performances together to get the best Dylan versions of these songs we'll probably ever have. I also tried to eliminate the many flubs and coughs and the like.

The first song, "What Kind of Friend Is This," is fairly unedited by me. Dylan makes it through the song without any flubs or stops, and the sound quality is pretty good. But the song came to a sudden end after just a little over two minutes. I decided there was no good way to fix that, so I left the end as it is.

"I Can't Leave Her Behind" needed much more editing. This is a very nice song, with Dylan using a sound and voice similar to his country-ish "Nashville Skyline" era a few years later. Unfortunately, the song was cut in two on the official "Cutting Edge" version. Dylan made it through the first verse fine. But when he got to the chorus, he flubbed the chords like five times, starting it again each time. I simply edited out the flubs to make it sound like he got it right the first time. Then the first take ended shortly after the chorus, so I stitched in the rest of the song from the second take. There were more flubs there, but I edited them out. The verse lyrics are different, so by combining the two takes, I believe one gets the full song.

By the way, I didn't do anything with the song "On a Rainy Afternoon" because if you listen to it closely, it's actually the same song as "I Can't Leave Her Behind." The lyrics are significantly different, but the chords and melody are basically the same. Plus, all that was recorded is a minute and a half snippet, so there's not much to work with.

"If I Was a King" is the only non-original here. It apparently actually is a variant of an obscure Scottish folk song called "If I Were King of the Forest" (not to be confused by a song from "The Wizard of Oz"). Dylan recorded the song in a hotel room in Scotland, so maybe the location inspired him to remember it and do it. The song was recorded well. (There were a couple of loud coughs, but luckily they were during pauses between singing, so I was able to patch in fixes for them.) The main problem with the song is that Dylan stopped the song right in the middle, after doing the first verse and chorus. Then, for the second take, he did the second verse and chorus, apparently taking the song to the end. So I stitched the two takes together. I also used some instrumental snippet later in the song to add in an introduction, since Dylan and Robertson talked over the intro while they were fumbling around to find the right chords.

"Positively Van Gogh" presented a big challenge for me. The official "Cutting Edge" CD included three takes of the song. The first take was short and of no use to me. The second take included four verses, but then it stopped. The third take picked up where the second one left off and had the fifth verse. However, Dylan moved the capo on his guitar between the second and third take, changing the key. I tried my best to merge the second and third takes, but it's really tough when the takes are in significantly different keys. I could use my music editing software to change the pitch, but the problem is, if you do that very much, the song of Dylan's voice changes quite noticeably, until it no longer sounds like him.

So what I did was lower the pitch on the second take and raise it on the third take, so the two could meet in the middle. I did that successfully, and I believe it makes a pretty seamless transition for the guitar. But there's a cost in that the sound of vocals do get altered some. You'll probably notice the change between the fourth and fifth verses. It's unfortunate, but it's either that or not getting the entire song put together as one performance. If anyone else knows how to merge these together in a less noticeable way, please let me know.

(Apparently there was a sixth verse, but Dylan only got halfway through it on yet another take that only exists on a bootleg, so there's no way to fully restore it.)

The final song here, "Don't Tell Him, Tell Me," had lots of hiss on the official "Cutting Edge" version, and only one take was included there. Luckily, I found a bootlegged version with much less hiss that contained three takes, so I used that instead. Unfortunately, the sound quality is still wanting. The overall sound is okay, but for some reason Dylan's voice comes through poorly, making it very difficult to hear his lyrics. I still think it's a nice song with a good melody though, so I worked on it anyway.

Of the three takes I found, the second and third ones were useful. The second take included all of a verse and chorus, but then it stopped. A different verse was included on the third take, but it stopped before the chorus. So I stitched the two takes together. Then I added in the one good chorus to the end of the second verse to make a complete song.

So there you have it. All in all, this makes up 19 minutes of acoustic versions of five otherwise lost songs by Dylan in his prime 1965 to 1966 era. Yeah, purists may have issues with all the editing I did here. But I'd rather have these edited versions than the bits and pieces on "The Cutting Edge" with all the flubs and coughs and such. Virtually everything Dylan did in 1965 and 1966 was awesome, with three albums he released in that time all included in lists of the greatest albums of all time. These songs definitely fit in with the rest of his music from that time. I especially like "I Can't Leave Her Behind" and "Positively Van Gogh."

01 What Kind of Friend Is This (Bob Dylan)
02 I Can't Leave Her Behind [Edit] (Bob Dylan)
03 If I Was a King [If I Were King of the Forest] [Edit] (Bob Dylan)
04 Positively Van Gogh [Edit] (Bob Dylan)
05 Don't Tell Him, Tell Me [Edit] (Bob Dylan)

NOTE: This album has now been folded into this larger stray tracks album:

I hadn't intended for this to have an album cover, since it's only a collection of five song edits, not a proper album. But Peter at the Albums I Wish Existed blog made one for me, so what the heck, here it is. ;)

Friday, December 28, 2018

Los Lobos - Midnight Shift - Non-Album Tracks (1995-1998)

This is the next in my series of Los Lobos stray tracks albums. This covers 1995 to 1998, which is still close to what I consider their peak period of the early 1990s, so this is more excellent music from them.

Los Lobos has done a lot of songs for soundtracks and tribute albums, and that's the case again here. In fact, eight of the 15 songs here come from albums like those. Two more songs come from the spin-off group "Los Super Seven." The two songs from that prominently feature the two main singer-songwriters from Los Lobos, so they're basically Los Lobos songs.

The remaining five songs here come from the 1995 Los Lobos album "Papa's Dream." I don't consider that a "real" Los Lobos album, because it's very much an album aimed at children. If you like the whole thing, more power to you, but it contains many songs I'm not keen on hearing repeatedly. A lot of them are sung by people not in Los Lobos, some are too child-oriented for my tastes, and there are pointless remakes of "La Bamba." I've included the five songs I feel stand on their own, for adults who aren't into the whole "Papa's Dream" story for children.

By the way, I edited out about forty seconds of the instrumental "Mariachi Suite." Sorry if you don't like that, but I make these albums mainly for my own listening pleasure. The suite contains three instrumentals that don't have much to do with each other. The first two are nice, but the third is jarring and low-fi, and ruins the mood created by the first two. And, at only forty seconds long, it's too short to go anywhere interesting musically. I think the suite is much better without that part.

01 Cancion Del Mariachi [Morena De Mi Corazon] (Los Lobos with Antonio Banderas)
02 Let Love Reign (Los Lobos)
03 Mariachi Suite [Instrumental] [Edit] (Los Lobos)
04 Lonely Avenue (Los Lobos)
05 Wooly Bully (Los Lobos)
06 Route 90 (Los Lobos)
07 Corrido for Papa Lalo (Los Lobos)
08 La Mananita Alegre (Los Lobos)
09 La, La, La (Los Lobos)
10 Midnight Shift (Los Lobos)
11 Pepe and Irene [Instrumental] (Los Lobos with Money Mark)
12 Me Estas Matando (Los Lobos)
13 Lonesome Tears in My Eyes (Los Lobos with Paul Burlison)
14 La Sirena (Los Super Seven)
15 El Canoero (Los Super Seven)

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

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Richard & Linda Thompson - The Madness of Love - Non-Album Tracks (1977)

Here's the next in my series of Richard Thompson stray tracks albums, with this still in the middle of the Richard and Linda Thompson years.

In 1974, Richard Thompson converted to Islam, and he remains Muslim to this day. His wife Linda Thompson converted as well, but apparently more reluctantly. They released two albums in 1975, but then they moved to a Sufi community in the English countryside, much like a religious commune, and dropped out of the music business for a while.

In 1977, Richard wrote some new songs and went on a short tour with Linda. He also made an attempt to record a new album in the studio. However, something felt off to him about the new songs, or maybe getting back into music in general, because the new album never materialized. He put out another Richard and Linda Thompson album in 1978, "First Light," but it didn't contain any of the 1977 songs.

Luckily though, one concert (at Drury Lane, London) from that short 1977 tour was recorded fairly well. The first five songs here come from that Drury Lane concert. Many years later, Richard was asked about these songs, and he said, "Some songs deserve to fall off the radar." He's avoided putting them on retrospective compilations or adding them as bonus tracks or the like, so he really must have an issue with them. But it's very puzzling, because they're all good songs. Graham Parker even covered one of them ("Madness of Love") for a Richard Thompson tribute album.

If you take the five unreleased songs from that 1977 concert and add in two other obscure songs released in 1978, it makes up a lost 1977 album. In my opinion it's just as good as their other albums, though the song quality is a bit lower than ideal on the live songs.

In late 2020, the box set "Hard Luck Stories" was released. Happily, it contained better versions of four of the songs. Unfortunately, that means it didn't contain two of them, "Rescue Me" and "The Fire in the Garden." Those two sound a bit worse than the others. 

The bonus track "The Flute Tells a Story" seems to be another original from this time period. But while it was played at that same Drury Lane concert, it didn't make it to the bootleg. Instead, I found a version from a different concert bootleg. The sound quality is okay, but of lesser quality than all the others on this album, which is why it's only a bonus track.

01 The Madness of Love (Richard & Linda Thompson)
02 Rescue Me (Richard & Linda Thompson)
03 The Fire in the Garden (Richard & Linda Thompson)
04 A Bird in God's Garden (Richard & Linda Thompson)
05 The King of Love (Richard & Linda Thompson)
06 If I Were a Woman and You Were a Man (Richard & Linda Thompson)
07 Rainbow Over the Hill (Linda Thompson & the Albion Band)
08 Things You Gave Me (Richard & Linda Thompson)

The Flute Tells a Story (Richard & Linda Thompson)

When I first posted this, I had a different cover. But I wasn't happy with it, due to the lack of good color photos of Richard and Linda Thompson, especially in their first years. Many months later, I found a better picture, from December 1974. It was in black and white, but by then I had a program to help with colorizing, so I colorized it.

Belle & Sebastian - Ransomed by Tuesday - Non-Album Tracks (2001-2004)

I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. I've been away for a while, busy with holiday stuff, but I plan to push a bunch in the next few days to make up for it.

Here's the next in my series of stray tracks albums for Belle and Sebastian. It's especially fitting to post this right after Christmas, because three songs on it are Christmas songs. But they're very off the wall songs. One ("I Took Some Time for Christmas") is an original. Another is actually a cover of a James Brown song ("Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto"). (They did some other covers of Christmas songs at the same radio show session which I didn't include here because they're standard versions of overplayed songs like "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "The Twelve Days of Christmas.")

Aside from the Christmas songs, this is a fairly standard collection of songs from B-sides, solo works, various artists collections, and unreleased songs. The two solo songs are from an Isobel Campbell solo album. One song here, the last one, is a remix of the well known Belle and Sebastian song "I'm a Cuckoo." Normally, I avoid including remixes, but I'm making an exception here because the remix is significantly different from the original song, and very well done.

01 Nothing in the Silence (Belle & Sebastian)
02 [My Girl's Got] Miraculous Technique (Belle & Sebastian)
04 I Took Some Time for Christmas (Belle & Sebastian)
05 Santa Claus (Belle & Sebastian)
06 Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto (Belle & Sebastian)
07 Final Day (Belle & Sebastian)
08 Monologue for an Old True Love (Isobel Campbell)
09 Love on the March (Belle & Sebastian)
10 Desperation Made a Fool of Me (Belle & Sebastian)
11 The Breeze Whispered Your Name (Isobel Campbell)
12 Ransomed by Tuesday (Belle & Sebastian)
13 I’m a Cuckoo [Avalanches Remix] (Belle & Sebastian)

The cover was made by Peter of the Albums I Wish Existed blog. It's based on a Belle and Sebastian concert poster from this time period.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Paul Weller - This Old Town - Non-Album Tracks (2007-2009)

Here's the next in my seemingly endless number of Paul Weller stray tracks album. I think this is a particularly strong one. It covers non-album songs from 2007 to 2009. (The album of acoustic material has already been posted as "The Start of Forever.")

As usual, this is a mix of covers, four of them from Traffic, ("John Barleycorn," "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush," "Paper Sun," and "Pearly Queen") plus one other ("Pretty Flamingo,"), Jam songs ("Shopping," "Eton Rifles," and "Thick as Thieves"),, and originals. But this is a bit unusual, in that five of the 11 songs are duets or collaborations.

By the way, I made a rather bold edit to the song "John Barleycorn." The original version started out with about a minute of a traditional Irish version of the song, done completely different from the rest of the song, and with no Weller involvement. Obviously, the idea was to compare and contrast that way of doing the song with the more modern sounding version led by Weller for the rest of the song. But I preferred just hearing the Weller part, so I lopped off the beginning section. If you don't like that, feel free to get the original version.

This album is 42 minutes long.

UPDATE: On October 30, 2022, I made some changes to the mp3 download file. I added the songs "Golden Leaves" and "Pearly Queen," which I had previously missed. I also moved the song "Thick as Thieves" from the "Talisman" stray tracks album to here. Finally, because those additions made this album too long compared to some others here, I moved two songs, "Love's Got Me Crazy" and "Shout to the Top," to the next stray tracks album in this series, "Devotion." I also moved the song "Going Underground" to the "Talisman" album, because I found out the performance was actually from 2002 and I'd misplaced it.

01 Thick as Thieves (Paul Weller)
02 Golden Leaves (Paul Weller)
03 John Barleycorn [Edit] (Paul Weller & the Imagined Village)
04 Are You Trying to Be Lonely (Andy Lewis & Paul Weller)
05 Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (Paul Weller)
06 Paper Sun (Paul Weller)
07 Shopping (Candie Payne & Paul Weller)
08 This Old Town (Paul Weller & Graham Coxon)
09 Pearly Queen (Paul Weller)
10 Pretty Flamingo (Paul Weller)
11 The Eton Rifles (Paul Weller)

I made the cover using a photo of Weller from 2008.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Robyn Hitchcock - Kiss Yourself - Non-Album Tracks (1991)

Here's yet another in my long series of Robyn Hitchcock stray track albums. As I've said with past albums, I typically have two types of albums for him: those containing songs not on the official album of that time, and those containing acoustic versions of songs on the official album of that time. The official album in 1991 was "Perspex Island." This is the former kind of album, containing 1991 songs not on that album.

All the songs here are officially unreleased. There's a bootleg that contains high quality sound versions of studio songs considered for the "Perspex Island" album. Seven of the ten songs are from that bootlegs. The remaining three are from concert bootlegs. Pretty much all the songs are acoustic in style.

"Perspex Island" is widely considered one of Hitchcock's weaker albums, done in by misguided production. I don't know what the thinking on the song selection was, because I think most of these songs are as good as the ones on that album.

I called this album "Kiss Yourself" because that's an album title Hitchcock considered, but didn't use, in the early 1990s.

01 Chain Mary to the Bed [I Dreamed I Saw Julian Cope] (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 If We Had a Baby (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Don't Kill the Sweetness in Your Heart (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Baby, I Want You [That's About All] (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Lobsterman (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Gracious Ladies Dine Awhile (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Love in the Garden of Light (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 The Vomiting Cross (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Dark Green Energy (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Watch Your Intelligence (Robyn Hitchcock)

For the cover art, I used the cover to the 1991 single "Oceanside." I changed the text of the sideways text.

Los Lobos - Blue Moonlight - Non-Album Tracks (1993-1994)

In 1992, Los Lobos released "Kiko," which is widely seen as their high-water mark. They waited until 1996 to release a proper studio album sequel, "Colossal Head," which was just as widely seen as a step down from "Kiko." This could be seen as an album Los Lobos could have released in 1994, which would have been better received than "Colossal Head," in my opinion.

This album is 48 minutes long. If it had been a true follow-up to "Kiko," I think one could remove some of the covers and still have a decently long album. I count five covers: "I'm Tore Down," "She's About a Mover," "Try Me," "Run Through the Jungle," and "Down Where the Drunkards Roll."

Four of the songs here are by the Latin Playboys. Basically, that's the same as Los Lobos, as it consisted of their two main singer-songwriters, plus their producer as a band member, doing more experimental stuff. They put out an album in 1994 that was hit or miss, so I only included what I considered the best songs from it. One of their songs, the excellent "New Zandu," came out a year earlier on a Los Lobos compilation.

01 I'm Tore Down (Los Lobos)
02 Blue Moonlight (Los Lobos)
03 Wrong Man Theme [Instrumental] (Los Lobos)
04 New Zandu (Latin Playboys)
05 Alone in a Crowd (Los Lobos)
06 This Time of the Year (Los Lobos)
07 She's about a Mover (Los Lobos)
08 Try Me (Los Lobos)
09 Lights Out (Los Lobos)
10 Run through the Jungle (Los Lobos)
11 Ten Believers (Latin Playboys)
12 Same Brown Earth (Latin Playboys)
13 Forever Night Shade Mary (Latin Playboys)
14 Down Where the Drunkards Roll (Los Lobos)

In making this album cover, I decided to go in a very literal direction. ;)

The Kinks - Love Gets You - Non-Album Tracks (1982-1984)

In the early 19702, the Kinks had a commercial resurgence, helped by the hit song "Come Dancing." This stray tracks album comes from the peak of that time.

This album starts out with "Entertainment," a song found on their 1989 "UK Jive" album. But the song actually dates from much earlier. I don't know if the "UK Jive" version is from 1989 or the early 1980s. But I found a high quality live version from the 1982 US Festival, so I used that and removed the audience noise.

Four of the songs here come from Dave Davies' 1983 solo album "Chosen People." I'm not a big fan of his three early 1980s solo albums, but I think these songs are among the best of them. "Love Gets You" is a particularly good song, in my opinion, so I've made it the album title here.

Three other songs are outtakes from the 1983 Kinks album "State of Confusion." In addition, there are two 1984 songs from the Ray Davies/ Kinks compilation "The Singles Collection - Waterloo Sunset." All of those and "Entertainment" are Ray Davies songs, giving him a six to four edge song count over his brother Dave on this album.

By the way, although the last two songs are credited as "Ray Davies" songs, it's highly likely it was the Kinks backing him. In this time period, Ray Davies, didn't work with anyone else. In 1985, he would put out the "solo" album "Return to Waterloo," but it was just the other Kinks on the other instruments for that album.

This album is 40 minutes long.

01 Entertainment (Kinks)
02 Take One More Chance (Dave Davies)
03 Noise (Kinks)
04 Mean Disposition (Dave Davies)
05 Once a Thief (Kinks)
06 Long Distance (Kinks)
07 Love Gets You (Dave Davies)
08 Is It Any Wonder (Dave Davies)
09 My Diary (Ray Davies)
10 The Shirt (Ray Davies)

The cover art is from Peter of the Albums I Wish Existed blog. I don't know what year it's from, but it seems to be the right band members for the time period.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Van Morrison - It's Too Late to Stop Now... Again (1973)

First off, I want to mention that I'll be on vacation for the next week, so I won't be posting anything new during that time.

This album is kind of strange. In 1974, Van Morrison released the double live album "It's Too Late to Stop Now," taken from concerts from May to July 1973. It's widely considered to be one of the greatest live albums of all time, done at a peak of Morrison's creative and performing powers. This is an attempt to make another album exactly like that, drawn from the exact same concerts, but with no overlap whatsoever. Thus the title.

Here's how I made it. In 2016, a super deluxe version of "It's Too Late to Stop Now" was released, called "It's Too Late to Stop Now, Vol. II, III, IV and DVD." That contained all of the live concerts that the original album drew from, namely:

The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA, May 24, 1973
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, CA, May 29,1973
The Rainbow Theatre, London, Britain, July 23 and 24, 1973

In addition, there's a pristine soundboard bootleg of this show:
The Lion's Share, San Anselmo CA, February 15, 1973

So I drew on all four of those shows as raw material for this album. (As it turns out, I didn't use any performances from the London shows, since they were all repeats of songs played earlier.)

I figured out what all the unique songs from these concerts were. Then I removed all the songs that were on the official "It's Too Late to Stop Now" album. I also have posted four other complete "must have" Morrison concerts here:

Live in Boston 1968 The Catacombs, Boston, MA, 8-1968)
Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA, April 26, 1970
The Lion's Share, San Anselmo, CA, August 8,1971
Pacific High Studios, San Francisco, CA, September 5, 1971

I removed any song that appeared on any of those albums too!

There were only two exceptions. I kept the version of "Into the Mystic" from the 1973 Lion's Share show, because this is a legendary "scat vocal" version, where Morrison does the song in a very different way and scat sings over most of it. I also kept the version of "Sweet Thing" from the 1973 Santa Monica show, because although that song was done in the 1971 Lion's Share show, that was a very different acoustic version.

Yet, after I removed all the songs that appeared on all those concerts and/or albums, I still was left with 18 songs, totaling an hour and 31 minutes. How long is "It's Too Late to Stop Now?" Eighteen songs and an hour and 32 minutes of music. So this is nearly exactly the same length, except a totally different bunch of songs that shouldn't overlap with any of your other live Van Morrison music taken from this blog.

On top of all that, I plan on following this soon with yet more Morrison live material from the early 1970s, consisting of songs that aren't on any of the above albums or concerts, including this "It's Too Late to Stop Now... Again" album! I think that shows what a remarkable number of songs he was doing in concert in that era.

The bottom line is, if you enjoy "It's Too Late to Stop Now," you should enjoy this. Yeah, these weren't his top choices to put on a live album at that time, but everything he was doing in concert at the time was solid gold, so there's no way to go wrong.

01 Into the Mystic [Scat Version] (Van Morrison)
02 Everybody's Talkin' (Van Morrison)
03 St. Dominic's Preview (Van Morrison)
04 Misty (Van Morrison)
05 [There'll Be Bluebirds Over] The White Cliffs of Dover (Van Morrison)
06 Purple Heather [Wild Mountain Thyme] (Van Morrison)
07 Bein' Green (Van Morrison)
08 Foggy Mountain Top [T for Texas] (Van Morrison)
09 Heathrow Shuffle [Instrumental] (Van Morrison)
10 What'd I Say (Van Morrison)
11 Hard Nose the Highway (Van Morrison)
12 Hey Good Lookin' (Van Morrison)
13 Snow in San Anselmo (Van Morrison)
14 It's Not the Twilight Zone (Van Morrison)
15 Naked in the Jungle (Van Morrison)
16 There, There Child (Van Morrison)
17 Since I Fell for You (Van Morrison)
18 Sweet Thing (Van Morrison)

The cover art was made by Peter at the Albums I Wish Existed blog. It's based on alternate art from the official "It's Too Late to Stop Now" album.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Elliott Smith - Sorry My Mistake - Non-Album Tracks (1998-1999)

Here's the next in my series of stray tracks albums for Elliott Smith.

This covers 1998 and 1999. From the start of his solo career through 1997, Smith was signed with a record company that, in retrospect, has released a lot of his material that went unreleased at the time, especially with the "New Moon" album. But from 1998 to the end of his career, it's been the opposite, with basically nothing else released since 2004. So that means there are a lot of excellent unreleased tracks here.

Smith was the kind of performer who wasn't afraid to play unreleased songs in concert. But only two songs here come from live shows. The rest are from B-sides or studio outtakes that somehow got bootlegged. Plus, there's a cover of a Beatles song ("Because") from a movie soundtrack.

By the way, the song "Some (Rock) Song" is the same song as "Some Song," which I put on the "Angels in the Snow" album. But it has a slightly different title due to this being the full band, rocking version.

This album is 35 minutes long.

01 How to Take a Fall (Elliott Smith)
02 Our Thing [Instrumental] (Elliott Smith)
03 Some [Rock] Song (Elliott Smith)
04 Brand New Game (Elliott Smith)
05 Cecilia-Amanda (Elliott Smith)
06 Grand Mal (Elliott Smith)
07 Taking a Fall (Elliott Smith)
08 Because (Elliott Smith)
09 Stained Glass Eyes (Elliott Smith)
10 Confidence Artist (Elliott Smith)
11 Flowers for Charlie (Elliott Smith)
12 Place Pigalle (Elliott Smith)
13 Sorry My Mistake [Edit] (Elliott Smith)

I made the cover from part of a 1999 Smith concert poster.

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Lay Me Down - Non-Album Tracks (2003-2005)

It's high time for some more Crosby, Stills and Nash (CSN). Most recently, I posted a couple of CSN albums with Neil Young in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But from here on out in this imagining of the CSN/CSNY albums that might have been, we leave Young behind. CSNY did tour in 2006, but they just did songs from Young's latest album plus greatest hits. There hasn't been any real CSNY collaboration on new songs since 2002.

This album is mostly about David Crosby and Graham Nash. As the Crosby-Nash duo, they hadn't put out a new album since the late 1970s, but they put out a double album in 2004 simply called "Crosby and Nash." Most of the songs here are from that album. But only three of the exact performances are from the album. The rest are live, sometimes as CSN.

(I wish I could have more CSN performances of those songs because I know they did a lot in concert, but I've only found one excellent sounding bootleg from the era. If you know of others, please let me know.)

Unfortunately, this album doesn't have a lot of Stephen Stills on it. His three songs here come from his 2005 "Man Alive" album. Generally speaking, this time period wasn't a good one for Stills, apparently due to some particularly bad drug troubles he was going through.

But CSN was always a group where the whole was more than the sum of its parts. And with five Nash songs, four Crosby songs, and three Stills songs, I think one ends up with an album that's much stronger than any of their solo (or duo) efforts from around this time.

01 Lay Me Down (Crosby & Nash)
02 Dirty Little Secret (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
03 Ole Man Trouble (Stephen Stills)
04 Don't Dig Here (Crosby & Nash)
05 Lost Another One (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
06 Drivin' Thunder (Stephen Stills)
07 Milky Way Tonight (Crosby & Nash)
08 They Want It All (Crosby & Nash)
09 Jesus of Rio (Crosby & Nash)
10 Different Man (Stephen Stills with Neil Young)
11 How Does It Shine (Crosby & Nash)
12 Half Your Angels (Crosby, Stills & Nash)

The cover art was made by Peter from his Albums I Wish Existed blog. I don't know what year the photo dates from.

Imelda May with Jeff Beck - Iridium Jazz Club, New York City, 6-9-2010

I must say, I'm disappointed at the number of people so far who have downloaded the two Imelda May albums I've posted. I'm guessing that's due to the people who don't know her music and are reluctant to try something new. So I'm going to step away from my usual chronological approach to post this album that features May with famed guitarist Jeff Beck on every song. Maybe this can serve as a kind of "gateway drug" - come for the Beck guitar, but stay for the May vocals. ;)

For a couple of years around 2010, May and Beck toured together as part of a tribute to guitarist Les Paul. In 2011, an official album was released from one of these shows called "Rock 'n' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul." If you don't have it, you should get it. It features May singing on about 30 minutes of music, but features another 30 minutes of music, some of those instrumentals and some sung by others, including some famous guest singers like Brian Setzer and Gary U.S. Bonds.

This is similar to that album, but it's not the same. This is taken from a DVD of another Les Paul tribute show put on by Beck, May, and others at the Iridium Jazz Club in 2010. It only features the songs sung by May. She sings more here, for about 42 minutes of music instead of the 30 on the official album.

The show entirely consists of classic songs from the 1960s or earlier (mostly earlier). It's a good mix of lively rockabilly numbers and romantic torch songs. Most of them were hits by Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford in the early 1950s. All of them, in my opinion, show what a great singer May is, as well as what a great guitarist Beck is.

01 Poor Boy (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
02 Cry Me a River (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
03 My Baby Left Me (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
04 How High the Moon (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
05 Sitting on Top of the World (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
06 Bye Bye Blues (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
07 The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
08 Vaya Con Dios (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
09 Mockin' Bird Hill (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
10 I'm a Fool to Care (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
11 Tiger Rag (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
12 Remember [Walking in the Sand] (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
13 Please Mr. Jailor (Jeff Beck with Imelda May)
14 Casting My Spell on You (Jeff Beck with Imelda May & Darrel Higham)

I made the cover based on a photo of Beck and May that I found. But I'm not sure what concert it's from.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Kinks - Hidden Quality - Non-Album Tracks (1979-1981)

Here's another album of stray tracks from the Kinks. And I'm hardly done with them yet. They're my second favorite musical group of all time (after the Beatles), so I love highlighting what a deep quality discography they have.

This album covers 1979 to 1981, which was a time of renewed popularity for the band in the US. The songs here are about evenly split between Dave Davies songs (six) and Ray Davis songs (five). Dave Davies was having a renewed effort at a solo career, putting out three solo albums in the early 1980s. Two of the songs here - "Nothin' More to Lose" and "Imagination's Real" - are from his 1980 solo album, but they're listed as Kinks songs because these recordings come from Kinks concerts.

The Ray Davies songs on this album are mostly taken from "Picture Book," the Kinks' box set. However, there's one live cover of an Everly Brothers song, "Bird Dog," sung by Ray, that I've included too. Also, there's one Ray song I considered including but didn't quite make the cut. "Maybe I Love You" is a 1980 demo from the box set, but the recording is clearly unfinished, with vocals only on the choruses.

I think this makes a fine 40-minute-long Kinks album. Note that it's more Dave-heavy than usual for the group.

01 This Precious Time [Long Lonely Road] (Dave Davies)
02 Hidden Quality (Kinks)
03 Within Each Day (Dave Davies)
04 Duke (Kinks)
05 Nothin' More to Lose (Kinks)
06 Nuclear Love (Kinks)
07 Imagination's Real (Kinks)
08 Bird Dog (Kinks)
09 Too Serious (Dave Davies)
10 Stolen Away Your Heart (Kinks)
11 Eastern Eyes (Dave Davies)

The cover art was made by Peter at the Albums I Wish Existed blog. I'm not sure what year it's from, but it looks like it shows Mick Avory, Dave Davies, Ray Davies, Ian Gibbons, and Jim Rodford, who were the members of the band from about 1980 to 1985.

Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of New York - Non-Album Tracks (1985-1989)

I've posted three Kirsty MacColl albums already, as I move chronologically through her career. Those three all contained many good songs, but this is when she really began to hit her stride.

The highlight here has to be "Fairytale of New York," a duet with the Pogues that is the most played Christmas song of the 21st century in Britain. Incredibly, it hits the charts pretty much every single Christmas season there. It's not nearly as well known in the US, however, but it should be.

That song, plus the first two here, were recorded at a time when MacColl was having a prolonged dispute with her record company. She wasn't really free to put out her own music until 1989, when she released her album "Kite." The remainder of the songs here are B-sides from singles off that album. But I would argue that most of these are just as good as the songs that made the album.

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 He's on the Beach (Kirsty MacColl)
02 Please, Go to Sleep (Kirsty MacColl)
03 Fairytale of New York (Pogues & Kirsty MacColl)
04 Clubland (Kirsty MacColl)
05 Don't Run Away from Me Now (Kirsty MacColl)
06 You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby [Long Version] (Kirsty MacColl)
07 Closer to God (Kirsty MacColl)
08 The End of a Perfect Day (Kirsty MacColl)
09 La Foret de Mimosas (Kirsty MacColl)
10 Happy (Kirsty MacColl)
11 Please Help Me, I'm Falling (Kirsty MacColl)
12 El Paso (Kirsty MacColl)
13 Still Life (Kirsty MacColl)

The cover was found by Peter of the Albums I Wish Existed blog. It's from a rare single of "Fairytale of New York," with the Pogues name removed.

Belle & Sebastian - The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner - Non-Album Tracks (2000-2001)

Here's another album of stray tracks from Belle & Sebastian. This one covers 2000 to 2001, which was still in the middle of their late 1990s to early 2000s heyday.

Most of the songs here are various A- and B-sides. But there also are two original songs that were only ever officially released on a compilation of BBC performances. (Two more songs from that same BBC performance will appear on the next stray tracks album.)

Furthermore, on the last album I included a couple of solo songs by members of the group that I considered as good as Belle & Sebastian songs. There are three more solo songs this time, two by Isobell Campbell and one by Stevie Jackson. There will be more solo songs on future stray tracks albums, as the group began to fracture and put out more solo material.

01 Come, O Come Emmanuel (Belle & Sebastian)
02 Falling from Grace (Isobel Campbell & the Gentle Waves)
03 Sisterwoman (Isobel Campbell & the Gentle Waves)
04 Good Time (Stevie Jackson)
05 Jonathan David (Belle & Sebastian)
06 Take Your Carriage Clock and Shove It (Belle & Sebastian)
07 The Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner (Belle & Sebastian)
08 I'm Waking Up to Us (Belle & Sebastian)
09 I Love My Car (Belle & Sebastian)
10 Marx and Engels (Belle & Sebastian)
11 Shoot the Sexual Athlete (Belle & Sebastian)
12 The Magic of a Kind Word (Belle & Sebastian)

The cover art is by Peter of his Albums I Wish Existed blog. It's taken from the artwork for the cover of the book by a similar name as this album ("The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"). Belle and Sebastian have a habit of quirky covers that don't actually show the band, so I think this fits.

Various Artists - Nuggets 5: Canada (1966-1972)

I've got a bunch of artists I want to post more stray tracks albums of so I can move on to posting from yet more artists. As a result, it's been a long while since I've posted any various artists collections. But I've got a whole bunch of those I plan on posting as well. Let me continue with the rest of my Nuggets series before moving to other various artists collections.

As I explained before, I really liked the two Nuggets box sets Rhino Records put out, but when it came to gems outside of the US and Britain, I wanted to see what worthy material they'd missed. I've already posted my collections from the Netherlands and Australia/New Zealand. Here's Canada.

As with the previous collections, the emphasis is on garage-styled rock or pop. But there are two notable groups I didn't include: the Guess Who and Steppenwolf. That's because although some of their music could arguably qualify as garage rock (The Guess Who started out that way, with the early hit "Shakin' All Over"), I figure anyone who has any interest in this would at least have some music by both of those groups, so there's no need to repeat their songs here. (I included two Guess Who songs are bonus tracks.)

This makes up an hour and two minutes of quality Canadian rock. As with the others in the series, if there are any great songs you feel I failed to include, please let me know and I might update the song list.

This album is 59 minutes long, not including the bonus tracks.

01 1-2-5 (Haunted)
02 Brainwashed (David Clayton-Thomas & the Bossmen)
03 Nothin' (Ugly Ducklings)
04 That's Just a Thought that I H (Ugly Ducklings)
05 Who Dat (Jury)
06 Gaslight (Ugly Ducklings)
07 Hard to Cry (Northwest Company)
08 I'm Losing Tonight (A Passing Fancy)
09 Looking at a Baby (Collectors)
10 One Ring Jane (Mother Tuckers Yellow Duck)
11 Feel It (It's All Meat)
12 As the Years Go By (Mashmakhan)
13 Signs (Five Man Electrical Band)
14 Absolutely Right (Five Man Electrical Band)
15 Lovin' You Ain't Easy (Michel Pagliaro)
16 Oh, What a Feeling (Crowbar)
17 One Fine Morning (Lighthouse)
18 Sweet City Woman (Stampeders)
19 I Hardly Knew Her Name (Wackers)

It's My Pride (Guess Who)
Shakin' All Over (Guess Who)

I made the cover art, along with the others in this series.

Paul Weller - The Start of Forever - Non-Album Acoustic Tracks (2006-2008)

Sometimes, I post Paul Weller full-band stray track albums and sometimes I post his all-acoustic stray track albums. This is the latter kind.

This is the usual sort of mix of songs. He does two Jam songs ("Liza Radley" and "The Butterfly Collector") and one Style Council song ("Down in the Siene"). He also covers a couple of famous songs ("Daydream" and "Pretty Flamingo"). I also included one song from earlier in his solo career ("Shadow of the Sun") because, as far as I know, an acoustic version of it hasn't been officially released. Most of the rest are his own songs, generally from recent solo albums.

However, there is one special section to this album, at the end of it. Weller and superstar diva Adele played three songs together in the studio for the BBC. Both of them sang on all three songs, but Adele sang most of the lead on a Weller hit, Weller sang most of the lead on an Adele hit, and then they tackled an old blues classic together.

01 I Wanna Make It Alright (Paul Weller)
02 Roll Along Summer (Paul Weller)
03 The Start of Forever (Paul Weller)
04 Wild Blue Yonder [Demo] (Paul Weller)
05 Down in the Siene (Paul Weller)
06 Liza Radley (Paul Weller)
07 Shadow of the Sun (Paul Weller)
08 Sweet Pea, My Sweet Pea (Paul Weller)
09 The Butterfly Collector (Paul Weller)
10 Daydream (Paul Weller)
11 Pretty Flamingo (Paul Weller)
12 Light Nights (Paul Weller)
13 You Do Something to Me (Paul Weller & Adele)
14 Chasing Pavements (Paul Weller & Adele)
15 Need Your Love So Bad (Paul Weller & Adele)

I made the cover from a concert photo from 2009.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Kinks - History - Non-Album Tracks (1972-1975)

This is an album stray tracks from the Kinks for the years 1972 to 1975.

I previously didn't have much in the way of Kinks stray tracks from this time period. But in late 2018, the song "Time Song" was released. (It was on a super deluxe edition of "The Village Green Preservation Society" album, but actually dates from 1973.) More importantly, Dave Davies' archival album "Decade" was released, with a lot of songs from this time.

Actually, there are so many Dave songs that he gets a slight majority over his brother, six to five. Ray Davies was almost exclusively focused on writing songs for a series of Kinks concept albums during this time. I would guess he must have written some songs that didn't fit the concepts. Hopefully those will be released someday.

"Scrapheap City" was on the "Preservation, Act 2" album, but that version had a female vocalist singing it. This version is sung by Ray Davies. "History" is a bonus track from the "Everybody's in Show-biz" album. "Slum Kids" is a bonus track from the "Preservation, Act 2" album. In my opinion, these songs gathered together are as good or better than a couple of the studio albums from this time period.

This album is 42 minutes long.

01 History (Kinks)
02 Midnight Sun (Dave Davies)
03 Cradle to the Grave (Dave Davies)
04 Time Song (Kinks)
05 Shadows [Instrumental] (Dave Davies)
06 Mystic Woman (Dave Davies)
07 Preservation (Kinks)
08 Mr. Moon (Dave Davies)
09 Scrapheap City [Ray Vocal Version] (Kinks)
10 Slum Kids (Kinks)
11 Web of Time (Dave Davies)

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

Imelda May - No Turning Back (2003)

I'm a very big fan of Imelda May. This actually is an officially released album, unchanged. I usually don't post these, but it's very obscure, and I want to draw more attention to it and to May's career in general.

The reason this album is so obscure is because it was her first album, released back in 2003. It actually came out when she was still going under her given name, "Imelda Clabby." It was rereleased in 2007, with the "Imelda May" name and a new look, with a signature quiff in her hair. However, she still wasn't famous - she wouldn't get her big break until 2008, when she started appearing on TV in Britain. So even the rerelease has remained obscure.

Even though this is her first album, her rockabilly style is already established. And May isn't just a pretty face and a great voice - she also is a talented songwriter. She's already showing that at this early stage, writing three of the songs by herself.

The two songs to the end of mp3 zip file come from a 1999 Darrel Higham album. But May does all the singing on both, and I believe wrote them as well. Higham and May were already romantically linked at the time and would be married and musical partners for many years, until 2015.

This album is 46 minutes long.

01 Dealing with the Devil (Imelda May)
02 Flame of Love (Imelda May)
03 Cry for Me Baby (Imelda May)
04 [Till] I Kissed You (Imelda May & Darrel Higham)
05 What Am I Gonna Do (Imelda May)
06 Once More (Imelda May)
07 Wild about My Lovin' (Imelda May)
08 No Turning Back (Imelda May)
09 End of the World (Imelda May)
10 Y'hoo (Imelda May)
11 Don't Do Me No Wrong (Imelda May)
12 Forever You and Me (Imelda May)
13 Bring My Cadillac Back (Imelda May)
14 Lovey Dovey Lovely One (Imelda May)
15 Let Us Sing (Imelda May)
16 Bless My Soul (Darrel Higham & Imelda May)
17 You Can Persuade Me (Darrel Higham & Imelda May)

I've gone with the original cover, showing what she actually looked like in 2003. However, I've changed the text with her "Imelda May" name, to be consistent with all her other albums. I changed the font as well. Also, the original photo was in black and white, but I colorized it.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Indigo Girls - It Won't Take Long - Non-Album Tracks (1991-1996)

I've already posted four albums of stray tracks from the Indigo Girls, covering their 1980s and early 1990s material. Two of those contained all original songs, and two of those contained all covers. By the time covered here, the mid-1990s, the amount of non-album material that interests me declines, so this contains both original and cover songs.

Most of these are from a variety of studio sources, such as soundtracks, tribute albums, B-sides, and the like. Two of them are from concert bootlegs, because they're of original songs that don't seem the exist in any other format.

Unfortunately, my interest in the Indigo Girls declines around the end of the 1990s. For whatever reason, I don't think they maintained their songwriting at their previous high levels. However, I still have four more Indigo Girls albums to post, that are all acoustic versions of their best songs, generally taken from in-person radio station performances.

01 Uncle John's Band (Indigo Girls)
02 I'll Give You My Skin (Indigo Girls with Michael Stipe)
03 Play It Again Sam (Indigo Girls)
04 I Don't Want to Talk about It (Indigo Girls)
05 Wild Wild Party at the Loquat Tree (Indigo Girls)
06 Rockin' in the Free World (Indigo Girls)
07 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (Indigo Girls)
08 What's the Buzz (Indigo Girls)
09 I Don't Know How to Love Him (Indigo Girls)
10 It Won't Take Long (Indigo Girls)
11 Chiapas Bound (Indigo Girls)
12 Blood Quantum (Indigo Girls)

The cover art comes straight from the cover for the "Power of Two" single, from 1994. All I did was change the text at the bottom.