Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Grateful Dead - Ramble On Rose - Various Songs (1971-1972)

As I've mentioned previously, the Grateful Dead wrote a remarkable number of great songs in the early 1970s, and in my opinion that was the peak of their career, but a large number of them weren't released on any studio album at the time. So I've made four albums that cover the gap between the "American Beauty" album in 1970 and "Wake of the Flood" in 1973. This is the third of those four albums.

The other day, the Reconstructor blog ( posted a similar album to this one. According to that blog, the Dead were planning on releasing a studio album in 1972 that would have been titled "Rambling Rose." But instead of going to the studio to record their new songs, they decided to release a live album instead, and "Europe '72" was the result. I'm not sure why they wanted to call the album "Rambling Rose" when they had a song with the title "Ramble On Rose" that never uses the phrase "Rambling Rose," but whatever.

I went with the album title "Ramble On Rose" because I found a really great cover art picture at the "What If" blog ( a year ago, and I asked back then if I could use it too. So now here we finally are. That locked me in to using "Ramble On Rose" for the album title.

Anyway, regardless of title, this is another great album that should be a must-have for any fan of the band. As I did with the other albums from this era, I was careful to have a mix of songs sung by Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, with Garcia's songs dominating. For each album of these four, I'd include all original songs plus one cover. In this case, the cover is "Morning Dew."

Generally speaking, I've tried hard to avoid using the exact same versions of the songs that are on the 1972 solo albums by Garcia and Weir. Both those albums are so good that every Dead fan should own them and treat them just like Dead albums. (Actually, the Weir album, "Ace," is basically a Dead album of Weir songs, since the full band appears on every song.) But I had to make an exception this time for the song "Cassidy." The Dead didn't play the song for the first time until 1974, which is too late to fit into this album's time frame. Plus, the studio version from "Ace" is fantastic.

There are only seven songs here, but they're long, so the album is 48 and a half minutes long. That would have been unusually long for a single album in 1972, but it was doable. ("L.A. Woman" by the Doors from 1971 was a bit longer.)

01. Ramble On Rose (Grateful Dead)
02. Cassidy (Bob Weir)
03. The Stranger [Two Souls in Communion] (Grateful Dead)
04. Black-Throated Wind (Grateful Dead)
05. He's Gone (Grateful Dead)
06. Looks like Rain (Grateful Dead)
07. Morning Dew (Grateful Dead)

As mentioned above, thanks to the "What If" blog for the excellent cover art. I did change it slightly in that some parts of the text was darker than others, and I made it all equally dark.

Various Artists - Covered: Buddy Holly, 1957-2011

It's been a few weeks. but don't worry, I haven't stopped the "Covered" series, highlighting great songwriters. In fact, I have a lot of big names to get to. But first, I want to finish off songwriters who got started in the 1950s before moving on to those who got started in the very creatively fertile 1960s.

The last 1950s artist I want to deal with is Buddy Holly. He hit the big time in 1957, but died in a plane crash just two years later, in 1959. Since he was only 22 years old when he died, one has to wonder at all the music he could have done if he'd lived.

Holly was a particularly big influence on the Beatles. In fact, the name "the Beatles" was inspired in large part by the name of Holly's backing band, the Crickets. (The name for the Hollies was even more directly inspired by Holly, by the way.) But what perhaps influenced the Beatles the most was the example of Buddy Holly being a singer who wrote most of his songs. (Chuck Berry was the other big 1950s example of that.) 

With that in mind, I wanted to include Holly in my "Covered" series to highlight the songs he wrote or co-wrote. It turns out he didn't write some of the songs that are closely associated with him. For instance, he did NOT have a role in writing any of these songs:

I'm Gonna Love You Too
It Doesn't Matter Anymore
Midnight Shift
Oh Boy
Raining in My Heart
Rave On

I was disappointed to learn he didn't write those, even though he was the first artist to release most of them. But he did write lots of good ones, including some all-time classics. Not many covers of his songs have been big hits, though there have been some. So I mostly picked covers that I liked the best. I generally included versions of his best known songs, but I included a few rarities, usually because I found some interesting versions of those.

The total length of the album is 46 minutes, and I only have one album for him. I could have made it considerably longer, but I wanted to keep the quality control high.

01. Words of Love (Diamonds)
02. Lonesome Tears (Carolyn Hester)
03. Crying, Waiting, Hoping (Beatles)
04. Not Fade Away (Rolling Stones)
05. Love's Made a Fool of You (Bobby Fuller Four)
06. Well... All Right (Blind Faith)
07. Learning the Game (Bunch)
08. Everyday (Don McLean)
09. Peggy Sue (John Lennon)
10. It's So Easy (Linda Ronstadt)
11. True Love Ways (Elvis Costello)
12. Wishing (Mary Chapin Carpenter & Kevin Montgomery)
13. That Makes It Tough (Lazy Cowgirls)
14. Maybe Baby (Paul McCartney)
15. Think It Over (Graham Nash & the Crickets)
16. I'm Lookin' for Someone to Love (Imelda May)
17. Changing All Those Changes (Nick Lowe)
18. Peggy Sue Got Married (John Doe)

I'm amazed that I wasn't able to find a single good color photo of Holly. I did find a few, but they were all lacking for one reason or another, such as showing him as part of a group, so I couldn't show just his head without zooming way in and having a drastic loss of picture quality. Since I hate using black and white photos, I resorted to using a colorized photo of him. I think it's a particularly good one, so it's hard to tell, but it is colorized.

Rosanne Cash - Price of the Fire - Various Songs (2008-2011)

Hopefully by now you'll have noticed from my previous Rosanne Cash posts that she's got a lot of non-album material that's very good. So if you like the other stray tracks albums I've posted from her, you should like this one. It's more of the same quality music.

The songs come from bonus tracks, cuts on various artists compilations, duets on other people's albums, and the like. Four of the songs are officially unreleased, and all of those come from concert bootlegs. Happily, the sound is very good for those.

Cash has never been a very prolific songwriter, and usually these stray tracks compilations of hers are filled with covers. That's the case here too. About half of the songs are well-known classics, including versions of tunes from the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and her father Johnny Cash. But, as usual, she makes them all her own.

01. Wildwood Flower (Charlie Haden Family & Rosanne Cash)
02. Price of the Fire (Rosanne Cash)
03. And Your Bird Can Sing (Rosanne Cash)
04. My Love Is like a Red, Red Rose (Rosanne Cash)
05. Satisfied Mind (Rosanne Cash with Neko Case)
06. Sweet Memories (Rosanne Cash with Chris Thile)
07. Ode to Billy Joe (Rosanne Cash)
08. Secret Life of Roses (Rosanne Cash)
09. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Rosanne Cash)
10. Better Days (Rosanne Cash)
11. Got You Covered (Blackie & the Rodeo Kings with Rosanne Cash)
12. Pickin' Time (Rosanne Cash)
13. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Rosanne Cash)

I wasn't able to find any really good photos of Cash from 2008 to 2011. But I found a nice one from 2012, so I used that.

The Kinks - Christmas Concert - Rainbow Theatre, London, Britain, 12-24-1977

I'm continuing to post a series of what I consider are the best Kinks concert recordings. The emphasis there is on "recordings," because the Kinks were usually very good in concert, but only rarely were entire concerts recorded at the very highest sound quality.

It so happens that 1977 saw two such concerts, one right at the beginning of the year, and the other right at the end. I've already posted one, which you can find here:

It so happens that the two 1977 concerts have fairly different setlists, so I think it's worth it to post both of them. This second concert was performed on Christmas Eve, so it's widely known as the "Christmas Concert." It was recorded for the TV show "Old Grey Whistle Test," and shown on TV at the time. (The Kinks played some other songs for that same show in March 1977, and I've included those on one of my "At the BBC" collections.)

This is widely considered one of the best Kinks concert recordings. I've even seen it on a blogger's list of the best bootlegs of all time. The only downside is that it's a mere hour long, instead of the usual hour and-a-half to two-hour-long concert the Kinks did in those years. I'm guessing that's because the Old Grey Whistle Test had an hour-long format. I don't know if the Kinks played more songs that didn't make the show, but if they did, I can't find any trace of them anywhere.

Probably due to the time limitation, the Kinks put on a very tight concert, with relatively little talking between songs. In fact, several songs quickly follow each other, or even could be considered parts of medleys. I've separated what little talking there is onto separate tracks.

01. Juke Box Music (Kinks)
02. Sleepwalker (Kinks)
03. Life on the Road (Kinks)
04. talk (Kinks)
05. A Well Respected Man (Kinks)
06. Death of a Clown (Kinks)
07. Sunny Afternoon (Kinks)
08. Waterloo Sunset (Kinks)
09. All Day and All of the Night (Kinks)
10. talk (Kinks)
11. Slum Kids (Kinks)
12. talk (Kinks)
13. Celluloid Heroes (Kinks)
14. talk (Kinks)
15. Get Back in the Line (Kinks)
16. talk (Kinks)
17. The Hard Way (Kinks)
18. Lola (Kinks)
19. Alcohol (Kinks)
20. Skin and Bone - Them Bones (Kinks)
21. Father Christmas (Kinks)
22. You Really Got Me (Kinks)

For the cover art, I used an actual screenshot from the concert in question, since it was shown on TV. The best image I could find shows just the head of Ray Davies, instead of the whole band.

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Opening Act - Various Songs (1987-1992)

Another artist I like is Mary Chapin Carpenter. I fear that she's getting forgotten as time passes, because she had her peak years of success in the 1990s, and her sales and profile has gone way down since then. To be honest, I'm not such a big fan of her material since then, but in the 1990s, she was firing on all cylinders, deservedly selling millions of records. People called her music "country," but really it was an interesting mix of country, rock, folk, and/or pop. I recommend most of the stuff she did back then, but especially her 1992 album "Come On, Come On."

As good as her albums were at that time, it turns out she left all sorts of great material fall by the wayside. So here's the first of several stray tracks albums I've made. This first one goes way back to 1987, which was the year of her very first album. Personally, I feel her first two albums, "Hometown Girl" in 1987, and "State of the Heart" in 1989, were hit and miss, as her songwriting ability grew by leaps and bounds in that era, finally reaching a peak in the early 1990s.

But those albums would have been a lot better had they included more of the songs on this stray tracks collection. All but the last two are still officially unreleased by her in any form, and those last two are from very obscure various artists collections.

One side of her music that rarely made it to record is her humorous side. Two songs included here, "Ain't No Cowboys in New Jersey" and "Opening Act," are very amusing, and obvious crowd pleasers, so it's a mystery why she never released them. Those two are originals, and most of the rest of the songs are too. (I think "April Rain" and one or two others are covers of relatively unknown songs.) Those are generally in an acoustic mode. She explained as part of a bootleg recording that I didn't include here that many of these songs were not usually played in concert because she was expected to play more lively songs, and the band didn't like it when they essentially weren't needed for certain songs. Luckily, she did play them occasionally, and they got recorded by bootleggers with very good sound quality.

To be honest, I'd rather listen to this album than either of her first two studio albums, even though most of the songs are from the same time period.

01. Ain't No Cowboys in New Jersey (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
02. April Rain (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
03. That Place Where Your Memories Are Strong (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
04. Hard Times in Lonely Town (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
05. I'm Not Alone Anymore (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
06. Opening Act (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
07. None but the Rain (John Carroll & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
08. Wall 'Round Your Heart (Mary Chapin Carpenter with Kathy Mattea & Vince Gill)
09. Jenny Dreamed of Trains (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
10. Dreamland (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

For the cover art, I found a promotional photo of Carpenter that dates to 1992.

Kirsty MacColl - Moving Out (Edited Song) (1994)

Today, while searching YouTube for something else, I happened upon a Kirsty MacColl song that I'd never heard of before. It's a good song that appears to be an original, and given that she died in 2001, those are rarer than hen's teeth.

I've added the song to the most fitting stray tracks collection, called "Perfect Day," which you can find here:

But I've also created this post about it so more people can know about it, and also to explain the edits I did, since they were significant.

The song was the theme song for a short-lived 1994 British TV show called "Moving Stories." The YouTube video I found was really two clips put together: a 45-second long section of the song played at the start of the show, and then another 45-second long section of the song played at the end credits. Both parts had a verse and a chorus, with the verses being different.

So my first task was to merge the two parts together to make one seamless whole, which I did easily, since the first part ended with the same riff that the second part began with. The second part faded out in a non-ideal manner, while the first part let a final chord ring out and fade away. So I took the ending for the first part and added it to the very end. The song also faded in in a non-ideal manner, so I patched in part of the opening riff from when it was repeated later in the song to have a better beginning.

That riff only played once each time. But I decided it would sound better if it played twice each time, especially since the song was so short. So I did more editing to repeat the riff at the beginning, in the middle, and then again at the end.

After all that, the song grew from a minute and a half to exactly two minutes, mostly due to repeating the riff three times, since it lasts about ten seconds each time. The song is still on the short side, and I could have repeated the chorus or something like that, but I think I did enough tinkering already.

Here's the link to just the song:

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Bonnie Raitt - Ain't That Peculiar - Various Songs (1982-1987)

Here's another in a long series of stray tracks albums for Bonnie Raitt.

For most of the 1980's, Raitt's musical career was at a low point. Musical trends seemed to have passed her by. In 1983, she completed an album which was to be called "Tongue and Groove." But there were changes in her record company, and the new decision makers rejected it. She was forced to redo most of it. The result was released in 1986 with the name "Nine Lives." In my opinion, it's easily her worst album, filled with songs the record company forced her to do, and suffering from all the typical 1980s bad production issues.

Considering that recording history, you'd think the songs on this album would be bad too. But that's not the case at all. In concert, Raitt pretty much acted as if her album never happened, only playing a couple of songs from it. Instead, she played a different bunch of new songs. Perhaps some of them were originally meant for the cancelled "Tongue and Groove" album, though I don't know since I've never seen a list of the songs intended for that album.

In any case, this is the album that Raitt should have released in the mid-1980s. The first two songs don't fit the rest. The first one is a duet with the blues musician Sippie Wallace, from a Wallace studio album. The second one is a version of "Angel from Montgomery," one of Raitt's best known songs. This version is worthy of inclusion here because it's a live duet with the song's author, John Prine, which was released on an archival album.

Aside from those two songs, almost all the rest are live covers that were never recorded on a studio album by her. The one exception is "True Love Is Hard to Find." That song was included on the "Nine Lives" album. But I've included it because this live version doesn't suffer from the 1980s bad production like the studio version does.

Some of the songs have Raitt dueting with others. For instance, she performed Little Feat's "Dixie Chicken" with two members of Little Feat. She also did a song with the Fabulous Thunderbirds and two duets with Nick Lowe. But in all cases, Raitt's vocals are dominant or at least equally prominent as part of a duet.

Shortly after the time period covered here, Raitt released her 1989 album "Nick of Time" and had a career rebirth, selling millions of records. But her career was solid prior to that. I recommend avoiding her "Nine Lives" album and listening to this instead. Most of the live tracks come from soundboard bootlegs. A few don't, but even in those cases the sound quality is pretty good.

01. Mama's Gone, Goodbye (Sippie Wallace & Bonnie Raitt)
02. Angel from Montgomery (Bonnie Raitt & John Prine)
03. Dixie Chicken (Bonnie Raitt, Paul Barrere & Catfish Hodge)
04. Ain't That Peculiar (Bonnie Raitt)
05. No Way to Treat a Lady (Bonnie Raitt)
06. True Love Is Hard to Find (Bonnie Raitt)
07. Lively Up Yourself (Bonnie Raitt)
08. Tell Me Something Good (Bonnie Raitt)
09. I Believe I'm in Love with You (Fabulous Thunderbirds & Bonnie Raitt)
10. Hold What You've Got (Bonnie Raitt & Nick Lowe)
11. Islands in the Stream (Bonnie Raitt & Nick Lowe)
12. Soldier of Plenty (Bonnie Raitt)

The album cover art is said to come from a 1982 concert poster, but it looks more like a bootleg album cover to me. I cleaned up a lot of it and lowered her photo to center it better. I also changed the text at the bottom.

Dire Straits - The Long Highway - Various Songs (1987-1992)

I just posted a stray tracks album dealing with the first half of Dire Straits' career. While I'm at it, here's a second one, dealing with the second half of the band's career.

As I mentioned in that last post, Dire Straits released the "Brothers in Arms" album in 1985, and it went on to sell over 30 million copies, making it one of the most successful albums of all time. The band's resulting success was so massive that it was all too much for band leader Mark Knopfler. After the obligatory concert tour to support the album, he effectively disbanded the band and seemingly stopping making any new music for a few years. He reformed the band in 1990 and they released the "On Every Street" album in 1991. But it seemed the thrill was gone, and the band disbanded again shortly after that.

You can see from the songs on this album that Knopfler never fully committed to Dire Straits in this second time period. Only five of the 12 songs were actually performed with Dire Straits. He seemingly was more interested in his new band, the Notting Hillbillies, which released an album in 1990 and continued to play in concert until 1998.

But after being overwhelmed with too much fame in the wake of "Brothers in Arms," Knopfler was content to only rarely sing lead with the Notting Hillbillies. I've included the only song from the band's studio album ("Missing... Presumed Having a Good Time") for which he wrote and sang lead vocals. I've also included a song, "When It Comes to You," that the Notting Hillbillies only played in concert. Knopfler wrote it and sang lead for it, and released a version of it on the "On Every Street" Dire Straits album. But this is a very different acoustic arrangement.

"Feel like Going Home" is a cover of a Charlie Rich song. A version of it was released on the Notting Hillbillies studio album, but that version was sung by someone else. This version is sung by Knopfler. Apparently, he only sang it this one time, at a concert that was a tribute to BBC DJ Roger Scott, who had recently died.

Four more songs are collaborations between Knopfler and legendary guitarist Chet Atkins. Two are instrumentals from a concert in 1987. The other two are from a 1990 album they did together called "Neck and Neck." The second of those, "The Next Time I'm in Town," was written and sung by Knopfler, and was later covered by Johnny Cash. I could have included more of the songs from that album, but most of them are as much or more about Atkins than they are about Knopfler.

The one bonus track, "Nadine," is a cover of a Chuck Berry song. Dire Straits played it every once in a blue moon since 1978, and it also was played occasionally by the Notting Hillbillies. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any really good sounding versions of it, due to it being played so rarely. This was the best one I came across, but I still felt it doesn't have the sound quality of the other songs on this album.

01. I'll See You in My Dreams [Instrumental] (Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins)
02. Imagine [Instrumental] (Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins)
03. Feel like Going Home (Mark Knopfler)
04. When It Comes to You [Acoustic Version] (Notting Hillbillies)
05. Your Own Sweet Way (Notting Hillbillies)
06. I Think I Love You Too Much (Dire Straits with Eric Clapton)
07. Poor Boy Blues (Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins)
08. The Next Time I'm in Town (Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins)
09. Kingdom Come (Dire Straits)
10. Millionaire Blues (Dire Straits)
11. The Long Highway (Dire Straits)
12. Wild Theme [Instrumental] (Dire Straits)

Nadine [Is It You] (Dire Straits)

For the album cover art, I used the cover of a bootleg Dire Straits concert DVD, with some adjustments. The "On Every Street" cover art is in the background as a part of that.

Dire Straits - Dance Play - Various Songs (1978-1984)

There are lots of great musical artists I haven't posted anything for yet. Dire Straits is one of them. So here's the first.

Dire Straits don't have a lot of stray tracks. The band's main force, Mark Knopfler, broke up the band around 1993, after he felt it got too big with the massive success of the 1985 "Brothers in Arms" album, which sold an incredible 30 million copies. Ever since then, he's tried to do as much as he can to promote his post-Dire Straits career and downplay his Dire Straits career, for instance playing the bare minimum of Dire Straits songs in concert to keep his fans from getting upset. As part of this approach, there has been very little in terms of archival releases or even bonus tracks.

Thus, there probably aren't as many stray tracks as there would be if the vaults were opened up. Happily, there are a few B-sides and other obscure releases, as well as some songs that were only played in concert. I believe all the songs here are originals (not counting the bonus tracks).

Probably the heart of this album is the three songs that make up the "Extended Dance Play" EP, released in 1983. One of those songs, "Twisting by the Pool," was a hit. But Dire Straits always had high standards and consistency, and all the songs here are good.

I don't know the name of the two acoustic instrumentals that end the album. The first part of the second one sounds like the Elvis Presley classic "That's Alright Mama," but that's only a snippet and then the song goes in very different directions. The start of the first song and the end of the second one had a French DJ talking over the music, because these come from some French TV show. I removed the parts with the talking, but it was only a few seconds in each case.

Speaking of high standards, I kept high standards when it comes to sound quality. The two bonus tracks are good, but they've been relegated to bonus tracks because their sound quality isn't as good as the others. "Bernadette" is written and sung by David Knopfler, Mark's brother, who was in the band as rhythm guitarist for their first two albums. The start of the song sounds remarkably similar to "London Calling" by the Clash. But this may just be coincidence, because "Bernadette" was first played in concert in September 1979, and "London Calling" wasn't released until December 1979. However, perhaps it was never officially released due to the similarity (and/or maybe simply because it was a David Knopfler song instead of a Mark Knopfler one).

01. Eastbound Train (Dire Straits)
02. Real Girl (Dire Straits)
03. What's the Matter Baby (Dire Straits)
04. Move It Away [Me and My Friends] (Dire Straits)
05. Making Movies (Dire Straits)
06. Badges, Posters, Stickers and T-shirts (Dire Straits)
07. Twisting by the Pool (Dire Straits)
08. Two Young Lovers (Dire Straits)
09. If I Had You (Dire Straits)
10. Going Home [Theme From 'Local Hero'] [Instrumental] (Dire Straits)
11. Acoustic Instrumental No. 1 (Mark Knopfler)
12. Acoustic Instrumental No. 2 (Mark Knopfler)
Bernadette (Dire Straits)
In My Car (Dire Straits)

The album cover art uses the cover for the "Extended Dance Play" EP I mentioned above. The album title "Dance Play" doesn't make much sense for the type of music it is, but I have to admit I picked that title so I could use this cover with a minimum of changes. All I did was remove "Extended" from the title text, as well as greatly shrinking the "E" at the end of "Dance" and the "P" at the start of "Play." (Those two letters - "E" and "P" - had been emphasized to reflect the fact that the release was an EP.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Oasis - Acquiesce - Various Songs (1995)

I just posted an Oasis stray tracks album that mostly collects their best 1994 B-sides. This is basically the same deal, except it's 1995 B-sides.

As I mentioned in that last post, the stray tracks Oasis did in the 1994 and 1995 era are some of the best songs they ever did. But just as I like their 1995 album "(What's the Story) Morning Glory" more than I like their 1994 album "Definitely Maybe," I like their 1995 stray tracks slightly better than their 1994 ones.

As it so happens, every single song here was officially released as a B-side in 1995. And that's remarkable, because so many songs deserved a better fate. That's especially true for the first song, "Acquiesce," which many consider one of the band's best songs. The band's main songwriter Noel Gallagher later admitted they messed up releasing so many excellent songs as B-sides in this time period. He said he assumed that the songs of that caliber would continue to come fast and furious for him. But unfortunately, they didn't.

The songs here make for a 44 minute-long album. If you like the band at all, you should have these songs.

01. Acquiesce (Oasis)
02. Talk Tonight (Oasis)
03. Headshrinker (Oasis)
04. It's Better People (Oasis)
05. Rockin' Chair (Oasis)
06. Step Out (Oasis)
07. Underneath the Sky (Oasis)
08. Round Are Way (Oasis)
09. The Swamp Song [Instrumental] (Oasis)
10. The Masterplan (Oasis)

For the album cover art, I found what looks like the cover to a single for the song "Acquiesce." However, that song never was released as an A-side. I think it was a promo single released around the time of "The Masterplan" compilation album, because the art is very similar to that. In any case, it works perfectly for me, and I didn't have to change a thing.

Oasis - Half the World Away - Various Songs (1994)

I've got a lot of Oasis material to post, especially acoustic stuff. But first, I want to chronologically go through their non-acoustic stray tracks. So here we go.

From about 1993 to 1996, Oasis was awesome. They put out their two best albums in my opinion, "Definitely Maybe" and "(What's the Story) Morning Glory." But seemingly everything they did during that time was golden. Unfortunately, they frittered away all sorts of really good songs as B-sides. Many of the best of these were later collected in the compilation "The Masterplan." However, in my opinion, that collection was incomplete. It was only one album's worth of songs when Oasis had two album's worth of high quality B-sides in that time period. So I've made those two albums.

Personally, if I were to pick the four best Oasis albums, it would be the two studio albums they did in that time period, plus the two stray tracks collections here. And I say that even though I like a lot of their later stuff. That's how strong their material was at that time.

All the songs here are B-sides, except for one A-side and one bonus track. Plus, the last song, "Talk Tonight," is kind of a bonus track in that it's a live acoustic version sung with Paul Weller. I'm including the studio version on the other stray tracks collection I'll be posting after this.

I think these songs would have made for a very strong album. The first song was even a major hit in Britain. The album length is 48 minutes, which would have been ideal for a real album.

01. Whatever (Oasis)
02. Fade Away (Oasis)
03. Listen Up (Oasis)
04. I Am the Walrus [Live] (Oasis)
05. D'Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman (Oasis)
06. [It's Good] To Be Free (Oasis)
07. Half the World Away (Oasis)
08. Sad Song (Oasis)
09. Take Me Away (Oasis)
10. Talk Tonight (Oasis with Paul Weller)

For the cover art, I used a photo of the band from 1994. I'm not sure if they really were in blue light with a red background or someone manipulated that, but I like how it looks. All I did was add the text at the top.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Robyn Hitchcock - No Way Out of Time - Various Songs (2004-2005)

Here is yet another in my long series of stray tracks albums for Robyn Hitchcock.

This one happens to be all acoustic... almost. The first song, a cover of the Gary Numan hit "Are 'Friends' Electric," is definitely a full band recording. But it's the only one. Everything else is in acoustic mode. I wasn't quite sure what to do in that situation. But that song belongs here, since it's a non-album track for the years in question. Maybe consider it kind of a bonus track, even though it starts the album.

There are all sorts of sources for these songs, for instance, A- and B-sides, various artists compilations, and in-person radio show appearances.

Two songs, "Madonna of the Wasps" and "Arms of Love," come from Hitchcock's album "Obliteration Pie," which I already posted as a 2003 album. That's generally true in that almost all of the songs on it were recorded in 2003, but actually the album was released in 2005, and the above-mentioned two songs were recorded that year. Both of them are acoustic revisions of much older songs by him.

Four songs are officially unreleased. But three of these are either studio outtakes or in-person radio appearances, so their sound quality is excellent. Only the very last song, "All Your Wicked Friends," comes from a bootleg of a concert. But that's a soundboard recording, and I've removed the audience noise to make it sound like another studio track.

I think all the songs are Hitchcock originals, with the exception of the Gary Numan cover mentioned above, plus "Be Here Now," which is a George Harrison song.

01. Are 'Friends' Electric (Robyn Hitchcock)
02. No Way Out of Time (Robyn Hitchcock)
03. Be Here Now (Robyn Hitchcock)
04. She Was You (Robyn Hitchcock)
05. Crumble like Dust (Robyn Hitchcock)
06. W Sucks [But Rumsfeld Is the Antichrist] (Robyn Hitchcock)
07. Good Times Rock 'n' Roll (Robyn Hitchcock)
08. Madonna of the Wasps [New Acoustic Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)
09. Arms of Love [New Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)
10. Self Loving Groover (Robyn Hitchcock)
11. All Your Wicked Friends (Robyn Hitchcock)

The cover art uses a portion of a painting done by Hitchcock. I only added in the text for the album title. I forget where I got it from exactly, because it's been a while.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Grateful Dead - Empty Pages - Various Songs (1971-1972)

A few weeks back, I posted an album I titled "Bird Song." It's the first of four albums I've made of the many original Grateful Dead songs around 1971 and 1972 that didn't get released on any studio album. This is the second album in that series. That time (roughly 1970 to 1973) was the peak of the band's songwriting and performance abilities, so all the songs here are excellent.

If you're a fan of the Grateful Dead, you'll probably recognize nearly all of the songs here. Most of them were on the popular live albums "Skull and Roses" and "Europe '72," though in a couple of cases I've chosen alternate versions. One song that is lesser known despite being a band original is "Empty Pages." It was written and sung by band member Ron "Pigpen" McKernan.

All the songs here were taken from officially released live albums - the band seemingly has hundreds from this time period. Thus, the sound quality is excellent. But I've tried to remove the audience cheering as much as possible, to create the impression that this is a studio album much like "Workingman's Dead" and "American Beauty." Actually, many of the live songs from "Europe '72" were tinkered with in the studio, for instance adding better backing vocals, so some of these are live/studio hybrids.

I've tried to be careful to make sure there's a typical mix of songs sung by band members Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and McKernan. I think I succeeded with that.

All the songs are originals, except I've allowed myself to include one cover song per album during this era. In this case, I've included "Me and My Uncle," which is so closely identified with the Dead that probably most people think it's one of theirs. (Strangely, it was written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas in 1964, but that band never recorded the song.)

01. Bertha (Grateful Dead)
02. Wharf Rat (Grateful Dead)
03. Me and My Uncle (Grateful Dead)
04. Loser (Grateful Dead)
05. Mr. Charlie (Grateful Dead)
06. Sugaree (Grateful Dead)
07. Empty Pages (Grateful Dead)
08. Jack Straw (Grateful Dead)

Around 1972, the band authorized an official guitar book of the band's songs. I had a copy for a while, and it was great because in addition to having the chords and music of lots of wonderful songs, it also had illustrations for each song, done by many of the same artists that did celebrated concert posters for the band. I made the cover art using one such illustration from the book (but with some rearranging). Then added the "Grateful Dead" text from elsewhere in the book, and added the "Empty Pages" text with the same font.

The Allman Brothers - Double Cross - Various Songs (1972)

So far, I've managed to compile at least one stray tracks album for each year of the Allman Brothers Band's classic era. Here's the next one, dealing with 1972.

The first five songs all come from the "super deluxe edition" of the "Brothers and Sisters" album. That album was released in mid-1973, but all of it was recorded in 1972. "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town" is a cover song. "Early Morning Blues" is closely related to it. That song, in turn, morphed into "Jelly Jelly," which actually made the "Brothers and Sisters" album.

The other songs are generally covers too, though I think "Double Cross" and the instrumentals are originals.

As I've mentioned previously, the band didn't have a wide variety of songs they played in concert, and instead focused on long versions of songs with lots of variety in the soloing from performance to performance. But I did find a couple of rarities done in concert in 1972. The first is just called "Instrumental Jam" on bootlegs, since that's what it is. If anyone know of a better name, please let me know. The concert it comes from is an excellent soundboard, so the sound quality is great.

"Don't Lie to Me" features Elvin Bishop on vocals. So I've stuck it at the end as a quasi-bonus track, since it's not exactly the Allman Brothers Band. But note that Bishop sings a song ("Drunken Hearted Boy") on the expanded release of "At Fillmore West," so at least in that case Bishop on lead vocals was considered legit.

The good news is that "Brothers and Sisters" was a huge hit in 1973, making the band one of the biggest bands at the time. The bad news is the band couldn't deal with their fame and success. They barely scraped together one album in 1975 before breaking up for a few years. So this is the last stray tracks album I can make from the band's classic era.

01. I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town (Allman Brothers Band)
02. Double Cross (Allman Brothers Band)
03. A Minor Jam [Instrumental] (Allman Brothers Band)
04. Done Somebody Wrong (Allman Brothers Band)
05. Early Morning Blues (Allman Brothers Band)
06. Instrumental Jam (Allman Brothers Band)
07. Don't Lie to Me (Allman Brothers Band with Elvin Bishop)

The cover art photo is of the band in a 1972 concert in New York City.

The Raconteurs - Acoustic (2006-2008)

A while back, I posted a stray tracks album of the Raconteurs, covering the years of their first period together, 2006 to 2008. (In case you don't know, the band is mainly led by Jack White, formerly of the White Stripes, and Brendan Benson.) This album covers the same period, but consists just of acoustic versions of songs.

Nearly all the songs here are acoustic versions of songs from the Raconteurs albums in 2006 and 2008. But there are two exceptions: "It Ain't Easy," a song made famous by David Bowie, though it wasn't written by him, and a version of "The Seeker" done with the song's author, Pete Townshend of the Who.

The Raconteurs are a rocking band, so some of the versions here are fairly rocking too. Some of them have bass and drums. But they still use acoustic guitars, and there's a general acoustic feel, so I'm including them on this album anyway. Plus, this album is a good way to gather up all the various B-sides and other random tracks that I didn't include on my other Raconteurs album.

Everything on the album has been officially released, except for "The Seeker" and "Yellow Sun." But both of those were put on the Internet by official sources, so the sound quality is high all the way through.

01. Broken Boy Soldier [KCRW Session] (Raconteurs)
02. Blue Veins [KCRW Session] (Raconteurs)
03. It Ain't Easy [Live] (Raconteurs)
04. Steady, As She Goes [Acoustic Version] (Raconteurs)
05. The Seeker (Raconteurs & Pete Townshend)
06. Old Enough [Bluegrass Version] (Raconteurs with Ricky Skaggs & Ashley Monroe)
07. Carolina Drama [Acoustic Mix] (Raconteurs)
08. You Don't Understand Me [Acoustic Version] (Raconteurs)
09. Many Shades of Black [Acoustic Version] (Raconteurs)
10. Yellow Sun [Acoustic Version] (Raconteurs)

The album cover art uses a photo of the band playing at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. I picked this one because it prominently displays the band's leaders White and Benson playing acoustic guitars.

Friday, November 22, 2019

U2 - Rattle and Hum - Live (1987)

I just posted an album containing the studio tracks from "Rattle and Hum," U2's 1988 double album. As I explained there, "Rattle and Hum" was a mixture of live and studio tracks, and I feel it works better to split it into live and studio albums. As you can see, this is the live album.

There actually aren't that many live tracks on "Rattle and Hum," and it's fairly short for a double album. There are seven songs for a total of 30 minutes. And that's if you include "The Star Spangled Banner," which is a recording of Jimi Hendrix's famous version of that song, played at the start of a U2 concert.

However, there are a lot of other songs done live by U2 in 1987 and professionally recorded. Most of these are songs played in the "Rattle and Hum" movie but not included on the album. I've taken those eight songs from a DVD of the movie.

Furthermore, I've included seven more songs that are officially unreleased and weren't in the film, but still are soundboard recordings that sound as good as the other songs. I could have included many more, but all these extra songs were chosen because they're special in some way. Most of them are performances of rare cover songs: "People Get Ready," "Springhill Mining Disaster," "C'Mon Everybody," "Stand by Me," and "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)."

Also, there's the very first performance of "When Love Comes to Town," with B. B. King. This song would be included on the 1988 album, again with King. This was its only performance in 1987. It was included in the "Rattle and Hum" movie, but unfortunately only about two minutes made it, and some of that had some talking over the music. For this one song, I had to resort to a bootleg recording that sounds slightly less as good as the others, but it's still pretty good.

If you add up all the songs, you get one hour and thirty five minutes of music. That's the typical length of a live double album. As for the song order, I arranged them chronologically by the dates of the performances.

As I mentioned above, I think it makes way more sense to have the live and studio songs as separate albums. And because I've included a bunch of live rarities, hopefully this will still be interesting for the person who has heard hits like "Bad' and "Pride" a million times already.

01. The Star Spangled Banner [Recording] (Jimi Hendrix)
02. Bullet the Blue Sky (U2)
03. Christmas [Baby, Please Come Home] (U2)
04. Springhill Mining Disaster (U2)
05. People Get Ready (U2)
06. C'mon Everybody (U2)
07. Stand by Me (U2 & Bruce Springsteen)
08. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (U2 & the New Voices of Freedom)
09. Spanish Eyes (U2)
10. Helter Skelter (U2)
11. Silver and Gold (U2)
12. Pride [In the Name of Love] (U2)
13. In God's Country (U2)
14. Exit - Gloria (U2)
15. Bad - Ruby Tuesday - Sympathy for the Devil (U2)
16. talk (U2)
17. Sunday Bloody Sunday (U2)
18. All Along the Watchtower (U2)
19. When Love Comes to Town (U2 & B. B. King)
20. Where the Streets Have No Name (U2)
21. MLK (U2)
22. With or Without You (U2)
23. Running to Stand Still (U2)

The album cover art is very similar to the official "Rattle and Hum" cover, but it's not the same. It uses the same main photo, but I found a version that's part of the band's promotional material for the movie that has some blue tinting. I don't know why it's slightly different like that, but I like it. I also added some letting. The larger "U2" comes from the same promo picture.

U2 - Rattle and Hum - Studio (1988)

This post needs some explanation for sure. In 1988, U2 released the album "Rattle and Hum." It was a double album that mixed live and studio tracks. It only got a moderate reception, in comparison to the rapturous reception of "The Joshua Tree" from the year before.

I think a large part of that is due to the mix of live and studio tracks. I guess U2 felt that needed to do that due to the album supporting the "Rattle and Hum" movie, which mostly consisted of live performances. But I think it works much better to put the studio songs together on one album and the live ones on another. So that's what I'm doing here.

This studio album is pretty straightforward. There are only a couple of minor issues. One, there was some crossfading from live to studio tracks, or vice versa, in a couple of instances. I edited those few seconds out. More importantly, I went with an edited version of the last song, "All I Want Is You." This is the officially done edit for the single. It cuts two instrumental minutes from the start of the song, and I feel the song is much stronger for it. I also chose to include "Freedom for My People," even though I'm puzzled why it's on the album at all. It's actually just a snippet of a song by a different group, Satan and Adam, that U2 liked enough to include on their album. Strange.

The album is a bit short for the era, at 39 and a half minutes. But in this case, I feel that less is more.

01. Van Diemen's Land (U2)
02. Desire (U2)
03. Hawkmoon 269 (U2)
04. Freedom for My People (Satan and Adam)
05. Angel of Harlem (U2)
06. Love Rescue Me (U2 with Bob Dylan)
07. When Love Comes to Town (U2 & B. B. King)
08. Heartland (U2)
09. God Part II (U2)
10. All I Want Is You [Edited Version] (U2)

Since the official cover for "Rattle and Hum" uses a concert photo, I decided to go in a different direction. I found this photo as part of U2's promotional material for the "Rattle and Hum" movie.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Pretenders - Angel of the Morning - Various Songs (1995-1999)

Here's the next in my series of stray tracks albums for the Pretenders. As with previous albums, there are a surprising number of such songs, and they're usually pretty good.

It helps that I'm including Chrissie Hynde "solo" songs. But in fact, by this time, there really is no difference between "the Pretenders" and Hynde's solo work, since the Pretenders had become pretty much Hynde plus a bunch of back-up musicians.

The last album in this series was made up nearly entirely of covers of well known songs. There are a lot of such songs this time around too (such as songs 2 through 6, and 9). But there are more songs that are either originals or at least more obscure covers. (To be honest, I'm not sure who wrote some of these; if anyone knows, please let me know and I'll add that info in.)

All but one of the songs were officially released, usually on movie soundtracks, various artists compilations, or bonus tracks. The one unreleased song, "Creep," comes from a TV show performance, so the sound quality is as good as the rest.

01. Blue Sun (Pretenders)
02. Angel of the Morning (Chrissie Hynde)
03. Everyday Is like Sunday (Pretenders)
04. Creep (Pretenders)
05. Live and Let Die (Chrissie Hynde)
06. Goin' Back (Pretenders)
07. Goodbye (Pretenders)
08. The Homecoming (Pretenders)
09. Baby, It's You - Message to Michael (Chrissie Hynde)
10. Morning Glory (Chrissie Hynde)
11. California (Pretenders)
12. Back Down (Pretenders)

The cover art photo of Hynde comes from a Bob Marley tribute concert in 1999.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Velvet Underground - Temptation Inside Your Heart - Various Songs (1967-1968)

Here's the second of my stray tracks collections for the Velvet Underground. This deals with the tail end of Nico's involvement in the band, as well as the remaining time for John Cale.

Nico is only on the first two songs. They're from her 1967 solo album "Chelsea Girls." About half of the songs on that album were actually performed with all of the Velvet Underground: these two songs, plus a few more that I put at the end of the previous stray tracks album.

A couple of songs here - "Stephanie Says" and "Temptation Inside Your Heart" - appeared on the acclaimed collection "VU." That collection is generally seen as the band's "lost 1969 album." But in fact, these two songs are from February 1968, before the "White Light/White Heat" album was released, so they belong here.

There are two officially released versions of the song "Hey Mr. Rain." But personally I don't see a big difference between the two songs, and I don't think it's a stellar song in the first place, so I've only included one version.

01. Chelsea Girls (Nico & the Velvet Underground)
02. It Was a Pleasure Then (Nico & the Velvet Underground)
03. Guess I'm Falling in Love [Edit] (Velvet Underground)
04. Booker T. [Instrumental] (Velvet Underground)
05. I'm Not a Young Man Anymore (Velvet Underground)
06. Stephanie Says (Velvet Underground)
07. Temptation Inside Your Heart (Velvet Underground)
08. Hey Mr. Rain [Version One] (Velvet Underground)

The album cover art comes from a 1968 concert poster. Or at least it might be. I'm not sure if it's a "real" poster from that year, or if it's something made years later. It has Andy Warhol in the photo, and of course he was only "producing" the band, not actually in it. And the photo also has Nico in it, and she was long gone by 1968. But in any case, I think it's really nice artwork. I changed the color of the band name to make it stick out.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Steve Miller Band - Acoustic (1972-1974)

Yesterday, I was listening to "Welcome to the Vault," the new box set by the Steve Miller Band. It's a mixed bad, like most box set, but it has some nice stuff on it. Anyway, I was particularly struck by two solo acoustic versions of songs, "Kow Kow Calculator" and "Seasons," both recorded in 1973. If you've been closely following this blog, you've probably noticed that I have a particular love of acoustic guitar music. So hearing those songs made me wonder if there was more acoustic goodness where that came from.

It turns out there was. Miller has never done a fully "unplugged" album or concert, at least as far as I know. But he has flirted with the format from time to time, especially in the early 1970s. I got lucky and found two soundboard bootlegs of Miller concerts, one from 1972 and the other from 1974. Both of them had acoustic sections, and I've used those for the majority of this album.

The 1972 concert makes up the first six tracks. On some of the songs, Miller is accompanied by bass, bongo drums, and/or backing vocals, but thing definitely stay acoustic. The first song probably has the worst sound quality of all the songs here, due to some wobbling in the volume. I tried to fix it as best I could. But even the "worst" still sounds very good.

The seventh song, a medley of "Blues with a Feeling" and "Call It Stormy Monday," needs some special explanation. Miller was doing some concerts in the Netherlands at the time, and a reporter found him at the bar of a hotel. The bar was still under construction, and from the recording, it appears the only people there were a handful of hotel employees and construction workers. The reporter had a tape recorder and recorded Miller singing a few songs with his acoustic guitar. I only included the one medley, because the others were mostly Miller talking and joking with the few other people there, while occasionally stopping and starting songs. Even on this medley, you'll notice him changing the lyrics and making comments in the middle of the song as part of his interaction with the extremely tiny audience.

After that comes the two "Welcome to the Vault" songs I mentioned above. They are the only officially released songs on the album.

The last six songs are from the 1974 concert I also mentioned above. As with the songs from the 1972 show, I removed the audience noise as much as possible, so they'd fit in with the studio tracks.

Miller is best known for his many hits in the mid-1970s. But while those are deservedly popular, I actually prefer his albums from the late 1960s and early 1970s. (Those years seem to be a common theme at this blog!) If you give this album a listen, maybe you'll see how good he was before all those hits. That said, one clear highlight here is the solo acoustic version of his number one hit, "The Joker."

When I started looking for acoustic Miller songs yesterday, I didn't know how much I'd find. I ended up coming with 45 minutes of music, which makes for a nice album length.

01. Going to the Country (Steve Miller Band)
02. The Sun Is Going Down (Steve Miller Band)
03. Midnight Flyer (Steve Miller Band)
04. Motherless Children (Steve Miller Band)
05. Nothing Lasts (Steve Miller Band)
06. High On You Mama (Steve Miller Band)
07. Blues with a Feeling - Call It Stormy Monday (Steve Miller Band)
08. Kow Kow Calculator [Acoustic Version] (Steve Miller Band)
09. Seasons [Acoustic Version] (Steve Miller Band)
10. Rock Love (Steve Miller Band)
11. Come On in My Kitchen (Steve Miller Band)
12. Going to Mexico (Steve Miller Band)
13. I Love You (Steve Miller Band)
14. Dear Mary (Steve Miller Band)
15. The Joker (Steve Miller Band)

The cover art photo comes from a 1974 TV performance.

Ron Stewart with Ron Wood - MTV Unplugged, Universal Studios, Los Angeles, CA, 2-5-1993 (Unplugged... and Seated)

First off, I have to say that it's very fashionable these days to knock Rod Stewart. For most of his career, there's been a conflict between his flamboyant showman side and his serious musical side. I'm not a huge Stewart fan, but I do enjoy his serious musical style, especially his heyday of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Even after that heyday, his long career has had a lot of highlights. It's just that you have to sort through the many lowlights, especially a lot of bad production choices. One definite highlight was his appearance on MTV's "Unplugged" TV show in 1993. He released an album of this show, which he called "Unplugged... and Seated." It was a big seller.

Normally, I don't want to release an album that's publicly available, so long as it's not in need of a lot of fixing, because I don't want to take royalty money away from the artists. But in this case, the album needed a heck of a lot of fixing. The problem is what was NOT included. Stewart played 21 songs in that concert, but the original CD only included 15. A later "collector's edition" included two more. A DVD version came out with 19.

I've managed to include all 21 of the songs here, including the two totally unreleased ones, "Sweet Little Rock and Roller" and "It's All Over Now." I found "Sweet Little Rock and Roller" from a bootleg. When I first posted this, I didn't have "It's All Over Now." But within 24 hours, a person named Will sent me the missing file (which was an obscure B-side). Thanks! I immediately updated things to include it. 

Putting this together has been a serious pain in the rear. It wasn't just a matter of finding the extra songs and adding them in, because it turns out the official CD also left out nearly all of the between song banter. I had to track down the DVD version, then convert that to an audio format I could tinker with. But I couldn't just use the DVD version of the audio as my main source, because they often made drastic cuts between songs, fading out and fading back in, and missing some things. So instead, I had to copy and paste out the between song banter and fit that into what was mainly the CD version.

But there turned out to be additional complications. Both the CD and DVD versions changed the song orders. I was able to find the correct set list and reorder the songs. However, it turned out that both the CD and DVD versions manipulated the audio between the songs too. So, for instance, there might be lots of audience clapping over the start of a particular song, when another version showed the audience actually was quiet when that song began. Or some between song banter was moved to another song, since the song order was all jumbled up anyway.

Putting this together in the right order was like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I'm glad to say that I think I've worked it all out, as best I could. I was able to use bootleg versions of portions of the concert to make sure of what went where, especially when it came to the dialogue. But there are some pieces that are still missing. For instance, It seems that Stewart talked between every song. But a few of those talking bits weren't included on the DVD, and I wasn't able to get them from bootleg versions either. Still, I'd guess I was able to restore at least 80 percent of the dialogue. I think it makes the concert more enjoyable, especially the warm banter between Stewart and Ron Wood.

The original CD was 70 minutes long. Between the extra songs and the talking, I increased the length of the album by another 35 minutes. That's why I think the difference is enough to warrant the album being posted here.

In terms of musical content, this is kind of an ideal Rod Stewart set list for me. Although the concert was far from a true simple acoustic performance, he basically ignored his cheesy late 1970s and 1980s hits and focused on his best songs. Even the newer songs he included are well chosen. And note that he's not just a talented raspy singer; he wrote or co-wrote 11 of the 20 songs here, including most of the big hits.

01. Hot Legs (Rod Stewart)
02. talk (Rod Stewart)
03. Tonight's the Night (Rod Stewart)
04. talk (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
05. Cut Across Shorty (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
06. talk (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
07. Reason to Believe (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
08. It's All Over Now (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
09. talk (Rod Stewart with Rod Wood)
10. Every Picture Tells a Story (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
11. talk (Rod Stewart with Rod Wood)
12. Maggie May (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
13. People Get Ready (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
14. talk (Rod Stewart)
15. Handbags and Gladrags (Rod Stewart)
16. talk (Rod Stewart)
17. The Killing of Georgie (Rod Stewart)
18. talk (Rod Stewart)
19. Have I Told You Lately (Rod Stewart)
20. talk (Rod Stewart)
21. Tom Traubert's Blues [Waltzing Matilda] (Rod Stewart)
22. Forever Young (Rod Stewart)
23. The First Cut Is the Deepest (Rod Stewart)
24. talk (Rod Stewart)
25. I Was Only Joking (Rod Stewart)
26. talk (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
27. Gasoline Alley (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
28. Highgate Shuffle (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
29. talk (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
30. Sweet Little Rock and Roller (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
31. talk (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
32. Mandolin Wind (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
33. talk (Rod Stewart with Rod Wood)
34. Stay with Me (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
35. talk (Rod Stewart with Rod Wood)
36. Having a Party (Rod Stewart with Ron Wood)
37. talk (Rod Stewart with Rod Wood)

For the album cover art, I used the exact same photo as on the cover of the "Unplugged... and Seated" CD and DVD. I also used the same font, and text colors, and all lower case style. But I made some changes too, such as enlarging the photo, writing my own text, and changing the text placement.

Various Artists - Covered: Chuck Berry, Alternates, 1963-1999

Here's something that's a fun extra. I highly doubt I'm going to do this for any other artist in my "Covered" series, but it somehow seems fitting here.

In putting together my three albums of songs written by Chuck Berry, I searched the Internet and found a surprising number of "best Chuck Berry covers of all time" lists, and I used those to point me to the best versions. The only problem is, there are simply too many excellent versions of the same songs. In my cases, it was a flip of a coin type thing to decide which version to use. Over time, I developed a folder of "almosts." When I was all done, I took another look at that folder, and realized those songs would make for a very good album all by itself. So here it is.

Even with this album, I tried to stick to my general rule of not including more than one song by the same artist. Most of these artists had a song on the other three Berry albums, but in this case I mean not putting more than one song by the same artist on this album. I was able to stick to that for every artist except one: the Rolling Stones.

Some artists are so heavily influenced by Berry that you could put together an entire album just of that one band doing covers of his songs. The Stones are one such band. I think they've done about 15 of his songs, if you include unreleased live performances and the like. There's a similar number for the Beatles. Pretty much all the Stones and Beatles versions are great, as you'd expect by such great bands. So my apologies for not including more by both bands.

Oh, one last point I forgot to mention on my posts for any of the other albums. A few songs people closely associate with Berry weren't actually written by him. Probably the most obvious case of this is "Run Rudolph Run." Berry was the first to record it, but it wasn't written by him, so it doesn't fit into this series. There are a couple other cases like that, such as "Don't You Lie to Me" and "My Ding-a-Ling."

By the way, the Georgia Satellites and Tom Petty versions here are officially unreleased, I believe, but their sound quality is still high.

If you know of any really great Berry covers that I missed, please let me know. If they're really great, I could always update the song list, at least for this album.

01. Come On (Rolling Stones)
02. Roll Over Beethoven (Beatles)
03. Around and Around (Animals)
04. Too Much Monkey Business (Elvis Presley)
05. You Can't Catch Me (Love Sculpture)
06. Little Queenie (Rolling Stones)
07. Carol (Doors)
08. Johnny B. Goode (Johnny Winter)
09. Promised Land (Grateful Dead)
10. Maybelline (Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes)
11. You Never Can Tell (Ronnie Lane)
12. Sweet Little Sixteen (John Lennon)
13. Nadine [Is It You] (Stan Ridgway)
14. School Day [Ring Ring Goes the Bell] (Georgia Satellites)
15. Bye Bye Johnny (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
16. Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Paul McCartney)
17. Hellbound Train [Downbound Train] (George Thorogood)

The cover art photo comes from 1989. Berry is doing his classic "duck walk."

Various Artists - Covered: Chuck Berry, Volume 3, 1977-2017

This is the third and last of my "Covered" albums highlighting the songwriting of Chuck Berry.

I've said pretty much all I wanted to say with my post for the first album. I'll just add some comments relevant to this album.

One problem with Berry's own recordings is that there isn't a lot of variety from song to song. He had a successful formula and he stuck with it. It was rare when he would vary things up with a slow blues or a country song or the like. But one nice thing about listening to covers of his songs is that you naturally get more variety.

That's especially true on this album. It seems that as the years passed and straight rock and roll fractured into more sub-varieties, covers of Berry songs became less common, but also more adventurous.

Perhaps the best song to exemplify this is Peter Tosh's reggae version of "Johnny B. Goode." This is one of my favorite cover versions of all time. It takes the song to a totally different place, yet remains true to the spirit of the original. I said in a previous post that the only song I included two versions of was "Johnny B. Goode," mostly because this version is so very different. (I also included Jimi Hendrix's version on the second album.)

By the way, the Joe Jackson and Larkin Poe versions are officially unreleased. But in terms of sound quality, I think they sound as good as the rest.

01. [You Can Never Tell] C'Est La Vie (Emmylou Harris)
02. Tulane (Steve Gibbons Band)
03. It's My Own Business (Dave Edmunds)
04. Back in the U.S.A. (Linda Ronstadt)
05. Come On (Joe Jackson)
06. Oh What a Thrill (Rockpile)
07. Johnny B. Goode (Peter Tosh)
08. Havana Moon (Santana)
09. Wee Wee Hours (Eric Clapton)
10. 13 Question Method (Ry Cooder)
11. Move It (George Thorogood)
12. Little Queenie (Bruce Springsteen)
13. No Particular Place to Go (Larkin Poe)

The cover art photo dates to 1984.

Various Artists - Covered: Chuck Berry, Volume 2, 1970-1976

Here's the second of three albums in the "Covered" series celebrating the songwriting of Chuck Berry.

I said most of what I wanted to say in my last post, for the first album of the three. I'll only add what's particular to this album.

Berry started having lots of hits in 1955, the year rock and roll went mainstream. But his songs didn't get covered that much until about 1963 and 1964, which was the start of the British Invasion. I think it's safe to say the number of Berry covers peaked in the first half of the 1970s, as the rockers who grew up on Berry's music were their most popular, and before disco and punk shifted musical directions later in the 1970s.

Thus, I had way too many songs to choose from to make this particular album. I tried to include at least one song from each artist who were heavily influenced by Berry. For instance, I'm not much of a Status Quo fan, but they covered Berry as much or more than anybody, so I included a song by them.

Other versions were included many to make sure I had a cover for each of Berry's thirty of song best known and most frequently covered songs. For example, I'm not a big fan of AC/DC's version of "School Day," but the song was too important not to include, and I liked that version better than any other I could find.

Stephen Stills' version of "You Can't Catch Me" comes from his 1975 live album. It actually is part of a medley with the song "Crossroads." But I edited it out of the medley so the focus would remain on nothing but Berry songs.

01. Johnny B. Goode (Jimi Hendrix)
02. Memphis (Faces)
03. Around and Around (David Bowie)
04. I'm Talking about You (Rick Nelson)
05. Let It Rock (Bob Seger)
06. Roll Over Beethoven (Electric Light Orchestra)
07. Promised Land (Elvis Presley)
08. Back to Memphis (Band)
09. Sweet Little Rock and Roller (Rod Stewart)
10. You Can't Catch Me (Stephen Stills)
11. Bye Bye Johnny (Status Quo)
12. School Day [Ring Ring Goes the Bell] (AC-DC)
13. Jaguar and Thunderbird (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)

I don't know where or when the photo I chose for the cover art comes from exactly. But the source where I found it claims it's from some time in the 1970s.

Various Artists - Covered: Chuck Berry, Volume 1, 1959-1969

Here's the next in my "Covered" series, focusing on the most successful songwriters of all time. This time, I'm looking at Chuck Berry.

Berry's influence can't be overstated. Here's a couple of telling quotes. John Lennon once said, "If you had to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry.'" And Stevie Wonder said, "There's only one true king of rock and roll. His name is Chuck Berry."

Berry had a long successful career as a performer, scoring many hits on his own. But his role as a songwriter was arguably more important. Starting in 1955, the same year rock and roll broke big, he specialized in wordy, literate, and clever lyrics. He raised the bar for rock and roll songwriting,  and served a model as one of the few major stars of the time who wrote their own songs.

If you want to know more about Berry and his life, here's his Wikipedia entry:

Not a lot of other artists had big hits with Berry's songs, relatively speaking, probably because Berry almost always had his own hits with them. But it seems that any musician who ever got into rock and roll covered Berry's songs. So my challenge this time around wasn't to compile lots of hit versions (as I did some other artists in the "Covered" series) so much as it was to compile the best and most interesting versions out of hundreds and hundreds of covers by well known artists. I've found enough material to make three albums.

As usual with this "Covered" series, I've forced myself to only include one version of each song. However, I've made an exception this time by including two very different versions of "Johnny B. Goode," as you'll see with later albums.

I've also tried hard to limit each artist to only one song, to spread the musical wealth around. But, I made two exceptions, both on this album: the Beatles and the Yardbirds. For the Beatles, I considered it a must to include their version of "Rock and Roll Music," which they nailed. But I also included their version of "I Got to Find My Baby," since they're pretty much the only artist to ever cover that rare but good Berry song. With the Yardbirds, their version of "Too Much Monkey Business" is widely seen as a classic, and it's my favorite for that song. But I felt I couldn't miss "Jeff's Boogie" as well. This later instrumental is supposedly a Yardbirds original, but in fact it's a note for note copy of a song by Berry called "Guitar Boogie."So I've added "Guitar Boogie" to the song subtitle.

Speaking of stealing songwriting credits, the first song here, "Forty Days" by Ronnie Hawkins, needs some explanation. This very clearly is a version of Berry's song "Thirty Days," with only the title changed. So why 40 days instead of 30?! It seems that Hawkins thought he could claim the songwriting credit simply by changing the title. But that didn't work and he ended up having to pay royalties to Berry. I've put "Thirty Days" in as a subtitle to make clear what the song title really should have been.

But that's not the last songwriting credit controversy here. I've included the Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A." That may seem strange to you unless you know that song is just Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" with new lyrics. At first, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys tried to take full credit for writing the song, but a deal was made to give half the credit to Berry. Wilson later freely admitted that he just rewrote the Berry song.

I listened to a ton of Berry covers in putting these albums together. That enabled me to select some obscure covers, as well as choosing some obscure Berry songs. For this album in particular, some garage bands did some lively, punky versions that deserve more attention.

By the way, each of the three Berry albums I've put together are about 50 minutes long.

01. Forty Days [Thirty Days] (Ronnie Hawkins)
02. Sweet Little Sixteen (Jerry Lee Lewis)
03. I Got to Find My Baby (Beatles)
04. Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Buddy Holly)
05. Downbound Train (Hoyt Axton)
06. Surfin' U.S.A. (Beach Boys)
07. Too Much Monkey Business (Yardbirds)
08. Maybellene (Johnny Rivers)
09. Beautiful Delilah (Kinks)
10. Carol (Rolling Stones)
11. Rock and Roll Music (Beatles)
12. Oh Baby Doll (Pretty Things)
13. How You've Changed (Animals)
14. Reelin' and Rockin' (Dave Clark Five)
15. I Want to Be Your Driver (Blues Project)
16. Almost Grown (Lovin' Spoonful)
17. Jeff's Boogie [Guitar Boogie] (Yardbirds)
18. Nadine [Is That You] (Smokestack Lightnin')
19. No Money Down (Duane Allman)

For the album cover, I went with a photo of Berry from 1964.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Norah Jones - Strangers - Various Songs (2009-2010)

I must sound like a broken record by now when it comes to Norah Jones. So I'll try to summarize my feelings as quickly as possible. Don't judge Jones by her "adult contemporary" hits and albums. She has a much more interesting alternate career with her non-album material, where she takes more risks and shows more variety. Plus, she generally applies her sultry voice to great songs written by others instead of just okay songs that she writes herself.

If you've been following my other Jones stray track album posts, this is more of the same. She does covers of songs made famous by Ray Charles, the Kinks, Wilco, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, and more. Most of the songs are bonus tracks, B-sides, or are from various artists compilations, or are duets on other artists' albums.

Three of the songs are officially unreleased, from concerts. However, the sound quality of those are high enough that I don't think you'll be able to tell from hearing which ones they are. Actually, a bunch of songs here are live versions, but I've removed the audience cheering to make them all sound like studio tracks.

01. Can't Stop (Norah Jones)
02. You Are My Sunshine (Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis & Norah Jones)
03. Turn Around (Puss N Boots featuring Norah Jones)
04. That's What I Said (Norah Jones)
05. Her Red Shoes (Norah Jones)
06. You Don't Know Me (Norah Jones with Wynton Marsalis)
07. Strangers (Norah Jones)
08. Jesus, Etc. (Norah Jones)
09. Cry, Cry, Cry (Norah Jones)
10. Tell Me Why (Norah Jones)
11. Change Is Gonna Come (Norah Jones)

The only problem in making the cover art for Norah Jones albums is which photo to use, because she looks so good in every single one! This one is from 2009.

The Pretty Things - BBC Sessions, 1964-1967

I've posted a bunch of stray tracks albums by the Pretty Things. In short, this band is way underappreciated, in part because so much of their best music didn't make it onto their albums. There's no live album or even concert bootleg from their 1960s prime. But luckily, they did leave behind a lot of BBC recordings. So here's the first of three albums of their BBC material from the 1960s and early 1970s.

There have been a few good official BBC collections released over the years. The most recent one is four discs long. So most of the songs here come from such official sources. That said, my version differs in two important respects. For one, if a song wasn't officially released at all and the best known version comes from a BBC performance, I put that on one of my stray tracks albums, and not here. I generally try to avoid duplication like that. Secondly, I've added some live versions of songs that weren't performed on the BBC. There aren't a lot of good live recordings of the band in the 1960s, but there are a few.

I've included five live songs on this album. I have to admit that the sound quality of all five is a notch below the BBC recordings. But they're still more than worthy of inclusion.  All five come from TV performances, so these are hardly dodgy audience recorded bootlegs.

By the way, fun fact: two songs here, "The Moon Is Rising" and "You Don't Love Me" come from a festival that was shown live on Dutch TV. The Pretty Things looked and behaved so outrageously that the TV station was deluged by people phoning in complaints, causing the station to cut away from the performance. By today's standards, it's hard to see what the problem was. But in 1964 and 1965, the Pretty Things looked and sounded more outrageous than virtually any other band, such as the Rolling Stones. For instance, look at the 1964 cover art and note how long lead singer Phil May's hair was, even compared to the Beatles' "mop tops" and the hair of other such bands.

I don't know why I included "Edit" in the title for the song "L.S.D." It's been a while since I edited these songs, so I don't remember. But since they're BBC recordings, I'm guessing I edited that song and some others in order to cut out the annoying BBC DJs talking over the starts and ends of songs.

01. Big Boss Man (Pretty Things)
02. Don't Bring Me Down (Pretty Things)
03. Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (Pretty Things)
04. Roadrunner (Pretty Things)
05. Big City (Pretty Things)
06. The Moon Is Rising (Pretty Things)
07. You Don't Love Me (Pretty Things)
08. Raining in My Heart (Pretty Things)
09. Sitting All Alone (Pretty Things)
10. Midnight to Six Man (Pretty Things)
11. Buzz the Jerk (Pretty Things)
12. L.S.D. [Edit] (Pretty Things)
13. Children (Pretty Things)
14. Reincarnation (Pretty Things)
15. Defecting Grey (Pretty Things)
16. Walking through My Dreams (Pretty Things)

The cover art dates from 1964. Obviously, the band must have been making a TV appearance, but I don't know which show they were on.

Richard Thompson - The Bottom Line, New York City, 3-4-1992, Late Show

I just posted the first three of four albums of Richard Thompson's two nights of concerts at the Bottom Line, in New York City on March 3rd and 4th, 1992. This is the fourth and final one. I already explained the basics in my post about the first album, so please refer to that for general information about all four of these albums. But, in short, these albums are as good as it gets when it comes to Thompson playing acoustic in concert.

As I mentioned in that first post, I didn't include some songs if they either were duplicates of songs played in one of the other shows in those two nights, or if he tried a song he didn't really know and fell on his face doing so. For this show, the songs I didn't include were "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" and "Wall of Death." So, if you look over all four albums, there are only a very small number of duplicates or songs I otherwise didn't include.

This album is an hour and 16 minutes long.

01. talk (Richard Thompson)
02. When the Spell Is Broken (Richard Thompson)
03. talk (Richard Thompson)
04. Nobody's Wedding (Richard Thompson)
05. talk (Richard Thompson)
06. Al Bowlly's in Heaven (Richard Thompson)
07. talk (Richard Thompson)
08. Withered and Died (Richard Thompson)
09. talk (Richard Thompson)
10. Mystery Train (Richard Thompson)
11. Can't Help Falling in Love - You'll Never Walk Alone (Richard Thompson)
12. talk (Richard Thompson)
13. Tears of Rage - Desolation Row - Just like Tom Thumb's Blues - It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Richard Thompson)
14. talk (Richard Thompson)
15. Rainbow Over the Hill (Richard Thompson)
16. talk (Richard Thompson)
17. Jet Plane in a Rocking Chair (Richard Thompson)
18. talk (Richard Thompson)
19. Now Be Thankful (Richard Thompson)
20. talk (Richard Thompson)
21. Night Comes In (Richard Thompson)
22. talk (Richard Thompson)
23. God Save the Queen (Richard Thompson)
24. talk (Richard Thompson)
25. Shine On Love - Smiffy's Glass Eye (Richard Thompson)
26. talk (Richard Thompson)
27. Pharaoh (Richard Thompson)
28. talk (Richard Thompson)
29. I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Richard Thompson)
30. talk (Richard Thompson)
31. Valerie (Richard Thompson)
32. I Feel So Good (Richard Thompson)

For the album cover, I used another photo of Thompson in concert in 1991, since I couldn't find good ones of him from 1992. Out of the four photos I used for this album series, I believe they come from three different concerts. But he generally looks the same with the same cap and so forth, so my hope is they all look as if they come from the same source.

Richard Thompson - The Bottom Line, New York City, 3-4-1992, Early Show

I just posted the first two of four albums of Richard Thompson's two nights of concerts at the Bottom Line, in New York City on March 3rd and 4th, 1992. This is the third one. I already explained the basics in my post about the first album, so please refer to that for general information about all four of these albums. But, in short, these albums are as good as it gets when it comes to Thompson playing acoustic in concert.

As I mentioned in that first post, I didn't include some songs if they either were duplicates of songs played in one of the other shows in those two nights, or if he tried a song he didn't really know and fell on his face doing so. For this show, that means I didn't include versions of "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," "I Feel So Good," "Meet on the Ledge," and "How Will I Ever Be Simple Again." In all those cases, it's because he played them elsewhere in these four shows, and I included one of those other versions.

This album is an hour and five minutes long.

01. talk (Richard Thompson)
02. Hokey Pokey [The Ice Cream Song] (Richard Thompson)
03. talk (Richard Thompson)
04. Shoot Out the Lights (Richard Thompson)
05. talk (Richard Thompson)
06. Why Must I Plead (Richard Thompson)
07. talk (Richard Thompson)
08. Crash the Party (Richard Thompson)
09. talk (Richard Thompson)
10. Sloth (Richard Thompson)
11. talk (Richard Thompson)
12. Bring It On Home to Me (Richard Thompson)
13. talk (Richard Thompson)
14. God Loves a Drunk (Richard Thompson)
15. talk (Richard Thompson)
16. Long Black Veil (Richard Thompson)
17. talk (Richard Thompson)
18. Can't Win (Richard Thompson)
19. talk (Richard Thompson)
20. Substitute (Richard Thompson)
21. talk (Richard Thompson)
22. Surfin' U.S.A. (Richard Thompson)
23. talk (Richard Thompson)
24. Killerman Gold Posse (Richard Thompson)
25. talk (Richard Thompson)
26. The Great Valerio (Richard Thompson)
27. talk (Richard Thompson)
28. I Ride in Your Slipstream (Richard Thompson)

For the album cover, I used another photo of Thompson in concert in 1991, since I couldn't find good ones of him from 1992. Note that I previously used this photo for the cover of my stray tracks album "In Over Your Head." I thought the photo was from the mid-1980s, but it turns out it's from 1991. So I changed that cover. You can find the change to the other cover here: