Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Who - BBC Sessions, Volume 4: 1971-1981

Here's the fourth and final album of the Who performing at the BBC.

The vast majority of the songs on first three volumes in this series were actually the Who performing at the BBC. In this case, it's only three of eight songs, and possibly two. The reason that I say "possibly two" is because this version of "I Don't Even Know Myself" comes from the Who's official BBC album, but that album doesn't actually make clear what that performance is from. It only says it was recorded in May or June 1971, but it makes no mention of it ever being played on the BBC, or even being intended as such.

Most of the songs here come from other TV or radio performances. The version of "5:15" is a mix of a live performance with some backing tracks. "The Relay" is a similar case, with only the guitar and vocals being different. But there's a twist in that this version lasts a minute longer than the official studio version.

Unfortunately, the Who made surprisingly few TV or radio performances from 1971 onwards, at least those that weren't lip-synced. So I had to stretch what I included here to even get a semblance of the highlights of their music career in this era.

"Who Are You" is a unique version that I think was recorded to potentially be included in "The Kids Are Alright" movie, but wasn't used. "Won't Get Fooled Again" is from a concert, but a special concert specifically for footage to "The Kids Are Alright," and it was included in that movie. "Sister Disco" is from a 1979 rehearsal that was filmed for some unknown reason. I included it because I think it's arguably better than the version from the "Who Are You" 1978 album. "You Better You Bet" actually is from a TV performance. It's very similar to the album version, but if you listen closely you'll notice little differences here and there showing that it was actually played live.

This album is 40 minutes long.

UPDATE: On November 28, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I didn't actually change any of the music at all. But I changed the album title from "Volume 3" to "Volume 4," due to finding enough material to split what had been "Volume 2" into two parts.

01 I Don't Even Know Myself (Who)
02 The Relay [Record Version with New Guitar and Vocals] (Who)
03 Long Live Rock (Who)
04 5-15 [Live Performance Over Some Recorded Tracks] (Who)
05 Who Are You [Film Version] (Who)
06 Won't Get Fooled Again (Who)
07 Sister Disco (Who)
08 You Better You Bet (Who)

The cover photo comes from a TV show at the tail end of 1970. Or maybe I should say "photos" because I actually made this from two photos. I saw two photos of the same performance that were very similar, but in one Keith Moon couldn't be clearly seen, and in the other John Entwistle couldn't be seen. Entwistle was standing directly behind Roger Daltrey, so I erased what little of him that could be seen and pasted in his shape from the other photo.

The Who - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: 1967-1970

Note that I first posted this in 2018 as "Volume 2." But on November 28, 2022, I split the album into two parts, due to finding more material. So some of what had been here before has been moved to a new "Volume 2", and some new stuff has been added to what I now call "Volume 3." Additionally, I renamed "Volume 3" to "Volume 4."

Here's the link to the new "Volume 2":

The Who performed for many TV shows during the 1960s. Unfortunately, most of those performances were lip-synced, or the video footage was lost, or only exists in poor quality. One exception is the first three songs here. They come from the German TV show "Beat Club," but they actually were recorded during a concert in the Marquee Club in London instead of in Germany, as was the usual case for that show. These songs are unreleased, but you can see the video footage of them on YouTube.

Everything else here but the last song comes from BBC studio sessions. Most of these are from the official album "BBC Sessions." But three songs are not: "I Can't Reach You," "Pinball Wizard [1970 Version]," and "The Seeker (Second Version)." For both "Pinball Wizard" and "The Seeker," I've included two versions on this album because they played the songs twice for the BBC. It's understandable that the official album only had one of each. But I think they chose badly in the case of "The Seeker," because both versions have excellent sound quality, but the other version only has new vocals on top of the studio version, while the second version was completely new. 

Note also that "Substitute" is listed as a second version because that song was also done for the BBC in 1966. I put that version on "Volume 2." Additionally, note that "I Can See for Miles" is mostly the same as the studio version, but new vocals and bass were used instead.

One strange thing about this album is that about half of it comes from 1967 and the other half from 1970, with nothing from 1968 or 1969. That's because the band didn't perform at the BBC for those two years, and only did lip sync performances if they appeared anywhere else. 1968 was a low-profile year for the band, with only a couple of singles released. And they had a very popular album with "Tommy" in 1969, but apparently they didn't promote it much or TV or the radio until after 1970 began. Two of the 1970 songs here are from "Tommy."

As I mentioned above, the last song, "Naked Eye," was not done for the BBC. This unreleased version comes from a Lulu-hosted TV show, of all things. Unfortunately, it fades out before the end of the song, but the vast majority of the song got recorded. Also, the version of "Naked Eye" here IS lip-synced. But they taped a unique version of the song just for the show, and lip-synced to that. So I'm including it here because it's a different version than the officially released one.

As an aside, I put this same version of "Shakin' All Over - Spoonful" on my "Who's for Tennis" compilation.  I also did that with "See My Way" from "Volume 2."

This album is 45 minutes long.

01 Happy Jack (Who)
02 So Sad about Us (Who)
03 My Generation (Who)
04 I Can See for Miles [New Vocals and Bass Only] [Edit] (Who)
05 I Can't Reach You (Who)
06 Pinball Wizard [Edit] (Who)
07 I'm Free [Edit] (Who)
08 The Seeker [New Vocals Only] [Edit] (Who)
09 Heaven and Hell (Who)
10 Shakin' All Over - Spoonful (Who)
11 Substitute [1970 Version] (Who)
12 Pinball Wizard [1970 Version] (Who)
13 The Seeker [Second Version] (Who)
14 Naked Eye (Who)

I believe the cover photo comes from a 1969 performance on a TV show called "Sounds of the Sixties." I didn't include any audio from that because they lip synced to their studio versions. By the way, I find it interesting that the photo puts drummer Keith Moon in the foreground. The Who is just about the only major band I can think of where the drummer tended to steal the spotlight.

Fairport Convention - Eastern Rain - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1968-1969

I said I had a lot of Fairport Convention to get caught up on, and I meant it. Here's the third album from them today. The other two I posted were stray tracks collections. This one are all songs from official albums, but performances from the BBC.

Sandy Denny joined the band midway through 1968. All but two of the songs here are from 1968, but they're all from after Denny joined. She sings lead on most of the songs.

The vast majority of the songs here come from the early 1969 album "What We Did on Our Holidays." There's only two from "Unhalfbricking" ("Cajun Woman" and "Who Knows Where the Time Goes"). But some songs are from the other stray tracks albums I posted. In those cases, they had two different BBC performances of songs they never put on album, so I put one of those on a stray tracks album and another one here. "Reno, Nevada," and "If It Feels Good, You Know It Can't Be Wrong" are examples of that.

The great thing about late 1960s Fairport Convention was that they were an awesome covers band, but they also wrote some of the greatest songs of all time. Two classics are here in their unique BBC versions: "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" and "Meet on the Ledge."

I removed the BBC DJ talking over the start of "Eastern Rain" using X-Minus audio software to wipe the talking while keeping the underlying music. That's why it has "[Edit]" in the title.

01 Suzanne (Fairport Convention)
02 Eastern Rain [Edit] (Fairport Convention)
03 Fotheringay (Fairport Convention)
06 Mr. Lacey (Fairport Convention)
07 Meet on the Ledge (Fairport Convention)
08 She Moves through the Fair (Fairport Convention)
09 Reno, Nevada (Fairport Convention)
10 Book Song (Fairport Convention)
11 Nottamun Town [Acappella Version] (Fairport Convention)
12 Cajun Woman (Fairport Convention)
13 Who Knows Where the Time Goes (Fairport Convention)

There's a serious lack of good Fairport Convention color photos from 1968, or even 1969. Luckily, I was able to find one I liked. The photo used for this cover comes from a concert in Copenhagen in 1968.

Fairport Convention - How to Treat Another Heart - Non-Album Tracks (1968-1969)

Here's another stray tracks Fairport Convention album. The band had so many songs that didn't appear on their studio albums that this is the third such album I've made that at least partially is from 1968.

This is more of the same very good stuff. Like the last album in this series, most of the songs here are cover versions. I believe the only originals are "Shattering Live Experience" and probably "Billy the Orphan Boy's Lonely Christmas." (That one hasn't been officially released so I can't check the credits, but nobody else seems to have done a song by that name.)

The band still was very much fascinated with American folk-rock, doing songs by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, the Byrds, Gene Clark, and the like. But the last few songs are outtakes from the 1969 "Liege and Leaf," and one can seem them pivoting to their version of traditional British folk.

It's been a long time since I made this album, so I don't remember why I gave it the title "How to Treat Another Heart." I probably didn't think any of the song titles made for a good album title. The title I used are part of the lyrics to the song "Shattering Live Experience."

01 Bird on the Wire (Fairport Convention)
02 Billy the Orphan Boy's Lonely Christmas (Fairport Convention)
03 Tried So Hard (Fairport Convention)
04 You're Gonna Need My Help (Fairport Convention)
05 Shattering Live Experience (Fairport Convention)
06 Dear Landlord (Fairport Convention)
07 The Lady Is a Tramp (Fairport Convention)
08 Sir Patrick Spens (Fairport Convention)
09 Quiet Joys of Brotherhood (Fairport Convention)
10 The Ballad of Easy Rider (Fairport Convention)
11 Fly Me to the Moon [Instrumental] (Fairport Convention)

The album cover photo comes from a photo session of the band in Sandy Denny's parent's backyard.

Fairport Convention - Night in the City - Non-Album Tracks (1968)

I've fallen behind where I want to be with posting Fairport Convention material. (I really should have posted all I have on their late 1960s and early 1970s stuff before posting Richard Thompson solo stuff.) I'm going to try to catch up in a hurry.

This is a stray tracks collection, avoiding all the songs on their official albums. But it's also almost a BBC compilation, because 8 of the 12 songs here come from BBC performances. The band had a very wide ranging repertoire. Thank goodness we have their BBC recordings, because in my opinion these songs sound just as good as many of the songs on their albums. The chief difference is their 1960s had a fair amount of originals, and these are mostly cover versions. There are a few originals here, however: "Throwaway Street Puzzle," "Now and Then," and " If It Feels Good, You Know It Can't Be Wrong."

But what covers they are! This is my favorite Fairport era, their first couple years when they looked to American folk rock as their main influence before getting deeply into British traditional folk.I like that era too, but I like this a bit more.

All the songs here are from the second half of 1968, meaning Sandy Denny was already in the band, and she sings most of the songs.

I've put one song as a bonus track, a cover version of Bob Dylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry." It's the only song here from a concert, and the song is much worse than for all the others. It's also the only song that's officially unreleased.

01 Suzanne (Fairport Convention)
02 Now and Then [Demo] (Fairport Convention)
03 Close the Door Lightly When You Go (Fairport Convention)
04 You Never Wanted Me (Fairport Convention)
05 Some Sweet Day (Fairport Convention)
06 Been On the Road So Long (Sandy Denny)
07 Marcie (Fairport Convention)
08 Night in the City (Fairport Convention)
09 Gone, Gone, Gone (Fairport Convention)
10 If It Feels Good, You Know It Can't Be Wrong (Fairport Convention)
11 Throwaway Street Puzzle (Fairport Convention)
12 I Still Miss Someone (Fairport Convention)

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Fairport Convention)

There are very few good color photos of Fairport Convention in 1968. This one definitely comes from 1968. But there are some other people in the photo in addition to the five members of the band at the time. According to the caption, it was taken in a public park, and the women in the middle of the back is Anthea Joseph, who was a pivotal early supporter of British folk-rock.

The Who - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1964-1966

This is the first of four volumes of the Who performing for the BBC.

The official BBC album "BBC Sessions" mostly got things right, but it included a couple of BBC performances that were exactly the same as the studio records. It inexplicably missed a couple of BBC performance. But the biggest difference between that and this is that I stretched the concept to include other TV or radio performances the Who did when they were actively putting out new music (meaning from 1964 through 1982). In the time frame for this album, they did some actual live performances for "Shindig" and "Ready Steady Go," not lip-sync versions that were common at the time.

On top of that, I've included something that was recorded with the intention of being shown on TV, but apparently never was. In 1964, back when the Who was still known as "The High Numbers," the band's managers videotaped a short performance at the Railway Hotel in London. You can find the full video on YouTube, and it's fascinating. It's startlingly good quality considering the time period and the fact the band was barely known and playing to a small crowd.

Frankly, a lot of that 1964 footage isn't very good musically. For instance, Pete Townshend wasn't that adept at lead guitar yet. But I've chosen the three best songs that weren't done in better versions by the band at other times. The band actually did get to play on British TV in 1964, and they played one of these songs, "I Gotta Dance to Keep from Crying." But the recording is lost, apparently, so this will have to do instead. Note on these High Numbers songs how vocalist Roger Daltrey was going through a phase of trying to sound like blues legend Howlin' Wolf.

There are a few songs where the BBC DJ talked over the music. I've removed such talking with the X-Minus audio editing program. Those are the songs with "[Edit]" in their names.

I ordered the songs chronologically, except for the first one, which is a jingle the band made to promote themselves on the BBC, in 1967. It seems like a fitting way to start.

Oh, and there's one  song played for "Ready Steady Go" that sounded rougher than the others, so I've only included it as a bonus track.

UPDATE: On November 28, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I found enough material to split Volume 2 in this series into Volumes 2 and 3. But in doing so, I moved a few songs from this one to the new Volume 2. I also redid this album using the versions of the songs favored by Prof. Stoned at his blog. In some cases, he's found better versions than those on the official album, or remastered them better.

01 My Generation [Radio 1 Jingle] (Who)
02 I Gotta Dance to Keep from Crying (Who [High Numbers])
03 Ooh Poo Pah Doo (Who [High Numbers])
04 Long Tall Shorty (Who [High Numbers])
05 Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere (Who)
06 Good Lovin' [Edit] (Who)
07 Just You and Me, Darling (Who)
08 Leaving Here [Edit] (Who)
09 Shout and Shimmy (Who)
10 I Can't Explain (Who)
11 Daddy Rolling Stone (Who)
12 My Generation (Who)
13 The Good's Gone [Edit] (Who)
14 La La La Lies [Edit] (Who)
15 Man with Money (Who)
16 Dancing in the Street [Edit] (Who)

Baby Don't You Do It [Don't Do It] (Who)

For the cover art, I found a photo of the band playing on the "Ready Steady Go" TV show, which should be obvious from the sign in the background.

Dusty Springfield - Sweet Inspiration - Non-Album Tracks (1970-1974)

This is the last of my Dusty Springfield stray tracks albums.

I'm a really big fan of her music in the 1960s through the early 1970s. But in the mid-1970s, she moved to the US and lived several years with a very low profile. She apparently was depressed and used a lot of drugs. Her music career slowly petered out due to poor sales and her own distractions. She put out albums in 1972 and 1973, but she also had albums she finished in 1971 and 1974 ("Faithful" and "Longing" respectively) that didn't get released. (Both came out much later.)

In 1976, Elton John wanted to sing a duet with her, "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." But she wasn't up for it due to her problems, so Kiki Dee sang it instead. It went to number one in the US and Britain and pretty much everywhere else. However, in 1978 she started to come back with a new album. She regularly released music in the 1980s and 1990s, until her early death of cancer in 1999. She even had a few big hits, mostly with the help of the Pet Shop Boys.

Unfortunately, I don't like much of her later music. In my opinion, many great musicians of the 1960s and 1970s lost the plot due to disco in the late 1970s, followed by the bad production techniques of the 1980s. I think Springfield is a classic example. She might have still sung well, but I usually can't get past the production issues.

So this album is kind of a last hurrah for me. I recommend you get her four early 1970s albums ("Faithful," "See All Her Faces," "Cameo," and "Longing"). This is meant to scoop up whatever didn't get released on those.

The vast majority of the songs here are outtakes from various album sessions that didn't get released until much later. The only still-unreleased song is her theme to "The Six Million Dollar Man." Apparently, this was used for two made-for-TV movies that served as warm-ups for the hit TV show.

"Corner of the Sky" is also an interesting case. Springfield wanted to record this for her 1974 album "Longing." But she only did some of the vocals before giving up. Petula Clark came along many years later and sang the missing parts, turning it into a duet.

This album is only 33 minutes long.

01 Sweet Charlie (Dusty Springfield)
02 Something for Nothing (Dusty Springfield)
03 Sweet Inspiration (Dusty Springfield)
04 Go My Love (Dusty Springfield)
05 A Song for You (Dusty Springfield)
06 Nothing Is Forever (Dusty Springfield)
07 O-o-h Child (Dusty Springfield)
08 What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life (Dusty Springfield)
09 Sea and Sky (Dusty Springfield)
10 The Six Million Dollar Man (Dusty Springfield)
11 Corner of the Sky (Dusty Springfield & Petula Clark)

For the cover art, I found a nice photo from late 1970. I also added in the record company logo, since her albums from that time period did that.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Kinks - Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA, November 13, 1970

There's always more Kinks worth posting in my world, since I consider them the second greatest band of all time, behind only the Beatles.

Like most Kinks fans, I consider their best years to be the late 1960s, roughly from "Face to Face" in 1966 to "Muswell Hillbillies" in 1971. Unfortunately, there's very little in the way of good live recordings from that time, unless you could their performances for the BBC. For one thing, they simply didn't tour much until about 1970. That's especially true in the US, since they were banned for most of the time (apparently mainly due to pissing off a musician's union).

This bootleg concert is just about the only exception of a good, listenable show from those years, in terms of a full concert. There is a popular 1969 bootleg that claims to be a soundboard (from the Fillmore West in November 1969), but it most definitely is an audience recording, and only a middling one at that. This, on the other hand, actually is a soundboard. True, it's not a stellar soundboard. As concert recordings go, I'd rate it about an eight on a one-to-ten scale. But it is from the Kinks' golden era, so I'm willing to lower my standards a little bit.

One of the songs, "Sunny Afternoon," was missing the first minute. So I patched in that minute by using a version of the song from the live portion of the 1972 "Everybody's in Show-Biz" album, using one of the bonus tracks. I matched up the key and tempo, so hopefully you won't notice unless you carefully listen for it.

I also added four songs to the end from another concert in November 1970. The recording of this concert, in Woodland Hills, California, is an audience bootleg, but it's an unusually good one for the era. I took all the songs from that which sounded good and which weren't played at the Fillmore West concert.

By 1972, the Kinks in concert changed a lot. Front man Ray Davies took a much more theatrical and campy approach, playing odd covers like "Baby Face" or "The Banana Boat Song" and often being drunk or at least feigning it. But in this 1970 concert, the Kinks are still focused on the music. It might not have made for as entertaining a show in person, but it's a better listen at home.

01 Mr. Wonderful (Kinks)
02 talk (Kinks)
03 Till The End of the Day (Kinks)
04 Last of the Steam Powered Trains (Kinks)
05 talk (Kinks)
06 Big Sky (Kinks)
07 Brainwashed (Kinks)
08 talk (Kinks)
09 Strangers (Kinks)
10 talk (Kinks)
11 A Long Way from Home (Kinks)
12 Harry Rag (Kinks)
13 Act Nice and Gentle (Kinks)
14 Sunny Afternoon [Edit] (Kinks)
15 Waterloo Sunset (Kinks)
16 talk (Kinks)
17 Lola (Kinks)
18 Top of the Pops (Kinks)
19 See My Friends (Kinks)
20 talk (Kinks)
21 You're Looking Fine (Kinks)
22 talk (Kinks)
23 Arthur (Kinks)
24 Victoria (Kinks)

For the album cover, I used a photo that comes from some unspecified time in the early 1970s. It only shows three of the Kinks, but I think it gives off a better feeling of what it must have looked to be at this particular concert than other photos I considered.

Rosanne Cash - I Count the Tears - Non-Album Tracks (1992-1996)

I continue to maintain that Rosanne Cash is awesome, and very underappreciated. She was the big star she deserved to be all through the 1980s, only to see her popularity plummet due to her no longer fitting the strict limits of country music radio stations. This comes not long after the start of her "post-country" phase of her career, though there's still some country influence on some songs.

Out of the first nine songs, the vast majority are covers. I particularly enjoy her version of "I Count the Tears," which is why I made it the album title. All but one of those nine songs are officially released, usually from various artists compilations, though two of them come from one of her great hits albums.

The remaining six songs are a bit different. In 1996, Cash released the album "10 Song Demo." It was 11 (not 10!) songs done with just her guitar and an acoustic guitar. Normally, I'd be all over that like white on rice. If you've been following this blog at all, you've probably noticed that I love "unplugged"-type recordings. But in this case, something seems a bit off to me. Perhaps her performances lack a little passion or energy. Whatever it is, I prefer some of her songs when she performed them for various in-person radio station appearances, even though they're done in the exact same way, just her voice and an acoustic guitar.

So five of the last six songs are versions of her "10 Song Demo" songs. One song in there, "Crescent City," is from one of those radio station appearances, but it's a cover of a Lucinda Williams tune.

If you don't want the duplication of the songs from her 1996 album, remove those and you still have a solid 33 minute long album.

01 Carrie (Rosanne Cash)
02 Wouldn't It Be Loverly (Rosanne Cash)
03 I Count the Tears (Rosanne Cash)
04 Our Little Angel (Rosanne Cash)
05 I'm Only Sleeping (Rosanne Cash)
06 River (Rosanne Cash)
07 Couldn't Do Nothin' Right (Rosanne Cash)
08 I'll Fly Away (Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett & Kris Kristofferson)
09 I Walk the Line (Rosanne Cash)
10 Bells and Roses (Rosanne Cash)
11 Child of Steel (Rosanne Cash)
12 Crescent City (Rosanne Cash)
13 If I Were a Man (Rosanne Cash)
14 List of Burdens (Rosanne Cash)
15 The Summer I Read Collette (Rosanne Cash)

For the album cover, I wanted a photo of Cash that showed off what a beautiful woman she is. But I couldn't find any really good photos that looked like they were from the early 1990s. So I decided to use the photo on the cover of her "Essential Rosanne Cash" album, since it was exactly the sort of photo I was looking for. For the framing and the text, I used the artwork from one of her 1993 singles. Many moths after first posting this album, I colorized the photo.

Badfinger (The Iveys) - Out of the Cold - Non-Album Tracks (1967)

I'm psyched to be able to share this. As I said in another post, I only recently discovered just how good Badfinger is by looking beyond their officially released albums, and this is an Exhibit A example.

From their start around 1964 until the end of 1969, and right before they made it big, Badfinger was known as the Iveys. They released one album in 1969, called "Maybe Tomorrow," but then put the best songs from it on the first Badfinger album in 1970, called "Magic Christian Music." But did you know there's a second officially released Iveys album from 1967? And that it's even better than their 1969 one?

If you don't know that, it's because it's only partially true. An album's worth of Ivey's song from 1967 has been officially released, but those songs have been spread over four albums, released decades later. All I've done here is put the songs from them all together. Three of the albums are various artists collections of previously unreleased songs related to Apple Records, with the Iveys being the best known artist on any of them. The fourth is an album that comes with a book about the band, called "Without You - The Tragic Story of Badfinger." So these are about as obscure as official releases can get while still technically being released.

And that's a shame, because the songs here are really good! I'm surprised, if not shocked. I had assumed based on how the Iveys/Badfinger didn't release anything until one single in late 1968, followed by a mediocre album in 1969, that the group didn't really hit their stride until they began putting out music under the Badfinger name in 1970. But, in my opinion, this album shows them with a lot of very good songs in 1967, that are well produced, played, and sung. (All the songs here are originals.) In hindsight, I don't see why the band wasn't able to release an album in 1967 when so many lesser bands managed to do so.

At the time, and well into 1969, the Iveys/Badfinger played virtually all covers of hits in their concerts, probably because that's what pleased the crowds. But we now know that behind the scenes, the band was working on their songwriting at a furious pace. The band had multiple talented songwriters, and their chief songwriter Pete Ham has over 50 demos of original songs from 1966 and 1967 alone that have been officially released by now, and only a couple of those are the same songs (but different performances) as the songs on this album. So the band could have released a couple of albums a year in the late 1960s, with ease. I had no idea!

These songs are technically considered "demos," but they sound like fully developed band performances to me. One song here, "Taxi," was even produced by none other than Ray Davies, leader of the Kinks, way back at the start of 1967, when the Iveys were total nobodies. The sound quality is pretty good, although a few songs are slightly muffled. "Taxi" probably is the most noticeable case of that, no doubt due to the original recording being lost rather than bad production from Davies.

I've looked at Internet comments about the 1969 Iveys album, and one common criticism (that I agree with) is that it sounds "twee" or even "wimpy." Many of the songs are ballads, heavy with strings, and have a kind of dated "toytown" sound to them. These 1967 songs are surprising also because they're different. They're generally all upbeat and poppy, and sometimes slightly psychedelic.

Only one song here would be saved for later records: the last one, "Knocking Down Our Home." Different versions of it would appear on the 1969 Iveys record "Maybe Tomorrow" and the 1970 Badfinger album "Magic Christian Music." But this version is produced very differently, much more simply, and I far prefer this version. There are no strings on this album as a whole, maybe for budget reasons, but I think it's a big plus. In retrospect, that 1969 Iveys record probably was overproduced, especially with lots of strings.

I'm still trying to sort through the oodles of Badfinger-related demos and other stray tracks, which number well over 100 songs. But in the meantime I figured I'd post this, since the songs are all of a piece, and together they make up an album that's 42 minutes long. That would have been an ideal album length for the era.

01 I'm Too Shy (Badfinger)
02 Tube Train (Badfinger)
03 She Came Out of the Cold (Badfinger)
04 I've Been There Once Before (Badfinger)
05 Black and White Rainbows (Badfinger)
06 Girl Next-Door in the Miniskirt (Badfinger)
07 Tomorrow Today (Badfinger)
08 Mr. Strangeways (Badfinger)
09 Bittersweet Adieu (Badfinger)
10 How Does It Feel (Badfinger)
11 Taxi (Badfinger)
12 Take Good Care of My Baby (Badfinger)
13 Clown of the Party (Badfinger)
14 Knocking Down Our Home (Badfinger)

I had trouble coming up with a cover for this album. I wanted to use the name "Badfinger," but that name didn't even exist in 1967, so I reluctantly went with "The Iveys" instead. I also wanted a psychedelic cover, since it was 1967 after all, while also showing the band. But the only band photos I could find from the time were black and white ones of the band members just standing there. So I found some art nouveau styled framing and stuck a photo it that, since art nouveau was a big influence on psychedelic art, and it seemed more in keeping with the Iveys/Badfinger music.

The Allman Brothers Band - Cast Off All My Fears: The Formative Years, 1965-1967

I'm a big fan of the Allman Brothers Band, so I'm going to start posting some music from them. The band formed in 1969 and released their first album that year. Not a lot of people have paid much attention to the music brothers Gregg and Duane Allman did prior to that, but actually, there's a lot of good music from their formative years.

In fact, I've found so much good music from those years that I plan on posting three albums of it. This is the first and least impressive, since they got better as they went on. But still, even this music has its charms. No, it doesn't contain the long instrumental jams the band is most famous for. But Gregg Allman was an exceptional bluesy and soulful singer pretty much from the get-go, and that shows here. And Duane Allman was already a renowned guitarist even before the Allman Brothers Band formed. In fact, the band was pressured into that name in order to try to capitalize on his fame as a highly regarded session guitarist.

All through this album, you're not going to get much of Duane Allman's famous slide guitar soloing, unfortunately. The pressure at the time was to come up with a hit, so these are all short songs. Gregg Allman was an excellent songwriter, but he hadn't hit his groove yet, and nearly all of these songs are cover versions. But still, within the context of the time, one can already see why many in the music industry could sense that Gregg and Duane Allman were destined to be stars.

All of the songs here feature both Allman brothers. The Escorts evolved into the Allman Joys, which evolved into Hour Glass. In 1967, Hour Glass released their first album, simply called "Hour Glass." Unfortunately, they were pushed to play music that didn't really fit them in search of that elusive hit. But still, there are highlights, and I only picked the good songs. I especially like "Cast Off All My Fears," which is a Jackson Browne song, written when he was still a teenager.

To be honest, even though this is all good music, most of it is derivative, as the Allmans worked on establishing their own sound. So this isn't for everybody. They'll make a big musical leap with their music in 1968.

01 Turn On Your Love Light (Escorts)
02 No Name [Instrumental] (Escorts)
03 Spoonful (Allman Joys)
04 You Deserve Each Other (Allman Joys)
05 Gotta Get Away (Allman Joys)
06 Shapes of Things (Allman Joys)
07 Crossroads (Allman Joys)
08 Lost Woman (Allman Joys)
09 Cast Off All My Fears (Hour Glass)
10 Heartbeat (Hour Glass)
11 Nothing but Tears (Hour Glass)

For the album cover, I tried to pick a photo that would show what Gregg and Duane Allman looked like in their early years. I used a publicity photo of the Allman Joys from 1966. The Allmans are the two blonds who are standing. Duane is the one holding the reddish guitar. This photo was black and white, but I colorized it.

Dr. John - WLIR Tuesday Night Ultrasonic Concert Series, Ultrasonic Recording Studios, Hempstead, NY, 11-6-1973

Dr. John passed away earlier this month at 77 years old. To mark the occasion, and celebrate his considerable musical legacy, I'm posting this album. I think if you want just one Dr. John live album, it should be this one.

Dr. John's was first put on the musical map in 1968 with the release of his first solo album, after having a minor role for many years prior to that. But he didn't really hit it big until 1973, when he had his two and only hit singles, "Right Place, Wrong Time" and "Such a Night." Unfortunately, he got addicted to heroin and went into a musical decline for much of the rest of the 1970s. He eventually kicked his addiction and became a long-standing New Orleans musical institution.

Luckily, this album captures him at his peak, near the end of the year he had his most commercial success. Furthermore, it's an excellent sounding recording. The New York radio station WLIR had weekly live concerts in the early 1970s, and this is a part of that. It was recorded in a studio, but it's in front of a small audience. So as far as ideal recording circumstances for a live album, it doesn't get much better than that.

This has never been released, and in fact there isn't any live recordings I know of from Dr. John's peak years in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (There is a album from 1975, not much later, but he already was a mess by then, and it shows.) This performance has been available as a grey market release for a long time. But for some reason that version doesn't include the last two songs, and has other issues, such as getting some of the song titles wrong.

The song list is very good as well, with Dr. John doing a mix of the songs he's known best for as well as some choice rarities, such as the sappy Jackie DeShannon hit "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" done New Orleans style. All in all, it's nearly an hour and a half of music.

01 Loop Garoo (Dr. John)
02 Walk On Gilded Splinters (Dr. John)
03 Danse Kalinda da Boom (Dr. John)
04 Stag-O-Lee (Dr. John)
05 Travelin' Mood (Dr. John)
06 Junco Partner (Dr. John)
07 Life (Dr. John)
08 Put a Little Love in Your Heart (Dr. John)
09 Tipitina (Dr. John)
10 Mess Around (Dr. John)
11 I've Been Hoodooed (Dr. John)
12 Such a Night (Dr. John)
13 Right Place, Wrong Time (Dr. John)
14 Let the Good Times Roll (Dr. John)
15 Wang Dang Doodle (Dr. John)
16 Mama Roux (Dr. John)
17 Qualified (Dr. John)
18 Little Liza Jane (Dr. John)
19 Mama Don't Allow No Dr John in Here (Dr. John)

For the cover, I found a photo of Dr. John performing in Montreux, Switzerland, in July 1973, a few months before this concert. I think Elton John would be envious of his outfit! ;)

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Belle and Sebastian - Acoustic Versions, 2004-2006

If you've been following this blog for a while, you've probably noticed that I really like acoustic music. In my opinion, if a song is really good, it almost always will still be impressive being stripped way back to reveal what's there at the core.

This is my one and only Belle and Sebastian acoustic album. For a band that generally does mellow, acoustic-y music, there are surprisingly few recordings of them going all the way acoustic. Perhaps that's because they're a fairly large band, with seven members. But I've found next to no recordings of band leader Stuart Murdoch just playing his songs on an acoustic guitar. That's strange, because i think they'd sound great that way. If I've missed something, please let me know.

Anyway, they have done some acoustic performances, but almost all of them are from 2004 to 2006. (Two songs here are from 2016 and 2017.) I'm not sure why only those years, but something is better than nothing. Maybe some of it was just luck, because in one case they were scheduled to do a radio show and they mentioned they played acoustic that time because the drummer failed to show up!

Generally speaking, these are the original songs the band is best known for. At one point, they do a cover of "Teenage Kicks" by the Undertones, but it's just a lark that only lasts a minute. Since Belle and Sebastian is a band, these generally are band performances, but with acoustic instruments and usually no drums.

In terms of sound quality, everything here sounds fantastic. The vast majority come from in-person radio appearances, and those nearly always sound like studio recordings. Three of the songs come from concerts, but very small ones in cafes, and the sound on those are just the same as the rest.

This album is 41 minutes long.

01 If She Wants Me (Belle & Sebastian)
02 Step into My Office, Baby (Belle & Sebastian)
03 Teenage Kicks (Belle & Sebastian)
04 Get Me Away from Here, I'm Dying (Belle & Sebastian)
05 Like Dylan in the Movies (Belle & Sebastian)
06 Belle and Sebastian (Belle & Sebastian)
07 Sukie in the Graveyard (Belle & Sebastian)
08 Funny Little Frog (Belle & Sebastian)
09 The Blues Are Still Blue (Belle & Sebastian)
10 Get Me Away from Here, I'm Dying (Belle & Sebastian)
11 The State I Am In (Stuart Murdoch & C. Duncan)
12 I'm a Cuckoo (Belle & Sebastian)

For the cover art, I wanted to use a photo of the band playing acoustically. But I couldn't find any good ones from the time period of most of the songs here. So I went with using the art from one of the band's concert posters instead. That seems more in keeping with the band's cover art style anyway. I believe this particular poster comes from their 2015 tour.

Elliott Smith - Acoustic Versions, Volume 3, 2000-2003

Here's another album from Elliott Smith. I've already posted two albums of his songs stripped down to acoustic versions; this one is the third. It also, sadly, is the last, due to his untimely death in 2003. Of course, Smith's music was acoustic=based to begin with, but this strips things down even more, usually to just him and his acoustic guitar.

If you like Smith's music, you should definitely like this one. All the songs here are officially unreleased. Only the first three weren't performed in front of an audience. But the vast majority of these come from soundboard bootlegs, so the sound quality is fine. As I often do, I've removed the audience noise so all the songs are consistent in sounding they were done in a studio.

I've already posted another series of albums containing Smith's stray tracks. Many of the songs here are officially unreleased in any form as well, since not much has come out yet from the last three years of his life. But any such song is also on my stray tracks series, but those are different performances.

Note that all the songs here are Smith originals. I have some other albums I'll be posting later that deal with the many cover songs he did.

01 Independence Day (Elliott Smith)
02 Bottle Up and Explode (Elliott Smith)
03 Everything Means Nothing to Me (Elliott Smith)
04 Pretty Mary K (Elliott Smith)
05 Dancing on the Highway (Elliott Smith)
06 Little One (Elliott Smith)
07 True Love (Elliott Smith)
08 Let's Get Lost (Elliott Smith)
09 A Passing Feeling (Elliott Smith)
10 A Fond Farewell (Elliott Smith)
11 Strung Out Again (Elliott Smith)
12 Twilight (Elliott Smith)
13 Brand New Game (Elliott Smith)
14 Shooting Star (Elliott Smith)
15 Pretty [Ugly Before] (Elliott Smith)
16 The Enemy Is You (Elliott Smith)

For the cover art, I used a photo of Smith in concert in 2003. I took the lettering of his name from a bootleg.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Pretty Things - Eagle's Son - Non-Album Tracks (1969)

Okay, I think it's time for some more Pretty Things. And that means telling another strange but true story.

I wrote in my last Pretty Things post how the band fell on hard times due to poor record sales, and wound up creating a second band persona, the Electric Banana, in order to release songs that were mainly meant for the soundtracks to soft core porn films. Strange but true! Check out the post I wrote on the "Deflecting Grey" album for the whole story.

In 1968, things improved somewhat for the band, due to their album released that year, "S. F. Sorrow." It was considered the very first rock concept album, beating out "Tommy" by the Who by a year. (The Small Faces put out "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" earlier in 1968, but only half of that fit a concept.) "S. F. Sorrow" is a great five-star album, no question, and in my opinion it was the highlight of the band's career. I'm not posting it at this blog because there's nothing to change, and you should buy it.

But unfortunately, even though the album was critically praised and it gave the band a lot of hip credibility, sales still weren't very good. In fact, the album didn't even reach the top 100 in either the US or Britain. So the band continued with their yearly Electric Banana albums. The first five songs on this album come from the third such album, called "Even More Electric Banana." Fans of the genre generally agree it's the best of the lot. (There were two more, in 1973 and 1978, that are pretty much forgettable.)

That's not the story I want to tell you here though, because the Pretty Things had another side project that was at least as strange. Even though the band was just barely popular enough to stay together, it turns out they had a super fan in the form of a rich French man named Philippe DeBarge. He was a young playboy, and he wanted to be a rock star. So he offered the Pretty Things a lot of money if they would write and perform a bunch of songs so he could make an album. All he would do is sing the lead vocals.

Such a vanity project sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, right? But a couple of interesting things happened. For one, the Pretty Things were firing on all cylinders at this time and seemingly were unable to create bad or even mediocre songs. So most of their songs for this project were just as good as the songs they were doing for themselves. But then, even more improbably, DeBarge turned out to actually be a good singer, and with no trace of any French accent. In fact, he was such a Pretty Things super fan that he modeled his vocal stylings on Pretty Things' lead singer Phil May to the point that it's almost impossible to tell that it's some random French dude singing these songs instead of the Pretty Things doing their usual.

But while DeBarge and the Pretty Things made a surprisingly good album together, the outside world never knew. DeBarge shopped the album around to many record companies, but no company was willing to release it, and apparently that was the end of DeBarge's musical career. So it sat on a shelf collecting dust all the way until 2009, when more recent Pretty Things super fans found out about it and worked with the band to finally get it released.

I've included six of the 12 songs from that album. Three of the other songs were also used on "Even More Electric Banana," another was done by the Pretty Things on the BBC, and another one ("Graves of Grey") evolved into another song they used elsewhere. That only leaves one I didn't include simply because I didn't like it.

There are four more songs here that are actually performed by the Pretty Things using the Pretty Things name (gasp!). Two of them are originals that were were played on the radio for the BBC but only released on a BBC compilation decades later. Another one, "Marilyn," was also only played for the BBC at the time, but it STILL hasn't been officially released, despite the fact that the band has put out two BBC compilations in recent years and the second one is 4 CDs in size. And it's a good original song that was recorded well! I don't understand why it was neglected then, or why it still is until today.

Finally, I've included an instrumental version of the Byrds' song "Why." This is a bit strange in that the Pretty Things played a 15 minute long version of this song at a particular concert, but only the last six minutes of it were bootlegged, and bootlegged in pristine soundboard quality, no less. By that point in the song, the band had gone off with psychedelic jamming to such a degree that it's basically unrecognizable as that particular Byrds song. But it's a really good instrumental jam, so I've included those six minutes anyway.

Let's sum up what we have on this album, all from 1969. The five Electric Banana songs weren't publicly available at the time, since their albums under that alias were only meant for industry insiders, in order to be considered as music for movies. Even if some ordinary person did stumble across a copy, there was no way they could have known Electric Banana in fact was the Pretty Things, since that was kept a secret. Then there were the three songs done for the BBC and not released at the time. Plus there's a cover of a Byrds song that also has been unreleased in any form until today. Finally, there are six songs done with Philippe DeBarge that weren't released until decades later.

So, add it up, and the Pretty Things released a really good 1969 album that absolutely nobody was able to hear or buy! And that's a shame, because they put out a great album in 1968 ("S. F. Sorrow") and they would put out another great one in 1970 ("Parachute"), but in the late 1960s rock world, it was common to release an album a year, sometimes more.

The Pretty Things didn't even release a single of new material for all of 1969, much less an album, so they dropped out of sight. Yet in fact they had lots of great songs. For instance, consider the song "Alexander" from "Even More Electric Banana." The band liked it enough to play it at the BBC that year, and they also played it in concert. They still played it in concert decades later. Yet, for decades, there was no way an ordinary fan could buy a copy of that song in any form, under any band name.

I think the band sabotaged themselves, repeatedly. If you haven't heard much of the Pretty Things, there are good reasons for that. Bands are largely judged by their recordings, be it studio or live, but the band squandered many really good songs on bizarre side projects. It was almost like they were trying to fail.

Here's a quote about the band by the band's long-time manager Mark St. John from a 2018 article in the Guardian that reinforces that idea: "They have a completely enveloping understanding of mayhem, with zero attention to detail, really undisciplined.They are the most unprofessional f**king band.”

But time can change perspective. Decades later, we can finally hear the 1969 album that should have been another high point in the history of the band.

Incredibly, the band would go on to not release an album in 1971 when they had a bunch of excellent songs for that year too. I'll get to that the next time I post something from them.

01 Alexander (Pretty Things)
02 It'll Never Be Me (Pretty Things)
03 Eagle's Son (Pretty Things)
04 Blow Your Mind (Pretty Things)
05 Rave Up [Instrumental] (Pretty Things)
06 Send You with Loving [Edit] (Pretty Things)
07 Spring [Edit] (Pretty Things)
08 Marilyn (Pretty Things)
09 Why [Instrumental Version] (Pretty Things)
10 You Might Even Say (Pretty Things & Phillippe DeBarge)
11 You're Running You and Me (Pretty Things & Phillippe DeBarge)
12 Peace (Pretty Things & Phillippe DeBarge)
13 New Day (Pretty Things & Phillippe DeBarge)
14 All Gone Now (Pretty Things & Phillippe DeBarge)
15 I'm Checking Out (Pretty Things & Phillippe DeBarge)

This album cover needs a bit of explanation. In 1969, the Pretty Things appeared in a flop comedy movie called "What's Good for the Goose." But, as usual, the band screwed up what little career boost they could have had because they appeared in their Electric Banana guise, a band name most people in the audience would never hear of before or after. And there was no way to buy copies of the two songs they played. Ugh! Anyway, the cover is taken from a screenshot of their movie appearance, where they are the house band at a "groovy" private party. I got the unique lettering from one of their singles covers, but I forget which one.

The Raconteurs - Keep It Clean - Non-Album Tracks (2006-2008)

Just a few days ago, the Raconteurs released a new album, "Help Us Stranger." If you don't know, the Raconteurs are a group led by singer-songwriters Jack White of the White Stripes and Brendon Benson. It's their first album since 2008. I was disappointed with White's last solo album, but I think it's a strong return to form. I hope he keeps going with the Raconteurs, since his talents and Benson's complement each other.

To celebrate this new album, I thought I'd post something else by them. Up until their new activity, they really only existed as a group from 2006 to 2008, although they had an occasional concert since then. So I divided all the stray tracks I had from two into two, and came up with this album, of full-band material, and another album of acoustic stuff.

The vast majority of the songs here are covers. There are only three that are not: "The Band Rendition," which was a B-side and bonus track at the time of their first album in 2006, and "Open Your Eyes" and "You Made a Fool Out of Me," which were leftovers from their second album in 2008, and were released as a single in 2012.

I must say, the covers run a very wide range, from Howlin' Wolf ("Little Red Rooster") to Sonny and Cher ("Bang Bang") to the Undertones ("Teenage Kicks") to Gnarls Barkley ("Crazy"), and a lot more. Some of them are mainly sung by White, and others are mainly sung by Benson. The vast majority were done live in concert. I then tried to erase the audience noise as best I can, as I often do, to help those songs fit in with the studio tracks.

There's one more song I want to include, but I can't find. That's their cover of "Send Me a Postcard," by Shocking Blue. If you have that, please let me know, and I'll add it in.

01 The Bane Rendition (Raconteurs)
02 Heading for the Texas Border (Raconteurs)
03 A House Is Not a Motel (Raconteurs)
04 Floating (Raconteurs)
05 Bang Bang [My Baby Shot Me Down] (Raconteurs)
06 The Christian Life (Raconteurs)
07 Crazy (Raconteurs)
08 Who Do You Love (Raconteurs)
09 Teenage Kicks (Raconteurs)
10 Open Your Eyes (Raconteurs)
11 You Made a Fool Out of Me (Raconteurs)
12 Little Red Rooster (Raconteurs)
13 Keep It Clean (Raconteurs)

For the album cover, I found a photo of the band from 2006. I also found a concert poster that I didn't use, but I took the unusual lettering of the band name from that.

Badfinger - Ungano's Club, New York City, 11-24-1970

I had long been under the impression that there is no good Badfinger live music to listen to other than the two short concerts documented on the official album "BBC In Concert 1972-3." There's another official live album called "Day After Day," but it's a sonic abomination. Starting with a poorly recorded concert from 1974, one of the surviving band members tinkered with it until it was basically unlistenable, especially by dubbing in thumping loud drums, 1980s style, that had no business being there. Avoid that album at all costs.

Unfortunately, there aren't many Badfinger concert bootlegs to begin with, and nearly all of them are audience recordings of middling to poor sound quality. However, I've found one startling exception, and that's this concert. It's a quality soundboard with very little audience noise.

There's an interesting story behind this particular show. In November 1970 when it took place, Badfinger had had a number one hit with "Come and Get It." But that had been written by Beatle Paul McCartney, and it wasn't yet clear if the band would be a one-hit wonder or if they had talent to be a significant band on just their own merits. Their great album "No Dice" had only been released earlier in the month, but it hadn't made much of an impact yet, as the first single from it, "No Matter What," was only starting to climb the charts. (It would reach the top ten in Britain and the US in January 1971.)

As a result, Beatle George Harrison decided to take it upon himself to help promote them a little bit. (Keep in mind they were signed to the Beatles' record label Apple Records.) He showed up at this concert (with his wife Patti Boyd) and sat at a table in the front of the small club. Then, to start the show, he got up on stage and introduced the band with a few kind words. After that, he returned to his prominently located seat. According to a reporter who was there, "For a while, most people watched George Harrison watch Badfinger, then everyone noticed how good Badfinger were, good enough to draw attention away from a former Beatle."

So that's a fun tidbit. Unfortunately, Harrison's introduction isn't recorded here. Badfinger played two sets that night, with nearly identical set lists, so it could have been from the other set. But also, the band played Ungano's the next two nights, two sets each night, so he could have done the introduction at one of those times.

The setlist mostly consists of originals. But there are some notable cover versions too: "My Dark Hour" (a Steve Miller Band song that Steve Miller co-wrote with Paul McCartney), "Feelin' Alright" (by Traffic), and a medley of "Love Me Do" (a Badfinger original, not the Beatles song) with three Little Richard songs - "Lucille," "Rip It Up," and "Long Tall Sally." There also was a version of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" to end the show, but I haven't included it since the recording of it abruptly got cut off after only one minute.

Additionally, I've added two bonus tracks of sorts, because they're songs from other concerts. "Johnny B. Goode" comes for a soundboard of a concert at the same club, but one night later. (As far as I know, that concert hasn't been made public other than this one song, but the set lists are otherwise identical anyway.)

"Walk That Road" is a more interesting case. That song also comes from a soundboard recording just four days later. This concert also hasn't been made public, even as a bootleg, aside from this one song. In 2016, it was announced that an official album of this show would be released soon. It was called "Raw and Unrestrained," and was going to be released that June. But time has passed and the album hasn't been released yet, so it probably isn't happening. As far as I can tell, "Walk That Road" is a Badfinger original that hasn't been officially released in any form. It might even have only been played in concert a few times, or just the one time. (Some of the lyrics to the Carl Perkins song "Matchbox" are included towards the end of the song.)

By the way, the set list of that show from four days later (at the Palladium in Birmingham, Michigan) is almost identical to this one. In addition to "Walk That Road," the band also did "Crimson Ship" and "Rock of All Ages" that night, but they didn't play "Johnny B. Goode" or "Roll Over Beethoven."

If you're wondering "Why should I listen to Badfinger live?" then "Walk That Road" is a good example of why. This is not the Badfinger you usually hear on their studio albums. What really strikes me is what a talented lead guitarist Pete Ham is. And that shows up on other songs too. For instance, "Feelin' Alright" is turned into a eight-minute long guitar solo showcase. The band is able to bring their excellent vocal harmonies to the concert, but they also play their instruments with talent and energy.

01 My Dark Hour (Badfinger)
02 Midnight Sun (Badfinger)
03 Better Days (Badfinger)
04 talk (Badfinger)
05 Blodwyn (Badfinger)
06 talk (Badfinger)
07 We're for the Dark (Badfinger)
08 Feelin' Alright (Badfinger)
09 I Can't Take It (Badfinger)
10 No Matter What (Badfinger)
11 Love Me Do - Lucille - Rip It Up - Long Tall Sally (Badfinger)
12 talk (Badfinger)
13 Suitcase (Badfinger)
14 Johnny B. Goode (Badfinger)
15 Walk That Road - Matchbox (Badfinger)

For the album cover, I was able to find a couple of photos of the band playing at the actual concert. But they all are in black in white. I also was able to find the exact photo of the official album that was going to be released on a concert just four days later. I decided to use that instead. However, I made some changes to it. Obviously, I had to change the text, due to it being about a different concert. Also, I found the exact font text and color for the "Badfinger" name, and pasted in a much bigger version, since I thought it looks better that way.

Finally, in 2023, I updated the cover. I used the new program Palette to convert it into color.

Badfinger - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1969-1970

I've been a Badfinger fan for a long time, but I must admit that it's only recently since I got into them on a deeper level. I had assumed that their official studio albums contained all their best stuff. But that's not true: they have a wealth of interesting outtakes, demos, and live performances.

So once I realized this, one thing I wanted to investigate is what sort of BBC performances they'd done. There's an official album that's quite good called "BBC in Concert 1972-3," But it's Badfinger playing two concerts which got played over the BBC. That's not the same thing as a band like them playing songs in the BBC studios with no audience to muddy the sound. Only one song from the official album, "Come and Get It" was actually recorded at a BBC studio session. It's likely that was tacked onto the album for fear that it didn't have enough of their big hits on it otherwise.

I dug deeper and found out that Badfinger did play live at the BBC a bunch of times, starting in early 1969 when they were still known as the Iveys. (They changed the band name from "The Iveys" to "Badfinger" at the end of 1969, but to reduce confusion I'm just calling them "Badfinger" for everything they did.) Many of their BBC performances have been bootlegged, and they did a lot of really interesting cover versions. But unfortunately, the sound quality is really poor for most songs, too poor for me to want to have them in my collection.

I kept digging though, through lots of bootleg sources, and eventually I was able to find an album's worth of BBC performances that actually sound good. This album is the result. In 1969, Badfinger were a bunch of nobodies. They'd released a single that failed to make the charts, and then in 1969 they put out an album that also failed to make the charts and apparently was next to impossible to even find in the stores. So when they played concerts they had to rely heavily on covers to keep audiences happy, and that's reflected in the songs they played for the BBC that year.

The Badfinger of 1969 is probably not what you'd expect, based on their later records. They were rocking and even soulful at times. Here are some of the BBC performances I couldn't find in good quality that can give you an idea of the kind of music they were playing at the time: "River Deep, Mountain High," "Revolution," "Drive My Car," "Needle in a Haystack," "Summer in the City," and "Proud Mary." (You can find of all of those and more on bootlegs if you don't mind the muddy and distant sound quality. Beware though, they sound pretty bad!)

However, I was able to find some cover songs of that type: "Respect" (Aretha Franklin), "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (The Animals), "Just One Look" (Doris Troy), "The Way You Do the Things You Do" (The Temptations), "You Can All Join In" (Traffic), "Up on Cripple Creek" (The Band), and "Birthday" (The Beatles). Furthermore, I found one obscure cover they did I really liked, "Surrender Your Love," originally done by the British girl group the Carrolls in 1966. But the sound quality is subpar, so I've only included it as a bonus track.

While doing all those covers, they also tried to include their own songs, playing more as they grew in popularity in 1970. There are eight of those (although one, "Come and Get It," was written for them by Paul McCartney). I'm pretty sure the song "Someday" is a Badfinger original that has never been officially released in any form. But if someone is a huge fan of the group and can confirm or deny that, please let me know.

In a couple of cases, I had to edit out the annoying BBC DJs talking over the beginnings or ends of songs. But I've used the X-Minus sound editing program to wipe out the talking while keeping the underlying music. Those four songs have "[Edit]" in their names.

I was pretty selective about the sound quality for these songs, so you don't need to be a Badfinger fanatic to want to listen to this. These don't all sound pristine, but they're of the same level as official BBC releases by other 1960s bands. 

This album is 40 minutes long.

UPDATE: On May 27, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I added the song "Birthday." I'd previously heard this only in terrible sound quality, but I stumbled across a version that sounds decent enough for inclusion (though still not great). I also found a better version of the bonus track "Surrender Your Love," but still not quite good enough for it to be more than a bonus track.

I also added "Volume 1" to the album name, in keeping with the other BBC sessions I've posted by other artists. (There are two later BBC albums here, live concerts from 1972 and 1973.)

01 Respect (Badfinger)
02 Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Badfinger)
03 Just One Look (Badfinger)
04 Maybe Tomorrow (Badfinger)
05 The Way You Do the Things You Do (Badfinger)
06 Birthday (Badfinger)
07 You Can All Join In (Badfinger)
08 Rock of All Ages [Edit] (Badfinger)
09 Midnight Sun [Edit] (Badfinger)
10 Someday (Badfinger)
11 Up On Cripple Creek (Badfinger)
12 Come and Get It (BadÔ¨Ānger)
13 I Can't Take It [Edit] (Badfinger)
14 Believe Me [Edit] (Badfinger)

Surrender Your Love (Badfinger)

For the cover art, I was able to find a photo of Badfinger at the BBC studios (specifically their TV studio) in early 1972. That's not ideal, since it's later than any of the performances here, but they were the same four guys then as they were in all their 1970 performances on this album.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Midnight Oil - Land - Non-Album Tracks (1991-1996)

This is the third in my series of stray tracks albums for Australia's great band Midnight Oil.

The songs here are a grab bag of all sorts of things. Five are from B-sides. One of those, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda," is a cover. They also do a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Wharf Rat" for a tribute album.

One, "Burnie," is from the band's "Scream in Blue Live" album, but didn't belong there, in my opinion. All the songs on that were from live shows, except this one, which was an acoustic studio track. I think it works better with these other songs.

Nearly all Midnight Oil songs are sung by Peter Garrett, the distinctively large and bald front man for the band. However, many of the band's songs are actually written or cowritten by other band members, and some of them had side projects from time to time. I generally haven't included songs from these side projects on these stray track albums, because it didn't sound like a Midnight Oil song to me if it isn't sung by Garrett. But I've made an exception here for the song by one side project band, "Someone's Singing New York, New York," by Rob Hirst and the Ghostwriters. It's a nice song, and it was a minor hit in Australia.

The title song here, "Land," was a collaborative charity single mostly done by Midnight Oil, but also with involvement by the Hothouse Flowers, the Tragically Hip, Crash Vegas, and Daniel Lanois. On my next album in this series, I include a version done just by Midnight Oil with somewhat different lyrics.

This album ends with two more cover versions, both of them officially unreleased. One is of the classic instrumental hit "Telstar" and the other is "The Good Son" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

01 Wharf Rat (Midnight Oil)
02 Someone's Singing New York, New York (Rob Hirst & the Ghostwriters)
03 Burnie [Acoustic Version] (Midnight Oil)
04 The Band Played Waltzing Matilda (Midnight Oil)
05 No Reaction (Midnight Oil)
06 Land (Midnight Oil & Friends)
07 Ships of Freedom (Midnight Oil)
08 I See You (Midnight Oil)
09 Smash the Wobble Board (Midnight Oil)
10 A Sunburnt Sky [A Love So High] (Midnight Oil)
11 Telstar [Instrumental] (Midnight Oil)
12 The Good Son (Midnight Oil)

Midnight Oil generally puts interesting art on their album covers instead of photos of the band. For this album cover, I wanted to do something in their style. So I used the cover to the "Outbreak of Love" single. That song isn't on this album, but it is from this time period. I replaced the text in the black box at the bottom with the word "Land" taken from the "Land" single. (I otherwise didn't like the cover art for that single.)

Beck - Timebomb - Non-Album Tracks (2006-2008)

Beck is extremely prolific, and virtually all of his stray tracks are good. Here he was, a dozen years since he first hit it big, and in a three-year window in which he released two official albums, he still had enough stray tracks for another album. And that's just what is publicly available. He's said to do tons of stuff that he keeps in the vaults.

The songs here have more stylistic variety than usual for Beck. He's often gotten locked into a particular style for a couple of years. But on this album he goes from country to folk to dance, and more. Most of the songs are originals. Some exceptions are "No Expectations" by the Rolling Stones, "Wave of Mutilation" by the Pixies, "Winter Is Blue" by Vashti Bunyan, "Forget Marie" by Lee Hazlewood," and "Youre Running Wild" by the Louvin Brothers. The last two were part of a country music project of his that has mostly stayed in the vaults.

Most of the original songs come from an A-Side ("Timebomb"), B-sides, or bonus tracks. One curious exception is "Please Leave a Light On When You Go." Beck only played this song once in concert, in 2007, and luckily it got bootlegged. However, in 2012, when he released his sheet music project "Song Reader," the song showed up there too (but performed by others instead of him, just like most songs in that project). The version is played live was very short, only about a minute and a half long, so I lengthened by repeating the one sung section and an instrumental section after it.

Another interesting original is the song "Holy Man." Beck got involved in making some music for the 2006 movie "Nacho Libre." Three of his instrumentals made the album soundtrack. (I've only included one, "10,000 Pesos," since the other two were short and inconsequential, in my opinion.) But he also came up with a good version with lyrics that wasn't used for the film. Instead, an obscure Mexican group covered it for that, and Beck's version went unreleased but somehow got leaked to the public.

01 Holy Man (Beck)
02 Forget Marie (Beck)
03 Inside Out (Beck)
04 This Girl that I Know (Beck)
05 No Expectations (Beck)
06 Winter Is Blue (Beck)
07 You're Running Wild (Beck)
08 Timebomb (Beck)
09 Wave of Mutilation (Beck)
10 Please Leave a Light On When You Go [Edit] (Beck)
11 Vampire Voltage No. 6 (Beck)
12 Half and Half (Beck)
13 Bonfire Blondes (Beck)
14 Necessary Evil (Beck)
15 10,000 Pesos [Instrumental] (Beck)

For the album cover, I basically used the cover to the single "Timebomb." However, I felt that cover was artistically lacking due to a large blank area that left it imbalanced. Furthermore, Beck's name wasn't anywhere on it. So I added his name in with large letters to fix both of those things.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Pretty Things - Deflecting Grey - Non-Album Tracks (1967-1968)

I've posted a couple of albums by the Pretty Things in recent days, and they're very good. But I'm keen to get to this ones, and the ones that follow, because they're excellent. Yet the Pretty Things are a drastically underrated band. Why?

I hope you're comfortably seated, because this is a weird and convoluted story, but an interesting one. Starting out as a rocking band steeped in soul and the blues (very much like the Rolling Stones at the time), the Pretty Things changed drastically for their 1967 album "Emotions." Then they changed again for the music on this album, which is where they dove headlong into psychedelic music. It turns out this type of music plays to their strengths.

Unfortunately, some of their best songs were only put out on little-noticed singles, such as "Deflecting Grey" and "Talkin' about the Good Times." The B-sides to those singles, "Mr. Evasion" and "Walking through My Dreams," were just as good or better, but even more obscure. They also had a strong song, "Turn My Head," that they only played once for the BBC and didn't release until decades later. (There is a rare studio version, but the audio quality is low, so I've included the BBC version.)

But here's where it gets weird. The band was barely hanging on financially, because their singles and record sales were dismal. In fact, from 1967 through the rest of their career, virtually nothing they would release would even make the top 100 singles or album charts in the US or Britain! To make ends meet, they recorded records under another name, "The Electric Banana."

They began putting out albums with this name, about one a year. But these albums weren't even available for sale for the general public! Instead, they were targeted at entertainment insiders, for possible use as background music in low-budget films. The idea was to have songs audiences had never heard before that fit with the "groovy" rock sound so popular in the late 1960s. A couple of B-movies did use their songs, and the band even got to perform on screen as the Electric Banana in one, "What's Good for the Goose," in 1969. Check it out at YouTube. (Search for the band name plus "Mod Discotheque Scene.") But mostly, their Electric Banana songs were used for soft-core porn films!

(The band name is a reflective of this porn focus, being slang for a dildo / vibrator. The album covers are too, shaping the large text into an obvious phallic shape. I'm including a version of one of the album covers so you can see what I mean.)

This is all very strange. I don't know of any other 1960s rock band that did something similar. But what's frustrating is that many of their songs that came out on these Electric Banana albums were just as good as the songs they were putting out as the Pretty Things, but there was virtually no way for record buyers to get their hands on them. And even if they somehow did, the albums were a poor value, because each of them had one side of songs with vocals, and then another side of the exact same songs with the vocals removed, since instrumentals work well as background music in movies.

The band put out the album "Electric Banana" in 1967 and "More Electric Banana" in 1968 under their alternate name. (There are additional albums by that name, but I'll deal with those in later posts.) Ive taken what I consider the three best songs from the first one and the four best songs from the second one and added them here. (In doing so, I think I only left three songs with vocals behind.)

Rock bands were very prolific in the late 1960s, typically releasing an album a year, or sometimes more. (Creedence Clearwater Revival actually released three studio albums in 1969 alone!) The Pretty Things might have made a little food money with their weird Electric Banana scheme, but they would have been much better off in the long run putting that music out under their own name, to build up an impressive overall discography. As this album shows, they easily had enough songs for a solid album between "Emotions" in early 1967 and "S. F. Sorrow" in late 1968. That would have been key to show audiences at the time that they were on top of the new psychedelic sound.

It's a few decades too late, but here's the album they could have and should have put out back then. What's sad is that, as I'll post later, it turns out the band had "coulda, woulda, shoulda" albums in 1969 and 1971 too. No wonder the band is underappreciated, when many of their songs could only be heard under an alias as background music in soft-core porn films!

01 Defecting Grey (Pretty Things)
02 Mr. Evasion (Pretty Things)
03 Turn My Head (Pretty Things)
04 Walking Down the Street (Pretty Things)
05 If I Needed Somebody (Pretty Things)
06 Free Love (Pretty Things)
07 Talkin' about the Good Times (Pretty Things)
08 Walking through My Dreams (Pretty Things)
09 Street Girl (Pretty Things)
10 Grey Skies (Pretty Things)
11 Love, Dance, and Sing (Pretty Things)
12 A Thousand Ages from the Sun (Pretty Things)

For the album cover, I used the cover of the "Deflecting Grey" single as the basis. I carefully removed the name of the B-side ("Mr. Evasion") which snaked above the head of the band members just like the A-side song title. But the cover still looked blah, in my opinion, with an ugly pea green wash over a black and white photo of the band. So I darkened everything and changed the color to purple, but varied it up with swaths of blue and red. That left the lettering hard to read, so I surrounded those with white. Now I think it's a cover that's worthy of the psychedelic music inside.

Robyn Hitchcock - Acoustic Covers, Volume 5: 2000-2004

Here's the fifth of my album collections of acoustic covers done by Robyn Hitchcock, the vast majority played live. He's played a million covers, so there are a lot more albums like this one on the way.

It's not too hard to guess that the three biggest musical influences on Hitchcock have been the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd. So it's fitting that he does four songs by the Beatles, three by Barrett, and two by Dylan.

None of the performances on this album have been officially released, though two of them come from a DVD about Syd Barrett. Yet the sound quality is generally quite good.

For the first song, a version of "I Am the Walrus" by Hitchcock and Grant Lee Phillips, there's some crowd noise because the two of them are having a fun lark with the song, which gets a lot of audience response. It's similar with "Stayin' Alive," which is another jokey lark (including some improvised lyrics).

Here's a list of the original artists for each song:

01 I Am the Walrus - Beatles
02 Across the Universe - Beatles
03 Think for Yourself - Beatles
04 All that Money Wants - Psychedelic Furs
05 Born in Time - Bob Dylan
06 Pledging My Time - Bob Dylan
07 Honky Tonkin' - Hank Williams
08 Dominoes - Syd Barrett
09 It Is Obvious - Syd Barrett
10 Neon Meate Dream of an Octafish [Recitation Version] - Captain Beefheart
11 The Main Thing - Roxy Music
12 She Said, She Said - Beatles
13 Tarotplane - Captain Beefheart
14 Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees
15 Some Kinda Love - Velvet Underground
16 The Ocean - Velvet Underground / Lou Reed
17 Baby Lemonade - Syd Barrett

Here's the song list:

01 I Am the Walrus (Robyn Hitchcock & Grant Lee Phillips)
02 Across the Universe (Robyn Hitchcock & Grant Lee Phillips)
03 Think for Yourself (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 All that Money Wants (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Born in Time (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Pledging My Time (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Honky Tonkin' (Robyn Hitchcock with Jon Brion, Grant Lee Phillips)
08 Dominoes (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 It Is Obvious (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Neon Meate Dream of an Octafish [Recitation Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 The Main Thing (Robyn Hitchcock)
12 She Said, She Said (Robyn Hitchcock)
13 Tarotplane (Robyn Hitchcock)
14 Stayin' Alive (Robyn Hitchcock)
15 Some Kinda Love (Robyn Hitchcock)
16 The Ocean (Robyn Hitchcock)
17 Baby Lemonade (Robyn Hitchcock)

For the album cover, I wanted to use a photo of Hitchcock with an acoustic guitar at some point in the years 2000 to 2004. But I couldn't find any good ones that were definitely from that time. I found one from 2006. I guess that's close enough for horseshoes.