Thursday, July 4, 2019
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
This album differs a little bit from the previous ones in this series because in 2008, Petty revived his early 1970s band Mudcrutch and went on tour with them. So four of the nine songs are with Mudcrutch instead of the Heartbreakers.
Also, there are two songs that are collaborations between Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Allman Brothers Band. They do versions of the Bob Dylan songs "Highway 61 Revisited" and "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry." Petty and Gregg Allman swap lead vocals from verse to verse.
But regardless of who Petty was singing with, the types of songs he plays are pretty much the same as with previous albums in this series. Once again, it's mostly classic hits from the 1950s and 1960s. A few of the songs are lesser known: "Off the Hook," an obscure Rolling Stones song, " Love, Please Come Home," a country/bluegrass song by Bill Monroe, and "Champagne and Reefer," a Muddy Waters blues song.
The sound quality of the songs vary. Unfortunately, they're not as good as with some previous albums. All but two are officially unreleased, and some of those unreleased ones come from audience bootlegs instead of soundboards. But I still think it's a good listen.
I've included one song as a bonus track, due to the poor sound quality. That's "Gunslinger," a lesser known Bo Diddley song.
01 Mystic Eyes (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
02 Off the Hook (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
03 Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine (Tom Petty & Mudcrutch)
04 Summertime Blues (Tom Petty & Mudcrutch)
05 Love, Please Come Home (Tom Petty & Mudcrutch)
06 High School Confidential (Tom Petty & Mudcrutch)
07 Highway 61 Revisited (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers & the Allman Brothers Band)
08 It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers & the Allman Brothers Band)
09 Champagne and Reefer (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
Gunslinger (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
For the album cover, I found a concert poster from 2010. I didn't change much, except I lopped off some other parts of the poster above and below, and I added in the album title at the bottom.
Monday, July 1, 2019
Al Green is a case in point. It goes without saying that he's one of the soul greats, and one of the most commercially successful. But, remarkably, over his long musical career, he's only released one official live album, "Tokyo Live." Unfortunately, it was recorded in 1978 (and released in 1981), which means his music got "discofied." It's just not a very good album, and it was almost certainly released only because his record company got frustrated for new secular product from him after he switched to religious music in 1980.
But happily, there are some great live recordings from his peak era in the early 1970s. It's just that they're bootlegs. This one is one of the best. It's a 53-minute performance from "SOUL!" a PBS TV show that ran from 1968 to 1973. It was recorded professionally for the TV show, so it sounds as good as any official live album from the era.
Even better, Green put on an excellent performance. (He claimed in concert patter that he was suffering from a cold, but you can't hear it in his voice.) Almost all the songs he plays are his classic hits. He finishes the show with a cover of "We've Only Just Began" as part of a medley, which is a song he never did on an album.
01. Tired of Being Alone (Al Green)
02. Look What You Done for Me (Al Green)
03. How to Mend a Broken Heart (Al Green)
04. I'm Still in Love with You (Al Green)
05. talk (Al Green)
06. Judy (Al Green)
07. You Ought to Be with Me (Al Green)
08. talk (Al Green)
09. Love and Happiness (Al Green)
10. We've Only Just Begun - Let's Stay Together (Al Green)
The photo for the cover doesn't look very good, since it's blurry. That's because it's a still from a YouTube video of the actual concert in question. I wanted to go for accuracy over just grabbing some photo of Green from that era. Oh, and I took the exact text for "SOUL!" from a photo of an ad for the show that I found. So I stuck with the cowboy font for the rest of the text.
The previous album I posted was the second Hour Glass album, "Power of Love." Hour Glass, which was mainly Gregg and Duane, broke up after the album came out and was generally ignored. Instead, they soon hooked up with the 31st of February, a band made up of Scott Boyer, David Brown, and Butch Trucks.
The 31st of February had already released an album to very little notice. Boyer was the band's chief guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. He was talented too. He and Brown would later play in the band Cowboy, whose best known song written by Boyer is "Please Be with Me," covered by Eric Clapton and many others. But Gregg and Duane were so talented that they basically took over the band. The five of them began working on a second 31st of February, with Gregg singing most of the songs and Duane dominating the guitar soloing.
However, in order to get himself and Duane out of their Hour Glass record contract, Gregg had promised to record a solo album for that record company. He went to Los Angeles to do that, so the 31st of February album was never quite finished. The songs "It's Not My Cross to Bear" and "Southbound" included here come from his solo album project, which also was never finished. (By the way, "Southbound" is a totally different song than a later Allman Brothers Band song with that title. "It's Not My Cross to Bear" is a song the Allman Brothers Band would later do, though this is a more stripped down demo version.)
In 1972, after Duane died and the Allman Brothers Band became huge, the second 31st of February album was finally released under the name "Duane and Gregg." At the time, it was seen as kind of a cheap cash grab, and that's true. But that doesn't take away from the fact that the music on it happens to be really good. In fact, it's almost like a lost Allman Brothers Band album. For instance, it contains an early version of "Melissa" that isn't very different from the classic Allman Brothers Band version. And personally, I think their version of the folk classic "Morning Dew" should have been a big hit. It also contains other songs that show of Gregg's songwriting skill, for instance "God Rest His Soul," which was his reaction to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.
So far, all the songs mentioned above have been officially released, though hard to find. The last two songs on this album are still unreleased. They might or might be called Allman Brothers Band performances, depending on how you look at it.
In early 1969, with Gregg still in L.A., Duane hooked up with drummer Jaimoe and bassist Berry Oakley, crossing paths with them due to Duane's extensive work as a session guitarist. The three of them moved to Jacksonville, Florida, and reconnected with Butch Trucks, the drummer for the 31st of February, who had joined a band there called the Second Coming. That band was led by guitarist Dickey Betts. All of these people began jamming together, often on the concert stage. Basically, it was the Allman Brothers Band minus Gregg and plus a couple others, though they still called themselves the Second Coming.
The last two songs here come from these jams. A popular bootleg lists them as being recorded on March 26, 1969. But apparently that's not true, and that bootleg is a compilation of a bunch of different performances from March. In any case, "Born in Chicago" features Dickey Betts on vocals, and "Hey Joe" is a rare example of Duane Allman singing lead vocals, with a lot of his lead guitar. Luckily, the band was recording itself on a regular basis in order to listen to what they'd done and improve, so these songs are in excellent soundboard quality.
At the tail end of March, Gregg finally returned from L.A. (having finally gotten out of his record contract). and joined in with the jam sessions. The musical chemistry was obvious from the very start, so Gregg, Duane, Jaimoe, Butch Trucks, Berry Oakley, and Dickey Betts formally became the Allman Brothers Band.
01. Morning Dew (31st of February with Duane & Gregg Allman)
02. God Rest His Soul (31st of February with Duane & Gregg Allman)
03. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (31st of February with Duane & Gregg Allman)
04. Melissa (31st of February with Duane & Gregg Allman)
05. I'll Change for You (31st of February with Duane & Gregg Allman)
06. Back Down Home with You (31st of February with Duane & Gregg Allman)
07. Well I Know Too Well (31st of February with Duane & Gregg Allman)
08. It's Not My Cross to Bear [Demo] (Gregg Allman)
09. Southbound (Gregg Allman)
10. Born in Chicago (Allman Brothers Band & the Second Coming)
11. Hey Joe (Allman Brothers Band & the Second Coming)
Unfortunately, I don't know it any photo exists of the 31th of February that includes Gregg and Duane Allman. The band's second album that got released as "Duane and Gregg" just has a drawing of those two on the cover. So I used a photo of those two, taken shortly after the Allman Brothers Band was formed in mid-1969. Duane is the one with a mustache and partial beard, and Gregg has his hair hanging over his eyes.
But this album is different. The two of them take a giant leap. This still isn't the Allman Brother Band with its impressive long soloing, but it's a really solid album for 1968.
Hour Glass basically was Duane and Gregg Allman, with some other musicians who have since faded into obscurity. The band put out two albums, "Hour Glass" in 1967 and "Power of Love" in early 1968. The first album was kind of a disaster, because the record company manipulated the band, trying to push them into a poppy Motown sound. All but one of the songs on that album were covers, and nearly all of them didn't suit them and were badly produced.
But "Power of Love" is a very different story. The band was given much more creative freedom. Most importantly, seven of the 12 songs on the album were written by Gregg Allman. I've included the best eight songs from the album here, plus one bonus track, and six of those nine songs are written by him. In my opinion, Gregg Allman was an excellent songwriter, but not very prolific. So this is a bounty of little-known original songs by him.
I think this Hour Glass album is often disregarded, because most of the people who would want to hear it are Allman Brothers Band fans, and this still isn't the full Allman Brothers Band sound yet. Even though it's getting closer, it's still made up of short, poppy songs, with little room for Duane Allman to show off his guitar skills.
That said, I think the album is greatly improved by removing the weaker songs and replacing them with some other Hour Glass tracks. Apparently, the band was very different in concert, sounding much more like what the Allman Brothers Band would become, with longer, bluesy performances. Unfortunately, I don't think any recordings of their concerts have survived. But these extra songs are more in that vein, especially a medley of B. B. King songs ("Sweet Little Angel - It's My Own Fault - How Blue Can You Get").
This isn't the end of what Gregg and Duane did before starting the Allman Brothers Band in mid-1969. It turns out there's another album worth of good music from them from later 1968 and early 1969. That'll be the subject of my next post from them.
By the way, another pillar of the Allman Brother Band sound was guitarist Dickey Betts. But unlike the Allmans, he has almost no recorded legacy from his time before he met the Allmans and joined their band. There's only one single, released in 1968. I don't think it's very good, since it consists of covers of songs by Cream and Jefferson Airplane that don't differ much from the originals. I've added them as bonus tracks in case you're curious, but they don't fit the rest of the album here. The Allmans and Betts wouldn't even meet for the first time until 1969.
Another by the way: as I got ready to post this album, I realized that I'd mistakenly put the song "Norwegian Wood" on the 1965 to 1967 collection. I thought that was on the 1967 Hour Glass album, but it's actually on the 1968 one. So I've removed that from the zip file for that other album, and put the song here instead. By the way, that's Duane playing the sitar all over that song.
One final note, which is an interesting trivia tidbit: the original brief liner notes to the "Power of Love" album were written by none other than Neil Young! Furthermore, the notes were "witnessed and approved" by Stephen Stills. Both Young and Stills were in Buffalo Springfield at the time, they shared some concert bills with Hour Glass, and were very impressed. Young even watched an Hour Glass recording session.
01. Power of Love (Hour Glass)
02. Changing of the Guard (Hour Glass)
03. To Things Before (Hour Glass)
04. I Can Stand Alone (Hour Glass)
05. Down in Texas (Hour Glass)
06. I Still Want Your Love (Hour Glass)
07. Going Nowhere (Hour Glass)
08. Norwegian Wood [This Bird Has Flown] [Instrumental] (Hour Glass)
09. Bad Dream (Hour Glass)
10. Sweet Little Angel - It's My Own Fault - How Blue Can You Get (Hour Glass)
11. Been Gone Too Long (Hour Glass)
12. Ain't No Good to Cry (Hour Glass)
I Feel Free (Dickey Betts & the Second Coming)
She Has Funny Cars (Dickey Betts & the Second Coming)
For the album cover, I just used the cover of the "Power of Love" without any changes.
Jonathan Edwards - WLIR Tuesday Night Ultrasonic Concert Series, Ultrasonic Recording Studios, Hampstead, NY, 12-12-1972
Jonathan Edwards had a brief moment in the spotlight with the song "Sunshine." It was a number four hit in the US in 1971 and did about as well in Canada, though it seems to have been ignored in Britain. The album it came from, simply called "Jonathan Edwards," is kind of a sleeper classic, and I also strongly recommend you should get that one if you don't have it already.
Since then, Edwards has kept his music career going all the way until today, but at a much lower profile. He never had another song or album reach the top 100 in the charts, but he's kept plugging away anyway. When I went looking for a photo of him from the early 1970s to use for the album cover, I was shocked at how there were virtually no photos of him from that time, so I fear his music has largely been forgotten. And that's a shame, because he's a lot better than just one hit song or even one well regarded album.
This is an entire concert from him, slightly over one hour long. It's a bootleg recording, yes, but it sounds fantastic, better than a lot of official live albums from the time. It was recorded in a radio station record studio in front of a very small audience and played live on that radio station. So this is no ordinary concert recording. It's just Jonathan Edwards and his acoustic guitar and harmonica, plus one other musician who changes instruments from song to song, usually playing either bass or violin.
Basically, this is like having Edwards sitting on your porch playing his best songs and telling stories. I wish he would have released an album just like this back in the day; maybe he would have had more success. After his hit, he had trouble capturing how good his music was on his albums. (It hasn't helped that he changed record companies fairly often, so there never has been any best of compilation, or any other sort of archival releases.)
Here's an interesting little fact: most of the songs from this concert were written by Edwards, but about three or four were written by Joe Dolce, who would later have a huge number one hit, all over the world in 1980,"Shaddap Your Face." Dolce had a long career as a songwriter and poet before his novelty hit, and he and Edwards were in a band together in the late 1960s. A story Edwards tells during the concert about an unnamed band member who took acid in the countryside and got shocked by an electric fence is actually a reference to Dolce.
There was only one problem with this concert, and that's that it didn't have Edward's hit song "Sunshine" on it. The bootleg recording wasn't complete, because right as it gets cut off, one can hear Edwards counting in to starting another song. I'm sure he wanted to end the show with his hit. Luckily, I was able to find a live acoustic performance of him doing that song for a TV show, so I added that in at the end. It didn't have any crowd applause when the song finished, which sounded weird since all the other songs do. So I copied some applause from another song earlier in the concert to make that last song fit in with the others.
By the way, I cut out some of the dead air between songs, such as when the guitar is getting tuned. Also, one tradition in the WLIR Ultrasonic concert series was that halfway through the concert there would be an intermission in which the musician would be interviewed by the MC / host. I cut that out, since it doesn't bear repeated listening. But you can hear the MC talking between songs some, especially near the end when he has a request for the song "Athens County." He's miked up, so he sounds as loud and clear as Edwards whenever he speaks.
01. Travelin' Man (Jonathan Edwards)
02. King of Hearts (Jonathan Edwards)
03. Someone Better Listen (Jonathan Edwards)
04. talk (Jonathan Edwards)
05. The Ballad of Upsy Daisy (Jonathan Edwards)
06. My Home Ain't in the Hall of Fame (Jonathan Edwards)
07. Sometimes (Jonathan Edwards)
08. Morning Train (Jonathan Edwards)
09. Stop and Start It All Again (Jonathan Edwards)
10. Rolling Along (Jonathan Edwards)
11. talk (Jonathan Edwards)
12. Angelina (Jonathan Edwards)
13. talk (Jonathan Edwards)
14. Jump's Breakdown (Jonathan Edwards)
15. talk (Jonathan Edwards)
16. Jesse (Jonathan Edwards)
17. talk (Jonathan Edwards)
18. Shanty (Jonathan Edwards)
19. talk (Jonathan Edwards)
20. Train of Glory (Jonathan Edwards)
21. Everybody Knows Her (Jonathan Edwards)
22. talk (Jonathan Edwards)
23. Athens County (Jonathan Edwards)
24. You Are My Sunshine - Sunshine (Jonathan Edwards)
As I mentioned above, I was amazed at how few good photos there are of Edwards from the 1970s. Luckily, I found one, from a concert in 1973.