Saturday, August 31, 2019

U2 - A Celebration - Various Songs (1981-1983)

As I mentioned in a previous U2 post, U2 has way more stray tracks than most people think. Generally speaking, there's at least one album's worth of quality stray tracks for every studio album they've put out, sometimes more. But this is the exception. This covers both the "October" (1981) and "War" (1983) album time period, and even then, it's a rather short album. But the song quality is generally excellent. If you like early U2, you really should get this.

The reason there are so few stray tracks from the "October" era is obvious. Not long before the band went to record that album, a notebook their main songwriter Bono had that contained lyrics and musical ideas was lost. The band was forced to improvise, coming up with new ideas in the studio while facing a deadline.

I'm not sure why there are so few stray tracks from the "War" era. In 2008, "War" was released with an entire second disc of extra songs, but nearly all of them were edits, remixes, or live versions. Only one previously unreleased song was included, "Angels Too Tied to the Ground." But maybe there are more that just are unknown and unbootlegged. I've included on song, "Be There," which is a very good and fully realized "War" outtake. I have no idea why that one hasn't been officially released, at least.

What makes up about half of this album are songs that were officially released at the time as A- or B-sides. In particular, "A Celebration" is a great song, and an A-side, that was released in 1982, right between "October" and "War." It was a middling hit in Britain at the time, but for some reason the band has downplayed it, never playing it in concert in later years and never putting it on any best of compilations. Generally speaking, I like to put songs in chronological order by year on albums like this one. But "A Celebration" worked too well as the first song, so I moved the only song from 1981 a little further back.

By contrast, the band likes the B-side much more. "Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl" has been played live a lot, and made it on the "Under a Blood Red Sky..." live album with the shortened title "Party Girl." They still play it occasionally, decades later.

For their first decade at least, U2 was known for only playing their own songs in concert. But they did play a cover version every so often. "Southern Man" is their version of the famous Neil Young song.

I've included one of the many "War" remixes as a bonus track. I normally am not very interested in remixes, but this one rises above the usual. This version of "New Year's Day" stands out because not only is some of the instrumentation different, but it contains some lyrics that are totally different from the album version.

01 A Celebration (U2)
02 Trash, Trampoline and the Party Girl (U2)
03 J. Swallo (U2)
04 Be There (U2)
05 Southern Man (U2)
06 Endless Deep [Instrumental] (U2)
07 Angels Too Tied to the Ground (U2)
08 Treasure [Whatever Happened to Pete the Chop] (U2)
09 Untitled [Instrumental] (U2)

New Year's Day [US Remix] (U2)

For the album cover, I used the cover of the "A Celebration" single. But that single had the black circle of text in the middle in a small size. I enlarged it several times over, until it dominates the album cover. I just thought it looks better that way.

The Duckworth Lewis Method - Gentlemen and Players - Acoustic Versions (2009-2013)

Some weeks ago, I posted an album by the Duckworth Lewis Method, a relatively obscure group that writes and sings songs entirely about the sport of cricket. That was no joke. I posted that because I think they great. I have no interest in cricket whatsoever, but it doesn't matter for me, nor should it for you, because they write excellent songs and perform them well. They're a relatively new band (their two albums (so far) were released in 2009 and 2013), but they're heavily inspired by the music of the 1960s and 1970s.

This album consists of acoustic versions of songs from their two albums, with a couple of non-album cover versions thrown in. So this plays much like an acoustic version of their best songs. If you want one album to be introduced to the band, this is a good way to go, probably more than the other album of their that I posted.

By the way, the link to that one is here:

All the songs here are officially unreleased, but the sound quality is consistently very good anyway. About half of the songs were recorded in the studio, sometimes for radio shows. The other half were played live, but from intimate appearances at record stores on or TV.

This and the above link are all I have to post from the Duckworth Lewis Method. However, I'm very impressed with the music of Thomas Walsh (who writes and sings about half of these songs) and his band Pugwash. I hope to post a lot of Pugwash stuff in the future.

01 Flatten the Hay [Acoustic Demo] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
02 Meeting Mr. Miandad [Acoustic Demo] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
03 Norwegian Wood [Acoustic] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
04 Mason on the Boundary [Acoustic] (Duckworth Lewis Method with Matt Berry)
05 The Age of Revolution [Acoustic] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
06 What Becomes of the Broken Hearted [Acappella Mix] (Duckworth Lewis Method with Matt Berry)
07 Gentlemen and Players [Acoustic] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
08 Out in the Middle [Acoustic] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
09 Test Match Special [Acoustic] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
10 Boom Boom Afridi [Acoustic] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
11 Third Man [Acoustic] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
12 It's Just Not Cricket [Acoustic] (Duckworth Lewis Method with Henry Blofeld)
13 The Nightwatchman [Acoustic] (Duckworth Lewis Method)

For the album cover, I used a band publicity photo. I think it dates from 2009. I took the text of the band's name from some other publicity material.

Lucinda Williams - Pretty Little Poison - Various Songs (1994-1998)

In 1992, Lucinda Williams released her acclaimed album "Sweet Old World," and in 1998 she released her even more acclaimed album "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road." The six years between albums was a very long time for someone still in the early arc of their career. This album shows she still recorded a lot of good music in those "missing years." If you enjoy "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," you should enjoy this.

All but one song is officially released, and that one song was recorded for radio, so the sound quality is uniformly excellent. Most songs come from tribute albums and other various artists collections, as well as duets that appeared on other people's albums. Two of the songs are bonus tracks from "Car Wheels."

A majority of the songs are covers, including: "You Don't Have Very Far to Go" (Merle Haggard), "Positively 4th Street" (Bob Dylan), "Cowboys to Girls" (The Intruders), "Apartment No. 9" (Tammy Wynette), "You're Still Standin' There" (Steve Earle), "Here in California" (Kate Wolf), and "Come to Me Baby" (Howlin' Wolf).

I thought the song "Blaze" was merely an early version of the song "Drunken Angel" found on her 1998 album "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road." But after listening to this new version carefully, I realized that although the songs are about the same person and the phrase "drunken angel" is mentioned in "Blaze," they're really different songs.

01 All I Want (Lucinda Williams)
02 Pancakes (Lucinda Williams)
03 Main Road (Lucinda Williams)
04 You Don't Have Very Far to Go (Lucinda Williams)
05 Positively 4th Street [Acoustic Version] (Lucinda Williams)
06 How Can I Sleep without You (Julian Dawson & Lucinda Williams)
07 Blaze (Lucinda Williams)
08 Cowboys to Girls (Chris Gaffney & Lucinda Williams)
09 You're Still Standin' There (Steve Earle & Lucinda Williams)
10 Breakfast in Bed (Donnie Fritts & Lucinda Williams)
11 The Farm (Lucinda Williams)
12 Apartment No. 9 (Lucinda Williams)
13 Pretty Little Poison (Robbie Fulks & Lucinda Williams)

For the cover art, I used a photo of Williams in concert from either 1998 or 1999, I'm not sure.

Richard Thompson - Heavenly Alchemy - Various Acoustic Songs (1990-1991)

A while back, I posted an album that consisted entirely of Richard Thompson's acoustic stray tracks from 1990. This is sequel to that. In this era, Thompson played a great variety of acoustic songs.

The album starts with a bang: "From Galway to Graceland" never appeared on any album, and first showed up on a box set. But it turned out to be one of Thompson's most beloved original songs.

The vast majority of the rest of the songs are cover versions. There are a couple of exceptions, such as "Days of Our Lives," which was done in a very different style on a 1990 French, Frith, Kaiser & Thompson album. "Nobody's Wedding" and "Waltzing's for Dreamers" also are originals, from albums much earlier in Thompson's career. I've included them because it's rare to have acoustic versions of them.

"Heavenly Alchemy" is an unusual case. It's not really a song. Instead, Thompson recites Shakespearean poetry. I considered it interesting enough to include.

About half of the songs are officially unreleased. But all or nearly all of those come from excellent soundboard recordings, so the sound quality is solid for the whole album.  All but one of the songs were performed live, but I removed the crowd noise whenever possible.

01 From Galway to Graceland (Richard Thompson)
02 My Generation - I Can't Explain - Substitute (Richard Thompson)
03 Bogie's Bonnie Belle (Richard Thompson)
04 Nobody's Wedding (Richard Thompson)
05 The Choice Wife [Instrumental] (Richard Thompson)
06 You'll Never Walk Alone (Richard Thompson)
07 Motherless Children (Richard Thompson)
08 Days of Our Lives (Richard Thompson)
09 Walk in the Room - Needles and Pins - Just like Tom Thumb's Blues (Richard Thompson)
10 Don't Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes at Me (Richard Thompson)
11 Hot Dog (Richard Thompson)
12 Heavenly Alchemy [Shakespeare Reading] (Richard Thompson)
13 Play with Fire (Richard Thompson with Henry Kaiser)
14 Waltzing's for Dreamers (Richard Thompson with Shawn Colvin)

For the album cover, I found a photo of Thompson from 1991.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Pink Floyd - Zabrinskie Point - Alternate Album (1970)

In 1968 and 1969, director Michelangelo Antonioni made a Hollywood movie about the counterculture called "Zabrinskie Point." Since it was about the counterculture, he wanted music to match for the soundtrack. He used some existing songs by various bands, and got Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead, and Kaleidoscope to compose new music for the film.

When the movie came out in early 1970, Pink Floyd only ended up with three songs on the soundtrack. But in fact they recorded a lot more, enough to have an entire album just from them. This is my attempt to create a "Zabrinskie Point" soundtrack featuring only Pink Floyd music.

I could have made this a very long album that gathers up absolutely everything Pink Floyd did that was considered for the soundtrack. But frankly, a lot of it isn't that good. Pink Floyd's "The Early Years" box set has no less than 16 outtakes from the soundtrack. I didn't include any of them, because they're all incidental film music, meant to help set a mood but not far removed from forgettable muzak. Many of them are alternate versions of songs I have included.

What I did instead was pick the strongest songs I could find, so this album would stack up with the other Pink Floyd albums from that era. I included the three songs that made it on the actual soundtrack album, plus two more songs that were bonus tracks released in the 1990s, and one of the songs from "The Early Years" box set. On top of that, I've included two more songs that were on "The Early Years," but slightly different unreleased alternate versions.

One more song, "The Violent Sequence," needs a little explanation. It almost made it to the official soundtrack, but the director decided it sounded too sad. If you listen to it, you'll immediately recognize it as an instrumental version of what would become "Us and Them" on the classic 1973 album "Dark Side of the Moon."

All the songs mentioned above make for a 39-minute long album, which is a decent length. But I've added three more songs that weren't connected to "Zabrinskie Point" at all, because I don't have a better place to put them. These come from another 1970 soundtrack, this one for a documentary about the human body called "The Body." The soundtrack is called "Music from the Body," and it's credited to Roger Waters, the main singer and songwriter for Pink Floyd at the time, and avant garde artist Ron Geesin. Most of the songs are experimental, strange sounding instrumentals that aren't to my taste. But it also includes three folky songs written and sung by Waters, and I've added them here. They sound exactly like lost Pink Floyd songs, and that's basically what they are. In fact, one of them, "Give Birth to a Smile," is performed by all four members of Pink Floyd, so I've credited it to the full band.

01 Heart Beat, Pig Meat [Instrumental] (Pink Floyd)
02 Country Song [The Red Queen] (Pink Floyd)
03 Aeroplane [Fingal's Cave] [Instrumental] (Pink Floyd)
04 Crumbling Land (Pink Floyd)
05 Alan's Blues [Instrumental] (Pink Floyd)
06 Oenone [Early Version] [Instrumental] (Pink Floyd)
07 Rain in the Country [Unknown Song] [Instrumental] (Pink Floyd)
08 Come in Number 51, Your Time is Up [Careful with that Axe, Eugene] [Instrumental] (Pink Floyd)
09 The Violent Sequence [Early Version of Us and Them] [Richard Wright Demo] (Pink Floyd)
10 Chain of Life (Roger Waters & Ron Geesin)
11 Sea, Shell and Stone - Breathe (Roger Waters & Ron Geesin)
12 Give Birth to a Smile (Pink Floyd)

The official "Zabrinskie Point" soundtrack seems to have had several different album covers, that I think were for different editions of the album. I picked a version that had the least text, with just the words "Zabrinskie Point" in big letters. Then I added "Pink Floyd" above it.

Dave Mason / Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog - World in Changes - Various Songs (1968-1970)

Have you ever heard of Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog (MCWF)? Probably not, I'd imagine. I'll explain about this band in detail below, but the short explanation is that it was a 1969 version of Traffic, except one that was led by Dave Mason, and without Steve Winwood. As far as I know, nobody has ever collected all of the few recordings of MCWF that exist, either officially or on bootleg, so I'm psyched to be presenting this for the first time. If you like the music of Traffic and/or Dave Mason, you should like this.

Dave Mason was in Traffic from the band's beginning in mid-1967 until when it broke up for the first time in late 1968. But it seems that he and Steve Winwood didn't get along that well. He left the group for a few months in early 1968, but returned in time to play a key role with the band's second album, simply called "Traffic." However, Winwood felt that Mason's style of music, more poppy and less jazzy, didn't fit in with where he wanted Traffic to go. Winwood led the effort to kick Mason out of Traffic, and apparently the two other band members (Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood) agreed.

But then something very strange happened. Not long after kicking Mason out of the group, Winwood left the band at the start of 1969 and joined the "supergroup" Blind Faith with Eric Clapton instead. Traffic then ceased to exist. But almost immediately, Mason hooked back up with the other two band members, Capaldi and Wood, and created a new band. They added a keyboard player, Wynder K. Frog, to help fill the void of not having Winwood's keyboard playing (though nobody could replace Winwood's incredible vocals).

The new band began playing concerts, with an emphasis on Mason's songs from Traffic as well as new songs he'd written. The band was well received, as they were widely seen as Traffic reborn, only with a new name. However, the band members didn't get along well with each other and didn't feel a musical chemistry. (I imagine the fact that the band was led by Mason, despite the fact that he had just been fired by the others a month or two earlier, didn't make for great chemistry!) Plus, apparently, they were all doing a lot of drugs and didn't feel that motivated. So after just three months together, the band broke up.

Mason went on to have a long solo career, starting with his acclaimed and popular 1970 album "Alone Together." Capaldi and Wood got back together with Winwood after Blind Faith broke up, and returned with the acclaimed and popular Traffic album "John Barleycorn" in 1970. Traffic stayed together for a few more years, though without Mason, though Mason did rejoin the band in mid-1971, just long enough to take part in recording the live Traffic album "Welcome to the Canteen." Frog, despite being a talented keyboard player, returned to musical obscurity.

MCWF would have left no recorded musical legacy whatsoever except for the fact that they played live on the BBC a couple of times in February 1969, and two of these songs were officially released on an obscure box set focused on the music of Traffic member Chris Wood called "Evening Blue." Plus, two MCWF instrumental studio recordings highlighting Wood's saxophone and flute soloing made it onto that box set too.

Additionally, three more songs MCWF performed at the BBC were recorded on bootleg. (A few more songs they played at the BBC appear to have been lost.) When I found a bootleg of those three songs, I discovered that the volume wobbled, regularly alternating between loud and quiet. So I did some editing in a music program to try to level out the volume. I think it sounds a lot better now. These bootleg recordings don't sound as good as the officially released songs, but they're good enough.

As for the MCWF songs here, two of them are Traffic songs written and sung by Mason ("Cryin' to Be Heard" and "Feelin' Alright"), and two others are Mason songs that would wind up on his 1970 album "Alone Together" ("Waitin' for You" and "World in Changes"). The band also do a cover of a blues song ("Leaving Blues") and two instrumentals.

If you add that all up, it's only 33 minutes long, which is on the short side for an album. I had a few Mason solo songs that he didn't do with Traffic but predated his first solo album, so I've included those as well. All the songs are ordered chronologically.

Two of these extra songs are live versions of "Only You Know and I Know" and "World in Changes" done at the Big Sur Folk Festival in late 1969. Mason apparently didn't have a band at the time, and he wasn't scheduled to perform at the concert. But Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young did play, and they let Mason play two songs during the middle of their set to help him get his solo career started. Just Stephen Stills stayed on stage with Mason, playing guitar and singing backing vocals a little bit.

Normally, I don't like putting more than one version of a song on an album. But this album has two versions of "World in Changes." I'm allowing that because this album is the logical spot for both versions to fit in my music collection. Plus, luckily, the versions are pretty different, since the live version Mason does with Stills is acoustic and the other version with MCWF is with a full band. I've titled this album "World in Changes," since I have two versions of the song.

01 Little Woman (Dave Mason)
02 On a Theme Of… [Instrumental] (Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog)
03 Feelin’ Alright (Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog)
04 World in Changes (Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog)
05 Waitin' on You (Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog)
06 Cryin' to Be Heard (Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog)
07 Leaving Blues (Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog)
08 Jarn 1 [Instrumental] (Mason, Capaldi, Wood & Frog)
09 Only You Know and I Know [Edit] (Dave Mason with Stephen Stills)
10 World in Changes (Dave Mason with Stephen Stills)
11 Satin Red and Black Velvet Woman (Dave Mason)
12 To Be Free (Dave Mason & Cass Elliot)

Since MCWF were only in existence a short time, and weren't that famous, there are almost no photos of the band. However, I did find one, from a newspaper article, so I'm using that as the cover art. It's a low resolution and grainy photo, but it's better than nothing. In case you're curious, the band members from left to right are: Capaldi, Mason, Wood, and Frog.

Over a year after first posting this, I decided to colorize the photo. It's still the worst quality photo I've used for any album cover, but at least now it's in color. ;)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

U2 - 11 O'Clock Tick Tock - Various Songs (1980)

I just posted an album of U2's very earliest songs, from 1978 to 1979. This is more of the same, but from 1980. More importantly, there are quantum leaps in songwriting quality and the band's musical talent. U2's studio album from 1980, "Boy," is very critically acclaimed, to the point that it's listed as one of Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time." If you like that album, you should like this.

Four out of the 10 songs here are still officially unreleased. But generally speaking, the sound quality is good, and better than the earlier U2 collection. Three of the unreleased songs come from a February 1980 concert, but it was a well recorded soundboard. One of the officially released songs also comes from that show, and the sound quality of that one isn't noticeably different from the others which come from a bootleg.

The song "Saturday Night" is an early version of "Fire," which would appear on the 1981 album "October." However, it's only distantly related musically, with totally different lyrics.

I probably should explain some confusion about the song "Pete the Chop." This was a song the band wrote that their manager really liked, and he considered it a possible hit. But the band didn't like it much, even though they recorded a demo of it. The manager kept asking the band "Whatever happened to 'Pete the Chop?'" and pressing them to properly record and release it. The band never did. However, the manager's nagging inspired them to write another song called "Treasure (Whatever Happened to Pete the Chop)" which is musically only slightly related to "Pete the Chop." The demo unfortunately has never been made publicly available, but the band played the song live a few times, so I've included one of those performances. I'll include "Treasure" on a later stray tracks album.

I have one bonus track this time around. It's a version of "Twilight," a song on the 1980 "Boy" album. But this is a different, earlier version, released as a B-side.

01 Saturday Night [Early Version of 'Fire'] (U2)
02 The Dream Is Over (U2)
03 Cartoon World (U2)
04 Jack in a Box (U2)
05 Speed of Life (U2)
06 Pete the Chop (U2)
07 Another Day (U2)
08 11 O'Clock Tick Tock (U2)
09 Touch (U2)
10 Things to Make and Do [Instrumental] (U2)

Twilight [Single Version] (U2)

The most famous song on this album is "11 O'Clock Tick Tock," which appeared on the 1983 live album "Under a Blood Red Sky..." and it's still occasionally played in concert by them. So I've titled the album after that song, and I've used the cover arr from the single for the album cover, without any changes.

U2 - Inside Out- Various Songs (1978-1979)

I think U2 is a great band. Unfortunately, they've gotten a bad reputation due to some of Bono's behavior as well as musical and non-musical mistakes they've made in their later years. But I'm not going to let all that get in my way of enjoying their music, especially their great run from the early 1980s to the late 1990s.

So this is the first of many albums of stray tracks I plan to post from them. One thing many people don't know, unless they're serious U2 fans, is that the band has tons of high quality songs that never made it to any of their studio albums. In fact, for every studio album they're released, there is usually another album's worth of stray tracks, and sometimes even two!

This collection of stray tracks is strange because it dates from such an early point in U2's history, before their first album, 1980's "Boy." U2 was formed in 1976, but by all accounts they were pretty bad at first. They started out a mere local covers band, doing songs by some "cool" (by punk/new wave standards) artists like the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and David Bowie, but also doing songs by some very "uncool" ones like the Eagles, Peter Frampton, and the Moody Blues! It took a while for Bono to establish himself as a lead singer, and for the whole band to figure out how to write and play quality original material.

So this album is the sound of U2 still figuring out their sound. For instance, the first song "Inside Out" is pretty good, but it could easily be mistaken for an obscure garage rock song from 1966! Frankly, this very early U2 is merely okay compared to their later greatness. But I want to include all the original songs I could find (assuming the sound quality was good enough) because this material remains very little known. (I believe all the songs here are originals, except for "Glad to See You Go," which is originally by the Ramones.)

U2 has generally overlooked this phase of their career with their archival releases, so only four of the ten songs here have been officially released (not counting the two bonus tracks, which have been released too). The sound quality here isn't always outstanding, but all but one of the songs are studio recordings, so at least it's pretty decent.

Note that I've made major edits to the first two songs, "Inside Out" and "Tonight." That's because the only versions of these songs from U2's very first time in a recording studio that have been made publicly available are incomplete. In both cases, I'd guess we have about 3/4ths of the song before it gets abruptly cut off. So I've tried to flesh out the ends of the songs by repeating some parts from earlier in each song.

This album is fairly short, at 31 minutes. But it reaches a more typical album length if you include the two bonus tracks. I've only added them as bonus tracks because they are early versions of songs that made it onto U2's 1980 album "Boy." However, they're interesting versions, done in the studio and released on singles at the time, so they're worth hearing.

Also note that one song here, "Speed of Life," is actually from 1980. I've included it here because I have a different version (with vocals) that I'm putting on my next stray tracks album.

01 Inside Out [Edit] (U2)
02 Tonight [Edit] (U2)
03 Street Mission (U2)
04 The Fool (U2)
05 Glad to See You Go (U2)
06 Boy-Girl (U2)
07 False Prophet (U2)
08 Alone in the Light (U2)
09 Lost on a Distant Planet [The Magic Carpet] (U2)
10 Speed of Life [Instrumental Version] (U2)

Out of Control [Single Version] (U2)
Stories for Boys [Single Version] (U2)

U2 only had one official release prior to 1980, and that was a three song EP called "Three." So I've used the cover of that for my album cover here. However, I removed the name "Three" as well as the name of the three songs (which were above and below the main artwork) and replaced some of that text with my new title. (And by the way, the boy in the main photo, Peter Rowen, is the same boy who would be on the cover of the "Boy" and "War" albums, as well as some of the band's other releases.)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Rosanne Cash - My Secret Life - Various Songs (1997-2003)

From the start of the 1990s onward, Rosanne Cash's albums have generally been made up of original songs, often with a unifying theme and/or sound. But she's also done a lot of songs which wound up as stray tracks. Most of these are covers.

This album is a case in point. Nearly all the songs here are covers. They are in a wide variety of styles, from different genres, including songs by the Beatles ("Things We Said Today") and Bob Dylan ("License to Kill"), as well as her father Johnny Cash ("I Still Miss Someone"). But they're all united by Cash's excellent vocals and production values.

I think the only song she wrote here is "Seven Year Ache," which was a big hit for her in the early 1980s. I've included it here because it's a very different version, done with Golden Smog.

01 Things We Said Today (Rosanne Cash)
02 Save the Country (Rosanne Cash)
03 My Secret Life (Rosanne Cash & Randy Scruggs)
04 Who's Dreaming Who (Jules Shear & Rosanne Cash)
05 D-I-V-O-R-C-E (Rosanne Cash)
06 Seven Year Ache (Golden Smog & Rosanne Cash)
07 Hometown Blues (Rosanne Cash)
08 Fair and Tender Ladies (Rosanne Cash)
09 I Still Miss Someone (Rosanne Cash)
10 The Lily of the West (Rosanne Cash & the Chieftans)
11 License to Kill (Rosanne Cash)

For the album cover, I used a photo of Cash from 2003.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Stevie Wonder - Ribbon in the Sky - Various Songs (1977-1981)

Stevie Wonder had a series of classic albums from 1972 to 1976, culminating with 1976's "Songs in the Key of Life." But he didn't tour to support that album, and he basically disappeared for a couple of years. He returned in 1979 with the "Journey through the Secret Life of Plants," a soundtrack to a documentary film virtually nobody saw. But that mostly instrumental album generally baffled listeners and sold poorly. It wasn't until 1980's "Hotter than July" that he seemed to get back on track with another popular and widely acclaimed album.

The album collects the stray tracks from this period. It turns out Wonder wasn't entirely silent in 1977 and 1978. He sang a live duet with the jazz great Ella Fitzgerald, which was released on an obscure Fitzgerald album. He also co-wrote and played keyboards on two instrumentals for a 1977 Ramsey Lewis album, so I've included those two songs here.

He also was part of a curious collaborative effort, a 1978 single called "Pops, We Love You," honoring "Pops" Gordy, the beloved father of Motown head Berry Gordy. The song features Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, and Smokey Robinson, which sounds awesome, in theory. But I'm not a fan of the song. For one thing, it's a generic disco song that hasn't aged well. But also, it's an example of too many cooks spoiling the broth: four charismatic and popular singers all trying to share the lead on one song are too many.

So what I've done is to try to create a "Wondercentric" edit that brings Stevie Wonder's portion of the song to the forefront. Wonder's portion of the song comes near the end of it, and is relatively short. So I've cut out the start of the song and began with that. Normally, that would have made the song very short indeed. But it turns out there was a B-side all-instrumental continuation of the song with a nice flute solo. So I've edited the flute solo onto the end of the part with mostly Wonder's vocals. I know this is kind of a strange edit, but it's the only way I could come up with a version of this song that I would want to repeatedly listen to.

The rest of this album is mostly unreleased material. One song of note is "Let's Get Serious." Wonder c0-wrote this for Jermaine Jackson, who had a top ten hit with it in 1980 in both the US and Britain. Wonder never released a version of it himself, but he began playing it in concert sometimes from 1980 onwards, so I've included a live version.

In 1982, Wonder released a greatest hits album with the name "Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium I." It included four new songs. But actually, two of them, "That Girl" and "Ribbon in the Sky," were released as singles in late 1981. So I've included those here.

UPDATE: On October 23, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I found one original song I'd previously missed called "Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long." It's an unreleased studio outtake from the sessions for his 1980 album "Hotter than July."

01 You Are the Sunshine of My Life (Stevie Wonder & Ella Fitzgerald)
02 Spring High [Instrumental] (Ramsey Lewis & Stevie Wonder)
03 Pops, We Love You [A Tribute to Father] [Wondercentric Mix] (Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye & Stevie Wonder)
04 Love Notes [Instrumental] (Ramsey Lewis & Stevie Wonder)
05 I Can't Help It (Stevie Wonder)
06 Garden of Love (Stevie Wonder)
07 Perfect Angel - Lovin' You (Stevie Wonder)
08 When You've Lost Your Way (Stevie Wonder)
09 Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long (Stevie Wonder)
10 Let's Get Serious (Stevie Wonder)
11 One Never Knows [I Never Knew Her Name] (Stevie Wonder)
12 Reflections of You [Sky Blue Afternoon] (Stevie Wonder)
13 That Girl (Stevie Wonder)
14 Ribbon in the Sky (Stevie Wonder)

The album cover is simply the cover of the "Ribbon in the Sky" single.

Carole King - It Might as Well Rain until September - More Legendary Demos, Volume 1 (1959-1965)

Carole King is one of the best and most successful songwriters of all time. Incredibly enough, she wrote or co-wrote 118 top 100 hits in the U.S.!

Her musical career is really split into two. From the late 1950s until about 1970, she was pretty much a pure songwriter, rarely releasing music under her own name and never playing in concert. Then, in 1971, she had a huge hit with the "Tapestry" album, which was one of the most successful albums of all time, and was the start of a long and successful career for her as a performer.

In the first phase of King's career, although she rarely publicly released singles, she usually made private demos of her songs for other artists to work from. She had a good voice (as her success with "Tapestry" and after showed), and good musical and production instincts, and easily could have had a lot of hits on her own if she wanted to. This is shown by the fact that one of her few early singles in her own name, "It Might as Well Rain until September," was a hit in 1962, even reaching number three in Britain.

An album's worth of her demos were officially released in 2012 as "The Legendary Demos." But this album just scratched the surface of all the demos she did. I've collected many more, most of which are still officially unreleased, though available on some bootlegs pretending to be legitimate and sometimes sold in stores. I've made three such albums, which I call "More Legendary Demos." This is the first one.

Only five of the songs here have been officially released. Two were singles at the time, and three more came out on "The Legendary Demos" album. But the sound quality of the others are just about as good as the officially released ones.

I could have included many more songs. But I only selected the ones I liked. Frankly, in King's early years, she wrote (and demoed) a lot of formulaic songs that haven't stood the test of time. But sometimes, magic would strike, and she would come up with some all time classics. Not all such classics are represented here, because she either didn't make demos of them or the demos haven't become publicly available. For instance, here are just a few of the songs from the early 196s0 I wish I had demos of, but don't: "Chains," "The Locomotion," "I'm into Something Good," "One Fine Day," and "Halfway to Paradise." She really was a hit-making machine!

By the way, note the song "Bad Boy" on this album. Does the melody ring a bell? In my opinion, it's extremely similar to "Pocahontas" by Neil Young, which of course was written many years after this one. I wonder if Young was aware of "Bad Boy", which was officially released in 1962 but obscure, or if the similarity is just a coincidence.

This album is 40 minutes long.

UPDATE: On May 17, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I discovered one song I'd previously missed: "Don't Let Me Stand in Your Way." It's unreleased, and seems to have emerged the year before on YouTube.

01 Samson and Delilah (Carole King & Gerry Goffin)
02 Every Breath I Take (Carole King)
03 Take Good Care of My Baby (Carole King)
04 Disappointed (Carole King)
05 He's a Bad Boy (Carole King)
06 It Might as Well Rain until September (Carole King)
07 Crying in the Rain (Carole King)
08 Breaking Up Is Hard to Do (Carole King)
09 Go Away Little Girl (Carole King)
10 Up on the Roof (Carole King)
11 Oh Oh, It Started Over Again (Carole King)
12 Hey Girl (Carole King)
13 Oh No, Not My Baby (Carole King)
14 Don't Let Me Stand in Your Way (Carole King)
15 Just Once in My Life (Carole King)
16 Stage Door (Carole King)

There are very few early photos of Carole King. For the album cover, I used a popular publicity photo. For the rest of the cover art, I used much of the artwork from the "It Might as Well Rain until September" single. The photo originally was in black and white, but over a year after originally posting this, I colorized it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Eric Clapton - Last Night - Various Songs (1975-1976)

There was a big flurry of Eric Clapton playing new songs at the start of his solo career in 1974 and 1975. By 1976, that slowed down a lot. So this album still has some stray tracks from 1975, while the latter half comes from 1976.

Clapton has never been a prolific songwriter. I believe all the songs here are cover versions. About half of the songs are officially released, and the rest are from bootlegs. But even most of the unreleased songs were recorded in the studio, so the sound quality is excellent.

With these stray tracks collections, I don't want to include any songs on the studio albums of the time. But I have a version of "Carnival" here, which is also on Clapton's 1976 album "No Reason to Cry." That's because this version is a collaboration between Clapton and the Rolling Stones, and thus is significantly different than the one on that album.

01 Drifting Blues (Eric Clapton)
02 Carnival [Stones Version] (Eric Clapton & the Rolling Stones)
03 So Many Roads, So Many Trains (Eric Clapton)
04 Eyesight to the Blind (Eric Clapton)
05 Last Night (Eric Clapton)
06 Blues [Instrumental] (Eric Clapton)
07 Big River (Eric Clapton with Bob Dylan & the Band)
08 Right Now (Eric Clapton & Billy Preston)
09 Won't Somebody Tell Me (Eric Clapton)

The cover art uses a photo of Clapton in concert in 1975.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Kinks - Live 1972

There are frustratingly few live recordings of the Kinks before the late 1970s with truly excellent sound quality. One year that is an exception is 1972.

That year, the Kinks put out the double album "Everybody's in Show-Biz," with one album of new studio songs and the other album of live songs recorded at Carnegie Hall in New York City in March 1972. Many years later, a deluxe version of the album was released with even more songs from Carnegie Hall.

This album gathers up all those songs and puts them in the order they were originally played, as much as possible. Most of the songs were from March 3, so the first ten songs here are from that. Some of deluxe version bonus tracks were taken from a March 2 Carnegie Hall show, so the next four songs are from that.

But on top of that, I've found two other concerts from 1972 in excellent sound, so I've added in all the songs from those that aren't repeats from the other concerts here. There are just two songs from a concert in Charlottesville, Virginia in November 1972, but one of them is a medley of four different songs. This album ends with six more songs from a concert at the Felt Forum in New York City, also in November 1972. The Charlottesville and Felt Forum songs are from bootleg, but they are soundboard recordings that sound just as good as the officially released songs.

Note that I've deliberately NOT included some songs, just because they annoy me! Around this time in the early 1970s, Ray Davies had a habit of singing snippets of really cheesy and annoying old songs like "Baby Face" and "The Banana Boat Song." I'm not sure what the point was, but I don't see anything musically redeeming in these whatsoever. So I didn't include those two, plus "Mr. Wonderful." I think this is a case where "less is more," and the album is stronger by not having these songs.

I also didn't include "You're Looking Fine," even though it was on the original "Everybody's in Show-Biz" album, because I've included "You're Looking Fine" as part of a medley from the Charlottesville concert that is superior, in my opinion. I don't like having multiple versions of the same song on one album, as a general rule.

By the way, one curious aspect of the Kinks in concert in 1972 is that they released the "Everybody's in Show-Biz" album in August 1972, and yet they hardly ever played the songs from the studio portion of that album in concert, other than "Here Comes Yet Another Day" and "Celluloid Heroes." Even "Supersonic Rocket Ship," which was a minor hit, apparently was never played in concert at the time. I would have included more such songs if at all possible.

The "Everybody's in Show-Biz" double album has always been a strange beast in my opinion, with the studio album and live album parts being different. Personally, I keep the studio album as is and listen to this instead of the live album.

01 Top of the Pops (Kinks)
02 Get Back in Line (Kinks)
03 Muswell Hillbilly (Kinks)
04 Sunny Afternoon (Kinks)
05 Brainwashed (Kinks)
06 Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues (Kinks)
07 Holiday (Kinks)
08 Complicated Life (Kinks)
09 Skin and Bone (Kinks)
10 Alcohol (Kinks)
11 Have a Cuppa Tea (Kinks)
12 Long Tall Shorty (Kinks)
13 She's Bought a Hat like Princess Marina (Kinks)
14 Till the End of the Day (Kinks)
15 Good Molly, Miss Molly (Kinks)
16 You're Looking Fine - Shakin' All Over - Little Queenie - Be-Bop-A-Lula - You're Looking Fine (Kinks)
17 Here Comes Yet Another Day (Kinks)
18 Picture Book - People Take Pictures Of Each Other - David Watts (Kinks)
19 Harry Rag (Kinks)
20 Celluloid Heroes (Kinks)
21 Lola (Kinks)
22 Victoria (Kinks)

For the album cover, I found a photo of the band in concert at the Hollywood Palladium on March 9, 1972. It doesn't show every member of the band, and it's hard to see anyone's face clearly, but I felt it captures the vibe of a Kinks concert better than the other photos I could have used.

Traffic - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1968

Here's the second album of Traffic's BBC performances. Read my write-up for the 1967 album to understand what this is all about. In short, if you like Traffic at all, you need to get this. Even if you have it already, the sound quality is better than ever before.

As luck would have it, there are enough songs to make one album of all the 1967 performances and another of all the 1968 ones, with both albums being in the 30- to 40-minute-long range. Normally, I dislike repeating the same song twice on one album. Traffic did play one song twice at the BBC. But I'm lucky again because for the song "Heaven Is in Your Mind," one of the performances was in 1967 and the other was in 1968.

For the 1967 album, it seems I had the problem of BBC DJs talking over the starts of nearly every song. I'm really getting to hate DJ Brian Matthew, who annoys the heck out of me by talking deep into songs, often until the very second the vocals begin (as well as sounding as smarmy as humanly possible!). But, using the audio editing program X-Minus, I managed to wipe the DJ vocals while keeping the underlying music. Those are the ones with "[Edit]" in their names.

In November 2021, I redid all the songs here, using versions posted by blogger Prof Stoned, which sometimes had superior sound quality, and then making the above-mentioned edits from those. I also communicated with Prof Stoned, who set me straight on a few things. I thought I had some BBC songs that he'd missed, but he convinced me they were single versions and the like mislabeled on some bootlegs as BBC versions. So I've removed versions of "Feelin' Alright," "Dear Mr. Fantasy," and one or two more, that I'd had on an earlier version. This all authentic BBC stuff.

This album is 37 minutes long.

01 No Face, No Name, No Number [Edit] (Traffic)
02 [Roamin' thro' the Gloamin' With] 40,000 Headmen [Edit] (Traffic)
03 Dear Mr. Fantasy [Edit] (Traffic)
04 Blind Man (Traffic)
05 You Can All Join In [Edit] (Traffic)
06 Feelin' Alright [Edit] (Traffic)
07 Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (Traffic)
08 Pearly Queen [Edit] (Traffic)

Just as with the 1967 album, I couldn't find good color photos of the band in concert, so I've gone with another band publicity photo for the cover art. This one is from 1968.

Traffic - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1967

I'm proud of this release. Even if you have some from on Traffic at the BBC already, you need this version. Bootlegs of these performances have existed for many years, but I'm confident that the music has never sounded as good as it does here.

On previous bootlegs, some of the songs had good sound quality while others were poor. But apparently, at some point in the late 2010s, the performances were replayed on the BBC again, resulting in a new bootleg version of the songs at a much higher sound quality. Furthermore, a few songs were included that hadn't been bootlegged before.

Then, in November 2021, I updated all the songs again. This time, I built on the versions cleaned up by a blogger named Prof Stoned. He does excellent work, but he doesn't mind when the BBC DIs talked over some of the music, and kept those parts. So I used the audio editing program X-Minus to wipe out the DJ talking while keeping the underlying music. Those are the ones marked with "[Edit]" in their names.

Thanks to all these edits, for the first time anywhere, one can hear all the BBC performances with sound quality exactly as good as the original broadcasts, and without any of the annoying DJ talkovers. This really should be an officially released album, but I've heard some record company disputes make the release of previously unreleased music from the Dave Mason years very difficult. Even if they do eventually release this, they might not remove the DJ talkovers.

The last song here, "Utterly Simple," is a bonus track of sorts, in that it isn't actually a BBC performance. It's actually exactly the same as the studio version, but it's remixed to make the spoken "phone call" in the middle of the song louder. Previously, I'd never paid much attention to that spoken part because it was largely drowned out by the music, but with this version, one can hear it as clear as day.

Traffic only performed in the studio for the BBC in 1967 and 1968. (Later, some of their live performances were played by the BBC.) I've split their performances into two albums. The 1968 album will follow.

This album is 34 minutes long.

01 Paper Sun [Edit] (Traffic)
02 House for Everyone [Edit] (Traffic)
03 Hole in My Shoe (Traffic)
04 Smiling Phases [Edit] (Traffic)
05 Coloured Rain [Edit] (Traffic)
06 No Face, No Name, No Number [Edit] (Traffic)
07 Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush [Edit] (Traffic)
08 Hope They Never Find Me There (Traffic)
09 Heaven Is in Your Mind (Traffic)
10 Dealer (Traffic)
11 Utterly Simple [Alternate Mix] (Traffic)

As I've mentioned elsewhere, color photos of Traffic in concert in 1967 or 1968 are very hard to find. So I've gone with band publicity photos instead. This one is from 1967. But everyone in the band was looking slightly to the side, so I made some slight edits to their eyes to make them look into the camera.

Elliott Smith - Live Acoustic Cover Versions, Volume 1, 1997-1999

Isaac Newton once said: "If I have seen father, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." One reason I think Elliott Smith was so great was because he was inspired by some of the best musical giants who came before him.

This album illustrates that point very well. All the songs here are cover versions, done acoustically in concert. I generally removed the audience noise at the end of songs. Only two performances here have been officially released, but the sound quality is generally very good. The one exception to that is "Oh Sister," a Bob Dylan song, which is hissy. So I made that a bonus track.

Here are the original artists for the other songs:

Waterloo Sunset - Kinks
Thirteen - Big Star
They'll Never Take Her Love from Me - Hank Williams
For No One - Beatles
Walk Away Renee - Left Banke
Set Me Free - Kinks
Lost Highway - Hank Williams
All My Rowdy Friends [Have Settled Down] - Hank Williams, Jr.
Clouds - Quasi
Care of Cell 44 - Zombies
Jealous Guy - John Lennon
Isn't It a Pity - George Harrison
Harvest Moon - Neil Young

Smith did so many live acoustic cover versions that I have a sequel album covering the other years of his career. I also have an album of live cover versions done with a full band.

01 Waterloo Sunset (Elliott Smith)
02 Thirteen (Elliott Smith)
03 They'll Never Take Her Love from Me (Elliott Smith)
04 For No One (Elliott Smith)
05 Walk Away Renee (Elliott Smith)
06 Set Me Free (Elliott Smith)
07 Lost Highway (Elliott Smith)
08 All My Rowdy Friends [Have Settled Down] (Elliott Smith)
09 Clouds (Elliott Smith)
10 Care of Cell 44 (Elliott Smith)
11 Jealous Guy (Elliott Smith)
12 Isn't It a Pity (Elliott Smith)
13 Harvest Moon (Elliott Smith)

Oh Sister (Elliott Smith)

For the album cover, I used a photo of Smith from 1998.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Richard Thompson - Invisible Means (with French, Frith, & Kaiser) - Alternate Version (1990)

In the late 1980s, Richard Thompson was a member of "the world's most obscure supergroup:" French, Frith, Kaiser, and Thompson. A few months ago, I posted a Richard Thompson-centric version of that band's first album, "Love, Life, Larf & Loaf." Basically, I kept all the Thompson songs and removed the rest.

The album does the exact same thing, except with the band's second (and last) album, "Invisible Means." Like the band's other album, the original album is fairly long. So if one keeps just the Thompson songs, and adds a couple of bonus tracks, it ends up being 40 minutes long, which is a  nice album length.

French, Frith, Kaiser, and Thompson (FFKT) were deliberately arty and experimental, and thus they had a niche audience only. I think a lot of Richard Thompson fans stayed away. But Thompson's songs aren't that different from his usual fare. So, just as last time, you get a solid "lost" Richard Thompson album. He does get experimental on a couple of songs, such as "March of the Cosmetic Surgeons," which is kind of a mock opera, and "Days of Our Lives," which means fun of soap operas. But they're still good songs, just different.

"Now That I'm Dead" is a song written by John French of the FFKT quartet. On the original "Invisible Means" album, there is a studio version sung by him. Personally, I think it's a great, funny song, but his vocal delivery totally ruined it. Luckily, Thompson sings it in concert as a bonus track that was added to a later edition of the album, and I've added that here.

All the other songs are Thompson originals, with the exceptions of "Loch Lomond" and the other bonus track "Love Has Made a Fool of You - Iko Iko."

01 Peppermint Rock (French, Frith, Kaiser & Thompson)
02 March of the Cosmetic Surgeons (French, Frith, Kaiser & Thompson)
03 Begging Bowl (French, Frith, Kaiser & Thompson)
04 Loch Lomond (French, Frith, Kaiser & Thompson)
05 Days of Our Lives (French, Frith, Kaiser, Thompson)
06 Killing Jar (French, Frith, Kaiser & Thompson)
07 Now that I Am Dead (French, Frith, Kaiser & Thompson)
08 Love Has Made a Fool of You - Iko Iko (French, Frith, Kaiser & Thompson)

For some unknown reason, there have been two totally different official album covers for this album. You can see the more popular one in the Wikipedia entry for the album. I've chosen the lesser known one.

Robyn Hitchcock - Eerie Green Storm Lantern - Various Songs (2002)

Here's the next in my seemingly endless series of Robyn Hitchcock's stray tracks albums. The man is prolific!

This album covers just 2002. That was the year that Hitchcock was part of a reunion of his original band, the Soft Boys. The Soft Boys put out a studio album of all new material, "Nextdoorland," and went on tour.

For most musicians, the reunion would have taken up all of their creative energy for the year. But Hitchcock was coming up with other songs, which he never put on any studio album. Three of the songs here, "Mr. Kennedy," "Sudden Town," and "My Mind Is Connected..." actually originate from the "Nextdoorland" reunion album. However, these are solo acoustic versions that are very different than the Soft Boys versions on that album.

The rest of the songs here are the usual grab bag of stray tracks Hitchcock puts out most every year. "Let Me Roll It" is unusual in that it's a cover of a Paul McCartney solo song for a tribute album, done with a full band. I believe all the others are originals. A majority of the songs are from bootleg, but the sound quality on all of those are excellent. Most of those come from in-person radio or TV appearances.

I'm ending this with three bonus tracks of sorts. In addition to a Soft Boys album in 2002, a Soft Boys EP was also released, called "Side Three." It has seven songs on it. Frankly, these have to be the leftovers from the album session, and some of them aren't that good. But I've chosen the three I really like and added them to the end.

01 Mr. Kennedy (Robyn Hitchcock with Grant Lee Phillips)
02 Ring Them Bones (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Take This in Remembrance (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Eerie Green Storm Lantern (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Four Lonely Lamps (Robyn Hitchcock & Grant Lee Phillips)
06 Let Me Roll It (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Sudden Town (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Unprotected Love (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 My Mind Is Connected... (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 I Got You Babe (Robyn Hitchcock & Deni Bonet)
11 Narcissus (Soft Boys)
12 Comin' Through (Soft Boys)
13 The Disconnection of the Ruling Class (Soft Boys)

For the album cover, I decided to take a very literal approach. With an album titled "Eerie Green Storm Lantern," I want to see an actual eerie green storm lantern! ;) So the photo is the best I could come up with from a Google search.

Norah Jones - Roll On - Various Songs (2005-2006)

Pretty much every time I post a Norah Jones album here, I argue that her stray tracks are better and more interesting than her album tracks. This album has a great case in point: the song "Lou Reed." It's an amusing song about the singer Lou Reed being seen cow tipping. It's a fun song, but it's also not the kind of song you'd find on one of her mainstream albums.

This album is filled with similarly interesting songs. A bunch of them are her taking on classics, such as "Wild Horses," "Cry Me a River," and "Your Cheatin' Heart." (She rarely does these on her own albums because she wants to prove herself as a songwriter.) Other songs are new, but more daring than what you'd find on her albums.

So once again I'll assert that if you only know Norah Jones' music from what you hear on the radio, you're missing out. This isn't a huge departure from her usual style, but it has more variety and better songwriting.

This album is 43 minutes long.

01 Wild Horses (Tim Ries with Norah Jones)
02 I Gotta Get Drunk (Little Willies featuring Norah Jones)
03 Lou Reed (Little Willies featuring Norah Jones)
04 Lonely Lament (Liberation Prophecy with Norah Jones)
05 Cry Me a River (Norah Jones & Jim Campilongo)
06 Roll On (Little Willies featuring Norah Jones)
07 I Don't Want Anything to Change (Bonnie Raitt & Norah Jones)
08 Day and Night (El Madmo featuring Norah Jones)
09 World of Trouble (Norah Jones)
10 Your Cheatin' Heart (Jerry Lee Lewis & Norah Jones)
11 Milking Bull (Little Willies featuring Norah Jones)

For the album cover, I used a photo from 2006.

Traffic - Live 1968 - Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA, 3-14-1968

In my last post, I used up all the studio tracks of Traffic's "Last Exit" compilation, and I said I'd have a better place to put the two live tracks, so you'd have no use for "Last Exit" anymore. Here's where the two live tracks go.

Traffic was together as a foursome - including Dave Mason - just two years, 1967 and 1968. The band got back together for a longer run of 1970 to 1974 without Mason. I like both versions of Traffic a lot, but I slightly prefer the first version, because I think Mason added another valuable dimension. Unfortunately, live recordings (all bootlegs) of early Traffic are very rare, and most have unacceptably bad sound. Virtually the only exception to this is a short concert I've posted already, of Traffic playing in Sweden in 1967, which has excellent sound. You can get that here:

The good news is I've found another Traffic concert with excellent sound, this time from the Fillmore on March 14, 1968, and I'm posting it here now. But there are issues with it, most of which I've fixed. The biggest problem is that it's short, only about 32 minutes long. Eighteen minutes of those are the two live tracks from "Last Exit," namely "Blind Man" and "Feelin' Good." The song "No Face, No Name, No Number" from that show also sounds excellent.

Unfortunately, the rest of this surprisingly short bootleg of this concert comes from another source that also sounds very good, except the vocals can hardly be heard. That's not a problem for the instrumental jam that starts the recording. But it is a problem for "Coloured Rain." So I've attempted a rather drastic edit. I took the vocal sections of a different performance of the song, from the Sweden show mentioned above, and matched the tempo and pitch with the Fillmore performance. Then I patched those in, keeping the longer instrumental sections from the Fillmore version. I think this works pretty well. But in case you don't agree, I'm including the unedited Fillmore version with very quiet vocals as a bonus track.

Note also that there's an occasional crackling sound on some of the recording, especially the instrumental jam. This actually was a problem of the sound system at the show itself. We know this because at one point, Traffic member Jim Capaldi made reference to it, complaining about the "eggs and bacon" sound he was hearing. Luckily, it's not very loud and it's mostly a problem just on that first song.

Since the concert is so short, I've managed to find a few more live performances with high sound quality. Two of them ("You Can All Join In" and "Feelin' Alright") prominently feature Dave Mason from later in 1968. (Note that Mason isn't on the above-mentioned Fillmore tracks, since they were recorded during the first time he left the band, in early 1968.)

The last song comes from a concert at the Fillmore East also later in 1968 (when Mason was still back in the band) where the instruments were all recorded very well, but the vocals were recorded horribly. As a result, the only song I've taken from this concert is an interesting and rare all-instrumental version of "Pearly Queen," so the problem of the vocals isn't an issue.

If you add up all the songs here, you get 44 minutes of music. That still isn't very long, but Traffic concerts in 1967 and 1968 were typically less than an hour long anyway, especially since they often weren't the headlining act. (The 1967 Sweden show is complete and that's only 40 minutes long.)

Aside from the songs here and the 1967 Sweden concert, the only other quality sounding live recordings from early Traffic that I've found are their BBC performances. I'll be posting those here soon.

01 Jam [Instrumental] (Traffic)
02 Coloured Rain [Edit] (Traffic)
03 talk (Traffic)
04 No Face, No Name, No Number (Traffic)
05 Blind Man (Traffic)
06 Feelin' Good (Traffic)
07 You Can All Join In (Traffic)
08 Feelin' Alright (Traffic)
09 Pearly Queen [Instrumental Version] (Traffic)

Coloured Rain [Almost Instrumental Version] (Traffic)

For the cover art, I wanted to use a color photo of Traffic playing in concert in 1968. But those are extremely rare, and I didn't find a single good one. So instead I decided to use a concert poster. This is part of a larger poster by Frank Bettlencourt of a concert in the Earl Warren Showground, Santa Barbara, CA, with Electric Flag, Traffic, and Steppenwolf. I removed Electric Flag and Steppenwolf from the poster and replaced that with some other text.

Traffic - Hole in My Shoe - Various Songs (1967-1968)

I commend Traffic for putting out the "Last Exit" album in 1969. It was one of the first examples of a rock band album that gathered up stray tracks. But in retrospect, it didn't do nearly as good a job as it should have. I suggest you forget that one and replace it with this.

This album has all of the studio songs from "Last Exit," plus more. (There are two long live songs on "Last Exit." I'm not including them here, because I have a better spot for them on another album that I'll be posting here soon.) The songs on "Last Exit" were either unreleased or obscure at the time the album came out. That meant it missed the three big hit singles Traffic put out, as well as their B-sides. This has those, plus a couple of additional songs that were otherwise missed.

Note that I didn't include any songs on the British versions of Traffic's first two albums, "Mr. Fantasy" and "Traffic." However, two songs from those are included here ("Giving to You" and "Utterly Simple"), but in very different versions. For instance, this version of "Giving to You" has an intro sung by Steve Winwood, while the album version has some talking and noise as an intro.

I've included an instrumental jam between Jimi Hendrix and Traffic as kind of a bonus track, although I put it on a Hendrix album I've posted here too.

01 Paper Sun (Traffic)
02 Giving to You [Single Version] (Traffic)
03 Hole in My Shoe (Traffic)
04 Smiling Phases (Traffic)
05 Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush (Traffic)
06 Am I What I Was or Am I What I Am (Traffic)
07 Utterly Simple [Soundtrack Version] (Traffic)
08 Just for You (Traffic)
09 Medicated Goo (Traffic)
10 Something's Got a Hold of My Toe [Instrumental] (Traffic)
11 Shanghai Noodle Factory (Traffic)
12 Withering Tree (Traffic)
13 Jam Thing [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix & Traffic)

I've titled this album "Hole in My Shoe" mainly because I found a really nice cover to the "Hole in My Shoe" which I'm able to use as this album cover, with only a few minor tweaks.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Duckworth Lewis Method - On with the Show - Various Songs (2009-2013)

This is a strange and obscure album, but I really hope you give it a try, because the music is great.

The Duckworth Lewis Method (DLM) is a band made up of Thomas Walsh of Pugwash and Neil Hannon the Divine Comedy. Both of them are from Ireland. I appreciate Hannon's talent, even though I'm not really a fan of his band. I've only recently discovered Pugwash, and I'm really getting into them. I hope to post a lot of Pugwash stuff in the future. Pugwash is extremely influenced by the Beatles and ELO, and other 1960s and 1970s artists. But unlike most derivative bands, Walsh has considerable singing talent as well as songwriting talent.

As good as the Divine Comedy and Pugwash are on their own, they're even better working together as the DLM. But there's a very strange thing about the DLM: all, and I do mean ALL, of their songs are about the game of cricket! As an American, I know very little about cricket, and what I do know doesn't interest me in the slightest. And yet, I love these songs about cricket, even though I have no clue what they're about most of the time. That's because it's simply really excellent music.

The DLM have put out two albums, one in 2009 ("The Duckworth Lewis Method") and the other in 2013 ("Sticky Wickets"). I don't want to post either of them here, since you should support the artists by buying them. So instead this is compilation of stray tracks. Only three of the songs are versions of songs on their studio albums. But hopefully you'll see the quality level is so high that you'll want to get the albums too.

Many of the songs are covers. Some are cricket-themed, such as "Soul Limbo," which is a classic soul instrumental hit, but one that apparently was used as a theme song for cricket on the BBC for many years. Others appear to just be songs the band loves. Check out for instance their version of ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky," which they nail despite only being a small band.

There are a couple of non-album originals here too. One example is "Ireland, Ireland." Strangely, the band was commissioned by an Irish newspaper to write a new national anthem for Ireland, and this is the tongue-in-cheek result.

By the way, the band's strange name is a mathematical formulation relating to cricket. Again, I don't know or care much about cricket, so I can't explain it. But the name shows that they are extremely dedicated to their cricket obsession.

01 Gentlemen and Players [Demo] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
02 Pedalo (Duckworth Lewis Method)
03 Test Match Special [Demo] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
04 The Age of Revolution [Demo] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
05 Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime (Duckworth Lewis Method)
06 Ireland, Ireland (Duckworth Lewis Method)
07 Mr. Blue Sky (Duckworth Lewis Method)
08 Soul Limbo [Instrumental] (Duckworth Lewis Method)
09 When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease (Duckworth Lewis Method)
10 What Becomes of the Broken Hearted (Duckworth Lewis Method with Matt Berry)
11 On with the Show (Duckworth Lewis Method)

I made the album cover using a screenshot from a DLM video. The man playing guitar is Thomas Walsh, and the man playing accordion is Neil Hannon.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Live Cover Versions, 2012-2016

I've posted 11 albums of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers playing live cover versions. This is the 12th, and the last. I wish this series could keep going on, but Petty died all too soon in 2017.

Typically, Petty and the Heartbreakers played classic hits from the 1950s and 1960s. That still was the case for some of the songs here. But this time around, he played more country songs, including some obscure songs, such as "June Apple." He also returned to some of his favorite artists, like the Byrds ("Lover of the Bayou"), Bob Dylan ("Knockin' on Heaven's Door"), and J. J. Cale ("Traveling Light").

Five of the nine songs here are actually done with his first band Mudcrutch, which he revived again for a tour in 2016.

One odd case is the song "Tweeter and the Monkey Man." The song was done by the Traveling Wilburys in 1988, when Petty was a member of that band. But it's believed the song was written almost entirely by Bob Dylan, as a sort of parody or homage to Bruce Springsteen songs, so I consider this a cover and not Petty doing a song of his own.

The first song ("Traveling Light") sounds a bit rough, since it comes from an audience bootleg. But most of the rest are officially released, and sound great.

By chance, this series of albums fittingly ends with Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Rest in peace, Tom.

01 Traveling Light (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
02 [I'm Not Your] Steppin Stone (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
03 Tweeter and the Monkey Man (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
04 Willin' (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
05 June Apple (Tom Petty & Mudcrutch)
06 Six Days on the Road (Tom Petty & Mudcrutch)
07 Lover of the Bayou (Tom Petty & Mudcrutch)
08 Shady Grove (Tom Petty & Mudcrutch)
09 Knockin' On Heaven's Door (Tom Petty & Mudcrutch)

NO LINK! Sorry, I had to remove the link because I've gotten a takedown notice regarding a couple of Tom Petty albums, and virtually all the links to his albums died. However, note that music like this can still be found through the free file sharing program SoulseekQt.

For the album cover, I used part of a Mudcrutch concert poster. But I wanted the text to be "Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers" instead of "Mudcrutch," so I took a banner with the band's name on in from another concert poster and placed that over the Mudcrutch name.

The Guess Who - Albert Flasher - Various Songs (1970-1971)

In early 1970, the Guess Who were at the peak of their success. They'd just released their hit album "American Woman," and were in the middle of recording a bunch of excellent new songs for their next album. Then guitarist Randy Bachman quit. This was devastating, because not only was Bachman's guitar playing key to the band's sound, but he co-wrote most of the band's song with lead singer Burton Cummings. (Bachman would go on to huge success with Bachman-Turner Overdrive a few years later.)

The Guess Who scrapped the songs they were working on, recruited a couple of new members to replace Bachman, then put out an album of entirely different songs, called "Share the Land." It too was a success. But what happened to those other songs, all but one of which were co-written by Bachman and Cummings? Seven of them were finally released as the album "The Way We Were" in 1976, one year after the Guess Who broke up.

This album mostly consists of the songs on "The Way We Were." But that album has long been out of print, with the songs on it split as bonus tracks to both the "American Woman" and "Share the Land" albums.

Furthermore, I've added some key songs to the end. "Got to Find Another Way" also dates from around the same time, but was inexplicably left off "The Way We Were" and finally found its way as a bonus track to yet another version of the "American Woman" album.

The songs from this "lost album" are all solid, but I'm not sure if any of them could have been a big hit (though maybe "Palmyra" fits the bill). However, in 1971, the Guess Who released a hit, "Albert Flasher," that didn't go on any of their albums. So I've included that here too (as well as its B-side, "Broken"), and titled the album after it.

The instrumental song "La Jolla" comes from a Randy Bachman solo album called "Axe." That song, and the other songs from that album, were recorded at the exact same time, and in the same studio, as "The Way We Were" songs. Bachman also used the Guess Who drummer, and played his own bass parts. I would include more songs from "Axe," except they're all instrumentals and not that interesting, in my opinion.

I've also added two bonus tracks. They're by a different band, Brother, a trio from Canada, but this band had very close ties with the Guess Who. When Bachman left the Guess Who, guitarist Kurt Winter from Brother was picked as his replacement. One year later, bassist Jim Kale left the Guess Who and was replaced by Bill Wallace from Brother. So Brother was effectively taken over by the Guess Who, with Brother's best songs becoming Guess Who songs, such as "Bus Rider" and "Hand Me Down World."

Brother was in existence for less than a year before they broke up, and they never had a chance to record and release any of their songs. But after Winter left, he briefly reformed the band long enough to record a single. The A- and B-sides of that single are included as the bonus tracks. The vocals are sung by Winter and/or Wallace, both of whom were in the Guess Who or soon would be, so they're kind of Guess Who songs, in my opinion.

Personally, I think "American Woman" and "Share the Land" are the two strongest Guess Who albums, and this "lost" album from in between them is just as good as either of them.

01 Silver Bird (Guess Who)
02 Species Hawk (Guess Who)
03 Runnin' Down the Street (Guess Who)
04 Miss Frizzy (Guess Who)
05 La Jolla [Instrumental] (Randy Bachman)
06 Palmyra (Guess Who)
07 The Answer (Guess Who)
08 Take the Long Way Home (Guess Who)
09 Got to Find Another Way (Guess Who)
10 Albert Flasher (Guess Who)
11 Broken (Guess Who)

Second Time around the Woodpile (Brother)
Sending Money (Brother)

For the album cover, I used the cover to the "Albert Flasher" single. That had the B-side title "Broken" on it, so I removed that and resized or repositioned other parts of the image.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Pete Townshend - Uneasy Street - Various Songs (1990-1997)

Pete Townshend regularly released solo albums every few years through 1993. Then he stopped. His 1993 studio album is still his last one. (He did write the songs for a Who album in 2006.) He has continued to perform a lot of concerts, especially with the Who, but he hasn't even released many other solo songs since the early 1990s (for instance as singles or on compilations).

However, Townshend has continued to make new music since that time. It's just that he's been very low key about releasing it, if he bothers to release it at all. He's put out some more recent songs on his series of "Scoop" albums. He also released 20 demos, many of them dating from the 1990s, as a free download that briefly appeared on his website, called "Twenty." Other songs have only been played in concert.

I've compiled a bunch of these songs to make this album. Unfortunately, I don't think they're a strong bunch of songs, by his standards. It's known that he was busy with other work and hobbies for much of his time in the 1990s, so clearly he wasn't writing songs with the same fire as earlier in his career. But Townshend is so musically talented that even his less that great stuff is pretty good in my eyes.

I made two songs bonus tracks simply because I didn't think they were strong enough compared to the others.

01 Flying Boy (Pete Townshend)
02 Squirm Squirm (Pete Townshend)
03 Wistful [Instrumental] (Pete Townshend)
04 Uneasy Street (Pete Townshend)
05 Got Love If You Want It - I'm the Face (Pete Townshend)
06 I Believe My Own Eyes (Pete Townshend)
07 No Message in a Broken Heart (Pete Townshend)
08 Latin Thing [Instrumental] (Pete Townshend)
09 The Shout [New Version] (Pete Townshend)
10 If You Live - Young Man Blues (Pete Townshend)
11 Uneasy Street (Pete Townshend)
12 Drumming [Instrumental] (Pete Townshend)

971104 Arpeggio Piano [Instrumental] (Pete Townshend)
Poem Disturbed [Instrumental] (Pete Townshend)

For the album cover, I used a promo photo of Townshend from 1996.

Duane Allman - Dimples - Various Songs (1969)

Duane Allman... SINGS! Wait. What?!

This is a very strange album. Duane Allman is considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time, especially when it comes to slide guitar. But he's about as well known for his singing as Bob Dylan is known for his lead guitar playing, meaning not at all. And yet, in early 1969, shortly before the Allman Brothers Band (ABB) formed, Duane Allman attempted to record a solo album in which he would sing all the songs. This is my attempt to recreate that album.

Duane Allman was not a bad singer, mind you. It's just that his voice was merely serviceable, while his brother Gregg had a remarkably expressive and bluesy voice. So of course it made sense to have Gregg Allman sing everything when the two of them were in the ABB together. But in early 1969, Gregg was spending many months in Los Angeles and Duane was busy working as a studio musician in Alabama. Duane was so impressive that he was offered a chance to record a solo album.

He did some work on the album, but either never finished it or didn't bother to release it. (Presumably, when Gregg moved back to the South in mid-1969 and musically linked up with Duane, Duane's solo album became moot.) Officially, only three songs have been released from it: "Happily Married Man" (which he wrote), "Goin' Down Slow," and "No Money Down." I've included two more here, from bootleg: "Steal Away" and "Dimples."

I've included another, "Down Along the Cove" only as a bonus track, because it's an instrumental meant to highlight his guitar soloing, but his guitar is buried so low in the mix as to be nearly inaudible, so I find it a very frustrating listen.

On top of that, it's known he recorded the songs "Bad News" and "Neighbor, Neighbor," but recordings of those haven't even been bootlegged (if they still exist at all).

The five songs that actually come from his planned solo album only total 23 minutes in length, which is too short for me to call an album. So I've added in some more songs to flesh it out. Duane very rarely sang lead vocals with the ABB, but he did on occasion. I've included two of those: "Hey Joe" and "Dimples." (That's the second version of "Dimples" on this album, but they're different enough for me to include both, especially since the live version has a lot more of his guitar soloing.)

I've also added two more songs that are instrumentals prominently featuring Duane's guitar: "The Weight" and "Going Up the Country." Happily, both of these were also recorded in early 1969, so I think they fit in well.

Finally, as a bonus track, I've added in a practice version of Boz Scaggs singing "Loan Me a Dime" with Duane on lead guitar. If you haven't heard the officially released version of this on Scagg's 1969 album, stop what you're doing and give it a listen immediately. It's 12 minutes long, and the vast majority of that is some of the best guitar soloing of Duane's career. This version is only five minutes long, and it's a more acoustic version, with a lot less soloing. But it's still interesting, and I'm including it mainly because it's officially unreleased and very hard to find.

So this is a strange album, for sure. It has more of Duane singing than him playing guitar solos, which is really weird. Furthermore, a lot of what I put on this wouldn't have actually been on Duane's solo album, if it ever was completed. But still, I think it's an interesting part of ABB history, and it makes a good listen.

01 Dimples (Duane Allman)
02 Happily Married Man (Duane Allman)
03 The Weight [Instrumental] (King Curtis with Duane Allman)
04 Steal Away (Duane Allman)
05 Goin' Down Slow (Duane Allman)
06 No Money Down (Duane Allman)
07 Going Up the Country [Instrumental] (Duck & the Bear [Johnny Sandlin & Eddie Hinton with Duane Allman])
08 Hey Joe (Allman Brothers Band & the Second Coming)
09 Dimples (Allman Brothers Band)

Down Along the Cove [Instrumental] (Duane Allman)
Loan Me a Dime [Rehearsal Version] (Boz Scaggs)

I'm not sure where the photo comes from that I used for the album cover here. But good color photos of Duane are few and far between, and this is a very good one.

The Allman Brothers Band - One More Ride - Band Demos (1969-1970)

I've posted three albums of music by Allman Brothers Band (ABB) members before they officially became the ABB in mid-1969. Now I can more on to posting actual ABB music.

There seemingly are a million official live ABB albums and a billion live ABB bootlegs, but there's a relatively small amount of studio outtakes. So I'm surprised that I'm able to make this album. I'm also surprised that so many of the songs here are officially unreleased (and also rarely seen on bootlegs).

The first four songs on this album are 1969 band demos for the first ABB album, simply called "The Allman Brothers Band." The rest are band demos for the second album, "Idlewild South." Although it should be noted that the last two songs, "Statesboro Blues" and "One More Ride," didn't appear on that album.

These demos generally sound very good, to the point that it's hard to notice which three of the songs have been officially released. The demo for the song "Revival" didn't sound as good, plus that version is very similar to the released album version, so I've only included that as a bonus track. Another demo, "Leave My Blues at Home," sounded even worse, so I didn't even include that as a bonus track.

Generally speaking, the versions here are fairly close to the ones that made the albums. But sometimes there are important differences, and the solos are different. Of course, the ABB are renowned for their live performances, but I think it's worthwhile to hear how the studio versions of these songs came to be.

01 Don't Want You No More [Instrumental] (Allman Brothers Band)
02 It's Not My Cross to Bear (Allman Brothers Band)
03 Trouble No More (Allman Brothers Band)
04 Dreams (Allman Brothers Band)
05 Don't Keep Me Wondering (Allman Brothers Band)
06 Midnight Rider (Allman Brothers Band)
07 In Memory of Elizabeth Reed [Instrumental] (Allman Brothers Band)
08 Hoochie Coochie Man (Allman Brothers Band)
09 Statesboro Blues (Allman Brothers Band)
10 One More Ride [Instrumental] (Allman Brothers Band)

Revival (Allman Brothers Band)

I used a 1970 concert poster as the basis for the album cover. But I realized the photo used on the poster was exactly the same as the one on the "Idlewild South" album, so I replaced it with another photo of the band, from 1969. Over a year later, I got a good program for colorizing (Pixbim), so I colorized it.

Here's the full version of the colorization, if anyone is interested.