Monday, September 30, 2019

Van Morrison - Acoustic Versions, 1969-1970

I just posted an album of Van Morrison doing acoustic versions of his songs in a recording studio in 1968 and 1969. This is the continuation of that, with songs from 1969 and 1970. It all comes from one batch of recordings, but I like to break things up into album-sized chunks if I can. Both of these albums are about 40 minutes long.

Everything I said about the previous album holds true here. Like that album, the vocals were too loud in relation to the instruments for nearly all the songs, so I edited them to bring them more into balance. As with that album, I could only do so much, but I think these versions sound better than the popular bootlegs the songs come from, such as "Gypsy Soul" and "Van Morrison Gets His Chance to Wail."

Six of the first seven songs were recorded on or around December 1969, after the songs for the classic "Moodance" album were recorded, but before that album was released (in February 1970). So most of the songs were geared towards his next album, "His Band and Street Choir." I also included a fast version of the song "Come Running" that was recorded for "Moondance" in the summer of 1969. I put that on this album instead of the previous one because that has a different version of the same song. The rest of the songs were recorded in 1970 and also were meant for the "His Band and Street Choir," though one song, "When That Evening Sun Goes Down" would appear on the album after that instead, "Tupelo Honey."

I'm only including songs that don't appear on any studio albums from that era. However, I can include four unreleased songs - "I Can't Get It Straight," "Lorna," "Hey Where Are You," and "Bit by Bit" because I had two versions of those, so I was able to put one version on my series of stray tracks albums and the second version here. As I mentioned previously, Morrison wrote more good songs than he knew what to do with in 1968 and 1969, and some of them fell through the cracks and were forgotten, such as those four.

By the way, there was a sonic flaw towards the end of "If I Ever Needed Someone," a kind of crackling sound. I was able to remove most of it by patching in some repeated lyrics from earlier in the song, but a little bit of it wasn't fixable at the end of the last verse, due to lyrics that didn't get repeated.

Also, I did a lot of editing for the tenth track here, which is some dialogue between Morrison and presumably his record producer. On the bootleg I got this from, the vocals were so low as to be almost inaudible, so I moved them to a separate track and increased the volume a lot. It turns out the producer's vocals were much quieter than Morrison's probably because Morrison was right in front of a microphone and the producer wasn't. So I increased the producer's vocals even more. That worked, but the result was a lot of hiss, especially when the producer talked. To fix that, I used noise reduction. Normally, I'm loathe to use that since it degrades the music quality overall, but I think it was okay to use here, since it was done merely for talking and not actual music.

I wish I could continue this acoustic series into 1971 and beyond, but there's no more publicly available relevant source material after this. However, Morrison did play acoustically in concert later in the 1970s (though very rarely), and I plan on posting some of that here soon.

01 Virgo Clowns (Van Morrison)
02 Come Running [Fast Version] (Van Morrison)
03 If I Ever Needed Someone (Van Morrison)
04 I Can't Get It Straight (Van Morrison)
05 Lorna (Van Morrison)
06 Hey, Where Are You (Van Morrison)
07 Bit by Bit (Van Morrison)
08 Domino [Harmony Version] (Van Morrison)
09 When the Evening Sun Goes Down (Van Morrison)
10 talk (Van Morrison)
11 Domino (Van Morrison)
12 I'll Be Your Lover Too (Van Morrison)

The photo for the cover art was taken in Woodstock, New York, in April 1970. As I did with the photo for the other Van Morrison acoustic album I just posted, I tinted the black and white photo with a blend of colors to try to jazz it up.

Van Morrison - Acoustic Versions, 1968-1969

If you've been following this blog, you should know I have a special fondness for acoustic music. I also really like Van Morrison and have posted lots of his music here. It turns out that Morrison has never released any kind of "Unplugged" album. However, he did play acoustically in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and I'm going to post what I have of that. Here's the first such album.

My first priority with putting Van Morrison albums together was to create albums of all his stray tracks, the songs that weren't on any of his albums at the time. It turns out he has a lot of songs from around 1968 to 1970 that he didn't release then, and most of them still haven't been released. Many of them were acoustic performances done in the studio. I used a bunch of them to make the stray tracks albums "Nobody Really Knows" and "You Set My Soul on Fire." Here are links:

I got some of those songs from some popular bootlegs of overlapping acoustic material. But those bootlegs also had many acoustic versions of songs that were released on albums at this time. So this is the first of two albums collecting those "leftovers."

On some of these songs, it's just Morrison and his acoustic guitar. But more often, he's joined by a bass player. Sometimes, there are some other instruments, especially a flute, but occasionally some light drums, or backing vocals. Still, these are definitely acoustic versions.

One problem I noticed though was that often Morrison's vocals were so loud compared to the guitar and the other music that it almost was as if they were acappella recordings. Happily, I figured out a way to improve this somewhat. I made some changes in Audacity that brought up the volume of the guitar and other instruments relative to the vocals. I liked the result so much that I did the same for a few tracks on the two albums I linked to above, and I've updated the mp3 download links for those. That said, the mix still isn't ideal, because I can only do so much with my limited editing tools. But at least it's better.

The first five songs were recorded in the summer of 1968, when the classic album "Astral Weeks" was recorded. The next four songs were recorded in the summer of 1969, when the similarly classic album "Moondance" was recorded. A "super deluxe" version of "Moondance" has been released with three albums of outtakes, yet none of these acoustic versions were included. I wonder why. The last song, "Domino," comes from the end of 1969. I included it here because I have three acoustic versions of "Domino," each of which is different and interesting. But I didn't want to put all three on the same album, so I stuck one here and the other two on the following album.

Note that three of the songs - "Bayou Girl," "I Need Your Kind of Loving," and "Wild Night" - are songs that weren't included on either "Astral Weeks" or "Moondance." For the first two songs, that's because I had two versions of still unreleased songs, so I used one version for the stray tracks albums mentioned above, and put the other versions here. A full band version of "Wild Night" ultimately appeared on the 1971 album "Tupelo Honey," but it was actually first recorded in 1968.

(It turns out Morrison wrote a great many songs around 1968 and 1969, and kept many of them for later. There must have been something magical in the air, because others like Stephen Stills, David Crosby, Lou Reed, and Cat Stevens also wrote many songs in those years, and continued to draw on that backlog years later.)

01 The Way Young Lovers Do (Van Morrison)
02 Ballerina (Van Morrison)
03 I Need Your Kind of Loving (Van Morrison)
04 Wild Night (Van Morrison)
05 Bayou Girl (Van Morrison)
06 Caravan (Van Morrison)
07 And It Stoned Me (Van Morrison)
08 These Dreams of You (Van Morrison)
09 Come Running (Van Morrison)
10 Domino [Flute Version] (Van Morrison)

I find the photo I chose for the cover art fascinating. It was taken at a concert at The Scene in New York City on January 27, 1969. It looks like such a small club that I'll bet only a few dozen people were there. Boy, would that have been an interesting show to attend, given that it was right between the "Astral Weeks" and "Moondance" albums! (Sadly, no bootlegs of him survive from 1969, not even in horrible sound quality.) Even though there's a drum kit in back, other photos from that night show that Morrison was only accompanied by his own acoustic guitar, plus a bassist and flutist, which was the case on many of the recordings on this album.

Since the photo was in black and white, I tried to jazz it up by colorize it with a blend from red to blue.

Derek & the Dominos - Cincinnati Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH, 11-26-1970

First things first: I should warn you that the sound quality for this concert is not great. Good, but not great. Basically, when it comes to live Derek and the Dominos, there are the two nights at the Fillmore East, which are excellent soundboards that I posted here recently, and there's everything else. This is probably the best of the rest, the best of the audience bootlegs. But Eric Clapton was at his absolute peak when playing as part of Derek and the Dominos, so I'm willing to put up with less than pristine sound quality.

In addition to the relatively good sound quality, there are a couple of other good reasons why the concert stands out as the best of all live recordings for the band, not counting the Fillmore East shows. The concert took place a month after the Fillmore East shows, and the band got better as they went on. Also, the band played some songs they hardly ever did: "Call It Stormy Monday," a medley of two Chuck Berry songs "Little Queenie" and "Sweet Little Rock and Roller," and "Everyday I Have the Blues." Also, it was rare for them to play "Let It Rain" without a long drum solo in the middle of it.

The show is almost an hour and a half long. Note that, for "Let It Rain" there was a big dropout during the second verse. I tried to fix it by patching in the second verse from a different concert. Unfortunately, the difference is pretty obvious. But I figure that's better than what the patch covered up.

Note that when I originally posted this album, I was under the impression that the band was joined by blues legend B. B. King for the encore. But while "Everyday I Have the Blues" is a song closely associated with King, and the vocals sound a lot like him, I got some comments from people who went to the concert, and claim that King wasn't there. Instead, the vocals on the encore almost certainly belong to Cliff Bennett, the lead singer of Toe Fat, the opening act.

01 talk (Derek & the Dominos)
02 Got to Get Better in a Little While (Derek & the Dominos)
03 talk (Derek & the Dominos)
04 Roll It Over (Derek & the Dominos)
05 Blues Power (Derek & the Dominos)
06 Call It Stormy Monday (Derek & the Dominos)
07 Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad (Derek & the Dominos)
08 Little Queenie - Sweet Little Rock and Roller (Derek & the Dominos)
09 Tell the Truth (Derek & the Dominos)
10 Let It Rain (Derek & the Dominos)
11 Everyday I Have the Blues (Derek & the Dominos & Toe Fat)

I'm glad to say the photo I used for the cover art actually comes from the concert in question. I used a different photo from this same concert for my "Live and Rare" Derek and the Dominos compilation. (By the way, I had one song on that album that's from this concert, so I'm taking it off.)

The Kinks - BBC Sessions, Volume 6: Soap Opera Live - New Victoria Theatre, London, Britain, 6-14-1975

Us Kinks fans are lucky this concert exists. You see, in the early to mid-1970s, Ray Davies, leader of the Kinks, was really into concept albums. He recorded four of them in a row. When touring, he presented them in full, essentially putting on musicals more than typical rock concerts. But out of all his concept albums, only this one was recorded with excellent soundboard quality. That's because one show was recorded for a BBC TV show. This is the audio to that show.

The Kinks played all of their 1975 "Soap Opera" album, and not much else. (There's one medley of three early hits worked into the concept, and one song from the album, "Holiday Romance," wasn't played  since it didn't fit into the story that well.) In order not to alienate audience members who wanted to hear the old songs, the Kinks would play one set of older songs and then finish by playing the "Soap Opera" album. Unfortunately, the BBC only televised the "Soap Opera" part, so that's all there is here.

The "Soap Opera" album is 38 minutes long, and this concert is 57 minutes long. The extra length is mainly due to the dialogue that takes place between songs. Pretty much all the talking takes place between Ray Davies' character and an actress (June Ritchie) playing his wife. I think the dialogue is entertaining and to the point. More importantly, the "Soap Opera" concept doesn't make much sense on the album. But presented this way, it makes a coherent, intelligent story. Once you hear this, you'll be able to appreciate the album much better.

Only three of the songs from this show have been officially released, as bonus tracks to a later version of the "Soap Opera" album. The sound quality of those are the same as the rest of the songs here.

UPDATE: On November 29, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I didn't change the music. But I realized that since this is a BBC recording, I should add it to the series of Kinks BBC albums I've made. Thus, I changed the title, cover art, and mp3 tags. All BBC albums after this one are renumbered.

01 Everybody's a Star [Starmaker] (Kinks)
02 talk (Kinks)
03 Ordinary People (Kinks)
04 talk (Kinks)
05 Rush Hour Blues (Kinks)
06 talk (Kinks)
07 Nine to Five (Kinks)
08 When Work Is Over (Kinks)
09 Have Another Drink (Kinks)
10 talk (Kinks)
11 Underneath the Neon Sign (Kinks)
12 talk (Kinks)
13 You Make It All Worthwhile (Kinks)
14 Ordinary People [Reprise] (Kinks)
15 talk (Kinks)
16 A Well Respected Man - Dedicated Follower of Fashion - Sunny Afternoon (Kinks)
17 talk (Kinks)
18 Ducks on the Wall (Kinks)
19 talk (Kinks)
20 [A] Face in the Crowd (Kinks)
21 talk (Kinks)
22 You Can't Stop the Music (Kinks)
23 Everybody's a Star [Starmaker] [Reprise] (Kinks)

The cover art photo doesn't come from this exact show, although you can find YouTube videos of the whole thing. But it does come from the same tour, so they would have been wearing the same outfits. I believe this photo depicts the moment Ray Davies' character is helped into a business suit when he takes on his "Norman" persona.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Chris Clark - Love Gone Bad - Selected Best Tracks (1965-1966)

I'm a very big fan of music from the Motown record label in the 1960s and early 1970s. Their songs were very hit or miss, but when they hit, it was fantastic. But as great as those many Motown hits were, there were many songs, and even entire artists, who were overlooked. Chris Clark is one of those overlooked artists, so I'm going to try to raise her profile here.

In the 1960s, Clark had a remarkable, soulful voice. But she was white. Not only that, but she was white, tall (six feet high), and had platinum blonde hair. This was a problem, because she didn't just want to do "blue-eyed soul" mainly targeted at white audiences, like the Righteous Brothers or Mitch Ryder did, she wanted to do the same type of music as the big Motown stars, and be treated like them. But the 1960s were a decade of great racial tensions. When her songs were played on the radio, listeners would assume that she was black at first. But then her records often would no longer be played when it was eventually discovered she was white, and she sometimes even got booed when she played in front of black audiences. And yet her music was too "soulful" for most white audiences.

On top of all that, it turns out that Clark was romantically linked to Berry Gordy, the head of Motown Records, for a couple of years. This led many people to assume that she probably had no talent and was just given a chance to record some songs due to sleeping with the boss. On top of that, Gordy was black, and interracial romances were controversial back in those days.

But it turns out she was more than just a pretty face, or even just a pretty face with a great voice. She had many talents beyond singing. For instance, she actually cowrote many of her songs, though she usually went uncredited. After her singing career petered out at the end of the 1960s, she stayed with Motown and took on a variety of creative roles, eventually becoming "head of creative affairs" for the whole company. She got an Academy Award nomination for cowriting the screenplay to the movie "Lady Sings the Blues." Later in life, she's made a career out of being a painter. In an alternate universe, she could have had a big and long singing career if she'd been able to direct that creative energy towards music.

Ironically, given her romance with Gordy, she actually was treated badly by Gordy and Motown when it came to her musical career. Gordy had a consistent history of pushing the vast majority of his company's resources to promote his favorite artists, especially the Supremes, and all but ignoring many other artists who arguably had more potential. Clark was in the latter category. Motown did release some singles from her, and two albums, one in 1967 and the other in 1969. But she generally got the leftover songs the big Motown stars didn't want, and the vast majority of what she recorded never got released until decades later.

This is the first of three Chris Clark albums I plan on posting. There isn't much overlap between the songs on those three albums and her two studio albums, since most of her best stuff remained in the can at the time.

One song on this album, "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday," is a case in point. Clark was the very first artist to record this song, in 1966. Her version should have been a hit, but it went unreleased. Stevie Wonder later did a version of it that was closely modeled on Clark's version, and he had a big hit with it in 1969, going all the way to number two with it in Britain.

Clark's recorded output is littered with similar should-have-been hits, including songs that actually were released as singles but went nowhere. For instance, "Love's Gone Bad" is her best known song. It has become better known over the years, thanks to it being included in lots of Motown various artists hit compilations. If you listen to it, it sounds like a sure-fire hit. But actually, it only made it to 105 on the US pop chart, and 41 on the US R&B chart. So even that one wasn't a hit. Perhaps her being a white woman singing soul music at a time of considerable racial tension doomed her chances, but I think more of it had to do with Motown merely going through the motions of promoting her.

Happily, the things that held her back in the 1960s become increasingly moot as time moves on. Today, we can just listen to the music and not worry much about what was unreleased or not promoted, and judge it on its own merits. I think Clark was a great soul singer who would often take B-quality material and make it sound like A-quality material. In a better world (including a color-blind world), she should have been one of the Motown greats, especially if she'd been given better material. I hope you'll listen and agree.

All the songs on this album pre-date her first album, which would come out in 1967, though a couple of the songs would end up on it. Only five of the 13 songs here were released at the time. I haven't come close to including all of her stuff. Gordy had a bad habit of trying to saddle his Motown artists with "supper club" music, cheesy mainstream pop supposed to appeal to white audiences. I've tended to avoid that and favored her more upbeat songs that are truer to the real Motown sound.

This album is only 37 minutes long, but that was typical of Motown albums for that era. In fact, it's probably longer than average. Clark's 1967 album, which I will deal with in my next post about her, was 31 minutes long.

01 Do Right Baby, Do Right (Chris Clark)
02 Don't Be Too Long (Chris Clark)
03 In the Neighbourhood (Chris Clark)
04 I Just Can't Forget Him (Chris Clark)
05 Check Yourself (Chris Clark)
06 Everything Is Good about You (Chris Clark)
07 Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday (Chris Clark)
08 Do I Love You [Indeed I Do] (Chris Clark)
09 Love's Gone Bad (Chris Clark)
10 Mighty Good Lovin' (Chris Clark)
11 Put Yourself in My Place (Chris Clark)
12 Something's Wrong (Chris Clark)
13 Never Trust a Man (Chris Clark)
14 I Still Love You (Chris Clark)

I named this album "Love Gone Bad" instead of "Love's Gone Bad," the title of her almost-hit, because of this  cover I found that uses the phrase "Love Gone Bad." (I'm guessing it was some kind of repackaging of her first album.) I made a change by replacing a "mono" logo with a "stereo" one, since most or all of the songs are in stereo.

Kirsty MacColl - BBC Sessions, Volume 4: London Fleadh Festival, London, Britain, 6-10-1995

Kirsty MacColl isn't well known for her live performances. She never released a live album, and there aren't even many popular bootlegs for her. She was a naturally shy person and didn't tour that much. But she also was an excellent vocalist, and she could "bring it" in a live setting, as she did here. The setlist pretty much serves as a "best of" for her career to that point.

It seems most of her shows were less than an hour long, and that's the case here. When I first posted this, I used an excellent soundboard bootleg source. In 2023, it was released as part of a box set, but the sound quality was basically unchanged.

The last song actually wasn't part of MacColl's set. The concert was part of a festival with lots of artists, and one of the other artists was Shane MacGowan and the Popes. Since MacColl had a hit duet with MacGown and the Pogues a few years earlier with the song "Fairytale of New York," it made sense that she would join MacGowan's set for that song, which she did. (MacGowan can also be heard at the very start of this album as the one who introduced MacColl's set.) MacGowan was clearly drunk and barely able to get to his lines sometimes, but that should come as no surprise to those who have followed his career.

I believe all the songs are MacColl originals except for "Miss Otis Regrets" (by Cole Porter), "I Wanna Be Sedated" (by the Ramones), "A New England" (by Billy Bragg), and "Fairytale of New York" (by the Pogues).

This concert is only 47 minutes long. 

UPDATE: On November 26, 2023, I updated the album title and the cover art. I found out this concert was broadcast by the BBC, so I've made it "Volume 4" in my BBC series. However, the music remains the same.

01 Tread Lightly (Kirsty MacColl)
02 Caroline (Kirsty MacColl)
03 They Don't Know (Kirsty MacColl)
04 Innocence (Kirsty MacColl)
05 Free World (Kirsty MacColl)
06 Miss Otis Regrets (Kirsty MacColl)
07 talk (Kirsty MacColl)
08 My Affair (Kirsty MacColl)
09 Don't Come the Cowboy with Me, Sonny Jim (Kirsty MacColl)
10 Walking Down Madison (Kirsty MacColl)
11 A New England (Kirsty MacColl)
12 I Wanna Be Sedated (Kirsty MacColl)
13 Fairytale of New York (Kirsty MacColl & Shane MacGowan & the Popes)

I'm happy to say that the photo of MacColl actually comes from the concert in question. Note that even though she's holding an acoustic guitar, this is a full-band performance, not a solo acoustic one.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Bonnie Raitt - Special Delivery Blues - Non-Album Tracks (1972-1974)

Recently, I posted several albums from early in Bonnie Raitt's career. One, which I titled "Blender Blues," is a stray tracks album covering 1970 to 1972. This is the sequel to that, with more stray tracks from 1972 to 1974. The other albums are complete live concerts from 1971 and 1972. I have many more stray tracks compilations to come, since she's had a long and successful career.

With these stray tracks albums, my goal is to gather all the good songs not on the studio albums of that time. That means that the exact versions of the first four songs here come from one of those concerts I posted in full. I wish I could have used different versions, but there aren't many bootlegs from Raitt's early years, so we're lucky to have these songs at all.

The rest of the songs are not on anything else I've posted. All of them are unreleased versions from concerts. Some of them are exceedingly rare, even for bootlegs. For instance, I've never seen  her version of the Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb" on any bootleg. Instead, I found it as a free download from an online music magazine. "The Spider and the Fly," another early Rolling Stones song, is similarly rare.

For the first few years of Raitt's career, she didn't make enough money to be able to hire a full band to back her in concerts. As a result, the first few songs here are done acoustically, with just a bassist and some other instrumentation occasionally. But by 1973 she did start performing with a full band, so this album transitions to a fuller sound as it proceeds chronologically.

Although Raitt can and does write very good songs, she's only done so occasionally, and the vast majority of her repertoire is made up of covers. I believe all the songs here are cover versions. 

I've included "Big Road" even though a version of it is on her 1971 album "Bonnie Raitt." That's because this version is very different. Three well known blues musicians joined her in concert for this version, and they all take turns soloing.

I've only included "I Almost Lost My Mind" as a bonus track because it's mostly a performance by another blues musician, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup. The difference with "Big Road" is that Raitt does all the singing for "Big Road," but Crudup dominates on this song, with Raitt, basically reduced to backing vocals.  But still, it's interesting, so it makes it here as a bonus track.

01 Special Delivery Blues (Bonnie Raitt)
02 Can't Find My Way Home (Bonnie Raitt)
03 Do Right Woman, Do Right Man (Bonnie Raitt with Maria Muldaur)
04 Baby What You Want Me to Do (Bonnie Raitt with Maria Muldaur)
05 Under My Thumb (Bonnie Raitt)
06 The Spider and the Fly (Bonnie Raitt)
07 Baby, I Love You (Bonnie Raitt)
08 Big Boy Pete - Function at the Junction (Jackson Browne & Bonnie Raitt)
09 Don't Fight It (Bonnie Raitt)
10 Don't Talk Now (Bonnie Raitt)
11 Big Road (Bonnie Raitt with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy & A. C. Reed)

I Almost Lost My Mind (Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup & Bonnie Raitt)

I don't remember where I found the cover art photo, but I believe it's from around 1972.

The Allman Brothers Band - Stormy Monday - Non-Album Tracks (1970)

First things first: who had the "brilliant" idea to have the Allman Brothers Band pose completely naked for a photo shoot? (In the photo I've used for the cover art, their private parts are strategically hidden, but that's not the case in some other photos from that shoot.) Somehow, I don't think that would fly today, at least for their type of music. But those definitely were different times. I suspect a lot of mushrooms were consumed. Anyway...

As I do with my stray tracks albums, I've collected all the songs I could find that didn't appear on studio albums at the time. A couple of songs here should be very familiar to fans of the band: "Statesboro Blues" and "Hoochie Coochie Man." Both of those have featured on popular live albums. But I've included them because they never were on any studio albums. "Statesboro Blues" is a studio version. For "Hoochie Coochie Man," I took a lesser known live version and removed the audience noise.

All the other songs are much less known, I'd imagine. "One More Ride" is an original (cowritten by Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts). It was never played live, and only an instrumental version has been officially released. I've edited the song, added the vocals from a muddy sounding bootleg version with vocals to the instrumental version. However, some people might not like what I did, or don't mind the muddy sound. So I've included the muddy version as a bonus track. It's three minutes longer, with a drum solo and then a second guitar solo. But the edited version I've put as the first track features a different guitar solo.

The remaining three songs are cover versions that the band occasionally did in concert. "Call It Stormy Monday" and "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town" are well known blues songs, and I was able to find versions with excellent sound. (I removed the audience noise, as I often do.) "Oh Pretty Woman" is much less known. Note that this is NOT the huge Roy Orbison hit "Oh, Pretty Woman" with a comma after the "Oh." Instead, it's a song by Albert King. Unfortunately, the band played this very rarely (with bassist Berry Oakley on vocals, as he is on "Hoochie Coochie Man), and the best version I could find only has decent sound, from an audience bootleg. But I still think it's worth inclusion, since the band didn't play that many different songs back in 1970.

This album is 38 minutes long, not including the bonus track.

01 One More Ride [Edit] (Allman Brothers Band)
02 Statesboro Blues (Allman Brothers Band)
03 Oh Pretty Woman (Allman Brothers Band)
04 Hoochie Coochie Man (Allman Brothers Band)
05 I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town (Allman Brothers Band)
06 Call It Stormy Monday (Allman Brothers Band)

One More Ride [Long Version] (Allman Brothers Band)

The naked photo used for the cover art (discussed above) comes from some album art by the band in 1970. But they didn't use it as the cover art, so I figure it's fair game to use here. I stole the text for the band name from the "Beginnings" compilation album.

U2 - Wide Awake in America - Expanded Version (1984-1985)

In 1984, U2 released the acclaimed album "The Unforgettable Fire." In 1985, they weren't ready to put out a new album yet (and in fact they wouldn't do so until 1987), so to fill the gap they released an EP called "Wide Awake in America." One side consisted of two songs that were outtakes from "The Unforgettable Fire" sessions, and the other side contained two live versions of songs from that album.

This album includes the two studio songs from "Wide Awake in America." I've decided to keep that title and cover art, but this has a lot more, adding nine more songs to it into a normal length studio album. Four songs are B-sides. Two more songs would later be released on a deluxe version of "The Unforgettable Fire."

That leaves just three songs at the end. One, "Sweet Jane," is a live Lone Justice cover of the famous Velvet Underground. Although it's essentially a Lone Justice song, from one of their compilation albums, I decided to include it because Bono joined them and sang about half of the lyrics. "Silver and Gold" is a U2 song released on a 1985 various artists album. Finally, "Driving to Midnight Mass, Dublin, Christmas Eve" is a poem that Bono recites (though he didn't write it).

The eleven songs here (not counting the bonus tracks discussed below) total 43 minutes, which makes for a nice album length. U2 was into creating moody soundscapes during this time period, so four of the songs are instrumentals. Maybe that's why they felt they didn't have enough material for another album in 1985.

I've added three bonus tracks. One is a cover of U2 doing the Bruce Springsteen song "My Hometown." Springsteen had a hit with it just the year before. It seems odd at first that U2 would cover it, especially since U2 hardly did any covers at all at the time. But consider the lyrics of the song, and consider that the band played the song in Dublin, their hometown, with members of their families in the audience. I'm only including it as a bonus track due to the sound quality. It comes from an audience bootleg. The sound is okay, but not up to the level of all the other songs, which are officially released.

The other two bonus tracks are the two live songs from the "Wide Awake in America" EP. Personally, I put these elsewhere in my music collection, with other live U2 songs from that era. But you may well organize things differently, so I'm including them here to give you options.

01 Boomerang I [Instrumental] (U2)
02 Love Comes Tumbling (U2)
03 The Three Sunrises (U2)
04 60 Seconds in Kingdom Come [Instrumental] (U2)
05 Boomerang II (U2)
06 Bass Trap [Instrumental] (U2)
07 Disappearing Act (U2)
08 Yoshino Blossom [Instrumental] (U2)
09 Sweet Jane (Lone Justice & Bono)
10 Silver and Gold [Sun City Version] (U2)
11 Driving to Midnight Mass, Dublin, Christmas Eve (Bono)

A Sort of Homecoming [Live] (U2)
Bad [Live] (U2)
My Hometown (U2)

The cover art is just the official cover of the EP.

The Pretty Things - Wild and Free - Non-Album Tracks (1970-1971)

Sigh. I feel bad for the Pretty Things. I've already posted four albums by them, showing that the material they released in the 1960s was only about half of what they should have made widely available, both in terms of quality and quantity. It turns out their problems continued into the 1970s, as this post shows.

In June 1970, the Pretty Things released the album "Parachute," which was widely acclaimed but didn't sell well. They didn't release their next album, "Freeway Madness," until the end of 1972. By the time they did, their style had changed, going in more of a glam rock or hard rock direction. It turns out they had enough material to release a quality album in 1971. This is that album.

What they did instead was release six songs exclusively as A- and B-sides to singles in 1970. Then, in 1971, they recorded three more good songs that didn't get released until decades later. Plus, they played two songs at the BBC not appearing anywhere else that also didn't get released until decades later. If you add it all up, it makes for an album that's 42 minutes long, which would have been an ideal album length back in those days.

I like all these songs, but I'm not a big fan of the musical direction the band pursued from 1972 onwards. So I don't plan to post any more another albums of studio stray tracks from this band. However, I do have some albums of them playing at the BBC in the 1960s and early 1970s that I plan on posting later.

01 Blue Serge Blues (Pretty Things)
02 October 26 (Pretty Things)
03 Cold Stone (Pretty Things)
04 Stone-Hearted Mama (Pretty Things)
05 Summertime (Pretty Things)
06 Circus Mind (Pretty Things)
07 I’d Love Her If I Knew What to Do (Pretty Things)
08 Everything You Do Is Fine (Pretty Things)
09 Wild and Free (Pretty Things)
10 Slow Beginnings (Pretty Things)
11 Sweet Orphan Lady [Spider Woman] (Pretty Things)

The cover art photo is of the band in 1971.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Robyn Hitchcock - Acoustic Syd Barrett Songs (2000-2017)

Note that this entirely contains versions of songs that I'm including on other albums that I'm posting here. I've been posting lots of albums of Robyn Hitchcock's acoustic cover versions. I have many most albums in that series to post. But I just thought it would be fun and interesting to compile all the covers of Syd Barrett songs from those albums into one album. That's what I've done here.

Hitchcock has always been a huge fan of Syd Barrett's work. I think it's safe to say that the three biggest musical influences on him have been the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Syd Barrett (both for his work as part of Pink Floyd and as a solo artist). There are zillions of other artists who have been influenced by the Beatles and Dylan, and countless thousands of cover versions of their songs. But that's not the case with Barrett. While Barrett's musical legacy has been very influential, it's also been considered too idiosyncratic for many to cover his songs.

But clearly that's not the case with Hitchcock, thus this album. It starts in 2000 and continues to 2017, with the songs arranged in chronological order. But the only reason I didn't include songs from earlier in Hitchcock's career is that I went for the versions with the best sound quality, and they often are the more recent ones. Hitchcock has been heavily influenced by Barrett since the very start of his career, for instance covering Barrett's "Vegetable Man" on a record back in 1980 when he led the band the Soft Boys. (I didn't include that here because that was done with a full band and this is only acoustic versions.)

Barrett is best known for his Pink Floyd song, despite the fact that he wasn't in that band for very long. But not in Hitchcock's world. Only four of the songs here are Pink Floyd songs ("Astronomy Domine," "Bike," "Chapter 24," and "Arnold Layne.") The rest are from Barrett's solo career. I suspect the reason there aren't more Pink Floyd songs is because most of those really need a full band to do them justice, and again, this just includes acoustic versions.

Hitchcock has done covers of other songs with a full band, such as "See Emily Play," and even had a concert in which he played all the songs from "Piper at the Gates of Dawn," the only Pink Floyd album where Barrett was a full participant. But that's the subject for music to be posted here at another time.

As for this album, I think this is a great foot in the door for people who haven't gotten into Barrett's solo work much yet.

All the songs here are officially unreleased. However, two songs can be seen on a DVD video called "The Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett Story." Generally speaking, the sound quality for these songs is very good, though there are a few exceptions. "Astronomy Domine" has some crowd noise in the middle of the song at a few points. A couple of the other songs sound a bit muffled or distant. But I think the sound is perfectly acceptable even on those. Note that I've removed audience noise whenever possible, as I sometimes do.

The album is 45 minutes long, which is pretty much the ideal length for vinyl albums.

01 Astronomy Domine (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Dominoes (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 It Is Obvious (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Baby Lemonade (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Chapter 24 (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Gigolo Aunt (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Bike (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Terrapin (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Waving My Arms in the Air (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 I Never Lied to You (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 Long Gone (Robyn Hitchcock)
12 Arnold Layne (Robyn Hitchcock)
13 Dark Globe (Robyn Hitchcock)
14 Wined and Dined (Robyn Hitchcock)
15 Wolfpack (Robyn Hitchcock)

For the album cover, I tried to do something different and creative. I found a photo of Syd Barrett (from 1967) looking straight ahead, and another one of Hitchcock doing the same (from 1986). Then I manipulated the photos so Barrett makes up half of a head and Hitchcock makes up the other half. I also colorized them, with Barrett being green and Hitchcock blue. I'm pleased at how nicely the two faces fit together.

Robert Plant & the Honeydrippers - Volume Two - Non-Album Tracks (1990-2007)

In terms of officially recorded output, the Honeydrippers barely exist. The band put out one EP of five songs in 1984 called "Volume One," and there's never been a "Volume Two." Until now, that is. Because, in practice, "the Honeydrippers" is the name Robert Plant has used whenever he's been in the mood to sing covers of the songs he loved when he was a kid. I take that to mean songs from the era before the mid-1960s when the Beatles and others drastically changed music.

A few months ago, I posted my version of "Volume One." I took the original 18 minutes of the EP and expanded it to 45 minutes by adding other songs Plant did from 1984 to 1986 that fit the criterion I mentioned above. There happened to be a lot, because Plant was in the mood for that early style of music at times, even while he was having a very successful career as a star of "modern rock" music.

Here's a link to that, by the way:

I'm daring to make a "Volume Two" here, even though the "Honeydrippers" as such pretty much didn't exist for the time in question. (Plant did use that name for a concert of nothing but rootsy covers in 2007, but I'm not including anything from that because the whole concert is something I'd like to post here at a later date.) What I've done is collected Plant's covers of pre-mid-1960s songs that didn't make it to any of his studio albums. Luckily for my collection, it turns out he's often participated in tribute albums to the musical heroes of his youth, so I've used a lot of those performances. He's also done the occasional cover in concert that fits the bill. But in the case of bootlegs, I've only used performances that are from excellent soundboards where all the audience noise can be edited out. Happily, there are a few of those too.

The original Honeydrippers EP was basically Plant's baby, but it also featured guitar solos from his former Led Zeppelin bandmate Jimmy Page as well as Jeff Beck. Happily, I've been able to duplicate that somewhat, because three of the songs feature Page and another song features Beck. Other guitar heroes make appearances, such as Brian May (on Plant's performance with Queen) and Eric Clapton.

Note that the musical variety here ranges from rockabilly to blues to soul to ballads, such all those types of music were popular in the 1950s or thereabouts. Be warned that the first song starts out as kind of a fake out, with about 30 minutes of traditional country music before it drastically switches gears.

It would be nice if I could make a "Volume Three" eventually, but I doubt that's going to happen. Plant doesn't seem to play in a rockabilly style music anymore, since his musical styles naturally evolve and mellow as he gets older. Plus, he's been putting more of his cover versions on his studio albums, and doesn't seem to be taking part in as many tribute albums. But who knows, maybe as time goes on more music of this type from him will emerge. If you know of good songs for me to include, please let me know.

Five of the 13 songs are officially unreleased, but since I used pristine soundboard bootlegs for those (as mentioned above), I doubt you'll be able to tell which ones those are from listening. The album totals 47 minutes, which makes for a nice album length.

01 Let's Have a Party (Robert Plant)
02 Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Robert Plant & Queen)
03 Louie, Louie (Robert Plant)
04 If It's Really Got to Be This Way (Robert Plant)
05 Gonna Shoot You Right Down [Boom Boom] (Robert Plant & Jimmy Rogers with Jimmy Page & Eric Clapton)
06 Think (Robert Plant)
07 A Wondrous Place (Robert Plant)
08 As Long as I Have You (Robert Plant)
09 Baby Let's Play House (Jimmy Page & Robert Plant)
10 My Bucket's Got a Hole in It (Jimmy Page & Robert Plant)
11 Let the Boogie Woogie Roll (Robert Plant with Jools Holland)
12 Look Out Mabel (Robert Plant with Jeff Beck & the Big Town Playboys)
13 Valley of Tears (Robert Plant & the Soweto Gospel Choir)

At first, I didn't have a clue what kind of photo I should use for the album cover, since the "Honeydrippers" didn't actually exist during this time period. But I looked through a bunch of photos of Plant from the 1990s, and I came across one of him holding up a vintage style guitar. It works for me. This photo is from 1995. I also used the text from the cover of the 1984 Honeydrippers EP, except of course I changed "Volume One" to "Volume Two."

Thursday, September 26, 2019

David Bowie - Love All Around (1968-1969)

When I first made David Bowie stray tracks albums, I didn't make this one. But I found more and more material from this time period, causing me to squeeze this album in later.

The main reason I was able to get more material was the release of "Spying through a Keyhole," which contains four Bowie songs that were not only officially unreleased, but also unbootlegged. It also contains the original acoustic demo of "Space Oddity," which has some lyrics that were changed in all later versions.

There also has been the release of "The Mercury Demos," an album of acoustic songs all recorded in one sitting. I'm not planning on posting "The Mercury Demos" here since I want to encourage people to buy it themselves. But I am including one song from it, "Love Song," a cover of a Leslie Duncan song, because it's the only song from that that isn't available in a different version somewhere else. Furthermore, another 1969 song here, "Life Is a Circus," comes from yet another new release, "Clareville Grove Demos." It also isn't available anywhere else (except that a different version is on "The Mercury Demos."

By the way, I believe the reason there was a flurry of new releases of Bowie material after many years of no such new releases is due to European copyright law, which states that a copyright is lost unless material is made public within 50 years. These songs from 1968 and 1969 are just making it under the wire for the 2018 and 2019 deadlines.

Aside from "Love Song" and "Life Is a Circus" mentioned above, all the other songs are from 1968. In addition to the five newly released songs also mentioned above, there are five more 1968 songs from a variety of sources, including two that are still unreleased.

A couple of the songs here are available elsewhere in different versions. For instance, Bowie completely redid "London Bye Ta-Ta" in 1970.

01 London Bye Ta-Ta (David Bowie)
02 When I'm Five (David Bowie)
03 April's Tooth of Gold (David Bowie)
04 Ching-A-Ling (David Bowie, Hermione Farthingale & John Hutchinson)
05 In the Heat of the Morning (David Bowie)
06 Mother Grey (David Bowie)
07 Goodbye Threepenny Joe (David Bowie)
08 Love All Around (David Bowie)
09 Angel Angel Grubby Face (David Bowie)
10 Space Oddity [Original Acoustic Demo] (David Bowie)
11 Love Song (David Bowie)
12 Life Is a Circus (David Bowie)

I'm not sure where the photo for the cover art comes from. Based on Bowie's haircut and face, it almost certainly is from 1969.

Jackie DeShannon - Don't Doubt Yourself Babe - Acoustic Demos (1965)

I'm very pleased to be able to offer this album. All but one song is officially unreleased, and very very rare, even as a bootleg. All the songs feature Jackie DeShannon singing and playing in a solo acoustic format.

DeShannon is known for her 1960s pop hits like "What the World Needs Now" and "Put a Little Love in Your Heart." She definitely isn't known for playing in a solo acoustic style, since none of her single or album tracks are performed that way. Yet a few weeks ago I posted an unreleased concert of hers in that format from 1963, and now I have these demo recordings from 1965. DeShannon is a much better songwriter than most people realize, writing hits for others like "Needles and Pins," "When You Walk in the Room," and "Betty Davis Eyes." (She claims she cowrote "Needle and Pins," but she didn't get official credit for it.) I'm not entirely sure, but I believe all the songs here are written by her.

DeShannon was a musical chameleon of sorts, able to sing and even write songs in a wide variety of styles. But that turned out to be one of the biggest problems of her career, because her record companies usually didn't know how to take advantage of her skills. One of the worst aspects was that they consistently undervalued her songwriting, which is why some of the songs she wrote ended up as hits for others, and some of her own hits were written by others.

This album is a case in point. DeShannon wrote an excellent bunch of folky songs right at a time when folk-rock was a booming genre. (In fact, she'd practically invented the genre with her songs "Needles and Pins" and "When You Walk in the Room" back in 1963.) You would think the logical thing to do was release these songs as an album with a folk rock backing.

But, for whatever reason, that didn't happen, and most of these went unreleased in any form. One song here, "Don't Doubt Yourself Babe," was covered by the Byrds for their classic album "Mr. Tambourine Man." Another, "Splendor in the Grass," was done in a folk-rock style, in which she actually was backed by all five of the original Byrds! But it was only released in 1966 as a B-side to a little-noticed single.

It's a hint at what might have been. How awesome would it have been had the Byrds backed her for an entire album? Had that happened, the arc of the rest of her career may have gone very differently, in which her songwriting talents would have been properly respected and emphasized. Remember that this was a time, pre-Joni Mitchell, when female singer songwriters were almost unheard of, and there was a huge bias against any women who tried to do more than just sing. As it was, most of her albums were dominated by cover versions, since her record companies wanted to choose the songs for her.

These demos apparently were recorded on May 27, 1965, though I'm not sure if that date is accurate. That could also be the date the record company received or processed them (and then ignored them). Undoubtedly, many of the songs were written before that, since the Byrds' version of "Don't Doubt Yourself Babe" had already been publicly released by then. The first 12 songs here later became a bootleg called "Girl of Yesterday." But it was extremely rare. It was sold by a DeShannon fan club, but that club went defunct about a decade ago. I'd had this on my "want list" for years, and I looked all over for it without any success. I finally found it on SoulSeek today, so I'm posting it here straight away.

The two last songs are bonus tracks of sorts that I've added. I don't know where or when "I Don't Wanna Be without You" is from. I found it on YouTube. But it clearly has the same sound, so it almost certainly is from 1964 or 1965. I also don't know the details of where "Only You Can Free My Mind" is from. It's officially released, but only a various artists album of songs written by DeShannon, with that one the only one actually performed by her. In addition to acoustic guitar, it also does have some light drumming.

Including the two songs I added to the end, this makes a 39-minute-long album. It amazes me this hasn't been officially released, especially since the sound quality is very good.

01 Too Far Out (Jackie DeShannon)
02 Your Heart Is Missing (Jackie DeShannon)
03 What's It All About (Jackie DeShannon)
04 Splendor in the Grass (Jackie DeShannon)
05 New Thoughts (Jackie DeShannon)
06 Hand-Made Silver Ring (Jackie DeShannon)
07 To Be Myself (Jackie DeShannon)
08 The Girl of Yesterday (Jackie DeShannon)
09 Don't Doubt Yourself Babe [It's Gonna Be Alright] (Jackie DeShannon)
10 With You in Mind [Come Along] (Jackie DeShannon)
11 You Could Break My Heart (Jackie DeShannon)
12 Still Around [Away Brought Down] (Jackie DeShannon)
13 I Don't Wanna Be without You (Jackie DeShannon)
14 Only You Can Free My Mind (Jackie DeShannon)

I'm not sure when or where the cover art photo of DeShannon is from. But it certainly looks like it dates from around 1965. Probably, it was from a TV appearance. The photo was black and white, so I added a colorized it.

Arthur Lee - That's the Way It Goes - Non-Album Acoustic Tracks (1992)

First off, just to be clear, Arthur Lee was the singer and songwriter for the vast majority of songs by Love, the band best known for the classic 1967 album "Forever Changes." By the end of the 1960s, Love basically became Lee plus a changing group of back-up musicians, with all the other original members gone. He often continued to bill himself as "Love," but this is basically a collection of solo acoustic recordings, so it seems appropriate to me to bill this to Lee instead of using a band name.

In many cases, a musician and/or band has a heyday and I have very little interest in what they do decades later. But Arthur Lee is a different case. He had many lost years, including spending 1996 to 2002 in prison for "negligent discharge of a firearm." (An appeals court later overturned the conviction, and the prosecutor was found guilty of misconduct.) He often had trouble with drug addiction as well. Sadly, he died of leukemia in 2006. But in the 1990s and 2000s, from time to time, he got his act together and wrote new songs that were just as good as the Love songs from the best years of that band.

The early 1990s were one of those times when Lee got his act together and wrote and performed at a high level. As a sign that he still "had it," one song he wrote around that time, "Five String Serenade," was later covered by Mazzy Star, Jack White of the White Stripes. However, one problem about Lee in his later decades was that he never really got his act together enough to record any well-produced albums of his new songs. (There were a few attempts, but each of them are problematic for various reasons.)

Luckily, we can enjoy many of Lee's quality new songs due to the fact that he played them in solo acoustic format in 1992. (He actually played songs in acoustic format occasionally in the 1990s and 2000s, but for whatever reason, the best sounding recordings all seem to come from 1992.)

Most of the songs here come from an officially released box set of Love's live recordings called "Coming through to You." However, the vast majority of the songs on this four disc box set are full-band performances. I think it makes sense to pull out the acoustic performances and listen to them separately. Some are from radio shows, and others are from concerts where I've removed the audience noise.

On top of that, I've included three songs that were recorded in a studio around 1992, but never released (at least not in those acoustic versions). Ironically, these studio performances probably sound the worst of all the songs on this album. But that's only true in a relative sense. The sound quality is still fairly high all the way through.

Most of the songs here were written by Lee long after Love's heyday in the 1960s. But there are four exceptions: "Alone Again Or," "Hey Joe" (which is a cover done famously by Jimi Hendrix), "Signed D.C.," and a medley of Lee's "Everybody's Got to Live" and John Lennon's "Instant Karma." The reason I'm including these is because they are probably the only quality versions of Lee doing this songs in an acoustic format.

In conclusion, if you enjoy "Forever Changes" and the other great Love music from the 1960s, you really should give this a listen. Don't be put off by the year. Lee definitely had a worthy creative resurgence, and this is probably the best way to listen to it.

01 Five String Serenade (Arthur Lee)
02 Ninety Miles Away (Arthur Lee)
03 Passing By - Hoochie Coochie Man (Arthur Lee)
04 Girl on Fire (Arthur Lee)
05 You're the Prettiest Song (Arthur Lee)
06 I Believe in You (Arthur Lee)
07 Alone Again Or (Arthur Lee)
08 Hey Joe (Arthur Lee)
09 Somebody's Watching You (Arthur Lee)
10 L.A. Calocoa (Arthur Lee)
11 That's the Way It Goes (Arthur Lee)
12 Signed D.C. (Arthur Lee)
13 Everybody's Gotta Live - Instant Karma (Arthur Lee)

The cover art photo is of Lee playing in concert in San Francisco in 1992. I lightened the background some, because otherwise, Lee is visually lost with his dark clothes in a dark room. I wish I could find a photo of him playing acoustically around 1992, but I haven't had any luck with that.

Dusty Springfield - Dusty Sings Bacharach & David (1964-1970)

Here's something somewhat different, because it's mostly a repackaging of material I've posted already. Dusty Springfield was one of the best interpreters of songs written by the famous team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. She did enough of their songs to make an album-length compilation, yet no such album has ever been compiled... until now.

If you've been following this blog, you probably know that I've posted many Springfield albums already. She probably has as many unreleased songs from the 1960s and early 1970s as released songs, due to all the songs she did for TV and radio shows.

For this album, I've found 13 Bacharach and David songs she did (not counting the two bonus tracks, which I will get to in a minute). Eight of them included here were officially released. The other five are unreleased, and I've included those on my "On TV and Radio" series of albums for her. Two of the unreleased songs at the end of this album actually feature Burt Bacharach, with him playing piano, and the other a duet between Springfield and him. (Bacharach has done lots of recording and public perfomring while David, who wrote the lyrics, has not.) I didn't include Springfield's studio version of "The Look of Love" because I went with the version with Bacharach instead.

The sound quality is excellent for all the songs. There are two more unreleased songs that sound worse than that "The Love of a Boy" and "Wives and Lovers," so I've only included them as bonus tracks.

In conclusion, in my opinion, Bacharach and David were one of the great songwriting teams of all time, and their 1960s songs have a special charm. Dionne Warwick is the best known interpreter of their songs. But Springfield should be right up there with her. There really should be an official album like this, letting a listener hear all of her Bacharach and David covers together.

This album is 41 minutes long, not including the bonus tracks.

01 I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself (Dusty Springfield)
02 Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa (Dusty Springfield)
03 Anyone Who Had a Heart (Dusty Springfield)
04 Wishin' and Hopin' (Dusty Springfield)
05 [There's] Always Something There to Remind Me (Dusty Springfield)
06 Long After Tonight Is Over (Dusty Springfield)
07 [They Long to Be] Close to You (Dusty Springfield)
08 This Girl's in Love with You (Dusty Springfield)
09 Another Night (Dusty Springfield)
10 In the Land of Make Believe (Dusty Springfield)
11 I Say a Little Prayer (Dusty Springfield)
12 Knowing When to Leave (Dusty Springfield)
13 The Look of Love (Dusty Springfield with Burt Bacharach)
14 A House Is Not a Home (Dusty Springfield & Burt Bacharach)

The Love of a Boy (Dusty Springfield)
Wives and Lovers (Dusty Springfield)

The cover art photo comes from a TV appearance Springfield and Bacharach did together in 1970. The last two songs here come from that same appearance.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Love Rollercoaster - Non-Album Tracks (1991-1997)

I've already posted one album of Red Hot Chili Peppers stray tracks. Here's the second.

Except for the first two songs, which were released in 1994 but actually were recorded in 1991, this covers the Dave Navarro era of the band, which lasted from 1993 to 1998. Guitarist John Frusciante was a very key member of the band, since he was a major songwriter as well as lead guitarist. He left the band in 1992 and was replaced by Navarro, who previously played in Jane's Addiction. Frusiante rejoined the band in time for the 1999 album "Californication."

As a result of these personnel shifts, the Dave Navarro years have been mostly left behind by the band in the years since. They put out the album "One Hot Minute" during this era, but they've pretty much ignored playing the songs from that album in concert, except for a couple of the hits.

The songs on this album have also fallen down that black hole. But I think this makes for a good listen just the same. "Love Rollercoaster," a cover of a song by the Ohio Players, was a minor hit. A few of the other songs here are covers too, such as "Waiting Room" by Fugazi, "I Found Out" by John Lennon, and "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by Iggy Pop and the Stooges. The first two songs are originals from the "Out in L.A." album, which was a surprisingly bad album of leftovers except for these two songs. Most of the rest are original bonus tracks or B-sides.

Three of the songs are officially unreleased, but I think the sound quality for those are still good.

I've added a bonus track. It's just a bonus track because it's not a "real" track. Instead, it's the exact hit version of "Under the Bridge" from 1991, except it's stripped down to just the lead vocals and the acoustic guitar. This is possible due to multritrack versions of this song being made public, allowing one to pick and choose which parts of the song to include or remove. I really like this "unplugged" version.

01 Blues for Meister (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
02 What It Is (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
03 Bob (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
04 Melancholy Mechanics (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
05 I Found Out (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
06 Let's Make Evil (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
07 Stretch You Out (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
08 I Wanna Be Your Dog (Red Hot Chili Peppers with Iggy Pop)
09 Love Rollercoaster (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
10 Waiting Room (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
11 Circle of the Noose (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

Under the Bridge [Acoustic Mix] (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

The cover art is based on a publicity photo from 1995. I've added the text from a promotional single of "Love Rollercoaster," with the tettering meant to rise and fall like a rollercoaster.

Rosanne Cash - The Winding Stream - Non-Album Tracks (2004-2007)

Here's another stray tracks album for Rosanne Cash, this time for the years 2004 to 2007.

I don't have much to say except that Cash is fantastic and underrated, as usual. This is very similar to the Lucinda Williams stray tracks album I just posted in that the vast majority of the songs are from various artists compilations or duet appearances on other people's albums.

Only two of the songs are officially unreleased. One - a cover of her father Johnny Cash's "Big River" - is from a televised BBC performance, so the sound quality is very good. The other - a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Who Will Stop the Rain" - is from a concert bootleg. I don't believe it's from a soundboard, and the sound quality is a little below the others. But it still sounds fine enough to be included.

Cash put out a very good album of original material during this time, 2006's "Black Cadillac." However, I believe all or nearly all the songs here aren't written by her.

01 How to Be Strong (Rosanne Cash)
02 Fiona's Song (Rosanne Cash & Black 47)
03 The Winding Stream (Rosanne Cash)
04 Who'll Stop the Rain (Rosanne Cash)
05 Loving Him Was Easier [Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again] (Rosanne Cash)
07 Forty Shades of Green (Rosanne Cash with Paul Brady)
08 Big River (Rosanne Cash)
09 I Can't Help It If I'm Still in Love with You (Holmes Brothers & Rosanne Cash)
10 Wings of Angels (Rosanne Cash)
11 The Unfaithful Servant (Rosanne Cash)

The cover comes from a publicity photo of Cash in 2006.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Lucinda Williams - Don't Tell Me - Non-Album Tracks (2001-2004)

Here's the next stray tracks collection from Lucinda Williams, covering 2001 to 2004.

By this point in her career, Williams had established a name for herself. As a result, she was invited to take part in a lot of various artists compilations, mostly tribute albums. Four of the songs here are from such albums (where she naturally does cover versions of the artists who are subject of the tribute). For most of the rest, she duets on other people's studio albums. Only one song is unreleased, and that also is a duet ("Poisoned Rose" with Elvis Costello).

Since nearly all the songs are officially released, it's no surprise that the sound is excellent. The one exception, that duet with Costello, comes from a TV show, so the sound is very good there as well.

Basically, if you liked the previous Williams stray tracks albums I've made, you're sure to like this one.

01 Nothin' (Lucinda Williams)
02 Cold, Cold Heart (Lucinda Williams)
03 The Ship (Chip Taylor & Lucinda Williams)
04 Angels Laid Him Away (Lucinda Williams)
05 Farther Along (Ralph Stanley & Lucinda Williams)
06 Poisoned Rose (Lucinda Williams & Elvis Costello)
07 Lately (Lucinda Williams)
08 Buick Blues (Lucinda Williams)
09 Don't Tell Me (Colin Linden & Lucinda Williams)
10 Hard Time Killing Floor Blues (Lucinda Williams)
11 Hang Down Your Head (Lucinda Williams)
12 Closing In on the Fire (Tony Joe White & Lucinda Williams)
13 Two of Us (Doug Pettibone & Lucinda Williams)

The album cover photo is from a 2003 concert.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Bob Dylan & the Band - Isle of Wight Festival, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-31-1969

This is something that has been officially released, is still in print, and I haven't made any changes. That's unusual for me. But I'm posting it here because it's only available as a bonus disc for the deluxe version of Bob Dylan's "Bootleg Series No. 10: Another Self Portrait," and it should be much better known. It definitely deserves its own release.

This is a remarkable concert for Dylan, mainly because it was the ONLY full concert he performed after getting in a motorcycle accident in 1966 until 1973. That's six years right in the heart of the peak of Dylan's career (I'd consider his main peak from about 1963 to 1976, though he's had other peaks since then). That also makes it the only concert when he sang in his smooth "Lay, Lady, Lay" voice. Plus, the whole concert is done with the Band backing him. And, thanks to the official release, the sound quality is excellent.

I'm too young to have lived through the time of this concert, but from what I understand, it was a very, very big deal at the time. The famous Woodstock festival was held pretty much right in Dylan's backyard in upper New York state in the hopes that that would encourage Dylan to make an appearance. But he didn't, and played this concert instead. All the Beatles except Paul McCartney showed up to watch Dylan, alongside many other celebrities. Dylan's return to the stage was so a big deal that one journalist later claimed it "inflated into the gig of the decade." Given its importance to Dylan's career and the 1960s counterculture movement as a whole, it's practically criminal that the official release has been buried as a bonus disc on a super deluxe edition release only.

Here's a Wikipedia article about the festival:

I guess at the time the concert was a bit disappointing simply because expectations were so sky-high. (For instance, it was widely rumored that the Beatles would join him on stage, which they did not.) But in retrospect, I think it was a great show. Definitely every Dylan fan should give it a listen, which is why I'm posting it here.

By the way, four performances from the concert - "Like a Rolling Stone," "The Mighty Quinn," "Minstrel Boy," and "She Belongs to Me" - were included on Dylan's 1970 album "Self Portrait." They fit much better being heard in context of the whole concert.

01 talk (Bob Dylan & the Band)
02 She Belongs to Me (Bob Dylan & the Band)
03 I Threw It All Away (Bob Dylan & the Band)
04 Maggie's Farm (Bob Dylan & the Band)
05 Wild Mountain Thyme (Bob Dylan & the Band)
06 It Ain't Me Babe (Bob Dylan & the Band)
07 To Ramona (Bob Dylan & the Band)
08 Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan & the Band)
09 I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine (Bob Dylan & the Band)
10 Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan & the Band)
11 Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan & the Band)
12 One Too Many Morning (Bob Dylan & the Band)
13 I Pity the Poor Immigrant (Bob Dylan & the Band)
14 Like a Rolling Stone (Bob Dylan & the Band)
15 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob Dylan & the Band)
16 The Mighty Quinn [Quinn the Eskimo] (Bob Dylan & the Band)
17 Minstrel Boy (Bob Dylan & the Band)
18 Rainy Day Women No. 12 and 35 (Bob Dylan & the Band)

For the album cover, I used a photo of Dylan at the concert. For some reason, there was practically a forest of microphones and microphone stands in front of him, at least a dozen. So I chose a rare photo that didn't have him buried behind all that. I also edited the photo to move some of the microphones further from his face. The lettering comes straight from a poster for the concert.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Allman Brothers Band - One More Ride (Edited Song) (1970)

Here's something I'm pretty psyched about. I feel like I've created a "new classic Allman Brothers Band song from their heyday! Maybe not, but I'd be curious what you think.

I don't know anything about this song except that it was co-written in 1970 by band members Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts. It first appeared as an instrumental just under three minutes long on the 1988 box set "Dreams." Then an instrumental "remix" just under four minutes long appeared as a bonus track on a "super deluxe" edition of the "Idlewild South" album in 2015.

Yet there's another version of the song available only as a bootleg that's seven minutes long, and it has vocals by Gregg Allman, with perfectly good lyrics! So it's not really meant to be an instrumental after all. If you listen to the instrumental versions, there are long stretches where not much is happening, for instance no soloing. Clearly, those are the parts where the vocals were supposed to go.

Normally, I would just put the superior version with vocals on one of my stray tracks compilations. But unfortunately, the sound quality for that version sucks. It sounds really muddy and muffled. That's probably why that version is hard to find even on bootleg. So I decided to try to merge the two versions together.

First, I used a sound editing program to try to reduce the muddiness of the vocal version. I only had limited success, since I'm far from an expert in this kind of thing, and there's usually only so much even experts can do. But I think it helped some. Then I patched the vocal parts into the longer of the two instrumental versions. I had a hard time getting the timing just right, because there were slight changes in the speed of the song as it went along, in both versions, since they were recorded by fallible human beings many years before most recordings became computerized and the variability of drumming was lost in favor of metronome-like consistency (and soullessness). Still, after a lot of tinkering, I think I got pretty close on the timing.

I also had to put an instrumental version of the verse at the start of the song, because otherwise the vocals came in when the intro drumming bit was still going on, and it didn't sound good. I think this change works out fine, because there's a little guitar riff going on that keeps the instrumental version of the song interesting.

The end result doesn't sound perfect by any means, but hopefully it's close enough for horseshoes. One can clearly hear the change in sound quality each time the vocals come in. But I feel it's better to have it like that than have the whole song in poor sound quality.

By the way, the unreleased version is longer than the others in part because it has a drum solo in the middle that lasts for about two minutes. I don't think it's a big loss missing that, since most people aren't fans of drum solos (including myself). In fact, I think the song works a lot better here at four minutes long. It could and should have been played on the radio.

I've put the song on a stray tracks album for the band. Here's the link:

I really like the vocal version of this song. I could totally imagine it being a regular concert staple for the band. I am baffled why the vocal version has been left officially unreleased until now. Surely the professionals could do a good job (better than mine!) improving the sound quality of that version, if there's a problem with it. But I think it's much more likely that there's no problem if one works from the master recordings, and it's the usual bootleg copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy problem that created the poor sound. So I don't see any excuse.

As mentioned above, a "super deluxe" version of "Idlewild South" has been released in recent years and the vocal version wasn't included on that, A box set of Duane Allman's guitar playing, "Skydog," was also released in recent years, and it wasn't included on that either, even though it features a very nice Duane Allman guitar solo. So I think the odds are low that that version will ever be officially released.

It's very baffling that this song slipped through the cracks, especially since the Allman Brothers Band were not prolific songwriters. It's not like the lyrics are objectionable, or it sounds too much like some other song, or it's a poor performance, etc... And I don't think the song was ever played live, either with vocals or as an instrumental. But at least there's this.

I put this together while I was working on posting another album of Allman Brothers Band stray tracks soon. I imagine I'll include this edit on that once I have that ready, unless I get feedback that I screwed this up somehow.

Badfinger - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: In Concert, Golders Green Hippodrome, London, Britain, 8-10-1973

This is essentially a continuation of my last post (Badfinger's "In Concert at the Paris Theatre"). As I said in that, there's only one good official live Badfinger album, called "BBC In Concert." But it's taken from two concerts, and I think it works better as two albums. So here's the second part, taken from a concert professionally recorded by the BBC at the Hippodrome in London in 1973.

But it's not that simple. The actual Hippodrome part is only 29 minutes long, which is rather short for an album. I wanted to use this (and the other live Badfinger album I just posted) to gather all the remaining live Badfinger in excellent sound quality that I didn't post already or are repeats of songs. So I've fleshed this out with four songs recorded for a short-lived British TV show called "Set of Six," plus another song played on the TV show "The Midnight Special" in 1973.

I haven't changed the songs at all, but I've edited the crowd noise after the extra songs to make it sound like they all came from the same concert. Some of those extra songs had no audience noise at all, or only a few seconds before the recording came to a sudden halt. So I reused crowd noise from other songs, but edited them to remove specific noises making it obvious that it was a repeat.

The end result is an album that's 46 minutes long. One benefit of splitting the BBC album in two is that it's okay to have some repeats between this album and the Paris Theatre one I just posted.

Unfortunately, I don't know of any good live Badfinger recordings after 1973, until the band fell apart in 1975.  There is a popular bootleg recorded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1974. But the audio quality was too poor to interest me, even as bonus tracks.

By the way, the recording of "Day After Day" was missing about the first 30 seconds. So I found a different version of that song and patched that in. You can probably hear the transition if you listen for it, but I figured it was better to do it that way than just having the start of the song missing.

01 Day After Day (Badfinger)
02 Sweet Tuesday Morning (Badfinger)
03 Take It All (Badfinger)
04 Better Days (Badfinger)
05 No Matter What (Badfinger)
06 Love Is Easy (Badfinger)
07 Blind Owl (Badfinger)
08 Constitution (Badfinger)
09 Icicles (Badfinger)
10 Matted Spam (Badfinger)
11 Suitcase (Badfinger)
12 I Can't Take It (Badfinger)

I made the cover art using a photo of the band playing on the British TV show "Top of the Pops" in 1973. (I assume the recording of that performance is either lost or was a lip-sync to a record.)

Badfinger - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: In Concert, Paris Theatre, London, Britain, 6-8-1972

I'm trying to improve the problem of Badfinger live recordings. There are only two official live albums of the band in their early 1970s prime, and one ("Day After Day") is best forgotten. (It was a bad recording to begin with, and horrible 1980s drums were added to it, among other problems.) The one good live album, "BBC In Concert," has its own issues, but I'm going to try to fix them with this post and the next one.

"BBC In Concert" is largely based on two concerts recorded in front of audiences for the BBC, one at the Paris Theatre (which is located in London, not Paris, by the way) in 1972, and the other at the Hippodrome (also in London) in 1973. The songs all sound great, since these two shows were professionally recorded and played on the radio by the BBC. The only real problem is that it should be two albums, not one. So I've split them up. Here's the first one.

The vast majority of live Badfinger bootleg material sounds poor to awful. I've already posted two albums here, one of a soundboard quality concert in 1970, and the other of actual performances in the BBC studios with no audiences.

Aside from those, and the live BBC album, it's pretty slim pickings in terms of sound quality. But by splitting the BBC album in two, I ended up with two rather short live albums that had room for some bonus tracks. So Ive added the few unreleased live songs recorded in high quality that aren't repeats. I've added two songs to the start of this album, from another 1972 concert.

The result is an album that's 44 minutes long. The album I've made of the rest of "BBC In Concert" ends up being about the same length.

01 No Matter What (Badfinger)
02 Sometimes (Badfinger)
03 Better Days (Badfinger)
04 Only You Know and I Know (Badfinger)
05 We're for the Dark (Badfinger)
06 Sweet Tuesday Morning (Badfinger)
07 Feelin' Alright (Badfinger)
08 Take It All (Badfinger)
09 Suitcase (Badfinger)

For the album cover, I found some photos of Badfinger playing at the BBC in early 1972. I think it was one of the times they lip-synced to their songs, not this show. The photos happened to include four good close-ups of each band member, so I've put four photos together for the cover.