Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Various Artists - Covered: Bert Berns & Jerry Ragovoy, Volume 2: 1967-1971

Here's the second of two albums in my "Covered" series, focusing on the songwriting of Bert Berns and/or Jerry Ragovoy. As with the first, you probably don't know who these people are, but trust me, they were very talented songwriters, and these albums are full of great music.

I said most everything I needed to say with the first volume. Note that Berns died at the end of 1967. As a result, more of the songs in this album were written by Ragovoy. But there still are some Berns songs, especially in the 1967 to 1968 time frame. For instance, "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" was a hit for Solomon Burke in 1963. But I chose a 1967 by Wilson Pickett, because it's a faster version that most later artists imitated, such as the version by the Blues Brothers in 1980.

Generally speaking, I have a rule not to include more than one version of the same song. For instance, the Strangeloves had a hit with Berns' song "I Want Candy" in 1965, and then Bow Wow Wow had a hit with that song in 1982, but I forced myself to pick one. However, I included one song here that I also included in the first volume: "As Long as I Have You." The original version was a minor hit by Garnet Mimms in 1964. Then Led Zeppelin played the song in concert in 1969. Their version was vastly different, and part of a much longer medley. I included that still-unreleased medley version on a Led Zeppelin stray tracks album I've posted here already:

For the version I included here, I edited it to remove the other songs in the medley, so it's purely a version of "As Long as I Have You." I think it's an excellent version that's totally Led Zeppelin and very different from the Mimms version. I have no idea why it remains officially unreleased.

"Twenty-Five Miles" seems like the odd one out on this album, because that was a big hit for Motown artist Edwin Starr, and Motown almost always had hits with their own songwriters. It turns out neither Berns nor Ragovoy ever wrote for Motown. However, Berns and Ragovoy wrote a relatively obscure tune called "32 Miles Out of Waycross," and "Twenty-Five Miles" was so similar to that song that Berns and Ragovoy were added to the composer credits.

Ragovoy lived until 2011. However, musical trends changed, and the pop-soul style that both Berns and Ragovoy excelled in lost favor in the early 1970s. Like Berns, Ragovoy was also a successful producer. He continued to produce a fair amount after 1971, but he rarely had a prominently placed new song after that year. 

This album is 49 minutes long.

01 Everybody Needs Somebody to Love (Wilson Pickett)
02 Am I Grooving You (Freddie Scott)
03 What's It Gonna Be (Dusty Springfield)
04 Pata Pata (Miriam Makeba)
05 Goodbye Baby [Baby Goodbye] (Van Morrison)
06 Baby Come On Home (Led Zeppelin)
07 Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin)
08 Twenty-Five Miles (Edwin Starr)
09 Try [Just a Little Bit Harder] (Janis Joplin)
10 As Long as I Have You (Led Zeppelin)
11 Stop (Jimi Hendrix)
12 Down in the Alley (Ronnie Hawkins)
13 Cry Baby (Janis Joplin)

Dang it, I did it again. I must confess that I had such trouble finding any photos of Berns and Ragovoy together that for the first volume in this series, I found a photo of Berns and added Ragovoy's head into it. I did the exact same thing this time. Berns is the one playing the guitar. I believe the other guy in the original photo was producer Jerry Wexler. However, I replaced Wexler's head with Ragovoy's head from another photo. I hope it doesn't look like an abomination. I also hope I won't have to resort to this again. Unfortunately, it's a sign of how underappreciated both Berns and Ragovoy are, that so few photos of them can be found on-line.

Various Artists - Covered: Bert Berns & Jerry Ragovoy, Volume 1: 1961-1967

If you thought I was done with my "Covered" series, don't worry. I'm just getting warmed up! This time, I'm taking a look at two people you may not have ever heard of: Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy. But they were just as good as other major songwriters who are a lot more famous. Together or separately, they wrote many all-time classic songs, as you'll see below.

As usual with this series, I don't want to write up an entire essay about the songwriters. Instead, I'll direct you to their Wikipedia pages to learn more:

But what I do feel the need to write about is who did what. Some songs here, such as the classics "Cry to Me" and "Piece of My Heart" were written by Berns and Rogovoy together, but most were written apart, or with others. Still, I felt the two of them belong together in this compilation because they had such similar musical styles. Most notably, both were white, Jewish guys who were fascinated by soul music.

Of the songs they wrote alone, I would guess that there is a fairly even split here between Berns songs and Ragovoy songs. But Berns is much more famous than Ragovoy. Perhaps that's because he died very young, in 1967, due to persistent health issues, when he was only 38 years old. So he makes for a tragic figure like others who died young. Thus, there have been some documentaries about him, such as "Bang! The Bert Berns Story," but none about Ragovoy. But also, Berns was a much more charismatic figure, an extrovert, while Ragovoy was very low profile. In fact, I had a hard time finding any good photos of a young Ragovoy at all.

Regarding song selection, I could have included many more songs, since both of them were prolific2. But I've limited this to just the hits, as well as non-hits that I think are especially good. I tried to stick to the original hit versions whenever possible, though I've used non-hit versions in a few cases.

I've made two albums of Berns and/or Ragovoy songs. I'll post the second volume immediately after this one. Each one is between 45 and 50 minutes long.

01 A Little Bit of Soap (Jarmels)
02 Cry to Me (Solomon Burke)
03 Twist and Shout (Isley Brothers)
04 Tell Him (Exciters)
05 You'll Never Leave Him (Isley Brothers)
06 He's Just a Playboy (Drifters)
07 As Long as I Have You (Garnet Mimms)
08 I Want Candy (Strangeloves)
09 Hang On Sloopy (McCoys)
10 Here Comes the Night (Them)
11 Time Is on My Side (Rolling Stones)
12 I'll Come Running Over (Lulu)
13 Ain't Nobody Home (Howard Tate)
14 Stay with Me (Lorraine Ellison)
15 Are You Lonely for Me (Freddie Scott)
16 I Can't Wait until I See My Baby's Face (Dusty Springfield)
17 Get It While You Can (Howard Tate)

I have to admit that I've cheated big time in making the cover art. I couldn't find a single photo of Berns and Ragovoy together. So I took a photo of Berns (on the right) standing with some other guy, and I replaced that other guy's head with Ragovoy's head from some other photo. I hope I haven't offended anyone with this audacity. Ragovoy's head seems unusually large and long, but from all the photos I've seen of him, that's just how he looked. 

Months later, I figured out a way to colorize the photo, so I did so.

Derek & the Dominos - Electric Factory Theatre, Philadelphia, PA, 10-16-1970

Here's another concert from Derek and the Dominos, Eric Clapton's stellar band in 1970.

Note that only two nights at the Fillmore East were the only concerts by this band that were recorded at soundboard quality. After those shows, which I've posted here already, the sound quality of all other shows by the band drops dramatically. But there are still two other shows that I consider worthy of owning and frequently listening to. I've posted one of those (played at the Cincinnati Music Hall) and this is the other one.

Yes, the sound quality is merely good, not excellent. But this is Derek and the Dominos, which in my opinion and the opinion of many others were the pinnacle of Clapton's long career. The sound is definitely listenable, with no major flaws. It's an audience recording, but you never hear any annoying aspects of that, such as people talking over the music. The problem is just that the sound is a bit distant and muffled.

But I took care to use the bootleg with the best sound, based on what die-hard Clapton fans claim. And the performance more than makes up for the minor sound issue, in my opinion. As usual when he played with the Dominos, Clapton was on fire. For instance, many think that this (sixteen-minute long) version of "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad" was one of the best soloing of his career. Also, there are some interesting rarities played, despite there being only seven songs played in this seventy-minute long show: "Ramblin' On My Mind," "Mean Old World" and "Motherless Children." In particular, this may have been the only time "Motherless Children" was played by the band, yet the arrangement closely matches the version that would appear on Clapton's 1974 album "461 Ocean Boulevard."

Note that I previously posted a "Live and Rare" album of Derek and the Dominos live rarities. But I didn't include any songs from this show in that one, knowing that I'd post it here later.

So basically, if you like this band as much as I do and you want to hear their live recordings, you should have all three albums I've made of the Fillmore East shows first and foremost, plus the Cincinnati concert I've posted, plus this one, plus the "Live and Rare" compilation. The rest has sound quality that's too poor for my tastes, sadly including the Tampa concert with Duane Allman, which is only listenable in parts.

01 Ramblin' On My Mind (Derek & the Dominos)
02 Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad (Derek & the Dominos)
03 Blues Power (Derek & the Dominos)
04 Have You Ever Loved a Woman (Derek & the Dominos)
05 Mean Old World (Derek & the Dominos)
06 Motherless Child (Derek & the Dominos)
07 Let It Rain (Derek & the Dominos)\

For the album cover, I used a publicity photo of the band (plus someone's dog) as the main photo. But I also found a logo of the concert venue, the Electric Factory Theatre, and I added that in as well. Good color photos of the band are few and far between. All I could find was a black and white one. But over a year after first posting this album, I colorized the cover.

Traffic - Open Your Heart - Non-Album Tracks (1970-1972)

I've already posted most of my interesting stuff by the band Traffic. But here's another Traffic stray tracks album that I somehow overlooked. This deals with the years 1970 to 1972, after Dave Mason left the group and when some other members joined.

This album is a mixed bag of very different things. The first song is a live version of "Can't Find My Way Home." That was a song written and sung by Traffic member Steve Winwood when he was a member of Blind Faith in 1969. Traffic only rarely played the song in concert, and this recording comes from an audience bootleg.

The next song, "Gimme Some Lovin'" was first done by Winwood's first band, the Spencer Davis Group. Traffic recorded a version for their live album "Welcome to the Canteen." This is a single version that's half as long and a much tighter edit.

Two more songs, "It's So Hard" and "Easter Weekend" have a strange history. Jim Gordon was the drummer for Eric Clapton's band Derek and the Dominos. He fancied himself a singer-songwriter as well as a drummer, and did at least the song "It's So Hard" for the Dominos. But that band fell apart in mid-1971, and he became a member of Traffic instead. These recordings have him singing his two songs as part of Traffic, with band member Jim Capaldi singing as well.

However, neither song was ever included on a Traffic album, even though they're good songs. I suspect this is because Gordon was a very good drummer, but he also was increasingly mentally unstable. He only was part of Traffic for about a year. He later got a very long prison sentence after murdering his mother in 1983. Due to that shocking fact, I suspect his songs have been ignored even for archival releases.

Traffic almost never played cover versions, either in the studio or in concert. But I've found an unreleased one from a concert, "Get Me Back on Time, Engine Number 9." This is mislabeled on bootlegs as "Keep On Moving." It's mostly instrumental, but there are some vocals, which makes clear it's a version of a minor hit by Wilson Pickett. It comes from an audience bootleg, so the sound quality is just good, not great.

The last three songs are from Jim Capaldi's first solo album, released in 1972, but I've included them because they're kind of Traffic songs. "Big Thirst" prominently features former Traffic member Dave Mason, and it was co-written by him and Capaldi. The song "Open Your Heart" is actually an outtake from the Traffic album "The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys," but it was bumped to Capaldi's solo album instead. I suspect that's the case with "How Much Can a Man Really Take" as well, since all the members of Traffic at the time appear on that also.

Steve Winwood sang lead on the vast majority of Traffic songs. On this album, two are sung by Gordon and three more by Capaldi., which is kind of strange But keep in mind that Capaldi did sing lead on Traffic songs sometimes, such as "Rock and Roll Stew," and he also co-wrote the vast majority of the band's songs.

01 Can't Find My Way Home (Traffic)
02 Gimme Some Lovin', Part 1 [Single Edit] (Traffic)
03 It's So Hard (Traffic)
04 Sittin' Here Thinkin' of My Love (Traffic)
05 Easter Weekend (Traffic)
06 Get Me Back on Time, Engine Number 9 (Traffic)
07 Big Thirst (Jim Capaldi with Dave Mason)
08 Open Your Heart (Jim Capaldi & Traffic)
09 How Much Can a Man Really Take (Jim Capaldi & Traffic)

The cover art uses a photo from a Traffic concert in Amsterdam in 1971. A couple of the band members are out of the frame. I added the Traffic logo at the bottom, since the band loved sticking that on their album covers.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

More on Soulseek

Good news. I've been slowly working to share all the albums I've posted here on the Soulseek file sharing program. I believe I finally have finished that process. I might have missed a few, but at least 95% should be shared there. So if you're unable to use Zippyshare for whatever reason, that's another option.

Note that I'm only sharing the albums I've posted here and not others because I have a lot of albums I've compiled that are still in process, and are likely to undergo more changes before they get posted.

As I post new albums here, I'll try to share the matching folders at Soulseek at the same time. So far, it seems like some people can't always see or access my files when using Soulseek. I'm not sure why that is. But hopefully others will share these albums, making it easier to spread further. If anyone wants to share everything on Soulseek, that would be great, in my opinion.

Nick Lowe - Crying Inside - Non-Album Tracks (2018-2019)

I rarely post music that has been first released in the past couple of years, because I don't want to discourage sales of new albums. But I'm making kind of an exception here.

Nick Lowe has had a long and successful solo career, and has found a successful niche for himself after significantly changing his style to a more mellow and sophisticated music since the 1990s onwards. But he hasn't released a studio album since 2013, and even then, that was a Christmas album. So why the long wait?

It turns out he actually has released the equivalent of a new album in the last couple of years. It's just that he's unfortunately released it in dribs and drabs. Most of it has come out on two EPs, one released in 2018 ("Tokyo Bay") and the other in 2019 ("Love Starvation"). I think this is a strange and bad decision. EPs, or "extended plays," have never been a popular format. So I've taken the four songs each from those EPs and added four other songs to create an album that's 39 minutes long.

Luckily, the two EPs and the extra songs all have a similar sound that's very much in keeping with the mellow sound Lowe has favored since the 1990s. Thus, all the songs sound as if they fit together. Also luckily, two of the extra songs are studio releases on other people's albums. The other two extra songs are unreleased performances from a concert, but it's a concert that was broadcast over the Internet, and the sound quality is excellent. I've been able to remove the crowd noise from those two songs, so they pretty much sound exactly like all the others.

This is the album that Lowe should have released earlier this year. I imagine that none of these will be released on future albums of his, except possibly the two live ones. So if you like the older and more mature Lowe style, you definitely need to listen to this.

By the way, I have a lot more of Lowe's solo material to post. Now that I've finished posting four Rockpile stray tracks albums (with Lowe featuring prominently in them), I'll get to those soon, in chronological order. But I wanted to get this out first.

01 Secret of a Long Lasting Love (Blackie & the Rodeo Kings with Nick Lowe)
02 Tokyo Bay (Nick Lowe)
03 Crying Inside (Nick Lowe)
04 Heartbreaker (Nick Lowe)
05 Travellin' Light (Nick Lowe)
06 Small Town Talk (Per Gessle & Nick Lowe)
07 Love Starvation (Nick Lowe)
08 Blue on Blue (Nick Lowe)
09 Trombone (Nick Lowe)
10 Raincoat in the River (Nick Lowe)
11 Lay It on Me Baby (Nick Lowe)
12 Here Comes that Feeling (Nick Lowe)

The cover art I've used for this album is a mystery to me. I randomly stumbled across it while surfing the Internet. It comes from a single release of the song "Crying Inside." That song is on one of the EPs, and the release came after the release of the EP as a repackaging of the material.  Due to coming across this art, I decided to name the album "Crying Inside" to take advantage of it.

Robyn Hitchcock - Spooked - Acoustic Versions (2004)

If you've been following my postings about Robyn Hitchcock, you've probably noticed that I like to post an all-acoustic version of each of his studio albums whenever that's possible (and it usually is). This album is another one of those. And this time, I'm happy to say, it's a fairly complete version. I was able to find acoustic versions of 10 of the 12 songs on "Spooked," his album from 2004.

Happily, the sound quality of these performances range from very good to excellent, even though every single song is officially unreleased. It seems that Hitchcock did a lot of in-person radio appearances to promote his album, and five of the ten songs here come from such appearances. Those recordings basically sound as good as professional studio recordings. The other five were done live in concert. But most or all of those are soundboards, and at least two of them were played live over the radio.

So, all in all, the sound quality is good, and "Spooked" happens to be a particularly strong Hitchcock album.

This album is 42 minutes long.

01 Television (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 If You Know Time (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 English Girl (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Demons and Fiends (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Creeped Out (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Sometimes a Blonde (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 We're Gonna Live in the Trees (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Tryin' to Get to Heaven (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Full Moon in My Soul (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Flanagan's Song (Robyn Hitchcock)

I think I got lucky with the cover art. The official "Spooked" cover used a portion of a Hitchcock painting. I was able to find a photo of the whole painting. So I've included most of it. (I wish I could have included all of it, but it was a little wider than tall, so I had to crop some of the sides.) The "Spooked" cover just focuses on the cat-like creature with two pointy ears and a half-black face.

Pete Townshend - Who Demos, Volume 2: 1966

I recently posted an album of Pete Townshend's demos of Who songs from 1964 to 1965. This is a sequel to that, dealing with the year 1966. Naturally, the series will continue until the end of the Who's main era, through 1982.

I love virtually all of the Who's studio work, but I especially enjoy this era, roughly covering the "A Quick One" album, plus assorted singles. It seems we only are lucky enough to get a random grab bag of demos from this time.

Only five of the songs here have been officially released, all of them on the demo compilations "Scoop" and "Another Scoop," or the super deluxe edition of "The Who Sell Out." But that's okay, because the other songs generally have a similar sound quality. One exception is "I'm a Boy." The sound quality for that one is pretty good, except there's a fair amount of popping and crackling. I'm guessing someone recorded an acetate record, which quickly degraded each time it was played. But the song is still worth inclusion, especially because it's a lot longer than the single, and has some extra lyrics.

Some of the other songs have significant differences with the Who versions, for instance "Magic Bus."  But, generally speaking, these demos aren't like normal demos in that they sound good enough to be released at the time.

This album is 38 minutes long.

UPDATE: On November 13, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I found enough songs to split this album in two and create a "Volume 3." As part of that, I added the song "Relax (Version 1)." I moved "I Can See for Miles," "Pictures of Lily," "Dogs," "Melancholia," and "Sensation [Early Demo]" to the newly created "Volume 3."

01 Substitute (Pete Townshend)
02 Run Run Run [Version 1] (Pete Townshend)
03 Disguises (Pete Townshend)
04 Happy Jack (Pete Townshend)
05 Don't Look Away (Pete Townshend)
06 I'm a Boy (Pete Townshend)
07 Relax [Version 1] (Pete Townshend)
08 So Sad about Us (Pete Townshend)
09 Magic Bus (Pete Townshend)
10 Run Run Run [Version 2] (Pete Townshend)
11 Sunrise'[Version 2] (Pete Townshend)

I'm not sure when or where the photo for the cover art comes from. But clearly Townshend is playing a 12-string guitar in a studio. Based on his appearance, I'd guess it's from 1966 or 1967. Oh, by the way, the photo ended right above Townshend's head. I did a little Photoshop work to extend the background higher.

U2 - Hallelujah Here She Comes - Non-Album Tracks (1988-1989)

In my opinion, U2 has a lot of great non-album tracks, and so many that I'm able to make about one stray tracks compilation album for every studio album the band released. This is that type of album for the "Rattle and Hum" era in 1988 and 1989. I think that out of all of the U2 stray tracks albums I've made, this is probably the strongest musically.

The album is a mix of originals and covers. The originals are very solid. For instance, I think "Hallelujah Here She Comes" is a drastically underrated song that should have been on "Rattle and Hum" and might have even been a hit. "She's a Mystery to Me" is a great song. U2 wrote it for Roy Orbison, and he did a version for his last album right before he died. U2 did a studio version, but for some reason it's never been officially released or even bootlegged. So instead I've included a rare live version.

There are more covers than originals. I think they're some of the best covers U2 ever did, such as "Dancing Barefoot" by Patti Smith and "Everlasting Love," a classic soul hit from the 1960s. The first five songs are all B-sides. The next two are from various artists compilations. The next one, "Wild Irish Rose," is unreleased, but it's a studio cut from a TV documentary. Only the last two are from bootlegs of live performances.

If you like U2, you should get this.

01 Hallelujah Here She Comes (U2)
02 Dancing Barefoot (U2)
03 A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel (U2)
04 Everlasting Love (U2)
05 Unchained Melody (U2)
06 Christmas [Baby, Please Come Home] (U2)
07 Jesus Christ (U2)
08 Wild Irish Rose (U2)
09 Happy Xmas [War Is Over] (U2)
10 She's a Mystery to Me (U2)

For the cover art, I chose a photo that is similar in style to the artwork in the "Rattle and Hum" era. In fact, the picture is from the inside of the "Desire" single. But I moved the drummer, Larry Mullen Jr. closer to the others because he was way to the side in the original. Rest of the colors and artwork also match the general style of U2 art from that era.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Rockpile - Rip It Up - Non-Album Tracks (1980)

In 1980, the band Rockpile released their one and only studio album, "Seconds of Pleasure." Keep in mind that Rockpile basically was a musical alliance between Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe. This is the fourth of four stray tracks albums I've put together of Rockpile performances that don't include performances from Edmunds or Lowe solo albums, even when they were backed by all four members of Rockpile. I also didn't include any songs that were also on the "Seconds of Pleasure," whether they were the exact same performances or not. Yet I still was able to find enough unique songs from that same year of 1980 to fill up an album of stray tracks.

The vast majority of songs here are fun cover versions, often of famous songs. Nearly all are unreleased, and come from live performances. But there are a couple of suggestions. "Loud Music in Cars" is the name of a minor hit by Billy Bremner, Rockpile's other guitarist who occasionally sang lead. The single came out in 1981, but this is a very similar demo version that was done in 1980. Also, in 1979, Edmunds had a solo hit with the song "Girls Talk," which was written by Elvis Costello. In 1980, Rockpile released "Boys Talk," which was cowritten by Lowe and Edmunds and has no similarity to "Girls Talk" except for the very similar title. It was released as a B-side.

Regarding the live performances on this album, the problem with some of them is the sound quality. Some of these were done only rarely in concert, so we only have versions from audience bootlegs, which can sound rather rough. The two roughest, "Hey Baby" and "What Did I Do Last Night" have been demoted to bonus tracks. But frankly, a couple of the others don't sound a lot better, in terms of sound quality. But I think the sound quantity issue is more than made up for by the musical performance.

01 Sweet Little Lisa (Rockpile)
02 Baby Ride Easy (Carlene Carter & Rockpile)
03 You'll Never Get Me Up in One of Those (Rockpile)
04 Loud Music in Cars [Demo] (Billy Bremner)
05 Singing the Blues (Rockpile)
06 Cry, Cry, Cry (Rockpile)
07 Big Blond Baby (Rockpile)
08 Boys Talk (Rockpile)
09 Rip It Up - Ready Teddy (Rockpile)
10 The Wanderer (Rockpile)
11 Don't Fight It (Rockpile)

Hey Baby (Rockpile)
What Did I Do Last Night (Rockpile)

The cover art photo of the band comes from 1980.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Dusty Springfield - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 4: 1969-1973

This is the fourth and last of the albums dealing with Dusty Springfield performing songs on TV or radio that she'd released on record. I've posted an entire separate series of albums of her performing songs on TV and radio that she didn't release on record. So with this album, I'm finishing up posting all the stuff I've had from her on TV and radio.

As I said before, there never has been any official live album from her prime years in the 1960s and early 1970s, and not even any bootlegs from that time. So these TV and radio performances is probably all we're ever going to get in terms of hearing her perform live from that time period.

Like the last album in this series, only two of the songs have been officially released, "The Windmills of Your Mind," and "Son of a Preacher Man." The other ones generally are very good in terms of sound quality. But there are some that sound a little worse, mostly due to slightly muffled recording of her TV show appearances, taken from YouTube videos.

Unfortunately, the amount of performances peters out in the early 1970s. She was still popular in 1969 with her big hit "Son of a Preacher Man," but her popularity slid after that, which meant she had fewer opportunities to appear on TV or the radio. After about 1973, her career pretty much petered out altogether, apparently hindered by lots of drug use. Happily, she pulled herself together and had a career comeback in the late 1970s that continued through the end of her life. But I personally am far less interested in that phrase of her career. Her singing ability was still great, but I have issues with both the production and song choices (not just with her, but with musical trends in general).

Thus, this is where this series ends. 

This album is 45 minutes long.

01 Morning [Bom Dia] (Dusty Springfield)
02 Love Power (Dusty Springfield)
03 Am I the Same Girl (Dusty Springfield)
04 No Stranger Am I (Dusty Springfield)
05 The Windmills of Your Mind (Dusty Springfield)
06 A Brand New Me (Dusty Springfield)
07 Son of a Preacher Man (Dusty Springfield)
08 Silly, Silly Fool (Dusty Springfield)
09 How Can I Be Sure (Dusty Springfield)
10 I Wanna Be a Free Girl (Dusty Springfield)
11 Just a Little Lovin' (Dusty Springfield)
12 Won't Be Long (Dusty Springfield)
13 Packin' Up (Dusty Springfield)
14 Yesterday When I Was Young (Dusty Springfield)

I'm not sure when or where the photo for the cover art comes from, but my notes say it's probably from 1969.

David Bowie - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1967-1970

I've posted a bunch of Davie Bowie stray tracks albums. I've gone as far as I want to go with that, ending in the mid-1980s. Now, I want to start posting his BBC performances. There was an official double album called "Bowie at the Beeb." That was a great release, but unfortunately, it's incomplete. Thus, I felt a need to fix things.

This album is a case in point. Eight of the 14 songs on it are from "Bowie at the Beeb." When I first posted this, five other songs were unreleased, but four of those have since been released, so I've upgraded those.

On top of all that, I've added in non-BBC performances if they are of interesting songs and were played live on the TV or radio. There's only one such instance here. That's a performance of "Space Oddity" done at an awards show in Britain. I could be wrong, but I think it was the first time Bowie played a song on TV anywhere. It's the only performance here that's still unreleased.

The album is exactly an hour long. I have four more BBC albums to post, going through 1973, so you can see I'm including a lot of material not on the official release (which goes through 1972).

UPDATE: On November 21, 2021, I updated the mp3 download file. I was able to update the first three songs from an official release, as bonus tracks on a new version of the 1967 "David Bowie" album. Plus, the fourth song came out officially on the new archival album "Conversation Piece." I upgraded that one too.

01 Love You Till Tuesday (David Bowie)
02 When I Live My Dream (David Bowie)
03 Little Bombardier (David Bowie)
04 When I'm Five (David Bowie)
05 In the Heat of the Morning (David Bowie)
06 London Bye Ta-Ta (David Bowie)
07 Karma Man (David Bowie)
08 Silly Boy Blue (David Bowie)
09 Let Me Sleep Beside You (David Bowie)
10 Janine (David Bowie)
11 Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed (David Bowie)
12 Space Oddity (David Bowie)
13 I'm Waiting for the Man (David Bowie)
14 The Width of a Circle (David Bowie)
15 Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud (David Bowie)
16 The Supermen (David Bowie)

I believe the cover art photo is from 1967. I don't know the exact source. I changed the colors a bit because the photo originally was bleached of colors, almost like a black and white photo. When I upped the color intensity it looked a lot better, but that made the background too drastically colored, so I dulled that some.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Blondie - Cover This: Live Covers, 1977-1982

Some bands pretty much never play cover versions in concerts while others play a lot. I hadn't realized it until a few days ago, but it turns out Blondie in their first era together played a lot of fun covers. I was listening to a bootleg concert that had a few covers I really liked, and I went to the website to see if there were many others. It turned out that not only were there a bunch, but most of them were in excellent sound quality. So I'm very happy to say I was able to put this album together.

The vast majority of Blondie songs were originals, but they did some covers on records, including a few of their hits (for instance "Denis" and "Hanging on the Telephone"). I'm not including any such covers that were recorded for any of their albums.

The band had an impressive variety of sources for their covers. They did some classics from the 1960s, but also some songs that were very current at the time. For instance, "I Love Playing with Fire" was released by the Runaways on an album earlier that same year. I like Blondie's version better, and I think they could have had a hit with it. Other songs like "Sister Midnight," "Heroes," "Funtime," "I Feel Love," and even "Start Me Up" were only originally released about a year or less when Blondie covered them.

01 Heart Full of Soul - Yardbirds
02 I Love Playing with Fire - Runaways
03 My Obsession - Rolling Stones
04 Moonlight Drive - Doors
05 Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey
06 Bang a Gong [Get It On] - T. Rex
07 Sister Midnight - Iggy Pop
08 Little G.T.O. - Ronny & the Dakotas
09 Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
10 Funtime - Iggy Pop
11 Seven Rooms of Gloom - Four Tops
12 Heroes - David Bowie
13 I Feel Love - Donna Summer
14 I Got You [I Feel Good] - James Brown
15 Start Me Up - Rolling Stones

I made some edits to a couple of the songs. "Heart Full of Soul" was the first part of a medley, and I thought the way it ended sounded incomplete. So I cut it abruptly after two repetitions of the opening riff and then used some sound editing tricks to make the third repeat of that riff sound like a final chord instead. For the song "Goldfinger," the final seconds, with a crucial last scream, faded out. I tried my best to undo the fade by carefully boosting the sound bit by bit for those last seconds. I think I mostly succeeded, but the song still ends somewhat abruptly.

I've only included one studio track, and that's "Little G.T.O." For some reason, Blondie backed up the obscure group Rodney and the Brunettes for this song. Blondie's lead singer Deborah Harry did a guide vocal to show them how it was sung. But the other band's unscrupulous record company released the guide vocal version as a single under the band name "The New York Blondes with Madame X." A legal injunction quickly put an end to the sale of that version, but of course some copies were saved for posterity. So I figure this is fair game for this compilation, since most Blondie fans won't have it. Also, Blondie did play the song sometimes in concert in 1977, so this is just like having the best recorded version of one of those performances.

Oddly, there was very little audience noise at the end of most songs. Perhaps this is due to some of the recordings coming from soundboard bootlegs where little to none of the audience was recorded. If the audience cheering was very quiet, I tended to remove it altogether. There are only a few songs near the end where you can hear a lot of cheering.

I was very picky in terms of crowd noise when it came to deciding which songs to include. There were a few more I left out due to sound quality issues, such as covers of "(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave," "Bilbao Song," "Palisades Park," "Little Red Rooster," "Oh Oh I Love Her So," "Femme Fatale," "Louie, Louie," Jet Boy," and more. And that was only with limiting myself to the band's first era together, ending in 1982. They've done many more intriguing covers exclusively in concert since reuniting in 1997.

I didn't make any bonus track out of some of the songs that were on the bubble because I also felt those versions weren't particularly good. For instance, "Little Red Rooster." Blondie just didn't perform that song very impressively. In almost all cases, it worked out nicely that the best performed songs also happened to be the ones with the best sound quality.

Unfortunately, because I was so strict on the sound quality standard, I was left with almost exactly one hour of music. That's long for a single album but too short for two. Oh well, this will just be a single album unless enough quality versions of songs later emerge so I can split this in two.

All but five of these versions are officially unreleased. "Little G.T.O." was released as a single, as discussed above. Four more were released as B-sides, bonus tracks, or both.

01 Heart Full of Soul (Blondie)
02 I Love Playing with Fire (Blondie)
03 My Obsession (Blondie)
04 Moonlight Drive (Blondie)
05 Goldfinger (Blondie)
06 Bang a Gong [Get It On] (Blondie)
07 Sister Midnight (Blondie with Robert Fripp)
08 Little G.T.O. (Blondie)
09 Ring of Fire (Blondie)
10 Funtime (Blondie)
11 Seven Rooms of Gloom (Blondie)
12 Heroes (Blondie with Robert Fripp)
13 I Feel Love (Blondie)
14 I Got You [I Feel Good] (Blondie)
15 Start Me Up (Blondie)

In my opinion, Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry achieved peak gorgeousness in the video for the song "Heart of Glass." So I chose a still from that video for the cover art photo.

Dusty Springfield - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 2: 1966-1968

I previously posted a bunch of albums called "On TV and Radio" that are filled with songs Dusty Springfield sang on TV and radio in the 1960s and early 1970s that she didn't put on any records. This second series of four albums deals with the songs she performed on TV and radio that she did put on record.

All but five of the songs are officially unreleased. The five that have been released are: "Every Ounce of Strength," "Won'’t Be Long," "Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa," "Don't Let Me Lose This Dream," and "It Was Easier to Hurt Him."

The vast majority of songs are from a BBC show she hosted in 1966 and 1967, simply called "Dusty." These songs were performed live in front of an audience, but I've minimized the cheering after the songs.

As far as sound quality goes, some of the unreleased songs sound merely good instead of great. Sometimes, there's a bit of muffling or distance. 

This album is 41 minutes long.

01 Every Ounce of Strength (Dusty Springfield)
02 Goin' Back (Dusty Springfield)
03 Won'’t Be Long (Dusty Springfield)
04 Bring Him Back (Dusty Springfield)
05 Some of Your Lovin' (Dusty Springfield)
06 Twenty-Four Hours from Tulsa (Dusty Springfield)
07 Live It Up (Dusty Springfield)
08 I'll Try Anything (Dusty Springfield)
09 I Only Wanna Laugh (Dusty Springfield)
10 Don't Let Me Lose This Dream (Dusty Springfield)
11 Sunny (Dusty Springfield)
12 Time After Time (Dusty Springfield)
13 It Was Easier to Hurt Him (Dusty Springfield)
14 Sweet Lover No More (Dusty Springfield)
15 It's Over (Dusty Springfield)
16 Come Back to Me (Dusty Springfield)

This cover photo dates from 1965. That's just outside the time frame of the music here, but the picture quality was so good for this one I decided to use it anyway. Besides, unlike most musicians during those fast-changing years, her appearance didn't change much.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Midnight Oil - Spirit of the Age - Non-Album Tracks (1996-2002)

This is the last of four stray tracks albums from Midnight Oil. It covers the last years from the main part of the band's career. (The band has reunited since 2017.)

The songs come from a wide variety of sources. In 2000, the band put out an album called "The Real Thing." Three of the songs were new, full-band studio tracks, and the rest were acoustic versions. I've included the three new ones here. I plan on putting all the rest into an all-acoustic album instead.

Only one song, the medley "Advance Australia Fair - Birdman," is officially unreleased. (Not counting the bonus track, that is.) This song was played on a TV show and there's an excellent recording of it, so the sound quality matches the other songs.

The bonus track, "Stand Your Ground," is a Midnight Oil original. But it was only played a few times in concert, and the recording is from an audience bootleg that isn't very good. Thus I only included it as a bonus track.

01 Land [Australian Lyrics Version] (Midnight Oil)
02 Cemetery in My Mind [True Believers Blind Version] (Midnight Oil)
03 Heaven and Earth (Midnight Oil)
04 Dreams of Ordinary Men (Peter Garrett with Jimmy Barnes)
05 Speak No Evil (Peter Garrett)
06 Advance Australia Fair - Birdman [Instrumental] (Midnight Oil)
07 Pub with No Beer (Midnight Oil)
08 The Real Thing (Midnight Oil)
09 Spirit of the Age (Midnight Oil)
10 The Last of the Diggers (Midnight Oil)
11 No Man's Land (Midnight Oil)
12 Kiss that Girl (Midnight Oil)

Stand Your Ground (Midnight Oil)

The cover art photo is of the band's lead singer Peter Garrett, in concert in 1996.

U2 - Sweetest Thing - Non-Album Tracks (1987)

I just posted an album of U2 stray tracks from 1986 and 1987. They released one of the greatest albums of all time with "The Joshua Tree" in 1987. But they were so productive that I have another album of stray tracks from that period to present here.

Maybe it would have been smarter to make one really strong album of all the best stray tracks from this era. But I've decided to be more inclusive and make two, because they're pretty much all good songs. Perhaps you could merge them into one album of your favorites if you want to go that route.

The other album I made had some odd things from solo efforts and collaborations, as well as a couple of cover songs. This is much more straightforward, with just one collaboration (poet Allen Ginsburg on "Drunk Chicken - America") and one cover (of Hank Williams' "Lost Highway"). The rest are all vintage U2 originals.

In my opinion, the song "Sweetest Thing" should have been included on "The Joshua Tree," or at least released as a single, and should have been a hit. U2 eventually wised up to how good a song it was by recording a nearly identical version in 1998 and having a hit with it then.

01 Sweetest Thing (U2)
02 Silver and Gold (U2)
03 Race Against Time (U2)
04 Moving Out (U2)
05 Beautiful Ghost - Introduction to Songs of Experience (U2)
06 Wave of Sorrow [Birdland] (U2)
07 Desert of Our Love (U2)
08 Rise Up (U2)
09 Drunk Chicken - America (U2 with Allen Ginsberg)
10 Springhill Mining Disaster (U2)
11 Lost Highway [Acoustic] (U2)

The album cover I made this time is almost identical to the last one I just posted. All I did differently was swap out the photo and change the text. I did that because the band was so extremely consistent with the artwork for all their releases during this time period.

U2 - Walk to the Water - Non-Album Tracks (1986-1987)

From 1980 to 1984, U2 put out four studio albums in five years. But then they didn't put out any album at all in 1985 or 1986. So it's not surprising that by the time they came out with the classic "Joshua Tree" album in 1987, they had a backlog of extra songs. It turns out they easily could have made that a strong double album, or a strong second stand-alone album. But I've gone even further than that, and made TWO extra albums they could have released in 1987. Here's the first one.

The first three songs actually date from 1986. Two of them are interesting live cover versions. The third, "Womanfish," is rather strange. U2 only ever performed it once, on a TV show where lead singer Bono was noticeably drunk. At the end of the song, Bono said, "That was 'Womanfish.' It's about a mermaid I met once, we met once in America." Whatever that means!

The fourth song is from 1986 as well. That year, U2's guitarist The Edge recorded and released the soundtrack to the movie "Captive." So far, it's the only solo album by any U2 band member. All the songs are instrumentals except one with vocals by Sinead O'Connor, co-written by O'Connor, that doesn't really belong here. I've selected just one song from the album, "Rowena's Theme."

Four out of the next five songs were released as B-sides. Also included there is "Sweet Fire of Love." This is a song from Robbie Robertson's first solo album. It's effectively a duet between Robertson and Bono, with all of U2 playing on it.

The last two songs are kind of strange. Maybe you want to include them, maybe not. The first is "In a Lifetime," a duet between Clannad and Bono. A lot of people like it, and it was a minor hit. But I consider it much more of a Clannad-sounding song than a U2-sounding one. The last song, "Lucille," is a U2 original. But it's from their brief alternate persona "The Dalton Brothers." In 1987, they actually opened up a few of their concerts pretending to be this group, a hard-core country band. "Lucille" is an over-the-top try at a generic country song. It's a real oddity for U2, but it's part of the band's fascination of America that dominated their songwriting in this time period.

01 Womanfish (U2)
02 Maggie's Farm - Cold Turkey (U2)
03 Help (U2)
04 Rowena's Theme [Instrumental] (The Edge)
05 Luminous Times [Hold On to Love] (U2)
06 Walk to the Water (U2)
07 Sweet Fire of Love (Robbie Robertson & U2)
08 Spanish Eyes (U2)
09 Deep in the Heart (U2)
10 In a Lifetime (Clannad & Bono)
11 Lucille (U2)

U2 had a very consistent artistic look for all their releases and promotional material in the "Joshua Tree" era. I used the cover of one of their singles as a template, but I changed the text and swapped out the photo. Pretty much all the publicity photos from that time have the band standing in the outdoors looking serious and moody, so that's what I chose here.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Maria McKee - Wayfaring Stranger - Non-Album Tracks (2001-2008)

I've got a lot of live Maria McKee music I want to post, but first I want to complete the posting of studio stray tracks. Here's another, covering 2001 to 2008.

McKee's career was doing well up through her "Life Is Sweet" album in 1996. Then she didn't put out another album until 2003's "High Dive." She barely toured or did anything else musical in that seven year gap, which killed whatever career momentum she had going. Then she got busy again, putting out three studio albums and two live albums from "High Dive" in 2003 to "Late December" in 2007. Since then, she's largely been silent, putting out no new albums at all.

I'm not sure why her career has had these ups and downs. Maybe someone who knows more can explain. But this album collects stray tracks that largely deals with that 2003 to 2007 burst of activity. Eight of the 13 songs were officially released, with one of those being a bonus track and the rest coming from soundtracks or other various artists compilations, or duets on other artists' albums.

Of the unreleased tracks, two come from radio or TV shows, and the sound quality of those are excellent. The last three come from bootlegs of concerts, and the sound quality dips some, but it's still good.

This album is 43 minutes long.

01 Wayfaring Stranger (Maria McKee)
02 Trophy Girl (Maria McKee)
03 Tender Even Then (Kristian Hoffman & Maria McKee)
04 Ma Blonde Est Partie (Maria McKee)
05 Tout Un Beau Soir En Me Promenant (Maria McKee)
06 Life Is Sweet [Acoustic Version] (Maria McKee)
07 Candy's Room (Maria McKee)
08 Turn Away [Acoustic Version] (Maria McKee)
09 Jenny Jenkins (Ryan Hedgecock & Maria McKee)
10 This Road Is Long (Stuart A. Staples & Maria McKee)
11 The Bridge (Maria McKee)
12 New Pony [Acoustic Version] (Maria McKee)
13 Death Is Not the End (Maria McKee)

The cover art uses a photo from a 2007 concert.

Dusty Springfield - Alternate TV and Radio Appearances, Volume 1: 1963-1966

I previously posted a bunch of Dusty Springfield albums, all of which I called "On TV and Radio." Basically, she has an entire second discography in the 1960s and early 1970s composed on songs she performed on TV or radio but never put on any of her records. I've posted eight of those albums.

This is the start of a related but different series. It contains the songs she played on TV and radio that WERE also released on her records. There's no such thing as a live album from her peak years, not even a bootleg. Although these all are songs she'd released on singles and/or albums, they're different performances, and generally in front of a live audience, so this is as close to a live album of her famous songs as we're likely to get.

I had enough material for four such albums.

 It's surprising to me that she played songs she didn't record (eight albums' worth) on TV and radio more than the ones she did record (four albums' worth). But the ratio actually would be different if you consider that she tended to play some of her hit songs over and over again, such as "Son of a Preacher Man." I've only included one version of each. I tried to pick the ones that had the best sound quality and performance.

Five of the songs have "[Edit]" in their titles. That's because those are cases where BBC DJs spoke over some of the music. But I used the audio editing program X-Minus to remove their voices while keeping the underlying music.

This album is 40 minutes long.

01 Standing in the Need of Love (Dusty Springfield)
02 Stay Awhile - I Only Want to Be with You (Dusty Springfield)
03 I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself (Dusty Springfield)
04 La Bamba [Edit] (Dusty Springfield)
05 I Can't Hear You [No More] (Dusty Springfield)
06 Losing You [Edit] (Dusty Springfield)
07 Wishin' and Hopin' (Dusty Springfield)
08 All Cried Out (Dusty Springfield)
09 Mockingbird [Edit] (Dusty Springfield)
10 In the Middle of Nowhere (Dusty Springfield)
11 Who Can I Turn To [When Nobody Needs Me] [Edit] (Dusty Springfield)
12 Chained to a Memory [Edit] (Dusty Springfield)
13 Little by Little (Dusty Springfield)
14 You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (Dusty Springfield)

The cover art photo comes from a TV performance in 1965.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Various Artists - Covered: Allen Toussaint, Volume 3: 1974-2009

This is the third and final album in my "Covered" series of Allen Toussaint songs. If you're not familiar with his music, give it a try. It's mostly fun, good time music that will get you dancing.

All the songs on this album are solid in my opinion, but there are fewer hits than on the previous two albums. That said, there are some big hits here, especially "Southern Nights," which was a number one song for Glen Campbell. Most of the rest are songs that have been covered by many different artists, and these just happen to be the versions that I like the best.

I generally avoid including different version of the same song within one artist's "Covered" series. But I couldn't resist putting Devo's version of "Working in a Coalmine" here, even though I included the original hit version by Lee Dorsey in the first volume. Devo drastically changed the song into a new wave hit, so I think it's different enough to merit inclusion. By the way, the Judds transformed it a different way and had a country hit with it a few years later.

Toussaint was a much desired producer all through the 1970s, and many artists he produced did some of his songs. But his kind of music went out of fashion in the 1980s, so you see a sudden lack of songs after 1981. Happily though, his music came back into vogue in the 2000s. This was helped by the fact that, after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Toussaint began performing at benefits for New Orleans, and found that he liked it, and audiences liked it, so he became a much more active concert performer from that point to the end of his life in 2015. This revival is represented here by a few more of his songs done in the 2000s, including two from an album he did together with Elvis Costello.

01 Play Something Sweet [Brickyard Blues] (Frankie Miller)
02 Going Down Slowly (Pointer Sisters)
03 What Do You Want the Boy to Do (Bonnie Raitt)
04 Southern Nights (Glen Campbell)
05 Sweet Touch of Love (Etta James)
06 Night People (Robert Palmer)
07 Tears, Tears and More Tears (Nicolette Larson)
08 Working in a Coal Mine (Devo)
09 Broken Promise Land (Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint)
10 International Echo (Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint)
11 Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further (Ida Sand)
12 Victims of the Darkness (Tommy Castro)

The cover art photo dates from 2009.

Various Artists - Covered: Allen Toussaint, Volume 2: 1972-1974

Here's the second of three albums of songs written by Allen Toussaint.

Unlike others in my "Covered" series who often were part of a team or at least frequently had varying co-writers, Toussaint usually wrote his songs alone. Fewer of the songs this time around were hits, but some of the non-hits became very well known over time. A good example is "Sneakin' Sally Thru' the Alley." It was on Robert Palmer's first album, which sold very little. But it's grown in popularity because it's a great song, and it's on his greatest hits albums and such.

There's one song here that technically is not written by Toussaint: "Lady Marmalade." It was written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan. Both of them wrote lots of other hits, and Crewe is best known for co-writing tons of hits for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. However, in my opinion Toussaint should definitely have a songwriting credit, because he produced the version for Labelle that was a number one hit and has gone on to be one of the most popular songs of all time. He totally transformed the song with his production.

We know this because the original version was actually done by an obscure group called the Eleventh Hour, with lead vocals by Nolan, one of the song's co-writers. That version is terrible. You can confirm this for yourself by looking it up on YouTube. Toussaint heard the song and decided Labelle would be perfect for it, and got them to cover it. Then his production transformed the song, with all kinds of touches that weren't on the original version. So yeah, in my opinion, the fact that was a huge hit is mostly due to him.

I could have included a lot of songs performed by Toussaint himself in this series, but I only used one that is credited solely to him, "Freedom for the Stallion." It's a very good song that I knew I wanted to include, and I liked his version the best. But I could have included many more. Toussaint was a capable singer and performer in his own right, and his versions aren't well known mainly because he was shy and preferred to work behind the scenes in the music industry for most of his career.

01 Hercules (Aaron Neville)
02 Freedom for the Stallion (Three Dog Night)
03 From a Whisper to a Scream (Allen Toussaint)
04 Yes We Can Can (Pointer Sisters)
05 I've Cried My Last Tear (Brinsley Schwarz)
06 On Your Way Down (Little Feat)
07 Lady Marmalade (Labelle)
08 I'll Take a Melody (Frankie Miller)
09 Sneakin' Sally Thru' the Alley (Robert Palmer)
10 What Is Success (Bonnie Raitt)
11 Shoorah Shoorah (Betty Wright)
12 Occapella (Ringo Starr)

The photo I chose for the cover art seemed like a no-brainer, because it was the best looking color photo of him in the 1970s era that I could find. I'm not sure what year the photo was taken, but the general vibe as well as signs of his age make it obvious to me that it has to have been from the 1970s.

By the way, I made some changes to the background, to remove some distractions and also lightening it in general so his head would be more visible.

Various Artists - Covered: Allen Toussaint, Volume 1: 1961-1971

Here's the next major artist in my "Covered" series: Allen Toussaint. Have you heard of him? If you're a fan of music from New Orleans, there's no way you could have missed him. Otherwise, you may know who he is. But you almost certainly know a lot of his songs, because he's been behind many hits.

Toussaint has probably left an even bigger mark as a producer than as a composer. But this series focuses just on songwriting, so I'm only including songs he wrote or co-wrote. I don't want to write a whole essay on his life, so if you want to learn more, here's his Wikipedia page:

This is the first of three albums I've compiled of his best known songs. Each one is about 45 minutes long. I must admit that I'm not a super fan of New Orleans music, so I haven't done a really deep dive into his music. He's written hundreds of songs and produced many times more than that. I've generally stuck to the songs he wrote that became hits, as well as some of his most acclaimed songs that weren't hits. I'm sure he has some rare gems that I've missed. If you know of some you think I should have included, please tell me and I'll consider updating these albums.

Toussaint, who died in 2015, was also a performer. However, he started out very shy, and only took to performing on stage with enthusiasm and frequency in the last decade of his life. Even his recording career didn't get off the ground until the early 1970s, with a few notable exceptions here and there. I've generally concentrated on others covering his songs instead of him doing his own, since there are some good "best of" collections for that.

Nearly all the songs on this particular volume were hits. In fact, some of them were hits for more than one artist, so I had to choose which version to include. For instance,  well known versions of "A Certain Girl" were done by Ernie K-Doe in 1964, the Yardbirds in 1965, and Warren Zevon in 1980. I went with the Yardbirds version.

The song "Ruler of My Heart" is a tricky case. I chose to include the original version, which was done by Irma Thomas in 1965. However, Otis Redding had a hit with it later that year, except that he changed the title to "Pain in My Heart." But for all intents and purposes it's the same song, so I didn't include both of them. Still, check out the Redding version if you haven't already, because it's very good too.

01 Mother-in-Law (Ernie K-Doe)
02 Fortune Teller (Benny Spellman)
03 It's Raining (Irma Thomas)
04 Lipstick Traces [On a Cigarette] (Benny Spellman)
05 Java (Al Hirt)
06 Ruler of My Heart (Irma Thomas)
07 A Certain Girl (Yardbirds)
08 I Like It like That (Dave Clark Five)
09 Ride Your Pony (Lee Dorsey)
10 Whipped Cream (Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass)
11 Holy Cow (Lee Dorsey)
12 Working in the Coalmine (Lee Dorsey)
13 Get Out of My Life Woman (Solomon Burke)
14 Mean Man (Betty Harris)
15 Give It Up (Lee Dorsey)
16 Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky [From Now On] (Don Covay)
17 Here Come the Girls (Ernie K-Doe)

I much prefer color photos, and it's next to impossible to find good color photos of Toussaint from the era covered by this album. For the album cover, I chose a "color" photo from a compilation of his songs. However, I'm 99 percent certain that it was colorized. Still, it's a good photo and I liked it better than any of the other options. I made some tweaks to it to try to make the colorization less obvious, including changing the background color. (It had been a weird shade of green.)

Richard Thompson - Now That I Am Dead - Non-Album Acoustic Tracks (1992-1993)

Here's some more Richard Thompson. He plays in acoustic mode so often that I'm able to offer another album of stray tracks that are all performed solo acoustic.

This album is very much like the last couple that I've posted like it. For one,  the vast majority of the songs are cover versions. He runs a wide range of styles, from classic hits to obscurities to traditional instrumentals. For another thing, the sound quality is generally excellent. As with those last couple albums in this series, the vast majority of the songs were played live in concert, and this draws on some excellent soundboard bootlegs. Five of the 15 songs were officially released, but in terms of sound quality you can't really tell which ones are unreleased. And, as usual, I've removed the audience noise to make all the songs sound like stereo recordings.

One thing that makes this a little different is that Thompson plays three duets with Roger McGuinn, former leader of the Byrds, all on tunes associated with McGuinn and/or the Byrds. One of those songs is "Goin' Back." Later in the album I present another version of this same song without McGuinn. I figure the two versions are different enough to merit both of them being included, based on one being a duet and the other not.

By the way, the song "Willy O'Winsbury" is a traditional tune. But Fairport Convention wrote all new words to it and released it as a song called "Farewell, Farewell." So if it sounds familiar to you, yet different, that's probably why.

Also, note that the song "Now That I Am Dead" already appeared on a previous album I posted here, "Invisible Means." But that was a compilation of  French, Frith, Kaiser & Thompson songs. This is a different version.

01 Job of Journeywork [Instrumental] (Richard Thompson)
02 Poor Wee Jockey Clarke (Richard Thompson)
03 Jambalaya [On the Bayou] (Richard Thompson)
04 Gonna Back Up Baby (Richard Thompson)
05 Rainbow Over the Hill (Richard Thompson)
06 Wild Mountain Thyme (Richard Thompson & Roger McGuinn)
07 Goin' Back (Richard Thompson & Roger McGuinn)
08 Jack Tarr the Sailor (Richard Thompson & Roger McGuinn)
09 Now That I Am Dead (Richard Thompson)
10 The Bloater ]Instrumental] (Richard Thompson)
11 Substitute (Richard Thompson)
12 Wall of Death - Just like Tom Thumb's Blues - Needles and Pins (Richard Thompson)
13 Goin' Back (Richard Thompson)
14 Shake, Rattle and Roll (Richard Thompson)
15 Willy O' Winsbury (Richard Thompson)

The cover art photo comes from a 1993 concert.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Allman Brothers Band - One Way Out - Non-Album Tracks (1971)

Here's another album of stray tracks from the Allman Brothers Band. This one just covers 1971, from the part of the year when guitarist Duane Allman was still alive.

The band had a pretty limited repertoire of songs. Instead of playing lots of songs, they focused on a small number, but varied their soloing and instrumental interplay dramatically. That said, they did do some songs that didn't appear on their studio albums.

The first three songs here are well known by fans of the band because they appeared on the classic live album "At Fillmore East," which was both recorded and released in 1971. No studio versions are known to exist. So what I've done is take versions other than the ones on that original album and removed the crowd noise to make them sound like studio tracks. I carefully chose versions that didn't have a lot of cheering over the music to better make it sound like studio versions. I did the same with the fourth song and fifth songs, though they are much less known since the band played they very rarely and they didn't make it on "At Fillmore East."

The sixth song, "Blue Sky," is a different case. This is one of the band's most famous songs, and it would appear on the 1972 album "Eat a Peach." However, this is a special version because it's a live performance, at excellent soundboard quality, that was played while Duane Allman was still alive. So I figured this version is significant enough to merit inclusion.

The bonus track is a similar case in that it's a live recording with excellent sound quality, and with Duane Allman playing a key role. But the song, "Dreams," is one where there are lots of other live versions with Duane on it, so it's not so special. Thus, I only made it a bonus track.

If you add up all the songs not including the bonus track, it's 43 minutes of music, which was a typical album length for that era.

01 One Way Out (Allman Brothers Band)
02 Hot 'Lanta [Instrumental] (Allman Brothers Band)
03 Done Somebody Wrong (Allman Brothers Band)
04 You Don't Love Me (Allman Brothers Band)
05 Soul Serenade [Instrumental] (Allman Brothers Band)
06 Blue Sky [Live] (Allman Brothers Band)

Dreams (Allman Brothers Band)

Regarding the album cover photo, I don't know where or when it comes from. However, the photo shows the band members in their 1969 to 1971 heyday when Duane Allman was in the band.

Bonnie Raitt - Just a Kiss Away - Non-Album Tracks (1976-1980)

I've already posted two stray tracks albums from Bonnie Raitt. Here's the third. I have many more to come.

Raitt was not that popular in the 1970s, having just one hit, a cover of "Runaway" in 1977. She wouldn't become popular until 1989, when her album "Nick of Time" would sell millions and put her career on an entirely different level. So for the time period of this album, Raitt didn't have many offers to collaborate with other musicians. (The first song here, "Since I've Been with You Baby," is probably the first recorded example of such a collaboration.)

Thus, instead, the vast majority of this album is made up of unusual songs she played in concert. A couple are famous songs - "A Big Hunk O' Love" was a hit for Elvis Presley and "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone" was a hit for Aretha Franklin. The rest are generally cover versions of lesser known songs.

However, "No Nuke Blues" was a rare Raitt original. She has a long history of supporting politically liberal causes through benefit concerts, but generally hasn't put political songs on her albums. That song is definitely anti-nuclear power, so presumably she kept it off an album as part of her general policy about that.

The only snag with this album is that some of the songs have only decent sound quality. Because Raitt wasn't that big of a name, it's very rare to find soundboard bootlegs from her in the mid- to late 1970s. Many of the songs here come from audience bootlegs. So you have to be tolerant of sound quality issues for about half of the songs.

Two songs where there isn't any sound issue are "Don't It Make Ya Wanna Dance" and "Darlin'." These are from the "Urban Cowboy" soundtrack. I've also included "Once in a Lifetime" from the "Coast to Coast" soundtrack as a bonus track. The only reason it's a bonus track is because I don't like the song that much. But your opinion may differ, so I'm adding it in.

01 Since I've Been with You Baby (Geoff Mulduar & Bonnie Raitt)
02 Women Be Wise (Bonnie Raitt & Sippie Wallace)
03 Just a Kiss Away (Bonnie Raitt)
04 Time Will Bring You Love (Bonnie Raitt)
05 [Sweet Sweet Baby] Since You've Been Gone - Take Me to the River (Bonnie Raitt)
06 A Big Hunk O' Love (Bonnie Raitt)
07 Just in Case [We Both Are Wrong] (Bonnie Raitt)
08 No Nuke Blues (Bonnie Raitt)
09 Power (Bonnie Raitt & Jackson Browne)
10 Don't It Make Ya Wanna Dance (Bonnie Raitt)
11 Darlin' (Bonnie Raitt)
12 Wheels of Life (Bonnie Raitt)

Once in a Lifetime (Bonnie Raitt)

The photo of Raitt I've chosen for the cover art comes from a 1977 concert.

Rockpile - Let It Rock - Non-Album Tracks (1979)

This is the third of four stray tracks Rockpile albums I'm posting. It's kind of an imaginary alternate history, pretending that Rockpile put out an album every year while they were still in existence.

Rockpile, as you may know, was basically a musical alliance between guitarist Dave Edmunds and bassist and songwriter Nick Lowe, with the two of them talking turns being the lead singer. It was a strange situation, because from 1977 to 1980, Rockpile never put out a studio (or live) album until 1980, because Lowe and Edmunds were on different record labels. Yet during those years Edmunds and Lowe always toured together as part of Rockpile.

As with the other albums in this series, I have avoided using any of the studio tracks from Edmunds or Lowe, when they were usually backed by all of Rockpile. Instead, this is entirely made up of live versions of songs Rockpile did in concert.

Edmunds put out an album in 1979 called "Repeat When Necessary." Three of the songs here are versions of songs from that album. Lowe also put out an album in 1979, "Labour of Love." Four of the songs here are versions of songs from that. That counts for seven of the 13 songs. The others are generally cover versions that never appeared on album, such as versions of the classic songs "Let It Rock" by Chuck Berry and "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley.

Note there's one kind of strange song here, "Little Sister." What's unusual about it is that the lead singer is actually Robert Plant, while he was still part of Led Zeppelin. This is because in 1979 there was a benefit concert known as the Concerts for the People of Kampuchea. Rockpile played, and Led Zeppelin didn't, but Plant joined them as a guest for this one song, which is a cover of an Elvis Presley hit.

That song, plus another one from that same concert, "Crawling from the Wreckage," were officially released as part of a live album for that benefit. The rest are all officially unreleased. But the sound quality is generally very good for the unreleased songs too. Most of them come from a concert that was professionally recorded and played live on the radio at the time. The last song, "What Looks Best on You," clearly comes from an audience bootleg and is rougher sounding than the rest, but it's still very listenable.

01 Rockin' Little Angel (Rockpile)
02 Girls Talk (Rockpile)
03 Cracking Up (Rockpile)
04 Switchboard Susan (Rockpile)
05 Queen of Hearts (Rockpile)
06 Let It Rock (Rockpile)
07 Jailhouse Rock (Rockpile)
08 Born Fighter (Rockpile)
09 Cruel to Be Kind (Rockpile)
10 Little Sister (Rockpile with Robert Plant)
11 Crawling from the Wreckage (Rockpile)
12 Three Time Loser (Rockpile)
13 What Looks Best on You (Rockpile)

The photo for the cover art was taken in Chicago in November 1980. I'm using it because I was able to find lots of good photos of the band in 1980 but none in 1979.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Robyn Hitchcock - Luxor - Acoustic Versions (2003)

I still have tons of Robyn Hitchcock albums to post, so here's another one. In 2003, he released the album "Luxor." This is the all-acoustic version of that.

"Luxor" has 13 songs on it. I was only able to find solo acoustic versions for nine of them. Chances are he hasn't played the other ones in concert in that format. The album is a bit on the short side, at only 33 minutes. But that's all the songs that fit the concept.

In terms of sound quality, this is very good. As my Hitchcock albums move towards the current day, the sound quality generally goes up, probably due to tapers using better equipment. All the versions here are officially unreleased. One song is from an in-person radio appearance and the rest are from concerts. But, as usual, I've removed the audience noise.

"My Mind Is Connected to Your Dreams." It's not from "Luxor," but it's a song he did with the Soft Boys around that time. This is the solo acoustic version. "Madelaine" and "Let the Sun Begin" are not from "Luxor," but they are acoustic versions of songs from that time period.

01 The Sound of Sound (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 One L (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Penelope's Angles (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 The Idea of You (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 You Remind Me of You (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Keeping Finding Me (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Idonia (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Solpadeine (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 City of Women (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Madelaine (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 Let the Sun Begin (Robyn Hitchcock)
12 My Mind Is Connected to Your Dreams (Robyn Hitchcock)

The cover art uses a drawing made by Hitchcock. I don't know when or where it's from - or even what exactly it is! It just seemed to fit. I don't remember what the caption on the right side used to say. But I erased whatever was there and added in the words "Luxor Acoustic" instead.

Various Artists - Covered: Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Volume 5: 1981-2016

This is the last of five albums containing the best songs of Burt Bacharach and/or Hal David.

This one is very different from all the others. For starters, the Bacharach-David songwriting collaboration was effectively over. (They did write a couple of songs together in these later years, but none of them were hits and I didn't judge any of them good enough for inclusion.)

David was seven years older than Bacharach, and it seems he more or less retired from songwriting a lot earlier than Bacharach did. I believe only one new song here was co-written by David, without Bacharach. That's "To All the Girls I've Loved Before." This was a huge hit by Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias in 1984. But in fact it was first done by Albert Hammond in 1975. That's another sign that David stopped being a songwriting force in the 1970s.

However, Bacharach had a career revival in the 1980s, and he's had some minor revivals since. (He's still alive at 91 years old as I write this. David died in 2012, also at 91 years old.) Bacharach found a new songwriting partner with lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, and had a few hits in the 1980s, but some of them were massive hits. For instance, "That's What Friends Are For" was the best selling song in 1986.

Unfortunately, Bacharach had hits in the "adult contemporary" and/or soul genres, and I have big issues with those genres after about 1980. I feel good songs were often ruined by too much use of synthesizers, drum machines, strings, and so on. The singing has been even worse. Whitney Houston and others became superstars in the 1980s with a showy style that I consider "oversinging."

So I've had to tread very carefully with this album to find cover versions that I actually enjoyed listening to. I've made some very unusual choices. For instance, I haven't included the big hit version of "That's What Friends Are For." Instead, I've gone for an acoustic version done decades later by a relatively obscure Dutch singer. I've used that same Dutch singer (Trijntje Oosterhuis) doing an acoustic version for another big hit, "On My Own," that I can't stand in its original version by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald.

I've chosen to include the Naked Eyes 1982 version of "There's Always Something There to Remind Me" even though I included a different version on an earlier album in this series. That's because this is a drastically different arrangement, and I happen to like it a lot. It's the only song in this series that I've included twice.

A few of the other songs here were actually Bacharach-David hits back in the 1960s, except that the cover versions I liked best weren't recorded until this era. Those songs are: "In Between the Heartaches," "Paper Mache," and "Here I Am."

Bacharach had another popular revival from 1996 to 1998, when he found Elvis Costello as a new songwriting partner. They wrote the song "God Give Me Strength" together for a movie. They were so happy with that that they did an entire album together in 1998. "Toledo," This House Is Empty Now," and "Painted from Memory" were originally done for that album, though this version of "Painted from Memory" is from a different album.

In conclusion, if you enjoy the musical style of Bacharach-David's songs in the 1960s and are not a fan of production techniques for radio hits from the 1980s onwards, this album is for you. Bacharach especially did write a lot of great songs in his later years. It's just that most of them were ruined by bad production and performances. Hopefully, I managed to find enough gems so that this album is as strong as the others in this series.

01 Arthur's Theme [Best That You Can Do] (Christopher Cross)
02 In Between the Heartaches (Phyllis Hyman)
03 [There's] Always Something There to Remind Me (Naked Eyes)
04 To All the Girls I've Loved Before (Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias)
05 God Give Me Strength (Kristen Vigard)
06 Toledo (Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach)
07 This House Is Empty Now (Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach)
08 Painted from Memory (Bill Frisell & Elvis Costello with Cassandra Wilson)
09 Paper Mache (Rita Calypso)
10 That's What Friends Are For (Trijntje Oosterhuis)
11 Here I Am (Kat Gang)
12 On My Own (Trijntje Oosterhuis)
13 The Last One to Be Loved (Rumer)

I had a heck of a time finding any good color photos of Bacharach and David together when they were young, but there are tons of those when they were old, mostly from awards shows and tributes. Here's one from 2000.