Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Oasis - Acquiesce - Non-Album Tracks (1995)

I just posted an Oasis stray tracks album that mostly collects their best 1994 B-sides. This is basically the same deal, except it's 1995 B-sides.

As I mentioned in that last post, the stray tracks Oasis did in the 1994 and 1995 era are some of the best songs they ever did. But just as I like their 1995 album "(What's the Story) Morning Glory" more than I like their 1994 album "Definitely Maybe," I like their 1995 stray tracks slightly better than their 1994 ones.

As it so happens, every single song here was officially released as a B-side in 1995. And that's remarkable, because so many songs deserved a better fate. That's especially true for the first song, "Acquiesce," which many consider one of the band's best songs. The band's main songwriter Noel Gallagher later admitted they messed up releasing so many excellent songs as B-sides in this time period. He said he assumed that the songs of that caliber would continue to come fast and furious for him. But unfortunately, they didn't.

The songs here make for a 44 minute-long album. If you like the band at all, you should have these songs.

01 Acquiesce (Oasis)
02 Talk Tonight (Oasis)
03 Headshrinker (Oasis)
04 It's Better People (Oasis)
05 Rockin' Chair (Oasis)
06 Step Out (Oasis)
07 Underneath the Sky (Oasis)
08 Round Are Way (Oasis)
09 The Swamp Song [Instrumental] (Oasis)
10 The Masterplan (Oasis)

For the album cover art, I found what looks like the cover to a single for the song "Acquiesce." However, that song never was released as an A-side. I think it was a promo single released around the time of "The Masterplan" compilation album, because the art is very similar to that. In any case, it works perfectly for me, and I didn't have to change a thing.

Oasis - Half the World Away - Non-Album Tracks (1994)

I've got a lot of Oasis material to post, especially acoustic stuff. But first, I want to chronologically go through their non-acoustic stray tracks. So here we go.

From about 1993 to 1996, Oasis was awesome. They put out their two best albums in my opinion, "Definitely Maybe" and "(What's the Story) Morning Glory." But seemingly everything they did during that time was golden. Unfortunately, they frittered away all sorts of really good songs as B-sides. Many of the best of these were later collected in the compilation "The Masterplan." However, in my opinion, that collection was incomplete. It was only one album's worth of songs when Oasis had two album's worth of high quality B-sides in that time period. So I've made those two albums.

Personally, if I were to pick the four best Oasis albums, it would be the two studio albums they did in that time period, plus the two stray tracks collections here. And I say that even though I like a lot of their later stuff. That's how strong their material was at that time.

All the songs here are B-sides, except for one A-side and one bonus track. Plus, the last song, "Talk Tonight," is kind of a bonus track in that it's a live acoustic version sung with Paul Weller. I'm including the studio version on the other stray tracks collection I'll be posting after this.

I think these songs would have made for a very strong album. The first song was even a major hit in Britain. The album length is 48 minutes, which would have been ideal for a real album.

01 Whatever (Oasis)
02 Fade Away (Oasis)
03 Listen Up (Oasis)
04 I Am the Walrus [Live] (Oasis)
05 D'Yer Wanna Be a Spaceman (Oasis)
06 [It's Good] To Be Free (Oasis)
07 Half the World Away (Oasis)
08 Sad Song (Oasis)
09 Take Me Away (Oasis)
10 Talk Tonight (Oasis with Paul Weller)

For the cover art, I used a photo of the band from 1994. I'm not sure if they really were in blue light with a red background or someone manipulated that, but I like how it looks. All I did was add the text at the top.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Robyn Hitchcock - No Way Out of Time - Non-Album Tracks (2004-2005)

Here is yet another in my long series of stray tracks albums for Robyn Hitchcock.

This one happens to be all acoustic... almost. The first song, a cover of the Gary Numan hit "Are 'Friends' Electric," is definitely a full band recording. But it's the only one. Everything else is in acoustic mode. I wasn't quite sure what to do in that situation. But that song belongs here, since it's a non-album track for the years in question. Maybe consider it kind of a bonus track, even though it starts the album.

There are all sorts of sources for these songs, for instance, A- and B-sides, various artists compilations, and in-person radio show appearances.

Two songs, "Madonna of the Wasps" and "Arms of Love," come from Hitchcock's album "Obliteration Pie," which I already posted as a 2003 album. That's generally true in that almost all of the songs on it were recorded in 2003, but actually the album was released in 2005, and the above-mentioned two songs were recorded that year. Both of them are acoustic revisions of much older songs by him.

Four songs are officially unreleased. But three of these are either studio outtakes or in-person radio appearances, so their sound quality is excellent. Only the very last song, "All Your Wicked Friends," comes from a bootleg of a concert. But that's a soundboard recording, and I've removed the audience noise to make it sound like another studio track.

I think all the songs are Hitchcock originals, with the exception of the Gary Numan cover mentioned above, plus "Be Here Now," which is a George Harrison song. 

Why Would Anybody Live Here" is a song by the Sadies that I presume they wrote, and they put it on their 2004 album. But for some reason they had Hitchcock do the lead vocals.

"Then the Night Comes Down" appears to be a Hitchcock original that seems like a work-in-progress. Still, it's worthy of inclusion, I think. It was taken from a radio show where there was someone else talking on a phone while the recording was going on! Luckily, I was able to clean up the recording so the talking on the phone is pretty much all gone. Also, the song abruptly ended during a repeat of the chorus. I patched in the rest of the chorus at the end to give it a proper conclusion. The title is just a guess.

01 Are 'Friends' Electric (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 No Way Out of Time (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Be Here Now (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 She Was You (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Crumble like Dust (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 W Sucks [But Rumsfeld Is the Antichrist] (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Good Times Rock 'n' Roll (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Why Would Anybody Live Here (Sadies with Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Madonna of the Wasps [New Acoustic Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Arms of Love [New Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 Self Loving Groover (Robyn Hitchcock)
12 All Your Wicked Friends (Robyn Hitchcock)
13 Then the Night Comes Down [Edit] (Robyn Hitchcock)

The cover art uses a portion of a painting done by Hitchcock. I only added in the text for the album title. I forget where I got it from exactly, because it's been a while.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

The Grateful Dead - Empty Pages - Non-Album Tracks (1971-1972)

A few weeks back, I posted an album I titled "Bird Song." It's the first of four albums I've made of the many original Grateful Dead songs around 1971 and 1972 that didn't get released on any studio album. This is the second album in that series. That time (roughly 1970 to 1973) was the peak of the band's songwriting and performance abilities, so all the songs here are excellent.

If you're a fan of the Grateful Dead, you'll probably recognize nearly all of the songs here. Most of them were on the popular live albums "Skull and Roses" and "Europe '72," though in a couple of cases I've chosen alternate versions. One song that is lesser known despite being a band original is "Empty Pages." It was written and sung by band member Ron "Pigpen" McKernan.

All the songs here were taken from officially released live albums - the band seemingly has hundreds from this time period. Thus, the sound quality is excellent. But I've tried to remove the audience cheering as much as possible, to create the impression that this is a studio album much like "Workingman's Dead" and "American Beauty." Actually, many of the live songs from "Europe '72" were tinkered with in the studio, for instance adding better backing vocals, so some of these are live/studio hybrids.

I've tried to be careful to make sure there's a typical mix of songs sung by band members Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and McKernan. I think I succeeded with that.

All the songs are originals, except I've allowed myself to include one cover song per album during this era. In this case, I've included "Me and My Uncle," which is so closely identified with the Dead that probably most people think it's one of theirs. (Strangely, it was written by John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas in 1964, but that band never recorded the song.)

01 Bertha (Grateful Dead)
02 Wharf Rat (Grateful Dead)
03 Me and My Uncle (Grateful Dead)
04 Loser (Grateful Dead)
05 Mr. Charlie (Grateful Dead)
06 Sugaree (Grateful Dead)
07 Empty Pages (Grateful Dead)
08 Jack Straw (Grateful Dead)

Around 1972, the band authorized an official guitar book of the band's songs. I had a copy for a while, and it was great because in addition to having the chords and music of lots of wonderful songs, it also had illustrations for each song, done by many of the same artists that did celebrated concert posters for the band. I made the cover art using one such illustration from the book (but with some rearranging). Then added the "Grateful Dead" text from elsewhere in the book, and added the "Empty Pages" text with the same font.

The Allman Brothers - Double Cross - Non-Album Tracks (1972)

So far, I've managed to compile at least one stray tracks album for each year of the Allman Brothers Band's classic era. Here's the next one, dealing with 1972.

The first five songs all come from the "super deluxe edition" of the "Brothers and Sisters" album. That album was released in mid-1973, but all of it was recorded in 1972. "I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town" is a cover song. "Early Morning Blues" is closely related to it. That song, in turn, morphed into "Jelly Jelly," which actually made the "Brothers and Sisters" album.

The other songs are generally covers too, though I think "Double Cross" and the instrumentals are originals.

As I've mentioned previously, the band didn't have a wide variety of songs they played in concert, and instead focused on long versions of songs with lots of variety in the soloing from performance to performance. But I did find a couple of rarities done in concert in 1972. The first is just called "Instrumental Jam" on bootlegs, since that's what it is. If anyone know of a better name, please let me know. The concert it comes from is an excellent soundboard, so the sound quality is great.

"Don't Lie to Me" features Elvin Bishop on vocals. So I've stuck it at the end as a quasi-bonus track, since it's not exactly the Allman Brothers Band. But note that Bishop sings a song ("Drunken Hearted Boy") on the expanded release of "At Fillmore West," so at least in that case Bishop on lead vocals was considered legit.

The good news is that "Brothers and Sisters" was a huge hit in 1973, making the band one of the biggest bands at the time. The bad news is the band couldn't deal with their fame and success. They barely scraped together one album in 1975 before breaking up for a few years. So this is the last stray tracks album I can make from the band's classic era.

01 I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town (Allman Brothers Band)
02 Double Cross (Allman Brothers Band)
03 A Minor Jam [Instrumental] (Allman Brothers Band)
04 Done Somebody Wrong (Allman Brothers Band)
05 Early Morning Blues (Allman Brothers Band)
06 Instrumental Jam (Allman Brothers Band)
07 Don't Lie to Me (Allman Brothers Band with Elvin Bishop)

The cover art photo is of the band in a 1972 concert in New York City.

The Raconteurs - Acoustic (2006-2008)

A while back, I posted a stray tracks album of the Raconteurs, covering the years of their first period together, 2006 to 2008. (In case you don't know, the band is mainly led by Jack White, formerly of the White Stripes, and Brendan Benson.) This album covers the same period, but consists just of acoustic versions of songs.

Nearly all the songs here are acoustic versions of songs from the Raconteurs albums in 2006 and 2008. But there are two exceptions: "It Ain't Easy," a song made famous by David Bowie, though it wasn't written by him, and a version of "The Seeker" done with the song's author, Pete Townshend of the Who.

The Raconteurs are a rocking band, so some of the versions here are fairly rocking too. Some of them have bass and drums. But they still use acoustic guitars, and there's a general acoustic feel, so I'm including them on this album anyway. Plus, this album is a good way to gather up all the various B-sides and other random tracks that I didn't include on my other Raconteurs album.

Everything on the album has been officially released, except for "The Seeker" and "Yellow Sun." But both of those were put on the Internet by official sources, so the sound quality is high all the way through.

01 Broken Boy Soldier [KCRW Session] (Raconteurs)
02 Blue Veins [KCRW Session] (Raconteurs)
03 It Ain't Easy [Live] (Raconteurs)
04 Steady, As She Goes [Acoustic Version] (Raconteurs)
05 The Seeker (Raconteurs & Pete Townshend)
06 Old Enough [Bluegrass Version] (Raconteurs with Ricky Skaggs & Ashley Monroe)
07 Carolina Drama [Acoustic Mix] (Raconteurs)
08 You Don't Understand Me [Acoustic Version] (Raconteurs)
09 Many Shades of Black [Acoustic Version] (Raconteurs)
10 Yellow Sun [Acoustic Version] (Raconteurs)

The album cover art uses a photo of the band playing at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. I picked this one because it prominently displays the band's leaders White and Benson playing acoustic guitars.

Friday, November 22, 2019

U2 - Rattle and Hum - Live (1987)

I just posted an album containing the studio tracks from "Rattle and Hum," U2's 1988 double album. As I explained there, "Rattle and Hum" was a mixture of live and studio tracks, and I feel it works better to split it into live and studio albums. As you can see, this is the live album.

There actually aren't that many live tracks on "Rattle and Hum," and it's fairly short for a double album. There are seven songs for a total of 30 minutes. And that's if you include "The Star Spangled Banner," which is a recording of Jimi Hendrix's famous version of that song, played at the start of a U2 concert.

However, there are a lot of other songs done live by U2 in 1987 and professionally recorded. Most of these are songs played in the "Rattle and Hum" movie but not included on the album. I've taken those eight songs from a DVD of the movie.

Furthermore, I've included seven more songs that are officially unreleased and weren't in the film, but still are soundboard recordings that sound as good as the other songs. I could have included many more, but all these extra songs were chosen because they're special in some way. Most of them are performances of rare cover songs: "People Get Ready," "Springhill Mining Disaster," "C'Mon Everybody," "Stand by Me," and "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)."

Also, there's the very first performance of "When Love Comes to Town," with B. B. King. This song would be included on the 1988 album, again with King. This was its only performance in 1987. It was included in the "Rattle and Hum" movie, but unfortunately only about two minutes made it, and some of that had some talking over the music. For this one song, I had to resort to a bootleg recording that sounds slightly less as good as the others, but it's still pretty good.

If you add up all the songs, you get one hour and thirty five minutes of music. That's the typical length of a live double album. As for the song order, I arranged them chronologically by the dates of the performances.

As I mentioned above, I think it makes way more sense to have the live and studio songs as separate albums. And because I've included a bunch of live rarities, hopefully this will still be interesting for the person who has heard hits like "Bad' and "Pride" a million times already.

01 The Star Spangled Banner [Recording] (Jimi Hendrix)
02 Bullet the Blue Sky (U2)
03 Christmas [Baby, Please Come Home] (U2)
04 Springhill Mining Disaster (U2)
05 People Get Ready (U2)
06 C'mon Everybody (U2)
07 Stand by Me (U2 & Bruce Springsteen)
08 I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (U2 & the New Voices of Freedom)
09 Spanish Eyes (U2)
10 Helter Skelter (U2)
11 Silver and Gold (U2)
12 Pride [In the Name of Love] (U2)
13 In God's Country (U2)
14 Exit - Gloria (U2)
15 Bad - Ruby Tuesday - Sympathy for the Devil (U2)
16 talk (U2)
17 Sunday Bloody Sunday (U2)
18 All Along the Watchtower (U2)
19 When Love Comes to Town (U2 & B. B. King)
20 Where the Streets Have No Name (U2)
21 MLK (U2)
22 With or Without You (U2)
23 Running to Stand Still (U2)

The album cover art is very similar to the official "Rattle and Hum" cover, but it's not the same. It uses the same main photo, but I found a version that's part of the band's promotional material for the movie that has some blue tinting. I don't know why it's slightly different like that, but I like it. I also added some letting. The larger "U2" comes from the same promo picture.

U2 - Rattle and Hum - Studio (1988)

This post needs some explanation for sure. In 1988, U2 released the album "Rattle and Hum." It was a double album that mixed live and studio tracks. It only got a moderate reception, in comparison to the rapturous reception of "The Joshua Tree" from the year before.

I think a large part of that is due to the mix of live and studio tracks. I guess U2 felt that needed to do that due to the album supporting the "Rattle and Hum" movie, which mostly consisted of live performances. But I think it works much better to put the studio songs together on one album and the live ones on another. So that's what I'm doing here.

This studio album is pretty straightforward. There are only a couple of minor issues. One, there was some crossfading from live to studio tracks, or vice versa, in a couple of instances. I edited those few seconds out. More importantly, I went with an edited version of the last song, "All I Want Is You." This is the officially done edit for the single. It cuts two instrumental minutes from the start of the song, and I feel the song is much stronger for it. I also chose to include "Freedom for My People," even though I'm puzzled why it's on the album at all. It's actually just a snippet of a song by a different group, Satan and Adam, that U2 liked enough to include on their album. Strange.

The album is a bit short for the era, at 39 and a half minutes. But in this case, I feel that less is more.

01 Van Diemen's Land (U2)
02 Desire (U2)
03 Hawkmoon 269 (U2)
04 Freedom for My People (Satan and Adam)
05 Angel of Harlem (U2)
06 Love Rescue Me (U2 with Bob Dylan)
07 When Love Comes to Town (U2 & B. B. King)
08 Heartland (U2)
09 God Part II (U2)
10 All I Want Is You [Edited Version] (U2)

Since the official cover for "Rattle and Hum" uses a concert photo, I decided to go in a different direction. I found this photo as part of U2's promotional material for the "Rattle and Hum" movie.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Pretenders - Angel of the Morning - Non-Album Tracks (1995-1999)

Here's the next in my series of stray tracks albums for the Pretenders. As with previous albums, there are a surprising number of such songs, and they're usually pretty good.

It helps that I'm including Chrissie Hynde "solo" songs. But in fact, by this time, there really is no difference between "the Pretenders" and Hynde's solo work, since the Pretenders had become pretty much Hynde plus a bunch of back-up musicians.

The last album in this series was made up nearly entirely of covers of well known songs. There are a lot of such songs this time around too (such as songs 2 through 6, and 9). But there are more songs that are either originals or at least more obscure covers. (To be honest, I'm not sure who wrote some of these; if anyone knows, please let me know and I'll add that info in.)

All but one of the songs were officially released, usually on movie soundtracks, various artists compilations, or bonus tracks. The one unreleased song, "Creep," comes from a TV show performance, so the sound quality is as good as the rest.

01 Blue Sun (Pretenders)
02 Angel of the Morning (Chrissie Hynde)
03 Everyday Is like Sunday (Pretenders)
04 Creep (Pretenders)
05 Live and Let Die (Chrissie Hynde)
06 Goin' Back (Pretenders)
07 Goodbye (Pretenders)
08 The Homecoming (Pretenders)
09 Baby, It's You - Message to Michael (Chrissie Hynde)
10 Morning Glory (Chrissie Hynde)
11 California (Pretenders)
12 Back Down (Pretenders)

The cover photo of Hynde comes from 1995. It was in black and white and I had plenty of other options in color. But I really liked this one, so I colorized it and used it.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Velvet Underground - Temptation Inside Your Heart - Non-Album Tracks (1967-1968)

Here's the second of my stray tracks collections for the Velvet Underground. This deals with the tail end of Nico's involvement in the band, as well as the remaining time for John Cale.

Nico is only on the first two songs. They're from her 1967 solo album "Chelsea Girls." About half of the songs on that album were actually performed with all of the Velvet Underground: these two songs, plus a few more that I put at the end of the previous stray tracks album.

A couple of songs here - "Stephanie Says" and "Temptation Inside Your Heart" - appeared on the acclaimed collection "VU." That collection is generally seen as the band's "lost 1969 album." But in fact, these two songs are from February 1968, before the "White Light/White Heat" album was released, so they belong here.

There are two officially released versions of the song "Hey Mr. Rain." But personally I don't see a big difference between the two songs, and I don't think it's a stellar song in the first place, so I've only included one version.

01 Chelsea Girls (Nico & the Velvet Underground)
02 It Was a Pleasure Then (Nico & the Velvet Underground)
03 Guess I'm Falling in Love [Edit] (Velvet Underground)
04 Booker T. [Instrumental] (Velvet Underground)
05 I'm Not a Young Man Anymore (Velvet Underground)
06 Stephanie Says (Velvet Underground)
07 Temptation Inside Your Heart (Velvet Underground)
08 Hey Mr. Rain [Version One] (Velvet Underground)

The album cover art comes from a 1968 concert poster. Or at least it might be. I'm not sure if it's a "real" poster from that year, or if it's something made years later. It has Andy Warhol in the photo, and of course he was only "producing" the band, not actually in it. And the photo also has Nico in it, and she was long gone by 1968. But in any case, I think it's really nice artwork. I changed the color of the band name to make it stick out.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Steve Miller Band - Acoustic (1972-1974)

Yesterday, I was listening to "Welcome to the Vault," the new box set by the Steve Miller Band. It's a mixed bad, like most box set, but it has some nice stuff on it. Anyway, I was particularly struck by two solo acoustic versions of songs, "Kow Kow Calculator" and "Seasons," both recorded in 1973. If you've been closely following this blog, you've probably noticed that I have a particular love of acoustic guitar music. So hearing those songs made me wonder if there was more acoustic goodness where that came from.

It turns out there was. Miller has never done a fully "unplugged" album or concert, at least as far as I know. But he has flirted with the format from time to time, especially in the early 1970s. I got lucky and found two soundboard bootlegs of Miller concerts, one from 1972 and the other from 1974. Both of them had acoustic sections, and I've used those for the majority of this album.

The 1972 concert makes up the first six tracks. On some of the songs, Miller is accompanied by bass, bongo drums, and/or backing vocals, but thing definitely stay acoustic. The first song probably has the worst sound quality of all the songs here, due to some wobbling in the volume. I tried to fix it as best I could. But even the "worst" still sounds very good.

The seventh song, a medley of "Blues with a Feeling" and "Call It Stormy Monday," needs some special explanation. Miller was doing some concerts in the Netherlands at the time, and a reporter found him at the bar of a hotel. The bar was still under construction, and from the recording, it appears the only people there were a handful of hotel employees and construction workers. The reporter had a tape recorder and recorded Miller singing a few songs with his acoustic guitar. I only included the one medley, because the others were mostly Miller talking and joking with the few other people there, while occasionally stopping and starting songs. Even on this medley, you'll notice him changing the lyrics and making comments in the middle of the song as part of his interaction with the extremely tiny audience.

After that comes the two "Welcome to the Vault" songs I mentioned above. They are the only officially released songs on the album.

The last six songs are from the 1974 concert I also mentioned above. As with the songs from the 1972 show, I removed the audience noise as much as possible, so they'd fit in with the studio tracks.

Miller is best known for his many hits in the mid-1970s. But while those are deservedly popular, I actually prefer his albums from the late 1960s and early 1970s. (Those years seem to be a common theme at this blog!) If you give this album a listen, maybe you'll see how good he was before all those hits. That said, one clear highlight here is the solo acoustic version of his number one hit, "The Joker."

When I started looking for acoustic Miller songs yesterday, I didn't know how much I'd find. I ended up coming with 45 minutes of music, which makes for a nice album length.

01 Going to the Country (Steve Miller Band)
02 The Sun Is Going Down (Steve Miller Band)
03 Journey from Eden (Steve Miller Band)
04 Motherless Children (Steve Miller Band)
05 Nothing Lasts (Steve Miller Band)
06 High On You Mama (Steve Miller Band)
07 Blues with a Feeling - Call It Stormy Monday (Steve Miller Band)
08 Kow Kow Calculator [Acoustic Version] (Steve Miller Band)
09 Seasons [Acoustic Version] (Steve Miller Band)
10 Rock Love (Steve Miller Band)
11 Come On in My Kitchen (Steve Miller Band)
12 Going to Mexico (Steve Miller Band)
13 I Love You (Steve Miller Band)
14 Dear Mary (Steve Miller Band)
15 The Joker (Steve Miller Band)

The cover art photo comes from a 1974 TV performance.

Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood - MTV Unplugged, Universal Studios, Los Angeles, CA, 2-5-1993 (Unplugged... and Seated)

First off, I have to say that it's very fashionable these days to knock Rod Stewart. For most of his career, there's been a conflict between his flamboyant showman side and his serious musical side. I'm not a huge Stewart fan, but I do enjoy his serious musical style, especially his heyday of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Even after that heyday, his long career has had a lot of highlights. It's just that you have to sort through the many lowlights, especially a lot of bad production choices. One definite highlight was his appearance on MTV's "Unplugged" TV show in 1993. He released an album of this show, which he called "Unplugged... and Seated." It was a big seller.

Normally, I don't want to release an album that's publicly available, so long as it's not in need of a lot of fixing, because I don't want to take royalty money away from the artists. But in this case, the album needed a heck of a lot of fixing. The problem is what was NOT included. Stewart played 21 songs in that concert, but the original CD only included 15. A later "collector's edition" included two more. A DVD version came out with 19.

I've managed to include all 21 of the songs here, including the two totally unreleased ones, "Sweet Little Rock and Roller" and "It's All Over Now." I found "Sweet Little Rock and Roller" from a bootleg. When I first posted this, I didn't have "It's All Over Now." But within 24 hours, a person named Will sent me the missing file (which was an obscure B-side). Thanks! I immediately updated things to include it. 

Putting this together has been a serious pain in the rear. It wasn't just a matter of finding the extra songs and adding them in, because it turns out the official CD also left out nearly all of the between song banter. I had to track down the DVD version, then convert that to an audio format I could tinker with. But I couldn't just use the DVD version of the audio as my main source, because they often made drastic cuts between songs, fading out and fading back in, and missing some things. So instead, I had to copy and paste out the between song banter and fit that into what was mainly the CD version.

But there turned out to be additional complications. Both the CD and DVD versions changed the song orders. I was able to find the correct set list and reorder the songs. However, it turned out that both the CD and DVD versions manipulated the audio between the songs too. So, for instance, there might be lots of audience clapping over the start of a particular song, when another version showed the audience actually was quiet when that song began. Or some between song banter was moved to another song, since the song order was all jumbled up anyway.

Putting this together in the right order was like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I'm glad to say that I think I've worked it all out, as best I could. I was able to use bootleg versions of portions of the concert to make sure of what went where, especially when it came to the dialogue. But there are some pieces that are still missing. For instance, It seems that Stewart talked between every song. But a few of those talking bits weren't included on the DVD, and I wasn't able to get them from bootleg versions either. Still, I'd guess I was able to restore at least 80 percent of the dialogue. I think it makes the concert more enjoyable, especially the warm banter between Stewart and Ronnie Wood.

The original CD was 70 minutes long. Between the extra songs and the talking, I increased the length of the album by another 35 minutes. That's why I think the difference is enough to warrant the album being posted here.

In terms of musical content, this is kind of an ideal Rod Stewart set list for me. Although the concert was far from a true simple acoustic performance, he basically ignored his cheesy late 1970s and 1980s hits and focused on his best songs. Even the newer songs he included are well chosen. And note that he's not just a talented raspy singer; he wrote or co-wrote 11 of the 20 songs here, including most of the big hits.

01 Hot Legs (Rod Stewart)
02 talk (Rod Stewart)
03 Tonight's the Night [Gonna Be Alright] (Rod Stewart)
04 talk (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
05 Cut Across Shorty (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
06 talk (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
07 Reason to Believe (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
08 It's All Over Now (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
09 talk (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
10 Every Picture Tells a Story (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
11 talk (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
12 Maggie May (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
13 People Get Ready (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
14 talk (Rod Stewart)
15 Handbags and Gladrags (Rod Stewart)
16 talk (Rod Stewart)
17 The Killing of Georgie [Part I and II] (Rod Stewart)
18 talk (Rod Stewart)
19 Have I Told You Lately (Rod Stewart)
20 talk (Rod Stewart)
21 Tom Traubert's Blues [Waltzing Matilda] (Rod Stewart)
22 Forever Young (Rod Stewart)
23 The First Cut Is the Deepest (Rod Stewart)
24 talk (Rod Stewart)
25 I Was Only Joking (Rod Stewart)
26 talk (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
27 Gasoline Alley (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
28 Highgate Shuffle (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
29 talk (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
30 Sweet Little Rock and Roller (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
31 talk (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
32 Mandolin Wind (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
33 talk (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
34 Stay with Me (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
35 talk (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
36 Having a Party (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)
37 talk (Rod Stewart with Ronnie Wood)

For the album cover art, I used the exact same photo as on the cover of the "Unplugged... and Seated" CD and DVD. I also used the same font, and text colors, and all lower case style. But I made some changes too, such as enlarging the photo, writing my own text, and changing the text placement.

Various Artists - Covered: Chuck Berry, Alternates: 1963-1999

Here's something that's a fun extra. I highly doubt I'm going to do this for any other artist in my "Covered" series, but it somehow seems fitting here.

In putting together my three albums of songs written by Chuck Berry, I searched the Internet and found a surprising number of "best Chuck Berry covers of all time" lists, and I used those to point me to the best versions. The only problem is, there are simply too many excellent versions of the same songs. In my cases, it was a flip of a coin type thing to decide which version to use. Over time, I developed a folder of "almosts." When I was all done, I took another look at that folder, and realized those songs would make for a very good album all by itself. So here it is.

Even with this album, I tried to stick to my general rule of not including more than one song by the same artist. Most of these artists had a song on the other three Berry albums, but in this case I mean not putting more than one song by the same artist on this album. I was able to stick to that for every artist except one: the Rolling Stones.

Some artists are so heavily influenced by Berry that you could put together an entire album just of that one band doing covers of his songs. The Stones are one such band. I think they've done about 15 of his songs, if you include unreleased live performances and the like. There's a similar number for the Beatles. Pretty much all the Stones and Beatles versions are great, as you'd expect by such great bands. So my apologies for not including more by both bands.

Oh, one last point I forgot to mention on my posts for any of the other albums. A few songs people closely associate with Berry weren't actually written by him. Probably the most obvious case of this is "Run Rudolph Run." Berry was the first to record it, but it wasn't written by him, so it doesn't fit into this series. There are a couple other cases like that, such as "Don't You Lie to Me" and "My Ding-a-Ling."

By the way, the Georgia Satellites and Tom Petty versions here are officially unreleased, I believe, but their sound quality is still high.

If you know of any really great Berry covers that I missed, please let me know. If they're really great, I could always update the song list, at least for this album.

01 Come On (Rolling Stones)
02 Roll Over Beethoven (Beatles)
03 Around and Around (Animals)
04 Too Much Monkey Business (Elvis Presley)
05 You Can't Catch Me (Love Sculpture)
06 Little Queenie (Rolling Stones)
07 Carol (Doors)
08 Johnny B. Goode (Johnny Winter)
09 Promised Land (Grateful Dead)
10 Maybelline (Ted Nugent & the Amboy Dukes)
11 You Never Can Tell (Ronnie Lane)
12 Sweet Little Sixteen (John Lennon)
13 Nadine [Is It You] (Stan Ridgway)
14 School Day [Ring Ring Goes the Bell] (Georgia Satellites)
15 Bye Bye Johnny (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)
16 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Paul McCartney)
17 Hellbound Train [Downbound Train] (George Thorogood)

The cover art photo comes from 1989. Berry is doing his classic "duck walk."

Various Artists - Covered: Chuck Berry, Volume 3: 1977-2017

This is the third and last of my "Covered" albums highlighting the songwriting of Chuck Berry.

I've said pretty much all I wanted to say with my post for the first album. I'll just add some comments relevant to this album.

One problem with Berry's own recordings is that there isn't a lot of variety from song to song. He had a successful formula and he stuck with it. It was rare when he would vary things up with a slow blues or a country song or the like. But one nice thing about listening to covers of his songs is that you naturally get more variety.

That's especially true on this album. It seems that as the years passed and straight rock and roll fractured into more sub-varieties, covers of Berry songs became less common, but also more adventurous.

Perhaps the best song to exemplify this is Peter Tosh's reggae version of "Johnny B. Goode." This is one of my favorite cover versions of all time. It takes the song to a totally different place, yet remains true to the spirit of the original. I said in a previous post that the only song I included two versions of was "Johnny B. Goode," mostly because this version is so very different. (I also included Jimi Hendrix's version on the second album.)

By the way, the Joe Jackson and Larkin Poe versions are officially unreleased. But in terms of sound quality, I think they sound as good as the rest.

01 [You Can Never Tell] C'Est La Vie (Emmylou Harris)
02 Tulane (Steve Gibbons Band)
03 It's My Own Business (Dave Edmunds)
04 Back in the U.S.A. (Linda Ronstadt)
05 Come On (Joe Jackson)
06 Oh What a Thrill (Rockpile)
07 Johnny B. Goode (Peter Tosh)
08 Havana Moon (Santana)
09 Wee Wee Hours (Eric Clapton)
10 13 Question Method (Ry Cooder)
11 Move It (George Thorogood)
12 Little Queenie (Bruce Springsteen)
13 No Particular Place to Go (Larkin Poe)

The cover art photo dates to 1984.

Various Artists - Covered: Chuck Berry, Volume 2: 1970-1976

Here's the second of three albums in the "Covered" series celebrating the songwriting of Chuck Berry.

I said most of what I wanted to say in my last post, for the first album of the three. I'll only add what's particular to this album.

Berry started having lots of hits in 1955, the year rock and roll went mainstream. But his songs didn't get covered that much until about 1963 and 1964, which was the start of the British Invasion. I think it's safe to say the number of Berry covers peaked in the first half of the 1970s, as the rockers who grew up on Berry's music were their most popular, and before disco and punk shifted musical directions later in the 1970s.

Thus, I had way too many songs to choose from to make this particular album. I tried to include at least one song from each artist who were heavily influenced by Berry. For instance, I'm not much of a Status Quo fan, but they covered Berry as much or more than anybody, so I included a song by them.

Other versions were included many to make sure I had a cover for each of Berry's thirty of song best known and most frequently covered songs. For example, I'm not a big fan of AC/DC's version of "School Day," but the song was too important not to include, and I liked that version better than any other I could find.

Stephen Stills' version of "You Can't Catch Me" comes from his 1975 live album. It actually is part of a medley with the song "Crossroads." But I edited it out of the medley so the focus would remain on nothing but Berry songs.

01 Johnny B. Goode (Jimi Hendrix)
02 Memphis (Faces)
03 Around and Around (David Bowie)
04 I'm Talking about You (Rick Nelson)
05 Let It Rock (Bob Seger)
06 Roll Over Beethoven (Electric Light Orchestra)
07 Promised Land (Elvis Presley)
08 Back to Memphis (Band)
09 Sweet Little Rock and Roller (Rod Stewart)
10 You Can't Catch Me (Stephen Stills)
11 Bye Bye Johnny (Status Quo)
12 School Day [Ring Ring Goes the Bell] (AC-DC)
13 Jaguar and Thunderbird (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)

I don't know where or when the photo I chose for the cover art comes from exactly. But the source where I found it claims it's from some time in the 1970s.

Various Artists - Covered: Chuck Berry, Volume 1: 1959-1969

Here's the next in my "Covered" series, focusing on the most successful songwriters of all time. This time, I'm looking at Chuck Berry.

Berry's influence can't be overstated. Here's a couple of telling quotes. John Lennon once said, "If you had to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry.'" And Stevie Wonder said, "There's only one true king of rock and roll. His name is Chuck Berry."

Berry had a long successful career as a performer, scoring many hits on his own. But his role as a songwriter was arguably more important. Starting in 1955, the same year rock and roll broke big, he specialized in wordy, literate, and clever lyrics. He raised the bar for rock and roll songwriting,  and served a model as one of the few major stars of the time who wrote their own songs.

If you want to know more about Berry and his life, here's his Wikipedia entry:

Not a lot of other artists had big hits with Berry's songs, relatively speaking, probably because Berry almost always had his own hits with them. But it seems that any musician who ever got into rock and roll covered Berry's songs. So my challenge this time around wasn't to compile lots of hit versions (as I did some other artists in the "Covered" series) so much as it was to compile the best and most interesting versions out of hundreds and hundreds of covers by well known artists. I've found enough material to make three albums.

As usual with this "Covered" series, I've forced myself to only include one version of each song. However, I've made an exception this time by including two very different versions of "Johnny B. Goode," as you'll see with later albums.

I've also tried hard to limit each artist to only one song, to spread the musical wealth around. But, I made two exceptions, both on this album: the Beatles and the Yardbirds. For the Beatles, I considered it a must to include their version of "Rock and Roll Music," which they nailed. But I also included their version of "I Got to Find My Baby," since they're pretty much the only artist to ever cover that rare but good Berry song. With the Yardbirds, their version of "Too Much Monkey Business" is widely seen as a classic, and it's my favorite for that song. But I felt I couldn't miss "Jeff's Boogie" as well. This later instrumental is supposedly a Yardbirds original, but in fact it's a note for note copy of a song by Berry called "Guitar Boogie."So I've added "Guitar Boogie" to the song subtitle.

Speaking of stealing songwriting credits, the first song here, "Forty Days" by Ronnie Hawkins, needs some explanation. This very clearly is a version of Berry's song "Thirty Days," with only the title changed. So why 40 days instead of 30?! It seems that Hawkins thought he could claim the songwriting credit simply by changing the title. But that didn't work and he ended up having to pay royalties to Berry. I've put "Thirty Days" in as a subtitle to make clear what the song title really should have been.

But that's not the last songwriting credit controversy here. I've included the Beach Boys' "Surfin' U.S.A." That may seem strange to you unless you know that song is just Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" with new lyrics. At first, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys tried to take full credit for writing the song, but a deal was made to give half the credit to Berry. Wilson later freely admitted that he just rewrote the Berry song.

I listened to a ton of Berry covers in putting these albums together. That enabled me to select some obscure covers, as well as choosing some obscure Berry songs. For this album in particular, some garage bands did some lively, punky versions that deserve more attention.

By the way, each of the three Berry albums I've put together are about 50 minutes long.

01 Forty Days [Thirty Days] (Ronnie Hawkins)
02 Sweet Little Sixteen (Jerry Lee Lewis)
03 I Got to Find My Baby (Beatles)
04 Brown Eyed Handsome Man (Buddy Holly)
05 Downbound Train (Hoyt Axton)
06 Surfin' U.S.A. (Beach Boys)
07 Too Much Monkey Business (Yardbirds)
08 Maybellene (Johnny Rivers)
09 Beautiful Delilah (Kinks)
10 Carol (Rolling Stones)
11 Rock and Roll Music (Beatles)
12 Oh Baby Doll (Pretty Things)
13 How You've Changed (Animals)
14 Reelin' and Rockin' (Dave Clark Five)
15 I Want to Be Your Driver (Blues Project)
16 Almost Grown (Lovin' Spoonful)
17 Jeff's Boogie [Guitar Boogie] (Yardbirds)
18 Nadine [Is That You] (Smokestack Lightnin')
19 No Money Down (Duane Allman)

For the album cover, I went with a photo of Berry from 1964.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Norah Jones - Strangers - Non-Album Tracks (2009)

I must sound like a broken record by now when it comes to Norah Jones. So I'll try to summarize my feelings as quickly as possible. Don't judge Jones by her "adult contemporary" hits and albums. She has a much more interesting alternate career with her non-album material, where she takes more risks and shows more variety. Plus, she generally applies her sultry voice to great songs written by others instead of just okay songs that she writes herself.

If you've been following my other Jones stray track album posts, this is more of the same. She does covers of songs made famous by Ray Charles, the Kinks, Wilco, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, and more. Most of the songs are bonus tracks, B-sides, or are from various artists compilations, or are duets on other artists' albums.

Three of the songs are officially unreleased, from concerts. However, the sound quality of those are high enough that I don't think you'll be able to tell from hearing which ones they are. Actually, a bunch of songs here are live versions, but I've removed the audience cheering to make them all sound like studio tracks.

Note that I made some major changes to a cover of the Ray Charles classic "What I'd Say." This version featured lead vocals from Jones, Willie Nelson, and Wynton Marsalis. That meant Jones didn't sing a big percentage of the lines. So I cut out Marsalis's vocals, but otherwise kept all the other parts. This turned the song into a more typical duet, instead of a... "three-et"?

By the way, Jones is a huge fan of Willie Nelson and his music, and he really likes her too. They've done lots of duets over the years. This is especially the case for this album, with no less than five Jones and Nelson duets!

"Skylark" is a bonus track because the sound quality wasn't quite good enough.

This album is 43 minutes long.

01 That's What I Said (Norah Jones)
02 You Are My Sunshine (Willie Nelson, Wynton Marsalis & Norah Jones)
03 Turn Around (Puss N Boots featuring Norah Jones)
04 Her Red Shoes (Norah Jones)
05 What'd I Say [Edit] (Willie Nelson & Norah Jones with Wynton Marsalis)
06 You Don't Know Me (Norah Jones with Wynton Marsalis)
07 Makin' Whoopee (Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis with Norah Jones)
08 Come Rain or Come Shine (Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis with Norah Jones)
09 Strangers (Norah Jones)
10 Jesus, etc. (Norah Jones)
11 Can't Stop (Norah Jones)

Skylark (Rufus Wainwright & Norah Jones)

The only problem in making the cover art for Norah Jones albums is which photo to use, because she looks so good in every single one! This one is from 2009.

The Pretty Things - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1964-1967

I've posted a bunch of stray tracks albums by the Pretty Things. In short, this band is way underappreciated, in part because so much of their best music didn't make it onto their albums. There's no live album or even concert bootleg from their 1960s prime. But luckily, they did leave behind a lot of BBC recordings. So here's the first of three albums of their BBC material from the 1960s and early 1970s.

There have been a few good official BBC collections released over the years. The most recent one is four discs long. So most of the songs here come from such official sources. That said, my version differs in two important respects. For one, if a song wasn't officially released at all and the best known version comes from a BBC performance, I put that on one of my stray tracks albums, and not here. I generally try to avoid duplication like that. Secondly, I've added some live versions of songs that weren't performed on the BBC. There aren't a lot of good live recordings of the band in the 1960s, but there are a few.

I've included five live songs on this album. I have to admit that the sound quality of all five is a notch below the BBC recordings. But they're still more than worthy of inclusion.  All five come from TV performances, so these are hardly dodgy audience recorded bootlegs.

By the way, fun fact: two songs here, "The Moon Is Rising" and "You Don't Love Me" come from a festival that was shown live on Dutch TV. The Pretty Things looked and behaved so outrageously that the TV station was deluged by people phoning in complaints, causing the station to cut away from the performance. By today's standards, it's hard to see what the problem was. But in 1964 and 1965, the Pretty Things looked and sounded more outrageous than virtually any other band, such as the Rolling Stones. For instance, look at the 1964 cover art and note how long lead singer Phil May's hair was, even compared to the Beatles' "mop tops" and the hair of other such bands.

I don't know why I included "Edit" in the title for the song "L.S.D." It's been a while since I edited these songs, so I don't remember. But since they're BBC recordings, I'm guessing I edited that song and some others in order to cut out the annoying BBC DJs talking over the starts and ends of songs.

01 Big Boss Man (Pretty Things)
02 Don't Bring Me Down (Pretty Things)
03 Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut (Pretty Things)
04 Roadrunner (Pretty Things)
05 Big City (Pretty Things)
06 The Moon Is Rising (Pretty Things)
07 You Don't Love Me (Pretty Things)
08 Raining in My Heart (Pretty Things)
09 Sitting All Alone (Pretty Things)
10 Midnight to Six Man (Pretty Things)
11 Buzz the Jerk (Pretty Things)
12 L.S.D. [Edit] (Pretty Things)
13 Children (Pretty Things)
14 Reincarnation (Pretty Things)
15 Defecting Grey (Pretty Things)
16 Walking through My Dreams (Pretty Things)

The cover art dates from 1964. Obviously, the band must have been making a TV appearance, but I don't know which show they were on.

Richard Thompson - The Bottom Line, New York City, 3-4-1992, Late Show

I just posted the first three of four albums of Richard Thompson's two nights of concerts at the Bottom Line, in New York City on March 3rd and 4th, 1992. This is the fourth and final one. I already explained the basics in my post about the first album, so please refer to that for general information about all four of these albums. But, in short, these albums are as good as it gets when it comes to Thompson playing acoustic in concert.

As I mentioned in that first post, I didn't include some songs if they either were duplicates of songs played in one of the other shows in those two nights, or if he tried a song he didn't really know and fell on his face doing so. For this show, the songs I didn't include were "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" and "Wall of Death." So, if you look over all four albums, there are only a very small number of duplicates or songs I otherwise didn't include.

This album is an hour and 16 minutes long.

01 talk (Richard Thompson)
02 When the Spell Is Broken (Richard Thompson)
03 talk (Richard Thompson)
04 Nobody's Wedding (Richard Thompson)
05 talk (Richard Thompson)
06 Al Bowlly's in Heaven (Richard Thompson)
07 talk (Richard Thompson)
08 Withered and Died (Richard Thompson)
09 talk (Richard Thompson)
10 Mystery Train (Richard Thompson)
11 Can't Help Falling in Love - You'll Never Walk Alone (Richard Thompson)
12 talk (Richard Thompson)
13 Tears of Rage - Desolation Row - Just like Tom Thumb's Blues - It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Richard Thompson)
14 talk (Richard Thompson)
15 Rainbow Over the Hill (Richard Thompson)
16 talk (Richard Thompson)
17 Jet Plane in a Rocking Chair (Richard Thompson)
18 talk (Richard Thompson)
19 Now Be Thankful (Richard Thompson)
20 talk (Richard Thompson)
21 Night Comes In (Richard Thompson)
22 talk (Richard Thompson)
23 God Save the Queen (Richard Thompson)
24 talk (Richard Thompson)
25 Shine On Love - Smiffy's Glass Eye (Richard Thompson)
26 talk (Richard Thompson)
27 Pharaoh (Richard Thompson)
28 talk (Richard Thompson)
29 I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (Richard Thompson)
30 talk (Richard Thompson)
31 Valerie (Richard Thompson)
32 I Feel So Good (Richard Thompson)

For the album cover, I used another photo of Thompson in concert in 1991, since I couldn't find good ones of him from 1992. Out of the four photos I used for this album series, I believe they come from three different concerts. But he generally looks the same with the same cap and so forth, so my hope is they all look as if they come from the same source.

Richard Thompson - The Bottom Line, New York City, 3-4-1992, Early Show

I just posted the first two of four albums of Richard Thompson's two nights of concerts at the Bottom Line, in New York City on March 3rd and 4th, 1992. This is the third one. I already explained the basics in my post about the first album, so please refer to that for general information about all four of these albums. But, in short, these albums are as good as it gets when it comes to Thompson playing acoustic in concert.

As I mentioned in that first post, I didn't include some songs if they either were duplicates of songs played in one of the other shows in those two nights, or if he tried a song he didn't really know and fell on his face doing so. For this show, that means I didn't include versions of "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," "I Feel So Good," "Meet on the Ledge," and "How Will I Ever Be Simple Again." In all those cases, it's because he played them elsewhere in these four shows, and I included one of those other versions.

This album is an hour and five minutes long.

01 talk (Richard Thompson)
02 Hokey Pokey [The Ice Cream Song] (Richard Thompson)
03 talk (Richard Thompson)
04 Shoot Out the Lights (Richard Thompson)
05 talk (Richard Thompson)
06 Why Must I Plead (Richard Thompson)
07 talk (Richard Thompson)
08 Crash the Party (Richard Thompson)
09 talk (Richard Thompson)
10 Sloth (Richard Thompson)
11 talk (Richard Thompson)
12 Bring It On Home to Me (Richard Thompson)
13 talk (Richard Thompson)
14 God Loves a Drunk (Richard Thompson)
15 talk (Richard Thompson)
16 Long Black Veil (Richard Thompson)
17 talk (Richard Thompson)
18 Can't Win (Richard Thompson)
19 talk (Richard Thompson)
20 Substitute (Richard Thompson)
21 talk (Richard Thompson)
22 Surfin' U.S.A. (Richard Thompson)
23 talk (Richard Thompson)
24 Killerman Gold Posse (Richard Thompson)
25 talk (Richard Thompson)
26 The Great Valerio (Richard Thompson)
27 talk (Richard Thompson)
28 I Ride in Your Slipstream (Richard Thompson)

For the album cover, I used another photo of Thompson in concert in 1991, since I couldn't find good ones of him from 1992.

Richard Thompson - The Bottom Line, New York City, 3-3-1992, Late Show

I just posted the first of four albums of Richard Thompson's two nights of concerts at the Bottom Line, in New York City on March 3rd and 4th, 1992. This is the second. I already explained the basics in my last post, so please refer to that for general information about all four of these albums. But, in short, these albums are as good as it gets when it comes to Thompson playing acoustic in concert.

As I mentioned in that last post, I didn't include some songs if they either were duplicates of songs played in one of the other shows in those two nights, or if he tried a song he didn't really know and fell on his face doing so. For this album, I didn't include versions of "King of America," "I'll Regret It All in the Morning," and "Time Has Told Me." All of those were literally only a fraction of a minute long before he gave up, so you're not missing anything. I also didn't include "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" and "I Ride in Your Slipstream" because I included better versions on different shows in this four album series.

This album is one hour and 19 minutes long.

Oh, by the way, there's one thing I forgot to mention in that last post. There are three songs from these shows that I've included on a stray tracks album I made called "Now That I Am Dead," since they are songs he didn't put on record, and I couldn't find versions from any other concerts. Those three songs are: "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)," "Gonna Back Up Baby," and "Rainbow Over the Hill." The first one comes from this album.

01 talk (Richard Thompson)
02 Loch Lomond (Richard Thompson)
03 talk (Richard Thompson)
04 Turning of the Tide (Richard Thompson)
05 talk (Richard Thompson)
06 Read about Love (Richard Thompson)
07 talk (Richard Thompson)
08 Don't Tempt Me (Richard Thompson)
09 talk (Richard Thompson)
10 When I Get to the Border (Richard Thompson)
11 talk (Richard Thompson)
12 Love Minus Zero-No Limit (Richard Thompson)
13 talk (Richard Thompson)
14 Streets of Paradise (Richard Thompson)
15 talk (Richard Thompson)
16 Reckless Kind (Richard Thompson)
17 talk (Richard Thompson)
18 The Angels Took My Racehorse Away (Richard Thompson)
19 talk (Richard Thompson)
20 Did She Jump or Was She Pushed (Richard Thompson)
21 Devonside (Richard Thompson)
22 talk (Richard Thompson)
23 Gonna Back Up Baby - Be-Bop-A-Lula (Richard Thompson)
24 talk (Richard Thompson)
25 Walking on a Wire (Richard Thompson)
26 talk (Richard Thompson)
27 I'll Regret It All in the Morning (Richard Thompson)
28 talk (Richard Thompson)
29 Rave On (Richard Thompson)
30 talk (Richard Thompson)
31 The Sun Never Shines on the Poor (Richard Thompson)
32 talk (Richard Thompson)
33 Jambalaya [On the Bayou] (Richard Thompson)
34 talk (Richard Thompson)
35 Willy O' Winsbury (Richard Thompson)
36 talk (Richard Thompson)
37 A Heart Needs a Home (Richard Thompson)
38 talk (Richard Thompson)
39 Meet on the Ledge (Richard Thompson)
40 talk (Richard Thompson)
41 How Will I Ever Be Simple Again (Richard Thompson)

For the album cover, I used another photo of Thompson in concert in 1991, since I couldn't find good ones of him from 1992.

Richard Thompson - The Bottom Line, New York City, 3-3-1992, Early Show

This is the first of four albums I've made that what I think is the best live acoustic concerts of Richard Thompson. I've made one album each of the early and late shows at the Bottom Line in New York City on March 3rd and 4th, 1992. This is top notch stuff all the way, with perfect sound quality.

One thing that makes these shows special is the fact that they were all-request shows. Apparently, they were the very first concerts he did in that format, though it was one he would return to from time to time. The set lists are excellent, with Thompson stretching himself and doing all sorts of rare covers and originals. Also, in my opinion, Thompson has been a great songwriter from the start of his career until the present day, but he was probably at his all-time peak at this time, having released arguably his best solo record, "Rumor and Sigh," the year before. Additionally, he was very chatty and amusing with his between song banter. Oh, and did I mention the flawless soundboard sound quality?

These shows have been well known and loved by Thompson fans for a long time. But if I can be immodest, I've made some changes to make them even better. How can that be, you might ask? It's mostly a matter of volume adjustment. One downside to a great soundboard bootleg such as this one is that oftentimes it records what's happening on stage flawlessly, but records very little of the audience. That was the case here. At the end of each song, the volume of the audience cheering was extremely low, making it sound as if Thompson was playing to an audience of ten people.

So the first change I made is that I drastically increased the volume of the crowd reaction after each song, until it was in line with what you'd expect. This was often tricky, because Thompson frequently noodled on his guitar or make some comments while the crowd was still cheering. The recording picked up what was happening on stage so much more than the crowd that these noises would totally drown out the crowd. Thus, I often had to lower the guitar noodling or comment during the clapping, and then patch in some more clapping from the end of another song. It sounds complicated, but the bottom line is you hear the cheering, the guitar noodling, and/or the comments all at expected volumes, instead of some aspects being too loud or two quiet.

I also did a lot of volume manipulation with his comments between songs. Since this was his first all request show, he had an unusual amount of banter, as he typically picked a song title out of a bucket of audience requests and had some back and forth with the audience about that. That's all fine, but sometimes his voice was too loud or too quiet. For instance, there were many times he spoke with his head away from the microphone, for instance presumably while he was leaning over to pick the next song title out of the bucket. So I had to drastically increase the volume in those instances. It was a lot of tinkering, but the bottom line was that you can hear him at an expected volume pretty much the entire time.

But I didn't stop there. I also didn't include some songs. Why, you may well ask? Two reasons. One, I didn't want to include any duplicates of the same song over the four shows on these two nights. There were very few repeats, due to the all-request format, but I dropped that down to no repeats, for maximum listenability. For instance, he played "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" three times in the four shows, and I only included one of those performances. There were less than then repeats like that across many hours of music, so I didn't actually remove much. Also  I nearly always was able to keep the banter before each song even for the songs I removed. The only such banter I also removed was if he specifically talked about that song. But the vast majority of the time, he was joking and talking about random things.

The second reason I didn't include some songs was when he tried to play a song he didn't know well, and landed flat on his face. This only happened a few times. For instance, in one of the later shows, he was requested to play Nick Drake's "Time Has Told Me," a song that he played lead guitar on for the original Drake recording. Sounds great, right? In theory, yes. But he started the song, realized he was flailing and didn't actually know the words, and quickly gave up. So I didn't include that. I kept some of his attempts, for instance about ten seconds of "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols in a later show, when they actually sounded good for the short time they lasted. But some just didn't sound good at all, for instance if he was struggling to find the melody, or singing in the wrong key, or the like. There aren't actually that many cases of that, and they were usually short, but the concerts are better for not including them.

On top of that, I generally tightened things up between songs. For instance, if he spent a minute tuning his guitar, I almost certainly cut that out. I want to hear him sing or talk, not tune his guitar. So this is "all killer, no filler."

This first show is one hour and five minutes long. I believe it's the shortest of the four. The only songs I didn't include were "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" and "Can't Win," because I judged the versions he did of those songs in one of the three other shows were better.

01 talk (Richard Thompson)
02 Wall of Death (Richard Thompson)
03 talk (Richard Thompson & Shawn Colvin)
04 Oh I Swear (Richard Thompson & Shawn Colvin)
05 talk (Richard Thompson)
06 Borrowed Time (Richard Thompson)
07 talk (Richard Thompson)
08 I Misunderstood (Richard Thompson)
09 talk (Richard Thompson)
10 How Many Times Do You Have to Fall (Richard Thompson)
11 talk (Richard Thompson)
12 The Old Changing Way (Richard Thompson)
13 talk (Richard Thompson)
14 Missie How You Let Me Down (Richard Thompson)
15 talk (Richard Thompson)
16 Now That I Am Dead (Richard Thompson)
17 talk (Richard Thompson)
18 Down Where the Drunkards Roll (Richard Thompson)
19 talk (Richard Thompson)
20 Dimming of the Day (Richard Thompson)
21 talk (Richard Thompson)
22 Psycho Street (Richard Thompson)
23 talk (Richard Thompson)
24 Two Left Feet (Richard Thompson)
25 talk (Richard Thompson)
26 1952 Vincent Black Lightning (Richard Thompson)
27 talk (Richard Thompson)
28 Woman or a Man (Richard Thompson)

For the cover art, of course, I wanted to find good color photos of Thompson playing in an acoustic concert in 1992. I didn't find that, but I found a bunch from him in concert in 1991. Close enough for horseshoes! By the way, at the bottom, I included a logo for the Bottom Line club, but I squished it vertically so it wouldn't take up too much of the cover.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Robyn Hitchcock - Acoustic Covers, Volume 6: 2004-2005

Here's another one of Robyn Hitchcock's collection of acoustic cover versions. So far, I've only posted four albums in this series, with this one being the sixth. I have many more to go.

As with the other albums in this series, all the songs are performed in concert in the solo acoustic format. All the performances are officially unreleased.

In terms of sound quality, I have no complaints with this album. All the songs sound very good. I suspect most or all come from soundboard recordings. As usual when it comes to this kind of album, I eliminated the audience noise at the end of each song.

Here's a list of who did the best known versions:

01 Wah-Hoo - Cliff Friend
02 Happiness Is a Warm Gun - Beatles
03 Clothes Line Saga - Bob Dylan
04 Baby, You're a Rich Man - Beatles
05 Odds and Ends - Bob Dylan
06 Tryin' to Get to Heaven - Bob Dylan
07 Love Don't Live Here Anymore - Rose Royce
08 Copper Kettle [The Pale Moonlight] - traditional / Bob Dylan
09 Blue Moon of Kentucky - Bill Monroe
10 Mystery Train - Elvis Presley
11 Mother Nature's Son - Beatles
12 True to Life - Roxy Music
13 Elvis Presley Blues - Gillian Welch
14 Chapter 24 - Pink Floyd
15 Be Here Now - George Harrison

Here's the usual song list:

01 Wah-Hoo (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Happiness Is a Warm Gun (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Clothes Line Saga (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Baby, You're a Rich Man (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Odds and Ends (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Tryin' to Get to Heaven (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Love Don't Live Here Anymore (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Copper Kettle [The Pale Moonlight] (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Blue Moon of Kentucky (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Mystery Train (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 Mother Nature's Son (Robyn Hitchcock)
12 True to Life (Robyn Hitchcock)
13 Elvis Presley Blues (Robyn Hitchcock)
14 Chapter 24 (Robyn Hitchcock)
15 Be Here Now (Robyn Hitchcock)

For the cover art, I wanted to use a photo of Hitchcock holding an acoustic guitar from either 2004 or 2005. Unfortunately, I couldn't find that, or even any good one from those years. So I used a photo of him from 2006 that just shows him from the neck up.

Fleetwood Mac - Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ, 10-17-1975

Here's a must-have concert if you're a fan of the "Rumours" era version of Fleetwood Mac.

If you know much about Fleetwood Mac, you probably knew the band started out as a blues band led by Peter Green, but slowly morphed into a pop rock band without him. At the start of 1975, the band practically transformed into an entirely different band, because a key singer-songwriter, Bob Welch, left the band, and was replaced by the team of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Those two, plus Christine McVie, who had been a part of the band since 1970, would propel the band into pop superstar status very quickly.

Personally, I like both the early blues versions and later pop versions of the band. When it comes to concerts by the band, 1975 is my favorite year, because during that year and that year alone, there was a more or less even mix between both versions. The band put out the album simply called "Fleetwood Mac," which started selling slowly but would go on to sell millions. they wanted to promote that album with their concerts, but they wanted to draw on their older songs too, so the new version of the band wouldn't alienate long-time fans.

Thus, this concert has six songs from the years before Buckingham and Nicks joined, and six songs from their 1975 album. So you have the rare treat of hearing older songs like "Oh Well," "Station Man," "The Green Manalishi," and "Hypnotized," except sung by new members of the band, usually Buckingham. It's a really interesting mix of pop and blues, and I think Buckingham does well trying to live up to Peter Green's guitar heroics.

It's a bit of a shame that the 1974 "Fleetwood Mac" album did so well, and then the 1977 album "Rumours" did much better still, because that meant from 1977 onwards, the band had so many great recent songs to play in concert that they largely discarded anything from before 1975. That means that 1975 concerts are the best opportunity to hear "old" and "new" versions of the band mix together.

In 2018, a deluxe version of the 1975 album was released, and it included lots of live performances. Six of them were from Capitol Theatre, in Passaic, New Jersey, on October 17, 1975, and I've included those here. Unfortunately though, the band did two shows that night, and those six songs were only about half of the late show. But luckily, some of the early show and the rest of the late show were played on radio at the time, and there are excellent bootlegs of this. So I've combined the versions from the deluxe version with unreleased versions from bootlegs to create an ideal version of a concert from that night.

The early show had a lot of songs not featured in the late show, but unfortunately most of those weren't played on the radio, so there aren't any known bootleg versions of them. That's a great shame, because the band played some very interesting rarities. For instance, they did "Frozen Love," a song from the 1973 Buckingham-Nicks album that was only played a few times in 1975 by Fleetwood Mac. (They also played "Monday Morning," "Why," "Crystal," "Over My Head," "Say You Love Me," and "Blue Letter.") I didn't want to include any duplicates of songs from the late show, so I've only included "Station Man" and "Landslide" from the early show.

Both the performances from the deluxe version and the performances from radio show bootlegs sound great, though the deluxe version performances sound slightly better. But one big problem is that it turns out the deluxe version performances included only quiet levels of the audience, and the radio show bootlegs included loud audience levels. So I did my best to even these out, by lessening the crowd noise for some songs and boosting it for others. Sometimes, I also had to resort to copying and pasting in some crowd noise from the end of one song to another, because some songs had only a few seconds of crowd reaction and others had a lot more. If I didn't tweak things, it would have seems as if the crowd didn't like some songs at all, and loved others. Now,  there should be an expected, typical crowd reaction after every song, and hopefully you won't notice there was any sort of fiddling around.

Aside from that crowd noise issue, which didn't affect the actual songs at all, everything else is fine. This is a great concert that lasts an hour and four minutes. I hope that someday all of both sets from that evening will be released, so we can hear the seven other different songs they played.

Oh, by the way, the band played Capitol Theatre twice in 1975, in June and then again in October. Bootlegs of the concert generally list it taking place in June. But I compared the songs that overlapped between the bootlegs and the official deluxe versions, and I figured out from identical between song comments and other things that the show definitely was in October instead. The song order I use should be accurate as well, though note that the first two songs come from the early show.

01 Station Man (Fleetwood Mac)
02 talk (Fleetwood Mac)
03 Landslide (Fleetwood Mac)
04 Get like You Used to Be (Fleetwood Mac)
05 talk (Fleetwood Mac)
06 Spare Me a Little of Your Love (Fleetwood Mac)
07 talk (Fleetwood Mac)
08 Rhiannon (Fleetwood Mac)
09 Don't Let Me Down Again (Fleetwood Mac)
10 I'm So Afraid (Fleetwood Mac)
11 Oh Well, Part 1 (Fleetwood Mac)
12 The Green Manalishi [With The Two Pronged Crown] (Fleetwood Mac)
13 World Turning (Fleetwood Mac)
14 Blue Letter (Fleetwood Mac)
15 Hypnotized (Fleetwood Mac)

If you're curious, you can find a video of the entire late show on YouTube. I would have used a screenshot from that for the cover art, except the video is in black and white and is low resolution. So I've used a photo from another 1975 concert instead. Unfortunately, this photo only shows Nicks and Buckingham, but it's next to impossible to find any good 1975 concert photos showing a lot of band members together, since they tended to spread out on stage.

The Pretenders - Spiritual High - Non-Album Tracks (1990-1994)

Here's the next in my series of stray tracks albums from the Pretenders. By this point, the Pretenders were really just Chrissie Hynde and a bunch of back-up musicians. In fact, the 1990 album "Packed!" only indicated Hynde as a member. So this also has some Hynde solo songs, and I treat the two things interchangeably.

Either Hynde was really in a mood to do covers during this period, or she wasn't being very prolific with her songwriting, because every single song is a cover version. Maybe it was some of both. She does some famous songs by the likes of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix, as well as some obscurities. "Spiritual High (State of Independence)," in which she was the guest lead vocalist for the band Moodswings, was a minor hit.

All songs here have been officially released, except for one. That one, a cover of the Doors' "Touch Me," apparently was intended for a Doors tribute album that never came to be. Somehow, the cover got released on bootleg, and its sound quality is just as good as all the other songs.

I've unfortunately had to include one songs as a bonus track, due to sound quality issues. That's a cover of "Positive Bleeding" by Urge Overkill. The Pretenders only played this a few times in concert, and all we have is an okay sounding audience bootleg recording.

This album is 47 minutes long, not counting the bonus track.

01 Not a Second Time (Pretenders)
02 Spirit of Life (Pretenders)
03 Gula Gula (Clannad with Chrissie Hynde & Mari Boine)
04 Born for a Purpose (Pretenders)
05 Touch Me (Pretenders)
06 Spiritual High [State of Independence], Part II (Moodswings & Chrissie Hynde)
07 I Shall Be Released (Chrissie Hynde)
08 Bold as Love (Pretenders)
09 I'm Not in Love (Pretenders)
10 Superstar [Groupie] (Chrissie Hynde & Superfan)
11 Full Moon, Dirty Hearts (INXS & Chrissie Hynde)
12 Hey Little Boy (Chris Spedding & Chrissie Hynde)
13 Trouble with Me (Mick Ronson & Chrissie Hynde)

Positive Bleeding (Pretenders)

The cover art photo is of Hynde in concert in Ashbury Park, New Jersey, in 1994.