Tuesday, December 31, 2019
After the last two albums, in which nearly every single song was officially released and thus had excellent sound quality, this returns matters to how they were for most albums prior to that, because seven of the 14 songs here are unreleased.
During 2016, some very big names in music died. I believe the versions of "Rebel Rebel," "Take It Easy," and "Purple Rain" are tributes to David Bowie, Glenn Frey, and Prince, respectively.
Although this album deals with part of all of five years, Springsteen didn't tour much in that time, except in 2017. (He did spend 2018 performing "Springsteen on Broadway," but that didn't yield any cover songs.) Thus, many of the songs here are from unusual concerts, such as surprise appearances as guests for some other artist, or appearances at benefit or tribute concerts.
This takes us all the way to the end of 2019. In fact, the last song here, a duet with John Mellencamp on his 1980s hit "Pink Houses," comes from a mere three weeks ago as I write this. I would like to continue this with a volume 23, but I imagine it'll take another couple of years, or maybe even longer, before there's enough material for that.
01 I Hung My Head (Bruce Springsteen)
02 Born on the Bayou (Bruce Springsteen with Timepiece)
03 Rebel Rebel (Bruce Springsteen)
04 Take It Easy (Bruce Springsteen)
05 Purple Rain (Bruce Springsteen)
06 Lucille (Bruce Springsteen)
07 Don't Hang Up (Bruce Springsteen)
08 Long Tall Sally (Bruce Springsteen)
09 Cuts like a Knife (Bryan Adams & Bruce Springsteen)
10 I Just Want to Make Love to You (Bruce Springsteen & the Tangiers Blues Band)
11 Rockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu (Bruce Springsteen & the Tangiers Blues Band)
12 Rhinestone Cowboy (Bruce Springsteen)
13 Redemption Day (Sheryl Crow & Bruce Springsteen)
14 Pink House (John Mellencamp & Bruce Springsteen)
For the cover art, I've used a photo of Springsteen at the 2019 concert from which the last song here is taken. I must say, he definitely looks older, but he still looks remarkably young and fit for someone who is 70 years old.
One could argue that the band's second album, 1970's "In the Wake of Poseidon," had many of the same band members on it, but that's only partially true. "In the Court of the Crimson King" was released in October 1969, and around the end of that year, band members Ian MacDonald, Michael Giles, and Greg Lake left, leaving only guitarist Robert Fripp. (Fripp would be the only constant in the band over its many iterations across the decades.) Lake went on to join Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and MacDonald and Giles released one album together, called "McDonald and Giles," before breaking up their duo.
The key band member in this situation, in my opinion, is Greg Lake. He was the lead vocalist for all the songs on the first album, and thus his distinctive voice was a key part of the band's sound. It seems Fripp realized this, because after Lake left, he was hired back as a session musician to sing most of the songs on "In the Wake of Poseidon." In my opinion, that album tried hard to repeat the formula of the first album, with a similar sound and often a track-by-track match. However, I also feel that it's not nearly as good. The songs were good, but it was essentially Fripp plus a bunch of studio musicians (including Lake) instead of a real band, with the cohesion and fire of the band from the first album.
Thus, what I've tried to do as much as possible is include recordings made while the original band was still in existence. Most of them are actually early versions of songs that appeared on "In the Wake of Poseidon." The good news is that King Crimson is a band that has decided to empty their vault of recordings, releasing dozens upon dozens of live albums, as well as lots of previously unreleased studio recordings. The band news is, when it comes to 1969 and 1970 material, nearly all of it sucks, due to sound quality issues. Just about all of the officially released live recordings from this time, for instance, would be considered poorly recorded audience-sourced bootlegs.
Luckily, there are a few high sound quality recordings here and there. Three of them come from a concert at the Fillmore West in San Francisco in December 1969, when the original band was still together. Another comes from a BBC performance from August 1969. There are three more songs on "In the Wake of Poseidon" that were written later or I couldn't find a good version. So I've resorted to using the versions from that album for two of them. The last one, "Cadence and Cascade," is the one song from that album that wasn't sung by Lake. But luckily Lake did sing a guide vocal at one point, and that version was eventually released as a bonus track. So I've used that version.
The end result is an album that is much like "In the Wake of Poseidon," with most of the same songs, what I believe are better versions. Plus, there are a few changes or additions, such as a nice version of Donovan's "Get Thy Bearings." I've replaced "In the Wake of Poseidon" with this in my music collection.
For a bonus track, I've included an interesting early version of the song "In the Court of the Crimson King" for the album of the same name. It's only downgraded to a bonus track because it repeats a song from that album. It's one of a very small number of songs played on the BBC by the original band with excellent sound.
01 Mars [The Devil's Triangle] [Instrumental] (King Crimson)
02 Get Thy Bearings (King Crimson)
03 [Why Don't You Just] Drop In (King Crimson)
04 A Man, a City [Early Version of Pictures of a City] (King Crimson)
05 In the Wake of Poseidon [Including 'Libra's Theme'] (King Crimson)
06 Cadence and Cascade [Greg Lake Vocal Version] (King Crimson)
07 Cat Food (King Crimson)
In the Court of the Crimson King [Alternate Version] (King Crimson)
There's only one reason I've named this album "Are," and that's because of the cover art. I couldn't find any really good color photos of the original band. But I did find a very nice concert poster from that era. It was rectangular, as most posters are, but I simply squished the whole thing vertically and I think it works just as well. In addition to the band's name at the top, it only has one word on it, "ARE" in the middle. Thus, the album title. ;)
Perhaps there was meant to be more at the bottom, so the whole thing would say "King Crimson are..." something, but I found several versions on the same poster on-line, and none of them added anything else. Maybe it was just the arty weirdness of that era to leave the meaning of words rather mysterious. Also arty and weird is how parts of the poster seem to be made out of tin foil or something similarly metallic and shiny.
Monday, December 30, 2019
Also, 2014 was a "bumper crop" year for the release of his officially released live albums (though download only). Thus, only three of the songs here are unreleased, and at least two of those are from excellent sounding soundboard sources. That makes this one of the best sounding albums in the series.
In terms of song selections, most of them are the usual classic rock and soul hits, generally from the 1960s. But there are some exceptions. He did a few folk songs associated with his 2006 Pete Seeger-themed album. I chose these versions instead of versions around 2006 because these have slightly better sound quality. He also did some unexpected songs, especially "Clampdown" by the Clash and "Don't Change" by INXS.
But perhaps the most intriguing songs are the last two, the U2 hits "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Where the Streets Have No Name." These aren't the usual duets where one person sings a verse and the other sings the next verse, and so on, and they join in on the chorus. Instead, U2's lead singer Bono was hurt in an accident and couldn't make it for a benefit concert, so he asked Springsteen to fill in for him instead. Thus, Springsteen sang all the lead vocals, the other three members of U2 backed him up, and Bono wasn't even there.
01 Pretty Flamingo (Bruce Springsteen)
02 Clampdown (Bruce Springsteen)
03 Gloria (Bruce Springsteen)
04 O Mary Don't You Weep (Bruce Springsteen)
05 Joe Hill (Bruce Springsteen)
06 Right Place, Wrong Time (Dr. John & Bruce Springsteen)
07 Green River (John Fogerty & Bruce Springsteen)
08 How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live (Bruce Springsteen)
09 Jesse James (Bruce Springsteen)
10 Treat Her Right (Bruce Springsteen)
11 Don't Change (Bruce Springsteen)
12 Jump (Bruce Springsteen)
13 I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (Bruce Springsteen & U2)
14 Where the Streets Have No Name (Bruce Springsteen & U2)
As part of my effort to make some of these album covers a little unusual, I chose one of Springsteen standing with two members of U2, The Edge and Larry Mullen, Jr. This was taken in the concert performance documented by the last two songs.
Sunday, December 29, 2019
To be honest, it seems to me that Robertson has never gone all out with his solo career. His solo albums have been really good, but there are long gaps between releases. Also, he's almost never played live, after playing live quite a lot with the Band. Occasionally, he's played one or two songs here and there for TV appearances, but he's never gone on tour and he's never even played a single full concert.
He's never done a full concert, that is, except for this one. In 1994, he released his third solo album "Music for 'The Native Americans.'" His mother was a Native American who lived much of her life on a Canadian reserve. That album was all about him getting in touch with his Native American heritage, with songs on that theme and many Native American guest musicians too.
This concert is basically a live version of that album, which works for me, because it's my favorite of his solo albums. Robertson sings a majority of the songs and plays lead guitar on most of the rest. But he brought out most of the same Native American guest musicians who had been on the album, and gave them more of a chance to shine, playing a few songs not on Robertson's album. Most notably, this includes Buffy Saint Marie, a Native American who has had a long successful music career, and she sings one of her best known songs.
I'm not sure what the deal with this concert is. It took place in a small town in Sicily, in the south of Italy, which seems an odd location given the Native American theme. It was filmed for TV, and I got the music by converting the video feed to mp3s. The footage credits reveal there was an all-Italian film crew who recorded the concert for an Italian TV station. It's strange to me that the only full concert Robertson has done in his solo career so far took place in those conditions, but perhaps TV stations in other countries weren't interested in recording similar shows.
By the way, "Coolidge" is a musical group composed of Rita Coolidge (who had some country hits in the 1970s and 1980s), her sister Priscilla Coolidge, and her daughter Laura Satterfield. A couple of years after this, they changed their name to Walela and released a few albums of Native American-inspired music.
01 Ghost Dance (Robbie Robertson)
02 talk (Robbie Robertson)
03 Mahk Jchi [Heartbeat Drum Song] (Ulali with Robbie Robertson)
04 Golden Feather (Robbie Robertson)
05 Eagle Dance (Robbie Robertson & the American Indian Dance Theater)
06 Cherokee Morning Song (Coolidge with Robbie Robertson)
07 It Is a Good Day to Die (Robbie Robertson)
08 Crazy Horse (John Trudell & Bad Dog with Robbie Robertson)
09 Skinwalker (Robbie Robertson)
10 talk (Robbie Robertson)
11 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (Buffy Saint Marie with Robbie Robertson)
12 Coyote Dance - Hoop Dance (Robbie Robertson & the American Indian Dance Theater)
13 Ancestor Song (Robbie Robertson)
The concert is available on YouTube. I took a screenshot of it for the cover art. I took another screenshot for the "In Unity Concert" title.
Saturday, December 28, 2019
The reason the sound quality is so good is because all of the songs have been officially released. As I've mentioned previously, Springsteen has released dozens of concerts in recent years, but they're download-only and fairly obscure. For some reason, he's probably released more from 2014 than any other year, so it's a breeze for me to pick songs with high sound quality.
Now, as for the content, Springsteen does some really unexpected songs here! Typically, he's played loads of classic soul and rock hits, especially from the 1960s. For instance, he's done just about every "frat rock" hit there is, and that's exemplified by his cover of "Louie, Louie" on this album. But for this album, he did a version of "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees, of all things! And just as strange, but in a different way, is his cover of Lorde's huge 2013 hit "Royals." What makes that unique is that he's almost always covered songs from decades past, but that song was only about a year old when he covered it. (I'm glad he did, because I think it's a great song.)
The first half of the songs here are from a tour of Australia and New Zealand, and many of these unexpected song choices are him tipping his hat to those countries. For instance, the Bee Gees grew up in Australia, so he played "Stayin' Alive" there. Similarly, he did "Friday on My Mind" as a tribute to the Australian band the Easybeats, who wrote it. And Lorde is from New Zealand, so he played "Royals" there.
01 Spill the Wine (Bruce Springsteen)
02 [Love Is like A] Heat Wave (Bruce Springsteen)
03 Friday on My Mind (Bruce Springsteen)
04 Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (Bruce Springsteen)
05 Stayin' Alive (Bruce Springsteen)
06 Royals (Bruce Springsteen)
07 May I (Bruce Springsteen)
08 Burning Love (Bruce Springsteen)
09 [I Can't Get No] Satisfaction (Bruce Springsteen)
10 Mustang Sally (Bruce Springsteen)
11 Louie, Louie (Bruce Springsteen)
12 Brown Eyed Girl (Bruce Springsteen)
One reason Springsteen has a legendary reputation as a concert performer is his interaction with the audience. For this album cover, I chose a photo that would exemplify that. The photo is of a random girl who was invited to the stage to dance with him in 2014.
The reason they didn't release any studio albums at that time was because the songs appeared on solo albums by Jerry Garcia ("Garcia") and Bob Weir ("Ace"), plus they put lots of new songs on their live albums, especially "Europe '72." Most of the songs here either come from "Europe '72" or associated archival releases from that same European tour. But, as I often do, I removed the crowd noise to make it all sound like a studio album.
There are two cases where I had to resort to the studio tracks from those solo albums I mentioned above. "The Wheel" is a great song, and the Dead played it a lot in concert. But, strangely, they didn't start playing it until about 1976, even though it was released on a 1972 album. I didn't want to stray chronologically from around 1972, so I was forced to use the version from the "Garcia" solo album.
It's a similar case with "Walk in the Sunshine," from "Ace." I believe that song was never played by the Dead at all, the only song from "Ace" they ignored. So I had to use the version from that album.
As for the album as a whole, I was careful to keep the usual mix of songs sung by Garcia, Weir, and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan. Garcia has the most, and McKernan the least.
Also, as I did for all the four albums i made from this time period, I included one cover song. Each time, I picked a cover that has become so closely identified with the Dead that many assume they wrote it. This time, I went with "I Know You Rider." The Dead played this a billion times in concert, almost always as a medley with "China Cat Sunflower."
The Dead truly were at a peak in the early 1970s, so this is a great album. While putting these four albums together, I came across a lot more cover versions that I didn't have room to include. But I'm planning on organizing that material and posting it here eventually.
01 The Wheel (Jerry Garcia)
02 Brown-Eyed Woman (Grateful Dead)
03 Mexicali Blues (Grateful Dead)
04 Tennessee Jed (Grateful Dead)
05 Chinatown Shuffle (Grateful Dead)
06 Walk in the Sunshine (Bob Weir)
07 Comes a Time (Grateful Dead)
08 Next Time You See Me (Grateful Dead)
09 I Know You Rider (Grateful Dead)
10 One More Saturday Night (Grateful Dead)
I'm very pleased at how this album cover came out. When I decided to name the album "The Wheel," I went looking for wheel-related artwork. I found a blue wheel with some red roses on it, which seemed fitting since roses are one of many Dead visual symbols. But just having that seemed too bland, so I went looking for mandala artwork, since that's another circular thing that fits with the Dead ethos. I found a nice one, overlaid the blue wheel on top of it, and the two seemed to fit perfectly. :)
Friday, December 27, 2019
About half of the songs here date to 2013 and the other date to 2014. That's important, because the 2013 ones are mostly officially unreleased, and have varying (but at least still good) sound quality. Whereas with the 2014 songs, I don't know why, but for some reason Springsteen has officially released way more 2014 concerts than maybe any other year. Plus, the covers he did that year he usually did more than once. As a result, only two out of the six 2013 songs are officially released versions, but all seven of the 2014 ones are.
By the way, 2014 is a bumper crop year for Springsteen's cover songs in general. The next two albums in this series come entirely from 2014, and virtually all of them are officially released, which means excellent sound.
One unusual aspect of this album is that two of those songs are actually sung in Spanish. As if Springsteen isn't talented enough already, apparently he's a fluent Spanish speaker too. (In putting this series together, I had to edit out some lengthy spoken introductions where he spoke Spanish.)
Oh, and by the way, who would ever have thought Springsteen would cover AC-DC's "Highway to Hell?!" But he does that here, and there are lots more interesting surprises to come on the other 2014 albums in this series.
01 Shout (Bruce Springsteen)
02 Manifiesto (Bruce Springsteen)
03 Jailhouse Rock (Bruce Springsteen)
04 Ain't Too Proud to Beg (Bruce Springsteen)
05 Bad Moon Rising (Bruce Springsteen)
06 Sociedade Alternativa (Bruce Springsteen)
07 Free Nelson Mandela (Bruce Springsteen)
08 We Shall Overcome (Bruce Springsteen)
09 This Little Light of Mine (Bruce Springsteen)
10 Sun City (Steven Van Zandt & Bruce Springsteen)
11 Highway to Hell (Bruce Springsteen)
12 High Hopes (Bruce Springsteen)
13 Just like Fire Would (Bruce Springsteen)
I'd mentioned in a previous volume in this series how, in recent years, Springsteen has a tradition of collecting cards from the audience with requested song titles on them. I found a 2013 photo of this tradition in action.
Steve Winwood & the All-Star Garage Band - City of Hope Benefit Concert, Universal Amphitheatre, Los Angeles, CA, 10-16-1996
In 1996, there was a high-profile black-tie gala in Los Angeles for the City of Hope, a foundation raising money to fight several deadly diseases. All sorts of rich and famous people attended, and it raised over $3 million. For the evening's concert, a very unusual mix of famous musicians got together to create what they called the "All-Star Garage Band": Steve Winwood, Don Henley, Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, John Mellencamp, Eddie Van Halen, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Bobby Keys, Tony Rich, Richie Sambora, Jim Price, Narada Michael Walden, Paul Shaffer, and Max Weinberg.
It was different than your usual concert for this sort of event, where famous musicians take turns go on stage, sing a song or two, then leave the stage. Instead, in keeping with the "garage band" concept, most of them stayed on stage for the whole show, and played various instruments and/or sang backing vocals when they weren't in the spotlight. For instance, in addition to singing a couple of songs, Don Henley of the Eagles either played cowbell or a full drum set on some of the other songs.
I find this a fascinating mixture of musicians that I never imagined would play together. What's even more interesting is that in nearly all cases, they did classic songs that they normally didn't play. Nobody was promoting their latest record, and nobody even sang any song they actually wrote (with the exception of Steve Winwood, who co-wrote "Gimme Some Lovin'"). It seems they had a ball playing the songs they all loved and grew up with.
Winwood sang the most songs (though not by much), and played organ on all the songs, so I've filed this album in the Winwood part of my music collection. I've helped beef up the Winwood emphasis by adding some songs featuring him at the start and end of this album that come from different concerts around the same time. The first two songs, "Higher Ground" and "Gimme Some Lovin'," are duets between Stevie Wonder and Winwood at a 1997 awards show. This means that "Gimme Some Lovin'" is performed twice on this album, but I figure that's acceptable because one version is a duet (plus, it's a fantastic song!). The last two songs come from a 1996 Chic concert in Tokyo, Japan. Both Winwood and Slash joined in on Winwood's hit "Higher Love" and the Jimi Hendrix classic "Stone Free." Winwood sang lead and played organ on those songs, while Slash did all the guitar soloing.
Speaking of guitar soloing, one interesting thing about the main "All-Star Garage Band" show is Eddie Van Halen's guitar playing. Personally, I'm not a really big fan of the band Van Halen, although I do enjoy their well known songs. But I gather it's been very rare for Eddie Van Halen to play lead guitar outside of that band (unlike, say, Eric Clapton, who has played on zillions of other musician's projects). Yet Van Halen is all over this. He plays his easily identifiable style of soloing on a bunch of songs (unfortunately not giving guitarist Richie Sambora much of a chance to shine).
The recording sound quality is good, not great. I searched the Internet fairly thoroughly, but all I could find of the show was some YouTube videos, from a variety of sources. All of them come from a VH-1 broadcast of the concert, but some were recorded better than others. In particular, "Stay with Me" sounds rougher than the rest, but I've included it here since I deemed it just good enough. For two of the songs played at that concert, I couldn't find any versions at all: "Get Ready" by Tony Rich and "Tequila" by Bobby Keys. If anyone has those, please let me know, and I'll add them in. And if you have better versions of other songs, or even have one consistent recording of the whole thing, also please let me know so I can upgrade the sound.
From what I understand, the show wasn't broadcast on VH-1 until 1997. By that time, the footage was edited so that the band leader (and longtime Tonight Show with David Letterman sidekick) Paul Shaffer gave introductions to each song that were recorded later in a different place. I've cut out what bits of these intros the YouTube videos had, which often wasn't much. That means there's no actual between song dialogue by the people on stage, since all that had been edited out of the broadcast. Also, there generally are only a few seconds of applause at the end of each song before Shaffer resumed talking or the broadcast cut to a commercial. So I've added more applause to the ends of most songs, patching in the applause from the few songs that did have a decent applause length.
The core "All-Star Garage Band" recording is 42 minutes long. With the added Winwood bonus tracks, the full album is 58 minutes long. And by the way, since I got these from YouTube videos, you can go to that website and watch the footage of all of these songs. It's interesting to see so many big stars often playing more humble backing musician roles.
01 Higher Ground (Stevie Wonder & Steve Winwood)
02 Gimme Some Lovin' (Stevie Wonder & Steve Winwood)
03 I Fought the Law (John Mellencamp & Bryan Adams with Eddie Van Halen & the All-Star Garage Band)
04 Stay with Me (Melissa Etheridge with the All-Star Garage Band)
05 Bitch (Sheryl Crow with Eddie Van Halen & the All-Star Garage Band)
06 In the Midnight Hour (Don Henley with the All-Star Garage Band)
07 C'mon Everybody (Bryan Adams with Eddie Van Halen & the All-Star Garage Band)
08 Shotgun (Steve Winwood with the All-Star Garage Band)
09 When Something Is Wrong with My Baby (Steve Winwood & Sheryl Crow with the All-Star Garage Band)
10 Hold On, I'm Comin' (Steve Winwood & Don Henley with the All-Star Garage Band)
11 Gloria (John Mellencamp with Richie Sambora, Eddie Van Halen & the All-Star Garage Band)
12 Gimme Some Lovin' (Steve Winwood with the All-Star Garage Band)
13 Get Back (Richie Sambora & Melissa Etheridge with Eddie Van Halen & the All-Star Garage Band)
14 Higher Love (Steve Winwood with Slash & Chic)
15 Stone Free (Steve Winwood with Slash & Chic)
For the cover, I found two nice photos for the actual event, and I couldn't decide which one to use. So I simply used both of them. The top photo shows, from right to left: Bryan Adams, Max Weinberg, Richie Sambora, Eddie Van Halen, and Steve Winwood. The bottom photo was taken that same evening, back stage. It shows, from right to left: Don Henley, Van Halen, Winwood, Sheryl Crow, Narada Michael Walden, and John Mellancamp. Unfortunately, not everyone on stage that evening could be captured in these two photos, but at least it shows most of them.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
This album is much like the others in the series, with the usual emphasis on covers of classic rock and soul hits from the 1960s. This time, only two out of the 12 songs have been officially released. Still, the sound quality is generally excellent.
Probably the worst song in terms of sound quality is "When I Leave Berlin." But I included it because it's such an unusual song for Springsteen to cover. Plus, even the sound quality on that one is acceptable. The song was written by the rare obscure British folk musician Wizz Jones, and first appeared on a 1973 album by him.
01 The Way You Do the Things You Do - 634-5789 [Soulsville, U.S.A.] (Bruce Springsteen)
02 We Gotta Get Out of This Place [Acoustic Version] (Bruce Springsteen)
03 California Sun (Bruce Springsteen)
04 The Weight (Bruce Springsteen)
05 When I Leave Berlin (Bruce Springsteen)
06 I Saw Her Standing There (Paul McCartney & Bruce Springsteen)
07 Dirty Water (Bruce Springsteen)
08 Knock On Wood (Bruce Springsteen)
09 Pay Me My Money Down (Bruce Springsteen)
10 Monster Mash (Bruce Springsteen)
11 Who Says You Can't Go Home (Bon Jovi & Bruce Springsteen)
12 Tumbling Dice (Rolling Stones & Bruce Springsteen)
In 2012, Springsteen had one of several appearances on The Jimmy Fallon Show in which he parodied his "Born in the U.S.A." era self. As a lark, I've used a photo from that appearance as the album cover. Fallon can be partially seen to the side, dressed up like Neil Young.
In 2000, the official album "Bowie at the Beeb" was released, compiling Bowie's performances at the BBC from 1968 to 1972. But one reason I'm posting this is because that album was woefully incomplete. Only half of the performances here come from that album. The others sound just as good (or nearly so), and are different songs, so why weren't they included? I suppose there wasn't enough room. But here, I don't have to worry about space considerations.
One strange thing about Bowie at this time was he kept collaborating with musicians who weren't nearly as talented as he was. This album is a case in point. For three of the songs, two of them written by Bowie, he had someone else sing lead vocals while he merely accompanied them. One of those singers, Dana Gillespie, already had two albums released before she briefly collaborated with Bowie, and she went on to have a long career as a blues singer. But the other two, George Underwood and Geoffrey MacCormack, stayed in musical obscurity except for their brief spotlight with Bowie.
I've avoided including two versions of the same song. But I've made one exception: the song "Andy Warhol." The first version is sung by Gillespie, and the second version is sung by Bowie. Happily, I was able to put them on opposite ends of the album, even though all the songs are in chronological order.
At this time, Bowie was almost entirely a British phenomenon, and in fact even in Britain he wouldn't break really big until 1972. Thus, he didn't appear on many TV or radio shows outside of Britain. However, I did manage to include one. The first song, "Moonage Daydream," actually comes from a Radio Luxembourg performance, not a BBC one.
01 Moonage Daydream (David Bowie)
02 Andy Warhol (Dana Gillespie & David Bowie)
03 Queen Bitch (David Bowie)
04 Song for Bob Dylan (George Underwood & David Bowie)
05 Bombers (David Bowie)
06 Looking for a Friend (David Bowie)
07 Almost Grown (Geoffrey MacCormack & David Bowie)
08 Kooks (David Bowie)
09 It Ain't Easy (David Bowie)
10 The Supermen (David Bowie)
11 Eight Line Poem (David Bowie)
12 Oh, You Pretty Things (David Bowie)
13 Fill Your Heart (David Bowie)
14 Andy Warhol (David Bowie)
For the cover art, I found a photo that I think is from 1970. The photo was undated, but that's pretty much the only time he had a haircut like that.
Monday, December 23, 2019
Springsteen seems to have done an increasing number of duets with other famous musicians over the years. There are an unusually large number of those this time around. That's why I chose to make the cover of him with Billy Joel. They do the first two songs together.
Springsteen didn't tour in 2010 or 2011, yet the last six songs are from those years. That's because they were from surprise appearances at small clubs or special concerts. For instance, the last two songs are from a concert celebrating Sting's sixtieth birthday.
Only three of the 12 songs have been officially released. Unfortunately, some of the rest sound a bit rough, and clearly come from audience bootlegs instead of soundboards. The last two songs are examples of that. But I wouldn't include any song if it didn't meet my sound quality standards.
01 Only the Good Die Young (Billy Joel & Bruce Springsteen)
02 New York State of Mind (Billy Joel & Bruce Springsteen)
03 Ramblin' Gamblin' Man (Bruce Springsteen)
04 Ring of Fire (Bruce Springsteen)
05 [I Don't Want To] Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes (Bruce Springsteen)
06 Green Onions (Bruce Springsteen)
07 Beast of Burden (Bruce Springsteen & Alejandro Escovedo)
08 Peg O' My Heart (Dropkick Murphys & Bruce Springsteen)
09 What's Your Name (Bruce Springsteen with Nicky Addeo)
10 C. C. Rider (Bruce Springsteen with Nicky Addeo)
11 Fields of Gold (Bruce Springsteen)
12 Can't Stand Losing You (Bruce Springsteen & Sting)
The cover art photo of Springsteen and Billy Joel was taken during a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert in 2009.
In the past, I've posted all-acoustic versions of Thompson's solo albums whenever I've had enough material to do so. This is kind of like that, except I didn't have enough material. Thompson released the studio album "You? Me? Us?" in 1996, and "Industry" in 1997. Songs four through nine are acoustic versions of "You? Me? Us?" songs, and songs ten through 12 are acoustic versions of "Industry" songs.
That just leaves a few songs. The first two are Buddy Holly covers. The third one, "Don't Let a Thief Steal into Your Heart," was first done on a Richard and Linda Thompson album in 1978. I've included a version here because it's only rarely been done by Richard in an acoustic format. The last one, "She May Call You Up Tonight," is a cover of a Left Banke song.
In terms of sound quality, this album is mostly great. All the songs either come from in-person radio appearances or soundboard concert bootlegs. The only songs that sound somewhat rough are the first two. Although they're from in-person radio appearances, for some reason they sound a bit muddier than the rest.
In my opinion, Thompson had mostly put out excellent albums in the 1980s and early 1990s, but he hit a rough patch with "You? Me? Us?" "Industry" would have been stronger, it has an interesting theme about industrialization, except half of its songs are instrumentals. With this album, you basically get the best songs from both albums, plus a few more.
01 Learning the Game (Richard Thompson)
02 Well... All Right (Richard Thompson with T-Bone Burnett)
03 Don't Let a Thief Steal into You Heart (Richard Thompson)
04 Hide It Away (Richard Thompson)
05 Train Don't Leave (Richard Thompson)
06 Cold Kisses (Richard Thompson)
07 Dark Hand Over My Heart (Richard Thompson)
08 The Ghost of You Walks (Richard Thompson)
09 Razor Dance (Richard Thompson)
10 Drifting through the Days (Richard Thompson)
11 Lotteryland (Richard Thompson)
12 Last Shift (Richard Thompson)
13 She May Call You Up Tonight (Richard Thompson)
For the cover art, I used a photo of Thompson in Belgium in 1995.
Sunday, December 22, 2019
It turns out that Sexsmith is a massive Kinks fan. In fact, he's called himself "the biggest Kinks fan on the planet." Since about 2013, he's been posting hundreds of videos on YouTube in which he plays cover songs in a solo acoustic format, apparently doing so in his house. A lot of those are great, with many unexpected selections. But since I'm a massive Kinks fan myself, I've honed in on his covers of Kinks songs, and collected all of them. I've found enough for two albums, plus about half of a third. He's continuing to post new songs there all the time, so I hope in another six months or a year I'll have enough to fill up the rest of that third album.
In my opinion, Sexsmith isn't an awesome singer or guitar player. But he certainly is talented, talented enough to have a released 14 studio albums and counting. However, there are two things that make his Kinks covers special, I think. The first is that they're all in the solo acoustic format, and the Kinks and/or Kinks lead singer Ray Davies haven't performed that way much. The second is that Sexsmith is such a huge Kinks fan that he goes beyond the usual hits to play some lesser known but still really good Kinks songs. Those two factors combine in a nice way, because it's virtually unheard of to have acoustic versions of most of the rarer Kinks songs he does.
I'm breaking up his recordings into albums that are about 45 minutes long each. I'll post the second one very soon. Oh, and in terms of song order, I simply have kept them in the order he's posted them.
None of these songs have been officially released anywhere. Sexsmith has done a couple of Kinks covers for official various artists compilations, but I haven't included those because they don't fit the solo acoustic format.
01 Schooldays (Ron Sexsmith)
02 Two Sisters (Ron Sexsmith)
03 Celluloid Heroes (Ron Sexsmith)
04 Scrapheap City (Ron Sexsmith)
05 Days (Ron Sexsmith)
06 Shangri-La (Ron Sexsmith)
07 God's Children (Ron Sexsmith)
08 Little Bit of Emotion (Ron Sexsmith)
09 Too Much on My Mind (Ron Sexsmith)
10 Sweet Lady Genevieve (Ron Sexsmith)
11 I'll Remember (Ron Sexsmith)
12 Stop Your Sobbing (Ron Sexsmith)
13 Come Dancing (Ron Sexsmith)
For the cover art, the logical thing to do would be to make a cover out of a screenshot from one of his YouTube videos. The problem with that is he usually doesn't look so great. He generally looks like he's just rolled out of bed. Plus, any such screenshot would be fairly low resolution. So instead, here he is on stage in London in 2015.
This bootleg has been floating around for years as being recorded "in Germany" in 1968 or 1969. The problem with that is that Mitchell never played in Germany in those years. In fact, she didn't play in Europe at all in that time, except for a few shows in London, Britain, in late 1968.
So where did the concert take place? There's one clue in her talking between songs. At one point, she made a passing reference to someone she knew in "my capital." Since Mitchell is Canadian, I take that to be a reference to the Canadian capital of Ottawa. More importantly, if she was in Canada when she said that, I think it's likely she would have said "our capital" or "the capital." The fact she didn't suggests she was in another country, and the only other country she was performing in at the time was the US. Thus, I've given this bootleg the title "Somewhere in America," because that's all we can reasonably surmise, that it takes place somewhere in the US.
As for the timing, I'm using February 1968 because that's what the jonimitchell.com website says. And if anyone should know, it's the people running that website, because they have an extremely thorough chronology of practically every concert she ever did. (They also agree the concert did not take place in Germany.) I don't know how they arrived at that month, but probably one can make an educated guess from the song list.
Re: the content, it's a rather short show, totaling 37 minutes. That was typical of her at the time, when she'd usually play sets of about 30 minutes each. I guess she'd often do more than one set a night, but this is all we have.
Since the sound quality is so excellent, I didn't have to do any tinkering, except I broke the talking between songs into separate tracks.
This is the last of five bootleg concerts from the very early part of Mitchell's career (1967 and 1968). I recommend listening to them all, because they all sound great, they all have different set lists with rare and unreleased songs, and they all have lots of interesting between song banter.
01 Marcie (Joni Mitchell)
02 Nathan La Freneer (Joni Mitchell)
03 talk (Joni Mitchell)
04 Dr. Junk [The Dentist Man] (Joni Mitchell)
05 Roses Blue (Joni Mitchell)
06 talk (Joni Mitchell)
07 The Circle Game - Little Green (Joni Mitchell)
08 talk (Joni Mitchell)
09 I Don't Know Where I Stand (Joni Mitchell)
10 Go Tell the Drummer Man (Joni Mitchell)
11 talk (Joni Mitchell)
12 Michael from Mountains (Joni Mitchell)
For the cover art, I found a color photo of Mitchell in concert in 1968. But it's much later in 1968. It comes from the Big Sur Folk Festival in September. (Note that that's a different festival than the one documented in the film "Celebration at Big Sur," which also featured Mitchell but took place a year later.)
The challenge for me with this sort of album is finding an acoustic version of each song with good enough sound quality. This time around, I was able to find seven out of the ten songs from "Ole Tarantula." (Chances are, the others were never played live at all, or weren't played in acoustic format.) But I was able to supplement that with more more songs that are acoustic versions of stray tracks from the same year.
Every single performance here is officially unreleased. But the sound quality is pretty high, generally speaking. It helps that a few of the songs come from in person radio station appearances instead of concerts. Most of the rest comes from soundboards. As I often do, I've removed the audience noise to make it sound like studio recordings.
01 Adventure Rocket Ship (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Museum of Sex (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Ole Tarantula (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Belltown Ramble (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 [A Man's Gotta Know His Limitations] Briggs (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Red Locust Frenzy (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 'Cause It's Love [Saint Parallelogram] (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 The Authority Box (Robyn Hitchcock with Glenn Tilbrook & Scott McCaughey)
09 N. Y. Doll (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Underground Sun (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 Painkiller Song (Robyn Hitchcock)
For the album cover, I found what appears to be an advertisement for "Ole Tarantula." I removed all the text from below Hitchcock's name and added in the text I wanted. But it's otherwise unchanged.
But also as I mentioned in the last post, most of those covers were only played a single time, usually due to a fan request. That can be a problem in terms of sound quality, since the odds of an official release or a really excellent bootleg from a single concert are low. As with this series as a whole, I've maintained pretty high sound quality standards. That meant not including some songs if the sound wasn't up to snuff.
Only four of the 15 songs were officially released. So this album sounds a bit rougher than most others in this series.
By the way, the story behind the performance of "All Shook Up" here is pretty funny. Springsteen started to play the song, as usual, except it turned out an Elvis Presley imitator named the Philly Elvis was in the front of the audience. Somehow, he found himself on stage, and Springsteen was nice enough to let him sing part of the song. The whole thing happened spontaneously, which is why Springsteen comments at the end that he didn't know how the heck that had just happened. You can find a video of it on YouTube. It's entertaining to watch the looks of amazement and amusement on the band members on stage.
01 Hard Times [Come Again No More] (Bruce Springsteen)
02 Hang On Sloopy (Bruce Springsteen)
03 Da Do Ron Ron (Bruce Springsteen)
04 Rockin' Robin (Bruce Springsteen)
05 The Wanderer (Bruce Springsteen)
06 I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down (Bruce Springsteen & Elvis Costello)
07 The Last Time (Bruce Springsteen)
08 A Little Bit O' Soul (Bruce Springsteen)
09 All Shook Up (Bruce Springsteen with the Philly Elvis)
10 Save the Last Dance for Me (Bruce Springsteen)
11 [Your Love Keeps Lifting Me] Higher and Higher (Bruce Springsteen)
12 Roll Over Beethoven (Bruce Springsteen)
13 Fortunate Son (John Fogerty & Bruce Springsteen)
14 Oh, Pretty Woman (Bruce Springsteen & John Fogerty)
15 Soul Man (Bruce Springsteen & Sam Moore)
One again, for the album cover, I wanted to go with something a little bit different. I found a great photo of Springsteen "crowd surfing" in Baltimore in 2009.
Saturday, December 21, 2019
That said, I've posted a live album from him, and now I'm posting another, because I think they're exceptional. Here's the link to the previous one I posted, which dates to 1971:
If you've been following this blog, you're probably noticed by now that I have a particular fondness for acoustic guitar performances. That 1971 concert I just linked to is an acoustic one, and this one is too.
But I think this one is even more remarkable than that one, due to a combination of its date and its sound quality. This concert is from the very start of 1966. There are very few bootlegs of any kind going that far back, and the ones that exist usually have poor sound. Yet this recording is a really fantastic sounding soundboard recording! Furthermore, I've added some bonus tracks from another concert in 1965, and that also is a really nice soundboard recording too.
That is particularly surprising because Lightfoot's musical career was just getting off the ground at the time. His first album "Lightfoot!" came out in January 1966, the exact same month as this recording. He'd been playing concerts and recording singles for years prior to that, but it wasn't until he released his first album when his popularity and reputation slowly grew. Thus, he wasn't very well known, and this concert had him playing in a small club. (For the 1965 bonus tracks, that's even more the case. You can hear from the applause that he played to a much smaller crowd.)
I like this concert a lot, even though I'm not a big Gordon Lightfoot fan, for a number of reasons. For one, I think his first album is his strongest album. That means he had a lot of excellent songs to play, even though it was still early in his career. For another, he had a lot of entertaining between song banter. It reminds me a lot of the four Joni Mitchell concerts from 1967 and 1968 I've posted here recently, where she talked before every song.
A third factor is that Lightfoot played some songs here that didn't appear on any of his albums, and they're really good too. Including the bonus tracks from the 1965 concert, the songs "Let's Get Together," Turn, Turn, Turn," "Old Blue, and "The Auctioneer" either were never released on album by him, or were only released much later.
Of course, "Turn, Turn, Turn" was a number one hit for the Byrds in 1965. But note that the 1965 concert this comes from took place months before that Byrds version was released. The song was well known already in folk music circles, because it had been written and performed by Pete Seeger, so Lightfoot's version is based on that and has nothing to do with the Byrds version.
Speaking of those Joni Mitchell concerts I mentioned above, I had a lot of trouble figuring out exactly when and where those were recorded. Turns out I had the same problem here. The bootleg I found claimed the show was from Ottawa, Canada, but didn't mention the specific venue. Other versions of this same bootleg claim it took place at the Riverboat in Toronto, Canada. When I first posted this, I decided that it probably took place at the Riverboat, mostly due to a reference that Lightfoot played at the Riverboat in Toronto on January 18, 1966, and continued to play there for the next two weeks. That means it was highly likely he was still playing there on January 27th.
However, I have since changed my mind, and changed the location to Ottawa. That's due to some comments he made at the start of the song "Piddling Pete," in which he mentioned both Ottawa and Toronto for the setting of the song. One could argue for either location based on those mentions alone. However, a commenter later mentioned that he also referred to Bell's Corners at the start of that song, which is the name of a specific Ottawa neighborhood. That's someone one would assume an Ottawa crowd would know, not a Toronto crowd.
The location is still not 100 percent certain, but I found newspaper references that for the first few years of his career, before he hit it big, he always played in the Cafe Le Hibou in Ottawa. So I'm going with that until and unless something better comes along.
Regarding those 1965 bonus tracks, as I mentioned above, they come from a concert in mid-1965 that is also a great soundboard recording. (Specifically, it took place at La Cave, in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 8, 1965.) But I don't like that concert nearly as much, due to the fact that the recording quickly faded in and out and the starts and ends of the songs, cutting out nearly all of the talking between songs. Plus, there was a lot of overlap between the songs played in the 1966 concert and the 1965 one. So instead of presenting it in full, I've only included the interesting songs that aren't repeats of any of the songs from the 1966 show. Between the two concerts, one gets most of the really good songs Lightfoot had come up with by that point in his career. (In case you don't look at the mp3 tags, the 1965 concert goes from "Let's Get Together" until the end.)
The 1966 concert is fairly short, at only 38 minutes. But it's almost certainly complete. In fact, he mentioned towards the end how the time for his set was running out. Given that he wasn't a big star at the time, playing 30 minutes in a folk club as part of a bill with other artists on it seems to have been par for the course. The same thing happened to Joni Mitchell, for instance. (And, as a fellow Canadian, she played at the same venue a lot in the same time period.) The bonus tracks from the 1965 concert add another 20 minutes to make it a fuller listening experience.
As usual, I'm probably way too verbose with these write-ups. But the bottom line is, this is a great performance with great sound quality, and it's a real treasure to have such a recording all the way from the start of 1966. Even if you're like me and you're not a big Lightfoot fan, this is a very solid album that definitely deserves to be released. In fact, I like it more than any of his official albums.
01 Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot)
02 I'm Not Sayin' (Gordon Lightfoot)
03 talk (Gordon Lightfoot)
04 Changes (Gordon Lightfoot)
05 talk (Gordon Lightfoot)
06 Piddling Pete (Gordon Lightfoot)
07 talk (Gordon Lightfoot)
08 Ballad of Yarmouth Castle (Gordon Lightfoot)
09 talk (Gordon Lightfoot)
10 If You Got It (Gordon Lightfoot)
11 talk (Gordon Lightfoot)
12 The Auctioneer (Gordon Lightfoot)
13 talk (Gordon Lightfoot)
14 Echoes of Heroes (Gordon Lightfoot)
15 talk (Gordon Lightfoot)
16 Old Blue (Gordon Lightfoot)
17 Let's Get Together (Gordon Lightfoot)
18 Turn, Turn, Turn [To Everything There Is a Season] (Gordon Lightfoot)
19 Ribbon of Darkness (Gordon Lightfoot)
20 The Way I Feel (Gordon Lightfoot)
21 Steel Rail Blues (Gordon Lightfoot)
22 For Lovin' Me (Gordon Lightfoot)
The photo I chose for the cover art was taken at the Riverboat in Toronto, Canada. It comes from January 1967, not January 1966. So it's not a perfect match for place or time, but it's in the right ballpark for both. If Lightfoot was wearing a suit in 1967, as he is in the photo, then he almost certainly dressed and looked just like that in 1966 as well.
I hate using black and white instead of color for my album covers, so some months after I first posted this album, I colorized the photo.
This volume technically covers 2007 to 2009. But in fact only the first two songs are from 2007 and 2008. All the rest is from 2009. When Springsteen went on tour that year, for whatever reason, he played tons of covers that he'd never done before. Each concert, he would ask the audience for large cards with the names of songs they wanted him to play written on him. He encouraged the audience to "stump the band" by requesting covers and not just songs he'd written. So 2009 will take up the vast majority of this album, all of the next album, and half of the album after that.
The one downside to his 2009 approach is that he often played this covers just one time, without practice, based on some random request. So that meant there usually wasn't an official release (despite his recent trend of officially releasing dozens upon dozens of concerts), and occasionally there wasn't even a bootlegged recording. But usually what happened was that someone did bootleg it, but only with a fair sounding audience recording.
That means two things. One, there were many interesting covers he did in 2009 that I didn't include here because I felt the sound quality wasn't good enough. I'm included a bunch of those on an addendum album I'll post later of covers with rougher sound quality, but many songs didn't even rise to that level. The other thing is that, of the songs that I did include here, the sound quality is variable. Only two songs here are officially released (the last two). Most of the rest come from audience bootlegs. Luckily, most of them were very well recorded and sound nearly as good as soundboard recordings, or I wouldn't have included them here.
I edited the song "My Generation." The reason for that is because somebody in the band really messed up. The way the song goes, the band has to change keys several times over the course of the song. But halfway through the song, someone in the band went to the wrong key or didn't change keys. They continued playing that way through a verse, chorus, and a bass solo. So I edited all that out. However, after that cut, the song is still three minutes long, and sounds like a complete song. (I would have used a different version of the song, but Springsteen has only played the song live a handful of times, and the recordings of the other versions either sound really bad or don't exist.)
01 Town Called Heartbreak (Bruce Springsteen & Patti Scialfa)
02 I'll Fly Away (Bruce Springsteen)
03 I Ain't Got No Home (Bruce Springsteen)
04 Proud Mary (Bruce Springsteen)
05 Wild Thing (Bruce Springsteen)
06 96 Tears (Bruce Springsteen)
07 Seventh Son (Bruce Springsteen)
08 Expressway to Your Heart (Bruce Springsteen)
09 You Really Got Me (Bruce Springsteen)
10 My Generation [Edit] (Bruce Springsteen)
11 Like a Rolling Stone (Bruce Springsteen)
12 Mony Mony (Bruce Springsteen)
13 The Dark End of the Street (Bruce Springsteen)
14 Good Lovin' (Bruce Springsteen)
15 London Calling (Bruce Springsteen)
For the last album cover, I went with a photo of Springsteen playing a piano, to help show that he does more than just play guitar. Continuing with that idea, this time I picked a photo of his blowing on a harmonica. This photo was taken in New York City in 2007.
If you look at this song list as well as the song list for Volume 1, I think the sheer diversity of songs is remarkable. A lot of songwriters or songwriting teams in this Covered series have a certain style or sound, so you often can tell if a song is written by them. Not so with Mann and Weil. There's no way I could have imagined these songs had anything in common, because they don't, except for who wrote them.
Mann and Weil have shown a remarkable ability to survive changing trends. They continued to write hits from the start of the 1960s all the way to end of the 1990s. That said, I'm not a big fan of some musical trends from the late 1970s onwards. That means there are a higher number of songs Mann and/or Weil wrote from that time onwards that I don't like, even some big hits. In particular, they had some cheesy "adult contemporary" hits I can't enjoy at all. For instance, "How Much Love" by Leo Sayer, "Just Once" by Quincy Jones and James Ingram, "I Will Come to You" by Hanson, "Love Will Conquer All" by Lionel Richie, "Through the Fire" by Chaka Khan, "Running with the Night" by Lionel Richie, and more. I can enjoy a totally cheesy song if it has something special about it, such as a great melody (for instance, "Sometimes When We Touch" by Dan Hill, which is included here), but more often, I find those sorts of songs quickly forgettable, and almost interchangeable.
I wasn't going to include "Somewhere Out There" by Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram, because I consider it also in this category of cheesy pap. But that song was such a massive hit, including winning the Grammy for song of the year, that I figured I couldn't really have a compilation of Mann and Weil without it. There are a couple other songs like that on this volume that I reluctantly included. Basically, I think a lot of popular music has gone astray in recent decades, and unfortunately Mann and Weil wanted to keep writing hits, so they followed those unfortunate trends. That said, I think most of the songs here are very good, showing why the two of them are considered one of the most famous songwriting teams of all time.
01 Make Your Own Kind of Music (Mama Cass Elliot)
02 Just a Little Lovin' (Dusty Springfield)
03 It's Getting Better (Mama Cass Elliot)
04 I Just Can't Help Believin' (Elvis Presley)
05 New World Coming (Mama Cass Elliot)
06 Rock and Roll Lullaby (B. J. Thomas)
07 You Baby (John Holt)
08 Here You Come Again (Dolly Parton)
09 Sometimes When We Touch (Dan Hill)
10 He's So Shy (Pointer Sisters)
11 Never Gonna Let You Go (Sergio Mendes)
12 Somewhere Out There (Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram)
13 Don't Know Much (Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville)
14 Wrong Again (Martina McBride)
15 None of Us Are Free (Solomon Burke)
Thank goodness that I was able to find a decent color photo of Mann and Weil this time around. There are lots of photos of them since about 2010 onwards, but I wanted a photo of them before they were senior citizens. This photo is undated, but I'm guessing by their looks in comparison to other photos of them I've seen that it was taken in the 1990s.
As I usually do with this series, I've included songs written by both of them, as well as those written or co-written by one of them or the other. In their case, their musical collaboration began early, along with their personal relationship. They got married in 1961, and have stayed together ever since. Both Mann and Weil have written hit songs without the other in about equal measure. But the vast majority of the songs here (and on the album to follow that covers the later part of their career) were written by the both of them.
I won't go into more detail about their careers and lives. If you want to know more, here are their Wikipedia pages:
Note that the songs "On Broadway" and "Only in America" are special cases, because they were co-written by Mann and Weil along with another famous songwriting team, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. So I included the songs here and in my Covered albums for Leiber and Stoller, but I was careful to use different versions. (For Leiber and Stoller, I used the George Benson version of "On Broadway" and the Drifters version of "Only in America").
Also note that I've only included the songs that I like. There were a fair number of hits they did that I didn't include. But, by and large, big hits are big because they're really good songs, so I think I've included nearly all of the big hits they were involved in for this time period.
01 Who Put the Bomp [In the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp] (Barry Mann)
02 I Love How You Love Me (Paris Sisters)
03 Uptown (Crystals)
04 Where Have You Been [All My Life] (Arthur Alexander)
05 He's Sure the Boy I Love (Crystals [Darlene Love])
06 On Broadway (Drifters)
07 Blame It on the Bossa Nova (Eydie Gorme)
08 Only in America (Jay & the Americans)
09 You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin' (Righteous Brothers)
10 I'm Gonna Be Strong (Gene Pitney)
11 Saturday Night at the Movies (Drifters)
12 Walking in the Rain (Ronettes)
13 We Gotta Get Out of This Place (Animals)
14 Kicks (Paul Revere & the Raiders)
15 [You're My] Soul and Inspiration (Righteous Brothers)
16 Hungry (Paul Revere & the Raiders)
17 Love Is Only Sleeping (Monkees)
18 Shape of Things to Come (Max Frost & the Troopers)
19 Something Better (Marianne Faithfull)
I get really annoyed how hard it is to find any color photos of some famous people when they were younger. I literally couldn't find a single good color photo of Mann and/or Weil until about the 1990s, and only a couple of bad ones. So I've had to resort to a black and white one, which I've colorized. This photo apparently was taken in 1969.
You can't tell because I've cropped it, but Weil was sitting up high on a desk while Mann was sitting lower. When I cropped it to focus on their faces, it seemed as if Weil was way taller than Mann, which she isn't. So I used Photoshop to raise Mann up in the photo until he was at Mann's level.
Friday, December 20, 2019
But this is a different than the usual Squeeze music, for two reasons. First, the solo acoustic format means the music is presented very different when Squeeze hits are being played. But also, in 1997 when this concert took place, Squeeze was mostly dissolving - they would put out an album in 1998, and then not put out another one of new material for nearly 20 years. Yet Tilbrook hadn't really gotten his solo career started either - his first solo about wouldn't be released until 2001. As a result, he played a lot of cover songs.
I count eight covers, and they're an interesting bunch. He did songs by Blur ("End of the Century"), Oasis ("Wonderwall"), the Beatles ("Tell Me Why" and "Ticket to Ride"), the Monkees ("Daydream Believer"), and Elvis Costello "Alison"), as well as the 1950s hit "Sea Cruise." So that adds a lot of fun variety, instead of it being all Squeeze songs.
In terms of sound quality, this is excellent. It's a pristine soundboard. At the time, Tilbrook wasn't well known on his own (and he never really has drawn huge crowds as a solo aritst), so this took place at an intimate club, with lots of interaction with the crowd.
I made one rather odd but significant edit. For the song "In Quintessence," he played a guitar solo in the middle of the song. But he screwed it up, and apologized for his mistake at the end of the song. Then, once the applause ended, he played the solo he'd wanted to play. That's kind of strange, having a solo wtthout a song around it. Since the solo in the song was flubbed, I patched in the good one he played after the song ended. From your point of view as a listener, you should just hear a normal song with a perfectly good solo in it.
01 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
02 I Won't Ever Go Drinking Again (Glenn Tilbrook)
03 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
04 Sea Cruise (Glenn Tilbrook)
05 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
06 In Quintessence [Edit] (Glenn Tilbrook)
07 Love's Crashing Waves (Glenn Tilbrook)
08 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
09 Messed Around (Glenn Tilbrook)
10 End of a Century (Glenn Tilbrook)
11 All His Love (Glenn Tilbrook)
12 Labelled with Love (Glenn Tilbrook)
13 Can of Worms (Glenn Tilbrook)
14 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
15 Up the Junction (Glenn Tilbrook)
16 Tell Me Why (Glenn Tilbrook)
17 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
18 Take Me, I'm Yours (Glenn Tilbrook)
19 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
20 Daydream Believer (Glenn Tilbrook)
21 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
22 When the Hangover Strikes (Glenn Tilbrook)
23 Electric Trains (Glenn Tilbrook)
24 Walk Away (Glenn Tilbrook)
25 I Want You (Glenn Tilbrook)
26 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
27 Vanity Fair (Glenn Tilbrook)
28 Goodbye Girl (Glenn Tilbrook)
29 Wonderwall (Glenn Tilbrook)
30 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
31 Some Fantastic Place (Glenn Tilbrook)
32 talk (Glenn Tilbrook)
33 Alison (Glenn Tilbrook)
34 Annie Get Your Gun (Glenn Tilbrook)
35 Tempted (Glenn Tilbrook)
36 Ticket to Ride (Glenn Tilbrook)
37 Sunny Afternoon (Glenn Tilbrook)
For the cover art, I wanted to find a good photo of Tilbrook in concert in 1997, but i couldn't find any. However, I found one of him in concert in 1996, so I used that. He was standing next to Chris Difford of Squeeze, but I cropped that out. And by the way, he apparently was standing in front of some red wall. I didn't make any changes to the pic.
I already posted four songs at the end of the previous album that are related to that album. For this album, all the songs are related in style. However, not all the songs here are songs from that album. He released a live album in 2007, "Live in Dublin," that was from the tour to promote the album. So naturally, it contained a lot of songs from that album, plus some in a similar vein. But there were yet more songs in that style that didn't make the studio album or the live album.
As if that isn't confusing enough, there are a couple of songs from this time period that I simply didn't like at all, so I didn't include. One example I can remember is the children's song "Froggy Went A-Courtin'." It's not a song I'm wild about in the first place, and it just didn't sound that good when Springsteen did it.
In terms of sound quality, eight of the 12 songs this time are officially released. If you look at the unreleased four ("Rag Mama Rag," "Samson and Delilah," "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Shenandoah"), those are all songs that didn't make it onto either "We Shall Overcome" or "Live in Dublin." (That's also true for "Long Black Veil" from the previous album in this series.) But even the unreleased songs are very well recorded, so this album sounds better than most in this series.
By the way, this album finishes all his 2006 cover songs. The next one in the series will start with 2007, with Springsteen back in fully rocking mode.
01 Bring 'Em Home (Bruce Springsteen)
02 Rag Mama Rag (Bruce Springsteen)
03 Samson and Delilah (Bruce Springsteen)
04 Love of the Common People (Bruce Springsteen & Curtis King Jr.)
05 Turn, Turn, Turn [To Everything There Is a Season] (Bruce Springsteen & Marc Anthony Thompson)
06 Jacob's Ladder (Bruce Springsteen)
07 Old Dan Tucker (Bruce Springsteen)
08 When the Saints Go Marching In (Bruce Springsteen & Marc Anthony Thompson)
09 Erie Canal (Bruce Springsteen)
10 Mrs. McGrath (Bruce Springsteen)
11 My Oklahoma Home (Bruce Springsteen)
12 Shenandoah (Bruce Springsteen)
The cover art shows Springsteen in Ashbury Park, New Jersey, in 2006.
The band's unplugged performance was shown on TV at the time, but no album of it was ever released. (A DVD of it was included on their 2017 box set of rarities "Overflow Tank," but strangely, that was missing one song.) So here it is. I think it's an excellent concert, with great sound. It's kind of like their greatest hits up until 1993 (and most of their hits were from before then), but with a semi-acoustic twist.
It's a fairly long concert compared to how these things usually go, at an hour and 34 minutes. I'm guessing MTV only broadcast parts of it to fit it into an hour, but I'm not sure. I didn't have to do much tweaking. But there's a fair amount of talking, and I broke all of that into separate tracks.
By the way, the band later did some more acoustic stuff, especially around the year 2002. I've compiled that into another album, and I'll post that at a later time.
01 talk (Midnight Oil)
02 Feeding Frenzy (Midnight Oil)
03 talk (Midnight Oil)
04 Sell My Soul (Midnight Oil)
05 talk (Midnight Oil)
06 Short Memory (Midnight Oil)
07 talk (Midnight Oil)
08 Tell Me the Truth (Midnight Oil)
09 Blue Sky Mine (Midnight Oil)
10 talk (Midnight Oil)
11 Lucky Country (Midnight Oil)
12 Now or Never Land (Midnight Oil)
13 talk (Midnight Oil)
14 Antarctica (Midnight Oil)
15 talk (Midnight Oil)
16 The Dead Heart (Midnight Oil)
17 In the Valley (Midnight Oil)
18 Beds Are Burning (Midnight Oil)
19 One Country (Midnight Oil)
20 talk (Midnight Oil)
21 Earth and Sun and Moon (Midnight Oil)
22 talk (Midnight Oil)
23 Truganini (Midnight Oil)
24 Drums of Heaven (Midnight Oil)
25 talk (Midnight Oil)
26 My Country (Midnight Oil)
27 Warakurna (Midnight Oil)
28 We Gotta Get Out of This Place (Midnight Oil)
For the album cover, I just used the cover to a popular bootleg of the concert. The only change I made was that I replaced the text at the bottom, so it would include the exact date of the show.
Thursday, December 19, 2019
This concert took place in Club 47, a small club in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her first album ("Songs for a Seagull") was released in March 1968. This took place two months prior to that, so she still wasn't very well known, though her popularity was growing due to word of mouth. Not surprisingly, her setlist is dominated by songs from her first album. But she plays some other songs too, including three (or four) that remain officially unreleased.
I say "three (or four)" because there's some confusion about this concert. It's definitely a great sounding soundboard recording, and nobody seems to doubt the date or location. But there are two popular bootleg recordings of it, and the song orders are very different from one to the other. Plus, one of them has an unreleased song, "Come to the Sunshine," on it that the other one doesn't have. I've decided the one without that song is the correct one, because the last song on it is "Both Sides Now," and before the song starts, she makes a comment that it'll be the last song of her set. By contrast, that song appears in the middle of the song list for the other version. It also makes sense that she ended her set with "Both Sides Now," because it was one of her strongest songs at the time, and would be a hit for Judy Collins later in the year.
But if that version is the correct one, then what's the deal with "Come to the Sunshine?" It appeared in the middle of the setlist in the other version. It terms of sound quality, it matches with the other songs. It also appears to be different than any other version of the song I've come across. (She played it in one of the bootlegged 2nd Fret 1967 concerts too.) Not knowing what else to do, I've stuck it at the end of this album. Maybe it's from this same concert, maybe it's from somewhere else, but it's a good version that deserves to be heard in any case.
I've separated her between song banter onto separate tracks. One thing I really like about her early concerts is that she usually was very talkative. I suppose it was a lot easier to do that when playing in a small club than playing in huge stadiums, as she later would do. For some of these songs, she speaks for a couple of minutes and sheds a lot of light about what the songs the mean.
Because the sound quality is so good on this, I didn't have to do much tinkering. But there were a couple of songs with some glitches in them. For instance, there was one spot in "Conversation" where the recording slowed down for a second or two, making a strange sound. Luckily, it was at a spot where she wasn't singing, so I was able to fix that by patching in a repetition of that music from elsewhere in the song. I did that same sort of thing for a couple other songs, including for some of the talking between songs.
01 Cactus Tree (Joni Mitchell)
02 Morning Morgantown (Joni Mitchell)
03 Conversation (Joni Mitchell)
04 talk (Joni Mitchell)
05 The Gift of the Magi (Joni Mitchell)
06 talk (Joni Mitchell)
07 Chelsea Morning (Joni Mitchell)
08 Song to a Seagull (Joni Mitchell)
09 talk (Joni Mitchell)
10 I Had a King (Joni Mitchell)
11 Night in the City (Joni Mitchell)
12 talk (Joni Mitchell)
13 Ballerina Valerie (Joni Mitchell)
14 talk (Joni Mitchell)
15 The Pirate of Penance (Joni Mitchell)
16 talk (Joni Mitchell)
17 The Way It Is (Joni Mitchell)
18 The Dawntreader (Joni Mitchell)
19 talk (Joni Mitchell)
20 Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell)
21 Come to the Sunshine (Joni Mitchell)
The cover art photo is of Mitchell playing at the Bitter End in New York City, on October 23, 1968. I probably could have found a photo from earlier in 1968, but I really like this one because I think it ably shows the atmosphere in the small clubs she was playing at the time. I colorized it.
There are more songs from 2004, and a few from 2005, where Springsteen generally did his usual covers of classic rock and soul hits.
But then, in 2006, he shifted gears dramatically, and went back into a "folkie" mode. He released a studio album called "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions," which was composed entirely of folk songs previously performed by Pete Seeger. Since those are cover songs, they naturally will get on this series. The last four songs here are from that project. But these are all live versions, so these are different versions than the one on that studio album.
In terms of sound quality, this album is a mixed bag. Only four of the 13 songs have been officially released. The rest generally sound excellent, from soundboard bootlegs. But there are a couple of exceptions of somewhat rougher sound, such as "Running on Empty" and "It Takes Two."
01 Man on the Moon (R.E.M. & Bruce Springsteen)
02 Running on Empty (Jackson Browne & Bruce Springsteen)
03 Better Man (Eddie Vedder & Bruce Springsteen)
04 It Takes Two (Bruce Springsteen & Patti Scialfa)
05 Run Rudolph Run (Bruce Springsteen)
06 The Patriot Game (Bruce Springsteen)
07 Dirty Water [Acoustic Version] (Bruce Springsteen)
08 Rumble (Bruce Springsteen)
09 Millworker (Bruce Springsteen)
10 Eyes on the Prize (Bruce Springsteen & Marc Anthony Thompson)
11 John Henry (Bruce Springsteen)
12 Buffalo Gals (Bruce Springsteen)
13 Long Black Veil (Bruce Springsteen)
For pretty much all the cover art photos in this series so far, I've shown Springsteen playing a guitar. So, for variety's sake, this time I've gone with him playing a piano in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 2005.
This stray tracks album covers the time of her musical rebirth. Most of the songs on it actually come before the release of "Nick of Time," but one can hear her musical revitalization throughout all of it. The second wind for her career began with the first song here, "Baby Mine," because during the recording of that song for a various artists compilation, she met producer Don Was of the band Was (Not Was). Was was produced "Nick of Time," and was instrumental in giving her the right production that allowed her to succeed so dramatically.
Raitt has always been very open to performing duets and other musical collaborations. There are a lot of those here. She collaborates with some of her very favorite musicians, like Little Feat, Dr. John, and NRBQ. Some of the songs come from other people's albums or various artists compilations, but more (seven out of the 12 songs) are from unreleased concert bootlegs. However, the sound on all of those are really good, probably soundboard recordings for most or all of them.
01 Baby Mine (Bonnie Raitt & Was (Not Was))
02 Somebody's on Your Case (Katie Webster & Bonnie Raitt)
03 Love Ain't No Triple Play (Dr. John & Bonnie Raitt with Bennie Wallace)
04 I'm Never Afraid [To Say What's on My Mind] (Bonnie Raitt)
05 El Salvador (Bonnie Raitt)
06 The End of the World (Bonnie Raitt & NRBQ)
07 The Last Time (Bonnie Raitt & NRBQ)
08 Man Sized Job (Bonnie Raitt with Little Feat)
09 Rock and Roll Doctor (Bonnie Raitt & Little Feat)
10 I'm in the Mood (John Lee Hooker with Bonnie Raitt)
11 Born in the Country (Bonnie Raitt)
12 Up the Country Blues [Ragtime Show] (Bonnie Raitt)
The cover art photo is of Raitt in concert in 1988.