Friday, February 28, 2020

Fleetwood Mac - BBC Sessions, Volume 7: 1970-1971

This is the seventh and last of my albums of Fleetwood Mac performing for the BBC.

I wish I could keep going, but their last appearances on the BBC was in 1971. It seems a lot of bands stopped playing for the BBC in the early 1970s. I think that was mostly due to a change of formats for the BBC. Up until about 1971, bands often played a few songs in the BBC studios each time. But that largely stopped, and was replaced by broadcasts of live concerts that went on much longer. Unfortunately, it seems Fleetwood Mac didn't do any of those.

This volume is fairly different from all the previous ones in this series in that guitarist Peter Green left the band just before the time period covered here. Instead, guitarist Danny Kirwan plays a more prominent role. And Christine McVie finally joined the band, and played a prominent role too. Actually, the first two songs are from before McVie joined the band. Then the third to fifth songs are McVie performances during her brief time as a solo artist. The rest are when she was a part of Fleetwood Mac, and she sings lead on some of those.

Only three of the 13 songs here are officially unreleased. Two of those, "Tell Me All the Things You Do" and "Dragonfly," are BBC performances that somehow got missed by all the official releases. "Lay It All Down" is unreleased because it actually isn't from the BBC. It's from the German TV show "Beat Club" instead. (The bonus track is a different version of "Dragonfly," also from Beat Club.) I would have included more TV or radio appearances other than BBC ones, except I couldn't find more. It doesn't help that the band's popularity declined a lot after about 1971, before reviving in a big way in 1975.

Four of the songs have "Edit" in their titles because I made big edits on them. The available version of "Station Man" didn't have an intro, probably due to some BBC DJ talking over the music, and started right when the vocals did. I fixed that by patching in some music from later in the song. "Get like You Used to Be" lacked a good ending. If I recall correctly, the recording faded out in the middle of McVie singing a verse. I also fixed that by patching in music from elsewhere in the song. For two other songs, "Dragonfly" and "Morning Rain," I used the audio editing program X-Minus to wipe the BBC DJ talking while keeping the underlying music. 

As an aside, this version of the song "Morning Rain" usually has the title "Start Again" on bootlegs because the DJ said the band had just written it, and that was the title the decided on as they entered the BBC studio to record it. But obviously they later changed their minds, because it was called "Morning Rain" on the next studio album, so that's what I call it here.

This album is 43 minutes long, not counting the bonus track.

UPDATE: On June 16, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. The song "Morning Rain" had been a pretty bad sounding bonus track. But thanks to musical associate Marley giving me access to BBC transcription discs, I was able to replace that with a great sounding version, allowing me to include it on the album proper. At the same time, I found a true BBC session version of the song "Dragonfly" that hasn't been bootlegged anywhere, as far as I can see. I'd already had a version of the song here, but from the Beat Club TV show. That now has been demoted to bonus track status. It has perfectly fine sound quality; I just don't like having two versions of the same song on one album.

01 No Road Is the Right Road [Edit] (Christine McVie)
02 Jenny Lee (Fleetwood Mac)
03 When Will I Be Loved (Fleetwood Mac)
04 Honey Hush (Fleetwood Mac)
05 When I See My Baby (Fleetwood Mac)
06 Buddy's Song [Peggy Sue Got Married] (Fleetwood Mac)
07 Tell Me All the Things You Do (Fleetwood Mac)
08 Down at the Crown (Fleetwood Mac)
09 I Can't Stop Loving Her (Fleetwood Mac)
10 Crazy 'bout You Baby [Can't Hold Out Much Longer] (Fleetwood Mac)
11 Station Man [Edit] (Fleetwood Mac)
12 Dragonfly [Edit] (Fleetwood Mac)
13 Preachin' (Fleetwood Mac)
14 Morning Rain [Edit] (Fleetwood Mac)
15 Lay It All Down (Fleetwood Mac)

Dragonfly (Fleetwood Mac)

The cover art photo is from 1971. It shows the band while it was mainly led by Christine McVie, Jeremy Spencer, and Danny Kirwan. Note how drummer Mick Fleetwood is a head above anyone else because he's a very tall guy and not standing on something.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Various Artists - Covered: Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Volume 3: 1966-1969

I'm trying to post these once a day until I'm done. So here's the third of out six albums in the Covered series celebrating the songwriting of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.

As I mentioned in the last volume, Goffin and King were married (since 1959) but their marriage started to fall apart in the mid-1960s due to Goffin's adultery. Adding to that, when LSD got trendy around 1967, Goffin began using LSD, and other drugs. That led to mental problems, including getting diagnosed with manic depression and being hospitalized. Their marriage staggered on for a little longer, but they finally divorced in 1969.

That also meant the end of their songwriting partnership. The vast majority of the songs on this volume are still credited to Goffin and King, but I'm not sure if that's true. Consider John Lennon and Paul McCartney, where they continued to put both their names of songs near the end of the Beatles even when just one of them had anything to do with the song. (For instance, Lennon's solo hit "Cold Turkey" was credited to Lennon and McCartney even though McCartney not only didn't have any role in it, he downright disliked it.)

In addition to Goffin's issues, one reason their songwriting partnership broke up was that King had generally written the melodies while Goffin wrote the words, but King increasingly wanted to express her own feelings by writing her own words, so she didn't need Goffin's help anymore. So the songs on this volume increasingly reflect King's point of view, even when they were written by both of them. A good example is the all-time classic "(You Make Me Feel LIke) A Natural Woman," which was definitely written by both of them, but clearly reflects a woman's personal feelings.

Despite the occasional huge hit like "A Natural Woman," the commercial success of Goffin and King was going down during the late 1960s, as musical trends changed and their poppy style partially went out of fashion. So an increasing number of songs here are non-hits, and sometimes fairly obscure. But I think they are all solid, and most of them probably would have been hits if they'd been released in a different era.

01 Goin' Back (Dusty Springfield)
02 Stage Door (Tony Jackson)
03 No Easy Way Down (Germz)
04 Pleasant Valley Sunday (Monkees)
05 [You Make Me Feel Like] A Natural Woman (Aretha Franklin)
06 Snow Queen (Roger Nichols & the Small Circle of Friends)
07 So Goes Love (Shirley Abicair)
08 I Don't Think You Know Me (American Breed)
09 Sometime in the Morning (Monkees)
10 A Man without a Dream (Ben E. King)
11 Road to Nowhere (Hearts & Flowers)
12 Wasn't Born to Follow (Byrds)
13 Now That Everything's Been Said (Peggy Lipton)
14 Porpoise Song ['Theme From Head'] (Monkees)
15 You're Just What I Was Looking for Today (Status Quo)
16 Something Better (Marianne Faithfull)

Once again, I struck out trying to find any color photos of Goffin and King together in the 1960s. For the one I've included here, I don't know what year it's from, but I'm guessing it's from the mid-1960s based on the general look. I edited the photo slightly to move Goffin and King closer together, allowing me to make their heads larger in the picture frame.

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

Rolling Stones - Madison Square Garden, New York City, 11-27-1969

There is a very strange story behind this album. On the last day of 2019, ABKCO, the record company in charge of the Rolling Stones' 1969 music catalog, released a bunch of Rolling Stones songs from 1969 on YouTube for about a day. This was due to a European copyright law, that states a legal entity has to make recordings publicly available within 50 years to maintain the copyright rights. They waited until almost literally the last minute of the last day to do so.

Lots of other big artists have had similar copyright extension releases, such as the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and the Beach Boys. But ABKCO went several steps further than other artists to be jerks about it: they only released the songs with a low bit rate, meaning poor quality sound, and then they added an annoying loud tone through all the songs that made them virtually unlistenable!

Here's an article about this strange situation:

The problem is the Rolling Stones and ABKCO have been fighting each other since about 1969, because the band felt they'd signed a contract that ripped them off. There have been a few exceptions, but they generally have preferred not to release any previously unreleased 1960s material just to make sure ABKCO doesn't profit. So, aside from this one weird, brief release, these performances are likely to stay unreleased for a long time, or maybe forever.

Some of the performances were live, and others were from the studio. I'll deal with the studio material in a later post. Of the live material, most of it, frankly, sounds bad. ABKCO pretty much just posted versions of a few 1969 concerts already made popular by bootlegs, but with worse sound quality. And that's even taking into account that people figured out how to remove the constant buzzing noise without reducing the sound of the rest too badly.

One exception are a couple of concerts from Madison Square Garden, on November 27th and November 28th, 1969. These are previously unavailable soundboard versions (with the buzzing noise removed). The set lists are the same on both nights, but the November 27th show sounds slightly better. Also, the 28th show has some cuts and flaws in it, and the 27th doesn't. So I've directed my attention to the 27th show only. Also, it comes from the end of the band's 1969 tour, and they felt they got better and better as the tour went along, so both the sound quality and performance are the best.

But this concert is very similar to the officially released live album "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out." In fact, most of the songs on that album come from those two nights at the Madison Square Garden. But the band did two shows each night, and I think the only performance on the live album from this, the late show on the 27th, is the first song, "Jumpin' Jack Flash." Furthermore, the set list is exactly the same between this and "Ya-Ya's," since the band didn't vary their set list much at the time.

So, you may ask: why listen to this at all, when "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out" is professionally done and sounds better? That's true, but that album has been criticized for being overdubbed in the studio after the fact to fix or improve performances. For instance, it's known the lead vocals were redone for at least six of the songs, and there was more overdubbing of guitar parts, backing vocals, and so on. Furthermore, this has the songs in the order they were actually played, and "Ya-Ya's" has them all mixed up. If you want to hear what the Stones sounded like in "the raw," from just one concert, exactly as they did at the time, then this album is for you.

But the story gets more complicated, because although this is a professionally recorded soundboard, it's completely unmixed, and it had some serious flaws. When I heard it, what most disappointed me was that the lead vocals sounded a bit distant. Fixing that sort of thing goes beyond my limited sound editing skills. Luckily though, lately I've been getting sound editing help from someone named MZ. I sent him the files and asked if he could take a whack at them, and he did. He tells me that the main thing he did was reduce the bass and increase the tremble - which is where the lead vocals are. He also removed some clicks and other minor flaws. I think it sounds much better now.

On top of that, I did what limited sound editing I could do to help. I separated all the talking between songs onto their own tracks, as I usually do for concert recordings. Then I boosted the vocals of Mick Jagger's between song banter, because that was usually too low in the mix.

That left only one glaring problem, which was the start of the song "Under My Thumb." There was some weird flaw for about ten seconds of the opening riff, where they bass got way too loud and distorted. I got rid of that bit by patching in a repetition of the riff from a few seconds later. So it should sound good now, although it is odd that the intro riff is repeated three times before more instruments join in. I'm guessing it probably was repeated once more, but that part sounded so bad that it got edited out. But I'm not sure, so I've left it as it is.

Brian Jones was fired from the band before the start of their 1969 tour (and died shortly thereafter). He was replaced by Mick Taylor. So this features the Mick Taylor version of the band, which lasted until 1974. Personally, that's my favorite line-up.

By the way, Peter, who runs the "Albums I Wish Existed" blog, posted the studio portion of this copyright extension release last week. That's how I found it, and got inspired to track down the best of the live portion. You can get that at his blog here:

Also, I plan on posting my own version of that studio material here soon. I'm going to mix it in with other studio outtakes from the time, as well as stuff from the band's 1968 copyright extension release, which came out at the end of 2018.

01 talk (Rolling Stones)
02 Jumpin' Jack Flash (Rolling Stones)
03 talk (Rolling Stones)
04 Carol (Rolling Stones)
05 Sympathy for the Devil (Rolling Stones)
06 talk (Rolling Stones)
07 Stray Cat Blues (Rolling Stones)
08 talk (Rolling Stones)
09 Love in Vain (Rolling Stones)
10 talk (Rolling Stones)
11 Prodigal Son (Rolling Stones)
12 talk (Rolling Stones)
13 You Gotta Move (Rolling Stones)
14 Under My Thumb [Edit] - I'm Free (Rolling Stones)
15 Midnight Rambler (Rolling Stones)
16 talk (Rolling Stones)
17 Live with Me (Rolling Stones)
18 talk (Rolling Stones)
19 Little Queenie (Rolling Stones)
20 [I Can't Get No] Satisfaction (Rolling Stones)
21 talk (Rolling Stones)
22 Honky Tonk Women (Rolling Stones)
23 Street Fighting Man (Rolling Stones)

The copyright extension release has already started to be bootlegged, even though it's only a couple of months old as I write this. I used the cover of one such bootleg as my starting point. But I decided to replace most of the text, even though I kept the font. I also changed the photo. Luckily, there are a bunch of very good photos of the Madison Square Garden concerts on November 28th (though not the 27th, as far as I know). The bootleg cover used one, but it showed Mick Jagger only, and it was black and white. I found a better one that's in color and shows both Jagger and Keith Richards. (I didn't find any ones showing the whole band.) I manipulated it a bit to close a gap between the two of them, so I could make them larger. The two of them played a few acoustic songs in the middle of the concert ("Love in Vain," "Prodigal Son," and "You Gotta Move"), and the photo comes from that.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Various Artists - Covered: Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Volume 2: 1964-1966

This is the second of six albums of my Covered series, highlighting the songwriting of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. If you want to know more in general, I recommend you read my comments from the first album in the series.

For this album, the Goffin and King songwriting partnership was still going strong, but there were big problems brewing. Although they were married, Goffin cheated on King. He fathered a child with Earl-Jean in 1964, the singer of the first song on this album. But the marriage, and songwriting partnership, kept on until the late 1960s.

In terms of success, after the Beatles hit it big in 1964, bands increasingly wrote their own songs. But there still was enough demand for professional songwriters for Goffin and King to have plenty of hit songs during this time period. However, a few of the songs here weren't hit songs at all, but just songs I think are as good.

01 I'm into Something Good (Earl-Jean)
02 One Wonderful Night (Honey Bees [Cookies])
03 It Might as Well Rain until September (Helen Shapiro)
04 Oh No Not My Baby (Maxine Brown)
05 He's in Town (Tokens)
06 I Can't Hear You [No More] (Betty Everett)
07 Let Me Get Close to You (Skeeter Davis)
08 She Don't Deserve You (Honey Bees [Cookies])
09 Yes I Will (Hollies)
10 I'll Love You for a While (Dusty Springfield)
11 Just Once in My Life (Righteous Brothers)
12 At the Club (Drifters)
13 Is This What I Get for Loving You (Marianne Faithfull)
14 Honey and Wine (Hollies)
15 Some of Your Lovin' (Dusty Springfield)
16 Don't Bring Me Down (Animals)
17 Wasn't It You (Petula Clark)
18 I Won't Be the Same Without Her (Twilights)
19 Don't Forget about Me (Barbara Lewis)

For the cover art, I again found it impossible to find any color photos of Goffin and King together at the right time period. But I did find this nice black and white one. However, it was tilted at an odd angle. I straightened it out. A chuck of Goffin's body in the lower right corner of the photo was missing after the adjustment, but I filled it in using Photoshop. I also raised King's head relative to Goffin's, since she was significantly shorter than him, and that helped me maximize their head sizes within the frame.

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

Fairport Convention - Now Be Thankful - Non-Album Tracks (1970)

It's been a while since I've posted any Fairport Convention music. To be honest, I consider Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson to be musical greats, and when both of them left the band, my interest drops drastically. So far, I've posted most everything I have from the start of the band through the end of 1969, when Denny left. But Thompson remained for another year, and I have three albums covering that. This is the first of those three, a stray tracks album.

For most of Denny's tenure in the band, the band was heavily influenced by American folk rock. But they took a sharp turn towards traditional English folk music in 1969, and deepened that in 1970. So a large number of the songs here are covers of traditional songs, with an emphasis on instrumentals.

The first four songs are from the studio, with one bonus track, one BBC performance, and two sides to a single. The rest all come from live performances. I tried not to use performances from official live album "House Full - Live at the L.A. Troubadour," since that's a very good album as a whole. But there were three songs available with high sound quality there that I couldn't find anywhere else. Two more live songs come from other official albums. That leaves just three from bootlegs. But those three come from a soundboard show, and sound just as good as the rest. With all the live tracks, I stripped the audience responses to make them sound like studio tracks.

01 Open the Door, Richard (Fairport Convention)
02 Bonny Bunch of Roses (Fairport Convention)
03 Now Be Thankful (Fairport Convention)
04 Sir B. McKenzie's Daughter's Lament for the 77th Mounted Lancers Retreat... [Instrumental] (Fairport Convention)
05 Staines Morris (Fairport Convention)
06 Dirty Linen [Instrumental] (Fairport Convention)
07 Banks of the Sweet Primroses (Fairport Convention)
08 Jenny's Chicken - Mason's Apron [Instrumental] (Fairport Convention)
09 Sweet Little Rock and Roller (Fairport Convention)
10 Battle of the Somme [Instrumental] (Fairport Convention)
11 Yellow Bird (Fairport Convention)
12 The Journeyman's Grace (Fairport Convention)

The cover art photo comes from a 1970 publicity photo shoot. I found several like this, with different band members posing inside the box. I went with the one showing Richard Thompson in the box.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Various Artists - Covered: Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Volume 1: 1960-1963

It's time for more of the Covered series, looking at the best songs from the greatest songwriters of all time. Here, I'm starting to post my albums on Gerry Goffin and Carole King, one of the greatest songwriting teams ever, if not the best and most commercially successful.

This should probably be called "Carole King and Gerry Goffin," because King was especially successful, having a big career as a songwriter with Goffin and then having a huge solo career of her own. But I'm going with "Goffin and King" because that's how they're commonly referred to, just as it's always the "Lennon and McCartney" songwriting team in the Beatles, never "McCartney and Lennon." Anyway, King has had 116 Top 100 hits in the US, making her the most successful female songwriter of the 20th century. Goffin though was very successful after the songwriting partnership with King ended, and has has 114 Top 100 hits in the US.

Goffin and King met in college in the late 1950s and immediately began writing songs together. They married in 1959. In 1960, they wrote "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," one of the biggest and most covered songs of all time, and went from success to success after that. Every now and then, they would have hits writing songs without the other one, but in the 1960s the last majority of their songs were written together.

Because these two songwriters have been so exceptional, I've dug especially deep. Sure, I've included virtually all of their hit songs, but I've also included songs that weren't hits at all but I think are very good. I found so many songs that I like that this series on them totals six albums, with each album being about 45 to 55 minutes long.

One important caveat. As I mentioned above, King has been hugely successful on her own, especially with her 1971 album "Tapestry," which sold 25 million copies worldwide. I've deliberately avoided including any performances by King. I have three albums I've posted her of her demos, so there's no need to repeat that. And I figure any fan of this would have "Tapestry" and her big solo hits. So, for instance, she had a rare early solo hit in 1963 with "It Might as Well Rain until September." But I didn't include that here. Instead, I'll include a cover of it from 1964 in the next album in this series.

By the way, here are Wikipedia links if you want to know more about them

01 Will You Love Me Tomorrow (Shirelles)
02 Some Kind of Wonderful (Drifters)
03 Don't Ever Change (Crickets)
04 Take Good Care of My Baby (Bobby Vee)
05 Every Breath I Take (Gene Pitney)
06 Halfway to Paradise (Billy Fury)
07 Crying in the Rain (Everly Brothers)
08 The Locomotion (Little Eva)
09 Go Away Little Girl (Steve Lawrence)
10 Chains (Cookies)
11 Up on the Roof (Drifters)
12 Make the Night a Little Longer (Shirelles)
13 How Can I Meet Her (Everly Brothers)
14 Keep Your Hands Off My Baby (Little Eva)
15 Point of No Return (Louis Jordan)
16 Hey Girl (Freddie Scott)
17 I Can't Stay Mad at You (Skeeter Davis)
18 One Fine Day (Chiffons)
19 Don't Say Nothin' Bad [About My Baby] (Cookies)
20 Poor Little Rich Girl (Steve Lawrence)

I'm not sure what year the photo for the cover art was taken. But both Goffin and King look very young, so I'm using it first. Unfortunately, there seem to be virtually no color photos of them from the 1960s. So I've had to use a black and white one, but I colorized it to make it more interesting.

Fleetwood Mac - BBC Sessions, Volume 5: 1969-1970

The first thing I have to say is that I originally posted this in February 2020, but on July 30, 2020, I radically changed it. That's because I found a bunch of BBC (and other radio) performances that I'd previously missed. There were so many from around this time that I split the album in two. This had been called "Volume 4" of the series. But now this is "Volume 5," and the remainder from this time period is on a "new" "Volume 4." Furthermore, what had been Volumes 5 and 6 have been renamed Volumes 6 and 7, respectively.

Sorry about the confusion. The bottom line is that you should just redownload the entire BBC series to make sure you have everything. I've also made changes to Volumes 1, 2, and 3, mostly due to finding better sounding versions of some songs.

Anyway... back to my regular comments... Here's another album of Fleetwood Mac performing for the BBC. 1969 and 1970 are two of my favorite years of the band's music, because they still were heavily into the blues, but they also showed more variety with rock and pop.

This time around, nine of the 12 songs are officially unreleased. The sound quality is consistently high for both the officially released and unreleased tracks. Everything here is from the BBC except for "I'm Worried," which comes from a Norwegian TV show, and "Shake Your Moneymaker," which comes from a Finnish radio show.

Guitarist Peter Green left the band in May 1970. All but the last four songs are from April 1970 or earlier, so they still feature him. The remaining Fleetwood Mac songs are from a brief time when the band was mainly led by Danny Kirwan and Jeremy Spencer, before Christine McVie joined.

The ninth song, "Nights Is When It Matters," is from an official album called "On Air," which is a collection of BBC performances by the blues band Chicken Shack. As with a couple of the previous volumes in this series, I've included Chicken Shack songs only when the feature Christine McVie on lead vocals. However, there's a problem. She left Chicken Shack in mid-1969 to pursue a solo career, and then joined Fleetwood Mac in late 1970. So I'm pretty sure this is from her time as a solo artist, and I've labelled it as such. Either that, or the date I have is wrong and it's from 1969, or she still played occasionally with Chicken Shack. If anyone knows, please let me know.

The "On Air" album seems to have just been a legal bootleg. They put some musically dubious things on there without any attempt to fix them. "No Road Is the Right Road" is one example. The song was clearly incomplete, fading out after about a minute and a half, right in the middle of the second chorus. To give it a better finish, I completed the second chorus by patching in the missing part from the first chorus. So at least the song comes to a good conclusion now, even though it's still short and incomplete. By the way, no studio version of the song ever appears to have been released, either by Chicken Shack, Christine McVie solo, or Fleetwood Mac.

On a different note, many of the BBC performances have also appeared on my various stray tracks albums for the band. I hope you don't mind the duplication, but I figure it makes sense to have all the BBC performances together, as well as separately highlighting the songs that were ONLY performed (or at least properly recorded) at the BBC on the stray tracks albums.
01 I'd Rather Go Blind (Christine McVie & Chicken Shack)
02 Hey Baby (Christine McVie & Chicken Shack)
03 Get like You Used to Be [Edit] (Christine McVie & Chicken Shack)
04 Shake Your Moneymaker (Fleetwood Mac)
05 Although the Sun Is Shining (Fleetwood Mac)
06 Oh Well, Part 1 (Fleetwood Mac)
07 No Road Is the Right Road [Edit] (Christine McVie)
08 I'm Worried (Fleetwood Mac)
09 Tell Me You Need Me (Christine McVie)
10 Sandy Mary (Fleetwood Mac)
11 Only You (Fleetwood Mac)
12 Tiger (Fleetwood Mac)
13 World in Harmony [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)

The cover art photo is of the band playing on the set of some TV show. But I don't know the show or the date. But the fact that Peter Green was dressed in a white robe like a prophet is a sign it was probably near the end of his time in the band.

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Almost Home - Non-Album Tracks (1999)

I'm very puzzled by what the heck happened to Mary Chapin Carpenter's career in the late 1990s. She had hit albums in 1992, 1994, and 1996... but then she didn't release another album of all-new material until 2001. There was a greatest hits album with a few new songs on it in 1999, but that was it. Her career momentum was stalled, and she hasn't had a gold record since.

As this stray tracks album shows, she had plenty of quality songs from 1999 alone for an album that year. (And that's not even including a dive into the studio vaults.) Furthermore, that's on top of another stray tracks album covering 1996 to 1998 that I previously posted here. I think this is a strong album that compares well with her official 1990s albums, and could have had some hits.

Three of the songs here are from that 1999 greatest hits album I mentioned above, "Party Doll." Another is from a various artists compilation. The rest all come from concert bootlegs (with good, but not excellent, sound quality). Most of those appear to be originals. It's a real shame that she hasn't officially released these songs in any form. I especially like it when she shows her humor on funny songs like "If I Were a Diva" (also known as "The Diva Song"). But she's kept pretty much all the songs of that type unreleased, though I've included a couple of previous stray tracks albums posted here.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, she hasn't had as many non-album tracks since the 1990s, at least that I know about. So I still haven't been able to put together enough material for another album after this one, heading into the early 2000s. But hopefully I'll come across more material in the future.

01 Almost Home (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
02 Bells Are Ringing (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
03 I Belong to You (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
04 These Are the Things that Matter (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
05 Leave It All Behind (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
06 No Fear (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
07 My Love Will Not Let You Down (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
08 If I Were a Diva [The Diva Song] (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
09 It Works (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
10 Wherever You Are (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
11 Party Doll [Ballad Version] (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

I'm not sure when or where the cover art photo comes from. But I found it on a website dated to 2001, so it could be from that year or a couple of years prior to that.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Fleetwood Mac - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: 1968-1969

This is the next album in the Fleetwood Mac BBC series. It's the third out of seven. Please see the post of the first album in the series for a general explanation.

For this album, Fleetwood Mac was still neck deep in the blues. As with the previous two albums in this series, I've included BBC performances by Chicken Shack, so long as the lead singer is soon-to-be Fleetwood Mac member Christine McVie. There's only one case of that here, "Mean Old World." Fleetwood Mac did their own version of that song on the first volume in this series.

For the previous album in this series, the vast majority of the performances were unreleased. This time, only four of the 15 are unreleased. But the sound quality of those are just as good as the rest.

Although this series is mainly about Fleetwood Mac at the BBC, I figure if there are performances of them on other radio or TV shows, those are fair game too. Those are few and far between for this era, but on this album I did include one song that comes from the band playing for a French TV show.

The one bonus track this time, "Evenin' Boogie," sounds particularly bad, in my opinion. But I've included it as a bonus track since it was done at the BBC. There's a version on the "Mr. Wonderful" album with much better sound quality.

01 Mind of My Own (Fleetwood Mac)
02 Talk with You (Fleetwood Mac)
03 Bo Diddley (Fleetwood Mac)
04 Lazy Poker Blues (Fleetwood Mac)
05 Love That Burns (Fleetwood Mac)
06 Stop Messin' Around (Fleetwood Mac)
07 Need Your Love So Bad (Fleetwood Mac)
08 Mean Old World (Chicken Shack with Duster Bennett)
09 Albatross [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)
10 Like Crying (Fleetwood Mac)
11 Hang On to a Dream (Fleetwood Mac)
12 Sweet Home Chicago (Fleetwood Mac)
13 Homework (Fleetwood Mac)
14 You Never Know What You're Missing (Fleetwood Mac)

Evenin' Boogie [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)

I don't know when or where this photo for the album cover was taken exactly, but it's said to be from 1968. It has Danny Kirwan in it I believe (wearing the red shirt) and he joined the band in 1968.

David Bowie - BBC Sessions, Volume 5: 1972-1973

Here's the next album of David Bowie performing at the BBC, though I have to admit there isn't that much actual BBC material this time around. But I use this series to include his other TV or radio appearances. It's just that the vast majority in his early career were with the BBC, so it's easiest to call the series that. But after 1972 he didn't appear on BBC radio for the rest of the 1970s, though he did occasionally still appear on BBC TV shows. So for this and the next album in this series, actually a majority of the music is not from the BBC.

Six of the songs here come from live concerts. Two of those live versions are bonus tracks to a deluxe edition of the "Aladdin Sane" album. They don't really fit the format of this series. but I wanted to put them somewhere in my music collection and this was the best fit. Four more are from the "Ziggy Stardust" movie. Personally, I'm not a fan of that soundtrack, since the audio and the performance aren't that good. I think his 1972 Santa Monica concert, which has been officially released, is much better. But I included a few songs here that generally come from the "Aladdin Sane" album and weren't performed at the Santa Monica show.

I also haven't included any songs from the "1980 Floor Show," a 1973 TV special starring David Bowie. That's because there's enough from that show to make up an album, which I will post at a later date.

I have "Life on Mars" as a bonus track simply because that's the second of two versions here.

This album is 48 minutes long, not including the bonus track.

01 Andy Warhol (David Bowie)
02 Lady Stardust (David Bowie)
03 Rock 'n' Roll Suicide (David Bowie)
04 Life on Mars (David Bowie)
05 Drive-In Saturday (David Bowie)
06 My Death (David Bowie)
07 Cracked Actor (David Bowie)
08 Time (David Bowie)
09 The Width of a Circle (David Bowie)
10 Watch That Man (David Bowie)
11 The Jean Genie (David Bowie)

Life on Mars (David Bowie)

The cover photo comes from one of his 1972 or 1973 concerts, but I don't know which one.

Fleetwood Mac - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1968

Here's the second of six albums of Fleetwood Mac performing for the BBC. If you want to know more about this series of albums in general, I suggest you read the post for the first album.

In 1968, Fleetwood Mac was all about the blues, and especially Peter Green's bluesy lead guitar work. If you like that, you'll love this. As with the last album in this series, I've included any Chicken Shack songs that they played at the BBC too, so long as they were sung by future Fleetwood Mac star Christine McVie (then still known by her maiden name Christine Perfect). For this album, there is only one such song - "Strange Things Happening." It's just as bluesy as the rest.

For the previous album in the series, most of the songs were officially released. On this one, just three out of 14 are. However, all the songs have very good sound quality, because I've been highly selective. There are a bunch of bonus tracks this time, due to performances that didn't make the grade.

Actually, that's not entirely true. I bumped "Long Grey Mare" to a bonus track because I included a different version of that song performed at the BBC on the last album in this series, and I only have one performance per song for the whole series. Luckily for me, the band almost never played the same song twice at the BBC, at least for the recordings of the sessions that have survived, so there are only a few more cases like that.

The other three bonus tracks, unfortunately, are all songs that the band never recorded in the studio, yet these bootleg versions just don't sound good enough for me to feature them as anything but bonus tracks.

That's especially a shame for "Intergalactic Magicians Walking through Pools of Velvet Darkness," an interesting original by band member Jeremy Spencer that parodies the psychedelic songs that were all the rage at the time, such as "I Am the Walrus." (It even has a specific poke at that song with one lyric.) By the way, that song has been given a variety of names on various bootlegs, but a book on Fleetwood Mac claims to know the real title, so that's the one I've used.

"Dead Shrimp Blues" is one of the album tracks because of a helper named MZ. "Dead Shrimp Blues" actually has been officially released, in 2019, on a limited release for that year's Record Store Day. But it still sounded pretty bad in spots, with bursts of loud crackling. So it didn't make the cut for me. However, MZ largely eliminated the crackling and sent the improved version to me. By eliminating the crackling, some brief sections of the song had been sonically reduced to a very quiet level. I then largely managed to repair those spots by patching in sections from other parts of the song. Furthermore, I felt the officially released version was slow and low pitched. MZ also found a bootlegged version that was about 5% faster and about half a step higher pitched. I think that's how it was originally. It certainly sounds better. So I've adjusted the version to be like that as well. The end result still has some issues, but I think it's vastly improved, mostly thanks to the work of MZ.

"Intergalactic Magicians Walking through Pools of Velvet Darkness" is a Jeremy Spencer parody of a psychedelic song, and it's one of the best parodies he ever did. All previous versions I'd heard sounded like it was recorded through a wall of mud, but you can actually hear the song on this version, so please check that one out.

01 How Blue Can You Get (Fleetwood Mac)
02 My Baby's Sweeter (Fleetwood Mac)
03 Buzz Me Baby (Fleetwood Mac)
04 I'm So Lonely and Blue (Fleetwood Mac)
05 Strange Things Happening [Love Me or Leave Me] (Christine McVie & Chicken Shack)
06 Mean Mistreatin' Mama (Fleetwood Mac)
07 Sheila [Edit] (Fleetwood Mac)
08 I Have to Laugh (Fleetwood Mac)
09 If You Be My Baby (Fleetwood Mac)
10 You're the One (Fleetwood Mac)
11 Preachin' Blues (Fleetwood Mac)
12 I Need Your Love [That Ain't It] (Fleetwood Mac)
13 You Need Love (Fleetwood Mac)
14 Without You (Fleetwood Mac)
15 Intergalactic Magicians Walking through Pools of Velvet Darkness (Fleetwood Mac)
16 Look on Yonder Wall (Fleetwood Mac)
17 Dead Shrimp Blues [Edit] (Fleetwood Mac)

Long Grey Mare (Fleetwood Mac)
Wine, Whiskey and Women (Fleetwood Mac)

The cover art shows the band playing on some TV show in 1968, but I don't know which one.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Robyn Hitchcock - Goodnight Oslo & Propellor Time - Acoustic Versions (2009-2010)

Here's another acoustic album from Robyn Hitchcock. I've posted two main kinds of acoustic albums from him: live cover versions, and all acoustic versions of the songs from each of his albums. This is the second kind.

Except the two albums in question, "Goodnight Oslo" from 2009 and "Propellor Time" from 2010, weren't that popular and he didn't play the songs from them in concert all that much. Thus, I've had to combine the songs from the two albums to create one album that's 40 minutes long. The first six songs are from "Goodnight Oslo," out of ten songs on that album. The remaining four songs are from "Propellor Time," out of the ten songs from that album. If you know of acoustic versions from any songs that I've missed, please let me know and I'll add them in.

All the performances are from bootlegs. That said, the sound quality is very good for all of them, to my ears. The first song was done in the studio and the rest were from concerts. But for the live ones, I stripped the audience cheering, as I usually do with these sorts of albums.

One advantage to this album is it serves as a kind of "best of" for these two albums, since he only played his favorites from them in concert.

01 What You Is (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Saturday Groovers (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 I'm Falling (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Hurry for the Sky (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Up to Our Nex (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Goodnight Oslo (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Luckiness (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Ordinary Millionaire (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Propellor Time [Solo Electric Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Born on the Wind (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 Evolve (Robyn Hitchcock)

For the album cover, I decided to use some artwork drawn by Hitchcock.I have no idea what this drawing is of, or what it's called, or when it's from. If anyone does know, please tell me. But I like it, and I figure it's the sort of thing he'd put on covers sometimes. I added the color in the background to jazz it up a bit.

Norah Jones - Fall Away - Non-Album Tracks (2011-2012)

Note that I used to call this album "Picture in a Frame." But when overhauling Norah Jones's stray tracks albums in June 2020, I found out the song with that title was actually recorded in 2001, although it wasn't released until 2012. So I moved the song to an earlier album. That meant I had to change the album title to a different song on it, "Fall Away."

Here's the next Norah Jones stray tracks album. By this time, she had so many different musical projects going on that all these songs are just from the year 2012. If you liked her previous stray tracks albums, you'll like this. In fact, I think this is a particularly strong one.

As I keep saying, Jones's music outside her studio albums under her own name are more interesting than those studio albums. For one thing, she shows more range and takes more chances, freed from the pressure of her record company wanting her to sell millions. A good example of this is her side project, the Little Willies. Three of the songs here are from the Little Willies album "For the Good Times." A majority of that band's songs are not sung by Jones. I'm only including the ones where she sings lead. You can tell even by the band name - a penis joke - that she and her band mates are out to have fun. Their music is much more country-based than Jones' usual stuff.

This album doesn't have as many covers of classic hits as with some of her other stray tracks collections. Normally, I'm not a big fan of Jones' original songs, because they tend to fall into the "easy listening" genre too much for my tastes. But many of the songs here are written or co-written by her, yet I like these more than most of the songs on her own albums. It seems some of her more adventurous songs got relegated to bonus tracks status. But breaking the mold of the typical Jones sound is what makes them stand out.

In terms of sound quality, all the songs have been officially released except for the first three. Two of those sound very good. The third, a cover of Bob Dylan's classic "Every Grain of Sand," if a bit iffy. It clearly comes from an audience bootleg, and you can hear some of the crowd. However, I liked it so much that I painstakingly all the hollers and jabbering I could. Unfortunately, I could only fix the parts between the vocals, by patching in other instrumental bits. So it's still a little rough, but I think it's good enough to merit inclusion on the album.

Three other songs didn't make it on the album due to sound quality issues, so they're included as bonus tracks only. For one of those, "Maggie's Farm" (another Dylan classic, by the way), I edited out some parts of the song due to rough sound, plus someone else was singing lead vocals. But I edited it in such a way that it still sounds like a full song.

This album is 43 minutes long.

01 Everyday (Puss N Boots featuring Norah Jones)
02 I Gotta Know (Puss N Boots featuring Norah Jones)
03 Every Grain of Sand [Edit] (Norah Jones)
04 Speak Low (Norah Jones & Tony Bennett)
05 Everybody Needs a Best Friend (Norah Jones)
06 If the Law Don't Want You (Norah Jones)
07 Fist City (Little Willies featuring Norah Jones)
08 Out on the Road [Mondo Version] (Norah Jones)
09 Oh, Darling (Norah Jones)
10 Jolene (Little Willies featuring Norah Jones)
11 For the Good Times (Little Willies featuring Norah Jones)
12 I Don't Wanna Hear Another Sound (Norah Jones)
13 Fall Away (Norah Jones & Wax Poetic)

Maggie's Farm [Edit] (Norah Jones & Ben Trokan)
Mississippi (Norah Jones)
Only a Broken Heart (Norah Jones)

The cover art comes from a 2012 publicity photo.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Fleetwood Mac - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1967-1968

Fleetwood Mac performed for the BBC many times from 1967 to 1971. I've compiled six albums of their BBC material. This is the first one. If you're a fan of their Peter Green-led blues era, you really should listen to these.

The official release of Fleetwood Mac's BBC performances over the years has been very frustrating. In 1995, a double album called "Live at the BBC" was released. That was very good, except for the fact that it was a mere double album, and I've compiled six albums. (Plus, there are even more performances available only via low quality bootleg recordings, or haven't been made public at all.) Some other performances trickled out over the years, a couple of this archival album, a few more on another one, etc...

Then, in 2019, there were two new releases that promised more. The album "BBC Sessions 1968" was released. That one also is good, except it is only a single album that merely deals with some of their performances from 1968. Worse, it was only a Record Store Day limited release, and it's very hard to find. It took me nearly a year before I could find a copy.

The other 2019 release, "Before the Beginning," is a travesty, and I don't use that word lightly. Even the very title is an insult, implying that all the great Fleetwood Mac music before their highly successful pop phase starting in 1975 hardly counts, and thus is "before the beginning." Most of it comes from two concerts which the liner notes claim are from unknown sources, but bootleggers know which shows those were. Then the record company layered a loop of audience noise over the entire thing! That was a dumb practice that went out of fashion around 1966, and for good reason. It makes everything sound worse, definitely worse than the bootleg versions of the exact same material. But they weren't done yet. They also included some vaguely dated "studio demos" that in fact were BBC performances. The whole thing was a joke and an insult.

Sadly, that release shows how little the band's curators think of the Peter Green era. So I'm highly doubtful that a proper and comprehensive official release of the BBC performances will be seen any time soon. Luckily, we have bootlegs. A majority of the takes in my series are from bootlegs, yet their sound is generally very good. (The ones that aren't have been demoted to bonus tracks.)

For this first volume, only four of the songs are officially unreleased. For two of those, some people might argue they don't belong here, because they're not Fleetwood Mac at all. I've found some BBC performances of the blues band Chicken Shack. Future star Christine McVie (then known as Christine Perfect) was the keyboardist and occasional lead singer for Chicken Shack for a couple of years before she officially joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970. I say "officially" because she began playing for Fleetwood Mac as a session musician in 1968, and married the band's bass player, John McVie, so she slowly before a de facto band member before it became official. Thus, in light of her later long-time connection to the band, I consider the Chicken Shack songs where she sang lead vocals fair game for this series. The two songs she did here are songs she never recorded in the studio with either Chicken Shack or Fleetwood Mac, so they're especially interesting. I'll have a few more from her Chicken Shack days on later volumes.

By the way, one of those songs, "It's OK with Me Baby," initially sounded terrible, and still sounds problematic in spots. The sound was fine in general, except that the song changed pitch several times, and for long stretches. I was able to fix most of those problems, but you can still hear some brief wobbly parts, including the first few seconds. Trust me, it sounds way better than it did before.

The rest of this album is pretty straightforward, with lots of great bluesy guitar work. The band did a few more songs at the BBC in this time frame with an obscure blue singer named Eddie Boyd. I didn't include those because Boyd sang lead and they'd belong more properly on an Eddie Boyd album. But I did include one, "The Stroller," because it's an instrumental that prominently features Green's guitar soloing.

There's one more thing I want to point out. I've already posted a bunch of stray tracks compilations from this band. Many BBC performances were included on those - more than twenty! - because early Fleetwood Mac played lots of songs that they never released on any studio recording, and the BBC versions have the best sound quality, by far. I was torn whether to include those exact same versions in this series or not. I ultimately decided to do so, because I've never seen all of the band's BBC performances collected in one place, not even on bootleg. So, my apologies about some duplication here and there.

01 Long Grey Mare (Fleetwood Mac)
02 Looking for Somebody (Fleetwood Mac)
03 Believe My Time Ain't Long (Fleetwood Mac)
04 Baby Please Set a Date (Fleetwood Mac)
05 Got to Move (Fleetwood Mac)
06 A Fool No More (Fleetwood Mac)
07 When the Train Comes Home (Christine McVie & Chicken Shack)
08 It's OK with Me Baby [Edit] (Christine McVie & Chicken Shack)
09 The Stroller [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac & Eddie Boyd)
10 The Sun Is Shining (Fleetwood Mac)
11 Don't Be Cruel (Fleetwood Mac)
12 Sweet Little Angel (Fleetwood Mac)
13 The World Keep On Turning (Fleetwood Mac)
14 I Can't Hold Out (Fleetwood Mac)
15 Mean Old World (Fleetwood Mac)
16 Black Magic Woman (Fleetwood Mac)
17 Peggy Sue Got Married [Edit] (Fleetwood Mac)
18 Please Find My Baby [Edit] (Fleetwood Mac)

For the cover art photo, I couldn't find any good color ones of the band in 1967, and very few in 1968. I used one from 1968. I wish I had them on stage or in the studio, but this was all I could find.

Various Artists - Grace of My Heart - Extended Edition (1996)

Here's something different than the stray tracks collections or concerts I usually post here. This is the soundtrack to the 1996 movie "Grace of My Heart." Normally, I wouldn't post something like this, because I assume the soundtrack is still in print. But, for various reasons, some really good performances were left off the official album. I've found about 20 more minutes of music not on the soundtrack that should have been, which I think is enough to justify posting this here.

"Grace of My Heart" is a very good movie, in my opinion. It currently gets 75 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. But I think that number would be higher for you if you're a big music fan. The story is closely based on the life of singer-songwriter Carole King, though there's a section where she gets involved with a Brian Wilson figure that never happened in reality.

None of the songs were actually written by King, but a bunch of very talented songwriters wrote songs in her style for the movie, including Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Jill Sobule, J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., and Gerry Goffin (who was King's main songwriting partner for most of her 1960s hits). Normally, I'm not big on movie soundtracks, which are usually instrumental mood music or a random collection of  hit songs, but I make an exception for this one. The songs do a great job of recreating the sounds of the 1960s and 1970s, and they stand as good songs of their own.

Unfortunately, there were a bunch of songs that were featured in the movie that didn't make it onto the soundtrack. Most of these have never been made public in full, so the only way to listen to them is by getting the audio from the movie. I did exactly that for five of them. One more, "How Can I Get through to You," appeared in full as a bonus feature on the movie DVD. For the five I took from the audio, there was nothing I could do to fix things if there was movie dialogue over the songs. Luckily, there was very little of that for those. But the downside is that each of those songs are relatively short, sometimes just a minute or so, because things have to move quickly in a movie. In the case of "Heartbreak Kid," I had to piece together a song out of two separate snippets. I then repeated the chorus, to make a song that's still only a minute long.

On top of that, there's a couple of other extra songs from other sources. One weird thing is that Joni Mitchell wrote the song "Man from Mars" for the soundtrack, and her version of it appeared on it for the first week the album was on sale. But the soundtrack was produced by Larry Klein, Mitchell's husband, and they were going through a divorce right when the soundtrack came out. I guess some dispute between them led to her version being yanked and replaced by a version sung by Kristen Vigard, an actress who also is a really good singer, and who did the vocals for all the parts sung by the Carole King-esque main actress. Mitchell put "Man from Mars" on her next album, but that was a totally different version. I've included her original version here, as well as the Vigard version.

I also have two versions of "God Give Me Strength." This song was co-written by Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello, and led to the two of them making an entire album together two years later. The soundtrack featured the version performed by Bacharach and Costello, but in the actual move it was sung by Vigard, who did a great version of this excellent song. So I've included both versions of that as well.

Costello also wrote the song "Unwanted Number," but a version by the retro soul group "For Real" was used on the soundtrack instead. Costello didn't put his own version on a studio album until 2018. He did play the song in concert in 1996, in a solo acoustic format, the same year the movie came out However, the sound quality isn't great on that one. So I've included the 2018 version as part of the album, and the 1996 version as a bonus track.

Thus there are three songs with two versions (including three versions of "Unwanted Number," if you could the bonus track). But those are all especially good songs, and the different versions are done by different performers, and they're all worth hearing.

Hopefully, a deluxe version of this soundtrack will be released someday, with complete versions of all the songs. Most of the songs I grabbed from the movie audio should have more complete versions without any talking over them. But also, there are another four or five songs that I couldn't include because there was so much talking and other noise over them. In particular, there were three more songs by "For Real" that I couldn't salvage. So an official version of everything would have a lot more to offer than what I'm presenting here.

Oh, one other thing I did that seems like a no-brainer to me is that I ordered all the songs, released and unreleased, in the order that they appeared in the movie. The official soundtrack had them in no logical order that I could see. The only exceptions to this ordering are the songs with two versions. I put the versions that didn't appear in the film at the end.

01 Hey There (Kristen Vigard)
02 In Another World (Kristen Vigard)
03 Blues Ain't Nothin' but a Woman Crying for Her Man (For Real)
04 In Another World (Portrait)
05 Born to Love that Boy (For Real)
06 Unwanted Number (For Real)
07 I Do (For Real)
08 Heartbreak Kid (Williams Brothers)
09 My Secret Love (Miss Lily Banquette)
10 Love Doesn't Ever Fail Us (Williams Brothers)
11 Truth Is You Lied (Jill Sobule)
12 God Give Me Strength (Kristen Vigard)
13 Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (Boyd Rice & Tiffany Anders)
14 Groovin' on You (Juned)
15 Take a Run at the Sun (J Mascis)
16 Don't You Think It's Time (J Mascis)
17 How Can I Get Through to You (Juned)
18 Man from Mars (Kristen Vigard)
19 Between Two Worlds (Shawn Colvin)
20 A Boat on the Sea (Kristen Vigard)
21 God Give Me Strength (Burt Bacharach & Elvis Costello)
22 Unwanted Number (Elvis Costello)
23 Man from Mars [Piano Version] (Joni Mitchell)

Unwanted Number (Elvis Costello)

Since I changed this album so significantly, I decided it needed a different album cover. I used the cover of the DVD as the basis. But that was rectangular, so I made some changes to get it to fit into a square space. Also, I removed a list of the actors in the film. That left a big black space. I filled that by adding in a photo of Kristen Vigard, since she had such a prominent role as vocalist.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Jam - Band Demos, Volume 2: 1979-1982

I just posted a collection of band demos by the Jam covering the years 1977 and 1978. This is the continuation of that, covering the years 1979 to 1982, which was the end of the band. Please read my post for the earlier album to get a more detailed explanation. But the short version is that these are all full band demos, different performances that the final studio versions.

There's not much else to say that I didn't say last time, except that I think this is a stronger album, due to band leader Paul Weller's songwriting steadily improving.

As with the other band demos album, all of the performances here have been officially released. They come from five different sources, with most of them being from deluxe and super deluxe versions of their studio albums.

01 That's Entertainment (Jam)
02 See-Saw (Jam)
03 Girl on the Phone (Jam)
04 Private Hell (Jam)
05 Strange Town (Jam)
06 The Butterfly Collector (Jam)
07 When You're Young (Jam)
08 Boy About Town (Jam)
09 Pretty Green (Jam)
10 Start (Jam)
11 But I'm Different Now (Jam)
12 We've Only Started [Early Version of Tales from the Riverbank] (Jam)
13 Precious (Jam)
14 A Solid Bond in Your Heart (Jam)
15 Just Who Is the 5 O'Clock Hero (Jam)
16 Shopping (Jam)
17 The Planner's Dream Goes Wrong (Jam)

The cover art photo depicts the band in concert in Chicago in 1982.

The Jam - Band Demos, Volume 1: 1977-1978

It's been a good while I've posted anything by Paul Weller. So here's the first of two albums I'm posting today from his old band, the Jam.

I've already posted three albums of stray tracks by the Jam, as well as one album of acoustic demos. This is the first of two albums of band demos. Every single take here is with the full band, but is different from the final studio version. Admittedly, most of these takes aren't that different from the final versions, but it's great sound quality and it's a good excuse to hear more from this fantastic band.

The great sound quality is due to the fact that every single song here is officially released. But all of the versions are from deluxe versions of albums, or from the Jam's box set. In my opinion, it makes much more sense to gather them together like this, sorted chronologically, then scattering them over different releases.

01 Art School (Jam)
02 I Got By in Time (Jam)
03 I've Changed My Address (Jam)
04 Non-Stop Dancing (Jam)
05 Bricks and Mortar (Jam)
06 Takin' My Love (Jam)
07 So Sad about Us (Jam)
08 Slow Down (Jam)
09 In the City (Jam)
10 Time for Truth (Jam)
11 Sounds from the Street (Jam)
12 Mr. Clean (Jam)
13 Fly (Jam)
14 It's Too Bad (Jam)
15 To Be Someone [Didn't We Have a Nice Time] (Jam)
16 David Watts (Jam)

The cover art photo is of Paul Weller jumping while on stage in 1978.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Live at Woodstock - Max Yasgur's Farm, Bethel, NY, 8-18-1969

This album is a strange case. I had posted a version of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSNY) playing at the famous 1969 Woodstock festival. In 2019, their performance was officially released, so I took the album down. But now I'm thinking I was hasty. Although it has been officially released, it's only been as part of a massive box set, containing 35 CDs, and even then it was a limited release that has already run out. So I've changed my mind and I'm posting it here again.

One reason I'm posting it is because it's such a great performance, and there aren't a lot of good alternatives. I'm a very big CSN(Y) fan. I like all their stuff, even from their later years. But I also think that they were at their very best right at the beginning, in late 1969, just after Neil Young joined up. At that point, they were thrilled to be playing with each other, and it showed. (CSNY only played  in Chicago two nights earlier, and CSN never played in public before Young joined, so this was about as brand news as it could get.) It wasn't long before drugs and ego got in the way. Even by 1970, the situation changed dramatically and they were torn apart for the first time (though definitely not the last!).

The problem is, if you look at CSNY's live recordings in 1969, there isn't much with excellent sound quality. There's one bootleg floating around that had to stitch together parts of three different concerts to try to make up one good concert. CSNY's Woodstock performance not only is historic and justifiably famous, but it's the only full concert recording of them at their peak with top sound quality.

Since I'm using the version released in 2019, the recording is flawless. It has some performances from the concert never available before, even on bootleg, such as the rare Neil Young song "Wonderin'" and the "49 Bye-Byes" finale. All I did was break the between song banter into their own tracks, and boost the volume on some of the quieter comments.

The concert is split in two in two different ways. The first half is without Neil Young, since CSN mostly play songs from their 1969 album that Young wasn't a part of. The first half is also acoustic, while the second half is electric. But the Young-less and acoustic portions aren't exactly the same, because Young did play on the last three songs of the acoustic set.

This recording is an hour and ten minutes long. That's not as long as their typical concerts of the time, which were an hour and a half or longer. But it's not far off. And, as I said, in terms of sound quality, it towers over all their other publicly available 1969 recordings.

01 talk (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
02 Suite- Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
03 talk (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
04 Blackbird (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
05 talk (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
06 Helplessly Hoping (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
07 talk (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
08 Guinnevere (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
09 talk (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
10 Marrakesh Express (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
11 talk (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
12 4 + 20 (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
13 talk (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
14 Mr. Soul (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
15 talk (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
16 Wonderin' (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
17 talk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
18 You Don't Have to Cry (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
19 talk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
20 Pre-Road Downs (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
21 talk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
22 Long Time Gone (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
23 talk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
24 Bluebird Revisited (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
25 talk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
26 Sea of Madness (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
27 talk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
28 Wooden Ships (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
29 talk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
30 Find the Cost of Freedom (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
31 talk (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
32 49 Bye-Byes (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)

There are lots of photos of CSN playing at Woodstock, but almost none of CSNY at Woodstock. This is because Young didn't want to be filmed at the concert, for whatever reason. I've only been able to find one good photo of the four of them at the concert, which is the one I've used. Using Photoshop, I moved Stills a few feet closer to the three others, so I could zoom in more on all four.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Bonnie Raitt - When the Spell Is Broken - Non-Album Tracks (1994-1997)

First off, I've gotta say "When the Spell Is Broken" is a great Richard Thompson song, and Bonnie Raitt does a great version of it here. In a better world, it would have been a hit. Anyway, here's the next in my long series of stray tracks albums for Ms. Raitt. This is a particularly good one.

She was still at the peak of her popularity, and used that to collaborate with some of her musical heroes. She collaborates with someone else on all but two of the songs here. (However, you don't really notice that on the two collaborations with Randy Newman. He wrote those songs, but he doesn't sing on them.)

All but three of the songs were officially released, so the sound quality is very good. For those three, two of them come from TV appearances that were well recorded, so those sound as good as the rest. The other songs come from various artists compilations and duet appearances on other musicians' albums.

Note that "Going Down to Louisiana - Rollin' and Tumblin'" was done some in live acoustic versions of concerts I've already posted, but this version with the Funky Meters is different enough to warrant inclusion here.

There's one song that doesn't sound as good as the rest, "Mercy, Mercy." So I've only included that as a bonus track.

01 When the Spell Is Broken (Bonnie Raitt with the Five Blind Boys of Alabama)
02 You Got It (Bonnie Raitt)
03 Everybody's Gettin' Some (Junior Wells & Bonnie Raitt)
04 Feels like Home (Bonnie Raitt with Randy Newman)
05 Life Has Been Good to Me (Bonnie Raitt with Randy Newman)
06 Pride and Joy (Bonnie Raitt)
07 For What It's Worth (Bonnie Raitt with David Crosby & Graham Nash)
08 Going Down to Louisiana - Rollin' and Tumblin' (Bonnie Raitt & the Funky Meters)
09 Honky Tonk Women (Bonnie Raitt & the Funky Meters)
10 Who Do You Love (Bo Diddley & Bonnie Raitt)
11 Grits Ain't Groceries [All Around the World] (Little Milton & Bonnie Raitt)
12 Baby, I Love You (B. B. King & Bonnie Raitt)

Mercy, Mercy (Bonnie Raitt, Jerry Butler & Ben E. King)

I'm not sure where the cover art photo of Bonnie Raitt comes from exactly, but it dates to 1994.

Johnny Cash with June Carter Cash - Irving Plaza, New York City, 7-9-1996

In my opinion, there are two Johnny Cash concert recordings from the later half of his career that tower above all others. I posted one of them here already, of him in Austin, Texas, in 1994. This is the other one. Although it's a bootleg, it's from a radio broadcast and sounds as good as an official album. There are no official albums from his 1990s career revival. If you're a fan of his music at all, you really should get this one. Since it comes from the very end of his touring years, it serves as a good career retrospective.

In 1994, Cash put out the "American Recordings" album, which marked the start of his late career revival. He followed that up with the "Unchained" album in 1996. The Austin concert I mentioned above featured many songs from "American Recordings." This concert only included one song from that. But it has a middle section with six songs in a row that all come from "Unchained." I really like that, because while he put out a handful of excellent albums in the years before he died in 2003, he effectively stopped touring after supporting "Unchained" in 1996 and 1997. He only made some short appearances where he played older hits. So this is the best example of him playing any songs he recorded in his last years.

Aside from that stretch of "Unchained" songs, the rest of the concert has the standard Johnny Cash hits set list. But he was still in good shape in 1996, vocally and energetically. There's a long stretch near the end of the show where his wife June Carter Cash plays some songs with him and some by herself. She plays so much that I've added her to the billing.

Johnny Cash talks some between songs, though not nearly as much as he did during the Austin show. He mostly comments on his new songs. His wife was much more talkative when she was on stage. I didn't have to make many sonic adjustments since this sounded excellent already, but I broke the talking into separate tracks, and sometimes boosted the volume when the talking grew faint.

01 Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash)
02 Get Rhythm (Johnny Cash)
03 Sunday Morning Coming Down (Johnny Cash)
04 [Ghost] Riders in the Sky (Johnny Cash)
05 A Cowboy's Prayer - Oh, Bury Me Not (Johnny Cash)
06 talk (Johnny Cash)
07 I Never Picked Cotton (Johnny Cash)
08 talk (Johnny Cash)
09 Unchained (Johnny Cash)
10 Rowboat (Johnny Cash)
11 talk (Johnny Cash)
12 Rusty Cage (Johnny Cash)
13 talk (Johnny Cash)
14 Southern Accents (Johnny Cash)
15 Memories Are Made of This (Johnny Cash)
16 talk (Johnny Cash)
17 Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)
18 talk (Johnny Cash)
19 I Walk the Line (Johnny Cash)
20 talk (Johnny Cash)
21 Jesus in My Soul (Earl Ball with Johnny Cash)
22 talk (Johnny Cash)
23 Jackson (Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash)
24 If I Were a Carpenter (Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash)
25 talk (June Carter Cash)
26 Wabash Cannonball (June Carter Cash)
27 talk (June Carter Cash)
28 Wildwood Flower (June Carter Cash)
29 talk (June Carter Cash)
30 I Used to Be Somebody (June Carter Cash)
31 talk (June Carter Cash)
32 Will the Circle Be Unbroken (June Carter Cash)
33 Big River (Johnny Cash)
34 I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash)
35 Orange Blossom Special (Johnny Cash)
36 I'll Be Waiting (Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash)

I couldn't find any photos of Cash at this exact concert. But I did find a good one of him playing at the House of Blues in 1996, so I used that. Tom Petty was standing to his side, but I had to crop him out of the photo since he wasn't part of this concert. I hope whatever live recordings there are of Cash and Petty playing together get officially released someday.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Aimee Mann - Little Boxes - Non-Album Tracks (2010-2012)

Here is the next in my line of stray tracks albums for Aimee Mann. I find her musical output to be of a high quality, and very consistent. So this is more of the same good stuff from her.

The first three songs are originals that have never appeared on an album. That's also the case with the bonus track, "Conflicted," which is only a bonus track due to sound quality issues. Apparently, these songs were meant for a musical based on her "The Forgotten Arm" album, but it never came to fruition.

Some of the remaining songs are covers: "Jealous Guy," The Hissing of Summer Lawns," Free Man in Paris," and "Little Boxes." I believe all the rest are originals. "No More Amsterdam" is a collaboration with "guitar hero" Steve Vai that works surprisingly well and doesn't sound like Vai's typical stuff.

Two of the songs have been drastically edited: "Two Horses" and "Little Boxes." In both cases, Mann did the songs for TV shows, and they only needed a minute or less of music. So, for both of them, I edited them to repeat the entire song. That leaves them still on the short side, but they sound more like complete songs now.

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

01 Easy to Die (Aimee Mann)
02 Eiffel Tower (Aimee Mann)
03 You've Got to be Willing to Hurt the One You Love (Aimee Mann)
04 Jealous Guy (Aimee Mann)
05 The Hissing of Summer Lawns (Aimee Mann with Herbie Hancock)
06 Free Man in Paris (Aimee Mann)
07 No More Amsterdam (Steve Vai & Aimee Mann)
08 Brother's Keeper (Aimee Mann)
09 Mea Culpa (Aimee Mann)
10 Two Horses [Edit] (Aimee Mann)
11 Bigger than Love (Aimee Mann & Benjamin Gibbard)
12 Little Boxes [Edit] (Aimee Mann)

Conflicted (Aimee Mann)

For the cover art, I decided to adopt a literal approach to the album title. The song it is based on, "Little Boxes," was written by Malvina Reynolds in the 1960s after seeing the suburban tract housing of Daly City, near San Francisco. So I've used a photo of a Daly City neighborhood.

Robbie Robertson - The Far, Lonely Cry of Trains - Non-Album Tracks (1980-1991)

Robbie Robertson is best known as the writer of many classic hits by the Band, such as "The Weight," Up on Cripple Creek," and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." He broke up the Band in 1976 and has been a solo artist ever since. His output has been sporadic, putting out only one or two new albums every decade, and he's very rarely performed in public. I suppose he's treated his solo career more like a hobby than a career, because he'll always be rich from his songwriting royalties.

That said, what he has released solo has been of a high and consistent standard, in my opinion. That extends to his stray tracks. His solo work isn't that well known though, probably due to his voice, as well as his low profile. Personally, I like his voice. It has a limited range, true, but it's expressive and full of character, much like the voices of Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen.

I've managed to find three albums' worth of Robertson's stray tracks. Since he's only put out five studio albums in four decades, they add a lot to his musical legacy. All of these are studio recordings, which isn't that surprising considering how rarely he's played in public since leaving the Band. Three of them (tracks 3,4 and 5) are officially unreleased. Their sound quality is a bit lower than the rest, but only a bit.

Four of the songs here (tracks 1, 2, 6 and 8) are from movie soundtracks. "Tailgate" is a B-side. "Storyville" and "The Far, Lonely Cry of Trains" are bonus tracks. "Chief Seattle Speaks" comes from the album "One World."

Since the Band broke up in 1976, Robertson rarely played with the other former members of the Band. In particular, he had a bad falling out with singer and drummer Levon Helm. But in 1989, the Band took part in the annual Juno music awards. This was a big enough occasion for Robertson to reunite with two former Band members, Rick Danko and Garth Hudson. Robertson and Danko shared lead vocals on the classic Band hit "The Weight," which is especially interesting since Robertson didn't sing lead on the original version.

I'm pretty sure all the songs here are written or co-written by Robertson, with the exception of "The Fat Man," which is a Fats Domino song. That comes from the Carny movie soundtrack in 1980. There are some instrumentals he did on that soundtrack as well, but I didn't consider them strong enough for inclusion here, since they're mood music for the movie. "Christmas Must Be Tonight" is a song he wrote for the Band, but this solo version has a significantly different arrangement.

This album is 45 minutes long.

UPDATE: On August 16, 2023, I updated the mp3 download file. I removed two songs, "Canon (Part 2)" and "Slo Burn," moving them to the next album in this series instead. I added one song, "The Weight."

01 The Fat Man (Robbie Robertson)
02 Between Trains (Robbie Robertson)
03 Tear Down the Walls (Robbie Robertson)
04 Got It All Worked Out (Robbie Robertson)
05 Runaway Train (Robbie Robertson)
06 Modern Blues [Instrumental] (Robbie Robertson & Gil Evans)
07 Tailgate (Robbie Robertson)
08 Christmas Must Be Tonight (Robbie Robertson)
09 The Weight (Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson & Blue Rodeo)
10 Chief Seattle Speaks (Robbie Robertson)
11 Storyville (Robbie Robertson)
12 The Far, Lonely Cry of Trains (Robbie Robertson)

The cover art uses a photo of Robertson from 1988.

Sheryl Crow with Kid Rock, Stevie Nicks & Keith Richards - The Shine Club, New York City, 4-30-2001

This is a very interesting Sheryl Crow concert. In fact, it's the most interesting one I've ever come across. Instead of her usual shot performing her hits to a large crowd, she played a secret, unannounced show at a very small club. That freed her up to play whatever she wanted, just for fun. So although she did do a few of her hits, she mostly played cover songs she enjoyed.

For this show, she's played a lot of songs she very rarely, or maybe never, played otherwise. This contains covers of songs by: the James Gang, Badfinger, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers Band, Dobie Gray, the Everly Brothers,  Buddy Holly, Fats Dominos, Ram Jam/ Lead Belly, Foghat, Tom Petty, the Sugarhill Gang, and Queen! Definitely not your typical Sheryl Crow concert.

That would make the show plenty interesting already. But what's even more intriguing is that she invited three of her famous musician friends to join her: Kid Rock, Stevie Nicks, and Keith Richards. She's done various duets and musical projects with the first two, and she's toured with the Rolling Stones more than once, often performing with them on stage. Each of her guests also let their hair down and played songs they usually didn't play. For instance, Kid Rock strayed far from his reputation as a rap-rock star by playing a solo acoustic version of the Allman Brothers Band song "Come and Go Blues."

As far as the sound quality goes, this is an audience bootleg, which means it's less than ideal. But it's one of the better audience bootlegs. Normally, I steer clear of those, but this sounds perfectly fine to me.

I've made a lot of edits to tighten things up. Because the show was spontaneous and free-form, there was extended silence between songs, while I presume the band was figuring out what to play next. During these stretches, not much could be heard except fans shouting out their song suggestions. I've cut most of that out, but I've kept the between song banter of those on stage. Also, Kid Rock made some major flubs trying to get "Come and Go Blues" started, and I've edited those out.

In short, even though the sound quality isn't the greatest, if you want to download just one concert of Sheryl Crow playing with a band, I recommend this one.

01 talk (Sheryl Crow)
02 Walk Away (Sheryl Crow)
03 My Favorite Mistake (Sheryl Crow)
04 No Matter What (Sheryl Crow)
05 talk (Sheryl Crow)
06 If It Makes You Happy (Sheryl Crow)
07 It Don't Hurt (Sheryl Crow)
08 Don't Tell Me - Sweet Home Alabama (Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow)
09 talk (Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow)
10 Come and Go Blues (Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow)
11 talk (Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow)
12 Drift Away (Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow & Keith Richards)
13 talk (Sheryl Crow & Keith Richards)
14 Love Hurts (Sheryl Crow & Keith Richards)
15 Not Fade Away (Sheryl Crow & Keith Richards)
16 Ain't that a Shame (Sheryl Crow & Keith Richards)
17 Black Betty (Sheryl Crow)
18 Slow Ride (Sheryl Crow)
19 Do Ya (Sheryl Crow)
20 talk (Sheryl Crow)
21 Too Far from Texas (Stevie Nicks & Sheryl Crow)
22 talk (Stevie Nicks & Sheryl Crow)
23 It's Only Love (Stevie Nicks & Sheryl Crow)
24 Leather and Lace (Stevie Nicks & Sheryl Crow)
25 talk (Stevie Nicks & Sheryl Crow)
26 Stop Draggin' My Heart Around (Stevie Nicks & Sheryl Crow)
27 The Difficult Kind (Sheryl Crow with Stevie Nicks)
28 talk (Sheryl Crow)
29 There Goes the Neighborhood - Rapper's Delight (Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow)
30 Tie Your Mother Down (Sheryl Crow with Kid Rock)

For some reason, Crow played three secret concerts at the Shine Club in 2001: this one in April, plus two in May. She had most of the same special guests each time. I found a photo of Crow with Kid Rock and Stevie Nicks together at one of the May concerts, and decided to use that for the cover art. But then, later, I discovered there were photos from this very concert in April. I found one I really like of Crow with Keith Richards. You can see the delight on her face that she's getting to play with one of her musical heroes. So I've chosen that as the cover art photo. But I like the other one, so I've included it here as well.