Friday, August 28, 2020

Bob Marley & the Wailers - Aeroport du Bourget, Paris, France, 7-3-1980

There are lots of musical giants for whom I haven't posted any material from yet, or only a little. One example is Bob Marley. I'm only a moderate reggae fan in general, but how can anybody not be a Bob Marley fan? He's arguably the most well known musician on the planet, in large part due to his popularity in the Third World.

Marley and his band the Wailers were very good in concert. His most popular live albums generally were recorded in the mid-1970s. But I've always wanted a good recording from the last year he performed on stage, in 1980.

Before I continue, a little explanation of his personal history is necessary. Marley was diagnosed with a kind of skin cancer on his foot in 1977. He had some minor surgery, removing a toenail and some surrounding skin. For the next few years, he was fine. In 1980, he put out the album "Uprising" and then started a big world tour in the middle of the year. But in September 1980, his health took a drastic turn for the worse. He collapsed while jogging in New York City, and was taken to the hospital. It was discovered that his cancer had spread to his heart, lungs, and liver, and he was only given a month or two to live. Despite this, he put on a concert in Pittsburgh the next day. It was his last concert. He managed to hang on longer than expected, but he died in May 1981, at only the age of 36.

The reason I mention all that is because currently the only live album from 1980 is called "Live Forever," and it's taken from that very last concert he did in Pittsburgh. I think this was a terrible decision by the record company, because he didn't go out on a high note. For that show, his health clearly got to him, and he could barely make it through the show. I recommend do NOT listen to that album.

A much better way to remember his last year is to listen to a concert from earlier in the summer, when he was on tour in Europe. Luckily, there are multiple excellent soundboard bootlegs from that leg of the tour, especially shows in Milan, Italy, Zurich, Switzerland, Deeside, Britain, and Paris, France. I listened to all of them. The sound is fantastic on all of them, with the best of them equaling the sound on the live "Live Forever" album. For years, I had the Milan show in my collection. But just a few days ago, I found the Paris show, and I've decided that was the best one of all.

I think this could be my favorite Marley concert recording. Not only is the sound quality great, but I really like the set list. His 1980 shows have some of my favorite songs from the end of his career that the other official live albums don't have, such as "Redemption Song," "Coming In from the Cold," Could You Be Loved," and "Is This Love." It's much like a greatest hits overview of his entire musical career.

There were some problems with the recording, but I was able to fix them. One weird aspect of the recording was that one of the stereo channels was much louder than the other one. I edited each song to bring them to a better balance. I did still keep one channel a bit louder though, since that's the one where most of the lead vocals were.

Additionally, the song "Jammin'" was cut in the middle, with a minute or two missing. I did an edit to stitch the two parts together. Luckily, the break was in a spot where I don't think you'll notice anything missing at all. Also, there were a few seconds of feedback here and there on some of the later songs, especially "Could You Be Loved" and "Kinky Reggae." I was able to fix those by patching in music from elsewhere in the song.

Finally, the recording of the last song "Get Up, Stand Up," ended a couple of minutes before the song ended. I used the version of the song from the Milan concert to give that an ending. These only a few seconds of music from that version, but then a long applause from the crowd that fades out. It wasn't a good match musically, so I got it over with as quickly as possible to give the song a proper ending.

The Paris portion of the concert is an hour and 31 minutes long. Since I knew of three other excellent soundboards from the same tour, I checked to see if they had any different songs. The set list was pretty much the same from night to night, but he did throw in some variations. So I added two songs from the Zurich show to the very start of the album ("Talkin' Blues" and "We and Them"), and then one from the Deeside one as the third song ("Coming In from the Cold"). (The Milan show didn't have any songs not played in Paris.) If you add in those three extra songs, this album totals an hour and 44 minutes.

01 Talkin' Blues (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
02 talk (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
03 We and Them (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
04 Coming In from the Cold (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
05 talk (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
06 Positive Vibration (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
07 Revolution (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
08 I Shot the Sheriff (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
09 War - No More Trouble (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
10 Zimbabwe (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
11 Zion Train (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
12 talk (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
13 No Woman, No Cry (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
14 Lively Up Yourself (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
15 Jammin' [Edit] (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
16 Exodus (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
17 talk (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
18 Redemption Song (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
19 talk (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
20 Natty Dread (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
21 Work (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
22 Is This Love (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
23 Could You Be Loved (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
24 Roots, Rock, Reggae (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
25 Kinky Reggae (Bob Marley & the Wailers)
26 Get Up, Stand Up [Edit] (Bob Marley & the Wailers)

I'm happy to say that the cover art photo is from the exact concert in question.

Sheryl Crow - Home Concerts, West Nashville, TN, 3-18-2020 to 8-15-2020

So how has Sheryl Crow been keeping herself musically busy during the coronavirus pandemic? In terms of public output, she hasn't been nearly as productive as some others, for instance Norah Jones. But she has done some things here and there. It's taken six months, but I finally have enough material to post an acoustic home concert album from her.

The emphasis here is on "acoustic." Crow has generally posted two kinds of performances. One are the acoustic versions presented here. She did a bunch in the early days of the pandemic, generally posting them on her Facebook page. More recently, she's done a smaller number, usually for TV or Internet shows.

Two, she's posted full band performances. In them, she's involved a bunch of backing musicians, with everyone recording their parts remotely and then joining them together through audio software. I haven't included any of those for two reasons. One, if you've been following this blog, you probably know I'm an especially big fan of acoustic music, so I'm especially interested in those versions. But two, the full band performances are of songs already on her albums, and the versions are very close to the album versions, so I don't see much point to them.

It's different with these acoustic performances. A couple of them are covers of songs she's never done before. I'm especially thinking of "Willow Weep for Me," and "All You Need Is Love," the classic Beatles song. But her acoustic performances are nearly all just her, usually on guitar but sometimes on piano, and thus have to be vastly different than the album versions. So that makes them way more interesting, in my book.

One partial exception to that is her version of "All You Need Is Love." She overdubbed herself playing multiple instruments, and added her own backing vocals too. But I still consider it an acoustic performance since all the instruments are acoustic and the drumming is light. Even so, I put it at the end, out of chronological order, since it is a bit different than the others.

I almost didn't include the song "God Bless This Mess." The problem is that she recorded that one outside, and there was a ton of wind. I edited it some to patch in repetitive parts from less wind affected parts of the song. But I could only do so much, since some parts didn't repeat. In the end I decided to include it, since the sound quality is as good as the others, except for the occasional windy sections.

There is one bonus track, of her song "Home." It's a rare piano only version of the song, so it's worthy of inclusion. But unfortunately, the sound quality is poor. Thus it only makes it as a bonus track.

01 talk (Sheryl Crow)
02 Drunk with the Thought of You (Sheryl Crow)
03 talk (Sheryl Crow)
04 Weather Channel (Sheryl Crow)
05 talk (Sheryl Crow)
06 God Bless This Mess [Edit] (Sheryl Crow)
07 talk (Sheryl Crow)
08 The Difficult Kind (Sheryl Crow)
09 talk (Sheryl Crow)
10 Make It Go Away (Sheryl Crow)
11 I Shall Believe (Sheryl Crow)
12 talk (Sheryl Crow)
13 Flying Blind (Sheryl Crow)
14 talk (Sheryl Crow)
15 Beware of Darkness (Sheryl Crow)
16 talk (Sheryl Crow)
17 Willow Weep for Me (Sheryl Crow)
18 Leaving Las Vegas (Sheryl Crow)
19 All You Need Is Love (Sheryl Crow)

Home (Sheryl Crow)

The cover art is taken from her performance of "Beware of Darkness" (the George Harrison song) on the TV show "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Manfred Mann - Ragamuffin Man - Non-Album Tracks (1968-1969)

Here's the last of my stray tracks albums for Manfred Mann in the 1960s. At least, this ends the second version of the band. That version, lead by lead vocalist Mike d'Abo, broke up in mid-1969. Manfred Mann reformed later that year with two original members, becoming Manfred Mann Chapter 3. Then, a couple of years later, that turned into the Manfred Mann Earth Band. But that's a whole different story.

I'm very happy to be able to present this album, because it's so likely that it would even exist. After the music I put on the last Manfred Mann album in this series - the one I call "Cubist Town" but was mostly made up of their album "Mighty Garvey!" - the band only put out two singles before they broke up. The singles were "Fox on the Run" in late 1968 and "Ragamuffin Man" in early 1969. They were both moderate hits. But how does one turn a mere two singles into a whole album? There are NO other studio recordings from the band in that time frame, at least not that I know of.

The key, it turns out, is the BBC. Manfred Mann performed at the BBC quite a lot. Four of the songs here are the A- and B-sides to the two singles mentioned above. But another eight are from the BBC. And what's great about these is that while a couple are covers of famous songs, like "Fever" and "Abraham, Martin and John," most of them appear to be original songs that would have been totally lost to musical history except for the fact that they happened to have been performed on the BBC once. This is pretty close to being a genuine "lost album."

Why are there so many songs, and good songs, that were never released at the time? I don't know a whole lot about the history of the band, but my guess is that those songs were casualties of the band break-up. Probably, right when they had enough material to go record another album was when the group fell apart. Those songs remained unreleased all the way until 2019, when they were included on a compilation of the band's BBC performances called "Radio Days, Volume 2." 

What's crazy to me is that I saw a list of all the dates Manfred Mann played for the BBC, and at least half of the sessions have disappeared, since there are no known recordings of them. So it's quite possible that there were even more originals and/or interesting covers the band did in this time frame. Ironically, the band was blossoming as a creative force with original songs right as it fell apart.

One person who wrote a good portion of these new song was lead singer Mike d'Abo. And that leads me to the last song on this album. I find it very strange that in the late 1960s, the band got a lot of flak for having hits with cover versions instead of their own material. Yet d'Abo wrote two hits that the band never released at all! The first one is "Handbags and Gladrags," which I put on the 1968 stray tracks album "Up the Junction," since luckily the band played that once for the BBC. Rod Stewart had a hit with it instead.

The other d'Abo song Manfred Mann should have had a hit with is "Build Me Up Buttercup." This was a massive hit in 1968 for the Foundations. It was a number one hit in the US and a number two hit in Britain. Since d'Abo was the lead singer of Manfred Mann at the time, why the heck didn't his own band do the song?! To be honest, I don't know. But my guess is that the band was already starting to split. Band members Manfred Mann (the person, not the band) and Mike Hugg wanted to take the group in a more serious and "progressive" direction. That's exactly what they did with Manfred Mann Chapter Three. "Build Me Up Buttercup" was considered a light and poppy song, and probably was exactly what they were trying to move away from.

Anyway, I don't know of any Manfred Mann version that exists. But d'Abo did a solo version later. I'm not sure when exactly, because it wasn't released until many years later and I couldn't find good specific information. But I think it probably dates from 1970 or 1971. In any case, I've added it to the end as a rough idea of what a Manfred Mann version sung by d'Abo would have sounded like.

This album is 41 minutes long.

01 Fox on the Run (Manfred Mann)
02 Too Many People (Manfred Mann)
03 Fever (Manfred Mann)
04 Abraham, Martin and John (Manfred Mann)
05 So Long [Edit] (Manfred Mann)
06 Clair [Edit] (Manfred Mann)
07 Sentimental Sunday [Edit] (Manfred Mann)
08 Orange Peel [Instrumental] (Manfred Mann)
09 Ragamuffin Man (Manfred Mann)
10 A 'B' Side (Manfred Mann)
11 Oh What a Day [Edit] (Manfred Mann)
12 The Last Goodbye [Edit] (Manfred Mann)
13 Build Me Up Buttercup (Mike D'Abo)

The album cover is based on the cover for the "Ragamuffin Man" single. Unfortunately, back in those days, singles covers often looked worse than album covers, because they sometimes were quickly and cheaply thrown together. That was the case for this one, in my opinion. So I used that cover, but I tried to jazz it up a bit. I removed the record company logo, which had been prominently placed in the upper right corner, and caused the band name to be smaller to fit everything in. With the logo moved to the bottom left corner, I was able to stretch the band name all the way across the album. Also, the one color was an awful shade of green. I changed that into a mixture of green and blue, to create a slight psychedelic feel that fit the time period.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Roger Waters with Eric Clapton - Rosemont Horizon, Chicago, IL, 7-26-1984

Wouldn't it have been interesting if Eric Clapton took over from David Gilmour when Pink Floyd broke up, and soloed all over classic Pink Floyd songs? It turns out that's pretty much exactly what happened in 1984!

Pink Floyd had effectively broken up after the release of "The Final Cut" album in 1983, although the break wouldn't be official until 1985. Pink Floyd's main singer and songwriter Roger Waters released his solo album "The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking" in 1984 and went on tour to promote it. Surprisingly, Eric Clapton was hired to play lead guitar for the first leg of the tour, even though Clapton was more of a household name than Waters, and he was busy with his own successful solo career. I believe it's the first and only time in Clapton's long solo career that he played a whole tour as a supporting musician for someone else.

I'm posting this because I'm working on my own super-sized version of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" album, which should be coming soon. While working on that, I gave this bootleg concert another listen, and I was struck at how excellent the sound is. This is a pristine soundboard that sounds as good as any officially released album at the time.

Furthermore, the performance is excellent. The first half of the concert, which i two hour and four minutes long, consists entirely of Pink Floyd classics, played in rough chronological order. The second half features the entire "Pros and Cons" album played in the same order as the album. Personally, I think that album is merely good, not great. But I think it comes alive more in concert than on the studio album. But mostly, it's a blast hearing Clapton solo all over those songs, and especially the Pink Floyd classics in the first half of the show (as well as the encore).

For most of his long musical career, Waters has been big on putting on an audio-video spectacle for his concerts. For this tour, there was constant video footage playing behind the musicians, and various other special effects happening, so the music had to be choreographed carefully. As a result, there was very little musical variety from night to night. Clapton got bored of that, and left after only one leg of the tour. But luckily we have this one soundboard from that leg to give us a hint of what a Pink Floyd with Clapton in it would have sounded like.

01 Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
02 Money (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
03 If (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
04 Welcome to the Machine (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
05 Have a Cigar (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
06 Wish You Were Here (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
07 Pigs on the Wing, Part 1 (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
08 In the Flesh (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
09 Nobody Home (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
10 Hey You (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
11 The Gunner's Dream (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
12 talk (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
13 4-30 A.M. [Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
14 4-33 A.M. [Running Shoes] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
15 4-37 A.M. [Arabs with Knives and West German Skies] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
16 4-39 A.M. [For the First Time Today, Part 2] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
17 4-41 A.M. [Sexual Revolution] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
18 4-47 A.M. [The Remains of Our Love] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
19 4-50 A.M. [Go Fishing] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
20 4-56 A.M. [For the First Time Today, Part 1] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
21 4-58 A.M. [Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
22 5-01 A.M. [The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
23 5-06 A.M. [Every Stranger's Eyes] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
24 5-11 A.M. [The Moment of Clarity] (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
25 talk (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
26 Brain Damage (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)
27 Eclipse (Roger Waters with Eric Clapton)

The cover art photo shows Waters and Clapton on stage during Waters' 1984 tour. (Waters is much closer to the camera, playing bass.) I don't know which concert it's from exactly.

Pink Floyd's The Wall

 I haven't posted much here in recent days, but ironically, I've spent more time working on music stuff for this blog than ever before. For the past week or so, I've been working really hard to put together a super-sized version of "The Wall" album by Pink Floyd. By using songs from "The Final Cut" album and other bits and pieces, I've doubled the length of the album! I'm pretty much done, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

But I'm putting a lot of extra care into this, and before I post it here, I'd like to get some feedback. So if you're a big Pink Floyd fan and you definitely would give your feedback to an early listen, post your email and I'll send it to you. Otherwise, wait a few days and the final version should be posted here.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren - Sunday Mornings with Elle and Toni, Volume 4: 2017-2018

Here's more from the fabulous acoustic duo Elle Cordova and Toni Lindgren, because I still have so many more albums to post from them. As I've mentioned previously, they release a new performance on YouTube every Sunday morning, and they've been doing it very regularly for years. Sometimes they do originals in that series, but this series just collects their covers. Almost always, it's just the two of them and their acoustic guitars.

On thing I really like about this series is that it's an appealing mix of well-known classics and obscure gems. Sure, everybody knows "You Make Loving Fun" by Fleetwood Mac or "Mercedes Benz" by Janis Joplin, but I'll best most of you have never heard the songs they do here by Charlie Parr, Norman Blake, the Magnetic Fields, and so on. And I'm tickled pink they took the theme song to the "Inspector Gadget" TV show and turned it into a bluegrass hoedown!

If you haven't checked them out yet, why not give 'em a try?

This album is 43 minutes long.

Here's a list of the artists who made these songs famous:

01 Over the Red Cedar - Charlie Parr
02 Misirlou [Instrumental] - Jan August / Dick Dale
03 You Belong to Me - Jo Stafford / Patti Page
04 You Make Loving Fun - Fleetwood Mac
05 One Fine Day - Chiffons
06 Dooley - Dillards
07 Church Street Blues - Norman Blake
08 Dear Someone - Gillian Welch
09 All My Little Words - Magnetic Fields
10 Tennessee Jed - Grateful Dead
11 Inspector Gadget Theme [Instrumental] - Shuki Levy
12 Faded Love - Bob Wills
13 Mercedes Benz - Janis Joplin
14 She's Got You - Patsy Cline
15 Praise You - Fat Boy Slim

Here's the usual song list:

01 Over the Red Cedar (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
02 Misirlou [Instrumental] (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
03 You Belong to Me (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
04 You Make Loving Fun (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
05 One Fine Day (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
06 Dooley (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren & Josh Turner)
07 Church Street Blues (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
08 Dear Someone (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
09 All My Little Words (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
10 Tennessee Jed (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
11 Inspector Gadget Theme [Instrumental] (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
12 Faded Love (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
13 Mercedes Benz (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
14 She's Got You (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
15 Praise You (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)

The cover art is a screenshot from one of the duo's YouTube videos.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Manfred Mann - Cubist Town - Non-Album Tracks (1968)

In 2018, a person named Joe Wiltshire wrote a blog post about a supposed lost classic 1968 album by Manfred Mann called "Cubist Town." He gave a short history about the album and provided a song list for it. You can read that here:

As it so happens, none of that is true. It was just a clever idea to highlight some of the more creative and lesser known songs Manfred Mann did at the time.  However, I read that blog post, and it helped inspire me to take Manfred Mann more seriously. I realized there very easily could have been an excellent 1968 album by the band if they'd done a better job of song selection. This album is not the same as Wiltshire's version. About half of the songs I've included are different. But I liked the album title, so I've used that.

In my opinion, the band was hitting a creative peak around this time. Most of the band members were writing songs, and they were generally very good ones, and very much in keeping with the musical zeitgeist of the era, which is probably my favorite musical era. So they should have knocked their main 1968 studio album out of the park. (They'd released a movie soundtrack earlier in the year that was mostly composed of instrumentals.)

However, the album they did release - "Mighty Garvey!" - was very problematic. It had a bad title, bad artwork, and most importantly, bad song selection. Nearly every song the band did in the 1960s was at least decent, in my opinion. But this album had some clunkers. One was the song "Happy Families." It wasn't much of a song to begin with, but for some inexplicable reason the album included THREE different versions of it. All three were jokey (but not actually funny) piss takes on different musical genres. The tone of these songs clashed drastically with most everything else on the album, and ruined the overall mood. 

I've chosen to only include one of the three. That one is a kind of jazz lounge parody. In my opinion, it is strikingly similar to "You Know the Name (Look Up the Number)" by the Beatles, but a lot shorter (thank God). The Beatles recorded their version in 1967 but didn't release it until it came out as a B-side in 1970, so the similarities are almost certainly coincidental.

I didn't include another song, "Big Betty." This "original" in fact is a rip-off of the famous Leadbelly song "Black Betty." I find it an embarrassment. Furthermore, it's musically out of step with the rest of the album. I also didn't include "Ha Ha Said the Clown," because it was an old single by the time the album came out, and it fit better on a stray tracks compilation I've already posted. It also was out of step with the rest of the album. So, by removing those two songs by the two other versions of "Happy Families," the album got a lot better.

After I removed those songs, the album was only 28 minutes long, which is too short for an album. So I added four non-album tracks at the end. Two of those, "You've Got It Made" and "The Letter," were only ever recorded for the BBC, so I've used the BBC versions. For "The Letter," which is a cover of the famous Box Tops hit, I edited out a BBC DJ talking over the intro. The other two songs I added are the A- and B-sides to the "My Name Is Jack" single.

So, after all that, what do we have left? Once again, like the last album by the band that I posted ("Up the Junction") it's an album that's strikingly similar to what the Hollies were doing at the time. Both bands were mainly pop bands at the time, but they were influenced by psychedelic music, so there are some touches of that, but nothing that was full-blown psychedelia. 

I think it's a strong album. It contains two big hits that were written by others, "The Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)" by Bob Dylan, and "My Name Is Jack." "The Mighty Quinn" was a number one hit in Britain and many other countries, and a top ten hit in the US, while "My Name Is Jack" was a top ten hit in Britain. I'm pretty sure those two songs, plus "The Letter," were the only covers.

Manfred Mann didn't release much more than two singles in late 1968 and early 1969 before they broke up and then reformed as almost a totally different band later in 1969. However, it turns out they recorded enough songs for another album. So I have one last album to go before my Manfred Mann series is over.

01 No Better No Worse (Manfred Mann)
02 Every Day Another Hair Turns Grey (Manfred Mann)
03 Country Dancing (Manfred Mann)
04 It's So Easy Falling (Manfred Mann)
05 Happy Families [with Ed Garvey and the Trio] (Manfred Mann)
06 The Mighty Quinn [Quinn the Eskimo] (Manfred Mann)
07 The Vicar's Daughter (Manfred Mann)
08 Each and Every Day [Day Time, Night Time] (Manfred Mann)
09 Cubist Town (Manfred Mann)
10 Harry the One-Man-Band (Manfred Mann)
11 You've Got It Made (Manfred Mann)
12 The Letter [Edit] (Manfred Mann)
13 My Name Is Jack (Manfred Mann)
14 There Is a Man (Manfred Mann)

I'm very happy with how this album cover art turned out. If you don't know, "cubist" is the name for a style of abstract painting in the early 1900s. So I thought the ideal cover would be of a maze-like town done in the cubist style. I Googled the phrase "cubist town," and discovered the painting that I used here. You can see where I got it here:

I think that was done by someone by the name of Treble who hasn't posted since 2013. In any case, that painting is rectangular, so I had to crop it to make it fit into a square album cover space. I actually like it even better cropped. It's pretty much exactly what I had in my mind's eye, so thank you Treble! It's about a million times better than the cover for "Mighty Garvey!" Google that if you want to see some bad album art, and one that was especially out of touch with 1968 trends.

Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren - Sunday Mornings with Elle and Toni, Volume 3: 2017

I've already posted two albums of acoustic covers by Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren. To reiterate what I've said with those past albums, this singer-songwriter duo has put out a bunch of albums of original material, but in addition to that, they've also been posting one new video on YouTube per week for years, and the vast majority of those have been covers. I've been collecting them and posting them here. I hope you like them, because I do, and there's a lot more where those came from.

If you liked the previous albums in this series, you'll like this one too. Elle Cordova does all the lead vocals, and while her voice is low key instead of dramatic and high ranged, there's something about it that I find compelling and distinctive. Toni Lindgren adds a lot with her tasty lead guitar, as well as backing vocals.

One thing I really like about this duo is the range and quality of their cover choices. Most of the songs are well known classics, but it seems there are always some obscure gems I'd missed on each album. And how many musicians who mostly do folky songs would have the chutspah to cover KC and the Sunshine Band as well?

This album is 43 minutes long.

01 Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry
02 What Would I Do - Ray Charles
03 Sugaree - Grateful Dead
04 Irish Rover - J. M. Crofts
05 Engine Trouble - Last Revel
06 I've Been All Around This World [Hang Me, Oh Hang Me] - traditional
07 Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard - Paul Simon
08 Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers
09 Slip Slide on By - Valerie June
10 Boogie Shoes - KC & the Sunshine Band
11 Dream a Little Dream of Me - Ozzie Nelson / Mamas & the Papas
12 Coconut - Harry Nilsson
13 Brandy [You're a Fine Girl] - Looking Glass
14 Wildflowers - Tom Petty
15 Ginseng Sullivan - Norman Blake / Tony Rice Unit

Here's the usual song list:

01 Johnny B. Goode (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
02 What Would I Do (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
03 Sugaree (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
04 Irish Rover (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
05 Engine Trouble (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren with the Last Revel)
06 I've Been All Around This World [Hang Me, Oh Hang Me] (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
07 Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
08 Ain't No Sunshine (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
09 Slip Slide on By (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
10 Boogie Shoes (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
11 Dream a Little Dream of Me (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
12 Coconut (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
13 Brandy [You're a Fine Girl] (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
14 Wildflowers (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)
15 Ginseng Sullivan (Elle Cordova & Toni Lindgren)

The cover art is a screenshot from their performance of "Brandy." They recorded the song while Cordova drove their van! I wonder if that was kind of a tribute to Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers and their videos of cover songs recording in a van that was being driven at the time. (If you like this, you should check them out as this blog well.)

Glenn Tilbrook - Quarantine Songs (2020)

Just as a reminder, Glenn Tilbrook is the lead singer of Squeeze, and has cowritten virtually all of their songs. As I write this, Squeeze is still together, though they have a long history of breaking up, then getting back together. Instead of taking the more common approach of making videos of acoustic performances during the coronavirus lockdown, he's put out one new song a week using a full band. Apparently it was all done remotely with musical associates (none of whom seem to have been other Squeeze members).

Tilbrook started posting videos of these songs in mid-April 2020. Three weeks ago (late July), he announced that week's song would be the last one of the series. Since then there hasn't been anything new from him, so I figure it's okay to post this and consider it the complete collection. As you'll see below, all of the performances are covers. It's a pretty strange bunch of songs, even though most are famous and have a poppy sound. I suspect the only commonality is that they were songs Tilbrook liked and had fun performing. He could put them out for free on the Internet without having to worry about sales figures or critical reviews or the like.

All the songs are presented in the order he posted them on-line. This matters, because he claims that most of the songs have a musical clue to what the next song in the series would be. For instance, the guitar solo in the first song "Hackensack" makes a reference to the melody in the second song, "Jerusalem." And since I'm mentioning "Jerusalem," note that that's an instrumental backing track from the 1910s that backs a poem written by William Blake from the 1800s. He was inspired to play it after hearing it in an obscure movie from the 1930s!

The songs add up to 49 minutes, which is a pretty ideal length for an album.

Here's a list of the original performers for each song:

01 Hackensack - Fountains of Wayne
02 Jerusalem [Instrumental] - Sir Hubert Perry
03 My Boy Lollipop - Millie Small
04 Jesus Was a Cross Maker - Judee Sill
05 I Must Be in a Good Place Now - Bobby Charles
06 Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell
07 Everyday People - Sly & the Family Stone
08 I Do Not Miss You - Steve Nieve
09 She's Gone - Hall & Oates
10 Dolly My Love - Moments
11 Don't You Want Me - Human League
12 Cruel - Millions
13 BHS - Sleaford Mods
14 Lovely Day - Bill Withers
15 Wonderful - Beach Boys

Here's the usual song list:

01 Hackensack (Glenn Tilbrook)
02 Jerusalem [Instrumental] (Glenn Tilbrook)
03 My Boy Lollipop (Glenn Tilbrook)
04 Jesus Was a Cross Maker (Glenn Tilbrook)
05 I Must Be in a Good Place Now (Glenn Tilbrook)
06 Wichita Lineman (Glenn Tilbrook)
07 Everyday People (Glenn Tilbrook)
08 I Do Not Miss You (Glenn Tilbrook)
09 She's Gone (Glenn Tilbrook)
10 Dolly My Love (Glenn Tilbrook)
11 Don't You Want Me (Glenn Tilbrook)
12 Cruel (Glenn Tilbrook)
13 BHS (Glenn Tilbrook)
14 Lovely Day (Glenn Tilbrook)
15 Wonderful (Glenn Tilbrook)

The cover art uses a screenshot from one of the song's videos.

Paul Weller - Home Concerts, London, Britain, 3-29-2020 to 6-11-2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, some musicians have pleasantly surprised me at how prolific they've been, such as Norah Jones, Neil Finn, Melissa Etheridge, and Grace Potter. Others have disappointed me with their relative inactivity, including Beck, Pete Townshend, the Posies, Aimee Mann, etc... 

One who has mostly disappointed me is Paul Weller. It's not that he's been completely inactive, but given what a musically hyperactive guy he is, I've expected more. And the acoustic format fits him like a glove. Furthermore, he's had a great new album to promote, "On Sunset," which came out in early June 2000. But he hasn't done a single home concert of any length, as far as I know.

Happily, he has played one or two acoustic songs here and there during the virus lockdown. I've gathered all that he's done (not including multiple versions of the same song), and made this album out of them. It's a bit short, at only 38 minutes. I had been waiting for him to do at least another song or two, so I could have about 45 minutes, which is an ideal album length. But I've waited two months and he hasn't done any new songs in that time. So I'm posting this now. If he does play a bit more in the acoustic format relatively soon, I'll add that to this album when it's available.

I'm guessing the reason that Weller hasn't been that prolific with acoustic performances is because he's been in a rocking mood lately. His new album "On Sunset" is excellent, but it also rocks in a way that needs a full band for most songs. Thus, it's not surprising that only two songs here, "Village" and "More," are from the new album. The rest are generally tracks from his very deep solo discography. There's only one surprise cover version, the Elvis Presley classic "Can't Help Falling in Love."

All the performances are unreleased, as one would expect for something so recent. The vast majority were done for radio shows or Internet shows.

01 Wishing Well (Paul Weller)
02 Mayfly (Paul Weller)
03 Light Nights (Paul Weller)
04 Can’t Help Falling in Love (Paul Weller)
05 Clues (Paul Weller)
06 Amongst Butterflies (Paul Weller)
07 Beautiful Blue (Paul Weller)
08 More (Paul Weller)
09 talk (Paul Weller)
10 Your Balloon Is Rising (Paul Weller)
11 Village (Paul Weller)
12 The Ballad of Jimmy McCabe (Paul Weller)

The cover art uses a screenshot from one of the performances here. I believe he was playing "Village" at the time.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Sheryl Crow - Leaning in a New Direction (Edited Song) (2013)

Sometimes, things come together so nicely that it's downright uncanny. This is one of those times. ;)

Today, a song on my SoulseekQT "wish list" appeared and I was able to download it. It's a Sheryl Crow song from 2013 called "Leaning in a New Direction." It's a very good, poppy song, and I'm guessing it's one she wrote. I could even see it being a hit. But unfortunately, it was never released at all. It was shown in the comedy movie "The Hot Flashes." The file I found on SoulseekQT was simply an audio recording of that scene from the movie.

Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, the song playing was just one thing happening in the movie scene. I haven't seen the video myself, but there were all sorts of other sounds going on in the audio, especially different people talking. At more than one point in the song, the music volume dropped way down so the talking could be the main focus. Upon first listen, I thought the audio might be unsalvageable.

But I got lucky, very, very lucky. It turns out nearly all the talking parts took place during the chorus, which was repeated three times. All three choruses had lots of talking over them. But by combining the best bits from the three different choruses, I was able to make one good one. Then I replaced all three of them with the better version. There were some other parts of the song with talking or other annoying noises. But, amazingly, virtually all of them were in instrumental parts or vocal lines that were repeated elsewhere. Some more audio cutting and pasting took care of those.

So here's the fixed version. Is it perfect? Definitely not. You can still hear some stray noises and talking here and there. But I'm downright shocked at how well it turned out, considering how bad it sounded at first. I plan on posting this in one of the future Sheryl Crow stray tracks albums I'll be posting here, but it'll be a while before I get that far chronologically into her career, so I thought I'd post it here today.

Pink Floyd - Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA, 5-9-1977

Slowly but surely, I've been posting what I consider to be the best and most important Pink Floyd live performances. Most of those were performed at or for the BBC, but this one is not. I consider it just as much of a "must have" as the BBC ones.

In 1977, Pink Floyd toured to promote the album they put out that year, "Animals." It wasn't as popular as some of their other albums, since it didn't have any obvious hit singles (or even songs short enough to be easily played on the radio), but I consider it one of their very best. So it's key to have a good concert from 1977, both for the "Animals" songs, since they played that entire album, but also for the "Wish You Were Here" songs, since they played that entire 1975 album too. And they played three more songs at the end on top of that. (Note that the 1974 BBC concert I posted has most of the "Animals" songs, but they were early versions with different titles and different lyrics.)

There aren't many songs in this concert, but most of the songs are long, with lots of great soloing. The album is two hours and 20 minutes (or 147 minutes) long. I added up the lengths of all the studio versions of the songs, and that totaled 107 minutes. So you basically get 40 extra minutes of solos. There's virtually no between song banter, except for the occasional sentence here and there.

The one snag with 1977 Pink Floyd concert bootlegs is that there are no decent soundboards that have leaked to the public. But the Oakland show here is widely considered the best of the audience bootlegs. In my opinion the sound is excellent, just as good as many soundboards I've heard from other bands. If anyone knows of a better sounding 1977 Pink Floyd show, please let me know.

My interest in live Pink Floyd pretty much comes to an end after this. They only did a small number of concerts to promote their 1979 album "The Wall," and the best of those have been released as an official life album. After that, the band didn't play live again until after band leader Roger Waters left, and my interest in the David Gilmour-led version of the band is much lower. But I'll still post more of the "classic" (1960s to early 1980s) version of the band by and by.

01 Sheep (Pink Floyd)
02 Pigs on the Wing, Part 1 (Pink Floyd)
03 Dogs (Pink Floyd)
04 Pigs on the Wing, Part 2 (Pink Floyd)
05 Pigs [Three Different Ones] (Pink Floyd)
06 Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts 1-5 (Pink Floyd)
07 Welcome to the Machine (Pink Floyd)
08 Have a Cigar (Pink Floyd)
09 Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
10 Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Parts 6-9 (Pink Floyd)
11 Money (Pink Floyd)
12 Us and Them (Pink Floyd)
13 Careful with that Axe, Eugene (Pink Floyd)

The album cover art is made out of two main pieces. The photograph is of the band actually playing at Oakland in the very concert posted here, I'm happy to say. Unfortunately, David Gilmour was way off to the side, and I had to crop him out of the photo. I've added the band name in huge lettering. This comes from a photo I found of an official concert T-shirt from the 1977 tour. I liked the flying pig inside the band's name, so I added that to the cover.

Manfred Mann - Up the Junction - Alternate Version (1968)

Manfred Mann didn't release a studio album in Britain in 1967. But in early 1968, they released this one. Technically, it's name is "Manfred Mann Go Up the Junction," but I just call it "Up the Junction." It was an unusual album for them, because it was the soundtrack for a movie by the same name. But this album is very different to that one. I didn't include some songs, and added a bunch more. Only five out of the 14 songs here are exactly the same as on the 1968 release. Personally, I think this one is much better.

As I've previously mentioned for earlier Manfred Mann, most of the guys in the band were really jazz musicians who got into rock because that's where the fame, fortune, and excitement mainly was in the 1960s. When they were given the chance to record a movie soundtrack, it's not surprising they filled it mostly with jazzy instrumentals. Unfortunately, in my opinion, most of those sound like boring Muzak, so I haven't included them. I did include the two instrumentals I liked the best, which are more actually jazzy than the others.

But the soundtrack does have its charms. There are a few good songs with vocals, and I've included all of those. The best of the bunch is the title song. Personally, this might be my favorite Manfred Mann song of all. It was only a minor hit, but in a better world it would have been a big one. However, the version of it I've included here is actually unreleased. There's a bootleg out there of pristine studio outtakes by the band, and this version is from that. It's similar to the released version, but has some more psychedelic touches. I've included it instead because I think it's better. It also was written by them, showing yet again they were much more than just hit makers of cover songs.

The first six songs here are from the soundtrack, if you include the unreleased version of the title song. The rest all come from different sources but were recorded around the same time, in late 1967 or early 1968. Most of these weren't officially released at the time, but came out as bonus tracks decades later. That's a shame, because they're all as good as the stuff that was released. 

The last three songs are all from BBC performances. Apparently, no studio versions of these were ever done, so we're lucky to have the BBC recordings. I find it baffling that Manfred Mann never recorded "Handbags and Gladrags" other than this BBC version, because it was written by one of the band members. Instead, Rod Stewart recorded it, and his version is known as a minor classic. By the way, I edited this version to remove a BBC DJ talking over the beginning of it.

Probably, the late 1960s are my favorite time period for music. I feel Manfred Mann was really hitting its stride around this time, because these songs have that special late 1960s feel. This sounds very much like a Hollies album from the same time period, and I think this album was just as good as one of those.

The one bonus track here is the officially released version of the "Up the Junction" title track. As I said, I like the unreleased version better, but I'm including it for completeness's sake.

01 Theme from 'Up the Junction' [Alternate Version] (Manfred Mann)
02 Sing Songs of Love (Manfred Mann)
03 Sheila's Dance [Instrumental] (Manfred Mann)
04 Walking Around (Manfred Mann)
05 Just for Me (Manfred Mann)
06 Belgravia [Instrumental] (Manfred Mann)
07 I Think It's Gonna Rain Today (Manfred Mann)
08 Budgie (Manfred Mann)
09 Sitting Alone in the Sunshine (Manfred Mann)
10 Please Mrs. Henry (Manfred Mann)
11 Sleepy Hollow (Manfred Mann)
12 She's a Woman (Manfred Mann)
13 Summertime [Instrumental] (Manfred Mann)
14 Handbags and Gladrags [Edit] (Manfred Mann)

Theme from 'Up the Junction' (Manfred Mann)

The album cover is basically the official cover released in 1968. But I made a couple of minor changes. The biggest was I changed the text "Manfred Mann Go Up the Junction" to just "Manfred Mann" and "Up the Junction."

Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Petersens - Home Concerts 2, Branson, MO, 4-24-2020 to 5-15-2020

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a collection of home concerts from the Petersens. You should read that post for more information about them. Basically, they're a family band that I like simply because they're very talented. Technically you could say the play "bluegrass," but I see it more as acoustic roots music, since they do all sorts of genres.

That other album I posted mainly consisted of one home concert, with a bunch of other songs performed here and there to flesh it out. This one gathers up the rest of the home concert material I've found that they've done during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown so far. It's about evenly split between two home concerts.

I've included all the songs they played during those two concerts. However, I've edited out some of the banter between songs if I felt it didn't have much replay value. Most of the stuff I cut was promotional in nature. I also edited some things to help make it sound like one long concert instead of two short ones.

The band is an overtly Christian one. They perform a fair number of religious songs as part of their repertoire. That has a limited appeal, and it doesn't appeal to me very much. For this album, they do three Christian songs: "Beaulah Land," "Prodigal Son," and "Father Along." However, they chose well, because those are really good songs that just happen to have religious themes to them. (By the way, the Byrds also did a very nice version of "Father Along.")

The Petersens do some original songs of their own. However, for home concerts like these, they've been very sparing with those. I believe only the first two songs here are originals. In my opinion, they hold their own with the classic covers they do.

This band certainly isn't "cutting edge" in any sense. They just play great "Americana" songs really well. If you've never heard them, and you probably haven't, I suggest you take a chance and give them a listen.

01 talk (Petersens)
02 No Roots (Petersens)
03 talk (Petersens)
04 California (Petersens)
05 talk (Petersens)
06 Gentle on My Mind (Petersens)
07 talk (Petersens)
08 Beulah Land (Petersens)
09 talk (Petersens)
10 Jolene (Petersens)
11 Shenandoah (Petersens)
12 talk (Petersens)
13 Blue (Petersens)
14 talk (Petersens)
15 Fields of Gold (Petersens)
16 talk (Petersens)
17 Prodigal Son (Petersens)
18 talk (Petersens)
19 Farther Along (Petersens)
20 talk (Petersens)
21 Carolina in the Pines (Petersens)

The cover art is a screenshot taken from one of their home concerts. The four people seen are all siblings. Their mother is behind them playing stand-up bass. (You can see the bass, but not much of her.) There's another band member playing lead guitar who isn't a part of the family, but he was standing too far for the side for me to be able to include him.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Lucinda Williams - Long Way from Home - Non-Album Tracks (2009-2010)

I've been busy for the past week or so, but I hope to make up for that with some more posts in the next few days. Here's the next in my long series of stray tracks albums for Lucinda Williams.

Basically, if you liked the previous albums in this series, you'll like this one too. Five of the songs (tracks 3 through 7) are live performances of rare songs taken from bootlegs. The sound on those are all pretty good. The rest come from the usual mix of songs from soundtracks, tribute albums, duets on other peoples' albums, and the like. 

Nearly all of the songs are covers, including famous songs by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Hank Williams, Jimi Hendrix, the Kinks, and Jimmy Webb. (What great taste in music she has!) But I believe "Port Arthur (Difficult Child)" is an original, and "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan" might be one too.

She did the Hank Williams tune "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" on her 1979 album "Ramblin'." But that's a little-known album for her, and this is a differently done version, so I decided to include it.

There's one bonus track, "Ball and Chain." It's a cover of a song Janis Joplin also liked to cover. It actually comes from the exact same concert recording of one of the songs I did include, "Port Arthur (Difficult Child)." But that song was done in a solo acoustic format, which is more forgiving to bad acoustics. This song was played with a full band, and there was a bit too much murk and echo for me.

01 Positively 4th Street (Lucinda Williams)
02 Don't Let Me Down (Susan Marshall & Lucinda Williams)
03 The Things that I Used to Do (Lucinda Williams)
04 Happy (Lucinda Williams)
05 Jambalaya [On the Bayou] (Lucinda Williams)
06 Angel (Lucinda Williams)
07 Port Arthur [Difficult Child] (Lucinda Williams)
08 Somebody Somewhere [Don't Know What He's Missin' Tonight] (Lucinda Williams)
09 The Ballad of Lucy Jordan (Lucinda Williams)
10 Long Way from Home (Lucinda Williams & Ray Davies)
11 Galveston (Jimmy Webb & Lucinda Williams)

Ball and Chain (Lucinda Williams)

The cover art photo was taken at a concert in Denmark in 2009.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Tracy Chapman - Kulturpalast, Dresden, Germany, 11-20-2008

For a long time, I've been looking for a good bootleg Tracy Chapman concert that takes place after 1991. From 1988 to 1991, Chapman sold millions and millions of copies of her first two albums. But her popularity declined a lot after that, and I've found it next to impossible to find good concert bootlegs for those later years. Happily, a big Chapman fan recently contacted me and sent me this concert.

In my opinion, one big reason for Chapman's loss of popularity after her first two albums has to do with production. The later albums all had a boring "middle of the road" or "adult contemporary" gloss put on the songs that made them tend to sound the same. Whereas her early albums had much more of a stark, acoustic sound that fitted the songs a lot better. It turns out that in 2008, Chapman had a solo acoustic tour for the first time in nearly 20 years. This concert comes from that tour. As a result, it allows one to hear her later songs in a way that avoids the production issues.

This is an audience recording. But wait! It sounds great! Sometimes, a well recorded audience bootleg can sound every bit as good as a soundboard, and this is one of those times. The only snag was some volume issues. Namely, her voice was way too quiet in the talking between songs, and the audience clapping was way too loud at the end of songs. But I fixed both of those things by simply adjusting the volume levels for different parts of the recording.

The songs are a good mix between her early well known hits and her later stuff, which as I said above, sounds as good as the early stuff in this solo acoustic format. All of the songs are originals, except for the covers "Stand by Me" and "The House of the Rising Sun." The concert is an hour and 21 minutes long.

01 Across the Lines (Tracy Chapman)
02 talk (Tracy Chapman)
03 Sing for You (Tracy Chapman)
04 For My Lover (Tracy Chapman)
05 Crossroads (Tracy Chapman)
06 All That You Have Is Your Soul (Tracy Chapman)
07 talk (Tracy Chapman)
08 Baby Can I Hold You (Tracy Chapman)
09 The Promise (Tracy Chapman)
10 talk (Tracy Chapman)
11 Our Bright Future (Tracy Chapman)
12 Fast Car (Tracy Chapman)
13 talk (Tracy Chapman)
14 Stand by Me (Tracy Chapman)
15 The House of Rising Sun (Tracy Chapman)
16 talk (Tracy Chapman)
17 Give Me One Reason (Tracy Chapman)
18 Save Us All (Tracy Chapman)
19 Talkin' 'bout a Revolution (Tracy Chapman)
20 talk (Tracy Chapman)
21 She's Got Her Ticket (Tracy Chapman)
22 talk (Tracy Chapman)
23 Behind the Wall (Tracy Chapman)

I couldn't find a photo from the exact concert in question for the covert art. However, this one is close in time. It comes from a concert in London that took place the same month as the Dresden one.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell - Opry Livestream, Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville, TN, 8-1-2020

Here's a home concert that took place just a few days ago. This is somewhat different than the usual home concert in that three stars got together on the same stage and played a bunch of songs as an acoustic trio (with one more musician joining them to add flourishes on mandolin and other instruments). All three are long-time country stars: Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, and Rodney Crowell.

I must admit that I'm not a really big fan of most country music, so I don't know much about Gill or Crowell. I'm mainly interested in this for Harris. As far as I can tell, she hasn't done any home concert appearances during the coronavirus pandemic, until this show. This is part of a weekly series called "Opry Livestream" that has been put on by the Grand Ole Opry in lieu of their usual regular concerts in Nashville, Tennessee. If you're a country music fan, search YouTube for "Opry Livestream" and you'll find a bunch of their other 2020 home concerts, which generally feature two or more country stars playing together.

This concert is 47 minutes long. For the entire duration, all three stars stayed on stage and strummed their guitars. Each one took turns singing, but the others often joined in, especially Harris, who is reknowned for her harmony vocals. They also talked with each other quite a lot between songs. If you listen to that, it's clear that that all three have been close friends for a long time, dating all the way back to the 1970s. Harris and Crowell did two albums together in recent years as well.

In putting this album together, I cut out a bunch of interruptions by various Opry announcers, which were basically commercials. I suspect those were added in later in any case. The sound quality is just fine. The only disappointment I have is that the last song ends abruptly. In the YouTube recording, it came to a sudden halt to make room for another one of those announcements/commercials. I faded it out instead to make the ending less jarring.

01 If I Could Only Win Your Love (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
02 talk (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
03 Oklahoma Borderline (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
04 talk (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
05 Still Learning How to Fly (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
06 talk (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
07 Old Yellow Moon (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
08 talk (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
09 Song for the Life (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
10 talk (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
11 Bluebird Wine (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
12 talk (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
13 Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
14 talk (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
15 'Til I Gain Control Again (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
16 talk (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
17 You Can't Say We Didn't Try (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
18 talk (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)
19 Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Rodney Crowell)

For the cover art, I took a screenshot from the video.

Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins - Old Friends from Montserrat

Paul McCartney and the other Beatles were heavily influenced by Carl Perkins, best known for his 1956 hit "Blue Suede Shoes." In 1993, while McCartney was passing through Nashville, Tennessee, while on tour, he visited Perkins. They talked and played some songs on acoustic guitar. The encounter was filmed and parts of it were later shown on video. If you're a fan of McCartney, Perkins, or both, this album sourced from that video is a real treat.

There has been a bootleg floating around for many years called "Old Friends from Montserrat." I've used that title, though I've made some minor changes here and there in the content. (The video added in some songs that were just McCartney playing, whereas I've boiled it down to just the McCartney-Perkins collaborations.)

The bulk of this album, the part with McCartney and Perkins talking and playing guitars in 1993, is rather short, at only 21 minutes. But it's a case of quality over quantity. This type of interaction between McCartney and one of his musical heroes is priceless, in my opinion. As the original bootleg does, I've added a few more related items at the end. There are two songs taken from a 1997 concert in London that benefitted the victims of a hurricane that hit the island on Montserrat. That was the last significant concert involving Perkins, who died in early 1998. One song mainly features Perkins singing and the other mainly features McCartney singing, but they were on stage together.

I end the album with "My Old Friend," a song Perkins wrote and performed with McCartney on Perkins' 1996 album "Go Cat Go." The two of them also played it together earlier in the album, during their 1993 acoustic sessions.

With the extra songs, the album totals 32 minutes. That's still short, but like I said, it's quality over quantity.

01 Your True Love (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
02 talk (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
03 Get It (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
04 My Old Friend (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
05 talk (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
06 Maybellene (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
07 talk (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
08 Lend Me Your Comb (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
09 Wake Up Little Susie (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
10 Matchbox (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
11 talk (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
12 talk (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
13 Les Paul Guitar Picking Thing [Instrumental] (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
14 talk (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
15 Blue Suede Shoes (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
16 talk (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)
17 Kansas City - Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey (Paul McCartney with Carl Perkins)
18 Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins with Paul McCartney)
19 My Old Friend (Paul McCartney & Carl Perkins)

The original bootleg has a cover art photo that only features McCartney. I found that inappropriate. Instead, I took a screenshot from the 1993 video of McCartney and Perkins together. Then I added my own text to that.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips - Bloody Noses Release - Home Concert, Montchair, NJ, 7-5-2020

Early in July 2020, Richard Thompson released an EP of six new songs called "Bloody Noses." It's been a very low-profile release, done digitally only for now. I could hardly find any reviews of it on the Internet. That said, it's excellent. All the songs seem timeless, like they could have been written and released at any point in his long career. All of them are also done in solo acoustic format, no doubt due to logistical difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic.

To celebrate and promote the EP, Thompson did this home concert with his romantic and musical partner Zara Phillips. The first six songs played are the six songs from the EP. Then he played one old song ("Lucky in Life, Unlucky in Love"). He finished off with "When the Saints Rise Out of Their Graves," which is a song he hasn't released yet. He explained that he's saving it for the next album he does with a band, since he wants to flesh out the sound for it.

So you effectively get all the songs from the new EP, plus one more new one! Thompson joked that he was deliberately making a mistake while playing each song to encourage people to buy the EP. But seriously, after you give this a listen, please do consider buying the EP. Since he can't go out on tour, he needs to make some money in some other way.

In terms of sound quality, this album sounds just fine. Thompson has gotten over the sound quality issues that marred his first couple of 2020 home concerts. The album is 42 minutes long.

01 talk (Richard Thompson)
02 As Soon as You Hear the Bell (Richard Thompson)
03 talk (Richard Thompson)
04 She's a Hard Girl to Know (Richard Thompson)
05 talk (Richard Thompson)
06 If I Could Live My Life Again (Richard Thompson)
07 talk (Richard Thompson)
08 The Fortress (Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips)
09 talk (Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips)
10 Survivor (Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips)
11 talk (Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips)
12 What's Up with You (Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips)
13 talk (Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips)
14 Lucky in Life, Unlucky in Love (Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips)
15 talk (Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips)
16 When the Saints Rise Out of Their Graves (Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips)
17 talk (Richard Thompson with Zara Phillips)

The album cover art is a screenshot from the exact home concert in question.

Grace Potter - Twilight Hour, Volume 2 - Home Concert, Topanga, CA, 5-4-2020 to 5-11-2020

About a month ago, I published the a home concert by Grace Potter. It was the first of bunch, and this is the second. You might want to read what a wrote there for some general information. In short, she's been performing home concerts that are roughly an hour long once a week for most of the coronavirus lockdown. For this album, I had to combine two such home concerts for there to be enough material for an album. This one is an hour and two minutes long.

Sometimes for her home concerts, Potter has performed mostly or entirely her own songs. But for these two shows, nearly all the songs are covers. There are two originals towards the end. Some were performed solo, but the vast majority were played with a small band, generally just a drummer and lead guitarist, plus Potter on keyboards or guitar.

For these shows, Potter clearly was just winging it most of the time. I had to cut out a lot of songs because she only tested the waters, typically playing just one verse. For instance, for the second show, she played portions of the following songs, which I didn't include: "That's Alright Mama," "I Can't Stand the Rain," "Stacey's Mom," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Grandma's Hands," "You Really Got Me," "Whipping Post," and "What a Wonderful World." I hope she returns to full versions of those later!

I only included the songs that were done in full and clearly worked. No doubt, a lot of these have been done by her and her band in concert in the past, because they sounded good. Others were done for the first time. For the second show, which is comprised of songs 11 through 17, most of the songs were about mothers in some way, because the show took place close to Mother's Day. I'm guessing that more of those were done for the first time.

Anyway, if you haven't heard Grace Potter before, this is a good time to jump on board, due to her mostly doing classic songs that you're probably familiar with. Hopefully you'll discover that she's an excellent vocalist, but also a talented instrumentalist, and she has great taste in music.

01 Into the Mystic - Van Morrison
02 Jolene - Dolly Parton
03 Out on the Weekend - Neil Young
04 Gold Dust Woman - Fleetwood Mac
05 White Rabbit - Jefferson Airplane
06 When Doves Cry - Prince
07 Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
08 Ring of Fire - Mystery Train - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Johnny Cash / Elvis Presley / Sherman Brothers
09 Love the One You're With - Stephen Stills
10 Wild Horses - Rolling Stones
11 Every Heartbeat - Grace Potter
12 True Fine Mama - Little Richard
13 Come to Mama - Ann Peebles
14 Mama Told Me Not to Come - Randy Newman / Three Dog Night
15 Big White Gate - Grace Potter
16 That's the Way - Led Zeppelin
17 Tell Mama - Etta James

Here's the usual song list:

01 Into the Mystic (Grace Potter)
02 Jolene (Grace Potter)
03 Out on the Weekend (Grace Potter)
04 Gold Dust Woman (Grace Potter)
05 White Rabbit (Grace Potter)
06 When Doves Cry (Grace Potter)
07 Whole Lotta Love (Grace Potter)
08 Ring of Fire - Mystery Train - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Grace Potter)
09 Love the One You're With (Grace Potter)
10 Wild Horses (Grace Potter)
11 Every Heartbeat (Grace Potter)
12 True Fine Mama (Grace Potter)
13 Come to Mama (Grace Potter)
14 Mama Told Me Not to Come (Grace Potter)
15 Big White Gate (Grace Potter)
16 That's the Way (Grace Potter)
17 Tell Mama (Grace Potter)

For some, but not all of Potter's home concerts, she had made some promotional artwork using a chalkboard in her house. The mother-themed show of May 11, 2020 had such artwork made for it. I enjoy her artistic style, so I used that for the cover. I made a few minor changes to the lower half, changing the date mentioned from "May 11" to "May 4 - 11," and removing some other text.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Jimi Hendrix - Highway Chile - Non-Album Tracks (1966-1967)

It's important to note that I have already posted this album. But I'm posting it again because I've made some major changes, and I want to be sure that every Jimi Hendrix fan notices this version. I've doing a revision of the Hendrix stray tracks albums I did up until his Band of Gypsys period, so once I finish that, I'll delete the original version.

So what's different? I added five early Hendrix songs, and to make room for them, I kicked a similar number of songs to the next album in this stray tracks series. I feel these five songs are an important but almost totally forgotten part of Hendrix's musical legacy, so some explanation about them is in order.

The standard story of Hendrix musical origins, which I believed until recently, goes like this: Hendrix spent several years as a sideman in a variety of soul music bands, playing for the Isley Brothers, Little Richard, and many others. Eventually, he hooked up with little-known soul singer Curtis Knight, who gave him more of a spotlight, letting him solo more and even occasionally sing lead. But Hendrix's musical career was still going nowhere until Chas Chandler, former bassist for the Animals, discovered him playing in a New York City club, decided to manage him, and sent him to start anew in England. Hendrix recorded his first single, "Hey Joe," with his new band the Experience, and soon was a superstar. After he became famous, his recordings with Curtis Knight were endlessly rereleased and repackaged, but were generally totally shitty, and only suckers would ever buy them. His career began with "Hey Joe," and anything prior to that is basically worthless.

Like I said, that's what I thought. But it turns out the truth is more complicated than that. I remember reading somewhere that Hendrix's very first songwriting effort was the song "Stone Free," which he quickly wrote when the single "Hey Joe" (which is a cover) needed a B-Side. Not true at all. It turns out that Hendrix's songwriting began years before. Many of the songs he did after he was famous actually got started during his time with Curtis Knight, or possibly even earlier. For an eye-opening look at this earlier part of his career, I suggest this live collection I made:

It cuts out all the songs sung by Knight and keeps only the one sung by Hendrix. You'll see a lot of songs (mostly covers) that Hendrix often did in concert later, such as "Killing Floor," "Bleeding Heart," "Driving South," and so on, further showing the continuity of his music before and after he moved to England and became a star.

Anyway, most of the recordings Hendrix did with Knight are bad. Knight was a soul singer of limited talent who's only true claim to fame is his brief connection to Hendrix. Most of the songs are generic versions of famous soul songs that were done much better by others, or originals that were second-rate knock-offs of more famous songs. But in among that are a number of Hendrix originals, mostly instrumentals, that show off both Hendrix's emerging songwriting talent as well as his lead guitar prowess. Those instrumentals make up most of the extra five songs I've added to this album. I think they're all worthy of being heard alongside his more famous stray tracks material, also included on this album. I figure they've remained obscure almost entirely due to record company rights issues.

However, the first song is actually Hendrix's first lead vocal on record, not another instrumental, and it especially needs to be heard by any Hendrix fan. Actually, it's kind of his first lead vocal. I did some editing to make it that way, so that needs to be explained as well. Another early collaborator with Hendrix was Lonnie Youngblood. In 1966, Youngblood released a single called "Wipe the Sweat." It started out with Youngblood singing lead vocals, but then halfway through it switched to Hendrix doing most of the singing. The B-side was an instrumental version, with some great lead guitar from Hendrix. So I cut out the Youngblood vocals, started with the Hendrix vocals instead, and then stitched on Hendrix's lead guitar from the B-side. The result is a fun "new" Hendrix song, one that he co-wrote.

All the songs here are in chronological order, at least as close as I could get it. I think I moved "No Such Animal" after the "Hey Joe" single songs so there wouldn't be three instrumentals in a row. But note the final instrumental with Knight, "Hush Now," actually comes after "Hey Joe" and other singles. That's because in the summer of 1967, after Hendrix already was a superstar, he went back and recorded some more with Knight! That blows the simple notion of his career starting with "Hey Joe" and all Knight stuff being shit that is easily ignored right out of the water.

Are any of these five newly added obscure songs great? No, but they're all good, and I think one can appreciate them in a new light hearing them surrounded by Experience songs instead of other Curtis Knight songs. People at the time would have sat up and taken notice at Hendrix's guitar prowess based on those instrumentals alone, had they been presented in the right way at the time.

As for the other songs that make up the rest of this stray tracks collection, they only include some of the greatest songs of all time! Not just "Hey Joe," but also "Purple Haze," "Stone Free," "The Wind Cries Mary," and more. These are the A- and B-sides from the "Are You Experienced?" era of his career. In the US, some of those songs made the album, but they didn't in Britain, and I'm basing everything off the British album versions. A couple other early songs, "Mr. Bad Luck," and "Taking Care of No Business," were recorded around the time of those album sessions, but not released until much later. Note that both of those songs are examples of songs that were written by Hendrix well before the Experience, back in the Curtis Knight time period, or earlier.

Anyway, I hope you'll find this album an enjoyable musical listen, even as it bridges the gap between the Curtis Knight recordings and the Experience recordings. To sum up what I said above, although Hendrix did essentially get famous overnight with the "Hey Joe" single, his musical maturation was a gradual process, and the seeds of his greatness were evident in some of the recordings with Knight, most especially the instrumentals that he wrote.

This album is almost exactly 45 minutes long, which is an ideal length for albums from that era.

01 Wipe the Sweat [Edit] (Jimi Hendrix with Lonnie Youngblood)
02 Hornet's Nest [Kato's Special] [Edit] [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix with Curtis Knight)
03 Knock Yourself Out [Flying On Instruments] [Edit] [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix with Curtis Knight)
04 Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
05 Stone Free (Jimi Hendrix)
06 No Such Animal [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix with Curtis Knight)
07 Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
08 51st Anniversary (Jimi Hendrix)
09 The Wind Cries Mary (Jimi Hendrix)
10 Highway Chile (Jimi Hendrix)
11 Mr. Bad Luck [Look Over Yonder] (Jimi Hendrix)
12 Taking Care of No Business (Jimi Hendrix)
13 Hush Now [Edit] [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix with Curtis Knight)

I used the same cover for my earlier version of this album. It shows Hendrix with the rest of the Experience some time in 1967.

Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris - Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA, 9-10-1999

I imagine you'd heard of Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, two great singers with long careers. The two of them joined up with Dolly Parton and put out a couple of albums as a trio, including one in early 1999. Then, later in 1999, Ronstadt and Harris put out their only album as a duo, called "Western Wall: The Tuscon Sessions." After the album came out, the two of them went on tour, but it seems they only did a small number or shows. Unfortunately, Ronstadt's voice began deteriorating around 2000, and she ended her music career around 2009. That means there won't be any other Ronstadt and Harris concerts other than the few ones in late 1999.

So we're lucky that we have a bootleg of their concert collaboration at all. But we're even luckier that this bootleg recording sound absolutely fantastic! I'm guessing the show might have been professionally recorded for a possible live album, because it sounds that good. The only snag with it is that the soundboard is so excellent that one could barely hear the audience at all. To compensate for that, I've boosted the cheering after each song, to make it sound like a typical live album.

In terms of musical content, the two singers stayed on stage for the entire concert and generally sang harmonies on each other's songs. They were backed up by a top-notch band. They leaned heavily on their new album "Western Wall," playing pretty much every song from it. They also did songs from the most recent trio album, "Trio II," as well as songs from earlier in their careers. Overall, the song list is pretty different from typical song lists of when they did concerts on their own, even from that general era.

The concert is fairly long, at two hours and ten minutes. If you're a fan of either singer, you should check this out. But I think they sound even better together than they do on their own. Too bad their collaboration didn't last longer, probably due to Ronstadt's vocals problems.

01 Loving the Highwayman (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
02 For a Dancer (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
03 Raise the Dead (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
04 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
05 Icy Blue Heart (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
06 The Blue Train (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
07 Valerie (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
08 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
09 It Doesn't Matter Anymore (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
10 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
11 Blue Bayou (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
12 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
13 1917 (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
14 Green Pastures (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
15 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
16 Orphan Girl (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
17 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
18 Telling Me Lies (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
19 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
20 All I Left Behind (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
21 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
22 Get Up John (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
23 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
24 Hello Stranger (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
25 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
26 Sweet Spot (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
27 He Was Mine (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
28 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
29 Sisters of Mercy (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
30 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
31 This Is to Mother You (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
32 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
33 Falling Down (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
34 Goin' Back to Harlan (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
35 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
36 [Talk to Me Of] Mendocino (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
37 Heart like a Wheel (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
38 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
39 Wheels (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
40 Born to Run (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
41 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
42 Feels like Home (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
43 Rose of Cimarron (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
44 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
45 Pancho and Lefty (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
46 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
47 High Sierra (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)
48 talk (Linda Ronstadt & Emmyou Harris)

The cover art photo isn't the best photo of Ronstadt and Harris together. I found better. But I'm using it because it comes from the exact concert in question, which I consider a nice lucky break. Ronstadt has the dark hair.