Sunday, November 29, 2020

Fleetwood Mac - Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2-28-1969

I thought I was all done posting material from the Peter Green era of Fleetwood Mac. In terms of live material, there are only so many concerts that haven't been officially released yet still have high sound quality. But I found one more that's worthy, and anything featuring Peter Green in his prime is worth hearing, so here it is.

This is a strange one, because it's made up of two concerts that were performed in different cities in the Netherlands on the exact same night. Fleetwood Mac played at a venue called the Concertgebouw in The Hague around 6 P.M. Then they played another concert in Amsterdam at a venue with the exact same name later that same evening. (It seems they didn't go on stage until around midnight.) I don't know if it was by chance or what, but over the next few months, about half an hour of the Hague concert was played on Dutch radio or TV, from a longer show, then about half an hour of the Amsterdam concert was played on Dutch radio or TV, also from a longer show. The two broadcast portions were bootlegged over the years, while the rest of both concerts seem to have gotten lost.

This album consists of the broadcast portions from those two concerts. However, I've organized it so that most of the second concert comes first. That's because we have the ending of the first concert but not the ending of the second one, so it makes sense to end with an ending.

Generally speaking, the sound quality is excellent, since this was professionally recorded for either radio or TV. That said, some parts sound better than others. Some songs sound fantastic and some sound merely good. That's probably because the bootlegs were cobbled together from different sources. I worked with my musical associate MZ on improving the sound quality. He made some nice improvements, but sometimes one can only do so much. A few of the talking bits between songs come from worse sources, but that doesn't matter much since it's only a little bit of banter.

I cut a few songs for various reasons. There were two versions of "One Sided Love," so I only used one of them. A short snippet of "Teenage Darlin'" was played, but it really was only the bass line while the audience was cheering. That led into "Twist and Shout," but less than a minute of that was recorded. So I didn't include either of those.

Note that two of the exact performances here, "One Sided Love" and "Greeny Alone," were used on the stray tracks album I made called "One Sided Love."

The entire album is 59 minutes long. The Amsterdam portion is 35 minutes long and the Hague portion is 24 minutes long. The Hague portion includes the very first track (which is only a few seconds of an MC introducing the band in Dutch), then from track 13 to the end.

By the way, for the very delicate types out there, there are some X-rated improvised lyrics to the "Blue Suede Shoes" medley.

01 talk (Fleetwood Mac)
02 talk (Fleetwood Mac)
03 Merry Go Round (Fleetwood Mac)
04 One Sided Love (Fleetwood Mac)
05 Dust My Broom (Fleetwood Mac)
06 Got to Move (Fleetwood Mac)
07 Greeny Alone [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)
08 talk (Fleetwood Mac)
09 Sugar Mama (Fleetwood Mac)
10 talk (Fleetwood Mac)
11 I Can't Hold Out (Fleetwood Mac)
12 talk (Fleetwood Mac)
13 Stop Messin' Round (Fleetwood Mac)
14 San-Ho-Zay [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)
15 talk (Fleetwood Mac)
16 Albatross [Instrumental] (Fleetwood Mac)
17 talk (Fleetwood Mac)
18 Tallahassee Lassie (Fleetwood Mac)
19 Blue Suede Shoes - Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - Blue Suede Shoes (Fleetwood Mac)

What a nice lucky break! I've had a hard time finding any good photos of the band on stage in 1969. But I happened to find the concert poster for the exact Amsterdam concert featured here. I didn't change a thing, so I hope your Dutch is good if you want to read all of it. :) But concert posters are rectangular. To make it fit, I cut out the portion of it below the band name. That portion mainly mentioned the name of the supporting bands, which were Cuby + Buzzards, and Livin' Blues.

Neil Young - Last Dance - Non-Album Tracks (1973)

A few days ago as I write this, the Neil Young box set "Archives, Volume II" was released. Man oh man! I've been waiting to hear the songs on that for decades. It sounds just as good as I'd hoped. If you're a Neil Young fan at all, I highly recommend that you get it.

I've already posted a couple of stray tracks albums in the time period covered by the box set, 1972 to 1976. I plan on redoing and expanding that effort, starting here. This one is a bit different than the others I plan on doing though, because Young came very close to releasing an album called "Last Dance" in 1973, and the exact song list is known for it. So this is closely based on that.

Here's a short article from "Uncut" magazine about this lost album:

Neil Young was still laid up at his Broken Arrow ranch, just south of San Francisco, recovering from spinal surgery, when “Harvest” made him the biggest-selling solo artist in the world. During the long months of his recuperation, there had been a growing clamour for him to tour that had gone unanswered, although he knew there were big bucks to be made by everyone after the album’s phenomenal success. His record company had simultaneously been so hungry for a follow-up that in November 1972, they’d released the soundtrack from his unseen film, “Journey Through The Past”. It was a rag-bag of old tracks, studio outtakes, a couple of live cuts, bits of Handel’s “Messiah”, a cover of The Beach Boys’ “Let’s Go Away For Awhile” and only one new song, “Soldier”. Young hadn’t wanted it released at all, but Warners had told him they’d distribute the film if he gave them the soundtrack. They then tried to dress it up as his ‘new’ album, and promptly dumped the film.

The same month, fuming at the label’s duplicity, he anyway started to assemble a large crew of technicians at his ranch to prepare for a three-month, 65-date tour, the largest and longest of its kind to date, which would find him playing nightly to audiences of up to 20,000 people in sports stadiums, basketball arenas, and ice hockey rinks. Also at Broken Arrow were the Stray Gators, the band who’d played on “Harvest”, including veteran Nashville session drummer Kenny Buttrey, bassist Tim Drummond, pedal-steel player Ben Keith and on keyboards Jack Nitzsche, the producer and arranger who’d first worked with Young on his Buffalo Springfield epic, “Expecting To Fly”. They would be his backing band on the forthcoming tour, rehearsals for which were interspersed with recording sessions for the official follow-up to “Harvest”.

Young had already recorded four solo acoustic demos at A&M Studios in LA – “Letter From Nam”, “Last Dance”, “Come Along And Say You Will” and “The Bridge” – and worked up more new songs at Broken Arrow. The new record’s working title was “Last Dance”. 


Now, for the first time, the public has all the songs that makes up this album. Instead of releasing "Last Dance," Young decided to release the live album "Time Fades Away" that largely contained the same bunch of songs. However, the tour for that album had lots of problems, and the album itself was problematic. Young was dissatisfied with it and kept it out of print for decades. So it's especially interesting to hear the alternate album for most of those songs, "Last Dance."

In putting this together, I could just make an album that's exactly the songs on the known song list for this album. But I didn't want to do that for my own listening purposes, because two of the songs ("New Mama" and "Lookout Joe") would later go on his acclaimed album "Tonight's the Night," and I don't like having those on both albums. So what I've done is create two versions of this album. One follows the exact song list that Young intended. The other removes the "Tonight's the Night" songs and replaces them with other songs from the time period that fit.

One song I've added is "Letter from 'Nam." This one had been unreleased and even unbootlegged until "Archives, Volume II." However, it turns out to basically be the exact same song as "Long Walk Home" from his 1987 album "Life," so I've added that as the subtitle. I've also added a great acoustic version of "L.A." from the box set, and removed the audience noise as best I could. Furthermore, I've added the exact same version of "Yonder Stands the Sinner" as on the "Time Fades Away" album. I want to include all the "Time Fades Away" songs, but there are no publicly available studio versions of those two songs. Plus, "Yonder Stands the Sinner" was only played a few times in 1973, so the "Time Fades Away" version is the only version with excellent sound quality.

Note that the version of the song "Last Dance" I've included is called "Monday Morning" on the box set. It's drastically different than the live version on "Time Fades Away." It's an acoustic demo, whereas the live version is a rocking version with a band, and is considerably longer. But the words and melody are exactly the same, so I've put "Last Dance" in as the song's subtitle.

When all is said and done, all but two of the songs here are studio versions.  The album is 37 minutes long, which is right in line with the lengths of his albums in that era. I didn't include one new and previously unreleased song played on his 1973 tour, "Sweet Joni." But I plan to do something with it for my next revised 1970s stray tracks album.

Here's the song list for my preferred version of this album. Note that I've added the two "Tonight's the Night" songs on the intended song list as bonus tracks. Both of those come from the live "Tuscaloosa" album, with the audience noise removed.

01 Time Fades Away (Neil Young)
02 Yonder Stands the Sinner (Neil Young)
03 Come Along and Say You Will (Neil Young)
04 The Bridge (Neil Young)
05 Don't Be Denied (Neil Young)
06 L.A. (Neil Young)
07 Letter from 'Nam [Long Walk Home] (Neil Young)
08 Journey through the Past (Neil Young)
09 Monday Morning [Last Dance] (Neil Young)
10 Goodbye Christians on the Shore (Neil Young)

Lookout Joe (Neil Young)
New Mama (Neil Young)

Here also is what I call the "exact version" of the album, which follows Young's intended song list exactly. Note though that he almost certainly would have used a full band version of "Last Dance" similar to the live version on "Time Fades Away" instead of the "Monday Morning" demo I used here.

01 Time Fades Away (Neil Young)
02 New Mama (Neil Young)
03 Come Along and Say You Will (Neil Young)
04 The Bridge (Neil Young)
05 Don't Be Denied (Neil Young)
06 Lookout Joe (Neil Young)
07 Journey through the Past (Neil Young)
08 Monday Morning [Last Dance] (Neil Young)
09 Goodbye Christians on the Shore (Neil Young)

Although the title and song list for the "Last Dance" is known, I don't know if a cover was ever made for it. So we just have to guess. I've used the cover Young selected for the CD in the box set that largely deals with this time period. But that CD is called "Everybody's Alone." I took some of his writing from the "Time Fades Away" album and replaced the words "Everybody's Alone" with "Last Dance." The cover is otherwise unchanged.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Morgan James - Acoustic Cover Songs, Volume 5, 2018-2019

I've got lots of Morgan James material to post, so here's the next one. In case you need a reminder, she puts her own songs on her own studio albums, but she's also fond of doing lots of cover versions for YouTube, with just a solo acoustic guitar accompanying her.

This is exactly the same approach as the previous four volumes in this series. All the songs are unreleased, but the sound quality is high.

Note that the third to fifth songs are all covers from the Beatles' "White Album." In 2018, she performed that entire double album, in order, with just an acoustic guitar backing her up. It's really good, but it's also an officially released album, so I'm not going to post it here. However, she did these three songs on a separate occasion, so I can include them. If you like what she does, I suggest getting that album, as well as her version of all of Joni Mitchell's "Blue" album.

By the way, the second to last song, "Love's in Need of Love Today," was done as a duet with another woman. But the video doesn't name that woman, so I can't credit her. If you recognize her (by watching the YouTube video) and know her name, please let me know.

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

01 Lithium - Nirvana
02 Nothing Compares 2 U - Sinead O'Connor
03 Dear Prudence - Beatles
04 Why Don't We Do It in the Road - Beatles
05 Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da - Beatles
06 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Judy Garland
07 Bring It On Home to Me -  Sam Cooke
08 If You Don't Know Me by Now - Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes
09 Feelin' Alright - Traffic / Joe Cocker
10 Find the Cost of Freedom - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
11 Calling You - Jevetta Steele
12 Love's in Need of Love Today - Stevie Wonder
13 Say It Ain't So - Weezer

Here's the usual song list:

01 Lithium (Morgan James)
02 Nothing Compares 2 U (Morgan James)
03 Dear Prudence (Morgan James)
04 Why Don't We Do It in the Road (Morgan James)
05 Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Morgan James)
06 Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Morgan James)
07 Bring It On Home to Me (Morgan James)
08 If You Don't Know Me by Now (Morgan James)
09 Feelin' Alright (Morgan James)
10 Find the Cost of Freedom (Morgan James)
11 Calling You (Morgan James)
12 Love's in Need of Love Today (Morgan James)
13 Say It Ain't So (Morgan James)

The cover art photo was taken in 2018, though I don't know the details. The wall behind her head had some writing on it which I found distracting, so I removed that in Photoshop.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Fairport Convention - One More Chance - BBC Sessions, Volume 7: 1973-1975

I just posted an album of Fairport Convention at the BBC, from 1971 to 1973. This follows that one. In my opinion, 1971 to 1973 wasn't a great time for the band, since they'd lost both Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny and didn't find anyone worthy of filling those very big musical shoes. But in 1974, Denny came back. She didn't stay long, only through 1975, but her presence helped revive the band for a while. 

This album roughly corresponds with her second time in the band. She shows up from the fourth song through the last one. She sings most of the songs she was present for.

The previous album in this BBC series was easy to put together, since all but two of the songs came from the "Live at the BBC" box set. This one was considerably more tricky. Only four of the songs come from that. Some weren't performed for the BBC per se, but were done for other radio or TV shows. Of those other songs, five come from album bonus tracks, and one comes from a different box set. 

That leaves just one song that remains officially unreleased, "One More Chance." It was performed for a Dutch TV show, and the sound is pretty good.

Denny left the band again at the end of 1975 or early 1976, along with Trevor Lucas and Jerry Donahue. In my opinion, that marks the end of the band's best years. The adopted a much lower profile for the rest of the 1970s and pretty much didn't appear at the BBC during those years. So I'm ending the BBC series here.

01 Brilliancy Medley - Cherokee Shuffle [Instrumental] (Fairport Convention)
02 George Jackson (Fairport Convention)
03 Six Days on the Road (Fairport Convention)
04 John the Gun (Fairport Convention)
05 The Devil in the Kitchen [Fiddlestix] [Instrumental] (Fairport Convention)
06 Rising for the Moon (Fairport Convention)
07 Down in the Flood (Fairport Convention)
08 Breakfast in Mayfair (Fairport Convention)
09 Farewell to a Poor Man's Son (Fairport Convention)
10 One More Chance (Fairport Convention)
11 White Dress (Fairport Convention)

I had a really hard time finding any good photos of the band from the years Denny rejoined. I had to resort to taking a screenshot of a brief clip of the band playing on "The London Weekend Show" in 1975. The picture is somewhat low-res. If you know of a better one I can use, please let me know.

Fairport Convention - Banks of the Sweet Primroses - BBC Sessions, Volume 6: 1971-1973

In my opinion, the two musical greats in Fairport Convention were Richard Thompson and Sandy Denny. Unfortunately, by the end of 1970, both of them had left the band. There still were other excellent musicians in the band, though. So although my interest in the band drops quite a lot after 1970, I'm continuing my BBC series through the rest of the early 1970s, with this album and one other one.

The vast majority of the songs here come from the "Live at the BBC" box set. In fact, most songs are from just two BBC sessions on that, with the first five songs from one BBC session in 1971 and the last four songs from another session in 1973. 

That just leaves two songs in the middle. The first one, "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" is a real oddity. Perhaps it doesn't belong here, since it isn't from Fairport Convention at all, but instead is of a band, the Performing Gibsons, that was led by two prominent former members of Fairport Convention, Richard Thompson and Ian Matthew. This band was only in existence a short time and never officially released anything at all. But they played live on the BBC once, and did this Dylan song as well as song others. 

That leaves just "The Hanging Song." This was done by Fairport Convention for the BBC TV show "The Old Grey Whistle Test." Luckily, the sound quality is excellent, even though the performance remains unreleased.

01 Sir William Gower (Fairport Convention)
02 Banks of the Sweet Primroses (Fairport Convention)
03 Bridge Over the River Ash [Instrumental] (Fairport Convention)
04 Lord Marlborough (Fairport Convention)
05 Angel Delight (Fairport Convention)
06 It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Performing Gibsons [Ian Matthew & Richard Thompson])
07 The Hanging Song (Fairport Convention)
08 Tokyo [Instrumental] (Fairport Convention)
09 Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (Fairport Convention)
10 Possibly Parsons Green (Fairport Convention)
11 Rosie (Fairport Convention)

The cover art photo shows the band playing a concert at the Winterland in San Francisco in October 1971. From left to right are: Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks, Simon Nicol, and Dave Swarbrick.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - Soulful Covers, Volume 1: 1998-2009

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings were a fantastic retro-soul band, until Jones died of cancer in 2016. They made a point of flling their albums with original songs. But earlier this month, they released the album "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In)" that consisted entirely of covers, performed back when Jones was still alive. 

This gave me the idea to compile all the other cover songs they did. It turns out there were a lot. In fact, I found enough for three albums. Here's the first one. In my opinion, Jones was a great singer, and the Dap-Kings were a very fine backing band for her, and I love their retro soul sound. But if they had one weakness, it was in the strength of their original material, which was hit and miss. So, in my opinion, they really excel doing these covers of the songs they love.

Most of the songs here have been officially released. The exceptions are "Sweet Jane" plus the last three songs. As an aside, I'm amused by the "Sweet Jane" cover, which is a "duet" between Jones and Lou Reed, who wrote the song when he was part of the Velvet Underground. It started out with Reed singing it, as he usually did, but then Jones totally took over and left Reed far behind, relegating him to singing some backing vocals near the end of the song. Not exactly a typical duet!

Anyway, the sound quality of the four unreleased songs are excellent, so the whole thing sounds very good. I put the song in rough chronological order by year, with the exception of "Amazing Grace," which fit better as the last song. Note that version is rather short, less than a minute long, but I figure it's better than not having any of the song at all.

01 I Got the Feeling (Sharon Jones)
02 Got to Be a Love (Greyboy with Quantic & Sharon Jones)
03 Sweet Jane (Lou Reed & Sharon Jones)
04 Wild about That Thing (Sharon Jones with Alvin Youngblood Hart & Teenie Hodges)
05 It's Tight like That (Sharon Jones with Alvin Youngblood Hart & Teenie Hodges)
06 We Shall Not Be Moved (Sharon Jones With Billy Rivers & the Angelic Voices of Faith)
07 That's What My Baby Likes (Sharon Jones with Alvin Youngblood Hart & Teenie Hodges)
08 The Way We Lived (Wax Tailor with Sharon Jones)
09 Baby [You've Got What It Takes] (Michael Buble & Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings)
10 You Can't Hurry Love (Ralph Sall Experience with Sharon Jones)
11 A Change Is Gonna Come (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings)
12 There Was a Time (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings)
13 Amazing Grace (Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings)

The cover art photo was taken at the Coachella Festival in Indio, California, in 2008. For the text I tried to go with the retro soul look that matches the music.

Larkin Poe - Home Concert, Nashville, TN, 11-21-2020

A couple of days ago, as I write this, Larkin Poe released their latest studio album, "Kindred Spirits." Unlike their previous albums made of originals, this one consists entirely of cover versions, done acoustically. It closely follows their great "Tip 'O the Hat" YouTube series. I've posted all of the songs from that long series as I'm able to gather them into albums. Some of the songs on their new album have been done in that series, but some are new.

Anyway, to promote their new album, Larkin Poe performed a home concert right when the album was released. The full home concert is over an hour long, and is available on YouTube under the name "Larkin Poe Release Party." I've edited that show way down for this album, because about half of that consisted of question and answer sessions that don't have much repeat listening value. If you want to hear all that, I recommend listening at YouTube.

Instead, I've cut the show down to just the music, plus the talking that is directly relevant to the songs they played. All the songs they played are on their new album but one ("Come On in My Kitchen"). But there are only six songs here from the album and the album contains 11 songs in total, so I hope this will spur you to get the album.

This concert is fairly short, at 28 minutes, but that's all there was to the concert that I felt made for a good listen.

01 talk (Larkin Poe)
02 Bell Bottom Blues (Larkin Poe)
03 talk (Larkin Poe)
04 Who Do You Love (Larkin Poe)
05 talk (Larkin Poe)
06 Nights in White Satin (Larkin Poe)
07 talk (Larkin Poe)
08 Rockin' in the Free World (Larkin Poe)
09 talk (Larkin Poe)
10 Crocodile Rock (Larkin Poe)
11 talk (Larkin Poe)
12 Come On in My Kitchen (Larkin Poe)
13 talk (Larkin Poe)
14 Take What You Want (Larkin Poe)
15 talk (Larkin Poe)

The album cover is a screenshot I took from the YouTube video of the exact concert in question.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Chris Stamey - Secret Communist Meeting, Home Concert, East Windsor, NJ, 2-19-2005

Chris Stamey has had a musical career since the 1970s and has been involved in many bands and projects, but he's best known for being one of the two main creative forces in he dB's. You can read more about him at his Wikipedia page here:

I'm not a huge follower of his career, but recently, musical associate Lil Panda sent me this bootleg, which apparently has never publicly circulated before. Both the sound quality and performance quality is so good that I felt compelled to share it.

This concert took place at someone's house, with an audience of probably only a couple dozen people, judging by the clapping sounds. It's not a soundboard, but in a venue that small and intimate, that hardly matters. What does matter is that it was recorded well. The volume of the applause at the end of each song was too loud, so I turned that down, and the volume of the banter between songs was too quiet, so I turned that up. Otherwise, there were no problems to speak of.

In the year this concert took place, he had a new album out, called "A Question of Temperature." But he didn't play much from that. The concert has songs from all stages of his career, including old dB's songs, plus a few covers (like "Expecting to Fly" by Buffalo Springfield" and "Let It Be Me" by the Everly Brothers. He played acoustic guitar, and was backed up by one or two others, including some piano.

The concert is two hours and four minutes long. I called it "Secret Communist Meeting," because he made a couple of playful references to that in his banter between songs.

Since I'm not that knowledgeable about Stamey and the dB's, I got help from Rob of the excellent blog dBs Repercussion, which can be found here:

He helped me get the correct song titles. A few of the songs are unreleased, so the titles are speculative: "Remedy (I Want a Cure)," and the snippets "Street Team" and "Back It Up."

01 Something Came Over Me (Chris Stamey)
02 talk (Chris Stamey)
03 Broken Record (Chris Stamey)
04 talk (Chris Stamey)
05 From a Window to a Screen (Chris Stamey)
06 talk (Chris Stamey)
07 Close Your Eyes (Chris Stamey)
08 talk (Chris Stamey)
09 The Lie (Chris Stamey)
10 talk (Chris Stamey)
11 Skin (Chris Stamey)
12 talk (Chris Stamey)
13 Venus DeMilo (Chris Stamey)
14 talk (Chris Stamey)
15 In Spanish Harlem (Chris Stamey)
16 talk (Chris Stamey)
17 Tape Op Blues (Chris Stamey)
18 talk (Chris Stamey)
19 The Newlyweds (Chris Stamey)
20 talk (Chris Stamey)
21 Occasional Shivers (Chris Stamey)
22 talk (Chris Stamey)
23 The Summer Sun (Chris Stamey)
24 talk (Chris Stamey)
25 talk (Chris Stamey)
26 Expecting to Fly (Chris Stamey)
27 talk (Chris Stamey)
28 Insomnia (Chris Stamey)
29 talk (Chris Stamey)
30 Two Places at Once (Chris Stamey)
31 talk (Chris Stamey)
32 Send Me Something Real (Chris Stamey)
33 talk (Chris Stamey)
34 Company of Light (Chris Stamey)
35 talk (Chris Stamey)
36 Street Team (Chris Stamey)
37 talk (Chris Stamey)
38 Back It Up (Chris Stamey)
39 talk (Chris Stamey)
40 Instrumental (Chris Stamey)
41 Remedy [I Want a Cure] (Chris Stamey)
42 If and When (Chris Stamey)
43 talk (Chris Stamey)
44 Let It Be Me (Chris Stamey)
45 talk (Chris Stamey)
46 Kierkegaard (Chris Stamey)
47 talk (Chris Stamey)
48 I Want to Break Your Heart (Chris Stamey)
49 talk (Chris Stamey)
50 Song for Johnny Cash (Chris Stamey)
51 talk (Chris Stamey)
52 Before We Were Born (Chris Stamey)
53 14 Shades of Green (Chris Stamey)

The download is split into two parts:

Part 1:

Part 2:

The cover art photo features Stamey at a dB's concert in Chicago in 2005.

Friday, November 20, 2020

10cc - Civic Center, Santa Monica, CA, 11-26-1975

A few days ago, I posted a live acoustic album by Graham Gouldman, who in my opinion is one of the best songwriters ever. I highly recommend that album. Putting that together got me in a 10cc mood, since Gouldman has been a key member of that band since its founding in the early 1970s. It dawned on me that I didn't have any live 10cc album. Long story short, I looked around and decided that this is the best live 10cc album out there, even though it's a bootleg.

10cc in its prime was a collaboration between four talented songwriters: Gouldman, Eric Stewart, Kevin Godley and Lol Creme. Needless to say, it's highly unusual to have four talented songwriters in one band. Even the Beatles only managed three (since Ringo Starr only dabbles in writing songs). The problem is, songwriters generally want to do their own things with their own songs. Sure enough, 10cc proved to be unstable. The line-up with all four songwriters only lasted four years, from 1972 to 1976. At that point, Godley and Creme left to form a duo, logically named "Godley and Creme." 

I wanted a live album from the time all four songwriters were in the band, preferrably near the end of that time, so that most of their best songs as a foursome could be included. It turns out there are very few good bootlegs from that era, and no official live albums. Luckily, there's one that stands far above the rest, and that's this one. (The band's first live album, "Live and Let Live," comes from 1977 concerts, so it doesn't feature Godley and Creme or feature their songs.)

This bootleg was in very good shape. It obviously comes from a soundboard source. I didn't have to do any tinkering, except to break up the banter between songs into their own tracks. In my opinion, it sounds as good as their official 1977 album. There was only one album with all four songwriters released after this, "How Dare You!" in 1976. The best known song from that album is "Art for Art's Sake." Happily, that played that song here. Thus, all the best known songs from that era are included, with the exception of "I'm Mandy Fly Me," also from the "How Dare You!" album.

By the way, in 1971, the group "Hotlegs" had a huge hit with the song "Neanderthal Man." In actuality, that group really was 10cc, before they settled on that band name. During this concert, someone in the audience knew Hotlegs and 10cc was one and the same and loudly shouted out for "Neanderthal Man." The band seemed amused and obligingly played it, but only for less than a minute, since it was a silly novelty hit that they probably weren't that fond of.

This album is an hour and 45 minutes long.

01 Introduction (10cc)
02 Silly Love (10cc)
03 Flying Junk (10cc)
04 talk (10cc)
05 Baron Samedi (10cc)
06 Old Wild Men (10cc)
07 talk (10cc)
08 The Sacro-Iliac (10cc)
09 talk (10cc)
10 Somewhere in Hollywood (10cc)
11 talk (10cc)
12 Donna (10cc)
13 talk (10cc)
14 Ships Don't Disappear in the Night [Do They] (10cc)
15 talk (10cc)
16 I'm Not In Love (10cc)
17 talk (10cc)
18 The Film of My Love (10cc)
19 talk (10cc)
20 Art for Art's Sake (10cc)
21 talk (10cc)
22 The Worst Band in the World (10cc)
23 talk (10cc)
24 Neanderthal Man (10cc)
25 talk (10cc)
26 The Wall Street Shuffle (10cc)
27 talk (10cc)
28 Rubber Bullets (10cc)
29 talk (10cc)
30 Une Nuit a Paris (10cc)

I wanted to use a photo of the band in 1975, showing all four members. I couldn't find a really good one though. But I found a good one from 1974, from them doing an appearance on the "Top of the Pops" TV show.

KT Tunstall - Cover Songs, Volume 2: 2007-2008

I recently posted an album of KT Tunstall's cover songs. Even though her albums are all or almost all original songs, she has a lot of fun doing covers, so I have no less than six albums in this series. Here's the next one.

All but two of the songs here are officially released. Those two ("My Sharona" and "Out of Touch") were recorded for a radio show and an Internet show respectively, so they sound just as good as the others. The vast majority of the songs are studio versions instead of live ones.

In 2007, Tunstall released a Christmas-themed EP that contained all cover songs. So this album has a lot of Christmas songs on it. I've tried to spread them out so this doesn't come off as a heavily seasonal thing. Luckily, most of the songs she chose for that were good songs that just happen to have a Christmas link to them - "2000 Miles" by the Pretenders being on a good example of that. I left off one song from that EP, "Sleigh Ride," since that was is too overtly Christmas-y for my tastes to fit into something like this.

Tunstall rarely tries to reinvent the cover songs she does. She just enjoys playing the songs she loves, and she does a very good job of it. I like her wide-ranging musical selections, and sometimes she manages to rescue good songs from obscurity.

01 I Want You Back - Jackson 5
02 Christmas [Baby Please Come Home] - Darlene Love
03 Ain't Nobody -Rufus with Chaka Khan
04 Fairytale of New York - Pogues & Kirsty MacColl
05 Let's Stick Together - Wilbert Harrison / Canned Heat
06 2000 Miles - Pretenders
07 La Vie En Rose - Edith Piaf
08 Mele Kalikimaka [Christmas in Hawaii] - Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters
09 My Sharona - Knack
10 The Prayer - Bloc Party
11 Lonely This Christmas - Mud
12 Out of Touch - Hall & Oates

Here's the usual song list:

01 I Want You Back (KT Tunstall)
02 Christmas [Baby Please Come Home] (KT Tunstall)
03 Ain't Nobody (KT Tunstall)
04 Fairytale of New York (KT Tunstall & Ed Harcourt)
05 Let's Stick Together (KT Tunstall)
06 2000 Miles (KT Tunstall)
07 La Vie En Rose (KT Tunstall)
08 Mele Kalikimaka [Christmas in Hawaii] (KT Tunstall)
09 My Sharona (KT Tunstall & Keren Ann)
10 The Prayer (KT Tunstall)
11 Lonely This Christmas (KT Tunstall)
12 Out of Touch (Daryl Hall & KT Tunstall)

The cover art photo features Tunstall playing for "The Today Show" in New York City in 2007.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Grace Potter - Twilight Hour, Volume 4 - Home Concert, Topanga, CA, 5-25-2020 to 6-1-2020

It's been a while since I've posted any home concerts from Grace Potter, so here's the next one. 

This album follows the same contours as the previous ones. Namely, it was a "roll with the punches" kind of performance, where she was trying things out, sometimes for the very first time. So I haven't included everything she did. Sometimes she would start a song, only get a minute or so into it, then abandon the effort. I generally haven't included those. The songs I have included are usually the ones she knew better and are all strong performances. But to gather enough to include, I compiled two home concerts one week apart into this one album.

Also like earlier home concerts, this contains a mix of originals and covers. The covers include "Dreamweaver" by Gary Wright, "Foxy Lady" by Jimi Hendrix, "The Ballroom Blitz" by Sweet, "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, "Blowin' in the Wind," by Bob Dylan, "On the Turning Away" by Pink Floyd, and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel. 

Unfortunately, there's a problem with "Bohemian Rhapsody." During the rocking section near the end, her microphone didn't work, so while she was singing, her voice can barely be heard. But still, the performance was strong enough overall that I decided to include it. 

The first show here, which included the first seven songs on this album, had a loose "Wayne's World" theme. That explains some of the song choices, such as "Dreamweaver" and "Bohemian Rhapsody." She had two band members helping her out on most of the songs, with drums and lead guitar. They actually dressed up to look like Wayne and Garth from the "Wayne's World" movies.

After this album, I still have four more home concert albums from her to post. She stopped doing home concerts in August 2020, because she found a way to resume touring despite the coronavirus pandemic: she plays solo acoustic concerts to people sitting in their cars in drive-in theaters.

This concert is an hour and six minutes long.

01 Stars (Grace Potter)
02 Dreamweaver (Grace Potter)
03 Nothing but the Water - Foxy Lady (Grace Potter)
04 Stop the Bus (Grace Potter)
05 Ah Mary (Grace Potter)
06 The Ballroom Blitz (Grace Potter)
07 Bohemian Rhapsody (Grace Potter)
08 Blowin' in the Wind (Grace Potter)
09 Ain't No Time (Grace Potter)
10 On the Turning Away (Grace Potter)
11 Colors (Grace Potter)
12 Empty Heart (Grace Potter)
13 Low Road (Grace Potter)
14 Bridge Over Troubled Water (Grace Potter)

In the past, I've made album covers out of chalkboard drawings Potter has made to promote her home concerts. That's the case here again. I like her artistic style.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Merry Clayton - SOUL!, WNET Studios, New York City, 3-8-1972

By chance, I'm posting this right after posting an album by Dana Gillespie. But I'm glad at the coincidence, because in a better world both of them would have been big stars. They certainly had the talent. If you know Merry Clayton at all, you probably know the fact that she's the female singer who sings some truly amazing vocals on "Gimme Shelter," the classic Rolling Stones song. But she's done a lot more than that.

Vocally, Clayton is very much in the mold of classic Aretha Franklin. She's as soulful as it gets, and she can belt a song out like a diva. She put out two songs in the early 1970s that I highly recommend: "Gimme Shelter" in 1970, and "Merry Clayton" in 1971. But her music career faltered after that. She's continued to sing for decades, but she's only put out three more albums.

So what happened? There are answers to that question in the 2013 documentary film "20 Feet from Stardom," an Academy award winning film about back-up singers. Basically, to make it as a star, you need luck, drive, ambition, charisma, looks, and other key factors. Sheer talent isn't enough. Clayton had all the talent in the world, but lacked some of those other things. So she mostly made a living being a back-up singer. 

You can read more about her at her Wikipedia entry here:

I'm mostly interested in her career in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Those were peak years for soul music in general, so it's not surprising she was firing on all cylinders then too. I plan on posting a stray tracks album for her from that time. But first, I want to post this live album, because I think it's a good intro for those who aren't familiar with her material.

Because Clayton never became a major artist, we're lucky that there's an live recordings of her from those early years at all. There are basically no bootlegs to speak of, and only a couple of officially released live songs. But thankfully she played a mini-concert on the early 1970s TV show "Soul!" and someone uploaded that to YouTube. I converted that to mp3s. 

Unfortunately, it's not the full show. That's clear, because the last song got cut off. (I didn't include the incomplete song, because there wasn't much of it.) If anyone has the rest, please let me know, so I can present all of it. There are only 24 minutes here from that show. But what there is certainly shows that she had the talent to go toe to toe with Aretha or any other female soul singer of the time. I especially like her cover of Neil Young's "Southern Man." Hearing the song sung by a black person puts it in a different light and adds greatly to its emotional power.

Since what we have of the "Soul!" show is relatively short, I tried to add to it with other live songs by her. But the pickings were extremely slim. I found two songs she did for the Big Sur Folk Festival in 1970. Luckily, those made it to the official album of that concert. I also found a bootleg containing her singing just one song, "Acid Queen," since it was part of bunch of musicians singing the different parts to the Who's concept album "Tommy."

All those songs are from 1970 or 1972. At the end of the album, I've included a song from much, much later, 1989. But I feel it fits in well, because it's a song she did on her 1971 album "Merry Clayton." So it's highly likely she would have played it in 1972. By the way, the song is "Steamroller," which is a cover of a James Taylor song.

One weird thing is that pretty much all the songs had the audience applause cut short. So I did some editing to all the ends of songs to give them more reasonable audience reactions.

The album is 44 minutes long.

01 The Times They Are A-Changin' (Merry Clayton)
02 Bridge Over Troubled Water (Merry Clayton)
03 After All This Time (Merry Clayton)
04 Grandma's Hands - Amazing Grace - Grandma's Hands (Merry Clayton)
05 Southern Man (Merry Clayton)
06 Love Me or Let Me Be Lonely (Merry Clayton)
07 The Acid Queen (Merry Clayton)
08 Steamroller (Merry Clayton)

You may notice this album cover looks very similar to one for an Al Green album I posted. That's because both concerts were played at the same place, for the same TV show, about one year apart. The font for the "Soul!" title was exactly that way for the show, so I figured I would just use that same font and such again.

The photo though, obviously is different than the Al Green one. It was taken in London in 1972.

Dana Gillespie - Light Up - Non-Album Tracks (1965-1971)

I'm very delighted to post this album. For one thing, I think Dana Gillespie's 1960s  musical career is very underrated, and I hope to turn more people onto her stuff. For another, I've found a bunch of very nice unreleased songs that haven't ever even been bootlegged before, so I'm particularly happy to share those here.

First, let me explain who Gillespie is, in case you don't know. She started out as a folk singer in the mid-1960s when she was only in her mid teens. She stuck out for both her beauty and musical talent. She put out a folk pop album in 1968, "Foolish Seasons," that had her backed by the likes of Donovan, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones. She put out a similar album in 1969, "Box of Surprises," in which she wrote all the songs, and was backed by Savoy Brown. I recommend both.

Apparently, she was David Bowie's first girlfriend, when he was 16 and she was only 14. They stayed friends, and he wrote the song "Andy Warhol" for her. He also produced some of her 1973 album "Weren't Born a Man." After that album, which was mostly rocking, plus another one in 1974, she didn't put out any music for quite a while. Then she reemerged in the 1980s singing the blues. She's put out dozens of blues albums since then, and is still going at 71 years old (as I write this in 2020). She also speaks several languages, including Sanskrit, of all things, and she's put out over a dozen albums of religious music sung in Sanskrit!

Here's her Wikipedia page, if you want to know more:

I've never gotten into her blues music (at least not yet). But, as I said above, I especially like her two 1960s albums. This is meant as a stray tracks complement to them. 

This album is musically divided into three different parts. The first six songs are A- and B-sides to three early singles that don't appear on any of her albums. She wrote the B-sides but not the A-sides.

The next seven songs are all unreleased. In 2018, someone posted a bunch of previously unknown acetates on YouTube, including some from Gillespie. But unfortunately, this person wanted to make money selling the acetates at an auction, so only a portion of each song was played, typically about a minute and a half. Every single song got cut off before it was finished. 

I thought the Gillespie songs were pretty good, and very much in keeping with the style of her 1968 and 1969 albums. She's said in interviews that she wrote many songs at the time, but only two were allowed on her first album. It was her first album, and she was shy to push hard for her own songs at the time. So I strongly suspect that most or all of these acetate songs are the originals that she wanted to put on that album. The timing certainly fits. 

But there's the problem of the songs being incomplete. So I did my best to complete them. Luckily, in most cases, the person who posted them to YouTube let them play through a verse, a chorus, and then a second verse. So usually I repeated the chorus once or twice to fill it out and bring it to an end. But each song was a different case. In a couple of instances, I only had one verse and chorus to work with, so I just repeated the verse and chorus again. But I also did things like repeating an instrumental section for a fade out.

I don't actually know how any of these songs really end. But hopefully I've filled them out enough to make them a satisfying listen. Maybe someday the full versions will finally emerge. Somebody bought them, so the full versions are out there somewhere.

But there was another problem. Acetates aren't like regular records. Typically, they're made of cheaper material and are much more disposable. If they get played a lot, the sound quality degrades rapidly. That was the case here. All of the songs had lots of pops and scratches, especially at the beginnings of the songs. I used by very limited sound editing skill set to reduce those noises. Then I turned the songs over to my musical associate MZ. He did a much better job of noise reduction. However, you can still hear the damage on the starts of a few of the songs.

The third and final section of this album consists of two songs ("Melting Pot" and "That Same Old Feeling"). They need a bit of explanation. Around this time (1970) in Britain, many albums full of copycat versions of current hit songs were released, in order to get around the high copyright fees of using the hit versions. Just like Elton John and David Byron (lead singer of Uriah Heep) and others, she made some extra money singing lead vocals on some of these records. I only found two (one of which is a duet with David Byron), but she did others.

Wait, there's one more song. At the last minute, I decided to add her demo version of "Andy Warhol" to the end of the album. I would like to make another stray tracks album dealing with her early 1970s recordings, which are also excellent. I don't want two versions of "Andy Warhol" on that, so I'm putting the earlier one here. As mentioned above, this is a song Bowie originally wrote for her. But he liked it so much that he decided to do his own version too. He's singing backing vocals on this demo, though it's hard to tell that it's him.

There's a lot of different stuff here. Clearly, Gillespie dabbled in a lot of different musical projects. And that's not even considering her simultaneous careers in plays and in movies, which was happening at the same time. Oh, and by the way, she played the drums quite well and almost became a professional drummer instead, and also was the junior water skiing champion in Britain when she was a teenager!

This album totals 36 minutes. Although ii's a diverse bunch of styles, one thing that ties it all together is Gillespie's voice. Yes, if you look at the cover art, you can see she was unusually beautiful. But she also was a talented songwriter and a singer. She really should have been a big star. The fact that she sang on those copycat hit song versions is proof of her vocal talent, because that was done totally anonymously, with nobody buying the records knowing what she looked like. This is good music, and evocative of the 1960s era. I hope you check it out, and her two 1960s albums.

01 Donna Donna (Dana Gillespie)
02 It's No Use Saying If (Dana Gillespie)
03 Thank You Boy (Dana Gillespie)
04 You're a Heartbreak Man (Dana Gillespie)
05 Pay You Back with Interest (Dana Gillespie)
06 Adam Can You Beat That (Dana Gillespie)
07 Save Me a Piece - That’s Enough [Edit] (Dana Gillespie)
08 Love, Slow Down [Edit] (Dana Gillespie)
09 I Know the Feeling [Edit] (Dana Gillespie)
10 Classical Example [Edit] (Dana Gillespie)
11 Let's Pick Bluebells, Roses and Weeds [Edit] (Dana Gillespie)
12 Where Is My Life Going To [Edit] (Dana Gillespie)
13 Light Up [Edit] (Dana Gillespie)
14 Melting Pot (Dana Gillespie & David Byron)
15 That Same Old Feeling (Dana Gillespie)
16 Andy Warhol [Demo Version] (Dana Gillespie with David Bowie)

If I recall correctly, the cover art photo of Gillespie comes from the artwork to one of her 1960s albums. But it was from a gatefold or something like that, not the actual cover, so I figured it was okay to use it here.

Sheryl Crow - Sheryl Crow Sings the Rolling Stones - Non-Album Tracks (1993-2019)

The other day, when I was getting ready to post the latest Sheryl Crow stray tracks album I'd made, I noticed there was a cover of a Rolling Stones song on it, and that got me to thinking about the many Rolling Stones covers she's done over the years. There was the ideal amount for an album roughly 45 minutes long. So I gathered them all together, and voila, here we are.

Virtually all the songs here are officially unreleased, except for two. One is "Not Fade Away," which was released as an A-side only. The other is a duet with Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards on the Rolling Stones song "The Worst" from Crow's 2019 album "Threads." With the exception of that song, all the songs come from my various Crow stray tracks collections, including some I haven't posted here yet (as I write this in November 2020). 

If you're a Sheryl Crow fan, hopefully you'll still collect all those other albums. But I think it's fun to hear all the Stones covers together. Not only are the songs great, but this is about as rocking as Crow gets, and she really rocks here. 

It turns out Crow is a massive Rolling Stones fan. So she must be extremely delighted by the fact that she's appeared on stage with the band many, many times, from the first year of her commercial breakthrough in 1994 until the current day. She's often appeared as an opening act for them, and then joined the band to sing a duet with lead vocalist Mick Jagger during the Stones portion of the show. I've only included a couple of those duets, mostly because she's tended to duet on the same songs over and over again.

All of the songs here are written by the Stones, with one exception: "Not Fade Away." I included that that song, originally by Buddy Holly, because it's closely associated with the Stones. It was their breakthrough hit in Britain, hitting number three there.

By the way, I hesitated about including "Gimme Shelter." That's because it's not a full performance of the song. In concert, she has often played a section of the song as the second half of a medley with her own song "Gasoline." I decided what the heck, why not include it? But beware that it's only about half of the song.

This includes almost all the Rolling Stones covers Crow did that I know of. For the stray tracks compilation "Be Still My Soul," I included her version of "Dead Flowers" (as a duet with Bonnie Raitt), but I didn't include that here due to sound quality issues. If there are any others I missed, please let me know.

I've posted another album with a similar concept to this one: "Heart Plays Led Zeppelin." You can find that here:

If you can think of any other good ideas for an album of one artist doing the songs on another artist, please let me know. Maybe I'll like the idea and post such an album here. (But then again, maybe not!)

01 Happy (Sheryl Crow)
02 Live with Me (Rolling Stones & Sheryl Crow)
03 Get Off of My Cloud (Sheryl Crow)
04 Let It Bleed (Sheryl Crow)
05 Sway (Sheryl Crow)
06 Bitch (Sheryl Crow with Eddie Van Halen & the All-Star Garage Band)
07 The Last Time (Sheryl Crow & Jakob Dylan)
08 Honky Tonk Women (Sheryl Crow & Pat Benatar)
09 Wild Horses (Rolling Stones & Sheryl Crow)
10 Not Fade Away (Sheryl Crow)
11 Gimme Shelter (Sheryl Crow)
12 All Down the Line (Sheryl Crow with Chuck Leavell & the Roots)
13 The Worst (Sheryl Crow with Keith Richards)
14 Tumbling Dice (Sheryl Crow)

For the cover art, I thought it would be fitting to use a photo of Crow and one or more of the Stones together. I looked around and found this one of Crow dueting with Mick Jagger during a Stones concert in Chicago in 2013.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Graham Gouldman - Live Acoustic (2013)

Graham Gouldman is a songwriting genius. Have you heard of him? He wrote all sorts of 1960s hit songs you know, such as "For Your Love" by the Yardbirds, "Bus Stop" and "Look through Any Window" by the Hollies, and "No Milk Today" by the Hermin's Hermits, then in the 1970s and after he's been a member of 10cc, and wrote or co-wrote many more hits by them, such as "I'm Not in Love," "The Things We Do for Love," "Rubber Bullets," and "Dreadlock Holliday."

As I write this, Gouldman is 74 years old, yet he's still going strong, frequently touring both as the leader of 10cc and as a solo artist. As someone who has a particular fondness for acoustic music, I am most interested in his occasional solo acoustic tours. However, there are basically no official or unofficial recordings from any such tour, except for one. In 2014, Gouldman released an album of his 2013 solo acoustic tour, simply called "Live!" (It also is sometimes called "Heart Full of Songs," which is his name for his acoustic tours in general.) But he only released this as a promotional item to radio stations, then sold it at his 2014 concerts. Since then, it's totally disappeared. It's not listed in his discography on his personal website, nor is it listed on his Wikipedia page or most other places where one would find such things. It seems to have totally disappeared down the memory hole.

Luckily, I have a copy, and it's fantastic. The sound quality is excellent, and the performance is excellent. He played most of his famous songs, both from 10cc as well as his 1960s hits done by others. He was supported by a couple of his 10cc touring band members, but they kept things acoustic, with only occasional light drumming.

However, there is one thing sorely lacking for the album, and that is any kind of banter between songs. Because the album was made as a promo for radio stations, I guess the idea was to deliberately not include any such banter, since it was more of a selection of individual songs (taken from different concerts on the tour, not just one concert), than having a natural flow of a concert. So, for instance, sometimes songs start with the audience still clapping from something that had just happened, or a song comes to a sudden halt in the middle of the audience applause. The songs themselves were great, but the transitions between them were problematic.

So I decided to fix this, because I love Gouldman's songs so much. I spent way too much time finding banter to go before almost every song, but I'm proud of the result. I didn't have much to go on, since, as I said, there's very little in the way of official or bootleg live Gouldman tracks. But I scoured YouTube and all the bootlegs I could find, including 10cc ones from the last 20 years or so, and I found just enough to come up with fitting banter for most of the songs. As I said, I put a lot of work into this, so hopefully it sounds just like a normal concert, with thank yous at the ends of songs and the like. But every single word has been added by me. The original album didn't even have a single "thank you" on it!

I didn't keep track of where all the different talking bits came from. It would have been a bear to mark all that down. In some cases, even for only a short comment, I had to piece it together from more than once source. There are a few comments where the sound quality is noticeably poorer than the rest, and/or his voice sounds a little different. That couldn't be helped, since the rare material I had to go with was so scanty.

The other thing I did which took some work was getting the applause at the end of each song just right. Because the songs came from different concerts, those were all over the map. Some were quiet, some were loud, some faded out, some stopped suddenly, and some actually ended as they should, with the clapping trailing off. I fixed the applause for almost every song in some way. Hopefully, it should now sound normal, with the flow of a typical concert, instead of being a bunch of live songs collected together.

I changed the title slightly, since "Live!" is so generic and I changed the album significantly. I also changed the cover, since the original just had some text on it.

The album is an hour and ten minutes long. Seven of those minutes consist of the extra banter that I added.

I highly, highly recommend this album. The vast majority of the songs here are classic hits. Hearing them done by Gouldman reveals what a songwriting genius he truly is. Plus, these well known songs are shown in an appealing new light being done in the acoustic format.

By the way, I like Gouldman so much that I plan on posting a collection of covers of his songs for my "Covered" series, as well as a separate collection of his own performances from his pre-10cc years.

01 talk (Graham Gouldman)
02 Pamela, Pamela (Graham Gouldman)
03 talk (Graham Gouldman)
04 Heart Full of Soul (Graham Gouldman)
05 talk (Graham Gouldman)
06 Good Morning Judge (Graham Gouldman)
07 talk (Graham Gouldman)
08 No Milk Today (Graham Gouldman)
09 talk (Graham Gouldman)
10 Sunburn (Graham Gouldman)
11 talk (Graham Gouldman)
12 Love's Not for Me [Rene's Song] (Graham Gouldman)
13 talk (Graham Gouldman)
14 Look through Any Window (Graham Gouldman)
15 talk (Graham Gouldman)
16 Bridge to Your Heart (Graham Gouldman)
17 talk (Graham Gouldman)
18 Daylight (Graham Gouldman)
19 talk (Graham Gouldman)
20 Bus Stop (Graham Gouldman)
21 Dancing Days (Graham Gouldman)
22 talk (Graham Gouldman)
23 I'm Not in Love (Graham Gouldman)
24 talk (Graham Gouldman)
25 Ariella (Graham Gouldman)
26 talk (Graham Gouldman)
27 Ready to Go Home (Graham Gouldman)
28 talk (Graham Gouldman)
29 The Things We Do for Love (Graham Gouldman)
30 Memory Lane (Graham Gouldman)
31 talk (Graham Gouldman)
32 For Your Love (Graham Gouldman)
33 talk (Graham Gouldman)
34 Donna (Graham Gouldman)
35 talk (Graham Gouldman)
36 Dreadlock Holiday (Graham Gouldman)

I don't know where Gouldman was when the photo for the cover art was taken, but apparently it dates to September 2013.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Elton John - Regimental Sgt. Zippo (1968)

Here's something very special and brand new. If you're an Elton John fan at all, you'll want to listen to this. Officially, John's first album was "Empty Sky," released in 1969. But did you know he had an album that was almost released in 1968? I didn't, until today. But this is the very first time the public has all the songs to make up the album. This is his long lost 1968 album, "Regimental Sgt. Zippo." So that's pretty cool. But what's important is that the music in it is very good.

Elton John was a struggling musician for several years before he hit it big. He sang lead vocals on a single by the band Bluesology as far back as 1965. But it wasn't until 1967 when he met his collaborator Bernie Taupin when he began to hit on something special. All the songs here are John-Taupin originals, including "Hour Glass," which has often been incorrectly deemed a cover. 

In 1967, the Beatles released one of the greatest albums of all time, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The songs on this 1968 album are heavily influenced by late period Beatles. It's downright odd they would put "Sgt." in the album title, because that would have led some people to think it's a "Sgt. Pepper's" ripoff. But it's not. Yes, there's a strong Beatles influence, but John was already finding his own style, though one that was steeped in a general late 1960s slightly psychedelic rock sound. For instance, Taupin would later explain the "Regimental Sgt. Zippo" was actually influenced more by Procol Harum than the Beatles.

In any case, at the time, Elton John was signed to a tiny label that wasn't making much money. This album was developed to the point that an exact song list was created. But it was never released, probably because the record company didn't see any potential hit singles.

So how is it that one is able to put this album together, after so many years? As I write this, yesterday was the release of "Jewel Box," an eight CD Elton John box set. Three of the CDs contain demos from the years 1965 to 1968. Those include all but two of the songs from this album. Most of the other songs had been out there on bootlegs, but a couple of the songs were missing, and others only available in poor sound quality. By luck, the previously missing songs were included as part of "Jewel Box," and the two songs that failed to include have been bootlegged. So I was able to put it all together. The "Jewel Box" artwork even includes a song list for the album, so we know this was exactly how it was supposed to go.

Normally, I wouldn't want to post something from material that was officially released so very recently. But this is just a portion of the 8 CD box set, not even as long as one of those CDs, and it's inevitable that people are going to put this together. The box set practically begs for it, by including most of the songs (but scattering them around), and the song list.

This album is 37 minutes long, which was typical for that era. If you enjoy this, please go out and buy the "Jewel Box" box set. The songs here are but a small portion of all the previously unreleased demos on that, and that in turn is only a portion of the entire box set.

UPDATE: On November 17, 2021, I updated the mp3 download file. For Record Store Day 2021, an official version was released, for a limited time. This is very similar, the same songs in the same order, but some different mixes are used. (And the two unreleased songs were officially released for the first time on this special release.) So I'm updating the link to this version, which must be what the artist had in mind. But I'm leaving the other link up, since it has some different versions.

01 When I Was Tealby Abbey (Elton John)
02 And the Clock Goes Round (Elton John)
03 Sitting Doing Nothing (Elton John)
04 Turn to Me (Elton John)
05 Angel Tree (Elton John)
06 Regimental Sgt. Zippo (Elton John)
07 A Dandelion Dies in the Wind (Elton John)
08 You'll Be Sorry to See Me Go (Elton John)
09 Nina [You're My Woman] (Elton John)
10 Tartan Coloured Lady (Elton John)
11 Hour Glass (Elton John)
12 Watching the Planes Go By (Elton John)



As mentioned above, there was an official release of this album in 2021, though for a limited time only. So I've replaced the cover I've made with the official cover. That said, I'm keeping my version for people who want to hear the alternate versions for some of the songs. The rest of the text below discusses the cover for that version. I was pleased to see that it had a lot of similarity to the official cover, using the same drawing of Elton John's head.

The album cover art needs some explanation. Even though the "Sgt. Zippo" was almost released, I don't know if cover art for it was even made. If so, it hasn't made it to the public. But about a month before the "Jewel Box" was released, the "Regimental Sgt. Zippo" song was released as a teaser, and an official animated video was done for it. I took most of the elements of the cover from the video. 

At one point in the video, the large head with smaller heads in it was shown. (That seems to be heavily based on the cover for the Beatles' "Revolver" album, by the way.) So I took a screenshot of that and used it. At another point, a vista of some hills and a sunset appeared. I used that as the background behind the head. At yet another point, the word "Zippo" appeared in large letters right over the top portion of the head. I used that exactly as it appeared in the video, complete with the black highlighting. The only thing I changed is the color (it was kind of a tan that's too similar to some of the sunset colors). I then added the "Regimental Sgt." text in a similar font, as well as the "by Elton John" text. (I felt the need to add the "by" so the hypothetical record buyer wouldn't get confused and think that "Regimental Sgt. Zippo" was the name of the artist. Also, just to add some more period flavor, I added a "stereo" logo in the bottom corner, since that was common for 1968 albums.

Had the album been released in 1968, I'm sure the cover would have looked totally different. But the 2020 video was meant to ape the artistic styles of 1968, and they did a good job. So hopefully this at least has the right spirit of a 1968 cover, and it does all come from an official source specifically meant for the title song.

Oh, by the way, one day after posting this, I found out that the drawing of the head actually dates back to 1968. Elton John used it in a press pack that went with the release of his first album in 1969.

Brandi Carlile - Home Concerts 3: Maple Valley, WA, 7-12-2020 (Bear Creek Album)

I recently posted a home concert in which Brandi Carlile played her entire "The Firewatcher's Daughter" album, in the original song order. This is exactly the same, except it's her 2012 album "Bear Creek." She actually has done most or all of her albums this way during the coronavirus pandemic, but the others are behind a paywall so I won't be posting them here.

As with "The Firewatcher's Daughter," she is supported only by "the twins," Phil and Tim Hanseroth, who have been her main musical collaborators and co-songwriters for most of her musical career. The three of them only play acoustic instruments, so one can consider this an acoustic performance, those it's not a totally solo one.

The sound quality is excellent. There's a lot of talking between songs, with banter between Carlile and the twins. It's clear they're having a lot of fun.

All the songs from "Bear Creek" appear here, except for the last one, "Just Kids," which apparently had some instrumentation they felt they couldn't duplicate. Instead, this ends with "If She Ever Leaves Me," a song she sang on the 2019 album by the Highwomen.

01 talk (Brandi Carlile)
02 Hard Way Home (Brandi Carlile)
03 talk (Brandi Carlile)
04 Save Part of Yourself (Brandi Carlile)
05 talk (Brandi Carlile)
06 That Wasn't Me (Brandi Carlile)
07 talk (Brandi Carlile)
08 Keep Your Heart Young (Brandi Carlile)
09 talk (Brandi Carlile)
10 100 (Brandi Carlile)
11 talk (Brandi Carlile)
12 A Promise to Keep (Brandi Carlile)
13 talk (Brandi Carlile)
14 I'll Still Be There (Brandi Carlile)
15 talk (Brandi Carlile)
16 What Did I Ever Come Here For (Brandi Carlile)
17 talk (Brandi Carlile)
18 Hearts Content (Brandi Carlile)
19 talk (Brandi Carlile)
20 Rise Again (Brandi Carlile)
21 talk (Brandi Carlile)
22 In the Morrow (Brandi Carlile)
23 talk (Brandi Carlile)
24 If She Ever Leaves Me (Brandi Carlile)
25 talk (Brandi Carlile)

In order to promote this concert, Carlile recorded a short video in which she held up a supersized copy of the "Bear Creek" album cover. I took a screenshot of that for the cover art.

Sam Phillips - Largo, Los Angeles, CA, 6-6-2019

It's a real shame about Sam Phillips. She's a great musician, yet so few people know about her. A lot of that is due to her own choice. She's stated she isn't interested in being famous, as she had a taste of that in her early days as a Christian music hit maker as "Leslie Phillips," and didn't like it. She hardly ever tours or do much to promote herself. 

But if you're reading this, hopefully you have the taste to check out her music if you haven't already. This is an ideal starting point, in my opinion. It's an excellent sounding bootleg that has songs from all parts of her career (except for her Christian "Leslie Phillips" years, which she has distanced herself from).

As mentioned above, Phillips almost never plays concerts. But when she does, it's usually at the Largo. This is a small club in Los Angeles that is a very special place that musicians love to play more for the fun of it than to make money. Phillips lives in Los Angeles, so it's probably very convenient for her as well. We're very lucky to have this recording, since according to, she's only played three concerts from 2013 to 2020.

Although this essentially is a one-off concert, you wouldn't know it by listening to it. For many years, Phillips has played with a small string section, and they join her here. In 2001, she pretty much reinvented her musical style, switching from Beatlesque pop to a more mellow singer-songwriter style. Ever since then, she turned her back on her earlier style, maybe playing only one song from her pre-2001 years if you were lucky. But for this concert, she finally seems to have warmed up to her older music, playing three early songs. That makes sense, because on her more recent albums she's sometimes gone back to her earlier, more poppy styles. She also does songs from different points in her career, almost making this into a "best of" selection. 

This concert began with a long medley of some of her early songs. I didn't include it because it was an instrumental done only by the string section before Phillips took the stage. It sounded a bit like forgettable Muzak. The concert is stronger without that.

This is a bootleg, and it's an audience recording, not a soundboard. However, sometimes audience recordings can sound as good as soundboards, and this is one of those times. Keep in mind this concert took place in a club of only a couple hundred people, if it was full. It was an appreciative audience that was dead silent during the songs, so there probably wasn't much difference from a soundboard if it was recorded well, which it was. One minor snag was that the banter between songs was a bit quiet and the audience applause at the end of each song was a bit loud, but I've made adjustments to fix that.

This concert is an hour and 18 minutes long.

01 talk (Sam Phillips)
02 I Want to Be You (Sam Phillips)
03 World on Sticks (Sam Phillips)
04 Continuous Limit (Sam Phillips)
05 talk (Sam Phillips)
06 Plastic Is Forever (Sam Phillips)
07 talk (Sam Phillips)
08 How Much Is Enough (Sam Phillips)
09 talk (Sam Phillips)
10 Fighting with Fire (Sam Phillips)
11 talk (Sam Phillips)
12 American Landfill Kings (Sam Phillips)
13 talk (Sam Phillips)
14 Same Rain (Sam Phillips)
15 talk (Sam Phillips)
16 Different Shades of Light (Sam Phillips)
17 I Need Love (Sam Phillips)
18 talk (Sam Phillips)
19 She Remembers Everything (Sam Phillips)
20 Edge of the World (Sam Phillips)
21 Candles and Stars (Sam Phillips)
22 What Happens Next (Sam Phillips)
23 talk (Sam Phillips)
24 Reflecting Light (Sam Phillips)
25 Teilhard (Sam Phillips)
26 talk (Sam Phillips)
27 So Glad You're Here (Sam Phillips)

The cover art photo comes from a different concert in Los Angeles in 2019, held at the Grammy Museum.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Elton John - BBC Sessions, Volume 6: Hammersmith Odeon, London, Britain, 12-24-1974

I recently posted an Elton John concert from 1973. This is very similar in some ways. Both were played at the Hammersmith Odeon, in London, almost exactly one year apart from each other. (Specifically, they were one year and two days apart.) Both concerts were played live on TV and radio by the BBC. As a result, both sound fantastic. The main difference though is that John had another year to come up with still more classic songs, so there are lots of differences in the set lists. But both concerts are pretty much the peak concert recordings of him from his great early to mid-1970s era, so any fan of his should listen to both.

I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect that John played a bunch of lesser known songs at the start of the concert before the TV and radio audiences joined in. He suggested as much with some comments between songs. I'm guessing that "Funeral for a Friend - Love Lies Bleeding" was the first song played for the TV and radio audiences, since that was a typical concert opener for him. If that's the case, there are seven songs prior to that. 

Regardless of how much was played on the TV and radio at the time, from the medley mentioned above until the end, nearly every song is a classic, with the exception of "Grinsby" and "Grey Seal," plus a couple of covers like "I Saw Her Standing There" and "White Christmas." For "White Christmas," John was joined by Rod Stewart and Gary Glitter. You can hear Stewart talking some before the song begins. (Too bad about Glitter being there too, in light of what we now know of his sex crimes, but at least you can't really hear him.)

One advantage this has over the 1973 BBC concert is that this one is even longer, by half an hour. This concert is two hours and ten minutes long. Because it was recorded professionally by the BBC, there were no sound problems for me to fix, despite the fact that it's still officially unreleased.

I just have one more concert to go before I finish this series of BBC albums from John's peak 1970s years.

01 talk (Elton John)
02 Skyline Pigeon (Elton John)
03 talk (Elton John)
04 I Need You to Turn To (Elton John)
05 Border Song [Holy Moses] (Elton John)
06 Country Comfort (Elton John)
07 talk (Elton John)
08 Holiday Inn (Elton John)
09 talk (Elton John)
10 High Flying Bird (Elton John)
11 Burn Down the Mission (Elton John)
12 Funeral for a Friend - Love Lies Bleeding (Elton John)
13 talk (Elton John)
14 Candle in the Wind (Elton John)
15 talk (Elton John)
16 Grimsby (Elton John)
17 talk (Elton John)
18 Rocket Man [I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time] (Elton John)
19 talk (Elton John)
20 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
21 talk (Elton John)
22 Daniel (Elton John)
23 talk (Elton John)
24 Grey Seal (Elton John)
25 Bennie and the Jets (Elton John)
26 talk (Elton John)
27 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Elton John)
28 talk (Elton John)
29 I Saw Her Standing There (Elton John)
30 talk (Elton John)
31 Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Elton John)
32 talk (Elton John)
33 Honky Cat (Elton John)
34 talk (Elton John)
35 Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting (Elton John)
36 talk (Elton John)
37 Crocodile Rock (Elton John)
38 talk (Elton John)
39 The Bitch Is Back (Elton John)
40 talk (Elton John)
41 Your Song (Elton John)
42 talk (Elton John)
43 White Christmas (Elton John with Rod Stewart & Gary Glitter)

I'm not entirely sure if the cover art  photo here is from this exact concert or not. It looks posed and thus not something from the middle of a concert. But I found another photo of him at the concert wearing the exact same glasses, so I think it is. (I'm assuming he lost the tall hat at some point.) But if anyone has a photo that is absolutely for sure from this concert, please let me know and I'll use that one.

Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren - Sunday Mornings with Reina del Cid, Volume 7 (2019)

If you haven't discovered the fun of Reina del Cid and Toni Lindgren playing cover songs, it's never too late to join in. This is yet more of the same good stuff.

As I've mentioned before, this duo has a mellow and sublime charm. A case in point is their cover on this album of Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On." First off, anyone who does a cover of "Ramble On" is okay in my book. :) But it's notable lead vocalist Reina del Cid doesn't even attempt to hit the very high notes of Led Zeppelin's lead singer Robert Plant, nor does she try to imitate his charismatic style. Instead, she sings the song in a low-key, folky way, which also turns out to be very nice. It's like that with everything they do.

As usual, the duo has a nice mix of really famous songs with obscurities that should be better known. For instance, personally, I didn't know the songs here by the Tallest Man on Earth, the Wood Brothers, or the Punch Brothers, and I doubt you know them either. But, if you're the kind of person who likes the music at this blog, chances are you do know more than half of the songs overall. The cover of "Into the Music" is especially sublime.

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

01 The Gardener - Tallest Man on Earth
02 You're Gonna Live Forever in Me - John Mayer
03 Hearts and Bones - Paul Simon
04 Harvest Moon - Neil Young
05 Blue Moon - Billy Eckstine / Marcels
06 Luckiest Man - Wood Brothers
07 Rye Whiskey - Punch Brothers
08 Ramble On - Led Zeppelin
09 Bad, Bad Leroy Brown - Jim Croce
10 [Sittin' On] The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
11 Down at the Twist and Shout - Mary Chapin Carpenter
12 Into the Mystic - Van Morrison

Here's the usual song list:

01 The Gardener (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
02 You're Gonna Live Forever in Me (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
03 Hearts and Bones (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren with Ben Abrahamson)
04 Harvest Moon (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren with Josh Turner & Carson McKee)
05 Blue Moon (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
06 Luckiest Man (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
07 Rye Whiskey (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
08 Ramble On (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
09 Bad, Bad Leroy Brown (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
10 [Sittin' On] The Dock of the Bay (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
11 Down at the Twist and Shout (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
12 Into the Mystic (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren with Sammy Copley)

For the cover art photo, I took a screenshot of the YouTube video of the duo playing the song "Down at the Twist and Shout."

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Sheryl Crow - Be Still My Soul - Non-Album Tracks (2002)

Here's the next in my long series of Sheryl Crow stray tracks albums. 2002 was the year she released her studio album "C'mon C'mon." Yet she performed enough songs to fill up this album, plus a couple more on the next album in this series.

There are a few original songs here, such as "Be Still My Soul," "Let's Get Free," "I Want You," and "You're Not the One." The others are generally covers of very famous, classic songs by the likes of Buffalo Springfield, Led Zeppelin, the Allman Brothers Band, Patsy Cline, the Rolling Stones, and John Lennon. Three of the songs are duets with Willie Nelson, and she also duets with Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones on "Wild Horses."

The first five songs are officially released. They were B-sides, bonus tracks, or the like. The remaining six songs are all unreleased, and all come from live bootlegs. But the sound quality on those are all excellent, as they come from soundboard recordings or TV shows. 

The one song that doesn't sound as good is the bonus track, "Dead Flowers." It's almost good enough to be included, but the sound quality isn't quite up to snuff.

01 Be Still My Soul (Sheryl Crow)
02 For What It's Worth (Willie Nelson & Sheryl Crow)
03 Let's Get Free (Sheryl Crow)
04 Missing (Sheryl Crow)
05 I Want You (Sheryl Crow)
06 You're Not the One (Sheryl Crow)
07 Good Times, Bad Times (Sheryl Crow)
08 Midnight Rider (Sheryl Crow)
09 You Remain (Willie Nelson & Sheryl Crow)
10 Crazy (Willie Nelson & Sheryl Crow)
11 Wild Horses (Rolling Stones & Sheryl Crow)
12 Happy Xmas [War Is Over] (Sheryl Crow)

Dead Flowers (Sheryl Crow & Bonnie Raitt)

I don't remember what the source of this cover art photo is exactly, but it is from 2002.