Friday, December 24, 2021

The Petersens - Home Concerts 3, Branson, MO, 9-15-2019 to 4-14-2021

Happy holidays! Technically, this isn't a Christmas album. There isn't a single Christmas song on it. But, in my opinion, it has the sort of vibe. The Petersens are an American, Christian, wholesome, acoustic family band. They play the sort of music you might want to play on family gatherings on holidays. So here's another album from them.

I previously posted two full concerts they did, which they had originally posted on YouTube. This, by contrast, is a collection of individual songs that they also originally posted on YouTube. Don't mind the fact that even though this is "Home Concerts 3," the first songs here come before the dates of those two concerts. Close enough for horseshoes! ;)

The Petersens have done some nice originals, but their main forte is cover songs. These are all covers. They also have a special talent for taking songs from all sorts of genres and turning them into acoustic folk tunes. You'll see plenty of that here, with songs like "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen and "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys getting a radical makeover. To some, it might seem gimmicky, but I think it just shows that some songs are just really good songs, so they work well in very different styles if played by talented people.

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 High Sierra (Petersens)
02 Cloudy Days (Petersens)
03 If I Needed You (Petersens)
04 La Vie en Rose (Petersens)
05 Wade in the Water (Petersens)
06 You're Still the One (Petersens)
07 Bohemian Rhapsody (Petersens)
08 I Want It That Way (Petersens)
09 The Scientist (Petersens)
10 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Petersens)
11 Mamma Mia (Petersens)
12 Top of the World (Petersens)

There are six people in the Petersens band, five of them members of the Petersen family. However, for this album cover, I'm only showing the three sisters, 'cos I thought it's a nice image of the three of them singing into the same microphone. I could be wrong, but I believe this is a screenshot of their video for "Mamma Mia."

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The Alan Parsons Project - An Alternate Turn - Non-Album Tracks (1980) (A MIKE SOLOF GUEST POST)

Here's a happy holidays to you and yours from Mike Solof. He's got another guest post. 

This one is based on the 1980 Alan Parsons Project album "The Turn of a Friendly Card," one of his favorites. It turns out there are enough alternate versions of the songs from this album issued as bonus tracks decades later that it's possible to create an entire alternate version of the album. He calls this "An Alternate Turn."

As is his habit, Mike has created a PDF file to explain his thoughts on this album, complete with photos. So instead of writing more about it here, I'll leave it to you to read the PDF file that is included.

However, on a sad note, it seems I have slowly driven Mike crazy with my slow pace of posting his guest post albums. He has a lot of things to post, and it's hard for me to deal with that and the many, many albums I want to post on my own. So we've decided it's better if he posts most of his stuff through PJ's excellent "Albums I Wish Existed" blog. Hopefully he may still post some things here, if he wants more of my involvement on something, but probably a lot more over there. So please keep an eye out for that soon.

This album is 47 minutes long.

01 May Be a Price to Pay [Early Version,  Eric Guide Vocals & Unused Guitar Solo] (Alan Parsons Project)
02 Games People Play [Rough Mix] (Alan Parsons Project)
03 Time [Orchestra & Chris Rainbow Backing Vocals] (Alan Parsons Project)
04 The Turn of a Friendly Card - Snake Eyes - I Don't Wanna Go Home [Eric's Songwriting Diary] (Alan Parsons Project)
05 The Gold Bug [Early Reference Version] (Alan Parsons Project)
06 The Turn of a Friendly Card [Part One] [Early Backing Track] (Alan Parsons Project)
07 Snake Eyes [Early Version,  Eric Guide Vocal] (Alan Parsons Project)
08 The Ace of Swords [Early Version with Piano on Melody and Synth Orchestra] (Alan Parsons Project)
09 Nothing Left to Lose [Eric's Songwriting Diary] (Alan Parsons Project)
10 The Turn of a Friendly Card [Part Two] [Eric Guide Vocal and Extended Guitar ... (Alan Parsons Project)

I made the album cover art, with Mike's input and approval. I used the artwork of the "May Be a Price to Pay" single. Basically, I just removed the name of that song from the bottom of the cover, and replaced it with Mike's name for this album.

The Semantics - Standing Still (1992)

I just posted "Powerbill," the one and only studio album by the short-lived power pop band the Semantics. This band competed the album in 1993, and broke up shortly thereafter when they were unable to get it released on any label. It eventually came out in 1996 in Japan, for a short time only, but that wasn't enough for the band to get back together.

Because of that unfortunate history, I don't think there's any music by the band other than that album, and this. If the band played any concerts, which is uncertain, there are no known live bootlegs. But there is this, which are unreleased demos of songs considered for their album "Powerbill." Luckily, there are enough songs for a 38-minute long album. That's actually a little longer than "Powerbill" is. 

Calling these "demos" undersells them. They sound fully fleshed out to me. Maybe it's better to call them outtakes. Overall, this album isn't as strong as "Powerbill." But I still think it's very good overall. Most power pop bands would be delighted to come up with an album this strong.

The two main singers and songwriters of the band were Owsley and Millard Powers. I'm particularly fond of Owsley, due to his later solo career. Powers, by contrast, joined the popular band the Counting Crows and has been their bassist ever since, so we haven't heard much more from him. Their voices and styles are very similar, but I understand a majority of the songs here are by Powers.

If you're into the power pop genre, I suggest you check out the "Powerbill" album first. Then, if you like that, give this album a try. 

Note that the bootleg I got this from was simply called "Unreleased Demos." I came up with the name "Standing Still" after one of the songs. It also seems fitting, since their music career stood still despite all their musical talents.

01 Avalon (Semantics)
02 Baby It's You (Semantics)
03 This One's for Me (Semantics)
04 Facts of Life (Semantics)
05 Hippy Woman (Semantics)
06 Lonely Girl (Semantics)
07 Standing Still (Semantics)
08 Merry Go Round (Semantics)
09 Wildflower (Semantics)
10 Victim for Somebody Else (Semantics)
11 Maria (Semantics)

The Semantics are such an obscure band that I had a hard time finding any photo of them at all. This photo I've used for the cover came with the "Unreleased Demos" bootleg. It was upside down for some reason, so I flipped it. Then I added the text. It's very low-res, but it's better than nothing.

The Semantics - Powerbill (1993)

I'm a fan of the "power pop" genre, but I haven't posted much of that type of music because it seems there's a ton of music blogs specializing in power pop already. That said, I'm a particularly big fan of the singer-songwriter (Will) Owsley, and I want to post some of his material here. So it makes sense to start with his earliest stuff, when he was a member of the band the Semantics.

You may never have heard of the Semantics, because they weren't around long, and only released one album, which barely got any exposure at all. This is it. Normally, I don't post studio albums that I haven't changed in any way. But I'm posting this because it's way too obscure, and deserves a lot more exposure. It was finished and ready to be released in 1993, but their record company refused to put it out, since it was swimming against the tide of grunge music dominating rock music at the time. It did officially get released three years later, but only in Japan, and to very little notice there. It went out of print even there two years later.

So who were the Semantics? You can read more about them at their Wikipedia entry, here:

The Semantics - Wikipedia

Here's my summary. There were three members of the band at the time this album was released: Owsley, Millard Powers, and Zak Starkey. Starkey, a drummer, is the son of none other than Ringo Starr of the Beatles. His music career was just starting at this time, but he would go on to drum for the Who, Oasis, and many other bands. Owsley and Powers were both talented singers and songwriters. Some of the songs here are written and sung by one of them and others by the other one, but I don't know which is which.

If you like catchy power pop in the style of Jellyfish or the Posies (and I definitely do - both bands will be featured on this blog eventually), then you really need to check out this album. I think it's a lost classic.

Note that one song here, "Coming Up Roses," would later appear in a different version on Owsley's first solo album in 1999.

This album is 36 minutes long.

01 Sticks and Stones (Semantics)
02 Future for You (Semantics)
03 Coming Up Roses (Semantics)
04 Jenny Won't Play Fair (Semantics)
05 Average American (Semantics)
06 Don't Say Goodbye (Semantics)
07 The Sky Is Falling (Semantics)
08 Black and Blue (Semantics)
09 Johnny Come Lately (Semantics)
10 Life Goes On (Semantics)
11 Glasses and Braces (Semantics)

The cover is just the official cover. However, I had a hard time reading the band name in the middle, because the letters were purple and surrounded by more purple. I darkened the purple around the letters to make them more legible.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Paul Simon - Queen's College, London, Britain, 1964

As part of my overall BBC project (check out my post about that), I took at look at what BBC sessions Simon and Garfunkel did. There's some, though barely enough for one album. However, that led me to, or reminded me of, some other interesting stuff worth posting.

I have a particular interest in very early bootleg recordings of famous musicians. Here's a special one for Paul Simon, dating all the way back to 1964. Exactly where and when this is from is a contentious issue that I will get to in a minute. But I think it's highly likely this concert took place before the first Simon and Garfunkel album was released in October 1964. Yet it seems to be a soundboard that sounds remarkably good for such an early bootleg.

As to the where and when this happened, note that most versions of this bootleg floating around the Internet claim it took place at Queens College in New York City some time in 1964. At first, that would make sense, because Simon graduated from Queens College in 1963 with a major in English. But I've seen extensive lists of all the places he played in 1964, with or without Art Garfunkel, and it looks like he didn't play in public in the US at all that year. He spent most of the year trying to start a music career in England, only occasionally coming back to the US to record or mix the first Simon and Garfunkel album, "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M." By contrast, he played dozens of venues in England in 1964, and one of them was a girls' school in London called Queen's College. So I strongly suspect there was a confusion between the two places with the similar names (one with an apostrophe and one without).

There are more clues as to the place this happened. At the time, Simon was torn between pursuing a solo music career, or sharing a partnership with Garfunkel. One problem was that they weren't appreciated in the pivotal New York City folk scene. That was centered in Greenwich Village, and Simon and Garfunkel were looked down upon as coming from "the wrong side of the tracks" in Queens. By contrast, Simon found a very receptive audience when he played in England, where he was only seen as an American, which was unusual and cool for the British folk scene at the time. So he lived in England for nearly all of 1964 and 1965. But Garfunkel was still going to college in the US, and only occasionally made some visits to Simon in England. That said, they definitely wanted to play together whenever they were in the same place. So had Simon put on a concert in New York City, where Garfunkel was going to college, why would it have only been a solo show?

As for the time this concert took place, there are some clues there too. The main one is that the song list better fits the songs Simon was playing in 1964, not 1965. He had written "The Sound of Silence" and four others early enough for them to be included on the "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M." album, which was recorded in March 1964. By the start of 1965, he'd written some more classics that he certainly would have wanted to show off at any concert, like "I Am a Rock," "Kathy's Song," and "April Come She Will." (We know this because he played them at a January 1965 BBC session.) Whereas in mid-1964, he didn't have that many excellent original songs yet, so he had to rely more on covers. 

One key clue is that two of the songs he performed at this concert, "Goin' to the Zoo" and "I Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound," were written by Tom Paxton. "Goin' to the Zoo" was first released in 1962, and then both songs was put on the "Ramblin' Boy" album, released in October 1964. However, it's very possible that Simon knew them already after repeatedly crossing paths with Paxton in the New York City folk scene, where Paxton was a major figure. But in any case, they were widely known songs in the folk music world that were fresh to audiences in 1964, but would have been a bit old well into 1965. (Simon also played "I Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound" in a January 1965 BBC session.)

Another factor is that Simon played "Scarborough Fair" in this concert, and it is known he learned the song from folk singer Martin Carthy after moving to England. But all that really tells us is this had to have taken place at some point after early 1964, when he first moved there. 

One bootleg version I've found of this show claims it took place on May 1st, 1964, in Queen's College in London. However, that has the caveat that the date is uncertain, and I have no idea how they got that date. If I had to guess, I think it's probably a little later than that, from the summer or fall of 1964, but that's just a guess.

One problem in figuring out the date and location is that there's very little banter between songs. I'm fairly certain Simon spoke a lot more, but the taper turned the recording device off as soon as the songs ended, in order to save tape. This was common practice in those days, when tape was much more expensive. One can tell this because the applause was cut off after a couple of seconds for all but two or three of the songs. So we don't get any "It's great to be in England" type comments that could give us more clues. 

We also aren't sure if this is the full concert or if there was more at the start, although I suspect this was the whole thing. At least we know this recording has the proper end, since he commented that he wasn't going to do an encore.

Although the sound quality is really good, I edited virtually every song due to that applause problem I just mentioned. For the many songs where the applause was cut off, I patched in more applause from elsewhere in the recording to give the impression of complete applause after all the songs.

I've already posted two albums of Simon and Garfunkel rarities. I included four of the performances from this exact show on the first rarities album: "House Carpenter," "Gospel Ship," "Pretty Boy Floyd," and "Goin' to the Zoo." Those are all covers where these are the only known recordings. That said, it's definitely worth hearing the full concert and not just those four songs.

This album is 39 minutes long.

01 Scarborough Fair (Paul Simon)
02 House Carpenter (Paul Simon)
03 Gospel Ship (Paul Simon)
04 Pretty Boy Floyd (Paul Simon)
05 A Church Is Burning (Paul Simon)
06 The Sound of Silence (Paul Simon)
07 Leaves that Are Green (Paul Simon)
08 The Sun Is Burning (Paul Simon)
09 I Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound (Paul Simon)
10 talk (Paul Simon)
11 Goin' to the Zoo (Paul Simon)
12 He Was My Brother (Paul Simon)
13 talk (Paul Simon)

I'm pleased as punch at the cover art, which I feel evokes the feeling of listening to Simon in a small club very early in his career. It's a photo of Simon performing at the Jacquard Club in Norwich, England, in August 1965. Even at that relatively late date, Simon was a relative unknown, playing small clubs all over England. But one month later, a version of "The Sound of Silence" with full band instrumentation was released in the US and started climbing the charts, eventually hitting number one. Simon quickly moved back the US, reunited with Garfunkel, and continued to have massive success. So this photo could have just as easily been taken at any other English club in 1964 or 1965. Other photos from the same series show he was playing in a small basement to about 60 people (according to an article that goes with the photos). I've included one here so you can see what I mean.

Unfortunately, the photo was in black and white. So I used the Pixbim program to colorize it.

Episode Six - BBC Sessions, Volume 2 (1968-1969)

I just posted Volume 1 of Episode Six at the BBC. While I'm at it, here's Volume 2.

Hopefully, by posting these two together, I don't need to explain Episode Six and their music again. If you don't know, just read what I wrote with Volume 1.

As with that volume, the band mostly did cover songs for the BBC. I could be wrong, but I think the only originals here are: "Monster in Paradise," "Mozart Versus the Rest," "I Am the Boss," and "I Am a Cloud."

All the songs here come from the archival compilation "Cornflakes and Crazyfoam." There are a handful of songs near the end that the liner notes claim come from an unknown source, and say they could have been demos or from a radio show. However, there's another archival compilation that has those exact same versions of those songs with BBC DJ talk before and after them, clearly identifying their source.

A bunch of the songs (including those supposedly unidentified ones) come from a long BBC session in early 1969 of half an hour or more. The session was supposed to feature Pink Floyd, but they canceled at the last minute. The BBC called up Episode Six, and they raced to the studio just in time to fill in. So while that was nice, I must say I wish we could have had more of Pink Floyd at the BBC. 

Exactly the same as on Volume 1, only two out of the 19 songs here had the problem of BBC DJs talking over the music. As usual, I used the audio editing program X-Minus to fix those (which are marked with "[Edit]" in their titles).

This album is 58 minutes long. It's the last of anything worthwhile I have to post from this underrated band. Now I'll be free to start posting Deep Purple BBC sessions albums, since two of the band's members moved to that band in 1969.

Here are the original artists for each song:

01 Sunshine Superman - A Hard Day's Night - Donovan - Beatles
02 Can't Be So Bad - Moby Grape
03 Orange Air [Edit] - Fifth Dimension
04 Mr. Universe - Episode Six
05 I Had a Talk with My Man - Misty Collier
06 Stay with Me - Lorraine Ellison
07 Light My Fire - Doors
08 Temptation - Bing Crosby
09 Alone Again Or - Love
10 Monster in Paradise - Episode Six
11 Mozart Versus the Rest - Episode Six
12 [I Can't Get No] Satisfaction - Paint It, Black - Rolling Stones
13 The Morning - Dusty Springfield
14 I Am the Boss - Episode Six
15 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight - Bob Dylan
16 Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart - Gene Pitney
17 It's Been Such a Long Way Home - Garnet Mimms
18 Spanish Caravan - Doors
19 I Am a Cloud - Episode Six

Here's the usual song list:

01 Sunshine Superman - A Hard Day's Night (Episode Six)
02 Can't Be So Bad (Episode Six)
03 Orange Air [Edit] (Episode Six)
04 Mr. Universe (Episode Six)
05 I Had a Talk with My Man (Episode Six)
06 Stay with Me (Episode Six)
07 Light My Fire (Episode Six)
08 Temptation (Episode Six)
09 Alone Again Or (Episode Six)
10 Monster in Paradise (Episode Six)
11 Mozart Versus the Rest [Instrumental] [Edit] (Episode Six)
12 [I Can't Get No] Satisfaction - Paint It, Black (Episode Six)
13 The Morning (Episode Six)
14 I Am the Boss (Episode Six)
15 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Episode Six)
16 Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart (Episode Six)
17 It's Been Such a Long Way Home (Episode Six)
18 Spanish Caravan (Episode Six)
19 I Am a Cloud (Episode Six)

As I mentioned in the last post for this band, the best color photos I could find for the cover art all seem to come from the exact same photo shoot, done in 1965 or 1966. One can tell because they're wearing the exact same clothes and have the same haircuts. But at least the photos are significantly different from each other. For instance, this one was taken at night, and the other two I used were taken during the day. For this one, many of the colors were off, but I used Photoshop to align them with the colors from the other photo session photos.

Episode Six - BBC Sessions, Volume 1 (1967-1968)

I posted an Episode Six stray tracks album a few days ago, and that got a good reaction, so here's more from them already.

To review: Episode Six are very little known today, because they didn't have much success back when they were a band in the 1960s. They never released a studio album, and they had no hit singles. But they were a talented band. Their biggest claim to fame today is that lead singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover were band members, then left in mid-1969 to join the Mark II version of Deep Purple. 

So if you're a big Deep Purple fan you might have interest in this band, especially because most of the songs are song by Gillan, though the band also had a female lead singer named Sheila Carter, and many of the songs were written by the Gillan and Glover songwriting team. That said, the band was far more pop-oriented than Deep Purple ever was, so don't expect any headbanging here.

As I mentioned in that previous post, given how little success the band hand, it's surprising how much the BBC favored them. They performed many BBC sessions. There's enough for me to make two volumes. And that's with duplicates of the same songs removed, poor sound quality songs removed, a few songs I simply didn't like removed, and some entire BBC sessions lost. But it's easy to see why the BBC liked them, because they knew a ton of cover songs, in a wide variety of styles. 

The vast majority of the songs here are covers. The only originals here are the first three songs, plus "Incense" and "Little One" near the end. Note that I cheated by including "Love, Hate, Revenge" here. In my opinion, that's their best original song, but no version of them doing it for the BBC has survived. In order to have it represented here, I've included the US single version, which has some differences from the version I put on the stray tracks album I've already posted, including a different instrumental section in the middle.

All the songs are officially released. The vast majority come from an archival compilation called "Cornflakes and Crazyfoam," though three come from another compilation called "Love, Hate, Revenge." The sound quality is pretty good throughout, though some songs sound better than others. Two of the songs, "I Hear Trumpets Blow" and "Morning Dew," actually come from the German TV show "Beat Beat Beat." You can see the video footage of those on YouTube.

On a different note, with 1960s BBC recordings, one usually runs into the problem of BBC DJs talking over the intros and outros of some songs. For instance, I posted a Status Quo BBC album yesterday where most of the songs had that problem. But for some reason, Episode Six got lucky. Only two of the 19 songs here have "[Edit]" in their titles, which means those are the only two where I had to use the audio editing program X-Minus to wipe out the DJ talking. I suppose it was largely a matter of which BBC radio shows one was on. For instance, there's no sign any of these particular shows were hosted by DJ Brian Matthew, and he was the worst offender.

This album is 55 minutes long.

Here's a list of the original artists for each song, other than the five originals I just mentioned:

04 Morning Dew - Bonnie Dobson / Tim Rose
05 A Hazy Shade of Winter - Simon & Garfunkel
06 Him or Me - Paul Revere & the Raiders
07 Slow Down - Beatles
08 Stagger Lee - traditional / Lloyd Price
09 Que Sera, Sera [Whatever Will Be, Will Be] - Doris Day
10 Say You Don't Mind - Denny Laine
11 Island in the Sun - Harry Belafonte
12 [There's] Always Something There to Remind Me [Edit] -
13 My Little Red Book - Manfred Mann / Love
14 You Can Have Him - Dionne Warwick
15 Here, There and Everywhere - Beatles
16 The Castle - Love
19 River Deep, Mountain High - Ike & Tina Turner

As you can see, pretty far removed from the typical Deep Purple fare! Here's the usual song list:

01 Love, Hate, Revenge [US Single Version] (Episode Six)
02 I Can See Through You (Episode Six)
03 I Hear Trumpets Blow (Episode Six)
04 Morning Dew (Episode Six)
05 A Hazy Shade of Winter (Episode Six)
06 Him or Me (Episode Six)
07 Slow Down (Episode Six)
08 Stagger Lee (Episode Six)
09 Que Sera, Sera [Whatever Will Be, Will Be] (Episode Six)
10 Say You Don't Mind (Episode Six)
11 Island in the Sun (Episode Six)
12 [There's] Always Something There to Remind Me [Edit] (Episode Six)
13 My Little Red Book (Episode Six)
14 You Can Have Him (Episode Six)
15 Here, There and Everywhere (Episode Six)
16 The Castle (Episode Six)
17 Incense (Episode Six)
18 Little One [Edit] (Episode Six)
19 River Deep, Mountain High (Episode Six)

There are very few good Episode Six color photos that aren't already used for album covers or the like. I've found three that seem to come from the same 1965 or 1966 photo session, because they're wearing the same clothes and have the same haircuts. At least they're in very different poses.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Donovan - BBC Sessions, Volume 5: 1973-1977

Here's the fifth and last of the albums I've made of Donovan at the BBC. However, I must say it's a real stretch to call this a BBC album, because only the first two songs were from BBC TV or radio shows. The rest are from various other TV and radio shows in the US, Germany, France, and Belgium.

Donovan's public and musical performance was closely tied with a 1960s flower power hippie image. He stumbled commercially in the early 1970s, having no more hit singles. However, in my opinion, he rallied creatively in the mid-1970s, writing a lot of solid songs. That time period is well represented here. A couple of the songs are versions of his 1960s hits ("Colours" and "Sunshine Superman"), and there's one cover, "Travelling Light." But pretty much all the rest are his better 1970s songs.

All of the performances here are officially unreleased. But because they come from TV and radio shows, the sound quality is generally high. There's a mixture of solo acoustic and full band performances. Most of the songs were done in front of audiences, but I generally edited out the cheering as much as possible to allow for a consistent studio sound.

As the 1970s progressed, Donovan found himself increasingly out of step with cultural and musical trends. I think it affected his creatively, and his career more or less petered out by the end of the 1970s. He would have later comebacks, but his TV and radio appearances also petered out for several years, so this is a good point to end this series.

This album is 37 minutes long.

01 Maria Magenta (Donovan)
02 Only the Blues (Donovan with John Denver)
03 Colours (Donovan & Nana Mouskouri)
04 Celia of the Seals (Donovan)
05 Sailing Homeward (Donovan)
06 Yellow Star (Donovan)
07 Sunshine Superman (Donovan)
08 Heart Full of Love (Donovan)
09 Rock and Roll Souljer (Donovan)
10 talk (Donovan)
11 Salvation Stomp (Donovan)
12 talk (Donovan)
13 How Silly (Donovan)
14 talk (Donovan)
15 Travelling Light (Donovan with John Sebastian & David Bromberg)
16 Local Boy Chops Wood [Edit] (Donovan)

The cover photo is said to be from a TV appearance "circa 1973," but I don't know any details beyond that.

Simon & Garfunkel - Think Too Much - Non-Album Tracks (1983)

Just yesterday, I made my version of the 1983 Simon and Garfunkel reunion studio album that almost was. I'm kind of surprised I never tackled this before, because it's the exact sort of thing this blog is all about. I suppose I was dissuaded by the fact that PJ posted a version on his excellent blog "Albums I Wish Existed" a while back. But I had some different ideas on what to include or not include, so here's my version.

Here's the background story. After about 10 years apart, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel reunited for a concert in New York City in 1981, which was released as the live album "The Concert in Central Park." In 1982 and 1983, they toured all over the world, and also planned to put out a studio album, which was slated to be called "Think Too Much." However, Simon had written all the songs for an intended solo album, and he didn't see much point in having Garfunkel's harmonies added on, except to presumably boost sales and publicity. After Garfunkel recorded harmonies for a bunch of the songs, Simon changed his mind, wiped those harmonies, and released the album purely as a solo work in late 1983, renamed as "Hearts and Bones." I think it's one of his best solo albums, but it didn't have an obvious hit single, and it sold way below expectations.

Unfortunately, none of the Simon and Garfunkel versions of these songs have ever been officially released, even though there has been a version of "Hearts and Bones" with a handful of bonus tracks. I suspect those versions will never be released, since Simon and Garfunkel have had a contentious relationship for decades, and Simon probably doesn't want versions with Garfunkel to overshadow his versions.

A couple of the Simon and Garfunkel studio versions have been bootlegged: "Allergies," "Song about the Moon," and "Train in the Distance." I've used those, although I'm only really impressed with "Song about the Moon." "Train in the Distance" doesn't sound that different. I suspect with "Allergies" that some clever bootlegger stuck part of an Art Garfunkel solo song at the start, and the rest is just the "Hearts and Bones" version. But even if that's the case, it's very well done, so I'm fine with keeping it.

Note that there supposedly also is a bootlegged studio version of "Cars Are Cars," but I've listened to it, and I'm guessing it's just the "Hearts and Bones" version with some bits from a live version patched in. Unfortunately, it was not done in a seamless manner, so I've avoided that one. 

There's also the strange case of the song "Citizen of the Planet." Simon recorded a nice version of this song in 1983, but didn't release it at the time. Apparently, he felt the lyrics were too direct for this environmental message song, and he preferred a more subtle style. But in 2003, when Simon and Garfunkel put out a live album called "Old Friends: Live on Stage," Garfunkel added new harmony vocals to Simon's 1983 recording. It was included as the only studio song on a live album. So it's a bit odd in that the harmony vocals were recorded 20 years later, but you'd never know just by listening to it. I think it's a fine song, done well.

If that was all there was to work with, there wouldn't be enough material to make this a Simon and Garfunkel album. Luckily, a few more of the songs intended for the album were played in Simon and Garfunkel concerts in 1983. Also luckily, there's one 1983 bootleg that's an excellent soundboard, from a Vancouver concert. I was able to use versions of "Think Too Much," "The Late Great Johnny Ace," and "Cars Are Cars" from that. with the audience applause removed as much as possible. ("Allergies" and "Song about the Moon" were also played at some different 1983 concerts. Unfortunately, bootlegs with them on it sound much, much worse. Plus, the live version of "Allergies" I've heard has no Garfunkel vocals at all. And the bootleg studio version of "Song about the Moon" exists and is ideal for inclusion here.)

I need to explain more about "Think Too Much" and "The Late Great Johnny Ace," because I made edits to both of them. "Think Too Much" was just fine, except both Simon and Garfunkel badly flubbed the first verse. It was so bad that one of them apologized as the song kept going. So I edited out the first verse entirely, including that apology. (I tried to patch in the studio version, but there were too many differences and it sounded bad.)

I made a more radical edit with "The Late Great Johnny Ace." This is mostly a Simon solo song. But in concert, Garfunkel added harmony vocals to two parts. Using the audio editing programs Spleeter and X-Minus, I isolated the Simon and Garfunkel vocals from those two parts of the Vancouver live version, then patched them in to the studio version. What's interesting is the second part has some wordless harmonizing that is an entirely different way to end the song than in the studio version. So I fit that in, then edited the song so an instrumental section ending the studio version follows. I wouldn't have done this if I thought it didn't work, but I think it works well. I'd be curious what others think.

With those live versions added in, the amount of Garfunkel on this alternate album has gone up, but the album is still rather short on his vocals. On previous Simon and Garfunkel albums, he usually sang lead vocals on at least one song, but there's no such song or songs here. So, to boost his profile a bit more, I've added in two live covers that weren't actually intended for the "Think Too Much" album. I'm taking some creative license to make it more of a proper collaboration.

First, I added in a cover of the Chuck Berry song "Maybelle" taken from a soundboard bootleg recorded in 1982 in Osaka, Japan. This was the second half of a medley with "Kodachrome," but I split it from the medley. Then I added in a cover of "One Summer Night," from the 1983 Vancouver concert. This song was first done in 1958 by the Danleers. You can't really hear any crowd noise on "Maybelle" because the band is so lively and the bootleg is good. But you can hear the crowd cheering sometimes during "One Summer Night." I tried to reduce that using Spleeter and X-Minus, but I could only do so much without making things sound worse. Note that the 1970 Simon and Garfunkel studio album "Bridge Over Trouble Water" has a lot of crowd noise on the cover song "Bye Bye Love," so consider this a similar thing.

After everything described above, nine of the 12 songs have at least some Garfunkel vocals on them, though still not as much as I'd like for a reunion album like this. I couldn't see anything to do to the remaining three songs, "Hearts and Bones," "Rene and Georgette Magritte with their Dog After the War," and "When Numbers Get Serious," so I just used the "Hearts and Bones" versions of those. Note though that "Hearts and Bones" has two versions of "Think Too Much," labeled "A" and "B." I've only used one, which closely follows the arrangements of "Think Too Much (A)." I figure it's a stronger album, with more Garfunkel involvement, to have the two covers and "Citizen of the Planet" mentioned above instead.

This album is 48 minutes long. "Hearts and Bones" by contrast is 40 minutes long.

01 Allergies (Simon & Garfunkel)
02 Hearts and Bones (Paul Simon)
03 Citizen of the Planet (Simon & Garfunkel)
04 When Numbers Get Serious (Paul Simon)
05 Think Too Much [Edit] (Simon & Garfunkel)
06 Maybellene (Simon & Garfunkel)
07 Song about the Moon (Simon & Garfunkel)
08 Train in the Distance (Simon & Garfunkel)
09 Rene and Georgette Magritte with their Dog After the War (Paul Simon)
10 Cars Are Cars (Simon & Garfunkel)
11 The Late Great Johnny Ace [Edit] (Simon & Garfunkel)
12 One Summer Night (Simon & Garfunkel)

For the cover art, I used a photo from 1982. I have no idea what city is behind them.

Status Quo - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1970-1972

I just posted Volume 1 of Status Quo's BBC sessions mere minutes ago. I thought I'd post this second and final volume right after to show the contrast between the two. Compare the two cover photos, for starters. They look like different bands, but they're the same exact guys, just minus one member (and plus lots more hair!).

It's a lucky break that there was enough music to be able to split the volumes right at the turn of the 1960s into the 1970s, because the band's sound drastically changed right then as well. If you listen to the early songs on Volume 1, you'll see they started out doing rhythm and blues. So in a way they returned back to the type of music they started with, once psychedelic music was no longer popular. 

They had a hit with "Down the Dustpipe" in 1970. At that point, the band must have had the idea: "Let's do this exact same kind of boogie rock for the rest of our lives," because that's exactly what they did. However, in my opinion, their music from the early 1970s is more interesting than their later stuff. Yes, it's mostly boogie, but they still had more variety before firmly settling into a successful formula. Plus, also in my opinion, the early 1970s was a more musically creative time across the board, and this band rode that general musical wave.

The BBC sessions (taken from the official album "Live at the BBC") end in late 1972. There are three more sessions after that that I didn't include here. One is from 1973, but features different versions of the same songs done in 1972, so I didn't see any point in having duplicate versions. Then there's a session from 1989, and another one from 2005. Those are so far removed in time that I felt they didn't belong. In my opinion, it's a lucky thing the sessions end in 1972, because that's right when my interest in the group fades out. I can enjoy some boogie, but only some, and with this band I feel it's a case of diminishing returns since they didn't attempt to evolve their style at all. Your opinion may vary.

When I make these BBC albums, I like to search around and see if there are any good songs done on other TV or radio shows that merit inclusion. In this case, I found two, both officially unreleased. "(April) Spring, Summer and Wednesdays" was done on the German TV show "Beat Club" in 1970. "Roadhouse Blues," a cover of the Doors classic, as done on a Swedish radio show in 1971.

For Volume 1, most of the songs had BBC DJs talking over the music, which I fixed. Thankfully, around 1970, those DJs wised up and stopped that bad habit. This album is a case in point. There's only one example of that here, on the first song. As with Volume 1, I used the audio editing program X-Minus to remove the talking but keep the underlying music.

This album is 52 minutes long.

01 Spinning Wheel Blues [Edit] (Status Quo)
02 Down the Dust Pipe (Status Quo)
03 In My Chair (Status Quo)
04 Need Your Love (Status Quo)
05 [April] Spring, Summer and Wednesdays (Status Quo)
06 Roadhouse Blues (Status Quo)
07 Mean Girl (Status Quo)
08 Railroad (Status Quo)
09 Don't Waste My Time (Status Quo)
10 Oh Baby (Status Quo)
11 Unspoken Words (Status Quo)
12 Paper Plane (Status Quo)
13 Softer Ride (Status Quo)

The cover photo was taken in London in 1972. The two guys at the bottom were originally lower than I liked, making it hard to show all four of them without zooming out a lot. So I used Photoshop to move them up higher in the picture.

Status Quo - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1966-1969

I have that admit that I'm not a Status Quo fan. Or at least I wasn't, before I made two BBC sessions albums for them. As an American, they're a band that's not on my radar screen much at all. However, in Britain, they've had over 60 hits, more than any other band in history. If I thought of them at all, I figured they've done the exact same kind of repetitive boogie rock for decades.

And that's true. But it turns out they were much more interesting and varied in the 1960s and early 1970s. I now have a new appreciation of their music from that time period. I'll bet had they broke up in the early 1970s, they would have a cool reputation today, similar to other bands of the era, like the Move or the Pretty Things. But all that later boogie rock success steamrolls over everything else they did. 

Perhaps you're familiar with their songs "Pictures of Matchstick Men" and/or "Ice in the Sun," two hits the band had in 1968. If you listen to those, it's hard to believe they're from the same band known for all their many boogie rock hits. It reminds me of the band "Spinal Tap," that (in their fictional universe) had the hit psychedelic pop hit "Listen to the Flower People" in 1967 before becoming a heavy metal band in the 1970s. Amazingly, it's the same band - from the 1967 until the early 1980s, they only had one band member leave, in 1970. But if you like those two songs, you have a rough idea what this music here is like. 

Technically, and also in early Spinal Tap fashion, the band changed their name several times in their early years. They were first known as "The Scorpions." By the time of their first BBC session in 1966, the first three songs here, they were known as "The Spectres." Then for the next two songs here, in 1967, they went by "The Traffic Jam." They had to change that because it was too similar to Steve Winwood's more successful band "Traffic." So they changed their name to "The Status Quo" for their hits in 1968. But in 1969, they dropped the "the," and have been known just as "Status Quo" ever since. For simplicity's sake, I refer to them as "Status Quo" for all the songs here.

When it comes to BBC DJs talking over songs, I guess some artists got lucky and others did not. Status Quo was unlucky, because 12 out of the 17 songs here had DJs talking over their music. Happily, I was able to fix those using the audio editing program X-Minus. As usual, the edited songs have "Edit" in their titles.

I'd guess roughly about half of the songs here are covers and half are originals. Like most British bands of mid-1960s, they started out mainly doing covers of rhythm and blues songs, and you can hear that on the first songs here. When they switched to psychedelic pop around 1967, they started mostly writing their own songs. But they still had some songs written for them (including "Ice in the Sun"). And they still did the occasional cover of famous songs, such as "Spicks and Specks," "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)," "Things Get Better," and "The Price of Love."

All the songs here come from the official album "Live at the BBC." I didn't include five songs from that album that would fit in this time period, because they did two versions of the same song. In those cases, I picked the versions that had the better sound quality. Those five songs are: "Bloodhound," "Gloria." "Pictures of Matchstick Men," "Spicks and Specks," and "The Price of Love." 

I also didn't include the song "Black Veils of Melancholy," even though there's nothing wrong with the recording, because I'm trying hard to pretend that song doesn't exist. In my opinion, it's such a blatant re-write of their own "Pictures of Matchstick Men" that it's an embarrassment. Sorry if you like that one. You can still get that version from the official BBC album if you want.

Two songs, "Bird Dog" and "It Takes Two," have bonus track status due to having poorer sound quality than the others.

If you've never given early Status Quo a listen, this is a good sampler. Maybe you'll be pleasantly surprised, like I was.

This album is 46 minutes long.

01 Gloria [Edit] (Status Quo)
02 I [Who Have Nothing] (Status Quo)
03 Neighbour, Neighbour (Status Quo)
04 I Don't Want You [Edit] (Status Quo)
05 Almost but Not Quite There [Edit] (Status Quo)
06 Spicks and Specks [Edit] (Status Quo)
07 Judy in Disguise [With Glasses] [Edit] (Status Quo)
08 Pictures of Matchstick Men (Status Quo)
09 Things Get Better [Edit] (Status Quo)
10 Bloodhound [Edit] (Status Quo)
11 Ice in the Sun (Status Quo)
12 Paradise Flat [Edit] (Status Quo)
13 When My Mind Is Not Live (Status Quo)
14 Make Me Stay a Bit Longer [Edit] (Status Quo)
15 Are You Growing Tired of My Love [Edit] (Status Quo)
16 The Price of Love [Edit] (Status Quo)
17 Junior's Wailing [Edit] (Status Quo)

Bird Dog [Edit] (Status Quo)
It Takes Two (Status Quo)

The cover photo dates from around 1967. Obviously! ;) I'll bet the band members were embarrassed by that look a couple of years later.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Episode Six - I Can See Through You - Non-Album Tracks (1965-1969)

After reading the headline of this post, you're probably wondering, "Who or what the heck is Episode Six?" If you're already familiar with this band, then I'm impressed with the depth of your musical knowledge. Although they were a British band from 1965 to 1969, they never put out an album, and they never had even a minor hit single. These days, they're remembered for one thing: two future key members of Deep Purple were originally members of this band. 

More specifically, lead vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover would leave Episode Six and join Deep Purple in mid-1969. So that made Gillan the lead vocalist of the most critically and commercially successful "Mark II" version of Deep Purple in the early 1970s. Gillan and Glover were also a songwriting team, and had key roles in writing most of Deep Purple's most famous songs, from "Smoke on the Water" on down.

Gillan was the main lead vocalist for the entire duration of Episode Six represented here, and he and Glover wrote some of their best songs. So that makes this band of interest for serious Deep Purple fans. But Gillan wasn't the only lead vocalist. This band was unusual for that time in that they had both a male lead vocalist and a female one. The female, Sheila Carter, sang a lot fewer songs than Gillan, but she did sing a fair share.

Here's the Wikipedia page if you want to know more about the band:

Episode Six - Wikipedia

All Deep Purple connections aside, Episode Six was a talented band that deserved more success than they had. One hint of this is that the BBC loved them. Despite having zero hits, and not even having that many singles released, they performed sessions for the BBC over and over again. In fact, after posting this album, I plan on posting two albums of the band's BBC sessions.

In a way, the band had a problem of being TOO talented, because they could capably play just about any song in any style, and they did, which meant they didn't have an easily defined musical identity. Note that, in general, the band was far more poppy than Deep Purple. They had just decided to move into more of a hard rock style when Gillan and Glover were poached by Deep Purple, and the band's fortunes effectively came to an end (though they lingered on longer and slowly fizzled out).

Although the band never put out an album while they were together, there has been a handful of archival compilations in subsequent decades. I've taken what I consider the best songs from all of those (not counting the copious BBC material) to make this album. Thirteen out of the 20 songs here are A- and B-sides. The others are studio demos and outtakes that didn't get released at the time.

I think this is a solid collection all the way through, but the highlights in my opinion are the songs "Love, Hate, Revenge," "I Can See through You," and "Morning Dew." The first two are originals, like most of the other songs here. "Love, Hate, Revenge" was included on Rhino Record's classic "Nuggets" box set. In a better universe, it would have been a big hit. Oddly, "Morning Dew," a cover of the folk classic, was a number one song in Lebanon, but nowhere else! That suggests to me their lack of commercial success probably had more to do with record company promotion and/or distribution problems than the actual music.

This album is 52 minutes long.

Note that I plan on posting a bunch of Deep Purple BBC sessions albums soon, but I think it makes logical and chronological sense to post this and the Episode Six BBC sessions albums first.

01 Love Is Such a Swinging Thing (Episode Six)
02 I Will Warm Your Heart (Episode Six)
03 I Hear Trumpets Blow (Episode Six)
04 True Love Is Funny That Way (Episode Six)
05 Incense (Episode Six)
06 Love, Hate, Revenge (Episode Six)
07 Baby Baby Baby (Episode Six)
08 Plastic Love (Episode Six)
09 Time and Motion Man (Episode Six)
10 Only Lonely People (Episode Six)
11 Morning Dew (Episode Six)
12 Sunshine Girl (Episode Six)
13 I Won't Hurt You (Episode Six)
14 I Can See through You (Episode Six)
15 Little One (Episode Six)
16 Lucky Sunday (Episode Six)
17 Mr. Universe (Episode Six)
18 Mozart Versus the Rest [Instrumental] (Episode Six)

There are very few good color photos of this band. I don't know where or when this one is from exactly. I'm glad to have any decent photo at all. If anyone can identify which band member is which, please let me know, and I'll add that info in.

Imelda May - Game Changer - Non-Album Tracks (2017-2018)

A couple of days ago, a commenter pointed out that a link to an Imelda May album that I had posted had died. Not only have I reposted that one, but I redid all of her albums posted here, fixing the volume balance between song and changing the mp3 tags. That also reminded me that it's been way to long since I last posted a stray tracks album from her, so here's the next one.

Up until 2017, May had mainly been known as a rockabilly musician. But in 2017, she put out a new album, "Life Love Flesh Blood," with a wider musical palatte and a new hairstyle (which ended her trademark blonde swirl look). The first six songs here are bonus tracks to various versions of that album. The other six songs come from a variety of sources. Two of them, "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)" and "Another Suitcase, Another Hall," are officially unreleased. The rest come from her appearances on other artists' albums or various artists compilations.

This album is 45 minutes long.

01 The Longing (Imelda May)
02 Flesh and Blood (Imelda May)
03 Game Changer (Imelda May)
04 Love and Fear (Imelda May)
05 It Must Be Love (Imelda May)
06 All I Want Is You (Imelda May)
07 Big Big Love (Damien Dempsey & Imelda May)
08 Ever Fallen in Love [With Someone You Shouldn't've] (Imelda May)
09 I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (Imelda May)
10 Another Suitcase, Another Hall (Imelda May)
11 Straighten Up and Fly Right (Imelda May with Jeff Goldblum)
12 Fe Bhlath (Imelda May with Kila)

The cover photo comes from a 2017 concert in Las Vegas.

Marmalade - Lovin' Things - Non-Album Tracks (1968)

In my opinion, the band Marmalade has been underrated. So I'm posting a few albums of what I consider their best stuff, from both studio tracks and unique BBC tracks. Here's the next one.

In 1968, Marmalade had a huge hit with a cover of the Beatles song "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" off the "White Album." It didn't chart at all in the US, but it went to number one in Britain. This was more a matter of luck than skill, since that song was a natural big hit and the Beatles didn't release it as a single, so it was just a matter of which other band acted quickly to have the hit instead. (They got an unreleased acetate of the song and immediately rushed to the studio literally in the middle of the night to record and release it.)

Unfortunately, the hit helped stereotype them as a pop band that did singles of cover songs. In fact, they were quite talented with their own material. But their record company was only interested in hit singles, and reinforced the stereotype by pushing them to cover other songs by reliable hit songwriters. 

"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" was such a big hit that the band was finally allowed to record and release their first album in late 1968. However, that album, "There's a Lot of It About," was a hastily thrown in cash grab. It mostly consisted of A- and B-sides dating back to 1966, plus some covers of big hits that they band knew well from their concerts. Most the cover songs were already overdone by others, or done better by others, such as "A Piece of My Heart," which of course was definitely done by Janis Joplin already. Other covers woefully out of date, for instance, "Mr. Tambourine Man," a Byrds hit back in 1965. So while I included some covers that also were overdone or out of date, like "Hey Joe" and "Summer in the City," I skipped those two.

A better 1968 album could have been made, and this is my attempt at that. Of course I included their three hit singles ("Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," "Lovin' Things," and "Wait for Me Mary-Anne") and their B-sides. Another five songs are the better ones from "There's a Lot of It About." Finally, I included three songs only done for BBC sessions. I think "Mr. Businessman" is an original they only did for the BBC.

This album is 40 minutes long.

01 Lovin' Things (Marmalade)
02 I Shall Be Released (Marmalade)
03 Mess Around (Marmalade)
04 Chains (Marmalade)
05 Hey Joe (Marmalade)
06 Station on Third Avenue (Marmalade)
07 Summer in the City (Marmalade)
08 Mr. Lion (Marmalade)
09 Wait for Me Mary-Anne (Marmalade)
10 Hush [Edit] (Marmalade)
11 Seven Days Too Long (Marmalade)
12 Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Marmalade)
13 Mr. Businessman [Edit] (Marmalade)

The photo for the cover was taken some time in 1968. I also found an album or single cover called "Livin' Things," and used the top and bottom text from that, as well as the background pattern.

Robyn Hitchcock - Acoustic Covers, Volume 13: 2014-2015

Yesterday, I posted a Robyn Hitchcock album ("Mossy Liquor - Acoustic Versions") that I thought I'd posted a long time ago, but accidentally missed. I found that because I was fixing the mp3 tags of all his previously posted albums while I was getting ready to post this album. Since it's ready, I'll post it too.

Over the years, Hitchcock has played a remarkable number of cover songs in concert. This is the 13th album in this series, and there's a bunch more to go after this one! As usual, they're all done solo acoustic style, and also as usual, every single performance is officially unreleased. Sometimes, I find songs from radio station appearances, but for this album all the songs come from concert bootlegs. The sound quality varies from song to song, but they're all worthy of inclusion, in my opinion.

Hitchcock has been consistent about who his favorite influences are: Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Syd Barrett, the Velvet Underground, Roxy Music, and so on. All the usual suspects are here, with the exception of any Beatles-related cover. 

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

01 New Age - Velvet Underground
02 Tower Song - Leonard Cohen
03 Seems So Long Ago, Nancy - Leonard Cohen
04 The Red Telephone - Love
05 Love Street - Doors
06 The Price of Love - Everly Brothers
07 Wichita Lineman - Glen Campbell
08 For the Turnstiles - Neil Young
09 All Tomorrow's Parties - Velvet Underground
10 Arnold Layne - Pink Floyd
11 I'll Be Your Mirror - Velvet Underground
12 To Turn You On - Roxy Music
13 Tiny Montgomery- Bob Dylan

And here's the usual song list:

01 New Age (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Tower Song (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Seems So Long Ago, Nancy (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 The Red Telephone (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Love Street (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 The Price of Love (Robyn Hitchcock & Emma Swift)
07 Wichita Lineman (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 For the Turnstiles (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 All Tomorrow's Parties (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Arnold Layne (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 I'll Be Your Mirror (Robyn Hitchcock)
12 To Turn You On (Robyn Hitchcock)
13 Tiny Montgomery [Acoustic with Drums Version] (Robyn Hitchcock)

This album is 46 minutes long.

I've lost track of where the cover photo comes from, but I assume it's from 2014 or 2015. According to a commenter, it was taken at the Union Chapel in London.

Richard Thompson - Breaking Down the Walls - Non-Album Tracks (2003-2012)

Here's the next in a long line of Richard Thompson stray tracks albums. For his music career, because he plays in acoustic mode so often, I've posted two kinds of stray tracks albums: one of full band tracks, and one of acoustic tracks. This is the full band kind.

Note that this album deals with a unusually long time period, nine years. By contrast, I have some acoustic collections from around these same years that often deal with only a couple of years each. I figure that's because it's very easy for him to perform a new song, such as a cover, if it's just him playing alone. But it takes a lot more effort to get a full band to learn a song.

This album can be divided into two parts. The first four songs are a grab bag from different sources, recorded from 2003 to 2007. They're all officially released, and come from movie soundtracks and various artists compilation albums. 

The rest of the songs all come from the 2012 Thompson studio album "Cabaret of Souls." This album has no less than 30 songs on it, all written by Thompson, but I've only selected five. That's because it's an unusual album, with many song actually narrative links, others instrumentals, and other songs sung by other people. I'm not a fan of most of those. I've boiled things down to just full songs that are sung by Thompson.

This album is 42 minutes long.

01 Season of the Witch (Richard Thompson)
02 Main Title [Instrumental] (Richard Thompson)
03 The Coo Coo Bird (Richard Thompson & Eliza Carthy)
04 Harlan's Bounce [Instrumental] (Richard Thompson)
05 Clyde Smythe (Richard Thompson)
06 Auldie Riggs (Richard Thompson)
07 Breaking Down the Walls (Richard Thompson)
08 Run Judas Run (Richard Thompson)
09 Bosom of the Lord (Richard Thompson)

The cover photo is a publicity photo from 2008. It's somewhat low-res, and I had other options, but I liked it so I used it anyway.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Robyn Hitchcock - Mossy Liquor - Acoustic Versions (1996)

Today I was updating all the links to all the Robyn Hitchcock albums I've posted. I've fixed the volume balance between songs, and also changed the mp3 tags, moving information from the album tag to the comments tag. I did that for well over 50 of his albums. (Some live albums didn't need those fixes.)

While doing that, I realized that I thought I'd posted this album ages ago, but for some reason I never did. So here it is, finally.

"Mossy Liquor" was essentially an outtakes album of the "Moss Elixir" album. But with Hitchcock, all his songs are good, in my opinion, so that doesn't matter much. 

 Every single performance here is officially unreleased. Most come from concert bootlegs. Still, the sound quality is pretty good throughout.

This album is relatively short at only 30 minutes long.

01 Shuffling Over the Flagstones [Instrumental] (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Cool Bug Rumble (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Wide Open Star (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Each of Her Silver Wands (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Trilobite (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Caroline Says II (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 Dr. Lucy (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Where Do You Go When You Die (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Let's Go Thundering (Robyn Hitchcock)

The cover art comes from a 1997 concert, but the exact date and location is unknown.

Donovan - BBC Sessions, Volume 4: In Concert, BBC Studios, London, Britain, 8-24-1972

Here's Volume 4 of Donovan at the BBC. This one is different from the others. Those were collections of various TV and radio sessions. He didn't seem to do any other such sessions for all of 1971 or most of 1972. But then in August 1972, he played a single BBC TV, "In Concert," that is presented here. It's 44 minutes long, and just features Donovan on acoustic guitar.

The songs played are from all points of his career so far. He played some of his old hits, like "Catch the Wind," "Colours," and "Mellow Yellow." But he also did a number of new songs, including two from his latest album "Cosmic Wheels," the songs "Cosmic Wheels" and "Maria Magenta." A few songs were still unreleased at the time: "Sailing Homeward," "The Ordinary Family," "People Call Me the Pied Piper," "Lovely Princess," and "A Well-Known Has-Been." There's also a fair amount of talking between songs, and audience participation on the song "Happiness Runs."

As you'd expect from the BBC, the sound quality is excellent, even though this show remains officially unreleased.   

There's one more BBC album to come after this, dealing with the years 1973 and 1974.

01 Jennifer Juniper (Donovan)
02 There Is a Mountain (Donovan)
03 Catch the Wind (Donovan)
04 talk (Donovan)
05 The Ordinary Family (Donovan)
06 Lovely Princess (Donovan)
07 talk (Donovan)
08 People Call Me the Pied Piper (Donovan)
09 A Well Known Has-Been (Donovan)
10 talk [Happiness Runs Practice] (Donovan)
11 Happiness Runs (Donovan)
12 Colours (Donovan)
13 talk (Donovan)
14 Sailing Homeward (Donovan)
15 Cosmic Wheels - Maria Magenta (Donovan)
16 talk (Donovan)
17 The Pee Song (Donovan)
18 Mellow Yellow (Donovan)

The photo I used for the cover is a bit low-res. But I used it because it's a screenshot taken from this exact concert.

J. Geils Band - Winterland, San Francisco, CA, 11-5-1977

There are many artists I haven't posted any music from yet. Here's one, the J. Geils Band. I post a lot of acoustic music here, but sometimes it's good to just rock in a party mode, and they're good for that.

The J. Geils Band is best known for their big 1981 hits "Centerfold" and "Freeze-Frame." But they had been around since the late 1960s. Although they released many studio albums and had some success with them, they were widely considered to be better on a live stage than in a recording studio. They only released two albums from their 1970s prime, one in 1972 and the other in 1976. The 1976 one, "Blow Your Face Out," was actually recorded in 1975. 

I like this bootleg concert better. For one thing, it took place two years later, so they had more material to draw from. This came after their studio album "Monkey Island" was released, and they played four songs from that. For another thing, it's significantly longer. "Blow Your Face Out" is an hour and 15 minutes long. This concert is an hour and 51 minutes long. So, basically, it would be a triple album in vinyl record terms instead of a double album.

In terms of sound quality, this is a great one. It was professionally recorded and filmed for some reason (you can watch the video of it on YouTube), so it sounds just as good as their official live albums. 

There are only a couple of problems. The first one is typical for these kinds of bootleg recordings: the talking between songs and the cheering after them was a bit quiet, so I boosted the volume of those parts. 

Also, there are flaws with two songs. The first song, "Somebody," originally faded in. It was only for a few seconds, and I fixed it by patching in a later repeat of the opening chords. But that does mean there's nothing before the first song, such as an emcee introducing the band, or the crowd cheering when they band took the stage. 

The other song with a flaw is "Serves You Right to Suffer." If you watch the video of this concert on YouTube, you'll see the start of the song is missing. It's impossible to know how much is missing, but in concerts the band usually extended this song to about nine minutes or so, and this version is only four and a half minutes long, so there's a significant loss. However, whoever posted this bootleg before me already came up with a fix, by having a lot of crowd noise to cover up a slow fade-in. I didn't do that at all, but it sounds okay by me, so I kept it that way.

01 Somebody [Edit] (J. Geils Band)
02 talk (J. Geils Band)
03 Detroit Breakdown (J. Geils Band)
04 Homework (J. Geils Band)
05 talk (J. Geils Band)
06 It Ain't Right (J. Geils Band)
07 Floyd's Hotel (J. Geils Band)
08 talk (J. Geils Band)
09 Surrender (J. Geils Band)
10 Sno-Cone [Instrumental] (J. Geils Band)
11 talk (J. Geils Band)
12 So Sharp (J. Geils Band)
13 Gettin' Out (J. Geils Band)
14 talk (J. Geils Band)
15 Start All Over Again (J. Geils Band)
16 Looking for a Love (J. Geils Band)
17 talk (J. Geils Band)
18 Monkey Island (J. Geils Band)
19 I'm Falling (J. Geils Band)
20 talk (J. Geils Band)
21 Must of Got Lost (J. Geils Band)
22 Give It to Me (J. Geils Band)
23 talk (J. Geils Band)
24 Where Did Our Love Go (J. Geils Band)
25 Whammer Jammer [Instrumental] (J. Geils Band)
26 [Ain't Nothin' but A] House Party (J. Geils Band)
27 talk (J. Geils Band)
28 Southside Shuffle (J. Geils Band)
29 Serves You Right to Suffer [Edit] (J. Geils Band)
30 Cruisin' for a Love (J. Geils Band)
31 talk (J. Geils Band)
32 Raise Your Hand (J. Geils Band)
33 talk (J. Geils Band)
34 Make Up Your Mind (J. Geils Band)
35 talk (J. Geils Band)

I'm happy to say that the cover photo comes from this exact concert. That's a lucky break, but I especially like this one. It uses a rare overhead view of the lead singer Peter Wolf, with fans at the edge of the stage reaching out for him. It's very evocative of big 1970s rock and roll concerts, in my opinion.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Bonnie Raitt - Rockefeller's, Houston, TX, 3-5-1988

Yesterday, I posted a bootleg concert of John Sebastian that took place at a club named Rockefeller's in Houston, Texas, in 1983. I mentioned that there seems to be stash of other bootleg recordings from the same venue in that same era. Here's another one, featuring Bonnie Raitt.

Actually, although these Rockefeller's bootlegs have emerged only in the last year or so (as I write this in December 2021), I've had a version of this show for many years already. Like this, that version was a soundboard recording. But that one only included the late show, and this more recent version includes the early and late shows. Plus, the sound quality of this version is better, though only slightly.

Anyway, the bottom line is the sound quality is excellent, as good as you'd expect from an officially released live album. The performance is solid too. Like the John Sebastian concert, this one is totally acoustic. However, Sebastian was all by himself, and on this Raitt was accompanied by Johnny Lee Schell, who switched between bass and lead guitar, and sometimes sang backing vocals.

Although the bootleg I took this from included all of the early and late sets, the two sets were very similar to each other, with nearly the exact same song lists. So I based this on the late set, which was longer, and only used three songs at the start that were only played in the early set.

This comes from a time when Raitt's career was at a nadir. Her album sales steadily declined as the 1980s went on. Her most recent album had been rejected by her record company, and she was only able to release it after making major changes that she didn't like that much. But her poor fortunes had a silver lining. As far as I know, she hadn't done any acoustic tours since the early 1970s. But I think she was forced to go acoustic at this time because she couldn't afford to pay her bad, so we get this nice concert recording.

This marks the end of what one might consider the first half of her music career. In 1989, she would release the album "Nick of Time," which would go on to sell millions, be critically acclaimed, and turn her into a superstar. This concert doesn't include any songs from that future album. But it does include many that she never did acoustically before. It also includes some songs that she never released on any album, such as "Soldier of Plenty," "Hold What You've Got," "Up the Country Blues," "El Salvador," and "Born in the Country."

This album is an hour and 46 minutes long.

01 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
02 Any Day Woman (Bonnie Raitt)
03 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
04 Too Long at the Fair (Bonnie Raitt)
05 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
06 Soldier of Plenty (Bonnie Raitt)
07 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
08 Love Me like a Man (Bonnie Raitt)
09 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
10 I Ain't Blue (Bonnie Raitt)
11 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
12 That Song about the Midway (Bonnie Raitt)
13 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
14 Hold What You've Got (Bonnie Raitt)
15 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
16 You Got to Know How (Bonnie Raitt)
17 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
18 Up the Country Blues (Bonnie Raitt)
19 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
20 Louise (Bonnie Raitt)
21 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
22 El Salvador (Bonnie Raitt)
23 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
24 Women Be Wise (Bonnie Raitt)
25 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
26 Big Road (Bonnie Raitt)
27 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
28 Mississippi Road (Bonnie Raitt)
29 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
30 River of Tears (Bonnie Raitt)
31 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
32 Write Me a Few of Your Lines - Kokomo Blues - Walkin' Blues - Special Rider Blues (Bonnie Raitt)
33 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
34 Willya Wontcha (Bonnie Raitt)
35 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
36 Angel from Montgomery (Bonnie Raitt)
37 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
38 Born in the Country (Bonnie Raitt)
39 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
40 Your Sweet and Shiny Eyes (Bonnie Raitt)
41 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
42 Man Sized Job (Bonnie Raitt)
43 talk (Bonnie Raitt)

I don't know where the cover art photo was taken, but it's said to be from 1988.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

John Sebastian - Rockefeller's, Houston, TX, 7-24-1983

Here's something new to me, so it goes straight to the top of the pile of music I post here. I think John Sebastian is a very talented musician, especially due to the many hit songs he wrote for his band the Lovin' Spoonful in the 1960s. However, I wasn't looking for any bootleg concert by him until I stumbled across this one the other day.

The first thing to note is that it's an acoustic show. I'm always a big fan of acoustic music, and it's great to hear his songs in a stripped back format. (He used a drum machine to create a basic beat on one song, "Tar Beach," but it's tastefully done.) 

The second thing to note is that the sound quality is fantastic. It seems a stash of soundboard recordings from this venue, Rockefeller's, in Houston, Texas, has come to light recently. I'm writing this in December 2021, and this particular concert was first posted on-line in June 2021. Some other concerts by other artists at this venue have been posted also with similar sound quality, and I hope many more will follow.

This concert is actually a compilation of an early show and a late show that he did on the same night. Apparently, the audience was rather small, even for the venue, with about 100 people there. But it seems the vast majority stayed for both shows, so the vast majority of the songs he did were different. The only songs I haven't included from the late show because they also were played in the early show are: "Welcome Back," "Red-Eye Express," "Darlin' Be Home Soon," and "Daydream."

I made a few audio adjustments. Sometimes, soundboard recordings capture what's happening on stage to the exclusion of almost all crowd noise, and that's the case here. It's strange to have the songs generally end with silence, so I greatly boosted what little audience applause there was. The audience is still on the quiet side, but at least there's a decent amount now. I also boosted the volume of the comments he made between songs, which were much quieter than his singing during songs.

There were problems with two songs. The beginning of "Younger Girl" was missing. The version here because with the last ten seconds of the first verse. I cut that, to give it a less jarring beginning, starting with the song's chorus. A similar thing happened to "Stories We Could Tell." I gather the first verse was missing, since it's short and already begins with the chorus. I didn't make any changes there, but I'm noting that missing section. Happily, everything else is fine and nothing else seems to be missing, unless there was some banter before either or both of those two songs.

Sebastian had a strange roller coaster of a music career. He wrote and sang some big hits with the Lovin' Spoonful in the 1960s, including "Summer in the City," which was a number one hit in the US in 1966. Then his solo career started well in the late 1960s and early 1970s, most noted by his appearance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, where he made an impression in both the movie and album versions. But then he didn't release albums all that often, or tour much, and his career declined. So it was a big surprise when he had another number one hit in 1976 with "Welcome Back," the theme song to the "Welcome Back, Kotter" TV show. However, incredibly, the year after that huge hit, his record contract ended, and he was unable to get another one!

As a result of that, by the time this concert happened in 1983, he hadn't put out a new studio album or single for seven years. Furthermore, he wouldn't put out another album for another ten years. That said, although he did a lot of songs from his Lovin' Spoonful days, as well as his early solo career, he played a number of new songs. For instance, the songs "Tar Beach" and "Smokey Don't Go" would appear on his 1993 album, and the song "Where Ever You Are" would appear on his 2001 album. He also did a bunch of covers, including songs by Little Feat and Lightnin' Hopkins.

Unfortunately, two songs you won't find here are "Summer in the City" and "Do You Believe in Magic." They're the most famous Lovin' Spoonful songs, but he commented at one point during the concert that he didn't think they sounded good done in the solo acoustic format.

This concert is an hour and 43 minutes long.

01 talk (John Sebastian)
02 Mobile Line [Gonna Carry Me Away from the Bull Frog Blues] (John Sebastian)
03 talk (John Sebastian)
04 talk (John Sebastian)
05 Welcome Back [Theme from 'Welcome Back, Kotter'] (John Sebastian)
06 talk (John Sebastian)
07 Nashville Cats (John Sebastian)
08 talk (John Sebastian)
09 Smokey Don't Go (John Sebastian)
10 talk (John Sebastian)
11 She's a Lady (John Sebastian)
12 talk (John Sebastian)
13 Where Ever You Are (John Sebastian)
14 talk (John Sebastian)
15 The Junk Monster Song (John Sebastian)
16 talk (John Sebastian)
17 The Easter Bunny Song (John Sebastian)
18 talk (John Sebastian)
19 Tar Beach (John Sebastian)
20 talk (John Sebastian)
21 You're a Big Boy Now (John Sebastian)
22 Jug Band Music (John Sebastian)
23 Dixie Chicken (John Sebastian)
24 Younger Girl (John Sebastian)
25 Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind (John Sebastian)
26 talk (John Sebastian)
27 Milk Cow Blues (John Sebastian)
28 talk (John Sebastian)
29 Red-Eye Express (John Sebastian)
30 Daydream (John Sebastian)
31 talk (John Sebastian)
32 Woodstock Toot [Instrumental] (John Sebastian)
33 Darlin' Be Home Soon (John Sebastian)
34 My Gal (John Sebastian)
35 Lovin' You (John Sebastian)
36 talk (John Sebastian)
37 Rainbows All Over Your Blues (John Sebastian)
38 talk (John Sebastian)
39 My Baby's Walkin' with Someone New (John Sebastian)
40 talk (John Sebastian)
41 Younger Generation (John Sebastian)
42 talk (John Sebastian)
43 Looking for Something Better (John Sebastian)
44 talk (John Sebastian)
45 How Have You Been (John Sebastian)
46 talk (John Sebastian)
47 4 Eyes (John Sebastian)
48 talk (John Sebastian)
49 Wild about My Lovin' (John Sebastian)
50 Stories We Could Tell (John Sebastian)
51 I Had a Dream (John Sebastian)

I couldn't find any good photos of Sebastian in concert in 1983. However, I did find one of him from 1984, so that's what I've used here.

Donovan - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: 1968-1970

Judging from recent comments, people seem to be enjoying the Donovan BBC album, so posting the next one is a good way to get back into the swing of posting music after my vacation.

I count 11 of 22 songs here that are actually from BBC TV or radio shows. Four of those are from "Bobbie Gentry," a BBC TV show starring Bobbie Gentry. Those include two duets with Donovan and Gentry.

Another big chunk of seven songs (from tracks 11 to 17) come from two appearances on the US TV show "The Smother Brothers Comedy Hour." This includes a duet version of "I Love My Shirt" with Donovan and the Smother Brothers, and a duet version with Donovan and Jennifer Warnes on "Time Is on the Run." Note that this is the same Jennifer Warnes who would have big hits in the 1980s with "Up Where You Belong" and "(I've Had) The Time of My Life." But at this time, her music career was just starting out. Her birth name was "Jennifer Warnes," but in the late 1960s she briefly used the stage names "Jennifer Warren" and simply "Jennifer." The reason Donovan dueted with her is because she was a part of the cast of the Smothers Brothers show at the time.

The last four songs come from appearances on various TV shows from the US, Belgium, and France. I was quite surprised that Donovan did a (rather off the cuff) version of "Get Back" by the Beatles, which had been a number one hit all over just a few months prior to his version.

A version of "There Is a Mountain' was included in Volume 2 of this series, but that is a solo version, and this is a duet version.

None of the performances here have been officially released. The sound quality is generally very good, despite the fact that the Smothers Brothers TV show songs and two others were performed in front of applauding audiences.

This album is 52 minutes long.

UPDATE: On June 6, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file with one song I'd missed, "Celia of the Seals." Thanks to Marley for sharing that one.

01 Mad John's Escape [Edit] (Donovan)
02 It's Been a Long Time (Donovan)
03 The Entertaining of a Shy Little Girl [Edit] (Donovan)
04 Hast Thou Seen the Unicorn [The Unicorn - The Owl and the Pussycat] [Edit] (Donovan)
05 Skip Along Sam [Edit] (Donovan)
06 Young but Growing [The Trees They Do Grow High] (Donovan)
07 There Is a Mountain (Donovan & Bobbie Gentry)
08 Bugs (Bobbie Gentry & Donovan)
09 A Sunny Day (Donovan)
10 Maria (Donovan)
11 Time Is on the Run (Donovan & Jennifer Warnes)
12 I Love My Shirt (Donovan & the Smothers Brothers)
13 Happiness Runs (Donovan)
14 Giggle in a Bubbley Bath (Donovan)
15 Angel's Thoughts (Donovan)
16 Little White Flower (Donovan)
17 Atlantis (Donovan)
18 Barabajagal [Love Is Hot] (Donovan)
19 Get Back (Donovan)
20 Someone Singing (Donovan & Andy Williams)
21 The Ferryman's Daughter (Donovan)
22 Hurdy Gurdy Man (Donovan)
23 Celia of the Seals [Edit] (Donovan)

The cover photo of Donovan comes from a concert in Denmark in 1969.