Friday, April 30, 2021

Louis Jordan - Radio Shows, 1944-1946

Recently, I posted a Louis Jordan album here. I'm kind of amazed that I was able to post some music of his that was unreleased (or only released on "grey market" quasi-bootlegs), because his music dates so far back that you'd think all of it would have either been officially released by now or lost forever. But it turns out there's more unreleased Louis Jordan music out there. I don't know of any decent sounding live recordings in front of an audience from his 1940s prime era, but this is close. These are different performances of his songs that were played on radio shows.

What radio shows exactly these come from is mostly a mystery to me. The source bootleg recordings I found had little to no documentation. I've had to piece much of this together using guesswork and logic. For instance, knowing when each of his singles came out allowed me to guestimate the years for these sessions. That said, the majority of these performances come from radio shows done by the US military during World War II. American soldiers were stationed all over the world, and they wanted to be entertained. Louis Jordan was one of the most popular musical artists of the era, especially with black audiences, so it made sense that he performed on armed forces radio a lot. And since those radio performances were shipped out all over the world (on what were called V-discs), some of them survived to this day.

I find this is an interesting slice of life for life in the 1940s, especially life during World War II. If you listen to the lyrics, you'll notice that some of the songs specifically address issues of the time, such as shortages in "You Can't Get That No More" or going from the military back to civilian life in "Reconversion Blues." And the title of "(My Feet Are Killing Me Marching In) The Infantry Blues" speaks for itself.

I'm really surprised that these recordings haven't been properly released, because the sound quality is pretty good. There even are some songs that he didn't release otherwise, such as "Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe," "You Was Right Baby," and "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie," or only came out in different versions much later, like "Ofay and Oxford Gray." By the way, that latter song is an appeal to racial harmony that wasn't released at the time because dealing with any racial issue apparently was too hot of a topic to touch.

I have another album of his US military radio shows from 1943, but the sound quality is a little bit poorer. Please let me know if you're interested in that. I'm veering so far from the rest of the music I post here that I have doubts if many people are interested.

If you're not that familiar with Louis Jordan's stuff, you might want to give this a shot. This isn't exactly a "best of," but his popularity was peaking during these years, and many of his biggest hits are here. The other songs are almost always lively and entertaining.

This album is 58 minutes long. And by the way, if anyone can help me pin down the exact sourcing for some of the song's mp3 tags, I'd appreciate it.

01 Knock Me a Kiss (Louis Jordan)
02 Five Guys Named Moe (Louis Jordan)
03 Jumpin' at the Jubilee (Louis Jordan)
04 talk (Louis Jordan)
05 You Can't Get That No More (Louis Jordan)
06 The End of My Worry (Louis Jordan)
07 I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town (Louis Jordan)
08 Better Off without You (Louis Jordan)
09 talk (Louis Jordan)
10 The Chicks I Pick Are Slender and Tender and Tall (Louis Jordan)
11 talk (Louis Jordan)
12 [My Feet Are Killing Me Marching In] The Infantry Blues (Louis Jordan)
13 How High Am I (Louis Jordan)
14 Hey, Now Let's Live (Louis Jordan)
15 talk (Louis Jordan)
16 Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby (Louis Jordan)
17 Caldonia (Louis Jordan)
18 talk (Louis Jordan)
19 Bahama Joe (Louis Jordan)
20 Nobody but Me (Louis Jordan)
21 talk (Louis Jordan)
22 You Was Right Baby (Louis Jordan)
23 talk (Louis Jordan)
24 Ofay and Oxford Gray (Louis Jordan)
25 talk (Louis Jordan)
26 Reconversion Blues (Louis Jordan)
27 talk (Louis Jordan)
28 Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe (Louis Jordan)
29 talk (Louis Jordan)
30 Don't Worry 'bout That Mule (Louis Jordan)
31 Pinetop's Boogie Woogie [Instrumental] (Louis Jordan)
32 Choo-Choo Ch' Boogie (Louis Jordan)
33 Let the Good Times Roll (Louis Jordan)

For the cover art, I wanted to do something that would fit the artistic style of the 1940s. That's really hard to get right this many decades later though. So I got around that problem by using a color poster to one of his 1940s movies. All I did was crop the rectangular poster to fit a square album cover space, then remove some text and add in some other text.

Morgan James - Quarantunes, Volume 1 (2020)

If you've been following this blog, you may have noticed that I've posted a lot of music by Morgan James, even though she's relatively unknown and isn't usually included in websites such as this one. If you think I've posted too much of her stuff then brace yourself, because I'm going to post a whole lot more! ;) In 2020, during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, she posted no less than a 100 cover songs she did in a 100 day time period. She called this series "Quarantunes," so that's what I'm calling it too. 

All of these covers featured just her on lead vocals, plus her husband Doug Wamble on acoustic guitar and occasional vocals. In other words, it's exactly like most of her acoustic covers albums I've posted here already. So if you liked those, you'll be sure the like this new series too.

As with the previous covers albums from Morgan James that I've posted, one thing I really like about her is that she does songs by a wide variety of artists. In fact, I'd guess this album has a wider range of source material than any other all-covers albums by anyone that I've posted at this blog so far. Consider she does songs by Duke Ellington and Hank Williams from the pre-rock and roll era all way to the Backstreet Boys and Robyn from the last couple of decades! Who else does that? Nobody I know.  And thanks to her excellent voice and the acoustic guitar arrangements, none of the songs sound out of place.

This album is 47 minutes long.

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

01 Alone Together - Arthur Schwartz & Howard Dietz
02 Lonely Avenue - Ray Charles
03 Solitude - Duke Ellington
04 Tired of Being Alone - Al Green
05 Meditation - Antonio Carlos Jobim
06 Azure - Duke Ellington
07 Islands in the Stream - Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers
08 Dancing on My Own - Robyn
09 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Hank Williams
10 Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely - Backstreet Boys
11 Love Will Keep Us Alive - Eagles
12 The End of the Innocence - Don Henley
13 Mad World - Tears for Fears
14 So Lonely - Police
15 New York State of Mind - Billy Joel

Here's the usual song list:

01 Alone Together (Morgan James)
02 Lonely Avenue (Morgan James & Doug Wamble)
03 Solitude (Morgan James)
04 Tired of Being Alone (Morgan James)
05 Meditation (Morgan James & Doug Wamble)
06 Azure (Morgan James)
07 Islands in the Stream (Morgan James & Doug Wamble)
08 Dancing on My Own (Morgan James)
09 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (Morgan James)
10 Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely (Morgan James)
11 Love Will Keep Us Alive (Morgan James)
12 The End of the Innocence (Morgan James)
13 Mad World (Morgan James)
14 So Lonely (Morgan James)
15 New York State of Mind (Morgan James)

The cover art photo is a screenshot I took from one of the YouTube videos of one of the songs featured here.

The Moody Blues - BBC Sessions, Volume 5: 1970-1972

Here's the fifth and final album in my series of the Moody Blues performing for the BBC.

Note that this album significantly changed when I updated it in June 2022. Previously, this had been called "Volume 4." But I moved much of the content, a 1969 BBC concert, to a new "Volume 4" album, making this one "Volume 5."

After removing many songs from the previous version of this album, I wanted to replace them with something. It just so happens I recently came into a contact with a person who has access to transcription discs of the BBC radio show "Top of the Pops." To my surprise, those showed that the Moody Blues played some songs on the BBC in 1970 and 1972 that weren't included in their official album "Live at the BBC: 1967-1970," and generally haven't even been bootlegged. Those now make up tracks one through five, plus the last track.

Unfortunately, the Moody Blues played for the BBC on a regular basis through late 1970, then basically stopped. This isn't too surprising. Once a musical artist got fairly big, it was common for them to stop their BBC sessions. Take for instance the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Both of them played for the BBC a lot until they stopped in 1965. But the Moody Blues are generally considered to have a golden era from 1967 to 1972 and I wanted this to cover that entire era. To make matters worse, the band didn't seem to promote their music on any other TV or radio shows that I could find, unless it was done with lip-syncing.

So I did two things to make up for the lack of BBC or other similar recordings from 1970 to 1972. First, I found a recording of a concert the band did in 1970 that had excellent sound quality. (It was included on the band's "Timeless Flight" box set, but only as a DVD feature.) So I used that to get performances of songs (tracks six through nine) that appeared on the band's 1970 album "A Question of Balance" that otherwise weren't done for the BBC.

Unfortunately, after 1970, the situation becomes even more difficult. I couldn't find ANY bootlegs from 1971, 1972 or 1973 in worthy sound quality that would match the rest of this BBC series. Luckily, when I updated this album in 2022, I discovered they did a version of "Isn't Life Strange" exclusively for the BBC in 1972. So I used that.

But two of their biggest hits and best songs come from those years: "The Story in Your Eyes" and "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)." For "The Story in Your Eyes," it just so happens though that later releases of their 1971 album has a bonus track that 's an alternate version each of that song. So I've added it in, in lieu of anything that fits better. But unfortunately, I couldn't find any adequate version to use for "I'm Just a Singer (In a Rock and Roll Band)."

Still, all in all, this BBC series serves as kind of an alternate "best of" for their music from 1965 to 1972, though admittedly it's light on songs from their 1971 and 1972 albums.

This album is 40 minutes long.

UPDATE: On June 12, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I already described the changes I made up above, including changing the name of this album from "Volume 4" to "Volume 5."

01 Melancholy Man [Edit] (Moody Blues)
02 And the Tide Rushes In [Edit] (Moody Blues)
03 Minstrel's Song [Edit] (Moody Blues)
04 It's Up to You [Edit] (Moody Blues)
05 Don't You Feel Small [Edit] (Moody Blues)
06 Question (Moody Blues)
07 Tortoise and the Hare (Moody Blues)
08 Lazy Day (Moody Blues)
09 Candle of Life (Moody Blues)
10 The Story in Your Eyes [Alternate Version] (Moody Blues)
11 Isn't Life Strange (Moody Blues)

The cover art photo comes from an appearance on "The Top of the Pops" TV show in 1971. Ironically, that kind of appearance is exactly what I was looking for musically and couldn't find. I believe they lip-synced on that show, so I couldn't use it.

Joan Osborne - Sendesaal Radio, Bremen, Germany, 11-9-2002

I'm a big fan of Joan Osborne. I have many stray tracks of hers to post. However, I've put those on the back burner because she's sang all over the place and I sometimes stumble across songs I want to add in. I don't want to do what I did with the likes of Sheryl Crow and Norah Jones, where I've had to keep updating and expanding the albums I've posted as I find more stuff.

Anyway, here's something that falls out of the range of those stray tracks albums. There are two outstanding features of his concert. For one, the sound quality is outstanding. It was recorded for a German radio station, so it sounds as good as an official live album. The second thing is that it's mostly acoustic. In fact, there were only two people on stage: Joan Osborne just doing lead vocals, and her long time guitarist Andrew Carillo on guitar. But it's a bit more complicated than that, because she played pre-recorded backing tapes for some of the more lively songs. That said, even when the backing tapes are used, the sound is still minimalistic. I like that, because it helps one focus on the quality of her singing.

This concert took place shortly after the release of her 2002 album "How Sweet It Is," which consisted entirely of covers of famous soul songs. As a result, all but three songs here are covers.

The concert is rather short. The bootleg I originally got this from added two songs to the end, which actually date from 2000 instead of 2002 like the rest. But I've chosen to keep them because they fit the minimalist sound so well. Plus, they have stunning sound quality, and they also fit with the general theme of doing soulful covers. The only snag is that "The Tears of a Clown" gets cut off before the end. These come from the eTown broadcast, and I've noticed those often end with a song getting cut off because they'll play music until the last second of the show. So I'm guessing that's what happened here, and this is no known recording of the rest. 

The concert is an hour and 14 minutes long if you include the two extra songs at the end, and an hour and eight minutes if you don't.

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

01 Why Can't We Live Together - Timmy Thomas
03 I'll Be Around - Spinners
05 Bold as Love - Jimi Hendrix
06 How Sweet It Is [To Be Loved by You] - Marvin Gaye
08 Smiling Faces Sometimes - Undisputed Truth
09 One of Us - Joan Osborne
11 Love's in Need of Love Today - Stevie Wonder
12 War - Edwin Starr
14 St. Teresa - Joan Osborne
16 Everybody Is a Star - Sly & the Family Stone
18 Make You Feel My Love - Bob Dylan
19 Righteous Love - Joan Osborne
20 Man in the Long Black Coat - Bob Dylan
21 The Tears of a Clown - Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
22 Brick House - Commodores

 Here's the usual song list:

01 Why Can't We Live Together (Joan Osborne)
02 talk (Joan Osborne)
03 I'll Be Around (Joan Osborne)
04 talk (Joan Osborne)
05 Bold as Love (Joan Osborne)
06 How Sweet It Is [To Be Loved by You] (Joan Osborne)
07 talk (Joan Osborne)
08 Smiling Faces Sometimes (Joan Osborne)
09 One of Us (Joan Osborne)
10 talk (Joan Osborne)
11 Love's in Need of Love Today (Joan Osborne)
12 War (Joan Osborne)
13 talk (Joan Osborne)
14 St. Teresa (Joan Osborne)
15 talk (Joan Osborne)
16 Everybody Is a Star (Joan Osborne)
17 talk (Joan Osborne)
18 Make You Feel My Love (Joan Osborne)
19 Righteous Love (Joan Osborne)
20 Man in the Long Black Coat (Joan Osborne)
21 The Tears of a Clown (Joan Osborne)
22 Brick House (Joan Osborne)

The cover photo comes from a 2002 appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

Bettye LaVette - Heart of Gold - Non-Album Tracks (1969-1978)

A day ago, I posted an album of Bettye LaVette's stray tracks from most of the 1960s. This continues that, from 1968 to the end of the 1970s.

As I mentioned with that previous post, LaVette essentially has had two music careers. She was a struggling soul singer in the 1960s, with only a couple of minor hits, in 1962 and 1965. Then, after a couple of decades with very little interest or new recordings, she had a surprising career revival in the 2000s and she's been going strong ever since.

The time period covered here is a frustrating one, because she recorded a lot of great music, but hardly anyone heard it at the time. In addition to the music presented here, she recorded two albums that weren't released until decades later. One is now called "Take Another Little Piece of My Heart," and was recorded in 1969. The other has been released with the names "Souvenirs" and "Child of the Seventies," and was recorded in 1972. I highly recommend both of them, if you like her music at all.

What we have here is everything else she recorded in that time period. The vast majority of these songs were actually released at the time as singles, but they had very little impact. The problem was, record companies and producers and such knew LaVette had tons of musical talent, so they kept giving her chances with new singles, even though she hadn't had a hit in ages. But due to poor promotion or whatever, nothing caught on. 

Things more or less petered out as the 1970s went on. The last song here, "Doin' the Best I Can," is disco from those few years when everyone and their brother felt obliged to do disco. Personally, I don't like it and I think it doesn't fit with the rest, but I'm including it for completeness's sake. You can remove that and still have a very nice album.

This album is 48 minutes long.

01 With a Little Help from My Friends (Bettye LaVette)
02 Hey Love (Bettye LaVette)
03 Ticket to the Moon (Bettye LaVette)
04 Never My Love (Bettye LaVette)
05 Stormy (Bettye LaVette)
06 Heart of Gold (Bettye LaVette)
07 You'll Wake Up Wiser (Bettye LaVette)
08 Waiting for Tomorrow (Bettye LaVette)
09 Livin' Life on a Shoestring (Bettye LaVette)
10 Behind Closed Doors (Bettye LaVette)
11 You're a Man of Words, I'm a Woman of Action (Bettye LaVette)
12 You Made a Believer Out of Me (Bettye LaVette)
13 Thank You for Loving Me (Bettye LaVette)
14 Feelings (Bettye LaVette)
15 Doin' the Best I Can (Bettye LaVette)

The cover art photo is said to date from 1970. The original was in black and white, but I colorized it.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Moody Blues - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: 1968-1969

This is the third out of four albums of the Moody Blues playing at the BBC.

This was a fairly straight-forward album to make. There is an official BBC album called "Live at the BBC, 1967-1970." All but two of the songs here come from that. 

Note the lack of "[Edit]" notations in the song titles, which means I didn't have to edit any of these to removing BBC DJs talking over the music. I suppose the Moody Blues were generally hosted by the more FM-styled DJs that didn't like to talk over the music, compared to the AM-styled ones who did.

However, this isn't entirely from that official BBC album. Two songs here, "Om" and "The Best Way to Travel" come from a different source. In 1968, the band played on a short-lived BBC TV show called "Colour Me Pop." They played seven songs on that show, but I've only included the two songs that they didn't play elsewhere on this album. Those come from the "Timeless Flight" box set, but only on the DVD portion of it.

UPDATE: On June 12, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. The last few songs had been from a 1969 BBC concert. I removed those, and put them on "Volume 4," which now consists entirely of that concert. Instead, I added a version of "Nights in White Satin" that was played on a Tom Jones TV show. I also added a bonus track, "The Morning: Another Morning," which is the other song played on that show. It's only a bonus track because another version, actually done for the BBC, is on this album.

Additionally, I moved some songs that had been on the next volume of this series to this album, so its length is about the same as it was before.

This album is 36 minutes long, not including the bonus track.

01 Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues)
02 Dr. Livingston, I Presume (Moody Blues)
03 The Morning- Another Morning (Moody Blues)
04 House of Four Doors (Moody Blues)
05 Visions of Paradise (Moody Blues)
06 The Actor (Moody Blues)
07 Om (Moody Blues)
08 The Best Way to Travel (Moody Blues)
09 Tuesday Afternoon [Forever Afternoon] (Moody Blues)
10 So Deep within You (Moody Blues)
11 Lovely to See You (Moody Blues)
12 Send Me No Wine (Moody Blues)

The Morning- Another Morning (Moody Blues)

The cover art photo comes from 1969. If you look at their ultra-psychedelic cover photo from Volume 2, I think it's interesting how drastically they changed again, dropping that look entirely in favor of "normal" clothes.

Richard Thompson - Red Wine Promises - Non-Album Acoustic Tracks (2002-2003)

I've been posting two kinds of stray tracks albums for Richard Thompson: songs done with a band, and songs done in the solo acoustic format. Here's another album with him in the solo acoustic format.

Six out of 12 songs here have been officially released. But I don't think you'll be able to tell the difference, because most of the unreleased ones come from in-studio radio station appearances, usually with no audience noise.

The time period of this album coincides with when Thompson started to do a lot of concerts with the "1000 Years of Popular Music" theme. That'll be the focus of my next album I post from him. But suffice to say that explains why he started doing covers of songs like "You'll Never Walk Alone," "Shenandoah" and even "Oops... I Did It Again" by Britney Spears. But note that none of these versions are actually from any of those "1000 Years" shows. It seems he liked some of the songs enough to play them elsewhere.

This album is 40 minutes long.

01 Les Flammes d'Enfer (Richard Thompson)
02 Red Wine Promises (Richard Thompson)
03 Madonna's Wedding (Richard Thompson)
04 Oops... I Did It Again (Richard Thompson)
05 You'll Never Walk Alone (Richard Thompson)
06 Poseidon (Judith Owen & Richard Thompson)
07 Alexander Graham Bell (Richard Thompson)
08 A Love You Can't Survive (Richard Thompson)
09 Word Unspoken, Sight Unseen (Richard Thompson)
10 Kidzz (Richard Thompson)
11 Shenandoah (Richard Thompson)
12 She Said It Was Destiny (Richard Thompson)

The cover art photo comes from a concert in the Netherlands in June 2003.

Robyn Hitchcock - Acoustic Covers, Volume 12: 2013-2014

It's time to post more Robyn Hitchcock music. I've been working my way chronologically through his career. I've probably posted more albums by him than anyone else, yet I'm still only to 2013. This is yet another album consisting entirely of his acoustic cover versions.

As is usually the case with the other albums in this series, all of the performances here are officially unreleased, and all of them come from concert bootlegs. That said, I was careful to keep the sound quality high by avoiding the dodgy sounding boots. 

The song "Box of Rain" has been heavily edited. I play the guitar, and I know first hand that the song is surprisingly difficult to play, with lots of tricky chord changes and sections. I believe this recording is the first and only time Hitchcock played the song in concert. To be honest, he flailed around some, struggling to find the right chords as well as sometimes flubbing the words. I edited it to remove the worst flubs, for instance when he went back and redid a line or two. It's better now, but you can still hear some missed chord changes and some incorrect lines. I'm keeping it here despite the flaws because it's a great song and he got the spirit of it despite the rough edges.

This time around, Hitchcock happened to heavily focus on playing the songs of many of the greatest names in music, with only the one-hit wonder "Funkytown" being a left field choice. He was especially in a Bob Dylan mode, playing four of his songs, including the very rare "I'm Not There (1956)" from the 1967 Basement Tapes sessions.

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

01 The Only Living Boy in New York - Simon & Garfunkel
02 Simple Twist of Fate - Bob Dylan
03 Funkytown - Lipps Inc.
04 Senor [Tales of Yankee Power] - Bob Dylan
05 Box of Rain [Edit] - Grateful Dead
06 Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie
07 Beware of Darkness - George Harrison
08 Dark Globe - Syd Barrett
09 Open the Door, Homer - Bob Dylan & the Band
10 Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
11 Dead Flowers - Rolling Stones
12 I'm Not There [1956] - Bob Dylan
13 Fancy - Kinks

Here's the usual song list:

01 The Only Living Boy in New York (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Simple Twist of Fate (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 Funkytown (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Senor [Tales of Yankee Power] (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 Box of Rain [Edit] (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 Ashes to Ashes (Robyn Hitchcock & Grant Lee Phillips)
07 Beware of Darkness (Robyn Hitchcock & Grant Lee Phillips)
08 Dark Globe (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 Open the Door, Homer (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Suzanne (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 Dead Flowers (Robyn Hitchcock & Steve-Kilbey)
12 I'm Not There [1956] (Robyn Hitchcock)
13 Fancy (Robyn Hitchcock)

This album is 47 minutes long.

The cover art photo is from a 2014 concert in Nashville.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Moody Blues - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1967-1968

Volume 2 of the Moody Blues' BBC sessions is drastically different from Volume 1. In 1965 and 1966, the British band focused on R&B music. They discovered a new style with their 1967 album "Days of Future Passed," helped along by a change of personnel. They've maintained that poppy progressive rock sound ever since.

Ten of the 13 songs here come from the official album "Live at the BBC, 1967-1970." I've augmented that with a few songs I've found from other radio or TV shows. The first song, "I Really Haven't Got the Time," is from a French TV show. Both it and the second song "Fly Me High" appear on Volume 1 in this series as well, in different versions. Both of those songs are important as transitional works between the two versions of the band. You can hear key differences in the different versions, which is why I've included multiple versions when I rarely do that.

The songs "I've Got a Dream" and "Bye Bye Bird" come from a 1968 French TV show. I've posted that entire show on this blog already. You can find that here:

I've included two those here as well because they're the only two songs from that show that weren't otherwise played at a BBC session featured here. Note that a different version of "Bye Bye Bird" was also on Volume 1. Again, I include both because they're considerably different from each other.

01 I Really Haven't Got the Time (Moody Blues)
02 Fly Me High (Moody Blues)
03 Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (Moody Blues)
04 Love and Beauty (Moody Blues)
05 Leave This Man Alone (Moody Blues)
06 Peak Hour (Moody Blues)
07 Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues)
08 I’ve Got a Dream (Moody Blues)
09 Bye Bye Bird (Moody Blues)
10 Twilight Time [Evening] (Moody Blues)
11 Ride My See-Saw (Moody Blues)
12 The Best Way to Travel (Moody Blues)
13 Voices in the Sky (Moody Blues)

Before I say anything else about the cover art, please take a moment to compare how the band looks here versus how it looks on the cover of Volume 1. Talk about a total transformation! I don't know anything about where this cover art photo comes from, but judging by their outfits and hair I think it's a good guess that it's from 1967. I changed the background from white to yellow to make a better contrast with the band name lettering.

Bettye LaVette - Let Me Down Easy - Non-Album Tracks (1962-1968)

In my opinion, Bettye LaVette is a major figure in soul music, and I plan on posting a lot of her stuff in the future. But her career had a very strange trajectory. She began recording in 1962, when she was only 16 years old, and she's still going strong, with her being 75 years old as I write this. But she only had a couple of minor hits in the 1960s, and her career sputtered after the early 1970s. It was only in the 2000s when she's had a surprising late career resurgence, releasing many critically acclaimed albums since then.

In the 1960s and 1970s, LaVette wasn't popular enough to have any studio albums released. Her first album wouldn't appear until 1982. Some songs have come out on this or that archival compilation, but none of them have come close to being definitive. So I've collected all the unique songs she did back then and I've made this stray tracks collection of them. (There's more from 1968 onwards, but that'll be the subject of a future album to be posted here.) The vast majority of these songs are A- or B-sides to singles. There are only three songs that aren't. I'm guessing those were recorded as potential singles but were kept in the vaults until she became famous much later.

The songs here are hit and miss, in my opinion. There's some great stuff, and some forgettable stuff. But overall she has a remarkable voice that can elevate mediocre material. And when she's on, it can be incredible. I've named this album "Let Me Down Easy" because that song is a clear stand out. When it was released in 1965, it was only a minor hit, reaching number 20 on the soul charts. But since it's been rightly been seen as a soul classic and probably her de facto signature song. If you look at the Wikipedia entry on the song, you'll find professional music reviewers who call it a "masterpiece" and a song which "many consider to be one of the great soul sides of all time." I heartily agree.

This album is 53 minutes long. 

By the way, note that up until 1977, she was known as "Betty LaVette." At that point, she added an "E" to the end of her first name. Since she's become much better known with the "Bettye" name, I've used that name for all the songs here, for consistency's sake.

01 My Man - He's a Lovin' Man (Bettye LaVette)
02 Shut Your Mouth (Bettye LaVette)
03 You'll Never Change (Bettye LaVette)
04 Here I Am (Bettye LaVette)
05 Witchcraft in the Air (Bettye LaVette)
06 You Killed the Love (Bettye LaVette)
07 [Happiness Will Cost You] One Thin Dime (Bettye LaVette)
08 Let Me Down Easy (Bettye LaVette)
09 What I Don't Know [Won't Hurt Me] (Bettye LaVette)
10 I Feel Good [All Over] (Bettye LaVette)
11 Only Your Love Can Save Me (Bettye LaVette)
12 I'm Just a Fool for You (Bettye LaVette)
13 Stand Up like a Man (Bettye LaVette)
14 Cry Me a River (Bettye LaVette)
15 She Don't Love You like I Love You (Bettye LaVette)
16 I'm Holding On (Bettye LaVette)
17 Tears in Vain (Bettye LaVette)
18 Almost (Bettye LaVette)
19 Get Away (Bettye LaVette)
20 Just Dropped In [To See What Condition My Condition Is In] (Bettye LaVette)

I couldn't find any good color photos of her from the 1960s. So for the album cover, I used a black and white photo from that era, and colorized it. I found a black and white cover to her "Let Me Down Easy" single. I had some issues with it, including it being somewhat blurry, but I used elements of it to give the cover an authentic period look with the text, the bars, the mono logo, and the record company logo.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Moody Blues - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1965-1966

Next up with BBC sessions is the Moody Blues. The vast majority of their BBC performances have been officially released, but in my opinion they haven't been presented in an ideal manner, all together, so that's what I'm doing here. I've found enough for four volumes.

This first volume just deals with the years 1965 and 1966. At that time, the Moody Blues were a drastically different band than what they'd become just one year later, with the 1967 album "Days of Future Passed." In this early phase, the band's lead singer was Denny Laine, and they mainly played R&B music. Laine left in late 1966 for a solo career. He was replaced by Justin Hayward as the new main lead singer, as well as John Lodge. Hayward would go on to write and sing most of the band's hits.

The Hayward-Lodge band line-up is represented on this album, but just barely. They're only on one song, "Fly Me High," which was written by Hayward. It was performed on the very last day of 1966. I've included it here because I have a different version of the song on the next volume in this series.

It seems to me that the version of the band from 1967 until the current day would prefer to act like the earlier Denny Laine-led version of the band never existed. Nearly all of their compilations and archival recordings start from 1967. That's the case with their main BBC release, "Live at the BBC, 1967-1970." All the band's BBC performances prior to that have been included as bonus tracks on a deluxe version of the Laine-led band's sole album, "The Magnificent Moodies." So that's where 12 of the songs here come from.

But I didn't stop there. All of those songs are from 1965. The band didn't have any BBC sessions in 1966 at all, probably because of declining popularity due to a lack of new hit singles. I've tried to fill this gap with four unreleased performances done for French or German TV shows. (The early band was especially popular in France because "Bye Bye Bird" was a number three hit single there while not being a hit anywhere else.) I also found an unreleased performance of the band playing "Hey Bo Diddley" in concert in 1965 that sounded good, so I added that too.

This volume ends with a song that's kind of a quasi-bonus track. Technically, it's not a Moody Blues song at all, and it also doesn't fit the time frame, being recorded in the latter half of 1967. I'm referring to "Say You Don't Mind," a solo single by Denny Laine. I'm including it because I think it's a great song (written by Laine, by the way), that really should have been a hit. It fits here better than it would in Volume 2, since this volume focuses on songs sung by Laine. 

(Note there are some more songs Laine performed for the BBC as a solo artist, but I didn't want to go too far down that path here. I want to keep the focus on the Moody Blues, but this one song is too good to be ignored.)

By now, I must sound like a broken record, complaining about how BBC DJs talked over the beginnings and ends of some songs. That was the case here too, but it wasn't that bad this time, with only six of the songs needing editing. All of those have "[Edit]" in their titles. I used X-Minus to wipe the DJ chatter while keeping the underlying music.

This album is 51 minutes long.

01 Go Now (Moody Blues)
02 I Don't Want to Go On without You [Edit] (Moody Blues)
03 I'll Go Crazy (Moody Blues)
04 Hey Bo Diddley (Moody Blues)
05 From the Bottom of My Heart [I Love You] (Moody Blues)
06 Jump Back [Edit] (Moody Blues)
07 I've Got a Dream (Moody Blues)
08 And My Baby's Gone [Edit] (Moody Blues)
09 It's Easy Child [Edit] (Moody Blues)
10 Stop (Moody Blues)
11 Everyday (Moody Blues)
12 You Don't [All the Time] (Moody Blues)
13 I Want You to Know (Moody Blues)
14 Bye Bye Bird (Moody Blues)
15 Can't Nobody Love You (Moody Blues)
16 I Really Haven't Got the Time (Moody Blues)
17 Fly Me High [Edit] (Moody Blues)
18 Say You Don't Mind [Edit] (Denny Laine's Electric String Band)

The cover art photo dates from January 1965, when the band made an appearance on the "Top of the Pops" TV show.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Various Artists - Covered: Willie Dixon, Volume 3: 1972-2012

Here's the third and last of the "Covered" songwriter series for Willie Dixon.

Dixon had poor health for most of the time period featured here. He eventually lost a leg due to diabetes complications, and finally died in 1992. As a result, most or all of the songs here are from earlier years, but he's such a blues giant that his songs continue to be covered every year. 

As I mentioned previously, my rule was to have each artist limited to just one song for the whole series, to showcase the diversity of those who have played his songs. For some songs, it was extremely tough to pick just one. Take "I Just Want to Make Love to You." Well over 100 artists have recorded covers - it seems to be a go-to song for anyone expressing horny urges. Just some of the famous names covering this song include: Muddy Waters, Van Morrison, B. B. King, Etta James, Chuck Berry, the Rolling Stones, the Righteous Brothers, Ann-Margaret, Lou Rawls, Bo Diddley, Isaac Hayes, Junior Wells, Eric Burdon, Paul Rodgers, Buddy Guy, Cliff Richard, Peter Frampton, Dion, the Isley Brothers, Santana, Tom Petty. So how the heck could I pick just one version?! In the end, I went with Foghat's version since they had a hit with it, and they performed it in a fairly different style.

The whole point of the "Covered" series is to highlight the skills of songwriters who generally didn't get famous as performers too. I hope you enjoy these three Willie Dixon albums and gain a new appreciation of his role behind many blues classics.

01 I Just Want to Make Love to You (Foghat)
02 Help Me (Van Morrison)
03 Built for Comfort (UFO)
04 Violent Love (Oingo Boingo)
05 Close to You (Byther Smith)
06 Let Me Love You, Baby (Stevie Ray Vaughan)
07 I Can't Quit You Baby (Otis Rush)
08 Howlin' for My Baby [Howlin' for My Darling] (George Thorogood & the Destroyers)
09 Third Degree (Eric Clapton)
10 Hidden Charms (Elvis Costello)
11 I Want to Be Loved (Cassandra Wilson)
12 You Can't Judge a Book by the Cover (Strypes)
13 Bring It on Home (Joan Osborne)

Once again, I don't know any details of where or when the cover art photo is from. But I'm guessing he's older than for the other two photos, just based on looks. And for once I was able to use an actual color photo of him instead of colorizing one. I did change the background color some, since the original happened to be close to the yellow I use for all the text in this series.

Two Millions Views

I don't keep close tabs on the stats for this blog, but I happened to notice today that this blog surpassed two million views in the last few weeks. :) I've celebrated this milestone by posting a bunch of albums in the last 24 hours.

Things have settled to about 4,000 unique views each day for the past few months. That's good, but if you really like this blog, please spread the word about it, so more people know about it. Thanks.

Grace Potter - Twilight Hour, Volume 6 - Home Concert, Topanga, CA, 6-22-2020 to 6-29-2020

There's such an overwhelming amount of good music that hasn't properly appeared on album that I want to post on this blog that I sometimes feel overwhelmed. I've been doing this for over two years, but it seems like I still have an endless amount of albums to post. For instance, the surge of home concerts due to the coronavirus pandemic has largely subsided, but I still have a bunch of them from 2020 I haven't gotten around to posting yet. Here's another one from Grace Potter, but I have three more in the same vein after this one.

This album is a compilation of two of her "Twilight Hour" live Internet broadcasts. The first one was all cover versions. Those are the first six songs. She mostly did well known songs but she also did a few obscurities. She played a song by from Spirit, "Topanga Windows," probably inspired by the fact that she lives in Topanga Canyon. She also did part of "Another One Rides the Bus," which is the Weird Al Yankovic parody of "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen. And she did "The Weary Kind" a song by Ryan Bingham that was featured in the 2009 movie "Crazy Heart."

The second show, exactly one week later, focused entirely on her 2015 album "Midnight." She played a majority of the songs from that album. As I've expressed with previous album postings, I generally prefer the way she does her own songs in her "Twilight Hour" shows over her album versions. I suspect the album versions are too fussed with and overproduced, whereas these versions are done with a band, yet, but they have a stripped down approach that works well.

This album is 56 minutes long.

01 For What It's Worth (Grace Potter)
02 Topanga Windows (Grace Potter)
03 Another One Rides the Bus (Grace Potter)
04 Corrina, Corrina (Grace Potter)
05 Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Grace Potter)
06 Going Up the Country (Grace Potter)
07 The Weary Kind [Theme from Crazy Heart] (Grace Potter)
10 Hot to the Touch (Grace Potter)
11 Alive Tonight (Grace Potter)
12 Your Girl (Grace Potter)
13 The Miner (Grace Potter)
14 Look What We've Become (Grace Potter)
15 Low (Grace Potter)
16 Nobody's Born With a Broken Heart (Grace Potter)
17 Let You Go (Grace Potter)

As with most of the other albums in this series that I've posted, I've used Potter's own artwork for the album covers, taken from her Instagram account. I doubt either of these shows fit the "Songs of Togetherness" theme expressed in the art, but that's okay. ;)

Neil Diamond - BBC in Concert, Royal Festival Hall, London, Britain, 5-29-1971

In the past month or so, I've made a concerted effort to post more music that originally came from the BBC. That hasn't come as fast as I'd like, because a lot of it is new to my music collection and BBC sessions often need a lot of sound editing to get rid of the BBC DJs talking over the music. But sometimes the BBC has played entire concerts without any DJs, and those need more exposure too.

So here's one of those, featuring Neil Diamond. I have to admit my musical interest in him is very limited. I love many of his hits from the start of his career around 1966 until 1972 or so. Songs like "Sweet Caroline," "Cherry, Cherry," and "Solitary Man" are all time classics, in my opinion. But after that, it's very hit or miss, in my opinion. He moved much more into the sappy love song direction, and went all in with schmaltzy Las Vegas style glamour. 

It so happens that there are almost no live recordings of him prior to his hit live album "Hot August Night," recorded in 1972. I've posted one bootleg of him from 1967, but it's rather short and the sound quality is just okay. It's here, if you're curious:

There's also a little-known official live album recorded in 1969 called "Gold - Recorded Live at the Troubadour." It's very good in my opinion, done before the show biz overproduction overtook him. But that's about it, other than one or two bootlegs that sound pretty bad.

However, there also is a concert he did for BBC TV in 1971. I've seen it around the Internet here and there, but only in video format. So I've converted it to mp3, and I'm sharing it here. I like it because even though it was only recorded one year before "Hot August Night," and it has many of the same songs, it has a different feel. It's not exactly an acoustic concert, he does have a band that includes some strings and some horns, but it has a more subdued "confessional singer-songwriter" feel. I think a lot of that is because he talked a lot between songs, often shedding light on what his songs are about. It's a rather short concert at 45 minutes, but 10 of those minutes are him talking. That may not sound like a lot, but it's a much higher ratio than you'll find for most artists.

Crucially, the sound quality of this show is excellent. Thanks to those BBC professionals, it sounds just as good as a typical official live album from that era.

01 Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond)
02 talk (Neil Diamond)
03 Solitary Man (Neil Diamond)
04 talk (Neil Diamond)
05 Cracklin' Rose (Neil Diamond)
06 talk (Neil Diamond)
07 Done Too Soon (Neil Diamond)
08 A Modern Day Version of Love (Neil Diamond)
09 talk (Neil Diamond)
10 He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother (Neil Diamond)
11 talk (Neil Diamond)
12 Holly Holy (Neil Diamond)
13 I Am... I Said (Neil Diamond)
14 talk (Neil Diamond)
15 Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show (Neil Diamond)

For the cover art, I took a screenshot from the exact concert in question. For the text, I used the exact same color and font type as the BBC did for the very start of the show.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

KT Tunstall - Cover Songs, Volume 6: 2020

A while back, I posted five albums of KT Tunstall playing cover songs, from the start of her career in 2005 to 2019. But time moves on, and now I finally have enough material for an album from 2020. May she keep performing new covers, so I'll have material for more albums in this series.

As I've mentioned with previous albums in this series, Tunstall grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, and often plays cover songs from those decades. Thus you get things like "The Rhythm of the Night," a 1993 hit by the Italian dance pop group Corona (yet which Tunstall does in a solo acoustic format). But she does reach further back occasionally, such as her versions of "Roadhouse Blues," "Changes," and "Twist and Shout." "Teddy Bear's Picnic" is an unexpected choice, with that song going back to 1907 (with the lyrics added in the 1930s). 

Most or all of the songs here date from the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. As a result, she often played this songs in a solo acoustic format from her home, usually for radio or Internet appearances. But some songs feature a full band, such as "Roadhouse Blues." Note also that all the songs are officially unreleased, with the exception of "Hymn to Her," which comes from a various artists compilation album. That said, in my opinion, the sound quality is generally very high here, since these do generally come from radio or Internet appearances instead of concert bootlegs. 

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

01 A Little Respect - Erasure
02 Closer to Fine - Indigo Girls
03 [I've Had] The Time of My Life - Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
04 I Don't Wanna Grow Up - Tom Waits
05 Teddy Bear's Picnic - John Walter Brannon / Jimmy Kennedy
06 The Rhythm of the Night - Corona
07 Girls Just Want to Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
08 Roadhouse Blues - Doors
09 Changes - David Bowie
10 Twist and Shout - Isley Brothers
11 I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For - U2
12 Hymn to Her - Pretenders

Here's the usual song list:

01 A Little Respect (KT Tunstall)
02 Closer to Fine (KT Tunstall)
03 [I've Had] The Time of My Life (KT Tunstall & Gary Barlow)
04 I Don't Wanna Grow Up (KT Tunstall & Tom Seals)
05 Teddy Bear's Picnic (KT Tunstall)
06 The Rhythm of the Night (KT Tunstall & Bob [Roberta Pia])
07 Girls Just Want to Have Fun (KT Tunstall & Mikaela Shiffrin)
08 Roadhouse Blues (KT Tunstall & Vintage Trouble)
09 Changes (KT Tunstall)
10 Twist and Shout (KT Tunstall)
11 I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (KT Tunstall with Pomplamoose)
12 Hymn to Her (KT Tunstall)

The cover art photo comes from a concert in July 2020. Concerts at that time were very rare due to the pandemic, but this one took place at a drive-in theater, with the audience members in their cars.

The Troggs - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1967-1973

Yesterday, I posted Volume 1 of the Troggs at the BBC. Here's Volume 2, which is the last one.

The Troggs had a fairly short time at the top. They hit it big right out of the gate with "Wild Thing" in 1966. Then they had a series of successful albums through 1968. But then they dropped off the charts and out of sight for many years. After 1968, they wouldn't be able to release another studio album until 1975. Thus, their BBC sessions follow the same trajectory. All of the BBC performances here are from 1967 or 1968. (I suspect their drastic change of fortune was mostly due to the rapidly changing musical tastes around 1969, in which their "garage rock" style was left behind.)

I looked for any sort of TV or radio appearance by the band after 1968, and I only found one. In 1973, David Bowie had his own hour-long TV special called "The 1980 Floor Show." I've posted Bowie's portion of the show here:

But it turns out that Bowie had the Troggs play a couple of songs on the show as well. Bowie was a fan of the kind of music the Troggs did in the 1960s, as can be seen by Bowie's 1973 covers album "Pin-Ups." It so happens that the Troggs had a 1973 single, "Strange Movies," that was the first thing they'd done since 1968 that got a lot of notice. So I have that song here, as well as another version of "Wild Thing."

With these BBC albums, I often has to edit the songs to remove BBC DJs talking over the beginnings and ends of songs. Boy, did I have to do that here! Twelve of the 16 BBC performances needed editing, which can be seen by the "[Edit]" in the titles.

Most of the songs the Troggs played on the BBC were from their singles and/or albums, but some were not. Note especially their versions of "Peggy Sue" and "Little Green Apples," which are outside the usual kind of "garage rock" music they were known for.

01 Night of the Long Grass (Troggs)
02 I Want You to Come into My Life [Edit] (Troggs)
03 Girl in Black [Edit] (Troggs)
04 Little Red Donkey (Troggs)
05 Love Is All Around [Edit] (Troggs)
06 When the Rain Comes [Edit] (Troggs)
07 Evil Woman [Edit] (Troggs)
08 Kitty Kat Song [Edit] (Troggs)
09 Maybe the Madman [Edit] (Troggs)
10 Her Emotion [Edit] (Troggs)
11 Little Girl [Edit] (Troggs)
12 Peggy Sue (Troggs)
13 Little Green Apples (Troggs)
14 Hip Hip Hooray [Edit] (Troggs)
15 Say Darlin' [Edit] (Troggs)
16 Gonna Make You [Edit] (Troggs)
17 Strange Movies (Troggs)
18 Wild Thing (Troggs)

I don't know where or when the cover art photo comes from, but it's probably from 1966 or 1967.

Imelda May - Cheltenham Jazz Festival at Home, Dublin, Ireland, 5-9-2020

Imelda May has a new album out, called "11 Past the Hour." I've given it a listen and I think it's pretty good, so I hope you'll check it out. It's hit number one in Ireland and the top five in Britain (though sadly she remains very little known in the US). In celebration of that, I'm posting this home concert she did in 2020.

May has played acoustic versions of songs from time to time. In fact, I plan on posting an album or two of that kind of thing later. But during the height of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, when lots of artists were playing acoustic home concerts, it seems she only did this one. At least, it's the only one I could find. It's rather short, at only 18 minutes long. So I've fleshed it out a bit by adding four songs at the end, all of them also done in acoustic mode at various points that year. That boosts the total length to 28 minutes, which is still short, but that's all the music I could find that fits the format.

I like this concert for a couple of reasons. For one, it's great to her May perform in such a stripped down acoustic style (with guitar and occasional backing vocals by Niall McNamee). But also, she did a bunch of songs she's never done anywhere else, including covers of "These Arms of Mine" by Otis Redding, "Lean On Me" by Bill Withers, "Wild Night" by Van Morrison, "How Can I Tell You" by Cat Stevens, and "We'll Meet Again" by Vera Lynn. Plus, speaking of her new album "11 Past the Hour," she played one song from that album for the first time in public, "Don't Let Me Stand on My Own."

01 talk (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
02 These Arms of Mine (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
03 talk (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
04 Lean on Me (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
05 talk (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
06 Stay [Poem] (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
07 talk (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
08 Black Tears (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
09 talk (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
10 Don't Let Me Stand on My Own (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
11 talk (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
12 It'll Be Easier in the Morning (Imelda May with Niall McNamee)
13 Wild Night (Imelda May)
14 How Can I Tell You (Imelda May)
15 We'll Meet Again (Imelda May)

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

Various Artists - Covered: Willie Dixon, Volume 2: 1966-1972

This is the second of three albums in the Covered series, showing the songwriting skills of blues legend Willie Dixon. I've tried to focus on the influence Dixon had on rock and soul music. The time period here probably represents his peak for that kind of influence, as British rockers especially were really into his songs.

For many of these songs, I had a hard time deciding which version to use, because there are so many great versions. I narrowed down the choices by having only one artist per song for the whole series. Okay, I did cheat a bit on this one, since Koko Taylor sings both "Wang Dang Doodle" and is part of a duet for "Insane Asylum." But I picked the latter mainly because it's a rare example of Dixon singing lead, showing he was a perfectly capable blues singer.

With Volume 1, I included the song "You Need Love" by the Small Faces (also known as "You Need Loving"). That was fairly true to the original Dixon song, first made popular by a version done by Muddy Waters. Led Zeppelin clearly was familiar with the Small Faces version, since their lead singer Robert Plant was an unabashed Small Faces groupie for a time. They tweaked with it and turned it into the classic "Whole Lotta Love." At first, they claimed they wrote this by themselves, but they were later forced to add Dixon's name to the songwriting credits.

01 Wang Dang Doodle (Koko Taylor)
02 Diddy Wah Diddy (Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band)
03 The Same Thing (Animals)
04 I Love the Life I Live (Mose Allison)
05 Insane Asylum (Willie Dixon & Koko Taylor)
06 Back Door Man (Doors)
07 Hoochie Coochie Man (Jimi Hendrix)
08 You Shook Me (Jeff Beck Group)
09 Fire (Etta James)
10 Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin)
11 Evil (Derek & the Dominos)
12 Dead Presidents (J. Geils Band)
13 Do the Do (Tim Hardin)

As with the cover photo for Volume 1, I have no idea what year this cover photo is from. But I'm guessing it's some years after the one for Volume 1 due to his receding hairline. The original was in black and white, but I colorized it. Also like the photo for Volume 1, I darkened his skin some to better match how he looks in the actual color photo I used for Volume 3.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

The Troggs - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1966-1967

The Troggs are a band that I feel tends to get overlooked. These days, they're mainly known for four big hit songs: "Wild Thing," "With a Girl like You," "I Can't Control Myself," and "Love Is All Around." They had a few more hits on top of those, and they wrote most of their own songs (with "Wild Thing" being a notable exception). But still, they tend to be treated, well, if not a one-hit wonder, then a four-hit wonder. But while I'm not a huge fan of theirs, I think they're more interesting than that. I checked to see what they did for the BBC, and I was pleasantly surprised to find there's enough for two albums.

In a way, the Troggs are like one of the world's most successful garage bands. Most of their songs are simple and primal. It's curious that they didn't write "Wild Thing," because it's exactly in line with the kinds of songs they did write. They can get repetitive after a while, but I think this BBC collection is just enough Troggs music without them overstaying their welcome. Between this album and the second volume, it's a de facto best of collection.

Pretty much every song here was released by them on albums and/or singles, but of course these performances are all different. I had the usual problem of BBC DJs talking over the beginnings or ends of songs, but I fixed those with my usual editing techniques. The ones I changed have "[Edit]" in their titles. 

This album is 40 minutes long.

01 From Home (Troggs)
02 Wild Thing (Troggs)
03 Jaguar and the Thunderbird (Troggs)
04 The Yella in Me (Troggs)
05 Evil [Edit} (Troggs)
06 With a Girl like You (Troggs)
07 Lost Girl [Edit] (Troggs)
08 Dimples [Edit] (Troggs)
09 You Can't Beat It [Edit] (Troggs)
10 I Can't Control Myself (Troggs)
11 I Just Sing [Edit] (Troggs)
12 Any Way that You Want Me (Troggs)
13 66-5-4-3-2-1 [Edit] [I Know What You Want] (Troggs)
14 I Can Only Give You Everything [Edit] (Troggs)
15 Give It to Me (Troggs)
16 Meet Jacqueline [Edit] (Troggs)

The album cover photo dates to about 1966. I found an interesting photo of the band hamming it up, pretending trouble with getting out of an elevator.

Various Artists - Covered: Willie Dixon, Volume 1: 1954-1966

Next up for the "Covered" series is Willie Dixon. You may not be familiar with him unless you're a blues fan, but he's a musical legend. I would guess that maybe half of all classic blues songs were written by him. And since blues has had such a massive impact on rock and soul music, he's a towering figure for those genres too. Chuck Berry has said of him, "He made me what I am, so far as the basics of my music." And Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones has said, "He is the backbone of post-war blues writing... the absolute." His nickname is "the poet laureate of the blues."

But despite his influence, he isn't as well known as he should be because he wasn't much of a performer. He did play bass on a lot of records, but he didn't sing much, or put out many albums under his own names. Instead, he was mainly content to write for others, most especially blues legends Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf.

If you want to know more about him, here's the link to his Wikipedia entry:

Willie Dixon - Wikipedia

I've found enough great songs from him for three albums. I could fill those albums mostly with performances by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and other blues greats. But since I want to introduce people to his musical legacy who aren't already big blues fans, I've tried to pick versions done by rock artists. In order to help with that, I'm limited myself to only one song for each musical artist for all three of his albums in this series. You'll still find some blues artists on this volume, but less so on the other two. The songs are sorted chronologically, and rock artists began covering him around 1964, which is in the later half of this album, when the Rolling Stones took his "Little Red Rooster" all the way to number one on the British charts.

This album is slightly longer than 45 minutes, and the other two volumes have similar lengths.

01 I'm Ready (Muddy Waters)
02 My Babe (Little Walter)
03 Pretty Thing (Bo Diddley)
04 I Don't Care Who Knows (Harrold Burrage)
05 I Cry and Sing the Blues (Buddy Guy)
06 Lovin' Up a Storm (Jerry Lee Lewis)
07 I Can't Hold Out (Elmore James)
08 For My Baby (Brook Benton)
09 Three Hundred Pounds of Joy (Howlin' Wolf)
10 Little Red Rooster (Rolling Stones)
11 Just like I Treat You (Rod Stewart & Long John Baldry & the Hoochie Coochie Men)
12 Meet Me in the Bottom (Everly Brothers)
13 Seventh Son (Johnny Rivers)
14 You Need Love [You Need Loving] (Small Faces)
15 Spoonful (Cream)

I have no idea what year this photo of Willie Dixon is from. But pretty much all of the other photos I've found him show him at least partially bald, so I figure he's fairly young here. The original of this photo was in black and white, but I colorized it. His skin is fairly dark in the (actual color) photo I've chosen for the third volume in this series, so I darkened his skin some on this one to better match that one.

Heart - Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ, 1-26-1979

When it comes to posting full concerts here, I try to post the really excellent ones that fill a gap in a musical artist's discography. The band Heart went in a slick "adult contemporary" direction in the 1980s and were hugely successful with it. But I much prefer before then, in the 1970s, when they were in a classic rock mode. Yet even though the band has released a handful of official live albums, none of them adequately cover this time period. The closest is a "Greatest Hits/Live" album released in 1980. But there are only seven live tracks on that, and those generally don't include versions of their best known 1970s songs.

So I worked back from the idea that I wanted to hear a kick ass 1970s concert from them. The ideal year, in my opinion, would be 1979. That would allow one to include all their best songs through that year, but not include the 1980 songs that ended up on that "Greatest Hits/Live" album. I listened to the most popular bootlegs from around that year, and was pleased to find there is an excellent bootleg from 1979. Naturally, this is it.

As far as I can tell, the band's concert set lists didn't differ much in 1979. The several bootlegs I heard all had good performances, so what made this stand out was the sound quality. This was professionally recorded, because it was broadcast live on a radio station at the time. They actually did some others like that, including one the very next night, but the sound of this one was the best. 

There was only one snag with the bootleg recording: it lacked the final encore song, "Without You" (a cover of the famous Badfinger song). Luckily, as I mentioned right above, there was another show broadcast on the radio from one night later, so I took that song from there. The sound quality is similar, so I don't think you'll notice it comes from another concert.

By the way, speaking of covers, all the other songs are Heart originals, except the second to last song, which is a cover of the Led Zeppelin classic "Rock and Roll."

01 Cook with Fire (Heart)
02 High Times (Heart)
03 Heartless (Heart)
04 Devil Delight (Heart)
05 Straight On (Heart)
06 Magic Man (Heart)
07 talk (Heart)
08 Love Alive (Heart)
09 talk (Heart)
10 Magazine (Heart)
11 Mistral Wind (Heart)
12 talk (Heart)
13 Dog and Butterfly (Heart)
14 talk (Heart)
15 Silver Wheels (Heart)
16 Crazy on You (Heart)
17 Kick It Out (Heart)
18 Barracuda (Heart)
19 White Lightning and Wine (Heart)
20 Rock and Roll (Heart)
21 Without You (Heart)

The cover art features Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart in a 1978 concert. Ann is the brunette and Nancy is the blonde with the guitar.

Herman's Hermits - BBC Sessions, Volume 4: 1969-1972

Here's the fourth and last volume featuring Herman's Hermits performing at the BBC. 

This deals with a time when the band was losing popularity and falling apart. The first six songs are of Herman's Hermits with their long-time lead singer Peter Noone. But then Noone tried for a solo career. You can see in the credits which songs just feature him. There also are three more songs (tracks 11 to 13) of Herman's Hermits without Noone.

You might think the musical quality dropped along with the band's popularity, but I honestly don't think that's the case. For that era, the band was out of step with popular musical styles and well as a fashion image. (Note how they're STILL wearing suits on the album cover.) But decades after the fact, these things don't matter much. I'm sure the songs would have been much more successful if they'd been released a few years earlier.

The band actually still had fairly good success with some singles during this time. "My Sentimental Friend" was a number two hit in Britain, "Years May Come, Years May Go" and "Lady Barbara" were Top Ten hits there, and they had some other Top Forty Hits. But I think it's notable that the record company wouldn't let them put out any albums. Noone also had a big hit with a cover of the classic David Bowie song "Oh, You Pretty Things." Another song here, "Right On Mother," is a Bowie song that Bowie himself didn't release at the time.

After 1972, both Noone and what remained of Herman's Hermits had such low profiles that they effectively ceased putting out new music. As a result, they ceased performing for the BBC. But in my opinion, they were doing interesting things with their BBC sessions right until the end. Note especially the nice cover of Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Helplessly Hoping," which was never officially released.

01 Green Street Green [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
02 My Sentimental Friend [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
03 Here Comes the Star (Herman's Hermits)
04 Years May Come, Years May Go (Herman's Hermits)
05 Bet Yer Life I Do (Herman's Hermits)
06 Lady Barbara (Herman's Hermits)
07 Together Forever [Edit] (Peter Noone)
08 Oh, You Pretty Things [Edit] (Peter Noone)
09 Right On Mother (Peter Noone)
10 Walnut Whirl (Peter Noone)
11 She's a Lady (Herman's Hermits)
12 Helplessly Hoping [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
13 Gold Mandela [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
14 Each and Every Minute (Peter Noone)
15 Shoo Be Doo Ah (Peter Noone)

The cover art shows the band playing on the "Top of the Pops" TV show in 1969.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Various Artists - Covered: Boudleaux Bryant & Felice Bryant: 1955-2004

The "Covered" series is back again. I thought I was done with all the great songwriters with careers that began before the 1960s, but boy was I wrong. Recently, I stumbled across a Rolling Stone Magazine list of who they consider the top 100 songwriters of all time. I disagree with some of their choices, but the list made me recall some songwriters I'd overlooked.

Here's one: Boudleaux Bryant & Felice Bryant. They were a husband and wife team all the way. They met in 1945, when they were young, and married right away. They stayed married Boudleaux passed away in 1987. Felice Bryant lived until 2003. There are some occasional examples where one of them wrote a song without crediting the other, but those are rare.

Here's the Wikipedia entry on them. I find it interesting that they're so closely linked to each other that there's just one entry for their partnership:

Felice and Boudleaux Bryant - Wikipedia

The Bryants didn't write as many songs I deemed worthy of inclusion as some others. For instance, I've posted six albums of songs by Bacharach and David, and seven albums of Goffin and King. But some of the songs they wrote are all time classics. For instance, Rolling Stone Magazine includes three of their songs in their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time: "Bye Bye Love," "Wake Up, Little Susie," and "All I Have to Do Is Dream."

Many of the songs they wrote were country songs. I can only take country in limited doses, and I'm sure others feel the same. So in deciding which songs to include, and which versions, I've focused on their more widely accessible material, often done by non-country artists. 

At first, I wasn't going to make a Covered album for them, because they're so closely associated with the Everly Brothers. One could make an excellent album just of the hits the Everly Brothers had that were written by the Bryants. But I decided there were a good number of their songs done for others, plus I could select alternate versions so this didn't basically turn into an Everly Brothers greatest hits of sorts. I tried hard not to have more than one song by any one artist. I mostly succeeded, although in the end I went with two by the Everly Brothers. I included their version of "Bye Bye Love" because it's so iconic, and there isn't a really famous version done by someone else. I also included their version of "Problems" because there were almost no cover versions of it I could find.

This album is 56 minutes long.

01 Nightmare (Jack Turner)
02 How's the World Treating You (Elvis Presley)
03 Bye Bye Love (Everly Brothers)
04 Problems (Everly Brothers)
05 Raining in My Heart (Buddy Holly & the Crickets)
06 Let's Think about Living (Bob Luman)
07 Mexico (Bob Moore & His Orchestra)
08 So How Come [No One Loves Me] (Beatles)
09 Some Sweet Day (Fairport Convention)
10 All I Have to Do is Dream (Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell)
11 Rocky Top (Laurie Anderson)
12 Take a Message to Mary (Bob Dylan)
13 Brand New Heartache (Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris)
14 Love Hurts (Nazareth)
15 Devoted to You (James Taylor & Carly Simon)
16 Poor Jenny (Rockpile)
17 Wake Up Little Susie (Simon & Garfunkel)
18 Bird Dog (Joan Jett & the Blackhearts)
19 Like Strangers (Emmylou Harris)
20 Living with the Shades Pulled Down (George Thorogood & the Destroyers)
21 Sleepless Nights (Norah Jones)

For the album cover, I couldn't find a really good color photo of the Bryants together, so I took a black and white one and colorized it. I don't know what year it's from, but based on their appearance it has to be when they were young. In the original photo, Boudleaux was considerably higher up than Felice - he must have been a tall guy. I moved her up and closer to him so I could prominently feature their faces.

Rod Stewart - Missed You - Non-Album Tracks (1972-1976)

As I've mentioned previously, when it comes to Rod Stewart, I'm mostly a fan of his music from the 1960s to the mid-1970s, though I do think he had a revival in the early 1990s. (I especially like his involvement with the Faces, and I plan on posting a lot of their stuff in the future.) 

In my opinion, there's a pretty sharp drop off in the quality of his music around 1975 and 1976. That's when the Faces broke up and he went all in on with the hedonistic rock style lifestyle. It was only a few years later when his updated persona was solidified with the huge hit "Do Ya Think a Sexy?" which is both a good disco song yet also a terrible sign about the direction Stewart's career was going.

With all that in mind, I still have enough interest in his early to mid-1970s solo work to be interested in putting together a stray tracks album. It turns out there's exactly enough good material for one such album, so here it is.

All the songs here have been officially released. I'm not a big fan of the first two songs, but I've included them for completeness's sake. The first is a B-side, and the second is from a various artists version of the Who's concept album "Tommy." The next six songs appeared on the archival collections "Handbags and Gladrags" or "The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998." All the songs after that are bonus tracks from his 1975 album "Atlantic Crossing" or his 1976 album "A Night on the Town."

By the way, there's one Stewart single that I haven't included here. In 1973, he released a single with "Oh No Not My Baby" on the A-side and "Jodie" on the B-side. The reason I haven't included that is because, although it's often considered a Stewart solo single, the A-side featured all of the Faces, so it's really a Faces song. The B-side was actually written by Stewart and two other Faces, and it's straight up credited as a Faces song. So both of those songs will fit better on a Faces stray tracks album I eventually plan on posting here.

This album is 47 minutes long, which is a long but acceptable length for albums of that era. This isn't a great album, but it's very much of a piece with his early to mid-1970s albums, and I think it's considerably better than his late 1970s and 1980s albums.

01 What's Made Milwaukee Famous [Has Made a Loser Out of Me] (Rod Stewart)
02 Pinball Wizard (Rod Stewart)
03 Missed You (Rod Stewart)
04 You Put Something Better Inside Me (Rod Stewart)
05 Crying, Laughing, Loving, Lying (Rod Stewart)
06 Every Time We Say Goodbye (Rod Stewart)
07 So Tired (Rod Stewart)
08 Think I'll Pack My Bags [Mystifies Me] (Rod Stewart)
09 To Love Somebody (Rod Stewart)
10 Holy Cow (Rod Stewart)
11 Return to Sender (Rod Stewart)
12 Rosie (Rod Stewart)
13 Share (Rod Stewart)

The cover art photo shows Stewart in 1975. I don't know any other details of it. By the way, I chose the title "Missed You" since it's the title of one of the songs here, and it seems fitting for a bunch of songs that got overlooked back in that era.

Herman's Hermits - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: 1967-1969

Here's the third volume in a four volume series of Herman's Hermit's performing for the BBC. I don't want to repeat all my comments from the earlier volumes in this series, so I'll limit myself to saying don't dismiss this just because you see the "Herman's Hermits" name. Yeah, they were super uncool, but if you like the 1960s pop stylings of the Hollies and the Monkees, you should like this.

In 1967, psychedelic music was all the rage. Herman's Hermits began having few hits, because their poppy style was increasingly out of step with cultural trends. That said, I like this era more than their earlier era. They still were a million miles away from the likes of Jimi Hendrix or Cream, but they also had moved beyond the sometimes twee style of "Henry the VIII I Am" and "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter."

The vast majority of the songs are made up of cover versions of hits by others, with only a few hits originally by Herman's Hermits scattered in there. Around 1968, the band wanted to put out an album entirely made of covers of famous songs. It never came out, not even as bonus tracks or the like, so not much has leaked to the public other than these BBC performances. A couple of months back, I made an album entirely of my best guesses for the songs that would have been released on that cover album. You can see that here:

There's a lot of overlap between that album and this one. But I figure anything the band did for the BBC belongs as part of this series.

By the way, note that one of the band's biggest (and best) hits was "I'm into Something Good," in 1964. It seems they never played that song for the BBC in 1964 or thereabouts. But for some reason, they decided to play it in late 1968. I'm glad they did, because I think these BBC albums make up a kind of box set length best of collection for the band. There would have been a big gap if that song hadn't been included.

Another by the way. If you've been following this blog, you've probably noticed how I don't like the BBC DJs talking over the starts and ends of songs sometimes on BBC recordings, and how I try to edit those voices out. This album is probably the worst case of that yet. No less than 14 out of the 18 songs had to be edited by me to fix this problem! You can see those with the "[Edit]" in the file names. But on the plus side, I think I'm getting better at doing this kind of editing, so I hope you won't notice when you listen.

01 New York Mining Disaster 1941 [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
02 Marcel's [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
03 Bus Stop [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
04 Memphis, Tennessee [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
05 Tallyman [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
06 Sleepy Joe (Herman's Hermits)
07 Dandy [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
08 Hello Mary Lou [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
09 Sunshine Girl (Herman's Hermits)
10 Keep On [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
11 It's All Right - Shout [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
12 Morning Dew [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
13 Love Is Blue [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
14 Something's Happening (Herman's Hermits)
15 I'm into Something Good [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
16 Save the Last Dance for Me (Herman's Hermits)
17 The Most Beautiful Thing in My Life [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)
18 Little Green Apples [Edit] (Herman's Hermits)

The cover art shows the band in 1967. Note how they seem totally unaffected by late 1960s fashion trends, still wearing suits.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Gregg Allman - Gregg Acoustic, Volume 2 (1974-2013)

I posted the Volume 1 companion to this a couple of weeks ago. In short, Gregg Allman is best known for playing in a full rocking band environment as part of the Allman Brothers Band, but from time to time he would play a song in the solo acoustic format. Unfortunately, whenever he did this he tended to play the same few songs. But I've found all the songs I could in this format, and I've included one version for each of them. 

This album is a bit longer than the first volume, even if you don't include the bonus tracks. That's because I found a couple more songs since I posted that first one. But I still like how these two albums divide up, because the late 1960s until 1973 is considered their peak era. This covers the rest, through to Allman's death in 2017. The classic songs didn't come as often in these years, and a few of the songs date to earlier years, but I think you'll agree after listening to this that everything he played in the solo acoustic format was top notch.

Seven of the 12 songs here are officially released. The first three come from the same "One More Try" anthology that was the main source for Volume 1. Another three are from an obscure 2006 live album Allman did with Warren Haynes. "Needle and the Damage Done," a cover of the famous Neil Young song, comes from a various artists live album. 

The unreleased songs sound nearly as good as the officially released ones, in my opinion. Three of them come from a 1981 studio session that was filmed and put on YouTube, somehow. That includes a version of "Melissa," a song I included on Volume 1. But this version is instrumental, so I thought that was different enough to warrant inclusion. Another one of the unreleased tracks comes from a TV show, and the last one is from a standard concert bootleg.

The bonus tracks are quite interesting, in my opinion. They include two famous Allman Brothers Band songs ("One Way Out" and "Whipping Post") that he'd never played in acoustic format before. Sadly, he died just a year later, so this probably was the one and only time he played them that way. Unfortunately, the sound quality isn't as good as the rest, so these were downgraded to just bonus tracks.

This album is 52 minutes long, not including the bonus tracks.

01 Win, Lose or Draw (Gregg Allman)
02 Oncoming Traffic (Gregg Allman)
03 Come and Go Blues (Gregg Allman)
04 Key to the Highway (Gregg Allman)
05 Melissa [Instrumental] (Gregg Allman)
06 Never Knew How Much [I Needed You] (Gregg Allman)
07 These Days (Gregg Allman with Graham Nash)
08 Old Before My Time (Gregg Allman & Warren Haynes)
09 Come On in My Kitchen (Gregg Allman & Warren Haynes)
10 Soulshine (Gregg Allman & Warren Haynes)
11 All My Friends (Gregg Allman with Warren Haynes)
12 The Needle and the Damage Done (Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes & Derek Trucks)

I Love the Life I Live (Gregg Allman with Scott Sharrard)
One Way Out (Gregg Allman with Scott Sharrard)
Whipping Post (Gregg Allman with Scott Sharrard)

I don't know when or where the cover art photo was taken. But clearly he was older than the photo for Volume 1, as can be seen by the grey in his beard.