Monday, May 31, 2021

The English Beat - Hit It - Non-Album Tracks (1980-1983)

The English Beat put out three solid albums in the early 1980s. My only "issue" is that they didn't do more. They broke up way too early. For a long time, I didn't think there was enough non-album material for a stray tracks album. But I recently found a few more songs, enough for a single such album.

By the way, I realize that in Britain, they're known just as the Beat. To make things even more confusing, in Australia, they're known as the British Beat. But I'm born and raised in the United States, so I know them as the English Beat. Maybe it's just that I'm biased, but I think it's a more clarifying name, since Paul Collins also had a band called the Beat.

Anyway, this is the usual motley bunch of bonus tracks, A- and B-sides to singles, and live tracks. Six of the songs are B-sides, actually. "Pussy Price" is a cover, but they later wrote their own words to it and turned it into their own song "Ranking Full Stop." Still, I figure this is different enough to merit inclusion.

By the way, this does not include the song "Too Nice to Talk To." That originally was the A-side of a single in 1981. But it was soon added as the opening track to their 1981 album "Wha'ppen," and nearly everyone who has that album has that on it, so I figure it isn't needed here. For the same reason, I didn't include "Tears of a Clown" or "Ranking Full Stop." Originally, those were single releases only, but they were added to the 1980 album "I Just Can't Stop It" before long.

I wasn't quite sure what to do about the song "Stand Down Margaret." It's a great song, in my opinion, with a great anti-Margaret Thatcher message. But the version of it on "I Just Can't Stop It" was less than ideal, in my opinion. It was part of a medley with "Whine and Grine," so it's really only half a song. There is a nice version released as a B-side, and I've included that here as the second song. But it's a dub version, which means a lot of the lyrics aren't sung on it. I found another version they did on a TV as a stand alone song instead of part of a medley, as usual. That had all the lyrics, but the sound quality wasn't as perfect as the B-side version. In the end, I decided both versions had their charms, so I included both.

Most of the songs here are originals. I think the only ones that aren't are "Pussy Price," as mentioned above, and "Night and Day," a version of the classic Cole Porter song. I investigated the band, and it seems they almost never played songs in concert that they didn't record in the studio.

In my opinion, the band didn't leave a big discography behind, but virtually everything they did was solid, including their rare tracks. I think this album is good enough to stand along side their three studio albums.

01 Pussy Price (English Beat)
02 Stand Down Margaret [Dub Version] (English Beat)
03 Psychedelic Rockers (English Beat)
04 Hit It [Auto Erotic] (English Beat)
05 Which Side of the Bed (English Beat)
06 What's Your Best Thing (English Beat)
07 March of the Swivel Heads [Instrumental] (English Beat)
09 Cool Entertainer (English Beat)
10 Stand Down Margaret (English Beat)
11 It Makes Me Rock (English Beat)
12 Night and Day (English Beat)

The cover art is based on a 1982 publicity photo.

Joe Cocker - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1968-1969

So many BBC sessions. I wonder if I'll ever post all of the ones I like that are worthy of posting. Joe Cocker is another musician who hasn't had any of his BBC performances officially released. As I mentioned in previous postings about him, I think his peak musical years were 1968 to 1971. It so happens that's exactly when he did his BBC sessions. I've found enough for two volumes. Here's the first one.

Truth be told, Cocker's actual BBC sessions only happened in 1968 and 1969. Like many artists, once he got really famous, he left the BBC behind. Volume 2 will mostly contain performances from other TV shows and such. But this volume is 100 percent BBC radio performances. 

He did pretty much all of his most popular songs from that time period. But he also did some interesting rarities.  "Mr. Bus Driver," "Run Shaker Life," and "Can't Be So Bad" in particular have never been officially released by him in any form.

The sound quality is generally very good, though some songs sound better than others. And for some weird reason, while most BBC recordings from this time period are marred by BBC DJs talking over the starts and ends of songs, that doesn't seem to be the case for any of the songs here.

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 Mr. Bus Driver (Joe Cocker)
02 Run Shaker Life (Joe Cocker)
03 With a Little Help from My Friends (Joe Cocker)
04 Can't Be So Bad (Joe Cocker)
05 Marjorine (Joe Cocker)
06 Change in Louise (Joe Cocker)
07 Let's Get Stoned (Joe Cocker)
08 That's Your Business Now (Joe Cocker)
09 Hitchcock Railway (Joe Cocker)
10 Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Joe Cocker)
11 Darling Be Home Soon (Joe Cocker)
12 Hello Little Friend (Joe Cocker)
13 Delta Lady (Joe Cocker)

Boy, do I regret picking this photo for the cover art. The photo was taken backstage at a concert in the Fillmore East in 1969. I picked it because it looked to be the best color photo from 1968 or 1969 clearly showing his face. The problem was his eyes were looking down and to the left. I thought I could fix that in Photoshop, as I've done with other photos with similar problems from time to time. But his eyes were so weirdly stoned that I had a really hard time of it. Hopefully, the final result more or less looks like he's looking at the camera (even though he still looks totally wasted!).

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Various Artists - Covered: Steve Cropper, Volume 2: 1968-1994

I just posted Volume 1 of the Covered series albums focusing on the songwriting of Steve Cropper. But while I'm at it, here's Volume 2. As I write this in May 2021, Cropper's music career is still going strong despite him being 79 years old. In fact, he just released one of his very rare solo albums earlier in 2021, called "Fire It Up." But I'm ending the albums on him here with Volume 2.

I said most of what I wanted to say about Cropper with my comments about Volume 1. But I just want to note that Volume 2 includes "(Sittin' on the) Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding, one of the greatest songs of all time. Cropper should be considered a top notch songwriter for his role in writing that song alone! I mentioned in my Volume 1 comments that Cropper seemed to do more of the music than the lyrics when it came to songwriting collaboration. But I was just reading the Wikipedia entry about "Dock of the Bay," and Cropper claims that he wrote most of the words, though from Redding's point of view, after Redding gave him the line "I watch the ships come in and I was them roll away again." I'd believe that claim too, since Cropper is a modest guy. I also suspect Cropper had a big role in writing the music for that song, since it was musically very different from everything else Redding had done up until that point.

All but last four songs here date from 1968 to 1972. Clearly, Cropper's success as a songwriter dropped significantly after that time. I suppose a lot of that had to do with changing musical styles. The Stax style of soul that Cropper was closely associated with also pretty much dropped out of the charts right around then. But Cropper continued to stay busy as a producer and a lead guitarist. In fact, he probably got his greatest fame as a member of the band in the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers."

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 [Sittin' On] The Dock of the Bay (Otis Redding)
02 See Saw (Aretha Franklin)
03 Soul Limbo (Booker T. & the MG's)
04 The Hunter (Free)
05 Mini-Skirt Minnie (Wilson Pickett)
06 Miss Pitiful (Etta James)
07 Water (Steve Cropper, Albert King & Pop Staples)
08 Melting Pot (Booker T. & the MG's)
09 Move 'Em Out (Delaney & Bonnie)
10 Stone Cold Sober (Rod Stewart)
11 Union Man (Cate Brothers)
12 On the Road Down (Robert Cray)
13 Going, Going, Gone (Bryan White)

For Volume 1, I had a very hard time finding any good photos of Cropper from the 1960s, and I had to resort to colorizing a black and white one. But it's a sign of what a low-key person he is that I had a hard time finding any good color photos of him for the entire rest of his career! Virtually every other photo I found was mainly of someone else, with Cropper as a sideman. I did find this one of him from 1977. But even this one was of him and bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn. I used Photoshop to crop Dunn out of the side of the photo.

Various Artists - Covered: Steve Cropper, Volume 1: 1962-1968

Steve Cropper is best known as a soul music lead guitarist. His minimalist style has been highly influential. In 1996, Mojo Magazine deemed him the greatest living guitar player, and Rolling Stone Magazine has put him in the top forty of their greatest guitarists of all time. But I think his lead guitar prowess has overshadowed his songwriting talent. But as you'll see from the list of songs below, he's had his hand in writing many of the greatest soul classics. I've found enough for two volumes of his songs. Here's the first one.

I suspect the reason Cropper isn't better known as a songwriter is that he rarely wrote songs all by himself. Instead, his songwriting was an extension of his work as a producer. I read an interview he did once where he explained that when he would produce other artists, he usually work ask them about unfinished songs they had. Then he would work with them to finish them off. That said,  it he got songwriting credit, it was because he had a major role in writing the song, often the biggest role. For instance, he wrote the Eddie Floyd classic "Knock On Wood" from scratch with Floyd, with the two of them brainstorming together to come up with the title as the first creative spark, and then they did all the rest of it together.

I also gather that Cropper wasn't that big on writing the words, but excelled in writing the music. You can see this in how he was involved in writing many classic instrumentals, especially with the band Booker T. and the MGs, which he was a member of. 

Here's the Wikipedia entry on him:

Steve Cropper - Wikipedia

This album plays like a greatest hits of soul classics, and it's the same for his Volume 2 album. It's amazing to me that he isn't better known as a songwriter. I suspect another reason for that is that he's a very low-profile, low-ego kind of guy who is content to be a sideman instead of a star. But hopefully including him in the Covered series will get more people to appreciate his songwriting talents.

This album is 42 minutes long.

01 Green Onions (Booker T. & the MG's)
02 In the Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett)
03 Candy (Astors)
04 Every Ounce of Strength (Carla Thomas)
05 Don't Fight It (Wilson Pickett)
06 Knock on Wood (Eddie Floyd)
07 Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa [Sad Song] (Otis Redding)
08 634-5789 [Soulsville, U.S.A.] (Wilson Pickett)
09 Things Get Better (Eddie Floyd)
10 Ninety-Nine and a Half [Won't Do] (Wilson Pickett)
11 Hip Hug-Her (Booker T. & the MG's)
12 Raise Your Hand (Eddie Floyd)
13 Sookie, Sookie (Steppenwolf)
14 The Happy Song [Dum-Dum-De-De-De-Dum-Dum] (Otis Redding)
15 You Don't Know What You Mean to Me (Sam & Dave)

I couldn't find any good color photos of Cropper from the 1960s, so I used a black and white one, and colorized it. This is from 1967.

Robbie Robertson - Bad Intentions - Non-Album Tracks (1992-1998)

I get the impression that Robbie Robertson has been in musical semi-retirement ever since he broke up the Band around 1976. He's never gone on tour, and I only know of one full-length concert he did in his decades as a solo artist, which I've posted at this blog. He takes his sweet time between albums, and doesn't promote them much. Probably he's made a ton of money from writing band classics like "The Weight" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," so he can treat his music career more like a hobby than a way to earn a living.

Be that as it may, he's actually released a lot of songs that haven't come out on his studio albums. He's only put out six studio albums since his solo career began in the 1980s until now, but I've found enough material for four stray tracks albums. 

Three songs, tracks 2, 3 and 4, are from the "Jimmy Hollywood" movie soundtrack. In addition, there is a live cover version ("I Shall Be Released"), a B-side ("Deneta"), two album bonus tracks ("Holy Hell" and "Pray"), two songs from albums by other artists ("Canon (Part 2)" and "Moosonee Shout of Rage"), and three unreleased songs. 

The two unreleased songs, "Between Dog and Wolf" and "We Don't Know Their Kind of Songs," seem to be studio outtakes and sound very good.

This album is 53 minutes long.

UPDATE: On August 17, 2023, I updated the mp3 download file. I moved two songs from the previous album in this series to this one ("Canon (Part 2)" and "Slo Burn"). Then I moved eight songs from this album to the next one in the series. Finally, I added three songs I'd previously missed, "Between Dog and Wolf," "We Don't Know Their Kind of Songs," and "Moosonee Shout of Rage."

01 Canon [Part 2] (Hal Willner with Robbie Robertson)
02 Slo Burn [Instrumental] (Robbie Robertson & the Gil Evans Orchestra)
03 Bad Intentions (Robbie Robertson)
04 Let the Good Times Roll (Robbie Robertson & Cassandra Wilson)
05 Deneta (Robbie Robertson)
06 Moosonee Shout of Rage (Jazz Chromatic Ensemble with Robbie Robertson)
07 I Shall Be Released (Robbie Robertson, Elvis Costello & Rita Coolidge)
08 Holy Hell (Robbie Robertson)
09 Pray (Robbie Robertson)
10 Between Dog and Wolf (Robbie Robertson)
11 We Don't Know Their Kind of Songs (Robbie Robertson)

The cover photo features Robertson at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York in 1994.

The Style Council - Cafe Bleu - Alternate Version (1984)

A few days ago, I posted a stray tracks album of 1983 and 1984 material from the Style Council, Paul Weller's main band during the 1980s. Despite having all that material on singles and such, there were enough songs for a studio album at the same time, 1984's "Cafe Bleu." In my opinion, this album was very hit or miss. So I've kept the good songs, removed the clunkers, and replaced them with other A- and B-sides from 1984.

As I mentioned in my write-up for the stray tracks album mentioned above (called "Long Hot Summer"), Weller was in an experimental mode with the Style Council, largely giving up on rock in favor of different kinds of soul and jazz. Unfortunately for the "Cafe Bleu" album, he included songs that didn't go well together. There were several jazz instrumentals that were a showcase for keyboardist Mike Talbot, but most veered on sounding like Muzak and weren't that memorable. So I've removed all but the two of those that I liked the best. (Specifically, I cut "Blue Cafe," "Me Ship Came In" and "A Gospel.") By (drastic) contrast, the album also included some experiments with heavy funk and rap that didn't fit with the mellow jazzy stuff whatsoever. I wouldn't mind those except a couple of them weren't very good either, and didn't even feature Paul Weller much ("Strength of Your Nature" and "Dropping Bombs on the White House"). So those got the axe as well.

With five songs removed, the remainder is strong, but short, at only 26 minutes. So I've added five more songs that I didn't include on the "Long Hot Summer" stray tracks album. Those five are at the end. Three are B-sides. "Shout to the Top" is an A-side that made the Top Ten in Britain. Also, "Big Boss Groove" was an excellent song that the band played in most of their concerts, and was included on their "Greatest Hits" album, so it's odd that it was only initially released as a B-side. The last of the five is "The Razor's Edge," a cover song that is unreleased because it was only played once on a TV show.

With five songs gone and five songs added, the album is now 44 minutes long. Personally, I think it's a very strong album like this. It's too bad Weller seemed to make particularly bad choices about what songs to include or leave off albums during his Style Council years.

UPDATE: On October 29, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I added one song that I'd previously missed, "The Razor's Edge."

01 Mick's Blessings [Instrumental] (Style Council)
02 The Whole Point of No Return (Style Council)
03 The Paris Match (Style Council with Tracey Thorn)
04 My Ever Changing Moods [Acoustic Version] (Style Council)
05 You're the Best Thing (Style Council)
06 Headstart for Happiness (Style Council)
07 Here's One that Got Away (Style Council)
08 Council Meetin' [Instrumental] (Style Council)
09 The Big Boss Groove (Style Council)
10 The Razor's Edge (Style Council)
11 Shout to the Top (Style Council)
12 Ghosts of Dachau (Style Council)
13 Spring, Summer, Autumn (Style Council)

For the album cover, I simply used the official cover without any changes.

David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust - Acoustic Mixes (1972)

Here's a type of album I've never posted before. (And note this is NOT the officially released version of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" album as you know it.) It used to be one could never find multitrack mixes of songs. I'd never even heard of those being available. But that started to change with the "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" series of computer games, in which mixes were made of famous songs that separated out each of the major instruments, like bass, guitar, drums, vocals, and so on. Also, some music formats became increasingly popular, such as 5.1 surround sound, which effectively has four music channels instead of the usual two for stereo.

Thanks to these sorts of developments, sometimes it's possible to make mixes of songs where you can strip out one or more of the instruments. It's very hit or miss, and it becomes harder to find this sort of thing the further you go back in time, because the multi-track masters often were not saved. For instance, when a special Beatles version of "Rock Band" was made in 2007, there were no multitrack versions of Beatles songs. They had to be created using special new audio forensics technology that had only recently been developed, and that took many months and lots of money. In the end, such versions were made for only about 70 Beatles of the 200 or so original Beatles songs.

When it comes to David Bowie, there aren't many of these multitrack mixes available now, but one great exception is the entire "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" album. Perhaps because that's such a famous and classic album, it got special attention. In any case, since these exist, and since I'm a big fan of stripping music back to reveal the acoustic core of songs, I edited these multitracks to create versions of each song that primarily just feature Bowie's voice and guitar. The result is essentially an alternate acoustic version of the album, allowing you to hear it in a new way, and hopefully notice little things you'd missed before.

Note that I was limited by what was on the multitrack channels. In some cases, there was some bleed of some other instruments into the channels I selected. For instance, you might get a little bit of bass on one song, or some drums on another song. But every song is stripped way down, and sounds quite different from the well-known official versions.

By chance, my source material also included one bonus track, "Sweet Head." So I tacked that onto the end. From what I understand, the multitrack mixes of another bonus track, "Velvet Goldmine," should also exist. But I haven't been able to find that one. If anyone has it, please let me know and I'll add it in.

I'm very curious what people think about this, and if you like it. If you do, and let me know, I could post more stripped versions based on multitrack mixes in the future.

This album is 42 minutes long.

01 Five Years (David Bowie)
02 Soul Love (David Bowie)
03 Moonage Daydream (David Bowie)
04 Starman (David Bowie)
05 It Ain't Easy (David Bowie)
06 Lady Stardust (David Bowie)
07 Star (David Bowie)
08 Hang on to Yourself (David Bowie)
09 Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie)
10 Suffragette City (David Bowie)
11 Rock 'N' Roll Suicide (David Bowie)
12 Sweet Head (David Bowie)

Just as the music here is similar to the released "Ziggy Stardust" album, but different, the cover used here is similar to that album's cover, but different.  There was a photo session that resulted in the official cover, and somehow a bunch of outtakes from that session have been made public. I picked one of the outtakes, then added the usual text in the upper left corner, and further added the words "Acoustic Mixes" there.

Sly & the Family Stone - Harlem Cultural Festival, Harlem, NY, 6-29-1969

The posting of this album had an unusual origin. A couple of days ago, I was reading a newspaper article about new movies coming out later this year, now that people are starting to go back to movie theaters again. One of the movies mentioned is a music documentary called "Summer of Soul." It's mostly lost film footage from the Harlem Cultural Festival, a series of concerts in Harlem, New York, in the summer of 1969. I was surprised that I'd never heard of this concert before, because it featured a stellar list of soul artists, including B. B. King, Stevie Wonder, the 5th Dimension, Sly and the Family Stone, Nina Simone, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Mavis Staples, Mahalia Jackson, David Ruffin, Hugh Masekela, and many more. It was nicknamed the "Black Woodstock," which makes sense because the more famous Woodstock took place a few hundred miles away later that same month. Apparently, 40 hours of footage was shot, but most of it just sat in some archive, forgotten until the rights were secured to make this documentary. It's coming out on July 2, 2021, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

You can see the Wikipedia entry about it here:

Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) - Wikipedia

Anyway, while reading up on this documentary, it was mentioned that some of the footage from was aired on TV at the time, but that footage, and the concert series in general, seems to have slipped into a memory hole for decades. However, the article mentioned there was one exception, in that Sly and the Family Stone's film footage that was broadcast on TV at the time was saved and eventually made it onto YouTube. 

Naturally,  I went looking for that. I'd been looking for a good Sly and the Family Stone concert to post here for a long time. The band did a great set at Woodstock, but I don't want to post that because it's widely commercially available. Other than that, there are very few bootlegs of the band, and each one I found have some kind of issue, making them all unworthy for posting.

It seems YouTube took this film footage down a long time ago. But I found a different copy of the same footage on SoulseekQT. (SoulseekQT is amazing, people!) So, after watching it, I converted it to mp3s and cut it up into individual songs. The result is posted here. The sound quality isn't the greatest, but it's pretty good, and this bootleg beats the pants off the other bootlegs I've found.

I've read a few articles about "Summer of Soul," and I haven't found any mention of an album being released to go with the movie. I sure hope there will be one, though. Since there are hours and hours of footage, I hope they release entire sets from the major stars, just as this is the entire Sly and the Family Stone set. If and when that ever happens, I'll take this down. But for now, here it is.

This album is 40 minutes long. It includes the band's entire set. The "talk" tracks all feature the announcer. I edited down his comments some, since he talked about some less interesting stuff.

01 talk (Sly & the Family Stone)
02 M'Lady (Sly & the Family Stone)
03 Sing a Simple Song (Sly & the Family Stone)
04 You Can Make It If You Try (Sly & the Family Stone)
05 Everyday People (Sly & the Family Stone)
06 Dance to the Music (Sly & the Family Stone)
07 Music Lover (Sly & the Family Stone)
08 I Want to Take You Higher (Sly & the Family Stone)
09 talk (Sly & the Family Stone)
10 I Want to Take You Higher [Reprise] (Sly & the Family Stone)
11 talk (Sly & the Family Stone)

The cover photo of Sly Stone is a movie still from the upcoming documentary, from the exact concert in question. I found it with one of the articles about the documentary.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Who - Young Vic Theatre, London, Britain, 4-26-1971

I was listening to this concert again the other day, and liking it so much that I want to share it here. It is officially released, but it doesn't get that much attention because it can only be found as bonus tracks on the 2003 deluxe edition of the "Who's Next" album. It really should get its own release.

After 1969's very successful "Tommy" concept album, the Who's main songwriter Pete Townshend was working on a new concept album, to be called "Lifehouse." Ultimately, that didn't get completed at the time, and the best songs from it got released on the 1971 album "Who's Next" instead. But in early 1971, "Lifehouse" was still planned. The Who held a series of concerts at a small theater in London that only held about 200 people, called the Young Vic. 

For these concerts, they mainly played the new Lifehouse/Who's Next songs, even though they generally hadn't even been recorded in the studio yet, plus a few covers and older hits. It was pretty much the only time the band ever played new songs in public before releasing them on album. As a result, the songs here are in somewhat rough shape, with some lyrics unfinished and the band sounding tentative in spots. It seems some songs, like "Goin' Mobile" and "Baba O'Riley," weren't included because they hadn't even been written yet. At one point, Townshend even told the audience that he thought the new songs sounded "kind of lame!" That's amazing to me, because the songs are all considered classics now, and even these rough versions sound great.

I really like this concert because it allows one to witness the making of "Who's Next" in the middle of its creation. When it comes to listening to live Who recordings, I get tired of the "Tommy" songs, which usually made up the majority of the band's set list, even well into the 1970s. Here, we only have two "Tommy" songs, and the focus is mainly on the Lifehouse/Who's Next songs. No doubt, the band would play these even better later in 1971 after they got more familiar with them. But no great recordings of those shows have been made public so far (aside from a few songs). Plus, those later shows generally didn't include some of the new songs here, like "Time Is Passing" and "Getting in Tune." Other songs like "Too Much of Anything," "Boney Moronie" and "Young Man Blues" got dropped from the set list shortly after these shows.

In case you want to know more about this concert, here's a whole article about it written by music critic Richie Unterberger, who wrote a book about the Who's peak early 1970s era:

whoexc2 (

As for this concert, it was professionally recorded by the band, so it sounds great. But I made a couple of tweaks to improve it even more. One, because it's a soundboard, it mostly captured the band on stage, and not much of the audience noise. So I boosted the audience applause after each song to make it sound more like a typical concert. However, the audience response is still rather muted, due to the fact it was a much, much smaller audience than the usual Who concerts at the time. And two, I broke the banter between songs into separate tracks and generally boosted the volume of those to make those comments (seemingly all by Townshend) easier to hear.

By the way, I believe the recording of the cover song "Baby Don't You Do It [Don't Do It]" got cut off before the song actually ended. The end is very abrupt, with no audience noise after it whatsoever. When I compared it to other versions of the song the band did around that time, it's clear to me it should have gone on for another minute or two, and had a different ending. I tried to edit one of those endings onto this one, but I found the band played it in a different key than usual on this night. Even a bootleg rehearsal version from a day earlier is in a different key! So I left it as is, because editing two very different keys together sounds bad. However, I did add in some crowd noise after it ended, from elsewhere in the concert, to at least make it sound like this was the real end of the song.

This concert is an hour and 34 minutes long.

01 talk (Who)
02 Love Ain't for Keeping (Who)
03 Pure and Easy (Who)
04 Young Man Blues (Who)
05 Time Is Passing (Who)
06 talk (Who)
07 Behind Blue Eyes (Who)
08 talk (Who)
09 I Don't Even Know Myself (Who)
10 talk (Who)
11 Too Much of Anything (Who)
12 Getting in Tune (Who)
13 talk (Who)
14 Bargain (Who)
15 Pinball Wizard (Who)
16 See Me, Feel Me (Who)
17 Baby Don't You Do It [Don't Do It] (Who)
18 talk (Who)
19 Water (Who)
20 My Generation (Who)
21 Road Runner (Who)
22 Naked Eye (Who)
23 Bony Moronie (Who)
24 Won't Get Fooled Again (Who)

In making this album cover, I really wanted to use a photo of the band playing at the Young Vic. However, I only found two such photos, and both of them were black and white and low-res. Instead, I found a much better photo of the band. I don't know exactly when or where it was taken, but it looks to be from 1971.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Aimee Mann - Acoustic Versions, Volume 1 (1993)

Now that I've posted a bunch of Aimee Mann stray tracks albums, I want to post some albums I've made of acoustic versions she did of her songs. I think she's a strong songwriter, I generally like the lush production she usually does on her albums. But her songs do very well when they're stripped down to simple acoustic versions too.

This album comes from the very start of her solo career, the same year as her first solo album, "Whatever." Prior to that, she'd led the band 'Til Tuesday. She did a couple of 'Til Tuesday songs here, "Coming Up Close" and "The Other End (Of the Telescope)." I'm especially grateful for the acoustic version of "Coming Up Close," 'cos that's a freaking great song that should have been a big hit in some alternate universe where the best music is also the most popular. 

"'J' for Jules" is a 'Til Tuesday song too, but that got bumped down to bonus track only status due to sound quality issues.

Half of the songs here were officially released. Most of those were released as B-sides. The rest, although unreleased, all come from in-person radio station appearances, so the sound quality is a good as a studio session, without any crowd noise.

I think this is great stuff. If you're an Aimee Mann fan, this is a must-have. And I have three more of these coming dealing with the rest of her career (so far).

01 Coming Up Close (Aimee Mann)
02 4th of July (Aimee Mann)
03 Stupid Thing (Aimee Mann)
04 Put Me on Top (Aimee Mann)
05 I Should've Known (Aimee Mann)
06 The Other End [Of the Telescope] (Aimee Mann)
07 I Know There's a Word (Aimee Mann)
08 Could've Been Anyone (Aimee Mann)
09 Say Anything (Aimee Mann)
10 I've Had It (Aimee Mann)

 'J' for Jules (Aimee Mann)

I couldn't find any good photos of Aimee Mann with an acoustic guitar from 1993. The closest I got was this one from 1995. It's from the Phoenix Music Festival, which you'd think took place in Phoenix, Arizona, but actually was in Stratford-upon-Avon in Britain.

The Faces - The Stealer - Non-Album Tracks (1973)

After releasing two albums in 1971, the Faces kept a relatively low profile in 1972, releasing no album or single that year. Then they released the "Ooh La La" album in 1973. Despite that, there's enough material from 1973 for a stray tracks album from that year. Here it is.

All the songs here have been officially released. However, you wouldn't have been able to buy many of them in 1973. The first song and the last four are A- and B-sides from that year. (Note that "Oh! No Not My Baby" and "Jodie" were credited to "Rod Stewart and the Faces." I'm including them here and not on a Rod Stewart stray tracks album because indeed all of the Faces played on them.) The song "Dishevelment Blues" was only available on a "flexi-single" that you got when you purchased a certain magazine. The rest - songs 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 - were released decades later on the "Five Guys Walk into a Bar..." Faces box set.

In my opinion, this is a pretty strong album. The only snag is that many of the songs are cover versions, and the Faces liked to have all or nearly all original songs on their studio albums.

01 Pool Hall Richard (Faces)
02 [If Loving You Is Wrong] I Don't Want to Be Right (Faces)
03 Come See Me Baby [The Cheater] (Faces)
04 Dishevelment Blues (Faces)
05 Insurance [Instrumental] (Faces)
06 Jealous Guy (Faces)
07 The Stealer (Faces)
08 Oh! No Not My Baby (Rod Stewart & the Faces)
09 Jodie (Rod Stewart & the Faces)
10 Skewiff [Mend the Fuse] [Instrumental] (Faces)
11 I Wish It Would Rain (Faces)

I don't know the details of the cover art photo, except it comes from 1973.

The Style Council - Long Hot Summer - Non-Album Tracks (1983-1984)

Last week, Paul Weller released a new studio album, "Fat Pop, Volume 1." I'm glad to see he's still going strong. In celebration of that, I wanted to post something from him, but I don't have much worthy from the Jam or his solo career left to post. However, it occurred to me that I've never posted anything from his 1980s band, the Style Council, so here's my first effort related to that band.

I have to admit that, for a long time, I wasn't that big on the Style Council. I much preferred his time with the Jam and his solo work. But I've warmed to the Style Council over the years. What I've decided is that that band put out a lot of good music, on par with his music before and after. But... they also put out some stuff that's best forgotten, so one has to do some work to separate the wheat from the chaff. Weller was in a very musically exploratory mood at the time, which resulted in everything from mellow jazz that approached Muzak to hardcore techno - sometimes on the same album! Also, I think the band started out strong, but went downhill, ending in a whimper with a terrible techno album that his record company refused to release at the time - rightly, in my opinion.

This album focuses on the start of the Style Council - they formed in 1983. Even though this is a stray tracks album, I'd argue this is actually better than any of the band's official studio albums, since those are all inconsistent, and it's right up there with the Jam and Weller's early solo albums. It helps that it has the band's two biggest hits and most enduring songs, "Long Hot Summer" and "My Ever Changing Moods." (The latter song was also included on the band's debut album "Cafe Bleu," but that's a very different and longer acoustic version, whereas the version here is the hit single version.)

Actually, the fact that this album is so good points to a big problem the Style Council had: Weller often put some of the band's worst songs on albums and left some of their best songs off them. One reason for this is that he usually wanted to give band member Mike Talbot some songs on each album, but Talbot's songs were generally mellow jazz often approached Musak that I mentioned earlier. I haven't included any of those here.

Plus, at least when the band started out, Weller continued a habit of not putting many of his hit singles on albums. In fact, most of the songs here are either hits - the two I mentioned above, plus "Speak like a Child," "Money Go Round" and "Solid Bond in Your Heart," which were all Top Ten hits in Britain or close to it - or well chosen soul covers. For instance, he did "One Nation Under a Groove," a funk classic by Parliament / Funkadelic. (All of the covers come from official live albums, which means their sound quality is excellent.) So if you haven't given the Style Council a try, this is an excellent place to start. 

Note that I haven't exhausted all of the band's good stray tracks from 1984. I plan on posting alternate version of their 1984 album "Cafe Bleu," and I'll add some more there.

01 Long Hot Summer (Style Council)
02 Speak like a Child (Style Council)
03 Party Chambers [First Version] (Style Council)
04 Money Go Round, Parts 1 & 2 (Style Council)
05 A Solid Bond in Your Heart (Style Council)
06 It Just Came to Pieces in My Hands (Style Council)
07 My Ever Changing Moods [Single Version] (Style Council)
08 Hanging On to a Memory (Style Council)
09 One Nation Under a Groove (Style Council)
10 Meeting [Over] Up Yonder (Style Council)
11 Up for Grabs (Style Council)

For the album cover art, I took the easy path and used the cover to the "Long Hot Summer" single. I didn't change it at all, except for cleaning and sharpening it a bit.

Morgan James - Quarantunes, Volume 3 (2020)

Here's the next in a long series of "Quarantunes" by Morgan James. A one sentence summary for those who missed the previous ones: James sings a wide variety of cover versions backed only by her husband Doug Wamble on acoustic guitar.

As with previous volumes in the series, all of the performances are unreleased and come from her YouTube channel. The sound quality is uniformly very good.

Here's the original artists for each song:

01 Stand Back - Stevie Nicks
02 Are You Lonesome Tonight - Elvis Presley
03 Closer to Fine - Indigo Girls
04 In My Room - Beach Boys
05 Separate Ways [Worlds Apart] - Journey
06 I Think We're Alone Now - Tommy James & the Shondells
07 Time after Time - Cyndi Lauper
08 I'll Be Seeing You - Bing Crosby
09 What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
10 Rocket Man - Elton John
11 Lonesome Town - Ricky Nelson
12 When I Come Around - Green Day
13 So Far Away - Carole King

And here's the usual song list:

01 Stand Back (Morgan James)
02 Are You Lonesome Tonight (Morgan James)
03 Closer to Fine (Morgan James)
04 In My Room (Morgan James)
05 Separate Ways [Worlds Apart] (Morgan James)
06 I Think We're Alone Now (Morgan James)
07 Time after Time (Morgan James)
08 I'll Be Seeing You (Morgan James)
09 What a Wonderful World (Morgan James)
10 Rocket Man (Morgan James)
11 Lonesome Town (Morgan James)
12 When I Come Around (Morgan James)
13 So Far Away (Morgan James)

As with the other albums in this series, the cover photo is a screenshot taken from one of the videos of the songs here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Richard Thompson - 1000 Years of Popular Music - First Version (2001-2002)

Here's something that I'm especially proud of. Around 2000, Playboy Magazine asked Richard Thompson and a bunch of other famous musicians to list what they considered to be the best songs of the millennium. Thompson alone took them literally and gave them a list that genuinely covered 1000 years, whereas everyone else made lists just of the last century. Probably because his list was so weird, Playboy never published it. But it gave Thompson the idea for a show called "1000 Years of Popular Music," which he did off and on from about 2001 until 2009. 

Thompson released a CD of one of these shows in 2003. Then he released a DVD in 2006 of a show from a later tour with a fairly different set list. What I have here is related, but different. Since Thompson toured with this concept for most of a decade, the show evolved over time, and the set list changed. I've found enough different songs to create three full-length concerts of about an hour and a half each, with those three concerts having totally different set lists. Not a single song is repeated between any of the three shows.

In order to get enough material for all three shows, I've drawn upon the CD, the DVD, and various bootlegs. For this first concert, the vast majority of the songs come from the CD. However, I enjoy Thompson's banter before the songs, and I wanted to see if I could find some comments he made for every single song. Because many of the songs are obscure, with some dating back hundreds of years, his comments can be very illuminating. He only had comments for about half of the songs on the CD, but by using the DVD and bootleg sources, I was able to find comments for almost all of the rest. 

Another change I've made is that I've organized all the songs by when they were first created. Thompson more or less did this for the CD version, but he bounced around some, especially for the encores. For instance, his cover of "Sam Hall," a song from the 1700s, came after his cover of the Britney Spears hit "Oops... I Did It Again" from the year 2000. I think the concert makes better sense and has improved flow with the songs in proper chronological order.

The vast majority of the songs here sound great. But there's a snag in that some of the banter between songs come from bootlegs with considerably lower quality. I figure this would be more of a problem if it were actual songs, but since it's just him talking, it doesn't matter much. Still, you'll probably notice the change in quality for some of the banter. If that bothers you too much, you can just remove those tracks. 

Between adding in more of the banter and moving some songs around, I developed some flow issues. For instance, the audience applause might come to a sudden end, with the next track starting with silence. So I carefully checked the transitions from song to song and made little fixes. For instance, if his next comments started with some lingering applause, I'd make sure the previous song ended with a moderate amount of clapping going on. Hopefully the result is that it'll sound like one concert, even though in fact it has a handful of different sources.

This mostly just features Thompson and his acoustic guitar. However, Judith Owen sings backing vocals occasionally, and takes the lead vocals on a few songs, such as "Cry Me a River." There's also some percussion here and there. 

The total length of this concert is an hour and 36 minutes. By comparison, the CD version is an hour and 16 minutes long. If you're familiar with that CD, you'll be familiar with most of this. Things get more interesting with the second concert, which has about half of its source material from bootlegs, and then the third concert, which is entirely sourced from bootlegs.

Oh, by the way, I don't normally do this, but given the unique "history lesson" aspect of this concert, I've added to the song titles the year (or rough estimate) of when each song was created, as well as the author, when that's known.

01 Sumer Is Icumen In [1200s] (Richard Thompson)
02 talk (Richard Thompson)
03 King Henry V's Conquest of France [1400s] (Richard Thompson)
04 talk (Richard Thompson)
05 When I Am Laid in Earth [Dido's Lament] [Henry Purcell, 1689] (Richard Thompson)
06 talk (Richard Thompson)
07 So Ben Mi Ca Bon Tempo [Orazio Vecchi, 1590] (Richard Thompson)
08 talk (Richard Thompson)
09 Sam Hall [1700s] (Richard Thompson)
10 talk (Richard Thompson)
11 Shenandoah [early 1800s] (Richard Thompson)
12 talk (Richard Thompson)
13 Blackleg Miner [1840s] (Richard Thompson)
14 talk (Richard Thompson)
15 Banks of the Nile (Richard Thompson)
16 talk (Richard Thompson)
17 Why Have My Loved Ones Gone [Stephen Foster, 1861] (Richard Thompson)
18 talk (Richard Thompson)
19 There Is Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast [Gilbert and Sullivan, 1885] (Richard Thompson)
20 talk (Richard Thompson)
21 I Live in Trafalgar Square [C. W. Murphy, 1902] (Richard Thompson)
22 talk (Richard Thompson)
23 Waiting at the Church [Vesta Victoria, 1907] (Richard Thompson)
24 talk (Richard Thompson)
25 Rockin' Chair [Hoagy Carmichael, 1929] (Richard Thompson)
26 talk (Richard Thompson)
27 Orange Coloured Sky [Jonny Edwards, 1930] (Richard Thompson)
28 talk (Richard Thompson)
29 Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee [Sonny Parker, 1949] (Richard Thompson)
30 talk (Richard Thompson)
31 Cry Me a River [Julie London, 1955] (Richard Thompson)
32 talk (Richard Thompson)
33 The Fool [Sanford Clark, 1956] (Richard Thompson)
34 It Won't Be Long [The Beatles, 1963] (Richard Thompson)
35 talk (Richard Thompson)
36 A Legal Matter [The Who, 1965] (Richard Thompson)
37 talk (Richard Thompson)
38 Money, Money, Money [ABBA, 1976] (Richard Thompson)
39 Tempted [Squeeze, 1981] (Richard Thompson)
40 talk (Richard Thompson)
41 Kiss [Prince, 1986] (Richard Thompson)
42 talk (Richard Thompson)
43 Oops... I Did It Again [Britney Spears, 2000] (Richard Thompson)
44 Marry, Ageyn Hic Hev Donne Yt [Oops... I Did It Again] (Richard Thompson)

I believe the cover photo comes from a "1000 years" concert in Sadler's Wells, London, in 2003. The picture was taller than it was wide, so I filled in some of the space to the sides with Celtic designs.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Phil Collins - VH-1 Storytellers, Los Angeles, CA, 4-14-1997

This album came about as a happy accidental side effect of posting the previous acoustic Genesis album. When Mike sent me that album, he didn't have the mp3 tag information for the songs, so I looked that up. In doing so, I noticed that two of the songs came from a Phil Collins VH-1 Storytellers concert. I'm not a huge Phil Collins fan; I like him about on the greatest hits level, but I liked him enough to give the whole Storytellers concert a listen. I decided I liked it enough to keep it in my music collection, and also post it in full here. So the two Genesis songs Collins does for this appear here instead of on the acoustic Genesis album Mike made.

If you've been following this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I have a special fondness for acoustic music. I like hearing a strong stripped down to its most basic essence. Collins' poppy hits are usually very produced, and sometimes overproduced with 1980s and 1990s excesses, so hearing them done in this acoustic manner is especially revealing. It's made me appreciate his musical talents more than before. He also talked a fair amount between songs, telling interesting anecdotes about the songs and how they were created.

The last two songs don't actually come from the 1997 Storytellers concert. Instead, they come from a benefit concert one year later, where he played two songs in the same acoustic format. They fit right in, with him even having some of the same entertaining banter, so I've added them at the end as quasi-bonus tracks.

I believe this concert has been released on DVD, but never in audio format. So I converted the video file of the DVD into mp3s. This album is 54 minutes long, including the two songs from a different concert at the end.

01 In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins)
02 talk (Phil Collins)
03 In the Air Tonight [Reprise] (Phil Collins)
04 talk (Phil Collins)
05 talk (Phil Collins)
06 Against All Odds [Take a Look at Me Now] (Phil Collins)
07 talk (Phil Collins)
08 I Can't Dance (Phil Collins)
09 talk (Phil Collins)
10 No Son of Mine (Phil Collins)
11 talk (Phil Collins)
12 Since I Lost You (Phil Collins)
13 talk (Phil Collins)
14 Take Me Home (Phil Collins)
15 talk (Phil Collins)
16 I Wish It Would Rain Down (Phil Collins)
17 talk (Phil Collins)
18 This Must Be Love (Phil Collins)
19 talk (Phil Collins)
20 Home by the Sea (Phil Collins)
21 talk (Phil Collins)
22 Sussudio (Phil Collins)
23 talk (Phil Collins)
24 Both Sides of the Story (Phil Collins)
25 Another Day in Paradise (Phil Collins)

The cover art photo comes from a video still of the DVD of this concert. It's a bit low-res, but that's the best I could find. I took the text graphic from the DVD cover art that I found.

Genesis - An Acoustic Evening with Genesis (1999-2007) (A MIKE SOLOF GUEST POST)

If you've been regularly following this blog, you may recall that a couple of months ago, I posted a "dream concert" of sorts by the Monkees. That was put together by a musical friend named Mike. It turns out Mike Solof has a lot more music that he'd like to post here. His musical taste is similar to mine, but he likes some musical artists I'm not that keen on. So, at least for now, he's going to focus on those. Basically, the plan is that he'll send me an album, I'll make some tweaks to it, or maybe not, but in the end the idea and most of the effort putting the album together belongs to Mike. From now on, I'll indicate which albums are Mike's efforts by putting his name in the title.

In terms of explaining things, Mike prefers to make a PDF file where he can write at greater length sometimes, and also include pictures. There's such a PDF included with this zip file. But I'll make some basic comments to give you a rough idea of what this is about.

Genesis is known as a progressive rock band, and definitely aren't known to play acoustically. But Mike has found some acoustic versions of some songs, enough to make an hour-long album. All the versions here were recorded from 1999 to 2007. But in terms of the original material, this runs the range from the early 1970s when Peter Gabriel was the lead singer to the 1990s with Phil Collins in command and the band had gone in a much poppier direction. Most of the songs are sung by Collins, but there's about 20 minutes near the end in which Gabriel's early 1970s vocals were overdubbed onto new recorded solo piano versions of Genesis songs.

Mike has this thing where he likes to present his albums as a single mp3 file, to create a continuous flow of music without any gaps. I prefer having each song as a separate track, which helps having the mp3 tag info for each of the songs. Since file size isn't much of an issue on the Internet, we're having it both ways. I'm presenting two zip files. The names should make clear which is which. Both contain Mike's PDF file. 

As for any more comments about this album, please check out Mike's PDF file. And thanks to Mike for wanting to share his music via my blog this way. Hopefully he'll be able to fill in some gaps with some popular music that I'm not that keen on. It seems he especially has a lot of progressive music that I don't (with Genesis here being a good example).

01 I Can’t Dance (Genesis)
02 Invisible Touch (Genesis)
03 Follow You, Follow Me (Genesis)
04 Afterglow (Genesis)
05 Horizons (Genesis)
06 Please Don’t Ask (Genesis)
07 Turn It On Again (Genesis)
08 Ripples (Genesis)
09 Can-Utility and the Coastliners (Yngve Guddal & Roger T. Matte with Peter Gabriel)
10 The Fountains of Salmacis (Yngve Guddal & Roger T. Matte with Peter Gabriel)
11 The Battle of Epping Forest (Yngve Guddal & Roger T. Matte with Peter Gabriel)
12 Blood on the Rooftops (Yngve Guddal & Roger T. Matte with Phil Collins)
13 Mad Man Moon (Yngve Guddal & Roger T. Matte with Phil Collins)

Mike didn't present me with cover art for this album, so I made one. I don't know where the cover art photo comes from. I found it in Mike's PDF file. Maybe he can explain. But it looks like the Phil Collins-led version of Genesis performing acoustically in the time period of this album.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Bobbie Gentry - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: 1970-1972

Here's the third and last of my three albums of Bobbie Gentry playing for the BBC.

Like the others in this series, many of the songs are officially released and are actual BBC performances, but I've fleshed things out with an unreleased BBC performance, plus some songs she did for various TV shows. Also like the others, there's a number of songs here that she never put on record in any form, including "I Want You Back" (by the Jackson 5), "Fire and Rain" (by James Taylor), a medley of "Mother Nature's Son" and "Blackbird" (by the Beatles), "Mr. Bojangles" (by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and a medley that included the hits "Proud Mary," "Polk Salad Annie," and "Never Ending Song of Love." On top of that, there are some songs that were only released on her official BBC album as well as her "The Girl from Chickasaw County" box set, such as "Wailing of the Willow" and "Circle 'Round the Sun."

I'm not exactly sure why, but Gentry's recording career petered out around 1971, with her last album being released that year. So it's not that surprising that her TV and radio appearances petered out as well. She did continue to perform concerts in a few places like Las Vegas after that, but only released a handful of songs. So this is where this series naturally ends. The last majority of the songs here are from her active years up to 1971, with only the last song dating from 1972.

01 Sunday Morning (Glen Campbell & Bobbie Gentry)
02 If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody (Bobbie Gentry)
03 Benjamin (Bobbie Gentry)
04 I Want You Back (Bobbie Gentry)
05 Fire and Rain (Bobbie Gentry & Andy Williams)
06 Open Your Window (Bobbie Gentry)
07 Mother Nature's Son - Blackbird (Bobbie Gentry)
08 Mr. Bojangles (Bobbie Gentry)
09 Your Number One Fan (Bobbie Gentry)
10 Montego Bay [Edit] (Bobbie Gentry)
11 He Made a Woman Out of Me (Bobbie Gentry)
12 Billy the Kid (Bobbie Gentry)
13 Wailing of the Willow (Bobbie Gentry)
14 Belinda (Bobbie Gentry)
15 Circle 'Round the Sun (Bobbie Gentry)
16 Niki Hoeky - Proud Mary - Polk Salad Annie - Never Ending Song of Love (Bobbie Gentry & Bobby Darin)

I'm glad to say that, like the two earlier albums in this series, I was able to find an actual photo of Gentry at the BBC for the album cover. This one is a still from her BBC TV show, dating from 1971. The colors were a bit off, but I did some tweaking to improve that.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly - Kip’s House, Brooklyn, NY, 3-3-1978

Here's a concert I'm very delighted to present. If you like the Byrds at all, I highly recommend you give this a listen. Chris Hillman was a secondary singer and songwriter in a lot of bands. He had that role in the Byrds from their start until 1968, then he was in the Flying Burrito Brothers, then in Stephen Still's band Manassas. Whatever band he was in, or when going solo, he consistently wrote really good songs, yet he's generally been overlooked by more charismatic front men. This, more than any other recording I know, allows Hillman's talents to shine as a front man.

This an interesting and unusual bootleg, as far as bootlegs go. At the time, Hillman was on tour with a band, but he had a night off. He had a friend named Vinny Fisachela, and that friend had a small party of ten or fewer people at a house owned by someone named Kip. Hillman put on a concert just for that small group of people, backed only by his own acoustic guitar, plus backing vocals by Kim O'Kelly, who was the backing vocalist at the time in his touring band. Due to the informal nature of the show, it seems Hillman played every song he could remember, resulting in a concert that was nearly two hours long. So I like this concert because it's like having him in your living room playing for a group of friends. In fact, that's exactly what it was!

Furthermore, the sound quality is excellent. There's another bootleg concert of him and O'Kelly from just two days earlier, playing at the club My Father's Place in Roslyn, New York. That's a good show too, and that bootleg seems to have gotten around some more, but the sound quality of this one is clearly superior. There was one big flaw with it, in that there was some kind of loud thumping sound through many of the songs. But I gave the recording to my musical friend MZ and asked him to fix it. He basically cut back the bass range, which drastically reduced the thumping. It didn't eliminate it, you can still hear it on the more lively songs, but it's much better now. And I don't think there's much sonic loss at all, since there wasn't really anything else in the bass spectrum anyway, given that this is just acoustic guitar and vocals.

On top of that, I also appreciate Kim O'Kelly's involvement. She seems to have had a short musical career. I can't find anything about her other than she was a backing vocalist for this one Chris Hillman tour. But she added a lot with harmonies on nearly every song, as well as taking the occasional lead vocal. She also talked a lot between songs. It's clear that was annoying Hillman. One of his first comments is asking her to shut up, and later on he rejoiced when she temporarily taped her mouth shut. But between her and him talking back and forth, there's a lot of entertaining banter.

By the way, there was one slight problem with the recording, in that there seems to have been a missing section with the talking before the song "Hot Burrito No. 2," continuing into the start of that song. But the first verse was repeated later in the song, so I was able to edit it enough so the missing beginning isn't a problem.

Around the time of this recording, Hillman had put out a couple of solo albums which didn't attract much sales or attention. But they had lots of good songs on them. (At some point soon, I want to post a kind of Hillman mid-1970s best of collection.) He naturally played a bunch of those, but also did some classic Byrds songs like "Eight Miles High" and "So You Want to Be a Rock n' Roll Star," as well as Flying Burrito Brothers songs, and Manassas songs. He even did a couple of Stephen Stills songs he had no hand in writing, like "Do for the Others" and "Ring of Love" (though unfortunately he couldn't remember "Rock and Roll Woman" and only played a snippet of it).  

I'm guessing that maybe this bootleg hasn't gotten the attention it deserves due to the thumping problem mentioned above. But now that has mostly been fixed, I think this is one of the best Byrds-related concert recordings there is. Hopefully, this will give you a great appreciation of Hillman's talents.

01 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
02 Nothing Gets Through (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
03 Do Right Woman, Do Right Man (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
04 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
05 Wheels (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
06 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
07 Love Is the Sweetest Amnesty (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
08 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
09 Eight Miles High (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
10 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
11 Do for the Others (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
12 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
13 Slippin' Away (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
14 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
15 Take It on the Run (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
16 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
17 Quits (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
18 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
19 Ring of Love (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
20 Fallen Favorite (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
21 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
22 [Take Me in Your] Life Boat (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
23 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
24 Rise and Fall (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
25 Hot Burrito No. 2 [Edit] (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
26 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
27 Safe at Home (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
28 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
29 Hot Burrito No. 1 (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
30 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
31 Heartbreaker (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
32 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
33 Playin' the Fool (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
34 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
35 Falling Again (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
36 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
37 Witching Hour (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
38 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
39 Clear Sailin' (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
40 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
41 Bound to Fall (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
42 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
43 It Doesn't Matter - Bound to Lose (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
44 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
45 The Dark End of the Street (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
46 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
47 Rock and Roll Woman (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
48 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
49 Time Between (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
50 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
51 Christine's Tune [Devil in Disguise] (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
52 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
53 Ring of Love (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
54 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
55 Sin City (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
56 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
57 Step On Out (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
58 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
59 White Line Fever (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
60 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
61 Like Strangers (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
62 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
63 Hot Burrito No. 1 (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
64 talk (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)
65 So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star (Chris Hillman with Kim O'Kelly)

I looked all over for any photos of Kim O'Kelly, and could only find one, where she was with Hillman. So naturally I used that for the cover. Unfortunately, it was low-res and in black and white. I colorized it, but there's only so much I could do about the low-res problem. If you know of a better version, or any other photos of them together, please let me know.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Bobbie Gentry - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1968-1970

Here's the second of three albums of Bobbie Gentry at the BBC. As I said previously, there's been an official BBC album released for her, but I've managed to find a lot of material not included on that, making this three albums instead of one.

On this album, 10 out of the 19 songs remain officially unreleased. Most of those are from other TV show appearances, but a couple are from BBC shows that didn't get included on the official release for some reason, maybe because they were duets. In fact, speaking of duets, she does a bunch of those here,  singing songs with Bing Crosby (twice),  James Taylor, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, and John Hartford and Roy Clark. I presume there are more with Campbell that I didn't find, since the two of them did a whole duets album together during this time period.

As with the other albums in this series, some of the songs here haven't been officially released by her in any form. Many of those are the duets, like "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," "Something's Wrong," and "Shady Grove."

01 Niki Hokey - Barefootin' (Bobbie Gentry)
02 Penduli Pendulum (Bobbie Gentry)
03 Ace Insurance Man (Bobbie Gentry)
04 Chickasaw County Child (Bobbie Gentry)
05 Okolona River Bottom Band (Bing Crosby & Bobbie Gentry)
06 Little Green Apples (Glen Campbell & Bobbie Gentry)
07 Recollection (Bobbie Gentry)
08 Sweete Peony (Bobbie Gentry)
09 Something's Wrong (Bobbie Gentry & James Taylor)
10 Sandman's Comin' (Bobbie Gentry)
11 Refractions (Bobbie Gentry)
12 Greyhound Goin' Somewhere (Bobbie Gentry)
13 Cotton Candy Sandman (Bobbie Gentry)
14 Put a Little Love in Your Heart (Bing Crosby & Bobbie Gentry)
15 Rainmaker (Bobbie Gentry)
16 Shady Grove (Bobbie Gentry, John Hartford & Roy Clark)
17 When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder - In the Sweet By-and-By (Bobbie Gentry)
18 Fancy (Bobbie Gentry)
19 Bayou Baby - On the Banks of the Old Pontchartrain (Bobbie Gentry & Johnny Cash)

The cover art photo comes from a BBC TV show in 1968. I actually cropped it from a larger photo that includes her doing a duet with Donovan. (The songs from that are on the first volume.) If you look at the bottom right corner, that tiny bit of purple is from Donovan's clothes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Beck - Wide Open - Non-Album Tracks (2014-2019)

In recent years, Beck has released a couple of studio albums I'm not that fond of. With "Colors" in 2017 and "Hyperspace" in 2019, he went in a modern pop direction. I'm not the only one who isn't a big fan. If you look at the ratings of his albums on rateyourmusic,com, which averages ratings from hundreds of people, those two have the lowest ratings of any of his major label studio albums. 

That said, I'm happy to report that Beck has continued to be his usual delightfully weird self when it comes to non-album tracks from this time period. There isn't that much of the sound from those two albums, although one song here from 2015, "Dreams," did make it on "Colors" in 2017 in a somewhat different version.  The music here runs a wide range, from funky full band to solo acoustic. Often, it seems Beck was in the mood for cover versions, doing "Wah-Wah" (George Harrison), "Love" (John Lennon), "Satellite of Love" (Lou Reed), I'm Waiting for the Man" (Velvet Undergrond), "Can't Help Falling in Love" (Elvis Presley), "Raspberry Beret," and "Take Me with U" (Prince).

Five of the songs are officially unreleased. However, the sound quality is generally very good. A couple of those unreleased songs come from TV show appearances, which means good sound, and on, "I'm Waiting for the Man," is a studio version released on Beck's YouTube page. (I could be wrong, but I think it's from a planned tribute album that never happened.) 

With this album, I'm almost caught up to the present day as I write this in 2021. However, there are almost enough non-album tracks from 2019 until now for another album. I just need about another two songs. So that'll get posted when there's enough material.

Regarding those bonus tracks, those are more cover versions. They're fine versions, but I demoted them to bonus track status due to poor sound quality.

01 Heaven's Ladder (Beck)
02 Wah-Wah (Beck)
03 Love (Beck)
04 Dreams [Radio Edit] (Beck)
05 Satellite of Love (Beck)
06 Wide Open (Chemical Brothers with Beck)
07 Time Wind (M83 with Beck)
08 Raspberry Beret (Beck)
10 Can't Help Falling in Love (Beck)
11 I'm Waiting for the Man (Beck)
12 Take Me with U (Beck)
13 Night Running (Cage the Elephant with Beck)

Don't You Want Me (Beck & Julian Casablancas)
The Man Who Sold the World (Beck with Nirvana)

For the cover art photo of Beck, I used a publicity photo from 2014. That had a plain background that I thought was rather boring. I saw a different photo of Beck from 2014 standing on stage in front of a reddish design. I used that design for the background.

Various Artists - Covered: Robert Johnson, Volume 2: 1983-2020

Yesterday, I posted Volume 1 of the "Covered" series's focus on blues legend Robert Johnson. I think the two volumes I've made need to be appreciated together to make a whole, so here's Volume 2.

As I said in my write-up to Volume 1, Johnson only recorded 29 songs during his very short musical career in the 1930s. Since his musical influence has been so enormous and the number of songs he did is so small, I've found versions of every single one of those 29 songs. More of the famous songs were included in Volume 1. For some of the songs here, like "Photograph Blues" and "Drunken Hearted Man," I had to struggle to find any good covers at all. That said, all of Johnson's songs are worthy, and I did ultimately find good covers for all of them.

As with Volume 1, I tried hard to find covers from a variety of artists. That's why, for instance, I have a version of "Stop Break Down" here by the Jeff Healey Band instead of the more well known one by the Rolling Stones. The version of "Hellhound on My Trail" by Larkin Poe is actually unreleased. They did a version on their 2020 album "Kindred Spirits" that's frustatingly short, at only 43 seconds long! But happily, they did a two-minute long version for their "Tip O' the Hat" video series, so I used that version.

This album is about 50 minutes long, and Volume 1 has a similar length.

01 Honeymoon Blues (John Hammond)
02 Me and the Devil Blues (Cowboy Junkies)
03 They're Red Hot (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
04 Little Queen of Spades (John Mooney)
05 32-20 Blues (Bob Dylan)
06 Kind Hearted Woman Blues (Keb Mo)
07 Stop Breaking Down (Jeff Healey Band)
08 Last Fair Deal Gone Down (Beck)
09 Milkcow's Calf Blues (Robert Palmer)
10 Stones in My Passway (John Mellencamp)
11 Phonograph Blues (Pyeng Threadgill)
12 If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day (Rory Block)
13 Dead Shrimp Blues (Dan Patlansky)
14 Drunken Hearted Man (Devil Makes Three)
15 Hellhound on My Trail (Larkin Poe)

As I explained with my Volume 1 write-up, there are only three confirmed photos of Robert Johnson, and all of them are in black and white. Furthermore, all of them are in fairly bad shape, considering they're family heirlooms dating to the 1930s. I colorized this one, and made lots of little tweaks in order to make it presentable. It still has some issues, but hopefully it gives you a rough idea of what he looked like, in color.

Various Artists - Covered: Robert Johnson, Volume 1: 1951-1981

For the next artist in my "Covered" series, I'm going way, way back to the 1930s to look at blues legend Robert Johnson.

Johnson's musical career was unusual in many respects. He only recorded a grand total of 29 different songs in two recording sessions, one in 1937 and the other in 1938. Later in 1938, he died of unknown causes, when he was only 27 years old. He was a minor blues artist at the time without much in the way of sales or influence. But after his death, his musical stature grew and grew, particularly after most of his songs were released on an album for the first time in 1961. Eric Clapton has called him "the most important blues musician who ever lived." Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin has said it is Johnson "to whom we [as rock musicians] all owe our existence in some way." Many other famous musical acts have cited him as a major influence, including Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones. 

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

Robert Johnson - Wikipedia

Normally with these "Covered" albums, I usually just pick versions of the hits and other songs I especially like. But since Johnson only recorded 29 different songs, and he's had such a massive influence on music, I've included versions of every single one of those 29 songs. (That includes a few that were covers, or at least were partially inspired by other songs.) Many are famous songs, like "Crossroads" and "Sweet Home Chicago." But others are rather obscure, where I've had to scratch and scrape to find any decent cover versions. However, I'm ultimately happy that I've found good versions for every song.

As you'll see here, even though Johnson died in 1938, the first cover doesn't come from 1951, and the vast majority are from the 1960s or later. That's a reflection of what I mentioned above, that he didn't have much influence until decades after his death. I tried hard to include a range of different artists. But this has three songs sung by Eric Clapton, one when he was part of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, one when he was part of Cream, and one when he was a solo artist. Furthermore, there's another Cream song ("Four Until Late") that's not sung by him. I felt obliged to include these versions because I consider them the definitive ones.

Note that if you don't like blues music, you're probably not going to like this. This is blues through and through, without poppy crossover versions. That said, there is a lot of variety here within the blues genre, due to the wide range of different artists, plus a mix of acoustic and full band performances.

01 Dust My Broom (Elmore James)
02 Sweet Home Chicago (Junior Parker)
03 Four until Late (Cream)
04 Ramblin' on My Mind (Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton)
05 Crossroads (Cream)
06 Love in Vain (Rolling Stones)
07 Travelling Riverside Blues (Led Zeppelin)
08 When You Got a Good Friend (Johnny Winter)
09 Walking Blues (Bonnie Raitt)
10 Come on in My Kitchen (Delaney & Bonnie)
11 Steady Rollin' Man (Eric Clapton)
12 Terraplane Blues (Foghat)
13 Malted Milk Blues (Lucinda Williams)
14 Preaching the Blues (Gun Club)

Robert Johnson was such an obscure figure in his lifetime that there literally are only three known photos of him (and one of those only came to light in 2020). So, needless to say, my options for cover art photos were limited! All three photos are black and white, so I colorized this one. The original was also rather grainy and low-res, but I did some tinkering in Photoshop to hopefully improve the picture quality.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Faces - I Came Looking for You - Non-Album Tracks (1971-1972)

Here's the next in my series of stray track albums for the Faces. This comes from the years the band arguably hit their peak with the studio albums "Long Player' and "A Nod Is as Good as a Wink... To a Blind Horse."

As I explained with the last album in this series, Rod Stewart was the lead singer in the band at the same time he was having an increasingly successful solo career. During these years, he did all his concerts with the Faces. Sometimes, songs on his solo albums would be backed by the Faces too. I'm not including any songs from his solo albums though, since I figure anyone who wants this already has those.

So where do the songs here come from? It's a mixture of A- and B-sides singles, bonus tracks, and BBC performances. (One BBC performance, "I Want to Be Loved," is officially unreleased, but the sound quality is fine.) 

 The last three come from the soundtrack to an obscure movie called "Mahoney's Last Stand." This movie wasn't released until 1976, but it, and the songs for it, were finished in 1972, so I consider them done in that year. Technically, these were done by only two members of the band, Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood, but other Faces members Ian McLagan and Kenny Jones played on some songs too, so it was almost like a Faces album minus their usual lead singer Rod Stewart. 

Some of the songs for that soundtrack were later done for the Faces or for Ronnie Lane's solo career, so I generally didn't use any of those. (However, I did use one song used later, "Anymore for Anymore," because this version is significantly different.) Also, many of the songs are instrumentals that aren't that notable, just generic background movie music, so I'm not using any of those either. 

01 Maybe I'm Amazed (Faces)
02 Oh Lord I'm Browned Off [Instrumental] (Faces)
03 I Came Looking for You (Faces)
04 Sham-Mozzal [Instrumental] [Early Version of Had Me a Real Good Time] (Faces)
05 Whole Lotta Woman (Faces)
06 I Want to Be Loved (Faces)
07 Anymore for Anymore (Ronnie Lane & Ronnie Wood)
08 'Mona' the Blues (Ronnie Lane & Ronnie Wood)
09 Tonight's Number [Instrumental] (Ronnie Lane & Ronnie Wood)

The cover art photo comes from 1971, but I don't know any other details about it.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Morgan James - Quarantunes, Volume 2 (2020)

In early 2020, shortly after the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Morgan James posted 100 cover songs in 100 days, which she called "Quarantunes." All of them were performed with just her husband Doug Wamble on acoustic guitar. I've already posted Volume 1, and I have a bunch more to go. Here's Volume 2.

Hopefully I don't have to write much here because by now you should be familiar with Morgan James' musical style and voice, as well as the kind of songs she typically covers. 

This is the usual eclectic mix from her, with lots of songs one wouldn't typically expect to be done in the solo acoustic format.

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

01 I Touch Myself - Divinyls
02 Crazy - Seal
03 One - U2
04 The Waiting - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
05 For All We Know - Hal Kemp / Isham Jones
06 The Nearness of You - Hoagy Carmichael & Ned Washington
07 American Tune - Paul Simon
08 Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
09 Seven Days - Sting
10 Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
11 Someday We'll All Be Free - Donny Hathaway
12 Ordinary World - Duran Duran
13 17 Days - Prince 

Here's the usual song list.

01 I Touch Myself (Morgan James)
02 Crazy (Morgan James)
03 One (Morgan James)
04 The Waiting (Morgan James)
05 For All We Know (Morgan James)
06 The Nearness of You (Morgan James)
07 American Tune (Morgan James)
08 Big Yellow Taxi (Morgan James)
09 Seven Days (Morgan James)
10 Don't Dream It's Over (Morgan James)
11 Someday We'll All Be Free (Morgan James)
12 Ordinary World (Morgan James)
13 17 Days (Morgan James)

I made the cover art photo by taking a screenshot from one of the videos of the songs here.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Bobbie Gentry - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1967-1968

I'm continue to prioritize posting BBC sessions whenever I can. In making these, I've noticed that the vast majority of artists with enough material for BBC albums are British. Of course that makes sense for logistical reasons. But there are a few exceptions, usually American artists. Surprisingly, Bobbie Gentry is one of them. It seems she had an occasional BBC TV show. It only ran an average of couple of times a year for about three years, but she performed a lot of songs per episode.

There is an official Bobbie Gentry BBC album. Also, the 2018 box set "The Girl from Chickasaw County" included all the BBC performances from that, plus more. However, they missed a lot. I found lots of other performances she did for BBC TV and other TV shows, enough for three albums. I'm not sure why some of these haven't been officially released, as some of them come from the exact same BBC TV episodes as some songs that were released. But for whatever reason, I'm fixing that here. However, as usual, I'm only including one version of each song. That's especially important in her case, or I'd end up with a bunch of different versions of "Ode to Bobby Joe."

Gentry has a relatively limited discography, since she only put out albums from 1967 to 1971, then a small trickle of songs after that. So it's a pleasant surprise for me to find that she did a lot of songs on her BBC TV show and other TV shows that she never did in the studio.  As an example, consider that the first six of seven songs here were never officially released in any format back in the day, and all seven still remain unreleased.

I've included two songs only as bonus tracks. The bonus track version of "Louisiana Man" was performed just by Gentry. But I've included a different version that was a duet between her and the Hollies that I think is more interesting. Still, since the other version has been officially released, I figure it at least merits inclusion as a bonus track. The song "My Dog Sargent" is kind of a jokey lark of a song that she wrote when she was a little kid. I don't consider it worthy of repeat listenings, but it has been officially released as a BBC performance, so I included it as a bonus track. 

This album is 45 minutes long, not including the bonus tracks.

01 The Look of Love (Bobbie Gentry)
02 Lazy Willie (Bobbie Gentry)
03 The Story I'm about to Tell You [The Ballad of High Noon] (Bobbie Gentry)
04 I Wonder as I Wander (Bobbie Gentry)
05 Peaceful (Bobbie Gentry)
06 Bugs (Bobbie Gentry & Donovan)
07 There Is a Mountain (Bobbie Gentry & Donovan)
08 Mornin' Glory (Bobbie Gentry)
09 Sunday Best (Bobbie Gentry)
10 Hurry, Tuesday Child (Bobbie Gentry)
11 Louisiana Man (Bobbie Gentry & the Hollies)
12 Mississippi Delta (Bobbie Gentry)
13 Papa, Won't You Let Me Go to Town with You (Bobbie Gentry)
14 I Saw an Angel Die (Bobbie Gentry)
15 Ode to Billie Joe (Bobbie Gentry)

Louisiana Man (Bobbie Gentry)
My Dog Sargent (Bobbie Gentry)

The image I chose for the cover art doesn't have the best resolution. But I chose it because it actually comes from one of her 1967 BBC TV shows. I took a screenshot from a video of her playing "Ode to Billy Joe."