Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Faces - BBC Sessions, Volume 3 - John Peel's Sunday Concert, BBC, Paris Theatre, London, Britain, 5-13-1971

Weirdly, for the past few days, I wasn't able to upload anything to Zippyshare. I was beginning to get seriously concerned, but today it resumed working for me again. So I have a few backlogged posts ready to go. Here's the first.

A week or so ago, I posted an album of the Faces playing a concert for the BBC, which was emceed by famous BBC DJ John Peel. This is exactly like that, because the Faces returned a year later and did another concert also hosted by Peel. Naturally, their set list changed during that time. Also, this show was longer, about an hour (technically, 55 minutes) compared to the half hour of the previous show.

However, be warned that the sound quality is variable. You'd think the sound would be the same all the way through since it comes from a single performance, but for whatever reason, some parts sound better than others. I tried to use the best sources possible. In this case, two, and only two of the songs played at the show are officially released: "Cut Across Shorty" and "Love in Vain." Both of those come from the Faces box set "Five Guys Walk into a Bar..." Naturally, those two songs sound very good. The rest comes from a bootleg. But in my opinion, some of those songs sound better than others.

In conclusion, the sound quality is good, but not great. If you're a stickler for only great sound quality, I plan to soon follow this with another concert the Faces did later that year, with largely the same set list, that sounds better all the way through. But if you're a big Faces fan, you'll probably want both this one and that one.

01 talk (Faces)
02 You're My Girl [I Don't Want to Discuss It] (Faces)
03 talk (Faces)
04 Cut Across Shorty (Faces)
05 talk (Faces)
06 Love in Vain (Faces)
07 talk (Faces)
08 Bad 'N' Ruin (Faces)
09 It's All Over Now (Faces)
10 talk (Faces)
11 Had Me a Real Good Time (Faces)
12 talk (Faces)
13 [I Know] I'm Losing You (Faces)

https://www13.zippyshare.com/v/QhKbJbEH/file.html 

As with the cover to the previous Faces album in this series, I had a very hard time finding a good color photo of the band from the right year. I did find a nice color photo of them which I used here, but I don't know what year it's from exactly. However, it does include Ronnie Lane in it, and since he left the band in mid-1973, it has to be from before that point.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Yes - An Acoustic Evening with Yes (2004) (A MIKE SOLOF GUEST POST)

You may  remember a couple of months back, I started posting some albums created by my musical friend Mike Solof. He's got some more ready to go, so I'm going to try to post more of them soon. If you recall what I wrote about his albums previously, he's more into some musical artists than I am, so he can fill in some gaps in my music collection.

The prog rock band Yes has been around for ages, but they were never known to play acoustically. However, around 2004, they did some acoustic shows for the first time. Mike has put together a kind of ideal acoustic concert from them, mostly using two concert recordings from 2004, but also a few other bits and pieces.

Mike has a habit of making PDF files to go with his albums that contain extensive comments and even some photos. So rather than have everything explained twice, I'll leave the rest of the write up to him. But be assured that if you like Yes and you like acoustic music, this will be right up your alley. The sound quality is great throughout.

Mike also has a habit of creating a single mp3 file for his albums. So, like we've done with his previous posted albums, there are two versions. One has each song as a separate track, as usual, and the other is the single mp3 file. Since this album isn't that large (about 50 minutes long), I've put both versions in one zip file (along with the PDF file he made).

01 We Have Heaven [Acappella Version] (Yes)
02 The Meeting (Yes)
03 Long Distance Runaround (Yes)
04 Intro to South Side of the Sun (Yes)
05 South Side of the Sun (Yes)
06 Show Me (Yes)
07 Wondrous Stories (Yes)
08 Time Is Time (Yes)
09 I’ve Seen All Good People (Yes)
10 Roundabout (Yes)
11 Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes)
12 Leave It [Acappella Version] (Yes)
13 Tiger Rag [Soundcheck Bonus] (Yes)

NOTE: THE SINGLE MP3 FILE VERSION HAS THIS NAME:
An Acoustic Evening with Yes (Gapless) (Yes)

https://www41.zippyshare.com/v/OGhQoPbw/file.html 

I'm not sure where the cover art is from. Hopefully Mike can explain. The only thing I did was add the text at the bottom.

The Guess Who - Let's Go, Volume 1 (1967-1968)

I'm still making a particular focus on posting albums of BBC sessions. Unfortunately, that usually means British artists, though there are some exceptions. In the case of the Canadian band the Guess Who, I doubt they ever performed for the BBC. However, it turns out they did quite a few recorded performances for a Canadian TV show called "Let's Go." This can effectively serve as a substitute for BBC sessions, and at a similar level of sound quality.

The Guess Who had a bit hit in Canada and the US in 1965 with their cover of the song "Shakin' All Over." But, to be honest, they probably weren't ready for the big time yet. They still had to develop their songwriting skills, and they soon switched lead singers. It wouldn't be until 1969 when they had another significant hit. But still, that one hit made them pretty much the only Canadian rock act that could boast having a hit in the US. That gave them a ton of credibility. So when a weekly Canadian rock show started later in 1966, the Guess Who were a natural choice for the house band, and they got that job. 

It was a great opportunity for nationwide exposure. Furthermore, it forced the band to hone their skills. Each week, they had to play multiple hit songs by other acts, usually those that were still in the charts. So they had to hone their skills fast so they could play a wide variety of songs at a professionally impressive level. At first, they just did the covers of hits, but as time went on and their popularity grew, they were able to slip in some originals, despite none of them being hits (at least not yet).

I was able to find three album's worth of songs for this series. A bunch of the songs were released on an official album called "Let's Go," and a bunch more were released on an official album called "This Time Long Ago." Unfortunately, both albums gave almost no information on when each song was recorded. Perhaps that data was lost. I've done my best to guess in putting these songs in rough chronological order, mainly going by when the songs they covered were hits.

Those two official albums helped me a lot, but many of the songs in this series are unreleased, including the first eight on this album. The Guess Who played songs on that show every week for many weeks through the years for a couple of years, but the vast majority of the recordings were lost. The best of the surviving tapes were put on those two albums, but they missed some things here and there. The first five songs come from some YouTube clips of "Let's Go" shows that the compilers of those albums seem to have missed. The next three songs actually come from a concert bootleg. Most of that recording didn't sound good enough for me to want to listen. But for whatever reason, a few of the songs sounded much better than the others (probably due to having lighter arrangements). I've stripped them of audience noise. I think they fit in, and the sound quality is fairly comparable with the rest.

Pretty much all of the songs here are covers. Only the last two songs are originals. But the ratio of originals to covers will grow until there's a majority of originals on the last volume in this album series. With this album, you basically get the Guess Who covering a random selection of famous songs from 1966 and 1967, with a few older songs thrown in. In my opinion, one can see why this band was already considered the cream of the Canadian crop this early in their career, especially due to the vocals of lead singer Burton Cummings.

This album is 50 minutes long.

01 Daydream (Guess Who)
02 Don't Act So Bad (Guess Who)
03 Bus Stop (Guess Who)
04 Bring It on Home to Me (Guess Who)
05 Tossin' and Turnin' (Guess Who)
06 Funny How Time Slips Away (Guess Who)
07 Pretty Blue Eyes (Guess Who)
08 Ain't That Peculiar (Guess Who)
09 Summertime Blues (Guess Who)
10 Love Is All Around (Guess Who)
11 Light My Fire (Guess Who)
12 I'm in the Mood for Love (Guess Who)
13 Along Comes Mary (Guess Who)
14 You Keep Me Hangin' On (Guess Who)
15 When Friends Fall Out (Guess Who)
16 Of a Dropping Pin (Guess Who)

https://www114.zippyshare.com/v/NfsrRv1T/file.html

For the album cover, I found a photo of the Guess Who performing a song on TV around 1967. (I'm assuming the jackets are heavily based on the Beatles' 1967 "Sgt. Pepper's" look.) I'm not sure if it was the "Let's Go" show or something else, but it should give you a pretty good idea what those shows looked like.

Monday, August 23, 2021

The Faces - BBC Sessions, Volume 2 - John Peel's Sunday Concert, BBC, Paris Theatre, London, Britain, 9-19-1970

I haven't posted in a few days because I somehow got sucked into watching the TV show "The Expanse." It was so good that I ended up binge watching it for all of my free time. But I'm done with the show, so I'm back to posting. :)

Some days ago, I posted an album of the Faces performing for the BBC. I have a bunch of albums like that. This one, like that one, is from 1970, and features some of the same songs. But while that was is mostly performances done at the BBC studio without an audience, the bulk of this one is a live recording hosted by famous BBC DJ John Peel. Normally, I cut out the BBC DJs when possible, but in this case Peel was an integral part of the show, introducing the songs instead of having someone in the band do it, so I've kept all his banter in.

The John Peel show is relatively short, at only 34 minutes. To flesh things out I bit, I've added a few songs from a live recording from 1970. This was recorded at a club in London for a TV show. (I forget which one, but I vaguely remember it may have been for something in the Netherlands.) As a result, the sound quality is excellent, though a notch below the quality of the John Peel portion.

One problem with these extra tracks is that one song, "Flying," got cut off near the end. So I patched in the last 30 seconds or so from a different BBC recording. Hopefully, you won't notice the edit.

If you include the extra songs, this album is 47 minutes long.

01 talk (Faces)
02 You're My Girl [I Don't Want to Discuss It] (Faces)
03 talk (Faces)
04 The Wicked Messenger (Faces)
05 talk (Faces)
06 Devotion (Faces)
07 talk (Faces)
08 It's All Over Now (Faces)
09 talk (Faces)
10 I Feel So Good (Faces)
11 talk (Faces)
05 Flying (Faces)
13 I Want to Be Loved - Street Fighting Man - I Want to Be Loved (Faces)
14 Gasoline Alley - Around the Plynth (Faces)

https://www25.zippyshare.com/v/J7opvkSO/file.html

It's surprisingly hard to find good color photos of the Faces from 1970. If you know of some, please let me know. This photo I used for the cover art is a good one, but I'm not sure what year it's from. However, it has Ronnie Lane in it, and he left the band during 1973, so it has to be from before his departure.

Monday, August 16, 2021

George Harrison - All Things Must Pass - Acoustic, Volume 2 (1970)

When George Harrison released the "All Things Must Pass" double album (okay, technically a triple album if you count the bonus jams) in 1970, he'd stockpiled a bunch of excellent songs. Sadly, the other Beatles didn't appreciate his songwriting talents until shortly before the Beatles broke up, when the quality of classic songs like "Something" and "Here Comes the Sun" couldn't be denied.

It turns out that Harrison had so many songs that even the "All Things Must Pass" double album only contained about half of them. Some of these songs were done by him on later albums, such as "You" and "Beautiful Girl," but most were not, and have never been released in any form, until the super deluxe edition of "All Things Must Pass" came out recently. ("It Don't Come Easy," supposedly written by Ringo Starr, appears to be mostly written by Harrison. He gave it to Starr, who had a big hit with it in 1971.)

A few days ago, I posted an all-acoustic version of the exact songs of "All Things Must Pass," using the same song order. This is the sequel to that, containing all-acoustic versions of all the other known songs from those sessions that fit the acoustic format. (There were a couple of instrumental jams and such that I left off.) 

As with that earlier post, I had a problem in that some of the songs were done with a full band instead of in solo acoustic mode. So, just as I did with that album, I used the program Spleeter to remove the drum track, and in some cases the bass track, turning them into acoustic versions. This worked better on some songs than others. It worked best for songs that were strongly based on acoustic guitar to begin with, such as "Dehra Dun" or "I Live for You." It didn't always work well with the full band, electric guitar ones, such as "It Don't Come Easy" or "You," but I've included them here anyway. You can choose to keep them or not. The songs where I made Spleeter edits are marked with "[Edit]" in the title.

This album is an hour and two minutes long. That's actually one minute longer than the acoustic "All Things Must Pass" that I posted. It's true that a few of the songs are covers: "I Don't Want to Do It," "Wedding Bells," "Get Back" (the Beatles song, but Harrison didn't write it), "Mama, You've Been on My Mind," and "Woman Don’t You Cry for Me." A couple more were more like jammy larks. But still, there was enough quality material here for him to have easily released a strong album in 1971. I'll always be mystified why he waited until 1973 for a follow-up album to "All Things Must Pass," and then didn't put any of these songs on it at all.

By the way, I'd previously posted a famous George Harrison acoustic bootleg called "Beware of ABKCO." Between this album and the other acoustic one I posted a few days ago, that is not rendered moot. Plus, the entire bootleg has now been officially released, and in better quality, as part of the super deluxe edition release. So I'll be deleting that from the blog over the next few days.

01 It Don't Come Easy [Edit] (George Harrison)
02 I Live for You [Edit] (George Harrison)
03 Going Down to Golders Green [Edit] (George Harrison)
04 Dehra Dun [Edit] (George Harrison)
05 Om Hare Om [Gopala Krishna] [Edit] (George Harrison)
06 Sour Milk Sea (George Harrison)
07 Everybody-Nobody (George Harrison)
08 Window Window (George Harrison)
09 Beautiful Girl (George Harrison)
10 Tell Me What Has Happened to You (George Harrison)
11 Nowhere to Go (George Harrison)
12 Cosmic Empire (George Harrison)
13 Mother Divine (George Harrison)
14 I Don't Want to Do It (George Harrison)
15 Wedding Bells [Are Breaking Up that Old Gang of Mine] [Edit] (George Harrison)
16 Down to the River [Rocking Chair Jam] [Edit] (George Harrison)
17 Get Back [Edit] (George Harrison)
18 Mama, You've Been on My Mind (George Harrison)
19 You (George Harrison)
20 I'll Still Love You [Whenever] (George Harrison)
21 Woman Don’t You Cry for Me (George Harrison)

https://www10.zippyshare.com/v/Sd9i7jyz/file.html

For the album cover, I wanted to use another outtake from the "All Things Must Pass" photo session. But I couldn't find any good ones in color. So instead I used the same garden background as with the previous album, but I superimposed a photo of Harrison playing acoustic guitar that was taken during the "All Things Must Pass" sessions. I hope the cover more or less works.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Suggestions for Using Spleeter

A couple of days ago, while working on the George Harrison album "All Things Must Pass - Acoustic," I stumbled across a truly great free sound editing program called Spleeter. I've been editing audio for a few years now, and I'd always understood that there were severe limits over what one could do. Basically, once all the different tracks (or channels, if you want to call them that) of a song were mixed together into stereo or mono, one couldn't undo them, just like one couldn't unbake a cake. Either one had to have access to the original multitracks, which was rare, or one had to go to great expense using fancy technology to separate the tracks out. The people in control of the Beatles' music did this to about 70 of their songs so they could be used for the video game Rock Band, but that was said to be very difficult and cost millions of dollars.

But hey, technology keeps improving! It turns out Spleeter first appeared in late 2019, and has been getting better since, so this is fairly new stuff. Here's how the program works: you drag and drop a song file into a certain area of the program page, then it splits it into as many as five different tracks. If you choose the five track option, you get tracks for 1) vocals, 2) bass, 3) drums, 4) piano, and 5) other. The program has its limitations - I'm especially frustrated that guitars aren't their own separate track, and get lumped in with whatever other instruments happened to be there that don't fit the first four categories. Plus, sometimes there's some sound quality loss and/or things sound a bit off. But still, compared to the crude methods available before, this program seems to be a game changer!

So here's what this post is about. I think I'll be able to do lots of interesting things with this program that I can post on this blog, but I've just begun to think about the possibilities. I'd like to hear if you have any suggestions on music that can be improved using this technology. Here are some options.

1) Sometimes songs or even whole albums are mixed badly. Consider "Watch That Man" by David Bowie. The vocals are mixed inexplicably low. I just used Spleeter to boost the vocals but keep everything else the same, and it sounds much better, in my opinion. So I'd like to hear of other songs that are in need of obvious fixing. Perhaps even other people can try using Spleeter and post their changes here. But again, be mindful of the program's limitations. For instance, you can't separate out the lead vocals from the backing vocals (unless they don't overlap).

2) For the George Harrison album "All Things Must Pass - Acoustic," I was able to take some demos with loud bass and drums on them and strip them down to just the vocals and guitar. I think it worked quite well. (Check out my posting of the album from a couple of days ago to judge for yourself.) It's possible other songs or even entire albums could be edited to create acoustic versions. In some cases, I don't think it would work that well. For instance, I was thinking it would be interesting to cut down the production of ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) albums, but the guitars and orchestra are lumped together on that "other" track. However, in other cases it might work very well. The fact that there's a separate track just for piano (by the way, it seems to only be piano and not keyboards or synths), could make it possible to create solo acoustic versions of some Elton John albums, I'd think.

3) A commenter at this blog already noted that the program could be used to improve interesting bootlegs that unfortunately are mixed badly. For instance, imagine a bootleg that sounds great, but the vocals are too low. Spleeter might or might not be able to fix that, depending on just how low the vocals are, but it could help in some cases. So I'd be interested to hear of bootlegs that might be improved.

4) A special category in my mind are 1980s albums that suffer from overproduction. In my opinion, many musicians who were big in the 1960s and 1970s went astray trying to keep up with the trending sounds of the 1980s. Typically, there was too much synth, and the drums were way too loud. I'm not sure how much Spleeter could help with the synths, since those are lumped in the "other" track, but it certainly could help with the drums. In fact, as an experiment, today I used Spleeter to completely remove the drums and bass from one of Joni Mitchell's 1980s albums, "Wild Things Run Fast." It sounds VERY different. It's an improvement, at least in my opinion, sounding much more like her beloved albums from the 1960s and early 1970s.

Those are just some ideas off the top of my head. Perhaps you could think of others? This program can be misused in ways that may upset the musicians involved. But I think it could be used in positive ways, if used wisely.

Here's one example. This zip file contains two versions of David Bowie's song "Watch That Man," from his 1973 album "Aladdin Sane." They're identical, except I boosted the vocals in the one with "Volume Edit" in the title. I didn't change it a lot, but enough so you can actually hear what he's saying most of the time.

https://www99.zippyshare.com/v/S0txCeYi/file.html

Here's another example that I've edited to make the differences more noticeable. This is of the song "Carouselamba" from the 1979 Led Zeppelin album "In through the Out Door." Supposedly, guitarist Jimmy Page thought that singer Robert Plant wrote lyrics to the song that were critical of him, so he mixed them way down. This zip has that version, plus the Spleeter volume adjusted version. I still can't tell what Plant is singing much of the time, but at least his voice stands out now.

https://www120.zippyshare.com/v/WVynMtpj/file.html

Anyway, suggestions on what to do - or not to do - with this program are welcome! (Also note that it seems Spleeter accepts most any music file, so a high quality .flac file will have better sound results than an .mp3.)

By the way, here's the version of Joni Mitchell's "Wild Things Must Fast" album without drums or bass, as mentioned above. This was a crude experiment just to see what one could do. Perhaps a more clever edit would be to reduce the drums and bass on a case by case basis rather than removing them completely. But this can give you an idea of Spleeter's capabilities.

https://www40.zippyshare.com/v/m7zoAUzM/file.html

ZZ Top - VH-1 Storytellers, Congress Theatre, Chicago, IL, 3-31-2009

I just posted an album featuring Nanci Griffith, to mark her death today. That got me wondering why I hadn't posted something from ZZ Top to mark the death of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill a few days ago. To be honest, I thought about it, but there's a surprising lack of quality rare material from them. For instance, the only truly excellent sounding concert recordings (meaning radio broadcasts or soundboards) I've found from them come from their 1980 tour. There's not much point in posting that, because their one really good live album, "Live in Germany 1980," also comes from that tour, as the name suggests. (If anyone knows of any really excellent live recordings of them from other years, especially the 1970s or 1980s, please let me know.)

So I wasn't going to post anything from them. But then I remembered I do have one other interesting bootleg recording, which is the concert they recorded for the VH-1 Storytellers TV show. It was recorded in 2009, and I would prefer something from their more popular and creative earlier part of their career. Also, this show is frustratingly short, at only 44 minutes. But it has one thing that makes it stand out, and that's the copious amount of banter between songs. ZZ Top are not known to talk much at all during their concerts, so it's interesting to hear them open up a bit.

There was one very frustrating problem with the song "Jesus Just Left Chicago." The editors of the show apparently decided the guitar solo in the middle of the song was boring, so they spiced it up by turning the volume down low on it then overlaying it with another one of the stories the band members told at some other part in the show. Up until yesterday, I would have been helpless to do much about this. But, as you may have noticed in my George Harrison "All Things Must Pass - Acoustic" album comments from yesterday, I've recently discovered a great, free program called Spleeter that allows me to separate different instruments out of a recording. I tried using that program on "Jesus Just Left Chicago." I was able to isolate the banter vocals, and I moved those to track 7. But the music minus those vocals sounded weirdly distorted, probably because the music was turned down so low and was dominated by the sound of the banter. So I considered just cutting out that section of the song altogether. But then I had another idea. I found an excellent sounding live recording of the same song from just one year later, done at the 2010 Eric Clapton's Crossroads concert. I edited that it, and it fit in remarkably well. So that's why tracks 6 and 7 have "[Edit]" in their names.

01 talk (ZZ Top)
02 Just Got Paid (ZZ Top)
03 talk (ZZ Top)
04 La Grange (ZZ Top)
05 talk (ZZ Top)
06 Jesus Just Left Chicago [Edit] (ZZ Top)
07 talk [Edit] (ZZ Top)
08 talk (ZZ Top)
09 Gimme All Your Lovin' (ZZ Top)
10 talk (ZZ Top)
11 Tush (ZZ Top)
12 talk (ZZ Top)
13 Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top)

https://www113.zippyshare.com/v/9HjWFOhF/file.html

For the album cover art, I was lucky to find a high quality photo from the exact "Storytellers" concert featured here, so that's what I used.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter - A Late Show, BBC, The Bottom Line, New York City, 8-29-1992

Today, as I write this, August 13, 2021, singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith died. The cause is unknown, but she was 68 years old.

I'm not a huge Nanci Griffith fan, but I do like some of her material, especially her 1988 live album "One Fair Summer Evening." It so happens that I have something to post from her, so here it is, in tribute to her music career.

This is a concert recorded for the BBC TV show "A Late Show" in 1992. (I'm not sure if the date I have for it, August 29, 1992, is the date it was recorded, or the date it was broadcast, but it's the only date related to the show I know. If anyone knows the exact recording date if it's different, please let me know.) Actually, this is equal parts a concert of Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash, and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Just the three of the sat on the same stage together with their guitars, and took turns playing songs. As I write this, you can find the video of the show on YouTube. You can see from that that occasionally one or two of the others would join in with backing vocals and/or guitar, especially near the end, but most of the time it's just each individual performer doing their own songs.

Nanci Griffith played the first song, then Rosanne Cash played the second one, and Mary Chapin Carpenter the third one. That rotating pattern continued for the rest of the show without exception. The last song was one of Carpenter's, so each of them did an equal number of songs.

I wish there were more concerts like this, with similar artists performing on stage together. The sound quality is excellent, as you'd expect from the BBC, and the performance was solid all around. The only thing I'm not happy about is that it's rather short, at only 42 minutes long. I suspect the concert was longer, but it was cut down to fit into the time allotted for the TV show.

01 There's a Light Beyond These Woods (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
02 talk (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
03 Rise from the Ashes (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
04 Never Had It So Good (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
05 talk (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
06 It's Too Late (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
07 talk (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
08 Bedroom Lies (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
09 I Feel Lucky (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
10 The Sun, Moon and Stars (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
11 talk (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
12 Dance with the Tiger (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
13 talk (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
14 The Moon and St. Christopher (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
15 talk (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
16 Listen to the Radio (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
17 talk (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
18 Blue Moon with Heartache (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
19 talk (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)
20 Quittin' Time (Nanci Griffith, Rosanne Cash & Mary Chapin Carpenter)

https://www46.zippyshare.com/v/YzYoSxLS/file.html

For the cover art, I took a screenshot from the YouTube video of this concert that I mentioned above. It's not an ideal cover, esp. since the quality is rather low-res, but I figured it was important to use a picture of all three of the stars together, and I couldn't find any images of them together outside of that video. (By the way, Carpenter is on the left and closest, Cash is in the middle, and Griffith is on the right and farthest away.)

George Harrison - All Things Must Pass - Acoustic (1970)

In 1970, George Harrison released "All Things Must Pass," a masterpiece solo album, and some argue, the best Beatles solo album of all. A few days ago (as I write this), a "super deluxe" edition of that album was officially released. I noticed that edition contained a bunch of acoustic demos, almost enough to make an entire acoustic version of the album. Unfortunately, a handful of songs were rocking, full-band versions. Happily, I figured out a way to turn those into acoustic versions (as I will explain in more detail below). 

The one gripe some people have about "All Things Must Pass" is that the producer, Phil Spector, drenched the album in his typical "Wall of Sound" production that sometimes veered into overproduction. Well, this takes things in the opposite direction, re-imagining the album strictly as a solo acoustic one! Whatever you think about Spector's production, this allows you to enjoy the album in a different way.

"All Things Must Pass" is a triple album. The first two albums are full of great songs. The third album is a bonus album of jams that I'm going to completely disregard, because those jams have nothing to do with the acoustic format, and they're largely forgettable anyway. The first two albums have a total of 18 songs. Out of those, I was able to find acoustic demos for 11 of them, mostly drawing on the super deluxe edition, but also a few other sources, including the album "Early Takes, Volume 1," the Beatles album "Anthology 3," an unreleased take, and an iTunes only bonus track. 

That left seven songs. There were interesting demo versions for all of them from the super deluxe edition, both those either included a drummer and bass, or a full rocking band. I searched the Internet for other acoustic versions. I didn't find any, but during the search I came across an amazing (and free) program I'd never known of before, called Spleeter. This program splits any sound file into five tracks, one containing the vocals, another containing the bass, another the drums, another the piano, and finally one that's everything else. I tried this for the first time on some "All Things Must Pass" songs, and I was amazed at the results! I plan on using this program a LOT more in the future. I thought separating out the different instruments in a recording was next to impossible. But this program has come along in the last year, and while it's not perfect - sometimes there's some loss of audio quality - it's way better than anything I've ever seen before.

The one issue I have with the program is that it doesn't specifically separate out the guitar parts into its own track. The guitar is lumped in with everything else that isn't vocals, bass, drums, or piano. But in the case of the "All Things Must Pass" demos, the "other" is usually just guitar. For instance, some of the songs were just vocals, drums, bass, and guitar (with the guitar sometimes electric, sometimes acoustic). So for the purpose of this album, at least, the program worked great. Even really rocking, full band songs like "What Is Life" now sound like solo guitar demos, though with electric guitar instead of acoustic. 

Note I also included the bass on some songs, as I felt having some bass helped cover for some of the sonic imperfections of the Spleeter program. But I generally kept the bass at a relatively low volume, for more of a subtle bass presence.

Anyway, the final result, I believe, sounds exactly as if all the songs were demos done just by Harrison and his electric or acoustic guitar. I'd be curious what you think of my use of this program, and if you can tell the difference between the ones I used it one (which are marked with "[Edit]" in the name) and the ones I didn't.

By posting this, I don't want to take away from sales on the newly released super deluxe edition of the album. On the contrary, I hope this will whet the appetite of George Harrison fans and remind them to buy that. It contains tons of other great things, including three discs of rarities. It really is an excellent release. Plus, the remixed version of the original album included in it is a revelation.

As an aside, I've always thought it weird that the album contains two versions of "Isn't It a Pity," especially since we now know Harrison recorded a bunch of original songs for the album that remained unreleased. But he did include two versions of it, so I tried to do my best with that. The first version here is a different take than the album version, an unaltered solo acoustic demo. For the second version, I used the exact album version, but ran it through the Spleeter program to turn it into another acoustic version.

The first two albums of "All Things Must Pass" are an hour and 18 minutes long. This album is an hour and one minute long. The number of songs is the same, but it's 17 minutes shorter because the acoustic versions are sometimes shorter, especially because they often didn't include the space for solos.

01 I'd Have You Anytime (George Harrison)
02 My Sweet Lord [Edit] (George Harrison)
03 Wah-Wah [Edit] (George Harrison)
04 Isn't It a Pity (George Harrison)
05 What Is Life [Edit] (George Harrison)
06 If Not for You (George Harrison)
07 Behind that Locked Door (George Harrison)
08 Let It Down (George Harrison)
09 Run of the Mill (George Harrison)
10 Beware of Darkness (George Harrison)
11 Apple Scruffs (George Harrison)
12 Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp [Let It Roll] [Edit] (George Harrison)
13 Awaiting on You All [Edit] (George Harrison)
14 All Things Must Pass (George Harrison)
15 I Dig Love [Edit] (George Harrison)
16 Art of Dying (George Harrison)
17 Isn't It a Pity [Version 2] [Edit] (George Harrison)
18 Hear Me Lord (George Harrison)

https://www61.zippyshare.com/v/dpgtR4Lf/file.html

For the cover art, I tried to do something similar to the original cover, but different. The original used a black and white photo. I found a color outtake from that same photo session to use. I also found the same font used for the original. But I put the text higher up, so it wouldn't get hidden by the darkness of the trees.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Neil Young - Canterbury House, Ann Arbor, MI, 10-16-1969 (Compilation)

In the last few weeks (as I write this in August 2021), Neil Young has released an incredible acoustic concert he performed in 1969, but only through his website, neilyoungarchives.com. In my opinion, the recording of this show is one of the best recordings he ever made in his long career, so it's frustrating that it's not being officially released (at least not yet). I want to share it, because it really needs to be heard by lots of people, but I also don't want to take exclusive content from the Archives website. So I decided on a compromise. Young played three sets that night. I'm posting about half of that material here: the second set (which is the longest), plus the three other songs that were only played for the first or third sets. So one gets one version of each unique song played that night.

This show is very unique and special indeed. Young played some acoustic shows up through about February 1969, then switched to playing with Crazy House or Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for the rest of 1969 and 1970. It was only at the last couple of months of 1970 when he did another solo acoustic tour. So this concert at the Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was the only full acoustic show he did for well over a year and a half during a very crucial part of his career. It took place right in the middle of a CSNY tour. It was professionally recorded, with the possible intention of being released as a live album. However, that never happened, and the show was never even available as a bootleg. 

The version that has now finally appeared sounds fantastic. Young was in top form, both with his musical performance and his entertaining banter between songs. Plus, since this was the only acoustic concert he did for a large portion of 1969 and 1970, many of the songs were very rarely done by him at other times, at least not in acoustic format. For instance, this concert is the ONLY time in his long career that he's ever played his Buffalo Springfield song "Down to the Wire." It's one of just two times he played the cover "Oh Lonesome Me" prior to 2005. It's the first time he played "Country Girl" in public, one of only a small number of times he played it, and this is the only excellent live acoustic recording of it. It's the only time he played "I've Been Waiting for You" prior to 2001, and the only live acoustic version. It's the first time he played "Here We Are in the Years," and the only live acoustic version he's ever done. It's the first time he played "Everybody's Alone" in concert, and one of just of four times he's played it in public. It also was the first public performances of "Helpless" and "Dance, Dance, Dance." I could go on with other rarities, like "I've Loved Her So Long" and "Wonderin'." 

Suffice to say this is a very unique "holy grail" concert for Neil Young fans! It boggles my mind that it hasn't been officially released yet. It may well be that he will put in out as an album soon, in which case I'll take this post down. But until then, you can tide yourself over with this. And if you want to hear the rest, I strongly suggest you sign up for his Archives website. There's lots more exclusive material getting posted there, including many full concerts.

To make this a coherent listen, I put the songs from the third set ("Down to the Wire") and the first set ("I've Loved Her So Long" and "Oh Lonesome Me") at the beginning. Then the entire second set follows without interruption. I boosted the volume of his banter between songs in many cases, since that was rather low in the mix.

This album is an hour and 13 minutes long. 

UPDATE: On October 7, 2021, I updated the mp3 download file. I didn't add or remove any songs. But it dawned on me after listening to this album some more that there was something wrong with the sound, specifically that the bass was way too prominent in the mix. Luckily, this was just with one version, and I was able to find a better version. So I redid the album using a different source. It's a really big sound improvement, so please make sure you have the updated version.

01 talk (Neil Young)
02 Down to the Wire (Neil Young)
03 talk (Neil Young)
04 I've Loved Her So Long (Neil Young)
05 talk (Neil Young)
06 Oh Lonesome Me (Neil Young)
07 On the Way Home (Neil Young)
08 talk (Neil Young)
09 Helpless (Neil Young)
10 talk (Neil Young)
11 Cinnamon Girl - The Loner (Neil Young)
12 talk (Neil Young)
13 Birds (Neil Young)
14 talk (Neil Young)
15 I Am a Child (Neil Young)
16 talk (Neil Young)
17 Everybody's Alone (Neil Young)
18 talk (Neil Young)
19 Dance, Dance, Dance (Neil Young)
20 The 1956 Bubblegum Incident - It's My Time (Neil Young)
21 talk (Neil Young)
22 Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (Neil Young)
23 talk (Neil Young)
24 The Old Laughing Lady (Neil Young)
25 talk (Neil Young)
26 I've Been Waiting for You (Neil Young)
27 talk (Neil Young)
28 Here We Are in the Years (Neil Young)
29 talk (Neil Young)
30 Wonderin' (Neil Young)
31 Down by the River (Neil Young)
32 talk (Neil Young)
33 Country Girl (Neil Young)

https://www59.zippyshare.com/v/L9T1vT2d/file.html

I made the cover art using a photo of Neil Young from 1969. I didn't see any good color ones of him from that year, so I colorized a black and white one.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren - Sunday Morning Live, Minneapolis, MN, 8-8-2021

I've posted a lot of music from Reina del Cid and Toni Lindgren in recent months. But all of that has been their acoustic covers of (mostly) famous songs. However, Reina del Cid in particular is a talented songwriter, and she's put out some albums that are all or mostly all originals.

Most every Sunday, the duo posts a new cover song they've done. But this last Sunday, two days ago as I write this, they did a surprise short home concert instead. So here it is for you. Most of the songs are originals, with these exceptions: "Ain't Goin' Down till the Sun Comes Up," "Boogie Shoes," "Angel from Montgomery," and "Don't Dream It's Over."

If you've been enjoying their covers but haven't heard any of their originals yet, this is a good way to get into that aspect of their music. As with their Sunday cover songs, everything here is performed with just the two of them, usually on acoustic guitars, though the multi-talented Toni Lindgren occasionally switches to or doubles up on other instruments, such as harmonica.

This album is 41 minutes long. The concert actually was about 49 minutes long, but I cut out a lot of the talking between songs. Most of the stuff I cut out had to do with technical problems, including several minutes at the beginning when they were having trouble with their recording equipment. I also cut out most of their credits to donors, since that doesn't mean anything except for the specific people mentioned. I tried to keep everything else though. I also boosted the volume of the banter, since it was rather low compared to the music.

01 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
02 This One's Gonna Hurt (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
03 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
04 Runner in the Sun (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
05 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
06 Ain't Goin' Down till the Sun Comes Up (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
07 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
08 Boogie Shoes (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
09 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
10 Cassiopeia (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
11 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
12 Angel from Montgomery (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
13 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
14 Bernadette (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
15 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
16 Shot 'Em Dead (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
17 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
18 Whiskey Down (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
19 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
20 Don't Dream It's Over (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
21 talk (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)

https://www66.zippyshare.com/v/7nsPvZpJ/file.html

The cover photo is a screenshot I took from the exact concert in question.

Monday, August 9, 2021

The Faces - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1970

In recent months, I post a handful of stray tracks albums for the Faces. I've finished those, and that now frees me up to post BBC material from the band. It turns out the Faces performed a lot for the BBC. Even though the band only existed for six years, I have seven BBC albums I want to post here, starting with this one.

The vast majority of the band's BBC material remains officially unreleased, and this album is a case in point. Only three of the ten songs here have been released. The first song is from a bonus track, and the fifth and ninth songs are from the band's box set, "Five Guys Walk into a Bar..."

Most of the Faces BBC albums I plan on posting here are entire concerts that were recorded by the BBC. But this is of the more stereotypical kind of BBC material, in which the band played live in a studio without any audience. As a result, there could be a danger of BBC DJs talking over the music. Happily, by 1970 that bad habit seems to have become less common, and there are no cases of that here.

The sound quality is solid throughout, except for the last song, "Away in a Manger." Consider that kind of a bonus track. 

This album is 49 minutes long.

01 Shake, Shudder, Shiver (Faces)
02 Love in Vain (Faces)
03 The Wicked Messenger (Faces)
04 Maybe I'm Amazed (Faces)
05 Flying (Faces)
06 Evil (Faces)
07 Had Me a Real Good Time (Faces)
08 Country Comfort (Faces)
09 Around the Plynth - Gasoline Alley (Faces)
10 Away in a Manger (Rod Stewart with Ian McLagan)

https://www83.zippyshare.com/v/4Q1B1Iur/file.html

For the album cover, I used part of a 1970 concert poster for the band. The only changes I made were that I increased the contrast, and added some words in black.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Paul Weller - Acoustic Radio Sessions, 1993-1994

A few days ago, it was pointed out to me that a bunch of download links for Paul Weller albums died out. So I've just redone ALL the links to ALL Paul Weller solo albums here. That took some time to do, because while I was at it, I readjusted the albums to improve the volume balance from song to song. (I plan on doing that to everything I've posted here, but it's a long, slow process.) So, even if you have those albums again, I suggest you download them again. They sound better now, trust me.

Anyway, while I was at it, I decided to post something new from Mr. Weller. He does have an album that's a couple of months old, "Fat Pop, Volume 1," that's pretty good. But I don't have any newish material to post for him at the moment, so I've gone back to near the start of his solo career, 1993 and 1994. Personally, I think that was a particularly creative time for him. 

This is a compilation of three in-person radio station appearances where he played some songs by himself on acoustic guitar. There's nothing earth-shattering here - all the rare songs he did I've already put on various stray tracks albums - but it's a nice, mellow listen. Plus, he talked a bit between songs and sometimes explained what the songs were about. Also, the sound quality is excellent throughout, since this is basically like a studio recording, with no audience noise.

The album is 57 minutes long.

01 talk (Paul Weller)
02 Amongst Butterflies (Paul Weller)
03 talk (Paul Weller)
04 The Loved (Paul Weller)
05 talk (Paul Weller)
06 All the Pictures on the Wall (Paul Weller)
07 talk (Paul Weller)
08 Into Tomorrow (Paul Weller)
09 talk (Paul Weller)
10 Foot of the Mountain (Paul Weller)
11 That's Entertainment (Paul Weller)
12 talk (Paul Weller)
13 Red Balloon (Paul Weller)
14 talk (Paul Weller)
15 The Cost of Loving (Paul Weller)
16 talk (Paul Weller)
17 You Do Something to Me (Paul Weller)
18 talk (Paul Weller)
19 A Year Late (Paul Weller)
20 talk (Paul Weller)
21 Birds (Paul Weller)
22 talk (Paul Weller)
23 Country (Paul Weller)
24 talk (Paul Weller)
25 Fly on the Wall (Paul Weller)
26 talk (Paul Weller)
27 Wild Wood (Paul Weller)
28 talk (Paul Weller)
29 Hung Up (Paul Weller)
30 Moon on Your Pyjamas (Paul Weller)
31 Out of the Sinking (Paul Weller)

https://www77.zippyshare.com/v/aPlm8HRR/file.html

The album cover features a photo of Weller in concert in 1994. I chose this one since it shows him playing an acoustic guitar.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Larkin Poe - Yet Additional Even Still More Further Tip O' the Hat - Various Cover Songs (2021)

It's that time of year again, when I get to present the next album in the long running Larkin Poe "Tip O' the Hat" series. I'm always extra psyched to post these albums, because they post a new YouTube video of a cover song every now and then, and I slowly collect them until there's enough for an album. It's satisfying to get enough songs for another album. At the rate they're going, I'm hopeful there will be enough songs for another album before 2021 is done.

As usual for this series, all the songs are done in an acoustic format. And, as usual, they do a really great job. I love their range of material. Who else would attempt an acoustic version of  "Stayin' Alive," and then follow it with a song by blues legend Robert Johnson?

By the way, Larkin Poe no longer refers to these covers as "Tip O' the Hat." Instead, they just categorize them under their blandly named "Larkin Poe Cover Channel." That's such a boring name that I plan on sticking with "Tip O' the Hat," unless they come up with something better.

Speaking of that name, with each album in this series, I've come up with an even longer album title than the last. It's been fun, but it's getting a bit preposterous and unwieldy. Do you think I should keep going, and if so, what should I call the next one? Or, if I stop, again, what should I call the next one?

Here's a list of the artists who had the original versions of each song. (In the case of "Angel Band" and "The Star Spangled Banner," one person wrote the music and then, later, another person added a new set of words to it.)

01 If I Fell - Beatles
02 Break My Stride - Matthew Wilder
03 You Can Close Your Eyes - James Taylor
04 Stayin' Alive - Bee Gees
05 Sweet Home Chicago - Robert Johnson
06 Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
07 All I Have to Do Is Dream - Everly Brothers
08 Angel Band - William Bradbury & Jefferson Hascall
09 Star Spangled Banner - John Stafford Smith & Francis Scott Key
10 Layla - Derek & the Dominos
11 Graceland - Paul Simon
12 Mama, I'm Coming Home - Ozzy Osbourne
13 Wicked Game - Chris Isaak

Here's the usual song list:

01 If I Fell (Larkin Poe)
02 Break My Stride (Larkin Poe)
03 You Can Close Your Eyes (Larkin Poe)
04 Stayin' Alive (Larkin Poe)
05 Sweet Home Chicago (Larkin Poe)
06 Wish You Were Here (Larkin Poe)
07 All I Have to Do Is Dream (Larkin Poe)
08 Angel Band (Larkin Poe)
09 Star Spangled Banner (Larkin Poe)
10 Layla (Larkin Poe)
11 Graceland (Larkin Poe)
12 Mama, I'm Coming Home (Larkin Poe)
13 Wicked Game (Larkin Poe)

https://www3.zippyshare.com/v/HxBhwgCl/file.html

The photo for the album cover comes from a promo shot Larkin Poe did recently, I'm guessing earlier in 2021.