Monday, February 28, 2022

The Everly Brothers - BBC Sessions, 1963-1972

The vast majority of artists who have enough material for their own BBC sessions albums are British, but there are exceptions. One exceptions are the Everly Brothers, from the US. 

They were very popular everywhere in the late 1950s and early 1960s. But by the middle of the 1960s, their popularity dropped a lot in the US. However, while the only had one Top 40 hit in the US from 1963 to 1968, they had ten such hits in Britain. Most dramatically, "The Price of Love" was a number two hit in Britain in 1965, but it didn't even make the top 100 in the US. So perhaps it's not that surprising that the Everly Brothers capitalized on this by promoting themselves more in Britain.

For this album, I've limited the source material to just actual BBC sessions. The Everly Brothers were on TV and radio a lot, especially in the US, so if I started including that stuff, this would turn into a very different thing. Perhaps I'll explore more of that at a different time. Most of these are BBC radio sessions, but the last two songs are from a BBC TV show.

In terms of sound quality, this is all pretty good, even though everything here is officially unreleased. There was another session I didn't use at all due to poor sound quality. (And there's at least one additional lost session.) Furthermore, there was a fair amount of repetition of some of their big hits. I've only included one version of each. If there was more than one, I chose the version with the better sound quality.

Happily, only two songs have "[Edit]" in their titles due to BBC DJs talking over the music. I used the usual X-Minus technique to wipe out the talking while keeping the underlying music.

In case you're not an Everly Brothers fan, this is a good place to get started. By chance, this has virtually all of their classics, including some of the ones from the 1950s.

This album is 40 minutes long.

01 Wake Up Little Susie (Everly Brothers)
02 Walk Right Back (Everly Brothers)
03 Baby What Do You Want Me to Do (Everly Brothers)
04 All I Have to Do Is Dream (Everly Brothers)
05 So Sad [To Watch Good Love Go Bad] [Edit] (Everly Brothers)
06 I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town [Edit] (Everly Brothers)
07 Till I Kissed You (Everly Brothers)
08 Cathy's Clown (Everly Brothers)
09 The Price of Love (Everly Brothers)
10 Gone, Gone, Gone (Everly Brothers)
11 Let It Be Me (Everly Brothers)
12 Lucille (Everly Brothers)
13 Bowling Green (Everly Brothers)
14 Susie Q (Everly Brothers)
15 Bye Bye Love (Everly Brothers)
16 Stories We Could Tell (Everly Brothers)
17 The Brand New Tennessee Waltz (Everly Brothers)

The cover photo shows the brothers on the TV show "Thank Your Lucky Stars" in Britain in 1965.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Specials - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1979-1980

Currently, I'm focusing on posting BBC sessions from the 1960s into the early 1970s. That's because those were the years when BBC DJs tended to talk over the music, and I can remove the talking for those who prefer to hear the music without it. Happily, that talking lessened starting around 1970, and pretty much petered out around 1972. 

But that doesn't mean interesting BBC sessions stopped then. I think there are a lot fewer studio BBC sessions since the early 1970s, because the BBC started recording full or partial concerts and playing them on the radio. But the BBC sessions tradition continues until today. I'll be getting to a lot more of those later, but for now here's one.

I've already posted a couple of stray tracks albums by the Specials. Happily, they did a fair number of BBC recordings for the duration of their short career (not including later reunions). I actually have enough for three albums. There's this one and another one made up of studio sessions, and another one of a 1979 concert broadcast.

Ten of the 15 songs here come from proper BBC studio sessions that have been included on the official album "BBC Sessions." However, some of their key songs from this time period weren't included in those. So I went looking around for other TV or radio sessions, and found five more songs, which make up tracks five through nine. All of those are unreleased. Three of them actually are BBC recordings too, but are from TV shows instead of radio shows. The other two are from the 1979 Concert for Kampuchea benefit concert. There's a soundboard quality bootleg of that show, so I used that to fill in the remaining gaps.

01 Gangsters (Specials)
02 Too Much Too Young (Specials)
03 Concrete Jungle (Specials)
04 Monkey Man (Specials)
05 A Message to You, Rudy (Specials)
06 It's Up to You (Specials)
07 It Doesn't Make It Alright (Specials)
08 Stupid Marriage (Specials)
09 Madness (Specials)
10 Blank Expression (Specials)
11 You're Wondering Now (Specials)
12 Friday Night, Saturday Morning (Specials)
13 Rude Boys Outa Jail (Specials)
14 Rat Race (Specials)
15 Long Shot Kick de Bucket - The Liquidator - Skinhead Moonstomp (Specials)

For the cover, I used a publicity photo taken in 1979.

Al Stewart - WKDX, Chicago, IL, 10-27-1978

When I posted a couple of Al Stewart BBC sessions albums recently, I noted that those sessions petered out in the mid-1970s, just as he hit a new level of popularity. Most of his best known songs were not included on those sessions. So I mentioned I might post a late 1970s concert to make up for that. I got some requests recently for me to follow through with that, so here it is.

This concert was recorded at a Chicago radio station in front of a small audience, and played live on the radio. As a result, the sound quality is unusually good as concert recordings go. The timing is also excellent, because this came just after the releases of his two most popular albums by far, "Year of the Cat" in 1976 and "Time Passages" in 1978. As a result, it has his best known songs: "On the Border," "Year of the Cat," "Time Passages," and "Song on the Radio."

This music is officially released, but it currently is rather hard to get. An album containing selected songs from it (totaling only 50 minutes) was released in 1978, called "The Live Radio Concert Album." But only 2,500 copies were made, and it quickly went out of print. Then, in 2021, a super deluxe edition of "Time Passages" was released which contained the whole concert.

I'm posting this here mainly because that super deluxe edition version sounds fantastic overall, but contained one significant and annoying flaw: the songs were much, much louder than the talking between songs. Happily, this is easily fixed. I lowered the volume of the songs (they were almost brickwalled), and boosted the volume of the talking. Now you can hear what he was talking about without having the songs blow your ears out.

Speaking of official releases, I recently found out that a mega-massive Al Stewart box set is due to be released later in 2022. Called "The Admiralty Lights," it will contain no less than 50 CD of music! That should include all the BBC stuff I posted in much better sound, plus a bunch of full length concerts. 

This album is an hour and 34 minutes long.

01 talk (Al Stewart)
02 On the Border (Al Stewart)
03 talk (Al Stewart)
04 Soho [Needless to Say] (Al Stewart)
05 talk (Al Stewart)
06 Midas Shadow (Al Stewart)
07 talk (Al Stewart)
08 Broadway Hotel (Al Stewart)
09 talk (Al Stewart)
10 If It Doesn't Come Naturally, Leave It (Al Stewart)
11 talk (Al Stewart)
12 Time Passages (Al Stewart)
13 One Stage Before (Al Stewart)
14 talk (Al Stewart)
15 Life in Dark Water (Al Stewart)
16 Roads to Moscow (Al Stewart)
17 talk (Al Stewart)
18 Sirens of Titan (Al Stewart)
19 talk (Al Stewart)
20 The Palace of Versailles (Al Stewart)
21 talk (Al Stewart)
22 Valentina Way (Al Stewart)
23 talk (Al Stewart)
24 Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)
25 talk (Al Stewart)
26 The Pink Panther Theme [Instrumental] (Al Stewart)
27 Song on the Radio (Al Stewart)
28 talk (Al Stewart)
29 Carol (Al Stewart)

I couldn't find any really good color photos of Al Stewart in concert in 1978. But I found one of him in 1979, at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California, so I used that.

Tom Jones - This Is Tom Jones, Volume 1 (1969)

This is the start a new six album series. I came across this music while putting together three Tom Jones BBC sessions albums. I learned that in 1969, Jones stopped performing for the BBC because he had a TV show on a rival British network. That show lasted until early 1971.

Jones is known for the power of his voice, not his vocal subtlety. That's true, but he could channel that power to sing songs in nearly every genre of music, which made him an ideal TV show host. For each episode, he would sing several songs, often of the big hits of the day, and one or more guest stars would sing some songs. But also for every episode, Jones would sing duets with the guests. This last aspect is particularly interesting to me. Popular music was peaking in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and many musical legends were in their prime, or at least still kicking: Johnny Cash, Stevie Wonder, Janis Joplin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Glen Campbell, Dusty Springfield, Joe Cocker, Ray Charles, Smokey Robinson, Burt Bacharach, the Supremes, Ella Fitzgerald, John Denver, and so on. Jones sang duets with ALL of them on his TV show, and many more! So even if you're not much of a Jones fan, this series is interesting for all of the star power of the many duets.

This first volume has fewer duets than most of the other volumes. But still, we have duets with Nancy Wilson, Sergio Mendes & the Brazil '66, Jerry Lee Lewis, Barbara Eden, and Mass Cass Elliott. (Barbara Eden was the genie in the "I Dream of Jeannie" TV show, but it turns out she was a very capable singer.) The Jerry Lee Lewis duet is a particular highlight in my opinion. Jones has stated that Lewis was one of his biggest musical influences, so it's not surprising that he and Lewis went off on a medley that lasted eight minutes. Plus, Lewis played his distinctive piano style on another song where he didn't sing.

None of the music in this series has been officially released. Well, unless you count DVD releases. I found about half of it from DVD sources, and the other half from YouTube videos. There are many more songs that I couldn't find, including even more intriguing duets. So if you have things I've missed, please let me know. The songs are roughly chronological by the order of the episodes. The DVD sourced songs have been sound quality, but even the YouTube ones sound pretty good. (I didn't include the rough sounding ones that I found.) 

However, one snag you'll find across this series is that sometimes there's audience cheering at the end, and sometimes not. Sometimes, it's only for a second or two and then quickly fades out. From the DVD sources, I found that this was often due to the fact that the pacing on the TV show was so fast that the show would be off to a commercial break or the next thing well before the audience clapping finished. I could have carefully patched in more clapping from other songs, but I'm not a big enough of a Tom Jones fan to do that. So please bear with that one flaw.

And speaking of flaws, since this isn't a proper BBC session kind of album, there isn't the problem of DJs talking over the music. I still had one "[Edit]" though, on the song "The Look of Love." That's because the YouTube video I used as the source had the first line of the song missing. Luckily, that verse was repeated later in the song, so I was able to patch that in.

This album is 49 minutes long.

01 Johnny B. Goode (Tom Jones)
02 Kansas City (Tom Jones)
03 Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (Tom Jones & Nancy Wilson)
04 [Ghost] Riders in the Sky (Tom Jones)
05 Mas Que Nada (Tom Jones & Sergio Mendes & the Brazil '66)
06 Money [That's What I Want] (Tom Jones)
07 [Sittin' On] The Dock of the Bay (Tom Jones)
08 Yesterday (Tom Jones)
09 Gentle on My Mind (Tom Jones)
10 Great Balls of Fire - Move On Down the Line - Long Tall Sally - Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On (Tom Jones & Jerry Lee Lewis)
11 Funny How Time Slips Away (Tom Jones with Jerry Lee Lewis)
12 The Look of Love [Edit] (Tom Jones & Barbara Eden)
13 One Night - Do Right Woman - Love Me - A Big Hunk O' Love - Respect - I Guess I'll Always Love You (Tom Jones & Cass Elliot)
14 It's a Man's Man's Man's World (Tom Jones)

Since the duets are a special highlight of this series, I decided to use photos of duets for all the covers, even though those aren't the best representation of the musical content. So for instance this cover shows Jones and Jerry Lee Lewis dueting on the show, even though Lewis is only on a small portion of the music here.

Oh, and I took the text for "This Is Tom Jones" at the top from the cover of one of the DVD boxes. It looks to be the font style and colors actually used for the show. However, the words had been stacked vertically to make more of a square shape. I rearranged them so they'd fit across the top of the cover better.

The Casuals - BBC Sessions (1968-1972)

Here's the quick story about the Casuals. They were a British group formed in 1961. They had very little success for many years, and changed personnel a fair amount. In 1966, they moved to Italy and had some success recording versions in the Italian language of hit English songs. Then, in 1968, their song "Jesamine" was a surprise hit back in Britain, going all the way to Number Two there. So they moved back to Britain to capitalize on that success. Their musical style was very poppy, in the style of the Hollies, the Grassroots, or Marmalade. Their follow up "Toy" made it to number 30 on the charts, but they pretty much flat lined on the charts after that, and finally broke up in 1976.

Here's their Wikipedia entry if you want to know more:

The Casuals - Wikipedia

In short, they're basically a one-hit wonder. They only recorded one album, shortly after their big hit. Given their limited success, I was surprised to find there are enough surviving BBC sessions from them for a 46 minute long album, with all of them officially unreleased. My theory is that this was exactly the type of "rock" music that the BBC loved: catchy, mainstream, non-controversial pop. BBC DJ Brian Matthew seems to be a particular fan, since all of the sessions here were hosted by him. He kept hosting them all the way until 1972 (at least), even though they stopped having any chart success by 1969. 

Should you download this album? I doubt many people will, since this group is so little known. But if you're into catchy, lightweight British pop rock, this is pretty good. There are some covers of famous songs that I don't think they recorded anywhere else, such as "The Tracks of My Tears," "Take Me for a Little While," Midnight Confessions," "My Baby," and "Sunday Morning Coming Down." They also did "Never My Love," but there's a studio version of that one. 

"Caroline" is a particularly interesting song, because it was written for them by Roy Wood of the Move. It sounds exactly like a Move song, but it's one the Move never recorded themselves.

Most of the BBC sessions albums I post have the problem of BBC DJs talking over the music. I have to say this was the worst case of that that I've come across so far. DJ Brian Matthew talked over all but three of the 17 songs here, often talking over both the intros and outros. Sometimes he even talked over the singing, which is something even he rarely stooped to. I've noticed a trend that the more poppy the music was, the more DJs tended to talk over it. For instance, I doubt even Matthew talked over Jimi Hendrix or Cream song intros very much. 

Anyway, I did the usual technique of using the X-Minus audio editing software to wipe the DJ talking while keeping the underlying music. However, for a few songs, I had to do additional work to restore the vocals where Matthew talked over them. Luckily, in those cases it was things like choruses at the ends of songs or "la la" sections that were repeated elsewhere. So I was able to patch in the missing bits from other parts of the songs.

01 Jesamine [Edit] (Casuals)
02 The Tracks of My Tears (Casuals)
03 Take Me for a Little While (Casuals)
04 Midnight Confessions [Edit] (Casuals)
05 Toy [Edit] (Casuals)
06 I Can Tell [Edit] (Casuals)
07 Fool's Paradise [Edit] (Casuals)
08 Sunflower Eyes [Edit] (Casuals)
09 Who Belongs to You [Edit] (Casuals)
10 Naughty Boy [Edit] (Casuals)
11 Caroline [Edit] (Casuals)
12 Never My Love [Edit] (Casuals)
13 My Baby [Edit] (Casuals)
14 Someday Rock ’n’ Roll Lady [Edit] (Casuals)
15 Sunday Morning Coming Down [Edit] (Casuals)
16 Tiger Girl [Edit] (Casuals)
17 Nature's Child (Casuals)

The more obscure a band gets, the harder it is to find a decent photo for a cover. That was definitely true of the Casuals. I found a fairly good color picture, shown above. But it had lots of issues. For instance, the heads were weirdly elongated, and two of the faces were tinged green. So I had to do some work in Photoshop to make it look decent. There was a brick wall background, but due to the misshapen heads and other issues I found it easier to remove that and replace it with a similar background.

By the way, the clothes the band members wore in this photo is misleading. This picture must have been taken in 1967 or 1968, when psychedelia was all the rage to the point where even pop bands like the Hollies dressed exactly like this. But there's virtually no psychedelic elements in their actual music.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Tomorrow - BBC Sessions (1967-1968)

Have you ever heard of the British rock band "Tomorrow?" They were one of the pioneer psychedelic bands, but were only in existence for a short time, from 1967 to 1968. Today, they're probably best known for their guitar player Steve Howe, who later became a key member of the band "Yes."

If you want to know more, here is the Wikipedia page on them:

Tomorrow (band) - Wikipedia

It turns out they have enough BBC sessions for an album, but just barely. This album is 31 minutes long. Unfortunately, the sound quality is variable. They're all good enough for me to include them here, but still, I had to lower my standards some to the small amount of available material.

Also, many of the songs suffered from the usual BBC problem of the time of BBC DJs talking over some of the music. Those are marked with "[Edit]," as usual, and I wiped those DJ voices with the X-Minus audio editing program, as usual.

You may see that one song here, "Excerpt from a Teenage Opera (Grocer Jack)," is credited to Keith West instead of Tomorrow. I've included it because West was the lead singer of Tomorrow at the time. He got kind of a side job of singing the lead vocals for a planned rock opera. It ended up not being released, but this single was in 1967, and it was a number two hit in Britain, and a hit in most other Western countries except for the US. The song was very produced, with a children's chorus and other such things, so it was challenging to perform live. Thus, this version had live lead vocals, but the rest was a backing track. 

UPDATE: On May 21, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I didn't add or remove any songs, but I found three of the songs in officially released versions on an obscure BBC rarities compilation (tracks 1, 2, and 7). They had slightly better sound, so I've replaced those. Everything else is officially unreleased.

01 Real Life Permanent Dream [Edit] (Tomorrow)
02 Colonel Brown [Edit] (Tomorrow)
03 Three Jolly Little Dwarfs [Edit] (Tomorrow)
04 Revolution [Edit] (Tomorrow)
05 My White Bicycle [Edit] (Tomorrow)
06 Excerpt from a Teenage Opera [Grocer Jack] [Live Lead Vocals Only] (Keith West)
07 Blow Up (Tomorrow)
08 Strawberry Fields Forever [Edit] (Tomorrow)
09 Now Your Time Has Come [Edit] (Tomorrow)
10 The Incredible Journey of Timothy Chase [Edit] (Tomorrow)

I was complaining recently how there seems to be no or almost no good color photos of bands like the Idle Race or the Steampacket. Tomorrow is another such case. I found what I thought at first was a good color photo, shown here, but then on closer inspection I realized it was colorized with sepia tones. So I took that and colorized it some more, changing the clothes, hair, greenery, and such.

Laura Nyro - Fillmore East, New York City, 12-22-1970

I'm not that big of a Laura Nyro fan, but I do particularly like her 1960s and early 1970s stuff. Unfortunately, there's no official live recording that documents that time period well. So this is an attempt to fix that. Also, for most of her albums from this time, her studio albums are done with a full band, but this is just her voice and her piano, so it's nice to hear the songs done in a different way.

There are seven official live albums of her as I write this (in early 2022), but only one of them comes from this period, "Spread Your Wings and Fly: Live at the Fillmore East, May 30, 1971." That's a fine album, but it's not fully representative of the time period because it was recorded around the time her album of soul covers "Gonna Take a Miracle" was recorded, so a big chunk of it consists of soul covers instead of originals.  

This recording is only from six months earlier, at the exact same venue. But the song list is significantly different, because it came before she really got into her soul music covers phase. There are two of those here, "Up on the Roof" and "Walk on By," as opposed to seven on the "Spread Your Wings and Fly" album. So I think if you want just one live album from her early years, this is a better one overall. It's also about ten minutes longer.

But the best thing of all is the sound quality. There aren't many Laura Nyro bootlegs from this time period, and most of them have average to poor sound quality. But this one sounds excellent, and it's definitely a soundboard. There was only one problem, and that was the loud parts were very loud and the quiet parts were very quiet. In fact, the quiet parts were so quiet that when I first heard this, I could barely even tell when she was talking between songs. However, volume is something that can be easily fixed without hurting the sound quality, so I gave this a better balance. I think it's a significantly better listen, and you can actually hear what she said between the songs (although she didn't talk much).

This concert is an hour and 15 minutes long.

01 talk (Laura Nyro)
02 He's a Runner (Laura Nyro)
03 Brown Earth (Laura Nyro)
04 When I Was Freeport and You Were the Main Drag (Laura Nyro)
05 talk (Laura Nyro)
06 Christmas in My Soul (Laura Nyro)
07 Poverty Train (Laura Nyro)
08 Emmie (Laura Nyro)
09 Gibson Street (Laura Nyro)
10 Captain for Dark Mornings - Treasure of Love (Laura Nyro)
11 Up on the Roof (Laura Nyro)
12 And When I Die (Laura Nyro)
13 Time and Love - Save the Country (Laura Nyro)
14 talk (Laura Nyro)
15 Walk On By (Laura Nyro)
16 It's Gonna Take a Miracle (Laura Nyro)
17 Tom Dooley - California Shoeshine Boy - Tom Dooley (Laura Nyro)
18 Timer (Laura Nyro)

For the cover, I wanted a good color photo of her in concert from 1970, but I couldn't find one. However, I did find one of her on a TV in 1969, so I used that. I don't know the date or the name of the show.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Long John Baldry - BBC Sessions (1963-1968)

This is kind of a companion to the Steampacket BBC sessions album I just posted. Long John Baldy was a key member of the Steampacket, which existed from 1965 to 1966. So his solo career essentially was put on hold for those two years while he focused on that group. Thus, this is divided into two parts. The first eight songs are from 1963 and 1964, and the remaining seven songs are from 1967 and 1968.

As an American, I hadn't heard much about Long John Baldry prior to putting this album together. But he's better known in Britain, mainly for his 1967 song "Let the Heartaches Begin," which was a number one hit there. That song is a ballad, but he's also known as being an early leading light in Britain for promoting the blues and R&B. 

For the first section of songs from 1963 and 1964, only the first one, "My Babe," is from an actual BBC session. He did more BBC sessions around that time, but they seem to have been lost or never recorded. That one song survived because it was part of a BBC special heavily featuring the Beatles called "Pop Go the Beatles," so it probably survived because of Beatles fans recording it.

Most of the rest of the early songs here come from appearances on the British TV show "Hullabaloo." It seems the band Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars played one song per week for one season. Cyril Davies was another British leading light for the blues, but he died due to health issues (endocarditis) at the age of 31 in 1964, and there is very little recorded by him before his death. He was mainly a harmonica player, so Baldry joined his band as a lead vocalist. After Davies died, Baldry basically took over his band and renamed them the Hoochie Coochie Men. After some more personnel changes, they morphed into the Steampacket.

I included as many of these early Hullabaloo performances I could find, but there are more that either weren't recorded or I can't find. British folk guitarist Davy Graham was on many of the same shows, and in one case here Baldy sang while Graham played the acoustic guitar.

The second half, the 1967 and 1968 songs, are all BBC recordings. Most of them come from two BBC sessions in 1967, but the last one is from an unknown BBC TV show. There is at least one more BBC session from around this time that doesn't seem to have survived.

All the songs here are officially unreleased. The sound quality is generally very good. My musical associate MZ improved the equalization for some of the songs here, as well as some on the Steampacket BBC session I just posted.

This album is 40 minutes long.

01 My Babe (Long John Baldry)
02 Movin' On (Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars with Long John Baldry)
03 Bo Diddley (Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars with Long John Baldry)
04 Careless Love (Long John Baldry & Davy Graham)
05 Hallelujah All My Blues Have Gone (Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars with Long John Baldry)
06 Leave My Woman Alone (Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars with Long John Baldry)
07 The Night Time Is the Right Time (Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars with Long John Baldry)
08 The 2.19 (Long John Baldry)
09 Turn on Your Love Light (Long John Baldry)
10 Cuckoo (Long John Baldry)
11 How Sweet It Is [To Be Loved by You] (Long John Baldry)
12 Let the Heartaches Begin (Long John Baldry)
13 Bad Luck Soul (Long John Baldry)
14 Morning Dew (Long John Baldry)
15 Call It Stormy Monday (Long John Baldry)

The cover photo of Baldry dates to 1967, but I don't know any other details.

The Steampacket - BBC Sessions (1965-1966)

I've already posted an album of stray tracks by the Steampacket. If you want to know more about them, please look at that album posting. 

In short, they were a kind of super group, in that Rod Stewart, Long John Baldry, Brian Auger, and Julie Driscoll were members. But it wasn't really a supergroup, because only Long John Baldry was famous enough at the time to appear sometimes on British TV at the time. He and especially the others would become much more famous later. The group was only together for about a year in 1965 and 1966. Stewart and Baldry split for various reasons, including the inability to get the legal rights for all four of them to record together, since they were signed to different record companies. Auger, Driscoll, and the rest of the band stayed together as "Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger, and the Trinity," and had a lot of commercial success in the late 1960s.

When I posted that other album by Steampacket, it gathered up pretty much all I could find by them other than their BBC recordings. That's so I could present their BBC stuff separately here. Unfortunately, there isn't much. They only did two BBC sessions for a total of seven songs.

I've added to that two songs that were done in concert and were broadcast on the US TV show "Shindig." Unfortunately, while the BBC tracks sound fine, those two are a lot rougher. There's plenty of audience screaming all the way through. That's especially the case for the second song, "I Feel Alright," because they were joined on stage by Eric Burdon, lead singer of the Animals, and Steve Winwood, lead singer of the Spencer Davis Group. Both of those bands had considerably more commercial success at the time. For that song, you can hear Burdon, Winwood, Baldry, Stewart, and Driscoll all sing lead vocals at various points. So I figure it's historically important, even if the sound quality isn't great. If you want to watch it instead, you can find the video of YouTube.

It's too bad the Steampacket didn't stay together longer or record more, because they made for an interesting combination. Auger didn't sing much, generally sticking to playing the organ. But Stewart, Baldry, and Driscoll all take turns singing lead on the various songs here.

Two of the songs, "It's Alright" and "Going to a Go Go," have "[Edit]" in them because of the usual problem of BBC DJs talking over the music. And I did the usual fix of using the X-Minus audio editing program to wipe those vocals. I also added "[Edit]" to the first two songs because I made some edits in the audio editing program Audacity to try to improve the poor sound. Mainly, after separating the lead vocals out from the rest, I boosted those vocals relative to everything else to try to make them easier to hear over the and screaming and overall chaos. If you think this sounds bad, you should hear how they sounded before those edits. 

Even with the two live songs added, this album is only 25 minutes long. All of it is officially unreleased. I would have loved to add more, but this is all I could find. If you know of anything I've missed, please let me know.

01 Dear Lord Remember Me [Edit] (Steampacket)
02 I Feel Alright [Edit] (Steampacket with Eric Burdon & Stevie Winwood)
03 How Long Will It Last (Steampacket)
04 In the Midnight Hour (Steampacket)
05 It's Alright [Edit] (Steampacket)
06 Everything's Gonna Be Alright (Steampacket)
07 I Didn't Want to Have to Do It (Steampacket)
08 Going to a Go Go [Edit] (Steampacket)
09 The Drifter (Steampacket)

For the Idle Race BBC album I just posted, I was complaining about how hard it is to find even one decent color photo of a band like that. That does much more so for the Steampacket, since they were an even more obscure band. For the Steampacket stray tracks album I've posted here already, I selected a black and white photo and colorized it. For this cover, I selected a different black and white photo and colorized it too. 

I don't know of any genuine color photos of the group, although I have seen some very badly done colorized efforts (much worse than mine!). I have seen a color version of the two Shindig live songs here, but the picture quality was so low-res and generally bad that I decided not to use that. I also used the same exact font type and colors as with the Steampacket stray tracks album I made, for a bit of artistic consistency between the two albums.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Idle Race - BBC Sessions (1967-1969)

Have you heard of the Idle Race? They aren't well known these days, but they were the first major band led by Jeff Lynne, who later went on to be in the Move, ELO (Electric Light Orchestra), and the Traveling Wilburys. They put out two albums led by Lynne in 1968 and 1969, and then one without him in 1971 after he left to join the Move. You can read more about them at their Wikipedia entry here:

The Idle Race - Wikipedia

The good news is the Idle Race did a lot of sessions for the BBC (all of them while Lynne was still in the band). And they're musically important because no live recordings of the band have emerged whatsoever, other than a couple of tracks included here. The bad news is their BBC recordings are a mess, more than the vast majority of other artists I've come across so far. There are almost no official versions of any of the performances. There have been two obscure releases of only a couple of "Symonds on Sunday" sessions, but these have dealt with BBC DJs talking over the intros by removing the intros entirely, so I haven't used them. Their sound quality isn't any better than the bootleg versions anyway.

So we're left with the bootleg versions. These are all over the place in terms of sound quality. Furthermore, things are a mess in terms of figuring out which songs were done at which sessions, because many songs were done more than once, and the different bootlegs label them differently. I've gathered the best versions from multiple sources, and I've used my best guesses as to the sourcing detailed in the mp3 tags. If anyone knows better information, please let me know.

Happily, if one sorts through the different versions and multiple performances of the same songs and selects just the best ones, the sound quality is generally very good. I've decided to aim for high standards, so songs with merely okay sound quality have been relegated to bonus tracks.

I think the results are excellent in two ways. First off, the Idle Race were known for their everything but the kitchen sink production. You know how ELO songs are generally heavily produced, with lots of orchestra and synths? The Idle Race were basically the 1960s version of that, using the more limited technology of the time. These BBC versions are still full band versions, to be sure, but they're more stripped down in a relative sense. I like them more than the album versions because of that.

The second reason this is excellent is that the band played a number of cover songs they never recorded in the studio. The Idle Race's recorded output with Jeff Lynne is small, only two albums and a few songs released only on singles. Songs here done only as covers include "Hey Grandma," "Blueberry Blue," "Frantic Desolation," and the bonus tracks "Born to Be Wild," "Debora," and "Love Me Two Times."

As usual for the time period, BBC DJs talked over the intros or outros for about half of the songs (the ones with "[Edit]" in their titles). So I did what I usually do, and used the X-Minus audio editing program to wipe out the talking while keeping the underlying music.

This album is 54 minutes long without the bonus tracks, and an hour and ten minutes with them included.

01 [Here We Go Round] The Lemon Tree [Edit] (Idle Race)
02 Imposters of Life's Magazine (Idle Race)
03 Hey Grandma [Edit] (Idle Race)
04 The Lady Who Said She Could Fly (Idle Race)
05 Skeleton and the Roundabout [Edit] (Idle Race)
06 Don't Put Your Boys in the Army, Mrs Ward (Idle Race)
07 Blueberry Blue [Edit] (Idle Race)
08 End of the Road (Idle Race)
09 Pie in the Sky (Idle Race)
10 Told You Twice (Idle Race)
11 Follow Me Follow [Edit] (Idle Race)
12 Worn Red Carpet [Edit] (Idle Race)
13 Days of Broken Arrows [Edit] (Idle Race)
14 Frantic Desolation (Idle Race)
15 Mr. Crow and Sir Norman (Idle Race)
16 Sea of Dreams (Idle Race)
17 Reminds Me of You (Idle Race)
18 Someone's Knocking [Edit] (Idle Race)
19 Please No More Sad Songs [Edit] (Idle Race)
20 Come with Me (Idle Race)

Born to Be Wild [Edit] (Idle Race)
Debora (Idle Race)
Love Me Two Times [Edit] (Idle Race)
On with the Show [Edit] (Idle Race)

I'm frequently amazed at how hard it is to find any decent photos of musical artists from the 1960s and 1970s that aren't already used as album covers unless they're really big names like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. The Idle Race is a case in point. I only found a few color photos period, and most of them had low resolution. I was forced to use one that was rather small and had some major color balance problems. But I made some adjustments in Photoshop so it hopefully looks acceptable. 

I have no idea where or when the picture was taken. In case you're curious, Jeff Lynne is in the middle with the curly hair and his arms crossed.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Simon & Garfunkel - Twien TV Show, Taverne De Waag, Haarlem, Netherlands, 6-29-1966

Now that I've posted Simon and Garfunkel's BBC sessions from 1965, I want to post some other performances they did, mostly from TV shows. There are a number of times where they played live on TV, but just did the same songs you've heard a million times before, like "The Sound of Silence" and "Homeward Bound." Instead, I'm focusing on a smaller number of longer shows where they were able to play some of their more uncommon songs. Since there's a lot of bootlegs of their music, I'm able to select just the ones with great sound quality.

The first two songs here actually from another TV appearance, the "Mike Douglas Show" in January 1966. They played three songs. I've skipped one, because it's "The Sound of Silence," which they did many times elsewhere. But the other two are notable as songs they rarely played. In fact, I'd guess this is the only time they ever did this cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Perhaps the TV producers asked them to do it. Too bad it's a short version, only two minutes long.

Everything else comes from Dutch TV show. You can find it on YouTube if you want to see it and not just hear it. Unfortunately, it's only in black and white, and the visual quality isn't that good. But the sound quality here is very good for the era. None of the songs from it are super rare, but it's one of the best bootleg recordings of them from 1966, if not the best. Also, they talk a fair amount between songs.

The one snag is that this show was rather short, at only 23 minutes long. Even with the two extra songs at the front, this is only 27 minutes long. I considered adding in other extra songs, but I didn't see anything else worthy of fitting.

01 You Can Tell the World (Simon & Garfunkel)
02 Mr. Tambourine Man (Simon & Garfunkel)
03 Anji [Instrumental] (Simon & Garfunkel)
04 Richard Cory (Simon & Garfunkel)
05 talk (Simon & Garfunkel)
06 Homeward Bound (Simon & Garfunkel)
08 talk (Simon & Garfunkel)
07 Leaves That Are Green (Simon & Garfunkel)
10 talk (Simon & Garfunkel)
09 I Am a Rock (Simon & Garfunkel)
11 A Most Peculiar Man (Simon & Garfunkel)
12 talk (Simon & Garfunkel)
13 A Poem on the Underground Wall (Simon & Garfunkel)
14 He Was My Brother (Simon & Garfunkel)
15 talk (Simon & Garfunkel)
16 The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel)

I don't know any details on where or when the cover photo is from, but the time period looks to be about right.

Marmalade - If I Call Your Name - Non-Album Tracks (1971)

I'm continuing to post a series of stray tracks albums from the band Marmalade. I'm trying to post all the BBC stuff I can, and once I finish posting the stray tracks albums, I'll post their BBC albums. This is the four of five albums in this series.

As I mentioned previously, Marmalade gets a bad reputation for being a light weight pop group known mainly for their cover of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" by the Beatles. All the songs here are from 1971, and by that time, the band had changed significantly. The band still had a foot in the pop world, with three top 40 hits in Britain here, "My Little One," "Cousin Norman," and "Back on the Road." But they also started to get heavier and more progressive. For instance, "Can You Help Me" is eight and a half minutes long. 

In my opinion, by this time, the band had hit their stride. All the songs here are originals, and the band had established a style where they could rock but they also could do more acoustic stuff with great harmony vocals. Unfortunately, it wouldn't last. The band had two key members who sang, Dean Ford and Junior Campbell. Near the end of this year, Campbell decided to leave a try for a solo career. He's on most or all of the Marmalade songs here, but I've also included two of his solo songs.

Note that I haven't included all the songs the band did, only the ones I like. Six of the songs come from their 1971 album "Songs." The rest come from singles, except for "Can You Help Me," which was unreleased at the time and came out much later on an archival album.

This album is 47 minutes long.

01 My Little One (Marmalade)
02 Cousin Norman (Marmalade)
03 Can You Help Me (Marmalade)
04 Goodbye Baby Jane (Junior Campbell)
05 If I Call Your Name (Junior Campbell)
06 Back on the Road (Marmalade)
07 Love Is Hard to Rearrange (Marmalade)
08 Sarah (Marmalade)
09 Mama (Marmalade)
10 Empty Bottles (Marmalade)
11 I've Been Around Too Long (Marmalade)
12 She Wrote Me a Letter (Marmalade)
13 Ride Boy Ride (Marmalade)

The cover photo is said to be from 1970. But I liked it better than any of the few ones I could find from 1971. For most of the year, the band personnel was the same.

Morgan James - Quarantunes, Volume 7 (2020)

In 2020, I saved tons of home concert recordings made during the worst of the Covid pandemic. I've posted most of that, but there are still things here and there that I've missed. I just realized I have more to post from Morgan James. This is the seventh and last in her "Quarantunes" series, where she did 100 acoustic cover versions in 100 days. and posted them all on YouTube. But I have even more home concert recordings from her after that that I'll get to later.

In case you missed her earlier posted albums, Morgan James has an excellent voice, the kind that female stars of Broadway shows often have. But she has an unusual affinity for doing acoustic covers, probably helped by the fact that she has a husband, Doug Wamble, who is an excellent acoustic guitar player and accompanies her on all these songs. She also has an unusual range of a musical tastes for her covers, doing everything from songs from the 1920s to modern pop. 

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

01 Only the Lonely - Motels
02 Soon - George and Ira Gershwin
03 Lonesome Loser - Little River Band
04 Memories of You - Louis Armstrong
05 Someone Saved My Life Tonight - Elton John
06 Only the Lonely - Roy Orbison
07 Perfectly Lonely - John Mayer
08 I Am a Rock - Simon & Garfunkel
09 Officially Missing You - Tamia
10 Sign O' the Times - Prince
11 Miss You like Crazy - Natalie Cole
12 We'll Be Together Again - Carl Fischer and Frankie Lane
13 Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.

Here's the usual song list:

01 Only the Lonely (Morgan James)
02 Soon (Morgan James)
03 Lonesome Loser (Morgan James)
04 Memories of You (Morgan James)
05 Someone Saved My Life Tonight (Morgan James)
06 Only the Lonely (Morgan James)
07 Perfectly Lonely (Morgan James)
08 I Am a Rock (Morgan James)
09 Officially Missing You (Morgan James)
10 Sign O' the Times (Morgan James)
11 Miss You like Crazy (Morgan James)
12 We'll Be Together Again (Morgan James)
13 Everybody Hurts (Morgan James) 

This album is 46 minutes long.

The cover picture is a screenshot taken from one of the YouTube videos of one of these songs.

The Equals - BBC Sessions (1965-1970)

The Equals were a British pop band in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They are best known for their hit single "Baby Come Back," plus the fact that Eddie Grant of "Electric Avenue" was a member. (Note though that Grant was the band's lead guitarist and chief songwriter, but wasn't the lead vocalist.) 

But in my opinion, there's a lot more to this band than their one-hit wonder status, starting with the fact that they had several other hits that seem to be mostly forgotten. One such hit, "Police on My Back," is still somewhat known because the Clash did a great cover of it. I particularly recommend "Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys," which unfortunately isn't included here, since I couldn't find any live versions of it. And while the band did write many simple pop songs, they also had a political edge. "Black Skinned Blue Eyed Boys," is a good example, because it tackled both racism and war while also being a catchy dance hit. Heck, the mere existence of the band was a political statement of sorts, since three members of the band were black and two were white. In Britain at the time, that was very unusual and bold. That interracial fact further makes the band's name - "The Equals" - a statement too.

Anyway, it seem the band is largely forgotten these days, so I had to dig deep to find enough material for a BBC session. I found enough for an album, with most of the songs actually coming from BBC sessions. But everything here is officially unreleased, and I found evidence of other sessions that seem to have been lost. We're lucky though, because the sound quality of these versions are very good.

The first song, "Sonny Boy," is an oddity. This was recorded for a BBC children's TV show, of all things. I guess they were on the show because the band had just formed when it was recorded in 1965, and the band members were teenagers. It's an instrumental, and it fades out halfway through, but I figured it was interesting enough to include anyway. I'm guessing it's the first recording the band did, even before they got a record contract.

Two of the songs, "Hip Hug-Her," and "Baby Come Back," all come from a short live appearance the band did on French TV in 1968. It's worth checking out the YouTube video of this, if only for their version of "Hip Hug-Her." Eddie Grant (wearing a blonde wig) did his best Jimi Hendrix impression on lead guitar, not only playing the guitar with his teeth, but also with his butt! Seriously. That's the second version of "Baby Come Back," but I figured it was worth including both a BBC session one and a live audience one.

The rest of the songs all come from proper BBC sessions. There's not much to say about those except that almost all of them had the problem of BBC DJs talking over the music. But I fixed those in the usual way, using X-Minus audio editing software.

Most of the songs are originals, but at least "Hip Hug-Her," "Let's Work Together," and of course "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" are covers.

This album is 58 minutes long.

UPDATE 1: On May 17, 2022, I updated the mp3 download file. I came across some more unreleased BBC sessions. I added the songs "Michael and His Slipper Tree," "Can't Find a Girl to Love Me," "Do Your Thing," "Happy Birthday Girl," and "Black Skin Blue Eye Boys," and also upgraded the sound on a few others. I'm especially glad to have been able to add ""Black Skin Blue Eye Boys," since it's one of their best songs, maybe the best.

UPDATE 2: On June 16, 2022, I updated again. This time, I came across one more song, a funky version of the blues classic "I Just Want to Make Love to You."

01 Sonny Boy [Instrumental] (Equals)
02 Hey Baby, It's Time You Got Going (Equals)
03 Hold Me Closer [Edit] (Equals)
04 Baby Come Back [Edit] (Equals)
05 Give Love a Try [Edit] (Equals)
06 I’m So Excited [Edit] (Equals)
07 My Life Ain't Easy [Edit] (Equals)
08 I Won't Be There [Edit] (Equals)
09 Softly Softly (Equals)
10 Hip Hug-Her [Instrumental] (Equals)
11 Baby Come Back (Equals)
12 Michael and His Slipper Tree [Edit] (Equals)
13 Can't Find a Girl to Love Me [Edit] (Equals)
14 Viva Bobby Joe [Edit] (Equals)
15 [I Can't Get No] Satisfaction [Edit] (Equals)
16 Do Your Thing [Edit] (Equals)
17 Let's Work Together [Edit] (Equals)
18 Happy Birthday Girl (Equals)
19 Black Skin Blue Eye Boys [Edit] (Equals)
20 Ain't Got Nothing to Give You [Edit] (Equals)
21 I Don't Want Nobody (Equals)
22 I Just Want to Make Love to You (Equals)

The cover photo was taken in Germany in 1968. The background was mostly dark grey with patches of white, but I found that distracting, so I lightened the dark grey up a lot. In case you're curious, I believe Eddie Grant is the one up higher than all the others.

Fanny - Live on TV (1971-1973)

I want to turn you on to the band Fanny if you haven't heard of them already. They were the first major all-female rock band. Here's what David Bowie said about them in 1999, "They were one of the finest f-cking rock bands of their time. They were extraordinary. They wrote everything, they played like motherf-ckers, they were just colossal and wonderful, and nobody's ever mentioned them. They’re as important as anybody else who's ever been, ever; it just wasn't their time."

I think it's safe to say in hindsight that the band was held back by sexism, which was rampant in the rock world at that time. There are countless stories of them being dismissed simply because they were women. Furthermore, two of the band members, including the lead singer, were in part ethnically Filipino, so racism held them back too. But I also think it's safe to say that if you just listen to their music, Bowie was right. 

If you want to know more about them, here's their Wikipedia page:

Fanny (band) - Wikipedia

They did okay in terms of sales, having a few minor hits. Yet it's shocking to me how little known they are these days. You'd think they'd be considered trailblazers for women in rock, much like Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, and Joni Mitchell, but instead it seems they'd disappeared down the memory hole. But at least many famous all-female bands like the Runaways, the Bangles, and the Go-Go's were very aware of them and cite them as a key influence.

Anyway, getting to the music here, there is one official live album from them. But as far as I can tell, there are no other live recordings, no bootlegs, other than their appearances on some TV shows where they actually played live instead of lipsyncing. I've collected all of those here. 

I think it makes for a very good album. Everything here is officially unreleased. Yet the sound quality is excellent throughout. On all but three of the songs, these were recorded in studios without an audience, so that helps the sound quality.

Eleven of the 16 songs come from two appearances on the German TV show "Beat Club." That helped ensure that they didn't play the same few songs over and over. There are a couple of instances where the same songs were played more than once, and I didn't include those. But there were literally only two or three cases of that, which is lucky. 

Most of the songs are originals, except for "Hey Bulldog" by the Beatles, "Ain't That Peculiar" by Marvin Gaye, "Special Care" by Buffalo Springfield, "Badge" by Cream, and "Last Night I Had a Dream" by Randy Newman. That list alone strongly suggested they had excellent music taste.

This doesn't contain all their best songs, but it does contain most of them. Furthermore, I think they played with more fire on these live versions than on their album versions. So if you're not familiar with them, this is a good place to start. And if you do have their officially released music, I'll bet you don't have this.

This album is an hour and five minutes long.

01 Cat Fever (Fanny)
02 Charity Ball (Fanny)
03 Place in the Country (Fanny)
04 Hey Bulldog (Fanny)
05 talk (Fanny)
06 Thinking of You (Fanny)
07 talk (Fanny)
08 Ain't That Peculiar (Fanny)
09 talk (Fanny)
10 Blind Alley (Fanny)
11 talk (Fanny)
12 Special Care (Fanny)
13 You're the One (Fanny)
14 Badge (Fanny)
15 Young and Dumb (Fanny)
16 Summer Song (Fanny)
17 Knock on My Door (Fanny)
18 Borrowed Time (Fanny)
19 All Mine (Fanny)
20 Last Night I Had a Dream (Fanny)

Since most of the songs were played on "Beat Club," I figured it would be appropriate to have a cover image from that. So I took a screenshot from one of their "Beat Club" videos found on YouTube. The picture quality is rather low-res, but I didn't have any other good options of them playing on stage anyway. I took the band name at the top from a 1972 concert poster.

The Artwoods - BBC Sessions (1965-1967)

If you've been following this blog, you'll have noticed that I'm working on a big project of posting as many (good) BBC sessions albums from the 1960s and 1970s as I can. A few weeks ago, I got a suggestion to post an album of the Artwoods. To be honest, despite very much being into British Invasion styled music, I'd barely even heard of them. But I decided to find out if they had enough material for a BBC. As you can see from this post, yes they do.

The Artwoods was a very popular British live band of the mid-1960s, led by someone named Art Wood. (Thus the band name.) However, they didn't record that much studio material, putting out only one album, and they never had a significant hit. I just read some about them. I think the reason for their relative lack of success is that they didn't focus much on writing their own material, and as that become more important towards the late 1960s, they fell behind and then broke up. But they were a talented band just the same, especially with R&B flavored material.

Art Wood was the older brother of Ronnie Wood of the Faces and the Rolling Stones. Jon Lord also was in the band for their entire existence. He later became the long-time keyboard player for Deep Purple. Here's their Wikipedia entry if you want to know more:

The Artwoods - Wikipedia

This was an easy album to put together, because all of the performances come from the archival album "Steady Gettin' It: The Complete Recordings, 1964-67." I looked for other material to add to that, such as live appearances on TV shows, but I didn't find anything. I guess that isn't surprising given their relative lack of success. We're lucky that this much exists.

If you look at the song list below, you'll see that 11 of the 16 songs have "[Edit]" in them. For whatever reason, they were unlucky when it came to BBC DJs talking over their music. But I fixed that in the usual way using the audio editing software X-Minus. 

This album is 44 minutes long. There's one song that was performed twice, "In the Deep End." Normally I don't include two versions of the same song, but since it's just one song, I figured what the heck.

01 Smack Dab in the Middle (Artwoods)
02 Goodbye Sisters [Edit] (Artwoods)
03 She Knows What to Do [Edit] (Artwoods)
04 Can You Hear Me [Edit] (Artwoods)
05 I Take What I Want (Artwoods)
06 Jump Back [Edit] (Artwoods)
07 One More Heartache [Edit] (Artwoods)
08 I Feel Good (Artwoods)
09 Things Get Better [Edit] (Artwoods)
10 Stop Think It Over (Artwoods)
11 In the Deep End [Edit] (Artwoods)
12 What Shall I Do (Artwoods)
13 Day Tripper [Edit] (Artwoods)
14 Steady Getting It [Edit] (Artwoods)
15 Devil with a Blue Dress On - Good Golly, Miss Molly [Edit] (Artwoods)
16 In the Deep End [Version 2] [Edit] (Artwoods)

Because this band never hit the big time, photos of them are very few and far between. So I was lucky to find one usable one. It was a bit rough, so I used some Photoshop tricks to clean it up. The guy at the top had the top of his head cut off, but I fixed that by using the top of one of the other heads.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

The Gang of Four - Nashville Ballroom, London, Britain, 2-24-1979

In my opinion, the Gang of Four peaked early, around the time of their classic 1979 album "Entertainment!" It would have been nice to have a live album from then around then. But, for decades, the only live album was from 1984, after personnel and style changes, and was known for its surprisingly poor sound quality. 

Then, in 2020, the situation radically changed, with the release of 15 live albums all at once, most of them from the band's early years. Now the problem in my opinion was too much stuff instead of not enough. I did some research and found that fans think this Nashville Ballroom album has the best sound from their peak year. But unfortunately the band typically played short sets at the time, and this one was only 40 minutes long. That wasn't enough to include all of their key songs they played in concert at the time. 

So I found another one of those 2020 releases of a concert later in 1979 that has five songs that weren't played in the Nashville Ballroom show. These are from The Edge in Toronto, Canada. I've added them in. The result is probably the best sounding and most complete 1979 concert recording from them you're ever likely to hear.

However, there was a problem: the Toronto songs didn't sound as good as the others. In particular, the vocals were low in the mix. So I used the audio editing program X-Minus to boost the vocals for all five of those songs. While doing that, I also noticed the vocals on one section of the song "At Home He's a Tourist" from the Nashville Ballroom were unusually low. (It's a section with a second vocalist, and those vocals were the problem.) So I used the same process to boost those vocals too. 

This album is 53 minutes long.

01 I Found That Essence Rare (Gang of Four)
02 5.45 (Gang of Four)
03 Anthrax (Gang of Four)
04 Elevator (Gang of Four)
05 Hold Up My Weekend (Gang of Four)
06 Armalite Rifle (Gang of Four)
07 It's Her Factory (Gang of Four)
08 Glass (Gang of Four)
09 Damaged Goods (Gang of Four)
10 Ether (Gang of Four)
11 At Home He's a Tourist [Edit] (Gang of Four)
12 Return the Gift (Gang of Four)
13 Contract [Edit] (Gang of Four)
14 Not Great Men [Edit] (Gang of Four)
15 Guns Before Butter [Edit] (Gang of Four)
16 Rosanne [Edit] (Gang of Four)
17 Can't Stand My Baby [Edit] (Gang of Four)

I couldn't find any good color photos of the band in concert in 1979. However, I did find one I liked from 1980, so I used that. The band's personnel was still the same.

Al Stewart - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: Early Band Versions, 1968-1976

I've posted two albums of Al Stewart's acoustic BBC sessions from the early part of his music career. This is a companion album of his BBC sessions played with a band during that same time period. Generally speaking, he mostly played acoustic during the earliest years of his career. Then, in the early 1970s, he increasingly used a band. The first five songs here are from 1968, but all the rest are from 1972 to 1976.

All but the last two songs come from typical studio BBC sessions. Those typically have comments by either a BBC DJ or Stewart before the songs. The last song is his biggest hit, "Year of the Cat," in 1976. Around this time, it seems he largely abandoned using BBC studio sessions to promote his material. This one song was done on a BBC TV show, "The Old Grey Whistle Test," instead.

To be honest, I forgot why I edited "Absolutely Sweet Marie." Maybe there was some talking over the music that I erased. But I do want to take a moment to note that no other version of this Bob Dylan cover has never been officially released. He also did a Dylan cover for the solo acoustic BBC album, "I Don't Believe You (She Acts like We Never Have Met)," although he did an album version of that one in 1972.

All but three performances here are from his mega-box set "The Admiralty Lights," released in 2022. Those three are tracks 4, 5, and 12.

It's a shame that his BBC sessions petered out right as he found widespread commercial success. So you won't find most of his best known songs here, with the notable exception of "Year of the Cat." I'll see if I can make up for that by posting a live album from a few years later, at another time.

This album is 53 minutes long.

UPDATE: On May 29, 2023, I drastically updated the mp3 download file. I had previously made a version of this album containing almost all unreleased material. But I finally got around to updating it using what was on the box set mentioned above. As a result, I made too many changes to detail here. It's mostly different material now. Previously, most of the songs were from a 1974 BBC concert. But I'll be posting that concert separately, now that I have all of it, thanks to that box set.

01 In Brooklyn (Al Stewart)
02 Old Compton Street (Al Stewart)
03 I Don't Believe You [She Acts like We Never Have Met] (Al Stewart)
04 You Should Have Listened to Al (Al Stewart)
05 Life and Life Only (Al Stewart)
06 Zero She Flies (Al Stewart)
07 A Small Fruit Song (Al Stewart)
08 You Don't Even Know Me (Al Stewart)
09 Old Compton Street Blues (Al Stewart)
10 Absolutely Sweet Marie [Edit] (Al Stewart)
11 All Along the Watchtower (Al Stewart)
12 Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)

The cover photo was taken in 1973. I don't know anything other than that.

Al Stewart - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: Solo Versions, 1965-1969

Al Stewart was an artist that I had heard good things about, but I'd never given his music a listen beyond his big hits like "Year of the Cat" and "Time Passages." But one reason I'm enjoying the BBC project I'm working on is because it gives me a reason to check out some artists I'd missed. This is a good example.

Stewart played numerous BBC sessions from when he was big enough to get noticed, around 1968, until about 1976, when his success with "Year of the Cat" apparently made him think he didn't need that kind of promotion anymore. In collecting his BBC material, I noticed that it fell into two categories of solo acoustic sessions and full band sessions. So I've split things up into two albums of acoustic sessions and one album of band sessions for this early time period. I don't like having two versions of the same song on the same album, but this way, I was able to include an acoustic version and full band version of the same song when he occasionally did that.

The second song, "Pretty Golden Hair," is notable for a couple of reasons. Stewart's first single came out in 1966, and his first album came out in 1967. This song was on that album. But in 1965, a BBC documentary about cultural outsiders called "Outcasts and Outsiders" happened to include the full performance of this song in a small club. (You can find the footage on YouTube.) So it's a very lucky break that this early recording exists. 

It's even more remarkable that the song's lyrics clearly describes the life of a gay prostitute, including details like having sex in public restrooms. The fact that this was allowed by the BBC is amazing, considering how much they loved to censor. (For instance, one year later, they would censor the line "Making love in the green grass behind the stadium" in Van Morrison's song "Brown Eyed Girl.") But it's also lucky this recording exists, because the album version was slathered with a string arrangement, possibly deliberately overdone in order to obscure the controversial lyrics.

Tracks 11 to 20 all come from three different appearances on the BBC radio show "My Kind of Folk" in 1969. Since it was a folk music oriented show, these recordings don't have the usual problem of overly enthusiastic DJs like Brian Matthew talking over the music. Instead, Stewart got to make his own comments between songs. There's one instance of two such talking tracks in a row. That's because one was a comment about the last song, the other was a comment about the next song. I kept them as separate tracks because there was something else in between that I didn't include, such as the DJ talking.

When I first posted this album in February 2022, nearly all of the material on it was unreleased. But later in 2022, a mega-box set (nearly 50 CDs!) called "The Admiralty Lights" was released. That had lots of BBC material on it, but surprisingly, not everything. Seven of the tracks here are still officially unreleased. Eventually, in 2023, I got around to reconciling what I'd posted with what was on the box set. Stewart played quite a few songs more than once, even just in the acoustic format. Acoustic versions in particular don't usually differ much from each other, so I've only included one version of each.

Overall, the sound quality is very good, but not great. It's very listenable, but it's not always as good as some BBC recordings from this time period. It helped that I often found more than one version of any given song, and then picked the one with better sound quality.

This album is 58 minutes long.

UPDATE: On May 29, 2023, I drastically overhauled the mp3 download file. As mentioned above, I included previously unavailable material from the 2022 mega-box set "The Admiralty Lights." There are too many changes to detail. But there was so much new material that I was able to split this album into two. Previously, this dealt with the years 1965 to 1973. Now, it deals with the years 1965 to 1969, and a second volume deals with the years 1969 to 1973. I call that one "Volume 3," because there's a collection of BBC band versions in between.

01 Do I Love My Neighbour (Al Stewart)
02 Pretty Golden Hair (Al Stewart)
03 Who Killed Tommy McGeechie (Al Stewart)
04 The Carmichaels (Al Stewart)
05 Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres (Al Stewart)
06 Samuel, Oh How You've Changed (Al Stewart)
07 Scandinavian Girl (Al Stewart)
08 talk (Al Stewart)
09 Room of Roots [Instrumental] (Al Stewart)
10 Good as Gone (Al Stewart)
11 talk (Al Stewart)
12 My Enemies Have Sweet Voices (Al Stewart)
13 talk (Al Stewart)
14 Clifton in the Rain (Al Stewart)
15 Denise at 16 [Instrumental] (Al Stewart)
16 talk (Al Stewart)
17 talk (Al Stewart)
18 I Don't Believe You [She Acts like We Never Have Met] [Edit] (Al Stewart)
19 talk (Al Stewart)
20 The Elf (Al Stewart)
21 Memphis, Tennessee (Al Stewart)
22 Sparrow (Al Stewart)
23 Just like Tom Thumb's Blues [Edit] (Al Stewart)

I don't have any information on where or when the cover photo was taken. But it looks to me like it's from around this time period.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

J. J. Cale - Rare Live Tracks (1971-1994)

The fact that I'm posting this J. J. Cale album is entirely due to my musical friend MZ. He came up with the idea for this album and presented me a bunch of songs for it (just as he did for the collection of Cale's studio rarities, called "Rare Studio Tracks," and also for the one of his early years). I then did a deep dive and found some more songs, but most of the heavy lifting here is from MZ. So thanks for that. :)

Between this album and the other two I just mentioned, one can see that Cale left a lot of songs by the wayside. But I'd argue that most of these are as good as the ones he put on his albums, because when it comes to Cale the groove is the main thing. 

For the "Rare Studio Tracks" album, almost everything on it was officially released, just obscure. But for this album, everything is unreleased, unless you count four songs that have only appeared on a DVD. Also, the vast majority of the songs on "Rare Studio Tracks" were originals. But it seems in concert he liked to do cover versions sometimes, because I'd guess that about half of the songs are covers. You may recognize some of them, like "Hit the Road Jack" and "Johnny B. Goode" (although you have to listen for that latter one, because it's an instrumental only version).

The sound quality is very good to excellent throughout. MZ and I generally limited ourselves to soundboard bootlegs as sources. There are a few cases where the same song was done for two different bootlegged concerts. In those cases I only used one version. However, for the song "Hands Off Her," I've included a version from 1971 and another from 1979, because they're significantly different from each other.

The songs are in chronological order. If you look at the mp3 tags, you'll see that the vast majority come from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. I'm not sure why that is, since he was musically active until close to his death in 2013, but this is what we found.

This album is an hour and five minutes long.

01 Hands Off Her [1971 Version] (J. J. Cale)
02 No Sweat [Instrumental] (J. J. Cale)
03 Ten Easy Lessons (J. J. Cale)
04 Backwards [Instrumental] (J. J. Cale)
05 Hands Off Her [1979 Version] (J. J. Cale)
06 I Believe to My Soul (J. J. Cale)
07 Same Old Feeling (J. J. Cale)
08 Wish I Had Me a Dollar (J. J. Cale)
09 Bad Luck and Trouble (J. J. Cale)
10 Hit the Road Jack (J. J. Cale)
11 Love for Sale (J. J. Cale)
12 Blond-Headed Woman (J. J. Cale)
13 Got Myself a Woman (J. J. Cale)
14 Johnny B. Goode [Instrumental Version] (J. J. Cale)
15 Unnamed Instrumental (J. J. Cale)
16 Walking to Kansas City (J. J. Cale)
17 Louisiana Women (J. J. Cale)
18 T-Bone Shuffle [Instrumental] (J. J. Cale)

The cover photo was taken at a concert in London in 1977.

Richard Thompson - Cutty Wren - Non-Album Acoustic Tracks (2007-2008)

My goodness, Richard Thompson is a really prolific guy.  I'm slowly working my way chronologically through his music career, and I still have a long way to go to get to the present day. This is another collection of him doing nothing but acoustic versions of songs. 

The vast majority of the songs are cover versions, though I believe he wrote "Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman" decades earlier. Plus, he was on the original recording of "Who Knows Where the Time Goes" by Fairport Convention, though that was written by Sandy Denny.

The only version here that has been officially released is "See My Friends." That came from a BBC session, as well as the last two. The rest were done at concerts, but I've edited the songs to remove the audience applause at the end. 

The reason "The Wind Cries Mary" has "[Edit]" in the title is because there was some applause when the familiar chords of this classic Jimi Hendrix song were played, and then again when the first words were sung. Since it was just a solo acoustic performance, I was able to use the sound editing program Spleeter to remove most of that applause.

This album took place at a time when Thompson was still involved with his "1000 Years of Popular Music" concerts. The last three songs, the ones done for a BBC session, were commonly played during those concerts at the time. I've included them because these are the closest he seems to have done clean studio versions of them. All the other songs come from other concerts. While many of them could have fit the "1000 Years" theme, I don't believe any of them were played in those types of concerts.

I particularly like his version of "War." The original Motown soul version is great, and very well known. His version is drastically different, almost turning it into a folk ballad, but I think it works that way too.

The sound quality is mostly very good, but it varies. Some of these songs were only bootlegged a single time, and probably were only played that one time in concert, so it's no surprise stellar sound quality wasn't achieved for all of them. A couple near the beginning like "Concrete and Clay" and "Rain on the Roof" have the roughest sound.

This album is 45 minutes long.

01 Joshua Gone Barbados (Richard Thompson)
02 Concrete and Clay (Richard Thompson & Julian Dawson)
03 Rain on the Roof (Richard Thompson & Julian Dawson)
04 Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman (Richard Thompson)
05 The Wind Cries Mary [Edit] (Richard Thompson)
06 Who Knows Where the Time Goes (Richard Thompson)
07 John the Gun (Richard Thompson)
08 All Along the Watchtower (Richard Thompson)
09 War (Richard Thompson)
10 See My Friends (Richard Thompson)
11 So Ben Mi Ca Bon Tempo (Richard Thompson)
12 Cutty Wren (Richard Thompson)

The cover photo comes from a concert in New Orleans in 2008.

Mary Hopkin - No Love Is Sorrow - Non-Album Tracks (1970-1971)

This is the second in a series of four stray tracks albums for Mary Hopkin. I have many albums to post from many musicians. But I'm prioritizing this so I can then get to posting a couple of BBC albums from her.

Hopkin's time of commercial success was short. Her fortunes fell during the time period of this album. The first song, "Knock, Knock, Who's There," was a big hit, thanks to being chosen as the British entry in the 1970 Eurovision contest. It came in second in that contest, and reached number two on the British charts. But she hated the song, and hated singing it.

After that, I think her fortunes fell mainly because she began disengaging from the hit-making process of the music industry. Two more songs here were A-sides, "Think about Your Children" and "Let My Name Be Sorrow," but neither of those had much success. Tracks 2, 4, 6, and 7 were B-sides.  The rest of the songs weren't released at the time, but have come out as bonus tracks or on archival albums much later. In my opinion they're all good songs, and there's no reason they shouldn't have been released at the time, probably as part of a 1971 album. But like I said she was withdrawing from the music industry, and part of that was that she didn't release any album that year. This process would continue with her essentially retiring from her music career in 1972, and then keeping a very low profile after that.

This album is 39 minutes long.

01 Knock, Knock, Who's There (Mary Hopkin)
02 I'm Going to Fall in Love Again (Mary Hopkin)
03 Think about Your Children (Mary Hopkin)
04 Heritage (Mary Hopkin)
05 Let My Name Be Sorrow (Mary Hopkin)
06 Kew Gardens (Mary Hopkin)
07 Jefferson (Mary Hopkin)
08 Sometimes It's Not Enough [When You Use Only Words] (Mary Hopkin)
09 No Love Is Sorrow (Mary Hopkin)
10 When I Am Old One Day (Mary Hopkin)
11 With You or Without You (Mary Hopkin)
12 A Leaf Must Fall (Mary Hopkin)
13 The Last Thing on My Mind (Mary Hopkin)

I don't know any details about when or where the cover photo was taken. But just based on her appearance, I would guess it's from around this time period, when she was quite young.

Cat Stevens - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1970-1971

This is the second BBC album by Cat Stevens. It contains BBC studio sessions from 1970 and 1971.

On the downside, I can't find anything from 1972 or after. It seems his efforts to promote his music plummeted for a while there. For instance, as far as I can tell, he only played in public once in 1973, for a TV show. So it seems these three albums are all these is as far as early Cat Stevens at the BBC goes.

Pretty much everything here is done in solo acoustic format. The versions sound very similar to the solo acoustic studio demo versions I've already posted elsewhere, but still, I think it's worth posting all of his BBC stuff. Everything here has been officially released, thanks to super deluxe editions of the "Tea for the Tillerman" and "Teaser and the Firecat" albums that came out in 2021. 

Note that two of the songs actually aren't from BBC sessions. "Wild World" comes from a performance on the German TV show "Beat Club." "Father and Son' comes from a British TV show called "Out Front." I used several other songs from "Out Front" as extra songs on the "BBC Sessions, Volume 3" album. But I didn't use this one because it would have repeated another song there. So I figured why not stick it here instead. 

This album is 43 minutes long.

01 Lady D’Arbanville (Cat Stevens)
02 Trouble (Cat Stevens)
03 Katmandu (Cat Stevens)
04 Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens)
05 Wild World (Cat Stevens)
06 Tuesday's Dead (Cat Stevens)
07 How Can I Tell You (Cat Stevens)
08 Peace Train (Cat Stevens)
09 Moonshadow (Cat Stevens)
10 Bitterblue (Cat Stevens)
11 Father and Son (Cat Stevens)
12 If I Laugh (Cat Stevens)
13 Changes IV (Cat Stevens)

The cover photo comes from a performance he did in 1971 for the BBC TV show "Top of the Pops."

The Grateful Dead - Golden Era Cover Versions, Volume 1: 1969-1970

It's been too long since I've posted any Grateful Dead albums here. I have lots to post, especially from what I consider to be their "golden era," roughly from 1969 to 1973. I've already posted four albums of mostly original songs from 1970 to 1972 that never got released on studio albums at the time. This series is meant to complement that, gathering cover versions they did during approximately that same time period. These are all full-band versions. There's a whole other large batch of songs done acoustically that I'll do something with at a later date.

The Dead came up with lots of great original songs. But that didn't stop them from covering literally hundreds of additional songs over the years. I haven't included every single cover song they did during these years. 

For one, I skipped songs that they did so often and so well that they're closely identified with the band, such as "I Know You Rider," "Me and My Uncle," "Morning Dew," and a few more. 

Secondly, I already made two albums of cover songs the band did very early in their career (1965 to 1966). So I often avoided songs during this "golden era" that are also on those albums, unless there's something significantly different about them. 

I also avoided songs were there's no excellent recording. But those are surprisingly few. The band got serious about recording their own concerts almost from the very beginning, and there have been bazillions of official live albums by now. However, the occasional song did slip by, such as "So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)," where only one poor sounding audience recording exists. A few other songs didn't get recorded at all, such as "Cathy's Clown," "I've Just Seen a Face," and "Games People Play."

Finally, this collection begins in mid-1969, which is when the band really hit their stride, in my opinion. I did consider a few covers from earlier in 1969, but they either weren't that good (such as versions of "Hey Jude") or they're already included on the stray tracks album I made for that time period, called "The Seven."

Okay, that's all about what I did not include. Now let me talk about what I did include. I think many of the songs in this series will be a surprise to you, unless you're a fanatically dedicated Deadhead. Some songs here were played dozens of times, such as "Dancing in the Street" or "Hard to Handle." But others were played only once, such as "Mystery Train" or "My Babe," only were played only a small number of times. 

I strived to make sure there was a balance between songs sung by Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan. Unfortunately, I could only do so much since I felt obliged to include all the (non-overplayed) cover versions from a certain time period. For this album, there's an unusually large number of songs sung by Pigpen, and only three sung by Garcia. The balance is a lot better on the later volumes in this series.

If you are a serious Deadhead and you see some songs I missed, please let me know. It's particularly tricky for me because I'm only including full-band versions here, as I mentioned above, and there were many songs only done acoustically around this time. Sometimes, a song almost always done acoustically was done with a full electric band, such as the version of "Monkey and the Engineer" here. But I probably missed a couple more like that.

This album is an hour and 28 minutes long.

As an aside, I mentioned above the stray tracks album "The Seven." I moved a couple of songs from there to here, because I thought they fit better. But I also added in a couple new songs there that I'd missed, including one the band only played a single time, in 1968, "Death Letter Blues." So you probably should redownload that album if you have it already.

Oh, one last thing. While making this, I also fixed all the Grateful Dead albums I've posted so far, adjusting the volume balance between songs and updating the mp3 tags to the new system I'm using. So you might want to grab those again too.

01 New Orleans (Grateful Dead)
02 Hi-Heel Sneakers (Grateful Dead)
03 Ole Slew Foot (Grateful Dead)
04 Big Boy Pete (Grateful Dead)
05 Smokestack Lightning (Grateful Dead)
06 Hard to Handle (Grateful Dead)
07 He Was a Friend of Mine (Grateful Dead)
08 Walking the Dog (Grateful Dead)
09 Dancing in the Street (Grateful Dead)
10 It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World (Grateful Dead)
11 Mystery Train - My Babe (Grateful Dead)
12 Monkey and the Engineer (Grateful Dead)

I love how weird the album cover is. I would never presume to make something that weird myself for an album cover. But for this series, I decided to use versions of concert posters. There are lots of really interesting concert posters for the Dead, whereas photos of the band in concert are far less interesting in comparison. This particular poster is for a concert in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in May 1970. 

Since posters are rectangular and album covers are square, I had to cut parts of the top and bottom. I also did some resizing vertically to squish more in. Finally, all the images of this poster that I could find had some damage to them. So I used the best bits from two versions, and then cleaned up some remaining rough parts. If anyone has an idea of what the heck this image is about, please let me know!