Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Byrds - (Untitled) Studio (1970)

In 1970, the Byrds released the well-received double album "(Untitled)." Half of it was live material and the other half was studio material. I my opinion, even though it's a very good album, it could be improved upon. My last post consists of the live material, expanded into a double album of its own. This is what I've done with the studio material.

The original studio album was about 37 minutes long. I removed "Take a Whiff on Me" because the revised live album contains a version of that song that I prefer. I also edited down the song "Welcome Back Home," because the original version is nearly eight minutes long, and far too repetitive for my tastes. This edited version is only four minutes long. I also used an alternate version of "Yesterday's Train" that I liked better.

After those removals and changes, the album was only 27 minutes long. But I made up for that and some by adding five songs: "Kathleen's Song," "Willin'," "Just like a Woman," "Lover of the Bayou," and "Amazing Grace." All of thesee, plus the alternate of "Yesterday's Train," come from the 2000 expanded edition of the album, given the new name "(Untitled)/(Unreleased)."

After those additions, the studio portion is now 48 minutes long. That's pretty long for a single album of that era, but still doable. I think it's a stronger version than the original. Note that there are concert versions of "Lover of the Bayou" and "Willin'" on the live portion of "(Untitled)" that I've posted separately. But they're both good songs, and I like both versions, so I've included both.

01 Chestnut Mare (Byrds)
02 Truck Stop Girl (Byrds)
03 All the Things (Byrds)
04 Hungry Planet (Byrds)
05 Just a Season (Byrds)
06 You All Look Alike (Byrds)
07 Kathleen's Song [Early Version] (Byrds)
08 Willin' (Byrds)
09 Just like a Woman (Byrds)
10 Yesterday's Train [Alternate Version] (Byrds)
11 Lover of the Bayou (Byrds)
12 Welcome Back Home [Edit] (Byrds)
13 Amazing Grace (Byrds)

The cover here is mostly the same as the official cover, but I made one very significant edit. The original photo was of the band standing on some stairs with sky in the background. This was edited back in 1970 to have a desert in the background instead. I went with the original look, with the sky background. If nothing else, this difference should make it clear that this is an alternate version instead of the original.

The original was also edited to include a warped version of another photo of the band on the side of the stairs, and I've kept that the same.

The Byrds - (Untitled) Live (1970)

Ever so slowly, I've been making my way through improving the discography of the Byrds. The last album I'd posted was a 1969 stray tracks one. That takes me to 1970, and the Byrds album known as "(Untitled)." It's probably the most acclaimed Byrds album from their later era, after David Crosby and Chris Hillman left. It was a double album, with one of the albums all live material and the other all studio material.

I don't want to simply post a popular album here unless I made significant changes to it. In this case, even though "(Untitled)" it s a very good album, I felt it could use a lot of improvement. The main reason for the change is that a deluxe version of the album was released, with the name "(Untitled)/(Unissued)." As you can guess, that had a lot of previously unreleased songs. But, in my opinion, they were added to the end as bonus tracks instead of being integrated into the other songs in an intelligent way.

There was so much material that I was able to turn the single live album into a double album, which is presented here. The single studio album remains a single album, but with a significantly different song list. I'll post that shortly as a separate album.

All the live tracks here were recorded in New York City either on February 28, 1970, or March 1, 1970, with the exception of two ("Take a Whiff on Me" and "Jesus Is Just Alright"), which were recorded also in New York City, but in September 1970. That was the same month the album was actually released, but I'm including them here since they were chosen as bonus tracks.

The first six songs here are the songs that made up Side One of the original release. Side Two consisted entirely of a long version of "Eight Miles High." I've put that at the end, since it was the last song in their concerts at the time (not counting the short "Hold It" instrumental, which is also here). I made an edit to "Eight Miles High," which is why it has "[Edit]" in its title. This version had a fade in at the start. That's a shame, in my opinion, because I love the iconic bass notes that open the song. So I found the missing intro bit from a different bootleg version around that same time, and patched it in.

Most of the rest of the songs come from bonus tracks on the 2000 deluxe edition. But three more songs, "You All Look Alike," "Willin'," and "Black Mountain Rag (Soldier's Joy)" dribbled out on the band's two official box sets, so I included those too.

I think this works much better as a double album than the original single album, since it closely resembles a full concert. Admittedly, it's a bit short as concerts go, at only an hour and nine minutes. I could have added more songs from bootlegs dating that same year, but I wanted to keep this a collection of all officially released material, recorded with great sound quality.

01 Lover of the Bayou (Byrds)
02 Positively 4th Street (Byrds)
03 Nashville West [Instrumental] (Byrds)
04 So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star (Byrds)
05 Mr. Tambourine Man (Byrds)
06 Mr. Spaceman (Byrds)
07 You All Look Alike (Byrds)
08 Willin' (Byrds)
09 Black Mountain Rag [Soldier's Joy] (Byrds)
10 My Back Pages (Byrds)
11 Old Blue (Byrds)
12 You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Byrds)
13 It's Alright Ma [I'm Only Bleeding] (Byrds)
14 The Ballad of Easy Rider (Byrds)
15 This Wheel's on Fire (Byrds)
16 Take a Whiff on Me (Byrds)
17 Jesus Is Just Alright (Byrds)
18 Eight Miles High [Edit] (Byrds)
19 Hold It [Instrumental] (Byrds)

The cover photo features the Byrds in concert in London in 1971. For the text, I imitated the look of the text on the original "(Untitled)" album.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Chris Isaak - That's My Desire - Non-Album Tracks (1988-1995)

A while back, I posted an album of Chris Isaak's stray tracks, dealing with the years 1985 to 1988. I actually have three more stray tracks albums for him. This is the second one. It's from arguably his most commercial successful time period, mostly due to his classic hit "Wicked Game."

This is a very varied mix in terms of the sourcing. Six of the songs are officially unreleased, and all come from live performances. I was careful though to only include performances with very good sound quality, for instance from soundboard bootlegs.

The rest are all studio tracks. They include an A-side, two B-sides, songs from various artists compilations, and movie soundtracks. The instrumental version of "Wicked Game" is of particular note. The song with vocals was first released on Isaak's 1989 album "Heart Shaped World." But in 1990, this all-instrumental version was included in the David Lynch directed movie "Wild at Heart." The song wasn't a hit at all at first, but this version helped it gain attention, and it ended up being a hit in early 1991. The instrumental version is the vocal version minus the vocals, as far as I can tell, but it's still nice. 

This album is 45 minutes long.

01 Suspicion of Love (Chris Isaak)
02 Jack the Ripper - Rumble - Tequila - Jack the Ripper [Instrumental] (Chris Isaak)
03 Don't Leave Me This Way (Chris Isaak & Etienne Daho)
04 Wicked Game [Instrumental Version] (Chris Isaak)
05 Leah (Chris Isaak)
06 That's My Desire (Chris Isaak)
07 Dark Moon (Chris Isaak)
08 5-15 (Chris Isaak)
09 Diddley Daddy (Chris Isaak)
10 Shake Little Sister (Chris Isaak)
11 La Tumba Sera el Final (Chris Isaak)
12 Blue Moon (Chris Isaak)
13 Blue Days, Black Nights (Chris Isaak)

The cover is a promotional photo from 1990.

Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren - Sunday Mornings with Reina del Cid, Volume 12 (2021)

I have been gradually catching up to the present day with this "Sunday Mornings" series of Reina del Cid and Toni Lindgren performing acoustic cover songs. I'm not fully caught up yet, but I'm getting close. If you've missed this series until now, it's never too late to join in.

As I've mentioned with previous volumes, one thing I like out of this series is how they mix doing covers of famous songs with little known but still high quality songs, so I get to learn new songs through them. For instance, I otherwise never would have heard of "Come Back Home," originally done by Trampled by Turtles. But in this album, the rarity that really impressed me is "I'm Gonna Be an Engineer," originally written by Peggy Seeger, sister of Pete Seeger. It's probably the best song about sexism that I've ever heard.

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

01 Right Down the Line - Gerry Rafferty
02 The Lucky One - Alison Krauss
03 First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes
04 Raglan Road - Luke Kelly & the Dubliners
05 Sleep Walk [Instrumental] - Santo & Johnny
06 Demon in Disguise - David Bromberg
07 Romeo's Tune - Steve Forbert
08 Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up - Garth Brooks
09 Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
10 I'm Gonna Be an Engineer - Peggy Seeger
11 Come Back Home - Trampled by Turtles
12 Not Fade Away - Buddy Holly
13 Sweet Dreams [Are Made of This] - Eurymithics

And here's the usual song list:

01 Right Down the Line (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
02 The Lucky One (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
03 First Day of My Life (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
04 Raglan Road (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
05 Sleep Walk [Instrumental] (Toni Lindgren)
06 Demon in Disguise (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
07 Romeo's Tune (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
08 Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
09 Don't Dream It's Over (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
10 I'm Gonna Be an Engineer (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
11 Come Back Home (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
12 Not Fade Away (Reina del Cid & Toni Lindgren)
13 Sweet Dreams [Are Made of This] (Toni Lindgren, Reina del Cid & Josh Turner)

The cover photo is a screen of the duo playing the song "Don't Dream It's Over," featured here.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Stephen Stills - University of Florida, Gainsville, FL, 10-22-2003

Here's an interesting Stephen Stills concert. I happened to be listening to it the other day, and decided it was worthy of posting.

Usually, I'm much more interested in Stills (and/or Crosby, Stills, Nash and/or Young) material from the 1960s and 1970s, when he was at the peak of his career. But this is a good listen despite the late date for several reasons. 

For starters, the circumstances behind this solo concert was quite unusual. Based on his banter between songs, it seems he was supposed to give a talk about music to a university audience in his sort-of hometown. (I say "sort of" because he moved around a lot when he was young, but he did spend a bunch of years in Gainsville, Florida as a child.) But he never got around to writing a speech, so instead he mostly played a bunch of songs, often different from the usual ones he played in concert, and talked a lot between songs with banter that was also different from the usual, and told a loose story of his musical development.

Also, the sound quality is very good. It may not be a soundboard bootleg; it's probably just an audience one. But some audience recordings can sound nearly as good as soundboards, and this is one of those. It's helped by the fact that it was a solo acoustic concert. It's much easier to make a good recording of that than when there's a band and one has to have a balance between all the instruments. Plus, audiences are usually extra quiet and respectful in acoustic concerts, and that was the case here. 

Finally, as I mentioned above, many of the songs were different from the usual ones he played in concert. Or at least he played some that he regularly did with a band but almost never did solo acoustic. Many of these are more recent songs. In my opinion, his songwriting almost always stayed at a high level. It's just that as he got older, he wrote fewer and fewer, and they were often marred by bad production. These songs shine in the solo acoustic format.

On the downside, this concert is rather short. It's only 50 minutes long. I'm just speculating, but maybe he was playing to a class of students, and that was the time allotted. Also, the first song isn't actually from this exact concert. But it's another interesting rarity that he played in concert earlier that year, and it fit right in with the solo acoustic mode and the sound quality, so I added it in.

01 Heart's Gate (Stephen Stills)
02 talk (Stephen Stills)
03 Acadienne (Stephen Stills)
04 Helplessly Hoping (Stephen Stills)
05 talk (Stephen Stills)
06 Johnny's Garden (Stephen Stills)
07 talk (Stephen Stills)
08 For What It's Worth (Stephen Stills)
09 talk (Stephen Stills)
10 Ole Man Trouble (Stephen Stills)
11 Seen Enough (Stephen Stills)
12 talk (Stephen Stills)
13 Daylight Again - Find the Cost of Freedom (Stephen Stills)
14 talk (Stephen Stills)
15 Love the One You're With (Stephen Stills)

The cover photo isn't from this concert. But it's from another one less than a month apart, at that year's Bridge Benefit in the Bay Area.

Monday, September 12, 2022

The Montanas - BBC Sessions (1966-1968)

Here's an album of BBC sessions by a British band that I'll bet you've never even heard of. (If you have, my hat is off to you.) This band, the Montanas, may be super obscure, but that's not for lack of quality. In my opinion, much of the music from the late 1960s has a magical quality to it. It was a special time, when even many obscure bands put out really good music. 

The Montanas were a rock band, but very much on the poppy side, similar to say, the Hollies. They should have had some significant hits. There are a handful of songs here that definitely sound as good or better than many of the hits of the era. But musical success is a fickle thing, and sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. They only had one minor hit, but in the US, not Britain. "You've Got to Be Loved" was released in 1967, and scraped the bottom of the Top Forty charts. 

As I said, they should have done better. For instance, some of their early songs were written by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, the songwriting team responsible for most of Petula Clark's big hits in the 1960s, including the classic "Downtown." Also, "That's When Happiness Began" was written by the Addrisi Brothers, who also wrote "Never My Love" by the Association. But unlike that ballad, this song is a freakbeat rocker that should have been a hit. On the downside though, the band didn't seem to write much music themselves, which could help explain why they aren't held in better regard today. Also, despite having a long string of singles, they never were allowed to record a full album.

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

The Montanas - Wikipedia

Now, getting to the music on this album, as you can guess from the title, it consists entirely of BBC performances. Only four of the performances have been officially released, and those come from the obscure various artists album "Sights and Sounds, Volume 1." But all of those songs here have great sound quality, since they all come from Top of the Pops transcription discs. By the way, thanks to musical associate Marley for digging up most of this.

The band continued into the early 1970s, but their best stuff, and most successful (given their obscurity) is from the late 1960s. That's when they had enough potential to be featured on popular BBC shows, so everything here is from that time. But that works out well, because this serves as an excellent "best of." Not only does it contain versions of their best A-sides, it includes cover versions that they never officially released in any form, such as "Hey Grandma" and "Omaha" (both originally by Moby Grape), "Bend Me, Shape Me" by the Outsiders (and a hit by the American Breed), and "Beggin'" by the Four Seasons. 

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that these songs suffered from the usual BBC problem of the time where the DJs often talked over the music. But, as usual, I used the X-Minus audio editing program to wipe out the talking while keeping the music. Those are the songs with "[Edit]" in their names. Sadly, that was the case for 12 of the 15 songs!

These are some really obscure recordings. I strongly suspect that nobody has ever compiled an album of their BBC material until I did this, here. But it deserves better, much better. These guys were a cut above most other similar bands. If you like this type of music, I strongly encourage you to give this a try. And by the way, if you do like this, these is a good official release of their studio material called "You've Got to Be Loved: Singles A's and Bs" that's worth tracking down.

This album is 38 minutes long.

01 That’s When Happiness Began  (Montanas)
02 Goodbye Little Girl [Edit] (Montanas)
03 What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am [Edit] (Montanas)
04 Ciao Baby [Edit] (Montanas)
05 Living Above Your Head [Edit] (Montanas)
06 Take My Hand [Edit] (Montanas)
07 Top Hat [Edit] (Montanas)
08 Hey Grandma [Edit] (Montanas)
09 You've Gotta Be Loved (Montanas)
10 Bend Me, Shape Me [Edit] (Montanas)
11 A Step in the Right Direction [Edit] (Montanas)
12 You're Never Going to Get My Lovin' [Edit] (Montanas)
13 Beggin' [Edit] (Montanas)
14 Omaha [Edit] (Montanas)
15 Run to Me (Montanas)

The Montanas are such an obscure band that I could only find one color photo of them. It's from 1966, back when they still had a square image and wore suits. Not surprisingly, they went psychedelic with their style in 1967, like most other bands. But this photo will have to do unless a better later one comes along. Also, I took the band name at the top from a cover to one of their singles.

Texas - Acoustic Versions, Volume 1 (1991-2005)

Over the past couple of years, I've posted three volumes of cover versions by the British band Texas. (I posted the third volume only a few weeks ago, and updated the other two.) But Texas is not primarily a cover band. I like many of their originals, though they can be hit or miss. And if you've followed this blog for a while, you've probably noticed that I have a particular fondness for acoustic versions of songs. So I've collected two albums' worth of mostly Texas originals done in acoustic mode. To be honest, I generally prefer these versions.

It's a shame that Texas has never released any kind of acoustic album. All of the performances here are officially unreleased. But the sound quality is generally very good to excellent. The first two come from unknown sources. The rest generally were done in the studio for TV or radio shows. Only two songs (the second and fifth ones) were done before a live audience.

As far as I can tell, only the songs "Tired of Being Alone" and "Across the Universe" are cover versions. I found other versions of those two songs for the cover versions albums I posted; these versions are done in a more acoustic style. (There are some other cover versions done in acoustic mode where I could only find one good version, so in those cases I put them on the covers albums instead of these acoustic albums.)

This album is 46 minutes long.

01 Walk the Dust (Texas)
02 Tired of Being Alone (Texas)
03 Prayer for You (Texas)
04 So in Love with You (Texas)
05 Across the Universe (Sharleen Spiteri with Jools Holland)
06 In Demand (Texas)
07 Put Your Arms Around Me (Texas)
08 Can't Resist (Texas)
09 What about Us (Texas)
10 Nevermind (Texas)
11 Getaway (Texas)
12 Sleep (Texas with Paul Buchanan)

The cover photo features the band's lead singer Sharleen Spiteri in 1991.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Cilla Black - BBC Sessions, Volume 2 (1966-1972)

Here's the second and last volume of Cilla Black at the BBC.

As I explained with Volume 1, Black's interesting music is generally the 1960s and early 1970s. That's the same for many other British female singers of that era. For instance, Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, and Lulu faded in the mid-1970s too. In Black's case, she kept releasing records, but stopped having hits, and focused more on being an all-around TV entertainer.

By chance, unreleased BBC recordings stop around 1973, at the same time her hits stopped. Thank you to my musical associate Marley who was essential in finding most of the BBC recordings from 1969 and after. 

All but one of the songs here are officially unreleased. That one is an oddity, because it's actually a studio track that I snuck in there. That's because one of my favorite songs by her is "Step Inside Love," which was a big hit for her in 1968, but, strangely, it seems she didn't perform it for the BBC or other TV or radio shows. It's neat that the song was written by Paul McCartney (and even done as a lark by the Beatles during the "White Album" sessions), but it's a darn good song regardless of who wrote it. Instead of including the hit version, I found a rare demo version with McCartney backing her on acoustic guitar, found on the album "The Abbey Road Decade, 1963-1973."

During this time period, Black had a successful BBC TV show called "Cilla." A few of the songs are from that, but only a few. I'll bet there are many more songs from that show that would make interesting listening (including a version of "Step Inside Love," I would imagine), but I couldn't find that much, at least not at a reasonably high sound quality. So six of the songs here are from that, and the rest are from proper BBC studio sessions (not counting "Step Inside Love"). 

With those BBC radio recordings, there was the usual problem of BBC DJs talking over the music. So I applied the usual solution of using the X-Minus audio editing program to wipe the talking while keeping the underlying music. The songs where I did that have "[Edit]" in their names.

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 The 'In' Crowd (Cilla Black)
02 Alfie (Cilla Black)
03 Don't Answer Me (Cilla Black)
04 Step Inside Love [Demo] (Cilla Black with Paul McCartney)
05 Uptight [Everything's Alright] (Cilla Black)
06 Both Sides Now (Cilla Black)
07 It Feels So Good (Cilla Black)
08 The Look of Love - Walk On By (Cilla Black & Cliff Richard)
09 Surround Yourself with Sorrow [Edit] (Cilla Black)
10 Conversations [Edit] (Cilla Black)
11 If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind [Edit] (Cilla Black)
12 [They Long to Be] Close to You (Cilla Black)
13 Something Tells Me [Something's Gonna Happen Tonight] (Cilla Black)
14 Norwegian Wood (Cilla Black & Marvin, Welch & Farrar)
15 Make It with You [Edit] (Cilla Black)
16 The World I Wish for You (Cilla Black)
17 You, You, You [Edit] (Cilla Black)

Melting Pot (Dusty Springfield & Cilla Black)

The cover photo comes from the "Cilla" TV show, around October 1970.