Thursday, August 31, 2023

Honeybus - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: 1969-1973

This is the second of two albums of the British band Honeybus at the BBC. It's the last Honeybus post I plan to make, unless some more music comes to light.

As I've asserted previously, Honeybus is an underrated band. I think much of that had to do with the fact that they were only allowed to release one studio album (in 1970) while the band was still together. Due to their small amount of studio recordings, and a total lack of any live albums or bootlegs, their BBC studio sessions play a big part in their remaining musical legacy. An official BBC album was finally released in 2023, and all of the songs here come from that.

The sound quality is generally excellent, though there is some variability. However, five songs, the ones with "[Edit]" in their titles, suffered the usual problem in that era of BBC DJs talking over the music. Also as usual, I used the UVR5 audio editing program to wipe the talking and keep the underlying music.

Some songs were only ever recorded for the BBC. In those cases, I've put the same performances on the stray album collections and this BBC collection. I figure it's good to have all the BBC stuff together, despite some duplication. The band broke up in 1973, so that's when this album comes to an end.

There are two bonus tracks. One, "Under the Silent Tree," is a nice original that was delegated to bonus track status due to poor sound quality. The other, "Walking Aphrodisiac," sounds much better. But it's a bonus track because Honeybus played two versions of the song for the BBC at different dates. But they're different enough that the second one is at least worth bonus track status.

This album is 55 minutes long, not including the two bonus tracks.

01 My Suzanne (Honeybus)
02 Too Long [Edit] (Honeybus)
03 Fresher than the Sweetness in Water (Honeybus)
04 Walking Aphrodisiac (Honeybus)
05 You Live Good Life [Edit] (Honeybus)
06 Melinda [Edit] (Honeybus)
07 Follow the Plan (Honeybus)
08 Ceilings No. 2 (Honeybus)
09 Story (Honeybus)
10 Broken Wings (Honeybus)
11 Go Away [Edit] (Honeybus)
12 She's a Lady [Edit] (Honeybus)
13 Lady's Not for Burning (Honeybus)
14 I Can't Say It but I Can Sing It (Honeybus)
15 Big Ship (Honeybus)
16 Writing on the Wall (Honeybus)
17 For You (Honeybus)
18 Be Thou by My Side (Honeybus)

Under the Silent Tree (Honeybus)
Walking Aphrodisiac [1970 Version] [Edit] (Honeybus)

The cover photo is supposed to be from the band's second phase, in the early 1970s, but I don't know the details.

Aerosmith - Schaeffer Music Festival, Central Park, New York City, 8-29-1975

It dawned on me the other day that I haven't posted much music by Aerosmith, and nothing from their 1970s years. This is probably one of their best concert recordings, even though it's a bootleg.

Considering Aerosmith's reputation as a kick-ass live band, they have released surprisingly few official live albums, at least from their best years, which I consider the 1970s, plus their late 1980s to early 1990s revival. The only live album from the 1970s is "Live! Bootleg." But that has a couple of problems, in my opinion. One is that the band wanted to imitate the look and sound of a bootleg, to the point that some of the songs were degraded to sound like they were recorded by a cassette tape player. The other is that it's a selection of songs from many concerts. There's a place for that, but I generally prefer a single, complete concert, which this is.

That album mostly consists of performances from 1978. By contrast, this show took place in 1975. As the 1970s went on, the band's performances grew more hit and miss, depending on their (usually considerable) drug intake at the time. But they were still firing on all cylinders here.

The sound quality of this concert is excellent. I suspect that's because it was professionally recorded, to be broadcast on the radio.

This album is an hour and four minutes long.

01 talk (Aerosmith)
02 Walkin' the Dog (Aerosmith)
03 S.O.S. [Too Bad] - Somebody (Aerosmith)
04 talk (Aerosmith)
05 Big Ten Inch Record (Aerosmith)
06 talk (Aerosmith)
07 Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith)
08 talk (Aerosmith)
09 Dream On (Aerosmith)
10 Write Me a Letter (Aerosmith)
11 talk (Aerosmith)
12 Walk This Way (Aerosmith)
13 talk (Aerosmith)
14 No More No More (Aerosmith)
15 Same Old Song and Dance (Aerosmith)
16 talk (Aerosmith)
17 The Train Kept A-Rollin' (Aerosmith)
18 talk (Aerosmith)
19 Toys in the Attic (Aerosmith)

The cover photo shows lead singer Steve Tyler and lead guitarist Joe Perry (with guitar). It's from a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City in December 1975.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Cars - B'Ginnings, Schaumburg, IL, 7-1978

The Cars were one of the biggest new wave bands. So it's rather surprising to me that they never released an official live album. There has been one such album, "Live at the Agora 1978," but it was only a limited release for Record Store Day in 2017. This is from the same year as that, and has most of the same songs, but in my opinion this actually is superior, with better sound quality.

The Cars had a pretty slick sound that they perfected for their studio recordings. But that doesn't mean they were worthless live. I was particularly interested in hearing a concert from the start of their career, when they were young and hungry and had more of a raw, bar band sound. 

This concert took place one month after the release of their debut album, simply titled "The Cars." That was a great album, and even the band members themselves informally called it their "greatest hits" album, because every song on it was a hit, or could have been a hit. But one of the most interesting things here is that they played a few songs that are good but didn't make that album, or any later one: "Night Spots," "When You Gonna Lay Me Down," "Take What You Want," "Hotel Queenie," and "Somethin' Else." That last song is a cover of a 1950s classic. It wasn't sung by either of the band's usual two lead singers, Ric Ocasek and Ben Orr. Instead, it was a very rare lead vocal by the band's lead guitarist, Elliott Easton.

I listened to samples from a handful of Cars bootlegs from 1977 and 1978. All of them are soundboards, but this one sounded the best to me. Like I said above, it actually sounds better than the official album from this time period. However, there was one problem: the vocals were too low in the mix, in my opinion. So I used the UVR5 audio editing program to boost them. I boosted the vocals for the banter between songs even more.

There were three songs on the Agora album that weren't played at this show, so I added those at the end. Also, I don't know the exact date of the show. If you do, please let me know so I can fix that.

This album is 57 minutes long. It's only 47 minutes long if you don't include the three songs at the end from the Agora show.

01 talk (Cars)
02 Good Times Roll (Cars)
03 talk (Cars)
04 Bye Bye Love (Cars)
05 Night Spots (Cars)
06 talk (Cars)
07 My Best Friend's Girl (Cars)
08 Moving in Stereo (Cars)
09 talk (Cars)
10 Don't Cha Stop (Cars)
11 When You Gonna Lay Me Down (Cars)
12 talk (Cars)
13 You're All I've Got Tonight (Cars)
14 Just What I Needed (Cars)
15 talk (Cars)
16 Take What You Want (Cars)
17 talk (Cars)
18 Hotel Queenie (Cars)
19 I'm in Touch with Your World (Cars)
20 All Mixed Up (Cars)
21 Somethin' Else (Cars)

I couldn't find any good color photos of the band in concert in 1978. So I picked one from a concert in Hyannis, Massachusetts, in August 1980.

Back from Vacation

I'm back from vacation. I had a nice time, except as soon as I got home I found out one of the people I spent time with got Covid. I just tested myself an hour ago and found out I have Covid too. Ugh. Hopefully it'll be a mild case. But see this as a warning to be more careful than before. There definitely seems to be a surge in new cases. I had a friend in another state get it yesterday as well.

Anyway, thanks for your patience. I'll be back to posting new music shortly.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Another Vacation & More Rock Festivals Coming

I'm away again, about a week. I'll be back on August 29th, so there will be no new posts until then. I'm glad I was able to post all of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival before I left. That was a big project. Anyway, take care, and I'll be back soon.

Oh, and by the way, I've been collecting some other big festivals to post. Here are the ones I have in worthy sound quality and would like to post. But note that it may take me months to process these and post them, since most of them are new to me. I haven't even listened to many of them yet.

1968 Newport Folk Festival
1969 Newport Folk Festival
1969 Texas International Pop Festival
1972 Mar Y Sol Pop Festival, Manati, Puerto Rico
1973 Grand Gala du Pop 1973, Sporthal de Vliegermolen, Voorburg, Netherlands
1978 California Jam 2
1979 No Nukes Concert, Madison Square Garden, New York City, 9-23-1979
1980 Heatwave Festival
1985 Farm Aid
1985 Live Aid
1986 Conspiracy of Hope, Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
1988 Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute, Wembley Stadium, London, Britain, 6-11-1988
1989 Concert Against AIDS, Oakland Coliseum Stadium, Oakland, CA, 5-27-1989
1991 Bill Graham Memorial, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, 11-3-1991
1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute
2005 Live 8

If you have suggestions for other ones, I'm all ears. If you have the actual audio files, that would be even better. The main limitation, in my opinion, is the sound quality issue. There were dozens and dozens of great festivals back in the day, but very few were professionally recorded, and even fewer of those have become publicly available.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-30-1970: Part 6: Leonard Cohen

This is the very last of the albums I've posting from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, unless more music emerges with worthy sound quality. (And I know there's more out there, so please help if you can!) 

Many people got the impression that Jimi Hendrix was the last act of the festival. But there actually were three more big name acts who came after him: Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, and Richie Havens. It was about 2 A.M. when Baez started her set, and about dawn when Havens finished his set. I don't know what the festival organizers were thinking putting on three mellow folk artists after the hard rocking Hendrix, but that's what they did.

Unfortunately, although I have a complete recording of Joan Baez's performance, it's the same problem with the recordings of John Sebastian and Donovan earlier in the festival: it sounds really bad. Once again, the problem of wind blowing on the microphone basically ruined this audience bootleg. Trust me, you don't want to hear any of these poor audience recordings, unless you're a glutton for punishment.

As it so happens, there's only one song sung by Joan Baez that's worth hearing, a cover of "Let It Be" by the Beatles. That's because that one song made it into the film documentary "Message to Love," so the sound quality is way better than the rest.

Richie Havens was the act to close the festival. Perhaps the organizers thought there would some symmetry to that, since Havens was the act to open the 1969 Woodstock Festival, and their hope was this would be seen as the British version of Woodstock. But in terms of music, I totally struck out with Havens. I couldn't even find poor recordings of a single song.

So that leaves just one act: Leonard Cohen. In contrast to the poor situation with Baez and Havens, Cohen's full set is presented here in excellent sound, due to the fact that it was officially released in 2008 as "Leonard Cohen: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970."

Here's what Murray Lerner, director of "Message to Love," had to say about Cohen's set: “[Cohen] said some very nice things about the radical movement of the time: 'We’re a small nation, but we're going to grow. We need our own land.' I remember he had a lot of beautiful women singing with him – I was jealous. He had that kind of attraction, I think – the suffering poet [laughs]."

This album is an hour and 23 minutes long.

So that's the end of the festival. All in all, I have to say that although the festival had some problems, in terms of music, the line-up was fantastic, and the recordings that have been made public contain a lot of great music. That's especially the case because so few festivals from this era were professionally recorded from start to finish like this one was. The only one that bests it, in my opinion, is Woodstock, because all of that has been released. 

Maybe someday there will be a complete release of this festival too, allowing us to hear the full sets from Kris Kristofferson, Mighty Baby, Supertramp, the Groundhogs, Gilberto Gil & Caetano Veloso, Fairfield Parlour (a.k.a. Kaleidoscope), Lighthouse, Family, Cactus, John Sebastian, Shawn Phillips, Tiny Tim, Melanie, Ralph McTell, Donovan, Joan Baez, and Richie Havens, and more. If that happens, I think it would be an even more impressive musical document than Woodstock, with even more big name classic artists.

Oh, as an aside, the Everly Brothers, Mungo Jerry,  Cat Mother, Spirit, and Redbone were on the bill for the concert, but none of them actually played. There were a lot of last minute arguments with the promoters about getting paid, since it was common for musical acts to get stiffed at big festivals like this at the time. Here's a concert poster showing the acts, including those who didn't show. You can tell from the font size which ones were considered the biggest attractions.

In case you want to know more about the festival, there's an entire website about it here, with lots of photos and personal accounts:

If you attended, I'd be curious to hear your impressions. Was it a disaster, or great, or somewhere in between? I gather the vast majority of people who went had a good time, so I'd consider that a successful festival.

091 Let It Be (Joan Baez)
092 talk (Leonard Cohen)
093 Bird on the Wire (Leonard Cohen)
094 talk (Leonard Cohen)
095 So Long, Marianne (Leonard Cohen)
096 talk (Leonard Cohen)
097 You Know Who I Am (Leonard Cohen)
098 talk (Leonard Cohen)
099 Lady Midnight (Leonard Cohen)
100 talk (Leonard Cohen)
101 One of Us Cannot Be Wrong (Leonard Cohen)
102 The Stranger Song (Leonard Cohen)
103 talk (Leonard Cohen)
104 Tonight Will Be Fine (Leonard Cohen)
105 talk (Leonard Cohen)
106 Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye (Leonard Cohen)
107 Diamonds in the Mine (Leonard Cohen)
108 Suzanne (Leonard Cohen)
109 talk (Leonard Cohen)
110 Sing Another Song, Boys (Leonard Cohen)
111 The Partisan [La Complainte du Partisan] (Leonard Cohen)
112 talk (Leonard Cohen)
113 Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen)
114 talk (Leonard Cohen)
115 Seems So Long Ago, Nancy (Leonard Cohen)

The cover photo is from this exact concert.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-30-1970: Part 5: Jimi Hendrix

By this time on August 30, 1970, the Isle of Wight Festival was coming close to the end. But there were still four more acts to go, and the next act was probably the most anticipated one for the crowd: Jimi Hendrix.

Unfortunately, Hendrix's performance was not his best. Hendrix hadn't played any concerts for a month, which was a long time for him back then. Drummer Mitch Mitchell later admitted that it was a mistake not to rehearsed before they took the stage. "We were rusty, and it showed. The audience didn't help, and we had technical problems, with funny voices coming through the PA." And  "it was cold and dank."

Pete Townshend, lead guitarist for the Who, later commented, "What made me work so hard was seeing the condition that Jimi Hendrix was in. He was in such tragically bad condition physically. And I remember thanking God as I walked on the stage that I was healthy." Perhaps Townshend had a point, because Hendrix died just two weeks after this concert. It was his last performance in Britain.

However, Murray Lerner, director of "Message to Love," the music documentary of the festival, disagreed: “I didn’t think he was in bad shape, I just thought he was tired. He did great renditions of 'Red House' and 'Machine Gun' – which I think is as good as anything he's ever done. Although admittedly he didn’t give the usual wild, waving around [performance]." 

Lerner added, "Before he went on, Jimi asked: 'How does "God Save the Queen" go?' And then he played it. He said: 'Everyone stand up for your country and your beliefs, and if you don’t, fuck you.' 'Machine Gun' is always great, but in this case [Hendrix said]: 'Here’s a song for the skinheads in Birmingham. Oh yeah, and Vietnam. I almost forgot about that.' 'Machine Gun' goes on for about 17 minutes.”

Personally, I think this performance is better than most people give it credit for. It did start poorly. Hendrix apparently had just taken a nap before going on stage, and he was still groggy. After a few numbers, he actually commented between songs that he was starting over. I think from that point on, he got a lot better. I like concerts from the latter part of Hendrix's all-too-short career, where he played many of his great newly written songs, like "Dolly Dagger" and "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)." It's particularly nice that he played "All Along the Watchtower," because he didn't do that one very often.

The recording sounds excellent, because his entire set was officially released in 2002 as the album "Blue Wild Angel: Live at the Isle of Wight." Most of it has also been released on DVD.

This album is an hour and 59 minutes long. I think it's the longest recording from the festival.

065 talk (Jimi Hendrix)
066 God Save the Queen [Instrumental] (Jimi Hendrix)
067 Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Jimi Hendrix)
068 Spanish Castle Magic (Jimi Hendrix)
069 talk (Jimi Hendrix)
070 All Along the Watchtower (Jimi Hendrix)
071 talk (Jimi Hendrix)
072 Machine Gun (Jimi Hendrix)
073 talk (Jimi Hendrix)
074 Lover Man (Jimi Hendrix)
075 talk (Jimi Hendrix)
076 Freedom (Jimi Hendrix)
077 Red House (Jimi Hendrix)
078 talk (Jimi Hendrix)
079 Dolly Dagger (Jimi Hendrix)
080 talk (Jimi Hendrix)
081 Midnight Lightning (Jimi Hendrix)
082 Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix)
083 talk (Jimi Hendrix)
084 Message to Love (Jimi Hendrix)
085 Hey Baby [New Rising Sun] (Jimi Hendrix)
086 Ezy Rider (Jimi Hendrix)
087 Hey Joe (Jimi Hendrix)
088 Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix)
089 Voodoo Child [Slight Return] (Jimi Hendrix)
090 In from the Storm (Jimi Hendrix)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-30-1970: Part 4: Jethro Tull

The next act to play at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival was Jethro Tull.

Here's what band leader Ian Anderson had to say about the festival: "Things were going around both backstage and front of house that made it a little unpleasant for everybody. It was out of control, and the organizers were struggling to keep the thing from degenerating into something quite horrible. It was perhaps a testimony to the local police, and generally the welcoming residents of the Isle of Wight, that the thing happened at all." 

Regarding the Jethro Tull set, he said, "At the Isle of Wight, we knew we were unlikely to get paid, and we determined early on that this was something that we really just had to go through and try and keep a modicum of a smile on our faces. So we just kind of got on with it and did our bit. It was not a good gig, it was not a bad gig, it was just a little frenetic and a little tense."

Once again, the sound quality is excellent, because the complete set has been officially released. It came out in 2002 as "Nothing Is Easy: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970."

This album is an hour and seven minutes long.

051 talk (Jethro Tull)
052 My Sunday Feeling (Jethro Tull)
053 talk (Jethro Tull)
054 My God (Jethro Tull)
055 talk (Jethro Tull)
056 With You There to Help Me (Jethro Tull)
057 To Cry You a Song (Jethro Tull)
058 Bouree [Instrumental] (Jethro Tull)
059 talk (Jethro Tull)
060 Dharma for One (Jethro Tull)
061 talk (Jethro Tull)
062 Nothing Is Easy (Jethro Tull)
063 We Used to Know (Jethro Tull)
064 For a Thousand Mothers (Jethro Tull)

The cover photo of Ian Anderson is from this exact concert.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-30-1970: Part 3: The Moody Blues

Continuing to move forward chronologically, next up for the Isle of Wight Festival is the Moody Blues.

When the band started to play it was still light out, but by the time they finished over an hour later, it was dark.

The set is complete and sounds excellent, due to the fact that it was officially released in 2008 as the album "Threshold of a Dream: Live at the Isle of Wight 1970."

Murray Lerner, director of "Message to Love," the music documentary of the festival, looked back on the set with the eye of a director interested in the visual presentation. "It was at twilight, and the lighting was unusual. I liked the singing – it was more melodic than most of the other groups. Especially 'Nights in White Satin.' They were sympathetic to the crowd – that I remember quite well. And the beauty of the light at the time they performed was amazing."

This album is an hour and ten minutes long.

027 talk (Moody Blues)
028 Gypsy (Moody Blues)
029 talk (Moody Blues)
030 The Sunset (Moody Blues)
031 Tuesday Afternoon (Moody Blues)
032 Minstrel's Song (Moody Blues)
033 talk (Moody Blues)
034 Never Comes the Day (Moody Blues)
035 talk (Moody Blues)
036 Tortoise and the Hare (Moody Blues)
037 talk (Moody Blues)
038 Question (Moody Blues)
039 talk (Moody Blues)
040 Melancholy Man (Moody Blues)
041 talk (Moody Blues)
042 Are You Sitting Comfortably (Moody Blues)
043 The Dream (Moody Blues)
044 Have You Heard [Part 1] (Moody Blues)
045 Voyage (Moody Blues)
046 Have You Heard [Part 2] (Moody Blues)
047 Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues)
048 talk (Moody Blues)
049 Legend of a Mind (Moody Blues)
050 Ride My See Saw (Moody Blues)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert. I wanted a photo of the entire band, but I could only find good ones of individual band members. So I chose a photo of Justin Hayward, who sang and wrote most of their hits.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-30-1970: Part 2: Donovan & Pentangle

After the hard rock of Free, the next two acts at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival had more of a folky sound: Donovan and Pentangle.

Unfortunately, just like the John Sebastian set I discussed previously, I have a recording of the full Donovan set, but it sounds terrible. It's an audience bootleg. Just like the Sebastian one, there was a near constant wind blowing on the microphone, messing with the vocals in a way that's impossible to improve. He played for about an hour, with the first half solo acoustic and the second half with his band Open Road.

But all is not lost, because three songs survived with worthy sound quality. "Catch the Wind" sounds the best, because it was included on the album "Message to Love" that went with the film documentary of the same name. The other two songs here apparently come from a better sourced bootleg.

We're lucky to have most of the Pentangle set. None of it has been officially released, nor did any of it appear on any bootlegs that I know of. However, in 2019, Colin Harper posted what he had of the set on YouTube, and I've taken it from there. Harper has written a book about Pentangle and has been involved in the rerelease of all their albums, so he's had access to material from their vaults. 

That's the good news. The bad news is, there were a number of problems with this recording. First off, the first three songs are missing: "Train Song," "Sally Free and Easy," and "Bruton Town." There was nothing I could do about that. Also, the first minute or so of "Hunting Song" was missing, and the last couple of minutes of the final song, "Pentangling," was missing. I found a good bootleg from the same year at Berkeley, and I patched in parts of that to fill in the missing sections. As a result, there are now about 37 minutes out of what had been a 55 minute set.

Pentangle was not happy with how their set went. Harper wrote: "The group always recalled the show as sub-par, to do with various offstage distractions, poor onstage sound, and someone stage-invading at one point and standing on singer Jacqui McShee's foot (indeed, you can hear her asking this person to get off her foot during 'Rain and Snow'). [However,] at this remove, it sounds like they acquitted themselves very well in the circumstances."

This album is 50 minutes long.

017 Catch the Wind (Donovan)
018 Henry Martin (Donovan)
019 Train Whistle Blues (Donovan)
020 talk (Pentangle)
021 Light Flight (Pentangle)
022 Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Pentangle)
023 Hunting Song [Edit] (Pentangle)
024 Rain and Snow (Pentangle)
025 House Carpenter (Pentangle)
026 Pentangling [Edit] (Pentangle)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-30-1970: Part 1: Free

This album is the first of the last day of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. As such, the track numbering starts at one again and the coloring of the text on the album cover is different (yellow for all the albums from this day).

The good news is that I have the entire set from the band Free here, in excellent sound. The band news is there were four acts that played before Free on this day, and I don't have any music from any of them at all. The four acts were :Good News, Kris Kristofferson, Ralph McTell, and Heaven. Don't feel bad if you never heard of Good News or Heaven, as they're both very obscure. 

Kris Kristofferson played earlier in the festival, but his set was badly received, in part due to problems with the sound system. So he was given another chance on this day. His music was much better received this time. Folk-rocker Ralph McTell also went over well, according to the press accounts.

That takes us to Free. They had just released the album "Fire and Water," containing their biggest hit, "All Right Now." The popularity surged. The album reached Number Two in the British charts, when their last two albums hadn't charted at all. The crowd was still near its maximum size of 600,000 to 700,000 people, so it was the biggest moment of Free's career so far.

Murray Lerner, the director of "Message to Love," the music documentary of the festival, later said about Free, "To me they were a revelation. I had never heard them before. I thought they were fantastic – their energy, their sensibility. And 'All Right Now' to me was really a thrilling song."

The sound quality is excellent, because the whole set was officially released as the album "Live at the Isle of Wight 1970."

This album is 49 minutes long.

001 talk (Free)
002 Ride on a Pony (Free)
003 talk (Free)
004 Woman (Free)
005 talk (Free)
006 The Stealer (Free)
007 talk (Free)
008 Be My Friend (Free)
009 Mr. Big (Free)
010 talk (Free)
011 Fire and Water (Free)
012 I'm a Mover (Free)
013 The Hunter (Free)
014 All Right Now (Free)
015 talk (Free)
016 Crossroads (Free)

The cover photo is from this exact concert.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-29-1970: Part 8: Melanie & Sly & the Family Stone

By the time these acts played on the August 29, 1970 bill for the 1970 Isle of Wight, it was well after midnight. (Technically, I should date these performances to August 30th, but if I did that it would get messy since I often don't know which acts went on after midnight.) The still massive crowd was getting very sleepy.

With that in mind, it seems bizarre that the next acts to follow the Who were Melanie, a sensitive female singer-songwriter, and then the energetic funksters Sly and the Family Stone. But that's what happened.

In retrospect, it looks like Melanie got the shaft. She had been an unknown newcomer until she got widespread attention with her performance at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Since then, she'd had a big hit in early 1970 with her song "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)" about her Woodstock experience. 

Melanie later described her experience at the Isle of Wight Festival: "I had to follow The Who's performance of 'Tommy.' Nobody wanted to do it. Jim Morrison from the Doors turned it down. I don't know how I got it. I was the path of least resistance, I guess. I was all by myself. [Who drummer] Keith Moon announced me. We had spent a lot of time together that day and had become friends. He realized my situation and helped to break the ice. It was [getting near] dawn. The Who had played throughout the night. There was a friendly atmosphere but, [the audience] finished. They had just seen 'Tommy'; [Who singer] Roger Daltrey in his prime. Here I was, with just my guitar and my voice. I started to sing. The dawn was coming and the sun was rising. Little by little, I see heads popping up. I woke everybody up! I played one of my best concerts. After I did the Isle of Wight, I had two hit albums in England."

Unfortunately, I was unable to find much of Melanie's set in worthy sound quality. I've only included three songs, and I'm probably pushing it with a couple of these. Her song "What Have They Done to My Song Ma" sounds the best, because the full version was later shown in a French TV documentary.

By the time Sly and the Family Stone started their set, the sun had already come up! (You can see this with the cover photo.) The band's music is about as lively and danceable as music can be. It seemed most of the crowd did rouse themselves for the performance. However, most were too exhausted to dance and just watched.

Jerry Martini, saxophone player Jerry Martini for Sly and the Family Stone, later recalled about their set: "It was good. I just remember us playing our concert, going over well, and having a great time at the nightclub they had there – it was jam-packed. I remember leaving that with a good feeling." However, he added, "I don't think it was as good as Woodstock for us. Woodstock did the most for us, but it was way up there."

Their set ended on a down note, however. After playing about 45 minutes, the band left the stage, and didn't return for an encore. According to one account, an empty beer can was thrown and hit the lead guitar player. Lead singer Sly Stone was so upset by this that he refused to return for the encore. But another account says the people running the concert cut things off due to the schedule being so wildly late. There was a public announcement that the area near the stage had to be cleared and cleaned up. 

The good news is that what exists of the Sly and the Family Stone set sounds great, because it was released on the box set "Higher!" The bad news is that it is known the band played three more songs at the start of their set: "Thank You [Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin]," "M'Lady," and "Sing a Simple Song." I've read that worthy versions of these songs are publicly out there, but are very hard to find. If you have them, please let me know so I can add them in.

This album is 30 minutes long.

133 What Have They Done to My Song Ma (Melanie)
134 Birthday of the Sun (Melanie)
135 Good Book (Melanie)
136 Stand (Sly & the Family Stone)
137 You Can Make It If You Try (Sly & the Family Stone)
138 Dance to the Music (Sly & the Family Stone)
139 Music Lover - I Want to Take You Higher (Sly & the Family Stone)

The cover photo of Sly and the Family Stone comes from this exact concert.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-29-1970: Part 7: The Who

The next musical act for August 29th at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival was the Who. It's pretty remarkable to consider that the Doors preceded the Who, after many other great acts, and there were still more to come before the night ended!

The Who were one of the few big acts to play both the 1969 and 1970 versions of the Isle of Wight Festival, so this is an opportune time to explain a bit about the history of the festival. 

The first Isle of Wight Festival was in 1968, and started out relatively small. Only about 10,000 people attended. Some of the acts that played were Jefferson Airplane, Arthur Brown, the Move, T. Rex, Fairport Convention, and the Pretty Things, but as far as I know, no known audio recordings exist. 

The 1969 festival was a much bigger deal, with about 150,000 people attending. The main draw was Bob Dylan, who played with the Band. It was Dylan's first full length concert since he'd been sidelined due to a motorcycle accident in 1966. Others who performed included the Band (by themselves), the Nice, the Pretty Things, the Who, Free, Pentangle, the Moody Blues, and Joe Cocker. As far as I know, there are no known recordings of any of these performances, with the notable exception of the Bob Dylan set, which eventually got officially released decades later.

By the way, the 1970 festival would be the last one until 2002. It became an annual festival after that. The 1970 one was so very large that it upset the people who lived nearby. The backlash was so severe that local officials made sure to foil any further festivals there. There was even an attempt to ban this time to festival nationwide, but it didn't pass because it proved impossible to make legislation that banned only festivals of music that establishment types didn't like.

Anyway, as mentioned above, the Who played both the 1969 and 1970 festivals. It turned out their set lists were very similar, because both featured full performances of the "Tommy" rock opera. At one point in this concert, lead guitarist Pete Townshend even commented on how similar their act was to one at the previous festival. The problem was the Who was taking a long time getting their next album ready. It wouldn't come out until 1971, the classic "Who's Next" album. Furthermore, in May 1970, the live album "Live at Leeds" was released, and most of the songs that they played that weren't a part of "Tommy" were included on that album.

They only played one song, "I Don't Even Know Myself," which they said was from their next album, though in the end it wasn't included on it. "Water" was another new song played here that ultimately didn't make it to that album.

But despite the fact the Who was treading water in terms of new material (in an era when acts usually released one album a year - Creedence Clearwater Revival released THREE in 1969!), they delivered an impressive, long performance. Murray Lerner, director of the "Message to Love" documentary about the festival, later commented, "The Who’s performance was really fantastic. A great, theatrical presentation, with huge spotlights behind them that dazzled you. The ending of Tommy was really incredible. And Naked Eye was great.  And of course, [drummer] Keith Moon was fantastic – playing around and having fun." 

This album is an hour and 52 minutes long.

095 talk (Who)
096 Heaven and Hell (Who)
097 talk (Who)
098 I Can't Explain (Who)
099 talk (Who)
100 Young Man Blues (Who)
101 talk (Who)
102 I Don't Even Know Myself (Who)
103 talk (Who)
104 Water (Who)
105 talk (Who)
106 Overture [Instrumental] (Who)
107 It's A Boy (Who)
108 1921 (Who)
109 Amazing Journey (Who)
110 Sparks [Instrumental] (Who)
111 Eyesight to the Blind [The Hawker] (Who)
112 Christmas (Who)
113 The Acid Queen (Who)
114 Pinball Wizard (Who)
115 Do You Think It's Alright (Who)
116 Fiddle About (Who)
117 Tommy Can You Hear Me (Who)
118 There's a Doctor (Who)
119 Go to the Mirror (Who)
120 Smash the Mirror (Who)
121 Miracle Cure (Who)
122 I'm Free (Who)
123 Tommy's Holiday Camp (Who)
124 We're Not Gonna Take It - See Me, Feel Me (Who)
125 Summertime Blues (Who)
126 Shakin' All Over (Who)
127 Spoonful (Who)
128 Twist and Shout (Who)
129 Substitute (Who)
130 My Generation (Who)
131 Naked Eye (Who)
132 Magic Bus (Who)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-29-1970: Part 6: The Doors

The next musical act on August 30, 1970 of the Isle of Wight Festival were the Doors.

It's fairly remarkable the Doors were able to play this festival. At the time, lead singer Jim Morrison was in the middle of a trial in the US, for allegedly exposing himself on stage in Miami. But apparently, they had booked this concert appearance before those troubles began, so they were granted permission to leave the US briefly to perform at the festival.

Murray Lerner, who directed "Message to Love," a music documentary about the festival, later recalled: “Jim Morrison said to me: 'I don’t think you’re going to get an image, because our lights are low. We’re not going to change it.' But in fact I got some beautiful images by looking into the light and making it look surrealistic and abstract. ... The Doors were hypnotic, but they had to leave right after their performance – they were on trial in Miami. They were let out just for that performance. So they had to leave right away."

The band's most recent album was "Morrison Hotel," released in February 1970. But they only played two songs from it, "Ship of Fools" and "Roadhouse Blues." Instead, they generally leaned on classic songs dating back to 1967. It was pretty late at night by the time the band took the stage, and Morrison later complained about how cold and windy it was. So perhaps they relied on the songs they knew best to get their through a tough situation.

The sound quality is excellent, because the whole performance has been officially released on album and DVD as "Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970." However, I felt the lead vocals were rather low, so I boosted them in the mix using the UVR5 audio editing program.

This album is an hour and seven minutes long.

087 talk (Doors)
088 Back Door Man (Doors)
089 Break On Through [To the Other Side] (Doors)
090 When the Music's Over (Doors)
091 Ship of Fools (Doors)
092 Roadhouse Blues (Doors)
093 Light My Fire (Doors)
094 The End (Doors)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert. Most of the pictures I found were very dark and just featured Morrison, but this one had more light and showed the whole band.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-29-1970: Part 5: Emerson, Lake & Palmer

The next big act to play the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival was Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP).

They were unknown to the crowd, because they had only played their first concert a few days before. But they were given a prominent billing because they were considered a "supergroup" of sorts, coming from well regarded groups such as the Nice and King Crimson. Only after this concert did the band secure a record contract.

ELP singer Greg Lake later recalled about the festival, "The enduring memory is the actual physical sight of that many people. I suppose before that, the only other time you’d see that many people gathered together would have been a war. The night before, we’d played to something like 1,000 people. The next day it was 600,000."

Lake had mixed feelings about the festival as a whole: "There was a kind of random chaos taking place. In a way, it was all meant to be relaxed and 'peace, love, and have a nice day', but there was kind of a tension about the whole thing." However, the band's performance was received very well. "After that festival, the very next day, ELP was on the front page of every music newspaper. It was indeed one of those overnight sensations."

The bad did have one problematic moment, however. Lake recalled, "We decided to fire these 19th-century cannons at the end of 'Pictures At An Exhibition' – to emulate the 1812 Overture. Unknown to us, the road crew had doubled the charge in the cannons. All I can remember was seeing this huge, solid-iron cannon leave the ground! It blew a couple of people off the stage. Luckily there was no cannonball in it. Thank God!"

The set is complete, and it sounds great, because it was officially released as "Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970" in 1997.

Tracks 73 to 83 make up a musical suite called "Pictures at an Exhibition," based on a 1894 piano suite by the same name by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky. Despite being played in concert from this time forward, ELP wouldn't release an album version of it until late 1971.

This album is an hour and nine minutes long.

068 talk (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
070 talk (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
069 The Barbarian [Instrumental] (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
071 Take a Pebble (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
072 talk (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
073 Promenade [Instrumental] (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
074 The Gnome [Instrumental] (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
075 Promenade (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
076 The Sage (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
077 The Old Castle [Instrumental] (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
078 Blues Variations [Instrumental] (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
080 The Hut of Baba Yaga [Instrumental] (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
079 Promenade [Instrumental] (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
081 The Curse of Baba Yaga (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
082 The Hut of Baba Yaga [Instrumental] (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
083 The Great Gates of Kiev (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
084 Rondo [Instrumental] (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
085 talk (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
086 Nut Rocker [Instrumental] (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert.

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-29-1970: Part 4: Ten Years After

The next musical act to play the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival was Ten Years After.

This set started with the songs "Love like a Man" and "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl." When I first posted this album, I didn't include them, because they sounded worse than the others. But I have since changed my mind, after making some tweaks to improve their sound somewhat. However, they still are rougher than the others.

As far as I know, the only song to be officially released is "I Can't Keep from Cryin' Sometimes," which was included in "The First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies" album. Everything else is from audience bootleg sources. The remaining songs sound decent, though maybe not always as good as some of the other sets from the festival.

Apparently three more songs were played that I don't have, period: "Hobbit," "Classical Thing," and "Scat Thing." If anyone has what I'm missing, or has songs with better sound quality, please let me know.

There are only six songs here. But Ten Years After was knowing for extensive jamming, and that's the case here. "I'm Goin' Home" is over ten minutes long, and "I Can't Keep from Cryin' Sometimes" is nearly twenty minutes long.

This album is 55 minutes long.

UPDATE: On November 8, 2023, I updated the mp3 download file, because I added the first two songs, "Love like a Man" and "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl."

061 Love like a Man (Ten Years After)
062 Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl (Ten Years After)
063 No Title (Ten Years After)
064 I Can't Keep from Cryin' Sometimes (Ten Years After)
065 talk (Ten Years After)
066 I'm Goin' Home (Ten Years After)
067 Sweet Little Sixteen (Ten Years After)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-29-1970: Part 3: Tiny Tim & Miles Davis

A great thing about big music festivals like the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival is the diversity of musical acts. That certainly is the case with this album. Who would ever put Tiny Tim and Miles Davis back to back? I don't know, but that's what happened in that festival.

As I mentioned in the write-up for the previous album, the huge crowd grew troublesome during Joni Mitchell's set, although it was not the fault of Mitchell or her excellent performance. Then, somewhat improbably, Tiny Tim put the crowd in a good mood again. The crowd of over half a million people then stayed in a good mood for the rest of the day, including having a positive reaction to Miles Davis, despite his jazz style being quite different from the music of nearly all the other acts.

Tiny Tim has to be the most unlikely star of the 1960s. Who could have imagined that playing ukelele and singing falsetto versions of songs from the 1920s and earlier would be a winning formula? But he had a hit with the song "Tiptoe through the Tulips" (which was first released in 1929). 

Unfortunately, when it comes to Tiny Tim's set, only three songs are available here. "There'll Always Be an England" is from "Message to Love" documentary about the festival. The other two songs are from bootleg and have rougher sound quality, but still sound acceptable to my ears.

Murray Lerner, who made the "Message to Love" documentary, had this to say about Miles Davis' performance: "Miles Davis was a surprise - and really unusual. It was a revelation. The crowd really liked it. He went on, played, waved his hand at that audience and walked off. He played for approximately 38 minutes straight, without stopping."

By the way, a story goes that when Davis walked off stage, he was asked the name of the song he'd just played, and he replied, "Call It Anything." As a result, a portion of his set was available under the that name on the 1971 album "The First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies." But that's really just the last few songs of his set lumped together. We know the actual names of the songs because a DVD of his entire set was released in 2004.

This album is 41 minutes long.

Note that the track count continues where the last album left off. I keep going with that numbering through the rest of the August 29th sets. Also note that the track numbers have an extra digit. That's because there are over 100 songs in total for the whole day.

051 There'll Always Be an England (Tiny Tim)
052 Two Times a Day (Tiny Tim)
053 talk (Tiny Tim)
054 Love's Ship (Tiny Tim)
055 Directions [Instrumental] (Miles Davis)
056 Bitches Brew [Instrumental] (Miles Davis)
057 It's About That Time [Instrumental] (Miles Davis)
058 Sanctuary [Instrumental] (Miles Davis)
059 Spanish Key [Instrumental] (Miles Davis)
060 The Theme [Instrumental] (Miles Davis)

The cover photo of Davis comes from this exact concert.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-29-1970: Part 2: Joni Mitchell

This is the start of August 30, 1970, the fourth day of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. By this time, the crowd was at its maximum size and virtually all the acts were big names. 

This album contains all of Joni Mitchell's set. John Sebastian's set was the first one of the day, and that has been posted here as Part 1. Between his set and Mitchell's, there were sets by Shawn Phillips and Lighthouse. (Lighthouse had played a set the day before, but did a second one.) Unfortunately, I can find no audio for either set, at any level of sound quality.

Mtichell's entire set has been professionally released on DVD as "Both Sides Now: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970." That means the sound quality is excellent overall. However, the vocals were a bit muffled for three of the songs. Perhaps something went wrong with her microphone. Whatever the case, I did my best to improve it using UVR5, but I could only do so much in this case.

When people say that the 1970 Isle of Wight was a disappointment, Exhibit A happened during Joni Mitchell's set. I'll quote Wikipedia to describe what happened:

"Following her performance of "Woodstock", a hippie named Yogi Joe interrupted her set to make a speech about the people at the festival in an encampment built of straw bales known as Desolation Row. When Joe was hauled off by Joni's manager, the audience began to boo until Mitchell interrupted her own set to chastise the audience and make an emotional appeal to "give us [the artists] some respect. ... After the crowd quieted down, Mitchell closed her set with "Both Sides Now" and returned to the stage for an encore singing two more songs for an appreciative crowd."

If you want to know more, here's a Guardian article about it:

Joni Mitchell, Isle of Wight 1970: the day the music nearly died | Joni Mitchell | The Guardian

Murray Lerner, who filmed the documentary "Message to Love" about the festival, later had this to say about the incident: "She decided to face-down the crowd, and was playing the piano, vamping, and almost crying. She said to the crowd: ‘We’ve put our lives into this stuff. ... You're acting like tourists.' That changed the whole tone of it. She called the crowd 'the beast' [afterwards, in private] and she decided to face them down. She had had problems with other places and had given in. But she decided in this case not to." 

Neil Young was at the festival, and he'd planned to join Mitchell for a duet near the end of her set. But he cancelled that idea when he saw the friction with the audience. In fact, he was so upset that he left the festival entirely before Mitchell's set even finished.

Although Mitchell's admonishment of the crowd calmed things down some, the situation was still tense. Tiny Tim, who was kind of a musical throwback novelty act, happened to be the act to follow Mitchell. Luckily, he put the crowd in a good mood again, and that mood lasted for the rest of the day. Lerner later commented, "The audience went wild for Tiny Tim! Because it was like a campy reaction. You would have thought he was the biggest star in the world."

Anyway, you can listen instead of just reading about this, because the Yogi Joe interruption and all the rest is captured well in the audio recording. And I'm pretty sure that's him shirtless in the photo on the album cover.

The good news is, even though this set may have been an ordeal for Mitchell at the time, musically, she still sounded great. In my opinion, she was at the peak of her musical creativity around this time. Her most critically acclaimed album, "Blue," wouldn't be released until 1971, but she played three songs from it, "My Old Man," "California," and "A Case of You," plus "Hunter," which was an outtake that didn't get released until decades later.

This album is 54 minutes long.

UPDATE: On November 8, 2023, I updated the mp3 download file because I removed the three John Sebastian songs in the beginning. That's because I was finally able to post the full Sebastian set. That became Part 1, so this was renamed to Part 2.

033 talk (Joni Mitchell)
034 The Gallery (Joni Mitchell)
035 That Song about the Midway (Joni Mitchell)
036 Chelsea Morning (Joni Mitchell)
037 talk (Joni Mitchell)
038 [He Played Real Good] For Free (Joni Mitchell)
039 talk (Joni Mitchell)
040 Woodstock (Joni Mitchell)
041 talk (Joni Mitchell)
042 My Old Man (Joni Mitchell)
043 Willie (Joni Mitchell)
044 A Case of You (Joni Mitchell)
045 talk (Joni Mitchell)
046 California (Joni Mitchell)
047 Hunter [The Good Samaritan] (Joni Mitchell)
048 talk (Joni Mitchell)
049 Big Yellow Taxi (Joni Mitchell)
050 Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell)

The cover photo is from this exact concert.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-28-1970: Part 4: Family, Procol Harum & Cactus

This is the final album from August 28, 1970 of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. Three bands are featured here, but most of the songs were performed by Procol Harum.

Given that most or all of the festival's music was professionally recorded, I don't know why some parts of it has been made public and other parts of it have not. Fourteen songs were released on the album "The First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies" in 1971, including one by Procol Harum and two by Cactus. But somehow most of the Procol Harum set has come out on bootleg with excellent sound, and none of the Cactus set has.

Only three songs from the Family set have emerged, with varying levels of quality. "The Weaver's Answer" sounds particularly good because it was included in the documentary movie about the festival, "Message to Love." I have read that a couple more songs they played are out there with worthy sound quality, "Procession" and "Drowned in Wine," but I can't find them. If you have them, please let me know so I can add them in.

Unfortunately, even with Procol Harum, this is only a partial set. It is known these songs were also played: "Whisky Train," "Conquistador," a medley of 1950s hits "Go! Go! Go!," "High School Confidential," and "Lucille," and the finale, "Whaling Stories." It's a particular shame no recording of that 1950s medley has emerged, because the band almost never played cover versions, and there are no recordings of them performing that anywhere else.

Procol Harum's lead singer Gary Brooker later commented that the band generally enjoyed the festival, despite it being cold when they played: "Of course it was cold while we were waiting to go on, but once you are playing you soon get hot and sweaty. I really enjoyed playing there, it was not a bit like an American festival. Their festivals are into politics as much as the music and they tend to go on for a whole weekend without a break because it does not get cold at night. It was nice to play to an audience who had come solely for the music, in the most part."

Here's what Cactus drummer Carmine Appice had to say about the festival:

“The thing that I remember the most is the fact that we were hanging out a lot backstage with [Jimi] Hendrix. Everybody had little areas where they hung out. I remember a lot of jamming going on, with guitars and lots of banging on tabletops. At these festivals there was always a lot of drugs. We used to drink a sip of wine backstage, and you didn’t know – sometimes it would have mescaline in it or something weird. Everybody was smoking pot. ... It was cold, it was rainy. I think it was damp and foggy. I think the Isle of Wight was a bit of a disaster. That was the drag of being a headliner of those kind of festivals – by the time you go on it’s like the wee hours of the morning and your audience is going away. Look at Hendrix playing Woodstock – he had nobody there. Whereas Santana played when the place was packed."

This album is 48 minutes long. Just the Procol Harum portion is 30 minutes long.

51 Strange Band (Family)
52 Good News, Bad News (Family)
53 Weaver's Answer (Family)
54 Still There'll Be More (Procol Harum)
55 Wish Me Well (Procol Harum)
56 talk (Procol Harum)
57 The Devil Came from Kansas (Procol Harum)
58 Shine On Brightly (Procol Harum)
59 talk (Procol Harum)
60 Your Own Choice (Procol Harum)
61 talk (Procol Harum)
62 Juicy John Pink (Procol Harum)
63 A Salty Dog (Procol Harum)
64 No Need to Worry (Cactus)
65 Parchman Blues (Cactus)

The cover photo is of Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, from this exact concert. This was the only case for all the album covers I made for this festival where I couldn't find a good color photo. So I converted a black and white to color using the Palette computer program.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-28-1970: Part 3: Chicago

The next big act to play the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival was Chicago. As you can see from the cover photo for this album, night had fallen by the time they took the stage. By that time, the crowd had reached its maximum size of about 600,000 to 700,000 people.

Chicago released their second album, "Chicago" (retroactively called "Chicago II") in early 1970. It was a big success, spawning three Top Ten hits in the US, "Make Me Smile," Colour My World," and "25 or 6 to 4." So the band was a very popular concert draw at this time.

This is the entire set. It was released in 2018 as the album "Chicago: Live at the Isle of Wight Festival." The sound is excellent, so I didn't have to make any edits or remixes this time.

Tracks 42 to 47 make up a song cycle called "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon." I could have posted that as one giant track, but I broke it up into each named section. 

Walter Parazaider, Chicago's saxophone player, later recalled the festival: “They had us in a holding area, with cottages and everything, which was just spectacular. The weather was great. Isle of Wight was our first experience of [playing festivals]. And you talk about people being really young – eyes as big as silver dollars, and taking everything in. The whole spectacle of it was amazing. It was massive. When you get that amount of people, just a whisper from a crowd is a roar. If you don’t keep within yourself, you could just as easily throw your horn in the crowd and run around like a lunatic, just freaking out. ... The crowd was very receptive. That first album had 'I'm a Man' on it – a Spencer Davis Group tune – and it had gone over quite well in England. They knew the material, and we were quite well received. It was one of the highlights of our career. It was a knockout."

Note that, like the previous album in this series, the first track here is not 01. Instead, the numbering continues where the previous set (Tony Joe White) left off. I'm going to stop mentioning this, but assume this pattern continues for the rest of the albums. I reset back to 01 each new day of the festival. This makes it easier if you want each day of the festival to be one non-stop listen.

This album is an hour and 29 minutes long.

Oh, and just for fun, here's a photo showing just how large the crowd of 600,000 or more actually looked like.

31 Introduction (Chicago)
32 South California Purples (Chicago)
33 Beginnings (Chicago)
34 talk (Chicago)
35 In the Country (Chicago)
36 Intro [Instrumental] (Chicago)
37 Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is (Chicago)
38 talk (Chicago)
39 Mother (Chicago)
40 It Better End Soon (Chicago)
41 talk (Chicago)
42 Make Me Smile (Chicago)
43 So Much to Say, So Much to Give (Chicago)
44 Anxiety's Moment - West Virginia Fantasies [Instrumental] (Chicago)
45 Colour My World (Chicago)
46 To Be Free [Instrumental] (Chicago)
47 Now More than Ever (Chicago)
48 25 or 6 to 4 (Chicago)
49 talk (Chicago)
50 I'm a Man (Chicago)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-28-1970: Part 2: Tony Joe White

Next up from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival is a set by Tony Joe White. This one is straightforward, as it just features his set and nothing else.

White is best known for his song "Polk Salad Annie," which was a Top Ten hit in the US in 1969. But he was a talented singer-songwriter who wrote hits for others, including "Rainy Night in Georgia" by Brook Benton and "Steamy Windows" by Tina Turner. He died in 2018.

This is his complete set. It was officially released in 2006, but only as part of a box set.

This album is 32 minutes long.

Note that I'm starting the track numbering here with 18 instead of 1. That's so you can put all the songs from the August 28, 1970 sets into one folder to make one continuous listen, if you so desire. I'll be doing the same with the August 29th and 30th sets, starting back with track 1 for each new day.

18 Boom Boom (Tony Joe White)
19 talk (Tony Joe White)
20 Roosevelt and Ira Lee [Night of the Mossacin] (Tony Joe White)
21 talk (Tony Joe White)
22 I Want You (Tony Joe White)
23 talk (Tony Joe White)
24 Groupy Girl (Tony Joe White)
25 Stud Spider (Tony Joe White)
26 talk (Tony Joe White)
27 Polk Salad Annie (Tony Joe White)
28 talk (Tony Joe White)
29 Save Your Sugar for Me (Tony Joe White)
30 talk (Tony Joe White)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-28-1970: Part 1: Taste

Yesterday, I posted all the music with high sound quality I could find from the first two days of the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. There wasn't much of it, and nearly all of it was from the second day, August 27, 1970. Today, I'm going to post all the worthy music from the third day, August 28, 1970. This time, the acts were more famous, and a lot more music has survived.

Here's a list of all the acts who played on August 28th, in order of their appearances:

Fairfield Parlour (a.k.a. Kaleidoscope)
Tony Joe White
Procol Harum
Voices of East Harlem

I have at least one song from every act except for Lighthouse and the Voices of East Harlem. In most cases, as you'll soon see, I have the full sets. This album is dominated by the full set by Taste, the Irish blues rock band led by lead guitarist and vocalist Rory Gallagher. 

Additionally, I have music by Fairfield Parlour and Arrival, but unfortunately only one song each. 

Fairfield Parlour, by the way, is really the band Kaleidoscope. I've posted some albums by them on my music blog. They changed their name in 1970 despite no change in band personnel, apparently in an effort to get a fresh start with public perceptions. It's a real shame that there's only one song by this band. I really like them, but it seems no concert recordings exist in the public domain from their late 1960s/early 1970s heyday, bootleg or officially released, other than this one song. It seems likely their full Isle of Wight set still exists in the vaults. Let's hope all of it gets released someday.

I don't know much about the British band Arrival. Wikipedia describes them as a "close harmony pop-rock band." They had two hits in Britain in early 1970, "Friends" and "I Will Survive." They put out an album in 1970 and another in 1972, then broke up.

Finally, there's the main act featured here, Taste. This trio had been in existence since 1968, but at the time of the festival they were on the verge of breaking up. This ended up being one of their last concerts, but they went out with a bang. The band liked their performance so much that they released much of it as an official album a year later, called "Live at the Isle of Wight." The complete performance was eventually released in 2015. Furthermore, some filmmakers were filming parts of the festival in order to make a music documentary. They were supposed to film only one or two songs from lesser known acts like Taste in order to save on the costs of the expensive film stock, but they were so impressed with the performance that they wound up filming nearly the entire set. So that can be found on DVD. 

Despite the Taste set being released, I still thought the lead vocals were low in the mix. So I fixed that using the audio editing program UVR5.

Here's what Rory Gallagher later had to say about Taste at the festival: "I remember playing the Isle of Wight Festival and we weren't talking to each other then. We took the ferry across [from Ireland to England], and we put on a reasonable show and got a great reaction, but musically it was all over between us."

Also, here's what Peter Daltrey of Fairfield Parlour / Kaleidoscope has said about the festival:

"All I remember is the view from the stage: the endless blue sky, the endless audience, the thousands camped for free on the rolling hills to the right, the heat, the clouds of red dust, Joan Baez wandering by looking stunning, the movie camera thrust in my face as I was told our set was to be cut in half, the terror, the sublime lift after the first wave of applause, the evenings in the Red Indian camp with the fires burning, the thump of distant music, crouching below the stage waiting for the nod so I could leap up and be allowed to play an acoustic 'Let the World Wash In' to half a million hippies, the leaden realization that we'd been conned and ripped off and stuffed and abused by the [festival promoters] brothers Farr, the sleepless nights of total physical and mental exhaustion, breakfast at Herbie Snowball's hotel in Shanklin -- and returning there thirty years later on a family holiday and standing across the road and looking up at the window where three decades earlier a young man once stared at the orange moon... No, I don't recall much."

This album is an hour and 26 minutes long.

01 Soldiers of Flesh (Fairfield Parlour [Kaleidoscope])
02 Not Right Now (Arrival)
03 What's Going On (Taste)
04 talk (Taste)
05 Sugar Mama (Taste)
06 talk (Taste)
07 Morning Sun (Taste)
08 talk (Taste)
09 Gambling Blues (Taste)
10 Sinner Boy (Taste)
11 I'll Remember (Taste)
12 I Feel So Good (Taste)
13 talk (Taste)
14 Catfish Blues (Taste)
15 Same Old Story (Taste)
16 talk (Taste)
17 Blister on the Moon (Taste)

The cover photo of Rory Gallagher comes from this exact concert. 

Note that when it comes to the text on the cover, I'm using the same font as the one used for the headline of the Isle of Wight concert poster. I'm using color coding to help separate the festival into different days: red for August 27th, blue for August 28th, green for August 29th, and yellow for August 30th.

Isle of Wight Festival, Afton Down, Isle of Wight, Britain, 8-27-1970 to 8-30-1970 - 8-27-1970: Terry Reid & Various Artists

This post is the start of something big. I've decided to post all the worthy music from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, and there's a heck of a lot of it. 

There were dozens and dozens of big rock festivals in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But the vast majority of them are fading from memory because there's no audio or video to help remember. The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival is an exception. Apparently, ALL of it was professionally recorded. Furthermore, because it was a five-day long festival, all the big acts had plenty of time to play, often playing the equal of a full concert they would have performed somewhere else. Many of these professional recordings have remained in the vaults. But a whole bunch of official albums from individual artists have been released over the decades. Furthermore, some or all of some of the other sets have been leaked to the public. My goal was to post all the music that had soundboard-level quality, in chronological order, with all the sonic flaws fixed. And it turns out there were many, many sonic flaws. 

The end result is nearly 20 albums, which I will post here over the next few days. I'm even posting the officially released stuff, because I think it's important to have all of this music easily accessible in one place, so one can hear the concert in its full glory. On purely musical terms, I think it's the equal of Woodstock or any other festival from that era.

The 1970 Isle of Wight Festival has had a pretty poor reputation over the years. It was the largest festival of its era, with about 600,000 to 700,000 people attending. The hope was that it would be seen as the British version of Woodstock. But there were some bad vibes, often related to conflicts between the promoters, who wanted to make money, and the audience who often expected everything to somehow be free. It didn't end up a total disaster like Altamont in 1969, but it wasn't an unabashed success and cultural milestone like Woodstock either.

You can read the Wikipedia page about the concert here:

Isle of Wight Festival 1970 - Wikipedia

I'll write more about the concert in general in later posts. But I want to mostly focus on the music in this particular album. The concert was five days long, but the fame of the artists steadily grew from very low on the first day to very high on the last one. 

Here are all the performers from the first two days of the festival:

Judas Jump
Kathy Smith
Rosalie Sorrels
David Bromberg
Kris Kristofferson
Mighty Baby
Gary Farr
Andy Roberts’ Everyone
Black Widow
The Groundhogs
Terry Reid
Gilberto Gil & Caetano Veloso

I'm guessing that you've never heard of most of those. Kris Kristofferson and Supertramp had just started their music careers and only got famous later. The Brazilian musicians Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso were popular in Brazil already, but little known in Britain at the time. So this was basically two days of little known and unknown artists while the massive crowd slowly arrived.

Perhaps somewhere in some vault, recordings of the full sets of all these acts still exist. In retrospect, it would be great to hear some of them, such as Supertramp. But in terms of publicly available recordings with worthy sound quality, this mostly consists of Terry Reid's full set, since that had been officially released on album, plus a few other songs here and there.

Apparently, David Bromberg was the highlight of the first day of the festival. But only one song of his is here, because it was featured in "Message of Love," the movie about the festival. It seems to be the only song here from the first day, August 26, 1970. So for simplicity's sake I only have August 27, 1970 in the album title.

I would be especially intrigued to hear the full set of Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. Both of them were in exile in Britain at the time due to the fact that a repressive dictatorship was in charge of Brazil. Frustratingly, all there is here is about a minute and a half of music, not even one complete song. They were experimenting with writing songs in English at the time, and this one is in English. I figure it's better to have this little bit than nothing at all, if only to remember their involvement in the festival.

By the way, Rolling Stone Magazine reported this about the Gil and Veloso set: "With 13 pals, 11 of whom clapped and sang along, from within a gargantuan party-sized red plastic dress, they beat half an hour’s beautific bossa nova. One by one those in the red dress shed it, naked, but coyly avoiding full fronted exposure as they swayed off stage, leaving behind a delighted audience."

By 1970, Kris Kristofferson was already making waves as a talented country music songwriter, and he later would become quite famous. But his first solo album had only been released two months prior to this concert, and it had sold poorly in Britain. By all accounts, his set was a disaster. The crowd wasn't keen on country music, and apparently he really lost them with the song "Blame It on the Stones." The song was a satire, and he was actually defending the Rolling Stones, but just judging from the chorus, the audience thought he was attacking the Stones. To make matters worse, there was a problem with the sound system at the time, so the audience could barely hear him. 

Things went so badly that he was given another time slot a couple of days later in the festival. That went much better. But chance has it that we have three songs from his first set, and none from his second set. Even though he was practically booed off the stage, you can't really tell from the audio here, other than some of his banter between songs.

I know for a fact that his entire set is publicly available, and with the same excellent sound quality as the three songs here. However, it's very rare. I tracked down one person who commented about having it in a social media post, but that person wasn't willing to share it with me. If any of you have it, please share, so I can add it in. I also found reference to the full Sly and the Family Stone set from later in the festival being publicly available, but very hard to find. I'm lacking the first three songs ("Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)," "M'Lady," and "Sing a Simple Song"). So if anyone has that, or anything else I'm missing in worthy sound quality, please let me know!

Anyway, most of the music here is from Terry Reid's set, which is complete. Around this time, Reid was seen as a very talented lead vocalist who could also write songs and play guitar. He seemed poised for stardom, but it never happened. Most famously, in 1969, Jimmy Page asked him to be the lead singer of his new band, which would later be known as Led Zeppelin. But Reid had to decline, since he was already booked as the opening act for two tours. Reid told Page to consider another singer, Robert Plant, and the rest is history.

By the way, a member of Reid's band in this concert was guitarist David Lindley, who would go on to have a long and successful music career of his own.

Although Reid's set was officially released in 2004, in my opinion his lead vocals were still low in the mix. So I boosted them using the audio editing program UVR5.

There are three more songs after Reid's set. Two of them are by the British band Gracious. I'd never heard of them prior to putting this album together, but they put out two albums, in 1970 and 1972, that are very well regarded by prog rock fans. It's a shame there are only two songs here. But they never released an official live albums, and I couldn't find any bootlegs by them, so this may be the only live versions of their songs publicly available. 

Finally, the last song is by the band Great Awakening. I looked them up, and it seems the only record they ever released was a single with a mostly instrumental version of "Amazing Grace" on the A-side. And that's the song performed here. 

Note that this album is kind of a strange one, with a bunch of different artists often with only a couple of songs. But the vast majority of the Isle of Wight albums to come will feature one set per album, usually full sets. Taken as a whole, if you're a fan of the music from this era, it has to be one of the greatest concert recordings of all time. 

This album is an hour and 37 minutes long.

01 Mr. Bojangles (David Bromberg)
02 Introduction (Gilberto Gil & Caetano Veloso)
03 Shoot Me Dead (Gilberto Gil & Caetano Veloso)
04 talk (Kris Kristofferson)
05 Blame It on the Stones (Kris Kristofferson)
06 The Pilgrim, Chapter 33 (Kris Kristofferson)
07 talk (Kris Kristofferson)
08 Me and Bobby McGee (Kris Kristofferson)
09 talk (Terry Reid)
10 Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace (Terry Reid)
11 Things to Try (Terry Reid)
12 C'mon Mary (Terry Reid)
13 talk (Terry Reid)
14 Silver White Light (Terry Reid)
15 July (Terry Reid)
16 Without Expression (Terry Reid)
17 Dean (Terry Reid)
18 No Good Situation (Terry Reid)
19 talk (Terry Reid)
20 Rich Kid Blues (Terry Reid)
21 To Be Alone with You (Terry Reid)
22 talk (Gracious)
23 Super Nova (Gracious)
24 talk (Gracious)
25 Once on a Windy Day (Gracious)
26 Amazing Grace (Great Awakening)

The cover is a photo of Terry Reid taken at this exact concert.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Robbie Robertson - The Right Mistake - Non-Album Tracks (2011-2019)

I just posted an album of stray tracks by Robbie Robertson, to mark his recent passing (as I write this in August 2023). I prepared two such albums at the same time to make sure their lengths were reasonable, so I might as well post the other one while I'm at it.

The first four songs are all bonus tracks from different versions of his 2001 studio album "How to Be Clairvoyant." "I Shall Be Released" was played with Eric Clapton at the 2013 Crossroads Guitar Festival. The next song, "The Money Chant," is from "The Wolf of Wall Street" movie, but apparently it's never been officially released. "Hiawatha and the Peacemaker" comes from a record that was included with a book. "Happy Holidays" was only released on the Internet. The last song, "Theme from 'The Irishman,'" naturally comes from "The Irishman" movie soundtrack. It continues his long involvement with Martin Scorsese movie soundtracks.

This album is 43 minutes long.

01 He Don't Live Here No More [Demo] (Robbie Robertson)
02 This Is Where I Get Off [Demo] (Robbie Robertson)
03 The Right Mistake [Demo] (Robbie Robertson)
04 In the War Zone (Robbie Robertson)
05 I Shall Be Released (Robbie Robertson with Eric Clapton)
06 The Money Chant (Robbie Robertson with Matthew McConaughey)
07 Hiawatha and the Peacemaker (Robbie Robertson)
08 Happy Holidays (Robbie Robertson)
09 Theme for 'The Irishman' [Instrumental] (Robbie Robertson)

The cover photo looks to me like it was taken in a church, but apparently it's from the Village Studios in Los Angeles, taken in 2011.