Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Broken Links Fixed

I'm happy to announce that all the download links should be working again. Recently, there was a rash of the Imagenetz links that died. That company promises the links never die, but in fact it's obvious that they die after maybe a month of no downloads (or maybe even less). I'm pretty sure that's what's happening, because the ones that die tend to be of less famous artists, and the really famous ones like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones never die. I've just finished replacing over 150 dead Imagenetz links with links. Upload links recently have had some annoying spam issues, but at least they genuinely never die, as far as I can tell.

In case you're curious, I now have about 800 remaining Imagenetz links and 1450 links for a total of 2250 links. I assume the Imagenetz links will continue to die off, but I hope at a slower pace as the rarely downloaded albums get eliminated. Unfortunately, only allows files up to 200 MB (which equals about an hour and a half of mp3s), so I'll continue to use for large albums, at least until something better comes along. To be honest, both of these have their problems, with the recent spam trouble for and the dying links of Imagenetz, so I remain open to better options, if you have any.

Monday, October 23, 2023

The End - Retrospection - Alternate Version (1968)

Last week, I posted the album "Introspection," which was the sole album released by the British band the End while they were still together. Although it was released at the end of 1969, it was recorded in the middle of 1968. It turns out the band recorded many other songs at that same time, enough for a second album. 

Decades later, in 1997, these outtakes were gathered up and released as the album "Retrospection." The band had built up a large backlog of original songs before they finally had the chance to record an album. What impresses me is that not only is "Introspection" an excellent album, but even this collection of outtakes is better than most albums released in this era.

I made some additions and removals compared to the 1997 version of this album. The songs I removed were alternate versions of songs that appeared on the "Introspection" album, that weren't that different, such as versions of "Shades of Orange" and "Loving, Sacred Loving." I did include "Building Up a Dream," which is an early version of "Cardboard Watch," but was different enough to merit a different title. By the way, note that all the songs here were originally done by the End, with the exception of the covers of "Morning Dew" and "Black Is Black."

I added a couple of songs as well. Unfortunately, the End did a bunch of BBC sessions, but the vast majority has been lost. Only two BBC performances have survived, and they happen to probably be the band's best known songs: "Shades of Orange" and "Loving, Sacred Loving." So I've included those at the end. They have been officially released, but on an obscure album ("Shapes and Sounds, Volume 3") that compiles late 1960s BBC performances by lesser known bands.

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 Building Up a Dream [Early Version of Cardboard Watch] (End)
02 Little Annie (End)
03 Morning Dew (End)
04 Tears Will Be the Only Answer (End)
05 Today Tomorrow (End)
06 Lady Under the Lamp (End)
07 Black Is Black (End)
08 Mister Man (End)
09 Call Me [Instrumental] (End)
10 Mirror (End)
11 We've Got It Made (End)
12 Bypass the By-Pass (End)
13 Stones in My Banana (End)
14 Shades of Orange [BBC Version] (End)
15 Under the Rainbow [BBC Version] (End)

The album cover is the official cover, unchanged.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Sheryl Crow - Nothing to It - Non-Album Tracks (2013-2015)

I still continue to move chronologically through Sheryl Crow's music career with stray tracks albums. Here's the next one. I'm getting closer to the current day, and hope to post the remaining ones pretty soon.

Six of the 14 songs have been officially released (tracks 1, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 13). Those generally are from various artists compilations and appearances on other musicians' albums. 

The remainder are all from concert bootlegs. The sound quality is variable, but all good enough to not be bumped down to bonus track status. Most of those are covers of famous songs. Overall, this album also has a bunch of duets.

This album is 47 minutes long.

01 The Tears of a Clown (Sheryl Crow & Smokey Robinson)
02 Don't Bring Me Down (Sheryl Crow)
03 You're No Good (Sheryl Crow)
04 Freight Train (Gary Clark, Jr. & Sheryl Crow)
05 Here for a Good Time (George Strait & Sheryl Crow)
06 Amazing Grace (Sheryl Crow)
07 Baby, It's Cold Outside (Darius Rucker & Sheryl Crow)
08 Revolution (Sheryl Crow)
09 Nothing to It (Sheryl Crow & the Julius Jr. Garage Band)
10 Beautiful Day (Joshua Radin & Sheryl Crow)
11 The Wandering Boy (Sheryl Crow with Vince Gill)
12 Two More Bottles of Wine (Sheryl Crow & Vince Gill)
13 A Hard Day's Night (Sheryl Crow)
14 I Want You to Want Me (Sheryl Crow)

I've posted so many Sheryl Crow albums with photos on her on the cover that I wanted to do something different this time. I searched the Internet for artwork about her, and found this nice image. I don't know who made it though.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Bob Dylan - The Bromberg Sessions (1992-1993)

On this blog, I've been slowly chronologically working my way through Bob Dylan's music career. As I write this in October 2023, I've made it to about the year 1978. But I recently found a few extra songs to this album from the 1990s, so I decided to post this out of chronological order while it was on my mind.

In 1990, Bob Dylan released the studio album "Under the Red Sky," but it was not well received. After that, it seems he lost the inspiration to write songs for most of the 1990s. In 1991, he said, "Maybe a person gets to a point where they've written enough songs. Let someone else write them." He wouldn't rediscover his songwriting muse until 1996. A new batch of songs would result in the critically acclaimed album "Time Out of Mind" in 1997. 

In the meantime, he turned more of his interest to cover songs, especially traditional folk songs. He released an album of such songs in 1992 called "Good as I Been to You," and another one in 1993 called "World Gone Wrong." But just one month before he started recording "Good as I Been to You," in June 1992, he recorded another entirely different batch of mostly folk songs. These are the songs he did at that time:

Rise Again
Nobody's Fault but Mine
The Lady Came from Baltimore
Polly Vaughan
Casey Jones
Duncan and Brady
Catskills Serenade [Kaatskill Serenade]
World of Fools
Miss the Mississippi and You
Sloppy Drunk
Hey Joe
Northeast Texas Women

For this recording session, he was assisted by David Bromberg with the musical backing for all the songs. Two of the songs were even written by Bromberg ("Catskills Serenade" and "World of Fools"). Bromberg is a singer-songwriter who has been releasing his own albums since 1972. But he's possibly even better known as a session musician, because he's adept with most any stringed instrument, including the guitar, fiddle, dobro, mandolin, and pedal steel guitar. Dylan utilized him quite a lot as a session musician on his albums "Self Portrait" and "New Morning" in the early 1970s.

These mostly acoustic sounding June 1992 sessions seemingly went well, and Dylan appeared ready to release them as an album. But Dylan is nothing if not mercurial, and he abruptly changed his mind. In the many years since, only two of the songs from the sessions have been officially released: "Duncan and Brady" and "Miss the Mississippi and You." (They came out on "The Bootleg Series, Volume 8: Tell Tale Signs.") Three others have been bootlegged with excellent sound quality ("Catskill Serenade," "Polly Vaughan," and "Sloppy Drunk"). But the rest remain not only unreleased, but even completely unbootlegged.

However, I've attempted to fill out the rest of the album anyway. Only one more song from the sessions is here, "The Lady Came from Baltimore." I found a bootleg version he did in concert in 1994 with very good sound quality. (He also played "Hey Joe" just once in concert, but the sound quality is poor, so I skipped that one.) Even that only makes for six songs, which are the first six presented here. That's not enough for a full album. But he did a bunch of other cover songs in a similar vein around the same time, 1992 and 1993, so I've used those to fill out the rest of the album. So, to be honest, it's fairly different from what the complete real Bromberg sessions would be, but this is the best we can do for now, and I think it makes for a coherent and excellent album.

"The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore," "Mary and the Soldier," and "32-20 Blues" have all been officially released on "The Bootleg Series, Volume 8: Tell Tale Signs." "The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore" is from a 1992 concert and the other two are outtakes from the "World Gone Wrong" sessions.

Additionally, "You Belong to Me" was a "Good as I Been to You" outtake (the only known such one), but it got released in 1994 for the "Natural Born Killers" soundtrack. Unfortunately, that version had some dialogue from the movie over the end of the song. But I used the UVR5 audio editing program to wipe out that distracting talking. That's why it's the one song with "[Edit]" in the title.

The remaining cover songs ("Little Moses," "Pretty Peggy-O," and "Golden Vanity") are all from bootlegs of concerts in 1992 and 1993. Although they seem to have never been recorded in the studio, they fit in perfectly with the other folky songs he was recording at the time. Luckily, I found very good recordings of all of them. But I also used UVR5 to clean them up, as well as the other two live songs, "The Lady Came from Baltimore" and "The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore." Generally speaking, I was able to wipe out most of the audience noise and cheering from these, so they could better fit in with the other studio tracks.

This album is 54 minutes long. That's rather long as single albums go, but "Good as I Been to You" was 55 minutes long.

Hopefully, someday the complete Bromberg sessions will be released, as well as other unbootlegged outtakes from "World Gone Wrong" (for instance, the songs "Twenty-One Years," "Hello Stranger," and "Goodnight My Love"). But until then, I hope you enjoy this.

01 Duncan and Brady (Bob Dylan)
02 Catskill Serenade [Kaatskill Serenade] (Bob Dylan)
03 The Lady Came from Baltimore (Bob Dylan)
04 Polly Vaughan (Bob Dylan)
05 Sloppy Drunk (Bob Dylan)
06 Miss the Mississippi and You (Bob Dylan)
07 The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore (Bob Dylan)
08 Little Moses (Bob Dylan)
09 32-20 Blues (Bob Dylan)
10 Mary and the Soldier (Bob Dylan)
11 Pretty Peggy-O (Bob Dylan)
12 Golden Vanity (Bob Dylan)
13 You Belong to Me [Edit] (Bob Dylan)

I couldn't find any photos of Dylan and Bromberg together, so I decided to make my own. It was damn near impossible to find any photos of Bromberg at all from the 1990s, since he kept a low profile that decade, not releasing any albums. The best I could find was a black and white photo from 1986. So I used that, and colorized it. I put it next to a photo of Dylan from a 1992 concert at the Concord Pavilion, in Concord, California.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Robyn Hitchcock - Covers Revolver by the Beatles, Three Kings, Clerkenwell, London, Britain, 8-29-2011

From 2003 to 2011, Robyn Hitchcock performed a series of charity concerts that benefited the victims of the Iraq War. There was about one such concert a year, and they almost always involved Hitchcock covering an entire album, and were always held at the small Three Kings pub in London. Back in April 2023, I posted the first one he did, which consisted of covers of "naff" 1970s hits. It's time I post another one, so here you are.

This actually is the last of these concerts. I picked it mainly because I remember the sound quality was especially good for the series. I believe all the recordings are audience bootlegs, and some just sound okay. This one, though, was nearly soundboard quality. The one snag was that the lead vocals were often low in the mix, and the drums were too high in the mix. But that's the kind of thing I can fix with the audio editing program UVR5, so that's what I did for every single song here. I believe it sounds markedly better than before. Now, I think this could easily be mistaken for a true soundboard boot.

Hitchcock is a huge Beatles fan, and he's covered the Beatles albums "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "The White Album," and "Abbey Road" in this concert series. This time, he did the 1966 Beatles album "Revolver." He played the songs in the exact same order as the album, starting from the first song. But that doesn't make for a very long concert, so when he finished with "Revolver," he played an additional bunch of covers. He did the Beatles songs "Rain," "Old Brown Shoe," and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)." 

But oddly, he did even more David Bowie songs: "Soul Love," "Golden Years, "TVC15," and "All the Young Dudes." (That last one was a big hit for Mott the Hoople, but it actually was written by Bowie, and he's done his own version of it.) Hitchcock is also a huge Bowie fan, and he'd done a Bowie themed concert in this series the year before, covering the "Hunky Dory" album. I figure he had many or most of the same musicians backing him in that show and this one, so it would have been easy for them to do the Bowie songs. (He did all four of those Bowie songs in the 2010 concert.)

Speaking of musicians backing him, I think a particularly interesting aspect of these concerts is that he really went out of his way to perform cover versions that were faithful to the originals. If one of the originals had an oboe in it, he'd get someone to play an oboe for that bit, and so on. He even knew the little bits of chatter or other "Easter eggs" the Beatles sometimes had in their songs, and he would reproduce those as well. But at the same time, Hitchcock is known for his stream-of-consciousness style banter between songs, and this concert had plenty of that as well.

Just one song here, "Rain," has "[Edit]" in the title. That's because it was the only song I had that wasn't complete, since it got abruptly cut off before the end. Luckily, the song had a false ending when it briefly came to a stop earlier in the song. So I was able to do some editing to repeat that ending at the end. Then I patched in some applause after that, taken from another song earlier in the concert. 

By the way, I believe this was the last concert in this series mainly because the Three Kings pub was closing down. Hitchcock lamented that a bit in some banter during this concert. Of course, he could have chosen another venue, but it seems he had a special arrangement with the pub to perform these benefit concerts there without any costs whatsoever. Plus, the military involvement of the U.S. and Britain in the Iraq War was winding down around this time, so that may have been a factor as well.

This album is an hour and 29 minutes long.

I'm curious how much people like this sort of thing. I could post other concerts in this series of covered albums, but I hesitate because the sound quality may be rougher for some or all of those. I might be able to improve the sound quality in some cases, but I don't know how much. So I'd only take those on if there's sufficient interest.

01 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
02 Taxman (Robyn Hitchcock)
03 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
04 Eleanor Rigby (Robyn Hitchcock)
05 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
06 I'm Only Sleeping (Robyn Hitchcock)
07 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
08 Love You To (Robyn Hitchcock)
09 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
10 Here, There and Everywhere (Robyn Hitchcock)
11 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
12 Yellow Submarine (Robyn Hitchcock)
13 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
14 She Said, She Said (Robyn Hitchcock)
15 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
16 Good Day Sunshine (Robyn Hitchcock)
17 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
18 And Your Bird Can Sing (Robyn Hitchcock)
19 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
20 For No One (Robyn Hitchcock)
21 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
22 Doctor Robert (Robyn Hitchcock)
23 I Want to Tell You (Robyn Hitchcock)
24 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
25 Got to Get You into My Life (Robyn Hitchcock)
26 Tomorrow Never Knows (Robyn Hitchcock)
27 Soul Love (Robyn Hitchcock)
28 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
29 Golden Years (Robyn Hitchcock)
30 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
31 TVC15 (Robyn Hitchcock)
32 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
33 Rain (Robyn Hitchcock)
34 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
35 Old Brown Shoe (Robyn Hitchcock)
36 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
37 I Want You [She's So Heavy] (Robyn Hitchcock)
38 talk (Robyn Hitchcock)
39 All the Young Dudes (Robyn Hitchcock)

The cover photo is a screenshot taken from a YouTube video of a song, "Eleanor Rigby," from this exact concert.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The End - Introspection - Alternate Version (1968)

Sorry I haven't posted anything for a while. Sometimes I get a bit burned out and need a break. I didn't expect it to go this long. Hopefully I'll get back into the spirit starting with this post.

Have you ever heard of the British band The End? Probably not, I'm guessing. They're best known for their connection to Bill Wyman, bassist for the Rolling Stones. He took them under his wing in the late 1960s, co-writing two of their better known songs, and he producing the one album that got released while the band was still together, which is this one. I'm posting it even though it's an officially released album because I've made some changes to make it better and because I think it's a really excellent album that needs more exposure.

Unfortunately, the band's connection to Wyman ended up being more of a curse than a blessing, as I will explain shortly. They languished in obscurity when they had the talent and songs to be much more. Wyman felt the same way. Here's a quote from him decades after the band broke up:

"I think they could have achieved a lot more, especially as the songwriting was so strong. That's usually the failing of most bands. They've got good players, good singers, but they don't have good material. The End had the material, they could sing pretty good, and they could play pretty good. We just had no organization to send it further."

I agree wholeheartedly. There's a big market in finding "lost classics" from the late 1960s, because there truly are some great obscure gems from that time period. This is definitely one of them, in my book.

Here's the band's Wikipedia entry:

The End (UK band) - Wikipedia

But it says very little, at least as I write this in 2023, a sign of how obscure the band still is. So let me give you a better summary of the band's history. They started in the early 1960s like most British bands of the time, heavily influenced by American blues and soul music, then also the Beatles. (At the time, they went by the name the Innocents.) They got to be friends with Wyman after going on tour with the Rolling Stones in 1964, and he was impressed with their talent. But they were only doing covers at the time, and didn't have any commercial success.

However, around 1965, they began writing their own songs, and they slowly developed a real talent for that. They toured a lot in Spain, and became minor stars there for a while. In 1967, they had a Top Five hit in Spain with their original song "Why" (which is included here). Their music changed with the times from soul to psychedelic influenced rock, and they had a knack for that. 

They hooked up again with Wyman, who was impressed with their original material. Wyman was writing songs at the time, but he wasn't having much success getting them on Rolling Stones albums. (However, "In Another Land," a good song, made it onto "Their Satanic Majesty's Request" in 1968.) Wyman didn't have a great singing voice, so he came up with the idea of having the End perform two songs he'd co-written, "Loving, Sacred Loving" and "Shades of Orange." These two songs were released as a single, with "Shades of Orange" as the A-side. They were good songs, and got good reviews at the time, but the single didn't make the charts.

And that brings us to the main problem the band had: their record company. Wyman helped them get signed to Decca, which was also the record company for the Rolling Stones. And Wyman and the End didn't realize it at the time, but Decca didn't want any of the members of the Stones to get distracted with side projects like helping the End. So they slow-walked releasing their material, and then gave them no promotion. The "Shades of Orange" single was actually recorded in 1967 but held back months before being released in March 1968. But worse was their debut album, "Introspection." It was recorded in the middle of 1968, but not released until December 1969! A year and a half in that era was a deadly delay. The psychedelic sound of the album was already getting a bit long in the tooth by mid-1968, but it was way out of fashion by the end of 1969. So, not surprisingly, the album made no impact, especially since the record company did absolutely nothing to help it.

Wyman later said of the album: "I funded it myself. I wasn't a businessman; I was the bloody bass player. Charlie [Watts of the Stones] had the same problem [producing an album by the band the People Band] and so did Brian [Jones of the Stones]. If it wasn't Mick [Jagger] or Keith [Richards], the record company didn't want to know. By sitting on it, they didn't give us a chance to do anything else with it. They never said, 'We hate it, we're never going to release it.' It was always, 'We're working on it, give us a couple of weeks.' It was always a couple of weeks."

It's pretty bizarre in retrospect to realize that Decca had a very excellent band under contract, yet they basically did everything they could to sabotage their career. But that's exactly what happened. 

(It seems the main person behind this was Allen Klein, a manager in Decca Records at the time. He was such an evil and ruthless guy that both the Rolling Stones and the Beatles would grow to hate him due to their business dealings with him. In the movie "All You Need Is Cash," a parody of the Beatles' career featuring the Rutles, Klein was played by John Belushi, and the joke in the movie was that he was so feared that people would kill themselves rather than be in the same room as him.)

Not surprisingly, the band grew frustrated by the exceedingly long delay of the album's release. By the time it came out, a couple of band members left, and their sound changed to more of a hard rock style that was in keeping with music trends. They recorded a second album, but they couldn't get that released at all. Finally, in 1970, they changed their name to Tucky Buzzard. They had some success, releasing five albums from 1971 to 1973. However, in my opinion, most of their magic was gone by then, due to key songwriting band members leaving.

Luckily, the End managed to record more than just this one album before they broke up. There actually have been three albums of outtakes released decades later, including that unreleased second album. I'll be posting more of that stuff later. One of the albums is called "From Beginning to End." In my opinion, it's not that memorable. It consists of early material, generally from the time the band was still called the Innocents. Unfortunately, most of it is from before the band found their own style and hit their stride with songwriting. But there are a few good songs on it, so I've put those at the start of this album. "You Better Believe It Baby" is a soul cover, but done here in more of a rock style. That's from 1966. "Why" and "Yo-Yo" are originals from 1967, with "Why" being that hit they had in Spain. "We've Got It Made" is a B-side that was released in 1968.

The rest of this consists of the "Introspection" album. I consider that a 1968 album, even though it wasn't released until the end of 1969. I actually removed a few "songs" here, and I think made the album stronger by doing so. They're not really songs. What happened was that Wyman had a gardener named George Kenset. Wyman thought he was an interesting person to talk to, so he had him come into a recording studio and then took about an hour to record his life story. Snippets of that were made into tracks between songs. I've cut all those out. It was one of those wacky ideas typical of the times, but it had nothing to do with the band the End, and it only detracted from the flow of the rest of the album. With the four songs at the beginning of the album instead, I think this makes for an even stronger album.

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 You Better Believe It Baby (End)
02 Why (End)
03 Yo-Yo (End)
04 We've Got It Made (End)
05 Dreamworld (End)
06 Under the Rainbow (End)
07 Shades of Orange (End)
08 Cardboard Watch (End)
09 Introspection [Part 1] (End)
10 What Does It Feel Like (End)
11 Don't Take Me (End)
12 Loving, Sacred Loving (End)
13 She Said Yeah (End)
14 Introspection [Part 2] (End)

The cover is the official cover of the "Introspection" album without any changes.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Bonnie Raitt - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: In Concert, Carling Apollo Hammersmith, London, Britain, 6-21-2003

It's been a long while since I posted Volume 2, but I'm back with another album of Bonnie Raitt playing for the BBC. Like both Volumes 1 and 2, this is a single concert (though it probably was edited down by the BBC to fit an hour-long time slot).

This remains officially unreleased, but the sound quality is truly excellent, even by BBC standards. It sounds as good as an official live album. There were virtually no problems. The only editing I had to do was that there was virtually no applause after the last song, due to a rapid cut to some BBC DJ talking over the cheering. So I patched in some cheering from the ends of other songs to make that one have a normal amount of applause as well.

Otherwise, there's not much to say. Raitt performed with a full band, as she almost always did during this phase of her career. There were no unexpected song choices. It's the best from her most recent album, plus greatest hits from earlier in her career.

This album is 57 minutes long.

01 Love Letter (Bonnie Raitt)
02 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
03 Fool's Game (Bonnie Raitt)
04 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
05 Silver Lining (Bonnie Raitt)
06 Hear Me Lord (Bonnie Raitt)
07 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
08 Nick of Time (Bonnie Raitt)
09 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
10 Love Me like a Man (Bonnie Raitt)
11 Never Make Your Move Too Soon (Bonnie Raitt)
12 Something to Talk About (Bonnie Raitt)
13 talk (Bonnie Raitt)
14 I Can't Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt)
15 Angel from Montgomery (Bonnie Raitt)
16 Fundamental - Good Woman, Good Man (Bonnie Raitt)

The cover photo comes from the Martin Scorsese Presents Salute to the Blues Concert, held on February 7, 2003, at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Electric Light Orchestra - The Night the Light Went On in Long Beach (Long Beach Auditorium, Long Beach, CA, 5-12-1974)

Normally, I would not post this album, because it has been officially released. However, I'm posting this because the official version sounds rather bad and musical associate Lil Panda carefully edited every song to make the album sound better.

This album comes from early in the career of Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), before they had most of their hits. But it may be more interesting because of that. Later on, the band would have more of a well-produced, orchestral sound, which limited how spontaneous they could be on stage. At this stage, they were more like a conventional rock band, including doing covers they never did on any studio albums: "Day Tripper" by the Beatles, "Orange Blossom Special" by Johnny Cash, and "Great Balls of Fire" made famous by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Most of what I learned about this album comes from the very informative Wikipedia page about it:

The Night the Light Went On in Long Beach - Wikipedia 

In short, it was meant to be the follow up to the band's third studio album, "On the Third Day," released in 1973. But it suffered from various sound quality issues, both on and off stage. The band's equipment truck broke down on the way to the gig, so the band wasn't able to perform a soundcheck. As a result, the band wasn't mixed well in real life. Worse, when it came time to make the album, the wrong version was used, one labeled "Rough Mix, Do Not Use." Between these problems, the sound quality was so muddy that the album was initially only officially released in Germany. It only got released in Britain in the 1980s and in the US even later.

Then the album got rereleased in the 1990s, finally based on the correct tapes. This version sounded better. However, even this version still had issues. So Lil Panda worked from the rerelease version and used the recent computer technology that allows one to isolate the different instruments so he could do his own mix. That's the version you have here. I'm posting it because I could hear the improvement with this new version. So kudos to Lil Panda for working on this and sharing it.

This album is 40 minutes long.

01 Daybreaker [Instrumental] (Electric Light Orchestra)
02 Showdown (Electric Light Orchestra)
03 Day Tripper (Electric Light Orchestra)
04 10538 Overture [Instrumental] (Electric Light Orchestra)
05 talk (Electric Light Orchestra)
06 Orange Blossom Special [Instrumental Version] (Electric Light Orchestra)
07 In the Hall of the Mountain King [Instrumental] (Electric Light Orchestra)
08 Great Balls of Fire (Electric Light Orchestra)
09 Roll Over Beethoven (Electric Light Orchestra)

The cover is the original cover from the official album. In the 1990s, the album was rereleased with a totally different cover, so this cover is rather rare.

Big Country - Old Grey Whistle Test, BBC, The Hexagon, Reading, Britain, 4-14-1986

I still have mountains of BBC material to post, so here's a bit more. The British band Big Country have done several concerts for the BBC. I'm not a really big fan of the band, but I do really like a few of their hits, such as "Wonderland," "Fields of Fire," "Look Away," and "In a Big Country," so I figure they deserve at least one concert here. I picked this one because I thought it's from a good time period, and has worthy sound quality. They were the most popular in the first half of the 1980s, and this contains all of their most famous songs from that time.

This concert remains officially unreleased. It's from the BBC TV show "The Old Grey Whistle Test." They devoted a full hour to showing this concert. Unfortunately, the show ended about a minute before the last song, "Fields of Fire," finished. You can find the full video on YouTube and see where it fades out. However, it turns out there's a complete version of the concert that has only been released on DVD. A commenter named Santaci kindly pointed this out to me and then converted the audio and sent it to me. I then was able to add in the missing portion of the song. That's why that one song has "[Edit]" in the title.

In terms of sound quality, I thought the vocals were a bit low in the mix, so I used the audio editing program UVR5 to boost the vocals relative to the instruments. Otherwise, everything sounded fine.

This album is 57 minutes long.

01 talk (Big Country)
02 Wonderland (Big Country)
03 Where the Rose Is Sown (Big Country)
04 talk (Big Country)
05 Remembrance Day (Big Country)
06 I Walk the Hill (Big Country)
07 talk (Big Country)
08 Look Away (Big Country)
09 Chance (Big Country)
10 The Teacher (Big Country)
11 talk (Big Country)
12 In a Big Country (Big Country)
13 Inwards (Big Country)
14 Harvest Home (Big Country)
15 Fields of Fire [Edit] (Big Country)

The cover photo of the band is from the yearly Knebworth Festival in Britain, on June 9, 1986.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Badfinger - Ungano's Club, New York City, 11-25-1970

When I first posted this album of a bootleg Badfinger concert, I called it "Somewhere in New York, 1971," because that was the best guess information I had on where and when it took place. However, a couple of commenters suggested that it's more likely to have taken place at the Ungano's Club in New York City in November 1970. It so happens I already had posted a Badfinger bootleg concert that took place at Ungano's on November 24, 1970. But my new best guess is that this one took place at Ungano's a day later, on November 25, 1970. I'll explain why shortly. But even though the two concerts have extremely similar set lists, both are worthy of hearing, in my opinion, due to the extreme rarity of live recordings from this band with this level of excellent sound quality. In fact, I'd say this one sounds slightly better than the November 24th one I've already posted.

This bootleg has been in the public domain for a while, but it was little noticed because the sound quality was poor. However, Lil Panda found a much better source. This has to be at least tied for the best sounding live Badfinger recording, in my opinion. In fact, it's such a clean soundboard that there's almost no audience noise to be heard, except after a couple of songs. In fact, with some of the songs ending with no applause whatsoever, I suspect that some of the recordings were stopped as soon as the song ended. However, a good amount of banter between songs is here. So the lack of any crowd reaction for many songs is kind of a mystery to me. Another possibility is that they played at a small venue with an indifferent crowd. But I find it hard to believe that there would be total silence after the last song they played. Anyway, weird though it is, it helps make the recording that much more pristine, almost like this was a practice concert done in a studio.

Now, let me get back to the mystery about when and where this was recorded. Apparently, the recording was poorly labeled, with the only info that it took place somewhere in the state of New York at some point in 1971. It turns out the band only played four concerts in New York in 1971, and all of them were in the month of May. So I originally went with that information. But after getting comments suggesting otherwise, I dug a little deeper. I couldn't find any definitive proof of anything. However, I took a close look at the band's set lists from 1970 and 1971. Set lists varied, but by 1971, the set lists included some new songs, so this is much more likely to be from late 1970.

Is it from the Ungano's Club, and if so, when, exactly? That's harder to say. What is known is that Badfinger played Ungano's three nights in a row, on November 24th, 25th, and 26th, and probably did two shows each night. This was a very pivotal series of shows for them, because it took place in New York City, and many members of the press sent reporters to review them. It was such a big deal that on one of the nights, even former Beatle George Harrison unexpectedly showed up. He introduced the band at the start of their set, then stayed for the whole concert. Afterwards, he met the band backstage and presented them with a bootleg recording of the concert that he'd just made with a tape player he'd brought with him.

Now, some commenters suggested that this in fact was the exact same concert recording at the November 24th one. That's not the case. While the set list was exactly the same until near the end of the set, I've compared the two, and the songs are different, and the banter is different. As an example, in the other recording, "Feelin' Alright" lasted eight minutes, and in this one, it lasted 12 minutes. I also don't think either of these recordings are the one made by Harrison. For one thing, both of them sound too good to be audience boots. For another, he only taped one show, and we have two probable soundboard recordings. My best guess is that because the Ungano shows were so important for the band, with media attending, someone had the good idea to make soundboard recordings of them.

But hey, it's quite possible I'm wrong. I hope time will tell. Also, some people have labeled this as being from November 25th, so I'm going with that. (Most likely, it was the late show.) But it's possible it's from the 24th or the 26th. It also would make sense if both were from the same night, since obviously the recording equipment was working for at least one set. But a further wrinkle is that my post of the November 24th concert includes one song, "Johnny B. Goode," that is said to be from November 25th, and is also a soundboard recording. So it's probable at least two nights were recorded with that level of quality, if that song is indeed from the 25th. (I considered moving that song here, but I ultimately decided not to change that other album, since all these dates are only best guesses anyway.)

On a different note, the last two songs are not from this concert. They come from an appearance on the German TV show "Beat Club" in February 1970. I've included these because I didn't have a better spot for the Beat Club songs (I didn't want to put them on my BBC albums because they're very similar versions to songs on those). Plus, these two songs were not played in the main New York concert here. It was especially glaring to me that they didn't play "Come and Get It" in the concert, since that was a Number One hit for them. But apparently they didn't play it in concert much during this time period because is was written by Paul McCartney and they didn't want to be known as a "one-hit wonder" of someone else's song.

This album is 42 minutes long. The New York concert without the last two songs is 37 minutes long. 

UPDATE: On November 12, 2023, I changed the title of this album, but not the music. As mentioned above, I realized this most likely took place at the Ungano's Club in 1970. So I had to change the title, the cover art, and all the mp3 tags to reflect that.

01 My Dark Hour (Badfinger)
02 Midnight Sun (Badfinger)
03 talk (Badfinger)
04 Better Days (Badfinger)
05 talk (Badfinger)
06 Blodwyn (Badfinger)
07 talk (Badfinger)
08 We're for the Dark (Badfinger)
09 talk (Badfinger)
10 Feelin' Alright (Badfinger)
11 I Can't Take It (Badfinger)
12 No Matter What (Badfinger)
13 Rock of All Ages (Badfinger)
14 Come and Get It (Badfinger)

The cover photo comes from a screenshot I took of an appearance on the British TV show "Top of the Pops" in 1971. (Unfortunately, it was a lip-synced performance or I would have wanted to do something with the audio.)

Live Aid - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain, 7-13-1985, Part 5: The Who, Elton John with Kiki Dee and George Michael, Freddie Mercury & Brian May, and Paul McCartney

This is the last of five albums of the London portion of Live Aid. With this, I'm finishing my Live Aid posts. It's true there were smaller Live Aid related concerts in some other countries on that same day, but the vast majority of the musical acts were only well known to the people from those countries.

First up for this part of the concert was the Who. The band broke up in 1982, and made it official in 1983, so this was a reunion. (They would reunite for good in 1989.) Apparently, there was a red light in front of the stage to indicate when the musical act was going over their allotted time. Lead guitarist Pete Townshend broke the light while jumping around. I don't know if that was accidental or not, but the band ended up going five minutes over their time slot.

Townshend wrote a song specifically for Live Aid called "After the Fire." The Who was supposed to perform it in this concert. However, they didn't commit to joining the concert until the last minute, so they didn't have enough time to practice it. Townshend gave it to the band's lead singer, Roger Daltrey, who had a minor hit with it later in the year.

The Who were also beset with some serious technical difficulties. Part way through their first song, "My Generation," a blown fuse caused their stage TV feed to cut out. Ironically, this happened during the line "Why don't you all fade away," right on the word "away." As a result, they couldn't be seen for the rest of the song, and most of the next song, "Pinball Wizard." Some of the vocals could still be heard for these two songs, though they were very low in the mix. I used the audio editing program UVR5 to boost the vocals relative to the instruments. They sound decent now, but the sound quality is still not as good as the other songs on this album. That's why those two songs have "[Edit]" in their titles.

Elton John was next. At 32 minutes, it ended up being the longest set in either Live Aid concert. This was actually too long. Maybe because of the broken warning light, he went over his assigned time slot. George Michael was still part of Wham! at the time (he would go solo a year after this). The plan was to have Wham! play a set after John finished, but this was cancelled due to all the delays, not just from John, but other delays accumulated earlier in the concert. But John somewhat compensated for this by having George Michael join him in a duet of the song "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." This was the first time they performed the song as a duet. In 1991, they would release a studio version of the duet and it would hit Number One in both the U.S. and Britain.

John also did a duet with Kiki Dee on "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," since those two performed it together when it hit Number One in 1976.

After that, two members of Queen, lead singer Freddie Mercury and lead guitarist Brian May, returned to the stage to play an encore of sorts. They wrote the song "Is This the World We Created?" together in 1984 in direct response to news reports about the famine in Africa. So that's presumably why it was performed towards the very end of the concert instead of part of Queen's set earlier.

Note that this song has "[Edit]" in the title. That's because some strange noise got onto the recording. For a section towards the end of the song, one could clearly hear some thumping as well as the sound of a person talking. I used the UVR5 program to break the song into different tracks and then wipe out most of the talking and thumping. Only a little bit remains, from where some of the talking was simultaneous with some of the singing.

The last proper act was Paul McCartney. According to the Wikipedia article about Live Aid, the concert organizers considered it a high priority to get at least one surviving member of the Beatles, especially McCartney, to help give the concert credibility with the politicians they were hoping to influence. Apparently, former Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison also seriously considered taking part in the concert. However, they declined doing their own sets for fear that they would be dragged into performing with McCartney and turning it into a quasi-Beatles reunion. (A full reunion obviously could never have occurred, since John Lennon died in 1980.)

Given the fame of McCartney, and especially the importance the organizers put on having him involved, it's surprising that he only played one song, "Let It Be." My guess is that the TV coverage was due to end at a certain time, and the concert was still running late, so he had to cut his set short. That was bad enough, but his microphone also failed for the first two minutes of the song, making his vocals for that section almost totally inaudible. He wasn't aware of this problem. However, off stage, Bob Geldof, Pete Townshend, Alison Moyet, and David Bowie noticed the problem and rushed onto the stage to help sing backing vocals. They did so, although right at that time his microphone finally started working again.

Live Aid was supposed to be a truly live event, with no album or film of it released later. However, McCartney must have had a good feeling something would eventually be released anyway, because he rerecorded his missing vocals the next day so they could be used for any future versions. That turned out to be a very good idea, since a DVD of some Live Aid performances were released in 2004. And it's lucky for me, because I was able to use those rerecorded vocals. So there's no problem with his performance here.

After McCartney came the usual finale, where all the stars returned to the stage to sing "Do They Know It's Christmas?," the song that started the music industry's response to the Ethiopia famine. Near the end of the song, concert organizer Bob Geldof was raised up onto the shoulders of McCartney and Townshend to celebrate all he accomplished in putting the concert together.

So ends Live Aid. Phew! It was a lot of work putting this whole thing together. I think I'll go back to posting normal albums for a little while before tackling another one of these big rock festivals.

This album is an hour and three minutes long.

088 talk (Tommy Vance)
089 My Generation [Edit] (Who)
090 Pinball Wizard [Edit] (Who)
091 talk (Who)
092 Love Reign O'er Me (Who)
093 talk (Who)
094 Won't Get Fooled Again (Who)
095 talk (Billy Connolly)
096 I'm Still Standing (Elton John)
097 Bennie and the Jets (Elton John)
098 Rocket Man (Elton John)
099 talk (Elton John)
100 Don't Go Breaking My Heart (Elton John & Kiki Dee)
101 talk (Elton John & George Michael)
102 Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Elton John & George Michael)
103 Can I Get a Witness (Elton John)
104 talk (John Hurt)
105 Is This the World We Created [Edit] (Freddie Mercury & Brian May)
106 Let It Be (Paul McCartney)
107 Do They Know It's Christmas (Band Aid)

There were three main acts in this portion of the concert, so I included photos of those three: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend (jumping) of the Who are in the top left, Elton John is in the top right, and Paul McCartney is in the bottom left. That left one more spot. I considered a photo of Freddie Mercury and Brian May, since they performed a song too. However, I saw a photo from the finale of "Do They Know It's Christmas" that showed Bono, Paul McCartney, and Freddie Mercury all singing into the same microphone. I thought that was so cool that I had to include it.

Live Aid - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain, 7-13-1985, Part 4: Dire Straits, Queen, and David Bowie

This is the fourth of five albums of the London portion of the 1985 Live Aid concert.

Generally, I had at least four musical acts for each part. But this time, it's only three. That's because they are three very big acts at the time, so they were given longer time spots.

First up was Dire Straits. They only played two songs, but together those totaled nearly twenty minutes. For "Money for Nothing," the band was joined by Sting on backing vocals, just as it was on the original studio recording.

Queen was up next. Many say that this was the best set of all the Live Aid acts. Amazingly, in 2004, a poll of music industry insiders called the "World's Greatest Gigs" voted this as the best concert of all time! I think that's a bit much. It was only 21 minutes long, so it's hard to compare with great full-length concerts. Much of what was great about it was the visual performance of lead singer Freddie Mercury, which obviously can't be captured in an audio recording. But it was so impressive that Queen's albums jumped back up the charts after Live Aid, just like U2's did. And the 2018 movie about Queen, "Bohemian Rhapsody," made their Live Aid performance the emotional peak of the film, and recreated it with great attention to detail.

It must have been tough to follow an act like that, but David Bowie did a commendable job. He would have a rough late 1980s, but in 1985, he was still riding high from his smash 1983 album "Let's Dance." Rolling Stone Magazine later noted that his performance was "arguably Bowie's last triumph of the 1980s," and that "as approximately two billion people sang along to 'Heroes' ... he still seemed like one of the biggest and most vital rock stars in the world."

This album is an hour long.

070 talk (Tommy Vance)
071 Money for Nothing (Dire Straits with Sting)
072 talk (Dire Straits)
073 Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits)
074 talk (Griff Rhys Jones & Mel Smith)
075 Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
076 Radio Gaga (Queen)
077 Audience Participation (Queen)
078 Hammer to Fall (Queen)
079 talk (Queen)
080 Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen)
081 We Will Rock You (Queen)
082 We Are the Champions (Queen)
083 talk (Andy Peebles)
084 TVC-15 (David Bowie)
085 Rebel Rebel (David Bowie)
086 Modern Love (David Bowie)
087 Heroes (David Bowie)

As usual for this series, I split the cover into four parts so I could include photos from more of the acts. This is pretty much the only album in the series where there were only three acts: Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits in the top left, Freddie Mercury and Brian May of Queen in the top right, and David Bowie in the bottom left. That left me one more spot to fill. So I chose a crowd scene, since I had one of those for the Philadelphia concert but none for the London one.

Live Aid - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain, 7-13-1985, Part 3: Howard Jones, Bryan Ferry, Paul Young with Alison Moyet, and U2

This is the third out of five parts of the London portion of Live Aid. I've previously posted all of the Philadelphia portion.

The first act in this set is Howard Jones. Unfortunately for him, he was only allowed one song. The song he chose, "Hide and Seek," was a hit in Britain, but he had five bigger hits at the time that he didn't get to perform.

Bryan Ferry was next. He'd alternated between being lead singer for the band Roxy Music and doing his own projects since the early 1970s. But Roxy Music broke up in 1983. Ferry's solo album "Boys and Girls" hit Number One in the British charts the month before this concert. Note that the lead guitarist in his band for his entire set was David Gilmour, formerly of Pink Floyd. Pink Floyd also broke up in 1983, and the band members were too upset with each other to reunite for Live Aid. So presumably this was how Gilmour found a way to take part. Pink Floyd lead singer Roger Waters attended the concert back stage, but wasn't considered popular enough as a solo act to get a performance slot.

Singer Paul Young was next. Like some other acts, such as Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw, his popularity seemed to peak right around the time of Live Aid. He'd had two massive albums in Britain in 1983 and 1985, but his popularity would go into decline after that. Apparently, Alison Moyet wasn't famous enough to get her own time slot, but she did perform a duet with Young.

The final act in this part of the concert was U2. Their set was widely considered one of the highlights of Live Aid, along with Queen's set. Proof of this could be seen in the fact that all of their albums available at the time went back into the charts following the concert. They only played two songs. That's because they were given a fifteen minute time slot, and their second song, "Bad," went on for 13 minutes. They were supposed to finish with the song "Pride (In the Name of Love)," but they got the hook before they could play it. 

However, they made the most of their time, especially with the song "Bad." Although it was just one song, it contained snippets of the classic songs "Satellite of Love," "Ruby Tuesday," "Sympathy for the Devil," and "Walk on the Wild Side." In addition, during the song, apparently lead singer Bono saw a girl in the crowd who was getting crushed by the people around her. He tried to motion for the security staff to help her, but nobody did. So he left the stage, grabbed the girl, and pulled her to the stage. He then danced with her a little while. She later credited him with saving her life. That may be an exaggeration, but it was a dramatic gesture just the same, and made a big impression on the audience.

This album is an hour and two minutes long.

051 talk (Andy Peebles)
052 talk (Howard Jones)
053 Hide and Seek (Howard Jones)
054 talk (Andy Peebles)
055 Sensation (Bryan Ferry)
056 Boys and Girls (Bryan Ferry)
057 Slave to Love (Bryan Ferry)
058 Jealous Guy (Bryan Ferry)
059 talk (Andy Peebles)
060 talk (Paul Young)
061 Do They Know It's Christmas (Paul Young)
062 Come Back and Stay (Paul Young)
063 talk (Paul Young)
064 That's the Way Love Is (Paul Young & Alison Moyet)
065 talk (Paul Young)
066 Everytime You Go Away (Paul Young)
067 talk (Tommy Vance)
068 Sunday Bloody Sunday (U2)
069 Bad (U2)

As usual with this series, I divided the cover into four sections so I could feature four of the musical acts. That's Howard Jones on the top left, Bryan Ferry on the top right, Alison Moyet and Paul Young on the bottom left, and Bono of U2 on the bottom right.

Live Aid - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain, 7-13-1985, Part 2: Spandau Ballet, Elvis Costello, Nik Kershaw, Sade, Sting, and Phil Collins

This is the second part of the London portion of Live Aid. The British concert was shorter than the American one, only about five and half hours of actual music compared to about eight hours in the U.S. So I've made only five albums for the British portion compared to seven albums for the American one.

Spandau Ballet was the first act for this part of the concert. They were always much bigger in Britain than the U.S. For instance, at this point in their career, they'd had fourteen Top Forty hits in Britain compared to only two Top Twenty hits in the U.S.

Next up was Elvis Costello. I must say I'm disappointed that he was only allowed to play one song. Consider for instance that he had eleven Top Forty hits in Britain at this point in his career, compared to the fourteen Spandau Ballet had. But Spandau Ballet got to play four songs and he only got one. It seems a lot of this was just how much organizer Bob Geldof and his friends liked you. Anyway, Costello surprised by not playing any of his hits. Instead, he did a cover of "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles, which he introduced as an "old Northern English folk song."

Nik Kershaw was next. He isn't that well known today, but he was hot in 1985. At the time, he'd put out two albums and had seven Top Forty hits in Britain. But after Live Aid, he would only get only one more Top Forty hit, later in 1985. (Again, it seems odd he was able to play four songs, and Costello with more British hits, only played one.)

The band Sade was up next. Lead singer Sade Adu was born in Nigeria, making her the only Live Aid star actually from Africa. However, the rest of her band was British, and she'd lived in Britain since she was a toddler. Sade was especially big in Britain at the time. They had only released two albums at the time, but both of them went multi-platinum in Britain. Surprisingly, she didn't perform her biggest hit and signature song, "Smooth Operator."

As with the Philadelphia concert, the fame of the musical acts grew bigger as the concert went on. But there may have been an exception in this part, due to Phil Collins flying on a plane across the Atlantic Ocean to perform in Philadelphia later in the day. He was so famous at the time he probably would have been one of the last acts. 

This part of the concert ended with Sting and Phil Collins. Both of them were big stars at the time, and they were introduced together. But in fact Sting performed two songs by himself, then Collins performed two songs by himself. Only then did they perform two songs together. Apparently, this collaboration was spurred by the fact that Sting sang on the song "Long Long Way to Go" on Collins' most recent studio album. It was particularly fitting to the purpose of the concert, so they performed it together.

024 talk (Andy Peebles)
025 Only When You Leave (Spandau Ballet)
026 talk (Spandau Ballet)
027 Virgin (Spandau Ballet)
028 talk (Spandau Ballet)
029 True (Spandau Ballet)
030 talk (Andy Peebles)
031 All You Need Is Love (Elvis Costello)
032 talk (Tommy Vance)
033 Wide Boy (Nik Kershaw)
034 Don Quixote (Nik Kershaw)
035 The Riddle (Nik Kershaw)
036 Wouldn't It Be Good (Nik Kershaw)
037 Why Can't We Live Together (Sade)
038 Your Love Is King (Sade)
039 Is It a Crime (Sade)
040 talk (Noel Edmonds)
041 talk (Sting)
042 Roxanne (Sting)
043 Driven to Tears (Sting)
044 talk (Phil Collins)
045 Against All Odds (Phil Collins)
046 Message in a Bottle (Sting)
047 In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins)
048 talk (Phil Collins)
049 Long Long Way to Go (Phil Collins & Sting)
050 Every Breath You Take (Phil Collins & Sting)

Like the other albums in this series, I split the cover into four so I could have pictures from the concert of more of the musical acts. That's members of Spandau Ballet on the top left, Nik Kershaw on the top right, Sade Adu, lead singer of Sade, on the bottom left, and Phil Collins and Sting together on the bottom right. There were five albums in this part, so I had to leave one out. I excluded Elvis Costello, since he only performed one song.