Thursday, November 30, 2023

Kirsty MacColl - Real (1983)

I already posted a version of this Kirsty MacColl album back in 2018. But in the next few days, I plan on deleting that version in favor of this one. The reason is, this is a true "lost album" that has finally emerged in full.

In 1983, Kirsty MacColl's music career wasn't going so well. She'd had a minor hit in Berlin in 1981 with the song "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis." That led to a 1981 album, "Desperate Character." But four following singles failed to set the charts on fire. So the release of this album in 1983 was cancelled at the last minute.

Some of the songs came out of the time, especially "Berlin," which was one of those failed singles, in 1983. "Rhythm of the Real Thing" was the B-side. Two more songs, "Annie" and "Roman Gardens," came out on a 1985 compilation. Then, much later, in 2005, two more songs, "Sticked and Stoned" and "Camel Crossing," came out on another compilation. 

So that still left five songs unreleased. Back in 2018, I tried my best to make a version of this album by using some other stray songs she did from around the same time. It wasn't "Real," but at least it was in the ballpark. 

Then, last month as I write this in November 2023, the box set "See That Girl" came out. That included the missing five songs. So the full album can now be properly heard, in the intended song order. 

Actually, "See That Girl" included one more song they said was part of the "Real" album, the extended version of "Berlin." I didn't include that though, because I don't believe that would have been included. This album is already fifty minutes long without it. That would add another six minutes to the album, which is way longer than any album could be made in those days, back before CDs were even a thing. Furthermore, it would have been musically pointless, since the extended version of "Berlin" is just a longer version of "Berlin," which was already on the album.

Anyway, is "Real" some kind of lost masterpiece? No. I would consider it one of her weakest albums. Some of the songs are just okay, and at times it suffers from 1980s production techniques that haven't dated well. But in my opinion MacColl set a high standard. Virtually every song she did was good, so even a "just okay" song from her is pretty good by the standards of the era.

The new version of this album, and other goodies from the box set, means I need to update some of my other MacColl albums. So look for more changes in the next few days.

As mentioned, this album is 50 minutes long.

01 Bad Dreams (Kirsty MacColl)
02 Time (Kirsty MacColl)
03 Sticked and Stoned (Kirsty MacColl)
04 Annie (Kirsty MacColl)
05 Camel Crossing (Kirsty MacColl)
06 Berlin (Kirsty MacColl)
07 Man with No Name (Kirsty MacColl)
08 Lullaby for Ezra (Kirsty MacColl)
09 Up the Grey Stairs (Kirsty MacColl)
10 Roman Gardens (Kirsty MacColl)
11 Rhythm of the Real Thing (Kirsty MacColl)

The cover here is the cover of the album as presented in the 2023 box set "See That Girl." However, I don't know if this is the actual intended cover from 1983 or if it was something created for the box set. Either way, it's more official than anything I could come up with.

R.E.M. - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: Rock City, Nottingham, Britain, 11-21-1984

I would like to post what R.E.M. did for the BBC. I still haven't fully tackled that because it's tricky. Although a lot of it has been officially released, there's some that hasn't. However, I do have Volume 1 ready to go, and I figure I should post it sooner rather than later because it's a significant improvement over what's on the official version.

This concert has been included in the official release "R.E.M. at the BBC." However, they only included part of the concert. Probably that's because only that portion was actually broadcast on the BBC at the time. But in this case, there are bootleg versions of the full concert with soundboard quality. So I've used the official version where possible and the unreleased version for the rest, although in fact the two versions have the same sound quality, in my opinion. In case you're curious, these are the unreleased tracks: 1, 2, 12, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 31.

There was another big problem. On both versions, the vocals of lead vocalist Michael Stipe were way down in the mix. It's well known that in the early years of R.E.M., for whatever reason, Stipe didn't like for his lyrics to be easily understood. I figure he deliberately had his voice turned down as part of his effort to obscure what he was singing. So for all the songs, I boosted the vocals dramatically. It's still hard to make out the lyrics due to his mumbling and slurring, but at least it's not as bad as before.

Most of the songs are originals, but there are a few interesting covers, such as "After Hours" by the Velvet Underground, "20th Century Boy" by T. Rex, "See No Evil" by Television, and "Moon River" by Henry Mancini.

This album is an hour and 28 minutes long.

01 talk (R.E.M.)
02 Harborcoat (R.E.M.)
03 Second Guessing (R.E.M.)
04 Hyena (R.E.M.)
05 talk (R.E.M.)
06 Talk about the Passion (R.E.M.)
07 West of the Fields (R.E.M.)
08 [Don't Go Back To] Rockville (R.E.M.)
09 Auctioneer (R.E.M.)
10 So. Central Rain [I'm Sorry] (R.E.M.)
11 talk (R.E.M.)
12 Sitting Still (R.E.M.)
13 Old Man Kensey (R.E.M.)
14 talk (R.E.M.)
15 Gardening st Night (R.E.M.)
16 9-9 - Hey Diddle Diddle - Feeling Gravity's Pull (R.E.M.)
17 Windout (R.E.M.)
18 Driver 8 (R.E.M.)
19 Pretty Persuasion (R.E.M.)
20 Radio Free Europe (R.E.M.)
21 Little America (R.E.M.)
22 Wendell Gee (R.E.M.)
23 1,000,000 (R.E.M.)
24 talk (R.E.M.)
25 20th Century Boy (R.E.M.)
26 Just a Touch (R.E.M.)
27 talk (R.E.M.)
28 We Walk - After Hours (R.E.M.)
29 See No Evil (R.E.M.)
30 Carnival of Sorts [Boxcars] (R.E.M.)
31 Moon River (R.E.M.)

The cover photo only features singer Michael Stipe. It's from a concert in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1984. I actually have another album posted here that's the full concert from there.

Mark Knopfler - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1996-2004

Mark Knopfler is best known as the main figure in the band Dire Straits, but he's had a long, successful solo career as well. I've already posted what little material Dire Straits did for the BBC, so now I'm turning my focus to Knopfler's BBC stuff. It turns out there's a lot more of it. I'll have some BBC concerts to post, but this is one of two albums of BBC studio sessions.

In the early 1990s, Knopfler alternated between taking more of a backing role in the band the Notting Hillbillies and putting out one last Dire Straits studio album. Then he went silent for a few years before emerging with his first mainstream solo album in 1996, "Golden Heart." (I say "mainstream" because he'd done the music to some movie soundtracks.)

Knopfler went all-in with BBC appearances to promote his album. I plan on posting two BBC concerts from 1996. In addition, he also performed for a full hour on the BBC TV show "Later... with Jools Holland." I've only included one song from that, the first one, "Gravy Train." That's because I thought it would be overkill to have two 1996 concerts and more versions of those same songs sometimes for a third time. "Gravy Train" is the only song from that show that wasn't included in either of the two concerts.

The next three songs are from a 1996 concert that was broadcast on a French radio station. These also are songs that weren't performed in either of the two 1996 concerts I'll be posting. Between all these sources, I have at least one version of the vast majority of the songs he played in concert in 1996.

Tracks five through eight are from 2000, when he was promoting his next studio album, "Sailing to Philadelphia." (I mention that "Song for Sonny Liston" is the acoustic version, because on the other volume of studio sessions I have a full band version of the same song.) 

The next session, tracks nine through 12, is an unusual one. It happened in 2001, and Knopfler wasn't promoting a new album at the time. He appeared on a jazz-themed show, and played with the house band. As a result, all of the songs were unusual choices, with none of them appearing on his studio albums. Two of the songs, "I'll See You in My Dreams" and "The Next Time I'm in Town," came from a 1990 album co-billed to him and guitarist Chet Akins.

The final two songs are from another session in 2004.

This album is an hour long.

01 Gravy Train (Mark Knopfler)
02 Water of Love (Mark Knopfler)
03 A Night in Summer Long Ago (Mark Knopfler)
04 Long Highway (Mark Knopfler)
05 Baloney Again (Mark Knopfler)
06 Marbletown (Mark Knopfler)
07 Song for Sonny Liston [Acoustic Version] (Mark Knopfler)
08 What It Is (Mark Knopfler)
09 Blues Stay Away from Me (Mark Knopfler)
10 Dallas Rag (Mark Knopfler)
11 I'll See You in My Dreams (Mark Knopfler)
12 The Next Time I'm in Town (Mark Knopfler)
13 Brothers in Arms (Mark Knopfler)
14 Going Home [Theme From 'Local Hero'] [Instrumental] (Mark Knopfler)

The cover photo of Knopfler was taken at a concert in Hamburg, Germany, in June 1996.

Electric Light Orchestra - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: In Concert, The Guildhall, Portsmouth, Britain, 6-22-1976

Here's the third volume of Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) performing for the BBC. This time, it's another concert.

Like most of the content on Volumes 1 and 2 in this series, this comes from the official album "Live at the BBC." However, in my opinion, most of the lead vocals were mixed too low for this concert, with some songs worse than others. So I fixed that by using the audio editing program UVR5.

This isn't the full concert, but it's most of it. As the BBC often does, it cut things down to fit the music in a certain time slot. The axed songs include "10538 Overture," "Do Ya," and the final encore, "Roll Over Beethoven."

This album is an hour long.

01 Fire on High [Instrumental] (Electric Light Orchestra)
02 Poker (Electric Light Orchestra)
03 talk (Electric Light Orchestra)
04 Nightrider (Electric Light Orchestra)
05 talk (Electric Light Orchestra)
06 On the Third Day [King of the Universe-Not Susan-Bluebird-New World Rising] (Electric Light Orchestra)
07 talk (Electric Light Orchestra)
08 Showdown (Electric Light Orchestra)
09 Eldorado (Electric Light Orchestra)
10 Poor Boy [The Greenwood] (Electric Light Orchestra)
11 Illusions in G Major (Electric Light Orchestra)
12 talk (Electric Light Orchestra)
13 Strange Magic (Electric Light Orchestra)
14 Evil Woman (Electric Light Orchestra)
15 talk (Electric Light Orchestra)
16 Ma Ma Ma Belle (Electric Light Orchestra)

The cover photo of band leader Jeff Lynne was taken at the Beacon Theater in New York City in 1976. It's surprising that he's not wearing sunglasses, since that became his visual trademark for most of his career.

Al Stewart - Greatest Alternate Versions (1973-1993) (A MIKE SOLOF GUEST POST)

Here's the first of two Mike Solof guest posts featuring British singer-songwriter Al Stewart. The vast majority of the songs on both albums come from the box set "The Admiralty Lights." This is no normal box set - it's over 50 CDs in size! He plucked the best rarities from that that weren't BBC sessions. He created two albums out of that. This one contains alternate versions of songs that did get released on Stewart's studio albums. The other one consists of non-album tracks.

If you want to know more, check out the PDF that he's included with the download zip.

This album is 58 minutes long.

01 Roads to Moscow [Alternate Version] (Al Stewart)
02 A Sense of Deja Vu [Outtake] (Al Stewart)
03 Midas Shadow [Original Abbey Road Version] (Al Stewart)
04 Sand in Your Shoes [Original Abbey Road Version] (Al Stewart)
05 Flying Sorcery [Original Abbey Road Version] (Al Stewart)
06 Broadway Hotel [Original Abbey Road Version] (Al Stewart)
07 Year of the Cat [Original Abbey Road Version] (Al Stewart)
08 Warmth of a Summer's Day [Demo] (Al Stewart)
09 Song on the Radio [Demo] (Al Stewart)
10 Time Passages [Demo] (Al Stewart)
11 The One that Got Away [Outtake] (Al Stewart)
12 Trespasser [Alternate Version] (Al Stewart)

I picked the cover photo. I don't know anything about it except that it was taken in 1977.

Phil Lesh & Friends with Joan Osborne - Joan Osborne Sings Grateful Dead Songs, Volume 2 (2006)

This is a second volume of Joan Osborne singing lead on Grateful Dead songs with the band Phil Lesh and Friends in 2006. There are four volumes in total.

Every concert Phil Lesh and Friends performed in 2006 were released digitally at the time, so everything here has soundboard quality. The vocals on "Shakedown Street" were rather low in the mix though. Maybe that was how it was at the concert, for whatever reason. But I fixed that using the UVR5 audio editing program.

All of the songs here are closely associated with the Grateful Dead. However, some of them happen to be covers for the Dead that they played in concert a lot. Only "New Speedway Boogie" and "Shakedown Street" were originals.

This album is an hour and ten minutes long. There are only six songs despite this album being well over an hour long due to lots of jamming.

01 Good Lovin' (Phil Lesh & Friends with Joan Osborne)
02 Next Time You See Me (Phil Lesh & Friends with Joan Osborne)
03 New Speedway Boogie (Phil Lesh & Friends with Joan Osborne)
04 Morning Dew (Phil Lesh & Friends with Joan Osborne)
05 Gimme Shelter (Phil Lesh & Friends with Joan Osborne)
06 Shakedown Street (Phil Lesh & Friends with Joan Osborne)

The cover photo shows Osborne with Phil Lesh at the Bonnaroo Festival in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2006. Osborne and Lesh were much further apart, but I moved them closer using Photoshop.

Elton John - Cover Versions, Volume 2: 1977-1994

Here's Volume 2 of Elton John performing cover songs. As with Volume 1, this doesn't include the occasional cover songs on his studio albums.

Most of the tracks are from concert bootlegs, but not all. "I Heard It through the Grapevine" is a live version that was released as a B-side. "Loving You Is Sweeter than Ever" is from a Kiki Dee album. "I'm Ready - Let's Have a Party," "Up the Revolution," and "Chapel of Love" are from different kinds of various artists compilations.

The rest are all unreleased, and are all live recordings. But the sound quality is still pretty high. Most or all of those are from soundboard boots.

This album covers a big time period of 17 years. It seems John didn't perform a lot of covers in this era. But that won't be the case for the next couple of albums in this series.

This album is 52 minutes long.

01 I Heard It through the Grapevine (Elton John)
02 Imagine (Elton John)
03 Loving You Is Sweeter than Ever (Kiki Dee & Elton John)
04 Twist and Shout (Elton John)
05 Can I Get a Witness (Elton John)
06 A Song for You (Elton John)
07 Will You Love Me Tomorrow (Elton John)
08 He'll Have to Go (Elton John)
09 I'm Ready - Let's Have a Party (Elton John)
10 That's What Friends Are For (Elton John)
11 Up the Revolution (Elton John with the Bee Gees)
12 The Show Must Go On (Elton John)
13 Chapel of Love (Elton John)

The cover photo is from the Reading Festival in Reading, Britain, in August 1977.

Cat Stevens with Dr. John and Linda Ronstadt - Moon and Star: ABC In Concert, Aquarius Theater, Hollywood, CA, 11-9-1973

Here's a really nice Cat Stevens concert bootleg. I've known about it for a long time, but I avoided posting it because the sound quality was just okay. However, I found a better version, good enough to share.

Stevens did very little touring or promotion in 1972 or 1973 after doing a lot in 1970 and 1971. That was so much the case that there was a rumor he'd been stricken with tuberculosis again, like he'd been back in 1969. That wasn't the case. He probably was just tired of the star making merry-go-round. 

But in late 1973, he put out a new studio album, "Foreigner," with a single song, "Foreigner Suite," that was 18 minutes long and took up half of the album. That was new musical territory for him, and he wanted people to hear it. He basically put all of his promotional eggs in this one basket. ABC already had a music show called "In Concert" that was an hour long, and usually featured different hit performers. But this was an hour and a half long special episode that was devoted just to Stevens. Well, almost, probably to broaden the appeal, Dr. John sang one song and Linda Ronstadt sang two. But in a nice twist, the songs they sang were written by Stevens and had never been recorded by them before (or since). 

This episode was called "Moon and Star," not "Moon and Stars." (I found some ads for the show, so I'm sure.) That no doubt named after his song, "The Boy with the Moon and Star on His Head."

I've read a review or two of this concert, thanks to a Cat Stevens fan site. Clearly, there were bits that are missing from this recording, because there's no banter at all between songs. However, there was very little of that. The reviews noted that Stevens basically did no talking. In the 1970s, it was very popular of TV shows like this to have a monologue with jokes, or skirts, etc... It's very cheesy in retrospect. But Stevens avoided all that and just played his songs. It was basically a normal concert in a normal club in the Los Angeles area, but with a film crew there.

The recording of this concert I found did have a few words of a DJ talking. But I cut that out since it was literally only a few words at the tail end of sentence. Getting the songs to flow was a problem, because typically one track would end with lots of applause suddenly cut off, and then the next track would begin with relative silence. So I usually patched in more applause from elsewhere in the concert, then had that trail off or fade out, so it would fit with how the next song started. Hopefully, the concert show flow well now.

This concert is an hour and ten minutes long. The only twenty minutes for the hour and a half show were for brief introductions plus commercials.

01 Father and Son (Cat Stevens)
02 Wild World (Cat Stevens)
03 Morning Has Broken (Cat Stevens)
04 18th Avenue (Cat Stevens)
05 talk - Moonshadow Prologue (Cat Stevens)
06 Moonshadow (Cat Stevens)
07 talk - Moonshadow Epilogue (Cat Stevens)
08 Pop Star (Dr. John)
09 King of Trees (Cat Stevens)
10 A Bad Penny (Cat Stevens)
11 Fill My Eyes (Linda Ronstadt)
12 The First Cut Is the Deepest (Linda Ronstadt)
13 The Boy with the Moon and Star on His Head (Cat Stevens)
14 The Hurt (Cat Stevens)
15 Foreigner Suite (Cat Stevens)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Moody Blues - BBC Sessions, Volume 7: In Concert, Apollo Theatre, Oxford, Britain, 12-3-1986

I just posted a Moody Blues concert for the BBC in the 1980s a few days ago. But I recently found two of them, so here's the other one before it slips my mind.

This concert has a lot of similarities with the other one I just posted, from 1984, two years earlier. For instance, all the expected big hits are on both, like "Tuesday Afternoon," "Nights in White Satin," and "Question." Both concerts even start with "Gemini Dream." However, I'm posting both concerts because there are plenty of differences too. That's helped by the fact that the band had a hit album in 1986 with two hit songs, "Your Wildest Dreams" and "The Other Side of Life." Naturally, they played those two, plus two more from that "The Other Side of Life" album, "Rock 'n' Roll Over You" and "It May Be a Fire." Additionally, they played other songs here not in the other concert, like "New Horizons" and "Veteran Cosmic Rocker," and there are five songs in that 1984 that weren't played here.

Unfortunately, the BBC seemed to have meddled in this recording more than usual. In particular, I'm pretty sure there was a lot of applause added. Most of the songs came from one source, but I found two from a different source. Those two songs have way less applause, a more reasonable amount. Heck, there was massive applause all through the banter before the song "Veteran Cosmic Rocker," which didn't make sense. I couldn't really undo the cheering, but I did get rid of most of it during the banter. And I actually boosted it on the two songs from the different source, so they'd fit in with the rest.

Another problem was that the vocals were consistently low in the mix for all the songs. So I boosted them all using the audio editing program UVR5.

This concert is an hour and 20 minutes long. That's a decent length for a concert, but the BBC edited some songs out. I had to cut out some banter before "Veteran Cosmic Rocker," because it mentioned three songs about to be played, but only one actually was included here.

01 Gemini Dream (Moody Blues)
02 The Voice (Moody Blues)
03 Rock 'n' Roll Over You (Moody Blues)
04 talk (Moody Blues)
05 Tuesday Afternoon (Moody Blues)
06 Your Wildest Dreams (Moody Blues)
07 The Story in Your Eyes (Moody Blues)
08 Isn't Life Strange (Moody Blues)
09 It May Be a Fire (Moody Blues)
10 talk (Moody Blues)
11 Veteran Cosmic Rocker (Moody Blues)
12 New Horizons (Moody Blues)
13 The Other Side of Life (Moody Blues)
14 I'm Just a Singer [In a Rock and Roll Band] (Moody Blues)
15 Question (Moody Blues)
16 Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues)

The cover photo shows most of the band members at a concert in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1986. From right to left: Patrick Moraz, Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Ray Thomas. Moraz was further from the others, but I moved him closer using Photoshop.

The Cars - The Summit, Houston, TX, 9-11-1984

One of the main purposes of this blog is to help you, the listener, find the gems out of all the bootlegs out there. Tons of them seem good based on their titles, but turn out to have crappy sound quality. This is a case in point. I would have liked to hear a concert by the Cars in 1984, because that was a particularly strong year for the band, with their huge hit album "Heartbeat City." They petered out after that, with a sub-par album in 1987 and then a break up. Anyway, I would have liked to hear a 1984 concert from them, but I never came across an excellent sounding one. 

Until now, that is. This concert recording has to be the best from the 1984. It was professionally recorded and then broadcast for the Westwood One radio network. Later, some songs were released on a DVD, called "Live 1984-1985." Most of this comes from the radio broadcast, but at least one song comes from the DVD.

To be honest, the Cars stayed very close to the studio versions for all the songs here, and there's absolutely no banter between songs whatsoever. But still, one can hear they put on a flawless concert. And this would be a good album to play at a party, because it's hit after hit after hit, pretty much all with a driving beat.

This album is an hour and 14 minutes long.

01 Hello Again (Cars)
02 It's Not the Night (Cars)
03 Touch and Go (Cars)
04 Candy-O (Cars)
05 Good Times Roll (Cars)
06 Jimmy Jimmy (Cars)
07 Moving in Stereo (Cars)
08 Just What I Needed (Cars)
09 A Dream Away (Cars)
10 Cruiser (Cars)
11 Drive (Cars)
12 You Might Think (Cars)
13 My Best Friend's Girl (Cars)
14 Magic (Cars)
15 Let's Go (Cars)
16 Heartbeat City (Cars)
17 You're All I've Got Tonight (Cars)

Pretty much the only good photo I could find of the band in concert only features lead singer Ric Ocasek. This photo was taken at East Rutherford, New Jersey, in July 1984. Regarding the text, I was struck by the vivid colors in the photo, so typical of the 1980s. (Think "Miami Vice.") So I tried to keep that up with the font type and colors.

The Beatles - The Beatles Uncovered, Volume 6 (1964-2013) (A MIKE SOLOF GUEST POST)

It's time for another one of guest poster Mike Solof's collections of his unique edits of Beatles songs. 

By now, hopefully you should know the drill, if you're familiar with the previous volumes in this series. So I don't see the need to say much more. Mike has extensive comments in the PDF file that's included in the download zip. I encourage you to check that out.

However, I will say one more thing. I can personally attest to the struggles Mike went through to make the Ringo Starr and George Harrison duet of "It Don't Come Easy" included here, since he kept me abreast of changes as he made them. He probably pulled out most of his hair on that one. Luckily, he gets paid the big bucks for making these edits... Not! So drop him a thanks if you like the album, 'cos it takes a lot of work to make these versions.

This album is one hour long.

01 Save Us [Mike's Mix] (Paul McCartney)
02 If I Needed Someone [Mike's Mix] (Beatles)
03 I'm Stepping Out [Mike's Mix] (John Lennon)
04 It Don't Come Easy [Mike's Mix] (Ringo Starr & George Harrison)
05 Hello Goodbye [Mike's Mix] (Beatles)
06 Devil's Radio [Mike's Mix] (George Harrison)
07 Baby, You're a Rich Man [Mike's Mix] (Beatles)
08 House of Wax [Mike's Mix] (Paul McCartney)
09 Maxine [Mike's Mix 2] (Traveling Wilburys)
10 Oh Yoko [Mike's Mix] (John Lennon)
11 Because [Mike's Mix - Paul Left, John Center, George Right] (Beatles)
12 Someplace Else [Mike's Mix] (George Harrison)
13 You're Mother Should Know [Mike's Mix] (Beatles)
14 Only Mama Knows [Mike's Mix] (Paul McCartney)
15 When We Was Fab [Mike's Mix] (George Harrison)
16 Run for Your Life [Mike's Mix] (Beatles)
17 Slow Down [Mike's Mix] (Beatles)
18 New [Mike's Mix] (Paul McCartney & AI John Lennon)

I don't know the details of the cover photo of the Beatles, since Mike picked it. But just going off the styles and haircuts and such, I'd guess it's from 1966.

Al Stewart - BBC Sessions, Volume 5: In Concert, Reading University, Reading, Britain, 12-4-1976

Guest poster Mike Solof has put together a couple of interesting Al Stewart albums, which I plan on posting very soon. Listening to those reminded me that I've been remiss in posting more of Al Stewart's BBC stuff. So here's another one. This is yet another in the concert format.

It's not too surprising that Stewart was on the BBC in 1976, because that was the year he became a star with his hit "Year of the Cat." Prior to 1976, he'd never had a hit reach the Top 100 charts anywhere, but "Year of the Cat" was a Top Ten hit in the US and a Top Forty hit in Britain.

Not only that, but his sound had evolved quite a lot from his acoustic folkie style of the first few BBC albums in this series. Working with a full band, he'd developed a much more rocking and poppy sound. That resulted in his "Year of the Cat" album being a big hit too.

The concert uses that new style, with all of the songs sounding lively. He managed the difficult trick of keeping sophisticated and lengthy lyrics, but matching them with catchy melodies and full productions.

This album is 59 minutes long. As with so many BBC concerts, this probably was edited down to fit the time slot, which in this case must have been an hour.

01 Apple Cider Re-Constitution (Al Stewart)
02 talk (Al Stewart)
03 The Dark and the Rolling Sea (Al Stewart)
04 talk (Al Stewart)
05 One Stage Before (Al Stewart)
06 talk (Al Stewart)
07 Soho [Needless to Say] (Al Stewart)
08 talk (Al Stewart)
09 On the Border (Al Stewart)
10 talk (Al Stewart)
11 Broadway Hotel (Al Stewart)
12 Roads to Moscow (Al Stewart)
13 talk (Al Stewart)
14 Sirens of Titan (Al Stewart)
15 talk - As Time Goes By (Al Stewart)
16 Year of the Cat (Al Stewart)
17 talk (Al Stewart)
18 If It Doesn't Come Naturally, Leave It (Al Stewart)
19 talk (Al Stewart)
20 Carol (Al Stewart)

The cover photo is from a concert at the New Victoria Theatre in London, Britain, in November 1976.

Kirsty MacColl - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: 1994-2000

I recently posted Volume 1 of Kirsty MacColl's BBC sessions. You may notice this skips to Volume 3. That's because it turned out I already posted Volume 2 a while back and just didn't realize it. That's her Glastonbury set from 1992. So that's been renamed Volume 2. This, meanwhile, is another bunch of BBC studio sessions, just like Volume 1. And to add to the confusion, Volume 4 is another concert from 1995 that I recently renamed to make it part of this series.

To help you out, here's what I now call Volume 2, with changed cover art and mp3 tags and so forth:

And here's the renamed Volume 4:

Anyway, let's get to this album. Like Volume 1, this is mostly a mix of BBC studio session performances taken from the 20023 box set "See That Girl" (tracks 1, 2, 3, and 8) and the older archival album "What Do Pretty Girls Do" (tracks 4 through 7). However, the last four tracks are genuine BBC studio session songs that somehow were overlooked by both of those releases and remain officially unreleased. 

Note that a version of "Soho Square" also appeared on Volume 1. But that version was with a band and this version is acoustic. In fact, many songs here are done in acoustic mode. A version of "My Affair" also appeared on Volume 1, but that version was six years earlier, and is different. I removed a couple other cases where the same song was played twice, but there were only one or two of those, as I recall.

This album is 42 minutes long.

01 Can't Stop Killing You (Kirsty MacColl)
02 Soho Square (Kirsty MacColl)
03 Miss Otis Regrets (Kirsty MacColl)
04 Caroline (Kirsty MacColl)
05 Free World (Kirsty MacColl)
06 A New England (Kirsty MacColl)
07 He's on the Beach (Kirsty MacColl)
08 In These Shoes (Kirsty MacColl)
09 Nao Esperando (Kirsty MacColl)
10 England 2 Colombia 0 (Kirsty MacColl)
11 My Affair (Kirsty MacColl)
12 Celestine (Kirsty MacColl)

The cover photo is from a concert at the Forum in London, on May 23, 1995. The red lighting was in the original.

A Question and a Suggestion

Recently, my music friend Mike Solof has been bugging me to include the full texts of my write-ups on the blog in the download zips for each album. I haven't done that until now because it's another tedious step in the process of posting these albums. 

First, I'm wondering if people would find that useful or not. And second, is there anyone who has saved those texts for all or most of the albums? If so, that could save me a lot of work. Or perhaps there's someone who would volunteer to do it. That might make the difference of me including them or not.

Also, regarding the unfortunate spam that has been appearing recently with the downloads, I'm sorry about that. It doesn't bother me, since I have an ad blocker. But I believe someone recently commented that if you use the Brave web browser, that blocks all that stuff automatically. I've been using that browser recently because YouTube recently stepped up their efforts to make everyone watch ads - and the number of ads is getting out of control. But if you watch YouTube through Brave there's no ads shown at all. So I recommend that. 

If anyone has other suggestions on how to avoid the spam here, please post them so other people can find out.

Leonard Cohen - News from the Authorities - Non-Album Tracks (1970) (NEW TO PUBLIC CIRCULATION)

I recently explained on this blog that I'd found Leonard Cohen's copyright extension release for 1970. To quickly summarize, there's a European Union law that says music must be publicly released within fifty years of the year it was recorded in order for the copyright to be maintained. So record companies have often released music in their vaults literally for a mere hour or two in the middle of the night on some obscure platform so they can technically say it was publicly for sale. That's what happened to a bunch of 1970 Cohen recordings in 2020. That release included four concerts (though without the banter and most of the applause) and some studio outtakes. I've already posted two of the concerts, including one with the banter and applause put back in. This  is an album of the studio outtakes, plus a couple other rarities from 1970.

Note that this is far from all the studio outtakes that were included in the copyright extension. It took me a couple of weeks to put this together because I wanted to weed out the weaker material and make this a solid album that stands up to repeat listenings. There's a lot of repetition on the copyright extension material. For instance, there are five versions of "Passing Through," generally extremely similar to each other. So I cut out those repeat takes. There are also lots of incomplete takes. For instance, there's an apparently original song called "Solitaire" that I didn't include because it's only 20 seconds long! To hear something so promising but so short is just frustrating. I have included incomplete songs here when they're a bit longer. For instance, "I Was Standing on the Wooden Stair" is a little under a minute long.

The copyright extension release also includes an entire album of poetry recitals. Cohen was already a fairly successful poet before his music career began. Sometime around 1970, he recorded about half an hour of poetry from his 1964 book "Flowers for Hitler," and another ten minutes of poetry from his 1956 book "Let Us Compare Mythologies." I haven't included any of that because it's a whole different kettle of fish. However, I could post an album of that if there's enough interest. Alternately, I've posted the ENTIRE copyright extension material without any changes via SoulseekQT. Just search for "Leonard Cohen" plus "copyright" plus "1970" there and you should find it.

So let's get to what is on this album. I'm going to go song by song. Note that all the titles are from the copyright extension release.

"Priests" - This is probably the most important song in the copyright extension. For years, I've longed to hear a Cohen version, because Judy Collins released a version in 1967, then Richie Havens released a version in 1968. Cohen recorded a version in 1967 for his first album, but it didn't make the final cut, and he never played it in concert. It's known that a version is on a 1967 copyright extension release that I don't have a copy of (although with several other still unreleased original songs). If anyone has that, please share! Luckily, Cohen rerecorded the song again in 1970, so we have a version here.

"Az der Rebbe Singt" - This is a complete song, but it's a cover song sung entirely in Yiddish. Cohen played it in concert a few times in 1976.

"Joan of Arc" - I've generally avoided including alternate versions that aren't that different from the final versions. I figure those are only for the die-hard fans who'd want the entire copyright extension release. But this is an exception because Cohen experimented with basically talking the lyrics instead of singing them, so it's quite different from the released album version. (Interesting tidbit: I believe he's mentioned that this song is about the singer Nico.)

"I Was Standing on the Wooden Stair" - This seems to be an original, but it's frustratingly incomplete. For some reason, he stopped after singing just three lines. Ugh!

"Sing Another Song, Boys" - This song was released on Cohen's 1971 album "Songs of Love and Hate." But that was a live version taken from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival. This is the studio version.

"I'm in the Darkness" - This uses the chords and melody of his song "Avalanche," but the lyrics are totally different. He managed to get through two verses before the song faded out.

"Passing Through" - This is a cover song that appeared on Cohen's 1973 live album "Live Songs." This is a studio version. The "Live Songs" version, which is from a 1972 concert, contained four verses, and this one only has three. The ending came abruptly, so I patched in a bit of instrumental music from a different take to give it a more graceful ending (so that's why "[Edit]" is in the title). I would have included more of the instrumental part, but that was all there was.

"Time for Counting" - Another frustratingly incomplete original song, but at least there's more of it. This one almost lasts two minutes. He stopped abruptly, and said, "That kind of thing, you know."

"Travel" - This is a recited poem. It's from the copyright extension release, but it was done at a concert in Paris in 1970. 

"Why Don't I Have the Magic" - This is another studio outtake, but the song title indicates that it was improvised. It's surprisingly good, and done with a band backing him up, considering that it was made up on the spot. The lyrics are an obvious plea for musical inspiration.

"Celebration" - This one is not from the copyright extension. Instead, it's unreleased, from a 1970 concert in Frankfurt, Germany. It's a short recited poem. The sound quality is still pretty good.

"The Arms of Regina" - This is a strange one. It seems to be a song that was jointly written and sung by Cohen and the rest of his band. Apparently, it was only performed twice. The version here is from a 1970 concert at the Henderson Hospital in London, before a crowd of less than fifty mental patients there. It was included on the copyright extension. The other version is unreleased and comes from a brief appearance at a French radio station in 1970. The two versions are very similar to each other, with Cohen's voice largely buried by the voices of his band members, but I've used this version because the French radio one has poorer sound quality. However, for this version, the first few seconds were cut off, so I patched in a bit from the French radio version.

"Tonight Will Be Fine" - This is the other one not from the copyright extension. It's from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, and released on the live album of his set there. The reason I've included it is because it includes two verses not on the studio album version.

"News from the Authorities" - This is another improvised song, done at a Berkeley, California concert, and included in the copyright extension. (I recently posted the entire concert.) Clearly, what happened was the police or some other authority told Cohen that people were sitting in the aisles and the concert couldn't continue until the aisles were cleared. But instead of just passing that information on to the crowd, he made up a surprisingly good song about it, lasting no less than six minutes! His backing band caught on quickly, and it turned into an enthusiastic audience participation type of song by the end. 

"As the Mist Leaves No Scar" - This is another short, recited poem. It's from the same Berkeley concert as the previous track.

I'm so very pleased to be sharing this album. As I mentioned above, the copyright extension was ever so briefly released into the public domain in late 2020, which means it languished in total obscurity until I found a copy in late 2023. It's known that copyright extension releases exist for 1967 and 1972. If anyone has those, I again implore you to please share them with the public. This material is too good to keep hidden away.

This album is 44 minutes long.

01 Priests (Leonard Cohen)
02 Az der Rebbe Singt [When the Rabbi Sings] (Leonard Cohen)
03 Joan of Arc [Spoken Lyrics Version] (Leonard Cohen)
04 I Was Standing on the Wooden Stair [Incomplete] (Leonard Cohen)
05 Sing Another Song, Boys [Studio Version] (Leonard Cohen)
06 I'm in the Darkness [Alternate Lyrics for Avalanche] (Leonard Cohen)
07 Passing Through [Studio Version] [Edit] (Leonard Cohen)
08 Time for Counting [Incomplete] (Leonard Cohen)
09 Travel (Poem) (Leonard Cohen)
10 Why Don't I Have the Magic [Improvised Song] (Leonard Cohen)
11 Celebration [Poem] (Leonard Cohen)
12 The Arms of Regina (Leonard Cohen)
13 Tonight Will Be Fine [Alternate Lyrics Version] (Leonard Cohen)
14 News from the Authorities [Improvised Song] (Leonard Cohen)
15 As the Mist Leaves No Scar [Poem] (Leonard Cohen)

The cover photo was taken in Amsterdam in 1972. I couldn't find any really good ones from 1970 that weren't from the Isle of Wight Festival.

David Gilmour - On TV and Radio, Volume 1: 1978-1986

David Gilmour, the lead guitarist of Pink Floyd, has had a fairly successful solo career, but he's been pretty selective about his album releases. He put out his first solo album way back in 1978, but since then, he's only released three more solo albums, plus two live albums. He's never put out a box set or any other significant archival releases. So I decided to make a series of stray tracks of TV and radio performances focused entirely on his solo career, avoiding any Pink Floyd performances. Here's the first of three albums in that series.

For the duration of this album, it was clear Gilmour's solo career took a back seat to his role in Pink Floyd, one of the biggest bands in the world. He released solo albums in 1978 and 1984 because they were mostly inactive years for Pink Floyd. As for concerts, the only tour he did during this time was in 1984, during a particularly long break while Pink Floyd fell apart and then reformed.

The first five songs are from 1978. Although he put out the solo album "David Gilmour" that year, he didn't perform any concerts to support it. However, he did play these five songs "live" in a studio with no audience. That performance was recorded and his record company released it only to radio stations to help promote the album. So while these five songs are from his 1978 album, the performances are totally different.

The next two songs, tracks 6 and 7, are from 1984. I have an entire BBC concert I'll be posting from that year. But the theme of this series of albums is TV and radio performances, so I can't draw on just any concert recordings. These two songs are from an appearance on the British TV show "The Tube."

The remaining five tracks are from a concert appearance in 1986. He didn't tour that year, but he played a set for the Colombian Volcano Disaster Appeal Benefit. Luckily, that whole benefit concert was broadcast on TV, so I'm able to present his entire short set here.

This album is an hour and two minutes long.

01 There's No Way Out of Here (David Gilmour)
02 So Far Away (David Gilmour)
03 No Way (David Gilmour)
04 I Can't Breathe Anymore (David Gilmour)
05 Mihalis [Instrumental] (David Gilmour)
06 Until We Sleep (David Gilmour)
07 Blue Light (David Gilmour)
08 You Know I'm Right (David Gilmour)
09 Run like Hell (David Gilmour)
10 talk (David Gilmour)
11 Out of the Blue (David Gilmour)
12 Comfortably Numb (David Gilmour)

The photo is from a concert in Chicago in June 1984.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Andy Sturmer - Holding Out for Something Better (1999)

I recently posted two stray tracks albums from the early 1990s band Jellyfish. They're great. Andy Sturmer was the main singer for Jellyfish, as well as one of the two main songwriters. Since Jellyfish broke up in 1994, he's kept an extremely low profile. He hasn't joined any other bands since then, and he's never released a solo album, or even a solo single. But... there's this. If you're a Jellyfish fan, you definitely need to hear this. It's the closest thing to another Jellyfish album after the band broke up.

So what is this, exactly? That's complicated. Let me explain. I found these recordings from an Internet page that has ceased to exist. I went looking around for more information, and came up with very little. So what I'm writing now is based on what I remember from when I found this material years ago, plus, what little I could find out in a recent search.

Andy Sturmer was a great singer-songwriter in Jellyfish, as well as being the band's drummer, but apparently he's an introverted person who didn't like being a star. So, while he continued a music career, he chose a behind the scenes role. Apparently, in the years since Jellyfish broke up, he's had a successful career writing catchy songs for other bands (especially the Japanese duo Puffy AmiYumi) and TV shows and movies. I plan on posting another album just of his TV show and movie songs after 2000, when that aspect of his career started to take off.

But he hadn't had much success with that at the time of these recordings, which I think is around 1999 (though I could be off by a year or two). The last two songs were done for "Gregory and Me" a children's TV show that came out in 1996. But the others are demos for a solo album he was working on. He's kept such a low profile that he almost never gives interviews. But in 2002, a Jellyfish archival release mentioned he was working on a solo album that was due to be released soon. It's over twenty years later, and there's still no sign of it. 

I could be wrong, but I think what happened was he sent out a tape of these demos around 1999 to people in the TV and movie industries to show his continued ability to write excellent songs years after Jellyfish broke up. Somehow, the recording got to the wider public, although these are still very obscure. I hope by posting this album here, they'll get more attention, because this is very good stuff. There are two obvious covers: "We Are the Champions" by Queen, and "Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything There Is a Season)," made famous by the Byrds. Other than that, I believe all the songs are originals, and this shows he still had the same songwriting talent he had in Jellyfish (not to mention the same singing talent).

As far as I know, everything here is still technically officially unreleased in the sense that it's never been for sale. However, it all sounds as good as you'd expect a studio album to sound. One song, "Liquid Casanova," was performed with the band Sugarbomb, which put out a few albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but I believe that song remains unreleased as well. 

There's never been any name to this album. I picked the title "Holding Out for Something Better" after the first song here. I thought that was fitting with the fact that he's never released his solo album after so many years. Also, the song order is basically the same as the order I got them. But I don't know if that was random or if it was done intentionally by Sturmer or anyone else.

Again, if you like Jellyfish, you need to hear this. It's in a very similar style, with very similar quality.

This album is 37 minutes long.

01 Holding Out for Something Better (Andy Sturmer)
02 The Angel Made Me Do It (Andy Sturmer)
03 Widowers Song (Andy Sturmer)
04 Turn, Turn, Turn [To Everything There Is a Season] (Andy Sturmer)
05 I Built Me a Bridge (Andy Sturmer)
06 Sweet Wingless Angel (Andy Sturmer)
07 Love So Pure (Andy Sturmer)
08 We Are the Champions (Andy Sturmer)
09 The Beginning of the End (Andy Sturmer)
10 Liquid Casanova (Andy Sturmer & Sugarbomb)
11 Commercial Spot (Andy Sturmer)
12 Gregory and Me (Andy Sturmer)
13 Underneath the Sea (Andy Sturmer)

Because Sturmer has kept such a low profile after Jellyfish, I couldn't find any photos of him that are definitely from after his Jellyfish years. This one is probably from his Jellyfish time. But I picked a dark and moody photo out of many more options because it seemed fitting to his reclusive behavior.

Devo - Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA, 11-11-1982

First off, I have to say the sound quality of this concert sound amazing. Even though this is a bootleg, I would bet it's the best sounding live recording of the band from their peak era (the late 1970s and early 1980s). If you're a Devo fan at all, you should hear this.

It also happens that this was a particularly good time for a concert recording. Fans may argue about the details, but it's pretty well accepted that Devo's music declined in quality after 1982, with each album thereafter getting worse reviews and worse sales. Their next well received album wouldn't come out until a reunion in 2010. The band didn't tour at all after 1982 until 1988, so 1982 was the last time to hear "prime" Devo in concert.

However, for whatever reason, it seems there are no good live recordings from that year other than this one concert. I know, because I ran into a big problem. Namely, the great soundboard recording that makes up the vast majority of this album had a couple of holes in it. First, the end of the song "Jocko Homo," all of the next song "Mongoloid," and then the start of the next song "Uncontrollable Urge" was missing. Then, a few songs later, the end of "Booji's Beautiful World," and well all of the last two songs, "[I Can't Get No] Satisfaction" and "Come Back Jonee" was missing. 

So I looked around to see what other recordings were there to fill in those gaps. I discovered there were no other soundboards from 1982, and even the best sounding audience bootleg was a steep drop down in sound quality compared to this. It wasn't much better with 1981. (There is an archival live release from that year, but that comes from an audience bootleg.) So I ultimately went back to 1980 to fill in most of the missing bits. I used a 1982 audience boot for the end of "Booji's Beautiful World," because that was from a 1981 album, so 1980 concerts didn't have it. But luckily the other songs were from 1980 or before. So I used a concert at this exact same venue in Boston, but from July 17, 1980. Even that soundboard bootleg didn't sound as good as this one, but it was close enough to do the job. That's why three songs have "[Edit]" in their titles, because I had to put them together from two sources.

That's the bad news. But the good news is that, with these fixes, this concert sounds fantastic all the way through. This really deserves an official release, but I'm guessing that's never happened because of the missing bits.

When I began to listen to the first song for the first time, I found it hard to believe this was a live recording at all, due to the pristine sound and total lack of crowd noise. Later on, there's some crowd noise, but very little, even though I boosted the volume of it in spots. That's because some soundboards capture everything on stage really well but the audience not at all or only very little. This is definitely one of those kinds of soundboards.

This concert is an hour and 21 minutes long.

01 Time Out for Fun (Devo)
02 Patterns (Devo)
03 Speed Racer (Devo)
04 Big Mess (Devo)
05 Peek-A-Boo (Devo)
06 Out of Sync (Devo)
07 That's Good (Devo)
08 Freedom of Choice Theme [Instrumental] (Devo)
09 Whip It (Devo)
10 Girl U Want [EZ Listening Version] (Devo)
11 Planet Earth (Devo)
12 Deep Sleep (Devo)
13 talk (Devo)
14 Jocko Homo [Edit] (Devo)
15 Mongoloid (Devo)
16 Uncontrollable Urge [Edit] (Devo)
17 Gates of Steel (Devo)
18 Smart Patrol - Mr. DNA (Devo)
19 Gut Feeling [Slap Your Mammy] (Devo)
20 Booji's Beautiful World [Edit] (Devo)
21 [I Can't Get No] Satisfaction (Devo)
22 Come Back Jonee (Devo)

I couldn't find a really good color photo of the band on stage in 1982, although there were some decent ones. So instead I decided to use parts of a concert poster from that year. It uses the same art style of the band's 1981 album, "New Traditionalists." Naturally, I had to crop a lot to get things to fit.

Electric Light Orchestra - BBC Sessions, Volume 2: In Concert, Golders Green Hippodrome, London, Britain, 1-25-1974

Here's another BBC album by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). This time it's a short concert.

Most of this album has been officially released as part of the "Live at the BBC" album, so the sound quality is excellent. 

However, the first song, "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle," is different. This one is unreleased, and was uncovered by my musical associate Lil Panda. The sound quality on that one is about as good as the rest. It suggests there could be more of this concert that emerges into the public someday, knock on wood. Certainly if they were playing a typical concert from that time period, they would have played many more songs.

This album is 34 minutes long.

01 Ma-Ma-Ma Belle (Electric Light Orchestra)
02 King of the Universe (Electric Light Orchestra)
03 Bluebird Is Dead (Electric Light Orchestra)
04 Oh No Not Susan (Electric Light Orchestra)
05 New World Rising (Electric Light Orchestra)
06 talk (Electric Light Orchestra)
07 Violin Solo - Orange Blossom Special [Instrumental] (Electric Light Orchestra)
08 talk (Electric Light Orchestra)
09 In the Hall of the Mountain King [Instrumental] (Electric Light Orchestra)
10 Great Balls of Fire (Electric Light Orchestra)

The cover is from an ABC TV show in June 1974. Band leader Jeff Lynne is the one in the photo without glasses (for once, since he's well known for always wearing them). The other one is Mike de Albuquerque, who played bass and horns.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Leonard Cohen - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: In Concert, Birmingham Odeon, Birmingham, Britain, 12-8-1979

I just posted a Beck concert that was edited way down by the BBC, and this is a similar situation for Leonard Cohen. I don't know the full set list, but I'm guessing a lot of it was cut out, including some of the banter between songs. Still, these BBC concerts are great due to the sound quality, and that's the case here.

An official album of Cohen's 1979-1980 tour has been released, called "Field Commander Cohen." It's a few minutes longer than this one. Luckily though, the set lists are drastically different. There are only two songs shared between that and this, "The Smokey Life" and "The Gypsy's Wife."

But what really makes this concert special is the song "Billy Sunday," also known as "Blues for the Jews." (I don't think there's a firm title, since the song has never been officially released.) According to, Cohen only ever performed this original song six times, all on this tour, and this was the very first public performance. It's quite a song, because it's fifteen minutes long.

This concert is 57 minutes long.

01 talk (Leonard Cohen)
02 Sisters of Mercy (Leonard Cohen)
03 Diamonds in the Mine (Leonard Cohen)
04 talk (Leonard Cohen)
05 The Smokey Life (Leonard Cohen)
06 The Gypsy's Wife (Leonard Cohen)
07 talk (Leonard Cohen)
08 Two Quatrains (Leonard Cohen)
09 Chelsea Hotel No. 2 (Leonard Cohen)
10 A Singer Must Die (Leonard Cohen)
11 The Partisan (Leonard Cohen)
12 Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen)
13 Our Lady of Solitude (Leonard Cohen)
14 talk (Leonard Cohen)
15 Billy Sunday [Blues for the Jews] (Leonard Cohen)

The cover photo was taken at the Hammersmith Odeon in London in 1979.

Beck - BBC Sessions, Volume 3: Leeds Festival, Temple Newsam, Leeds, Britain, 8-27-2000

There's no end to the BBC material, it seems. Here's another unreleased concert from Beck.

In 1999, Beck released the album "Midnite Vultures." It was upbeat and funky. This concert happened about a year after that release, but Beck was still promoting it, still fully in that musical mode.

The BBC often edits concerts down, and they must have edited the heck out of this one. In addition to cutting out some songs, I'll bet they cut out the banter between songs, because there's virtually none of that here.

Despite that, it's still one of the better concert recordings from the "Midnite Vultures" tour, due to the sound quality. There are surprisingly few soundboard or radio broadcast concert bootlegs for Beck.

This album is 45 minutes long.

01 Broken Train (Beck)
02 The New Pollution (Beck)
03 Mixed Bizness (Beck)
04 Debra - Nicotine and Gravy (Beck)
05 Peaches and Cream (Beck)
06 Tropicalia (Beck)
07 Jack-Ass (Beck)
08 Devil's Haircut (Beck)
09 Salt in the Wound (Beck)
10 Where It's At (Beck)

The cover photo was taken at the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington, in June 2000.

The Moody Blues - BBC Sessions, Volume 6: In Concert, Wembley Arena, London, Britain, 11-29-1984

After posting five albums of the Moody Blues performing for the BBC, I thought I was all done with that. But it turns out I was wrong. I've found two unreleased BBC concerts that band did in the 1980s. They're different enough that I'm going to post both.

When it comes to concerts, the BBC has a habit of editing them down to fit the time slots they have available. That's the case here. If you're curious, you can see the full set list here:

The Moody Blues Concert Setlist at Wembley Arena, London on November 29, 1984 |

Furthermore, the BBC jumbled up the song order. For instance, "Question" is in the middle of this recording, but it was actually the second to last song played. I considered trying to put the songs back in order, but I decided it would be too tricky to be worth it, given the problem of matching the applause levels after each song.

On the plus side, due to the BBC's editing, this concert focuses almost entirely on the band's best known songs, making for a particularly strong concert.

This concert is an hour and five minutes long.

01 Gemini Dream (Moody Blues)
02 talk (Moody Blues)
03 Sitting at the Wheel (Moody Blues)
04 talk (Moody Blues)
05 Tuesday Afternoon (Moody Blues)
06 Isn't Life Strange (Moody Blues)
07 The Voice (Moody Blues)
08 Question (Moody Blues)
09 I’m Just a Singer [In a Rock and Roll Band] (Moody Blues)
10 Driftwood (Moody Blues)
11 talk (Moody Blues)
12 Steppin' in a Slide Zone (Moody Blues)
13 Talking Out of Turn (Moody Blues)
14 The Story in Your Eyes (Moody Blues)
15 Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues)
16 Ride My See-Saw (Moody Blues)

This cover photo only shows the band's main singer and songwriter, Justin Hayward. I would have preferred a photo of the whole band, but this was the one and only photo I could find that came from this exact concert.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark - Acoustic Version (1974)

Joni Mitchell's five studio albums from 1968 to 1972 were basically solo acoustic, with only occasional additional instruments added in. But her 1974 album "Court and Spark" was much more of a full-band recording, as she moved into a jazzier direction. The public responded very positively. It sold over two million copies in the U.S., making it her best selling album of her entire career.

There's no doubt that "Court and Spark" is a classic album that's great exactly how it is. But what if she'd recorded it in the solo acoustic mode of all her previous albums? If nothing else, that would make for a nice alternate listen from time to time. In October 2023, the rarities box set "Archives, Volume 3" was released. I realized that contained solo (or almost solo) acoustic demos of nearly every song from the album. So I resolved to try to make an alternate acoustic version out of that material.

I mostly succeeded. The only major problem I faced was that there was no alternate version of "Free Man in Paris" to use. So I used the album version. However, that has a full band on it. So, using the audio editing program UVR5, I removed the drums and bass, making a unique acoustic mix. Also, the songs "Down on You," "Car on a Hill," and "Same Situation" were all part of a medley. I did more editing to separate them out, so I could have every song here in the exact same order as the official album.

There are some prominent drums on the last song, "Twisted." But that's a very stripped down version, with drums being the main instrument aside from her voice. So I figure that's acoustic in nature, and I kept it that way.

This album is 37 minutes long. The original album is also 37 minutes long.

01 Court and Spark [Demo] (Joni Mitchell)
02 Help Me [Demo] (Joni Mitchell)
03 Free Man in Paris [Acoustic Mix] (Joni Mitchell)
04 People's Parties [Demo] (Joni Mitchell)
05 Same Situation [Alternate Vocal Piano Mix] (Joni Mitchell)
06 Car on a Hill [Demo] (Joni Mitchell)
07 Down to You [Early Alternate Take] (Joni Mitchell)
08 Just like This Train [Demo] (Joni Mitchell)
09 Raised on Robbery [Demo] (Joni Mitchell)
10 Trouble Child [Demo] (Joni Mitchell)
11 Twisted [Early Alternate Version] (Joni Mitchell)

Since this is an alternate album, I wanted to make a cover similar to the original album cover, but somewhat different. So I used Mitchell's drawing, but enlarged it so it filled most of the cover. Then I rearranged her written words, and added the word "Acoustic."

Kirsty MacColl - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1981-1994

One month ago as I write this in November 2023, a Kirsty MacColl box set called "See That Girl" was released. It was a big one, consisting of eight CDs. I'm going to have to make some minor changes to a bunch of her albums I've posted here due to newly released songs on that.

Thanks to that box set, I feel this is a good time to post all her BBC material. It turns out that two concerts I've already posted were broadcast by the BBC, so I'm renaming them as Volume 2 and 4 in this series. That leaves this one and Volume 3 for all the BBC studio sessions.

In 2003, a compilation album of BBC studio sessions was released, called "What Do Pretty Girls Do." That's pretty much made obsolete by the box set. However, there are a few performances on that album that didn't make it to the box set. Most songs here are from the box set, but three are from "What Do Pretty Girls Do." In addition, one song here, "Soho Square," was done on a BBC TV show but was somehow overlooked by both of those albums.

This album is 50 minutes long.

01 I Don't Wanna Play House (Kirsty MacColl)
02 Queen of the High Teas (Kirsty MacColl)
03 You Can Have My Husband (Kirsty MacColl)
04 Don't Come the Cowboy with Me (Kirsty MacColl)
05 What Do Pretty Girls Do (Kirsty MacColl)
06 Don't Run Away from Me Now (Kirsty MacColl)
07 Still Life (Kirsty MacColl)
08 A New England (Kirsty MacColl & Billy Bragg)
09 There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis (Kirsty MacColl)
10 Walk Right Back (Kirsty MacColl)
11 Darling, Let's Have Another Baby (Kirsty MacColl & Billy Bragg)
12 Soho Square (Kirsty MacColl)
13 Angel (Kirsty MacColl)
14 My Affair (Kirsty MacColl)
15 Bad (Kirsty MacColl)

The cover is a publicity photo from 1981.

The Who - Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA, 12-13-1971

Perhaps I shouldn't post this album, because the entire thing has been officially released. But I feel it needs a lot more exposure. A recording of this concert has been kind of a holy grail for serious Who fans for many years, and for good reason. This shows the band at their absolute live peak.

The Who were great in 1971, a year that included the release of their classic album "Who's Next." However, it seems very little live music was professionally recorded, other than a concert at the Young Vic in London in April, and this. The Young Vic concert was released on a deluxe version of "Who's Next" back in 2003. But only a song or two from this concert was released here and there, until the whole thing finally came out in 2023 on a super deluxe edition. 

There was a bootleg of this concert available for decades, but the sound quality was so poor that it wasn't worth listening to, in my opinion. Now, we can finally hear what the anticipation was all above, and in my opinion it lives up to all the hype.

By the way, the super deluxe edition of "Who's Next" is no less than eight CDs long. Two of those CDs make up this concert. If you're a fan of the album, there's a lot more to enjoy from that massive edition.

This album is two hours and six minutes long.

01 talk (Who)
02 I Can't Explain (Who)
03 Substitute (Who)
04 talk (Who)
05 Summertime Blues (Who)
06 talk (Who)
07 My Wife (Who)
08 talk (Who)
09 Baba O'Riley (Who)
10 talk (Who)
11 Behind Blue Eyes (Who)
12 talk (Who)
13 Bargain (Who)
14 talk (Who)
15 Won't Get Fooled Again (Who)
16 talk (Who)
17 Baby Don't You Do It [Don't Do It] (Who)
18 talk (Who)
19 Overture [Instrumental] (Who)
20 Amazing Journey (Who)
21 Sparks [Instrumental] (Who)
22 Pinball Wizard (Who)
23 See Me, Feel Me (Who)
24 talk (Who)
25 My Generation (Who)
26 Naked Eye (Who)
27 Going Down (Who)
28 Magic Bus (Who)

The cover photo of lead guitarist Pete Townshend is from a concert at Cobo Hall, in Detroit, Michigan in July 1970. I picked it because I'm so impressed with Townshend's leaping ability.

Jellyfish - Ignorance Is Bliss - Non-Album Tracks (1992-1994)

The American band Jellyfish only released two studio albums in the short time they were together. I've released an album of stray tracks from the time period of the band's first album, "Bellybutton." This is an album of stray tracks from the time period of the band's second album, 1993's "Spilt Milk."

This album is possible due to the official box set "Fan Club." Nine of the 12 songs here were first released on that. A couple more - "Ignorance Is Bliss" and "Think about Your Troubles" - came out at the time on a movie soundtrack and tribute album respectively. That just leaves the cover of "I Can Hear the Grass Grow," originally by the Move. That's from a concert bootleg.

In my opinion, Jellyfish was a very impressive band. The vast majority of the songs here are originals (with a few exceptions, such as the last three songs), And yet this album of outtakes is better than the best of what most other bands could do at the time.

The band pretty much fell apart due to music and personal differences in 1994, and there were no reunions. All the songs except the last one are from 1992 or 1993. So there's no more Jellyfish after this era.

There is one bonus track, a cover of "Have You Never Been Mellow," originally done by Olivia Newton-John. It's an interesting, surprisingly rocking version, but unfortunately the sound quality is only good enough for bonus track status.

This album is 39 minutes long.

01 I Don't Believe You (Jellyfish)
02 Ignorance Is Bliss (Jellyfish)
03 I Need Love (Jellyfish)
04 Long Time Ago (Jellyfish)
05 Runnin' for Our Lives (Jellyfish)
06 I Can Hear the Grass Grow (Jellyfish)
07 Family Tree (Jellyfish)
08 Watchin' the Rain (Jellyfish)
09 Worthless Heart (Jellyfish)
10 S.O.S. (Jellyfish)
11 Eleanor Rigby (Jellyfish with Unicorn)
12 Think about Your Troubles (Jellyfish)

Have You Never Been Mellow [Edit] (Jellyfish)

The cover photo of the band was taken in 1993. I don't know any details of where or when exactly.

Marshall Crenshaw - The Human Jukebox, Volume 3: 1989-1992

Here's Volume 3 of my long series of Marshall Crenshaw cover versions albums. 

Once again, you can see why some have called "Crenshaw" "The Human Jukebox." On this album alone, he covers all his way from Judy Garland to Molly Hatchet! That includes some interesting rarities, such as two songs by country singer Webb Pierce: "Groovy Boogie Woogie Boy" and "I'm Walking the Dog."

The last four songs come from a special radio show where a group of musicians who largely had never played with each other before were given cover song requests by radio listeners. They did their best to play the songs if they felt they remembered it well enough. So keep in mind that Crenshaw was totally winging it on those songs. I think that shows just how deep his musical knowledge has been, to be able to do that.

All the performances are unreleased. The vast majority are from soundboards bootlegs of concerts or radio shows, but some songs do sound a bit rougher than the others.  

This album is 53 minutes long.

Here are the original artists for each song:

01 Rip It Up - Little Richard
02 I Can See for Miles - Who
03 Valerie - Richard Thompson
04 Someplace Where Love Can't Find Me - John Hiatt
05 Love's Made a Fool of You - Bobby Fuller Four
06 Twine Time - Alvin Cash & the Crawlers
07 Flirtin' with Disaster - Molly Hatchet
08 The KKK Took My Baby Away - Ramones
09 Have You Seen Her Face - Byrds
10 Groovy Boogie Woogie Boy - Webb Pierce
11 I'm Walking the Dog - Webb Pierce
12 Ask Me Why - Beatles
13 Just like a Woman - Bob Dylan
14 Havin' a Party - Sam Cooke
15 Splish Splash - Bobby Darin
16 The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Tokens
17 Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Judy Garland

And here's the usual song list:

01 Rip It Up (Marshall Crenshaw)
02 I Can See for Miles (Marshall Crenshaw)
03 Valerie (Marshall Crenshaw)
04 Someplace Where Love Can't Find Me (Marshall Crenshaw)
05 Love's Made a Fool of You (Marshall Crenshaw)
06 Twine Time [Instrumental] (Marshall Crenshaw)
07 Flirtin' with Disaster (Marshall Crenshaw)
08 The KKK Took My Baby Away (Marshall Crenshaw)
09 Have You Seen Her Face (Marshall Crenshaw)
10 Groovy Boogie Woogie Boy (Marshall Crenshaw)
11 I'm Walking the Dog (Marshall Crenshaw)
12 Ask Me Why (Marshall Crenshaw)
13 Just like a Woman (Marshall Crenshaw)
14 Havin' a Party (Marshall Crenshaw)
15 Splish Splash (Marshall Crenshaw)
16 The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Marshall Crenshaw)
17 Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Marshall Crenshaw)

The cover photo actually comes from Crenshaw's appearance in the 1986 movie "La Bamba," in which he portrayed Buddy Holly.

Electric Light Orchestra - BBC Sessions, Volume 1: 1973-1977

It's time I turn my attention to what the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) did for the BBC. I've found enough for four albums. Here's the first one.

There's an official album called "Live at the BBC." That's the source of the first six tracks. Those come from a BBC concert at the Paris Theatre, in London, Britain, on April 19, 1973. Note that Roy Wood had already left the band by this time.

But that concert was only 35 minutes long. I thought that was rather short, so I looked around to see if any other material could be added. It turns out ELO often lipsynced on TV show appearances, or sent in music videos instead. Truly live performances were rare. But one exception to that was the U.S. TV show "The Midnight Special." Tracks 7 and 8 are from a 1974 appearance on that show. Then tracks 9 through 12 are from another appearance. I could have included a few more songs, but I only chose ones that the band didn't do on other BBC appearances.

This album is one hour long.

01 From the Sun to the World (Electric Light Orchestra)
02 talk (Electric Light Orchestra)
03 Kuiama (Electric Light Orchestra)
04 talk (Electric Light Orchestra)
05 In the Hall of the Mountain King (Electric Light Orchestra)
06 Roll Over Beethoven (Electric Light Orchestra)
07 Can't Get It Out of My Head (Electric Light Orchestra)
08 Laredo Tornado (Electric Light Orchestra)
09 Livin' Thing (Electric Light Orchestra)
10 Do Ya (Electric Light Orchestra)
11 Telephone Line (Electric Light Orchestra)
12 Rockaria (Electric Light Orchestra)

The cover photo was taken at an ABC TV show in August 1973.