Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Jan Akkerman - Minstrel (1973)

Jan Akkerman was born on 24 December 1946 in Amsterdam, and is best known as being the guitarist with Dutch prog-rockers Focus, which he co-founded with Thijs van Leer. However, that wasn't his first gig, as he'd been playing in other local bands for some time. At age five he took guitar lessons, and his first single was released in 1960, when he was just thirteen years old. At eleven he was in the rock band Johnny And His Cellar Rockers with his friend Pierre van der Linden, and when he left he took Linden with him to join The Hunters. After seeing a performance by classical guitarist Julian Bream, he became interested in medieval music and learned to play the lute. In 1968 he started the band Brainbox with van der Linden, Kaz Lux, and Bert Ruiter, and in the same year he also recorded and released his fist solo album 'Talent For Sale'. In late 1969 he joined the Thijs van Leer Trio, which was the pit band for the Dutch theatrical production of Hair (recorded as an album in 1969), before they changed their name to Focus. Under this name the band explored progressive rock, with an amalgam of classical, jazz, and rock music, and had hits in the seventies with singles such as 'Hocus Pocus' and 'Sylvia'. In 1972 he released his second solo album 'Profile' on the legendary Harvest Records label, and solo and collaborative albums have appeared regularly ever since. 
This album collects together examples of his work with the all bands mentioned above, including a great cover of The Shadows' 'Blue Tango' from Johnny And His Cellar Rockers, some nice originals from The Hunters, and some nascent prog from Brainbox. There's also the two songs that he wrote for his 'Talent For Sale' album, and a couple of tracks from his 70's records 'Profile' and 'Tabernacle', both of which were released as singles in 1972/73. I've omitted anything from Focus as they are already well-known enough to need no introduction, but I have included his own take on their 'House Of The King' as it's a nice interpretation of the song. His latest album 'Close Beauty' has just been released to positive reviews, so if you like what you hear then check it out to see what he's up to now.  

Track listing

01 Exodus (Johnny And His Cellar Rockers 1961)   
02 Blue Tango (Johnny And His Cellar Rockers 1962)    
03 It Ain't Me Babe (The Hunters 1965)    
04 Russian Spy And I (The Hunters 1966)  
05 Janosh (And His Big White Poodle) (The Hunters 1966)    
06 Lost Money (The Hunters 1968) 
07 Strange Things Appear (The Hunters 1968)
08 Blues In G (The Hunters 1968)
09 Revival Of The Cat (Jan Akkerman 1968)
10 Moonbeam (Jan Akkerman 1968) 
11 Down Man (Brainbox 1969)
12 Sea Of Delight (Brainbox 1969)   
13 Summertime (Brainbox 1969)   
14 Minstrel/Farmers Dance (Jan Akkerman 1972) 
15 House Of The King (Jan Akkerman 1973)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 6 December 2019

Boards Of Canada - A Few Old Tunes (1996)

This is a second collection of early tunes from Boards Of Canada, which they compiled onto cassette tapes in the mid 90's and passed around family and friends, and very few original copies of the tapes are known to exist. One dealer claims to be close friends with a family member and has posted photos of his copies, while another owner spectacularly increased the value of his tape by destroying one of them in a Vine clip. There are a few others around, with one online commenter telling all about a second generation 'A Few Old Tunes' / 'Boc Maxima' rip he managed to get his hands on via Uni connections. These tracks have leaked online more than once, with a poor quality copy being the most common for some time, while a second rip has the best sound quality, but annoyingly it is only partial, missing the final seven tracks. This rip have been lovingly pieced together by the rareboc.ax.lt site, and they've done a cracking job, with these tracks now sounding as good as the previous 'Boc Maixma' album, and it's a great way to hear the nascent band developing their talents prior to recording their early albums. A couple of tracks feature samples, so 'Trapped' uses quite a lot of the Colonel Abrams song of the same name, and 'The Way You Show' incorporates a loop from Kool And The Gang's 'Celebration'. I hardly need mention that 'Blockbusters' samples the TV quiz show.

Track listing

01 Spectrum
02 Light, Clear Hair
03 P:C:
04 Trapped
05 Rodox Video
06 Happy Cycling
07 House Of Abin'adab
08 Finity
09 Forest Moon
10 Skimming Stones
11 Carcan
12 Devil
13 Mansel
14 She Is P
15 Davie Addison
16 Sac
17 Blockbusters
18 I Will Get It Tattooed
19 The Way You Show
20 I Love U
21 King Of Carnival
22 M9
23 Original Nlogax
24 Sequoia
25 Boqurant
26 5.9.78
27 Wendy Miller
28 Paul Russell's Piece
29 Up The March Bank
30 Nova Scotia Robots

Enjoy / Enjoy

Joan Baez - Girl Of Constant Sorrow (1962)

Although Joan Baez released her first album in 1960, that wasn't her first appearance on record. In 1958, after she'd graduated from high school, her father accepted a faculty position at MIT, and moved his family from the San Francisco area to Boston, Massachusetts. At that time, it was in the center of the up-and-coming folk-music scene, and Baez began performing near her home in Boston and nearby Cambridge, where she gave her first concert at the Club 47. When designing the poster for the performance, Baez considered changing her performing name to either Rachel Sandperl, the surname of her long-time mentor, Ira Sandperl, or Maria from the song 'They Call the Wind Maria', but she later opted against doing so, fearing that people would accuse her of changing her last name because it was Spanish. The audience at the gig consisted of her parents, her sister Mimi, her boyfriend, and a few friends, resulting in a total of eight patrons. A few months later, Baez and two other folk enthusiasts made plans to record an album in the cellar of a friend's house. The three sang solos and duets, and a family friend designed the album cover, which was released on Veritas Records that same year as 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square'. Baez later met Bob Gibson and Odetta, who were at the time two of the most prominent vocalists singing folk and gospel music, and she cites Odetta as a primary influence, along with Marian Anderson and Pete Seeger. Gibson invited Baez to perform with him at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival, where the two sang two duets, and it was this appearance that led to her signing with Vanguard Records and releasing her eponymous debut album the following year. This album showcases her solo and duet performances from the 'Folksinger...' album, as well as some previously unreleased songs from her first two album sessions, all of which show a supremely confident artist even at this early stage in her career. 

Track listing

01 Sail Away Ladies (from 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square' 1959) 
02 Lowlands (from 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square' 1959)
03 Kitty (from 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square', with Bill Wood 1959)
04 Virgin Mary (What You Gonna Call Your Pretty Little Baby) 
                                                                    (from 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square' 1959)
05 Girl Of Constant Sorrow (previously unreleased)
06 So Soon In The Morning (from 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square', with Bill Wood 1959)
07 I Once Loved A Boy (previously unreleased)
08 Careless Love (from 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square', with Bill Wood 1959)
09 On The Banks Of The Ohio (from 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square' 1959)
10 I Know You Rider (previously unreleased)
11 Poor Boy (previously unreleased)
12 Don't Weep After Me (from 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square', with Bill Wood & 
                                                                                                                    Ted Alevizos 1959)
13 Oh What A Beautiful City (from 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square' 1959)
14 Longest Train I Ever Saw (previously unreleased)
15 Black Is The Colour (from 'Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square' 1959)

Enjoy/ Enjoy

Gilbert O'Sullivan - No Matter How I Try (1973)

Raymond Edward O'Sullivan was born in Waterford, Ireland in 1946. He attended St. Joseph's and the Swindon College of Art, where he briefly played drums in a band called Rick's Blues, along with Malcolm Mabbett (guitar), Keith Ray (bass), and Rick Davies,who later founded Supertramp. In 1967, O'Sullivan was signed to a five-year contract with April Music after coming to the attention of the professional manager Stephen Shane, who also suggested changing his name from Ray to Gilbert, as a play on the name of the operetta composers Gilbert and Sullivan. With his advance of £12 he bought a piano, and the songs that he composed at this time were quite avant-garde, even drawing the interest of Vivian Stanshall and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, who were interested in recording a couple of them. After two unsuccessful singles with CBS, 'Disappear' and 'What Can I Do?', and one with the Irish record label Major Minor, 'Mr. Moody's Garden', he sent some demo tapes to Gordon Mills, the manager of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, whereupon he was signed to Mills' label, MAM Records. His self-created eye-catching visual image comprising a pudding basin haircut, cloth cap and short trousers was certainly memorable, and although Mills reportedly hated it, O'Sullivan insisted on using it initially, until he assumed a more modern 'college-like' look after his first album was released in 1971. 
At the end of 1970, he achieved his first UK Top 10 hit with 'Nothing Rhymed', and subsequent hits followed including 'Underneath The Blanket Go', 'We Will' and 'No Matter How I Try', the latter winning an Ivor Novello Award in 1972. The same year he reached international stardom with 'Alone Again (Naturally)', which reached No. 3 in UK and No. 1 in the US, and which still brings a lump to the throat if you really listen to the lyrics. O'Sullivan followed that with 'Clair', and this was the first time that I actively disliked one of his songs, feeling that he'd sold out for an easy buck with an overly-sentimental slushy ballad. However, I was in the minority on that, as it reached No. 2 in the US and No. 1 in the UK and Canada. 'Out Of The Question' was another top 20 hit on both sides of the Atlantic, before another one of my least favourite of his songs 'Get Down' once again hit No. 1. This was the only song that I wasn't keen on from the otherwise excellent 'I'm A Writer Not A Fighter' album, which also included the singles 'Friend Of Mine' and 'Ooh Baby'. Many of his early singles never appeared on his albums, and so this collection is very much a greatest hits, as well as a mopping up of his lost and forgotten songs. The cover is based on a picture from fineartamerica.com.

Track listing

01 Disappear (single 1967)
02 You (b-side of 'Disappear')
03 What Can I Do? (single 1968)
04 Mr Moody's Garden (single 1969)
05 Everybody Knows (b-side of 'Nothing Rhymed' 1970)
06 I Wish I Could Cry (single 1971)
07 No Matter How I Try (single 1971)
08 Underneath The Blanket Go (single 1971)
09 We Will (single 1971)
10 I Didn't Know What To Do (b-side of 'We Will')
11 Alone Again (Naturally) (single 1972)
12 Save It (b-side of 'Alone Again (Naturally)')
13 Ohh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Day (single 1972)
14 A Very Extraordinary Sort Of Girl (b-side of 'Get Down' 1973)
15 Good Company (b-side of 'Ooh, Baby' 1973)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Aretha Franklin - So Good (1971)

Like I discovered with my previous post, Aretha Franklin was taping extra tracks in her recording sessions as far back as the mid 60's, and so there were enough unissued songs from 1967 to 1970 to put together another album of unheard music. It's fleshed out with a couple of b-sides which never appeared on an album, but the rest of these tracks are a great mixture of soulful covers and original material. Once again, these are not just sub-standard cast-offs, but are of a quality which makes this a geat late 70's album from the Queen of Soul.    

Track listing

01 It Was You (previously unreleased 1967)
02 The Letter (previously unreleased 1967)
03 So Soon (previously unreleased 1967)
04 Mr. Big (previously unreleased 1968)
05 Talk To Me, Talk To Me (previously unreleased 1969)
06 Pledging My Love/The Clock (b-side of 'Share You Love With Me' 1969)
07 The Fool On The Hill (previously unreleased 1970)
08 You're Taking Up Another Man's Place (previously unreleased 1970)
09 You Keep Me Hangin' On (previously unreleased 1970)
10 I'm Trying To Overcome (previously unreleased 1970)
11 My Way (previously unreleased 1970)
12 Lean On Me (b-side of 'Spanish Harlem' 1971)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Hairy Amp Drooling (1999)

I love Godspeed You! Black Emperor, having been a fan since I first heard their stupendous 'Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada' EP in 1999, and when they played my hometown in 2011 they were the band that finally dragged me out of the house for my first music gig in 25 years - and they were just as good live as I could possibly have wanted them to be. Despite being around for 25 years there is very little rare material around, with just a split single with Fly Pan Am which was given away with Montreal aMAZEzine magazine in 1998, and a John Peel session from 1999. However, if they are going to have a rare album out there then they make sure that it's one of the most legendary rarities in music history. 'All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling' was a cassette tape released in December 1994, self-published by GY!BE themselves, and limited to only 33 copies. This very out-of-print cassette is the only released document of the earliest days of GY!BE, and to even call it a release is a stretch as only 33 were ever dubbed. At the time, the ‘band’ was comprised of Efrim Menuck and Mauro Pezzente only, and this cassette foretells where the current ensemble would ultimately go as regards seamless pieces interwoven with compelling field recordings, spoken-word pieces, and strange soundings from who knows where. The tape made an unexpected appearance on the net in 2013 with a thread on Reddit simply titled “Godspeed you black Emperor Question…”, where user Casketjack told us a story:
Okay, A little back story first. Sometime between 1990 and 1995 I was hanging out at this little place called Room 201 records in Moncton, New Brunswick. I always went there because I used to collect demo tapes from the local bands of every city I went to. Anyway, I was in there going through the tapes (Wow, Cassettes eh?) and I started talking to some guy, If I remember correctly he told me he wasn’t local but had a tape I should check out. I brought it home and listened to it, didn’t really like it, and stashed it away with all the other demos I had picked up. Fast forward to this week, I’m cleaning out my music room closet and I stumble across my bin of old demos. The tape I got from the guy in Moncton is sitting on top of the pile, I pull it out and decide to google the name. Anyway, this is it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Lights_Fucked_on_the_Hairy_Amp_Drooling. According to wikipedia, it was limited to 33 copies and no copies are known to still exist. This is kind of cool. Anyway, I guess I’m just looking for some advice, what would you guys do with it?
The thread caused a storm, with all the Redditors going absolutely crazy, begging Casketjack to rip the tape and distribute it on the net. Others questioned the authenticity of the claim, asking for more evidence, and so Casketjack uploaded images of the cassette and a music rip of the last two tracks of the first side, 'Random Luvly Moncton Blue(s)' and 'Dadmomdaddy'. However, the Internet Hate Machine turned on him, with many users labeling Casketjack as a troll, because he didn’t seem to understand the importance of the discovery. Casketjack eventually deleted his account, after explaining that he was considering selling the tape on eBay. Because the music on the tape cross-fades and segues, it's been suggested that instead of two tracks, Casketjack had actually uploaded four, 'Loose The Idiot Dogs', 'Diminishing Shine', 'Random Luvly Moncton Blue(s)', and 'Dadmomdaddy', so that's how I've split them out for this album.
For their 1999 John Peel session the nine-man collective recorded only one track, ‘Hung Over As The Oven In Maida Vale', which consisted of two movements from the upcoming 'Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven' album (Movement II of 'Sleep' – 'Monheim' and Movement III of 'Static' – 'Chart #3') and one unreleased movement entitled 'Steve Reich' (named after the composer of the same name.) All three movements were segued into one long track that clocks in at just under 20 minutes.
To close this album I've added a 1999 live recording of my favourite piece of theirs, 'Blaze Bailey Finnegan III' from the 'Slow Riot...' EP. I'm sure that fans of the band will find this a fascinating collection of rare and early music (which I've named in honour of the 1994 cassette), but I also hope that people who are not familiar with their work will start here, and after some exploration of their discography, will come to love the band as much as I do. For an in depth analysis of the 1994 cassette then look here.

Track listing

01 Sunshine + Gasoline (split 7" given away with aMAZEzine 1998)
02 Hung Over As The Oven In Maida Vale (John Peel session 1999)
03 Loose The Idiot Dogs (from 'All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling' 1994)
04 Diminishing Shine (from 'All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling' 1994)
05 Random Luvly Moncton Blue(s) (from 'All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling' 1994)
06 Dadmomdaddy (from 'All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling' 1994)
07 Blaise Bailey Finnegan III (live at Cat's Cradle 1999)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 29 November 2019

Yes - The Psychedelic Years (1969)

In September 1967, Chris Squire joined Mabel Greer's Toyshop, a psychedelic group that included Peter Banks, singer Clive Bayley and drummer Bob Hagger. They played at the Marquee club where Jack Barrie, owner of the La Chasse drinking club a few doors down, saw them perform, and was impressed with their musicianship. One evening at La Chasse, Barrie introduced Squire to Jon Anderson, a worker at the bar who had sung with The Gun and also released a few solo singles, but with little success. The two found they shared common musical interests including Simon & Garfunkel, The Association and vocal harmonies,and in the following days they developed 'Sweetness', a track later recorded for the first Yes album. As the band developed, Anderson and Squire brought in drummer Bill Bruford, keyboardist Tony Kaye and Banks for rehearsals, eventually deciding to drop the name Mabel Greer's Toyshop.

After Tony Kaye joined Winston's Fumbs they recorded their one and only single 'Real Crazy Apartment', and shortly after that came out Kaye was invited to attend rehearsals with members of Mabel Greer's Toyshop, a London-based psychedelic rock band, who were forming a new, full-time group. He was approached by bassist Chris Squire after singer Jon Anderson had met Kaye some time before and suggested him, and after a successful audition, he joined Squire and Anderson in the new band.

When Peter Banks left The Syndicats he formed a new band with ex-The Selfs bassist Chris Squire, calling themselves The Syn. They were joined by keyboardist Andrew Pryce Jackman, Steve Nardelli on vocals and Gunnar Jökull Hákonarson on drums, and they recorded two singles, 'Created by Clive'/'Grounded' and 'Flowerman'/'14 Hour Technicolour Dream', in 1967 before calling it a day a year later. Squire meanwhile joined friends Clive Bayley (rhythm guitar) and Bob Hagger (drums) in Mabel Greer's Toyshop, and Banks came to join them, although he briefly left to play with the band Neat Change on their sole single 'I Lied to Aunty May'. Banks then returned to Mabel Greer's Toyshop, and with the loss of Bayley and the addition of organist/pianist Tony Kaye, they started to write new music together, adding to a repertoire which already included Squire/Bayley's 'Beyond And Before' and Anderson/Squire/Bayley's 'Sweetness'.

Meanwhile, Steve Howe's band The In-Crowd had renamed themselves Tomorrow and adopted a psychedelic rock sound, writing more original songs and changing their stage clothes. In 1967, they released two singles, the classic 'My White Bicycle', and it's follow-up 'Revolution, the latter co-written by Howe. During the recording of a new single with producer Mark Wirtz, Howe was asked by Wirtz to record some guitar as a session musician, which he eagerly accepted, and the session led to him recording a selection of singles for EMI, which included his first song 'Mothballs', also known as 'So Bad'. He played guitar on Keith West's single 'Excerpt From A Teenage Opera', which went to No. 2 in the UK, and Howe and his Tomorrow bandmates also took part in a pie fight scene in 1967's satirical comedy film 'Smashing Time'. After Tomorrow split in 1967, Howe played on several songs by their singer Keith West, and by 1968, with his reputation as a guitarist on the rise, he was invited to join Bodast, a trio who went by the name of Canto for a short period. They signed a record deal with Tetragrammaton Records and put down a selection of songs in 1969 at Trident Studios for an album with West as producer, but the label went out of business shortly before its release. After Bodast split, Howe auditioned for The Nice as a potential new member, but decided it wasn't for him, and left the next day, being offered an audition with Jethro Tull, which he failed to attend when he learned the guitarist they wanted would not contribute to the songwriting. He also had a try out with Atomic Rooster while Carl Palmer was a member, but that didn't gel, and so in 1970 he toured as a member of American soul singer P. P. Arnold's backing band, alongside future members of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke, and in April of that year he was approached by Yes to replace the recently-departed Peter Banks. 

When Jon Anderson returned to London a year after the Warriors split up in Germany in 1967, he met Jack Barrie, owner of the La Chasse drinking club in Soho, who had befriended the rest of the Warriors after they had relocated to the city. With no money or accommodation, Barrie allowed Anderson and ex-Warrior Brian Chatton to stay with him, and Anderson helped out by working at La Chasse. During this time he got talking to Paul Korda, a producer for EMI Records, who took him on to sing several demos, and after that he travelled to the Netherlands to join Les Crunches, a band he had met in London. On hearing that some of his demos were to be released as singles by Parlophone Records under the pseudonym Hans Christian, he promptly returned to England, but despite positive reviews in the press neither was successful. In May 1968, Barrie introduced Anderson to Chris Squire, bassist of the London-based rock band Mabel Greer's Toyshop, which had previously included guitarist Peter Banks, and as the two talked they found they shared common musical interests such as Simon & Garfunkel and the idea of vocal harmonies. After some gigs as lead singer in Mabel Greer's Toyshop the members started talking of forming a new band, and in June 1968 they hired Bill Bruford to replace founding drummer Robert Hagger.

William Scott Bruford was born on 17 May 1949 in Sevenoaks, Kent, and decided to take up drumming at the age of thirteen after watching American jazz drummers on the BBC2 jazz TV series, Jazz 625. He cites Max Roach, Joe Morello, Art Blakey, and Ginger Baker as his favourite and most influential drummers as a youngster, and after his sister bought him a pair of drum brushes as a birthday present he gradually built a full drum kit. During his time at boarding school he befriended several fellow jazz fans, and they performed as a four-piece named The Breed from 1966 to 1967 until he was no longer able to attend all their gigs. In 1968 he auditioned for a place in The Savoy Brown Blues Band, but only lasted three gigs as he messed with the beat, and so he joined psychedelic rock band Paper Blitz Tissue in time to record their only single 'Boy Meets Girl'. After he left that band he settled into a flat in north London and placed an advertisement for drum work in the Melody Maker, which was spotted by Jon Anderson, then a member of Mabel Greer's Toyshop. Following a meeting with the rest of the band, Anderson was so impressed with Bruford that he invited him to play with the band that very evening at the Rachel McMillan College in Deptford. Following the gig, Bruford had several offers to join soul bands but chose to remain with Anderson and Squire, who took charge in forming a new band with Peter Banks and Tony Kaye.

After dropping the name Mabel Greer's Toyshop they settled on Yes as the new name, and everything was now in place for the newly-christened band to rehearse, and to start writing material for their first album, destined to become the starting point for a long and illustrious career for all the current and subsequent members. Rick Wakeman joined in 1971, and so is outside the scope of these collections, even though I stretched it slightly to include Steve Howe, who was not actually a founding member of the band, but did join just after their first album had been released. In 1981 Howe obtained the recordings of the songs taped for the Bodast album, and remixed and released them himself, but for these compilations I've just used tracks where he was involved in the songwriting as well as playing on the song, otherwise half the album would be Bodast tracks. If nothing else, these four albums show that every member of Yes had paid their dues over the years, slogging away in various moderately successful or unappreciated bands, and so fully deserved the success and acclaim then they eventually achieved.  

Track listing

Winston's Fumbs (Tony Kaye)
01 Real Crazy Apartment (single 1967)

The Syn (Chris Squire, Peter Banks)
02 Created By Clive (single 1967)
03 Grounded (b-side of 'Created By Clive')

Tomorrow (Steve Howe)
04 My White Bicycle (single 1967)
05 Claramont Lake (b-side of 'My White Bicycle')

Paper Blitz Tissue (Bill Bruford)
06 Boy Meets Girl (single 1967)

Hans Christian (Jon Anderson)
07 Never My Love (single 1968)
08 All Of The Time (b-side of 'Never My Love')

Mabel Greer's Toyshop (Chris Squire, Peter Banks)
09 Beyond And Before (demo 1968)
10 Get Yourself Together (demo 1968)
11 Jeanetta (demo 1968)

Canto (Steve Howe)
12 The Spanish Song (recorded 1968)

Bodast (Steve Howe)
13 Nether Street (recorded 1969)
14 Beyond Winter (recorded 1969)

Neat Change (Peter Banks)
15 I Lied To Aunty May (single 1968)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Track listing

Winston's Fumbs (Tony Kaye)
01 Snow White (b-side of 'Real Crazy Apartment' 1967)

The Syn (Chris Squire, Peter Banks)
02 Flowerman (single 1967)
03 14 Hour Technicolour Dream (b-side of 'Flowerman')

Tomorrow (Steve Howe)
04 Revolution (single 1967)
05 Three Jolly Little Dwarfs (b-side of 'Revolution')

Paper Blitz Tissue (Bill Bruford)
06 Grey Man (b-side of 'Boy Meets Girl' 1967)

Hans Christian (Jon Anderson)
07 (The Autobiography Of) Mississippi Hobo (single 1968)
08 Sonata Of Love (b-side of '(The Autobiography Of) Mississippi Hobo')

Mabel Greer's Toyshop (Chris Squire, Peter Banks)
09 Images Of You And Me (demo 1968)
10 Electric Funeral (demo 1968)

Canto (Steve Howe)
11 Power Of Music (recorded 1968)

Bodast (Steve Howe)
12 Tired Towers (recorded 1969)
13 Nothing To Cry For (recorded 1969)

Neat Change (Peter Banks)
14 Sandman (b-side of 'I Lied To Auntie May' 1968)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Yes - The Beat Years (1966)

Anthony John Selvidge (Kaye) was born on 11 January 1945 in Leicester, and at a very young age was left his grandmother's grand piano, which he played on when he was little. At age four, Kaye began formal piano lessons, and took part in his first concerts at twelve in solo and duet piano performances. His aim was to study at the Royal College of Music in London and become a concert pianist, but he developed an interest in other music once he heard jazz musicians Count Basie and Duke Ellington. By the early 1960s, Kaye had abandoned his classical background in favour of pop and rock music, and after moving to London, he used to visit The Marquee club to watch bands play, including keyboardist Graham Bond whose style became a strong influence. Kaye landed a position in The Federals through an advertisement in Melody Maker and played on their singles recorded between 1963 and 1967, mainly in a covers and comedy showband style, and after passing through Yellow Passion Loaf and Johnny Taylor's Star Combo, he joined Jimmy Winston in Winston's Fumbs. 

Christopher Russell Edward Squire was born on 4 March 1948 in Kingsbury, north west London, and from the age of six his only musical experience was singing in a church choir. He didn't consider a music career until the age of sixteen, when the emergence of the Beatles and the Beat music boom in the early 1960's inspired him to "be in a group that don't use music stands". A school friend recommended Squire to take up the bass after pointing out his tall frame and large hands, thinking they were ideal for playing the instrument, so Squire purchased his first bass. After being suspended from school for having long hair, he never returned, and landed a job selling guitars at a Boosey & Hawkes shop in Regent Street, where he used the staff discount to purchase a new Rickenbacker bass. Squire's first band was The Selfs, a rock and rhythm and blues band that featured Andrew Pryce Jackman on keyboards and Martin Adelman on drums. In 1965, following several personnel changes, Squire, Jackman and Adelman teamed up with singer Steve Nardelli, guitarist John Painter, and drummer Gunnar Jökull Hákonarson to form a new group, the Syn. 

Peter William Brockbanks (Banks) was born on 15 July 1947, and grew up in Barnet, North London, learning to play the  acoustic guitar and banjo as a teenager. His musical career started with the Nighthawks in 1963, and he played his first concert at the New Barnet Pop Festival before leaving them to join the Devil's Disciples in 1964. That band consisted of Banks on guitar, John Tite on vocals, Ray Alford on bass and Malcolm "Pinnie" Raye on drums, and they recorded two songs on an acetate, Arthur Alexander's 'You Better Move On' and Graham Gouldman's 'For Your Love' (which would later be a hit for the Yardbirds). About a year later, Banks joined The Syndicats, replacing their guitarist Ray Fenwick, who had himself replaced Steve Howe, who would later replace Banks in Yes.

Stephen James Howe was born on 8 April 1947 in Holloway, North London, and was exposed to a wide variety of music during his childhood by way of his parents record collection. After he left primary school, he wanted to become a guitarist, and so his parents bought an F-hole acoustic at age 12 as a Christmas present. Two years later he bought a solid body Guyatone, his first electric guitar, which was followed with a Gibson ES-175D in 1964, one of the guitars that he would became most identified with. Later that year he became a member of his first professional band, the north London-based r'n'b group The Syndicats, who were produced by Joe Meek. The band recorded three singles, and the b-side of one of them, 'True To Me', was Howe's first co-writing credit with the band's singer Tom Ladd. In 1965, he left the band and accepted an invitation to join The In-Crowd, a soul and covers band who released a rendition of Otis Redding's 'That's How Strong My Love Is', which just missed the UK Top 40.

John Roy Anderson was born on 25 October 1944 in Accrington, Lancashire, and as a youngster he became a fan of several musicians, including Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, The Everly Brothers, and Jon Hendricks. He attended St. John's School, but was not a strong academic, and while there he made a tentative start in a musical career, playing the washboard in Little John's Skiffle Group. At fifteen he left school, and had no particular desire to become a singer until his brother Tony took up singing and joined the Warriors, a local group also known as the Electric Warriors. After one of the backing vocalists left the group, Anderson filled in the position, and found music more enjoyable and a better choice for money than manual labour. The group performed mainly cover songs, and recorded two singles in 1965, 'You Came Along' and 'Don't Make Me Blue'. After the Warriors split in Germany in late 1967, the band returned to England while Anderson stayed behind, briefly singing in the Party, a band from Bolton who were playing in Germany.

Track listing

The Federals (Tony Kaye)
01 Boot Hill (single 1963)
02 Keep On Dancing With Me (b-side of 'Boot Hill')
03 Brazil (single 1963)
04 In A Persian Market (b-side of 'Brazil')
05 Marlena (single 1964)
06 Please Believe Me (b-side of 'Marlena')

The Selfs (Chris Squire)
07 I Can't Explain (demo 1964)

The Devil's Disciples (Peter Banks)
08 You Better Move On (single 1964)

The Syndicats (Steve Howe, Peter Banks)
09 Maybelline (single 1964)
10 True To Me (b-side of 'Maybelline')
11 On The Horizon (single 1965)

The Warriors (Jon Anderson)
12 You Came Along (single 1965)

The In Crowd (Steve Howe)
13 Stop! Wait A Minute (single 1965)
14 You're On Your Own (b-side of 'Stop! Wait A Minute')
15 Why Must They Criticide (single 1965)
16 I Don't Mind (b-side of 'Why Must They Criticise')

Enjoy / Enjoy

Track listing

The Federals (Tony Kaye)
01 Twlight Time (single 1964)
02 Lost And Alone (b-side of 'Twilight Time')
03 The Climb (single 1964)
04 Dance With A Dolly (b-side of 'The Climb')
05 Bucket Full Of Love (single 1965)
06 Leah (b-side of 'Bucket Full Of Love')

The Selfs (Chris Squire)
07 Love You (demo 1964)

The Devil's Disciples (Peter Banks)
08 For Your Love (b-side of 'You Better Move On' 1964)

The Syndicats (Steve Howe, Peter Banks)
09 Crawdaddy Simone (b-side of 'On The Horizon' 1965)
10 Howlin' For My Baby (single 1965)
11 What To Do (b-side of 'Howlin' For My Baby')

The Warriors (Jon Anderson)
12 Don't Make Me Blue (b-side of 'You Came Along' 1965)

The In Crowd (Steve Howe)
13 That's How Strong My Love Is (single 1965)
14 Things She Says (b-side of 'That's How Strong My Love Is')
15 Am I Glad To See You (previously unreleased 1966)
16 Blow Up (previously unreleased 1966) 

Enjoy / Enjoy

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

The Rutles - The Shite Album (2017)

Well, this is embarrassing. I posted this album almost a year ago to the day, and it wasn't until today that it was pointed out to me that one of Neil's best songs, 'Godfrey Daniel', did not appear anywhere in The Rutles discography. The track listing for 'The Shite Album' on the band's wiki page has the song as third from the end on side four, so I've now restored it to it's rightful place, and updated the links. I can only assume that it went the way of 'Living In Hope' way back when I first posted the album, as it was on there to start with and then somehow got deleted, but it's now back where it belongs. If you want to just download the song and slot it in yourself then there's a link for that as well.  

Track listing

Disc One

01 We've Arrived! (And To Prove It We're Here) 
02 Let's Be Natural 
03 Unfinished Words 
04 Mr. Eurovision Song Contest Man 
05 My Little Ukelele
06 Hey Mister!
07 Jollity Farm
08 Dream On
09 I Give Myself To You

10 Another Day
11 Bad Blood
12 Rutleution 2
13 Living In Hope
14 How's Your Father    
15 Labio Dental Fricative
16 Mother  

Disc Two

01 Sausages  
02 Short Blues  
03 Quiet Talks & Summer Walks 
04 Don't Know Why 
05 We Are Normal  
06 Highs And Lows 

07 Paper-Round
08 Tent
09 Sugar Cube 1967
10 11 Mustachioed Daughters
11 Godfrey Daniel
12 Evolution Number Ten
13 Scarlet Ribbons


Disc One

* The Rutles - 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 12, 13
* Nel Innes - 4, 8, 9, 16
* Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - 7, 11
* Patto - 14
* Vivian Stanshall/Neil Innes - 15

Disc Two

* The Rutles - 4, 12
* The Flames - 6
* Neil Innes - 11
* Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band - 3, 5, 8, 10, 13
* Patto - 1, 9
* Vivian Stnashall/Neil Innes - 7
* GRIMMS - 2

Godfrey Daniel


Tuesday, 26 November 2019

The Doors - L.A. Woman Sessions (1971)

This album features seven alternative versions of songs from the Doors' 1971 album 'LA Woman', plus a never-before-heard song 'She Smells So Nice', which captures the band joyfully barreling through a full-throttle original before segueing into the blues standard 'Rock Me'. As the song closes, Jim Morrison can be heard chanting 'Mr. Mojo Risin' (an anagram of his name that was made famous during the bridge of 'L.A. Woman'). The track was recently discovered by producer Bruce Botnick while reviewing the L.A. Woman session tapes. Dave Horn reviewed it on Amazon, and it's worth hearing his view on it:
This one isn't just another reissue of the well known album but also one for the discerning Doors fans and collectors, featuring as it does different versions of 7 of the 10 tunes plus the unissued 'She Smells So Nice'/'Rock me Baby', all recorded in The Doors Workshop at the time of the 'LA Woman' sessions. The quality of the alternative versions is, as one would expect, excellent of course and I'm surprised that they have never appeared before. Enough has been said about the original album so I'll concentrate here on the alternative versions. I haven't actually compared any of them to the originals, merely listened to the unreleased ones and said what comes to mind, but I can say with certainty that most of the alternate versions are less polished than those used on the album and, indeed, sound at times like demos rather than alternate takes or versions. 'The Changeling', which Jim tells the band is his favourite number, is longer at nearly 5 minutes and powers along at around the same speed as the album version but with a different keyboard riff. It is, perhaps, more powerful and certainly bluesier with more raucous lead guitar. 'Love Her Madly' features a lazier Morrison vocal with different lyrics and a totally different keyboard section in the middle. 'Been Down So Long' is probably the least different alternative, much the same as the album version apart from being a bit rougher and longer. 
The slow, dirty, blues of 'Cars Hiss By My Window' seems to feature somewhat more prominent guitar than the LP version and is 30 seconds longer. 'LA Woman' meanwhile features different lead guitar riffs and a weird bit of extra vocalising brings it to a sudden end at 8.45. 'The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)' features different lyrics and is 1.20 longer than the album version but this comprises a cacophony of jazzy guitar and drums with no discernible tune. Clocking in at 2 minutes longer than the original, 'Riders on the Storm' could have been the jewel in the crown here, were it not for the fact that the extra time is occupied by a throw away Morrison ditty, false start and chat occupying the first 2 minutes plus a somewhat flat Morrison vocal, especially evident at the start of the tune proper. Finally, music-wise, you get the addition of an actual unreleased song 'She Smells So Nice', which morphs into 'Rock Me', but both are pretty much filler and it`s no wonder they were not used on the 'LA Woman' album proper. One further song is reputed to have been recorded at these sessions, but 'Paris Blues' is only known to exist on a cassette tape that was originally in Ray Manzarek's possession, but somehow, over time, the cassette was inadvertently recorded over in parts by his son Pablo. Efforts are apparently being made to repair/restore it, with a view to adding it to a future box set, but as there isn't even a copy of the damaged tape online, we'll just have to bide our time and wait to hear it. I usually edit out the studio chatter on albums like this, but as it's The Doors I thought that I'd leave it in, although I have also included an edited version in case you only want to hear the chatter the once.

Track listing

01 The Changling
02 Love Her Madly
03 Cars Hiss By My Window
04 LA Woman
05 The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)
06 Been Down So Long
07 Riders On The Storm
08 She Smells So Nice >
09 Rock Me