Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Pet Shop Boys - Seize The Opportunity (1983)

While Neil Tennant was working for ITV Books (shortly before starting his tenure at Smash Hits) and Chris Lowe had an apprenticeship in architecture, they struck up a conversation about musicians and synthesizers in a London hi-fi shop on King's Road in 1981. After going their separate ways from the hi-fi shop, they kept in touch and soon became friends and musical collaborators, writing songs together in Tennant's apartment on his synthesizer. Although in general they had different musical tastes, they found they shared a passion for Euro-disco and hi-NRG music, and a fondness in particular for the American dance producer Bobby 'O' Orlando. In 1982 they made their first demo tape in a studio they rented for £6 per hour, and deciding that their duo needed a name, they tentatively decided to call themselves West End. In the summer of 1983, Smash Hits assigned Tennant the task of traveling to New York City to review a Police concert and to interview Sting. As it happened, the building in which he was scheduled to meet Sting was the same building in which Bobby O had his offices, so he arranged to meet Bobby O, which was not a particularly difficult thing to do considering his credentials as a British pop music journalist. 
Tennant and Bobby O wound up having lunch together, and during the course of their conversation, Tennant mentioned that he was a member of a songwriting duo interested in making music somewhat influenced by Bobby O himself. The producer immediately agreed to get involved, without having heard a single song or demo tape, so Tennant returned to London to file his articles with Smash Hits, and a few weeks later he was back in New York, this time accompanied by Lowe, and with Bobby O producing they recorded several of their newer songs, including 'West End Girls', 'Opportunities', and 'One More Chance'. It was also apparently around this time that Tennant and Lowe decided to change the name of their duo to Pet Shop Boys. Although these initial recordings with Bobby O achieved only limited success, it was enough to get the band noticed, and two years later a re-arrangement and re-recording of 'West End Girls' launched their career. Only a few of the Bobby O recordings ever made it to official release, as b-sides to early singles, although most of the others were eventually re-recorded for the 'Please' and 'Actually' albums. Some of the songs on the bootleg of these sessions have since been proved to have been recorded the previous year at Ray Robert's London studio, and so this album consists of just the Bobby O demos, including the extremely rare 'Pet Shops Boys' song, which I don't believe has ever been included on any of their anthology releases.  



Track listing

01 West End Girls
02 Pet Shop Boys
03 Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)
04 I Get Excited
05 One More Chance
06 Rent
07 Two Divided By Zero 
08 A Man Could Get Arrested
09 I Want A Lover
10 Later Tonight
11 That's My Impression
12 It's A Sin 

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 26 June 2020

Jeff Beck - ...and on guitar (1977)

Geoffrey Arnold Beck was born on 24 June 1944, and as a teenager he learned to play on a borrowed guitar, while making several attempts to build his own instrument. While still attending Wimbledon College of Art, he was playing in a succession of groups, including Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages during 1962, when they recorded 'Dracula's Daughter'/'Come Back Baby' for Oriole Records. In 1963, after Ian Stewart of The Rolling Stones introduced him to R&B, he formed the Nightshift, with whom he recorded a single, 'Stormy Monday'/'That's My Story', for the Piccadilly label. Other groups followed, including The Rumbles and The Tridents, and he acted as a session guitarist on a 1964 Parlophone single by the Fitz and Startz entitled 'I'm Not Running Away'. In March 1965, Beck was recruited by The Yardbirds to succeed Eric Clapton on the recommendation of fellow session musician (and original choice for the job) Jimmy Page. The Yardbirds recorded most of their Top 40 hits during Beck's short but significant 20-month tenure with the band, but he only appears on one of their albums, the legendary 'Roger The Engineer' in 1966. In June Page joined the Yardbirds, at first on bass and later on second lead guitar, but this dual lead-guitar line-up only lasted a short while, as Beck was fired during a US tour for being a consistent no-show. 
Now at a loose end, he recorded a couple of singles for Mickie Most, and then formed the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart on vocals, Ronnie Wood on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano and Aynsley Dunbar on drums. The group produced two superb albums for Columbia Records, 'Truth' in 1968, and 'Beck-Ola' the following year, and it was about this time that Beck started to collaborate with oher astists. In May 1969 The Jeff Beck Group recorded some songs with Donovan for his seventh studio album 'Barabajagal', and a slightly retitled 'Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love Is Hot)' / 'Trudi (Bed With Me)' made the UK Top Twenty. Some of the songs recorded at that session were held back, with 'Homesickness' eventually appearing on 1971's 'HMS Donovan', and most of the other tracks being added to the CD re-issue of 'Barabajagal'. Also in 1969, Beck and Stewart were visiting a US recording studio where Frank Zappa's protégés The GTOs were recording an album, and they were persuaded to join in. Beck added some guitar to a couple of tracks, and Stewart also sings on 'Shock Treatment'. 
In 1970 Vanilla Fudge recorded a couple of adverts for Coca Cola, which included Beck on guitar, probably because of his connection with Carmine Appice, who he would later form a group with. A couple of years later Stevie Wonder was recording his 'Talking Book' album, and invited a select group of musicians to help him out, including Ray Parker Jnr., David Sanborn, Buzz Feiten, and Beck. The agreement was that Beck would get involved in the sessions in return for Wonder writing him a song, which turned out to be the classic 'Superstition', which they wrote together. Originally, the plan was for Beck to release his version of the song first, with his newly formed power trio Beck, Bogert & Appice. However, due to the combination of the trio's debut album getting delayed and Motown CEO Berry Gordy's prediction that 'Superstition' would be a huge hit, Wonder released the song as the album's lead single months ahead of Beck's version. Oddly enough, despite Beck co-writing the song, he didn't play on Wonder's version, only appearing on 'Lookin' For Another Pure Love', where you can hear Wonder say 'Do it, Jeff' during the solo. 
Over the next couple of years Beck contributed his guitar to recordings by Pete Brown, prog-rockers Badger (formed by Tony Kaye after he left Yes), US singer/songwriter Michael Fennelly (ex The Millenium and Crabby Appleton), and British/African jazz-fusion band Zzebra. In 1975 he produced the debut album for British jazz-rockers Upp, playing uncredited guitar on it as well, and doing the same production/guitarist job on the follow-up 'This Way Upp' in 1976. That same year he was invited to play on Stanley Clarke's third solo album 'Journey To Love', and Clarke wrote 'Hello Jeff' for him as a showcase. In 1976 Beck played on Billy Preston's self-titled album, although his solo is somewhat diluted as Preston caries on singing over it, but his work on Narada Michael Walden's 'Saint And The Rascal' is just sublime. The album closes with the most obscure track here, where he played guitar on the 1977 album 'Dorian', by Kenneth Dorian Passante, a veteran of the glam-rock scene and pals with Jobriath, and who financed the album himself, roping in Beck along the way. If there's one thing Jeff Beck is known for its spanning the genres, and this album is no exception, so enjoy his pop, rock, prog, soul, jazz-rock, fusion, and glam-rock guest appearances from the early to mid 70's.    



Track listing

01 Homesickness (from 'HMS Donovan' by Donovan recorded 1969, released 1971)
02 Shock Treatment (from 'Permanent Damage' by The GTO's 1969)
03 Coca Cola Commercial (with Vanilla Fudge 1970)
04 Lookin' For Another Pure Love (from 'Talking Book' by Stevie Wonder 1972)
05 Spend My Nights In Armour (from 'Before Singing Lessons' by Pete Brown 1973)
06 Watch Yerself (from 'Lane Changer' by Michael Fennelly 1974)
07 White Lady (from 'White Lady' by Badger 1974)
08 Put A Light On Me (from 'Panic' by Zzebra 1975)
09 Get Down In The Dirt (from 'Upp' by Upp 1975)
10 Hello Jeff (from 'Journey To Love' by Stanley Clarke 1975)
11 Bad Case Of Ego (from 'Billy Preston' by Billy Preston 1976)
12 Saint And The Rascal (from 'Garden Of Love Light' by Narada Michael Walden 1976)
13 Destination Nowhere (from 'Dorian' by Dorian Passante 1977)

Enjoy / Enjoy

For Mac users: after the file is unzipped the folder will appear empty inside. Press command+shift+period (to show hidden files) and a grayed out folder '...and on guitar' will appear and the mp3s will be inside. Either drag those to another folder or rename the folder to 'and on guitar'. Press command+shift+period to once again hide the hidden files.

May Jailer - Sirens (2006)

Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, known by her stage name Lana Del Rey, was born on 21 June 1985 in New York City, and raised in Upstate New York. She returned to New York City in 2005 to begin her music career, and following numerous projects, including releasing her self-titled debut studio album, her breakthrough came after the viral success of her debut single 'Video Games' in 2011. Signing with Interscope and Polydor later that year, her major label debut was 'Born to Die' in 2012, and she continues to have a successful recording career today. But before that success she did in fact perform under a number of pseudonyms, such as Sparkle Jump Rope Queen and Lizzy Grant, and in 2006, under the name of May Jailer, she recorded an album called 'Sirens'. It's more of a demo, being just the singer and her acoustic guitar, and the songs are folky and fragile, and nothing at all like the synthesizer-heavy music on 'Born to Die', but they do have a certain charm to them. Only a few of these songs have actual titles, with the rest being given to them by fans after listening to the lyrics, but it's interesting that there is a song on her proper debut album entitled 'For K Part 2', which echoes one of the later tracks on this collection.  



Track listing

01 River Road (Next To Me)
02 My Momma
03 Bad Disease
04 Out With A Bang
05 Westbound 
06 Try Tonight
07 All You Need
08 I'm Indebted To You
09 Pretty Baby
10 Aviation
11 Find My Own Way
12 Pride
13 Birds Of A Feather
14 Drive By (For K, Part 1)
15 A Star For Nick

Suggested by 'The Greatest Albums You'll Never Hear' by Bruno MacDonald

Enjoy / Enjoy

Paris Youth Foundation - Missing The Mark (2020)

On my other blog amplifiedreview.blogspot.com I review a few indie albums every few months, and also pick out six bands that I've found online that I think are worth keeping an eye out for. The Little Indie blog is an invaluable reference point for these, which can then take you to Soundcloud, Youtube or Spotify to hear the music, and often the same bands keep turning up with a new song, but never get signed up to make an album. Before long there are enough songs scattered around online to make the album that they were striving for, and so when a group has released around a dozen songs and still don't look like ever getting an record deal, I'm going to do it for them and make the album, so that you can hear some of these criminally under-rated bands. The Paris Youth Foundation are a Liverpool five-piece who have been uploading songs to Soundcloud since around 2016, and they are all of a consistently high quality, so here is the album that they should have made.  



Track listing

01 If You Wanna
02 Losing Your Love
03 Lost Cause
04 Missing The Mark
05 London
06 The Off Button
07 Jessica
08 Look What You Started
09 Home Is Where The Heart Is
10 You Haven't Loved Until You've Lost
11 I Can't Keep Up With Your Love
12 Hold On To Your Heart

Enjoy / Enjoy


David Essex - That Takes Me Back (1969)

David Essex (born David Albert Cook in 1947) is a musician, singer-songwriter, and actor, well-known in the UK for a string of hit singles in the 70's, starring as Che in the stage production of 'Evita', and latterly appearing as Eddie Moon in 'Eastenders'. In the mid 1960's he joined a band called the Everons as the drummer, and also worked in a factory during that time. He later left the band, became a singer and renamed himself David Essex, and by the mid 60's he was recording with Decca Records, as well as working for other labels. Unfortunately, his first ten singles flopped, and, feeling discouraged, he switched to acting, working in small theatre productions, while earning a living driving trucks and cleaning windows. Things began to progress when he met theatre writer Derek Bowman, who became his manager, and they began working on refining his singing and acting techniques, and also encouraging him to take dance lessons. The hard work paid off and he was cast as Jesus in the original London cast of 'Godspell', with Jeremy Irons as John the Baptist. It was an incredible success and Essex won the Variety Club of Great Britain’s award for Most Promising Newcomer, and in 1971, age 24, Essex was a star of the stage and decided to set his sights on film. Having made his movie debut as an uncredited beatnik in ‘Smashing Time’, he had yet to do some noteworthy film acting, and his big break came with his starring roles in 'That’ll Be The Day' and 'Stardust'. Now wanting to rekindle his singing career, Essex hired producer Jeff Wayne from the US to help him obtain an edge that set him apart from the 1970's teen pop sound, and it worked, with the unconventional 'Rock On' becoming his first hit single in 1973, followed by the equally quirky 'Lamplight' later the same year. That was the beginning of a long and extremely successful career in music, film, TV, and on the stage, and to show that everyone had to start somewhere, this album collects together those early, unsuccessful singles, a brace of unreleased tracks, and a collaboration with Jeff Wayne as the band The Us from 1969. The style back then was predominantly soul/mod, but you can still recognise the distinctive voice, and some of these songs perhaps deserved to have made a dent in the charts of the time. 



Track listing 

01 And The Tears Came Tumbling Down (single 1965)
02 You Can't Stop Me From Loving You (b-side of 'And The Tears Came Tumbling Down')
03 Can't Nobody Love You (single 1965)
04 Baby I Don't Mind (b-side of 'Can't Nobody Love You')
05 Thigh High (single 1966)
06 De Boom Lay Boom (b-side of 'Thigh High')
07 She's Leaving Home (single 1967)
08 He's A Better Man Than Me (b-side of 'She's Leaving Home')
09 Love Story (single 1968)
10 Just For Tonight (single 1968)
11 The Day The Earth Stood Still (single 1969)
12 Is It So Strange (b-side of 'The Day The Earth Stood Still')
13 That Takes Me Back (single 1969)
14 Lost Without Linda (b-side of 'That Takes Me Back')
15 So Called Loving (previously unreleased 1969)
16 Never Mind, It's Only Love (previously unreleased 1969)
17 You're OK With Us (single with Jeff Wayne as 'The Us' 1969)


Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Marianne Faithfull - In Europe (1967) UPDATE

Many, many thanks to Hans for supplying me with the missing track to complete this collection. Links are now updated, and if you already have it then here/here is the missing song for you to slot into your folder. If it sounds a bit quiet compared to the rest of the songs then download again as I've boosted the volume slightly.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

David Bowie - An Alternate Hunky Dory (1972)

Over the years 'Hunky Dory' has been re-appraised and re-evaluated, and is now considered to be of David Bowie's very best albums, but when it came out back in 1971 he was pretty much an unknown quantity, and so had to do the rounds of the radio stations to promote it. On his visits to shows hosted by Johnnie Walker, Bob Harris and John Peel he played tracks from the album for sessions to be broadcast on the shows, and over time he recorded versions of nearly all the songs from it. As well as the sessions recordings, there's also a demo of 'Quicksand' out there, and an alternate mix of 'The Bewlay Brothers', and although he never recorded 'Life On Mars' for a radio session, he did tape a rehearsal of it at Earl's Court for a film by Mick Rock in 1973, and so if we add them all together we end up with an alternate look at an iconic album from the 70's. On the rehearsal for 'Song For Bob Dylan' for the John Peel show, Bowie let George Underwood take the vocals, but apart from that most of these are contemporary versions of the songs recorded at the time the album came out. None of these recordings are drastically different from those on the album, but there are subtle differences here and there, so it's worth a listen.  

UPDATE - I have a confession to make, which is that I seem to have completely mis-read the notes which accompanied the 'Life On Mars' video that I found, which I though was part of a film made by Mick Rock at Earls Court in 1973. It actually turns out that it was the promo video for the single release, which was filmed by Mick Rock backstage at Earls Court in 1973. The recording is therefore the studio version, and I did think that it was extremely close to the original, and now I know why. In order to keep the spirit of the album, I've substituted it with a live version from the Boston Music Hall in 1972, which is a superb quality recording. If you've already downloaded it then here is the track to replace in your folder, and links are updated.   



Track listing 

01 Changes (Johnnie Walker Lunchtime Show session 22/05/1972)
02 Oh! You Pretty Things (Bob Harris Sounds Of The Seventies session 21/09/1971)
03 Eight Line Poem (Bob Harris Sounds Of The Seventies session 21/09/1971)
04 Life On Mars (live at Boston Music Hall 01/10/1972)
05 Kooks (Bob Harris Sounds Of The Seventies session 21/09/1971)
06 Quicksand (Demo London 1971)
07 Fill Your Heart (Bob Harris Sounds Of The Seventies session 21/09/1971)
08 Andy Warhol (Bob Harris Sounds Of The Seventies session 21/09/1971)
09 Song For Bob Dylan (rehearsal for John Peel session 1971)
10 Queen Bitch (Bob Harris Sounds Of The Seventies session 18.01/1972)
11 The Bewlay Brothers (alternative mix 30/07/1971)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 19 June 2020

Richard Thompson - ...and on guitar (1971)

Most of the posts in this series cover an artists contributions as guest guitarist over a period of five to ten years, but Richard Thompson was so prolific in his guest slots that this album covers just 1969 to 1971, and this was while he was still a member of Fairport Convention, and also a part of Ashley Hutchins' Morris On project, and The Bunch, who were a group of English folk-rock musicians (including Sandy Denny, Linda Peters and members of Fairport Convention) who recorded a selection of classic rock and roll tunes. He has said that when he left Fairport Convention in 1971 he did a lot of session work as a way of avoiding any serious ideas about a career, but by 1972 he'd released his first solo album 'Henry The Human Fly', and that was the start of a very long and extremely well-respected solo career, which still carries on today.
His first guest spot was to provide guitar on Al Stewart's 'Love Chronicles' album, most notably the lovely solo at the end of 'Life And Life Only', and he also played on Nick Drake's 'Five Leaves Left' and 'Bryter Later' albums, from which I've picked the classic 'Time Has Told Me'. Marc Ellington is a Scottish folksinger and multi-instrumentalist who has guested with Fairport Convention, starting with providing some vocal support on the 'Unhalfbricking' album in 1969, and he also worked with Matthews Southern Comfort on their self-titled album in 1969, and when Ellington recorded his debut album that same year, he asked Thompson to help out guitar, and The Matthews Southern Comfort link carries on with Thompson's contribution to that self-titled album, for which he wrote and played on 'A Commercial Proposition'. By 1970 Gary Farr had left Gary Farr And The T-Bones to embark on a solo career, and Thompson was invited to play guitar on a few tracks from his second album 'Strange Fruit'. The following year he was on hand to assist John Martyn with his 'Bless The Weather' album, and in what was a very busy year for him, his guitar could also be heard on albums by Sandy Denny, Mike Heron, Iain Matthews, Stefan Grossman, Shirley Collins, and the undeservedly overlooked Shelagh McDonald. The one linking factor for most of these artists is that they operate in the genre of British folk music, which is undoubtedly Thompson's great love, and the fact that so many of our respected folk musicians wanted him on their records just shows the high regard in which he was, and still is, held by his peers. 



Track listing

01 Life And Life Only (from 'Love Chronicles' by Al Stewart 1969)
02 Time Has Told Me (from 'Five Leaves Left' by Nick Drake 1969)  
03 Four In The Morning (from 'Marc Ellington' by Marc Ellington 1969)
04 A Commercial Proposition (from 'Matthews Southern Comfort' by Matthews Southern 
                                                                                                                           Comfort 1970)
05 Old Man Moses (from 'Strange Fruit' by Gary Farr 1970) 
06 Sugar Lump (from 'Bless The Weather' by John Martyn 1971)
07 The Sea Captain (from 'The North Star Grassman And The Ravens' by Sandy Denny 1971)
08 Flowers Of The Forest (from 'Smiling Men With Bad Reputations' by Mike Heron 1971)
09 Odyssey (from 'Stargazer' by Shelagh McDonald 1971)
10 Desert Inn (from 'If You Saw Through My Eyes' by Iain Matthews 1971)
11 Blues Jump The Rabbit (from 'Those Pleasant Days' by Stefan Grossman 1971)
12 Poor Murdered Woman (from 'No Roses' by Shirley Collins 1971)

Enjoy / Enjoy

For Mac users: after the file is unzipped the folder will appear empty inside. Press command+shift+period (to show hidden files) and a grayed out folder '...and on guitar' will appear and the mp3s will be inside. Either drag those to another folder or rename the folder to 'and on guitar'. Press command+shift+period to once again hide the hidden files.

Aphex Twin - Analogue Bubblebath 5 (1995)

'Analogue Bubblebath 5' was recorded in 1995, and had been intended to be released on Richard James' own Rephlex Records label, under his alias AFX, as the fifth installment in his 'Analogue Bubblebath' series. The EP would have consisted of nine tracks, in alternating acid house/techno and ambient styles, but James decided that it was not up to par with the others in the series, so only a handful of vinyl test pressings were made. In January 2005 Rephlex mailed out black vinyl/binder editions of 'Analord 10', but due to problems at the manufacturing/mail out stage, approximately 20 buyers did not receive their package. Rephlex mailed out a second batch in June 2005 to those who had not received their order, and this second batch included a free copy of 'Analogue Bubblebath 5', although this distribution was never officially announced. No information is printed on the record's blank white labels (although some copies do have 'AB5' written and circled onto them), but the identifying call number of 'CAT 034' has been etched into its run-out grooves. There are no plans of a commercial release for the album, but with 20 copies out there, it wasn't long before bootleg CDR's started to appear, so we can hear for ourselves if it really is sub-pay compared to the first four volumes. Only one of the tracks has a title, which is 'Cuckoo'.



Track listing

01 Untitled
02 Untitled
03 Untitled
04 Untitled
05 Untitled
06 Untitled
07 Untitled
08 Untitled
09 Cuckoo

Enjoy / Enjoy

The The - The Pornography Of Despair (1982)

'The Pornography Of Despair' was originally intended to be the debut album from Matt Johnson's band The The in 1982, but was scrapped in favour of the more commercially-friendly 'Soul Mining', which was issued the following year. As it turned out this might have been a good decision, as 'Soul Mining' was a commercial and critical success, putting Johnson on the indie map, and paving the way for many more successful releases over the next 30-plus years. Rather than scrap all the recordings, however, Johnson used them for b-sides and bonus tracks on the cassette issue of 'Soul Mining', and so using these and other songs which surfaced later, we are able to piece together an approximation of what the album could have sounded like. There's no record of the exact track listing for the original, but this is as close as we'll get until Johnson gets around to releasing it, which is unlikely. 'Absolute Liberation' did come out on the 1983 ‘This Is The Day’ EP, alongside 'Mental Healing Process' and 'Leap Into The Wind', and 'Three Orange Kisses From Kazan' and 'Waitin' For The Upturn' had already appeared on the 1982 'Uncertain Smile' single. 'That Sinking Feeling' did end up on 'Soul Mining', although this version is more lo-fi and much longer, and 'Cold Spell Ahead' is actually an early version of 'Uncertain Smile'. 'Soup Of Mixed Emotion' was on a limited edition 12" single with initial copies of 'Soul Mining', and 'Fruit Of The Heart' eventually surfaced on the b-side of the 'Heartland' 12", but unless you have the 'Early Rarities' bootleg, this is the first time that you'll have a chance to hear the rest of these songs, and be able to make up your own mind whether this album would have been as successful as 'Soul Mining' in launching Johnson's career.  



Track listing

01 The Nature Of Virtue
02 Leap Into The Wind
03 Dumb As Death’s Head
04 Mental Healing Process (For A Mixed Up Kid)
05 Absolute Liberation
06 Uncertain Smile
07 Perfect
08 Three Orange Kisses From Kazan
09 Waitin' For The Upturn
10 Fruit Of The Heart
11 Soup Of Mixed Emotion
12 Untitled
13 The Sinking Feeling

Suggested by 'The Greatest Albums You'll Never Hear' by Bruno MacDonald

Enjoy / Enjoy

Hula - The Shutout (1985)

Hula was formed in Sheffield by guitarist and tape experimenter Ron Wright, with various other members passing in and out of the ranks, and bassist John Avery being the only constant. Hula's music was highly influenced by Cabaret Voltaire and other electronic/ambient artists, and three of the members (Mark Albrow, Alan Fish and Ron Wright) actually lived with Cabaret Voltaire's Stephen Mallinder, and Paul Widger (of They must be Russians, Clock DVA, and The Box) in a villa called Hula Kula. Their music added a more industrial edge and a schizophrenically experimental approach to the electronics of The Cabs, and their albums were often far less accessible than the dark, aggressive techno-funk of their singles. The band's first EP was produced by Stephen Mallinder, and their debut album 'Cut From Inside' was released in 1983, with bass provided by Chakk's Mark Brydon, as they were unable to find a suitable bassist. This was followed in 1984 by 'Murmur', with Ron Wright taking over bass duties, after which they recruited John Avery as a bass player for their live shows. The group began to indulge its artier tendencies on 1986's '1,000 Hours', a half-live, half-studio double album, and its follow-up 'Shadowland' consisted of improvised music used as accompaniment to an art exhibit. 1986's 'Voice' was Hula's last full-length release of new material, although they did continue to release 12" singles until 1988, culminating in an EP centered around a dance version of Jimi Hendrix's 'Voodoo Chile'. This collection concentrates on their early work, with all four tracks from the Mallinder-produced 'Black Pop Workout' 12" EP, plus both sides of their following two 12" singles, and one recording from a John Peel session which never appeared on any of their records. While I'll be the first to admit they are very much an acquired taste, they were one of the first, and the best, of the industrial/funk bands of the early 80's, which included groups such as Chakk, 23 Skidoo, Slab! and Workforce. 



Track listing

01 Feeding The Animal (from the 'Black Pop Workout' EP 1982)
02 Ignoring The Famine (from the 'Black Pop Workout' EP 1982)
03 Sacred Serials (Cicuits On Full Gush) (from the 'Black Pop Workout' EP 1982)
04 Junshi (from the 'Black Pop Workout' EP 1982)
05 (No One Leaves The) Fever Car (single 1984)
06 In The Shutout (b-side of '(No One Leave The) Fever Car')
07 Bats Lost...Bloodrush / Hard Stripes (b-side of '(No One Leaves The) Fever Car')
08 Gun Culture (John Peel session 1985)
09 Get The Habit (single 1985)
10 Bad Blood (b-side of 'Get The Habit')

Enjoy / Enjoy

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Message for puffinrandy

Hi. I know someone who would like to hear 'The Power Of The Dark Side'. Could you please post a link in the comments for 'Wish You Were Here'. Thanks a lot. 

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Pink Floyd - Yet Another Lost Album (2012)

Yet another album from Magna Qualitas Recordings, this one started off as a fun project by creamcheese in 2012, experimenting with different snippets from many early Pink Floyd songs and trying to separate single instruments from those pieces. These are his notes on the project:
The original idea was to make a LP-side long suite from Embryo.
This idea was dropped later when someone (god bless him) suggested the 'Birmingham Suite' to reconstruct as a studio recording.
Obviously the Floyd had been working on two suites at the beginning of 1970, which both contained rejected material from the Zabriskie Point sessions, one being what later became 'Atom Heart Mother', the other one being the 'Birmingham Suite'. This second one was dropped from the setlist after a few shows because it obviously was not strong enough to become an early Floyd classic (but even more obviously became an early Floyd collectors' classic because it was played so rarely and even never was properly taped). But what could it have sounded like, if Pink Floyd had not dropped it and had recorded it in studio?
A few words on song titles: The work title of 'In The Sky' was 'Vibes/Organ/Birds'. After having completed this album we at MQR thought it might be nice to rename it. 'In The Sky' sounded very nice and was kept for this reason. Absolutely no idea if Pink Floyd would have given it a similar title. In the end they didn't even play it that way...
We knew about the 'Birmingham Suite' being referred to as 'Halcyon Piano in Niagara Dellof' but we didn't like that title and there is no evidence for this title being an original band idea. So we sought after a title that referred to something to eat just as the other suite's working title 'The Amazing Pudding', that would later become the almost equally stupid titled 'Atom Heart Mother'.
After a few attempts like 'Zabriskie Stew' and 'Zabriskie Soup' WRomanus came up with the fantastic and inimitably stupid 'Zabriskie Roastbeef'...

The samples used for the tracks are:
In The Sky
Organ Loop: Love Scene 1 from MQR'sZPoV
Vibes: 1 Channel of Love Scene 5 from  MQR's Zabriskie Point of View - The Complete Collection
Birds: Cirrus Minor from 'More' 2011 Remaster CD
Embryo
Song: Studio Rec. from 'Picnic - A Breath of Fresh Air' Vinyl restored by creamcheese & wromanus
Percussion: Nick's Boogie from original TLMALIL-EP
Playground Athmo and Seagull Guitar: 'Embryo' from 'Since we were Teenagers', Santa Monica 1970-05-01
Gong: 'STCFTHOTS' from 'Since we were Teenagers', Santa Monica 1970-05-01
Cymbaline
Sleep Section: Amsterdam 1969-09-17
Song: Studio Recording from 'More' 2011 Remaster with Center Channel extracted and Oilcan-Echo-treated to achieve a similar effect as heard on many live recordings
Bass: 'Sleep/Nightmare' from Amsterdam 1969-09-17
Organ Improvisation Section: 'Sleep/Nightmare' from Amsterdam 1969-09-17
Foot Steps: 'Cymbaline' from 'Since we were Teenagers', Santa Monica 1970-05-01
Birds: Cirrus Minor
Zabriskie Roastbeef
a) Heart Beat, Pig Meat
Loop: Heart Beat, Pig Meat Original Studio Recording from ATZPoV
Pictish Noises: Pink Room Corrosion from French TV 1970-12-04/05
Piano: 'Sysphus' Studio Recording from non-remastered CD.
Gong: 'STCFTHOTS' from 'Since we were Teenagers', Santa Monica 1970-05-01
b) Oenone:
Restored Oenone Studio Recording from MQR'sZPoV
Love Scene 3 Studio Recording from MQR'sZPoV
c) Cleaned, Restored and Stereoized Moonhead from 'What if it's just green cheese' 1969
d) Violent Sequence:
Piano: The Violent Sequence Studio Recording from MQR'sZPoV
Bass: The Violent Sequence Live Recording from Paris 1970-01-23
Windchimes and Gong: A Saucerful of Secrets Studio Recording from 'ASOS' 2011 Remaster
Organ Loop: Interstellar Overdrive: Unreleased Ummagumma Live Recording
Slide Guitars: Atom Heart Mother Quad Mix from Quad-Reel DVD-A
Ride Cymbals: 'Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up' Studio Recording from MQR'sZPoV
Percussion: Nick's Boogie from original TLMALIL-EP



Track listing

01 In The Sky
02 Embryo
03 Cymbaline
04 Zabriskie Roastbeef


Friday, 12 June 2020

The Stalk-Forrest Group - Hidden Mirrors (1969)

Soft White Underbelly had recorded demos for Elektra Records in 1969 with original vocalist Les Braunstein, but when he left the group they re-recorded the songs in New York with new vocalist, former roadie Eric Bloom. The 9-song album was turned in to Elektra completed, mixed and mastered, ready for release, but for reasons unclear Elektra decided not to release the recordings and ended their contract. Back to square one, the band then recorded new demos of several of the songs for Columbia Records in hopes of scoring a record deal, but after being rejected by Columbia as well, manager Sandy Pearlman convinced Elektra Records to give the band one more shot, and the group traveled to California in February 1970 to begin reworking and re-recording the songs for a full-length album, along the way changing their name to Oaxaca, and then later to The Stalk-Forrest Group. After being presented with the two different versions of the album (the one recorded in 1969, and the one that featured the new re-worked February 1970 arrangements), Elektra once again chose not to release it, and dropped the band from the label (again). This was partly due to the band's manager Sandy Pearlman refusing to allow Elektra to release the album that the band cut in California, leading to no gigs and poverty for many months during the spring and summer of 1970. The group's founder and bass player, Andrew Winters, was pushed out of the band by drummer Albert Bouchard so that his brother Joe could take his place, after which the band renamed themselves Blue Öyster Cult, and they finally secured a solid recording contract with Columbia. This album is made up of the original Elektra recordings from 1969 before they were shafted by the record company and made to do the whole thing over, and to me it sounds a perfectly acceptable late 60's psyche-rock record, so I can't see why Elektra would have rejected it.    



Track listing

01 What Is Quicksand? 
02 I'm On The Lamb 
03 Gil Blanco County 
04 Donovan's Monkey 
05 Ragamuffin Dumplin' 
06 Curse Of The Hidden Mirrors 
07 Arthur Comics 
08 A Fact About Sneakers 
09 St. Cecilia 

Suggested by 'The Greatest Albums You'll Never Hear' by Bruno MacDonald

Enjoy / Enjoy

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Stalk-Forrest Isolation Jam


Porcupine Tree - Spiral Circus (1994)

Another cassette only release that Porcupine Tree put out was 'Spiral Circus' in 1994, which was a collection of recordings of some of their very earliest live performances. It was issued in a limited edition of 500 copies, of which the first 480 have white/pink artwork and the last 20 came with a different colour-scheme of white/blue, and it was given away free to subscribers of the Transmission information service. These recordings are taken from the band's live performances at the BBC, The Borderline in London, and The Nag's Head in High Wycombe, all recorded in 1993 directly from the mixing desk by Mike Bearpark, resulting in superb sound quality for a then unknown band. The album was re-issued on vinyl in 1997 by Chromatic Records, once again in a limited edition of 500 copies, and so as these are also now long gone, CD bootlegs have started to appear. The Nag's Head set has recently been expanded and officially released as 'First Live Performance' on Bandcamp, so do check that out as it includes the full hour-long set, and is an outstanding recording. 



Track listing

01 Burning Sky (1st half BBC broadcast 06 Dec 1993/2nd half The Borderline 07 Dec 1993)
02 Voyage 34 (The Borderline 07 Dec 1993)  
03 Always Never (BBC live broadcast 06 Dec 1993)  
04 Radioactive Toy (The Nags Head, High Wycombe 04 Dec 1993)  
05 Up The Downstair (The Nags Head, High Wycombe 04 Dec 1993) 
06 Not Beautiful Anymore (The Nags Head, High Wycombe 04 Dec 1993)

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Mick Taylor - ...and on guitar (1988)

Michael Kevin Taylor was born on 17 January 1949 in Welwyn Garden City, but was raised in Hatfield, and began playing guitar at age nine, learning to play from his uncle. As a teenager, he formed bands with schoolmates and started performing concerts under names such as The Juniors and the Strangers, who also appeared on television and put out a single. At aged 16 he went to see a John Mayall's Bluesbreakers performance at The Woodhall Community Centre, where the band performed their first set without a guitarist. It became clear that for some reason Eric Clapton was not going to show up, and seeing that his guitar had already been set up on the stage, Taylor approached Mayall during the interval to ask if he could play with them. He mentioned that he was familiar with the band's repertoire, and after a moment of deliberation, Mayall agreed. After playing the second set, and garnering Mayall's respect in the process, Taylor left the stage, joined his friends and left the venue before Mayall had the chance to speak with him. This encounter would prove to be pivotal in Taylor's career when Mayall needed someone to fill Peter Green's vacancy the following year, when Green quit to form Fleetwood Mac. Mayall placed a 'Guitarist Wanted' advert in the weekly Melody Maker music paper, and much to his relief immediately got a response from Taylor, whom he readily invited to join. 
From 1966 to 1969, Taylor developed a guitar style that is blues-based with Latin and jazz influences, and appeared on the albums 'Diary Of A Band', 'Bare Wires', and 'Blues From Laurel Canyon'. After Brian Jones was removed from The Rolling Stones in June 1969, Mayall recommended Taylor to Mick Jagger, and following a rehearsal session an impressed Jagger and Keith Richards invited Taylor back the following day to continue rehearsing and recording with the band, where he overdubbed guitar on 'Country Honk' and 'Live With Me' for the album 'Let It Bleed', and on the single 'Honky Tonk Women'. After the 1973 European tour, Richards' drug problems had worsened and begun to compromise the band's ability to function, with the band members living in various countries, and between recording sessions Taylor appeared on Herbie Mann's 'London Underground' album (appropriately enough on a cover of his own band's 'Bitch'), and also contributed guitar to 'Dolly' from Nicky Hopkins' 'The Tin Man Was A Dreamer'. In 1974 recording started on the Rolling Stones' 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll' album, but he found it difficult to get along with Richards, and so not long after those sessions, Taylor went on a six-week expedition to Brazil, to travel down the Amazon River in a boat and explore Latin music. In December 1974 Taylor announced he was leaving the Rolling Stones, with his decision coming as a shock to fans, and especially the Stones, who were reportedly angry at Taylor for leaving at such short notice. 
In 1975 he formed a band with Jack Bruce and Carla Bley, but after a short European tour they disbanded the following year. In 1977 he attended London-based sessions for the John Phillips album 'Pay Pack & Follow', appearing on several tracks alongside Jagger, Richards and Wood, and the same year he also played guitar on sessions by Alan Merrill and Elliott Murphy. Taylor appeared as a special guest of Little Feat at the Rainbow Theatre in London in early 1977, sharing slide guitar with frontman Lowell George on 'A Apolitical Blues', and that summer he collaborated with Pierre Moerlen's Gong for their 1978 album 'Expresso II', helping out the following year on their 'Downwind' release. The early 80's were spent touring, firstly with Alvin Lee in 1981, then on a John Mayall's Bluesbeakers reunion tour from 1982-1983, and in 1984 he was part of Bob Dylan's touring band. In 1988 he played some great blues guitar on Speedo Jones' 'Have Blues Will Travel' album, and he also performed the lead guitar solo on Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' top-10 single 'I Hate Myself for Loving You'. During his time with the Stones he was always considered their most fluid and melodic guitar player, and this collection shows that skill superbly in a variety of different settings. 



Track listing

01 Bitch (from 'London Underground' by Herbie Mann 1973)
02 Dolly (from 'The Tin Man Was A Dreamer' by Nicky Hopkins 1973)
03 Always Another Train (from 'Alan Merrill' by Alan Merrill 1977, released 1985)
04 Oh Virginia (from 'Pay Pack & Follow' by John Phillips 1977, released 2001)
05 Rock Ballad (from 'Just A Story From America' by Elliott Murphy 1977) 
06 Heavy Tune (from 'Expresso II' by Gong 1978)
07 A Apolitical Blues (from 'Waiting For Columbus' by  Little Feat 1978)
08 What You Know (from 'Downwind' by Pierre Moerlen's Gong 1979)
09 Break Your Broom (from 'Have Blues Will Travel' by Speedo Jones 1988)
10 I Hate Myself For Loving You (from 'Up Your Alley' by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts 1988)

Enjoy/ Enjoy

For Mac users: after the file is unzipped the folder will appear empty inside. Press command+shift+period (to show hidden files) and a grayed out folder '...and on guitar' will appear and the mp3s will be inside. Either drag those to another folder or rename the folder to 'and on guitar'. Press command+shift+period to once again hide the hidden files.

The Mars Volta - Unreleased (2013)

When I posted the last album from The Mars Volta I mentioned that back in 2013 a fan over at The Mars Volta’s message board The Comatorium claimed to have been sent a folder of 15 tracks with the message, “share this”. Former drummer Thomas Prigen has since stepped in to confirm that the find is legitimate, and detailed the tracks he performed on, while some of the songs also appear to be solo efforts by guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. The psych-prog titans broke up in January 2013 after more than a decade in action, leaving a sprawling legacy of gargantuan solos and conceptual indulgences, so a find like this one was perhaps to be expected. All of the files have a random slection of numbers or letters as titles, but fans have listened to them and worked out titles for most of them, so enjoy this collection of mostly instrumental recordings from one of the truly great progressive rock bands of the early 2000's.   


Track listing

01 Clouds
02 Molochwalker (early demo)
03 Sea Is Rising (demo)
04 dp (possible Omar Rodriguez-Lopez solo demo)
05 ef4 (possible Casate Colmillo demo)
06 Postulate
07 Casate Colmillo (demo)
08 f9h0 (another possible Casate Colmillo demo)
09 Whisper To Your Flinch/Peeling Off
10 Happiness (demo)
11 qr5`
12 Clouds (demo)
13 Asco Que Conmueve Los Puntos Erogenos/New York City (demo)
14 Vicarious Atonement (demo)
15 Clouds (early Omar demo)

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Tuesday, 9 June 2020

David Bowie - Nineteen Eighty-four (1974)

In 1974 David Bowie was looking towards his next project, and in a Rolling Stone interview with William Burroughs that February he casually mentioned that he would be doing George Orwell's '1984' on television. This then expanded to become a planned adaptation as a West End musical, with an accompanying album and film. He had written some new songs, and plans were progressing, but disaster struck when Orwell’s widow and executor of his estate, Sonia Orwell, didn’t like Bowie’s ideas for bringing the book to life, so she denied him the rights. One of apparently 20 new songs written for the project, '1984/Dodo', was premiered on the TV special 'The 1980 Floor Show', but attempts to write an actual script with the American playwright Tony Ingrassia had come to nothing. Bowie was reportedly furious when Sonia Orwell refused permission for his rock musical, saying "For a person who married a socialist with communist leanings, she was the biggest upper-class snob I’ve ever met in my life." Doubtless, Sonia did hate the idea, but then she had approved almost no adaptations in any medium since the fiasco of the 1956 movie, and she certainly didn’t meet Bowie, refusing permission with no discussions. His eighth studio album, initially titled 'We Are The Dead', was therefore a salvage operation, although he did say at the time "To be quite honest with you… the whole thing was originally 19-bloody-84. She put the clappers on the musical by saying no, so I, at the last minute, quickly changed it into a new concept album called 'Diamond Dogs'. I didn’t ever want to do 'Diamond Dogs' as a stage musical; what I wanted was '1984'." 
We can therefore only surmise, via its few surviving songs, what Bowie’s adaptation would have been like. He seems most intrigued by the concept of absolute authority, the quisling culture over which it rules and how the mind seems eager to condone and accept it. For Bowie, this situation only meant that the endgame he had imagined as far back as 'The Supermen' or 'Cygnet Committee' was coming to pass soon, and in songs like '1984' he seemed to welcome it. We know from various sources that the obvious songs from 'Diamond Dogs' - '1984', 'We Are The Dead', and 'Big Brother' - were originally destined for the stage show, but in a 2008 interview, Bowie told the Mail On Sunday that the 'Sweet Thing' medley was also written for the '1984' musical. 'Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing', which was written using William Burrough's cut-up method, would have been a centre-piece to the stage production, as Bowie thought it would be evocative to wander between the melodramatic 'Sweet Thing' croon into the dirty sound of 'Candidate' and back again. As well as '1984' itself, he also recorded the '1984/Dodo' medley from the 'The 1980 Floor Show', plus 'Dodo' on its own, and a longer, more stripped-back version of 'Candidate' than the one that ended up on 'Diamond Dogs'. While we really have no idea of what the musical would have sounded like, we have almost enough songs to try to piece it together, and so by adding in the afore-mentioned 'Cygnet Committee' (which does have some themes which fit nicely on here), and replacing the 'Diamond Dogs' version of 'Candidate' in the 'Sweet Thing' medley, we end up with a 40 minute album of what could possibly be the starting point for the '1984' musical project. This is all pure conjecture, of course, but has been a lot of fun for me and correspondent Norman Crowther to put together after some intensive online research, so enjoy the fruits of our labours on an album that all Bowie fans really do wish existed. 



Track listing
  
01 1984
02 Cygnet Committee
03 Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing
04 Dodo
05 We Are The Dead
06 Big Brother
07 1984/Dodo (Reprise)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Saturday, 6 June 2020

The Box - Unpacked (1984) UPDATE

Just listened to this album for the first time since I posted it and I found that track 11 'Spade Work' was in fact the previous one 'Crow Bar' repeated. I've now corrected this and updated the links, so if you've already downloaded it then here's the correct song for you to replace in the file. 

Friday, 5 June 2020

John Martyn - Dead On Arrival (1980)

Iain David McGeachy, known professionally as John Martyn, was born on 11th September 1948 in New Malden, Surrey, England, to a Belgian Jewish mother and a Scottish father, and began his musical career when he was 17, being mentored by renowned folk singer Hamish Imlach. He played a fusion of blues and folk, resulting in a distinctive style which made him a key figure in the British folk scene during the mid-60's, and he signed to Chris Blackwell's Island Records in 1967, releasing his first album 'London Conversation' the same year. This was soon followed by 'The Tumbler', which moved towards jazz, and by 1970 Martyn had developed a wholly original and idiosyncratic sound: acoustic guitar run through a fuzzbox, phase shifter and Echoplex. This was first apparent on 1970's 'Stormbringer!', which was written and performed by Martyn and his then-wife Beverley, who had previously recorded solo as Beverley Kutner. Their second collaboration was 'The Road to Ruin', also released in 1970, but then Island Records felt that it would be more successful to market Martyn as a solo act, and so this was how subsequent albums were promoted, even though Beverley continued to make appearances as a backing singer, as well as recording as a solo artist herself. In 1973, Martyn released the album 'Solid Air', with the title song being dedicated to close friend and label-mate Nick Drake, who died from an overdose of antidepressants 18 months after the album came out. Following the commercial success of 'Solid Air', Martyn quickly recorded and released the experimental 'Inside Out', an album with the emphasis on feel and improvisation rather than song structure, but for 1975's 'Sunday's Child' he moved back to his more popular song-based style. In September 1975 he recorded a live album 'Live at Leeds', but as he was unable to persuade Island Records to release the record he had to resort to selling individually-signed copies by mail-order from his home in Hastings. 
After 'Live at Leeds' Martyn took a sabbatical, including a visit to Jamaica where he spent time with reggae producer Lee "Scratch" Perry, and in 1977, he released 'One World', including a collaboration with Perry on 'Big Muff'. Martyn's marriage broke down at the end of the 1970's, resulting in a very dark period in his life, but out of that came the album 'Grace and Danger', released in October 1980. The release of the album had actually been held up for a year by Chris Blackwell, who, being a close friend of both John and Beverley, found the album too openly disturbing to issue. Only after intense and sustained pressure from Martyn did Blackwell agree to release the album, and in the late 80's Martyn actually cited 'Grace and Danger' as his favourite record, saying that it was 'probably the most specific piece of autobiography I've written. Some people keep diaries, I make records'. During the recording sessions for most of his albums there have been tracks laid down that didn't make the final cut, and so this collection starts with a cover of 'She Moved Through The Fair' which was left off his debut album, and carries on with some 1969 demos with Beverley which didn't make 'Stormbringer!', the Australian-only single 'Anna', taken from the score of the 1978 Ebsen Storm movie 'In Search Of Anna', and various out-takes from his other albums up to 'Grace And Danger'. Martyn died from acute respiratory distress syndrome on 29 January 2009, having been in poor health for a while due to his life-long abuse of drugs and alcohol. He was survived by his partner and his two children. Following his death, Rolling Stone lauded his 'progressive folk invention and improvising sorcery', and it's undeniable that he invented a unique form of folk music for which he will always be fondly remembered.  



Track listing

01 She Moved Through The Fair (previously unreleased 1967)
02 Here I Am Now (previously unreleased 1969)
03 One Of Those Days (demo 1969)
04 I Don't Know (demo 1969)
05 Ellie Rhee (previously unreleased 1975)
06 Black Man At The Shoulder (previously unreleased 1977)
07 Anna (Australian only single 1978) 
08 Small Hat (previously unreleased 1980)
09 Running Up The Harbour (previously unreleased 1980)
10 Dead On Arrival (previously unreleased 1980)
11 After Tomorrow Night (previously unreleased 1980)
12 Lilo Blondino (previously unreleased 1980

Enjoy / Enjoy