Friday, 14 December 2018

Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan Vol. 2 (1962)

As I mentioned in my 'Freewheelin' Again' post, in his early recording days Dylan tended to take more songs into the studio than were needed for an album, and as he recorded all of them then there are some great quality out-takes floating around. I found this bootleg online, combining the officially released debut album with a number of rare out-takes, so I've extracted the songs which didn't make that debut and added in some others from the same year to make up a companion to his debut album, which I've called 'Vol. 2'. 'House Carpenter', 'He Was A Friend Of Mine', and 'Man On The Street' (a Dylan composition) were recorded at the debut album sessions, although this version of 'Man On The Street', along with a couple of the other songs, are live takes. The rest of the tracks were mostly recorded for radio broadcasts, such as 'Folksinger's Choice' with Cynthia Gooding in 1962, so the quality is exceptional for the period. I really liked the cover that came with the bootleg, but it listed the songs from the debut album, so I've removed them and replaced them with the songs on this compilation. 

Track listing

01 Roll On John
02 Hard Times In New York
03 He Was A Friend On Mine
04 Smokestack Lightning
05 No More Auction Block
06 Stealin' Stealin'
07 House Carpenter
08 Man On The Street
09 Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues
10 Omie Wise
11 Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie
12 Talkin' Hava Negeilah Blues
13 The Girl I Left Behind
14 Worried Blues
15 Kingsport Town


Roxy Music - The Pride And The Pain (1982)

Having just watched a documentary about Roxy Music on BBC4, and being reminded  just what an innovative and ground-breaking band they were in their early days, I think now is the time to post this little collection. Neither side of either of their first two singles appeared on an album until reissues started to appear in the CD era, and while having one non-album single wasn't unheard of at the time, having two in a row was a statement of intent - Roxy Music weren't going to play by the rules. While most people cite the presence of Brian Eno as the reason that the band sounded so unique, in my opinion Andy Mackay was an unsung hero in shaping their sound - how many electric oboes had you heard before their first album came out. Adding Eno and Mackay's input to Bryan Ferry's idiosyncratic vocals, Phil Manzanera's under-stated guitar, and having the whole thing underpinned by the powerhouse rhythm section of Paul Thompson and Graham Simpson made for a band that confounded expectations. Even after they'd broken into the big-time they still looked after their fans by including exclusive songs on the b-sides of most of their singles, and this often gave them the chance to try something a bit different, so all the songs on this collection are well worth a listen.

Track listing

01 Virginia Plain (single 1972)
02 The Numberer (b-side of 'Virginia Plain')
03 Pyjamarama (single 1973)
04 The Pride and the Pain (b-side of 'Pyjamarama')
05 Hula Kula (b-side of 'Street Life' 1973)
06 Your Application's Failed (b-side of 'All I Want Is You' 1974)
07 Sultanesque (b-side of 'Love Is the Drug' 1975)
08 Trash 2 (b-side of 'Trash' 1979)
09 Manifesto (Remake) (b-side of 'Over You' 1980) 
10 South Downs (b-side of 'Oh Yeah' 1980)
11 Lover (b-side of 'Same Old Scene' 1980)
12 Always Unknowing (b-side of  'Avalon' 1982)

The 13th Floor Elevators - Headstone (1966)

Before The 13th Floor Elevators went into the studio to record their now classic 'Psychedelic Sounds...' album, they'd already recorded enough songs for an album for Contact Records, which was to be entitled 'Headstone'. The songs were laid down during sessions in January and February 1966, but the deal fell through and the album was never released. When they reconvened to tape 'Psychedelic Sounds...' they only reused about half of the songs they'd previously taped, and so this album contains some great previously unreleased songs, as well as different versions of the ones they re-recorded, and also a rare acetate of 'Reverberation'. The 13th Floor Elevators were one of the best ever US garage bands of the 60's, and so any new material from their early days has to be worth hearing, and this album certainly falls into that category.

Track listing

01 You're Gonna Miss Me
02 Rollercoaster
03 Now I'm Home (Splash 1)
04 I'm Gonna Love You Too
05 Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
06 Fire Engine
07 You Can't Hurt Me Anymore
08 Take The Girl
09 Where Am I (Thru The Rhythm)
10 Monkey Island
11 Reverberation
12 Tried To Hide

Ian Dury And The Blockheads - Are Clever Bastards (1982)

Ian Dury exploded onto the punk/new wave scene with his first solo single 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll' in 1977, and it kick-started a career revival for the former singer with Kilburn & The High Roads. Following it's success he put together a backing band that he christened The Blockheads, and proceeded to release a string of classic singles and albums. The Blockheads were all experienced musicians, and so were able to complement Dury's lyrical flights of fancy with great tunes that stuck in the memory. When 'New Boots And Panties!!' was eventually released, neither side of that first single was on it, making it even more sought after, and that was the start of a trend, as they often released singles as tasters for albums which then didn't feature the song or it's b-side. In 1977 Stiff Records gave away a freebie 7" single of 'Sex & Drugs...' with two exclusive Kilburn & The High Roads songs on the b-side, and in 1981 the NME offered their readers the chance to purchase one of their cassette compilations featuring Dury's 'Close To Home', being the only place to find it until it appeared on reissue albums some years later. So here are all those songs in one place, as a snapshot of the first six years of Dury's career as godfather of the UK punk scene.

Track listing

01 Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (single 1977)
02 Razzle In My Pocket (b-side of 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll')
03 You're More Than Fair (b-side of 'Sweet Gene Vincent' 1977)
04 Two Steep Hills (b-side of 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll' Stiff Freebie 1977)
05 England's Glory (Live) (b-side of 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll' Stiff Freebie 1977)
06 Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (single 1978)
07 There Ain't Half Been Some Clever Bastards (b-side of 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick')
08 What A Waste (single 1978)
09 Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3 (single 1979)
10 Common As Muck (b-side of 'Reasons To Be Cheeful')
11 Close To Home (from NME's 'C81' cassette 1981)
12 The Ballad Of Johnny Funk (b-side of 'Ban The Bomb' 1982)

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

The Rutles - Live At The Rat Kellar 1962

Well, we've finally come to end of my posting of the complete Rutles discography, and having now used up just about every suitable song from The Rutles, The Flames, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Neil Innes, Timebox, Patto, Boxer, GRIMMS and Ollie Halsall, all I was left with from the various compilations of the band were a few live recordings and some rehearsals takes. I was going to call it a day, but then tried to think if there was way that I could use the live tracks, and had the idea of putting together a 'Star Club'-style live album. As the rehearsals were mostly the band live in the studio, it fitted together quite nicely, and with some fake audience noise added to them I had a reasonable live album. It's not perfect, as I had to use a few later period songs to flesh it out as there just weren't enough good quality recordings available of the 'early' stuff, but I tried to pick the rockier ones so that they blended in. 'Get Up And Go' is one such track, but I wanted to slot it in as this take uses a different melody from the version we know and love. Despite containing fifteen songs, it's still a shortish album, at just 36 minutes, but I hope that it works as a snapshot of what they band sort of sounded like in '1962'.

Track listing

01 I Must Be In Love
02 With A Girl Like You
03 Ouch!
04 Another Day
05 Hold My Hand
06 It's Looking Good
07 Baby Let Me Be
08 Hey Mister!
09 Now She's Left You
10 Blue Suede Schubert
11 Goose Step Mama
12 Living In Hope
13 Get Up And Go
14 Plenty Of Time
15 Number One

Tracks 1-5 are various live recordings. Tracks 6-15 are rehearsal takes.


Friday, 7 December 2018

Revolver - Northern Songs (1979)

If you're a big fan of the Beatles then you may be aware of an outfit called The Beatnix, a US power-pop/Beatles tribute band who released an album in 1994 called 'It's Four You'. This comprised songs written by Lennon & McCartney but never actually recorded by the Beatles (other than 'That Means A Lot' which eventually turned up on the aborted 'Sessions' album), instead being given away to other artists for them enjoy the chart successes. Bands including The Applejacks, The Fourmost, and Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas, and singers such as Cilla Black, Tommy Quickley, Peter And Gordon, and P J Proby all benefited from Lennon & McCartney's generosity, and although the songs were never recorded by the Beatles themselves you probably already know them from the hit versions. It was a great idea for an album, but they weren't actually the first to come up with the concept, as Liverpool band Revolver had already done in 15 years earlier, when they issued their 'Northern Songs' album in 1979. Both records obviously feature the same songs, but there is a big difference in the styles in which they are performed, with Revolver giving them a more authentic feel, being how I imagine they would have sounded had the Beatles recorded them in the mid-60's. The Beatnix versions are perfectly fine, but some of the arrangements are a bit too modern, and there is a 90's production sheen to the album, whereas you need the songs to sound as raw as possible to get the right atmosphere. I've had my vinyl copy of this album for many years, and have never seen another one since, so it's extremely rare, but it is definitely worth hearing if you're either a Beatles fanatic or just have a passing interest. The Beatnix version is also worth hearing, so I'm posting that as well so that you can compare the two. I always felt that the only thing that let the album down was the disappointing artwork, so I've given it a bit of a boost for this post, while still keeping the original concept. 

Original cover

Original back cover

Track listing

01 One And One Is Two
02 Bad To Me
03 World Without Love
04 Love Of The Loved
05 I'll Keep You Satisfied
06 That Means A Lot
07 I'll Be On My Way
08 I Don't Want To See You Again
09 Hello Little Girl
10 Goodbye
11 Tip Of My Tongue
12 Nobody I Know
13 From A Window
14 Step Inside Love
15 Like Dreamers Do
16 It's For You
17 I'm In Love


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The Beatnix - 'It's Four You'

Cockney Rebel - Another Journey (1983)

If you mention Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel to most people they'll probably quote 'Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)' as their favourite song, but it's never really been one of mine, as I'd loved the band from the time that I bought their 'The Psychomodo' album in 1975, and I rate singles such as 'Mr. Soft', 'Judy Teen' and 'Sebastian' much higher. I always felt that they'd taken the commercial dollar with 'Make Me Smile', and was worried that this was the start of a decline of a favourite band, but luckily with 'Timeless Flight' they turned it around and came back with their best album yet, including superb songs such as 'White, White Dove', 'Red Is A Mean, Mean Colour' and 'Black Or White'. Early singles often included exclusive b-sides, and their last couple were more or less stand-alone Harley releases, as the band had quietly broken up around 1977. This collection includes songs that deserve to be heard, as they are often as good as the a-sides, and even Harley's take on Mike Batt's 'Ballerina' is worth hearing, as is it's b-side 'Face To Face', which is so hard to find online that I had to rip my own vinyl copy for this post.

Track listing

01 Rock And Roll Parade (b-side of 'Sebastian' 1973)
02 Such A Dream (b-side of 'Psychomodo' 1974)
03 Judy Teen (single 1974) 
04 Spaced Out (b-side of 'Judy Teen')
05 Another Journey (b-side of 'Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)' 1975)
06 Throw Your Soul Down Here (b-side of 'White, White Dove' 1976)
07 Sidetrack I (b-side of 'Love Is A Prima Donna' 1976)
08 Lay Me Down (b-side of 'Here Comes The Sun' 1976)
09 I Can't Even Touch You (single 1982)
10 I Can Be Anyone (b-side of 'I Can't Even Touch You')
11 Ballerina (Prima Donna) (single 1983)
12 Face To Face (b-side of 'Ballerina')