Saturday, 23 June 2018

Quicksilver Messenger Service - Live (1967)

As I said in the last post, by the time that Quicksilver Messenger Service released their debut album in May 1968, they'd already been gigging around the circuit for nearly two years, and a lot of those concerts had been professionally or semi-professionally recorded, resulting in there being quite a lot of good quality live material from the band fairly freely available. I could propose this album as a very similar one to the previous post, and say that the band could easily have released a live album as their debut in 1967, but I don't think that would have been very likely, so this collection of live recordings of songs which never appeared on their studio albums is more of a companion piece to 'Q.M.S. 1968', which included studio takes of songs which never appeared on the official albums. Quicksilver Messenger Service were always at their best in the live environment, and even though a lot of these recordings are covers, the band put their unique twist on them, and you can't help but be impressed at just how good they were as a live unit (and also at the quality of these recordings from 1966 and 1967).

Track listing

01 If You Live (Your Time Will Come)
02 Hair Like Sunshine (Long Distance Call)
03 Got My Mojo Workin'
04 All Night Worker
05 Don't Tell Me You're Sorry (I Can't Believe It)
06 You Don't Love Me
07 A Strange, Funny World (Look Around)
08 Susie Q
09 Duncan And Brady
10 Hoochie Coochie Man

Quicksilver Messenger Service - Q.M.S. (1968)

Quicksilver Messenger Service were one of the best West Coast psychedelic bands of the late 60s', and released two classic albums in 1968/69 with their eponymous debut and the classic 'Happy Trails'. When they released 'Quicksilver Messenger Service' in May 1968 they'd already been around for a couple of years playing local clubs, and even laying down some tracks in the studio, but they'd held off committing to a record deal until late 1967, when they eventually signed with Capitol. By this time they actually had enough material in the can to release their first album straight away, although it would have been mostly made up of covers rather than the self-penned songs that they eventually issued. However, it would still have been an impressive record, as they put their own stamp on every song they recorded (and don't forget that The Grateful Dead's first album had a lot of covers on it, so it's not unprecedented for a debut). If they had decided to start their recorded career a little earlier then this is what their first album could have sounded like. I admit that it's nowhere near as good as their real first record, but it's nice to hear it anyway.

Track listing

01 Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You
02 Codine
03 I Hear You Knockin' (It's Too Late)
04 Your Time Will Come
05 Back Door Man
06 Walkin' Blues
07 Bears
08 Stand By Me
09 Smokestack Lightning

The first two songs were recorded for the soundtrack to the 1967 film 'Revolution', tracks 7 and 8 were a stand-alone single released in 1968, and the rest are out-takes from the first album sessions.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Jethro Tull - Chateau D'Isaster (1973)

After the financial success of 'Thick As A Brick', Jethro Tull found themselves as tax exiles in France, and so it was at the Chateau D'Herouville that they began work on the highly anticipated 'A Passion Play'. The sessions ended up mysteriously abandoned, due to 'ill health, technical and production problems, and the sudden decision to return to the U.K.'. Ian Anderson would later re-evaluate and re-record some of these songs, but the sessions' original concept seemed to be a construct around man's relationship with the animal kingdom, and one of these themes would later morph into 'War Child's 'Bungle In The Jungle'. The music is progressive rock at its best, but in a more palatable, abbreviated form that on 'A Passion Play', and mostly comes from 1993's 'Nightcap: The Unreleased Masters'. However, while compiling this album I found that some recorded tracks were missing, and a number of others had been incorrectly titled, so there was a bit of work to do, and I've also edited a few tracks so that they segued smoothly, to give a bit of coherence to the individual sides. The track listing has come from Yesstiles over at the site, who has tried to knock the three sides of the proposed double album into some sort of shape. The three recorded sides all have similar lyrical content - Side 1 carries the God and Theatre concept, Side 2 has the Man and Animal concept, and Side 3 has the Man and Critic concept. Side 4 - who knows? It's likely that 'Bungle in the Jungle' was written for this album, but possibly not recorded until the 'War Child' sessions, so may have been placed on Side 4 if they hadn't abandoned the project. Obviously, since it contains the word 'bungle', like two other songs on this album, it must have been meant to be placed somewhere, so I've put it with the other two 'bungle' songs. 'A Passion Play' contains many musical elements of this album, so the final side of the album could be composed of the last 19 minutes of that release (Side 2 following the Hare story), so I've added that as Side 4, but as it's already released material then feel free to delete it if you want. 

Track listing

Side One
01 Prelude
02 Scenario
03 Audition
04 Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of A New Day
05 Sailor
06 No Rehearsal

Side Two
07 First Post
08 Animelee
09 Tiger Toon
10 Look At The Animals
11 Law Of The Bungle Part I
12 Law Of The Bungle Part II
13 Bungle In The Jungle

Side Three
14 Left Right
15 Solitaire
16 Critique Oblique
17 Post Last

Side Four
A Passion Play - Part II

Steven Wilson has recently done a new stereo mix of these tapes, and I was going to use those mixes, but he's removed nearly all the flute from most of the recordings, so as far as I'm concerned they are not worth hearing. The only one I was forced to use was 'Skating Away....' as I couldn't find the original source tape.

Thanks to Willard's Wormholes (R.I.P.) and Yesstiles for information and concept.


Saturday, 16 June 2018

Lindsey Buckingham - Gift Of Screws (2001)

I've seen quite a few online requests from people who want to hear Lindsey Buckingham's 'Gift Of Screws' album. Not being a fan, I didn't really understand what they were asking, as Buckingham did in fact release an album called 'Gift Of Screws' in 2008, but after a bit of investigation I found out exactly why they were all desperate to hear this earlier album. Buckingham actually recorded a bunch of songs between 1995 and 2000 for a projected solo album, and the general opinion is that if it had come out in 2001 it would have been his best ever release. When he presented it to the record company they advised him to keep some of the songs back for a forthcoming Fleetwood Mac album, and so 2003's 'Say You Will' contained some of his work which was originally destined for 'Gift Of Screws'. The official 2008 'Gift Of Screws' album only included one track from these demos, notably the title track, inspired by an Emily Dickinson poem. Having now heard this album I'm amazed at just how good it is, and it's shown Buckingham to me in a whole new light.

Track listing

01 Someone's Gotta Change Your Mind
02 Miranda
03 Steal Your Heart Away
04 Red Rover
05 She Smiled Sweetly
06 Come
07 Down On Rodeo
08 Gotta Get Away
09 Try For The Sun
10 Shuffle Riff
11 Murrow
12 Gift Of Screws
13 Bleed To Love Her
14 Twist Of Fate
15 Wear You Down (Steve's Riff)
16 Say Goodbye
17 The Singer Not The Song
18 Given Thing
19 Deep Dense
20 Blue Turns To Grey


The Supremes - Stoned Love (1973)

Diana Ross And The Supremes reigned supreme (!) throughout the 60's, and when Ross left for a solo career in 1970 the three remaining members - Mary Wilson, Jean Terrell and Cindy Birdsong (later replaced by Linda Laurence) - embarked on a new stage of their career, and in my opinion issued some of their finest work. Singles such as 'Nathan Jones', 'Stoned Love' and 'Automatically Sunshine' all graced the upper reaches of the charts, and some of their album tracks were just as good. So that I could hear all my favourite songs in one place I've put together an album containing all of their singles from 1970 to 1973, along with some choice b-sides and a couple of rarities.

Track listing

01 Life Beats (withdrawn single 1970)
02 Up The Ladder To The Roof
03 Everybody's Got The Right To Love
04 Stoned Love (extended version)
05 Nathan Jones
06 Touch
07 Floy Joy
08 This Is The Story
09 Bad Weather
10 Automatically Sunshine
11 Precious Little Things
12 Love Train (unreleased)
13  Your Wonderful, Sweet Sweet Love
14 The Wisdom Of Time

Friday, 15 June 2018

Eric Clapton - The Delaney Mix of the First Album (1970)

In late 1969 and early 1970 Eric Clapton recorded a number of songs in Los Angeles and London, in preparation for his first solo album release. His backing band for most of the sessions was the one used by his good friends Delaney and Bonnie when they toured with Blind Faith - one of whom was a pre- Derek And The Dominos Bobby Whitlock. Once the recordings were complete he asked Delaney Bramlett to mix the album for him, and waited for the results. Due to a misunderstanding between them, Delaney was waiting for Clapton to send over one more song to be added to the mix, while Clapton was waiting for the mixed album to be sent back before sendng the final song. After waiting a few weeks and hearing nothing, Clapton mixed it himself, but was very unsatisfied with the results, so the record company employed Tom Down to mix it, and that is the version which was released. When Clapton eventually got to hear Delaney's mix he said that it was by far his favourite, but it was too late to change as the record had been pressed. The Delaney mix is significantly different in a number of areas, with more reverb on Clapton's voice - which he always thought was too thin on Dowd's mix - and the guitars and horns being more prominent on some songs. It's probably only the super-fan who will notice the differences straight away, and they've most likely already heard this mix on the Deluxe re-issue, but for the casual fan the whole album seems to have a bit more punch to it. 

Track listing

01 Slunky
02 Bad Boy
03 Lonesome And A Long Way From Home
04 After Midnight
05 Easy Now
06 Blues Power
07 Bottle Of Red Wine
08 Lovin' You Lovin' Me
09 Told You For The Last Time
10 Don't Know Why
11 Let It Rain

For some unknown reason the cover of the original bootleg had a picture of Bob Seger on it instead of Eric (they both had beards?...who knows) so I've replaced it with an alternate picture from the first album photo session. 


The Beach Boys - California Feeling (1981)

Back in the eighties, before the advent of the internet, if you wanted to make an imaginary album you literally had to press up a vinyl record and sell in under the counter of a record shop. I know there will be people saying 'vinyl?' and 'record shop?' 'what are they?', but it's how we lived back then. In 1981, this is what happened with The Beach Boys, when an enterprising fan gathered together a number of unreleased tracks and made an album which he called 'California Feeling'. He titled it after a track which the band had recorded as the title song for what would later become the 'M.I.U. Album', with not only the title changing, but the song being omitted from the track listing as well. Along with a few other out-takes and demos making up the running time, we had a very enjoyable Beach Boys' album, possibly even better than some of the officially released records at this turbulent time in their career. The best Beach Boys blog - Alternative Albums And More - never actually got around to piecing this one together, and as my old Youtube rip was not the best quality I've sourced the best recordings of the songs to put it back together. I have left off a couple of distinctly below-standard demos, and re-jigged the running order a bit, and I still think it stands up very well for a bootleg of some 35 years ago. The album cover is the original which housed the vinyl back in 1981. 

Track listing

01 California Feelin'
02 We're Together Again
03 How's About A Little Bit Of Your Sweet Lovin'
04 Our Team
05 Brian's Back
06 Santa Ana Winds
07 Lookin' Down The Coast
08 Stevie
09 California Dreamin'
10 Sherry She Needs Me
11 River Song
12 Marilyn Rovell
13 We Gotta Groove
14 Carry Me Home

Wilson is famous for his 'girl' songs ('Help Me Rhonda', 'Caroline No', 'Wendy' etc etc) and this album is no different, with 'Stevie' being written for Stevie Nicks, and 'Marilyn Rovell' being the maiden name of his wife-to-be. 'River Song' and 'Carry Me Home' are two of Dennis Wilson's best songs, 'California Dreamin'' is a rare (for them) cover version, 'Santa Ana Winds' was completely re-written for inclusion on 1980's 'Keepin' The Summer Alive', while 'Sherry She Needs Me' was an instrumental titled 'Sandy She Needs Me' from 1965, which didn't have a vocal for over a decade.