Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Pete Townshend - Quadrophenia (1973)

After I posted Pete Townshend's 'Pete's Next' album, Uncle Dan asked if it would be possible to do the same for 'The Who By Numbers'. I've hunted around and found that only a handful of demos have ever leaked out for that album, although in my investigations I did find that there were more out there than I first thought, because as well as the three volumes of 'Scoop', there's also a 5 CD bootleg with even more demos on it. Looking through them I found that it was actually possible to piece together a Townshend version of a couple of Who classics, so I'm starting with perhaps my favourite record of theirs, 'Quadrophenia'. In 2011 the album was re-issued as a Director's Cut with a host of extras, including all of Townshend's demos, and so I've used those as they were the best available quality. Not only are they great versions of the songs that we know and love, but more excitingly, there are an extra seven songs and two instrumentals on here which were eventually dropped from the released version. This means that even for fans like me who've played this record to death, this is well worth hearing to see how those additional songs fit into the narrative.   



Track listing

01 The Real Me
02 Quadrophenia
03 Cut My Hair
04 Get Out And Stay Out
05 Four Faces
06 We Close Tonight
07 You Came Back
08 Get Inside
09 Joker James
10 The Punk And The Godfather
11 I'm One
12 Dirty Jobs
13 Helpless Dancer
14 Is It in My Head?
15 Anymore
16 I've Had Enough
17 Interlude
18 Wizardry
19 Sea And Sand
20 Drowned
21 Is It Me?
22 Bell Boy
23 Doctor Jimmy
24 The Rock
25 Love Reign O'er Me

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 11 September 2020

Steve Howe - ...and on guitar (1991) UPDATE

In April 1970, Steve Howe replaced Peter Banks in Yes, and his career really started to take off. His playing style soon became instantly recognisable, and he has since become an integral part of the band, playing on every album from 1971's 'The Yes Album' until the band split up in 1981. While he was still finding his feet in yes, Howe and Rick Wakeman contributed to the recording of Lou Reed's self-titled debut album as session musicians, working together for the first time, and the same year he had played lead guitar on folk duo Curtiss Maldoon's first eponymous album. A couple of years later he played on two instrumental albums, one by his band-mate Rick Wakeman on his first solo records, and also on an album by Johnny Harris, who recorded easy listening version of popular hits of the the 60's and 70's. It was rather an odd gig, but his contribution to Jethro Tull's 'Love Song' was professional if nothing else. In 1975 the members of Yes took a break to record solo albums, and as well as releasing his own superb 'Beginnings', Howe also found time to help out Yes drummer Alan White with his own solo album, playing on a song to which Jon Anderson also contributed vocals. After that there was a busy seven year period with Yes which meant that he couldn't moonlight on other artist's records, but in 1982 he was asked to play on a song from the The Dregs 'Industry Standard' album, after which guest appearances tended to be spaced out at one every few years, appearing on albums by Propaganda, Billie Currie, Andy Leek and Animal Magic in the mid to late 80's. One particularly fine effort is to be found on the first 'Guitar Speak' compilation album from 1988, where guitarists were invited to contribute one piece of music each, and his 'Sharp On Attack' is one of the best pieces on there. One appearance that I've had to omit was his acoustic guitar solo on Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Welcome To The Pleasuredome' album, as it was unfortunately just too long to fit on here, but it's another example of the fact that unlike a lot of guitarists in this series, who tended to stick to the genre that they were most know for like rock, blues of jazz-fusion, Howe seemed to have no qualms about playing on folk, pop, easy listening, rock, or 80's indie artists recordings, adding something special to each record that he played on.   

UPDATE - In a comment, thenotnameless asked why I hadn't included Queen's 'Innuendo', as it featured a great classical guitar solo, and Howe himself has said that he was proud to have played on it. The reason was purely down to lack of space, very much like the Frankie Goes To Hollywood track, but on reflection, considering that it was his last guest appearance for seven years, I've decided that it would make the perfect conclusion to the album, so I've added it to the track listing. Links are updated. 



Track listing

01 Long Long Time (from 'Curtiss Maldoon' by Curtiss Maldoon 1971)  
02 Berlin (from 'Lou Reed' by Lou Reed 1972)
03 Love Song (from 'All To Bring You Morning' by Johnny Harris 1973) 
04 Catherine Of Aragon (from 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII' by Rick Wakeman 1973)
05 Song Of Innocence (from 'Ramshackled' by Alan White 1975)
06 Up In The Air (from 'Industry Standard' by The Dregs 1982)
07 The Murder Of Love (from 'A Secret Wish' by Propaganda 1985)
08 Airlift (from 'Transportation' by Billie Currie 1988)
09 Sharp On Attack (from the compilation album 'Guitar Speak' 1988) 
10 Say Something (from 'Say Something' by Andy Leek 1988)
11 There's A Spy (In The House Of Love) (from 'Animal Logic' by Animal Logic 1989)  
12 Innuendo (from 'Innuendo' by Queen 1991)

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.

R.E.M. - Little America (1983)

R.E.M.'s debut album 'Murmur' had been hungrily embraced by the band’s burgeoning fanbase, and this was enhanced in the autumn of 1983 when the group made their first major US TV appearance, appearing on Late Night With David Letterman, and performing a triumphant version of ‘Radio Free Europe’ and a rough version of a new song,'So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)'. Despite a relentless touring schedule, resting on their laurels was not an option for the band, who were keen to record their second album before the end of 1983. In November of that year, they recorded a batch of songs with Neil Young producer Eliot Mazer, who they briefly considered as the man to oversee the making of their second album, but the band were less than impressed with the end results, and instead chose to reconvene with 'Murmur' producers Don Dixon and Mitch Easter. The bulk of the songs from the Mazer demos turned up in completed form on 'Reckoning', and others were used as b-sides of contemporary singles. The only song on here whose source has been questioned is 'That Beat', as in the studio chatter (which I've removed) Stipe can clearly be heard talking to someone called 'Don', who would almost certainly have been Don Dixon, so that suggests that this recording may come from a different session than the others. It would also explain why the sound is quite different to the rest of the songs, but I've decided to leave it on here as it's one of the demos which never made it onto the album. Of the 22 tracks which have leaked out, I've selected all the ones which were not re-recorded for 'Reckoning', plus three which did, but which are worth hearing in these early versions, and also three covers which they used to warm up in the studio. Two of the tracks are band jokes, with 'Cushy Tush' being their idea of an advertisement for toilet paper, and 'Walter's Theme' (which I've pieced together from two separate takes) being written for Walter's BBQ restaurant in Athens, Georgia. I've done the best I can to improve the sound quality, although I have to admit that it's still not the best, but as a historical document it's certainly worth a listen.    



Track listing

01 That Beat
02 Burning Down
03 Little America
04 All The Right Friends
05 Cushy Tush
06 Windout
07 Femme Fatale
08 Burning Hell
09 Harborcoat
10 The Lion Sleeps Tonight
11 Skank
12 Walter's Theme
13 Second Guessing
14 Pale Blue Eyes
15 Just A Touch

Enjoy / Enjoy

Adam & The Ants - Madam Stan (1978)

Prior to Adam and the Ants, Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard) played bass in pub rock group Bazooka Joe, now primarily known as the band that headlined when the Sex Pistols played their first concert on 6 November 1975 at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. After witnessing this, Ant quit the band with the intention of forming his own, tentatively called The B-Sides, and they practiced regularly over the following months but, lacking a drummer, never managed to play a gig. Meanwhile, Ant had befriended some influential figures in the burgeoning London punk scene, most notably Jordan, who worked in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's SEX boutique. He eventually put a band together in early 1977 with a line-up of Lester Square (guitar), Andy Warren (bass guitar) and Paul Flannagan (drums) and himself on vocals, but Square left to finish his course at art school just days after The Ants played their first gig in May 1977. Square didn't return after his course, going on to form The Monochrome Set, so Mark Ryan replaced him on guitar, and in early June Flannagan was replaced by Dave Barbarossa (also known as Dave Barbe). This line-up recorded 'Plastic Surgery' (along with seven other unreleased demos later dubbed the 'Jubilee Demos' by bootleggers), and featured in the film 'Jubilee' as the band of Ant's character Kid. Ryan was replaced by Johnny Bivouac in October 1977, and the band finally adopted the name of Adam And The Ants. The band made their radio debut on the John Peel show with a session recorded on 23 January 1978, and the following day they re-recorded 'Deutscher Girls' (and overdubbed a guitar solo onto the above-mentioned version of 'Plastic Surgery') for inclusion on the 'Jubilee' soundtrack album, this being the group's vinyl debut. 
Although popular with the fans, the band tended to be dismissed by the punk cognoscenti as something of a joke, and much of the music press went along with this, disliking their fetishistic lyrics and imagery. Despite this the band managed to build up a strong cult following (the early 'Antpeople'), but struggled to find overground success or even a record deal. They carried on touring, often supporting Siouxsie And The Banshees, and finally landed a record deal with Decca, although by this time they had been through several line-up changes before eventually settling on the stable line-up of Adam Ant (vocals and guitar), Matthew Ashman (guitar), Andy Warren (bass guitar) and Dave Barbe (drums). It would be this line-up that recorded and released their first single 'Young Parisians' to confused reviews and little success, as well as recording both sides of a planned second single 'Zerox'/'Kick' at RAK Studios, and a total of 19 demo recordings at Decca's own studio in West Hampstead. Apparently unable to satisfactorily market the band, Decca let them go in early 1979, and the group signed with independent label Do It Records, releasing a re-recorded version of 'Zerox' for the label, before recording their debut album 'Dirk Wears White Sox'. Many of the 1978 demos eventually surfaced as bootleg recordings, and the most famous of these is the 'Madam Stan' album, which includes 12 of the Decca demos, and shows what their debut album could have sounded like if Decca hadn't got cold feet and dumped them. 



Track listing 

01 Physical
02 Friends
03 Xerox
04 Boil In The Bag Man
05 Christian Dior
06 Song For Ruth Ellis
07 It Doesn't Matter
08 Cleopatra
09 B-Side Baby
10 Bathroom Function
11 Rubber People
12 Red Scab


Throwing Muses - Throwing Muses EP (1984) / Crayon Sun (1997)

For the final post of this short series from Throwing Muses we go right back to their beginnings, with their self-released EP from 1984 on their own Blowing Fuses label, and then right up to date with some of the last recordings they made, which I've collected together on a companion EP of the cover versions which have graced the b-sides of some of their singles. 



Track listing

01 Stand Up
02 Dirt Is On The Floor
03 The Party
04 Santa Claus
05 Untitled

Enjoy / Enjoy





Track listing

01 Manic Depression (Jimi Hendrix)
02 Cry Baby Cry (The Beatles)
03 Amazing Grace (Traditional)
04 Jak (Volcano Suns)
05 Ride Into The Sun (Velvet Underground)
06 Crayon Sun (Latin Playboys)
07 If (Latin Playboys)


Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Pete Townshend - Pete's Next (1971)

It's fairly well-known that when Pete Townshend wrote a new song he often recorded a demo of it, playing all the instruments himself, so that he could present it to the Who for their opinion. Many of these demos have turned up over the years on his 'Scoop' series of albums, as well as on a wide variety of bootlegs, and while they are generally not too different from the finished article by the Who, it's still interesting to hear his original take on the song. During the 70's he was able to record these tracks in his own studio, so the sound quality is excellent, and around 1970 he laid down a considerable number of demos for his aborted 'Lifehouse' project. It's well documented that despite Townhsend really believing in the project, it was beset by problems and remains unissued to this day. So as not to waste many of these new songs, he offered them to the band for a new album, which became 'Who's Next', and it's now generally regarded as one of the very best records of the Who's long career. I thought it would be interesting to hear what this classic album would have sounded like if Townshend had decided to release it himself instead of 'Lifehouse', and as there are demos available of all the songs that he wrote then it's fairly easy to do. One of the tracks was composed by John Enwistle, so obviously there will be no demo for 'My Wife', and in its place I've added an extended take of 'Pure And Easy', which was written at the same time as the others, and which has always been a favourite of mine. Some of these recordings are noticeably longer than the Who's versions, which were obviously tightened up in the studio, while 'Love Ain't For Keeping' is more of a sketch for the full song to be completed later, but this is still a fascinating look behind the scenes of how 'Who's Next' was put together. I've updated the original sleeve to make it a Townshend solo album, but kept the idea of the title.  



Track listing

01 Baba O'Riley
02 Bargain
03 Love Ain't For Keeping
04 Pure And Easy
05 Song Is Over
06 Getting In Tune
07 Going Mobile
08 Behind Blue Eyes
09 Won't Get Fooled Again

Enjoy / Enjoy

Laura Marling - BBC Proms 2020 (2020)

I may have mentioned before that I'm a massive Laura Marling fan, having followed her from the very start of her career, and I've loved everything she's ever done. When I heard that she'd been selected to play a set as part of this year's Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, with orchestral arrangements by the pioneering un-conducted 12 Ensemble, I couldn't wait to hear it. It was broadcast on Sunday, and was every bit as good as I hoped it would be, and so for anyone who missed it here is an audio rip that you can download and listen to at your leisure. I'm sure that anyone who saw it would have come away a fan, even if they didn't really know her work. 



Track listing

01 The Suite: Take The Night Off / I Was An Eagle / You Know / Breathe
02 Tap At My Window
03 Fortune
04 The Valley
05 What He Wrote
06 Song For Our Daughter
07 For You
08 Blow By Blow
09 The End Of The Affair
10 Still Crazy After All These Years
11 Wild Fire
12 I Hope We Can Meet Again
13 How Can I?
14 Daisy
15 Once
16 Salinas
17 Next Time
18 Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)

The players:
Laura Marling (singer, guitar)
Nick Pini (bass)
12 Ensemble

Enjoy  Enjoy

Friday, 4 September 2020

Tommy Bolin - ...and on guitar (1975)

Thomas Richard Bolin was born in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1951, and began playing with The Miserlous as a teenager, before he was asked to join Denny and The Triumphs in 1964, at the young age of thirteen. They played a blend of rock and roll, R&B and the pop hits of the moment, and after leaving them they were followed by American Standard when he moved to Boulder, Colorado in his late teens, and then by Ethereal Zephyr. This last group was named after a train that ran between Denver and Chicago, and when record companies became interested the name was shortened to Zephyr. This band included Bolin on lead guitar, David Givens on bass, and Givens' wife Candy Givens on vocals, attempting to emulate Janis Joplin, and not always successfully. Their second album 'Going Back to Colorado' featured a new drummer, Bobby Berge, who would pop up from time to time in musician credits in Bolin's later projects. In 1972, now aged 20, Bolin formed the fusion jazz-rock-blues band Energy, but they were unable to secure a record contract, and so never released an album during Bolin's lifetime, although recordings have been released posthumously. Stuck between the musical direction he wanted to pursue and a nearly-empty bank account, 1973 found Bolin replacing Domenic Troiano, who had in turn replaced Joe Walsh, in the James Gang. He recorded two albums with them, 'Bang' in 1973 and 'Miami' in 1974, and had a hand in writing nearly all the songs on both records.
 In between the two James Gang albums, Bolin played on Billy Cobham's 1973 solo album 'Spectrum', which included Bolin on guitar, Cobham on drums, Leland Sklar on bass and Jan Hammer on keyboards and synthesizers. After the 'Miami' tour, Bolin left the James Gang and filled his time doing session work for various rock and jazz bands, and he also toured with Carmine Appice and The Good Rats. Later in 1975, he signed with Nemperor Records for a solo album, and it was during the recording of 'Teaser' that he was contacted by Deep Purple. After Ritchie Blackmore left the band, the other members had a meeting and discussed whether to disband or try to find a replacement. They chose the latter option, and Bolin was suggested by David Coverdale, who had been listening to his work on Billy Cobham's 'Spectrum' album. He was invited over for a jam session, and four hours later the job was his. 'Come Taste the Band' was released in October 1975, and contained a number of Bolin co-writes, but the band broke up a year later, leaving him free to put together the Tommy Bolin Band. After releasing just one album, 'Private Eyes' in 1976, Bolin died on 3rd December 1976 from an overdose of heroin, cocaine and alcohol. As you will hear from this album, he was a talented guitarist in a number of styles, from hard rock with Moxy and Deep Purple, so the most intricate jazz-rock fusion with Billy Cobham and Alphonse Mouzon, and is a great loss to the world of music.   



Track listing

01 Sun's A-Risin' (from 'Zephyr' by Zephyr 1969)
02 Destiny (demo recording with Jeremy Steig 1971)
03 Naked Edge (from unreleased album by Energy 1972)
04 From Another Time (from 'Bang' by The James Gang 1973)
05 Quadrant 4 (from 'Spectrum' by Billy Cobham 1973)
06 Carbon Dioxide (from 'Mind Transplant' by Alphonse Mouzon 1975)
07 Fantasy (from 'Moxy' by Moxy' 1975)
08 Bolin/Paice Jam (from 'Come Taste The Band' sessions by Deep Purple 1975)

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.

Throwing Muses - Heel Toe (1997)

After looking into the early work of Throwing Muses, we come bang up to date with a collection of rare out-takes and b-sides from when they were recording their string of superlative albums for the 4AD record label. We start with a couple of out-takes from the sessions for their EP and mini-album from 1987, with 'Fish' being a reworked song from their 'Doghouse' cassette. They offered this to 4AD for inclusion on their excellent 'Lonely Is A Eyesore' compilation album from 1987, and not only was it one of the best tracks on there, but it's lyric also provided the album with it's title. The band didn't really start to include non-album b-sides on their singles until quite late in their career, but when they did they were all top quality stuff. In 1990 they contributed 'Back Road (Matter Of Degrees)' to the film 'A Matter Of Degrees', which also included songs from some of the best indie bands of the period, and for the rest of the 90's they added at least one new song to each of their singles, right up until they sadly broke up in 1997. The good news is that they reformed in 2003, and have a new album called 'Sun Racket' due out any day now. To prepare you for that, enjoy these hard to find songs from that classic decade of their career between 1987 and 1997.       



Track listing

01 Hillbilly (out-take from 'The Fat Skier' 1987)
02 Fish (out-take from 'Chains Changed' 1987, later gifted to 'Lonely Is An Eyesore')
03 Same Sun (b-side of 'Counting Backwards' 1990)
04 Cottonmouth (b-side of 'Counting Backwards' 1990)
05 Back Road (Matter Of Degrees) (from the film 'A Matter Of Degrees' 1990)
06 Snailhead (from the 'Firepile E.P. (Part One)' 1992)
07 City Of The Dead (from the 'Firepile E.P. (Part One)' 1992)
08 Handsome Woman (from the 'Firepile E.P. (Part Two)' 1992)
09 Red Eyes (b-side of 'Bright Yellow Gun' 1994)
10 Like A Dog (b-side of 'Bright Yellow Gun' 1994)
11 Tar Moochers (b-side of 'Ruthie's Knocking' 1996)
12 Serene Swing (b-side of 'Ruthie's Knocking' 1996)
13 Limbobo (b-side of 'Ruthie's Knocking' 1996)
14 Heel Toe (b-side of 'Freeloader' 1997)


The Housemartins - Themes For The Well-dressed Man! (1985)

Paul Heaton was an aspiring musician from Hull, who passed through the ranks of a number of bands, such as Tools Down and The Pond Frogs, before guitarist Stan Cullimore answered Heaton's ad for a partner to form a busking duo. They started to write songs together and slipped them in among the covers of chart hits, but they noticed that they always seemed to be bottom of the bill for any gigs they got, as they were just a duo, so they recruited a bassist and drummer to beef up their sound, and took the name The Housemartins. While still a duo, Heaton and Cullimore had recorded the 'Themes For The Well-dressed Man!' demo tape with help from Ingo Dewsnap and Sharon Green of Les Zeiga Fleurs, and this brought them to the attention of Go! Discs Records, who signed the band to their label. At the same time as 'Go! Disc's released their first single, the band issued 'The Housemartins From Outer Space (A Short History)' cassette themselves, which included new recordings at Crow Studios of a lot of the songs from their first tape, but as a band rather than as a duo. By now, Ted Key, the original bassist, had left to be replaced by Norman Cook (the future Fatboy Slim), and they finally settled on Dave Hemingway as their drummer. In 1986, having recorded two John Peel sessions and released the superb, but unappreciated, 'Flag Day' single, the band broke through with their third effort 'Happy Hour', which reached No. 3 in the UK singles chart, while their debut album 'London 0 Hull 4' cemented their reputation as a first-rate indie-pop band, gifted with an off-the-wall sense of humour. This collection contains all the songs from their first cassette and a few from the second, plus a couple of rare demos and their complete John Peel session from 1985, so sit back and enjoy the beginnings of the 'fourth best band in Hull'. The cover might seem a bit dull, but it's a re-creation of the sleeve from that first cassette tape. 



Track listing

01 All Men Are The Same (from the 'Themes For The Well-dressed Man!' cassette 1984)
02 When Will I Be Released? (from the 'Themes For The Well-dressed Man!' cassette 1984)
03 Skatsburg (from the 'Themes For The Well-dressed Man!' cassette 1984)
04 Swansea (With Me) (from the 'Themes For The Well-dressed Man!' cassette 1984)
05 Singapore (from the 'Themes For The Well-dressed Man!' cassette 1984)
06 It's History (from the 'Themes For The Well-dressed Man!' cassette 1984)
07 Time Spent Thinking (from the 'Themes For The Well-dressed Man!' cassette 1984)
08 The Day I Called It A Day (from the 'Themes For The Well-dressed Man!' cassette 1984)
09 Taxi To Singapore (from the 'Themes For The Well-dressed Man!' cassette 1984)
10 I Will Be There (demo 1984)
11 Change The World (demo of 'Flag Day' 1984)
12 Time Spent Thinking (from 'The Housemartins From Outer Space' cassette 1985)
13 Too Many Cooks (from  'The Housemartins From Outer Space' cassette 1985)
14 All Men Are The Same (from  'The Housemartins From Outer Space' cassette 1985)
15 Drop Down Dead (John Peel session 1985)
16 Joy Joy Joy (John Peel session 1985)
17 Flag Day (John Peel session 1985)
18 Stand At  Ease (John Peel session 1985)