Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Happy New Year

Best wishes to everyone for 2020



Track listing

01 Happy New Year - ABBA
02 Funky New Year - The Eagles
03 Our New Year - Tori Amos
04 New Year's Prayer - Jeff Buckley
05 New Years Day - U2
06 New Year's Greetings - The Triffids
07 This Will Be Our Year - The Zombies
08 Celtic New Year - Van Morrison
09 Next Year - Foo Fighters
10 Same Old Lang Syne - Dan Fogelberg
11 New Year - Sugababes
12 New Year's Eve (Bad As Me) - Tom Waits
13 New Year's Eve's The Loneliest Night Of The Year - Trembling Bells
14 New Year's Eve - Snoop Dogg feat. Marty James


Neil Innes (1944-2019)

I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Neil Innes on Sunday, at the age of just 75. He became an integral part of this blog once I started to post the complete Rutles discography, and I came to realise just how many great songs he'd written with The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, The World, GRIMMS, and The Rutles, and of course in his solo career, both on record and on TV. I caught The Rutles when they visited my home town in the summer, and you could tell that he was having a ball playing the songs. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening for both the fans and the band, and that is how I will remember him. 


R.I.P. Neil



Monday, 30 December 2019

Elvis Costello - Radio Sweethearts (1980)

Even though I've followed Elvis Costello throughout his long and varied career, I've alway had a soft spot for the music that he released in the first three years of hs solo career. Those first few singles were so unlike anything else that was out there at the time that they shone out like a beacon. If you bought them when they came out, as I did, you found that there were even more gems tucked away on the flips, and when the albums started to appear these songs were often conspicuous by their absence. His first few singles for Stiff Records ('Less Than Zero' and 'Alison') failed to chart, but his debut album was an immediate success, gracing the UK Top 20, which was quite a achievement for a New Wave album. The backing for the recordings was provided by American West Coast band Clover, a country outfit living in England, whose members would later go on to join Huey Lewis and the News and the Doobie Brothers. Costello put together a new band for his next single, and Steve Nieve (piano), Steve Goulding (drums) and Andrew Bodnar (bass) recorded 'Watching The Detectives', his first UK hit single. Replacing Bodnar with Bruce Thomas, and Goulding with Pete Thomas, The Attractions were born, and Costello's most creative period began. This album collates all the b-sides, freebie singles, and one solitary movie soundtrack recording that were issued between 1977 and 1980, and is more for the UK visitor, as quite often UK non-album singles were added to the US editions of his records, although there is much to savour here no matter where you live.   



Track listing
      
01 Radio Sweetheart (b-side of 'Less Than Zero' 1977)
02 Watching The Detectives (single 1977)
03 Stranger In The House (free single with 'This Year's Model' 1978)
04 Neat Neat Neat (Live) (free single with 'This Year's Model' 1978)
05 Big Tears (b-side of 'Pump It Up' 1978)
06 Crawling To The USA (from the soundtrack of 'Americathon' 1979)
07 Radio, Radio (UK single 1978)
08 Tiny Steps (b-side of 'Radio Radio')
09 Talking In The Dark (free single with 'Armed Forces' 1978)
10 Wednesday Week (free single with 'Armed Forces' 1978)
11 My Funny Valentine (b-side of 'Oliver's Army' 1979)
12 Girls Talk (b-side of 'I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down' 1980)
13 Getting Mighty Crowded (b-side of 'High Fidelity' 1980)
14 Ghost Train (b-side of 'New Amsterdam' EP 1980)
15 Dr. Luther's Assistant (b-side of 'New Amsterdam' EP 1980)
16 Hoover Factory (b-side of 'Clubland' 1980)
17 Just A Memory (b-side of 'New Amsterdam' EP 1980)
18 Clean Money (b-side of 'Clubland' 1980)


Friday, 27 December 2019

Frank Zappa - Son Of Hot Rats (1970) UPDATE

The big news this year for Zappaholics was the announcement that there would be a 'Hot Rats' box set towards the end of the year, which would include hours of recordings made during the 'Hot Rats' sessions. It's finally here, and we have not been let down by what's on it. The 6CD box documents and compiles every composition recorded during several days in July 1969 when Zappa recorded a wealth of material that ended up being used not only for the 'Hot Rats' album, but throughout multiple releases during his lifetime. It's filled with an abundance of rare and unedited mixes, work mixes, relevant Vault nuggets and complete basic tracks mixed from the original multi-track master tapes by Craig Parker Adams and mastered by Bob Ludwig. The collection provides a fascinating look into the making of this classic album, and includes essentially every musical entity that was recorded during these iconic sessions, including tracks which would subsequently become part of Zappa’s albums 'Burnt Weeny Sandwich', 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh', 'Studio Tan', and 'Chunga’s Revenge'. After working my way through them and finding recordings that I never knew existed, I've decided to update my 'Son Of Hot Rats' album to replace some of the tracks whch didn't really fit the original concept with versions that I now know were definitely recorded at the same time as the final 'Hot Rats' tracks. I've therefore replaced 'Lemme Take You To The Beach' with the original instrumental backing before the vocals were added in the early 70's, and added the full eight minute 1970 mix of 'Bognor Regis'. As it was now turning into an almost completely instrumental album, and getting longer all the time, I decided to remove the vocal parts from 'Sharleena' and just leave the solos, add the unedited take of 'Lil' Clanton Shuffle', remove 'Excentrifugal Forz' completely, and replace 'Twenty Small Cigars' with the original 'Transition', but as it was almost musically identical I've kept the title. After a little re-jigging of the running order it sounded pretty good, and so here is the updated album. I'm leaving the original post in place in case anyone still wants to hear that, and the other good news is that there are enough tracks left over to compile a third album in the trilogy, which will follow when I've put it together. 



Track listing

01 Bognor Regis
02 Dame Margret's Son To Be A Bride
03 Twenty Small Cigars
04 Chunga Basement
05 Introducing The Toads Of The Short Forest>
06 Sharleena
07 Lil' Clanton Shuffle

Enjoy / Enjoy

Editors - Behind The Back Room (2006)

Editors are a UK indie-rock band, formed in 2002 in Birmingham, and consisting of  Tom Smith (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Russell Leetch (bass guitar, synthesiser), Geraint Owen (drums), Chris Urbanowicz (lead guitar), and Elliott Williams (keys, synthesisers, guitars). The band met while studying Music Technology at Staffordshire University, but while living in Birmingham and playing at venues such as the Jug Of Ale and the Flapper & Firkin. The band was initially known as Pilot and played its first show under this name in 2002, but they soon realised the name was already taken by the 1970's Scottish pop group, so they changed it to The Pride. Following a change in personnel, with Ed Lay replacing Geraint Owen on drums, this lineup became known as Snowfield, and they played their debut gig at the request of Fused Magazine in March 2003. The following summer the band self-released a demo six-track EP, all of which went on to become future Editors songs, and word of mouth helped them become a popular unsigned band. They sent out a one track demo CD of 'Bullets', earning them the interest of several British labels, and in 2004 they signed to Newcastle based indie label Kitchenware Records, when they became Editors. 
The band released debut single 'Bullets' as a limited edition of 1000 copies in 2005, selling out on the day of release. 'Munich' followed in April of that year and gave them their first Top 25 hit, and 'Blood' was released two months later, reaching number 18 in the UK Singles Chart. With these releases their fanbase continued to grow and on 25 July 2005 their debut album 'The Back Room' was released to critical acclaim and commercial success. It was a great album, and contained some of their best songs, but then fans who had followed them from that first single would have expected nothing less, as the band had consistently put great new songs on the b-sides of the many different formats of their first four singles, none of which eventually made the album. We were left thinking that if they could afford to leave these songs off the album then what is on there must be exceptional, and it was. This album is made up of just the b-sides of the singles that they released in 2005 and early 2006, and there are enough new songs here to make up a brand new album which could have been released at the same time as 'The Back Room', which is why I've titled it 'Behind The Back Room'. You don't hear much of the band these days, and the musical direction of their recent albums have changed quite a lot, so I no longer listen to them, but I do have a soft spot for these early tracks, and so this CD that I burned back in 2006 is definitely worth sharing.  



Track listing

01 Colours (b-side of 'Munich' 2005)
02 Come Share The View (b-side of 'Bullets' re-issue 2005)
03 Dust In The Sunlight (b-side of 'Bullets' 2005)
04 Release (b-side of 'Munich' 2005)
05 Heads In Bags (b-side of 'Blood' 2005)
06 Crawl Down The Wall (b-side of 'Munich' 2005)
07 Forest Fire (b-side of 'Blood' 2005)
08 You Are Fading (b-side of 'Bullets' 2005)
09 I Buried The Devil (b-side of Bullets' re-issue 2005)
10 French Disko (b-side of 'All Sparks' 2006)
11 Find Yourself A Safe Place (b-side of 'All Sparks' 2006)
12 Let Your Good Heart Lead You Home (b-side of 'Blood' 2005)
13 The Diplomat (b-side of 'All Sparks' 2006)
14 From The Outside (b-side of 'All Sparks' 2006)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Electric Guitars - Work (1983)

I've been rummaging through my collection of 7" and 12" singles that I bought in the late 70's and 80's, and have found quite a few bands who released one or two singles and the odd album, but then broke up and faded away into obscurity. I obviously liked these bands enough at the time to buy the singles, and on listening to them now some of them have stood the test of time really well. Some of these outfits have had retrospectives released, but licencing issues often meant that not all of their singles were able to be included, and so as I don't have that problem I've been able to collect all of the original single recordings, and add in any session or demo tracks to make up a definitive overview of each band. Sometimes songs were re-recorded for an album release, and where there are noticeable differences I've included the original 7" recordings. I'm starting off this short series with Electric Guitars, and do please give them a listen, as these bands should all have been much bigger than they were. 
Electric Guitars were an English band formed early in 1980 by Neil Davenport (vocals, lyrics) and Richard Hall (bass, vocals) who were both studying English at Bristol University. The band soon increased to a five-man line-up by adding Andy Saunders (guitar, vocals), Matt Salt (drums) and Dick Truscott (keyboards), and they later added two backing singers, Sarah and Wendy Partridge. Their first single 'Health'/'Continental Shelf' was released on local label Fried Egg Records in 1980, and received some airplay from John Peel, which is where I first heard the band. They contributed four live tracks to the first edition of 'The Bristol Recorder' in 1980 (one of which was a version of 'Continental Shelf'), and following a change of label to Recreational Records they released their second single 'Work'/'Don’t Wake The Baby' the following year. A tour with The Thompson Twins brought them to the attention of Stiff Records who promptly signed them up and issued their third single 'Language Problems' in 1982, which was followed by an EP later the same year. Another label change to Naive Records resulted in one more single 'Wolfman Tap', after which the band broke up in 1983, never to record an album. There is a 'best of' album available from the group, but they've re-recorded all the songs, and so it's generally regarded as a disappointing substitute for the original recordings, which is what you have here.   



Track listing

01 Health (single 1981)
02 Continental Shelf (b-side of 'Health')
03 Dumb Words (from 'The Bristol Recorder' 1980)
04 Le Camping (from 'The Bristol Recorder' 1980)
05 Magic Surfaces (from 'The Bristol Recorder' 1980)
06 Work (single 1981)
07 Don't Wake The Baby (b-side of 'Work')
08 Language Problems (single 1982)
09 Ex-American Presidents (b-side of 'Language Problems' 12")
10 Beat Me Hollow (single 1982)
11 Night Bears (b-side of 'Beat Me Hollow')
12 Genghis Khan (from the 'E.P. 4-Tracks' EP 1982)
13 Wolfman Tap (single 1983)
14 Stamp Out The Termites (b-side of 'Wolfman Tap')
15 My Big Surprise (from the 'E.P. 4-Tracks' EP 1982) 

As a lot of these 80's post-punk bands will be an unknown quantity for most people, I've included a Youtube link for one of the songs for you to check them out.

Enjoy / Enjoy

Bang - Death Of A Country (1971)

Bang was formed in 1971 by drummer Tony Diorio, bassist/singer Frank Ferrara, and guitarist Frank Gilcken and got their first significant break by gate-crashing a Small Faces show in Orlando. They recorded their first album 'Death Of A Country' the same year, but it was rejected by their record company Capitol as being a ‘heavy concept album’ that they thought no one would understand. Instead they went back into the studio to record their official debut album 'Bang', which was released in 1972. Often cited as being the closest band America had to Black Sabbath in the early 70’s, there was much more to Bang than being mere copyists, and all of their albums contain some intricate and inventive heavy rock. Their second album 'Mother/Bow To The King' should have been their entry into the rock mainstream, but changes in personnel at their record company offices and an externally forced line-up change led to frustration and bewilderment, and they finally released their swansong album 'Music' in 1973. It was on this album that we saw a mature songwriting partnership moving away from the all out heaviness of their earlier work, into reflective, yet uplifting almost Powerpop mode. The band broke up after the failure of this record, but briefly reunited in 1999 to record new music for a couple of releases in 1999 and 2004, but it's their 70's output which needs reappraisal, especially this aborted debut, which admittedly might not have sold in 1971, but sounds magnificent now.  



Track listing

01 Death Of A Country 
02 No Trespassing 
03 My Window  
04 Life on Ending  
05 Certainly Meaningless  
06 Future Song 

Enjoy / Enjoy

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Boards Of Canada - Trails (2009)

I found an intriguing Boards Of Canada post on Youtube recently, which purported to be a rare releases mixtape, and as I didn't recognise most of the titles then I believed them. On further investigation, I found that these were indeed rare tracks by the band, from compilation albums, b-sides, bonus tracks from Japanese re-issues, a track from a Peel session, a number from their own website, before it closed down, and a two live renditions of tracks which only survive in studio form as short snippets. In tracking down this information I also found the original sources of all of these tracks, so rather than just upload the video, this album is made up of the raw material used for the mixtape, allowing me to make some small edits here and there for a better listening experience. As the many comments from the video attest, this is a great compilation of rare BOC tunes, and so I'm grateful for Lilly's Domain for bringing them to my attention, and thereby giving me the opportunity to introduce them to a wider audience of fans. If you want to listen to the mixtape and watch the excellent accompanying visuals on Youtube, then check it out here.



Track listing

01 Website Intro (from the boc website 1990)
02 Echus (live at All Tomorrow's Parties 2001)
03 Korona (from the Various Artists 'Mask 100' EP 1996)
04 Gann (from the boc website 1990)
05 Last Walk Around Mirror Lake (from the Boom Bip remix album 'Corymb' 2004)
06 Time Apple (from the boc website 1990)
07 Spiro (live at Warp Lighthouse Party 1999)
08 From One Source All Things Depend (from the Japanese edition of 'Geogaddi' 2002)
09 Macquarie Ridge (from the Japanese edition of 'The Campfire Headphase' 2005)
10 Trails (from the boc website 1990)
11 Orange Romeda (from the Various Artists album 'We Are Reasonable People' 1998)
12 Chinook (b-side of 'Aquarius' single 1998)
13 XYZ (from the 1998 John Peel Session)
14 Circle (the only known sample from the ultra-rare album 'Hooper Bay' 1994)
15 Seven Forty Seven (from the Various Artists album 'Warp20' 2009)

Based on a track listing compiled by Lilly's Domain Youtube channel

Enjoy / Enjoy

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Solstice Tidings: An Alternative Christmas Album

If, like me, you've heard the same dozen Christmas songs over and over on the radio and in the shops over the past few weeks, then here's an album to take the edge off the festive period. They're still Christmas/Winter-themed songs, but by some of my favourite bands (most of them already have a post on the site), and the majority are in the alternative genre, with just a couple of more mainstream acts, but with songs that tend not to make it to the ubiquitous Christmas compilation albums. Low issued one of the best ever Christmas albums in 2010, and I was tempted to include the up-beat 'Just Like Christmas', but instead I went for a lesser-known song from it, although do check out the whole thing as it's a classic. Cheap Trick, Ramones, The Flaming Lips, Sparks and AC/DC give us a cynical or left-field viewpoint of the holiday, while the offerings from Squeeze, Smashing Pumpkins and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are surprisingly restrained. Galaxie 500's take on Yoko One's 'Listen, The Snow Is Falling' is simply  breath-taking, and I've also included songs by two of my favourite current singer/songwriters, with  'Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)' from Laura Marling and 'Winter Song' from Billie Marten. I hope that this hour-long collection of little-heard Christmas songs adds some joy to your holiday. 



Track listing

01 Christmas Christmas - Cheap Trick
02 A Christmas Song - Jethro Tull
03 Christmas Was Better In The 80's - The Futureheads
04 Listen, The Snow Is Falling - Galaxie 500
05 Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight) - Ramones
06 Christmas Time - The Smashing Pumpkins
07 If You Were Born Today (Song For Little Baby Jesus) - Low
08 All I Want For Christmas - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
09 Christmas All Over Again - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
10 Winter Song - Billie Marten
11 Christmas At The Zoo - The Flaming Lips
12 Father Christmas - The Kinks
13 Home For Christmas - Kate Bush
14 Thank God It's Not Christmas - Sparks
15 Christmas Day - Squeeze
16 (We Wish You) A Protein Christmas - The Fall
17 There Ain't No Santa Claus On The Evening Stage - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
18 Mistress For Christmas - AC/DC
19 Goodbye England (Covered In Snow) - Laura Marling

 Merry Christmas

Friday, 20 December 2019

Van Halen - The Warner Brothers Demos (1977)

The Van Halen brothers were born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Alex in 1953 and Eddie in 1955, and started playing music together in the 1960's, with Eddie on drums and Alex on guitar. They formed their very first band The Broken Combs in 1964, later changing the name to The Trojan Rubber Co. In 1972 they formed a band called Genesis featuring Eddie as lead vocalist/guitarist, Alex on drums, and Mark Stone on bass, originally renting a sound system from David Lee Roth, but then deciding to save money by letting him join the band as lead vocalist. By 1974, the band decided to replace Stone with Michael Anthony, bassist and lead vocalist from local band Snake. Another name-change followed, this time to Mammoth, after realising that Genesis was already taken, and when they found that this was also an existing band they finally settled on Van Halen. They recorded their first demo tape at the now-defunct Cherokee Studios in Northridge, and soon became a staple of the Los Angeles music scene, playing at well-known clubs like the Whisky a Go Go. In the summer of 1976 Rodney Bingenheimer saw Van Halen at the Gazzarri club, and took Gene Simmons of Kiss to see them. Simmons was impressed and produced a three-song demo tape, with recording beginning at the Village Recorder studios in Los Angeles and finished with overdubs at the Electric Lady Studios in New York. However, after taking it to the Kiss management he was disappointed that they wouldn't take the band on. In mid-1977, Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman of Warner Brothers Records saw Van Halen perform at the Starwood in Hollywood, and although the audience was small, the two were so impressed that within a week they offered the band a recording contract. The group recorded over two dozen demos for Warner Brothers in September/October 1977, selecting the best eleven for their debut album, and keeping a few back for later records, but the rest of the songs have never appeared on an official release, and so here are those unused demos for you to hear what a superbly tight hard rock band they were even in their earliest days. 



Track listing

01 Get The Show On The Road
02 Voodoo Queen
03 Babe, Don't Leave Me Alone
04 I Wanna Be Your Lover
05 Light In The Sky
06 We Die Bold
07 Bad Women
08 Young And Wild
09 Let's Get Rockin'
10 Put Out The Lights
11 Big Trouble
12 She's The Woman
13 Gonna Take A Lot Of Drugs
14 Bring On The Girls
15 Last Night

Enjoy / Enjoy

Leo Sayer - Kings Avenue (1978)

Gerard Hugh Sayer was born in 1948 in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, the middle child of three children.  He attended Blessed Robert Southwell in Goring-by-Sea, before studying commercial art and graphic design at West Sussex College of Art and Design in Worthing, Sussex. He was initially discovered by musician David Courtney, who then co-managed and co-produced him with former pop singer turned manager, Adam Faith, and began his music career co-writing songs with Courtney, including 'Giving It All Away', which gave Roger Daltrey of The Who his first solo hit in 1973. In the same year he began his own career as a recording artist under the management of Adam Faith, who signed Sayer to the Chrysalis label in the United Kingdom and Warner Bros. Records in the United States. His debut single 'Why Is Everybody Going Home' failed to chart, but he achieved national prominence in the UK with his second single, the music hall styled 'The Show Must Go On', which he performed on British television wearing a pierrot costume and makeup. The single went to #2 in the UK chart, as did his debut album 'Silverbird', co-written with David Courtney, who co-produced it with Adam Faith. 
Subsequent singles were all major hits in the UK, with 'One Man Band', 'Long Tall Glasses', and 'Moonlighting' establishing him as a major star. His albums in this period were also consistently successful in the UK, scoring five consecutive Top 10 placings on the UK album chart between 1973 and 1977. The peak of his career came in 1977, when he achieved two consecutive number one hits in the United States, first with the disco-styled 'You Make Me Feel Like Dancing', followed by the romantic ballad 'When I Need You', which reached number one in both the UK and the US, but I'm afraid that's when Sayer and me parted company, as they were just too overtly commercial for me. I still love his early work, though, and so this album of early singles, demo's, out-takes and rare A and B-sides from 1970 to 1978 tidies up the songs that I may have missed in his best period. His very first single was as part of the band Patches, who were also managed by David Courtney, and  'Let It Be' is one of three songs that Sayer recorded for the Beatles tribute album 'All This And World War II', and which was released as a single under his own name. 'Kings Avenue' is an early version of 'Get The Girl', which later appeared as the b-side to his 1977 single 'Thunder In My Heart', and I've corrected the issue with every copy that I found online, where the first 10 seconds or so were at a lower volume than the rest of the recording.  



Track listing

01 Living In America (as Patches 1970)
02 The Hour Is Love (b-side of 'Living In America')
03 Quicksand (b-side of 'Why Is Everybody Going Home' 1973)
04 Reasons (out-take 1973)
05 Praise The Land (session recording 1974)
06 Let It Be (single 1975)
07 Standing In The Rain (demo recording 1975)
08 Tears Of A Clown (session recording 1976)
09 Milky White Way (session recording 1976)
10 Kings Avenue (aka 'Get The Girl') (out-take 1977)
11 Tell Me Just One More Time (session recording 1977)
12 I've Been Lonely For So Long (session recording 1978)
13 New Orleans (session recording 1978)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Pigbag - The Backside (1982)

Pigbag could be considered the perfect example of a one-hit wonder, but that's a bit unfair, as they released quite a few other singles which, although they might not have been as memorable as 'Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag', were good songs and don't deserve to be ignored. The band were formed in Cheltenham in late 1980 by Chris Hamlin and multi-instrumentalist Roger Freeman, along with Chris Lee on trumpet and James Johnstone on guitar and alto sax. After a couple of months of jamming they decided to expand the line-up, adding a rhythm section and rehearsing more seriously, and so they recruited Andrew Carpenter on drums and Mark Smith on bass, both old school friends of Johnstone's. When Hamlin heard that Simon Underwood had left The Pop Group he invited him to join the band to replace Mark Smith, who had just left, and he also suggested his friend Ollie Moore as tenor sax player. The band made their first recordings in 1981 at Berry Street Studios in London, and later that year they released their first single, the instrumental classic 'Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag' on Y Records. The track quickly became an underground dance hit, selling many thousands of copies and charting well. Around this time Hamlin left the band, feeling that he had created an unmanageable group with too many egos to contend with, and that he was losing control of his band. They followed the success of 'Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag' with 'Sunny Day', a similarly brash, bright and funky track, and then 'Getting Up' in early 1982. Their first album 'Dr Heckle and Mr Jive' was a huge success, topping the UK Indie Chart for several weeks, despite only including one of their singles, 'Getting Up'. Two more albums followed in 1983 with 'Lend An Ear' and 'Pigbag', but they will forever be remembered for that first single, but to show that they had much more to offer than just that track, here's an album made up of the singles that never appeared on the albums, plus their b-sides. Hopefully it shows that their reputation as a one-hit wonder is particularly undeserved. 



Track listing

01 Sunny Day (12" single 1981)
02 Whoops Goes My Body (b-side of 'Sunny Day')
03 Elephants Wish To Become Nimble (b-side of 'Sunny Day')
04 Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag (single 1981)
05 The Backside (b-side of 'Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag')
06 Giggling Mud (b-side of 'Getting Up' 12")
07 Go Cat (b-side of 'Getting Up' 1982)
08 Scumda (b-side of 'The Big Bean' 1982)


The Small Faces - Beat Instrumentals (1969)

Right from their very first releases, The Small Faces always included one or two great r'n'b instrumentals on their records, and they weren't just filler, but really sounded like the band were having a great time recording them. I've collected them all together for this album, and added in a few backing tracks which actually sound like completed instrumental recordings, as well as a couple of run-throughs which the band never got around to adding lyrics to at a later date. The cover is based on the December 1966 issue of 'Beat Instrumental' magazine. 



Track listing

01 Own Up Time (1966)
02 Grow Your Own (1966)
03 Plum Nellie (1967)
04 Almost Grown (1967)
05 Talk To You (1967)
06 I Can't Make It (1967)
07 All Our Yesterdays (1967)
08 Happy Boys Happy (1967)
09 Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake (1968)
10 The Fly (1968)
11 Kamikhazi (1968)
12 The Hungry Intruder (1968)
13 War Of The Worlds (1969)
14 Collibosher (1969)
15 The Pig's Trotters (1969)
16 Wide Eyed Girl On The Wall (1969)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Brian Eno & David Byrne - Life Before The Bush Of Ghosts (1980)

Brian Eno and David Byrne's 'My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts' has always been a favourite album, and quite rightly so, being heralded as among the first recordings to meld ambient sounds and hip-hop-style sampling with global rhythms, and I'm so glad that I bought the vinyl when it came out, since the CD re-issue had to remove the track 'Qu'ran' after complains from the Islamic Council Of Great Britain about using a recital from their holy book on a pop record. I've recently come across this collection of demos for the album, which were leaked online by someone who had obtained a pre-release cassette containing these recordings while staying at David Byrne's home in 1981. Some of the demos made it to the album in a more polished form, while others had to be left off, although some did surface on the expanded CD re-issues later on. It even features Byrne himself reading passages from the Quran, which were later removed from the finished product. It's a fascinating insight into the working partnership which produced the innovative '...Ghosts' album, and so well worth hearing for fans of Eno, Byrne, or the album itself.     



Track listing

01 Mea Culpa
02 Lot/Into The Spirit World
03 Regiment
04 Iron Bed
05 America Is Waiting
06 Breathing Once A Minute
07 Shaking With My Voice
08 Cunning Tendency
09 Late But Serious
10 In The Castle Of My Skin
11 Spirit Of Prey
12 Mountain Of Needles

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 13 December 2019

The Shadows - On Screen (1969)

Being an instrumental group, film and TV themes were always ripe for inclusion in The Shadows' repertoire, and over the years they had a number of hit singles with them, as well as including them on their albums and EP's. There have been a couple of attempts to compile these onto an album, but they never seemed to include all of the available tracks, and so I hope this one corrects that by taking all the film/TV themes and songs from films that they recorded in the 60's, and putting them onto one album. You should recognise quite a few of them as they were massive hits for the band, but there are also some great tracks which were tucked away on their albums, and despite the origin of the music you can rest assured that the band made every one of them their own. 'Slaughter On 10th Avenue' is my own edit to remove the strident orchestral middle section which I felt overpowered the band and spoiled the listening experience.



Track listing

01 Man Of Mystery (from the Edgar Wallace film series 1960)
02 Theme From 'Giant' (1961)
03 Blue Star (Theme from 'The Medic' 1961)
04 The Frightened City (theme from 'Frightened City' 1961)
05 Theme From 'Shane' (1961)
06 Theme from 'The Boys' (1962)
07 Peace Pipe (from 'The Young Ones' 1962)
08 The Savage (from 'The Young Ones' 1962)
09 The Boys (from 'The Boys' 1962)
10 Theme For Young Lovers (from 'Wonderful Life' 1964)
11 Tonight (from 'West Side Story' 1964)
12 The Main Theme From 'Rhythm & Greens' (1964)
13 The High And The Mighty (theme from 'The High And The Mighty' 1964)
14 'Thunderbirds' Theme (from the TV show 1966)
15 'Zero X' Theme (from 'Thunderbirds' TV show 1966)
16 Lara's Theme (theme from 'Dr. Zhivago' 1967)
17 Slaughter On 10th Avenue (from 'Slaughter On 10th Avenue' 1969)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Al Stewart - Elvaston Place (1975)

Although born in Glasgow, Al Stewart grew up in the town of Wimborne, Dorset, after moving from Scotland with his mother. Having bought his first guitar from future Police guitarist Andy Summers, he traded in his electric guitar for an acoustic when he was offered a weekly slot at Bunjies Coffee House in London in 1965, and from there he went on to compere at the Les Cousins folk club on Greek Street, where he played alongside Cat Stevens, Bert Jansch, Van Morrison, Roy Harper, Ralph McTell and Paul Simon, with whom he shared a flat in Stepney. His first record was the single 'The Elf' (backed with a version of The Yardbirds' 'Turn into Earth'), which was released in 1966 on Decca Records, and included guitar work from Jimmy Page. He then signed to Columbia Records (CBS in the UK), and released his debut album 'Bedsitter Images' in 1967, followed in 1969 by 'Love Chronicles', which was notable for the 18-minute title track, and which was voted 'Folk Album of the Year' by the UK music magazine Melody Maker. His third album 'Zero She Flies', followed in 1970 and included a number of shorter songs which ranged from acoustic ballads and instrumentals to songs that featured electric lead guitar. 
On the back of his growing success, Stewart released 'Orange' in 1972, written after a tumultuous breakup with his girlfriend and muse, Mandi, and was very much a transitional album, combining songs in Stewart's confessional style with more intimations of the historical themes that he would increasingly adopt. 1973's 'Past, Present and Future' was his first album to receive a proper release in the United States, via Janus Records, and it included the historical song 'Nostradamus', a nine-minute track which was too long for mainstream radio airplay, but which became a hit on many US college/university radio stations, which were more flexible about running times. Although this airplay helped the album to reach No. 133 on the Billboard album chart in the US, 1975's 'Modern Times' contained songs which were lighter on the historical references and more of a return to the theme of short stories set to music, but it did spawn his first hit single with 'Carol'. The success of both album and single helped increase his popularity on both sides of the Atlantic, and this paved the way for his breakthrough album in 1976, 'Year Of The Cat'. Over the course of his first six albums he often recorded more songs than could fit on the record, and some of these have since turned up on expanded re-issues, so here they all are collected onto one album, which also includes that rare 1966 single (and don't worry, it's nothing like Bowie's 'Laughing Gnome'!).



Track listing

01 The Elf (single 1966)
02 Turn Into Earth (b-side of 'The Elf')
03 Go Your Way (previously unreleased 1967)
04 My Contemporaries (previously unreleased 1967)
05 Jackdaw (previously unreleased 1969)
06 She Follows Her Own Rules (previously unreleased 1969)
07 Fantasy (previously unreleased 1969)
08 Stormy Night (previously unreleased 1970)
09 Lyke-Wake Dirge (previously unreleased 1970)
10 Elvaston Place (b-side of 'The News From Spain' 1970)
11 It Doesn't Matter Anymore (previously unreleased 1972)
12 Swallow Wind (previously unreleased 1975)
13 A Sense Of Deja Vu (previously unreleased 1975)
14 Willie The King (previously unreleased 1975)

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Gilbert O'Sullivan - I'll Believe It When I See It (1975)

In 1974 Gilbert O'Sullivan released the stand-alone single 'Christmas Song', which reached No. 12 in the UK, but this was the start of a slow decline in his success, with subsequent singles tending to miss the top 20. 'Ooh Baby' and 'Happiness Is Me and You' charted, but sales were decreasing, and in June 1975 he had his last Top 20 hit with 'I Don't Love You But I Think I Like You'. Things turned even more sour when he discovered his recording contract with MAM Records greatly favoured the label's owner, Gordon Mills. A lawsuit followed, with prolonged argument over how much money his songs had earned and how much of that money he had actually received. Eventually, in May 1982, the court found in O'Sullivan's favour, describing him as a 'patently honest and decent man', who had not received a just proportion of the vast income his songs had generated. They awarded him £7,000,000.00 in damages, but although he'd won, the court battle put his recording career on hold. In 1980, after a five-year hiatus, he returned to his old record label CBS, and the first single 'What's in a Kiss?', put him back into the UK Top 20. Following this release, and due in part to the then-ongoing MAM court case, O'Sullivan released no new material between 1983 and 1986, and apart from the single 'So What?' in 1990 and a compilation album in 1991, he was absent from the charts until another compilation album, 'The Berry Vest of Gilbert O'Sullivan', returned him to the UK Top 20 in 2004. O'Sullivan is also noted for his role in bringing about the practice of clearing samples in hip hop music, as a result of the 1991 court case, Grand Upright Music Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc. In this case he sued rapper Biz Markie over the rights to use a sample of his song 'Alone Again (Naturally)', and won 100% of the royalties, making sampling an expensive undertaking from that point on. His most successful years as a singer/songwriter were from 1971 to 1975, so I'm concentrating on the non-album singles and b-sides from those four years, and the fact that I can make up two albums of them shows just what a prolific talent he was during that period. He's still writing and recording today, but for most of us he'll always be remembered for those classic songs from the early 70's. The cover is based on a painting by John Springfield.  


  
Track listing

01 Why, Oh Why, Oh Why (single 1973)
02 You Don't Have To Tell Me (b-side of 'Why, Oh Why, Oh Why')
03 Christmas Song (single 1974)
04 To Cut A Long Story Short (b-side of 'Christmas Song')
05 Happiness Is Me And You (single 1974)
06 Breakfast, Dinner And Tea (b-side of 'Happiness Is Me And You')
07 Going Home (single 1974)
08 Come To See Me Yesterday (single 1974)
09 Get Out Of My Life (b-side of 'Come To See Me Yesterday')
10 I'll Believe It When I See It (single 1975)
11 Just As You Are (b-side of 'I'll Believe It When I See It')
12 You Are You (single 1975)
13 Tell Me Why (b-side of 'You Are You')


Brian Eno - Healthy Colours (1994) / The Long Now (2002)

The four pieces that make up 'Healthy Colours' were recorded in New York in 1979, and fall somewhere between Fripp's 'God Save The King' and 'My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts'. Over a kind of automated funk backing (similar in some ways to 'Kurt's Rejoinder' from 'Before And After Science') Fripp plays some cross picking and adds a few squalls of his unique guitar noise, while Eno throws in fragments of radio and TV dialogue as the piece unfolds. It's a far reach from their previous collaborations on 'No Pussyfooting' and 'Evening Star', but I love the new direction, and just wish there was more of it.



Track listing

01 Healthy Colours I
02 Healthy Colours II
03 Healthy Colours III
04 Healthy Colours IV


The Clock Of The Long Now, also called the 10,000-year clock, is a mechanical clock under construction that is designed to keep time for 10,000 years. It's being built by the Long Now Foundation, and a two-meter prototype is on display at the Science Museum in London. As of June 2018, two more prototypes are on display at The Long Now Museum & Store at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. The project was conceived by Danny Hillis in 1986, and the first prototype of the clock began working on December 31, 1999, just in time to display the transition to the year 2000. Eno gave the Clock Of The Long Now its name (and coined the term "Long Now") in an essay, and has collaborated with Hillis on the writing of music for the chimes for a future prototype.
This limited edition promo CD was sent out to wine dealers to promote Pelissero's Long Now wine, named in honour of the Long Now Foundation, and consists of 'Bell Studies For The Clock Of The Long Now'



Track listing

01 Study 16
02 Study 17
03 If A Bell Became A Drone
04 Campion Bells
05 Bell Study With Distant Delays

Two EP's in one post.

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Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Jan Akkerman - Minstrel (1973)

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



Track listing

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

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Friday, 6 December 2019

Boards Of Canada - A Few Old Tunes (1996)

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



Track listing

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

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