Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Robin Trower - Harum Scarum (1980)

Following his departure from Procol Harum in 1972, Robin Trower put together a blues trio with singer/bassist James Dewar and Reg Isidore (later replaced by Bill Lordan) on drums. His first album, 'Twice Removed From Yesterday' established him as a guitarist of note, and although comparisons to Hendrix were inevitable he rode them out and started to produce music that was distincltly his own. His first few albums were produced by Procol Harum band-mate Matthew Fisher, but by 1976's 'Long Misty Days' he was co-producng himself with Geoff Emerick. By the same year's 'Robin Trower Live!' album he was at the height of his powers, and could only go down from there. Subsequent albums sold fewer copies, and by 'In City Dreams' I'd stopped buying them. He soldiered on through the 80's, forming B.L.T with Jack Bruce and Bill Lordan in 1981, and then going back to a solo career during the mid-80's. While he carried on releasing albums over the next 20 years to a reasonable reception, he suddenly had a resurgence in his career a few years ago when the releases started to get really favourable reviews, and his 2017 album 'Time And Emotion' crashed into the Billboard chart at number 2. One thing that has been conspicuous by its absence is any sort of out-takes collection, as there didn't seem to be anything that was ever put away in the vaults, so I was quite surprised to see an album appear the other month which purported to be just such a disc, and on listening to it it does contain some great songs that I'd never heard before. There were a couple of lesser quality and the odd duplication, and I wasn't keen on the cover, so with a bit of tidying up and editing, and rehoused in my own sleeve, here is an album that I never thought would see the light of day - a Robin Trower out-takes collection of unheard songs recorded between 1975 and 1980.  



Track listing

01 Take A Fast Train
02 With This Song
03 Hold Back The Sands Of Time
04 Start All Over Again
05 Let Me Be The One
06 No Man Is An Island
07 Lady Seldom Seen
08 Bless The Boy
09 One In A Million
10 Father Of The Dance
11 To Know You Is To Love You
12 Hold Me
13 Feel Thing

Enjoy

Friday, 25 January 2019

Mike Nesmith - Papa Gene's Blues (1969)

Mike Nesmith was already a singer/songwriter before he was recruited to become one of The Monkees, having written 'Different Drum' in 1965, later to be recorded to great effect by Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys, and become a Top 20 hit for them in 1967. His talent was obviously recognised by the producers of the show as he was allowed to sing his own 'Papa Gene's Blues' on The Monkees' first album, when the other songs were written by such stalwarts of the Brill Building as Boyce & Hart, David Gates and Goffin & King. From that point on he managed to get at least one of his songs on every Monkees album, often singing them himself, until by the time of 'The Monkees Present' in 1969 he was contributing a quarter of the material. Although he had the greatest solo success with the country-rock of his First National Band, not all his songs were in that style, and included pop, rock and ballads as well. I wondered what an album of just Nesmith songs would sound like, and so chose all the songs that he either wrote and sang, or had a hand in composing, from The Monkees' albums between 1966 and 1969, and it's actually pretty good. 'Listen To The Band' was the first time he was allowed to sing on the A-side of a single, although his 'The Girl I Knew Somewhere' was deemed good enough to appear as the b-side of 'A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You' in 1967, and by the time that the band made their film 'Head' he was coming up with songs of the calibre of 'Circle Sky'. Mike was always my favourite Monkee, mainly for his laid-back, don't-give-a-shit attitude, but as the TV series and the albums wore on I realised that he was also the most musically talented, which was a big plus for me. While collecting these tracks I found that he actually wrote a number of other songs which were recorded by The Monkees but which were shelved by the record company, and which only recently surfaced on the three CD 'Missing Links' set, and so they will be the basis for a second volume later. 



Track listing

01 Papa Gene's Blues
02 Sweet Young Thing
03 The Kind Of Girl I Could Love
04 Mary, Mary
05 You Told Me
06 The Girl I Knew Somewhere
07 Sunny Girlfriend
08 You Just May Be The One
09 Don't Call On Me
10 Daily Nightly
11 Auntie's Municipal Court
12 Writing Wrongs
13 Magnolia Sims
14 Tapioca Tundra
15 Circle Sky
16 Listen To The Band

Enjoy

XTC - Us Being Us (1992)

For the fourth and final part of my trilogy of XTC posts we mop up all the tracks that didn't fit on the other three albums. The first three tracks are out-takes from 'The White Album', with 'Fireball XL5' being so tinny that I had to seriously boost the bass to make it listenable. The dub version was not as bad but also needed some editing, and I hope they now sound better than the other versions out there. 'Traffic Light Rock' from the 'Guillotine' sampler fitted better on here than on the 'Are You Receiving Us?' post, and slots in nicely before the two 'Go2' out-takes. The 'Drums And Wires' leftover 'Sleepyheads' is actually an early take of 'Looking For Footprints', but much longer than the flexi-disc version. In 1979 Colin Moulding wanted to release a solo single, and so with Andy Partridge's help he recorded 'Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen'/'I Need Protection', and released it the following year under the pseudonym of The Colonel. On the subject of pseudonyms, the band themselves released a Christmas single in 1983 under the name of The Three Wise Men, and both sides of that are here as well. In 1987 a Canadian cassette emerged featuring some of Partridge's demos, most of which later turned up on his 'Fuzzy Warbles' album, with just 'Glow' and 'Dripping Basin' not making the cut. 'Dripping Basin' was a not-that-great instrumental, but 'Glow' was much better so that is included here. We close with a few late period b-sides, a demo that was only released on a rare Japanese EP in 1992, and a classy out-take from the 'Nonsuch' album.     



Track listing

01 Let's Have Fun ('White Album' out-take 1977)
02 Fireball XL5 ('White Album' out-take 1977)
03 Fireball Dub ('White Album' out-take 1977)
04 Traffic Light Rock (from the 'Guillotine' 10" sampler album 1978)
05 Things Fall To Bits ('Go2' out-take 1978)
06 Us Being Us ('Go2' out-take 1978)
07 Sleepyheads ('Drums And Wires' out-take 1979) 
08 Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen (single by The Colonel (Colin Moulding) 1980)
09 I Need Protection (b-side of 'Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen')
10 Thanks For Christmas (single as The Three Wise Men 1983)
11 Countdown To Christmas Party Time (b-side of 'Thanks For Christmas')
12 Troubles (b-side of 'The Meeting Place' 12" 1986)
13 Glow (from the Canadian 'Jules Verne's Sketchbook' cassette 1987)
14 The World Is Full Of Angry Young Men (b-side of 'The Loving' 12" 1989)
15 Always Winter Never Christmas (b-side of 'The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead' 1992)
16 Rip Van Ruben (b-side of 'Wrapped In Grey' 1992)
17 Down A Peg (from the Japanese 'Demo Tracks' EP 1992)
18 Didn't Hurt A Bit ('Nonsuch' out-take 1992) 

Enjoy

Wishbone Ash - From The Ashes (1978)

As I mentioned in my last Wishbone Ash post, the band were very prolific during the years 1978 and 1979, and recorded a lot of material which didn't make it onto their 'Just Testing' and 'No Smoke Without Fire' albums, and this post is made up of tracks from the 'No Smoke...' sessions in 1979, together with a couple of 'Locked In' leftovers ('Bad Weather Blues' is the studio take of 'Fully Tested's live recording) and a contemporary recording from the 'Lost Pearls' collection. Once again, it stands up very well as an album in it's own right, showing the high quality of the songs that they rejected as not good enough for their albums.    



Track listing

01 Hard On You
02 Time And Space
03 John Sherry Jam
04 Firesign
05 Night Hawker
06 Sheriff Of Sherwood
07 Chicago Tease
08 Bad Weather Blues

Enjoy

Lego Lepricons - Into The Bones (2012)

I discovered Israeli Indie rock band Lego Lepricons about eight years ago when I found some of their songs on Soundcloud, and I was blown away at just what a fantastic new band they were. Their music was a sort of progressive Indie rock, and I loved every track that I heard. I watched for them over the next few years, and a few more songs appeared online, but it wasn't until 2012 that they finally released a seven track EP called 'Judith, Call Security' (still available on Bandcamp), which included two songs ('Well, I Don't Think So' and 'You Should Have Known') that criticized the then current Israeli government's conduct in internal social affairs and foreign relations policies, and also the song 'I Can Fly', which was written about a 17 year old teenager, who one day just jumped out of a building. Although it was a great record it didn't include any songs that I hadn't already heard, and also missed off some of my favourites, such as the title track of this post, so I added those songs to the EP to make this album length post. As well as the atmospheric 'Make Me Yours' and the proggy 'What Is It', it also includes 'Into The Bones', which is a stunning 8-minute tour-de-force of inventive rock music, and I close the album with their superb cover of U2's 'Stay (Faraway, So Close)'. I've heard nothing more from them in the past six years so have to assume that they've broken up, but they've left behind a body of work that easily stands up to many bigger bands of the period, and I want to keep their name alive by posting it all here. 



Track listing

01 Is There Something I'm Forgetting
02 Well, I Don't Think So
03 What Is It
04 I Can Fly
05 Tiny
06 Make Me Yours
07 Into The Bones
08 You Should Have Known
09 No Money
10 Stay (Faraway, So Close)

Enjoy

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Smiths - The Troy Tate Sessions (1983)

There are a number of bootleg CDs doing the rounds containing songs that The Smiths recorded in 1983 for producer Troy Tate, and the quality and selection of songs does vary between them. I had a couple of them, but really just wanted one album with the best version of each track, and so I went though them one by one, and also found some online articles which analysed the material, and chose the best ones for my album. The first studio sessions for the Smiths' debut album took place in the summer of 1983, but they were unsatisfied with Tate's work and so hired producer John Porter to finish the job, and this is what ended up being released. The tapes which emerged from the Tate sessions are all from cassettes of rough monitor mixes, as no tracks were ever mixed as finished songs, and the vocals are just guide recordings. The most evolved master (in the hands of record companies) features the following songs in this order: 'The Hand That Rocks The Cradle', 'You've Got Everything Now', 'These Things Take Time', 'What Difference Does It Make?', 'Reel Around The Fountain', 'Hand In Glove', 'Handsome Devil', 'Wonderful Woman', 'I Don't Owe You Anything', 'Suffer Little Children', 'Miserable Lie', 'Accept Yourself', 'Pretty Girls Make Grave', and 'Jeane', and opinion is that this order corresponds to the planned album, plus 'Jeane', which was recorded as a b-side. Two versions of most songs Troy Tate worked on can be found on bootlegs, with the exception of a few titles for which there are either only one take, or some with three versions. The Troy Tate recordings of 'Jeane' and 'Pretty Girls Make Graves' were considered good enough to be officially released, so most bootleggers added them to their compilations or replaced the inferior sounding versions they had with the released ones. The first bootlegs featuring Troy Tate sessions appeared on the market in the early 1990's, and the versions of the songs are identical or very close to what is found on the Troy Tate masters. The pitch on these is often too slow and the sound quality left a lot to be desired, but later bootlegs produced from the earlier ones were corrected for pitch, although there is not much that can be done with sound quality. Given that, it's generally agreed that these recordings have a harder edge, and Morrissey's vocals are honest without too much production. Marr's guitar is chiming and right up front in the mix, and Mike Joyce's drumming is also appealingly raw, making for an interesting listen even for fans who already have all the studio albums. For a full in-depth analysis of these recording check out this fansite http://www.passionsjustlikemine.com/songs-smiths-tate.htm. 



Track listing

01 The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
02 You've Got Everything Now
03 These Things Take Time
04 What Difference Does It Make?
05 Reel Around The Fountain
06 Hand In Glove
07 Handsome Devil
08 Wonderful Woman
09 I Don't Owe You Anything 
10 Suffer Little Children
11 Miserable Lie
12 Accept Yourself 
13 Pretty Girls Make Graves 
14 Jeane

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 18 January 2019

Television - I Need A New Adventure (1978)

Following the unexpected (but totally deserved) success of their debut album 'Marquee Moon', Television had the unenviable task of recording a second album that wouldn't disappoint the fans. Convening at Bearsville Studios, the band recorded a number of songs that they were considering for the album, which was to be called 'Adventure'. They later moved to The Record Plant and Soundmixers Studios in New York and started again from scratch, and those were the versions of the songs that made it onto the finished record. Surprisingly, the title track was one of the Bearsville recordings which was left off the album, although the ones that did make it were all worthy of inclusion. It's generally agreed that, while never being able to live up to the reputation of it's predecessor, 'Adventure' is a great album, with some of their best songs tucked away on there. I ran across this CD online, which contains the tracks recorded at Bearsville, and includes alternate versions of songs that were later re-recorded, a few instrumentals, some of which later had vocals added, and that elusive title track. The original CD had sixteen tracks, but there were a couple of duplicate takes of the same song, and some instrumentals that didn't really work without the vocals, so I've trimmed it down to include just the best of the out-takes for a concise 47 minute alternative 'Adventure'. The full CD is fairly easy to track down if you want to hear the whole thing, but you aren't really missing much. 



Track listing

01 Ain't That Nothing
02 Adventure
03 Careful
04 Days
05 Up All Night
06 Glory
07 Last Night (The Piano Song)
08 The Dream's Dream
09 Grip Of Love
10 The Fire

  

Magazine - Touch And Go (1981)

When Howard Devoto left punk band Buzzcocks in early 1977 with the idea of forming a more progressive and less traditional rock band, I'm not sure that many people would have thought that he could pull it off, but just one listen to their debut single 'Shot By Both Sides' put all the doubters in their place. The chord sequence was suggested by Pete Shelley, and later turned up in Buzzcock's own 'Lipstick', but great though that single was, it just missed out on Top 40 success. Subsequent singles 'Touch And Go' and 'Give Me Everything' didn't fare much better, but they certainly boosted the esteem in which the band were held, and they were soon at the forefront of a new wave of pioneering post-punk groups. Although Magazine were never really a singles band, as their best songs such as 'The Light Pours Out Of Me' and 'Motorcade' were to be found on their albums, one thing they did do was to release stand-alone singles, and also record songs especially for their b-sides. For fans who only bought the albums there is a wealth of unheard material around, and so I've gathered together all those rare songs, from their first single in 1978 to their breakup in 1981 (as I didn't feel that the 2008 reunion had the same punk energy that produced their best work) and when you hear them all together you can appreciate just what Devoto was trying to achieve with his progressive/punk idea.



Track listing

01 My Mind Ain't So Open (b-side of 'Shot By Both Sides' 1978)
02 Shot By Both Sides (alternative version produced by John Wood/Magazine)
03 Touch And Go (single 1978)
04 Goldfinger (b-side of 'Touch And Go')
05 The Light Pours Out Of Me (alternate version produced by Martin Hannett)
06 Give Me Everything (single 1978)
07 I Love You, You Big Dummy (b-side of 'Give Me Everything')
08 TV Baby (b-side of 'Rhythm Of Crulelty' 1979)
09 Twenty Years Ago (b-side of 'A Song From Under The Floorboards' 1980)
10 The Book (b-side of 'Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)' 1980 )
11 Upside Down (single 1980)
12 In The Dark (b-side of 'About The Weather' 1981)
13 The Operative (b-side of 'About The Weather' 1981)

Enjoy

XTC - Happy Families (1988)

The third volume of my XTC trilogy collects the b-sides of singles released between 1982 and 1988, a couple of songs from film soundtracks ('Take This Town' was also on the 'Times Square' soundtrack), and to round things off we have Partridge's hilarious 'History Of Rock 'n' Roll'. In 1986 the band released the stand-alone single 'Dear God' in preparation for their 'Skylarking' album, and when it was a surprise hit it was decided to add the song to future pressings, meaning that another song had to be sacrificed, and so 'Mermaid Smiled' was removed to make way. Depending on which pressing of 'Skylarking' you have you'll be missing one of these songs so I've included both of them here. You now also have the complete 'Homo Safari' series, comprising:
    'Homo Safari'
    'Bushman President (No. 2 in the Homo Safari series)'
    'Egyptian Solution (No. 3 in the Homo Safari series)'
    'Mantis On Parole' (No. 4 in the Homo Safari series)'
    'Frost Circus (No. 5 in the Homo Safari series)'
    'Procession Towards Learning Land (No. 6 in the Homo Safari series)'
XTC continued to release singles and albums throughout the 90's so I will be posting a fourth album in this trilogy to mop up all the songs that I couldn't fit on these three.      



Track listing

01 Over Rusty Water (b-side of 'No Thugs In Our House' 1982)
02 Jump (b-side of 'All You Pretty Girls' 1984)
03 Desert Island (b-side of 'Love On A Farmboy's Wages' 1983)
04 Toys (b-side of 'Love On A Farmboy's Wages' 1983)
05 Washaway (b-side of 'All You Pretty Girls' 1984)
06 Red Brick Dream (b-side of 'All You Pretty Girls' 12" single 1984)
07 Blue Overall (b-side of 'This World Over' 1984)
08 Take This Town (b-side of 'Wake Up' 1985)
09 Mantis On Parole (b-side of Wake Up' 1985)
10 Dear God (singe 1986)
11 Extrovert (b-side of 'Grass' 1986)
12 Mermaid Smiled (removed from 'Skylarking' second pressings)
13 Happy Families (from the soundtrack of 'She's Having A Baby' 1988)
14 History Of Rock 'n' Roll

Enjoy
   

Throbbing Gristle - Distant Dreams (1982)

Regular visitors to the blog should have realised by now that my musical tastes are quite wide, and in the early 80's I was quite partial to a bit of Industrial noise, with Throbbing Gristle being a particular favourite. '20 Jazz Funk Greats', 'Heathen Earth' and 'D.o.A. The Third Annual Report' are classics of the genre, and I bought all the 7" singles which they issued in the late 70's and early 80's, most of which I still have. I don't play them as much as I should as they are on vinyl and I've never got around to ripping them to mp3, so I hunted around for an album which collected them in one place. Apart from the 'Entertainment Through Pain' compilation which included a few of the sides, and the expanded re-issue which added in a few more, there wasn't really a comprehensive collection which had all the A and B-sides together, so here it is. When 'United' came out in 1977 it sounded so unlike anything else I'd heard that it introduced me to a whole new style of music, and pointed me towards bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Severed Heads, The Normal, and Clock DVA, and later on when Throbbing Gristle broke up, Psychic TV and Chris & Cosey. I'll admit that a couple of these tracks haven't aged well, but most of them are great examples of this style of music, and so this is where it all started, with a short run of 7" singles which broke new ground and started a new genre of music - Industrial.



Track listing

01 United (single 1978)
02 Zyklon B. Zombie (b-side of 'United')
03 We Hate You (Little Girls) (single 1979) 
04 Five Knuckle Shuffle (b-side of 'We Hate You (Little Girls)')
05 Subhuman (single 1980)
06 Something Came Over Me (b-sdie of 'Subhuman')
07 Adrenalin (single 1980)
08 Distant Dreams (Part Two) (b-side of 'Adrenalin')
09 Discipline (Berlin) (12" single 1981)  
10 Discipline (Manchester) (12" single 1981)

Enjoy

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Manfred Mann - Instrumental Asylum (1967)

The Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers were formed in London by South African keyboard player Manfred Mann and drummer/vibes/piano player Mike Hugg, and the early line-up also featured Graham Bond. They brought a shared love of jazz to the British blues boom then sweeping London's clubs, and with addition of Mike Vickers on guitar, alto saxophone and flute, Dave Richmond on bass and Paul Jones as lead vocalist and harmonicist, the renamed Manfred Mann were born. Gigging throughout late 1962 and early 1963 they soon attracted attention for their distinctive sound, and in 1964 the group were asked to provide a new theme tune for the ITV pop music television programme 'Ready Steady Go!'. They responded with '5-4-3-2-1' which became their first hit single, reaching No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart. They followed this with more singles, all covers of blues/R'n'B songs like 'Doo Wah Diddy' and 'Sha La La', but when they recorded their first album in 1964 they went back to their roots and included a lot of those early R'n'B covers like 'Smokestack Lightning', 'I've Got My Mojo Working' and 'I'm Your Kingpin', although they did write their own stuff for B-sides and EP releases. They changed their style slightly around 1964, and with singles like 'Come Tomorrow' and covers of Bob Dylan songs such as 'With God On Our Side' and 'If You Gotta Go, Go Now' they became more of a pop band. Paul Jones left in 1966 to pursue an acting and solo recording career, and he was replaced by Mike D'Abo, who brought a softer, folkier sound to the group, but before he actually joined, the rest of the band went into the studio to record some jazz versions of then current pop hits. They were pleased with the results and the tracks were released as two four-track EP's - 'Instrumental Asylum' and 'Instrumental Assassination'. However, the public weren't as impressed and both EP's sold poorly. As I'd always liked their version of the jazz standard 'Autumn Leaves' from the 'As Is' album, I had to hear these EP's to see if they were really that bad, and of course they aren't. The band are all excellent musicians and started out playing in jazz clubs, so I thought these tracks sounded perfectly fine, and now you can make up your own mind, as they are all collected here, along with a few albums tracks, b-sides and out-takes from 1966 and 1967 to make a 43 minute album. It's not the Manfred Mann that most people are familiar with, and to me it sounds like a proper jazz album from the late 60's, but I love it. I've adapted the 'Instrumental Asylum' EP sleeve for the cover of this post, and I hope that it goes some way to show what an innovative and versatile band Manfred Mann were, as what other group have been as successful in genres as diverse as R'n'B, jazz, pop, folk/pop, jazz-rock (with Chapter 3) and progressive rock (with The Earth Band) as the Manfreds.  



Track listing

01 Still I'm Sad
02 Sunny
03 My Generation
04 God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
05 Spirit Feel
06 Wild Thing
07 Bare Hugg
08 I Got You Babe
09 Autumn Leaves
10 Get Away
11 One Way
12 With A Girl Like You
13 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
14 Sweet Pea
15 Miss JD

Enjoy

Friday, 11 January 2019

The Rolling Stones - Stoned On Reggae (1997)

Following on from my 'Kingston Calling' post showing the way that reggae influenced The Clash, another band who have never shied away from including the odd bit of reggae into their songs are The Rolling Stones. Perhaps their most famous attempt was 'Cherry Oh Baby' from the 'Black And Blue' album, and this seemed to inspire them to experiment more with the genre, as following albums tended to feature at least one reggae or reggae-influenced song. They included the otherwise unavailable 'Cracking Up' on their 'Love You Live' album from 1977, and during the sessions for 1979's 'Emotional Rescue' in Nassua the band laid down a 10 minute reggae jam called 'Jah Is Not Dead'. They also recorded a number of reggae songs which never made it to the final track-listing of their albums, so I've gathered up the best of those, edited 'Jah Is Not Dead' to a more palatable length, and to round off the collection I've added on the excellent Bi-Polar At The Controls remix of 'Out Of Control' from the 'Bridges To Babylon' album.



Track listing

01 Cherry Oh Baby (from 'Black And Blue' 1976)
02 Send It To Me (from 'Emotional Rescue' 1980)
03 Hey Negrita (from 'Black And Blue' 1976)
04 You Don't Have To Mean It (from 'Bridges To Babylon' 1997)
05 Cracking Up (from 'Love You Live' 1977)
06 She Never Listens To Me (out-take 1985)
07 Feel On Baby (from 'Undercover' 1983)
08 Munich Reggae (out-take 1975)
09 Jah Is Not Dead (out-take 1979)
10 Too Rude (from 'Dirty Work' 1986)
11 Out Of Control ('Bridges To Babylon' remix 1997)

Enjoy

John Entwistle - Ox Tales (1971)

While Pete Townsend wrote most of the songs recorded by The Who during their long and illustrious career, there was another songwriter working away in the background, supplying the odd b-side and off-beat album track, and that was John Entwistle. Well-known for his quirky humour and stoic disposition, as well as his strong constitution which earned him the nick-name of The Ox, he produced some fine comic characters in 'Boris The Spider' and 'Silas Stingy', as well as more though-provoking songs such as 'Heaven And Hell' and 'Whiskey Man'. When Townsend was writing 'The Who Sell Out' he offered Entwistle the opportunity to write the jingles that he wanted to intersperse with his songs, and a couple of those are included here. Townsend obviously recognised Entwistle's talent for dark humour, as while writing 'Tommy' he asked him to pen the two songs about child abuse, as he felt unable to do so himself as he'd suffered this in his own childhood. Entwistle duly came up with 'Cousin Kevin' and 'Fiddle About', which helped in no small way to propel 'Tommy' to become the masterpiece that's it's recognised as today. For this collection I've gathered together the songs that Entwistle wrote for The Who between 1965 and 1971 - their classic period - and they fit nicely onto an album that shows he wasn't just one of the best bass-players (and rock french horn players!) ever, but could pen a mean tune as well. 



Track listing

01 Whiskey Man
02 Doctor, Doctor
03 The Ox
04 Boris The Spider
05 Medac
06 Silas Stingy
07 Heaven And Hell
08 When I Was A Boy
09 Cousin Kevin
10 In The City
11 Heinz Baked Beans
12 Fiddle About
13 My Wife
14 Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde
15 Someone's Coming
16 I've Been Away
17 Postcard

I wanted to compile this as a stereo album, but a couple of the songs, such as 'The Ox' and 'Heaven And Hell', are only available in mono, so it ended up as a mixture of the two.

Enjoy / Enjoy

Wishbone Ash - Fully Tested (1979)

Fans of Wishbone Ash must have felt that all their Christmasses had come at once last year, with the appearance of a 30 CD box set of just about everything the band had ever recorded. Among the remastered albums were rare b-sides, out-takes and live rarities, and while all this was a surfeit of riches for the fans, finding the rare stuff to listen to meant trawling through literally hours of music that you were already familiar with. Looking through the track-listing I found that most of the good quality studio out-takes were from between 1977 and 1979, more specifically during sessions for the 'No Smoke Without Fire' and 'Just Testing' albums, so I've extracted those songs and put together a couple of great companion albums to those two official releases. This one comprises the out-takes from the 'Just Testing' album, plus a contemporary one-off single of 'Come On'/Fast Johnny', and a couple of live takes from the same period, which makes up an album that holds together surprisingly well for songs that weren't considered good enough to be released at the time.  



Track listing

01 Is Justice Done  
02 The Bells Chime  
03 Out On A Limb 
04 Where You Been  
05 Helpless (single 1980)
06 Halfway House  
07 Football and Boxing 
08 Fast Johnny (b-side of 'Come On')
09 Come On (single 1979)
10 Bad Weather Blues (b-side of 'You See Red' 12" single 1978)

Enjoy

XTC - Strange Tales (1983)

The next installment of the XTC rarities posts covers the years 1981 to 1983, and includes numerous b-sides, some more of the 'Homo Safari' series of instrumentals, and the rare Flexipop flexidisc of 'Looking For Footprints'. Not much else to say about this brilliant band, other than enjoy the music. 

  

Track listing

01 Strange Tales, Strange Tails (b-side of 'Respectable Street' 1981)
02 Officer Blue (b-side of 'Respectable Street' 1981)
03 Looking For Footprints (free Flexipop flexidisc 1982)
04 Blame The Weather (b-side of 'Senses Working Overtime' 1982)
05 Tissue Tigers (The Arguers) (b-side of 'Senses Working Overtime' 1982)
06 Egyptian Solution (b-side of 'Senses Working Overtime' 12" 1982)
07 Punch And Judy (b-side of 'Ball And Chain' 1982)
08 Heaven Is Paved With Broken Glass (b-side of 'Ball And Chain' 1982)
09 Cockpit Dance Mixture (b-side of 'Ball And Chain' 12" 1982)
10 Gold (b-side of 'Great Fire' 1983)
11 Frost Circus (b-side of 'Great Fire' 1983)
12 Procession Towards Learning Land (b-side of 'Great Fire' 1983)

Enjoy

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Doors - Whiskey, Mystics And Men (1969)

Following Jim Morrison's arrest and subsequent trial for indecent exposure at a Miami concert in March 1969, The Doors found it hard to get gigs, and so with time on their hands they visited various studios around Los Angeles and New York to come up with some ideas and record possible songs for their follow-up to 'The Soft Parade'. In July they were booked for two gigs at the Aquarius Theatre in Hollywood, and so to prepare for that they played a private rehearsal there, which was taped for posterity. Both the studio sessions and the live rehearsal produced songs which never actually made to to 'Morrison Hotel', as well as providing alternate versions of songs that did, and so the best of those recordings are gathered here. In February of the same year they recorded the infamous 'Rock Is Dead' sessions following a drunken dinner at The Blue Boar Mexican restaurant, and while those recordings are nowhere near as polished as these, I will be posting an edited version of that at some point in the future, if only as a historical artifact.  



Track listing

01 Whiskey, Mystics And Men (Elektra Studios 1969)
02 Gloria (Aquarius Theatre Rehearsal 1969)
03 I Will Never Be Untrue (Aquarius Theatre Rehearsal 1969)
04 Build Me A Woman (PBS Studios 1969)
05 Blues For Lonnie (Elektra Studios 1969)
06 Who Scared You? (b-side of 'Wishful Sinful' 1969)
07 Queen Of The Highway (Jazz Version) (Elektra Studios 1969)
08 Woman Is A Devil (Elektra Studios 1969)
09 Mystery Train / Crossroads (Aquarius Theatre Rehearsal 1969)

Enjoy

Friday, 4 January 2019

Little Feat - Brickyard Blues (1975)

Little Feat have always been a favourite band of mine, from their first album in 1971 right through to 'Time Loves A Hero' in 1977. Lowell George had been in a few bands in the late 60's, including The Factory and Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention, and while a member of the Mothers he wrote 'Willin''. On hearing the song Zappa reportedly fired him from the band, either because he felt that George was too talented to be a guitar for hire and should form his own group, or that 'Willin'' contained drug references. I favour the first option, as Zappa was instrumental in getting the newly formed Little Feat their Warner Brothers record deal, which he wouldn't have done had there been an acrimony between them. During the recording sessions for their debut album, George injured his hand and couldn't play guitar on 'Willin'', so Ry Cooder filled in for him, but the song was recorded a second time for the next album, this time with George playing guitar. During their too-short career they wrote and recorded many songs that have since gone on to become standards (Willin'', 'Dixie Chicken', 'Teenage Nervous Breakdown' etc), and as well as the tracks that did eventually appear on their albums, some songs fell by the wayside and have remained unheard for nearly 30 years. The 'Hotcakes and Outtakes' collection of 2000 did a fine job in unearthing a number of these, but being a career retrospective meant that they were slotted in amongst more well-known album tracks in a 4CD box set, whereas the hardcore fans just wanted to hear the newly discovered stuff, so for them, and for me, this album consists of just the songs recorded for their albums which didn't make the cut. It's no surprise, considering the quality of the band's output, that these offcuts are often as good as anything else they released, but a few of them overtly show the jazz and soul influences they tended to keep buried in order to maintain the rock feel of the songs. 'All That You Dream' eventually appeared on 'The Last Record Album' and 'Hi Roller' was on 'Time Loves a Hero', but these versions were recorded during much earlier sessions. 



Track listing

01 Doglines (from the 'Little Feat' sessions)
02 Rat Faced Dog (from the 'Little Feat' sessions)
03 Wait Till The Shit Hits The Fan (from the 'Little Feat' sessions)
04 Doriville (from the 'Sailin' Shoes' sessions)
05 Roto/Tone (from the 'Sailin' Shoes' sessions)
06 Ace In The Hole (Hi Roller) (from the 'Dixie Chicken' sessions)
07 Eldorado Slim (from the 'Dixie Chicken' sessions)
08 Boogie Wigwam (Short Jazz Piece) (demo)
09 Brickyard Blues (Play Something Sweet) (from the 'Feats Don't Fail Me Now' sessions)
10 All That You Dream (from the 'Feats Don't Fail Me Now' sessions)
11 Front Page News (from 'The Last Record Album' sessions)
12 Jazz Thing In 10 (from the 'Little Feat' sessions)
13 Rockin' Shoes I & II (Lowell George demo)


XTC - Are You Receiving Us? (1980)

XTC are one of the best, and most prolific, of the UK post-punk bands that sprung up around 1977. Virgin Records saw the potential and snapped them up, and their first release was the '3D' EP, which has since gained legendary status and commands large sums online for an original copy. This was followed by a couple of singles to test the water, before their first album 'White Music' burst onto the scene. Every track was amazing, and as well as the brilliant original songs on there, it contained perhaps my second-ever favourite recording of 'All Along The Watchtower' - and depending on the mood I'm in it sometimes even surpasses Hendrix's definitive version. Singles and albums followed in quick succession, and they were writing so many new songs that almost all the singles had exclusive b-sides, and sometimes they'd issue an EP just for the hell of it. By looking through their discography I've managed to track down 40 songs that never appeared on a studio album - enough for a three volume collection of XTC rarities. In 1982 the 'Beeswax' album made a good attempt at mopping up some of these songs, but obviously missed off the non-album A-sides, and omitted a couple of flips as well. There's never really been a follow-up to that collection for the years after 1982, and so hopefully this trilogy of albums will do the job nicely.



Track listing

01 Science Friction (from the '3D' EP 1977)
02 She's So Square (from the '3D' EP 1977)
03 Dance Band (from the '3D' EP 1977)
04 Hang On To The Night (b-side of 'Statue Of Liberty' 1978)
05 Are You Receiving Me? (single 1978)
06 Instant Tunes (b-side of 'Are You Receiving Me?')
07 Heatwave (b-side of 'This Is Pop?' 1978)
08 Chain Of Command (from the free 7" single with 'Drums And Wires' 1979)
09 Limelight (from the free 7" single with 'Drums And Wires' 1979)
10 Bushman President (b-side of 'Making Plans For Nigel' 1979)
11 Pulsing Pulsing (b-side of 'Making Plans For Nigel' 1979)
12 The Somnabulist (b-side of 'Ten Feet Tall' 1979)
13 Life Begins At The Hop (single 1979)
14 Homo Safari (b-side of 'Life Begins At The Hop')
15 Don't Lose Your Temper (b-side of 'Generals And Majors' 1980)
16 Smokeless Zone (b-side of 'Generals And Majors' 1980)

Enjoy

Tangerine Dream - Oedipus Tyrannus (1974)

Tangerine Dream have probably released more official and unofficial albums that almost any other band, which when you include their sanctioned bootleg releases must run into the hundreds, and yet even they have mythical albums which have never seen the light of day, and 'Oedipus Tyrannus' is one of those. Rumours have abounded for years on the net about an album supposedly recorded some time in 1974 but never released, but no-one could seem to agree on the track listing or what the music sounded like. When I first heard about it I Googled it and found it quite easily, but after playing it and doing further research I found that it was actually a live album recorded in Chichester in 1974, supposedly featuring live versions of some of the tracks, but I wasn't convinced that it was what I was looking for. More investigation was needed, and I finally found someone who seemed to know what they were talking about, who confirmed that parts of an album had been recorded as suspected, and that some of the tracks were accessible in various locations, so you had to piece it together yourself. It's generally agreed that the album consists of three tracks - Overture, Zeus and Baroque, and the first one was surprisingly easy to find as it was actually included on the Virgin Records sampler 'V' in 1975! That just left the other two tracks, which had been professionally recorded at CBS studios, but which had then been rejected by the band. Somehow they made their way to John Peel, who played all three tracks on his radio show as one long piece, and luckily recordings of that are still available. I later found out that the Chichester recording wasn't even a live gig, as it was just the Peel radio broadcast with some other live tracks added to the CD. So by taking the first track from the 'V' sampler and adding the best versions that I could find of the other two tracks from the Peel broadcast, we have all that is available of this legendary album. It's only 23 minutes long, so to make up some time I've added on both sides of their rare 1971 debut 7" single 'Ultima Thule. (Great timing, as we've just received pictures of the planet Ultima Thule from the New Horizons spacecraft.) 



Track listing

01 Overture
02 Zeus
03 Baroque
04 Ultima Thule (Part One)
05 Ultima Thule (Part Two)


Motörhead - Over The Top (1977)

When Ian 'Lemmy' Kilminster left Hawkwind in 1975 with the intention of forming a heavy metal band with Larry Wallis and Lucas Fox, the scene was awash with them, but for him it was the perfect time. Punk exploded shortly afterwards and the band were caught up in that exciting time, helped by the fact that they were signed to the indie Chiswick label, and also that the punks loved them. In March 1976 Lemmy decided that they needed a second guitarist and 'Fast' Eddie Clarke was recruited, following which Wallis left the band, and with Phil 'Philthy Animal' Taylor replacing the unreliable Fox, the classic Motörhead line-up was complete. Motörhead are typically classified as heavy metal, but their fusion of punk and metal helped to pioneer speed metal and thrash metal, with their lyrics covering such topics as war, good versus evil, abuse of power, and, most famously, gambling, the latter theme being the focus of their hit song 'Ace of Spades'. They never looked back following the chart success of that single, and their popularity with the fans and esteem from their peers carried on throughout their career. Their early singles tended to use album tracks as b-sides, but they did keep a few songs back for flip-sides from their 1978 'Louie Louie' single onwards, so there are enough spare non-album songs around to compile this collection of great heavy rock. Added to those is the 1980 Big Beat Records EP of old tracks recorded in 1977, and I've tagged on an alternate version of 'Ace Of Spades' at the end, simply because it's my favourite of their songs. Lemmy died on 28 December 2015 from heart failure, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, and Motörhead ceased to exist with his passing, leaving behind a legacy of 40 years of classic hard rock. 



Track listing

01 Hell Raisers And Beer Drinkers (1977 recording released as a single 1980)
02 On Parole (1977 recorded b-side of 'Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers')
03 Instro (1977 recorded b-side of 'Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers')
04 I'm Your Witch Doctor (1977 recorded b-side of 'Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers')
05 Louie Louie (single 1978)
06 Too Late, Too Late (b-side of 'Overkill' 1979)
07 Like A Nightmare (b-side of 'No Class' 1979)
08 Over The Top (b-side of 'Bomber' 1979)
09 Dirty Love (b-side of 'Ace Of Spades' 1980)
10 Remember Me, I'm Gone (b-side of 'Iron Fist' 1982)
11 Turn You Round Again (b-side of 'I Got  Mine' 1983)
12 Ace Of Spades (alternate version)

Enjoy

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Karen Carpenter - I Do It For Your Love (1980)

In 1979 Karen Carpenter decided that she'd like to record a solo album without her brother Richard, who was at the time being treated for an addiction to Quaaludes. Phil Ramone was drafted in as producer and sessions began in New York in 1979 and continued into 1980. Karen was backed by various New York and Los Angeles studio musicians, including Steve Gadd, Greg Phillinganes, Louis Johnson and members of Billy Joel's band, and although he wasn't involved with the record, Karen dedicated the project to her brother: 'To Richard, with all my heart'. When the album was finished it was presented to A&M executives in New York, who approved the material, but the executives in Los Angeles, including label owners Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, responded negatively. It's claimed that Herb Alpert called the album 'unreleaseable', and while Quincy Jones championed releasing the album to Derek Green, an A&M Records vice-president, Alpert, Green and Moss insisted the album had to be cancelled. That decision haunted Karen for the last few years of her life, and on February 3, 1983, the day before her death, she called Ramone to discuss the album. According to Ramone, Carpenter said, 'I hope you don't mind if I curse. I still love our fucking record!' Thirteen years later the songs on the album were mixed according to Carpenter’s instructions and it was finally released in 1996. There were twenty-one songs recorded, and eleven were chosen for the album, while the other ten were consigned to the vaults. Eventually they leaked online, and so this is a companion album to 'Karen Carpenter', made up from those tracks. The 1996 album eventually went on to sell over a million copies, so far from being 'unreleasable' it turned out to be eagerly welcomed by her fans around the world. The songs on this album are just as good, especially the title track, which is a sublime reading of the Paul Simon song, and so fans of 'that voice' need to hear it. The cover is from the photoshoot that provided the sleeve for the 1996 album, but that picture was washed out and tinted, obscuring her natural beauty, and so this is what it really should have looked like. 



Track listing

01 I Do It For Your Love
02 It's Really You, It's Really Me
03 Jimmy Mack
04 Love Making Love To You
05 Truly You
06 Don't Try To Win Me Back Again
07 Something's Missing (In My Life)
08 Keep My Lovelight Burning
09 Midnight (Never Lets You Down)
10 Last One Singin' The Blues