Friday, 27 September 2019

Nick Cave - Covers With Others (2011)

For my second collection of Nick Cave's cover versions I've selected a number of songs which he performed either as a duet with another artist, or as guest vocalist on a friend's album. Once again, the sheer variety of songs on here shows his eclectic taste in music, from Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's 'Bedazzled' at one end of the spectrum, via country music on Hank Williams' 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry', to his superlative reading of the Leonard Cohen classic 'Suzanne'. A couple of these artists aren't that well-known, so Anita Lane was a former girlfriend of Cave's, and was briefly a member of The Bad Seeds, co-writing a number of songs with Cave while with the band. Chris Coco is a pseudonym of DJ Christopher Mellor, who, as well as being was one of the first house music resident DJs also makes downtempo, ambient albums. His 2002 release 'Next Wave' not only features Nick Cave, but also author Iain Banks and guitarist Peter Green. Die Haut were an experimental German post-punk and post-rock band, who enjoyed some local success in Berlin during the 1980's and 1990's, and hopefully the rest of the artists are well-known enough to need no introduction.
The songs on this album come from the following sources:
'All The Pretty Little Horses' is Nick's vocal contribution to the title track of Current 93's 'All The Pretty Little Horses (TheInmostLightItself)' album from 1996 
'I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)' is Nick helping out on Die Haut's 1988 album 'Headless Body In Topless Bar'
'Sunday Morning' is taken from Chris Coco's 2002 album 'Next Wave'
'Bedazzled' is from Anita Lane's 1995 single 'The World's A Girl'
'Cindy' is taken from the 2006 Johnny Cash album 'Cash Unearthed'
'She's Not There' is from the 2011 soundtrack album to the TV series 'True Blood'
'I Love You...Nor Do I' is also from Anita Lane's 1995 single 'The World's A Girl'
'Kiss Of Love' is a Jools Holland/Sam Brown song from Holland's 2003 album 'Friends 3'
'Suzanne' is taken from the soundtrack of the 2005 film 'I'm Your Man'
'The Big Hurt' is from the soundtrack of the 1997 film 'Mojo'
'What A Wonderful World' was a 1992 single by Cave and Shane McGowan
'Free To Walk' is from the 2009 Jeffrey Lee Pierce tribute album 'We Are Only Riders'
'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry' is from the 2002 Johnny Cash album 'American IV: The Man Comes Around', and
'The X Files Theme' is from the 1996 'Songs In The Key Of X' compilation album
The cover is based on Reinhard Kleist's graphic novel 'Mercy On Me'.   



Track listing 

01 All The Pretty Little Horses (with Current 93) (Trad./Current 93)   
02 I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) (with Die Haut) 
                                                                                                                        (Mickey Newbury)
03 Sunday Morning (with Chris Coco) (Lou Reed/John Cale)         
04 Bedazzled (with Anita Lane) (Peter Cook/Dudley Moore)  
05 Cindy (with Johnny Cash) (Trad.)     
06 She's Not There (with Neko Case) (Rod Argent)
07 I Love You... Nor Do It (with Anita Lane) (Serge Gainsbourg/Mick Harvey)   
08 Kiss Of Love (with Sam Brown) (Sam Brown/Jools Holland)   
09 Suzanne (with Perla Batalla & Julie Christensen) (Leonard Cohen)                      
10 The Big Hurt (with Gallon Drunk) (Wayne Shanklin)                                  
11 What A Wonderful World (with Shane McGowan) (Weiss/Douglas)      
12 Free To Walk (with Debbie Harry) (Jeffrey Lee Pierce)       
13 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry (with Johnny Cash) (Hank Williams)
14 The X-Files Theme (with The Dirty Three) (Mark Snow)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Cat Stevens - Where Are You? (1975)

Steven Georgiou was born on 21 July 1948 in the Marylebone area of London, the youngest child of a Greek Cypriot father and a Swedish mother. At 15, inspired by the popularity of the Beatles, he became interested in the guitar, and persuaded his father to pay £8 for his first instrument, and began playing it and writing songs. In 1965 he began performing under the name Steve Adams, and his goal was to become a songwriter, being influenced by bands such as The Beatles, The Kinks, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Paul Simon, and blues artists Lead Belly and Muddy Waters. In 1966, at age 18, he was heard by manager/producer Mike Hurst, who arranged for him to record a demo and helped him get a record deal, changing his name along the way to Cat Stevens (after a girlfriend told him he had eyes like a cat). Stevens's first singles were hits, with 'I Love My Dog' reaching number 28 on the UK Singles Chart, and 'Matthew and Son', the title song from his debut album, peaking at number 2, quickly followed by his second top ten release with 'I'm Gonna Get Me a Gun'.
In 1969 Stevens contracted tuberculosis, and was close to death at the time of his admittance to the King Edward VII Hospital in Midhurst. He spent months recuperating in the hospital, followed by a year of convalescence, and during this time he began to question aspects of his life and spirituality. As  part of his spiritual awakening and questioning he wrote as many as 40 songs, many of which would appear on his albums in years to come. He managed to get out of his contract with Deram, who he felt was not listening to what he wanted to do with his music, and was offered a deal with Island Records by Chris Blackwell. His first album in his new folk-rock style was 'Mona Bone Jakon', and he had another top ten hit single with 'Lady D'Arbanville' which was taken from it. This album was the beginning of Stevens' most successful period, with albums and singles topping the charts throughout the early 70's. Because he had so many songs in his stockpile he was able to add new ones to the b-sides of his singles, and other unheard recordings have since turned up on box sets and expanded editions of his albums. 
In 1971, Stevens provided nine songs for the soundtrack of the black comedy 'Harold and Maude', bringing his music to a wider audience, and among the songs were two, 'Don't Be Shy' and 'If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out', which were not released on any album at the time. This collection covers Stevens' entire career, from the orchestral pop of 'I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun' and 'A Bad Night', plus their flips, through to the 1969 'View From The Top' single and it's beautiful b-side, and also includes a track from the 'Harold And Maude' soundtrack, a couple of non-album singles, and a lovely out-take in 'Love Lives In The Sky'. As you listen to these seldom heard songs you can hear the newly mature songwriter emerge after the 1969 single, and point the way to what was to be his most successful period as a singer/songwriter. 



Track listing

01 I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun (single 1967)
02 School Is Out (b-side of 'I'm Gonna Get Me A Gun')
03 A Bad Night (single 1967)
04 Lovely City (When Do You Laugh) (single 1968)
05 Image Of Hell (b-side of 'Lovely City (When Do You Laugh)')
06 Here Comes My Wife (single 1968)
07 It's A Supa (Dupa) Life (b-side of 'Here Comes My Wife')
08 The View From The Top (single 1969)
09 Where Are You? (b-side of 'The View From The Top')
10 I Want To Live In A Wigwam (b-side of 'Morning Has Broken' 1971)
11 If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out (from the film 'Harold And Maude' 1971)
12 Another Saturday Night (single 1974)
13 Love Lives In The Sky (previously unreleased)
14 Two Fine People (single 1975)
15 Crab Dance (b-side of 'Sitting' 1973)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Carole King - I Wrote It, So I'm Singing It (1968)

Carol Joan Klein in was born in February 1942 in Manhattan to a Jewish family. From an early age she had an insatiable curiosity about music, and so her mother began teaching her some very basic piano skills, but did not give Carol actual lessons. When Carol was four years old, her parents discovered she had absolute pitch, which enabled her to name a note correctly by just hearing it, and real music lessons started shortly after this discovery In the 1950's she went to James Madison High School, where she formed a band called the Co-Sines, and changed her name to Carole King (many Jews did during this period to avoid an omnipresent anti-semitism). The band made demo records with her friend Paul Simon for $25 a session, and in 1958 she made her first official recording with the promotional single 'The Right Girl', released by ABC-Paramount. She attended Queens College, where she met Gerry Goffin, and they married when she was 17 after King had become pregnant with her first daughter, Louise. They quit college and took daytime jobs, Goffin working as an assistant chemist and King as a secretary, but wrote songs together in the evening. 
In 1959 Neil Sedaka, who had dated King when he was still in high school, had a hit with 'Oh! Carol', and Goffin took the tune and wrote the playful response 'Oh! Neil', which King recorded and released as a single the same year. Among their other compositions was 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow', which was a hit for the Shirelles, and following that success Goffin and King gave up their day jobs to become full-time songwriters. During the sixties the two wrote a string of classic songs for a variety of artists, including 'Chains', which was recorded by the Beatles, 'The Loco-Motion' for their babysitter Little Eva, and 'It Might as Well Rain Until September', which King recorded herself in 1962 and which was her first hit single. Other songs included 'Half Way To Paradise',  'Take Good Care of My Baby', 'Up on the Roof', 'I'm into Something Good', 'One Fine Day', 'Pleasant Valley Sunday', '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman', 'Some Of Your Lovin'', and 'Goin' Back'. In order to try and sell these songs the duo would often record demo versions of the songs, and some of these have surfaced over the years, although not 'I'm Into Something Good' or 'Halfway To Paradise', which I'd love to hear. 
For this album I've gathered together 15 of these demos that have turned up over the years, which are mostly King with piano or guitar accompaniment, although on 'Up On The Roof' she plays piano while Goffin takes the vocal. You might not know that she wrote 'The Porpoise Song' for The Monkees' film 'Head', with that song since going on to become a psychedelic classic, and she tried it again with 'Dear Marm', although that one wasn't picked up by the band. When you see a list of the songs that Goffin & King wrote it's almost unbelievable that they came from the pens of just two people, as there are so many classic songs in their repertoire, and we can now hear them as the band or artist who were interested in them would have first heard these songs.   



Track listing

01 Crying In The Rain
02 Oh No, Not My Baby
03 Up On The Roof (Carole King piano, Gerry Goffin vocal)
04 Go Away Little Girl
05 Stage Door
06 Hey Girl
07 Take A Giant Step
08 Just Once In My Life
09 If I'm Late
10 Pleasant Valley Sunday
11 Take Good Care Of My Baby
12 Porpoise Song
13 Dear Marm
14 Yours Until Tomorrow
15 Image Collector

Enjoy / Enjoy

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Nick Cave - The Pricks Kick Back (2009)

Back in 1980 I heard a song on the John Peel show which was unlike anything I'd ever heard before - the song was 'The Friend Catcher' and it was by The Birthday Party, an Australian post-punk band led by a young Nick Cave. I tried to find more by them but there wasn't much around, although 'Mr Clarinet Man' proved that the earlier song wasn't just a one-off. The band started out in 1975 as a sextet, with Cave on vocals, joined by Mick Harvey on guitar, Phil Calvert on drums, Brett Purcell on bass, Chris Coyne on saxophone and John Cocivera on second guitar. After playing a few local venues under various names, they decided to continue as a four-piece, with Tracey Pew taking over on bass, and in 1976 The Boys Next Door was born. They were still doing covers, such as 'Gloria' and 'Blitzkreig Bop', but Cave was now coming up with some dark and disturbing songs, such as the afore-mentioned 'The Friend Catcher'. In 1978 they recruited Rowland S. Howard as a second guitarist, resulting in a change in their sound, with Howard's use of feedback combining with the prominent repetitive basslines and minimal drumming to make a noise that incorporated punk, blues, rockabilly and free jazz. 
In 1980 they headed to London and changed their name to The Birthday Party, and were championed almost immediately by John Peel, offering them a Peel session early in their career. With the 'Release The Bats' single they really hit the mainstream, and from there on could do no wrong. Their debut album was a classic of the post-punk genre, and while the follow-up 'Junkyard' had a lot to prove, and so suffered for that, there was some good stuff on there as well. The years 1982 to 1983 were especially fraught for the band, with arguments between the band-mates resulting in one member after another leaving, and after the excellent 'Mutiny' and 'The Bad Seed' EP's in 1983 the band split up for good. Perhaps surprisingly, considering that they made such a unique sound together, each member has gone on to considerable solo or band success since the spilt, with Mick Harvey forming Crime And The City Solution, Rowland S. Howard teaming up with Lydia Lunch for a number of records, and then forming These Immortal Souls, and of course Nick Cave going on to the greatest success after he formed The Bad Seeds with ex-Einsturzende Neubauten guitarist Blixa Bargeld, Barry Adamson, and for a short period Tracey Pew, before he passed from injuries sustained following an epileptic seizure in 1986. 
Cave's first album with the Bad Seeds was 'From Her To Eternity', and was the equal of anything by his former band. 'The Firstborn Is Dead' and 'Your Funeral... My Trial' followed, and established Cave as a musician of some note and influence, so it was something of a surprise that for his fourth album he decided to release a selection of cover versions by artists as diverse as John Lee Hooker, Johnny Cash, Leadbelly, Roy Orbison, Lou Reed, and Jimmy Webb. The album was a massive hit, and Cave has continued to perform covers in his shows and in the studio, although he's never got around to releasing a follow-up to 'Kicking Against The Pricks', so it's therefore down to me to put it together for him. Over the past 20-odd years Cave has covered a wide variety of songs for compilation and tribute albums, as well as helping out bands that he admired with vocals on their records, and so I've compiled two covers albums - one of just Cave and the band, and one of covers that he's performed as duets with other artists. 'The Pricks Kick Back' comprises songs recorded by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, or by Cave on his own, and are taken from a number of sources, as listed here:
'I Put A Spell On You' was an exclusive recording for the NME's cassette 'Department of Enjoyment' in 1984 
'The Pinery Boy' is from 'Rogues Gallery', a 2006 collection of Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs And Shanties
'Ramblin' Mind' is from the 2009 Jeffrey Lee Pierce tribute album 'We Are Only Riders'
'Let It Be' is from the soundtrack of the 2001 fim 'Son Of Sam'
'Mack The Knife is from 1997 CD September Songs, a collection of Kurt Weill songs   
'Helpless' was recorded for the 1989 Neil Young tribute album 'The Bridge' (this is the full version which is 40 seconds longer than the one on the 'B-Sides & Rarities' compilation 
'Disco 2000' was released as the b-side to Pulp's 'Bad Cover Version' single of 2002
'John The Revelator' was recorded for 'The Harry Smith Project' CD of American folk songs
'King Kong Kitchee Kitchee Ki-Mi-O' was the b-side of the 1996 single 'Henry Lee'
'Rainy Night In Soho' was the b-side to the 1992 single 'What A Wonderful World' (with Shane McGowan)
'I Feel So Good' comes from the soundtrack of Martin Scorsese's 2003 film 'The Soul Of A Man', and
'There's No Night Out At The Jail' was recorded for a 1993 Country covers album that never saw the light of day. 
So here we have a very belated second volume to 'Kicking Against The Pricks', which I hope is as interesting and varied a selection as the original album. 



Track listing

01 I Put A Spell On You (Screaming Jay Hawkins/Slotkin)
02 Pinery Boy (Trad.)
03 Ramblin' MInd (Jeffrey Lee Pierce)   
04 Let It Be (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)  
05 Mack The Knife (Bertold Brecht/Kurt Weill)    
06 Helpless (Neil Young)
07 Disco 2000 (Banks/Cocker/Doyle/Nackey/Senior/Webber)   
08 John The Revelator (Trad./Blind Willie Johnson)
09 King Kong Kitchee Kitchee Ki-Mi-O (Trad./Nick Cave) 
10 Rainy Night In Soho (Shane McGowan)  
11 I Feel So Good (J. B. Lenoir)
12 There's No Night Out In The Jail (John Harold Ashe)      

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 20 September 2019

The Archies - What Goes On (1970)

Like the Dave Clark Five before them in a previous post, The Archies have an undeserved reputation that they will have a hard job to live down, mainly due to just one song - the irresistibly catchy 'Sugar, Sugar'. This track is the epitome of bubblegum pop, and for people who like a bit more sophistication in their music this was enough to put them off the band for good. They didn't help themselves by having a repertoire which included songs like 'Bang-Shang-A-Lang', Jingle Jangle', and 'La De Doo Down Down', but it would be pretty nigh on impossible to fill five albums with songs all of the same calibre, and so tucked away on the records is some pretty good sunshine pop and even the odd hard rocker. Although the band was a fictional group based on characters from Archie comics, the actual music was performed by some well-respected session musicians, including Ron Dante on lead vocals, and Toni Wine on lead and backing vocals, with additional vocals being provided during the sessions by Jeff Barry, Andy Kim, Ellie Greenwich, Susan Morse and Ritchie Adams. The music was provided by Hugh McCracken and Dave Appell on guitar, Chuck Rainey and Joey Macho on bass, Ron Frangipane on keyboards, and Buddy Saltzman and Gary Chester on drums. The songs were mostly written by Jeff Barry, often in collaboration with Andy Kim, and sometime with Ron Dante. On later albums they handed over the reins to Ritchie Adams and Robert Levine, with Ron Dante writing a couple with Bob Gengo and Gene Allan. With such a plethora of talent in the writing and the musicianship there's bound to be some worthwhile songs scattered throughout the albums, and so I've gathered what I think are the best of them onto one disc, omitting all the bubblegum stuff and concentrating on tracks which would have been hailed as great pop songs if only they weren't by The Archies. I've kept the cartoon theme for the cover but gone for a more mature version of the characters by Jaime Hernandez, to reflect the music on here.



Track listing

01 Hide And Seek
02 A Time For Love
03 Truck Driver
04 Catchin' Up On Fun
05 I'm In Love
06 Circle Of Blue
07 Love Light
08 Everything's Alright
09 Get On The Line
10 You Know I Love You
11 Mr. Factory
12 Waldo P. Emerson Jones
13 Comes The Sun
14 Suddenly Susan
15 Hold On To Lovin'
16 Should Anybody Ask
17 What Goes On
      
Enjoy / Enjoy

Red Shark - Le Fin (1986)

I bought this cassette in 1986, and have played it many, many times since as it stood out so much from a lot of the other tapes that I got at the time. This is their story, from the inlay of the cassette. 
Red Shark - A Fishy Story
It was the hot sleazy summer of '83 - long times of depravity and excess - that saw the spawning of Red Shark - Steve, Robin, Derek and Jackie. The remains of Incubus; defunct after the departure of Sean, joined up with Keith (new guitar in hand) and the vulturous Medlock to comprise the Mk1 line-up. After  few gigs in and out of town, October '84 saw a new slimline Red Shark with Jackie and Medlock (keyboards and vocals) swimming off to fresher waters. From then on a general tightening up took place along with a broadening of the Red Shark sound. Although the OTT electric thrashout still lives on (re. 'Thorn In My Side') the band adapted a southern bluesy feel to some of their songs. The next major change was as recent as Nov. '85, which heralded the arrival of sax player Brian. This is the second cassette release by Red Shark, the first 'The Return Of Red Shark', now being something of a collectors item, also marked the first venture of Ian and Claire's Bite Back! enterprise, which is now a growing concern in Portsmouth. The tracks on this tape  - except for side two, tracks 1 & 3 - were recorded in summer '85. The original intention was to select two of these for release on the Bite Back! EP 'Sour Mash' (BB!006). Encouraged by growing support, the band re-entered Martyn's studio - now armed with digital mastering equipment. Four more tracks were rattled off - two for this tape, two for the EP. Red Shark are renowned for their lack of resources (money, amps, common sense etc.) and would like to thank everybody who has helped/is helping towards their continuing existence. 
The music is a great mix of psyche and indie, with their take on the Velvet's 'I Can't Stand It' being a highlight. They also cover Billie Holiday's 'Fine And Mellow', but the rest of the songs are all original material, and as this tape has been a favourite of mine for the past 30 odd years, I thought I'd post it to share this great music from a band who really should have been picked up by an indie label at the time. They still have a live myspace page but it doesn't look like it's been updated for a while, and I'd be very surprised if they still existed in any form, but you never know.  



Track listing

01 Buddhist Chant
02 I Saw The Devil
03 They'll Never Know
04 The Money Goes Further
05 I Can't Stand It
06 Thorn In My Side
07 Fine And Mellow

Enjoy / Enjoy

Todd Rundgren And The Hello People - Mad Red Ant Lady (1972)

I'll start by saying that I consider Todd Rundgren as something of a musical genius - singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer, band leader and solo artist, and fashion icon! (just check out some of his stage outfits from the 70's and 80's). He started his musical career in the band Woody's Truck Stop, before leaving them to form his own band The Nazz, who released three albums of Anglophile rock, heavily influenced by The Beatles and The Who, but with Rundgren writing the material. On their first album he even took a stab a producing the record after the actual producer Bill Traut had gone home, adding effects such as varispeed and flanging to the recordings. The single 'Open My Eyes' backed with 'Hello It's Me' became their first hit, and the albums 'Nazz' and 'Nazz Nazz' followed, with 'Nazz III' being released some time later after the band had left the label, and the old record company collected together some outtakes and off-cuts to cobble together something to release to make a quick buck. Some of these came from the sessions for their second record, which was originally to have been a double album entitled 'Fungo Bat', but the record company cut it down to a single record and re-titled it 'Nazz Nazz'. 
After The Nazz split his songwriting became very much influenced by artists such as Laura Nyro, who he felt had a unique songwriting style, and he continued to write and record songs while working as a producer for other bands in New York. Among his production duties during this period were albums by The American Dream, Great Speckled Bird, and on a recommendation by The Band's Robbie Robertson he produced a record for Jessie Winchester, which impressed Robertson so much that he was asked to produce The Band's 'Stage Fright' album. Despite his successful productions, he still wanted to make his own music, and so formed the band Runt in 1970, including Hunt and Tony Sales, years before they joined David Bowie in Tin Machine. Rundgren himself wrote, produced, sang, and played guitars, keyboard, and other instruments on the record, and so whether Runt is best described as a band or simply a pseudonym for Rundgren the solo artist is open to conjecture. For the album 'Runt' the group appeared to be a bona fide trio, but on their second album 'Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren', Hunt Sales plays only on two tracks and is replaced by N. D. Smart on the rest of the album. 
By this time, Rundgren had effectively moved his base to Los Angeles, and as he prepared for his second solo album, he met aspiring LA band Half-Nelson, led by brothers Ron and Russell Mael, with guitarist Earle Mankey. After attending an elaborate, self-staged 'showcase' performance by the group at their LA rehearsal space, Rundgren agreed to produce their debut album, originally released as 'Half-Nelson' and later re-titled 'Sparks', and the brothers have credited Rundgren with launching their career. By 1972, the Runt persona/band identity had been abandoned, and Rundgren's ambitious double album 'Something/Anything?' was credited simply to Rundgren, who wrote, played, sang, engineered, and produced everything on three of the four sides of the album. It provided Rundgren with two hit singles in 'I Saw the Light' and a remake of the Nazz near-hit 'Hello It's Me', and on the subsequent tour he asked The Hello People to be his backing band. Rundgren and The Hello People went into Ultrasonic Studios in 1972 to record a number of the songs from the album, and when I found this bootleg I was really looking forward to hearing studio recordings of full band versions of the songs, but on playing it I found that it was actually a live concert in front of an invited audience. The recording itself was studio quality, though, and so to make up for my disappointment I decided to remove all the audience noise to make the studio album that I expected to hear. A few edits and fades later and I have the band album that I wanted, so here is a great vintage recording of Rundgren at his peak, with a band behind him who know exactly what he wants, and featuring a number of songs that I assume are Hello People originals, including the title track which they eventually released a couple of years later.   



Track listing

01 Broke Down & Busted
02 Georgia Swing
03 Piss Aaron
04 Outside Love
05 A Dream Goes On Forever
06 I Saw The Light
07 Blaze
08 It Wouldn't Have Made Any Difference
09 Feels So Good To Be Alive
10 Mad Red Ant Lady
11 Lady On The Terrace
12 Slut

Enjoy / Enjoy

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Vangelis - Themes (2018)

Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou was born on 29 March 1943 in Agria, Greece, and raised in Athens. At the age of twelve he developed an interest in jazz and rock music, and at fifteen he started to form school bands, acquiring his first Hammond organ at eighteen. In 1963, the newly named Vangelis and three school friends started a short-lived five-piece rock band called The Forminx, and after they split he spent the next two years mostly in the studio, writing and producing for other Greek artists. He also composed scores for Greek films, completing six over those two years, and in 1968 he moved to London in order to further his career. However, he was denied entry into the UK and so settled in Paris for the next six years, where he formed the progressive rock band Aphrodite's Child with Demis Roussos, Loukas Sideras, and Anargyros "Silver" Koulouris. Their debut single 'Rain and Tears' was a commercial success in Europe, and was followed by two albums, 'End of the World' in 1968 and 'It's Five O'Clock' in 1969. Vangelis conceived the idea of their third record as a concept album based on the Book of Revelation, and '666' is now hailed as a progressive rock masterpiece. If you haven't heard either the pop songs or '666' then do check them out as they are all classics of their genre. 
After increasing tensions during the recording of '666', the group split in 1971, with Roussos going on to have a number of hit singles in a long career as a pop singer, while Vangelis set up his own 16-track studio, Nemo Studios, and secured a record deal with RCA Records. He released some well-received electronic albums throughout the 70's, simultaneously scoring a number of films, including 'Ignacio' aka 'Do You Hear the Dogs Barking?' in 1975, and scores for some of Frederic Rossif's nature documentaries in 1976 and 1979. In 1980, Vangelis agreed to record the score for 'Chariots of Fire', winning an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score, and with his star now in the ascendant he was much sought-after to compose film soundtracks. In 1982 he scored 'Missing' for director by Costa-Gavras, which was awarded the Palme d'Or and gained Vangelis a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Best Film Music. In 1981, he collaborated with director Ridley Scott to score his science fiction film 'Blade Runner', expertly capturing the isolation and melancholy of Harrison Ford's character, Rick Deckard. In 1992, Paramount Pictures released the film '1492: Conquest of Paradise', also directed by Ridley Scott, and the score by Vangelis was nominated for Best Original Score – Motion Picture' at the 1993 Golden Globe awards, which then led to offers of work on the 1992 films 'Bitter Moon' and 'The Plague'. 
In 2002 he wrote the theme for the FIFA World Cup, and in 2018 he composed a tribute to Stephen Hawking, which was given out free to guests attending the Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey when Stephen Hawking's ashes were interred. After the internment some remaining copies were available from the Stephen Hawking Foundation in return for a charitable donation until stock ran out. For this collection of his film soundtracks I've deliberately omitted his four most famous works, on 'Chariots Of Fire', 'Missing', 'Blade Runner' and 'The Bounty', as they are already quite well-known, and can be found on an official collection of his soundtrack work. Instead I've concentrated on the rarer, early work for lesser-known directors, although I have included the theme to '1492' as it was too late to be included on the official collection and it's also one of my favourites. It's a fairly long album at 70 minutes, but it flows so well that I don't want to split it into two, so we'll just treat it as a CD.  



Track listing

01 Sex Power Part IX from 'Sex Power' 1970
02 Theme from 'Salut, Jerusalem' 1972
03 Generique from 'L'Apocalypse des Animaux' 1973
04 Theme from 'Amore' 1973
05 Theme from 'Ignacio (Do You Hear The Dogs Barking?)' 1975
06 Theme from 'La Fete Sauvage' 1976
07 Hymne from 'Opera Sauvage' 1979
08 Theme from the TV Series 'Cosmos' 1980
09 Theme from 'Antarctica' 1983
10 Theme from 'Sauvage et Beau' 1984
11 Theme from 'De Nuremburg A Nuremburg' 1989
12 Theme from '1492 :(Conquest Of Paradise)' 1992
13 Theme from 'Bitter Moon' 1992
14 Theme from 'The Plague' 1992
15 Theme from 'Cavafy' 1996
16 Anthem for the FIFA World Cup 2002
17 Theme from 'El Greco' 2007
18 Seize The Moment - The Stephen Hawking Tribute 2018

Enjoy / Enjoy

Friday, 13 September 2019

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - 66 And Fading (1983)

Thanks to Anon for reminding me what a great little band Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark were in their early days. Formed in 1978 by Andrew McCluskey and Paul Humphries, who had first worked together in Merseyside band The Id 1977, the paid were keen to experiment with with tape collages, home-made kit-built synthesisers, and circuit-bent radios. After The Id split, McCluskey joined Wirral outfit Dalek, I Love You as lead singer, but only lasted a month, and so rejoined Humphries to form Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - the name taken from a list of potential song lyrics on McCluskey's bedroom wall, and deliberately chosen so as not to sound like a punk band name. They released their first single 'Electricity' in 1979, and it was a breath of fresh air, coming as it did at the tail end of the punk boom, and I grabbed my copy straight away, ending up with one of the Factory copies with the textured sleeve - still a prized possession. Its success led to the band being signed by the DinDisc label, who re-issued the single, and followed it with a worthy successor in 'Red Frame, White Light', and when the debut album appeared the following year it easily lived up to the promise of those singles. 'Organisation' was another fine album, and 'Enola Gay' was their first mainstream hit single, at which point I usually tended to abandon a group that I felt had sold out the The Man, but with OMD I stuck with them for one more album, as 'Architecture & Morality' seemed a bit more experimental that its predecessor, but that was the end of my love affair with the band. Looking back at those early days, there were a few songs tucked away on b-sides which I hadn't heard before so I gave them a listen and found that I'd been missing out on some good stuff. The band also included a free 7" EP of demo recordings with the vinyl edition of their second album, so I've added that to the b-sides up to 1983, including the dub version of 'Messages', renamed 'Taking Sides Again', for this reminder of both the melodic pop songs and also the more experimental music that the band were producing at the start of their career.    



Track listing

01 Introducing Radios (from the free 7" EP with 'Organisation' 1980)
02 Distance Fades Between Us (from the free 7" EP with 'Organisation' 1980)
03 Progress (from the free 7" EP with 'Organisation' 1980)
04 I Betray My Friends (b-side of 'Red Frame White Light' 1980)
05 Waiting For The Man (b-side of 'Messages' 1980)
06 Taking Sides Again (b-side of 'Messages' 1980)
07 Annex (b-side of 'Enola Gay' 1980)
08 Navigation (b-side of 'Maid Of Orleans' 1981)
09 Sacred Heart (b-side of 'Souvenir' 1981)
10 66 & Fading (b-side of 'Telegraph' 1983)
11 4-Neu (b-side of 'Genetic Engineering' 1983)
12 Once When I Was Six (from the free 7" EP with 'Organisation' 1980)

Enjoy / Enjoy

The Dream Syndicate - Weathered And Torn (1987)

The Dream Syndicate were one of the first, and undoubtedly one of the best, of the short-lived Paisley Underground movement of the early 80's. Along with Rain Parade, Green On Red, The Bangles and The Three O'Clock they blended their love of 60's psychedelic music with a healthy dose of Americana to come up with a new genre - neo-psyche. The Dream Syndicate were formed when Steve Wynn met Karl Precoda in Los Angeles and the two formed a new group, with Wynn's friend from the University of California Kendra Smith on bass, and a drummer that she brought with her, Dennis Duck. Duck suggested the name 'the Dream Syndicate' in reference to Tony Conrad's early 1960's New York experimental ensemble (better known as the Theatre of Eternal Music), whose members included John Cale, and on February 23, 1982, the newly-named Dream Syndicate performed their first show at Club Lingerie in Hollywood. A four-song EP was recorded at the home of Tom Mehren in Pasadena and released on Wynn's Down There label, and the band quickly achieved local attention for their often aggressively long, feedback-soaked improvisations. The band signed to Slash Records, whose subsidiary Ruby Records released their debut album, 'The Days of Wine and Roses', in 1982. This album sent shockwaves through the American underground in the early 1980's, and remains one of my all-time favourite records. 
Following it's release, Smith left the band and joined David Roback (formerly of Rain Parade) to form Opal, and she was replaced on bass by David Provost. 'Medicine Show' was recorded in 1984 in San Francisco with producer Sandy Pearlman and released that year by A&M Records, and was a worthy follow-up to 'Days....', and between opening for bands such as R.E.M. and U2, they released the five-song live EP, 'This Is Not The New Dream Syndicate Album... Live!'. This was the last record to feature Precoda on guitar, as he left soon afterward to pursue a career in screenwriting, and he was replaced by Mark Walton. The EP's commercial failure contributed to the group's temporary breakup, and the band was dropped by A&M after the label rejected its demo for 'Slide Away', later released on the semi-official 'It's Too Late To Stop Now' compilation. After a brief hiatus Wynn, Duck and Walton joined forces with Paul B. Cutler (who had produced the group's first EP) to form the next version of the Dream Syndicate, and in 1986 they released the more mainstream rock of 'Out of the Grey'. The following year they wrote and recorded a number of songs for a proposed new album, but it was never released, and so this is The Dream Syndicate's lost album, recorded in Los Angeles between their third and fourth official releases, and featuring Chris Cacavas of Green on Red. It's the missing link between their later Americana sound and the Velvets spirit of 'The Days of Wine and Roses', and only the title track has since turned up on an official album, appearing on 'Ghost Stories' in 1988. If you're a fan of the band then this is a must-hear record, and they're still releasing superb albums today, with the latest 'These Times' sounding just as fresh as when they started.   



Track listing

01 Here On Earth As Well (recorded in Hollywood, April 1985)
02 Blood Money (recorded in Hollywood, April 1985)
03 It Hits You Again (recorded in Hollywood, August 1985)
04 I Ain't Living Long Like This (recorded at Lyceum Studios, August 1987)
05 Killing Time (recorded at Lyceum Studios, August 1987)
06 Lucky (recorded at Lyceum Studios, August 1987)
07 Weathered And Torn (recorded at Lyceum Studios, August 1987)
08 The Best Years Of My Life (recorded at Lyceum Studios, August 1987)
09 Running From The Memory (recorded at Lyceum Studios, August 1987)

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The Rolling Stones - Fancyman Blues (1989)

I may have mentioned previously that I'm not the biggest fan of the Rolling Stones, although I do love all their stuff from the 60's, and a few albums from the early 70's, so I've never heard either 'Steel Wheels' or 'Voodoo Lounge' from the 80's. I recently discovered a bootleg of outtakes from those two albums, and the comments seemed to indicate that some of the songs left off the albums were better that those which made it, and on listening to 'Fancyman Blues' and 'For Your Precious Love' I could see their point, as they were both superb recordings which somehow were not considered good enough for the final track listing. Using that as a starting point I investigated further and found that some of the tracks on the bootleg had eventually turned up on b-sides, including the afore-mentioned 'Fancyman Blues' in a shortened version, and so I listened to those b-sides and found that a lot of them were surprisingly good songs. I've therefore taken all the b-sides from the singles extrated from those two albums, added in the best outtakes, including a great track with Keith on vocals, a sublime reading of 'For Your Precious Love', and the extended version of 'Fancyman Blues', and come up with an album that I actually enjoy listening to. It helps that on a number of the songs the band have gone back to their blues roots, and by mixing those with some fine rockers it makes for an album which sits nicely between 'Steel Wheels' and 'Voodoo Lounge', and which some people (not necessarily me) might say is even better than one or the other of those two. 



Track listing    

01 Jump On Top Of Me (b-side of 'You Got Me Rocking' 1994)
02 Wish I'd Never Met You (b-side of 'Terrifying' 1989)
03 I'm Gonna Drive (b-side of 'Out Of Tears' 1994)
04 Ready Yourself (outtake 1989)
05 Fancyman Blues (b-side of 'Mixed Emotions' 1989 - extended version)
06 So Young (b-side of 'Love Is Strong' 1994)
07 Cook Cook Blues (b-side of 'Rock And A Hard Place' 1989)
08 The Storm (b-side of 'Love Is Strong' 1994)
09 You Got It Made (outtake 1994 - Keef vocal)
10 For Your Precious Love (outtake 1989)

Enjoy / Enjoy

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Robert Wyatt - The Unknown Zone (2009)

Throughout the early years of the new century Robert Wyatt continued to help out musicians who came to him for help with their music, as well as friends who just wanted to play with him, including Paul Weller on a duet of the Warren/Dublin classic 'September In The Rain', which was added to the 1997 Japanese re-release of Wyatt's 'Shleep' album. 'Afghanistan's A Country....' and DondestA' are reworkings of two Wyatt compositions by Jean-Michel Marchetti for the companion CD to his book 'M4W', while 'Flies' is Wyatt's contribution to the Various Artists compilation 'Plague Songs', consisting of music based around the twelve plagues of Egypt, with Wyatt and Brian Eno interpreting the plague of flies. The title track was recorded by Wyatt, Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera, following a jam session that occurred when the three of them had dinner after recording sessions for Wyatt's 'Cuckooland' album, and the resulting track was offered as a free download in 2009. We close with two songs from an artist previously unknown to me, Monica Vasconcelos, but after hearing these tracks I will be searching out more from her. If there's one thing that strikes you about these two albums it's the sheer variety of music that Wyatt has made during his career, starting with the psychedelic Soft Machine, the jazz-rock of Matching Mole, forays into the charts with 'I'm A Believer' and 'Yesterday Man', his own superlative singer/songwriter efforts on 'Rock Bottom' and 'Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard' among others, the definitive recording of 'Elvis Costello's 'Shipbuilding', and now all of this music with other musicians, young and old. He truly is a renaissance man in the field of music, and you can see why he's held in such high esteem by his peers. The cover of this one is based on an acrylic painting by Sian Superman of Raw Art.



Track listing

01 September In The Rain (...with Paul Weller, from the Japanese release of 'Shleep' 1997)
02 Afghanistan's A Country....... (...with Jean-Michel Marchetti, from 'M4W' 2003)
03 DondestA (...with Jean-Michel Marchetti, from 'M4W' 2003)
04 The Unknown Zone (...with Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera, free download 2009)
05 The Plague Of Flies (...with Brian Eno, from 'Plague Songs' 2006) 
06 Before We Knew (...with Annie Whitehead, from 'The Gathering' 2000)
07 Out Of The Doldrums (...with Monica Vasconcelos, from 'Hih' 2008)
08 Still In The Dark (...with Monica Vasconcelos, from 'Hih' 2008)

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Sunday, 8 September 2019

Monty Python - The Self-Abasement Tapes (2019)

As part of a celebration of 50 years of Monty Python's Flying Circus, BBC Radio 4 have compiled a collection of rare and previously unheard sketches and songs, all linked together by Michael Palin, in his search far and wide for these lost recordings. There are five 15-minutes shows, which I've edited together into one hour long file, and it includes adverts for their albums and films, rejected sketches and songs, and a recording of a script read-through from 2014. 
On the 5th October the anniversary will also be marked by a world record attempt, in which organisers are hoping to encourage the largest gathering of people dressed as Gumbys - the spectacle-wearing, knotted handkerchief-sporting imbeciles who became part of Python lore. Although a lot of these pieces would have been rejected for a reason - not enough room, not funny enough - there's enough good stuff here to satisfy even the most ardent Python fan.



Track listing

Fat Ignorant Bastards
Courtroom Sketch
'Lumberjack Song' advert
School sketch
'I'm So Worried' song
'The Holy Grail' trailers
'Sir Robin's Song' with extra verse
Terry Jones and Michael Palin revisit the Scottish shooting locations for 'The Holy Grail'
'King Arthur' song
The Martyrdom of St. Brian
'Life Of Brian' soundtrack album advert
'Life Of Brian' film adverts
'Life Of Brian' voice-over sketch
Otto sketch from 'Life Of Brian'
'The Meaning Of Life' song advertising the film
'The Accountancy Shanty' song
Goats Page
Madame Palm Writes
'Monty Python's Big Red Bok' interviews
'It's Christmas In Heaven' song (alternate version)
Stephen Hawking sings 'The Galaxy Song'
The team reads through the script for the 2014 reunion show at the O2, London
Charisma Records advert
'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life' from the O2 reunion show
What Shall We Call The Show?

Enjoy / single file

Enjoy split file

Friday, 6 September 2019

Radiohead - Rainbow's End (2009)

When Radiohead self-released 'In Rainbows' in 2007 it was the first ever 'pay-what-you-want' download by a major act, after their recording contract with EMI ended with their 2003 album 'Hail to the Thief'. The band has been working on the record for more than two years, beginning in early 2005, and in 2006, after initial recording sessions with new producer Spike Stent proved fruitless, the band toured Europe and North America performing the new material. After re-enlisting longtime producer Nigel Godrich, Radiohead eventually recorded the album in a number of studios in London and Oxfordshire, with the songs incorporating a variety of musical styles and instruments, including electronics, strings, piano, and the ondes Martenot.
The album had a physical release in December 2007 on XL records, and made number one in the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, selling over three million copies worldwide by October 2008. There was also a limited edition box set which included 'In Rainbows' on vinyl and CD, as well as a bonus CD of eight additional songs, and two years later the bonus disc was made available for download from the band's website, making the extra tracks more readily available to the fans. These songs added up to the equivalent of a 25 minute EP, but I wanted to expand this to album length, and so added in a few tracks which were either recorded around the same time as the original 'In Rainbows' sessions, or at the time that the re-issue appeared in 2009. I've therefore added the reknowned, but now extremely hard to find, Flying Lotus remix of 'Reckoner', plus their contribution to the 'Help!' charity album, both from 2007, and the two download only singles that they released in 2009. All of the songs are very much in the style of the parent album, and so this hangs together pretty well as a companion disc to the original release. 



Track listing

01 MK 1 ('In Rainbows' box set 2007)
02 Down Is The New Up ('In Rainbows' box set 2007)
03 Go Slowly ('In Rainbows' box set 2007)
04 MK 2 ('In Rainbows' box set 2007)
05 These Are My Twisted Words (free download single 2009)
06 Last Flowers ('In Rainbows' box set 2007)
07 Up On The Ladder ('In Rainbows' box set 2007)
08 Harry Patch (In Memory Of) (download single 2009)
09 I Want None Of This (from 'Help! A Day In The Life' charity album 2007)
10 Bangers + Mash ('In Rainbows' box set 2007)
11 Reckoner (Flying Lotus Remix 2007)
12 4 Minute Warning ('In Rainbows' box set 2007)

Enjoy / Enjoy

The Associates - Green For Grief (1979)

From 1977 to 1979 Billie McKenzie and Alan Rankine were given plentiful access to Craighall Studios in Edinburgh, and used the time wisely to record a large quantity of demos of songs that they'd written together, utilising a makeshift group of cabaret musicians who hung around there. They also recorded a cover of David Bowie's 'Boys Keep Swinging', which they laid down within a few weeks of the original being released, and which they then illegally released as their first single. When the lawyers turned up to ask them to stop selling it, it gained them quite a lot of publicity, as well as a record deal with Fiction Records, and it really kick-started their career. The following year they laid down some more demos at Morgan Studios in London, some of which later appeared in reworked form on their debut album 'The Affectionate Punch' in 1980, and this album is a mixture of sessions from both studios, picking out the best tracks from both of them and arranging them into an album which could have come out in 1979 if they'd really wanted it to. For once, I'm glad that they didn't release these songs at the time as they needed a bit more time to polish their sound and come up with the songs that would eventually become that classic first album, but they're still well worth hearing as the sound quality on all of them is excellent.
'The Shadow Of My Lung' starts out with a wild take on mid-period Sparks, with equally surrealistic lyrics, and halfway through the middle eight drops to 1/4 tempo and becomes a distinct parody of 'The Shadow Of Your Smile', only to speed up again to finish the song. '18 Carat Love Affair' here is the original stripped down version, later to be swamped in strings to become a hit single, and 'Not Tonight Josephine' has the Ronsonesque crackle of 'Aladdin Sane' period Bowie. Some of these tracks have turned up on an archive release entitled 'Double Hipness', although that added in some later period demos from their reunion, but also missed some other songs which could have been included, like 'Schmoltz', and I've also added 'You Were Young', the b-side of 1980's 'The Affectionate Punch' single, as the sound fits in nicely with the rest of the songs.



Track listing

01 The Shadow Of My Lung
02 Do The Call Girl
03 Not Tonight Josephine
04 2000 Years Of Mental Torture
05 Green For Grief
06 Schmoltz
07 Saline Drips
08 Galaxy Of Memories
09 18 Carat Love Affair
10 You Better Mortice Lock The Door Before He Slips Out In The Night, Baby
11 You Were Young
12 Geese
13 Window Shopping
14 Double Hipness
15 The End


Robert Wyatt - Was A Friend (2000)

Robert Wyatt first garnered notice as drummer for the Soft Machine, the most legitimately jazz-inspired English rock band of its day, sharing stages with among others Jimi Hendrix and Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd. After leaving Soft Machine he formed his own band Matching Mole (named after the French for Soft Machine - machine molle), and released a couple of well-respected albums in 1972. In 1973 tragedy struck, when he fell three stories from an open window and broke his back, confining him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. A recuperating Wyatt determined to press forward and the event, by his own account, provided a catalyst both for personal maturity and a deepening of his approach to music. He released what he considers his first proper solo album, 'Rock Bottom', in 1974 and followed with releases of his own music every five or ten years. Throughout his career Wyatt has collaborated with other musicians extensively, and he continues to do so until this day, though at a slower pace than past years, and a large number of these collaborations were collected together on the 'Different Every Time Volume 2 - Benign Dictatorships' CD in 2014. However, this really only scratched the surface of the work that he has recorded with other artists, as none of the tracks on this album, and a following companion set, are on 'Different Every Time', just showing the huge number of artists who have clamoured to work with him over the years. We start with his contribution to Morgan Fisher's 'Miniatures' album, where artists offered pieces which only lasted about one minute, and then jump forward over a decade to 1993, when he collaborated with both Ultramarine on their album from that year, and also with Evan Parker on a track for the various artists compilation album 'Paul Haines, Darn It'. Three pieces with Millennium from 1995 close the disc, and slotted in there is also his work on Hugh Hopper's 'Was A Friend', which Hopper recorded in 1993 and then passed to Wyatt to add lyrics. Wyatt didn't feel like it, and so declined, leaving Hopper to add vocals by John Atkinson and release it under a different title on his 'Hooligan Romantic's album. Two years later Wyatt finally came up with some lyrics and a new melody line and recorded the song for Hopper's 'Parabolic Versions' release in 2000. The cover is based on 'A Robert Wyatt Construction Kit' by John O'Rourke.



Track listing

01 Rangers In The Night (...with Morgan Fisher, from 'Miniatures' 1980)
02 Curtsy (...with Evan Parker, from 'Paul Haines, Darn It' 1993)
03 Kingdom (...with Ultramarine, from 'United Kingdoms' 1993)
04 Happy Land (...with Ultramarine, from 'United Kingdoms' 1993)
05 Free Will And Testament (...with Kramer, from 'A Remark Hugh Made' 1994)
06 Was A Friend (...with Hugh Hopper, from 'Parabolic Versions' 2000)
07 Igor Mortis (...with Millennium, from 'A Civilised Word' 1995)
08 Erup Peru (...with Millennium, from 'A Civilised Word' 1995)
09 Another Great Victory (...with Millennium, from 'A Civilised Word' 1995)

Enjoy / Enjoy