Monday, May 24, 2010

My Favorite Boots, pt. 1: David Blue, Kirsty MacColl

So far, I've tried to avoid posting stuff on TRS that's available on other blogs -- hence the name of this blog! If it was something I got from another source, but that blog or its links were no longer active, I've re-upped and posted it here. But as far as the boots that are still sitting out there in some blogosphere backwaters, it occurred to me that, even though I myself have spent wayyy too many hours scouring the 'net for obscure recordings of my favorite artists, that doesn't mean that other interested parties know they're out there. So I'm starting a series of posts pointing you to other blogs you might not stumble across, and you can follow their links to the files in question. While you're there, scout the rest of their blogs out, and if you like, tell 'em I sent ya!

Today, two wonderful recordings from artists I was amazed to find had even been bootlegged at all (kinda like when I found the Mary Margaret O'Hara boot I posted). First, from back in '67, we have Dylan cohort David Blue at Boston's Unicorn Coffee House. The sound is a bit fuzzy but amazing for a tape of that vintage. And whatever it lacks in clarity, the show is ESSENTIAL for anyone who likes Blue at all, even if all you like his one undeniably great song, "These 23 Days in September" -- because this is the DEFINITIVE RECORDING of that one. The titular album version is good and atmospheric, if a bit too brooding overall. His later remake is pointless in the extreme. Some cover versions have been nice, but not quite perfect. But here, backed by some of New York folk-rock's finest (no credits, but I'm betting that's Paul Harris on keys, for one), and taking the tune at a brisk but still contemplative pace (kudos to that drummer), all the song's atmosphere rises and audibly fills the room. And Blue's singing, strangely, sounds better live than he usually sounded in the studio.

Let me say this again so it jumps out: 


OK, I'll calm down. The second tape is from England's sweetheart, the poor, late great Kirsty MacColl. This tape, from a BBC broadcast, finds her at the Guinness Fleadh festival in London in '93, at one of my favorite points of her career -- having just released Electric Landlady but still doing plenty of stuff from previous album Kite. The EL songs sound great in live band format, especially "Walking Down Madison", in contrast to the more studio-bound sound of that album. And her personality shines through in her stage banter as well. R.I.P. Kirsty.

Thanks to the original posters -- hope you guys don't mind me linking to ya -- not to mention the original tapers!  Especially whomever hauled some no doubt clunky recording equipment down to the Unicorn Coffee House in December of '67 -- you were a visionary!

Scoot on over and enjoy these two stellar examples of The Rare Stuff!

Mr. Blue:

Ms. MacColl:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Elvis Costello Trainspotter Gap-Plugger Bonanza: Volume 3

And here's the back half of my latest collection of Elvis Costello b-sides, alt-versions, comp tracks and guest spots. The first half contained a track called "April 5th", this one's got "May 17th", so at least we've got about a month and a half covered! The latter track, a brief instrumental, is one of the harder-to-find items here, having only appeared on a CD included with the book Ferrington Guitars. It features EC playing three different guitars made by master luthier Danny Ferrington. Other highlights are the three bonus tracks from the ballads album North, the additional song from the Shakespeare settings on John Harle's album that did not appear on the Juliet Letters bonus disc, one more demo from the Wendy James songs, a rare acoustic version of When I Was Cruel track "Tart", and covers of Randy Newman, Charles Mingus, the Grateful Dead, and, yes, a song from Waiting for Guffman. Also, there's some uncertainty about the origins of the version of "Watching the Detectives" here; it originally appeared on a long-ago free cassette given away with the NME. It was listed there as a demo, but is now believed to be a live performance from Top of the Pops, November 2, 1977. See previous post for a link to the master list of "gaps" in EC's discography.

Speaking of the previous post, I thought I had come up with a sure-fire way to generate responses -- ask people to donate money, or barring that, leave a comment! Unfortunately, all but four people chose option "C" -- neither! If you enjoy adding this stuff to your collection, do me the kindness of letting me know! Or don't, whatever. I can't count the number of times I myself have downloaded without comment. But it's too bad that on the web these days, courtesy is often "The Rare Stuff"!  :^)

The ECTSGPBV3 contains:

Impatience Elvis Costello North
Little Goody Two Shoes Elvis Costello & The Attractions Out Of Our Idiot
London's Brilliant Elvis Costello London's Brilliant Parade 12"
May 17th Elvis Costello Ferrington Guitars
Mistress Mine: When That I Was And A Little Tiny Boy John Harle feat. Elvis Costello Terror & Magnificence
My Mood Swings Elvis Costello with the Brodsky Quartet Moodswings
North Elvis Costello North
A Penny for Your Thoughts (Waiting for Guffman) Elvis Costello
Radio, Radio Elvis Costello Saturday Night Live: The Music
Real Emotional Girl Elvis Costello with the Brodsky Quartet Moodswings
Ship Of Fools/It Must Have Been The Roses Elvis Costello Stolen Roses: Songs Of The Grateful Dead
Tart (Acoustic) Elvis Costello Cruel Smile [Japan]
Too Blue Elvis Costello North
Watching The Detectives [Demo/Live?] Elvis Costello NME Pogo A Go Go cassette [Top of the Pops(?)]
Weird Nightmare Elvis Costello Weird Nightmare: Meditations on Mingus
The World And His Wife [Live] Elvis Costello & The Attractions Punch The Clock [Ryko]

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Elvis Costello Trainspotter Gap-Plugger Extravaganza, VOLUME TWO!!!

At last! Here's the long overdue, second full-length installment of our trip through Elvis Costello's back pages. The entire group of rare items I've compiled for this next batch totaled 32 tracks; I have placed them in alphabetical order and split 'em in half. Here's the first half of the batch, featuring the tracks listed below. In addition to uncompiled tracks from the '90s Rykodisc reissues of his catalog, bonus tracks from import versions of some albums, and a few guest spots and/or compilation contributions, I've also thrown in two tracks (one in each part) which were made available only through "official" free downloads from media sources; specifically, The New York Times' (the excerpt of the writing demo of the Costello/Cash/Kristofferson collaboration "April 5th," which the three would ultimately perform on Spectacle); and the Boston Phoenix' (the delightful version of Waiting for Guffman's "A Penny For Your Thoughts" from an award ceremony for Christopher Guest). I included these last two because they're semi-official, lots of fun, and many might not know they exist. Apart from those two, these tracks are all (well, almost all) out-of-print and otherwise unavailable; none are available to purchase for download (at least in the U.S.), and all are, generally, hard to find on the 'net. I should mention that a very few tracks here differ only slightly from some that have been officially released, in the forms of remixes or alternate takes; here, again, is the master list of "gaps" from the great Costello wiki.

Sorry I've kept the faithful waiting so long, but here's one half of a heaping helping of The Rare Stuff, Costello-style! Next part posting later this week -- I promise. Meanwhile, enjoy.

Oh, and I'd be doing myself a disservice if I didn't also take this opportunity to ASK FOR CONTRIBUTIONS. I've spent oodles of dough over the years to gather these rare tracks -- and more recently, specifically for the purpose of sharing them with you. I know times are tight, but if you can bestow any thanks in the form of a small donation to the Paypal address in the right column -- a mere fraction of what you'd have to pay to purchase all these recordings -- it would make a humble blogger very happy. I know, I know, everything online's supposed to be free. If you can't swing anything, don't feel bad, of course, please help yourself to the tracks and enjoy the heck out of 'em! But at least please leave a comment, and perhaps investigate a commercial message or two to the right as well. Every little click helps.

The Gap-Pluggers, Part 2 are:
April 5th (excerpt) Elvis Costello, Rosanne Cash & Kris Kristofferson
Cry, Cry, Cry [Live] Elvis Costello & The Attractions Almost Blue [Ryko]
Deportee Elvis Costello Goodbye Cruel World [Ryko]
Dirty Rotten Shame Elvis Costello Complicated Shadows 7"
Do You Know What I'm Saying? Elvis Costello 13 Steps Lead Down 7"
Don't Get Above Your Raising Ricky Skaggs w/Elvis Costello Live In London
Don't Throw Your Love Away Elvis Costello & Amsterdam Liverpool - The Number Ones Album
...Dust Elvis Costello My Flame Burns Blue: Live with The Metropole Orkest [Japan]
Egypt Elvis Costello Labour Of Love: The Music Of Nick Lowe
The End Of The Rainbow Elvis Costello The Anti-Heroin Project: It's A Live-In World
Everyday I Write The Book [Live] Elvis Costello & The Attractions Punch The Clock [Ryko]
Forgive Her Anything [Original Version] Elvis Costello & The Attractions Blood & Chocolate [Ryko]
Get Yourself Another Fool Elvis Costello & The Attractions Out Of Our Idiot
Gloomy Sunday Elvis Costello Gloomy Sunday - Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod - O.S.T.
He's Got You [Live] Elvis Costello & The Attractions Almost Blue [Ryko]
I Almost Had A Weakness [Live] Elvis Costello with the Brodsky Quartet Live at New York Town Hall