Friday, July 30, 2010

The Smithereens - 11

Hi-Ho Blogger! The Rare Stuff rides again! To kick things back off in style, here's an album it's unreasonably hard to find online -- the third long-player from Hoboken's favorite sons, The Smithereens. It's called 11 because the band hired producer Ed Stasium to beef up their sound, which prior to that had been a bit indie-flimsy. As the liner notes say, a la Spinal Tap, "this one goes to eleven..."

This is, without a doubt, my favorite Smithereens album. Though they most certainly rock, the heavier first two numbers, which most show Stasium's influence, are not my favorite tracks of the bunch. But once the lovely, baroque strings of "Blue Period" kick in, I'm along for the ride. Pat DiNizio's and Belinda Carlisle's harmonies on that number are also exquisite. "Baby Be Good" and "Yesterday's Girl" are sweet, smart pop songs, and "Room Without a View" has the undercurrent of tension of classic, earlier Smithereens cuts like "Blood and Roses" and "Behind the Wall of Sleep". "Cut Flowers" is an adventurously structured and arranged short story in song. Speaking of short stories, "William Wilson" takes its name and paranoid atmosphere from the Poe tale of the same name. The thoroughly delightful "Maria Elena", meanwhile takes its name from Buddy Holly's widow. Closer "Kiss Your Tears Away" is an heart-tugging romantic ballad. The whole thing clocks in at an economical 34 minutes, just like the perfect '60s pop album.

The Smithereens' catalog is long overdue for a rehaul. If and when this fine collection is reissued, you'll wanna dump these tracks and upgrade. Meanwhile, though, this late-'80s power-pop high point deserves to be heard.

UPDATE 12/27/10: Link removed due to new information that this album is available for purchase at the Amazon MP3 Store, HERE.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ray Charles Bootleg Question

Hi all,

Just a shot-in-the-dark question, maybe someone knows something, or knows someone who knows something about this:

I once heard of a Ray Charles bootleg in which one of Ray's backing musicians suddenly gets on mike and starts berating his boss, telling the audience how Ray takes advantage of his musicians, doesn't pay or treat them well, etc.  

Anyone else heard of this, know what this show is or where to find it?

Jeff TPC

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Definitive Del Amitri Rarities Series, Vol. 10: The Alternat(iv)e Versions

The title of this post reflects the difference between the common U.S. usage, "alternate" takes, with the description that appears on all the Dels singles from which these tracks are drawn, "Alternative Version". As the sticker on the above cover says, the "Tell Her This" single which provides one song here contained four "postcards" -- actually just photos of the band on card, with the a-side's lyrics on the back. As a little bonus to our final DARS collection, (a bonus to the bonus tracks?) I have posted those photos below as well.

Yes, with this 11-track installment, the lion's share (pardon the pun) of our Del Amitri Rarities Series draws to a close.  Over the course of ten posts, I have shared what I believe to be every single Dels track officially released* but not available on one of the band's six albums (including the reissue of the first album which added 3 b-sides) or the b-side compilation Lousy with Love. If I'm counting right, that's a total of 76 songs. Those six albums contain a total of 60-some songs (not gonna count 'em right now), so as I said at the series' inception, with these collections we have more than doubled the band's discography. The completist in me is del-ighted to have shared all of this, as this is one of the few bands whose every released track I believe I own.

Those who have just discovered this fine band through these posts are strongly urged to investigate those half-dozen proper albums, as well as leader Justin Currie's solo work. If you have enjoyed all his great songs here, you are encouraged to consider PURCHASING (gasp!) his new album, The Great War -- and if you get it or the others through my Amazon link, that would be one small way to contribute both to Mr. Currie and to this blog. (I say small because I get pennies per purchase and would have to accumulate a huge number of such purchases to get a payout. Those wishing to support The Rare Stuff more directly are most welcome to make a Paypal donation to jeffrosongshow AT aol DOT com.)

Don't fret, though, del-fans and Del-fans (see Vols. 1 and 2 for the distinction!), as I intimated earlier there will be a few more exclusive goodies on offer in the next few days as well.

*UPDATE - Oh yeah, they had a live version of "Roll To Me" on a VH1 CrossRoads compilation, plus, I think, the odd live track on exclusive radio station comps, that aren't here. But I'm sticking with "definitive"! :^)

Not Where It's At (Alternative Version) Cry To Be Found [Disc 2]
Don't Come Home Too Soon (Instrumental) Don't Come Home Too Soon
Spit In The Rain (Remix) Just Like A Man [Disc 2]
I Won't Take The Blame (Acoustic Version) Just Like A Man [Disc 2]
This Side of the Morning (live in a car park at 3 AM) Move Away Jimmy Blue [12"]
Food For Songs (Acoustic Version) Roll To Me
One Thing Left To Do (Acoustic Version) Roll To Me
Paper Thin (Ambient Mix) Some Other Sucker's Parade [Bonus Tracks]
Some Other Sucker's Parade (No Strings Version) Some Other Sucker's Parade [Disc 2]
When You Were Young (Alternative Version) Tell Her This [Disc 1]
Learn to Cry (Alternative Version) Tell Her This [Disc 2]

Link in comments -- which are warmly welcomed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Patti Smith - Live aux Vielles Charrues 2004

"We should like to thank, and show solidarity with, everyone in France who marched against the attack on Iraq by the Bush administration.  We were one with the people of France, and we remember. We who march against the war are the true allies!"

With that righteous battle cry, Patti Smith introduces "Jubilee", which kicks off this smoldering set -- "enregisre par Radio France le 24 Juillet 2004 au festival des Vielles Charrues" -- from a bonus disc included with a limited-edition French release of her 2004 album, Trampin'. Patti's stalwart band -- old cohorts Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty, with Oliver Ray and Tony Shanahan who started with Patti on her late-'95 comeback shows -- have never sounded tighter or more intense. Lenny, in particular, pulls off some guitar work that could've come right off the original Nuggets colllection of '60s psych-punk he curated back in 1972... unless it's Oliver playing those licks, that is! The great setlist is split about evenly between pre- and post-comeback material. I'm not completely sure whether this 72-minute disc features the entire show Patti performed that day, but it was a festival set, so that sounds about right. Here once again on The Rare Stuff is the High Priestess of Poetry and Rock 'n' Roll: the immortal Patti Smith!

Info in comments. If you get a link, let us know what you think!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Marvin Gaye - Vulnerable (Released 1997) and The Star-Spangled Banner (NBA All-Star Game, 1983)

These recordings were the ones of his that Marvin Gaye held the most precious. In fact, he held on to them so tightly -- constantly re-arranging and re-recording his vocal perormances, obsessing over measuring up to the treasures of the Great American Songbook he had selected and the stunning arrangements he had commissioned -- that they never saw release in his lifetime. They were finally issued, as Vulnerable, in 1997, and have since lapsed out of print. So if you are snuggling up to your sweetie and feeling some "interdependence" at the end of this Independence Day, put this on and get ready to snuggle a little bit closer.

And if you need a gentle comedown from the fireworks and expressions of patriotism, I have added as a bonus track Marvin's radical reworking of The Star-Spangled Banner, which he performed at the NBA All-Star Game in 1983. It's as profound a deconstruction and reinterpretation of the National Anthem as Jimi Hendrix's was at Woodstock. And I've always loved the way Marvin's Gospel roots show in his version, as he sings, "Oh, say, does thy star-spangled banner yet wave", rather than "that".

Happy Independence Night. Enjoy.

Info in comments. If you take a link, let us know what you think!

Live Fireworks! Del Amitri, Hall & Oates, Bob Dylan with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and John Fogerty Rock Independence Day!

Surprise! I wasn't expecting to post this, and it isn't part of our Dels rarities series because it isn't an official release, but a little lightbulb -- or sparkler? -- lit up over my head, and here is a holiday post for you Rare Stuff lovers! Fitting right in with our trend of live Del Amitri, this is a radio broadcast of the Dels themsel's, live in Chicago's Grant Park on Independence Day, 1996! 

And I've also gathered links from three other music blogs, to three terrific-sounding recordings of concerts that took place on our nation's birthday three years in a row in the 1980s. I checked, and their download links are all still active. If you do grab 'em, you might say thanks and tell 'em who sent ya!

First, from Addicted to Vinyl, comes a show dubbed "The Liberty Concert", and once released on VHS though never yet reissued on DVD: Hall & Oates in Jersey City, NJ's Liberty Park on July 4, 1985.

Next, at The Midnight Cafe, we find Bob Dylan with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in the heat of their True Confessions Tour, in Buffalo, NY on July 4, 1986.

And finally, from the great blog The Clock That Ran Backwards Again, an epic moment from the Vietnam Veterans tribute concert at Capital Centre in Largo (a.k.a. Landover), Maryland near Washington, D.C., July 4, 1987. 

This was a long-overdue, televised, public "welcome home" concert for Vietnam vets, an opportunity for them and all of America to make peace with the difficult legacy of that war. At the time, Fogerty had long been embroiled in vicious lawsuits with his former label head, Saul Zaentz, mostly over the rights to his classic songs from the Creedence period. For years, he had refused to perform any of his '60s material so as not to put another dime in that man's pocket. Zaentz even went as far as suing Fogerty for ripping off his own song, "Run Through The Jungle" -- a favorite of Vietnam-era troops, for obvious reasons -- which Zaentz "owned", in his comeback single, "The Old Man Down The Road". Fogerty began his set for the vets with a vamp on the intro to "Old Man", but then dramatically stopped his band and suddenly shifted instead into the Creedence classic "Born on the Bayou", followed by "Down on the Corner", after which he addressed the audience:

"I just want to tell you something real short and sweet. I'm talking to vets here. I myself had gone through about 20 years of pain, and I finally faced that pain. I looked it right in the face and said, well, got a choice: you can do it for 20 more years, or you can just say, "That's what happened. " You can't change it, that's just what happened.  So I'm telling you guys, thats what happened. You got the shaft. you know it, we know it, it's reality. So drop it. In fact -- [crowd reaction] You got it. Send me a letter, Berkeley, Californa, but you promise me something: you send the letter, you drop it in the box, and then you drop all that shit you been carrying around. Is that a deal? And get on with it, buddy!"

With that, Fogerty launched into "Who'll Stop the Rain", another song that was central to American soldiers' experience in Vietnam, generally taken as a metaphor for the war. And he proceeded to play a whole set of those Creedence songs right down to "Fortunate Son", one of the most amazing catalogs in rock 'n' roll history, getting over his issues with his past to honor and inspire the courage of those veterans to face theirs, in order to free themselves of its hold on them. I was a 19 year old watching at home, and even for me, it was a total goosebump experience.

So that's my message to you this Independence Day, music lovers. Honor the sacrifices and wounds of the past, and the triumphs, too. But don't let them rule you. Face them in order to better turn and face the future. We all have the freedom to declare independence from our history, let go, and "get on with it, buddy!"

Happy Fourth!


Del Amitri, July 4th, 1996 @ The Rare Stuff (Tracklist in comments)

Also highly recommended: Graham Parker - The Live Vandelay, Chicago, July 4th, 1988! @ Amazon and iTunes

If you get a link, let us know what you think! 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Definitive Del Amitri Rarities Series, Vol. 9: Live at Abbey Road

Yes, our previous post found our boys channeling rock history by recording themselves "Live at Leeds", and this time around, we find them in the hallowed halls of Abbey Road. And perhaps it's fitting that this is our last time 'round, as far as live Del Amitri goes, just as the Beatles' swan song was the album that bears the legendary studio's name. But fret not, Delheads, this is still not the end of our series.

This disc was included as a bonus with one version of the compilation The Best of Del Amitri: Hatful of Rain. Released simultaneously was the b-sides collection Lousy With Love we've mentioned several times here. It was sold in a slipcase that left room for the matching Hatful collection, but I don't know that it was ever sold in a set as Hatful with Lousy as an actual bonus disc. Apparently, there was some sort of slipcase to the Abbey Road two-fer, too, but my copy didn't have it. So if anyone has and can make a better scan of the above cover, please do. I found this low-res one online.

Any comments comparing, contrasting, and critiquing the four live Dels posts are eagerly welcomed. I haven't even listened to all this material in a while, so I might have to catch up with you all to form an opinion!

Coming up soon is a set of alternate versions of songs -- remixes, acoustic takes, instrumentals, and one performed "live in a car park at 3 AM" -- to round out our trip through the fine print of the Del Amitri (and del Amitri!) catalog. Following that, though, are another few surprise Currie favors (HAH!), so keep it tuned to The Rare Stuff!

Download info in comments. If you get the link, let us know what you think! :^)

The Everly Brothers: Live at the BBC

The Everlys? Again? Hmm, let's see, how can I put this...

If you love music, you love the Everly Brothers! If you love American music, harmony singing, rock 'n' roll, country-rock, folk-rock, ROCK, you love the Everlys because they are in its DNA.  They are in the DNA of the Beatles.  They are in the DNA of Bob Dylan. They are in the DNA of Simon & Garfunkel.  They are in the DNA of The Byrds.  I could go on.  Their harmonies are among the fundamental building blocks of the music you likely love today.

But don't think the Everlys are a corny oldies act. Don't think their music is something you have to tilt your head and squint at to like. It goes down easy. Their songs are clever, not corny. Well, I should say, even the corny ones are clever. Their originals are great, and the other songs they debuted by such great songwriters as Carole King and Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, are gems. They are real rockers, playing tough, crisp rhythm and lead guitar and always leading the best bands. (Warren Zevon played in their band early in his career, to name one.) They were performing on the radio with their dad and mom before their ages were in double-digits. In the '60s they were one of the few first-generation rock 'n' roll acts to retain creative viability, recording an album backed by The Hollies, and covering the Beatles and Tim Hardin and songs from Hair (all of those in just one wild, trippy medley from 1969's The Everly Brothers Show). And, of course, there are those justly famous, chilling, heart-tugging sibling harmonies, a hair's breadth apart. John and Paul, Paul and Art, Gram and Emmylou, The Eagles, Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, The Jayhawks' Mark Olson and Gary Louris, those are just the first pairs of singers that come to mind who have taken the Brothers as their ideal. But as much as others might emulate their trademark sound, there's no substituting for the magical connection of Phil and Don.

Anyway, the downloads of their stuff are lagging behind much of the other stuff here, so I thought I'd put in a good word for 'em with you all! Here is their out-of-print Live at the BBC collection. The first nine tracks are from the first stage of their career, three early tracks including a rare version of "Baby What You Want Me To Do", and six from the later '60s, featuring the immortal "Walk Right Back" and their great last hit, "Bowling Green". The other six are from their reunion concert in 1983, of which I may post the whole thing later if there's interest (hint!) as it's gone out of print, too.

Link in comments. 320kbps.
UPDATE: New Mediafire link posted for those having difficulties with Megaupload.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Patti Smith - One Common Wire: A Gung Ho Conversation with Patti Smith [Interview, 2000]

Hi all, I don't have too much energy to type a lot tonight, so I'll just let Patti do the talking. And boy is she a brilliant and fascinating talker, as you might imagine. So even if you think an interview might bore you, this one might not. 

I've removed the six Gung Ho album tracks from the running order of the interview disc. If you want to put them back in, this is their original placement: 

Track 1: "Glitter In Their Eyes:
Track 9: "Lo And Beholden"
Track 17: "Persuasion"
Track 23: "China Bird"
Track 30: "Gone Pie"
Track 38: "Grateful"

One other fun fact I realized while preparing this post: Patti's producer on the "Gung Ho" album was one Gil Norton, who also produced the Change Everything album for none other than Del Amitri. Six degrees of Del Amitri, anyone?

Link in comments. Feel free to leave one when you get it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Definitive Del Amitri Rarities Series, Vol. 8: Live at Leeds

Well, Del Amitri are great, but they aren't quite The Who, are they? So rather than releasing a Live at Leeds album of their own, they put three tracks each from the famous concert locale on the three CD singles for the title song from their penultimate album, Some Other Sucker's Parade. Actually, the tracks were originally due to appear on singles for the song "Medicine", but that release was withdrawn for ridiculous reasons pertaining to the BBC's arcane rules banning songs that might possibly be interpreted, by someone with a third grade education, bad hearing, and a hypertrophic imagination, to be commenting on current affairs. I don't remember what disaster its would-be release coincided with, and the whole thing's so stupid I don't even feel like looking it up right now.

Anyway, here are the nine Live at Leeds songs from the "Sucker's" singles, suckers! :^)

Driving With The Brakes On (Live at Leeds)/[Disc 1]
Move Away Jimmy Blue (Live at Leeds)/[Disc 1]
The Ones That You Love Lead You Nowhere (Live at Leeds)/[Disc 1]
Roll To Me (Live At Leeds)/[Disc 2]
Here And Now (Live At Leeds)/[Disc 2]
Hatful Of Rain (Live At Leeds)/[Disc 2]
Some Other Sucker's Parade (Live At Leeds)/[Disc 3]
Always The Last To Know (Live At Leeds)/[Disc 3]
Stone Cold Sober (Live At Leeds)/[Disc 3]

Link in comments, why not leave one when you get it?

The Definitive Del Amitri Rarities Series, Vol. 7: The Twisted Live Bonus Disc

Yes sir, the next train from Delsville's pulling into the station. This disc was part of a limited edition release -- actually, "Strictly Limited Edition", to quote the cover sticker! -- of the Twisted album. When I first saw it in the Import section of the old Tower Records in Washington, D.C., I instantly knew I HAD to have it, right then and there, despite the $30-something price tag. Why, you ask? Besides the fact that I'm obviously a hopeless Dels completist collector geekhead?  Because from the background photo on that cover sticker, I immediately had a suspicion that I knew just where and when it had been snapped... and when I got the thing open to reveal the u-card behind the swinging CD tray (reproduced above), that hunch was delightfully confirmed: those pics were taken in the grungy basement dressing room of the old 9:30 Nightclub in D.C. in August of 1995 -- and I was there the night they were taken!  No, not just at the show, but actually down in that dressing room after it!  I had a beer (or two) out of that plastic tub on the cover sticker (see below)!  I sat on that bench that Justin and Ian are sitting on -- maybe that's my butt out of frame on the right?  (OK, probably not. I remember being frightened of Ian.) It was only the second time I'd had the opportunity to see Del Amitri, since their first American concert back in the summer of 1986 as I mentioned earlier, and I'm happy to say that Justin at least vaguely recognized me when I went in and greeted him (or maybe it was just the way I greeted him, "Justin, Justin, Justin...", that caused him to ask, "Do I know you?").  

That dressing room -- in the OLD 9:30, mind you, not the beautiful rock palace that bears its name today -- had to be among the coolest, skankiest, rock'n'rollingest ones in history. You can see that graffiti-laden wall behind Justin and Ian. It sometimes functioned like a bulletin board on which touring bands would scrawl teasing messages for other bands they knew were a day or a few behind them on the same route. But the room's most defining feature was a pipe overhead (visible on the upper left corner of the sticker), which huge rats would actually, brazenly crawl right across from a hole in the wall that led to the alley outside, in full view of anyone in the room, with absolutely no hesitation. Another memorable time I was down there, before a show on Sheryl Crow's first tour just as "All I Wanna Do" was starting to break, I watched her band lure a rat along the pipe by putting a slice of pizza up there, followed by Sheryl serenading the rodent with a few lines from her former boss Michael Jackson's "Ben"!  (That's a love song to a pet rat, for those who don't know; Sheryl was Michael's backup singer early in her career.) But I digress. Props to the photographer, Mario Sorrenti, whom I met that night, and who took those pics as well as all the photos for the Twisted album and accompanying singles, including those great hanging-out-the-window candids as seen on the "Roll to Me" sleeve in the Twisted B-Sides post.  A gentleman and bon vivant.  

OK, now that we've clearly established how incredibly cool I am ;^) here are the tracks. The disc says "Mixed live for radio broadcast" but has no other info about date or location. But I believe this "Strictly Limited Edition" is among the Rarest Stuff in the Del catalog -- so enjoy!

Oh yeah -- and how do you like the new blog redesign?  I did it because I wanted a wider space for the posts so they'd be easier to read and didn't go so far down the page, but I think I ended up with a much more attractive and fun-to-read site into the bargain!

LINK IN COMMENTS, so please leave one when you take it, won't you?