Saturday, March 1, 2014
The recording picks up with the red, yellow and green buoyancy of 'Zimbabwe', a statement of Marley's support of guerrillas fighting for racial independence in the country. This song is most likely the third or fourth song in the show as set list examination from concerts later in the tour reveals that 'Natural Mystic', 'Positive Vibration' and 'Revolution' often preceded 'Zimbabwe'. 'War/No More Trouble' is featured toward the end of this recording here, differing from its earlier position later in the tour.
One of the revelations to appear from the tape follows with a version of 'Talkin Blues'. A warm stone in the sun, made for daydreaming, is the foundation of this rare 1980 performance. The stair climbing ascending and descending central riff lends a smoky positivity to the 'blues' content of the track. A true highlight of the show with syncopated solo section that pops with Rasta energy.
The same rings true for the 'new' song from the yet to be released Uprising album 'We and Dem' that follows. The song rolls out on a fat round bass tone, thumping into a slow burn. The track is not as tight as the preceding numbers, possible cause for its eventual disappearance from the set. The rarity factor is high here, and the sound quality makes it all worth wile in spite of some tentativeness by the players.
'Jammin' and 'Exodus' follow keeping the momentum high and the lyrical content diverse. 'Jammin' dissolves into a bass laden vocal jam that builds into the concluding exit instrumental. Without pausing 'Exodus' pulses heavily as soon as 'Jammin' concludes, shifty and dramatic, the performance continues to amaze. An electric Rasta revival is taking place on the recording, with special notice to the knotted rope keyboards adorning the track.
The main set concludes with 'Exodus' and the band returns to the stage for a rendition of 'Redemption Song'. Endearingly out of tune on his acoustic, Marley still inspires chills with his soulful reading. The lyrics sung acapella are especially affecting, with Marley then wordlessly vocalizing a melody line that the full band picks up on to conclude the song.
A 'rock room' favorite 'War/No More Trouble returns the concert to full on 'burnin' mode. Heavy percussion and crisp execution abound, the musical starts and stops are bulls eye hits. Masterfully mixing the 'heavy' tunes with the 'lighter' stuff, a funky 'Kinky Reggae' comes next following 'War' and preceding and segueing into the show closing 'Get Up, Stand Up'.
Thus ends our journey through the newly circulating Bob Marley and the Wailers performance from 1980. A welcome addition to collectors circles as well an amazingly well played performance that no one has ever had the pleasure to enjoy before. This one pleases the Marley aficionado's because of the unique features of the performance, but can also be enjoyed by those being introduced to the world of Marley because of its exceptional sound quality and varied set list. The show is available to those who search. As always, thanks for reading!
Bob Marley and the Wailers 5-30-1980
Sunday, February 23, 2014
After the opening 'White Light' acoustic guitar and harmonica version that opens the collection like the original LP, the first major revelation appears. 'Here Tonight' originally recorded by the Flying Burrito Brothers with assistance from Clark, surfaces here with a swaying strum, buoyant, intimate and uncluttered. Every crevasse and recess delicately explored, every breath and hum of throat captured.
If the previous song was a revelation, the next is an epiphany, 'For No One' is an unreleased jewel, a weightless circular acoustic finger picked melody line carries with it, some the most mournful harp interludes I've ever had the pleasure to hear Gene blow. His voice enters, a light fragile china, a misty specter of loneliness, quaking with a shaky falsetto. The minimal and concise lyrics elicit powerful images intensified by the ghostly accompaniment. An amazing find, a legendary piece of music.
What has been reported as Bob Dylan's favorite piece of Gene Clark music, 'For A Spanish Guitar' follow next, one of Clark's most regal and endearing melodies. This version like the entirety of the release takes on a magnified aptitude through the 'in the room' ambiance. A darkened room, some headphones and time to kill is needed for the weightiness of this track. This is not casual listening music. Worthy of note is the thick maple syrup of Clark's harmonica prowess. His playing is showed a more direct spotlight on this release and is an absolute joy to hear!
'Please Mr. Freud' is another discovered song and reflects a heavy Dylan influence both rhythmically and in attitude. The liner notes for the release attribute the lyrical content to Clark's deep interest in exploring humanity, religion and alternative ways off viewing the world around him. The tune's lyrical melody is brimming with flashing imagery, echoed in between verses by gentle harmonica. The reason for its remaining unreleased is unknown, but maybe its Dylan influence was too much for Clark? We will never know.
The unreleased and unheard songs disposed of, a folky version of 'Where My Love Lies Asleep' with a rolling tempo differing from the released version and a naked interpretation of 'The Virgin' follow.
'The Virgin' is missing its central Davis guitar riff but still retains its vivacious groove centered around its central vocal melody.
The following 'Opening Day' and 'Winter In' were both unreleased until their appearance as bonus tracks on the remastered version of White Light. 'Opening Day' is a bright song that rises like a early morning view of the sun, while questioning time as it hangs against gravity like the pendulum of an ancient clock. Clark's strumming unusually excitable and bright a contrast to the surrounding numbers. 'Winter In' is a song made from the inspiration of its creation, a song that apprehends a moment and paints it across time like a brush to canvass. The tune collects discard moments like scattered photographs and collates them into shared experience. Another song that leaves me wondering the reasoning for its eventual disappearance from the running for the record.
If you do not already own White Light do not pass go until you are the proud owner of the album. After digesting it and letting its soulful living lines seep into the fabric of your musical life, search out the collection discussed above. Similarly to John Lennon's home recordings, or Pete Townsend's available demo recordings, Clark's song sketches offer a peek through the keyhole, pulling back the shades to reveal the heart of inspiration for the songwriter. For the duration of the listening experience Clark is in your room, the music wrapping its metaphorical arms around your ears and heart.
Gene Clark-Winter In
Gene Clark-Jimmy Christ
Gene Clark-For A Spanish Guitar
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Spinning the ‘rock room’ today is an absolute pillar in the cathedral that is rock and roll history. The album Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks: The Best of Ronnie Hawkins was released courtesy of Roulette Records in 1964. The mono LP not only features Hawkins performing with his usual rock and roll renegade sensibilities, but also shows the talents and abilities of Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Robbie Robertson (The Band) on all tracks, as well as appearances by Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and King Curtis.
The sides Hawkins was cutting during this period would influence a host of rockers John Lennon and Bob Dylan included. Hawkins albums always contained the hottest shit musicians and a no frills ‘in the gutter’ approach. Dylan would eventually take Hawkins former band for his own to help disseminate his ‘thin wild mercury music’ on the legendary 1965-66 tour. When the needle drops on this record, there is little doubt on whom the best rock and roll band in the land was. Say what you will, but the guys in the Hawks were playing at a level that few bands ever reach. The proof is in the recordings, this particular disc directly pointing to the eventual musical pinnacles reached with Dylan in 1966 and soon after that the heights scaled as the Band.
slightly static guitar pumps ‘Bo Diddley’ full of a metallic scrubbing sound, a sound alien to this era, the 'Diddley' beat now super charged. Hawkins swamp hollers, or more appropriately, huffs Canadian wind storm screams, waiting for the resounding echoes from the backing peanut gallery. Sexy and sultry, the opening ‘Bo Diddly’ smells of Canadian whiskey, stale cigarettes, loose ladies and the funky clubs of Young street in downtown Toronto in the early 60’s. The deep tree lined grooves played by Helm and Danko and developed her,e foreshadow their future deep running and powerful roots. Swelling ‘rave ups’ separate the galloping drums verses and amphetamine piano slapping contributed by Richard Manuel.
‘Come Love’ is a sultry swing, Hawkins vocals are punctuated by Robertson’sharp edged Stratocaster. Robertson’s first solo a tasteful yet twang exploration of the blues groove, his tone a silver arrow chilled by the Northern winds. Staying on the subject of grooves, ‘Honey Love’ in contrast, is a product of the time, a lighthearted Latin flavored ditty, highlighted by Helm’s roly-poly island tom-tom’s and Danko’s animated and thumping lines.
‘High Blood Pressure’ is as tight as a shrunken sweater. Hawkin’s sounds way laid back for this vocal performance. The entire ‘future’ Band is also featured on this recording with all five members accounted for. You can tell because the groove shakes likes the leaves on the trees and the feel is the undeniable Band (Hawks) rhythm section and dual keyboard/piano attack. Mr. Hudson starts to go impressionistic with his introductory solo enveloping the group with his individualized sonic pallet.
Creeping along on a blue piano, ‘Arkansas’ rolls down dusty roads, name checking women and locations while reminiscing about his favorite lady. A moody and original song instrumentally, again, Helm’s drums injecting the song with its danceability and its swing. Garth Hudson also plays on this track.
The following song ‘Boss Man’, contains the entire future Band contributing once again. Garth Hudson’s fat organ swirls in windy time with the sly swing of the group. The finger snapping workers lament is made convincing by the low key shadowy strut, even the humorous ‘huh huh’ backing vocals add to the enjoyment. Good stuff.
Side two opens with a violent and shattering event, the impact of‘Who Do You Love’ is immediate. The song streaks out and grabs you emphatically by the shirt asking the question, ‘Who Do You Love?’ Danko’s bass loops and loops, jumping from the speakers then retreating like a wack-a-mole game. This was the Hawks signature song and it shows, there is a levitating delicacy to their aggressiveness, then quickly turning a corner,they kill the ant with a hammer. The mid section builds, rising on Hawkins ascending guttural screams, then bursts at the seams, revealing pounding black and whites, droning bass, and Robertson standing baby faced, scorching eyebrows with the created heat from his guitar statements. This track belongs on any hypothetical list or discussion regarding ‘rock and roll’s’ foundational songs, or important musical moments. Must have.
‘I Feel Good’ bounds in on a rockabilly groove, buoyed by Helms dependable beats. King Curtis takes the first solo with a celebratory investigation of the melody. To my ears this song is in the style that the members of the group were starting to rebel from, less of the pop, more of the ‘R and B’ and violent raucous rock. In the context of the LP it sounds good and lends diversity to the record as well as showing off the multiple talents of the Hawks.
One of my personal favorite songs on the LP is the version of ‘Searchin’ that Hawkins pulls out, the bluesy shuffle accentuated by possibly the dirtiest guitar you will hear on a recording from 1961 (when this number was recorded). Robertson peels prickly sections of sound from his guitar that moan, this is serious stuff here. Helm and Danko sit back locked in a stone thrown across water cadence, in which Hawkins raps the syncopated tale.
The final song that features all five members of the Band as Hawks is ‘Mojo Man’. ‘Mojo’ bops along on Danko’s percolating bass line and features a golden Curtis saxophone solo foreshadowing the future Band’s own horn section additions during their own career. Another irresistible pulse is donated by the group, becoming noticeable that the talent in the band is surpassing its principal and namesake.
The LP comes to a close with two numbers that showcase Hawkins voice, the first displaying his ‘Elvis’ falsetto’ upsing’. ‘Sexy Ways’ lets Hawkins get the girls worked into tizzy with his creamy smooth singing of various compliments over the churning rock rhythm. The tune has some big female backing vocals and a nice sax solo, but it fades out just as Robertson gets a chance to juice it up! In my opinion the weakest song on the record, but hey someone may love it!
The album concludes on the slow burn of ‘You Know I Love You’ with Robertson making up for a missed opportunity on the previous song with a sharp and unique opening riff that slides in sensually. The lick is absolutely shiver inducing in conjunction with the silvery bell chimes on Helm’s drum kit. Hawkins swings like a slightly inebriated playboy, Mr. Dynamo charming the ladies right out of their skirts, even though they ‘don’t even know his name’.
1964’s Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks: The Best of Ronnie Hawkins LP finds one of ‘rock’s’ finest showman during the prime of career, as well as spotlighting his backing band, who was about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, culminating with some of the most revolutionary music ever heard in popular music. This is a hard one to find in the bins, but is still available in digital formats and is well worth a concentrated listen.
Who Do You Love
Saturday, February 8, 2014
The concert is also notable for being Keith Godchaux's second show with the band since taking over piano duties, in which he asserts himself immediately and assimilates his adventurous playing seamlessly into the group mind. These early concerts are the exploratory templates that would eventually reach cosmic levels when the band reached Europe. Back to the show at hand, the subject of this 'now playing' is the first 'Dark Star' with Keith Godchaux, as well as the first since July 1971. The intimate Auditorium Theatre in Chicago would be witness to numerous peak Grateful Dead performances and this opening night in 1971 is no different. The ornate and opulent theater was the perfect location for the special improvised journeys the Dead were known to embark on.
The 'Dark Star' begins in earnest after a humorous 'Frozen Logger' tuning segment. A graceful examination of the theme occurs with Garcia confidently picking harmonics along with ancient melodic chimes that reverberate through the venue. Billy K scratches on wooden doors with a light percussion that shuffles quickly into the shadows. This is a panoramic and spacious 'Dark Star' drift and at three minutes the band breaks apart into a sickly spider web meltdown. Godchaux asserts himself through scatter shot keystrokes disorienting the direction and encouraging Lesh and Garcia to fall deeper into the musical void. The melt spreads, becoming slightly psychotic in its intent before Garcia aggressively restates the theme and slides into the first verse.
Garcia strongly sings the first verse at half past six minutes, the band then moves briskly from the lyrics before dropping again into a weightless introspective space. Godchaux, Weir, and Garcia roll themselves into a twinkling musical mass at ten minutes. The music becomes a psychedelic music box, Lesh plucks light blue notes, while the music envelops itself, shapeless it bumps into stars, dissipating before moving on. Garcia begins to dig away at layers of the jam, hitting on ideas, discarding ideas, before brushing away the dirt and revealing the central theme he so wanted to discover. The jam ignites like flash paper, gaining momentum through a series of heavenly melodic statements by Garcia and Godchaux. Kreutzman becomes the multi-limbed master and the unsung hero throughout this multifaceted excursion. He plays a plethora of poly-rhythmic grooves that branch off from the central trunk of swing beats. Garcia's Stratocaster has the classic shimmering and ethereal 'Europe' tone that drives the band into an excitable 'Feeling Groovy' jam that careens around corners at dangerous rates threatening to lift off at any moment. The post verse jam is an example of peak and prime Grateful Dead, birthed during this very era and riding an awesome wave straight on through the Winterland 1974 performances. The jam rises, the suddenly, the band becomes molecules dissolving like sugar in water and returning to a sparkling drift.
At this point the jam disappears as quickly as it appeared, reaching its outstretched hand over the jagged edge of the sonic precipice to gain purchase, pulling itself skyward, quickly becoming a lightning struck version of 'Sitting On Top Of he World'. The band boogies their way through the song at high velocity. The band sounds positively joyous as they romp through a prime rendition. Garcia plays two pliable honky tonk solos and then Bam! We are back in the midst of 'Dark Star'. The second verse is sung quickly and before we realize its not 'St Stephen',Weir strums the opening strains to 'Me and Bobby McGee'. Similarly to the music that preceded it, this 'Bobby McGee' is concentrated joy. The band's attention to detail is marvelous, and the 'Bobby' becomes a fitting landing to the previous 25 minutes of musical flight.
The second set then concludes with the 'St Stephen' that was missing from the previously played 'Dark Star.' Segueing into a streaming 'Johnny B Goode' and closing the performance on a high and rocking note. This 'Dark Star' suite from early in the Grateful Dead's 'golden era', is a fine example of the grey area lying between the bands early 1971 'bar room' jam sessions, and their gradual development into a nimble, swinging psychedelic jazz band. The Fall of 1971 is full of these amazing performances, sometimes falling flat in spots, but always full of the possibility of magic and the drive for exploration. Dick's Picks Volume 2 features a concert from this era, hailing from October 31, 1971 which also contains an extended 'Dark Star' excursion worth checking out. Road Trips 3.2 showcases a mid tour meltdown with the November 15 concert in Texas. The short lived 'Download Series' offered up the October 26 Rochester, NY show for a short time, giving us another well played and extended performance. Well, that's it from here, check it out, thanks for reading!
Dark Star Suite 10-21-1971
Saturday, February 1, 2014
The concert is also notable for Hendrix being dosed with 'STP' prior to the performance making his approach to many of the songs, a bit more 'cosmic' to say the least. There were to be two performances each day at the festival (5-18/19-68) by the headlining Experience, unfortunately the second day being a washout because of torrential rainstorms.This disc features the second of the first days performances as well as two bonus tracks from the afternoon show. As noted in the liner notes, among Hendrix aficionados, these performances are considered some of the finest ever by the Experience. Listen for yourself.
The concert starts in earnest with 'Hey Joe', and its obvious the group is quaking with kinetic energy. A drippy feedback laden 'Indian' introduction sets the stage. Mitchell is an octopus on the kit and Hendrix's licks are shimmery and multifaceted. Under it all Redding rumbles warmly, laying the thick road in which Hendrix can travel at his wont. 'Hey Joe' thunders recklessly, its climactic bridge a thrashing and stirring statement and a bombastic opening to the set.
'Foxy Lady' follows, detonating through its well known stop and start changes. This one, similarly to the entire show, has supplementary mid verse riffing, additional curls and points on Jimi's guitar lines and contains Hendrix acknowledging the song through added musical details, making it definitive. This show does not take place in a vacuum so to speak, as the previous weeks Fillmore East performances hailing from May 10th feature concerts of the same power and grace.The 'rock room' will review these concerts at some point in the future rest assured dear reader.
'Tax Free' is the first monumental exploration of the concert. Reaching past eight minutes Hendrix heavy steps with metallic string bends early on before switching to his milky 'Crybaby' eliciting liquid psychedelia to seep from the onstage amps. The roller coaster chord changes are reigned in and by Redding and Mitchell and developed into a shifty transparent floor in which Hendrix slides across shoeless. Hendrix tugs on the melody line until it splits into multiple frayed ends, gently gathered by the assembled audience. At two minutes Hendrix Jimi pours a series of molten licks based on the theme, setting the stage for an explosive climax that tumbles into a Mitchell breakdown. Dynamically Hendrix shifts out of the interlude into a staggered blues, then through an intense and speedy jam before returning to the song proper and concluding with a mind bending sound scape.
After a lascivious romp through 'Fire', boiling over with sultry attitude, another expansive highlight occurs. An embryonic reading of 'Hear My Train A Coming' is introduced to the crowd. This performance is one of the earliest know recordings of the song, with the preceding Fillmore East version quite possibly being the earliest. Jimi does say that the band has only done this particular 'slow blues' only 'one time before', and its only 'just a jam'. Similarly to his influential blues heroes, Hendrix starts the song with some elastic country blues riffing and an off mic holler. 'Train' moves slowly, Hendrix exploring every cranny of its changes, the song is still early in its development, slightly tentative, but builds steam steadily. The first solo a deliberate rubbery exploration eliciting Albert Lee, eventually leading to some tight stinging statements. The second and third solos, are all quintessential Hendrix, distorted, soaring, and resplendent.
Hendrix thanks the crowd and explains that there's nothing left of their amplifiers but ashes, before Mitchell pounds out the totemic rhythm of 'I Don't Live Today'. The concert is peaking at this point in the show, probably in addition to Hendrix and the majority of the crowd. After the weightless drift through space where Hendrix states on the studio version 'Existence, nothing but existence' the Experience dash toward the precipice ahead joining hands and taking a leap of faith. Beautiful.
Quite possibly the best era for 'Red House' depending on who you ask. Hendrix straps on his Gibson Les Paul Custom for a twelve minute version of another 'slow blues'. Clean as summer sheets drying on the line, Hendrix skillfully plays a smooth and round introduction, each note a universe onto itself containing sustained barley audible sounds that disappear into the humid Florida air. Hendix's vocals the most expressive of the evening, entering into a duet with his other electronic voice, soul, soul, soul. In this version Jimi is on his way to see his 'fat baby'. The first solo is a concentrated attack, becoming over driven and gaining momentum. Hendrix menacingly draws the band into a percolating and swirling climax in which Mitchell and Redding are flying and Hendrix drapes his velvet guitar over restraining them to inches above the earth. A jazzy interlude develops with Jimi blocking chords while Mitchell scats across the skins. This fizzles into a low key, but melodic Redding bass solo that appears briefly then continues on through the songs changes with Hendrix returning for another round of soloing. This series of expression contains his entire sonic arsenal, wah wah, Octavia, over driven neck strikes and vibrato. The top does not come off here, as Hendrix keeps the emotion in constant flux, raising and deflating the tension, eventually slipping into the last verse. This 'Red House', similarly to all of them, contains its own attitude and emotion, this 'Red House' contains shades of blue, stays in control, and is slow and smooth. Wow.
The concert concludes with Hendrix's biggest hit and for a lot of the crowd the most wished for track of the evening 'Purple Haze'. This is a raucous punk version that teeters on its axis, threatening to go out of control. Not straying from the studio version too much per usual, this track is still as well played as the previous and a fitting conclusion to the concert.
The CD has two additional bonus tracks that come from the afternoon performance, featuring 'Fire' and 'Foxy Lady' from the afternoon show. These are again monstrous versions containing playing of the most impressive magnitude. The 'Fire' jumps like a child who has touched a hot stove and is probably 'better' than the one from the featured performance. The riffs Hendrix lays down prior to the second verse have to be heard to be believed!
The Miami Pop Festival performances in May of 1968 find the 'Jimi Hendrix Experience' reaching the perfect combination of time, crowd, weather, drugs, practice, ability and friendship to play a show of legendary status and a show that today can stand as one of their finest moments as a performing group. In my opinion these tracks can easily compete and sit with the famous and lauded Winterland 1968 performances to come in October. Every Hendrix fan needs this recording in their collection. Yes, dear reader there are more things in the Hendrix vault that are worth your money and time!
Foxy Lady-Miami Pop 1968
Miami Pop 2nd Show B/W Footage
Sunday, January 19, 2014
The recording begins with Lennon channeling Duane Eddy by busking his way through an instrumental (except for some mouth trumpet) version of 'Shazam'. The closely miked and intimate nature of this recording shines through with the following version of Carl Perkins 'Honey Don't' which Lennon obviously knows well, moving flawlessly through its rock and roll changes. Yoko can be heard in the background intermittently speaking, and Lennon stops in the middle of 'Honey Don't and replies, "Exactly twenty two he lit her cigarette', obviously meaning they must already have shot that much film at this point in the recording. A fragment of 'Glad All Over' comes next with Lennon picking some crisp lines and starting to get into it before unfortunately breaking it off prematurely.
My personal favorite track on the recording appears next with Lennon moving his way smoothly through a tight and groovy performance of Carl Perkin's 'Lend Me Your Comb'. The laid back vocals in addition to his striding guitar work make this a must have performance for all Lennon fans. The Beatles would often play this in their club days, and this 'blast from the past' by Lennon is a pleasure.The sound quality then improves slightly with an early version of Lennon's own 'New York City' coming next on the recording. Many of the lyrics are made up or mumbled but the feeling is there and its a nice insight into the artist at work, seeing the Lennon's had just recently arrived in the city.
Lennon's idol Buddy Holly is represented with readings of 'Peggy Sue' complete with hiccups, and a striding 'Not Fade Away'. Campfire singalong style, these closely recorded performances are windows into the influences that Lennon carried with him until the day he passed. These standard pieces of rock gold provided the basis and influence for Lennon's songwriting and art throughout his career.
Getting two birds with one stone, Lennon continues by playing 'Baby You're So Square' a track recorded by both Holly and Presley. Lennon channels both of them through his endearing and slightly goofy vocals. Prior to the opening riff something is heard breaking and smashing on the floor loudly, to which Lennon replies, 'That's what happens at a quarter to', to chuckles from Yoko.
Keeping the Holly theme going Lennon explores his fretboard for the correct notes before embarking on a version of 'Heartbeat' that then segues into 'Peggy Sue Got Married', and then into 'Peggy Sue' for an acoustic trifecta of Holly. Lennon is again interrupted mid jam by the phone ringing, but the following exchange between an accented Lennon and the caller is well worth it.
Lennon then jumps into 'Maybe Baby' with a vocal smooth as a hot knife through butter, similar to the aforementioned 'Lend Me Your Comb' the listener can visualize Lennon getting lost in covering the songs of his idols. No phone interruptions here, Lennon even vocalizes the tracks original backing vocals over the middle eight to his own delight.
After Ono's phone call is terminated Lennon replies, 'Right on', before jumping with both feet into a swinging rendition of 'Rave On'. A smile immediately crosses my lips with this one which appears then disappears quickly but is played very well. Lennon pauses briefly before vamping on a blues groove while counting out the conclusion of the soundtrack and stopping the cassette. A unique and remarkable recording that not only lets us share Lennon's love for early rock and roll, but lets us eavesdrop on a private and intimate performance.
Three versions of 'Call Your Name' are featured at the end of the 'oldies' performance, with the early version featuring Lennon's guitar melody intact, but Lennon still working on filling in the lyrics with wordless vocals. This composing sequence is again interrupted by a ringing phone call, with John sounding slightly more annoyed. He picks back up and continues running through the songs changes, with Ono heard joining in with some vocalizations from the background. Lennon toys with the tempo slightly, right before the available sequence ends. Thus ends the available recordings from this session.
The available September 1971 home recordings from the filming of Yoko Ono's 'Clock' are a valuable piece of the picture when looking at Lennon's entire body of work. The tape reveals his influences, his humor, and his love of rock and roll, through a clandestine glimpse of historical crack in the door. The recording represents a period piece from early in the Lennon's New York City life, any fans of Lennon's 1970's output owe it too themselves to check this one out.
Peggy Sue Got Married/Peggy Sue-Clock
Friday, January 17, 2014
The CD begins with an early rough mix from acetate of 'It's Only Rock and Roll' with surprisingly warm sound quality. To my ears the guitar sounds a bit more up front, and the backing vocals are more pronounced. Slight differences to the officially released version. The next track is another alternate mix, this time of The Temptations ‘Aint to Proud to Beg’ hailing from It’s Only Rock and Roll, and to these ears sounds like the vocals are a bit more upfront, and there are some slight instrumental differences. This track is also an alternate mix.
Keeping with the theme of the release, a Goats Head Soup song follows with the terribly underrated track 'Winter'. Keith Richards does not even appear on the song, but do not fret, Mick Taylor decorates the tune in expressive and syrupy sweet guitar dressings. Again, this is an alternative mix with slight variations in the orchestration and guitar work.
Again, an alternative mix follows, this time the classic Stones stomp of 'Silver Train'. The song opens side two of Goats Head Soup and is presented here in what sounds like an early rough mix.
The first 'unreleased' song of the collection follows with the Stones covering 'Drift Away', a song first made famous by Dobie Gray. The version here sounds to me like a Mick Jagger solo record, it plays nice enough, but ends up coming across stiff and sterile to this listener.
The fantastically groovy and deep Stones cut, 'Time Waits For No One' follows and is the full extended version containing Mick Taylor's sensual guitar excursion. The songs effortless melody and picturesque instrumentation make this version of the It's Only Rock and Roll track a must have for any serious rock fan. Taylor's string journey begins and ends with the songs central ascending riff from which he develops multiple melodic statements. The song would be one of the reasons for Taylor's eventual exit from the band for his lack of songwriting credit on it and other songs he contributed to. Sincere Jagger vocals and a swirling climatic jam spun from piano and guitar are notable highlights.
Richards ringing guitar makes a jolting statement in the introduction to the next unreleased track, 'Criss Cross Man' aka 'Save Me'. "Criss Cross Man' ass shakes and struts with squishy keyboards by Nicky Hopkins and breathy vocals by Mick. The so-so lyrics may be the reason for this one being left in the can, but there is no denying the grimy groove being layed down by the band and in particular Charlie Watts.
'Through the Lonely Nights' descends like dusk, for years only available on the 7' 'B' side to 'It's Only Rock and Roll'. The song is a wah-wah drenched lament containing the quintessential Stones vocal blend. Worth noting are Keef's perfectly placed and always emotive backing vocals.
A wonderful unreleased track, 'Living At the Heart of Love' hailing from the January 1974 Munich sessions make an appearance and is a surprisingly mature song, with all the Stones hallmarks present. The melody and groove are strong and the band puts forth a muscular performance. This version sounds like a rough mix, regardless the barrel house piano and slashing Richards guitar come through loud and clear. I am curious to why this one was left to languish in the vaults.
The 'legendary' lost Mick Jagger track 'Too Many Cooks' (Spoil the Soup) nestles nicely on this collection. The song remained unreleased until 2007. The Willie Dixon cover also has the distinction of being produced by John Lennon and features a host of rock royalty making up the band. Jack Bruce, Jim Keltner, Jessie Ed Davis, Bobby Keys and Danny Kootch all contribute to the funky horn bedazzled number. The song carries many of the hallmarks of Lennon's Harry Nilsson produced numbers for Harry's upcoming LP Pussycats. A substantial track with a party vibe, another one left to languish, a testament to the quality and depth of material available to the Stones.
The remainder of the disc features multiple alternate mixes and one exceptional extended piece closing the set. 'Angie' starts the run and is a dry mix also lacking an additional keyboard overdub. A pleasing and different listen with the missing effects on the vocals. The concluding four numbers are all roughs from preparations for the It's Only Rock and Roll LP, 'Dance Little Sister', 'Til the Next Goodbye', 'If You Can't Rock Me', and 'Fingerprint File'.
'Fingerprint File' is not only an alternate mix but a longer version of one of the Stones finest deep cuts. An additional thirty seconds is added to one of the Stones funkiest moments on record. Bill Wyman's understated bass cements the multiple layers of musical strata. The track slips and slides for a bit over seven minutes through thick riffs, squishy keyboards, ans soulful street smart vocals. A fine and fitting conclusion to the set.
While somewhat dated due to the relatively recent release of a couple of the songs this set It's Only Goats Head Soup But I Like It is an exceptional collection for compiling these songs in one place. If you love this era of the Stones like I do, having these alternates as well as some 'deeper cuts' in a pleasing running order contained to the era is fantastic. Enjoy!
Fingerprint File (Studio Version)
Too Many Cooks