Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blake Babies- Live On WERS 1989

Another hotbed for talented bands in the 80's was in and around the Boston area. If you've frequented this blog you'll know I have a keen interest in many bands from this region. I should also clarify I don't live in this area, nor do I even live in this country. It's just that there is a lot of bands for whatever reason I enjoy and still follow from the state of Massachusetts. Some favourite bands that I have (or haven't yet) featured on TDIT from include: Pixies, Lemonheads, Dinosaur Jr, Buffalo Tom, Belly, Big Dipper, Scruffy The Cat, Mission Of Burma, The Breeders, Volcano Suns and Juliana Hatfield. Juliana's first band was the Blake Babies who formed in 1986 and gathered a modest following during the late 80's and early 90's and like many of the previously mentioned bands didn't receive much in the way of mainstream radio play, but instead relied primarily on college radio stations to spread the music. And speaking of comebacks, pretty much all the bands I listed have reunited or reformed in recent years and the interest in their earlier works has introduced their music to wider audiences that may have missed them the first time or have only heard them now for the first time.

After disbanding in 1991, the Blake Babies reunited in late 1999 (New Years Eve?) and they toured the U.S. in 2001. I still regret not travelling to Minneapolis in June of 01' to see the Babies (for the last time ever?), but I hope to see Juliana Hatfield again sometime in the future. The show I've posted is the earliest Blake Babies (or Juliana Hatfield) I have and it's a gem of a recording! The band was just hitting their stride with the release of  Earwig and they were still a couple years from their breakthrough album, Sunburn. I received this in a trade over 10 years ago and I've been hoarding it ever since, but I want to share it because it's one of my personal favourites. I don't recall seeing this available anywhere else online, but I'm sure there must be others that have heard or own this recording. This is an in-studio live radio session followed by an interview with the band. The sound quality is excellent and it's another in a series of recordings from Metrowave on WERS at Emerson College that I have previously posted. This is a must listen for any Blake Babies/Juliana Hatfield fans!.

WERS "Metrowave"
Emerson College
Boston, MA
May 9, 1989
FM Broadcast

01. Outta My Head
02. Lament
03. Look Away
04. Your Way Or The Highway
05. Dead & Gone
06. From Here To Burma
07. Grateful
08. Alright
09. You Don't Give Up
10. Don't Suck My Breath
11. Tom & Bob
12. interview

(note: the date in the info file incorrectly lists the date as May 5, oops sorry)

BLAKE BABIES- 1989-05-09, WERS, Boston, MA FLAC. rar

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Guadalcanal Diary- Live At The Catalyst 1988

 I always thought the 80's got a bad rap when people joke about music from that decade. Personally, some of my favourite music and bands formed and produced their best work during the 80's, but unfortunately the mainstream perception of the decade is of Madonna, U2, Bon Jovi, Live Aid, Boy George, George Michael, Michael Jackson's glove, baggy pants, bad hairstyles, leg get the picture! In my last post, I celebrated band reunions and a good many of the groups I mentioned originated from the 80's. This past week, three of the members of the Replacements collaborated on a project that has been put up for auction. This is their first musical collaboration (Songs For Slim) since their breakup in 1991 (I know, but their heyday was in the 80's) with much anticipation of a possible reunion show or something further in the future with Stinson and Westerberg (don't hold your breath).

The 80's also saw the rise of some regional music scenes getting much deserved attention with some great bands coming from those cities. In Minneapolis, the Replacements and Husker Du spawned many bands that captured the attention of the alt-music scene at the time. Soul Asylum, the Suburbs, the Jayhawks, Gear Daddies, Trip Shakespere, Run Westy Run, Babes in Toyland are just some of the Twin Cities bands I remember in my university days. Around this same time, Athens, Georgia garnished much interest with the rise of a band called R.E.M. and many like-sounding jangly-guitar bands that caused a stir from music journalists and music fans flocking to see what the big deal was in Athens. There was a few decent bands that rode on the coattails of R.E.M., but the only one that I gave serious attention to was a band from nearby Marietta, Georgia, Guadalcanal Diary. They formed in 1981 and disbanded in 1989, but reformed and reunited a few times in 1997 (see below for download!) and in 2011 to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Guadalcanal Diary had a similar sound to R.E.M. and many mistakenly billed them as part of the Athens scene, but their sound and songs were distinctly unique and definitely not a R.E.M. soundalike. Murray Attaway described their music, "It was great fun to be able to take a line from a revered blues song, a drum pattern from Africa, and a guitar or bass riff from The Stooges, and squeeze it all into some loud, tongue-in-cheek mush". and since I suck at describing a band's sound (according to Wikipedia), "This under appreciated Georgia quartet distinguished itself from any number of smart, tuneful American guitar combos by combining accessible songcraft with provocatively twisted lyrics. Singer/guitarist Murray Attaway's songs reflect a bizarre variety of far-flung interests, from a preoccupation with the supernatural to a fascination with American cultural imperialism; the band delivers them all with rootsy irony".

I had the pleasure of seeing Guadalcanal Diary live here in my hometown in 1989 touring their final album, Flip-Flop and it was a an amazing, memorable show. I would love to see them again and I guess with their frequent reunions, there's always the possibility I'll have a chance. Today's post is a recording I pulled from Dime many years back. I have a few of their live shows (including their pair of 1989 "farewell" shows), but this one has the best sound and the setlist (circa, 2x4) is great. The original poster found this tape with other master tapes from The Catalyst stored in a box in the basement. The sound is sweet because it's a matrix mix of the soundboard feed and various microphones in the room.

Bonus: Guadalcanal Diary- Live From Your Birthday (1997 reunion)

The Catalyst
Santa Cruz, CA
February 3, 1988

Soundboard with microphones- live matrix mix from cassette master

01. Trail Of Tears
02. Michael Rockefeller
03. Things Fall Apart
04. Ghost On The Road
05. Newborn
06. Say Please
07. Please Stop Me
08. Gilbert Takes The Wheel
09. Get Over It
10. Little Birds
11. Litany (Life Goes On)
12. Under The Yoke
13. Let The Big Wheel Roll
14. T.R.O.U.B.L.E.
15. unidentified intro
16. Country Club Gun
17. Lips Of Steel
18. Watsui Rodeo
19  Encore break
20. Immigrant Song
21. Cattle Prod
22. Encore break
23. Dead Eyes
24. Kumbayah
25. Murray talking
26. Staying Alive
27. Kumbayah
28. End- outro

GUADALCANAL DIARY- 1988-02-03, The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA FLAC. rar

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Mark Olson and Friends (Jayhawks)- New Years Eve 2004

Happy New Year!
Last year, I meant to post my favourite albums of 2011, but unfortunately it didn't happen. I won't even attempt to pretend I have the time or the energy to recall all the new music I heard this past year. As usual, I listened to a lot of music, but not necessary "new music" as I was in a "reflective" mood re-listening and rediscovering a lot of bands from my youthful days (80's and 90's). In the last few years there seems to be a large amount of reissues and special edition anniversary collections being released to reignite interest (and sales?) of "classic" or overlooked albums.

Another continued trend is the reformation of original or classic lineups of bands that had either been broken up or have been inactive for a prolonged period of time. A recent example would be Dinosaur Jr, Guided By Voices, Graham Parker (and the Rumour), and the Jayhawks who have reformed classic lineups to record and tour. Off the top of my head, other favourite groups of mine that have reformed and stayed to together (maybe only temporarily or maybe for longer than originally) include: The Pixies, The Feelies, Descendents, Dead Milkmen, The Posies, Del Lords, Camper Van Beethoven, Pavement, Fastbacks, Ben Folds Five, Rolling Stones (?), Mission of Burma...just to name a few. (Any other bands you were excited when they reunited?)

Some interesting reunions I'm looking forward to in 2013 include Ben Deily, co-founder and ex-Lemonhead reuniting with Evan Dando, along with Juliana Hatfield and Ryan Adams (!) for a new Lemonheads album. Deily hasn't recorded or performed with the band since 1989, hopefully a tour will follow. It would be nice to hear more pre-It's A Shame About Ray songs performed live.

A semi-reunion of the Replacements (at least on vinyl) will see Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson release a 4-song, 10" EP, Songs for Slim limited to 250 copies with proceeds going to benefit the ex-Replacements guitarist, Slim Dunlop who suffered a stroke last February. Founding member/drummer, Chris Mars is not performing on the tracks, but does the cover artwork. Mars recorded his own benefit song for Slim that can be purchased at Chris's website.

Speaking of Minneapolis, reunions and New Year's (eve), I have a cool show from 2004, Mark Olson's first show with members of the Jayhawks since he left the band in 1995. This impromptu set was recorded at the small intimate 400 Bar in Minneapolis and was advertised as Mark Olson and Friends, opening with Mark's solo material followed by Jayhawks songs as he was joined by Gary Louris, Marc Perlman and Tim O'Reagan. This concert with Olson back in the fold was proceeded by a joint tour and album with Louris, then a full Jayhawks reunion with the Tomorrow The Green Grass-era "classic" line-up in 2008, in Spain. This was followed by a extended tour and an album of new material. The sound on this recording is good and clear and the performances as expected were a little rusty, but the enthusiasm of the crowd and the band are evident. Mark Olson's solo material doesn't excite me, but the Jayhawks songs with this lineup and the familiar Mark/Gary vocal harmonies are worth a listen. Sounds like a fun time!

Mark Olson and Friends
400 Bar
Minneapolis, MN
December 31, 2004

Audience DAT recording
source: SP-CMC-8 premium stereo cardioids > SP-SPSB-1 > Sony PCM-M1 (@44.1) >
7 pin to coax > Audiophile2496 > SoundForge > CDWav > FLAC Frontend > FLAC

Disc One (first set)
01. Poor GW
02. Say You'll Be Mine
03. Walking Through Nevada
04. Blue*
05. Will I Be Married*
06. George Bush Industriale
07. King Of Kings*
08. Image Of Me*  [Harlan Howard]
09. I Still Miss Someone*  [Johnny Cash]
10. Waiting For the Sun*
11. Walk With Them
12. Portrait Of a Sick America > Crowded In the Wings > Linda Lee

Disc Two (second set)
01. December's Child
02. One Eyed Black Dog Moses
03. Pray For Me
04. Sing Me Back Home  [Merle Haggard]
05. Over My Shoulder*
06. Clouds*
07. If You Really Want Me To, I'll Go*  [Delbert McClinton; recorded by the Sir Douglas
       Quintet on their classic album, "Mendocino"]
08. Two Angels*
09. End Of the Highway, Rumsfeld
10. Ain't No End*
11. Martin's Song*
12. Reason To Believe*  [Tim Hardin]
13. Six Pack On the Dashboard*
14. My Own Jo Ellen*
15. Take Me With You (When You Go)*
16. Still We Have a Friend In You*
17. -encore break-
18. I Must Be Somebody Else You've Known*   [Merle Haggard; recorded by the
       International Submarine Band on their classic album, "Safe At Home"]
19. Get the Load Out*
20. Crowded In the Wings*

Mark Olson - vocals, electric guitar, bass, dulcimer, keyboards
Gary Louris - vocals, electric guitar
Marc Perlman -  bass on *
Tim O'Reagan - drums, vocals
(Karen Grotberg was listed on the bill, but wasn't there...)

MARK OLSON AND FRIENDS- 2004-12-31 400 Bar, Mpls, MN FLAC disc 1. rar 
MARK OLSON AND FRIENDS- 2004-12-31 400 Bar, Mpls, MN FLAC disc 2. rar

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