Saturday, September 28, 2019

More Trouble Boys! The Replacements- Pleased To Meet Me Sessions: Day 4

Yesterday was the release date for the re-imagined remixed version of the Replacement's sixth album, Don't Tell A Soul, Dead Man's Pop. I re-ordered this deluxe 4 CD/ 1 LP box set back when I first heard this was about to be available and I'm anxiously awaiting it's arrival in my mailbox. Actually, I received an email two days ago from Rhino informing me of a delay in shipping (maybe it's because I'm in Canada?) and as a consolation, they offered a digital download of the complete set so I can at least have a listen before it physically arrives. I'm on a long plane ride this Sunday, so I'll have an opportunity to have a focused listen while flying to Europe. The timing is perfect because I finally got around to reading  Bob Mehr's brilliant bio-book about the Replacements, Trouble Boys this past  summer, so I've had the Replacements on my mind (and on my playlist) for a while. Trouble Boys is the essential book about the Mats with so much detail, not only about their music, but also the story behind the scenes. Sometimes tragic, sometimes disturbing, quite informative, but always interesting. I found the book fascinating and very hard to put down, I highly recommend the book for anyone that has any interest in the band.

Dead Man's Pop includes a LP/disc 1 with a remix of Don't Tell A Soul mixed by the original producer, Matt Wallace (Chris Lord-Alge originally mixed it), disc 2 is of early versions and unreleased tracks from an earlier session and disc 3 & 4 a live album, the Complete Inconcerated Live. I have the 1989 EP, Inconcerated Live, so this is the complete concert from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in June 2, 1989. The real bonus is the live show which is professionally recorded and originally it was considered for official release, but if you read Bob Mehr's book you'll understand why. When Don't Tell A Soul was released I found it somewhat disappointing. Apparently, others including the band felt the same way, it's glossy sounding mix distracted from otherwise decent material though it did provide the label with a couple radio friendly near-hits. I realize labels are always trying to find the hits and air play is what exposes bands to wider audiences, but it can also turnoff longtime fans of the band, especially if you have to compromise their sound. Of what I've heard so far from the "new" versions, this is slightly closer to what I expected at the time and closer to sounding like the Replacements. The story behind the recording of Don't Tell A Soul is much more interesting than the original album mix. (read Trouble Boys for the story!).

Speaking of Trouble Boys, there is also a big section about the Pleased To Meet Me Sessions. This album was recorded after the dismissal of guitarist, Bob Stinson and recorded as a trio. The band sought out the services of legendary producer, Jim Dickinson to produce the record and it went on to become one of the band's strongest albums, at least their last great record (Let It Be, Tim, PTMM). The sessions were heated, but it produced some great moments and an opportunity for Tommy and Chris to record some solo songs. The recordings from the sessions are interesting because you can hear the growth of songs from demo, to rough mixes, so they still sound a bit raw without heavy-handed production yet. The sessions also produced a lot of non-album tracks that have eventually appeared later on All For Nothing/Nothing At All and the CD reissue version of PTMM. The gem of these sessions are the only two still unreleased songs recorded by Tommy Stinson, who plays most of the instruments on, If There's Trouble on the Way and I Tried To Make This Your Home. Quoted from Mehr's book, Though rough and unpolished, Stinson's musicality and sheer exuberance shone through. "Without question the best things we cut...were Tommy's two solo songs and they're the only things that have never come out", said Dickinson. Stinson disagrees, "As I listen back, I can't sing; they're not great songs".

I received the Pleased To Meet Me Sessions in a trade many years ago and there might be versions floating around, but I haven't come across any. The sound is good, which means it ranges from rough demo sounding to closer to release quality, since some tracks on disc 2 are from singles. It is what it is, so if you want the polished perfect sounding versions that's what you'll hear on the official release. I'll be off for a couple of weeks jetting to Europe to enjoy some touristy fun, NHL hockey action (Prague), sightseeing, record store shopping and lazying on the beach (Barcelona). Go Hawks go!!

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Pleased To Meet Me Sessions

August 1986
01. Valentine
02. Birthday Gal
03. Bundle Up
04. Red Red Wine
05. Put An Ad In The Paper
06. Time Is Killing Us

Fall 1986
07. Never Mind
08. Birthday Gal
09. Alex Chilton
10. Red Red Wine
11. Election Day
12. Kick It In
13. Valentine
14. Run For The Country
15. Beer For Breakfast/
    Til We're Nude
16. Going Out Of My Head/
    Learn How To Fail
17. If There's Trouble On The Way
18. I Tried To Make This Your Home

Album Rough Mix
01. The Ledge
02. IOU
03. Nightclub Jitters
04. Can't Hardly Wait
05. Learn How To Fail
06. Valentine
07. Skyway
08. I Don't Know
09. Jungle Rock
10. Red Red Wine
11. Shooting Dirty Pool
12. Cool Water/Misc. Guitar Fill 1
13. Misc. Guitar Fills 2
14. Misc. Guitar Fills 3
15. Misc. Guitar Fills 4

"The Ledge" German B-Side Single
16. Route 66
17. Election Day
18. Tossin' And Turnin'
19. Jungle Rock

"Can't Hardly Wait" Promo Single
20. Can't Hardly Wait (remix)
21. Cool Water

Misc. Demos
22. All He Wants To Do Is Fish
23. I Don't Know

THE REPLACEMENTS- Pleased To Meet Me sessions Disc 1 FLAC. rar
THE REPLACEMENTS- Pleased To Meet Me sessions Disc 2 FLAC. rar

Monday, September 23, 2019

R.I.P. Ric Ocasek- Day 3: The Cars Live In 1978

I'm sure you've heard or read about this already, but Ric Ocasek, frontman for the band, The Cars passed away on September 15th of "natural causes" while recuperating from surgery. The official cause of his death was hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, in other words heart disease caused by high blood pressure. Days before Ocasek death we had already lost classic rocker, Eddie Money and indie-eccentric, Daniel Johnston so it was a tough week for music fans. Money's music is still played often on the classic rock stations I listen to at work and I even saw him live during an outdoor concert at Assiniboia Downs 40 years ago (with Max Webster and Burton Cummings). I've only listened to a limited amount of Johnston's work, but the Cars have always been on my radar for reliable go-to music, especially on road trips. I remember buying the first Cars album after listening to a friend's copy. It was instantly catchy and infectious and being the unsophisticated music fan at the time, it was unlike anything I had heard before. I grew up listening to a lot of AM radio in the mid-seventies, along with Elton John, the Beatles, Stones and later FM radio crap like Boston, Foreigner, Cheap Trick, VH etc. So to hear cool keyboards and that "new wave" sound it opened my ears to the sounds of Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Squeeze and Nick Lowe-related bands. When I think of albums that changed my life (both musically and socially), that first Cars album was an important record that widened my musical tastes and tolerances.

As a tribute to Ric Ocasek and the Cars, I'm presenting a FM broadcast of a Cars show from 1978, featuring their debut album. According to the notes about the show, this is probably one of the more widely circulated live recordings of the Cars, but this version is sourced from the master tape so the sound is much improved, in fact the sound is flawless. Also according to the notes, this is a rare show where they perform a cover and Elliot Easton sings lead. The Cars released some great albums (and some not-so great), but if you're like me and want to hear the complete first album and more live, this is not to be missed.

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The Agora
Cleveland, OH
July 18, 1978
FM Broadcast

01. Good Times Roll
02. Bye Bye Love
03. Nightspots
04. I'm In Touch With Your World
05. My Best Friend's Girl
06. Moving In Stereo
07. All Mixed Up
08. Take What You Want
09. Don't Cha Stop
10. You're All I've Got Tonight
11. Just What I Needed
12. Hotel Queenie
13. Something Else (Looky Here)

THE CARS- 1978-07-18 The Agora, Cleveland, OH FLAC. rar

Monday, September 16, 2019

Remember The Albert? Day 2: Husker Du Live In Winnipeg 1984

Yes, you must remember the Albert? The iconic scuzzy punk rock club on Albert Street inside the Royal Albert Arms Hotel in the historic Exchange area of downtown Winnipeg is back! This club played host to many a crazy show throughout the 80's to well into the 2000's, but with much uncertainty about ownership and many unsuccessful attempts to re-open it finally relaunched as a music venue this past June.

I've written before about some the great bands I've seen pass through the Albert. I've recorded and posted a few, but I also saw bands such as Green Day before my taping days and if I was more in the loop at the time I could have seen Twin Cities bands, Soul Asylum and Husker Du in the mid 80's. The closest I came to seeing the Du at the Albert was Grant Hart's post Husker Du band, Nova Mob who played to a handful of dedicated fans there. My most vivid memory of the show is before the band started playing Hart was peering on the TV screens at the bar watching a music video of Bob Mould's band, Sugar and probably mumbled something sarcastic. Which was a perfect analogy of the two opposite directions each man's career went after the break up of Husker Du. Hart playing small venues in front of dozens of people versus Mould with videos on MTV touring theatre's and concert halls with Sugar or solo around the world.

I came upon this gem on Dime a while back, a live audience recording of Husker Du from early 1984 before the band broke it big (by alt-punk standards of the time) before the release of their classic double album, Zen Arcade. This album was the game changer for the band, though it was not commercially successful, it was the record that took Husker Du from hardcore punk to a more wide range melodic alt-rock punk sound. That album along with the following two records, New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig, I consider the perfect hat trick of LP's. This show previews many songs from Zen as well as songs from their previous discs Metal Circus and Everything Falls Apart. Highlights include some non-album songs, Eight Miles High, Drug Party, Statues and In a Free Land. I didn't record the show, but whoever did, did a decent job despite probably being tossed around by flying bodies in the jam packed Albert. A recording definitely worth a listen at least for historical purposes. This was a soon to be legendary band getting it's feet wet in Winnipeg, Canada in the middle of winter in 1984...doesn't get much better than that!

Wow! an actual review in the newspaper. Thanks you Winnipeg Free Press!

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Royal Albert Arms
Winnipeg, MB
January 21, 1984

01. Something I Learned Today
02. It's Not Funny Any More
03. From The Gut
04. Wheels
05. Everything Falls Apart
06. Sunshine Superman
07. What's Going On?
08. Diane
09. Masochism World
10. Bricklayer
11. Tired Of Doing Things
12. Data Control
13. Recurring Dreams
14. Chartered Trips
15. Broken Home, Broken Heart
16. Eight Miles High
17. Drug Party
18. In A Free Land
19. Target
20. Helter Skelter
 21. Statues

HUSKER DU- 1984-01-21 Royal Albert, Winnipeg, MB FLAC. rar
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