Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Young Fresh Fellows- Live Acoustic In Seattle 1984

I think a good way to end the year would be live recording from the Young Fresh Fellows. Despite the uncertainty in our world this past year, it was a very productive year with several Scott McCaughey/Fellows-related releases. New releases from the:
As well, Scott appeared on a new ep from the Junior League (Summer of Lies) and maybe there were others. A new Young Fresh Fellows record was a much needed breath of fresh air this year. The album's release date was pushed back a couple times to coincide with Record Store Day and it was finally released during the third RSD on October 24th. I ended up buying from a seller on Discogs (no regrets!), so I didn't get a vinyl copy of the album for a few weeks later (on bright toxic green colour vinyl!). It's an excellent record, definitely one of my favourites of the year and might be their best album since, Because We Hate You or even, Electric Bird Digest! Unfortunately, live shows were a no go this year, so hoping to see YFF/Scott play some live shows in the near future. I see the No Ones have already booked some live dates from the spring of 2022, I'm optimistic there will be more live shows way before then. Fingers crossed! 
For the final post of 2020, I've unearthed a live recording from the Young Fresh Fellows from 1984. This is a rare acoustic performance from the early days after the release of their debut album, The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest and includes a couple songs from their next record, Topsy Turvy and an interesting cover of Elvis Costello's, Green Shirt. I don't know much about the lineage of the recording or know how much longer the set was (it cuts during track 13). I received this in a trade many years ago, but it sounds pretty good, I'm always interested in hearing Chuck-era live shows which I don't have a lot of. Season's greetings and happy new year, hopefully 2021 will be a tad bit better. Continue to listen to good music in the new year!
Essential Listen of the week: In a couple days it will be new year's eve, traditionally an evening of celebrating with family, friends and complete strangers, but this year will be significantly different. Some of my favourite live concert recordings are from new year's eve shows with the countdown and sometimes bands kick it up a notch with a unique show (Local H for example is know for their "themed" shows). Some years back I posted a Young Fresh Fellows NYE show from 1987, that is special to me, not only because it was the first YFF live show I received in a trade, but because it is very cool. I only wish this was a complete set, but regardless there isn't a better way to bring in the new year!
Please do NOT sell or profit from this recording! 
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Seattle, WA
September 25, 1984 
AUD recording

01. Big House
02. Dodge City
03. The New John Agar
04. Down By the Pharmacy
05. This Little Mystery
06. Back Room Of The Bar
07. Teenage Dogs In Trouble
08. Sharing Patrol
09. All Messed Up
10. Green Shirt
11. Very Fine Man
12. Rock 'n' Roll Pest Control
13. Young Fresh Fellows Theme (cuts off) 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Juliana Hatfield- Live At Q Division Studios, Dec. 2020

With the continuation of restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic, live online concert streams have become pretty popular through a lot of 2020. The loss of income from live performances have caused many artists to seek alternative ways to earn a living and to reach out to fans. The live stream concerts help connect the artist with fans and while some shows are pay per view, others are free or rely on donations and selling merch/recordings. 
Juliana with the "setlist" for the show
Juliana Hatfield performed her first live stream concert on Saturday, December 19th from Q Division Studios in Somerville, MA. She played a solo acoustic performance of her classic second album (or her first with the Juliana Hatfield Three band) from 1993, Become What You Are (played in it's entirety) not once, but twice! After a shaky start (according to her), she repeated the first track on the album, Supermodel and when she completed the album with two bonus tracks (Christmas Cactus, her latest 7" single and Make It Home from the My So-Called Life soundtrack), she switched guitars and played the whole record all over again. Since I wasn't going anywhere, I stuck around and enjoyed part two, the "Martin guitar version" of Become What You Are
It was a joy and pleasure to see and hear Juliana perform live, just her voice and guitar. Hearing these songs acoustically without the JH3, takes the songs to a different level especially so many years later from their original release and lays bare the quality of songwriting and song structure and that Juliana is a really good guitar player. Once she became more comfortable and during the second run, she warmed to the idea of doing this again, possibly another album in it's entirety. At the end of the two sets, Juliana answered questions from fans who were able to live comment throughout the stream. We found out she's going to release her next album in 2021 called, Blood and she is planning on recording another "covers" album and she took suggestions about which artist to cover. She said she has some ideas, but suggestions ranged from the Carpenters to Nirvana and everything in between. She seemed interested in the possibility of covering someone like, Madonna, R.E.M. or Dinosaur Jr. (she's cover Dinosaur twice before!), but then again I didn't see Olivia Newton John or the Police on the radar before those records.
Juliana played her Martin acoustic guitar for the second set.
The sound quality is excellent and if you want to hear the audio only, I recorded the show live directly from the feed (line-out) into my recorder. I've split the tracks and though I considered splitting the two sets, the total download file isn't too large. (For burning purposes, I would suggest splitting the two sets (after track 16) and if you don't want to hear the Q & A from fans online, track 29 is quite long and could be omitted)

The video of the show is still available online and you can watch it below or on YouTube

Essential listen of the week: During the Q & A portion when Juliana asked what album she should play next, a popular request was her unreleased album demos from circa 1996, God's Foot. Got me thinking about those recordings again and are worth another listen. I previously posted about it in 2009.
God's Foot (download mp3)
God's Foot (stream YouTube)

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Q Division Studios
Somerville, MA
Live Stream
December 19, 2020
Become What You Are album (acoustic)

01. Supermodel
02. Supermodel (take 2)
03. My Sister
04. This Is the Sound
05. For The Birds
06. Mabel
07. A Dame With A Rod
08. Addicted
09. Feelin' Massachusetts
10. Spin The Bottle
11. President Garfield
12. Little Pieces
13. I Got No Idols
14. Christmas Cactus
15. Make It Home
16. <Talk>

17. Supermodel
18. My Sister
19. This Is The Sound
20. For the Birds
21. Mabel
22. A Dame With A Rod
23. Addicted
24. Feelin' Massachusetts
25. Spin The Bottle
26. President Garfield
27. Little Pieces
28. I Got No Idols
29. <talk (viewers Q & A)>


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Hanson Brothers- Live At the Underground 2002

While watching NHL playoffs this past September, I was simultaneously reading the book, Lonely End Of The Rink by Grant Lawrence (his second book, I've read his most recent book, Dirty Windshields). It's a very interesting read because the subject matter of the book mirrored many of my interests and shared many of my passions. I grew up watching and playing hockey, I was a goalie, I played lots of ball hockey in my youth, I continued to play hockey as an adult, I was a singer in a band (my songwriting is heavily influenced by hockey in a self-described "hockey-rock" band) and I'm a writer (haha hardly, not really). Well, some of those things are similar, but in a different order. Grant had a love/hate relationship with hockey, when he was young, he often associated hockey with getting bullied by the jocks (hockey guys) at school, but it didn't stop him from organizing ball hockey games with friends. He grew up with a NHL team in his own backyard that was either really crappy, or oh so close to winning the cup, twice! He eventually played organized ice hockey as an adult (spoiler alert), as a goalie. His band, the Smugglers did a very cool hockey song, Our Stanley Cup that was included on the Johnny Hanson Presents...Puck Rock Volume One compilation. I highly recommend Grant's book, though it was hard to read at times (he was bullied hard!), it was inspiring and I will definitely seek out his first book (I'm reading them in reverse order) because I like his personal easy to read writing style.
Speaking of hockey rock, more specifically puck/punk-rock, Johnny Hanson's band, The Hanson Brothers (NO relation to the group, Hanson) has given us three marvelous full length studio albums all hockey themed. They have been entertaining audiences with their hard hitting, Ramones influenced punk rock since the members of Victoria, BC's, No Means No performed under the Hanson Brothers name in 1984. You can call it an alter ego, side project or spin off band, their music is much appreciated, world wide. 

I'm posting a live concert from the Hanson Brothers recorded in Germany in 2002. Special thanks to Mitch who sent me this show recorded at the club he worked at, with a high quality soundboard recording of this amazing show. I haven't seen the Hanson Bros live, but I imagine this is the next best thing to being there. Drop the puck and drop the gloves! Game on!
Essential Listen of the Week:  Johnny Hanson Presents...Puck Rock Vol. 1- A 21 track compilation of hockey songs from various artists (mainly Canadian) including, Hanson Bros, The Smugglers, S.N.F.U., D.O.A., Huevos Rancheros, The Sweaters and more! If you happen to find a used copy somewhere (which I did), buy it not only for the liner notes (lyrics and bios of the bands), but for the cool band "hockey team"-style logos on the back cover.

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The Underground
Cologne, Germany
May 13, 2002
01 - Intro - Total Goombah! 
02 - Hockey - My Girlfriend's A Robot 
03 - My Game 
04 - A Night Without You 
05 - Third Man In 
06 - Stick Boy 
07 - Tranquil
08 - I've Been There
09 - Hockey Night in Cologne - Sabrina
10 - Comatose
11 - 100 + 10 % 
12 - Rink Rat
13 - Unsung Heroes
14 - Joey Had To Go
15 - Rockaway Beach
16 - Duke It Out - Road Pizza - Jack Off
17 - You Can't Hide The Heino
18 - Bad
19 - They Made Her Mine
20 - We're Brewin'
21 - No Emotion
22 - Let's Go Out Tonight
23 - Danielle (She Don't Care About Hockey)
24 - Blitzkrieg Hops
25 - Sudden Death 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Neil Young- Happy 75th! Elektra Demos 1965 & More


Today, November 12th is Neil Young's 75th birthday! Despite the worldwide pandemic that has shut down concert tours and most live performances, Young has had a busy 2020 so far, releasing new and "new" old music. He was also preoccupied with his displeasure with his president (he has dual Canadian and American citizenship), Donald Trump. In February, he wrote an open letter to Mr. President Donald Trump: "You Are A Disgrace To My Country". In August, he filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Trump campaign for using his music at Trump rallies and in September he released, The Times (EP) that included a new song, Lookin' For A Leader that expressed more of his feelings towards the Trump presidency. In June, Young finally released the long unreleased album, Homegrown that was originally suppose to be come out in 1975. And just last week, a live album, Return To Greendale, recorded in 2003 in Toronto while on tour to promote the album, Greendale with his band, Crazy Horse was released. Upcoming on November 20th, the Neil Young Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 is set to release, a 10-CD box set that will consist of 131 tracks, 63 previously unreleased. These include live and alternative versions of previously released songs, plus 12 never released songs. Wow, quite the busy year indeed!
I thought this would be an appropriate time to post some early demos from Young from 1965, the Elektra demos which is an unofficial release, but has been widely available. Some of these songs appear on the Archives Vol. 1, but a couple don't and as a bonus there are some rare live tracks. These early demos are Neil solo acoustic and the sound quality is very good. The interesting thing is that his voice actually sounds slightly smoother and more coherent than we're used to, but it's still unmistakably Neil Young. A true gem for any Neil fan and an important recording in his early career. Happy 75th!
Essential listen of the week: As far as Neil Young cover tributes go, this one's great! NEIL (Vol 1) from Scott The Hoople (aka: Scott McCaughey -YFF, Minus 5, Baseball Project...etc) is a 13 track digital album of Neil covers that just came out November 6th. 
Scott: "For 50+ years, his music has been a huge part of my life - a source of immense pleasure, comfort, and pleasurable discomfort...". I highly recommend giving this a listen, it's definitely worth the measly $7.00 he's asking. Get it!
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Elektra Demos 1965 & More

Transfer: Original silvers -> EAC -> Flac

01 Sugar Mountain
02 Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
03 Run Around Babe
04 Don't Pity My Baby
05 I Ain't Got The Blues - False Start 1
06 I Ain't Got The Blues - False Start 2
07 I Ain't Got The Blues - False Start 3
08 I Ain't Got The Blues - Final Take
09 The Rent Is Always Due
10 When It Falls, It Falls All Over You

The Elektra Demos Recorded at the Elektra Studios in New York City, September 1965. Engineered by Peter Siegel. All Tracks are just Neil and his acoustic guitar. First time available in stunning sound quality!

11 Everybody's Alone
Recorded during rehearsals at KQED TV, December 1970.

12 Traces (With CSNY)
13 Love Art Blues (With CSNY)
Recorded at the Coliseum, Seattle, July 9, 1974.

14 Stringman
Recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, March 31, 1976.

15 Southern Man (With Stills/Young Band)
Recorded at the Civic Center, Providence, July 7, 1976.

16 Give Me Strength
Recorded in the USA, November 1976.

17 Lady Wingshot
Recorded at the Bicentennial Park, Miami Beach, November 12, 1977.

18 Amber Jean
19 Let Your Fingers Do The Walking (a.k.a. Good Phone)
20 Helpless
21 Down By The River
Recorded at the Austin City Limits TV Show, Austin, September 25, 1984.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Halloween Special- Local H As Nirvana 1997

Actually this is a post-Halloween special as I was too busy yesterday preparing for the onslaught of costumed kids by carving pumpkins and bagging up treats. Despite our efforts, by spreading bags on a table outside and social distancing sitting outside in costume for over 2 hours, we had a whopping 11 people at the house. Half of those took candy after we retreated inside after 8pm, because it is cold and windy enough to still have snow on the ground. Damn you Covid! Oh well, the night wasn't a total loss...more candy for me! We live in a region that is in a "code red alert" lock-down so Halloween parties and concerts are definitely not happening, so the next best thing is listening to or watching some Halloween themed concerts.

One band that always delivers on Halloween is Local H, who have performed almost every year at the Double Door in Chicago for their annual Halloween bashes, which began in 1996. Local H would perform as other bands and play a complete set with that band's music. They have performed as Nirvana several times, in 1997, 2016 and last night for an outside drive-in concert (because of epidemic) in the parking lot of Booomers Stadium in Schaumburg, Illinois. They have also performed Halloween shows at the DD as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Hall and Oates, AC/DC, The Doors, Sex Pistols, Tom Petty and more, all with their amazing likenesses that would make most tribute bands jealous. Not only are the songs worthy covers, but the mannerisms and movements of the performers are uncanny. A couple nights ago, I fell through the rabbit hole and watched many of these complete shows on YouTube. Thanks to all that uploaded these great videos!
The first time Local H played as Nirvana was the Halloween show at the Double Door in 1997. I plucked the live audio recording off archive.org (where they have well over 500 Local H shows!) and they remarkably sound pretty convincing, and if you watch the video, Scott Lucas does a pretty good Kurt Cobain impression. If you're a fan of Nirvana, Local H or good clean fun, this is well worth a listen. 

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Local H
Playing as Nirvana for Halloween
The Double Door
Chicago, IL
October 31, 1997

01. Intro/School
02. Aneurysm
03. Breed
04. About a Girl
05. Serve the Servants
06. Sliver
07. Been a Son
08. Negative Creep
09. Love Song?
10. Rape Me
11. Tourette's
12. Lithium
13. Smells Like Teen Spirit
14. Territorial Pissings

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Alex Chilton & Teenage Fanclub- Live In Glasgow 1996

Among the records I got from my sister recently were a couple of Alex Chilton related albums, Big Star's second album, Radio City (a classic!) and a solo Chilton import compilation from 1985, Document. It's evident from these records, Chilton was an extremely talented songwriter especially his work with Big Star and he carried it on through most of his solo albums, though like most artists some were uneven and inconsistent. His music has influenced a whole generation of musicians that have incorporated the (once) underappreciated sound of Big Star who have updated and expanded on their sound. A couple bands immediately come to mind, the Replacements played several Big Star covers live and Paul Westerberg paid tribute to Chilton in the aptly titled song, Alex Chilton from the Please To Please Me album. Chilton even produced a couple of tracks for the band on Tim, though those tracks didn't appear on the original album. 

The Posies worshiped at the temple of Big Star as their sound was clearly influenced by Big Star. Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow from the Posies were the obvious choice to play alongside Chilton (and original drummer, Jody Stephens) in a revised version of Big Star that was formed in 1993. They toured several times and recorded an album of new material (Big Star's last studio album), In Space in 2005.

Another band that embraced the sound of Big Star was Scottish revivalist band, Teenage Fanclub who enjoyed considerable success in the 90's and continue to this day touring and releasing excellent albums. The band hasn't shied away from collaborations with other musicians as they recorded an album with Jad Fair (Words Of Wisdom And Hope), a track with De La Soul (Fallin'), a session with Frank Black and recording (still unreleased) tracks with Alex Chilton. 

When Alex Chilton played a couple concerts in Scotland in 1993 and 1996, he selected Teenage Fanclub as his backup band to perform Big Star songs, solo material and several covers. The band seamlessly performs the songs and Chilton is in good spirits and fortunately the concert is captured by BBC Scotland with an excellent sounding broadcast quality live recording. As a bonus, the latter part of the broadcast (track 19 on), the Alex Chilton Trio perform a "jazz set" (not sure if it's the same night?) which proves to be just as enjoyable. This show has been widely available, but I have seen this listed as April 8, 1993 and April 8, 1996 on different boots of this recording. The source I got this from (on Dime) several years ago was dated 1993, so for now (*) I'll stick with this date. Overall a great show with amazing sound and fans of Alex Chilton, Big Star and Teenage Fanclub will not be disappointed!

Essential listening samples (buy these records!)
Big Star- #1 Record
Big Star- Radio City
Teenage Fanclub- Bandwagonesque
Teenage Fanclub- Grand Prix

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13th Note
Glasgow, Scotland
April 8, 1996?

BBC FM Radio Scotland Broadcast

01. Intro
02. September Gurls
03. Girl Like You
04. My Heart Stood Still
05. Patti Girl
06. Any Way The Wind Blows
07. Walk Right Back
08. Free Again
09. Telstar
10. Have I The Right
11. Dark End Of The Street
12. What Do You Know About Love
13. All The Love
14. Lifes A Gas
15. Audience Chat
16. Waltz Across Texas
17. Wolly Bully
18. Hey Little Child
19. Intro To Jazz Set
20. My Baby Just Cares For Me
21. We're Gonna Make It
22. I've Got A Lot Of Living To Do
23. Hide And Seek
24. Margie
25. Goodnight My Love

 [* UPDATE: read the comments. Changing to date to 1996 unless anyone has a better argument. The file name will remain the same]

 ALEX CHILTON & TEENAGE FANCLUB- 1993-04-08 13th Note, Glasgow, Scotland FLAC. rar

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Suitesixteen- Mine Would Be The Sun

When I first heard the album (CD), Wanna Smash Sensation by Victoria, BC's, BUM, it was love at first listen. The songs were catchy, the guitars were crunchy and the songs were amazing, not just a few, but the whole album! It really was a revelation, I regard this album as one of my favourite records of the 90's, maybe even of all-time. Whenever I listen to the album (which I still do consistently), it never fails to put a smile on my face. During the next year, I saw the band twice, bought their 7" singles and their follow-up CD's, I Am Superwoman and Shake Town- Live! and the band broke up. Actually, co-founder, guitarist vocalist, Rob Nesbitt left the band within a year of Wanna Smash Sensation's release and the band limped along briefly without him and released their final record the little known (and underrated), Make It Or Break It released in Spain (vinyl only) with Nick Thomas from the Smugglers on guitar. 
Purchased Wanna Smash Sensation through Popllama's mail order. That and The Smugglers CD.

Thanks to Scott McCaughey for the advice! Excellent show!
 After Nesbitt left the band, life went on. The band has reunited a few times since reuniting in 2014 for the Rifflandia festival in Victoria, guitarist Andrew Molloy released a great record with his band Budokan and Rob Nesbitt has been writing and recording material for a new project. Nesbitt's "project" is 25 years in the making and 16 years of work that was finally released this January. Mine Would Be The Sun is a concept album of songs he had written about a girl he spent his teen years obsessing about, a one-sided romance, call it self-therapy. This proved to be an epic obsession!

What we have is sixteen tracks from The Suitesixteen, Rob Nesbitt's career defining moment comulating on two discs of vinyl packaged in an incredible presentation. For the full experience, you must get the ultra-deluxe limited edition of this record and apparently, there is only 500 physical copies available. I can't honestly say I've even seen (or owned) such a lavish package with a triple gate-fold housed with two LPs, 45 rpm for the finest possible sound quality and a 52 page full colour book. The book and the gatefold is the highest quality and with it's meticulous detail it's obvious no expense was spared to make this a very special and one of a kind item. The book includes 15 pages of handwritten lyrics and photos taken at the sites where the events occurred on the album beautifully shot by Nesbitt's wife, Wendy. The package reads a lot like a coffee-table sized (autobiographical) memoir with a very cool soundtrack. The album is also available digitally on The Suitesixteen Bandcamp page that includes a high res pdf version of the book and you can sample the tracks before purchasing.

The album speeds fast out of the gate, side one could easily be mistaken for long lost tracks from BUM. It shouldn't come as a surprise the melodic pop-punk sound of BUM is evident throughout, which is a good thing because if you're a fan like me I've long missed the sound of this great band. It's an updated version of BUM with perhaps a more mature sound, depth and wider musical range. A Very Well Known Secret and My Wife, Doom, Singular, Fate are pure power pop, That Sweet Ache is a great pop song and Us In Pure Sound is pure punk and all the songs sound fresh and crisp. This isn't a lo-fi vanity bedroom project, the album sounds great, you can hear the attention to detail in the sound recorded at the JC/DC studio in Vancouver and Nesbitt's house with Rob doing all the vocals and most of the guitar work. He had help in the studio with several musicians including the likes of David Carswell from the Smugglers on guitar (who co-produced) and John Collins and Graham Watson (from BUM/Smugglers) on a couple of tracks. This album is completely an independent release. No record label, no grant money or fundraising, this album is completely funded with Nesbitt putting most of his life savings into the project. It's interesting how you change the way you listen to something once you realize what the subject matter is all about. Normally, I rarely listen closely to the lyrics of songs, but after reading the book and reading more about this project, I can't help listening to this story in a whole different way. Nesbitt claims that 98% of his songs even with BUM were about her.
For more insight about The Suitesixteen (aka: Rob)/Mine Would Be The Sun, I recommend this excellent article, "Why It Took Musician Rob Nesbitt 25 years To complete His New Album", written by (Smuggler/CBC-er) Grant Lawrence for the Vancouver Courier which includes an interview with Nesbitt. This album is clearly a leading candidate (personally) for the "best of the year" for 2020 and hopefully more people actually hear this record. I know there are fans of BUM that read this blog and trust me this is one of the best records I've heard in years and you won't be disappointed! Please spread the word and share this post.

To purchase- The Suitesixteen- Mine Would Be The Sun
*Digital album (FLAC, mp3...) @ thesuitesixteen.bandcamp.com
*Ultra-deluxe limited vinyl edition (is not available in stores!) - contact Rob directly @ thesuitesixteen@hotmail.com 

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Damned- Live At The First International Punk Festival 1976

Last week I started reading Nick Lowe's biography, Cruel To Be Kind written by Will Birch and it's so interesting it's hard to put down. It follows Lowe from (pre-) infancy up until I'm present day, as in a couple years ago when he recorded and toured with Los Straitjackets. I was looking forward to reading about his career in the 1970's where a lot of the action took place that followed Lowe through his early band's, Kippington Lodge, Brinsley Schwarz and of course, the great, Rockpile. He even crafted a pretty successful solo career as well. He made a lot of great music with those bands and played a ton of live shows while battling, believe or not, addition problems. The book provides a rare look at Lowe's personal life and there's lot's of insight from fellow musicians Lowe worked with, including his ex-Carlene and the author who had connections with Lowe back in the day. Elvis Costello spoke highly of Lowe as a performer and a producer who produced Costello's first five albums as well as Blood and Chocolate from 1986. Lowe got behind the board and started producing when Stiff Records was launched and he became the "in-house" producer for the label for a number of up and coming bands. 
One of those bands was the Damned who were briefly known as Masters of the Backside with (believe it or not) Chrissie Hynde, who later formed the Pretenders. In 1976, the band released their first single, New Rose and followed it up the next year with their debut album, Damned Damned Damned. They became the first punk rock band from the UK to release a single, album and tour the U.S. Up until this weekend, I only owned the band's critically underappreciated second album, Music for Pleasure and had the first album on a cassette I made back in the mid-80's (backed with the Buzzcocks- Singles Going Steady!). This weekend, my sister was downsizing her records and I scooped up a vinyl copy of that first record (beautiful yellow vinyl!) and their third album, Machine Gun Etiquette which I'm enjoying a lot.

The live recording I'm posting is supposedly the Damned's 5th ever live show. It would still be another couple months until the band would release New Rose (October 22) and another six months until their debut album came out. The sound quality is definitely not great, but it was fortunate someone taped the show since they were still a fairly new band and it's a great setlist made up of most of the songs from Damned Damned Damned. I've had this for a while so it was nice to re-discover this recording again and any early Damned is worth sharing and a listen.

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1st International Punk Festival
Mont De Marsan, France
August 21, 1976

source: unknown gen. audience recording

01. 1 Of The 2
02. New Rose
03. Help
04. Fan Club
05. I Feel Alright
06. Feel The Pain
07. Fish
08. See Her Tonite
09. I Fall
10. So Messed Up

THE DAMNED- 1976-08-21 Mont de Marsan, France FLAC. rar 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

X- Live At The Whisky A Go-Go 1978

Photo by Frank Gargani
When I think of the definitive band of the L.A. punk scene of the late 70's /early 80's I immediately think of the band X. X formed in L.A. in 1977 and quickly established itself the front-runner of the local scene with it's punk sound rooted in a rockabilly style with the off kilter harmony vocals of Exene Cervenka and bassist-singer, John Doe. The band's first two albums are punk classics, Los Angeles (1980) and Wild Gift (1981). The songs are short and fast, on record they don't come across especially punk, but live the band performs with a punk energy with their furious shows set behind poetry, that set them apart from other bands from that era. Once the band signed to a major label their sound on later albums mixed rockabilly with country, folk rock and Americana influences, but still maintained their signature sound. This is another band I would have love to have seen in their prime and heyday, but even after over 40 years the band is going strong. This year, the band celebrated it's 40th year since their debut record with it's first studio album in 27 years, Alphabetland. A mighty fine comeback with the original lineup, this release caught me by surprise and it doesn't sound out of place in the X catalog, in fact, it's a really good album! The album has garnished a lot of positive reviews, I highly recommend a listen.

Unlike the Go Go's when they played the Whisky A Go Go in 1978, X wasn't in search of a sound, they already had material in their setlist that would appear on their first two albums when they played the Whisky in the same year. This set was two years before their debut album, Los Angeles would be released honing their skills in front of frantic crowds still early in their career. This is an audience recording that has decent sound considering it's age and the taper probably dodging reckless bodies bashing around the dance floor in front of the stage. Yet another 'historic" document from the early punk scene in L.A., this live recording should be shared and heard by fans of X and curious fans of early American punk...! I present: X, live at the Whisky A Go Go! *
* (not to be confused with the live album from 1988)
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Whisky A Go Go
Hollywood, CA
September 14, 1978
AUD recording

01. Soul Kitchen
02. Back 2 The Base
03. Year 1
04. Los Angeles
05. Adult Books
06. ???
07. When Our Love Passed Out On The Couch
08. Johnny Hit And Run Pauline
09. We're Desperate
10. Nausea
11. Soul Kitchen
12. I'm Coming Over


Friday, August 28, 2020

The Go Go's- Live At The Whiskey A Go-Go 1978


If you're like me you listened to a lot of music on the radio when you were younger. There was definitely music that stuck with me from high school to the present that I listen to today. Pre-high school I listened to the safe bets at the time, Elton John, Paul McCartney/the Beatles, that sort of thing. High school expanded to the popular groups at the time, Boston, Foreigner, Supertramp, Cheap Trick and Van Halen (the last 3 groups I saw in concert in the late 70's), as well as bands that were already considered "classic rock", Rolling Stones, CCR, the Kinks, Hendrix, the Who. As the 80's arrived, my musical tastes expanded further to included new wave, mod and punk bands through more progressive radio stations and the emergence of MTV (MuchMusic, for you Canadians) that also offered some alternative to mainstream commercial radio. The new music of the early 80's on mainstream radio introduced more female-based music, as music videos on MTV that marketed the look and image of the performers that led to to the popularity of Madonna, Bananarama and the Go Go's. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing the annoying ear-worms of Like A Virgin, Venus (note: the original version from Shocking Blue is a great song!) and the Go Go's, We Got the Beat and Vacation. My opinion at the time of the Go Go's was that they were too pre-packaged and slick, thanks to MTV! How judgemental can I be! I must admit, songs from the Go Go's (and the Bangles) became guilty pleasures, they are upbeat songs, great to dance to (which I avoid) and fun! When the compilation record, Return to the Valley Of The Go Go's was released I became aware this band had roots in the punk/new wave scene in the L.A. area in the late 70's with recordings that pre-dated, Beauty and the Beat that were raw and hungry. It's true when the band signed a deal with I.R.S. records, the band's sound smoothed out to a more pop-oriented sound that was ideal for radio, but the fact they are the first all-female band to write their own songs and play their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts proves they were a talented deserving band.

There has been recent attention and interest about the Go Go's because of a new documentary film, The Go Go's that was released on Showtime in August (and can be streamed here). From the film's PR: "As the first multi-platinum-selling, all-female band to play their own instruments, write their own songs and soar to No. 1 on the album charts, the Go-Go's are the most successful female rock band of all time. Underpinned by candid testimonies from The Go-Go's past and present, this documentary chronicles the meteoric rise to fame of a band born of the LA punk scene that not only captured but created a zeitgeist". It might be worth checking out, I tend to enjoy music documentaries and I'm sure I would learn a lot that I don't know.

Speaking of the Go Go's rising to fame from the LA punk scene, I have an early live recording from the band from 1978. According to the Go Go's concerts wiki, this was their 5th ever show (opening for the Dickies). Yes, this is another historic recording! I'm not sure if any of the earlier shows were recorded, regardless this is one of the earliest live recordings from the band. The band is raw and sloppy (when the sound isn't great it always sounds rough), so not for the faint of heart. Lots of rare and unreleased songs with only a couple appearing on Return To The Valley. An interesting recording that really shows how quickly the band progressed to what they soon became. I respect that they played clubs like this in the early days and their first two albums are good, so I shouldn't feel too guilty for liking the band...a bit more.

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The Go-Go's
Los Angeles. CA
October 4, 1978

Lineage: CDR Trade > EAC (verified lossless) > WAV > FlacFrontend (Level 8) > FLAC > Dime

01. We're Here Now
02. B-Movie
03. London Boys
04. Robert Hilburn
05. Remember (Walking In the Sand)
06. Don't Hang Up
07. Fashion Seekers
08. Screaming
09. Party Pose
10. Over Run
11. Just A Number
12. Luxury Living

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers (R.I.P. Walter Lure)- Vive La Revolution


This past week, rock (more specifically, punk) lost another talented musician, Walter Lure, the last surviving member of the L.A.M.F.-era Heartbreakers, died at the age of 71. Lure was preceded by bandmates, Johnny Thunders (died 1991), drummer Jerry Nolan (died 1992)  and bass player Billy Rath (died 2014). Lure provided the "straight-man" to Johnny's constant strungout junkiness and though the whole band were addicts, Lure really was the driving force behind the Heartbreakers. Though Lure left the Heartbreakers when they split after the release of L.A.M.F., he was the one constant with Johnny Thunders when the band reunited (often), he continued to play with Thunders off and on with Johnny's solo projects and gigs until Thunder's death in 91. Lure became a stock broker on Wall Street post-Heartbreakers, but continued to play music on the side as well as fronting his band, the Waldos who released an album, Wacka Lacka Boom Bop A Loom Bam Boo as recently as 2018. He wrote a memoir in 2020, To Hell and Back: My Life In Johnny Thunders' Heartbreakers, In The Words Of The Last Man Standing that I will read very soon when I buy it.

 Good quality Heartbreakers shows are sometimes hard to come by, either the sound is crappy or the performance is a wash-out, usually due to drugs and intoxication. The band was at it's best live generally earlier in their career (again to increased drug use later) and with the "classic" L.A.M.F line-up of Thunders, Lure, Rath and Nolan. Vive La Revolution was the name of a boot release in France that documents a show when the band was at it's peak. It's high energy and the band is loose, but not sloppy with Terry Chimes filling in on drums because Nolan had already left the band. This was the last stop on their European tour and the last show as a band before the band's breakup shortly after. The band reformed in 1978 for a few farewell shows, played the occasional show in New York and did a reunion tour of Europe in 1984. This recording is a good example of how incredible the Heartbreakers were live or how great they could have been. Another must-hear live recording! R.I.P. Walter Lure.

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Paris Bataclan
Paris, France
December 8, 1977

01. All By Myself
02. Let's Go
03. Can't Keep My Cock In Your Mouth
04. I Love You
05. Too Much Junkie Business
06. London Boys
07. Great Big Kiss
08. Born To Lose
09. One Track Mind
10. Do You Love Me
11. I Want To Be Love
12. Take Chance On Me
13. Baby Talk
14. Chinese Rocks

  • Johnny Thunders - guitar, vocals
  • Walter Lure - guitar, vocals
  • Billy Rath - bass
  • Terry Chimes - drums

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Happy Birthday Elvis Costello- WHO CARES Benefit 2013

Since I mentioned what would have been Joe Strummer's 68th birthday last post, a very happy birthday to Elvis Costello who turns 66 today. For a guy who has entered senior citizen territory, he still tours endlessly (even live streaming performances during COVID) and still consistently releases new music. His latest upcoming album, Hey Clockface has October 30th as the release date.

Back in 2013, Elvis Costello and the Imposters along with the Who performed an intimate concert, WHO CARES Benefit in New York City to benefit Teen Cancer America and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Elvis and the Imposters blazed through a 45 minute set consisting of a setlist of songs from 1980 and earlier (except, Everyday I Write The Book (1983)). This live recording will be a real treat for fans of Elvis's earlier material as he and the band knock off hit after hit and to top it off they do an incredible cover of the Who's classic, Substitute. It's an amazing concert, definitely among my favourite Elvis shows from the past 30 years or so. Thank you to the taper of the show, the sound quality is decent and there is some crowd noise, but it doesn't distract from the music and performance. Well worth a listen!

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The Theater at Madison Square Garden
New York, NY
February 28, 2013

AUD Recording
Lineage: CA-14> CA-9100 preamp> Sony M10 (24/44)>
Audacity (tracking only)> TLH> FLAC 6> Foobar (FLAC tags)> rar

01. Intro
02. I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down
03. High Fidelity
04. Mystery Dance
05. Radio, Radio
06. Everyday I Write The Book
07. Lipstick Vogue
08. Watching The Detectives
09. Alison
10. (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
11. Pump It Up
12. (What's So Funny Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?
13. Substitute

Sunday, August 23, 2020

The Clash- 5 Go Mad In The Roundhouse

This past week would have been Joe Strummer's 68th birthday had he not passed away in 2002, when the world lost a great musical talent. The band Strummer co-fronted with Mick Jones, The Clash have been referred to as the definitive British punk rockers and their use of incorporating genres of rockabilly, reggae, dub and R & B has influenced a whole generation of future punk rockers. According to Strummer, manager Bernie Rhodes would say, "An issue, an issue. Don't write about love, write about what's affecting you, what's important." Politics often entered in the band's lyrics and ideals that set the band apart. I didn't know this (until i read it on wiki) but, the band's political principles extended to the resistance of the music industries profit motivation and fought to keep ticket prices and merchandise reasonably priced. The band informed CBS they wanted their double album (London Calling) and triple album (Sandinista!) sold for the price of a single album. London Calling was and as a compromise for Sandinista! the band gave up performance royalties for the first 200,000 sales. This meant the band was in debt most of the time or barely breaking even with CBS.
I don't often post known bootlegs, but the historical significance of these recordings are hard to pass up. The first half of the disc is a very early show in their career live from the Roundhouse and it is a rare recording that features the Clash with five band members. As noted in the review below, guitarist, Keith Levene was still in the band in early September 1976, but is gone from the band by the October gig in Birmingham. I hadn't listened to this disc in a while, but had a listen last week and the sound quality isn't as bad as I remembered and what sold me was the number of unreleased songs and how energetic these early shows were. You are hearing the Clash in their formative stage, working it out in clubs opening or playing alongside bands such as the Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks and developing a following (not through "social media" or hype) through hard work and solid live performances. If you're a fan of the Clash, especially their early work, these recordings are a must-hear! 

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The Clash
5 Go Mad In The Roundhouse (1996)

Tracks 1 - 15 live at The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London, 5th September, 1976.
Tracks 16 - 28 live at Barbarella's, Birmingham, 26th October, 1976.

Track listing
01. Deny
02. 1-2 Crush On You
03. I Know What I Think About You
04. I Never Did It
05. How Can I Understand The Flies
06. Protex Blue
07. Janie Jones
08. Mark Me Absent
09. Deadly Serious
10. 48 Hours
11. I'm So Bored With You
12. Sitting At My Party
13. London's Burning
14. What's My Name
15. 1977

16. White Riot
17. Birmingham's Burning
18. I'm So Bored With The U.S.A.
19. How Can I Understand The Flies
20. Protex Blue
21. Deadly Serious
22. Deny
23. Career Opportunities
24. 48 Hours
25. What's My Name
26. Janie Jones
27. 1977
28. 1-2 Crush On You

Track 03 is labeled "Know What You Do".
Track 04 is labeled "I Don't Want Your Money".
Tracks 05 & 19 are labeled "I Can't Understand The Flies".
Tracks 09 & 21 are labeled "Going To The Disco".
Track 11 is an early version of "I'm So Bored With The USA".
Track 12 is labeled "Work".
Track 17 is an alternate version of "London's Burning".

This is a very 'historic' bootleg you could say. The Clash lineup for the Roundhouse gig is the five man outfit - Joe on vocals, Paul on bass, Keith Levene and Mick on guitars, and Terry Chimes on drums. The band is rough 'n' ready, and very energetic. The sound quality is pretty good. It's a tiny bit muffled
throughout, the first two tracks more than most, but after those it improves significantly.

There are lots of songs that you won't find anywhere else, as you can see from the songlist. These unreleased ones are pretty good, and the band is very energetic. There are a fair number of breaks in the show during which Joe addresses a less than friendly audience. My favourite moment being when Joe says "So you got five A-Levels, what do I care? That's just a dirty trick!" during a long break in the set. What's admirable is the strength of the performance when the crowd obviously didn't 'dig' The Clash that much. The applause after some of the songs comes across as a bit half-hearted, and quite a few morons in the crowd recommend the band get off the stage.

The Birmingham gig is much the same. Rough and fast performances of early songs, this time with Mick on lead guitar and Joe on rhythm since Keith had left by this stage. (Birmingham's Burning, as you probably guessed, is just London's Burning with the altered lyric.) This is an essential CD to have, being one of the earliest shows, it has the rare tracks and Keith 'The Phantom Guitar Player' Levene features on it (he's only on the Roundhouse gig). A blistering two shows. The performance this early on shows how great they were, and it's interesting to hear early versions of the songs before they got put down in the studio and probably while they were still being worked on.

Rated: 8 / 10

Friday, August 21, 2020

So It Goes- Nick Lowe- 1975 Stiff Demos

Photo by Dick Wingate
A New York Daily News article from 2007 quoted Nick Lowe as saying his greatest fear in recent years was "sticking with what you did when you were famous." "I didn't want to become one of those thinning-haired, jowly old geezers who still does the same shtick they did when they were young, slim and beautiful," he said. "That's revolting and rather tragic." 
For many musicians and bands this is the formula they stick with to keep the old fans happy and let the new fans enjoy what they are famous for. Nick Lowe has had a long and interesting career. His first stab at success was with Brinsley Schwarz (the band) from the 1969 to the mid-70's. They produced a whopping six full length albums (not counting compilations) and when the band split Bob Andrews and Brinsley Schwarz (the guitar player) joined Graham Parker and the Rumour, while Ian Gomm and Lowe began solo careers. Around this time, Lowe joined up with Dave Edmonds, who produced New Favorites Of...Brinsley Schwarz, to form Rockpile with Billy Bremner and Terry Williams. This unit produced albums under Edmonds name (Tracks On Wax 4 and Repeat When Necessary) and Nick Lowe's second solo record, Labour Of Lust, along with Seconds Of Pleasure from 1980. For me, I first became aware of Nick Lowe through his biggest hit, Cruel To Be Kind which got radio play at the time and though I didn't realize it at the time, this song would later rank high in my favourite song list. I would go as far to say it's the perfect pop song (or power-pop?) and Labour Of Lust still gets lots of love on my turntable and iPod. Lowe remained steadily active through the 80's and I own all his albums up until 1988's, Pinker and Prouder. He also served double duty at times as a highly respected producer and was involved with some ground breaking releases from Graham Parker, The Damned and Elvis Costello. I honestly haven't followed Lowe through his releases in the 90's and 2000's when he moved away from power pop to a more balladeer, singer-songwriter mode.

In this decade, Nick Lowe has experienced a bit of revival of sorts. In 2011, Yep Roc re-released, Labour Of Lust and Wilco covered the song, I Love My Label which led to a joint tour, that exposed Lowe to a younger, hip audience. More recently, the mexican wrestling mask wearing surf-guitar band, Los Straitjackets became Lowe's backing band and toured together providing a very interesting dynamic both visually and musically. I've listened to some of those shows and they are fantastic, sparking with genuine energy that comes across in the music and performances. I've always been a reader of good music biographies and one that I am considering next is Cruel To Be Kind: The Life And Times Of Nick Lowe that came out about a year ago. I am curious about some the behind the scenes stories and his interaction within the bands he was in and the musicians he produced. Sounds like an interesting read. So, why hasn't Rockpile reunited? How about Brinsley Schwarz? Don't know if he touches on those subjects or if he wants to revisit that "same shtick when he was young..."

During the period between the breakup of Brinsley Schwarz and the formation of Rockpile, Nick Lowe recorded some demos for Stiff Records in 1975. Some of these songs were recorded later and appeared on later albums (Tonight on Jesus of Cool/PPFNP, Here She Comes- sounds like an early version of Deborah from Tracks On Wax 4) and Little Darlin' was recorded by Dave Edmonds. I'm sort of surprised, the demo for So It Goes isn't here. The song was Stiff Records' first single and Lowe was their first artist and he became the label's in-house producer. Though he was already a seasoned musician, recording artist and performer, these demos are a very important document from Lowe's early solo career.

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Stiff Demos (1975)
(Some solo, some band)


01. Here She Comes Again
02. Tonight
03. Living In The 70's
04. Time And Time Again
05. She's My Baby
06. I Respect You for That
07. Little Darlin'
08. So Heavy (original version)

Bonus tracks
09. Halfway To Paradise (alternate version)
10. Is It You (live)
11. Lonely Just Like Me (live w/Imp. Birds)
12. Juju Man

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