Tuesday, June 30, 2020

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Tiny Tim (with The Big Brave Combo) - Girl (1996)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
"Tiny Tim"
Real name:  Herbert Buckingham Khaury
Born:  April 12, 1936
Died:  November 30, 1996
Country:  United States
Vocalist and ukulele player with an amazing vocal range and knowledge of American popular music.  Marketed as a novelty act, this made his fame and was an albatross on his career.

"The Brave Combo"
Formed: 1979
Country: United States
Brave Combo
Band formed in 1979 and based in Texas. The band says it plays the following type of music: "To name a few styles: polka, waltz, schottische, mambo, two-step, hora, rhumba, cumbia, salsa, merengue, guaguanco, huapango, ska, samba, cha cha, stroll, foxtrot, Muzak, twist, ondo, tango, oberek, bubblegum, bossa nova, ranchera, charanga, bolero, dirge, conjunto, zydeco. Oh, yeah...and rock."

Released: 1996
By: Rounder Records
Brave Combo and Tiny Tim put new life into overworked classics ("Hey Jude" as a Cha-Cha!), resurrected almost-forgotten gems ("Sly Cigarette"), jazzed up the all time classic "Stairway To Heaven" and generally seem to have a good time.  Not everyday listening, perhaps, but definitely one-of-a-kind.

They're Playing My Song
(by Deborah Evans Price, Billboard, April 13, 1996)
On the Rounder album "Girl", Tiny Tim and Texas-based ensemble 'Brave Combo' tackle a variety of well-known tunes, from "Hey Jude" to "Over The Rainbow". One of the most interesting cuts on the album is their jazz-flavoured interpretation of the rock classic "Stairway To Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, which appeared on the British group's 'Untitled' album (also known as Led Zeppelin IV) from 1971.

I don't even know what the song is about to this day," Tiny Tim says of the lyrics, "but I loved the melody and thought "stairway to Heaven" could use a lighter jazz feel...It was a challenge, but I did have a feeling for the song, and Brave Combo helped me put it down. 

Tiny Tim and Brave Combo met in Dallas through Bucks Burnette, who heads Tim's fan club, and they decided to collaborate on a project. "Girl" was produced by Burnette and Brave Combo. Saxophonist Jeffrey Barnes says they worked on the album off and on for several years. He adds that they were intrigued by Tim's vast knowledge of songs.

Caricature by Joel Tarling
"Tiny Tim is a walking archive of music. He is an amazing man," Barnes says. "He knows so many of the old songs that nobody else does, and when we don't have him around, no one will know them. There are many bright jewels amongst these songs in his memory. If you were to meet him, he would have a shopping bag with his ukulele in the top of it, and he would sit and play you songs for as long as you would listen."

Barnes says he enjoyed recording a unique version of a rock classic. "Stairway to Heaven" seemed to lend itself to a swing interpretation...If I'm not mistaken, it was Buck's idea [to cut the song]. Mr Tim had a kind of been out of the limelight for a while, and Bucks thought it would be nice for him to record the most popular rock classic of all...Bucks says,"It's one end of the universe reaching out to the other".
This post is yet another tribute to one of the most eccentric vocalist / artists in the music business.  In particular, this final studio release demonstrates just how talented and clever he was - tackling some of the biggest hits and making them his own. So, I'm not going to categorise him as Weird or Crazy this time, instead, let's just say he was 'Over The Rainbow' or as Buck implied 'Out of this World'
Ripped from CD to MP3 (320kps)  and includes full album artwork.
Track listing:
01 Girl 3:05
02 Bye Bye Blackbird 3:30
03 That Old Feeling 2:17
04 Sly Cigarette 3:20
05 I Want to Stay Here 2:23
06 New York, New York 3:52
07 Stairway to Heaven 5:01
08 All That I Want Is You 2:45
09 Stardust 3:30
10 I Believe in Tomorrow 2:50
11 Hey Jude 3:46
12 Over the Rainbow 3:02
13 Springtime in the Rockies 2:16
14 Fourteen 2:02

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Jimi Hendrix - Voodoo Soup (1995)

(U.S 1963 - 1970)
Voodoo Soup is a posthumous compilation album by Jimi Hendrix, released in the United States on April 11, 1995, by MCA Records. It was one of the last Hendrix albums produced by Alan Douglas, who was also responsible for the posthumous Hendrix releases Midnight Lightning and Crash Landing in 1975.  Voodoo Soup was Douglas' attempt at presenting Hendrix's planned fourth studio album.
The first attempt in 1971, The Cry of Love, produced by drummer Mitch Mitchell and Eddie Kramer (with a credit to Hendrix), was then out of print (last released on CD in 1992; re-released in 2014). 'After Experience Hendrix', a family company, then gained control of his recordings, and First Rays Of The Rising Sun was released in 1997 as another attempt to realize the album Hendrix had planned. Since then, Voodoo Soup has remained out of print., released only on CD and cassette.

I love the Voodoo Soup compilation, and knowing it probably would never come out on Vinyl, I did the next best thing and purchased the Cassette some time ago.

First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (1997)
In his last Interview, Jimi was asked about the effect he would like his music to have on people. "I'd like for them to get easier in their mind a little bit", he said, "cause there's too many heavy songs out nowadays. Music has been getting too heavy, almost to the state of being unbearable. I have this one little saying: 'when things get too heavy just call me Helium, the lightest gas to man' (laughs)"
Asked where he gets inspiration for his songs, he replied, "From my just recent experiences (laughs). 

What I try to do is like look at the totality of that and give the other half, you know, the solution, whatever it might be. You have the experience and then you have the use of it. But it all has to come from within. I guess a person would have to change himself in order to have a living example of what he's singing about. In order to change the world, I guess you'd have to really get your head together first before you can say anything to the world, to change it. And I was just tryin' to go through a lot of changes, then I would write the nice parts about them. Well, right now it's taking a while (laughs)".

"As far as Jimi was concerned," observed produced Alan Douglas, who supervised Hendrix's Record Plant sessions during the last half of 1969, "the four albums that came out after he died, and some material that was included on Crash Landing, the best of all of those five albums was where he was going for his last vocal pop album. 

He carried songs with him for two years before he'd finally record them. He was going through a lot during 1969 and '70: a drug bust and trial, pulling together Electric Lady Studios. His band changed three times in one year, he had big trouble with his management because of the break up of the Experience all through 1969, them trying to put the Experience back together with Jimi trying to go in another direction; turmoil, business problems - write a song here, record a track there. 

Jimi jumping in and out of the kitchen, throwing some tracks in and mixing the soup up. Musical ingredients from the kitchen of the original Voodoo Child. Very eclectic, because his emotions and his inner search was changing constantly. 

Every time he made up his mind to do something there was a frustration.  Now here comes the most difficult part of his life, the most difficult time to produce anything because he didn't have the continuity. He had completed three albums in two years. Today, artists take years to do one album. He had four bands during that period. What would that do to your continuity? It was a time of constant change and transition for him, which is the reason why we see such a disparate set of songs here. That's what make up 'Voodoo Soup'. It's Jimi's extraordinary musicianship and poetry that makes it taste so good.

Voodoo Soup Ingredients

The New Rising Sun
Recorded on October 23, 1968 at TTG Sunset Studios in Hollywood. Jimi plays guitar and drums. For the warble-wave effect, Jimi's guitar is filtered through either a Univibe unit or, less likely, through a rotating Leslie Speaker. However, whereas the Leslie was available in 1968, the UniVibe dates back only to Winter '69. So Jimi may have later in 1969 fed The New Rising Sun tapes through a UniVibe in another studio. Being a 16-track studio in 1968, TTG was relatively hitech. It is possible that there Jimi got to try out an early experimental model of the UniVibe while it was still under development.. There is also a chance that the master tape of The New Rising Sun was mistakenly stored away in a "TTG" box. The tape itself is a nine minute reel on which Jimi is heard working alone in the studio. Four of the tracks for this recording contain his overdubbed drum play.

Belly Button Window
An early demo was cut on July 23 at Electric Lady. Then the master take was cut on 4 track, 1/2 inch tape on August 22, 1970. This Brownie McGhee-style blues was Jimi's last studio recording, which became the closing track of 'The Cry Of Love' album in 1971.

Stepping Stone
Recorded at the Record Plant on either November 14, 1969 or January 20, 1970. Mitch Mitchell (drums), Billy Cox (Bass). First released on War Heroes. Bruce Gary overdubbed drum tracks January 1995.  Jimi originally called the tune "Sky Blues" (the lyrics were first heard when Jimi sang them under the sky at Woodstock, and may therefore have something to do with that open-air festival) and later labelled it "Trying To be A Man" before it was released as a single titled 
Stepping Stone.

Cry Of Love (1971)
Recorded at Electric Lady on June 25, 1970, with Mitch Mitchell (drums), Billy Cox (Bass), Juma Sultan on congas and an unknown pianist. The Ghetto Fighters (Arthur & Albert Allen) sang backing vocals.  Jimi's riff for Freedom first popped up during jams with A band Of Gypsys. The full blown song was debuted at the April 25, 1970 Forum show in L.A. Jimi then recorded it in New York on may, 15, the same day that three black  students were shot dead by troopers in Mississippi. 

Another demo of Freedom was cut at Electric Lady on June 16. The June 25 master take was made during the session for Drifting. Overdubs were added to both songs on August 14.
In April 1971, "Freedom" reached #59 in the charts when it was released as a single b/w "Angel". Freedom was also the opening track for the 'Cry Of Love' album.

Recorded on July 23, 1970 at Electric Lady with Mitch Mitchell (drums), Billy Cox (Bass). After Jimi died, Mitch worked to complete "Angel". It became apparent quickly when we were going through the tapes," said Mitch, "that a couple of drum overdubs were essential. I'd given Jimi a drum kit for Electric Lady, an old Gretsch kit I'd used at Berkeley, and doing the overdubs was the first time I'd seen that drum kit since I'd given it to him. It felt strange. And it's kind of ironic that "Angel" was the most difficult and jigsaw-like track to put together, and yet it became the most covered of Jimi's songs. "Angel" first appeared on 'The Cry Of Love' album.

Room Full Of Mirrors
Recorded at the Record Plant on November 17, 1969 with Buddy Miles (drums). Jimi later overdubbed his own bass playing to the basic tracks. Overdubs were added on August 20, 1970. Bruce Gary overdubbed drum tracks January, 1995.

In August 1967, the Experience were filmed at the Rudolf Valentino mansion in Los Angeles. There they spent time inside a room that was covered from floor to ceiling with mirrors.
Hendrix unveiled Mirrors at the Record Plant on August 12, 1968. It'd been a year since his trip to the Valentino Mansion mirror room. During autumn '68 he rented a house in L.A and worked on Mirrors at Sunset-Highland Studios. Paul Caruso added harp tracks to these unreleased takes.
Demos of Room Full Of Mirrors were cut at Olympic Studios in London during the winter of '69 and again at the Record Plant on April 21. Then, on stage just hours after his Toronto bust for drug possession on May 3, Jimi used Mirrors to reflect  his dilemma. A year later the number reached perfection on stage at the L.A Forum Cry Of Love concert.

Room Full of Mirrors represent's Jimi's first ray emerging out of the purple haze. Both New Rising Sun and Mirrors were conceived in the immediate heat of Ladyland. The three descending chords of the New Rising Sun are reversed into the three ascending chords of Room Full Of Mirrors, representing the rise to perceptual breakthrough. 
Room Full Of Mirrors required a great deal of work," recalls Kramer. "we spent a great deal of time overdubbing. In a continuing series we added guitars and created some intricate panning effects before finishing. Room Full Of Mirrors was released in October, 1971 on Rainbow Bridge, the second posthumous Hendrix LP. 

Recorded at Olmstead Sound Studios, NYC in April, 1969. Mitch Mitchell (drums), Noel Redding (Bass). First released on the fourth posthumous Hendrix LP, War Heroes, in October, 1972.
Mitch discusses: The last masterpiece from the Experience in the studio was "Midnight". Noel claims that the instrumental was inspired when "I did my Booker T. riff", referring to a Booker T & The MG's tune called Homegrown. "Jimi asked me to show it to him. I showed it to him on the guitar"
Globs of molten steel belch heavy industrial vibrato in this original GuiTarzan metal instrumental. The results remain Jimi's most intense extremities reached in the studio since Voodoo Child (slight return). 'At the crack of Midnight the past is eclipsed. A new sun rises and casts the first rays'.

Night Bird Flying
Recorded at Electric Lady on June 16, 1970, with Mitch Mitcher (drums) and Billy Cox (bass), Overdub sessions on August 14 and 22.
Night Bird Flying was slated to be the flip side of a planned "Dolly Dagger "single. Jimi compared the two songs and concluded that Night Bird is nicer, much more of a real song.  "Night Bird Flying"  was released on 'The Cry of Love' album.

Recorded at Electric Lady on July 23, 1970. Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (Bass). On June 25 Jimi had cut a demo of Drifting during the sessions for Freedom and Astro Man. On July 23 he ran through five takes of Drifting and then said to Eddie Krammer, "Let me do some sea sounds" The performance that followed was serene, it was take six. "That's the one!" declared Kramer. "did you record it?" Jimi asked. "Sure did," Eddie replied, "have a listen". Jimi approved take six and on Aug 14 he returned to add overdubs to it. Final touches were done posthumously.  Drifting was included on 'The Cry Of Love' album.

Ezy Ryder
Recorded at the Record Plant on December 18, 1969 with Buddy Miles (Drums) and Billy Cox (Bass). At Olympic Studios on December 20, 1967 Noel Redding recorded an acetate of a song he wrote titled "Dance". Jimi likes the basic riff and began to develop it on his own. Five months later at the Record Plant he recorded an experimental arrangement and dubbed it "Mushy Name".  The riff then lay dormant for a year until the Jimi Hendrix Experience cut an instrumental at the Record Plant based on the theme. In autumn '69, after seeing the Peter Fonda cycle flick names Easy Rider (which was the first Hollywood film to include Experience music) Jimi wrote lyrics under the title of Ezy Ryder and adapted them to a new guitar arrangement based on the Dance / Mushy name theme.
Later in December, Steve Winwood and Chris Wood of Traffic teamed up to add backing vocals to Ezy Ryder. Jimi took the tapes to Electric Lady and added eight guitar overdubs to the December 18 basic tracks.

"Ezy Ryder and Dolly Dagger were the most challenging songs we did," claims Billy Cox, "because there were so many intricate parts we put on them. I remember when we were recording them I'd look up and there was no one in the studio but Jimi, myself, Mitch, Eddie and maybe our old ladies."
Kramer assistant Kim King recalls, "Eddie and Jimi were doing a four-handed mix on the console while I was doing the flanging - actually holding my thumb on the tape machine's pitch, and by varying that by microcycles, the notes were beating against each other. The sound was fantastic."
Melody Maker dubbed it "the fullest, most majestic track, expounding all that is Hendrix - the eternal electrical myth, one a man."

"Ezy Ryder" was released in February 1971 on the first posthumous Hendrix LP, 'The Cry Of Love', which reached #3 on Billboard's chart.

Pali Gap
Recorded at Electric Lady on July 1, 1970 with Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (Bass). "as Dolly Dagger began to come apart", recalls Kramer, "Billy Cox started playing the bass line to "Gimme Some Loving", The Spencer Davis Group song, and that developed into a jam."
After three minutes or so," continues John Jansen, "Hendrix began playing this beautiful melody and the rest of the guys fell in behind him. That was Pali Gap".

"I think Mike Jeffery was responsible for the title," explains Mitch. "I didn't hear Jimi use it. They were in the studio mixing it, and it's what they put down on the box. It's just one of those things that stuck."  In the 1971 film Rainbow Bridge Jimi's friends are seen lifted up a hillside by powerful winds while Pali Gap is heard as the soundtrack. The powerful winds are Pali winds, caused by a Gap in Maui's Oahu mountains.  The Pacific jet stream is caught and channelled in rushing currents through the range passageways. The feeling of Jimi's breezy, uplifting instrumental likely conjured Pali memories and inspired the Pali gap title.

Jimi's guitar achieves organ-like tones from the UniVibe. Lead and rhythm tracks intertwine and swap roles. Tony Glover described in Rolling Stone's movie review how Pali "flows in waves, rippling like wine running slowly down dusk-lit marble stones". The tune was first heard in 1971 on the Rainbow Bridge album, which hit #15 on Billboard's charts in October of that year.

Message Of Love
Recorded on January 20, 1970 at the Record Plant, with Buddy Miles (Drums) and Billy Cox (Bass). The same session produced Earth Blues. Earlier versions of both songs had been tapped at the Record Plant on December 19, 1969.

The main guitar riff for Message To Love was introduced during Jimi's Spanish castle magic solo at the February 18, 1969 Albert Hall concert. Three months later he developed theme further at the San Jose Pop Festival, shortly after composing a similar descending riff for Earth Blues. Lyrics were added during the summer and the 'Everybody come alive' section of Message also resembles the repeated vocal/guitar unison used in Earth Blues. Message To Love became the opening keynote for Jimi's August set at Woodstock. "Message to Love" was released on the Crash Landing album in 1975.

Peace In Mississippi
Recorded at TTG Sunset-Highland Studios in Hollywood on October 24, 1968 with Mich Mitchell(Drums) and Noel Redding (Bass).

Jimi playing his white Fender Strat
The six Winterland gigs in October '68 were the last Experience shows to feature a rosewood neck attached to Jimi's Strat. During his TTG sessions two weeks later, Jimi was first photographed fingering a maple neck to administer Peace In Mississippi. This music captures his exhilaration at a time when his Electric Ladyland album was racing to the top of the charts. At last, with media now chronicling his every move, Hendrix possessed license to reveal serious intentions with his art. With his new 'light neck' sceptre, he ignites a First Ray crusade. Peace In Mississippi sounds the alert; a warpath-around-the-bonfire, dance of the Shaman instrumental.

Mississippi has roots in blues in the sense that Hendrix was reconstructing harmonic / melodic riffs developed mainly from the 12-bar chord statement. He transplanted these figures and motifs to non 12-bar blues forms. In Mississippi, Jimi's blues mutate as music morphing into not necessarily Heavy Metal, but sensuous textures.
"Peace In Mississippi" first appeared on the Crash Landing album, which hit #5 on Billboard's chart in March 1975.

In From The Storm
Recorded on July 21 and 22, 1970 at Electric Lady. Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox(Bass). Released on The Cry Of Love album.
In From The Storm became a staple at Jimi's later concerts, with filmed portions of the song existing from Maui, Isle of Wight, and Stockholm. The tune's strong hook made it ideal for stage interpretation and improvisation. Storm became the final addition to Jimi's concert repertoire. 
"I just came back today, I just came back from the storm..."
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from Cassette and includes full album artwork for CD (sourced from Discogs).  One of my favourite Hendrix compilations, it has never been released on Vinyl to the best of my knowledge, but because it has appeared on cassette, I believe it is still a valid candidate for this blog.  

A lot of people have criticised the posthumously released Hendrix albums, but I am of the opinion that some of his best material can be found on these releases, as represented on this compilation.
Hope you enjoy this appetiser !
01 The New Rising Sun 3:21
02 Belly Button Window 3:35
03 Stepping Stone 4:08
04 Freedom 3:26
05 Angel 4:20
06 Room Full Of Mirrors 3:10
07 Midnight 6:02
08 Night Bird Flying 3:47
09 Drifting 3:52
10 Ezy Ryder 4:09
11 Pali Gap 4:43
12 Message To Love 3:34
13 Peace In Mississippi 5:26
14 In From The Storm 3:41


Sunday, June 21, 2020

Elvis Presley - Shock, Rattle N Roll (1983) Bootleg

(U.S 1953 - 1977)
On April 3, 1956 the Milton Berle Show, one of the most popular programs of the Golden Age of Television was broadcast live from the deck of the USS Hancock on NBC while docked at the Naval Air Base in San Diego, California. The show starred the Esther Williams, Berle's comedy sidekick, Arnold Stang and the Harry James Orchestra featuring Buddy Rich and featured Elvis, Scotty, Bill and DJ. Elvis Presley Fan Club members were sent a 12" x 18 1/2" TV/Concert double-sided announcement / promotional handbill from the Colonel to publicly thank Milton Berle for having Elvis perform on his program and to promote the upcoming concerts in San Diego.

Promotional handbill
Elvis was now being managed by Colonel Parker since Bob Neal's contract expired on March 14, 1956, the day after the release of Elvis' first LP. They had already appeared on television six times by then, on the Dorsey Brothers show. They performed three songs; a 13 second Shake Rattle & Roll, Heartbreak Hotel and Blue Suede Shoes.

Elvis also performed a comedy sketch with Milton Berle acting as Elvis twin brother Melvin. It was the first time that they had performed to an all military audience. Among his selections on his second appearance was a playfully sensuous performance of Hound Dog that drove the kids in the audience wild, and the next day, has the press and some of the adult viewers appalled. It is one of his most controversial performances [extract from elvispresleymusic.com.au]

Album Liner Note
In these days of the super-sophisticated video film designed to sell instantly forgettable pop songs and singers to a mass audience, it is perhaps impossible to realise fully just how big the impact of Elvis' television appearances in 1956 must have been. Much has been written about the Colonel's crafty pulling of strings to get his boy the nationwide exposure he so badly needed to get things going in a big way and, as history has shown, as career move it worked.

Milton Berle introduces Elvis 
What is amazing in retrospect, however, is the relatively limited amount of television exposure Elvis really had. After all, in each of the twelve shows in which Elvis performed from Jan 1956 to Jan 1957, he only sang a couple of songs, which adds up to a total of just one hour of what he was paid to do, sing.  Of course, the reactions in the press as to what he did whilst singing helped. Wrote a shocked Jack Gould of the New York Times: "When Presley injected movements of the tongue and indulged in wordless singing, that was singularly distasteful on the Sullivan show; enough was enough.
Elvis introduces his twin Brother 
When Presley executes his bumps and grinds, it must be remembered by the Columbia Broadcasting System that even the twelve-year olds' curiosity may be stimulated." What must have helped more, however, was Elvis' reaction to this and other charges of obscenity as he slurred and growled and said "They all think I'm a sex maniac. They're all frustrated ol' types anyway. I'm just natural." There's no doubting the sincerity of Elvis' statement, the proof being those same television shows that so shocked and enraged many, and transported and delighted many more.
Since no material has turned up substantiating the rumours that Elvis filled some guest slots in television shows hosted by Roy Orbinson and aired locally in Texas, six Dorsey, two Berle, one Allen and three Sullivan shows are all we have as far as the 50's go.

On January 28, 1956 Elvis made the first of six live appearances on Jackie Gleason's Stage Show, hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. For a fee of 1,250 dollars per show Elvis was given the opportunity to promote his RCA material., this promotion policy dictating the choice of songs an this and all subsequent television shows. The Dorseys look bewildered while Elvis lays it on, starting a trend of disdainful behaviour towards Elvis that culminates, or, rather, reaches an all time low in Steve Allen's attempt to constrain this Hillbilly by dressing him up in tails and making him sing to a dog.
Ed Sullivan & Elvis Presley
By the time Elvis is getting to do the first of three Toast Of The Town shows on September 9, 1956, both he and the host, Ed Sullivan, are warned and wary. Ed's not a little piqued at having to swallow his promise of never booking Elvis on one of his shows, and of having had to cough up 56,000 dollars for "this son of a bitch" to boot.

It wins him the ratings war, though, and it gives Elvis the chance to show how much he's learned in only nine previous shows on television and, of course, to promote his latest "escapes". The audience is the lucky third and gets to see and hear that, no matter what condescending attitude Sullivan may take, no matter how much of his stage act may be curtailed or simply not registered by the camera, Elvis is in total control by being natural.

Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley, DJ Fontana and Bill Black -The Milton Berle Show April 3, 1956
It is precisely this naturalness that comes through on this album, containing all the songs he did on the Sullivan shows, minus the introductions and thank you's. Backed by Scotty Moore on lead guitar, Bill Black on bass, D.J Fontana on drums, and "with the help of the wonderful Jordonaires," Elvis gives most by not giving all. His voice insinuates, confirming dark suspicions in many quarters, and, tearing into "Hound Dog", shatters all hopes of things ever again being like they used to be. Such is the stuff that legends are made of.

April 3, 1956, the flight deck of the U.S.S Hancock
Some other gems on this album are the never before released recordings made during the first two television shows he did for Milton Berle. On April 3, 1956, the flight deck of the U.S.S Hancock serves as a stage for one of the wildest performances Elvis is ever going to give on television, doing what he does so well...sing and raise hell. [Liner Notes by Jackie Gleason]

Elvis with Fans on the U.S.S Hancock
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from vinyl (thanks to Tony Angel) and includes artwork for both Vinyl and CD.  This bootleg was released by Pink & Black Records in 1983, and included Bonus 12 Page Picture Album.
The first four tracks were recorded live from U.S.S. "Hancock" (Milton Berle Show, April 3, 1956) and includes a comedy sketch between Berle & Presley (alias Presley Twins). Great sound quality and very funny indeed.
The remaining tracks comes from three separate TV performances on the Ed Sullivan Show, with varying sound quality.
Although I'm not a big Elvis fan, I can appreciate the significance of these recordings as they provide an insight into that time when Elvis was just starting to capture the attention of the world.
Track List
A1 Introduction / Shake, Rattle & Roll
A2 Heartbreak Hotel
A3 Blue Suede Shoes
A4 Comedy Sketch / Blue Suede Shoes
A5 Don't Be Cruel
A6 Love Me Tender
A7 Ready Teddy
A8 Hound Dog
B1 Don't Be Cruel
B2 Love Me Tender
B3 Love Me
B4 Hound Dog
B5 Hound Dog / Love Me Tender / Heartbreak Hotel
B6 Don't Be Cruel
B7 When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
B8 Peace In The Valley

Elvis Presley - Guitar, Vocals
Scotty Moore - Lead Guitar
Bill Black - Double Bass
D.J Fontana - Drums
Backing Vocals - The Jordonaires

Track A1-4 Live from U.S.S. "Hancock" (Milton Berle Show, April 3, 1956)
Track A5-8 Soundtrack recordings for CBS TV, September 9, 1956
Track B1-4 Soundtrack recordings for CBS TV, October 28, 1956
Track B5-8 Soundtrack recordings for CBS TV, January 6, 1957

Elvis Presley Shock, Rattle 'N' Roll Link (99Mb)

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Aretha Franklin - The Best Of (1984)

(U.S  1956 - 2018)
One of the most distinctive black soul female singers ever, Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, the daughter of a famous Baptist preacher, and was tutored from an early age (along with sister Erma) by gospel stars like Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward. Between 1956 and 7960, the teenage singer recorded gospel material for JVB and Checker before signing to Columbia who struggled to market her, forcing a switch in styles from blues and soul to pop and jazz.

A move to Atlantic in  1966 reaped instant rewards with the hit single,'I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)'. A string of successful recordings followed, and the next five years witnessed Aretha at the peak of her creative powers. Songs like'Respect', 'Chain Of Fools' and 'I Say A Little Prayer' became overnight standards.
Despite a fragile personal life, Aretha recorded one of the most impressive soul albums of the period, 'Lady Soul' (1968).

Young Aretha Franklin, 1968
Another highlight, 'Aretha Alive At The Fillmore West' (1970), confirmed her amazing stage Presence. Aretha's career began to flag in the late Seventies until her cameo role in the Blues Brothers film changed her fortunes. A Switch to Arista in 1980 prompted her return with 'United Together' and the Eighties were sprinkled with hits like 'Freeway Of Love' and'Who's Zooming Who', as well as duets with George Michael and the Eurythmics.
(Taken from 'The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Rock' Michael Heatley, Carlton Books. 1994. p117)
Grammy Award for best female R&B vocal performance, 1972
Franklin sold more than 75 million records during her life, making her one of the best-selling artists of all time. She took soul to a new level and inspired generations of singers who came after her.
No one's life can be condensed to one word — but Aretha Franklin came close when she sang one word: "Respect."

"Respect" was written by the great Otis Redding. In his version, a man is pleading, offering his woman anything she wants in exchange for her respect. He sang: "Hey little girl, you're sweeter than honey / And I'm about to give you all of my money / But all I want you to do / Is just give it, give it / Respect when I come home ..."

Aretha changed those lyrics to demand parity. "Oooh, your kisses," she sang, "Sweeter than honey / And guess what? / So is my money ..." In her hands, "Respect" became an empowering song — for black women and for all women. It was a No. 1 hit in 1967, and it became her signature song.
Franklin was 25 years old when "Respect" was released. But she had been singing since she was a small child in her father's New Bethel Baptist Church.

"Someone found a footstool in the office and put it here on the stage, and they put it there for me to be seen because I was so small," Franklin told National Public Radio's Morning Edition in 2004.

Franklin, onstage in Chicago in 1992
Aretha Franklin received just about every award a singer can get, including 18 Grammys (plus the Recording Academy's Grammy Legend Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award), the Presidential Medal of Freedom and, in 1987, an induction as the first woman into the Rock) & Roll Hall of Fame. She performed until she couldn't anymore — because being the Queen of Soul was second nature to her.

Aretha Franklin, the "Queen of Soul," died on August 16, 2018  in her home city of Detroit after battling pancreatic cancer. She was 76. (extract from wyomingpublicmedia.org)
This post consists of FLACs ripped from my CD copy and includes full album artwork and label scans.  Anyone with a pulse should enjoy this collection of hits by the Lady Of Soul.
01 - Chain Of Fools    2:44
02 - I Say A Little Prayer      3:28
03 - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman   2:39
04 - Think       2:17
05 - Rock Steady   3:12
06 - Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)    3:29
07 - Respect      2:27
08 - Spanish Harlem    3:30
09 - Dr. Feelgood 3:15
10 - Do Right Woman - Do Right Man    3:12
11 - I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)     2:41
12 - Save Me     2:20
Aretha Franklin's Best Of Link (191Mb)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Celebration Copy (1971)

(U.S 1968–1970, 1973–2015)

Crosby, Stills & Nash was formed in the summer of 1968 by David Crosby who was preparing his solo album after quitting The Byrds, Stephen Stills who had just left Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash of U.K. pop outfit The Hollies who was then visiting California. The three sang together at John Sebastian's house in Laurel Canyon, and were knocked out by the Crosby and Nash vocal harmonies and decided to assemble as group.

They went to the U.K. later that year for Nash to sever commitments with The Hollies and then returned to Los Angeles to work on their debut album released early 1969.
That first album, which won immediate critical acclaim, still stands as a perfect example of contemporary acoustic music and powerful melodies, with harmony singing of Crosby and Nash to the fore. Stills was at a creative peak around this time - evident in his seven minute long Suite: Jude Blue Eyes, purportedly about his old flame Judy Collins, which became the group's first U.S. hit.

Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash
Nash's Marrakesh Express from same album (by now a gold seller), followed it into U.S. singles charts and broke the band into British lists in the same year.
Having previously played with Stills in Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young joined later that year at the suggestion of Atlantic boss Ahmet Ertegun. The band were looking for Keyboards player to fill out sound for live gigs. Ertegun suggested that Young should play guitar, allowing Stills to double on keyboards.

Their Second album, Deja Vu (1970) - further augmented by Greg Reeves on bass and Dallas Taylor on drums, later replaced by Calvin Sammuels and Johnny Barbata - was credited to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) and more electric in its approach. Overall, it was a mixed bag, containing an electric version of Joni Mitchell's Woodstock (a U.S. hit), Nash's banal Teach Your Children and Dave Crosby's self-conscious song of hippie martyrdom almost Cut My Hair. All were easily out-classed by the immensely superior material of Young. Their second gold record, Deja Vu was still on U.S. charts when the outfit's third album, a double live set entitled Four Way Street was released early 1971. The title itself indicated the different directions each member of the aggregation was taking prior to its release.

Young's brilliant Ohio, written in wake of Kent State University killings which outraged young America, provided another U.S. hit, but, shortly after, CSNY disintegrated to pursue individual paths.

There was a reunion tour in 1974, which ended at London's Wembley Stadium without any fresh recordings. Subsequent attempts at a further CSNY album inevitably disintegrated in acrimony and rumour. Just when it seemed finally a total irrelevance whether they ever worked together again, Crosby Stills and Nash chose the Summer of Punk - 1977 - to announce a reunion LP.

It wasn't until 1988 that all four members finally got together to release the immensely successful album American Dream.
Featured Albums & Track(s)

Stephen Stills - Selftitled (1970)

"Love the One Your With" (by Stephen Stills)

Worth noting that Jimi Hendrix played on the track "Old Times New Times"

David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name (1971)

"If I Could Only Remember My Name" (by Graham Nash, Neil Young and David Crosby)

"Orleans"  (by David Crosby)

Graham Nash - Songs For Beginners (1971)

"Military Madness"  (by Graham Nash)

"Simple Man"  (by Graham Nash)

Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills 2 (1971)

"Bluebird Revisited" (by Stephen Stills)

Crosby, Stills & Nash - Selftitled (1969)

"Long Time Gone"  (By David Crosby)

"Marrakesh Express"  (By Graham Nash)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deju Vu (1970)

"Carry On"  (By Stephen Stills)

"Woodstock"  (by Joni Mitchell)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - 4 Way Street (1971)
(Double Live)

"Teach Your Children"  (By Graham Nash)

"Ohio"  (By Neil Young)

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my rare Atlantic vinyl and includes full album artwork and label scans. From what I can gather, this compilation album has never being released on CD.
This album is testament to the fact that each member of this 'super group' was in their own right a superstar and as a foursome, could out sing and out play any other Southern Rock band at this time in their career. A great compilation that your shouldn't pass up.
A1 - Love The One You're With (Stephen Stills) 3:03  
A2 - Music Is Love (David Crosby) 3:16
A3 - Military Madness (Graham Nash) 2:05
A4 - Bluebird Revisited (Stephen Stills) 5:23
A5 - Simple Man (Graham Nash) 2:05
A6 - Orleans (David Crosby) 1:56
B1 - Long Time Gone (Crosby, Stills & Nash) 4:15
B2 - Marrakesh Express (Crosby, Stills & Nash) 2:36
B3 - Carry On (CSNY) 4:25
B4 - Woodstock (CSNY) 3:52
B5 - Teach Your Children (CSNY) 2:36
B6 - Ohio (CSNY) 3:24

David Crosby - guitar, vocals
Stephen Stills - guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals
Graham Nash - guitar, vocals
Neil Young - guitar, vocals

CSNY Celebration Copy Link (223Mb)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Robin Trower - Back It Up (1983) plus Bonus Live Tracks

(U.K 1973 - Present)
'Back It Up' is a 1983 studio album by Robin Trower, and the last to feature James Dewar. It was after this album was released that Trower was dropped by Chrysalis Records because he did not tour to support the album, in addition to the album's lack of radio airplay.
The partnership between Trower and Dewar continued over 10 years and eight studio albums, including For Earth Below (1975), Long Misty Days (1976) and In City Dreams (1977).

Their last album together was Back It Up, released in 1983. “When we finished Back It Up, that was the last time that I saw him,” Trower says of Dewar. “He went back up to Scotland and then he got ill. I never quite got to the bottom of what happened to him. His wife said he had to have an operation and something went wrong. But I’m not sure.”

Dewar died in 2002, at the age of 59. Isidore, who left the Trower line-up after Bridge Of Sighs, also died at the age of 59, in 2009.

Trower dropped by Chrysalis
Extract from: Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer & Trower-Their Lives and Music
By Dan Muise (2002) Google eBook

[Author]  Why was there no tour with 1983's album "Back It Up" ?

[Robin Trower]  Probably because I didn't want to go out there. I would say that would be the fundamental of it

[Author]  Would this be relative to what you said about those 80's albums of that time?  [I wish I'd never done hardly any albums of the 80's. I hate most of them]

Trower 1983
[Robin Trower]   I was pretty pleased with "Back It Up', I must admit. At the time I thought it was a good record. I just wasn't inspired enough to go out on the road, yet if it had some success I would have gone out with it.

With no radio support and no tour to promote the album, Chrysalis Records dropped Trower from their roster. Robin returned to England to decide where to go from there.

[Author]  Why was Robin let go from Chrysalis?

[Roy Eldridge]  This is probably something that had gone on between Derek (Sutton) and Chris and Robin. "Is this working?" Again this is something I didn't deal with so I can't really tell you

[Derek Sutton] To be brutal, Chrysalis couldn't make money from him anymore. Robin had become very reclusive. He still wanted to live his lifestyle but he really didn't want to go out and work. I left his environs because I had a big argument with him and told him that if he didn't work, he wouldn't eat. He got very upset with me. I didn't speak to him for a couple of years.

Photos thanks to Bert Saraco
[Robin Trower]  "Basically, they just decided to let me go. They gave me the option of doing one more album or going. And we decided it might be good to go. But they took so long, dragging their feet, about finalizing that. It was not good.

[Author]  Were you surprised?

[Robin Trower]  No, not really. I guess they decided that they didn't need me in the family anymore (laughs!) I was informed through management.

James Dewar
Album Review
The aptly-named LP "Back it Up" was released in 1983, continuing a string of six albums within eight years. Jack Bruce left and began a long association with producer Kip Hanrahan, focusing on a more Latin-influenced style. As far as Trower’s band, Dewar was back on vocals and (occasional) bass, Reid returned as lyricist on a few tunes, and Dave Bronze played bass on a number of tracks.

 The drum seat was filled by Alan Clarke. Stylistically, Back it Up represented a sound stuck in neutral; though not flawed in any real way, Trower’s sounds were decidedly out of step with the pop mainstream: not “stadium-rock” enough to compete with the likes of Asia and Dire Straits, and certainly not fodder for the then-popular MTV.

Dave Bronze
For fans of his style, Back it Up is a solid entry that seems to pick up right where Victims of the Fury left off (but with better songwriting and playing), but the feeling that we’ve-heard-this-before nags at the listener. “Black to Red” has flashes of the old fire, and “Benny Dancer” is an awesome nine-minute showcase of both flash and subtlety. And “Islands” sounds like a restrained version of Jeff Beck.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from CD (thanks to Deutros) and full album artwork for both CD & Vinyl formats.
I never saw this album for sale in my local record haunts and suspect it was never released in Australia.  Very frustrating and a huge oversight on the part of Chrysalis who did themselves a disservice as Trower was popular in Australia.  Locating the CD release is just as frustrating - never seen it.
Such a shame as it was a great album and featured James Dewar for the last time.
As a bonus, I have chosen to include two live renditions of "Time Is Short" and "Islands', recorded at Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1985.
Finally it is interesting to note the two different coloured covers (LP - Black, CD - White)
Track listing
01  "Back It Up" (Robin Trower, Reggie Webb) – 3:54
02  "River" (Robin Trower, James Dewar) – 3:51
03  "Black to Red" (Robin Trower) – 2:56
04  "Benny Dancer" (Robin Trower, James Dewar) – 8:52
05  "Time Is Short" (Robin Trower) – 3:40
06  "Islands" (Robin Trower) – 4:04
07  "None But the Brave" (Robin Trower, Keith Reid) – 2:36
08  "Captain Midnight" (Robin Trower, James Dewar) – 3:09
09  "Settling the Score" (Robin Trower, James Dewar) – 5:16
Bonus Tracks
10  "Time Is Short" (Live Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1985) -- 5:16
11  "Islands" (Live Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1985) -- 5:10


Robin Trower - Guitar
James Dewar - Vocals, Bass
Dave Bronze - Bass
Bob Clouter - Drums tracks 2,3,4,5,7,8,9
Alan Clarke - Drums tracks 1 and 6
Robin Trower FLAC Link (336Mb)