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The Second Coming: The Rolling Stones Live 1966-7

 

Following the success of Volume One, 1960s Records are delighted to announce the release of

Let The Airwaves Flow 2 : Melbourne, Paris and London 1966-67 – The Rolling Stones

Side One

  1. Introduction / The Last Time (Jagger, Richard)
  2. Mercy, Mercy (Covay, Miller)
  3. She Said Yeah (Jackson, Christy)
  4. Play With Fire (Jagger, Richard)
  5. Not Fade Away (Hardin, Petty)
  6. That’s How Strong My Love Is (Jamison)
  7. Get Off My Cloud (Jagger, Richard)
  8. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Jagger, Richard)
  9. She Smiled Sweetly (Jagger, Richard)

 

Side Two

  1. Paint It, Black (Jagger, Richard)
  2. 19th Nervous Breakdown (Jagger, Richard)
  3. Lady Jane (Jagger, Richard)
  4. Get Off My Cloud (Jagger, Richard) / Yesterday’s Papers (Jagger, Richard)
  5. Ruby Tuesday (Jagger, Richard)
  6. Let’s Spend The Night Together (Jagger, Richard)

 

Side One

Tracks 1 – 8 recorded live at the Palais Theatre, Melbourne for Radio 3 UZ on February 24th 1966

Track 9 recorded live for the Eamonn Andrews Show, ABC TV, February 5th 1967

 

Side Two

Recorded live at the Olympia, Paris for RTL Radio on April 11th 1967

 

Mick Jagger – lead vocals, harmonica

Brian Jones – guitar

Keith Richard – guitar, backing vocals

Bill Wyman – bass

Charlie Watts – drums

 

Following on from Let The Airwaves Flow 1 this second volume continues to highlight the live prowess of The Rolling Stones during the Brian Jones-era. As we move towards 1967 we see the Stones dispensing with the r’n’b and soul classics they had been playing since 1962, replacing them with increasingly commercial original material written by Jagger/Richard.

The absence of Brian Jones in the writing credits is highly significant, and although he remained the focus of attention in live shows, Brian Jones central position within the Stones was fatally undermined by his inability to write songs. By 1965 tough pop classics such as The Last Time, Heart Of Stone, Get Off My Cloud and Satisfaction were rolling off the Jagger/Richard pop production line. However Jones still had a major part to play live, as shown by his intricate guitar part on Play With Fire from Melbourne in 1966. With immense lyrical irony the version of Satisfaction from this session is interrupted by an advert for Salco shirts “for the young man who agrees to pay less for the best.”

1967 saw the Stones return in triumph to the Olympia in Paris where they delivered a swaggering set of self-penned pop classics, with not a cover version in sight. Jagger’s every utterance provoked extensive screaming. The Wyman / Watts rhythm section exhibited remarkable versatility, from driving neo-psyche thumpers such as 19th Nervous Breakdown and Paint It Black, to framing the quiet ballads of Ruby Tuesday and Lady Jane with elegance and restraint. Jones was again in his element on these numbers, adding intricate woodwind to Ruby Tuesday. Yesterday’s Papers received a rare live outing, combined here with a Get Off My Cloud that featured highly complementary guitars from Richard and Jones.

Finally an added bonus track: the Stones live on British television in early 1967 performing the rarely-heard She Smiled Sweetly for (of all people) Eamonn Andrews.

Sadly this was as good as it got for the initial version of the band. Throughout the summer of 1967 sustained police activity broke Brian Jones and incarcerated Jagger and Richard, resulting in the deeply sarcastic single We Love You. The remainder of 1967 was spent in Olympic very slowly recording Their Satanic Majesties Request, an LP that is best be described as of its time.

When the Stones returned to the live arena in November 1969 it would be without Jones. This new version of the Stones would eventually assume the mantle of “the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world” but not without considerable cost, both personal and artistic. No band has yet matched the live Rolling Stones of 1965-1967. That combination of road-hardened raunch and total pop sensibility was unique and irresistible. This collection demonstrates just how good they sounded.

 

Sleeve notes: Flowerboy Venus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John Cale & Chris Spedding: Stockholm 1975

I have just written a letter to Record Collector defending bootlegs as providing music that could and should have been officially released. This recording is a prime example.

The all-encompassing Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend website has full details of the recording here. It was made for Swedish Radio from a live concert at Jarlateatern, Stockholm on November 3 and broadcast two days later when some enterprising soul recorded the gig on a cassette, which subsequently formed the basis for the Massive Attack bootleg. As of today you can download the gig from Mega using this link

I first came across these tracks when five were released on the vinyl bootleg Down At the End Of Lonely Street…Hard Rock Cafe (details here ) together with a grab bag of other Cale live tracks. So it is great to have the whole gig in one place, albeit without the encore Baby What You Want Me To Do (does anyone have this ?).

The brilliant touring band that Cale put together in 1975 to promote his Helen Of Troy LP is woefully under documented. There are a couple of tracks from the June 1975 Crystal Palace Garden Party on YouTube. There was also a first rate session for John Peel, accessible from the always reliable Aquarium Drunkard blog

Stockholm is the only live gig I have found in listenable quality. The Pat Donaldson / Timmi Donald rhythm section were by now used to following Cale’s live detours. Record producer Chris Thomas had been seduced away from his safe studio environment for the first and last time to play keyboards. “Touring with Cale was great fun and I enjoyed it a lot. When we started off that tour, it was insane, because we didn’t know the songs, we didn’t know the keys, we didn’t know what the hell we were doing, so there were a lot of theatrics in the hope audience wouldn’t spot what was going on”.

And on lead and slide guitar – the Very Great Chris Spedding. “The Cale band of 1975 was perhaps the most exciting live band I’ve ever played with. John was very challenging and inspiring to play with. I learned a great deal from him. He works very hit and miss, though. You don’t get a chance to craft a finished thing. It’s a bit like painting a picture by throwing paint against the wall and seeing what sticks – his way of working. It was interesting. Very effective on stage, but quite frustrating in the studio.”

It is the interplay between Spedding and Cale that makes this such a great listen. On the quieter tracks such as Child’s Christmas In Wales Spedding has to invent a guitar part to complement Cale’s vocal and piano, which he does with characteristic restraint. Then Pablo Picasso shows Spedding’s more raucous side. Throughout Cale allows Spedding plenty of space to embellish and solo and at no point does Spedding abuse this freedom with overlong or overplayed parts.

Cale admits in his autobiography that one of his major career mistakes was to disband this band when he moved to New York at the end of the tour. Spedding would follow, and the two would continue to play together on an occasional basis, both live and in the studio. Highly recommended is their sprint through Jim Carroll’s People Who Died from the soundtrack of the film Antartida (hear it here ). But playing together every night brought out the best in both Cale and Spedding and they would never be as good again, together or apart. We are fortunate to have this record of their collaboration at its peak.

And let us not forget what this band achieved in the studio. All three of Cale’s studio LPs recorded for Island have been combined with the surviving outtakes to give The Island Years, a definitive 2CD compilation. Buy it now, if only to see where Nick Cave got it all from.

 

 

 

 

Why The First Clash LP Could Have Been So Much Better

The first time I saw the Clash live they were a five piece with Keith Levine, and I followed closely their development via gigs at the 100 Club and the Screen On The Green through 1976 and into March 1977, when CBS released their debut, self-titled LP. The previous month had seen the release of debut single White Riot, whose poppy catchiness had been remarked upon by Nick Kent in the NME.

I wore that LP out. It was a flat out raver, the only non-amphetamined track being the cover of Juniour Marvin’s Police and Thieves. At 8m 56s this was about four times longer than the other tracks and was more Hawkwind than Bob Marley. Eventually I got to see the Clash on a proper stage with a decent PA (Guildford Civic, May 1st 1977)  and I bought all their records and went to every gig I could , right up to the London Calling  Tour (Manchester Apollo, February 3rd 1980). I loved both Give’ Em Enough Rope and London Calling but rarely played the debut . Compared to what followed, the songs on The Clash sounded one-paced, Mickey Foote’s production was flat and the drumming was unimaginative – the explosive Topper Headon only took over the drum stool after the first LP was recorded.

Eventually during one of my periodic purges I sold the Clash LP to free up some shelf-space and didn’t miss it. After all, if I wanted to play White Riot or Police And Thieves they were on my 3CD Broadway Clash box set.

And yet it felt wrong not to have a vinyl version of Police And Thieves. So this year I thought about rebuying that first LP, but the thought did not fill me with much enthusiasm. If only Police & Thieves had been released as a 12” single…

But what I had forgotten about was the US version of the first Clash LP. Issued by Epic in 1979 it combined the best tracks from the1977 UK release with the A and B sides of the amazing singles the Clash released around this time.  So Side One includes Clash City Rockers, the immaculate Complete Control, White Man In Hammersmith Palais, and their rocked-up version of I Fought The Law plus a version of White Riot different to the single. Side Two includes Police and Thieves (yeh!) and the groovy Jail Guitar Doors. The album I found on Discogs was a Japanese copy called Pearl Harbour ’79, which came with a free single Groovy Times / Gates Of The West and a fold out triple booklet with a pretty fair stab at Strummer’s lyrics.

It is a great record, The two minute wonders from the initial LP like Janie Jones and I’m So Bored With The USA are tempered by the more varied tracks that followed, lending the LP a little more light and shade whilst still remaining ridiculously exciting.

Around the time of Bankrobber the Clash announced they were not releasing LPs any more, they were only going to release single after single. The plan was curtailed after an unnamed CBS exec described Bankrobber as sounding like David Bowie backwards (no, me neither). When the Clash should have pursued this strategy was in 1977 and 1978. They would have unleashed a series of five stunning singles – let’s leave Remote Control out of this – all of which could have and should have been included on their debut LP. The only way the US version of The Clash could have been improved was by adding the original version of Capital Radio, sent out free to NME readers who sent in a red sticker contained inside early copies of the UK  LP.

But that is my only criticism. Buy the US version of The Clash and show Never Mind The Bollocks who’s the boss…

The Greatest Hits (That Aren’t)

Record companies, why do you do it ?

If the record is called Greatest Hits why do you put on a track that was rejected as no good / issued as a B side / only available in Argentina ? Surely a Greatest Hit is a track that has been a Hit i.e. issued as single and made it into the charts ? I realise with some bands that means their Greatest Hits would actually be an EP or maybe even a double A-side single but surely that’s what the term means.

Let’s get specific. The Eagles Greatest Hits. Best selling record in the history of the Universe. Ten tracks, all released as singles. I can hum every song, and I loathe the Eagles. Target audience; people who don’t like music much, people who like songs that are in the charts  but don’t buy singles because they are too fiddly, hipsters who like the Eagles ironically, Joe Walsh so he could learn the songs.

Contrast this with the new Tom Petty 2CD compilation The Best Of Everything “featuring 38 of Tom Petty’s best and definitive hits culled from his career”. Amazingly one of these “best and definitive hits” turns out to be a song called For Real that no-one has ever heard before. Also included is a version of the (brilliant) ballad Southern Accents with new lyrics. This compilation was announced the week after American Treasure, another “definitive” compilation which had plenty of room for these two tracks. And there is a perfectly serviceable Tom Petty Greatest Hits still in the catalogue, 18 tracks released in 2008, all singles, all hits.

So who is the target audience for The Best Of Everything? It’s us. The collectors (ie suckers) who shell out for 36 tracks we have got just to buy the two that we have not. And it sucks.

I have been buying music for 43 years and in that time have repeatedly bought compilations that have just one or two unreleased tracks. My most recent example is the Guts compilation LP by John Cale, which contains the single B-side Mary Lou plus eight other tracks I already have on Cale’s three essential Island LP’s (recently praised and rightly so by Luke Haines in Record Collector mag).

Next time you figure the market can stand another compilation from one of your heritage artists don’t call it a Greatest Hits unless every tracks has been issued as a single. Ideally they would also have all featured in the upper echelons of the singles chart but in a world where ‘Another Girl Another Planet’ never charted this may not be possible.

If however you are going to issue a compilation of 95% previously released material with one or two rare tracks chucked in to tempt the collector then please have the honesty to title your release “Special Collectors Fleecing Edition”. And then we would all know where we stood.

 

Live On WLIR – Big Star

Omnivore CD/LP

I am looking at my 1992 copy of BIG STAR Live. It came in one of Ryko’s distinctive sea green cases, packed in a wildly environmentally-unfriendly “long box”. Three CDs were released at the same time – Live, Third/Sister Lovers and Chris Bell’s I Am The Cosmos. For me this was a significant expansion of Big Star, since all I had heard thus far was #1 Record and Radio City.

Today we are all a lot better informed about the whole Big Star Thing. Third is now regularly feted as a ground-breaking and influential LP and Chris Bell’s contribution to the artistic success of Big Star is now well established.

So that leaves Live as the runt of the litter. Certainly it was an unsophisticated recording , done direct to two track in front of an invited audience in New York’s Ultrasonic Studios in March 1974. There are fourteen tracks and a revealing interview with Alex Chilton: listen to the relish with which he describes touring conditions as ‘pretty scummy’. Whilst original drummer Jody Stephens was still in the band his colleague in rhythm Andy Hummell had gone back to college and was replaced by John Lightman on bass. The mix underplays Alex’s guitar until the third track Mod Lang.

Big Star were always an erratic proposition in performance. No live tapes exist of the original Chlton/Bell/Stephens/Hummell line up, although their live-in-the-studio take of In The Street done for a promo single is impressive. So all extant live recordings are of the three-piece band, which in no way resembled other power trios such as Cream or the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Jody is a powerful drummer, but Lightman is tentative and Alex is also economical with his guitar parts: no lengthy jamming here. I am reminded of the Kinks, who had a similar endearingly uncertain live sound before they tightened up and went balls-out professional after signing to Arista in the late 70s.

Omnivore have remastered the original WLIR recording. Compared to the original Ryko disc this new version is more of a Rock sound, louder and heavier. It is probably more commercial and may even be better suited to modern playback devices but I prefer my lighter, poppier Ryko version. Robert Gordon has upgraded his original liner notes and there is an interesting interview with John Lightman. Recommended if you do not have the Rykodisc original.

Also recommended but harder to find is Beale Street Green , a CD which contains 8 tracks recorded at rehearsals for the WLIR performance with a looser and more punchy sound. These tracks are also available on the official Norton Records release Nobody Can Dance. And watch out for a recording from the same tour made in Cambridge on 31/3/74 : lesser sound quality but interesting covers of Baby Strange, Candy Says, Til The End Of The Day and We Gotta Go.

FLYING SAUCERS ROCK’N’ROLL (40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION) – PATTI SMITH

Eat A Peach CD  EAT 105

In May 1976 the Patti Smith Group stunned London with two nights of rock’n’roll quite unlike anything we had seen before. And now thanks to Eat A Peach we have an excellent aural document of those amazing gigs, a mere 42 years ago.

The gigs were highly anticipated and had quickly sold out. Patti was the first of the CBGB crowd to make it to London and her image preceded her. Time Out ran a cover story which featured “New York’s rock’n’roll poetess” in a battered leather biker jacket, too tough to prove it. Then there was Maplethorpe’s front cover picture of debut LP Horses, where Patti wore the men’s black suit / white shirt / skinny black tie combo featured by all her band. As a clueless teenager I found her sexy as hell, but in a different way to previous girl singers. Patti was fierce – more Sandie Shaw than Marianne Faithful.

The Roundhouse was then having a renaissance with incessant Hawkwind Sunday afternooners now replaced by a new wave of bands of which Patti was the harbinger. Support was the deeply unpleasant Stranglers, managed by Dai Davies who just so happened to book the Roundhouse. Unsurprisingly The Stranglers were the support band on the other epic Roundhouse gig of that summer, the Ramones / Groovies double header on July 4th.

I went on the Sunday night, May 16th. As the lights went down I recognised the opening tune – it was We’re Gonna Have Real Good Time Together! At that point only available on the Velvet Underground 1969 Live double LP, it remains a perfect set opener and message of intent, and reminds us that guitarist Lenny Kate always had impeccable taste. Free Money started off with Richard Sohl’s solo piano before the rest of the band piled in. Another obscurity follows, Paul Jones’ Set Me Free from the soundtrack to the movie Privilege. The set then dipped with three unfamiliar tunes  – Pissing In A River, Pumping (My Heart) and Radio Ethiopia. All three would appear on album number two Radio Eithiopia but none of them match prime Horses material. Which then follows in the form of a phenomenal Land which merged seamlessly into a reckless Gloria, the group by now the garage band of your dreams. Encore was Patti’s patented version of My Generation without the John Cale bass solo but with Patti’s rewritten lyrics (wonder if Pete Townshend gave his approval?). On the Sunday night we were treated to a second encore of a Patti poem that ended “tick tock…f*ck the clock” and swang seamlessly into a lovely Time Is On My Side.

The CD from Eat A Peach does a great job in conveying the atmosphere and music from these gigs. Recorded on the Monday night (May 17) there is no Time Is On My Side but the other 12 tracks are here in remarkably good quality for an audience recording. The entertaining sleeve notes tell how ‘Mike B’ and ‘Pete’ taped the gig from centre-stage upstairs at the Roundhouse. After our intrepid duo blagged their way into the aftershow Patti and Lenny listened approvingly to the cassette and suggested it would make a fine bootleg one day. They were right. The CD looks as good as it sounds. Front cover is a colour repro of the gig ad, inside is a printed inner sleeve and fold out insert, all featuring great pics from the gig itself as well as a reproduction of the afore-mentioned Time Out cover.

Patti Smith would never be this groundbreaking again. The Jack Douglas production on Radio Ethiopia did the band no favours, and whilst Todd Rundgren was more sympathetic on Easter the material was now inconsistent, although the singles Frederick, Dancing Barefoot and Because The Night still sparkled. Then marriage, motherhood, retirement.

So remember the Patti Smith Group this way. From its release in December 1975 Horses rarely left my turntable and being able to relive the live version via this CD is a real thrill. Bravo!

 

1974

So after my success* at persuading the MC50 to let me DJ with a 1968-themed setlist I have done a similar exercise for 1974. This is because next April’s Mott The Hoople Class of ’74 gigs are going to focus exclusively on the material they recorded that year. I have already written to Ian Hunter via the excellent Horses Mouth feature on his website to see if I can DJ at one or both of the Shepherds Bush gigs.

My next step was to see what 7” vinyl singles I have from that year. The list follows, and it is a more interesting selection of songs than I imagined. Glam was almost over, The Faces were on their last legs, pub rock was coming up fast but a quiet year from some of my long term favourites with nothing contemporary from The Kinks or The Who. Of course the big omission is the final run of Mott singles – Golden Age of R’n’R, Foxy Foxy and Saturday Gigs – but I hope we’ll be hearing these live!

Usual rules apply: all tracks must have been released on 7” vinyl as an A or B side somewhere in the world in 1974. So what have I missed ?

Blue Oyster Cult – ME 262 / Career Of Evil

David Bowie – Rebel Rebel / Diamond Dogs / All The Young Dudes

Brinsley Schwarz – (What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love And Understanding

John Cale – The Man Who Couldn’t Afford To Orgy

Dr Feelgood – Roxette

Ducks Deluxe – Love’s Melody / Fireball

Eno – Seven Deadly Finns / Fever

Faces – You Can Make Be Dance… / As Long As You Tell Him

Bryan Ferry – The In Crowd

Flamin’ Groovies – Grease / More Grease

J Geils Band – Musta Got Lost / Funky Judge

Grin – You’re The Weight / Beggars Day

Roy Harper – Home

Ronnie Lane – The Poacher

Lulu – Watch That Man / The Man Who Stole The World

Andy McKay – Wild Weekend

New Your Dolls – Who Are The Mystery Girls ? / Stranded In The Jungle

Raspberries – Overnite Sensation / Party’s Over

Lou Reed – How Do You Think It Feels? / Caroline Says

Rolling Stones – Through The Lonely Nights / Dance Little Sister / Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

Mick Ronson – Slaughter On Tenth Avenue

Roxy Music – All I Want Is You / The Thrill Of It All

Todd Rundgren – A Dream Goes On Forever / Heavy Metal Kids

Bob Seeger – Get Out Of Denver

Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Anthem

Sharks – King Fu

Slade – How Does It Feel / Everyday / Far Far Away

Steely Dan- Rikki Don’t Lose That Number

Who – Postcard

Neil Young – Walk On

* total failure – apparently Mick Jones from The Clash got the gig