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All The Way From Memphis: The Rehabilitation of Give Out But Don’t You Give Up

October 14, 2018

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Primal Scream releasing The Original Memphis Recordings 2CD (Sony) provides a heaven-sent opportunity for a record geek like me to re-write history and create my own alternate version of the record.

Short history lesson: these sessions were thoroughly mucked around with in post-production by George Clinton, George Drakoulias and Jimmy Miller and ended up on the murky Give Out But Don’t Give Up LP (1994), the follow up to the titanium-bright Screamadelica (1991). I saw the band give a memorable performance in Manchester on the Give Out… tour, as captured for Radio 1 on the Rocksucker Blues CD (recommended). So the mood of indolence and creative confusion that permeated the original Give Out…came as a disappointment.

Hearing these tracks for the first time as they came out of Ardent Studios, Memphis in June and July of 1993 shows a band at the top of their game, consistently hitting the groove laid down by the house rhythm section of David Hood and Roger Hawkins and ably supported by the Memphis Horns and Tom Dowd’s sympathetic production. Of the nine songs only Free remains underwhelming, although I do prefer the version here sung by Bobby Gillespie rather than the Denise Johnson version that was released on the original Get Out…. What the track does spotlight is Duffy’s phenomenal piano playing, a complete Nicky Hopkins throughout – check the coda at the end of Jesus.

There is also an additional CD of outtakes, interesting rather than essential. The medley of Billy (Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid ost) and To Love Somebody (Burritos) is fun, the latter performed in the style of Ooh La La-era Face as confirmed by the guitar picking out the riff from I Wish It Would Rain.

So here is my suggested tracklisting, which makes for a great 45 minute LP (CD), five tracks a side. What’s yours ?

Get Off But Don’t Nod Out – Primal Scream

SIDE A

  1. Rocks  (Jimmy Miller)
  2. Jailbird – (Tom Dowd)
  3. Everybody Needs Somebody  (Tom Dowd)
  4. Sad & Blue (Tom Dowd)
  5. Big Jet Plane (Tom Dowd)

Track 1 from Dirty Hits 2CD version

Tracks 2-4 from The Memphis Recordings

Track 5 from Give Out But Don’t You Give Up

 

SIDE B

1.Call On Me  (Drakoulias)

2. Jesus (Tom Dowd)

3. Cry Myself Blind  (Tom Dowd)

4. How Does It Feel To Belong (Primal Scream)

5. Billy / To Love Somebody (Tom Dowd)

Track 1 from Give Out But Don’t You Give Up

Tracks 2-3 and 5 from The Memphis Recordings

Track 4 from Star 4 track EP

You will note that I favour the Memphis Recordings version of the ballads. The exception here is Big Jet Plane where I go for the Give Out…version partly because of the presence of Jim Dickinson and partly because of how Bobby sings “Jesus Christ!” at the fade ( I do wish the guitar intro sounded less like Octopus’s Garden). Of the rockers, Jimmy Miller made Rocks even more Stones-like by sharpening up the drum sound and replacing the horn section with a wailing harmonica a la Magic Dick (probably Charlie Jacobs). George Drakoulias delivered a faster, snappier version of Call On Me which just edges it over Tom Dowd’s more relaxed swing through the song. And whoever took the horns off Jailbird should be shot – the Memphis Recordings version reinstates them to Exilent effect. How Does It Feel To Belong was cut at the abortive Roundhouse sessions that preceded the move to Memphis – it is a strange VU ballad that no-one can remember recording, with the closest reference point being Big Star Third (also recorded at Ardent).

 

 

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