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Todd Rundgren @ Eventim Apollo, London

April 6th 2019

View: Front Stalls

Standout collectable: signed copies of Todd’s autobiography The Individualist (£40)

Imagine if your favourite band put together two sets that combined all their hits from 1968 onwards  and than added an equal quantity of deep cuts that hardcore fans fantasised about hearing live.

That’s what Todd and a sympathetic five piece band achieved tonight over two and a half hours and 29 songs. For every I Saw The Light there was a Fair Warning, for every Hello It’s Me a Sometimes I Don’t Know What To Feel. This date, comprising 50% of a European tour, was designed to promote Todd’s biography, hence its retrospective nature.

Prairie Prince provided thunderous drums, partnered by the extraordinarily youthful Kasim Sulton on bass plus Jesse Gress (guitar), Greg Hawkes (keyboards) and Bobby Strickland on an array of horns and woodwinds. Todd solo’d extensively on Foamy, his turquoise Strat, his vocals were strong throughout and his introductions witty and self-deprecating

There were a couple of missteps – Todd having to perform ace Nazz single Open My Eyes on air guitar because of a malfunctioning strap and a video Q&A with fans where the questions were unintelligible – but overall this was a night that celebrated a half century of extraordinary music from Rundgren.The final encore of Just One Victory saw the capacity crowd clapping along, ecstatic at what they had just witnessed.

(written for Record Collector magazine)

 

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Fleetwood Mac BBC Sessions 1968 Vinyl LP

RSD release from http://www.1960s.london

SIDE ONE

  1. A Mind Of My Own (Danny Kirwan) Recorded August 27th, transmitted September 1st
  2. Black Magic Woman (Peter Green) Recorded April 9th, transmitted April13th
  3. Mean Old World (T-Bone Walker) Recorded February 26th, transmitted July 23rd
  4.  You Need Love (Willie Dixon) Recorded August 27th, transmitted October 13th
  5. That Ain’t It (Peter Green) Recorded May 27th, transmitted June 2nd
  6. Please Find My Baby (Elmore James) Recorded April 9th, transmitted April13th
  7. Without You (Danny Kirwan) Recorded August 27th, transmitted November 24th

SIDE TWO

  1.  Albatross (Peter Green)  Recorded October 9th, transmitted November 5th
  2. Talk With You (Danny Kirwan) Recorded August 27th, transmitted October 13th
  3. Sweet Little Angel (Lucille Bogan)Recorded January 16th, transmitted January 21st
  4. Peggy Sue Got Married (Buddy Holly)Recorded April 9th, transmitted April13th
  5. Bo Diddley (Ellas McDaniel)Recorded August 27th, transmitted October 13th
  6. Dead Shrimp Blues (Robert Johnson) Recorded May 27th, transmitted June 2nd
  7. Where You Belong (Eddie Boyd) Recorded January 16th, transmitted March 24th

 

Personnel

Peter Green – lead guitar, vocals

Jeremy Spencer – guitar, vocals

Mick Fleetwood – drums

John McVie – bass

Eddie Boyd – vocals (14)

Danny Kirwan – guitar, vocals (1, 4, 7, 8, 9, 12)

Christine Perfect – vocals, keyboards (1, 4, 7, 9, 12)

 

Sleeve notes by Earl Vince, with thanks to Richie Unterberger

 

According to Ken Gardner’s definitive history of BBC radio sessions “In Session Tonight”, from November 1967 to August 1970 Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac recorded 77 tracks for shows including Top Gear, Saturday Club, Night Ride and Symonds On Sunday. A high proportion of these songs did not appear on any of Fleetwood Mac’s studio LP’s. The 1995 release of Live At The BBC (Castle Communications) featured 36 of these recordings but left many strong tracks unreleased: this record is an attempt to rectify the situation. The quality of sound and performance is excellent throughout, reflecting the BBC’s abilities to bring out the best of this band. Gardner notes that most of these recordings were performed live and are first takes.

Taking these songs in the order in which they were recorded Sweet Little Angel is a BB King song, with Peter Green taking lead vocals. Of Peter Green BB King said “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats”. A lively Where You Belong features a guest vocal from American bluesman Eddie Boyd. Strangely it was not included on the LP that Boyd recorded with Fleetwood Mac in 1968. Mean Old World had been variously recorded by T-Bone Walker, Little Walter and BB King – the version here appears to be based on the latter version, albeit speeded up and with space for extended Peter Green solos. Introduced by the inescapable Brian Mathews, Please Find My Baby is another example of Jeremy Spencer’s Elmore James fixation – the piano here is uncredited but may well be Christine Perfect (soon to be Christine McVie). From the same session comes a version of Black Magic Woman which sticks pretty close to the original sparse arrangement and Peggy Sue Got Married, a Buddy Holly song which was another manifestation of Spencer’s obsession with vintage American rock’n’roll. Peter Green’s acoustic prowess is showcased on his version of Dead Shrimp Blues, originally written by Robert Johnson. This song is not about fishing.

That Ain’t It is a blues shuffle that appears to be an otherwise unreleased Peter Green original. A Mind Of My Own features new guitarist Danny Kirwan on his own composition. You Need Love was originally written by Willie Dixon for Muddy Waters in 1962 before being adopted by the Small Faces (You Need Loving) and then Led Zeppelin (Whole Lotta Love). Arguably the musical highspot of this collection the track features a strong Peter Green vocal over a propulsive beat and the intertwined guitars that would later underpin Rattlesnake Shake. For Talk With You Danny Kirwan takes the lead vocal whilst Jeremy Spencer faithfully replicates Bo Diddley’s ‘shave and a haircut two bits” rhythm. Danny Kirwan sings Without You (also known as Crazy For My Baby), backed by more Perfect piano. Finally we have a sinuous Albatross, here in a different version to that previously released on Live At The BBC. Incidentally the Live At The BBC version of Albatross was incorrectly labelled: it was actually recorded on March 17th 1969, and transmitted on March 23rd.

This LP is a tribute to the extraordinary creativity of Fleetwood Mac during this initial phase of their career. Tracks such as You Need Love and Sweet Little Angel would easily have justified a place on the eponymous first LP or its successor Mr Wonderful. Finally such tracks get a wider exposure to their rightful audience. So…how blue can you get?

PP Arnold Sings The Hits! Vinyl EP

RSD Release from http://www.1960s.london

Side A

  1. The First Cut Is The Deepest (Stevens)
  2. (If You Think You’re) Groovy (Marriott/Lane)
  3. Interview with Brian Mathews

Side B

  1. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (Jagger/Richards)
  2. Tin Soldier (Marriott/Lane)

Recording Details

Track 1 Saturday Club 24.07.67

Tracks 2 – 5 Top Gear 02.01.68

Pat Arnold – Andrew Loog Oldham’s “First Lady of Immediate” – came to the UK as a backing singer for Ike & Tina Turner. Mick Jagger encouraged her to stay on in London and go solo: her first backing band became The Nice. Cat Stevens was allegedly so impressed by her version of The First Cut Is The Deepest that he stopped performing the song himself.

PP Arnold’s most satisfying artistic collaboration was with label mates the Small Faces. Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane wrote (If You Think You’re) Groovy specifically for her, and her vocal on Tin Soldier was a crucial part of the song’s success. More recently she has sung with Roger Waters, Primal Scream, Ocean Colour Scene and Peter Gabriel.

The tracks on this EP illustrate PP Arnold’s ability to interpret a variety of material and showcase her terrific voice. On the Top Gear session she is backed by T.N.T (This ’N’ That), whose distinctive sound features ex-Creation Eddie Phillips playing lead guitar parts on bass. Backing vocals are provided by Madeline Bell and Dusty Springfield.

Sleeve notes: Happiness Stan

 

Que Sera, Sera Resurrected – Johnny Thunders

FREUDLP 129

Que Sera, Sera was a good record following a great one. Thunders first solo LP So Alone (1978) featured a strong songs from a lengthy back-catalogue, plus impressive performances from a stellar line up of famous friends. By the time the ten tracks on Que Sera, Sera appeared in 1985 the post-punk world was less receptive to Thunders raucous guitar. Jungle Records mainman Alan Hauser noting that this time “the mood was not to let Johnny’s guitar be rampant”. Thirty-four years later Thunders is celebrated precisely for his guitar being rampant.

Released in time for Record Store day this new version is a 23 track double vinyl LP, one disc purple, one disc clear. Purple Disc One begins with Alone In A Crowd and straight away the benefits of Pat Collier’s remix are obvious. There is certainly now a lot more raunch in the riffs, and the rather polite original mix is now replaced by the highly audible dual guitars of Thunders and guest John Perry. MIA goes back to Gang War days and has a nice poppy feel. Short Lives features a concise arrangement, fine backing vocals on the chorus from Patti Palladin and more Thunders / Perry interplay. Wilko Johnson joins in on the NY Dolls remnant Endless Party where Perry’s piano is key. The instrumental Billy Boy totally rocks, in much the same way that Pipeline kicked off So Alone with such elan. The song is a tribute to original Dolls drummer Billy Murcia and whilst lyrics for the song are reproduced here it is hard to see how they would have fitted this firecracker.

 

The clearer sound can be a mixed blessing as it also serves to highlight some less impressive material. Blame It On Mom is Leave Me Alone Part II, albeit with a nifty sax solo from Mike Monroe. Talk About You is Green Onions with some not very good lyrics. Cool Operator benefits only rhythm section Keith Yon and Tony St. Helene. Thunders’ misogyny drips from There’s A Little Bit Of Whore In Every Girl and only John Perry’s piano redeems the mawkish I Only Wrote This Song For You. Finally the title track sees Thunders crooning over J-C Carolls accordion and mandolin to slightly queasy effect.

Clear Disc Two contains a further 11 tracks, six studio and five recorded live in Lyons at an unspecified date. Of the new songs Copy Cat has some fine 1950’s pop backing vocals but Taking You Up Avenue D is dull. The other outtakes add little to existing versions. Tie Me Up from the original LP is inexplicably absent, this country-punk-sleaze duet with Patti would have fitted in well. The live set is a well recorded soundboard in front of an enthusiastic audience. Just Another Girl is a notable addition and Thunders is in good form throughout.

If you liked the original Que Sera, Sera you’re going to love this new version. If like me you thought it was just OK, you will be impressed by the improved sound and the difference this makes to the stronger songs. Even on the weaker tracks such as Countdown Love there is always a nifty guitar solo and the remix brings out Thunders’ characteristic guitar sound in a way that has not been heard before. The double gatefold presentation with new sleeve notes from Nina Antonia, a printed insert and coloured vinyl is exceptionally well done. Congratulations to Alan and Nina for bringing this project to fruition.

 

Further information

www.ninaantoniaauthor.com

https://www.roughtrade.com/gb/music/johnny-thunders-que-sera-sera-resurrected

https://onlyrockandroll.london/?s=johnny+thunders

 

 

 

 

Six Strings Good, Twelve Strings Better!

Jangled up in blue

Mini LP CD

The Lucys

The Lucys started off as a labour of love, when long-term Flamin’ Groovies uber-fan and Bucketful of Brains contributor John Bottomley wanted something to do with his new 12-string Rickenbacker. Telecaster / Epiphone player Vince Cory suggested a recording project and these seven cover versions are the result. John and Vince are joined by Mike Moran on simple (but not simplistic) drums. Choice of songs goes from the well known (Love Is All Around, When You Walk In The Room, Here Without You) through semi obscure  – Hearts In Her Eyes by John Wicks and Will Birch, September Gurls by Alex Chilton – to totally obscure such as Until You Came Along (Gary Louris for Golden Smog) and Love That Never Dies, a little known Roger McGuinn/Stan Lynch co-write.  Throughout the record lives up to its name with John jangling away to great effect. When Hollywood finally gets round to making the Bucketful of Brains story – and it must be any day now – The Lucys will be a shoe-in for Band In Bar.

This release is a strictly limited edition but I believe there are still some copies left. Contact jbottomley@hotmail.co.uk for more information.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.