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The Joy Of Less

The Joy Of Less

A house revamp necessitated me putting all my records, books, CDs and DVDs into storage. A year later and they are back and I am delighted to be reunited with my old friends.

However before they went back on the shelves I did some thinning and ejected around 80 items, a combination of books I don’t read, DVDs I don’t watch and music I don’t listen to. Some went to charity shops and some went onto eBay where I am about halfway through the selling process and have made over £500 thus far.

The real joy of editing my collection in this way is realising how much I love what is left. If I like a band my tendency is to buy everything they have done. Very few bands can justify this type of investment. I can count the bands whose entire output I own on the fingers of one hand – the Only Ones, the Replacements, the MC5. For everyone else being selective is crucial. Be honest: just because you love The Who Sell Out do you ever want to hear It’s Hard again?

The other thing I ditched is innumerable recordings of gigs I attended. I have kept the professionally recorded versions such as the Stones in Hyde Park but endless audience CDRs of the Stones at Wembley? Life is too short. I advertised the CDRs on fan forums – you can have them if you pay my postage and make a donation to Oxfam. I have made some Stones, Tom Petty, Clash and Who fans very happy and raised some cash for a good cause.

And I have been really tough on box sets. I don’t need to sit through multiple versions of the same song to realise that the band released the right one. Yes, I am looking at you Stooges Fun House Complete Sessions. When I will I find the time to listen to 28 takes of Loose? Does “never”” sound good to you? Honourable exceptions of box sets that survived the cull: Roxy Music First LP, Tom Petty Live Anthology, Clash On Broadway, Big Star Third Demo, Replacements Dead Man’s Pop and Pleased To Meet Me. Memo to compilers of 35CD box sets: please don’t.

Give it a go. Less is more. Keep the stuff you really love. Get rid of the compilations / Greatest Hits / solo albums / imports with a different cover photo.

Then you will have the space to buy more stuff.

(written for Record Collector magazine)


We’re back – Stones Oakland 1969 is latest release from 1960s Records!

Available  now at

The Rolling Stones – Live At The Oakland Coliseum 1969

Let The Airwaves Flow Volume 4


  1. Sympathy For The Devil (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards)
  2. Stray Cat Blues (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards)
  3. Prodigal Son (Robert Wilkins)
  4. You Gotta Move (Fred McDowell and the Rev. Gary Davies)
  5. Love In Vain (Robert Johnson)
  6. Live With Me (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards)
  7. Gimme Shelter (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards)
  8. Little Queenie (Chuck Berry)
  9. Satisfaction  (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards)

All tracks recorded live at the Oakland-Almeda County Coliseum, California on November 9th 1969 (Second Show) and broadcast on Radio KSAN at the behest of Bill Graham



Mick Jagger – Lead vocals

Keith Richards – Guitars, vocals

Mick Taylor – Guitar, vocals

Bill Wyman – Bass

Charlie Watts – Drums

Sleeve Notes: Dan D. Lion

The opening night of the Stones 1969 tour – a low key warm up in Colorado – was their first gig in the US since Honolulu on July 28th 1966. In the intervening three years much had changed for both the Stones and the States. Founder member Brian Jones had been eased out of the band and replaced in May 1969 by twenty-year old guitarist Mick Taylor. Keith Richards had “got heavily into open tuning guitar riffs – the big new sound – and this was the first tour they had been let loose on audiences”. Onstage amplification and lighting had also greatly improved which allowed the band to be seen and heard, crucial for  an audience now more into listening than screaming. The 17 date, 23 day tour sold out in hours and grossed $1,907,180. Ticket prices ran from $4.50 to $8 in New York. Criticism of such “exorbitant” ticket prices fuelled demand for a free concert, which would eventually result in the darkness of Altamont.

The tour received rave reviews, with The New Yorker stating that “the Stones present a theatrical musical performance that has no equal in our culture” whilst New York Daily News noted that “the Rolling Stones took the fans by storm, preaching male chauvinism, sex, drugs, freedom and violent revolution”.  The onstage prowess of the band was captured by the Wally Heider Mobile  at gigs in New York and Baltimore,  resulting in the ten track LP Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! released in September 1970 and described by the NME as “arguably the best thing the band has ever done”. An expanded version was released in 2009, adding five further live numbers plus songs from support acts B.B. King and Ike & Tina Turner.

Before Ya-Ya’s came out an unofficial document of the tour emerged in hipper record stores. This LP was called Live’r Than You’ll Ever Be, initially released on Lurch Records. Recorded by “Dub” Taylor at Oakland using a Sennheiser shotgun microphone and a Uher Report 4000 reel-to-reel tape recorder Live’r was the first live rock bootleg to be widely distributed and of remarkably good quality for an audience recording: read Clinton Heylin’s fascinating Bootleg! for the full story. Comparing Live’r to Ya-Ya’s shows that the latter benefitted from considerable studio over-dubbing. Richie Unterberger has noted that whilst the recording of Live’r is inferior to the sound quality of Ya-Ya’s, it displays a spontaneity that the official recording lacks. In Rolling Stone magazine John Peel opined that Live’r was the greatest live album, ever.

By concentrating on the tracks broadcast by KSAN we can present the Oakland concert in best-yet quality. A slightly tentative Sympathy For The Devil showcases a lengthy Taylor solo, underpinned by Richards’ unrelenting rhythm. Stray Cat Blues reduces the age of its subject to thirteen for a spot of épater le bourgeois and features some x-rated guitar action. The acoustic interlude of Prodigal Son and You Gotta Move is a delight with Jagger’s vocals devoid of affectation  and Richards’ acoustic guitar sounding surprisingly clear considering the primitive amplification available. Love In Vain  features a fine train impersonation and lyrical playing from Taylor. Such subtlety is elbowed aside by a stomping Live With Me, Jagger improvising lyrics to address an unspecified onstage problem. Compared to later live versions Gimme Shelter is compact and to the point, ending a bit abruptly for some of the band. On this tour Ian Stewart would usually slide behind the piano for the irresistible chug of Little Queenie but there is no sign of him here. The set ends with a rousing Satisfaction, Jagger testifying over rhythm kings Watts and Wyman and the interlocking guitars of Richards and Taylor.

Ya-Ya’s  kicked off with tour manager Sam Cutler’s onstage introduction of  “Ladies and Gentlemen…the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world…The Rolling Stones!” . On this evidence, less an arrogant boast and more a statement of fact.


Between The Lines – The Complete Jordan/Wilson Songbook ’71-81

I’ll Have A…Bucket Of Brains

The Flamin’ Groovies

Grown Up Wrong! CDs

Now that Big Star are virtually mainstream the Groovies have inherited their mantle of “The Best Band You Never Heard Of (Unless You Are Jack White)”. The LPs Flamingo (1970) and Teenage Head (1971) showcased the initial songwriting partnership of guitarist Cyril Jordan and singer Roy Loney. These two Grown Up Wrong! CDs highlight the very different second phase from 1971 onwards when Roy Loney was replaced by singer/guitarist Chris Wilson. The Wilson/Jordan songwriting partnership lasted ten years and every song they wrote is contained on Between The Lines in chronological order.

First up is the lo-fi but totally committed Let Me Rock, later to be re-recorded in higher-fi in 2016. Dog Meat is in a similar vein, these tracks coming from San Francisco 1971. The third track from this session is a more thoughtful original entitled Blues From Phyllis: inspired guitar from Cyril underpinned a lyric about a guy in the terminal stages of VD. It would be remade in 1977 as Don’t Put Me On with lyrics changed to attack a music journalist, including a rare useage of the word poltroon.

Enter Dave Edmunds and Rockfield studios and a brace of total 100% classics in You Tore Me Down and the immortal Shake Some Action. Whilst they would appear sounding box-fresh on debut Sire LP in 1976, the tracks were actually recorded in 1972. What do they sound like ? A heady cocktail made from the Stones, Beatles and Byrds in variable proportions, coincidentally the ingredients from which the afore-mentioned Big Star created their magic. Good as these tracks were the next two songs were even better – a demo of Shake Some Action and When I Heard Your Name. Cut for Capitol in July 1973 they have a harder edge than the Edmunds tracks, with a Who-like dynamic on Shake Some Action and some cool mellotron over a Bo Diddley beat for When I Heard Your Name

The next five tracks come from the Shake Some Action LP, the highlight being tear-jerker Teenage Confidential. Follow up LP Now (1977) contributes six tracks, including the propulsive Between The Lines and a Brian Wilson homage in Take Me Back. Third and final Sire LP Jumpin’ In The Night (1979) was made without Edmunds, but Jordan’s production toughened up the sound on the title track and the closing In The U.S.A to deliver the hard, churning rhythm that Jimmy Miller achieved with prime-period Stones – the rock and the roll. Finally So Much In Love – the last Jordan / Wilson song recorded by the Groovies at their abortive Gold Star session in 1981. A bit flimsy compared to previous triumphs but good to have here.

Compiler David Laing has done a sterling job in focussing attention on the bands originals and eliminated the cover versions that cluttered the bands three Sire LPs Whilst at the time Jordan justified the number of cover versions as an homage to early Beatles and Stones LPs a more likely explanation is that he and Chris Wilson were just too slow at writing. Although an occasional gem is missed – I am particularly fond of the harpsichord-drenched I Saw Her, originally by the Charlatans – losing the covers lends more focus to what’s left. It could be renamed the Groovies Greatest Hits, if only they’d had one.

In addition to Jordan and Wilson much credit must be given to long-term bass-player George Alexander, guitarists James Farrell and Mike Wilhelm and drummer David Wright. The standard of musicianship is high throughout – not in the sense of “oh wow what a cosmic 18 minute guitar solo” but more in the sense of a band playing with economy, using lean arrangements to optimise their songs. A 28 page booklet contains Laing’s comprehensive history of the band and includes some mouth-watering Groovies ephemera. Clearly a labour of love.

As is its companion release I’ll Have… A Bucket Of Brains. This is a straight recreation of a CD put together in 1995 by veteran Groovies fan Jon Storey and contains the ground-breaking tracks the band recorded at Rockfield in 1972 . There is some duplication with Between The Lines but also essential tracks. Exhibit one: Little Queenie with Edmunds contributing some boogie-woogie piano a la Ian Stewart. Exhibit two: Slow Death, for me the finest and fiercest song in the Groovies canon. Although recorded by the Jordan/Wilson band it was actually written by Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney and thus was not eligible for inclusion on Between The Lines. Slow Death features a killer slide guitar from Farrell, and a passionate anti-drugs lyric that earnt it a ban from the BBC (doh). Also of note is an extended and different mix of Married Woman and Edmunds’ Shake Some Action at its correct (slower) speed. Once again the booklet is top notch with a note from Jon Storey, a reprint of Nick Kent’s article on the band from Friends in June 1972 – a total hoot – and Robin Wills fascinating speculation as to what tracks could have gone on a 1972 Groovies LP.

A band calling itself the Flamin’ Groovies continues to tour, although with George Alexander and Chris Wilson no longer in the line-up the current band is virtually a tribute to itself. Sadly Roy Loney and Mike Wilhelm have died in recent years leaving Cyril Jordan to fly the flag for Grooviedom on his own. There has been a movie about the Groovies in preparation for years with much footage shot: whether it will ever be released is uncertain. So for now these two CDs – together with Flamingo and Teenage Head – represent all that is best about a wonderful band that continually managed to pull defeat from the jaws of victory.

Is 2020 going to be the Year of the Groovies?


But there is some serious fun to be had with the music on these two fine CDs.

Rock On with The Only Ones!

Do you remember the magazine Rock On ?

Me neither.

However they did publish this excellent article plus accompanying pic of Peter playing John’s strat. Thanks to Nina Antonia for disinterring this.

New tracks from the Rolling Stones!

My first ever commission!

Article appears in the February 2020 edition of Record Collector magazine  (Pink Floyd on cover)

What I wrote is as follows:

“Fans of the Stones, Dylan and the Beach Boys have become accustomed to a New Year bonus as their record companies attempt to extend the copyright of unreleased material by making it publicly available online. However nobody expected a YouTube channel called 69RSTRAX to make 115 previously unreleased 1969-vintage Rolling Stones live and studio tracks available on December 31st. By the time that wrote about the tracks on January 1st they had been taken down.

Alert Stones fans who managed to hear these tracks were intrigued by song versions that had never even been bootlegged before, let alone officially released.  Frustratingly the songs had been rendered unlistenable by the addition of an electronic spoiler, a high-pitched whine. Enter the world’s best fan-run website, Within hours the Notch Filter facility on Audacity had removed the spoiler and the tracks were being freely shared by fans all over the world

Live tracks come from the Stones ground-breaking 1969 US visit. It was their first tour with Mick Taylor replacing Brian Jones, and it was subsequently documented by the live LP Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out. Entire sets come from Oakland (9th of November, first show), Champaign, Illinois (15th), New York (27th and 28th) and West Palm Beach, Florida (30th). There are also individual tracks from Phoenix, Arizona (7th), Inglewood (8th), Oakland (9th, 2nd show) and Fort Collins (11th) plus a partial set from the infamous Altamont Festival (December 6th). Overall the effect is underwhelming. The Stones played pretty much the same set every night, some nights better than others – Champaign is good, West Palm is not. Sound quality is bootleg or worse, apart from the New York Shows which sound like professionally mixed soundboards, unsurprising since the bulk of Ya-Ya’s was drawn from these dates. The November 27th set sounds phenomenal with the band on peak form.The absence of a Baltimore recording is surprising: a multi-track must exist as the Love In Vain on Ya-Ya’s comes from this gig. The Altamont recording here disappoints – this first ‘official’ release is incomplete, runs slow and sounds worse than most recent bootlegs although the version of Gimme Shelter sounds unexpectedly good.

If the live tracks tell us little new, the studio tracks are the complete opposite – previously unreleased and in some cases unheralded by Stones experts.  There are seventeen tracks all in excellent quality, although one is a very obvious McGuffin being a rehearsal of Gimme Shelter recorded in Woodstock during preparation for the 1978 US tour and featuring Taylor’s successor Ronnie Wood on guitar. There is a Love In Vain that is bluesier than we have heard before. The Glimmer Twins swap vocals with Mick singing You Got The Silver and Keith singing lead on Gimme Shelter. Fascinating instrumental versions of Midnight Rambler, Country Honk and Let It Bleed allow for a more detailed examination of the instrumental balance, the latter having more prominent slide licks from (probably) Ry Cooder. Stray Cat Blues and Sister Morphine are earlier takes, again with more prominent slide.

Wild Horses is radically reworked through the addition of a glass harmonica and a full string section. In contrast to the elegant arrangements provided by Paul Buckmaster on contemporary tracks Sway and Moonlight Mile the strings here seem cloying and detract from the desolate beauty of the song. Honky Tonk Women  features Jagger singing the alternate ‘boulevards of Paris” words whilst Sympathy For The Devil features the earlier lyric of “I shouted out ‘Who killed a Kennedy?’. The longest track is 22.25 of Mick Jagger and the London Bach Choir finalising the choral vocals on You Can’t Always Get What You Want with a lot of laughter and false starts. Eventually they nail both introduction and coda, despite Jagger trying to persuade the Choir that ‘want’ contains two syllables.

There are many questions raised by the studio tracks. Stones authority John Perry is intrigued by the acoustic version of Ruby Tuesday. “Why, nearly three years on, would they re-record it with more conventional instrumentation? Brian Jones’ subtle, layered recorder parts are gone and the track is carried by a piano (probably Nicky Hopkins) and an immaculate performance from Charlie Watts, whose drum-sound makes me think it’s from Olympic. The session does not show up in any extant track logs; if the April ’69 date is correct it could be an out-take from the Let It Bleed sessions or even Jamming With Edward. Perhaps it’s an attempt to demonstrate they don’t need Brian Jones.” Other theories are that the track was recorded for Jean-Luc Godard’s movie One Plus One or that it was a rehearsal for the Stones Rock’n’Roll Circus.

The coming months will doubtless see a variety of illegal releases of this material. The studio tracks here would have enlivened last year’s official re-release of Let It Bleed which contained no new material. Maybe these studio tracks were presented to the Stones as a possible bonus CD and rejected, either on artistic grounds or because the Stones continue to be unhappy about the financial aspects of their deal with US record company ABKCO. Another theory is that these tracks are from the Stones own archives, assembled for possible use on the soundtrack of Brett Morgen’s 2012 documentary ‘Crossfire Hurricane’. Whatever the source, the result is that instead of paying for these fascinating tracks we are forced to grab them for free. LSE-graduate Mick Jagger would not approve.”



The Only Ones Live In Chicago 1979

Alona’s Dream Records ADR CD033

(also available on vinyl)

There have been rumours of a previously uncirculated soundboard tape from the 1979 US tour for some time, just before Christmas the evidence emerged. Twelve tracks, recorded at Mothers Club in Chicago on October 3rd 1979. Sound quality is excellent, the show having been recorded on the Metro mobile for the Sunday Morning Nightmares programme on Radio WZRD. Packaging is workmanlike, sleeve-notes uninformative and difficult to read, and my copy arrived with inset tray cracked. And it’s only available via mail order from the US so it’s expensive.

Which is where the criticism stops. The opening Inbetweens confirms we are in for a good time: a lively performance and an excellent recording, all instruments and vocals clearly audible and just enough audience reaction. The stops in Programme are hit with complete precision by all. John Perry’s guitar insinuates itself into The Big Sleep, taking centre stage by the end of the song. Peter Perrett’s vocals are strong and his rhythm guitar does not falter. The song itself would not appear until the following years LP Baby Got A Gun but it sounds finished here, Mike Kellie absolutely storms Lovers Of Today, driving the song forward, always in conjunction with Alan Mair’s ultra-melodic bass parts and backing vocals. Miles From Nowhere features an urgent Perrett vocal whilst the solo shows Perry’s masterful control of feedback.

Another Girl, Another Planet pops up halfway through the set but receives an enthusiastic rendition, slightly faster than the studio version but otherwise similar with Mair’s bass holding it together whilst Perry echoes the space travel lyric. Peter And The Pets gets an extended outro which really motors (lots of “whoos” from the crowd) then straight into the hugely-underestimated No Solution where thankfully the backing vocals are audible. The Immortal Story is another song that goes off like a rocket but the band easily keep up, Kellie crucial here. Traditionally an opportunity for Perry to get creative this is a relatively restrained and compact version. Creature Of Doom sounds far better here than on the Hope & Anchor LP. Then a delightful surprise – finally we have a high quality live version of The Guest, an early and very Velvety song that never made it onto a studio album. Finally The Beast which builds inexorably over 5:42. Peter speaks for virtually the first time to say “thank you” and after 40 minutes of total excellence they are gone.

The band played two sets that night and rest of the set sits in the Alona’s Dream archives, and on this evidence Volume Two would be welcome, John Perry has always claimed that the band were at their best on stage and here, halfway through a challenging tour they are honed to perfection. This is the most exciting live Only Ones recording I have heard, better than the official Live and BBC releases as well as the myriad of unofficial tapes that orbit digitally. It also forms a worthy testament to the late and much-missed Mike Kellie who is heard here at his performing peak.

If you have ever loved this band, you need to get this.

Photocredit: Mike Scott, taken outside Bruces’ Record Shop in Edinburgh 1977

Lovin’ Spoonful – Live 1965-67

The Lovin’ Spoonful – Live On TV 1965-67

Side One

  1. Do You Believe In Magic ?
  2. You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice (John Sebastian & Steve Boone)
  3. On The Road Again
  4. Let the Good Times Roll (Shirley Goodman & Leonard Lee)
  5. There She Is
  6. Help  (John Lennon & Paul McCartney)
  7. Do You Believe In Magic ?
  8. Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?
  9. May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose (Neal Merritt)
  10. When The Saints Go Marching In (Traditional)

Side Two

  1. Do You Believe In Magic?
  2. You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice (John Sebastian & Steve Boone)
  3. Nashville Cats
  4. She’s Still A Mystery
  5. Daydream
  6. Bald Headed Lena  (Edward Sneed & Willie Perryman)
  7. Only Pretty, What A Pity (Joe Butler & Jerry Yester)
  8. Darlin’ Be Home Soon
  9. Interview with Dick Clark

All songs written by John Sebastian unless otherwise noted

Recording Details

1 & 2. The Big TNT Show 29.11.65

3. Shivaree 14.8.65

4, 7, 8. & 10.  Shindig 16.10.65

5. Hullabaloo 7.02.66

6. & 11. Hullabaloo 13.09.65

9. & 12. Hullabaloo 1.11.65

13. & 18. – Ed Sullivan Show, 22.01.67

15. & 16.- Ed Sullivan Show, 19.03.67

14. & 17. – Ed Sullivan Show, 15.10.67

19. American Bandstand 28.10.65


John Sebastian – lead vocal, autoharp

Zal Yanovsky – guitar, vocals, lead vocal (9)

Steve Boone – bass

Joe Butler – drums, vocals, lead vocal (4 and 6)

Track 4 with Ray Peterson, Kelly Garrett, Glen Campbell and the Shindogs

Track 10 with Billy Preston, Glen Campbell, Kelly Garrett, the Wellingtons, Jimmy Witherspoon & Ray Peterson

Track 18 with the Ed Sullivan orchestra

Sleeve notes

Like Pete Townshend in The Seeker American folk-rock drew equally from Bob Dylan and The Beatles, a Venn diagram intersection of fine singles from West Coast bands such as The Byrds, Love, The Turtles, The Mamas and The Papas, The Buffalo Springfield and The Beau Brummells. The Lovin’ Spoonful were every bit their equal but came from the East Coast, Greenwich Village scene. In July 1965 the band hit number nine in the Billboard chart with their debut single Do You Believe In Magic? – chiming electric guitars and the clarion call to “believe in the magic of rock’n’roll, believe in the magic that can set you free”.

The first two tracks here were recorded at the Moulin Rouge on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles in front of a live audience. The bill also included Bo Diddley, The Ronettes, The Byrds, Ike & Tina Turner and Donovan. The Spoonful got off to a shaky start and had to re-start Do You Believe In Magic?  Second hit single You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice (Billboard #10) is very much in the style of its predecessor. On The Road Again is notable for Zal’s enthusiastic performance, emphasied by his distinctive stripey sweater and pudding-bowl haircut. From Shindig comes ensemble performances of Let The Good Times Roll and When The Saints Go Marching InDo You Believe In Magic? soundtracks some synchronised go-go dancing and Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind is understated and charming. The less well-known There She Is works as a duet between Sebastian and Butler. An easy-listening Help sung by Joe Butler leads straight into another effervescent take on Do You Believe In Magic?, the latter performed in front of a mocked-up red London bus for no apparent reason. Zal takes lead vocals on a version of contemporary novelty May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose, a hit for Little Jimmy Dickens. From the same edition of Shindig comes another You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice.

The remaining six tracks are taken from the Spoonful’s three 1967 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. Nashville Cats is Sebastian’s wry tribute to the “1,352 guitar pickers in Nashville”. Darlin’ Be Home Soon is virtually a John Sebastian solo performance. She’s Still A Mystery is a good example of a late-period Spoonful single, Only Pretty, What A Pity a less-good example, possibly because Sebastian was not involved in its writing. The laidback Daydream is an American take on Sunny Afternoon whilst the intense version of Bald-Headed Lena takes us back to 1964 and The Night Owl in Greenwich Village.

Today The Lovin’ Spoonful do not receive the same degree of attention or respect as Love, The Byrds or The Buffalo Springfield – no lengthy magazine retrospectives, no weighty box sets or ponderous TV documentaries. But during Sebastian’s golden streak from 1965-1966 all seven of the Spoonful’s singles went top ten in the Billboard charts, an unprecedented achievement. Listening to these recordings the excitement they exude is contagious.  The interview with Dick Clark does little to illuminate the band’s appeal, but then he was “trying to tell a stranger about rock’n’roll ”.

1967 saw the end of folk-rock and the effective end of the Spoonful when a drug bust precipitated Zanovsky’s departure. Writing three years later Nik Cohn provided an elegant eulogy.  “As for folk/rock itself, the style passed, as it was bound to do: it was too soft, too subtle to hold the attention of a mass teen audience for long and pop resolved back into hardrock again”.

Sleeve notes: Tiger Lily (via WhatsUp)


Fleetwood Mac Live in Finland 1969

Fleetwood Mac – Live in Finland 1969

Side One

  1. Homework (Otis Rush, Al Perkins, Dave Clark)
  2. Man Of The World (Peter Green)
  3. Like It This Way (Danny Kirwan)
  4. Only You (Danny Kirwan)
  5. Dust My Broom (Robert Johnson)
  6. Stranger Blues (Elmore James)

Side Two

  1. I’ve Got A Mind To Give Up Living (trad arr BB King)
  2. Oh Well Part 1 (Peter Green)
  3. Coming Your Way (Danny Kirwan)
  4. Shake Your Moneymaker (Elmore James)
  5. Albatross (Peter Green)

All tracks recorded live at Kulttuuritalo, Helsinki on November 11th 1969 and broadcast on YLE FM radio.


Peter Green – guitar, vocals

Jeremy Spencer – slide guitar, piano, vocals

Danny Kirwan – guitar, vocals

John McVie – bass

Mick Fleetwood – drums


By the time the five-piece Fleetwood Mac made their third visit to Helsinki in the autumn of 1969 an endless string of gigs had honed the bands onstage abilities. The eponymous rhythm section were equally comfortable sitting back and providing the framework for a slow blues or frantically rocking out. The front line comprised three contrasting lead guitarists all of whom could sing. Founder Peter Green produced haunting guitar lines and mini-psychodramas which somehow became hit singles. Danny Kirwan shared songwriting and performance duties with Green and contributed melodic counterpoint. Finally there was Jeremy Spencer, manic slide guitarist and source of rock’n’roll craziness.

Such stylistic diversity made for an entertaining and varied set. The opening number is a gritty version of Otis Rush’s Homework, an r’n’b classic later covered by the J.Geils Band on their gangbusting first LP. Then a change of pace as the band brings the mood down for a faithful rendition of Man Of The World, oft cited as the world’s saddest song. The call and response guitars of Danny’s Like It This Way were first heard on the LP “Blues Jam At Chess”. Another Kirwan original follows, the otherwise unrecorded Only You with a bass line borrowed from Larry Williams’ Slow Down. The slide closes with a brace of Elmore James numbers Dust My Broom and Stranger Blues, both showcasing the slide guitar of Jeremy Spencer and the latter unreleased on any studio LP.

The opening number on Side Two is a desolate version of BB King’s I’ve Got A Mind To Give Up Living, another unreleased track and one where Peter Green delivers a weary vocal and an extended guitar solo of exquisite taste. Next up is an electrifying Oh Well, recently and successfully released as a single. Coming Your Way was the opening track on the third Fleetwood Mac LP Then Play On, released two months before this gig: Green and Kirwan play interlocking and complementary guitar lines throughout. A lengthy Shake Your Moneymaker is followed by a subdued version of then hit-single Albatross.

Many sources including put the date of this gig as September 24th 1969. However extensive detective work from Raimo Öystilä has proved that the band played two sets at the Kulttuuritalo on November 11th and that this recording is taken from the second performance:

“The set started with Homework, which had been in the set for a long time. According to Jussi Raittinen, the start was even more promising than in the first set. The mood was especially boosted by Green’s interpretation of Man Of The World, and the borrowed from BB King I’ve Got A Mind To Give Up Living, also known as All Over Again . This had become one of Green’s most spectacular gigs. Spencer’s Stranger Blues was once again wild. Oh Well was also included in the second set, as was Kirwan’s starring moment in Coming Your Way .”

1969 represented a highwater mark for the original Fleetwood Mac. Then Play On was well received and Oh Well got to number two in the UK single charts. However the following year Peter Green underwent a drug-induced epiphany whilst on tour in Germany which caused him to leave the band. Jeremy Spencer did something very similar during a US tour in 1971: the band would sack Kirwan for alcohol-related unreliability in 1972. Critical and commercial redemption would not come for another three years, by which time the band looked and sounded very different.

That the original line-up of Fleetwood Mac ended in disarray should not overshadow the glorious music they made at their peak. The record you hold proves just how good they were.

Sleevenotes: Mr Wonderful



Love Sculpture Live At The BBC 1968-1969

Available now from

Love Sculpture

Live At The BBC 1968-9

  1. Sabre Dance 1 (Khachaturian arr. Edmunds)
  2. Wang Dang Doodle (Willie Dixon)
  3. Promised Land (Chuck Berry)
  4. The Inner Light (George Harrison)
  5. The Stumble (Freddie King)
  6. Brand New Woman (Crick Feathers)
  7. Farandole (Bizet arr. Edmunds)
  8. Sabre Dance 2 (Khachaturian arr. Edmunds)
  9. (Do I Figure In) Your Life (Peter Blumsom)
  10. River To Another Day (Charles Ward, Kingsley Ward)
  11. Don’t Answer The Door (Jimmy Johnson)
  12. Sweet Little Rock & Roller (Chuck Berry)
  13. Great Balls Of Fire (Otis Blackwell & Jack Hammer)
  14. Evening


Dave Edmunds – guitar, vocals

John Williams – bass

Bob ‘Congo’ Jones – drums


Recording Details

5, 6, 9, 10, 12 Recorded for Top Gear 2.4.68, transmitted 21.4.68

1, 2, 3, 11 Recorded for Top Gear 16.9.68, transmitted 6.10.68 (1,2,3) and 3.11.68 (11)

4, 7, 13, 14 Recorded for Top Gear 28.1.69, transmitted 9.3.69


Sleeve Notes

We recorded Sabre Dance, all six minutes of it, and I couldn’t believe it: it was one of those ‘first take’ numbers, we did do another take but we could not improve on the first. I intentionally programmed it early in the programme. For the last item in the show I put in a six minute record which could be cut because I knew what was going to happen: as soon as Sabre Dance went out the phone rang and I knew it was Peel and what he was going to ask. “Take out the last song and you can play Sabre Dance instead.” And that was the first and only time a pre-recorded session item was played twice in the same programme. The reason it hadn’t been done before was because it incurred an immediate full repeat fee. Parlophone picked up on it, re-recorded it, rush-released it and had a hit. But Dave Edmunds always said that the first BBC version was the best recording”. Top Gear Producer Bernie Andrews, quoted by Ken Garner, “In Session Tonight”.

Love Sculpture guitarist Dave Edmunds would later tell Sounds magazine “we did a live session for John Peel’s Top Gear and suddenly we were signed up by EMI, Gordon Mills was managing us and we had a number two hit single.” Before this Edmunds, bass player John Williams and drummer Bob ‘Congo’ Jones had gigged and recorded as the Cardiff-based Human Beans, recording an unsuccessful cover of Tim Rose’s ‘Morning Dew’ for EMI’s Columbia label. Changing their name to Love Sculpture  – taken from a book of horror stories – they released as their first single River To Another Day. This harmony-drenched slice of UK summer pop was written by Charles and Kinsley Ward, brothers who ran top studio Rockfield in Monmouth. Today this single is a three-figure rarity, but the version included here from their first Top Gear session is just as good. Also recorded at this session was the bluesy Brand New Woman, The Stumble (also recorded by the Beck era-Yardbirds) and a toughened-up version of the Honeybus classic (Do I Figure) In Your Life, never officially released. Early evidence of Edmunds lifelong obsession with all things Chuck Berry came with a spirited take on Sweet Little Rock & Roller, subsequently recorded by both the Faces and Edmunds’ future chums The Flamin’ Groovies.

It was the second Peel session which spawned the unnervingly fast,  live-in-the studio version of Sabre Dance. The other tracks recorded at the session were all American r’n’b sides – Chuck Berry’s Promised Land, Jimmy Johnson’s Don’t Answer The Door and Willie Dixon’s ubiquitous Wang Dang Doodle. But it was Sabre Dance that got listeners phoning the BBC to ask where they could buy it. Early Pretenders gigs in 1979 would be enlivened by guitarist James Honeyman-Scotts party piece, a note perfect live rendition of Sabre Dance performed as an encore.

Love Scupture’s attempt to repeat the winning formula saw them sprinting through Bizet’s Farandole at their third Top Gear session. From the same session came a rocked-up cover of George Harrison’s The Inner Light, originally the B-side to Lady Madonna which was inexplicably omitted from either of Love Sculpture’s LPs. A brief Great Balls Of Fire features some fine (uncredited) piano, whilst Evening is an otherwise-unrecorded song of many parts with quiet interludes interspersed with more up-tempo sections.

Love Sculpture’s reliance on cover versions limited their success: there was no Brian Epstein or Andrew Loog Oldham to encourage Edmunds to start writing original songs. After turning himself into the Welsh Phil Spector Edmunds scored a big solo hit with a 1970 remake of Smiley Lewis’ “I Hear You Knocking” in 1970, and then worked with Nick Lowe from 1974 – 1981, frequently as part of the band Rockpile. Edmunds was also by now a highly respected producer working successfully on many projects at Rockfield.

And here is where it all began.

Sleevenotes: Plum Crazy

Live In Amsterdam 1969 – The Who

The Who Live In Amsterdam 1969

All tracks recorded live at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The Netherlands on September 29th 1969 and broadcast by AVRO FM radio on September 30th, produced by Karel van de Graaf.

Side A

  1. Heaven And Hell (John Entwistle)
  2. I Can’t Explain (Pete Townshend)
  3. Fortune Teller (Naomi Neville)
  4. Tattoo (Pete Townshend)
  5. A Quick One While He’s Away (Pete Townshend)

Side B

  1. Substitute (Pete Townshend)
  2. Happy Jack (Pete Townshend)
  3. I’m A Boy (Pete Townshend)
  4. My Generation (Pete Townshend), including themes from

See Me, Feel Me (Pete Townshend)

Pinball Wizard (Pete Townshend)

Naked Eye (Pete Townshend)

The Ox (Pete Townshend / Keith Moon / John Entwistle / Nicky Hopkins)

Sparks (Pete Townshend)



Pete Townshend – Guitar, vocals

Roger Daltrey – Lead vocals

John Entwistle – Bass, vocals

Keith Moon – Drums

Sleevenotes: Sheik E. Hand

The Who’s performance at Amsterdam’s Opera House in September 1969 was remarkable in a number of ways. It was the first of a series of gigs in more formal surroundings, to be followed by the London Coliseum, the Berlin Opera House and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. This had been achieved through the critical and commercial success of Tommy. Who co-manager Kit Lambert was the son of noted classical composer Constance Lambert and took understandable pride in his proteges playing such prestigious venues. Amsterdam was also notable for being recorded in extraordinarily high quality by Dutch radio.

This was also one of the longest live gigs the Who ever performed. The band decided to insert the double album Tommy into the middle of their existing set, thus extending their time on stage to well over two hours. This most physical of bands had been touring since May and it is a testament to their road-hardened stamina that throughout this performance their energy levels never flag. The central position and length of the Tommy segment tended to overshadow the other songs in the set, despite the Who effectively and concisely playing a string of their stunning 1960s hit singles. And then there was the mini-opera A Quick One While He’s Away, Tommy’s predecessor and a clever blend of song fragments held together by sung orchestral arrangements such as “cello, cello, cello”.

A successful three-week American tour had prompted Daltrey to stop straightening his hair and grow it out and his new curly mane was fit for a rock god (see also Plant, Robert). Sartorially Townshend went in the other direction, with an equally distinctive disheveled boiler suit, Dr Martens and a Cherry Red Gibson SG. A Dutch TV clip revealed that just before the Amsterdam gig started Keith Moon fell off stage knocking over two speaker cabinets. Moon emerged covered with blood but carried on regardless. The same clip shows the all-seated audience to be an intriguing mix of suits and Afghan coats.

The set opener is Entwistle’s Heaven and Hell, a perfect choice and the best rocker he wrote for the band. Elements of the guitar solo would later emerge in obscure single Priorities, recorded by Shel Talmy-produced punkers Trash. I Can’t Explain is terse and urgent, in contrast to the more delicate opening section of Fortune Teller. As Townshend says in his introduction this cover was a staple in  the live set of many groups but here The Who make it their own, with a faster second half seguing delicately into Tattoo. This sensitive reflection on masculinity was clearly a band favourite: having been released on The Who Sell Out in 1967 it was still being played live as late as 1974. Then a sparkling version of A Quick One While He’s Away  which rivals the live take recorded for the Rolling Stones Rock’n’Roll Circus. The immaculate trio of Substitute, Happy Jack and I’m A Boy are played in arrangements close to the original singles with Townshend and Entwistle easily handing the high vocal harmonies and Moon playing lead drums on Happy Jack. Set closer My Generation summarises the history of the Who to date as it lurches through a number of other songs including the only known live performance of The Ox, the savage surf instrumental that formed the B side to 1965’s The Kids Are Alright.

Was there ever a better Who live recording than Live In Amsterdam ? For Monterey in 1967 the band played through weedy borrowed Vox amps. A Fillmore East 1968 gig saw the band playing well but the choice of material and recording quality was not as good.  In August 1969 Woodstock saw the band spiked, onstage late and thoroughly pissed off (“fucking awful”). Better results were obtained when the band used the Pye mobile to record their gig at Leeds University on February 14th  1970 on. Six tracks from this gig were released as the LP Live At Leeds in May 1970 to great acclaim. Chris Charlesworth called it “the best live rock album of its era” and Dave Marsh acclaimed “the most ferocious, visceral rock the Who have ever recorded…absolutely nonstop hard rock”.

Earlier in 1970 Nik Cohn had written that Live At Leeds would include Happy Jack, I’m A Boy, Heaven And Hell and Tattoo. Cohn had heard this material and he was ecstatic about the Who’s performance “Without exception, they are shatteringly loud, crude and vicious, entirely expressive. Without exception they are marvelous.” None of these tracks made it on to the original Live At Leeds LP.

Live In Amsterdam is the LP that Cohn described so eloquently, embodying his vision of The Who as Superpop. The choice of songs is perceptive. The sound quality is extraordinary. The performances are intuitive, sensitive and wildly exciting. Live In Amsterdam is a vital document of the Who at their performing peak, and Probably The Best Who Live LP In The World.