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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 121 - Junk Culture - OMD

Junk Culture was the fifth studio album from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. It was released on this day 32 years ago!

Now, for the record I will state that I probably know very little about OMD, I do have a few albums and love a few singles (Electricity still sounds so wonderful - especially the original Factory Release!) so I thought I'd ask a friend to share a couple of thoughts about the Junk Culture album. So, without further ado, step forward Alyson Waite.

Alyson is probably the biggest OMD fan I know. She actually has some tidy tastes when it comes to music especially her love for Ultravox (the John Foxx years of course!). Add to that a genuine passion for the Electronic Sounds of the 80's and she's the perfect person to ask to do this:

"I loved Junk Culture immediately. Admittedly, it was a departure from previous albums and seemingly the antithesis of Dazzle Ships in particular. Even though Junk Culture was so much more commercial , and the first three singles in particular (a conscious effort after the way Dazzle Ships was received I suspect), I never got the impression that OMD were compromising or 'selling out' in the unforgivable way some bands of a similar genre chose to go during that time.

I adored the uptempo 'poppy ' Locomotion and Tesla Girls and I still to this day can't quite understand how they manage to mix the mainstream and the experimental so beautifully - that's their charm and the reason I've loved them so much all these years."

Junk Culture - Orchestral Manoevres in the Dark
Produced by Brian Tench and OMD
Released 30th April 1984
UK Chart #9
US Chart #162

Group members:

    Paul Humphreys: vocals, Roland Jupiter 8, E-mu Emulator, Korg M-500 Micro Preset, acoustic piano, Fairlight CMI, celeste, Prophet 5
    Andy McCluskey: vocals, bass guitar, guitar, Roland Jupiter 8, E-mu Emulator, Fairlight CMI, Latin percussion
    Martin Cooper: Prophet 5, E-mu Emulator, tenor and soprano saxophones, Roland SH2, marimba
    Malcolm Holmes: acoustic and electronic drums, Latin percussion, drum computer programming

Additional performers:
    Gordan Troeller: piano on "Locomotion", Roland Jupiter 8 on "White Trash"
    Maureen Humphreys: vocals on "Tesla Girls"
    Jan Faas, Jan Vennik, Bart van Lier: brass section on "Locomotion" and "All Wrapped Up"
    Tony Visconti: brass arrangements on "Locomotion" and "All Wrapped Up"

Singles from Junk Culture
    01. "Locomotion"
    Released: 2 April 1984
UK Chart #5

   02.  "Talking Loud and Clear"
    Released: 4 June 1984
UK Chart #11

    03. "Tesla Girls"
    Released: 28 August 1984
UK Chart #21

   04.  "Never Turn Away"
    Released: 29 October 1984
UK Chart #70

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Friday, 29 April 2016

45RPM: #84 In The City - The Jam (1977)

I can remember the moment as if it were yesterday, running from school during lunchtime to Treble Clef record shop on Sydenham High Street, handing over 75p and being given a copy of the debut single by The Jam in a nice picture sleeve. The playing of it would have to wait until home time (though if I remember correctly we did manage to get the kids in the sixth form common room - who actually had a record player on the premises - to play it at lease twice later in the day).

The debut album (also titled In The City) wouldn't be out for another month but it was a good taster for what was to follow.

Where the Punks were being considered a bit of a scruffy bunch of urchins here was a power trio all dressed in suits! What the heck was that all about we wondered!

A few days after the release of the single they were featured in the NME and here's a little taster from the introduction to the piece by Steve Clarke:

"By now only the staunchest reactionaries among the nation's rock people can be of the opinion that the much-touted new wave, despite its several less than endearing facets, isn't a good thing. But, just in case you still had any doubts, get a load of The Jam.

You'll doubt no more. For The Jam, while eulogising the nation's youth - and, come to that, the nation itself - with total commitment, remain the scene's renegades.

"We're the black sheep of the new wave", says lynchpin Paul Weller.

The Jam most certainly do not toe the Punk Party Line. Why, they've even been known to commit such sacrilegious acts as burning onstage the Blank Generation's mouthpiece Sniffin' Glue after the said journal had complained of The Jam  being "laidback" and "lacking direction" - not to mention"spending too much time tuning up on stage". Aggro!

With an image straight out of the Scene Club 1964, The Jam wouldn't know one end of a safety pin from another. Unlike the new wave elite (Damned, Stranglers, Clash and Pistols), they are, satorially speaking, three very sharp young men - the proud owners of customised mohair suits of the kind (say) The Yardbirds wore when they were an R 'n' B band. And, unlike adherents of the new wave dogma, The Jam don't go for wholesale rejection of their predecessors."  - NME 07/05/77

In the City borrowed its title from an old B-Side by The Who but with an energy that was a chief characteristic of the times it is vastly different to The Who's song! It was an anthem for the Youth of the day and about the world of possibilities - ie The Young Idea - and how people were trying to take those ideas and bring fear instead of embracing that change was coming. It was a plea for people to listen "because the kids know where it's at" - thus showing Mark Perry (editor of Sniffin' Glue) that The Jam did have a sense of direction and as for being laidback, well try telling me if the urgency of the 2mins and 16secs of the A-Side give any hint of a band who want to come off as being that!

The Jam would go on to release a bucket load of great records after this debut, some probably better than it, but it still holds a lot of love for me, and I'm pretty sure it always will.

 In The City / Takin' My Love
Produced by Vic Smith and Chris Parry
Released 29th April 1977
UK Chart #40 
(in 2002 it was reissued at reached as a Limited Edition 7" Single at the 1977 price of 75p it entered the chart again this time peaking a little higher at #36)

A-Side: In The City

In The City
(Paul Weller)
In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you
But whenever I approach you, you make me look a fool
I wanna say, I wanna tell you
About the young ideas
But you turn them into fears
In the city there's a thousand faces all shining bright
And those golden faces are under 25
They wanna say, they gonna tell ya
About the young idea
You better listen now you've said your bit

And I know what you're thinking
You're sick of that kind of crap
But you'd better listen man
Because the kids know where it's at

In the city there's a thousand men in uniforms
And I've heard they now have the right to kill a man
We wanna say, we gonna tell ya
About the young idea
And if it don't work, at least we still tried

In the city, in the city
In the city there's a thousand things I want to say to you

B-Side Takin' My Love

Rewind: L.A. Woman - The Doors (1971)

L.A. Woman - The Doors
Produced by The Doors and Bruce Botnick
Released 19th April 1971
US Chart #9
UK Chart #28

L.A. Woman  was the final hurrah for The Doors with Jim Morrison as the frontman, not that any of them knew that when they released it back in 1971. Three months after its release Morrison was dead at only 27 years old, a death that has been surrounded by mystery and conspiracy theories ever since!

It was the follow-up to Morrison Hotel which had seen the band return to a more rocky bluesy kind of style after the sometimes bizzare sounding album The Soft Parade. They had departed with long term producer Paul Rothchild due to issues with band's studio performance and their insistance on recording Love Her Madly! Studio Engineer Bruce Botnick stepped up and co-produced the album.

It's actually quite funny to think that all of Morrison's vocals for the album were recorded with him sitting or standing in the bathroom as their makeshift studio didn't have a designated vocal booth!

If you want to read more about the history of the album Click Here - Ultimate Classic Rock Website also has a feature on the songs from the album that's worth checking out - Click Here.

Alongside the 1967 Debut Album I rate L.A. Woman as one of their best albums.

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 120 - Full Moon Fever

The first solo album from Tom Petty stirred up some misgivings among his backing band The Heartbreakers, although all but drummer Stan Lynch contributed to the album. Benmont Tench and Howie Epstein initially were not happy about playing the Full Moon Fever songs live during Heartbreakers concerts. Stan Lynch hated playing them right up until his departure from the band, saying it made him feel like he was in a cover band!

Recording the album Petty has declared was the most enjoyable album he had worked on. It was also recorded at a time when he was involved with The Traveling Wilburys and they were also about to record their debut album (recording of Full Moon Fever was delayed whilst that happened). This is probably the reason the Wilburys (George Harrison, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne) bar Bob Dylan are featured on the album in some way. The Big O sadly passed away prior to the release of the album (6th December 1988).

Many of the songs on the album are collaborations between Petty and Lynne (who was coming in on the back of success with George Harrison and the Cloud Nine album) and there's a nice nod to Petty's influences with a wonderful rendition of The Byrds' 'I Feel A Whole Lot Better' with that fantastic jangly guitar sound and all and to Del Shannon on what I think is the best song on the album, Runnin' Down A Dream.

I've always had a lot of time for Tom Petty. Ever since I first heard him and The Heartbreakers on the radio back in late 1976 and bought the singles in 1977, Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll and American Girl. I always thought that the Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers album Damn the Torpedoes from 1979 was almost the perfect album, and yet hearing Full Moon Fever for the first time I seriously thought that Tom Petty had indeed came a little closer than that. There's not a bad track on it I think.

Full Moon Fever - Tom Petty
Produced by Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Mike Campbell
Released 29th April 1989
US Chart #3
UK Chart #8

1-Free Fallin' 3:27
2-I Won't Back Down 2:58
3-Love Is a Long Road 4:08
4-A Face in the Crowd 3:59
5-Runnin' Down a Dream 4:52
6-Feel a Whole Lot Better 2:50
7-Yer So Bad 3:06
8-Depending on You 2:49
9-The Apartment Song 2:33
10-Alright for Now 2:01
11-A Mind With a Heart of Its Own 3:31
12-Zombie Zoo 2:59

   1. "I Won't Back Down"
    Released: April 1989
US Chart #12
UK Chart #28

   2.  "Runnin' Down a Dream"
    Released: July 29, 1989
US Chart #23
UK Chart #55

   3. "Free Fallin'"
    Released: October 27, 1989
US Chart #7
UK Chart #59

    4. "A Face in the Crowd"
    Released: March 3, 1990
 US Chart #46
UK Chart #93

   5. "Yer So Bad"
    Released: 1990
Did Not Chart

    Tom Petty – lead and backing vocals, 6 and 12 string acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, tambourine
    Mike Campbell – lead guitar, bass, mandolin, slide guitar, dobro, keyboards
    Jeff Lynne – bass, guitar, guitar synthesizer, piano, keyboards, backing vocals
    Phil Jones – drums, percussion

Additional musicians
    George Harrison – acoustic guitar and backing vocals on "I Won't Back Down"
    Jim Keltner – drums, maracas and tambourine on "Love Is a Long Road"
    Benmont Tench – piano on "The Apartment Song"
    Howie Epstein – backing vocals on "I Won't Back Down" and "Love Is a Long Road"
    Roy Orbison – backing vocals on "Zombie Zoo"
    Kelsey Campbell – scream on "Zombie Zoo"
    Alan Weidel, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty – hand claps on "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better"
    Del Shannon – barnyard noises in the "Hello, CD listeners …" interlude

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 119 - The Enchanted World of Stevie Nicks

I'm not one for that whole guilty pleasure thing because if I like something I see no shame in saying I do. So when it comes to Stephanie Lynn Nicks I just have to say that I fall for her music everytime. I love that little raspy thing she has with her voice.

Stevie Nicks had been stockpiling songs, not intentionally but mainly due to the fact that in Fleetwood Mac she was one of three writers and some of her songs went unused, and some of these songs dated back to the early 70s with  Buckingham Nicks (the project that her and Lindsey Buckingham were working on prior to gettting the call to join Fleetwood Mac). So inbetween recording Tusk with Fleetwood Mac and then touring it she set about plans for some solo records.

She released her debut solo album, Bella Donna in 1981 on her own label Modern Records (all her solo albums were released on the label and the label folded in 1999). Tracks for the Enchanted Boxset are drawn from her albums up to 1994s Street Angel. Also included are various remixes, demos, live performances, songs from soundtracks and an unreleased track Reconsider Me (which was a Duet with Don Henley that somehow ended up not being used for the Rock A Little Album). 

One of the surprise tracks on the album was the inclusion of Long Distance Winner which was featured on the 1973 Debut (and infact, only) album by Buckingham Nicks. I think I'm correct in saying that this was the first time that any work from that had actually been released on CD! Fleetwood Mac did themselves release an old Buckingham Nicks song, Without You, on their Extended Play EP, that had only been in demo form previously.

Below is the complete album and also some links to promos, live performances etc. Enjoy entering the Enchanted World of Stevie Nicks.

Enchanted: The Works of Stevie Nicks Boxset
Modern/Atlantic/EMI Records
Released 28th April 1998
Various Producers
US Chart #85

Enchanted: The Works of Stevie Nicks (Full Album)

I've included some links  below for various Promo videos or live performances of the songs. Just click on them to watch more.

Disc 1
1. Enchanted
2. Outside The Rain
3. After The Glitter Fades
4. Wild Heart
Leather & Lace (Duet with Don Henley)
6. Garbo
7. Stand Back
8. Nightbird
9. Stop Draggin' My Heart Around (with Tom Petty)
10. Beauty & The Beast
11. Kind Of Woman
12. If Anyone Falls
13. One More Big Time Rock & Roll Star (B-Side to Talk To Me single)
Blue Denim (Remix)
15. Bella Donna

Disc 2
Edge Of Seventeen (Live From Bella Donna Tour)
2. Street Angel (Remix)
3. Rock A Little (Go Ahead Lily)
4. I Sing For The Things
5. Rooms On Fire
6. I Can't Wait (Extended Rock Mix)
7. Two Kinds Of Love (Duet with Bruce Hornsby)
8. The Highwayman
9. Rose Garden (Remix)
10. Talk To Me
11. Destiny
12. Ooh My Love
13. Desert Angel
14. Whole Lotta Trouble
15. Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You
Disc 3
Twisted (Twister Soundtrack)
2. Long Distance Winner (from Buckingham Nicks)
3. Thousand Days (B-Side to Blue Denim)
4. Battle Of The Dragon (American Anthem Soundtrack)
5. Gold (with John Stewart)
6. Free Fallin' (from Music From Party of Five)
7. It's Late (Demo)
8. Violet & Blue (from Against All Odds Soundtrack)
9. Whenever I Call You Friend (Duet with Kenny Loggins)
10. Sweet Girl (Demo)
11. Blue Lamp (from Heavy Metal Soundtrack)
12. Gold & Braid (Live from Bella Donna Tour)
13. Reconsider Me (Previously Unreleased )
14. Somebody Stand By Me (from Boys on the Side Soundtrack)
15. Sleeping Angel (from the Fast Times at Ridgemont High Soundtrack)
16. Rhiannon (Piano Version) 

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 118 - The B-52's

The third Studio Album from The B-52's should have been released a year earlier in 1982 but due to time constraints and pressure to release new product imposed by Warner Bros, the band were forced to basically release what they had ready to go and that was what became the David Byrne produced Mesopotamia EP. Four songs were left over from those sessions: Queen of Las Vegas, Big Bird, and Butterbean were re-recorded for Whammy! Adios Desconocida, the fourth song didn't get remade.

After the somewhat departure of the Mesopotamia EP many felt that The B-52's got back to doing what they did best with the release of Whammy!

This would be their last album for three years! Bouncing Off  The Satellites was released in 1986 without much promotion as the band didn't tour on due to the loss of their guitarist Ricky Wilson who had died not long after the album was completed. He was aged 32 and died from complications relating to AIDS. In 1989 they did bounce back with the magnificent Cosmic Thing album.

Whammy! - The B-52's
Island Records/Warner Bros.
Produced by Steven Stanley
Released 27th April 1983
US Chart #29
UK Chart #33

A1     Legal Tender    
A2     Whammy Kiss    
A3     Song For A Future Generation    
A4     Butterbean    
B1     Trism    
B2     Queen Of Las Vegas    
B3     Don't Worry (Yoko Ono song)*    
B4     Big Bird    
B5     Work That Skirt
* Due to legal issues Don't Worry was removed and replaced by Moon 83.

    Kate Pierson – lead vocals
    Fred Schneider – lead vocals
    Keith Strickland – lead vocals (on "Song for a Future Generation"), drums, guitar, synthesizer
    Cindy Wilson – lead vocals
    Ricky Wilson – lead vocals (on "Song for a Future Generation"), guitar, bass, synthesizer

Additional musicians
    David Buck – trumpet (on "Big Bird")
    Ralph Carney – saxophone (on "Big Bird")

Singles From Whammy
US Chart #81



Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 117 - Devils & Dust

Yesterday I posted about Springsteen's Seeger Sessions album, exactly a year before that was released Bruce released Devils and Dust. It was his third "acoustic" album following The Ghost of Tom Joad and Nebraska.

Bruce Springsteen was very open about the fact that many of the songs from Devils & Dust dated back a decade or more. Springsteen wrote the song "All the Way Home" for Southside Johnny to use in his album Better Days which was released in 1991. The songs "Long Time Comin'" and "The Hitter" were written and performed during Springsteen's solo Ghost of Tom Joad Tour in 1996. "Devils & Dust" is also known to have been written previously, and was featured in soundchecks during The Rising Tour beginning in the summer of 2003 and the following year during the Vote for Change Tour in late 2004.

Starbucks had been considered a possible retail outlet for the album, as it had accounted for about a quarter of all sales for the recently successful Ray Charles's Genius Loves Company. Starbucks, however, declined to sell copies of Springsteen's new album, sparking some headlines. Starbucks rejected the album not only because of the song "Reno", but because of stances that Springsteen had taken on corporate politics and Springsteen not granting approval for a cobranded disc and promotional deal that prominently featured the Starbucks name. Springsteen's label, Columbia Records, balked when the idea was floated, citing the blue-collar champion's well-known opposition to merchandising his music. "There were a number of factors involved...[Lyrics] was one of the factors, but not the only reason," Ken Lombard, president of Starbucks Entertainment, told Reuters. At a concert at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia, Springsteen introduced "Reno" by joking that the album would be available "at Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme stores everywhere."

Springsteen's performance of the title track at the 48th Grammy Awards caused a bit of a stir when he added a part of "Bring 'em Home" at the end (a song that in full was added to the Seeger Sessions American Land Edition in 2006).

I've done a couple of other posts on Devils & Dust and you can check them out here. There's loads of links to live performances from the 2005 Tour.

I'm not a fan of everything that's on the album but there's enough to make me want to play the album from time to time. I think that a lot of the songs come across a lot better in a live setting.

Devils and Dust - Bruce Springsteen
Produced Brendan O'Brien
Released 25th April 2005 Europe and 26th April in the USA
US Chart #1 (Debuted at the top spot)
UK Chart #1
#1 in eight other European Countries:Austria, Belguim, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain.

    Bruce Springsteen – vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, harmonica, tambourine, percussion
    Brendan O'Brien – hurdy-gurdy, sarangi, sitar, bass guitar, tambora
    Steve Jordan – drums
    Patti Scialfa – backing vocals
    Soozie Tyrell – violin, backing vocals
    Marty Rifkin – steel guitar
    Lisa Lowell – backing vocals
    Chuck Plotkin – piano
    Danny Federici – keyboards
    Nashville String Machine – strings
    Brice Andrus, Susan Welty, Thomas Witte, Donald Strand – horns
    Mark Pender – trumpet

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Rewind: We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions - Bruce Springsteen (2006)

The fourteenth studio album by Bruce Springsteen was released on this day in 2006 and followed hot on the heels of his 2005 release Devils and Dust.

This one though was a bit of a different Springsteen album in that it contained no Springsteen songs (until the American Land Edition was issued) but was loaded with songs from the American Folk songbook. It actually had its roots back in 1997 when he recorded We Shall Overcome for the Where Have All the Flowers Gone: the Songs of Pete Seeger tribute album.

Bringing together some lesser known musicians from New Jersey and New York, and a few he had worked with before like the Miami Horns they recorded in an informal, large band setting in Springsteen's Colts Neck, New Jersey farm. This group would become The Seeger Sessions Band and between 30th April and 21st November 2006 they would perform 56 shows under that banner.

The date in London on the 9th May was broadcast on Radio 2 and filmed for BBC 4 (though broadcast in edited highlights). The 17th-19th November shows at The Point Theatre in Dublin were filmed and recorded and later released as a CD and DVD package in June 2007 as Live in Dublin.

Those blasted critics were divided how about how good or bad it was! David Browne of Entertainment Weekly felt that Springsteen successfully imbues the songs with a "rock & roll energy" rather than an adherence to folk's blander musical aesthetic, and Gavin Martin of Uncut called it "a great teeming flood of Americana" and "a powerful example of how songs reverberate through the years to accrue contemporary meaning".

On the other hand it was panned in The Village Voice and Neil Spencer writing for The Observer said it is "mostly too corny to have much drama restored to them".

The man himself Pete Seeger said, "It was a great honor. [Springsteen]'s an extraordinary person, as well as an extraordinary singer."

The album would go on to win at the 49th Grammy Awards a Grammy Award for The Best Traditional Folk Album.

Among my many friends who are Springsteen fans there are many who loved it and many that loathe it.Whilst it is not my favourite of releases by Bruce I do think it has a real charm to and he should be applauded for being brave enough to put out a record that didn't contain any of his own material.

For Bruce fans longing for some original material it would not be too long of a wait as Magic was unleashed in in September 2007 and a new raft of dates with the E Street Band would follow (100 shows between 2nd October 2007 and 30th August 2008).

 We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions - Bruce Springsteen
Produced by Bruce Springsteen and Jon Landau
Released 25th April 2006
US Chart #3
UK Chart #3

    Bruce Springsteen – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, B-3 organ, and percussion
    Sam Bardfeld – violin
    Art Baron – tuba
    Frank Bruno – guitar
    Jeremy Chatzky – upright bass
    Mark Clifford – banjo
    Larry Eagle – drums and percussion
    Charles Giordano – B-3 organ, piano, and accordion
    Ed Manion – saxophone
    Mark Pender – trumpet, backing vocals
    Richie "La Bamba" Rosenberg – trombone, backing vocals
    Patti Scialfa – backing vocals
    Soozie Tyrell – violin, backing vocals

 Bonus Tracks on the American Land Edition (3rd October 2006).
Buffalo Gals.
How Can I Keep From Singing.
How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live.
Bring 'em Home.
American Land.

Springsteen Goes Purple in Brooklyn

28th April Update:
For some unknown reason Bruce pulled the official version of his performance of Purple Rain off of You Tube. I have added another Multicam mix that I found to replace it!
At the start of The River Tour Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band payed tribute to David Bowie with a performance of Rebel Rebel in Pittsburgh, and then three nights later in Chicago it was Glenn Frey with a intimate reading of Take It Easy. Both songs were featured near the back end of the set.

But on Saturday night at Brooklyn's Barclays Center they opened the show bathed in Purple light paying tribute to Prince with a mind blowing version of Purple Rain. I almost posted this yesterday morning but was hoping for a better quality video to appear and a multi-camera mix version appeared late yesterday (thanks to Olli King) and today at some point Bruce released an official video of it (see below...apologies Olli for removing your version Doug 26/04)

Oh and Bruce has just released a free download of Purple Rain for everyone as well. Check it out here: Purple Rain Download.

Steve Van Zandt prepping before stage time!

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 116 - Pete Townshend

Empty Glass is the first Solo album of original material by Pete Townshend, better known of course as the guitarist for The Who.

It was recorded between 1978-80 when business with The Who was also beginning to pick up again, and the guitarist found himself on double duty writing for his own album and also for his band and what became the Face Dances album. 

It was a tough ride for Townshend because once Face Dances was released a lot of people were saying they felt that Empty Glass was the superior album! Even Roger Daltery had expressed that he had felt let down by Townshend because many of the songs on Empty Glass could have been performed by The Who (if I can recall correctly, and I'll have to check with a couple of my buddies who are authorities on The Who, I'm pretty sure that the song Empty Glass had been recorded during the sessions for the Who Are You album with Keith Moon on drums and John Entwistle on bass).

It's funny that the song Rough Boys is dedicated to his own kids and the Sex Pistols (who had split up two years prior to the release of the album!).

I was a bit stunned when checking up on chart positions for the singles as for some strange reason I assumed Let My Love Open The Door was a huge hit record, well it was but in the USA! It remains one of my favourite Pete Townshend songs to this day and I've heard some cracking cover versions of it over the years.

As it's been awhile since I last played this one so I'm pulling it off the shelf today. Enjoy.

For Bob M. & Doug M.

Empty Glass - Pete Townshend
Atco Records
Produced by Pete Townshend and Chris Thomas
Released 21st April 1980
UK Chart #11
US Chart #5

Original Tracklist
A1 Rough Boys
A2 I Am An Animal
A3 And I Moved
A4 Let My Love Open The Door
A5 Jools And Jim
B1 Keep On Working
B2 Cat's In The Cupboard
B3 A Little Is Enough
B4 Empty Glass
B5 Gonna Get Ya 
Bonus Tracks on the Playlist
Released on US and Japanese Versions in 2006
I Am an Animal (Demo Alternate Vocal Version)
Keep On Working (Demo Alternate Vocal Version)
And I Moved (Demo Alternate Vocal Version) 
Gonna Get Ya (Work-in-Progress Long Version)  

    Pete Townshend: vocals, guitars, synths
    John "Rabbit" Bundrick: "straight" keyboards
    Simon Phillips: drums (tracks: A2 to A4, B2, B4, B5)
    James Asher: drums (tracks: A5, B1)
    Kenney Jones: drums (track: A1)
    Mark Brzezicki: drums (track: B3)
    Tony Butler: bass guitar
    Raphael Rudd: brass arrangements on "Rough Boys"
    Peter Hope-Evans: harmonica on "Cat's in the Cupboard"

Hit Singles from Empty Glass
Rough Boys
UK Chart #39
US Chart #89

Let My Love Open The Door
UK Chart #46
US Chart #9

US Chart #72

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 115 - Sunday Morning Favourites #15 Patti Smith

An album of Cover Versions? It always seems to raise a question mark at the end of it and an album of Cover Versions by Patti Smith certainly raised a lot of questions and a lot of, I think, unhealthy criticism. So it's not necessarily what you expected at first and some of the choices seemed a little odd:

  01.Are You Experienced? (Jimi Hendrix)
    02. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears)
    03. Helpless (Neil Young)
    04. Gimme Shelter (Rolling Stones)
   05.  Within You Without You (The Beatles)
    06. White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
    07. Changing of the Guards (Bob Dylan)
    08.The Boy in the Bubble (Paul Simon)
    09. Soul Kitchen (The Doors)
    10. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
    11. Midnight Rider (The Allman Brothers)*
    12. Pastime Paradise (Stevie Wonder)
13. Everybody Hurts (R.E.M.) - Bonus Track
*(Midnight Rider is missing from the playlist as I couldn't find a version on You Tube at all of it. Not all the versions on the playlist are the actual studio versions as they appear on the album a few of them are live performances of the particular track

The music press took a sword to it and other critics were not so kind either. Chris Jones on the BBC Website said it is, "a very mixed bag indeed which is a real shame as, when she hits the right territory, she really gives us an insight into her roots and also demonstrates a sensitivity that’s impossible to resist. Twelve may have to remain an oddity in her canon, destined for selective downloading rather than a fully-formed experience."

Joshua Klein on Pitchfork sums up saying, "Smith's comeback has been one of the most welcome and impressive of the reunion-rife post-grunge era. Her albums still seize, spark, and scream like Smith did at any of her scattered peaks. Twelve, on the other hand, is nothing but a big comedown, a placeholder in a career that's long been about soldiering forward, not stumbling backward. It's not an album to get lost in. It's an album you listen to once, then lose. It makes you long for another comeback, the sooner the better to redeem this pointless misstep."

There are things they are saying in their reviews that I do understand but I'm afraid I do not follow their path of casting it aside. I actually quite like it myself, even the bizzare choices of things like Tears for Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule The World or Paul Simon's The Boy In The Bubble I find quite endearing. I totally disagree with the bloke from Pitchfork about it being an "album that you listen to once then lose", because it's an album I have played many times since it was released 9 years ago!

It may not be to everyone's liking and that's fine but I think that Patti Smith made an album she wanted to make and feels no shame that she did make it, even with all it's little quirks. The bravest track on the album has to be Smells Like The Teen Spirit performed like a kind of Bluegrassy Roots tune! That was most unexpected indeed as I thought maybe she would be kicking up a storm with it, but that was not really what the album is about. It's just one woman who's comfortable in her own skin and confident with the things she likes whether or not a reviewer somewhere agrees with her or not. For that we should be grateful to Patti Smith.

 Twelve - Patti Smith
Produced by Patti Smith
Released April 2007
US Chart #60
UK Chart #63

    Patti Smith – vocals, clarinet
    Lenny Kaye – guitar
    Jay Dee Daugherty – drums, percussion, accordion
    Tony Shanahan – bass, keyboards, vocals

Additional personnel
   Barre Duryea – bass
    David Bett – art direction
    Duncan Webster – guitar
    Flea – bass
    Giovanni Sollima – cello
    Jack Petruzelli – guitar
    Jackson Smith – guitar
    Jesse Smith – backing vocals
    John Cohen – banjo
    Luis Resto – piano
    Mario Resto – drums
    Paul Nowinski – double bass
    Peter Stampfel – fiddle
    Rich Robinson – dulcimer, guitar
    Sam Shepard – banjo
    Tom Verlaine – guitar
    Walker Shepard – banjo

Also included in the playlist above is the 7" Single "two more"
A-Side: Perfect Day (Lou Reed)
B-Side: Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect (The Decemberists)

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Music of Johnny Thunders

(Photo by Kees Tabak)

Someone dropped me a line a few days ago asking the question why I only ever seem to post about old music and old musicians and dead musicians! Can you believe that? I thought I'd tackle that question here as I post another bunch of old music by a dead musician!

Firstly the old music, well, a lot of it was actually new music once upon a time, especially when I was a kid (there were some artists I listened to back then who had already passed out of the world) and a lot of it formed the soundtrack of my young life. I feel I shouldn't need to apologize for keeping the memory of good "old music" alive!
Also some of these older artists, who are still pretty much alive, are making great new music as well, with a lot of them sounding much better than they have done so for years and it's a good thing to turn the spotlight on it and them.

As to the dead musicians, what can I say? Death is one of the only certainties in life, like taxes! It seems the respectful thing to do in honouring the life work of a musician to keep all that he has done out in the public so it will not be forgotten. Again, there really is no need to apologize for such a thing I think!

This brings me to Johnny Thunders. A lot of people are just prepared to write him off as "just another mixed up junkie" (to borrow a line from a song by The Boys' Terminal Love) but in doing so miss out on a wealth of brilliant music stretching back to the early 1970s when he was in the New York Dolls, to the mid to late 70s when he was rocking it with The Heartbreakers and then into the 80s and early 90s when he was doing various band projects but also out performing on his own. I've included an album of each period below. Enjoy.
Today is the anniversary of his death in New Orleans back in 1991. He apparently died from drug related issues but some have contested that there was foul play at work because the levels of drugs in his system were not regarded as fatal according to the autopsy. The autopsy also revealed that he had advanced Leukemia. Depsite the efforts of his family to get the New Orleans Police Department to re-investigate Johnny's death, it still remains a bit of a mystery.

Thirty six hours before his death Johnny Thunders was recording for the last time. He was with Die Toten Hosen laying down Born to Lose for their up and coming Learning English Lesson 1 album that featured many old school punks singing their songs with the band (there doesn't appear to be any of the album on You Tube apart from the track they did with Ronnie Biggs, so apologies for not sharing anything from it).

(New York Dolls)

New York Dolls
Mercury Records
27th July 1973
Produced by Todd Rundgren

Track Records
3rd October 1977
Produced by Speedy Keen and Daniel Segunda

Hurt Me
New Rose Records
Produced by Johnny Thunders and Christopher Giercke

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 114 - The Game Changer

There's maybe a few albums that I would put forward on the list of The Game Changer
Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley (1956)
The "Chirping" Crickets - The Crickets (1957)
Please Please Me - The Beatles (1963)
Bringing It All Back Home - Bob Dylan (1965)
Tommy - The Who (1969)
Catch A Fire  - Bob Marley (1973)
Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen (1975)
Horses - Patti Smith (1975)
Stupidity - Dr Feelgood (1976)
All Mod Cons - The Jam (1978)
The Specials - The Specials (1979)

I'm sure there are a few more but that's just a few off the top of my head. Add to that list the debut album from a band hailing from Forest Hills, Queens, New York...Ramones.

It's kinda funny that an album that seemed so overlooked on its release would be an album that ended up influencing so many up and coming bands at the time and still to this day has put its mark upon music in various categories, not just punk.

Formed in 1974 originally with Johnny on Guitar, Dee Dee on Lead Vocals and Bass and Joey on Drums and Tommy on the verge of being their manager. That didn't really work out as Dee Dee felt he couldn't really sing and play bass at the same time and Joey felt he couldn't sing and play drums at the same time so it fell to Tommy to "stand in" whilst they looked for a new drummer and because he was better than any of those who auditioned he stayed on for a few years. Tommy was responsible for encouraging the others to get Joey to be the singer.

Their first live outing before an audience was 30th March 1974 at Performance Studios. Around this time a new music scene was springing up in downtown Manhatten and had its base at two clubs, Max's Kansas City and CBGB's. They played their debut at CBGB's 16th August 1974. A month later someone had filmed their performance and this was included on Ramones It's Alive 1974-1996 DVD set. It's fascinating to watch as they plough their way through Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, I Don't Wanna Go Down To the Basement, and Judy is a Punk.

By 1975 they were sounding a lot better and again thanks to someone making it available there's 17 minutes of footage from Arturo Vega's Loft (3rd February). This seventeen minutes was basically their live set! Can you imagine that today!

There's also a Bootleg EP floating around of Demos recorded in 1975.

The album took about a week to record in February 1976 and was released on Sire Records, Seymour Stein had signed them after his wife Linda had seen them at CBGB's late 1975.

The album was pretty much a commercial failure by not getting into the Billboard Top 100 and the two singles, Blitzkrieg Bop and I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend both flopped.

It was available in the UK on import to begin with (not totally sure when it was made available without being imported) and John Peel played tracks from the album on his nightly show on BBC Radio 1. That's how most of us got to hear them for the very first time and man alive this was really different! They were really in a league of their own in NYC because bands like Television, Talking Heads and Patti Smith were maybe a little more arty, former New York Dolls Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan's newest band The Heartbreakers were more a straight up rock and roll band and Blondie were considered a bit of joke!

This was no thrills, no guitar solos, no fancy drum solos, and no keyboard noodling. It was just a case of get in, smash 'em over the head by playing the song very fast and get out as quick as you can! It was so against the grain of pretty much everything that was out around the time! Add to that there's 14 songs on the album containing a total of 29 minutes and 4 seconds of music! Lyrically I don't think I had heard anyone sing about the kind of stuff they were! As I said, everything about it was different.

Whilst they continued to build a pretty solid live audience the sales figures were not good but their influence was going to get much bigger as they came to the UK in the summer of 1976 to play at The Roundhouse second on the bill to the Flamin' Groovies on Independence Day, and the next night at Dingwalls in Camden Town (where they would meet members of the Sex Pistols and The Clash).

The album had a massive impact on the English punk scene, with the bassist for Generation X, Tony James, saying that the album caused English bands to change their style. "When their album came out," commented James, "all the English groups tripled speed overnight. Two-minute-long songs, very fast." In another interview, James stated that "Everybody went up three gears the day they got that first Ramones album. Punk rock—that rama-lama super fast stuff—is totally down to the Ramones. Bands were just playing in an MC5 groove until then."

Ramones - Ramones
Produced by Craig Leon and Tommy Erdrlyi (Ramone)
Released 23rd April 1976
US Chart #111

    Joey Ramone – lead vocals
    Johnny Ramone – lead guitar
    Dee Dee Ramone – bass guitar, backing vocals, co-lead vocals in "53rd & 3rd"
    Tommy Ramone – drums
 Joey Died 15th April 2001
Dee Dee Died 5th June 2002
Johnny Died 15th September 2004
Tommy Died 11th July 2014

 Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

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