Thursday, 17 July 2014

(Flac) TOM WAITS - Complete VH1 Storytellers (1999)

Prior to 1999, Tom Waits had last toured in 1987. He only played a handful of dates (usually benefit appearances) between then and his first show of 1999 at the SXSW festival. When his appearance at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas was announced the demand for tickets was completely insane. The festival's organizers had wanted him to play the Austin Music Hall (capacity 3,000), but Waits was determined to keep the show as intimate as possible, opting instead to play the 1,300-seat Paramount Theatre. That performance can be found on volume 8 of the Wolf HQR remasters.

Less than two weeks later Waits appeared on the VH1 Storyteller’s programme, the broadcast only consisted of seven songs and was first aired on May 23. This post has the links for the complete audio recording. It’s high quality and an intimate performance by Waits accompanied with Larry Taylor (upright bass) and Smokey Hormel (guitar, banjo and percussion)

If you require a preview before downloading, a lossy stream is provided on Archive.org see link below:
https://archive.org/details/TheCompleteTomWaitsUnplugged

After this special show for TV, tour dates to promote the Mule Variations album (released April 1999) began in June and continued at a leisurely pace through to the end of October as listed below. Band members are as the VH1 special but with the addition of Danny McGough (keyboards) and Andrew Borger (drums, marimba, percussion)

Jun. 09 & 10 - Paramount Theatre. Oakland, USA
Jun. 12, 13 & 14 - Wiltern Theatre. Los Angeles, USA
Jul. 13 & 14 - Cirkus. Stockholm, Sweden  (available on volume 6 of the Wolf HQR remasters)
Jul. 16, 17 &18 - Metropol Theatre, Berlin, Germany
Jul. 20 & 21 - Congres Centrum, The Hague, The Netherlands
Jul. 23, 24 & 25 - Teatro Comunale, Florence, Italy (available on volume 7 of the Wolf HQR remasters)
Aug. 23 & 24 - Hummingbird Centre, Toronto, Canada
Aug. 26 & 27 - Chicago Theatre, Chicago, USA
Aug. 29 & 30 - State Theatre. Minneapolis, USA
Sep. 19, 20 & 21 - Orpheum Theatre. Boston, USA
Sep. 23, 24, 25 & 27 - Beacon Theatre, New York, USA
Sep. 27 - CBS Late Show with David Letterman, New York, USA TV appearance performed: Chocolate Jesus
Oct. 12 & 13 - Paramount Theatre, Denver, USA
Oct. 13 - "KBCO radio/ Studio-C with Bret Saunders". Boulder, USA Radio appearance (interview) and performed:
Picture In A Frame, Fall Of Troy, Can't Wait To Get Off Work & Jesus Blood Never Failed Me. (available on Rats and Angry Flowers excl. the interview)
Oct. 15 - Hult Center, Eugene, USA
Oct. 17 - Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, Canada (available on Rats and Angry Flowers)
Oct. 18 & 19 - 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle, USA
Oct. 19 - KMTT radio "The Mountain Music Lounge" Seattle, USA Interview and performed: Hold On & Picture In A Frame
Oct. 30 - Annual Bridge School benefit (Neil Young's Charity) at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, USA (available on a circulating bootleg DVD with the Letterman appearance)

---------------------------
original notes:

Tom Waits
Complete VH1 Storytellers - Audio Soundboard - Remaster
1999-04-01
Los Angeles
Burbank Airport

lineage:SBD > Non-Broadcast Tape > CDRx > Remaster (Cool Edit Pro 2.1)  > shn (mkw Audio Compression Tool)  Sound Quality A+
                                                                                                                                                 



Original Remaster Notes:
After recieve various flawed copies of this set, I decided to do a little research. As it turns out, the copy that generally circulates contains various digital copy errors throughout, though most noticable on the end of disc 1. With the impossibility of obtaining a clear copy of it, I took upon myself
the laborious task of remastering these discs. The first step was to listen through with my headphones and remove all of the skips, gaps, and other bizarre problems that had been introduced onto the discs. Tracks 10 and 11 on the first disc were especially difficult, and a close listen will still reveal a few imperfections scattered throughout. I didn't want to alter the original too much, so the really tough ones remain.No noise reduction or EQ of any kind was performed. While these discs are still not perfect, this version is a hell of a lot better than the versions that I was able to find circulating around.

Original Performance Notes:
I had a difficult time writing a review of this concert as I was listening to it because I was simply laughing too hard. While many performers have a hard time with the Storytellers format, Tom really flourishes, making the most of each opportunity to tell one of his hilarious stories that sometimes have a little to do with the lyrics and sometimes nothing at all. Mule Variations is one of my favorite Waits albums, and my three favorite songs on it are included here. The version of Tom in his 1999 voice performing Ol' 55 (and the hilarious story that preceeds it) is priceless.
The band is excellent, the arrangements are tasteful and interesting, and the vocals are simply perfect. I won't spoil it any more for those who have yet to hear this, but I will say that it should be one of the first Waits bootlegs you should have in your collection. (Remastering and review by Stephen Pickett)
                                                                                                          
Disc one
01. Story
02. Tango Till They're Sore
03. Story
04. Hang Down Your Head
05. Story
06. Ol' 55
07. Story
08. Strange Weather
09. Story
10. Hold On
11. Story
12. Picture In A Frame
13. Story
14. I Can't Wait To Get Off Work
15. Story
16. House Where Nobody Lives
17. Story
18. Get Behind The Mule
19. Story
20. Chocolate Jesus
21. Story
22. What's He Building

Disc two
01. Story
02. A Little Rain
03. Story
04. Downtown Train
05. Black Wings
06. Story
07. Jesus Gonna Be Here
08. Story
09. Jersey Girl
10. Story
11. Chocolate Jesus
12. Tango Till They're Sore
13. Story
14. Hang Down Your Head

Artwork included

Thanks to Fransbo at TC (4-22-2009) > whatmamasaid at HC ( 8-17-2009)

DISC 1

DISC 2

(note the track listings on the original artwork included are incorrect - use the blog track listing)




Sunday, 6 July 2014

(Flac) PRINCE - Small Club 1988


Prince   ‎– Small Club 

Het Paard Van Troje, The Hague, Rotterdam

August 18th 1988


This is the bootleg that sets the bar. When this began to appear at record shows, first released on vinyl in 1988 (CD, 1991) it became the talk of the Prince fanatic community. The sound quality is better than most official live releases.


The set list is slick with long improvised jams, some blues/jazz covers, and a couple of his classics. Standout tracks are the opening jam, People Without, the cover of Just My Imagination and an epic rendition of Forever in My Life. And, during Still Would Stand All Time, you get to hear him trying to subtly admonish a back-up singer for singing "Still Will Stand All Time"... After a few pointed, yet calm corrections...he shouts, "Who's the fool who singing 'will'?? It's 'would'! Time WOULD stand still!" 



-----------------------------------------------------------


Original notes:


It is no secret that this is arguably the most essential bootleg recording in circulation for Prince fans. This is a perfect recording of a coveted aftershow.


The sound quality is to my ears identical to the original release of Small Club 2nd Show That Night by X records in 1989. This is the first time I've said this about any reissue of this show. Although many have tried before this is the first Small Club recording to actually match the original in sound quality. There have been no less than a couple dozen of reissues over the past 6 years. In a blind test with both sources playing simultaneously I could not tell them apart. If there is a difference in sound it is discernible to me.


The show itself is a true aftershow classic, with everything we could ask for in a performance: killer guitar solos (Rave Unto the Joy Fantastic & Just My Imagination), great vocals (Still Would Stand All Time), lots of Boni Boyer, and a couple of unreleased songs (People Without, etc..). This is Prince at his physical and performing prime. Looking back I would have to say that 1987-88 featured him at his best more consistently that any other time of his career. His aftershows during this time period are just legendary including the incredible Camden Palace show in London on July 25th, the Hamburg show in late August and one of the first, the Quasimodo gig on the Sign O the Times tour. Never has his ferocity been so evident at shows such as these. His effortless ability to mix stunning cover versions and unreleased tracks along with completely new renditions of his classics is remarkable. It also has a lot to do with his look. Watch the clips of the Camden Palace gig and you can see a stronger, firmer Prince that we've seen in the recent years. Not one as frail and weightless as we're becoming accustomed to now. What is also noticeable in those aftershow clips is that Prince KNEW he had just hit his prime. His relaxed mood with the European fans, his

musicianship, and his first truly great backing band had reached a peak at this time unmatched to that point in his career. His confidence and showmanship have never been so apparent.


Disc one

1-1    Instrumental Jam     12:54 

1-2    D.M.S.R.     8:47 

1-3    Just My Imagination     7:45 

1-4    People Without     10:28 

1-5    Housequake     4:32 

1-6    Down Home Blues     8:47 


Disc two

2-1    Cold Sweat     9:35 

2-2    Forever In My Life     11:28 

2-3    Still Would Stand All Time     10:47 

2-4    I'll Take You There     15:58 

2-5    It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night     2:40 

2-6    Rave To The Joy Fantastic     2:11 


the band

Bass: Levi Seacer Jr.

Drums, Percussion: Sheila E.

Guitar: Mico Weaver

Keyboards: Dr. Fink

Trumpet: Atlanta Bliss

Vocals: Boni Boyer, Cat*

Vocals, Guitar: Prince


‘Abierman 2004’ commented on the Prince forum: http://prince.org/


“I had seen the regular show (Lovesexy, my 3rd show, after Parade ‘86 & Sign Of The Times ‘87) in the arena (De Kuip, Rotterdam) the night before and it was summertime, which meant: no school. A good friend of mine lived in The Hague (I'm from Amsterdam) and we had planned this night long before. So after having dinner with his parents, we were allowed (I was staying the night at their place) to 'hit' the town (hey, I was only 17!). The club, 'Het Paard', was back then a cool hangout. Not too small, certainly not too big. We arrived around 11:30 PM and not much was going on, we were happy to be there, released of 'the wrath' of parents. Dirk, my buddy, was not really into Prince and was getting tired of me talking about the concert-experience I had had the night before. However, at some point, around 1:00 AM there was this vibe going on, people were doing stuff on the small stage. I believe some 200 people were in the club, and nothing was announced. We heard this rumor that nobody was being let in anymore, don't know whether that was true.

At some point we saw people climbing the stage. It was dark but I saw clearly a woman stepping behind the drums. This is when 'Jam' started. we still didn't know what was going on, no announcements whatsoever. This band was jamming and once the beat kicks in some light was turned on and I freaked! Shortly after that I heard this typical guitar sound, the one that had been pounding in my ears for the last 24 hours. Yes, it was Prince and his band!

I couldn't believe it! I started to recognize the members: Dr Think, Sheila E, Miko, Levi, Atlanta and Prince! Later Boni Boyer joined as well! No Eric Leeds (I believe he wasn't feeling to well, Anotherwontdare) and Cat to be seen. Dirk, a guitar-lover, was like: what the fuck is this? Convinced in a minute! Big smile on his face. I was just stunned, couldn't say a word! Was this happening? Yes it was.

After the 13-minute jam, he kicked in DMSR (well, this beat's going to sleep, don't it?), the funk was phat! People were freaking out, although there weren't to many fans there, there would be afterwards.

Housequake ( a hit back then) had the people go wild. Then Just My Imagination, the solo. This was P's and Sheila's show. Just listen to the two of them go together amazing! This is the quintessential Prince-moment! There are stories (maybe even urban-legends) about P having tears in his eyes during this. I don't remember seeing this, but I had almost tears in MY eyes. This man was amazing, what a treat to be here! The Man was happy and in rare form that night! It was so obvious that he was enjoying himself, and no religious BS as well.

People Without was freaky, lights off. What a fucking great song. Dr Think going wild on the synths.

Kansas City Here I come Boni Boyer, ain't nobody can mess with that girl (is it true that she died?)! P's blues solo at the end, what the fuck?

It was great to see a band having fun after a 2 1/2 hour 'regular' show, this is why they're in music. This was their thing, not ours, we were just witnesses.

Forever In My Live was a great jam, the audience participating, I hear myself everytime! I Don't Care, Boni baby! Sheila was rapping!  Rave was great, his official recording 10 years later sucked! Prince: 'Miko, gimme some of that funk!' Miko: 'Sure Prince, you want it high or low?' It stopped around 4 AM.

An amazing night that I will never forget, it took me 8 years to get me a copy of the bootleg, I still listen to it regularly and think back of that night! I believe it was Prince's first aftershow in Holland, and it's definitely the best bootleg-recording I know of (sound-quality wise)! Great it's out there, it almost captures the vibe that was there that night, it will never be there again!”

Monday, 9 June 2014

(Flac) VARIOUS - Studio One 12" Singles Discomixes

This one came from the old M&T forum and circulated a few years ago. There are many officially released collections of Studio One tracks but usually they just select the a-side from the original single and ignore the longer version sides. This set has some of the best and most famous of riddims originally produced at Coxsone's Brentford Road studio in Kingston, Jamaica.


VARIOUS ARTISTS - Studio One 12" Singles Discomixes
reggae vinyl - 41 tracks








DISC ONE
John Holt - Hooligan
01 Hooligan - John Holt
02 Hooligan Version (Part 1) - Sound Dimension
03 Hooligan Version (Part 2) - Sound Dimension


Jackie Mittoo - Gold Streak
04 Gold Streak - Jackie Mittoo
05 Gold Streak Version (Part 1) - Brentford Disco Set
06 Gold Streak Version (Part 2) - Brentford Disco Set


Don Drummond Jr - Heavenless
07 Heavenless - Don Drummond Jr
08 Heavenless Version - Don Drummond Jr


Roland Alphonso - The Moongazer
09 The Moongazer - Roland Alphonso
10 The Moongazer Version (Part 1) - Soul Vendors
11 The Moongazer Version (Part 2) - Soul Vendors


Sims & Egmond -What's The Matter
12 What's The Matter - Sims & Egmond
13 What's The Matter Version (Part 1) - Sims & Egmond
14 What's The Matter Version (Part 2) - Sims & Egmond


Hortense Ellis - I'm Just A Girl
15 I'm Just A Girl - Hortense Ellis
16 I'm Just A Girl Version (Part 1) - Brentford Disco Set
17 I'm Just A Girl Version (Part 2) - Brentford Disco Set


Larry Marshall - Nanny Goat
18 Nanny Goat - Larry Marshall
19 Nanny Goat Version (Part 1) - Sound Dimension
20 Nanny Goat Version (Part 2) - Sound Dimension

DISC TWO
Delroy Wilson - Dancing Mood
01 Dancing Mood - Delroy Wilson
02 Dancing Mood Version (Part 1) - Sound Dimension
03 Dancing Mood Version (Part 2) - Sound Dimension


Angelia Prince - No Bother With No Fuss
04 No Bother With No Fuss - Angelia Prince
05 No Bother With No Fuss Version - Sound Dimension


Eddie Constantine - Tenement Yard
06 Tenement Yard - Eddie Constantine
07 Tenement Yard Version - Sound Dimension


Horace Andy - Mr. Bassie
08 Mr. Bassie - Andy, Horace
09 Mr. Bassie Version (Part 1) - Sound Dimension
10 Mr. Bassie Version (Part 2) - Sound Dimension


Alton Ellis - Tumbling Tears
11 Tumbling Tears - Ellis, Alton
12 Tumbling Tears (version pt 1) - Sound Dimension
13 Tumbling Tears (version part 2) - Sound Dimension


Silvertones - Young At Heart
14 Young At Heart - Silvertones
15 Young At Heart Version - Sound Dimension
16 Love Is A Treasure - Freddie McKay


Freddie McGregor - Come Now Sister
17 Come Now Sister - McGregor, Freddie
18 Come Now Sister Version (Part 1) - Sound Dimension
19 Come Now Sister Version (Part 2) - Sound Dimension


Jennifer Lara - I Can't Take It Anymore
20 I Can't Take It Anymore - Jennifer Lara
21 I Can't Take It Anymore Version - Sound Dimension

--------------------------------------------------------------

original notes:

At some point, Coxsone Dodd and Studio One got themselves a 12" stamping machine. This allowed them to create longer sides. Often classic songs were slightly remixed and re-versioned, sometimes with the addition of some syn-drums, and other studio tricks.  These 12" singles were very popular with the DJ's - now they could access the version without flipping over the single.
These were all ripped from original, long out of print, Jamaican vinyl. These were ripped by somebody else from their personal collection. Preserve and share your old vinyl, otherwise it might be lost forever.


This set has been compiled from a seven volume disc torrent which has circulated online within the last few years. I have selected the best tracks that fit closely to the classic Studio 1 sound. The worst excesses of eighties production and fashionable sounds at the time have been excluded.
 johnny2bad - April 2011 (M&T torrents)





disc 1 part 1

disc 1 part 2

disc 2 part 1

disc 2 part 2

no password required

Sunday, 1 June 2014

(Flac) LED ZEPPELIN - Texas International Pop Festival 1969

Led Zeppelin
August 31, 1969
Texas International Pop Festival
Motor Speed Way
Dallas, TX



In 1969, Led Zeppelin played over 150 live shows, touring began prior to that on Boxing Day 1968 and then continued through into Mid- February ‘69
After a two-week break the group began a UK tour on March 1st and also fitted in some Scandinavian dates mid-month. This took them into mid-April and immediately they flew to the US and began another tour that ran to the end of May.
Amazingly a second UK tour of the year followed finishing at the Royal Albert Hall on June 29th.
Less than a week later they were in Atlanta Georgia for the beginning of the US Festival season, more dates at conventional venues followed with appearances in Canada before finishing at the Texas International Pop Festival on Aug 31st, in September they took some time off!

On October 7th touring began again in Europe, opening in Stockholm. Their second date, three days later in Paris is the recording that was previously available here, a pre-fm of a radio broadcast. That show is released tomorrow on the second disc of the Led Zeppelin debut album deluxe 2cd set. (Note that less than half of the final track How Many More Times has been included. Yes, the official release has cut the 23:08 running time down to 11:13 probably to make way for the inclusion of Moby Dick missing from the bootleg. The official release also has some music missing from White Summer/Black Mountian Side).

A final European date in London on October 12th was followed by more touring of the US and Canada between October 17th and November 7th.
A year that also saw them release their debut album and record and release a second, Led Zeppelin II
What a phenomenal work schedule, these guys certainly worked hard for their success.

This show hasn’t been professionally mixed and therefore can’t match the quality of the Paris ’69 show but it’s still an excellent recording and a great performance, although at the beginning you can hear the soundman struggling to mix Zeppelin’s live sound (much like the Paris bootleg). It soon settles down and provides one of the best sounding live bootlegs from Led Zeppelin's early years.

The audio files are from the Empress Valley title  “The Only Way To fly “ released in 2002.
More from Zeppelin will follow at a later date. thebasement67 (June 2014)
----------------------------------------------------
original notes:
Source: Soundboard Recording with Audience patches to make a complete show.


1. Introduction
2. The Train Kept A Rollin'
3. I Can't Quit You
4. Dazed And Confused
5. You Shook Me
6. How Many More Times
7. Communication Breakdown


Notes:
Empress Valley has taken the missing segments for the soundboard and added the audience source to fill in the gaps. Sound is excellent for the Sbd and good/very good for the audience source.
Downloaded from Presence's Direct Downloads.



DOWNLOAD

Thursday, 29 May 2014

(Flac) TALKING HEADS - Boarding House, San Francisco, CA. 1978

Talking Heads
Boarding House
San Francisco Ca.
September 16, 1978
(from pre-fm reels)

Fans of Talking Heads are fortunate that there are plenty of quality bootlegs in circulation. It would be easy to post one for each year that they played live simply because of the amount of radio promotional work and time that the group undertook. This is a favourite from 1978, sixteen songs, excellent quality and sourced from the KSAN pre-fm reels. The set list is drawn heavily from their only album releases at that time '77 and "More Songs About Buildings And Food.(released in July 1978)"


Talking Heads played live throughout every month of 1978 except April.
This show comes from the second of a three night run at the Boarding House in San Francisco.
In an interview from 1979 Chris Frantz said of the 1978 tour “We bit off more than we could chew, we thought we could play every night.” They nearly did!




01. Big Country
02. Warning Sign
03. The Book I Read
04. Stay Hungry
05. Artists Only
06. Girls
07. The Good Thing
08. Love > Buildings On Fire
09. Electricity
10. Found A Job
11. New Feeling/ Pulled Up
12. Psycho Killer

Encores:
13. Take Me To the River
14. I'm Not In Love

 2nd Encore
15. No Compassion


Lineage: KSAN reels  633A, 633B, 633C
Reel plybck: Revox A-77(15ips)> Panasoic SV-250 DAT(internal A/D)
Plyback Panasonic 3800>Apple G4 (Peak editing, sample rate conversion)>
Xact prep>upload from files



Artwork is included with the download

DOWNLOAD LINK


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

(Flac) OASIS - Cabaret Metro, Chicago - 1994

Jorge, a blog reader emailed me recently saying how much he enjoyed the Jeff Buckley at Glastonbury post and requested some Oasis. So this seems an opportune time to repost this, another that was lost during the Megaupload take down and Rapidshare file deletion. Three remain to be posted: The Wailers live 1973, Bob Dylan live 1966 and Led Zeppelin live 1969.

This is a blistering performance from Oasis on their first US tour, just before Tony McCarroll left the band. A perfect document of how the band sounded on their ascent to world-wide fame. The complete "Definitely Maybe" track-list is performed live less than two months after its release. 
Some classic brotherly rivalry is evident as Liam says “This one’s called Up In The Sky!” and Noel retorts “No it’s not, it’s called Bring It On Down!”

‘Definitely Maybe is one of the best ever debut album releases, and with the 20 year anniversary of its release coming up this August with an expanded edition, this is a perfect live complement.

The band:
Noel Gallagher - Guitar, Vocals
Liam Gallagher - Vocals, Tambourine
Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs - Guitar
Paul 'Guigsy' McGuigan - Bass
Tony McCarroll - Drums


 

Original notes


Oasis
The Cabaret Metro
Chicago, Illinois, USA
October 15, 1994

SBD / Audio courtesy of JBTV / ESK 6805
Source:  Label Promo > EAC v0.95 beta04 > WAV > mkwACT v0.97b1 > shn > River Past Audio Converter Pro 7.7.1 > FLAC

01  Rock 'n' Roll Star
02  Columbia
03  Fade Away
04  Digsy's Dinner
05  Shakermaker
06  Live Forever
07  Bring it on Down
08  Up in the Sky
09  Slide Away
10  Cigarettes & Alcohol
11  Married with Children
12  Supersonic
13  I Am the Walrus

Notes:
This is from an 'Oasis Live' promo disc that we received here at the radio station in probably late '94 or '95, show is also on boots called 'Ode to the Walrus' , 'Supersonic' and 'Climbing The Sky'.  It's excellent sound from a promo sent from Sony.  Included are scans of the CD itself.  By all accounts it's a complete show





alternative artwork





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Thursday, 27 March 2014

(Flac) THE BLUE NILE - The Bottom Line, NYC. 1990

The Blue Nile
The Bottom Line
New York City
July 23, 1990





The Blue Nile have variously been described as adult alternative pop, dream pop, alternative rock, ambient folk and synth pop, all of these terms vainly try and box the group’s music into a particular genre. What can be said without any doubt is that in the 1980’s they released two absolute classic albums: A Walk Across The Rooftops (1984) and Hats (1989)


This show can be considered as part one of an unofficial trilogy of live recordings from 1990 (Manchester and Glasgow are the others) and is taken from either a soundboard or an FM broadcast. (lineage details included with the notes are vague)
The group began their first ever tour with dates in the USA before returning home for their debut UK tour in September, ending with two shows at the Royal Concert Hall in their native city of Glasgow.
The performance and sound quality of this recording is superb and while no live recording can ever compete with the recorded perfection of the two previously mentioned albums, this show comes pretty damn close. Of the fourteen tracks spread over the first two releases, eleven are included here, six from Hats and five from the debut album, A Walk Across The Rooftops, closing in fast on it’s 30th anniversary release date.


01. A Walk Across the Rooftops
02. Tinseltown In The Rain
03. Heatwave
04. Over The Hillside
05. Stay
06. Easter Parade
07. band intro
08. Downtown Lights
09. Saturday Night
10. Headlights On The Parade
11. Seven A.M.
12. Let's Go Out Tonight





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Glasgow's unique but extremely slow-moving (four albums in 20 years!) Blue Nile has a wealth of creative depth, building atmosphere with lots of empty space and carefully controlled conflicting musical maneuvers. The title track of the trio's first album mixes strings, horns, drum and bass with a meandering, disjunct vocal for something like a blend of Robert Wyatt, Joni Mitchell and John Cale. Although A Walk Across the Rooftops isn't easy to love, at its most accessible point ("Stay," which actually has a chorus and more of a verse melody than the others), it's quite appealing.
Hats was five years in the making, but the band's relentless perfectionism paid off: the seven songs are as dense and moving as a midnight sky. With sweeping synths and the pristine click of electronic percussion, "The Downtown Lights" and "Over the Hillside" are moody like film music, while "From a Late Night Train" and "Saturday Night" are impressionistic vignettes that creep along in slow motion. There's hardly a guitar or live drum to be heard, but seldom has studio technology been used to such warm and personal results.
A vast seven-year gap yawned between the Blue Nile's second and third albums. During that time (part of which was devoted to the lengthy process of securing a new record deal), the perfectionists' only visible activities were one tour and three collaborations. They recorded a cover of Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" on Clannad vocalist Màire Brennan's Misty Eyed Adventures, a live British B-side with Rickie Lee Jones, and "The Gift," a song the threesome co-wrote with Annie Lennox for her Diva album; Lennox certified her satisfaction by including the Blue Nile's "Downtown Lights" on her Medusa collection.
Recorded (somewhat tellingly) in Los Angeles, Peace at Last is by far the atmospheric group's most diverse, accessible and fully realized work. Generally more upbeat and conventional than the first two, the album uses vastly different instrumentation — acoustic guitars, strings, even a gospel choir on "Happiness" — yet retains the group's distinctive melancholy, panoramic feel. The pop ideas explored rather clumsily on Hats are infinitely more assured here; while the horn-speckled "Sentimental Man" summons fearsome visions of Phil Collins, "Body and Soul" slithers brilliantly on- and off-beat, showing how thoroughly the group has managed to integrate groove into its sound. Although the unmistakable whiff of centrist tendencies imbues the proceedings — there's even a lump-in-the-throat Christmas ballad called "Family Life" — Peace at Last is a natural and dramatic progression.
Between Blue Nile releases, frontman Paul Buchanan lent his distinctive vocals to several outside projects, including Peter Gabriel's OVO, smooth jazz trumpeter Chris Botti's Midnight Without You and composer Craig Armstrong's The Space Between Us.
After another eight-year pause, the Blue Nile finally returned with High, abandoning the more organic trappings of Peace at Last in favor of the lush, synthesized feel of Hats. High is the first Blue Nile album that makes no significant stylistic advance over its predecessors but the best moments are true to the band’s essential qualities. (The lesser moments suggest its signature sound could ossify into formula.) Buchanan’s characteristically bittersweet lyrics return to familiar themes: the drudgery of the workaday world and relationships both good and bad. "Because of Toledo" stands out in part due to an arrangement that is little more than acoustic guitar and Buchanan's voice. "Broken Loves" deftly delineates a difficult father/son relationship while expending a fair amount of musical energy running in place. "She Saw the World" and "Everybody Else" make more focused use of that energy. "I Would Never" and "Days of Our Lives" recapture the languid grace of earlier songs like “Over the Hillside.” But the title track's lyrical search for transcendence is undercut by a prosaic chorus.
"I Would Never" was released as a CD single, with cover art depicting three straw hats. The single adds two tracks that predate A Walk Across the Rooftops. "I Love This Life" brims with youthful enthusiasm in strong contrast to the often complicated grown-up concerns of their later work. "The Second Act," an early B-side previously unreleased on CD, shows a developing band that hasn't quite arrived at its signature sound.
Since the release of High, Buchanan has continued to collaborate with other musicians: he sang on Aqualung's Memory Man album and co-wrote a song on the 2010 Magnetic North release. His vocals are also featured on "Sleep" from Texas' 2006 Red Book album.
Buchanan returned in 2012 with Mid Air, a solo album of elegiac ballads. While many of these short songs (most clock in under three minutes) are individually excellent, they are too much alike to make it a strong album. Buchanan is a master at creating a mood of ephemeral beauty, but the arrangements vary little: he croons gently over simple piano accompaniment that often traces the melody line, while synthesized sweetening fleshes out the sound. The Blue Nile used this approach fruitfully on tracks like “Easter Parade,” “Because of Toledo,” and “From a Late Night Train,” surrounding them with contrasting fare. Mid Air cries out for similar variety, but only the lovely orchestral instrumental “Fin de Siecle” breaks form. This particular whole is not greater than the sum of its parts, beautifully wrought though the parts are. “Cars in the Garden” and “I Remember You” are among the high points. The 24-track edition contains several alternate versions, including a pair of remixes credited to Blue Nile’s Robert Bell. (Trouser Press)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

(Flac) BLACK SABBATH - Asbury Park, NJ. 1975

Black Sabbath
Convention Hall, Asbury Park NJ.
August 5, 1975


Soundboard Recording
Reel To Reel (Master) > CDR(2) > EAC > WAV > FLAC(8)

 



A highly respected Sabbath collector contacted King Biscuit to inquire about the full release of their 1975 show, which was thought to be from Philadelphia by most people at the time. King Biscuit had been taking requests for future releases, so this was a completely legitimate request. Their initial response was that the show "wasn't good enough". But once the KB engineers had a listen to the tapes, they quickly discovered how wrong their assessment was. One of them even asked the collector to identify a song for them. It turned out to be "Spiral Architect"! Also, the tapes were identified as being from the Asbury Park show, not Philadelphia as previously thought. (sabbathlive.com)
The King Biscuit kindly sent the collector a complimentary copy of the show, since there were now plans to release it officially. But when he tried to follow up on this release a few months later, the King Biscuit employee no longer worked there and the release was apparently nixed. And it was from this 'advance promo' that the slew of Asbury Park bootlegs originated from.

A compromised 2cd set called ‘Past Lives’ was finally released comprising selections from three separate shows recorded between 1973 and 1975
This stereo soundboard recording began circulating in 2001 and is taken from the master tape, made for broadcast as mentioned above. It captures the band at the beginning of the ‘Sabotage’ tour with the classic line-up of Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.
This is the full unedited show from Asbury Park originally heard on bootleg under such titles as “Heaven And Earth,” “Sabotaged,” “Accidental Overdose” “Let Slip The Pigs Of War and Dying To Live.

Disc 1
1. Killing Yourself to Live
2. Hole in the Sky
3. Snowblind
4. Symptom of the Universe
5. War Pigs
6. talking
7. Megalomania

Disc 2
1. Sabbra Cadabra
2. Supernaut
3. Iron Man
4. Orchid > Rock & Roll Doctor > Don’t Start (Too Late)
5. Black Sabbath
6. Spiral Architect
7. Embryo > Children of the Grave
8. Paranoid
--------------------------------
As a live document of the Sabotage tour, there is, at this time, simply nothing better available. The recording opens with a stomping version of "Killing Yourself To Live". It’s an angry performance with Ozzy's vocals having a bluesy quality and sounding positively enraged at certain points. The song has a grim message, without a doubt. Unlike those that came from later eras of the band, the grim darkness that shrouds the lyric of this is firmly grounded in reality. The sense of helplessness and futility ("You work your life away and what do they give? /You're only killing yourself to live") in these words has an universal quality that I think nearly anyone can relate to. I can't help but remember the background of Terry "Geezer" Butler when I listen to these lyrics. I can see the darkness of a steel town like Birmingham and the blackened faces of factory workers enduring brawling, blighted lives. Geezer's righteous indignation at the injustices of the world is expressed better in other songs, so in a sense this song is a variation on the traditional Sabbath theme of alienation from the mainstream world but also a satisfying and acceptable musical statement. And its suitably energetic performance by the band makes for a rousing opener as well.

Following new song “Hole In The Sky” is "Snowblind". Ward counts the band in and they launch into the magisterial, grinding riff. Many may find this dull and ponderous, but I hear a simple but epic musical number that carries the listener away to an entirely different mood. It’s a mood set by Iommi's guitar, the focus of power, around which the vocals, instruments, and lyrics swirl. From the first time I heard Iommi's beautiful, brooding blues guitar, I responded to its sound immediately, it’s meditative, soaring peaks and its dismal valleys. It sounded primordial, like the vivid essence of what rock guitar should be, technically simple but emotionally vast. Iommi learned his lessons from early American rock 'n' roll and its earlier blues roots just as every other British guitar hero of his generation did. His playing always exhibited a commitment that you could hear in every note. Its 'sincerity' remains unquestionable in my eyes. And that commitment and emotional depth is what I respond to even today. The crash and burn in this song is extraordinary. Tony leads the band from one crushing section into another in a consistently dramatic fashion and his playing is wonderfully inspired.

Speaking of the dramatic, "War Pigs" begins with a raucous squeal from Iommi before the band lurches into the intense and melancholy opening. The second section again shows why no other rhythm section has ever inspired Tony to the outermost limits of his ability like Geezer and Bill did. Bill, in particular, astounds me. He drives this band at times with his tremendous sense of feel and his creativity. And the chemistry between Bill and Geezer is undeniable. Probably the busiest bass player of his time, outside of Jack Bruce, he plays fluid, swinging lines that demonstrate more empathy with and support Tony's guitar work in a myriad of ways that a rhythm guitarist could never hope to match.

"Sabbra Cadabra" opens at full throttle and it's boogie Sabbath playing a relentless, warped, and very individual take on the classic rock 'n' roll subject of passion for a woman. The band establishes an impressive groove that centres around the rhythm section with Tony's incendiary licks laid over the top of it all. And, by god, he was never the most talented vocalist in the world, but Ozzy was putting everything he could into his vocals here and I appreciate that much more than his voice cracking could ever displease me. And it cracks a lot in this song and throughout the entire concert. Technical brilliance in music should be respected, but I could care less whether Ozzy can hit and sustain high notes, never slip out of key, and astound with his sweet dulcet tones. His voice is full of grit, reality, and character here. It is one of the classic rock voices, never pretty, but cawing, insistent, and unstoppable. He spits out the lyrics to this song with interest and authority and grabs a hold of the band as only a strong front man can.

The jam that follows the song is often just flat out brilliant. There are some riffs within this musical exhibition that show how heavy Sabbath could still be in 1975 and how some of their experimentation with new sounds were beginning to hit the mark in quality. Of the latter, the slightly funky, meandering jam with Geezer's distinctive wah-wah bass sounds incredible to these ears and one can only wonder what that jam could have turned into if the band had turned its full attention to it in the studio.

The slow, brooding blues of "Sometimes I'm Happy" starts. The gloomy swing of the music belies the romance and cheerfulness of the lyric. It was a definite departure from the typical Sabbath song in this era, but the lyrics are primarily, ornamental and serve as an open-ended structure designed to allow room for improvisation from show to show. Ozzy sings the lyrics with ugly, full-on passion. Ward and Butler shine again here as they establish a slow, slinky groove that is the absolute highlight of this particular performance.

Ozzy introduces Bill Ward and his drums take over. Drum solos can be brutal, interminable affairs with little redeeming musical value. The best examples of drum solos are short excursions that most often lead into the next song; we get that here. Ward shows off his distinctive, upbeat jazzy patterns and also the raw, angry power that kept Sabbath in good stead for over a decade.
The band segues into "Supernaut" with a piercing squeal. Ward is a dynamo on the sticks as the band delivers here with a towering, aggressive performance. Ozzy is again going full out here; the stress he is subjecting his vocal chords to is obvious.

The band backs away again and leaves Ward alone again to wail on his kit. After a brief drumming exhibition, Ward begins to pound out the rudimentary opening beats of "Iron Man" and Ozzy says to the crowd, "Guess what?" What a joker. The guitar comes in and it sounds slightly out of tune, but the band soldiers on and this version rises up from the pack on the strength of the band's interplay tonight. It could have fallen completely apart, but it doesn't. Instead Sabbath plays it with vengeance and authority, like the garage band to end all garage bands, and anything unusual about the performance begins to pale in comparison to the intimidating head of steam that the band builds. The band blows up in the final section and unleashes a barrage of its gloomy, angst-ridden industrial metal before they collapse into a brief Iommi solo.

At this point, we have our intermission, and the band plays a tape of "Changes" for the crowd's benefit.

The brooding, baroque notes of "Orchid" begin and it is played with lovely touch and restraint. Like many bands of this genre in this era, Sabbath made a conscious attempt to utilize both spectrums of light and dark, soft and heavy. These experiments, while noble, often resulted in some of the more obscure filler tracks on the studio albums.

Iommi's heavily distorted guitar returns and, after briefly noodling, Iommi begins to play an embryonic form of "Rock 'n' Roll Doctor" that was taking shape during the extended jams of this tour. The groove isn't quite there yet, but they have the song and, even in its early form, it shows promise as a strong rocker firmly in the Sabbath mould. Once they finish however, the band disappears and what we end up with is Iommi playing flurry after flurry of notes in a largely nonsensical, forgettable fashion. He finishes by playing a fast version of "Black Sabbath’s intro before the band segues into the main riff of the song with a roar. This performance here makes full use of the song's primal theatre. This is a committed band playing with absolute authority and the song ends up being yet another strong performance in a night full of them.

"Spiral Architect" is one of the more ambitious songs on an album that reeks of ambition. The less said about the lyrics, the better. Geezer tries in seemingly every line to break through to some higher level of emotion and thought, but the result is a collection of obscure, pseudo-poetic lyrical conceits that communicate little to the listener but a sense of bafflement. Only during the bridge do the lyrics reach clarity and speak to the listener directly, simply, and emotionally. Oddly, Ozzy's energetic wail largely redeems the weaknesses of the lyrics and he is obviously there with every word. There's a critical difference between the Ozzy's vocals in this era and his vocals in the concerts that followed Sabbath's reunion years later. It isn't really chops. The word is commitment and Ozzy has it here in spades. Churning and crashing around him is a band that executes well and moves effortlessly through the song's many tempo changes. Iommi's guitar sounds brittle and sharp here, but it works as he plays vicious, slashing chords and notes that demand to be noticed. This is a performance from a band that wasn't locked into an image and was a real band intent on pushing their sound and song-writing into new areas and if the new material doesn't entirely succeed live, which it doesn't, it's a noble and interesting failure.

Before introducing “Children of the Grave” Ozzy splutters out his typical spiel about love to the audience but it doesn't sound much like love when the song begins. Tony rushes the intro and when the relentless, immortal opening riff begins, you understand immediately that Tony was pumped to play this song. He attacks the riff with focused, undeniable aggression and leads the band through a rampaging, raucous version of this song that features Ward playing with wonderful abandon. The frantic energy that the entire unit brings to the song implies the dire messages of impending doom that the lyrics hold. Ozzy doesn't sound like he's trying to cajole the youth of the world into gentle revolution; he sounds angry and his tone is soaked with rage and condemnation. It's a wonderful performance.

It's time for the encore "Paranoid", but it’s apparent from the first note that the energy from the previous performance has carried over into this song and the band establishes a dominant, authoritative groove as they rip through it with sledgehammer like intensity. It provides us with a thunderous close to a show that only grew in momentum from the first number to the last. (review by Jason Hillenburg)





DISC ONE



DISC TWO
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