Sunday, 3 May 2015

(FLAC) THE WAILERS - Paris Theatre, London 1973

Bob Marley & The Wailers
May 24, 1973
Paris Theatre              
London, England




The Wailers gave an extraordinary live concert at the BBC’s Paris Theatre, which was broadcast as part of the ‘Top Gear’ pop music series. Performing on the British radio network for the second time, the Wailers were on their best behaviour, and the performance emerged as a perfect jewel, almost “chamber reggae” in the band’s precision and attention to detail. After a well-meaning but fumbling compere, Pete Drummond, introduced the group to raucous whistles and applause from the Wailers’ loyal West Indian clique, Bob said thank you and the group clicked into the show-opener, “Rastaman Chant.” The band was nervous and Bunny’s opening drumbeat was tentative, but then the Barrett brothers synched in and the angelic Wailers harmony rang out:

Said I here the words of the Rasta man seh/Babylon your throne gone down, gone down/Babylon your throne gone down.

 After three minutes and fifteen seconds of harmony, the Wailers were cut off and the compere began his between-song patter. “That was a chant, which is sort of a roots song for the Wailers, to do with a cult which is Rasta Faria (sic) which a lot of West Indians are turning to, which was extremely popular in the 1920s. Rasta meaning ‘head,’ Faria meaning ‘creator.’ This next number is on their current album, Catch A Fire, composed by Bob Marley. It’s called ‘Slave Driver.’ ” Carly Barrett tapped out the opening beats, and a subdued version followed, driven by Tosh’s cruelly chopping guitar and Wire’s vivid, passionate organ breaks. When the number was through, the compere gently urged the crowd to dance, and the party was under way. A great rendition of “Stop That Train” was next, with Tosh delivering his strongest singing of the tour over the breathless harmonies of Bunny and Bob. The Wailers’ vaunted harmonies were again on display in the a cappella choral intro to  “No More Trouble,” which segued into a hard-rocking groove as soon as the rhythm section kicked in. Tosh followed this with an improvised lyric on “400 Years”: Won’t you come with me/You’re black and you’re proud/So you got to be free,” as the band supplied impeccable dub on the song’s coda. “Look how long…400 years!” Now the intensity of the set was starting to really build. “Midnight Ravers” was a bass/dub showpiece, six minutes of apocalyptic imagery, the “music of stampede” invading the staid precincts of the BBC. 

“Stir It Up” seemed even more of a simmering sex litany when coloured with, Tosh’s obscene wah-wah guitar solo on top of the instrumental passage. “Concrete Jungle” followed fast, Carly rushing the beat a little after a sharp snare intro. Wya made a mistake halfway through the song, starting his solo halfway through the second chorus. Bob shot Wya an evil look and killed the song early, going right into the Wailers’ new clarion call from their forthcoming album, “Get Up Stand Up.” The version was pure 1973 Wailers, brimming with tension, never giving up the fight. The compere announced the last number, and the audience protested vehemently. “Kinky Reggae,” the story of looking for herb in Piccadilly Circus, finished an entrancing set. Backstage after the show, Bob Marley got hot with Wya, who had blown a passage in “Concrete Jungle.” Always the perfectionist, Bob Marley didn’t like mistakes.  

(This review is an extract from the book, Bob Marley - Conquering Lion by Stephen Davis, 1983)
 -----------------------------------------------------
Original notes

#46568
BBC "In Concert"
Bootleg: "First Trip" [TDK!] (TDCY-6005)
Source: SBD
Lineage: Silver > xACT > FLAC

01. Rasta Man Chant
02. Slave Driver
03. Stop That Train
04. No More Trouble
05. 400 Years
06. Midnight Ravers
07. Stir It Up
08. Concrete Jungle
09. Get Up, Stand Up
10. Kinky Reggae

Notes:
I think this is a different source because this version has no announcements at all.
The quality is superb. This sounds like a PreFM recording.

Download 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Also as a bonus, here is an early unreleased song by the Wailers, reportedly recorded at Randy's studio in 1970. The two circulating sources are only part of the song. The first is sourced from an FM broadcast and the second back-to-back is from a 37s loop of the song.

 Lick It Back (basement edit) (2:06)

Download

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

(Flac) ERIC CLAPTON - The "Blues Concert" 1994

Eric Clapton - "The Blues Concert"
The Fillmore, San Francisco, California
November 8 and 9, 1994

KTS - 457-58 - Soundboard 6 

(Sound Quality scale 1 (lowest) 6 (best))

The North American, “Nothin’ But The Blues” Tour opened on 3 October, 1994 at the Forum in Montreal, Canada and ended on 28 November, 1994 at Irving Plaza in New York. Eric and his band performed a three-night stand at the Fillmore, San Francisco on 7 to 9 November. All three dates were recorded, the first can be found on the bootleg ‘Blues at the Fillmore’. The famous Italian bootleg label KTS (Kiss The Stone) used the recordings from the last two dates to release this protection gap bootleg ‘The Blues Concert’





Disc 1:
1) Blues Leave Me Alone
2) Standing Around Crying
3) .44
4) It Hurts Me Too
5) Five Long Years
6) Crossroads
7) Malted Milk
8) Motherless Child
9) How Long Blues
10) Reconsider Baby
11) Sinner's Prayer
12) Everyday I Have the Blues

Disc 2:
1) Someday After a While
2) Crosscut Saw
3) Have You Ever Loved a Woman
4) Tore Down
5) Groaning the Blues
6) Ain't Nobody's Bizness if I Do
7) Early In the Morning
8) Driftin'
9) Hoochie Coochie Man
10) Born Under a Bad Sign
(tracks 9 & 10 are bonus tracks - recorded in New York, 28 September, 1994)

The Band:

Eric Clapton                       Guitar, Vocals
Andy Fairweather Low    Rhythm Guitar
Jerry Portnoy                    Harmonica
Chris Stainton                    Keyboards
Dave Bronze                       Bass
Andy Newmark                 Drums
Roddy Lorimer                  Trumpet
Tim Sanders                       Tenor Sax
Simon Clarke                      Baritone Sax

Geetarz Comments:
Culled from the same two dates as the performances used for the unreleased "Nothing But the Blues", this is instead sourced from the MediaAmerica radio show. Excellent sound quality, and features a stunning version of "Driftin'".

Lineage: Silvers > CD-R (trade) > EAC v. 0.99 Prebeta 5 (Secure, Offset Correct) > FLAC

Artwork, checksums, info file, and EAC logs included. Enjoy!  ~Geetarz, September 2010







Download disc one

Download disc two

Sunday, 5 April 2015

(Flac) NEW ORDER - Studio 54, Barcelona, 1984

New Order
Studio 54, Barcelona, Spain
7 July 1984



 Source: Hooky's rubbish bin (the "stash" tapes)
Lineage: Master soundboard recording cassette (analogloyalist mastering, August 2012)

The following notes are by analogloyalist:

"At long last I'm starting to fix up and free a stash of gigs - which first saw the light (heh) in 2004 on the long-defunct Sharing The Groove, but were essentially untouched beyond basic cleanup - that really show how brilliant New Order were in their prime in the mid-'80s.

The quick-and-dirty background:  Whilst cleaning house, a set of master New Order soundboard tapes (various mid-80s live gigs, some rehearsals, and a DAT or two from the band's 1989 US tour) was found by Hooky under the floorboards at his studio Suite 16 in Rochdale, England.  A musician friend of Hooky, who was in his employ for a duration in the early 90s, then rescued the tapes and sold them to an infamous collector in Florida, a collector not known for sharing the wealth.  In the interim, ATR (sometimes called Stash) obtained digital transfers of these tapes before they were shipped off to Florida.  ATR then shared them amongst the New Order cognoscenti, and then in 2004 we fed them to the world via Sharing The Groove.

All these gigs had their various problems as-received from the source in between Hooky and us, the least of which were sector boundary errors (which means, if burned as-is to CD, there are audible "pops" in between tracks) and all off-pitch by varying degrees.  Some were extremely muddy, and others were far too bright.  None of them were just right, but my aim is to make them so.

(The New Order "stash" gigs that were on Sharing The Groove, and various other torrent sites and blogs from 2004 onward, are all from those original 2004 releases and have not been formally mastered since, until now.)

This is easily one of my all-time favorite New Order sets.  Generally fantastic, crystalline sound; great setlist; unique segues; sequencer cockups.  It's all here.

"Ceremony" on the Retro box set live CD was sourced from this very transfer via one of the Stash transfer recipients, though obviously without my mastering (the Retro version is inexplicably slowed down, and has been "muddified" for lack of a better term).  It truly shines here and is one of my favorite performances ever of this track.  Don't let the sound quality of the Retro version scare you, at all - this completely shatters Retro's version and beats it to a bloody pulp.

"Skullcrusher" - enough said.  One of the few performances with "lyrics" - and I put that in quotes because it's basically Barney ad-libbing a lyric.  And it's wonderful, in its absurdity.  The performance is, simply, out of this world.  And "Lonesome Tonight"!  Easily a top 5 New Order track for me.

Throughout the sequenced tracks ("The Village" / "Confusion" / "Hurt" / "Blue Monday" / "Everything's Gone Green" / "Temptation") you can audibly hear problems with the sequencer.  It's cutting in and out (it's actually mostly in, it's only dropping out in a few places) of the board feed; I have no idea if this was a problem with the on-stage equipment or simply the feed into the PA.  It makes for some unique versions, and I absolutely love it.

There's a wonderful problem with the sequencer kicking off "Everything's Gone Green" in that it bleats "Blue Monday" in perfect sync with "Everything's Gone Green" until Gillian sets things right.  And the perfect segue between "EGG" and "Temptation" is done perfectly, the sequencer going for a full 12 minutes straight between the two songs.  Love it!

The original unmastered version of this gig has been spread pretty far and wide since 2004.  Trust me when I say you will want to bin it immediately upon hearing this 2012 mastering - it crushes it like a grape.  This version here is truly spectacular, and could be released tomorrow by Warners."

tracklist

01. Your Silent Face
02. The Village
03. Ceremony
04. Skullcrusher
05. We All Stand
06. Lonesome Tonight
07. Confusion
08. Hurt
09. Age Of Consent
10. Blue Monday
11. Bernard and Hooky riffing
12. Everything's Gone Green ---->



Download

Thursday, 2 April 2015

(Flac) TRAFFIC - Fillmore East 1970

TRAFFIC
November 18, 1970
Fillmore East, New York City, NY


Soundboard master reel
running time 64: 04

Traffic, reformed in 1970, after Steve Winwood had initially begun recording his debut solo album. It became their third studio album, 'John Barleycorn Must Die' and was released in July.  Five of the six original album tracks are performed live here, with "Stranger To Himself" the only omission. The bulk of the remainder, appeared on the second self-titled album and the inclusion of Blind Faith member Ric Grech, gives these live tracks a more improvisational feel than their studio counterparts.

“The curious tale of the in-concert album that never was follows: Shows were taped at the Fillmore East, the release was scheduled; it even got an Island catalogue number – ILPS 9142, the perfunctory title of Live – November 1970 and is reckoned to have had finished sleeves and been just days from being pressed up and hitting the shops – but never materialised. Bootlegs exist, and some finalised tracks were released officially (including Bill Graham’s introduction; the performances are excellent) as bonus cuts on the expanded CD release of John Barleycorn Must Die. The performances are excellent, and as one theory of a lost tape is rather far-fetched if the sleeves were indeed printed, it is likely that events of the following year caused this project to be abandoned: these range from the band having second thoughts, to disputes between Chris Blackwell and UA records in the States over their handling of Winwood’s back catalogue.”  (info from http://www.toppermost.co.uk/traffic/)

The ‘winwoodfans’ site conjectures that the album was perhaps unreleased, due to the record company United Artists releasing 'Winwood', a best of release, that had not been sanctioned by the artist. After a court order, that album was withdrawn. By this time, original member Dave Mason had rejoined the band along with two new members, and it was felt that the November 1970 recording, was now nothing to do with the current band. The writer of the piece Dan Ropek reflects on 'Live - November '70' "that it remains, perhaps forever, lost."

What does remain though, are these tracks, recorded over the same two dates at the Fillmore, they appear on this bootleg in excellent quality. 

(See the comments by Luke, below this post for further information)


Tracks:
1. Introduction by Bill Graham
2. Medicated Goo
3. Pearly Queen
4. Empty Pages
5. Heaven Is In Your Mind
6. Forty Thousand Headmen
7. John Barleycorn Must Die
8. Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring
9. Every Mother's Son
10. Glad > Freedom Rider*
11. Means To An End
12. Dear Mr. Fantasy

Band:
Steve Winwood - vocals, guitar, organ
Jim Capaldi – drums, percussion, vocals
Chris Wood - piano, organ. sax, flute, vocals
Ric Grech - bass guitar

Lineage:
SBD > Master Reel > CD > EAC > WAV > FLAC (level 8, align on sector boundaries)
* - Some glitches from master reel were present, on track 10 these have been edited and smoothed



Download


If you enjoy this bootleg I would suggest investigating the first four studio albums:

Mr. Fantasy - 1967
Traffic - 1968
John Barleycorn Must Die - 1970
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys - 1971

Thursday, 26 March 2015

(Flac) LEONARD COHEN - "The Ladies Man' In Concert" 1993

The 1993 tour, from which this recording originates, would likely have been Leonard’s last, but he discovered in 2004 that his manager had been embezzling his earnings. He was left with little from his long career in music and publishing. After a long and protracted legal battle, he once again took to the stage, at the age of 73, for his first tour in 15 years. This latter day touring has resulted in a slew of official releases by his record company Columbia, another is scheduled for this year. It joins previous releases Live In London (2008), Songs From The Road (2008-09), Live In Dublin (2013).

With this in mind I’ve decided to post something from his mid-career era. The tours for the 'I’m Your Man' and 'The Future' albums were massively successful, humorous lyrics,

“Everybody knows that you've been faithful
 Ah give or take a night or two
 Everybody knows you've been discreet
 But there were so many people you just had to meet
 Without your clothes”

and great songs, introduced a younger audience to his work. This recording is from Switzerland’s largest city Zurich in the early summer of 1993, and is sourced from an FM broadcast, bootlegged by Flashback. The sound quality is excellent (some sibilance on the vocals) as is the performance. Leonard moves swiftly with ease from his newer work to his many older classics.
If you like this and want more from this era, I can also highly recommend these from the 1988 tour: Royal Albert Hall - London, Muziektheater - Amsterdam and Laugardalshöll - Reykjavik



"The Ladies Man In Concert" - liberated boot
Leonard Cohen
Kongresshalle, Zurich,
Switzerland,
21 May, 1993

CD 1:
01. Dance Me to the End of Love
02. The Future
03. Ain't No Cure for Love
04. Bird on the Wire
05. Everybody Knows
06. Anthem
07. First We Take Manhattan
08. Avalanche
09. Chelsea Hotel #2
10. Tower of Song
11. Democracy

CD 2:
01. Waiting for the Miracle
02. I'm Your Man
03. Joan of Arc
04. Closing Time
05. Take This Waltz
06. Sisters of Mercy
07. Hallelujah
08. I Tried to Leave You
09. So Long, Marianne

FM ->  ?? -> CD -> EAC secure -> Wav -> Flac Frontend -> Flac (5)
Released by Flashback, Luxembourg, 1993: Flash 07.93.0215/1





Download part one

Download part two

Artwork

Thursday, 12 March 2015

PINK FLOYD - The Best Of Tour '72

This historical recording captures Dark Side Of The Moon in its earliest stage.
No other recording available from the January-February 1972 tour (in which Dark Side Of The Moon was first performed) sounds as good as this. It has one ugly flaw (still) with the annoying cuts in "Time", Us And Them" & "Eclipse" but the music and sound is just too good to leave alone.
This upgrade is by far the best sounding version of this recording. You need this whether you are an average or diehard Floyd fan. (Artwork is included)

PINK FLOYD
Rainbow Theatre, London
20 February, 1972

"The Best Of Tour '72 - Restored"
Remastered From Original 1st LP Pressing






01. Speak to me (cuts in, only last 8s left) 
02. Breathe   
03. Travel Sequence
04. Time (cut within) 
05. Home again
06. Religious Theme  
07. Money  
08. Us & Them (cut within, misses most)   
09. Dave's Scat Section   
10. The Lunatic Song
11. Eclipse (cuts off)

Time: 40:52:66
Sound: A
Source Info:
High Quality Condensator Stereo Mics -> Reel-to-Reel Master -> Mastering -> Mastered source (likely recorded on Hi-Speed Reel-to-Reel) -> 1st Pressing Vinyl Bootleg (16-421/422) -> Technics 1210mk2 with -881mk2s stylus -> Tascam DA20mk2 (A-D conversion 16 bit, 48kHz) -> PC -> Cubase SX 2.0 -> Wave (downsampled to 44.1k) -> FLAC -> Torrent

See below for clarification.
Re-Mastered @ the Soundhouse by Prof. Stoned, February 2006.

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

A note from the Prof.:

Today, 34 years and a couple of days after this was first recorded, I present to you all a significant digital upgrade -maybe even the definitive version- of the legendary "The Best of Tour 72" boot. It KILLS both the "Swinging Pig" and the "Original Masters Series" bootleg CD's of this album that most of you all know.
These two boots were both taken from the same inferior source which is ruined by a heavy NoNoise treatment. This is a trueful reproduction of the original vinyl bootleg and will make you hear details in the recording that you never heard before.

***About the Original Bootleg***

The content of this CDR has been carefully mastered from a rare vintage (1972) vinyl copy (strictly rated: EX), the very 1st pressing of this classic floyd bootleg, and therefore the closest source to the (unfindable) original tape.
The recorded content of the original LP was handled professionally from start to finish (not counting the cuts in the recording). The sound is beautiful. A very wide stereo image with clear separation of instruments & voices. There is little hiss or distortion. The unmastered source that the bootleggers used must have been 0th or maybe 1st generation tape. The original pre-vinyl tape has had a mastering treatment with a compressor, Dolby(A) and likely some EQ-ing.

The vinyl itself is nice and thick, made to last.
This could very well have been pressed at a pressing plant which was used by major record company's as well.
As you can read in Clinton Heylin's excellent book "Bootleg! The Rise and Fall of the Secret recording industry" this used to happen a lot in the early 70"s, and it would explain why the bootleggers were so keen to hide the name Pink Floyd, even on the record label itself.

Although the pre-vinyl part in the source info chain is speculated, it's 100% certain that this is NOT a soundboard and/or FM. Ever since this came out, the SQ has led people to believe it is. Even the above mentioned book, erroneously stated this was taken from a BBC radio broadcast.
And even to this day, this recording is way more often labelled as "radio" or "soundboard" than as what it is: "EX audience".

(NB: A few more details to identify the first pressing:
The record label is dark blue with silver characters and edge.
The matrix number on Side 1 is 16-421 and can be seen both on the label and also in small characters between the running grooves. The label says: "We did it for you".
Same goes for Side 2 but the number is 16-422 instead and the label says: "We did it for you too" 
On both sides you can see: "composed and arranged by TOUR 72".
There's no mention of Pink Floyd anywhere.
The only direct sign referring to PF are the tour dates on the back of the laminated sleeve.
This LP or the 2nd pressing are very much worth the hunt.)

***About the Mastering***

The vinyl was cleaned carefully one hour long using anti-stat.
Because both the SQ of the original recording and the mastering of the LP are so outstanding, I felt it would be a waste to correct anything in that aspect.
This means that no further eq-ing or compression has been applied by me. ObviousIy, I did not use any noise reduction; the big sin that made the previous (and unfortunately) common cd(r) versions of this recording sound like poop.
There is a little bit of vinyl distortion hearable, most notably in the gentle parts during the last 11 min. of Side 2 on the left channel.
It's nothing to write home about but still.
I picked out the biggest clicks by hand and handled the rest with the excellent 'Waves' Click & Crackle plug-ins.
I corrected the speed of the recording with +0.15 semitones.
I tuned Rick Wright's organ with great precision to an exact A (440 Hz), bringing down the playing time from 41:13 to 40:52.
I also swapped the channels as heard on the LP to match the stereo image as much as possible with PF's then stage order;
Dave's guitar & vocal are clearly on the left, the toms are coming from the left to the floor-tom on the right, (as if you are standing in front of the drums).
An edit was done to make side 1 run seamlessly into Side 2.
The point where the edit was made can be heard on both sides of the LP, so not a millisecond got lost.

Enjoy,
Prof. Stoned

Download


Friday, 6 March 2015

(Flac) STEVIE WONDER - Funkafied Rainbow (1974)

A complete concert by Stevie Wonder from 31 January 1974. It was recorded at the Rainbow Theatre in London, halfway between the release of the classic albums "Innervisions and "Fulfillingness' First Finale" The sound quality is excellent, perhaps only needing a final mix before release, which had been the intention. The nature of the performance is sprawling, meandering and at times unfocused but never less than fascinating. Stevie and his band relax on stage, away from the tight discipline and time schedule of the recording studio. He is accompanied by guitarist Michael Sembello, the rhythm section of Reggie McBride (bass) and Ollie Brown (drums) and Wonderlove's female backing vocalists.


Stevie Wonder - "Funkafied Rainbow"
Live in London January, 1974
(from the "Big-Fro Discs" release (BF-001/2), 2005)

Rainbow Theatre, London
31 January 1974

Disc #1
 1. intro > Contusion (17:44)
 2. Higher Ground (5:52)
 3. Superwoman (3:12)
 4. To Know You Is To Love You (7:11)
 5. Signed, Sealed And Delivered (3:03)
 6. Visions (9:56)

Disc #2
 1. Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing (4:44)
 2. Living For The City (10:59)
 3. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life (12:00)
 4. Superstition (7:28)
 5. encore jam (6:02) 

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

Reviewed by Joe Kenney, 13/09/2006ce
http://www.headheritage.co.uk/unsung/review/1599/

For one of the greatest performers of the 20th Century, there’s very little live material afloat from Stevie Wonder, especially from his celebrated “golden age” in the 1970s. This man released a string of perfect albums in the 1970s (from “Music of My Mind” in 1972 to “Songs in the Key of Life” in 1976), yet never issued an official live recording during that period, which is a shame.

 This is a bootleg of Stevie’s concert at the Rainbow in London, in 1974. Word was, back in the day, that this concert was going to be officially released, but later on Stevie changed his mind, saying the audio quality of the tapes wasn’t up to snuff. This is strange, because the bootleg is a soundboard recording, and has great sound. Everything comes in crystal clear.

 If you take a look at this CD, the first thing that will strike you is the length of most of the songs. Seven minutes, eleven minutes, even eighteen minutes. You take a look at that 1974 date, take a look at Stevie’s large, multi-ethnic band (complete with electric guitar, keyboards, a great bassist), and you figure you’re in for some stoned-out mid-‘70s “hairy funk,” which was the style at the time. But, save for a few moments, that’s not the case. The majority of the running time on the longer tracks is given over to Stevie improvising while playing his clavinet alone; there are only a few moments of full-on funky jamming from the complete band. Which is a shame, especially for anyone who’s seen that great footage of Stevie on “Sesame Street” from 1972, playing “Superstition” live with his touring group; there they tear through the song and take names. (For anyone who wants to see this, search for it at YouTube.com.)

 The concert opens with an eighteen-minute take of the rock/jazz instrumental “Contusion” (released two years later on the double LP “Songs in the Key of Life”), the house announcer introducing the star to the audience while Stevie’s band (aka Wonderlove) vamps through some solos. When I first saw the length of this track, I anticipated a workout of epic proportions, the band really getting into the groove. But instead, the whole affair is more of a twelve-minute warm-up. The bass will play for a few minutes, then the guitar, then some funky drums. Nothing locks together into “Contusion” itself until the final three minutes, and from there it sounds remarkably like the album version. So pretty good, but not the super-long fusion extravaganza I expected. However, warm-up or not, I can't stress how funky it all is.

 From there Stevie leads the band into some funky clavinet/drums jamming, with airy, wordless female vocals in the background. Two minutes in, Stevie cuts this off, telling the audience “We’ve gotta save that for later on in the show, we can’t do that now.” He then informs us that the first track we heard was “Contusion,” and then launches into “Higher Ground.” Again, this sounds much like the studio take, though Stevie has a different, more electronic (yet still funky) sound on his clavinet, which sounds similar to some of the keyboards on the Miles Davis fusion classic “On the Corner.” The band isn’t given much room to jam; it all sounds very much like the version on “Innervisions,” except the bass is a bit louder. However Stevie’s voice, I should mention, is strong throughout this song and the rest of the concert – he hits the same notes he hits in the studio takes.

 Next we have “Superwoman,” off the truly unsung “Music of My Mind” LP. Feedback gets in the way of the first few lines, but from there it’s just Stevie, a smooth guitar, bass, and drums. Two and a half minutes in, Stevie calls “Everyone play,” and the band opens up for the final minute. The track is much shorter than the studio take found on "Music of My Mind;" here Stevie only sticks to the first half of the song ("Superwoman"), and skips the second half ("Where Were You When I Needed You").

 After the more melodic “Superwoman,” things get funky again with “To Know You is to Love You,” a song Stevie penned and produced for his former wife Syreeta, and which appeared on her first album. Here it’s stretched out to a bit over seven minutes, and the full band gets to jam the groove; unlike “Contusion,” they’re all playing together. A good portion of the song is given over to the band jamming on the riff, with Stevie’s backup singers moaning “To know you is to love you,” while the man himself provides some wordless vocals overtop. Lots of moments like this on the concert, by the way; Stevie’s fond of his “aahs” and such. As the track builds and builds, the funk gets deeper and deeper, with all kinds of wah-wah action from the guitar and clavinet.

“Signed, Sealed and Delivered” is next, again sticking close to the studio version. Not much to say about this one; the song precedes Stevie’s self-produced, “golden” era, so it doesn’t allow for the funky expressionism he brings to the later tracks in the set. But hell, the song’s a classic, and one of the best things Motown has in its catalog. It just doesn’t fit here.

“Visions” follows, ten minutes long, with the first three minutes given over to Stevie expressing his feelings to the audience over soft, soft guitar, bass, keyboard, and the occasional cymbal tap. He tells the audience he loves them, then the song officially begins. Again, it is very close to what you’ll hear on “Innervisions.” The song ends at seven minutes in…or does it? Stevie, for some reason so happy with his audience, decides to improvise a whole new verse. The music stays the same, that soft, jazzy dreaminess familiar from the godlike “Innervisions” LP. The crowd screams its appreciation at the end, and the track closes out Disc 1.

 Disc 2 opens with “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” another “Innervisions” classic. Something’s happened midway, because now everything seems much louder than before. Maybe this is the audio problem which kept Stevie from releasing the show officially – the first half wasn’t recorded as well as the second? The song as performed here isn’t as full as the studio version. It’s more of an intimate affair, Stevie on keys, with the band quietly jamming behind him. It’s also not nearly as ebullient and frantic as the studio version. That is, until it kicks into a higher gear two minutes in. The guitarist has this warm tone throughout the concert, and here it’s put to good use, with him providing jazzy little notes and riffs. Again, there’s a big difference between the album version and this live version. Which is a good thing; who wants to go to a concert and hear songs that sound the same as their studio counterparts?

 And now we come to “Living for the City,” that epic classic from “Innervisions.” Eleven minutes here, but again not due to the super-jamming you might expect (or even a re-enactment of the infamous mid-song “arrest” on the LP version), but due to Stevie improvising solo. It starts off just like the studio version, save with the Wonderlove backup girls adding vocals at the end of each verse. Stevie’s keys are brighter here than on the studio version, nearly ear-piercing at times. Now, we all know how the LP version features a staged arrest and lock-up halfway through the song. Here, Stevie just stops the song four minutes in, breaks for a few seconds, and then comes back jamming the theme on his keys. He prods the band to keep up with him (drums and bass only, with guitar eventually joining in), then directs the audience to clap along. From there on it’s Dictator Stevie; in between his vocal improvisations (“I’m sick of/Living for the city”), he painstakingly attempts to get the backup singers (and the audience) to not only sing the phrase “Are you tired now,” but also WHEN to sing it. “No, no, don’t repeat it AFTER me, sing it WITH me!” Stevie yells on multiple occasions. One can almost see him shaking that sunglass’d face in frustration. Finally, the band joins in for a full-on groove for the final minute.

“You Are the Sunshine of My Life” follows, here even longer than the preceding track. Only three minutes on “Talking Book,” here “Sunshine” is stretched to an unwieldy twelve minutes. My favorite part: Stevie introduces a member of Wonderlove who co-sings the song with him; after she sings “You are the apple of my eye,” someone in the audience whistles at her. Instead of dropping out of the track for more improvisation, here the group jams away in a jazzy groove. This then breaks down for a minute or two of Stevie solo on harmonica. Then the band comes back in on that jazzy groove. Stevie calls for “a little more edge” on his mic, then jumps into some scat vocals over the beat. Finally he cuts loose with that harmonica, the band opening it up a bit. But this track, despite it’s running length, is a bit too subdued. And I have to mention that Stevie treats us to his imitation of Gomer Pyle, singing the lyrics, for the last minute or two.

“Superstition” follows immediately thereafter, and I am so glad it’s here. Not only is this my all-time favorite Stevie Wonder song, it’s also just my favorite song ever. Stevie sticks to the funk here; no more of that soulful improvising over quiet backing. This is hard and heavy throughout its seven-minute running time. Even the guitar gets turned up to a tougher edge! It’s not as full-sounding as that “Sesame Street” performance mentioned above (mostly because Stevie had guys on sax and horn there; here he doesn’t), but it’s just as funky. Yes, the band hits on all cylinders here, and though I can’t say I like this version better than the studio take released on “Talking Book,” I have to say it rocks just as hard. But then it pulls a fast one, revving up the tempo four minutes in, into a hardcore-level pace. Stevie works the hell out of that clavinet, and the guitarist (I see him, waiting patiently throughout the show for the nod from Stevie) finally cuts loose. The band locks in on a bass-lead groove, with the guitarist shredding overtop. (But still, what I wouldn’t give to have him joined by Pete Cosey – he of “Agharta,” Miles Davis’ super-heavy guitarist around this time period.) And then, just when you think it’s all about to pound you into the dirt, the song gets even faster! Here the group officially takes over, the guitarist, bassist, and drummer just rocking the hell out of the tune. Without question, this track is the highlight of the concert. Eventually the group fades away, with Stevie’s keys floating up and taking over, leading us into the next (and final) track.

“Encore Jam” is how the CD labels this final song. “Encore Improvisation” would be just as good a title. It’s all Stevie improvisation, telling the audience how much he loves them, while the group provides quiet yet jazzy accompaniment. Stevie’s sure to let us know he did NOT write this song earlier; he’s making it all up as he sings. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it doesn’t; a few times Stevie has no choice but to make up words to finish the rhyme. It’s funny, at one point he sings to the crowd that if his future albums don’t please them, then that will only serve to make him try to do better! The track wraps up at six minutes, the crowd screaming, Stevie telling them he loves them, the guitarist throwing in one last, very Hendrix-ian solo (“Angel”-era Hendrix, that is), and it’s all over.

 There are two Stevie Wonders: the soulful balladeer who gives us tracks like “You are the Sunshine of My Life,” “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” and “Isn’t She Lovely,” but sometimes gets a bit too saccharine for his own good. And there’s the bad-ass Stevie, who gives us the fuzzed-out funk of “Keep On Running,” “All Day Sucker,” and “Do Yourself a Favor” (one of the greatest tracks in the Wonder catalog, a hard-hitting funk monster which can be found on his 1971 LP “Where I’m Coming From”). I would’ve preferred more of the hard-hitting funk Stevie on this bootleg, and less of the soulful improvising Stevie, but that’s just me.

 The fact is, this is a great concert, with great sound, and it should’ve been released officially. Definitely hunt it down if you are a Stevie fan (and let’s face it, what excuse would you have to NOT be a fan of golden age Stevie Wonder?).




Download disc one

Download disc two

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

(Flac) GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR - Monheim

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Monheim
(1998)



Monheim is compiled from two separate performances, both recorded within a month of each other, at the end of 1998. The download links take you to archive.org where you can choose from flac mp3 or listen to the available stream.



"Hung Over as the Queen in Maida Vale"
BBC Studios, London, UK
John Peel session
Recorded: 22 November 1998
Broadcast: 1 January 1999
Source: FM

01. Monheim > Improvisation (includes Chart #3 & Steve Reich) (18:17)

Consists of the movements "Monheim" (which later appeared on 2002's Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven), "Chart #3" (also on Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven), and "Steve Reich" (unfortunately unreleased).

 As a suite not unlike how the band present their albums (specifically their first two full lengths), this set works very well. "Monheim" is a fantastic opening piece, building up from a bittersweet guitar strum into a churning mess of estranged harmony and intense release. A momentary pause allows us to catch our breath before "Chart #3" begins, a relatively simple piece which revolves around a sample of a man speaking very passionately about spiritual discovery. The simplistic and distant guitar chords immediately segue into the final section, "Steve Reich," and if you were looking for a payoff, you'll never find one sweeter than this. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the fact that this and the VPRO radio sessions as the only way of hearing this incredible piece of music is the most criminal case of withholding brilliance that I've ever encountered! This is simply breathtaking from start to finish. Mimicking the eponymous composer's early experiments in form, the three guitar players present compounding riffs one atop the other, all within a relatively closed harmonic space, and all of which are both beautiful and melancholic. These three riffs are the centre of the piece, as they wail and churn within it for its entire duration, the percussion and violin/cello adding emphasis and accentuation in simplistic and perfect ways. If this piece really has been transformed into an A Silver Mount Zion, it's too bad - in this original form, its incredible, and should definitely have been recorded by the band before its indefinite hiatus.

 Unfortunately, though, this is the best place to find it. While it is isolated from "Monheim" in the VPRO sessions, those recordings have quite a bit more hiss, and the performance is of a slightly lesser quality (a few inherent imperfections which bring it down a notch). This is recommended to all GY!BE fans, and if you're a patient listener, it would be a fantastic introduction to the band as well. (review by seasonsinthesky - November 25, 2006, archive.org)

Download link:

Sojus 7, Monheim, Germany
17 December 1998
Source: Soundboard

02. Intro (3:10)
03. The Dead Flag Blues (9:40)
04. Moya (14:28)
05. World Police And Friendly Fire (13:55)
06. She Dream’t She Was A Bulldozer, She Dream’t She Was Alone In An Empty Field > J.L.H. Outro (18:36)

Download link 2:


Front cover:

Back Cover:
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