Saturday 30 May 2020

#143 BJORK - Red White (Flac)

Orchard Hall, Tokyo, Japan
5 December 2001

My initial exposure to Bjork's music was through the Sugarcubes 'Birthday' single released in 1987. BBC Radio DJ John Peel was a fan and played the single often, followed by a session and tracks from the 'Life's Too Good' debut album in 1988.

Five years later Bjork would release her debut solo album which I bought on CD and the two subsequent albums, Post & Homogenic. This show was downloaded some 12-years ago and became an essential live boot in the absence of 'Vespertine.'

During the 35-date world tour, Bjork accumulated recordings of the live performances and compiled them to create the official disc 'Vespertine Live.' It mixed her vocals from various different performances together to achieve seamless, near-perfect versions of some of the live Vespertine songs. 

It was critically acclaimed and a box set including the Vespertine disc, as well as a live DVD of the performance from the Royal Opera House in London was also released.

You may be forgiven for thinking, well what does the bootleg do, that the official releases don't? 

This is sourced from a live Japanese broadcast that was bootlegged and is a more representative example of the tour and set list. It's the actual live audio without any studio or technological 'enhancements.' The broadcast set has five tracks from the latest album* and a varied tracklist drawn from the previous three albums with a 'Selmasong' and the unreleased 'It's In Our Hands' (eventually issued on the greatest hits compilation.)

Sound quality as you would expect from the Japanese sources is superb.

01. Overture (3:41)
02. All Is Full Of Love (4:11)
03. Harm Of Will (4:34)*
04. Undo (5:43)*
05. An Echo, A Stain (4:17)*
06. Unison (6:47)*
07. Isobel (6:20)
08. Pagan Poetry (5:28)*
09. Hyperballad (4:48)
10. Army Of Me (4:05)
11. Bachelorette (5:27)
12. Human Behaviour (6:23)
13. It's In Our Hands (6:26)

FM recording: Taken from Red White bootleg.


                                                                         Flyer from defunct Tower Records

Thursday 14 May 2020

#142 THE BYRDS - Unsurpassed Masters 1965 (Flac)

The sessions for the Byrds first two albums 'Mr. Tambourine Man' & 'Turn, Turn, Turn' took place at Columbia studios in Hollywood throughout 1965.
These are top quality out-takes and all date from the early recording sessions, before the numerous line-up changes, apart from: 5D (Fifth Dimension) which was recorded near the end of the third album 'Fifth Dimension' sessions after Gene Clark had quit the band in early 1966. 
'Stranger In A Strange Land' was one of three David Crosby songs rejected for the second album. The Dylan cover 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue' was intended to be their third single release but the idea was dropped in favour of 'Turn! Turn! Turn!'
01. Mr Tambourine Man (vocals only)
02. You Won't Have To Cry (alternate version)
03. We'll Meet Again (alternate version)
04. Mr Tambourine Man (take 1, 2 instrumental)
05. Mr Tambourine Man (take 19, 20 instrumental)
06. I Knew I'd Want You (instrumental)
07. It's No Use (different takes)
08. Bells Of Rhymney (take 1, 2)
09. I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better (take 1, 2)
10. It's All Over Now Baby Blue (take 2, 3, 4 instrumental)
11. The World Turns All Around Her (take 14, 15  instrumental)
12. It's All Over Now Baby Blue (take 7)
13. It Won't Be Wrong (take 5, 6, 7, 18 instrumental)
14. Satisfied Mind (take 17, 18)
15. Set You Free This Time (take 1, 2, 3, 4, 18)
16. Stranger In A Strange Land (take 1, 2, 9, 10)
17. Wait And See (take 23, 24, 25, 26)
18. 5D (Fifth Dimension) (take 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26)
19. I Knew I'd Want You (Gene Clark outtake)

This disc can be repetitive and perhaps difficult to focus on especially with many takes not tracked individually. It can also be revelatory for the most enthusiastic of Byrds fans. The instrumental takes do give you an opportunity to hear the glorious ringing chimes of the six and twelve string guitars unfettered by vocals. At the time it was an unique and ground-breaking sound.

On the nine-disc 'Journals' bootleg there are twenty-two takes of Mr. Tambourine Man. Here, we have an a cappella and four instrumental takes. Take one is a little slow and tentative, the second much stronger although producer Terry Melcher isn't happy with the sound on the bass drum. Take 19 is stopped after a minute because he says "It doesn't feel right." Take 20 is much tighter but the producer still isn't convinced. The band go on to take 22 which was finally selected as the backing track on the released version.  (not included on the boot)

The track 5D (Fifth Dimension) needs even more takes, twenty-six are included on the 9-disc set. This sampler single disc includes nine takes but most are incomplete or breakdowns. The producer is Allen Stanton on this song and he stops many of the takes without explanation unlike the more vociferous comments of Terry Melcher. 

It's a disc you need to spend time with and appropriate for these hard times. Your effort in listening will be rewarded.

Band Members: with assistance from session musicians

Jim Mc Guinn: vocals, 12 string guitar
David Crosby: Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Gene Clark: Vocals, Tambourine
Chris Hillman: Bass Guitar
Michael Clarke: Drums

Studio Session Outtakes 1965 (except track 18, recorded early 1966)
Recorded at Columbia Studios, Hollywood, CA.
Running Time: 75: 42

Lineage: Silver disc (Over The Air OTA-008) > PC >You