Thursday, December 12, 2019

Just wait until next year!

The break has allowed me to think of a few new ideas. I'm working on about six and plan to post one each month beginning in January 2020. See you next year!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

End of the Road?

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. And I'm actually surprised it took this long. But I am officially out of ideas. Actually, I've had a couple of other ideas, but I eventually decided they weren't worth the trouble.

I must say that when I started this blog I thought that maybe I could come up with 15 to 20 ideas, and I ended up creating 135 albums (or occasional EP). So I went way past what I expected.

Maybe I'll eventually have a brain storm and add more, but for now....

Thanks for reading, commenting, etc!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Paul McCartney and Wings - "Ship to Shore"

Having recorded two successful studio albums and a triple live album, Paul McCartney's latest lineup of Wings seemed poised to continue that success in 1977-78. However, while recording a new album, it was discovered that Linda McCartney was pregnant. That put the kibosh on a tour any time in the near future. After recording several songs aboard a yacht in the Virgin Islands, lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Joe English quit the band. That left the trio of Paul, Linda and Denny Laine to continue, record more songs and eventually release the album London Town.

I wanted to re-imagine what the album might have been if only the tracks that included McCulloch and English had been used. That led me to a new version of the album I've titled Ship to Shore.

1. Mull of Kintyre
2. London Town
3. Cafe on the Left Bank
4. Don't Let It Bring You Down
5. Name and Address
6. Children Children
7. I've Had Enough

1. With a Little Luck
2. Famous Groupies
3. Deliver Your Children
4. Girls’ School
5. Morse Moose and the Grey Goose

First of all, London Town seems strangely out of balance, with side two being more than five minutes longer then side one. I don't know what kind of decision making goes on when a person or band or producer determines which songs go on which side, but I don't see any particular reason for the discrepancy in this case.

The four additional songs recorded after McCulloch and English left were all on London Town's first side, which leaves a gaping hole if we want to keep the running order similar. We do have two songs recorded before McCulloch and English left that were issued as a single: "Mull of Kintyre" and "Girls' School." But that isn't enough to take up the four missing slots (especially since the first side was already short), so some rearranging was needed.

Looking at the three previous Wings studio albums, they all start with rather slow songs. But even by that criteria, I think "London Town" is just not a good opener. So I put "Mull of Kintyre" at A1. It was a major hit in the U.K., and gives the album a slow building opening. I moved "Don't Let It Bring You Down" and "Name and Address" to Side A and kept the rocking "I've Had Enough" to close it out.

Side B begins with the same three tracks as London Town, but I included "Girls' School" before concluding the album with "Morse Moose and the Grey Goose," just like London Town.

I can't say that the result is a better album than London Town, but I do think that "Mull of Kintyre" is a better opener, and "Girls' School" gives the collection a bit of extra umph that I think was otherwise lacking. Also, both sides are about the same length now -- the first side is less than a minute longer than the second.

Attempts by others to recreate this album are often titled Water Wings, as apparently that was a working title at some point. I chose the title Ship to Shore because most of the album was recorded on a boat although some tracks were also recorded Britain. For a cover, I wanted to use a band photo to emphasize the group overall. And when I found a cover for a Water Wings bootleg, I reused the photo from it for my cover and thought the title worked well. Although it might be confused for a "yacht rock" album. 😋

Sunday, August 18, 2019

UK - "Third World"

The band UK started off as a prog rock supergroup, whose members had been in King Crimson and Roxy Music.

But after one album and tour, the group split into two camps with drummer Bill Bruford and guitarist Allan Holdsworth forming Bruford, and bassist John Wetton and keyboardist Eddie Jobson soldiering on with new drummer Terry Bozzio.

However, after yet one more album and tour, UK fractured again. Reportedly, Wetton wanted to take the band in a more pop direction and Jobson wanted to record longer songs. These irreconcilable differences led to the breakup of the band and Wetton and Jobson to record solo albums.

I wanted to create what could have been UK's third studio album had the band stayed together.

1.      Turn It Over
2.      Get What You Want
3.       Night After Night
4.       Nostalgia
5.       Caught in the Crossfire

1.      Turn On the Radio
2.       As Long As You Want Me Here
3.       Walking from Pastel
4.       When Will You Realize?
5.      Listen to Reason

After the band broke up, a live album was released that featured two songs that hadn't been on the studio LPs: "As Long as You Want Me Here" and "Night After Night," both co-written by Jobson and Wetton. Also, "Night After Night" was released as a single with a previously unreleased studio track, Wetton's "When Will You Realize?" on the b-side. So we have three actual UK tracks to include. For the rest of the music, I looked to Wetton's and Jobson's solo albums for material.

Somewhat surprising is that although the reports were that Jobson wanted UK to record longer songs, when it came time to release his first solo album, The Green Album, the longest tracks were around six minutes -- not exactly epics. And the lead single (for which a video was produced for MTV) was the poppy, Prog Rock meets New Wave song "Turn It Over," which clocks in at 4:15. I felt that this was a good song to kick off the album.

The second track is "Get What You Want" from Wetton's Caught in the Crossfire album and co-written by Wetton with onetime King Crimson lyricist Pete Sinfield. The title track from Wetton's album ends the first side. In between we've the aforementioned "Night After Night" followed by "Nostalgia." From what I've read, both Jobson's "Nostalgia" and "Walking from Pastel" had been performed by UK on their last tour, and that makes them prime candidates for this album.

The second side starts with Wetton's un-ironic radio-friendly "Turn on the Radio," followed by the second live UK track, "As Long as You Want Me Here," and another Jobson tune, "Walking from Pastel."

Wetton's "When will You Realize?" has been labeled as the song that broke up UK -- apparently Jobson didn't like it. Wetton re-recorded it for his own solo album, but we use the UK version here. Finally, the album concludes with Jobson's "Listen to Reason."

For cover art, I chose a satellite image of Britain I found online and added the words. I picked Third World for the title as a play on this being the band's third studio album and the shot of the planet from space.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Pink Floyd - "Animals" (reimagined)

Last month I posted about a double album version of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. I included two live tracks, "You've Got to be Crazy" and "Raving and Drooling," that Floyd would later rewrite as "Dogs" and "Sheep" for the band's album Animals. A comment was posted by danielmartin273 asking what then would Animals have been without those two tracks. Until his comment, I hadn't really considered it. My response was "Maybe the remaining tracks from Animals along with selections from Gilmour's solo album?"

But afterward, I started thinking about it a bit more. Removing "Dogs" and "Sheep" from Animals takes away more than half the album because both tracks are so long. Besides Gilmour's first solo album being released in 1978 (a year after Animals), Richard Wright also released his first solo album that year. So I looked to both to see if I could cannibalize and recreate Animals (don't ask me what would then happen to the solo albums -- this could go on forever).

1. Pigs on the Wing (Part 1) - 1:24
2. I Can't Breathe Anymore - 3:04
3. Pigs (Three Different Ones) - 11:28
4. Cat Cruise - 5:14
5. Message from the Sheep (Field Recording) - 0:37

1. Deafinitely - 4:27
2. No Way - 5:32
3. Pink's Song - 3:28
4. So Far Away - 5:50
5. Pigs on the Wing (Part 2) - 1:24

First off, I wondered if I should even call the album Animals as the remaining tracks all have "Pigs" in the title. But two tracks I included led me to keep the album title. Also, the lyrics to "Pigs on the Wing (Part 2)" includes the line, "And any fool knows a dog needs a home" so there's at least one other animal reference.

Since "Dogs" and "Sheep" were essentially written back in 1974, only the "Pigs" tracks were new. I wonder if Waters' strong Type A-personality pushed other band members' potential contributions aside in order to create his concept for an album loosely based on "Animal Farm." It seems possible given that both Gilmour and Wright picked the time right after Animals and its supporting tour to release their first solo albums.

I looked for outtakes from Animals hoping to find something that hadn't been included initially, but there appears to be nothing other than one very short track of sound effects (which I used -- more on that later).

When it came to choosing which tracks to use from the solo albums, I decided against any that weren't completely written by a band member. I didn't think the band would go for that at this point in their career. That left us with six tracks from Gilmour's self titled album and nine from Wright's Wet Dream album.

Like the actual Animals, this version of the album begins and ends with the two parts of "Pigs on the Wing." I used Gilmour's "I Can't Breathe Anymore," "Deafinitely," "No Way" and "So Far Away." I couldn't resist Wright's "Cat Cruise" to add an additional animal-titled song. And "Pink's Song" sounded like something that should be on a Pink Floyd album, both musically and title wise.

I found "Message from the Sheep (Field Recording)" on a bootleg and it's supposedly an outtake from Animals. It's basically just a bunch of sheep yelling "baa!" I found it amusing, and at 37 seconds it seemed like a good way to end the first side. It ends up being sort of a reprise of the end of "Pigs (Three Different Ones)."

The two sides are fairly even, being 21:47 and 20:41 respectively.

Interestingly, I think this sounds more like a Pink Floyd album than the actual released Animals because of more input from Gilmour and Wright. To my ears, after Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd releases became increasingly more like Roger Waters albums with the rest of the band backing him.

Since we're keeping the album title, at first I didn't see a reason to change the album cover (especially since the only animal shown is the floating, inflatable pig). But then I thought in keeping with using earlier concept art for my double disc version of Wish You Were Here, I'd do the same with this entry. This was a concept sketch by design group Hipgnosis for Animals that the band rejected. I assume if it had been chosen, Hipgnosis would have created a more finished artwork, but this rough sketch is as good as we're going to get.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Jimmy Liggins Specialty Albums That Never Existed

Jimmy Liggins is one of those nearly-forgotten pioneers of R&B. Born in Oklahoma, his family moved to San Diego when he was a teenager. His older brother Joe Liggins would hit the big time with the hit "The Honeydripper," which topped the R&B charts for 18 weeks in 1945.

Jimmy followed his brother a couple of years later, signing with Specialty Records in L.A. His first single was released in 1947. At this time, Specialty only issued 78s and 45s. As far as I can tell, the label didn't issue an actual 33 1/3 album until Little Richard's debut in 1957, three years after Jimmy left Specialty. I wanted to see what it would have been like if Jimmy's songs had been packaged as LPs. In all, he recorded enough music to fill four standard LPs.

1. I Can't Stop It    
2. Troubles Goodbye          
3. Teardrop Blues 
4. Cadillac Boogie 
5. Rough Weather Blues
6. Move Out Baby
1. Homecoming Blues
2. Careful Love      
3. Lookin' For My Baby      
4. Baby I Can't Forget You 
5. Nite Life Boogie
6. Don't Put Me Down       

The interesting thing about the title song (at least to me) is how it so obviously influenced the song "Rocket 88," which many people consider the first rock and roll song. One could argue that "Cadillac Boogie" should actually hold that title. Lots of other good R&B and blues can be found here as well. For cover art, I used a concept sketch GM did for the 1948 Cadillac. Looks similar to the Batmobile.

1. Mississippi Boogie          
2. Misery Blues     
3. Answer to Teardrop Blues
4. That Song Is Gone
5. Sincere Lover's Blues     
6. Saturday Night Boogie Woogie Man
1. Down and Out Blues
2. Lonely Nights Blues
3. The Washboard Special
4. Lover's Prayer   
5. Goin' Down with the Sun
6. That's What's Knockin' Me Out  

More great music, and you can hear confidence building in Liggins' and his band's performances. I titled this LP Lonely Nights after the song "Lonely Nights Blues." For cover art, I thought this picture captured the concept well.

1. Stolen Love
2. Low Down Blues
3. Brown Skin Baby
4. Dark Hour Blues
5. Drunk
6. I'll Never Let You Go
1. Come Back Home
2. Going Away       
3. Shuffle Shuck
4. I'll Always Love You
5. Hep Cat Boogie
6. Now's the Time

"Drunk" may be my favorite Liggins song, and it was one of his biggest hits, reaching the top 10 in late 1953 and early 1954. It contains the great line, "Came home one night with a swimmin' in the head, reached for the pillow, missed the whole durn bed." But "Drunk" would probably not be the best title for an album, so I went with Now's the Time. For cover art, I found this one of a couple embracing in front of a big clock and thought it worked well.

1. Come Back Baby
2. Train Blues
3. Baby's Boogie
4. Bye Bye Baby Good-Bye
5. Give Up Little Girl            
6. Unidentified Instrumental 
SIDE B         
1. Blues for Love   
2. Jumpin' and Stompin'
3. Cloudy Day Blues             
4. Pleading My Cause                         
5. Railroad Blues  

These are the last recordings by Liggins on Specialty Records. Lots of blues here -- "Train Blues," "Blues for Love," "Cloudy Day Blues" and "Railroad Blues." I can't find that Specialty released any of these songs at the time. Liggins himself released "Blues for Love" on his own Duplex Records label in 1959, but I'm not sure if it was the same recording or a remake. "Jumpin' and Stompin," which I used for the album title, is a rockin' instrumental with a piano up front. For cover art, I found this artwork that was used for a Liggins compilation CD and altered it a bit with a new title and the Specialty logo.

Notwithstanding his success at Specialty, or perhaps because of it, Liggins left the label and never had a big hit again despite recording on Aladdin and his own Duplex Records. He eventually faded from the scene -- his big band style no longer popular. From what I've read, after returning to San Diego for a few years he eventually ended up in North Carolina as a music teacher. He died in 1983.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Cheap Trick - "Cheap Flicks"

For this entry, I put together a compilation of Cheap Trick tracks that have appeared as part of various movie soundtracks over the years.

  1. Everything Works If You Let It ["Roadie"]
  2. Reach Out ["Heavy Metal"]
  3. I Must be Dreamin' ["Heavy Metal"]
  4. Spring Break ["Spring Break']
  5. Born to Raise Hell ["Rock & Rule"]
  6. I'm the Man ["Rock & Rule"]
  7. Ohm Sweet Ohm ["Rock & Rule"]
  8. Up the Creek ["Up the Creek"]
  9. Mighty Wings ["Top Gun"]
  10. Money (That's What I Want) ["Caddyshack II"]
  11. You Want It ["Say Anything"]
  12. I will Survive ["Gladiator"]
  13. Wild Thing ["Encino Man"]
  14. Surrender '99 ["Detroit Rock City"]
  15. Transformers (The Fallen Remix) ["Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"]

What I've included are Cheap Trick songs that were exclusive to the films, i.e. songs that didn't appear on the band's regular albums. So although "Surrender" and "I Want You to Want Me" were used (along with a few other band tracks) in many films over the years, they are not included here (except for the rerecorded version in 1999).

I put the tracks in chronological order, beginning with "Everything Works If You Let It" from 1980 through to "Transformers (The Fallen Remix)" from 2009. And since this would be a post-2009 release, I didn't divide the album into two sides like I usually do for a theoretical vinyl album. 

Most of the tracks can be found on the official soundtrack albums, and some can also be found on band compilation albums.There was never a soundtrack album released for the animated film "Rock & Rule" (aka "Ring of Power"), and Cheap Trick's three songs from the film were eventually released on the compilation Sex, America and Cheap Trick.

"Transformers (The Fallen Remix)" appears on the soundtrack for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," but is not actually used in the movie for some reason. I decided to only include songs from movie soundtracks, but you could also include "Out in the Streets" (aka "That '70s Song") from the TV show "That '70s Show."

For a cover, I used a movie marquee generator and then made some simple modifications.