Sunday, October 3, 2021

"American Graffiti" soundtrack - "time corrected"

With Elvis Presley's comeback beginning in 1968, Sha Na Na playing Woodstock in 1969 and Chuck Berry getting his first #1 song ever in 1972, America was ripe for a full-on revival of the early rock 'n' roll era when the movie "American Graffiti" premiered in 1973. The movie was a huge success and there was a spike in "oldies" radio stations, music rereleases and TV specials along with a bunch of other movies set in the late '50s/early '60s.

Not only was the "American Graffiti" movie a hit, but so was the soundtrack album. However, the soundtrack (featuring most of the music heard in the film) is actually an odd hodgepodge of songs ranging from the years 1953-64. Some songs weren't even released until after the time the film is set (one night in late August 1962). 

I don't know what writer/director George Lucas had in mind when deciding on what songs to use. Maybe he took songs that were easily available, maybe he just chose songs he liked or perhaps he felt certain songs were needed for certain scenes. Or maybe he didn't think using specific songs from 1962 was necessary.

But in reality, this was a time of teenage crazes. Songs (and dances, teen idols, clothing styles, etc. etc.) from even the previous year would have seemed old. So music playing on car radios would almost certainly have been current hits. Therefore, I looked at what songs were popular at the time the movie is set and tried my hand at an alternative soundtrack. Unfortunately, I don't have the abilities to lift Wolfman Jack dialogue that was used in the original. But truth be told, Wolfman Jack wasn't a thing until 1963, the year after the movie takes place. 

1. Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out) - Ernie Maresca
2. Roses are Red (My Love) - Bobby Vinton
3. Palisades Park - Freddy Cannon
4. Little Diane - Dion
5. The Loco-Motion - Little Eva
6. Breaking Up is Hard to Do - Neil Sedaka
7. At the Hop - Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids
8. She's So Fine - Flash Cadillac & The Continental Kids
9. The Wah Watusi - The Orlons
10. She's Not You - Elvis Presley

1. Surfin' Safari - The Beach Boys
2. You Don't Know Me - Ray Charles
3. Sheila - Tommy Roe
4. Vacation - Connie Francis
5. Bring It on Home to Me - Sam Cooke
6. Peppermint Twist - Joey Dee and the Starlighters
7. Teen-Age Idol - Ricky Nelson
8. Twist and Shout - The Isley Brothers
9. Johnny Get Angry - Joanie Sommers
10. Do You Love Me - The Contours
11. Things - Bobby Darin

1. Dancin' Party - Chubby Checker
2. You'll Lose a Good Thing - Barbara Lynn
3. Soldier Boy - The Shirelles
4. Gravy (with My Mashed Potatoes) - Dee Dee Sharp
5. Snap Your Fingers - Joe Henderson
6. Playboy - Marvelettes
7. Party Lights - Claudine Clark
8. Don't Play That Song (You Lied) - Ben E. King
9. That's Old Fashioned (That's the Way Love Should Be) - The Everly Brothers
10. Papa Oom Mow Mow - The Rivingtons

1. Uptown - The Crystals 
2. Lolita Ya-Ya - The Ventures
3. I Sold My Heart to the Junkman - The Blue-Belles
4. She Cried - Jay and the Americans
5. Johnny Angel - Shelley Fabres
6. Night Train - James Brown and the Famous Flames
7. Green Onions - Booker T. and the MGs
8. The One Who Really Loves You - Mary Wells
9. Sealed with a Kiss - Brian Hyland
10. Let's Dance - Chris Montez

The approach I took with this project was similar to what I did with the soundtrack to "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

Of the 41 songs on the original soundtrack album, there are actually only two tracks from 1962: "Surfin' Safari" and "Green Onions." The Beach Boys song was released on June 4, so we keep it. And the Booker T and the MGs song was released the first week of September, and that really makes it a week too late, but I decided to keep it anyway. I also considered the six songs on the original album that were released in 1961. But the only one I decided to keep was "Peppermint Twist" because it was such a huge hit in early 1962. 

There are two tracks on the original soundtrack by Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids, the "house band" at a dance in the movie. I included both of their songs since they would obviously stay in the movie no matter what. All five songs that I kept from the original album remain in their respective spots on this version of the soundtrack as well.

Using Billboard charts for the summer of '62, I chose 36 tracks that were the biggest hits of the time to include with the five songs of the original soundtrack. Then I tried to match as best I could with theme and/or sound.

To replace the opening track of "Rock Around the Clock" (released in 1954 and a hit in 1955), I needed something energetic and I think the best one of the lot for that purpose is "Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out)" by Ernie Maresca. It might not be as iconic as the Bill Haley song, but I think it makes more sense timewise. The next song on the original soundtrack is "16 Candles," a slow love song from 1958. So I replaced it with Bobby Vinton's "Roses are Red," and so on and so on. 

Some changes were easier than others: "Party Doll" is replaced with "Party Lights" and "Crying in the Chapel" is replaced with "She Cried." "Goodnight, Well It's Time to Go" is replaced with another goodbye song, "Sealed with a Kiss." I thought the best song for the closing credits to replace the Beach Boys' "All Summer Long" was "Let's Dance" by Chris Montez.

So there you are: a new version of the soundtrack that I think is more realistic. 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Bee Gees - "Alone Together"

In March 1969, Robin Gibb quit the Bee Gees, leaving his brothers to carry on and record the album Cucumber Castle. Robin in turn recorded his debut solo LP Robin's Reign. Both acts had hit singles, but their respective albums didn't sell particularly well. Soon after Cucumber Castle's release, Barry Gibb announced he was going solo, leaving Maurice Gibb no other choice than to go solo as well.

All three brothers recorded solo albums in early 1970, and singles were chosen and album cover art created for all three. But it seems that all three Brothers Gibb had second thoughts about venturing out on their own, and all three solo albums were put on hold.

Initially, Robin and Maurice reunited and planned to record a new Bee Gees album, but soon Barry also rejoined the group and they recorded and released 2 Years On in November 1970. And the Bee Gees remained together until Maurice died in 2003.

What's intriguing to me is that the Gibb brothers not only abandoned their 1970 solo albums, but they didn't even re-record any of the songs for Bee Gees albums. Robin's solo album, Sing Slowly Sisters, remained unreleased until 2015 when it was included as part of the compilation Saved by the Bell: The Collected Works of Robin Gibb, 1968-1970. Maurice's and Barry's solo albums, The Loner and The Kid's No Good respectively, have to this day still not been released.

I wondered what could have been had the group instead of starting from scratch simply took the best tracks of their solo albums to create a new Bee Gees album. With Barry's and Maurice's albums unreleased, this would be difficult except that singles from the albums were released.

1. Sing Slowly Sisters
2. Great Caesar's Ghost
3. I've Come Back
4. This Time
5. One Bad Thing

1. I'll Kiss Your Memory
2. Railroad
3. Engines, Aeroplanes
4. The Days Your Eyes Meet Mine
5. C'est La Vie, Au Revoir

While Barry's album has not been released, a single was: "I'll Kiss Your Memory" b/w "This Time." Other tracks have trickled out on bootlegs. Of those, both "One Bad Thing" and "The Day Your Eyes Met Mine" were co-written with Maurice, so I thought they were good ones to include.

Maurice didn't usually have many lead vocals on Bee Gees albums, which is good because we only have two songs to use. Like Barry, while Maurice's album wasn't released, one single was: "Railroad" b/w "I'll Come Back."

For Robin's contributions, we have the whole solo album to choose from. I decided I wanted to equal the number of Barry's tracks. Two of Robin's songs were originally considered for singles, the title track and "Great Caesar's Ghost," so we include both. I also included "Engines, Aeroplanes" and placed it after Maurice's "Railroad" simply because I thought that was a humorous connection. And "C'est La Vie, Au Revoir" was slated to be the closing song of the album, and seemed appropriate for this as well.

I thought Alone Together was a fitting title for this album. For a cover, I wanted to do something artistic like creating one face from all three of their faces. But I was quickly reminded of my limitations as an artist and eventually scrapped the idea. Instead, I used a portrait from about that time period and added titles and record company logo. Not great, but OK.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

The Beatles - "Beatles Again"

In 1969, new Beatles manager Allen Klein negotiated a new contract with Capitol Records that required one compilation album per year. I don't know how they planned to have a new compilation every year for the five-year span of the contract, but the plan for the initial one was to use songs that hadn't appeared on albums (only singles).

Allan Steckler was given the task of deciding which tracks should be included. With 10 tracks chosen, they were put in chronological order, from 1964-69, and issued (only in the U.S.) as Hey Jude in 1970. And with the inclusion of the group's most successful song ever (the title song), it promptly sold more than 2 million copies.

The problem with the album is that the Beatles' sound had changed so dramatically from the time of their mop top days of 1964 and their hippie days of '69. With a little more care, a compilation album could have been produced with a more contemporary sound using more recent songs, including some still unreleased.

1. Revolution
2. Lady Madonna
3. The Inner Light
4. What's the New Mary Jane?
5. Not Guilty
6. The Ballad of John and Yoko

1. Hey Jude
2. Old Brown Shoe
3. Don't Let Me Down
4. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)

The first four tracks of Hey Jude are the ones I have the problem with: "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Should Have Known Better," "Paperback Writer" and "Rain." Removing these, I needed a new opener. "Revolution" -- which closes side one on Hey Jude -- seems like the obvious choice to me. I then moved "Lady Madonna" from track 6 to track 2. 

I added three songs to the first side not on the original album: "The Inner Light," "What's the New Mary Jane?" and "Not Guilty." All seem like obvious tracks to include. "The Inner Light" didn't show up on an American or British album until 1978's Rarities, and the stereo version wasn't released until 10 years after that on Past Masters, Volume 2. Both "What's the New Mary Jane?" and "Not Guilty" were White Album outtakes that weren't released until Anthology 3 in 1996.

For the final song on the first side, I moved the Hey Jude album closer "The Ballad of John and Yoko" here instead.

The first three tracks of the second side are the same as Hey Jude, but I closed the album with "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)." Originally the b-side of the then-upcoming "Let It Be" single, this track wasn't released on an album until Rarities in 1978.

There were three other tracks I considered: the single edit versions of both "Let It Be" and "Get Back," and the "wildlife" version of "Across the Universe" that had only been released previously on the World Wildlife Fund compilation No One's Gonna Change Our World. But since all three songs in different versions would appear on the Let It Be album released later the same year, it didn't seem to make as much sense as the other options. 

And there you have it, what I consider to be a superior compilation album than Hey Jude. For a cover, I use the shot of the group that was the back side of the Hey Jude album, and I titled it Beatles Again, which is rumored to have been the original album title. I found this album mock-up on the web.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Led Zeppelin - "Archives"

I was thinking about the remastered Led Zeppelin albums and wondering whether there was enough material out there to create something similar to the Beatles’ Anthology series. Anthology 1, 2 and 3 included alternate takes, demos, live tracks and other odds and ends. While Jimmy Page was likely uninterested in duplicating product of another band, there’s nothing stopping us from putting something together. Like Anthology, I divided up the songs into track lists for three theoretical CD sets. 

The Beatles’ Anthology 1 included tracks by the Quarrymen and pre-Ringo Beatles. In a similar vein, I decided to use non-Zeppelin songs that featured members of the band prior to its forming. Most of the material I ended up using came from the bonus materials on the deluxe versions of Zeppelin's remastered albums. However, I did snag a few tracks from bootlegs, DVDs and other sources to give a more complete picture. When it came to including non-Zeppelin material, I almost always used songs that included at least two members of the band, the exception being a couple of Yardbirds tracks.

I decided to call the theoretical box set Archives.

I kept the track lists in mostly chronological order. But I decided to kick off the first set with a live version of “Train Kept a Rollin’” from 1969 for the simple reason that it acts as a good introduction, literally and figuratively ("Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the [sic] Led Zeppelin!"). "Train Kept a Rollin'" is supposedly the first song Led Zeppelin rehearsed, and the band then used it to open most of their shows for the first tour. So it seems appropriate to use it to open our set as well. I included Donovan's "Sunshine Superman," and while I'm not positive, may be the earliest session that both Page and John Paul Jones participated in together.

We then have “Beck’s Bolero,” a Jeff Beck song “written” by Page, and featuring both Page and Jones. It’s been said that during this session that the name Led Zeppelin was conjured up by Keith Moon (he said the group would go over like a lead balloon) who also played on the session. I also included the Yardbirds tracks "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" and “No Excess Baggage” because besides Page, they also feature Jones on bass. And both Page and Jones also played on the track "Burn Up" from an album that was supposed to be the debut of singer Keith DeGroot, but ended up showcasing the more famous session players instead. 

“Hey Joe” is a demo by the Band of Joy that included both Robert Plant and John Bonham. I also added “Dazed and Confused” by the Yardbirds since it would become such a major song for Zeppelin. The eighth track is "Jim's Blues" by P.J. Proby featuring all four members of Zeppelin backing him, and the first released recording with all four members together. After that I included various outtakes, backing tracks and alternate mixes that were bonus tracks on the remastered Zeppelin albums, as well as a selection of early live tracks. Also included is the Screaming Lord Sutch song “‘Cause I Love You,” which features Bonham and Page.

Archives 1

1.       Train Kept a Rollin’ [live at Texas International Pop Festival, 31 Aug. 1969] - bootleg

2.       Sunshine Superman [Donovan with Jones and Page, December 1965] - Donovan's Sunshine Superman

3.    Beck’s Bolero [Jeff Beck with Jones and Page, 16 May 1966] - Beck's Truth

4.    Happenings Ten Years Time Ago [The Yardbirds including Page with Jones, October 1966] - Yardbirds' single

5.       No Excess Baggage [The Yardbirds including Page with Jones, Spring 1967] - Yardbirds' Little Games

6.    Burn Up [Keith DeGroot with Jones and Page, late 1967] - No Introductions Necessary

7.       Hey Joe [demo, Band of Joy including Bonham and Plant, early 1968] - Plant's Sixty Six to Timbuktu

8.       Dazed and Confused [The Yardbirds including Page, live on French TV "Boutan Rouge" show, 9 March 1968] - Yardbirds' Cumular Limit

9.      Jim's Blues [P.J. Proby with Bonham, Jones, Page and Plant, September 1968] - Proby's Three Week Hero

10.     You Shook Me [alternate version, Fall 1968] - bootleg

11.   Baby, Come on Home [outtake, Fall 1968] - Coda bonus

12.   Sugar Mama [outtake, Fall 1968] - Coda bonus

13.   Killing Floor [live at Whiskey a Go Go, Los Angeles, 5 Jan. 1969] - bootleg

14.   For Your Love [live at Whiskey a Go Go, Los Angeles, 5 Jan. 1969] - bootleg

15.   What Is and What Should Never Be [rough mix with vocal, January 1969] - Led Zeppelin II bonus

16.   Moby Dick [intro/outro rough mix, January 1969] - Led Zeppelin II bonus

17.   How Many More Times [live at Gadsaxe Teen Club (TV BYEN – Danmarks Radio), Gladsaxe, Denmark, 17 March 1969] - Led Zeppelin DVD

18.   Sunshine Woman [live at Maida Vale Studios, London, 19 March 1969] - BBC Sessions

19.   Dazed and Confused [live on Supershow, Staines Studio, London, 25 March 1969] - BBC Sessions

20.   As Long As I Have You (edit) [live at Fillmore West, San Francisco, 27 April 1969] - bootleg

21.   Whole Lotta Love [rough mix with vocal, May 1969] - Led Zeppelin II bonus

22.   Thank You [backing track, Spring 1969] - Led Zeppelin II bonus

23.   Heartbreaker [rough mix with vocal, Spring 1969] - Led Zeppelin II bonus

24.   Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman) [backing track, Spring 1969] - Led Zeppelin II bonus

25.   Ramble On [rough mix with vocal, Spring 1969] - Led Zeppelin II bonus

26.   Bring It On Home [rough mix, Spring 1969] - Coda bonus

27.   La La [outtake (backing track), Spring 1969] - Led Zeppelin II bonus

28.   The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair [live at Aeolian Hall (BBC), London, 16 June 1969] - BBC Sessions

29.   Somethin’ Else [live at Aeolian Hall (BBC), London, 16 June 1969] - BBC Sessions

30.   Travelling Riverside Blues [live at Maida Vale Studios (BBC), London, 24 June 1969] - BBC Sessions

31.   White Summer/Black Mountain Side [live at Playhouse Theatre (BBC), London, 27 June 1969] - BBC Sessions

32.   ‘Cause I Love You [Screaming Lord Sutch with Bonham and Page, Summer 1969] - Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends

33.   Good Times, Bad Times (intro) / Communication Breakdown [live at L'Olympia Bruno Coquatrix, Paris, 10 Oct. 1969] - Led Zeppelin bonus

34.   Whole Lotta Love [single edit, November 1969] - single

35.   I Can't Quit You Baby [live rehearsal (edit) at the Royal Albert Hall, London, England, 9 Jan. 1970] - BBC Sessions

36.   We’re Gonna Groove [live (edit) at Royal Albert Hall, London, 9 Jan. 1970 (audience removed)] - Coda


For the second set, I included various alternate mixes, outtakes and a b-side from the sessions for Led Zeppelin III, the fourth album and Houses of the Holy, plus a couple of live recordings from 1971. 

Archives 2

1.       The Immigrant Song [alternative mix, Spring 1970] - Led Zeppelin III bonus

2.       Friends [backing track – no vocal, Spring 1970] - Led Zeppelin III bonus

3.       Celebration Day [alternative mix, Spring 1970] - Led Zeppelin III bonus

4.       Since I've Been Loving You [rough mix of first recording, Spring 1970] - Led Zeppelin III bonus

5.       Bathroom Sound (Out on the Tiles) [backing track – no vocal, Spring 1970] - Led Zeppelin III bonus

6.       Gallows Pole [rough mix, Spring 1970] - Led Zeppelin III bonus

7.       That's the Way [rough mix with dulcimer and backwards echo, Spring 1970] - Led Zeppelin III bonus

8.       Jennings Farm Blues (Bron-Y-Aur Stomp) [rough mix, Spring 1970] - Led Zeppelin III bonus

9.       Hey, Hey What Can I Do? [b-side of “Immigrant Song” single, Spring 1970]  - Coda

10.   Poor Tom [outtake, Spring 1970]  - Coda

11.   St. Tristan's Sword [outtake, Spring 1970] - Coda bonus

12.   Key to the Highway / Trouble in Mind [outtake (rough mix), Spring 1970] - Led Zeppelin III bonus

13.   Black Dog [basic track with guitar overdubs, early 1971] - Led Zeppelin IV bonus

14.   Rock and Roll [alternate mix, early 1971]- Led Zeppelin IV bonus

15.   The Battle of Evermore [mandolin/guitar mix, early 1971] - Led Zeppelin IV bonus

16.   Stairway to Heaven [Sunset Sound mix, early 1971] - Led Zeppelin IV bonus

17.   Misty Mountain Hop [alternate mix, early 1971] - Led Zeppelin IV bonus

18.   Four Sticks [alternate mix, early 1971] - Led Zeppelin IV bonus

19.   Going to California [mandolin/guitar mix, early 1971] - Led Zeppelin IV bonus

20.   If It Keeps On Raining (When the Levee Breaks) [rough mix, early 1971]  - Coda bonus

21.   Boogie with Stu [Sunset Sound mix, early 1971] - Physical Graffiti bonus

22.   Whole Lotta Love / Boogie Chillun' / Fixin' to Die / That's Alright Mama / A Mess of Blues [live at Paris Theatre, London, 1 April 1971] - BBC Sessions

23.   Rock and Roll [live at Festival Hall, Osaka, 29 Sept. 1971] - bootleg

24.   The Song Remains the Same [guitar overdub reference mix, Spring 1972] - Houses of the Holy bonus

25.   The Rain Song [mix minus piano, Spring 1972] - Houses of the Holy bonus

26.   Over the Hills and Far Away [guitar mix backing track, Spring 1972] - Houses of the Holy bonus

27.   The Crunge [rough mix – keys up, Spring 1972] - Houses of the Holy bonus

28.   Dancing Days [rough mix with vocal, Spring 1972] - Houses of the Holy bonus

29.   No Quarter [rough mix with keyboard overdubs – no vocal, Spring 1972] - Houses of the Holy bonus

30.   The Ocean [working mix, Spring 1972] - Houses of the Holy bonus

31.   Houses of the Holy [rough mix with overdubs, Spring 1972] - Physical Graffiti bonus

32.   Walter’s Walk [outtake, Spring 1972] - Coda


The third set includes the remakes of “Four Sticks” and “Friends” that Page and Plant recorded with the Bombay Orchestra, plus more selected live cuts, and rarities from the sessions of Physical GraffitiPresence and In through the Out Door. I also included “Rockestra Theme,” recorded live for the Concert for Kampuchea by an all-star group of musicians that featured Bonham, Jones and Plant. A live version of “Train Kept a Rollin’” from the band’s last tour brings the set full circle.

Archives 3

1.       L.A. Drone / Immigrant Song [live at Long Beach Arena and Los Angeles Forum, June 1972] - How the West was Won

2.       Four Hands (Four Sticks) [Page and Plant remake with Bombay Orchestra, October 1972] - Coda bonus

3.       Friends [Page and Plant remake with Bombay Orchestra, October 1972] - Coda bonus

4.       Bring It On Home (intro) / Black Dog [live at Madison Square Garden, New York, July 1973] - The Song Remains the Same

5.       The Ocean [live at Madison Square Garden, New York, July 1973] - The Song Remains the Same

6.       In My Time of Dying [initial/rough mix, early 1974] - Physical Graffiti bonus

7.       Brandy & Coke (Trampled Under Foot) [initial/rough mix, early 1974] - Physical Graffiti bonus

8.       Kashmir [rough orchestra mix, early 1974] - Physical Graffiti bonus

9.       Everybody Makes It Through (In the Light) [early version/in transit, early 1974] - Coda bonus

10.   Desire (The Wanton Song) [rough mix, early 1974] - Coda bonus

11.   Sick Again [early version, early 1974] - Physical Graffiti bonus

12.   Swan Song [demo, 1974] - bootleg

13.   In My Time of Dying [live at Earl’s Court, London, 25 May 1975] - Led Zeppelin DVD

14.   Two Ones Are Won (Achilles Last Stand) [reference mix, Fall 1975] - Presence bonus

15.   For Your Life [reference mix, Fall 1975] - Presence bonus

16.   Royal Orleans [reference mix, Fall 1975] - Presence bonus

17.   Hots On for Nowhere [reference mix, Fall 1975] - Presence bonus

18.   10 Ribs & All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod) [reference mix, Fall 1975] - Presence bonus

19.   Bonzo’s Montreax [demo, September 1976] - Coda

20. Black Country Woman [live at Seattle Kingdome, 17 July 1977] - bootleg

21.   Fire (Say You’re Gonna Leave Me) [rehearsal, Fall 1978] - bootleg

22.   In the Evening [rough mix, Fall 1978] - In Through the Out Door bonus

23.   Southbound Piano (South Bound Saurez) [rough mix, Fall 1978] - In Through the Out Door bonus

24.   Fool in the Rain [short version, Fall 1978] - radio promo

25.   Hot Dog [rough mix, Fall 1978] In Through the Out Door bonus

26.   The Epic (Carouselambra) [rough mix, Fall 1978] In Through the Out Door bonus

27.   The Hook (All My Love) [rough mix, Fall 1978] - In Through the Out Door bonus

28.   Blot (I'm Gonna Crawl) [rough mix, Fall 1978] - In Through the Out Door bonus

29.   Wearing and Tearing [outtake, Fall 1978] - Coda

30.   Darlene [outtake, Fall 1978] - Coda

31.   Ozone Baby [outtake, Fall 1978] - Coda

32.   In the Evening [live at Knebworth Festival, 4 Aug. 1979] - Led Zeppelin DVD

33.   Rockestra Theme [Rockestra including Bonham, Jones and Plant, live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, 29 Dec. 1979] - Rock for Kampuchea

34.   Hot Dog [live at Sporthalle, Cologne, 18 June 1980] - bootleg

35.   Money (That’s What I Want) [live at Festhalle, Frankfurt, 30 June 1980] - bootleg

36.   Train Kept a Rollin’ [live at Festhalle, Frankfurt, 30 June 1980] - bootleg

As one can imagine, a number of these tracks are very long, and if you wanted to fit all these songs on CDs, each set would likely be a three CD set. The Beatles' Anthology sets were each two CDs, but they didn't perform really long live versions of their songs like Zeppelin did. 

The sources of the songs are listed after each title. The album covers I put together using existing old photos of zeppelins, texture backgrounds and a free Led Zeppelin-esque font.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Bob Dylan - "Self Portrait" (single disc version)

To commemorate Bob Dylan's recent 80th birthday, this time around I look at Self Portrait, a double album he released in June 1970. It received some of the harshest reviews of Dylan's career at the time. Made up of a few originals, lots of traditional songs, covers and a couple of live tracks, it's very much a mishmash. 

Dylan has said that at the time he was feeling suffocated by the "voice of his generation" tag he'd had attached to him, and wanted no part of being a leader of the hippie / counter culture movement. He has said that he thought maybe an album like Self Portrait would force people to look for another leader and let him simply be a musician. Instead he attracted a lot of hate from critics and fans who felt he'd let them down. 
If we strip away the cover tunes and live tracks, we're left with four originals and six traditional songs that I thought might make up a decent one disc album. 

1. All the Tired Horses 
2. Alberta
3. Days of '49
4. House Carpenter
5. It Hurts Me Too
6. Pretty Saro
7. In Search of Little Sadie 

1. Living the Blues
2. This Evening So Soon  
3. Woogie Boogie
4. Tattle O'Day
5. Belle Isle
6. Railroad Bill
7. Wigwam

One of the reasons Self Portrait was a double album was Dylan decided to release most all that had been recorded during the sessions in an attempt to avoid anything unused being issued on a bootleg album. Somewhat ironically, in 2013, Dylan released The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969–1971), with outtakes and alternate takes from Self Portrait and other sessions. 
On Another Self Portrait there are four previously unreleased recordings of traditional songs that we can add to our track list, giving us a total of 14 tracks. 

I kept the general order of songs from Self Portrait, divided it into two sides (since it would have originally been issued as a vinyl LP), and inserted previously unreleased songs from Another Self Portrait. So the album still begins with the Dylan-penned "All the Tired Horses" that features no vocal by him, but instead a chorus by female singers. 

"Living the Blues" is the best of the four Dylan originals so I used it to open the second side. He performed the song on Johnny Cash's TV show the previous year, and it's similar to "Singing the Blues," which had been a hit for Marty Robbins in the 1950s. 

I've no idea why Dylan decided to include cover versions of "Early Morning Rain" by Gordon Lightfoot and "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel, as well as songs that had been hits for others such as "Blue Moon" and "Let It Be Me." But their inclusion on the album might have added to the hostility of fans and critics -- Dylan is one of the greatest songwriters of all time so why is he doing covers of contemporaries? Removing these and other covers, plus live versions of his songs "The Mighty Quinn," "Like a Rolling Stone" and "She Belongs to Me," allows this album to be sort of a back-to-basics effort. I think it gives Self Portrait a purpose rather than the grab bag that was actually released. 

I also excluded "Little Sadie" and "Alberta #2" and replaced them with previously unreleased tracks to do away with repetition. 

I used only tracks from Another Self Portrait except for "Singing the Blues" and "Alberta #1" (which I title simply "Alberta" since we're not including #2 or #3) which are from the original album. The versions of "All the Tired Horses," "In Search of Little Sadie," "Days of '49," "Wigwam" and "Belle Isle" are without overdubs.

The result is not an album that I think critics and fans would have loved, but I believe they may have liked it a lot more that the double album and possibly been a lot less harsh than they were.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Rockpile - "Hours of Pain"


Rockpile recorded one album under its own name, but in fact the band had actually recorded three albums by the time Seconds of Pleasure was released in 1980.

But due to members Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds being signed to different record labels, they recorded solo albums under their names even though they were essentially Rockpile albums. These included Edmunds' Tracks on Wax 4 and Repeat When Necessary as well as Lowe's Labour of Lust.

The band also backed Carlene Carter (Lowe's wife) on most of her album Musical Shapes.

Finally, in 1980, Edmunds fufilled his recording contract by releasing Twangin'... (which was made up of outtakes from previous sessions and was performed mostly by Rockpile), and the band was free to record an album under the Rockpile name for the first time. Seconds of Pleasure was released in October 1980, and the band had a hit with "Teacher, Teacher." Besides Edmunds on guitar and Lowe on bass, the band included Billy Bremner on guitar and Terry Williams on drums.

But in 1981, there were reported tensions between Lowe and Edmunds and the band broke up. Or well, it sort of did. Edmunds went off on his own, and the remaining three worked on Lowe's next solo.

After waiting for so long to be able to issue an album as a band, it seems both crazy and kind of sad that when it finally did happen it was so short lived. I wanted to see what a 1982 Rockpile album could have been had the band remained together.

1. From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)

2. Burning

3. Me and the Boys

4. Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine

5. Laughter Turns to Tears

6. Warmed Over Kisses (Left Over Love)


1. Let Me Kiss Ya

2. Queen of Sheeba

3. Generation Rumble

4. Tired and Emotional (and Probably Drunk)

5. Zulu Kiss

6. Dear Dad

When it came to determining which songs from Edmunds' D.E. 7th album to include, I checked to see which of the tunes he performed on tour that year. Those were "From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)" (a song given to him by Bruce Springsteen), "Me and the Boys" (by Terry Adams) and Chuck Berry's "Dear Dad." Feeling I needed at least two more tracks to not only fill out the album but to increase Edmunds' contributions, I also added "Warmed Over Kisses (Left Over Love)," which was a hit for Brian Hyland in 1962, and "Generation Rumble" written by Benny Gallagher.

Since Lowe's Nick the Knife is essentially a Rockpile album minus Edmunds, it was fairly easy to choose songs. "Heart" from that album is a remake of a Rockpile song from Seconds of Pleasure, so I didn't see any reason to include that. As with Edmunds, I looked to see which songs from Nick the Knife Lowe performed live that year, and that included three: "Burning," "Stick It Where the Sun Don't Shine" and "My Heart Hurts," all of which were released as singles. I felt I needed a couple more tracks, and "Zulu Kiss" is the only other song released on a single (as a B-side). I also added "Queen of Sheeba."

Seconds of Pleasure features two songs sung by Bremner, and I wanted to include tracks with him as lead vocalist as well on this album. But Bremner didn't record a solo album until 1984. However, I've discovered that he released a single in 1982 and that gave us two songs to add to this album: "Laughter Turns to Tears" and "Tired and Emotional (and Probably Drunk)."

I think this is a good album, and it benefits from having three different vocalists, which provides more of a variety than the solo albums. For an album title, I thought of the previous album's title of Seconds of Pleasure and came up with Hours of Pain. And for a cover I took an image of dance steps and added the words.


Sunday, April 4, 2021

The Who - "Empty Glass"

Lots of Who fans have debated endlessly over whether the band should have continued after drummer Keith Moon died. But whether they should or shouldn't have, the fact is that just eight months after Moon died, The Who kicked off their first tour with new drummer Kenney Jones.

But before The Who issued a new album with its new drummer (1981's Face Dances), Pete Townshend released a solo album in April 1980 titled Empty Glass. Roger Daltrey is on record as criticizing Townshend for using his best songs for Empty Glass. In particular, Daltrey pointed to "Rough Boys" and the title track as being well suited for the band. Some critics have even called Empty Glass the Who album that never was.

I've no idea how Townshend determined which songs he'd use for himself and which ones he'd turn over to the band. But I wanted to see what a 1980 Who album might have been. To do so, I looked at Empty Glass, the McVicar soundtrack (which featured songs sung by Daltrey) and John Entwistle's Too Late the Hero, as well as some one-offs and outtakes.

1. Let My Love Open the Door
2. Empty Glass
3. Dancing Master
4. Without Your Love
5. It’s In You

1. Rough Boys
2. My Time is Gonna Come
3. Dance It Away
4. Talk Dirty
5. Free Me

Right off the bat, we start with a cheat. Daltrey released a version of "Let My Love Open the Door" in 2016 that was used in a bank commercial. My feeling is that you really don't have a Who album unless most of the songs are sung by Daltrey. And since the version released in 1980 was on Townshend's Empty Glass solo album, I took a bit of liberty here. Daltrey's version of "Let My Love Open the Door" is available via download on Amazon and other music sites.

I included Townshend's "Rough Boys" and "Empty Glass," since Daltrey considered both to be good choices for the band. Ironically, since Daltrey never recorded them, both tracks have Townshend on lead vocals. Jones plays drums on "Rough Boys" so at least half the band is present. Interestingly, The Who had actually recorded "Empty Glass" (again with Townshend on vocals) as part of the Who Are You sessions, but it was left off the final album. The version on Townshend's album is superior, so I've used that one.

Although Townshend, Entwistle and Jones are listed as performing on the McVicar soundtrack, I couldn't find any official listing of which tracks they actually played on. After rummaging around music chat rooms and Who fan sites, the best I can determine is that all four members of the Who play on "My Time is Gonna Come" and "Free Me." So I've included both. I also used "Without Your Love," which reached #20 as a single. Granted, I don't know if Townshend would have been that keen on including songs on a Who album that a band member didn't write, but I make the concession here to provide more Daltrey leads.

There are almost always at least two Entwistle-penned songs on a Who album, but the only source of his songs from this period are from his solo album Too Late the Hero. Even though it was released in 1981, some sessions were recorded as early as 1979. One from that session was "Dancing Master" so include it. I couldn't find details of what other songs may have been recorded at that time, so I also decided to use the "hit" from the album, "Talk Dirty."

Curiously, a song The Who performed during their 1980 tour didn't appear on either Face Dances or Empty Glass. Instead, the studio version of "Dance It Away" remained locked in the vaults until 1982 when it was issued as a b-side to Townshend's "Uniforms" single. It didn't make its CD debut until 2006 when it was included as a bonus track to Townshend's All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. And it apparently has both Entwistle and Jones playing on it so it actually may be a Face Dances outtake.

I swear that it is a complete coincidence that in assembling this album that the two songs with the word "dance" in them ended up being the third track on each side.

Finally, I felt that the album needed one more track. With Townshend on lead vocal on three songs already, I didn't want to add another tune from his solo album. And I really didn't want to include another song from McVicar since the rest of the tracks only feature Daltrey and wouldn't be written by a Who member. And so I chose "It's In You," an outtake from Face Dances. I've no idea when Townshend wrote the song so it may not fit timewise. But it works in general.

The result? This is a rockin' album, more so I think than either Empty Glass or Face Dances on their own.

Since we're moving "Empty Glass" from Townshend's solo album to this imagined Who album, I decided to take the album title as well. For a cover, I tried monkeying around with band photos from the time period, but the results were unsatisfactory. Searching around the web I came across this melted beer mug and thought it was kind of appropriate.

NOTE: Since posting this, I've learned that an expanded version of Face Dances will be released to coincide with the 40th anniversary, and that it includes a version of "Dance It Away" with Daltrey on vocals. Once available, that should be the version to use here.