Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Beach Boys - SMiLE (1967)

For visitors to blogs like this one, Albums That Never Were, Albums That Should Exist, or Albums Reconstructed etc, the holy grail of unreleased albums has to be The Beach Boys' 'SMiLE'. Originally planned as a follow-up to 'Pet Sounds', the 1967 recording sessions collapsed under the weight of Brian Wilson's perfectionism, mental instability and drug use. The Beach Boys shelved the project and released the simplified 'Smiley Smile' in 1967, and since then there have been many, many fan reconstructions of the record posted on blogs the world over. In fact, the very first CD that I ever bought was a 'SMiLE' bootleg - yes, I bought a bootleg CD before I'd even tested out my new CD player on an actual album. Since then audio editing has become much more accessible for the amateur enthusiast, and so, for instance, soniclovenoise over at Albums That Never Were has posted four versions of the album, and there are many, many reconstructions of varying quality available on Youtube. Not only that, but the sessions have been officially released, and Brian Wilson has even played it live, so what more can possibly be said about it. Well, how about a remix where AI has been trained to sing like Brian, using a recent singing voice conversion model, and then to add his 1967 vocals to the tracks where Brian himself never sang. It took over 100 hours of work, and he was prepared for a backlash from fervent purists who would class this as sacrilege, but Dae Lims has now posted his completely remixed version of 'SMiLE' on Youtube, and as the download link keeps being deleted then I'm posting it here so that BB fans can at least hear it once to make up their own mind. I'm not yet convinced about whether AI is a saviour or a menace to the arts, but when you hear what it can do in the right hands then I start to think that it could be a part of the future of music if used ethically. Give this a listen and decide for yourself if it's the best ever version of 'SMiLE', or if it's a complete and utter abomination. 

Track listing

01 Our Prayer
02 You're Welcome
03 Heroes And Villains
04 I'm In Great Shape
05 Barnyard
06 Do You Like Worms
07 Cabinessence
08 The Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine
09 Wonderful
10 Fire/I Wanna Be Around 
11 Vega-Tables
12 Wind Chimes
13 Child Is Father Of The Man
14 I Love To Say Dada/In Blue Hawaii
15 Surf's Up

All songs remixed using AI de-mixing technology.
Tracks 3,4,5,6,8,9,10,12,13,14,15 contain new AI vocals.
Tracks 3,4,7,9,10,12 contain AI enhanced vocals.
'Do You Like Worms' contains new melodies, partially based on 'Little Pad' by The Beach Boys.
'Child Is Father Of The Man' contains new lyrics and melodies, inspired by the original and 2004 versions of the song.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

The Rolling Stones - Trouble's A-Coming (1979)

There is currently a quite superb Rolling Stones bootleg doing the rounds, with the self-explanatory title of 'Fully Finished Studio Outtakes', and it does exactly what it says on the tin. Over the course of three CDs it collects some of the best quality Stones left-overs that I've ever heard, spanning most of their career from 1967 through to 1998, with a couple of 2002 jams added on at the end of CD3. If there's just one criticism, it's that some of the recording dates seem to be the result of guesswork rather than research, and so I've used the expertise of the Zen Archer's Aural Surfing Odyssey blog to work out the correct chronology, so that I can re-order them into a set of four themed posts. As the three earliest takes are one-offs from 1967, 1968 (which is included on my earlier 'Hillside Blues' post), and 1969, I've skipped them and gone straight for the first track from 1970 to begin one whole album of outstanding outtakes from the 70's, starting with 'Walk With Me Wendy' from 1970 and ending with 1979's 'Trouble's A-Coming'. As this timeframe includes the 'Some Girls' period, a couple of the tracks have already appeared on my 'Some More Girls' post, and so I've omitted 'You Win Again', and 'Fiji Jim' to avoid duplication, but that still leaves a great 55-minute album to start the series. With each post I'm going to add Zen Archer's notes as to why they changed the recording date (following the title), and also because they are quite informative. For instance, they mention that a couple of tracks have the vocals low in the mix, and although 'Fast Talking Slow Walking' from this set wasn't one of them, I thought that they were and so I've boosted them to sound clearer, along with those on 'Trouble's A-Coming'. 
01 Walk With Me Wendy (1974)
A 'Dog Shit' style track but replacing the horns with electric piano. Jagger bellows over the head of it all. Most likely 1970.
02 Tell Her Now It Is (1971)
OK, you'll hit the first few notes of this very well known bootleg placement (otherwise known as 'Potted Shrimp'), it's upgraded – not by a million miles, accepted, but it’ll be an upgrade, that’s good enough, surely? No! 0.17 in – vocals! Much like the 'Exile' tracks that got us stoked on the deluxe treatment of a few years earlier, this track is now replete with an extra pinch of Jagger salt and he sounds crazed! The vocals are of the fact that they sound vintage enough to be of the time – the beauty of looking after your voice for the past 60 years, I guess – we could ponder the fact that they could also have been recorded for the reissue but this stuff is better than we could have imagined. Sounds more 1970 than 1971.
03 Living In The Heart Of Love (1974)
Very easily a mid-70’s production, it’s a close brother to 'Silver Train' and 'Brown Sugar', a repeated refrain starts the track before blossoming in to a broader chorus. Correct year.
04 Fast Talking Slow Walking (1972)
A woozy, swooning bar-room lament with a joyous piano undercurrent underneath the spacey guitar lines and pattering, jazzy drum beats. An exceptional piece of work. Generally agreed to be a 'Goat's Head Soup' outtake from 1974.
05 Scarlet (1975)
So we remember the debacle of this piece on the GHS reissue – none of the Stones or Jimmy Page (apparently) remember sneaking in to the studio in the prime of their careers and putting this to tape – over two nights, granted, but maybe that's how you measure time when you're a rock star. The suns up or it's not. Some of the overdubs present on the CV seem to be missing here from half way, so this may be one of the tracks that was laid down the first night, maybe? It's far too good to be forgotten, far too good to be erased. Maybe if it had lingered for much longer the full session tape might have made it out .. it'd be nice to think. Probably 1974, as GHS is mentioned. 
06 Built That Way (1984)
Something rather different here – A 'Heatwave' style swing with a Queenish guitar line occasionally popping up through the background. I wouldn't have been at all surprised if this was a Style Council cover in all honesty. It's really very different but cruisingly good. However, 1975 rather than 1984.
07 Every Time I Break Her Heart (1977)
A space-effect country lilt, the kind that the Stones seem to have perfected through the years.  Remains unreleased and hasn't appeared on any other bootleg before. Correct year. 
08 Not The Way To Go (1977)
A punky, ramshackle, 50's surf romp with a lean line in lyrics (Jagger seems to give up part way through and riffs on the title instead). This version fades out quicker than previous versions in 'The Harder They Come' (Idol Mind) or Yellow Cat's 'From Paris To LA'. Probably one year later at 1978.
09 Never Make You Cry (1977)
Another of those late, rain soaked Saturday ballads, spiked with a little rock . Blissfully dreamy, warm and regretful, it's perfect. It's also cleaner sounding that previously booted versions. Correct year. 
10 Covered In Bruises (vocal Ronnie Wood / Mick Jagger 1981)
A split combination of force between the Glimmer Twins recorded at the Pathé Marconi sessions – Barrel big and chunky with a fat bass line that drives. It’s an odd amalgam of a track but it really, really works. The Pathé Marconi sessions were in 1977.
11 It's A Lie (1978)
Another left over from the Paris Match sessions and also recently released on the 'Foxes In The Boxes' collection. Part Stones template, slide guitar and muted piano line. Should be 1979.
12 Trouble's A-Coming (1972)
Not 1972, surely but from much later in the decade - 1979? An incredible, insistent groove with a solid march – the chorus is fantastic in and of it's own! Jagger's vocals are mixed much lower in the mix than they should be so assume this to be an earlier rehearsal/working take that never came to fruition. 

Track listing

01 Walk With Me Wendy 
02 Tell Her Now It Is 
03 Living In The Heart Of Love
04 Fast Talking Slow Walking
05 Scarlet
06 Built That Way
07 Every Time I Break Her Heart
08 Not The Way To Go
09 Never Make You Cry
10 Covered In Bruises 
11 It's A Lie
12 Trouble's A Coming 

Daryl Hall, Robert Fripp & Guests - Sacred Songs Live From Daryl's House (2023)

Time for another guest spot from Mike Solof, featuring music from one of his favourite albums.
Welcome back to a sequel of sorts. A while back in August of 2022, I posted a set called Robert Fripp - 'Triple Exposure' which took the trifecta of all the solo albums that he produced in (roughly) 1979 for himself, Daryl Hall, and Peter Gabriel and gave you the highlights along with many bonus and alternate cuts. Over the past seventeen years, since way back in 2007, Daryl Hall has presented an online music series called 'Live From Daryl's House', (simply known as 'Daryl's House' and often abbreviated as 'LFDH'), which sees the singer-songwriter performing with his band and various guest artists at his home in Millerton, New York. It provides a performance space that is an alternative to live concerts and studio sessions for popular artists, and allows the artists to "have fun and be creatively spontaneous". The majority of shows include a segment in which Hall and the guest artist prepare food from different cuisines for everyone to eat, and then they play songs of their choosing, which are often covers of Hall's own songs from his long career. I'm pleased to report that for Episode 87, recorded in November 2023, Robert Fripp got back together with Hall after 44 years, and they played together for the first time since making those original albums (fun nit-pick fact: Hall was just the vocalist on Fripp's 'Exposure' album, so they never actually "played together" before this "reunion"!) The results were stunning! Fripp himself said it was the best day of his life except for the day he married his wife! I'm pleased to present tracks from those sessions plus some cool bonus recordings, as I could have just left it at the Hall/Fripp cuts, but I love Hall's original Fripp-produced solo album so much, and he so rarely (if ever!) plays cuts from it, that I had to fill the album up with bonus cuts. These are taken from performances that Hall recorded with other artists on his radio show, and feature non-Fripp versions of more songs from Hall's 'Sacred Songs' album. Each guest added their own spin to the original version and I dig that!
Here's a track by track breakdown of what is included:
01 Sacred Songs - Daryl Hall with Kitty, Daisy & Lewis Durham.
02 Babs And Babs - Daryl Hall with Robert Fripp. A song Hall wrote for his first solo album. Fun Fact #2: Babs and Babs are what Hall calls the right and left side of his brain!
03 NYCNY - Daryl Hall with Robert Fripp. Another song written by Hall and Fripp, this one was done on both Fripp's solo and Hall's first solo albums which, by the way, was recorded in 1977 but not released until 1980.
04 The Further Away I Am - Daryl Hall with Robert Fripp. Another cut from Hall's first album.
05 Why Was It So Easy - Daryl Hall with Butch Walker.
06 Don't Leave Me Alone With Her - Daryl Hall with Ben Folds.
07 Survive - Daryl Hall with Charlie Starr.
08 You Burn Me Up I'm A Cigarette - Daryl Hall with Robert Fripp. This was originally presented on Fripp's 1979 debut solo album 'Exposure'. A song written by Hall and Fripp.
09 Heroes - Daryl Hall with Robert Fripp. A song Fripp originally recorded with David Bowie for his 1977 release of the same name. Fripp asked Hall if they could play it during these sessions.
10 North Star - Daryl Hall with Monte Mongomery, on a track from Fripp's 'Exposure'
11 Red - Daryl Hall with Robert Fripp. A song Fripp wrote and recorded in 1974, from the King Crimson album of the same name. Hall's house band did not rehearse this (or anything they recorded that day for the sessions). Fripp was amazed because it took three days of rehearsals for King Crimson to learn all the intricate chord changes for the song every time they played it. IT'S A BEAST!!
I hope you enjoy this selection of great musicians playing mostly unrehearsed (so the pressure was on to impress Hall with their playing) songs, that never, if ever, see the light of day!
Until next time...

Track listing

01 Sacred Songs
02 Babs And Babs
04 The Further Away I Am
05 Why Was It So Easy
06 Don't Leave Me Alone With Her
07 Survive
08 You Burn Me Up I'm A Cigarette
09 Heroes
10 North Star
11 Red

Tracks 1-7 from 'Sacred Songs' by Daryl Hall
Tracks 8 and 10 from 'Exposure' by Robert Fripp
Track 9 from 'Heroes' by David Bowie
Track 11 from 'Red' by King Crimson

Eden xo - Dirty Blonde (2016)

Following her stint in Shut Up Stella in 2007, and an attempt at a solo career in 2008, Jessica Eden Malakouti formed Jessie And The Toy Boys in 2011, which was actually more of a solo project, with the Toy Boys being mannequins. She said in a 2011 interview that she wanted plastic bandmates that could not get in the way of her creative vision, and under that name she independently released the 'Show Me Your Tan Lines' five-song EP. 'Push It (feat. Yelawolf)' hit the Top 10 on the Billboard dance charts, and during the summer of 2011 she opened for Britney Spears and Nicki Minaj on the North American leg of the Femme Fatale tour. The band's debut album, 'This Is How Rumours Start', should have followed, but it was pushed back to summer 2012, and despite some of the songs appearing as videos on Youtube, the album itself has failed to materialise. In May 2013 she released 'White Girl Wasted' under her own name, and this sparked rumours that she would no longer be releasing music under the name Jessie And The Toy Boys. This was confirmed when she announced that she'd signed to Virgin, changed her name to her middle name of Eden, followed by xo, and released her first single under this name with 'Too Cool To Dance'. It hit the Top 40 on the Billboard chart and the Top 20 on the club charts, and in 2014 it was featured on 'So You Think You Can Dance' to mark National Dance Day. 'The Weekend' was another hit single, as was a remix of the track that featured Lil Jon, and she also recorded a version of the Thompson Twins song 'Hold Me Now' in 2015. Her next release was intended to be an EP titled 'Dirty Blonde', but due to label problems she ended up being dropped by Virgin and the project was shelved. During her time at Virgin Records she had sessions with Ron Fair, Toby Gad, Fred Falke, Sean Paul, and Jesse Shatkin, and had enough songs for an album at the time that the EP was cancelled, and so if she hadn't left the label in 2017 then she could have expanded the EP into her debut album. As she didn't do that then I have, and so here is Eden xo's first and only album, which should have come out around 2016.

Track listing

01 Dirty Blonde  
02 Too Cool To Dance  
03 Drips Gold (feat. Raja Kumari) 
04 Finger
05 All Day Every Day 
06 Sideline (feat. Swick)
07 Torn (Don't Stop Believing) 
08 Cinematic Goodbye
09 Say That Again (feat. Travis Mills)  
10 El Barrio 
11 Hold Me Now  
12 Color Me In (feat. The Hot Damns) 
13 The Weekend 

Friday, April 5, 2024

Various Artists - The Hitmakers Sing Donovan (2014)

By 1966, Donovan had shed the Dylan/Guthrie influences and become one of the first British pop musicians to adopt flower power, immersing himself in jazz, blues, Eastern music, and the new generation of counterculture-era US West Coast bands such as Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. He was entering his most creative phase as a songwriter and recording artist, working with Mickie Most and with arranger, musician, and jazz fan John Cameron, and their collaboration on Sunshine Superman was one of the first psychedelic pop records. Donovan's rise stalled in December 1965 when Billboard broke news of the impending production deal between Klein, Most, and Donovan, and then reported that Donovan was to sign with Epic Records in the US. Despite Kozak's denials, Pye Records dropped the single and a contract dispute ensued, because Pye had a US licensing arrangement with Warner Bros. Records. As a result, the UK release of the Sunshine Superman album was delayed for months, robbing it of the impact it would have had off the back of the hit single. Another outcome was that the UK and US versions of this and later albums differed, with three of his Epic LPs not being released in the UK, while 'Sunshine Superman' was issued in a different form in each country. By spring 1966 the American contract problems had been resolved, with Donovan signing a $100,000 deal with Epic Records, and he and Most went to CBS Studios in Los Angeles, where they recorded tracks for an album, much of which was composed during the preceding year. 
Although folk elements were prominent, the songs showed increasing influence of jazz, American west coast psychedelia and folk rock, especially from The Byrds. 'Sunshine Superman' was released in the US as a single in June, and reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart, and later number 2 in the UK. The US version of the album features instruments including acoustic bass, sitar, saxophone, tablas and congas, harpsichord, strings and oboe, and highlights include the swinging 'The Fat Angel', written for Cass Elliot of the Mamas & the Papas, 'Bert's Blues' (a tribute to Bert Jansch), 'Guinevere', and 'Legend Of A Girl Child Linda'. The driving, jazzy 'The Trip' was named after a Los Angeles club, and chronicled an LSD trip during his time in L.A., and is loaded with references to his sojourn on the West Coast. Because of the earlier contractual problems, the UK version of 'Sunshine Superman' was not released for another nine months, and as Donovan had released another record in the US by this time, the UK version was a compilation of tracks from the US 'Sunshine Superman', and its follow-up 'Mellow Yellow'. I think most of the better tracks on the UK version come from the US 'Sunshine Superman' album, so for this post I've used that as a basis, and every track has received a superlative cover version, all of which are included on this reimagining of arguably Donovan's best album. 

Track listing

01 Sunshine Superman (Mike Vickers 1967)
02 Legend Of A Girl Child Linda (Joan Baez, Judy Collins & Mimi Farina 1967)
03 Three King Fishers (Gabor Szabo 1968)
04 Ferris Wheel (Rick Wooley 1980)
05 Bert's Blues (Burnt Branch 2014)
06 Season Of The Witch (Brian Auger, Julie Driscoll & The Trinity 1967)
07 The Trip (Ryan Green 2013)
08 Guinevere (Paul Roland 1992)
09 The Fat Angel (Jefferson Airplane 1969)
10 Celeste (Scott McKenzie 1967)

Joyce Harris - I Cheated (1965)

Joyce Harris was born in Kentucky in 1939 and moved to New Orleans with her family when she was 13 years old. She learned to play guitar and write songs, and was soon performing duets with her younger sister Judy, as Joyce And Judy, releasing three singles – 'He's The One'/'Hey Pretty Baby', 'Washboard Sam'/'Nursery Rock (Beedle De Bop)' and 'Hey Little Baby'/'Rock And Roll Kittens' – all in 1958, until Judy got married and left the group. Joyce spent a year as part of a big band singing in restaurants in Mexico, and she released her first solo single 'It's You'/'The Boy In School' on New York’s U.T. Records at the end of 1959. A talent spotter saw her in Mexico and was impressed enough to secure her an audition with the Texas-based Domino label, and she was soon in the studio with Tommy Kaspar and Don Burch of Domino’s vocal quartet, The Slades. She wrote a lot of her own material, and her first single for the new label was an answer record to their local hit 'You Cheated', which she wrote overnight and recorded with The Slades. Her 'I Cheated'/'Do You Know What It's Like To Be Lonesome?' was released in October 1960, followed by 'No Way Out'/'Dreamer' in January 1961, which sold strongly enough to be licensed to Infinity Records. In 1963 Harris released the gospel-inspired 'Don't Knock It' under the pseudonym Sinner Strong (Strong was a family name, and the first name was a mis-hearing of her name Cina), and then a couple of years later she released her final single under her own name, with 'Baby, Baby, Baby' appearing in 1965. This was a more soulful recording and is now highly sought after on the Northern Soul circuit. In 1997 two previously unheard tracks recorded with the Daylighters surfaced on Ace Records' 'The Domino Records Story', and I can't leave those off as they are both prime slices of R&B, meaning that we now have everything that Joyce Harris recorded in her short career.   

Track listing

As Judy & Joyce
01 He's The One (single 1958)
02 Hey Pretty Baby (b-side of 'He's The One')
03 Washboard Sam (single 1958)
04 Nursery Rock (b-side of 'Washboard Sam')
05 Rock And Roll Kittens (b-side of 'Hey Pretty Baby' re-issue 1959)
As Joyce Harris
06 The Boy In School (single 1959)
07 It's You (b-side of 'The Boy In School')
08 I Cheated (single 1961, with The Slades)
09 Do You Know What It's Like To Be Lonesome (b-side of 'I Cheated')
10 No Way Out (single 1961)
11 Dreamer (b-side of 'No Way Out')
12 I Got My Mojo Working (previously unreleased, with The Daylighters)
13 Your Kind Of Woman (previously unreleased, with The Daylighters)
14 Baby, Baby, Baby (single 1965)
15 How Long (Can I Hold Back My Tears) (b-side of 'Baby, Baby, Baby')
As Sinner Strong
16 Don't Knock It (single 1963)
17 Nobody But Me (b-side of 'Don't Knock It')

Dwight Twilley Band - Fire (1975)

As I mentioned in the recent Dwight Twilley post for his 'Blueprint' album, the Dwight Twilley Band's first self-produced single 'I'm On Fire' became something of an unexpected hit, reaching #16 on the Billboard charts in 1975 with relatively little promotion. This was actually because just before it came out, Twilley and musical partner Phil Seymour had departed for England to record tracks for their first album, tentatively called 'Fire', with producer Robin Cable at Trident Studios. However, the success of the single prompted co-owner of Shelter Records Leon Russell to recall the band back to the US and to offer them the use of his 40-track home studio to record their debut album, and he also gave them the services of engineer Roger Linn, who contributed lead guitars and bass to some of the tracks. All the songs that they had recorded in England were put to one side, and new material written at Russell's studio, although the old songs were not completely junked, but were kept for use on a possible follow-up record, provisionally called 'The B Album'. In 1989 both Dwight Twilley Band albums were reissued on CD, complete with bonus tracks, by the audiophile DCC Compact Classics label, and they re-issued them again in 1990 with different bonus songs. In 1993, shortly before Phil Seymour's death, Twilley released 'The Great Lost Twilley Album', which collected a fraction of the hundreds of early unreleased songs Twilley and Seymour had recorded for Shelter, including several tracks from 'The B Album' and 'Blueprint', as well as a few alternate versions of released songs, and fans were at last able to piece together those two unreleased albums. To follow the recent 'Blueprint' post, here is the earlier 'B Album' otherwise known as 'Fire', from 1975, and you may notice that 'Dancer' features on both albums, but as it was included on the track listings for each record, I was torn about which album to remove it from, so in the end I left it on both. 

Track listing

01 I'm On Fire
02 England
03 Look Like An Angel
04 I Don't Know My Name
05 Lovin' Me
06 Rock Yourself, Son
07 Sky Blue
08 Shark (In The Dark)
09 Miserable Lady
10 You Were So Warm
11 No Resistance
12 Dancer
13 Please Say Please

Jessie Malakouti - Pretty & Gritty (2008)

While she was still a member of Shut Up Stella between 2007 and 2008, Jessie Malakouti was thinking ahead to a solo career, if and when the band broke up, and she was writing and recording her own songs. After Shut Up Stella was dropped from Epic Records, she flew to Sweden to work with production team Money&Stuff and other producers such as Arnthor Birgisson, Justin Trugman, Lester Mendez, Matt Rowe and Wayne Rodrigues, with the intention of producing her debut solo album, which was to be titled 'Pretty & Gritty'. The record was due to be released in 2008, but it was never completed, and so she uploaded some songs to her MySpace page, while others were consigned to the vaults, although two of her songs, 'Trash Me' and 'Outsider', appeared in episodes of MTV's 'The Hills', as well as being independently self-released as music videos and digital downloads. In December 2008 she signed a publishing deal with EMI, and the next two years were spent in London working on dance music with Fred Falke, as well as writing for UK production house Xenomania. In 2010 she formed Jessie And The Toy Boys, launching them with the  single 'Push It' in February 2011, and so all thoughts of a solo career had by then faded away. To fill in the gap between the cancelled 'Shut Up Stella' album and the cancelled' 'This Is How Rumors Start' by Jessie And The Toy Boys (can you see a pattern emerging here?), we have the cancelled 'Pretty & Gritty' by a solo Jessie Malakouti.  

Track listing

01 Trash Me 
02 Eyes Closed 
03 Bad Guy 
04 Check 'n Out 
05 I Need Love
06 Big Booty 
07 Commitment Issues
08 PS 
09 Upside Down 304
10 Lately 
11 Outsider 
12 Crash Bang Baby
13 You're My Viagra 
14 Things

The Big Reveal - Part 2

I hope that yesterday's post didn't come across as sounding a bit too needy, but I am genuinely interested in hearing what people think of what I post here, so that I know whether to keep posting that kind of thing or to scale it back. This was borne out by the reply from Anotherone Bitthe Dust, who mentioned that I seem to be posting a lot more pop stuff recently, and it would be nice to go back to the more rockier stuff. I entirely agree, as rock is my first love, but it just happens to be the case that the pop scene of the 2000's/2010's was very volatile, with artists having all their hard work dumped by their labels if just one single wasn't a huge hit, of if the labels were amalgamated and their rostas trimmed, and so I've discovered a huge stash of unreleased albums from that period, and they all seem to be pop/R&B stuff. I wouldn't say that I'm a huge fan of the genre, and don't know who most of them are, but I listen to them and read the comments on Youtube to see if they have a fanbase, and if I vaguely like what I hear then I assume actual fans of the artists would like to hear it as well, so I'm working my way through them. However, rest assured that I will try to post at least one or two 'rock' albums a week, as long as I can keep finding them, and there are a few crackers coming up. 
I'm also glad to hear that the Hitmaker series is fairly popular. That all started as a one-off post for a Tony Hazzard album, where nearly every track had been a hit single for another artist, so 'Hitmakers' was a valid title, but when it then became a series, not all of the covers have been hits, but it was too late to change the title. I admit that I sometimes have to trawl Youtube to find that elusive final cover, so some albums could include up to half the covers by completely unknown artists, but when this happened to the recent Bruce Springsteen one I thought that even though I didn't know the artists, their covers were excellent, so hits or not I still really enjoyed listening to them.   
And finally, I'm curious to know how many people who heard the 'Oasis' album actually thought that I'd discovered a stash of rare demos, as even I have to admit that they were very convincing.   

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Is There Anybody Out There? & The Big Reveal

While I appreciate the kind comments which are sometimes attached to the download requests, when they come directly to me it does mean that no-one else ever gets to see them on the blog, and a new visitor to the site who see 'No comments' on nearly every post might think that hardly anyone ever visits. I'd love to know what people think of the posts, to see if what I'm posting is what people want to hear. I have quite a few (and I mean over 100) male, female and group unreleased R&B albums by more obscure artists ready to post, but I don't know if people are enjoying the ones I've posted so far, as only the more well know artists attract the odd comment. Or what about my Hitmakers series, as I thought that was a really good idea, but only a couple have every been commented on. And as a for instance, I thought that the recent Florence + The Machine album that I posted was one of my better efforts, but only one person seemed to agree with me. One post which I did think would spark a dialogue was the recent Oasis post, but it seems that I've managed to fool nearly everyone who's listened to it, as only two people have actually spotted that it was this year's April Fool, and wasn't by Oasis at all. It was in fact a band called Breezer, who recorded a few Oasis-sounding tracks and then programmed AI to sing the lyrics in the style of Liam Gallagher. Only Smash Addams spotted that the vocals were AI-generated, although jman was close in thinking it was a tribute band, so either it was my best ever hoax, or it's just that no-one could be bothered to call me out on it. I really hope it's the first option .


Monday, April 1, 2024

Oasis - Coming Of Age (2009)

In 2007 Oasis were riding high on the success of their sixth album 'Don't Believe The Truth', and taking the top two positions in the Q magazine poll of the fifty greatest albums of the last 50 years. The recorded for a couple of months in 2007, completing work on two new songs and demoing the rest, after which they took a two-month break because of the birth of Noel's son. They re-entered the studio on 5 November 2007 and finished recording around March 2008, with the band's seventh album 'Dig Out Your Soul' being released in October. After recording had finished Zak Starkey left the group, and he was replaced by former Icicle Works and the La's drummer Chris Sharrock on their tour, but he was not an official member of the band and Oasis remained as a four-piece. The first single from the record was 'The Shock Of the Lightning', written by Noel Gallagher, and it was pre-released on 29 September 2008, and when the album appeared a week later it went to number one in the UK and number five on the Billboard 200. In June 2008, the band had re-signed with Sony BMG for a three-album deal, and in February 2009 they received the NME Award for Best British Band of 2009. Over the summer of 2009 the band recorded some demos for the first album of the new deal with Sony, and then played some festivals, one of which should have been the V Festival in Chelmsford in  August, but this had to be cancelled after Liam contracted laryngitis. Noel later stated that he had a hangover, for which Liam sued him, and Noel had to apologise in order to get the lawsuit dropped. The band were due to perform on 28 August 2009 at the Rock en Seine festival near Paris, however mid-way through Bloc Party's set at the festival, their frontman Kele Okereke announced that Oasis would not be performing. Two hours later, a statement from Noel appeared on the band's website:
It is with some sadness and great relief...I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.
Liam and the remaining members of Oasis decided to continue under the name Beady Eye, releasing two studio albums until their break-up in 2014, while Noel formed the solo project Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, and has released four studio albums. The tracks recorded for what would have been their eighth album were shelved, until they leaked online recently, and so here are eight tracks from the final incarnation of Oasis just before they ignominiously fell apart in 2009. 

Track listing

01 Out Of My Mind
02 Time
03 Alright
04 Forever
05 Bittersweet
06 Coming Of Age
07 Alive
08 Tonight

Nicole Scherzinger - Fire (2011)

As I mentioned in the previous posts from Nicole Scherzinger, before embarking fully on a solo career she dipped her toes in the water by appearing on other artist's records as a guest vocalist, and in 2006 and 2007 she graced quite a few songs with her presence. It was an eclectic mix, with 50 Cent sitting next to Shaggy, and Timbaland vying with P. Diddy for her attention, and if we gather up all the guest appearances that she made before the release of her official debut studio album in 2011 then we have a very enjoyable 45-minute album of prime R&B and reggae. Only one of these tracks eventually appeared on that debut album 'Killer Love', but as 'Heartbeart' with Enrique Inglesias was also released as a single in 2010 then I'm including it on here anyway.   

Track listing 

01 Don't Ask Her That (feat. Shaggy) [from 'Clothes Drop' 2005]
02 Come To Me (feat. P. Diddy) [from 'Press Play' 2006]
03 Fire (feat. 50 Cent & Young Buck) [from 'Curtis' 2007]
04 Heartbeat (feat. Pharrell Williams) [Madonna demo 2008]
05 Supa Hypnotic (feat. Shaggy) [from 'Clothes Drop' 2005]
06 Scream (feat. Keri Hilson & Timbaland) [from 'Shock Value' 2007]
07 Papi Lover (feat. Daddy Yankee) [from 'El Cartel: The Big Boss' 2007]
08 Numba 1 (Tide Is High) (feat. Kardinal Offishall) [from 'Not 4 Sale' 2008]
09 Lie About Us (feat. Avant) [from 'Director' 2006]
10 Heartbeat (feat. Enrique Iglesias) [from 'Euphoria' 2010]
11 Hotel Room Service (feat. Pitbull) [from 'Rebelution' 2009]
12 Coconut Tree (feat. Mohombi) [from 'MoveMeant' 2011]

Made In London - A Perfect Storm (2000)

Made in London were a pop group made up of three members, Brits Kelly Bryant and Sherene Dyer, and Norwegian Marianne Eide, and the band was founded by Melissa Popo and Peter Ibsen. Ibsen co-wrote the whole of their album with the lead singer/songwriter Sherene Dyer, with contributions from the rest of the band, while Popo left before they released any of their singles. Despite wide publicity, particularly surrounding their second single, 'Shut Your Mouth', combined with a certain amount of internet-based success, their most successful chart hit was 'Dirty Water', which reached number 15 in the UK Singles Chart in May 2000. The trio's debut album 'A Perfect Storm' was planned to be released after 'Shut Your Mouth', but as the single did not garner the anticipated chart success, only reaching number 74 in the UK singles chart, the album was cancelled prior to its release. Following the release of a cover of Terence Trent D'Arby's 'Wishing Well', the group disbanded, with Dyer carrying on performing under the name Sherii Ven Dyer. As so often happens with these cancelled album, the record company should have had a bit more faith in them, as it's a perfectly fine millennial pop record, with 'I'm Not' and 'We Don't Do No Wrong' even appealing to a heavy rock audience. 

Track listing

01 I'm Not  
02 Dirty Water  
03 24 Little Hours  
04 We Don't Do No Wrong 
05 Shut Your Mouth  
06 Ain't Another Love Song  
07 My Friend  
08 Believe  
09 Hit Or Miss  
10 If You Don't Wanna  
11 From The First Time  
12 Magic