In-depth reviews of classic or neglected albums, mainly from the 1960s and 70s, plus a weekly newsletter featuring all the latest news, views and music. Artists covered include Beach Boys, Beatles, Belle and Sebastian, Buffalo Springfield, Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Dire Straits, Grateful Dead, Hollies, Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Kinks, Nils Lofgren, Monkees, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Searchers, Simon and Garfunkel, Small Faces, 10cc, The Who and Neil Young.
Dear Readers, well what do you know? Despite not even breathing a word of the ‘Human League’ (see last three issues) who are definitely cursed our computer has let us down again. For good this time!!! (Or so I fear!) Thank goodness we had backups of every issue we've posted so far - except the one I'd written 3/4s of ready to go. Grrr! It was really good too, honest it was. Now I'll have to remember it for next week! Oh and we've lost the sims game too, just as Crosby was really turning into a star (yeah I know he is in 'our' world, but in the sims work its hard work let me tell you!!!) I knew I should have hired The Monkees instead...in the meantime I could have just sat back and watched the tennis but…I had the rest of this week’s issue all planned and an album I have complete on my mp3 player so, rather than give in, this week we’ve gone to the local library to get this issue to you. Now, nothing against the library computers (who have a darned sight better internet access than my laptop) but their graphics do date a bit. Say about a 1983 Mac or a BBC Micro. On a good day. So things might look a little different this issue, as well as being a bit shorter (who shouted ‘hurrah’?!). Hopefully it won’t be forever though and we’ll be back up and running next week! (Hmm, I’ve said that before…)
What else to tell you? Oh yes, having chronic fatigue means I’m forever forgetting what I should be looking at by the time I log on at the library and get hypnotised by all those flashing screens. So thanks to the random programme I happened to be watching the other day that gave me the line ‘You(tube) Twit(ter) Face(Book)’, which I have now modified to read ‘You Twit Face Amazon Yahoo! (‘s Album Archives!)
Erm, moving on…would you believe our site has now passed 7000 views! Terrific! We seem to be going up by around 25 hits a day as of this week so a special hello to all our readers old and new! What do you think of the new-look site by the way? Oh and we’re also working on a video version of News, Views and Music for YouTube starring Max the Singing Dog again. Any ideas?
BuffaloSpringfield News: Shock! Horror! After talking abou7t it for nigh on 40 years the second Springfield reunion in as many years took place last week at their old American stomping ground in Oakland, USA, with another five gigs set to follow. Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay played about two thirds of their three album back catalogue, this time on electric instruments rather than the ‘unplugged’ set they did at Neil’s Bridge School Benefit show last year. Neil even retrieved his old ‘Indian’ fringe jacket out of the loft for the event! The set-list included all the usual suspects along with a few gems the participants haven’t played in years (‘Hot Dusty Roads’ ‘Broken Arrow’ and the box-set only ‘M<y Kind Of Love’ among them), along with a 20-minute version of ‘Bluebird’ (just as in the days of old!) and a final encore of Young’s solo hit ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’. Some 35 years after he last declared it, Neil really can claim that ‘the spirit of the Buffalo Springfield is back!’
Kinks News: Details are sketchy at the time of going to press, but next Friday, July 14th is Kinks night on BBC4! As well as repeats of the general ‘Brothers in Arms’ documentary about family members in bands and Ray Davies’ ‘Imagine’ special from last Christmas, there are new documnetraies about Dave Davies and a new compilation of classic material of the band from the BBC archives. Now as usual with the BBC there has to be a tie-in product for this event and that is the re-release of batch two of Kinks albums (‘Face to Face’ ‘Something Else’ and ‘Arthur’) in deluxe two-disc form with mono/stereo mixes and various bonus tracks. Alas this second batch are even more disappointing than the first – the only rarities on the superb ‘Face to Face’ (AAA review no 8) are alternate mono and stereo mixes plus the semi-rare B side ‘She Got Everything’. ‘Something Else’ meanwhile has a backing track for ‘Tin Soldier Man’, the first version of that song ‘Sand On My Shoes’, a handful of previously released BBC sessions and, well, not a lot else really although at least this time the mono and stereo mixes are quite different. ‘Arthur’ (AAA classic album no 30) includes the fullest amount of Dave Davies 1969-era recordings to date, but disappointingly all of these have been available on various sets for years already. And where is the BBC version of ‘Victoria’?
Oasis/Beady Eye News: Two lots of programmes Gallagher-related this week. First up, the BBC6 programme on BBC6 wasn’t the one advertised – it was actually a slightly later four part radio doc from 2002, taking the band’s story up to the ‘Heathen Chemistry’ era. It was still interesting though – I’d missed it completely the first time around – and Noel’s and Bonehead’s interviews in particular were very revealing. Oh and isanyone else salivating at Noel’s mention of the work the band had done on album six (the one that eventually turned into ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’?!) ‘Stop The Clocks’ ‘I Want To Live A Dream In My Record Machine’ (both classics available on YouTube) and two other songs I’ve never heard of. What say we petition the Big Brother label for an Oasis Rarities set?!
Next up, part two of Beady Eye live at Abbey Road was shown unexpectedly last week (in the early hours of Thursday, June 30th) on channel 4. While the chat was the same, the programme featured performances of ‘The Morning Son’ ‘Beatles and Stones’ and ‘Three Ring Circus’ missing from the original broadcast (way back in February!) Oh + I didn’t get the name of the other guy on the show but, blooming heck he was awful – which idiot thought his music would do well edited into the middle of a ’Beady Eye’ performance?!
Rolling Stones News: A late mention for last Monday (June 29th)’s BBC6 Live Music Hour in the 3am slot which, sadly, we didn’t get a chance to tell you about before our computer konked out. The repeat was an R and B early morning special; from 1963 and saw a very young Stones supporting headline act Georgie Fame and the Blue Fames. The Stones had at that time released a grand total of two singles (‘C’mon’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’) – both of which are notable for their absence from this show – and one EP (titled, inventively, ‘The Rolling Stones’), which makes up the bulk of their short set. Whilst the Stones aren’t at the peak of their powers by any means, this was a great little set with Brian Jones very much the ‘leader’ of the band in it’s early stages and well worth seeking out by any Stones fanatic. In fact, am I right in thinking that this is the earliest concert appearance by the Stones that still exists?! Well done BBC6, you’ve come up trumps again!
Simon and Garfunkel News: Poor Paul Simon – he’s had to wait all these years to appear at Glastonbury – and then he goes and gets a virus. Alas Paul’s Glasto set was marred by his growly delivery, although the band rallied with a set-list that emphasised Paul’s ‘conversational’ style (ie the songs where he didn’t have to sing that much and still managed to smash Beyonce’s headlining performance the other side of Michael Eavis’ field (but then I would say that wouldn’t I?...) In other news, Paul revealed that he and Art had been planning a tour together last year before Arty developed his throat problem and hopes the duo will still get the chance to untie for one last ‘farewell’ tour. Paul’s record ‘So Beautiful Or So What?’ also entered the UK charts this week (two months after it’s release in the US for some reason) and made #6, the highest AAA placing since Beady Eye in March! Look out too for a Paul Simon performance e at the ‘I tunes Festival’ next week, highlights of whicvh are being broadcaston Wednesday, June 3rd on BBC3!
ANNIVERSARIES: Happy birthday to those AAA artists born between July 3rd and July 10th: Ringo Starr who turns 71 on July 7th and Jim Rodford (bassist with The Kinks 1979-93) who turns 66 on the same day. Anniversaries of events include: original Stones guitarist Brian Jones drowns in his swimming pool at the age of 28 (July 3rd 1969); Brian Wilson sits in at a Beach Boys gig for the first time since his breakdown led to him quitting touring in 1964 (July 3rd 1976); The Beach Boys play their first free ‘Independence Day’ concerts (July 4th 1980); Dire Straits begin a record 10-day run at Wembley Stadium (July 4th 1985); The Rolling Stones score their last big hit 30 years ago with ‘Emotional Rescue’ (July 5th 1980); Paul McCartney meets John Lennon for the first time, after attending the Woolton Village Fete where the first line-up of The Quarrymen are performing (July 6th 1957); The first edition of ‘Mersey Beat’ is printed, featuring an article by John Lennon on how the soon-to-be-famous Beatles got their name (July 6th 1961);The world premiere of A Hard Day’s Night at London’s Pavilion Theatre (July 6th 1964); Those naughty Rolling Stones are at it again, destroying civilisation as we know it by, erm, dragging an American flag across the stage after their set in Syracause (July 6th 1966); fellow Ormskirkian Marianne Faithful, then Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, attempts suicide while her boyfriend is on the set of his acting job playing ‘Ned Kelly’ (July 8th 1969); Moody Blue Justin Hayward scores his biggest solo hit with the ‘War Of The Worlds’ song ‘Forever Autumn’ (July 8th 1978); John Lennon releases his first solo single ‘Give Peace A Chance’, sparking rumours of a Beatles split even though the publishing credit still reads ‘Lennon/McCartney’ (July 9th 1969) and finally, Paul McCartney’s band Wings start their biggest tour to date, hiring a bus to drive to 26 dates across France (July 9th 1972).
A real anorakky top five for you this week! What AAA artists offer the best value for money – and the worst? The difference between the shortest albums on our list and the longest really shows the differences between the 1960s and now, in the modern CD age, when albums are often double or triple the length of ones from 40-50 years ago. Only one entry per top five per artists is allowed, we only take original album releases into account (ie no bonus tracks) and no live sets are allowed –otherwise they’d win by miles! (with the deluxe Who Live at Leeds and Beach Boys in Concert right behind Wings Over America and Neil Young’s Weld!) Anyway, here are the top five shortest AAA studio albums:
5)The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964) – a total length of 29:29: AAAA review no 2, The Beatles’ first entirely self-composed album is also their shortest, perhaps because the band were being pushed into doing so much in this period (two albums a year, four singles and a film). A Hard Day’s Night always seemed short – it’s full of the Beatles’ punkiest, most breathlessly youthful songs from the title track to Can’t Buy Me Love. It also has just 13 songs when every other Beatles LP up till Sgt Pepper’s has more – and it’s the first time ever the Beatles had written a whole album themselves, so there’s pklenty of excuses for this album’s brevity. But I have to say it’s amazing how much shorter it is than it’s nearest rival Please Please Me (two and a half minutes).
4) Simon and Garfunkel “The Sounds Of Silence” (1966) – a total length of 29:09: The second simon and Garfunkel album is, interestingly, much shorter than the first (with a running time of 32 minutes). Perhaps the brevity is because it was made in such a hurry – the album was released on the back of the surprise hit for the re-entry of ‘The Sound Of Silence’ with electric instruments overdubbed on top in the folk rock style of the day, so surprising in fact that neither Simon or Grafunkel knew of it’s release. Record company CBS wanted more and luckily Paul Simon had the pick of a flop album (‘The Paul Simon Songbook’) for the duo to re-record. It’s puzzling, though, that some excellent songs such as ‘The Side Of A Hill’ ‘Patterns’ and ‘Cloudy’ were passed over for the album (the latter two making it to follow-up album ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme) and that the record company didn’t insist on more – after all, 29 minutes is short even by 1966 standards!
3) The Hollies “The Hollies” (1965) – 28:36: The third Hollies album is the shortest, just winning the award from second album ‘In The Hollies Style’. The Hollies were quickly running out of steam in their third year, with less Clarke-Hicks-Nash compositions than before (aka their colective writing pseudonym L Ransford), although it’s surprising that its their most ‘folk-rock’ album that’s the shortest, not either of their two earlier primal Merseybeat rock albums. Nearly all these songs are short, with the exception of album highlight ‘So Lonely’, which at three minutes is clearly showing the path the band will go on to take.
2) Neil Young “Everybody’s Rockin’ (1983) – 24:55: This one is the joker in the pack, released some 20 years after the others here. Basically this album’s brevity is down to two factors: the fact that Neil Young was back to recording real early 1950s rock and roll covers and spoofs (which were naturally short) and the fact that Young wanted to annoy the heck out of record label boss David Geffen. You see, Neil had just been sued for ‘not making records that sounded like Neil Young’ and, when he asked what ‘Neil Young’ was meant to sound like he was told ‘rock and roll’. Neil being Neil, he decided to take this sentence literally and delivered 10 slabs of basic roots rock and roll, many of which were his shortest compositions. Ironically, Neil hadn’t released as many as 10 songs on an album since ‘Comes A Time’ in 1978, an album almost double the length of this one!
1) The Beach Boys “Surfin’ USA” (1962) – 24:15: Not content with releasing six whole instrumentals on an album, the Beach Boys second LP is also the shortest overall – by miles from ‘Surfin’ Safari’s 29 minutes. No song here passes the three minute barrier – few songs actually make it past 2:30. It’s a long way from the epic seven minute songs of the 1970s! Thank goodnes ‘Safari’ and ‘USA’ are out together (with outtakes) on a two-fer-one single CD disc or I’d feel really cheated!
And the five longest albums:
5) Pink Floyd “The Wall” (1979) – 81:09. No prizes for guessing that Pink Floyd is in the top five! A few sound effects over the length of a single disc, this album has already been covered as AAA review no 76 and is an epic double album about the mind-set of a troubled musician let down by family, friends, band and manager. It’s just a shame it has to cost the price of two CDs for the sake of a few grunts and groans!
4) The Who “Quadropehnia” (1973) – 81:36. Closely followed by AAA review no 60. The Who’s double album is even more irritating in term sof price – the cost of two discs gets you an extra 1:36 of listening to a sound effect of the sea! Again, we’ve already covered this album elsewhere, many many times, but Quadrophenia is so great it doesn’t outstay it’s welcome and is so epic it seems even longer than it’s 81 minutes.
3)The Beatles “The White Album” (1968) – 93:35. AAA review no 25 and the third to be covered by this site in a row – no wonder I’m feeling so blooming tired! It’s also by far the longest album from the 1960s in this list and covers – literally – every style known to man including pop, rock, ballads, reggae, ska, soul, heavy metal and avent garde, inventing a few genres along the way.
2) George Harrison “AllThingsMustPass” (1970) – 105:59. Good grief another album from our original 101 reviews - no 42 – and a triple LP no less. While most of disc three is a ‘bonus’ disc of ‘Apple Jams’, this album would have made the list anyway as a double LP lasting 79 minutes, featuring some absolutely epic songs – and no less than two versions of ‘Isn’t It A Pity?’, easch lasting seven minutes plus!
1) Godley and Crème “Consequences” (1976) – 110:59. The mummy of all concept albums, this is a part-serious, part tongue in cheek epic from the 10cc duo who make ample use of spaced-out inastrumentals, long speech passages and oodles of their new invention, the ‘Gizmo’ stringbender guitar. Heavy going even as a single highlights LP!
A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY Entries 2008-2019
233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-surnames-and-their-meanings-news.html
234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/twenty-erroneous-aaa-album-titles-news.html
235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/fifteen-great-aaa-string-parts-news.html
236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/top-thirty-hilariously-misheard-aaa.html
237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/ten-controversial-aaa-sackings-news.html
238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/a-critique-on-critiquing-in-response-to.html
239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-ten-musicians-whove-played-on-most.html
240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/thoughts-on-cameronmustgo.html
241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/six-random-recent-purchases-kinksg.html
242) AAA Christmas Number Ones http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-christmas-number-ones.html
243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articlesplus worst releases of the year) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-review-of-year-2014.html