Friday 20 July 2012

News, Views and Music Issue 153 (Top 10): AAA Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

‘Time Fades Away’ is unique in featuring wholly unreleased recordings performed live. But there are plenty of examples of AAA musicians releasing individual songs on concert recordings and we feature the top ten highlights of those this week. Note: we’ve listed the artists in alphabetical order this week rather than in some sort of order as that seemed the fairest way to do it!

The Beach Boys “We Got Love” (available on ‘In Concert’ 1973)

There is a studio recording of this song kicking around on bootleg, as it was due to appear on the Beach Boys’ 1972 album ‘Holland’ until the last minute (Warner Brothers wanted a ‘hit’ and substituted it for ‘Sail On Sailor’). The fourth song to be written by the ‘Flame’ new kids on the block, guitarist Blondie Chaplin (who ended up touring with the Stones) and drummer Ricki Fataar (who became a Rutle), I have more time for their songs than most fans and this one of their best. A happy-go-lucky song, its the most Beach Boysy track of all the ones they recorded with the band, a sort of hippie dippie update of the old 60s formula of good vibrations, with a chorus that goes ‘we got love and we’re going to change this world, that’s right!’ As with all of Chaplin’s songs for the band it features an especially strong middle eight where the song drops from major chord to minor and digs slightly deeper into the song, revealing just why the narrator is so sure of success this time around (basically he’s never experienced love like this before in his hapless life). The live version of this song is a little more ragged than the studio version, especially the extended gospel ending, and its missing the pedal steel country vibes of the original, but it’s still a fine addition to the Beach Boys archives.

Crosby and Nash “A Slice Of Time” (available on ‘In Concert’ 2011)

The most recent song on this list and only real reason why fans should buy the new Crosby-Nash live DVD/CD, this is a slice of pure Crosby, more in keeping with his CPR work than the other songs by the duo and it’s effectively a camera’s eye view of life caught in an instant, coupled with the characteristic jazz time switches Crosby has made his own down the years. Slow and lugubrious, it really pulls at the heartstrings, especially with Crosby’s greatest vocal in years. It would have fitted nicely onto ‘CSN’ or even ‘After The Storm’ and may well appear in the future on the new CD Crosby’s working on at the moment with son James Raymond. ‘Images, images, images arranged against a blank wall, telling the truth to us all’.

Grateful Dead “Wharf Rat” (available on ‘Grateful Dead’ 1971)

Along with Neil, the Dead are the champions of releasing previously unheard tracks on concert recordings, especially in the late 60s and early 70s. There are many we could have chosen: ‘Ramble On Rose’ ‘Bertha’ ‘Turn On Your Lovelight’ etc, but I’ve plumped for my favourite of all Dead tracks. Now, nothing on this song should work at all: its basically four minutes of the same chord played over and over and a middle eight that’s played on a church organ; not the most promising start for a song. But Bob Hunter’s cleverest set of lyrics perfectly matches the mood of Jerry Garcia’s music, with a tale of the drunkard ‘August West’ battling with a wondering chick, his own addictions and guilt. Stuck in the same groove for most of the song, the moment when he interrupts the song to cry that ‘I’ll get back on my feet someday’ and that ‘I’ll get up and fly away’ only to end up stuck in the same musical hole time is among the most moving experiences in the Dead’s canon. We know the narrator is suffering, we know he means well and yet we know he’s promised the same thing over and over again and he’s never quite managed to turn his life around. Classic stuff. Alas the Dead never did record a studio version of this record – had they kept their original material from ‘Grateful Dead’ (aka Skulls and Roses) and ‘Europe ’72 and released it properly without the cover material in between it might have been the best Dead set of them all. ‘Old man down, way down down by the docks of the city...’

Jefferson Airplane “Fat Angel” (available on ‘Bless It’s Little Pointed Head’ 1971)

Donovan’s original version of this song is awful: it noodles along in a cod-mystical sense trying to make him sound all ‘spiritual’ and ‘in’ with the hippies. The Airplane’s version strips away all of the artifice but keeps the mystery, with a low-key blues jam extended out for several minutes in true Airplane style as Paul Kantner gets the most out of the song’s weird vibe. Jorma Kaukanen’s superb soloing at the front and end of this song is wonderful too, with athe song just vague enough to give him the space to play anything he wants. There is of course a heart-warming reference to the band in the song – the main reason why they played it on-stage in the late 60s, ‘Fly Jefferson Airplane, gets you there on time!’ An extraordinary example of how a piece of garbage can be made to shine with the right arrangement. The Airplane never did release this one on record, sadly, despite playing it lots in this period. Still no idea why it’s called ‘Fat Angel’ though...

The Kinks “It (I Want It)” (available on ‘The Road’ 1986)

Written by Ray Davies to go with his new wife’s dancing (she joined the band on tour in the 80s and performed all sorts of weird moves to old Kinks classics), choreography really wasn’t the Kinks’ strong point. Like many of the songs from the band in the mid 80s, its an uneasy hybrid of the then-contemporary scene, the very flamboyant 70s and retro 50s rock. Ray Davies starts the song by spoofing a TV commercial broadcast to a bored housewife and then dissects America in the 1980s by remorselessly demonstrating how desperate people are to buy stuff they don’t need, simply because someone with authority on TV tells them they want it. Not strong enough to stand against other Davies songs on the same subject (‘Cliches Of The World’ ‘Entertainment’ ‘Give The People What They Want’), this rather unlikable and angular song only ever appeared on the band’s mid-80s concert LP, their poorest seller. The Kinks never did record this one in the studio, despite the fact that it would have fitted on the next album, the sarcastic ‘Think Visual’, pretty well.  Frankly, if you don’t own it you’re not missing much: without the visuals to go with it this is one of those ‘you had to be there’ songs rather than some lost classic, understandably dropped from the set when Ray and his wife split up. 

Lindisfarne “Ode To A Taxman” (available on ‘Lindisfarntastic Volume II’ 1983)

The best of a handful of songs released on the second live volume of recordings included in the ticket price of Lindisfarne’s 1982 tour and left on every seat for the audience to take home, ‘Ode To A Taxman’ is a hilarious Alan Hull song stripping every last ounce of dignity from ‘the disgusting, hateful rat bag kind of a person’ as Hull introduces it. Unlike the other ‘new’ songs ‘Mystery Play’ and ‘Brand New Day’ which are peculiar experiements and woefully slow, this iks a rip-roaring comedy rock and roll song, similar to ‘I Must Stop Going To Parties’ with Hull on classic rib-tickling form, pointing out the absurdities in the legal system the same way he more usually damned politics. Out of print for many years now, it’s a great shame that these ‘Lindisfarntastic’ shows aren’t available on CD at the moment: they’re a lot of fun and really do have the ‘vibe’ of being there that every concert recording should have (it’s pretty rare on vinyl, too, seeing as it was never available to buy from the shops per se). As far as I know Lindisfarne never did record a studio version of this song which is a pity – it would have livened up next LP ‘Dance Your Life Away’ no end! ‘Well I ain’t being funny but I got your money – ain’t that a laugh? By the way my daughter asked today for your autograph!’

The Monkees “You Can’t Judge A Book” (available on ‘Live 1967’ 1987)

When the Monkees played their own instruments on their world tour in 1966, you’d think people would have dropped the hoary old story about them not being able to play. But no – it was all downhill from here. Although the band on stage together played the familiar hits, the band each had a ‘solo’ spot, none of which were ever released until the CD version of ‘Live 1967’. Micky did ‘I Got A Woman’ Peter did ‘Cripple Creek’, Davy did ‘Gonna Build A Mountain’ and Mike did this Goffin and King song, best known for being covered by The Yardbirds. It’s a fitting song for the guitarist in a band getting criticised unfairly to play and is a lot funkier than most of the material the band had been playing. The Monkees were clearly fond of this song, attempting to record it in the studio a couple of times, but ultimately all we have left is a rather noisy audience-scream filled live recording and the brief minute-long glimpse of Nesmith tearing up the stage from the Monkees TV episode ‘Live On Tour’.

Oasis “Hey Hey My My” (available on ‘Familiar To Millions’ 2002)

We’ve covered this on our ‘AAA covering AAA’ top ten, but another mention here of Noel Gallagher turning one of the most popular Neil Young songs into a true Oasis record. The band were clearly having fun on their 2000 world tour, despite the occasional grumpy on-stage chatter and announcements, and there are some great songs not heard anywhere else (a knockout version of The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’ being another). But this song suits Noel’s voice every bit as well as Neil’s, pulling every last ounce of emotion from a song about the death/long life of rock and roll and the fact it needs to be updated every generation or so. Fitting, then, that the 1990s link between the 60s and the Sex Pistols gets to sing this song and adds some fantastic dollops of feedback drenched guitar which even Crazy Horse can’t compete with. Alas never recorded in the studio by Oasis, even for a b-side, where there are copious weird and wacky cover versions. ‘It’s better to burn out than to fade away!’

The Searchers “What’d I Say?” (available on ‘The Swedish Broadcasts’ 2005)

After years of being unfairly dismissed as a rather dry and bland studio band, the release of four Swedish Radio Sessions from the band a few years ago was a revelation. Stripped of overdubs and attempting to play live, this is the Searchers at their charismatic best, with a wonderful set list including several songs not released on record (as well as the expected hits) and drummer Chris Curtis on tremendous form, joking with the audience despite the language barrier and singing like a madman. The track we’ve plumped for here is Ray Charles’ call-and-answer song, a bit of a drag to be honest on the original but transformed here into rocking mayhem, with Curtis bringing out all the primal energy of the band and giving his all to this band of Swedish teenagers who probably can’t understand a word he’s saying. The Searchers equivalent of ‘Twist and Shout’, it’s nothing short of tragic that the band never attempted this one in the studio: heard as the finale of ‘Meet The Searchers’ or ‘Sugar and Spice’, it might have changed their reputation as something of a square band forever. ‘Real deep now, I wanna know!...’

The Small Faces “If I Were A Carpenter” (available on ‘Autumn Stone’ 1968)

Technically, I guess this did come out on a studio record – albeit an unfinished one made from hit singles, B sides, outtakes, unfinished recordings and a handful of live gems. This storming cover of the famous Tim Hardin song is the best of several AAA versions around and Steve Marriott is at his OTT best here, pleading and cajoling the audience to believe that money has nothing to do with his love for them. Alas the band probably introduced the song into the setlist as a ‘joke’ – of all the bands to get screwed over by the businessmen and record contracts of the 1960s The Small Faces were hit worst; Marriott so badly that a few years after this recording he’s reduced to poaching to make ends meet. Alas the Small Faces imploded soon after this recording, made on their last tour of 1968, so they never got a chance to record it in the studio. Strangely Marriott never returned to the song, despite the fact that ‘If I Were A Carpenter’ is a pretty good match for the stuff he was doing with Humble Pie in the 70s. It’s just a shame the audience can’t keep quiet a bit longer, so we can hear Marriott at his charismatic best! All together now: ‘Don’t it make you want to fe-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-l al-l-l-l-l-l-l-right!’

And that’s that for another issue. Be sure to set your radio dial to Alan’s Album Archives next week for some more newsing, viewsing and grooving!

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock

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