♫ As promised, here is opur latest top five – a handy laptop-computer-sized guide to the other five AAA-related BBC recording sets you might want to own.
5) The Animals ‘Complete BBC Sessions’ (released circa 1996). OK, so the Animals aren’t official AAA members, but that’s because in their short lifespan they never quite managed to achieve an album that was amazing all the way through. Out of all their releases I have to say the Animals’ BBC set might well be the closest to a ‘definitive’ Animals record. All the great songs are here without too many of the lacklustre covers, covering all periods of the Animals’ history (even their under-rated psychedelic years!) Highlights include a sprightly version of pop classic ‘Monterey’ (with lyrics about the 1967 festival, please somebody invent a time machine so I can go back and visit it PLEASE!! Oh sorry, got carried away there…), a chilling version of Eric Burdon’s best-ever song ‘When I Was Young’ – the perfect stepping stone between the downtrodden working classes of the band’s early singles and their loud, proud and battle-scarred voice-of-a-nation selves circa the third line-up 1967) and a fantastic bluesy reading of ‘Hey Gyp’, a Bo Diddley-like bonanza with psychedelic swirls. Recommended – overall rating 7/10.
4) Dire Straits ‘Live at the BBC’ (released circa 1996). Alas the Dire Straits only ever made BBC recordings in the late 70s and so this set loses points for being 1) ridiculously short and 2) only containing tracks from the band’s first eponymous album. But for those who like their Dire Straits bright and early this set makes for a fine alternative listen to the first album, with the changes subtle enough to be interesting but not different enough to sound daft. Mark knopfler, as ever, plays a mean guitar solo and is obviously thriving playing live in this period – what a shame the band didn’t record a live album till the second-half of their careers when they were already partway towards stadium-induced anonymity. Highlights: a moody ‘Down To The Waterline’ and the most confident version of ‘Sultans Of Swing’ you’ll ever hear. Good if you like that sort of thing - overall rating 6/10.
3) Moody Blues ‘At The BBC’ (2005). I’d have killed for this release any year previous to 2003 (but didn’t, I hasten to add, just in case someone’s tapping my website) – 40 Moody Blues recordings with their ‘classic’ line-up, full of stripped-down alternate versions of their usually terribly-polished songs. Alas back in 2003 the band started re-issuing all of their albums in ‘deluxe’ format’ and had already cherry-picked the best recordings by the time this set appeared. It really isn’t worth digging out this set if you already own the Moodies’ albums with bonus tracks (and if you don’t, then buy the Moodies’ CD reissues with bonus tracks rather than this muck). The star of the show is undoubtedly Mike Pinder – how he ever got his mellotron to play in tune, in synch with the rest of the band and against the ever-present BBC time limit qwhen most musicians couldn’t get the darn thing to work with endless hours of studio time I’ll never know. Highlights include a barn-storming version of one of the band’s few all-out rockers ‘Peak Hour’, a delightful breathless jig through Ray Thomas’ witty ‘Dr Livingstone’, a lovely ethereal take on the dreamy ‘Are You Sitting Comfortably?’ and a delightful version of Justin Hayward’s exquisite ballad ‘Never Comes The Day’. Buy it if you don’t have it already, but be warned about duplicates - overall rating 4/10.
2) The Kinks ‘BBC Sessions’ (2000). A generous 2-CD issue that, like the Beatles’ set, is a highly welcome set that nevertheless barely touched the surface on what recordings exist and all too often uses the wrong stuff. Like many a BBC set, the best stuff is tucked away early on disc one with the 1964 line-up of the band thrust into the limelight out of nowhere after their ‘surprise’ hit with ‘You Really Got Me’ and having to adjust their setlist and personalities accordingly. The interviews are, if anything, even more enlightening than the Beatles’ set – a 19-year-old Ray Davies delivers his serious take on successful songwriting (It’s got to be sincere! That’s the main thing!) while 16-year-old Dave mucks around. Musical highlights include an unreleased cover (Dave Davies doing ‘Good Luck Charm’, which would have been a fine addition to his proposed but never-released solo album in the 60s), an eventful cover of ‘C-A-D-I-L-L-A-C’ and a lovely highly different arrangement of ‘Demolition!’, the finale to the first act of Preservation. The absolute highlight though – and this would be a highlight on nearly all the Kinks’ 60s recordings – is a punk-like speeded up version of Dave’s ‘Love Me Till The Sun Shines’, with Dave singing from the heart on this tale of lost girlfriends and desperation to be needed. Worth the price of the set alone - although why there are so many poor 1970s recordings on here (including two almost identical versions of ‘Money Talks’) and a full hour of space that could have been used despite the fact that there are dozens of superior recordings left in the vaults I’ll never know. You might chunter a bit, but BUY BUY BUY! This is the best BBC set after the Beatles one! Overall rating 7/10.
1) The Who ‘BBC Sessions’ (1999). This archive set was very badly reviewed when it came out, but I’ve no idea why. There’s a handful of rarities here (covers of ‘Good Loving’, ‘You And Me, Darling’, ‘Dancing In the Street’, ‘Man With Money’ and – until the deluxe Live At Leeds came out – the only place you could hear the popular live medley of ‘Shakin’ All Over’ and ‘Spoonful’) and the track listing isn’t as obvious as it might have been (we get a fine and rare hearing of the EP-only ‘Disguises’ and an alternate version of lengthy ‘mini opera’ A Quick One’ for starters). There’s even an emphasis on 1960s recordings with only four tracks coming from a later vintage – unlike both the Moodies and Kinks sets. Perhaps it’s just that the Who never really got to grips with this recording lark, unlike their one-take contemporaries which seems surprising given the band’s live prestige. But then again it’s the lack of an audience and the unfamiliar settings that account for most of this record – reduced to recording to set time lengths quickly the Who were never going to shine. Nevertheless there’s lots of good things here – highlights include a chilling version of ‘The Good’s Gone’, a powerpop ‘Run Run Run’, a hilarious ‘Boris The Spider’ and a spiffing re-recording of under-rated single ‘Relay’. Not the Who’s greatest, but a generous proportion of rarities make this more than justa curio – overall rating 6/10.
That’s all for another week – we’ll just leave you with these fine words from our resident know-all Philosophy Phil. ‘If you knock on every door and they still won’t let you in, go build your own door!’ See you next time!
A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY Entries 2008-2019
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This week we’re going to have a look at the 10 AAA singles that spent the most weeks at number on the American chart ‘Billboard’ – and it makes for...
Following on from last issue’s study of the American Billboard charts, here’s a look at which AAA albums spent the most weeks on the chart. The...
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This week we’ve decided to dedicate our top ten to those unsung heroes of music, the session musicians, whose playing often brings AAA artists (and...
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What do you do when you’ve left a multi-million selling band and yet you still feel the pull of the road and the tours and the playing to audiences...
‘The ATOS Song’ (You’re Not Fit To Live)’ (Mini-Review) Dear readers, we don’t often feature reviews of singles over albums or musicians who aren’t...
In honour of this week’s review of an album released to cash in on a movie soundtrack (only one of these songs actually appears in ‘Easy Rider’...and...
Hic! Everyone raise a glass to the rock stars of the past and to this week’s feature...songs about alcolholic beverages! Yes that’s right, everything...
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Everyone has a spiritual home, even if they don’t actually live there. Mine is in a windy, rainy city where the weather is always awful but the...
Having a family does funny things to some musicians, as we’ve already seen in this week’s review (surely the only AAA album actually written around...
Some artists just have no idea what their best work really is. One thing that amazes me as a collector is how consistently excellent many of the...
221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/dr-who-and-five-musical-links-to-alans.html
222) Five Random Recent Purchases http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/five-random-recent-purchases-news-views.html
223) AAA Grammy Nominees http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/aaa-grammy-nominees-top-twelve-news.html
224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/ten-aaa-songs-that-are-better-unedited.html
225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-shortest-gaps-between-aaa-albums.html
226) The longest gaps between AAA albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-longest-gaps-between-aaa-albums.html
227) Top ten AAA drummers http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/03/top-ten-aaa-drummers-news-views-and.html
228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/top-ten-aaa-singles-and-b-sides-news.html
229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-stories-behind-six-aaa-logos.html
230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-best-aaa-screams-top-ten-news-views.html
231) An AAA Pack Of Horses http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-songs-about-horses-top-ten-news.html
232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-anagrams-news-views-and-music-issue.html
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/ Articles plus worst releases of the year) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-review-of-year-2014.html
244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/mecfs-awareness-week-at-alans-album.html
245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/why-tory-victory-seems-deeply.html
246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/a-plea-for-peace-and-toleration.html
247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2015.html
248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/the-fifty-most-read-aaa-posts-2008-2015.html
249) The Revised AAA Crossword! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016_07_10_archive.html
251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/an-aaa-covers-tribute-to-chuck-berry.html
254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/06/guest-review-supertramp-some-things.html
255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018 https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2018.html
256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019 https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-alans-album-archives-review-of-year.html
257) Tiermaker https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2019/06/alans-album-archives-on-tiermaker.html
258) #Coronastock https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2020/04/coronastock.html
259) #Coronadocstock https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2020/05/coronadocstock.html