Friday 29 May 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 33 (Intro)

May 29th

Howdy, howdy, howdy, hi hi hi and welcome to a special edition of everybody’s favourite monkeynuts newsletter. June 1st this year marks the 40th anniversary of the first CSN album, a special event that broke the mould for singer-songwriters in so many ways. As well as our old friends CSN, however, this issue marks the debut of a much more recent talent, nelson, whose semi-regular column is all set to study developments in the music business past, present and future. First up, though is the news – and there’s rather a lot of it to get through this week, so without any further ado….


Beatles News: Yet more interesting developments in the world of music auctions. One of John Lennon’s earliest guitars, one that dates back to the Quarrymen days, is due to come up for auction this month. The guitar has been in the hand of a private collector until now and, as far as I know, was thought to have been destroyed or lost a long time ago as it has never been seen since. Those of you who have been following this column for the past few weeks will know that this is in fact the third interesting Beatles artefact to come up for auction in the past three weeks, following the discovery of an unpublished George Harrison lyric and a revealing George fan letter.

CSN News: Happy 40th birthday CSN! While sadly the anniversary date seems to have been forgotten by the media (no TV, radio or even magazine articles this month by the looks of things), record label Rhino earn our respect once more by releasing a special CD full of unpublished demos from the key CSN years of 1968-71. The idea of releasing an album full of CSN demos was mooted as far back as 1991, when Nash was digging through old tapes for the CSN box-set, but to date only a handful have appeared. It’s not yet clear whether the 12-track album, released at a special budget price on June 1st, will include many previously released recordings or any unknown tracks, although ‘Almost Cut My Hair’, ‘Deja Vu’ and an early version of ‘Long Time Gone’ are included (all of the above may be the same as the demos released on Crosby’s ‘Voyage’ retrospective of 2006, but then again – given how many recordings the trio used to make together and apart in this era – they may not). There is at least one new recording , Stills’ demo for his biggest solo hit ‘Love The One You’re With. Remember, the years might seem limited, but the material produced in this period by all three members is staggering, covering the 1st CSN album, the 1st CSNY album, the first C-N album and no less than four solo albums. More news come release day!

Kinks News: Ray Davies has finally released the Khoral Kinks album he’s been threatening us with for the past few years. ‘The Kinks Choral Collection’ is by ray solo, with no input from any other members of the band worse luck, and includes several of his most famous songs performed by a 65-piece choir, The Crouch End Festival Chorus. Bet brother Dave is furious!

♫ Pentangle News: Guitarist Bert Jansch’s three post-Pentangle records have had a chequered history since former Monkee Mike Nesmith rescued him from labeless obscurity and landed him a deal with Lindisfarne’s label Charisma. The first of these albums, ‘L.A. Turnaround’ has often been called a ‘forgotten classic’ (wasn’t all of Bert’s releases?! Ed!) and is out now, to be joined by the other two CDs ‘A Rare Conundrum’ and ‘Santa Barbara Honeymoon’ sometime in the near future. I’m not sure about the other two albums but ‘LA’, at least, has some intriguing bonus tracks – a 13-minute DVD film, recorded during the album’s first sessions. Watch this space for more! 

Rolling Stones News: batch two of the post-60s Rolling Stones re-issues are due for release this week, including remastered editions of 1978’s impressive ‘Some Girls’, 1980’s torrid ‘Emotional Rescue’, 1981’s patchy  ‘Tattoo You’ and 1983’s under-rated ‘Undercover’. The four CDs don’t have anything new in the way of bonus tracks but do have better sound so I’ve heard. The four CDs join May’s re-issue of ‘Sticky Fingers’, ‘Goat’s Head Soup’ ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and ‘Black And Blue’ and will soon by joined by all the albums from ‘Dirty Work’ onwards, plus a deluxe edition of ‘Exile On Main Street’ due for re-release before the end of the year.

Neil Young News: Neil Young archives blah blah blah….will honestly be released this month definitively blah blah blah…will feature 30 hours of music now with 128 tracks (48 unreleased) on 8 CDs, 10 DVDs and a book or 10 Blu-Ray discs and a book, blah blah blah…if you get the Blu-Ray set you can download new bits and pieces as they become available (actually, this is a new one on me – it’s the first ‘new’ bit of info we’ve been told since the set was re-commissioned a few years ago)…this is the first volume spanning 1963-72 blah blah blah… out on June 8 honestly absolutely no way Neil is going to change his mind…blah blah blah will break your bank balance blah blah blah… (to be followed up next month by the new that Neil has changed his mind, no doubt!)      


Anniversaries: Happy jiving birthdays this week (May 29th-June 4th) include Ronnie Wood (guitarist with The Rolling Stones 1976-present) who turns 62 on June 1st, Charlie Watts (drummer with the Rolling Stones 1962-present) who turns 68 on June 2nd and Michael Clarke (drummer with The Byrds 1965-68) who would have been 65 on June 3rd. Anniversaries of events this week include: Roger McGuinn plays his first solo gig in nine years on May 29th 1973, following eight years’ worth of involvement in The Byrds; CSNY release their second album ‘Deja Vu’ 39 years ago this week (may 30th 1970); John Lennon records his first ‘proper’ solo single ‘Give Peace A Chance’ during one of John and Yoko’s bed-ins at a hotel in Canada on May 31st 1969; The Who break the record for the loudest ever gig during a 1976 show at Charlton Athletic Football Ground on May 31st that year; it was 42 years ago today that the Beatles told Sgt Peppers to play, with the releae of that seminal album on June 1st 1967 and finally ‘5th Beatle’ Jimmy Nicholl fills in for a poorly Ringo Starr on June 3rd 1964, the only time a  Beatle was replaced on-stage.  

News, Views and Music Issue 33 (Top Five): CSN Projects 'Wasted On The Way'

And now the moment all our top five fans have been waiting for, it’s…the top five! And in keeping with the CSN theme we’ve analysed that elusive grail of CSN collectors, the albums that almost were but never quite made it to the shops. For a band with such a turbulent history as CSN it’s no surprise that so many projects were wasted along the way – here are five of the best:

1) ‘Human Highway’ (abandoned CSNY reunion album, 1973-1974). Provisional track listing included: Pardon My Heart, And So It Goes, Prison Song, Wind On The Water, See The Changes, Homeward Through The Haze and Through My sails (all recorded but only the last three songs are ever released (the first two on the CSN box in 1991 ansd the second on Young’s solo record ‘Zuma’ in 1975); all of them will be re-recorded for various CSNY joint, solo and group albums. Other possible tracks intended for the record but unrecorded include Human Highway, Time After Time, Guardian Angel, Fieldworker and Myth of Sysyphus (all of which are released on various C-N/S/Y albums) plus Pushed It Over The End and Traces (Neil Young songs that are still unreleased to date).

This record, which would have been the first time CSNY had got back together since their original split, was abandoned not once but twice. The first time was in mid-1973 when CSNY met in Hawaii and tentatively agreed to a new album; the band recorded at least three songs and had even agreed to a record cover (of the band silhouetted against a Hawaiian sunset, taken by camera buff Nash with a timer switch). The band then broke off in a state of acrimony, but amazingly reconvened for a concert at San Francisco’s Winterland venue in October 1973, turning the reunion into a full-blown touring show that ran between July and September 1974. The quartet then headed into the studio in December but recorded a grand total of two songs before splitting for good (well, until the abandoned 1976 reunion project anyway…). The whole debacle is best summed up by a Stills quote from 1974: ‘I’m a little slower these days…you sit and diddle at the piano for hours and wait for something that sets it off and it takes hours and hours. Finally you get bored and go ski-ing.’ 

2) Untitled (abandoned CSNY reunion album 1976). Provisional track listing included: Little Blind Fish, Can’t Handle his, Separate Ways, No One Seems To Know, Traces, Western Witches, Talk Too Much, Treetop Flyer, One Way Ride (One Way Ticket), Walk Before You Run (all unreleased), Fontainebleau (released on ‘Long May You Run’ with C-N harmonies erased), Will To Love (released on Young’s ‘American Stars ‘n’ Bars’ album 1977), Beaucoup Gumbo (released on Stills’ ‘Thoroughfare Gap’ album 1978), Human Highway (again! Later re-recorded for Young’s ‘Comes A Time’ album 1978) and ‘Taken At All’ (the only recording from this project ever officially released – on the CSN box in 1991). Other possible tracks include much of the ‘Long May You Run’ and ‘Whistling Down The Wire’ albums by Stills-Young and Crosby-Nash respectively.

This second abandoned album came even closer than the first. The story goes that Stills and Young were having a ball recording their ‘Long May You Run’ album together (see above), but unbeknown to Stills Neil called up Crosby and Nash and asked if they’d be willing to help out with some harmonies. Excited by the prospect of making a record together, the quartet pooled their best material together (frustratingly much of it has still never seen the light of day) and started again from scratch. Alas, the atmosphere turned sour again and yet another possible milestone in music was wasted along the way. The project is best summed up by Nash’s song ‘Taken At All’, a song written about the stupidity of the band’s in-fighting and all the great things they threw away when they abandoned ‘Human Highway’. Alas, no one listened – this song too was abandoned for the time being (only to be re-recorded by Crosby and Nash  for their joint album ‘Whistling Down The Wire’).

3) Untitled (abandoned Crosby-Nash album, circa 1979). Provisional track listing: Drive My Car, Out On The Island, Barrel Of Pain and Love Has Come (all recorded but none released in their original versions; all are re-recorded for either Crosby’s ‘Oh Yes I Can!’, 1989, or Nash’s ‘Earth And Sky’, 1979). Other possible tracks include The Other Side Of Town, Samauri and King Of The Mountain (all of which had to wait until 2004’s ‘Crosby*Nash’ album for official release).

Crosby and Nash had the most stable relationship of all the CSNY members, and yet even they’ve had their arguments and discarded albums along the way. The main cause for the loss of what would have been the fourth C-N album was Crosby’s growing drug use, which had gradually been gnawing away at him since the early 70s to the point where his creativity was almost stifled (Nash, in contrast, was enjoying quite a creative roll between 1975-79). Matters came to a head when Crosby stopped an energising band jam to pick up a pipe from the floor so he wouldn’t miss a fix he badly needed; Nash was not amused and the album sessions broke up pretty much then and there. Most of the material ended up on various solo albums over the next decade or so, which are the next best thing to Crosby-nash albums (the one is usually guesting on recordings made by the other anyway!)

4) Drive My Car (abandoned Crosby solo album, circa 1980). Track listing included: Distances (released without any changes on Crosby’s 1989 album ‘Oh Yes I Can!’), Samuari (released on the Crosby retrospective ‘Voyage’ 2006), Kids and Dogs (a duet with Jerry Garcia recorded in 1971 and eventually released on ‘Voyage’), King Of The Mountain (a 1974 versionj of which eventually came out on ‘Voyage’), Drive My Car (this original version released on the CSN box set 1991), Delta and Might As Well Have A good Time (re-recorded for CSN’s ‘Daylight Again’ album 1983), plus Melody and Flying Man, both of which were re-recorded for ‘Oh Yes I Can!’

This would have been a sterling album – the re—jigged and re-recorded album ‘Oh Yes I Can!’ was pretty good, but take away the weaker tracks and the 80s production values and replace them with career highlights like ‘Delta’ and you had a possible winner. Capitol weren’t so sure, however – they’d recently put Crosby on a solo contract after first Atlantic and then CBS let Crosby and Nash go and they were more than a bit alarmed at the reports coming back to them about Crosby’s drug use. Contrary to popular thought, Crosby was perfectly capable of live performance in this period and the recordings from these sessions that have come out are pretty good all round – but Crosby had lost his consistency in this period and the quite nasty press he was getting at the time for his solo gigs and interviews suggest that capitol might have had a point when they reckoned this album would be a weak seller. Maybe so – but if Capitol had been brave enough to have gone ahead they could have had one of the most loved CSNY albums of all.

5) Untitled (abandoned Crosby-Nash album, 1989). Tracks recorded: Yours And Mine, Arrows, After The Dolphin, House Of Broken Dreams (later given overdubs by Stills and released on ‘Live It Up!’ 1990) plus King Of The Mountain, Samauri (these later versions unreleased).

Here we go again. Following Crosby’s rehabilitation in prison he was wide eyed and ready to go, bursting with newfound creativity which found its way onto his first solo album for 18 years, a handful of tracks with the original line up of the Byrds and a revealing autobiography that set the trend for most of the music autobiogs to follow. However, Stills was falling down the same hole as Crosby had, growing ever dependent on drink and drugs and so instead of the expected three-way reunion project Crosby and Nash decided to record their first joint album in 13 years. Somewhere along the way, though, Stills curbed his excesses long enough to be welcomed back into the fold and the duo album became a much more marketable trio album. Along the way some of the tracks intended for the Crosby-Nash album got recorded from scratch and the older Crosby songs intended for the project are abandoned altogether in favour of three new Stills songs (and are eventually re-recorded for a fourth time for ‘Crosby*Nash’ in 2004, a staggering 30 years after ‘Mountain’ was first written!)

Well, that’s all for now – except to say happy birthday CSN! More next week! Happy rocking!

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