Friday 9 September 2011

News, Views and Music Issue 111 (Intro)

September 9th:

Hello again, dear readers! Did you miss us?! Well, you should have done, because the AAA crowd seemed to be everywhere while we were away! There’ve been endless announcements of box sets, documentaries, concerts, t-shirts, stickers, kitchen sinks and even a musical since the last time we spoke to you! Oh and most importantly, we missed our third week birthday last week, so in true AAA star we’re going to have it anyway this issue, late or not!! (In case you’re wondering the writing for this site was actually started 5 ½ years ago, but was first posted online at on September 2nd 2008. Anyway, you guessed it, no we haven’t been away anywhere nice – its just that our laptop wasn’t flaming fixed while we waited as hoped last issue – instead its been 3 ½ weeks and counting and still isn’t back yet, hence the rather unexpected elongated gap between issues. Anyway, I’ve given up waiting and gone back writing at the library, hence the even-more-dodgy-than-normal graphics and more-likely-than-usual-spelling-mistakes (after all, there’s only so many news stories you can write when you’re limited to two hours!)

Anyway, the biggest news for you while we’ve been away is –shock horror –my two favourite albums of all time (and another inside my top 20) are being re-issued in box set form between September and November! Sob, my poor bank balance! In case you haven’t heard The Beach Boys’ much-delayed box set of ‘Smile’ (first talked about in the mid-90s) has finally been given a UK release day of October 31st (a whole day earlier than America for some reason!) with a mammoth nine CD set at £120. Meanwhile, The Who’s ‘Quadrophenia’ is due on November 15th in a five CD set for £80. Plus Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’ at the end of September with six CDs at God knows what price (I’ve been too scared to look!) as well as two of it’s cousins from the 1970s. Honestly, how am I meant to choose which to get – it’s like choosing one of your favourite children when you adore them all! (Hmm perhaps I should piut my spice girls set out for adoption?...) Help! The only way I can review them all is if you kind people keep helping me out with the Amazon orders (it won’t cost you a penny extra, remember!) and it means you get to enjoy all sorts of great music. Talking of which, we’ve got a lot to get through this issue including no less than 21 news stories! (That’s a record for us!), so it’s on with the news… 


Beach Boys News: Am I in heaven? Or does it just sound like it? Yes, Brian Wilsons finally given the go-ahead to the first official release of the unadulterated Smile session tapes. Those of you who are fellow mad passionate Beach Boys fans will be thrilled to know that there is a two disc version which creates as near as possible the running order of Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks finally finished 2004 version plus highlights, which as those of you whove turned to review no 101 will know is the best album made. Ever. Thats official Ive even got the T-shirt (home-made). Talking of which, there is a t-shirt included with certain deluxe deluxe editions and Brian Wilsons signature on some but whats really exciting is the sound of the nine disc box set, stuffed with oodles of session tapes of all the Smile songs (thats Good Vibrations, Heroes and Villains Wonderful Cabinessence Surfs Up Vega-Tables Child Is The Father To The Man and the Fire Suite, key songs in the Beach Boys canon all. Theres also a big book full of photos, stats and interviews and the 7 single that was given away free with the Mojo special edition we mentioned a few weeks ago. Things get really silly if you buy the limited edition box set you even get your very own smile surfboard (erm, are any of these songs really about surfing? Surfs Up, a metaphor about the end of the 60s era, doesnt count!) Please, someone revive me (and my bank manager) quick! Full track listing: same as the Brian Wilson version plus: Youre Welcome, He Gives Speeches (unused songs), Heroes and Villains (alt stereo mix, and sessions divided into 4 parts), Vega-Tables (demo), Surfs Up (Brian at piano complete, plus demo and sessions), backing vocals sessions, Brian Falls Into A Piano (the session musos messing around with effects), our prayer (vocal direction), you are my sunshine (unedited), cabin essence (sessions), fire (sessions), cool cool water/love to say dada (sessions), good vibrations (sessions). No wonder Im smiling, again!

Beatles News: Not to be outdone, theres oodles of Beatles news for you this week. First comes the news that Paul McCartneys ballet Oceans Kingdom is to get a much-delayed release next year but and here comes the big shock Maccas gone to Decca to release it! Yep thats right, the same label who famously rejected the Beatles on January 1st 1962 will be releasing their first ever Beatles-related product for initial sales, before the album reverts back to Maccas EMI catalogue in the long run (a bit like his deal with Starbucks for Memory Almost Full in 2007). The label who infamously decided that Brian Poole and the Tremeloes were a much safer bet than The Beatles will release the album in October 2012 and sounds to me a bit like the fantastic Avatar series (no not the godawaful film, I mean the animated series) with the Ocean characters at war with the Earth characters. The album will be Maccas sixth classical release after an oratorio, a mass, a song cycle and two collections of short classical works.

Ringo, meanwhile, kicked off a new series of the ghastly BBC6 interview programme The First Time last Sunday, reminiscing grumpily with an interviewer who failed to do his home work. As well as giving us the usual stories about It Dont Come Easy, Back Off Boogaloo, Photograph et al Ringo talked about the music made by his friends (Harry Nilsson) and heroes (Elvis, etc). Its still available on BBC I-player as I write.

Elsewhere on telly, Bill Harry pooped up on a surprise QVC special dedicated to The Beatles last Friday at the ungodly hour of 9am. Beatle biographer, Merseybeat columnist and early friend Bill Harry was on good form (the rare pics of him with the band were especially great to see) and even managed to come up with a few new things to say about the 1 album. Again though, the QVC presenter had done even less homework than the BBC6 one (Of course, you know, some of these singles never made #1 in Britain? Oh really! I thought Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane were, like, their biggest hits!) The Beatles Book (full of pristine pictures of their album covers and space to add your own shop bought/bootlegged CDs) looked good though didnt it?! Sigh thats another £90 I cant afford this year

Finally, a battered looking copy of Please Please Me, signed by all four Beatles, went for a record price of £9060! (You could buy over 800 Smile box sets for that! Not to mention 18000 sausage rolls!) My favourite item on sale at the LIPA Beatles auction in Liverpool, though, was the front door for the building at 38 Kensington Road the door the Quarrymen would have used when entering the ad-hoc recording studio to record Thatll Be The Day and In Spite Of All The Danger back in 1958!

Belle and Sebastian News: Another new band spin-off album is promised for later in the year. I Cant Get No Stevie Jackson (have a guess which member of the group it features!) is due out in November. Lets hope it hangs around in the shops a bit longer than Stuart Murdochs record of 2009 which I still havent tracked down as yet!

Byrds News: Roger McGuinn was at his best in a clip from 2004 chosen for BBC4s Acoustic Night last week. A chilling performance of 8 Miles High on the acoustic guitar was the highlight of his last few batches of solo shows and its great to have the footage at last! McGuinn turned up a few times in the accompanying documentary too, although where was fellow Byrd David Crosby and his CSN brethren? A real mystery!

Crosby-Nash News: Crosby and Nash are back on the road again from the end of September until November with a series of European shows. For those of us unable to get to the gigs, however, look out for the forthcoming DVD release of Crosby Nash In Concert no not the BBC4 favourite concert from 1971 but a modern-day show filmed on their last tour. The DVD is said to include masses of extras, too, including unseen promos for two songs from different stages of the duos career: 1971s Immigration Man and 2004s Dont Dig Here. More news if and when!

Kinks News: Remember how bad Mama Mia was? Well, the good news is that next time youre in the West End you can go to see a show that does the whole recycling-the-back-catalogue-with-a-new-plot thing with a touch of class. Ray Davies is back with his third attempt at a musical (following the under-rated Around The World In 80 Days read more in our review for AAA classic no 93 and Come Dancing, which sadly disappeared before it ever really began), titled Childs Play. The show will star young actors from the John Ruskin School in Coniston and feature Klassik Kinks Kuts including All Day And All Of The Night, Dead End Street, Waterloo Sunset and Do It Again. In other news, a clip of the bands 1973 In Concert performance for BBc2 turned up on BBC4s Acoustic Night shown last Friday and sure to be repeated sometime soon. Ray cropped up a few times in the accompanying documentary, too!

Lulu News: Ive done some strange things in the name of AAA musicians over the years: Ive watched National Lottery shows, Ive bought rap albums with my guys and gals as guests, bought dodgy soul re-makes and even a keep fit record. And that little list is just because of Lulu! Now sob shes at it again, appearing in the new series of Strictly Come Dancing (how the hell did it get popular again so few years after Come Dancing ended up with a total of about 10 viewers and with nothing more glamorous added than some C-list celebrities and a paint job; I dont mean Lulu, though,  naturally!) I shall be trying to keep you posted how shes getting on but, well, he4ck, dont hold your breath I tried to watch an episode once and only lasted 10 minutes before my brain imploded...

Oasis News: Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Liam Gallagher is suing brother Noel over comments made by him in various interviews about how Oasis split (I wont repeat them in case we get into trouble too but they involve an advert for Liams clothing range and a plum being thrown by one brother at another). The case goes to court soon.

In happier news thereve been no less than three appearances by Oasis on TV or radio this week/last week/since last issue! First up, huge thanks to BBC6 for digging out two rare bits of Oasis audio there was a half hour highlights of the 1995 Glastonbury set last week with Liam on particularly great form and this Friday (September 9th) in the 4am archive hour slot sees one of the earliest Oasis recordings around, a BBC session from 1993 (I could be wrong, but I think the band were still called The Rain back then well see on Friday anyway!) To top it all off, there was a solo Noel Gallagher version of Wonderwall included on BBC4s acoustic night (shown last Friday and sure to be repeated sometime soon as per usual for BBC4!) from the Jools Holland Later show. And a very good compilation programme it was too with oodles of rare and unusual footage in amongst the usual suspects see the Pentangle, Who and Neil Young news sections below! PS Ive just heard the BBC Session from 1993 (December), which puts this session four months befopre the release of debut single Supersonic. Liam sounds blooming young and the band havent perfected their wall of noise sound yet but the band still sound great on three tracks: Up In The Sky Columbia and most interestingly of all fourth single Cigarettes And Alcohol (which I always thought came comparatiuvely late into the Definitely Maybe sessions). Well worth looking out for on I-player!

Gilbert OSullivan News: Well, whodve thought it? Gilbert gets a whole night of programming to himself as broadcast on BBC4 the Friday before last (ie August 26th). A fascinating if rambling documentary was up first, similar in style to the Ray and Dave Davies docs screened throughout the year, featuring Gilbert making his live comeback in 2009 and showing us around his music room full of memorabilia and early sketches for his songs (though quite why this doc took 2 years to air was never explained!) Best of all were the clips of vintage interviews, unseen for years, and old music videos and concert footage. Best of all, though, was a repeat for Gilberts 1978 Sight and Sounds in Concert (together with Chris De Burgh) which by my reckoning is the first time this show has ever been repeated. Shot in Gilberts lost years (the managerial trouble he alluded to in the documentary), its my favourite period for Gilbert, with two rare live outings from our classic AAA Gilbert album Off Centre (no 79 on our list) though not surprisingly the hit single Whats In A Kiss? and the better tracks off hard-to-find Southpaw. Gilbert is on great form and with his career best backing band although perhaps not the two female backing singers who mess up badly at the end to one of the songs! Look out for a repeat anytime soon! 

Pentangle News: There were two rare outings for Pentangle last week first up a rare repeat of the bands 1972 BBC session (one of their last) featuring two songs from their Solomons Seal album (including the rarely heard epic Lady Of Carlisle) in the archive hour slot (still just about available from BBC I-player if youre quick!) Secondly, Bert Jansch turned up with the guy from Suede on BBC4s Acoustic Night last Friday look out for a repeat on BBC4 soon!

Pink Floyd News: The Floyd re-issue frenzy starts anew this month and theres so much going on, where the heck do I start? Perhaps with the 16 CD Discovery box, one that finally puts the old 1990s Shine On one to shame by actually including all the albums (although the bonus CD of early singles is missing this time around, annoyingly). Each of these 14 albums (2 are double albums, you see) are also being reissued in new remastered sound as Discovery sets, complete with new packaging but no bonus tracks. There are also three separate Immersion sets for Dark Side Of The Moon Wish You Were Here and The Wall. Dark Side features the remastered album on CD, a DVD containing the new surround mix and the old quadraphonic one, a complete performance of the album from Wembley in 1974, the original live versions of Great Gig and On The Run as heard live in 1972, an outtake from the Household Objects album abandoned in 1974 and home demos of Money and Us and Them, plus a DVD containing tour films from 1973-75 (shown behind the band on stage), plus performances of two songs in Brighton in 1972 (both songs from 1968, bizarrely, and with no link to this album at all) and a 25 minute documentary. Wish You Were Here contains five DVD surround mixes of the album (!), various performances from Wembley 1975 (including two songs later developed for Animals: Raving and Drooling and Gotta Be Crazy aka Sheep and Dogs), another outtake from Household Objects, an alternate vocal for Have A Cigar (although its not known if it features Dave or Roger), Stephane Grapellis violin improvisation heard at the end of Shine On and high in the mix at last and a DVD containing the background films from 1975, plus an animation made for Welcome To The Machine and the intro to Shine On (so wheres the rest of it?!) The Wall is possibly the most interesting of the three, although as a double album theres less space for extras. Best of all is a full two hours worth of Roger Waters original demos for the album (as presented to the band sometime in 1978) which Ive been waiting decades to hear, although the addition of 2002s Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live CD which weve all bought already is quite frankly a waste of a double CD in such a pricey set. There is a DVD containing a new documentary Behind The Wall, plus extracts from the Earls Court performance of the show (why just extracts?!) and the promo video for Another Brick In The Wall. Oh and not forgetting, all three sets come with their very own coasters! (Why?!) A mix of the essential and the inessential, then, with plenty to jump for joy over though perhaps not for £90 worth (thats 3/4s of a Smile set or 180 sausage rolls!) Whats really getting fans annoyed, however, is yet another new best of, this time a single CD set titled A Foot In The Door. Missing out on most of the surprisingly good Echoes best-of track listing from five years ago, it seems like a horrible introduction to me, only slightly better than the re-mixed and re-edited and sometimes even re-recorded Great Dance Songs comp from 1987! Hmm, Im not that convinced, really. And whatever happened to the early Syd Barrett recordings promised as extras on Piper?!

To tie in with the new sets, BBC4 are dedicating a whole night of viewing to everything Floyd and Pink next Friday (September 16th). The night kicks off with a repeat of 2007s good-but-breathlessly-fast documnetary Which Ones Pink? and ends with a rare repeat of the bands Live At Pompeii concert film from 1972 which I urge all fans to watch if youve never seen it as the band are never better. Fans know all that stuff already though whats most exciting is a new hours documentary ,made up of TV clips down the bands years from Arnold Layne to Live 8. Tantalising clips are set to include: promos for See Emily Play, an In Concert version of Grantchester Meadows and the promo for Another Brick In The Wall.  

Rolling Stones News: We all know what we think of when I say the name Keith Richards a rebel, a take-no-prisoners rocker, a man dedicated to the cause of bringing down the establishment. But as ever, thats only part of the story: this week, when a lightning bolt struck the transmitter for the Isle of Wight Radio Station who offered £3000 towards the cost of repairing it? Rock and roll outlaw and part-time pirate Keef! Good on you Richards!

Who News: Following our news that Paul and Ringo might appear at the 2012 Olympics in London, who have the organisers booked as headline act on closing day, to represent the stability, value for money and gentlemanly ways of the Brits? The Who! Yes, I cant understand it either, but Im shocked how badly the news has been taken by the press of course we shouldnt have anyone younger like Take That or someone representing the rioting youth The Who are perfect, they represent everybody! (Theyre music is for disenfranchised people of every age!) So why did the organisation of the Olympics go wrong? Ooh, I Cant Explain! Got a seat on the back row? I Can See For Miles. Replacement athlete? A few bursts of Substitute!  Lets just hope Pete doesnt revive his Hand Or A Face song from Who By Numbers about athletes committing suicide!

In more normal news thereve been two fascinating radio documentaries over the past three weeks on Radio 2: a two part Pete Townshend interview titled Before I Get Old which was as revealing as ever. In many ways Pete is the greatest interviewee ever, with a quickfire memory, an honesty that puts John Lennon to shame and more memorable soundbites than the Beatles monthly! Mosdt revwealing this time around were Petes take on the bands 1982 split when Pete had a seven solo album contract and a five album band contract at the same time,John Entwistles death and the fact that the tour went on as a thankyou to the roadies rather than the band or fans. Following was a programme dedicated to Keith Moons 65th birthday (what an OAP hed have made!) with the wonderful title Im Keith Moon Whats Your Excuse?!

Finally, the details of the Quadrophenia box set due in November (what is this, box set week?!) As well as the two CDs of the remastered album there are two CDs of 25 of Petes demos for the album (including a few that didnt make it to the finished product and the three film songs held over till 1979), eight songs on DVD mixed into surround sound (the master tapes for the other nine songs are missing, sadly), a 100 page book by Pete explaining the story, the inspiration and a track-by-track guide, a 7 vinyl single of 5:15 and Water and various memorabilia from the period. Alas theres still no space for the three film songs proper or the outtake We Close Tonight from Odds and Sods which would have fitted in nicely. The set is also being reissued just as a plain two CD album in remastered sound and in double vinyl. 

Neil Young News: Finally, a clip of Neils In Concert show recorded for BBC2 I 1971 was shown again on BBC4s Acoustic Night (see above). The usual shot of Neil singing Heart Of Gold was a nice addition to a nice programme. 

ANNIVERSARIES: Happy birthday to you, those born between August 22nd and 29th like the following AAA drummers: Keith Moon (drummer with The Who 1965-78) who would have been 65 on August 23rd and Chris Curtis (drummer with The Searchers) who would have been 70 on August 26th. Anniversaries of events include: John Lennon marries first wife Cynthia in the presence of Paul, George and Brian Epstein but Ringo – who has been in the band a matter of a fortnight – doesn’t find out about it till afterwards (August 23rd 1962); security guards at a Stones concert in Manchester get so desperate to keep control of rioting fans they end up turning hoses on the audience mid-show! (August 23rd 1965); Patti Harrison goes to a lecture given by the Maharishi at the London Hilton and persuades her husband George to visit his next lecture in Bangor when she returns home (August 24th 1967); Mark David Chapman receives a life sentence for the murder of John Lennon (August 24th 1981); The Who revive Tommy for the first time in 15 years with an all-star charity event Los Angeles’ Universal Ampitheatre (August 24th 1989); Brian Wilson makes his only stage appearance with The Beach Boys between 1966 and 1976 (August 25th 1967); Henry McCullough becomes the first – of several – members to leave Paul McCartney’s band Wings (August 25th 1973); The Beatles see the Maharishi at Bangor, Wales (August 26th 1967); 10cc make their first stage appearance at the Isle Of Mann’s Douglas Palace Lido (August 26th 1973); The Beatles take a break from their latest American tour meet Elvis at his Beverly Hills’ Home (August 27th 1965); Brian Epstein, Beatles manager, dies of mysterious causes (August 27th 1967); Apple Records launches in the UK with two singles, The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ and Mary Hopkins’ ‘Those Were The Days’ (August 27th 1968); The Rolling Stones sign with manager Allen Klein (August 28th 1965); Cat Stevens releases his second-best selling single ‘Moonshadow’ (August 28th 1971); 15-year-old George Harrison plays with The Quarrymen for the very first time (August 29th 1958) and finally, The Beatles play their last ever concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park (August 29th 1966).

AS for those born between August 30th and September 5th: You share your birthday with such musical milestones and luminaries as, well, us… (Alan’s Album Archives, first posted online at on September 2nd 2008), as well as  Al Jardine (guitarist with The Beach Boys 1961-1989) who turns 69 on September 3rd and Gene Parsons (drummer with The Byrds 1968-72) who turns 66 on September 4th. Anniversaries of events include: John and Yoko’s ‘One To One’ benefit concert takes place for disabled children and is pretty much the last Lennon concert we get (barring a TV performance of ‘Imagine’ and a guest spot with Elton John) (August 30th 1972); Drummer Denny Seiwell becomes the second member to quit Wings as the band are all packed for Lagos and ‘Band On The Run’ (August 30th 1973); Paul Simon releases AAA classic no 78, ‘One Trick Pony’ (August 30th 1980); the completely ridiculous court ruling that George Harrison stole the hook from ‘My Sweet Lord’ from the Chiffons’ ‘He’s So Fine’ is passed (George clearly got it from the Hawkins’ Singers’ ‘Oh Happy Day’; August 31st 1976, a full five years after the single came out!); The Rolling Stones join their old pals The Beatles in suing manager Allan Klein for ‘falsely representing’ them with ‘intent to deceive’ (September 1st 1972); 10cc’s eponymous debut album hits the UK chart for the first time (September 1st 1973); Keith Richards’ house ‘Redlands’ suffers its second devastating fire in 10 years (September 2nd 1982); The Hollies finally score their American breakthrough surprisingly late, with Graham Gouldmann’s ‘Bus Stop’ (September 3rd 1966); The Beatles attend their first official recording session at Abbey Road, recording 17 takes of first single ‘Love Me Do’ (September 4th 1962); The Who, already deep in debt, have £5000 worth of equipment stolen from their touring van which is – wait for it – parked outside Battersea Dog’s Home whilst the band’s managers enquired about buying a guard dog. You can’t make these stories up can you?... (September 4th 1965); The Rolling Stones release ‘Street Fighting Man’, the second Stones single to be banned in a year (for ‘inciting riots’ – don’t the censors actually listen to these songs?! September 4th 1968); The Stones begin their second American tour on September 5th 1965 and record several of their best known songs in America around this time, starting with ‘Get Off My Cloud’ and finally, John and Yoko attend a screening of five of their short films at the London Art Spectrum, including such gems as the promo video for the harrowing ‘Cold Turkey’ and the pairs film of naked buttocks titled ‘Up Your Legs Forever’ (September 5th 1971).  arrison stole

And finally, happy birthdays are in order for those born between September 6th and 12th:  Roger Waters (bassist and so much more with Pink Floyd 1967-85) who turns 67 on September 6th, Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan (singer and keyboardist with the Grateful Dead 1965-72) who would have been 65 on September 8th and Otis Redding who would have been an amazing 70 on September 9th. Anniversaries of events include: the sad untimely death of record producer Tom Wilson, who gave Simon and Garfunkel their big break by overdubbing electric instruments on their flop single ‘The Sound Of Silence’ (September 6th 1978); the sad untimely death of the drummer we all thought was indestructible – The Who’s Keith Moon (September 7th 1978); the advert calling for ‘four insane boys’ for a new TV series about musicians, The Monkees, appears in Los Angeles’ Daily Variety magazine. Mike Nesmith and Davy Jones have already been cast, but Micky Dolenz auditions after seeing the advert and AAA member Stephen Stills applies, recommending his friend Peter Tork when he is rejected (September 8th 1965); The Moody Blues play to an almost-record 300, 000 fans in Paris, a city not traditionally all that excited about rock and roll (even The Beatles were booed on their first tour, September 8th 1968); John Lennon releases his biggest selling solo LP ‘Imagine’ (September 9th 1971); the first ever edition of 1970s programme ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ takes place, the source of much AAA archive material (September 9th 1972); The Rolling Stones, meanwhile, are making their famous TV appearance on a special edition of Ready Steady Go!, including a mimed version of Sonny and Cher’s hit ‘I Got You Babe’ (September 10th 1965); Barely a year after that first advert The Monkees release their first single ‘Last Train To Clarksville’ – a big hit two days before the TV series come along to plug it (September 10th 1966); A magical mystery tour coach leaves for location filming of a Beatles TV project (see if you can guess which one! September 11th 1967); The Beatles release the most recorded song in the world, ‘Yesterday’, as a single – but only in America where it becomes one of the band’s biggest sellers (September 12th 1965);The Monkees’ TV series debuts on American television (UK viewers get it six weeks or so later; September 12th 1966) and finally, after three girls, Paul and Linda have a son, James Lewis McCartney, born on September 12th 1977.