As I posted a compilation of The Velvet Underground earlier this month, I thought I would continue by looking at the lost forth album the band had been recording in 1969. This seems to be a staple of many of the what-if album websites but the beauty of these things is just that. It is a what-if album. It was never released and so anyone can take the songs and speculate as much as they like about the running order would be, cover imagery etc. The story of this album has also been told many times but here is a summery.
By the time the band had come to record their third album founding member John Cale had been fired, they had moved to MGM from Verve (an MGM subsidiary) and the sound had changed. This was down to the removal of Cale, who seemed intent to drive the band towards a more drone, noise infused future. Reed on the other hand, seemed to want to achieve some sort of commercial success with the band and having Cale in the band would have stopped this from happening. The fact that the band did not achieve much success during their life time is neither here nor there. They have definitely sold a lot more units since. Multi-instrumentalist Doug Yule was brought in as Cale’s replacement and he was there in time to record the third album. This album had few of the rough edges that had been present when Cale was in the band, and the subject matter of the songs had become more intimate. With the album recorded by the end of 1968, the band hit the road opening a good deal of 1969 playing live.
In between live dates, the band was also in the studio laying down fourteen songs that the band members do not seem to have been in agreement as to what the purpose of recording them was. Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker both said that these songs would have been the basis of the next album. Doug Yule says that these songs were professional demos and Sterling Morrison says that this was just a way of looking busy whilst they were looking to get out of their contract. Whatever the reason, these songs have been released numerous times down the years but it is the versions that were included on the 2014 Super Deluxe Edition of the ‘Velvet Underground’ album that will will form the basis of this release.
Out of the fourteen songs that were released as part of the compilation, two did did not make the cut. That was Rock & Roll as this came out as part of the ‘Loaded’ album and I did not want an overlap of songs. The other is I’m Sticking With You’ which sounds a though it should have been added to an album that was directed towards children or a B-Side. Out of the remaining songs, Andy’s Chest was relegated to a B-Side of whatever song was released from this album as an A-Side. Most probably an edited version of Foggy Notion, even though it no doubt would have been banned due to its lyrical content. That means there is a gap to be filled in with the running time as labels like to release albums with similar playing times on each side. Therefore I had a look at other unreleased material and there was a demo recording of Countess From Hong Kong, Though it was a co-write between Reed and Cale, the demo dates from the second half of 1969 so would fit into the time frame of this record. This takes the album up to about 23 minutes per side, which is long for an album of the time but not unheard of.
So why didn’t the album come out? If, as Morrison says, the band were just killing time, then there was no intention of releasing it at all. However, if we go with Tucker and Reed’s version of events, then it could have been down to the fact that in 1969, MGM were in financial trouble. One of the ways of reducing this would have been to strip their artists roster of any band that were proving to be unprofitable. The Velvet Underground would have fit this category and so they were out. What MGM did not allow the band to do was to take the master tapes with them. By the time The Velvet Underground had signed with Cotillion Records, they had moved on and only a few of the songs were taken forward to what would be the ‘Loaded’ album. What this ‘lost’ album does is nicely bridge the gap between the recording of the ‘Velvet Underground’ and ‘Loaded’ albums showing the progression the band was making. As it was, these songs lay in the MGM vaults until the mid 80s when they were released along with some other outtakes from the Cale era.
Would this album have turned The Velvet Underground into a commercial group? Doubtful but Lou Reed did not abandon the songs completely as many of them would appear on his solo records throughout the 1970s’. The front cover of this collection was adapted from a gig poster that band played at the Paramount Theatre in Springfield. Unfortunately, I don’t know the date of the gig as the poster didn’t say.
There was a time when I just didn’t understand the fascination people had with The Velvet Underground. I had heard ‘a best of’ album when I was at school and I just didn’t get it. Maybe it was down to the fact that I was spending my time listening to Hendrix, Cream, Traffic, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and little else. The guitarists in those bands were some of the best that have ever lived. The guitar playing in VU was not up to their high standard. Too much noise, not enough clean notes, that sort of thing. However, three things happened to change that. First up, I heard Candy Says on a documentary about Andy Warhol and I thought that was a good song. Then, a friend at University played me Sunday Morning, the opening song on the debut album and I also thought that was good too. However, it was when I was working in a shop after leaving University that I heard the Loaded album. I really enjoyed this and could not believe it was The Velvet Underground. This was around the time when that album was released in a Deluxe Edition called The Fully Loaded edition which I snapped up and played quite a lot at the time.
This was it, until a few years later when I saw the Peel Slowly and See box set at a reduced price, so I took a punt. I was quite surprised by the first disc, which contained demos of some of the songs I had found impenetrable back in my school days. It was as though the early line up of VU were a folk band. There were multiple takes of the same songs, but with a bit of editing, I am sure these would make a good EP release for Record Store Day or equivalent (see below). I then worked my way through the entire box and I found that I enjoyed a number of the songs that in the past I would not have listened to. These include Heroin, Venus in Furs and Run, Run, Run. It was with this box set that I made my first attempt at a career overview, limiting myself to what was in the box and the Fully Loaded edition of Loaded. Like many others, songs from the Squeeze album were not considered for inclusion. It was not until the internet became a part of my life that I even knew that the band continued on for a few years after Lou Reed left.
The band can be split into two distinctive eras, the first with John Cale and the second with Doug Yule. The Cale era is definitely the more experimental, and it was due to Cale’s desire to go even further with the experimentation that led to his firing. Reed, being the principal songwriter, wanted the band to become more than just an underground act, so adopting a more commercial sound was necessary. Cale didn’t fit in with these plans, so he was out. CD1 covers the more experimental side, whereas CD2 covers the more commercial sounding material. The band did not achieve commercial success during their lifetime, but due to some notable fans (such as David Bowie), they have been an influence on those who came afterwards and the records have sold steadily ever since. It just goes to show how popular the band has become as not every band gets to have the majority of their albums re-released in multi disc box sets.
With the release of the 45th Anniversary editions of the four key albums (once again, Squeeze was not part of the reissue campaign), I decided to look again and see if the different versions of the songs including mono mixes, demos and alternative takes/mixes would improve the compilation. What you hear are the results with the different versions listed next to the title. What does surprise me is that all of the versions of these songs are available on Spotify, so both discs can be heard through that platform. The cover artwork was one I found online many moons ago so I cannot acknowledge who made it.
All Tomorrow’s Parties (Mono)
I’m Waiting For The Man (Mono)
Run Run Run (Sceptre Sessions Acetate)
There She Goes Again (Mono)
Femme Fetale (Mono Single Mix)
I’ll Be Your Mirror (Mono)
The Fairest Of The Seasons*
Heroine (Alt. Version)
Venus In Furs (Mono)
Here She Comes Now
Guess I’m Falling In Love (Live)
* These songs are from Nico’s album, Chelsea Girl. When this was compiled, the sleeve notes from the 45th Anniversary Edition of The Velvet Underground & Nico album were used. Those notes suggested that the Velvet Underground played on every song of that album. This does not appear to be the case but I liked this mix of songs so I am going to keep it as it was.
Who Loves The Sun
Sweet Jane (Full Length Version)
Rock & Roll (Full Length Version)
Cool It Down
Lonesome Cowboy Bill
Head Held High (Alt. Mix)
Jesus (Closet Mix)
New Age (Full Length Mix)
What Goes On (Closet Mix)
I Can’t Stand It
Beginning To See The Light (Closet Mix)
Pale Blue Eyes (Closet Mix)
Candy Says (Closet Mix)
I’m Set Free
Ride Into The Sun(Demo)
Oh! Sweet Nuthin’
As mentioned above, I said that the demo’s the band recorded before the release of their first album would make a good EP, so I thought I would put it together. I listened to all of the songs and picked what I considered to be the best take. The song Prominent Men only has one take so that limited the choice with that one. It also sounds nothing like anything else that the Velvet Underground ever did, being as it sounds as though it is Lou Reed trying to be Bob Dylan, harmonica and all. These acoustic versions are not the best sonically, being as they were outside of the studio environment, but there is a certain charm about them and show what the band could have been if they had decided to be a folk trio instead of the band that they became once drummer Mo Tucker came on board.
Annoyingly (even though we should be thankful these exist at all), on each take of Venus in Furs there is some sort of background noise. Be it a car going past outside the loft apartment in which they recorded them, or the squeaking of what can only be assumed to be a chair of some sort. Luckily, this is the only song affected in this way. As these songs were demos recorded in a loft, the arrangements are different from what they would become on the debut album. The arrangement for Heroin is already in place, building the tension and releasing again. All Tomorrow’s Parties sounds like Reed is once more channelling his inner Dylan where as I’m Waiting For The Man is reminiscent of a pre World War 2 blues record, with slide guitar accompaniment (and a spoken version of the lyrics, courtesy of John Cale by the sounds of it).
The artwork for this EP uses a logo found on line over the picture of the tape box that was used as the cover to the CD box in the version of the Peel Slowly and See compilation I bought all those years ago. I assume that it was the same box that contained the tape on which the songs were recorded. The songs are all on Spotify but have not been edited down into the individual takes. I have supplied the take and the time it starts.
Venus In Furs (Demo) Take 3 – 10:24-15:36
Prominent Men (Demo) Take 1
Heroin (Demo) Take 5 – 8:33-13:31
I’m Waiting For The Man (Demo) – 5:20-9:49
Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (Demo) Take 12 – 9:50-15:30
All Tomorrow’s Parties (Demo) Take 6 – 9:48-12:13
Even though these are demos, this EP would clock in at an impressive 27 minutes and 52 seconds. If this were to be released on vinyl, a 12 inch record would be needed.
Back in March, I posted a what-if about Derek & The Dominos’ Layla album had been a double disc expanded edition with the best of the off cuts from the first and second album sessions, with a couple of bonus’ thrown in for good measure. Derek & The Dominos only released the one album during their short life time, but a second album did come out early 1973. This was not the fabled second studio album though, even though the tapes from the 1971 sessions had occasionally been dusted down and listened to up until 1974, when Clapton released his sophomore solo album. This was the live album ‘In Concert’. After completing the Layla seasons, the band went on a tour of the USA with support coming from Toe Fat and a relative unknown by the name of Elton John. Bobby Whitlock, the band’s keyboardist, has said that like the album sessions that preceded it, there were a good number of drugs being consumed during the tour. Elton John noted though that this did not affect their performance whilst on stage, where he would watch from the sidelines to see what they were doing, especially Whitlock.
The band played a number of shows on the 23rd and 24th October at the Fillmore East in New York City. All of these shows were recorded (supposedly without the band’s knowledge) and as it would turn out, these are the only record of the band live that is not an audience recording/bootleg. After playing the Layla album to death, I was surprised to find that there was a live album. In the pre-internet age, it was not easy to find out about artists discographies. You had to hope that your local record shop had it in stock. This album also received heavy rotation on my CD player even though I would eventually replace it, along with the Layla CD with original pressings of the vinyl. These early CDs were notorious for that lack of care and attention that record companies had taken with their back catalogues, and would release a version from whatever master tapes they had lying around. I remember the amount of hiss on some of the Cream CDs from the time had the same problem, especially when it came to Fresh Cream (nice clean sound) and Disraeli Gears (sounded like it had been recorded with Dolby on and then transferred via five tape machines to attain maximum hiss. If you listened carefully, you could hear some music in there somewhere).
What surprised me about ‘In Concert’ was the lack of Layla. Was it down to the fact that Duane Allman, so instrumental in the sessions for the parent album only joined them for a couple of shows on the tour and this was not one of them. Without that second guitar player, would the song have worked in a live setting? What was a surprise was hearing songs that were not on Layla. These included Got To Get Better In A Little While (destined to be recorded during the second album sessions) and Roll It Over (the B-side of the band’s withdrawn first single). Having only released one album, the band were reliant on playing songs from Clapton’s back catalogue including songs that he had played during his days with The Powerhouse, Cream, Blind Faith and his first solo album.
Due to the constraints of the vinyl LP, there were a number of songs that were recorded but not released. Some of these would appear later on 1988’s Crossroads boxset and 1994’s ‘Live at the Fillmore’. Having liked the ‘In Concert’ album so much, I thought it was time to put together an extended live album for the band using all of these sources. This did leave me a little short on the second CD but with the release of the 40th Anniversary boxset, there was a live bonus in the complete set of songs that the band had played on The Johnny Cash Show; the only television performance the band made. All four songs recorded for the show (even though only two were broadcast) have been included at the end as bonus tracks.
Why Does Love Got To Be So Bad?
Got To Get Better In A Little While
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
Roll It Over
Key To The Highway
Tell The Truth
Have You Ever Loved A Woman
Bottle Of Red Wine
Presence Of The Lord
Let It Rain
It’s Too Late (Johnny Cash Show)
Got To Get Better In A Little While (Johnny Cash Show)
Matchbox (Johnny Cash Show)
Blues Power (Johnny Cash Show)
The front cover is similar in design to the Layla Expanded Edition from March, but instead of a black background, I went for red. The photos are taken from the Live at the Fillmore front cover, with an added picture of Clapton playing to cover over the credits on the original release.
A Spotify playlist could not be produced due to one or more songs not being availbe on that platform.
If one member of your family has found success in the music business, why not have a go yourself. Here we take a look at some of the people who have had a famous relative and have had go at making records of their own.
The Next Time You Feel Important – Freddie Lennon (Father of John Lennon)
Leaves – Murry Wilson (Father of The Beach Boys Wilson Brothers)
Deep Water (Mono Single Mix) – Grapefruit (Alexander Young, brother of Angus & Malcom from AC/DC)
Some Velvet Morning – Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood (Daughter of Frank Sinatra)
Reality – Carolyn Franklin (Sister of Aretha Franklin)
Woman – Mike McGear (Brother of Paul McCartney)
The Ballad of Bruce Lee – Robert Lee (Brother of Bruce Lee)
When I’m A Man – Simon Townshend (Brother of Pete Townshend)
If You Ever Believed – Lucy Simon (Sister of Carly Simon)
Hey, St. Peter – Flash & The Pan (George Young, brother of Angus & Malcolm from AC/DC)
Normally I would only look to share one what-if album a month because they take a bit longer to put together than the compilations I post. However, the lockdown has given me a little bit more time and this particular piece also fits in nicely with the recent posts about Bowie that went online in February and April.
Bowie did not see much in the way of success during the 60s, but he was laying down the groundwork for what would come later. He reeled a number of singles on the Vocalion Pop, Parlophone and Pye labels but none of them troubled the charts. Even with these singles behind him, he managed to secure a deal with Deram, a subsidiary of Decca Records. He released three singles and one album whilst on the label but none were chart hits, even though The Laughing Gnome made number 6 in the UK when it was re-released in 1973. The majority of these records were released in 1967, which was one of the most experimental years for music but this curious mix of music hall/ Anthony Newley style numbers fell on deaf ears. Bowie wrote a number of new songs and presented them to the label as potential singles but they were rejected effectively ending his association with Deram & Decca. However, this compilation looks at what might have happened if these songs had not been rejected and Bowie continued to be a Deram recording artist into 1968.
Even though the recording sessions for the follow-up album were meant to start in the Spring of 1968, I have taken a view that anything that was demoed in that year could be used. I have also discounted any song that was used on the 1969 ‘David Bowie’ album as well, so no Space Oddity I’m afraid. What we have here is a solid, if not spectacular album which is a little rough around the edges, but that was down to the fact that very few of these songs were actually recorded in a studio. Most are simply demos. Would these songs have been changed once Bowie brought them into the studio? Who knows, but what we have here is a rough idea of what a second Bowie on Deram album would have been like, with accompanying singles.
London, Bye, Ta, Ta – Originally this song was going to be the B-Side of the unreleased ‘In The Heat of the Morning’ single, but it sounded like a great place to start the album off and would have been wasted on the flip of a seven inch. It looks at how London is changing and has become something of a strange young town to the song’s narrator.
Mother Grey – The influence of Ray Davies on Bowie’s early songwriting was evident on his debut album. With the release of these 1967/8 demos, you can see that Bowie had still not got all of this out of his system with Mother Grey. The song covers the domestic drudgery of Mother Grey as she cleans the house, makes dinner and polishes the picture frame of the son who has moved out of the family home. Similar to Ray Davies’ ‘Two Sisters’ then.
The Reverend Raymond Brown (Attends The Garden Fete On Thatchwick Green) – This would not have sounded out of place on his debut album, seeing as it follows a cast of characters in an imaginary village. Various characters are mentioned including Rev. Brown who leads the village band during a fete whilst lusting after a local beauty and the local women gossiping about Sally who has got herself pregnant. All a bit Ray Davies.
Goodbye Threepenny Jones – An observation song from Bowie where he watches a performing artist performing a show with stories of sadness and despair. Bowie’s companion is heard laughing during these stories and then Joe is thanked for the show and asked not to come again.
Angel, Angel, Grubby Face – Would this one have made the cut if the second album sessions had gone ahead, seeing as it has a very similar melody line (in places) to London, Bye, Ta, Ta? This song looks at the hustle and bustle of city life with the relatively peacefulness of the countryside. The Village Green Preservation Society before it came out I suppose.
When I’m Five – Bowie must have thought highly of this song at the time because he not only recorded a studio version, but he also cut a version at the BBC for a radio session. This BBC version would be used as the soundtrack to the short promo film ‘Love You ‘Till Tuesday’. Is it a song for children, or just a child. Bowie sings as though he were a child and would have been this album’s ‘Laughing Gnome’.
Ching-A-Ling – For a short time in 1968, Bowie was part of a folk trio with Hermione Farthingale (his girlfriend at the time) and initially Tony Hill who was soon replaced by John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson. The only known studio recording session completed by the band was ‘Ching-A-Ling’ which producer Tony Visconti had booked without the approval of Bowie’s management as a way of getting a record contract. As it was, it didn’t. Bowie would record another demo in 1969 but that would be the last time he revisited the song.
Love All Around – A lovely Bowie melody that seems to be a love song, but some of the lyrics in the chorus are a bit hard to hear due to his enthusiastic strumming. This causes the recording to become a bit distorted in places.
The Mirror – Bowie spent time studying mime with Lindsey Kemp and this would be a source of income for him between 1967 and 1969. Kemp asked Bowie to write some songs for a show he was putting on called ‘Pierrot in Turquoise’ and this is one of those songs. The only known recording of these songs date from 1970 when the Pierrot show was broadcast on the BBC under the title of ‘The Looking Glass Murders’. These date from the time period of the second Deram Album and one of the songs, ‘Threepenny Pierrot’ was re-written to be London, Bye, Ta, Ta.
Karma Man – Bowie had been studying Buddhism since the mid 60s and this song looks at a man who sits crossed legged with all of his world possessions on him. That being his clothes and beads. Could it be Bowie commenting on capitalism or just putting forward what he had seen from his studies of Buddhism? This song looks to have taken inspiration from Syd Barrett without sounding too much like the one time Pink Floyd front man.
Love Song – When Hermione Farthingale broke up with Bowie and left Feathers, he and ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson continued to record demos and play the odd gig together. When they recorded a demo tape, it included a number of Bowie originals as well as a couple of covers. Bowie would include covers in a number of his early 70’s LPs including this song. Love Song written by Lesley Duncan; who the musicians can be heard talking about at the beginning of the song as she was a back-up singer for Dusty Springfield at that time.
Life Is A Circus – Another song from the Feathers demo tape. This was originally recorded by an obscure folk group called Djinn. Bowie may well have come across them as Djinn had asked Tony Visconti to be their producer. It would be this demo tape that secured Bowie a contract with Mercury Records.
Let Me Sleep Beside You – A blatant attempt at a hit single, and would have made a good A-side so it keeps that position here. Artists didn’t always put singles on their albums in the 1960’s. With some suggestive lyrics about a girl now being a woman, this was rejected by his label because of the song’s message. Strange as this was the label that in January 1967, had allowed The Rolling Stones to release “Let’s Spend the Night Together’. I suppose the difference being that the Stones sold a lot of records and Bowie, at this stage, had not.
Columbine – Another song from the ‘Pierrot in Turquoise’ project.
In The Heat Of The Morning – One of the songs put forward by Bowie to Dream as a potential single. This was one of the first recordings Bowie made with Tony Visconiti and this, like ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’, was Bowie looking for a more commercial sound. Deram were not impressed though and the working relationship between the label and Bowie came to an end.
April’s Tooth Of Gold – A song detailing young people and their interesting fashion sense and the older generation not having a clue as to what is going on. The characters and language used may well have been out of date by the time of the second album sessions, so relegation to a B-Side would have been a fitting home for it. The strumming is a bit reminiscent of Autumn Almanac by The Kinks.
The release of ‘Conversation Piece’ in 2019 shows the leap that Bowie made between his two self titled albums was not as great as would first appear. With the demos opening a door on a songwriter honing his craft, would a second Dream album have allowed Bowie the development time to make that leap? Maybe, maybe not.
Some of Bowie’s earlier material can be heard on the Songs of David Bowie podcast. http://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/episode-87-the-songs-of-david-bowie/
London, Bye, Ta Ta – 1
Mother Grey – 2
The Reverend Raymond Brown (Attends The Garden Fete On Thatchwick Green) – 2
Goodbye Threepenny Joe – 2
Angel, Angel, Grubby Face – 2
When I’m Five – 1
Ching-A-Ling – 2
Love All Around – 2
The Mirror – 3
Karma Man – 1
Love Song – 2
Life Is A Circus – 2
A – Let Me Sleep Beside You – 1
B – Columbine – 3
A – In The Heat Of The Morning – 1
B – April’s Tooth Of Gold – 3
1 – Taken from David Bowie (1967) Deluxe Edition
2 – Taken from Conversation Piece
3 – Demo from Looking Glass Murders (Currently Unreleased)
The cover of this compilation is adapted from The Dream Anthology release from 1997.
Due to the still unreleased nature of some of these songs, it has not been possible to produce a Spotify playlist
In this post, I will continue with my alternative history of The Beatles with a follow up to the 1966 collection, A Collection of Beatles Oldies.
With The Beatles officially no more by the end of 1970, EMI had potentially lost a very lucrative cash cow. The individual members releasing a number of solo albums and singles throughout the early years of the 1970s, which did sell a significant amount of units, offset this somewhat. However what-if EMI had decided in its infinite wisdom to produce an LP for Christmas 1970 which followed on from their previous compilation, A Collection of Beatles Oldies. It would use the same format as the previous volume so it would include B-Sides, a few unreleased songs from the archive with a couple of rarities thrown in for good measure.
Rain (Mono) – Left off of the previous volume for being released the same year as the A Collection of Beatles Oldies compilation. Originally released as the B-Side to the Paperback Writer single.
Baby You’re A Rich Man (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to the All You Need Is Love single.
You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to the Let It Be single. Even though the single came out in 1970, the initial recording sessions for this song were started in 1967 and sounds more in tune with the psychedelic songs of that year than the more straightforward music the band were producing when it eventually saw the light of day.
The Inner Light (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to the Lady Madonna single.
I Am The Walrus(US Mono single mix) – This version of the song includes an extra bar of music before the words ‘yellow matter custard’. The UK version was an edit of the first half of Take 10 with Take 22. This was the version released on the B-Side of the Hello, Goodbye single and the Magical Mystery Tour EP. It would seem that Capitol Records in the US were sent an unedited tape of Take 22.
Penny Lane (Stereo) – This dates from the 1980 US Rarities, so it could be said to be a little out of the time frame of this record, but this is a unique version worthy of inclusion here (and who’s to say that someone might have done the same thing in 1970 anyway). This was a combination of the stereo version of the song, which American audiences had not heard up to that time with some additional piccolo trumpet at the songs conclusion which had been heard on US promotional copies of the single.
Revolution (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side of the Hey Jude single.
Across The Universe (Mono) – This version was released on the charity album, ‘No One Gonna Change My World’. This version had some added sound effects added to make it fit into theme of the record, which was released to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund.
Don’t Let Me Down (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to the Get Back single.
Old Brown Shoe (Stereo) – Originally released as the B-Side to the Ballad of John & Yoko single.
Not Guilty (Full Length Version – Stereo) – Recorded during the sessions for The Beatles ‘White Album’. One of the last songs to be left off of the album, it was felt by Lennon especially, that airing the bands dirty laundry in public would not be beneficial to their public image. Listen to the song’s lyrics and you will see what he means. Harrison said that the song was a reference to the band’s trip to India, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and the lavish launch of Apple Corps, which he had missed due to spending time with Ravi Shankar instead of returning more quickly from a trip to Asia. The song was legendary with Beatles fans during the 70s due to it being a known, but not heard outtake. Harrison did record a solo version for inclusion on his 1979 George Harrison album, but the original Beatles version did not see the light of day until 1996, and even then, it was in edited format. The full-length version would not be officially released until 2018.
Christmas Time Is Here Again (Mono) – Between 1962 and 1969, The Beatles would release a fan club exclusive single with songs and sketches. One of those was Christmas Time (Is Here Again), which was included on the 1967 release. This is the edited version that would eventually be released to the general public as a B-Side on the 1995 Free As A Bird single.
Across the Universe (Mono – No One Gonna change My World Version)
Don’t Let Me Down (Mono)
Old Brown Shoe (Stereo)
Not Guilty (Stereo – Full Length Version)
Christmas Time Is Here Again (Mono)
This playlist could not be reproduced on Spotify, as they contain songs not available on the platform at this time. The front cover is adapted from one of the rejected ideas that had been put forward for the ‘White Album’.
The first playlist of the month is something I have never done before and that is completing an Original Soundtrack album. Now, this isn’t for a film (which you might expect, but a TV show. The show in question is Hunters which looks at a group of Nazi Hunters working in the USA in 1977. The show is a curious mix of of a serious story mixed in with some lighthearted moments and you will really need to watch the programme to see what I am talking about. I really loved the music that they used and looked around to see if it had been released anywhere.Now, TV shows don’t have the same track record of producing soundtracks in comparison to films and it would seem that this is no exception. Luckily in this day and age, there are websites that list the music from programmes such as this and I used these to help me compile this mix. I do hope that those websites are accurate and it’s too late if it isn’t.
Before putting this together, I was inspired by the soundtracks Quentin Tarantino films have. The only thing missing would be dialogue from the films but as it turns out, that would have made the rustling album too long. I also thought that as the show is set in 1977, all of the music should have been produced on or before that year. That meant there was no place for the lovely Verse by Olfur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott which was used quite extensively and in multiple episodes. To accommodate the amount of awesome music, I felt that the album should be a double. Due to the limitations fo the vinyl format, it did mean that not every song from the show could be used.
Being based upon the length a vinyl record did mean that the sides needed to match up in terms of play time. There was no point in having a side that lasts for 15 minutes and the other 20. This did prove a bit of a challenge as I also like the music to flow sonically as well. Even though this is not perfect in that regard, I am still happy with the end result. I wanted all of the songs to be available on Spotify so I could share this collection with you. To my surprise, Spotify had all of the songs I picked, some of which are quite obscure. It just goes to show that when it comes to Spotify, artists such as David Bowie have gaps in their collections but obscure groups such as Crowmell and 5 Spiritual Tones are represented.
Lastly, I needed a front cover. Most of the images on line were in the same format as a movie post and do not fit in to the square associated with a record sleeve. Luckily, an image came up on the Glamsham website that was perfect. After a bit of careful editing, the cover was done. Enjoy.
Get In A Hurry – Eugene Blacknell & New Breed
Put Your Head On My Shoulder – Paul Anka
Baby, Do That Thing – Honey & The Bees
All Along I’ve Loved You – Tony Ashley & The Delicates
We now move to the third and final of my Bowie playlist CDs. I have not gone any further because I could just about listen to Bowie’s 80s output but found what he produced from Tin Machine onwards was not to my tastes. Anyway, I digress. Bowie left the hedonistic lifestyle that head fuelled his work in Los Angeles and moved to Europe to clean up; but had also become interested in German bands such Neu and Kraftwerk. He would also find inspiration from the album Epsilon in Malaysian Pale, a solo record from Tangerine Dream guitarist/keyboardist Edgar Frosse. Brian Eno became a collaborator and Bowie moved away from the Blue Eyed Soul of his L.A. work to one of electronica and ambient. What is different from Bowie’s previous work is the number of instrumentals on what became known as the Berlin trilogy of albums. These albums have a very distinct sound, but the songs on Bowie’s first album of the 80s (Scary Monsters and Super Creeps) have a similar sound, so those from this album that were used have been placed on disc one.
Disc two takes us into Bowie’s commercial 80s period. Let’s Dance was released in 1983, three years after the release of Scary Monsters which was at that point, the longest gap between new Bowie LP releases. The album’s title track would be a number one hit single in UK, US and numerous other territories. The album also sold over 10 millions copies and at the time was Bowie’s most successful album. However, this could be argued to be the first time that Bowie tried to second guess his audience, especially as he had gained so many new ones. The two albums that came after Let’s Dance, Tonight and Never Let Me Down were all commercial successes. However, they weren’t particularly well received by fans and critics, and Bowie distanced himself from them as early as 1990. It is easy to see why. They are well produced and very commercial, but the contrast with the experimental music featured on disc one of this collection is the most striking of all of the Bowie collections. Whilst disc one is full of audio landscapes, disc two became a generic mix of over production and session men. It’s therefore no great surprise that Bowie called this his Phil Collins years. One surprise on the second disc must be the inclusion of the song, Too Dizzy. Written as a homage to the 50s, Bowie came to dislike the song so much that it was deleted from all reissues of the record. Nevertheless, it finds a place here.
CD 1 is Bowie at his most experimental, and CD 2 at his most commercial. It goes to show more than any other of the Bowie collections I have posted the ever evolving nature of his music and craft.
The cover image was taken during the Berlin years and perfectly captures the nature of the music recorded during those years.
Speed Of Life
Sound & Vision
Be My Wife
Boys Keep Swinging
Ashes To Ashes
The Secret Life Of Arabia
Look Back In Anger
Always Crashing The Same Car
I Keep Forgetting
Cat People (Putting Out Fire)
Time Will Crawl
This Is Not America
Loving The Alien
As The World Falls Down
The playlist for disc one is available on Spotify, but disc two could not be re-created because one or more songs were not available on that platform.