Led Zeppelin – The Collection

Looking back, over 50 years since their first album was released, it might be hard for the audience today to get their heads around the amount of albums this band sold. Every single one of their records released in their ten year of recording new material achieved Platinum status in the US and UK markets and their fourth album has sold over 20 millions copies in the America alone.  The band have also tightly controlled their output, famously not releasing an official single in the UK until 1997. The 70s were their decade but they did not last into the next decade having decided not to continue after their drummer, John Bonham, died in 1980. 

I knew very little about Led Zeppelin before 1990, and then I heard Stairway to Heaven on the radio. Asking around, I found a friend at school had a copy of the album that song came from and lent me the record. I was hooked. This just happened to coincide with my first forays into buying my own records instead of just what was in the house. Coincidently, it was around this time that the band announced that they going to release a 4 CD Boxed Set, remixed by Jimmy Page who had not only played on all of the albums but had produced them the first time around. I had to have it and on Christmas Day morning, there it was.

I seem to remember the set was produced because Page was annoyed with the mastering job that had been done on his music when they first released on CD and felt that he could do a better job. He was not wrong in that respect. The sound is in you face from the moment ‘Whole Lotta Love’ comes out of the speakers. The rest of the first CD is uniformly excellent with enough light and dark in the music to show that they are not just a hard rocking outfit. CD 2 is a bit more folkie and mellow and that was all I could take on the first sitting. It took me a while too warm to the music on the latter discs, especially CD 3. Like most bands I like, the longer they go on, the less I seem to like the music. The CD 4 was the same. 

What annoyed me a little bit about this Boxed Set was that at the same time, a two disc highlights set was also released and contained the song ‘Good Times Bad Times’ that was missing from the set I had. With funds limited, there was not way I was going to be able to buy the two disc set just for one song. I was also able to borrow most of the individual albums off of other people to hear the songs that I was missing and I left it at that. However, Led Zeppelin did something that no other band have done to the best of my knowledge. That was, they released another Boxed Set which included all of the songs not on the 1990 set. This meant that I now had every song from their albums including BBC sessions, unique remixes and outtakes. Well done Zeppelin; an excellent example to other bands of not ripping off your fans. 

This compilation is my own best off of Zeppelin songs over three discs as they produced so much good music that it had to be that long. Enjoy!

Disc 1

  1. Good Times Bad Times
  2. Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)
  3. Whole Lotta Love
  4. Heartbreaker
  5. Communication Breakdown
  6. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
  7. What Is & What Should Never Be
  8. You Shook Me
  9. Boogie With Stu
  10. Tangerine
  11. Baby Come On Home
  12. Thank You
  13. Gallows Pole
  14. Ten Years Gone
  15. Kashmir
  16. When The Levee Breaks

Disc 2

  1. Black Dog
  2. Over The Hills & Far Away
  3. Immigrant Song
  4. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp
  5. Black Country Woman
  6. Rock & Roll
  7. Four Sticks
  8. Misty Mountain Hop
  9. The Battle Of Evermore
  10. Hey Hey What Can I Do
  11. Going To California
  12. Down By The Seaside
  13. That’s The Way
  14. Ramble On
  15. The Rain Song
  16. Stairway To Heaven

Disc 3

  1. Your Time Is Gonna Come
  2. Black Mountain Side
  3. Travelling Riverside Blues
  4. The Girl I Love She Got The Long Black Wavy Hair
  5. The Lemon Song
  6. Since I’ve Been Loving You
  7. How Many More Times
  8. South Bound Suarez
  9. Bring It On Home
  10.  The Rover
  11. Poor Tom
  12. Houses Of The Holy
  13. Custard Pie
  14. I’m Gonna Crawl
  15. All My Love
  16. Bron-Yr-Aur

I used the artwork from that 1990 box set for this collection. To me, it was perfect.

The Lost Founder Members of the Rugby Football Union – Part 1

On 26th January 1871, twenty one rugby clubs met in London to found the Rugby Football Union. Eight of them still exist, but what happened to the others? Found out their legacy as The Squire looks at the histories of these long lost clubs.

The shirt designs can all be purchased from https://www.blackandblue1871.com

Rolling Stones – Can You Walk On The Water?

In 2016, The Rolling Stones released ‘Blue & Lonesome’, their first covers LP and it was harking back to their roots as it consisted entirely of blues based music form the likes of Little Walter, Willie Dixon and Magic Sam. The album was a critical and commercial success as it made the top five in the majority of the major record buying markets. With this in mind, I was surprised that The Stones had not done this before. 

Looking back at their earliest albums where they were more covers than originals, The Stones showed their was more to they influences than the blues by covering R&B and Rock n Roll numbers. This would continue until the writing team of Jagger and Richards got into their stride just before the release of the ’Aftermath’ album. However, during those formative years they recorded a good deal of material, especially when they were touring in the USA that has not escape the vault in a legitimate sense. Considering that The Rolling Stones are one of the premier league 60s bands, it is surprising that a reissue campaign of deluxe editions or archival releases has not seen the light of day. This might have something to do with the stand off with ABKCO which is a story for another time. 

As has already been noted, Jagger and Richards were really coming together as a song writing partnership and were so happy with the songs that they had recorded in late 1965 that they wanted to rush release the sessions as an album called ‘Could You Walk On The Water’. A cover was put together using a shot taken a photoshoot at a Californian reservoir. Decca, the bands record label refused to release it but the cover would see the light of day when it was used on the compilation ‘Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass)’. Another recording sessions would lead to another batch of original songs being recorded and were used on ‘Aftermath’. 

However, what if Jagger and Richards had still not found their writing chops by late 1965, or if they decided to clear some of the songs that they had recorded so they could come out all guns blazing in 1966 as a band that could produce albums of self written material? If we look at the bands recordings up until the end of 1965, there is enough in the can to produce an album of a similar structure to what had gone before. If we also look at the UK releases up to 1965’s ‘Out Of Our Heads’, each had twelve songs so was there enough to produce a good blues/R&B style record? There was, even though I did start off with ‘I Want To Be Loved’ as the opening track which dates from 1963 as the opening song. It had been the B-Side of ‘Come On’, their first single and had not been included on a UK album release at that time. 

The A-Side of this record is very much a blues inspired affair, with a rare instrumental by the band in the form of band composition ‘Stewed & Keefed’. Side B opens with another rarity in form of a song written by Bill Wyman. As far as I can tell, he only received credit for three compositions during his time in the band (even though he would claim that he contributed to a lot more). Like the A-Side, the focus is blues with the Jagger/Richards songs showing their Chuck Berry and Chicago blues influences on their sleeves. 

As albums go, this would have not sounded out of place in the mid 60s, especially when comparing it to other Stones albums of the time. This would also have been quite a nice release for the Christmas market in 1965, especially if you consider that the bands US fans got ‘December’s Children (& Everybody’s)’. With a title that the record company did not like and with bands always moving on and not looking into their archives at this time, an album like this would not have been released in the 60s. However, it would have been a nice 60s equivalent to the ‘Blue & Lonesome’ released 50 years later. 

Side A

  1. I Want To Be Loved* (Dixon) Olympic Studios, London – 10th May 1963
  2. Tell Me Baby, How Many More Times (Broonzy) Chess Studios, Chicago – 10th/11th June 1964
  3. Go Home, Girl (Alexander) Decca Studios, London – 16th July 1963
  4. High Heeled Sneakers (Higginbotham) Chess Studios, Chicago – 10th/11th June 1964
  5. Stewed & Keefed (Phelge) Chess Studios, Chicago – 10th/11th June 1964
  6. Meet Me At The Bottom (Dixon) Chess Studios, Chicago –  8th November 1964

Side B

  1. Goodbye Girl (Wyman) Chess Studios, Chicago –  8th November 1964
  2. Don’t Lie To Me (Jagger/Richards) Regent Sound Studios, London – 12th May 1964
  3. Reelin’ & Rockin’ (Berry) Chess Studios, Chicago – 11th June 1964
  4. Key To The Highway (Segar) Chess Studios, Chicago –  8th November 1964
  5. Looking Tired (Jagger/Richards) RCA Studios, Hollywood – 6th September 1965
  6. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Redding/Butler) RCA Studios, Hollywood – 12th/13th May 1965 

All of these songs were unreleased up until the end of 1965 except for ‘I Want To be Loved’ which had been the B-Side of ‘Come On’, the bands first UK single. 

The front cover of the LP is taken from ‘I Design Album Covers’ website (https://idesignalbumcovers.tumblr.com).

Various Artists – A Whole Lot Of Rainbows Volume 3

And so we reach August. This is the time of year when the majority of schools in the UK and therefore the general population are on holiday. What better time to share the third and last (so far) of my compilations looking at the wonder of the Sunshine Pop genre. There are the usual suspects in here (The Association, The Millennium and the 5th Dimension) but also some more obscure artists such as Griffin, The Parade and The Arbors with their rather fine cover of ‘Touch Me’ by The Doors. Remember folks, the night are now drawing in and it will soon be Christmas. 

Disc 1

  1. Someday Man – Paul Williams
  2. Rumours – Eternity’s Children
  3. Sweet Pea – Tommy Roe
  4. Hands Off The Man (Film Flam Man) – Peggy Lipton
  5. Sugar Town – Nancy Sinatra
  6. Odds & Ends – Dionne Warwick
  7. Sweet Blindness – The 5th Dimension
  8. Hotel Indiscreet (Mono Single Version) – Sagittarius
  9. I’ll Never Find Another You – The Seekers
  10. It’s Getting Better – Mama Cass Elliot
  11. Frog Prince – The Parade
  12. Don’t You Care – The Buckinghams
  13. Kissin’ My Life Away – The Hondells
  14. Along Comes Mary (Single Version) – The Association
  15. Sunday Will Never Be The Same – Spanky & Our Gang
  16. (They Long Top Be) Close To You – Josie & The Pussycats
  17. Touch Me – The Arbors
  18. So Many People (Mono Single Version) – Paul Williams
  19. Oh What A Lovely Day – Twinn Connexion
  20. Master Jack – Four Jacks & A Jill
  21. Don’t Sleep In The Subway – Petula Clark
  22. I’ll Never Fall In Love Again – Dionne Warwick
  23. You’re So Good For Me – Twice As Much
  24. She’s Not Coming Home – Ohio Express
  25. My Sentimental Friend – Herman’s Hermits
  26. Share With Me – The Millennium
  27. Sister Marie – Chad & Jeremy
  28. Always You – The Sundowners

Disc 2

  1. Come To The Sunshine – Van Dyke Parks
  2. Green Tambourine – The Lemon Pipers
  3. Early In The Morning – Vanity Fare
  4. Baby, It’s Real – The Millennium
  5. Luckie (Mono) – Laura Nyro
  6. Cynthia At The Garden – Sidewalk Skipper Band
  7. Yours ‘Till Forever – Griffin
  8. If You Don’t Want My Love – Robert John
  9. From You Unto Us – Eternity’s Children
  10. Sweet Sounds – Tommy Roe
  11. Flying On The Ground – Summer Snow (feat. The Peppermint Trolley Company)
  12. Brandy (Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) – The Eight Day
  13. My World Fell Down (Stereo Single Version) – Sagittarius
  14. There’s Got To Be A Word – The Innocence
  15. Beautiful People – Kenny O’Dell
  16. Riding A Carousel – Petticoat & Vine
  17. Come On In – The Association
  18. She’d Rather Be With Me – The Turtles
  19. Hey Baby (They’re Playing Our Song) – The Buckinghams
  20. And Suddenly – Cherry People
  21. I Can Make It With You – Pozo-Seco Singers
  22. Neon Rainbow – The Box Tops
  23. Pageant – Blades Of Grass
  24. Mornin’ I’ll Be Movin’ On (Mono Single Version) – Paul Williams
  25. Make You’re Own Kind Of Music – Mama Cass Elliot
  26. Living Together, Growing Together – The 5th Dimension
  27. This Guy’s In Love With You – Herb Alpert
  28. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me – Nick De Caro
  29. I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love – Petula Clark

The Kinks – Besides The Kinks

After posting my version of what Dave Davies 60s solo album could have sounded liked, I have been playing a number of my Kinks records once more. I also replayed my version ‘The Great Lost Kinks Album’ from December 2020 (https://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/the-kinks-the-great-lost-kinks-album-uk-version/) and felt that if this had actually been released what else Pye, the bands record label would do to make the most of The Kinks catalogue. 

In real life, Pye Records was already doing this. In 1973 they released ‘All The Good Times’ which was a four LP set including the complete ‘Lola’ and ‘Arthur’ albums, with two additional discs of deep cuts and singles. Pye didn’t stop here and it seems that they were releasing at least one Kinks compilation LP somewhere in the world throughout the 70s. Looking at the track listing, you can see that they are cash in on the bands name as there seems to be little thought in the way in which the tracks are complied.

The 70s were at least ten years too early too early for the explosion in reissues and reassessments of bands back catalogue that would occur after the advent of the CD. It would take until the turn of the century before the idea of releasing compilations directed at the collector would become a viable money maker so I would be asking a lot of the people at Pye Records in the 70s to do a compilation such as this. Unlike the previous compilation which looked exclusively at material that was rare and unreleased at the time, this LP includes all of the B-Sides that were released on Pye in the UK. 

These are in chronological order which was quite a pleasant surprise as I felt that I would have to move a few about so that the sides of the LPs would match up. Keeping them in order shows the progression the band made from their early R&B roots up until their more English centric music that they were producing by the end of their tenure on Pye. They also show that Dave Davies was beginning to stretch his writing muscle as a number of his songs start to appear.  I am sure that there wouldn’t be many musicians/bands who would have written songs of this quality, let alone put them on the B-Sides of singles. 

All mixes are mono and the A-Side of these singles is also listed. These singles are solely UK releases. The combination of songs on singles from other countries were sometime different. 

Side  1

  1. I Took My Baby Home (Long Tall Sally)
  2. You Do Something To Me (You Still Want Me)
  3. It’s All Right (You Really Got Me)
  4. I Gotta Move (All Day & All Of The Night)
  5. Come On Now (Tired Of Waiting For You)
  6. Who’ll Be The Next In Line (Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy)
  7. I Need You (Set Me Free)
  8. Never Met A Girl Like You Before (See My Friends)

Side 2

  1. Where Have All The Good Times Gone (‘Till The End Off The Day)
  2. Sittin’ On My Sofa (Dedicated Follower Of Fashion)
  3. I’m Not Like Everybody Else (Sunny Afternoon)
  4. Big Black Smoke (Dead End Street)
  5. Act Nice & Gentle (Waterloo Sunset)
  6. Love Me ‘Till The Sun Shines (Death Of A Clown – Listed as a Dave Davies solo single but both songs were included on The Kinks’ album, ‘Something Else By The Kinks’)

Side 3

  1. Mr. Pleasant (Autumn Almanac)
  2. Funny Face (Suzannah’s Still Alive – Listed as a Dave Davies solo single but the B-Side appears on The Kinks’ album, ‘Something Else By The Kinks’). 
  3. Polly (Wonderboy)
  4. She’s Got Everything (Days)
  5. There’s No Life Without Love (Lincoln County – Listed as a Dave Davies solo single, both songs would be reissued on the 1998 CD reissue of The Kinks’ album, ‘Something Else By The Kinks’).
  6. Creeping Jean (Hold My Hand – Listed as a Dave Davies solo single, both songs would be reissued on the 2011 CD reissue of The Kinks’ album, ‘Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire’) 
  7. King Kong (Plastic Man)

Side 4

  1. Mindless Child Of Motherhood (Drivin’)
  2. This Man He Weeps Tonight (Shangri-La)
  3. Mr. Churchill Says (Victoria)
  4. Berkeley Mews (Lola)
  5. Rats (Apeman)
  6. Moments (God’s Children)

The sleeve of this compilation was adapted from the back cover of the Death Do Us Part EP released in 2016

Various Artists – A Whole Lot Of Rainbows Vol.2

With the UK experiencing some of the hottest weather in its history, it is time to post another section of music that encapsulates the summer. It must be said that there is something joyous about listening to the Sunshine Pop that came out in the late 60s and early 70s. Sunshine Pop was influenced by pop acts such as The Beach Boys as well as groups such as The Mamas & The Papas and The 5th Dimension. It does border on Easy Listening in places but nothing says the summer has arrived than listening to songs like these. 

Disc 1

  1. We Can Fly – The Cowsills
  2. Sunny Day Girl – The Hobbits
  3. Peaceful – Kenny Rankin
  4. The Drifter – Heidi Brühl
  5. I Just Want To Be Your Friend (Single Version) – The Millennium
  6. Creeque Alley – The Mamas & The Papas
  7. Lazy Day – Spanky & Our Gang
  8. Sweet Blindness (Mono) – Laura Nyro
  9. If You Know What I Mean – The Gas Company
  10. I Live For The Sun – Vanity Fare
  11. Wait ‘Till Tomorrow – The Banana Splits
  12. See My Love (Song For Greg) – The Gentle Soul
  13. I’ll Grow Stronger – The Ballroom
  14. Green Tambourine – The Lennon Sisters
  15. Punky’s Dilemma – Don Costa
  16. Different Drum – Stone Poneys
  17. Do You Know The Way To San Jose – Dionne Warwick
  18. Stoney End – Peggy Lipton
  19. Bitter Honey – The Four Fullers Brothers
  20. Say A Little Pray For You – Aretha Franklin
  21. Glory Train – Drake
  22. I Think I’ll Just Go & Find Me A Flower – Moonpark Intersection
  23. King Of A Drag – The Buckinghams
  24. Let’s Ride – Roger Nichols & The Small Circle Of Friends
  25. Only One Woman – Marbles
  26. Rosecrans Blvd. – Gordon Waller
  27. Pretty Ballerina – The Left Banke
  28. How Can I Be Sure – The Young Rascals

Disc 2

  1. Bowling Green – The Everly Brothers
  2. Mr. Dieingly Dad – The Critters
  3. I Can’t Go Wrong – Keith
  4. Are You Lonesome Like Me? – The Feminine Complex
  5. Kits Are Fun – The Free Design
  6. 5 A.M. (Single Version) – The Millennium
  7. Once Upon An Everyday (Mono) – Peter Sarstedt
  8. Carrie Ann – The Hollies
  9. Lu (Mono) – Laura Nyro
  10. Leaving On A Jet Plane – Peter, Paul & Mary
  11. Moody Manitoba Morning – The Bells
  12. Let Me Pass By – Peggy Lipton
  13. Time For Livin’ – The Association
  14. Darlin’ (Mono) – The Beach Boys
  15. Hung Up On Love – Other Voices
  16. Morning Girl – The Neon Philharmonic
  17. Dancing Dandelion (Demo) – Eternity’s Children
  18. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & The Papas
  19. The Year Of The Sun – The Gordian Knot
  20. Time To Love – The Address Brothers
  21. Trains & Boats & Planes – Anita Harris
  22. Six O’Clock In The Morning – The Feminine Complex
  23. Snow (Mono Version) – Harpers Bizarre
  24. The Warmth Of The Sun – The Beach Boys
  25. Crimson & Clover – Tommy James & The Shondells 
  26. Another Time – Sagittarius
  27. She Lets Her Hair Down – The Tokens

Various Artists – British Gold

This is the first (and only time) I am posting a compilation that I have not compiled myself. For me, this was a shop bought tape released on the legendary K-Tel Record label and I was given before I made it to school age. I played this tape so much, it wore out. It was also chewed up by numerous tape players but on each occasion I managed to salvage it and play it again. By the end, it sounded as though the tape had been recorded through mud but I still loved it. At this point, I had acquired my first proper stereo system and looking through the Squire Archive revealed that I already had a number of the songs on this compilation. I thought it was time I acquired the rest so I could reproduce the tape for myself.

It would take a few years to buy everything as this was as time before the internet and Spotify. Eventually I was be able to recreate this compilation for myself and when I look at it, my musical preferences are here for all to see. Great songs, written by great songwriters and sounding as fresh as they did when they were first released. I first reproduced it on a tape, but found that the songs did not fit onto the tape I had bought that was the same length as the original. It was then that I released that some of the songs had been edited down. It just meant I needed to buy a longer tape. I have recreated on CD and mp3 and no doubt this compilation will follow me to the grave. 

I am sure that if this was released today, someone would say that the title was not an accurate reflection of the artists contained within as not all of them were British. Manfred Mann and Jimi Hendrix spring to mind, but all of the bands themselves were formed in the UK. It’s still a great compilation and I still give it a spin every so often. Enjoy. 

Side 1

  1. Gimmie Some Lovin – The Spencer Davis Group
  2. My Brother Jake – Free
  3. Get It On – T. Rex
  4. With A Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker
  5. Down The Dustpipe – Status Quo
  6. 54321 – Manfred Mann
  7. Stay With Me – The Faces
  8. Here I Go Again – The Hollies
  9. All Day & All Of The Night – The Kinks
  10. Hush – Deep Purple

Side 2

  1. Substitute – The Who
  2. Fire – The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
  3. A White Shade Of Pale – Procol Harum
  4. Sunshine Of Your Love – Cream
  5. Hey Joe – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  6. Crocodile Rock – Elton John
  7. Resurrection Shuffle – Ashton, Gardner & Dyke
  8. Blackberry Way – The Move
  9. Layla (Single Edit) – Derek & The Dominos
  10. Something In The Air – Thunderclap Newman

The cover is based on the one that came with the tape. A K-Tel classic from a by gone age.  

Dave Davies – Lincoln County

With Dave Davies playing some gigs tonight just up the road from me, I thought it was time to look at an album that could have been.

The Kinks have had a long career, but in terms of unreleased albums, there is not a lot to choose from. There was ‘Four More Respected Gentlemen’ which was compiled by the the bands American Record label purely for the US market. There was also the twelve song version of ‘The Village Green Preservation Society’ album that did come out in certain European markets. There was even talk of that album being released as a double and The Reconstructor has done a sterling job putting that together over at their site http://the-reconstructor.blogspot.com/2018/08/the-kinks-village-green-preservation.html.

However, one that does get a lot of mention is the lost album by Dave Davies. Before 1967, Dave Davies had written songs which had either been album tracks or related to single B-Sides. However, Pye Records saw potential in releasing a Dave Davies song as a solo single so they pulled ‘Death of a Clown’ from the ‘Something Else by the Kinks’ album and it reached number 3 in the UK charts. Sensing that there could be money to made, Pye set Davies the task of having an album ready to be released in either 1968 or 1969. A second single in the form of ‘Susannah’s Still Alive’ came out late in 1967 and reached number 20 in the UK chart so the album release date was pushed back to see how the next single would fare. That would be ‘Lincoln County’ which failed to dent the charts. ‘Hold My Hand’ was released in January 1969 but this also failed to make any inroads into the charts so the solo album was dropped with some of the songs being used as B-Sides to Kinks singles. Dave Davies himself has said that even though he liked some of the songs he produced, his heart was not fully in the project so his lack of interest also helped to kill off the project. 

What if those two later singles had been more successful, and if Davies had been more committed to the project. Enough material was recorded to fill up an album. The release of the ‘Hidden Treasures’ in 2011 testifies to that. With this what-if, I was looking to present a cohesive album that would have been released in the early months of 1969. That means that neither of the singles from 1967 would be used on it. ‘Death of a Clown’ had already been released on a Kinks album and ‘Susannah’s Still Alive’ would have sounded out of date by that time. We would also have to assume that none of the songs would have been released as Kinks B-Sides*. 

If the album had come out, it would have been at a time when bands were either becoming more heavy (Led Zeppelin) or getting more rootsy, especially after they had digested The Band’s ‘Music From Big Pink’. Davies’ album would have seemed as though it was from a different age and would most probably been his equivalent of ‘The Village Green Preservation Society’ and been appreciated after the event. The album though was not released but at least we can now appreciate the music that it would have contained. 

Side A

  1. Mindless Child Of Motherhood
  2. Lincoln County
  3. Hold My Hand
  4. Thee’s No Life Without Love
  5. Do You Wish To Be A Man?
  6. Are Your Ready

Side B

  1. Creeping Jean
  2. Crying
  3. This Man He Weeps Tonight
  4. Groovy Movies
  5. Mr. Shoemaker’s Daughter
  6. Mr. Reporter (Alt. Mix)

*I have complied this compilation using stereo mixes only. By 1969, few albums were released in mono. Mono mixes tended to be saved for single releases because AM radio was still the main format in which broadcasters would transmit pop music, especially in the UK at that time. 

The from cover was adapted from the LP, ‘The Album That Never Was’ that was an early attempt compile a solo Dave Davies record from this 60s sessions. That album was originally released in 1987.

The Beach Boys – Smile (Redux)

I suppose that it was only a matter of time before I had a crack at this. ‘Smile’ by The Beach Boys is the the Holy Grail of unreleased records. The whole things started with the release of the ‘Good Vibrations’ single. Sounding like nothing that had been before, and since, ‘Good Vibrations’ was made up of sections edited together to make a whole. Essentially what we got was a pocket symphony lasting just over three and a half minutes. 

This was a complete departure musically with the lyrics reflecting the burgeoning psychedelic movement. Brian Wilson’s approach was justified as it was a top ten single in most of the major record buying markets, and went to number 1 in the USA and UK. Emboldened by the success of the single, Wilson looked to make an album using the same modular approach as ‘Good Vibrations’. Over a ten month period, sessions for ‘Smile’ would continue before collapsing for a myriad of reasons. These included:

The band (who were not involved in the majority of the Smile sessions in a musical way since Wilson used the legendary Wrecking Crew of top notch sessions musicians to interpret his vision) were confused by this new direction. For the early sessions, they had been away on tour and were unaware of Wilson was up to in the studio. 

Brian Wilson was gradually becoming more unstable during the recording sessions. This became apparent during the recording of the song ‘Fire’ when Wilson felt that the music had caused conflagrations in the area around the studio. This increased stability and paranoia may have increased due to his drug intact.

The band decided to take out a lawsuit against their record label for the non payment of royalties. Even if the album had been ready to go in mid 1967, it is unlikely that it would have been released at that time until the lawsuit was settled. With the music scene in the 60s never sticking to one genre too long, a delayed ‘Smile’ may well have been out of place musically and that would have effected sales.  

The fact that the method Brian Wilson was using to put this album together was taxing at best, and near impossible in reality. With all of the music committed to tape, the only way to fit all of the sections together was by cutting and splicing the material together. Wilson had also spent so much time listening to the music, he could not longer see where the project was going as he couldn’t make up his mind what sections were worth using and where they would fit together. 

These were not the only reasons why this album was not finished but it could be argued that these were the core. The Smile album has hung like a weight around the neck of the bands ever since the sessions collapsed in 1967. A version of ‘Heroes & Villains’ was released as a single, but did not match the success of ‘Good Vibrations’. Wilson felt that ‘Heroes & Villains’ would take the band away from the girls and surf music songs that they had been known for. It also ended Wilson’ self imposed need to compete with The Beatles. The failure of that single was taken to heart by Wilson and he slowly distance himself from the creative process. 

‘Smile’ was never finished but that did not stop The Beach Boys from raiding the archive to include songs form the project to fill out that gaps left by Brian Wilson’s lack of creativity. ‘Cabin Essence’ and ‘Our Prayer’ would both appear on the ’20/20’ album. Sound effects from ‘Workshop’ would be included as the coda to the ’20/20’ version of ‘Do It Again’ ‘Surf’s Up’ would become the title track of their 1971 album with Carl Wilson recording the lead vocal that Brian was either unwilling or unable to record (due to the damage to his voice from smoking and drug habit). This version would also include the ‘Child Is The Father To The Man’ vocals included in the coda, which was included by Carl. ‘Mama Says’ from ‘Wild Honey’ was based on a section from the song ‘Vega-Tables’ and a part for the bridge if ‘Little Bird’ from the ‘Friends’ album also has a nod to the ‘Smile’ project in the form of the brass sound that was ultimately used.

Still ‘Smile’ refused to go away. When the band negotiated a contract with Warner Brothers Records in 1969, it was stipulated that they needed to provide a complete ‘Smile’ by 1973. Even though Carl Wilson said that the release was imitate, ‘Smile’ still didn’t appear. In the late 70s, the idea of releasing the sessions as a series of records, but this and a similar idea that was put forward in the early 80s came to nothing. It would take until 1993 and the ‘Good Vibrations: 30 Years of The Beach Boys’ box set for the first officially sanctioned release of ‘Smile’ material. At the same time, the sessions were becoming widely bootlegged, especially when CD replaced vinyl as the format of choice for the listener. It would take until 2004 for something resemble Smile to come out. 

After the success of taking ‘Pet Sounds’ out on the road, Wilson was persuaded to go back to ‘Smile’ and a series of live concerts were performed at the Royal Festival Hall in London in 2003. An album followed in 2004, which did not include any of the original sessions and with original lyrical contributor Van Dyke Parks coming on board to finish off the words that had been left unsaid in the 60s. The concerts were a huge success and I was lucky enough to see it on opening night. The album was Wilson’s most successful solo work to that date. This in turn lead to the release of 2011s ‘The Smile Sessions’ where a version of ‘Smile was presented using the 2004 release as a template. It also include a number of sessions as well as a comprehensive guide to the recording sessions. The release was a success and won the Grammy for best Historical Album.

So why produce my own version? The great things about ‘Smile’ is that because it was never finished, nor a running order set out until 2004, it is easy to make your own. Using the 2011 mix as a guide and only including material from the box set, I split the music into two sections. Section 1 is labels ‘Heroes & Villains’ as the riff used for that song crops up in a good number of the tunes included here. This finishes with Cabin Essence. Section 2 is The Elements. This includes songs that reference each of the four elements; earth (‘Vega-Tables’), water (‘Cool, Cool Water’), air (‘Wind Chimes’) and fire (Mrs O’Leary’s Cow’). Apart from the fire element, these songs did not make up Brian Wilson’s proposed song cycle for this suite, but like so much of ‘Smile’ he did not record all of the pieces so I have just utilised some of the material for my own ends. As a bonus song, I have included the double sided ‘Heroes & Villains’ single that was included in the 2011 box set. 

A number of these songs were never destined for the original ‘Smile’ record, but as they were all on the 2011 box set, they were fair game as far as I was concerned. This is also a rare compilation for me as I did not look to make the music fit to the playing time of a vinyl record. This was designed to utilise the expanded playing time of a CD. Enjoy. 

  1. You’re Welcome
  2. The Heroes & Villains Suite
  3. Barnyard
  4. My Only Sunshine (The Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine)
  5. Wonderful
  6. Wonderful (Version 3)/ Child Is The Father Of Man
  7. Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock)/Love To Say Dada Pt.1
  8. He Gives Speeches
  9. I’m In Great Shape
  10. Cabin Essence
  11. Our Prayer
  12. Good Vibrations
  13. Holidays
  14. Wind Chines
  15. The Elements: Fire (Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow)
  16. I Wanna Be Around/Workshop
  17. Vega-tables
  18. Love To Say Dada Pt.2
  19. Look (Song For Children)
  20. Cool, Cool Water
  21. You’re With Me Tonight
  22. Surf’s Up
  23. Good Vibrations (Reprise)
  24. Heroes & Villains (Part 1)
  25. Heroes & Villains (Part 2)

For the cover artwork, I decided against using the sleeve that was produced back in 1967, but instead went for a fan version. This was produced by Dillon Carson and I did need to do a little bit of editing on it as his track listing did not match my own. I also added in the Capitol Records logo. More of his work can be found on his website: https://www.dilloncarson.com.

He is also responsible for responsible for the cover artwork on the 2021 Beach Boys box set, ‘Feel Flows: The Sunflower & Surf’s Up Sessions 1969-1971’.

(RSD Special) Dana Gillespie – The Complete Pye Singles

Dana Gillespie has had an interesting career. She was once the British junior water-skying champion, appeared in the West End in musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, was cast in a number of films and recorded numerous albums since her first was released in 1968. That album was ‘Foolish Seasons’. It was recorded with a number of famous session players such as Big Jim Sullivan and Herbie Flowers as well as John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page before they formed Led Zeppelin. The album was only released in the USA at the time and became a bit of a collectors item. It was finally released in the UK including two previously unreleased songs and new cover artwork for Record Store Day in April 2022. However, this LP was not Gillespies first time on vinyl. 

She has started her recording career in 1965 by releasing ‘Thank You Boy’. This was the first of three singles she released on Pye Records, each of whom contained a cover but the B-Sides were all written, or at least co-written by Gillespie herself. Not bad for someone who was 15 years old when their first single came out. None of the singles troubled the charts but as far as I can tell, they have not been compiled in one place before. To complement the re-release of ‘Foolish Seasons’ on the last Record Store Day, I thought it would nice to follow that up with a compilation of all of Gillespies’ Pye Singles. 

Side A

  1. Thank You Baby
  2. You’re A Heartbroken Man
  3. Donna Donna

Side B

  1. It’s No Use Saying If
  2. Pay You Back With Interest
  3. Adam Can You Beat That