The Lost Beatles Albums Vol.1 – Imagine (1969-1970)

“Listen to the music. Would George have ever flourished like that if we’d carried on with the group? No chance! There was no room! If people need The Beatles so much, all they have to do is buy each album and…put it on tape, track by track, one of me, one of Paul, one of George, one of Ringo if they really need it that much…the music is just the same only on separate albums. Instead of having ‘The White Album’ or ‘Abbey Road’, where I sing a song, George sings a song, Paul sings a song, Ringo sings a song, boom, boom, boom like that, we make an album each. That’s the only difference. And it’s far better music because we’re not suppressed…” John Lennon.  

If the second Derek & the Dominos is one of the many what-ifs from music history (see Bruno McDonald’s wonderful The Greatest Albums You’ll Never Hear book for a whole tome dedicated to the topic), what is the greatest music what-if? What if Buddy Holly and Jimi Hendrix had not died young? What if Peter Green and Syd Barrett not been waylaid by drugs? What if Brian Wilson had finished the ‘Smile’ album in 1967 or any of the other years is was rumoured to be coming out throughout the early 70s? It is doubtful that any of these would be a great as The Beatles continuing to make records together after 1970. Now, I am not the first person to give this a go by a long shot, but there really isn’t any harm in creating an alternative timeline for The Beatles going into the early 70s? I do feel though that there needs to be some ground rules before starting on this venture. 

  1. All of the songs must be from a solo Beatles release. Therefore, no outtakes or demos from the later Beatles albums (especially as I have used these elsewhere) but a solo release whilst The Beatles were still a recording band is fair game in being made an official band release. However….
  2. I will not be using anything from the more experimental works. I know that the ‘White Album’ had Revolution #9 on it but I don’t feel that Harrisons’ ‘Wonderwall Music’ or ‘Electronic Sound’ along with Lennon & Ono’s ‘Unfinished Music’ and ‘Wedding Album’ fit into what could be considered a Beatle record (Revolution #9 not withstanding). These therefore stay as solo releases in this alternative timeline. 
  3. The sides of the records must not exceed the limited playing time of the LP. This first volume does have some long playing times with the longest side clocking in just under 26 minutes. Long for an LP but not unheard of. 
  4. This might be called the Lost Beatles albums, but singles will also be included. Like the early days of the band, songs used on singles will not to be used on LPs. There was so much material to choose from, this proved to be rather easy to accomplish. 
  5. Everything is available to use. This can therefore include songs from the early 70s where the band members openly criticise or at least mention one other. Would these songs have been written at all if the band had stayed together? Ringo’s song ‘Early 1970′ has been described as a sort of peace treaty to the other three members of the band after their official break up in April 1970, but this has been used. The same goes for tracks that have been included on the album in McCartney’s’ ‘Too Many People’ from his ‘Ram’ album, Harrison’s ‘Wah Wah’ and Lennon’s’ How Do You Sleep? I have had to take the view that these songs were already written or may have been written anyway (with different lyrics) so there is no reason not to include them. 
  6. Taking all of the above into account, the following is an alternative history of The Beatles from mid-1969 until 1971. All the release dates are fictitious and for the UK only. 
  7. There was another problem when putting this compilation together and that is Paul McCartney’s output in 1970. Even though he released his first solo album that year, that was it for the year and to be fair, it is not a great record. This is in marked contrast to Lennon and Harrison who were very busy that year. Lennon released one classic album and a couple of singles (depending on the territory). Harrison released a triple album and a massive selling single in ‘My Sweet Lord’. Ringo released two albums (the first all covers, the second consisting primarily of songs written with his voice in mind) and a single. In the archives there is at least one more record that Ringo has yet to release (as of 2020). To give McCartney more representation on the record, which may have occurred naturally as he was suffering from a depression caused by the breakup of the band, I opened up the scope of the record to what the band recorded as solo artists in 1971 as well. This is why there are a number of songs from the ‘Imagine’ and ‘Ram’ albums. The fact that some of the songs from those albums were presented during the ‘Let It Be’ sessions means that some of these songs may well have been ready to be recorded in 1970. As this is an alternative history, I feel that this is acceptable. It also makes for a stronger set of releases. I hope you agree. 

With the ‘Abbey Road’ recording session nearing their end, three of the four Beatles meet to record a message to Ringo (who is ill at the time) that outline the future of the band, with Lennon reasserting himself after his drug addictions and side projects with Yoko Ono distracted him from the task at hand. Namely, being in The Beatles. He proclaims that the band need a break, to take stock of where they are, allow the ‘Let it Be’ project to come out, warts and all, and that the next album will be more of a band effort. That means it will have more contributions from George Harrison as his song writing abilities have improved massively since the early years of the band and Ringo will have some space for anything he comes up with. McCartney has had reservations about Harrisons songs but decides to keep his own council on this as he does not want the group to split up. The band has essentially taken up his entire adult life and he doesn’t want to let that go just yet. Lennon also says how much his dislikes some of McCartney’s more anodyne efforts such as ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ and continues by saying that they should be given to other artists on the Apple label, in the same way he had done with previous efforts for the likes of Mary Hopkin and Badfinger. 

McCartney tries to defend the song but Harrison points out that no one else in the band liked it. McCartney leaves it at that and Lennon then says that the lead single from the ‘Abbey Road’ sessions should be Harrison’s song ‘Something’ which Lennon feels is the best song on the forthcoming album. It should also be released before the album comes out as a double A-Side with Come Together. He finishes the tape by stating that from now on, songs will be credited to whoever wrote it and not Lennon & McCartney. McCartney mentions that for this to work, the band dynamic needs to go back to what it was before hand where it is the guys in band working on material without outside influence. Lennon knows that this is directed at his new wife Yoko Ono, but he also knows that Harrison and Starr have not been happy with her being in the studio. He acquiesces to this knowing that he has been working on a side project with her called the Plastic Ono Band for anything he feels is not Beatley. With that, the band takes a break from each other until they meet up early in 1970 to sign off on the ‘Let it Be’ project. 

‘Something/Come Together’ comes out in late August 1969 and reaches Number 4 in the UK Charts, their lowest placing since their debut, ‘Love Me Do’. Fans are used to the band not putting their singles on their albums so are surprised in September when the parent album comes out that these are the first two songs on the album. The press speculate that this, and the Side 2 medley show that The Beatles are running out of ideas, or at worse, are a spent force. The fact members of the band are seen doing everything they can to not to be The Beatles only adds weight to this suggestion. Lennon has been in Toronto to take part in the city’s Rock and Roll Revival Festival, accompanied Ono, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman and Alan White. There, Lennon introduces two new songs that he says will be released by The Beatles in the near future. These are ‘Give Peace a Chance’ (which Lennon had recorded in the June, but had kept back whilst trying to work out if he saw a future in The Beatles) and ‘Cold Turkey’. He takes the tapes from this show and releases an EP of songs, which includes ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Money’, ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzie’ and ‘Don’t Worry Koyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking For Her Hand in the Snow)’. The EP is released as the Live Peace in Toronto EP with profits going to refugees from the Nigerian-Biafran War. 

Lennon then finishes work on his third collaborative effort with Ono, which is called the ‘Wedding Album’. This comes out in November and is met with less than favourable reviews by the music press. Feeling that he needs to highlight the pain and suffering to millions around the world to the many wars that were occurring at the time, he digs ‘Give Peace a Chance’ out of the archive and releases it in time for Christmas. It is released under The Beatles name, even though none of the other Beatles play on it and has the song writing credit Lennon-Ono on the label. When asked why he did this by London based journalist David Wigg, Lennon felt that the message would reach a wider audience than if he had released it under his own name. He is also asked by Wigg about the song writing credit for which Lennon replies “Well, she helped me write it and Paul didn’t”. Energised by all that he has done over the previous four months and feeling focused once again after giving up drugs, Lennon retreats to his home in Ascot to write some new material.

Starr recovers from his illness and spends his time recording tracks for what will become his first solo album. Unlike previous Beatles solo recordings up to this point, Starr’s record would not be a soundtrack, live or experimental. Instead, it would be an album of standards that would be music his mother would like. Employing George Martin to produce, Starr asked a number of famous musicians such as Quincy Jones and band mate Paul McCartney to lend a hand arranging the records. As well as recording, Starr went to the premier of his film The Magic Christian, hanging out with his co-star in the film Peter Sellers and plonking around on various musical instruments trying to come up with some material for use when The Beatles re-convene in the New Year. 

Harrison spends his time in late 1969 writing songs, looking for a new home more suited to his need for privacy and going out on the road in December with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Harrison was still a bit annoyed that he had not been able to secure Delaney and Bonnie to Apple Records but loved the freedom of playing in their band. He joined them for the UK and Scandinavian legs of the tour before returning home to buy Friar Park in Henley-on-Thames. There he installs a recording studio so he can record when he wants and with whom he wants just in case Lennon’s insistence that Harrison have more of a presence on Beatles records does not amount to anything. He already has a massive backlog of songs due to his limited space on Beatles LPs but sets to work on a new batch for a possible solo LP which he had first thought about doing in early 1969 when he walked out of the ‘Let it Be’ recording sessions. 

McCartney on the other hand had taken the criticism from Lennon and Harrison badly and retreated to his High Park Farm on Kintyre in Scotland. He is suffering from depression and mostly drunk, which was not the best environment to raise his wife Linda’s seven-year-old daughter and his own child by her. After two months where McCartney believes he suffered a nervous breakdown and produced little to no music, the family returns to London. McCartney has a small recording set up in his London home and begins recording. These include tunes designed to test the equipment as well as songs that were put forward at the ‘Let it Be’ sessions, but not professionally recorded. On hearing that Lennon is preparing to release ‘Give Peace a Chance’ for a single release under The Beatles name, McCartney returns to Abbey Road to record some of these sketches by himself with ‘That Would Be Something’ finished first. Lennon, needing a B-Side for ‘Give Peace a Chance’ asks what is knocking about and instead of using a song from the archive, uses ‘That Would Be Something’. Lennon does feel a bit guilty that he has cut McCartney out of the song writing partnership that has been so profitable for the both of them throughout the 60s. 

McCartney feels the song is not one of his best songs, but will do for a B-Side and agrees not to take any royalties, instead donating them to the same charity as the A-side. However, this does inspires him to start working more seriously on his songs once more. His confidence takes a knock when he hears what Phil Spector has been doing in the studio when mixing the ‘Let it Be’ tapes. 

Starr finishes recording his first solo album and with ‘Let It Be’ still not ready, it is decided to put out Sentimental Journey in March of 1970 as stop gap. Whilst not as successful as a Beatles album would have been, his reputation as the band’s drummer is enough to ensure healthy sales, especially as he did not release a single to promote it. Feeling inspired by this success, Starr finishes off two songs (with a little help from Harrison who declines to take a writing credit) that he has been working on for the previous few months. It is when mixing his album that Lennon sends out the call for the band to get back together as he has two songs he wants to put out as a double A-Side as soon as possible. The result is ‘Instant Karma’ and ‘Cold Turkey’, which does well in the charts but fails to make the converted Number 1 spot due to Lee Marvin’s recording of ‘Wandering Star’. 

When Spector presents the final mix of ‘Let it Be’ to the band, McCartney is particularly unhappy with the way in which his songs have been drenched in strings and choirs, but the other three Beatles wanting to draw a line under this project and without any other new material recorded, decide to release the album as is. Even though not the strongest of Beatles records, the album is released in May of 1970 and reaches Number 1 around the world and gives the band some breathing space to get back to the studio to record the songs that have been stockpiled since the final sessions for ‘Abbey Road’. Booking out Abbey Road for five months, the band present their ideas and it is clear to all that McCartney does not have as many songs as Lennon and Harrison, and only ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ is up to the standards he had set himself in the 60s. The first songs recorded are ‘Jealous Guy’, an old song that Lennon has finally completed with a lyric he is finally happy with and Starr’s ‘Early 1970’, written when he was unsure if the band would ever record together again. 

Lennon has been writing feverishly and wants some of his songs to sound as though Phil Spector has thrown his Wall of Sound at it. Lennon feels that some of the other songs would benefit from as sparse a backing as possible; essentially, one guitar (or piano), bass and drums. This second set of recordings is inspired by Lennon’s Primal Scream therapy and deals with very personal subjects. The other Beatles feel these might have been better on a solo Lennon release, but on hearing the strength of the material, it is decided to use them. His other recordings are more spiritual in nature, dealing with his love for Ono and his continued message for peace. Spector is brought in to oversee these sessions, which annoys McCartney as he is still angry over what he sees as the over-production of the ‘Let It Be’ material. Harrison also likes the production techniques of Spector and supports Lennon choosing him as producer. 

With such a backlog of songs to choose from, the band record enough of his material to fill a double album of Harrison songs. McCartney realises that he needs to raise his game or he will just be a sideman with little input into the album, so he goes away and listens to his sketches and Let it Be outtakes to see what he can resurrect. One of the songs is ‘Another Day’ which the bands decides would make a good single and so is released as another double A-Side with Lennon’s ‘Power to the People’. With the album taking shape, Harrison presents ‘My Sweet Lord’ as a potential single in competition to ‘Another Day’, but the band decide that it would be better to release this as a Christmas single due to the spiritual message of the song. Harrison agrees to this and ‘Another Day’ reaches Number 2. The Beatles may not be hitting Number 1, but they are still selling a good number of records to show that they are still relevant to the music buying public. 

McCartney finally rediscovers his muse and starts bringing in some quality new material, meaning that he is well represented even though that did not look like being the case at the beginning of the sessions. Starr even brings in his first classic self-written song, ‘It Don’t Come Easy’. Recording sessions finish in October and the band agree that they have too many songs for a single LP, so it is decided to put out a double. The album is released in December 1970 and even though it does not receive as many advance sales as the ‘White Album’, they are still high enough that the album goes into the LP charts at Number 1. ‘My Sweet Lord’ also goes straight in at Number 1 and the band enters 1971 as they left the 60s: the biggest band in the world.  

Side A

  1. Mother (Album Version) – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
  2. Imagine – Imagine
  3. Some People Never Know – Wildlife
  4. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier – Imagine
  5. All Things Must Pass – All Things Must Pass

Side B

  1. Wah Wah – All Things Must Pass
  2. Working Class Hero – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
  3. Heart Of The Country – Ram
  4. It Don’t Come Easy – Single A-Side
  5. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey – Ram
  6. Love – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
  7. My Mummy’s Dead – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

Side C

  1. I’d Have You Anytime – All Things Must Pass
  2. Every Night – McCartney
  3. Oh Yoko – Imagine
  4. How Do You Sleep? – Imagine
  5. Maybe I’m Amazed – McCartney
  6. Beware Of Darkness – All Things Must Pass
  7. Singalong Junk – McCartney

Side D

  1. Too Many People – Ram
  2. Awaiting On You – All Things Must Pass
  3. Smile Away – Ram
  4. Look At Me – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
  5. Ballad Of Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) – All Things Must Pass
  6. Oh My Love – Imagine
  7. Isn’t It A Pity (Version 2) – All Things Must Pass
  8. Ram On (Reprise) – Ram

Singles 

  1. Give Peace A Chance – Single A-Side
  2. That Would Be Something (Mono Mix) – Single B-Side
  3. Instant Karma – Single A-Side
  4. Cold Turkey – Single A-Side
  5. Jealous Guy – Imagine
  6. Early 1970 – Single B-Side
  7. Another Day – Single A-Side
  8. Power To The People – Single A-Side
  9. My Sweet Lord – Single A-Side
  10. Junk – Single B-Side

Putting together this ‘What-if’ compilation was a bit of a revelation because even though I had played their music to death as a child, their solo albums passed me by until I was given a copy of Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ album in my mid 20’s. It was a revelation to hear how many good songs he had waiting for an airing. I must admit to not being a bit fan of his work within The Beatles. I then slowly pulled together all of the other members’ solo album and wondered what it would be like to hear if the best bits were pulled together for a lost Beatles album project. No doubt some of the songs on here would not have been liked by all the members of the band. I feel that Lennon and Harrison would have had a massive disliking for McCartney’s ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’ and has been noted before, some of these songs may well have not been written if the band had not split up with the amount of acrimony there was, especially in the early days of their separation. 

It was enjoyable experience though and even though this was meant to be a one off as I felt they would have split up after this record anyway. A few years later though, I was inspired to look further into the solo releases of The Beatles by blogger http://albumsthatneverwere.blogspot.com/ who took the story all the way up to 1980. I then decided to have another go at making some more Lost Beatles albums. I have shown where the songs were originally released in case you wish to put your own version together on a playlist. 

Even though this would work as a CD, this has been presented as though it was a double album with associated singles placed at the end. For the record, Sides A, B & C are CD 1 and Side D and singles are CD 2. The artwork is based on the picture taken of the band for the Get Back LP with the background changed to clouds which inspired the title of the album, Imagine. Found on the internet many moons ago, I have no idea who to acknowledge for this I’m afraid. 

Various Artists – Nuggets

There aren’t too many compilations that can be said that have been a major influence on what was to come afterwards as by definition, these types of records are all about harking back to the past. However, the Nuggets double disc set from 1972 is one of, if not the most important and influential. It was compiled by Lenny Kaye, who would become the lead guitarist in the Patti Smith band. At the time , he was a writer and working at Village Oldies record shop in New York. Not only did he compile the record, he wrote the sleeve notes as well. These contained one of the first uses of the term Punk Rock. Many other compilation series would follow including Rubble, Pebbles and Back From The Grave all of which followed the Nuggets template. That is unearthing rare records, mostly from smaller record labels that specialised in garage rock and psychedelic eras. 

I never managed to get hold of the original vinyl version of this compilation. However, in 1998 Rhino decided that they would re-release the album on CD, but instead of just putting out the original version, they decided to expand it with an additional 91 songs in a rather fetching box set. Not all of the records were obscure, with some making to top ten in the US and some didn’t fit into the time frame which said all the records were released between 1965-69. For example, Louie Louie by the Kingsmen was released in 1963. That’s just nitpicking though as even with the the addition of 91 songs there are few that could be considered filler. What I wanted to see was if I could reduce this brilliantly curated box set down to one CD, which was also mean that it would fit onto a double LP like the original album. 

  1. Let It Our (Let It All Hang Out) – Los Hombres
  2. Fight Fire – The Golliwogs
  3. Wooly Bully – Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs
  4. I Want Candy – The Strangeloves
  5. You Ain’t Tuff – The Uniques
  6. Stop – Get A Ticket – Clefs Of Lavender Hill
  7. I Live In The Springtime – The Lemon Drops
  8. Dirty Water – The Standells
  9. Lies – the Knickerbockers
  10. A Public Execution – Mouse
  11. Open Up Your Door – Richard & The Young Lions
  12. Oh Yeah – Shadows Of Night
  13. Pushin’ Too Hard – The Seeds
  14. Don’t Look Back – The Remains
  15. Liar, Liar – The Casterways
  16. Sugar & Spice – The Cryan Shames
  17. My World Fell Down – Sagittarius
  18. Open Your Eyes – The Nazz
  19. Nobody But Me – The Human Beinz
  20. Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White – The Standells
  21. Action Woman – The Litter
  22. I Ain’t No Miracle Worker – The Brogues
  23. Laugh, Laugh – The Beau Brummels
  24. I Wonder – The Gants
  25. Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love) – The Swingin’ Medallions
  26. Run, Run, Run – The Gestures
  27. Psycho – The Sonics
  28. So What! – The Lyrics
  29. The Little Black Egg – The Nightcrawlers
  30. Falling Sugar – The Palace Guard

I could not attached a Spotify playlist as one or more songs were not available on that format. 

Episode 97 – Jumping The Shark

When your in the music business long enough that you feel comfortable enough to ask for a pre gig rider that specifies what colour your ashtray needs to be, this can lead to some interesting ego driven recordings. Be it that you spend too much time and money making sure all the notes are in the right place, get in a hot shot producer to paper over the cracks of substandard material or just take too many drugs for the creative process to function properly, we take a look at records that can only be described as having Jumped the Shark. 

  • My Destiny – The Byrds
  • Down The Dolce Vita – Peter Gabriel
  • Baby I Love You – The Ramones
  • Velcro Fly – ZZ Top
  • Def Leppard – Armageddon It
  • Sunshine & Love – The Happy Mondays
  • Still Life – Suede
  • I Need Your Love – Boston
  • D’You Know What I Mean – Oasis
  • Knockers – The Darkness
  • Chinese Democracy – Guns ‘n’ Roses
  • Pretty Vegas – INXS 
  • C’Lebrity – Queen & Paul Rodgers
  • Hostage of Love – Razorlight 
  • Whatcha Say – Jason Drulo

(RSD 2020 Special) Caroline Munro – Warrior Of Love

To celebrate the last of 2020’s Record Store Days, I’ve decided to post another album that I would put out as an RSD release it I had the opportunity. It is a pet project that I have had on the back burner for a while now. That is, an album of songs by the legendary Caroline Munro. Munro started off in the mid 60s as a model, but by the end of the decade she had started appearing in films. Now, I didn’t realise until recently how many of her films I had seen and that I caught most of them on wet Sunday afternoons during my childhood. ‘The Golden Voyage of Sinbad’ and ‘At The Earth’s Core’ seemed to be on all of the time, and then there was her appearance in the Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me. She also appeared in two early 80s music videos. ‘Goody Two Shoes’ by Adam Ant and ‘If You Really Want Me To’ by Meat Loaf. She was even a hostess on the rather bizarre, but exceedingly popular British TV show ‘3-2-1’. Appearances in Hammer films and Italian Star Wars knock off Starcrash have cemented her place as a cult icon. However, it is with her music career that I am concentrating on here. 

Now we did feature Munro’s version of ‘This Sporting Life’ in the first of our Eric Clapton spotlight shows http://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/episode-75-eric-clapton-the-early-years-part-1/ but at the time, that was as far as  my interest went. However, after watching a number of  videos by YouTuber Brandon Tenold*, I found that she had performed a song called ‘Warrior of Love’ in the film ‘Don’t Open ‘Till Christmas’. After digging a bit further, I found that during the 70s she had released a number of singles with her then husband Judd Hamilton. I set pulling together all of these singles as well all the variations of the songs she recorded on Gary Newman’s Numa Record Label. What I was able to pull together was an LPs worth of material, with the instrumental, 12”, and Italian remix of the Numan produced Pump Me Up as a bonus single. This would be a complete collection of Munro single from 1967 to 1984.

There was also a single in the late 90s with Gary Wilson, but I have been unable to obtain a copy of this record. If anyone can help me out with this, please let me know. Warrior of Love is, as far as I can tell, still unreleased but thankfully the audio is available in the film so with a bit of careful editing by a YouTube user called Alex Nik (and a little bit more myself), a complete song can be heard. 

You will notice that “Love Songs’ is a retread of ‘Come Softy To Me’ with the additional of lyrics from other songs included during the middle section. These additional songs were ‘I Love How You Love Me’ and ‘In The Still Of The Night’. On the promo copy of the single I have, all of the songs and song writers are listed individually. On all of the photographs of the record labels on Discogs though list Hamilton and Munro as the songwriters, even though they did not write any of the songs. This might have lead to a course case if the single had been a hit, but as it wasn’t. ’Come Softy To Me’ had only been released in France so it is doubtful that the UK record buying public would have heard it before the ‘Love Songs’ variation was released in the UK. 

This is the sort of release that that should be picked up by a specialist reissue company for a limited release, especially on Record Store Day. Judging by some of the obscure releases that come out on RSD every year, there is no reason to expect this would not sell, especially with Munro’s status in cult film circles.

For the cover, I found a picture of Caroline Munro in her iconic outfit from the Starcrash film, looking every bit the Warrior of Love. The songs on this compilation are not available on Spotify so I have not been able to reproduce the complication here.

Side A

  1. Tar & Cement
  2. This Sporting Life
  3. Come Softy To Me
  4. Sad Old Song
  5. You Got It
  6. Where Does The Love Begin

Side B

  1. Love Songs
  2. Sound Of The Sun
  3. Warrior Of Love
  4. Pump Me Up (7” Version)
  5. The Picture

Bonus 12”

  1. Pump Me Up (12” Mix)
  2. Pump Me Up (Italian Mix)
  3. Pump Me Up (Instrumental Mix)
The majority of these songs have been taken from the original vinyl, so apologies for the surface noise.

* (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC51tRQjet4Z45Of3n1Qxn8A – I would recommend his channel highly. All the videos are well worth a watch).

James Iha – Pumpkinhead

As with any band who have a major songwriter in it, there tends to be another one waiting in the wings for any chance to get a song or two on a release. Some examples of this are The Kinks, The Jam or Creedence Clearwater Revival. Another would be our featured band of this month, Smashing Pumpkins. Look at the discography of the band between 1991 and 2000 and you will find very few credits to second guitarist Iha, especially songs that he wrote on his own. He did have the odd co-credit on the earlier albums but didn’t receive one on either the Adore or Machinea/The Machines of God albums. He did release a solo album in 1998 called Let It Come Down, but what if there was an album made up of songs that he wrote for and performed with the Pumpkins that he could have used for a second solo record. 

Well, the first thing I noticed was how few songs there were to choose from. Most of them were B-sides and so The Aeroplane Flies High collection has more Iha songs on it than any other. To make this album, I decided to work within the constraints of an LP, so it means that each side will need to be about 22 mins long. This did not prove to be much of a problem as Iha has not been the most prolific of writers. It also meant that I needed to include a cover that Iha sings and that is A Night Like This. When listening to majority of this material, I do wonder if Iha was in the wrong band. Main Pumpkin songwriter Billy Corgan didn’t always have the electricity turned up to eleven, but Iha seems to be writing as though he is in an alternative folk group. 

The only song that has not been officially released up to this point is Wave Song, which was included on the unofficial band completion Mashed Potatoes. The Mashed Potatoes set has been described as the Holy Grail of Smashing Pumpkins collectables, because there was only ever about ten of them made. Billy Corgan compiled the five disc set and gave them out to the rest of the band and friends. It contained live tracks, demos and alternative versions of previously released material. Considering how extensive the reissue programme was, not a lot of the Mashed Potatoes material was used. Like the material used on the ‘End’ album, I seem to remember this being on Corgan’s website back in those early days of the internet. I wonder if this compilation will ever see the light of day in an official capacity?  

There were a few of songs left over. Terrapin is another cover sung by Iha, which was written by Syd Barrett. Two are instrumentals that were released on the Deluxe Edition of The Aeroplane Flies High. The other two are from the Earphoria and all of these songs could be B-Sides for single, whichever song that would be.

The front cover of the album is adapted from the single from his first solo LP, Be Strong Now and is not one my strongest efforts. It did remind me of a bootleg cover, which is pretty much what this is.

Side A

  1. The Boy – The Aeroplane Flies High
  2. Summer – Single B-Side (Perfect)
  3. Blew Away – Single B-Side (Disarm)
  4. …Said Sadly – The Aeroplane Flies High
  5. One & Two – Single B-Side (I Am One)
  6. Go – Machina II/The Friends & Enemies Of Modern Music

Side B

  1. Wave Song (Demo) – Mashed Potatoes
  2. A Night Like This (The Cure Cover) – The Aeroplane Flies High
  3. The Bells – The Aeroplane Flies High
  4. Take Me Down – Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness
  5. Believe – The Aeroplane Flies High
  6. Farewell & Goodnight – Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness

B-Sides

  • Bugg Superstar – Earphoria
  • Terrapin (Syd Barrett Cover) – Single B-Side (I Am One – UK 10”)
  • Star Song – The Aeroplane Flies High (Deluxe Edition)
  • The Grover – The Aeroplane Flies High (Deluxe Edition)
  • Why Am I So Tired – Earphoria

These discs could not be reproduced because not all of these songs are available on Spotify. 

Smashing Pumpkins – End (1990 Album)

I had not heard of the Smashing Pumpkins until they made an appearance on a British TV show in which they didn’t seem to know if they should be promoting their new record as slagging each other off. I seem to remember that the show was much missed (by me anyway) Rapido, but I might have got that wrong. The next time they came up in conversation was with a guitar player who told me that the album that they were plugging that day was not their debut, as I had thought, but their second album. The first album was called Gish. Making my way to Kingston Upon Thames and to the Record Shop: my favourite place to buy vinyl and like Rapdio, I have greatly missed it since it closed down at the end of the 90’s. They had a copy of Gish so I thought I would give it a go. Gish was a curious mix of rock, alt rock and psychedelia but I enjoyed it, so I went back and bought the already released Siamese Dream as well. 

From 1993, every year was taken up until with a new Pumpkins release. Pisces Iscariot was a rather fine collection of B-Sides and rarities. Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness was the first triple vinyl album I had ever bought. The bonus for us vinyl buyers was that the release had two tracks that were not available anywhere else. That made up fro the fact that I missed out on the bonus single that had been included on the Pisces Iscariot album. I managed to pick up a copy of the Siamese Singles vinyl box set, which was a bit of an indulgent purchase considering I was at University at the time. This included some fine B-Sides not available anywhere else at the time. Then there was another indulgent purchase with the Aeroplane Flies High box set which the first time I had bought any of the bands work on CD. Even though there were a few duff tracks on here ( I think I have managed to get all the way through the Pistachio Medley just the once), it showed there was still gold to be found if looked hard enough. 1997 was a quiet year for releases with only one single coming out, The End is the Beginning is the End from the Batman and Robin film. However, the year was not quiet on the recording front. James Iha recorded his first solo album and the Pumpkins prepared their Adore album. Adore was a real departure from what went before and even though it was not as popular as their previous albums, it did receive critical praise and I liked the new direction the band seemed to be taking. What was curious about the vinyl edition was that it was released in mono. It would take until 2014 and the deluxe edition that I would hear the album in stereo. They would start the new decade with the Machina album, which would also see the end of the original incarnation of the band. The following decade would see a reformation (of sorts) and in the 2010’s, an extensive reissue programme that was meant to encompass all of the albums from their initial phase. As of October 2020, Machina has yet to feature in this programme.  

With the Smashing Pumpkins, it would seem that most of the websites that look at lost records go for a reconstruction of the Machina album, seeing as the second part is relatively easy to find due to Billy Corgan himself allowing it be downloaded for free across the internet. Was it available on his website from the turn of the century? I cannot remember but It would not surprise me if it was as Corgan was actually quite generous with rare or unreleased Pumpkins material at the time. The Squire Archive has a number of CD-Rs of material culled from that site. Unfortunately he stopped being so generous a long time ago. Most of these downloads were from the early days of the band, with a lot of it being sessions conducted by the band before it had a record deal. Some of these songs made it on the bonus discs during on the reissues from 2011 onwards but not all of them. What I thought I would do is to produce a discography for the band from the pre-Gish era as if they had produced not only an album, but singles and an EP. What I did not want to do was double up on material so none of these songs appeared on Gish or Pisces Iscariot. 

The band was formed in 1988 when Billy Corgan met James Iha whilst the latter was working in a record shop. Soon afterwards, D’arcy Wretzky was recruited on bass and they played a few shows backed by a drum machine. However, after one show at the Cabaret Metro, the owner told them he would only book them again if they had a real drummer. It was at this point that that Jimmy Chamberlain was drafted in after being recommenced by a friend of Corgans’. His recruitment changed the sound of the band immensely as Chamberlain was quite a powerful player, which allowed the rest of the band to, in the words of Corgan “rock harder than we could ever have imagined”. 

Corgan had recorded a few songs using equipment in his father’s home studio but in late 1988, they were ready to record some material for an album, which was quite a commitment considering they did not have a record contract. The band had played a number of gigs and had made the decision that they should put all of their earnings towards recording. Through word of mouth they found out about Mark Ignoffo who was a recording studio in the basement of his parents house. The band recorded a number of songs, three of which (I Am One, Daydream and Rhinoceros) would end up on Gish but only after they had been re-recorded. These sessions would be used as the basis for a number of demo tapes that the band would use to either secure gigs or to solicit record labels. Two songs would be used on a compilation called ‘Light Into Dark’ and these were My Dahlia and Sun. They would also contribute tracks to other compilations albums before Gish was released as well as signing with Sub Pop. It was with the release of the ‘My Dahlia’ single that caused enough interest in the record industry for a number of labels to show some interest in them. However, the band decided to sign with Caroline, a subsidiary of Virgin Records. 

So, what are we left to play with to make this first LP that never was. I thought I would keep the two single A-Sides that they released prior to signing with Caroline in their original versions. Both of these songs would be re-recorded for Gish. The original B-Side for I Am One is also the same. La Dolly Vita and Honey Spider would be used elsewhere so I used a cover on the flip instead. The Pumpkins didn’t do many covers that were released, but those they did tended to be on the B-Sides of singles. One was Cinnamon Girl which was originally by Neil Young. I was quite surprised to find that Jackie Blue was not a Pumpkins song, but was by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I suspect that Billy Corgan would have only wanted his own songs or co-writes with second guitar players James Iha on there. However, I did not feel that any of the other songs I tried to replace it with fitted with the flow of the record. 

The album itself is made up of songs that made up one of the demo tapes the band shopped around in 1989. It was re-produced for the Pisces Iscariot deluxe edition from 2012. Jackie Blue had been released on the previously mentioned ‘Light Into Dark’. Two of the songs come from the downloads Billy Corgan made available all those years ago. C’Mon and Honey Spider, which may well be the same as the version found on the B-Side of the Tritessa 12” single, but I do not have one of those in the collection so I have not been able to confirm this. There is also a song called Psychodelic which would also see the light of day on an early demo tape which has yet to see a re-release. It is known to the Pumpkins fans as the ‘Moon Demo Tape’. Lastly, there is Cinder Open, which sounded really good as an opening song, but a bit on the long side. I therefore edited it down to two minutes and used the remainder of the song to finish this collection off. Overall, this is a pretty good album.

However, I did have a few songs left over that I felt were too good to ignore but there wasn’t enough for another album, so these could have been released as a special 12 inch single. Seven songs would have been good value for money as well. The majority of these songs came from the downloads Corgan had put on his webpage as well as some of the other songs from the ‘Moon Demo Tape’. There is La Dolly Vita, the missing Tritessa B-Side and Smiley, which was a Gish era demo, but it was not used on the album so it could have found a home for itself here. It is a shame that when the deluxe editions came out that these songs were not on those records. There was certainly room for them on the Gish as this was an album from the last days of the vinyl era and was only 46 minutes long. 

For the album cover, I used the same image that was used on 2001’s Greatest Hits compilation. I called it ‘End’ because of not only the road sign that the band are standing in front of, but I thought it would be a bit of a Billy Corgan thing to do to call their first album by a name that sounds like it should be the last. The Vanilla artwork is a recoloured version of their logo from the Siamese Dream era, but I could not find anything else that I liked that had not been used somewhere else before. The band had not quite found their feet at tis time, but this would have been a good introduction of the band if they had secured a record record before they actually did. 

Side A

  1. Cinder Open (Edited to 2:00) – Pisces Iscariot (Deluxe Edition)
  2. Spiteface – Smashing Pumpkins Demo Tape (Pisces Iscariot)
  3. C’Mon – Real Time Studios II Version
  4. Psychodelic – Moon Demo Tape

Side B

  1. Sun – Smashing Pumpkins Demo Tape (Pisces Iscariot)
  2. Jackie Blue – Pisces Iscariot (Deluxe Edition)
  3. Jennifer Ever – Smashing Pumpkins Demo Tape (Pisces Iscariot)
  4. East – Smashing Pumpkins Demo Tape (Pisces Iscariot)
  5. Honey Spider (Full Length Version) – Real Time Studios II Version
  6. Cinder Open (Reprise) – Pisces Iscariot (Deluxe Edition)

Singles

  1. I Am One – Limited Potential Version (Single A-Side)
  2. Not Worth Asking – Limited Potential Version (Single B-Side)
  1. Tritessa – Sub Pop Single
  2. Cinnamon Girl – Pisces Iscariot

Vanilla E.P.

Side A

  1. With You – Moon Demo Tape
  2. Vanilla – Pisces Iscariot (Deluxe Edition)
  3. Smiley – Gish (Deluxe Edition)
  4. Waiting For You Now – Real Time Studios Acoustic

Side B

  1. Egg – Moon Demo Tape
  2. La Dolly Vita – Sub Pop Single
  3. I Am One (Part 2) – Real Time Studios Acoustic

These discs could not be reproduced on Spotify.

Episode 96 – Songs About London

From being the centre of Empire to the Swinging Sixties and beyond, London has been an inspiration to songwriters for many a year. Here we look at just a few of those songs that have done just this. 

  • London Calling – Hayseed Dixie 
  • London Town – Laura Marling 
  • I’m Trying To Make London My Home – Sonny Boy Williamson 
  • Portobello Road – Ellie Janov
  • The Boy From Chelsea – Truly Smith
  • Chelsea Girl – Simple Minds 
  • Meet Me In Battersea Park – Peter Knight & Petula Clark
  • The Guns Of Brixton – The Clash
  • The Underground Train – Lord Kitchener
  • Waterloo Sunset (Mono) – The Kinks
  • ‘A’ Bomb In Wardour Street – The Jam
  • Werewolves Of London – Warren Zevon
  • Rainy Night In Soho – The Pogues
  • Soho (Needless To Say) – Al Stewart
  • Soho – Bert Jansch & John Renbourn 
  • Sunny Goodge Street- Tom Northcott
  • A Nightingale In Berkley Square – The Manhattan Transfer
  • Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty
  • Mornington Crescent – Belle & Sebastian
  • The Battle Of Epping Forest – Genesis
  • Cockney Translation – Smiley Culture
  • Streets Of London – Mary Hopkin

(RSD 2020 Special) Blood Records – Sampler 2018-2019

Blood Records was created by the same people that brought us the subscription vinyl service, Flying Vinyl (you can hear the two podcasts we produced about them by following the links below). Where as Flying Vinyl deals with the joys of the single, Blood Records is all about the 12”, with their release schedule already including LPs and EPs. These releases are exclusive to the site and are for the most part, hand numbered. The quicker you are to order, the lower the number you will receive. They tend to be signed by the people involved as well as coming on all sorts of wonderful shades of vinyl. There have even been a number of LPs pressed on what can only be described as a zoetrope picture disc. These do have to be seen to be believed. 

For this months Record Store Day (RSD), I have decided to produce a sampler disc, in the style of the classics such as ‘Nice Enough To Eat’ and ‘El Pea’ that were released by Island Records in the late 60s and early 70s. This sampler covers the period between 2018 and 2019. In that time, Blood Records released ten records but it is impossible to give a complete picture of the label as some of the LPs released were various artists affairs. The songs that have been selected from those albums has just been a case of picking one that I liked as well as fitting into the time limitations fo the format. 

The sleeve artwork was taken from the Blood Records Facebook account and is one of the earlier logos with the dates covered by this compilation added.

Side A

  1. The Overcorrection – Ralph Pelleymounter
  2. It’s Over – The Hippaes 
  3. After Dark – SPINN
  4. The Time Game – Lauilia
  5. Bonnie – Anteros
  6. Forty Days & Forty Nights (Live) – The Blinders

Side B

  1. Shadow By Your Side – Alligator
  2. Game – Eliza Sheddad
  3. Icarus – Stereo Honey
  4. Junk Food Forever (Live) – The Amazons

Flying Vinyl – Episode 1 (https://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/2016/07/)

Flying Vinyl – Episode 2 (https://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/podcast/episode-57-flying-vinyl-year-2/)

Various Artists – American Acid (Volume 2)

A second volume of songs from the late 60s US Acid Rock (sort of) scene. A few artists from the first volume make another appearance here as well as some well known faces that did not. There are also some obscure artists like Michelle proving that much like the UK psych scene, there was so much good music coming out at the time that some of it disappeared through the cracks. Enjoy. 

Disc 1

  1. Codine Blues – The Charlatans
  2. Rag Mama Rag – The Band
  3. Let’s Work Together – Canned Heat
  4. Combination Of The Two – Big Brother & The Holding Company
  5. Omaha – Moby Grape
  6. Superbird – Country Joe & The Fish
  7. Live & Let Live – Love
  8. Dark Star – The Grateful Dead
  9. Sister Of Mercy – Leonard Cohen
  10. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Bob Dylan
  11. Lemonade Kid – Kak
  12. Red Balloon – Tim Hardin
  13. Think Twice – Salvation
  14. Domesday – Stained Glass
  15. Guess Things Happen That Way – Terry Manning
  16. The Pusher – Hoyt Axton
  17. Free Up – The Surprise Package
  18. Doodle – Skip Spence

Disc 2

  1. Mercedes Benz – Janis Joplin
  2. Evil Ways – Santana
  3. Time Was – Canned Heat
  4. Roll With It – The Steve Miller Band
  5. California Earthquake – Cass Elliott
  6. Electric Saiilor – Kak
  7. 8:05 – Moby Grape
  8. Old Man – Love
  9. Lie To Me – Kaleidoscope
  10. Light Your Windows – Quicksilver Messenger Service
  11. Summer In the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful
  12. Acid – Stu Mitchell With Wes Dakus’ Rebels
  13. War In Peace – Skip Spence
  14. Song For A Seagull – Joni Mitchell
  15. Forever Is A Dream – Food
  16. Lonely People Blues – Gary Lee Yoder
  17. White Bird – It’s A Beautiful Day
  18. Lament Of The Astro Cowboy – Michele
  19. Good Vibrations (Tape Rewind) – The Beach Boys

Neither disc could be reproduced on Spotify.

Various Artists – American Acid (Volume 1)

As much as I like Psychedelic music, my knowledge of the scene from the USA is not as good as it is for other countries from around the world. The brand of Psych from the US sometimes is lumped under the title of Acid Rock, which generally means that songs have heavy, distorted guitars with extended jams and lyrics full of drug references, either blatant or subtle. However, like most labels of music, it is pretty meaningless. 

A lot of the groups and singers on this compilation either came out of the Garage Rock or Folk Rock scenes. Those bands that developed from Garage Rock into the Psych era took with them the distorted guitar sound and sound effects, which is major contrast from British Psych which took its cues from childhood imagery and the Music Hall Tradition. As time went on, the guitars became heavier and would eventually evolve into heavy rock and metal. 

For this compilation, I looked at using music from the golden age of what could be considered Acid Rock music, which is arguably between 1966 and 1970. Not all of these artists are rockers, with the likes of Joni Mitchell and Time Rose making an appearance. What I was going for here was the feel of the US in the late 60s and I hope that I achieved this. Enjoy. 

Disc 1

  1. The Fish Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag – Country Joe & The Fish
  2. Spirit In The Sky – Norman Greenbaum
  3. Going Up The Country – Canned Heat
  4. Hey Grandma – Moby Grape
  5. Alabama Bound – The Charlatans
  6. Night In The City – Joni Mitchell
  7. Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was in) – Kenny Rodgers & The First Edition
  8. For What Its Worth – Buffalo Springfield
  9. That’s It For The Other One (Edit) – The Grateful Dead*
  10. Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
  11. The Weight – The Band
  12. The Pusher – Steppenwolf
  13. The Red Telephone – Love
  14. Karmic Dream Sequence #1 – The Millennium
  15. Mr Skin – Spirit
  16. In A Gadda-Da-Vidda – Iron Butterfly

*Edited at 6:26

Disc 2

  1. Wooden Ships – Crosby, Stills & Nash
  2. The Golden Road (To Ultimate Devotion) – The Grateful Dead
  3. Underdog – Sly & The Family Stone
  4. Do You Follow Me – The United States Of America
  5. Down on Me (Live) – Big Brother & The Holding Company
  6. Morning Dew – Tim Rose
  7. Magic Carpet Rode – Steppenwolf
  8. Two Days ‘Till Tomorrow – The Beau Brummels
  9. The Crystal Ship – The Doors
  10. Sugar Man – Rodriquez
  11. 1982-A – Sons Of Champlin
  12. Up & Down – The Serpent Power
  13. Volunteers – Jefferson Airplane
  14. Fool (Single Version) – Blue Cheer
  15. How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away – Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks
  16. Bryte ’N’ Clear Day – Kak
  17. Bummer In The Summer – Love
  18. Murder In The Heart For The Judge – Moby Grape
  19. Five To One – The Doors
  20. Sure ‘Nuff ’N Yes I Do – Captain Beefheart & HIs Magic Band
  21. I Need It Higher – Zerfas
  22. Get Together – The Youngbloods
  23. Porpoise Song (Mono Single Mix) – The Monkees