Harry Nilsson – The Voice Behind The Face

This second Nilsson What-If album of the month could be seen as a companion piece to the previous ‘Singles’ compilation, but instead of focusing on material that was released under his own name, this includes recordings recorded as part of a group or under pseudonyms or for one release, no mention of the recording artist was made at all. More on that later.

The first songs are ‘Donna’ and ‘Wig Job’. Eagled eyed reader will notice that these songs were listed on the previous post. However, these have been re-rerecorded. They were released under the name of Johnny Niles. There are also a couple of singles that were released under the name of Bo-Pete, including ‘Baa Baa Blacksheep. These are the same songs as the ones that Nilsson released under his own name. I have included them here for completeness. The final songs on Side A are a slab of Bo Diddley mixed with novelty combined with a massive jump onto The Beatles bandwagon. The original single came with a 8mm film with clips of The Beatles which, according to a note found on the single, could be synched up to play at the same time. Needless to say, none of these records were hits. I have also never seen the film and so far, it has eluded a posting on YouTube. Someone must have this somewhere.

Side B starts off with another Tower single that was released under the name of The New Salvation Singers (featuring Harry Nilsson). The rest of this album includes songs that were recorded by Nilsson that were released on the ‘New Nilsson Songs’ promo album. This record was released to promote the songs Nilsson had written for his publishing company, Rock Music Co. There were also a couple of songs on there from Perry Botkin and Gil Garfield who just happened to own the publishing company. The reason these songs are included here is because when the record came out, none of the people singing the songs were listed. All that was put onto the label was the name of the songs, the publishers name and their contact details. 

These 60s releases were not the last time that Nilsson would release music that was not under his own name. As a bonus 7” single, this release would include the single ‘Joy’ and its B-Side ‘I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City’. This was released under he name of Buck Earl in an attempt to get played on country music radio. It didn’t work and this is one of the more obscure releases connected to Harry Nilsson. It does not end there though as Nilsson had one more pseudonym up his sleeve. This additional cheeky bonus is ‘Party From Outer Space’ Albert Brooks’ comedy album ‘A Star Is Bought’. Nilsson recorded under the name of Lassie.

The sleeve is an adaptation of the the late 1960s reissue of ‘Spotlight Of Nilsson’ with the new title added. 

Side A

  1. Donna, I Understand – Johnny Niles
  2. Wig Job – Johnny Niles
  3. Do You Wanna (Have Some Fun) – Bo-Pete
  4. Groovy Little Suzie – Bo-Pete
  5. Baa Baa Blacksheep – Bo-Pete
  6. Baa Baa Blacksheep (Part 2) – Bo-Pete
  7. Stand Up & Holler (Film Side) – Foto-Fi Four
  8. Stand Up & Holler – Foto-Fi Four

Side B

  1. The Path That Leeds To Trouble – New Salvation Singes (feat. Harry Nilsson)
  2. Good Times – New Salvation Singes (feat. Harry Nilsson)
  3. 1941 – Harry Nilsson 
  4. The Boy From The City – Harry Nilsson 
  5. The La LA Song – Harry Nilsson
  6. There Will Never Be – Harry Nilsson 
  7. Without Her – Harry Nilsson 
  8. The Story Of Rock & Roll – Harry Nilsson

Bonus 7” Single

  1. Joy – Buck Earl
  2. I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City – Buck Earl
  3. Party From Outer Space – Albert Brooks (feat Lassie)

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the wonderful book ‘Harry & Me’, in which yours truly briefly appears in.

Harry & Me

The Beatles – Lost EP’s

So, after an additional wait of a year, ‘Let It Be’ by The Beatles receives the deluxe box set treatment. Must be time therefore to come up with some fantasy releases for the band. For this entry we are not looking at LPs, but  EPs. EP stands for Extended Play and tend to be produced on 7” records that contain on average four songs. The format was popular enough (in the UK at least) to have its own chart for a period of time. By 1967, the chat was history and any EP released after this would be listed in the singles chart. The Beatles released a number of EPs during the 60s, and they cover the full range of what was possible with the format. ‘Twist & Shout’ and ‘No.1’ featured songs that had been on the first LP, so if you couldn’t afford the album, this was a nice alternative. ‘The Beatles’ Hits’ could be seen as an early attempt at a greatest hits package. ‘Long Tall Sally’ contained songs that had not appeared anywhere else before. They even released a double EP with ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, that contained a lovely booklet which gave you an idea of what the film was like for those not old enough to have been around when it was shown on the TV in 1968 (like me for instance). It is with this in mind that I present three alternative history EPs for you. 

Yellow Submarine (1968)

This one was almost released back in the day, and even though some work was put into mixing the songs ready for release, it was shelved until 2009. More on that later. ‘Yellow Submarine’, the song, was released as the A-side as well as featuring on the ‘Revolver’ album. It was the only A-Side Ringo Starr was lead singer on during the band’s lifetime and even though it was designed as a lighthearted tune for Starr’s limited vocal range, multiple interpretations of the songs meaning were put forward at the time. 

The song would be the inspiration behind the ‘Yellow Submarine’ film which was released in 1968 as a way of fulfilling The Beatles three film deal they had with United Artists. Having an animated film with the band only featuring in a short cameo at the end meant that this contract had been honoured. The film came out in July 1968 in the UK, but fans of the band had to wait until the beginning of 1969 for a soundtrack album to come out. The album was criticised for not giving fans of the band the usual value for money that they had become accustomed to. In that, of the thirteen tunes on the record, only six were by The Beatles and of these, only four had not been released before. The other seven were instrumentals written by their producer George Martin. The band considered releasing an EP of the four previously unreleased songs with the additional of the Across the Universe, which had not come out up until that point. The EP idea was shelved, but the songs had been mixed in mono specifically for this release and would eventually see the light of day in 2009 when ‘The Beatles in Mono’ box was released. Well all except the original version of Across the Universe.  

What if the band had released this EP in the summer of 1968 when the film came out? All of the songs that were used had all been recorded at that point, being as they were outtakes from other recording projects. As the songs on the EP are quite long, the original EP would have been released playing at 33rpm. However, this meant that the sound quality would have compromised some what so for this exercise, we will keep the playing speed at 45rpm. That means that the EP will need to take inspiration from the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ EP and being a double disc affair. That also means that there is a little more time to play with. So here is the play list. 

Disc 1 – Side A

  1. Yellow Submarine (Spoken Intro, different sound effects, mono)

Disc 1 – Side B

  1. Hell Bulldog (Mono)
  2. All Together Now (Mono)

Disc 2 – Side A

  1. It’s All Too Much (Mono)

Disc 2 – Side B

  1. Only A Northern Song (Mono)
  2. Across The Universe (Take 8, mono)

‘Hell Bulldog’, ‘All Together Now’, ‘It’s All Too Much’ and ‘Only a Northern Song’ are as per the mono found on ‘The Beatles in Mono’ box set, but to be good value for money, there would have been the aforementioned Across the Universe. This would have been take 8 of the song, which included some additional humming vocals and psychedelic instrumentation which were removed when it was eventually released in 1969. No doubt because psychedelia was a bit old hat by then. This would also be at the original speed so would last for 3 mins 44 seconds. The second previously unreleased track (in this version anyway) is ‘Yellow Submarine’. Instead of putting out the version most fans would have owned on Revolver or single, this version would have included the spoken intro version as well as using a slightly different mix with alternative sound effects. It’s A Too Much would most probably have been needed to be released at 33rpm due to it being nearly six and a half minutes long. 

If that had been released in June 1968, it would have fitted a gap in The Beatles release schedule and would have been a way of wetting the appetite for the forthcoming ‘Yellow Submarine’ film. George Martin though would have missed out on the biggest pay day of his career if this EP had been released instead of the soundtrack LP. 

Let It Be (1969)

Music, as has been said many times before, is subjective to the person listening to it. Therefore, there is no such as thing as bad music. There is just music you like or you don’t. With the ‘Let It Be’ album though, this is without doubt one of the weaker releases in the groups discography. The original 1970 LP had been worked over by legendary Phil Spector to paper over some of the cracks which was down to there being a lack of top notch material, apathy from the participants or the realisation (even if they were not going to admit it) that the bands days were numbered. George Harrison, out of all of the The Beatles was feeling the need to branch out on his own due to the lack of space for his material on the bands LPs, and it was only in 1968 that one of his songs was included on a single, albeit on the B-Side. 

Having listened the the original LP, the Naked variation and numerous bootlegs that have circulated shows that even though lots of songs that would become well known were presented at the sessions, these tended to not to be finished, or in Harrison’s case, not given the recognition they deserved. The sessions took place in January of 1969 and until ‘Let It Be’ came out in May 1970, the only release from those sessions was the ‘Get Back’ single, backed with ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ in April 1969. George Martin, the bands producer up until this point, had been there for the recording sessions, but the tapes were given over to audio engineer Glyn Johns to do something with, and what he back with was the ‘Get Back’ album. 

Johns was given a free hand to do what he wanted with the tapes, and he preferred to use the rougher version of the songs that had been recorded. More polished performances would be used when the ‘Let It Be’ album was eventually released. These rougher versions included some studio chatter, flash starts and takes that broke down. It really did show The Beatles with their trousers down. Needless to say, the mix that John’s had prepared in May 1969 was rejected. 

What if the album was not released in 1970, but an EP of some of the stronger songs was sent to record shops, using Glyn John’s mix and released as a stop gap between the release of ‘The Ballad of John & Yoko’ single in May 1969 and the ‘Abbey Road’ LP in the September. Once again, the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ is the inspiration behind this release. 

Disc 1 – Side A

  1. Dig A Pony

Disc 1 – Side B

  1. For You Blue
  2. I’ve Got A Feeling

Disc 2 – Side A

  1. Let It Be

Disc 2 – Side B

  1. Two Of Us

If we look at what did make the ‘Let It Be’ album and is not on this EP, ‘Get Back’ is most probably the most glaring absentee. However, this was released as a single in April of 1969 so would be doubling up on songs if used. The Beatles tried to keep singles off of albums and so I used the same logic here. If we look back to the ‘Yellow Submarine’ EP, we are looking at giving Beatles fans value for money. The B-Side of this single, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ does not get a place on the EP for the same reason. In this alternative timeline, ‘Across The Universe’ would have come out on the Yellow Submarine EP with ‘Dig It’ and ‘Maggie Mae’ being short snippets so no major loss there. As was the way of thing, Harrison would not have got more than one song on this proposed EP, so it was a toss up between ‘For You Blue’ and ‘I Me Mine’. Not much to choose from on these, and neither are particularly good, especially with what Harrison would release on the next Beatles album and his first solo album. 

That leaves ‘One After 909’, which we’ll come back to on the next Lost Beatles EP and ‘The Long and Winding Road’. McCartney obviously loves the song. He re-recorded it for his ‘Give My Regards to Broadstreet’ project, and wanting to remove the production work of Phil Spector was the impetus for completing ‘Let It Be…Naked’. Plenty of people have covered it, Brian Wilson (who knows a thing or two about great songs) says it is his all time favourite Beatles track, but to these ears, it it just not up there with McCartney’s best work, and there are better songs on this EP. Granted, this is not the worst McCartney song from these sessions. ‘Teddy Boy’, take a bow. 

Rooftop Concert (1977)

When The Beatles deal with EMI ran out in the mid-70s, the company spent a good deal of its time releasing numerous compilation albums of bands work. However, the only release that of previously unissued material was the ‘Live at the Hollywood Bowl’ LP. You would have thought that with the amount of unreleased material in the archive, they would have been a bit of imaginative, but what do I know about the workings of a multinational record company out to make the quickest buck as possible. 

The album does suffer from the technology of the time that it was recorded, and the time in which it was released. George Martin did a good job with what he had, but the alternative history release here is what would have happened if EMI had raided the archive for a release of another live performance by the band. In this case, a few songs from the rooftop concert from 1969, recorded during the making of the ‘Let It Be’ album. Once again, taking a cue from the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ EP, this is spread over two discs. The Rooftop concert is so famous and inspirational that many other band have copied it down the years, and was brilliantly parodied by The Rutles. 

‘One After 909’ starts things off and then is followed by ‘Dig a Pony’, which is a different version than the one used on the ‘Let It Be’ EP. ‘I Got A Feeling’ actually finishes, which did not happen in take that was used when Glyn Johns produced his mix. ‘Get Back’ finishes the EP off nicely, but without Lennon famously saying ‘thank you on behalf of the group’ as this was on the third run through of the song. With that, we finish our look at the Lost Beatles EPs. 

Disc 1

  1. One After 909
  2. Dig A Pony

Disc 2

  1. I’ve Got A Feeling (First Version)
  2. Get Back (Second Version)

None of these EPs could be reproduced on Spotify due to some of the material still not having been officially released. It would have been nice if the Rooftop Concert had been included in the ‘Let It Be’ deluxe edition box set which in my opinion, is a bit light on bonus tracks.

Harry Nilsson – Singles

For those who have been following the musical adventures of the Squire down the years will know that I am a big fan of Harry Nilsson. Not only have I produced a couple of Lost Album compilations entering on covers of the great man, I also produced a couple of podcasts. It was due to these podcasts that I was contacted by author Neil Watson who was putting together a book about Nilsson called ‘Harry & Me’. In the words of the author himself “HARRY AND ME is a collection of stories by Nilsson’s fans and people who knew him, going some way to explaining why this unique musician who never toured or gave concert performances managed to elicit such intrigue and adoration from his fans, friends and collaborators”.

Anyway, I was asked to contribute to the book and in doing so, I started to play my old Nilsson records and thought it was about time I put together some fantasy releases for him. The first of these is dedicated to singles that Nilsson released under his own name. This does not cover all of the singles he released during his lifetime, but they will be covered on a future compilation. To introduce this compilation, I feel that a short history of Nilsson is in order. 

Nilsson signed with RCA Victor in 1966 as a performer and released his first album a year later. However, Nilsson had been on the fringes of the music scene for a number of years beforehand. He formed a duo with a friend of his singing songs in a style reminiscent of the Everly Brothers. This in turn lead him to be contracted to songwriter Scott Turner to sing on some demos he had written. This in turn lead him to work with John Marascalco, who financed some singles that were released on small, independent labels. The first of these would be ‘Baa Baa Blacksheep’ and this came out in 1963. More singles would follow released under pseudonyms such as Johnny Niles and Bo-Pete, but these will not be included here as I am just including singles related under his own name. Some local airplay was secured but success eluded him. 

By 1964, he was working with Phil Spector and even though some of their songs were recorded, some did not see the light of day until they were put out on some archival releases years after the event. It was around this period that he started working with songwriter and publisher Perry Botkin who started to plug his clients songs. He also became friendly with composer and arranger, George Tipton who financed some Nilsson recordings which they were able to place with the Tower record label, a subsidiary of Capitol Records. These singles were collected together to form the basis of Nilsson’s debut album, ‘Spotlight on Nilsson’. All through this period, Nilsson was not only writing and recording, he also held down a full time job as a computer programmer in a bank. This was all to change once he placed the song ‘Cuddly Toy’ with the The Monkees. Well, that and the fact members of The Beatles started name dropping him in interviews. 

Nilsson only performed in a live context (mostly for TV shows) a few times during the very early years of his signing to RCA, and realising that he didn’t like the experience, he decided to focus on producing his material in the studio. Nilsson is therefore one of the few artists who have been commercially successful without going out on tour. 

Nilsson would hit his commercial peak in 1971 with the release of the ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’ album that included on it his biggest hit, ‘Without You’ on it. After that, Nilsson would follow his muse by recording a standards album, 20 years before anyone thought it was actually a good idea. He appeared in a really seen film made by Ringo Starr called ‘Son of Dracula’ and then got together in the studio with John Lennon to record the ‘Pussy Cats’ album, which was recorded at a time when the pair were getting drunk and misbehaving in Los Angeles. This period has been retrospectively called Lennon’s Lost Weekend period. The sessions would also see Nilsson rupture his vocal cords and instead of resting them, he carried on. You can clearly hear Nilsson struggling to sing on some of the songs and there are some who say his voice never recovered from the sessions. 

The albums that followed ‘Pussy Cats’ had their moments, but there was too much filler compared to his earlier releases. There was a concerted effort in 1977 to promote the ‘Knnillssonn’ album, but it was released around the time Elvis Presley died so RCA focused on making sure there was plenty of stock for the King’s in the record store. This was to the detriment of Nilsson and this was his last album for RCA. Nilsson would only complete two more records in his lifetime. 1980s ‘Flash Harry’ and the soundtrack to the Popeye film in 1981. After that, Nilsson focused much of his time on promoting gun control in response to the killing of his friend John Lennon. There would be the odd single released, a musical based on the life of Emiliano Zapata and an attempt at one more record which was left unfinished by the time Nilsson died in 1994. 

This will be the first in a series of What-If complication and is not a greatest hits or best of package but it would also need to be a double album to fit all of the records onto it. This contains all of the single mixes and exclusive B-Sides that was released under the Nilsson name. It includes all of his pre RCA released singles as well as a smattering of rarities, such as the promo single that was recorded with Cher. Her version of ‘A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Everyday)’ was produced by Phil Spector, with Nilsson claiming that the backing track was meant to have been used on John Lennon’s ‘Rock n Roll’ album. The song would also appear on the Warner Brothers sampler album ‘Burbank’s Finest 100% All Meat’. There is also the single ‘Please Mr Music Man’ which was recorded back in 1962 as part of the work he did for Scott Turner. These sessions had only been Nilsson singing over a guitar backing track but by the time this single was released in 1977, backing musicians had been dubbed on to the tapes. His last single was the song ‘How About You’ which was recorded for the film, ‘The Fisher King’. 

The sleeve for this compilation is based around the RCA company sleeve that was used when Nilsson released his ‘Daybreak’ single, with added graphics as well as a picture of the great man where the record centre should be.

Side A

  1. Baa Baa Blacksheep
  2. Baa Baa Blacksheep (Part 2)
  3. Sixteen Tons
  4. I’m Gonna Lose My Mind
  5. Donna I Understand
  6. Wig Job
  7. You Can’t Take Your Love (Away For Me)
  8. Born in Grenada

Side B

  1. She’s Yours
  2. Growin’ Up
  3. Sister Marie
  4. Mournin’ Glory Story
  5. Rainmaker
  6. I Will Take You There (Single Mix)
  7. Waiting

Side C

  1. Buy My Album
  2. Down To The Valley (Single Mix)
  3. Jump Into The Fire (Single Mix)
  4. Joy (Japanese Single Mix)
  5. Daybreak (Single Mix)
  6. A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Every Day (Promo Single)
  7. Please Mr. Music Man

Side D

  1. Ain’t It Kinda Wonderful
  2. With A Bullet
  3. Judy
  4. Loneliness
  5. Silver Horse
  6. How About You (Single Mix)

If you are interested in buying a copy of the book, it can be purchased by following either of these links.

https://thisdayinmusicbooks.com/product/harry-me/

The Beatles – Hot As Sun

2021 has been a busy year for Beatles related material. There has already been deluxe box sets of Lennon’s ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ LP as we as Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’. Ringo Starr has released two EPs of new material where as McCartney has seen the release of ‘McCartney III Imagined’ album. There is even the forthcoming ‘Let It Be’ reissue and ‘Get Back’ TV show to look forward to. Beatles fans have needed very deep pockets to pay for all of this.

With ‘Let It Be’ the last album The Beatles released which contained new material, there has always been speculation of what another album by the band would have sounded like if they had stayed together. I had a look at what The Beatles back catalogue could have been like if they had not split up in 1970, and continued on until the mid part of that decade when Lennon decided to help raise his second son, Sean. Well, with the release of the aforementioned 50th anniversary editions of Lennon’s ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’; and Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass’ album, I thought it would be an opportunity to look at this subject again, but from a slightly different perspective. Where as before, I compiled a series of double albums including singles and EP releases from the releases the solo Beatles put out between 1969 and 1975, this one will concentrate on 1970 alone. First, a little bit of history. 

The break up of The Beatles can most probably be traced back to the unfortunate death of their manager, Brian Epstein in 1967. Lennon is quoted as saying that the band were in trouble as soon as this happened as he did not have any misconceptions about their ability to play anything other than music. This would turn out to be true. Even though the overall standard of music  did not drop, inter band relations started to deteriorate as personal interests and business ventures took over. These included:

1. Apple. The Beatles as businessmen, maybe not their best idea. Encompassing everything from music publishing, computers, electronics, retail and a record label, the company was run by members of the bands entourage regardless of their experience or capabilities. Harrison would say later “Basically, it was chaos … John and Paul got carried away with the idea and blew millions, and Ringo and I just had to go along with it.”

2. Recording of ‘The Beatles’. Tensions in the studio ran high as the band recorded the follow up to the ‘Sgt. Peppers’ album. At one point, Ringo Starr left the band for two weeks. Lennon lost interest with working with McCartney feeling that the laters material such as ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ was nothing more than “Granny music shit”. The group also stopped working as a band. Essentially this album was collection of songs by individuals which just happened to have the other Beatles on them essentially serving as nothing but backing musicians. Lennon also started to bring avant-garde artist Yoko Ono to sessions, breaking the unwritten rule that wives and/or girlfriends were not allowed in the studio. 

3. Not taking a break after the recording of ‘The Beatles’. The original plan for the ‘Let It Be’ film was to use the material recording for the 1968 “The Beatles’ LP, but this did not last as it was suggested it should be a record of new material. There was only a three month break between the end of the sessions for ‘The Beatles’ and work starting on what would become the ‘Let it Be’ album. The band had a bunch of new songs they had been working on but few were in anything like a competed state. Lennon had also acquired a heroin addiction and both he and McCartney were dismissive of Harrison’s material. It would be Harrison’s turn to leave the band for a short time during these sessions. 

4. Allen Klein. McCartney and the rest of the band disagreed on who should represent the bands’ business affairs. McCartney wanted to appoint Lee and John Eastman, his brother and father in law. The remaining Beatles wanted Allen Klein. McCartney lost the vote by three to one. 

5. Lennon himself. On 20th September 1969, Lennon announced to the other members of the band that he was going to leave The Beatles, but this information was not made public as they did not want to hurt sales of the their forthcoming album. 

6. Phil Spector. McCartney had wanted the ‘Let It Be’ sessions to be a back to basics recording after the amount of time the band had spent recording their previous couple of albums. Initially called ‘Get Back’, the original mix was a rough a ready affair with snippets of songs (‘Save the Last Dance for Me’), jams (‘Dig It’ & ‘Rocker’) and other that break down during a take (‘I’ve Got a Feeling’). This was rejected and Phil Spector was brought in to finish the record off for release. He edited songs and added orchestration which McCartney objected too. When his demands for these alterations to be removed were ignored, he announced his departure from The Beatles. Unlike Lennon’s, this announcement was released to the public.

This is a very brief run down of why The Beatles broke up. The accepted narrative has been that that ‘Abbey Road’ was the band attempt to go out on a high, because each of them knew that the band would not be able to function as a unit for too much longer. This was until a tape was brought to light by author Mark Lewisohn in 2019. The tape was recorded in September of 1969, and it was recorded by Lennon, McCartney and Harrison as they met up at the Apple offices in Saville Row to discuss the recording of their next album to follow on from ‘Abbey Road’. The tape was made for the benefit of Ringo Starr who could not make the meeting due to being in hospital at the time. 

Lennon laid out the approach for the next album which is where he, McCartney and Harrison would each have four songs on the album, credited to them alone. It would seem that the days of the Lennon-McCartney credit on the records was over. Starr would have two songs on the record if he wanted them. There should also be a single out for Christmas. Tensions are evident on the discussion as McCartney states that he did not think Harrison’s songs were very good until ‘Abbey Road’. Lennon retorts that no one seemed to be a fan of ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ and that songs like that should be given to artists outside of the group. This meeting occurred on 8th September and has already been noted, Lennon decided to leave on 20th. However, what would have happened if Lennon had decided not to leave and all the other bits and pieces that had gone on since Epstein’s had not derailed what is arguably the most influential band of all time? Well, he is another attempt following the template laid down by Lennon on the 8th September tape. 

In some respects, this is quite easy. Both Lennon and Harrison released great albums in 1970. McCartney also released an album so having four songs from each is quite straight forward. The issue is with Ringo. He had normally had one vocal spot on each Beatles album (the exceptions being ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘Beatles For Sale’), but had not been one for writing songs in his own right. Even though he did compose ‘Don’t Pass Me By’ which would be released on ‘The Beatles’ in 1968, the songs had been written as far back as 1962. Before this, there was ‘What Goes On’ from ‘Rubber Soul’ and after this, ‘Octopus Garden’ from ‘Abbey Road’. After The Beatles split, his first two albums, both released in 1970 would be made up of covers. It would take unit 1973 for an album of original material to appear, and even then, half of the tracks were not written by Starr. His first song to be released as a single that was not a cover was ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ which did not come out until 1971 so is out of the scope of this album. So what are we left with from Starr? One song and that is ‘Coochy Coochy’ which was originally released on the B-Side of his debut singe, ‘Beacoups of Blue’. 

For the other three, McCartney is also limited in what I can use. His first solo album was criticised for being under-produced and unfinished. There was a good deal of instrumentals on this album and critics noted that apart from ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’, the material appeared to be below the standards he had set during his time with The Beatles. Having listened to it again in preparation for this project, these criticisms seem justified. This is especially true when you compare it to the albums Harrison and Lennon would put out later that year which in my opinion are classics. What McCartney’s and Lennon’s albums have in common though is the striped back nature of the recordings. 

McCartney pretty much recorded the album on his own, where as Lennon employed only two other musicians for the majority of the recordings. ‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’ may have been a Phil Spector production, but the trademark Wall of Sound was absent here. However, it was there in abundance on Harrison’s ‘All Things Must Pass’. With the release of the Super Deluxe Edition of this album in 2021, the archives were well and truly opened with a staggering amount of unreleased material coming out. These recordings tend to be a bit more basic than those on the original album, so taking these along with the albums from Lennon and McCartney, this could have been the stripped down album ‘Let It Be’ could have been. 

The majority of the songs came out on those solo albums even though Ringo’s song was a B-Side. However, there was one demo that was on ‘All Things Must Pass’ which fitted in quite nicely and that was the demo of ‘Woman Don’t You Cry’. This song would eventually see the list of day as the opening song for the 1976 album, ‘Thirty Three & a Third’. 

Side A

  1. Every Night – Paul McCartney
  2. I Found Out (Take 1) – John Lennon
  3. Coochy Coochy – Ringo Starr
  4. Apple Scruff (Day 1 Demo) – George Harrison
  5. Maybe I’m Amazed – Paul McCartney
  6. Love (Elements Mix) – John Lennon

Side B 

  1. That Would Be Something – Paul McCartney
  2. Look At Me (Elements Mix) – John Lennon
  3. Run Of The Mill (Day 2 Demo) – George Harrison
  4. Woman Don’t You Cry (Take 5) – George Harrison
  5. Working Class Hero (Take 9) – John Lennon
  6. Isn’t It  A Pity (Take 27) – George Harrison
  7. Junk – Paul McCartney

This playlist only covers the album. What of the single Lennon mentioned should be out for Christmas 1969? There aren’t too many candidates for this. The band could have released another single from the ‘Let It Be’ sessions as a way of previewing the album. ‘Let It Be’ itself, which did not come out in 1970 could have been brought forward. ‘You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)’ could still have been the B-Side. McCartney did not release a solo single until 1971 and Harrison would not release one until the recording of ‘All Things Must Pass. Only Lennon had something in the can in the shape of ‘Cold Turkey’, which could have been used, even though a different B-Side would have been required. That is because the original B-Side was ”Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow) which was written by Yoko Ono. There were plenty of songs the band demoed during the this that could have finished off and recorded such as ‘Child Of Nature’, ‘Goodbye’, ‘Sour Milk Sea’ or for something a bit more obscure, ‘The Palace of the King of Birds’. 

For the title of this album, I drew inspiration from the an article that appeared in a 1970 edition of Rolling Stone Magazine which talked about a Beatles LP you would never hear. The story went that the album was recorded but the master tapes had been stolen. This album was to be known as ‘Hot As Sun’, a track that had appeared on McCartney’s debut album. The story itself was a complete fabrication. The cover itself was found on the internet but I did not make a note of where it came from so I am afraid I cannot give a credit to the person who created it. 

The Lost Pubs of Richmond Upon Thames (Part 2)

Throughout the centuries, Richmond Upon Thames has contained many pubs within its boundaries. Here I am once again joined by Richard Holmes, author of Pubs, Inns and Taverns of Richmond to look at some of those that are no longer with us as well as the Breweries that were once found within the town.

If you are interested in buying any of Richard’s books, he can be contacted here holmes1@blueyonder.co.uk.

Jimi Hendrix – The Mike Jefferies Years

It was only after competing my retrospective look at the Hendrix related discs Alan Douglas put out that I though I really should have produced one of the best tracks from the Mike Jeffereis years. These were the years between Hendrix’s death in 1970 and 1974 even though Jefferies himself died in a plane accident in 1973. What I learned from listening to these albums (and this was also noted in my previous post), is that this could be the best example of the law of diminishing returns. ‘The Cry Of Love’ and ‘Rainbow Bridge’ are very good records. However, the two that followed are not. ‘War Heroes’ has some good material but the majority is pretty substandard. It is even worse on ‘Loose Ends’ which was so bad, that Reprise who represented Hendrix in the USA refused to release it. You can tell how bad it is that when the Hendrix family took over the catalogue in the 1990’s and seem to have release every recording Hendrix made bar him blowing his nose (even though it has felt as though they may as well have done), there is still one song from ‘Loose Ends’ that has so far failed to see a re-release. 

As you can see from this double album, the majority of the cuts come form the first two releases of the Mike Jefferies era and there is some crossover with the Alan Douglas LP, but where as those tracks have session musicians on them, the Jefferies releases did keep the original players on there. Still a good album though but apart from ‘The Cry Of Love’, the Hendrix family have seen to it that these records were deleted from the Hendrix catalogue and I will surprised if they ever see the light of day again. It is not as though they are rare through as most were in production for over twenty years.  

Side 1

  1. Freedom* (The Cry Of Love)
  2. Night Bird Flying* (The Cry Of Love)
  3. Come Down Hard On Me Baby (Loose Ends)
  4. Stepping Stone* (War Heroes)
  5. Astro Man (The Cry Of Love)

Side B

  1. Drifting * (The Cry Of Love)
  2. In From The Storm* (The Cry Of Love)
  3. Dolly Dagger (Rainbow Bridge)
  4. Hey, Baby, New Morning Sun (Rainbow Bridge)

Side C

  1. Ezy Rider (The Cry Of Love)
  2. Room Full Of Mirrors (Rainbow Bridge)
  3. Straight Ahead (The Cry Of Love)
  4. Izabella (War Heroes)
  5. Look Over Yonder (Rainbow Bridge)

Side D

  1. Bleeding Heart (War Heroes)
  2. Drifters Escape (Loose Ends)
  3. Earth Blues (Rainbow Bridge)
  4. Angel* (The Cry Of Love)
  5. Belly Button Window* (The Cry Of Love)

*These songs also appeared on the Alan Douglas Years compilation from earlier in the month. 

The cover image is an adaptation of the one used for ‘The Cry of Love’ album.

Jimi Hendrix – The Alan Douglas Years

The posthumous career of Jimi Hendrix can be split into three periods. The first period was just after he died when his manager Mike Jeffery was keen to milk the Hendrix cash cow for all it was worth. The second is after Jeffery had died (in 1973) and producer Alan Douglas took over the tape catalogue, as well as paying out of his pocket for tapes that Hendrix had recorded at the Record Plant studios. The third period is from the mid 90s up until the present day where the Hendrix family took control of the guitar players recorded legacy and have put out a steady steam of releases ever since. It is the second period that this entry deals with. 

After buying all of the albums released during his lifetime, I turned my attention to the records that were put after his death. These came quite quickly with ‘The Cry Of Love’ being the first of these and was compiled by engineer Eddie Kramer as well as drummer Mitch Mitchell. The cover is a stunning piece of work and was quite successful with the record buying public on both sides of the Atlantic. Even though this cannot be considered to be the fourth Hendrix studio album because the song mixes had not been finalised by the man himself, it contained a couple of classic numbers including the lovely song, Angel.

From what was a positive start with the posthumous releases, this soon turned into a case of diminishing returns. I did not manage to secure a copy of ‘Rainbow Bridge’ but I did pick up ‘War Heroes’ and wondered what Hendrix himself would have thought of this and was it worthy of release. The nadir of the period was ‘Loose Ends’, an album considered to be so bad that the Reprise record label refused to release it in the US. 

The last album from this period of Hendrix album releases that I bought was 1975’s  ‘Crash Landing’. I think I played it once and until recently, I have never listened to it again. It just didn’t do it for me at the time. I think I was just into that psych period of Hendrix too much to want to hear his ‘I’ve moved onto something more heavy and funky’ period. ‘Crash Landing’ was the first of the Douglas releases and he would release another four ‘studio’ albums during his tenure as the keeper of the Hendrix archives. His time in this capacity has been seen by seem as controversial.

The controversy arises form he fact that Douglas replaced the original backing tracks of some of the songs on the releases he put out, utilising sessions players. These weren’t any old sessions players though, but some of the best in the business. In defence of Douglas, if he wanted to make a cash grab album, why spend money on some of the best musicians around. They would not have come cheap. He would also have needed to have updated the sound to appeal to the record buying public of 1975. The crate digging career overview box sets of today were not a thing back in the mid 70’s. As far as I can think of, only Buddy Holly & Jim Reeves had had their career prolonged in this way by releasing archive material up to that point. Using session musicians did not endure Douglas to fans of Hendrix, and it might not have helped his cause that he claimed writing credits on some of the ‘Crash Landing’ songs. 

A few months later, a second Douglas produced Hendrix album was released. ‘Midnight Lightning’ followed the same template as ‘Crash Landing’ including using the same set of session musicians. This was followed up with ‘Nine To The Universe’ which was made up of edited jam sessions, but unlike the previous efforts, Douglas used most of the original backing tracks. Apart from the repacking of already released songs and live albums, Douglas waited until 1994 to release some new Hendrix studio product. ’Blues’ contained some songs that had already been released but the majority had not been. Some of them were composites of multiple takes that were edited together to form a new song. This record also included the original backing tracks. One last Douglas album was 1995’s ‘Voodoo Soup’ which was Douglas’ attempt at creating the album Hendrix was working on when he died. The album did receive some positive reviews but there was still the criticism that outside musicians were brought in to re-record parts Douglas felt were substandard. Not long after this, the Hendrix family gained the rights to the archives and Douglas’s association came to an end.   

All of the albums released after Hendrix’s death until the release of the first Hendrix family approved albums in 1997 have been deleted from the back catalogue. However, these releases were around long time and enough copies were sold so it was not difficult to pick up the records missing from the collection, and I feel that in the past I fell into the trap many other have of dismissing Douglas’ contribution to the Hendrix legacy. The albums have good players playing on, the covers don’t look cheap (even though the Voodoo Soup one is a bit weird) and if Douglas was only after the money, why did he release so few Hendrix studio session albums. The Hendrix family have released considerably more in their time as custodians of the archive, some of it of very dubious quality. The ‘Blues’ album is also still part of the official catalogue, so if Douglas did such a bad job, why not delete everything he did? If the backing tracks that were recorded with Hendrix in the studio were so good, then why has the Hendrix family not released a studio cut of ‘Machine Gun’? Douglas did.  

I put this playlist together using the following albums; ‘Crash Landing’, ‘Midnight Lightning’ and ‘Voodoo Soup’. I did not use ‘Nine To The Universe’ as none of the tunes fitted in with this playlist,  and ‘Blues’ is still available. I wanted to see if the recording held up and there was enough for a double album. It could be presented as the best of the Douglas years and it is unlikely that the Hendrix family will never do this themselves. 

I was inspired to put this compilation together by reading an excellent blog, http://deadhendrix.blogspot.com. It goes into a lot more detail. looking at each of the albums made up of studio cuts that were put out between 1970 and 1996. It with thanks to that blogger that I listened and re-evaluated the Douglas era. It is bloggers like this that the internet needs. Putting out fresh perspectives and challenging old ideas. I salute you, whoever you are.  

Side 1

  1. Message To Love (Voodoo Soup)
  2. Come Down Hard On Me (Crash Landing)
  3. Midnight Lightning (Midnight Lightning)
  4. Gypsy Boy (Midnight Lightning)

Side 2

  1. Room Full Of Mirrors (Voodoo Soup)
  2. Night Bird Flying (Voodoo Soup)
  3. With The Power (Crash Landing)
  4. Drifting (Voodoo Soup)

Side 3

  1. The New Rising Sun (Voodoo Soup)
  2. Belly Button Window (Voodoo Soup)
  3. Freedom (Voodoo Soup)
  4. Stepping Stone (Voodoo Soup)
  5. In From The Storm (Voodoo Soup)

Side 4

  1. Once I Had A Woman (Midnight Lightning)
  2. Machine Gun (Midnight Lightning)
  3. Angel (Voodoo Soup)

The cover for this compilation as adapted from an unused Henri Martinez painting that had been commissioned by Hendrix for his next album but ultimately not used. I added a Hendrix related logo. 

Jimi Hendrix – The Collection Vol.2

After Hendrix finished recording ‘Electric Ladyland’, Hendrix would only release one more album before his untimely death. That album was to fulfil a contract he signed before he made it big and was called ‘Band of Gypsys’. It was a live album of live songs Hendrix had not released before and was seen by Hendrix himself as not up to the standard he had set for himself. ‘Band of Gypsys’ is not a bad album, with ‘Machine Gun’ being seen as an artistic triumph but it does pale in comparison with what came before. With his outstanding contract problems seemingly out of the way, Hendrix went back to finishing off the album he had been working on since he finished ‘Electric Ladyland’.

Hendrix spent much of time between the end of the ‘Electric Ladyland’ session until his death in and out of the studio. With the amount of studio material that has seen the light of day over the years, it is surprising the Hendrix had any time to play live, eat or it would seem breath. He was even putting together his own stood called Electric Lady because he had run up massive bills from the amount of time he had spent block booking other studios to record as much as he possible could. This second compilation focuses on the period of time Hendrix was recording his fourth album but there is still room for some tunes from the years when the Experience was a going concern. This just goes to show that Hendrix had amassed an amazing amount of material and it is a tragedy that he never got to finish it. Enjoy! 

Disc 1

  1. And The Gods Made Love – Electric Ladyland
  2. Who Knows – Band Of Gypsys
  3. Mannish Boy – Blues
  4. Little Miss Lover – Axis: Bold Of Love
  5. Highway Chile – Single B-Side
  6. Message To Love (Alt Version) – West Coast Seattle Boy
  7. Somewhere – People, Hell & Angels
  8. Dolly Dagger – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  9. Stepping Stone – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  10. Look Over Yonder – South Saturn Delta
  11. Hey Baby/In From The Storm (Live) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (2000)
  12. Shame, Shame, Shame – West Coast Seattle Boy
  13. Everlasting First – West Coast Seattle Boy
  14. Suddenly November Morning – West Coast Seattle Boy
  15. Machine Gun – Band Of Gypsys
  16. (Have You Ever Been To) Electric Ladyland – Electric Ladyland

Disc 2

  1. Valleys Of Neptune – Valleys Of Neptune
  2. Astro Man – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  3. Izabella – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  4. Gypsy Eyes – Electric Ladyland
  5. Freedom – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  6. Room Full Of Mirrors – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  7. Rock Me Baby (Live) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (2000)
  8. Let Me Love You – People, Hell & Angels
  9. Here He Comes (Lover Man) – South Saturn Delta
  10. Night Bird Flying – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  11. Drifter’s Escape (Alt Take) – South Saturn Delta
  12. Power Of Soul (Alt Take) – South Saturn Delta
  13. Bleeding Heart – Blues
  14. It’s Too Bad – The Jimi Hendrix Experience (2000)
  15. Drifting – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  16. Love Or Confusion – Are You Experienced
  17. Belly Button Window – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun

Like Volume 1, the front cover was an image I came across back in the dim distant past so I’m afraid I will not be able to credit the person who made it.

Jimi Hendrix – The Collection Vol.1

My first experience (no pun intended) of Hendrix was on a K-Tel compilation album called ‘British Gold’. The track listing for that album included ‘Hey Joe’, and a look in the Squire archive in the late 80s when I was expanding my musical pallet contained some of the Track Records sampler albums that went by the name of ‘Backtrack’ as well as the ‘Smash Hits’ compilation. Not much to go on but this was about to change. 

My interest in Hendrix was really awakened when someone brought in a cassette into school of the ‘Radio One’ album. What an album this was seeing as it was a compilation of songs Hendrix had recorded for the BBC. With an eye catching cover of the great man himself wielding a Fender Stratocaster guitar, the music contained within was different, electrifying and nothing like anything in the charts at the time it came out in 1988. This seemed to be the album everyone bought and I duel bought mine. A bargain as well at only £5 for a double LP. This album received a lot of plays on the turntable and was great it that this only included what could be argued to be the best version of songs that he seemed to only play at the BBC like Drivin’ South. Compare this to the ‘BBC Sessions’ album released ten years later and you’ll see what I mean. The later album might be more comprehensive, but in my opinion ‘Radio One’ is the definitive album of the two. 

After ‘Radio One’ has wetted the appetite, I bought all of the records not already in the archive that Hendrix with or without the Experience released in his lifetime. Every album had mind blowing  songs on them, but the icing on the cake was playing through ‘Electric Ladyland’ for the first time. Was this a rock album, or an R&B one? But then again, was it psychedelic or blues, or a melting pot taking all of Hendrix’s influences and blasting them out of the speakers to attack your senses. Who cares, it is a classic album and contains one of the greatest cover version of all time in Hendrix’s interpretation of Dylan’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’.

Most of the recordings contained on this compilation are taken from the releases of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, with only a couple taken from later sessions because the majority of the post ‘Electric Ladyland’ material does not fit in with these earlier recordings sonically for me. Enjoy!

Disc 1

  1. Foxy Lady – Are You Experienced
  2. Manic Depression – Are You Experienced
  3. Fire – Are You Experienced
  4. Killing Floor – BBC Sessions
  5. Red House – Are You Experienced
  6. Can You See Me – Are You Experienced
  7. Hey Joe – Single A-Side
  8. Purple Haze – Single A-Side
  9. 51st Anniversary – Single B-Side
  10. (I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man – BBC Sessions
  11. Wait Until Tomorrow – Axis: Bold As Love
  12. Ain’t No Telling – Axis: Bold As Love
  13. Castles Made Of Sand – Axis: Bold As Love
  14. Hear My Train Comin’ (Acoustic) – Blues
  15. Catfish Blues – BBC Sessions
  16. Driving South (4:49 min version) – BBC Sessions
  17. You Got Me Floatin’ – Axis: Bold As Love
  18. Stone Free – Single B-Side
  19. Crosstown Traffic – Electric Ladyland
  20. Voodoo Chile – Electric Ladyland

Disc 2

  1. Rainy Day, Dream Away – Electric Ladyland
  2. 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be) – Electric Ladyland
  3. Moon, Turn The Tides…Gently Gently Away – Electric Ladyland
  4. The Wind Cries Mary – Single A-Side
  5. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp – Electric Ladyland
  6. Still Raining, Still Dreaming – Electric Ladyland
  7. House Burning Down – Electric Ladyland
  8. All Along The Watchtower – Electric Ladyland
  9. Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) Electric Ladyland
  10. Ezy Ryder – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  11. Spanish Castle Magic – Axis: Bold As Love
  12. Come On (Let The Good Times Roll) – Electric Ladyland
  13. Long Hot Summer Night – Electric Ladyland
  14. Angel – First Rays Of The New Rising Sun
  15. One Rainy Wish – Axis: Bold Of Love
  16. Little Wing – Axis: Bold As Love
  17. Hear My Train A Comin’ – BBC Sessions
  18. Bold As Love – Axis: Bold As Love

The front cover was an image I came across back in the dim distant past so I’m afraid I will not be able to credit the person who made it. 

Normally when it comes to music produced from 1966-68, I tend to go for the mono mix as this is what the majority of artists thought of as the playback system that was dominant at the time. However, to my ears, Hendrix sounds weird in mono (if you are lucky enough to hear in that way) so I have gone with stereo mixes for the majority of the songs on this playlist. I think that the only mono records here are from the single mixes.