The Beach Boys – Smile (Redux)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(RSD Special) Dana Gillespie – The Complete Pye Singles

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

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

Side A

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

Side B

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

The Beach Boys – Endless Bummer Vol.2

I am not be the first person to come up with the concept of looking at the worst recordings from an artists back catalogue. I believe that the first was the infamous bootleg, ‘Elvis’ Greatest Shit’ which was released in 1982 showcasing some of the worst recordings from the King’s career. This is also not the first time I have looked at some of the worst recordings of The Beach Boys. ‘Volume 1’ in this series was posted back in November of 2021. This collection was not only inspired by the aforementioned fake Elvis album, but a Beach Boys bootleg called ‘Endless Bummer, The Very Worst of The Beach Boys’. As I said back in November of last year, it sure does live up to its title. There is a drunk Carl Wilson trying to make his way through ‘Good Vibrations’, Mike Love making a quick buck on some adverts, a Spanish language version of their massive mid 80s hit, ‘Kokomo’ as well Brian Wilson’s father berating him in the recoding studio. However, all of these recording have not been released commercially as far as I can tell, and it is unlikely that they ever will be. 

In these collections, I look at songs that the band officially released and in this case, they all come from their albums. This collection looks at the period between 1967 and 1979. This is a much wider span of years than ‘Volume 1’, but that is down to a number of factors. 

The group became more of a band after the collapse of the ‘Smile’ sessions. Each member contributed songs, and therefore the work load that had once sat on Brian Wilson’s shoulders has now been distributed around a lot more evenly. The release schedule of the albums was a lot more spread out. Where as between 1962 and 1967, the band released 13 studio and one live album. Between 1968 and 1973, they released one new studio album a year. There was then a break of three years before releasing a record a year between 1976 and 1980. 

That period between 1968 and 1973 could be seen as a real purple patch for the band. The albums always contained some excellent material and this was their most consistent period. None of the albums is a classic but as a whole, they are a lot more constant than the period before ‘Pet Sounds’. The amount of filler is dramatically reduced. Like Dylan though, they seemed to leave a lot of A-Grade material in the archive. Thankfully, this has been making its way into the world via bootlegs but more recently archive releases by the band. 

The three year gap between records during the period 1973 and 1976 derailed the band somewhat. A compilation was released called ‘Endless Summer’ which contained some of their most popular songs from the sixties. The compilation sold millions and their manager told the band to start playing some of this material in their sets. The band obliged and with this rise in popularity, they became one of the must see live bands of the mid 1970’s. Brian Wilson meanwhile had taken the death of his father badly and retreated into drug addiction which took him out of action for about two and half years. The knock on effect of both of these events was that The Beach Boys became more of an oldies act. 

What followed were a series of underwhelming albums which has pretty much been the way of The Beach Boys ever since. Instead of setting the trends, they were now following them, trying to stay relevant. This will become more apparent in ‘Volume 3’. So what goodies as it were are served up in they second helping?

Side A

  1. A Day In The Life Of A Tree (Surf’s Up)
  2. I’d Love Just Once To See You (Wild Honey)
  3. Transcendental Meditation (Friends)
  4. Take A Load Off Your Feet (Surf’s Up)
  5. Johnny Carson (Love You)
  6. Solar System (Love You)
  7. I Wanna Pick You Up (Love You)

Side B

  1. TM Song (15 Big Ones)
  2. Match Point Of Your Love (M.I.U. Album) 
  3. Some Of Your Love (Keepin’ The Summer Alive)
  4. Hey Little Tomboy (M.I.U. Album)
  5. Sumahama (L.A. (Light Album))
  6. Shortening’ Bread (L.A. (Light Album)

A Day In The Life Of A Tree – Written from the point of view of a tree and how pollution was slowly killing it. Very much ahead of its time, but according to Al Jardine, it was so depressing that they conned their manager Jack Riley into singing it. Riley may well have been a good manager, but a singer he was not. 

I’d Love Just Once To See You – not a terrible tune by any stretch of the imagination, but it is the lyrics that are the problem here. Something that will come up time and again on this compilation. It is a song about a mundane day but with a little bit at the very end that would have been funny to a very young person, but not for everyone else. Once you know the payoff, it does’t warrant to many repeat listens. 

Transcendental Meditation – I thought that meditation was all about being relaxed. Well, this does not make me relaxed. The brass instruments jar against the noise the rest of the musicians are making and the lyrics sound like they are being sung purposefully badly. A weak effort on an otherwise pretty good album. 

Take A Load Off Your Feet – Who needs a song that tells you how to look after your feet? Well, Al Jardine thought we did. Compared to what was also recorded during the sessions for the ‘Surf’s Up’ that was left in the archive, this was a weak effort. It might have been fun to make but a good song this is not. 

Johnny Carson – Johnny Carson was best known as a talk show host, but mostly in the United States. Anyone not living or at least visiting the USA between 1962 and 1992 when the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson was airing would not have had any idea who this guy was, and why there was a tribute song to him on a Beach Boys album. When the man himself was asked about the song, he said “It was not a work of art”. 

Solar System – Brian Wilson has written some of the greatest pieces of music of all time, but even thought the man himself says he is proud of this effort, this is just a song about stars and planets. The lyrics also sound a bit lazy. “If Mars had life on it, I might find my wife on it”. Oh dear. 

I Wanna Pick You Up – Bring Wilson said this was about a girl/woman (it is unclear which) who is too big to pick up. Is this song about song about an infant even? The lyrics state “pat, pat, pat on her butt, butt”. If it isn’t an infant, then what the hell are these lyrics trying to tell us? 

TM Song – Starting off with a fake argument (the band tried this track on ‘Cassius’ Love v ‘Sonny’ Wilson’ contained on ‘Volume 1’), this is another song about Transcendental Meditation. Still not the most relaxing of listens. 

Match Point Of Your Love – The tune is pretty good, but the lyrics are absolutely terrible. How many tennis metaphors can be made in a song? Too many in this songs case. 

Some Of Your Love – Judging by the lyrics, this sounds as though it was written about a girl in school. the age of the girl is not revealed but by this point in their lives, The Beach Boys were all pushing 40 years of age. Not creepy at all then.

Hey Little Tomboy – In these times of gender fluidity, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been some complaints about this song. Being it is a bit obscure might have helped. The songs is about trying to stop a girl being a tomboy and start being more feminine so the boys would like her. The fact that the songs narrator is Mike Love and tells the tomboy to sit on his lap whilst he is thinking about all of the changes he sees for her could be the most unsettling thing The Beach Boys ever recorded. Remember, this is the band that recorded a song written by Charles Manson. 

When Girls Get Together – Originally recorded for the ‘Sunflower’ album, ten years earlier, this song details that all women seem to talk about are the men in their lives. They don’t have time to waste on what the weather is or that they can’t solve a mystery. Another lyric that has not stood the test of time. 

Shortening’ Bread – Brian Wilson was fixated with recording this song. This is a traditional song and Wilson had the band record numerous versions of this song. In fact, he played it so often that he caused Iggy Pop to proclaim him nuts after subjecting Mr Pop to one of his numerous renditions, that went on and on and on etc. Only one version has been released. In future, we might get a whole album dedicated just to Brian Wilson’s recordings of this song. I do hope not. 

Ding Dang – At under a minute, this must be one of the shortest Beach Boys song. Written by Wilson and Roger McGuinn of The Byrds one night when the former had visited the latter to acquire some amphetamines. Wilson obsessed over this song as well, recording numerous versions but ultimately the one that came out was the same as the version McGuinn and Wilson worked on a few years before. 

I was tempted by a number of songs from ‘Smiley Smile’, especially ‘Little Pad’ which starts off with The Beach Boys obviously stoned, but the rest of the track is pretty good. Shame they didn’t edit out the start. 

Various Artists – A Whole Lot Of Rainbows

It is the start of the summer months, so in the UK that normally means lots of rain. However, that does not mean that the music must match it so here is the first of a series of compilations featuring songs that I hope will bring a touch of sunshine to your day. 

Disc 1

  1. Spinning, Spinning, Spinning – The Ballroom
  2. Stoned Soul Picnic (Mono) – Laura Nyro
  3. You Showed Me – The Turtles
  4. Groovin’ – The Young Rascals
  5. Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In – The 5th Dimension
  6. Five O’Clock World – The Vogues
  7. Walk Right In – The Rooftop Singers
  8. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head – B. J. Thomas
  9. Monday, Monday – The Mamas & The Papas
  10. Daydream – The Loving Spoonful
  11. The 59th Bridge Street Song (Feeling Groovy) – Simon & Garfunkel
  12. Pleasant Valley Sunday – The Monkees
  13. Windy (Mono 45 Mix) – The Association
  14. Good Morning Starshine – Oliver
  15. Yellow Balloon – Yellow Balloon
  16. Ain’t Gonna Lie – Keith
  17. Only You Know & I Know – Delaney & Bonnie
  18. Crystal Blue Persuasion – Tommy James & The Shondells
  19. I Can’t Let Maggie Go – Honeybus
  20. Baby You Come Rollin’ ‘Cross My Mind – The Peppermint Trolley Company
  21. What The World Needs Now Is Love – Jackie De Shannon
  22. Both Sides Now – Judy Collins
  23. This Girl’s In Love With You – Petual Clark
  24. Look, Here Comes The Sun – The Sunshine Company
  25. Angel Of The Morning – Merrilee Rush

Disc 2

  1. Come To The Sunshine (Mono 45 Mix) – Harpers Bizarre
  2. Judy In Disguise – John Fred & His Playboy Band
  3. Good Day Sunshine – The Trembles
  4. Sunshine Superman – Donovan
  5. My Name Is Jack – Manfred Mann
  6. Hair – The Cow-sills
  7. Elenore – The Turtles
  8. (There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me – Sandie Shaw
  9. Eli’s Coming (Mono) – Laura Nyro
  10. Take My Hand – Lee Mallory
  11. Sunshine Girl (Mono 45 Mix) – The Parade
  12. Light My Fire – José Feliciano
  13. Let’s Go To San Francisco – The Flowerpot Men
  14. Elusive Butterfly – Bob Lind
  15. Daydream Believer – The Monkees
  16. A Beautiful Morning – The Rascals
  17. You Didn’t Have Top Be So Nice – The Lovin’ Spoonful
  18. Younger Girl – The Critters
  19. The Rain, The Park & Other Things (Mono 45 Mix) – The Cowsills
  20. I Saw Her Again Last Night – The Mamas & The Papas
  21. Everything Is Sunshine – The Hollies
  22. A Melody For You – The Grass Roots
  23. Mr. Bojangles – Nina Simone
  24. Talking To The Flowers – The Everly Brothers
  25. Back On The Streets Again – The Sunshine Company
  26. I Just Can’t Help Believing – B. J. Thomas

The cover is adapted from a 2005 Warner Brothers compilation of the same name. 

The Millennium – Again

After a little break whilst I looked at the mono masters of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, we finish the month looking once again at the work of Curt Boettcher and the band he produced his masterpiece with, The Millennium. This seven piece band included a number of musicians that Boettcher had worked with on previous projects. Guitarist/singers Lee Mallory and Sandy Salisbury had been a member of The Ballroom. Drummer Ron Edger in The GoldeBriars. Their ‘Begin’ album is one of the few rediscovered albums that actually lives up to the hype. Is is a great record. Columbia records invested an estimated $100,000 into the LP, making it the most expensive record recorded up to that point. You can hear when’re the money went. The production is superb. 

As good as it was, the album and singles did not sell and only came to the attention of most record buyers years later. Now, as with The Ballroom recordings, The Millennium produced a number of songs after the ‘Begin’ sessions finished with ‘Just About The Same’ being put forward as a potential single release. It did not come out due to the commercial failure of the ‘Begin’ album and the fact that none of the singles charted. These additional recordings, including a number of demos have be released on a series of compilation albums since the late 1990’s. 

Looking over the ‘Magic Time’ compilation and ‘The Millennium At Last’, there were a number of songs listed under The Millennium name and I wanted to see if there was enough material for a second album. After playing through them, I found that I had so many that I could put together an LP as well as a number of singles. The production is nowhere were as lush or sophisticated as ‘Begin’, but that is understandable as many of these songs were demos or basic backing tracks that are waiting for additional instrumentation. 

The Millennium did not get the chance to finish this record but no one seems to know why. Some people claim others were dropped by the label, they just decided to split (keeping together a seven piece band cannot be easy) or say that Boettcher himself was fired and the rest of the band decided to call it a day. Whatever the reason, by the end of 1969 The Millennium was over and their one artefact was all but forgotten until being rediscovered in the 1990s. Luckily for fans of Sunshine Pop, the band left enough music for possible what-if second album projects such as this. 

Side 1

  1. Come To Me Baby
  2. I Just Don’t Know How To Say Goodbye
  3. Can You See
  4. Suspended Animation
  5. Dying With You
  6. Share With Me
  7. Little Lost & Found

Side 2

  1. Together In The End
  2. Baby, It’s Real
  3. A Younger Me
  4. Midnight Sun
  5. Sunshine Girl
  6. Magic Island
  7. I Can Still See Your Face

Singles

  1. Just About The Same
  2. Blight
  1. Good People
  2. How Much I Love You
  1. Navajo Girl
  2. Sometime Or Another
  1. Will You Ever See Me
  2. The Blue Marble

The cover for this compilation is from the Poptones compilation of the same name with the Columbia logo added.

This compilation could not be reproduced due to more than one song not being available on Spotify.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – The Original Mono Masters

On 12th May 1967, The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their debut album, ‘Are You Experienced’. American Hendrix had been brought to the UK by ex-Animals bass player, Chas Chandler, who had seen the potential the guitar player. Chandler recruited band members Mitch Mitchel and Noel Redding and the group started performing live gigs. It was through his performances that the great and the good of the UK music scene watch him perform. By the end of 1966, their debut single, a cover of ‘Hey Joe’ was released. The single crashed into the top ten of the UK singles charts and the band went into the studio to record an album. 

‘Are You Experienced’ featured a diverse number of styles with rock, R&B, traditional blues and even a science fiction inspired song called ‘Third Stone From The Sun’. The album peaked at number two in the UK, only being kept off the top spot by ‘Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ by The Beatles. Number 2 is still pretty good considering there was a lot of competition in 1967.

Hendrixs’ homeland seemed to be immune to his charms until the band performed at the Monterey Pop Festival. Performing a literally inflammatory set which included string fire to his guitar, Hendrix went from being a no one to someone promotors wanted to book. The Experience played gigs with Big Brother & The Holding Company as well as the Jefferson Airplane. They even went on tour with The Monkeys, but as the audiences of the two band were at polar opposite’s to one another, this arrangement only lasted six shows. The story goes that The Monks requested the Experience join them on tour because they were fans of Hendrix. Chandler said he had engineered this to get the group some publicity. Whatever the truth, these six shows must have been something to see just for the sheer contrast of the groups. 

The band returned to the studio and the more experimental ‘Axis: Bold as Love’. This was released in December 1967. Using more new studio effects such as phasing where the sound revolves around the listener, ‘Axis’ paved the way for what was to come next in the masterpiece that is ‘Electric Ladyland’. If any artist was born to master the stereo format, Hendrix was it. This was still the time when mono mixes were the ones artists would spend the time on as the majority of the record buying public would only have players with one speaker. This was also before FM radio so if you heard a song on the wireless, you would have only heard it in mono anyway. 

With ‘Axis’, Hendrix was showing what an album could sound like if time was taken on the stereo mix but as was the trend at the time, these first two albums were released in mono as well as the singles. In celebration of the 55th Anniversary of the release of ‘Are You Experienced’, here is a complete collection (as far as I know) of the mono mixes released by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. This includes the first two albums and all off the single mixes. It also includes some rare mono mixes as well. These include a number of songs recorded for ‘Electric Ladyland’ that sneaked out in mono, even if the parent album in its entreaty have not. On Disc 1, I have included the single mixes of “Electric Ladyland’ songs, most of which were mixed for DJ’s so they could be played on the radio. Disc 2 includes all of the songs from the Uruguayan version of ‘Electric Ladyland’. This was more of a highlights release as it was only one disc, but it was released in mono. Was this just a fold down of the stereo or dedicated mixes. Unfortunately, my ears are not tuned enough to tell the difference. The same configuration of tracks was released in mono in Brazil as well but I have not been able to track down a version of this one. 

I am surprised that Experience Hendrix, the company set up by the Hendrix family to manage his name, likeness and music have done something like this themselves, considering the amount of material they have put out down the years, some of which can be best described as scraping the barrel. The nearest we got was when the first two albums were re-released in 2017, but these were on vinyl only. 

Disc 1

  1. Foxy Lady
  2. Manic Depression
  3. Red House
  4. Can You See Me?
  5. Love Or Confusion
  6. I Don’t Live Today
  7. May This Be Love
  8. Fire
  9. Third Stone from The Sun
  10. Remember
  11. Are You Experienced
  12. Hey Joe
  13. Stone Free
  14. Purple Haze
  15. 51st Anniversary
  16. The Wind Cries Mary
  17. Highway Chile
  18. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
  19. The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam’s Dice
  20. Crosstown Traffic (DJ Promo Single Version)
  21. Gypsy Eyes (DJ Promo Single Version)
  22. All Along The Watchtower (DJ Promo Single Version)

Disc 2

  1. EXP
  2. Up From The Skies
  3. Spanish Castle Magic
  4. Wait Until Tomorrow
  5. Ain’t No Telling
  6. Little Wing
  7. If 6 Was 9
  8. You Got Me Floatin’
  9. Castles Made Of Sand
  10. She’s So Fine
  11. One Rainy Wish
  12. Little Miss Lover
  13. Bold As Love
  14. ….And The Gods Made Love
  15. Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
  16. Crosstown Traffic
  17. Little Miss Strange
  18. Long Hot Summer Night
  19. Gypsy Eyes
  20. Burning Of The Midnight Lamp
  21. Still Raining, Still Dreaming
  22. House Burning Down
  23. All Along The Watchtower
  24. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

The Ballroom – The Lost Ballroom Albums

The Ballroom were a band that Curt Boettcher put together in 1966 and included Sandy Salisbury, Michelle O’Malley and Jim Bell in the lineup. I came across the CD, ‘Preparing For The Millennium’ by accident in a second hand record shop near where I use to work. I cannot remember if I had bought the CD reissue of The Millennium’s ‘Begin’ album before this, but it would make sense if I had done. The word millennium on The Ballroom CD used the same font as that used on ‘Begin’ so that might have been why I connected the two and bought it. When I got home and gave it a play, there were some really good tracks but it did not have the consistency of the Millennium album even though both records share a number of songs. This CD contained what was said to be 11 of the 13 songs that had been put forward for that album. It also included a number of other songs which purported to be related to Curt Boetthcer. At the time, the rest of the songs were stuck in some sort of music licensing limbo. 

The notes for the CD were quite extensive and showed Boettcher as being ahead of the game by trying to produce music that would recreate the psychedelic experience. The band did not have a record deal when the record was recorded but Warner Brothers showed an interest and pressed up a single with the songs ‘Spinning, Spinning, Spinning’ and ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go’ on it. The record never made it past promo stage and it would seem Warners went cold on the group. Nothing more came out under The Ballroom name for another 30 years, but that did not mean that their records were there for everyone to hear if you knew where to listen. 

When Boettcher was bought out of his Our Productions contract so Gary Usher could take him to Columbia as a staff producer, a number of as yet unissued masters came too. Columbia felt it was time to make good on their investment so a number of these songs were used on the Sagittarius ‘Present Tense’ album. Some would later receive some remixing and/or additional instrumentation and see the light of day on The Millennium’s ‘Begin’ album.

The original versions and a number of other songs would remain in the vaults until 2001 when Sundazed Music released the ‘Magic Time’ compilation, which contained music from this period in Boettcher’s life. These included a number of Ballroom songs. Looking at when these songs were recorded, it could argued that the band had enough material to release an album in 1966 and another in 1967. This is what you are presented with here. 

The Ballroom – the Ballroom

Side 1

  1. Would You Like To Go
  2. You Turn Me Around
  3. Love’s Fatal Way
  4. Lead Me To Love
  5. Forever
  6. Crazy Dreams

Side 2

  1. I’ll Grow Stronger
  2. It’s A Sad World
  3. Magic Time
  4. Musty Dusty
  5. Baby Please Don’t Go

The Ballroom – Returns

Side 1

  1. Spinning, Spinning, Spinning
  2. A Time For Everything
  3. Kepper Of The Games
  4. 5 A.M. (Original Version)
  5. The Island (Original Version)
  6. Wild Mountain Thyme – Lee Mallory (& The Ballroom)
  7. Sunshine Today

Side 2

  1. I’m Not Living Here
  2. Opus To A Friend
  3. Believe You
  4. Another Time
  5. Karmic Dream Sequence #1 (Original Version)
  6. Sun Arise

Both albums are under 20 minutes a side, but this was the 60’s. Labels were interested in how many songs were on the album; not how long they were. They do hold up as albums but they don’t quite have the polish of The Millennium or Sagittarius recordings. 

I was really surprised that both of these Ballroom albums could be reproduced on Spotify.

The covers for these Ballroom albums come from the great but no longer maintained site Through A Vast Crystal Sphere. 

The Lost Cinemas of Richmond Upon Thames


Today, you can still pay a visit a cinema in Richmond Upon Thames. It was also home to a number that are no longer there. Join The Squire as he takes you on a journey to show where they were and what happened to them.

Various Artists – The Curt Boettcher Connection

In another dimension, Curt Boettcher would have been a superstar performer and producer, spoken about the same way that Brian Wilson and Phil Spector are. In Phil Spector’ case, just his music he produced, not the mad shit and murder he was later in the press for. Anyway, I digress. Boettcher died in 1987, all but forgotten but as with artists such as Nick Drake, his work has be reassessed in the years that followed  and today he is lot more famous than he was, but he still not a well known name to the mainstream. 

He first started recording his music with his band The Goldebriars. This was his flirtation with folk rock scene that was gaining traction at the time, even though The Goldenbriars did not have a hit, they did make an appearance in the film ‘Once Upon A Coffee House’. After The Goldenbriars split up, Boettcher formed Our Productions with Steve Clark from Vee Jay records and started to produce work for other artists whilst continuing to make music of his own. He started off with Tommy Roe and his LP ‘It’s Now A Winter’s Day’  but he really stamped his new Sunshine Pop sound on a little known band from Los Angeles called The Association. They recorded ‘Along Comes Mary’ and that became a top ten US hit. They follow this up with ‘Cherish’ which was also massive hit and everything would have looked rosey. However, The Association decided to change their management and this prevented Boettcher from working with the band again. 

Boettcher was not one for resting on his laurels and formed a new band called The Ballroom. They recorded a massive amount of material but only one single was slated to be released at the time, even though it got no further than the promo stage. The recordings would not surface until the late 1990’s. One time Brian Wilson collaborator Gary Usher then bought Boettcher out of his Our Productions contract and sets him up as a staff producer at Columbia Records. Usher uses Boettcher on his Sagittarius project which yields the hit single ‘My World Fell Down’, but the follow ups and album are not successful. The recordings do well enough for Columbia to finance Boettcher’s next project, The Millennium. 

Many records are called lost classics but this is one that truly deserves that title. The album and singles are masterpieces but none sell particular well and the band folds. Usher goes on to form Together Records and brings Boettcher on board and though second Sagittarius album is released, it is like its forebear and is not a success. Boettcher continues to work within the music business but little of his output is successful. He sings backing vocals on some Elton John sessions and is the mix down engineer on Emitt Rhode’s ‘Farewell To Paradise’ album. He did produce a 10 minute disco version of the Beach Boys’s, ‘Here Comes The Night”. He continued to work but none of these records matched the heights he achieved in the 60’s. 

I looked at the works of Curt Boettcher in two Podcasts, the links of which are listed below. What this compilation covers is not only the bands that Boettcher was in in the late 60s (The Ballroom, The Millennium, Sagittarius) but some of the acts he produced (Sandy Salisbury, Michael Fennelly, Lee Mallory etc).  What you get is a masterclass in 60s Sunshine Pop that should have lead to a considerably more successful career than it actually was. 

Disc 1

  1. Prelude (Demo) – The Millennium
  2. To Claudia On Thursday (Demo) – The Millennium
  3. Would You Like To Go – The Ballroom
  4. Love’s Fatal Way – The Ballroom
  5. Forever – The Ballroom
  6. Keeper Of The Games – The Ballroom
  7. The Island – The Ballroom
  8. I’m Not Living Here – The Ballroom
  9. Sing To Me – The Millennium
  10. Magic Time – The Ballroom
  11. It’s You – The Millennium
  12. Some Sunny Day – The Millennium
  13. It’s A Sad World – The Ballroom
  14. I’ll Grow Stronger – The Ballroom
  15. A Time For Everything – The Ballroom
  16. Blight – The Millennium
  17. Song To The Magic Frog (Will You Ever Know) – Sagittarius
  18. Lead Me To Love – The Ballroom
  19. Artificial Light (Of All The Living Lies) – Sagittarius
  20. Glass – Sagittarius
  21. I’m With You – The Millennium
  22. You Turn Me Around – The Ballroom
  23. Suspended Animation – The Millennium
  24. Believe You – The Ballroom
  25. There Is Nothing More To Say – The Millennium
  26. Anthem (Begin) – The Millennium
  27. Just About The Same – The Millennium

Disc 2

  1. Come Softly – Sandy Salisbury
  2. Baby It’s Real – Curt Boettcher
  3. Measure Of A Man – The Millennium
  4. A Younger Me – The Millennium
  5. All I Really Have Is A Memory – Sandy Salisbury
  6. Our Love Is An Unwritten Song – Sandy Salisbury
  7. If Only You Knew – Curt Boettcher
  8. I Sing My Song – Dotti Holmberg
  9. It Wont’ Always Be The Same – The Millennium
  10. Dying With You – The Millennium
  11. Together In The End – The Millennium
  12. The Good Ol’ Good Times – Sandy Salisbury
  13. Dancing Dandelions – Michael Fennelly
  14. Ships – Gary Usher
  15. Cecily – Sandy Salisbury
  16. Magic Island – The Millennium
  17. Lament Of The Astral Cowboy – Curt Boettcher
  18. Share With Me – Curt Boettcher
  19. The Blue Marble – The Millennium
  20. Misty Mirage – Curt Boettcher
  21. Come On In (Ode To The Be-In) – Lee Mallory
  22. Back Where You Belong – Sandy Salisbury
  23. Bring Me On Back Home Again – Sandy Salisbury
  24. Believe You – Michele
  25. Sunshine Today – The Ballroom
  26. The Truth Is Not Real – Sagittarius
  27. Love At Last – Lee Mallory

The Works of Curt Boettcher 

Part 1 – https://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/2016/11/

Part 2 – https://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/podcast/episode-56-the-works-of-curt-boettcher-part-2/

(RSD Special) Fleetwood Mac – The Alternative Rumours

For this years first Record Store fantasy release, I thought I would take a look at one of the most successful albums ever released. That album is ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac which celebrated its 45th Anniversary in February of this year. The figures connected to this album are truly astounding. 40 million units sold which has earned it a Diamond certification in several countries, number one in numerous countries on its initial release, over 800 weeks on the UK album chart, winner of the 1978 Grammy for album of the year and it was the biggest selling vinyl album in the UK in 2020. Not bad for an album that details the break up of the relationships between four of the band members, three of whom wrote the songs.

Plenty of words and hours of films have been dedicated to the making of this album and the stories behind the songs. I am going to take a slightly different slant on this and using the 2013 Deluxe Edition of the album, I wondered what this album could have sounded like it if those involved had chosen different songs or takes. Before I go any further, I thought it would be good to stick as closely to the original album as I could. That meant having eleven tracks, five on Side A and six on Side B. I would also look to have an outtake as a single B-Side, much in the way the ‘Silver Springs’ was used. I would also look to have a minimum of three songs each for the three principle song writers. 

So what do we have. 

Second Hand News (Buckingham) – It was the opening track on the oregional album and it retains its place here. This is an early take of the songs but the structure is already in place. 

Keep Me There (McVie) – An outtake that did see the end section and some of the song structure recycled for the group composition, ‘The Chain’. Pretty much the finished article and if this had been released, it would most probably have had some additional production before seeing the light of day.  

The Chain (Nicks) – Not the more famous version released on the original ‘Rumours’, but the original Stevie Nicks demo. Nicks felt that some lyrics from this song fitted quite nicely over the bass section of ‘Keep Me There’. This would lead to the version of ‘The Chain’ that we know today, but here is the original version that could have been fleshed out if Nicks (and the rest of the band) hadn’t produced a completely co-operative song instead. 

Songbird (McVie) – A different version of this song, where the acoustic guitar is a lot higher in the mix all the way through

Silver Springs (Nicks) – Described by album co-producer Richard Dashut as the best song never to make it to a record album, this was regionally released as the B-Side to ‘Go Your Own Way’. The song was originally slated to appear on ‘Rumours’ but was dropped as it was as it didn’t fit with the sound of the record and for timing reasons. It is a nice way to finish Side-A though.  

You Make Loving Fun (McVie) – A different version of this song. The production is a lot more basic as though this was a run through before another take was attempted or embellished with additional production. 

Go Your Own Way (Buckingham) – An early take of this song. Missing some of the guitar overdubs and my ears might be deceiving me, but I am sure there is an absence of keyboards. 

Don’t Stop (McVie) – A different version of this song. The duet between McVie and Buckingham is here, but once again, this lacks some of the instrumentation of the version that would come out on ‘Rumours’. The guitar solo is missing completely. 

Never Going Back (Buckingham) – The original version was just Lindsey Buckingham singing and playing guitar. This version though has a lovely duet between him and Stevie Nicks. It also includes some embellishments with precision, piano and a lead guitar part. This is arguably better than the version on the original album. 

Think About It (Bittan/Nicks) – Co-written with Roy Bittan (who is most famous as being a member of the E-Street Band), even though the section he is credited with is the middle eight that was absent from this version. The song would later appear on Nicks’ debut album ‘Bella Donna.

Oh Daddy (McVie) – Either written about Mac drummer, Mick Fleetwood (who pretty much managed the band as well as being the person who kept it all together during the wilderness years before the era of Buckingham/Nicks) or Mac’s Lighting Director, who McVie was seeing at the time. This is a different version of the song. 

Planets Of The Universe (Nicks) – Just to show that Stevie Nicks never seems to waste a song idea, this would be re-recorded for her 2001 album ‘Trouble In Shangri-La’. 

Nicks certainly brought a lot of material to the table with this album that would not be ultimately used. There was two songs that would be re-recorded later and one that had elements sacrificed for ‘The Chain’. McVie also had one song that was sacrificed for ‘The Chain’ but other than that, all the songs here were released on ‘Rumours’. I was most surprised by Buckingham, because the outtakes of ‘Rumours’ show is that he did not bring a lot to the album. Even his contribution to the chain was borrowed from the introduction of ‘Lola (My Love), a song on the ‘Buckingham Nicks’ album from 1973. Only a snippet of a song called ‘Nothing Ever Lasts’ was included with the other outtakes. Whatever the reason, this album is still pretty solid and what could have been if certain decision (the production of ‘The Chain’) and other songs had not been available.   

Side A

  1. Second Hand News (Early Take)
  2. Keep Me There (Vocal Version)
  3. The Chain (Demo)
  4. Songbird (Session)
  5. Silver Springs (Outtake)

Side B

  1. You Make Loving Fun (Session)
  2. Go Your Own Way (Early Take)
  3. Don’t Stop (Session)
  4. Never Going Back Again (Acoustic Duet)
  5. Think About It (Outtake)
  6. Oh Daddy (Session)

B-Side

Planets Of The Universe (Demo)

Cover comes from https://www.monkeon.co.uk/albumcoveralsorans/