(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)


Planets Of The Universe (Demo)

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

The Jury – Lead Belly EP

I’ll wrap up my posts that have a Nirvana connection with this what-if EP. In 1990, Kurt Cobain and Screaming Trees lead singer, Mark Lanegan decided to make a record and wrote a number of songs together. They told Sub-Pop, their record label, that they wanted to work together on making an album out of these songs. However, by the time they got to the studio, they had forgotten how the songs they had written actually went. Cobain and Lanegan had neglected to record any demos to help them later on. Instead of wasting the studio time, they decided to record an albums worth of Leadbelly covers. They were joined in the studio by Screaming Trees drummer Mark Pickerel and Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic. This collective was to be known as The Jury. 

Four tracks were recorded but interest in the project soon dwindled. It would seem that the problem was neither Cobain and Lanegan wanted to take the lead on the project. The first song recorded was ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’. This ended up being released on Mark Lanegan’s first solo album, ‘The Winding Street’. The other three didn’t appear until 2004’s ‘With The Lights Out’ box set. ‘Grey Goose’ was left as an instrumental because the vocals were never added, even though Lanegan notes that he was meant to add them at a later date which never happened.  

This is a case of what if the record company had not sat on these recordings but put these out as an EP, especially as both singers on this project would become quite well known in the next couple of years. 

Side A

  1. Where Did You Sleep Last Night
  2. Ain’t It A Shame

Side B

  1. Grey Goose
  2. They Hung Him On A Cross

Nirvana – Verse Chorus Verse

For my second Nirvana related release of the month, I have made an album made up of what I consider to be the best of their rare and archive recordings. Now, there was ‘With The Lights Out’ box set that came out in 2004. 3CDs worth of music and a DVD of video. This box set had been talked about for five years before it eventually came out, with the planning process bogged down in litigation. What we eventually got was a pretty comprehensive overview of the band and their music, taking in the bands first live show in 1987 right up some home demos from 1994. There was also a single disc version which included three songs not previously released on the box set. Theres nothing like fleecing your fan base now is there? 

Reviews of her box set were mixed, with some praising it for being a valuable look at the band’s evolution, whilst others felt there was too much second rate material which would not have seen the light of day under other circumstances. I would have agree with the latter, whilst also feeling that there were some rarities which should have included. Therefore, here is my attempt at a more condensed version of ‘With The Lights Out’, but going under the title of ‘Verse Chorus Verse’, the name that was originally attributed to the live compilation that did not see the light of day in 1994.  

Most of the songs that I have included here come from the ‘With The Lights Out’ with some help from ‘Sliver: The Best Of The Box’. I also wanted to include a number of songs that were released but had not been included on any Nirvana album before. I also used the template set by the vinyl version of ‘From The Muddy Banks Of The Wiskah’. That is, the forth side included material that was not available on any other format. In the case of ‘Muddy Banks’, this material was stage banter. In this case, it is material that were rougher demos (mostly recorded at home by Cobain) that were not sonically up the standard of the rest of the album. Being a vinyl nut, I like the idea that this format should get some bonuses every so often. 

The songs not included on either of the aforementioned compilations are:

Love Buzz – The 7” version had a sound montage that had been put together by Cobain. This does not appear on the album version. 

Sappy – Originally this song was to be called ‘Verse Chorus Verse’, but this title was shared with another song so the original title of ‘Sappy’ was used instead. This was originally release on a AIDS benefit album called ‘No Alternative’. For legal reasons, the songs could not be listed on the album artwork and was therefore placed at the end of the running order as a hidden track. It did not take long for word to get out that there was an otherwise unavailable Nirvana song on a compilation album which meant that its popularity was greatly increased.  

Smells Like Teen Spirit – This was 20 seconds shorter than the version found on ‘Nevermind’. 

Pay To Play (Smart Studios Version) – This version was recorded at the first attempt the band made at recording their second album. Even though those sessions would not see the light of day (initially), this version of the song had a video recorded with drummer Chad Channing. Channing might not have had the power of future drummer, Dave Grohl, it does shows how close Grohl was to this original version when laying down his drum parts. The band even recorded a video but after Channig was fired form the band, these sessions ended up acting as a demo to shop the band around to the major labels, with Geffen eventually taking the bait. After Channing left the band (or was fired depending on the source you read), the song was re-recorded and this version would eventually see the light of day on the compilation ‘DGC Rarities Vol.1’. The video itself had been released on the ‘With The Light Out’ Box Set. 

Pennyroyal Tea – Cobain was unhappy with the version that had been released on ‘In Utero’ and so a remix was prepared by Scott Litt. He had done a bit of remixing on some other ‘In Utero’ songs, but as they album was already out, it was decided that it would be released as a single instead. Even though production of the single was in the advanced stages in many countries around the world, it would not be released in 1994 due to Cobain’s death. 

I Hate Myself & I Want To Die – Recorded during the ‘In Utero’ sessions, it was left off of the album due to Cobain feeling that there was enough noise songs not he album already. It would eventually see the light of day on ‘The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience’ album. 

You Know You’re Right – The last song recorded by the whole band at their last recording session. For this compilation, it would have been released as a single as well to promote the release of this album. 

Down In The Dark – Cobain provided backing vocals to this song which was released on Lanegan’s first solo album ‘The Winding Sheet’. Not strictly Nirvana I know but it made for a nice addition here. 

Here She Comes Now – The A-Side of a split single with The Melvins. It was also included on a compilation album ‘Heaven & Hell: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground’. 

As a promotional device for this release, I would have had ‘You Know You’re Right’ as a single, with two additional songs that would not have been included on the compilation album. A little bonus for anyone who would have bought it. 

Side A

  1. Love Buzz (7” version)
  2. Blandest (Studio Recording 1989)
  3. Pen Cap Chew (Nirvana First Studio Recording 1988)
  4. If You Must (Nirvana First Studio Recording 1988)
  5. Clean Up Before She Comes (4 Track Home Recording 1987-8)
  6. Sappy (No Alternative Charity Album Release 1993)
  7. Where Did You Sleep Last Night (Home Demo 1990)

Side B

  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit (Single Edit 1991)
  2. Even In His Youth (Music Source Studio Session 1989) This is not the same as the recording that was released as a B-Side to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. 
  3. Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam (Band Rehearsal 1994)
  4. Pennyroyal Tea (Scott Litt Remix 1994)
  5. Old Age (Nevermind Outtake 1991)
  6. I Hate Myself & I Want To Die (The Bevis & Butt Head Experience Album 1993)

Side C

  1. You Know You’re Right (Studio Matter 1994)
  2. Pay To Play (Smart Studios Sessions 1990)
  3. In Bloom (Smart Studios Sessions 1990)
  4. Verse Chorus Verse (Nevermind Outtake 1991)
  5. Down In Dark (The Winding Street 1990)
  6. Here She Comes Now (Smart Studios Sessions 1990)

Side D

  1. Spank Thru (1985 Fecal Matter Demo)
  2. White Lace & Strange (Radio Session 1987)
  3. About A Girl (4 Track Home Recording 1987-8)
  4. Sliver (Home Demo 1990)
  5. Opinion (Kurt Cobain Solo Radio Session 1990)
  6. Token Eastern Song (Music Source Studio Session 1989)
  7. Do Re Mi (Home Demo 1994)
  8. MV (Studio Session 1993)
  9. You Know You’re Right (Home Demo 1993/4)

Single B-Sides

  1. Anoexorcist (Radio Session 1987)
  2. Sappy (Studio Session 1990)

The cover is based upon the self titled compilation from 2002. The single is a straight copy of the one of the covers used or the promo single of ‘You Know You’re Right’ which also came out in 2002. 

I did not feel the need to complete a Nirvana live album as ‘MTV Unplugged In New York’, and ‘From The Muddy Banks Of The Wiskah’ did a good enough job here, and there has been a number of live archival releases since then.

A Spotify playlist could not be created for this compilation due to one or more of those songs not being available on that platform.

Nirvana – B-Sides

I don’t normally make posts to mark the passing of a musician, but when it comes to Kurt Cobain, I am going to make an exception. That is because Nirvana were one of the first bands I got into where we didn’t already have some records of theirs in the collection. I remember their performance of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ on Top of the Pops, and even though I was not exactly enamoured with what I heard as I did not realise that Cobain was singing the song in a lower register. The rest of the band were to taking their performance too seriously either. I’m sure it is on Youtube if you want to see for yourself. Once I heard ‘Nevermind’ though, I knew this was a band I needed to examine further. 

Even though ‘Nevermind’ was the album everyone else was buying, I thought I would buck the trend and I bought ‘Bleach’, their first album. For a long time, I preferred this one. The rawness of the production was the polar opposite to the sheen of ‘Nevermind’ and it was easy to see why Cobain felt that his artistic vision had been compromised some what by his success. He was a punk at heart, even though his songs were full of memorable melodies not normally associated with that style of music. It could be argued that Cobain would have preferred to stay an underground artist making albums in the vein of ‘Bleach’ instead of trying to keep his record company happy by producing more albums that did not deviate too far from ‘Nevermind’. However, this was not to be and on 5th April, Cobain took his own life leaving a legacy as one of the most influential musicians of the alternative rock scene. 

The remaining members of Nirvana set about securing Cobain’s legacy by releasing a live compilation called ‘Verse Chorus Verse’ and though this album was all but ready (it just need some final mixing), the project was scrapped. This was down the Bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl finding the whole project overwhelming, considering how close it was what to Cobain’s death. With this, the first of an alternative history of posthumous releases, this looks at a compilation that Geffen, the bands record label could have put out as a stop gap whilst the live material project was put on the back burner for the time being. 

The music had all been released before and it would have included every B-Side not included on an album or compilation release before Cobain’s death. There was easily enough material, even though ‘Been A Son’ is on here twice. Once, as a studio cut and the second, a live performance. I have tried tried to keep the songs in the order in which they were released, but did have to move a couple around as the playing sides were too different in terms to playing time. This is because vinyl and more importantly, cassette releases needed to be catered for in the mid 90s so making sure that the playing sides matched up as closely as they could in terms of timing would have been a consideration that would have needed to be taken into account. 

I missed off ‘Big Cheese’ which was the B-Side of their debut single and not originally on the ‘Bleach’ album, it was on every subsequent (as far as I can tell) repressing. In the UK, it was there from the start. ‘Dive’, the B-Side of Sliver but would later appear on Incesticide. With ‘Oh, The Guilt’, I had got so use to hearing the remixed version from the ‘With The Lights Out’ box set that I had forgotten that there were clicks throughout this that was the sound of a lighter being struck. For a moment, I thought that my CD copy had developed a fault down the years. 

Both Endless, Nameless  and Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through the Strip appeared on the CD versions of ‘Nevermind’ and ‘In Utero’, but where not included on the vinyl pressing (which were the versions I bought at the time). The two noise boys tracks have been included as a bonus 7” single as these would have made the LP far too long and would have been a nice bonus for this buying the vinyl version. As it is, this record is just over 50 minutes long, which is pushing it for a vinyl record. 

Side A

  1. Been A Son – Blew EP
  2. About A Girl (Live) – Sliver EP
  3. Spank Thru (Live) – Sliver EP
  4. Molly’s Lips (Live) – Candy (Split Single with The Fluid)
  5. Even In His Youth – Smells Like Teen Spirit
  6. Aneurysm – Smells Like Teen Spirit
  7. Drain You (Live) – Come As You Are
  8. D7 – Lithium

Side B

  1. School (Live) – Come As You Are
  2. Been A Son (Live) – Lithium
  3. Curmudgeon – Lithium
  4. Polly (Live) – In Bloom
  5. Sliver (Live) – In Bloom
  6. Oh, The Guilt – Puss (Split Single with Jesus Lizard) 
  7. Marigold – Heart Shaped Box
  8. MV – All Apologies
  9. I Hate Myself & I Want To Die – Pennyroyal Tea

Bonus Single (Vinyl Only)

  1. Endless, Nameless (Hidden Song on ‘Nevermind’)
  2. Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip (Hidden Song on ‘In Utero’)

The artwork uses an image that I found on the Behance website by contributor Julia Ro. 

This ‘lost’ album could not be replicated on Spotify.