Various Artists – The Psychedelic Years Vol.7

To round out the month, here is Volume 7 of my Psych Years playlists. Unlike previous efforts, this one did not use any of the compilations I have purchased down the years as a base but it does focus on the latter years of the scene. The Rolling Stones, Arthur Brown, Family, Eric Burdon, Al Stewart and early Fairport Convention (where they were a Jefferson Airplane type band instead of the folk behemoth they became) could well be the most famous names here but there are a number of acts where members went on to be more famous elsewhere. These include The Idle Race (Jeff Lynne of ELO), Simon Dupree & The Big Sound (Gentle Giant), The Gods (Greg Lake of ELP & King Crimson) and One In A Million (Jimmy McCulloch (Wings and The Small Faces).  

Disc 1

  1. The River – Octopus
  2. Too Much On My Mind – The Gates Of Eden
  3. A Strange Light From the East – Tuesday’s Children
  4. Shades Of Orange – The End
  5. Double Sight – One In A Million
  6. Riding A Wave – Turnstyle
  7. Evil Woman – Guy Darrell
  8. I Can See The Sky – Fire
  9. Everyday Is Just The Same – The Moan
  10. I Read You Like An Open Book – The Tages
  11. Good Job With Prospects – Actress
  12. Follow Me – The Fruit Machine
  13. Daydream Girl (Album Version) – Billy Nicholls
  14. Two Little Ladies – The Crocheted Doughnut Ring
  15. Sage Of Wrinkled Man – Fortes Mentum
  16. Never Had Girl Like You Before – The Misunderstood
  17. In The Valley of The Shadow Of Lone – Tuesday’s Children
  18. Love – Virgin Sleep
  19. Dear Delilah – Grapefruit
  20. All The Love In The World – Consortium
  21. Where Dragons Guard The Doors – Mortimer
  22. Turn Into Earth – Al Stewart
  23. I Am Nearly There – Denis Couldry & The Next Collection
  24. The First Step On The Moon – The Cape Kennedy Construction Company
  25. Felix – Andwella’s Dream
  26. Daytime Girl (Coda) – Billy Nicholls

Disc 2

  1. Haunted – Peter Thorogood
  2. (Who Planted Thorns In) Miss Alice’s Garden – The Explosive
  3. Gratefully Dead – Eric Burdon & The Animals
  4. Hot Smoke & Sassafras – The Mooche
  5. On Love – Skip Bifferty
  6. Knocking Nails In My House – The Idle Race
  7. Crazy Dreams – The Searchers
  8. Ballad Of Harvey Kaye – East Of Eden
  9. The Way (Single Version) – July
  10. Mellowing Grey – Family
  11. Peter’s Birthday (Black & White Rainbows) – World Of Oz
  12. Devil’s Grip – The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
  13. Sun Shade – Fairport Convention
  14. Linda Love Linda – The Floribunda
  15. Me – Aquarian Age
  16. Theodore – The Silver Eagle
  17. Life Is Just Beginning – The Creation
  18. A Fairy Tale (Alt. Mix) – Second Hand
  19. Too Much In Love – Churchills
  20. I Lied To Auntie May – The Neat Change
  21. Rainchild – Octopus
  22. 14 Hour Technicolour Dream – The Syn
  23. Castle In The Sky – Simon Dupree & The Big Sound
  24. Orignal Sin – Blinker
  25. Plastic Horizon – The Gods
  26. On With The Show – The Rolling Stones

Bob Dylan – The Alternative New Portrait

To complement the post from earlier this month, I though that I would take a look at the follow up to ‘Self Portrait’, 1970s ‘New Morning’. ‘New Morning’ was released four months after ‘Self Portrait’ and the rumour at the time was that Dylan had rushed back into the studio after the negative reaction to his previous effort. The truth was that the sessions for ‘Self Portrait’ lay around for a year before coming out and therefore, ‘New Morning’ was already in the can. 

After listening through ‘Another Self Portrait’ and ‘1970 with Special Guest George Harrison’, I was wondering if it would be possible to produce an alternative version of ‘New Morning’ using alternative takes. Dylan is a musician who records many versions of the same song (listen to the Collectors edition of ‘The Bootleg Series Vol.12’ which includes every note recorded during the 1965-1966 sessions to see what I mean. You will have to make your way through over 19 hours of music).  

One song is missing from this collection, ‘The Man in Me’. That is because there was not an alternative version of this released on either ‘Another Self Portrait’ or the Archive release, 1970. I substituted it with an outtake from the a session with George Harrison, ‘Working on a Guru’. 

Side A

  1. If Not For You*
  2. Day Of The Locusts (Take 2)**
  3. Time Passes Slowly #2*
  4. Went To See The Gypsy*
  5. Winterlude**
  6. If Dogs Run Free*

Side B

  1. New Morning (With Horn Section Overdubs)*
  2. Sign On The Window**
  3. One More Weekend**
  4. Working On A Guru*
  5. Three Angels**
  6. Father Of Night (Rehearsal)**
  • The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)

** 1970 With Special Guest George Harrison

The front cover is the same as the one on the original version of ‘New Morning’, but in negative.

One or more of these songs was not available on Spotify.

Bob Dylan – The Alternative Self Portrait

Is ‘Self Portrait’ Dylan’s worst album release? Probably not, with 1973’s ‘Dylan’ album most probably taking that title (see footnote). What cannot be argued is that is it bizarre, being made up of folk songs, covers of popular tunes, some originals, live tracks and instrumentals. For a man known as the ‘Voice of a Generation’, putting instrumentals on a Dylan record may well have been the first FU of the project. Dylan himself has been a bit dismissive of this album, saying that he treated as an official bootleg as it full of songs that he and his band would record whilst warming up for a session. At other times, he was looking to get people off of his back as this so called ‘Voice of a Generation’. Whatever the reasons behind it, the album was received with almost universal poor reviews. Is the album really that bad or without merit. Music is subjective so I leave it up to you to make you own mind up. What is without question is that there were good recordings from the sessions. It just took until 2013 for most people to find that out. 

That was because in 2013, Volume 10 of the legendary Bootleg Series was released, titled ‘Another Self Portrait’. This included songs that would be released on the original ‘Self Portrait’ and its follow up, ‘New Morning’, but in alternative or demo form. There is a smattering of Dylan originals, songs by his contemporaries and traditional numbers. This was followed in 2020 by ‘1970 with Special Guest George Harrison’ which contained even more outtakes from the same sessions.  Having played through these compilations, I wondered if there was enough material to make an albums of traditional songs. Dylan had come from a folk background (just listen to his first album and the ‘Basement Tapes’) and would return to these songs when in need of inspiration. Dylan himself would release  two album of traditional songs with 1992’s ‘Good As I Been To You’ and 1993’s ‘World Gone Wrong’. What if he had decided to do this earlier? To complete this record, I would not use any of the recordings used on the ‘Self Portrait’ album. 

With the striped backed production, Dylan follows his muse and even though none of these were meant to see the light of day, they stand up quite well. A couple needed to be faded out as the original recordings come to a sudden stop but other than that, the recordings are as they were recorded. With these versions, gone are some of the over top production that plagued ‘Self Portrait’ and the female backing vocalists are now complimenting the recording instead of over powering them. Overall, I believe this to be a more satisfying listening experience. 

Side A

  1. Little Sadie (Without Overdubs)*
  2. Come All You Fair & Tender Ladies (Take 1)**
  3. Things About Comin’ My Way**
  4. Days Of ’49 (Without Overdubs)*
  5. Lily Of The West (Take 2)**
  6. Bring Me Little Water, Sylvie (Take 1)**

Side B

  1. Belle Isle (Without Overdubs)*
  2. Alberta #3*
  3. This Evening So Soon*
  4. Pretty Saro*
  5. Tattle O’Day*
  6. Spanish Is The Loving Tongue*
  7. Railroad Bill*
  • The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)

** 1970 With Special Guest George Harrison

Even though it is a dreadful cover, I decided to use the original artwork used in 1970 for the ‘Self Portrait’ album, but in a negative form. Dylan did produce it himself.  

The ‘Dylan’ album from 1973 is a curious beast, being made of outtakes from ‘Self Portrait’ and ‘New Morning’ albums. None of the songs on this release were sanctioned for release by Dylan himself and it could be argued that he album only came out due to spite from Columbia, Dylan’s label since the start of his recording career. Dylan had temporarily left the label for Asylum Records. He would only stay at Asylum for two records (‘Planet Waves’ and ‘Before The Flood’) before returning to Columbia for ‘Blood On The Tracks’. 

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

Bob Dylan – A Tree With Roots

The 1960s were a time where music trends came and went relatively quickly. The music that came out in 1969 was very different from what came out in 1960. There weren’t many artists who went through through the decade without having to follow the trends, because there were artists like Dylan, who were setting them. His first album was a folk record, where he accompanied himself on acoustic guitar and harmonica. By 1966’s ‘Blonde On Blonde’, he had turned on the electricity and bucked the trend by releasing one of the first rock double albums. The music from the debut, that was only four years old at this point, was lightyears away from what Dylan was producing in 1966. Everyone waited to see what he would do next but then there was nothing for eighteen months. This was the 60s were albums would come out every six months (give or take a month or two). When The Beatles took a few months out in late 1966, there was a rumour that they had split up. That is nothing though compared to Dylan’s break, but what had caused him to take so long between records?

Dylan says that he was involved in a motorcycle accident near his home in Woodstock, New York but there are no records of an ambulance being called or show that Dylan was hospitalised. Whatever the truth, Dylan did write in his autobiography that he needed a break and would not return to touring for another eight years. He retreated to his house, but did not sit around doing nothing. Calling on The Band, who had toured with him the year before, the musicians set about recording numerous covers and new Dylan songs. Dylan would say that the recordings were not for him but for act as guides for other artists to cover, and cover them they did. ‘Quinn The Eskimo/The Mighty Quinn’ and ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’ were both top five hits for Manfred Mann and Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & the Trinity respectively. The Byrds recorded two of the songs for their ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ LP and Fairport Convention included ‘Million Dollar Bash’ on their ‘Unhalfbricking’ album. 

The sessions that became known as the Basement Tapes would appear on rocks first bootleg record, the infamous ‘Great White Wonder’. This intern would lead to a whole industry to spring up around unauthorised releases and Dylan is believed to be the most bootlegged artist in history. He even acknowledged this when his archival releases are called ‘The Bootleg Series’.  There was an attempt to beat the bootleggers, six years too late with the release of ‘The Basement Tapes’ album in 1975. However, this was not the complete story as there were multiple songs that were not included on this release and it would take until 2014 when the entire still listenable performances were given the deluxe box set selection. 

Hearing these performances, it is easy to see that these were guide performances as there are some out of tune vocals and some loose playing. It only adds to the charm. There were also a lot of performances, especially early on in the recording process where there were a number of cover versions and traditional songs being played as the musicians got used to playing with one another. 138 of these performances would see the light of day on ‘The Bootleg Series Vol.11: The Basement Tapes Complete’. What is quite incredible is the amount of songs that Dylan wrote for these sessions, with not one of them being used on his next album, ‘John Wesley Harding’. The rootsy nature of that album and The Band’s ‘Music From Big Pink’ would usher in a more basic style of recording that would influence artists such as Eric Clapton to leave Cream and The Beatles to pull back on the excesses of their self titled album to go back to simpler style for the ‘Let It Be’ sessions. 

What this compilation, we look at what-if Dylan had decided to be even more rootsy and release a selection of the self written material as an album in 1967 and pushed back ‘John Wesley Harding’ until mid 1968. Even though this album would not have seen the light of day in 1967, it would have been interesting how this would have received. A record with mostly short songs with only five on this release clocking in at over four minutes. The loose playing would have also stood out against the majority of music that was being produced in 1967. If you look at the amount of time that The Beatles and Brian Wilson spent recording ‘Sgt Pepper’ and ‘Smile’ to see that these live takes were harking back to a simpler time for reading music. 

When compiling this, I thought that it would there would only enough material for a single disc, which is what the record label would no doubt have instead on after the release of ‘Blonde on Blonde’,  However, there was so much good material that I felt it would be a waste not to use them. I also had three songs left over and used them as a single (with two B-Sides). How Dylan was able to write this much material without re-recording it shows what a purple patch he was going through from 1963 to 1969. This would all come to a grinding halt with the release of the ‘Self Portrait’ album in 1970, but there would be stacks of great material still to come in the years that followed. 

Side A

  1. Odds & Ends (Take 2)
  2. Please Mrs. Henry
  3. Apple Suckling Tree (Take 2)
  4.  You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Take 2)
  5. Crash On The Levee (Take 2)
  6. Yea! Heavy & A Bottle Of Bread (Take 2)
  7. Nothing Was Delivered (Take 2)
  8. I Shall Be Released (Take 2)

Side B

  1. Million Dollar Bash (Take 2)
  2. Tiny Montgomery
  3. My Woman She’s A-Leavin’
  4. Santa-Fe
  5. Mary Lou, I Love You Too
  6. Open The Door Homer (Take 1)
  7. Quinn The Eskimo (Take 2)
  8. Spanish Is The Loving Tongue

Side 3

  1. Silent Weekend
  2. Clothes Line Saga
  3. Dress It Up, Better Have It All
  4. Too Much Of Nothing (Take 2)
  5. Lo & Behold! (Take 2)
  6. Sign Of The Cross

Side D

  1. 900 Miles From Home
  2. Goin’ To Acapulco
  3. I’m Not There
  4. Tears Of Rage (Take 2)
  5. One For The Road

Bonus Single

  1. This Wheel’s On Fire (Single A-Side)
  2. I’m Alright (Single B-Side)
  3. Cool Water (Single B-Side)

The front cover of the LP is taken from ‘I Design Album Covers’ website (