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’.

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. 

(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/

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.

Pink Floyd – The Tea Set & The Pink Floyd Sound

Record Collector magazine, a magazine that I have been buying since since the very early 90s when I saw a picture of there Syd Barrett line up on the front cover. I had only just bought ‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ and wanted to find out more about the band during the Barrett era. Anyway, Record Collector has always been a great resource for information on all sorts of artists. In an article from at least eight, if not ten years ago, it mentioned a number of acetates Pink Floyd had recorded before they adopted their famous name. Before they were the Floyd, they went by numerous monikers such as Sigma 6, The Meggadeaths, The Abdabs, The Screaming Abdabs, The Tea Set and then The Pink Floyd Sound. There would also be a number of members who would leave before the band found fame. These would include Juliette Gale, who would later marry Floyd keyboard player Rick Wright and a guitar player who went by the name of Rado Klose. 

One acetate which contained the songs ‘Lucy Leave’ and I’m A King Bee’ would appear on bootlegs over the years, but the other two did not and it was only with the release of a vinyl EP going by the name ‘1965: Their First Recordings’ that fans finally got to hear them. These songs are nothing like the Floyd of ‘Arnold Layne’ or ‘See Emily Play’, but a more R&B/Blues based sound that was the rage at the time. These songs would also be released on the ‘The Early Years 1965-1972’ box set. 

Whilst trawling through fan made Pink Floyd LP sleeves, I came across this sleeve. The photo includes Rado Klose (he is the chap on the left) and I think it was taken in the back garden of 39 Stanhope Gardens, Crouch End, where Roger Waters and Nick Mason lived at the time. I thought it would be a nice bonus to present this as an EP the band could have put out if they had signed a contract with Columbia earlier than they did in reality. After all of the other Pink Floyd bits and pieces that have been presented this month to include this one as well. 

Side A

  1. Double O Bo
  2. Remember Me

Side B

  1. Walk With Me Sydney
  2. Butterfly

As I was at it, I thought I might as well make a picture sleeve for the other two tracks. ‘Lucy Leave’ and ‘I’m A King Bee’. I thought I would use the name the band were using at the time these tracks were recorded which was The Tea Set. If this were to have been made back in 1964/5 for a UK releases, it is possible that only the promo version would have had a picture sleeve like this. We in the UK didn’t seem to warrant picture sleeves back in the day. If we were on the continent though, they did produce picture sleeves so let’s pretend it comes from Germany. 

Side A

Lucy Leave

Side B

I’m A King Bee

As was mentioned earlier, I found this cover online but I did not make a note of who made it. The same with the ‘Lucy Leave’ single which was adapted from someone else work. Thanks whoever you are. Good job on both fronts. I was also surprised to find all of these songs on Spotify. 

Pink Floyd – Let There Be More Light

When Pink Floyd released their debut album ‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’, there was one driving force behind it. That was original guitar player/vocalist Syd Barrett. However, but the time they were ready to record their second, Barrett’s days in the band were numbered. His behaviour had becoming more erratic throughout 1967 to the point where he was detuning his guitar on stage. His material which once managed to break the Top Ten in the UK Singles chart was now failing to make the grade. By the time of ‘Apple & Oranges’, the last single he wrote for the band, their days as a chart band were gone and it would remain that way for another twelve years. The fact that they did not realise many singles in the UK in those twelve years might have played a part in that also. Anyway, as his ability to perform live diminished, Dave Gilmour, an old friend of Barrett’s was brought in as cover. The band thought that as Barrett had been responsible for most of the bands material up until this point, they would keep him on as a writer and non touring member along the lines of Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys. 

This situation did not last long and by the end of January 1968, Barrett was no longer in the band. Even though he contributed to the playing on a couple of songs as a player, only one of the songs he had written for the group was used on the album that would be known as ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets’. ‘Jugband Blues’ was not like the joyous songs that had been included on the debut album but many have seen it as a self diagnosis of what he perceived was happening to him. Was it schizophrenia, a wry sense of humour, too many drugs, the fact that he longer wanted to be a star or a combination of all of them. Barrett had recorded a number of other songs but these would not seen an official release until 2016 and the Early Years box set. So, what if the second Pink Floyd album had sounded like it if it had used more of the material the band had recorded with Syd Barrett?

I’ll start by looking at the one track that did not make the cut. I did not want to use Saucerful of Secrets as it is the only the third section that I can actually listen to repeatedly. Wikipedia has that part listed as Celestial Voices and it is beautiful. It is shame that the rest of it was a load of psychedelic noodling that in any other era would have been seen as self indulgent. Seeing as this is quite a long song, that leaves plenty of room to fill on this LP. More on that later. Side A is the same as the album that was actually released. I did play around with this, moving songs around and trying to place the songs in a different order but it just didn’t work. 

It is Side B that is very different from the album that was ultimately released. It starts off with ‘See-Saw’ was listed on the recording sheet as ‘The Most Boring Song I’ve Ever Heard Bar Two’. It its not the most memorably of songs but it is not terrible. I would love to know what the two songs the band thought were more boring than this though. I have followed this with one of the unreleased Barrett songs that was officially released in 2016. ‘Vegetable Man’ is not an easy listen and the lyrics show Barrett looking in on himself. This and the other unreleased Barrett number, ‘Scream Thy Last Scream’ were considered as the A and B side of a single, in lieu of anything else in the can. This, as we know did not come to pass and I suspect that it would not have returned the band to the top of the single chart. The band did perform these songs on a BBC session in December 1967. 

‘Painbox’ was originally released as the B-Side of the Apple & Oranges single, and is one of a number of songs that band recorded that show the Barrett influence whilst not being written by him. ‘Jugband Blues’ is another song with lyrics that could be said to be Barrett looking in on himself and I almost finished this album in the same way it did on the original LP did. However, I decided to throw a little bonus in there, because otherwise my sides would not match up time wise. That track is an instrumental that has been bootlegged under the name as Sunshine, but supposedly the track is officially known as ‘Experiment’. Even though this track is meant to be 15 minutes long, only the first 90 seconds have escaped the studio. The track does sound a little rough, it fits into the sound of the album. I put a fade in and out and added some echo to the first 20 seconds.

The original Saucerful of Secrets was possibly the most democratic album the band ever made. Each of the five members take a lead vocal and this is the only album where Keyboardist Rick Wright vocal performances outnumber everyone else.  I have used the same artwork as Saucerful of Secrets but I took out the original photo to include one with all five Floyd members in it. 

Side A

  1. Let There Be More Light
  2. Remember A Day
  3. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
  4. Corporal Clegg

Side B

  1. See-Saw
  2. Vegetable Man
  3. Paintbox
  4. Scream Thy Last Scream
  5. Jugband Blues
  6. Experiment

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