Various Artists – Gotta Get Up! The Songs of Harry Nilsson Vol. 2

Back in 2017, Ace Records released a wonderful collection dedicated to Harry Nilsson, the songwriter, not the performer. The collection was a curious mix of the well known (The Monkees), the family member (his daughter Annie Nilsson) and the down right obscure (Jimmie Cross). The album sleeve said that all of the songs came from 1965-1972, and then opened with a song recorded in 2013. Oh well. That is a bit of nit picking on my part, but Ace Records did a really good job with this compilation as it made some of the pre fame singles that I had only ever heard on scratchy vinyl transfer, available in crystal clear sound for what could have been the first time.

As Nilsson has had his songs covered by a myriad of artists that were not covered by this compilation, I thought I would see if there was enough material to make a volume 2. What I found is there was indeed enough for not only a second volume, but a third as well. I decided to try and follow the template of the original compilation as close as I can, starting the disc with a cover of the song ‘Gotta Get Up’. This is not one of Nilsson’s most covered songs but luckily there were two additional covers I could use. Both discs contain 24 songs and once again, they feature a mix of well known artists as well as the obscure. These include Hugo Montenegros’s rather bizarre cover of ‘Me & My Arrow’; a song from The Walkman, who decided to cover the entire ‘Pussy Cats’ album and are a couple of novelty covers from The Muppets and British DJ Kenny Everett (who on this occasion, plays it quite straight).

Unlike Ace Record, I do not have access to the original tapes so some of these have been taken from vinyl transfers, so please excuse the pops etc. The sleeve is similar in style to the Ace Records volume. The differences being that I could not match the original font and there are no dates under the title. I decided that that was unnecessary as this was meant to highlight Nilsson songs throughout the years. Its not really the covers you are here for though, but the music. Well, that is top notch. Enjoy!

  1. Gotta Get Up – Davy Jones & Mickey Dolenz
  2. Rainmaker – Bobbie Gentry
  3. All For The Beatles (Stand Up & Holler) – The Originals
  4. The Battle Of The Bands – The Turtles
  5. Daddy’s Song – The Casuals
  6. Baby, It’s Over – Debbie Burton
  7. Wailing Of The Willow – Astrid Gilberto
  8. Me & My Arrow – Hugo Montenegro
  9. Super-Dupa Man – Jimmie Cross
  10. Nobody Cares About The Railroads Anymore – George Tipton
  11. Sister Sue – The Soul Men
  12. So Proud Of You – Vivian Roberts
  13. I’d Do It All Again – Dore Alpert
  14. Readin’ Ridin’ & Racin’ – The Super Stocks
  15. Open Your Window – Ella Fitzgerald
  16. Don’t Leave Me – Griffin
  17. One – Three Dog Night
  18. Coconut – The Muppets
  19. Without Her – Kenny Everett
  20. Maybe – Barbra Streisand
  21. Chicago – The Citations
  22. Headlines – The Sunday Funnies
  23. Paradise – The Ronettes
  24. I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City – Sagittarius

Various Artists – Under The Influence Vol. 2

Here on the second volume of my Under The Influence Series, the theme is 60’s soul with a smattering of songs that would later become known as Northern Soul. 

Disc 1

  1. Seven Days Too Long – Chuck Wood
  2. Sliced Tomatoes – Just Brothers
  3. Tainted Love – Gloria Jones
  4. Losing Boy – Eddie Giles
  5. Wade In The Water – Ramsey Lewis Trio
  6. Bring Your Love Back – Linda Lyndell
  7. Sister Lee – Sam Ward
  8. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher – Jackie Wilson
  9. Do You Love Me – The Contours
  10. Money (That’s What I Want) – Barrett Strong
  11. You Keep Me Hanging On – The Supremes
  12. The Girl Across The Street – Moses Smith
  13. Nothing Can Help You Now – Lenny Curtis
  14. I’ll Do Anything (He Wants Me To) – Doris Troy
  15. Jimmy Mack – Martha & The Vandellas
  16. This Old Heart of Mine – The Isley Brothers
  17. Try It Baby – Marvin Gaye
  18. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love – Soloman Burke
  19. Helpless – Kim Weston
  20. Uptight (Everything’s Alright) – Stevie Wonder
  21. Leaving Here – Eddie Holland
  22. Cool Jerk – The Capitols
  23. Lonely, Lonely Girl Am I – The Velvelettes
  24. Going To A Go-Go – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  25. How Sweet IS It To Be Loved by You – Jr. Walker & The All Stars
  26. Put Yourself In My Place – The Elgins
  27. Every Little Bit Hurts – Brenda Holloway
  28. Time Is On My Side – Irma Thomas

Disc 2

  1. Moonlight, Music & You – Laura Greene
  2. Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) – Frank Wilson
  3. Soul Time – Shirley Ellis
  4. The Snake – Al Wilson
  5. Bari Track – Doni Burdick
  6. Out On The Floor – Dobie Gray
  7. You Don’t Love Me – Epitome Of Sound
  8. Just A Little Misunderstanding – The Contours
  9. A Lot Of Love – Homer Banks
  10. Long After Tonight Is All Over – Jimmy Radcliffe
  11. Time Will Pass You By – Tobi Legend
  12. Lonely For You Baby –Sam Dees
  13. Come On Train – Don Thomas
  14. Girls Are Out To Get You – The Fascinations
  15. You Shook Me Up – Roy Hamilton
  16. Get Ready – The Miracles
  17. Landslide – Tony Clarke
  18. Hit & Run – Rose Batiste
  19. Breakin’ Down The Walls Of Heartache – The Bandwagon
  20. Looking For You – Garnet Mimms
  21. Here I Go Again – Archie Bell & The Drells
  22. 1-2-3 – Len Barry
  23. He Was Really Saying Something – The Velvelettes
  24. Come See About Me – The Supremes
  25. There’s Nothing Else To Say – The Incredibles
  26. Get Out Of Life Woman – Lee Dorsey
  27. Whatcha Gonna Do About It – Doris Troy
  28. Cry Baby – Garnet Mimms & The Encharters
  29. Big Bird – Eddie Floyd
  30. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright – P.P. Arnold

A playlist for this complication could not be produced due to one or more songs not being available on Spotify. 

Billy Bragg & Wilco – Mermaid Avenue (Expanded Edition)

I have tried listening to records by BIlly Bragg and Wilco released without each other, but there was something about them that meant they were never quite made my shopping list. However, I was quite surprised when listening to Bob Geldof on XFM that a song came on which I instantly fell in love with. This was 1998 so I hoped that he would say who the artist was at the end of the record because this was before the internet had really caught on so if I missed it, there was no way I could look it up afterwards to find out who it was. To my (pleasant) surprise, he said that it was Billy Bragg and Wilco. My interest was peaked. 

Going a local record shop (these existed in 1998) and buying the CD (this wasn’t released on vinyl in the UK at that time), I gave it a spin and fell in love with it. The limited sleeves notes in the accompanying booklet told me that all of the lyrics had been written by left wing songwriter Woody Guthrie. In the years since his death, his daughter Nora had been running an archive of her father’s work which included over a thousand sets of lyrics that Guthrie had not recorded himself. Nora had an idea of having a number of contemporary artists record these songs to these lyrics and had asked Billy Bragg to come on board after he had taken part in a Woodie Guthrie tribute concert. Braggs reputation as a left wing activist may also have helped Nora make this decision. Guthrie did not write music and apart from some vague notation, there was little in the way of clues as to what these songs should sound like. The reason these songs were left in this state was down to the fact that Guthrie was suffering from Huntington’s disease, which causes the sufferer to lack co-ordination. That and an injury to his arm in the mid 50’s meant he could no longer play his guitar. Guthrie continued to write lyrics until he was unable to hold a pencil. The songs Guthrie was writing ranged from politics, his fantasy’s about actress Ingrid Bergman, nonsense songs for children and reflections on his own childhood.  

Bragg did not gather together a cast of contemporary musicians to help work on this project apart from American band Wilco, who were given their own set of lyrics to work on. Natalie Merchant also came on board to provide vocals on a couple of the songs. It was mentioned at the time that there was enough material in the can for another album and in 2000, a second volume was released. It was easy to tell that the A-grade material was used on Volume 1, but this was still a good album. It was when the second collection came out that I put together a compilation taking what I considered to be the best tunes from both of these volume into one extended edition. In 2012, a compilation was released that contained Volumes 1 & 2, along with a third disc of additional outtakes. I did not feel that any of these songs were strong enough to make appearance on this collection, which I had been playing off and on since 2000.  

Billy Bragg and Wilco would not be the only artists to make an album using unused Woody Guthrie lyrics. The Klezmatics would release two albums in 2006, Jonatha Brooke in 2008 and Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker with Jim James in 2012. This has also lead to other artists such Sandy Denny having their own archives of unreleased lyrics set to music by modern musicians and released as albums. 

The cover is the same as the one used for Volume 1. It did not feel the need anything added to it. The entire collection is available to listen to via Spotify. Enjoy. 

  1. I Was Born
  2. Walt Whitman’s Niece
  3. California Stars
  4. Way Over Yonder In A Minor Key
  5. Birds & Ships
  6. Hoodoo Voodoo
  7. Ingrid Bergman
  8. Secret Of The Sea
  9. I Guess I Planted
  10. At My Window Sad & Lonely
  11. Hesitating Beauty
  12. Another Man’s Done Gone
  13. Hot Rod Hotel
  14. Eisler On The Go
  15. My Flying Saucer
  16. All You Fascists
  17. Joe Dimaggio Done It Again
  18. Feed Of Man
  19. Stetson Kennedy
  20. Remember The Mountain Bed
  21. Black Wind Blowing
  22. Blood Of The Lamb
  23. One By One
  24. The Unwelcome Guest

Various Artists – Under The Influence Vol.1

Back in the early years of the 21st Century, there was a short lived series of compilation albums where each track was selected by a band or artist to showcase the music that influenced their own work. In response to this, I thought I would put my own series of compilation CDs together which would showcase a particular style of music that could be said to be very influential. On this volume, I focused on music that could be classed as funk and soul as well as being from (but not exclusively limited to) the 1970’s. Judging by the tracks on this first one, Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B etc could be said to have been influenced by what is on this compilation. There are also numerous samples taken from these tracks. I did a slight edit with track 1, ‘What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye as I took the introduction from the original album version and edited it to flow into the single mono mix. The single mix had a bit more punch for me (as well as distinctive fake ending). The second disc opens with ‘Ike’s Rap’ by Isaac Hayes, which I changed slightly so it fades in. The third disc concludes with ‘Inner City Blues’, which finishes with reprise of ‘What’s Going On’, brining the compilation full circle.

Disc 1

  1. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye (Squire mix)
  2. The Boss – James Brown
  3. I Can’t Stand The Rain – Anne Peebles
  4. Kissing my Love – Bill Withers
  5. California Soul – Marlena Shaw
  6. The Message – Cymande
  7. Do The Funky Chicken – Rufus Thomas
  8. Watts Breakaway – Johnny Otis Show
  9. Shack Up (Part 1) – Banbarra
  10. I Got The – Labi Siffre
  11. Apache – Michael Viners Incredible Bongo Band
  12. I Just Want To Celebrate – Rare Earth
  13. What A Man – Linda Lyndell
  14. Be Thankful For What You’ve Got – William DeVaughn
  15. Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms) – The Detroit Emeralds
  16. Hercules – Aaron Neville
  17. Get Up & Get Down – The Dramatics
  18. Supernatural Thing – Ben E. King
  19. Higher Ground – Ellen Mcillwaine
  20. Move On Up (Album Version) – Curtis Mayfield

Disc 2

  1. Ike’s Rap – Isaac Hayes (Squire Mix)
  2. Woman Of The Ghetto – Marlena Shaw
  3. The Payback – James Brown
  4. Respect Yourself – The Staple Singers
  5. S.O.U.L. – Burning Spear
  6. Are You My Woman (Tell Me So) – The Chi-Lites
  7. Wicky Wacky – The Fatback Band
  8. Everyman – Double Exposure
  9. Hot Pants Road – The J.B.’s
  10. Family Tree – The Family Tree
  11. Ready Or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love) – The Delfonics
  12. Back Stabbers – The O’Jays
  13. Itch & Scratch (Part 1) – Rufus Thomas
  14. I Think I’d Do It – Z. Z. Hill
  15. Cramp Your Style – All The People
  16. Summer Madness – Kool & The Gang
  17. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) – The Temptations
  18. Inside My Love (Album Version) – Minnie Ripperton
  19. I Forgot To Be Your Lover – William Bell
  20. I Can’t Write Left Handed – Bill Withers
  21. It’s A Shame – Detroit Spinners

Disc 3

  1. Right On For The Darkness – Curtis Mayfield
  2. Funky President (People It’s Bad) – James Brown
  3. Cross The Track (We Better Go Back) – Maceo & The Macks
  4. Down On The Avenue (Slow Ride) – Fat Larry’s Band
  5. The Bottle – Gill Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson
  6. We Are Neighbours – The Chi-Lites
  7. Low Rider – War
  8. Sing A Simple Song – Please
  9. Get Me Back on Time – Wilson Picket
  10. Do The Funky Chicken (Part 2) – Rufus Thomas
  11. Chicken Yellow – Miami
  12. Express Yourself – Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
  13. Born to Live With Heartache – Mary Love
  14. Impeach The President – The Honeydrippers
  15. I Walk On Gilded Splinters – Johnny Jenkins
  16. Mighty Mighty Spade & Whitey – The Impressions
  17. The Assembly Line – The Commodores
  18. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) – Marvin Gaye 

A play list could not be completed for this compilation due to the unavailability of one on more songs on Spotify.

Various Artists – It’s Christmas

Well, it is that time of year for numerous cards depicting snow scenes, overindulgence and Slade blaring out of the radio. Christmas is a peculiar time as it is unlike any other time of the year because it has its own soundtrack. No other festival has so many songs written about or for it. The trick seems to be that if you can write a song that is played every year, you can pretty much keep yourself going for when your material is all but ignored. Jona Lewie has said as much about his song, Stop the Cavalry. The irony being the Stop the Calvary was not written as a Christmas record, but a protest song.  Anyway, here is my attempt at a top notch Christmas compilation. 

There is nothing particularly obscure here and part from some of the later songs on CD2, these were the records soundtracked my childhood Christmas. There aren’t any recordings from before the  1960’s, and CD 1 stops later in that decade. Almost the whole of the Phil Spector Christmas album is here, as well as a number of Elvis records. CD 2 is the heyday of the 70s and 80s where awesome original Christmas records  were still being written and released. Once we get into the 90s and beyond, the quota of songs goes right down. This just goes to show (in my opinion) how few great Christmas records have been produced since the 1980s. People are still releasing Christmas themed records every year but to me, they pale in comparison to what has been included here. 

There aren’t too many songs I feel missed out on being selected. ‘Feliz Navidad’ by Jose Feliciano would be one, Another would be East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’.  However, like Jona Lewie, this wasn’t written as a Christmas record either and only had a winter themed video as well as jingle bells inserted into it to appeal to the festive market. At least Jona Lewie mentioned Christmas in his song. Well, as the great Noddy Holder would say “It’s Christmas!!!”

Disc 1

  1. White Christmas – Darlene Love
  2. Frosty The Snowman – The Ronettes
  3. Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
  4. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
  5. Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes
  6. The Bells Of St. Mary – Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans
  7. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Dean Martin
  8. Santa, Bring My Baby Back (To Me) – Elvis Presley
  9. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
  10. Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
  11. Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers – The Crystals
  12. Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
  13. Winter Wonderland – Darlene Love
  14. The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
  15. Here Comes Santa Claus – Bob B. Soxx & The Blues Jeans
  16. Sleigh Ride – The Ventures
  17. Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys
  18. Santa Claus Is Back In Town – Elvis Presley
  19. Marshmallow World – Darlene Love
  20. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer – The Crystals
  21. This Time Of The Year – Brook Benton
  22. I’d Like You For Christmas – Julie London
  23. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – The Crystals
  24. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
  25. What Christmas Means To Me – Stevie Wonder
  26. Blue Holiday – The Shirelles
  27. You’re All I Want For Christmas – Brook Benton
  28. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Ronettes
  29. The Christmas Song – Nat ‘King’ Cole
  30. If Everyday Was Like Christmas – Elvis Presley

Disc 2

  1. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon & Yoko Ono
  2. River – Joni Mitchell
  3. Stop The Cavalry – Jona Lewie
  4. Last Christmas – Wham!
  5. Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
  6. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  7. Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
  8. Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
  9. I Believe In Father Christmas – Greg Lake
  10. 2000 Miles – The Pretenders
  11. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
  12. Wombling Merry Christmas – The Wombles
  13. Lonely This Christmas – Mud
  14. Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid
  15. Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens
  16. Mele Kalikimaka (Christmas In Hawaii) – KT Tunstall
  17. Warm This Winter – Gabriella Climi
  18. Silent Night – Jewel
  19. The Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie & Bing Crosby
  20. Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues & Kirsty MacCall
  21. Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) – The Darkness

Various Artists – Nuggets

There aren’t too many compilations that can be said that have been a major influence on what was to come afterwards as by definition, these types of records are all about harking back to the past. However, the Nuggets double disc set from 1972 is one of, if not the most important and influential. It was compiled by Lenny Kaye, who would become the lead guitarist in the Patti Smith band. At the time , he was a writer and working at Village Oldies record shop in New York. Not only did he compile the record, he wrote the sleeve notes as well. These contained one of the first uses of the term Punk Rock. Many other compilation series would follow including Rubble, Pebbles and Back From The Grave all of which followed the Nuggets template. That is unearthing rare records, mostly from smaller record labels that specialised in garage rock and psychedelic eras. 

I never managed to get hold of the original vinyl version of this compilation. However, in 1998 Rhino decided that they would re-release the album on CD, but instead of just putting out the original version, they decided to expand it with an additional 91 songs in a rather fetching box set. Not all of the records were obscure, with some making to top ten in the US and some didn’t fit into the time frame which said all the records were released between 1965-69. For example, Louie Louie by the Kingsmen was released in 1963. That’s just nitpicking though as even with the the addition of 91 songs there are few that could be considered filler. What I wanted to see was if I could reduce this brilliantly curated box set down to one CD, which was also mean that it would fit onto a double LP like the original album. 

  1. Let It Our (Let It All Hang Out) – Los Hombres
  2. Fight Fire – The Golliwogs
  3. Wooly Bully – Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs
  4. I Want Candy – The Strangeloves
  5. You Ain’t Tuff – The Uniques
  6. Stop – Get A Ticket – Clefs Of Lavender Hill
  7. I Live In The Springtime – The Lemon Drops
  8. Dirty Water – The Standells
  9. Lies – the Knickerbockers
  10. A Public Execution – Mouse
  11. Open Up Your Door – Richard & The Young Lions
  12. Oh Yeah – Shadows Of Night
  13. Pushin’ Too Hard – The Seeds
  14. Don’t Look Back – The Remains
  15. Liar, Liar – The Casterways
  16. Sugar & Spice – The Cryan Shames
  17. My World Fell Down – Sagittarius
  18. Open Your Eyes – The Nazz
  19. Nobody But Me – The Human Beinz
  20. Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White – The Standells
  21. Action Woman – The Litter
  22. I Ain’t No Miracle Worker – The Brogues
  23. Laugh, Laugh – The Beau Brummels
  24. I Wonder – The Gants
  25. Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love) – The Swingin’ Medallions
  26. Run, Run, Run – The Gestures
  27. Psycho – The Sonics
  28. So What! – The Lyrics
  29. The Little Black Egg – The Nightcrawlers
  30. Falling Sugar – The Palace Guard

I could not attached a Spotify playlist as one or more songs were not available on that format. 

Smashing Pumpkins – End (1990 Album)

I had not heard of the Smashing Pumpkins until they made an appearance on a British TV show in which they didn’t seem to know if they should be promoting their new record as slagging each other off. I seem to remember that the show was much missed (by me anyway) Rapido, but I might have got that wrong. The next time they came up in conversation was with a guitar player who told me that the album that they were plugging that day was not their debut, as I had thought, but their second album. The first album was called Gish. Making my way to Kingston Upon Thames and to the Record Shop: my favourite place to buy vinyl and like Rapdio, I have greatly missed it since it closed down at the end of the 90’s. They had a copy of Gish so I thought I would give it a go. Gish was a curious mix of rock, alt rock and psychedelia but I enjoyed it, so I went back and bought the already released Siamese Dream as well. 

From 1993, every year was taken up until with a new Pumpkins release. Pisces Iscariot was a rather fine collection of B-Sides and rarities. Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness was the first triple vinyl album I had ever bought. The bonus for us vinyl buyers was that the release had two tracks that were not available anywhere else. That made up fro the fact that I missed out on the bonus single that had been included on the Pisces Iscariot album. I managed to pick up a copy of the Siamese Singles vinyl box set, which was a bit of an indulgent purchase considering I was at University at the time. This included some fine B-Sides not available anywhere else at the time. Then there was another indulgent purchase with the Aeroplane Flies High box set which the first time I had bought any of the bands work on CD. Even though there were a few duff tracks on here ( I think I have managed to get all the way through the Pistachio Medley just the once), it showed there was still gold to be found if looked hard enough. 1997 was a quiet year for releases with only one single coming out, The End is the Beginning is the End from the Batman and Robin film. However, the year was not quiet on the recording front. James Iha recorded his first solo album and the Pumpkins prepared their Adore album. Adore was a real departure from what went before and even though it was not as popular as their previous albums, it did receive critical praise and I liked the new direction the band seemed to be taking. What was curious about the vinyl edition was that it was released in mono. It would take until 2014 and the deluxe edition that I would hear the album in stereo. They would start the new decade with the Machina album, which would also see the end of the original incarnation of the band. The following decade would see a reformation (of sorts) and in the 2010’s, an extensive reissue programme that was meant to encompass all of the albums from their initial phase. As of October 2020, Machina has yet to feature in this programme.  

With the Smashing Pumpkins, it would seem that most of the websites that look at lost records go for a reconstruction of the Machina album, seeing as the second part is relatively easy to find due to Billy Corgan himself allowing it be downloaded for free across the internet. Was it available on his website from the turn of the century? I cannot remember but It would not surprise me if it was as Corgan was actually quite generous with rare or unreleased Pumpkins material at the time. The Squire Archive has a number of CD-Rs of material culled from that site. Unfortunately he stopped being so generous a long time ago. Most of these downloads were from the early days of the band, with a lot of it being sessions conducted by the band before it had a record deal. Some of these songs made it on the bonus discs during on the reissues from 2011 onwards but not all of them. What I thought I would do is to produce a discography for the band from the pre-Gish era as if they had produced not only an album, but singles and an EP. What I did not want to do was double up on material so none of these songs appeared on Gish or Pisces Iscariot. 

The band was formed in 1988 when Billy Corgan met James Iha whilst the latter was working in a record shop. Soon afterwards, D’arcy Wretzky was recruited on bass and they played a few shows backed by a drum machine. However, after one show at the Cabaret Metro, the owner told them he would only book them again if they had a real drummer. It was at this point that that Jimmy Chamberlain was drafted in after being recommenced by a friend of Corgans’. His recruitment changed the sound of the band immensely as Chamberlain was quite a powerful player, which allowed the rest of the band to, in the words of Corgan “rock harder than we could ever have imagined”. 

Corgan had recorded a few songs using equipment in his father’s home studio but in late 1988, they were ready to record some material for an album, which was quite a commitment considering they did not have a record contract. The band had played a number of gigs and had made the decision that they should put all of their earnings towards recording. Through word of mouth they found out about Mark Ignoffo who was a recording studio in the basement of his parents house. The band recorded a number of songs, three of which (I Am One, Daydream and Rhinoceros) would end up on Gish but only after they had been re-recorded. These sessions would be used as the basis for a number of demo tapes that the band would use to either secure gigs or to solicit record labels. Two songs would be used on a compilation called ‘Light Into Dark’ and these were My Dahlia and Sun. They would also contribute tracks to other compilations albums before Gish was released as well as signing with Sub Pop. It was with the release of the ‘My Dahlia’ single that caused enough interest in the record industry for a number of labels to show some interest in them. However, the band decided to sign with Caroline, a subsidiary of Virgin Records. 

So, what are we left to play with to make this first LP that never was. I thought I would keep the two single A-Sides that they released prior to signing with Caroline in their original versions. Both of these songs would be re-recorded for Gish. The original B-Side for I Am One is also the same. La Dolly Vita and Honey Spider would be used elsewhere so I used a cover on the flip instead. The Pumpkins didn’t do many covers that were released, but those they did tended to be on the B-Sides of singles. One was Cinnamon Girl which was originally by Neil Young. I was quite surprised to find that Jackie Blue was not a Pumpkins song, but was by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. I suspect that Billy Corgan would have only wanted his own songs or co-writes with second guitar players James Iha on there. However, I did not feel that any of the other songs I tried to replace it with fitted with the flow of the record. 

The album itself is made up of songs that made up one of the demo tapes the band shopped around in 1989. It was re-produced for the Pisces Iscariot deluxe edition from 2012. Jackie Blue had been released on the previously mentioned ‘Light Into Dark’. Two of the songs come from the downloads Billy Corgan made available all those years ago. C’Mon and Honey Spider, which may well be the same as the version found on the B-Side of the Tritessa 12” single, but I do not have one of those in the collection so I have not been able to confirm this. There is also a song called Psychodelic which would also see the light of day on an early demo tape which has yet to see a re-release. It is known to the Pumpkins fans as the ‘Moon Demo Tape’. Lastly, there is Cinder Open, which sounded really good as an opening song, but a bit on the long side. I therefore edited it down to two minutes and used the remainder of the song to finish this collection off. Overall, this is a pretty good album.

However, I did have a few songs left over that I felt were too good to ignore but there wasn’t enough for another album, so these could have been released as a special 12 inch single. Seven songs would have been good value for money as well. The majority of these songs came from the downloads Corgan had put on his webpage as well as some of the other songs from the ‘Moon Demo Tape’. There is La Dolly Vita, the missing Tritessa B-Side and Smiley, which was a Gish era demo, but it was not used on the album so it could have found a home for itself here. It is a shame that when the deluxe editions came out that these songs were not on those records. There was certainly room for them on the Gish as this was an album from the last days of the vinyl era and was only 46 minutes long. 

For the album cover, I used the same image that was used on 2001’s Greatest Hits compilation. I called it ‘End’ because of not only the road sign that the band are standing in front of, but I thought it would be a bit of a Billy Corgan thing to do to call their first album by a name that sounds like it should be the last. The Vanilla artwork is a recoloured version of their logo from the Siamese Dream era, but I could not find anything else that I liked that had not been used somewhere else before. The band had not quite found their feet at tis time, but this would have been a good introduction of the band if they had secured a record record before they actually did. 

Side A

  1. Cinder Open (Edited to 2:00) – Pisces Iscariot (Deluxe Edition)
  2. Spiteface – Smashing Pumpkins Demo Tape (Pisces Iscariot)
  3. C’Mon – Real Time Studios II Version
  4. Psychodelic – Moon Demo Tape

Side B

  1. Sun – Smashing Pumpkins Demo Tape (Pisces Iscariot)
  2. Jackie Blue – Pisces Iscariot (Deluxe Edition)
  3. Jennifer Ever – Smashing Pumpkins Demo Tape (Pisces Iscariot)
  4. East – Smashing Pumpkins Demo Tape (Pisces Iscariot)
  5. Honey Spider (Full Length Version) – Real Time Studios II Version
  6. Cinder Open (Reprise) – Pisces Iscariot (Deluxe Edition)

Singles

  1. I Am One – Limited Potential Version (Single A-Side)
  2. Not Worth Asking – Limited Potential Version (Single B-Side)
  1. Tritessa – Sub Pop Single
  2. Cinnamon Girl – Pisces Iscariot

Vanilla E.P.

Side A

  1. With You – Moon Demo Tape
  2. Vanilla – Pisces Iscariot (Deluxe Edition)
  3. Smiley – Gish (Deluxe Edition)
  4. Waiting For You Now – Real Time Studios Acoustic

Side B

  1. Egg – Moon Demo Tape
  2. La Dolly Vita – Sub Pop Single
  3. I Am One (Part 2) – Real Time Studios Acoustic

These discs could not be reproduced on Spotify.

(RSD 2020 Special) Blood Records – Sampler 2018-2019

Blood Records was created by the same people that brought us the subscription vinyl service, Flying Vinyl (you can hear the two podcasts we produced about them by following the links below). Where as Flying Vinyl deals with the joys of the single, Blood Records is all about the 12”, with their release schedule already including LPs and EPs. These releases are exclusive to the site and are for the most part, hand numbered. The quicker you are to order, the lower the number you will receive. They tend to be signed by the people involved as well as coming on all sorts of wonderful shades of vinyl. There have even been a number of LPs pressed on what can only be described as a zoetrope picture disc. These do have to be seen to be believed. 

For this months Record Store Day (RSD), I have decided to produce a sampler disc, in the style of the classics such as ‘Nice Enough To Eat’ and ‘El Pea’ that were released by Island Records in the late 60s and early 70s. This sampler covers the period between 2018 and 2019. In that time, Blood Records released ten records but it is impossible to give a complete picture of the label as some of the LPs released were various artists affairs. The songs that have been selected from those albums has just been a case of picking one that I liked as well as fitting into the time limitations fo the format. 

The sleeve artwork was taken from the Blood Records Facebook account and is one of the earlier logos with the dates covered by this compilation added.

Side A

  1. The Overcorrection – Ralph Pelleymounter
  2. It’s Over – The Hippaes 
  3. After Dark – SPINN
  4. The Time Game – Lauilia
  5. Bonnie – Anteros
  6. Forty Days & Forty Nights (Live) – The Blinders

Side B

  1. Shadow By Your Side – Alligator
  2. Game – Eliza Sheddad
  3. Icarus – Stereo Honey
  4. Junk Food Forever (Live) – The Amazons

Flying Vinyl – Episode 1 (https://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/2016/07/)

Flying Vinyl – Episode 2 (https://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/podcast/episode-57-flying-vinyl-year-2/)

Various Artists – American Acid (Volume 2)

A second volume of songs from the late 60s US Acid Rock (sort of) scene. A few artists from the first volume make another appearance here as well as some well known faces that did not. There are also some obscure artists like Michelle proving that much like the UK psych scene, there was so much good music coming out at the time that some of it disappeared through the cracks. Enjoy. 

Disc 1

  1. Codine Blues – The Charlatans
  2. Rag Mama Rag – The Band
  3. Let’s Work Together – Canned Heat
  4. Combination Of The Two – Big Brother & The Holding Company
  5. Omaha – Moby Grape
  6. Superbird – Country Joe & The Fish
  7. Live & Let Live – Love
  8. Dark Star – The Grateful Dead
  9. Sister Of Mercy – Leonard Cohen
  10. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 – Bob Dylan
  11. Lemonade Kid – Kak
  12. Red Balloon – Tim Hardin
  13. Think Twice – Salvation
  14. Domesday – Stained Glass
  15. Guess Things Happen That Way – Terry Manning
  16. The Pusher – Hoyt Axton
  17. Free Up – The Surprise Package
  18. Doodle – Skip Spence

Disc 2

  1. Mercedes Benz – Janis Joplin
  2. Evil Ways – Santana
  3. Time Was – Canned Heat
  4. Roll With It – The Steve Miller Band
  5. California Earthquake – Cass Elliott
  6. Electric Saiilor – Kak
  7. 8:05 – Moby Grape
  8. Old Man – Love
  9. Lie To Me – Kaleidoscope
  10. Light Your Windows – Quicksilver Messenger Service
  11. Summer In the City – The Lovin’ Spoonful
  12. Acid – Stu Mitchell With Wes Dakus’ Rebels
  13. War In Peace – Skip Spence
  14. Song For A Seagull – Joni Mitchell
  15. Forever Is A Dream – Food
  16. Lonely People Blues – Gary Lee Yoder
  17. White Bird – It’s A Beautiful Day
  18. Lament Of The Astro Cowboy – Michele
  19. Good Vibrations (Tape Rewind) – The Beach Boys

Neither disc could be reproduced on Spotify.

Various Artists – American Acid (Volume 1)

As much as I like Psychedelic music, my knowledge of the scene from the USA is not as good as it is for other countries from around the world. The brand of Psych from the US sometimes is lumped under the title of Acid Rock, which generally means that songs have heavy, distorted guitars with extended jams and lyrics full of drug references, either blatant or subtle. However, like most labels of music, it is pretty meaningless. 

A lot of the groups and singers on this compilation either came out of the Garage Rock or Folk Rock scenes. Those bands that developed from Garage Rock into the Psych era took with them the distorted guitar sound and sound effects, which is major contrast from British Psych which took its cues from childhood imagery and the Music Hall Tradition. As time went on, the guitars became heavier and would eventually evolve into heavy rock and metal. 

For this compilation, I looked at using music from the golden age of what could be considered Acid Rock music, which is arguably between 1966 and 1970. Not all of these artists are rockers, with the likes of Joni Mitchell and Time Rose making an appearance. What I was going for here was the feel of the US in the late 60s and I hope that I achieved this. Enjoy. 

Disc 1

  1. The Fish Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag – Country Joe & The Fish
  2. Spirit In The Sky – Norman Greenbaum
  3. Going Up The Country – Canned Heat
  4. Hey Grandma – Moby Grape
  5. Alabama Bound – The Charlatans
  6. Night In The City – Joni Mitchell
  7. Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was in) – Kenny Rodgers & The First Edition
  8. For What Its Worth – Buffalo Springfield
  9. That’s It For The Other One (Edit) – The Grateful Dead*
  10. Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
  11. The Weight – The Band
  12. The Pusher – Steppenwolf
  13. The Red Telephone – Love
  14. Karmic Dream Sequence #1 – The Millennium
  15. Mr Skin – Spirit
  16. In A Gadda-Da-Vidda – Iron Butterfly

*Edited at 6:26

Disc 2

  1. Wooden Ships – Crosby, Stills & Nash
  2. The Golden Road (To Ultimate Devotion) – The Grateful Dead
  3. Underdog – Sly & The Family Stone
  4. Do You Follow Me – The United States Of America
  5. Down on Me (Live) – Big Brother & The Holding Company
  6. Morning Dew – Tim Rose
  7. Magic Carpet Rode – Steppenwolf
  8. Two Days ‘Till Tomorrow – The Beau Brummels
  9. The Crystal Ship – The Doors
  10. Sugar Man – Rodriquez
  11. 1982-A – Sons Of Champlin
  12. Up & Down – The Serpent Power
  13. Volunteers – Jefferson Airplane
  14. Fool (Single Version) – Blue Cheer
  15. How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away – Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks
  16. Bryte ’N’ Clear Day – Kak
  17. Bummer In The Summer – Love
  18. Murder In The Heart For The Judge – Moby Grape
  19. Five To One – The Doors
  20. Sure ‘Nuff ’N Yes I Do – Captain Beefheart & HIs Magic Band
  21. I Need It Higher – Zerfas
  22. Get Together – The Youngbloods
  23. Porpoise Song (Mono Single Mix) – The Monkees