Danny Kirwan – Mind Of My Own/Sands Of Time

Mind Of My Own (1971)

This idea for the following two what-if records came about because I was trying to put together a fourth Fleetwood Mac album from the Peter Green line up. I did have a go but this ultimately failed because looking at all of the available material, there was a lack of new material from Green and nothing new from Jeremy Spencer, which is not much of a surprise as he only just released a solo album. On the other hand, Danny Kirwan had lots of material from the Green era that did not make it onto a Mac studio album. From 1968 to 1970, he wrote enough material to fill an album. For this album to come out though, we need to do a little bit of rewriting of the band’s history. 

Fleetwood Mac had spent the majority of 1970 touring America and then Europe, but all was not happy in the camp. Founder member and talismanic guitar player Peter Green was struggling with the trappings of fame and the band have noticed his behaviour has changed. He has grown a beard, started wearing a crucifix (which was odd in the fact that Green was Jewish) and had spoken about giving his money away. In March, he spent some time in a commune in Munich, Germany where he ingests some LSD that, according to the manager Clifford Davis, is where Green’s fragile mental state finally broke. Green decided to leave the band he had founded and the remaining quartet soldier on for a few gigs and record the album ‘Kiln House’ before bringing in Christine McVie, bass player John McVie’s wife and famous musician in her own right to fill out the sound. The band records the single, ’Dragonfly’ and ‘The Purple Dancer’ before the end of the year which is released in March of 1971. The song is not a hit and it is the only Kirwan pen A-Side released in his native UK. 

This line up continues to tour and record radio sessions before returning the USA in February for another Stateside tour. It is here that Spencer starts to become disillusioned with life in the Mac. He is unimpressed with how he sounds on live recordings and when a major earthquake hits Los Angeles, he fails to persuade the band not to go there. When the band arrives in L.A., Spencer says that he is going to a bookshop but never returns. The band have to cancel all their L.A. shows because they are looking for their missing guitar player. When he is eventually found, Spencer has joined the religious group, the Children of God. Despite appeals from the band to fulfil his obligations to the band, Spencer will not return. The band play a few gigs as four piece before convincing Peter Green to rejoin them for a few gigs before they can recruit a permanent replacement. It is here that Bob Welch comes into the picture. The band continue to record and have a core of four members throughout this period. Welch convinces the band to move to America as they have become more successful there than their native UK. Welch leaves the band shortly after this move the band recruit Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, becoming one of the biggest bands on the planet. 

What if the band had decided that after losing two founder members that were not only front men for the group but songwriters to boot? This is where these what if albums come in and the history of Danny Kirwan could have been a bit different.

With the band returning to Britain after the end of their 1971 USA tour, Kirwan and the remainder of Fleetwood Mac decide that losing Green and Spencer is too much for the group to carry on so they disband. The rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie are well known enough to become session musicians (which they did do in reality when they played on Warren Zevon’s song ‘Werewolves of London’). Christine McVie resurrects her solo career but like her previous attempt at fronting a band under her own name, it does not last and she retreats into studio work. What of Danny Kirwan though. Under the direction of Mac’s manager, Clifford Davis, he is left to fulfil the band’s recording contract with Reprise and promises to deliver two albums in the next two years.

Kirwan did not have a great deal of new material so he decided to resurrect some songs that he had performed with Fleetwood Mac either live or on radio show but had not made their way onto an official album. Roping in the other ex members of Fleetwood Mac for the sessions, Kirwan produces an album that is quite eclectic. I have listed next to songs where these songs can be found.

Side 1

  1. Like It This Way (The Vaudeville Years of Fleetwood Mac)
  2. Early Morning Come (Live At The BBC)
  3. Mind Of My Own (Show Biz Blues)
  4. Open The Door (Madison Blues)
  5. Down At The Crown (Madison Blues)

Side 2

  1. Tell Me From The Start (The Vaudeville Years of Fleetwood Mac)
  2. Love It Seems (The Vaudeville Years of Fleetwood Mac)
  3. Loving Kind (Live In Boston)
  4. Only You (Live At The BBC)
  5. When I See My Baby (Live At The BBC)
  6. Farewell (The Vaudeville Years of Fleetwood Mac)

Kirwan was rooted in blues music but he did have quite an eclectic taste. This are shown by the songs included on this record. ’Like It This Way’, ‘Early Morning Come’ and ‘Mind of My Own’ highlight Kirwan’s blues influences but this changes with ‘Open The Door’ which shows some distinctly country roots. ‘Down At The Crown’, a song about the pub located near the Fleetwood Mac’s communal house in Hampshire shows a rockier side to Kirwan. 

Side two opens with ‘Tell Me From The Start’ which sounds very out of time for the late 60’s, early 70s. It harks back to an earlier age and shows an influence of swing. ‘Love It Seems’ hints at the songs Kirwan would write and contribute to the ‘Future Games’ album. ‘Loving Kind’ and ‘Only You’ reintroduce more blues to the mix before ‘When I See My Baby’, which sounds like something Jeremy Spencer would compose; a pastiche of a 50’s doo-wop band. The album finishes with Farewell would could be said to be a bit of a cheat because it was an early version of Earl Grey, that was included on the ‘Kiln House’ LP. It is different enough to stand on its own and means that the two sides of the album have similar run times.

Sands of Time (1972)

Sales of the first album are strong enough for Kirwan to go into the studio to record again. Kirwan once again uses the ex-Mac members as his backing band and this album is split between the more rock orientated songs on Side A and the more mellow Songs on Side B. The album is not as successful as the previous effort so Kirwan is sent out on tour to promote it. However, this is where it all goes wrong. Kirwan has been a heavy drinker for the last couple of years and this has now turned into full blown alcoholism. He had also experimented with LSD and mescaline. This did not help Kirwan who was possible too sensitive a soul to have survived long in the music business. After cancelling the rest of the tour, Reprise do not take up the option of renewing Kirwan’s contract. Kirwan spends the next couple of years playing on songs of old acquaintances and trying to get a new band together. He would eventually release his next solo album in 1975 called ‘Second Chapter’. 

Side A

  1. Child Of Mine (Bare Trees)
  2. Bare Trees (Bare Trees)
  3. Danny’s Chant (Bare Trees)
  4. Trinity (25 Years – The Chain)
  5. Sunny Side Of Heaven (Bare Trees)

Side B

  1. Woman Of 1000 Years (Future Games)
  2. Sands Of Time (Future Games)
  3. Sometimes (Future Games)
  4. Dust (Bare Trees)

I initially did not intend to do a second part to the Danny Kirwan what ifs album, but whilst putting together the first one, I thought about all of the material that was written by him between 1971 and 1972 that had originally been released by Fleetwood Mac in what is know as their wilderness years. There was also a song released on the 25th Anniversary Box Set that meant that even though there are less songs on this LP, this album is actually longer. Both of these albums hold together quite well, even though the second is a lot more consistent seeing as the majority of those songs were officially released by the band at the time. The first album is essentially a load of outtakes. 

In the real world, Fleetwood Mac continued on after Jeremy Spencer left, recruiting American Bob Welch. With Spencer gone, so were the 50’s pastiches and Elmore James blues work outs. This line-ups first album was ‘Future Games’ which was more acoustic and mellow than previous efforts, with only the filler jam of ‘What A Shame’ spoiling what could be considered a lost classic.  After the release of ‘Future Games’, the band began an eleven month tour of the US and Europe. ‘Future Games’ had sold well in America and Fleetwood Mac broke house attendance records at some of the venues they played in. They even had time to record another album in the shape of ‘Bare trees’. Not all was well with Kirwan though.

His fragile mental state, his drinking and being worn down by the constant touring, Kirwan fell apart. Backstage at a University gig on the ‘Bare Trees’ promotional tour, Kirwan started to argue with Welch over his guitar being in tune. He then proceeded to smash his head against and wall and then destroy his guitar. Refusing to go on stage, Kirwan sat by the mixing desk and then criticised the band for not putting on a good enough show. Kirwan was promptly fired from the band. He played with a few bands and released three solo albums, and even though the first two do have some merit, by the third, his fire was gone. The album was only recorded to fulfil his record contract and Kirwan’s distinct lead playing is nowhere to be seen. It has been debated if he even played any guitar on the record at all. 

Kirwan would spend some time homeless in the 80’s and 90’s, and even though he was able to find accommodation in the care home for alcoholics, he never recorded again. A shame, as this guy did write some good tunes (even if he did borrow some of his lyrics from poets) and was a talented player. 

Both of the album covers are inspired by the ones Fleetwood Mac used in the same time period. 

I have not been able to put together a Spotify playlist for either of these what ifs due to that platform not having all of the material available on it. 

Fleetwood Mac – Live In Boston 1970

Fleetwood Mac were very creative down the years and from 1967 to 1977, as they pretty much released an album a year. Not bad for a band that rarely had the same line up between releases. During this time, they seemed to go through guitar players in the way Spinal Tap went through drummers but without the tendency to pass away in bizarre circumstances. When it comes to unreleased albums or projects, the Mac did not leave that many ideas in the can. It was reported that Jeremy Spencer and Peter Green were going to produce a ‘orchestral-choral’ biography of Jesus Christ. However, it looks as though nothing came of this idea and Spencer would go on to produce a solo records full of tributes/parodies of rock n roll. Considering that the rest of Mac backed Spencer on this record, it could be considered a lost album by the band if if Peter Green only appears on one song. This record could even be considered a dry run for 1970s ‘Kiln House’. Anyway, I digress. 

One record project that was made and then went unreleased at the time was a live album. In February 1970, the band played a series of gigs at the Boston Tea Party, Boston, MA. As Peter Green notes in one of the in-between songs bits of banter, the band are not as loose as they normally are due to the pressure of ensuring that they produce a top notch performance. The Mac knock out a nearly four hour show of blues and rock n roll pastiches. Imagine going to gig that long now. Compare this to The Beatles who would knock out about thirty minutes when they last toured just four years before this. Could the Mac of this period be classed at the British equivalent of The Grateful Dead. 

Anyway, this gig never made it onto the market mostly down to the fact that Peter Green left the band just three months after this recording was made. The tapes would stay in the vault until the mid-80s when they would slowly creep out on numerous releases before a 2013 CD release that pretty much compiled all of the available releases. So, what would have happened if this set had come out back in 1970? Well, this was when the technology to record live gigs effectively and with the amount of martial recorded that night, it would have been a shame to only release this as a single record. So, a double album it is. Live records at the time would also look to fade out the crowd at the end of the songs so none of the on stage banter would have been kept in. 

The band at this point had three front men, guitar playing songwriters so there needs to be a fair representation of all three. The band also would finish up shows with some old rock n’ roll songs so if this is to be representative of a Mac live concert, this would need to be kept as well. So, what do we have. The album starts off with the Boston tea Party MC introduces the band and he also re-introduces the band later on. This was used for Side C as this was a great way of starting the second disc. The MC also comes on to finish the gig as well and so this stayed in as well. The music itself shows the band moving on from their blues roots to something else entirely. Most the blues tracks that do remain in the set are delivered by Jeremy Spencer, who still seems to be stuck as a Elmore James copyist. Spencer does not take part in the songs of the other two guitar players but it is when Peter Green and Danny Kirwan get going, that he hear some fantastic interplay between the two. It is a shame that Green and Kirwan only appeared on one Mac album together and it is a tragedy that the careers were curtained by bad drugs and metal illness.  

Side A

  1. Black Magic Woman
  2. Sandy Mary
  3. Like It This Way
  4. Only You
  5. Oh Well

Side B

  1. Rattlesnake Shake

Side C

  1. World In Harmony
  2. I Can’t Hold Out
  3. Got To Move
  4. Loving Kind
  5. Jumping At Shadows

Side D

  1. Stranger Blues
  2. Teenage Darling
  3. Keep A-Knocking
  4. Jenny Jenny

The artwork used a shot of the band live in this period. It may even have been taken at the Boston Tea Party. It was the only picture I could find with all five members of the band playing live and this is also the first time I have completed the back sleeve as well. I took inspiration from the band 1971 ‘Greatest Hits’ album cover and like that, this would have been a gatefold. 

The gatefold sleeve for ‘Live At The Boston Tea Party’.

All of the songs were available on Spotify but has not been edited down in the way it would have been back in the day. Therefore, banter between the songs has been left in so there are occasions is where someone will introduce a song and then the band doesn’t play it. The end of Jenny Jenny also has Peter Green talking about the band ending up having a jam with a guest guitar player and future Eagle, Joe Walsh. If you can get through this, the record stands up as a great document of a band at it peak. Enjoy!

Fleetwood Mac – The Collection Vol.1

Oh Fleetwood Mac. If there had been one of those American mini series (that seemed to be on the TV regularly when I was kid) about this band, it would have gone on for a year. The band have been so many musicians (well, guitar players really), different line ups and morphed from blues purists to purveyors of soft rock that it has been difficult to keep up. 

My first introduction to the band was ‘Rumours’, the multi million selling album from 1977 that means that no-one in the UK can listen to the songs ‘Chains’ without thinking that motor racing is about to come on the television. My next memory was of the band was the album ‘Tango In The Night’ which came out ten years afterwards and even though not up to the sales and standard of ‘Rumours’ was still a pretty good album. Their 1988 ‘Greatest Hits’ record (the one with the green sleeve) was one of the first CDs I ever bought but this dealt with the soft rock period from 1975 up until that time. This was the period of time where I was first getting into looking into band histories as well as buying my own records and this included my first tentative steps into the world of second hand record shops. Fleetwood Mac were the first band where actively went out to buy all of their records.

What I found when starting to look for the Mac back catalogue was lots of album where there were hairy guys on the cover and no women in the band. Was this a fake Fleetwood Mac (there actually was one of these in the 70s) or a time in the bands history I knew nothing about. As it was, the latter was the correct answer. This hairy bloke band were the group that had produced ‘Albatross’, still the only Mac single to be a number 1 hit in the UK. I had heard of that but I didn’t really put two and two together and didn’t realise these were the same band. I found out that this earlier incarnation was a blues band, and as I was listening to a goo deal of that style of music at the time, I thought I would give them a go. My first purchase of what is known as the Peter Green era was a double LP from the Castle Group called the Collection. It dealt with their records from their time on the Blue Horizon and Immediate record labels. I was instantly hooked. Great guitar playing from Peter Green and if like some humour or Elmore James riffs, you will like the contributions from the other guitar player in this early line up, Jeremy Spencer. 

I then made my way through all of the early albums and didn’t buy any of the more famous 70s and 80s albums for a good number of years. With a limited budget, the blues was winning out in the race of my pounds. I then got to ‘Then Play On’, their third album and the first with third guitar player Danny Kirwan. This was a development of the sound. It still had a blues base but it was moving on from the twelve bars. It was also lacking in any Jeremy Spencer songs. He was given an opportunity to record his songs on an EP that would have come with the LP, but this would remain unreleased until the 1990s. This era would end with Peter Green leaving and the band losing their fan base for the next five years. This second era will be dealt with the next CD compilation. 

This first Fleetwood Mac era has had numerous compilations and box sets, but it has been poorly served by reissues. They are a bit of a mess, especially when they left the Blue Horizon label and signed with Reprise/Warner Brothers. The ‘Complete Blue Horizon Sessions’ covered the first two albums and contains, supposedly, the entire recording output on that label. It is a good place to start of you can find a copy as it is over twenty years old now. ‘Then Play On’ has suffered from multiple different variations and when it was eventually given a deluxe edition in 2013, it was a bit short of bonus tracks. 

If you can find copies of the compilations ‘Show-Biz Blues’ and ‘The Vaudeville Years’ you will hear how much they had left in the can. These compilations have not been readily available down the years and this era continues to be poorly served. In 2019 there was a live compilation of ‘recently’ discovered tapes which was bit lacking in the documentation stakes. The record also included songs that were labeled as demos but I believe that these are actually BBC sessions that did not make the ‘Live at the BBC’ in the 1990s. Someone really needs to make an effort to sorting out this period in the bands history in the same way in which the classic Buckingham-Nicks lineup were compiled over the last few years. The music from this era is great and considering at the time Fleetwood Mac were outselling The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in the UK, it is a shame that this period is not as well known as it should be. 

Disc 1

  1. Hellhound On My Trail
  2. I Believe My Time Ain’t Long
  3. The World Keep On Turning
  4. Black Magic Woman
  5. My Baby’s Good To Me
  6. I Loved Another Woman
  7. Allow me One More Show
  8. Mean Old Fireman
  9. Can’t Afford to Do It
  10. Shake Your Moneymaker
  11. Love That Woman
  12. Love That Burns
  13. Rollin’ Man
  14. My Heart Beat Like A Hammer (Take 2)
  15. Need Your Love Tonight
  16. I’m Coming Home To Stay (1st Album Outtake)
  17. Lazy Poker Blues
  18. Doctor Brown
  19. Watch Out
  20. Stop Messin’ Around
  21. My Baby’s Sweeter
  22. Rambling Pony No.2
  23. Need Your Love So Bad
  24. A Fool no More
  25. No Place To Go

Disc 2

  1. Long Grey Mare
  2. Baby Please Set A Date
  3. Blues With A Feeling
  4. Mean Mistreatin’ Mama
  5. Can’t Believe You Wanna Leave
  6. Looking For Somebody
  7. Trying So Hard To Forget
  8. Sandy Mary
  9. Only You
  10. Tallahasse Lassie
  11. Homework
  12. Early Morning Come
  13. That’s Wrong
  14. Got To Move
  15. Heavenly
  16. When I See My Baby
  17. I Can’t Hold Out
  18. Coming Home
  19. (That’s What) I Want To Know
  20. Worried Dream
  21. Jumping At Shadows
  22. Leaving Town Blues
  23. You’re So Evil (1st Album Outtake)

Disc 3

  1. Intro
  2. Coming Your Way
  3. Closing My Eyes
  4. Show-Biz Blues
  5. My Dream
  6. Although The Sun Is Shining
  7. Like Crying
  8. Something Inside Of Me (Take 1)
  9. Tell Me From The Start
  10. Like It This Way
  11. One Sunny Day
  12. Rattlesnake Shake
  13. Oh Well (Part 1)
  14. Oh Well (Part 2)
  15. Albatross
  16. Man Of The World (Single Version)
  17. Someone’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight
  18. (Watch Out For Yourself) Mr Jones
  19. Mighty Cold
  20. Love It Seems
  21. Without You
  22. Before The Beginning
  23. The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)
  24. Farewell 

This playlist is dedicated to the memory of Peter Green who passed away recently. That news, as well as the death of Danny Kirwan back in 2018 shut the door on any hope of the blue based line up of Fleetwood Mac reforming to play some gigs. All that is left is the great music which these two fine guitar players left us with. 

These play lists could not be reproduced with one or more songs not being available on Spotify. 

Fleetwood Mac – The Collection Vol.1 Disc 1
Fleetwood Mac – The Collection Vol.1 Disc 2
Fleetwood Mac – The Collection Vol.1 Disc 3

The Beatles – The Long & Winding Road

To finish off the month, I have put together a special Beatles What-If project. Being in lockdown allowed my imagination to wander somewhat, but I do hope that you enjoy this alternative history project of what The Beatles Anthology albums could have been.

The Long & Winding Road Vol.1

In 1995, The Beatles released their Anthology project that consisted of a TV series, albums, and a coffee table book. They had also thrown open the doors on the archives to allow unreleased studio recordings to be officially heard for the first time. The project had been running from 1970 when Neil Aspinall, future head of the Apple Company, put together a compilation of archival footage that he called The Long & Winding Road. The film was ready by 1971, but as relations between the band members were not as good as they could have been, they were not involved in the project. This film itself became a part of the archive but permission was given to use some of the footage so that Eric Idle could complete his Rutles project. The project was resurrected in 1980 when John Lennon said that he would be getting back together with the other Beatles for a reunion concert and that it would be used as the end of the Long & Winding Road film. Tragically, Lennon was killed before this could happen. 

Up to this point, Beatles fans had been poorly served by archival material being released. Between 1970, when the band split up, and 1995 when the Anthology project saw the light of day, there were a couple of live albums.  The Live at the Hollywood Bowl and Live! at the Star-Club In Hamburg, Germany albums, both from 1977. In 1980, EMI had asked house engineer John Barrett to listen to and catalogue The Beatles session tapes whilst he recovered from cancer treatment. This led to a multi-media event called ‘The Beatles at Abbey Road’, which included some unreleased material being heard for the first time since they had been recorded. All of the surviving Beatles attended the event and Harrison said that he was happy for his solo take of While My Guitar Gently Weeps to be released. EMI prepared an album called Sessions, but The Beatles undertook legal proceedings to prevent it coming out. All of the songs that were put forward for the Sessions album would be released on the Anthology albums. 

These albums contained material that had not been released before and this took the form of some live cuts, TV appearances, demos and alternative mixes of previously released songs. What these albums showed was that there was little in the way of songs that were not used anywhere else. Most of these songs came from the early days of the band and their recordings before signing with EMI in 1962. What was also missing were any curiosities that had come out down the years, and are little known outside of the most dedicated Beatles fans.  

What if the project had been released in 1980 as planned, but instead of what we got in 1995, these records were made up of some of the aforementioned curiosities, some unreleased mixes and demos. I have seen this as a continuation of my Collection of Beatles Oldies LPs, so as these would still be readily available in this alternative timeline, none of the songs included on those collections are included here.  These albums would be released three single LPs and would have a cover photo close to the period when the music was recorded.  That is why Pete Best is included on the sleeve for Vol.1 as Ringo Starr does not play on many of the songs on that record. All of the sleeves are based on the U.S. version of the Rarities album that was released in 1980. 

I have tried to show where these songs can be found as a number of them have been released officially down the years, but some are still in the archive (or on bootlegs, if you know where to look). There is a gap in these collection between 1963 and 1966, mostly down to the fact that the best archival recordings from that period had already been used on the first Collections of Beatles Oldies LP. I would hope that The Beatles in this timeline would see fit not to double up on material to give their fans the best value for money compilations they could. 

Side A

  1. That’ll Be The Day – The Quarrymen – Demo
  2. In Spite Of All Danger – The Quarrymen – Demo
  3. Hallelujah, I Love Her So – Home Demo
  4. You’ll Be Mine Home – Demo
  5. Cayenne – Home Demo
  6. My Bonnie – With Tony Sheridan
  7. Ain’t She Sweet – With Tony Sheridan
  8. Cry For A Shadow – With Tony Sheridan
  9. ‘Till There Was You – Decca Demo
  10. Like Dreamers Do – Decca Demo

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 would be released on the Anthology 1 album (1995).

Track 6 was originally released as a single, but the band was credited as The Beat Brothers (1961)

Track 7 was originally released as a single (1964) 

Track 8 was originally released on the ‘Mister Twist’ EP (1962)

Track 9 is currently unreleased. 

Track 10 would be released on the Anthology 1 album (1995).

Side B

  1. Take Good Care Of My Baby – Decca Demo
  2. The Sheik Of Araby – Decca Demo
  3. Love Of The Love – Decca Demo
  4. Crying, Waiting, Hopping – Decca Demo
  5. Three Cool Cats – Decca Demo
  6. Hello Little Girl – Decca Demo
  7. Besame Mucho – EMI Demo (Pete Best on Drums)
  8. Love Me Do – EMI Demo (Pete Best on Drums)
  9. Please Please Me – Andy White on Drums
  10. Bad To Me – Home Demo
  11. I’m In Love – Home Demo

Tracks 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 would be released on the Anthology 1 album (1995).

Tracks 1, 3 & 4 are currently unreleased. 

Tracks 10 & 11 would be released on the The Beatles Bootleg Recordings (2013)

The Long & Winding Road Vol.2

Side A

  1. A Beginning (Take 4)/Don’t Pass me By (Take 7) – Studio Recording
  2. Child Of Nature – Esher Demo
  3. Step Inside Love – Studio Jam
  4. Los Paranoias – Studio Jam
  5. Circles – Esher Demo
  6. Junk – Esher Demo
  7. Can You Take Me Back (Take 1) – Studio Recording

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 8 would be released on the ‘The Beatles – 50th Anniversary Box Set’.

Track 7 would be released on the Anthology 3 album.

Side B

  1. It’s All Too Much – Full Length Version
  2. What’s The New Mary Jane – Studio Outtake
  3. The Inner Light – Stereo Mix
  4. Tomorrow Never Knows – Matrix XEX 606-1 – Mono
  5. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) – U.S. 8-Track Stereo Mix
  6. Inner Grove Sgt Pepper’s

Track 1 is currently unreleased.

Track 2 would be released on Anthology 3 (1996).

Track 3 would be released on The Beatles EP Collection (1981)

Track 4 was released on the first pressing of the Revolver LP. When ‘Revolver’ was initially mixed, a different master for ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ was sent off to be pressed. The mix is known as Remix 11. Although subtle, it is different to the standard Remix 8 which was ultimately to replace it. The story goes that each group member was given the first copies from the production line and John Lennon went off to listen to it. But, it turned out that he was unhappy with the mix or that the wrong one had been used and he informed George Martin. Production was then stopped as the new masters were cut and the pressing plates were replaced. First pressings have XEX 606-1 whereas the standard press has XEX 606-2 and beyond (www.thebeatles-collection.com). This version has not been made available since. 

Track 5 was released on the 8-Track version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band (1967) The 8 track edition of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band features a longer edit of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise), created to fill more of the tape and “even out” the recording sides. At about 1:15, where Paul’s “Woo!” is heard, the previous 15 seconds are replayed and that “Woo!” is heard again before the song completes (www.aboutthebeatles.com).

Track 6 was released on the initial UK pressing of the Sgt Pepper album (1967). Later pressings, especially in the USA did not include this track. 

The Long & Winding Road Vol.3

Side A

  1. Come Together – Brazilian Mono Mix
  2. Teddy Boy – Get Back – 1st Version
  3. Dig It – Get Back – 1st Version
  4. Something – Inc. Coda Jam
  5. The Ballad Of John & Yoko – NZ Censored Edition

Track 1 was released in Brazil (1970). Both Abbey Road and Let it Be were released in Mono in Brazil. They were not dedicated Mono mixes though, but a fold down of the Stereo one.

Tracks 2, 3, & 4 are currently unreleased. Tracks 2 & 3 were the original versions of songs that would be released later as the Let It Be album. Track 4 includes an extended piano jam that an was exorcised from the final version. 

Track 5 was made specifically for New Zealand radio with references to Christ edited out. This version has not been made commercially available. 

Side B

  1. Come & Get It – Studio Demo
  2. Old Brown Shoe – Australian Mono Single Mix
  3. Don’t Let Me Down – Get Back – 1st Version
  4. Watching Rainbows (Edit) – Demo
  5. All Things Must Pass – Studio Demo
  6. Goodbye – Home Demo
  7. Get Back (Coda) – Get Back – 1st Version

Tracks 1 & 6 would be released on Abbey Road 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (2019)

Track 2 was released in Australia (1969). It is not a dedicated Mono mix, but is a fold down of the Stereo. 

Tracks 3, 4 & 7 are currently unreleased. Tracks 3 & 7 were versions of songs that would be released later as the Let It Be album. Track 4 is a songwriting jam from the Let It Be sessions.

Track 5 would be released on Anthology 3 (1996).

A Spotify playlist could not be created for these collections due to the amount of songs that have still not been officially released. 

The Beatles – The Collection Vol.2

Here is the second volume of The Beatles Collection I put together. Disc 1 uses songs that were recorded around the time of the ‘White Album’, using some demos, singles and outtakes to create a one CD version. It would seem that my choices were pretty consistent as only one song that was used on the A Doll’s House post did not make the cut here, and that would be Savoy Truffle (http://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/the-beatles-a-dolls-house/). There are lot more George Harrison songs on this compilation, showing the improvement he had made as a songwriter at this time. What these discs show; if proof were needed, is just how prolific they were at that time. 

The Beatles are one of the few bands where I feel they improved with age. The songs got better as they went along, and when I pull out one of their records to play, they tend to be from Revolver onwards. Rarely do I go for one of the earlier LPs. The songs are still good but as a cohesive whole, those earlier records just don’t cut it for me. That is most probably why the early material covers one CD whereas the songs from Revolver onwards cover three. Each to their own I suppose. Not using any covers most probably helped though. 

Disc 2 covers the sessions for Let It Be and Abbey Road. I was quite surprised when going back over this, how many of the mixes from Let It Be…Naked I used. I would have felt that the original Phil Spector produced versions would have been ingrained into my brain that I would have gone with those regardless. The whole of Side 2 of Abbey Road was used (except for Her Majesty) as this was a perfect way of completing this compilation. 

Disc 1

  1. Back In The USSR
  2. Dear Prudence
  3. Glass Onion
  4. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
  5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  6. Happiness Is Warm Gun
  7. Martha My Dear
  8. Lady Madonna
  9. Hey Bulldog
  10. I’m So Tired
  11. Blackbird
  12. Piggies
  13. Mother Nature’s Son
  14. Not Guilty
  15. Yer Blues
  16. Julia
  17. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me & My Monkey
  18. Sexy Sadie
  19. Cry Baby Cry
  20. Across The Universe (Wildlife Version)
  21. Revolution 1
  22. Long, Long, Long
  23. Hey Jude
  24. Junk (Demo)

Disc 2

  1. One After 909
  2. Two Of Us
  3. Come Together
  4. Something
  5. Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
  6. Oh! Darling
  7. Get Back
  8. I’ve Got A Feeling
  9. Revolution
  10. Don’t Let Me Down
  11. All Things Must Pass (Demo)
  12. Let It Be
  13. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  14. Here Comes The Sun
  15. Because
  16. You Never Give Me Your Money
  17. Sun King
  18. Mean Mr. Mustard
  19. Polythene Pam
  20. She Came in Through The Bathroom Window
  21. Golden Slumbers
  22. Carry That Weight
  23. The End

The front cover is taken from the compilation 1967-1970 and shows the band looking down from the stairwell of the now demolished London headquarters of EMI in Manchester House, London. This was a re-creation of the shot used on the 1962-1966 compilation and it was planned to be used on the front cover for their Get Back LP but as that album did not come up, it was repurposed here. 

This was compiled before the release of the deluxe editions, so the Anthology 3 version of Not Guilty was used. The full length version of this song can be used as there would still be enough room to still fit into the playing time of one CD. 

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The Beatles – The Collection Vol.1

This month, I will only be posting Beatles specific playlists. Having completed a couple of what-if Beatles compilations over the past few months, I thought it was time to look at some playlists I put together a few years back. So much has been written down the years about the band that nothing I could write here would add anything new, so the notes for this collection will be brief. The Beatles are without doubt one of the most influential bands of all time and they were a band that I spent a lot of my childhood listening to. My father had bought the singles, EP and album collections home when they came out in the early 80s and I played them, a lot. I look forward to each new release, but after the Let It Be anniversary in 2020, what else will be released? Well quite a lot (if you know where to look) but it is whether they can actually agree to release it or not.   

This first volume covers the time period from 1963 to 1967 and it brings into sharp focus how much the music changed within those four years. It is also clear how much the band were influenced by what was around them as they developed their songwriting craft. Genres that come and go are pop, rock n roll, folk rock, folk and psychedelia, and I am sure that I have missed one or two off from this list. 

In this first volume, you may noticed an almost complete lack of George Harrison songs. Only Taxman has made the cut and that is purely down to personal preferences. I used The Beatles in Mono boxed set to compile this compilation because these are the mixes The Beatles approved of. I also decided against using any of the covers that the band performed on their records because Lennon & McCartney were producing classic songs, so there was just enough room to fit their songs onto a standard length CD. There was no need to include any songs they did not write themselves. Maybe I’ll do a covers only album in future. 

Disc 1

  1. I Saw Her Standing There
  2. Please Please Me
  3. There’s A Place
  4. All My Loving
  5. I Won’t Be Long
  6. I Want To Hold Your Hand
  7. She Loves You
  8. Can’t Buy Me Love
  9. And I Love Her
  10. If I Fell
  11. A Hard Day’s Night
  12. I Should Have Known Better
  13. Tell Me Why
  14. Things We Said Today
  15. I’ll Be Back
  16. I’m Down
  17. Help!
  18. I’ve Just Seen A Face
  19. Yesterday
  20. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
  21. I’ll Get You
  22. I Feel Fine
  23. Ticket To Ride
  24. Day Tripper
  25. I’m A Loser
  26. Eight Days A Week
  27. Girl
  28. Michelle
  29. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
  30. I’ll Follow The Sun
  31. You Won’t See Me
  32. Every Little Thing
  33. In My Life

Disc 2

  1. Taxman
  2. Drive My Car
  3. We Can Work It Out
  4. Nowhere Man
  5. Paperback Writer
  6. RainHere, There & Everywhere
  7. ForNo One
  8. Got To Get You Into My Life
  9. Good Day Sunshine
  10. And Your Bird Can Sing
  11. I’m Only Sleeping
  12. Elanor Rigby
  13. She Said She Said
  14. Strawberry Fields Forever
  15. Penny Lane
  16. All You Need Is Love
  17. I Am The Walrus
  18. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
  19. Getter Better
  20. Fixing A Hole
  21. She’s Leaving Home
  22. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite
  23. Lovely Rita
  24. Good Morning Good Morning
  25. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
  26. A Day In The Life

The front cover is taken from the compilation 1962-1966 and shows the band looking down from the stairwell in the now demolished London headquarters of EMI in Manchester House, London. Images form this photo shoot would also be used for the covers of the bands debut LP (Please, Please Me) and their 1963 EP, No. 1. 

Spotify does not have the Mono mixes on its platform, so I had to compile this using the Stereo versions instead. Damn you Spotify. 

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Velvet Underground – IV

As I posted a compilation of The Velvet Underground earlier this month, I thought I would continue by looking at the lost forth album the band had been recording in 1969. This seems to be a staple of many of the what-if album websites but the beauty of these things is just that. It is a what-if album. It was never released and so anyone can take the songs and speculate as much as they like about the running order would be, cover imagery etc. The story of this album has also been told many times but here is a summery. 

By the time the band had come to record their third album founding member John Cale had been fired, they had moved to MGM from Verve (an MGM subsidiary) and the sound had changed. This was down to the removal of Cale, who seemed intent to drive the band towards a more drone, noise infused future. Reed on the other hand, seemed to want to achieve some sort of commercial success with the band and having Cale in the band would have stopped this from happening. The fact that the band did not achieve much success during their life time is neither here nor there. They have definitely sold a lot more units since. Multi-instrumentalist Doug Yule was brought in as Cale’s replacement and he was there in time to record the third album. This album had few of the rough edges that had been present when Cale was in the band, and the subject matter of the songs had become more intimate. With the album recorded by the end of 1968, the band hit the road opening a good deal of 1969 playing live. 

In between live dates, the band was also in the studio laying down fourteen songs that the band members do not seem to have been in agreement as to what the purpose of recording them was. Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker both said that these songs would have been the basis of the next album. Doug Yule says that these songs were professional demos and Sterling Morrison says that this was just a way of looking busy whilst they were looking to get out of their contract. Whatever the reason, these songs have been released numerous times down the years but it is the versions that were included on the 2014 Super Deluxe Edition of the ‘Velvet Underground’ album that will will form the basis of this release. 

Out of the fourteen songs that were released as part of the compilation, two did did not make the cut. That was Rock & Roll as this came out as part of the ‘Loaded’ album and I did not want an overlap of songs. The other is I’m Sticking With You’ which sounds a though it should have been added to an album that was directed towards children or a B-Side. Out of the remaining songs, Andy’s Chest was relegated to a B-Side of whatever song was released from this album as an A-Side. Most probably an edited version of Foggy Notion, even though it no doubt would have been banned due to its lyrical content. That means there is a gap to be filled in with the running time as labels like to release albums with similar playing times on each side. Therefore I had a look at other unreleased material and there was a demo recording of Countess From Hong Kong, Though it was a co-write between Reed and Cale, the demo dates from the second half of 1969 so would fit into the time frame of this record. This takes the album up to about 23 minutes per side, which is long for an album of the time but not unheard of. 

So why didn’t the album come out? If, as Morrison says, the band were just killing time, then there was no intention of releasing it at all. However, if we go with Tucker and Reed’s version of events, then it could have been down to the fact that in 1969, MGM were in financial trouble. One of the ways of reducing this would have been to strip their artists roster of any band that were proving to be unprofitable. The Velvet Underground would have fit this category and so they were out. What MGM did not allow the band to do was to take the master tapes with them. By the time The Velvet Underground had signed with Cotillion Records, they had moved on and only a few of the songs were taken forward to what would be the ‘Loaded’ album. What this ‘lost’ album does is nicely bridge the gap between the recording of the ‘Velvet Underground’ and ‘Loaded’ albums showing the progression the band was making. As it was, these songs lay in the MGM vaults until the mid 80s when they were released along with some other outtakes from the Cale era. 

Would this album have turned The Velvet Underground into a commercial group? Doubtful but Lou Reed did not abandon the songs completely as many of them would appear on his solo records throughout the 1970s’. The front cover of this collection was adapted from a gig poster that band played at the Paramount Theatre in Springfield. Unfortunately, I don’t know the date of the gig as the poster didn’t say.

Side A

  1. Foggy Notion
  2. One Of These Days
  3. Countess Of Hong Kong
  4. Ride Into The Sun
  5. Ocean

Side B

  1. I Can’t Stand it
  2. Coney Island Steeplechase
  3. I’m Gonna Move Right In
  4. Lisa Says
  5. Ferryboat Bill
  6. She’s My Best Friend
  7. We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time 

Single B-Side

Andy’s Chest

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The Velvet Underground – The Collection

There was a time when I just didn’t understand the fascination people had with The Velvet Underground. I had heard ‘a best of’ album when I was at school and I just didn’t get it. Maybe it was down to the fact that I was spending my time listening to Hendrix, Cream, Traffic, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and little else. The guitarists in those bands were some of the best that have ever lived. The guitar playing in VU was not up to their high standard. Too much noise, not enough clean notes, that sort of thing. However, three things happened to change that. First up, I heard Candy Says on a documentary about Andy Warhol and I thought that was a good song. Then, a friend at University played me Sunday Morning, the opening song on the debut album and I also thought that was good too. However, it was when I was working in a shop after leaving University that I heard the Loaded album. I really enjoyed this and could not believe it was The Velvet Underground. This was around the time when that album was released in a Deluxe Edition called The Fully Loaded edition which I snapped up and played quite a lot at the time. 

This was it, until a few years later when I saw the Peel Slowly and See box set at a reduced price, so I took a punt. I was quite surprised by the first disc, which contained demos of some of the songs I had found impenetrable back in my school days. It was as though the early line up of VU were a folk band.  There were multiple takes of the same songs, but with a bit of editing, I am sure these would make a good EP release for Record Store Day or equivalent (see below). I then worked my way through the entire box and I found that I enjoyed a number of the songs that in the past I would not have listened to. These include Heroin, Venus in Furs and Run, Run, Run. It was with this box set that I made my first attempt at a career overview, limiting myself to what was in the box and the Fully Loaded edition of Loaded. Like many others, songs from the Squeeze album were not considered for inclusion. It was not until the internet became a part of my life that I even knew that the band continued on for a few years after Lou Reed left. 

The band can be split into two distinctive eras, the first with John Cale and the second with Doug Yule. The Cale era is definitely the more experimental, and it was due to Cale’s desire to go even further with the experimentation that led to his firing. Reed, being the principal songwriter, wanted the band to become more than just an underground act, so adopting a more commercial sound was necessary. Cale didn’t fit in with these plans, so he was out.  CD1 covers the more experimental side, whereas CD2 covers the more commercial sounding material. The band did not achieve commercial success during their lifetime, but due to some notable fans (such as David Bowie), they have been an influence on those who came afterwards and the records have sold steadily ever since. It just goes to show how popular the band has become as not every band gets to have the majority of their albums re-released in multi disc box sets. 

With the release of the 45th Anniversary editions of the four key albums (once again, Squeeze was not part of the reissue campaign), I decided to look again and see if the different versions of the songs including mono mixes, demos and alternative takes/mixes would improve the compilation. What you hear are the results with the different versions listed next to the title. What does surprise me is that all of the versions of these songs are available on Spotify, so both discs can be heard through that platform. The cover artwork was one I found online many moons ago so I cannot acknowledge who made it. 

Disc 1

  1. All Tomorrow’s Parties (Mono)
  2. I’m Waiting For The Man (Mono)
  3. Run Run Run (Sceptre Sessions Acetate)
  4. Stephanie Says
  5. There She Goes Again (Mono)
  6. Femme Fetale (Mono Single Mix)
  7. I’ll Be Your Mirror (Mono)
  8. The Fairest Of The Seasons*
  9. These Days*
  10. Winter Song*
  11. Chelsea Girls*
  12. Heroine (Alt. Version)
  13. Venus In Furs (Mono)
  14. Here She Comes Now
  15. Guess I’m Falling In Love (Live)
  16. Sister Ray

* These songs are from Nico’s album, Chelsea Girl. When this was compiled, the sleeve notes from the 45th Anniversary Edition of The Velvet Underground & Nico album were used. Those notes suggested that the Velvet Underground played on every song of that album. This does not appear to be the case but I liked this mix of songs so I am going to keep it as it was. 

Disc 2

  1. Who Loves The Sun
  2. Sweet Jane (Full Length Version)
  3. Rock & Roll (Full Length Version)
  4. Cool It Down
  5. Lonesome Cowboy Bill
  6. Head Held High (Alt. Mix)
  7. Foggy Notion
  8. Jesus (Closet Mix)
  9. New Age (Full Length Mix)
  10. What Goes On (Closet Mix)
  11. I Can’t Stand It
  12. Beginning To See The Light (Closet Mix)
  13. Pale Blue Eyes (Closet Mix)
  14. Candy Says (Closet Mix)
  15. I’m Set Free
  16. Ride Into The Sun(Demo)
  17. Ocean
  18. Oh! Sweet Nuthin’

Bonus EP

As mentioned above, I said that the demo’s the band recorded before the release of their first album would make a good EP, so I thought I would put it together. I listened to all of the songs and picked what I considered to be the best take. The song Prominent Men only has one take so that limited the choice with that one. It also sounds nothing like anything else that the Velvet Underground ever did, being as it sounds as though it is Lou Reed trying to be Bob Dylan, harmonica and all. These acoustic versions are not the best sonically, being as they were outside of the studio environment, but there is a certain charm about them and show what the band could have been if they had decided to be a folk trio instead of the band that they became once drummer Mo Tucker came on board. 

Annoyingly (even though we should be thankful these exist at all), on each take of Venus in Furs there is some sort of background noise. Be it a car going past outside the loft apartment in which they recorded them, or the squeaking of what can only be assumed to be a chair of some sort. Luckily, this is the only song affected in this way. As these songs were demos recorded in a loft, the arrangements are different from what they would become on the debut album. The arrangement for Heroin is already in place, building the tension and releasing again. All Tomorrow’s Parties sounds like Reed is once more channelling his inner Dylan where as I’m Waiting For The Man is reminiscent of a pre World War 2 blues record, with slide guitar accompaniment (and a spoken version of the lyrics, courtesy of John Cale by the sounds of it). 

The artwork for this EP uses a logo found on line over the picture of the tape box that was used as the cover to the CD box in the version of the Peel Slowly and See compilation I bought all those years ago. I assume that it was the same box that contained the tape on which the songs were recorded. The songs are all on Spotify but have not been edited down into the individual takes. I have supplied the take and the time it starts.

  1. Venus In Furs (Demo) Take 3 – 10:24-15:36
  2. Prominent Men (Demo) Take 1
  3. Heroin (Demo) Take 5 – 8:33-13:31
  4. I’m Waiting For The Man (Demo) – 5:20-9:49
  5. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (Demo) Take 12 – 9:50-15:30 
  6. All Tomorrow’s Parties (Demo) Take 6 – 9:48-12:13

Even though these are demos, this EP would clock in at an impressive 27 minutes and 52 seconds. If this were to be released on vinyl, a 12 inch record would be needed. 

The Velvet Underground – 1965 Demo EP

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Derek & The Dominos – The Live Collection

Back in March, I posted a what-if about Derek & The Dominos’ Layla album had been a double disc expanded edition with the best of the off cuts from the first and second album sessions, with a couple of bonus’ thrown in for good measure. Derek & The Dominos only released the one album during their short life time, but a second album did come out early 1973. This was not the fabled second studio album though, even though the tapes from the 1971 sessions had  occasionally been dusted down and listened to up until 1974, when Clapton released his sophomore solo album. This was the live album ‘In Concert’. After completing the Layla seasons, the band went on a tour of the USA with support coming from Toe Fat and a relative unknown by the name of Elton John. Bobby Whitlock, the band’s keyboardist, has said that like the album sessions that preceded it, there were a good number of drugs being consumed during the tour. Elton John noted though that this did not affect their performance whilst on stage, where he would watch from the sidelines to see what they were doing, especially Whitlock. 

The band played a number of shows on the 23rd and 24th October at the Fillmore East in New York City. All of these shows were recorded (supposedly without the band’s knowledge) and as it would turn out, these are the only record of the band live that is not an audience recording/bootleg. After playing the Layla album to death, I was surprised to find that there was a live album. In the pre-internet age, it was not easy to find out about artists discographies. You had to hope that your local record shop had it in stock. This album also received heavy rotation on my CD player even though I would eventually replace it, along with the Layla CD with original pressings of the vinyl. These early CDs were notorious for that lack of care and attention that record companies had taken with their back catalogues, and would release a version from whatever master tapes they had lying around. I remember the amount of hiss on some of the Cream CDs from the time had the same problem, especially when it came to Fresh Cream (nice clean sound) and Disraeli Gears (sounded like it had been recorded with Dolby on and then transferred via five tape machines to attain maximum hiss. If you listened carefully, you could hear some music in there somewhere).

What surprised me about ‘In Concert’ was the lack of Layla. Was it down to the fact that Duane Allman, so instrumental in the sessions for the parent album only joined them for a couple of shows on the tour and this was not one of them. Without that second guitar player, would the song have worked in a live setting? What was a surprise was hearing songs that were not on Layla. These included Got To Get Better In A Little While (destined to be recorded during the second album sessions) and Roll It Over (the B-side of the band’s withdrawn first single). Having only released one album, the band were reliant on playing songs from Clapton’s back catalogue including songs that he had played during his days with The Powerhouse, Cream, Blind Faith and his first solo album. 

Due to the constraints of the vinyl LP, there were a number of songs that were recorded but not released. Some of these would appear later on 1988’s Crossroads boxset and 1994’s ‘Live at the Fillmore’. Having liked the ‘In Concert’ album so much, I thought it was time to put together an extended live album for the band using all of these sources. This did leave me a little short on the second CD but with the release of the 40th Anniversary boxset, there was a live bonus in the complete set of songs that the band had played on The Johnny Cash Show; the only television performance the band made. All four songs recorded for the show (even though only two were broadcast) have been included at the end as bonus tracks. 

Disc 1

  1. Why Does Love Got To Be So Bad?
  2. Got To Get Better In A Little While
  3. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
  4. Roll It Over
  5. Key To The Highway
  6. Tell The Truth
  7. Blues Power
  8. Have You Ever Loved A Woman

Disc 2

  1. Bottle Of Red Wine
  2. Little Wing
  3. Crossroads
  4. Presence Of The Lord
  5. Let It Rain
  6. It’s Too Late (Johnny Cash Show)
  7. Got To Get Better In A Little While (Johnny Cash Show)
  8. Matchbox (Johnny Cash Show)
  9. Blues Power (Johnny Cash Show)

The front cover is similar in design to the Layla Expanded Edition from March, but instead of a black background, I went for red. The photos are taken from the Live at the Fillmore front cover, with an added picture of Clapton playing to cover over the credits on the original release. 

A Spotify playlist could not be produced due to one or more songs not being available on that platform.

Derek & the Dominos – The Live Collection Disc 1
Derek & The Dominos – The Live Collection Disc 2

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David Bowie – Karma Man (The Second Deram Album)

Normally I would only look to share one what-if album a month because they take a bit longer to put together than the compilations I post. However, the lockdown has given me a little bit more time and this particular piece also fits in nicely with the recent posts about Bowie that went online in February and April. 

Bowie did not see much in the way of success during the 60s, but he was laying down the groundwork for what would come later. He reeled a number of singles on the Vocalion Pop, Parlophone and Pye labels but none of them troubled the charts. Even with these singles behind him, he managed to secure a deal with Deram, a subsidiary of Decca Records. He released three singles and one album whilst on the label but none were chart hits, even though The Laughing Gnome made number 6 in the UK when it was re-released in 1973. The majority of these records were released in 1967, which was one of the most experimental years for music but this curious mix of music hall/ Anthony Newley style numbers fell on deaf ears. Bowie wrote a number of new songs and presented them to the label as potential singles but they were rejected effectively ending his association with Deram & Decca. However, this compilation looks at what might have happened if these songs had not been rejected and Bowie continued to be a Deram recording artist into 1968. 

Even though the recording sessions for the follow-up album were meant to start in the Spring of 1968, I have taken a view that anything that was demoed in that year could be used. I have also discounted any song that was used on the 1969 ‘David Bowie’ album as well, so no Space Oddity I’m afraid. What we have here is a solid, if not spectacular album which is a little rough around the edges, but that was down to the fact that very few of these songs were actually recorded in a studio. Most are simply demos. Would these songs have been changed once Bowie brought them into the studio? Who knows, but what we have here is a rough idea of what a second Bowie on Deram album would have been like, with accompanying singles. 

London, Bye, Ta, Ta – Originally this song was going to be the B-Side of the unreleased ‘In The Heat of the Morning’ single, but it sounded like a great place to start the album off and would have been wasted on the flip of a seven inch. It looks at how London is changing and has become something of a strange young town to the song’s narrator. 

Mother Grey – The influence of Ray Davies on Bowie’s early songwriting was evident on his debut album. With the release of these 1967/8 demos, you can see that Bowie had still not got all of this out of his system with Mother Grey. The song covers the domestic drudgery of Mother Grey as she cleans the house, makes dinner and polishes the picture frame of the son who has moved out of the family home. Similar to Ray Davies’ ‘Two Sisters’ then. 

The Reverend Raymond Brown (Attends The Garden Fete On Thatchwick Green) – This would not have sounded out of place on his debut album, seeing as it follows a cast of characters in an imaginary village. Various characters are mentioned including Rev. Brown who leads the village band during a fete whilst lusting after a local beauty and the local women gossiping about Sally who has got herself pregnant. All a bit Ray Davies. 

Goodbye Threepenny Jones – An observation song from Bowie where he watches a performing  artist performing a show with stories of sadness and despair. Bowie’s companion is heard laughing during these stories and then Joe is thanked for the show and asked not to come again. 

Angel, Angel, Grubby Face – Would this one have made the cut if the second album sessions had gone ahead, seeing as it has a very similar melody line (in places) to London, Bye, Ta, Ta? This song looks at the hustle and bustle of city life with the relatively peacefulness of the countryside. The Village Green Preservation Society before it came out I suppose. 

When I’m Five – Bowie must have thought highly of this song at the time because he not only recorded a studio version, but he also cut a version at the BBC for a radio session. This BBC version would be used as the soundtrack to the short promo film ‘Love You ‘Till Tuesday’. Is it a song for children, or just a child. Bowie sings as though he were a child and would have been this album’s ‘Laughing Gnome’.  

Ching-A-Ling – For a short time in 1968, Bowie was part of a folk trio with Hermione Farthingale (his girlfriend at the time) and initially Tony Hill who was soon replaced by John ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson. The only known studio recording session completed by the band was ‘Ching-A-Ling’ which producer Tony Visconti had booked without the approval of Bowie’s management as a way of getting a record contract. As it was, it didn’t. Bowie would record another demo in 1969 but that would be the last time he revisited the song. 

Love All Around – A lovely Bowie melody that seems to be a love song, but some of the lyrics in the chorus are a bit hard to hear due to his enthusiastic strumming. This causes the recording to become a bit distorted in places.  

The Mirror – Bowie spent time studying mime with Lindsey Kemp and this would be a source of income for him between 1967 and 1969. Kemp asked Bowie to write some songs for a show he was putting on called ‘Pierrot in Turquoise’ and this is one of those songs. The only known recording of these songs date from 1970 when the Pierrot show was broadcast on the BBC under the title of ‘The Looking Glass Murders’. These date from the time period of the second Deram Album and one of the songs, ‘Threepenny Pierrot’ was re-written to be London, Bye, Ta, Ta. 

Karma Man – Bowie had been studying Buddhism since the mid 60s and this song looks at a man who sits crossed legged with all of his world possessions on him. That being his clothes and beads. Could it be Bowie commenting on capitalism or just putting forward what he had seen from his studies of Buddhism? This song looks to have taken inspiration from Syd Barrett without sounding too much like the one time Pink Floyd front man. 

Love Song – When Hermione Farthingale broke up with Bowie and left Feathers, he and ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson continued to record demos and play the odd gig together. When they recorded a demo tape, it included a number of Bowie originals as well as a couple of covers. Bowie would include covers in a number of his early 70’s LPs including this song. Love Song written by Lesley Duncan; who the musicians can be heard talking about at the beginning of the song as she was a back-up singer for Dusty Springfield at that time. 

Life Is A Circus – Another song from the Feathers demo tape. This was originally recorded by an obscure folk group called Djinn. Bowie may well have come across them as Djinn had asked Tony Visconti to be their producer. It would be this demo tape that secured Bowie a contract with Mercury Records. 

Let Me Sleep Beside You – A blatant attempt at a hit single, and would have made a good A-side so it keeps that position here. Artists didn’t always put singles on their albums in the 1960’s. With some suggestive lyrics about a girl now being a woman, this was rejected by his label because of the song’s message. Strange as this was the label that in January 1967, had allowed The Rolling Stones to release “Let’s Spend the Night Together’. I suppose the difference being that the Stones sold a lot of records and Bowie, at this stage, had not. 

Columbine – Another song from the ‘Pierrot in Turquoise’ project. 

In The Heat Of The Morning – One of the songs put forward by Bowie to Dream as a potential single. This was one of the first recordings Bowie made with Tony Visconiti and this, like ‘Let Me Sleep Beside You’, was Bowie looking for a more commercial sound. Deram were not impressed though and the working relationship between the label and Bowie came to an end. 

April’s Tooth Of Gold – A song detailing young people and their interesting fashion sense and the older generation not having a clue as to what is going on. The characters and language used may well have been out of date by the time of the second album sessions, so relegation to a B-Side would have been a fitting home for it. The strumming is a bit reminiscent of Autumn Almanac by The Kinks.  

The release of ‘Conversation Piece’ in 2019 shows the leap that Bowie made between his two self titled albums was not as great as would first appear. With the demos opening a door on a songwriter honing his craft, would a second Dream album have allowed Bowie the development time to make that leap? Maybe, maybe not. 

Some of Bowie’s earlier material can be heard on the Songs of David Bowie podcast. http://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/episode-87-the-songs-of-david-bowie/

Side 1

  1. London, Bye, Ta Ta – 1
  2. Mother Grey – 2
  3. The Reverend Raymond Brown (Attends The Garden Fete On Thatchwick Green) – 2
  4. Goodbye Threepenny Joe – 2
  5. Angel, Angel, Grubby Face – 2
  6. When I’m Five – 1

Side B

  1. Ching-A-Ling – 2
  2. Love All Around – 2
  3. The Mirror – 3
  4. Karma Man – 1
  5. Love Song – 2
  6. Life Is A Circus – 2

Singles

  1. Let Me Sleep Beside You – 1
  2. Columbine – 3
  3. In The Heat Of The Morning – 1
  4. April’s Tooth Of Gold – 3         

Key

1 – Taken from David Bowie (1967) Deluxe Edition

2 – Taken from Conversation Piece

3 – Demo from Looking Glass Murders (Currently Unreleased)

The cover of this compilation is adapted from The Dream Anthology release from 1997. 

Due to the still unreleased nature of some of these songs, it has not been possible to produce a Spotify playlist

The Squire Presents YouTube Channel