Back in late 2012, I was listening to a number of music related podcasts and fancied putting a show together of my own. The first thing was the name. Well, The Squire was a nom de plume I had used for a number of years before hand so that was easy. The origin of the name though is something for another time and place. The tag line of ‘the podcast that brings you the wonderful, the obscure and the just plain bizarre’ came to me rather quickly as well. What took the longest time was trying to work out what the hell would the first show contain. I eventually settled on the idea that it would contain records from the Squire Archive that were just before the time in which The Beatles became the musical behemoth they were to become. I also remember those early podcasts stating that this would be an irregular podcast because I felt that I would neither have the time or the subject matter to complete a new episode a month. Well, that went out of the window pretty quickly and there has been a new episode every month since November of 2012.
Well, that was then and this is now. So after 99 episodes, I have decided to make the 100th the last of the initial run. It seems a good place to finish. I have rediscovered some records in the archive I forgot I had, bought in new ones to complete shows and interviewed some wonderful guests. I must thank them for giving up their time to talk to me. I must also thank the people behind the scenes who have help in one way or another to bring this show to life. For the theme of this show, I will be using songs that say goodbye in one way or another as this seems like a fitting way to say farewell, adios, adieu and most probably the most fitting would be arrivederci.
Hello, Goodbye – Sparrow
Bye Bye Love – The Everly Brothers.
Goodbye – Mary Hopkins
Go & Say Goodbye – Buffalo Springfield
Goodbye Forever – The Association
I Said Goodbye To Me/One – Harry Nilsson
It’s Us Who Say Goodbye – We All Together
Goodbye – John George
Rhymes of Goodbye – Scott Walker
Goodbye – Rusty Harness
Goody Goodbye – Sandy Salisbury
Goodbye – Andwella’s Dream
Farewell – Fleetwood Mac
Last Farewell – Kula Shaker
Farewell – The Yardbirds
Farewell My Friend – Dennis Wilson
Farewell, Farewell – Fairport Convention
I Gotta Go Now – The Kinks
The End – Greenfield and Cook
Departure and Farewell – Hem
Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone – The Haden Triplets
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.
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye (Squire mix)
The Boss – James Brown
I Can’t Stand The Rain – Anne Peebles
Kissing my Love – Bill Withers
California Soul – Marlena Shaw
The Message – Cymande
Do The Funky Chicken – Rufus Thomas
Watts Breakaway – Johnny Otis Show
Shack Up (Part 1) – Banbarra
I Got The – Labi Siffre
Apache – Michael Viners Incredible Bongo Band
I Just Want To Celebrate – Rare Earth
What A Man – Linda Lyndell
Be Thankful For What You’ve Got – William DeVaughn
Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms) – The Detroit Emeralds
Hercules – Aaron Neville
Get Up & Get Down – The Dramatics
Supernatural Thing – Ben E. King
Higher Ground – Ellen Mcillwaine
Move On Up (Album Version) – Curtis Mayfield
Ike’s Rap – Isaac Hayes (Squire Mix)
Woman Of The Ghetto – Marlena Shaw
The Payback – James Brown
Respect Yourself – The Staple Singers
S.O.U.L. – Burning Spear
Are You My Woman (Tell Me So) – The Chi-Lites
Wicky Wacky – The Fatback Band
Everyman – Double Exposure
Hot Pants Road – The J.B.’s
Family Tree – The Family Tree
Ready Or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love) – The Delfonics
Back Stabbers – The O’Jays
Itch & Scratch (Part 1) – Rufus Thomas
I Think I’d Do It – Z. Z. Hill
Cramp Your Style – All The People
Summer Madness – Kool & The Gang
Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) – The Temptations
Inside My Love (Album Version) – Minnie Ripperton
I Forgot To Be Your Lover – William Bell
I Can’t Write Left Handed – Bill Withers
It’s A Shame – Detroit Spinners
Right On For The Darkness – Curtis Mayfield
Funky President (People It’s Bad) – James Brown
Cross The Track (We Better Go Back) – Maceo & The Macks
Down On The Avenue (Slow Ride) – Fat Larry’s Band
The Bottle – Gill Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson
We Are Neighbours – The Chi-Lites
Low Rider – War
Sing A Simple Song – Please
Get Me Back on Time – Wilson Picket
Do The Funky Chicken (Part 2) – Rufus Thomas
Chicken Yellow – Miami
Express Yourself – Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
Born to Live With Heartache – Mary Love
Impeach The President – The Honeydrippers
I Walk On Gilded Splinters – Johnny Jenkins
Mighty Mighty Spade & Whitey – The Impressions
The Assembly Line – The Commodores
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.
In January 1972, the rumour mill surrounding the band goes into overdrive, with talk that they are going to be a touring band once again, six years after their last show (not including the Rooftop gig from 1969). The rumours prove to be accurate but not in the way anyone would expect. Even though they played live at the Bangladesh concert, there were enough musicians on the stage to cover over the rustiness. That, and the fact that the set list was full of songs from when they were a touring act meant it was a bit easier for them to play, especially at such short notice. Now back on the road, they wanted to include more recent material, but they knew that the four of them would not be able to play those songs without additional musicians. They asked keyboardist Billy Preston to join them once again, as well as a few members of the Hollywood Horns and old friend Klaus Voorman to double up on bass or rhythm guitar, reasoning that this would free up McCartney for additional keyboards and guitar parts depending on the song. Lennon and Harrison are very happy with this arrangement because even though the pair of them have played bass on some of the Beatles records, neither of them felt comfortable playing that instrument on stage.
To make sure they are stage ready, the band play a number of very small venues around the UK, some of which they played on their first tours in the early 60s. As not to raise suspicion, they go out under a number of pseudonyms such as The Ramones, The Gripeweeds, The Firemen and The Reverend Fred Gherkin Band. The pseudonyms came in useful because they could use these smaller shows to get a feel for the live environment and bed in their set. News leaks that The Beatles are touring small venues in the UK under pseudonyms and fans look closely in the music press for any hint that the band are playing near them. When it becomes clear that the names being chosen can be seen as being a bit on the silly side, any act that fits the bill sells out the venue. A number of novelty acts of the time find themselves with a much larger, but very disappointed set of fans that had come to the venue in the expectation of seeing someone completely different.
When the tour is finally announced in the April, it is revealed that the band will be playing in North America (USA and Canada), Australasia, Hong Kong, India (where Ravi Shankar is set to be the support act) and Europe (Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, and finally the UK). The tour will finish with a set of homecoming shows in Liverpool. After the tour of small venues finished, the band meet up once again with George Martin to record some new songs that could be released as singles throughout the year. The three-principle writers all present material but in the end, four of McCartney’s songs were selected.
The songs are all recorded and the first single is released as the tour starts in May and the second comes out in time for the Christmas market. The first single, ‘Hi Hi Hi’ is banned in the UK by the BBC for what is thought of as a sexually suggestive lyric and perceived drug references. When asked about this, McCartney says “The BBC got some of the words wrong. But I suppose it is a bit of a dirty song if sex is dirty and naughty. I was in a sensuous mood in Spain when I wrote it”. Lennon likes the fact that he is still relevant enough to be on a banned single. When it comes to ‘My Love’, the second single, Lennon mocks McCartney for having criticised Phil Spector over the production of the Let It Be song, ‘the Long and Winding Road’, and then asking for the same thing for ‘My Love’ from George Martin.
Hi Hi Hi Single A-Side
Little Woman Love Single B-Side
My Love Red Rose Speedway
When The Wind Is Blowing Wildlife 2018 Edition
The band hit the road for the summer months of 1972 and sell out stadiums everywhere they go. This proves to be the highest grossing tour of all time, but by the end, they are tired and in need of a well-deserved break. The tour had been a selection of mostly newer songs from the ‘White Album’ onwards as they felt that material was more in tune with the times. The only nods to the mop top days are in the encore where they play ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, which all go down a storm. The critics were full of praise for the band but by its conclusion, Harrison once again says that he will not be in a hurry to repeat the experience. He is still interested in making more music with the rest of The Beatles so retires to his home in Henley on Thames to relax and work on material in his home studio. McCartney does the same producing a solo single for the film Live and Let Die. Starr decides to go off to the US to hang out with the likes of Harry Nilsson, having earlier in the year played on his Son of Schmilsson album The two also appear together in a film for Apple, Son of Dracula. He has never been the most prolific of writers and feels that hanging out with a writer of the calibre of Nilsson might stir his creative juices.
Lennon goes back to New York and straight into sessions for an album that Yoko Ono was making called Approximately Infinite Universe, which would be released early in 1973. He also uses the time to lay down some tracks with more of a political edge, which he and Ono had written the year before but not recorded. He decides to release a couple of songs under the Plastic Ono Band moniker to test the water with the view of releasing them on an LP if successful. The single comes out just before Ono’s solo album. The A-Side is ‘Woman is the Nigger of the World’ backed by ‘The Luck of the Irish’. The songs are both controversial for their lyrical content and Lennon is stung by the relatively low placing on the singles chart. He decides against releasing the rest of the session material and sets about writing more commercial material for The Beatles.
The first few months of 1973 come and go there is silence of The Beatle front. The four members have made the most of their time away from the band environment, hanging out with friends and family as well as working on new material. They decide to meet at Harrison’s house to see what they have, and the fact that they can play in a studio comparable, if not better than the majority of recording facilities in the country, without being disturbed by the press and fans. They rehearse and introduce new songs to one another, but the sessions are not very productive. Starr, Lennon and Harrison were distracted by their personal lives. Each had had affairs and both Starr and Harrison were in the process of splitting from their wives. Harrison was having an affair with Starr’s wife, which did put a strain on their relationship, but not before they had written the song ‘Photograph’ together. The band self-produce the sessions and they release them as an EP, but apart from the aforementioned Photograph, it is not A-Grade material and press swoop in feeling that after the tour of the previous year, the band is potentially spent as a creative source.
The EP is called Skywriting By Word of Mouth and is released as an elaborate double-pack single in a similar vein to the Magical Mystery Tour EP from 1967. There is critical praise for Starr’s first lead vocal on a Beatles 7 inch release since ‘Yellow Submarine’. The rest of the material is seen as substandard. Annoyed at the criticism, Lennon rings up the rest of the band to meet up and work out what they are going to do. The relationship between Starr and Harrison is still strained but the meeting proves positive. No one wants to see the Skywriting EP as their final release, so they agree to go away, clear their heads and put together some better music.
Two months later, they meet up at Abbey Road with George Martin in the producer’s chair once again, as everyone feels they need him to bring a bit of discipline to proceedings. It is felt that Martin will keep the band focused on the material and not the distractions from the outside world. This proves to be what the band needed, as the single released to promote the forthcoming album is ‘Jet’, described by some of the critic as a return to form and a power pop gem. The single makes the top ten in the UK and US, but only just. The band now has to compete with new artists such glam rockers Slade and Little Jimmy Osmond and their once rabid fan base has other things to spend their money on, such as families of their own.
The LP shows the band maturing. More messages of spirituality with a couple of political songs brought in by Lennon from his work with Ono at the end of last year. The rest of The Beatles were reluctant to record these less commercial songs as, apart from ‘Revolution’ and ‘Working Class Hero’, the band had not really been known for its political message. Harrison was also quick to point out that what may be relevant in 1973 might not be so in ten years’ time. Lennon is adamant that these should be on the album because he is still involved in the left wing political scene in New York as well as wanting to ensure he has his fair share of songs on the record. Even with these songs, Lennon’s contribution to the record is the lowest it has ever been, and he knows that his failing marital life has affected his song writing.
The album comes out in time for Christmas and reaches number 1. The Beatles have matured, not only in themselves, but also in their song writing, and even with three double albums in four years and a massive tour behind them, the band is still popular enough to sell enough records to reach the top of the charts. Critics notice that McCartney songs are in the majority on this album. Lennon concedes that he didn’t have much to offer this time around, and Paul’s songs were good, even the ones that date back a couple of years. Harrison stays quiet on the subject, as he does not give any interviews after the album’s release. His private life is taking his toll on his public image.
Lennon finds that outside of the band, he has a lot to deal with. His marriage to Ono collapses and he is served with a writ by music publishers Morgan Levy. It is because they feel that Lennon’s song ‘Come Together’ and Chuck Berry’s ‘You Can’t Catch Me’ are far too similar melodically. Lennon even took the third line from the second verse for his own song, the “Here come old flat top’ part. Lennon attends court but the case it settled out of court with an agreement that Lennon must produce an album with three songs from the back catalogue Levy owns through his Big Seven publishing company. It is at this point that Lennon spirals out of control and goes on what is known as his ‘Lost Weekend’ period.
Band On The Run – Band On The Run
Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) – Living In The Material World
Mama’s Little Girl – Single B-Side
I Know (I Know) – Mind Games
Devil Woman – Ringo
Tragedy – Red Rose Speedway 2018 Edition
Living In The Material World – Living In The Material World
John Sinclair – Some Time In New York City
Mrs. Vandebilt – Band On The Run
Out The Blue – Mind Games
Dear Friend – Wildlife
Bip Bop Link – Wildlife 1993 Reissue
Oh My My – Ringo
Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) – Mind Games
Be Here Now – Living In The Material World
Little Lamb Dragonfly – Red Rose Speedway
Nineteen Hundred & Eighty Five – Band On The Run
C Moon – Single A-Side
New York City – Some Time In New York City
Tomorrow – Wildlife
Wild Life – Wildlife
Try Some, Buy Some – Living In The Material World
Nutopian International Anthem – Mind Games
Jet – Band On The Run
Bluebird – Band On The Run
Skywriting By Word Of Mouth EP
Photograph – Ringo
Here We Go Again – Menlove Ave.
Big Barn Bed – Red Rose Speedway
Who Can See It – Living In The Material World
Even though this would work as a CD (like the other play lists on the site already), this has been presented as though it was a double album with associated singles placed at the end. For the record, Sides A, B & C are CD 1 and Side D and singles are CD 2. The artwork has been ‘borrowed’ from https://clumsytuba.wordpress.com and their own mash up of Beatles album called Imagine. I replaced the title and band name with The Beatles logo and I love the way it mimics the style of the Lennon album of the same name. Like The Reconstructor, I hope that they don’t mind it being used here.
In its first two years of existence, Blood Records released ten limited edition LPs. With all of the problems that 2020 threw at us, the label managed to press up and supply nineteen. That is not bad going by anybody’s standards. As always, these were exclusive to the Blood Records but unlike their earlier releases, there was:
A reissue of a previously released record. ‘Champagne Holocaust’ by the Fat White Family had originally been released in 2013, including a black vinyl variant. However, the Blood Records version was the first of its Zoetrope releases and was listed as a ‘dick-ture disc’ It has to be seen to be believed.
Charity records. They released their largest ever run (so far) of a record. ‘Songs For The NHS’ was a various artists release, made up of songs unavailable anywhere else. With 5000 pressed, it entered the UK vinyl charts at number 1 and helped raise money for equipment to help the NHS during the Covid 19 pandemic. A worthy cause and a good record to boot. It was even pressed on NHS Blue coloured vinyl. There was another release raising money for the Save Our Venues charity and that was called ‘What’s Going On?’.
Archive release. Vistas released an album that collected material the band had recorded before the release of their debut album. None of the songs only this record had had a physical release before and it was released on rather fetching clear vinyl.
Exclusive variations of records released on other labels. The Cribs and Biffy Clyde both released new albums on 2020 but Blood Records was there with their own versions. The Cribs’ ‘Night Network’ came out on TV Test Card coloured vinyl, where as Biffy Clyro’s ‘A Celebration Of Endings’ was another in the Zoetrope range.
There were also exclusive releases by artists such as Nova Twins, Halloweens and Be No Rain.
All in all, 2020 was an interesting year for Blood Records and judging by the amount of campaigns they have already started, 2021 looks set to be another bumper year of vinyl releases.
To celebrate the label, here is a sampler of songs from each of the nineteen releases from 2020, presented as though it was a vinyl LP. I’m sure they would not have it any other way. The artwork is one of Blood Records’ logos taken from their Facebook page (with the year added. My IT skills let me down on this one).
Mary Don’t Mind – Vant
In This Decade – The Blinders
Space – Biffy Clyro
My Baby Looks Good With Another – Halloweens
Fashun – Willie J. Healey
I’m What You Want – Walt Disco
Half Life – Spector
Is This All There Is? – Tempesst
Media Luna – Be No Rain
Sign Language – Vistas
Care Less – Sheafs
Auto Neutron – The Fat White Family
(The World) Outside My Door – The Magic Gang
Room With A View (Demo) – Flyte
Taxi – Nova Twins
My God – Lucia & The Best Boys
Growing Up – Alfie Templeman
I’m Only Going To Hurt You – The Ninth Wave
Goodbye – The Cribs
This playlist could not be recreated as not all of the songs are available on Spotify
Here is the second part of an alternative history where The Beatles did not break up in 1970. Not wanting to repeat the mistake of the ‘White Album’ by going back to recording too soon after releasing a double album, The Beatles decide to take a break from recording and recharge their batteries, spend some time with their respective families and work on some new material. It is agreed that they will meet up again in June. However, these plans need to be changed earlier than expected due to the fact that some of the outtakes from the ‘Imagine’ sessions have been released as a bootleg. The record is called ‘Imagination’ and contains rough mixes of ten songs that had not been officially released.
What Is Life
I Found Out
Isn’t It A Pity (Version One)
Art Of Dying
Gimme Some Truth
Long Haired Lady
No one is sure how these rough mixes made it out of the studio but suspicion falls on Ringo Starr who has been known to give friends such as Peter Sellers tapes of Beatles songs in the past. However, the band are in no mood to let the bootleggers make money off of their product so meet in the spring, listen back to the tapes and come up with another record to release as soon as possible. What the ‘Imagination’ bootleg shows is the dearth of McCartney material that was recorded due to the writers block that he had been suffering from at the start of the sessions. Since then, he had been writing constantly and says that if they use some of these newly minted tracks, they will have enough material for another double album judging by the quality of songs Harrison and Lennon left in the can. This would mean the fans that bought the bootleg would be happy as they will have more new material and won’t feel cheated for buying the same songs twice. The album could be ready by the end of the summer and there is enough quality material for a couple of singles to boot.
When Starr says that having a second double album out after such a short space of time might rip off or at least annoy some fans, Lennon says ”It doesn’t seem to have hurt that band Chicago” and the matter is dropped. For an album that is mostly made up of outtakes from sessions to the ‘Imagine’ album, Lennon jokes that they should call it ‘Scraping the Barrel’. Feeling that this will be a bit close to the bone, it is agreed that the title should be called ‘Have You Heard The Word’.
Phil Spector is brought back in to oversee the mixing of the old material and the production of the new songs. The band agree that as he was the producer on the ‘Imagine’ album, the sound needs to be constant throughout. The first single release comes out in March and is Lennon’s ‘It’s So Hard’ backed with Harrison’s ‘Let it Down’. Neither of these songs were on the ‘Imagination’ bootleg and the single is eagerly snapped up by fans, sending it into the top ten the world over and the press is informed that the parent album will be released in June. The band work feverishly to finish off McCartney’s songs as well as work on Starr’s ‘Coochy Coochy’ before the deadline.
Harrison has the busiest schedule of any of the band and once the sessions are over, he goes off to work with Badfinger on their album ‘Straight Up’. Taking a break from Badfinger just as ‘Have You Heard The Word’ hits the shelves, he starts doing some production for his friend and legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar and the soundtrack for the documentary film, ‘Raga’. It was during work on this album that Shankar tells Harrison about the humanitarian crisis caused by the Bangladesh Liberation War. Shankar wants to put on a charity concert in the hope of raising $25,000 for the cause. Harrison believes that with his involvement, and the possibility that he can convince the other Beatles to perform live at the concert, the amount of money that can be raised would be significantly higher.
Calling Badfinger to say he cannot commit to finishing their album, Harrison contacts the other Beatles about the concert. Even though there is a reluctance to play live (due to amount of time it has been since they have played in front of a paying audience), they agree with the feeling being that they missed out on the late 60s festivals such as Woodstock and Monterrey, and don’t want to miss out here. Harrison then opens up his address book and manages to secure the likes of Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, the whole of Badfinger and the Hollywood Horns. With the concert booked for 1 August, The Beatles arrive in Los Angeles for rehearsals. Harrison has also written a song that he calls ‘Bangla Desh’ and it is recorded at the beginning of July for release before the concert. When news gets out that The Beatles will be performing at the Madison Square Garden venue in New York, demand for tickets is high and the event sells out so quickly that an afternoon show is arranged to maximise receipts as well as to satisfy demand. However, due to the short notice of the concert, Harrison is not able to organise more dates due to Madison Square Garden being fully booked before and afterwards.
The single comes out two days before the concert and is another huge hit all over the world. The concerts raise $243,000 and Harrison retreats back into the studio to mix the concert tapes for a potential release in time for the Christmas market, feeling that if it was left any later, people would forget about the humanitarian crisis and it will not make as much money as he hopes.
After the Concert for Bangladesh, Lennon decides he is going to stay in New York. He wants some time to focus on not being a Beatle in a city he feels comfortable walking around without the hassle he would receive back in the UK. He has also started to become more involved in radical left wing politics and he starts to focus on collaborating with Ono. This leads to the ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ single which the couple decide to release it under their own name. Unfortunately, he is in competition with himself because Apple Records have another ‘Imagine’ outtake on the singles release schedule with his ‘Gimmie Some Truth’.
Lennon says that the message of his Christmas record resonates with the feelings generated by the Bangladesh Concert and says a portion of the profits should go to that charity. Both Lennon’s single and The Beatles release break the UK top ten, but are kept off of the top spot by Benny Hill and his ‘Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)’ novelty single. The live album of the Bangladesh Concert means that at the end of 1971, there is a lot of Beatles related product on the market. However, all of the band members enjoyed playing live together. This is put down to the fact that the audience is older and, therefore, there was not the screaming that was a constant at concerts during the height of Beatlemania. However, it is not only the press who are wondering if this is a one off or will they do more live performances in future.
What Is Life – All Things Must Pass
Crippled Insid – Imagine
Monkberry Moon Delight – Ram
Behind That Locked Door – All Things Must Pass
Isolation – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
Eat At Home – Ram
Art Of Dying – All Things Must Pass
I Found Out – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
Coochy Coochy – Single B-Side
Long Haired Lady – Ram
The Lovely Linda (Mono) – McCartney
Apple Scruffs – All Things Must Pass
Oo You – McCartney
Well Well Well – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
I Dig Love – All Things Must Pass
God – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
If Not For You – All Things Must Pass
How? – Imagine
Run Of The Mill – All Things Must Pass
Hear Me Lord – All Things Must Pass
The Back Seat Of My Car – Ram
It’s So Hard – Imagine
Let It Down – All Things Must Pass
Bangla Desh – Single A-Side
Isn’t A Pity (Version 1) – All Things Must Pass
Gimmie Some Truth – Imagine
Man We Was Lonely – McCartney
What surprised me when I was listening to The Beatles solo albums once more, is how much great material was recorded for those early solo albums, that was not used on ‘Imagine’. I did not expect to be able to make another record, let alone another double with singles. They were releasing so many good records that there was even room for me to have Lennon have a solo release with ‘Merry Xmas (War is Over)’. What was most surprising to me when putting these first two albums together was the solo output of Paul McCartney between 1970 and 71. He released three albums where the quality of music on the grooves was varied. If a bit more quality control had been in place, there was enough material for one stellar album. A What-If project for the future methinks. The records of Lennon and Harrison during the same period are stone cold classics. Starr released his own classic single with ‘It Don’t Come Easy’, but I find listening to a Ringo album a bit much as I am not a great fan of his voice. I did debate whether I could use Harrison’s cover of ‘If Not For You’ as the group had not recorded a cover for a while (the bits and pieces on the ‘Let It Be’ album not included). I played with the order of the songs on the fourth disc but whatever I did with the order, it just did not sound right without it.
Even though this would work as a CD (like the other playlists on the site already), this has been presented as though it was a double album with associated singles placed at the end. For the record, Sides A, B & C are CD 1 and Side D and singles are CD 2. The artwork has been ‘borrowed’ from http://the-reconstructor.blogspot.com/ and was the cover for their own Beatles mash up called Falling Rain. A brilliant use of the front cover of Paul McCartney’s first solo album and I hope that The Reconstructor doesn’t mind its use here. This would be only the second Beatles LP that does not have a picture of the band or at least an image representing them on the cover. The ‘White Album’ being the other one. The ‘Imagination’ front cover was based on ‘The Dream is Over Vol.1’ bootleg.
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!!!”
White Christmas – Darlene Love
Frosty The Snowman – The Ronettes
Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes
The Bells Of St. Mary – Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Dean Martin
Santa, Bring My Baby Back (To Me) – Elvis Presley
Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers – The Crystals
Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
Winter Wonderland – Darlene Love
The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
Here Comes Santa Claus – Bob B. Soxx & The Blues Jeans
Sleigh Ride – The Ventures
Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys
Santa Claus Is Back In Town – Elvis Presley
Marshmallow World – Darlene Love
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer – The Crystals
This Time Of The Year – Brook Benton
I’d Like You For Christmas – Julie London
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – The Crystals
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Darlene Love
What Christmas Means To Me – Stevie Wonder
Blue Holiday – The Shirelles
You’re All I Want For Christmas – Brook Benton
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Ronettes
The Christmas Song – Nat ‘King’ Cole
If Everyday Was Like Christmas – Elvis Presley
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon & Yoko Ono
River – Joni Mitchell
Stop The Cavalry – Jona Lewie
Last Christmas – Wham!
Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
Merry Xmas Everybody – Slade
I Believe In Father Christmas – Greg Lake
2000 Miles – The Pretenders
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
Wombling Merry Christmas – The Wombles
Lonely This Christmas – Mud
Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid
Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens
Mele Kalikimaka (Christmas In Hawaii) – KT Tunstall
Warm This Winter – Gabriella Climi
Silent Night – Jewel
The Little Drummer Boy – David Bowie & Bing Crosby
Fairytale Of New York – The Pogues & Kirsty MacCall
Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) – The Darkness
Today sees the release of the 50th Anniversary of their eighth album, ‘Lola Versus Powerman & The Moneygoround, Part One’. With that in mind, I thought it was time I brought out a what-if album but this great British band.
The band had enjoyed some success in the USA in the mid 60s, but due to a ban on them performing in concerts that lasted from 1965 to 1969, their popularity waned. It was during this period that Ray Davies moved away from the American infused R&B of the bands earlier records to something a little more English. The lifting of the concert ban in the US was just in time for the release of Lola which would give the band their biggest hit Stateside since ‘Tired of Waiting’ in 1965. Reprise, the record company that had released The Kinks since ‘You Really Got Me’ were no doubt expecting the band to be a good money earner for them from this point on, but this was not to be. That was because in 1971, the band left Pye, their British label for RCA and they also did not renew their American distribution contract with Reprise. Like a good many other labels that have lost a potential cash cow, they decided to delve into the Pye vaults to pick out some songs from the bands late 60s output including music that had not been released in the USA before.
First up was the compilation The Kinks Khronicles, which focused on the band’s 1966-71 output. Considered a classic of the genre, it contained ‘Did You See His Name’ which was completely unreleased beforehand and five other songs which made their US debut on this album. The rest of the songs were made up from singles and albums tracks. It most probably helped that Reprise did not release any old cash grab compilation, but asked music journalist John Mendelsohn to not only supply the sleeve notes but compile the record. Being a fan of the band, Mendelsohn showed a level of care and attention that would be sorely lacking from the majority of Kinks compilations released down the years.
Reprise decided they were on to a good thing here and Mendelsohn came back to write the sleeve notes for the follow up which was called ‘The Great Lost Kinks’ album. I have not been able to find out what Ray Davies thought about the Kinks Kronicle, but it was clear that he was not happy about the songs on this follow up record. None of the songs had been released before and some would not see the light of day again on any official Kinks releases until 2014. Legal action was taken against Reprise who withdrew the album from sale by 1975 which lead to it being a collectors item. One of the songs was included in the 25th episode of the podcast http://www.thesquirepresents.co.uk/podcast/episode-25-skeletons-in-the-cupboard/.
Even though this compilation was left as one of the holy grail of Kinks collectors, Pye, did not compile their own version of this album. The aim of this What-If post is to think what Pye would have done if they had compiled their own Great Lost Kinks album for the UK market. Up until the mid-90s, the band’s back catalogue was treated quite badly. Any re-issues of material tended to focus on the hits from the Pye years and little else. This all changed with expanded CD sets of all of the Pye records in 1998, a three disc set of the Village Green Preservation Society in 2004 and then a set of deluxe editions that were released between 2011-2014. There has even been a 50th set of ‘Village Green’ and ‘Arthur’ containing a number of demos and other hard to find or unreleased material (as well as the just re-released ‘Lola’).
What all these showed was how much quality material was written and recorded by the band that did not see the light of day at the time. If Pye had raided their archives, there was enough rare or unreleased songs too compile a double album covering the same time period as the Reprise album from 1973. Not everything is top notch, as it does include a couple of studio jams but on the face of it, this would have been a rather good compilation. Would it have seen the light of day if Pye had thought about it in 1973. Unlikely, judging by Ray Davies reaction to the Reprise compilation of the same name. Time has allowed us to see this glimpse into The Kinks achieve and it is a shame that it took so long for their fans to hear the material contained on this record.
I have tried to keep the songs in a rough chronological order from when they were recorded, and also to keep the sides of the LP at roughly the same amount of time. All songs are stereo unless stated otherwise. I have shown where these songs were originally released under the track listing for Side 4.
Where Did My Spring Go (Mono) – 1
Rosemary Rose (Previously Unissued Mix) – 2
Lavender Hill (Mono) – 1
‘Till Death Do Us Part (Mono) – 1
Misty Waters (Previously Unissued Mx) – 2
Afternoon Tea (Canadian Mono Mix) – 3
Mick Avory’s Underpants – 4
Village Green (No Strings Version) – 4
Do You Remember Walter (French, Swedish, Norwegian Stereo Mix) – 5
Spotty Grotty Anna – 4
Berkley Mews (Stereo) – 6
Days (French, Swedish, Norwegian Stereo Mix) – 5
Mr. Songbird (French, Swedish, Norwegian Stereo Mix) – 5
Did You See His Names? (Stereo with Alternative Ending) – 2
People Take Pictures Of Each Other (French, Swedish, Norwegian Stereo Mix) – 5
God’s Children (Mono Film Mix) – 7
The Way Love Used To Be #2 (Mono Film Mix) – 10
Dreams (Mono Film Mix) – 8
The Good Life – 7
Easy Come, There You Went (Stereo) – 4
Plastic Man – 9
Australia (Australian Single Mix) – 10
Moments (Mono Film Mix) – 8
The Way Love Used To Be #1 (Mono Film Mix) – 11
The Virgin Soldiers March – 12
Apeman (European Single Mix) – 13
Drivin’ (Alternative Mix) – 12
Soldier’s Coming Home – 12
When I Turn Off The Living Room Light (Mono) – 1
The Way Love Used To Be #3 – 11
Anytime – 7
God’s Children – End (Mono Film Mix) – 7
1 – The Great Lost Kinks Album (1973)
2 – The Kinks Anthology 1964-1971 (2014)
3 – David Watts Single B-Side. Canadian Single Exclusive Mix (1967)
4 – The Village Green Preservation Society – Special Deluxe Edition (2004)
5 – The Village Green Preservation Society – Original European 12 Song Version (1968)
6 – Then, Now & Inbetween (1969)
7 – Lola Versus Powerman & The Moneyground/Percy – Deluxe Edition (2014)
8 – Percy – Reissue (1998)
9 – Star Parade Mix (1969)
10 – Australian Single A-Side (1969)
11 – Percy (1998 Reissue)
12 – Arthur Or The Decline Of The British Empire – 50th Anniversary Edition (2019)
13 – European Single A-Side Mix (1970)
The album cover was adapted from sheet music for Lola.
When it came to the bands from the heyday of Britpop, Supergrass were the band I enjoyed the most. Between 1995 (when I first became aware of them) and 2010, (when they split before finishing their “Release The Drones’ album) I would soak up each and every release. Each vinyl single was released with different colours and the albums were geared to the playing time of the LP. Each record was different in style but always kept the Supergrass sound.
I was therefore very excited to hear in late 2019 that there were rumours of the band getting back together. When this turned out to be true, I was hoping for three things. Some live gigs, the release of new material and finishing off of the unfinished ‘Realise The Drones’ LP. Only the first has so far come true, and I was lucky enough to catch them at Alexandra Palace before lockdown kicked in.
What we did get (on 27th November 2020) was a live album taken from their 2020 shows, with all of the profits going to #saveourvenues. In honour of that release, I thought it was time to go into the Supergrass back catalogue to compile a live album of tracks from before the 2010 split. I was amazed that the band had not released a live album before. The nearest we got was a promo from 2002, which had been released to promote the ‘Seen The Light’ single and tour in 2003. There was also a number of live tracks released on the B-Side of their singles as well a number of gigs released on the ‘Strange Ones’ Box Set from 2020.
With all this material at hand, I decided to proceed my own mix of Supergrass songs for a live album. This involved editing a number of these live tracks together so that it sounds like one continuous gig, even though you can see from the track list below, they come from a number of different source. The only time there was a fade out was when the sides finished, as this mix was based on the fantasy release being a double vinyl record. I must admit that some edits were work better than others, but this is down to my not exactly perfect skills as down as an editor. I also decided to not only include the more well known songs, but some deep cuts as well.
Shane O’Donoghue Introduction (RDS Arena Dublin, 22nd June 1996)
Lenny (RDS Arena Dublin, 22nd June 1996)
Caught By The Fuzz (RDS Arena Dublin, 22nd June 1996)
Funniest Thing (Reading Festival, 25th August 2001)
Richard III (Reading Festival, 25th August 2001)
Melanie Davis (RDS Arena Dublin, 22nd June 1996)
We’re Not Supposed To (RDS Arena Dublin, 22nd June 1996)
She’s So Loose (RDS Arena Dublin, 22nd June 1996)
Seen The Light
Rush Hour Soul
Ghost Of A Friend (Shepard’s Bush Empire, 10th December 2008)
Outside (Shepard’s Bush Empire, 10th December 2008)
Late In The Day
Bullet (Pyramid Centre Portsmouth, 29th May 2005)
Out Of The Blue (Reading Festival, 29th August 1998)
Alright (Reading Festival, 29th August 1998)
In It For The Money (Reading Festival, 29th August 1998(
Jesus Came From Outer Space (T In The Park, 9th July 2000)
Sick (T In The Park, 9th July 2000)
Pumping on Your Stereo (Reading Festival, 25th August 2001)
Mary (T In The Park, 9th July 2000)
Cheapskate (Glastonbury Festival, 26th June 1997)
Time (Glastonbury Festival, 26th June 1997)
Odd (Glastonbury Festival, 26th June 1997)
Going Out (RDS Arena Dublin, 22nd June 1996)
All of the songs that do not have dates are from the ‘Live 2002’ album. I have not been able to find the dates that those recordings were made.
The cover is based upon that aforementioned promo live album from 2002, but with some slight editing so that the date is no longer viable.