Thursday, July 25, 2013

More Live Lissie, The Cutting Room, NYC, 6/4/2013, Watch Superb Live Video from WFUV, Plus New Love In The City EP

We've already posted about Lissie live at SXSW and at Philadelphia's Union Transfer, but when we saw that Lissie had done a live set for WFUV, we couldn't resist one more once. With Lissie playing an intimate venue like the Cutting Room, and since FUV does such a superlative job on their videos, we couldn't let it pass. Rita Houston hosted the broadcast which is available for the listening at the WFUV archive.

Lissie's new album, Back to Forever, comes out September 17th. To tide you over till then Lissie has a new three song EP, out now. The Love In The City EP has two songs from the new album, plus one new song which is exclusive to the EP, which you can download for free at Lissie's website.

WFUV is a non-commercial, listener-supported public radio station, broadcasting to the New York City area from Fordham University. Take a look at their enormous archive of live music that you can stream on demand, and check out the amazing quality of their rapidly growing video Archive. If you appreciate what they do, considerable supporting the station with a contribution.

The videos follow the set list (the songs marked "new" are all from the new album).

Set List:
1. The Habit - New
2. When I'm Alone
3. Shameless - New
4. Interview with Rita Houston
5. They All Want You - New
6. Further Away (Romance Police) - New
7. In Sleep

Watch "Shameless"

Watch "They All Want You"

Watch "Further Away (Romance Police)"

Watch "In Sleep"

Photos courtesy of WFUV

Lissie's Website
Lissie's Facebook
Lissie's Twitter

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gems From the Record Room:  Keb Mo - Peace....Back By Popular Demand (2004)

Continuing Series:  Keb Mo started out in 1994 playing acoustic blues inspired by Robert Johnson, usually filed with Taj Mahal. His voice has a highly appealing mellow tone with a touch of world-wearyness that makes him feel like an old friend and makes anything he sings eminently enjoyable. Although he still gets the bluesman tag, he hasn't made a blues album in years. He is a gifted singer, guitarist, and songwriter whose records have more in common with Carole King than B.B. King. He has a soulful James Taylorish vibe, and impeccable taste in covers. On his last album for example, he did the Eagles' "One of These Nights", a tremendous song to start with, and I like his cover as much as the original, if not more.

His choice of covers was key on 2004's Peace....Back By Popular Demand because the album is all covers save for one original. It's a collection of peace and protest songs from the sixties and early seventies, the track list is below. These songs have held up really well; they sound fresh and somehow, no matter how much progress each new decade seems to bring, these songs remain as relevant as ever. Considering that America is divided on everything from race to politics, that we have a steady stream of mass shootings with no hope of meaningful gun control, and that we live in a world where there are too many wars, too much oppression and too much suffering, we need these songs now more than ever.

Listen to "Wake Up Everybody"

Listen to "The Times They Are A Changin'"

Track List:
1 For What It's Worth (Stephen Stills) 3:58
2 Wake Up Everybody (Victor Carstarphen / G. McFadden / John Whitehead) 4:07
3 People Got to Be Free (Eddie Brigati / Felix Cavaliere)3:45
4 Talk (Kevin Moore) 3:38
5 What's Happening Brother (Marvin Gaye / James Nyx, Jr.) 3:25
6 The Times They Are A-Changin' (Bob Dylan) 4:11
7 Get Together (Chester Powers) 4:00
8 Someday We'll All Be Free (Donny Hathaway / Ed Howard) 4:02
9 (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding? (Nick Lowe) 3:43
10 Imagine (John Lennon) 4:54

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol. 10, Another Self Portrait (1969 – 1971), Watch David Bromberg & Al Kooper Talk About the Self Portrait Sessions (2013)

New From the Vaults:  I remember buying (and liking) Self Portrait when it was released in 1970. The critics hated it, especially the Rolling Stone review, which Greil Marcus famously began with, "What is this shit?" It wasn't bad, it was just different. When you consider the nine albums that preceded it, this certainly didn't fit. Dylan's artistic growth and amazing body of work placed him at a level reached only by the Beatles.

1. Bob Dylan - 1962
2. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan - 1963
3. Another Side of Bob Dylan - 1964
4. The Times They Are A-Changin' - 1964
5. Bringing It All Back Home - 1965
6. Highway 61 Revisited - 1965
7. Blonde on Blonde - 1966
8. John Wesley Harding - 1967
9. Nashville Skyline - 1969

Self Portrait was a double album. It contained mostly covers, a handful of Dylan originals, some instrumentals, and even a few live tracks. Other than Dylan's crooning on Nashville Skyline, there was no way to know in 1970, the propensity Dylan would have to shed one persona and adopt another, both to confound and challenge his audience (and himself). Self Portrait was his first such curve ball, and like rookie batters, the music establishment didn't know what to do with it. In the press release for The Bootleg Series Vol. 10, Another Self Portrait (1969 – 1971) they call the original Self Portrait "a deliberate act of iconoclasm that shattered Dylan's image as "generational spokesperson" while stretching the boundaries of pop music and his own."

"In the Self Portrait sessions, Dylan played a selection of songs accompanied by a small ensemble of musicians, primarily David Bromberg (guitar) and Al Kooper (keyboards, guitar)."
In this video about the impending vault release, Bromberg and Kooper talk about the Self Portrait sessions and provide fascinating insight into these historic sessions.

Photo courtesy of Bob Dylan

On August 27th Columbia will release The Bootleg Series Vol. 10, Another Self Portrait (1969 – 1971) containing 35 rarities and previously unreleased recordings from the Self Portrait sessions. In additional exciting news, it will be available in 2-disc standard and 4-disc deluxe versions. The deluxe edition includes the first complete release of the historic August 1969 Isle of Wight Festival performance, newly re-mixed from the original source recordings. The complete press release follows, including tracks lists.

Columbia Records will release Bob Dylan's The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 - Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) on August 27, bringing fresh perspective to one of the artist's most controversial periods and revealing it to be one of his most wonderfully creative and prolific. Containing 35 rarities and previously unreleased recordings, Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) is the latest edition of Dylan's acclaimed Bootleg Series and is available in both a standard two-disc set and in a four-disc deluxe box set.

The unreleased recordings, demos and alternate takes on Another Self Portrait -- drawn mainly from the 1970 studio recording sessions that resulted in the official 1970 albums Self Portrait and New Morning albums -- shed new light on an essential and pivotal period in the artist's ongoing musical evolution.

A trailer previewing Bob Dylan's Another Self Portrait may be viewed on YouTube (

The original Self Portrait, released in June 1970, was Dylan's tenth studio album and his first to receive real pans from the music press ("What is this shit?" was literally the opening sentence of Greil Marcus's review in Rolling Stone while Robert Christgau gave the album a "C PLUS" rating in the Village Voice). Nevertheless, Self Portrait hit Number 4 on the US Billboard 200 and Number 1 on the UK album charts.

In the Self Portrait sessions, Dylan played a selection of songs accompanied by a small ensemble of musicians, primarily David Bromberg (guitar) and Al Kooper (keyboards, guitar), with producer Bob Johnston later adding overdubs to the basic tracks in Nashville. Another Self Portrait presents these original session masters for the first time without overdubs.

Another Self Portrait reveals fresh aspects of Dylan's vocal genius as he reimagines traditional and contemporary folk music as well as songs of his own. Across these unvarnished performances, Dylan is the country singer from Nashville Skyline ("Country Pie" and "I Threw It All Away"), an interpreter of traditional folk ("Little Sadie," "Pretty Saro") who's right at home singing the songs of his contemporaries (Tom Paxton's "Annie's Gonna Sing Her Song" and Eric Andersen's "Thirsty Boots") before returning to writing and singing his own new music ("Went To See The Gypsy," "Sign On The Window").

While the original Self Portrait was a deliberate act of iconoclasm that shattered Dylan's image as "generational spokesperson" while stretching the boundaries of pop music and his own, the album's successor, New Morning, marked Dylan's return to songwriting. Another Self Portrait gives fans a chance to reappraise the pivotal recordings that marked Dylan's artistic transformation as the 1960s ended and the 1970s began.

Featured on Another Self Portrait are a previously unavailable version of "Only A Hobo" and the demo version of "When I Paint My Masterpiece," a track that finds Dylan, who'd been signed as a recording artist not quite a decade earlier, looking to the future, promising that "Someday, everything's gonna be smooth like a rhapsody, when I paint my masterpiece."

Bob Dylan has created a new painting as the cover art for The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 - Another Self Portrait (1969-1971).

The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 - Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) will be available in a standard two-disc configuration as well as in a four-disc deluxe boxed set which will include, for the first time ever, the complete historic performance by Bob Dylan and The Band from the Isle of Wight Festival on August 31, 1969. Housed in a slipcase, the deluxe edition will include the newly remastered version of the 1970 Self Portrait album, in its entirety with original sequencing, in addition to two hardcover books featuring revisionist liner notes penned by Greil Marcus (author of the notorious "What is this shit?" 1970 Self Portrait review in Rolling Stone).

A vinyl version of The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 - Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) will include the album's 35 tracks on three LPs plus a 12" x 12" booklet.

Hardcore fans got an early taste of The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 - Another Self Portrait (1969-1971) when a limited edition 7" single of "Wigwam" (demo) c/w "Thirsty Boots" (a previously unreleased recording) was released for Record Store Day, Saturday, April 20, 2013.

* * * * *

The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 - Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)
CD 1

1 Went To See The Gypsy (demo)
2 In Search Of Little Sadie (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
3 Pretty Saro (unreleased, Self Portrait)
4 Alberta #3 (alternate version, Self Portrait)
5 Spanish Is The Loving Tongue (unreleased, Self Portrait)
6 Annie's Going To Sing Her Song (unreleased, Self Portrait)
7 Time Passes Slowly #1 (alternate version, New Morning)
8 Only A Hobo (unreleased, Greatest Hits II)
9 Minstrel Boy (unreleased, The Basement Tapes)
10 I Threw It All Away (alternate version, Nashville Skyline)
11 Railroad Bill (unreleased, Self Portrait)
12 Thirsty Boots (unreleased, Self Portrait)
13 This Evening So Soon (unreleased, Self Portrait)
14 These Hands (unreleased, Self Portrait)
15 Little Sadie (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
16 House Carpenter (unreleased, Self Portrait)
17 All The Tired Horses (without overdubs, Self Portrait)

The Bootleg Series, Vol. 10 - Another Self Portrait (1969-1971)
CD 2

1 If Not For You (alternate version, New Morning)
2 Wallflower (alternate version, 1971)
3 Wigwam (original version without overdubs, Self Portrait)
4 Days Of '49 (original version without overdubs, Self Portrait)
5 Working On A Guru (unreleased, New Morning)
6 Country Pie (alternate version, Nashville Skyline)
7 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Live With The Band, Isle Of Wight 1969)
8 Highway 61 Revisited (Live With The Band, Isle Of Wight 1969)
9 Copper Kettle (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
10 Bring Me A Little Water (unreleased, New Morning)
11 Sign On The Window (with orchestral overdubs, New Morning)
12 Tattle O'Day (unreleased, Self Portrait)
13 If Dogs Run Free (alternate version, New Morning)
14 New Morning (with horn section overdubs, New Morning)
15 Went To See The Gypsy (alternate version, New Morning)
16 Belle Isle (without overdubs, Self Portrait)
17 Time Passes Slowly #2 (alternate version, New Morning)
18 When I Paint My Masterpiece (demo)

Bob Dylan & The Band
Isle of Wight - August 31, 1969

1 She Belongs To Me
2 I Threw It All Away
3 Maggie's Farm
4 Wild Mountain Thyme
5 It Ain't Me, Babe
6 To Ramona/ Mr. Tambourine Man
7 I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
8 Lay Lady Lay
9 Highway 61 Revisited
10 One Too Many Mornings
11 I Pity The Poor Immigrant
12 Like A Rolling Stone
13 I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
14 Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
15 Minstrel Boy
16 Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

Monday, July 15, 2013

World's Greatest Love Songs:  God Only Knows by the Beach Boys (1966)

Continuing Series:  "God Only Knows" was released by the Beach Boys in the summer of 1966, both as a part of their seminal Pet Sounds album, and as a single, the b-side of "Wouldn't it Be Nice". Brian Wilson wrote the music, arranged, and produced the recording. Tony Asher wrote the lyrics. In a sort of foreshadowing of how the Beach Boys would record their 2012 album, That's Why God Made the Radio, only three of the Beach Boys appear on "God Only Knows".

Carl Wilson sang lead vocals and played twelve string guitar. Brian and Bruce Johnston sang harmony and backing vocals. For the music, Brian used eighteen outside musicians, including strings, woodwinds, french horn, two accordians, Hammond organ, and both upright and electric basses. The Beatles used to cite Pet Sounds as competitive inspiration, as in they were trying to top it when they made Sgt. Pepper. Paul McCartney has often been quoted as saying that "God Only Knows" is his all time favorite song.

In Charles L. Granata's book, I Just Wasn't Made for These Times: Brian Wilson and the Making of Pet Sounds, Tony Asher talked about his inspiration for the lyrics of "God Only Knows". "This is the one [song] that I thought would be a hit record because it was so incredibly beautiful. I was concerned that maybe the lyrics weren't up to the same level as the music; how many love songs start off with the line, 'I may not always love you'? I liked that twist, and fought to start the song that way. Working with Brian, I didn't have a whole lot of fighting to do, but I was certainly willing to fight to the end for that. [...] 'God Only Knows' is, to me, one of the great songs of our time. I mean the great songs. Not because I wrote the lyrics, but because it is an amazing piece of music that we were able to write a very compelling lyric to. It's the simplicity—the inference that 'I am who I am because of you'—that makes it very personal and tender."

Listen to "God Only Knows"

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
Ill make you so sure about it

God only knows what I'd be without you

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God only knows what I'd be without you

God only knows what I'd be without you

If you should ever leave me
Well life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows what I'd be without you
God only knows


Bonus Track:  There have been many cover versions, everyone from Neil Diamond to David Bowie, the Captain & Tennille to Jonatha Brooke. We've always loved this version by Joss Stone for her soul drenched vocal and for the simple arrangement.

Listen to Joss Stone - "God Only Knows"

Photo courtesy of Joss Stone.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Watch Chicago, Live at Tanglewood, at the Time of Their 2nd Album, July 21, 1970

This video of Chicago's 1970 concert at Tanglewood in Massachusetts is a superb document of an amazing band working at the peak of their powers. Listeners who only know them for their catalog of hits may be surprised to learn that they were not only one of the finest horn bands (in their early days, it was basically them and Blood, Sweat & Tears), but they were also one of the finest rock bands of the sixties and seventies. Formed in 1967 in Chicago, they fully embraced the anti-war movement that made Chicago the city such a hotbed of protest in 1968 during the Democratic National Convention. You can hear their anti-war sentiment in the 14+ minute epic live version of "It Better End Soon".

Chicago released their first album, Chicago Transit Authority, in 1969, their second, Chicago, in early 1970. Both were double albums, unprecedented output for a new band. This show draws nicely from both, plus two tracks that weren't recorded until the third album ("I Don't Want Your Money" and "Mother"). The whole double album thing may have been a reflection of the outsized ego of their manager, James William Guercio, but it totally worked to get them noticed. It helped that Chicago had a wealth of good material; there wasn't any filler on those first two albums. The same can't be said of the third album ("An Hour in the Shower"), or the fourth, a quadruple live album, after which there was a good deal of critical backlash.

It strikes me now, watching this show, just how much Terry Kath was the soul of the band, and how guitar-driven they were back then. Just watch Kath's solos right in the first song, or the thrilling guitar-centric "25 or 6 to 4" and "I'm a Man". Kath's guitar work places him in the same league as Clapton, Beck, and Page. Robert Lamm may have written more of the songs on the first two albums, but Kath wrote the next most, plus watching this show, his guitar and his distinctive deep voice characterize nearly every song. He is so passionate during "It Better End Soon", you'll have a new appreciation of the power of rock music. Kath's tragic death in 1978 left a hole in Chicago that many fans feel they never fully recovered from.

As a band they killed, playing live in 1969-70, so incredibly tight. This is why, when I first saw them in the fall of 1969, they were able to top a bill of Jesse Colin Young, Canned Heat (fresh from Woodstock), and Santana (also fresh from Woodstock). Both Santana and Chicago had only released their first albums. Santana truly blew everyone's mind, then Chicago took the stage and brought down the house. Enjoy this video.

The Setlist:
1. Introduction - 7:13
2. In the Country - 6:51
3. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? - 8:22
4. 25 or 6 to 4 - 7:03
5. Poem for the People - 5:38
6. I Don't Want Your Money - 6:44
7. Mother - 5:45
8. It Better End Soon - 14:39
9. Beginnings - 7:40
10. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon - 12:35
11. I'm A Man (Encore) - 9:12
12. Terry Kath Outro/Bill Graham Closing Announcements