Tuesday, 23 August 2016

#78 DAVID SYLVIAN - Hammersmith Odeon, London 1988 (Flac)

Hammersmith Odeon,
London, England.
30th May 1988
Soundboard recording


The best available recording from the 'In Praise of the Shamans - an 80 day tour of the World' and one that is well known by fans. It is a show that deserves wider recognition, if you appreciate Roxy Music, David Bowie, Talk Talk or the Blue Nile, then this is a bootleg you will enjoy. An extremely high quality and classic performance, the brass instrumentation is inspired and fans of jazz will surely find something to savour in Mark Isham's haunting delivery.

In the late 1980's David Sylvian stopped making solo records and became more interested in collaborative work than in his own music, most notably with Holger Czukay (Can) and Robert Fripp (King Crimson). He underwent a personal crisis that had gathered momentum during this tour. He found himself unable to work alone and sought help through working with others. After professional help and meeting Ingrid Chavez, star of Prince's Graffiti Bridge, who would become his wife, he began working on his next solo album. The follow up to 1987's 'Secrets of the Beehive', it would finally be released in 1999, titled 'Dead Bees On A Cake'. 

This live set encompasses four tracks apiece from David’s four solo albums to date, including the complete 1985 single ‘Words With The Shaman’ beginning with the first two parts and closing the show appropriately with the final part ‘Awakening’. Mark Isham contributes a track ‘The Grand Parade’ from his new album ‘Castalia’.  This bootleg is a perfect snapshot of Sylvian's first solo live tour. I listened to it regularly for months, at the same time exploring David's solo catalogue. I owned two Japan LP's bought on release in the early 80's and like many never listened to his solo work, big, big mistake. If you enjoy this may I recommend your next audio experience to be the previously mentioned official releases. After these there is much more to explore backwards or forwards, from one of the most individual and under-rated back catalogues in popular music.

Disc One:
01. Ancient Evening (8:09)
02. Incantation (5:14)
03. Orpheus (5:04)
04. Before The Bullfight (9:24)
05. Taking The Veil (5:02)
06. Weathered Wall (5:51)
07. The Boy With The Gun (5:57)
08. Riverman (11:36)
09. The Grand Parade (Mark Isham) (4:32)
10. band introduction (1:29)
11. The Ink In The Well (5:05)
12. Nostalgia (6:52)

Disc Two:
01. Forbidden Colours/Backwaters (5:41)
02. Brilliant Trees (12:08)
03. Steel Cathedrals (8:15)
04. Let The Happiness In (7:37)
05. Gone To Earth (9:22)
06. Awakening (5:44)

David Sylvian - keyboards, guitar and vocals
Steve Jansen - drums and percussion
Richard Barbieri - keyboards
David Torn - lead guitar
Ian Maidman - bass and percussion
Robby Aceto - guitars and keyboards
Mark Isham - flügelhorn, trumpet, soprano sax and keyboards

The source files were affected by a lot of saturation clicks/crackles due to a non perfect analog to digital transfer process. These issues and some minor problems were repaired. This is the rdwm 2015 revision and the best source of this sublime show.

Monday, 22 August 2016

#77 VAN MORRISON - The Point Theatre, Dublin. 1995 (Flac)

From Dublin Up To Sandy Row (bootleg CD)
The Point Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
17 December 1995  
Given that the 17 December '95 show from The Point Depot in Dublin was captured four years back on 'The Night Was Full Of Space' boot, it was noteworthy how much "press" the soon-to-be-circulated 'From Dublin Up To Sandy Row' received in the Van-List circles.

Well, the hype was worth it. While the sound on 'The Night Was Full Of Space' is solid, the sound on 'From Dublin Up To Sandy Row' is flawless; in my opinion, it is better than on the live commercial release, 'A Night In San Francisco'. Put that one in your whistle.... muso.com

This is the third Van show of which I am aware that the Tonight Only label has released, and they seem to know they had something special here. A couple of comments from the very sharp artwork: "Tonight Only is proud to present the definitive recording of one of the definitive Van Morrison concerts of the 1990's . . . .
The pristine recording you hold in your hands is released with a very limited pressing of just 250 copies, each one numbered to enhance its value as a rare record of a spectacular concert at Dublin's Point Depot."

The setlist speaks for itself, and Van's performance is simply "on"; even "Moondance" works! But the value of this recording is the sound, which has a richness and complexity, as well as subtlety, that 'The Night Was Full Of Space' lacks. Guy Barker's sax solo on "That's Life" absolutely shimmers, and one can literally feel Alec Dankworth's fingers on the up-right bass during "Why Must I Always Explain". I can say without influence that this is a classic boot. 
(reviewed by Niall Connors)

 And then from outside the frosty window raps
She jumps up and says, Lord, have mercy I think it's the cops
And immediately drops everything she gots
Down into the street below
And you know you gotta go
On that train from Dublin up to Sandy Row
Throwing pennies at the bridges down below
And the rain, hail, sleet, and snow
Disc One: 
01 No Religion (4:41)
02 Days Like This (3:03)
03 Raincheck (4:56)
04 Wonderful Remark (4:10)
05 Saint Dominic's Preview (5:41)
06 Listen To The Lion (5:05)
07 Slim Slow Slider (5:15)
08 Vanlose Stairway / TransEuro Train (4:11)
09 Irish Heartbeat (4:06)
10 Ballerina (6:52)
Disc Two:
01 Tupelo Honey / Why Must I Always Explain? (7:24)
02 Whenever God Shines His Light (3:34)
03 In The Garden / You Send Me (7:03)
04 Star Of The County Down (2:33)
05 Melancholia (6:08)
06 I'm Not Feeling It Anymore (7:03)
07 Madame George (5:51)
08 Brown Eyed Girl (3:29)
09 Have I Told You Lately (6:05)

officially released tracks omitted
* Ain't that loving you baby,
* That's Life,
* Moondance,
* Satisfied.

FM broadcast from The Point Theatre, Dublin on December 17th, 1995 
Released on 'From Dublin Up To Sandy Row' silver disc bootleg CD (June 1999)

Sunday, 21 August 2016

#76 THE BLUE NILE - The Bottom Line, NYC. 1990 (Flac)

The Bottom Line
New York City
July 23, 1990

The Blue Nile have variously been described as adult alternative pop, dream pop, alternative rock, ambient folk and synth pop, all of these terms vainly try and box the group’s music into a particular genre. What can be said without any doubt is that in the 1980’s they released two absolute classic albums: A Walk Across The Rooftops (1984) and Hats (1989)

This show can be considered as part one of an unofficial trilogy of live recordings from 1990 (Manchester and Glasgow are the others) and is taken from either a soundboard or an FM broadcast. (lineage details included with the notes are vague)

The group began their first ever tour with dates in the USA before returning home for their debut UK tour in September, ending with two shows at the Royal Concert Hall in their native city of Glasgow.
The performance and sound quality of this recording is superb and while no live recording can ever compete with the recorded perfection of the two previously mentioned albums, this show comes pretty damn close. Of the fourteen tracks spread over the first two releases, eleven are included here, six from Hats and five from the debut album, A Walk Across The Rooftops, closing in fast on it’s 30th anniversary release date.

01. A Walk Across the Rooftops
02. Tinseltown In The Rain
03. Heatwave
04. Over The Hillside
05. Stay
06. Easter Parade
07. band intro
08. Downtown Lights
09. Saturday Night
10. Headlights On The Parade
11. Seven A.M.
12. Let's Go Out Tonight

Glasgow's unique but extremely slow-moving (four albums in 20 years!) Blue Nile has a wealth of creative depth, building atmosphere with lots of empty space and carefully controlled conflicting musical maneuvers. The title track of the trio's first album mixes strings, horns, drum and bass with a meandering, disjunct vocal for something like a blend of Robert Wyatt, Joni Mitchell and John Cale. Although A Walk Across the Rooftops isn't easy to love, at its most accessible point ("Stay," which actually has a chorus and more of a verse melody than the others), it's quite appealing.

Hats was five years in the making, but the band's relentless perfectionism paid off: the seven songs are as dense and moving as a midnight sky. With sweeping synths and the pristine click of electronic percussion, "The Downtown Lights" and "Over the Hillside" are moody like film music, while "From a Late Night Train" and "Saturday Night" are impressionistic vignettes that creep along in slow motion. There's hardly a guitar or live drum to be heard, but seldom has studio technology been used to such warm and personal results.

A vast seven-year gap yawned between the Blue Nile's second and third albums. During that time (part of which was devoted to the lengthy process of securing a new record deal), the perfectionists' only visible activities were one tour and three collaborations. They recorded a cover of Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" on Clannad vocalist Màire Brennan's Misty Eyed Adventures, a live British B-side with Rickie Lee Jones, and "The Gift," a song the threesome co-wrote with Annie Lennox for her Diva album; Lennox certified her satisfaction by including the Blue Nile's "Downtown Lights" on her Medusa collection.

Recorded (somewhat tellingly) in Los Angeles, Peace at Last is by far the atmospheric group's most diverse, accessible and fully realized work. Generally more upbeat and conventional than the first two, the album uses vastly different instrumentation — acoustic guitars, strings, even a gospel choir on "Happiness" — yet retains the group's distinctive melancholy, panoramic feel. The pop ideas explored rather clumsily on Hats are infinitely more assured here; while the horn-speckled "Sentimental Man" summons fearsome visions of Phil Collins, "Body and Soul" slithers brilliantly on- and off-beat, showing how thoroughly the group has managed to integrate groove into its sound. Although the unmistakable whiff of centrist tendencies imbues the proceedings — there's even a lump-in-the-throat Christmas ballad called "Family Life" — Peace at Last is a natural and dramatic progression.

Between Blue Nile releases, frontman Paul Buchanan lent his distinctive vocals to several outside projects, including Peter Gabriel's OVO, smooth jazz trumpeter Chris Botti's Midnight Without You and composer Craig Armstrong's The Space Between Us.

After another eight-year pause, the Blue Nile finally returned with High, abandoning the more organic trappings of Peace at Last in favor of the lush, synthesized feel of Hats. High is the first Blue Nile album that makes no significant stylistic advance over its predecessors but the best moments are true to the band’s essential qualities. (The lesser moments suggest its signature sound could ossify into formula.) Buchanan’s characteristically bittersweet lyrics return to familiar themes: the drudgery of the workaday world and relationships both good and bad. "Because of Toledo" stands out in part due to an arrangement that is little more than acoustic guitar and Buchanan's voice. "Broken Loves" deftly delineates a difficult father/son relationship while expending a fair amount of musical energy running in place. "She Saw the World" and "Everybody Else" make more focused use of that energy. "I Would Never" and "Days of Our Lives" recapture the languid grace of earlier songs like “Over the Hillside.” But the title track's lyrical search for transcendence is undercut by a prosaic chorus."I Would Never" was released as a CD single, with cover art depicting three straw hats. The single adds two tracks that predate A Walk Across the Rooftops. "I Love This Life" brims with youthful enthusiasm in strong contrast to the often complicated grown-up concerns of their later work. "The Second Act," an early B-side previously unreleased on CD, shows a developing band that hasn't quite arrived at its signature sound.

Since the release of High, Buchanan has continued to collaborate with other musicians: he sang on Aqualung's Memory Man album and co-wrote a song on the 2010 Magnetic North release. His vocals are also featured on "Sleep" from Texas' 2006 Red Book album.

Buchanan returned in 2012 with Mid Air, a solo album of elegiac ballads. While many of these short songs (most clock in under three minutes) are individually excellent, they are too much alike to make it a strong album. Buchanan is a master at creating a mood of ephemeral beauty, but the arrangements vary little: he croons gently over simple piano accompaniment that often traces the melody line, while synthesized sweetening fleshes out the sound. The Blue Nile used this approach fruitfully on tracks like “Easter Parade,” “Because of Toledo,” and “From a Late Night Train,” surrounding them with contrasting fare. Mid Air cries out for similar variety, but only the lovely orchestral instrumental “Fin de Siecle” breaks form. This particular whole is not greater than the sum of its parts, beautifully wrought though the parts are. “Cars in the Garden” and “I Remember You” are among the high points. The 24-track edition contains several alternate versions, including a pair of remixes credited to Blue Nile’s Robert Bell. (Trouser Press)

Saturday, 20 August 2016

#75 U2 - Salome (Flac)

Hansa Ton Studios,
Berlin, Germany

In December 1990, U2 entered Hansa Ton recording studios in Berlin, Germany to create as well as record but unlike most bands they entered the studio with very few lyric or song ideas. These sessions would lead to the release of "Achtung Baby" their seventh studio album in November 1991. By playing together they would form ideas while improvising around a rhythm, lyric or a riff. This 'jamming' was recorded and the highlights of these tapes were edited down and compiled into 'working tapes' Digital Audio Tape cassettes. These possible song ideas were saved and also used by the producer Brian Eno (and others) to hear the band's progress and offer modifications and their thoughts on how the sessions were progressing.

Beginning in May 1991, bootleggers released these tapes on a vinyl pressing, further issues appeared in June and November 1991. ‘Salome: The Axtung Beibi outtakes’ (sic) were released in February 1992 on a triple CD set. Three and half hours worth of material mastered from the original DAT recordings, with no quality loss between the original working tapes and these CD's. The sound quality was far superior than the previous vinyl issues. Salome, the title is thought to be from a working title for the Achtung Baby sessions.

U2 were “the first major band to have studio sessions released before the finished product was either released, abandoned or the group broke up.” Their manager Paul McGuiness reacted angrily, releasing a press statement accusing the bootleggers of cheating the fans by passing off inferior material. He also stated that the finished product had evolved by leaps and bounds from what was being illegally circulated. While his comments were valid, the tapes offered a compelling insight into the song writing process and included songs omitted from the final release.

For this post the unnamed tracks have been accorded the fan working titles as used by Sira Vista, the author of the individual track notes that appeared on the internet in 1992. I have edited his original track notes and reworked them with a few additional observations. As a whole entity the 3 disc set can get tedious to listen too. It was not made or intended for this use as mentioned above and as a consequence I've had the set for a number of years and barely listened to it. When the best tracks are extracted and compiled together, as on this single disc, the set seems like a new discovery and is virtually an alternate, unreleased U2 album.

If you are interested in this period of U2, the official release documentary "From The Sky Down" tells the story of their path towards 'Achtung Baby'. The 20th anniversary of the album was marked by the release of five different formats on 31 October 2011, the super deluxe set comprising of 6 CDs and 4 DVDs. Not long now 'til the 25th anniversary.


01.  Salome (5:59)               
02.  Where Did It All Go Wrong? (3:44)        
03.  Heaven And Hell (6:48)           
04.  I Feel Free (4:31)              
05.  Sweet Baby Jane (2:02)          
06.  Morning Child (4:00)          
07.  She's Gonna Turn Your Head Around (7:38)  
08.  Back Mask U2 (3:11)          
09.  Acrobat (4:19)              
10.  Take You Down (5:16)          
11.  Salome (5:37)               

Running time: 54:05

01.  Salome (5:59)               
You can virtually sing the words to Salome' (from the CD single of Even Better Than The Real Thing) to this take. Perhaps it's title here still should be ‘Got To Get Together Now’, but it's Salome' for identity purposes. The bassline leads one to believe this is an early form of ZOO STATION. Later takes also support this theory. With nine versions spread over the original 3-disc set, this song has had the most difficult creative process. The final five tracks on the third disc are particularly monotonous and an uninspiring listening experience.

02.  Where Did It All Go Wrong? (3:44)        
A catchier version of this fast and repetitive hard driving song, that sounds great despite the out of place, bridge.

03.  Heaven And Hell (6:48)           
Bringing the tempo down, this slow song has a nice "fat" organ sound. Bono directs the band through the latter half, asking Larry to drop out, as the organ and the others come in beautifully. 

04.  I Feel Free (4:31)              
Beginning with a shriek from Bono. The guitar riff, immediately familiar is the basis for the whole song. Vocals are mostly Bono, but The Edge provides backup. This is a free-form take and an early form of UNTIL THE END OF THE WORLD.

05.  Sweet Baby Jane (2:02)          
Bono sings the first verse acapella (and stammers) followed by The Edge adding guitar, both sing harmony vocals before Adam’s bass comes in. There are no drums on this track.

06.  Morning Child (4:00)              
This song is an early form of WHO'S GONNA RIDE YOUR WILD HORSES. In this take you can really hear the acoustic guitar. The bridge here is similar to how it turns out on the album (Bono barely sings at all during this bridge).

07.  She's Gonna Turn Your Head Around (7:38)  
There is now much less echo, more song structure, and a normal volume level. The chorus, "she's gonna blow your house down” etc. is now consistent now. This take kicks!

08.  Back Mask U2 (3:11)              
This is an early form of SO CRUEL, evident not only in the percussion, but also in the general emotion of the song (specifically, the last two lines of the take). One can really understand what Bono is singing.

09.  Acrobat (4:19)              
This is ACROBAT but with a slightly different lyric. It’s the only song that survived these sessions virtually unchanged. Bono sings "Don't let (?) take you down", where ? seems to be assorted different things, people, etc. It's hard to actually pick any but a few out. Includes a great solo from The Edge.

10.  Take You Down (5:16)          
This song is an early form of LADY WITH THE SPINNING HEAD, which later evolved into ULTRA VIOLET (Light My Way). The guitar solo was used again in THE FLY, and the bridge moved on to be used as the intro to ULTRA VIOLET (Light My Way). Bono sings back up. The left and right channels are different takes of him singing to the same backing music. Each channel sounds quite different from the other, and the two only come together in one or two places. The vocals are not completely isolated to the left or right channels. In each channel you can faintly hear the other. During the guitar solo and bridge you can only hear one vocal track (in both channels). A Hendrix like solo, and a frantic ending. This song rips! Much better than the LADY WITH THE SPINNING HEAD.

11.  Salome (5:37)               
The beginning sounds almost like a "remixed" version of the song. U2 seem to be taken by the idea of radically changing the songs in an effort to spur creativity. There's a great deal of production on this take; plenty of assorted effects and sound loops. The vocals can be heard, but are difficult to understand. The later evolution into ZOO STATION is most evident in this take, especially toward the end (ie, the fuzzy booming sound at 3:14). The familiar ZOO STATION loop of clanking bells can also be heard throughout the song.

Friday, 19 August 2016

#74 THE CURE - Plainsongs (Flac)

The Prayer Tour Soundboard (s)
Recorded in Germany & France 1989


The best bootleg from this tour. The supreme quality and selection of songs endeavour to make this one of the most enjoyable Cure bootlegs. Recorded during the European tour, the actual venues are not given just  three cities visited between 7 May and 7 June 1989.

01. Plainsong
02. Pictures of You
03. Closedown
04. The Kyoto Song
05. A Night Like This
06. Last Dance
Frankfurt: 14 May 1989

07. Cold
08. The Same Deep Water As You
09. The Figurehead
Bremen: 7 May 1989

10. Three Imaginary Boys
11. Fire In Cairo
12. Boys Don´t Cry
Arles: 7 June 1989

13. Faith
Bremen: 7 May 1989

Lineage. Soundboard > DAT Master > Cass > DAT > CDR > FLAC (level 8)

Thursday, 18 August 2016

#73 LUCINDA WILLIAMS - Bowery Ballroom, New York (Flac)

This tour was the first chance I got to see Lucinda, as previously it had been more than ten years since she had played in the UK. There had been no live appearances for the Car Wheel s On A Gravel Road album on this side of the Atlantic. It had been a long wait but the World Without Tears tour was well worth it, Lucinda's guitarist Doug Pettibone was spectacular on guitar. He left to pursue a solo career some years ago but is now back playing with Lucinda and her band, so if you get the chance near you to attend a live show take it and don't miss out. (editor's note, Lucinda now has a different band)

There are many quality Lu shows but this one with perfect sound quality and her superb band make it my favourite.The same line up would play later in the year and be recorded and released on the official two disc set Live At Fillmore, it's a live cd well worth the purchase.

Lucinda Williams
Bowery Ballroom
May 27th, 2003

Lost Highway Records radio hour cd's -> EAC -> HD -> Flac

Lucinda Williams  vocals, guitar
Doug Pettibone  guitar, vocals
Taras Prodaniuk  bass
Jim Christie  drums

 1-Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
 2-Fruits of My Labor
 3-Those Three Days
 5-Still I Long For Your Kiss
 7-Something About What Happens
 8-Real Live Bleeding Fingers and Broken Guitar Strings
10-Band Intros
11-Over Time
12-Concrete and Barbed Wire
13-I Envy the Wind
14-Cold Cold Heart
15 intro to Atonement
17-Words Fell

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

#72 TALKING HEADS - Sharp Objects 1977 (Flac)

"Sharp Objects"
Old Waldorf,
San Francisco, CA.
December 3, 1977

This is the third of CBGB's original big four, to have been included in the 100 greatest blog, see posts #12 Patti Smith and #36 Ramones.

Earlier in 1977, Talking Heads had made their live debut in Europe, touring through the last week of April into May and the early days of June (supporting the Ramones). Surprisingly the four shows that took place at the Old Wardorf, San Francisco over December 2nd and 3rd, were the first live performances by the band on the west coast. Another historic show from an intimate San Francisco venue and available in pre-FM from the KSAN reels, with ultimate sound quality. The mix is superbly balanced.

The Old Wardorf was active on 444 Battery Street between 1976 and 1983, before being closed by Bill Graham. Advertising from the time says 'that dinner will be available at every event and may be purchased in advance for certain 8pm and 11pm shows with best available seating.' Imagine finishing your dinner while Metallica or Iggy Pop take to the stage of this 600 capacity venue for the early show.

early set-list:

01. Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town
02. ... With Our Love
03. The Book I Read
04. Artists Only
05. Stay Hungry
06. The Big Country
07. New Feeling
08. Thank You For Sending Me an Angel
09. Who Is It
10. Psycho Killer
11. No Compassion
12. No compassion (reprise)
13. 1, 2, 3, stoplight

 Lineage: SBD / Pre-FM > DAT > CDR > EAC > WAV > flac

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

#71 GENESIS - Wembley, London 1975 (Flac)

Empire Pool, Wembley,
5th April 1975.

(First circulated March 2009) 

Sourced from the master reels, the audio quality is stunning.

"One of the most bootlegged radio broadcasts in Genesis' history was recorded at the Empire Pool, Wembley. Genesis played two nights at Wembley and the BBC were contacted to record both nights. Some sources quote the recording date as 14th, but comparison with an audience tape from 15th shows the recording is from the second night. The proliferation of this show on bootleg is partly due to the large number of broadcasts it has received: at least three by the BBC; several world-wide broadcasts of a BC transcription LP; some King Biscuit broadcasts and numerous Westwood One airings.

The first broadcast on BBC's "In Concert" program, 12th July 1975 at 6:30 pm, was bootlegged by the classic "Awed Man Out" (TAKRL 1975 - LP), minus 'Watcher of the Skies'. The BBC pressed a quadrophonic LP to accompany the original broadcast, hosted by Brian Matthew and named "POP SPECTACULAR featuring Genesis In Concert". As often happens with BBC LP's this transcription differs from the corresponding UK broadcast: 'In The Cage' was added at the expense of 'Lilywhite Lilith' and splicing out a couple of chunks of 'The Waiting Room'. Although an encore, 'Watcher of the Skies' whenever broadcast is always the first track played. Curiously the final verse of 'In The Cage' present on the audience recording, is edited out of the broadcasts giving the impression Peter forgot the lyrics." (David Dunnington)

1. Watcher Of The Skies 7:45
2. Cuckoo Cocoon 2:21
3. In The Cage 6:49
4. The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging 3:04
5. The Story of Rael (part 1) 1:30
6. Back In N.Y.C. 6:00
7. Hairless Heart 2:35
8. Counting Out Time 3:54
9. The Carpet Crawlers 5:43
10. Lilywhite Lilith 2:36
11. The Waiting Room 9:34
12. Anyway 3:35
13. Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats 1:13
14. The Colony Of Slippermen (part 1: Arrival) 1:53
15. Ravine 1:28
16. The Light Dies Down On Broadway 3:32
17. Riding The Scree 4:41

Source: BBC master reels, except “The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging”
(Westwood One ''BBC Classic Tracks'', show #92-34) - provided by Alessandro Vasserot.
Restored (mainly phase correction and de-noising) with Cedar Cambridge.
Digital SQ-Quad decoding with Adobe Audition scripts developed by Andreas Kempf.
CD-Audio: specially remixed from the decoded Quadraphonic masters with reduced ambience (Stereo).