Shortlist: July 26, 1972 – Portland, OR

72-minute mp3 curation here

  • PA #1 (montage) (1:04)
  • Cold Rain and Snow (5:31)
  • PA #2 (montage) (0:50)
  • Sugaree (7:20)
  • Stella Blue (8:12)
  • PA #3 (0:18)
  • Playin’ Jam (9:20)
  • Dark Star > (12:17)
  • Jam > (7:39)
  • Space > (6:10)
  • Space Jam > Dark Star > (4:40)
  • Comes a Time (7:04)
  • PA #4 (1:24)

The “Dark Star”/improvisation sequence is the big deal here. 

The initial investigation of “Dark Star” is a fine one. It falls squarely into the center of the sleepy/aggressive spectrum, getting intense and wandering off course in nice ways. 

The portions I have titled “Jam” and “Space Jam > Dark Star” are amazing. It’s because I feel so strongly about them that I have separated them from the intervening “Space,” which just isn’t in the same category. (My track separations let you skip across “Space” without much of a disruption, if you want.)

“Jam” is not entirely unknown territory for late 1972: Some bass & drums, Keith entering on piano to organize things into a trio, then the guitarists joining to take it into a feisty jam that resembles “The Eleven.” I’d give this the nod over a similar passage from 8-21-72 BCT. 

However, the thing that the band suddenly, steadily builds out of unformed space, about six minutes after the jam described above, is a one-time-only event, as far as I know. It is as if The Iron Giant were reassembling himself, one disconnected gear and limb at a time, a chaotic rhythm of metallic interactions, steadily coordinating themselves, until, suddenly, the giant stands up and stretches, not as Superman but as the Dark Star Reprise. Amazing. Garcia isn’t ready to nail the second verse, but still.

Side Trips: David Bowie - "BOWIEAMERICANYEAR" (1974 reconfiguration)

This is a fake 2-LP Bowie album from 1974, made up of 19 officially released songs. It is intended to be the soul-funk-disco Bowie edifice that the year’s albums implied but never quite pulled off, IMO. 

I’m talking about “Young Americans,” “The Gouster,” “David Live,” and to a limited extent “Diamond Dogs.” (There’s also an outtake here, from the “Sound & Vision” collection.) Soul-funk-disco Bowie got put in a lot of different places. 

I would argue that the year’s output was great, but that it was not a trail-blazing moment for Bowie. Instead, it was mostly a shaggy homage to varied Black American music, some of it old, some of it contemporary. He was definitely intuitive about where popular music was going in the mid-to-late 1970s, but he didn’t make it thoroughly his own the way he did glam beforehand and Krautrock/”new wave” afterwards. 

So, I don’t think you get to the strongest case for 1974 soul-funk-disco Bowie by trying to find the 10 best songs; you aim to cover as many angles as possible, with as many songs as possible. I got to 19 before I thought I was pushing the premise too far.

The Rolling Stones: Taylor-Era Studio Companions (1969-1974)

My dive into innumerable, overlapping, frustrating Stones bootlegs yielded three studio companions to the Mick Taylor years (1969-1974). A handful of interesting “Let It Bleed” and “Sticky Fingers” alternate takes didn’t fit into this arrangement, but otherwise, this is pretty close to a thorough account of unreleased songs and a generous curation of all available material. Going deeper into iterative bootlegged versions of this sort of Stones material is a recipe for madness, based on my experience.

Shake Your Hips (outtakes ’69-’72)

This mix is comprised of "Exile" outtakes and kindred material. I have not taken into account what was released  on the “Exile” bonus disc from a few years ago (some tracks overdubbed by today’s Stones); everything here comes from bootlegs and is as-recorded originally. The dating goes back to 1969 because some of these songs were demoed that far back. They played “Loving Cup” at Hyde Park, July 5, 1969, their first – and historically gigantic – show after their drug busts and Brian Jones’ death. 

This Blog

Hello. 

I don’t have any analytics attached to this blog, nor does Dropbox supply any metrics on downloads. Therefore, I know very little about who is coming here and whether or not they end up listening to what I post. I do know that there’s quite a bit of traffic, and that (based on posted comments) at least a few people are getting a lot of joy out the material I post. Looking for evidence of the blog on the web, I’d guess that it’s enjoying fast and slow viral creeps thanks largely to Tyler Wilcox and his “Gloom and Doom from the Tomb” blog. 

Giving a few people beyond myself and a few friends some joy is, quite honestly, why this blog is here. The mixes happen regardless; this is a public parking lot for them. I don't promote the blog in any way.

Nonetheless, at about the one-year point, I’m curious to know how you got here, if you’re downloading stuff, if you're someone who keeps coming back, and if my sense of what’s good and how to arrange it is actually rewarding for others. 

This is first and foremost a place where I post my personal curations of The Grateful Dead, 1972-1974, with occasional entries from other years of the Dead’s history. Lately, I’ve posted some curations of unreleased, semi-released, and sometimes fully-released-but-reconfigured material by other artists - Prince, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Clash, and some other post-punk bands. Is that a good idea, or should I stick to the Dead? 

All feedback welcome and appreciated.

Sidetrips: Prince – Best Obscure Tracks Vol. 1 & 2

These are all finished Prince tracks that didn’t appear on his general release albums. Many of them were released online through the NPG Music Club. One appeared as a CD b-side. Some remain unreleased.

If you like 1990s Prince, and don’t know this material, you will be knocked out. If you like Prince, but aren’t sure you can name any of his 1990s albums, these compilations are probably a good way to persuade you to look into that decade. He could seem to be trying a little too hard (to do/be what?) on some of those albums, but this stuff all sounds effortless.

The two fake albums presented here came about in the usual way. I swam around in oceans of non-album/unreleased Prince for a long time, until tracks I couldn’t get tired of started to sort themselves into groups. (The dates with the titles are recording dates taken from the invaluable Prince Vault site.)

Pop Album (52 minutes)

  • Vavoom (2000)
  • Eye Am the DJ (1995-1996)
  • Van Gogh (1995)
  • Peace (1999-2000)
  • Northside (2000-2001)
  • Horny Pony (1991)
  • The Sex of It (1987)
  • Get Blue (1990)
  • Feel Good (1995)
  • Beautiful Strange (1998-2000)
  • Empty Room (live 2002)

Groove Album (72 minutes)

  • The Daisy Chain (2000)
  • Sadomasochistic Groove (1997)
  • Well Done (1990-1993)
  • Poor Goo (1993)
  • Good Life (2000)
  • Paradigm (1990-1992 & 2000 with George Clinton)
  • The Undertaker (1993)
  • Habibi (1998)
  • Nagoya (2002)
  • My Pony (1990-1991 with George Clinton)
  • U Gotta Shake Something (1985)

Both in one mp3 file here

Sidetrips: The Clash – “Midnight to Six” (1978)

49-minute mp3 folder here

  • English Civil War
  • White Man in Hammersmith Palais
  • Tommy Gun
  • I Fought the Law
  • Groovy Times
  • Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad
  • Guns on the Roof
  • Gates of the West
  • Last Gang in Town
  • Pressure Drop
  • Safe European Home
  • Stay Free
  • Time is Tight
  • Capital Radio 2

This mix aims to be the absolutely fantastic second Clash album that might have been. At least as good as “The Clash” and “London Calling.”  It might even have been the one you would have given to a friend to try to convert them to the band – far more mature than the first album, shinier and less shaggy than the third one. 

The main problems with “Give 'Em Enough Rope” are that all of the 1978 songs that sound most alike are on it, some of them are the weakest of the year, and there are only 10, total. Tempo and mood keep coming back to the same place. It feels like a heavy slab and an insubstantial album at the same time.

Side Trips: The Rolling Stones – “Winter” 1971-1974 (Made in the Shade LP 2)

In 1975, about to go on tour with Ron Wood and unable to get Black and Blue out in time, the Stones released Made in the Shade, a canon-building, tour-supporting compilation drawn from their four most recent albums: Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, Goats Head Soup, and It’s Only Rock and Roll. The album defined the early Seventies as “Bitch,” “Angie,” “Tumbling Dice,” “It’s Only Rock and Roll,” etc. – the foundation of what would become the permanent post-Sixties Rolling Stones brand. 

This companion compilation is drawn from the same four albums as Made in the Shade and is intended to be its opposite. 

Side Trips: The Rolling Stones “Some Girls” Companions

Three disc companion, in mp3 format, here

I spent untold hours collecting and assessing Rolling Stones bootlegs, 1969-1981, and ended up with a 13-disc live/studio companion that I shared with  a few friends via a flash drive titled “Jumping Jack Flash Drive.”

For the purposes of this dodgy bootleg blog, I’m including just three installments associated with the “Some Girls” sessions/tour, which the Stones really failed to represent adequately with their recent re-release and bonus disc.

This period was arguably the band's last gasp as a working band, and the sessions resulted in a huge number of songs, finished, half-finished, and roughly-sketched. At least one version of everything that was at least close to half-finished is included here, unless the only version I could find had audio too shitty to tolerate.

Side Trips: The Concise Beatles Get Back/Let It Be Sessions

75-minute mp3 zipped file here

I downloaded and studied something like 28 discs of these sessions. They mostly sucked as hard as every two-LP bootleg of them that I bought in my youth. I came away with one disc that reliably delights me and suggests/simulates a band that was really going for it, collectively. Most of their supposed recordings of (seemingly juicy) covers during these sessions were lame piss-takes that inspired no real band performance. So, my picks are mostly focused on interesting/hot performances of original tunes, which they attempted 1000 times each, plus some outliers. 


Side Trips: Imaginary Post-Punk Maxi-12-Inch Split Single

"It was in the city of shapes that she made love to several apes. She felt weird for a couple of days, but pretty soon she got used to their ways." (Robyn Hitchcock) I think you'll have a similar encounter with these mixes.

mp3s here  

Talking Heads: One Mix About Buildings and Food (8:51): An edit made up of pieces from nearly every song on "More Songs About Buildings and Food" that is looking for the proto-“Remain in Light” jam lurking inside it.

Television: Marquee Miniature (4:51): An almost entirely instrumental recombination of most of the album's  short instrumental breaks, which results in something that sounds surprisingly prog-y, and surprisingly like one song.

Talking Heads vs. NEU! (6:34): NEU!’s “Negativland” segues seamlessly into the “Psycho Killer” jam from the Talking Heads’ live performance in Sydney, Australia in 1979. A hint about what The Talking Heads were listening to and being inspired by.