tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Save Your Face 2017-12-09T20:03:09Z John Hilgart, Proprietor tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1213920 2017-12-09T20:03:09Z 2017-12-09T20:03:09Z Sidetrips: Elvis Costello – “Favorite Hour” (1994-2004 mix)

Born four years apart and releasing their first albums one year apart, Prince and Elvis Costello are artists that I also associate as eventually becoming capable of writing and singing nearly any kind of song exceptionally well.  

This mix is not intended to represent everything fantastic about EC 1994-2006 – not by a long shot.

It specifically curates the Costello development that proceeded from such early indicators as “Allison,” “Hoover Factory,” “Almost Blue,” “Boy With a Problem,” “Shipbuilding,” etc., and from Costello’s abiding interest in what can loosely be called American Popular Song. These are songs that might have originated in a musical, sung by a character, later to be picked up by others as a standard. 

This mix is also a celebration of the dynamic duo of Elvis Costello and pianist Steve Nieve, collaborators for nearly two decades by the time of the earliest recordings on this mix. Nieve appears on every, or nearly every song here. 

The selections come from the albums of the period (including expanded edition material), a series of EC & Steve E.P.s, and a little bit from bootlegs. The cover photo is from some years later, but I couldn’t find one that I liked better.

66-minute mp3 mix here

  • All This Useless Beauty
  • Still
  • Favorite Hour (Church Studios version)
  • Poor Fractured Atlas
  • Still Too Soon to Know
  • Just a Memory (live 1996)
  • When Did I Stop Dreaming?
  • That Day is Done
  • When It Sings
  • Let Me Tell You About Her
  • I Want to Vanish
  • World’s Great Optimist (demo)
  • All the Rage (live 1996)
  • Black Sails in the Sunset (live 1996)
  • Can You Be True? (live 2004)
  • Almost Blue (live 2004)
  • Baby Plays Around (live 1999)
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1210972 2017-12-03T23:57:15Z 2017-12-07T18:15:44Z Sidetrips: Cheap Trick – Best of 1997-2009

When I made this mix in 2010, I titled it “We’re All Alright,” a phrase from a classic Seventies Cheap Trick song that also describes the band’s shocking renaissance after a long, long period of being lame. A bad thing had happened, but now it was alright, those guys were alright, and they were picking up the dropped threads with great enthusiasm.

In 2017, the band released a new album with that same title, so now I’ve gone to Plan B with my mix titling.

My target audience is probably anyone who loves early Cheap Trick and doesn’t have much idea of what happened afterwards. You will be pleased.

This mix draws from four albums, singles, soundtrack & tribute contributions, and bootlegs. In the same period, the band re-recorded “In Color” with Steve Albini and performed the “Sgt. Pepper” album live. You can find the former on the internet and buy the latter on Amazon. 

My split into two volumes roughly follows the original yin/yang of the band, which was that they were half Electric Light Orchestra and half a CBGB band, sharing bills with The Ramones. They were extremely talented writers and musicians, who wrote and played soaring, baroque, Beatlesque songs and caveman head-bangers with equal authority and impact. By mixing these modes up into pop hits, they paved a lot of road in rock music that less talented people drove down.

So, start wherever you want – with the more Beatley one or the thrashier one. Neither is a sequel to “Heaven Tonight” or “Dream Police,” or wherever the “classic period” is supposed to end. However, the band that can seemingly do anything is intact, the songs are strong, and the performances are sharp. Even when the song is a commercial jingle, it's Cheap Trick – and there are plenty of reminders here of what forms of commercially successful music were enabled by Cheap Trick's early groundbreaking.

An example of the general mix of originality and homage here is the band's cover of Big Star's "In the Street," compared with the original composition, "Dream the Night Away." The vertically-oriented Big Star melody becomes a harder, more horizontal story in Cheap Trick's reading, largely organized around a version of Aerosmith's "Draw the Line" riff. Meanwhile, the lost Big Star melodic verticality manifests itself in the original song, "Dream the Night Away," which also pulls in Byrds moves. There's a sense of endless recombination of instinctual and homage-conscious moves in latter day Cheap Trick, but who else is keeping track of and reengineering these moves? The song "Everyday She Makes Me Crazy" is a slight revision of a literal Pepsi jingle, but it's also an amped-up take on '65-'66 Beatles. That's the excellent line that Cheap Trick always walked, in one way or another. 

Both volumes in mp3 zipped up here. 

Volume 1: After a Brief Interruption (55 minutes)

  • Miss Tomorrow
  • Sick Man of Europe
  • My Obsession
  • Mondo Raga
  • Everybody Knows
  • Carnival Game
  • Words
  • Dream the Night Away
  • Low Life in High Heels
  • Everyday You Make Me Crazy
  • California Girl
  • Say Goodbye
  • Closer, The Ballad of Burt and Linda
  • O Claire
  • When the Lights are Out
  • Shelter

Volume 2: Garage Days Revisited (47 minutes)

  • Baby No More
  • Baby Talk
  • Radio Lover
  • Brontosaurus
  • In the Street
  • Sorry Boy
  • Transformers Theme
  • Wrong All Wrong
  • Stone Cold Crazy
  • The Riff That Won’t Quit
  • I Hear You Knockin’
  • Rosie
  • Bonus Track


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1205899 2017-11-17T18:13:00Z 2017-11-21T15:46:40Z The Horn Section Episode – September, 1973

MP3s of both discs zipped up here

Main Course: 67 minutes

  • Prelude (Providence) 1:23
  • Let It Grow (instrumental edit – Buffalo) 10:31
  • Guest Player Introductions (Syracuse) 0:11
  • Eyes of the World > (Buffalo) 4:55
  • Eyes Jam (Buffalo) 9:31
  • Truckin’ (Providence) 10:57
  • Sugar Magnolia (Buffalo) 9:13
  • Weather Report Suite > (Syracuse) 11:58
  • Let It Grow Jam (Syracuse) 4:09
  • One More Saturday Night (Buffalo) 4:41

Bonus Disc: 56 minutes

  • Weather Report Suite > (Providence) 12:23
  • Let It Grow Jam (Providence) 6:13
  • Eyes of the World > (Syracuse) 7:24
  • Eyes Jam (Syracuse) 7:09
  • Let Me Sing Your Blues Away (Syracuse) 5:14
  • Let It Grow > (Williamsburg 9/12) 6:01
  • Let It Grow Jam (Williamsburg 9/12) 6:34
  • Casey Jones (Philadelphia) 5:00

After contributing to the recording of “Wake of the Flood,” Joe Ellis (trumpet, flugelhorn) and Martin Fierro (flute, saxophone) went on the road with The Dead for nine shows in September 1973. 

It was a fairly ramshackle affair. The horn section audibly contributed to only seven songs, several of them performed only once or twice. Some of them are quite well arranged/developed and some sound almost ad hoc, just an idea or two, repeated. 

As we’ve always known, the horn episode didn’t live up to the potential inherent in the idea of The Dead taking trumpets, flutes, and saxes onstage in 1973.

The first half of my curation is the best I can do to forge the horn episode into a compelling, surprising, frequently amazing listening experience with minimal repetition. It approximates a one-hour, all-horns set.

The second half (the bonus disc) is the “best of the rest,” mostly. To be considered, a recording had to be high-fi, and the horns had to be clear in the mix, and the second disc contains most of what hit that threshold without being the best representative sample, IMO. I think there is perhaps no definitive performance of "Let Me Sing Your Blues Away."

In the cases of “Let It Grow” and “Eyes,” the horn playing is great during the instrumental breaks in the latter portions of the songs themselves. However, I’ve put a seamless track division before the all-out jamming, because that’s where the horn episode really delivers on 1973 Dead promise. Fiero and Ellis play wildly and wonderfully, soloing, getting really far out, sound-wise. They and the band respond to each other, and it leads to some great places.  It’s a shame that they weren’t given a chance to shake up other improvisational songs. Anyway, while I’m not suggesting you skip the song sections, there’s great pleasure to be had in listening to just the jams. (On the "bonus disc," the "Eyes" jam is nothing special, compared to the Buffalo version, but both "Let It Grow" jams are excellent.)

There was no feasible song/jam cut-point in the one performance of "Truckin'." The horns don't come in until the later stages of the song section, but they're all-in pretty fast, and propel the transition out of vocals and into the immediate "Truckin'" jam. When the band takes that turn that moves closer to "Nobody's Fault," the horns sit back for a while, but they come back in for a very nice stretch. Outside of "Let It Grow" and "Eyes," this is the only place the horns seem to have improvised in wide open space with the band.

The Buffalo “Let It Grow” and “Eyes” performances are the greatest things to come out of this collaboration, IMO. It was the final horn section show, and it’s as close as The Dead ever got to sounding like The Mothers of Invention. RZZZZZ!

Source and editing notes:

  • Not included here are tracks from the first horn section show, which I previously shortlisted here.
  • Aside from the track separations before jams, I haven’t messed with much here. The whole Providence “Suite” appears on the bonus disc, but I’ve also isolated the “Prelude” to start the main course, because it features a unique Fiero flute part, while its “Part 1” section is very sluggish. The Buffalo “Let It Grow” is edited down to an instrumental version partly because it’s awesome that way and partly because of an audience tape patch that I didn’t want to ever hear again. Likewise, I’ve removed an audience patch from the Buffalo “Eyes” (first chorus and instrumental break) and made the splice more listener-friendly. I only included the full “Weather Report Suites” in cases where the horn players were evident in the “Prelude.” You can hardly hear the horns in "Casey Jones," but I included it to cover all the songs that included horns.


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1203278 2017-11-04T17:54:59Z 2017-11-05T02:46:11Z Shortlist: June 9, 1973 – Washington, D.C.

Artwork by Moebius.

71-minute mp3 mix here

  • Deal (4:31)
  • Loose Lucy (8:04)
  • Row Jimmy (instrumental edit) (2:25)
  • Sugaree (7:43)
  • Eyes of the World (11:22)
  • He’s Gone Jam > (6:56)
  • Truckin’ (intro & jam) > Other One > Space > (6:40)
  • Playin’ in the Band (23:37)

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Deadhead in possession of a good 1973 soundboard, must find something to love in it. 

This show (and its recording) are quite rightly overshadowed by the following day’s concert, 6/10/73, which ran to 4.5 hours, with three sets, the final one played with the Allman Brothers Band. I’m surprised it hasn’t been released yet; maybe the master tape is missing? 

I’ve circled around this day-before show for a long time, chipping away at it, wondering how short it was going to get before I loved every minute of it. That tipping point occurred when I had reduced the original 3.5 hours to 71 minutes. Four songs from each set. 

My picks result from the usual, vague combination of performance quality and how well the show’s sound mix does or does not favor a particular song. 

A few points of interest:

  • “Playin’” begins nearly a minute-and-a-half before the count-in; they walked up to the start of the song as if they were headed for the reprise. Additionally, the jam never spaces out, aside from a brief launching pad for the build to the reprise, so it’s a very long jam.
  • This is one of my favorite “Loose Lucys.” It’s so long that I made an instrumental mix of it (posted over here) that runs for 4.5 minutes. 
  • The “Eyes” is very solid, end-to-end, and quite compact.
  • Weir’s guitar has a great, shimmery quality on some songs; check out “Sugaree.”
  • Jerry calls for “Space” to turn into “Here Comes Sunshine,” before it turns toward “Playin’” instead. Listen to the very end of “Space” for his plaintive suggestion.
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1201956 2017-10-30T15:03:31Z 2017-11-05T02:51:15Z Shortlist: Berkeley ’72, Continued – 8/24/72

Zipped up mp3 compilation here

Part 1 (56 minutes):

  • Introduction 
  • Greatest Story Ever Told
  • Mississippi Half-Step
  • Truckin’
  • Brown Eyed Women
  • Jack Straw
  • Bird Song
  • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
  • Sugaree
  • One More Saturday Night

Part 2 (55 minutes):

  • Playin’ in the Band (15:09)
  • Dark Star > (13:01)
  • Space > (8:39)
  • Jam > (4:26)
  • Interlude > (1:06)
  • Morning Dew (13:04)
  • Sing Me Back Home (9:56)

Six months ago, when I posted highlight reels of the first two (of four) August 1972 Berkeley shows, I lamented the fact that I wasn’t able to process all four shows into a fake “Road Trips” “boxed set.” 

At the time, I didn’t have access to a SBD of the entire final/fourth show, and I judged the third one to perhaps be so good (performance/mix/recording) that it would become a “Dave’s Picks” release someday.

Six months later, on my birthday, no less, Dave did me one better by dropping the complete fourth show into my mailbox, complete and meticulously mastered! And, boy, it really does cap a fantastic run. 

Since there’s obviously no “Berkeley ‘72” box in the offing, I figured I’d go ahead and post my favorite stuff from the third one, so that the three Berkeley shows that Dave didn’t pick have good representation on this blog. You can make your own bonus disc(s) for “Dave’s Picks #24.” I’m reasonably sure that I haven’t left off anything that is for the ages, from the first three shows.

Context: After taking a week off, and having played only one show in three weeks, The Dead played five shows in seven days, culminating in the famed 8-27-72 Veneta, Oregon performance: San Jose on a Sunday, the four Berkeley shows across the following workweek, and then Veneta the next Sunday. (After Veneta, they took another week off.)

So, the Berkeley stand constitutes almost all of the prologue to Veneta: An extended, Bill Graham-sponsored, small theater, home-town residency for The Dead, in the midst of a very busy year. All things considered, it must have been a chill, comfy week for the band, and the high quality of playing suggests that they were both relaxed and focused over four nights at the community theater – very into it. And then, with only a day’s break, they moved from San Francisco/Bill Graham territory to an open field in the northwest, with their old acid test buddies, at an acid-test-level event. Additionally, the first Berkeley show is also just the 9th show after Pigpen’s last show, so we’re listening to the next phase of The Dead hitting its stride – the initial stage of the metamorphosis into 1973 Dead, two “Wake of the Flood” songs already clicking strongly, and jamming mutating in certain places to fill the Pigpen-song improvisational gaps. 

Would Veneta have been played the same way, if The Dead had come straight off of a random tour of sports stadiums in some region of the U.S.? I have no idea, but the character of Berkeley ’72 certainly seems to support the idea that it was the incubator of that transcendent Oregon afternoon. 

Compared to each of the first two shows of the run, I’ve held onto many more minutes from this one, totaling somewhat over two hours. As Dave noted about the next night, there are a lot of crackling smaller songs in this show, in both sets, and I’ve brought those together for the first part of this mix. 

You can tell that I feel good about the vocal mix of this show’s recording, as I’ve led both “discs” with full-throated Bobby and Donna songs, and I haven’t truncated anything into an “instrumental edit.” Loud Garcia vocals on “China Cat” make all the difference; when he’s quiet, the momentum goes completely out of the song. Group vocal songs, like “I Know You Rider” and “Truckin’,” really benefit from this mix, too. The harmonies go wrong in a few places, as you’d expect, but not so that it distracts from the overall impact of these performances. 

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1200192 2017-10-23T04:40:43Z 2017-10-25T01:19:59Z Side Trips: A Certain Ratio (1979-1980 mix)

This post presents a very small slice of the earliest output of the band A Certain Ratio. It's intended for people who don't already know them well and who are generally into 1978-1982 postpunk, who like Gang of Four, Joy Division, or Public Image Limited, and/or who are interested in the Manchester, UK scene, 1977-1986. 

A Certain Ratio (ACR) was a Factory Records band-mate of Joy Division and others, produced (in their early years) by JD’s producer/studio-translator, Martin Hannett, for better and for worse.

ACR was and was not conducive to the Joy Division treatment. They were a postpunk funk band that was also very gloomy in their early years. Balancing the funk and the gloom was the challenge, and I judge the official results to be extremely mixed. The band complained that Hannett often took the sound too far from the live band’s ethos, and I’d say that they were correct. 

After/during the period documented here, ACR went to NYC on tour, inspired Talking Heads to funk it up, soaked up a ton of influences and percussion instruments – and leapt forward with their next LP, the postpunk masterpiece “Sextet,” in 1981, which is now available as a perfectly-executed double-CD. After “Sextet,” ACR would continue to evolve into a more mainstream funk band, sliding successfully into the “Madchester” scene. There is no release that documents their 1984-1986, 12-inch/EP output, but they gave New Order and Primal Scream worthy competition. They still exist, with their three essential/unchanging original members, releasing challenging music sometimes, and playing live sometimes. 

Despite being an ACR super-fan, who collected and later meticulously ripped all of the original vinyl and cassette releases, I can’t fully endorse their earliest output. The vibe is consistent, if you’re in the mood for it, but the songwriting and the groove are inconsistent. One song, or version of a song, will lock into a great place, while another will be a cold fish. They were a young, experimental band, and they got it exactly right sometimes.

With today's single, LP, Peel Session, and live options, you can play to the strong points. The only reason I'm posting this mix is that I've been trying to find it since the early '80s, and I think I'm very happy with this "less is more than more" approach.

If you're into it, ACR is re-releasing (in late 2017) their two major, early documents, “The Graveyard & The Ballroom,” and “…to Each," which contributed songs to this mix. 

32-minute zipped mp3 file here

  • Flight (The Graveyard, cassette rip)
  • Loss (live 10/80, Groningen CD)
  • Oceans (To Each vinyl rip)
  • Choir (Peel Session 1979, Early CD)
  • Forced Laugh (live 10/80, Groningen CD)
  • My Spirit (To Each vinyl rip)
  • The Fox (single, Early CD)
  • Shack Up (single, Early CD)
  • All Night Party (Peel Session 1979, Early CD)

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1199605 2017-10-20T04:35:33Z 2017-10-21T13:29:28Z Side Trips: The Clash – “Sandinista LIVE!”

I imagine that many fans of The Clash have taken a shot at reducing, expanding, or otherwise mutating “Sandinista!,” in search of whatever it is they feel needs finding in that album. To me, there’s an overcooked, dimly-lit lack of dynamism that keeps me at arm’s length.

This post’s live approach to the album’s (period’s) songs provides a decidedly different slant on things. None of the “Sandinista!” songs were played live before they were recorded for the album, and nearly half a year went by between its completion and their next live performance.

So, they had to learn how to play their slow-cooked studio songs live as a rock band, and then they knocked them out on stage alongside “Career Opportunities” and “Janie Jones.” Sandinista v2.

This compilation comes mostly from two performances from the first two months of that touring period (Amsterdam in May, a NYC Bond's show in June). I have added a few recordings from earlier and later to expand the coverage of relevant songs as far as I can. (Recording dates/locations are included on the song title tags.)

Halfway between the cubicle-gray (stoned all night in the mixing booth) vibe of the studio album and the immediacy of this chaotic live Clash is the “Sandinista!” that I like best. This period was the beginning of the end of the classic lineup with Topper Headon.

67-minute zipped mp3 file here 

  • The Leader
  • Somebody Got Murdered
  • Lightning Strikes
  • Bankrobber
  • Ivan Meets G.I. Joe
  • Charlie Don’t Surf
  • This is Radio Clash
  • One More Time
  • Broadway
  • Street Parade
  • The Call Up
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • Lightning Strikes
  • Corner Soul
  • Washington Bullets
  • Armagideon Time
  • Junco Partner
  • Police on My Back
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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1183972 2017-08-15T22:06:42Z 2017-12-05T04:27:11Z Dark Starlets: A Europe ’72 Single-Song Mega-Mix

I have reposted this because I discovered that it did not sort into the right track order as previously posted, due to a variation in an mp3 tag category that should have no impact on track sequence. WTF? I spent a good deal of time ensuring that the tracks were sequenced to have gentle transitions and provide good pacing, so I'm horrified that what I posted is all scrambled. This version works correctly.  

This mix is comprised of 21 musical segments drawn from all the “Dark Stars” performed during the Europe ’72 tour. They are arranged into two 64-minute sequences, each of which begins with the song’s intro, and each of which contains a verse. It’s all forward-moving improvisation, whether on the “Dark Star” theme or farther afield. There’s no “space,” though the segments wind up and wind down from spacey zones, such that The Dead’s development of each musical angle here is respected, and the result feels more or less like a single performance, with ebbs and flows. If you’ve ever imagined a one-hour or two-hour “Dark Star” that never completely spaces out and keeps finding new melodic avenues, this is for you.

192kbps mp3s sourced from the official Europe ’72 box.

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1182230 2017-08-09T22:22:38Z 2017-08-20T18:45:04Z Blog Index

As the blog's subhead partly indicates, my primary aim here is to share my personal consolidations of unreleased, live Grateful Dead shows, post-Europe '72- through-1974, as documented on fan-circulating soundboards. I post mp3 mixes downloadable from my harassment-free paid Dropbox account. I make no claims to being a decisive Dead authority, and I make and share these mixes in the spirit of the Dead cassette trading that got me hooked in the first place. 

I love the 1972-1974 period more than any other in the band's history, despite its notable flaws – insufficient rehearsing, car-crash harmony vocals, poor mixing/recording of many of the documentary soundboards, etc. What I post on the blog is the ongoing jukebox of repeat-listening-worthy, 1972-1974, live Dead that I am steadily building for myself, as I get intimate with one show after another, in no particular order. 

Links take you to the posts, which have full descriptions and links to the mp3s. 

Grateful Dead “Shortlists” (1972-1974)

Individual, unreleased Dead shows boiled down to 50-120 minutes. (These links, based on tags, will pull up a few non-shortlist posts, but mostly they'll do you right. Just keep scrolling.)

1972

1973

1974


Best of Shortlists (1972-1974)

Vol. 1: New songs of 1973-1974

Vol. 2: Summer ‘74


Improvisation & Instrumental Edits (1972-1974)

Just improvisation Vol. 1

Just improvisation Vol. 2

Dark Starlets - Europe '72

Steal Your Voice: The Instrumental Album (jam songs, and some non-jam songs, without the vocal sections)

Watkins Glen ’73 (same principle as The Instrumental Album)

Shortlist: Oakland 6-8-74 (same principle as The Instrumental Album)

More instrumental edits appear in some “shortlists.”


Riff Investigations/Compilations

Slipknot ‘74

The first three Eyes jams (1973)

The Main Ten & The Seven (1968-1970)


Blues for Allah Rehearsals (1975)

A six-disc curation


Garcia Songs Live (1972-1974)

Save Your Face: A three-disc curation drawn from officially released archival shows. (The post that started this blog.)

Shortlist: Tampa 12-18-73 – all Jerry songs


Phil & Ned 1974

A concentrated dose


Later Dead

The Final Face: A 1989/1991 mix of unreleased, jam-centric material from three shows I attended. Weirdly, one of the most visited posts on the blog.


Not The Grateful Dead

Curations and edits of other artists, on all sorts of different principles: The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Beck, David Bowie, Prince, The Clash, Talking Heads, Television. Source content ranges from unreleased to semi-released to widely released. 


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1181175 2017-08-07T00:08:33Z 2017-08-08T21:33:32Z Bonus Track

Cover image by Neil Barrett

The Port Chester 6-24-70 “Dark Star” played straight through

This edit is intended only for people who have already listened to the three-part, 6-24-70 “Dark Star” sequence 1,000 times. 

Everyone else should immediately go encounter it in its full, as-played glory (streamed or downloaded):

DS1 > early Attics > DS2 > primordial Sugar Magnolia > DS3

If you DO know this performance like the back of your hand, then you might enjoy this continuous edit, which eliminates “Attics” and “Sugar Magnolia.” It shortens the full 29:12 sequence to a single 21:20 “Dark Star.”

(Then again, like my friend who gave me a tape of this in 1987, you might scream, "Heresy!")

The gentle intro to “Attics” out of DS1 and the clean start of DS2 make the first edit pretty reasonable sounding. (There’s an errant, loud Garcia note just before “Attics” really gets underway, and I just put the note with which he re-starts “Dark Star” there instead.) The second edit, removing the song-ish part of “Sugar Magnolia,” is seamless.

I’m not casting any aspersions on the justifiably famous and genuinely thrilling sequence; however, “Attics” and “Sugar Magnolia” have become less satisfying uses of my time, over time, while I often wish to return to the "Dark Star." 

An aside: There’s a great discussion of audience-tape-only “Dark Stars” here.

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1180660 2017-08-05T02:30:56Z 2017-08-08T20:57:32Z The Grateful Dead – At Tens and Sevens (and Sometimes Elevens) 1969-1970

224kbps mp3 compilation here (49 minutes)

  • The Main Ten (6-19-68 San Francisco, CA)
  • The Seven (3-21-70 Port Chester, NY)
  • The Main Ten (11-6-70 Port Chester, NY)
  • The Eleven Jam > (10-10-68 San Francisco, CA - Mickey and The Hartbeats)
  • The Seven (10-10-68 San Francisco, CA - Mickey and The Hartbeats)
  • The Main Ten (11-8-70 Port Chester, NY)
  • The Seven (9-29-69 New York, NY)

Here's one more!

The Main Ten (6/7/70 San Francisco, CA) (5:40) - tagged to drop onto the end of the above comp.

A commenter on this blog inquired: “Do you take requests? How about an edit of various Playin/Main Ten jams. I love that theme, but often can do without the whole song.”

I have no access to or expertise in the history of “Playin’” jams across the band’s career, but I did realize that most of the pre-“Playin’,” “Main Ten” jams would be audience-only recordings and therefore easily accessible on archive.org.

So, I grabbed not only “The Main Ten” (in 10/4), but also performances of “The Seven” (in 7/8). “The Eleven” (in 11/8) is the more famous early Dead kin to these other songs/jams. 

(“Estimated Prophet” is also in 7/8, and the climactic riff in the 1973-1974 “Eyes” jam is in 7/4. I’m not sure what else is worthy of note in the Dead catalog.)

There are a few Dead performances of an “Eleven jam,” without the whole song structure, but those are soundboard-only recordings, and I can’t obtain them. However, in October 1968, Mickey and the Hartbeats (Garcia, Lesh, Hart) jammed both “The Eleven” and “The Seven” extensively, and I’ve changed up the time signature in the middle of this mix by including a performance by them that segues 11 into 7. 

The first track here – “The Main Ten” (6-19-68) – is, I believe, the first recorded evidence of the “Playin’ in the Band” riff. The 11-8-70 performance is the last recorded version, prior to the arrival of “Playin’” itself. It also features a wonderful, long transition into "Dancin' in the Streets." The 11-6-70 version is notable for some remarkable audience clapping near the beginning.

Recordings of "The Main Ten" missing from this mix/post, that I am aware of, are:

  • 11/8/69 (3:12) - On "Dick's Picks" #16 and stream here
  • 12/5/69 (2:39) - stream here
  • 5/3/70 (inaudible audience recording)

If you’re interested in riff-based compilations, you might enjoy Slipknot ’74 and the earliest Eyes jams from 1973. 

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1180245 2017-08-03T21:42:27Z 2017-08-08T21:15:22Z Side Trips: Beck – “Beautiful Way” (1998-2014 mix)

Cover art by Odilon Redon.

I rate Beck as a major talent. Lyrically, he can break your heart or conjure up a startling, surreal image as well as anyone. He’s a great observer of relationships, emotional turmoil, and the weirdness of contemporary culture. Musically, he’s covered a vast spread of styles with excellent results. 

When he won a GRAMMY in 2014, it was for “Morning Phase,” an album made in his “lush beauty” style – which has a history going back to nearly the beginning of his recording career. It is possibly his most instinctual mode of songwriting, based on the quantity of songs in it and his frequent returns to it.

How to describe it? It has something of the 1969 Velvet Underground’s “Candy Says”/”Pale Blue Eyes” vibe. (The song “Beautiful Way” rips off the melody of VU’s “Countess from Hong Kong.") I’m also reminded, a lot, of Acetone’s later records. Nick Drake is in there somewhere, but this music also features vast-sounding arrangements and production that put you into late Beatles/George Martin territory. But then, there’s also a C&W twinge to most of it. It’s got rhythm, a groove even, but it’s narcotic. It is a giant, slow wave of beautiful sadness. 

I cherish this kind of Beck, but the same characteristics that make it consistently alluring also result in a sameness fatigue factor. I wouldn’t have given a GRAMMY to “Morning Phase,” but I fully support a GRAMMY for the music Beck has made in this style, across the years. This mix is my argument in support of that position. 

Sources: Morning Phase (4), Sea Change (4), Mutations (3), Midnite Vultures (1), The Information (1)

13-song, 55-minute, 320kbps, ripped-from-CDs, mp3 mix here

  • Blackbird Chain
  • Dead Melodies
  • Beautiful Way
  • Heart is a Drum
  • Paper Tiger
  • Turn Away
  • Lost Cause
  • Guess I'm Doing Fine
  • Waking Light
  • We Live Again
  • New Round
  • Nobody's Fault But My Own
  • The Golden Age


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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1178816 2017-07-31T05:26:35Z 2017-08-08T21:27:16Z Nut Hatch - February 1973: The First Three “Eyes of the World” Jams

mp3 compilation here 

43-minutes:

  • Eyes Jam #1 (2/9/73 Palo Alto, CA) (10:22)
  • Eyes Jam #2 (2/15/73 Madison, WI) (9:33)
  • Eyes Jam #3 (2/19/73 Chicago, IL) (12:22)
  • Eyes Jam 2006 (11/8/06 Lesh & Friends recreation) (10:24)

I wish I could take this further, but I don’t have soft copies of the fourth, fifth, or sixth “Eyes.” “Dick’s Picks” #28 picks up the story after that.

The Grateful Dead debuted a whopping seven new Garcia tunes at their first show in 1973, one of them being “Eyes of the World.” 

Obviously, there had been some serious band work between the 1972 New Year’s Eve show and the first 1973 show, such that all these numbers were, more or less, ready to go, and “Here Comes Sunshine” had its whole jam sequence worked out in advance. 

However, the soon-to-be trademark ’73-’74 “Eyes” jam had not been worked out in advance, although the band was clearly determined to make it a jam from the get-go, and the key ideas are already lurking in the first live performance. 

Once it did get worked out, the song’s jam tended to progress through several, fairly predictable stages, until it reached a series of (usually three) synchronized riffs. Sometimes, after those riffs, the band would jam on for a while; more often, they would rapidly dwindle to a transition to a new song.

That jam is under construction across these initial three “Eyes” jams, which are at the same time unlike the “Eyes” jams to come, more wide-open and questing, as you’d expect. 

It’s hard for me to say whether this sounds more like 1972 Dead playing 1973 changes or 1974 Dead going into unexpected, noodle places with a 1973 theme. In reality, it’s the Dead at the dawn of 1973, having fun in a brand-new sandbox that they’re eager to explore – the highest praise I can give this stuff. 

It is impossible for me not to think about the eruptions of “Slipknot” into the band’s 1974 jamming (compiled here) when listening to this evolution of the “Eyes” jam. They are so similar, ultimately, as focused knots of this era’s Dead sensibilities. 

I haven’t figured out the precise origins of the "Eyes" jam's synchronized riff in this material, but it seems like a Garcia idea that Lesh decided to formalize into something discrete and dynamic. Garcia threw it out and meandered through it, while Lesh thought it was pounce-worthy. I'm probably wrong, but the audio evidence is here for you to assess yourself. 

I have added to this compilation what I think is a rather remarkable 2006 appendix to the history of the 1973-1974 “Eyes” jam, and a fine bookend to these early “Eyes” jam explorations. In 2005 or 2006, Lesh invited people to apply to “Phil Lesh University.” As I understand it, he selected two bands from the applicants, asked them what they wanted to play, rehearsed with them for a day, then played an unorthodox show, in which each band got a set. The Garcia figure in one of the bands, Ethan Franzel, wanted to play a 1973-1974 “Eyes,” and he ended up having to re-teach Phil the jam. (Understandable, I guess, since Phil probably hadn’t thought about it since 1974, while fans never forget.) This lucky guy, Franzel, also got to be Jerry for “Dark Star.” The whole improbable show is streamable here

In any case, at the other end of the invention of the “Eyes” jam, we get a remarkably tight recreation of the ultimate structure of that jam, some 30 years after the fact, featuring Lesh, who seems to me to have been the leader of that earlier structuring. 

Update: I contacted Franzel, who had this to say:  "Before the Phil show - maybe a month or two before, right after the bands were set - I spoke with the other guitarist in my set, Greg Fain. We knew when we spoke that it was going to work. Plus we fit into natural roles - I played lead when things were more "jammy" - that's why you hear me taking the lead on the Eyes jam and on Dark Star. We knew what tunes we were playing at that point, and Fain and I wanted to get together beforehand to run the tunes, figure out compatibility, etc. We discovered on the phone that we both - upon discussing the setlist with Phil (ha! That was a great phone conversation, just me and Phil talking about music and spirituality!!) - wanted to do the 73/4 Eyes jam. So we were simpatico from the start, and Phil was amenable. I sent out the chords and the structure to the other musicians so that they would be 100% ready for it when the time came to rehearse. When we actually did it live, the reaction was pretty much what you'd hope it would be - a bunch of Heads grooving on something that they hadn't heard Phil do in a really really long time. I remember telling Phil "that next chord is a C diminished." It was awesome to tell him the sequence! Of course, the first time we rehearsed the riff at the end, in 7/4 time, his fingers instinctively played the harmony part that, as far as I know, he hadn't played since 1974. It was probably the highlight of the whole event. Rehearsing that riff."

The Chicago audio comes directly from Dick Latvala, who sent the show’s second set to me with the note: “Hi John. Thanks for sending me that interchange w/Pig. I decided to record over it with something that is PRETTY NICE. – Dick” 

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John Hilgart, Proprietor
tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1178480 2017-07-30T01:27:27Z 2017-08-08T22:57:49Z Shortlist: Watkins Glen – July 27-28, 1973

mp3 compilation here (re-loaded to add a few more minutes of music)

Part 1 (43 minutes):

  • Brown-Eyed Women (7/28)  (4:56)
  • Bird Song (instrumental edit - 7/27)  (11:21)
  • Garcia & Lesh > (7/28)  (1:05)
  • Eyes of the World (instrumental edit - 7/28)  (16:17)
  • Sing Me Back Home (7/28)  (9:19)

Part 2 (43 minutes):

  • Here Comes Sunshine (instrumental edit -  7/28)  (6:41)
  • Deal (7/28)  (6:09)
  • Playin’ Jam (7/28)  (20:26)
  • Nobody’s Fault Jam (7/28)  (2:06)
  • China Cat Rider (instrumental edit – 7/28)  (8:01)

    (Cover image: Luigi Serafini)

    This mix aims to figure out what happened at Watkins Glen, other than the amazing, famous, 20-minute improvisation from 7/27: “The Watkins Glen Jam.” That jam isn’t included here, but it can be found on the official release, “So Many Roads,” and in part on an all-improvisation mix I made and posted here. Among other glories, that jam includes an early, extended trip into “Fire on the Mountain” territory. 

    One show was scheduled at Watkins Glen; two were played. The venue was a racetrack, and the context was “Summer Jam at Watkins Glen,” scheduled for one day, July 28, 1973, featuring The Grateful Dead, The Band, and The Allman Brothers Band. However, so many people had shown up by the 27th that the sound check became a concert in its own right, The Band and Allman Brothers playing a couple songs each, and the Dead playing for 90 minutes. 

    Wikipedia’s got a good article about the festival as a whole, and The Dead have posted a nice tribute to the “sound check,” which includes complete, streaming audio.

    I got intimate with the shows because I wanted to know what kind of other improvisational playing occurred around that epicenter of excellence, “The Watkins Glen Jam.” (Just like you want to hear the August 1972 Berkeley Community Theater shows, because they immediately preceded Veneta, OR.)

    It turns out that there was plenty more stupendous improvisation at these shows, as well as a few highly pleasing examples of more routine songs. By the end of my own listening/culling saga, everything I continued to love came from the 7/28 show, except for one mind-melting performance from the 7/27 “sound check.”

    Two of the jam passages seem notable, beyond simply having great playing:

    • “Bird Song” and “Dark Star” are almost the same song to begin with, but this extraordinary “Bird Song” demonstrates the resemblance to an uncanny degree. 
    • This long “Eyes of the World” jam becomes a real adventure, eventually hitting the synchronized riff five times, including one that becomes a fantastic moment of disintegration and one that commandingly bookends the song. The others are all in the pretty-solid to not-together range, but I don’t think that diminishes the thrill of the whole thing very much. (Is a five-riff “Eyes” a record?)

    SOUND QUALITY/EDITING CAVEATS: There’s a soundboard tape-flip gap during “Bird Song” that I joined up, and there’s a little jog in the “Playin’” jam that has nothing to do with my edits. My soundboard (or perhaps all soundboards?) also suffers from some tape-speed wobbles and warps. You’ll hear those in a couple of places, but mostly they didn’t impact the music I thought was worth pulling aside.

     

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1176637 2017-07-24T17:59:23Z 2017-08-07T04:20:14Z 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.

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1176194 2017-07-23T00:20:56Z 2017-08-09T01:45:31Z 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.

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1175665 2017-07-21T02:37:12Z 2017-07-24T05:34:31Z 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. 

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1175626 2017-07-20T22:25:49Z 2017-08-09T00:12:30Z 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.

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1171807 2017-07-09T04:16:03Z 2017-08-09T00:18:40Z 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

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1171231 2017-07-07T04:24:02Z 2017-10-19T14:59:51Z 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.

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1170862 2017-07-06T03:22:08Z 2017-07-19T21:07:55Z 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. 

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1169347 2017-07-01T03:53:25Z 2017-07-24T05:37:39Z 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.

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1169332 2017-07-01T03:03:11Z 2017-07-07T04:38:31Z 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. 


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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1169327 2017-07-01T02:36:25Z 2017-07-15T06:54:49Z 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.

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1169321 2017-07-01T02:01:22Z 2017-08-09T22:29:47Z Side Trips: Bob Dylan: Outtakes/Album Companions 1962-1964

    For reasons unknown, Sony decided not to release expanded editions of “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” and “Another Side of Bob Dylan,” in 2012, 2013, and 2014. 

    In those years, Sony was required to “officially” release any unreleased material that they wanted copyright ownership of in Europe, prior to that material turning 50 years old. If they didn’t release it, it would become public domain. 

    To meet this requirement, they released something like 100 vinyl boxed sets of studio outtakes and live recordings from each year. These did not in any way attempt to curate the material or to weave it together with outtakes or live material that had been previously released somewhere at some time. The only consideration was to publish previously unreleased material. Nonetheless, it meant that everything remaining in the vault was finally available in high fidelity.

    For 1965-1966, Sony got wise and released three different versions of “The Cutting Edge,” ranging from two discs of studio outtakes from that period to a massive box including everything that was recorded during the sessions for the three relevant albums. It was the “copyright box” for 1965-1966, but it also included the previously-released material from those sessions.

    So… there is still no canonical set of studio outtake companions to Bob Dylan’s official releases prior to 1965. That’s what the mixes here attempt to provide: the best general audience-through-semi-fanatic companion albums I can engineer, pulling from every official release there is, volume-equalizing it all, and assembling it into coherent listening experiences. Each of the three companions parallels the recording dates of their respective albums. 

    They aren't complete, but they go deep enough that when I couldn't choose between two versions of a song, I included them both. With very few exceptions, my omissions were more takes of the same songs.

    Hopefully, Sony won’t smack me down too hard for sharing these, since they have shown no interest in a general releases of this sort. 

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1164717 2017-06-17T03:45:40Z 2017-07-11T01:04:58Z Improvisation 1972-1974 Vol. 2 (Best of Shortlists Vol. 3)

    Zipped up file of mp3s here

    LP 1 (46 minutes)

    • Jam (Vancouver, BC 6-22-73) (8:28)
    • Jam Inside Playin’ (Seattle, WA 5-21-74) (7:10)
    • Jam > Mind Left Body Jam (Portland, OR 5-19-74) (9:49)
    • Jam > Bass & Drums > Jam > Spanish Jam > Jam (Philadelphia, PA 3-24-73) (20:34)

    LP 2 (46 minutes)

    • Jam > Dark Star (Williamsburg, VA 9-11-73) (9:43)
    • Mind Left Body Jam > Jam Inside Dark Star (Madison, WI 10-25-73) (5:23)
    • The Other One Excerpt (Jersey City, NJ 9-28-72) (11:22)
    • Jam Montage (San Francisco, CA 12-31-72) (14:25)
    • Jam (Berkeley, CA 8-21-72) (5:07)

    Aside from “space” (improv without meter), Grateful Dead improvisations that aren’t directly related to a particular song are rarer than you’d think, even in 1972-1974. 

    Most “Playin’ in the Bands” and “Other Ones” are comprised of space and more-or-less direct exploration of the songs’ themes. “Eyes of the World” jams have a wide dynamic range, but they’re still working their way through the same series of checkpoints, with rare exceptions. Likewise, "Bird Song" and "Scarlet Begonias."  “Dark Star” is the most pliable, a song that is anchored but that is also often a “unique jam” without ceasing to be “Dark Star.” 

    The point of this compilation (and the one that preceded it) is to bring together material that is largely outside of all such song-based frameworks. Pure, spontaneous jamming, with a beat you can dance to.

    I believe that everything (or nearly everything) I distilled for the first improvisation compilation I posted has been officially released within full shows. To the extent that many of those tracks sound like planned compositions, once you choose start- and end-points that isolate them, I'd say the Dead Vault Curators are doing a good job of making the most astonishing material available. 

    This second compilation comes entirely from “shortlists” of single shows that I have previously posted, which means that all of it is unreleased as of June 2017. (So, from my fake album blog's POV, this is “Improv Vol. 2,” but also “Best of Shortlists Vol. 3.”) 

    I have used this opportunity to once again promote a couple of passages of music that I adore, even though I would urge you to go listen to them in context. From May 19, 1974 in Portland, I’ve pulled an exceptionally buoyant jam that includes “Mind Left Body.” From September 28, 1972 in Jersey City, I’ve isolated an extended passage from “The Other One” that is “The Other One,” while also being something else altogether. Both are among my favorite Dead moments. 

    I have also scratched a long-standing itch and combined three improvisational passages from the long, multi-chaptered “The Other One” of New Year’s Eve 1972 that aren’t “The Other One.” 

    As always, tracks have been edited (start and end) to feel coherent and sequenced to provide some continuity – and everything is tagged to stand clearly apart from other “albums”/songs I’ve posted. For the CD burners among you, any compilation longer than 80 minutes is broken into/tagged as multiple "albums." 

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1163867 2017-06-14T15:34:20Z 2017-12-02T03:50:40Z Slipknot '74

    Zipped up file of mp3s here

    20 minutes:

    • Slipknot (out of Eyes 6-20-74) (5:34)
    • Slipknot (inside The Other One 2-23-74) (3:17)
    • Slipknot (within a longer jam 7-25-74) (5:22)
    • Slipknot (inside Playin’ 2-22-74) (4:27)
    • Slipknot (out of Eyes 10-20-74) (1:52)

    Jerry Garcia introduced the “Slipknot” riff into the band’s live jamming five times in 1974, including the first and last shows of the year. These early appearances aren’t “Slipknot” proper, since the band is just doing whatever comes naturally at the time, but there’s some added satisfaction in hearing them all together, juxtaposed with the riffs and jamming modes of several different songs.

    I have kept a fair amount of surrounding material on most of these edits, so the context isn’t lost, and you can hear the riff sliding in and out of the proceedings. So, this isn’t truly 20 minutes of “Slipknot,” but rather 20 minutes of jamming in which “Slipknot” keeps appearing.

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1163297 2017-06-12T21:41:35Z 2017-08-07T04:23:45Z Shortlist: October 25, 1973 – Madison, WI

    Zipped up file of mp3s here

    53 minutes:

    • Here Comes Sunshine
    • China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider
    • Weather Report Suite
    • Playin’ in the Band jam

    48 minutes:

    • Dark Star (including Mind Left Body) >
    • Space >
    • Eyes of the World >
    • Stella Blue

    In addition to the great performance, this soundboard features a superb mix, including the vocals. There's only one excessively sour harmony moment in "Here Comes Sunshine." (The cut around the 9 minute point of "Playin'" was in my source.)

    Dick Latvala discussed this show in his best of 1973 list:

    Now we get to one of the all-time, out-of-this-world kind of shows: 10/25/73. I really can't say enough about this one! The first set is very good, but it is the second set that does you in. 

    The "China Cat->Rider" is one of the better ones from that era when they used that transition material that people call "Tighten Up" and other names, and I am just as confused about this as the next guy. So, a detailed discussion about that wonderful "jam" occurring towards the ends of some "Dark Stars" from 1969 and 1970, (and which is stated as beautifully as I could ever hope to hear on 4/8/72- Wembley) and which also could be occasionally intimated during some versions of "Dancing in the Streets", that kind of discussion is something that I would like to learn more from some of you guys who have been investigating this. 

    But not right now, since I need to finish gushing all over this Madison show. The "Dark Star->Eyes->Stella Blue" is where the action is! There are "jams" surrounding these songs that contain some very, very scary and unbelievable playing. A bass sound that Phil employs here will pretty much have you seriously thinking that this might be too much! Obviously, words will never get this described very well, at least not my words. The "Eyes" is another one of those "best versions" type of things.

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1161972 2017-06-08T22:03:35Z 2017-10-02T16:37:17Z Phil & Ned 1974

    Zipped up file of mp3s here

    70 minutes:

    • September 18
    • June 26 or 28
    • September 14
    • June 30
    • July 31

    This compilation is purely for convenience's sake. I don't often want to listen to a Phil & Ned performance in the middle of Grateful Dead music, but my love of early electronic, minimalist, ambient, Krautrock, and other related music also makes me a fan of Phil & Ned. I quite enjoy 70 minutes straight, and I look forward to gathering together more sometime.

    I am by no means an expert on all of their performances, and I don't think there was any method when I chose these five a year or two ago; I think I just wanted some isolated Phil & Ned. One criterion I did have was that no one other than Phil & Ned appeared. No cameos by Jerry or transitions into Dead Space are included here. 

    (Pulled from released and unreleased shows, at least at the time I made it.)

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor
    tag:saveyourface.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1161497 2017-06-07T13:42:49Z 2017-08-07T04:24:07Z Shortlist: February 23, 1974 - San Francisco, CA (Winterland)

    Zipped up file of mp3s here

    70 minutes:

    • Introduction
    • Here Comes Sunshine
    • Weather Report Suite
    • The Other One >
    • Eyes of the World
    • We Bid You Goodnight

    1974 began with three isolated shows at Winterland in late February.  The third one was released as “Dave’s Picks” Vol. 13; this is the second one. It closes off 1973 to the extent that this is the final “Here Comes Sunshine” of the era. The way the vocals are mixed on this soundboard makes it one of the best sounding versions, overall. 

    The highlight of the show is a long, mostly-quiet, but very powerful, slowly building stretch of exploration in the middle of “The Other One,” which eventually leads to some early “Slipknot” riffing.

    The soundboard mix of this show is strange. At times, Jerry’s guitar is extremely quiet or vanishes altogether. Keith’s piano can also vary from absent to leading the mix. However, everything else about the sound is robust, and you won’t experience any deficits in the material I’ve pulled aside. 

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    John Hilgart, Proprietor