Thursday, December 31, 2020

Bob Dylan - Renaldo & Clara Soundtrack

Bob Dylan – Renaldo and Clara Soundtrack

(soniclovenoize reconstruction)



Side A:

1. When I Paint My Masterpiece

2. Isis

3. A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall

4. It Ain’t Me Babe

5. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry

6. Romance in Durango


Side B:

7. One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)

8. Sara

9. Never Let Me Go

10. Tangled Up In Blue

11. Just Like a Woman

12. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door


Happy Year’s Eve-- only 12 hours to go, depending on your time zone! Let’s end this garbage year with the third of a trilogy of famous live albums that never were, in remembrance of the recently deceased concept of live music. This is a reconstruction of the theoretical soundtrack to the unreleased 1978 Bob Dylan film Renaldo & Clara, which contained vignettes and live footage recorded on the first leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975. Sourced primarily from the Rolling Thunder Revue boxset, this reconstruction presents how a single-disc soundtrack to the film could have been presented, featuring solely the live performances of Dylan and his band. All songs have been volume adjusted for cohesiveness, presented in film order and structured as two continuous sides of a musical performance.

Following his 1970’s renaissance—jumpstarted by the critically acclaimed Blood on the Tracks album—Dylan longed for one of the things he never had: a stable backing band. Hanging out in 1975 at New York nightclub/coffeehouse/music venue The Other End, Dylan took note of Patti Smith’s backing band and desired to form one of his own for Blood On The Tracks’ follow-up. Working with playwright Jacques Levy (another patron of The Other End), Dylan had crafted an album’s worth of new material worthy to follow Blood on The Tracks, albeit less personal and decidedly more cinematic. Recruiting bassist Rob Stoner & drummer Howard Wyeth from The Other End and violinist Scarlet Rivera literally on a street corner, Dylan had the core of his band in place. With the addition of budding songstress Emmylou Harris on backing vocals and a series of session musicians to round out the ensemble, recording sessions for the Desire album commenced in July 1975. At first chaotic with too many musicians chiming into Dylan’s newer—and longer—songs, Stoner suggested stripping the band to the aforementioned core; by the end of the month, they had the majority of the album in the can.

But some Dylanologists suggest Desire was a means to an end, with the goal being touring again with a band of his own. That fall, the core of Dylan, Stoner, Wyeth and Rivera were enhanced by guitarists Mick Ronson, T Bone Burnett and Steven Soles, multi-instrumentalist David Mansfield and percussionist Luther Rix. Another The Other End recruit, Ronee Blakley, came aboard to fill Emmylou Harris’s position, who was not able to tour due to her own career and session work. After returning to the studio to record a less libelous version of “Hurricane," the ragtag group hit the road with a pair of Halloween shows at the War Memorial Auditorium in Plymouth, MA. But this was no ordinary rock concert; joining was a star-studded musical cast to create an old-time music revue, including Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Bob Neuwirth, Ramblin Jack Elliott and Joni Mitchell, each getting a slice of the spotlight before Dylan's headline. Even Allen Ginsburg tagged along to open the show with some poetry!

Another guest that tagged along was filmmaker Howard Alk. He was no stranger to filming Dylan on the road, having also been the cameraman behind Don’t Look Back and Eat The Document. This time there was (in theory) an actual script co-written by Dylan and director Sam Shepard, although live footage of the tour would eventually be juxtaposed in the film. But by “script”, we mean more of a conceptual outline, as Dylan and Shepard would more encourage the actors—band members entourage of the Rolling Thunder Revue—to improvise scenes while on tour.

What exactly were these scenes? Many of the tour members themselves did not know, but simply went along with Dylan because, well, he was Dylan! The ringleader himself was cast as the protagonist Renaldo and his soon-to-be ex-wife Sara Dylan, the sad eyed lady of the Lowlands herself, as Clara. Completing a love triangle was The Woman in White, played by Dylan’s former flame Joan Baez. It is generally assumed that the trio and the surrounding characters were somehow acting out the stories of the songs, or at least the underlying emotions of the songs. Additionally, the songs themselves seemed to create a vague narrative for the trio’s love triangle, based on the song order as presented in the final film. Throughout, Dylan wore whiteface makeup, and sometimes a mask; he insisted the meaning of it was in the lyrics of the songs.

If none of this makes any sense, there was at least one amazing constant: the live performances themselves. Dylan daringly stocked his set with Desire tracks, months before the album was even released. The performances were energetic, intense and intimate, ranging from the proto-punk “Isis” to the gentle “Oh Sister.” Likewise, Dylan and his backing band—dubbed Guam—also presented updated versions of Dylan staples such as “It Ain’t Me Babe” and “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” that made his The Band-backed Before The Flood seem like yacht rock. Furthermore, Dylan was mostly free from guitar duties due to the triple guitar attack of Ronson, Burnett and Soles. Urged on by Patti Smith, Dylan used his new-found bodily freedom to act out the lyrics, flailing his arms and motioning his hands as extensions of his lyrical prowess.

After a Fall and Winter of essentially one of the most powerful stage shows Dylan had presented, this first leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue ended at Madison Square Garden on December 8th, and the band earned a rest. Reconvening in April 1976 for a second leg of the tour, Guam had a slight face lift after the exit of Blakley and Rix, replaced by Donna Weiss and Gary Burke, respectively. Likewise, the setlist received a significant face lift as well, drawing more on amped-up and Desire-ified versions of Dylan’s back catalog. While well-intended, this second leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue was dynamic and it was obvious the concept—and band itself—was losing steam. The tour concluded in May, building to a live performance filmed and recorded for an NBC television special and released that September as the ragged live album Hard Rain, both of which were not well-received.

Doing as he would after his 1966 tour, Dylan retired to his home studio to personally edit the footage shot while on tour to try and make a film out of it himself. What Dylan came up with was Renaldo & Clara, a surreal four-hour film: part live concert, part documentary, part improvised drama... understood only by Dylan himself. With a limited release in January 1978, Renaldo & Clara received unanimous negative praise, resulting in the limited release to end after only two weeks. Later that year, Dylan offered a more concise two-hour edit of the film, exorcising much of the ambiguous dramatic vignettes and focusing on the stellar live performances. This did not save the film, as this edit, too, was critically panned and never saw an official release beyond a few broadcasts and theater showings. It seemed that Renaldo & Clara suffered a same fate as 1967’s Eat The Document: an amazing document of Dylan’s live accomplishments, confusingly edited as an experimental film, critically panned and stuffed in the vault, surviving only on bootleg reels and VHS tapes.

But that wasn’t quite the end of Renaldo & Clara; released in 2002 as The Bootleg Series Volume 5: Bob Dylan Live, The Rolling Thunder Revue, a number of the performances featured in Renaldo & Clara eventually saw the light of day. A much more enthralling document of the tour and righting the wrong of Hard Rain, fans ‘desired’ more footage from the first leg of the tour. In 2019, famed director Martin Scorsese reedited the original footage from 1975 into a completely new documentary, Rolling Thunder: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese. Finally, fans were able to see remastered and crystal-clear performances from the legendary first leg of The Rolling Thunder Revue, thanks to Scorsese’s curation. But, in true Dylan form, not all in the documentary was what it appeared to be, as several interviewees and narrative events raised numerous eyebrows. To coincide with the film, Dylan released a 14-disc box set containing all six of the professionally-recorded shows on the 1975 tour, two discs of rehearsals and an additional disc of live rarities from the era. But what about the actual presumptive soundtrack to Renaldo & Clara? Can it be salvaged?

Using mostly the mixes found on the Rolling Thunder box set, we are able to easily create a Renaldo & Clara soundtrack. Since the contents of the actual film are an overwhelming mess and honestly a taxing listen, we will limit this soundtrack album to a single-disc of only the featured Dylan performances—essentially, the only reason anyone would want to watch Renaldo & Clara in the first place! We will also sequence the performances in the order in which they were featured in the film and crossfade the performances to create two continuous performances in each side of the record. The resulting album is essentially the very best of the best of Dylan’s live tours, what I believe would have been actually released in 1978 had the film not been canned. When paired with the rougher document of the 1976 leg of the tour, Hard Rain, you have a pretty great document of this era, as there is no song-overlap between the two albums.

Side A opens with the very first performance from the very first concert of the tour: “When I Paint My Masterpiece” from 10/25/75, taken from the bootleg Plymouth Rock, but EQd to match the sound of the version in Wolfgang’s Vault (presumably sourced from the superior master tape). Next is the fantastic “Isis” from 12/4/75; although featured on Masterpieces and recently on Side Tracks, I chose the new mix found on the Rolling Thunder box for coherency purposes. The electric stomp of “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” also from 12/4/75 and the exquisite “It Ain’t Me Babe” from 11/20/75 follows, with the 11/21/75 “It Takes a Lot To Laugh” afterwards. The side concludes with “Romance in Durango” from 12/4/75; note that although we are using the mix from the Rolling Thunder box, I have edited out the second-to-last verse in which Dylan made a vocal flub, as it was heard in the actual film and originally released on Masterpieces. Side B starts with “One More Cup of Coffee”, “Sara” and “Never Let Me Go”, all from 12/4/75. Dylan’s superbly intimate “Tangled Up in Blue” from 11/21/75 is next, with the album ending with a pair of tracks from 11/20/75, “Just Like a Woman” and “Knockin on Heaven’s Door.” 

 

 


Sources used:

Plymouth Rock (bootleg, 1997 Colosseum Records)

The Rolling Thunder Review: The 1975 Recordings (2019 Columbia Records)



flac --> wav --> editing in SONAR Pro and Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
* md5 files, track notes and artwork included

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Paul McCartney & Wings - One Hand Clapping

 
 Paul McCartney & Wings – One Hand Clapping
(soniclovenoize reconstruction)



Side A:
1. One Hand Clapping
2. Jet
3. Let Me Roll It
4. Junior’s Farm
5. My Love

Side B:
6. Little Woman Love/C Moon
7. Maybe I’m Amazed
8. Band On The Run
9. Wild Life
10. Hi Hi Hi

Side C:
1. Live and Let Die
2. Soily
3. Go Now
4. Blue Moon of Kentucky
5. Bluebird

Side D:
6. Suicide
7. Let’s Love
8. Sitting At The Piano/All Of You
9. I’ll Give You A Ring
10. Baby Face
11. Blackbird
12. Country Dreamer
13. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five


My how time flies! Why is the pandemic not over yet!? Sorry for the delay, but it’s finally here-- the second of a trilogy of famous live albums that never were, in memory of the live music we can’t quite yet experience again. This is a reconstruction of the proposed 1974 live in-the-Abbey Road studio album One Hand Clapping by Paul McCartney & Wings. Originally meant as the studio rehearsals for a 1974 Wings Over Australia tour that never happened, the proceedings were filmed for a possible film release, akin to The Beatles’ Get Back project eight years earlier. Despite the high quality of live studio performances—especially of the then-unreleased “Soily”--McCartney shelved the entire project, as was the fate of a number of other self-financed Wings film projects throughout the 70s and 80s. This reconstruction attempts to replicate what a double-LP release in 1974 could have been like, using the best possible sources, including official releases and painstakingly-remastered bootleg recordings. All tracks have been sequenced in the actual recording order, spread across four sides of a vinyl record.

The arrival of Band on The Run signaled a few changes in Paul McCartney & Wings. Firstly, it was McCartney’s first post-Beatles “masterpiece album”, finally equaling the quality of a typical Beatles album. Miraculously, the album was a product of the trio of Paul, Linda McCartney and Denny Laine, as drummer Denny Seiwell and guitarist Henry McCullough quit the band just before the start of the album’s recording sessions. This eventually led to the second major change for Wings: a new line-up. A month before Band On The Run’s December 1973 release, Wings broke in their new guitarist Jimmy McCulloch by recording some of Linda’s songs as Suzy and The Red Stripes, as well as a session for Paul’s brother Michael, as McGear, in February 1974.

Wings finally recruited drummer Geoff Britton and headed to Nashville in July to rehearse for a planned tour of Australia. While they were there, Wings also recorded the single “Junior’s Farm” (one of this author’s favorite Wings songs) as well as a handful of country-tinged tracks under the name The Country Hams. Rehearsals for the theoretical tour continued across the ocean in late August at McCartney’s old stomp: Abbey Road studios! But McCartney thought a little more of these activities than just simply rehearsals, as he employed boy-genius engineer Geoff Emerick to record the session, as well as David Litchfield to film and direct the sessions for a possible documentary film release.

The first day of rehearsals on August 26th produced full-band versions of “Jet”, “Let Me Roll It”, “Junior’s Farm”, “My Love”, “Little Woman Love”/”C Moon”, “Maybe I’m Amazed” and a short instrumental jam which would become the theme song for the project: “One Hand Clapping”. The second day of recording produced takes of “Band On The Run”, “Wild Life”, “Hi Hi Hi”, “Live and Let Die”, “Soily”, “Go Now”, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “Bluebird.” Day three of recording saw Paul performing a number of songs alone at the piano, which has posthumously been dubbed “The Cabaret Sequence.” Paul went though supposedly impromptu performances of “Suicide”, “Let’s Love”, “All of You,” “I’ll Give You a Ring” and a ‘proper’ take of “Baby Face.”

Day four saw the entire band returning to the studio to add overdubs to the live tracks recorded on the 26th and the 27th: “My Love”, “Live and Let Die”, “Band On The Run” “Bluebird” and “Jet”. August 30th, the fifth and final day of recording, was a unique staging meant as an interlude segment in the One Hand Clapping film: a solo acoustic performance by Paul in the backyard of Abbey Road studios! Although Paul again drifted through several impromptu takes of a number of classic 1950s rock songs, he did record fairly complete takes of Beatles classic “Blackbird”, the then-unreleased Wings b-side “Country Dreamer” and the as-yet unreleased “Blackpool.” Afterwards, Paul retreated back into Studio Two to track a tight solo piano version of “Eighteen Hundred and Eighty-Five”, which mysteriously morphs into the Band On The Run studio version in the actual unreleased One Hand Clapping film, as well as all known audio recordings.

And that was essentially the last anyone heard of One Hand Clapping, aside from archival releases and bootlegs of varying quality. While the film was completed later in 1975, it was never released; Paul had a tendency to finance vanity projects himself, comfortable with leaving them in the vault, such as the animated Bruce McMouse Show which did not see release until 46 years later! This line-up of Wings eventually returned to Abbey Road in November to start work on their next album, Venus and Mars, recording a handful of songs: “Rock Show”, “Love In Song”, “Letting Go” and “Medicine Jar.” Needing a change of scenery, Wings relocated to New Orleans in early 1975, where Britton exited the Wings due to personal disagreements with the bands’ guitarists. Joe English was hired as a session drummer to finish the album and was later asked to join Wings when the album was completed. Venus and Mars was released in May to critical and commercial success.

But what of the missing live-in-studio One Hand Clapping? Only “Baby Face” received overdubs during the Venus and Mars sessions—a New Orleans jazz band—presumably for possible b-side inclusion. While the film made it’s rounds on the bootleg circuit and eventually as a bonus on the 2010 Band On The Run box set, various tracks have trickled out on archival releases over the years, as well as it’s presumed entirety on various bootlegs. For this reconstruction, we will cull all of these sources and piece together as much as we are able to—including the live between-song banter, which is essential to the spirit of these recordings. All sources from bootlegs have been painstakingly remastered to match the fidelity of the pristine officially-released tracks, and all of the songs are presented mostly in the order of witch they were recorded, as per Chip Madinger and Mark Easter’s excellent Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium. We will also use only the two most complete songs from Paul’s “Backyard Session”, as the goal here is to present a facsimile commercial double LP that could have been released in late 1974 in lieu of a Band On The Run tour.

Side A begins with the theme of the film and the title track, “One Hand Clapping”, taken from Yellow Cat’s fantastic One Hand Clapping bootleg, the best quality boot of the band-sessions. Following is “Jet” and “Let Me Roll It” from the 2010 Band On The Run box set, with the studio banter restored from the bootlegs. “Junior’s Farm” and “My Love” follow, both taken from the Yellow Cat bootleg. Side B fades in with the medley of “Little Woman Love” and “C Moon” from the Yellow Cat bootleg, followed by “Maybe I’m Amazed” from the 2011 box set for McCartney. Next is “Band On The Run”, again taken from the 2010 Band On The Run box, followed by a fraction of “Wild Life” and a roaring “Hi Hi Hi”, both from the Yellow Cat bootleg, to close out the first disc.

Disc two begins with “Live and Let Die”, taken from The In-Laws soundtrack. Next is the fantastic studio take of “Soily” that was never released, as well as Denny Laine’s “Go Now” and Paul’s go-to cover, “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, all taken from the Yellow Cat bootleg. We end the side with the final full-band recording of One Hand Clapping, “Bluebird” from the 2010 Band On The Run box. I chose to condense all of the Cabaret Sequence and Backyard Sessions together on Side D, starting with only the Cabaret material shown in the film. Using the bootleg MoMac’s Hidden Tracks Vol 7 as the source for the core, I patched in the proper demo of “Let’s Love” from 2014 Venus and Mars box set, which was presumably recorded during the One Hand Clapping sessions. Ending the sequence is “Baby Face”, again from the 2014 Venus and Mars box, featuring overdubs anachronistically recorded 1975 for this presumed 1974 release. Since nothing from The Backyard Sessions actually made the cut into the One Hand Clapping documentary, I will simply include the two most complete takes of “Blackbird” and “Country Dreamer”, with dialog edited to give the illusion that and random passerby had requested the songs. The album closes with “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five” taken from the 2010 Band on the Run box; instead of segueing into the album version of the “Band On The Run” coda fade, I have used the early live version for continuity.

Special thanks to Mark Heggen for making the awesome cover artwork-- something that One Hand Clapping never had in any iteration!
 
 
320 kps mp3s
Lossless FLAC
 

Sources used:
Band On The Run (2010 Deluxe Edition)
The In-Laws (soundtrack, 2003)
One Hand Clapping (bootleg, Yellow Cat Records, 1994)
McCartney (2011 Deluxe Edition)
MoMac’s Hidden Tracks Vol 7 (bootleg, 2002)
Venus and Mars (2014 Deluxe Edition)



flac --> wav --> editing in SONAR Pro and Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
* md5 files, track notes and artwork included






Friday, July 24, 2020

Nirvana - Donkeyshow


Nirvana – Donkeyshow
(soniclovenoize Verse Chorus Verse reconstruction)

Side A:
1.  Drain You
2.  Aneurysm
3.  Breed
4.  Serve The Servants
5.  Smells Like Teen Spirit
6.  Spank Thru
7.  Sliver
8.  Dive
9.  Lithium

Side B:
10.  Rape Me
11.  School
12.  Sappy
13.  Negative Creep
14.  Heart-Shaped Box
15.  Blew
16.  Scentless Apprentice
17.  Territorial Pissings


Hello there.  Hope you are staying safe!  Although quarantine restrictions are slowly being lifted, alas there won’t be any live music anytime soon.  So in remembrance of the magic that was a band making music right in front of you--just for you, the energy and passion, the direct connection between artist and audience--I am going to upload a trilogy of famous live albums that never were.  First is a reconstruction of the unreleased 1994 live Nirvana album Donkeyshow.  Originally the first disc of the double-live album Verse Chorus Verse, slated for a November 1994 release, the album was canceled and instead the second disc was released as its own album: MTV’s Unplugged.  Donkeyshow was later meant to be released on its own, but was instead reimagined as 1996’s From The Muddy Banks of The Wishkah.  This reconstruction attempts to present what Donkeyshow was supposed to sound like, mostly using the performances originally slated for inclusion on the album.  Only the best sources were used, EQd and volume adjusted for album cohesion. 

By 1994, Nirvana was the biggest rock band in the world.  Upon the suicide of frontman Kurt Cobain in April, that status was cemented, although this ensured no new recordings from the band.   With only a small discography of three studio albums and one rarities compilation, Nirvana had made a tremendous impact on music and culture with a limited time and body of music.  How can a record label continue the legends of rock greats?  Well, with a live album, of course!

By the summer of 1994, the Nirvana camp decided to prepare tapes for a double album of live material that covered their entire history, in hopes to upstage the rampant bootleggers and satisfy the hunger for new music from Nirvana’s grieving fans.  Titled Verse Chorus Verse--which was at one point an early title of In Utero--the first disc would contain a compilation of recordings from their standard electric show, ideally recreating an actual Nirvana concert.  The second disc was to feature the entirety of the band’s recent performance on MTV Unplugged.  In effect, Verse Chorus Verse was meant to demonstrate the versatility of the band and present their ‘light’ and ‘dark’ sides.  The double album was scheduled for a street date on Halloween and an official release on November 1st, 1994. 

Although a rough assemblage of Disc One was compiled with promo tapes manufactured in-house at DGC Records and artwork proofed, Chris Novoselic and Dave Grohl did not have the heart to continue the project, their wounds being too raw from the loss of their friend and bandmate.  Ultimately, Verse Chorus Verse was scrapped and the band instead chose to just simply release the second disc as MTV Unplugged.  It was a wise move; the album was considered a reverent eulogy for Cobain and a brilliant swan song for the band, winning a Grammy and hailed as one of the greatest live albums of all time.  Simultaneously released was the VHS Live! Tonight! Sold Out!, a finalized version of a concept Cobain originally conceived: a documentary of the band’s rise to fame intermingled with live clips.  The video sufficed as the only souvenir of an official "electric" Nirvana show. 

The remaining members of Nirvana never gave up on the concept of an "electric" live album  and made plans to release Verse Chorus Verse’s forgotten first disc as a standalone release called Donkeyshow (taken from Cobain’s often-said homophone of danke schoen).  But hindsight gave Grohl and Novoselic an opportunity to rethink the compilation itself, and Donkeyshow never saw the light of day.  Eventually Donkeyshow’s tracklist was slightly altered—using different live performances and completely remixing the others—and it was reborn as 1996’s From The Muddy Banks of The Wishkah.  The album debuted at number one on the charts and was the last word from Nirvana in the decade they reigned. 

Despite Wishkah’s success, the contents of the original Donkeyshow remained a great Nirvana mystery for some time, with fans wondering what it had originally sounded like when initially conceived.  Over a decade later, scans of the DGC in-house promo tape emerged, revealing the songlist although without performance dates.  Even though very few were privy to the audio, it was verified that only a handful of versions from Donkeyshow actually made it to Wishkah!  But with no leaked audio from the tape, the mystery only deepened as Nirvana obsessives wondered what actual performances were on the album.

It wasn’t until December 2019 that Robert Fisher, Nirvana’s longtime art director, posted his long-lost test proofs for the actual artwork for Verse Chorus Verse and Donkeyshow on his Instagram.  Revealing for the first time ever not only what Verse Chorus Verse would have actually looked like—which was a bit of an amalgam of the MTV Unplugged and Live! Tonight! Sold Out! artwork in a collaged gatefold packaging—but the liner notes that specifically stated which shows each of the songs originated from!  Surprisingly, many of the recordings stemmed from some of Nirvana’s most heavily bootlegged live shows: Pat O’Brien Pavilion, Del Mar, CA 12/28/91, distributed as a Westwood One promo CD; Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA 10/31/91, Nirvana’s legendary Halloween show which was one of their most popular bootlegs; Pier 48, Seattle, WA 12/13/93, recorded for and televised as MTV’s Live & Loud.   Five of the cuts were the same performances as heard on Wishkah (although in a different mix) and another five were sourced from otherwise completely unheard, uncirculated shows.  Two of the later--"Serve The Servants" from 1/7/94 and "Sappy" from 11/22/89--surfaced as low quality mp3s. 

Since complete rips of the full 60-minute Donkeyshow do not circulate, we will use Fisher’s liner notes to reconstruct a facsimile Donkeyshow from the best quality versions of the Paramount, O’Brien Pavilion and Pier 48 shows.  The mixes from the five Wishkah-overlapping recordings will not be used, as they are a bit muddy and Cobain’s guitar was mixed to mono; we will try to use the original Andy Wallace mixes from the early 90s, at least in the case for the Paramount and Pat O'Brien Pavilion shows.  Additionally, we will substitute different soundboard recordings for the five songs not available, using similar, same-era recordings.  We will also attempt to match the side lengths as stated on the promo cassette for accuracy and master this reconstruction at a similar volume as the original 1994 master of MTV Unplugged, as this would theoretically be paired with Donkeyshow, had it been released.  Finally, to make this Donkeyshow reconstruction a bit more authentic to an actual Nirvana concert, all mistakes were left as-is and we will include the crucial element of any Nirvana concert (that Wishkah unfortunately overlooked): Novoselic’s drunken stage banter! 

My reconstruction begins with a trio of songs taken from JWB’s excellent remaster of the O’Brien Pavilion bootleg, “Drain You”, “Aneurysm” and “Breed”.  Note that two channels of Cobain’s guitar is panned stereophonically, as opposed to the channels summed to mono and panned slightly right as on Wishkah.  On the actual Verse Chorus Verse/Donkeyshow, “Serve The Servants” from was taken from the Seattle Center Colosseum 1/7/94; since that show is not available to us, I substituted the version from Pier 48, just 23 days earlier, taken from the fourt disc of the In Utero 20th Anniversary Super Deluxe box set.  Next is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” again from Del Mar.  On the original Donkeyshow, “Spank Thru” was taken from The Astoria 12/3/89; since we do not have that show available to us, I used the version from Fahrenheit, MJC Espace Icare 12/1/89, two days earlier.  “Sliver” from Del Mar again, then “Dive”, substituted with 12/1/89.  “Lithium” from Del Mar, yet again.  They sure liked this show, didn’t they?

Side B—as heard on the promo tape versions—begins with the slower, early “Rape Me” from the Paramount Halloween show, taken from JWB's remaster of the bootlegged original Andy Wallace mix.  Next, “School” from the San Diego Sports Arena 12/29/93 is not available, so we substitute the classic Palaghiaccio 2/22/94 version, from just under two months later.  Likewise, the following “Sappy” from Geneva 11/29/89 is not available, so we will substitute it for the classic Vienna 11/22/89, one week earlier.  The ripping “Negative Creep” from Halloween at the Paramount is next, followed by the trilogy of “Heart Shaped-Box”, “Blew” and “Scentless Apprentice” from Live & Loud 12/13/93.  The album closes with “Territorial Pissings” from, of course, Del Mar. 




Sources used:
In Utero (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Box Set, 2013)
Live at Le Fahrenheit, Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture (Pierre Leroy transfer)
Live at Palaghiaccio, Rome (JWB Remaster)
Live at Paramount Theatre, Seattle (JWB Remaster)
Live at Pat O’Brien Paladium, Del Mar (JWB Remaster)
Live at U4, Vienna (JWB Remaster)



Sunday, May 10, 2020

The Who - Who's For Tennis? (UPGRADE)



The Who – Who’s For Tennis?
(soniclovenoize reconstruction)

May 2020 UPGRADE

Side A:
1.  Glow Girl
2.  Fortune Teller
3.  Tattoo
4.  Silas Stingy
5.  Dogs
6.  Call Me Lightning
7.  Melancholia

Side B:
8.  Faith in Something Bigger
9.  Glittering Girl
10.  Little Billy
11.  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
12.  Sunrise
13.  Magic Bus


Upgrades to this April 2020 are:
  • Updated source for “Glow Girl”, “Fortune Teller” and “Melancholia”. 
  • Dropped “Girl’s Eyes”, “Early Morning Cold Taxi” and “Shakin All over” from the album.
  • Added “Tattoo”, “Silas Stingy”, “Glittering Girl” and “Sunrise” so the album will fit in Who’s Lily’s continuity. 
  • Widened stereo field of “Call Me Lightning”.
  • New stereo mix of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”
  • New edit of “Magic Bus”, a hybrid of the long and short versions

Next in a series of social-distant-reconstructions is my upgrade of the proposed and promptly withdrawn 1968 album Who’s For Tennis? by The Who.  Originally intend as a proper studio album (or live album, as some maintain) that would have been released in-between The Who Sell Out and Tommy, the idea for the album was scrapped and the recorded material instead came out as either single releases or remained in the vaults.  This reconstruction draws from numerous sources to create a completely stereo, cohesive album, utilizing the best mastering available and is volume-adjusted for aural continuity.  Also, a completely new and unique stereo mix of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was created, unavailable elsewhere and exclusive to this reconstruction.  This revised version is meant to follow Who’s Lily, so there is no overlap between the two albums. 

Riding as high as they possibly could from 1967’s The Who Sell Out, a concept album recorded to emulate British pirate radio stations, The Who embarked on tours of Australia and the United States throughout 1968, biding their time until their next concept album.  During this time, Pete Townshend began composing what he believed could be his magnum opus, a rock opera that spanned an entire album-length (rather than a single-song ‘pocket-opera’ such as “A Quick One While He’s Away”) about a deaf, dumb and blind kid (who sure played a mean pinball).  Such a lofty project required time to compose and demo properly, and the album was set to be recorded that fall.  But in an attempt to keep up with their British rock contemporaries such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Kinks who could release an entire album of material every year, the question was proposed: what album would The Who release in 1968 to fill the stopgap until Townshend’s rock opera, which at best would be released in early 1969?

Thus The Who’s manager and producer Kit Lambert proposed an album entitled Who’s For Tennis? to be released that July of 1968, meant to capitalize on the upcoming Wimbledon Championships.  The album would have included all new recordings as well as any number of the relevant outtakes from the previous year’s Sell Out sessions, which had produced a wealth of non-LP material.  In January and February of 1968, The Who recorded Townshend’s “Faith in Something Bigger”, “Glow Girl” and “Little Billy”, the later written for the American Cancer Society for an anti-smoking campaign.  Also recorded during these initial sessions was a very old Who song originally dating from 1964 called “Call Me Lightning”, and bassist John Entwhistle’s own “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, yet another ‘scary’ children’s song.  After embarking on their spring tour of the US directly after the February recording sessions, The Who returned to the studio in May and June and recorded seven more tracks: Townshend originals “Dogs”, “Melancholia”, “Magic Bus”, “Joys” and “Facts of Life” as well as live staples of old blues covers “Fortune Teller” and “Shakin’ All Over”. 

With twelve new studio recordings in the can, the absurd idea of Who’s For Tennis? was eventually withdrawn as the summer drew upon The Who.  Instead of an entire album, just three of the tracks trickled out as single-releases: the US single “Call Me Lightning” b/w “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and it’s UK counterpart “Dogs” b/w “Call Me Lightning”.  Neither single charted particularly well, becoming long-forgotten Who singles.  There was also some discussion of a live album of The Who’s performance at The Fillmore East to be released in Who’s For Tennis?’s place (some sources claim the Who’s For Tennis? concept was this live album rather than a studio album of the 1968 recordings) but the performances were a bit too sloppy and were set aside.  The final decision was to instead release the single “Magic Bus” as well as two cash-grab compilations: The Magic Bus: The Who On Tour in the US, and Direct Hits in the UK.  The decision paid off, as “Magic Bus” became a long-time fan favorite and live staple for The Who for years to come.  This was enough to bide the band’s time until Townshend could see, feel, touch and heal his rock opera into fruition, even as much as pillaging the outro of the now-canned “Glow Girl” into Tommy’s “Overture/It’s A Boy”. 

The remaining tracks were left unheard for years, with each slowly trickling out on anthology collections: first on Odds and Sods in 1974; then on Rarities volumes 1 & 2 in 1983; and finally the Maximum R&B boxset in 1994.  Aside from the tracks that remain in the vault to this day (“Shakin’ All Over”, “Joys” and “Facts of Life”), Who fans have just enough material to reconstruct what this theoretical 1968 stopgap album would have been.  Various fans’ track sequences tend to utilize the same 12-or-so tracks recorded during this period but the actual track sequences fluctuate wildly, as there never was a finalized tracklist.  The only concrete information we have (beyond a title) is that it would have been a ‘preachy’ album (a reference to the inclusion of “Little Billy” and “Faith in Something Bigger”) and the album would have opened with “Glow Girl”.  Keep in mind that allegedly Sell Out outtakes and non-LP tracks would have been used as filler on Who’s For Tennis?, which could have included any of the following songs: “Pictures of Lily”, “Doctor, Doctor”, “Glittering Girl”, “Hall of the Mountain King”, “Sodding About”, “Early Morning Cold Taxi”, “Girl’s Eyes”, “Summertime Blues” and “Someone’s Coming”.  What would have actually been on Who’s For Tennis?  While there is no possible answer, we can certainly know what is on this reconstruction!

For the purposes of this (updated) reconstruction, we will obviously use the eight studio recordings from 1968 that are available.  But to fill out the album, we will use the four songs recorded in October 1967 (“Glittering Girl”, “Tattoo”, “Silas Stingy” and “Sunrise”) as those would have been recorded a month after the theoretical Who’s Lily album.  We will include them here, so that both reconstructions could fit in the same continuity. 

Side A begins with the only clue Pete Townshend has left us: the album starts with “Glow Girl”, which would have also been a single, here sourced from the best-sounding version 2015 SHM remaster of Odds and Sodds.  Following is “Fortune Teller” taken from the 2011 SHM remaster of Who’s Missing.  Much like their live shows, “Tattoo” follows, from the 2014 remaster of The Who Sell Out, as well as “Silas Stingy”.  Mellowing down a bit, the unique stereo mix of “Dogs” taken from the Maximum R&B set is next, followed by mod-rocker “Call Me Lightning”, using the true stereo mix again found on Maximum R&B, but with the stereo spectrum widened slightly.   Side A closes with the epic rocker “Melancholia”, the superior mix taken from the 2011 remaster of Who’s Missing. 

Side B opens with Townshend’s admittedly preachy “Faith in Something Bigger” from Odds and Sods, followed by the remake version of “Glittering Girl” from October 1967, from Sell Out.  Next is a song that seemed a bit ahead of its time in terms to social acceptance to the health hazards of smoking: “Little Billy”, using the superior master from Odds and Sods.   Next is a completely new stereo mix of the otherwise mono “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, created when syncing up the two different mono mixes, both taken from the 2011 SHM remaster of Who’s Missing.  Some phasing happens during the third verse, which I left in because of its appropriate timeliness.  Next is Townshend’s essentially-solo recording “Sunrise”, again from Sell Out.  Closing the album is my own unique edit of “Magic Bus”, using the body of the common stereo mix from Then and Now, but with the extended middle section taken from the mono mix on The Who Hits 50. 

With cover art brilliantly reimagined by Jon Hunt (thanks Jon!) as the icing on the cake, we have twelve songs evenly spread over two sides, in tandem with their previous three albums.  And what of the quality of this audio tennis match?  The most points scored here is for the drastic change from mod-pop into full-blown rock icons.  Here we hear the band beefing up their sound and more importantly Roger Daltrey shifting from the slight, short-haired teen-pop singer of “I’m A Boy” and “Substitute” into the wailing, bare-chested, long-haired rock star of Tommy, Who’s Next and Quadrophenia.  Listening to the album, we now see how The Who went from Sell Out to Tommy.  But taking the album into a whole, we can understand why Who’s For Tennis? was left out: while there are some great songs here, the album as a whole is pretty weak, scatterbrained and honestly a bit corny.  Regardless, this reconstruction offers a missing piece of The Who’s history, an excellent addition to their album discography as it, at the very least, collects a number of non-LP songs that would be quite an annoyance to gather piecemeal.  Let the match begin! 




Sources used:
30 Years of Maximum R&B (1994 original CD master)
Odds and Sodds (2015 SHM CD remaster)
Sell Out (2014 HDTracks stereo remaster)
Then and Now (2004 original CD master)
The Who Hits 50! (2014 Geffin Records)
Who’s Missing (2011 SHM CD remaster)



flac --> wav --> editing in SONAR and Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included