Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Doors - Unauthorised - The Lizard King Vol.4 (1993) Bootleg

(U.S 1965–1973)
The fact that this is one of the very few recorded shows the Doors haven’t released commercially tells you all you need to know really. Recorded by the Doors Road Manager Vince Treanor, the actual performance was an ill tempered affair with Morrison drunk and off target for most of the show. The 15,000 venue was just a third full with the crowd hostility seemingly throwing Morrison off track. Sound problems dogged the concert with long breaks between songs doing nothing to help the crowd tensions.

This post consists of 68 minutes of solid show that compares well with the many other live Doors performances available. There is some sound bleed-through or tape hiss in the quieter portions but there are not many of those and unless you are using headphones they should not be of concern. Overall this is a decent quality recording with very strong organ including the bass range and there are some notable lead guitar parts. Apart from the location (Seattle Centre Coliseum), list of tracks, source (KRAB-FM) and date (5th June 1970) there is no background information or booklet. The audience is active but not intrusive and expletives are minimal.

The Doors on stage at Seattle, 1970
Seattle Concert, 5th June 1970
Seattle, June 5th 1970 wasn't a very good night for the Doors. In fact it was a pretty bad show, disastrous even when compared to some of the outstanding concerts they had produced earlier on that year. Yet this doesn't stop bootleggers and publishers of semi legal albums from revisiting the concert - read: from making easy money on it - time and time again. Not surprisingly of course.
The legend and popularity of the Doors lives on, and with each new generation of fans comes the need for more than what Elektra and Rhino have been and are giving us.

The Doors on stage at Seattle, 1970
Sadly, the tracks 'Light My Fire' and encore 'The End', abruptly terminated before completion by the venue management cutting off power, haven't surfaced yet - I should add that they are assumed to have never been recorded by at the time road manager, Vince Treanor; but you never know...

Perhaps the biggest bonus with this release is the inclusion of the song that makes the concert an interesting one despite its flaws: 'Someday Soon'. A rare one in the Doors catalogue, never tried for in the studio, performed in concert a handful of times only. 

This is the Doors history, people! And more so than any other taped concert, Seattle 1970 reveals a hard working quartet of men - of humans, having an off day. [Extract from]

Ripped from CD to MP3 (320kps), this bootleg recording is excellent quality and covers some of the best concerts played by the Doors over a three year period. Full album artwork (the usual fireman red covers) are included along with covers for alternative bootleg releases.
Sources: Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, WA on 5th June 1970.
Known as the 'Lizard King' because of the leather pants that he wore during his concert performances, this Vol.3 bootleg release highlights why Jim Morrison and the Doors were considered to be one of the biggest acts of the late 60's and 70's.

Note: One track missing on this release from the official set list is "Five To One", however it appears on Vol.2 of "The Lizard King" series instead. Unsure why Banana chose to do this, as there was plenty of room on the CD to accommodate both of these tracks.
01 Back Door Man / Love Hides 7:10  (Seattle, 5th June 1970)
02 Roadhouse Blues 5:30  (Seattle, 5th June 1970)
03 When The Music's Over  19:52  (Seattle, 5th June 1970)
04 People Get Ready 0:43  (Seattle, 5th June 1970)
05 Medley: Train I Ride (Part 1)  3:41  (Seattle, 5th June 1970)
06 Baby Please Don't Go 3:34  (Seattle, 5th June 1970)
07 Train I Ride (Part 2)  13:49  (Seattle, 5th June 1970)
08 Bullfrog Blues  3:12  (Seattle, 5th June 1970)
09 Break On Through  5:17  (Seattle, 5th June 1970)
10 Someday Soon / Hitler (Poem)  6:13  (Seattle, 5th June 1970)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Doors - Unauthorised - The Lizard King Vol.3 (1993) Bootleg

(U.S 1965–1973)
This CD is part of the famous 'Vancouver concert' featuring the Doors playing alongside the great Albert King. This release is available with varying covers, in this case with a big red stamp across Jim's picture saying Unauthorised, and they call the series 'The Unauthorised Recordings'.
Further more, these Unauthorised Recordings are also available from another company called Joker Productions - with the same track listing but different photos (The Doors - Live Vol.3, Joker Productions JOK-004-C). If you have the Joker release then you don't need this one.
Live In Vancouver
On 6 June 1970, The Doors played the Vancouver PNE Arena in Vancouver, BC, and as two onstage microphones captured the performance on a reel-to-reel tape recorder, the band churned out a mostly blues-soaked set, during which they were joined by guitar legend Albert King on four songs.

The show, which featured 17-minute versions of both Light My Life and The End, has been released as a two-CD package called, appropriately enough, The Doors Live In Vancouver, 1970. For guitar fans and blues aficionados, the appearance of King on the songs Little Red Rooster, Who Do You Love (listen below), Rock Me and Money is reason enough to purchase the set. And they'd get little argument from keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who remembers the night as "one of the better gigs."

Recalling the performance during an interview with the Vancouver Sun, Manzarek said, "It was exciting. Albert King was going to be playing the blues with Robby Krieger, while Jim Morrison sings." Going into greater detail, the keyboardist remembered, "A large audience, lights shining in my eyes, can't see the audience... The Doors are excited because Albert King is coming onstage, so we played great. Then Albert comes on, and we played even better. We played dark and deep and funky. Morrison was just transfixed by Albert King's manual dexterity and adroitness on the guitar, so he was in blues-boy heaven.

Jim Morrison & Albert King At Vancouver 1970
"We were all blues boys. We had all gone to the south side of Chicago, which appeared magically in Vancouver, Canada. And we're playing the blues. We're a blues band on the south side of Chicago playing with Albert King. Great night, absolutely great, had a fine time."

When asked if the band rehearsed with Albert King, Manzarek laughed and said, "Hell no! Are you kidding. What are we playing? The no problem." [Extract from]

Albert King opened for The Doors in Vancouver on June 6, 1970. The Doors asked him to jam with them on four blues standards, and they were only months away from starting the recording of “L.A. Woman” in the fall of that year. From the versions of the songs The Doors played “Live in Vancouver” it seems they already had the blues on their minds.

There was some experimenting going on in Vancouver. The Doors seemed to be pushing the limits of rock or at least stretching the limits between rock and the blues. At first it sounds like the Vancouver show is more sedate (not sedated) than the Felt Forum shows a few months prior.  Upon a closer listening you can see The Doors were going for more of a bluesy feeling than a hard rock sound, and this explains why Morrison, in introducing Albert King, gives a quick tutorial to the audience about the two main indigenous forms of American music — blues and country — coming together in rock ‘n’ roll. He‘s tipping the audience off as to what they’re doing.

Albert King & Jim Morrison Backstage
The instrumentals in most of the songs highlight the bluesy feeling, as in “Five to One” and “Light My Fire.” While they didn’t change the song substantially, during the instrumental of “Light My Fire” Morrison comes in using “St. James Infirmary” as a starting point and slips in some bucolic, blues-tinged imagery from “Porgy and Bess” to highlight the bluesier aspects of The Doors’ usual repertoire: “the fish were jumping, and the cotton is high.” What band today of the same caliber as The Doors would or could risk such onstage experimentation?

That’s not to say The Doors didn’t delve into their psychedelic roots, as they played “When The Music’s Over” and an interesting rendition of “The End.”  Early in their career The Doors were interested in dissonance for their experimental journeys, but in Vancouver they show that assonance had taken over their experimental interest. “The End” in Vancouver is a mature rendering of that song; it isn’t as frantic as earlier versions, The Doors let it play out like a noir film, with Morrison stacking the familiar images upon each other until the dramatic crashing climax, creating a movie for the mind of the audience.

Albert King played four songs with the band onstage, “Little Red Rooster,” “Money,” “Rock Me,” and “Who Do You Love.” King’s solos on these songs, like the rest of the CD, don’t display a lot of unnecessary pyrotechnics but are solid playing all the way through.

The Doors on stage at the Pacific National Exhibition Coliseum, Vancouver

I’ve been to a lot of rock concerts and listened to a lot of live albums, but none of those seem to have the context or coherence that The Doors were able to imbue into their best shows, and this is one of their best.

These Bright Midnight releases are great for fans like me who didn’t have the connections to get bootlegs but still longed to hear the shows they’ve long heard about. The Bright Midnight releases are like raiding The Doors’ archives without having to worry about the quality; the sound is crisp and clear. The liner notes give you some background, right from The Doors’ own pens that’s more reliable than second generation legend. This bootleg release of “The Doors Live in Vancouver” will make a nice addition to your collection. [Extract from The Doors Examiner. Originally published in 'The Doors Examined' by Jim Cherry. 2013]
Ripped from CD to MP3 (320kps), this bootleg recording is excellent quality and covers some of the best concerts played by the Doors over a three year period. Full album artwork (the usual fireman red covers) are included along with covers for alternative bootleg releases.
Sources: Pacific National Exhibition Coliseum, Vancouver, Canada, June 6th, 1970. Not the complete show.
Known as the 'Lizard King' because of the leather pants that he wore during his concert performances, this Vol.3 bootleg release highlights why Jim Morrison and the Doors were considered to be one of the biggest acts of the late 60's and 70's.
Track Listing
01. Roadhouse Blues  5:57 (Vancouver, 6th Jun 1970)
02. Back Door Man  2:31  (Vancouver, 6th Jun 1970)
03. Five To One  6:10  (Vancouver, 6th Jun 1970)
04. Money (That's What I Want)  2:59  (Vancouver, 6th Jun 1970)
05. Rock Me Baby  6:41  (Vancouver 6th Jun 1970)
06. Little Red Rooster 6:32  (Vancouver, 6th Jun 1970)
07. Who Do You Love?  8:09  (Vancouver, 6th Jun 1970)
08. (Medley)  17:52  (Vancouver, 6th Jun 1970)
    Light My Fire
    St. James Infirmary
09. The End  16:39  (Vancouver, 6th Jun 1970)

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Doors - Unauthorised - The Lizard King Vol.2 (1993) Bootleg

(U.S 1965–1973)
This is the second release in The Lizard King series of bootlegs released by Banana, and features a mixture of concert venues from 1967 & 68.  Background information for the Matrix Club recordings can be found in my previous post for The Lizard King Vol.1 bootleg. Details for the remaining venues are as follows:

The Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sept 20, 1968
Sveriges Radio personality 'Lennart Wretlind' recorded an interview with Jim Morrison at the Hotel Appolonia on September 19th with the other members of The Doors present.
The scheduled start times for the next days concert are 7:00pm & 9:30pm  After failing to perform in Amsterdam a few days prior, Jim Morrison is determined to put on a good show.
Setlists include rare performances of 'Mack The Knife', 'Love Street' and 'You're Lost Little Girl'. 
Also Performing: Terry Reid, Savoy Brown. However, Jefferson Airplane who are touring with them do not perform with The Doors on this night, for unknown reasons. [extract from]

Both of these performances go exceptionally well. The first show includes a live rendition of 'Love Street' and the second an infrequent take of the Brecht/Weill composition "Prologue: (Ballad Of) Mack The Knife" the introductory overture from Threepenny Opera. The entire late show is outstanding-a fine representation of the Doors live performances at the time. Both the early and late show are recorded in their entirely for broadcast on Stockholm's Radiohuset radio station, from which the original tape are taken from.

On September 20, 1968 The Doors played two concerts the Konserthuset in Stockholm, Sweden and gave permission for both to be broadcast on radio station Radiohuset. The resulting recordings give a prime example of the band at the height of their collective powers and are the source for many bootlegs. On vinyl the shows have been released as The Beautiful Die Young… (MIW Records 19) featuring parts of both early and late shows, The Complete Stockholm ’68 Tapes (DOORS 68) and deluxe 3 lp set containing both the early and late shows, Little Games (Shotgun Records 13010) that is a mix of both early and late shows, The Stockholm Tapes (unknown label) another 3 lp set packaged in a box with a deluxe cover. On CD there have been releases as Live In Stockholm (The Swinging Pig TSP CD-004-2) that featured both early and late shows on a 2CD set, Live In Stockholm ’68 Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (Black Panther CD 30/31) that were copies of the Swinging Pig title, The Lizard King (Vulture Records 002) a mix of both early and late shows on a single disc, Red Walls Blue Doors (WPOCM CD 1288D012-2) featuring only the late show, The Stockholm Tapes (DR 010) featuring only the late show, Sneaking Out The Backdoor (The Last Bootleg Records LBR SP 001/7) features both early and late shows, and Apocalypse Now (Kiss The Stone KTS 267), an excellent title featuring the late show.

For this new release Banana showcases the late show  from September 20, 1968 from the master tape. What does this mean you ask? A huge improvement in sound over the older titles. It is the same recording as other bootlegs but is much clearer and has a brighter sound, the distortion on Jim’s vocals is still there but does not bleed in the recording like the old Swinging Pig titles and simply sounds wonderful. Since The Doors started releasing live titles under their Bright Midnight label, fans have been clambering for this show, since we will likely never see that, this title more than makes up for it. 

A real highlight of this recording is the bands rendition of “Your Lost Little Girl”, rarely played on stage the melancholy playing of Robby Krieger is wonderful and Morrison turns in a beautiful vocal for the song, no screaming and yelling on this song. “Love Me Two Times” from the Strange Days record was a true Krieger song, the lyrics much more about simple love and curiously would prove to be The Doors most radio friendly songs. A true centerpiece of most all Doors shows is “When The Music’s Over”, dense with mysterious lyrics and some of the most powerful music the band would ever explore it features Morrison at his most dramatic. All three musicians solo at one time or another, they blend the instruments as an accent to the lyrics. John Densmore goes from keeping simple time to answering Morrison in a point blank response accentuating message. The lyrics are expansive, moving from psychedelia to powder struggles to a commentary of the abuse of resources, all leading to a demand of “We Want The World and We Want It NOW “, Morrison keeping the audience on edge before finally letting out a huge yell in true dramatic fashion. The song again garners a huge ovation with the audience clapping and shouting their approval, one can only agree.

Curiously the band play an early version of “Wild Child”, a song that would not find its way onto a Doors record for close to a year until the release of 1969’s The Soft Parade. It started appearing in the bands set early the prior month of August 2nd at the band’s chaotic performance at the Singer Bowl in Flushing Meadows, New York. This version is much subdued to that version largely due to the circumstances, but we are treated to a superb rendition of the song and is nice to be able fully enjoy. 

The set concludes appropriately as Morrison asks for the lights to be lowered and only use the blue lights, there is a small language barrier with the operators and the band chants “turn out the lights” before Jim lets out a quieting “sshh” and Krieger hits the opening chords of “The End”. The song has much evolved from its early incarnations of a song of loves departed; now it is an apocalyptic masterpiece of theatre set to music. The song clocks in at close to 15 minutes in length and features a variety of lyric poems by Jim that culminates with the Oedipal section, perhaps it most moving yet frightening piece that polarized listeners as far back as the groups pre record deal days at the Whisky A Go Go. Live versions of this song are always an event, this is certainly one, if not my most favorite version (the Singer Bowl is awesome too). The end of the set and of a most successful European tour as the band leaves the stage amid respectful applause. [extract from]

The Jonathan Winters Show
Original Broadcast: December 27, 1967
Television Station: CBS-TV, Los Angeles
Songs: Moonlight Drive, Light My FIre
Host: Jonathan Winters

Although The Doors all loved Jonathan Winters and his comedy, they never really considered appearing on his show. But when they were asked, they jumped at the opportunity to appear on the show of a comedian they all admired. They were asked to perform “Light My Fire” and another song of their choice. As their other song, they chose “Moonlight Drive”. Both songs were to use a prerecorded musical soundtrack but have a live vocal from Jim. 

They performed “Moonlight Drive” first on a multi-level stage complete with a smoke machine and planetary stock footage overlayed onto the performance. The performance of  “Light My Fire” was odd to say the least. The band was set up amongst a series of poles with spaghetti wire strung between them, and throughout the performance the producers added a wavy effect to the video, plus showed a red police siren as Jim sang. To top it off, at the end of the song, Jim leaps into a section of the wires and pulls a portion of the set down on top of him. [extract from Ray Manzarek's Website]

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour
RECORDING DATE: 12/06/1968
LOCATION: CBS Television City (Stage 33) - NY
LENGTH: 7:12
SONG: Wild Child, Touch Me
HOST: The Smothers Brothers

The Doors rehearse the Smother Brothers Comedy Hour television performance on the 5th of December, and record on the 6th. Filmed in color, the band performs 'Wild Child' and 'Touch Me' featuring Curtis Amy and the Smothers Brothers Orchestra. Robby is sporting a black eye during the filming, and Tom O'Neal is on site photographing the rehearsals and recording session. Broadcast on December 15th, George Carlin and The Committee are also guests on this episode. CBS cancelled this show on June 8th, 1969. 

Ripped from CD to MP3 (320kps), this bootleg recording is excellent quality and covers some of the best concerts played by the Doors over a three year period.  Full album artwork (the usual fireman red covers) are included along with covers for alternative bootleg releases.
 Known as the 'Lizard King' because of the leather pants that he wore during his concert performances, this Vol.2 bootleg release highlights why Jim Morrison and the Doors were considered to be one of the biggest acts of the late 60's and 70's.
Note: This bootleg was also released under the title of 'The Doors - Unauthorised Touch Me' (1993) by Grapefruit (GRA-050-B). A bit of double dipping going on here folks and could almost be described as being like 'Fruit Salad' !
Track Listing
01 - Moolight Drive (The Matrix Club, San Francisco, March 7, 1967, Set 2)
02 - Break On Through To The Other Side (The Matrix Club, San Francisco, March 7, 1967, Set 3)
03 - The Crystal Ship (The Matrix Club, San Francisco, March 7, 1967, Set 2)
04 - Twentienth century Fox (The Matrix Club, San Francisco, March 7, 1967, Set 2)
05 - Unhappy Girl (The Matrix Club, San Francisco, March 7, 1967, Set 2)
06 - Love Street (Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sept 20, 1968, Early Show)
07 - Love Me Two Times (Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sept 20, 1968, Early Show)
08 - The Unknown Soldier (Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sept 20, 1968, Early Show)
09 - You're Lost Little Girl (Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sept 20, 1968, Late Show)
10 - Wild Child (Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sept 20, 1968, Late Show)
11 - Wake Up (Konserthuset, Stockholm, Sept 20, 1968, Late Show)
12 - Five To One (Seattle Center Coliseum, June 5, 1970)
13 - The End (PNE Coliseum, Vancouver, June 6, 1970)
14 - Touch Me (Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Dec 4, 1968)
15 - Moonlight Drive (Jonathan Winters Show, Dec 27, 1967)
16 - Light My Fire (Jonathan Winters Show, Dec 27, 1967)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Doors - Unauthorised "The Lizard King" Vol.1 (1993) Bootleg

(U.S 1965–1973)
The Doors are primarily an instrumental trio with a lead singer, but Jim Morrison is not so much a singer per se, as he is a shouter, as horn section, sometimes a lead instrument. He doesn't sing in the dictionary sense of the word; rather, he punctuates with his voice. Tying all of the elements together—the organ, the drums, the vocals— is the fluid thread or Robby Krieger's guitar, slow, spare, thoughtful, unifying. Krieger's thought processes for guitar, interestingly enough, did not come from blues but from flamenco, a fact that makes his guitar playing totally individualistic in the rock field.
Jim once told a reporter: "We're the Doors because, when you go into a strange town, you check into a hotel. Then, after you've played your gig, you go back to your room, down an endless corridor lined with doors, until you get to your own. But, when you open the door, you find there are lots or people inside. And you wonder, Am I in the wrong room? Or is this some kind of a party?"

Yes, the Doors are mystical (hailing from Los Angeles, to preserve their sanity, perhaps they have to be). But they can talk common sense, too. Here is Robby: "Most groups today aren't groups. Here, we use everyone's ideas. In a true group, all of the members create the arrangements among themselves. This group is so serious. It's the most serious group that ever was, that ever will be." And Ray: "All of us have the freedom to explore and to improvise within a framework. Jim is an improviser with words. . . . We've all shattered ourselves a long time ago. That was what early rock was about: an attempt to shatter two thousand years of culture. Now, we're working on what happens after you've shattered it."

Perhaps this statement by Jim best marries the mythological and the matter-of-fact: "You could say it's an accident that I was ideally suited for the work I am doing. It's the feeling of a bow string being pulled back for twenty-two years and suddenly being let go. . . . I've always been attracted to ideas that were about revolt against authority.
When you make your peace with authority, you become an authority. I like ideas about the breaking away or overthrowing or established order. I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity which seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road toward freedom — external revolt is a way to bring about internal freedom. Rather than starting inside, I start outside — reach the mental through the physical. But the main thing is that we are the Doors. We are 
from the West. The world we suggest should be or a new, wild West, a sensuous, evil world, strange and haunting. The path or the sun, you know".  [extract from The Doors: The Complete Illustrated Lyrics, by Danny Sugerman. 1991. p22-23]
The Matrix Club
Only a few tables of curious spectators showed up at the club each night, so the musicians pretty much played for themselves. In between two weekend engagements at the Avalon Ballroom, a little-known rock group from Los Angeles called the Doors played Tuesday through Friday at a 100-seat Marina district club called the Matrix. Even the musicians might have forgotten all about the gig if the club manager hadn't decided to tape the shows.

The Doors were making their second trip to the thriving San Francisco ballroom scene in March 1967. It was an unseasonably chilly end of winter before the Summer of Love and just three months after the little-noted release of the band's now-historic debut album.

"We were on the lip of great success and we didn't know it," drummer John Densmore says. "Neither did the audience, which was very cool."

"Light My Fire" wouldn't break the group on radio for another three months, so the Doors were playing that weekend second-billed to Country Joe and the Fish at the Avalon, and almost no one showed up at their midweek Matrix engagement.

Matrix co-owner Peter Abrams had only recently installed a tape recorder in the sound booth, but it would be his custom over the next five years to record every show at the club. The Doors' tapes have been passed around in the underground world of bootleg recordings for years, including a set of "horrible, horrible sounding" Italian CDs that Doors producer Bruce Botnick heard.

Botnick, who has engineered and produced virtually every Doors recording in the band's history, finally dusted off the tape copies in the band's vault, cleaned them up and put together a two-CD set, "Live at the Matrix," complete with a cover by '60s San Francisco poster artist Stanley Mouse. Botnick says he thinks the Matrix tapes contain "one of their best recorded performances."

"They were young, enthusiastic, out to have fun," he says. "They experimented a lot, changed arrangements around and played things they never did before."

"We looked at it as a paid rehearsal," says guitarist Robbie Krieger. "There were five to 10 people in the club. We did it for ourselves." 

The band played a lot of blues at the Matrix, including Allen Toussaint's "Get Out of My Life Woman" and Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee" that rarely turned up again in the repertoire. They did an instrumental version of "Summertime," a piece Botnick never heard the band play again. The group introduced new material that would eventually find its way to the second album - "People Are Strange," "Moonlight Drive" - while Morrison expanded and elaborated the ending of the already epic "The End" as recorded on the first album. The shadowy, echoey recording sounds like being in the dingy, rundown nightclub. The tiny room and handful of strangers in the crowd give off a palpable presence on the tape. All 10 people applaud madly. [extract from SFGATE-San Francisco Chronicle]

The Doors At The Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl didn't look as famous in the daylight as it did at night, but unfortunately the night light didn't save our performance. We were worried about the acoustics at the outdoor amphitheatre, where there were no wails to bounce the sound off. We had played outdoor conceits successfully before, but you couldn't hear the sound coming back to you and it could be difficult to judge how loudly to play. We didn't want to take any chances, so Vince, our dedicated and obsessed road manager, built additional amplifiers, fifty-two speakers in all, with seven thousand wans of power. For a four-piece band!
I used four mikes to amplify my drums and had eight speakers all for myself. Ray and Robby had about fifteen speakers each and Jim had a few less, but his voice was also fed through the house PA system.

We wanted to reach the back of the Bowl and we didn't want to get caught shorn As it turned out, the people who lived in the homes behind the Bowl had complained about noise the previous month or so, and the Bowl had hired a sound man to walk around the theater during performances and check volume levels on a portable meter. The sound level was not to exceed eighty decibels, or he would pull the plug. Robby was very unhappy. Typical—a guitar player. Power! 1 was actually pleased, because as a drummer I always fought to be heard. Whenever Ray and Robby turned up a knob, I had to use more muscle.

Unfortunately, eighty decibels was not enough to fill eighteen thousand seats with the punch we relied on. Thinking die Bowl would be an important gig, we also had a movie crew of old UCLA film school friends of Ray and Jim's shooting 16 mm color and sync sound. A small crew had been following us around on tour for a documentary we were making. For the Bowl we had a couple additional cameramen. (Although I wasn't into guys, I noticed how strikingly handsome one of the new crewmen was. And he had a weird name: Harrison Ford.) we got a call from Jimmy Miller, the Stones' producer, and he said that he and Mick would like to come to the Bowl. Mick Jagger! We were impressed until they drove up in front of our office to go to dinner with us. Robby said, "John, look at the car they're driving." It was a Cadillac, and not even an old one. Was Mick selling out? I excused them because it was probably a rental, but still I thought, Couldn't they have had more taste? 

Our entourage went to Mu Ling's Chinese restaurant on Sunset Boulevard and unfortunately, since there were too many people in our group, we sat at two separate rabies. Mick sat at the other table. Jimmy Miller talked up a storm, but I wanted to hear the interaction between the two lead singers, and maybe put my two cents in. As we drove to the back of the Bowl, it felt like attending a huge baseball game. I felt a twinge of nervousness looking at the crowd as we walked into the dressing room. I got a piece of paper and we agreed to the first three or four songs. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Mick watching very attentively.

Jimmy Miller and Jagger snuck around to one of the reserved boxes, and we went out onstage to eighteen thousand roaring people. 1 wanted to show the Stones' lead singer how good we could be. Not tonight. Damn it! I wished we were better. Several close friends were right in the front seats and I couldn't even look at them. Jim wore a cross and smoked a lot of cigarettes, which seemed out of character for him. He wasn't born again and it was the first time I ever saw him smoke. I detected some self-conscious image-building.

The audience lit matches when we played "Light My Fire," a trend that continues at rock concerts today, but as beautiful as it looked from the Bowl stage, there was little spark coming from the musk. It wasn't a bad show; it was just off.
I couldn't put my finger on what went wrong. The lights were very bright for the film crew, and -I could tell they were affecting Jim's performance. The mood of the show wasn't there. We didn't have enough power and Jim's pauses were too long on some songs. Jim's gold crucifix didn't even help. I had noticed Roger Daltrey of the Who sporting a cross on TV, so I asked Jim why he had followed suit.
"I like the symbol visually, plus it will confuse people."
"What went wrong?" I asked Robby, walking back under the shell to the dressing rooms.
"Jim took acid right before going on."
"GOD DAMN IT!" I huried ray drumsticks to the floor. "It's one thing to take it on your own time, but the Hollywood Bowl? That's probably why he took it. Damn."
Later Jagger was very kind when Melodymaker, the English music magazine, asked him how he liked the Doors. He said, "They were nice chaps, but they played a bit too long," [extract from Riders On The Storm by John Densmore, 1991. p169-171)

.This post is the first of four bootleg releases by Banana entitled The Lizard King, which I will be posting each day, so stay tuned. Ripped from CD to MP3 (320kps), these bootleg recordings  are excellent quality and cover some of the best concerts played by the Doors over a three year period. 
Full album artwork (the usual fireman red covers) are included along with covers for alternative bootleg releases.  Known as the 'Lizard King' because of the leather pants that he wore during his concert performances, this MEGA series of concert material highlights why Jim Morrison and the Doors were one of the biggest acts of the late 60's and 70's.
Track Listing
01. Alabama Song (Whisky Bar) 1:35  (Live Hollywood Bowl, LA 5 Jul 1968)
02. Back Door Man  2:10  (Live Hollywood Bowl, LA 5 Jul 1968)
03. Five To One 3:09  (Live Hollywood Bowl, LA 5 Jul 1968)
04. I Can't See Your Face In My Mind  3:15  (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)
05. People Are Strange  2:17  (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)
06. Money (That's What I Want)  2:38  (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)
07. Who Do You Love  4:39  (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)
08. Summer's Almost Gone  3:50  (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)
09. I'm A King Bee  3:53  (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)
10. Gloria  5:46  (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)
11. Summertime 8:48  (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)
12. Close To You  3:05  (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)
13. Rock Me Baby 8:29  (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)
14. The Hill Dwellers  2:44 (Live Konserthuset, Stockholm, 20 Sep 1968)
15. Light My Fire 8:52 (Live Matrix Club, San Francisco, 10 Mar 1967)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Mark Williams - ZNZ (1990) plus Bonus Track

(New Zealand 1970 - Present)
Mark Williams was the face of NZ pop in the late 1970s with the runaway success of two No.1 singles ‘Yesterday Was Just The Beginning of My Life’ (1975) and ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anymore’ (1977). These radio-friendly singles came from three albums produced by Lower Hutt-based HMV in-house producer Alan Galbraith – Mark Williams (1975), Sweet Trials (1976) and Taking It All In Stride (1977). They charted No.2, No.14 and No.14 respectively. Tracks from these pop-soul albums are now viewed as rare groove classics by soul music fans.

In music magazine Hot Licks (no.19 1975) Mark Williams explained his easy-going, working relationship with Alan Galbraith, his HMV producer:

“Alan sent up a whole lot of material and I had a listen through them and picked out which ones I wanted to do and which ones I didn’t. And the ones I didn’t want to do we did.”

Williams was commenting on the least successful of his three albums, the rockier Sweet Trials.
Already, at the age of 21, Williams was intent on leaving the country. “I don’t want to stay in New Zealand much longer, basically because I want to learn a lot.”  Williams had found that being a “star” in his homeland was not all fun. His version of “glam” – he has since called “drag” – “The reaction was either absolute adoration or total disgust. Complete opposites. I was very scared of what it created. That’s one of the reasons I left New Zealand, because it was just too scary.” 

When RipItUp spoke to Williams in 1977, Alan Galbraith, the record producer had taken on the role of manager and reiterated the need to move on – “If we’re going to stay in these pubs much longer, we’re all going to die.” Galbraith was critical of NZ talent managers, “All they are is booking agents.” The producer is probably referring to old school managers like Lew Pryme who discovered Williams playing in Dargaville band Face. After booking Face, Pryme encouraged Williams to leave the band and appear as a resident singer on the 1974 TV pop show Free Ride.

By the end of 1977, Williams and Galbraith were both in Sydney. The singer would soon be enjoying working as a recording session backing vocalist and Galbraith joined CBS to work in A&R.
Williams did not record another album until Life After Dark in 1981. The CBS album made no impact on either side of the Tasman.

In 1990 Williams returned to the charts on both sides of the Tasman with the single ‘Show No Mercy’ for Albert Productions, under the direction of Vanda & Young. The single was released under both his band’s name Boy Rocking and his own name, reaching the chart position of No.9 in both countries, and  was chosen to launch the 1990 Rugby League Grand Final. The single gave him unprecedented national exposure and went platinum.

Mark then released the LP 'ZNZ' in the same year as a follow up to his first Australian album 'Life After Dark', the albums being released 10  years apart.  The album reached number 44 on the National Australian Charts and a second single, "Fix of Love"/"Your Love", was released but didn't fare as well, reaching number 37. A third and final single, "Spell Is Broken"/"Fool No More", failed to chart.

During the 1990s Williams would combine trips home to see family with a booking at Auckland’s Sky City Casino bar, fronting a band that included funky bass player Max Stowers. The singer would perform his hits but also excelled on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Master Blaster (Jammin')’, Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love?’ and Aretha Franklin’s live arrangement of ‘Love The One You’re With’. [extract from Audio Culture]

Since 2005 Williams has been the lead singer for Todd Hunter’s reformed Dragon touring both Australia and New Zealand.

The Vanda & Young Connection
The Vanda and Young hit machine had enough energy left for one last hurrah. It was 1990 and Harry and George had a batch of songs ready to go, including one called "Show No Mercy", which they had earmarked as a single. All it needed was the right voice.

Auckland-born singer Mark Williams once had a No. 1 hit with a Vanda/Young song way back in the 1970s. "Yesterday was Just the Beginning of My Life" is considered a classic in New Zealand to this day. The 1980s were relatively quiet for Mark, who was living and working in Australia and providing backing vocals for Renee Geyer, Tim Finn, Jenny Morris and lan Moss. His claim to fame during this period was as the voice behind the theme for the long-running Australian soap opera Home and Away.

"Harry came to see me in a show that I was doing with Doug Parkinson in a theatre restaurant in Sydney about the Motown story," reveals Mark. 'They were going round looking at male singers to see who was right. Immediately as I sang the song, I knew it was tailored to me, I knew it. It felt absolutely natural, some of the inflections, some of the words, some of the other stuff added into it, it just felt natural. The album was titled ZNZ (pronounced Zee En Zee), a palindromic reference to the singer's New Zealand heritage. The single "Show No Mercy" was a Top 10 hit in both Australia and New Zealand. Williams performed it to a television audience of six million at Sydney's Rugby League grand final.

A second album, 'Mind Over Matter', was released in 1992. As they had done with John Paul Young years earlier, Vanda and Young encouraged Williams to contribute some songs to this album. The Vanda/Young single, "We Can Dream", was inspired by the Rodney King race riots in Los Angeles. Disdain for world leaders had been a regular theme in their songs over the years: "The leaders all will one day understand, and they oughta understand."

Williams found Vanda and Young to be hard taskmasters but great teachers: "They pitched the songs so high for me that I used to get terrible headaches. Then I had to go and do it live! It was all very driving, very high and very hard. They encouraged me to write and taught me what you have to do to stay in the industry." [extract from 'Vanda & Young:Inside Australia's Hit Factory' by John Tait, 2010 p200-201]
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from CD and includes full album artwork. Note that the vinyl release of this album is somewhat rare and I have yet to sight a copy. As a bonus I have also included the 'extended' version of  "Show No Mercy" which was also ripped from CD.
Although not my favourite NZ artist and still respect Mark for his achievements and consider this album to be his best release.
One interesting fact that I discovered while researching this post is that Mark Williams sang the theme to Home And Away (Aussie TV series), along with Karen Boddington, released in 1989.
See below
01 Show No Mercy   4:21
02 Fix Of Love   3:44
03 Spell Is Broken   4:07
04 Heavy Woman     4:12
05 Good Thing         4:12
06 Love Electric       3:45
07 Shanghai Lily      4:34
08 You're So Cool   3:04
09 Feel For The Night   4:01
10 Fool No More        3:32
11 Show No Mercy (Extended Version) 7:39
Mark William FLAC Link (305Mb)
Mark Williams MP3 Link (101Mb)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Flash And The Pan - Waiting For A Train (Various 12" Remixes)

(Australia 1976–1993)
Flash and the Pan was an Australian new wave musical group (essentially an ongoing studio project) initiated during the late 1970s by Harry Vanda and George Young, both former members of The Easybeats. The duo's first success was their debut album with single "Walking in the Rain", which was later covered by Grace Jones. This album was successful in Europe, the UK, and the US. Formed as a creative release for writer / producers Harry Vanda and George Young, singles like "Hey St. Peter", "Down Among the Dead Men" and "Walking in the Rain", established a momentum that proved difficult to stop. Combining masterful song writing and a decidedly bent world view Vanda and Young managed to create a string of hit albums - attracting a vast and loyal international fan-base in the process. In 2017, George Young died at the age of 70.

Early on in Flash and the Pan's history, Harry and George had tried to involve Stevie Wright in the project. He declined at the time because it was not a direction in which he wanted to go. However, for the third Flash and the Pan album, Stevie Wright was mentioned as part of the official line-up on the cover notes along with Harry, George, Les Karski (bass) and lan Miller (guitar). Additional players cited included Lyndsay Hammond (Cheetah), Ralph White, and drummers Ray Arnott, Johnny Dick, and Alan Sandow (Sherbet). The press release announced, 'Headlines brings into firm focus the always-present contributions of vocalist Stevie Wright who now assumes a more prominent position in the group.' He also appears in the promo photo.

In reality, Stevie Wright was not involved in the making of the album. Because of the constant pressure to tour and promote, Harry and George had hatched an ambitious plan to put together a band to tour the album for them while they remained at home. A recently recuperated Stevie Wright would play the role of Flash. As always, Stevie's sobriety was not to last and the plan did not come to fruition. Later pressings of the album removed his name from the credits.
Headlines became their third successive No. 1 album in Scandinavia. It still used the Flash and the Pan format, only it was much darker. Guitars took equal billing to keyboards. Toby Creswell reviewed it for Rolling Stone: 'Headlines'is a more sombre record thematically than their poppy hit singles of a couple of years ago, and in their songs they paint a rather schizoid picture of contemporary society. For example "Jetsetter's Ball", which presents images of rampant corruption and false values in society.

George Young and Harry Vanda
Waiting For A Train
"Waiting for a Train" perfected the 'Walking in the Rain' formula with its spoken lyrics, keyboard accompaniment and unique percussive effects. Lyrically, it is simply the meaningless musings of someone who is waiting for a train to arrive at a station. It was released as a single in Australia in December 1982 and barely troubled the Top 100 (No. 98). It did reasonably well in New Zealand (No. 26) and incredibly well in the UK where it peaked at No. 7 on 25 June 1983. They were in great company this time. The artists above them in this chart were the Police (No. 1 with 'Every Breath You Take'); Rod Stewart, David Bowie. Irene Cara ('Flashdance'), Wham and Elton John. Peaking at No. 8 that week was Michael Jackson's 'Wanna Be Starting Something'. 'Waiting for a Train' became a DJ anthem with numerous club and radio jocks adopting the track as their theme music. A 12-inch 'Long Disco' version was released in Germany in 1983 and then later remixed by DJ KK in Germany to be released in 1989 (called the Harrymeetskaplan Mix).  [extract from Vanda & Young: Inside Australia's Hit Factory. By John Tait, 2010. p189-190]

George and Harry at the Mixing Desk
This post consists of two rare 12" Single releases of "Waiting For A Train", ripped to FLAC from my newly acquired vinyl which I came across at a Bazaar in Geelong.  Full album artwork and label scans are also included.  Having searched on the Internet, these two international releases (German and English) do not appear to be common and therefore I suspect that this post will please the avid collectors of anything Vanda and Young related, especially in light of the recent death of George Young.  The '89 remix is probably my favourite, and the added bonus of Hey St Peter on the flip side makes this release great value.  Note: The front and back covers of the Long Disco release are identical.
Long Disco Version '83 - Ensign Records
01 - Waiting For A Train (6:42)
02 - Jetsetters Ball (5:07)
The Harrymeetskaplon Mix '89 - Cha Cha Records
01 - Waiting For A Train (6:10)
02 - Hey St Peter (4:20)
03 - Where Were You (3:19)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Robert Plant - Starting Over (1983) Bootleg

(U.K 1982 - Present)
Robert Plant is a British rock singer and songwriter best known as the vocalist and lyricist for the band Led Zeppelin. Inspired at a young age by Elvis Presley, Plant left school to begin his musical career. He performed with a number of groups before he was discovered by Jimmy Page, who was in search of a lead singer for a new band he was forming, called the New Yardbirds. The group eventually became Led Zeppelin.

In 1982, Plant launched his solo career with 'Pictures at Eleven', which fared well on the album charts. He then released 'The Principle of Moments' (1983), known for its mellow single "Big Log." Recording with Page, guitarist Jeff Beck, and guitarist/producer Nile Rodgers, Plant sang the lead vocals for a collaborative R&B-influenced project called 'The Honeydrippers, Vol. 1' (1984). The group had two successful singles, the ballad "Sea of Love" and the more uptempo "Rockin' at Midnight."

Reuniting with Page and Jones, Plant revisited his Led Zeppelin days at the Live Aid benefit concert in 1985. He released another solo effort, 'Shaken 'n' Stirred' that year, on which he experimented with hip-hop styles. In 1988, Plant pitched in for Page's solo debut, 'Outrider', as well as releasing 'Now & Zen' in response to fans' ardent requests for Led Zeppelin material. He then released 'Manic Nirvana' (1990), which received strong reviews and reached as high as the 13th spot on the album charts. He re-teamed with Page and Jones in 1988 for the special concert held in honor of Atlantic Records 25th anniversary. This time, however, Jason Bonham, son of the late John Bonham, filled in on drums.

'For Fate of Nations' (1993), Plant explored a more folksy sound. He then reunited with Page for 'No Quarter: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant Unledded' (1994). Together they revisited Led Zeppelin classics, reworking them with a heavy Moroccan and Arabic influence. They also recorded a few new songs for this project, which resulted in a television special and 1995 tour. That same year, Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.

Three years later, Plant and Page put out a new studio album 'Walking Into Clarksdale' (1998). The recording earned rave reviews and netted the pair a Grammy Award win for Best Hard Rock Performance for "Most High." After a long hiatus, Plant returned in late 2001 with his solo album 'Dreamland'. Two years later, he debuted 'Sixty Six to Timbuktu', a two-disc compilation dedicated exclusively to works from Plant's solo career, including "Tall Cool One" and "Upside Down."

Plant earned some of the best reviews of his solo career for 'Mighty Rearranger' (2005). Incorporating African rhythms, blues, psychedelic rock, and Celtic ballads, he created "a collection of songs that sound gloriously raw, relevant and, most importantly, rocking," as one music journalist wrote. Plant saw his career reach new heights with another musical experiment, collaborating with Alison Krauss on the 2007 country-folk album Raising Sand. The recording quickly became a top seller in the United States and won five Grammy Awards, including the honors for Album of the Year and Record of the Year for "Please Read the Letter."

Reuniting with other surviving members of Led Zeppelin, Plant performed at a special benefit show for the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, named for the late co-founder of Atlantic Records. Tickets sold out quickly for the December 10 show, which was the first appearance by Led Zeppelin in 19 years (with Jason Bonham again filling in for his late father on drums).

After the hugely successful concert, rumors swirled about a possible Led Zeppelin reunion tour and album. Plant, however, released a statement in 2008 that he was not interested in touring for the next few years. His former bandmates publicly discussed carrying on without him, but they have yet to tour or record new material.

In July 2009, Plant received a special honor. He was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to the field of music. Prince Charles bestowed the honor on him at a ceremony held in Buckingham Palace. [extract from

The Bootleg
This is an extremely rare, long out of print, limited edition pressing bootleg of Robert Plant "Starting Over" live from Houston, Dallas and Austin, Texas on his first solo venture in 1983 for the Principle of Moments tour, with Phil Collins on drums.  This is a complete, soundboard  show on 2 vinyl LPs.

Of course no Zep tracks, but the show is amazing. First of all despite all Plant's blather about leaving Zep behind, plenty of songs had Plant ad-libbing Zep style, and doing some of those legendary sustained howls.  Robbie Blunt is excellent, with his unique sound and is able to be subtle and forceful as the songs require. Some of the studio songs which are a bit "weak" on vinyl work fine live. I think Plant must have lost his mind to lose Blunt.

This post consists of FLACS and MP3 (320kps) ripped from my pristine vinyl which I picked up at the Victoria Market (Melbourne) back in the mid 80's for the pricely sum of $25.  I have included full album artwork and label scans but take note that the track listing on the back cover is not accurate.
In addition the photos of Plant depicted on the back cover are from when he was front man for Led Zeppelin while the front cover photo is more true to what he looked like in 1983.

This double vinyl bootleg is one of my prized possessions and the sound quality of the recording is full soundboard 10/10 quality.  This bootleg has been released under other titles, namely - 'Texas Toast 1983' (King Biscuit Flower Hour) and 'Robert Plant - Austin Texas'.
I hope you enjoy this last post for 2017 but stay tuned, as I have plenty of other rarities to post in the new year.

Track Listing
01 -  In The Mood
02 -  Pledge Pin
03 -  Messin' With The Mekon
04 - Worse Than Detroit
05 - Moonlight In Samosa
06 - Fat Lip
07 - Slow Dancer
08 - Big Log
09 - Burning Down One Side
10 - Other Arms
11 - Horizontal Departure
12 - Like I've Never Been Gone
Robert Plant - Vocals
Robbie Blunt - Guitar
Bob Mayo - Rhythm Guitar
Jeff Woodroppe - Keyboards
Paul Martinez - Bass
Phil Collins - Drums

Robert Plant Live FLAC Link (498Mb)
Robert Plant Live MP3 Link (186Mb)