All posts by tomcaswell

NEWS: Bob Dylan’s Complete Basement Tapes To Be Released

Great news for Dylan fans as the ENTIRE Basement Tapes are set for a release this November as the latest Bootleg Series instalment from Dylan. 138 tracks, 6 CD’s and 30 tracks that have never been heard before. Personally I couldn’t be any more excited by this news. These tapes are widely considered to be the Holy Grail of Dylan’s back catalogue and whilst there have been numerous bootleg releases over the years and a 1975 double album, the full tapes have never seen an official release. Until now.

The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11 will be released on the 4th November this year.

CD 1
1. “Edge of the Ocean”
2. “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It” (written by Clarence Williams)
3. “Roll on Train”
4. “Mr. Blue” (written by Dewayne Blackwell)
5. “Belshazzar” (written by Johnny Cash)
6. “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” (written by Charlie A Feathers and Stanley A Kesler)
7. “You Win Again” (written by Hank Williams)
8. “Still in Town” (written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard)
9. “Waltzing with Sin” (written by Sonny Burns and Red Hayes)
10. “Big River (Take 1)” (written by Johnny Cash)
11. “Big River (Take 2)” (written by Johnny Cash)
12. “Folsom Prison Blues” (written by Johnny Cash)
13. “Bells of Rhymney” (written by Idris Davies and Peter Seeger)
14. “Spanish is the Loving Tongue”
15. “Under Control”
16. “Ol’ Roison the Beau” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
17. “I’m Guilty of Loving You”
18. “Cool Water” (written by Bob Nolan)
19. “The Auld Triangle” (written by Brendan Francis Behan)
20. “Po’ Lazarus” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
21. “I’m a Fool for You” (Take 1)
22. “I’m a Fool for You” (Take 2)

CD 2
1. “Johnny Todd” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
2. “Tupelo” (written by John Lee Hooker)
3. “Kickin’ My Dog Around” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
4. “See You Later Allen Ginsberg (Take 1)”
5. “See You Later Allen Ginsberg (Take 2)”
6. “Tiny Montgomery”
7. “Big Dog”
8. “I’m Your Teenage Prayer”
9. “Four Strong Winds” (written by Ian Tyson)
10. “The French Girl (Take 1)” (written by Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson)
11. “The French Girl (Take 2)” (written by Ian Tyson and Sylvia Tyson)
12. “Joshua Gone Barbados” (written by Eric Von Schmidt)
13. “I’m in the Mood” (written by Bernard Besman and John Lee Hooker)
14. “Baby Ain’t That Fine” (written by Dallas Frazier)
15. “Rock, Salt and Nails” (written by Bruce Phillips)
16. “A Fool Such As I” (written by William Marvin Trader)
17. “Song for Canada” (written by Pete Gzowski and Ian Tyson)
18. “People Get Ready” (written by Curtis L Mayfield)
19. “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” (written By Donald I Robertson and Walter E Rollins)
20. “Be Careful of Stones That You Throw” (written by Benjamin Lee Blankenship)
21. “One Man’s Loss”
22. “Lock Your Door”
23. “Baby, Won’t You Be My Baby”
24. “Try Me Little Girl”
25. “I Can’t Make it Alone”
26. “Don’t You Try Me Now”

CD 3
1. “Young but Daily Growing” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
2. “Bonnie Ship the Diamond” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
3. “The Hills of Mexico” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
4. “Down on Me” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
5. “One for the Road”
6. “I’m Alright”
7. “Million Dollar Bash (Take 1)”
8. “Million Dollar Bash (Take 2)”
9. “Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Take 1)”
10. “Yea! Heavy and a Bottle of Bread (Take 2)”
11. “I’m Not There”
12. “Please Mrs. Henry”
13. “Crash on the Levee (Take 1)”
14. “Crash on the Levee (Take 2)”
15. “Lo and Behold! (Take 1)”
16. “Lo and Behold! (Take 2)”
17. “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Take 1)”
18. “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Take 2)”
19. “I Shall be Released (Take 1)”
20. “I Shall be Released (Take 2)
21. “This Wheel’s on Fire” (written by Bob Dylan and Rick Danko)
22. “Too Much of Nothing (Take 1)”
23. “Too Much of Nothing (Take 2)”

CD 4
1. “Tears of Rage (Take 1)” (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
2. “Tears of Rage (Take 2)” (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
3. “Tears of Rage (Take 3)” (written by Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel)
4. “Quinn the Eskimo (Take 1)”
5. “Quinn the Eskimo (Take 2)”
6. “Open the Door Homer (Take 1)”
7. “Open the Door Homer (Take 2)”
8. “Open the Door Homer (Take 3)”
9. “Nothing Was Delivered (Take 1)”
10. “Nothing Was Delivered (Take 2)”
11. “Nothing Was Delivered (Take 3)”
12. “All American Boy” (written by Bobby Bare)
13. “Sign on the Cross”
14. “Odds and Ends (Take 1)”
15. “Odds and Ends (Take 2)”
16. “Get Your Rocks Off”
17. “Clothes Line Saga”
18. “Apple Suckling Tree (Take 1)”
19. “Apple Suckling Tree (Take 2)”
20.”Don’t Ya Tell Henry”
21.”Bourbon Street”

CD 5
1. “Blowin’ in the Wind”
2. “One Too Many Mornings”
3. “A Satisfied Mind” (written by Joe Hayes and Jack Rhodes)
4. “It Ain’t Me, Babe”
5. “Ain’t No More Cane (Take 1)” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
6. “Ain’t No More Cane (Take 2)” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
7. “My Woman She’s A-Leavin'”
8. “Santa-Fe”
9. “Mary Lou, I Love You Too”
10. “Dress it up, Better Have it All”
11. “Minstrel Boy”
12. “Silent Weekend”
13. “What’s it Gonna be When it Comes Up”
14. “900 Miles from My Home” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
15. “Wildwood Flower” (written by A.P. Carter)
16. “One Kind Favor” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
17. “She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
18. “It’s the Flight of the Bumblebee”
19. “Wild Wolf”
20. “Goin’ to Acapulco”
21. “Gonna Get You Now”
22. “If I Were A Carpenter” (written by James Timothy Hardin)
23. “Confidential” (written by Dorina Morgan)
24. “All You Have to do is Dream (Take 1)”
25. “All You Have to do is Dream (Take 2)”

CD 6
1. “2 Dollars and 99 Cents”
2. “Jelly Bean”
3. “Any Time”
4. “Down by the Station”
5. “Hallelujah, I’ve Just Been Moved” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
6. “That’s the Breaks”
7. “Pretty Mary”
8. “Will the Circle be Unbroken” (written by A.P. Carter)
9. “King of France”
10. “She’s on My Mind Again”
11. “Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
12. “On a Rainy Afternoon”
13. “I Can’t Come in with a Broken Heart”
14. “Next Time on the Highway”
15. “Northern Claim”
16. “Love is Only Mine”
17. “Silhouettes” (written by Bob Crewe and Frank C Slay Jr.)
18. “Bring it on Home”
19. “Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies” (Traditional, arranged by Bob Dylan)
20. “The Spanish Song (Take 1)”
21. “The Spanish Song (Take 2)”

REVIEW: The Rentals – Lost In Alphaville

It feels like I’ve been waiting half my life for this album to come out. In fact, I almost have. When I first heard The Rentals’ debut album Return Of The Rentals I was about 14. That was 11 years ago. I was blown away by that album and it’s been one of my all time favourites ever since. But after their second album Seven More Minutes was released in 1999 the band seemed to drop off the radar apart from an EP in 2007 (The Last Little Life EP) and multimedia project in 2009 (Songs About Time). But finally afters year of waiting, we have a new album. I was ecstatic to say the least when the album was announced and even more excited when two tracks were released from it. It isn’t released until the 26th August but it’s able to stream online, and boy is it good.

It’s Time To Come Home starts with a tremolo guitar before launching into an incredible opening track. You immediately get the sense that this is a wonderful musical ‘sequel’ to Return Of The Rentals in terms of feel, sound and vibe. Matt Sharp sounds great on vocals and is backed up by two female singers, Jessica Wolfe and Holly Laessig. The inclusion of female singers really does stay true to the original sounds of the band, Cherielynn Westrich and the Haden sisters being the female singers on the debut album. It just sounds great on every level. Traces Of Our Tears features more of the same awesomeness (you can see where this is going). This one is more of a faster paced song than the opening track and is just as good, brimming with energy. The female vocals really shine on this one as well, as does the overall songwriting.

Stardust features some great guitar playing to open up the song along with background vocals before Matt Sharp comes in. Perfect. It’s a wonderfully produced track as well, as is the entire album. Matt Sharp did this himself with D. Sardy (Jay Z/LCD Soundsystem) mixing the tracks. Next up is 1000 Seasons, the second song to be released from the album as a teaser. This is yet another song that would fit perfectly on Return Of The Rentals especially with this gorgeous female backing vocals. Damaris is the first track on the album to feature a female voice as a lead alongside Sharp and it’s a great song with two parts to it, at least in my eyes. On one hand it features some solid guitar playing but on the other it’s quite mellow sounding, especially at the start. A modern day Rentals track right here, fantastic.

  1. It’s Time To Come Home
  2. Traces Of Our Tears
  3. Stardust
  4. 1000 Seasons
  5. Damaris
  6. Irrational Things
  7. Thought Of Sound
  8. Song Of Remembering
  9. Seven Years
  10. The Future

Irrational Things kicks off with a piano melody with guitar feedback over it before Matt Sharp comes in on vocals. Strings also feature here which adds to the whole feel of the song and gives the album another kind of dimension. What’s important to note at this point is there hasn’t been any filler tracks anywhere on the album so far, and that trend continues. What you get is nothing short of musical genius from Matt Sharp. Irrational Things is followed by the first single from the album, Thought Of Sound, a roaring song that (from experience) is a great driving song. A thunderous guitar opens the track before taking a backseat to Matt Sharp’s singing, then returning once more to full force in the huge chorus. It’s a great song, hard to argue with it being the first single. With every song that comes and goes on this album, you’re reminded of what a great band The Rentals were and still are right now. Song Of Remembering adds to that.

Seven Years and The Future round off a great album, the former straight out of the 90’s in terms of style while still retaining that modern sound and signature Rentals vibe. Seven Years is a beautiful song, especially the piano/guitar outro. Exquisite. The Future, the final song from Lost In Alphaville, is interesting to say the least. Completely different to every other song on the album, it’s an atmospheric wonderland.

I couldn’t be happier right now. This really is a great album in every single sense of the word.The songwriting from Matt Sharp is second to none, the production and musicianship is right up there as well. I can’t fault this album at all. It’s perfect. Faultless. I love it.

When I think of the Rentals I think of a number of things. Songwriting, female vocals, synths, strings. That’s just from Return Of The Rentals. This new album contains all of the same ingredients as that album does and finally brings the band into the 21st Century. Sure they’ve released an EP and multimedia project since 1999 but this cements them musically. They’re back and I hope this is the start of great things to come and the first of many more albums.

10/10

She & Him: New Album Teaser Video

She & Him have just released a teaser video with brand new audio from their next album, expected later this year. It hasn’t been that long since their last album Volume 3 was released (May 2013) but I’m not complaining! We had a three year wait between Volume 2 & 3 (not including the Christmas album released in 2011) so a new album this soon after their previous effort is music to my ears!

You can watch the teaser video right here:

No details have been announced yet regarding the albums release date and track listing but if this 45 second teaser is anything to go by it should be another great album. It’ll also be the first release since the band moved to Columbia Records.

INTERVIEW: Krista Hess

Krista Hess is an unbelievably talented musician who I recently had the pleasure to interview. She’s a great guitarist and singer and plays with the Sad Sam Blues Jam and Dear Salem.

- – – – – – – – -

Who or what got you into the blues?

When I first learned my pentatonic scales, I played them over 12 bar blues. Ever since then I was hooked.

Which blues artists have influenced you most? And how?

The most early one was Stevie Ray Vaughan when I heard him on guitar hero. The way he kind of growled and shouted when he sang really affected me in “The Sky is Crying”. Another big influence has been Joe Bonamassa. I love the way he mixes rock and classical elements into his blues.

You play with Sadie and Sam Johnson in The Sad Sam Blues Jam which is an incredible blues outfit and a very young band in terms of the ages of the members. How did you get together with them?

I was introduced to them through a friend. I ended up jamming with them and from that they asked me to sit in on one of their shows. I never stopped sitting in.

You guys recently released an EP, do you have any other plans for recordings going forward?

I’m not really aware of any upcoming recording plans with Sad Sam.

As a musician myself, I absolutely love playing live and get so many great feelings when doing so. What does playing live mean to you and how do you feel when playing?

Playing live is definitely a thrill. There is just so much energy going on from the audience and the music. Playing live is not only a way to express myself, but it’s a way to share deeply with people through music. I want to make others feel what I feel when I play.

What are your fondest musical memories?

One of my fondest memories was when I went to a Lincoln Brewster concert. Lincoln’s technical ability and soul on the guitar humbled me and gave me chills. This was the first time I really knew I wanted to play guitar for living.

What does music mean to you?

Music to me is love. Music is a universal language that should be used to connect people and draw them closer.

What drives you as a musician and songwriter?

My job is to use this amazing language with my guitar to bring others to another state of mind; to make them forget the sorrow and mundane routines of everyday life and to give them hope.

Everyone knows the very first song they learnt to play on their respective instrument, what was yours?

The first song I learned was Time of Your Life by Green Day.

Is there a song, album or artist that has been influential in the way you write and play?

Someone that really influenced me was Stevie Ray Vaughan. He really inspired me to play with that aggression and soul and I really wanted to acquire that big sound.

NEW ALBUM: The Rentals – Lost In Alphaville

It’s been 15 years since The Rentals last released a full on album (Seven More Minutes) and 19 years since their amazing debut album (Return Of The Rentals) was released. But finally we get a new album, I cannot wait one bit.

Set for release on the 26th August, two single have already been released. They are:

http://soundcloud.com/polyvinyl-records/the-rentals-thought-of-sound/

http://soundcloud.com/polyvinyl-records/the-rentals-1000-seasons

If these two tracks are anything to by, Lost In Alphaville is going to be one big return to form for the band and a great comeback album. They seemed to have regained that original sound from the debut album which is absolutely fantastic. I can’t wait!

BOOTLEG SERIES #11: Cream – Live at Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, TX 25/10/68

“Here they are! The Cream!”, says the announcer right before Cream launch into White Room. You don’t really get band announcers anymore, bands now tend to come out and start playing whenever they feel like it. But back then gigs were almost like an art form and Cream were one of the best around.

The best thing about White Room is the delicious playing by Clapton through a wah peddle. It’s infectious. In many cases during 1968 Cream opened their set with this song however you can’t help but notice the band sound a little too laid back or tired during this particular performance. Just this song though as they would pick up massively after this, starting with Sunshine Of Your Love. Sunshine Of Your Love is hands down the most well known Cream song, in fact you’d find it hard pressed to find any music fans that don’t know that gorgeous intro. It’s one of those songs that you know instantly when hearing it. The only fault here is how short this version is considering at some shows they played it for over 10 minutes, in some cases close to 20 minutes. I mean 6 minutes is probably considered long for most other bands but for Cream that’s barely any time at all! I’m So Glad comes next, a Skip James song that Cream first recorded on their debut album. It is the first song of the set where they really open up the taps and give it everything. The performance lasts just over 10 minutes and you’re reminded why Cream were considered one of the best live bands of the late 1960’s and why Clapton was nicknamed ‘God’.

Sitting On Top Of The World is by far the highlight of the show, Clapton is on another level completely here. The song featured on their third album Wheels Of Fire but the version they played live differed slightly as Clapton doesn’t play the main riff that he played on the studio version. I actually prefer that, the live version of this song is without a doubt one of the best numbers they played live during 1968 and can be heard on the Farewell Concert release recorded at the Royal Albert Hall a few months after this concert in Dallas. It’s immediately followed by Crossroads, a Robert Johnson songs which Cream (and in particular Clapton) made their own. In fact their version of Crossroads recorded live at Winterland earlier in 1968 is widely seen as the standard version. This performance here is no different. The solo is completely different to the one he played at Winterland, but he never played the same solo twice which only highlights the extensive improvisation knowledge that Clapton possessed at the time, and of course still does.

  1. White Room
  2. Sunshine Of Your Love
  3. I’m So Glad
  4. Sitting On Top Of The World
  5. Crossroads
  6. Traintime
  7. Toad
  8. Spoonful

Traintime and Toad are two songs which showcase the abilities of Bruce (Traintime) and Baker (Toad) but in both instances, you can’t help but think “overkill”. Sure it’s great hearing the abilities of both members on their instruments but listening to nearly 8 minutes of Bruce playing harmonica gets a bit tedious after a while and it’s the same with Toad which clocks in at an unbelievable 18 minutes. Especially when you compare them to Sunshine Of Your Love which barely lasted over 6 minutes. But that’s not to say I dislike these two songs, in fact I don’t. But shorter versions of these two in particular would have been better. Just these two songs. When you take a song like I’m So Glad which they went on to play for a little over 10 minutes here, that length is fantastic because all three members of the band are working together to create a musical masterpiece on the stage. But Traintime and Toad, less so. Or perhaps you just needed to be on acid at the time to fully appreciated them.

The band finish with a long version of the Willie Dixon number Spoonful, a live staple of theirs during their entire history as a band. This is a good example of what I was talking about in the previous paragraph where all three members are working together to create something fantastic. It’s not just about one member on their own, it’s the band as a whole. And they sure sound great!

Is this the best Cream performance on bootleg? No, but it captures the band at a certain point of time during their career perfectly. I’d argue that 1968 was their peak year not only in the studio with the release of Wheels Of Fire, but on stage too. This show, at least in my opinion, is one of their best shows from their final US Tour. There are a couple of shaky moments (a mistake by Clapton and Bruce during White Room) but overall it’s a show I wish I could go back in time and witness for myself. You just don’t get them like this anymore.

Top 5: Favourite Guitar Performances

eric-clapton-fender-brownie-guitar-gear-patrol

4 years ago I posted a blog entry stating my top 5 favourite electric guitar tracks. I thought it was about time I updated my list. I still love the songs I mentioned in 2010 but there have been new tracks that have blessed my ears since then, or at least songs I’ve grown to appreciate even more.

1. Got To Get Better In A Little While (live) – Derek and the Dominos

This is a song that the Dominos never recorded in the studio, at least in this live format with this structure. The band would record the song during their aborted second album sessions but it contained none of the magic featured in the live version and a completely different form. Clapton is on fire on this particular version which was played and recorded live at Fillmore East on the 23rd October 1970. When a band open a gig with a 14 minute rendition of a single song you know it’s going to be a good night. Clapton’s tone here is sublime, played on his Brownie Strat with a wah peddle giving an extra bit of texture. Talk about a tone to die for.

2. Crossroads (live) – Cream

In 1968, Cream were in blistering form. This recording is arguably one of the best live performances of all time, and in fact it’s consistently been voted one of the best. Clapton is just on fire here and the band as a unit (Jack Bruce on bass and Ginger Baker on drums) sound absolutely incredible. Talk about in the zone. The solo is improvisation at it’s best which is staggering when you listen to it a few times over. Recorded at Winterland in San Francisco on the 8th March 1968, this is without a doubt the definitive version of Crossroads. It’s a song that was originally written by Robert Johnson and even though it’s been covered by so many artists and bands over the years, THIS version is the one everyone sees as the standard.