"Prelude to 110, 220, or Chelsea Walls" - Loose Fur, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn, New York, December 13, 2002

Over on Pitchfork, I wrote a little bit about some of the hidden gems from Jeff Tweedy’s various side projects. Some good stuff. I still love those Loose Fur records — wish they would do more! Here’s a nice little rarity, which appeared as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of Born Again In The USA. It’s an epic workout from one of the few Loose Fur live performances. Totally gorgeous.  

Popol Vuh - Live 1973
Thanks to Sleeve over at Shard of Beauty for sharing this excellent recording of Popol Vuh — LIVE! Not much live stuff from Florian Fricke and co., so you totally want it. Here’s what we think we know: 
This is a soundboard recording of a live performance in 1973, probably late summer or early fall, in the church in Baumberg in Germany (which accounts for the beautiful natural reverb). My guess is that this is just Daniel Fichelscher on guitar and Florian Fricke on keyboards and vocal (and may be the first recording of Fichelscher as a member of Popol Vuh - he would become co-partner with Fricke for all subsequent Popol Vuh albums. Vocalist Djong Yun did not sing here, because she was away in America at the time. Fricke’s dissatisfaction with his vocals - heard here and on the studio album from 1973, “Seligpreisung” - would prompt him to later add another vocalist, Renate Knaup, whom he met through Fichelscher (both Fichelscher and Knaup had been members of Amon Duul II). 
Song list (all are extended versions of the following pieces from their 1973 album “Seligpreisung”): 
1)Weinen und Lachen 2)Hungern und Dursten 3)Hungern und Dursten (2nd take) 4)Willig Arm 5)Leid Klagen 6) Interview (German) 
33 minutes of music followed by a 12 minute interview, which sounds like it was recorded in a park - because they sometimes have to pause to let a truck go by.

Popol Vuh - Live 1973

Thanks to Sleeve over at Shard of Beauty for sharing this excellent recording of Popol Vuh — LIVE! Not much live stuff from Florian Fricke and co., so you totally want it. Here’s what we think we know: 

This is a soundboard recording of a live performance in 1973, probably late summer or early fall, in the church in Baumberg in Germany (which accounts for the beautiful natural reverb). My guess is that this is just Daniel Fichelscher on guitar and Florian Fricke on keyboards and vocal (and may be the first recording of Fichelscher as a member of Popol Vuh - he would become co-partner with Fricke for all subsequent Popol Vuh albums. Vocalist Djong Yun did not sing here, because she was away in America at the time. Fricke’s dissatisfaction with his vocals - heard here and on the studio album from 1973, “Seligpreisung” - would prompt him to later add another vocalist, Renate Knaup, whom he met through Fichelscher (both Fichelscher and Knaup had been members of Amon Duul II).

Song list (all are extended versions of the following pieces from their 1973 album “Seligpreisung”):

1)Weinen und Lachen
2)Hungern und Dursten
3)Hungern und Dursten (2nd take)
4)Willig Arm
5)Leid Klagen
6) Interview (German)

33 minutes of music followed by a 12 minute interview, which sounds like it was recorded in a park - because they sometimes have to pause to let a truck go by.

Leonard Bernstein :: Inside Pop

I’m reading Bob Stanley’s Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyonce and he devotes a bit of space to this 1966 documentary, which features Leonard Bernstein exploring the heady new music world of 1966 — “the year it all came together,” Stanley claims. I’ve seen clips of it, but never watched the whole thing. Let’s watch together — it’s got Frank Zappa, Graham Nash, Brian Wilson and many more! 

Here Comes The Collapsed Lung: Brian Eno Had A Very Busy 1974
The ever-reliable Dangerous Minds has a nice overview of Eno’s annus mirabilis 1974, and included a link to D&G’s Winkies compilation. Lots of good stuff over there — the radio interview is new to me, as is news of this seemingly unavailable short documentary. Someone’s gotta have it, right? As much as DM covers, they don’t even mention that in 1974 Brian also recorded the bulk of Evening Star with Robert Fripp and flew over to NYC to make the infamous Eno Demos with Television. 

Here Comes The Collapsed Lung: Brian Eno Had A Very Busy 1974

The ever-reliable Dangerous Minds has a nice overview of Eno’s annus mirabilis 1974, and included a link to D&G’s Winkies compilation. Lots of good stuff over there — the radio interview is new to me, as is news of this seemingly unavailable short documentary. Someone’s gotta have it, right? As much as DM covers, they don’t even mention that in 1974 Brian also recorded the bulk of Evening Star with Robert Fripp and flew over to NYC to make the infamous Eno Demos with Television

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – It Comes To You in a Plain Brown Wrapper (soniclovenoize reconstruction)
Beatle Bones ‘n’ Smokin’ Stones! Dig some deep Captain Beefheart audio fan fiction (or something) via the great Albums That Never Were blog. 
"This is a reconstruction of the unreleased 1968 double-album It Comes to You in a Plain Brown Wrapper by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band. Originally scrapped with half of the material re-recorded and infamously ‘psychedelicized’ for the album Strictly Personal and the other half released as 1972’s Mirror Man, this reconstruction attempts to cull all the originally intended material for the double album that was supposed to be their sophomore release, more successfully bridging the gap between 1967’s Safe As Milk and 1969’s Trout Mask Replica.”

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – It Comes To You in a Plain Brown Wrapper (soniclovenoize reconstruction)

Beatle Bones ‘n’ Smokin’ Stones! Dig some deep Captain Beefheart audio fan fiction (or something) via the great Albums That Never Were blog. 

"This is a reconstruction of the unreleased 1968 double-album It Comes to You in a Plain Brown Wrapper by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band. Originally scrapped with half of the material re-recorded and infamously ‘psychedelicized’ for the album Strictly Personal and the other half released as 1972’s Mirror Man, this reconstruction attempts to cull all the originally intended material for the double album that was supposed to be their sophomore release, more successfully bridging the gap between 1967’s Safe As Milk and 1969’s Trout Mask Replica.”

The Strangest (and Funniest) Moments From Bob Dylan and the Band’s Basement Tapes Sessions
Oh man, the Basement Tapes are one of my favorite things ever. So obviously I’m excited about the forthcoming official Basement Tapes box! In anticipation, I banged out this little thing for Pitchfork, highlighting just a few of the delightfully weird moments captured during the sessions. There may be even more of these moments to enjoy — there are a bunch of un-bootlegged tracks that the compilers have unearthed, amazingly enough.
One thing I noticed that is not included (as far as I can tell) on the official box set is a groovy little instrumental jam that appears on the Tree With Roots set. Here it is! I assume it’s not on there because Dylan himself is most likely not playing here (I think it’s Manuel on harmonica). Not earth shattering stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but I can’t get enough of that basement noise.  

The Strangest (and Funniest) Moments From Bob Dylan and the Band’s Basement Tapes Sessions

Oh man, the Basement Tapes are one of my favorite things ever. So obviously I’m excited about the forthcoming official Basement Tapes box! In anticipation, I banged out this little thing for Pitchfork, highlighting just a few of the delightfully weird moments captured during the sessions. There may be even more of these moments to enjoy — there are a bunch of un-bootlegged tracks that the compilers have unearthed, amazingly enough.

One thing I noticed that is not included (as far as I can tell) on the official box set is a groovy little instrumental jam that appears on the Tree With Roots set. Here it is! I assume it’s not on there because Dylan himself is most likely not playing here (I think it’s Manuel on harmonica). Not earth shattering stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but I can’t get enough of that basement noise.  

SUMMER OF DEAD 2014: Scarlet Begonias, 1974
Yes! The mighty Jesse Jarnow (of WFMU’s Frow Show and Big Day Coming) checks himself into the Mars Hotel. 
The Grateful Dead played “Scarlet Begonias" 28 times during 40 shows in the song’s debut year of 1974, and thank heavens they did because—and this might sound obvious—one never knows how long one is going to get to be the 1974 Grateful Dead. By autumn, the band teetered on burnout and announced a break. When they reemerged in the spring, their nimble and semi-stable quintet lineup had grown, once again featuring second drummer Mickey Hart, absent since 1971. Songs written in the meantime grew new drum parts.
Of the bummers the Grateful Dead perpetrated in the ’80s and ’90s, few seem crueler than the fate that befell “Scarlet Begonias,” transformed into a gaudy dragon-paraded calypso hullaballoo. Jerry Garcia didn’t write many songs like it, before or after, a syncopated bounce with the highly un-Garcia-like characteristic of being quite difficult to play around a campfire on an acoustic guitar. Perhaps because of its bright and straightforward lyrics, it is rarely filed with Garcia’s other complicated prog-Dead era fare, like the jazz harmonies and earthy heaviness of “Eyes of the World.” Its closest relative in the Dead songbook was “China Cat Sunflower,” a similar sunshine beacon that likewise came together around a slinky, snappy Bob Weir rhythm figure. And though “Scarlet Begonias” became one of the Dead’s most durable portable dance parties, its 1974 incarnation was a fairly delicate flower of a song, perfect in nearly every last respect.
The 1974 “Scarlet”s begin with a quick snare snap and then the band is mid-bounce, riding on a sly beat by drummer Bill Kreutzmann. His four bandmates dance around the song’s melodic shape, revealing it between punching bass leads and rich Rhodes figures. It’s a love song, both joyous and wry, replete with an even more joyous kosmik refrain. And, in 1974, the band roars into a jam that seems ready to open up and light out for deeper territories. But it never does. In the airy groove—Garcia said it was influenced by Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard”—the band found a way to move around while staying inside that crowd-pleasing bounce, a vehicle for the soaring Garcia guitar lines that paid the bills, karmically and financially. Even so, the song’s brief jams were a perfect frame for Garcia’s qwizzical qwests, jams that seemed like they could go anywhere, the perfect crossing between populist Dead boogie and head- friendly space explorations. Most of all, “Scarlet Begonias” was a song so good that even the built-in Donna Jean Godchaux vocalization was frequently low key, even pleasant, almost Karen Dalton-like.
When Mickey Hart returned to full-time duty in ‘76, the song’s percussion part grew swollen with thumpery, and “Scarlet Begonias” began its long slow-motion monster movie transfiguration, the jam soon only capable of one inevitable destination. Even throughout the stunning takes of “Scarlet Begonias” during 1977, one hears the high-strung chat-chat-chattering of the cowbell, like the pulse of a Hawaiian-shirted alien creature trying to push its way out of the song’s shell. Fuck that. We are left with these 28 unadorned 1974 versions of “Scarlet Begonias,” each with its own destiny that’s sometimes “It Must Have Been The Roses” and definitely not “Fire On the Mountain,” each one a can of sunshine ready for deployment.
Jesse Jarnow / @bourgwick

SUMMER OF DEAD 2014: Scarlet Begonias, 1974

Yes! The mighty Jesse Jarnow (of WFMU’s Frow Show and Big Day Coming) checks himself into the Mars Hotel. 

The Grateful Dead played “Scarlet Begonias" 28 times during 40 shows in the song’s debut year of 1974, and thank heavens they did because—and this might sound obvious—one never knows how long one is going to get to be the 1974 Grateful Dead. By autumn, the band teetered on burnout and announced a break. When they reemerged in the spring, their nimble and semi-stable quintet lineup had grown, once again featuring second drummer Mickey Hart, absent since 1971. Songs written in the meantime grew new drum parts.

Of the bummers the Grateful Dead perpetrated in the ’80s and ’90s, few seem crueler than the fate that befell “Scarlet Begonias,” transformed into a gaudy dragon-paraded calypso hullaballoo. Jerry Garcia didn’t write many songs like it, before or after, a syncopated bounce with the highly un-Garcia-like characteristic of being quite difficult to play around a campfire on an acoustic guitar. Perhaps because of its bright and straightforward lyrics, it is rarely filed with Garcia’s other complicated prog-Dead era fare, like the jazz harmonies and earthy heaviness of “Eyes of the World.” Its closest relative in the Dead songbook was “China Cat Sunflower,” a similar sunshine beacon that likewise came together around a slinky, snappy Bob Weir rhythm figure. And though “Scarlet Begonias” became one of the Dead’s most durable portable dance parties, its 1974 incarnation was a fairly delicate flower of a song, perfect in nearly every last respect.

The 1974 “Scarlet”s begin with a quick snare snap and then the band is mid-bounce, riding on a sly beat by drummer Bill Kreutzmann. His four bandmates dance around the song’s melodic shape, revealing it between punching bass leads and rich Rhodes figures. It’s a love song, both joyous and wry, replete with an even more joyous kosmik refrain. And, in 1974, the band roars into a jam that seems ready to open up and light out for deeper territories. But it never does. In the airy groove—Garcia said it was influenced by Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard”—the band found a way to move around while staying inside that crowd-pleasing bounce, a vehicle for the soaring Garcia guitar lines that paid the bills, karmically and financially. Even so, the song’s brief jams were a perfect frame for Garcia’s qwizzical qwests, jams that seemed like they could go anywhere, the perfect crossing between populist Dead boogie and head- friendly space explorations. Most of all, “Scarlet Begonias” was a song so good that even the built-in Donna Jean Godchaux vocalization was frequently low key, even pleasant, almost Karen Dalton-like.

When Mickey Hart returned to full-time duty in ‘76, the song’s percussion part grew swollen with thumpery, and “Scarlet Begonias” began its long slow-motion monster movie transfiguration, the jam soon only capable of one inevitable destination. Even throughout the stunning takes of “Scarlet Begonias” during 1977, one hears the high-strung chat-chat-chattering of the cowbell, like the pulse of a Hawaiian-shirted alien creature trying to push its way out of the song’s shell. Fuck that. We are left with these 28 unadorned 1974 versions of “Scarlet Begonias,” each with its own destiny that’s sometimes “It Must Have Been The Roses” and definitely not “Fire On the Mountain,” each one a can of sunshine ready for deployment.

Jesse Jarnow / @bourgwick