Bob Dylan - The Les Crane Show, February 17, 1965
Hey you guys! It’s been a wacky week, but don’t fret, there’s good stuff coming your way! First up, head over to Aquarium Drunkard for a fun little collection of the fragments Bob Dylan left on the proverbial cutting room floor during that amazing year, 1965. Five songs, five minutes! Then come back here to check out a ‘65 bonus track that is actually much longer. It’s the audio from Dylan’s appearance on the Les Crane Show. As far as I know, the video doesn’t exist. But it is a great listen — Crane and the other guests pretty much fawn over Bob. And who wouldn’t? It’s Bob Dylan in 1965, for heaven’s sake. The real gems are the two tunes Dylan plays, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding,” accompanied by session guitarist extraordinaire Bruce Langhorne. I think this is the only instance of these dudes performing live together, and it is fucking fantastic. Bringing It All Back Home wouldn’t be released until the following month, so for most viewers this would be their first time hearing these epochal numbers. Some minds were definitely blown. 

Bob Dylan - The Les Crane Show, February 17, 1965

Hey you guys! It’s been a wacky week, but don’t fret, there’s good stuff coming your way! First up, head over to Aquarium Drunkard for a fun little collection of the fragments Bob Dylan left on the proverbial cutting room floor during that amazing year, 1965. Five songs, five minutes! Then come back here to check out a ‘65 bonus track that is actually much longer. It’s the audio from Dylan’s appearance on the Les Crane Show. As far as I know, the video doesn’t exist. But it is a great listen — Crane and the other guests pretty much fawn over Bob. And who wouldn’t? It’s Bob Dylan in 1965, for heaven’s sake. The real gems are the two tunes Dylan plays, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding,” accompanied by session guitarist extraordinaire Bruce Langhorne. I think this is the only instance of these dudes performing live together, and it is fucking fantastic. Bringing It All Back Home wouldn’t be released until the following month, so for most viewers this would be their first time hearing these epochal numbers. Some minds were definitely blown. 

Have A Look: The Pathways, 1997-2007 
RE-UPPED BY OVERWHELMING POPULAR DEMAND! As a follow-up to that Winter Vacation post earlier this week, here’s a career-spanning (so far?) compilation of music from one of my favorite bands, The Pathways, in case you missed it a few years back. I liked this band so much that back in the summer of 1999, I weaseled my way into its ranks as bassist. Magical, innocent days, although the complex and often painful hazing rituals involved in joining the band are something I still can’t quite bring myself to talk about. But enough about me! This is about The Pathways.
The band has gone through various lineups over the years, but it’s always been centered around the songwriting of David Yourdon and Evan Kindley, a combo that started as a sweet/sour kinda thing, but as the years went by got a bit more complicated than that. Life, you know?
On some tracks you’ll hear the influence of The Go-Betweens, Pavement, Orange Juice, The Wedding Present and others, but what initially impressed me about The Pathways was that Kindley and Yourdon had found a singular sound of their own from the very beginning. They both have an knack for unusual hooks, clever lyrics and endlessly inventive arrangements. A big part of the sound, it should be noted, was Peter Shanel’s drumming on all but one of the band’s releases — he’s always playing cool, swinging and unpredictable stuff, and it was super-fun to follow along with him when I was fumbling around on bass. And we should mention the skills of bassist Leo Goldsmith and drummer Michael Dempsey as well! Good dudes! Maybe I should’ve called this comp Good Dudes. 
Over 10 years or so, The Pathways put out four albums, plus an EP, and they were all excellent. Give this overview a listen. I think you — yeah, you! — will like it.

Have A Look: The Pathways, 1997-2007 

RE-UPPED BY OVERWHELMING POPULAR DEMAND! As a follow-up to that Winter Vacation post earlier this week, here’s a career-spanning (so far?) compilation of music from one of my favorite bands, The Pathways, in case you missed it a few years back. I liked this band so much that back in the summer of 1999, I weaseled my way into its ranks as bassist. Magical, innocent days, although the complex and often painful hazing rituals involved in joining the band are something I still can’t quite bring myself to talk about. But enough about me! This is about The Pathways.

The band has gone through various lineups over the years, but it’s always been centered around the songwriting of David Yourdon and Evan Kindley, a combo that started as a sweet/sour kinda thing, but as the years went by got a bit more complicated than that. Life, you know?

On some tracks you’ll hear the influence of The Go-Betweens, Pavement, Orange Juice, The Wedding Present and others, but what initially impressed me about The Pathways was that Kindley and Yourdon had found a singular sound of their own from the very beginning. They both have an knack for unusual hooks, clever lyrics and endlessly inventive arrangements. A big part of the sound, it should be noted, was Peter Shanel’s drumming on all but one of the band’s releases — he’s always playing cool, swinging and unpredictable stuff, and it was super-fun to follow along with him when I was fumbling around on bass. And we should mention the skills of bassist Leo Goldsmith and drummer Michael Dempsey as well! Good dudes! Maybe I should’ve called this comp Good Dudes

Over 10 years or so, The Pathways put out four albums, plus an EP, and they were all excellent. Give this overview a listen. I think you — yeah, you! — will like it.

Lambchop - Fabrik, Hamburg, Germany, May 18, 2000

Incoming! Those beautiful people at Merge Records are reissuing Lambchop’s magnificent Nixon this month. A great fucking record, if I do say so myself, now supplemented with an excellent little Kurt Wagner solo session that is worth the price of admission alone. Get psyched by watching this complete performance from the Nixon tour, when Lambchop’s “big band” was opening for Yo La Tengo. And hey, you can totally watch the full Yo La Tengo set, too, which features various Lambchoppers guesting throughout. Especially good is the pummeling version of the Fugs’ “Group Grope” in the encore section. Magical times. 

The Grateful Dead - Utica Memorial Coliseum, Utica, New York, January 14, 1979
Heyyy, it’s totally my birthday today. In honor of this momentous occasion, I thought I would see what the Grateful Dead were up to on the very day of my birth all the way back in 1979. Lo and behold, they were playing a show in Utica. So let’s listen to it! Pretty good setlist, right at the end of the Godchaux era. Indeed, an eyewitness reports: “They were mid-way through the first set when Keith woke up from his keyboard and staggered over to where Donna was standing and popped a balloon right behind Donna’s head. She turned around and smacked Keith across the face and walked off. It was a terrible show.” Bad vibes, man! 

The Grateful Dead - Utica Memorial Coliseum, Utica, New York, January 14, 1979

Heyyy, it’s totally my birthday today. In honor of this momentous occasion, I thought I would see what the Grateful Dead were up to on the very day of my birth all the way back in 1979. Lo and behold, they were playing a show in Utica. So let’s listen to it! Pretty good setlist, right at the end of the Godchaux era. Indeed, an eyewitness reports: “They were mid-way through the first set when Keith woke up from his keyboard and staggered over to where Donna was standing and popped a balloon right behind Donna’s head. She turned around and smacked Keith across the face and walked off. It was a terrible show.” Bad vibes, man! 

Winter Vacation - Blue Coaching
Recommended! Winter Vacation is David Yourdon’s excellent one-man band. Safe to say not many people have heard this stuff, but the last Winter Vacation album (recorded a few years back) popped up on Bandcamp recently, and I think you’ll like it. Blue Coaching is dreamy, slightly lo-fi bedroom pop, filled with sharp songwriting, clever arrangements and wistful lyrics. Click the link above and check it out. 

Winter Vacation - Blue Coaching

Recommended! Winter Vacation is David Yourdon’s excellent one-man band. Safe to say not many people have heard this stuff, but the last Winter Vacation album (recorded a few years back) popped up on Bandcamp recently, and I think you’ll like it. Blue Coaching is dreamy, slightly lo-fi bedroom pop, filled with sharp songwriting, clever arrangements and wistful lyrics. Click the link above and check it out. 

Rhys Chatham - Harmonie du soir
A late 2013 release that may have slipped under your radar! This one is so great, a sturm-und-clang masterpiece from Chatham, a longtime fixture on the avant garde scene. The 20-minute title track is a dream come true, magically mixing a thrilling “Marquee Moon” vibe with a rigorous minimalist work ethic. The result is transcendent, with guitars chiming their way to the heavens. You heard me. I’d point you in the direction of samples, but Harmonie du soir is a ridiculous bargain over at Amazon mp3 — just $2.89 for the whole thing. So you have no excuse. Go get it. 

Rhys Chatham - Harmonie du soir

A late 2013 release that may have slipped under your radar! This one is so great, a sturm-und-clang masterpiece from Chatham, a longtime fixture on the avant garde scene. The 20-minute title track is a dream come true, magically mixing a thrilling “Marquee Moon” vibe with a rigorous minimalist work ethic. The result is transcendent, with guitars chiming their way to the heavens. You heard me. I’d point you in the direction of samples, but Harmonie du soir is a ridiculous bargain over at Amazon mp3 — just $2.89 for the whole thing. So you have no excuse. Go get it. 

The Velvet Underground - The Boston Tea Party, Boston, MA, January 10, 1969
I’ve certainly directed you to this show several times over the years, but hey! It’s the 45th ANNIVERSARY! 45 years ago TODAY! Wow. So let’s all listen to the tape together. The Holy Modal Rounders opened the three-night stand. Here are Peter Stampfel’s recollections (probably of the Jan. 9 show):
"We hadn’t had a chance to rehearse in six weeks or something like that, and [bassist] John [Wesley Annas] was deeply wired on amphetamine from driving [to the gig]. And we were really shitty; we did one of our crappiest gigs from a musical standpoint. Somehow or other, we had a whole bunch of toilet paper on stage, so we started hurling rolls of toilet paper to the audience, holding onto the ends so of course it would trail. And that was fun, it seemed to go over pretty well. Better than the music! The Velvets on the other hand, were great. They did an absolutely killer set. It was the first time I’d seen them live, and they did ‘Rock & Roll," the one about the girl who heard the New York station, etc. This is before Loaded came out. I [had] never heard the song before, and besides knocking me out, I could understand all the words of the song. It was really great to hear a new, loud rock & roll song, and have all the words. I was, like, doubly delighted by that … Afterward, I wanted to go up and say hello to Lou Reed since I really liked the Velvets, and wanted to pay my respects. Annas grabbed me — John’s like six-foot-five — put me over his shoulder and threw me upside down, and [said] ‘Don’t bother him! Don’t bother him!’”
1. Heroin (8:25) 2. Move Right In (4:46) 3. I’m Set Free (4:37) 4. Run Run Run (7:49) 5. Waiting For The Man (8:56) 6. What Goes On (4:29) 7. I Can’t Stand It (6:18) 8. Candy Says (4:46) 9. Beginning To See The Light (5:49) 10. White Light/White Heat (5:42) 11. Pale Blue Eyes (6:27) 12. Sister Ray (21:23)

The Velvet Underground - The Boston Tea Party, Boston, MA, January 10, 1969

I’ve certainly directed you to this show several times over the years, but hey! It’s the 45th ANNIVERSARY! 45 years ago TODAY! Wow. So let’s all listen to the tape together. The Holy Modal Rounders opened the three-night stand. Here are Peter Stampfel’s recollections (probably of the Jan. 9 show):

"We hadn’t had a chance to rehearse in six weeks or something like that, and [bassist] John [Wesley Annas] was deeply wired on amphetamine from driving [to the gig]. And we were really shitty; we did one of our crappiest gigs from a musical standpoint. Somehow or other, we had a whole bunch of toilet paper on stage, so we started hurling rolls of toilet paper to the audience, holding onto the ends so of course it would trail. And that was fun, it seemed to go over pretty well. Better than the music! The Velvets on the other hand, were great. They did an absolutely killer set. It was the first time I’d seen them live, and they did ‘Rock & Roll," the one about the girl who heard the New York station, etc. This is before Loaded came out. I [had] never heard the song before, and besides knocking me out, I could understand all the words of the song. It was really great to hear a new, loud rock & roll song, and have all the words. I was, like, doubly delighted by that … Afterward, I wanted to go up and say hello to Lou Reed since I really liked the Velvets, and wanted to pay my respects. Annas grabbed me — John’s like six-foot-five — put me over his shoulder and threw me upside down, and [said] ‘Don’t bother him! Don’t bother him!’”

1. Heroin (8:25)
2. Move Right In (4:46)
3. I’m Set Free (4:37)
4. Run Run Run (7:49)
5. Waiting For The Man (8:56)
6. What Goes On (4:29)
7. I Can’t Stand It (6:18)
8. Candy Says (4:46)
9. Beginning To See The Light (5:49)
10. White Light/White Heat (5:42)
11. Pale Blue Eyes (6:27)
12. Sister Ray (21:23)

Amiri Baraka’s Jihad Records
Poet/playwright/critic/activist Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones) passed away yesterday. The man contained the proverbial multitudes, but I know him primarily for his passionate writing about jazz and blues music — his Blues People book is an essential read. Baraka saw music as a true consciousness-changer, and he put his money where his mouth was in the late 1960s when he founded Jihad Records. The label put out three records, which you can read about and listen to over on the mighty Nothing Is blog. Musicians involved include Don Cherry, Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray, Sun Ra and many more. 

Amiri Baraka’s Jihad Records

Poet/playwright/critic/activist Amiri Baraka (aka LeRoi Jones) passed away yesterday. The man contained the proverbial multitudes, but I know him primarily for his passionate writing about jazz and blues music — his Blues People book is an essential read. Baraka saw music as a true consciousness-changer, and he put his money where his mouth was in the late 1960s when he founded Jihad Records. The label put out three records, which you can read about and listen to over on the mighty Nothing Is blog. Musicians involved include Don Cherry, Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray, Sun Ra and many more. 

"He May Call You Up Tonight" - Richard & Linda Thompson with the Albion Country Band, Uxbridge, UK, October 27, 1972
Head over to Aquarium Drunkard for Sandy Denny and Linda Thompson’s gorgeous rendition of “When Will I Be Loved” — the very best Everly Brothers cover of all time. All time! Here’s another little rarity from around the same time period: Richard & Linda guesting with the Albion Country Band in 1972, covering The Left Banke’s “She May Call You Up Tonight” (with a little gender reversal in the lyrics, just like the Everly tune). Not the best quality recording, but not too shabby — it’s a great, kinda Byrdsian arrangement of a fantastic pop tune. I think Richard occasionally breaks this song out live from time to time in the 21st century. 

"He May Call You Up Tonight" - Richard & Linda Thompson with the Albion Country Band, Uxbridge, UK, October 27, 1972

Head over to Aquarium Drunkard for Sandy Denny and Linda Thompson’s gorgeous rendition of “When Will I Be Loved” — the very best Everly Brothers cover of all time. All time! Here’s another little rarity from around the same time period: Richard & Linda guesting with the Albion Country Band in 1972, covering The Left Banke’s “She May Call You Up Tonight” (with a little gender reversal in the lyrics, just like the Everly tune). Not the best quality recording, but not too shabby — it’s a great, kinda Byrdsian arrangement of a fantastic pop tune. I think Richard occasionally breaks this song out live from time to time in the 21st century. 

Lesa Aldridge - Barbarian Women in Rock EP
We were talking recently about weird times in Memphis, TN. But I’m beginning to think that maybe all times are weird times in Memphis. To wit, this rare, three-song 1978 EP by Alex Chilton’s then-girlfriend/muse Lesa Aldridge. It’s a strange thing, consisting of a Kinks cover (“‘Til The End Of The Day,” utilizing the same backing track from Big Star’s Third), a VU cover (“That’s The Story Of My Life,” which appeared on the OOP It Came From Memphis soundtrack CD) and a hilariously ramshackle version of “Twist & Shout.” Fun stuff and a cool little side note to Chilton’s late 70s activities. Slot it next to Like Flies On Sherbert in your Memphis Madness collection. [Thanks to Jesse for the heads-up on this one]

Lesa Aldridge - Barbarian Women in Rock EP

We were talking recently about weird times in Memphis, TN. But I’m beginning to think that maybe all times are weird times in Memphis. To wit, this rare, three-song 1978 EP by Alex Chilton’s then-girlfriend/muse Lesa Aldridge. It’s a strange thing, consisting of a Kinks cover (“‘Til The End Of The Day,” utilizing the same backing track from Big Star’s Third), a VU cover (“That’s The Story Of My Life,” which appeared on the OOP It Came From Memphis soundtrack CD) and a hilariously ramshackle version of “Twist & Shout.” Fun stuff and a cool little side note to Chilton’s late 70s activities. Slot it next to Like Flies On Sherbert in your Memphis Madness collection. [Thanks to Jesse for the heads-up on this one]

Neil Young at Carnegie Hall, 1970 and 1973
This early 2014 run of shows at Carnegie Hall is, of course, not the first time Neil has played the famed venue. But it’s been awhile! He visited Carnegie for the first time in late 1970, playing a solo acoustic set that actually shares plenty of tunes with the set he played last night. The recording is not fantastic, but the performance is stellar. A couple years later, Neil returned with the Stray Gators in tow for an excellent Time Fades Away-era show. This audience recording is actually fairly solid, and the set features some great rarities, including “Cripple Creek Ferry,” “Soldier,” an acoustic “LA” and an electric “New Mama.” Enjoy! [These links are just unbroken mp3s, FYI]. 
December 5, 1970
Down By The River / Cinnamon Girl / I Am A Child / Expecting To Fly / The Loner / Wonderin’ / Helpless / Southern Man / Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing / On The Way Home / Tell Me Why / Only Love Can Break Your Heart / Old Man / After The Gold Rush / Flying On The Ground Is Wrong / Don’t Let It Bring You Down / Cowgirl In The Sand / Birds / Bad Fog Of Loneliness / Ohio / See The Sky About To Rain / Sugar Mountain
January 21, 1973
Cripple Creek Ferry / Here We Are In The Years / LA / Soldier / Out On The Weekend / Old Man / Heart Of Gold / The Loner / Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere / Time Fades Away / New Mama / Alabama / Don’t Be Denied / Cinnamon Girl / Lookout Joe / Southern Man / Last Dance / Are You Ready For The Country?

Neil Young at Carnegie Hall, 1970 and 1973

This early 2014 run of shows at Carnegie Hall is, of course, not the first time Neil has played the famed venue. But it’s been awhile! He visited Carnegie for the first time in late 1970, playing a solo acoustic set that actually shares plenty of tunes with the set he played last night. The recording is not fantastic, but the performance is stellar. A couple years later, Neil returned with the Stray Gators in tow for an excellent Time Fades Away-era show. This audience recording is actually fairly solid, and the set features some great rarities, including “Cripple Creek Ferry,” “Soldier,” an acoustic “LA” and an electric “New Mama.” Enjoy! [These links are just unbroken mp3s, FYI]. 

December 5, 1970

Down By The River / Cinnamon Girl / I Am A Child / Expecting To Fly / The Loner / Wonderin’ / Helpless / Southern Man / Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing / On The Way Home / Tell Me Why / Only Love Can Break Your Heart / Old Man / After The Gold Rush / Flying On The Ground Is Wrong / Don’t Let It Bring You Down / Cowgirl In The Sand / Birds / Bad Fog Of Loneliness / Ohio / See The Sky About To Rain / Sugar Mountain

January 21, 1973

Cripple Creek Ferry / Here We Are In The Years / LA / Soldier / Out On The Weekend / Old Man / Heart Of Gold / The Loner / Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere / Time Fades Away / New Mama / Alabama / Don’t Be Denied / Cinnamon Girl / Lookout Joe / Southern Man / Last Dance / Are You Ready For The Country?

"Needle of Death" (Bert Jansch) - Neil Young, January 6, 2014, Carnegie Hall, New York City

Shakey kicked off a four-night stand at Carnegie Hall last night, playing two solo acoustic sets. A solid setlist, if I do say so myself. In terms of surprises, this Bert Jansch cover is probably the biggest. It’s the first time he’s played it as far as I know, though Neil’s long had an affinity for “Needle of Death,” claiming that he unconsciously nicked the melody way back when for his own “Ambulance Blues.” Rumor has it that the song will be a part of an upcoming covers record (probably including other tunes he’s been playing in the past few months by Gordon Lightfoot, Phil Ochs, Tim Hardin and Bob Dylan). We shall see! 

In Prague: Live 1995
A highlight of the Neverending Tour — Bob’s three-night stand in Prague during the spring of ‘95. He was down with the flu just hours before the first show, but apparently the flu helps the guy put on an amazing performance. The great Dylan boot blog Thousand Highways has put together this comp of the best moments from these gigs, very much worth your time, even if you haven’t delved deeply into Dylan in the 90s. The “Shelter From The Storm” here is breathtaking, a longtime favorite of mine. Just the first 30 or so seconds are up there with anything Bob has ever done. 

In Prague: Live 1995

A highlight of the Neverending Tour — Bob’s three-night stand in Prague during the spring of ‘95. He was down with the flu just hours before the first show, but apparently the flu helps the guy put on an amazing performance. The great Dylan boot blog Thousand Highways has put together this comp of the best moments from these gigs, very much worth your time, even if you haven’t delved deeply into Dylan in the 90s. The “Shelter From The Storm” here is breathtaking, a longtime favorite of mine. Just the first 30 or so seconds are up there with anything Bob has ever done.