Monday

The Archive


Welcome to the Heat Warps Archive. For current Heat Warps updates, visit our new home at theheatwarps.tumblr.com. We're still running the same sort of operation over at Tumblr, where the format is a bit more suited to brief but frequent transmissions.

There will be no new posts here at the Heat Warps Archive, though existing posts may be revised and broken links may be repaired. If you'd like a re-up, drop me a comment and I'll oblige.

-JR

Friday

Allen Toussaint

The Complete Warner Recordings - 1972-1978

Collecting 1972's Life, Love and Faith, 1975's Southern Nights and 1978's Motion, as well as a bonus disc of a complete 1975 concert, The Complete Warner Recordings is the rare compilation that serves as both highlight reel and in-depth tutorial. To call Allen Toussaint "underrated" is both fitting and a slight understatement, as though his recorded output over the past 50 years has been incredible (for those who've been keeping track), he's best known as the writer of other people's hits. Glenn Campbell made "Southern Nights" his own in his 1977 album of the same name, Bonnie Raitt used "What is Success" as the centerpiece to her 1974 Streetlights LP and just about everyone has their own version of "Working in the Coal Mine." Looking back on his string of LPs for Warner/Reprise in the mid 70s though, it's amazing Toussaint didn't hit it big in his own right. The first of the bunch, Live, Love and Faith, overflows with hits, touches on tripped out funk and, though bordering on genre exercise, manages to hold together quite nicely, but his second LP for the label, Southern Nights, is the true masterpiece. Held together by the title track, sections of which weave in and out of the LP in ghostly apparitions, Southern Nights is a classic fusion of southern soul and tasteful psychedelia in the hands of a true master - impeccably arranged from end to end and fascinating through a set of headphones. Its follow up, Motion, doesn't quite move me as do its predecessors, but I'm sure it will eventually, so it's great to have on deck. Highlights of the live set include "Last Train" and "Southern Nights," but really, it's incredible all the way through to Toussaint's closing statements.

Fela Kuti & Africa 70'

Afrodisiac - 1973

I used to think that choosing a favorite Fela album was difficult, not because one stood out from the rest, but because in doing so you're indicating that the others weren't as good. Well, forget about all that. Afrodisiac is it. Better than Gentlemen, Expensive Shit, Zombie, He Miss Road. All of em. No political agenda here, no anger directed anywhere. Just classic hard, heavy Afro-funk, super tight horns, meticulous arrangements, completely indecipherable lyrics and some particularly impressive keyboard work. Fela at his best. Do you have a favorite? Let me know about it in the comments.

Wednesday

The Beatles


The "Forgotten Abbey Road Sessions"


The title may be a bit generous, but as far as Beatlegs go, this is a fine one. Make dust over to the fine folks over at Big O Zine for one of their famous ROIOs. And they usually only leave their audio links live for a short time, so make it quick-like.

Friday

Miles Davis and the "Lost Quintet"



Miles Davis' late 1969/early 1970 performances with the "Lost Quintet" (Miles Davis (tpt); Wayne Shorter (ss, ts); Chick Corea (el-p); Dave Holland (b, el-b); Jack DeJohnette (d)) are unquestionably some of the most exciting of this long career. Named for the fact that they never recorded as a five-man lineup in the studio, and up until the 2001 release of Live At Fillmore East (March 7, 1970): It's About That Time, had never been featured on an official release, the "Lost Quintet" played an overwhelmingly important role in bridging Miles' older, more familiar material with his new electric direction. This meant that sets saw the unlikely pairing of standards like "'Round Midnight" or "I Fall In Love Too Easily" with "Bitches Brew" and "Miles Run The Voodoo Down," often segueing into one another to create a singular suite, and all overflowing with incredible intensity. A monumental task that produced amazing results. Jack DeJohnette and Chick Corea are absolutely ferocious on both of these recordings.

July 25, 1969
La Pinède, Juan-les-Pins
1. Directions
2. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down
3. Milestones
4. Footprints
5. 'Round Midnight
6. It's About That Time
7. Sanctuary/The Theme

November 3, 1969
Salle Pleyel, Paris
(First Set)

1. Directions
2. Bitches Brew
3. Paraphanalia
4. Riot
5. I Fall In Love Too Easily
5. Sanctuary
6. Miles Runs The Voodoo Down/The Theme

(Second Set)
1. Introduction
2. Bitches Brew
3. Agitation
4. I Fall In Love Too Easily
5. Sanctuary
6. Masqualero
7. It's About That Time

Sunday

Neil Young and the Ducks

Live at the Catalyst, August 22, 1977

By the latter half of the 70s, Neil Young had put his ditch days behind him, had Zuma'd up and down the California coast with Crazy Horse, and seemed pretty damn content with recording a string of laid back, though pretty inoffensive country rock LPs. Young's short run with The Ducks in the late summer of 1977 was all at once strange anomaly, a high water mark and a signpost marking a change of course. Comprised of Young, Moby Grape vocalist Bob Mosely, "Hey Hey, My My" co-author Jeff Blackburn and sometime session man Johnny Craviotto, The Ducks were quite possibly the most popular townie bar band of all time, as Young's contractual obligations with Crazy Horse specified he could only tour with them, forcing The Ducks to play all of their 22 gigs within the Santa Cruz city limits. Loaded with songwriters, the band's setlists were comprised of original material, a few tunes from each member's back catalog and a handful of covers. The shows were tight, Young seemed to enjoy his supporting role, and, in the beginning, the crowds were enthusiastic if a little awed at their strange fortune. After a few weeks the hordes of out of towners hoping to hear some classic Neil Young tunes grew exponentially, and with its secret out, Young left the group less than two months after its first gig. And though a mobile recording rig was often spotted outside the club for most of the shows, this unofficial, surprisingly clear fan recording is the only aural evidence in circulation.

Wednesday

The Who

My Generation (Deluxe) - 1965/2002

Known as The Who Sings My Generation here in the US and simply, boldly, My Generation on the band's home turf, it's damn near criminal how seldom the Who's '65 debut is listed among the all-time greats. A mere 3 of the album's 13 tracks are absolutely smoking R&B covers, a ratio which was still a rarity (take the Kinks' half and half ratio of their own debut for instance), while the remainder are classic Pete Townshend originals with such air-tight composition and delivered with such brutal potency it takes an immediate second spin to soak in what just slapped you across the face. Townshend famously said that Quadrophenia, the band's sprawling, unwieldy 1973 epic came as close to mirroring the Who's onstage ferocity as anything that came before it. I respectfully disagree. This 2002 Deluxe Edition ups the ante with a second disc of alternates, instrumentals, full-length and acapella (hey, why not) versions, but the real draw is the impeccable remastering of the original LP. Taken from the 3 track masters and offered here in true stereo for the first time, the album has noticeable variations from previous versions, including missing guitar overdubs and vocal harmonies which were added on top of the original mono mix. If you're a purist, go ahead and wrap your ears around the $1300 Brunswick first pressing you just scored on ebay. If you just want to hear a recording of the World's Greatest Rock & Roll band that sounds as if it were laid to tape last week.

Further reading: The mighty Willard posted the Deluxe Edition of Live at Leeds over at "the Boat" last week. Pay him a visit if the best live album of all eternity isn't already part of your collection. Or, just pay him a visit for the hell of it.

Friday

Beach Boys

Holland - 1973

While touring across Europe in the early 70s, the Beach Boys rolled in to their date in Holland several hours behind schedule. Arriving at dawn for a concert scheduled the previous evening, the band was amazed to discover not only that the entire crowd was still in attendance, but that they cheered louder for the band’s new material than their 60s hits. So when the time came to choose a destination other than California for recording their new LP, the choice was easy. Picking up where 1971’s Surf’s Up left off, Holland is a densely orchestrated and painstakingly recorded album by a band in the twilight of their career. Sadly, Brian Wilson’s impact here is limited -- his only contributions are the album’s opening and closing tracks, as well as the completely bizarre storybook EP Mt. Vernon and Fairway, included with first pressings of the LP and included here as bonus tracks. Thankfully, the rest of the band really steps up to make this a highlight of the band’s otherwise spotty mid 70s output. For those who've enjoyed Pacific Ocean Blue and Bamboo, Holland will be a real treat.

Saturday

The Beatles

Get Back (Final Glyn Johns Mix) - 1969

With the mountains of praise heaped upon the fab four, is it actually possible for one of their greatest innovations to go largely unnoticed? Amazingly, yes. Linking off-the-cuff performances with studio dialog, in-jokes and count-ins to emulate the effect of the album being produced in one live-in-studio setting, the Beatles' Get Back album was intended to strip the band of studio sheen it had accumulated over the past few years, and return it to its bare-bones, Cavern Club glory. But alas, the Beatles split, the Get Back concept gathered dust and Phil Spector poured over the remaining studio tapes to produce Let It Be - an odd and oddly fitting epitaph. Thanks to the passing of time and the ingenuity of the vast Beatles bootleg empire, these original Glyn Johns Get Back mixes have slowly been unearthed to illustrate how great the band's swan song could have truly been. For years I've been privy to the most widely bootlegged of the bunch, Johns' infamous 3rd mix (included on The Beatles As Nature Intended, which was posted ages ago here at the Heat Warps), however the recently discovered 4th and "final" mix trumps them all. The edits are tighter, the mix is more refined, and the flow and feel are honed to perfection here to create a document that mirrors the tone of the accompanying Let It Be film, as well as an album that breaks the myth and pulls the curtain nearly as effectively as the last hurrah of Abbey Road.

These files come courtesy of the magnificent Beatles page, The Source. They've got an overwhelming array of aural delights, information and literature, but a relatively small server to store it all on, so be gentle with their bandwidth and do the ol' Right Click + Save As.

Sunday

Faust

Faust IV + Outtakes and Alternates- 1973Because even one of the most adventurous albums of all time starts to sound "tame" after the 700th listen or so... Released as a companion disc to the 2006 reissue of Faust IV, this collection of Peel Sessions, alternate takes and full-length versions not only serves as revealing, if somewhat cockeyed look at the band's masterpiece, but holds its own against the actual album in terms of the way it still manages to sound light years ahead of its time. All told, this is hardly an odds n' sods collection. "Krautrock" is presented in its early Peel Sessions mix, which includes much of the same 7-minute psychedelic drone intro as the original but the ending features far more subdued drumming and percussion than the version that would appear on the album. The band's warped pop gems "Giggy Smile", "Sad Skinhead" and "Jennifer" are all given the "alt mix" treatment with the addition of a few stray textures that were trimmed before making it onto the LP. The unquestioned gem here however, is the unedited 10:32 version of "Just a Second (Starts Like That!)". An epic guitar head swirler which, in true Faust fashion, goes nowhere specific and everywhere else all at once. Even if you're not familiar with the original LP, this collection will turn you upside down and sideways.

Tuesday

Your Daily Dub: The Beatles


Alright, so this Daily Dub isn't really a dub at all. More of a remix with dub-like effects, but a damn good remix however you slice it. In fact, considering most Beatles "re-imaginings" fall flat on their face, this Leftside Wobble mashup of Tomorrow Never Knows and Sgt. Pepper (reprise) is a triumph...though I could do without those extraneous synth squiggles. Nothing's perfect, I suppose. Thanks to the always incredible, Feel My Bicep for this one.

Tomorrow Never Knows (Leftside Wobble Edit)

Wednesday

Roky Erickson

Psych-rock warrior Roky Erickson has a full-length collaboration with Okkervil River coming out in April. I appreciate his story a little more than I actually enjoy his music with the 13th Floor Elevators, the Aliens, et. al, but you've gotta respect an artist who's paid dis dues like Roky has. Anyone who's seen the documentary You're Gonna Miss Me can attest. Here's a short promo of him clowning around the always awesome Toy Joy here in Austin with Okkervil's Will Sheff. It's great to see the dude looking and sounding healthier than he has in years. Cheers to you, Roky.

Thursday

Your Daily Dub: Paul Simon


Who am I kidding? We all know I'll never post daily updates, but I just like the idea of posting a one off dub mix every now and again. So here ya go, the first entry in the Heat Warps' Daily Dubs series.

Diamonds Dub (Tangoterje Edit)
(click the downward-facing arrow to the right of the waveform to download)

Monday

Paul Simon

Paul Simon - 1972

Sharing many of the same qualities as Paul McCartney's first couple of post-Beatles LPs, especially those of the particularly brilliant Ram, Paul Simon's 1972 solo record maintains its homemade subtlety and deceptive simplicity 38 years and a million plus shifted units later. He dips a toe into reggae and afro pop 14 years before he'd dive head-first into it on Graceland, and even pulls in a couple of Miles' boys (Airto Moreira and Ron Carter) on a number of tracks, but the album never feels like a genre exercise thanks to a songwriter at the peak of his career paired with production that makes the whole affair sound effortless, intimate and perfectly flawed. I've steered clear of Simon, Garfunkel and Simon and Garfunkel, territory my entire life. Who knows why I decided to change course this late in the game is beyond me, though I'm glad I did. This album features a couple of huge hits in "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" and "Mother and Child Reunion", though it's even better hearing them in context. It all fits.

Ladies and Gentlemen...

...We Are (Once Again) Floating In SpaceNews has been floating around for months about the multi-disc reissue of one of my all-time favorite LPs, Spiritualized 1997 epic Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. The set includes two extra discs full of demos, a cappella and alternate versions -- including a version of Cop Shoot Cop with the subtitle of "Dr. John's National Anthem", which I imagine will be worth the cost of admission alone. Re-mixed artwork (above) as well as a recreation of the album's original blister-pack design that features each track in easily digestible 3" compact discs almost has my interest piqued enough to re-purchase an album in an antiquated format. Here's hoping it eventually makes its way to vinyl.

Thursday

Numero 33: Light: On The South Side


Friends, the inimitable Numero Group has done it again. Set for release this month, the heroes of lost and found treasures are taking pre-orders for Light: On the South Side, a massive 2 LP set of mid seventies Chicago south side soul/funk bundled with a 132 page book of B&W photos of the era. Considering this sweet hometown homage looks to be the most impressive entry in the Numero catalog - yes, even better than Belize City Boil Up and Don't Stop: Recording Tap, stone classics around the House of Heat Warp - my pre-order's already in the stack. What's more, it means I got to wrap my ears around an instant download of the whole affair while I bide my time for the box and book to arrive in a couple of weeks. This is how you run a label, folks. Check out the preview below.

Rolling Stones

The Satanic Sessions, Volumes 1 & 2 - 1967
As time has worked to dull the pain of witnessing a band so desperately nipping at the heels of Sgt. Pepper, it has also allowed for a long overdue re-examination of the Rolling Stones' most misunderstood album. Aside from containing founding member Brian Jones' last worthwhile contributions as a Stone, Their Satanic Majesties Request also marked the last, and arguably the most significant shift for a band that would morph into the world's greatest over the course of its next three albums.
Far from the cohesive, back to basics Beggars Banquet that would follow, Satanic Majesties was wildly unfocused and plagued by general period-specific themes of outer space, togetherness and mind expansion. And through use of unconventional instruments, it has been extremely difficult to determine which member(s) of the band led the sessions. Thankfully, this 2-volume box alleviates these major flaws - the entirety of this 8-disc set is comprised of the basic instrumental tracks (not a drop of hippy drippy vocals), and the multiple takes and studio chatter illustrate the specific contributions of each member.

So what's revealed here? 1) Keith Richard's guitar riffs form the structure of the majority of the album, 2) Nicky Hopkins' virtuosic keyboards make him virtually a 6th member of the band, 3) Brian Jones' Mellotron is its main psychedelic ingredient, and 4) "Jigsaw Puzzle" was originally recorded during these sessions. But that's just scratching the surface. If you're unfamiliar with the album, this set will be like entering a conversation halfway through, so get your hands on the original first. If it's already on your list of favorites, take a listen. The results are fascinating, but not for everyone. Full track list in comments.

Herbie Hancock

Man-Child - 1975

If you've been following the goings on down here at The Heat Warps for any length of time, you've no doubt caught a whiff of our serious love of Herbie Hancock's 70s output. The man was simply unstoppable from 1969 on, dropping in on an occasional session with Miles, forming the backbone of what was essentially the house band for CTI in the early part of the decade and, of course, releasing a string of deep funk and daringly experimental LPs with not one, but two legendary combos. Whew. Just thinking about the man's schedule is taxing. And while 1973's Head Hunters was (and maybe still is) the greatest selling jazz LP of all time, to mark the year as any sort of creative peak is a serious misstep. Thrust, the immediate successor to Head Hunters, grooved even harder and tighter, while 1975's Man-Child piled on the guitars (3 to be exact) and went heavy on synths to merge heavy funk with Mwandishi-style headiness. Hell, even Stevie Wonder drops in to blow some harmonica on "Steppin' In It." It could be argued that, despite being overlooked in favor of its more popular an instantly accesable predecessors, Man-Child is the culmination of everything that made Hancock's 70s LPs so impressive. Intelligent songwriting, deep grooves, tasteful instrumentation and an unmatched cast of characters. There definitely a reason it's always finding its way back to the turntable.

Tuesday

Cher w/Phil Spector

A Woman's Story/Baby, I Love You - 1975 single

A. Side: Play. Repeat.

Baby Huey

The Baby Huey Story: the Living Legegnd - 1971God only knows why I passed up this record for so long. I urge you to not make the same mistake. James Ramey, or oddly "Baby Huey", was a giant at over 400 pounds. He was a young (26 at the time of this recording) heroin addict, a disciple of Curtis Mayfield and was dead before his only LP could be completed. Inspired by Sly Stone's psych-soul, Huey and the aptly-named Babysitters, forged a similar path in the late 60s Chicago club scene. But where Sly's pre-Riot funk could be uplifting, friendly even, Huey and the Babysitters' brew was a tad darker, more heady and without a doubt, some of the heaviest funk of the era. The band's live set grabbed the attention of Curtis Mayfield, who produced their debut and donated a few tracks of his own, "Mighty Mighty", "Runnin'" and the magnificent "Hard Times". At some point during the sessions, Huey suffered a fatal heart attack in a Chicago hotel, and though Mayfield and the band trudged on and finished the record, it failed to chart and was resigned to obscurity. Nearly 40 years on, The Living Legend remains an intensely vivid snapshot of a band and a singer with no rivals, flawlessly produced and tastefully dated. It's easy to dream how far out Huey and the band could've gone from here, but its hard to imagine they'd could ever top this.

Friday

The Beatles

White Album No. 0000005

Just in time for its 40th anniversary next week, the luckiest Beatles fan in the world is auctioning off their copy of the White Album No. 0000005. Notable, of course, for the fact that the Beatles themselves own(ed) copies 0000001 - 0000004.

Notes from the auction:

Some years ago, this album was taken into the collectors shop named 'Vinyl Revival Records' in Newbury, Berkshire, England by a musician (they did not disclose who) who had visited John in the flat that he shared with Yoko in late 1968 (that was owned by Ringo) at 34 Montague Square, Marylebone, London W.1. The musician saw a pile of White Albums on a table and asked for one. John readily agreed, but said 'Don't take No.1 - I want that'. Instead he took No. 5'.

The album then passed into the hands of Beatles specialist dealer 'Good Humour' who then sold it to its current owner who has now commissioned me to sell it on his behalf.

Wednesday

Allen Toussaint

What is Success: The Scepter and Bell Recordings - 1968-70

It's hard to fathom the meager success of Allen Toussaint when considering the incredible impact he's had on music over the past 40+ years. In fact, the title of this compilation might be more fitting with a question mark at the end, but that's just getting picky. Jokes aside, this collection of tracks from Toussaint's second LP (the first under his own name) and a few singles from his days on the Bell label is a stunning example of the man's ability to crank out classic after classic tune and one of the greatest single documents of Crescent City R&B every produced. And though he's looked upon fondly for his songwriting chops, Toussaint's fingerprints are all over records by Dr. John, the Meters, Lee Dorsey and famously, the Band's Rock of Ages LP, for which he arranged the horns. Just take a peek at the liner notes - he's everywhere. So hearing Toussaint's own records is like filling in a giant void, connecting the dots on your record collection and realizing there's a giant hole in it where his LPs should be sitting.

Thursday

Herbie Hancock

Flood (Live) - 1975

Herbie Hancock was all but unstoppable at the midway point of the 1970s. Following his tenure in Miles' great quintet through the latter half of the 1960s, working with the trumpeter to lay the groundwork for jazz-fusion at the turn of the decade, spacing out and stretching the groove beyond recognition with Mwandishi and pumping out some of the most refined, sophisticated funk of all time with Headhunters, Hancock was the master. It was all his turf. On Flood, the 1975 live album he recorded with the Headhunters lineup in (of all places) the Tokyo Sun Plaza, Hancock doesn't necessarily bring anything that he hasn't brought to record before, but featuring cuts from each of his previous three LPs - all of which are stone classics - the album serves as a Headhunters-era greatest hits that proves, yes, this band really was as good as it sounds on record. Chamelion and Watermelon Man, while great, lack the fire that only comes from having performed them a few too many times, so it's the tunes from Man Child and Thrust that really smoke here. Actual proof, indeed. This two-disc set runs a shade over 74 minutes, so burn it to a single, put it in the dash and enjoy those last few days of summer.

Talking Heads

Live at the Tokyo Sun Plaza, February 27, 1981

In celebration of the upcoming release of Everything that Happens Will Happen Today, and David Byrne's subsequent and sure to be mind-blowing supporting tour, now's the ideal time to revisit some live Talking Heads at the peak of their powers. Fans of The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads will recognize a lot of the material here, as that double disc set included a number of tracks from this remarkable FM broadcast. Still, it's amazing to hear the spectacle as it unfolded on this particular night. The lineup featured here is nearly identical to the one from the Stop Making Sense concert film, but thanks in large part to the wild lead guitar of Adrian Belew, this incarnation is slithery, less muscular and far more psychedelic than the one that would appear on screen a few years later. My favorites from this show are the selections from the then-recently released Remain In Light, but the reinterpretations of the band's earlier material are all pretty incredible as well. If there's been a better band in the past 30 years, it's certainly not on my radar.

Wednesday

Manuel Göttsching

E2-E4 - 1984

After stealthily recording his first solo LP Inventions for Electric Guitar a decade earlier under the name of his former band Ash Ra Tempel, Manuel Göttsching single-handedly created the movement defining E2-E4 in a single take, albeit a heavily overdubbed one. Gliding along on a steady chug of electronics that lean closer to Kraftwerk than the house genre it all but defined, the album slowly percolates in washes of synths and gentle polyrhythms for a steady 58 minutes, peaking with Göttsching's heavily delayed guitar in the latter quarter. It's undoubtedly the intersection of krautrock and dance, and one that sounds a tad dated a couple decades on, but even though it's surface concept has been beaten to death by the glowsticked masses, its naive sense of venturing into unknown territory still translates into an intriguing, joyous listen.

Monday

Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

Live at the Haunted House - May 18, 1968
Fresh news from the fine folks over at Soul Sides: Rhino Handmade has just released a limited run of 5000 copies of Live at the Haunted House (May 18, 1968), featuring the first incarnation of the Watts 103rd, as well as a limited edition set titled Puckey Puckey: Jams and Outtakes 1970-71. Both of these sound as savory as a plate of smoked brisket, and arrive just in time for summer. Head on over to Soul Sides for the complete lowdown and a taste of the Haunted House set.

Thursday

Doug Sahm Hill


This afternoon, the Austin City Council approved the naming of Doug Sahm Hill, situated a few blocks from the former site of the Armadillo World Headquarters. It's worth noting that the hill (captured in Google Street View above) is the highest point in the lovely new Town Lake Park. Awesome.

Spider John Koerner & Willie Murphy

Running, Jumping, Standing Still - 1967

While Dylan and the Band were holed up in basement of Big Pink brewing up their response to the summer of psychedelia, Spider John Koerner was doing much of the same back in Minneapolis, and with arguably better results. Instead of eschewing any and all drippy hippie elements like his Woodstock counterparts, Spider John and barrelhouse pianist Willie Murphy carefully plucked and weaved curious harmonies, bizarre instrumentation, clever production and the finer elements of the technicolor scene into an LP that remained firmly rooted in the brilliant folk songwriting with which he'd made his name as one third of Koerner, Ray & Glover. Produced by the same Mohawk production team responsible for Dr. John's magnificent Gris-Gris LP, Running, Jumping, Standing Still is an absolute rarity; an album of incredible depth and ingenuity that has remained far enough off the radar to detract hordes of imitators, and in turn, has managed to age more elegantly than most anything of its time. Standouts include the title track and "Magazine Lady", a couple of the album's finer examples of the duo's penchant for loose grooves and patchwork time shifts, as well as the pillowy leadoff track "Good Night." An album as satisfying on its first spin as its twentieth.

Wednesday

Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band

You're So Beautiful - 1971

Following the massive one-two punch of 1969's In the Jungle Babe and Express Yourself the following year, Charles Wright and his Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band understandably began to run out of gas when it came to constructing tight, heavily orchestrated mini funk masterpieces. By the time You're So Beautiful was released in 1971, the band was frayed and loose; their uplifting soul anthems replaced by slow loping jams that bordered on despair and a general unease that drifted in an out of the grooves like an instrument in itself. If the band wasn't in tatters, it was damn close, with a number of members jumping ship throughout 1969 and 70, making the band that recorded You're So Beautiful and altogether different animal than the one that cut its two predecessors. Its easy to draw parallels to what was going on at the same time with Sly and the Family Stone, and though it doesn't quite mirror the hauntingly stark funk that became There's a Riot Goin' On, You're So Beautiful is an album that benefits heavily from a band falling apart at the seams. Loose, wearily funky and at times directionless to the point of amusement, the charm of the LP is in how good the music sounds despite it all, and how far out Charles Wright took himself and his band in just a year's time. This was to be the Watts 103rd's final album, thought Wright would continue to record solo records throughout the early part of the decade.

Thursday

Paul McCartney

Cold Cuts (Bootleg) - 1970-80

Originally planned as an official double LP comprised of one disc of hits and another of unreleased material, the Hot Hits and Cold Cuts package died on a number of occasions at the starting gate before eventually being scrapped altogether. Decades since it was initially dreamed up, the Cold Cuts portion of that project has become one of the most highly regarded and frequently traded McCartney bootlegs in existence - and for good reason. Rather than another chronologically ordered heap of poorly mixed outtakes and also-rans, Cold Cuts escapes the trappings of typical leftovers collections through thoughtful track selection and sequencing that was overseen by McCartney himself. The fact that this 12-track LP was mined from one of the most envied vaults in the history of rock music doesn't hurt either. Most of the songs here have shown up on other bootlegs throughout the years, but on Cold Cuts these misfits are presented in a way that makes them work as an album that stacks up with any in the McCartney canon. It's presented here at 192K, but it's a bootleg at the end of the day, so keep that in mind as you wrap your ears around these rare gems.

Track listing:
1. A Love for You - 1971 Ram Sessions
2. My Carnival - 1975 Venus and Mars Sessions
3. Waterspout - 1977 London Town Sessions
4. Mama's Little Girl -
1972 Red Rose Speedway Sessions
5. Night Out - 1972 Red Rose Speedway Sessions
6. Robber's Ball - 1980 Unreleased
7. Cage - 1977 Back to the Egg Sessions
8. Did We Meet Somewhere Before - 1977
9. Hey Diddle - 1970/1974 Ram/Nashville Sessions
10. Tragedy - 1972 Red Rose Speedway Sessions
11. Best Friend (live) - 1972 Intended for Red Rose Speedway
12. Same Time Next Year - 1978 Unreleased