Zappa Chronology

11-29-12        Zappa Chronology

John Mayall born 1933

As some of you will be aware, The Zappa Family Trust has allowed Universal Music to re-issue dozens of titles previously only available on Rykodisc.  In some cases, they went back to the original analogue masters and allowed DSD transfers of master tapes to be given to ‘top guys’ in the field of mastering / re-mastering.  Fans rejoiced as the LP mix of “Hot Rats” finally made it to the digital platform!

Not all wrongs were righted, however.  The ‘vinyl mix’ of “Uncle Meat” has still never been on CD.  “Mothermania” (the oldest ‘best of’, Verve material!) has yet to see the light of day, as a 2012 re-master (despite it being assigned a number in the master list, from the ZFT from 2007).  Looks like a digital master was used for “Live at The Roxy (& Elsewhere)”, not an analogue master.  Etc.

As far as a “Chronology” goes, the ZFT are using release dates, not recording dates.  How to untangle this mess?  Zappa Wiki Jawaka, has a ‘solution’, as such.  To get us from post-‘Apostrophe’/’Roxy & Elsewhere’ up to ‘Zoot Allures’, you can ‘order’ the albums in this way:

…which doesn’t answer the question:  “Lather” supersedes, yet includes “Studio Tan” and “Sleep Dirt” – how to ‘order’ this material?  Excluding live shows, what if I wanted to track his studio work from late ’74 up to ’76?  “One Size Fits All” and…?

Bob Dylan’s 100 Best Songs

11-28-12        Bob Dylan’s100 Best Songs

Randy Newman born 1943; on 11-28-70 Bob Dylan’s “New Morning” LP was No. 1 in England.

Bob Dylan!

To coincide with his newest album “Tempest”, Japanese magazine Record Collectors Magazine recently ran an article called (approximately) “Bob Dylan’s 100 Best Songs”.

  1. Like A Rolling Stone (from “Highway 61 Revisited”)
  2. Just Like A Woman (from “Blonde on Blonde”)
  3. Subterranean Homesick Blues (from “Bringing It All Back Home”)
  4. Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright (from “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”)
  5. I Want You (from “Blonde on Blonde”)
  6. Tangled Up In Blue (from “Blood On The Tracks”)
  7. Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again (from “Blonde on Blonde”)
  8. Blowin’ In The Wind (from “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”)
  9. All Along The Watchtower (from “John Wesley Harding”)
  10.   I Shall Be Released (from “Greatest Hits, Vol. 2”)

So, three tracks from “Blonde on Blonde”?  Some famous ones here; it seems to me that “All Along The Watchtower” is here because of the Jimi Hendrix version?  It’s definitely not the strongest track on “John Wesley Harding”!  Interesting, too – only one 70’s track!

Some of my favorite Dylan songs have a lower ranking than the Top 10:  “Desolation Row” (#16), “Maggie’s Farm” (#23), “Rainy Day Women #12 & #35” (#30), “Ballad of a Thin Man” (#31), “Positively 4th Street” (#32), “Tears of Rage” (co-written with Richard Manuel of The Band) (#37), “Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)” (#47), “This Wheel’s On Fire” (co-written with Rick Danko of The Band) (#53), “Can You Please Crawl Out You Window?” (#54), “Masters Of War” (#82), and “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” (#98).  And, of course, they missed a few good ones altogether.

I’ve been listening to Bob Dylan for over 45 years, folks.  I come and go, with this artist.  Sometimes, I go for a few years and don’t listen to much, other years – I binge on his output.  Bob’s been part of the circus for decades now.  And he still walks the Earth!

I have never troubled my organizational skills to try and put together my list of his best songs, ‘cause I feel that it’s up to any individual listener to determine this.  It’s neat that a Japanese magazine did a list, because that gives us an insight into how he’s perceived globally.

I saw him live once; I went to his museum exhibition at the Skirball Center in L.A.; I bought all of his SA-CD’s (even the albums I am less sure of); “The Basement Tapes” is one of my favorite all-time albums.

Jimi Hendrix

11-27-12        Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix born 1942; Tina Turner born 1939; on 11-27-71 “Top Of The Pops Vol. 20” Various Artists LP was No. 1 in England.

As a youth, I was very interested in The Jimi Hendrix Experience.  I heard “Foxy Lady” on the radio, and, quite frankly, it didn’t sound like anything else I had ever heard.  You can find your own truth about the work of Jimi Hendrix, but somewhere in there, it’s possibly he was an alchemist of the electric guitar.  Simply, nobody else even comes close – to the whole package.  He could write, sing…and play the guitar!

So, always sort of interesting that his catalogue was so badly mis-handled for so many years, by his own ‘estate’.  CD’s got issued that sounded bad; many LP’s were issued that didn’t seem to have much to do with Hendrix at all.  Guess the family took an interest (when the bucks got interesting enough) and got Eddie Kramer involved, finally.

I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Eddie Kramer, a year or two ago, via an invitation to his studio by Mr. Pete Brown, the Cream lyricist.  I never knew that Mr. Kramer was from South Africa; he’s a perfectly polite and reasonably individual!  He also engineered some of my favorite records on Earth, including most (if not all) of the best Jimi Hendrix Experience albums.

With Kramer on board, I got the 3 x CD + DVD releases of “Are You Experienced?”, “Axis: Bold As Love” and “Electric Ladyland”.  I watched the short segments on all 3 x DVD’s, about the making of these records – not bad.  Off of the top of my head, I would say that these are the best sounding CD’s of the best work of Jimi Hendrix, however…

When I played the “Are You Experienced?” CD + DVD set recently, I noticed that they used what I consider to be the wrong version of “Red House”; they certainly didn’t use the version from the original Track Record UK mono LP!  On the positive side, I believe “Can You See Me?” is in stereo (for the first time?).  Not 100% of everything on the “Are You Experienced?” CD + DVD sounded exactly like the original LP, but it was mostly ‘correct’, and what one expects – when the original engineer is involved.

I really should give these sets a closer listen.  It has always bugged me that ‘fake stereo’ versions of Hendrix material exists where ‘real stereo’ versions exist.  One notable exception is the track “Stone Free”; most of us first heard this great track when the original “Smash Hits” LP was released in the US; by then, the song was already swimming in reverb.  Ever heard this killer track in mono?  AMAZING!

The work of Mr. Hendrix continues to beguile listeners of all ages, and rightfully so.  It was neat stuff then, and it’s neat stuff now.  The synergy of the combination of those three men was something very special.  Mr. Kramer knows how it should sound, and I’m sure he does the best with what is made available to him, when preparing releases for the Experience Hendrix folks.

Marianne Faithfull

11-26-12        Marianne Faithfull

Percy Sledge born 1940; Etta James born 1928; on 11-25-72 Chuck Berry “My Ding-A-Ling” was No. 1 in England; on 11-23-74 Elton John “Greatest Hits” LP was No. 1 in England; on 11-26-77 Bread “The Sound of Bread” (‘best of’) LP was No. 1 in England.  11-24-79 Marianne Faithfull “Broken English” LP charted at No. 57 in England.

Really rather difficult to keep straight all the latter day releases by Marianne Faithfull; some have multiple versions, too – 2CD versions, ltd. releases etc.  I was never particularly bothered by her 60’s output, but I do keep a “Best of” from that era.  Mostly, I like her initial trio of albums for Island Records…

12″               (BALLAD OF) LUCY JORDAN                                                                            ISLAND DE              600.191

1979 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7″                 (BALLAD OF) LUCY JORDAN / BRAIN DRAIN (PS)                                      ISLAND UK              WIP 6491

1979 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

12″               AS TEARS GO BY                                                                                                 ISLAND UK              12IS 323

1987 3 TRKS with pic sleeve

CD                BEFORE THE POISON                                                                                       ANTI US                    86732.2

2004 10 TRKS Nick Cave, P.J. Harvey etc.

CD                BLAZING AWAY                                                                                                    ISLAND UK              IMCD 207

1990 13 TRKS Live (842794.2)

LP                BLAZING AWAY promo-only                                                                               ISLAND US              PR 794.1

1990 6 TRKS Live, promo, press kit

12″               BLUE MILLIONAIRE (Long Version) / (Album version) promo-only           ISLAND US              DMD 627

1983 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

7″                 BLUE MILLIONAIRE / MORNING COME (PS)                                                 ISLAND DE              105.528

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve, promo

LP                BROKEN ENGLISH                                                                                             ISLAND US              ILPS 9570

1979 8 TRKS 1st Island album

12″               BROKEN ENGLISH (UK) (12″)                                                                          ISLAND UK              12WIP 6542

1980 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

12″               BROKEN ENGLISH (UK) (12″) re-issue                                                          ISLAND UK              12MF 100

1982 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

12″               BROKEN ENGLISH (US) (12″)                                                                          ANTILLES US          AN 801

1979 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7″                 BROKEN ENGLISH / BRAIN DRAIN                                                                 ISLAND US              IS 49121

1979 2 TRKS no pic sleeve

7″                 BROKEN ENGLISH / SISTER MORPHINE (PS)                                            ISLAND UK              MF 100

1982 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

CD                BROKEN ENGLISH / STRANGE WEATHER (2-on-1 MFSL Gold disc)     MOBILE FIDELITY   UDCD 640

1979/87 20 TRKS 2 on 1, MFSL Gold Disc

7″                 BROKEN ENGLISH / WHAT’S THE HURRY (PS)                                          ISLAND FR               6010 178

1980 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7″                 BROKEN ENGLISH / WHAT’S THE HURRY (PS) orig                                  ISLAND UK              WIP 6542

1980 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7″                 BROKEN ENGLISH / WHY’D YA DO IT (PS)                                                   ISLAND DE              101.249

1980 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

CD                CHILD’S ADVENTURE, A                                                                                   ISLAND US              90066.2

1983 8 TRKS

LP                CHILD’S ADVENTURE, A                                                                                   ISLAND US              90066.1

1983 8 TRKS 3rd Island album

CD                COLLECTION OF HER BEST RECORDINGS, A                                           ISLAND US              524004.2

1994 11 TRK Collection

CD                DANGEROUS ACQUAINTENCES                                                                    ISLAND UK              IMCD 205

1981 9 TRKS 2nd Island album (842483.2)

LP                DANGEROUS ACQUAINTENCES                                                                    ISLAND US              ILPS 9648

1981 9 TRKS 2nd Island album

7″                 FOR BEAUTY’S SAKE / INTRIGUE (PS)                                                          ISLAND JPN            7S-67

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

CD                GREATEST HITS                                                                                                  ABKCO US               7547.2

1987 16 TRK Collection

CD                KISSIN TIME                                                                                                          VIRGIN US               12009.2

2002 11 TRKS Etienne Daho, CD-only release?

CD                MILLENNIUM COLLECTION                                                                              ISLAND US              B0001146.2

2003 11 TRK Collection

7″                 RUNNING FOR OUR LIVES / SHE’S GOT A PROBLEM (PS)                      ISLAND UK              IS 105

1983 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7″                 RUNNING FOR OUR LIVES promo                                                                 ISLAND US              7-99888

1983 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

CD                SECRET LIFE, A                                                                                                   ISLAND US              524096.2

1995 10 TRKS CD-only release?

CD5              SEX WITH STRANGERS                                                                                    HUT UK                    HUTCD 147

2002 3 TRK CD Single CD5

LP                STRANGE WEATHER                                                                                         ISLAND US              90613.1

1987 12 TRKS 4th Island album

7″                 SWEETHEART / OVER HERE  (PS)                                                                 ISLAND UK              WIP 6752

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7″                 SWEETHEART / STRANGE ONE (PS)                                                             ISLAND JPN            7S-55

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7″                 SWEETHEART / STRANGE ONE (PS)                                                             ISLAND NL               103.594

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7″                 TENDERNESS / OVER HERE (PS)                                                                  ISLAND NL               103.877

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

CD                TROUBLE IN MIND (O.S.T.)                                                                               ANTILLES US          90501.2

1986 17 TRKS O.S.T., V.A.

LP                TROUBLE IN MIND (O.S.T.)                                                                               ISLAND V.A. US       90501.1

1986 17 TRKS O.S.T., V.A.

CD                VAGABOND WAYS                                                                                               IT UK                         ITRCD 1

1999 10 TRKS CD-only release?

Time Machine (Strange Days)

11-22-12        Strange Days – Time Machine


Today’s Strange Days magazine Time Machine is from September, 1972.  As you will recall, my Phonolog sheets mysteriously stop during October, 1972 – so I’m really going to start enjoying the Strange Days Time Machine, with the very next episode (in another month!).  This list is originated by Quoichiro Iwamoto of Strange Days magazine.

September, 1972 album releases are indicated as:

  1. Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes (CBS UK LP S 65184)
  2. Yes – Close To The Edge (Atlantic UK LP K 50012)
  3. Black Sabbath – Volume 4 (Vertigo UK LP 6360 071)
  4. Family – Bandstand (Reprise UK LP K 54006)
  5. Budgie – Squawk (MCA UK LP MKPS 2023)
  6. Sandy Denny – Sandy (Island UK LP ILPS 9207)
  7. Brinsley Schwarz – Nervous On The Road (United Artists UK LP UAS 29374)
  8. Grand Funk – Phoenix (Capitol US LP SMAS-11099)
  9. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Glorified Magnified (Philips UK LP 6308 125)
  1. I, for one, was very OK that David Bowie of yore thought enough of MTH to help them on their way.  As the LP was expensive (all of $4?), I got the 45 of “All The Young Dudes” b/w “One Of The Boys” (almost 10 minutes of music!) first.
  2. This was where I officially got off of the Yes boat.  I really liked “Fragile”, but there was something about this release that did not interest me.  The cover?
  3. Having lapped up the previous 3 Black Sabbath albums, I also got off of the Black Sabbath bus at this stage.  Were my favorite bands suffering from becoming ‘too popular’?  When other kids at school start having the wrong albums…
  4. Unlike #2 & #3, Family remained a firm favorite, with my young mind.  “Burlesque” is such a hot single!  My favorite title on today’s list!
  5. My entire 2012 Budgie collection consists of “If I Were Brittania, I’d Waive The Rules”, from 1976!  Did I ever try any MCA Budgie album?  I think I did…
  6. Not within my radar scope, alas.
  7. See #6
  8. I like the first two studio albums, and their debut live album – “End of Story”
  9. While MM Mk. II is one of my favorite 60’s bands, this did not translate into continued interest in the 70’s, from my young self.  I do have a ’77 re-issue of this LP, when it saw the light of day as Island / Bronze US LP BRON 527.

Dr. John

11-21-12        Dr. John

Dr. John born 1940…and still walks the Earth!

I like Dr. John’s stuff, I came on board with the “Right Place Wrong Time” 45.  What a tale this guy has!  I remember reading his entire autobiography when I had Jury Duty one time.  Totally at odds with my then-reality, I read about “Big Chief Tuddy” etc.

“The Dr. John Anthology – Mos’ Scocious” (Rhino Records 2CD, 1993) is really decent, 39 tracks of Dr. John’s particular thang, with cuts by Ronnie & The Delinquents, Morgus & the 3 Ghouls, Roland Stone etc. – and a heapin’ helpin’ of Dr. John’s solo work.

My Dr. John collection is not huge, but you bes’ believe I enjoy what I have:

CDx2           ANTHOLOGY – MOS’ SCOCIOUS                                                 RHINO US                R2 71450

1993 39  TRK Collection

CD                BABYLON                                                                                          ATCO JPN                AMCY-230

1968 7 TRKS 2nd album (’91 issue)

CD                GRIS-GRIS                                                                                        ATCO JPN                AMCY-229

1968 7 TRKS 1st album (’91 issue)

LP                GUMBO                                                                                              ATCO US                  SD 7006

1972 12 TRKS 4th album, promo

CD                GUMBO / IN THE RIGHT PLACE (MFSL Gold disc)                  MOBILE FIDELITY   UDCD 619

1972/3 23 TRKS 2 on 1, MFSL Gold Disc

LP                IN THE RIGHT PLACE                                                                    ATCO US                  SD 7018

1973 11 TRKS 5th album

7″                 LET’S MAKE A BETTER WORLD (mono) / (stereo) promo      ATCO US                  45-6971

1974 2 TRKS no pic sleeve, promo

When I worked at the LP importer in the 1980’s, I remember some audiophile store somewhere ordering something like 25 copies of “Gumbo” by Dr. John on LP, so we called the guy (as the records were very expensive, for the time).  “The Japanese pressings are quiet, but you have to demo expensive equipment with something that sounds good!”, was what they told us.

For me, the album “In The Right Place” sounds pretty good.  Great songs, decent recording.  The Dr. is in fine voice etc.  It’s his commercial breakthrough album.

And as the Dr. is still boppin’ at age 71.  Has he really been sober for over 20 years?  Guess they all figure it out, after a while.  Do what you gotta do to stay alive.  When the Dr. finally departs, I hope someone lobbies to get his face onto U.S. postage stamps.  I wanna pay my phone bill with a Dr. John stamp on it!

Bill Black Combo

11-20-12        Bill Black Combo

Joe Walsh born 1947

Elvis’ bass player!  Lots of early 60’s instrumental albums!  “The Untouchable Sound”!!

LP                BASIC BLACK                                                          COLUMBIA US  CS 1055          1970 11 TRKS

LP                BEAT GOES ON, THE                                             HI US                   SHL 32041      1968 12 TRKS

LP                BILL BLACK’S RECORD HOP                              HI US                   SHL 32006      1961? 12 TRKS

LP                BLACK LACE                                                            HI US                   SHL 32033      1966? 12 TRKS

LP                BLACK WITH SUGAR                                             COLUMBIA US  CS 9849          1970? 11 TRKS

LP                GOES BIG BAND                                                     HI US                   SHL 32020      1965? 12 TRKS

LP                GOES WEST                                                            HI US                   SHL 32013      1963? 12 TRKS

LP                GREATEST HITS                                                     HI US                   HL 12012        1962? 12 TRK Collection, mono

LP                GREATEST HITS Vol. 2                                          HI US                   XSHL 32078   1973 10 TRK Collection

LP                IT’S HONKY TONK TIME                                        HI US                   SHL 32104      1976 10 TRKS

LP                KING OF THE ROAD                                               HI US                   SHL 12036      1967 12 TRKS

LP                MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE                                        HI US                   HLP 8004        1977 10 TRKS

LP                MORE BILL BLACK MAGIC                                    HI US                   SHL 32061      1971 12 TRKS

LP                MORE SOLID & RAUNCHY                                   HI US                   SHL 32023      1965 12 TRKS

LP                MOVIN’                                                                       HI US                   SHL 32005      1961? 12 TRKS

LP                MR. BEAT                                                                  HI US                   SHL 32027      1965 12 TRKS

LP                PLAYS ALL-TIMERS                                                HI US                   SHL 32032      1966 12 TRKS

LP                PLAYS THE BLUES                                                HI US                   SHL 32015      1964? 12 TRKS

LP                PLAYS TUNES BY CHUCK BERRY                     HI US                   SHL 32017      1964? 12 TRKS

LP                RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD        COLUMBIA US  CS 9957          1970? 11 TRKS

LP                SAXY JAZZ                                                                HI US                   SHL 32002      1960? 12 TRKS  “Smokie” LP, 2nd version

LP                SMOKIE                                                                     HI US                   HL 12001        1959? 12 TRKS mono

LP                SOLID & COUNTRY                                                HI US                   SHL 32088      1974 10 TRKS

LP                SOLID AND RAUNCHY                                          HI US                   SHL 32003      1960? 12 TRKS

LP                SOLID AND RAUNCHY THE 3RD                        HI US                   SHL 32052      1969 11 TRKS

LP                SOULIN’ THE BLUES                                             HI US                   SHL 32047      1969 12 TRKS

LP                THAT WONDERFUL FEELING                             HI US                   SHL 32004      1960? 12 TRKS

LP                TURN ON YOUR LOVE LIGHT                             HI US                   SHL 32044      1968 11 TRKS

LP                UNTOUCHABLE SOUND, THE                            HI US                   SHL 32009      1963? 12 TRKS

LP                WORLD’S GREATEST HONKY-TONK BAND    HI US                   SHL 32093      1975 10 TRKS

Think:  roller rink, Houston, TX 1962!

Liner notes of CD’s tell me that this stuff ruled the jukeboxes of the world for a few years.  If I was standing in a pizza parlour with a jukebox and I had some quarters, I’d pick a few songs that are probably found on the “Greatest Hits” of the Bill Black Combo.

The line-up of the band kept changing.  Mr. Black died in 1965, but that didn’t stop the Bill Black Combo LP’s coming out!  No, the list here isn’t “everything”, but it’s quite a lot!  And I do have TONS of 45’s, jukebox EP’s etc.

There is a now-forgotten lore of the zen of instrumental bands releasing tons of records.  Even if there was a new band copying this business model, they’d be hard pressed to release as many records as the Bill Black Combo, in the same period of time.

FZ on DVD #2

11-19-12        FZ on DVD #2

Jazzer Don Cherry born 1936; singer Ofra Haza born 1957.

Continuing my look at Frank Zappa on DVD, we have his film “200 Motels” (1971).  There’s a bit on contention, about the legitimacy of this DVD issue; it’s released by director Tony Palmer, apparently without the ‘cooperation’ of the ZFT ( = Zappa Family Trust ).  But it does, in fact, look like it’s made from “master tapes” – the film was originally shot on videotape!

The CD version of “200 Motels” is not currently in print.  Because the film was “delivered” to MGM/U.A. – with it’s soundtrack, it was never even on CD until Rykodisc did an entire series of MGM/U.A. film soundtracks, circa 1997.  Let’s hope that Universal / Zappa gets a chance to re-issue on CD, one day soon.

There were VHS, Beta and laser disc versions of “200 Motels”, from MGM/U.A., but never a legit DVD of it.  I am not sure aspect of Tony Palmer’s involvement gave him the rights to issue it on DVD, but it exists in 2012.  Not at all certain if it’s in print at this time, but it certainly did exist, recently.

The film is delightful.  Flo & Eddie are a lot of fun.  This version of The Mothers was actually pretty good; maybe they get a bit of crap about how this version of the band never made very many studio recordings?  But they did work on “Chunga’s Revenge”, which is a great studio album from FZ.

Those who have watched many of Zappa’s videos are aware: linear storytelling was not Frank’s forte – you just sort of have to enjoy the journey.  The cartoon “Dental Hygiene Dilemna” was so wonderful to see in a movie theatre, in the early 70’s.  It didn’t seem to have anything to do with anything else in the film, but – who cares?

Audio on the DVD is stereo only, but I am almost 100% certain that is it’s original orientation.  Until a version from MGM/U.A. is released, this is all we have to view at home – unless, of course, you can still watch your beta or laser disc of it.  Once something gets released, it’s always out there somewhere.

It was always curious to me (now I know why) that the soundtrack to this film was on United Artists Records; the soundtrack 2LP set was probably thought to be a lucrative part of the deal; MGM/U.A. pays for a film, and gets a soundtrack LP set it can sell.  Was this the sole ‘master’ that Zappa sold in such a way that he no longer owned the rights?  The ZFT sure seems to own everything else in his canon of work outright.

So, a conditional “Thumbs Up” on this DVD release.  If you want / need to see this film, and you can’t find a beta, VHS or laser disc of it to watch – this DVD will do, for the time being.