Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Ash Wednesday

Wishbone Ash - The King Will Come

No... it's not a religious holiday of penitence, nor shall it be Lent an air of guilt or regret.

That's why it's called Nowbodhi's Blissness, you know. I feel no shame taking dodgy things that exist, rightly or wrongly, in the world and trying -- even occasionally succeeding! -- in making them the best they can be. Or at least better than they were when I found them.

There's no need to explain things to a world where willful obtusion is a religion unto itself, but I do anyway.... take this concert, for instance.

These guys are legendary in their own right, with some folks calling them the best band that never became superstars or whatever.

I think of them as the dream weavers who were first to that precisely harmonized, warmly distorted twin-guitar attack that took over the 1970s once they laid the template.

Other groups kind of discovered it simultaneously -- The Allmans and Swedish progtrancers Träd, Gräs och Stenar come to mind -- but Wishbone Ash took it to a refined level at the outset of the Seventies and honed it into a fierce weapon as well as anyone.

So yeah, this concert. Ashthusiasts will know it well, as it's one of if not the best sounding boots of them. But it circulates missing an official track that was released on a compilation, in a way that sonically differs from the BBC transcription reels I have it sourced from here.

Reintegrating it from that release -- which contains a myriad of performances from different Ash eras, all crossfaded together and EQ'd/remixed to sound like one thing -- would have been OK, but a noticeable deviation to the ears.

So what's a ROIObsessive to do with these kind of quality control issues? Luckily for all of us, there was an HD file of whaddaya know? just the one song! on YouTube that went all the way to 20 kHz just like the pre-broadcast reels I spoke of. Which sound as great as any bootleg I've ever heard by the way, and I've heard a few... some of which I wish I never had!

No one might care or notice what I did, but smashing it back into the show from that file worked seamlessly, raised to the power of perfect. Don't tell anyone, OK? It will be our secret.

I dunno what secret has enabled me to do this work and have this page for 10 years, yet here we are somehow, a decade into it on my 57th birthday.

The flakes are on the cake and the 'bone is on the phone, so make a wish! Mine is that all bootlegs could sound as incredible -- and as sonically polished -- as this one does.

Wishbone Ash
Hammersmith Odeon
London, UK

01 BBC introduction by Brian Matthew
02 The King Will Come
03 Warrior
04 Errors of My Way
05 You See Red
06 F.U.B.B.
07 Front Page News
08 The Way of the World/BBC outro

01 BBC introduction by Brian Matthew
02 Phoenix
03 Anger In Harmony
04 Time Was
05 Runaway
06 Lady Whiskey
07 Jailbait
08 Queen of Torture
09 Blowin' Free/BBC outro

Total time: 1:39:57

Andy Powell - guitar, mandolin & vocals
Steve Upton - drums & percussion
Martin Turner - bass, keyboards & vocals
Laurie Wisefield - guitar, banjo & vocals

BBC Rock Hour #48 & #49 pre-broadcast transcription reels
some of these tracks may come from the October 27th show at the same venue
microgaps between tracks fixed by EN, October 2023
711 MB FLAC/direct link

I even took out the microsecond-long gaps between the tunes with which this had made the rounds for years, so's they won't be the source of eye-gouging irritation for you that they were to me. Come on folks, this is the kind of meticulous, no-holds-barred quality control that would make Consumer Reports proud! Somewhere, a reminiscing Ralph Nader eats a gummy and spins The Argus.

Anyway enough of my sense-free babble... this unbelievable concert is 45 today and I'm 57, and this page has made it to 10, so I gotta thank you for reading. Or at least wading through my useless yakking to get to the music, which is (as far as I can distinguish) the only thing that makes the psychotically miserable experiment in profligate apathy and confirmation bias we call the human species a trillionth tolerable.
And of course, a special kudos if you've been around a while with me on this journey. I hope what I try to accomplish with this project brings something worthwhile to your table... or at least reorients your inner track markers to begin at the precise moment the tunes start.
OK? Now that's what I call Ash Wednesday... and you didn't even have to repent, or send unheard fantasy wishes up to invisible, anthropomorphically vengeful Sky Daddies! No ablutions needed, no lifetime commitments required... just 98 minutes to dig these Devonshire dervishes slinging stinging, singing harmony guitars on the BBC!--J.

Friday, October 20, 2023

The X Files


X - The Hungry Wolf

Fresh from YMO, we're gonna switch letters now.

Today's 40th anniversary honorees -- I've wanted to cover them since forever -- just need one.

Considered by many the greatest Punk band ever to exist, if you're looking for ballads you've definitely come to the wrong place.

One of the flagship bands of the Los Angeles Punk scene, they boiled up out of that environment in the early 1980s to become one of the topmost groups of any kind at the time.

What's so unusual about X? Where do we begin? For starters the chick harmony singer often sings one note for a whole verse. And the guitar player is an artillery-wielding monster dyed platinum blonde.

They all go by funny pseudonyms, in keeping with the X brand too!

Anyway this show is a really fantastic introduction to the X-o-verse, taped 40 years ago tonight in Chicago and sourced here from what could be the WXRT-FM pre-broadcast reels.

Park West
Chicago, Illinois USA

01 introduction
02 Motel Room In My Bed
03 We're Having Much More Fun
04 In This House That I Call Home
05 Make the Music Go Bang
06 White Girl
07 True Love, Pt. #2
08 Beyond and Back
09 The Hungry Wolf
10 Poor Girl
11 Riding with Mary
12 Year One
13 Some Other Time
14 Breathless
15 Johnny Hit and Run Pauline
16 The Once Over Twice
17 Sugarlight
18 Because I Do
19 How I (Learned My Lesson)
20 Soul Kitchen

Total time: 58:15

John Doe - guitar & vocals
Exene Cervenka - vocals & percussion
Billy Zoom - guitar
DJ Bonebrake - drums

pre-FM capture of indeterminate origin
declipped & retracked -- with applause at the end of Track 09 reconstructed -- by EN, October 2023
451 MB FLAC/direct link

The striking thing about this performance is how fast the hour goes: it's usually -- if not always -- the sign of a positive entertainment experience when it whizzes by like it does here.

Anyway this X-ercise will be the last one before next Wednesday, which, in addition to being my 57th birthday, is the 10th anniversary of this page!--J.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Sakamoto Perpetuo

Yellow Magic Orchestra - Radio Junk

As promised we are delivering this tight anniversary concert, which doubles as a memorial to two of the guys in this band, who passed away earlier this year just two months apart.

They should need no introduction, as their late leader was widely recognized as both one of the most revered figures in all of Japan's music, as well as a pioneer of global electronic music in general.

These fellows didn't invent what we now term Electropop, but 40 years ago they did help refine it into the dominant force it is now.

Called Yellow Magic Orchestra -- YMO for short -- they were at their core three men.

Only one -- bass player Harry Hosono -- is still with us.

Their drummer, Yukihiro Takahashi, left this plane in January.

Their founder -- Ryuichi Sakamoto -- followed quickly after him, and died in March after a career redefining what electronic music could be.

I've been waiting for the anniversary of this genre-destroying show -- taped in Paris exactly one year after they premiered in Tokyo in 1978 -- so I could memorialize them both together, so here it is at last.

This is as pristine-sounding as bootlegs get, and may hail from a performance professionally recorded for their live album Public Pressure, which comes from this tour but contains none of this Paris show.

Yellow Magic Orchestra
Théâtre Le Palace
Paris, France

01 Castalia
02 Rydeen
03 Behind the Mask
04 Radio Junk
05 Insomnia
06 La Femme Chinoise
07 Rocket Factory
08 Technopolis
09 Kang Tong Boy
10 1000 Knives
11 Tong Poo
12 Daytripper
13 The End of Asia
14 Firecracker

Total time: 1:13:35

Ryuichi Sakamoto - vocals, Vocoder, Polymoog, ARP Odyssey, Roland VP-330 & Prophet-5 synthesizers
Haruomi Hosono - vocals, Vocoder, bass, ARP Odyssey, Moog Multimoog synthesizers
Yukihiro Takahashi - drums, Model Syndrum 478 Pollard & ULT-SOUND DS-4 drum machines
Hideki Matsutake - Moog IIIc, Roland MC-8A, Kiko Yano, Voices Eight Oberheim, & Prophet-5 synthesizers
Akiko Yano - keyboards & vocals 
Kazumi Watanabe - guitar

soundboard capture of indeterminate origin, possibly from an unreleased concert film
4 of these tracks appear on the 1991 live album "Faker Holic," but extensively overdubbed and altered
declipped by EN, October 2023
465 MB FLAC/direct link

I didn't do anything to this one but declip it. Everything else sounded indistinguishable from an official release.

Four of these songs do appear on an out-of-print live CD, but they are extensively remixed with whole aspects of them altered.

Anyway I will try to be back in 48 hours with another letter altogether, but for now the letters that matter are the pioneers called YMO!--J.

             6.6.1952 - 1.11.2023          1.17.1952 - 3.28.2023

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Chord & Spark: Barney Kessel 100

Barney Kessel Trio - St. Thomas

We're comfortably stuck in 1979, with the second of three wildly divergent concerts from that watershed musical year hitting the bricks tonight.

Say what you like about my page, but this has to be the only bootleg blog on the web that gives you Dame Joan Sutherland, Barney Kessel and The Yellow Magic Orchestra in three consecutive posts. And the shows are all from the same damn year!

Ah, yes.... Barney Kessel. You know I love the centennials. I am sitting here hoping Roy Haynes -- and then, Sonny Rollins -- make it to 100, so I can do my first ones where the person is still alive.

When I think of Barney Kessel, I think of chords. Just galaxies, infinite polyverses of chords upon chords.

Which is kinda ironic, when you consider his most notorious and conspicuous fame came from playing a sequence of single notes, on a session in which the motivator insisted upon him being there and that he play a specific and exotic sort of hybrid guitar no one even knew about at the time.

The song? Wouldn't It Be Nice? by the Beach Boys. The motivator? Brian Wilson. The guitar? A Mando-guitar. The notes? The opening solo intro to the tune, some of the most recognizable in all of music history.

It's just a few bars but it made him money, I bet. This, for a guy who once rose from his seat at a stalled Wrecking Crew session and proclaimed, "Never have so many played so little, for so much!"

But back to the chords. This man was like a living, breathing encyclopedia of them that almost made Joe Pass seem like Grant Green.

If you heard him play a phrase of single notes, you pretty much knew it was only to get to the next lush, sonorous and expertly voiced chord.

He began in the 1940s -- in one of the Marx Brothers' bands!!! -- and it wasn't too long before he was appearing in films alongside Lester Young and jamming with Charlie Parker.

At the same time, he developed a reputation as the first-call session cat in Los Angeles, playing on hits like Julie London's zillion-selling version of Cry Me a River.

By the 1960s he was a main guy in the aforementioned Wrecking Crew, adding his melliflous chordal guitarisms to all sorts of megahits like Sonny & Cher's The Beat Goes On and several Monkees smashes.

All this, whilst maintaining a footing firmly planted in the straight-ahead Jazz world, recording with Art Tatum and that Sonny Rollins fellow I spoke of earlier.

Perhaps his most beloved Jazz association is with the superlative guitarists Charlie Byrd and Herb Ellis, with whom he formed the Great Guitars band that toured the Earth beginning in the mid 1970s.

Anyway he passed away in 2004, after a long and indescribably fruitful career across the music of the 20th Century, and the chordally immersive way he approached his instrument will resonate with players and listeners alike long after we are all dead and buried.

Here he is leading a trio on Swiss television in (when else but?) 1979, sourced from a Mezzo TV rebroadcast on somebody's satellite dish.

Barney Kessel Trio
unidentified TV studio
likely Geneva, Switzerland
January, 1979

01 Autumn Leaves
02 Misty
03 Moose the Mooche
04 The Shadow of Your Smile
05 I Can't Get Started
06 You Are the Sunshine of My Life
07 Stella By Starlight
08 St. Thomas
09 Basie's Blues
10 Wave
11 18 Bar Blues

Total time: 1:05:29

Barney Kessel - guitar
Jim Richardson - bass
Tony Mann - drums

256/48k audio from a European "Mezzo TV" broadcast
extracted, converted to 16/44 CD Audio, edited, tracked and slightly remastered by EN, October 2023
333 MB FLAC/direct link

So that's BK100, born this day in 1923. See you tomorrow for the YMO dual memorial and 44th anniversary special, because on this page, we insist you party like it's 1979!--J.

10.17.1923 - 5.6.2004