Friday, December 14, 2018

BB's Christmas Collection-2018 - A BB Chronicles Christmas Compilation

BB's Christmas Collection 2018
A BB Chronicles Christmas Compilation
Various Artists & Recordings

Mp3 @ mostly 320 kbps (a few @ 192)

Taking a short Holiday break from the Progressive Rock features: It's the Christmas season and time for another of my biennial Christmas compilations (because every year is just a bit too much for this type of thing, every other year just about right). This year I've got a another wonderful overstuffed hodgepodge of eclectic selections for your seasonal enjoyment. This 2018 edition highlights cuts from several new holiday releases (2017-2018) from popular artists, including Eric Clapton, Michael McDonald, The Mavericks, Ingrid Michaelson, and Cheap Trick, as well some oldies, classics, and a healthy dose of power pop. A few of the traditional Christmas songs are included, but (as usual), the bulk are non-traditional. One mini-theme this year embraces some attempts to raise previous novelty songs to full-fledged serious Christmas fare, as with The Chipmunks' 'Christmas Don't be Late' (done as a ballad by She & Him), SNL's cheesy 'I Wish It Was Christmas Today' (with full rock treatment by Cheap Trick), The Beatles fragment 'Christmas Time is Here Again' (fleshed out as a mashup with 'Flying' and "Baby You're A Rich Man' by The Weeklings), and Slade's 'Merry Xmas Everybody' (polished up into a power pop beauty by Sloan). Also included is a nod to my recent progressive rock features, with a couple holiday tracks from Yes veterans Jon Anderson and Chris Squire, as well as a holiday remembrance to the departed Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Also, I have to give a special Thank You (and apology?) to Angelo from the Power Pop Criminals blog, because I leaned heavily on (stole?) several tracks from his own 2017 Power Pop Christmas Compilation (Very Merry Christmas), as he really knows Power Pop and does these things so very well (with inclusion of great songs by bands I never would have known), so great job there (and check his blog for all the previous years of great compilations and other stuff). Being pressed for time, I put this together really quickly, but I think it turned out great (at least I am really enjoying it). Anyway, hope you all check this out and enjoy it. Merry Christmas to all and wishes for a very Happy Holiday season!

Tracklist [# title-artist(album-yr)]:
01. At Christmas Time - Dan Fogelberg (The First Christmas Morning-1999)
02. Christmas Time Is (Coming 'Round Again) - The Mavericks (Hey! Merry Christmas!-2018)
03. Christmas Time - Jeremy (Very Merry Christmas-PPC Compilation-2017)
04. Christmas Time is Here Again - The Weeklings (Very Merry Christmas-PPC Compilation-2017)
05. It's Christmas - Eric Clapton (Happy Xmas-2018)
06. What Christmas Means To Me - Stevie Wonder (Someday at Christmas-1967)
07. Merry Christmas Time - Somerdale (Very Merry Christmas-PPC Compilation-2017)
08. Happy, Happy Christmas - Ingrid Michaelson (Songs for the Season-2018)
09. Something Bout This Time Of Year - Mike Daly (Very Merry Christmas-PPC Compilation-2017)
10. Christmas Dream - The Grip Weeds (Very Merry Christmas-PPC Compilation-2017)
11. Merry Xmas Everybody - Sloan (Very Merry Christmas-PPC Compilation-2017)
12. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Crash Test Dummies (Jingle All The Way-2002)
13. Joy to the World - Aretha Franklin (Joy to the World (2006)
14. Riu Chiu - The Monkees (The Christmas Album-2007)
15. Christmas Christmas - Cheap Trick (Christmas Christmas-2017)
16. Remember (Christmas) - Harry Nilsson (Son of Schmilsson-1972)
17. The Christmas Dance - Ringo Starr (I Wanna Be Santa Claus-1999)
18. The Flower Carol (Good King Wenceslas) - David Grisman Acoustic Christmas-1983)
19. White Christmas - Eric Clapton (Happy Xmas-2018)
20. Christmas Don't Be Late - She & Him (Christmas Party-2016)
21. I Wish It Was Christmas Today - Cheap Trick (Christmas Christmas-2017)
22. Ding Dong Merrily On High - Jon Anderson (3 Ships-1985)
23. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Michael McDonald (Season of Peace:The Christmas Collection-2018)
24. A Very Merry Christmas - The Beatphonics (Very Merry Christmas-PPC Compilation-2017)
25. Day Of Days - Jon Anderson (3 Ships-1985)
26. Run With the Fox - Chris Squire (Chris Squire's Swiss Choir-2007)
27. Winter Wonderland (feat. Jake Shimabukuro) - Michael McDonald (Season of Peace:The Christmas Collection-2018)
28. Hey! Merry Christmas! - The Mavericks (Hey! Merry Christmas!-2018)

One other note: I've always thought Stevie Wonder's 'What Christmas Means to Me' was a great contemporary Christmas song that has been underappreciated and underutilized (few covers). So, I was delighted to see it get some respect and inclusion in multiple new Christmas releases this year, including new versions done by Pentatonix, John Legend, and Michael McDonald, and intended on including the best of these new versions on my new compilation. However, after hearing them, none quite captured the essence and spirit (or coolness) of the original version, so I (of course) went back and included the original 1967 Stevie Wonder version instead. Sometimes you just can't improve on the original.

BB's Christmas Collection-2018.rar

Reminder of all the previous Christmas & Holiday music here

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

New 2018 Christmas Compilation coming (see above). But don't forget about all my previous Christmas-related collections and posts! There are plenty of Christmas, Winter, Holiday-related posts and downloads available here. So, if you haven't previously checked out my delightful and eclectic Christmas collections, I invite you to do so now (links to those pages below). In addition, there are several other Christmas-related shows and compilations that have been posted previously. To see all the Christmas-related posts check here. As I've said before, personally, I love Christmas music of all types, classical, rock, pop, jazz, etc., from the traditional to the outrageous, the serious to the silly, the classics to the newest ditties, and these compilations contain some of my favorites. Enjoy the season while it lasts. 

BB's Chronicles Christmas Collections 2016 (featuring 2 full collections - Bright and Blue)

BB's Christmas Chronicle 2014 - Tiny Tree Christmas

BB Chronicles Holiday Sampler 2012 - No Rest for Ye Merry Gentlemen

BB Chronicles Echlectic Christmas Chollection 2010

Other Christmas posts:

Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Christmas Shows: 2014 - Boston ; 2015 - Boston

Bruce Springsteen Live Christmas compilations

Chicago - 1998 Christmas show

Bill Kirchen's Honky Tonk Holiday Party - 2010 - Northampton, MA 

All links recently updated! Enjoy!.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Steve Hackett - 1981-10-20 -The Agora, Clevelend OH

Steve Hackett
The Agora, Cleveland, OH, USA
Cured Tour 

Soundboard recording (Remastered SHRP-08), very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions
Continuing with virtuoso progressive guitarist Steve Hackett: After the success of Spectral Mornings (1979) and its subsequent tour, Steve followed up with Defector (1980), which became his highest charting album in the UK. After that he followed with somewhat of a change of pace, with Cured (1981). First, for Cured, Steve changed his backing band, keeping only keyboardist Nick Magnus (and his brother John) from the previous group, and used mostly programmed drum tracks throughout (It was essentially a multi-layered duo of Hackett and Magnus on most songs). In addition, although previously Steve had mostly relied on other vocalists to sing lead, he did all the lead vocals himself this time. And although Cured still displayed plenty of progressive rock, it also featured shorter songs and a more upbeat pop-rock style. The result was a refreshing change of pace providing many new songs and more emphasis on vocals. For the Cured tour, Steve added a new bass player and drummer, and hit the road. The show featured here is a great soundboard recording from his 1981 American tour, and in addition to popular songs from the earlier albums, Steve added 4-5 new songs from each of The Defector and Cured albums, resulting in a great show and great song selection. I added an additional Cured song from another show on the tour as a bonus track, as this song was only played at a limited number of shows.

01. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare 05:32
02. Jacuzzi    05:45
03. Funny Feeling 05:12
04. Ace Of Wands 08:16
05. Picture Postcard 08:16
06. The Steppes 06:54
07. Every Day 07:01
08. The Red Flower Of Tachai / Tigermoth 06:24
09. Horizons 02:43
10. Kim 02:20
11. Overnight Sleeper 04:30
12. Slogans    06:30
13. A Tower Struck Down 03:18
14. Spectral Mornings 08:15
15. Land Of A Thousand Autumns / Please Don't Touch 09:19
16. Band Intro 00:42
17. The Show 04:42
18. Clocks 06:58
Bonus Track
1981-12-07 - Vancouver, B.C. (FM Broadcast)
19. Hope I Don't Wake

Steve Hackett - Guitars / Vocals
Nick Magnus - Keyboards
Chas Cronk - Bass
Ian Mosley - Drums
John Hackett - Flute / Bass pedals

FLAC - Steve Hackett_1981-10-20_Cleveland_FLAC.rar

mp3 - Steve Hackett_1981-10-20_Cleveland_mp3.rar

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Steve Hackett - 1979-08-25 - Reading Festival, reading, UK (Plus Bonus Tracks)

Steve Hackett
Reading Festival, Reading, UK
(Plus Bonus tracks 1978-79)

FM Broadcast Recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Moving on from Mike Oldfield, here we have another exceptional and innovative progressive rock guitarist who had his own unique outlook, vision, and direction for his music throughout his career. Steve Hackett, best known as guitarist (and songwriter) for Genesis from 1970-1977 (their golden years), also has had a stellar subsequent solo and collaborative musical career, pursuing many musical styles and directions, from progressive and straight-forward rock to classical, jazz, blues, and everything in between. Steve was a major part of the classic period of Genesis, writing and performing on all the albums from Nursery Cryme (1971) through the Seconds Out Live Album (1977). After recording and releasing his own solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte (1975) while still a member of Genesis, and enjoying the freedom and creative development it provided, he started to feel constrained by his more restricted role in the band. Wanting to explore more and varied musical styles and feeling frustrated with the band not incorporating and using enough of his ideas and songs, he left near the end of 1977 (and although many Genesis fans point to the loss of Peter Gabriel in 1975 as the critical change for the progressive status of the band, I would argue that the band weathered that change fairly well, and that it was the loss of Steve Hackett in 1977 that radically changed the direction of the band to a more pop-oriented style). Steve's first album after leaving Genesis was Please Don't Touch (1978), which was recorded in the U.S. and featured various guest artists and session musicians, including vocalists Steve Walsh (Kansas), Richie Havens, and Randy Crawford, as well as drummers Phil Ehart (Kansas), Tom Fowler, and Chester Thompson, and violinist Graham Smith (Van der Graaf Generator). However, for his first solo tour (1978) to support the album, he needed to put together a touring band, which consisted of his brother John Hackett (flute), Dik Cadbury (bass), Nicj Magnus (keyboards), John Shearer (drums), and Pete Hicks (lead vocals). This core group of musicians went on to be his recording band for his next two albums, Spectral Mornings (1979) and Defector (1980), as well as his touring band. Spectral Mornings, in particular, is an excellent album, and one of his most popular, with a variety of eclectic and progressive songs and styles. Featured here are some performances from the Spectral Mornings tour (1979). The FM broadcast from the Reading Festival performance is very good, but unfortunately pretty short (around 45 min), so I have supplemented that with some bonus tracks from the same period, from the FM broadcast of the Drury Lane London show, and a couple tracks from a 1978 Paris show, to round out the concert to a full CD length.   

01. Please Don't Touch
02. Tigermoth
03. Every Day
04. Optigan - A Tower Struck Down
05. Spectral Mornings   
06. Clocks
07. I Know What I Like
Bonus Tracks
1979-11-11 - Drury Lane Theater, London (FM)

08. Ace of Wands
09. The Red Flower Of Tachai
10. Bood On The Rooftops / Horizons / Kim
1978-10-16 - Olympia Theatre, Paris
11. Narnia
12. Star of Sirius

Note: For some reason, the original bootleg of the Reading show (titled 'I Know What I Like') was terribly tracked, with the songs 'Every Day', 'Tower Struck Down', and 'Spectral Mornings' split and broken up into incoherent pieces. An additional track, 'Octagon' was also indicated between 'Every Day' and 'Tower', but this was actually just the ending part of 'Every Day', whereas it should have been 'Optigan' (named after the Optigan rudimentary synthesizer used), which was briefly played at the beginning of 'A Tower Struck Down'. I found these tracking discrepancies very annoying, so I have fixed the tracking and put the songs back together properly, which resulted in there now being 7 songs instead of 8 (but the entire show is included).
FLAC - Steve Hackett_1979-08-25_Reading_Pluo_FLAC.rar

Mp3 - Steve Hackett_1979-08-25_Reading_Plus_Mp3.rar

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Mike Oldfield - 1999-07-25 - Katowice, Poland

Mike Oldfield
Spodek Hall, Katowice, Poland
Then & Now Tour 1999

FM Broadcast Recording, very good quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

To wrap up this brief look at Mike Oldfield's career: As the eighties wore on, and with relentless pressure from his record company to make more commercial music, Mike did what he could to balance his musical and artistic goals with pop song limitations, but harbored increasing bitterness, resentment, and feuds with Virgin regarding his music. The success of the pop aspects of Crises (1983) and Discovery (1984) only made things worse as Virgin pushed even harder for more pop/rock songs with 'hit potential'. This resulted in even less room on Mike's subsequent albums for his trademark extended instrumentals, culminating in Earth Moving (1989), which consisted entirely of  short pop songs and no instrumentals. Not surprisingly, this album is generally considered the lowpoint of Mike's career. Fed up by the label's interference in his music, Mike rebelled and just wanted out of his contract, and for his next album, Amarok (1990), Mike purposely made an album that Virgin (and owner Richard Branson) would hate. He went back to his full album long-form instrumental, but in this case also made it more disjointed and experimental and impossible to subdivide into 'singles' (He even included a literal F-U to his record company, as an embedded morse code message of 'Fuck you RB' referring to Richard Branson. The album was released and progressive fans hailed it as a return to form for Mike and one of his greatest works. Virgin was less impressed, and if Mike was going to do an instrumental album, they wanted a sequel to Tubular Bells, but Mike refused. He finished out his his contract with Virgin with a hastily put together mixed bag album of different pop/rock songs and styles (Heaven's Open (1991), and then he was free again to do the music he wanted. His first album with his new label (Warner Bros.) was the long-awaited sequel to Tubular Bells, Tubular Bells II (1992), just to rub it in to his former label. It was a remarkable re-imagining of the original, taking the same themes and structure and doing different variations and extrapolations on them. In subsequent Warner albums, he explored new and varied musical styles, from a softer new age sound on a concept album based on an Arthur C. Clarke novel (Songs of Distant Earth-1994) to Celtic themes (Voyager (1996) to an all-guitar album (Guitars-1999). He also did another sequel to Tubular Bells with Tubular Bells III (1998). His career has continued to explore varied musical styles but he always also returns to the ethereal long-form instrumentals of his early albums. Most recently, Mike released a long-awaited sequel to Ommadawn, Return to Ommadawn (2017), which has received much praise and acclaim. The show featured here is from 1999 and consisted primarily of sections from his recent albums Songs of Distant Earth, Guitars, and a nearly complete Tubular Bells III, in addition to a couple of his singles and 'Ommadawn'. A very nice show to highlight his 1990's work, and to cap this look at the fantastic and innovative musician that is  Mike Oldfield.

01. In The Beginning
02. Let There Be Light
03. Supernova
04. Crystal Clear
05. Shadow On The Wall
06. Ommadawn Part 1
07. Band Intro
08. Cochise
09. Embers
10. Summit Day
11. Muse
12. The Source Of Secrets
13. The Watchful Eye
14. Jewel In The Crown
15. Outcast
16. Serpent Dream
17. The Inner Child
18. Secrets
19. Far Above The Clouds
20. Moonlight Shadow
21. Family Man
22. Far Above The Clouds Encore

Time.: 02:25:32
FLAC - Mike Oldfield_1999-07-25_Katowice,Poland_FLAC.rar

mp3 - Mike Oldfield_1999-07-25_Katowice,Poland_mp3.rar

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Mike Oldfield - 1984-09-10 - Milan, Italy

Mike Oldfield
September 10, 1984
Teatro Tenda Lampugnano, Milano, Italy

Audience recording, very good quality
Available in both lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

Following his successful 1981 European tour, Mike Oldfield returned to the studio to work out how to better juxtapose his favored extended instrumentals along with some more pop-friendly songs and vocals. And with his next album, Five Miles Out (1982), Mike achieved more of a balance between these opposing forces, fashioned some genuine rock songs (as well as a bit more progressive rock), and released his best album of this period, and even sang some lead vocals himself for the first time. The album cracked the British top ten for the first time since Ommadawn, and even had some singles success with 'Five Miles Out' and 'Family Man' (which would later be a hit for Hall and Oates), with Maggie Reilly again contributing some stellar vocals. Following a similar format (Side one - single extended instrumental, side two - shorter pop-rock songs), Crises (1983) was even more successful, climbing to #6 in the UK and near the top of the charts throughout Europe and Scandanavia, due to the success of the singles 'Moonlight Shadow' and 'Shadow on the Wall'. The album again featured vocals by Maggie Reilly, as well as additional guest vocals from Jon Anderson (Yes) and Roger Chapman (Family). 'Moonlight Shadow' (vocals by Maggie Reilly) became the biggest hit (single) of Mike's career. However, rather than being pleased with this success, Oldfield's record label (Virgin) used this only to increase the pressure on Mike to write more 'pop hits', rather than his preferred instrumentals. Thus, on Discovery (1984). more shorter pop songs were included and only a single (shorter) instrumental. Barry Palmer (formerly of Triumvirat) sang vocals on some tracks, as well as Maggie Reilly again. Although containing some good songs, overall a less impressive and less successful album than either Crises or Five Miles Out indicating diminishing returns with too many of the 'pop' style songs. Here is a fine concert from this period, from the Discovery Tour, which features the complete albums of both Crises and Discovery, as well as several songs from previous albums Five Miles Out and QE2, but only a shortened 'Tubular Bells Part 2' to represent his earlier work. 

01 Platinum (excerpts)
02 Tubular Bells Part 2
03 In High Places
04 Foreign Affair - Mount Teide
05 Taurus 1 & 2
06 The Lake
07 Five Miles Out
08 Crises
09 To France
10 Poison Arrows
11 Crystal Gazing
12 Tricks Of The Light
13 Discovery
14 Talk About Your Life
15 Saved By A Bell
16 Moonlight Shadow
17 Shadow on the Wall
18 Taurus III

Mike Oldfield - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Harold Zuschrader - fairlight synthesiser
Mickey Simmonds - keyboards
Barry Palmer - vocals
Maggie Reilly - vocals
Phil Spalding - bass and guitar
Simon Phillips - drums, percussion

FLAC -  Mike Oldfield_1984-09-10_Milan_FLAC.rar
mp3 - Mike Oldfield_1984-09-10_Milan_FLAC.rar

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Mike Oldfield - 1981-04-02 - Eilenreidhalle, Hannover, Germany

Mike Oldfield
April 2, 1981
Eilenriedhalle, Hannover, DE
'Adventure In Hannover' Live 1981

Soundboard recording, excellent quality
Available in both Lossless (FLAC) and Mp3 (320 kbps) versions

More from Mike Oldfield! Despite his early phenomenal success, by the end of the '70's, as the popularity of progressive rock among the general public was declining, Oldfield's albums also saw declining sales. And his last album, the double album Incantations (1978), which consisted of a single 72 minute song broken into 4 sidelong parts and took 3 years to release, was his weakest and least warmly received (even many Oldfield fans thought it a bit too dull and repetitive). Thus, Oldfield was under increasing pressure from his record company to deliver more popular music and move up the charts. Thus, on his next several albums Oldfield mixed his longer instrumental-oriented tracks with a series of shorter, more pop-friendly tracks, as well as including cover songs and more traditional vocals (with lyrics). The first of these albums was Platinum (1979), with side one a long-form instrumental (but broken into 4 separate parts), and side two containing shorter songs, some with vocals (by Wendy Roberts). However, there was another change that also occurred around this time. During the recording of Incantations, Mike began undergoing assertiveness training, which helped him with his confidence, personal interactions, and anxieties about performing live. Thus emboldened, in 1979 Mike went on his first full-fledged tour to support his albums. The next album, QE2 (1980) followed a similar format, and marked the first time Mike worked with vocalist Maggie Reilly, and the beginning of a successful partnership. But this change in style for Mike was not initially very well-received, with the more progressive fans feeling somewhat betrayed and accusing Mike of selling out, and pop audiences just were not really embracing his quirky songs and style. However, the extensive 1981 European tour that followed was very successful and helped expand his audience, and several excellent recordings exist from this tour.
    Here is a wonderful show from Mike's 1981 European Adventure Tour, a superb soundboard recording featuring some unique arrangements of Oldfield's signature long-form tracks as well as some of the newer shorter tracks from recent albums, and featuring a crack supporting band and vocals from Maggie Reilly.

CD 1
1. Welcome  0:39.67
2. Taurus I  11:10.66
3. Sheba  3:34.49
4. Mirage  5:07.73
5. Introducing  1:16.27
6. Platinum 1-4  15:09.14
7. Tubular Bells Part 2  7:19.17
8. Sailor's Hornpipe  2:34.03
9. Conflict  5:27.64
Total Disc Time: 52:20.05

CD 2
1. Ommadawn  20:54.70
2. Tubular Bells Part I  17:29.17
3. QE2 / Portsmouth  7:46.48
4. Punkadiddle  6:35.35
Total Disc Time: 52:46.20

Mike Oldfield - Guitar, vocals
Maggie Reilly - Vocals
Morris Pert - Percussion
Tim Cross - Keyboards
Rick Fenn - Bass, guitar
Mike Frye - Percussion

FLAC - Mike Oldfield_1981-04-02_HannoverDE_FLAC.rar

Mp3 - Mike Oldfield_1981-04-02_HannoverDE_Mp3.rar