Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Grays - 1993 - Pre Sham Bo Gig

The Grays
Pre Sham Bo Gig (unknown venue and location)

Audience recording, good quality
mp3 @ 320 kbps

Here's some more from The Grays, a very short-lived Power Pop supergroup, this time with a rare live recording from before the release of their only album (Ro Sham Bo, 1994). Not only does this include songs that were not on their album, such as 'Strings' and 'I Go Astray', as well as 'Oh Nevermind' and 'Blessed' (which were featured on the previously posted rehearsal boot), but this also represents one of the only decent-quality live concert recordings of The Grays known to exist. Unfortunately, I do not have any further info regarding where or when this show took place (but much thanks again to Willard's Wormholes for making this available, and Jay Strange, who originally sent it to Willard). So, once again, here's a chance to hear more from the brief but enticing musical legacy of The Grays

Everybody’s World (7:13)
Same Thing (4:03)
Spooky (5:17)
Oh Nevermind (3:19)
Blessed (4:52)
Strings (3:18)
Both Belong (4:31)
I Go Astray (4:28)
All You Wanted (4:20)
No One Can Hurt Me (10:11)

Link updated (11/07/2019)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Grays - 1994 - Companion (rehearsals and radio sessions)

The Grays
Companion: Rehearsals and Radio Sessions

Studio and radio recordings, very good quality
mp3 @ 256 kbps

OK, while we're in the realm of quality Power Pop, and in particular, delving into short-lived, neglected, and underappreciated bands, let's move from the 'eighties up to the 'nineties now, and feature a somewhat legendary (in Power Pop circles) but little-known temporary assemblage that was known as The Grays. This very brief, but productive union of three talented singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, Jason Falkner (previously with The Three O'Clock, Jellyfish, and later to go on to an impressive solo career), Jon Brion (worked with Aimee Mann, the eels, and others), and Buddy Judge (?), along with drummer Dan McCarroll, only produced one released album, the highly acclaimed, but sales-challenged and now out of print Ro Sham Bo (1994). Nonetheless, the high quality of their only album together is mind-boggling, it is just a sensational pop-rock album, with all three songwriters sharing, combining, and contributing great songs, wonderful melodies, a great sound, and shimmering pop production. It is quite possibly better than anything else any of them have been associated with (and since that includes Jellyfish and Jason's solo work, that's saying quite alot). Now, I have to admit that I had never heard of them before either (I had previously heard some Jellyfish and Jason Falkner solo (and liked them), but had never heard of The Grays, until just recently, when they were featured at Willard's Wormholes (much thanks, Willard!), and let's just say that I was mightily impressed and wanted to pass them along to you here. Although I can't post their official album release here (but perhaps Willard can help you there), I can post these unofficial recordings, which consist of some studio rehearsals, covers, acoustic takes, and radio sessions, to give you a taste of what they sounded like, and what such a shame it was that they couldn't have stayed together long enough to make more of this music. Still not convinced to give them a listen? Well, how about this enticing description of their music (from their Wikipedia page) as being Beatlesque, but with a harder edge. Yeah, sounds pretty good to me (and the all acoustic takes are wonderful, too).    

1. Complicated (Rolling Stones cover) (3:13)
2. He’s Frank (Monochrome Set cover) (2:49)
3. Blessed (Simon & Garfunkel cover) (4:27)
4. Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell cover) (2:53)
5. Oh Nevermind (3:44)
6. Outdoor Miner (Wire cover) (2:25)
7. Very Best Years (acoustic) (3:28)
8. Same Thing (acoustic) (3:42)
9. Nothing (acoustic) (3:05)
10. Both Belong (acoustic) (4:20)
11. KFOG Acoustic Session 1 ('Same Thing', talk, 'Nothing') (13:49)
12. KFOG Acoustic Session 2 (tuning, 'Both Belong', talk) (12:38)

The Grays were:
Jason Falkner
Jon Brion
Buddy Judge
Dan McCarroll

Link updated (11/07/2019)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Sinceros - Demos and Rarities, 1978-1981

The Sinceros
Demos and Rarities

Studio demo recordings, good to very good quality
mp3@320 kbps

OK, Here's the last of The Sinceros stuff. This is a collection of various demos and rarities from throughout the brief history of the group, beginning with some early demo recordings from 1978, progressing up to their later recordings in 1981. The early (1978) stuff here is pretty rough, both in the recordings and the performances, but the later stuff is really good, and features many songs that can not be heard on any other recordings, either live or studio. So, this is definitely needed to complete any collection of The Sinceros music. After their first album, The Sound of Sunbathing (1979), they essentially completed recording what was planned to be their second album, to be titled '2nd Debut' (artwork featured above), in 1980, but then at the last minute the album was withheld and shelved by their label, Epic records. Much of the material for that album was later re-worked and re-recorded, along with several new songs, under the guidance of Producer Gus Dudgeon (most well-known for his work with Elton John), and was eventually released as Pet Rock in 1981. I don't know how much of the credit goes to Dudgeon (as opposed to the band just growing and maturing), but Pet Rock, is by far their best work, just a wonderful pop album for that time, with great songs, a great sound, and great production. The collection included here has couple of the songs from the 2nd Debut sessions, as well as several from later sessions that were not used on any released albums. For anyone interested at all in the music of The Sinceros, I highly recommend getting Pet Rock, as at least half of its songs (including some of their best) are not found on any of these bootlegs, and the others are in superior versions (actually, everything on that album is better than anything I have been able to post from them here).  Just a great, criminally underappreciated pop album.  In addition, only fairly recently, Pet Rock was reissued as a deluxe CD (actually, first time on CD, 2010 - Wounded Bird/Sony), that contained not only all of Pet Rock, but also the complete 2nd Debut tracks and several other additional bonus tracks, too (for a total of 25 Sinceros tracks). Well worth checking out, if you can find it. But until then, hope you enjoy this final sampling of The Sinceros. BTW, these recordings I've shared represent the only live/unreleased recordings of The Sinceros available as far as I know. If you have or know of any others, I'd love to hear/have anything you can share about them. Thanks.  

First Demos (c. 1978):
01. Something's Happening Now
02. Rich Quick
03. Girl I Realise
04. Little White Lie
05. My Little Letter
06. Hollywood
07. Quick Quick Slow
08. Cry
09. Cry (instrumental)
Pathway & Matrix Demos (c. 1979):
10. Break Her Heart
11. Count The Beating Hearts
12. Little White Lie
13. My Little Letter
14. Take Me To Your Leader
15. Worlds Apart
2nd Debut (unreleased album, 1980):
16. Come On Out And Play
17. Down Down
Later Demos (1980-1981):
18. Knot On The Inside
19. City Summers
20. Everyday Girl
21. Falling Out With You
22. We Don't Get Along
23. You And I Make Magic
24. Coming Down
25. The Scene

New Link! (Updated 03/29/21)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Sinceros - 1979 - Boston and London Radio Shows

The Sinceros
Rat Club, Boston, MA
BBC Radio One in Concert, Paris Theatre Studios, London, UK

FM Broadcast recordings, very good quality
mp3 @320 kbps

Here's some more Live Sinceros for you (well, at least for the few that seem interested), with a combination of 2 live radio shows from 1979, one from Boston, one from London. Although the setlist covers pretty much the same material as those previously posted (with the exception of a new rarity, 'Beady Eyes' included in this set), they are once again, fun shows worth hearing (and since there are so few available shows, they are all precious). So, here they are again, that great, fun, Power Pop group from the late seventies, The Sinceros. 

01. Introduction and Tuning
02. Something's Happening Now
03. I Still Miss You
04. Count The Beating Hearts
05. Walls Floors and Ceilings
06. Up There
07. Disappearing
08. I Can't Stop
09. Little White Lie
10. Television Vision
11. Good Luck To You
12. Take Me To Your Leader
13. Worlds Apart
14. Something's Happening Now
15. I Still Miss You
16. Count The Beating Hearts
17. Little White Lie
18. Disappearing
19. Beady Eyes
20. Take Me To Your Leader
21. Worlds Apart
22. Are You Ready?

Mark Kjeldsen - Guitar and Vocals
Don Snow (a/k/a Jonn Savannah) - Keys and Vocals
Ron Francois - Bass and Vocals
Bobbi Irwin - Drums and Vocals


Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Sinceros - 1978 - Hope & Anchor Pub, London

The Sinceros
Fall 1978
Hope & Anchor Pub, Islington, London, UK

(Date uncertain, as band played several dates there between September and December 1978)
Audience recording, good quality
mp3 @ 320 kbps

More Sinceros for you (fun Power Pop band, see previous post), this one a relatively early gig from the Fall of '78, at the Hope & Anchor Pub. This 1978 show features several different earlier songs that were not played on subsequent tours, including 'City Summers', 'Hanging On Too Long', 'Rich Quick', and 'My Little Letters'. Although the vocals and harmonies are a bit more rough around the edges here (probably more due to onstage sound/monitor problems, than their singing abilities), this nonetheless is a fun early show, with good sound quality.

01. Something's Happening Now
02. I Still Miss You
03. Quick Quick Slow (with alternate opening)
04. Count The Beating Hearts
05. Are You Ready?
06. City Summers
07. Walls Floors and Ceilings
08. Hanging On Too Long
09. Rich Quick
10. Good Luck To You
11. Girl I Realize
12. Little White Lie
13. My Little Letter
14. Take Me To Your Leader
15. Worlds Apart
16. Take Me To Your Leader

Mark Kjeldsen - Guitar and Vocals
Don Snow (a/k/a Jonn Savannah) - Keys and Vocals
Ron Francois - Bass and Vocals
Bobbi Irwin - Drums and Vocals

New Link! (updated 03/29/21)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Sinceros - 1979-12-13 - Palladium, NYC (plus bonus tracks)

The Sinceros
The Palladium, New York, NY
FM Broadcast (WNEW-FM), very good quality
with bonus tracks from:
1980-09-22 (or 23), Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK
1980-01-18, Goldsmith College, London, UK 

Here's another fine, but relatively unknown, band that popped-up as part of the British New Wave movement in the late seventies-early eighties, had some (but not enough) success, then disappeared without a trace a couple years later, never to be heard from again. It's too bad, cause I really liked The Sinceros' sound and style. They played what I guess would be considered Power Pop. Their music was energetic, bright (almost cheery), and just a whole lot of fun. Their songs were quick, catchy, and clever. They were a wonderful antidote to the bludgeoning anger, aggression, and heavyness of the punk movement at that time. Sure, it's pretty lightweight pop, but it's quirky and fun stuff. They only made 2 albums, The Sound of Sunbathing (1979) and Pet Rock (1981), before breaking up by the end of 1981. They were lead by the singing and songwriting of Mark Kjeldsen, but all four members sang and contributed in various ways. I stumbled upon these guys quite accidentally myself, when I picked up their 2nd album (Pet Rock) based on what I recalled as a previous recommendation by my old college roomate (It actually turned out his recommendation was for a different band altogether, The Sorrows). But once I listened to The Sinceros album, it immediately became one of my favorites from this period, and the rest of the eighties (BTW, I later heard The Sorrows, and was not impressed, so much for that recommendation). Anyway, so here are The Sinceros, another in a long line of wonderful, talented, original bands, that never quite made it. But at least we will always have the music that they did make, to enjoy and remember them by. Fortunately, there are several live shows that were recorded, as well as several demos and unreleased tracks by them that we can share and enjoy. Thus, this is the first of multiple posts featuring The Sinceros. Check 'em out if you have any interest in new wave/power pop, or just fun pop-rock music. By the way, after the band broke up, most of the band members went on to successful musical careers: Don Snow (later J.Santana) played in multiple incarnations of Squeeze and Procol Harum over the years, as well as being a regular member of Van Morrison's Band. Ron Francois briefly joined The Teardrop Explodes, and then moved to Australia to join The Eurogliders, and has stayed there, working with many different Australian bands and artists over the last several years. Bobbi Irwin has worked extensively with Nick Lowe and Van Morrison, among others. Mark Kjeldsen, however, after briefly joining another band, left music and became a social worker in London, but his life was tragically cut short when he died of AIDS in 1992. 

Palladium tracks:
01. Something's Happening Now
02. I Still Miss You
03. Quick Quick Slow
04. Count The Beating Hearts
05. Disappearing
06. Little White Lie
07. Good Luck (to You)
08. Take Me To Your Leader
09. Worlds Apart
10. Walls, Floors & Ceilings
11. Up There
12. I Can't Stop
13. Television Vision
14. Girl I Realize
15. Are You Ready?
Hammersmith tracks:
16. Disappearing
17. I Can't Stop
18. Little White Lie
19. Socially
20. Take Me To Your Leader
21. Worlds Apart
Goldsmith College tracks:
22. As The World Turns
23. Come On Out And Play

Mark Kjeldsen - Guitar and Vocals
Don Snow (aka Jonn Savannah) - Keys and Vocals
Ron Francois - Bass and Vocals
Bobbi Irwin - Drums and Vocals

New Link (Updated 07/03/20)

The Palladium show was part of a larger concert that also featured Bruce Woolley, Paul Collins' Beat, and 20/20 Band (their songs not included here), which was all broadcast on WNEW-FM and was known as the "$5 Rock and Roll Show".

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Meet the New Year, Same as the Old Year

Well here we are already a week into the new year, and I have to say that it's been pretty hard to get motivated about it or anything else, really. Sure, most of us were more than happy to say goodbye (and good riddance) to 2012, a very tough year, but is there anything better to look forward to in 2013? OK, sure, it's up to each of us to try to make it better, I suppose, right? But, other than the calendar on the wall, has anything really changed? And here we are, with all that mess from the previous year to clean up. Ok, I guess all this is just an odd way to say that it has taken me awhile to get motivated to come up with what direction to go and what to post next, for this 'new' year. But now, although there has been a brief gap here, I think I have finally gotten on top of it, and will start posting again (tomorrow, maybe?) No matter what, music is always a bright spot, right? There is always great music being made, regardless of what is popular, or what sells, there are always great artists and musicians out there making great music. After featuring some pretty big name artists recently, I'm going to go back to featuring some lesser-known artists, who well worth checking out. So, for the next few posts, we will go back again to those late seventies-early eighties days to hear some prime new wave/power pop to brighten your wintry days.