Friday, August 17

The Cramps - Alex Chilton Demos 1977

IRS Demos / Session Outtakes
Sun Studios
Memphis, TN  
June 1977
soundboard recording (quality: VG+; sourced from IRS Records in-house cassette)

1-6: What's Behind the Mask?
(various takes, false starts, alt. mixes)

7-9: Rock On the Moon (takes 1-3) 

10: false start

11: Rock on the Moon (take 4)

12-14: Daddy Drives a UFO
(takes 1 & 2 + false start)

Ardent Studios
Memphis, TN
October 1977
soundboard recordings (quality: VG-; sounds like a multi-generation tape source)
01 TV Set
02 Domino
03 Can't Hardly Stand It
04 Lonesome Town
05 I Was a Teenage Werewolf 
06 Sunglasses after Dark
07 Human Fly
08 Love Me
09 Uranium Rock
10 The Way I Walk
11 Strychnine
12 Surfin' Bird
13 I'm Cramped
ROB SEZ: I've covered quite a bit of the Alex Chilton / Big Star story over the years via many ROIOs. Now we bring you an odd little chapter that's not yet been featured: Alex producing The Cramps in 1977. Thanks to fanatical Cramps collectors, here are the (nearly) complete demos & studio outtakes from The Cramps' Chilton sessions in Memphis in 1977. (I left off a few duplicative takes of "What's Behind the Mask" — how many of those do we need to hear in one sitting, anyway??)  The Chilton sessions led to the 1979 Gravest Hits EP & full-length Songs the Lord Taught Us, released in 1980. The Cramps aren't really my thing, but I can't deny there's a good bit of ghoulish, primal "rawk" fun to be found here. Enjoy.

POST-DEADLINE BONUS: Here are 5 superior-sounding tracks (VG+) from the second set via an alternate source, plus artwork & photos. FLAC or MP3@320 (poke around a bit to find even more...)

Tuesday, August 14

Chris Stamey - New Song available for streaming

"Greensboro Days" (with Peter H.)

Here's what Chris says about this track:
A seasonal song for the coming of autumn, and a sequel, after 41 years to my "Summer Sun" (Ork Records, 1977). With John Teer from Chatham County Line (fiddle & mandolin), Peter Holsapple (harmonies), Dan Davis (drums), Jason Foureman (acoustic bass). Thanks to Jeff Crawford for production assistance on this one!

ROB SEZ: In my recent Q & A with Chris, he said this song will appear on The Great Escape, his forthcoming studio album, due later this year. Whether or not this version of "Greensboro Days" turns out to be the master take on the album, we'll just have to see. (In case you missed it, you can stream another new song by Chris at THIS earlier post.)
ALL PRAISES to Fantom for alerting me.

Friday, August 10

dB's - Rare Demo Bonanza ('TomTom, Part 2')

Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey
(+ Alex Chilton bonus)
Early, Rare Demos
late 1970s & early 1980s
various locations, variable sound quality (range: GD to VG+)
SAMPLE: "Lonely Is as Lonely Does" (demo, late 1970s)     
Chris and Peter at Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill, NC, 1981
photo by dB's Fan
Think of this collection as “Ride the Wild TomTom, Part 2” 
(except that most of these are without the other dB's)
I never thought I'd hear demos for Repercussion era tracks,
but here are 3 for your listening pleasure...  

01 Bad Reputation (earliest demo) PH
02 Ups and Downs (demo) CS
03 We Were Happy There (demo) PH
04 Happenstance (demo) CS
05 You've Been On My Mind 1 (demo) PH
06 You've Been On My Mind 2 (demo, full-length)* PH
07 instrumental (demo) PH
08 What You Said to Me (demo)* PH
09 Looking Around Corners (demo) PH
10 A House Is Not a Home (demo) PH
11 Leave My World Alone (demo) PH
12 Crimson & Clover (demo)* PH
13 The Death of Rock (earliest demo) PH
14 Lonely Is as Lonely Does (demo) PH
15 Depth of Field (demo) CS
16 Face In the Crowd (demo) CS
17 Excitement (demo) CS
18 Big Time (demo) CS
19 Walking the Ceiling (It's Good to Be Alive) demo CS
20 Tennis Bum (demo) LX with PH
21 My Rival (demo) LX with CS & Cossacks
22 Little Fishy (demo) LX with CS & Cossacks

TT: 77:13 mins.

ROB SEZA huge thank-you goes to dB's Fan for the original share. The oldest of these are the final two Alex Chilton tracks, accompanied by Chris and the rest of The Cossacks, probably 1977. “Tennis Bum” is a better-known track from Peter’s Memphis sessions, recorded some time in 1978 at Sam Phillips’ studio with Richard Rosebrough. Most of the other Peter tracks are thought to be from these sessions except for the 3 marked “ * ”. Those are said to be from a later session in 1979 at Mitch Easter’s Drive-In Studio in Winston-Salem, NC. Chris’ demos are dated 1982, but there’s no other info. I can't imagine the Repercussion songs would have been demo’d in 1982 since the album was recorded in 1981. But I’m just passing on the info I was given...

Peter visits London, 1981

Chris phones it in, just this once

Alex Chilton strumming away in someone's bedsit
photo by S. Chernikowski


You DO own the most excellent Ride the Wild TomTom comp, don't you?

      Whaddya mean, "No, I just haven't got around to buying that one yet"?!?
You've got to fix that RIGHT NOW:


Wednesday, August 1

Peter H - TWO new releases for 2018!

New solo album Game Day is out now;
archival release with Alex Chilton due in October
Order the album directly from Omnivore (or, if you must, @Amazon)
Congratulations to Peter on the release of his second proper solo album in 21 years! Game Day is receiving excellent reviews: 4 stars from AllMusic and No Depression calls it "a real gift". Read more reviews here & here. Interviews with Peter are here, here & here. Live gigs in N.C. and Los Angeles are scheduled, and other live shows may follow elsewhere (at last report, a certain Mr. Will Rigby is playing drums in the band). Peter is blogging again, so keep up with Game Day developments here.
PH - clearly psyched for Game Day

Sample Track from the new album:  "Continental Drifters" —
a beautiful tribute to a great band

The Death of Rock
credited to Peter and ... Alex Chilton!
It's probably the last thing Peter & Omnivore Recordings want you to be
thinking about right now. But this is a fan blog, so we're spilling the beans.
40 year-old recordings from Memphis, TN become an album. In 1978, Peter had relocated from N.C. to Memphis, hoping to collaborate with Big Star leaders Chris Bell and Alex Chilton. When Bell said he wasn't interested, Peter found a willing partner in Richard Rosebrough, local engineer, musician & friend of Big Star. Peter & Richard began recording sessions in the summer of 1978 at Sam Phillips' studio. Alex Chilton got involved a bit later (see below). I was tipped off to this release by eagle-eye Fantom, so all credit to him.

Here's pre-release info recently posted at Amazon, iTunes & similar sites:
Peter Holsapple vs. Alex Chilton - The Death Of Rock

• Newly discovered recordings of early solo Peter Holsapple and Like Flies On Sherbert–era Alex Chilton 
• Liner notes by Peter Holsapple and author/filmmaker, Robert Gordon
• Previously unseen photos from the collections of Peter Holsapple and Pat Rainer

It’s 1978 at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, TN. Peter Holsapple had rolled into town chasing the essence of Big Star. He hooked up with musician/ engineer/ friend-of-Big-Star, Richard Rosebrough after approaching, and being turned down by, Chris Bell who Holsapple had hoped might be interested in producing him. Together Richard and Peter started laying down tracks during the off hours at the studio. 

Chilton meanwhile, was knee deep in the making of Like Flies On Sherbert, also being tracked at Phillips. He told Peter, “I heard some of that stuff you’re working on with Richard . . . and it really sucks.” Alex promised to come by and show Peter “how it’s done.” The results? Alex’s tracks definitely line up with the chaos found on Flies, while several of Peter’s songs found homes on The dB’s albums (“Bad Reputation” and “We Were Happy There”) and on an album by The Troggs (“The Death Of Rock” retooled as “I’m In Control”), so not a loss at all.

What we have in these newly discovered tapes, is a fascinating pivot point with both artists moving past each other headed in distinctly different directions. Chilton moved toward punk/psychobilly as he began playing with Tav Falco’s Panther Burns and produced The Cramps debut, Songs The Lord Taught Us within a few months of these recordings. Holsapple was off to New York to audition for The dB’s and enter the world of “sweet pop.” 

Liner notes by Peter Holsapple tell the story of these recordings firsthand and author/ filmmaker/ Memphian, Robert Gordon, helps pull the time and place into focus. Previously unseen photos included in the package are drawn from the collections of Peter Holsapple and Pat Rainer. Produced by Cheryl Pawelski with mastering by Mike Graves at Osiris Studio and Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl/Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis, who brings it all right back to where it started.

Track Listing:

  1. Bad Reputation
  2. Tennis Bum
  3. House Is Not a Home 
  4. Marshall Law
  5. We Were Happy There
  6. Heart and Soul
  7. The Death of Rock
  8. Train Kept a Rollin'
  9. Take Me Back
  10. Hey Mona
  11. Mind Your Manners (backing track)
  12. Bad Reputation (backing track)
  13. Tennis Bum (rehearsal)
  14. O My Soul (instrumental rehearsal)
  15. In the Street (instrumental rehearsal)
  16. Baby I Love You (rehearsal)
  17. The Death of Rock (rehearsal)
  18. Someone's Gotta Shine Your Shoes (rehearsal)
  19. Mind Your Manners (4-track version with vocals)

Notes: tracks 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 13 are credited to Alex Chilton; all others to Peter Holsapple (Apple Music & Apple iTunes list the same tracks in a different order)

DUE OUT Oct. 12, 2018 on Omnivore Recordings
Pre-order The Death of Rock HERE (CD) and HERE (vinyl).
Go to Amazon & iTunes for digital download pre-orders; they come with an immediate download of the song "The Death of Rock" — which can also be downloaded separately.

Friday, July 27

Let's Active - The Ritz, NYC 1985

     WAV lossless files

ROB SEZ: This & a few other early Let's Active posts look weird because I was trying to figure out a non-HTML work around for the take-down notices automatically generated by certain record company 'bots. My fingers are crossed, but I'm guessing the take-downs won't be a problem going forward.

Friday, July 20

NRBQ - Live 1973 + 1980

December 1973
The Rusty Nail
Sunderland, MA 

soundboard recording (quality: VG++; 
very impressive recording, 4+ decades old!)

SAMPLE: Gonna Have to Ball (live 1973)

01 Talk to Me
02 Call Him Off Rogers
03 That’s Neat That’s Nice
04 Two Sides to Every Story
05 I Want to Know 
06 Dig 
07 There’s No Looking Back
08 Music, Music, Music /
     Rockin' in Rhythm
09 Let Me Tell You ‘Bout My Girl
10 Mr. Pennington
11 Holy Cow
12 Gonna Have to Ball
13 Mona
14 Who Put the Garlic In the Glue?
15 Get Rhythm
16 Sorry Charlie
17 You Got It
18 Get On the Right Track Baby
19 Queen Talk
20 Bye Bye Love
The Surrey 
Rosendale, N.Y.
Feb. 2, 1980
soundboard recording (quality: VG+)
01 Shake, Rattle, Roll 
02 This Old House 
TERRY ADAMS: captain of the NRBQ ship
03 Things We Like to Do 
04 Right String, Wrong Yo-Yo  
05 I know You Like It 
06 Music Goes Round
07 Don't She Look Good 
08 Just to Hold My Hand 
09 It's Not So Hard 
10 Everybody's Smokin' 
11 Bargains 
12 Green Lights 
13 I Wanna Show You 
14 Petticoat Junction 
15 All By Myself 
16 I Want You to Feel Good Too  
17 Rats In My Room
01 Bye Ya 
02 Let the Good times Roll 
03 Who Put the Garlic In the Glue?
04 Daddy's Gonna Tell You No Lies 
05 RC Cola & a Moon Pie
06 That's Neat That's Nice
07 Wacky Tobacky 
08 Never Take the Place of You  
09 Ridin' In My Car 
10 Ain't It Alright?
11 Wooly Bully 
12 Flat Foot Flewzy 
13 1972 
14 Cecelia 
15 Good Lovin'
16 Every Day Will Be 
     Like a Holiday 
17 Honey Hush 
18 Accentuate the Positive 
19 song intro
20 All Night Long
21 Good Night
ROB SEZ: In case anyone thinks Repercussion has turned into a "re-post only" blog, let today's post stand as a corrective. At least once a month, I will continue to post new material that hasn't appeared here before. Even if you're not currently a fan of NRBQ, this would be a good one to try if you're curious about this great American band — still in business 50 years after its founding.
REPERCUSSION: NRBQ has direct and indirect ties to The dB's. In his recent book A Spy In the House of Loud, Chris Stamey says NRBQ was "one of our favorite bands" that played with "irresistible verve and superior musicianship." Chris adds, "looking back, I think the dB's 'punk roots' at the time [ie, the late 1970s and early 1980s] were actually NRBQ and Richard Thompson as well as Television." Years later, Chris enlisted NRBQ founder/leader/vocalist/keyboard virtuoso Terry Adams to play on his 1991 solo album Fireworks. And as blog reader Pablo pointed out, both bands were signed to Bearsville Records at the time of the label's demise in the 1980s.
     (artwork for both shows is included)
Learn more about NRBQ' music at Wikipedia, AllMusic and the band's official site & FB page


Friday, July 13

The COMPLETE Philosopher's Club Show 1979

The dB’s
Philosopher's Club
Winston-Salem, NC
December 28, 1979

audience recording (sound quality: VG++; transfer from 1st-gen. tape; 
                                 pretty darn amazing sound for an audie)
1. Black & White
2. (I Thought) You Wanted to Know
3. Condition Red
4. Death Garage
5. Dynamite
6. The Summer Sun
7. She's Not Worried
8. Tossing & Turning
9. You Got It Wrong
10. My Back Pages
11. Tearjerkin'

1. Bad Reputation
2. What's the Matter With Me?
3. Big Brown Eyes
4. World Keeps Goin' Around      
5. What I Dig
6. Espionage
7. The Fight
8. If & When
9. Rendezvous
10. Let's Live for Today
11. Susie Q
12. Tearjerkin'

01. Black & White
02. (I Thought) You Wanted to Know
03. Condition Red
04. I'm In Love
05. The Summer Sun

ROB SEZ: BIG-TIME THANKS to Jonathan Sharpe who taped the show, the original uploader & all praise to EdA for the re-up!



DON’T MISS Fred Mills’ excellent remembrance of this show, written for The dB’s official web site.

The dB’s:
Chris Stamey – guitar & vocals
Peter Holsapple – guitar, organ & vocals
Gene Holder – bass
Will Rigby – drums & backing vocals

Friday, July 6

dB's - NYC & London 1981

The Ritz
New York, NY
June 12, 1981
The Old Grey Whistle Test
London, UK
July 3, 1981
soundboard recordings (quality: VG++)

Will often ends up in the center of these old group shots, looking very cool.
Stephanie Chernikowski photo

The Ritz NYC 1981-06-12
Newly-unearthed photos of dB's live gig: Hope & Anchor, 1981
London gig photos by R. Plews (see more photos & read story HERE)
01 Big Brown Eyes           
02 I Feel Good (Today)
03 We Should Be In Bed  
04 Dynamite
05 Cycles Per Second
06 Death Garage
07 If and When

OGWT London 1981-07-03
08 Cycles Per Second
09 pH Factor
10 Big Brown Eyes

The dB's:
Chris Stamey
Will Rigby
Gene Holder
Peter Holsapple 
ROB SEZ: It wasn’t hard to pick the first music post for the blog. I’m guessing 1981 was a very cool time to be in The dB’s. The debut album was out, receiving rave reviews, and the band played hip places like The Ritz in NYC and at "The Old Grey Whistle Test" in London. The 1981 Ritz set is one of the few soundboard recordings in The dB’s ROIO canon. You can judge for yourself, of course, but I think the guys are firing on all cylinders. The OGWT tracks are fun to listen to, but even more fun to watch. Find ‘em on YouTube.

BIG THANKS to the original tapers & sharers, especially lilpanda for superior versions of the NYC tracks. I first saw these online at the late, lamented NargoTheBort's Deviant Subculture blog.

FLAC (OGWT tracks = MP3)


Tuesday, July 3

A Change Is Gonna Come - SOON


Repercussion blog followers may want to know about a big, permanent 
change in direction at the blog, starting this week.

Since starting dB's Repercussion in 2012, the blog has been a labor of love. This means I have to squeeze it in between work & family commitments. My work load is growing & changing right now, which means something has to give.


1) Posts will be no more than once per week, usually on Fridays. The bottom of the "ASH Tuesday" barrel has been scraped, and there's no more to share. I bid the ASH Tuesday posts a fond farewell, with my sincere thanks to Don, Mick and the rest of the ASH crew. It was great while it lasted.

2) I'm returning to the original focus of the blog: The dB's, Let's Active, their various band members & associates, and artists they chose/choose to collaborate with. From now on, there will be no more posts unrelated to the above in some way, shape or form.

3) Re-posts with lossless links. Half or more of the posts from now on will be re-posts with links to FLAC files. The arrival of faster upload speeds in my town and Dropbox's generous storage allowance mean I can start to share FLAC versions of many dB's, Let's Active (etc.) posts. Some of my source material was lossy, so I won't be able to do this with everything here — but there will be a lot.

I welcome any comments you might have.

Friday, June 29

Chris Stamey - Exclusive Q & A

Chris Stamey Talks
new book, next album & much more 
* exclusive Q & A for the Repercussion Blog *
CHRIS STAMEY: in Philadelphia performing for World Café Live earlier this year
all photos are by the great Chris Sikich, who kindly gave his permission for their use here

QUESTION: Your new book, A Spy in the House of Loud, persuaded me you have an impressive memory for detail, vividly recalling incidents that took place three or four decades ago. Do you have a photographic memory, or something close to it?
ANSWER: Nothing like that. I did try to fact check, and Peter, Will, Mitch, among others, helped "watch my back." I think we all have moments in our lives that seem vividly detailed and that stand out even years later; I just wrote about my own such moments, so it was easy.

You didn’t set out to write the book it became, but ASITHOL turned into an engrossing read. Might there be another book down the road?
I am threatening to write a sequel, called In Remembrance of Things Fast. I doubt I will, really, but I do like that title. I'm working on a small-ensemble play set in 1970s Philly, called tentatively either "The Piano" or "Give My Regards to Off-Broadway (Remember Me to Rittenhouse Square)". (not kidding)

For his recent book-and-songs tour, Chris brought a violinist & cellist to accompany him 
In the book, you share numerous stories about playing and recording with Alex Chilton. You’re also the founder and musical director for the Big Star Third Live project that began in 2010 after Chilton’s death. Is your work with Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens and BS3rd Live as significant to you as the music you created with The dB’s and as a solo artist?

I'm most interested in the music I write myself. I like all those folks, but also a lot of midcentury-modern "classical" and jazz music. I mostly listen to the latter two, currently. In high school, I liked the Big Star and Ardent recordings a whole lot. But it was more being around Alex for that time in NYC, and learning from him, that was significant for me. The Big Star Third concerts came from more of a "dare," "could we do it?" I am not obsessed about that music, though, certainly not compared to some of the guest singers we had. It was a great group of people to hang out with, though. 

all CS photos by Chris Sikich
The book includes amusing stories about your involvement in bands in and around Winston-Salem during your student days. It was published in May about the same time as “Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, a one-night reunion of many of the same N.C. bands you describe in the book. Did the book inspire the live event?
The concert at the RamKat in Winston on May 12 was completely inspired by the book, but happened at the instigation of Richard Emmett, who runs that club. And each act was preceded by relevant projected "Star Wars style" text from the book. We filmed and recorded (multitrack) the whole event, but I don't know if it will ever get edited. Doug Davis singing the Captain Speed songs with Mitch on guitar and Robin Borthwick on drums was amazing, though! And I never thought that Rittenhouse Square would ever play together again! I got to sing "Hot Smoke and Sassafras" with R2, and that was so cool — I never sang in the band back in the day.

The book focuses on your time in and around NYC and, to some degree, your memories and ongoing reflections about those times and the people you met along the way. But you also come across as someone who’s proud of your North Carolina roots and some of the music being created today in the Triangle area. Is this an accurate assessment?

I love North Carolina and it's wonderful to be back in Chapel Hill, where I was born. For me, it's the best. The book has a restricted focus, as do most books; it was originally called New York Songs but I was the only one who liked that somewhat bland title. I was not trying to write any kind of autobiography (so it didn't seem weird to have so little about NC in there), and in fact I don't think there's all that much "reveal" about myself in general in it, except inadvertently. It's mostly about music.

Another project! Chris' New Songs song book
At the book store appearance I attended in Asheville, N.C., you played a new song you and Peter Holsapple have worked on. Will the song be included in another duo project, or is it too soon to tell?
I have a new record in the can, called The Great Escape, that is 95 percent finished, and will be 100 as soon as I can find two weeks free to do this. Peter was kind enough to sing on a few tracks with me, including "Greensboro Days," the song in question. "The One and Only," about Van Dyke Parks, is also on this unreleased collection.

You’ve produced and otherwise collaborated with numerous musicians — some very well known and others not so much. Of projects in the latter category I’ve had the pleasure of hearing, Peter Blegvad’s King Strut and Other Stories is my favorite (Chris co-produced it with Peter B., and Peter Holsapple played / sang on most of the tracks). Do you have any that stand out for you?
Cover of Peter Blegvad's
King Strut & Other Stories
sadly out of print, but worth finding

I do really like that Peter Blegvad record you mentioned, he's great. I like both of the Le Tigre records I did quite a bit. There are a few albums I did with Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown that have never come out that I'm fond of. Skylar Gudasz made a very nice record [Oleander] a few years ago. It's a hard one, I generally am fond of all of the records I've worked on — if I don't find parts of a project to fall in love with, I usually don't do the record. I collaborated with Kirk Ross, who does prepared guitar textures, and I love the record we did together, The Robust Beauty of Improper Linear Models of Decision-MakingThere's a "radio musical" called Occasional Shivers I did with a lot of people — Branford Marsalis, Bill Frisell, Millie McGuire, Django Haskins, lots more, and it was a delight — it's a free podcast now, on iTunes. I'm most excited about the record I'm making with Millie McGuire right now. I just got back from writing a new song for her with Dan Wilson (Semisonic, Adele, Taylor Swift) that we are all excited about.

ROB SEZ: As you can surmise from the interview, Chris has multiple irons in the fire. I'm grateful for his willingness to take the time for this Q & A. Thank you kindly, Chris.