Friday, July 13

CBGB - NYC 1979 + Early Demos

The dB’s
New York, NY
March 21, 1979
+ early demos
With all the recent talk of the band’s history and “30 Years Ago...”, 
I thought a musical dose of The dB’s early days might be fun.
BIG THANKS to the taper and Batchain for the share!

In the live set, only 2 songs from the debut album appear, alongside several early tunes that later disappeared from the group’s repertoire. For extra fun, compare the punked-up live version of "If & When" to the demo!
Central Park Lake, NYC, 1980
photo by Laura Levine
March 21, 1979
(aud., sound quality VG to VG+)

01 The Summer Sun (first few secs. cut, fades in) 
02 Dynamite (sound quality dips for about 90 secs.) 
03 You're Gonna Want Me To*
04 She's Green, I'm Blue
05 Everytime, Anytime
06 Bad Reputation
07 Rendezvous (brief distortion at 0:46 & 2:19)
08 My Back Pages
09 If and When
10 We Were Happy There
11 Let's Live for Today
12 The World Keeps Goin' Round (slight buzzing on this & final track)
13 Hey Baby* 
      *titles are guesses, based on song lyrics

The dB’s and the NYC skyline, c. 1980
The dB’s
Early Demos (late 1970s)
(sbd., from multi-gen. cassette; sound quality Gd+ to VG-)

01 (I Thought) You Wanted to Know (demo)
02 If and When (demo) + instrumental
03 We Should Be In Bed (demo)
04 What I Dig (demo)
05 Nonsequitur of Silence (demo)

A probable date for these demos would be 1978 (the first 3 at least). The sound quality is a bit less than the live set, and you can hear a dropout once in a while, but otherwise pretty darn listenable for the age & origins of the material. I checked to be sure there’s no overlap with the oldest tracks on The dB’s excellent Ride the Wild Tom-Tom comp or either of the Sneakers comps (look HERE or here). One or two may be the same take, but in any case, the mixes are different than the released versions. 

Check out the instrumental that Chris tacked onto the “If and When” demo — guitar feedback segueing into classical woodwinds; very weird & very cool!

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

Before the name was shortened, the band was
known in the early days as “Chris Stamey & The dB’s”
(flyer from March 1979 show, Hot Club, Philly)


  1. Hey Robin, -- Okay, I'm going to say you're an expert on this band unless you really actually are a member of the band. If you really want my attention, find me a live version of "Little Hands" and post the show. I expected to see this song on the new album. It's such a great song! This song can't buy a date. I can't understand why they trashed it. It's easily one of my top three dB's cuts. Please say you feel the same! So, can you help me? If not, anybody else? By the way, Robin, thanks for all the great posts you've already provided!

    1. Hello Oxy; thanks for your comment.

      "Little Hands" ... hmmm, lessee here: I'm sure I've only heard the demo, but I'll toss your question out there to the greater wisdom of the group. Anyone else know a live version? If so, post a reply here, please.

  2. Twenty years ago, I can recall hearing of many 'well-kept' dB's recordings. It's really nice to see these finally surface. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Sharing increases my enjoyment of the music; very glad to hear you like 'em...

  3. Undoubtedly no coincidence that 'Hey Baby' is the same tune as 'Like Flies on Sherbet'....

  4. Z - After having another listen to the dB's track and checking a 90-second preview of the LX track, I think the only close similarity between the Alex Chilton song "Hey! Little Child" from LFoS and The dB's "Hey Baby" is the title.

    But I'm quite willing to stand corrected 'cuz the dB's tune is a mystery to me. To my knowledge, it doesn't appear in any other live shows or rarity collections...

  5. To clarify, I'm not suggesting it's like 'Hey Little Child'. But the tune is much the same as the title track, 'Like Flies on Sherbet'. Lyrics are another matter - they don't match. I just meant that the whole thing seemed an unlikely coincidence since Chris would have probably had played 'Like Flies' with Alex.

    1. OK, NOW I get it, Z.

      Wow; that's uncanny. As far as I can tell, it's the very same tune...

    2. Almost ten years later... we called the song Baby Your OK (spelling it like that). It's an Alex song we played many times in the early days.

    3. Thank you, Peter! I hear from a certain someone there might be a reissue of "Ride the Wild Tom-Tom" coming down the pike at some point. Would be cool to add some rare tracks like this if it will be that kind of reissue...

  6. you have a great blog- thanks for all the great music

    1. Hi bk - thanks for the comment. This is one I'm sure I will re-post with a link to these tracks in lossless format, so keep checking back in the coming months.


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