Friday, December 21

Sam Phillips - Los Angeles, CA 1991 + bonus 1989

Wiltern Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
June 4, 1991

audience recording (sound quality VG+; full, satisfying sound; little bit of crowd chatter here and there, but nothing too distracting; also a few very brief anomalies that sound like the taper adjusting the mics)
At the time of this show, Sam’s then-current album was Cruel Inventions.
Bill Rogers created this graphic based on the album’s cover image.

01 Go Down
02 Now I Can't Find the Door
03 Standing Still
04 Tripping Over Gravity
05 Cruel Inventions
06 Flame
07 Raised On Promises
08 Lying
09 Trying to Hold On to the Earth
10 These Boots Are Made for Walkin'
Musicians (educated guess re: who played what):
Sam Phillips - vocals, guitar 
Michael Blair - percussion 
Rick Boston - guitar 
T-Bone Burnett (aka "Ogden Nashville") - additional guitar 
Denny Fongheiser - drums Mark Hart - keyboard 
Eric Presley - bass  

Sam was opening for Elvis Costello, who had a 6-night run of shows in 1991, at the Wiltern in L.A. (May 28 & 29, June 3 & 4) and the Greek Theatre in Berkeley (May 31 and June 1). Being the final night of the series, you can hear Sam's confidence and the musical assuredness of the band. Enjoy the gorgeous arrangements, some of which are creative variations on the album versions (not to mention the hilariously sardonic between-song commentary by Sam…).  
Sam Phillips
Boulder's Cover
Boulder, CO
April 1989 (exact date unknown)

FM recording (sound quality VG++; would have graded this Ex- but some recurrent vocal distortion earns it a lower rating [it doesn't ruin the listening experience by any means, but it's noticeable]). I'm guessing this is a radio broadcast of a concert that featured more music, but perhaps this is all that was broadcast or recorded.

Sam is so photogenic that Hollywood came calling, and cast her in one of the "Die Hard" movies back in the 1990s —   as a terrorist!  

01 I Don't Want to Fall In Love
02 The Turning
03 What You Don't Want to Hear
04 Libera Me
05 Carry You
06 Remorse
07 Raised on Promises
08 Flame
09 Trying to Hold On to the Earth
10 Down
11 No One But You
12 These Boots Are Made for Walkin'  

This show captures Sam during a career transition, featuring mostly songs from The Turning (her final "Christian" album under the name Leslie Phillips) and The Indescribable Wow (her first on a "secular" label as Sam Phillips). Both were produced by T-Bone Burnett, whom she married between the recording of the two albums. Apparently, Sam really digs that ol' Nancy Sinatra tune...

Sam Phillips - vocals, guitar
Jeff Campbell - guitar
Michito Sanchez - percussion & drums
David Miner - bass "…and everything else"

Sam's latest fab album is
World On Sticks
Buy it in various formats directly from the artist.

Learn more about the music of Sam Phillips
at her web site &/or AllMusic  

Friday, December 14

Let's Active - The Ritz, NYC 1986 (soundboard)

The Ritz
New York, NY
July 18, 1986

soundboard recording (quality VG++; most of this is in stereo, but I had to make a handful of tracks two-channel mono due to recurring long gaps in one channel; some tape deterioration issues are audible about three fourths of the way through)
With so many blog posts, there are times you just have to put
some random thing here to break up all the words…

ROB SEZ: The highlight of this recording is the performance. Although I miss Faye Hunter's vocals and bass playing, Eric Marshall keeps the tempo where it needs to be, and Mitch is having a very good night in the vocals + guitar department ...COPIOUS THANKS to the taper and to dB’s Fan for his continuing generosity.

01 Waters Part
02 Last Chance Town
03 Talking to Myself
04 Back of a Car (Big Star cover)
05 Writing the Book of Last Pages
06 Leader of Men
07 In Little Ways
08 Fell
09 Prey
10 band intros
11 Whispered News
12 Won't Go Wrong
13 Reflecting Pool
14 Every Word Means No
15 Hot Smoke and Sassafras 
        (Bubble Puppy cover; cuts out mid-song)
16 Swinging Creeper* (Ventures cover)
17 Hush^ (Deep Purple cover)
18 Route 69
19 Godzilla+ (Blue Oyster Cult cover)
NOTE: Track 12 switches from mono to stereo at 1:24

*John French on 2nd guitar
^Matt Piucci of Rain Parade on lead guitar
+Don Dixon on 2nd bass & lead vocals 
TT: 1:04:45

WAV lossless files
Let’s Active:
Mitch Easter (aka "Blind Al Wilson") – guitar, vocals
Angie Carlson – keyboards, backing vocals
Eric Marshall – drums
Dennis Ambrose - bass

Friday, November 30

The dB's - Maxwell's, Hoboken, NJ 1982

Hoboken, NJ
February 26, 1982
audience recording (from master cassette; sound quality range: VG to VG+)
I've always loved this shot of the guys; it's time to let everyone else enjoy it, too...
If it looks familiar, that's because this photo was used for the cover of the "Judy" single.
Taken on the roof of the band's UK record label's office in London.

CD 1 (First Set)
1. (I Thought) You Wanted to Know 
2. Judy 
3. Ups And Downs 
4. Oh Yeah! 
5. pH Factor 
6. The Summer Sun 
7. In Spain 
8. Molly Says 
9. Jerkin’ the Tears 
10. Up Around the Bend (John Fogerty / CCR cover) 
11. If & When
CD 2 (Second Set)
1. Living a Lie
2. We Were Happy There
3. Happenstance
4. Bad Reputation
5. Ask for Jill
6. Amplifier
7. Storm Warning
8. Walking the Ceiling (It’s Good To Be Alive)
9. Black and White 
10. I Feel Good (Today)
11. Walk By Your House (Individuals cover)*
12. Soul Kiss
13. Excitement
14. The Fight
15. Neverland
16. Rendezvous
17. What’s the Matter with Me?
18. Venus (T. Verlaine / Television cover)
*Chris says they decided to play a brief version of “Walk By Your House” by The Individuals (from Hoboken) “since they couldn’t be here tonight.”
ROB SEZ: This is one of the most enjoyable full-length shows of the classic lineup. I love the energy of the band, the enthusiasm of the crowd, and the little moments such as a few snatches of the “Sweet Home Alabama” riff just before launching into another killer song. BIG THANKS to Guy E for the recording, original upload & artwork; ALL PRAISES to edarthur for the re-up.
WAV lossless files
Disc 1 (MP3@320)
Disc 2 (MP3@320)

The dB’s:
Chris Stamey – guitar & vocals
Peter Holsapple – guitar, organ & vocals
Gene Holder – bass
Will Rigby – drums
Note: as received, this show sounded a little “off” to me in a draggy kinda way, so I did a slight pitch correction and Chris and Peter are now hitting all those higher notes on key…
CD artwork - front
CD artwork - back
click for full-size versions


Friday, November 23

The dB's - The Ritz, NYC 1982 (FM)

The dB's with the Horns of Plenty
The Ritz
New York, NY
February 1982
FM recording (quality Ex-) 
The dB's and Arto Lindsay, Bond's, NYC, 1982
(Goldmine magazine, 1997)

ROB SEZ: This show may be the cream of the crop in terms of vintage dB's recordings re: song selection, performance and sound quality. Plus, there's a horn section playing on several numbers. Bonus mysteryChris refers to the audience as “sports fans” several times (!). BIG THANKS to the original taper & uploader, edarthur for the re-up, and big-time dB's fan John L for the upgrade.
There’s more than a little confusion about the correct date for this performance. It’s
appeared in trading circles as Feb. 22 as well as Feb. 23. But there's a New York Times article indicating there was a dB’s concert Saturday, Feb. 20, 1982 at The Ritz with a horn section on a few numbers, just like this show. (Perhaps the Feb. 20 concert was broadcast on Feb. 22...?)
1.  Living a Lie
2.  We Were Happy There
3.  Happenstance
4.  Bad Reputation
5.  Ask for Jill
6.  Black & White*
7.  Amplifier
8.  (I Thought) You Wanted to Know
9.  Walking the Ceiling (It’s Good to Be Alive)
10. The Fight
11. Excitement
12. Soul Kiss
13. pH Factor
14. Neverland
15. Storm Warning
16. Death Garage
    *There’s a weird speed hiccup on Black & White starting at 1:44, but only lasts about 18 secs. 
NOTE: I’ve separated out the four tracks from a show in Atlanta, GA, that circulate with some versions of this recording.
WAV lossless files

The dB's:
Chris Stamey
Will Rigby
Gene Holder
Peter Holsapple

The Horns of Plenty are not identified, except that Chris refers to them as “geezers”(!)
The dB’s at The Ritz in NYC, 1981 or ’82.
Will seems to be looking around for another beer...

Friday, November 16

Peter H & Syd Straw - KCRW Session 1986 complete

KCRW-FM “Snap” Session
Santa Monica, CA
Sept. 4, 1986
FM capture (Ex- sound quality, probably from master or first-generation tape)
Syd & Peter, lost in the music
Dennis Stein photo via Flickr
ROB SEZ: This groovy session includes studio banter with host Deirdre O'Donoghue (R.I.P.), and Ilene Markell plays bass and sings on one tune. This is a really enjoyable set because everyone is relaxed & having a great time. BIG THANKS to the taper, original uploader & Mark45rpm for supplying the missing tracks.
01 The Price of Love (Everly Bros. song)
02 Lonely Is as Lonely Does
03 Take Me for a Little While (Trade Martin song)
04 Next to the Last Waltz
05 Pushin’ It Back        
06 World On a String
07 Keep Up With You        
08 Kind of True (G. Palominos cover)           
09 Private Number
10 You Don’t Miss Your Water
11 Up In the Air
12 Diamond (P. Holsapple song, rec. by G. Palominos)
13 Darby Hall
14 I Want to Live (Ilene Markell composition, sung by Ilene)
15 Junkie Girl (W. Becker cover)        
16 We Were Happy There
17 Listening to Elvis*
18 final chit chat
         *first appeared on the Coyote Records comp Luxury Condos Coming to Your Neighborhood
WAV lossless files 


Peter Holsapple - guitar, vocals
Syd Straw - vocals
Ilene Markell - bass
Bonus feature: A Most Excellent
Blog Remembrance of This Recording
December 20th, 2008
By Rick Moody
I think it was in 1986 or thereabouts that my friend Jim Lewis gave me a bootlegged cassette of a live radio appearance by Peter Holsapple and Syd Straw (with, I think, Ilene Markell, on bass and backing vocalsall of it taking place on KCRW). Jim was my close friend in college, and he went on to become a novelist and journalist. These days he lives in Austin, Texas. Chief among the many bands that Jim made me aware of, back then, were The dB’s, featuring Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, and I became such a devotee of The dB’s and the other architects of the “Hoboken sound” that I actually moved to Hoboken (in 1985), and lived there for about seven years. I lived a couple of blocks from Yo La Tengo, and used to see Chris Stamey on the bus going into the city. I went to Maxwell’s, the club that served as the epicenter of the Hoboken sound, a lot. I got Bob Mould’s autograph there once. Anyway, the Straw/Holsapple cassette had something really luminous about it. Peter and Syd played a bunch of dB’s songs, those from LIKE THIS and THE SOUND OF MUSIC, as well, as some of Straw’s songs from the Golden Palominos album, BLAST OF SILENCE, on which she sang. And I’m pretty sure they covered their amazing duet, “Never Before and Never Again” [Rob says: apparently not — alas].
Somehow I’d missed the Straw era of the Golden Palominos. I had their first album, a much artier affair featuring Arto Lindsay, Bill Laswell, and John Zorn, et al. And I’d heard some of VISIONS OF EXCESS on the radio station, including “Omaha,” the song on which Michael Stipe sang. But it wasn’t until I heard the KCRW show that I understood what incredible singer Syd Straw was. I admired Holsapple already (and I ran into him on a plane once, when he was touring with Hootie and the Blowfish–and let me tell you there’s something strange about running into the heroes of your young adulthood when they are playing in Hootie and the Blowfish), and he shines on the bootleg, too, but Syd’s voice, which is part faux-country, part Broadway, and a fair amount Vaudeville, really struck something in me. Especially on songs like “Diamond,” Holsapple’s song from BLAST OF SILENCE, and “Listening to Elvis,” a Straw song from a Hoboken sampler called LUXURY CONDOS COMING TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, Syd had some bittersweet (emphasis on bitter) and tragicomic (emphasis on tragic) quality that could not help but move even the casual listener. I wore out that cassette.

Read the rest of Rick’s great reflection HERE.

Friday, November 9

Peter Holsapple Combo - Live in Charlotte Videos + Report

The Evening Muse
Charlotte, N.C.
Nov. 4, 2018
Peter's combo played an hour-long set Sun. afternoon at Charlotte's Evening Muse
ROB SEZ: No audio this time, but I'm posting just about everything else: photos, video and my account of the event as it happened. Here's a taste of the proceedings, shot on my iPhone (hang in there for my 180-degree pan of the room near the end).

The Peter Holsapple Combo plays "Amplifier" by The dB's
Next, the set list:
The Man, the Myth, the Glasses
- Game Day*
- Commonplace*
- Continental Drifters*
- In Too Deep*
- Don't Mention the War*
- Invisible Boyfriend
- Inventory*
- I Can't Keep from Crying, Sometimes^
    (The Blues Project) 
- Tuff Day*
- Don't Worry 'Bout John
- Amplifier (The dB's)
- Them Changes* (Buddy Miles) - encore
* = selections from Game Day, the new album
^ composed by Blind Willie Johnson & Al Kooper
The venue & the show

The Evening Muse is located in Charlotte's hip NoDa (North Davidson) neighborhood. The Muse has been voted best listening room in multiple city-wide readers' polls, and it's easy to see why. It's a smallish venue with a great bar, friendly hosts, an excellent sound system, and plenty of hard surfaces to give it the right acoustics for a rock show.

Evidently, the Peter Holsapple Combo took a late afternoon time slot prior to a "prime time" show later in the evening. Doors opened half an hour before the start time, and all three members of the combo milled around the venue, greeting friends and fans like me. Peter spotted my dB's Repercussion Blog tee shirt, greeted me warmly, and handed me a PH Combo badge. Will Rigby came over to talk to me a few minutes later, while I attempted to scarf down some shrimp tacos from a nearby restaurant. Will introduced me to a family member, who lives in the greater Charlotte area. I then chatted a while with a dB's fan who told be about seeing the band live in 1979 and 1980 in its first incarnation — leaving me more than a bit envious.
After taking the stage, Peter announced the band didn't have much time, so it would be a "more music, less talk" kind of show. The guys then launched into the first four songs from Game Day, the new Peter Holsapple solo album. Immediately, I noticed two things: 1) the PH Combo is sounding confident & strong after playing a series of recent live shows, and 2) the rhythm section featuring the excellent Will Rigby on drums and impressive Glenn Jones on bass are a formidable addition to Peter's singing and lead guitar playing. Will's retirement from Steve Earle's Dukes sounds like it suits him: his drumming was relaxed-but-righteous.
Peter's choice comments of the evening:
- Regarding his 2016 vinyl single "Don't Mention the War" including a card for a digital download (so as not to leave out fans with no turntable): "We're all about inclusion here in the Peter Holsapple Combo."
- Regarding the inspiration for the song "Inventory" (cleaning out his mother's condo after she passed away): "You read these stories [that are] like, 'Your kids don't want your furniture' — and it's true!"
- Regarding the inspiration for the song "Tuff Day", Peter talked about a co-worker of his at the Durham Performing Arts Center, his former employer. John "was this old guy at work. I'd ask him how he was doing and he'd say, 'tough day, tough day.' "
Here's one more I bet you haven't heard Peter sing before...

In sum, it was great to hear one half of The dB's playing 
together again after a 5-year hiatus.