Friday, April 24

Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey - New Archival Music Release

Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey
release 'Our Back Pages' 2008 acoustic recordings
to benefit MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund

Hey dB's / Peter H. / Chris S. fans: The music is great, the cause is just, and the price is right. You know what to do...

ROB SEZ: Think of this as "Holsapple-Stamey: The Unplugged Duo-ver Collection." I heard some of these tracks when they slipped out sideways in 2009, around the time Peter & Chris released their second duo album, hERE and nOW. They are completely enjoyable versions of dB's favorites and a few rarities, such as an early acoustic version of "Picture Sleeve" (later released in full band splendor on Falling Off the Sky), a duo version of Chris' song "Depth of Field," and all the dB's playing together on the rare 2005 version of "Nothing Is Wrong" with Chris on lead vocals. KUDOS to Chris, Peter and Ominvore Recordings for getting this out. Now then: what are you waiting for?

BUYING RECOMMENDATION: This is a digital-only release. As much as I appreciate & respect Omnivore Recordings, I am truly disappointed they charge full freight for lossy MP3s. (C'mon, Cheryl & co — I know you can do better!) So I recommend you find other sources for authorized, legit lossless files. These songs sounds great in hi-res 24-bit files, available HERE and HERE.
SAMPLE: "From a Window to a Screen (2008 Acoustic Version)"

What Peter Says:
Chris and I recorded a bunch of our old songs from The dB's in our duo format, as we'd been playing them in our shows for years. A lighter touch, less early adult angst and more gentle harmonies, acoustic guitars and space for the songs to breathe. Chris mixed these tunes and we presented them to Omnivore for their support of MusiCares.

Our Back Pages is an easy record to enjoy at home, and if you purchase it online (the only way to get it presently), you will help us benefit MusiCares COVID-19 fund that assists musicians affected by the pandemic's scope. Here's the link to purchase it via Omnivore Recordings, but it's available on almost every platform there is. And here's the MusiCares link if you want to bypass the record completely and just make a donation.

Thanks for your patience here, and I hope you order OBP for some weekend sounds.



P.S. — I have a new Facebook artist page which has replaced the old one. So please 'like' me here

And here's the press release from Omnivore:

The MusiCares Fund is the Recording Academy’s charitable foundation provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in time of need.

Our Back Pages is a digital-only release of dB’s music re-imagined by the band’s Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey. The collection, featuring new acoustic versions of some of the duo’s favorite dB’s songs, will benefit the Recording Academy’s MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Chris Stamey explains, “Over the years, Peter and I have evolved acoustic versions of a number of our songs from our days together in The dB’s. While working on a duo project in my studio a decade ago, we took some time to lay down some of these arrangements, which are often quite different from the normal electric presentations. We are both always more concerned with making new music than with looking back, so it stayed in the archives. But it seemed like the time was right, so we finally completed and mixed it all over the last two weeks, just for this. We’d like to offer it now as a small contribution, a little bit of light in these dark days.”

Signature dB’s songs, including “Black And White,” “Big Brown Eyes,” and 
“Happenstance,” are ably propelled here by lyric and guitar energy alone, and the hooks remain—it’s easy to find one’s self singing along. Tunes such as “Dynamite” and “From a Window to a Screen” are revealed as precursors to the music the two made together later, as they feature “dual lead,” close-harmony vocals as essential elements. Others, such as Peter’s “Today Could Be The Day” and “Molly Says,” were originally recorded by the band after Stamey’s departure, so this marks the first time he’s gone on record with them. When going through the material in preparation for mastering, they even discovered a forgotten track, “Depth Of Field,” and completed it for this release; although a version had appeared on a Stamey solo record, it fits in here because it was originally written and rehearsed contemporaneously with the rest for The dB’s’ second album, Repercussion.

Another song, “Picture Sleeve,” is both old and new. A song by this title was in the band’s sets circa 1978, but all that anyone could remember, years later, were the first few lines, some chords, and the subject matter. Using those elements as a jumping-off point, it was rewritten for a Record Store Day single release three decades later, and a duo version is part of this release. Peter’s classic ballad “Nothing Is Wrong,” a staple of their live duo sets, was overlooked during the original sessions and sadly missed. Fortunately, it’s included on this new collection in a version The dB’s themselves recorded during a rehearsal in Hoboken, New Jersey in 2006.

“We’re still proud of the electric versions of the songs,” Stamey insists, “but a sturdy song should be able to handle a bit of reinvention from time to time, and it was fun to get under the hood and see what was there even without the charm and power of Will Rigby’s explosive drums and Gene Holder’s nimble bass runs. In most cases, it’s a trip back in time to the songs’ origins of being written on acoustic guitars in apartments or hotels, then strummed to the others in much the same way these recordings sound now.” Peter adds, “These stripped-down versions add a credence to our belief that a truly good song can stand up without a lot of bells and whistles.”

A few special guests joined Holsapple and Stamey on the sessions: John Teer (Chatham County Line) and Libby Rodenbough (Mipso) both contribute violin, and Andy Burton (Little Steven, John Mayer, Cyndi Lauper) plays keys on “Nothing Is Wrong” with, of course, Rigby (drums) and Holder (bass). The mastering by Greg Calbi and Steve Fallone at Sterling Sound is a homecoming of sorts as legendary mastering engineer Calbi had previously mastered the pair’s influential Mavericks outing as well as Falling Off the Sky, the last dB’s album. For the most part, it’s Peter and Chris around the campfire at Modern Recording in Chapel Hill, N.C., grabbing whatever was in the room at the time: a toy piano, a ukulele, a banjo, a harmonium, an upright or an old Silvertone bass, and of course, guitars, guitars, guitars.

In addition to 1991’s Mavericks (RNA Records), Holsapple and Stamey also paired up for 2009’s hERE & nOW (Bar/None). For more insight into the genesis of some of these songs, see A Spy In the House of Loud: New York Songs and Stories (University of Texas Press), Stamey’s 2018 “songwriting memoir.” Be on the lookout for A Brand-New Shade of Blue, Chris’s new audio-and-songbook collection, currently slated for a summer 2020 release.

From Omnivore Recordings’ Cheryl Pawelski: “Omnivore is grateful to the mastering engineers, graphic artists, photographers, and all who enthusiastically gave of their time and talent to help realize these projects. MusiCares has always been an important safety net for our music community, perhaps never more so than now. We are fortunate to call Chris, Peter our friends, and proud to assist them in getting this music released in support of the MusiCares COVID–19 Relief Fund.”

MusiCares provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in time of need. The COVID-19 Relief Fund has been established to help our peers in the music community affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Proceeds from these two projects will be directed to the COVID-19 Relief Fund.


The dB's - Viceroy Park, Charlotte, N.C. 1982

The dB's
Viceroy Park
Charlotte, NC
Jan. 7, 1982

audience recording (sound quality range: VG to VG+). A few anomalies to note: brief cut repaired in “Ask for Jill” at 2:11, crowd noise comes & goes during the show, and I converted tracks 03 and 04 from stereo to mono to reduce excessive & loud crowd chatter near the taper.
Here's a GROOVY photo from a 1982 in-store appearance. In addition to the amazing early '80s hairstyles, check out the dB's poster & 45's on the counter, with Repercussion LP's (featuring the original cover art) in the bin below — next to the Yes, Journey and Cheap Trick albums (!). 
Peter, is that a headband you're wearing?!?
All hail dB's Fan for providing such a cool piece of memorabilia
ROB SEZ: This is another previously unknown Repercussion-era live show, and the performance affirms my conviction that this tour marked the peak of the band in concert (at least for The dB's Mach I.) This might be the only known live recording that features both “PH” instrumentals: “pH Factor” as well as “Purple Hose”. Very large thanks to TC for the recording and big thanks to dB's Fan for sharing.

01 Living a Lie (beginning cut, fades in)
02 We Were Happy There        
03 Ups and Downs*        
This is not The dB’s. It's Iggy Pop.
But it’s Iggy Pop at Viceroy Park in Charlotte
which is where The dB’s played this here show!
Thank you, Rusty Moore, for such a great photo…
04 I Feel Good (Today)*        
05 Bad Reputation        
06 Molly Says
07 (I Thought) You Wanted to Know        
08 Judy        
09 Excitement        
10 The Fight        
11 Happenstance        
12 Black and White        
13 Amplifier        
14 Ask for Jill (brief cut repaired at 2:11)
15 Soul Kiss        
16 Dynamite        
17 Purple Hose        
18 Storm Warning        
19 In Spain        
20 Big Brown Eyes        
21 The Summer Sun        
22 Neverland        
23 pH Factor        
24 If and When        
25 Hey Baby (Alex Chilton cover – see comment below)        
26 Let's Live for Today

*Tracks 3 & 4 converted to mono to reduce crowd chatter near the taper; all other tracks in stereo

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



ABOUT TRACK 25, ‘HEY BABY’:  Zach noticed when The dB’s played this song at CBGB, NYC on March 21, 1979, it had the very same tune as Alex Chilton’s song “Like Flies On Sherbert” — yet with different lyrics. [SEE THIS BLOG POST.] Since it also shows up in this show as an encore, I decided to investigate. Turns out there’s a good reason this sounds like the Alex Chilton tune. Chris Stamey explains: “These were the original lyrics, before he rewrote it as ‘Sherbert.’ It was about Lux Interior (lead singer of the Cramps), at least to some degree. When I was a sideman for Chilton in NYC, I played it regularly with him, or as regularly as we played most things anyway, near the end of the band. Ronnie Spector sang this with me and Fran Kowalski after Alex died, at City Winery in NYC for this ‘Channeling Chilton’ event.” Thanks, Chris, for solving the mystery for us (with a special shout out to your amazing memory for detail). I suppose I shoulda known this already, since there’s THIS 1977 LX CHILTON SHOW at the blog that includes Alex singing a shambolic version of the song...


Friday, April 17

Luna - 3 Nights, 3 Albums Live 2017 (aud)

The Chapel
San Francisco, CA  
Jan. 19-21, 2017

*playing 3 albums live 
across 3 different nights*
audience recordings (sound quality: VG+; excellent captures by muchmusic)

NIGHT 1: Jan. 19th - "Bewitched"
01 intro
02 California (All the Way) 
03 Tiger Lily
04 Friendly Advice
05 Bewitched
06 This Time Around
07 talking
08 Great Jones Street
09 talking
10 Going Home
11 talking
12 Into the Fold
13 I Know You Tried
14 Sleeping Pill
encore 1:
15 talking
16 Slide
17 Pup Tent
18 talking
19 Tracy I Love You
20 Malibu Love Nest
21 Indian Summer
encore 2:
22 Fuzzy Wuzzy

NIGHT 2: Jan. 20th - "Penthouse"
01 intro
02 Chinatown
03 Sideshow by the Seashore 
04 talking
05 Moon Palace
06 Double Feature
07 23 Minutes In Brussels
08 talking
09 Lost In Space
10 talking
11 Rhythm King
12 talking
13 Kalamazoo
14 talking
15 Hedgehog
16 Freakin' and Peakin'
17 Bonnie and Clyde
encore 1:
18 talking
19 Season of the Witch
20 Anesthesia
21 Outdoor Miner
22 Bobby Peru
encore 2:
23 talking
24 Time to Quit

NIGHT 3: Jan. 21st - "Rendezvous"
Dean Wareham, diggin' the moment
Enjoy Joakim's other photos, included in the download
01 intro
02 Malibu Love Nest
03 Cindy Tastes of Barbecue  
04 Speedbumps
05 The Owl & the Pussycat
06 Astronaut
07 talking
08 Broken Chair
09 Star-Spangled Man
10 talking
11 Motel Bambi
12 Still at Home
13 Buffalo Boots
14 talking
15 Rainbow Babe
encore 1:
13 Bewitched
14 I Know You Tried
15 Chinatown
16 Friendly Advice
encore 2:
17 talking
18 23 Minutes In Brussels
ROB SEZ: I think this is one of those "this post speaks for itself" situations ... except that I want to offer a HUMONGOUS Thank You to muchmusic for taping and sharing these lovely audio artifacts. Please direct all praises to him/her. I'm just sharing the fruits of muchmusic's labors...
FLAC   (downloads include a photo set by Joakim from the Jan. 2017 concerts)
Learn more about Luna's music at the band's official siteFBAllMusic or this most excellent fan site

Friday, April 10

The dB's - Greensboro, N.C. 1981 (aud)

Greensboro, NC
Oct. 20, 1981

audience recording (sound quality: VG+)
One of my all-time favorite dB's photos. 
I'm guessing 1981 or '82.
About this recording: while working on the original post — featuring a great write-up from fantom, I noticed the recording was a bit chipmunked. I'm guessing the speed problem was due to 1980s-era cassette dubbing. When I obtained dB's Fan's treasure trove of tapes, I discovered a low-gen. copy of this show in his collection. I digitized the tape, slowed it down to the proper speed, and gave it a few other tweaks to improve the sound. BIG THANKS to the taper and ALL PRAISE to dB's Fan for the upgrade.

Outside Friday's one night, long ago
Rusty Moore / LoudFastPhoto
01 banter + (I Thought) 
     You Wanted to Know
02 Bad Reputation
03 Dynamite (cuts out mid-song)

A GROOVY flyer from Friday's
04 Big Brown Eyes (cuts in)
05 I Feel Good Today
06 pH Factor
07 Ups and Downs
08 Nothing Is Wrong
09 The Fight
10 If and When

01 Black and White
02 Big Time
03 Judy
04 Tomorrow Never Knows
05 The Summer Sun
06 Storm Warning
07 Excitement
08 Time Has Come Today
09 We Were Happy There
10 Happenstance
11 Neverland
12 Louie Louie*
13 Death Garage*
14 Let's Live For Today*

*Last 3 songs with Mitch Easter on guitar
The dB’s:
Chris Stamey – guitar & vocals
Peter Holsapple – guitar, keyboard & vocals
Gene Holder – bass
Will Rigby – drums & backing vocals

*Mitch Easter, guitar (as noted above)


Friday, April 3

Luna - Carrboro, N.C. 1996 (sbd)

Cat's Cradle
Carrboro, N.C. 
Jan. 20, 1996

soundboard recording (quality: Ex-; from a copy of the digital soundboard master; no complaints!)

01 Double Feature
All-dude Luna went coed when Britta Phillips joined in 2000
02 This Time Around
03 Moon Palace
04 Friendly Advice
05 Chinatown
06 Kalamazoo
07 23 Minutes In Brussels 
08 Time to Quit
09 Tiger Lily
10 We're Both Confused
11 Lost In Space
12 California (All the Way)
13 Freakin' and Peakin'
14 Bewitched
15 Hedgehog
16 -encore break-
17 Season of the Witch 
     (Donovan cover)
Dean Wareham - guitars, vocals
Sean Eden - guitars
Justin Harwood - bass
Stanley Demeski - drums

REPERCUSSION: dB's member Gene Holder produced Luna's 2002 album Romantica and engineered the Close Cover Before Striking mini album the same year.

ROB SEZ: Luna! The "successor band" to Dean Wareham's Galaxie 500. If you like Television, the Velvet Underground, and/or the Feelies, you will want to look into Luna. Why the heck haven't I featured this great band before now?!? Well, better late than... as they say. Huge thanks to the unknown taper, Stonecutter and Smores. NYCTaper has lots of high-quality Luna shows from 2015 to 2019. Expect more Luna here soon.
Learn more about Luna's music at the band's official site, FB, AllMusic or this most excellent fan site