Kinks - Live at the Hippodrome / The Complete Concert (1974)

Strange that I never re-uped this one previously since it's an important testimony of the band during a whole live set in a rather debated period of their career, finally more interesting than what they did later to my eyes. Thanks to the visitor who reminded me to re-up it on M. Here it is. Details below.

This is not a simple update, neither a simple reup, it's the real complete version of this set played for the BBC in front of an audience. The new BBC boxset released this month features the 14 songs (I forgot to remove the Dj speech that takes the place of a song), but the 2 new are small musical trait-d'union, nothing essentiel but it's normal to substitute this one to the incomplete 12-song version I had posted. Moreover the sound quality is improved. Not very improved, but sensibly improved. Below what I wrote in the initial post.

In July 1974, 1 month after a session in the BBC studios, and whilst releasing their rather weak Preservation Act II double LP (Ray Davies said it was released "yesterday" before on the "Money Talks" intro), the band played a show at the Hippodrome, London, mixing songs from their Preservation saga with older ones. But in no way, at that times, the Kinks were requested to play "You Really Got Me" or "Waterloo Sunset" such as it will be the case in the eighties and in the present concerts of Ray Davies. At that times, the Kinks were maybe not as wondrous as they were (the version of "Lola" is particularly a wreck and sometimes the band seems not to be on the same boat), but they were a living band, and we were waiting for their next musical change. It was unfortunately the last that will inspire some excitation, even if some further albums will be better. In this set, very well recorded (nothing here of the awful sounding bootleg concerts you can find here or there), the band is really impressive, in particular Mick Avory on drums (listen to him on "Here Comes Flash" below). And all the songs from the Part II of Preservation are very superior to their album version. The audience seems very receptive. All in all, bands such as Polyphonic Spree make me think of the Kinks of that era. Just that Tim de Laughter has better songs than the ones Ray Davies composed at the times. The songs from this concert can be found for 6 of them ("Victoria", "Here Comes Yet Another Day", "Money Talks", "Mirror Of Love", "Celluloid Heroes" and "Skin And Bone") on the BBC Sessions 1964-1977 double CD, and the 6 other ones on a bootleg CD called Kinks in Concert with a RCA logo on it but it is no way an official LP. Nobody seems to have pooled the 2 6-song sets in one LP, this is therefore what I do in this post with a cover sleeve taken from a gallery here. They are from a show played 2 months before but it's OK.


Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Star Truckin' 75 Live at Leiden (1975)

Hello I'm back again after 10 days off. Hope you appreciated the VDGG stuff. More to come, but tonight a re-up requested by some visitors: Steve Harley with Cockney Rebel. Details about this live set in the first post below. If you dl-ed it some years ago on this site, do it again since I've much improved the sound and now it's like a real live album (approximately). If the playing can't be compared to the one the first CR line-up offered (what's the fuck this guitar si doing on Psychomodo's songs), it's however rather good to listen to this testimony. Catch it here. Of course the cover sleeve is mine. I improved it a little bit too with some effects to give the fake impression it's a real solid cover.

Thanx to Derek from Paris (same town than me but I don't know him) who sent me recently this bootleg relatively well known by the Steve Harley aficionados, judging by what I found on the net, but that I didn't know. So here it is. It must be noted that even if the setlist consists mainly in songs from Human Menagerie and Psychomodo, this is not the original line-up who plays them (except the greater than great Stuart Elliott on drums) but the Mk II line-up, the one who would record The Best Years Of Our Lives (2 songs from it on this live recording). I never found this second line-up was the real Cockney Rebel and the way they play songs from Psychomodo are sometimes not far from a complete slaughter. To the so singular musical approach of the previous formation, they substitute a sort of strange and unconsistent mix of style that could be a sort of british Steely Dan if they could be a little more concise and focus. Sometimes they are a sort of sad version of SAHB. On "Sebastian" and "Death Trip", things work a little better. The strongest thing here are Steve Harley's vocals. He really lives each word he sings and makes me shivers today (I'm no more a teenager and this band was supposed to be for teenagers) than at the time. Listen to his "Sebastian" dodobatabata impro to see what an English Artaud he could have been if only he had stayed this crazy (but he became very wise some years later). All in all, an interesting document of a band mutating in something else. They would reach other summits 1 year later with Love's A Prima Donna so I won't be too severe. This concert was recorded in Netherland (in Leiden) during a collective tour with Wishbone Ash, Caravan, Mahavishnu Orchestra and The Climax Blues Band (what a strange team). The sound is rather good. You know that I don't post here this sort of shitty document you can't even listen to one time without having your ears bleeding ichor. Below a document of "Sebastian" played by the same formation (actually no, I think there is another guitarist backwards) some months before (April) at the Hammersmith Odeon.


Van Der Graaf Generator - Live at Belgium TV (1972)

I usually don't like much making an album with a TV set easily found on Youtube but honestly this one is so stunningly good that it deserves to be proposed as a MP3 format LP here. The band, at its peak, plays their most incredible track, "A plague of lighthouse-keepers". Their studio version is one of the great masterpieces of rock music and to see and hear them play this live (even in a TV studio) is a fantastic visual and aural experience. If I decided to put these 2 tracks (I don't think they played something else at this show) it's because one Youtuber (named Bruno Samppa) provided 2 years ago a remastered improved sound version that makes it now nice for an independant self-made mini-album. For those who want to watch the set, I posted it at the end. Catch the sound version here. I created a mediocre cover sleeve but did not find anything that would fit better than this one. Sorry.


Van der Graaf Generator - Theme One / W 7" (1972)

Re-up of this 4th single of the band. Everything about here below. More to come notably the almost complete BBC sessions added of several rare to find songs with improved sound. I'm in a VDGG phase these days. Try this one here.

There was a 2 year gap before another VDGG single was issued, but was it really a VDGG single since on "Theme One" Peter Hammill was not even here when they recorded this Georges Martin tune. And it has not much to do with the usual musical world of the band we love. It was issued mainly because the band felt it was a way to keep in touch with a new audience (this instrumental was part of their live set and worked quite well on stage). But it would not be the case. The single is worth the listen for it's B-side, "w" (for waves), a real VDGG song this one, and a good one. The lyrics are particularily relevant to what happens in life (at least mine but surely yours if you love Peter Hammill). Since on the Pawn Hearts reissue, they included the first version of the song (quite better than the one on the single), I included both in the rar file. It is to note that the UK cover sleeve (see above) of the single is the inner picture of Pawn Hearts and that today, it surely would be considered as totally scandalous. Time goes by.

"w"(single version)
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W. Life is an endless succession of waves, you're happy and you're sad and you don't appreciate the good times until you're in the bad.... You wake up one morning - w -and you're twice as unhappy as you've ever been before in your life. You wake up, go to the window and see smoke billowing across the lawn. You pick your feet up, drag yourself downstairs and you're gone. You wake up one morning - w - and you're twice as unhappy as you've ever been before in your life. You wake up, look to your left but you see no reassuring head. You stay in bed all day. At six o'clock you realise you're dead.


Van der Graaf Generator - Refugees / The Boat of Millions of Years 7" (1970)

Re-up of the 3rd single of the band. The version is not the album one, shorter and with different arrangements. Don't have to add anything to the text I had written initially. This is a hell (heaven) of a song. Catch it here (I'm a little bit concern since M has removed one link yesterday, I hope they don't follow the bad example of rs and so many more).

This is one of the 5 most wonderful and moving songs from Peter Hammill (therefore in history). About 2 of his best friends (Mike and Susie) emigrating and leaving him alone, it becomes a song about all refugees over the planet. The melody, the lyrics, the voice, the arrangements, all makes this song an immortal standard. That it was not a massive hit à-la "Whiter Shade of Pale" (and it's much better) is a mystery (and a misery) to me. Surely that in 1970, people wanted roughier stuff (it was Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin that succeded). "Refugees" was extracted from The Least We Can Do... LP but this single version is different from the LP one. Moreover, there is a remix on the reissue of the album but I think the mix lacks the rudimentary charm of the original version. So I included both in the rar file. The B-side is a non-album track and a good one (but the band has never done a bad one). It could have been a track in the LP. It is too in both versions. The remix versions are in flac so you can appreciate all the sound quality of the CD (if you like that, I personally don't). If, for any reason, you never heard "Refugees", please do me the favour to taste its flavour  The cover sleeve, I've found it here. It was a long job to find a one that pleased me but this one surely does justice to the song.

Refugees (single version)
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North was somewhere years ago and cold:Ice locked the people's hearts and made them old.South was birth to pleasant lands, but dry:I walked the waters' depths and played my mind.East was dawn, coming alive in the golden sun:the winds came, gently, several heads became one in the summertime, though august people sneered;we were at peace, and we cheered.We walked alone, sometimes hand in hand,between the thin lines marking sea and sand;smiling very peacefully,we began to notice that we could be free,and we moved together to the West.West is where all days will someday end;where the colours turn from grey to gold,and you can be with the friends.And light flakes the golden clouds above all;West is Mike and Susie,West is where I love.There we shall spend our final days of our lives;tell the same old stories: yeah well,at least we tried.Into the West, smiles on our faces, we'll go;oh, yes, and our apologies to those who'll never really know the way.We're refugees, walking away from the life that we've known and loved;nothing to do or say, nowhere to stay;now we are alone.We're refugees, carrying all we ownin brown bags, tied up with string;nothing to think, it doesn't mean a thing,but we'll be happy on our own.West is Mike and Susie;West is where I love,West is refugees' home.

Below, 2 testimonies from the band in this part of year 1970 (Nic Potter was still with thme on bass but he would leave shortly afterwards. These two videos have a great emotional power for me. I was a kid back there, but this was the kind of stuff that decided to the kind of music I would like to hear in my life.


Van der Graaf Generator - Afterwards / Necromancer 7" (1969)

In April 1969, the second Van Der Graaf Generator single was released. Apparently not on a large scale, sometimes considered as a promo single only but actually it was released. More about it below (always the text of the first post). On this one  the line-up is not yet the classic Hammill-Banton-Evans-Jackson that we all cherish but it's great music anyway. Catch it here.

This single is drawn (A and B-sides) from the Aerosol Grey Machine LP with Hugh Banton (on keyboards), Guy Evans (on drums) and Keith Ellis (on guitar). Actually it was intended to be a Peter Hammill solo album but it finished as a band LP. The single extracted from it has still something of the solo intention. And thinking back, even if I shock, I must say that Bowie was quite a joke compared to Hammill when the time came to compose moving and eternal melodies with wonderful arrangements. It's not in "Afterwards" one can best measure this difference but it was the beginning of an extraordinary decade of masterpieces. To do the cover sleeve (don't think there was any), I took a piece of the intended Aerosol Grey Machine one (in UK). The complete one (see below) would have been a better choice for the LP than the official one. The B-side, "Necromancer" is excellent and shows the direction (progressive doom I'd said) that the band would take sometimes later.

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Afterwards. You stare out in yellow eyes larger than my mind; in viscous pools of joy, relaxing, we glide... it's all too beautiful for my mind to bear. and, as we shimmer into sleep, something's unshared. But, seeing the flower that was there yesterday, a tear forms just behind the soft peace of your shades...The world's too lonelyfor a message to slip but between the dying rails of peace you trip. The petals that were blooming are just paper in your hand; your eyes, which were clear in the night, are opaque as you stand...It was too beautifulfor it to last... These visions shimmer and fade out of the glass.