Cover Versions, demo, Get This!, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find, Most downloaded tracks, Studio master tapes, studio outtakes

Olaf, You’re Playing Catch-Up!

Going For Gold was a quiz show that ran for about 10 years between the mid 80s and mid 90s, broadcast usually after the lunchtime episode of Neighbours. Contestants came from all corners of the European Community to be asked general knowledge questions (in English) by genial Irishman Henry Kelly – “Who am I? I am an inventor. I was born in Scotland in 1869.” etc etc. What always amazed me about the show was that all contestants could understand and answer the questions in English. Indeed, Olaf from Finland and Gretchen from Germany always, always had a better grasp of the English language than Sue from Sussex and Karen from Coatbridge. In the final round, one contestant had control of the board and Kelly would always say to their opponent, “You’re playing catch-up!”

Once a year I like to round up some of the best music on Plain Or Pan and put it centre-stage for a second time. I like to think all the music I put on here is fantastic in it’s own way, but there are some things that are downloaded/searched for/requested far more regularly than others. The search facility about half-way down on the right there works fairly well (try it!), but I appreciate that sometimes it’s nice to have things put on a plate for you. If you’re a relative newcomer to this blog and you’re not sure what you may have missed out on, this post is for people like you. As Henry Kelly would say, “Olaf, you’re playing catch-up…

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Who am I? I am a singer-songwriter. I started out my career singing doo-wop with a vocal group known as The Moonglows. When they broke up I began playing as a session drummer at Motown Records before stepping out from behind the kit and standing in front of the microphone. In my time at Motown I added an ‘e‘ to the end of my name, recorded many memorable solo tracks and duets, changed the way the record company viewed the merits of albums and married and divorced the boss’s daughter, resulting in one of the bitterest break-up albums of all time. Who am I? I am Marvin Gaye. And these are the unedited studio master tracks for I Heard it Through The Grapevine. Original article here.

How about some more Motown vocal-only tracks? Get them via here. Want more of this sort of stuff? Search ‘studio master tapes‘ in the ‘whityeherefur?‘ box over there on the right…

What am I? I am another studio outtake. I am a famous song by a famous band, some say that band’s best track (although you could easily argue the case for many of their other records.) Rolling Stone magazine (there’s a clue right there) put me at #38 in their list of Greatest Songs Ever in 2004, which makes me just better than Buddy Holly’s That’ll Be The Day but not quite as good as No Woman, No Cry by Bob Marley. My lyrics predict rape and murder and are a fitting epitaph on the death of the 60s which is just a shot awayWhat am I? I am Gimme  Shelter by The  Rolling Stones. Here is the astonishing Mick ‘n Merry vocal-only track. And here is Keith’s rather groovy lead guitar track. Original article here. Sit down before listening, you may just be blown away.

There’s some terrific Curtis Mayfield stuff via here and here. And there’s some excellent Sly Stone stuff here and here. There’s a whole lotta soul on Plain Or Pan. Whiteyeherefur? Use it!

It’s well documented that Led Zeppelin didn’t so much re-write the blues as nick it riff by riff. Rape and murder, indeed. Compare Jimmy Page’s Dazed and Confused to the relatively-unknown Jake Holmes’ version here. I often contrast and compare the merits of originals v covers v blatantly plagiarised words and music. Type ‘double whammy’ or ‘triple whammy‘ into ‘Whiteyeherefur?‘ and see what you can find…

I could go on and on. Or you could use the ‘Whityeherefur?’ facility. Or you could just go through month-by-month, year-by-year. It’ll take you a while. But then, it’s taken me a while too. Last year’s round-up of all things good about Plain Or Pan can be found here, including links to Johnny Marr’s Dansette Delights, The Ronettes vocal-only version of Be My Baby and the now-legendary Plain Or Pan Compilation CDs. So much to choose from, so much to grab. Go! Go! Go!

Cover Versions, demo, Double Nugget, elliott smith, Get This!, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find, Kraut-y, Most downloaded tracks, Peel Sessions, Sampled, Studio master tapes, studio outtakes

Four Play

Amazingly or not, ye olde Plain Or Pan is now 4 years young. This year saw the double-whammy milestones of reaching one million visitors and, on a personal level, having my writing recognised to the extent that I was invited to interview Sandie Shaw in advance of her appearing at the summer’s Vintage At Goodwood festival. My interview was subsequently published in the hardback Annual that festival goers could buy at the event. Which was nice.

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As has been something of a tradition at the start of a year, I’ve put together a compilation of the most downloaded tracks over the past year – 2 CDs worth of covers, curios and hard-to-find classics. I like to think of it as a potted representation of what Plain Or Pan is about.

Tracklist Disc 1:

Jackson 5 I Want You Back acapella

Dean Carter Jailhouse Rock

Frankie Valli Queen Jane Approximately

Chris Bell I Am The Cosmos

Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson I Am The Cosmos

Scott Walker Black Sheep Boy

Tim Buckley Dolphins

Sandie Shaw I Don’t Owe You Anything

Big Maybelle 96 Tears

Patti Jo Make Me Believe In You

Curtis Mayfield (Don’t Worry) If There’s Hell Below We’re all Gonna Go (takes 1& 2)

Brinkley & ParkerDon’t Get Fooled By The Pander Man

Sly Stone Time For Livin’ (early version)

Maggie Thrett Soupy

Sheila and B. Devotion Spacer

Happy Mondays Staying Alive

Aretha Franklin / Duane Allman The Weight

Funkadelic Maggot Brain (alt mix)

 

 

Tracklist Disc 2:

Spiritualized Can’t Help Falling In Love

Serge Gainsbourg Melody

Stone Roses Something’s Burning (demo)

Can I’m So Green

Alex Chilton My Baby Just Cares For Me

Elliott Smith I’ll Be Back

The Czars Where the Boys Are

Peter Fonda November Night

Beach Boys Never Learn Not To Love

Charles Manson Cease To Exist

Wedding Present Happy Birthday (Peel Session)

Penny Peeps Model Village

The Stairs Woman Gone And Say Goodbye

Kinks Sittin’ On My Sofa

Ramones Judy Is A Punk (1975 demo)

Capsula Run Run Run

White Stripes Party Of Special Things To Do

13th Floor Elevators Slip Inside This House

Jake Holmes Dazed & Confused

White Antelope Silver Dagger

Arcade Fire Poupee de Cire, Poupee de Son

The Velvelettes Needle In A Haystack acapella

Each disc comes packaged as one big downloadable .rar file, complete with artwork.

If you’re new here, welcome and happy downloading! If you’re a regular here, you may have some or all of these tracks already, so why not download anyway and burn a CD for someone who might appreciate it?

Cover Versions, Dylanish, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find, Studio master tapes

Walk Away Renee Quadruple Whammy

Walk Away Renee is unarguably one of those songs that has passed into that category marked ‘timeless‘. It has been recorded by artists as diverse as Linda Ronstadt, T’Pau, David Cassidy, Frankie Valli and even Japanese pop duo Pink Lady (no, me neither), in turn being given the country treatment, the overblown 80s synth rock treatment (gads) and all manner of disco/pop/soul treatments. What I love about Walk Away Renee is that, no matter how many times I’ve heard it, when I hear it again I’m always tricked into thinking I’ve just joined the song half-way through.

And when I see the sign that points one way

The lot we used to pass by every day

Just walk away Renee

You won’t see me follow you back home

Maybe it’s the use of the word ‘And‘ as the very first word, maybe it’s the short short verse, but either way it gets me every time. It’s often assumed that it was written by Motown staff writers for the Four Tops, but that’s not true.

The lyric of Walk Away Renee is the slightly-stalkerish product of a love struck 16 year old (16!!) called Michael Brown, keyboard player in cult 60s sunshine pop group The Left Banke. The Renee in question was Renee Fladen-Kamm, a leggy free-spirited blonde who happened, in proper Spinal Tap tradition, to be the girlfriend of the band’s bass player. So infatuated by her was Brown that when the Left Banke recorded the song, he was unable to play his part of the song as she was watching from the studio’s control room.

My hands were shaking when I tried to play, because she was right there in the control room,” he says. “There was no way I could do it with her around, so I came back and did it later.

Wow! When I was 16 I think I was still playing with my Action Man, certainly I wasn’t writing proper adult love songs, let alone recording them in a proper recording studio and having hits with them (#5 on the Billboard Hot 100, July 1966, Pop Pickers). With it‘s chamber orchestra intro, harpsichord backing and flute solo (nicked from California Dreaming), Walk Away Renee is pure baroque ‘n roll, a fantastically perfect arrangement and execution that is hard to match.

Hard to match, yes, but not impossible. The Four Tops‘ 1968 version takes out the Left Banke’s chamber pop elements and replaces them with a huge dollop of soul and those instantly recognisable Motown calling cards of drum beat, sweeping strings and stabbing brass. Produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland, the vocal performance is magnificent –  uplifting yet melancholic, Levi Stubbs giving the equivalent vocal performance to what young Michael was feeling in his poor wee love struck heart the day he wrote it. Fact – Rod Stewart loves this song. Want to hear those vocals in all their isolated glory? Of course you do. I’ve posted them before, but hear ’em here. No stabbing brass, sweeping strings or drum breaks to obscure the most perfect soul vocal you’ll hear this week.

I’ve never been that big a fan of Billy Bragg (I know, I know, shoot me…) but I do love his version of Walk Away Renee from the aptly-named Levi Stubbs’ Tears EP. Less Motown, more a homage to the talking blues of Woody Guthrie or early Bob Dylan, but done in those dulcet Essex tones (Bard of Barking? More like the Bark of Barding ho ho) he tells his own story of unrequited love (“I couldn’t stop thinking about her and every time I switched on the radio there was somebody else singing about the two of us………she began going out with Mr Potato Head…. I went home and thought about the two of them together until the bath water went cold around me….“) whilst Johnny Marr picks out the familiar melody in the background. S’a beautiful version, man!

Postscript

Renee seemingly moved on from the Left Banke’s bass player and onto the drummer before Walking Away for good. It seems that young Michael was never to receive her attentions. Nae luck Michael….

Yer actual Renee Fladen-Kamm. She walked away.

demo, Hard-to-find, Studio master tapes, studio outtakes

Rolling Stones Jigsaw Puzzle

This is a re-post of sorts – the original files were long ago deleted, but it’s still one of the most Googled bits of music I’ve put on here. Now and again I get the odd email asking me to re-upload the tracks. Normally I never get round to it. But on this occassion I’ve relented…(not the complete mastertapes, mind, that’d take ages. Just the juicy bits)…

Original words ‘n pictures…

Gimme Shelter? Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!

July 8, 2008

Yes! It’s yet another of those fantastic studio master tapes that are all over the internet! It’s hard to top The Beatles Master Tapes. You might say they’ll never be topped. But this is a close second. Very close. This time it’s only THE STONES! THE ROLLING STONES! The master tapes of ‘Gimme Shelter’! Oh yes! No kidding! You may have these tracks already, cos they have appeared almost everywhere online, but I am aware that many visitors to this site come specifically to find studio gems such as these, so if you don’t have it, prepare to be dazzled. Daaaaaaaa-zzled!

A dazzled Mick. Camp? Moi?

Part 1. The History. ‘Gimme Shelter’ appeared on ‘Let It Bleed’ (the cake on the cover was made by Delia Smith, fact #1) and released in 1969. As you all know the song was the soundtrack to the end of the 60s. Rape, murder, it’s just a shot away, and all that. The Hells Angels murdered someone in the crowd at Altamont and the whole of the 60s went tits up and finished. Just like that. The decade that had started so brightly and full of hope ended (musically) on a sour note. But like I said, you all knew that.

Everyone waves bye bye to the end of the 60s

The song was written by Jagger and Richards. Jagger was getting lyrics together between takes of the film ‘Performance‘ that he was making at the time. Richards was playing about with the distinctive intro looking for a song to fit it. Et voila. Recording took place at Olympic Studios in London around February and March 1969 with Jimmy Miller producing. In one of those magical moments that occur now and again, Miller suggested getting a female vocalist to duet with Jagger. Cue Merry Clayton (incorrectly credited as Mary Clayton on the album, fact #2). Clayton’s high pitched, powerful vocal performance made the song. Her vocals are absolutely astounding.

Merry Mary Clayton

If you don’t believe me, here‘s the double tracked vocal-only performance. Just Jagger and Clayton battling it out. Listen out around the 3 minute mark as her voice cracks under the pressure and Jagger whoops a celebratory “Oh yeah!”. It. Is. Astonishing. Jagger later said of the finished track, “That’s a kind of end-of-the-world song, really. It’s apocalypse.” And the vocal track certainly backs this up. And if you liked that part enough….

Keith. 27th November 1969. 15 days after I was born. Fact #3

Part 2. The Bit You Came For.

The Rolling Stones astonishing vocal-only track of Gimme Shelter

The Rolling Stones – Keith’s guitar track of Gimme Shelter

(high quality wav file)

The Rolling Stones – Keith’s guitar track of Gimme Shelter

(bog standard mp3)

PLAYALONGAJAGGER/RICHARDS FOR 4 MINUTES!!!

Me. Yesterday.

Footnote. There have been many, many covers of ‘Gimme Shelter’. Merry Clayton did one herself. I don’t have my copy handy at present or I would’ve included it in this post. Suffice to say, a future ‘Gimme Shelter Covers‘ post is almost guaranteed. From the sublime to the ridiculous, they’ve all done it. Inspiral Carpets, Hawkwind with Sam Fox, Patti Smith, Voice Of The Beehive…..prepare to be irked.

Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find, Most downloaded tracks, Studio master tapes, studio outtakes

Gold! (Gold!) Always Believe In Your Soul!

You’re indestructuh-buh-uhl etc etc.

The internet is full of gold. Look in the deepest, darkest corners and all sorts of fantastic stuff awaits you with a nod and a wink and a glad-you-found-me smile.  Without the internet, I wouldn’t have learned to dance like James Brown (thank you, You Tube). I’d never have seen Stevie Wonder doing Superstition on Sesame Street (Thanks again, You Tube). I’d never have heard those rip-roaring Sgt Pepper master tapes (still available here) that caused Plain Or Pan to go into some sort of meltdown for a few of days a couple of years ago.

One story goes that the record companies are all in a  panic over the state of many of the master tapes in their posession. The original tapes have over the years been rendered gossamer-light and wafer-thin through combinations of repeated reissues/remasters/remixes and plain old neglect. In an attempt to preserve these original recordings as best they can, the labels have started transferring the original master tapes onto digital files, where they can be kept box fresh for as long as they want (you’re indestructuh-buh-uhl and all that, or at least until someone discovers that digital files also have a sell-by date). Being made digital also means that as soon as they’ve been converted, some kind soul sticks one or two teasers out into the ether and stirs up a bit of a feeding frenzy amomgst yer more savvy downloaders. It would appear that none other than the good folks at Motown (yes!) have decided to preserve their archives in this way and, thank you Lord, someone has seen fit to leak some of these masters online. A year or so ago I posted the master tapes to Stevie Wonder‘s Superstition and Marvin Gaye‘s Heard It Through The Grapevine. If you liked them, you’ll love these…

A 15 year old Stevie Wonder belting out Uptight (Everything’s Alright) like his life depended on it.  Crystal clear with just a touch of reverb, this is the music-free vocal track. Comes complete with all the gaps and pauses for you to fill in the horn parts yourself. Listen out for his wee laugh when he cracks up towards the end. Gold!

Michael checks his latest royalty cheque. Older brother isn’t reading a text from Berry Gordy. It’s 1971.

What happened to Michael Jackson? I mean, what happened? When he died, the TV showed a brilliant black and white clip of The Jackson 5, young Michael at the front boppin’ and a-poppin’  in slow motion to this track. Here for you is the vocal-only track of an 11 year old (11 years old!) Michael Jackson singing I Want You Back with absolute total abandon. By the time he gets to the end, his voice has almost gone but he’s still going for it with those wee ‘uhs‘ and ‘huhs‘ that would later develop into crappy girly yelps. No wonder Jarvis Cocker kicked his arse all those years later. Gold!

I’ve posted Marvin Gaye studio stuff before, but never this. It’s only the vocal-only track of What’s Going On! Just Marvin double-tracked and duetting with himself through the slickest protest song ever written. The middle section where he scats and shoobee-do-bops is outrageous, something I’d never really noticed in the finished record, given that the middle part is packed full of sweeping strings, bongos and kitchen sinks full of Funk Brother riffs. Gold!

I’ve also posted versions of The TemptationsPapa Was A Rolling Stone before, but again, not this – the vocal-only track. Written by regular Motown producer Norman Whitfield, the vocal group didn’t really like his instrumentation. Vocalist Dennis Edwards didn’t like the autobiographical (he thought)/coincidental (Whitfield claimed) “...3rd of September” line, given that that was the day Edwards father had actually died. Whitfield made him sing the line time and time again until he got a take filled with the right amount of anger and frustration. I’m not sure who the dude doing the bass vocal part is, but be careful, he might just shake your fillings loose. Here too, is the vocal-only track of Ball Of Confusion. Gold x 2!!

Theres tons of this stuff out there. I probably should keep these back, there’s about a month’s worth of posts here….

The Spinners vocal take of the Stevie Wonder-penned It’s A Shame. Gold!

The Four Tops vocal take of Walk Away Renee. Gold!

The Velvelettes vocal take of Needle In a Haystack. The handclaps don’t stop from start to finish! Gold!

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles vocal take of Tears Of a Clown. Gold!

Diana Ross & the Supremes vocal take of Baby Love. Gold! (New link 15.10.10)

Blur Fanclub Singles, Cover Versions, demo, Dylanish, Gone but not forgotten, Hard-to-find, Kraut-y, Live!, Most downloaded tracks, Studio master tapes

Three! Free! Fae Me!

Plain Or Pan is 3 years old and what better way to celebrate than with a compilation CD…..

Add your own Ronco/K-Tel voiceover:

Featuring the most popular downloads from last year’s blog, this compilation is the ideal taster for what Plain Or Pan is about. Covers, curios and the odd hard-to-find classic, this fantastic double CD is not available in the shops or from any good online retailers. Get it only at myTunes! Free! Today! Now!

Aye. It’s the ideal companion to last year’s double CD (still available here). Kicking off with the notorious Beatles Revolution take 20  outtake/outfake? that nearly melted Plain Or Pan for good in January last year, I’ve included some odd ball covers (Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed, the Dead Weather track), Fleet Foxes spin-offs (White Antelope), one of Johnny Marr’s favourite records (The Equals), rare fanclub-only releases (Blur), hardly-heard studio gems (The Temptations), demos (Marvin Gaye, The Pretenders), rarities (The La’s white label version of Timeless Melody – only 500 exist) and a whole lot more over 2 CDs. I’m rather proud of this wee compilation. It includes some nifty home-made artwork too! Right click on CD1 and CD2 below to download each CD in one go.

 

CD1                                                 CD2

 

Complete tracklisting:

Disc 1

The Beatles – Revolution (take 20)

The Kinks – I Need You

Pop Levi – Blue Honey

The Temptations – Ball Of Confusion (unreleased version)

Booker T & the MGs – Sing A Simple Song

Ike & Tina Turner – Bold Soul Sister

Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed & the Trueloves – Ace Of Spades

Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On (demo)

Arctic Monkeys – Baby I’m Yours

Afghan Whigs – Band Of Gold

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit (live)

The Soup Greens – Like A Rolling Stone

The La’s – Timeless Melody (GOLAS3 version)

Trash Can Sinatras – Snow

Super Furry Animals – Citizens Band

The Sundays – Wild Horses

Sparkelhorse/Danger Mouse feat Nina Persson – Daddy’s Gone

 

Disc 2

Glasvegas – The Prettiest Girl On Saltcoats Beach (full length version)

The Pretenders – Brass In Pocket (demo)

The Byrds – Mr Tambourine Man (vocal track)

Frank Blake – You Don’t Have To Cry

The Equals – Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys

The Fall – Lost In Music

Dead Weather – Are Friends Electric?

John Kongos – He’s Gonna Step On You Again

Grace Jones – Pull Up To The Bumper (12” mix)

Blur – Sing (To Me) (demo)

Inspiral Carpets – 96 Tears

Beck – Sunday Morning

White Antelope – It Ain’t Me Babe

Eddi Reader – Blues Run The Game

Stone Roses – Love Spreads (Guitar Track)

Neu! – Hallogallo

 

demo, Hard-to-find, Most downloaded tracks, Studio master tapes, studio outtakes

It Was Plenty Years Ago Today

A year or so ago I had the idea to run a series of pun-tastic posts called ‘It was plenty years ago today‘. Based on the success of those Beatles mastertapes that I had posted (when Plain Or Pan melted immediately and the internet police first cottoned on to this site) I would combine my expert textpert knowledge of The Beatles with some of their better bootlegs in my collection and post rare outtakes and the like on the anniversary of the track being recorded. For one reason or other, I never quite got round to doing it, until today.

beatles walrus group

Given that this weekend is Beatles Weekend on BBC2 and given that the remastered albums are out in the middle of the week (now there’s a novel way of promoting a computer game – cannae wait to play it by the way), this is as good a time as any to get things going. Plenty years ago today (42 41  (oops!) to be precise), a week or so after Brian Epstein’s death, The Beatles reconvened (at Paul McCartney’s insistence – the others, especially Lennon, had no motivation to continue) on the 5th September to start work on the Magical Mystery Tour project.

beatles walrus

First up saw them tackle I Am The Walrus. Between the 5th and 6th and 27th, 28th and 29th September, The Beatles twisted and turned John Lennon’s gobbledigook nonsense tune into the psychedelic masterpiece you are no doubt familiar with. The tune itself began life in Lennon’s Weybridge house. Absent mindedly tickling the ivories one morning, Lennon heard the sound of a police car outside, noting how the ‘notes’ of the siren changed as the car got further away. He began replicating this sound on the piano, and this became the chord progression for I Am The Walrus. It should be noted here that JWL was heavily into LSD by this point in his life. Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to, as Spacemen 3 once said. Ian Macdonald’s excellent Revolution In The Head book dissects Lennon’s acid-soaked Walrus lyrics to the nth degree way better than I ever could. It’s a fantastic book. The last time I was in Fopp I think it was on sale for about £4! But I digress. Back to the music…

Over the course of the 5 sessions, the tune would go from instrumental (here‘s take 7) to incomplete vocal versions (here‘s take 16, minus the drunk-sounding strings at the start. Listen out for Lennon fluffing the ‘yellow matter custard’ line.), to alternate mixes (here‘s one) to the finished item complete with a King Lear radio play and various bits ‘n bobs woven into the mix by George Martin. Achtung! Here‘s the German mono mix.

capa

The tracks above come from a 15 track bootleg called Walrus, Eggman and Pinguins. It varies in quality and, to be honest, many of the tracks sound identical, but it nonetheless charts the studio progress of one of The Beatles more interesting moments. You can download the whole shebang here. Goo Goo G’joob!

Also available for download, reissues (!) of those Beatles 4 track mastertapes that caused all the fuss way back when.

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

A Day In The Life

She’s Leaving Home

With A Little Help From My Friends

And also still available (in high quality flac form only – the internet police jump straight on board with their handcuffs and truncheons whenever the mp3 of this becomes available) is the previously unheard 10min + mix of Revolution. Possibly an outfake, possibly the real deal, I wrote about it a wee while ago here. It’s a good read, even if I do say so myself. On the other hand, if you’re only here circling overhead like a vulture awaiting your next musical feast, you can cut out all the crap and download it here.

*Bonus Beatle fact #1!!!

I Am The Walrus is in Gary Numan’s list of Top 20 songs ever.

*Bonus Beatle fact #2!!!

As well as recording I Am The Walrus on the 6th September, The Beatles also had a go at George Harrison’s under-rated masterpiece Blue Jay Way. Sadly I have no outtakes of this. If anyone does have, you know how to contact me…

*Bonus Beatle fact #3!!!

Did you know that at the end of I Feel Fine the studio microphones unwittingly picked up the sounds of some dogs barking outside Abbey Road?  Hear it here! Right after the last “ooh!” backing vocal. Now dig it out your own copy, listen to it, turn it up for the last 10 seconds and you’ll hear them. I wonder if the dogs’ll still be on the up and coming remasters?