Friday, October 17, 2008


Or is it Take One? This weekend's mix is more of an E.P.. (That's "extended play," for those of you playing at home.) What we have here are alternate versions of songs we've come to know and at least like. It would have been easy to include live versions or demos (which are no longer holy grails thanks to countless box sets), but my goal was to choose songs that were finished. These songs are complete and in most cases, have been released. And all but one seems superior to my ears. (Can you guess which?)

Alison (US Version)- Elvis Costello
Rebel Rebel (Single Mix)- David Bowie
Bold As Love (instrumental) -Jimi Hendrix
It's Different For Girls (1991)- Joe Jackson
Can't Find My Way Home (Electric Version)- Blind Faith
Hot Fun In The Summertime (extended stereo mix) -Sly & The Family Stone
Mercy Mercy Me (original Detroit version)- Marvin Gaye

Some highlights:

The "US Single Mix" of "Alison" has two major additions- harmony vocals and strings. Apparently, Costello despised it so much, that it wasn't released until 2 years after "My Aim Is True," and even then it was slapped on the b-side of "Accidents Will Happen." It was finally made available here, but again as a hidden bonus track on Disc 11. Personally, I love it.

The "US Single Mix" of "Rebel Rebel" is shorter, which is normal for a single, but this version also adds background vocals and some manic tambourine and congas, giving it less of a glammy feel, and leaning more toward the neo-soul of Bowie's next adventure "Young Americans."

This extended instrumental version of "Bold As Love" is the sound of 3 young guys just letting go of all they've got. This is "tran-SPLENDID!"

The Joe Jackson tune is actually a re-record which was used as a B-side in 1991. It's a stunning piano duet with vocalist Elaine Caswell.

The Sly tune is a rare stereo mix with an extended ending. I had been listening to and loving this song my whole life, then one afternoon, back in my CD retail days, this compilation came through the front door and I was blown away. You can hear the band really opening up on the coda and really, if this song went on for ten minutes, it would still be too short.

Listen to and enjoy the tunes HERE and please, as always, GO BUY SOME CDs and support your artists.


cmealha said...

One of my favorite vocals of all time was Elaine Caswells vocals on Joe Jackson's Happy Endings from Body and Soul. Her voice was so crisp and pitch perfect. There was something about it that went straight to the soul. Glad to see she's still around and thanks for reminding me about her.

NYCD Online said...

You turned me on to the remake of "It's Different For Girls" about a million years ago (or 1993, not sure which). While I love the original, I think this one tops it. It's amazing in such a different way that it's almost like it's not even the same song. But anyway, wow. And you are certainly the only person I know who owns the damn thing.

Gregg Geller said...

Actually, "Alison" (with strings) was released as a single (Columbia 3-10641) in the U.S. shortly after the My Aim Is True album came out here and, when that failed to click, as the B-side of "Watching The Detectives" (Columbia 3-10705). As each of these singles sold well into the hundreds I suppose it's a bit like the proverbial tree falling in the forest.... Nevertheless, the stringed version of "Alison" was available very early in Elvis' career.

Sal Nunziato said...

Thanks Gregg. I do have a US single of "Accidents Will Happen" with "Alison" as a b-side. Any info on that?

gregg geller said...

The U.S. B-side of "Accidents Will Happen" was "Sunday's Best" (Columbia 3-10919). I'm thinking that maybe what you have is the Elvis Costello entry in the Columbia Hall of Fame oldies singles series. If not that then I'm stumped.