Wednesday, August 19, 2015


I don't know if we've done this before, but even if we have, it seems like a fine time to do it again in light of recent discussions about good and bad music and quality releases.

Like most of you, the first time I heard The Beatles version of "Leave My Kitten Alone" was on a bootleg LP some 30 odd years ago. Part of me understands why this had remained an outtake until finally getting an official release on the "Anthology" series. It's raw and flawed. But this is also why I think this is one of The Beatles greatest rock and roll moments, especially Lennon's lead vocal. If I was running the show, there was no way in hell "Matchbox" or "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" would have made the "Beatles For Sale" cut over "Leave My Kitten Alone." I realize that means Ringo and George would have had to sacrifice a lead vocal, but tough toenails.

You might not agree, but that's okay.

Since we've been discussing "whole albums" and "weak material" and "hype," I thought about all these old timers I am still listening to on a regular basis, and how much of their unreleased music was still very strong. Thanks to the advent of the "Deluxe Edition CD," it became a no-brainer to have 25 "Tommy" outtakes at our disposal. And yes, disposing of most of these outtakes after one curious listen was a no-brainer, as well. But there is a new band's entire career in just what Bruce Springsteen has left on the cutting room floor.

So, the question is:

What are your favorite unreleased tracks?

Pick as many as you'd like.

And to be clear...nothing live! I'm not talking an inspired "Kitty's Back" from the Agora. I'm talking recorded material that was left in the vault, or I'll go as far as a B-Side.


William Repsher said...

Well, with The Beatles, the unreleased thing has its downside, too. Remember those bootleg Star Club albums that came out in the 70's? They sound just as terrible today as they did then! A shame, too, because if they had been recorded correctly, they would have been an incredible time capsule of The Beatles in their formative years. (I feel the same way about The Velvet Underground Live at Max's Kansas City, and the bootlegs Robert Quine helped issue eventually ... they sound terrible compared to the 1969 Live album.)

I wouldn't know where to begin with this topic as I've made it a side career to collect demos, unofficial live material and other rarities ... you know, stuff that will never appear on any streaming service and is often entirely serviceable as an audio download from youtube. A lot of the Springsteen live material from 1974-78 is unbelievably good, and the massive cache of bootleg tracks around the creation of Nebraska/Born in the USA was a creative windfall of great material. Can't do it at work, but you should encourage people to include youtube links for rarities they love ... always on the lookout for this sort of material! Hopefully I can post a few favorites later.

Sal Nunziato said...

Okay, to be clear...nothing live! I'm not talking an inspired "Kitty's Back" from the Agora. I'm talking recorded material that was left in the vault, or I'll go as far as a B-Side.

jeff said...

what about an unreleased song that was later released as an unreleased song?

Dr Wu said...

Three from the Rolling Stones that I've always enjoyed: 'I Don't Know Why' (an outtake from 'Let It Bleed'); 'Criss Cross Man' and a cover of Dobie Gray's 'Drift Away' (outtakes from the 'Goat Head's Soup'/'It's Only Rock & Roll' sessions). Also, Roxy Music's 'Your Application's Failed' (a B-Side). Another great topic, Sal. And another learning opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Hello all…no, please remain seated,
I used to collect bootlegs of my favorite band, the Rolling Stones. Which, back in the day, entailed trading, begging, and money. I’m probably stretching the assignment past where you intended, but here’s my listicle:

1) Travelin’ Man – can’t believe they never developed this into a proper song. Taylor was right to be pissed at these guys.

2) Cocaine Blues – Keith, solo acoustic guitar. If Don Was had cut about 4 or 5 songs from Voodoo Lounge and put this as a secret final track, you might’ve had a decent album. Well, you have to make Mick re-write a bunch of lyrics, too, but...whatever, you get the point.

3) Please Please Me – Keith again. Picks out the chords of the great Beatles classic. If this had been made into a finished album cut, I’m quite sure that the lion would lie down with the lamb, ISIS would never have been formed, and the honey bees would be restored to their former hive-y abundance. A missed opportunity.


Dr Wu said...

Sorry. Forgot about my absolute favorite B-Side: Led Zeppelin's 'Hey, Hey, What Can I Do'. Doh! Pre-Caffeinated communication is challenging. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Oh Dear. As with WR, I have more than a few Springsteen unreleased songs -- in fact, WAAAAAY more than I have of his official output (being a fan of the circa '78-circa '82 material) -- and, as with Jeff, I'm not sure of what I have not being released as bonus stuff on later re-issues, etc. So I'll throw out a few off the top of my head (like WR, I seek out unreleased/live/demo stuff by musicians I love, and my love goes back at least to Jimmie Rodgers in 1927).
Springsteen's "Shut Out The Light" (B-side) is not only my fave BS song, but one of my favorite songs, period.
I edited a comp of takes of "Good Vibrations" down to a 6:54 that I love (Beach Boys a band I like for some of their old singles and nothing more, but, again, "Good Vibrations" is one of my all-time favorite songs).
I have a version of Steve Earle's "Goodbye" that he does with EmmyLou Harris that is the definition of sublime beauty, and made more so by a flaw in the recording wherein the recording distorts heavily as she's singing her second line in her verse (and singing it higher pitched than the first line); it clearly is not intentional, but it just puts the song over the top.
Undoubtedly, I can come up with a million more (Beatles, Dylan going back to his high school home recordings, Ramones demos, etc), y'know?
C in California

Sal Nunziato said...

"what about an unreleased song that was later released as an unreleased song?"

Example, Jeff?

Lord said...

I agree with you that Lennon's vocal is amazing on "Leave My Kitten Alone." There are very few versions of this song that don't deliver, and The Everly Brothers version is just as great!

For a favorite B-Side, you need look no further than the amazingly consistent Graham Parker. My vote would be: "I Want You Back (Alive)" the B-Side of "Local Girls."

Great blog! Thanks for all you do!

jeff said...

Slippin' and Slidin' by the band? a release of an unreleased song?

Troy said...

Great topic. Here are some of my favorites, although some were included as bonus tracks from remastered versions, etc. But they should have been on the original releases.

Code of Silence
Another Thin Line
The Fever (released on 18 Tracks)
Trouble River

Joe Jackson:
Knock Me a Kiss (L Jordan cover from Jumpin Jive sessions)
Enough is Not Enough

Donnie Iris:
Agnes (my favorite B-side ever)

Hothouse Flowers:
Hydroman (live song from their Take a Last Look at the Sun concert VHS)

Michael McDermott:
Where the Ocean Ends-Martha Filled with Magic version (internet only release)
Right Back Where I Started From (internet only)

The Jayhawks:
Leave No Gold
Tomorrow the Green Grass

Elton John:
Into the Old Man's Shoes (bonus track on TC)

Del Amitri:
Whiskey Remorse (b-side)

Sal Nunziato said...

"Donnie Iris:
Agnes (my favorite B-side ever)"

First cut, first album, no? LOVE this track and that album.

And yes Jeff, anything that did not make an official release, first time around.

Troy said...

Oops, my bad.

Shriner said...

I'd have to sit and think about this. I have a lot of B-Sides/unreleased stuff from a lot of artists that I find very enjoyable (Juliana Hatfield has a ton, as does Paul McCartney, Tori Amos and who can forget Jason Falkner?).

My *favorite* collection of B-Sides, though? The one I cobbled together by The Darkness after Permission to Land came out.

15 quality tracks. It makes for an awesome album of it's own.

Noam Sane said...

Kinks, This Strange Effect

jeff said...

1910 Fruitgum Company: "Purple Haze"


Anonymous said...

you could expand the subject to unreleased albums. I remember rushing to the store as soon as Prince's Black Album got an official release. Most of the more famous ones are readily available on youtube (although I can't pull up anything related to tracks recorded by Jeff Beck at Motown), like Eno's "My Squelchy Life." Do you like anything from Bowie's "Toy" sessions, Sal?

Brian Wilson's "It's Over Now"

Neil Young's "Try"

Shriner said...

Oh, how could I forget the Monkees? It's been so long since the Missing Links compilations (and then all the reissues with deluxe tracks etc) that I forgot this was unreleased at one point, but there were a lot of choice songs left in the vault:

All Of Your Toys
The Girl I Knew Somewhere (which was an officially released B-Side and one of my top-5 Monkees songs)
All The King's Horses
St. Matthew
If I Ever Get to Saginaw Again

Charlie Carr said...

Grateful Dead - studio Dark Star. Actually released as the B-side of Born Cross-Eyed (or vice versa). According to Wikipedia, 500 copies sold. Clocks in at a palatable 2:45.
I like Free as a Bird too.

Anonymous said...

Lady with the spinning head from 'not even the greatest band in Ireland' is such a great song.

Anonymous said...

Sal Nunziato said...

I LOVE Bowie's "Toy!"

Anonymous said...

Elvis Costello's "Taking Liberties" album was released in the US after "Get Happy" and contained B-sides and previously unreleased cuts. It gave us his country song "Stranger in the House," the slow version of "Clowntime is Over" and EC's version of "Girls Talk," a song he gave to Dave Edmunds, among other cuts. I love all of these.

But I'll avoid "Taking Liberties" and go with the demo version of "Green Shirt," which is on the CD reissues of "This Year's Model." This unadorned and fierce version was a revelation to me and makes the official version sound extremely overproduced.

- Hey-Its Mike

gms168 said...

fancy man blues
blind williwe mctell
the promise
move over miss l

mauijim said...

Love the splicing of One After The 909 off the 1st Anthology set,where John and Paul blame each other as the take breaks down.
John's take on Yoko's Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him is just wonderful
Was unhappy that Bruce hid The Way behind City of Night on the The Promise but was shown on iTunes how I could fool with the timing so it could stand on its own. Love The Big Payback and it would have lightened Nebraska up
Wish the Stones would have worked more on Dancing Girls and Save Me. Both have killer riffs that should have seen the light of day
Neil Young's Berlin I think is only on the credits of the dvd of a live show of the same name but its a studio take. His song,Separate Ways is a real heartbreaker and is understandable due to its tale why he has chosen to keep it unreleased
My 3 favorite B sides are Elvis' take on My Funny Valentine, Depeche Mode's Sonata No 14 aka Moonlight Sonata and my first 45 Bside I'm Down.
Thanks Sal for another great topic we can add to.

Anonymous said...

really the homestretch of George's solo on "Kitten" was probably what kept it off the record. Things were going fine until that last turnaround.

Bill said...

Dylan has so many great songs that have been officially released on his Bootleg series. To pick a couple that really stuck out for me:
Up to Me (released on Biograph)
Blind Willie McTell (released on Bootleg Series Vol 1-3)
All the different versions of Mississippi--each one is essentially a new song (released on Tell Tale Signs)

Likewise, Elvis Costello has put so many previously unreleased songs on his double-disk reissues. I'll just point out Forgive Her Anything from the Blood and Chocolate reissue as particularly nice. Also, his sequel song, American Without Tears, No. 2, which was originally a B-side, is a favorite of mine.

Charlie Carr said...

Maybe you're thinking - "Dark Star"? Really?? WTF? But listen: here's a song much beloved by Deadheads and reviled by Dead haters for the exact same reasons - way too freaking long, way to indulgent. But this little ditty is like the anti-Dark Star. Most enshrined versions easily top the half hour mark. Under three minutes? But it is cool mix - banjo fade out, Phil on trumpet(?). Maintaining the elegant lyrics in an easy to digest form. Who ever thought this would be a playable single? "Hey Pops - play A76, that Dark Star thing."
Can't-leave-well-enough-alone in Caldwell.

William Repsher said...

I specialize in demos stripped down to just piano and guitar as I love hearing good-to-great songs in very basic versions:

Elton John - Levon demo

Van Morrison - Domino demo

Jimi Hendrix - Angel demo

Harry Nilsson - Without You demo

Lou Reed - Ride into the Sun demo

Wilco - Alone

George Harrison - Beautiful Girl demo

Am I smelling "Weekend Mix" here?

Dave said...

For me it has to be the unfinished, haunting "Walk On By" featuring Brian and Dennis Wilson. I'm guessing Brian intended this to be sung by Carl. I can't think of any other reason not to finish it:

Dave F

Jeff in Denton TX said...

Bruce Springsteen - "Fire": a live version from Neil Young's Bridge concert. The video was played on MTV to correspond with the release of an older version of the song as a single from the Live 1975–85 box set. Great example of the Boss' absolute mastery of a crowd while having fun.

The Moody Blues - "The Dreamer": This unreleased Ray Thomas song finally saw the light of day as a bonus track on the 3rd generation CD reissue of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.

Dion - "Daddy Rollin' (In Your Arms)" - The B-side of "Abraham. Martin, & John." Dion in the throes of heroin addiction. Chilling.

Anonymous said...

The best music discussions on the internet.

buzzbabyjesus said...

"Leave My Kitten Alone" is a good one.
Pink Floyd's "Vegetable Man" has still never been properly released, nor has the 'b' side "Scream Thy Last Scream".
The Gram Parsons vocals on "Sweetheart Of The Rodeo"
The Beach Boys "Way Too Long"
This version of "All Things Must Pass" by The Beatles:
The Arnold Corns version of "Hang On To Yourself"

Anonymous said...

Dylan's Ain't Gonna Go To Hell

hpunch said...

I cherish my copy of the demos Ray Davies made for his musical adaptation of Around The World In 80 Days.
It was destined for Broadway, but never made it past a summer run in La Jolla.
The songs are topnotch and many sound like they could've been outtakes from their sixties heyday,
The song Well Bred Englishman is a classic.

hpunch said...

Hey Noam Sane
Squeeze is covering This Strange Effect on their new album.
Only on the vinyl version.

Dr Wu said...

Maybe some Bowie: 'Candidate (alternate demo - an outtake from the 'Diamond Dogs' sessions) and 'I Pray Ole' (an outtake from 'Lodger'). And The Who's 'Pure and Easy' (from the 'Who's Next' sessions). Really enjoying listening to everyone's suggestions. Well done!

itsok2beright said...

I'm with Dr Wu on Hey Hey, What Can I Do? I'd also add Walter's Walk off of Coda.

Does a song on a European release, not on the North American release count? If so, Evil Woman from Black Sabbath. Instead of that song, we got Wicked World in the NA release.

rick said...

Urge for Going, joni mitchell

Chris Collins said...

Stevie Van Zandt always maintained that disc 3 of "Tracks" is his favorite Springsteen album of all time. Previously unreleased songs that are better than most "Greatest Hits" albums. I have to say that i listen to that album more than almost anything else.

"Going Back", a Darkness Outtake that is STILL unreleased is a super hot track.