3 Minute Record

"We learned more from a three minute record baby than we ever learned in school..." -from No Surrender by Bruce Springsteen

Filtering by Tag: 1960s

3 Minute Record shuffles, tweets through Friday morning

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones in the ea...

In case you missed the Friday morning 3 Minute Recordtwitter feed I let my iPod mix a Friday shuffle playlist this morning and shared it with my tweeps. Many of my favorite artists made it on to the playlist and covered the various genres of Rock 'n Roll, Folk, Americana, Punk, Alternative Rock, and Indie Rock. Remarkably in only 18 songs each of the last 6 decades of the Rock era were represented - only the 1950s got left out. If this weekend's predicted rapture does indeed come at least my ears will be happy. Hopefully it inspires you to go digging in your collection for some tunes you haven't heard in a while. Feel free to leave me some feedback on what you think. Here’s the results -

Never Really Been Gone – Tommy Keene – Isolation Party
Sympathy For The Devil – The Rolling Stones – Beggar’s Banquet
Free Until They Cut Me Down – Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days
Quit – Hey Mercedes – Everynight Fire Works
Untitled Instrumental – Television – Marquee Moon [Reissue]
Come To The River – The Jayhawks – Rainy Day Music
King Harvest (Must Surely Come) – The Band – S/T
Candy’s Boy – Bruce Springsteen – The Promise
Barricades and Brickwalls – Kasey Chambers – Barricades and Brickwalls
I Want Everything – Cracker – Kerosene Hat
Kiss Me On The Bus – The Replacements – Tim
Should I Stay Or Should I Go – The Clash
Man Of Constant Sorrow – Bob Dylan – No Direction Home
In The Street – Big Star - #1 Record
Small Definition – Superchunk – Cup Of Sand
I’m From New Jersey – John Gorka – Jack’s Crows
Rebellion (Lies) – Arcade Fire – Funeral
You Won’t Have To Cry – The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man

Johnny Cash - From Memphis To Hollywood: Bootleg Vol. II [Album Review]

When Johnny Cash returned to the United States from Germany and his stint in the U.S. Air Force in Summer 1954 he could not have realized the changes that would happen in his life less than a year later. Within the next year he had married, started making records and had his first child. A life changing few months indeed. Before the decade was complete Cash had signed to Columbia Records in 1958 leaving his original label, Sun Records; he was only 26 years old. His career still in its developmental stage, Cash already had several hits on the Country charts including #1 singles with "I Walk The Line", "There You Go", "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen" and "Guess Things Happen That Way." However, he wasn't a legend nor the "Man in Black" yet. A new compilation reveals part of the back story of the songs Cash wrote during this early stage and subsequent recordings made around the same time those hits were on radio.

Johnny Cash - From Memphis To Hollywood: Bootleg Vol. 2
Johnny Cash - From Memphis To Hollywood: Bootleg Vol. 2

Released by Columbia on February 22, just in time for what would have been Cash's seventy-ninth birthday today, From Memphis To Hollywood: Bootleg Vol. II documents Cash from local country artist with a 15 minute show on Memphis radio station KWEM to country star recording for Columbia Records with his band, The Tennessee Two, plus soon to be wife June Carter and the Carter Family on backing vocals. Honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 1954, Cash started his recording career in 1955 and by 1969 he was a major recording star; a legend.

From Memphis To Hollywood:Bootleg Vol. II doesn't focus on the hits although it does include some demos of some of his greatest songs including "I Walk The Line", "Get Rhythm" and "Big River". This compilation, however, unearths demos, rarities, singles, outtakes and B-sides. These intimate recordings look closely at Cash the songwriter and musician. Much like the previous Bootleg release, Personal File, many of these tracks are solo recordings of just Cash and his guitar.

On disc one Cash is a local artist in Memphis in the 1950s, playing radio shows, recording demos as reference for studio recordings and recording studio tracks for local independent label, Sun Records. First, Cash and the Tennessee Two (Luther Perkins on guitar and Marshall Grant on bass) play a 15 minute radio show for KWEM 990 at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 1955. The recording, their first radio show for the station, is raw as the AM radio it played through over 50 years ago. Cash and the Tennessee Two play 4 songs while Cash hawks commercials for his employer, Home Equipment Company, between songs. As perspective, three days later Cash became a father as his oldest daughter, Rosanne, was born.

Less raw, yet still containing a strong analog tape hiss, the compilation presents a group of 12 demos of Cash recording his own songs with just voice and guitar next. Though unknown when and where these demo recordings were made,  the songs feature a feel of Cash making home recordings as demos for his band, publishing or for Sun Records owner/producer Sam Phillips. Cash's voice is gentle and introspective. The artist at his most vulnerable.

While the radio show and demos provide the listener a glimpse into Cash's working life as a musician the first disc offers other highlights. One highlight from the first disc is "Wide Open Road," a song featured here twice, one a radio recording from the KWEM show and the other a solo Sun Studios recording from late 1954.  Reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen's "Open All Night" from his acoustic album, Nebraska, but in reverse.  The narrator of Cash's song is upset and urging his girl to get out-of-town and hit the wide open road leaving him behind for good, while Springsteen's protagonist is pining for his girl and driving all night to see her. In a second highlight Cash gives a dark reading of the classic Leadbelly song "Goodnight Irene".

By the start of disc two, Cash is in Nashville recording for Columbia Records with producers Don Law and Bob Johnston. Cash had moved his family from Memphis to Hollywood in 1958 after signing the deal with Columbia Records. The sound of Cash's 1960s material is more polished, but still contains the stark qualities of his Sun Sessions. However, the music is recorded with better equipment in buildings built specifically as recording studios. With these songs, broad in scope and rich in imagery, Cash carries a heavier weight of the people on his shoulders. The lyrics offer less about Cash's personal experiences and more about overarching themes of the working man and issues for which he deeply cared.

Highlights from the second disc include the prisoner's last moments "Five Minutes To Live", the hard luck lament "The Losing Kind" and the "Locomotive Man". Cash gives his country take on Bob Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings" and provides his negative thoughts on the general public's acceptance of the 1960s folk revival with "The Folk Singer".

Though now an American music legend with a large catalog of recorded work, Johnny Cash's stature continues to grow even after his death in 2003. In this compilation we meet Cash more as a man instead of legendary recording artist. A great way to reacquaint yourself with an artist you think you already know. Long live Johnny Cash!

It's About Time! New Reissues from The Kinks

A promotional photo of British rock group The ...

For years the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who have had their full recorded catalogs on compact disc for fans and subsequent generations of music fans to buy again and again and appreciate the greatness of their music. While the catalog from the Kinks has lagged hopelessly behind all the rest of their British Invasion contemporaries (except for the Animals). This year that's all about to change!

On March 22, the injustice will be rectified with the first three albums starting the reissue program: the Kinks 1964 self-titled album, and Kinda Kinks (1964) and The Kink Kontroversy(1965). Later in the spring (May) and summer (July) their later 1960s and early 1970s work gets the same treatment as Face to Face (1966) and Something Else (1967), Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (1969), Muswell Hillbillies (1971) will hit the shelves.

Word on the street is that each album will receive a double-disc treatment with plenty of outtakes, rarities, in-depth liner notes and other tasty bits.

For a band so prolific, so important to the British Invasion and with so many artists citing their work as influencing their own it's almost criminal that the Kinks back catalog isn't more accessible. The Beatles full catalog, first released on compact disc in 1987, received a major reboot a year and a half ago with each album beautifully remastered in both Stereo and Mono. The Who and the Rolling Stones have remastered and reissued their respective catalogs a couple of times since originally being issued on the compact disc format in the late 1980s. So why not the Kinks?

The Kinks catalog received a reissue program in 1998 from Castle Records. However, most albums only included a few extra tracks; nowhere close to another disc worth of material that's being offered here. As a reminder, the Kinks released their last official studio album, Phobia, in 1993 so maybe they were not yet ready for a full-fledged expansive reissue program. 

In 2004, Sanctuary Records reissued a special deluxe edition of The Kinks 1968 masterpiece, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. The album received a beautiful 3 disc treatment that presented the album and singles of the timeframe in both stereo and mono mixes plus a third disc of outtakes, rarities, and BBC session material over 62 total tracks! At that point I thought that the reissues would keep on coming, but the process seems to have taken a bit longer than expected. 

In case you're interested (and really you should) in the track listing details for the first three albums you can find them here.

If you just can't get enough of the music of the Kinks the band's leader and prolific songwriter, Ray Davies, releases a new album this spring. See My Friends sees the light of day on April 5. For the album Davies re-recorded classic Kinks songs with a list of guest stars including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora, Metallica, Black Francis, Mumford and Sons, Spoon, Lucinda Williams, the late Alex Chilton and more playing and singing along.

Davies, now 66, continues to stay busy and will curate London’s Meltdown festival from June 10-18, 2011. Past curators have included David Bowie, Morrissey, John Peel, Nick Cave, Patti Smith and Jarvis Cocker.