Sunday, May 11, 2008

Metapost: 1969 Muxtape

UPDATE TO THE UPDATED UPDATE UPDATE: Muxtape is of course no more. Darn.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE UPDATE: Everything now restored. Let me know if anything isn't working.

Picking up the gauntlet thrown down by Sweeping The Nation, I've compiled a 12-track Muxtape of tracks from the year 1969, which I chose because I thought it might be more of a challenge than the other years I'd considered. As Muxtape doesn't really offer a lot of room for explanatory text, and the Amazon downloads they link to aren't available here in Europe, I've used this space to give a bit of background, and to show where the tracks are available digitally to Brits without the aid of proprietory software.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to boast about the fact that I didn't attempt any rude puns here. I even left Serge Gainsbourg off, in case he led me astray.

UPDATE (Again!): Due to some sort of backup problem, it's all gone offline. Sorry about that.

1. Bobby Womack 'California Dreaming' (from The Last Great Soul Man [copy protected])
Actually a minor US hit in 1968, but scraping in here as it was unsuccessfully issued in Britain the following year; it was revived after appearing in a TV commercial a couple of years ago. Bob Dylan played it on his radio show a couple of weeks ago and reminded me how good this track was just as I was looking for tracks to put onto my new MP3 player. In some ways I like this more than the original.
2. The Beatles With Billy Preston 'Don't Let Me Down' (not legitimately available as a download - I have it on Past Masters Volume 2)
Because I couldn't not have The Beatles, and this one was already on the computer. Originally the flipside of 'Get Back' of course, and one of their more underappreciated tracks of this era.
3. The Bonzo Dog Band 'Mr. Apollo' (from Tadpoles)
The follow-up single to 'I'm The Urban Spaceman', though obviously not another hit for them. Although not everything they did has aged well, there are plenty of other Bonzos tracks this year I could have gone for - but this one wins out thanks to Viv Stanshall's monologue at the end; I'm resisting the temptation to quote as that would only spoil it. There's another version where he does it in German.
4. Marvin Gaye 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine' (from The Complete Collection)

I hesitated to make such an obvious choice, but ultimately decided it was so superlative I couldn't avoid it.
5. Johnny Cash 'Wanted Man' (from The Man In Black )
The best-of collection gives this a 1969 copyright date. Anyway, it's a Dylan song not recorded by the man himself (his most prominent 1969 release was 'Lay Lady Lay', and that was never going to make the cut) very much betraying the influence of Hank Williams.
6. The Isley Brothers 'Behind A Painted Smile' (from Universal Masters Collection)
Another personal favourite, which is why I couldn't leave it out even though it was already a couple of years old by the time it charted. The Motown years may not have been the most enjoyable experience of their career but it had its moments. I even love the ending.
7. Horace Andy 'Skylarking' (from Skylarking)
Reggae isn't a part of the music world where I feel very much at home, but I know a good voice when I hear one. 'Wonderful World, Beautiful People' and 'The Israelites' were both hits in 1969 too, but I didn't have those to hand.
8. The Kinks 'Victoria' (from The Singles Collection)
I remember hearing The Fall's version a few times and thinking how remarkably they'd managed to remake the song in their own image. Then I heard the Kinks version and realised it sounded like The Fall already. Dave Davies claims that they once sang the entire song backwards on stage; "People thought we were mad. In fact, we probably were."
9. Cream 'Badge' (from I Feel Free)
According to George Harrison's I Me Mine, Ringo turned up at his house while he and Eric Clapton were struggling to think of a rhyme for "I told to you not to wander round in the dark". And the one he came up with is the one they used.
10. Fairport Convention 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes' (from Unhalfbricking)
If I'd realised this was on the computer when I put the original set together, I probably would have included it over a couple of the ones I have used. But the blessing in disguise of my Rolling Stones track not working was an ideal opportunity to sneak it in. Sandy Denny had brought this song with her when she joined Fairport, so this is arguably not the original version but it seems safe to call it the definitive one.
11. The Beach Boys 'Break Away' (from The Warmth Of The Sun)
A contractually-obliged final single for Capitol, which proved to be a bit of a last hurrah for Brian Wilson (at least for a while) and a UK Top 10 hit to boot, although it flopped in America. Although it's not their most-lauded 45 even in Britain, and is often ignored entirely in the US, it's always been a bit of a favourite of mine, even if the lyrics can make for uncomfortable listening now we know what we do about his mental state at the time. Oddly, he split the publishing rights with his father.
12. Louis Armstrong 'We Have All The Time In The World' (bizarrely hard to find as a download, although it's easy to obtain on CD)
Like my first selection, a rather late developer here, finally charting in 1994 off the back of another advert.

The one that got away - The Rolling Stones 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' [B-side version] (from Rolled Gold Plus [album version,])The version I uploaded was the edited mono version from the B-side of 'Honky Tonk Women', but for some reason I haven't found that on download, so I've linked to the longer album cut. Between you and me, though, I've never been too keen on those choirboys at the start.