“Islands in the Stream” – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton (from Eyes That See in the Dark)
Beautiful, beautiful. Kenny & Dolly singing a tune penned and produced by the brother’s Gibb; the sheen is painfully sharp, a pop Ginsu knife cutting tomatoes and tin cans with equal abandonment. Liked this as a kid, hated it as a teen and young adult, grew up and realized Dolly’s voice was something very special. The production on this is both dated and timeless. The Bee Gees and their co-producer’s are harkening back to am radio hits of days gone by while utilizing every piece of tech at their disposal. A quick note: next time you hear this, listen for the subtle horns that echo Dolly on the end of the chorus about 2:20 in (and again about 30 seconds later). They are nodding their assent to “we rely on each other, uh huh”; a sly, sweet, audible smile.
“I Found a Reason” – The Velvet Underground (from A Walk With the Velvet Underground bootleg)
A rehearsal tape from the summer of 1970, recorded at Max’s Kansas City. Lou coughs, laughs, flubs a line, misses a chord. A female voice, probably Moe, is asking about when to come in. The drums join in; Doug Yule’s bass becomes audible, Sterling tries to bring the tempo closer in line to the recorded version. This is shambolic but fun, and though they wouldn’t last out the year there is no sign of tension or disintegration. A peak behind the curtain, but not an essential one.
“Bill Drummond Says” – Julian Cope (from Fried)
I’ve never read what exactly caused the animosity between the former Zoo label honcho (and future KLF member) and Cope, but animosity there was/is (again, no idea if they still are at loggerheads; I should read Cope’s autobiography). Pretty little pop tune, with puzzling lyrics that imply Cope is viewing the aforementioned Drummond strangling someone. A piece of psychedelic whimsy that inspired Drummond to write “Julian Cope Is Dead.”
“Homeward Bound” – Simon and Garfunkel (from Voices of Intelligent Dissent bootleg)
Recorded live at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968, I wonder if this was broadcast; the sound quality is great, their harmonies strong, clear and resonant. This show is typical of the boots I’ve heard, in that there is no accompanying band. Simon proves what a strong guitarist he is and Garfunkel sores effortlessly high above the maddening crowd.
“Moving Out” – Orchester Helmuth Brandenburg (from The In-Kraut)
From an awesomely titled compilation of German mod and funk, covering the years 1966-74. The Orchester Helmuth Brandenburg here plays full bodied soul, with powerful horns, decent drums and the jangling treble of a Steve Cropper wannabe on guitar. The horn riff is good, and the song is short enough not to wear out its welcome. You’ve heard it done better, but not by Germans!