Thursday, September 10, 2009

Creep - a rare boot'

The process of readying for new recording sessions, as Allison Crowe and fellow musicians gather next week at various locations on the Pacific coast, has unearthed some live recordings from Allison's earlier rock bands.

As a teenager in the '90s, living in Canada's Pacific Northwest, Allison Crowe gravitated toward the Seattle bands Nirvana, Pearl Jam - along with such other favourite North American musicians as Ani DiFranco, Tori Amos and Counting Crows. Across the pond, from the UK came the sounds of Radiohead.

Crowe and her bandmates, performing in Nanaimo, BC venues such as Katz and The Queens, included, alongside their originals, a pair of Thom Yorke-penned songs in their live repertoire - "Fake Plastic Trees" and "Creep".



This live recording dates to the start of this millenium, by which time Allison, on vocals and piano, was performing in a trio - joined by Dave Baird on bass, and Kevin Clevette on drums. (Thanks to audio archivists Condor and John MacMillan for preserving a rare track.)

"Creep" is a song that Radiohead stopped performing entirely for a few years, and brought back into the band's regular live sets in 2009. In recent times, it has been covered by a wide range of acts - Prince, Amanda Palmer, Brandi Carlile, Damien Rice, Korn, Moby, and Macy Gray among others.

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9 Comments:

Blogger musicobsessive said...

Great version of 'Creep'! Really enjoyed listening to it.

It's always fascinating to hear very early stuff even, or especially, when it's a bit rough round the edges.

I have a bunch of tapes recorded on a 4-track from about 20 years ago that will NEVER see the light of day but are still interesting to me. I love imperfect art - it has soul.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

Hi Martin ~

Indeed!

I was happy/surprised to find that there's a recording this good - however lo-fi.

I remember thrilling concert performances of Creep, and never imagined hearing it again. One never knows what will pop up!

Allison used to rock out on Neil Young's "Southern Man". I don't believe that audible audio exists - still, perhaps when you're wading into your four-track tapes...

hooray for the real thing ( :

'best, Ad

12:29 PM  
Blogger Adrian said...

p.s. You may well know, but, I did not know, until yesterday, that "Creep" is based on The Hollies' song "The Air That I Breathe". Radiohead's Thom Yorke shares the writing credits with the Hollies' team.

2:51 PM  
Blogger musicobsessive said...

Well, I didn't know that. You learn something new everyday!

Pity about the 'Southern Man' cover - would've loved to have heard that.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I commented about this on Facebook already, but I'm listening to it again right now and it is just incredible. I always love hearing Allison's take on on these 90s classics.

I never knew about the connection to "The Air That I Breathe", either. As I try to let that song play in my head, it makes sense, though.

Any chance that Allison's take on "Fake Plastic Trees" will ever surface?

7:38 PM  
Blogger Adrian said...

Hi Jeff ~

Nice to see you here, too.

That makes us all new to the Hollies' song connection. It does make sense. I've not had time to do a side-by-side listen. (lol that just makes me think of the two Nickelback songs that someone put together a few years back - one playing in each speaker...)

As for "Fake Plastic Trees" surfacing - anything is possible! I can hear it in my head, but I don't really know all that's been caught by anyone.

I've been with Allison almost a decade now. I only ever recorded her band rehearsals on a Tascam cassette deck! - and those were original songs. The great majority of the concert bootleg tracks we have came from two former Deadheads who got turned on to Allison and then followed her all over the place when she performed in BC.

Great guys, dedicated to music, and pretty unstoppable in their quest for audio. I recall managers of one soft-seat theatre coming up to me before a show, very concerned - asking what is it with these guys, they're trying to plug their devices into our hearing-aid jacks!

It's all lo-fi, but, for all the rawness, you can feel what was going on - those were some rocking shows! I recall one particularly incendiary show, and was excited to hear the boot captured. Turned out, the recording was made through the board, and only Allison's vocals had been channeled via the board - so, it was pretty much an acapella concert. Still interesting - but, for the hardcore ( :

I came across "Creep" when looking for a song called "Wake Up" - which Allison has only performed twice. Fortunately, our "audio-archivists" were present on one of those occasions.

Folks are now geographically dispersed... somewhere, mixed in with Garag Mahal, Medeski Martin & Wood discs and other faves of those cats, there could well be other rare Allison Crowe and band recordings. (Immortality, by Pearl Jam, is one song I recall her band doing - maybe twice - and it's in mind to locate - it could even have been worked through in a rehearsal/jam.)

11:51 PM  
Blogger Adrian said...

hmmm... that should likely be Garaj Mahal... (typo)

11:53 PM  
Blogger Audioarchivist said...

I am not a Deadhead - I just play one on T.V.!!!

No, I am a general music fan, and live recordings has been my hobby for almost 20 years now.

Yes, I remember the ALD (assisted listening device) feed tale! Good times.

I would call this a "fortified" audience recording. I like to record a soundboard feed (which in Alley's case is usually 95% vocals only) and blend it (matrix) with an ambient audience recording. That is what this recording is. The audience recording solo doesn't have much vocal definition, and the board tape is acapella, but together they come together fairly well. Yes, it is a kind of lo-fi approach, but it is quick and portable to set up and break down. I would love to multitrack record live, but these were and are bootlegs not "official" live recordings. Authorized bootlegs? Kind of an oxymoron there, but true.

Big thanks again to Adrian, Alley, and all for giving me such great access to enable my recordings. I couldn't have done it without you!

2:21 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

Ah, quite so, Audioarchivist! I meant no disrespect in using the term Deadheads, but, you're right, it's inaccurate. Condor, I am pretty sure was/is a Deadhead.

And you play one on TV?!

It is really special to have audio records of shows. The challenge for us, when concerts are in intimate venues, is to keep the artist(s) - usually Allison solo - unaware of recording happening. She is so hyper-attuned to her surroundings, it's not easy to do that, 'cept when in venues with soundboards at the back of the hall etc.

In any event, what happens naturally is, invariably, best - and we, being fans, too - are thankful for such audiophilic passions shared.

Last night, I dusted off the old TASCAM deck, and, one day, will locate the cassettes that were recorded on the unit. I imagine the sound will be pretty murky, but, there could well be some interesting performances.

hiyo, Silver, away!! (an artifact of listening to classic radio shows)

Ad

2:58 PM  

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