Opal - Early Recordings/Happy Nightmare Baby

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_Happy Nightmare, Baby_ is far better as a cohesive album, and i really dig the T-Rex vibe. Perfect for driving around LA in the late afternoon. _Early Recordings_ is good, but it's such a legendary album that it's got a lot to live up to in terms of reputation. I'm gonna be a wet blanket and say it's not worth $75. I'd also be happy to trade a CD-R of it.

_The Guild of Temporal Adventurers_ smokes the ass of _Five Ways of Disappearing_ in every known dimension. Her cover of "Bold Marauder" is good though, a sweeping cinematic revision of to me what always sounded a bit like a sea chantie.

Wonder why _ER_ hasn't been bootlegged yet? I figure that even if it wasn't swallowed by _Rough Trade_ that Roback would be enough of a bastard to keep it out of print. It wouldn't be the first time.

Speaking of which...._The Rainy Day Album_, which often comes up in these discussions, is vastly overrated in my view. Some interesting moments, but certainly not worth what it commands/commanded in the collector market. I doubt it'll ever be reprinted as well, which'll keep the ebay mavens happy.

Matt Maxwell (Matt M.), Thursday, 6 March 2003 16:20 (sixteen years ago) link

Adding to the ER praise -- worthy shtuff. In light of this $75 mention I can't believe I got the damn thing for $5 or something at a clearout of American Rough Trade product about ten years back. Should have gotten two!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 6 March 2003 16:51 (sixteen years ago) link

Two cents more: I like HNB. It's fun. But it does sound pretty pedestrian next to ER, which, despite the fact that it's a comp, has a charmed feel to it. And I would concur that Kendra-era Roback problems beat Mazzy Star hands down. Why? In a word: soul.

Lee G (Lee G), Thursday, 6 March 2003 17:09 (sixteen years ago) link

That is to say, "I would concur that Kendra-era Roback PROJECTS beat Mazzy Star hands down."

Lee G (Lee G), Thursday, 6 March 2003 17:14 (sixteen years ago) link

I LOVE the Rainy Day album. Susanna Hoffs does an amazing "I'll Be Your Mirror."

mike a (mike a), Thursday, 6 March 2003 18:11 (sixteen years ago) link

anyone wanna trade me a cdr copy of early recordings?

roger adultery (roger adultery), Thursday, 6 March 2003 18:17 (sixteen years ago) link

I strongly recommend all this stuff too (especially Rainy Day and HNB). I listen to it all pretty regularly.

I'm looking for live recordings of Hope Sandoval singing Opal songs - I saw her do these at the Hollywood Palladium opening for The Jesus and Mary Chain after Kendra bailed on the tour. I think the Opal songs are much stronger in general than Mazzy Star stuff.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Thursday, 6 March 2003 18:19 (sixteen years ago) link

Roger -- ask me (via e-mail) and ye shall receive.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 6 March 2003 18:24 (sixteen years ago) link

Time to fish out the tapes and get them onto CD-R... I've got at least one tape of Opal w/Kendra and another of Clay Allison (Roback, Kendra, and Keith Mitchell) outtakes .

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Thursday, 6 March 2003 20:30 (sixteen years ago) link


Matt Maxwell (Matt M.), Friday, 7 March 2003 03:00 (sixteen years ago) link

Sorry, I meant "at least one tape of Opal w/Hope"

Chris Barrus (xibalba), Friday, 7 March 2003 03:41 (sixteen years ago) link

seven months pass...
CD80 'portable' David Roback's Paisley Underground go!

Rain Parade - You Are My Friend
Rainy Day - I'll Keep It With Mine (feat Susanna Hoffs)
Rainy Day - Flying on the Ground is Wrong (feat Kendra Smith)
Rainy Day - I'll Be Your Mirror (feat Susanna Hoffs)
Opal - Empty Box Blues
Opal - She's a Diamond (Early Recordings vers.)
Opal - My Only Friend
Opal - Strange Delight
Opal - Fell From the Sun
Opal - Rocket Machine
Opal - Magick Power
Opal - She's a Diamond (Happy Nightmare Baby vers.)
Opal - Happy Nightmare Baby
Mazzy Star - Halah
Mazzy Star - Blue Flower
Mazzy Star - Ride It On
Mazzy Star - Ghost Highway
Mazzy Star - Fade Into You
Mazzy Star - Mary of Silence
Mazzy Star - Five String Serenade
Mazzy Star - Into Dust

(81:40 overburn!, pretty much chronological. nb - I don't believe that David Roback appears on "You are My Friend", but it's such a good song and he certainly influenced it (wrote it???) - does anyone know how much? Chris?

also, I've ignored the last Mazzy Star album as I don't remember anything from it...)

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Thursday, 6 November 2003 23:10 (sixteen years ago) link

David was definitely involved in that track but AFAIK had left the group by that point. only one track from Third Rail?! (sorry for being such a whinger BTW). you gotta find somewhere to stuff "I Look Around" into.. and no Harriet Brown!??!!? "Early Recordings" really is one of the best albums ever released.

the surface noise (electricsound), Thursday, 6 November 2003 23:16 (sixteen years ago) link

Someday I'm going to open this thread and it will actually say that Early Recordings has been rereleased. I think it's the single most anticipated rerelease on ILM...

dave225 (Dave225), Friday, 7 November 2003 12:23 (sixteen years ago) link

oh rykodisc why hast thou forsaken us?

the surface noise (electricsound), Friday, 7 November 2003 12:25 (sixteen years ago) link

three years pass...

I just saw something called Volume II on ebay with these tracks:

1. My Canyon Memory

2. Sisters of Mercy

3. Sailing Boats

4. Vespers

5. Lisa's Funeral

6. This Town

7. Freight Train

8. Wintertime

9. Little Bit of Rain

10. What You've Done

11. Cherry Jam

12. Indian Summer

Spencer Chow, Thursday, 6 September 2007 22:42 (twelve years ago) link

Indian Summer?!

Shakey Mo Collier, Thursday, 6 September 2007 22:44 (twelve years ago) link

Magick Power, Magick Power...

sexyDancer, Thursday, 6 September 2007 22:48 (twelve years ago) link

i've got this -- it's a bootleg right? Has slightly dodgy sounds anyway. Roback (I think) sings quite a bit on it, if I recall correctly. There's a male singer at least ...

tylerw, Thursday, 6 September 2007 22:48 (twelve years ago) link

Voice of dissent, re: Early Recordings. It's good, but nowhere near as great as Happy Nightmare Baby. Best bits (Fell from the Sun, Northern Line, Harriet Brown, etc.) are lovely, dreamy psychedelic folk-pop -- some of my favorite music of that kind. But at least half the songs don't make much of an impression. Extremely pleasant, but too often limited to that.

Happy Nightmare Baby, on the other hand, is one of the best damn guitar rock albums out there. So incredibly dense, lush, SEXY, physical and intuitively right-fucking-on. Retro as hell, and locked into a psychedelic hard rock thing that necessarily limits its appeal, but absolutely unbeatable at its own game. Every song is distinctive, memorable, endlessly seductive. Maybe you have to be messed up, and you certainly have to dig "passionate" guitar solos, but even so...

Mazzy Star can't hold a candle. Nice, but nowhere near as deep. The Rainy Day thing is worth it only for I'll be your mirror - otherwise disposable. Kendra Smith's Guild of Temporal Adventurers EP is nearly as good as Early Recordings. Much creepier, often awkward as hell, but w/ tons of sick magnetism and an unbeatable Can cover.

Bob Standard, Thursday, 6 September 2007 23:13 (twelve years ago) link

Shakey, the "Indian Summer" track is indeed a Doors cover, appeared on a Chemical Imbalance 7", and is as great as anything on ER.

Wonder why _ER_ hasn't been bootlegged yet?

I bought a counterfeit LP a few weeks ago. I seriously doubt it was an actual Rough Trade reissue!

All Opal is CLASSIC. I need that boot CD really bad. Kendra solo is essential as well.

sleeve, Thursday, 6 September 2007 23:26 (twelve years ago) link

Happy Nightmare Baby is definitely the pinnacle of Roback's vision (especially the title track), but Early Recordings is surprisingly strong, especially without the heavy psychedelic assist from the guitars. Parts of Rainy Day, and certainly more than just "I'll Be Your Mirror" are just wonderful, especially "I'll Keep it With Mine" and "Flying On the Ground is Wrong" is just devastating. Mazzy Star obviously has many incredible tracks too. I certainly wouldn't dismiss it just because it's not quite as amazing.

Spencer Chow, Friday, 7 September 2007 00:15 (twelve years ago) link

yeah for years I snottily dismissed Mazzy Star as Opal wannabes given their lineup, thought Hope was just trying to imitate Kendra and thought Roback was striving to recapture past glories. Then at a particularly surreal, druggy party back in '98 I heard both CDs and they suddenly made a ton of sense. These days I think those first two MS CDs express the heroin-as-music vibe better than anything except a coupla Spacemen 3 records. Soporific in a good way.

sleeve, Friday, 7 September 2007 00:24 (twelve years ago) link

man i love opal so much, and strongly prefer the early/ clay allison stuff to 'happy nightmare' though it's def. good.

somehow and very weirdly with 'chemical imbalance' i managed to release two covers called "indian summer" --one the opal cover of the doors song, the other dean wareham's first solo release and a version of the beat happening song. (to further complicate things, later sonic boom covered dean's version thinking it was dean's song).

anyway, i hope to release the opal track in the best-of ci book/ cd out next year though i'm not holding my breath that roback and smith will okay that, even though the project is a benefit... we'll see.

Mike McGooney-gal, Friday, 7 September 2007 01:46 (twelve years ago) link

The ERII boot is pretty good and worth a moderate hassle to track down. There's a FLAC version circulating around on the torrent sites. Try tracking it down there first. I am also biased in this opinion.

I believe that the source of these was originally a cassette tape of unused tracks that would have made up some of the second Opal album. Roback sings most of them.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 7 September 2007 01:54 (twelve years ago) link

I must have this collection. (I think late summer is also good Opal listening weather in the gloaming -- will put it on in a bit here.)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 7 September 2007 02:04 (twelve years ago) link

early recordings 2 is kinda disappointing, but "sailing boats" is a great song, i'd love to hear a decent quality version of it.
(early recordings is one of my top 5 albums ever)

zappi, Friday, 7 September 2007 02:12 (twelve years ago) link

Bob Standard very OTM.

inhibitionist, Friday, 7 September 2007 05:44 (twelve years ago) link

i managed to get hold of the UK pressing of fell from the sun with 'frieght train' on it. great song, if not quite at the level of the a-side.

i love opal, and my ER cd sits next to my DAW as my reference disc of what an amazing recording sounds like

electricsound, Friday, 7 September 2007 08:09 (twelve years ago) link

has anyone heard beachouse? they capture that spooky early recordings sound pretty well. so when and what label did this volume 2 emerge? when do the recordings date from? is it post hnb?

cw, Friday, 7 September 2007 09:44 (twelve years ago) link

theres no official release, just low quality mp3s. its pretty much all the demo stuff left off early recordings, and with two or three exceptions (sailing boats, what you've done, vespers maybe) i think the compilers of the official album made the right choices.

zappi, Friday, 7 September 2007 09:58 (twelve years ago) link

do you like the kendra smith solo stuff joni? i ain't never heard it.

cw, Friday, 7 September 2007 10:00 (twelve years ago) link

i love the guild 10", but i found the songs on the 4ad album lacking, although she did a cracking version of richard & mimi farinas "bold marauder". email me your address & i'll send ya some stuff if ya want.

zappi, Friday, 7 September 2007 10:04 (twelve years ago) link

ta joni. what's that farinas stuff like? i haven't heard a note but i like been down so long it looks like up to me, is it straight ahead folkie fayre?

cw, Friday, 7 September 2007 10:14 (twelve years ago) link

yeh pretty much straight folk with boy/girl harmony singing on first album, second album is more dylan-like with guitars & drums. its all good though! j has been hassling me to read that book for years now.

zappi, Friday, 7 September 2007 10:22 (twelve years ago) link

it's funny, a bit kerouac-y, you get the feeling he had better in him, i'll keep an eye out for those r & m rekkids!

cw, Friday, 7 September 2007 10:29 (twelve years ago) link

Early II is a bootleg of B-sides that was put together on a music blog with handy downloadable cover art included. (I'll try to track down which it was later.) It was never released even as legitimate bootleg cd, so some "entrepreneur" is basically taking the mp3s from the music blog, making cds from them and then selling them on ebay.

Bill in Chicago, Friday, 7 September 2007 15:24 (twelve years ago) link

one month passes...

Youtube comes through. Hope singing for Opal:

Spencer Chow, Monday, 22 October 2007 04:52 (twelve years ago) link

You can find Early Recordings II on this website, hXXp://xholdesert.blogspot.com/, look in the March archives, Rainy Day is also there. The best tracks were indeed kept for the official release, but finding this collection of unreleased songs today makes me happy beyond words. "Sailing boat" is a beauty, and Kendra's voice on the Leonard Cohen cover "Sisters of mercy" is at its honey sweetest.

catessence, Wednesday, 24 October 2007 15:13 (twelve years ago) link

one year passes...

a bump to mention that a really great clay allison live show from 1984 just popped up recently on dime, as well as a 1987 opal show which i haven't listened to yet. the clay allison show makes me wish there was much more documented from them from this era. from the notes of the person who posted it, it seems there's more to come as well.

city worker, Thursday, 30 April 2009 13:06 (ten years ago) link

ooooooooooooooooh! thanks for the tip

zappi, Thursday, 30 April 2009 13:34 (ten years ago) link

one year passes...

if anyone's interested i just posted a 1984 opal show here: http://ow.ly/4tAZq probably the same one city worker mentions above? anyway, it's great.

tylerw, Tuesday, 5 April 2011 16:12 (eight years ago) link


Marco Damiani, Tuesday, 5 April 2011 16:15 (eight years ago) link

CD80 mix upthread needs more Rain Parade but no idea what i'd remove :/

hey ilxor, thanks for contributing, glad you stopped by (ilxor), Tuesday, 5 April 2011 16:18 (eight years ago) link

i'd remove all the mazzy star (i like 'em, but..)

ita butthurt (electricsound), Wednesday, 6 April 2011 01:26 (eight years ago) link

re-upped this with a better link -- track order was all out of wack.

tylerw, Wednesday, 6 April 2011 15:45 (eight years ago) link

four years pass...

weird, there's a vinyl bootleg of that 1984 clay allison gig floating around: http://www.discogs.com/Clay-Allison-Live-At-The-Electric-Banana-5221984/release/5456137
anyone got it?

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 15:19 (four years ago) link

I have this. My wife is a major Kendra fan so I bought this for her for her birthday last year. Sound quality a solid B, and the songs / performances sound terrific. Cool cover art, too, not very bootleg-y. Definitely worth the plunge.

Jimmywine Dyspeptic, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 15:59 (four years ago) link

yeah, i've heard the tape previously -- pretty cool performance (and fairly different from Early Recordings in some respects, if i remember correctly. some pretty heavy moments).

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:01 (four years ago) link

yep, if it's not too pricey, I'd get one... I got it as a gift and agree with Jimmywine's assessment!

erry red flag (f. hazel), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:01 (four years ago) link

I thought Hear the Wind Blow was only ever on the Early Recordings CD... they could add Soul Giver and Freight Train, those b-sides never appeared on CD before I don't think?

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 3 October 2019 17:43 (two months ago) link

oh yes you are correct, was thinking abt Freight Train

the version of Soul Giver on that 12" is the same as on Happy Nightmare Baby iirc

sleeve, Thursday, 3 October 2019 18:11 (two months ago) link


I’m Kendra Smith’s manager - while we are in discussions, nothing has been approved yet. This had better not be real, just yet.

— Pat Thomas (@PatThomas1964) October 3, 2019

tylerw, Thursday, 3 October 2019 20:27 (two months ago) link

I must admit I'm glad to know that she has a manager

sleeve, Thursday, 3 October 2019 20:39 (two months ago) link

haha, yeah, seems unlikely, but that guy is legit, I think.

tylerw, Thursday, 3 October 2019 20:48 (two months ago) link

normally I'd be suspicious if the artist themselves said nothing about a reissue, but with Opal I'd be more suspicious if they did.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 3 October 2019 20:51 (two months ago) link

haha, yeah, seems unlikely, but that guy is legit, I think

I didn't know he was handling Kendra's stuff, but Pat is definitely legit.

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 4 October 2019 22:55 (two months ago) link

I played Early Recordings for the first time in maybe ten years and I have to say I remember liking it more than I do. I think in my old age I actually prefer Happy Nightmare Baby. I don't remember all the lousy slide playing on this album! Total respect and admiration for Roback as a guitarist but Kendra remains the draw for me. And I still love the Rainy Day album more than all the Opal and Mazzy Star albums combined.

That said, if a reissue of Early Recordings materializes, I'll probably buy it, as my copy of this is beat to hell.

Paul Ponzi, Wednesday, 9 October 2019 19:14 (two months ago) link

three weeks pass...

This is now in stock...

Spencer Chow, Saturday, 2 November 2019 17:42 (one month ago) link

here's the latest from pat thomas:

I had to have this release postponed until the record company recognizes Kendra’s % of ownership - records are sitting in warehouse awaiting legitimacy- should be soon, I hope

— Pat Thomas (@PatThomas1964) November 2, 2019

tylerw, Saturday, 2 November 2019 18:18 (one month ago) link

thanks Tyler

Book Doula (sleeve), Saturday, 2 November 2019 21:07 (one month ago) link

I believe Amazon is already shipping these (it says shipped from and sold by Amazon - delivery by tomorrow). I'd order it but I already have the earlier CD.

Spencer Chow, Sunday, 3 November 2019 17:11 (one month ago) link

yeah i don't really know, haha.

tylerw, Sunday, 3 November 2019 17:36 (one month ago) link

I wonder what source was used to master the thing... did they just take the CD version and master it for vinyl, lopping off "Hear the Wind Blow"?

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Sunday, 3 November 2019 17:50 (one month ago) link

This is a CD.

Spencer Chow, Monday, 4 November 2019 06:00 (one month ago) link

The new CD comes with the original CD bonus track "Hear the Wind Blow" plus four additional bonus tracks: "I Called Erin," "Don't Stop the Train," "Sailing Boats" and an alternate version of "Empty Bottles." It sounds great (i.e. not compressed), and the bonus tracks are wonderful. I have been waiting for a legit reissue for a long, long time (25+ years) since I refused to pay collector prices, ha (and yes, I did download MP3s to tide me over). "Empty Box Blues" goes through my head *all the time*. For the record, Rainy Day's cover of "Flying on the Ground is Wrong" is one of my favorite tracks ever recorded by anyone.

ernestp, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 00:48 (one month ago) link

Rainy Day reissue next, I hope? That album kills Early Recordings (and I have always really liked Early Recordings)

Anyway, I bought this.

Paul Ponzi, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 00:56 (one month ago) link

xpost - thanks for the report! I think I've only seen "Sailing Boats" on 'Early Recordings 2'.

Ordering this now.

Spencer Chow, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 01:01 (one month ago) link

And yes, fingers crossed for 'Rainy Day'.

Spencer Chow, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 01:03 (one month ago) link

double wow! it was listed as a vinyl release on amazon initially

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 01:09 (one month ago) link

Ah, ok. I'm really glad it's not just some vinyl repackage.

Spencer Chow, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 01:13 (one month ago) link

gahhhh OK thanks

Book Doula (sleeve), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 03:04 (one month ago) link

can anyone give me a link to buy other than Amazon?

Book Doula (sleeve), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 03:06 (one month ago) link

oh hell yeah looks like they did Happy Nightmare Baby as well


Book Doula (sleeve), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 05:32 (one month ago) link

would kinda like to know who is behind these reissues

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 05:46 (one month ago) link

love Sailing Boats, can't wait to hear the others!

( X '____' )/ (zappi), Wednesday, 6 November 2019 08:49 (one month ago) link

Re: "who is behind these reissues" - in the credits, it says: "2019 reissue Frank Gironda- Lookout Mgt., Pat Thomas"

ernestp, Thursday, 7 November 2019 12:15 (one month ago) link

OK, that's Mazzy Star's management company.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 7 November 2019 14:40 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

Rainy Day reissue next, I hope?

Happy Nightmare Baby reissue now has a listing on Amazon US with a Nov 1 release date, still unavailable though:


the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Sunday, 24 November 2019 18:08 (two weeks ago) link

Early Recordings reissue is still not listed on Discogs, so I assume there are no actual physical copies out there yet:


Book Doula (sleeve), Sunday, 24 November 2019 20:56 (two weeks ago) link

there are, I have one

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Sunday, 24 November 2019 22:44 (two weeks ago) link

ah cool!

Book Doula (sleeve), Sunday, 24 November 2019 22:52 (two weeks ago) link

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