Opal - Early Recordings/Happy Nightmare Baby

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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:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZSt4fpJwck

Spencer Chow, Monday, 22 October 2007 04:52 (eleven 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 (eleven 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

grazie!

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 (three 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 (three 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 (three 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 (three years ago) link

I need to look and see if that was one of the shows that came up on Dime a few years back, there were a bunch. If it's the one I'm thinking of, it is pretty great.

sleeve, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:02 (three years ago) link

pretty sure it's the one i posted upthread a few years ago (link is dead however)

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:09 (three years ago) link

Re that Early Recordings II bootleg, Matt Piucci found out about it earlier this year and was really pissed off as a couple of the songs are apparently not Opal songs at all but are I guess Rain Parade demos or just Matt P solo, and he was somehow under the impression that David Roback was responsible for putting it out!

Just noise and screaming and no musical value at all. (Colonel Poo), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:20 (three years ago) link

weird! what an odd career roback has made for himself. still seems crazy that the opal stuff hasn't been collected/reissued properly.

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:39 (three years ago) link

agreed, just madness

sleeve, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:39 (three years ago) link

numero group putting out a deeeluxe box set w/ early recordings + happy nightmare, plus live & unreleased action (hopefully not matt piucci solo demos, haha) ... i would buy it.

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:53 (three years ago) link

that is so weird about Early Recordings II, I'll have to give that a closer listen

sleeve, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:59 (three years ago) link

that version of "indian summer" on ERII -- so good. though this one w/ hope is very good too...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1wnAsSB71M

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 17:02 (three years ago) link

so that LP is not one of the 4 shows I have, another thing to add to the list. when looking, I also found this tragically lost item with three more early songs that have never appeared anywhere afaict:

http://www.discogs.com/Clay-Allison-Clay-Allison/release/7679417

sleeve, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 23:16 (three years ago) link

oops, they are on Early Recordings II, carry on

sleeve, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 23:17 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

gahhhh compilation tracks and ephemera I was not aware of

a Syd Barrett cover!!! some song called "Ghost Highway" from a Rough Trade promo tape?!?!

https://www.discogs.com/artist/158032-Opal-2?filter_anv=0&subtype=Compilations&type=Appearances

the 'major tom guy' (sleeve), Monday, 22 February 2016 22:29 (three years ago) link

yeah, found that barrett cover on youtube a little while ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFV4geZ-IHA
pretty good!
didn't know about "ghost highway" -- the same song that mazzy star did?

tylerw, Monday, 22 February 2016 22:36 (three years ago) link

it might just be that track, yeah

the 'major tom guy' (sleeve), Monday, 22 February 2016 22:41 (three years ago) link

three years pass...

OPAL - 1987, Sept.17, Live VIDEO, w. Kendra Smith singing, San Diego, SST Records Fest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hd8g6AROi18

sleeve, Monday, 15 July 2019 16:25 (three months ago) link

nice!

tylerw, Monday, 15 July 2019 16:35 (three months ago) link

Wow!

( X '____' )/ (zappi), Monday, 15 July 2019 17:02 (three months ago) link

holy shit I was at that gig!

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 15 July 2019 21:16 (three months ago) link

too bad the mic was right next to Suki's foldback! What a great find.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Monday, 15 July 2019 22:52 (three months ago) link

Looks like a straight reissue, no bonus tracks or what have you... not even "hear the wind blow". Amazon track listing could of course just be wrong, but there's no other real info about it yet!

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 3 October 2019 17:04 (two weeks ago) link

this better not be some sketchy Amazon boot

sleeve, Thursday, 3 October 2019 17:06 (two weeks ago) link

It's Prime and ships from and sold by Amazon so that's a good sign.

Spencer Chow, Thursday, 3 October 2019 17:12 (two weeks ago) link

ha, i don't think i knew that "hear the wind blow" isn't on some versions ...

tylerw, Thursday, 3 October 2019 17:12 (two weeks ago) link

it's not on the vinyl version, it was a CD bonus track originally

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Thursday, 3 October 2019 17:29 (two weeks ago) link

^^ yeah it was a B-side

sleeve, Thursday, 3 October 2019 17:37 (two weeks 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 weeks 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 weeks ago) link

hrmmmm

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 weeks ago) link

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

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

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

tylerw, Thursday, 3 October 2019 20:48 (two weeks 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 weeks 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 (one week 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 (one week ago) link


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