Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

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Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

Postby Sid_Sidow » 21 Aug 2011, 07:56

I think Rory was correct to put these tapes on the shelf!!
Really not the quality I think HE would have wanted!

My wife and family are very tolerant of me and my love for Rory!

So for Father's day I recieved the CD's 'Notes From SF'

The studio tracks were - to me- slow!
Photo-Finish re-recordings were MUCH more polished!!!!

Live CD - very cool!! ALWAYS love live Rory!

Glad to have it - but could have been better!

ss
Thanks!! ss

"I'm the last of the Independants, the syndicate, they don't approve"
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Re: Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

Postby Jay Jay » 21 Aug 2011, 10:19

Sid_Sidow wrote:I think Rory was correct to put these tapes on the shelf!!
Really not the quality I think HE would have wanted!


Hi Sid,
I don't agree with you about the 2nd sentence .. quality with NFSF .. but I kind of agree with your 1st sentence and topic title question ..

To put it briefly .. This is what the fans wanted or demanded " The Missing Album " or missing part of the jigsaw puzzle..
To me though having been a Rory fan for 39 years and who's listened to all his albums over the years constantly. There is a flow and pattern from the Taste 1st album to the Fresh Evidence album.

Notes From San Francisco is a quality Rory album with some great Rory songs (WWW) .. but just did not musically seem to fit correctly in between Calling Card and Photo Finish IMHO .. Rory thought before and I still think to this day .. It would have been a musical misfit album!
That's why Rory was right not to release this album and these type of songs to his fans, at that moment in time ..

Slainte Jay Jay
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Re: Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

Postby Apolla » 21 Aug 2011, 14:13

I've been thinking about this pretty much since the moment I started listening to it. Hopefully I'm not just repeating what people already said around the time of its release...

Unnecessary but possibly amusing background colour:

It arrived from Amazon on the Saturday and I was particularly cheesed off because I was so busy that day that all I could do was shove it in my bag and hope to at least have a look at the booklet while I was on my adventures. I was going to see Jack Bruce that night at the Royal Festival Hall and I finally got to flick through waiting for my pals outside. A guy came over and started talking to me - said it was brilliant, etc - which was cool because it's that thing of feeling like you're part of a club with Rory fans, right?

Anyway, I saw Jack and he was FANTASTIC, and I was trying to explain to my friends - rock fans since the 60s - that Rory and Jack's performance of Politician was outstanding. I posted the link to that on FB for them when I got home, ears ringing and heart still pounding from Jack's excellent RFH show. Bonamassa was guesting, which was awesome - I'd never seen him live before.

I shoved NFSF into my computer to listen and put on iTunes, totally ignoring the fact it was late and my ears were ringing from JB.

End Unnecessary background...

My first reaction was mostly 'WHAT?!?', these incredibly familiar songs sounding unfamiliar. When 'Overnight Bag' came on with the double-tracked vocals I wondered if I'd stepped into an alternate reality.

In some ways, that's exactly what happened. This isn't the record Rory would've released, simply through the practicalities of it not being him who produced the final product. That's not to say it's not a good record. I mean, any Rory is better than none, right? But it's not Rory as we think of him.

Had it been released, I suspect that what came afterwards would have been very different. It's not for me to say whether he was right to ditch it, but that he felt strongly enough to do so probably says a lot. To me, NFSF is a very polished in some respects, sounding almost like some of the big groups of the time... it's that gloss which American rock music often has which the stuff from this side of the Atlantic often doesn't have. I make no quality judgement in terms of which is 'better' because it's really a case of 'different'... but it's not 'Rory' is it?

I do think, having attempted to listen dispassionately to it, that it's a very good record. It would've made him a bigger star, I reckon, in America particularly. The songs are strong, the production excellent and the performances strong. But the gloss, the double-tracking and the polished backing vocals... we don't associate those things with him really, do we? Had it been released at the time, it would've likely changed the course of his history... but it was his choice to take a different path and so I guess I view this as a glimpse of the road not taken and that has a value of its own.

I REALLY like the version of B-Girl on there, mostly because for ages I've listened to the Top Priority and Calling Card versions and wished to smush the best of each together, only to find he already had :) Also, I love the NFSF version of Mississippi Sheiks with the violin. Just fantastic.

Also, I've never really liked 'Tattoo'd Lady' much but the live SF version is blinding.

Finally, I cannot BELIEVE that he ditched Out On The TIles. I mean, that's a great song with nothing wrong with it! Methinks his 'quality control' threshold was rather higher than most people's!
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Re: Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

Postby asdesas » 21 Aug 2011, 17:16

Apolla I agree 100%. As a historic document to fill in a space in Rory's career it's fascinating. I think it's a great record--and of course it sounds like Rory performing... but it's just not a "Rory record." Too polished. For sure it would have raised his profile in the US and given him that elusive USA hit, but as Rory fans know, that is EXACTLY what he was trying to avoid through his career. If NFSF had come out, the public and the record people would have demanded that his subsequent records sound like NFSF. He would have fallen into the trap of expectation and demand that he zealously avoided. So yes, i think he was totally correct to toss it in the dustbin because it would have damaged his ability to further his own artistic vision.

And speaking of expectations, how could any "lost" record like NFSF live up to the expectations of his fans today? Our ears are so fine-tuned to Rory's sound. It's practically in our DNA. The songs that appear on NFSF that were on subsequent albums are part of our life soundtracks. The version of "Overnight Bag" on NFSF pounds on my eardrums like a ball peen hammer; I can't stand it--I think the version we are used to is one of the greatest tracks by anyone ever, absolute perfection in every way. But all that production gloss on the new one... layer after layer after layer. I mean, how many mustaches do you need to put on the Mona Lisa before she screams "Enough already!" (I don't mind it so much on "Fuel to the Fire, btw. All that reverb seems to work.)

I actually think NFSF could have killed Rory's career. It would have given him his US hits, but then he might be remembered today for glossier music that just doesn't have the unique bare-naked Rory soul that draws you in and makes you a fan for life. So good call, Rory, glad you opted to remain the Last of the Independents. The legend of his tossing the master in the dustbin has always made Rory seem a bit capricious, but NFSF confirms that he knew what was ultimately the best for his vision.

Flipside of the coin, it could be good for Rory's "career" now, because that gloss might help draw a bigger audience to RG, people who might not have heard of him otherwise. And again, it's a great document of a pivotal moment in Rory's life and career that gives us a fuller picture of the man and artist. So my hat's off to Donal and Daniel for finally giving birth to this long-term baby.

Let's face it, is someone were to discover the actual Holy Grail, it would probably look like a dented, rusty old cup. But it would be a sacred relic nonetheless.

The whole NFSF hoopla would be worth it for the live disc, IMO. I can't wait to play it for my guitar-head friends. Rory and band at their frenzied best.

Apolla, it's funny, I also agree regarding Tatoo'd Lady. I think it's one of the greatest songs ever, but I never liked his studio version compared to some live ones, and this one absolutely smokes!

Regards,
Richard
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Re: Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

Postby innuendo » 21 Aug 2011, 18:51

richard and apolla i agree with almost everything that you said-except i love studio version of tattoo'd lady but i prefer live versions of course. i don't think rory would have fallen into the trap of expectation and demand-he was too big character for that, he was his own man and even donal couldn't tell him what to do if he didn't wanna do it.
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Re: Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

Postby asdesas » 21 Aug 2011, 19:30

innuendo wrote:he was too big character for that, he was his own man and even donal couldn't tell him what to do if he didn't wanna do it.


You're probably right--he would have walked away at some point if he felt things were too out of his control. What he might have sacrificed or gained in the meantime, who knows. But it's fun to speculate!

Regards,
Richard
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Re: Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

Postby Sinner Girl » 22 Aug 2011, 00:34

Richard and apolla i agree with almost everything that you said. I think that Rory ad that time considered to not feature a good album, but maybe that is still with us today may be changed opinion. But I do not want speculate ;) ;) For me as fan is glad that this album is published ;) ;) ;)
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''Being back home means a lot.A bit a peace and quiet and some rest . I write all my songs at home.Its an amazing thing, the minute I get here I begin to wright'
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Re: Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

Postby Doug » 22 Aug 2011, 20:19

Well I guess we all have our opinions! Time to register mine.

I think we are biased by the fact that we know Rory decided to toss all these songs in the bin for whatever reason, so being true Rory fans we look for reasons to agree with him. If we didn't know his feelings on these songs, what would our honest reaction be??

If I'm honest, I have to say I like the majority of these studio versions as much and in some cases more than the ones that ended up on the albums as the product of a 3-piece band. Now, one of MY biases is that I always liked Rory's band better with Rod and Lou than without them. I for one really enjoyed hearing these songs with Lou's piano on them, even if it did seem that the piano parts were purposely subdued.

Cruise on Out is outstanding in this version and maybe I like it more because it is newer to my ear? I don't know, but I really like it. I have to disagree with asdesas about Overnight Bag. With the exception of the guitar solo, which I think is better on Photo Finish, I think this version is great as well.

I also think the B-version of Wheels within Wheels is outstanding! On the flip side, I can't stand the original on this album with all the snapping of fingers. Annoying as hell!

I guess at the end of the day I'm really happy that I get to hear these Rory songs with his 4-piece lineup and add them to the library. Music to my ears!

Was Rory right to toss them? Only he knows the answer to that, but after reading a lot of the information I get the feeling he was ready to move on and the NFSF versions represented the past that he was trying to get away from. Because on merit alone, I think most people would say these songs are fine. In fact, more than fine. Great Rory music.
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Re: Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

Postby asdesas » 22 Aug 2011, 21:12

Doug wrote:Because on merit alone, I think most people would say these songs are fine. In fact, more than fine. Great Rory music.


For sure, as far as I am concerned there's no such thing as a dud from Rory! And you are very right about my ears being biased. They are "tuned" to the way the classic RG albums sound from years of listening. That's why the "new" Overnight Bag bounces off them. But a great song is a great song, no doubt. My hope is that the NFSF will entice many new listeners to Rory. Glad it came out, it's a wonderful historic document and true, on its own it's a great listen.

I've always veered between preferring Rory in a three piece as opposed to the Lou/Rod years, then back to the IT74 lineup stuff. NFSF gives a new opportunity to hear that classic lineup and that in itself is a real treat.

Regards,
Richard
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Re: Was Rory Right with San Fran Recordings?

Postby Sid_Sidow » 24 Aug 2011, 23:46

After my original post, I listened again to NFSF (trying to be a bit more objective).

My "slow" comment may have been a bit harsh, but I still think the general tempo was a touch lighter. I must agree with Doug on the built in bias - Rory wasn't happy, he must be right! But I also agree that I like the three piece better! I'd rather hear guitar that keyboard. To me Fuel to the Fire tried to be a lonesome ballad - I like the gritty on on Photo Finish!
And which one had the horns that sounded like they were from a Mexican restaurant?? didn't like that.

Bottom line - I did NOT want to be critical, (agreed asdesas - no duds) just wanted to express I like the later versions!
AND wanted to hear others thoughts!!
Thanks!! ss

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