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Fred FM playlist: 30 January 2011 “Demos 2”

January 30th, 2011 · No Comments

In which I reprise the theme of “Demos” (I’ve done this once before), and present you with unfinished or alternate versions of songs you probably already know. I really love the severely stripped versions of some of these songs, and even the full-band versions offer some new insights.

Approximate playing time: 67 minutes.

  1. Elton John  “Your Song”  acoustic piano demo  (1970)
  2. Janis Joplin  “Me and Bobby McGee”  acoustic guitar demo  (1971)
  3. Coldplay  “Don’t Panic”  early full-band version  (2000)
  4. Badfinger  “No Matter What”  full-band studio demo  (1970)
  5. The Shins  “Split Needles”  alternate full-band version  (2007)
  6. Tom Petty  “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”  full-band demo  (1981)
  7. Foreigner  “Feels Like the First Time”  full-band demo  (1977)
  8. Paul Simon  “American Tune”  unfinished acoustic guitar demo  (1973)
  9. Cat Stevens  “Wild World”  acoustic guitar demo  (1969)
  10. Ryan Adams  “Pearls on a String”  full-band Christmas Lights version  (2007)
  11. Dwight Yoakam  “I Sang Dixie”  full-band demo  (1981)
  12. The Jayhawks  “Someone Will”  full-band demo  (2002)
  13. Warren Zevon  “Mohammed’s Radio”  acoustic piano demo  (1976)
  14. Neil Young  “Sugar Mountain”  acoustic guitar demo  (1965)
  15. James Taylor  “Sunshine Sunshine”  acoustic guitar demo  (1969)
  16. The Folk Implosion  “Mechanical Man”  acoustic guitar demo  (1999)
  17. Prefab Sprout  “Bonny”  embellished acoustic guitar/harmonica version  (2006)
  18. Kathleen Edwards  “Asking for Flowers”  acoustic guitar/piano demo  (2008)
  19. Robyn Hitchcock  “Queen Elvis”  acoustic guitar/bass demo  (1990)

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Some notes on the songs:

  • I like the acoustic version of the Folk Implosion song, but find it, um, ironic that “Mechanical Man” is only represented by an acoustic guitar here.
  • This acoustic version of “Bonny” was recorded years after the album version. Prefab Sprout recorded acoustic takes of many of the songs from Steve McQueen (1990; titled 2 Wheels Good here in the U.S.) for a deluxe edition that was released in 2007.
  • Paul Simon either forgets half the words for “American Tune” or hadn’t written them yet. My guess is it’s the latter.
  • “Someone Will” by The Jayhawks is remarkably similar to their “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me.”
  • This version of Coldplay’s “Don’t Panic” isn’t really an unfinished version, but the original version. It was taken from their Blue Room EP. Parachutes, with “Don’t Panic” as its first track, was released later that year.  Also, if you worked with me at music retail, you might remember one of the most horrific sounds ever foisted upon the ears of men: my very loud rendition of this song as I imagined it being interpreted by Ethel Merman.  Simply horrific.  And one day I will commit it to tape.
  • You’d be advised to enjoy those interpolations of “Dixie” in this demo of Dwight Yoakam’s “I Sang Dixie.” They’re not as frequent in the album version.
  • All of the many versions of “Sugar Mountain” that I’ve ever heard sound like demos, so this could be the definitive rendition, for all I know.

Tags: Fred FM · music

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