October 12, 2018

Primal Scream's Give Out But Don't Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings (and five other 'lost' albums)
by James
James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Primal Scream's Give Out But Don't Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings (and five other 'lost' albums)

Following the release of their groundbreaking 1991 album Screamadelica, Primal Scream decided to do something completely different for its follow-up. The album that eventually emerged in 1994, Give Out But Don't Give Up, was a huge departure from the heady psychedlia of its predecessor, heavily influenced by blues and classic rock, particularly the variety that emerged from America's 'deep south'.

While the album that eventually made its way to the shelves of record stores ended up being produced mostly by George Drakoulis, the journey began with a trip to Memphis, home of Ardent Studios, to work with producer Tom Dowd and the legendary Muscle Shoals rhythm section. Dowd and the band recorded nearly an album's worth of material, but for reasons that remain unclear the band had a change of heart. They returned to the UK, roping in Drakoulis to help rework the songs they'd already completed and re-recorded the guitars, drums and various other parts.

The Drakoulis version of the album was subsequently released in March 1994, while the original recordings done with Dowd in Memphis were set aside and eventually went missing. Until recently, it seemed that those early recordings would never see the light of day, but then guitarist Andrew Innes discovered several tape reels in his basement which turned out to be the masters from the original Memphis sessions.

This week those recordings will be unveiled in all their glory as a new version of their 1994 album featuring those original Memphis recordings makes its way into stores today. Give Out But Don't Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings features nine tracks recorded with Dowd, including alternate versions of hits such as 'Rocks', 'Jailbird' and 'Cry Myself Blind', while a second disc included with the CD version also features various other recordings culled from the Memphis sessions which never made the cut.

You can listen to the Memphis version of 'Jailbird' below, beneath that we've picked five other 'lost' albums that have become legendary in their absence...


 

Dr. Dre: Detox

The first time Dre talked about his fabled Detox album was all the way back in 2002, when he described it as a concept album told from the perspective of a fictional character – a kind of hip-hop musical, if you will. The decade and a half that has elapsed since has been filled with false dawns, with several projected releases dates coming and going, but still the album hasn't emerged.

By 2015 it seemed as if the saga was finally over, when the album was shelved yet again in favour of releasing a companion album to NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton. The release of Compton was accompanied by Dre's admission that Detox was “dead” because he “just didn't like it”, an assertion he repeated in 2017 documentary The Defiant Ones. But by January this year Dre was again hinting that the album might emerge after all, saying that he's “working on a couple [of] songs right now. We'll see.” Since then it's been back to the rumours and whispers, and while hip-hop fans everywhere remain hopeful that they'll get to hear it one day, we're still no nearer to a release date than we were in 2002.

 

The Who: Lifehouse

 

After the success of their hit musical Tommy, The Who's guitarist and chief songwriter Pete Townsend embarked on an ambitious follow-up that incorporated the ideas of religious figures such as Meher Beba and Inayat Khan. Set in a dystopian future when rock 'n' roll has long been forgotten and all forms of entertainment are sanitised and administered intravenously, the story revolved around the idea of vibrations created from musical performances that would elevate the consciousness of the audience to a state of permanent ecstasy.

Unfortunately, nobody really understood the concept except Townsend and after months of strained relations between band members and others involved in its production, Lifehouse eventually collapsed under the weight of its own ambition, with the band recording and releasing Who's Next instead. Some of the ideas and songs created for the project would emerge on later Who albums and Townsend solo recordings, but the concept behind the album proved far too grand and unwieldy to make its full realisation possible.

 

Weezer: Songs from the Black Hole

Originally intended to be the follow-up to Weezer's eponymous 1994 debut album (usually referred to as 'The Blue Album' since nearly all of their albums are self-titled), Songs from the Black Hole was conceived as a 'space opera' set in the year 2126 and revolving around the galaxy-wide voyage of a spaceship named Betsy II. So why was it never released?

Well, the band's chief songwriter Rivers Cuomo had begun writing the album during a period in which he was in and out of hospital, the result of an operation to lengthen one of his legs (Cuomo was born with hemihypertrophy, which left him with one leg slightly longer than the other). Understandably, Cuomo was on some heavy duty painkillers during the recovery phase, and when he stopped taking them he saw the album concept in a new light, deciding it was too whimsical. The album was subsequently canned and a new batch of songs written and recorded, which later became Pinkerton. Many of the demos of Songs from the Black Hole have since leaked online and, with enough digging, it's possible to get a sense of what the album would have sounded like, but it's unlikely the album will ever see a proper release. Unless maybe Cuomo starts hitting the painkillers...

 

Jimi Hendrix: Black Gold

In the months leading up to his death in 1970, Jimi Hendrix had been busy working on a new collection of stripped-back songs written and performed on an acoustic guitar at his home in Greenwich Village, a demo of which he gave to drummer Mitch Mitchell for a second opinion. After Hendrix died, Mitchell promptly forgot about the existence of the tapes, apparently not realising he possessed the only copy, and while many of the legendary guitarist's unreleased songs have benefitted from posthumous releases, the Black Gold recordings remain unheard by all but a few in Hendrix's circle.

Although a bootleg with the title Black Gold emerged some years after his death, it was mostly compiled of concert recordings and while live versions of two or three tracks, including Machine Gun, have surfaced over the years, there are believed to be at least nine tracks which only exist on the Black Gold tapes. The guitarist's sister Janie Hendrix had previously stated that Black Gold would eventually see a release, but Mitchell's death seems to have made its future even more uncertain.

 

Pink Floyd: Household Objects

Flying high after the success of their seminal 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd – and Roger Waters in particular – were keen to continue the sonic experimentation that had brought them success. However, Waters' next idea, to create an album using the sounds made by ordinary objects found around the house instead of instruments, soon proved too ambitious to be realistic.

"We'd spend days getting a pencil and a rubber band until it sounded like a bass”, keyboardist Richard Wright said in a 2007 documentary. After weeks of work the band had only semi-completed two tracks and while one of these, 'Wine Glasses', was eventually incorporated into 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond', Wright was eventually prompted to tell his bandmate Waters that the idea was “insane”, with guitarist Dave Gilmour describing it as little more than “plonky noises”. It's probably safe to say that this one won't be finding its way into stores any time soon.

 

Give Out But Don't Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings is available in hmv stores and online now...

Give Out But Don't Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings
Give Out But Don't Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings Primal Scream

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