Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Eagles 1973-11-21 Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA

Eagles - 1973-11-21 - Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA

Holy Cross College
Worcester, MA
'Desperadoes On The Border'
Audience Master Recording, Decent quality
Available as lossless (FLAC)
and mp3 (320 kbps) files
Artwork Included

Today it gives me great pleasure to unveil another remarkable previously uncirculated audience master recording from our friend, David M. And I believe this early Eagles show from the original quartet is an astounding find that every Eagles (and/or any country-rock) fan will want to hear. Although the quality of the recording itself is not all that great, there are several reasons that make this performance and recording particularly special, and different from any other previously available recording. First, it is a longer and more complete show (over 19 songs, ~100 min.) than any of the other available recordings from these early years. Second, it takes place at a unique time and reference point in the band's history. I do not know of any other shows from around this time. This show (11-21-73) occurs well after the regular Desperado tour ended (Spring-Summer 1973), after they had already started work on their next album, On The Border. In fact, this show occurs right after they returned from their recording sessions (2 months in London) with producer Glyn Johns at Olympic Studios, but apparently before they dismissed Johns, replacing him with Bill Szymczyk as producer, and finished recording the album in LA in early 1974. As most already know, Johns was replaced as producer because he saw the group as more of a vocal country-rock band, and the band wanted to go more towards harder-edged rock, so they felt a change was needed, Szymczyk was brought in, and the rest is history. Thus, this show catches the band right at this crucial turning point (which is why I've given this boot the tentative title of "Desperadoes On the Border"). Lastly, and most importantly, this show features two original previously unknown and unreleased Eagles songs (that were apparently intended for the On The Border album, but later dropped). Now, I am no expert on Eagles rarities, but I have heard many recordings of Eagles shows from 1973-1974, and I do not know of these songs appearing anywhere else. Although it is well-known that the Eagles discarded most of what was recorded with Johns at those London sessions (only 'Best of My Love' and 'You Never Cry Like A Lover' survived to appear on On The Border), as far as I know, there has never been any talk about any specific songs that were recorded and discarded, and certainly none that have been released (either officially or as bootleg outtakes). Thus, these songs would appear to be quite rare indeed. The first of these songs is introduced by Frey as a new song from their upcoming On The Border album, called 'Wait and See', and written and sung by Randy Meisner. It is a blues-rock number that is given center-stage and epic treatment here, with an extended guitar jam and an 11 minute running time. Although the 2nd song is also introduced (as written by Bernie), the title is not clear, but appears to be 'Georgia Peach' (I originally thought it was 'Learn and Teach' or possibly 'Born to Teach', and is thus identified in the song file), and it is a lively, driving, straight-ahead rocker. Actually, both songs are quite impressive, and are a surprising and welcome addition to the Eagles canon. It is surprising, however, that with all the compilation and retrospective albums put out over the years, that if studio recordings of these and possibly other songs do exist, why haven't they released these as outtakes? If the studio recordings no longer exist, it is quite possible that this recording represents the only documentation of these lost songs. Well, anyway, regardless, now we have these remarkable tracks to show us another glimpse into the Eagles story. As for the rest of the show, it is a great mix of songs from Desperado and the First Album, including Bernie's banjo/bluegrass sequence ('Ttwenty-One', 'Earlybird', banjo solo, Shenandoah Valley) in the middle, with a few new songs from On the Border ('Ol' 55, 'James Dean', 'Good Day In Hell') thrown in. This basic structure and song lineup would serve as the basis for their live shows for the next couple years, with only minor modifcations.

As for the audience recording itself, well there were some problems. Overall, and particularly early in the show, it has pretty good sound, although it does have a bit of that echoey and distant sound common in audience tapes from this time. After the first tape-flip (in the middle of 'Tequila Sunrise'), the left channel audio was lost (actually just at extremely low levels) for the remainder of disc 1. I was able to amplify the left channel to achieve normal balance, which worked fine, but also resulted in unacceptably high background noise and hiss. Thus, I opted to just use the right channel (mono recording) for the tracks here (tracks 5-10). However, for those interested in the adjusted stereo version (which sound OK except when listened through headphones or at high volume), I have also included these at the end of  the disc1 download for your reference and use. Unfortunately, another issue emerged towards the end of disc2, that of weakening and dying recorder batteries, resulting in sporadic pitch and speed fluctuations in the last few songs (primarily 'James Dean', 'Chug All Night', and 'Out of Control' ). I have tried to make adjustments for the larger segments where I could, but it was beyond my expertise and equipment to fix the many momentary fluctuations throughout, so the last few songs still have some problems in this regard. But overall, this is an amazing show, highlighted by the 2 previously unreleased original tracks from the first On The Border sessions. Thanks again to David M for first recording and now making available this historic recording and show.   
Disc 1
01 - Silver Dagger (Acapella) Intro - Take It Easy
02 - Outlaw Man
03 - Doolin-Dalton - Desperado Reprise
04 - Ol' 55
05 - Tequila Sunrise (cut/tape-flip at ~1:50 mark)
06 - Train Leaves Here This Morning
07 - Certain Kind of Fool
08 - Good Day In Hell
09 - Twenty-One
10 - Earlybird - Shenandoah Valley Breakdown

Disc 2
11 - Wait and See (previously unknown and unreleased original song - Meisner)
12 - Georgia Peach (?) (previously unknown and unreleased original song - Leadon)
13 - Witchy Woman
14 - Tryin'
15 - James Dean
16 - Peaceful Easy Feeling
17 - Chug All Night
18 - Out of Control


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