Sunday, April 24, 2011

Paisley Underground Series, #4: Various Artists- Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop: May 24, 1987 (1994) MP3 & FLAC

"It's just the wasted years so close behind."

Although it is rarely mentioned, the thriving underground music scene in Athens, GA. during the late seventies and early eighties was, in many ways, a guiding inspiration for L.A.'s Paisley Underground. The Athens scene, much like the L.A. underground at the time, was comprised of an eclectic and closely-knit mix of groups, many of whom were instrumental in bringing, among other things, Jangle-Pop and Big Star-style Power-Pop back into vogue in America. One of the most influential of these bands was R.E.M., who had released what is arguably the holy grail of American alternative music, the timeless Murmur. Throughout the eighties, it was not unusual for bands from both scenes to find themselves billed together on tours, which is how Steve Wynn of Paisley Underground legends The Dream Syndicate and Peter Buck of R.E.M. struck up a friendship. One of the fruits of this artistic cross-pollination is Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop: May 24, 1987, an informal acoustic concert featuring Steve Wynn, Peter Buck and Michael Stipe from R.E.M., Natalie Merchant, and Kendra Smith from Opal. There are many gems to be had here, chief among them are R.E.M.'s contributions, which are early versions of songs that would appear on their soon-to-be released breakthrough album, Document. For example, "The One I Love" is presented as a gloomy acoustic 12-string dirge, while "Disturbance at the Heron House," here in acoustic form, provides Stipe plenty of aural space to work his esoteric magic. Steve Wynn's material seems a little more "off the cuff," but a true highlight is his collaboration with former band-mate Kendra Smith on "Too Little Too Late."  Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop: May 24, 1987 is by no means the place to start with any of these artists, but it does capture an interesting, and occasionally beautiful, moment in time. Wish I had been there (not sure why I wasn't since I was living in the area at the time).

Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop: May 24, 1987
 1. Steve Wynn- Merritville  (5:43)
 2. Steve Wynn- Drinking Problem  (2:36)
 3. Steve Wynn- One More Cup of Coffee  (3:34)
 4. Steve Wynn- Days of Wine and Roses  (2:41)
 5. Natalie Merchant- Don't Talk  (5:15)
 6. Natalie Merchant, Michael Stipe, Jenny Homer- Hello Stranger  (2:45)
 7. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck- The One I Love  (5:12)
 8. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck- Welcome to the Occupation  (2:56)
 9. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck- Disturbance at the Heron House  (3:41)
10. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck- Finest Worksong  (3:58)
11. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck- Maps and Legends  (3:52)
12. Michael Stipe- Harpers  (1:29)
13. Michael Stipe, Natalie Merchant- Damaged Goods  (1:03)
14. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Natalie Merchant, Jenny Homer- Leaving on a Jet Plane / Sunday Morning  (3:54)
15. Steve Wynn- Fifty in a Twenty-Five Zone  (3:49)
16. Steve Wynn- How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?  (1:15)
17. Steve Wynn- Killing Time  (3:38)
18. Steve Wynn, Peter Buck- See That My Grave Is Kept Clean  (4:04)
19. Steve Wynn- Stage Fright  (3:50)
20. Steve Wynn, Kendra Smith- Too Little Too Late  (2:53)
21. Natalie Merchant, Kendra Smith, Jenny Homer- More Than a Pay Cheque  (2:01)
22. Natalie Merchant, Kendra Smith- Hear the Wind Blow  (3:02)
23. Natalie Merchant- A Campfire Song  (2:04)
24. Natalie Merchant, Michael Stipe- The Counting Song  (2:40)


  1. Thank you. It has a strong feeling of a really laid back show.

    Is it a bootleg ?
    I Googled for SPQR Records & found an american soul label rather than the German on this recording.

  2. Hi, I'm pretty sure it is a bootleg. Definitely not the most polished show I've heard, but a unique intersection of talents nonetheless

  3. Thanks for the info.
    I agree with your opinion. For me the easy-going approach like forgetting the words is what makes it special.

  4. Lon, yes, the little imperfections make something truly unique

  5. Nice one, thanks.



  6. Great post!!!




Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.