Friday, December 23, 2022

Tommy Keene - mid-80s outtakes/demos

You might consider this to be a follow-up or sister post to a collection of Tommy Keene demos I shared all the way back in 2009, back when the man in question was still alive and well.  Why the long layover?  First, I didn't realize that more unreleased mid-80s material existed (it's not like anyone keeps me filled in on these things), and secondly, per the torrent I purloined these from earlier this year these songs have all been recently remastered.  Here's the story from my purview on the origination of these seventeen songs.

Tommy's first album, 1982's Strange Alliance was released roughly four years before his next one, 1986' Songs From the Film, which was also his major label debut. In the intervening years, a couple of EPs (Places That Are Gone and Back Again) broke the silence, but he had far more than a half dozen songs (or so) heating on the burner. In fact, his pockets were loaded with more than twenty, some of which found a home on the aforementioned EPs. 1984 and '85 were essentially Tommy Keene in the studio. Per some of the copy from my original '09 entry:

The album Songs From The Film was essentially recorded twice, first with T-Bone Burnett and Don Dixon producing, and then again, for the version that was ultimately released, with Geoff Emerick producing. Some of the Burnett/Dixon recordings were later released on the "Run Now" vinyl EP. Those tracks, plus a few more outtakes, were then included on the 1998 CD reissue of Songs From The Film.

Now, from the yonder Tommy Keene post mentioned above I was sharing five demos/outtakes from this era, when unbeknownst to me there were approximately four times as many songs laid down in the studio in preparation for Song From the Film.  The question I have, are these demos he recorded on his own, or if these are the Burnett/Dixon produced tracks that were ultimately scrapped?  They certainly could pass for rough album mixes at the very least. Moreover, the treatment of many of these songs bear more subtlety than what were ultimately released for public consumption. Not in an acoustic or li-fi sort of tenor, rather just a bit slighter and restrained, with perhaps less guitar bite. In fact, that's what I love about these versions. 

All of that comparative minutia aside, there's some phenomenal music here, some of the most compelling Tommy ever committed to tape including, "Listen to Me," "Safe in the Light" and "Drowning." There's nothing here that's less than sumptuously warm and melodic. Tommy Keene possessed a bona fide magic that so many of us took for granted over the course of his roughly 40 year career that can legitimately be termed as peerless. 

01. Back Again (Try)
02. I Fall Down Too
03. Stop
04. Save My Life
05. Safe in the Light
06. As Life Goes By
07. Drowning
08. Astronomy
09. Faith in Love (elec vers.)
10. The Story Ends
11. Run Now
12. We're Two
13. Nothing is Grey
14. Listen to Me
15. Gold Town
16. Call On Me
17. The Story Ends (2)

MP3  or  FLAC


Josef Kloiber said...

Great Spavid, thank you. I think Chanukah is particularly strong this year. Where do you get all these interesting things from ?

Pernt said...

Oh wow, now THIS is a holiday gift! Thank you so much!

heartsofstone said...

Thanks so much. Tommy Keene is so underrated.

tom said...

Ted Niceley Producer
Most all those songs you listed were produced by Tommy and I except I don't recognize "driving."
Most of the T-Bone / Don Dixon stuff can be found on "The Real Underground ".
There aren't many Geffen SFTF B Sides.
Maybe b side to the Promo 45 of 'Listen To Me'.
Persons to as ask would be Matt who runs Tommy website / store/ and this page .
Ted Niceley

Simon Dennis said...

Thanks for these. It has been a while since i visited due to the Zippyshare 403 Forbidden issue here in the UK - so glad that has been resolved. I have lots to catch up on but especially nice to find a Tommy Keene post on my return...miss him....he was such a talent. SFTF and Based on Happy Times are two of my favourite albums. Rob at dbs-repercussion blog has posted some great TK shows. Thanks for all the hard work, interesting information and great posts. Simon

Swoop said...

Great Stuff. I Have a 1996 Hartford, CT Live FM Broadcast of Tommy. If you would like a Copy Pls let me know. Thanks Again for some great music!

Dave said...

I always thought that if Paper Words and Lies had been recorded by Tom Petty it would've been a huge it.

Rob-in-Brevard said...

What everyone else said -- great!

e6gMan said...

Probably my favorite b-side of Tommy's

Rob-in-Brevard said...

Remarkable that it's a B-side! That's TK for you: so much talent & so many great songs.