Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mixtape VI: Sweet Black Magic (Ryan Adams B-Sides)

Before I delve into 2005 and the onset of The Cardinals in my spotlight, there's still plenty of music that needs to be (over)examined. Now, I don't follow much less obsess over collecting each piece of music that any artist records like I do Ryan Adams, but from what I can tell, he's part of a select group of musicians that constantly offer up bonus tracks with each release. Forget all his 'unreleased sessions' or rejected albums for the moment; Ryan Adams' extra songs recorded alongside those that made final album cuts still stack up higher than most folks' entire catalogs.

Starting with 2001's Gold, Ryan has rewarded pre-orders, limited editions, and often folks from other continents with extra tracks that didn't make the proper album with nearly every release. As you'll see, these are often as good if not better than many of the album cuts, and the mystery remains why these songs were never properly released. My Ryan Adams Spotlight posts have been adorned with many of these tracks that were 'bonus album cuts,' but a lot of them were never even attached to albums of his. I've whittled these 50 or so songs down to the best 22 to bring you Mixtape VI: Sweet Black Magic.

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's side 4 is fully represented here, and the mix takes its title from one the tracks. This set of 5 songs remains his strongest bonus effort to date and not necessarily hard to come by, have helped his sophomore album reach the critical level it has. Each side of Sweet Black Magic is finished with a signature down-tempo ballad from Gold's bonus side.

Two of the strongest moments on the mix come at each 2nd track and are both pulled from a label compilation. 'Choked Up' is technically a Whiskeytown outtake from the Pneumonia recording sessions that was part of a Lost Highway 'Lost Songs' collection. 'Monday Night' was released on a Bloodshot records 5-year retrospective entitled Down To The Promised Land. Another easy standout, 'Goodbye Honey' also comes from a Bloodshot Records compilation - the label's 100th release. The Japanese bonus disc included with Love Is Hell included two tracks featured here. Both are positive, mainly acoustic cuts that would never have fit right with the cosmic, dreary album.

Leading off the second side is one of Ryan Adams' best songs of his entire catalog. 'Fool's Gold' was never part of an official release but circulated on a collection of the same name in 2001 along with the rest of Gold's bonus tracks. The Latin-tinged rocker fits right in with the feeling of that album, even starring a familiar character, Mara Lisa, who was the inspiration for another one of those bonus tracks. 'Lovely and Blue' is another unreleased song that was available for a short time on Ryan's web site and features the more polished sound similar to Easy Tiger material. The remainder of the tracks here were b-sides released either on EP's or with singles. The best of these comes from the second 'Wonderwall' CD single with the infectious melody of 'I Want To Go Home.'

Check out more from the Ryan Adams Spotlight:
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  1. How the hell did you manage to cut this to just 22 tracks? I'd find it impossible and it would probably change on a daily basis anyway. Great mix and great effort.

    Only change I would make today though is to add 'Like a Fool' (Merge Comp) for Gimmie Sunshine only because the original version is far superior.

  2. I've got a couple working playlists in my iTunes that I had been tweaking and re-ordering for over a year. I knew it would take some time, so I got started a while ago.

    This mix excluded any covers so 'Like A Fool' wouldn't fit. I do, however, have a handful of leftover tracks from this mix and my 'unreleased' RA mix that may be turned into another set. We'll see.

  3. I just knew you'd taken sum time over that set list.

    Re leftovers...Faker (LiH sessions version) sandwiched by Words and Alice works well for me. Looking forward to the next one already.

  4. thevandalstookmyhandleJanuary 23, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    Great set, as always! Thanks for a great start to the weekend!

  5. Payton, I really appreciate the work you're doing here with these rare/unreleased collections. I hope you decide to do another one!

  6. Thanks,..........killer tracklist, this is the kind of thing Lost Highway should be doing w/ Ryan's back catalog.

    Well done, Mike

  7. Bloody good tracklist mate

    keep it up


  8. Thanks so much for these!

  9. Payton, I really appreciate the work you're doing here with these rare/unreleased collections. I hope you decide to do another one! 2945abc45 0118

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  10. I think Ryan Adams is a good singer but I think he lacks of creativity and sometimes originality because what I think is he likes to imitate others and it sucks, sorry if I'm offensive but that's the reality.

  11. Genius piece of music. I liked it a lot.