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.
Gold'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:
- Exile on Franklin Street
- The Destroyer Sessions
- The Pinkheart Sessions (1)
- The Suicide Handbook
- 48 Hours
- The Pinkheart Sessions (2)
- Halloween Promo
- Music In High Places
- The Swedish Sessions
- Rock N Roll
- Love Is Hell
- Mixtape V: This One's For The Rose