This is a Modern Lovers bootleg
, on vinyl
, from the late 1980s
. The sleeve
is straight from bootleg
heaven: A plain white jacket with xerox
ed sheets glued casually to the front and the back. The back has typewritten
notes and a little thingy claiming that it's #82 of a limited edition
of 300; "#82" is hand written. The front is a cute drawing: A copy of the sleeve of Highway 61 Revisited
, with Bob Dylan
's head replaced by that of Jonathan Richman
. Yeah, Jonathan Richman
in a Triumph t-shirt
Inside, the sound quality
varies because the material is from several sources, but it's mostly mediocre. The notes claim that the live tracks are all from a show in Harvard
, but liner notes
s aren't exactly gospel
There are eight songs:
- "A Plea for Tenderness"
This is an epic eight-minute live-in-the-studio take. It's always a great song, and better yet, much of it wasn't fixed: There were some verses and a chorus, but the centerpiece of the song was a painfully vulnerable and sincere Jonathan ranting off the top of his head about love and tenderness and Romance. The rant would always change, and this is a good one. I haven't heard this version of the song elsewhere.
"On 'A Plea for Tenderness' Jonathan would drop to his knees, crocodile tears would form in his eyes, and he would bang the mike onto the floor. Girls near the stage would throw their handkerchiefs to him." -- David Berson, quoted in the liner notes to The Modern Lovers
- "Song for Remembrance of Old Girlfriends"
A clean version of a great song. I think this is the same recording as on Songs of Remembrance. I'm sitting here A-B'ing the two but. It's late and I might be confused but that's where my bets are. In any case, Songs of Remembrance lists it as being from "aborted album sessions with John Cale, Autumn 1973".
- "Ride on Down the Highway"
This is nice but seriously muffled. It's a different version from the Berkeley 1972 live take which appears on Precise Modern Lovers Order and Live at the Longbranch and More.
- "Wake up Sleepyhead"
This is from the Long Branch Saloon show in Berkeley, 1972. Again, it's from an nth generation tape and the sound is a mess. It starts with a great little exchange between Jonathan and sometime Modern Lovers guitarist John Felice, wherein Felice explains how he thinks the lyric is terrible but he loves the chord changes. This ends with an abrupt transition into "Don't Let Our Youth Go to Waste", which is here cut off on the fourth word. The entire thing, with both songs and the transition intact, is on Live at the Longbranch and More with vastly better sound quality. Don't knock it; ten years ago, this was all most of us had and it was a gift from heaven.
- "Cambridge Clown"
I've never heard or seen this song elsewhere. It's a fast, rocking Jonathan Richman Loneliness Song(TM) with fuzz organ, classic off-pitch Modern Lovers backing vocals, and a snarling guitar solo -- a what?! -- yes, for real, right there! Very nice.
The recording is a mess: The band is ragged, the mix is terrible, and the tape is nth generation. The drums sound like somebody down the street banging on a trash can lid.
- "Such Loneliness"
More loneliness! Refreshingly clear sound. It's from the demos with John Cale in the Spring of 1972, also now available on the excellent Songs of Remembrance CD.
Another nth generation tape. It's a nice bouncy live take, but the meter/tempo shift near the end is very ragged. Except for the godawful sound quality, it pretty well stomps the one from the Long Branch show. It's much tighter.
- "Dignified and Old"
Bingo. Live, poor sound, but a helluva take, and a great spoken intro by Jonathan: ". . . We want to end the second set of the Modern Lovers on a positive note . . . we've been through loneliness together . . . we've been through the bleakness of the Astral Plane and the bleak world of sex, and everyone knows how bleak that can be . . ." Lovely.
Thank you, Jonathan
. Thank you, anonymous bootleg profiteer
1 Route 128
is a highway that encircles Boston
, Jonathan Richman
's favorite city and subject of many of his songs in the Modern Lovers