November 23, 2014 – 7:09 am
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Los Angeles 1980
The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Vol 6 [Mike Millard first gen via JEMS, 3CD]
Live at the Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA; November 1, 1980. Very good audience recording.
Thanks to Mike Millard for the recording; JEMS for the efforts; and to mjk5510 for sharing this at Dime.
Click here for the lossless flacs.
JEMS is pleased to release the sixth in a series of recordings made by legendary taper Mike Millard, AKA Mike the MICrophone, best known for his masters of Led Zeppelin in and around LA circa 1975-77.
The 14 first-generation tapes (10 cassettes and four reels) were sent by Millard to SG, the beloved S in JEMS, in the mid-’80s after the pair had met in person in Orange County on two occasions. To the best of our knowledge, none of the eight shows (spanning the 14 tapes) has ever been attributed as a Millard recording. In fact, there are no extant references we are aware of to Millard ever recording Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, the two artists captured on the tapes.
Several of the tapes are uncirculated; others are out there, but until now, not credited as Millard’s work. Even those that turn out to be previously circulated are being released in this series from verified first-generation tapes made by Millard himself and marked/ notated in his signature manner. As such, we expect all of them to be upgrades at a minimum and new sources in many cases.
At this point you might be asking yourself, “So if JEMS received these Millard tapes in the mid-’80s, why haven’t they circulated previously?” Fair question. And, in condensed form, here is the answer, which also provides the “Lost” portion of our series title:
Twenty-six years ago, Millard sent SG a box of tapes. I remember having it my hands in 1986 at SG’s house, right after it arrived in the mail. But that was the last time I ever saw the box. It disappeared. Nearly all of SG’s tapes have since been consolidated into the JEMS North archive, but we never found the box of Millard tapes. Over the years, my memory faded of what was in the box. I thought there were Springsteen shows, but that fuzzy notion was all I could recall.
Now to the “Found”: Several months ago, WG, a long-time collector friend of SG, contacted him and said, “I found a box of tapes of yours when I was moving furniture.” Sure enough it was the Millard tapes and more. Turns out WG borrowed the tapes and some other SG masters after a Dylan show in 1986 and the box wound up misplaced and forgotten about by both parties, only to be rediscovered 28 years later.
Once the box was returned, SG sent it to me at JEMS South where we proceeded to make fresh transfers of its contents.
If there’s any mildly disappointing element to this otherwise charming story, it is that none of the lost Millard tapes are of previously uncirculated shows; there are other recordings by other tapers of all of them. But the good news is the quality of most of them is indeed up to Millard’s legendary standards.
The cache of lost Millard tapes included six Dylan and three Springsteen shows. Of the three Bruce recordings, one already circulates and another is of an ‘81 show well captured by the legendary (he won’t like that word, but it’s true) Mark Persic.
That puts our attention on this welcome addition, an outstanding, epic-length River show filled with special moments. Brucebase lists two recording sources for the show, one an incomplete tape missing several songs and a second that’s “complete, but not known to be in general circulation.” We presume Millard’s recording to be that uncirculated complete source, as he captures nearly every second of the performance.
A whopping 17 River tracks feature here, including the premiere of “Fade Away,” with a lovely and lilting intro, the last song from the album to enter the setlist. It comes one night after the premiere of “The Price You Pay,” but that was with the original album lyrics. Tonight, for the first time, Springsteen restores his original third verse (”some say forget the past…”) from early in the River sessions and later replaced for the take on the album. The song is performed in a striking acoustic guitar and accordion arrangement.
As if that weren’t enough, out of the blue Springsteen resurrects what we (and even he) now call “Prove It All Night ‘78.” The long guitar and piano intro here is mesmerizing and for me this is a “Prove It” for the ages. After playing it this way again two days later on closing night of the LA stand, Springsteen wouldn’t revisit “Prove It All Night ‘78″ again until 2012.
Another short-lived element that shines this evening is Chuck Berry’s “No Money Down” used as a long intro to “Cadillac Ranch” to start the second set. Bruce hams it up for a highly entertaining preamble that really gets “Caddy” started. In the encore, pal Jackson Browne takes the stage for the tour’s only and Bruce’s last known ESB performance of another Chuck Berry cover, “Sweet Little Sixteen.” The “Detroit Medley” also includes a very brief attempt at “Wabash Cannonball,” but even Bruce admits: “Hold on a minute, band, let’s try that one more time, because I don’t have it yet. Give me that E again. Not only do I not have, I think we’re gonna forget it,” and back into “I Hear a Train” they go.
Again, like our recent release, That Old ‘80 Sound, if you love The River, this is a show for you, but unlike Seattle, Springsteen ups the ante slipping in a few favorites not visited in the Emerald City: “For You,” the always welcome “Candy’s Room,” and for me, an especially motivated “Backstreets.”
As for the work of the esteemed Mike Millard, the recording doesn’t match heady heights of his absolutely best work, like our recent Dylan posts on DIME and THOSE Led Zeppelin tapes from the Forum. He’s not right on top of the PA as he so often is and the tape needed more work in mastering than a Millard tape typically requires (none of the Dylan titles in our recent series was materially mastered).
That being said, the more I worked on the tape the more I liked it. And the more I listened, the more I understood what a fantastic show I was polishing. Bruce is giving his all in this marathon and 34 years later, it absolutely holds up.
The recording equipment listed is an educated guess based verified gear he was using at other shows in the same period. While Mike marked many of his tapes with such details, on this one he didn’t, though we did include photos of the cassettes on which Mike did his distinct labeling.
If you’d like to learn more about Mike the MICrophone, the links below offer a glimpse of his story.
Millard’s Wikipedia page
The best article written about Millard has been deleted from the original website but is reprinted here:
Thanks again to WG for finding the tapes and to SG for providing JEMS with another fascinating chapter of taping history. Also, JEMS couldn’t live without the contributions of our pal and your benefactor mjk5510. He is now an essential part of getting these recordings into your hands.
Here’s to the late, great Mike the MICrophone and to finding more lost tapes.
BK for JEMS
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Likely Recording Info: AKG-451E microphones > Uher CR-240 cassette recorder
JEMS 2014 Transfer: first-generation cassettes made by Mike Millard for SG > Nakamichi CR-7A azimuth-adjusted transfer > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 (24/96) capture > iZotope RX MBIT+ resample 16/44.1 > Peak Pro XT (volume smoothing / edit / index) > xACT 2.21 > FLAC
Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.
Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at email@example.com if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.
Track 101. Born To Run 5:18 (8.9MB)
Track 102. Out In The Street 4:54 (8.2MB)
Track 103. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out 7:14 (12.2MB)
Track 104. Darkness On The Edge Of Town 5:24 (9.1MB)
Track 105. Independence Day 5:57 (10.0MB)
Track 106. Factory 5:24 (9.1MB)
Track 107. For You 5:18 (8.9MB)
Track 108. Two Hearts 3:09 (5.3MB)
Track 109. Jackson Cage 4:37 (7.7MB)
Track 110. Promised Land 7:24 (12.4MB)
Track 111. Prove It All Night 10:21 (17.4MB)
Track 112. The Price You Pay 8:07 (13.6MB)
Track 113. The River 6:35 (11.1MB)
Track 201. Badlands 5:48 (9.7MB)
Track 202. Thunder Road 6:40 (11.2MB)
Track 203. No Money Down/Cadillac Ranch 7:08 (12.0MB)
Track 204. Hungry Heart 5:13 (8.8MB)
Track 205. Fire 5:14 (8.8MB)
Track 206. Candy’s Room 3:15 (5.5MB)
Track 207. Because The Night 6:45 (11.4MB)
Track 208. Fade Away 8:03 (13.5MB)
Track 209. Stolen Car 4:58 (8.3MB)
Track 210. The Ties That Bind 3:43 (6.2MB)
Track 211. Wreck On The Highway 4:34 (7.7MB)
Track 212. Point Blank 8:37 (14.5MB)
Track 213. Crush On You 3:44 (6.3MB)
Track 214. Ramrod 4:23 (7.4MB)
Track 301. You Can Look 4:32 (7.6MB)
Track 302. Drive All Night 11:12 (18.8MB)
Track 303. Backstreets 7:46 (13.0MB)
Track 304. Rosalita 14:30 (24.4MB)
Track 305. Jungleland 9:43 (16.3MB)
Track 306. Sweet Little Sixteen (with Jackson Browne) 4:07 (6.9MB)
Track 307. Detroit Medley/I Hear a Train/Wabash Cannonball 10:54 (18.3MB)
Click here to order Bruce Springsteen releases.
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