August 2014 -- We have a new Curator of Collectables at Killermontstreet.net.
Our friend Steve Kay has created a wonderful soundcloud archive to share with Roddy Frame Aztec Camera fans.
Check out his collection of early demos and rare recordings
since real player codecs no longer play, we are updating this page to include Steve Kay's soundcloud links for the rare songs below.
NOTE: Rare Aztec Camera is filled with early Aztec Camera rare tracks
Roddy Frame rare and bonus contains links for B-sides, covers, bonus tracks
Roddy Frame Concert recordings is for the Roddy Frame and Aztec Camera concert recordings
lev - curent keeper of the flame at kms -
Here are descriptions offered by Steve when he posted them on Facebook in Summer 2014
Roddy has talked often about his obsession with Joe Strummer, so here's a little curio for you. In a hangover from his Neutral Blue days, Aztec Camera briefly took to ending their HLHR shows in '83 with a rowdy cover of 'Garageland' by The Clash.
It's a bit rough and ready (probably how Roddy would prefer it) but here's the best recording I have of the Aztec Camera version from Hamburg Germany on 11 April 1983...
'Garageland' (Live 1983).
As revealed by the liner notes on the legendary NME C81 compilation tape, this recording of We Could Send Letters, produced by Malcolm Ross and Alan Horne, was actually Aztec Camera's first release on Postcard Records in February 1981, prior to their first single, Just Like Gold, in April 81 which featured a reworked version of We Could Send Letters as the B side.
We Could Send Letters (C81 version)
Back in 1981, Aztec Camera were all set to follow up their two Postcard singles 'Just Like Gold' and 'Mattress Of Wire' with their debut album, 'Green Jacket Grey'. Before that could happen however, the band left Postcard, signed to Rough Trade and started work on a 'new' debut album that would eventually become 'High Land Hard Rain'.
Apart from the two singles already released and one track on an NME compilation tape (We Could Send Letters - C81 version), nothing else that Aztec Camera recorded during their time at Postcard Records has ever been (officially) released.
There were rumours that studio sessions had taken place and demos recorded for Aztec Camera's long 'lost' 'Green Jacket Grey' album. Over the years, a poor quality tape of these sessions surfaced but these legendary recordings were still like gold dust and, 30+ years on, it remains almost impossible to get hold of a copy. Until now ...
Unreleased officially in any form, these recordings, as one would expect from a 30 year old bootleg tape are hardly cutting edge quality wise. They were all rather hissy and muffled but have been restored to a position of being eminently listenable and we can confidently say that they probably now sound as good as they ever have (or probably ever will).
Given that the 'official' Postcard singles have never been re-released on any format, the chances of these demos ever seeing the light of day officially seems remote in the extreme. So this is it. If you particularly love early Aztec Camera you will adore these recordings in all their rough and ready glory. Roddy's voice on these songs is very much the husky, indie sounding timbre of High Land Hard Rain, the voice that many fell in love with all those years ago. The chance to hear these new recordings of the 17 year old Roddy is a treat indeed.
There are eight 'Green Jacket Grey' session recordings in total. Some songs you will know, some you may not.
First up, one of the lesser known songs. 'Remember The Docks' is a great little tune and a real grower. It was briefly part of the band's live set pre HLHR. It was seldom played (if at all) beyond that, but it can also be heard on the rare bootleg of the band's 1981 show at DeVilles in Manchester. Here's the studio version
'Remember The Docks' (Green Jacket Grey demo)
The second of the 'Green Jacket Grey' sessions is an Aztec Camera classic.
Orchid Girl (rumoured to be written about Una Baines of the Blue Orchids) was eventually re-recorded and released as the B side to Oblivious in 1983.
Here's the original studio demo though, intended for Aztec Camera's debut album on Postcard Records in 1981.
'Orchid Girl' (Green Jacket Grey demo)
The third of the 'Green Jacket Grey' sessions is another great long-lost Aztec Camera song. 'Another Room' was a staple in the band's live sets throughout 1980 and 81. Sadly it was dropped following the move to Rough Trade but remains a wonderfully catchy little tune.
'Another Room' (Green Jacket Grey demo)
We've reached the halfway mark with Aztec Camera's unreleased debut album demos and it's time for the title track, 'Green Jacket Grey'.
The title track of Aztec Camera's unreleased debut album 'Green Jacket Grey' was originally intended to be Aztec Camera's first single back in 1981 according to official records (the B side was to have been a song called 'Real Tears'). For whatever reason, it never came to pass and the first single became 'Just Like Gold'. It's safe to say though that 'Green Jacket Grey' would have been every bit as good a debut single as the fantastic 'Just Like Gold'.
Versions of this demo have appeared on the web here and there over the years, but this particular version of the song is from a new source and has been newly restored so, hopefully, sounds the best it ever has.
'Green Jacket Grey'(Green Jacket Grey demo)
The next 'Green Jacket Grey' demo is 'Release', a song that has been about since Roddy's pre Aztec Camera days and it used to feature in the sets of his first band Neuetral Blue. This GJG demo version is not wildly different from the HLHR version but there are subtle changes and, in any case, one can never have too many versions of this song.
Roddy obviously agreed as he claims Release was the first song he ever wrote (!!!) and he stuck with it all the way through to High Land Hard Rain
'Release' (Green Jacket Grey demo)
The next of the Green Jacket Grey demos is probably familiar to most, not least because, along with title track 'Green Jacket Grey', 'The Spirit Shows' was one of the two unreleased songs that Roddy chose to resurrect at 2013's HLHR anniversary shows to represent the early East Kilbride years.
Although that was the first time he had played the song in public for about 30 years there have been versions of this demo floating about the web for a while. This though, is the best sounding version yet.
'The Spirit Shows'(Green Jacket Grey demo)
The final two Green Jacket Grey demos have been left to the end as they have been somewhat 'challenging' to repair due to tapes faults. That said, they are still excellent, if not quite as good quality as the others, so well worth giving an airing
This song, 'Nothing In The Sky' is a real rarity and has not been played by Roddy since 1981. The problem with this recording was that, on both versions of the demos I got my hands on, this song was split into two parts with a big gap in between the two parts, presumably because the original bootleg tape ran out and, instead of recording the whole song again on side 2, they decided just to continue recording once they had switched sides.
As this demo was incomplete I decided to edit in a performance of the song from De Villes, Manchester on 21/08/1981 in order to create a complete version of the song. Far from perfect, but better than nothing. If anyone out there has a complete version of this demo, please do get in touch with us.
'Nothing In The Sky' (Green Jacket Grey demo)
And here's the final demo from the collection recorded for Aztec Camera's proposed debut album on Postcard Records, Green Jacket Grey. A song we all know well, but not quite like this with the intro, in particular, quite different.
'Pillar To Post' was the first song that Aztec Camera re-recorded following their move from Postcard to Rough Trade, prior to them recording the High Land Hard Rain album. Here though, you can hear how they used to play it before it was all spruced up!
This demo was actually the first song on the GJG tape but I'm posting it last as it was again, ahem, rather challenging. On both copies of the demos that I have, this song was extremely muffled - clearly a fault with the original bootleg tape - before springing into (only slightly less muffled) life halfway through the first chorus. Again, if anyone has a version of this demo that is better quality, please get in touch. Even in this imperfect form, it's still a good listen.
'Pillar To Post' (Green Jacket Grey demo)
So that's the Green Jacket Grey demos all done and dusted.
The cupboard is not entirely empty just yet. Here's another curio - The Aztec Camera Fan Club version of Hot Club Of Christ(mas) including an intro and outro greeting from the band.
The Aztec Camera Fan Club version of Hot Club Of Christ(mas)
Prior to signing to Postcard, and before they recorded the demos that you have all been listening to for the 'long lost' Green Jacket Grey album, Aztec Camera recorded several demos under their own steam.
Here then is one of several demos from 1980. We'll kick off with the very first recording of 'Remember The Docks'
'Remember The Docks' (1980 demo)
The final four demos from 1980 are perhaps something of an oddity. Orange Juice's drummer Steven Daly was quoted in an interview as saying that Aztec Camera's first demo was "a patchwork of The Cure and Joy Division", a sound which went "out the window" once they hooked up with Alan Horne at Postcard. I'm guessing that first demo is what we've got here with these next four songs.
They may not sound an awful lot like the Aztec Camera that we all know and love but it definitely IS them. That fact is confirmed by the live recording of the band from Doune Castle, Glasgow in 1980 where they played all of these songs in among several of the other songs that constituted the Green Jacket Grey demos.
These more 'gothy' sounding songs may not be to everyone's taste but they are definitely part of the larger legend and are an interesting listen if nothing else. This song, 'Real Tears' is notable as it was scheduled to be the B side to Aztec Camera's aborted debut single of 'Green Jacket Grey' on Postcard...
'Real Tears' (1980 demo)
Here's another of the early Aztec Camera demo songs from 1980. This track, 'Abattoir' was one of several Aztec Camera songs featured on a very rare, limited edition compilation cassette called URBAN DEVELOPMENT which was given away with a local Glasgow fanzine called "Fumes" in January 1980.
'Abattoir' (1980 demo)
The penultimate Aztec Camera demo from 1980 is a song called Token Friends. It was part of their live sets in 1980 but seemed to have disappeared by the following year.
'Token Friends' (1980 demo)
Here's the final Aztec Camera demo from 1980. This song, Stand Still, was also featured on the very rare, limited edition compilation cassette called URBAN DEVELOPMENT which was given away with a local Glasgow fanzine called "Fumes" in January 1980.
'Stand Still' (1980 demo)