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Wilco – Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014 (2014) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Wilco – Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014 (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 04:40:36 minutes | 3,04 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Source: HDTracks | © Nonesuch Records

Nonesuch Records released two new Wilco collections on November 17 in conjunction with the influential Chicago band’s 20th anniversary: Alpha Mike Foxtrot, a four-disc box-set of rare studio and live recordings collected from the band’s extensive audio archives, and What’s Your 20?, is a two-CD compilation of essential tracks culled from the band’s previously released studio recordings.

Both collections are produced by Grammy-nominated producer Cheryl Pawelski, co-founder of Omnivore Recordings, whose credits include Big Star’s Keep an Eye on the Sky, The Band’s A Musical History, and Townes Van Zandt’s Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions and Demos 1971–1972. These are the first compilations of Wilco music of any kind. 

“Like a lot of fans, I had collected these straggling tracks over the past two decades of following Wilco’s every move,” Pawelski said. “Alpha Mike Foxtrot includes almost every unique, essential performance that appeared on soundtracks, tribute albums and B-sides—and there are probably a few surprises for even the sharpest collector. This set presents an alternate history of the band, kind of a sideways view, and ultimately, it’s a super-fun listening experience.”

Alpha Mike Foxtrot features 64 pages of liner notes that include track-by-track recollections from Tweedy, notes by band members Nels Cline and John Stirratt, and reflections from members of Wilco’s extended professional family. The booklet also showcases dozens of archival and never-before-seen photos from a wide array of photographers chronicling all phases of the band’s career.

In the book that accompanies Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014, a four-disc collection of rare and non-LP recordings by Wilco, former Reprise Records publicist Bill Bentley admits that no less a legend than Doug Sahm thought he was making a mistake when, after Uncle Tupelo abruptly and acrimoniously broke up, Bentley opted to work with Jeff Tweedy’s new band rather than Son Volt, Jar Farrar’s post-UT project. “Come on, Bentley, you gotta go with the other guy,” Sahm said, “he’s gonna happen.” Which was certainly the conventional wisdom when Wilco and Son Volt launched in 1994 — most fans seemed certain that Farrar was going to go on to a brilliant career on his own, and Tweedy’s band would be a fine but lesser commodity. But those bets were off after Wilco released their ambitious, game-changing second album, Being There, in 1996, and in the years that followed, it became clear that Tweedy was a stronger songwriter, a more imaginative sonic visionary, and a keener judge of collaborators than he’d had the chance to show in Uncle Tupelo. Two decades on from their debut, Wilco have created a large and impressively diverse body of work, and Alpha Mike Foxtrot is a massive odds-and-sods collection, bringing together 77 tracks from singles, promo releases, movie soundtracks, bonus discs, and downloads from Wilco’s website. Alpha Mike Foxtrot plays like an alternate history of Wilco, and most of what’s here is every bit as satisfying as what the band delivered on its first eight studio albums, if more idiosyncratic; it traces the evolution of the band from early solo cassette demos Tweedy cut in his living room to extended workouts from the lineup that solidified after the release of A Ghost Is Born, as Wilco grew from a spirited alt-country combo to a rock band as adventurous and eager to innovate as it was engaging and tuneful (Tweedy’s simple but powerful way with a melody is the surest unifying factor that holds these songs together). And the plentiful live tracks here demonstrate how willing Tweedy and his bandmates have been to give their songs new shapes on-stage (a ten-minute live recording of “Spiders [Kidsmoke]” is a tremendous showcase for Nels Cline’s stellar guitar work), and there’s a fistful of studio tracks that didn’t fit on an album but sound splendid in this context, especially the Replacements-styled “Student Loan Stereo,” the soulful “The Thanks I Get,” and the faux-live pop/rocker “The Good Part.” In the strictest sense, nothing on Alpha Mike Foxtrot is unreleased, but there’s a lot here that’s never been available for general public consumption, and while the sheer bulk of this set means it’s most likely to be heard by hardcore fans, anyone with a genuine interest in Wilco will find a lot of great music that fell between the cracks on this set, as well as a fascinating map of the many roads Wilco did and didn’t take. ~~AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

1-01 Childlike and Evergreen (Jeff Tweedy) 3:04
1-02 Someone Else’s Song (Demo) (Jeff Tweedy) 2:49
1-03 Passenger Side (Demo) (Jeff Tweedy) 3:28
1-04 Promising (Jeff Tweedy) 3:01
1-05 The T.B. Is Whipping Me – with Syd Straw (Attributed to Ernest Tubb in tribute to Jimmie Rodgers) 3:41
1-06 I Must Be High (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 2:59
1-07 Casino Queen (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 2:53
1-08 Who Were You Thinking Of (Live) (Jim Glaser/Paul Gaubin/Cathie Pelletier) 2:35
1-09 I Am Not Willing (Peter Lewis) 3:52
1-10 Burned (Neil Young) 2:32
1-11 Blasting Fonda (Jeff Tweedy) 4:16
1-12 Thirteen (Alex Chilton/Chris Bell) 3:24
1-13 Don’t You Honey Me (Jeff Tweedy) 3:17
1-14 The Lonely 1 (White Hen Version) (Jeff Tweedy) 4:18
1-15 No More Poetry (Jeff Tweedy) 3:31
1-16 Box Full of Letters (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 4:20
1-17 Red-Eyed and Blue (Live) (Wilco) 2:40
1-18 Forget the Flowers (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 3:10
1-19 Sunken Treasure (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 7:17
1-20 Monday (Demo) (Jeff Tweedy) 3:21

2-01 Passenger Side (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 1:53
2-02 Outtasite (Outta Mind) (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 2:39
2-03 I Got You at the End of the Century (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 3:03
2-04 Outta Mind (Outta Site) (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 3:48
2-05 James Alley Blues (with Roger McGuinn) (Live) (Richard Brown) 3:21
2-06 At My Window Sad and Lonely (Jeff Tweedy Solo) (Words: Woody Guthrie/Music: Jeff Tweedy) 2:44
2-07 California Stars (Words: Woody Guthrie/Music: Jay Bennett/Jeff Tweedy) 3:45
2-08 One Hundred Years from Now (Gram Parsons) 2:50
2-09 A Shot in the Arm (Remix) (Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett/John Stirratt) 3:54
2-10 ELT (King Size Demo) (Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett) 3:38
2-11 Nothing’severgonnastandinmyway (Again) (David Kahne Remix) (Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett/John Stirratt) 3:19
2-12 She’s a Jar (Austin Demo) (Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett) 4:38
2-13 Tried and True (Jeff Tweedy) 2:47
2-14 Student Loan Stereo (Jeff Tweedy) 1:45
2-15 True Love Will Find You in the End (Daniel Johnston) 3:51
2-16 I’m Always in Love (Solo Live) (Wilco) 3:32
2-18 Via Chicago (Demo) (Wilco) 5:28
2-18 Can’t Stand It (Live) (Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett) 3:56
2-19 Airline to Heaven (Alternate) (Words: Woody Guthrie/Music: Jay Bennett/Jeff Tweedy) 3:21
2-20 Any Major Dude Will Tell You (Walter Becker/Donald Fagen) 3:06

3-01 I’m the Man Who Loves You (Live) (Words: Jeff Tweedy/Music: Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett) 3:36
3-02 The Good Part (Jeff Tweedy) 2:47
3-03 Cars Can’t Escape (Jay Bennett) 3:26
3-04 Camera (Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett) 3:43
3-05 Handshake Drugs (First Version) (Jeff Tweedy) 5:07
3-06 A Magazine Called Sunset (Jeff Tweedy) 2:38
3-07 Bob Dylan’s 49th Beard (Jeff Tweedy) 2:20
3-08 Woodgrain (Jeff Tweedy) 1:42
3-09 More Like the Moon (Jeff Tweedy) 6:05
3-10 Let Me Come Home (Jeff Tweedy) 2:30
3-11 Old Maid (Jeff Tweedy) 2:44
3-12 Hummingbird (Alternate) (Jeff Tweedy) 3:55
3-13 Spiders (Kidsmoke) (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 10:00
3-14 Hell Is Chrome (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 4:27
3-15 At Least That’s What You Said (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 5:51
3-16 The Late Greats (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 2:39
3-17 Just a Kid (Jeff Tweedy) 2:51
3-18 Kicking Television (Jeff Tweedy) 2:47

4-01 Panthers (Jeff Tweedy/Mikael Jorgensen/John Stirratt/Glenn Kotche/Leroy Bach) 3:49
4-02 Theologians (Live) (Words: Jeff Tweedy/Music: Jeff Tweedy/Mikael Jorgensen/Chris Girard) 3:32
4-03 Another Man’s Done Gone (Live) (Lyrics: Woody Guthrie/Music: Billy Bragg) 1:42
4-04 I’m a Wheel (Live) (Jeff Tweedy) 2:40
4-05 How to Fight Loneliess (Live) (Words: Woody Guthrie/Music: Jeff Tweedy) 4:39
4-06 One True Vine (Jeff Tweedy) 2:10
4-07 The Thanks I Get (Jeff Tweedy) 3:32
4-08 Let’s Not Get Carried Away (Jeff Tweedy/Glenn Kotche) 4:10
4-09 Hate It Here (Live) (Jeff Tweedy/Wilco) 4:31
4-10 Impossible Germany (Live) (Jeff Tweedy/Wilco) 6:06
4-11 I Shall Be Released (Live) (Bob Dylan) 3:33
4-12 What Light (Jeff Tweedy) 3:05
4-13 Jesus, etc. (Live/Soundtrack) (Words: Jeff Tweedy/Music: Jeff Tweedy/Jay Bennett) 4:01
4-14 Glad It’s Over (Jeff Tweedy) 4:17
4-15 Dark Neon (Jeff Tweedy) 4:23
4-16 The Jolly Banker (Woodie Guthrie) 3:27
4-17 Unlikely Japan (Jeff Tweedy/Mikael Jorgensen/Chris Girard) 5:14
4-18 You and I (with Feist) (Jeff Tweedy) 3:16
4-19 I Love My Label (Nick Lowe) 3:26

Jeff Tweedy – Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Vocals
Leroy Bach – Guitar (Electric), Organ, Percussion, Piano, Synthesizer
Jay Bennett – Guitar, Keyboards, Mixing, Piano, Vocals, Vocals (Background), Wurlitzer
Nels Cline – Guitar (Electric), Lap Steel Guitar
Ken Coomer – Drums, Vocals (Background)
Bob Egan – Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar, Pedal Steel
Jessy Greene – Violin
Brian Henneman – Guitar, Guitar (Electric)
Max Johnston – Banjo, Dobro, Fiddle
Mikael Jorgensen – Farfisa Organ, Hammond B3, Mixing, Piano
Glenn Kotche – Drums, Hammer Dulcimer, Percussion, Photo Courtesy
Greg Leisz – Pedal Steel Guitar
Roger McGuinn – Guitar
Patrick Newbery – Flugelhorn, Trumpet
Jim O’Rourke – Drums
Rich Parenti – Sax (Baritone)
Pat Sansone – Harpsichord, Keyboards, Vocals
Randy Scruggs – Guitar (Rhythm), Mandolin
John Stirratt – Bass, Composer, Hammond B3, Liner Notes, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Syd Straw – Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Dave Trumfio – Vocals (Background)

Recorded: 1994-2014, Easley McCain Recording; Scruggs Sound Studio; Fox Theatre, Boulder; Warzone Recorders; Chicago Recording Company; The Fillmore; WOW Hall; Lounge AX; KFOG Radio 104.5\97.7; Wolf Trap, Vienna; King Size Sound Laboratories; Pedernales Studio; Riviera Theatre; Soma Electronic Music Studios; The Vic; Orpheum Theatre, Madison; Fillmore Auditorium; World Café


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