PRIMAL SCREAM-GIVE OUT BUT DON’T GIVE UP: THE ORIGINAL MEMPHIS RECORDINGS.

Primal Scream-Give Out But Don’t Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings.

Label: Sony Music.

It’s never easy to followup a classic album, and countless bands have discovered that over the last fifty years.  In 1994, the latest band to realise that were Primal Scream, who three years earlier, at the height of the Acid House era  had released Screamadelica, a groundbreaking fusion of rock and dance music. 

Released on  23rd September 1991,  Screamadelica reached number eight in Britain, and was certified double platinum. After three albums, Primal Scream had finally made a commercial breakthrough. However, as time passed by Primal Scream realised that it wasn’t going to be easy to followup Screamadelica.

Following the success of Screamadelica, Primal Scream headed out on tour, winning over rock and dance music fans simultaneously. However, not everyone was happy. Previously, Primal Scream were a rock ‘n’ roll band, and lead singer Bobby Gillespie didn’t even like dance music. He was a died in the wool rock ‘n’ roller. Then he was introduced to the Acid House scene.

Soon, Bobby Gillespie, who revelled in the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, embraced Acid House culture. Even after Screamadelica, the party continued, and tales of hedonism were commonplace. So were stories that certain members had flown to close to the sun. Before long, the party had lasted over a  year. Now it was time to record their fourth album, which became Give Out But Don’t Give Up.

Recording of Give Out But Don’t Give Up began in late 1992 at the Roundhouse Studios, in London, but soon it became apparent that the sessions lacked direction and were going nowhere. Primal Scream had few songs to show for their time in the studio, and morale was so low that it was feared the band were going to split-up. Alan McGee the Creation Records founder and long-time friend of Bobby Gillespie and Co. knew he had to intervene and save Primal Scream from themselves.

The big question facing Alan McGee was what to do with Primal Scream, that would ensure that they didn’t implode. He knew that all Primal Scream wanted to do was make music, and it was all the members of Creation Records’ only real rock ’n’ roll band  knew. That was when Alan McGee hit on the idea of sending Primal Scream to Memphis, the spiritual home of rock ’n’ roll.

Alan McGee chose Arden Studios, Memphis where Primal Scream had recorded three songs for their Dixie Narco EP with ‘producer’ Andrew Weatherall and engineer Hugo Nicholson. This time, Primal Scream were about to work with legendary producer Tom Dowd.

In 1993, Primal Scream made the journey to Memphis, and headed to Arden Studios where they met producer Tom Dowd. He introduced the band to drummer Roger Hawkins and bassist David Hood of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and The Memphis Horns who would augment Primal Scream.

By then, Bobby Gillespie, Andrew Innes and Robert Young .had written the eleven songs that eventually featured on Give Out But Don’t Give Up. With five top Memphis musicians backing them, Primal Scream began recording what they believed would be their fourth album. Tom Dowd brought out the best in Primal Scream who rediscovered their inner rockers on Jailbird and Rocks. Call On Me was another uptempo track from Primal Scream who had written a number of ballads. 

This included the melancholy Sad and Blue with its gospel-tinged choruses. I’ll Be There For You features a heartfelt vocal from Bobby Gillespie while The Memphis Horns, backing vocals and  Martin Duffy’s piano and Hammond organ play supporting roles. Jesus which was later renamed ‘I’ll Be There for You, featured the first of two soul-baring vocals full of vulnerability from Bobby Gillespie, He then lays bare his soul once again on (I’m Gonna) Cry Myself Blind .By then, Tom Down had cajoled and coaxed a series of rocky and soulful performances from Primal Scream who were back with a what looked like the perfect followup to Screamadelica.

That should’ve been the case, until Alan McGee decided to have George Drakoulias who had just worked with The Black Crowes remix the tracks. The reasoning was that musical tastes and fashion had changed and a  more contemporary sound was needed. That was how Creation Records justified bringing George Clinton in to remix Funky Jam. All Primal Scream and Tom Dowd’s work had been for nothing.

After that, the master tapes for Tom Dowd’s Memphis’ sessions went missing, and were thought to be lost for good. That was until they were discovered in Andrew Innes basement and reissued  as  Give Out But Don’t Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings, which is  a two CD set that has just been released by Sony Music. The first disc features nine songs recorded in Memphis, while disc two features jams, rehearsals and alternate takes. It’s a fascinating insight into Primal Scream’s much lamented lost album.

Give Out But Don’t Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings takes the listener back to Memphis when Tom Dowd brought out the best in Primal Scream who recorded what could’ve been their second classic album, It features nine songs lasting  forty-five minutes, where Give Out But Don’t Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings Bobby Gillespie and Co, combine blues, rock and Southern Soul as they switch between rockers and ballads on Give Out But Don’t Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings which ls a reminder of the album that got away for Primal Scream and could’ve transformed their career.

Primal Scream-Give Out But Don’t Give Up: The Original Memphis Recordings.

1 Comment

  1. Pepper Gomez

    Wow – that was one long party. Perhaps too much party not that great a thing. Thankfully we can pull things out of the hat with choices.

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