This is (probably) my biggest score of this Taranna trip, and it may not even have happened. We were approaching the end of the day, and were heading back to the car as parking runs out at 6. But we had about half an hour to kill, so I suggested a quick pop into She Said Boom! (always an excellent shoppe for music AND books) as I was wanting a copy of a Collected Works of William Blake (I didn’t find it and am still looking. Alas). Anyway, I also had a quick dig though the music and, you guessed it, found some treasures. Especially this one…
I Wanna Taranna Pt. 34: She Said Boom! #1: Blue Rodeo – Casino 2CD RM (2012)
First off, what do I need to tell you about the album proper of Casino? Surely you know all the here: Til I Am Myself Again (my son’s favourite Blue Rodeo song, I can hear him learning the words in the back seat of the car), What Am I Doing Here, 5 A.M. (A Love Song), Montreal, Last Laugh, Trust Yourself, Two Tongues, Time, After The Rain and You’re Everywhere.
Seriously. Stone cold classic.
The extra meat on the bones here, as if the album proper wasn’t enough, is the second disc of this 2012 re-release (part of their 25th anniversary boxed set, Blue Rodeo 1987 – 1993). It’s a disc of demos (awesome), but it also has two previously unreleased songs! When I saw what I held in my hand, I let out a little gasp of joy and immediately clutched it to my chest so no one else would get it from me!
If I Had A Heart, a previously unreleased demo, features Greg Keelor singing for a straight-on BR rocker with elegant slower bits as only they can do it. Then it’s Always Have A Place For You, the other previously unreleased demo, and it’s Jim Cuddy’s turn to swagger in the lead of a swingin’ funky rock tune that sounds like Saturday night down in the cowboy saloon. Maybe these two didn’t fit the flow of the album proper, or something, but both of these should have / could have been album tracks.
Then we have demo versions of Til I Am Myself Again, What Am I Doing Here, 5 A.M. (A Love Song), Montreal, Last Laugh (which has accodion in the intro instead of guitar), Trust Yourself, Two Tongues, Time, and After the Rain. Oh man. All of them sound great. I can hear differences in them (slight lyrical differences, the way things get sung/phrased musically), almost like they might do it in a concert setting now, just to keep things interesting for themselves. I will say that hearing the intro to After The Rain done with tremolo guitar instead of the piano (as it is on the album) was eye-opening. There are differences in all of the tracks, some larger than other more subtle ones, but the point is clear: this was a band nailing it no matter what approach they tried. What a band of pure players.
Finally, there are two other demos that were released on later albums, but recorded at the time of Casino. Photograph (which found a home on Five Days in July) is a much faster tilt through bluegrass with mandolin and banjo… instead of the sweet country swing of the album version. And lastly, Is It You (later found on Lost Together) is a slow, big and deep echo of a track, with Keelor’s vocals right there in your ear above the musical swells, while the album version is much sweeter with acoustic guitar and sweet steel in the background…
Yup. This was the score of the trip. I love Blue Rodeo, and it was a real treat to get to hear Casino again, as well as all of these demos and unreleased tracks!