The Greatest - 2006

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The Greatest - 2006

Post  Nicolaoua on Mon 3 Oct - 13:39

L'album de la consécration auprès du grand public.



"The Greatest" – 3:22
"Living Proof" – 3:11
"Lived in Bars" – 3:44
"Could We" – 2:21
"Empty Shell" – 3:04
"Willie" – 5:57
"Where Is My Love" – 2:53
"The Moon" – 3:45
"Islands" – 1:44
"After It All" – 3:31
"Hate" – 3:38
"Love & communication" – 4:34




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Information on "The Greatest"

Post  Cokelike on Tue 6 Mar - 8:07

Chan's album "The Greatest" was recorded during 3 days in June 2005 with the Memphis Rhythm Band in Nashville. All of the tracks that appear on the album had been played live in some form prior to recording, in some cases going back many years. The bulk of the album was seemingly complete by the end of 2004. The 12/3/04 concert recording features 7 of 12 songs. The 4/21/05 concert features 11 of the 12 song and is perhaps the best representation of how Chan envisioned these songs prior to recording. After the completion of the album Chan toured the states and then europe with the Memphis Rhythm Band. Most concert setlists were loosely structured around the sequencing of the album. Usually 7 to 8 songs were played, followed by a solo section from Chan, and then another round of songs with the band.

The Greatest
The title is apt, as this is one of the best compositions Chan has released. The song captures a feeling that is resigned and yet also confident in a way that I find inspiring. At her 9/16/04 concert she plays about half the song and remarks, "I'm still alittle shaky on that one." By the time of her 12/3/04 concert the song is complete.

Living Proof
Played at her 4/21/05 concert, the song appears to be complete. Chan performed this on her first TV appearence promoting "The Greatest", on The Late Show with David Letterman.

Lived In Bars
Again, like "The Greatest", this song seems to say, "I've been down, but I'm getting up". A sad situation can be made to be joyous. This is a theme that runs appears in much of her work. Maybe that's why I love Cat Power's music so much. Played at her 12/3/04 concert, the song appears complete.

Could We
Played at her 5/4/04 concert, the song appears to be complete.

Willie
A bit of departure from her other songs, "Willie" is about a couple, Willie and Rebecca and describes their adventures together. The song appears to have been written by the summer of 2003. Many of the early live versions are long. In 2004, Chan released "Willie Deadwilder", with M Ward playing acoustic guitar on her "Speaking For Trees" release. The chord structure is different, and the lyrics are very different. I think she might even be making up some of them as she goes along. The 2 songs are like cousins to each other.

Empty Shell
This song was a played at her 6/19/03 concert. Later, she recorded a version for BBC in 2005. It appeared under the title "Anymore".

The Moon
Chan attempted to play a version of this song multiple times at her 6/8/01 concert, possibly indicating that she had just recently begun work on it. Later, Chan would use lyrics from "When I Lay Me Down", to create the final version.

Where Is My Love
At her 4/21/05 concert, Chan played about a minute of this without lyrics, indicating it may have been written around this time. In concerts with the Memphis Rhythm Band this song was used as a segue into the Chan solo part of the show.

Islands
This song would appear to be the oldest written song on the album. It was played at her 8/23/01 concert, more or less complete. She also played this at her 2/27/03 KCRW radio session. At live concerts with the Memphis Rhythm Band it was used as a vehicle to introduce the band with each player taking a spot to solo.

After It All
Played at her 6/19/03 concert. The song appears on the album as a one chord vamp, with a distinctive whistle part. This is the only song on the album that hangs on one chord in the style of many other Cat Power songs.

Hate
Chan began to play this song at her 4/21/05 concert but stopped almost immediately. At her 11/4/05 concert the song appears to be complete.

Love And Communication
Played at her 9/16/04 and 12/3/04 concerts the lyrics seem to be in place. It appears she was having trouble deciding on the what chords to use, however. On her 9/12/06 KCRW radio session, she uses a Blue Moon-type set of chords. The album version features yet another set of chords, perhaps indicating that when it came time to record the song for the album, the band helped out by suggesting a new set of chords and arrangement.

----------------------------

From Chan's interview with William Van Meter for The New York Times, 1/14/06:

On the album, "The Greatest":

Chan: “Proud? I wouldn’t use that word. But I feel protective about it, and I’ve never felt that way before.”

On the writing of "Willie" while taking a three-hour cab ride:

Chan: The driver’s name was Willie. He was an older gentleman. I was in a really good mood and trying to talk to him. There’d be stretches when we weren’t talking, and I’d be singin’ the melody in my head, writing everything down. We’d stop to get gas and the song would still be playing in my mind.

-----------------------------------

From Chan's interview with theage.com, 1/15/06:

On recording "The Greatest":

Chan: I tried to record in different studios, I kept trying to find different friends that could get together and play, and it just wasn't working out. So (my label) were like, 'If you could have anybody, who would it be?', and I said, 'What about Al Green's band?' And that's how it happened.

On the album cover:

Chan: I think in actual (12 inch) LP terms, not in the CD format. The idea was to have this fuchsia purple foil,
so you can hold the LP up and see a reflection of a chain around your neck. That's why I wanted to call it The Greatest, and hence the person preening themselves in the cover was an important factor. It's a symbol of being part of the team, or part of a community.

-----------------------------

From Chan's interview with Jools Holland, June 2006:

You've collaborated with so many huge artists over the years...

Chan: Very lucky!

...how do the collaborations usually come about?

Usually it's who is around to agree to it basically! I don't know who will be around next time to agree to it,
but these guys are my favourite band right now. I usually write when I'm alone with a piano or a guitar and I get that feeling like your hungry for a cookie or something, chocolate or something and it's almost a feeling of emotion and if I'm not near an instrument I'll just go and write, but if I am near an instrument then I just start playing and the melody just comes, and then those are the words, but I never really write with something in mind. It's usually something that I'm thinking about, but whatever's in my subconscious comes out and that's what the song will translate as.

Who has been your favourite collaboration so far?

Chan: The one that I've never done. Bob Dylan. That's my favourite.

How was it working with Harmony Korine on your video for Living Proof? Was the Britney catsuit uncomfortable?!

Chan: Oh God! That was just before I got sober, I'd been doing a lot of press and I was really exhausted psychologically, emotionally and physically. I mean it was great seeing Harmony again cause I haven't seen him for a long time as our paths are usually...well he's living in London now, so it was great to be around him again. The guy driving the car had the Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopez t-shirt on because of the crew, Harmony's crew, we ended up hanging out for most of the shoot. It was a good time but it was a difficult time. It was the week before Christmas, so I didn't have any plans for Christmas, it was good to see Harmony but it was just so difficult, I got sober like the next month.

How does it feel to be the front-woman with such a large and famous band?

Chan: I did do tours with a band and played London with them, then I went solo after that. That's usually my recipe for destruction, but now I live in Miami so touring isn't going to be my life anymore, but I'm going to play with these guys as long as I can afford it, there's a lot of people, seventeen in total...what was your question?!Actually I've never felt confident about playing music ever...actually apart from when I started as Cat Power with the original band, I was confident then because they were my closest friends. But now I feel like proud that, not for myself, but that the songs are more realised now than they are on the album even, they are more realised live, it's how I imagined them to sound when I wrote them, which feels great.

You seem to be getting a lot more confidence...

Chan: Well I don't drink alcohol anymore. That kind of plays with your head. I've never questioned it, you know since middle school we all used to go into our parents liquor cabinet and stuff and I've had a lot of friends who became addicts so I used to think I'm not an addict, it's just that I drink so much everyday! You know touring straight, I guess I was twenty three or twenty four when I first started touring, so I've just been touring for years. I had an apartment in New York which was ten feet by fifteen feet so I never really wanted to go home you know, back to my little sheltered room. So I just used music as a way to like see the world. I don't think that it's more confidence, it's just that I've realised that I'm lucky to be alive period, and I think that being sober has put that into my perspective focus that f**k I'm a healthy (well I shouldn't smoke so much) I have great friends, I really found out who my friends were that obviously comes through when I'm playing a show because I feel good now.

Are you having fun on this tour?

Chan:I love this tour. We are having so much fun! A lot of younger people, because as we are when we are younger, we all have a lot of baggage we are figuring ourselves out. With these people, they've been on the road with all these different legends they've played with and stuff, so they have no baggage. You know what I mean? They've been doing this far to long to give a s**t what anyone else thinks or says so they just bring they're talent and play and enjoy themselves. They've all known each other for years. It's really great and I'm southern too so we have that same nasty sense of humour, we have an understanding, a love of the same sort of old music, we all have that same vein. It's really nice to have that cause when I was thirteen and getting into Punk rock and stuff, but the records that I loved were my mum and dads and step dads records like Billie Holiday and Otis Reading and Buddy Holly, these kind of older standard songs and I didn't know anybody, cause I went to a different school every year, so they were always my favourite songs, and the heart of the music and the simplicity of it. I'd go to all these different schools and nobody had ever heard about it, so I couldn't have a relationship with any peers who knew old soul and stuff so it's really fun because on the bus somebody, Queen or somebody will start humming a song, any song, you know like 'Aint No Sunshine', and everybody will join in, and it's f***ing so fun! By the time we get to the venue my throat's f***ed! Maybe that will be the next record...the Cat Power Tour Bus!

----------------------------

From Chan's interview with Cynthia Joyce for Salon.com, 9/30/06:

On The Memphis Rhythm Band:

Chan: They've been around the block quite a few times, have played with all these amazing people -- James Brown, Aretha Franklin -- and they have all these amazing stories. One of my favorite musicians of all time is Otis Redding, and to actually have somebody like Teenie [Hodges, the guitarist] who knew the guy -- all I can say is, good, good, good. Just to know that they survived that lifestyle, and that they're still, like, youthful in their hearts, and in their love for playing, just keeps me ... you know, it just opens a whole new idea of a life for me.

----------------------------

From Chan's interview with Melissa Maerz for Spin, 11/20/06:

You recorded The Greatest in Memphis. What was it like to work with soul legends like Mabon "Teenie" Hodges?

Chan: The recording process was intense -- you know, white girl from Georgia asking these legendary musicians if they'd be interested in recording "Try Me," by James Brown. Teenie would be like, "Now what key is the song in?" And I'd be like, "I don't know anything about keys." And he'd be like, "Okay, just play it." I'd play and he'd mark down the Nashville numbers system -- that's the way poor people learn to play because [takes on a deep-South accent] they don't have no con-serrr-va-tory. And Teenie would be like, "See that note you played? That's the key. It's always gonna come back to that note.

Teenie taught you music theory?

Chan: Yeah, but I didn't really need to know any of that. [Laughs] You know the dude in Africa with a wash bin? He doesn't need to know. That Chinese guy in the subway with the instrument with one string? Do you
think he's studying music theory?

On "The Greatest":

Chan: With The Greatest, this is the first time I've ever been able to play live and have it sound like it did on the album. This Memphis group is the first band I've recorded with that has practiced. Having all the songs in key has liberated my singing for the first time.

----------------------------

From Chan's interview with Alex Wagner for thefader.com, 2006:

On "The Greatest":

Chan: “We would get into the studio and I would play a song. They’d listen to it and then Teenie would say, ‘Now Chan was that 5-5-1-5 or 5-1-1-5?' (refering to the Nashville music notation method). I would just sit there silent and kinda start tearing up and sort of try and hide under the piano. And they would look at each other like, ‘Oh yeah—right.’ And then go into the corner and work it out."

Marshall says that the Memphis collaboration came about when Matador (her label) sat down to try and coax her next record into production.

Chan: They just said ‘Chan, what’s your dream album?’ And then the next thing I knew, [Matador President] Chris [Lombardi] was typing into his laptop and setting things up. I wanted to make something for my mom and my grandmother. But it could have been better—it could have been so much better.

------------------------------------

From Chan's interview with straight.com, 8/30/06:

On "Empty Shell":

Chan: That's about my ex-boyfriend.

On "Where Is My Love":

Chan: I have, like, five best girlfriends, and one of them would always start singing 'Where is my love?””where is myyyyy looove' when we were 23 and drunk on the street. So I wrote that song for her. But once I sat down and started to play it when I was done, I started bawling. I realized it rings true for me too. A lot of people live alone. A lot of people haven't found true love, or have lost it. I'm 34. I don't have any kids and all of my friends have babies. I don't have a husband. I think about it.

-----------------------------------

From Chan's interview with Matt Share for The Phoenix, 9/1/06:

So, does The Greatest represent what you are now and what we can expect from you in the future?

Chan: Oh, that record doesn’t come close to the tip of the iceberg of the music I’d like to touch on. Now that we’ve been playing live and things are getting tighter. I’m going to do something new with my next record, it’ll be something totally different. The Greatest is the first record I’ve made that I’ve really liked. It took a while for me to find my way, as a songwriter and a human being. I think I’m closer to accepting that this is what I do. I’ve always felt like I had to do music for some reason, like it was just natural to me. But I didn’t feel talented. I felt it was a craft. And I still feel that way. I think anyone can figure out how to do it. You can’t ask someone to make a beautiful rug if you just give them the materials. They have to learn. It’s part of life. Even in business. Maybe the first deals you do aren’t so good, but you learn through trial and error how to get your ideas across. I now have more confidence in myself as a human being and a musician. And I hope that will continue to happen. It’s a perpetual graduation through life.


Last edited by Cokelike on Wed 7 Mar - 9:45; edited 3 times in total

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Re: The Greatest - 2006

Post  Nicolaoua on Tue 6 Mar - 10:10

Thank you! I see, that there's a lot of translation work waiting for me... Wink

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Re: The Greatest - 2006

Post  Cokelike on Fri 8 Jun - 1:31


Mix Online article and interview with Stuart Sikes, engineer for "The Greatest":
http://mixonline.com/mag/audio_cat_power_grabs/

Thanks to dirtybarry99 for the link.




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Re: The Greatest - 2006

Post  Nicolaoua on Sat 7 Jul - 16:56

I've just had a huge, huge surprise! happy

I was listening to my vinyl copy of The Greatest when i noticed something strange: instead of going back at the beginning of the record after "Love & communication", the arm of my turntable didn't go further though when i looked closely, i discovered that it looked liked it was not really the end of the record at all! So i skipped a few seconds and put the needle back and then a hidden song appeared: "Up & Gone" ! very happy

----------

Je viens d'avoir une énorme surprise!

Alors que j'étais en train d'écouter le vinyle de The Greatest, j'ai remarqué un truc bizarre: au lieu de revenir au début du disque après "Love & communication", le bras de ma platine était comme bloqué sur le même sillon. Je regarde de plus près et je constate que le disque ne semble pas terminé. Je déplace donc manuellement le diamant un chouilla plus loin et une chanson bonus démarre alors: "Up & Gone"! very happy

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Re: The Greatest - 2006

Post  Cokelike on Mon 9 Jul - 4:13

Nicolaoua wrote:So i skipped a few seconds and put the needle back and then a hidden song appeared: "Up & Gone" ! very happy

So, for those of you with the vinyl, are all copies like this?

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Re: The Greatest - 2006

Post  Nicolaoua on Tue 10 Jul - 15:28

Cokelike wrote:
Nicolaoua wrote:So i skipped a few seconds and put the needle back and then a hidden song appeared: "Up & Gone" ! very happy

So, for those of you with the vinyl, are all copies like this?

From what i read here and there, it seems that regular vinyl copies all include "Up & Gone.
My copy is a reissue.

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Re: The Greatest - 2006

Post  Nicolaoua on Fri 27 Jul - 16:45

It seems that there is a new vinyl pressing of The greatest, on 120g vinyl (instead of 180g for the previous pressing), with this alternative cover:



Have you seen it already?

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Re: The Greatest - 2006

Post  Nicolaoua on Thu 2 Aug - 14:57

I confirm that there is a vinyl version of the LP with an alternate cover.

I wonder if this version includes the hidden song.

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Re: The Greatest - 2006

Post  Nicolaoua on Thu 7 Feb - 7:47

Every day there are new Cat Power covers made by fans but there is a cover of "Love & Communication" by a band called "The Lightnin 3" (with singers Brisa Roché, Rosemary Standley (from the band Moriarty) and Ndidi Onukwulu) on their first album.





http://www.deezer.com/track/61413401 (i fear that the link doesn't work outside from France)

http://www.amazon.fr/Morning-Noon-Night-The-Lightnin/dp/B009F2CWLO

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