“Can’t Hardly Wait” (demo) by The Replacements (recorded circa 1984-1985)

Here’s an early, rawer version of “Can’t Hardly Wait” that was originally intended as a song for the Replacements’ 1985 album “Tim” but was later reworked into a much slicker version for 1987’s “Pleased to Meet Me” … with the requisite horn and string section that was de rigeur for 1980s major label rock recordings.  All I can say after hearing this earlier naked version is “Holy f–king s–t!”  This was a great song even with the “slick” arrangement, but hearing it without all the polish is revelatory.

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“Bastards of Young” (live at Criminal Records) – Jesse Malin

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A really beautiful, Neil Young-style cover of the Replacements’ classic “Bastards of Young,” recorded live at Atlanta’s Criminal Records in 2008 by former D Generation lead singer Jesse Malin. The studio version can be found on the stellar 2007 album “Glitter in the Gutter.”

“I’m Not Sayin'” – The Replacements

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Wow! New music by the Replacements, back together for a benefit EP for Replacements member Slim Dunlap who suffered a stroke last year and who will likely need round the clock care for the rest of his life, which his insurance doesn’t cover.

“I’m Not Sayin'” is a rockin’ cover of a terrific Gordon Lightfoot song, that was also covered by Nico in the 1960s (both versions were posted a while back on Dave’s Strange World). It’s nice to hear the Placemats back so strongly. And if you like what you hear, download the “Songs for Slim” EP from iTunes, Amazon, or from some other legitimate source. Proceeds are to help Slim. More details can be found below:

http://www.songsforslim.com

“Alex Chilton” – The Replacements

The Replacements’ loving tribute to power pop pioneer Alex Chilton.  Chilton had many hits as a teenager as a member of the Box Tops and was later a pivotal member of Big Star, one of the best bands of the early 1970s.

Many alt-rock legends loved Chilton.  My favorite story involves the Butthole Surfers.  From Michael Azerrad’s wonderful history of American 1980s alt-rock, “Our Band Could Be Your Life,” Azerrad related that one night, Surfers lead singer Gibby Haynes was having one of his usual, violent, acid-drenched freakouts backstage at a gig in Holland.  Allegedly, Haynes was completely naked and having multiple altercations with the security of the gig, to the point where 10 people had to hold him down.  As Haynes was freaking out back stage, a man asked if he could borrow a guitar.  Haynes lit into him, yelling “BORROW A GUITAR??!! WELL, WHO THE F–K ARE YOU??!!” itching for an fight.  The man calmly said “I’m Alex Chilton.”  Haynes immediately calmed down, opened all the guitar cases one by one, and said “Take anything you want.”  That, my friends, is what we call the power of ethos.

“Popular Creeps” – Chris Mars

Man, what an underrated gem! The Replacements’ Chris Mars solo single debut from 1992. Unfortunately, the song didn’t go far (and neither did Mars’s solo career), but in a better world, damn well should have. Proof positive that Paul Westerberg was not the only talented one in the Replacements. A great, great song!

“Here Comes a Regular (alternate take)” – The Replacements

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During the 1980s, the Replacements were the critics favorite that everyone thought would be the Rolling Stones to REM’s The Beatles. And if you heard 1984′s “Let it Be,” it would be hard to disagree. There’s not a bad track on the album andit wasn’t foolhardy to predict big things loomed ahead for the Placemats …… And I guess you don’t need a road map to predict what happened next. The major-label follow-up “Tim,” despite some great songs, sounded tinny and under-produced (and that’s compared to the indie “Let it Be” which even today, just crackles). The next one “Please to Meet Me” was better, but was so overproduced that it’s damn near impossible to listen to these days without wincing. They finally scored a semi-hit with the admittedly great “I’ll Be You” in 1989, but the other albums were even more hit or miss and they called it quits around 1991.

“Here Comes a Regular” is one of the highlights from “Tim” and it’s presented here in an alternate take that has more clarity, but is also rawer than the version that made it onto “Tim.” A fine example of what a great songwriter Paul Westerberg is.

CORRECTION:  Forget what I said about “Tim.”  This is now my favorite Replacements album.  All I can say is that I was wrong … dead wrong … about the quality of “Tim.”  Check it out below: