Cat's Cradle, Chapel Hill, NC
November 1, 1990 (a guess, exact date not known)
*Uncle Tupelo Upgrade Series, Vol. 10*
Source: Soundboard, likely master or first generation cassette, from the band's archive
taper unknown (though likely house sound engineer Caleb Southern)
Transfer to DAT (by Shayne Stacy, 1994): cassette (from Uncle Tupelo's archive) > consumer Aiwa belt drive deck > Sony DTC690 using monster audio cables > DAT (90M tape, 32 kHz)
Transfer from DAT (by mrpember, November 2020): DAT clone(1) > Tascam DA-20 > M-Audio Audiophile USB > PC > Audacity (edits, pitch correction, resampling) > CD Wave Editor (tracking) > TLC > Flac (8)
01- Punch Drunk (end cut)
02- Nothing (beginning cut)
03- True To Life
06- Life Worth Livin'
07- Before I Break
08- That Year (has a cut)
10- No Depression
11- Screen Door
13- Wasn't Born to Follow [Byrds cover]
14- Little Guitars [Van Halen cover]
15- Watch Me Fall
16- Graveyard Shift
17- I Wanna Be Your Dog [Stooges cover]
18- "t-shirt song"
19- Whiskey Bottle
20- Factory Belt (very end cut)
21- Sin City (beginning cut) [Flying Burrito Brothers cover]
22- Down By The River (has a cut) [Neil Young cover]
23- Orange Blossom Special [Johnny Cash cover]
Jay Farrar: guitar, harmonica, vocals
Jeff Tweedy: bass, vocals
Mike Heidorn: drums
The purpose of the Uncle Tupelo Upgrade Series is to circulate live recordings of Uncle Tupelo and related bands with known lineages, focusing on recordings taken directly from masters or from the cleanest, lowest generation copies available. Some are shows that have circulated online for years with unknown or incorrect lineages and others are shows that have not been widely circulated in the file-sharing era. I will share any information I have regarding the recordings, as well as any features of the shows themselves that make them special to me.
The shows I've included in this series so far have mainly been from their home bases of Cicero's Basement Bar in St. Louis, the Blue Note in Columbia, and Lounge Ax in Chicago, where they played to relatively big crowds of enthusiastic fans and friends. Here they are on the road, touring their first album, playing to a small crowd on what is likely a week night. And they were fantastic.
NOTES ON THE RECORDING
In late 1994, Uncle Tupelo's management very generously allowed taper / collector / superfan Shayne Stacy access to their archive of live cassette tapes. That is if you consider a bunch of cassettes that they had thrown in a box in the closet, many with very little or no identifying information, to be their "archives." Most of those recordings as well as an embarrassment of other great shows are available for streaming on Shayne's website, https://sacramentomusicarchive.com/.
Shayne said that this show was spread across three mostly unlabeled tapes so it was a struggle to figure out the actual order of the songs. The setlist above is my best guess and I'm pretty sure I'm right. "Punch Drunk" was definitely the first song (a common opening song around then, and they checked the mics before it starts), but on the tape it is cut about half way through and you then hear the end of "Down by the River" followed by "The Orange Blossom Special." This was obviously the very end of the show...and the beginning of "Down by the River" was on a different tape. I suspect that the sound engineer who was recording the show threw in what he thought was a blank tape to record the end of the show and accidentally recorded over some of the beginning of the show. As a result, it is likely that at least one song from the beginning of the set is missing in addition to half of "Punch Drunk" and most of "Nothing."
The tapes were simply labeled "Cat's Cradle 11/90." They played in Atlanta on October 31 and playing in Chapel Hill the next night seems reasonable routing wise. We know they were back home in the second half of November (see Vol. 6 in this series, from Cicero's Basement Bar on November 17), so I'm making a guess that the date of this show was November 1. If not correct it likely was within a few days of that date.
NOTES ON THE SHOW
A great set with a mix of songs from their NO DEPRESSION record, songs destined to be on their STILL FEEL GONE record, and a great selection of covers. This is my favorite version of their silly cover of "Little Guitars" and also my favorite "Orange Blossom Special."
All the cuts on the tape are unfortunate, especially in "Down By The River" which they didn't play often, but the quality of the performance and the sound (great soundboard mix) make up for it. This has long been one of my favorites.
mrpember, November 2020