lifeblood: discography: 1985-xx-xx: blue food

j. ellis records

an independent cassette. all tracks recorded live in 1985 at the dugout in decatur, georgia except "draw the line" and "everybody's waiting (for someone to come home)", which were recorded at web iv studio in atlanta, georgia. "everybody's waiting (for someone to come home)" is the same version as was released on the earlier independent 'crazy game'/'everybody's waiting' 45. it is not known how many copies of the cassette were issued, and this release is long out of print.

the audio files below were taken from the free fan created cd bootleg early recordings 4 - blue food mysterys, announced on 1999-03-01 via the unofficial indigo girls e-mail list, which was hosted on netspace at the time. they represented a significant upgrade over tape copies circulating at the time, and remain the best known quality "blue food" files to surface in the fan community.

download a zip file with all the individual tracks


side a:

01. if you live like that (4:41)
--words and music by amy ray and emily saliers (lyrics) (listen) (background)

02. crazy game (3:12)
--words and music by emily saliers (lyrics) (listen) (background)

03. holy city (3:19)
--words and music by amy ray (lyrics) (listen) (background)

04. the weakness in me (4:24)
--words and music by joan armatrading (lyrics) (listen)

05. never stop (2:29)
--words and music by emily saliers (lyrics) (listen) (background)

06. peace song (3:19)
--words and music by emily saliers (lyrics) (listen)

07. draw the line (3:08)
--words and music by amy ray (lyrics) (listen)

08. nashville (4:01)
--words and music by amy ray (lyrics) (listen) (background)

09. malachy's (3:13)
--words and music by margaret a. roche (lyrics) (listen)

side b:

10. everybody's waiting (for someone to come home) (5:10)
--words and music by amy ray (lyrics) (listen) (background)

11. the untitled song (4:22)
--words and music by emily saliers (lyrics) (listen) (background)

12. running from the cold (4:20)
--words and music by amy ray (lyrics) (listen)

13. no way to treat a friend (4:16)
--words and music by amy ray (lyrics) (listen) (background)

14. i don't know your name (6:48)
--words and music by amy ray and emily saliers (lyrics) (listen) (background)

15. american tune (3:37)
--words and music by paul simon (lyrics) (listen) (background)


1986-02-08: indigo girls are in the pink, the atlanta journal-constitution:

buoyed by their single's and live show's successes, they decided to work toward a themed album that will feature only original material and highlight their harmony.

"the album is going to focus on harmony because that is really our forte," says ms. saliers.

"it gives us the chance to intertwine our different styles. we have more room to do a lot of different songs," ms. ray adds.

the indigos are working with producer frank french (a member of local band drivin' and cryin'), who recently came out with an album of instrumental music called "the new world," which he produced in his own studio. they've been playing around with the title "blue food" but, ms. saliers says "we've pounded the blue imagery enough. my dad said we should call it "scratch tracks."

"we want it to be sort of a concept album. i feel it will hang together a lot more," says ms. ray. "it will be the indigo girls' sound, something recognized and unique."

"i think there is something about us that's unique, i don't know what it is, but why do people come out to hear two guitars and two voices?" ms. saliers asks. whatever the answer , they don't want to change their formula for success. "we don't want to make any compromises for commercial music. we just want to do what we do. no madonna," ms. saliers says.

"and no lionel richie hooklines," ms. ray adds.


1990-02-27: over at amy's, footnotes:

the indigo girls were the first live act to ever grace the trackside stage 4 years ago, according to owen, and have been regular buddies of the bar's patron's for years. owen first saw them perform at the dugout near emory, where they recorded a partially-live tape in 1985 called "blue food."


1992-05: rites of passage tour program:

they put out their first cassette, the very primitive "blue food" which included such smash hits as "i don't know your name, but i wanna be your lover" and "if you live like that" - the only song they ever wrote together.


1995-09: indigo girls: record collector

in 1985 they released a 7 single, "crazy game", on their own record label, named after their high-school english teacher, j. ellis-lloyd ("we were both in love with him . . . he probably threw it away!"). they sold copies at gigs and outside the students' union. subsequently, they used the same label to issue an album, "blue food". mostly recorded live at the dugout, in atlanta, it contained otherwise unavailable original material, that any fan of the indigo girls' subsequent work would find intriguing. in particular, emily's achingly beautiful "untitled song" is one track on the record that still cries out for a wider audience.


2013-12-26: a.r.1985, official indigo girls "a year a month blog" on tumblr:

emily and i were now venturing into making proper recordings-sometimes at studios and sometimes capturing live shows. at the time, the d.i.y. movement was alive and well, and bands in atlanta were releasing their music on cassette tapes, ether giving them away or selling them at shows. if folks heard us play, we wanted them to go home with some of our music in hand, so we decided to make a tape of our originals and a few of our favorite covers. a friend we met on the music scene, dorn dutton really liked our music and helped us out by recording some of our shows there. we had also done some recording at an atlanta studio called web iv studio. the studio was a big deal in the south, but still accessible to us, which was one of the coolest things about growing up on the atlanta music scene-the accessibility factor was high in our town and gave us a chance to garner real experience. (web iv was the original name of a publishing company set up by well-known atlanta producer, bert berns -the name was derived from the names of his partners gerry wexler (w), ahmet ertegun (e), berns (b) and neshui ertegun (iv). when bert berns died in 1967, his widow bought a studio on faulkner road in atlanta and named it web iv recording studio. it thrived in the 70's and 80's and was one of the most important studios in the south.) we made a bunch of recordings at web iv, engineered by tommy cooper, and used some of them along with live recordings from the dugout for our first cassette release, a little tape we called blue food-a name that for better or worse, was true to form for us. there were 12 originals and 3 cover tunes. we made cassette copies of blue food at home and created the cover from a photo shoot proof sheet, using the old cut and paste technique. i haven't heard that cassette in a long time, but i noticed there are a couple of saliers / ray co-written songs on it, which is pretty funny since i don't remember writing them or what they sound like, so i'll be digging that tape out for sure.

around the same time we made blue food, we made our very first 7-inch record! we took the strongest song from our web iv studio recordings, "crazy game" and made a vinyl single out of it, with a dark maternal dirge called "everybody's waiting for someone to come home," as the b-side. both blue food and "crazy game" came out in 1985, under the name j.ellis records-a name that paid homage to our mentor and high school english teacher ellis loyd. the blue food tape had more music on it, but the single was a bigger deal and we considered it our first official recording. my dad loaned us a couple thousand bucks for the project. the record was pressed close by at georgia record pressing, which was such an inspiring process to me that i got a job there later, and worked off and on in the summer and between gigs. we sold the "crazy game" 7-inch at the campus bookstore and consigned it to record stores around town, it was our very first foray into the business of selling records.


2013-12-26: e.s.1985, official indigo girls "a year a month blog" on tumblr:

i hadn't thought about blue food for many years until amy found the original artwork for this independent, homemade cassette release we made in 1985. the guy who engineered it, dorn dutton, was a fan and friend who came to every show as far back as i can remember. it was recorded at the dugout, an emory hole-in-the-wall hangout on oxford rd that no longer exists but was for us a regular gig, and a springboard for developing a following, much in the same way that the little five points pub would become soon after. when i look at the photos from the blue food artwork, i am struck by how playful and silly they are, and how we dressed up and used a backdrop and a handwritten indigo girls logo of sorts. there is a charm and innocence, almost as if we were emulating what a "real" band would do when they released a recording. it was as homegrown as could be, and when i reflect on indigo girls now, 28 years later, i realize with comfort that we are still very much homegrown.

i suppose i think every year was pivotal in one way or another, both personally and professionally, but 1985 seems to be the year we became indigo girls and stayed indigo girls.


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