Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 54: Jack White “Live /// The Supply Chain Issues Tour” (2022)

The 54th set of exclusive vinyl items offered to members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in December of 2022. For those who are unaware, Third Man Records is the label owned by Jack White, who is the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, and is now a solo artist. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (usually one full-length album and one 7” single) to its members every three months.

The 54th Vault package contained a 3-LP live album from Jack White recorded in 2022, and a 7-inch single featuring two different versions of the song "A Tip From You To Me".

The 3-LP set Live /// The Supply Chain Issues Tour contains numerous recordings from White's 2022 tour in support of the two studio albums he released that year. Those two albums showed two different sides of White's craft. The first of those albums, Fear Of The Dawn, was the work of Jack White the futuristic alternative artist who made the 2018 album Boarding House Reach. The second, Entering Heaven Alive, was more the work of Jack White the music historian, exploring more old-fashioned sounds in ways similar to White’s first two solo albums, Blunderbuss (2012) and Lazaretto (2014). The first two discs in this set are live representations of those two studio albums, while the third shows yet another side of White as a performer.

White’s backing band for this tour consisted of bassist Dominic Davis, drummer Daru Jones, and keyboardist Quincy McCrary (aka Qemistry). The three discs in this Vault-issued live album were pressed in colored vinyl, the first one blue, the second one white, and the third one black.

The album’s first disc, pressed in blue vinyl, contains live versions of 8 songs from Fear Of The Dawn, most of them recorded during various July 2022 European tour dates. The studio versions of these songs made heavy use of technology, and these live renditions do sometimes use it as well. "Hi-De-Ho", co-written by White with Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, is a particularly tech-heavy example. But for the most part, the songs are instead fused with the type of heavy fuzz-amp guitar sound that White has been using since his White Stripes days. "The White Raven" has a guitar intro reminiscent of '60's blues-rock bands, then alternates between that sound and punchy fuzz riffs. "Eosophobia" (recorded during a Las Vegas show in May) and "Shedding My Velvet" have the most natural guitar-based sounds of the bunch, making them more reminiscent of White's first two solo albums. This disc makes an overall good impression, showing White using Dawn's techier elements occasionally as integral parts of the songs, but not using them as a crutch.

The second disc, pressed in white vinyl, documents an intimate concert at the Union Chapel in London on July 22, 2022, in which White and his band performed all 11 songs from Entering Heaven Alive in sequence, on the day of the album's release. The songs are generally presented in tasteful folk-rock arrangements. The intimate setting and scaled-back instrumentation did not require White to shout the lyrics of the songs, enabling him to communicate subtle emotion. The band members acquit themselves well with their low-key playing, but the standout musician is Quincy McCrary on the piano, who tickles the ivories with panache on "Queen Of The Bees", adds ragtime flavor to "Help Me Along" and "Taking Me Back (Gently)", and helps to give a jazz nightclub feel to "A Madman From Manhattan".

The third disc. pressed in black vinyl, captures White and his band doing unrehearsed rock-and-roll improv. During 26 live tracks from various shows that are crammed into less than 45 minutes' worth of vinyl grooves, White spontaneously covers songs by Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn, Iggy Pop and Captain Beefheart, The Gun Club and Mazzy Star...and others, too! He also improvises eight on-the-spot originals, some of which have potential to develop into great tracks on future studio albums, with impressive blues and slide guitar licks coming straight from Jack's gut. You would think the whole thing would sound sloppy and anarchic, but White is no punk; he shows surprising control during most of the tracks. When he covers the Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog", the song sounds as cohesive as anyone's version of it ever did. When he performs Hendrix's "Hear My Train A Comin'" or Tampa Red's "You Can't Get That Stuff No More", and when he slows the tempo down for the traditional "Wayfaring Stranger", the songs basically sound the way you might expect them to if White rehearsed them before he performed them. This disc makes a pretty good live album in itself.

The 7-inch single "A Tip From You To Me", pressed in glitter blue vinyl, contains two versions of that first track from Entering Heaven Alive. The finished studio version from the album is on the A-side; the B-side contains the song's demo. In its finished form, the mid-tempo folk-rock tune's lyrics are about being alone, but it's not necessarily portrayed in a negative way -- or is it? The tone does not sound particularly upbeat, and towards the end of the song, there is a suggestion that the character has a guilty conscience about something that someone (not necessarily himself) did in the past. And the slower acoustic demo on Side B suggests that the song originated with and was developed around the latter theme, as those lyrics from the second half of the song were apparently written first, and the title did not figure into the lyrics yet. In this working version of the song, the character plainly feels guilt over something he did do himself, and the feeling of being alone is described as both "hard" and "easy". It is interesting to hear how the song's original concept differs from the finished version.

Another note for fellow vinyl aficionados: the practice of engraving text in the dead wax, or the runout grooves between the sticker and the last track’s grooves, is present in this package. The three-record set has “Out of the twilight” carved in Side A, “Without reprisal” carved in Side B, “Genuflect” carved in Side C, “With Both Knees” carved in Side D, “Improvised” carved in Side E, and “And extemporaneous" carved in Side F. The 7-inch single has “On a half pint of Shandy” carved in Side A, and “...was paticularly ill” carved in Side B.

Jack White “Live /// The Supply Chain Issues Tour” (Third Man Records TMR-857) 2022

Track Listing:

Side A:

1. Taking Me Back
2. Fear Of The Dawn
3. The White Raven
4. Hi-De-Ho

Side B:

1. Eosophobia
2. What's The Trick?
3. That Was Then (This Is Now)
4. Shedding My Velvet

Side C:

1. A Tip From You To Me
2. All Along The Way
3. Help Me Along
4. Love Is Selfish
5. I've Got You Surrounded (With My Love)

Side D:

1. Queen Of The Bees
2. A Tree On Fire From Within
3. If I Die Tomorrow
4. Please God, Don't Tell Anyone
5. A Madman From Manhattan
6. Taking Me Back (Gently)

Side E:

1. Gordie Howe Bridge (improvised)
2. That's How I'm Feeling Right Now (improvised)
3. She's Like Heroin To Me
4. Ghost Highway
5. Nervous Breakdown
6. Diddy Wah Diddy
7. I've Got A Tiger By The Tail (improvised)
8. I'm Running In Brooklyn Because I've Got Nowhere Else To Go (improvised)
9. I'm A Man
10. Evil
11. Give Me Back My Wig
12. Scuttle Buttin'
13. It's Freezing Cold In El Paso And I Got Nowhere To Go (improvised)
14. Born Under A Bad Sign
15. When I'm Home You Can Feel The Tension (improvised)

Side F:

1. I Wanna Be Your Dog
2. Hear My Train A Comin'
3. Baby, Please Don't Go
4. You Can't Get That Stuff No More
5. Yes, I'm So Sick (improvised)
6. Wayfaring Stranger
7. I Ain't Superstitious
8. I Think I Got You (improvised)
9. Cool Drink Of Water Blues
10. I Hate You
11. It's Funky Enough

Jack White “A Tip From You To Me” (Third Man single TMR-849) 2022

Track Listing:

a. A Tip From You To Me
b. A Tip From You To Me (demo)

Reviews of other Third Man Records Vault packages


Daniel said…
Cool blog! Thanks for providing a good reference for all the past TMR vaults.