Archive for January 26th, 2012
New Blues Traveler Compilation Includes Unreleased Material, Hopefully Avoids Giving Fans the Runaround
Get out your big hats and harmonicas – Blues Traveler is releasing a new career-spanning compilation with a host of unreleased material to accompany their favorite singles.
Ah, the ’90s jam band revival. One of the more intriguing concepts to come out of the post-grunge explosion era, where it seemed every major label was trying something new to see if it would stick with audiences. The demand for quirky live acts gave popular culture stalwarts like the Dave Matthews Band and Phish as well as bands like The Spin Doctors, who enjoyed massive (if brief) success with Pocket Full of Kryptonite in 1991.
This craze gave somewhat less brief but equally and improbably meteoric rise to Blues Traveler – ironically, a band who’d made friends with The Spin Doctors and the Dave Matthews Band before coming up in the music business – in the mid-’90s. The Princeton-based group, initially comprised of John Popper (vocals/harmonica), Chan Kinchla (guitar), Bobby Sheehan (bass) and Brendan Hill (drums), were staples of the New York club scene when A&M signed them in 1990. Their hardcore touring ethic, perhaps best exemplified by the H.O.R.D.E. Festival they founded through the decade, was what initially drew in fans (including David Letterman, who’s featured the band more times on his Late Show than any other) – but it was the release of 1994′s Four and singles “Run-Around” and “Hook” that earned them mainstream attention. Their songs were catchy thanks to Popper’s distinctive, rapid-fire delivery, free-associative lyrics and howling harmonica playing, and “Run-Around” even won a Grammy.
The band faced some setbacks in the late ’90s and early 2000s with the accidental overdose and death of bassist Sheehan, Popper’s struggles with obesity and being dropped by A&M Records. But the band, now a five-piece with bassist Tad Kinchla (Chan’s brother) and keyboardist Ben Wilson, continues to tour and record, releasing their latest album, North Hollywood Shootout, in 2008. As they get ready to tour another summer and finish up a forthcoming studio album, the band has partnered with their old label to release 25, a double-disc set pairing up the hits with a bonus disc of B-sides and rarities spanning their entire career, almost all of which are making their debut on CD.
The package comes out March 6 and can be ordered after the jump, which is of course where you’ll also find a track list.
Spearheaded by Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak, the US Festival intended to be a celebration of technology and culture, with a temporary stage and open-air venue paid for by Wozniak himself just for the purposes of the festival. (Initially called the Glen Helen Pavilion, the San Manuel Amphitheater, where the festival was held, remains the largest of its kind in the country.) For two blisteringly hot weekends – Labor Day of 1982 and Memorial Day of 1983, performers including The Ramones, The Police, The Cars, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, INXS, The Clash, Van Halen, U2 and David Bowie would take the stage.
Despite the historical value of the performances, which captured many up-and-coming New Wave bands and traditional rock acts toward their peak, the festival was a failure, with at two reported deaths at the 1983 festival and Wozniak and promoters losing some $24 million. Setbacks aside, the performances remain a worthy footnote in rock history, and Shout! Factory aims to memorialize these moments, first through DVD and now on CD.
Performances by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings at the 1983 festival’s “Country Day” – held a week after the festival proper – were both released on DVD last November, and now they’re being released on CD on February 28. Both sets capture two country veterans at their peaks, with solid set lists from each performer (and guest appearances from Jennings on Willie’s set).
A month later, on March 27, the label will release a CD/DVD combo of the set from Australian metal group Quiet Riot, fresh off the success of breakthrough album Metal Health just months before.
Hit the jump to check them out!
Get ready to be experienced, again, on vinyl.
Sundazed Music and Experience Hendrix have announced a new series of 7-inch vinyl singles, housed in picture sleeves, featuring music not before released in the single format. The first such single will arrive in April, and both sides will be taken from Hendrix’s incendiary BBC performances of 1967 (released on CD and vinyl LP by Experience Hendrix as BBC Sessions).
Hendrix’s October 17, 1967 performance of Bob Dylan’s “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window” was recorded for the BBC’s Rhythm and Blues show. At the time of Hendrix’s performance, the song had only been available as a single (with “Highway 61 Revisited” as its flipside) and so it wasn’t one of Dylan’s most familiar songs. Hendrix, as always, was ready to reinvent the song with a blazing interpretation. “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?” is backed with the Hendrix original “Burning of the Midnight Lamp,” as performed on August 24, 1967 on BBC Television’s Top of the Pops.
The Top of the Pops performance was captured just one week after the song had been released in the U.K. on the Track Records label. Sundazed relates an amusing anecdote pertaining to the broadcast: “In keeping with strict Musician Union regulations, Jimi was to sing live atop the song’s instrumental backing track. The Top of the Pops presenter announced the Experience, but then ‘The House That Jack Built’ by the Alan Price Set began to play. A few seconds in, Jimi, ever polite, offered an apology: ‘I’m sorry, man, but I don’t know the words…” As panic no doubt ensued within the studio’s control room, the program’s flustered presenter apologized and implored Jimi to try it once again.” Hit the jump for more! Read the rest of this entry »