Archive for May 15th, 2012
Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on notable albums and the reissues they may someday see. Today marks the just-over-three-decade mark on a classic British LP of the ’80s that is practically screaming for a deluxe effort.
If you were brave or foolhardy enough to label Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook the heirs to the throne of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, 1981 was truly the year to do it. The British singer/songwriters and their little New Wave band that could, Squeeze, had been gigging since the ’70s and would release their fourth studio album in four years, East Side Story, in England 31 years ago today, May 15, 1981.
The album became a landmark of its times, with devout Squeeze fans across the world (a bit of an oxymoron, as all fans of Squeeze are devoted) hailing it as the band’s crowning achievement: singable, iconic, diverse pop/rock helmed by a band in full control of their powers and a famous producer willing to coax the absolute best from them. Though key track “Tempted” was never a hit on either side of the Atlantic, it stands as the band’s signature song; that’s hardly scratching the surface, though, with two other singles and a host of key album sides at play.
Reissues of the Squeeze back catalogue are a key point for any fan: Universal Music Group reissued the band’s first six albums with bonus tracks in 1997, and ten years later started a definitive campaign from the band’s entire A&M discography, issuing expanded editions of Argybargy (1980), Sweets from a Stranger (1982), Frank (1989) and Ridiculous (1995). But the campaign hasn’t gone anywhere since – and East Side Story is well atop the list of Squeeze LPs that deserve the red carpet treatment.
After the jump, we recount the making of this classic album and our vision for a quintessential version of this album on CD!
It’s A Happening World: Real Gone Announces Sixties Bonanza of Electric Prunes, Tokens, Timi Yuro, More
It will be a sixties flashback on June 26 when Real Gone Music ushers in the summer with five releases from that golden decade of music. “Complete Singles” collections are due from experimental rockers The Electric Prunes and big-voiced soul queen Timi Yuro, and the label is also anthologizing the legendary folk group The New Christy Minstrels. Last but certainly not least, two original LPs are being remastered and expanded: an outré pop classic from The Tokens and the debut of “international teen-age sensation” Rita Pavone.
One of the most indelible of the Nuggets compiled by Lenny Kaye for the original 1972 compilation of psychedelic garage-rock “artyfacts” – and indeed, the first cut on the seminal anthology – was The Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night.” That No. 11 hit was only the Prunes’ second single, but it announced that the Seattle, Washington-formed band had plenty to say. The story of the Prunes is a tumultuous one, with dominating producers (Dave Hassinger, David Axelrod) shaping the band’s sound and identity through a variety of changes to both the group sound’s and its line-up. Yet the remarkably diverse music released under the Electric Prunes name has endured thanks to its consistently high quality. The Complete Reprise Singles compiles for the very first time all 23 of the band’s Reprise single sides. The Prunes’ music was described by band members James Lowe and Mark Tulin in 2007 as “Electric, eclectic, sinister, existential, whimsical, [and] innocent,” and all of those qualities are very much in evidence on these singles. They’re presented in their original mono mixes, and Richie Unterberger supplies sleeve notes including commentary from the band and photos of the original singles. And as a bonus, you’ll hear the Prunes’ demonstration of the Vox Wah-Wah Pedal! The Complete Reprise Singles should make the perfect companion to Rhino U.K.’s 2007 compilation Too Much to Dream: Original Group Recordings 1966-1967, which presented the group’s first two LPs in expanded form.
The next artist to receive Real Gone’s “Complete Singles” treatment is Timi Yuro (1940-2004). The Complete Liberty Singles is described by the label as the first to feature original mono single mixes rather than “after-the-fact stereo remixes or album tracks.” This 2-CD collection includes for the first time the A- and B-sides of all of the U.S. singles Timi released on Liberty Records during her two stints with the label, , all remastered at Capitol Studios. Despite her young age, the Chicago-born Yuro’s style was deeply soulful, influenced by R&B and jazz vocal greats. In addition to her signature 1961 hit “Hurt,” The Complete Liberty Singles features Phil Spector’s uncredited production of “What’s A Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You),” the rare single and Northern soul favorite “It’ll Never Be Over for Me/As Long as There Is You” and the early Burt Bacharach/Hal David song “The Love of a Boy,” also arranged by Bacharach. The set’s co-producer Ed Osborne writes the liner notes and supplies a singles discography along with photos.
Hit the jump to see what’s coming from The Tokens, The New Christy Minstrels and Rita Pavone! Read the rest of this entry »
Back on July 26, 2010, we reported on Sweets, Spice, Sugar, Pins and Needles, a 4-CD, 120-track boxed retrospective dedicated to The Searchers, the second-most famous band to emerge from Liverpool during the British Invasion! We wrote:
One of the best and most successful bands to come out of Liverpool, The Searchers may have toiled in the shadow of that other band from Liverpool, but hits like “Sugar and Spice,” “Pins and Needles” and “When You Walk in the Room” remain some of the strongest recordings to come out of the mid-1960s. Now, Universal U.K.’s Sanctuary arm is bestowing the band with the lavish box set treatment. Entitled Sweets, Spice, Sugar, Pins and Needles, the box turns the spotlight on 120 tracks over four discs. Those tracks include rough demos, BBC recordings, solo turns by group members and material from the late-1970s power pop discs released here in the USA on the Sire label, not to mention all of those classic hit singles.
This box comes hot on the heels of a recent single-disc anthology which saw the band back in a Top 10 position on the British pop charts, but it should satisfy fans both abroad and stateside. The Searchers may have suffered for a lack of original songwriting, but the cover versions they chose were almost uniformly top-notch, whether emanating from the East or West Coasts of America. Sun-kissed songs like Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono’s “Needles and Pins” and Jackie DeShannon’s “When You Walk in the Room” both were reworked a la Merseyside, while the Brill Building catalogs of Pomus and Shuman (“Sweets for My Sweet”) and Leiber and Stoller (“Love Potion No. 9”) were likewise beneficiaries of the Searchers’ hitmaking prowess. Release date information and the track listing for Sweets, Spice, Sugar, Pins and Needles hasn’t been revealed to the public yet (although favorable reviews have shown up at both Record Collector and Mojo), but watch this space for such news when it arrives.
Well, it’s taken almost two years, but The Searchers’ box set has finally been confirmed with a release date of June 25 as well as a new title: Hearts in Their Eyes. Hit the jump for the full specs including a track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »
Pantera, Vulgar Display of Power: 20th Anniversary Edition (ATCO/Rhino)
One of the heaviest albums of the ’90s, expanded with one bonus track from the vault and a bonus DVD of live material and music videos.
Diana Ross, Live in Central Park (Shout! Factory)
Both of Miss Ross’ iconic nights in Central Park in 1983 – one with rain, one without – on DVD for the first time anywhere.
The Tubes, Outside Inside: Expanded Edition (Iconoclassic)
Step inside another world with The Tubes’ most famous of pop/rock albums, newly remastered with bonus B-sides.
Various Artists, No Room for Rockstars: The VANS Warped Tour (Shout! Factory)
A documentary on the history of the influential punk rock concert tour, with a bonus CD of studio tracks by some of the tour’s most famous acts.