Archive for June 27th, 2012
Concord Music Group continues its Stax Remasters series by dipping into the label’s early days with a bona fide R&B classic. The title track of Booker T. & The MGs’ 1962 Green Onions is still instantly recognizable today from appearances in television (American Dad) and film (X-Men: First Class), and was in May 2012 inducted into the Library of Congress’ prestigious National Recording Registry. On July 24, the original Green Onions album will be reissued and expanded with two bonus tracks.
“Green Onions” was created by the classic line-up of organist Booker T. Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, drummer Al Jackson Jr. and bassist Lewis Steinberg. Originally the B-side of the May 1962 Volt single “Behave Yourself,” the catchy, organ-driven blues was quickly flipped, and reissued as an A-side on the Stax label. The Green Onions album followed that October as the debut long-player from Booker T. & The MGs, and included “Green Onions” as well as “Behave Yourself.” The instrumental made it all the way to pole position on the R&B chart, and made an impressive No. 3 placement on the Billboard Hot 100. Cover versions followed by everyone from Henry Mancini to The Ventures, and it remains one of the most beloved songs to come out of the Stax hitmaking factory.
The album was filled with similarly tight playing from the Stax house band on a variety of familiar songs and originals, including the follow-up, “Mo’ Onions.” (Belatedly released as a single in 1964, “Mo’ Onions” hit the Hot 100 Pop and R&B Singles charts.) Reissue producer Nick Phillips stated, “Beyond ‘Green Onions,’ which was their biggest hit single, there are so many other great songs on this album which Booker T. & The MGs transformed into timeless R&B instrumental classics, like ‘Comin’ Home Baby,’ ‘Twist and Shout,’ and Ray Charles’s ‘I Got a Woman.’ No matter what song they started with, by the time they were done with it, it was uniquely and unmistakably their own.”
Hit the jump for more on the new reissue plus the track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »
Well, this certainly doesn’t happen often: a previously-reported expanded edition of U.K. pop group Swing Out Sister’s debut LP is undergoing some 11th-hour changes, actually picking up a few bonus tracks for good measure.
When it was initially announced, the 25th anniversary edition of It’s Better to Travel from Universal’s U.K. arm featured the original nine-track LP and 11 bonus tracks over two discs. While there were plenty of B-sides and remixes to go around, many of them were previously available on compilations or other import editions of the album. (In particular, our brethren at Super Deluxe Edition were critical of the package, actually prompting a response on Twitter from S.O.S. keyboardist Andy Connell.)
Now, though, the package has been changed ever so slightly, and fans should have more than ever to look forward to on this set. What’s been added? Hit the jump and take a look.
What do Great White, The Presidents of the United States of America and Barry Manilow have in common? Why, Ian Hunter, of course. The former Mott the Hoople frontman provided those three with enduring songs, respectively, “Once Bitten, Twice Shy,” “Cleveland Rocks” and “Ships.” The career of the singer and songwriter is being celebrated by Cherry Red’s 7Ts label with the release of Ian Hunter’s Singles Collection 1975-83. This 2-CD set compiles all 29 sides released by Hunter as a solo artist during that period, including two stints on CBS and one on Chrysalis Records.
Though Mott the Hoople’s biggest hit came from David Bowie’s glam anthem “All the Young Dudes” (No. 3 U.K., 1972), Hunter was a prolific songwriter himself. Flush with the success of a hit single, both Hunter and the band, previously on the verge of a break-up, were revitalized. Mott rode the glam rock train with further hits like “Honaloochie Boogie” and “All the Way from Memphis,” and scored successful albums, as well. But all wasn’t well within the Mott camp. Despite having just brought guitarist and frequent Bowie collaborator Mick Ronson into the band in 1974, Hunter soon departed. By the year’s end, he had departed Mott, citing nervous exhaustion. Ronson followed suit. But despite calling it quits with a successful band, Ian Hunter wasn’t done with making music.
The Singles Collection kicks off with the 1975 single that made Hunter’s name as a solo artist, the original version of “Once Bitten, Twice Shy.” Recorded at George Martin’s AIR Studios, it was taken from his eponymous solo debut. Hunter was joined by Ronson as arranger, guitarist and co-producer for the track which made it to No. 14 on the U.K. chart. (Great White’s 1989 cover version went all the way to the Top 5 in America.) Phil Hendriks’ detailed, track-by-track liner notes for The Singles Collection point out that “Once Bitten” was Hunter’s only hit U.K. single as a solo artist, but clearly, fellow musicians were taking notice. His next album, All American Alien Boy, saw him joined by jazz greats David Sanborn and Jaco Pastorius, as well as drummer Aynsley Dunbar and even the members of Queen! Queen can be heard on “You Nearly Did Me In.” (For fans of that album, the single version of its title track might come as a surprise, as it was a wholly unique recording.)
Cover versions of Hunter’s songs also began to proliferate, a trend which would continue as the decades passed. “Who Do You Love” received a recording by The Pointer Sisters. 1979’s “Cleveland Rocks” was recorded by The Presidents of the United States of America in 1997 and got a second lease on life when the song was selected as the theme song to television’s long-running The Drew Carey Show. And Barry Manilow brought the tender, haunting ballad “Ships” into the American Top 10; Hunter has credited Manilow with adding the key changes that transformed the song into a bit of a power ballad. (The Singles Collection also includes the original version of “Cleveland Rocks,” recorded as “England Rocks,” in 1977.)
What does Meat Loaf have to do with Ian Hunter? What tracks will you find on The Singles Collection? How can you order? You’ll find answers to all of those questions, and more, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »