Archive for the ‘Box Sets’ Category
-ZZ Top, “Brown Sugar”
I hate to play favorites, but from day one, I’ve been a fan of Legacy Recordings’ “complete albums” concept. The slick packaging of an artist’s classic albums in one package, with nicely-crafted mini jackets, replicated label art on disc and the always promising idea of bonus content is often too good to pass up. I’m probably not the typical target buyer – really, when am I ever – but as someone hungry to dive in with a beloved band, these boxes really do the trick.
I’ve often hoped to see other labels follow suit on the concept, and the newest catalogue project from Rhino, ZZ Top’s The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 (Warner Bros. 8122-79664-2), is exactly what I’m getting at. This little set is the one to buy if you’re looking to cannonball into the Texas trio’s brand of Southern-smoked boogie.
ZZ Top are one of those bands that just know how to keep their fan base. The lineup of lead singer/guitarist Billy Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard hasn’t changed in four decades – nor has their commitment to raw, good-time 12-bar blues. With Hill and Beard as a whip-cracking rhythm section, Gibbons allows his six-string skills to shine in a way that few other rock guitarists allow. He’s distinctive without laying it on too thick – just flashy enough to stay ahead of the pack. From rockin’ singles like “La Grange,” “Tush” and “Sharp Dressed Man” to lesser-known cuts like the ballads “Sure Got Cold After the Rain Fell” or “I Need You Tonight,” Gibbons – and, by extension, ZZ Top – are a master of their craft.
Keep reading about the “little ol’ band from Texas” after the jump, and find out what else we like about the box, too!
If you thought Edsel’s box set edition of T. Rex’s The Slider (or UMC’s super-deluxe Electric Warrior) was as big as it could get for the glam rock legends, it might be time to rethink things: SpinCDs reports a six-disc box set encapsulating all of Marc Bolan’s performances for the BBC – including both tracks by T. Rex and John’s Children – will be released in the U.K. this fall.
Marc Bolan At The BBC is hardly the first compilation to collect these live-in-studio recordings – 2006′s out-of-print triple-disc Bolan At The Beeb was the latest - but it considerably ups the ante by including every known surviving recording Bolan did for the BBC. (It was long the BBC’s policy to erase tapes after use, unwittingly rarefying moments of rock history like these.) This includes not only all of the officially-released recordings (including a full two discs of album tracks specifically remixed for the BBC), but a heap of alternate sources, including BBC transcription discs and reel-to-reel recordings. The variety of sources may not make for a consistent listening experience, but this set should hopefully present these recordings in the best possible way.
All of it was compiled by producer/unabashed fan Clive Zone, over a period of six years. Zone’s efforts have allowed for much to be presented anew, including a rare 1968 set from Bolan’s first psychedelic group John’s Children and early John Peel sessions for the band first known as Tyrannosaurus Rex. The box will also feature a new essay by Mark Payress, the author of the Bolan bio Bolan: The Rise and Fall of a 20th Century Superstar); all tracks are remastered by Keiron McGarry at Universal Mastering Studios London to their best possible fidelity.
The box is expected out on August 26. A tentative Amazon U.K. link is here; in the meantime, the full track list is after the jump.
Rumer’s 2010 single “Some Lovers,” from Bacharach and Steven Sater’s musical of the same name, is the most recent track on Universal U.K.’s new box set Anyone Who Had a Heart: The Art of the Songwriter. Yet 2010 melts into 1965 like a ray of sunshine on the “cloudy Christmas morning” in the song lyric. Sleigh bells gently underscore wistful flugelhorns as it begins, with Rumer’s dreamy, comforting vocals gracefully gliding over the bittersweet melody. “Everything we touch is still a dream,” she sings, and for three minutes or so, it is. Even shorn of its lyrics, “Some Lovers” would radiate the warm glow of nostalgia without ever seeming dated. And it’s just one of 137 tracks found on the box’s six CDs, all standing as a testament to the songwriter’s signature style, remarkable consistency, and uncanny ability to render emotions through his musical notes. The music of Burt Bacharach is sophisticated in its composition but simplicity itself in its piercing directness. So why is this handsomely-designed, large box less than the sum of its (formidable) parts?
Anyone Who Had a Heart has been released to coincide with Bacharach’s memoir of the same name, and is also available in two 2-CD configurations, one each for the United States and the United Kingdom. The 6-CD version follows in some rather large footsteps: that of Rhino’s 1998 box set The Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection. As expertly curated by Patrick Milligan and Alec Cumming, that sublime 3-CD box was the first to trace the arc of Bacharach’s career in context, and it played a mighty role in his career renaissance. Yet over the ensuing fifteen years, Bacharach has continued to write with a frequency that would impress his much younger colleagues, so the time was certainly right for an updated package. (The Look of Love concluded with Bacharach and Elvis Costello’s 1996 recording of “God Give Me Strength.”) The ambitious Anyone Who Had a Heart is the first box since The Look of Love to take on the entirety of Bacharach’s career, though Hip-o Select’s 2004 Something Big: The Complete A&M Years collected all of his solo work for Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss’ label with a handful of rarities included for good measure. But the new box is best enjoyed as a complement to The Look of Love, not an update or expansion.
The first four discs of this box are dedicated to a chronological account of Bacharach’s work, from 1955’s “(These) Desperate Hours” to 2010’s “Some Lovers.” The fifth disc is essentially a single-disc distillation of the Hip-o box set, dedicated solely to Bacharach’s own, primarily instrumental recordings of his songbook. The sixth disc shows the breadth of his influence as it presents an entire collection of jazz interpretations (both vocal and instrumental). The fifth and sixth discs present an expanded view of his career not found on The Look of Love. The first four discs cover the same territory as the Rhino box, but best it with 95 tracks vs. 75. However, the approach by producers Kit Buckler, Paul Conroy and Richard Havers is a more idiosyncratic, less focused one. Whereas The Look of Love concentrated on original versions of songs – most of which Bacharach produced and/or arranged – Anyone Who Had a Heart casts a wider net to give great attention to cover versions. This approach does allow for stylistic variety but leaves the listener with a less definitive account of “the essentials.” The new box is successful in fleshing out the periods that bookend Bacharach’s career, addressing his earliest and most recent songs with more depth than the 3-CD format of The Look of Love allowed.
Hit the jump as we explore the Art of Bacharach! Read the rest of this entry »
If Everybody Had An Ocean: The Beach Boys’ 6-CD Box Set “Made in California” Premieres 60 Previously Unreleased Tracks
On my way to sunny California, on my way to spend another sunny day…
The sounds of summer will be in perfect harmony on August 27 when Capitol Records releases the
Beach Boys’ long-awaited, retrospective box set Made in California. Word first came last summer of the 50th anniversary box, as the reunited group of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks were winding down a phenomenally successful world tour. Since then, the Love/Johnston faction of the band has resumed touring, while Wilson, Jardine and Marks have announced a number of live dates to come this summer. A 2-CD chronicle of the 2012 tour has just been released, and last week, Brian Wilson announced his return as a solo artist to Capitol Records for an as-yet-unscheduled album to feature Jardine, Marks, and guests including Jeff Beck.
Though a late 2012 arrival was originally planned, the band intends to prove that good things do come to those who wait with this latest celebratory project. Made in California details the Hawthorne, California band’s history from 1961 to the present day over 6 CDs, with more than 7-1/2 hours of music and 60 previously unreleased tracks (17 of them live). Designed in the style of a high school yearbook, Made in California tells the Beach Boys’ story through all of their hits plus never-before-released songs, alternate takes, demos, rare mixes, and live performances.
Take the plunge and hit the jump for all of the details including the complete track listing! The water’s fine! Read the rest of this entry »
Paul McCartney and Wings, Rockshow (Eagle Rock)
ZZ Top, The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 (Warner Bros./Rhino)
So not only are you getting all of ZZ Top’s London/Warner-era albums in one convenient box, but you’re getting a fair amount of them in their original mixes for the first time ever on CD. Win? Win. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Various Artists, The Complete Motown Singles Volume 12A: 1972 (Hip-O Select/Motown)
Richard Pryor, No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert (Shout! Factory)
Burt Bacharach, Anyone Who Had a Heart: The Art of the Songwriter (U.K.-only box set) (UMe)
From the U.K. comes a new six-disc anthology of Bacharach’s best works as a writer or performer – easily more comprehensive than the double-disc set U.S. audiences got recently. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Icehouse, The 12 Inches Volume 1 (Repertoire)
Originally released in 1996 after the success of the diamond-certified double-album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (itself the latest notch in the Pumpkins’ reissue campaign, with a six-disc box set edition released last year), Aeroplane collated and expanded all of the CD singles released to promote that album, featuring “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” “1979,” “Zero,” “Tonight, Tonight” and “Thirty-Three” with their many respective B-sides. Initially intended as a limited edition set, the box’s high chart placement (No. 42 on the Billboard charts) in fact generated more copies.
This deluxe edition, unsurprisingly, follows suit with the rest of the band’s extensive catalogue project, piling bonuses heavy atop the original program. What was a five-disc, 33-track set is now seven (six CDs and one DVD) with some 57 bonus tracks, including demos, outtakes, rough mixes and live cuts. The additional discs in the set are a CD, “Live from the Dark Globe,” recorded at various dates on the band’s 1996 tour, an a newly-released DVD of a live show in France from 1997.
The package, newly remastered by Bob Ludwig, features a 48 page book featuring liner notes by David Wild and track-by-track notes on the box’s original track list by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan. The redesigned set features an embossed foil wrap for the box itself and mini-jackets for each disc printed on twinkle stock. Additionally, the original box will be available as a five-LP set, with both versions made available for digital download, as well.
Aeroplane indeed flies high on July 23. Hit the jump for the full track list and pre-order links for the expanded box!
Though it was The Allman Brothers Band’s fifth album, 1973’s Brothers and Sisters actually marked a rebirth. The tight-knit unit had weathered the tragic deaths of leader Duane Allman and Berry Oakley in 1971 and 1972, respectively. The 1972 double album Eat a Peach would be the last to feature Duane’s inimitable slide guitar, as he died during its recording. And Oakley perished as sessions for Brothers and Sisters were occurring. Yet the band soldiered on, and even flourished. The completed Brothers and Sisters became a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 (remaining in the top spot for five weeks) and spawned a No. 2 Pop single, “Ramblin’ Man.” Now, forty years on, the album is being celebrated by Universal’s Mercury label with a new anniversary reissue. On June 25, a remastered edition of the platinum seller will arrive in four formats: vinyl, CD, 2-CD Deluxe Edition, and 4-CD Super Deluxe Edition.
The original album, clocking in at less than forty minutes, tightened the band’s expansive musical style into something leaner, meaner and even more accessible. But that didn’t mean that the group toned down its expressive, distinct, blues-based musicianship. Gregg Allman (vocals/organ/rhythm guitar), Dickey Betts (vocals/lead and slide guitars/dobro), Jai Johnny Johanson – or “Jaimoe” (drums/congas) and Butch Trucks (drums/percussion/tympani/congas) were joined by new recruits Chuck Leavell (piano/keyboards/vocals) and Lamar Williams (bass). Berry’s Oakley’s original contributions, of course, remained on the album, including bass on Betts’ hit single “Ramblin’ Man.” Betts came into his own as a songwriter on Brothers and Sisters, writing the entirety of the second side. The upbeat instrumental “Jessica,” the radio-friendly “Southbound” (sung by Gregg) and the country-flecked “Pony Boy” added up to a virtual suite. The original Capricorn Records release, produced by Johnny Sandlin with the band, featured a gatefold photograph of the Allman Brothers’ extended family, underscoring the ties that still bound the band despite its losses. (Vaylor Trucks, son of Butch, appeared on the bucolic front cover, and Brittany Oakley, daughter of Berry, appeared on the rear artwork.)
What will you find on Mercury’s 40th anniversary editions? Hit the jump to find out. Plus: a full track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »
It’s a Family Affair: Sly and the Family Stone Want to Take You “Higher!” With New Career-Spanning Box Set
Epic Records and Legacy Recordings want you to have some hot fun in the summertime. On August 27, the labels will release the first-ever career-spanning box set dedicated to Sly and the Family Stone, as previewed on Record Store Day 2013. The box succinctly entitled Higher! wants to take you there. 77 tracks chronicle the period between 1964 and 1977, and 17 of those recordings are previously unissued.
Sly Stone, born Sylvester Stewart in 1943, couldn’t hide his prodigious musical talents from an early age. By the mid-1960s, the Texas boy had found his way to California’s Bay Area and the fertile, experimental scene there. The hustling young man found gigs as a popular disc jockey for KSOL, and joined the staff at San Francisco’s Autumn Records. Sly spearheaded a rock-and-roll revival with Bobby Freeman (writer and originator of “Do You Wanna Dance” years earlier) and was instrumental in the success of The Beau Brummels. It was Sly who produced the Brummels’ 1964 hit “Laugh, Laugh,” on which the Bay Area met the British Invasion head-on. The enterprising young man also oversaw the early recordings for Autumn subsidiary North Beach of The Great Society including “Someone to Love,” although the sessions were tumultuous. The Society’s Grace Slick would later turn it into a chart smash on RCA with Jefferson Airplane. But the newly-rechristened Sly Stone had his sight on even bigger things.
In 1967, Stone assembled a group of multi-racial, male and female musicians to bring to life his vision of a new kind of music. His brother Freddy (guitar), Larry Graham (bass), Greg Errico (drums), Jerry Martini (saxophone/reeds), Cynthia Robinson (trumpet) would form the Family Stone, with Sly’s sister Rose soon completing the lineup on keyboards. The Family Stone would be different from Stone’ last band, an R&B outfit cheekily named Sly and the Stoners – it would blend soul, R&B, pop, rock and proto-funk into A Whole New Thing, as the band’s first album was called. Though that LP didn’t make as many waves as expected, the band’s second album very definitely did. It was called Dance to the Music, and its title track became Sly and the Family Stone’s first Top 10 hit.
And the hits kept on comin’: “Everyday People” (No. 1), “Hot Fun in the Summertime” (No. 2), “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” (No. 1), “Family Affair” (No. 1), et cetera. An incendiary performance at Woodstock was just one of the band’s triumphs. Sly and the Family Stone also reflected the enormous social changes in America with powerfully charged LPs like Stand! and There’s a Riot Goin’ On. But the original Family Stone broke up in 1975, having already survived the departures of Greg Errico in 1971 and Larry Graham the following year. Sly would have his very well- publicized ups and downs in the years to come, and he periodically reactivated the Family Stone name, most notably for two Warner Bros. albums in 1979 and 1982. A 2009 Sly Stone album bore the name I’m Back! It wasn’t the first such proclamation – and likely won’t be the last – for the iconoclastic music legend.
After the jump: what can you expect on the new box set? We have more details plus a full track listing with discography, pre-order links, and information on a bonus exclusive! Read the rest of this entry »
Fans of classic rock and roll revival act Showaddywaddy have got quite the box set coming their way from Edsel in June. The Complete Studio Recordings 1973-1987 collects just about the band’s entire output, released or otherwise, in a 10-disc set.
The U.K. act rose to almost improbable fame in the mid-to-late ’70s by dressing up in 1950s-London fashion (known to the uninitiated as “Teddy Boy” subculture) and covering a host of old-time rock songs, from Buddy Holly (“Heartbeat”) and Eddie Cochran (“Three Steps to Heaven”) to The Marcels (“Blue Moon”) and Gerry Goffin/Barry Mann (“Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp-a-Bomp-a-Bomp”). If that sounds crazy to you, the revelation that the band had 10 Top 10 hits in England, including the chart-topper “Under the Moon of Love” must sound ludicrous. Showaddywaddy still tour across the U.K. (embarking on a 40th anniversary trek this year), with original members Romeo Challenger on drums and Rod Deas on bass leading the group. (The band is still managed by singer Dave Bartram, despite his stepping down as lead singer in 2011.)
The Complete Studio Recordings includes all eight of the band’s albums for Bell, Arista and RCA – all of which had been reissued and expanded by Cherry Red’s 7Ts label in recent years – and adds two extra discs: one of non-LP single sides, and one of unreleased demos and alternate mixes.
The box is available on June 17, and can be ordered after the jump.
With a burst of boogie woogie, Paul McCartney finally acknowledged the elephant in the room. And then he made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t going to be standing in any shadow, even his own. That moment came seven songs into the first disc of Wings Over America when Paul suddenly became Beatle Paul once again, tearing into “Lady Madonna” with Fats-inspired glee. The Wings Over the World tour – taking in three continents, 66 concerts and roughly one million fans – was the most dramatic realization yet of McCartney’s reinvention. It was also the first time he performed his Beatles back catalogue as the leader of Wings. “You could seriously go down in history as a guy who tried to get as good as The Beatles and failed miserably,” he’s recently said. “I felt, in the end, like the guy who tried to get as good as The Beatles – and didn’t. But did awfully well.” And he arguably never did better than the Wings Over America leg of the tour.
From May 3, 1976 in Fort Worth, Texas, through June 23 in Inglewood, California, Wings played 31 dates for 600,000 fans. The massive arena rockshow party thrown by McCartney, wife Linda, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch, Joe English and a four-person brass section (Tony Dorsey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard and Howie Casey, a fellow Liverpool native and longtime hero of McCartney’s who played the same venues as the young Beatles) translated to disc as one of the most electrifying live albums ever. And now the chart-topping Wings Over America has been released as the fifth entry in The Paul McCartney Archive Collection – and the most dizzyingly lavish yet.
The remastered 2013 Wings Over America has flown into shops in multiple editions. The original album is available as a standard 2-CD edition and a 3-LP set. Retail giant Best Buy is offering a 3-CD version. But the centerpiece is the individually numbered, slipcased set of 3 CDs, 1 DVD and 4 books. This massive, heavy box dwarfs even last year’s Ram, which itself was significantly bigger than the book-style format of Band on the Run, McCartney and McCartney II. Despite its larger size, though, its similar spine design and identical height still makes it possible to display on your shelf next to those volumes. With this set, it’s likely that you’ll lose yourself in the not just the music, but in the overwhelming array of printed material relating to McCartney’s American jaunt.
After the jump: we dive into the various versions of Wings Over America! Read the rest of this entry »