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Rhino Gets The Led Out, Wave Two: “Led Zeppelin IV” and “Houses of the Holy” Arrive in October

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Led Zeppelin - IV Box

It may be the dog days of summer, but that hasn’t stopped Led Zeppelin from adding a little more heat.  Following yesterday’s news of the next two reissues in Paul McCartney’s Archive Collection series, the legendary blues-rock band has announced the two next installments in its own definitive reissue program.  On October 28, Rhino/Atlantic – in conjunction with Zeppelin’s Swan Song label – will release Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy in a variety of CD, vinyl and digital formats.

The album referred to as Led Zeppelin IV arrived in late 1971, bearing no album title or even the band’s name on its cover.  Not that anybody was confused; with songs like “Stairway to Heaven,” “Black Dog,” “Rock and Roll” and “Going to California,” sales soared.  Though it peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, it’s currently the second-best selling album ever in the U.S., nestled between Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.  How to top that?  Houses of the Holy, consisting of all original material, arrived in spring 1973, and moved the band even further away from its blues-based brand of hard rock.  Its layered production and intricate compositions of “The Rain Song,” “The Song Remains the Same” and the reggae-based “D’yer Mak’er” a chart-topping album on both sides of the Atlantic.

Both albums will be available in the style of the recent Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III reissues, in the following formats:

  • Standard CD – Remastered album packaged in a gatefold card wallet.
  • 2-CD Deluxe Edition (2CD) – Remastered album plus previously unreleased companion audio disc.
  • Standard LP – Remastered album on 180-gram vinyl, packaged in a replica sleeve of the album’s first pressing.
  • Deluxe Edition Vinyl (2LP) – Remastered album and previously unreleased companion audio pressed on 180-gram vinyl.
  • Digital Download – Remastered album and companion audio will both be available.
  • Super Deluxe Box Set featuring the remastered original album and companion audio on both CD and 180-gram vinyl, plus a high-resolution digital download card for all content, housed in a hardbound 80-page book with a high-quality print of the album cover (the first 30,000 of which are individually numbered) also included.

After the jump, we have more information including the complete track listings and pre-order links for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 29, 2014 at 12:13

Release Round-Up: Week of July 29

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Allman Brothers - Fillmore BoxThe Allman Brothers Band, The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings (Mercury/UMe)

The four shows in March 1971 that made up the band’s legendary breakthrough album are presented in full for the first time, along with the group’s closing set at the Fillmore East that following June. The Blu-ray version features the material in both stereo and 5.1 surround sound.

6CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3-BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4LP Highlights: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Dream Academy - Morning LastedPeggy Lipton, The Complete Ode Recordings / Gene Rains, Far Away Lands — The Exotic Music of Gene Rains /How to Stuff a Wild Bikini: Original Stereo Soundtrack / Cass Elliot, Don’t Call Me Mama Anymore Plus Rarities – Her Final Recordings / Dee Dee Warwick, The Complete Atco Recordings / The Shirelles, Happy and in Love/Shirelles / The Dream AcademyThe Morning Lasted All Day — A Retrospective (Real Gone Music)

This diverse Real Gone set includes a compilation from underrated ’80s synthpop group The Dream Academy and recordings from Peggy Lipton, star of The Mod Squad; she covers the songs of Carole King, Laura Nyro, Brian Wilson and Tony Asher, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Jimmy Webb on this release, which has liner notes from our own Joe Marchese!

Peggy Lipton: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Gene Rains: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Wild BikiniAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Cass Elliot: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Dee Dee Warwick: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Shirelles: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Dream Academy: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Deep Purple Mark 1Deep Purple, Hard Road: The Mark 1 Studio Recordings 1968-1969 (Parlophone U.K.)

Deep Purple’s first three albums get the box set treatment with bonus tracks and stereo and mono mixes of the first two albums. (Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.)

Get On UpJames Brown, Get on Up: The James Brown Story – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Polydor/UMe)

In honor of the new film opening this week, Universal’s got a new JB compilation, naturally featuring a pair of unreleased live tracks from 1966. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The BreezeEric Clapton and Friends, The Breeze (An Appreciation of J.J. Cale) (Bushbranch/Surfdog)

The legendary bluesman and some famous friends (Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Mark Knopfler, John Mayer) pay tribute to the late blues singer-songwriter on this new album.

Standard Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD Box Set: Surfdog Records
4LP: Surfdog Records

LC CookeL.C. Cooke, The Complete SAR Records Recordings (ABKCO)

This anthology collects the complete recordings of L.C. Cooke for his older brother Sam’s SAR Records label, including one complete shelved album produced and largely written by Sam, plus alternate takes, unreleased tracks, session chatter and bonus recordings from the Checker and Destination labels!  Musicians include Bobby and Cecil Womack, Billy Preston and “Pink Panther” saxophonist Plas Johnson! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

I Hope We Get to Love in TimeSilver Convention, Get Up and Boogie: Expanded Edition / Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., I Hope We Get to Love in Time: Expanded Edition / Phyllis Nelson, Move Closer (Big Break Records)

Big Break has three more R&B classics arriving on CD this week  including the first post-5th Dimension album from Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. featuring their smash “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show).”

Silver Convention: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Marilyn & Billy: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Phyllis Nelson: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Super ChiefVan Dyke Parks, Super Chief (Yep Roc)

Yep Roc reissues Van Dyke Parks’ 2013 “orchestral fantasy” on standalone CD (previously only available as part of a Record Store Day vinyl package) for the first time! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

GOTG SoundtrackVarious Artists, Guardians of the Galaxy: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack/Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Hollywood Records)

Here’s the only collection approved for listening by The Star Lord! This indeed-awesome all-catalogue mix includes vintage cuts from The Jackson 5, The Raspberries, David Bowie, The Runaways, Blue Swede, Rupert Holmes and more – all but one of which (Norman Greenbaum’s immortal “Spirit in the Sky”) play key roles in the Marvel blockbuster-to-be! Also available as part of a 2CD or 2LP deluxe edition also including the film’s orchestral score by Tyler Bates!

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Essential NSYNC*NSYNC, The Essential *NSYNC (Jive/Legacy)

This two-disc set from the late ’90s/early ’00s boy band lives up to its name for fans, featuring all the great hits (“Bye Bye Bye,” “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” “Pop”) plus a myriad of rarities from compilations, soundtracks and international pressings. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ghostbusters_SoundtrackVarious Artists, Ghostbusters: Original Soundtrack Album (Arista/Legacy)

A sequel of sorts to the Record Store Day single co-produced by our own Mike Duquette, this is a straight reissue of the original soundtrack, newly remastered for vinyl. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Listen To What The Man Said: Paul McCartney Announces “Venus and Mars,” “Wings at the Speed of Sound” Archive Sets

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Venus and Mars Box Set

BREAKING NEWS!

Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed links that appeared on Amazon this morning for the rumored upcoming Paul McCartney Archive Collection editions of d Wings’ 1975 and 1976 albums Venus and Mars and At the Speed of Sound, respectively.  Well, the rumor is now a fact, as Concord Music Group’s Hear Music label and McCartney’s MPL have confirmed the September 23 arrival in the U.S. of both titles.

True to form, both albums will be available in a plethora of formats including 2-disc standard editions, 3-disc (2-CD/1-DVD) hardbound book editions, gatefold vinyl and digital, each with a disc of rare and previously unreleased bonus material.

Venus and Mars, released in May 1975, had the unenviable task of following the phenomenally successful Band on the Run.  Though Band had been recorded by the slim, three-person line-up of Paul and Linda McCartney and Denny Laine, Macca made the decision to bolster the group with the addition of Jimmy McCulloch on guitar and Geoff Britton on drums.  Before settling on Allen Toussaint’s Sea-Saint Studios as the recording venue of choice, Wings entered Abbey Road where early versions of three songs were cut for the new album.  After just six months in Wings, however, Britton departed the band, and American drummer Joe English completed the sessions for Venus and Mars.  Toussaint, Dave Mason and Tom Scott all guest-starred on the album which delivered on its promise of a true “Rock Show.”  If McCartney, indeed, had worried about building on the success of Band on the Run, he needn’t have.  Venus and Mars spawned a No. 1 single – the rollicking “Listen to What the Man Said” – and went to the top spot on both the U.S. and U.K. album charts. It also provided a platform for Wings to launch the Wings Over the World tour – which, of course, included the Wings Over America leg and album.

Between the Australian and European legs of Wings Over the World, McCartney and Wings entered Abbey Road to record the album that would become Wings at the Speed of Sound.  It was Macca’s first album wholly recorded in the U.K. since 1973’s Red Rose Speedway (still awaiting a deluxe Archive Collection reissue) and featured a number of lead vocals from singers other than Paul – Denny on “The Note You Never Wrote” and “Time to Hide,” Jimmy on “Wino Junko,” Linda on “Cook of the House,” and Joe on “Must Do Something About It.”  Of course, it was two songs sung by Paul that catapulted the album to another smash success: the endearing, childlike “Let ‘Em In” (No. 2 U.K./No. 3 U.S./No. 1 U.S. Easy Listening) and the unapologetically buoyant “Silly Love Songs” (No. 1 U.S./No. 1 U.S. Easy Listening).  The latter was a record-breaking 27th No. 1 for Paul the songwriter.  Released in March 1976, Speed of Sound went to No. 2 in the U.K. and the top spot in the U.S. for seven non-consecutive, becoming McCartney’s most successful album ever in America and setting the stage for the Wings Over America tour to take flight that May.

After the jump, we have more details courtesy the complete press release, plus pre-order links, the full track listings, and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 28, 2014 at 13:03

Release Round-Up: Week of July 22

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Beatles - Japan BoxThe Beatles, The Japan Box (Apple/UMe)

Stereo remasters, mono remasters, U.S. albums…and now, the first five albums from Japan on CD! What will they think of next? (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Herbie Hancock - WB YearsHerbie Hancock, The Warner Bros. Years: 1969-1972 (Rhino)

UPDATE: This title has been delayed to August 5.  Three Warner Bros. albums (released before Herbie prolifically joined Columbia), each expanded with rare and unreleased promo single versions. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Lost Time in a BottleJim Croce, Lost Time in a Bottle (Cleopatra)

A compilation of rare and unreleased demos and live performances from the celebrated singer, including two sets from 1964 and 1973. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Power and the GloryGentle Giant, The Power and the Glory (Alucard)

Steven Wilson remixes Gentle Giant’s 1974 album in stereo and 5.1 on a variety of formats!

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
DVD-Audio/CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Blu-ray Audio/CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Roslyn KindRoslyn Kind, Give Me You/This is Roslyn Kind (Masterworks Broadway)

Masterworks brings together the 1969 and 1968 RCA albums from Barbra Streisand’s talented half-sister, Roslyn Kind, on one CD-R or DD – including songs by Harry Nilsson, Jimmy Webb, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and more!

Steve Lawrence Walking ProudSteve Lawrence with Eydie Gorme, Walking Proud: The Teen Pop Sides 1959-1966 (Teensville/Rare Rockin’ Records)

The Australian Teensville label compiles 33 sides from Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, individually and collectively, concentrating on the Brill Building-style pop songs they recorded for the ABC-Paramount, United Artists and Columbia labels! (Amazon U.S.)

Rio VINYLDuran Duran, Rio (Expanded Vinyl) (Parlophone)

This 180-gram, 2LP version of the classic New Wave album (possibly available when the album was expanded in 2009) features the original U.K. album master of Rio with a bonus 12″ featuring five remixes by David Kershenbaum for the original U.S. pressing. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Written by Mike Duquette

July 22, 2014 at 07:59

Smashing Pumpkins Give Fans Something to “Adore”

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Adore boxThe next installment in The Smashing Pumpkins’ ongoing catalogue campaign has been announced – and in traditional Smashing Pumpkins fashion, it’s accompanied by a typically Billy Corgan moment.

Released in 1998, the follow-up to the band’s acclaimed double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Adore found the Pumpkins enduring some structural and personal changes: drummer Jimmy Chamberlain was out, and frontman Corgan endured a divorce, the death of his mother, and a shift in musical direction. Gone were the distorted, alt-rock staple guitars, replaced instead with folk-inspired, electronic-based songs. Despite critical high marks and modern rock hits in “Ava Adore” and “Perfect,” Adore was disliked by some fans, and Corgan’s responses toward that backlash didn’t make him many friends.

So now the time has come for Adore to be rediscovered, as a seven-disc box set featuring the album in stereo (and mono, as heard on the original vinyl release), four discs of outtakes and live material plus a DVD from a stop on the band’s An Evening with The Smashing Pumpkins, which found the band playing mostly new material in unusual venues for charity. The announcement was not without its controversy, as seen in Corgan’s online missive criticizing Amazon for leaking the track list before the box was officially announced.

After the jump, you’ll find that track list, as well as a link for just the full box set thus far (additional formats will be expected over time). It’s due out September 23.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 21, 2014 at 13:56

Call Him The Breeze: Clapton and Friends Celebrate Music of J.J. Cale On New Album, Exclusive Box Set

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Eric Clapton - The BreezeIn 2006, Eric Clapton teamed with singer-songwriter J.J. Cale for the collaborative album The Road to Escondido.  The guitar god had long been a fan and patron of Cale’s; he included “After Midnight” on his 1970 solo debut and took “Cocaine” to the Top 30 in 1977.  Escondido earned both men a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album, and it would prove to be among Cale’s final recordings.  He released the album Roll On in 2009, featuring Clapton on its title track.  Then, in 2013, Cale passed away at the age of 74.  On July 29, Clapton pays homage to his old friend with The Breeze: An Appreciation of J.J. Cale.  In the spirit of The Road to Escondido, Clapton has called on pals and admirers alike to celebrate Cale’s legacy, among them Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, Willie Nelson, Derek Trucks and John Mayer.  The Bushbranch/Surfdog Records release is being paired in a special online-exclusive box set with a disc of Cale’s original songs as covered on the new record, including three previously unissued tracks, as well as a special USB stick and more special content.

The Breeze takes its title from “Call Me the Breeze,” which Cale first recorded on his own solo debut, 1972’s Naturally.  The song was picked up by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Johnny Cash, Bobby Bare and John Mayer; Clapton tackles it himself on The Breeze.  Mayer joins Clapton on the new album for another Naturally tune, “Magnolia,” as well as for “Lies” (from 1973’s Really) and “Don’t Wait” (from 1982’s Grasshopper).  Tom Petty, whose latest album with The Heartbreakers also arrives this summer, handles “Rock and Roll Records,” “The Old Man and Me” and “I Got the Same Old Blues,” all from 1974’s Okie.  (Petty and his band covered the Okie track “I’d Like to Love You Baby” in concert, leading to its inclusion on their 2009 Live Anthology.)  Cale’s country-blues style also appealed to Willie Nelson, who appears on The Breeze with “Starbound” from Okie and the previously unheard “Songbird.”  Willie is supported on the former by The Allman Brothers Band’s Derek Trucks, who also is represented by “Crying Eyes” from Naturally.

Another guitar virtuoso, Mark Knopfler, is featured on two more previously unreleased Cale songs, “Someday” and “Train to Nowhere” with Don White.  Cale helped White form his first band and played guitar in that unit; White pays tribute to his friend and mentor with two more tracks, as well – “Sensitive Kind” and “I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me),” from 5 and Okie, respectively.

After the jump, we have full specs on the box set plus track listings, order links and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 18, 2014 at 11:55

The Allman Brothers Band’s “Fillmore East” Goes Super Deluxe In New Box Set

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Allman Brothers - Fillmore Box

2014 has been a year of upheaval for The Allman Brothers Band.  Following word that Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks would be departing the venerable group at year’s end, Gregg Allman confirmed that he, too, would stop touring after 2014 – effectively ending the band that bears his name.  Despite his claims that “this is the end of it,” Allman has left the door open to reunions down the road. “Who’s to say?,” he pondered in the pages of Relix.  “We may get together every five years and just do one play at a time.”  In the meantime, there could hardly be a better time to celebrate not the end, but the beginning, of The Allman Brothers Band’s live legacy.  On July 29, Universal will release The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings, a 6-CD or 3-BD complete sets  or 4-LP highlights set expanding the band’s first, landmark live album.

The original At Fillmore East – the 1971 album that was the group’s third release overall – was recorded during the band’s three-night stand in March ’71 at Bill Graham’s sadly-departed New York rock palace.  The double-LP set introduced those who hadn’t seen the band live to its epic improvisational abilities, featuring just seven songs on four sides of vinyl.  Producer Tom Dowd captured Gregg Allman, Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Jai Johanny Johanson and Butch Trucks on a set of originals and covers including Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues,” T Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday,” Gregg’s “Whipping Post” and Betts’ “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.”  Two more tracks from the March Fillmore gigs premiered on Eat a Peach, the 1972 studio-live hybrid album released by the band in the wake of Duane Allman’s tragic October 1971 death.

These thunderous blues-rock jam sessions have been revisited on numerous past releases.  The Duane Allman Anthology volumes unearthed tracks, as did the 1975 compilation The Road Goes On Forever (itself expanded on CD in 2001) and 1989’s Dreams box set.  1992’s The Fillmore Concerts combined tracks from the original At Fillmore East and Eat a Peach with one track from a June Fillmore performance, remixed and re-edited by Tom Dowd.  2003’s Deluxe Edition of At Fillmore East added six previously issued tracks from both the March and June stands – including “Drunken-Hearted Boy” performed with support act Elvin Bishop – to recreate a complete concert experience.  More previously unheard material from June premiered on the 2006 Deluxe Edition of Eat a Peach.

What’s on the new box set?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 16, 2014 at 10:32

Average White Band Line Up “All the Pieces” for New Box Set

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AWB Box shotFrom their million-selling U.S. No. 1 hit “Pick Up the Pieces” to a slew of soulful albums that have served as the backbone for countless hip-hop greats, Scottish funk outfit Average White Band have been long overdue for a proper catalogue rediscovery – something the fine folks at Edsel are doing with an exhaustive 19-disc box set, All the Pieces: The Complete Studio Recordings 1971-2003.

The AWB – first comprised on record of bassist/guitarist/vocalists Alan Gorrie and Hamish Stuart, “Dundee Horns” Malcolm Duncan and Roger Ball, drummer Robbie McIntosh and guitarist Onnie McIntyre, first rose to prominence as a support act for Eric Clapton in 1973; a failed album on MCA nonetheless attracted the attention of Clapton’s manager, Bruce McCaskill, who got the band a deal with Atlantic Records. Arif Mardin personally produced the band’s biggest hits, including acclaimed sophomore album AWB. A crucial lineup change occurred during the band’s hit period, when an overdose killed McIntosh; he was replaced by acclaimed session drummer Steve Ferrone. The band would disband in the early ’80s, with Stuart joining Paul McCartney’s touring ensemble; Gorrie, McIntyre, Ball and Santana drummer Alex Ligertwood recorded 1988’s Aftershock, and several albums with shifting lineups ensued through the self-released Living in Colour in 2003. Gorrie and McIntyre continue to lead a lineup of AWB in concerts through Europe.

All the Pieces contains all of the band’s studio albums, including both 1973 debut Show Your Hand and revised reissue Put It Where You Want It (1975), hits AWB (1974) and Cut the Cake (1975), double live Person to Person (1976), Benny and Us, a 1977 collaboration with Ben E. King, the half-new album/half-compilation Volume VIII (1980), a bonus disc of pre-Atlantic AWB outtakes released in 2003 and two discs of rare alternate takes and dance remixes. If you’re looking to dive in and, well, pick everything up, now’s the time to do so!

The box is available today in the U.K.; full specs and pre-order links are after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 15, 2014 at 11:17

Release Round-Up: Week of July 15

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AWB BoxAverage White Band, All the Pieces: The Complete Studio Recordings 1971-2003 (Edsel)

Nineteen discs of AWB goodness, including two discs of rarities? Now that’s something to blow your horn over. Full specs will be posted later today. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Coltrane SidemanJohn Coltrane and Friends, Sideman: Trane’s Blue Note Sessions (Blue Note)

Three discs of ‘Trane’s time as a sideman, with performances by Miles and Monk, all in glorious mono. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Garcia Live 4The Jerry Garcia Band, Garcia Live Volume 4: March 22, 1978 – Veteran’s Hall (ATO)

The latest volume in this official vintage live series is an unreleased, double-disc show of Garcia and band (including fellow Dead Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux) in Sebastopol, California. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Written by Mike Duquette

July 15, 2014 at 08:08

Give It to Us, Baby: Rick James’ Motown Masters (and More) Are Digitally Reissued

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Rick James Complete Motown AlbumsSinger, songwriter, bassist, producer, partier, punk-funk pioneer – however you know him, one thing’s clear: he’s Rick James. (You’ll have to imagine the word that usually follows.)

Though the world lost the “Super Freak” hitmaker 10 years ago this summer, his legend continues: this week sees the release of his authorized biography Glow, written with David Ritz, and to celebrate, two labels are joining forces to update his killer catalogue in the digital domain.

From the earliest moments of his musical career, Rick James (born James Ambrose Johnson, Jr.) was a bad boy. That career actually started with a violation of the law: Rick failed to report for active naval duty and fled to Canada, forming a band called The Mynah Birds (whose lineup would include some amazing heavy hitters of rock and roll, including Nick St. Nicholas of Steppenwolf and Neil Young on guitar!). The Mynah Birds were signed to Motown, but Rick’s past caught up to him, resulting in a yearlong jail sentence and an album that remains unreleased. As Rickie Matthews, the artist began writing and producing for Motown in the late ’60s, then hopscotched around several West Coast bands before returning to the Detroit-bred label in 1977.

Even before Prince laced up his highest heels, Rick James – whether it was solo, with his Stone City Band or protegees like the late, great Teena Marie – was one of the first major artists to meld traditional black soul and pop stylings with traditional rock and roll, a style he’d come to call “punk funk.” Tracks like “You and I,” “Mary Jane” and “Love Gun” were sensations in dance clubs and among rock critics. It was his fifth album, 1981’s Street Songs, that made him a crossover star, thanks to the Top 40 hits “Give It to Me Baby” and “Super Freak (Part 1).” (The latter, of course, will never die thanks to MC Hammer’s rap smash “U Can’t Touch This,” released in 1990.) Rick partied hard and played hard, releasing 11 Top 10 R&B singles over eight years with Motown’s Gordy label.

Eventually, though, he’d fly the coop for Reprise, earning an R&B chart-topper in “Loosey’s Rap” with Roxanne Shanté. But his second album for the label, 1989’s Kickin’, was shelved, and the 1990s were a blur of cocaine addiction and legal charges. James returned to music making in the late ’90s, and got one last major exposure shortly before his death: a loving comedic tribute from Dave Chappelle, whose Chapelle’s Show featured an extended sketch about James (featuring Chappelle as the young musician and James himself recounting his abusive friendship with Charlie Murphy, brother of comedian Eddie, whose debut R&B album was produced by James) that made them both stars.

The celebration of James’ life leads us to two conjoined catalogue initiatives from both Motown/UMe and Reprise/Rhino – and the full specs are after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 9, 2014 at 11:52

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