Archive for the ‘Box Sets’ Category
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 »
From 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.
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.)
Singer, 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!
Last fall, Cherry Red’s RPM Records label offered Looking Good, a 3-CD, 75-song box set dedicated to “femme mod-soul nuggets.” That collection itself followed Looking Back: 80 Mod, Freakbeat and Swinging London Nuggets, and now, a third entry in the series has arrived. Keep Lookin’ presents, as its subtitle states, 80 More Mod, Soul and Freakbeat Nuggets. The format, style and emphasis are the same, but the collection offers a diverse array of sixties hidden gems – in its own words, “from blue-eyed soul stompers to British R&B nuggets, wigged-out freakbeat anthems and sought-after Swinging London rarities.”
This box, largely but not exclusively, explores the impact that American soul and R&B had on the British rockers of the mid- to late sixties. Some of the names from both sides of the Atlantic are familiar – The Spencer Davis Group, John Lee Hooker, Eartha Kitt among them – but the majority of these bands’ names will be major discoveries to all but the most dedicated record collectors. However, the personnel on Keep Lookin’ features quite a few A-listers such as Jimmy Page, Marc Bolan, Steve Howe, Bon Scott and the future “God of Hellfire” himself, Arthur Brown. Tracks have been derived from Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, from labels big and small including Decca, President, Spark, Columbia, Parlophone, Planet and Rainbow.
The three discs, each housed in an individual paper sleeve within the compact and sturdy box, are arranged thematically. The box begins with the more “pure” beat/R&B songs before moving to soul and femme pop (in the style of the tracks on Looking Good) and concluding on the third disc with the “heaviest” sounds of the Swinging London scene. Many of the songs are covers rendered in a new style. Before he was AC/DC’s drummer, Bon Scott played with Aussie band The Spektors; they’re heard on a rare 1966 take of Van Morrison’s Them garage-rocker “Gloria.” Keith West’s formative incarnation of The In Crowd, Four + One, offers a Rolling Stones-esque performance of Chuck Berry’s “Don’t Lie to Me.” London’s The HI-Fi’s tackled Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Mickey’s Monkey,” and The Rockin’ Vickers – fronted by the young Lemmy in his pre-Motorhead days – is heard with Ray Davies’ “Dandy,” a hit for Herman’s Hermits. Other cover highlights: Australian band Willpower’s overhaul of the Stax classic “Soul Finger,” Sands’ revival of Ike and Tina Turner’s Phil Spector-produced “River Deep, Mountain High” and heavy versions of The Rascals’ “Love is a Beautiful Thing” and Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me” from The Alan Bown! and The Mike Stuart Span, respectively. The box’s one previously unreleased track is a goodie from the vaults of Who producer Shel Talmy’s Planet label: The Tribe’s version of Jerry Riopelle’s “My Heart Won’t Believe It,” a song originally produced by Jack Nitzsche on Capitol for Los Angeles’ The Vulcanes.
We’ve got a lot more on this mod set after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
Crosby Stills Nash and Young, CSNY 1974 (Rhino)
The legendary supergroup documents the so-called “Doom Tour” for its 40th anniversary in an absolutely stunning package containing 40 songs, over 3 hours of music (on CD or Blu-ray Audio), a nearly 200-page book and a bonus video DVD with eight additional performances.
The SoCal troubadour goes bare-bones to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his seminal Late for the Sky. The album has been freshly remastered by Doug Sax, Robert Hadley and Eric Boulanger, but there’s no additional content and the disc is housed in a simple fold-out digipak with full lyrics. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Neil Diamond, All-Time Greatest Hits (Capitol/UMe)
Diamond’s move to Capitol, taking all of his masters with him under one roof, necessitates a new single-disc compilation with most of the hits you desire, plus the rarer solo version of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Loleatta Holloway, Dreamin’ – The Loleatta Holloway Anthology (1976-1982) / Skyy, Skyyhigh – The Skyy Anthology (1979-1992) / Yarbrough & Peoples, The Two Of Us (Expanded) / Jesse Green, Nice & Slow (Expanded) (Big Break Records)
Big Break Records kicks off July with a quartet of amazing R&B titles including lavish and definitive anthologies from Salsoul queen Loleatta Holloway – featuring Dan Hartman and Loleatta’s smash “Relight My Fire” for the first time ever on a Loleatta album – and the band Skyy, with hits from Capitol, Atlantic and Salsoul! As always, Joe will have a full rundown on these titles soon!
The Deep Purple catalogue has seen its share of reissues over the years – even during The Second Disc’s four and a half year tenure – but there’s another box set to be had courtesy of Parlophone this summer: one that collates the band’s perhaps-underrated Mk. 1 era.
Hard Road: The Mark 1 Studio Recordings 1968-1969 collects the three albums the band cut for Parlophone/Harvest (Tetragrammaton in the U.S.), full of psych-blues jams that would find little attention in the band’s native U.K. but some airplay in America: a cover of Joe South’s “Hush” (a hit for Billy Joe Royal) was a Top 5 hit in the U.S., while unorthodox covers of Neil Diamond (“Kentucky Woman”) and Ike & Tina Turner (“River Deep – Mountain High”) enjoyed modest success. The Mk. 1 lineup featured a few familiar faces, namely guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, drummer Ian Paice (still a member of the Mk. VIII version!) and keyboardist Jon Lord, but also featured original singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simpson.
Even with a host of single mixes and alternate takes, many featured on the 2000 compilation The Early Years, these three albums might not be enticing enough on their own. Thus, Parlophone includes, for the first time on CD, the original mono mixes of 1968’s debut Shades of Deep Purple and follow-up The Book of Taliesyn. The mono version of Taliesyn, has in fact, never been released, making this a coup for collectors. Twenty outtakes, alternate mixes and single sides are included as bonus tracks, including a handful of recently-remixed and alternate tracks dating from the band’s third self-titled album that are being released for the first time.
If you’re a Deep Purple fan who has it all, this might be the set to get when it’s released on July 28. Hit the jump for full track details and links to the five-disc set from Amazon U.K.!