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To Everything There Is A Season: Raven Reissues “The Byrds”

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ByrdsWhen the album simply entitled Byrds arrived on David Geffen’s Asylum label in 1973, it had been only about a year-and-a-half since the last record from the California folk-rock heroes. But the original line-up of Gene Clark, David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke hadn’t recorded a complete album together since 1965. Byrds would be the group’s first long-player for a label other than Columbia Records – and the final Byrds album to date. Australia’s Raven Records label has recently remastered and reissued Byrds, with two bonus tracks from the solo Gene Clark which also featured the complete five-piece band.

Following the defection of Gene Clark from the band in February 1966, The Byrds’ line-up had been fluid, to say the least. Eleven members had passed through the ranks between 1964 and 1972 with only Jim (later Roger) McGuinn as the constant. The group’s sound had also shifted considerably from folk-rock to psychedelia to country-rock and every style in between. The Byrds’ final Columbia album, 1971’s Farther Along, featured McGuinn, Clarence White, Skip Battin and Gene Parsons (no relation to another former Byrd, Gram Parsons). In July 1972, with no new album in the works, Parsons was let go from the band, replaced on drums by John Guerin. Session pro Guerin remained with the live band through January 1973, though he was never considered a full-fledged member of the band. Skip Battin was next to go, dismissed after a February 10, 1973 show. Roger McGuinn asked Chris Hillman of the original band to step in for two more shows later that month and then called it a day on The Byrds’ touring line-up. But by that time, the original Byrds had already reunited and completed the album that would become Byrds.

McGuinn was still fronting the touring band when he and his four original bandmates entered Los Angeles’ Wally Heider Studios in October 1972, the hatchet having apparently been buried with David Crosby, who was named producer of the upcoming album. Impresario Geffen was the catalyst for the reunion, as he desired for the reformed Byrds to have a place of honor on his label’s impressive roster of SoCal rockers also including Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell and Eagles. With Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on indefinite hiatus at that point, it was also perceived that the reformed Byrds could fill their void. By the end of sessions in November 1972, eleven songs had been laid down for Byrds.

With rich, recognizable harmonies in abundance, Byrds naturally featured songs by all four songwriters in the band: McGuinn, Clark, Crosby and Hillman. Clark supplied the mission-statement opener “Full Circle” and another one of the LP’s strongest tracks, “Changing Heart.” (“Full Circle” wasn’t written for The Byrds, per Clark, but might as well have been.) McGuinn co-wrote the haunting folk ballad “Sweet Mary” with Bob Dylan’s sometimes-collaborator Jacques Levy as well as the upbeat, likely autobiographical “Born to Rock and Roll.” (He would return to the song on his 1975 album Roger McGuinn and Band.) Chris Hillman penned two songs, both with his ex-Manassas bandmates. “Things Will Be Better” was written with drummer Dallas Taylor, and “Borrowing Time” with percussionist Joe Lala. (Lala had ever so briefly played with the Byrds in February 1973.) Crosby brought “Laughing,” an original Byrds-era song which he had previously recorded on his solo album If I Could Only Remember My Name, as well as the acerbic music biz commentary “Long Live the King.”

Three covers rounded out Byrds. “For Free” was plucked from the songbook of Asylum label mate Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon; Crosby provided the lead vocal. Gene Clark urged his fellow Byrds to include two compositions by Crosby’s CSNY bandmate Neil Young: “Cowgirl in the Sand,” from Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, and “(See the Sky) About to Rain,” which Young hadn’t yet recorded.  We have more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 16, 2014 at 11:13

Posted in News, Reissues, The Byrds

Omnivore Boils Ron Nagle’s “Bad Rice” In Deluxe Edition of 1970 Cult Classic

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Bad RiceToday, Ron Nagle may be best known for his groundbreaking work as a ceramic sculptor.  The “baron of sculptural intelligence” has been pushing the boundaries of art for decades now with his award-winning variations on the basic form of a cup.  The San Francisco Gate recently praised the “master ceramic sculptor and painter whose original sense of color is equally informed by Mark Rothko and the hot rod aesthetic.”  But for music fans, Nagle is known for his double life as a singer, songwriter and musician.  A member of the Bay Area band The Mystery Trend and the pop duo Durocs, Nagle has co-written songs with Barbra Streisand (“Believe What You Read,” from Streisand Superman) and provided sound effects for The Exorcist.  In 1970, in the salad days of the Warner Bros. Records label, Nagle recorded one album with co-producer and arranger Jack Nitzsche that has gone on to attain cult classic status.  Now, Omnivore Recordings is restoring that long-lost platter, Bad Rice, to print in a deluxe, 2-CD expanded edition.

Featuring what Omnivore aptly describes as “Nagle’s trademark blend of Stones-y raunch, Beach Boys lilt and Newman-esque black humor,” Bad Rice features guest appearances by Sal Valentino of The Beau Brummels and Ry Cooder, both of whom were sharing the WB family of labels with Nagle, as well as John Blakeley (Stoneground), George Rains (Mother Earth, Sir Douglas Quintet), and Mickey Waller (Pilot, Silvermetre).  Nitzsche, the legendary Wall of Sound architect, co-produced and arranged the LP alongside Nagle’s mentor, San Francisco radio personality Tom “Big Daddy” Donahue.  Despite receiving critical acclaim upon its release, Bad Rice failed to trouble the charts, leaving its charms to be appreciated only by those who found it in dusty record racks and dutifully found themselves spreading the word.  A vinyl reissue arrived from Edsel Records in 1999, but CD release somehow eluded Bad Rice.

We have more details after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 15, 2014 at 11:14

Posted in News, Reissues, Ron Nagle

Release Round-Up: Week of December 15

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Kinks Anthology

The Kinks, Anthology 1964-1971 (BMG/InGrooves, 2014) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Producer Andrew Sandoval (the recent The Monkees: Super Deluxe Edition) helms this kink-sized 5-CD kollection of hits, demos, interviews, alternate mixes, session outtakes, 25 previously unavailable tracks, an exclusive 7-inch single and copious, new liner notes!

Dionne - Finder of Lost Loves

Dionne Warwick, Finder of Lost Loves: Expanded Edition (Arista/Funky Town Grooves) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This 2-CD edition of Warwick’s 1985 album features a bonus disc with 12 additional tracks – three rare single versions and nine previously unreleased recordings, including the Barry Gibb-produced Heartbreaker outtake “Broken Bottles” and two alternate versions of the Burt Bacharach/Carole Bayer Sager title track featuring Dionne joined by Luther Vandross!

Aretha - Aretha

Aretha Franklin, Aretha: Expanded Edition (Arista/Funky Town Grooves) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

FTG adds a staggering 19 bonus tracks to create a 2-disc edition of The Queen of Soul’s 1986 album featuring “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” – including rare remixes of five songs as well as the Aretha Megamix!  It appears that the companion disc – an expanded edition of Through the Storm – won’t be available until next month.

Manhattans - Black Tie

The Manhattans, Black Tie / Forever by Your Side (Columbia/Funky Town Grooves)

Black Tie: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Forever: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

FTG continues its series of reissues from The Manhattans’ catalogue with expanded editions of the legendary vocal group’s 1981 and 1983 albums of silky R&B!

Trip Shakespeare

Trip Shakespeare, Applehead Man / Are You Shakespearienced? (Omnivore)

Applehead CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Applehead Translucent Red Vinyl & Download Card: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Are You... CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Are You… Translucent Green Vinyl & Download Card: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Omnivore remasters and expands the first two albums from Minnesota band Trip Shakespeare – the training ground for John Munson and Dan Wilson, two members who would later go on to form Semisonic!

Foreigner - 4 and More

Foreigner, The Best of Foreigner 4 and More (Sony) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Just two months ago, on October 3 and 4, 2014, Foreigner took the stage at Atlantic City’s Borgata.  Now, highlights from those concerts are being released on one budget-priced ($5.99 as of this writing!) CD including the hit songs from 1981’s landmark Foreigner 4 and other favorites. Tracks include “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “Cold as Ice,” “Hot Blooded” and “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

 

 

Into the Woods

Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods: 2-CD Deluxe Edition Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Okay, this isn’t a reissue, but we’re looking forward to it all the same.  This week, Walt Disney Records releases the original soundtrack to the new film version of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s 1987 Broadway musical Into the Woods, featuring Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt and future Late Late Show host James Corden.  The 2-CD edition features all of Sondheim’s songs plus the film’s orchestral underscore.

The Last Ship OBC

Original Broadway Cast Recording, The Last Ship (UMe) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Sting recently stepped into his Broadway musical The Last Ship for a limited run through January 24; here’s a chance to experience his songs for the musical as performed by the original cast of Michael Esper, Jimmy Nail, Fred Applegate and others.  Sting himself is heard on a bonus track singing “What Say You, Meg?” from the show’s impressive score.

Written by Joe Marchese

December 15, 2014 at 08:32

Ace Is Twistin’ the Night Away with Sam Cooke Tribute, Motown Rarities and More

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Black America Sings Sam CookeWhen it comes to rare soul, Ace Records never sleeps!  The label has recently released a compilation celebrating the career of Sam Cooke not as a singer but as a songwriter, along with collections dedicated to excavating the vaults of two great Detroit labels: Westbound Records, and of course, Motown!

Countless albums have anthologized the short but influential oeuvre of Sam Cooke, but Bring It on Home: Black America Sings Sam Cooke takes a different approach, featuring 24 versions of Cooke compositions recorded between 1959 and 1976, performed by some of the biggest African-American names in popular music.  Cooke (1931-1964) was a singer-songwriter before the term was in fashion, writing or co-writing 25 of his 35 R&B hits charted between 1957 and 1965 (not counting many of the B-sides which he also wrote).  Bring It on Home doubles as a “Who’s Who” of classic American soul, with artists from the Stax, Motown and Atlantic rosters among many others.

Many of Cooke’s most famous songs are here: the silky, chart-topping ballad “You Send Me” as performed by Percy Sledge in Muscle Shoals, “Shake” from Cooke disciple Otis Redding (who, like Cooke, died tragically young – but not before including renditions of Cooke songs on all but one of the studio albums released during his lifetime), “Cupid” from “Take a Letter, Maria” singer R.B. Greaves, “Wonderful World” from Johnny Nash of “I Can See Clearly Now,” and of course, “A Change is Gonna Come” from “Gimme Little Sign” vocalist Brenton Wood.  The title track, “Bring It On Home to Me,” is heard courtesy of Stax legend Eddie Floyd.  As a special treat, Ace has unearthed a previously unissued version of Theola Kilgore’s “answer song” to “Chain Gang” entitled “(Chain Gang) The Sound of My Man.”

A couple of tracks are drawn from the Motown stable including The Supremes ‘ ” (Ain’t That) Good News” from Diana, Mary and Flo’s 1965 We Remember Sam Cooke album, with Flo on a thunderous lead.  Smokey Robinson leads The Miracles on their 1964 version of “Dance What You Wanna.”  From the Stax Records family, Sam and Dave offer their first U.K. Pop hit, 1966’s “Sooth Me.”  A couple of tracks have been drawn from Sam Cooke’s own SAR label, too: Sam’s production of “Rome (Wasn’t Built in a Day)” by future Stax superstar Johnnie Taylor, and Johnnie Morisette’s “Meet Me at the Twistin’ Place,” also produced by Sam.  Mr. Cooke himself is heard on “That’s Heaven to Me” from his final session with The Soul Stirrers.  Other highlights include tracks from Lou Rawls (“Win Your Love”), Aretha Franklin (“Good Times”) and Little Anthony and the Imperials (“I’m Alright”), proving the breadth of Cooke’s versatility.  Tony Rounce has provided the track-by-track liner notes in the 16-page booklet, and Duncan Cowell has newly remastered all tracks.  Bring It on Home is a worthy addition to the series of Black America Sings, which also includes titles spotlighting the songs of Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Otis Redding, and Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

After the jump, we’re heading to Detroit! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 11, 2014 at 11:11

Tony Joe White, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Ray Kennedy Highlight Real Gone’s February

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Tony Joe White - WBFrom The Apollo to the swamps of Louisiana, Real Gone Music has a whirlwind musical tour planned for its February 3, 2015 slate!

The centerpiece of the February batch just might be the first-ever complete collection of Louisiana man Tony Joe White’s Warner Bros. recordings!  Singer-songwriter White (“Willie and Laura Mae Jones,” “Polk Salad Annie”) has one of the most distinctive voices in southern soul, and Real Gone’s new collection celebrates a major period his career with a new 2-CD set collecting three albums and six non-LP singles!  The label then has a new collection of inspirational music from one of country’s most beloved – and shall we say, tumultuous! – couples: George Jones and Tammy Wynette!   This hitherto-unexplored side of George and Tammy is one you won’t want to miss.

Cult favorites aren’t being left out in the cold, either.  Real Gone has, for the first time, Bobby Lance’s (“The House That Jack Built”) two Atlantic/Cotillion releases on one CD, and the only solo album from Texas’ Jerry Williams.  On the rock side, the label is expanding “Power” from Orleans’ John Hall as well as the eponymous album from Ray Kennedy, one of the co-writers of The Beach Boys’ anthemic “Sail On Sailor.”  Two landmark June 1974 shows are featured on a new pressing of Grateful Dead’s twelfth volume of Dick’s Picks.  And last but not least, Real Gone and its SoulMusic Records imprint have combined Apollo Saturday Night and Saturday Night at the Uptown – two classic live albums from New York and Philly with headliners including Otis Redding, The Drifters and the “wicked” Wilson Pickett – on one CD!

Hit the jump for Real Gone’s complete press release with full details on every title, plus pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 10, 2014 at 13:18

The Eno Assembly: Four Brian Eno Albums Go Deluxe With Previously Unheard Music

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Eno - Nerve NetIn a career spanning five decades, Brian Eno has refused to be pigeonholed. The ambient music pioneer and electronic explorer has produced albums for David Bowie, U2 and Paul Simon, played in Roxy Music, collaborated with everyone from Belinda Carlisle to David Byrne, composed film and television soundtracks, and maintained a solo career since 1974. His varied body of work as writer, musician, producer and artist has embraced experimentalism and pushed the limits of conventional rock. Now, four of his most overlooked albums first released between 1992 and 1997, have been reissued by All Saints Records in lavish 2-CD editions each containing a full bonus disc of previously unheard material.

1992’s Nerve Net, originally released on Opal/Warner Bros., marked Eno’s return to solo recording for the first time since 1985’s Thursday Afternoon, which consisted of a single, 60-minute track. (Wrong Way Up, with John Cale, came in between the two releases in 1990.) In the original liner notes reprinted in the new reissue, Eno details that “this record draws on jazz, funk, rap, rock, pop, ambient and ‘world music’,” adding, “Did I leave anything out” He described the amalgamation of those styles as yielding a record that’s “none of those things but a weird and self-contradictory mess – and a mess that I love, like paella, everything’s in there somewhere!” Robert Fripp, John Paul Jones and Benmont Tench were among the notable names who joined Eno for this hypnotic, largely instrumental musical adventure. What fans at the time didn’t know that was Nerve Net should have been Eno’s second solo release of the 1990s, not the first. In 1991, he had recorded an album to be entitled My Squelchy Life, but it was, well, squelched. A couple of tracks were reworked for Nerve Net, but this reissue presents the original proposed album in full for the first time. “Fractal Zoom” and “Ali Click” were released in a variety of remixes, but none of those are included on this new set. Arun Chakraverty has remastered Nerve Net, and Kevin Metcalfe at Soundmasters has mastered My Squelchy Life.

Eno - ShutovEno’s follow-up, The Shutov Assembly, was dedicated to his friend, the Russian artist Sergei Shutov. The 1992 Opal/Warner release consisted of ten ambient tracks, all named for audiovisual art installations created by Eno. Shutov, who had found inspiration in Eno’s music, had difficulty obtaining it in Soviet Russia, so Eno put together a “mix tape” of unreleased pieces for his friend to hear. That tape became the basis of The Shutov Assembly. The various pieces were recorded between 1985 and 1990 and named after the sites in which the installations were originally seen (festivals, galleries, etc.). The expanded The Shutov Assembly features a second disc of seven more pieces, all of which date from the same 1985-1990 period as the core album, and the booklet contains excerpts from a discussion between Eno and critic John Rockwell reflecting on music, art, technology, their intersection, and other wide-ranging topics. Tony Cousins at Townhouse has remastered Disc One, while Kevin Metcalfe has handled Disc Two.

After the jump: the scoop on Neroli and The Drop, plus track listings and order links for all four titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 10, 2014 at 11:35

Posted in Brian Eno, News, Reissues

Release Round-Up: Week of December 9

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Sinatra - London Contents

Frank Sinatra, London (UMe) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This 3-CD/1-DVD swingin’ affair spans 1953-1984 and features over 50 previously unreleased tracks on CD and DVD - all dedicated to Sinatra’s performances in the great city.  At its centerpiece is an expanded and remastered edition of Sinatra Sings Great Songs from Great Britain, the Chairman’s only studio album recorded outside of the United States!  Watch for Joe’s full review soon!

Beatles 1962-1966

The Beatles, 1962-1966 / 1967-1970 / 1 / Love (Vinyl Only) (Capitol/Apple)

1962-1966: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1967-1970: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Love: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

The Fabs’ famous “red” and “blue” albums, along with the CD-era compilation Beatles 1 and the Cirque du Soleil soundtrack Love are remastered and reissued on heavyweight 180g vinyl just in time for the holidays!

Jam - Setting

The Jam, Setting Sons: Deluxe Edition (Universal) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Paul Weller and The Jam’s seminal 1979 rock classic is expanded as a two-disc Deluxe Edition with single versions, non-LP B-sides, demos and live tracks.

Wilko

Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey, Going Back Home: Deluxe Edition (Chess) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The acclaimed 2013 album from Dr. Feelgood’s Wilko Johnson and The Who’s Roger Daltrey has been expanded into a double-disc affair with the addition of outtakes, alternates, and live tracks from Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Royal Albert Hall from earlier this year.

Supertramp - Crime of the Century

Supertramp, Crime of the Century: Deluxe Edition (Universal) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Blu-ray Audio: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3-LP Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

This 2-CD set marks the 40th anniversary of Supertramp’s landmark album, adding a previously unreleased concert from Hammersmith Odeon in March 1975, newly mixed by original producer Ken Scott!

Carrie - Hits

Carrie Underwood, Greatest Hits – Decade # 1 (Arista Nashville) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The biggest star to emerge from American Idol collects the best of her first decade on this 2-disc retrospective including duets with Randy Travis, Vince Gill and Brad Paisley, and three previously unreleased work tape demos.

Judy - Swan Songs

Judy Garland, Swan Songs, First Flights: Her First and Last Recordings (Doremi/Hallow) (Amazon U.S. TBD / Amazon U.K.)

Exact contents haven’t been released yet, but this new 3-CD celebration of the legendary entertainer promises that “Judy Garland is heard in exciting live performances from her last years, many never previously released on CD and collected here for the first time – Swan Songs. And for the first time on CD are charming and historic recordings from Garland’s youth made between the ages of 7 and 17 – First Flights. All in new state-of-the-art transfers and remastering!”  The set is also available at Discovery Records.

Only Folk Collection

Various Artists, The Only Folk Collection You’ll Ever Need (Shout!) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This 2-CD, 30-track folk sampler features a “Who’s Who” of folk music including Bob Dylan (“The Times They Are A-Changin’”), Peter, Paul and Mary (“Blowin’ in the Wind”), Doc Watson (“Sitting on Top of the World”), Phil Ochs (“I Ain’t Marching Anymore”), The Byrds (“Mr. Tambourine Man”), Tim Hardin (“If I Were a Carpenter”), Fairport Convention (“Who Knows Where the Time Goes”) and others.

Written by Joe Marchese

December 9, 2014 at 08:41

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