Archive for the ‘Reissues’ Category
Omnivore Recordings is going back to Bakersfield. Building on the success of such projects as Honky Tonk Man: Buck Sings Country Classics, Don Rich Sings George Jones, Buck Owens Live at the White House, Buck Sings Eagles, and (this author’s personal favorite!) the Buck Owens Coloring Book and Flexi Disc, Omnivore is mining the rich, rough-and-tumble country-and-western legacy of that California town for two new releases due on July 23.
Buck Owens’ iconic band The Buckaroos are celebrated with The Buckaroos Play Buck and Merle, in which they pay tribute to the two Bakersfield heroes they knew so well, Messrs. Owens and Haggard. This disc brings together the band’s The Buck Owens Songbook (1965) and The Songs of Merle Haggard (1971) on one CD. It will be joined by Don Rich and the Buckaroos’ 1971 album That Fiddlin’ Man in its very first ever appearance on compact disc.
Buck Owens’ guitarist and all-around right-hand man Don Rich often made room in the set for one of his many specialties: the fiddle. On tunes like “Orange Blossom Special,” Rich proved his virtuosity on the instrument, and in 1971, Capitol Records collected ten fiddlin’ tracks from the Buckaroos’ catalogue as That Fiddlin’ Man. Though a few tracks have appeared on CD before, Omnivore is reissuing the album in its original sequence for the very first time, complete with the groovy psychedelic cover artwork! In the spirit of the original release, the label has added another ten tracks of The Buckaroos, Don Rich, and his fiddle, making for a definitive survey of his style. In total, the new compact disc presents 20 tracks drawn from 13 different albums recorded between 1963 and 1970. The expanded edition of That Fiddlin’ Man includes a full-color booklet with new liner notes, photos and information on the source of each track. It should prove a fine companion to Don Rich Sings George Jones, the recently-excavated solo album that spotlights his underrated work as a vocalist. Rich’s life ended too soon when he perished in a motorcycle accident in 1974 at 32 years of age, but his music has proven in the timeless tradition of truly classic country.
Hit the jump to sing along with The Buckaroos!
Though Jack White’s Third Man Records imprint is known for doing some wacky pressings of things on wax – take, for example, the opulent-even-for-the-jazz-age gold and platinum pressings of the soundtrack to the new film version of The Great Gasby – their latest series, just recently announced, should appeal to a wide swath of rock fans. Third Man is licensing material from the Sun Records discography to repress on vinyl.
Sam Phillips’ Memphis label was, of course, a hotbed of activity for some of the best country, rock and soul acts of the 1950s. Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison are just five of the legends who got their start at Sun with unique songs and recordings that remain essential to the canon of popular music.
Third Man’s first three single reissues (the first in a promised series) are:
Rufus Thomas, Bear Cat b/w Walking in the Rain (Sun Records 181, 1953 – reissued Third Man Records TMR-185, 2013) – though Thomas would have more success in the ’60s and ’70s as one of the first hitmakers signed to Stax Records, this was a notable release – and not just because the song, a sort-of rewrite of “Hound Dog,” was the subject of a costly lawsuit between Sun and songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It’s an enduring set of R&B sides that did a fine job anticipating Thomas’ later works.
The Prisonaires, Baby Please b/w Just Walkin’ in the Rain (Sun Records 186, 1953 – reissued Third Man Records TMR-186, 2013) – one of Sun’s most unique acts was The Prisonaires, a doo-wop quintet so named for the prison sentences each man served in the state of Tennessee. “Just Walkin’ in the Rain” garnered enough local accolades to earn the group plenty of day passes away from jail to perform shows. (Elvis was a fan, and one of many who covered “Just Walkin’ in the Rain.”)
Johnny Cash, Get Rhythm b/w I Walk the Line (Sun Records 241, 1956 – reissued Third Man Records TMR-187, 2013) – “Get Rhythm” was a plucky little country tune that happened to have the terrible misfortune of sharing a vinyl platter with “I Walk the Line,” a country tune unlike any other, and the one that put The Man in Black on the map. Cash would record these songs anew when he signed to Columbia Records, but nothing surpasses the power of these original recordings.
All three can be ordered separately at the above links or together right here; the official release date is this Tuesday, May 21. Additionally, 150 copies of limited yellow and black “Sun Ray” vinyl will be made available; 50 copies of each will be randomly substituted for the standard editions on order, and the remainder will be sold through Third Man’s “Rolling Record Store” from May 28-30. Here’s where to find each:
- 5/28: Johnny Cash – Sun Records, Memphis, TN
- 5/29: Rufus Thomas – Please and Thank You, Louisville, KY
- 5/30: The Prisonaires – Sun Ray at Luna Records, Indianapolis, IN
It’s a shame, isn’t it? When Motown mainstays The Spinners departed the venerable Detroit label for the greener pastures of Atlantic Records, lead singer G.C. Cameron didn’t make the switch. Cameron, the unmistakable main voice of The Spinners’ Stevie Wonder-penned No. 14 hit “It’s a Shame,” remained with Motown. Cameron suggested his cousin and close friend Philippe Wynne replace him, and soon watched Wynne and co. score the group’s first ever Top 10 pop singles. In fact, Atlantic debut Spinners charted five hits and two Top 10s – including the million-selling “I’ll Be Around.” Cameron never reached the commercial peak of his old group. But he was a productive and prolific recording artist for Berry Gordy’s empire even as The Spinners were notching all of those smashes in Philadelphia. Most of his output, however, has inexplicably remained absent from CD. Cherry Red’s SoulMusic Records imprint rectifies that with an expanded edition of Cameron’s 1974 Motown solo debut, Love Songs and Other Tragedies. It adds thirteen non-LP single sides – most of which have never appeared in the CD format – to the original album, creating a truly comprehensive survey of the singer’s early solo years at Motown and West Coast subsidiary MoWest.
Many names familiar to Motor City enthusiasts fill the credits of Love Songs and Other Tragedies: Frank Wilson, Willie Hutch, Gene Page, Paul Riser, James Carmichael, Dave Van De Pitte, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Even more top-tier Motown names figure in the singles portion of the new reissue: Pam Sawyer, Gloria Jones, Hal Davis and Smokey Robinson! In 1971, the newly-solo Cameron was placed on the MoWest label, for which Berry Gordy had high hopes. But in 1973, the label was shut down and G.C. was shuttled to Motown proper, where he began cutting his solo album. As a result, most of the singles included here predate Love Songs.
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Let’s say you’re part of one of the most hotly sought-after bands in the world. You’ve developed a distinctive style that’s set you apart from most of your peers since day one. You’ve put out five basically flawless albums out in five years, eventually earning yourself a U.S. Top 10 hit and exposure on MTV. And now, a major label wants to sign you.
What do you do?
The way R.E.M. answered this question on Green, their sixth album and first of many for Warner Bros. Records, is perhaps a gold standard of how well this question can be answered. Bands in this position often walk a fine line between critical darling and sellout based simply on how they go about their first major-label project. (Consider Green Day’s successful Dookie, full of polished pop moments that expanded their cultural cache while alienating much of their existing core fan base.) Green, by contrast, makes just the right amount of tweaks that come not from an A&R meeting but from the hearts and minds of a ridiculously great rock quartet – and the recently-released 25th anniversary expansion of the album (Warner Bros. R2 535408) does a good job of underlining this fact.
While frontman Michael Stipe reportedly told his bandmates not to write any R.E.M.-type songs for Green, some of Green probably could have fit anywhere on the band’s I.R.S. Records discography. The band’s tendency for simple, singable, muscular rock (produced once again by Scott Litt, who collaborated with the band on Document and would be the band’s go-to producer until 1996) is evident on tracks like “Get Up” and “Orange Crush,” while fellow singles “Stand” and “Pop Song 89″ are catchy winks at the band’s newfound major-label darling status, boasting some of the band’s most intentionally facile lyrics.
Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ve got a very diverse set of songs, anticipating the kind of multifaceted, often heart-tugging beauty R.E.M. mastered throughout the next decade. “The Wrong Child” and “You Are the Everything” are anchored around mandolin lines, while “World Leader Pretend” anticipates future ballads with its tender interplay between acoustic guitars and piano. Even the more traditional rock stuff sometimes aims a little to the left of center, veering away from Peter Buck’s typically jangly riffs in favor of slightly crunchier ones (“I Remember California,” the untitled closing track). Green‘s position as “pivot” on the R.E.M. discography may not make it as effortless as the five LPs that preceded it, but it’s still pretty darn good.
With Rhino handling the reins for R.E.M.’s 25th anniversary reissue series (UMe handling Murmur (1983) and Reckoning (1984) and EMI having covered Fables of the Reconstruction (1985), Lifes Rich Pageant (1986) and Document (1987)), fans certainly must be curious as to how Green stacks up against its predecessors on the reissue scale. Packaging is fairly similar to EMI’s handiwork, with the Green sleeve replicated on an oversize case that opens, lid-style, from one end. Inside are individual CD wallets for the remastered album and bonus disc, as well as sturdy, framable shots of Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry, a large fold-out poster and a liner notes booklet.
As with most of the 25th anniversary bonus discs, a live show is paired with Green – this time a show from the Greensboro, NC Coliseum in November 1989. Like the bonus disc that accompanied Document, the show isn’t complete on disc (though a Record Store Day-exclusive EP last month issued a portion of the missing tracks). But that’s not what makes this bonus disc just alright, instead of essential. As the live video Tourfilm showed, the Green tour was visually arresting – something you’re obviously not getting on CD. And the band’s sound was getting expansive enough to make it harder to nail the new tracks with the same sort of emotional heft as just a four-piece. (Tellingly, the band took a five-year hiatus from the road, after which they came back as a slightly extended lineup.) In spite of these drawbacks, the set is appropriately representative of where the band was at the time – and it’s thus pretty neat to hear audiences react strongly to both the new songs and the band’s back catalogue.
Even taking into account its pop crossover success, Green may not be the perfect starter for the new R.E.M. fan. But it’s certainly worth a reappraisal in the grander scheme of R.E.M.’s sterling discography – and this new set is surely as good a means of reintroduction as they come.
The Beatles’ second feature film, 1965′s Help!, is making its Blu-Ray debut this June.
Reuniting with A Hard Day’s Night director Richard Lester with a bigger budget (for one, they shot in color), Help! finds The Fab Four in yet another set of wacky predicaments – this time, Ringo can’t seem to get a ring unstuck from his finger, and an evil cult want said ring for their own purposes. Silly stuff, for sure – and, at perhaps the most grueling heights of Beatlemania, not as fun a shoot for the band as A Hard Day’s Night – but a captivating chapter in the band’s catalogue.
The accompanying album remains one of the most drastically different in the band’s catalogue on both sides of the Atlantic. In the U.K. (now the standard version of the album, remixed by George Martin for its 1987 CD release), it featured chart-topping singles in “Ticket to Ride” and the title track as well as instant classics “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” “You’re Going to Lose That Girl,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” – all of which featured in the film – and “Yesterday” (a U.S. No. 1 hit). The U.S. version, released on the United Artists label, was a much more standard soundtrack album, featuring some non-Beatles orchestral passages arranged by Ken Thorne.
First officially released on DVD in 2007, this single-disc Blu-Ray ports over all of that two-disc set’s material into a new HD set. Features included are:
- A 5.1 surround sound mix for the film
- The Beatles in Help! – a 30-minute documentary about the making of the film with Richard Lester, the cast and crew, including exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of The Beatles on-set.
- A Missing Scene – a film outtake, featuring Wendy Richard
- The Restoration of Help! – an in-depth look at the restoration process
- Memories of Help! – the cast and crew reminisce
- 1965 Theatrical Trailers – two original U.S. trailers and one original Spanish trailer
- 1965 U.S. Radio Spots (hidden in disc menus)
Help! arrives on Blu-Ray June 24 around the world and a day later in America. Pre-order links will be added as they are available.
One Kiss Leads To Another: Real Gone Unearths Hackamore Brick, Grateful Dead, The Association’s Russ Giguere and More
Real Gone Music has just announced its slate for July 2, and it’s clear that the prolific label isn’t taking a summer vacation! A number of cult favorites and new-to-CD titles populate this batch of records that won’t be “real gone” for much longer.
Atop the list is a true rarity. Real Gone will be bringing One Kiss Leads to Another from Hackamore Brick to CD and vinyl in a newly-remastered and expanded edition. Who is Hackamore Brick, you might ask? The Brooklyn band’s 1970 album was an anomaly for the bubblegum specialists at Kama Sutra Records. It’s most often spoken of in the same breath as The Velvet Underground, and it sounds as if it were built on the groundwork laid by that quintessential New York band. Yet Hackamore Brick’s songwriters Tommy Moonlight and Chick Newman claimed to not have heard Lou, John and co. till after their album was recorded. But indebted to that group or not, the quartet offers up a heady brew of its own. Country-style harmonies and punk attitude sit alongside Doors-esque blues flourishes, incisive, Kinks-style lyrics, and primal rock simplicity on this true lost album.
Real Gone has also rescued a solo effort from The Association’s Russ Giguere. Hexagram 16 offers songs from the likes of Judee Sill and Randy Newman and guest spots from Judy Henske, Jerry Yester and Bernie Leadon. There’s a country-rock flavor on Hexagram, but Real Gone also offers more traditional country with the Nashville-style folk-pop of fifties favorites The Browns on Complete Pop and Country Hits. Country, of course, also played a role in the Americana stew of The Grateful Dead, and Real Gone continues its reissuing of the Dick’s Picks series with some psychedelia from 1968. A long-lost reggae tribute to the Dead is also reappearing in July. Finally, Real Gone teams with Dusty Groove for three more deep-cut jazz albums from Ahmed Abdul-Malik, George Braith, and the duo of Stan Hunter and Sonny Fortune.
After the jump, Real Gone provides all of the details via the label’s press release, and we have pre-order links for all titles for you! Read the rest of this entry »
When you’re sad and feeling down, a sure cure-all is the music of Harry Nilsson. Sweet and sincere or withering and witty, Nilsson had a song for every occasion. Even when his own vocal cords deserted him, his sure sense of songcraft never did. Between 1967 and 1977, Nilsson recorded a remarkable series of albums for the RCA label, dissecting, celebrating and subverting every convention of the pop and rock genres. Now, the long-rumored box set bringing together all fourteen of those RCA albums is finally here from Legacy Recordings as The RCA Albums Collection. Even better, this comprehensive 17-CD set compiles the various bonus tracks released on past CD reissues and anthologies, throws in rare mono mixes of Nilsson’s first two albums, and adds more than 50 previously unreleased tracks. Are you salivating yet? The treasure chest breaks down as follows:
- Pandemonium Shadow Show (Mono & Stereo) (1967)
- Aerial Ballet (Mono & Stereo) (1968)
- Harry (1969)
- Nilsson Sings Newman (1970)
- The Point! (1971)
- Aerial Pandemonium Ballet (1971)
- Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)
- Son of Schmilsson (1972)
- A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night (1973)
- Pussy Cats (1974)
- Duit on Mon Dei (1975)
- Sandman (1976)
- . . . That’s The Way It Is (1976)
- Knnillssonn (1977)
- Nilsson Sessions 1967-1968
- Nilsson Sessions 1968-1971
- Nilsson Sessions 1971-1974
Remastered versions of Nilsson’s fourteen RCA solo albums (including The Point! but not Son of Dracula or Skidoo, although Harry’s unique tracks from that latter soundtrack are present) are included as CDs 1-14 of the new box set. 1967’s Pandemonium Shadow Show (with Harry’s ultimate Beatles tribute of “You Can’t Do That” plus the beautifully pensive “Without Her,” baroque “1941” and thunderous “River Deep-Mountain High”) and 1968’s Aerial Ballet (with the quirky “Good Old Desk,” vaudevillian “Daddy’s Song,” breezy “Wailing of the Willow” and immortal “Everybody’s Talkin’”) are both included in mono and stereo versions. (Aerial Ballet even adds one previously unreleased track, a radio spot.) Bonus tracks, either new, old or a blend of the two, are present on each and every album in the box set. There’s a particular wealth of material on 1971’s Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, a reworked distillation of those first two albums; the Aerial Pandemonium disc here includes four Italian versions, six live-at-the-BBC tracks, plus a remix and a radio spot. Elsewhere you’ll find alternates (Pussy Cats, Duit on Mon Dei), outtakes (Sandman) and demos (Knnillssonn). The Knnillssonn disc also premieres four performances with Dr. John of standards like “Sweet Lorraine” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo.”
After the jump: what else will you find on the box set? We have more details, plus a pre-order link and a full track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »
R.E.M., Green: 25th Anniversary Edition (Warner Bros./Rhino)
The Athens, Georgia rockers celebrate the quarter-century mark of their first Warner Bros. LP with a new 2CD deluxe edition featuring an unreleased live show from 1989. (2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Huey Lewis & The News, Sports: 30th Anniversary Edition (Capitol/UMe)
The Doors, Infinite (Analogue Productions)
The Doors’ complete studio discography with Jim Morrison – six studio albums in all – newly remastered for multichannel SACD by Doug Sax and Bruce Botnick. It’s a box fit for a lizard king. (SACD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
In advance of KoL’s anticipated European dates this summer, here’s a new collectible package collecting all five of the band’s studio albums (and the Live at the O2 Arena, London DVD) in a custom, lidded box with high-quality mini-LP jackets. Cool points for collectors: all the original European artwork is used, and bonus tracks are present on several discs. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
The Monkees’ eighth album, The Monkees Present, was a grab bag unlike any other previously produced by the group. By October 1969, The Monkees was off the air and remaining Monkees Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith were soldiering on for their second album without Peter Tork. February’s Instant Replay, the first sans Tork, had managed a respectable showing at No. 32 on the pop chart, but in the post-Head days, hit singles were far from guaranteed for the group. Yet the somewhat fraught atmosphere led the band to pursue their most adventurously creative visions yet. Following deluxe box set editions of The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees, Head, and Instant Replay, Rhino Handmade has unveiled latest next box in its definitive Monkees series: a 3-CD celebration of The Monkees Present. This new box set, due in late July, coincides with the band’s upcoming tour, the second in a row for Micky, Peter and Mike following a well-received 2012 jaunt.
As Rhino puts it in the press release, The Monkees Present “is one of the group’s most varied, from the iconic single ‘Listen To The Band,’ to Micky’s anti-war anthem ‘Mommy And Daddy,’ Davy’s lush ‘French Song,’ and Michael’s Nashville-tinged barn-burner, ‘Good Clean Fun.’” Indeed, The Monkees Present found the three Monkees taking their music in various directions, but unlike the (delightful) hodgepodge of Instant Replay, The Monkees Present almost entirely consisted of new compositions. Dolenz and Nesmith were becoming more confident songwriters, with Nesmith offering the triumphant “Listen to the Band,” which he would later re-record with his First National Band. Nesmith also wrote the countrified “Good Clean Fun” and the ballad “Never Tell a Woman Yes,” and brought a song by Michael Martin Murphey to the table (“Oklahoma Backroom Dancer”). Dolenz contributed three songs, including a couple in a jazz bag, and Jones even co-wrote “If I Knew” with Bill Chadwick. Invoking simpler days for the band, two Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart “oldies” appeared with “Ladies Aid Society” and “Looking for the Good Times.” Dolenz and Jones shared vocals on the latter.
After the jump: more details, including the full track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »
Outside of horror circles, the 1971 film Willard - about a misfit with an affinity for rats – is best known for its 1972 sequel, Ben, which featured an oddly sweet, wildly successful theme song sung by Michael Jackson (his first solo No. 1 hit). The films themselves were considerably less cuddly, a point driven home by a 2003 remake of Willard. The titular loner, stuck with an overbearing mother and money-hungry boss, was played by Crispin Glover in the film. It was perfect casting for the quirky actor/musician, who in fact covered Jackson’s “Ben” for the film.
Throughout the suspenseful adaptation of Willard was a great score by Shirley Walker, whose work on the animated adaptations of Batman earned her critical acclaim, including a Daytime Emmy. Willard was one of Walker’s last scores before her untimely passing in 2006, and its belated CD release (limited to 3,000 units) is sure to be a hit with her fans. (Alas, Glover’s “Ben” was not available to license for this disc.)
La-La Land also offers up a new edition of Bandolero!, a James Stewart-Dean Martin Western scored by Jerry Goldsmith with his usual flair for such action-packed genres. It’s not the first release – Intrada released first an unused album mix on CD in 1993, and paired it with the complete score in 2004 some weeks after Goldsmith’s passing – but it’s back in print for new audiences to discover, and features one new bonus track in the form of the main title cue, sans whistle. Remastered by Mike Matessino, who co-produced with Nick Redman, Bandolero! is limited to 2,000 copies.
Order links and track lists for the new titles are after the jump. (LLL also has corrected copies of Goldsmith’s score to The Challenge back in stock this week.)