Even the name of The Clash was aggressive. With their 1977 debut album, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Terry Chimes (soon to depart the band) made a fast and furious attack on rock complacency. Punk, after all, was the music heard ‘round the world when it re-lit a fire in the belly of rock-and-roll that had lain dormant in an era of increasingly complex, often progressive rock (sans the roll) in the 1970s. And at the vanguard of that initial wave of English punk was, inevitably, The Clash. Yet the punk band’s sound was musically diverse, incorporating reggae, ska, funk, rap and even “traditional” rock-and-roll and rockabilly into its heady stylistic brew. Though the band broke up in 1986 after suffering a series of personnel changes, the music of The Clash reverberates, and come September 10, its small catalogue and significant legacy will be celebrated by Sony with a variety of releases. The crown jewel is Sound System, a boom box-shaped box set collecting remastered editions of The Clash’s studio albums on eight CDs plus three CDs of demos, non-LP singles, B -sides and rarities and a DVD with music videos and previously unseen footage. Joining Sound System will be a new 2-CD or 3-LP compilation The Clash Hits Back, and an 8-CD or 8-LP box set with only the studio albums, simply titled The Clash 5-Studio Album Set.
Sound System contains the following studio albums, all in remastered editions overseen by The Clash with engineer Tim Young:
- The Clash (1977)
- Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978)
- London Calling (1979, 2 CDs)
- Sandinista! (1980, 3 CDs)
- Combat Rock (1982)
These eight discs are joined by:
- Three more CDs featuring rare tracks, demos, non-album singles, B-sides and previously unreleased music;
- DVD including unseen Julien Temple footage, early Super 8 film shot by Don Letts, all the band’s promotional videos and previously unseen live footage;
- “Owner’s Manual” booklet;
- Folder containing reprints of Armagideon Times 1 & 2 and Armagideon Times 3 (new edition of fanzine compiled and designed by Paul Simonon);
- Merchandise including dog tags, badges, stickers, a replica cigarette (!) and a Future Is Unwritten note book designed by Harland Miller; and
- An exclusive photo poster.
After the jump, we have more on Sound System, plus details on the other two Clash releases and full track listings for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »
The Beach Boys, Live: The 50th Anniversary Tour (Capitol)
Townes Van Zandt, The Late Great Townes Van Zandt / High, Low and In Between (Omnivore)
You heard the demos, now rediscover these great country albums, on CD or vinyl!
A dozen or so new entries in the Playlist series are coming your way this week. Watch this space tomorrow for a full breakdown on them all!
Following its 2012 reissue of R&B songstress Meli’sa Morgan’s Capitol Records debut Do Me Baby, Cherry Red’s SoulMusic Records imprint has turned its attention to Morgan’s second long-player for the label. Good Love built on the success of Do Me Baby. Besides boasting a No. 1 R&B title track, the album established the Queens-born Morgan as a top R&B talent in her own right. She had previously sung on background vocals for the likes of Whitney Houston and Kashif, and fronted the groups Shades of Love and High Fashion, but her rendition of Prince’s song sealed the deal and proved that she was a viable headliner.
Like Do Me Baby, 1987’s Good Love counted Paul Laurence among its producers. Morgan and her frequent co-writer Lesette Wilson handled production on five tracks themselves, and multi-hyphenate talent Kashif also brought his expertise to a handful of tracks. His magic touch worked. Kashif produced, played and duetted with Morgan on soul man Skip Scarborough’s “Love Changes,” originally a 1978 hit for Mother’s Finest. Whereas the Mother’s Finest recording made it to a not-too-shabby No. 26 R&B, the Morgan/Kashif version reached No. 2 on the chart. It wasn’t the only success from Good Love, though. Paul Laurence’s uptempo dancer “If You Can Do It: I Can Too!!” escalated the R&B chart almost simultaneously with the duet, also hitting the No. 2 spot. “Here Comes the Night,” produced by Kashif with its writers Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, also went Top 20 R&B.
SoulMusic’s reissue returns Good Love to CD, and adds six bonus tracks, all various remixes. These include club and dub mixes of “If You Can Do It: I Can Too!!,” an extended remix and remix edit of the album’s title track, and an 8+-minute Special Club Opus mix of “Here Comes The Night,” along with its edited version. Justin Kantor has written new liner notes drawing on interviews with Morgan and Kashif, and Alan Wilson has remastered.
The expanded edition of Good Love is available now and can be ordered after the jump, where you’ll also find a track listing with discography. Plus: what’s the latest reissue from the legendary Nancy Wilson? Read the rest of this entry »
Water has always played a key role in the California myth of The Beach Boys – whether via the inviting waves of “Surfin’ USA,” the blue seas of “Hawaii,” or the dark imagery of “Surf’s Up.” But the water onstage for the group’s 50th anniversary tour was of a different sort: it was water under the bridge. If perhaps only for three or so hours each night last summer, all of the oft-publicized tensions that have beset America’s Band over the years seemed to melt away in full view of the audience. So it’s only fitting that Capitol Records’ souvenir of the landmark reunion, Live – 50th Anniversary Tour, is bathed in a warmly nostalgic glow of family and friends adding some music to their day and yours. That this 2-CD set could be preserving the final shared appearance of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks adds a bittersweet note to the celebration, but then again, the exuberant and the melancholy have always co-existed in the music of the boys from Hawthorne.
When 50th anniversary tour concluded last September in London, it was on a triumphant note despite the confirmation that the group would again splinter. For the second-to-last performance of September 27, the Boys played a staggering 61 tunes. And for the final Wembley Arena show on September 28, the total number was a rather still impressive 55. The new CD set presents just 41 songs for over two hours’ of music – not bad, but not quite a representation of the marathons played last year. But needless to say, these discs have plenty to offer, and not just for those who were in attendance.
The Boys’ first current live album since 1973’s The Beach Boys in Concert, 50th Anniversary features a larger array of onstage talent than any of their previous live recordings. The five core members are joined by guitarist/vocalist/co-musical director Scott Totten and guitarist/vocalist John Cowsill of Love and Johnston’s Beach Boys band, plus seven members of Brian Wilson’s own remarkable collective: Jeffrey Foskett (guitar/vocals), Scott Bennett (keyboards/vocals), Nelson Bragg (percussion/vocals), Mike D’Amico (bass/vocals), Probyn Gregory (guitar/vocals), Paul Mertens (horns/vocals/co-musical director) and Darian Sahanaja (keyboards/vocals). The versatile multi-instrumentalists of Wilson’s band bring a new dimension to the live performances, one imbued with youthful energy as well as a deep knowledge of the original record productions. Taken as one fourteen-person unit, this Beach Boys line-up was filled with reverence and yes, nostalgia, but the group never approached the music like museum pieces.
The two discs, largely adhering to the concert tour’s two-act format and setlist running order, offer a well-sequenced blend of the timeless surf/car/teenage-themed songs and the later, more introspective and adventurous material. The crisp, bright sound of the new album might confirm that there has been some post-concert in-studio sweetening, but it’s hardly a deterrent. Though the sound here is much more polished than that of the raw, harder-rocking unit on the 1973 live album (with Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar joining Love, Jardine, and the late Carl and Dennis Wilson), there’s plenty of spirit from the get-go.
Catch a wave with us after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
Make Way For Dionne Warwick: 23 Scepter and Warner Bros. Albums To Be Remastered and Expanded, Including New-to-CD Titles
According to WEA Japan – the Japanese arm of Warner Music Group – it’s all about Dionne Warwick. The legendary singer has recently celebrated her 50th anniversary in music with the well-received album Now (one of the final projects produced by the late Phil Ramone) while Warwick’s closest musical collaborator, Burt Bacharach, has just marked his own 85th birthday with the publication of a new memoir and the issuance of a new retrospective box set. And so, in July, WEA Japan will reissue 23 albums – representing Warwick’s tenure at both Scepter and Warner Bros. Records – in newly remastered, mini-LP sleeve editions including mono and stereo for the early albums, plus bonus tracks (both those appended to Rhino Handmade’s previous expansions of certain titles, and new, never-on-CD additions) on virtually every disc in the set. Three of these albums are new to CD.
Warwick’s Scepter and Warner catalogues have been reissued numerous times on CD from various labels including Rhino Handmade, Ambassador Soul Classics, Disky, Sequel Records and Collectors’ Choice Music, with many variations in mixes along the way. This series appears to standardize her remarkable body of work in uniform editions with single mixes added where applicable. The albums covered in the Warwick campaign are:
- Presenting Dionne Warwick (1963) (Mono/Stereo)
- Anyone Who Had a Heart (1964) (Mono/Stereo)
- Make Way for Dionne Warwick (1964) (Mono/Stereo plus bonus tracks)
- The Sensitive Sound Of Dionne Warwick (1965) (Mono/Stereo)
- Here I Am (1965) (Mono/Stereo plus bonus track)
- Dionne Warwick in Paris (1966) (Mono/Stereo)
- Here Where There Is Love (1966) (Mono/Stereo)
- On Stage and in the Movies (1967) (Mono/Stereo)
- The Windows of the World (1967) (Mono/Stereo plus bonus tracks)
- The Magic of Believing (1967) (Mono/Stereo)
- In The Valley of the Dolls (1968) (Mono/Stereo plus bonus tracks)
- Promises. Promises (1968) (with bonus tracks)
- Soulful (1969) (with bonus tracks)
- Dionne Warwick’s Greatest Motion Picture Hits (1969) (First time on CD, plus bonus tracks)
- I’ll Never Fall in Love Again (1970) (with bonus tracks)
- Very Dionne (1970) (duplicates track listing of Rhino Handmade RHM2 7869, 2004)
- The Dionne Warwicke Story: A Decade Of Gold (1971) (2 CDs; First time on CD)
- From Within (1972) (2 CDs; First time on CD)
- Dionne (1972) (with bonus tracks)
- Just Being Myself (1973) (with bonus tracks)
- Then Came You (1975) (with bonus tracks)
- Track of the Cat (1975) (with bonus tracks)
- Love At First Sight (1977) (with bonus tracks)
After the jump, we’ll offer an in-depth look at the bonus material on each disc! Plus: a lost Warwick treasure is finally found – in a most unlikely place! Read the rest of this entry »
The recently-announced, and hotly-anticipated, Rhino Handmade box set of The Monkees Present isn’t the only one of the band’s albums on the reissue docket. Following last year’s similar edition of 1987’s Pool It!, Friday Music will, on May 28, reissue The Monkees’ 1996 reunion album Justus in a CD/DVD package combining the original 12-track CD with a DVD of the original Rhino Home Video tie-in program.
Justus marked the first studio album to feature all four Monkees – Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith – since 1968’s Head soundtrack. It also celebrated a landmark anniversary of the band’s very first album. The Monkees first turned up in shops on October 10, 1966; Justus arrived on October 15, 1996, a little more than thirty years later. Unlike that debut album, however, Justus was entirely the work of the four Monkees. Not only was the group credited as producer, but Dolenz played drums, Tork handled bass and keyboards, Jones contributed percussion, and Nesmith wielded guitars for the album. In addition, every song was written by one of the four Monkees. In many respects, Justus was a belated sequel to 1967’s Headquarters, the first album over which the band exerted musical control of its own destiny.
Although Justus marked the return of “Papa Nez” into the fold, Mike only contributed one original song – the quirky “Admiral Mike,” sung by Micky. He took his only lead vocal on the album with the opening track, a rocking rewrite/remake of “Circle Sky” from Head. But his backing vocals were heard throughout. Generally, each Monkee sang lead on the songs he wrote. Dolenz was responsible for the most songs, writing and singing lead on “Never Enough,” “Unlucky Stars,” “Dyin’ of a Broken Heart,” “Regional Girl” and “It’s My Life.” He and Jones co-wrote “You and I,” first performed with the Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart unit on that group’s 1976 Capitol LP. (A song of the same name also appeared on The Monkees’ Instant Replay.) Here, it was transformed into a true Monkees track, with Tork and Nesmith both playing on it. Jones wrote and sang “Oh, What a Night” and the album-closing ballad “It’s Not Too Late.” And Peter Tork took the reins for “I Believe You,” also writing “Run Away from Life” for Jones to sing. Recorded in Hollywood between June and August 1996, Justus was a true group effort.
There’s more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
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!