ORIGINAL POST OF 3/25: Since its inaugural wave of releases in 2011, the Culture Factory label has carved out a niche in the catalogue field. Artists such as Robert Palmer, Hot Tuna, Paul Williams, Bob Welch, The Flamin’ Groovies, Sylvie Vartan, Rare Earth and The Motels are all among the recipients of the Culture Factory treatment. The label’s modus operandi finds the original album with no bonus tracks or additional liner notes packaged in a Japanese-style paper sleeves with an OBI strip. The CD label itself resembles black vinyl with period label art. All discs are remastered with 96 kHz/24-bit technology (although playback in that high resolution is not possible as these are standard “redbook”44/16 compact discs playable in all units). The next waves of releases from Culture Factory widen the label’s scope further, with campaigns dedicated to a classic singer-songwriter, some diverse and well-chosen rockers, and perhaps most tantalizingly, choice offerings from the “Sound of Young America.”
On April 30, Culture Factory will reissue two albums from West, Bruce and Laing, another two from Walter Egan, and a trio of titles from James Taylor. Amped-up blues-rock was the order of the day when Jack Bruce of Cream joined forces with Leslie West and Corky Laing of Mountain to form a new power trio. The union was short-lived but burned brightly; Clive Davis recalled fierce competition in signing the band to CBS/Columbia. West, Bruce and Laing ultimately recorded just three albums (two in the studio, and one live) before disbanding, though Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm replaced his dad in a revised band line-up years later, in 2009. WB&L’s second studio album, 1973’s Whatever Turns You On, and the 1974 live album/swansong Live ‘n’ Kickin’ have both been selected for the Culture Factory treatment.
1977’s Fundamental Roll and 1978’s Not Shy kicked off the career of singer-songwriter Walter Egan. Not Shy was co-produced by Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham and Richard Dashut and yielded the gold-selling single “Magnet and Steel,” for which Egan is still best known today. “Magnet and Steel” was, of course, inspired by Stevie Nicks. She sang background vocals on the song, and had worked with Buckingham and Egan on Fundamental Roll.
James Taylor’s first three albums for Columbia round out Culture Factory’s April 30 slate. 1977’s JT was nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy, and Taylor picked up the trophy for his sublime revival of Otis Blackwell and Jimmy Jones’ “Handy Man.” Other highlights include the upbeat “Your Smiling Face” and reflective “Secret o’ Life.” JT followed JT with 1979’s Flag, which included his two songs for the Broadway musical Working (“Millworker” and “Brother Trucker”) as well as covers of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” and Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Up on the Roof.” The latter became a Top 30 U.S. hit and is still a signature song for Taylor. 1981’s Dad Loves His Work introduced the No. 1 Pop single duet with co-writer J.D. Souther, “Her Town, Too.”
After the jump: the lowdown on titles from Robert Palmer, the New York Dolls, Edgar Winter, .38 Special, and a certain Miss Ross! Plus: pre-order links for all titles!
Road Work, from multi-instrumentalist Edgar Winter’s White Trash, arrived on Epic in 1973 as produced by Rick Derringer. The second of only three albums recorded by the band, the sprawling double album includes among its highlights a 17-minute version of “Tobacco Road” and high-energy runs through “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” “Back in the U.S.A.” and “Turn on Your Love Light.” Culture Factory’s reissue is due on December 3. On May 21, two titles from different eras of the Robert Palmer catalogue are scheduled for reissue. 1974’s Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley featured support from Little Feat’s Lowell George as well as Allen Toussaint and The Meters. Palmer’s eighth album, 1985’s Riptide, generated the No. 1 hit single “Addicted to Love” and earned the English singer-songwriter a Grammy Award. Also on May 21, Culture Factory revisits The New York Dolls’ 1974 sophomore album, Too Much Too Soon from the scorching line-up of David Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain, Johnny Thunders, Arthur “Killer” Kane and Jerry Nolan.
A surprise on the May 21 lineup is a new CD reissue of the FM soundtrack. John A. Alonzo’s 1978 film starring Michael Brandon, Eileen Brennan, Alex Karras, Cleavon Little and Martin Mull revolved around the wild goings-on at a radio station taken over by its DJs. Billed as “A Now Story with Now Music,” the Grammy-winning, Top 5-charting FM soundtrack included songs by a true rock “Who’s Who”: Eagles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Joe Walsh, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Seger, The Steve Miller Band and others. Then, on August 13, .38 Special’s second album, Special Delivery, is reissued. As the last CD version of the A&M album is out-of-print and fetching high prices online, this is a particularly welcome reissue.
Last but certainly not least, Culture Factory launches a series dedicated to Diana Ross, with and without The Supremes. This July, seven classic Motown reissues will arrive. Though there are no bona fide rarities (like a CD reissue of Diana Ross and the Supremes Sing and Perform ‘Funny Girl’!) a number of the titles are returning to print in the U.S. for the first time in many years. 1966’s I Hear a Symphony and Supremes a-Go Go are the earliest titles reissued; the former was released in 2012 as an expanded collector’s edition from Hip-o Select (now selling for over 200 bucks at Amazon!) while the latter has been available in import editions from Europe and Japan. 1967’s Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland, 1968’s Join the Temptations and Love Child, and 1969’s Cream of the Crop complete this (initial?) Supremes program. From Diana Ross’ solo catalogue, Culture Factory has plucked 1979’s Ashford and Simpson-helmed The Boss and a considerably rarer title, 1977’s live double album An Evening with Diana Ross. All titles hit stores on July 16!
All titles can be pre-ordered at the links below! The prolific Culture Factory label has many more releases on track as 2013 unfolds, so stay tuned!
West, Bruce and Laing, Whatever Turns You On (Windfall/Columbia KC 32216, 1973)
West, Bruce and Laing, Live ‘n’ Kickin’ (Windfall/Columbia KC 32899, 1974)
Walter Egan, Fundamental Roll (Columbia PC 34679, 1977)
Walter Egan, Not Shy (Columbia PC 35077, 1978)
James Taylor, JT (Columbia JC 34811, 1977)
James Taylor, Flag (Columbia FC 35068, 1979)
James Taylor, Dad Loves His Work (Columbia TC 37009, 1981)
New York Dolls, Too Much Too Soon (Mercury SRM 1-1001, 1974)
Robert Palmer, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley (Island (U.S.) ILPS 9294, 1974)
Robert Palmer, Riptide (Island (U.S.) 90471-1, 1985)
Various Artists, FM: The Original Movie Soundtrack (MCA MCA2-12000, 1978)
Diana Ross, The Boss (Motown M8-923M1, 1979)
Diana Ross, An Evening with Diana Ross (Motown M7-877R2, 1977)
Diana Ross and the Supremes, Cream of the Crop (Motown MS 694, 1969)
Diana Ross and the Supremes, Love Child (Motown MS 670, 1968)
The Supremes, I Hear a Symphony (Motown MS 643, 1966)
Diana Ross and the Supremes, Join the Temptations (Motown MS 679, 1968)
The Supremes, Sing Holland-Dozier-Holland (Motown MS 650, 1966)
The Supremes, Supremes A Go-Go (Motown MS 649, 1966)
.38 Special, Special Delivery (A&M SP-3165, 1978)
Edgar Winter’s White Trash, Roadwork (Epic KEG 31249, 1972)