Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up highlighted by the first course of a Christmas feast, plus a trio of deluxe box sets, new albums from veteran artists, and more!
The Three Suns, A Ding Dong Dandy Christmas / George Melachrino and His Orchestra, Christmas Joy / John Gary, The John Gary Christmas Album / The Soulful Strings, The Magic of Christmas (Real Gone Music)
Real Gone Music kicks off its mega-Christmas slate with a quartet of holiday releases – with another seven titles to follow next month! Today’s offerings include the worldwide CD debut of Chess Records gem The Magic of Christmas from The Soulful Strings and the first appearance on CD of vocalist John Gary’s Christmas Album in its original artwork and configuration! Then Real Gone has two vintage RCA Victor Living Stereo titles – and I’ve written the new liner notes for both of these remastered albums: George Melachrino and His Orchestra’s lush Christmas Joy, and The Three Suns’ wacky, swinging and happily irreverent Ding Dong Dandy Christmas!
Real Gone also has the CD debut of The Beckies, the 1976 cult favorite power-pop gem from the group fronted by The Left Banke’s Michael Brown. Jeremy Cargill provides new liner notes, and lyrics are also included.
Faces precursor The Small Faces celebrate 50 years with a new 5-CD box set including all of the recordings the band made for Decca, plus rarities, alternative versions, previously unavailable tracks and a disc of BBC sessions. All audio has been remastered from the original analog sources under the supervision of drummer Kenney Jones. This lift-off lid box also includes a 72-page booklet featuring rare and previously unseen photos and memorabilia plus four postcards.
Complementing last year’s albums box set, Driven by the Music releases a new 24-CD singles box set from the late, great Donna Summer featuring all of the singles originally released on Geffen Records and Atlantic Records from the albums ‘The Wanderer‘, ‘Donna Summer‘, ‘Cats Without Claws‘, ‘All Systems Go’, ‘Another Place and Time‘ and ‘Mistaken Identity‘. Also included is a Bonus 4-track CD featuring remixes, which although were on the Club/DJ circuit, have not been previously available commercially. Christian John Wikane provides the copious new liner notes.
Nat “King” Cole, A Musical Autobiography (Universal U.K.) (Amazon U.S. TBD / Amazon U.K.)
This new 10-CD/2-DVD box set spans the period of 1939-1965 with 262 tracks from Nat King Cole as pioneering jazz pianist and silky-smooth Capitol crooner. You can see the full track listing and get more details right here!
Raging Fire, Everything is Roses: 1985-1989 (Pristine) (CD Baby)
This ain’t your typical Nashville Sound! Everything is Roses anthologizes the career of Music City’s groundbreaking alt-rockers Raging Fire with 22 tracks on one CD recorded between 1985 and 1989. (An 11-track vinyl highlights version will also be available as well as a 26-track lossless digital edition.) Raging Fire opened for such bands as The Replacements, The Cramps and Gun Club with their singular sound incorporating punk, rock, folk, country, and more. With almost all tracks reissued for the first time, the new record unites the band’s 1985 LP A Family Thing with selections from the 1986 LP Faith Love Was Made Of, as well as compilation cuts, previously unreleased demos and more. Watch for a full review soon!
Bear Family explains its latest release: “In 1956, singer Sanford Clark, guitarist Al Casey and producer Lee Hazlewood laid out the all-time rockabilly classic ‘The Fool’ and put Phoenix, Arizona, on the music world’s radar. The Fool came out on the tiny MCI imprint and, energized by the national hit, the label for the next five years turned out more Rock ‘n’ Roll gems by the likes of Al Casey, Dick Robinson and His Makebelievers, Jim Fleming and The Casuals, Bobby and The Demons, Frank Fafara and Denny Reed. This collection is the first-ever overview of this ground-breaking company, featuring Sanford Clark’s never-before-heard pre-‘Fool’ recordings of ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and ‘Heartbreak Hotel.'” This 39-track set (mostly transferred from original analogue tapes) premieres previously unreleased tracks by Lee Hazlewood, Spence Bare and the Newton Brothers featuring Wayne Newton. Compiled by Arizona music historian John P. Dixon, this set has new notes by Phoenix journalist Dan Nowicki, and a complete MCI discography.
Damita Jo, Love Laid Its Hand on Me: 1952-1962 / Bobby Rydell, Return of the Original American Idol: All The Albums 1961-1962 (Jasmine)
U.K. public domain label Jasmine rounds up material from pop stars Damita Jo and Bobby Rydell. The Damita Jo set has three full albums from the genre-blurring artist plus 12 bonus singles on 2 CDs; the Rydell collection picks up where Jasmine’s last volume left off. It presents five full albums (minus the repeated tracks already included on the label’s The Original American Idol) on 2 CDs.
To coincide with the release of his long-awaited autobiography Over the Top and Back, Sir Tom Jones unpacks his Long Lost Suitcase on an all-new studio album. Titles on the album reflect chapters in his book including “Elvis Presley Blues,” “Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used to Do,” “Bring It On Home” and “Factory Girl.” No U.S. release is currently on the schedule, though that may change.
For this new Zombies album, Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent tapped bassist Jim Rodford (formerly of Argent and The Kinks), Rodford’s son Steve on drums, and renowned session guitarist Tom Toomey. Chris Potter (The Verve’s Urban Hymns, The Rolling Stones’ Steel Wheels) has produced this all-new set.