Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
The eye in the sky is still looking at you…Legacy Recordings has a 35th anniversary box set celebrating The Alan Parsons Project’s 1982 best-seller Eye in the Sky. The album, which yielded the APP’s biggest hit single with its title track as well as the classic instrumental “Sirius,” will be enhanced for this lavish and expansive 3-CD/1-BD/2-LP/1-Flexidisc release boasting high-resolution stereo and surround mixes of the original album, rare single mixes, over 30 previously unreleased tracks, and more! Read more here!
Rolling Stones, On Air (UMe)
The Rolling Stones’ On Air marks the first wide release of any of the band’s live BBC sessions, recorded during the beginning of their storied career. An audio companion to the recently published book of the same name, On Air features a bevy of tracks recorded between 1963, when the group appeared on Saturday Club just months after the release of their debut single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On,” and 1965, when the band returned to the show armed not only with more great blues and soul covers but a new original, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Available in 1CD and 2CD formats, as well as a 2LP vinyl edition (which replicates the contents of the 1CD version). Read more here!
Rush, A Farewell to Kings: 40th Anniversary Edition (Mercury/UMe)
Rush’s fifth studio album, originally released in 1977, is reissued in a multitude of formats, all including a full concert from 1978, a sound effects track, and four covers by prog groups of classics from the album. All this audio material will be available as a 3CD or 4LP set; for the hardcore Rush fans, a super deluxe box will combine both of those sets and add a Blu-ray disc featuring a high-resolution version of the album in stereo plus a new 5.1 surround remix by acclaimed engineer Steven Wilson, as well as three newly restored music videos. Extras in the box include lithographs and a turntable mat with original artwork by Hugh Syme, a replica of the band’s 1978 tour program, and a “unique King’s Ring,” complete with velvet pouch and neck chain. Read more here!
To celebrate what would have been her 70th birthday, Capitol Records salutes the late songstress Minnie Riperton with a deluxe edition of her 1974 album, co-produced by Stevie Wonder. This 2-CD set boasts 11 bonus tracks. The original album is appended with the hit single version of “Lovin’ You,” edited and featuring a synth overdub as well as a previously unreleased studio count-off by Richard Rudolph. Disc Two’s alternate construction of the album, A More Perfect Angel, includes extended and alternate versions of every track on the album; highlights include a duet version of “Take a Little Trip” with vocals by Wonder and a full band version of “Lovin’ You.” One final bonus track is an early version of “Don’t Let Anyone Bring You Down,” later re-recorded for Riperton’s next album Adventures In Paradise (1975), with backing instrumentation by Wonder on most instruments and Hubert Laws on flute. A 24-page booklet features rare images and new liner notes by Rudolph on the making of the album. Read more here!
Wilco, A.M. / Being There Deluxe Editions (Rhino)
Wilco revisits its first two albums this week. A.M., the band’s 1995 debut, is expanded on 1 CD or 2 LPs with eight previously unreleased bonus tracks, including “When You Find Trouble,” the last track recorded by Jeff Tweedy’s previous band, Uncle Tupelo. The band’s sophomore double album, Being There, morphs into a 5-CD or 4-LP box set by pairing the original album with a disc of 15 unreleased outtakes and alternates plus a clutch of live material recorded in Los Angeles just after the release of the original album. (The vinyl includes a radio set for KCRW-FM, while the CD box has that, plus a lengthy show recorded at The Troubadour a day before that appearance, on November 12, 1996.) Get more details and track listings here!
Disney’s first catalogue release from the Star Wars universe is here – a vinyl box set dedicated to John Williams’ original soundtrack to the original 1977 classic. The 3-LP, 180-gram vinyl set features a 48-page hardcover book with essays by Jeff Bond and Jeff Eldridge, and holograms hand-etched by Tristan Duke of Infinity Light Science, including a 3D Death Star on Disc 1. Disc 2 features the Star Wars 40th Anniversary logo etched into the vinyl. Read more here!
UMG revisits the long out-of-print 2012 Super Deluxe Edition of The Sex Pistols’ album in a smaller format still boasting 3 CDs which include the original studio album with 1977 B-sides, a disc of outtakes, and one disc of live material. A DVD has 1977 footage of the band playing live from the infamous boat party held on the River Thames, London, the Winter Gardens, Penzance in Cornwall and the Happy House, Stockholm, Sweden. A 48-page booklet rounds out the set. Available today in the U.K., and next Friday in the U.S. and Canada!
Two previously unreleased live sets from Ella Fitzgerald, recorded at Zardi’s Jazzland in Hollywood on February 2, 1956, arrive on CD featuring both familiar classics and songs she never recorded in the studio! We have track listings and more here!
Varese Vintage celebrates 40 years of the Burt Reynolds/Sally Field/Jackie Gleason comedy with a pairing of the original Smokey and the Bandit soundtrack, primarily by Jerry Reed and Bill Justis, with that of its sequel, 1980’s Smokey and The Bandit II (in which Reynolds, Field, Reed and Gleason – playing Sheriff Justice and his two brothers – all reappeared); that album featured tracks by country icons like Reed, Tanya Tucker, Don Williams, Brenda Lee, Roy Rogers and The Statler Brothers. Both albums appear here for the first time on compact disc! Get the full scoop here!
One of the Scottish alt-rock group’s lesser-known periods is examined in this band-approved 5CD set of recordings of live shows across the U.S. and Europe during their second decade. Watch for a full review here soon!
For his second studio album of the year, Van Morrison has turned to the classics. Versatilefeatures six Morrison compositions alongside jazz vocal standards written by The Gershwins (“A Foggy Day,” “They Can’t Take That Way from Me”), Cole Porter (“I Get a Kick Out of You”), the team of Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and Jule Styne (“The Party’s Over”), Frank Loesser and Jimmy McHugh (“Let’s Get Lost”), and other legends of the Great American Songbook. Of the six Morrison-penned songs, three are originals and three have been previously recorded: “I Forgot That Love Existed,” “Only a Dream,” and “Start All Over Again” – on Poetic Champions Compose (1987), Down the Road (2002), and Enlightenment (1990), respectively. Flautist Sir James Galway appears on the new Morrison song “Affirmation.”
Neil Young reteams with the band Promise of the Real for his latest studio album on the same day that he opens his online archives for business. Songs like “Already Great,” “Fly by Night Deal,” and “When Bad Got Good” show Young as fiercely political and fiery as ever. Also available on vinyl.
U2 is garnering acclaim for their newest studio album, a follow-up to 2014’s Songs of Innocence. It’s been produced by Jacknife Lee and Ryan Tedder with Steve Lillywhite, Andy Barlow, and Jolyon Thomas. Available on CD in deluxe (links above) and standard editions, and on vinyl, as well as in a super deluxe CD/vinyl configuration.