Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
ABBA revisits its fifth studio album (released in December 1977 in Scandinavia and January 1978 in the U.K.) – a tie-in to ABBA: The Movie – as a deluxe 2-LP, 45 RPM, half-speed mastered set. Featuring “The Name of the Game,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and “Thank You for the Music,” the chart-topping LP has been a favorite of the band’s discography. Historian Carl-Magnus Palm provides new liner notes, and the album has been remastered at Abbey Road.
This release marks the first official release of Wes Montgomery’s Paris concert of March 27, 1965, part of his only European tour. The legendary guitarist was joined by pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Arthur Harper, drummer Jimmy Lovelace, and guest tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin. The 2-CD set has been remastered from the original tapes, and features such songs as “Here’s That Rainy Day,” ‘Round Midnight,” and “The Girl Next Door.” A deluxe 32-page booklet rounds it all out!
Robinsongs extensively revisits the catalogue of the funky Ohio Players on this essential, multi-label 3-CD anthology. The set’s first disc, “The Early Years,” focuses on the group’s earliest releases on the Capitol and Westbound labels before they made a break for Mercury (and higher chart visibility) with 1974’s Skin Tight. On Disc 2, “The Golden Years,” you’ve got the group’s biggest crossover pop hits, plus two favorite soul sides from Walter “Junie” Morrison, who’d left the Players but continued to have success as a solo act. The final disc, “The Later & Solo Years,” finds the Ohio Players leaving Mercury for Arista and later Boardwalk Records, while Junie continues his solo career, splinter group Shadow comes to light and even Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner steps into the spotlight with a solo album in 1985. This exceptional package features remastering by Alan Wilson and a lengthy essay by Christian John Wikane in its copiously-illustrated 28-page booklet. Read more about this fine and funky salute here!
Eclectic Americana artist-songwriter (and multi-instrumentalist) Luther Russell has looked back on his 25+-year career with this lavish, new 2-CD, 41-track anthology (also available as 2 cassettes from Burger Records). Selective Memories features solo work as well as tunes with The Bootheels (Russell’s teenage band with Jakob Dylan), Federale (his group with The Black Crowes’ Marc Ford), and The Freewheelers (late of David Geffen’s DGC label and Rick Rubin’s American Recordings). Previously unreleased tracks pepper this collection, which features songs inspired by influences as diverse as Arthur Lee of Love, George Jones, Randy Newman, Curtis Mayfield, and Harry Nilsson. A 24-page booklet features track-by-track liner notes from Russell, while essays from Larry Crane and Bud Scoppa are also included in the digipak of this impressive retrospective of an ever-searching artist.
The lone solo album from Wham!’s Andrew Ridgeley – emphasizing rock rather than the expected pop sound – arrives in expanded form from Cherry Pop, including seven rare single bonus tracks. George Michael guests on one track. Read all about it here!
Cherry Pop has also revisited the sophomore album (and final solo LP to date) from pop star Martika, featuring four collaborations with Prince including the smash hit “Love…Thy Will Be Done.” This 2-CD Special Reheated Edition offers twelve bonus tracks on a second disc – three of which are new to CD, and one of which is previously unreleased. Get the full scoop here!