2018 was a great year for Cher, with a starring role in the blockbuster Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the release of her hit album Dancing Queen, the opening of Broadway bio-musical The Cher Show, the reissue on vinyl of the smash Believe album, and a prestigious Kennedy Center Honor. 2019 looks to be shaping up as another banner year for the consummate entertainer. Run Out Groove has just announced that the expanded edition of Cher’s 3614 Jackson Highway, first issued on a Rhino Handmade CD in 2001, will be the label’s next deluxe vinyl reissue.
Cher’s sixth album, the 1969 LP took her out of the environs of Hollywood and into Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Supported by the great musicians there including Eddie Hinton, David Hood, Roger Hawkins, Jimmy Johnson, and Barry Beckett, as well as producers Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin, and Tom Dowd, it was intended to showcase a side of Cher previously unknown. (The title refers to the address of the Muscle Shoals studio.) It featured songs by Bob Dylan (“Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You,” “I Threw It All Away,” and “Lay Baby Lay”) as well as Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth,” Otis Redding and Steve Cropper’s “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay,” and Dr. John’s “I Walk on Guilded Splinters.” Southern soul staples from Dan Penn and Chips Moman (“Do Right Woman, Do Right Man”) and Penn and Spooner Oldham (“Cry Like a Baby”) were also featured.
But despite her most soul-infused singing, top-drawer arrangements, and tight band performances, the album failed to restore her commercial fortunes. That, of course, would come later. But in the years to come, 3614 Jackson Highway was re-evaluated as a high watermark in Cher’s artistry as an interpretive singer. In 2001, Rhino Handmade reissued it on CD with twelve bonus tracks primarily produced by Sonny Bono, including Cher’s renditions of “Easy to Be Hard,” “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” “Superstar,” Goffin and King’s “Yours Until Tomorrow,” and even the dramatic “Momma Look Sharp” from 1776 but equally relevant to the Vietnam era. Most of these bonuses were drawn from a planned but never released album scheduled to arrive in 1970; five of its ten tracks were issued as singles, but the rest went initially unreleased. (“Superstar,” produced by Stan Vincent, was not intended for the 1970 LP, which is presented in mono.) This vinyl premiere from Run Out Groove features all of the Rhino Handmade bonus tracks except for the alternate stereo version from the Chastity soundtrack of “Chastity’s Song,” making for a near-complete account of Cher’s solo Atco recordings.
3614 Jackson Highway: Expanded Edition will be pressed on 180-gram clear and purple mixed vinyl at Record Industry, and will be housed in a gatefold tip-on jacket. It’s available to pre-order now at Run Out Groove through February 7 only. It will then be pressed and numbered to a limited quantity based on the pre-orders. Don’t miss out on this slice of musical history from the inimitable Cher; you’ll find the pre-order link just below!
And don’t forget to vote NOW on ROG’s next title:
L7, Best of the Slash Years – a new single-disc compilation;
Los Lobos, Kiko: Expanded Edition – half-speed mastered from the original tapes and expanded with a bonus disc of tracks new to vinyl; or
The Meters, Rejuvenation – The original album, half-speed mastered.
Cher, 3614 Jackson Highway: Expanded Edition (Atco LP SD 33-298, 1969 – reissued Run Out Groove, 2019)
- For What It’s Worth
- (Just Enough to Keep Me) Hangin’ On
- (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay
- Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You
- I Threw It All Away
- I Walk on Guilded Splinters
- Lay Baby Lay
- Please Don’t Tell Me
- Cry Like a Baby
- Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
- Save the Children
Side C (all tracks first released on Rhino Handmade RHM2 7733, 2001)
- Easy to Be Hard
- I Believe
- Danny Boy
- Momma Look Sharp
- It Gets Me Where I Want to Go
- You’ve Made Me So Very Happy (Atco single 45-6713-B, 1969)
- Yours Until Tomorrow (Atco single 45-6658-A, 1969)
- The Thought of Loving You (Atco single 45-6658-B, 1969)
- The First Time (Atco single 45-6713-A, 1969)
- Chastity’s Song (Band of Thieves) (Single Version) (Atco single 45-6684-A, 1969)
- Superstar (Atco single 45-6793-A, 1970)