Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
The Kinks, Arthur, or The Decline and Fall of the British Empire [Various Formats] (BMG)
4CD/4-seven-inch single box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / The Kinks Official
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / The Kinks Official
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / The Kinks Official
The Kinks’ 1969 concept album continued in the quintessentially British vein of The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society but carved out its own musical identity. Building on the success of last year’s Village Green box set, BMG has a similarly expansive – make that Kink-size – set for Arthur, loaded with previously unreleased tracks and mixes and incorporating “the great lost Dave Davies album” as well. It’s available in a variety of formats including a 4-CD/4-seven-inch single box set, and slimmed-down 2-CD and 2-LP editions. Read more here!
UMe and The Zappa Family Trust have a 4-CD box set featuring over four and a half hours of live material recorded in Chicago on October 31, 1973 at one of Frank Zappa’s legendary Halloween shows. Both of Zappa’s live sets from that date – and a further disc of rehearsal tapes – will be collected in the elaborately designed set, which features a “costume box” that houses the four CDs and a “FRANKenZAPPA” mask and gloves set. If four CDs and a Halloween costume seems like a little too much, ZFT and UMe will also release Halloween ’73 Highlights, a 1-CD, 16-song compilation featuring selections from the two shows. Get more details here.
Omnivore has an expanded reissue of legendary cult band Big Star’s 2005 album In Space. The well-received 12-song set from Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, and Ken Stringfellow included ten new originals and two covers. It was recorded in the fabled Ardent Studios, where Big Star began, and released on Rykodisc. (A limited vinyl run was issued on DBK Works.) Now, the album will return to vinyl on translucent blue wax and will be expanded on CD to the tune of six bonus tracks. Among them are five unissued demos and alternate mixes, plus the 2003 reunion track “Hot Thing,” previously available on the out-of-print Ryko comp, Big Star Story. Read more here!
Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s first album since 2012, Colorado promises the same kind of scorching, raw rock for which the band is known. Sweetening the pot, Nils Lofgren makes his first appearance on a Crazy Horse record since 1971! Colorado features 10 new Young compositions including the 13+-minute epic “She Shows Me Love.” The vinyl version contains a bonus 7-inch single with outtake “Truth Kills” and a live version of the album’s “Rainbow of Colors.”
James Brown, Live at Home with His Bad Self (Republic/UMe)
UMe premieres a 1969 homecoming show recorded in Augusta, Georgia by The Godfather of Soul and his smokin’ band. While select tracks from the show have been previously issued, this release marks its debut in full. It’s been newly mixed by engineer Peter A. Barker from the original multitracks. Highlights include unreleased versions of Brown’s then-current single “World” (performed here as a live vocal over the original backing track), “Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose,” “Try Me” and even a cover of Blood, Sweat & Tears’ “Spinning Wheel” plus extended versions of “There Was a Time” and “Mother Popcorn.” Read more here!
High Moon Records has pulled out all of the stops for a stunning celebration of the late Curt Boettcher, a pop auteur whose finest productions rival Brian Wilson’s for sheer beauty and complexity. Looking for the Sun features 21 rare and previously unissued tracks from artists in Boettcher’s orbit, most of which have been rescued from the Sony vaults to make their CD debuts here. A lavish 36-page booklet contains an illuminating essay by Boettcher historian Dawn Eden Goldstein and comprehensive track-by-track notes from Goldstein and the compilation’s producer and designer, Now Sounds’ Steve Stanley. This one is indispensable for any fan or collector of sixties pop; watch this space next week for an in-depth review! Also available in an 18-track vinyl edition.
The Jackson 5’s classic Greatest Hits is back on LP with a twist: this reissue utilizes a stereo fold-down of a rare quadraphonic mix issued only in Japan in 1975. That mix featured alternate vocals and instrumentation on some tracks, making this release a true new way to hear some of the group’s biggest hit songs. It’s been sourced from the original four-channel analog masters housed in the Motown vault, and has been mastered and cut for vinyl by Alex Abrash at AA Mastering. Standard black vinyl LPs will be available as well as an exclusive clear variant on the uDiscover Music store. Get more details here!
Rhino has slimmed down the 2013 Super Deluxe edition of Rumours by dropping the LP and DVD and reissuing just the four CDs in this new package: the original album, a live concert recording, and two discs of outtakes and alternate versions.
The Dukes of Stratosphear, Psurroundabout Ride (Ape House APEBD120, 2019)
The new CD/Blu-ray Psurroundabout Ride from XTC’s psychedelic alter egos The Dukes of Stratosphear collects new stereo mixes by Steven Wilson of the tracks on both releases, as well as three bonus tracks released in 2009. (One, “Open a Can Of Human Beans,” is not newly mixed, likely due to master tape availability, and will be presented in “upmixed” surround using the Penteo process.) The Blu-ray offers an additional trove of bonuses, including 5.1 surround and instrumental mixes by Wilson, the original stereo album mixes, and 12 demos from the project – complete and utter Dukes, if ever there was such a thing!
Stage Door Records premieres on CD the original London cast album of Ambassador, starring Howard Keel and Danielle Darrieux and based on Henry James’ novel The Ambassadors. This lush musical only ran 86 performances (and even fewer in its subsequent Broadway incarnation) but its stirring score lives on. Stage Door’s CD is freshly remastered from the original RCA master tapes, and is limited to just 500 units. Read more here!
Rick Astley, The Best of Me (BMG)
1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon Canada
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2CD Deluxe: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2CD Autographed Edition: Amazon U.K.
The Best Of Me collects the biggest international hit singles and beloved cuts throughout his career of the “Never Gonna Give You Up” hitmaker, including tracks from 50 (2016) and Beautiful Life (2018), which marked a return to original music after 15 years. 50 debuted atop the U.K. albums chart and Beautiful Life made the Top 10, and both were supported by well-attended tours. A deluxe edition (available in a standard digipak or casebound book packaging) features a bonus disc of 10 additional “reimagined” recordings. A vinyl pressing is available in the U.K., and signed editions are for sale on Amazon U.K. as well. Read all about it here!
Quentin Tarantino’s sizzling soundtrack to his epic portrayal of Hollywood circa 1969 arrives on vinyl today following summer’s CD release. Featuring Paul Revere and The Raiders, Deep Purple, Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel and many others in a program replicating a KHJ broadcast, the 2-LP album arrives in numerous configurations including a standard 180-gram version (available at Amazon and retailers everywhere; see links above), an indie-exclusive 180-gram orange vinyl version, a 150-gram yellow vinyl version available at Barnes & Noble, and a 220-gram deluxe “tequila sunrise” vinyl box (available through the film’s webstore).
On March 4, 1975, singer-songwriter Jim Sullivan disappeared under mysterious circumstances outside Santa Rosa, New Mexico. As Light in the Attic explains, “His VW bug was found abandoned, his motel room untouched. Some think he got lost. Some think the mafia bumped him. Some even think he was abducted by aliens.” Whatever the reason why, Sullivan was never heard of again…until now. This collection features ten previously unreleased acoustic solo recordings from the late artist. It’s a stark contrast to his album U.F.O., on which he was supported by members of The Wrecking Crew. As the label promises, this release “serves as an unprecedented glimpse into the mysterious, larger-than-life figure who’s become the stuff of legends.”
Utopia, The Complete Bearsville Singles (1977-1982) (Bearsville/Rhino) (available at independent retailers)
Rhino’s Rocktober campaign has a special 2-LP release today, exclusive to independent record retailers and select other stores like Barnes & Noble: the complete Bearsville singles of Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, released between 1977 and 1982. The set comprises 16 sides of prog, pop, and rock on four sides of vinyl, and includes such classics as “Love Is the Answer,” “One World,” “Lysistrata,” and the Beatles pastiche “I Just Want to Touch You.” It’s all been remastered by Bill Inglot.
Stage and screen star Mandy Patinkin returns with his first studio album in almost two decades. Children and Art is drawn from his digital-only series of musical Diaries (three volumes released to date) and features songs by Randy Newman, Stephen Sondheim, Rufus Wainwright, Lyle Lovett, Tom Waits, and Patinkin himself. It’s produced by his musical collaborator, pianist Thomas Bartlett.
To coincide with the release of the theatrical film version of Western Stars, Bruce Springsteen is delivering the film’s soundtrack. Western Stars: Songs from the Film features live versions of all thirteen of the original album’s songs, plus a special cover of Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Available on CD, LP, and digital platforms.
The prolific Van Morrison returns with his sixth album in four years. Three Chords and the Truth is filled with original Morrison compositions including one co-written with Oscar-winning lyricist Don Black. Guitarist Jay Berliner and Righteous Brother Bill Medley both appear on the album. Available on CD, LP, and digital platforms.
What’s his name? Ringo, of course! The Beatle is back with a new LP featuring some very special guests: Steve Lukather, Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter, Dave Stewart, and Paul McCartney! Macca joins in on a cover of John Lennon’s “Grow Old with Me.” Promising a lot of peace and love, What’s My Name will be available on CD, LP, and digital platforms.
The Oak Ridge Boys (recently heard backing Dionne Warwick on her new Christmas album, and the subjects of a Second Disc/Real Gone anthology) have another celebration of their favorite season. Down Home Christmas, the group’s eighth Christmas album, has been produced by Nashville uber-producer Dave Cobb and features both classics and original songs.
Harry Connick, Jr. salutes a classic American composer with True Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter. The new album, available on CD, LP, and digital platforms, has 13 Porter standards, all arranged, conducted, and sung by Connick (who, naturally, plays piano on them, too). Target has an exclusive edition with an expanded booklet.
An all-star cast of vocalists salutes the songs of Fred Rogers on this new release. The lineup includes Micky Dolenz, The Cowsills, Vanessa Williams, Lee Greenwood, and Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.!
David Byrne has returned to his 2018 album American Utopia with a live production currently on Broadway at the Hudson Theatre. This cast album preserves the songs as heard in that live production. Available today in digital formats, with a 2-CD edition to follow on November 22, and a vinyl release also in the winter.