Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
Elton John, Live from Moscow 1979 (Mercury/UMe)
2019 marked the 40th anniversary of Elton John’s landmark tour of Russia, where he stunned audiences as the first rocker to perform in the country. His concerts there were intimate events where he performed alongside percussionist Ray Cooper. Now, Elton brings his May 28, 1979 concert in Moscow to CD and wide release vinyl for the first time; the show was previously released for Record Store Day 2019 on LP. The producers of Live From Moscow 1979 went back to the original broadcast masters to ensure optimum sound quality, and those tapes were then remastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering. The presentation is also first-rate, with the vinyl configuration housed in a gatefold sleeve and the CD set presented in an LP-replica mini gatefold package. And though hardcore fans might wonder why “Roy Rogers,” “Ego,” or a host of other deep cuts performed in Moscow didn’t make the cut for this official release, the 16-track collection remains a document of some of the best tracks from a thrilling, historic concert.
Sam Cooke vinyl (Amazon U.S. (TBD) / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
Encore vinyl (Amazon U.S. (TBD) / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
Tribute to the Lady vinyl (Amazon U.S. (TBD) / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
ABKCO’s release of The Complete Keen Years (1957-1960) kicks off a year-long celebration of Sam Cooke, who would have turned 90 years old on January 22, 2021. This 5-CD box contains Cooke’s three albums for Keen: a self-titled debut (also known as Songs By Sam Cooke), Encore, and Tribute To The Lady (“the lady” in this case being Billie Holiday, who died the same year). It also has 1959’s Hit Kit and 1960’s The Wonderful World Of Sam Cooke which collected Sam’s single sides. The five albums are presented on The Complete Keen Years along with 15 bonus tracks in total – all uncompiled sides as well as several rare stereo mixes issued as limited edition 45s. Michael Corcoran provides new liner notes, and everything on the set is reportedly sourced from the original, long-lost Keen master reels, recovered in, of all places, an airplane hangar. To coincide with the box set, new vinyl pressings of Sam Cooke, Encore and Tribute To The Lady will also be available. Oddly, the Amazon U.S. link is currently inactive while the Amazon Canada link is showing the box set as unavailable. The set and vinyl LPs are all still up for ordering at the uDiscoverMusic store. Get the full track listing and more info right here.
The Dave Clark Five, All the Hits [Various Formats] (BMG)
Dave Clark is revisiting his band’s 2008 compilation The Hits under the revised title of All the Hits in a new edition on BMG. Featuring classics like “Because,” “Glad All Over,” “Catch Us If You Can,” “Do You Love Me,” and “Bits and Pieces,” the set is a fine overview of the DC5’s pop-garage sound. There will be a couple of versions: the U.K. edition, out today, includes 28 tracks available in 1-CD or 2-LP formats. Meanwhile, the U.S. variant due on January 31 only features 16 songs spread across a single CD or LP. Thankfully, readers in the States can purchase an imported copy of the more extensive edition. Read the full track listings here.
Big Star’s 1972 debut #1 Record (featuring “The Ballad of El Goodo,” “In the Street,” and “With My Baby Beside Me”) returns to vinyl from Craft Recordings in a new edition remastered in an all-analog chain by Jeff Powell at Memphis’ Take Out Vinyl, and manufactured there in Big Star’s hometown by Memphis Record Pressing. The titles boast replica Ardent Records labels.
Big Star’s 1974 sophomore album (boasting “September Gurls,” “You Get What You Deserve,” and “O My Soul”) gets a vinyl reissue from Craft Recordings. Like # 1 Record, this edition has been remastered in an all-analog chain by Jeff Powell at Memphis’ Take Out Vinyl, and manufactured there by Memphis Record Pressing. The titles again boast replica Ardent Records labels.
Following the limited Record Store Day release of the 2-LP set for Record Store Day Black Friday, a standard edition of Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration is set for wide release on January 24 From Decca: “On Joni’s 75th birthday last November, a star-studded roster of musicians gathered together to pay tribute to the legendary singer-songwriter. The evening was recorded and is now being released on vinyl. It features performances by Brandi Carlile, Glen Hansard, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Chaka Khan, Diana Krall, Kris Kristofferson, Los Lobos with La Marisoul, Cesar Castro & Xochi Flores, Graham Nash, James Taylor and more.” Read more about the release here.
This 6-CD, 116-track package collects The Meters’ eight albums for the Warner family of labels, plus non-album sides, single edits, and the rare disco mix of “Disco Is the Thing Today” which appears for the first time on CD. Nick Robbins has handled the mastering, and the extensive booklet contains new liner notes by Charles Waring. Watch this space for full coverage of this title!
One of RPM Records’ final releases, this new box set explores the ’60s discography of The Honeycombs, best-known for their recording with maverick producer Joe Meek of “Have I the Right?” This 3-CD, 78-song box has both of the band’s original albums in mono plus non-LP sides, the rare U.S. single version of “I Can’t Stop,” German language and instrumental versions of “Have I the Right?,” their live albums and singles from Japan, two originally unreleased outtakes recorded before Meek’s death in 1967, and solo singles from group members. Watch this space for more coverage of this extensive title!
Following a series of box sets collecting its 12-inch singles, pioneering English electronic band – and 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees – Depeche Mode are releasing a definitive survey of their studio works. The limited, numbered, 18-CD box set MODE rounds up all fourteen of the band’s studio albums plus four additional discs of bonus material. In total, MODE features 63 non-album singles, B-sides, and bonus tracks spanning 1983-2017 including the previously unreleased “Heroes (Highline Session Version).” All fourteen original albums in MODE, from 1981’s Speak & Spell through 2017’s Spirit, are housed in newly-designed black sleeves. The most recent remasters appear to have been utilized, including those first released on deluxe editions in 2006-2007. The box also contains a 228-page, black, gilt-edged book with the complete lyrics as well as the original album artwork and photographs covering the band’s entire career to date. Read more here!
Supergrass, The Strange Ones 1984-2008 (Echo/BMG)
The British band (“I Should Coco”) gets the anthology treatment with this multi-format release encompassing a 6LP/13CD/1-single box set (including over six hours of previously unreleased material), and 1-CD and 2-LP highlights editions.