Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
Johnny Cash, The Complete Mercury Recordings 1986-1991 (Mercury/UMe)
The Complete Mercury Recordings 1986-1991 will be available on 7CD or 7LP, 180-gram vinyl formats. The box collects all six albums Johnny Cash recorded for Mercury Records during that era: Class Of ’55: Memphis Rock & Roll Homecoming with Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins (1986), Johnny Cash Is Coming To Town (1987), Water From The Wells Of Home (1988), Classic Cash: Hall Of Fame Series (1988), Boom Chicka Boom (1990), and The Mystery Of Life (1991). The albums have all been remastered from the original Mercury master tapes by Kevin Reeves at UMG Studios in Nashville. New liner notes have been written by historian Scott Schinder. The CD version adds numerous rare and previously unreleased tracks plus an additional 20-track disc of mixes, Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series (Early Mixes). These early mixes of the 1988 album have been mastered from tapes newly discovered in the Universal vaults. While this bonus album is not part of the vinyl box set, a 2-LP edition will be released as a Record Store Day exclusive. All of the individual albums will also be available as standalone vinyl releases.
Johnny Cash, Easy Rider: The Best of the Mercury Recordings (Mercury/UMe)
Is the complete Johnny Cash at Mercury box set too much of the Man in Black for you? If so, Mercury/UMe offers this 24-track distillation on 1 CD or 2 LPs featuring highlights from the complete box set including duets with Rosanne Cash and The Everly Brothers; U2; Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins; Waylon Jennings; Hank Williams, Jr.; and Tom T. Hall. Read more about both Cash titles here.
This 4-CD box set celebrates 1970’s short-lived Mothers of Invention iteration featuring Frank Zappa, Aynsley Dunbar (drums), George Duke (piano/keys/trombone), Ian Underwood (organ/keys/guitar), Jeff Simmons (bass/vocals) and Flo and Eddie a.k.a. Howard Kaylan (vocals) and Mark Volman (vocals/percussion) of The Turtles. This lineup injected a heavily comedic, often off-color element to Zappa’s oeuvre while still retaining the impeccable musicality for which the maverick composer was known. With over four hours of unreleased material, including sessions from London’s Trident Studios, recently unearthed songs, alternate takes of fan favorites, plus live recordings from The Netherlands, California, Spokane and beyond, this box will be a definitive look at the acclaimed Mothers of 1970 in the studio and onstage. Read more here.
This new anthology from Ace/Kent features 23 tracks produced and/or arranged (and/or written!) by legendary Philadelphia soul maestro Thom Bell from his earliest days at Cameo Parkway Records through the pivotal year of 1978 when he concluded work with The Spinners and returned to the Philadelphia International fold. Along the way, you’ll hear songs from that group as well as The Delfonics, The Stylistics, Ronnie Dyson, New York City, Dionne Warwick, Johnny Mathis, The O’Jays, and many others. Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley has compiled and annotated. Read more here!
Last year, JSP Records premiered its latest archival release celebrating the life and remarkable artistry of Judy Garland. Lost Tracks 2: 1936-1967 collected 50 rarities on two discs spanning the entirety of the late superstar’s career, 40 of which were new to CD. Now, JSP is releasing a single-disc “highlights” edition of that seminal set with 25 tracks, adding one previously unreleased, newly-discovered bonus track: Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields’ “You Couldn’t Be Cuter” which the duo wrote for the 1938 film Joy of Living. Get more details here!
Real Gone shines a spotlight on “the godmothers of ‘chick rock,'” Fanny. The band was the first all-female rock band to be signed to a major label and their self-titled Reprise debut remains a groundbreaking release. With Richard Perry producing, sisters June and Jean Millington, Alice De Buhr and Nickey Barclay offered up original songs that they played on their own in a style that was just as heavy as any other band. They quickly became the buzz of the Sunset Strip and have since influenced generations, including including Joan Jett, Girlschool, and Courtney Love. Real Gone’s 50th Anniversary Edition marks the first-ever vinyl reissue (on white vinyl, no less!) and features a reproduction of the original gatefold packaging. It will be limited to only 700 copies. Vinyl Me Please will carry an exclusive variant pressed on orange and blue splatter vinyl, limited to 500 copies.
Real Gone reissues an album of political protest from onetime soul balladeer Eugene McDaniels (“A Hundred Pounds of Clay,” “Tower of Strength,” “Point of No Return”). Outlaw left no doubt as to McDaniels’ association with political resistance. In fact, legend has that members of President Nixon’s administration were so offended with the material that they took it up with Atlantic Records, urging the label to cease their association with McDaniels. Fifty years on, in a new period of civil unrest, the oft-sampled grooves of McDaniels, Ron Carter, Eric Weissberg, Hugh McCracken, and co. remain as insightful as ever. The 50th Anniversary reissue will be limited to just 700 copies, each pressed on neon red vinyl and paired with liner notes from Pat Thomas, featuring quotations from McDaniels. Record club Vinyl Me, Please will have another color variant available, this one cloudy clear with black smoke. That run will be limited to only 300 copies and will be available exclusively to members of the club.
Long a favorite of electro-funk connoisseurs, New York-based Kleeer recorded half a dozen acclaimed albums for Atlantic. One of their most enduring LPs is Intimate Connection, which Real Gone Music is reissuing on “red telephone” color vinyl. With production by famed CTI alum Eumir Deodato, the dancefloor-ready grooves found throughout the album have influenced countless musicians in the last 35 years. In fact, Tupac Shakur not only sampled the album’s title track (find it on 1995’s “California Love”), but also used pieces of Kleeer’s “Tonight.” Now’s your chance to go back to the source of those grooves with this special run limited to only 1,000 copies.
Real Gone re-reissues a cult favorite among soundtrack recordings with a blood-red/neon green vinyl edition of Alan Silvestri’s original score to Predator, limited to a run of 1,000. Previously released on CD by Intrada and on vinyl by Real Gone, the “complete and definitive edition” of the material now returns to the latter format with a front cover design by Rafal Wechterowicz featuring the titular character. Add to it a deluxe gatefold sleeve, and it’s a must for any vinyl-loving soundtrack collector. Read more about all of the Real Gone titles here!
The Rolling Stones, Half-Speed Remasters (Rolling Stones Records)
The Rolling Stones have rolled out ten half-speed-remastered vinyl LPs today, beginning with the pair of Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, and followed by their mid-’70s run of It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll, Black and Blue, and Some Girls. Their ’80s output – Emotional Rescue, Tattoo You, Undercover, Dirty Work, and Steel Wheels – is also accounted for, as are Voodoo Lounge, Bridges to Babylon, and A Bigger Bang to round out thirty-three years’ worth of creative energy. Every album will be pressed on 180-gram vinyl. The music has been remastered and cut using the half-speed technique at Abbey Road Studios, London, using new masters “created from vinyl-specific original tape transfers” to yield “absolute optimum sound.” Read all of the track listings and find individual links for all titles here!
The Turtles, Vinyl Expanded Editions (Manifesto)
Manifesto returns all six of The Turtles’ original White Whale albums to vinyl as 2-LP sets remastered from the original tapes: the first three in mono/stereo editions, and the last three pairing the original album with bonus material. Get all of the details and links to each title here!
2000’s Grammy-winning chart-topping Riding with the King boasted a dozen collaborations between Eric Clapton and B.B. King. Now, Warner Records is releasing a 20th anniversary expanded edition of the album boasting two unreleased. newly-mixed tracks from the original sessions: Willie Dixon’s “Let Me Love You Baby” and the Delta blues standard first recorded by Hambone Willie Newbern, “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.” The former first appeared as a Japan-only bonus track for the original release, but appears to be presented in a new mix by original producer Simon Climie here. Available on CD, vinyl, and digital services. Get more details here!
The Staples, Family Tree / Unlock Your Mind: Expanded Editions (Omnivore)
Omnivore Records is reissuing and expanding four classic albums from The Staple Singers from their post-Stax period at Curtom and Warner Bros. Records. All four titles in this series, though previously available on CD, have never been properly remastered and annotated. Omnivore has tapped a pair of Grammy winners for those duties: Michael Graves handles the mastering, while new liner notes have been provided by Stax and Staples Singers historian Rob Bowman. The first two titles – Let’s Do It Again and Pass It On – were released earlier this month. Read about all four titles here.
Music on Vinyl revisits America’s eponymous 1971 debut album featuring “A Horse with No Name,” “I Need You,” “Riverside,” and “Sandman.” This limited, numbered vinyl LP is pressed on 180-gram “flaming gold” (more like orange, but it’s the music that matters!) vinyl.
The above LP isn’t the only America-related title this week. In 1970, Gerry Beckley was working in London as a tape operator (or second engineer) at Morgan Studios. The studio owner allowed the talented young man a chance to demo his own material when the studio was free. Beckley used the time wisely, honing his skills as a consummate pop craftsman. Now, 50 years later, the seven demo tracks he recorded at Morgan – with unknown friends including future America bandmate Dan Peek – are seeing the light of day. These varied, early compositions showcase Beckley’s melodic gifts, and encompass Beatle-esque tunes, bubblegum confections, a spot-on Who pastiche, and even a trio of songs that anticipate the eventual America sound. Three songs were recorded on June 18, 1970; the other four likely date from the same period but sound a bit earlier. Only one has ever been released before. Discovering America is housed within a terrific LP/CD package in the style of an original tape box, with liner notes by David Wells. The vinyl is a 180-gram black vinyl 10-inch disc mastered at 45 RPM for optimal sound. It all adds up to a surprising and enjoyable addition to any America library.
Cherry Red’s Grapefruit label is reissuing and expanding the 1967 album Belfast Gypsies (or Them Belfast Gypsies) featuring “The Other Them,” the splinter group of the Van Morrison-led “Gloria” band. The original LP, produced in part by Kim Fowley, is bolstered with rare single and EP mixes and demos. Check out our review here!
Alanis Morissette’s classic album – now 25 years old, 17x Platinum, and the basis of a hit Broadway musical only curtailed by COVID-19 – returns today with a digital-only anniversary edition. For this go-round, the original album is paired with a new live recording from March 2020 at Shepherd’s Bush, London, right before the pandemic forced music venues to close. Watch this space later today for more details on how Morissette will continue to celebrate Jagged Little Pill‘s 25th.
Bee Gees, vinyl remasters (Capitol/UMe)
Best of Bee Gees: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Main Course: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Children of the World: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Here at Last…Bee Gees…Live: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Spirits Having Flown: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Today, The Bee Gees dropped five LPs in both standard black vinyl (available at all retailers) and colored vinyl (available through Universal’s online store) editions. The five LPs (concentrating on the group’s disco era plus one early hits collection) are: Best of Bee Gees (1969, black and berry vinyl); Main Course (1975, black and whitewater vinyl); Children of the World (1977, black and sunshine yellow vinyl); Here at Last…Bee Gees…Live (2 LPs, 1977, black and tangerine vinyl); and Spirits Having Flown (1979, black and blood red vinyl). All have been remastered at Capitol Studios from the original tapes by Kevin Bartley and Ian Sefchick.
Stage Door Records is heading back to the 1950s with a new CD presenting two U.K. musicals from the team of composer George Posford and librettist/lyricist Eric Maschwitz: Zip Goes a Million and Happy Holiday. The former starred George Formby and the latter Reg Dixon; both shows’ original cast recordings are appended with bonus tracks.