Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
Bruce Springsteen, Letter to You (Columbia)
The Boss returns with a new, long-awaited album featuring The E Street Band. Produced by Springsteen and his frequent collaborator Ron Aniello, it features original songs as well as his first recordings of three compositions he wrote early in his career but never officially released: “Janey Needs a Shooter,” “If I Was the Priest,” and “Song for Orphans.” Letter to You will be available on CD as well as 2-LP vinyl including color variants (such as a grey pressing for independent record stores). The vinyl version has three sides of music plus an etching. A 16-page booklet will be included with every format. Read more here.
Crooked Piece of Time: The Atlantic & Asylum Albums collates the late John Prine’s first seven releases from 1971 to 1980, newly remastered and packaged in mini replicas of the original LP jackets. The box, featuring a new painting of Prine by Joshua Petker (inspired by a photo of him taken by Jim Shea), will also include a 20-page booklet featuring new liner notes by David Fricke and poster inserts. Read more here.
Steve Wynn (not the casino magnate!) is well known as a vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, beginning as part of the renowned Paisley Underground outfit The Dream Syndicate. After the group folded, Wynn began a solo career that garnered critical acclaim and accolades from his legion of fans. Now, his solo career is celebrated in a new, 11-CD box set from Real Gone Music called Decade. The expansive 166-track set chronicles Wynn’s career with deluxe versions of the albums he released from 1995 to 2005, many of which have been long out of print. From the U.S. albums Melting In The Dark, Sweetness and Light, My Midnight, Here Come The Miracles, Static Transmission, and …Tick…Tick…Tick, to the rarities collections like the German compilation The Emusic Singles Collection and the European set Pick of the Litter – not to mention the 57 unreleased tracks within – the Decade box set promises to be the definitive word on Wynn’s solo output. It’s all been compiled and sequenced by Wynn himself, alongside archivist and box set producer Pat Thomas. Get more info, including the complete track listing, here.
Bob Mould, Distortion 1989-2019 (Edsel)
Edsel has joined forces with punk icon Bob Mould to collect nearly everything he’s ever released into a new CD box set. Distortion 1989-2019 offers 24 discs of Mould’s work after the dissolution of seminal hardcore outfit Hüsker Dü. It features all his studio albums credited to himself, ’90s power trio Sugar and even dance-oriented side projects LoudBomb and Blowoff, plus four live sets and two discs of stray tracks and collaborations. Created with Mould’s full participation, each album has been newly remastered by Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice at Boston-based Peerless Mastering. New artwork for each album has been created by designer Simon Marchner, and an accompanying 72-page book of liner notes features a new essay by British critic Keith Cameron, full lyrics and rare and unseen memorabilia – plus a new interview with Mould, a foreword by actor and fan Fred Armisen and testimonials written by Richard Thompson, Shirley Manson of Garbage and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino. The vinyl iteration collects Mould’s first two solo albums, Sugar’s three studio efforts and the rarities collection Besides (on two LPs) and the first seven tracks of the bonus disc, all pressed on 140-gram clear/splatter vinyl. Additional box sets collecting the contents of the CD set on LP are planned for 2021. Read more here!
Bobby Bare Sings Shel Silverstein Plus chronicles the collaboration between the outlaw country artist and the Where the Sidewalk Ends author (and “A Boy Named Sue” tunesmith). It collects more than 100 tunes the unlikely duo collaborated on during Bare’s tenure on the RCA and Columbia labels between 1973 and 1983. The set represents a dozen of Bare’s albums, including six presented in full herein. An impressive 25 tracks are being released for the first time, either as bonus tracks or as part of two newly-curated Stray Bare Tracks volumes in the set. In addition to all those songs, the box includes a 128-page hardcover book featuring lyrics, detailed session notes, a new essay on Silverstein’s work with Bare by Dave Samuelson and even a new interview conducted with the singer himself earlier this year. Read Joe’s review here!
Roland Haynes, 2nd Wave (Real Gone Music)
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
LP clear with black swirl: Real Gone Music Online Store
LP transparent orange with black swirl: Vinyl Me Please
Real Gone Music continues its Black Jazz reissue series with this 1975 album from keyboardist Roland Haynes. The hard-to-find album features notable sidemen in the ace rhythm section composed of drummer Carl Burnett (whose credits include Cal Tjader, Vince Guaraldi and Gene Harris and The Three Sounds), and bassist Henry ‘The Skipper’ Franklin (who’s recorded with Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Hugh Masekela, and many others). The star of the album, though, are the dual Fender Rhodes keyboards played by Haynes and Kirk Lightsey. Available on CD and vinyl. Get more details here!
Little Richard, The Second Coming / Lifetime Friend (Omnivore)
Omnivore continues its Little Richard reissue campaign with expanded editions of two more favorites from Richard, including the long out-of-print Lifetime Friend! 1972’s The Second Coming was the legendary piano man’s third and final Reprise long-player, reuniting him with Robert “Bumps” Blackwell from the Specialty Records days; Lifetime Friend was his 1986 “comeback” for the Warner Bros. label, recorded in London with producer Stuart Colman and a top-tier band featuring Billy Preston, Travis Wammack of Muscle Shoals, Jesse Boyce, and James Stroud. Read our rundown of these remastered and expanded reissues here!
Beastie Boys, Beastie Boys Music (Capitol/UMe)
Beastie Boys Music serves as a belated 20-track accompaniment to the group’s lengthy Beastie Boys Book (2018) and this year’s Spike Jonze-helmed documentary Beastie Boys Story. True to its name, it collects 20 singles and beloved tracks from the New York trio’s seven major records for Def Jam and Capitol, including “Fight For Your Right,” “Hey Ladies,” “So What’cha Want,” “Sabotage,” “Intergalactic” and more. The set is the first to span their entire career, with most recent collection Solid Gold Hits (2005) stopping short of the group’s final album, 2011’s Hot Sauce Committee Part Two. Beastie Boys Music is available on CD, 2LP and digital platforms with different running orders for each format. Read more here.
PS Classics is celebrating the 75th birthday of Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist Maury Yeston (Nine, Titanic) with this new two-disc collection. Maury Sings Yeston: The Demos brings together 40 of his own private recordings, described by the label as playing “less like a set of demos and more like an undiscovered solo disc by a great American singer-songwriter.” As a composer-lyricist, Yeston has long had one of musical theatre’s most original voices. Now’s the chance to hear his songs in his own voice…or voices, as he took full advantage of multi-track recording capabilities to create these fleshed-out demos. Songs are featured from Nine, Titanic, Death Takes a Holiday, and In the Beginning as well as such other theatrical projects as The Queen of Basin Street (Yeston’s adaptation of La Cage aux Folles), Goya: A Life in Song (which received a star-studded recording with Placido Domingo, Dionne Warwick, Gloria Estefan, and others),Club Moscow, and Ramayana, along with a trio of standalone pop songs. Maury Sings Yeston is out today on digital/streaming and December 11 on CD. Watch this space for Joe’s review!
Daniel Lacksman, Dan Lacksman / Electronic System Vol. II / Electronic System: Tchip-Tchip (Vol. 3) (Real Gone Music)
Real Gone reissues three pioneering pieces of synth-pop from Belgian recording engineer and synthesizer artist Daniel Lacksman: Dan Lacksman, Electronic System: Vol. II, and Electronic System: Tchip Tchip (Vol. 3). Originally released in 1973 and 1974, this triptych sees Lacksman utilizing his considerable skills in electronics and music to deliver material that was both innovative and, unlike the music of some of his peers, instantly accessible. Long out-of-print, original copies of these albums fetch hundreds on the secondary market. But now, these albums are available both on CD and on limited-edition color vinyl pressings.
The Royal Philharmonic, conducted by Sally Herbert and Dave Arch, brings the music of Disney to life including songs from Mary Poppins (“Overture”), Frozen (“Let It Go” with Christian Li), Mulan (“Reflection”), The Princess and the Frog (“Almost There”), The Lion King (“Can You Feel the Love Tonight” with Mateo Bocelli), Toy Story 2 (“When She Loved Me”), Aladdin (“A Whole New World”), Pinocchio (“When You Wish Upon a Star” with Renee Fleming), and more. Available on CD and vinyl.
Britpop group Menswe@r celebrates 25 years with this 4-CD box set from Edsel. The Menswe@r Collection features newly remastered versions of the group’s debut album Nuisance and Japan-only release Hay Tiempo! plus demos, single As and Bs, live tracks, remixes, and unreleased tracks. A 20-page booklet is also included as well as a signed photograph and set of five badges.
Following its vinyl release on Record Store Day Black Friday 2019, Pearl Jam’s 1992 MTV Unplugged performance comes to CD and digital services today. Read more here!