Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
Neil Young’s second Archives box set arrives in a wide commercial release, dropping the oversized packaging and expansive book in favor of a slimmer package. The 10-CD box is sequenced chronologically to spotlight the astonishingly prolific period lovingly referred to as the Ditch Years. The box contains 131 tracks from Neil’s personal archive. Of those, 12 songs have never been released by Neil in any form before, a further 49 songs are presented in previously unheard versions. And though the recent releases Homegrown, Tuscaloosa, and Roxy: Tonight’s The Night Live are all repeated here, there’s plenty of completely unheard material, too. This general-retail version comes with a 24-page booklet and foldout poster.
Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell: Deluxe Edition (Warner/Rhino)
When Black Sabbath’s Heaven and Hell was released in April 1980, it was hailed as a return to peak form for the band as it introduced the powerful vocals of Ronnie James Dio. It reached No. 9 in the U.K. and No. 28 in the U.S., where it was also certified Platinum. Rhino’s new Heaven and Hell: Deluxe Edition adds a bonus disc with four live tracks from Hartford, CT recorded in August 1980 and previously unissued in North America; four more live cuts from the 1981-1982 Live at Hammersmith Odeon shows released by Rhino Handmade in 2007; and two B-sides and the mono single edit of “Lady Evil.”
Black Sabbath, Mob Rules: Deluxe Edition (Warner/Rhino)
Vinny Appice (younger brother of Vanilla Fudge’s Carmine Appice) took Bill Ward’s place halfway through the Heaven and Hell tour and then in the studio for the album that became Mob Rules. The album went to the top 20 of the U.K. Albums Chart and would be certified Gold in the United States. But Sabbath was again falling apart at the seams, and Mob Rules would prove Dio’s final studio album with the band until 1992’s Dehumanizer. Mob Rules: Deluxe Edition adds nine bonuses on the first disc including the Heavy Metal version of “The Mob Rules;” a new remix of that song; the live single version of “Die Young;” four tracks from Live at Hammersmith Odeon; and two previously unreleased tracks from an April 1982 concert in Portland, Oregon. The second disc offers a further never-before-released thirteen tracks from that show. Read more about both Sabbath releases here.
The Broadway community was devastated late in 2020 by the death of the luminous Rebecca Luker (Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Show Boat) at the age of 59 after a courageous battle with ALS. PS Classics now delivers a gift to fans of the late artist. All the Girls is based on the cabaret show by Luker and her friend Sally Wilfert (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Assassins). Exploring their close bond and the nature of female friendship, the album features their renditions of a wide variety of material from writers including Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, Peter Allen, James Taylor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and others. They’re joined by a ten-piece band with new orchestrations by the show and album’s musical director, Joseph Thalken.
Japan, Quiet Life [Various Formats] (BMG)
Japan’s third and final release on the Hansa label, released in some countries at the tail-end of the 1970s and in others at the dawn of the 1980s, is reissued by BMG in a variety of formats including a 3CD/1LP version with the remastered original album on black vinyl (half-speed mastered) and CD plus bonus tracks, and Live at Budokan 27/3/80 on CD; a 1CD remaster; and half-speed mastered red vinyl.
Director Alex Winter’s acclaimed 2020 documentary about the life and career of Frank Zappa came to DVD and Blu-ray this past Tuesday, March 2, from Magnolia Home Entertainment.
This new 15-song collection arrived last Friday. It coincides with the upcoming television miniseries Genius: Aretha starring Cynthia Erivo (debuting Sunday, March 21 on National Geographic) and features Franklin classics as newly remastered by Dan Hersch at d2 Mastering. David Nathan provides introductory liner notes.
Cherry Red’s 4CD/2DVD box set of Be Bop Deluxe’s Drastic Plastic arrives in North America today. The set boasts an additional 88 tracks – 43 of which are previously unreleased – including new 5.1 surround sound and stereo mixes from the original multi-track tapes by Stephen W. Tayler; previously unreleased outtakes from the album sessions; a BBC Radio John Peel Show session from January 1978; and a CD of Bill Nelson’s previously unreleased demos for the album, A Feeling of Playing. On DVD, there’s Be Bop Deluxe in the South of France, a collection of Bill Nelson’s 8mm home movies shot during the recording sessions, and the band’s BBC Sight & Sound In Concert performance from 1978. A 68-page book accompanies the release.