Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up, featuring a selection of the new titles in stores today.
Various Artists, Soul'd Out: The Complete Wattstax Collection (Stax/Craft Recordings)
One of the greatest music festivals of the '70s is getting celebrated with an exhaustive array of reissues from Stax Records and Craft Recordings: Wattstax, the multi-dimensional Los Angeles celebration of soul, funk, blues and gospel. A 3CD box set released in 2003 took the highlights of both original double albums from 1973 and added even more material. Soul'd Out: The Complete Wattstax Collection, expands on that mightily: 12 CDs, including the complete concert on six CDs, four soulful engagements (also recorded for the original documentary) at Los Angeles' Summit Club in the weeks that followed, and a handful of studio recordings and other ephemera that were also included on original releases. (A total of 31 tracks have never been released; even between-set speeches and introductions are retained.) The set comes with a full-color 76-page book featuring a new introduction from Al Bell, the festival's organizer and the then-president of Stax, as well as new essays from Rob Bowman and A. Scott Galloway. Several smaller sets will be released alongside Soul'd Out including a still-lavish 6-CD or 10-LP box set with the complete concert only, a 1CD highlights album, and vinyl reissues of the original two double albums. Artists include the legendary likes of Isaac Hayes, David Porter, The Staple Singers, Kim Weston, Rufus Thomas, Albert King, William Bell, The Mar-Kays, and more. Read all about it here!
John Lee Hooker, Burnin' (Vee-Jay/Craft Recordings)
Craft Recordings reissues blues legend John Lee Hooker's 1962 classic Burnin' on LP and CD. The singer-guitarist was supported by the personnel who would later comprise Motown's legendary Funk Brothers house band including Mike Terry on baritone saxophone, Joe Hunter on piano, James Jamerson on bass, and Benny Benjamin on drums. Another future Motown legend, Hank Cosby, played tenor saxophone, while early Funk Brother Larry Veeder supplied additional guitar. The album yielded a top twenty R&B hit for Hooker, "Boom Boom." It was one of only two songs in his career to reach the Billboard Hot 100; The Animals' subsequent cover would repeat the feat. The CD contains the mono and stereo mixes plus a previously unreleased alternate take of "Thelma;" the vinyl edition has the LP's stereo mix only. Read more here!
Booker T. and the MG's, Green Onions: 60th Anniversary Edition (Rhino)
A little more than sixty years ago, Booker T. and The MG's tasty serving of "Green Onions" became one of the summer's biggest dishes. The largely improvised 12-bar blues entered the Billboard Hot 100 on August 11, 1962 and peaked at No. 3 the week ending September 29. It also made it all the way to the top of the R&B Singles Chart, peaking there on four non-consecutive weeks. Today, Rhino reissues Booker T. and The MG's Green Onions album on both CD and translucent "green onion" vinyl for its 60th anniversary. It's been newly remastered and features new liner notes by David Ritz based on interviews with surviving band members Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper. Get more info here!
The team at Omnivore has assembled this sparkling collection of The Vogues' eight A- and B-sides from 1965-1967 on the Co & Ce label. That includes such timeless favorites as "Five O'Clock World" and "Magic Town." The collection also includes seven tracks from the out-of-print CD You're the One: The Best of The Vogues - The Co & Ce Sessions. The producer of that anthology, Cary Mansfield, has teamed with Omnivore's Lee Lodyga for this set which boasts remastering from Michael Graves. Scott Schinder has provided the new liner notes.
The Singles - Volume 01 chronicles the best of The Strokes' material from around their first three albums: breakthrough Is This It (2001) and follow-ups Room on Fire (2003) and First Impressions of Earth (2006). The set faithfully replicates a batch of 7" singles, complete with picture sleeves, that came out in the U.S. and the U.K. - back when vinyl was far less a thing! - and almost all of which featured a non-LP B-side. (This is technically true of early track "Hard to Explain," whose caustic B-side "New York City Cops" was on early pressings of Is This It but was removed soon after the September 11 attacks.) In addition to the vinyl release, the collection will also be available digitally.
Real Gone reissues the self-titled debut album from Canadian hard-rockers Harem Scarem on vinyl. Founded in Toronto in 1987 by guitarist Pete Lesperance and singer Harry Hess and taking their name from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, the band eventually included drummer Darren Smith and bassist Mike Gionet. A demo CD got them signed to Warner Music and their self-titled debut came out in August 1991. The ten songs on the album were all penned by Hess and Lesperance with some other co-writers, including Christopher Ward of "Black Velvet" fame. The album took off on the charts in 1992 when eight of its songs were featured in School's Out, the finale movie of the popular CBC series DeGrassi Junior High. Harem Scarem would peak at No. 68 on the Canadian music charts and three singles would also hit the country's charts, with "Slowly Slipping Away" performing the best with a No. 25 peak. This new vinyl edition from Real Gone marks the first North American vinyl reissue of Harem Scarem and comes on red "grape" vinyl, limited to 1,000 copies. A 500-copy limited white vinyl pressing is also available exclusively from Canadian retailers. Read more here.
Various Artists, Ben Bagley's Vernon Duke Revisited Vol. III (Kritzerland)
Kritzerland has announced the final title (maybe?) in the label's long-running reissue series of Ben Bagley's Revisited titles. This third volume dedicated to the songs of Vernon Duke ("April in Paris," "Taking a Chance on Love") features a host of his lesser-known gems performed by Kaye Ballard, Ann Hampton Callaway, Tammy Grimes, Mary Cleere Haran, Dorothy Loudon, Sandy Stewart, and others. Dennis Deal, Richard Rodney Bennett, and Robert Marks provided the arrangements. As usual, Kritzerland has spruced up the sound from previous releases. This title is limited to 500 units and is available for pre-order now, and is planned to ship by the second week of April.