Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up, featuring a selection of the new titles available today!
Johnny Mathis, Christmas Time Is Here (Legacy/Real Gone/Second Disc)
Johnny Mathis is back with his first album since 2017 and his first yuletide set in a decade. Christmas Time Is Here boasts ten newly-recorded tracks including those which premiered last year on the digital-only EP A Merry Little Christmas. It's Mathis' seventh full Christmas LP (not counting 1999's Listen! It's Christmas for Hallmark stores, on which he contributed six new recordings). Produced by longtime Mathis collaborators Jay Landers (Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler) and Fred Mollin (Jimmy Webb, Linda Ronstadt), Christmas Time Is Here finds the singer revisiting many of his favorite seasonal songs and adding two - the bluesy "Merry Christmas, Baby" and heartfelt "Auld Lang Syne" - to his already-considerable repertoire. It's available on vinyl from Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records (including a "Christmas tree green" pressing available everywhere and a "Holly Red" pressing exclusively at Barnes & Noble) and on CD from Legacy Recordings. Read more here.
Tired of "Monster Mash"? Through with calling "Ghostbusters"? If your Halloween playlist is begging for something different, Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records have you covered with Music to Freak Your Friends and Break Your Lease. One of the most unusual records of all time, this "Symphony for Tape Delay, IBM Instruction Manual, & Ohm Septet" was credited upon its original release in 1974 to "recognized raconteur, genius, composer, musicologist, conductor" Heins Hoffman-Richter, whom the original liner notes blithely informed us "died from an ear lobe tumor." Who? you might ask. It turns out that the late Hoffman-Richter was none other than best-selling poet and all-time cult music hero Rod McKuen (Listen to the Warm, "Seasons in the Sun")...but you won't find any cats named Sloopy here. This excursion into the avant-garde realm of musique concrete has to be heard to be believed. It arrives on "seaglass with black swirl" vinyl in a package that replicates the collectible original release. A glow-in-the-dark pressing is strictly limited to 100 units and available directly from Real Gone Music, while 300 copies on "antifreeze green" vinyl will be earmarked for Vinyl Me, Please. The LP, in all formats, additionally includes an insert with new liner notes from TSD's Joe Marchese. Get more details here.
The most comprehensive Lynyrd Skynyrd overview since 1991's 3-CD The Definitive Lynyrd Skynyrd Collection, the new 4-CD box set FYFTY is housed in 12x12 vinyl-style packaging. Its gatefold jacket houses a 40-page booklet with photos, opening notes by filmmaker-journalist Cameron Crowe, and track-by-track liner notes from music historian Gary Graff. The box's track listing draws on 14 studio albums plus rarities and live recordings, as well as two previously unreleased tracks: a July 7, 1976 performance of "Free Bird" at Atlanta's Fabulous Fox Theatre - in place of the studio original - and a November 13, 2022 live take of "Gimme Three Steps" from Nashville's storied Ryman Auditorium from what proved to be founding member Gary Rossington's final performance with the band. Get the track listing and more here.
Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon: 50th Anniversary Remaster (Pink Floyd/Legacy)
Pink Floyd is breaking out the remastered version of Dark Side of the Moon previously available only on the pricey box set issued earlier this year. Look for it on vinyl, CD, and digitally, as well as on a Blu-ray Audio Disc with mixes in stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos.
Agnetha Faltskog, A+ (BMG)
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
1LP White Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2LP Clear Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Picture Disc 1LP: Official Store
Agnetha's fifth English-language studio album - and twelfth overall - gets a reimagining. The album that was once A is now A+, with re-recordings of all 10 tracks plus one new song, "Where Do We Go from Here?" The second disc has the original A, too. It's available on 2 CDs, 2 LPs, and single-disc versions with only the new recordings.
Jim Croce, The Definitive Croce (BMG)
BMG brings together 34 tracks from Jim Croce on 3 CDs or LPs including the late singer-songwriter's hits "Operator," "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song," "You Don't Mess Around with Jim," "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," "Time in a Bottle," and "Photographs and Memories." Also available digitally.
Whitesnake, The Purple Album: Special Gold Edition (Rhino)
Rhino gives David Coverdale and Whitesnake's The Purple Album the ongoing remaster/remix treatment it's given many of the band's other albums with Coverdale in the driver's seat. The remixed "Special Gold Edition" album of Mark III and Mark IV-era Deep Purple covers comes with a bonus disc of live material, alternate mixes, and the original demo tape that secured Coverdale the gig as the group's frontman more than 50 years ago. An accompanying Blu-ray is packed with music videos, live clips and new commentary from Coverdale on the album. A 2LP edition of the original album is also being released on gold vinyl. Read more here.
The Cranberries, To the Faithful Departed: Deluxe Edition (Island/UMe)
The Cranberries' third album, from 1996, gets the deluxe, expanded, and remastered treatment with a smattering of previously released bonus material beside two discs of almost entirely unreleased studio outtakes and live material. The album, newly remastered by John Dent, will be available in the 3CD set as well as single and double vinyl configurations; the former features the original European album track list while the 2LP set adds the two studio B-sides from the CD (including a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way") and the three unreleased demos with Tim Palmer. Get more info here.
Marc Almond, Tenement Symphony: Deluxe Edition (Cherry Red/SFE)
This 6CD/DVD celebration of Marc Almond's 1991 concept album Tenement Symphony includes the original album, B-sides, a trove of released and unheard remixes, demos, live versions, and a region-free DVD of music videos and BBC promotional appearances. The set also comes with a 32-page booklet featuring lyrics, listening notes and a fold-out poster. The set features every commercially released single side from the project, a non-album cover of Madonna's "Like a Prayer" from the same era, and a number of unused remixes (including for two planned singles, "What is Love" and "Beautiful Brutal Thing"). Live cuts from decades of Almond's performances, many chronicled on last year's A Live Treasury of Song box set, are also included, along with a selection of demos and instrumentals. A 2CD set, offering the first two discs in the package, will also be available, as well as a double LP pressed on blue translucent vinyl, offering the full album and an assortment of the released B-sides and remixes. Read more here.
Ringo Starr is back with a new EP, his fourth such release in three years. Starr penned the original songs with Bruce Sugar and welcomed Steve Lukather and Joe Williams of Toto, and Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers among the guests. Paul McCartney has contributed an original song, too: "Feeling the Sunlight." Available on CD, 10-inch LP, cassette, and digitally.