What’s Old Is New: Green, Raspberries, Ramones, Wilson, Garcia & Nyro

Brian Wilson turned 75 earlier this week, and to salute this milestone, Rhino announced the upcoming release of the first ever retrospective covering Wilson’s solo career. Due Sept. 22, Playback: The Brian Wilson Anthology contains 18 tracks, ranging from such well-known Wilson compositions as “Heroes and Villains,” “Love and Mercy” and “Surf’s Up” to two new previously unreleased tunes: “Some Sweet Day” (which he wrote with Andy Paley in the early 1990s for an unfinished recording project) and “Run James Run” (a new song Wilson wrote and recorded just for this collection). This year Wilson also celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pet Sounds, with a tour that is currently scheduled to last through October.

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2017 would have also been Jerry Garcia’s 75th birthday. On July 28, Round Records/ATO Records will put out GarciaLive Volume Nine: August 11, 1974 – Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders. Recorded at Berkeley’s fabled Keystone club, the double CD captures the band (which included Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann) performing a nine-song set that offers renditions of “(I’m A) Road Runner,” “Mystery Train,” The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “The Harder They Come.”

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To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Doors’ first #1 single “Light My Fire,” Rhino is releasing a limited edition (7,500 copies) single that replicates the Japanese 45. “Light My Fire,” obviously is the A-side, with the album version of “Crystal Ships” on the flipside. A little Doors’ trivia, “Light My Fire” was the first song that Robbie Krieger ever wrote. Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention’s Absolutely Free was another important 1967 release. Zappa Records/UMe is putting out a special expanded vinyl-exclusive edition (due Sept. 29) with the second LP featuring vintage remixes and radio ads on one side one and a laser etching of Zappa’s visage from the album cover on the other.

1967 also was the year that Laura Nyro released her first album, More Than a New Discovery. This Verve Folkways album preceded her breakout Columbia debut Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. In July, Real Gone Music and Second Disc Records are presenting A Little Magic, A Little Kindness: The Complete Mono Albums Collection, which contains Discovery’s restores the original album sequence and mono mix. The 2-CD set holds the album’s future hits as “Wedding Bells Blues,” “Stoney End” and “And When I Die,” along with some bonus material too. Nyro is a criminally overlooked singer/songwriter who deserves a rediscovery (no pun intended).  Here is her version of “And When I Die.” When I was a kid, I had the Blood, Sweat & Tears’ album with this tune on it, but you got to hear her version (and realize that she wrote this when she was a teenager!)

Real Gone Music’s July selections also include Dusty Springfield’s The Complete Philadelphia Sessions – A Brand New Me (Expanded Edition), which collects all of the material she recorded in 1969-70 in mainly with Gamble-Huff Productions for Atlantic Records. The label is also releasing a compilation of tracks from Loma Records, which was Warner Brothers’ Soul and R&B label from 1964-68. The Complete Loma Singles: Vol. 1 is the first of four 2- CD collections Real Gone has planned.

Arthur Alexander is a legendary songwriter, best known for penning tunes like “Soldier of Love,” “You Better Move On,” and “Anna” that others took to the charts. Alexander, however, didn’t achieve great success with his own albums. In fact, he only put out three full length albums. Happily, Omnivore has resurrected Alexander’s second album – this 1972 self-titled record that he did in Muscle Shoals for Warner Brothers. The 12-song album holds his version of “Burning Love,” which Elvis Presley later turned into a smash hit. The reissue, with contains the original liner notes penned by Barry Hansen (aka Dr. Demento), has been bolstered with six bonus tracks (including a couple of previously unreleased songs). Here’s Omnivore’s introductory video for this CD.

Studio One, Yep Roc and Discogs have teamed up to get back into circulation the 1971 debut album from the influential (although not particularly well-known) reggae star Freddie McKay. Picture on the Wall: Deluxe Edition holds 24 tracks – many have never been on CD – combining the album’s original tracks with alternate versions, rarities, and extended mixes.

45 years ago, the Raspberries put out their first two albums, the self-titled debut and Fresh, which featured some of the finest power pop tunes ever (and as a native Clevelander, I have no biases, of course). Songs like “I Wanna Be With You,” “Let’s Pretend,” “Don’t Want To Say Goodbye,” and “Go All The Way” also number among the 28 tracks on the upcoming double-disc Pop Art Live. This live recording of the band’s 2004 hometown reunion show feature the original four members performing together for the first time in over 30 years. Pop Art Live is due Aug. 18 on Omnivore Recordings. Here is them doing “Go All The Way” from that concert. Eric Carmen is in fine form.

 

It is only the 44th anniversary of the Who’s Quadrophenia album but Pete Townshend is doing a short but sweet tour of it in September. He’ll be performing it outside of Boston at Tanglewood, at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House and L.A.’s Greek Theatre. The shows will feature Billy Idol and opera singer Alfie Boe as well as orchestral accompaniment. A portion of the proceeds from the L.A. concert will support the charity Teen Cancer America.

The Ramones’ sophomore outing Leave Home is turning 40, and Rhino has put together a super deluxe version that has been overseen by its original engineer/mixer Ed Stasium. This 3-CD set has one disc filled with the original album (with two Stasium mixes), one disc with 18 rare tracks and one disc is a previously unreleased recording of the band’s April 2, 1977 show at CBGB’s.

In the early ‘80s, the acclaimed documentarian Robert Mugge filmed Al Green who was then performing gospel music after denouncing pop and soul as the music of the Devil. The resulting film, the highly praised Gospel According To Al Green, offers a fascinating look at the mercurial musician. MVDB will release this DVD on July 7, with additional material including a new 17-minute video that Mugge has made about this documentary.  Here’s the trailer for the film.

PIAS have brought back into circulation a couple more “recent” titles – the first two albums from the Australian band The Triffids. Treeless Plain and In The Pines offer a great look at this band that are a key player in the wonderful Australian/New Zealand indie rock scene of the ‘80s. Both reissues are bulked up with bonus material.

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Last Day (June 1) To Order Dream Syndicate’s Live At Raji’s 2-LP

Today, June 1, is the last day to place your order for Run Out Groove‘s Live At Raji’s by the Dream Syndicate. This is version offers the complete show on vinyl for the first time, including the vinyl debut for the tracks “See That My Grave is Kept Clean,”  “When You Smile,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and “Tell Me When It’s Over.”

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One of the leading bands in the ’80s so-called Paisley Underground scene, Dream Syndicate whipped up wild, wordy psychedelic storms that melded Crazy Horse with the Velvet Underground, if you want to pick touchstones. The L.A. band made a dingy basement Hollywood club Raji’s its home base. This recording captured them in all of their live glory from a show they did on on January 31, 1988, around the time they released Ghost Stories.

This double LP will come out on 180g, multi-color vinyl with brand new artwork, never before seen photos and liner notes. Run Out Groove is a relatively new, fan-fueled label that is releasing limited edition vinyl mined from the Warner Brothers vaults. Learn more at http://www.runoutgroovevinyl.com.

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It has been a great time for Dream Syndicate fans because the band has recently signed with Anti- Records so there should be new music coming from the band at some point in the future. The latest Dream Syndicate incarnation features original guitarist/singer/songwriter Steve Wynn and drummer Dennis Duck along with longtime Syndicate bassist Mark Walton and new guitarist Jason Victor, who has been playing in Wynn’s band of late.

This Dream Syndicate developments ties with earlier news that now-released compilation of solo work from Russ Tolman (True West) as well as new material being worked by SoCal cowpunk pioneers The Long Ryders.

 

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Congrats To This Year’s American Music Award Nominees

Yesterday, the Americana Music Association announced its nominees for the 16th annual Honors & Awards Show. It might sound like a cliche but each category is packed with greatness. Sturgill Simpson notched the most nominations with three: Album of the Year, Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for “All Around You.” The only other multi-nominees are Rodney Crowell, Drive-By Truckers and Lori McKenna, which again shows just how much amazing Americana music was made in the last year.

The Americana Honors and Awards Show will take place on September 13 at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium during this year’s Americanafest (Sept. 12-17). You can find out more at www.americanamusic.org

Here is the complete list of nominees, with the recipients of the special honors to be announced later.

Album of the Year:

American Band, Drive-By Truckers, Produced by David Barbe

Close Ties, Rodney Crowell, Produced by Kim Buie and Jordan Lehning

Freedom Highway, Rhiannon Giddens, Produced David Bither, Rhiannon Giddens and Dirk Powell

The Navigator, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Produced by Paul Butler

A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, Sturgill Simpson, Produced by Sturgill Simpson

Artist of the Year:

Jason Isbell

John Prine

Lori McKenna

Margo Price

Sturgill Simpson

Duo/Group of the Year:

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry

Drive-By Truckers

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives

The Lumineers

Emerging Artist of the Year:

Aaron Lee Tasjan

Amanda Shires

Brent Cobb

Sam Outlaw

Song of the Year:

“All Around You,” Sturgill Simpson, Written by Sturgill Simpson

“It Ain’t Over Yet,” Rodney Crowell (feat. Rosanne Cash & John Paul White), Written by Rodney Crowell

“To Be Without You,” Ryan Adams, Written by Ryan Adams

“Wreck You,” Lori McKenna, Written by Lori McKenna and Felix McTeigue

Instrumentalist of the Year:

Spencer Cullum, Jr.

Jen Gunderman

Courtney Hartman

Charlie Sexton

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Welcome Back, Long Ryders, a True-West-ern & an Individual

A couple of old favorites have new, or upcoming, releases, that I wanted to share.

The Long Ryders were one of the first of the 80s alt.country rock outfit. The SoCal-bred band last year unveiled a comprehensive 4-CD retrospective, Final Wild Songs, on Cherry Red Records. This month, they have released their new song in 30 years, “Bear In The Woods.”

You can give a listen here:

The band, featuring its classic lineup (guitarist Sid Griffin, guitarist Stephen McCarthy, drummer Greg Sowders and bassist Tom Stevens, will be performing this weekend at the Stagecoach Festival, with tune-up gigs at Santa Ana’s Constellation Room (4/28) and L.A.’s Roxy (4/29). Hopefully, there will be more new music to come.

True West was part California Paisley Underground scene that overlapped some with the country rockers. Russ Tolman helped to co-found the band before to do a string of solo albums from the mid-80s through 2000, collaborating with the likes of Steve Wynn, Johnette Napolitano and Howe Gelb. On May 26, you can find a retrospective of his solo career on Lost Records’ Compass & Map. This 20-song set offers a fine look at Tolman’s spiky observational songwriting and fiery music that deserves more recognition. “Hollywood Holiday” is one track found on this collection.

Heading over to the East Coast, we turn to Glenn Morrow. If you are a fan of the Hoboken music scene, you know his name from bands like the Individuals, “a” and Rage To Live. Morrow also is the band behind the great Bar/None Records. After something of a musical hiatus, he is back with Glenn Morrow’s Cry For Help. A self-titled album is due out June 23, but a listen to “Comfort Zone” gives you a sense of the smart tunes you’ll be hearing on it. Helping out Morrow on Cry For Help are guitarist Ric Sherman, bassist Mike Rosenberg and drummer Ron Metz (who has laid down the beat for bands like the Schramms and Human Switchboard).

Fans of this ’80s college rock universe should also note that Matthew Sweet has a big new album on the way. And by “big,” I mean a 17-track double CD. Look for Tomorrow Forever June 16 on his own Honeycomb Hideout label.

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Archives Alive Anniversary Edition: UPDATED: Monterey Pop, Grateful Dead, Sgt. Peppers, Stills & Collins

1967 was a huge year in rock music. It basically started with the Doors’ debut album and ended with Magical Mystery Tour. It is hard to keep up with all the anniversaries, but here are some recent new items.

The UPDATED part: I won’t make you scroll all the way down to where this update would logically go, but I found out today that the Grammy Museum is opening an exhibit on the Monterey Pop Festival on May 11. Entitled “Monterey International Pop Festival: Music, Love, and Flowers, 1967,” it has been organized in collaboration with Lou Adler, who co-founded the festival. Running through the fall, the show will display a bunch of groovy artifacts from Adler’s private collection as well as from the Monterey International Pop Festival Foundation. On display will be items relating to such festival performers as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead and Ravi Shankar, along with photographs from acclaimed photographers as Henry Diltz, Tom O’Neil, Elaine Mayes, and Ed Caraeff. If you go in the exhibit’s opening days, you can also catch the Jim Marshall photo exhibit, which closes May 14 (see more below).

Monterey Pop took place in June 16-18. This year, the 50th anniversary will be marked with a new Monterey Pop Festival taking place over the same three days. The 2017 edition will feature another awesome, eclectic bill. Eric Burdon & the Animals, Booker T. Stax Revue and Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band represent acts from the original lineup (Otis Redding and the Grateful Dead in the case of the latter two band).

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Other noted performers scheduled to appear include Gary Clark Jr., Jim James, Father John Misty, Jack Johnson, Dr. Dog, Norah Jones, North Mississippi Allstars, The Head and the Heart, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Hiss Golden Messenger, Jackie Greene, Jamtown (featuring Cisco Adler, Donovan Frankenreiter and G. Love), Kurt Vile & the Violators, Langhorne Slim & The Law, Leon Bridges, Nicki Bluhm and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Regina Spektor and Sara Watkins. I would assume there will be some more to come.

There will also a new CD commemorating the anniversary. Iconic Performances From The Monterey International Pop Festival holds 13 historic tracks from the concert. Put together by the Monterey International Pop Foundation, the album (due June 9) also includes a new essay by NME journalist (and festival attendee) Keith Altham, 16-page booklet, a reproduction of the original festival artist pass, and a gold-foil package to mark the 50th anniversary of the festival.

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Track Listing

  • Buffalo Springfield – “For What It’s Worth”
  • Paul Butterfield – “Driftin Blue
  • The Grateful Dead – “Out In the Cold, Rain and Snow”
  • Simon and Garfunkel – “Sounds of Silence”
  • Laura Nyro – “Poverty Train”
  • The Electric Flag – “Wine”
  • Jefferson Airplane – “White Rabbit”
  • Big Brother and the Holding Company (feat. Janis Joplin) – “Ball and Chain”
  • The Who – “Substitute”
  • Hugh Masekela – “Bajabula Bonke (Healing Song)”
  • Otis Redding – “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”
  • Jimi Hendrix – “Like a Rolling Stone”
  • The Mamas & The Papas – “California Dreamin'”

At the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles through May 14, you can view the photography exhibit Jim Marshall’s 1967, which takes a look at San Francisco’s Summer of Love through the lens of the fabled photographer.

On May 2, the Museum also will host a special evening with Giles Martin, who has done a new mix of the BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition. The landmark album (produced by Giles’ late father) turns 50 on June 1.

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1967 also was the year that Stephen Stills and Judy Collins “hooked up.” Their 2-year relationship resulted into the Stills’ famous song “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” The two have “reunited” to do their first real album together (Stills worked before with Collins but only as a sideman) that should be released this summer. This summer, they will embark on a tour too; their L.A. date is Sept. 1 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.

Still’s busy 2017 also includes more shows with his current blues-based band The Ride that features other heavy hitters Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg (FYI: Goldberg appears on the Monterey Pop CD as a member of the Electric Flag), and working on his long-in-the-works autobiography (which Stills notes he is doing on his own, stating “dammit, I’m writing it myself. Why would I use a ghostwriter? Do you want a 300-page People interview?”)

In slightly younger news, On April 20, the Grateful Dead Movie will get a special one-night-only 40th anniversary screening courtesy of Rhino Entertainment and Fathom Events. To get info on participating cinemas, you can visit https://www.fathomevents.com/events/the-grateful-dead-movie-40th-anniversary?utm_source=fathom&utm_medium=press+releases&utm_campaign=grateful+dead+movie/.

I saw it at the old Colony Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio. I think my brother and I were among the handful of film-goers at our matinee screening. I suspect more folks will be attending these screenings.

Meanwhile, the new, nearly 4-hour Grateful Dead documentary Long Strange Trip, will be released in L.A. and N.Y.C. on May 26 and be available on Amazon Prime Video beginning June 2. Rhino will be putting out an accompanying soundtrack CD. Well, two CDs. One is a 2-disc set while there will be a 3-disc version that’s an Amazon exclusive. And later this summer, you can look for a monster 6-LP limited edition version.

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Track Listing

  • Disc One
  • “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” (Live/Dead, Live At The Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA, 2/27/1969)
  • “St. Stephen” (Live/Dead, Live At The Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA, 2/27/1969)
  • “Uncle John’s Band” (Workingman’s Dead, 1970)
  • “Dark Star” (Live At The Fillmore East, New York, NY, 2/14/1970)*
  • “Easy Wind” (Workingman’s Dead, 1970)
  • “Candyman” (American Beauty, 1970)
  • “China Cat Sunflower”> (Live At Chateau d’Herouville, Herovuville, France, 6/21/1971)*
  • “I Know You Rider” (Live At Chateau d’Herouville, Herovuville, France, 6/21/1971)*
  • “Morning Dew” (Europe ’72, Live At The Lyceum Theatre, London, England, 5/26/1972)
  • Disc Two
  • “He’s Gone” (Sunshine Daydream, Live At Veneta, OR, 8/27/1972)
  • “The Music Never Stopped” (Live At The Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, CA, 8/13/1975)*
  • “Scarlet Begonias”> ( Cornell 5/8/77, Live At Barton Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 5/8/1977)
  • “Fire On The Mountain” (Cornell 5/8/77, Live At Barton Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 5/8/1977)
  • “Althea” (Go To Nassau, Live At Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY, 5/16/1980)
  • “Touch Of Grey” (In The Dark, 1987)
  • “Dear Mr. Fantasy”> (Live At Sullivan Stadium, Foxboro, MA, 7/2/1989)*
  • “Hey Jude” (Live At Sullivan Stadium, Foxboro, MA, 7/2/1989)*
  • “Ripple”> (American Beauty, 1970)
  • “Brokedown Palace” (American Beauty, 1970)
  • Disc Three – Amazon Exclusive (CD and LP)
  • “Playing In The Band” (Europe ’72: The Complete Recordings, Live At Beat-Club, West Germany, 4/21/1972)
  • “Eyes Of The World” (Dick’s Picks, Vol. 31, Live At Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ, 1974)
  • “St. Stephen”> (Cornell 5/8/77, Live At Barton Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 5/8/1977)
  • “Not Fade Away”> (Cornell 5/8/77, Live At Barton Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 5/8/1977)
  • “St. Stephen” (Cornell 5/8/77, Live At Barton Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 5/8/1977)
  • “Dark Hollow” (Reckoning, 1981)
  • “Stella Blue” (Live At Zoo Amphitheater, Oklahoma City, OK, 7/5/1981)*
  • “Days Between” (Live At Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, 10/18/1994)*
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Mining The Archives: Nesmith, Campbell, Garcia, Hendrix…

Always a good day when I can spread some good news about Michael Nesmith. On April 18, his Infinite Tuesday: An Autobiographical Riff (Crown Archetype) will come out and to coincide with its publication, Rhino will release a companion CD, Infinite Tuesday: Autobiographical Riffs on April 14. The 14-song set starts off with “The New Recruit,” a 1965 tune he recorded under the name Michael Blessing. There are a batch of Monkees songs too as well as tracks from his band First National Band and his solo career.

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Besides being a big fan of the show The Monkees, I also remembering enjoying Glen Campbell‘s TV show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. Capitol Nashville/UMe will return us to that era when they put out a trio of Campbell’s most famous Sixties album on vinyl on March 24. Gentle on My Mind, Wichita Lineman and Galveston came out between 1967-1969 and each were headlined by their respective hit title track. Here’s a clip of him doing “Galveston” from that show in 1969.

1969 was also the year B.J. Thomas had a big crossover hit with “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.” In the ‘80s he recorded with Columbia and charted a number of times, including his Ray Charles duet “Rock and Roll Shoes.” Real Gone Music has collected his Columbia singles (along with some sides released by Priority and Cleveland International) on New Looks from an Old Lover, which comes out April 7. Also that day, Real Gone releases David Allan Coe: The Complete Hits, a 2-CD collection of that notorious outlaw country singer’s top tunes.

Jimi Hendrix fans should be aware of an awesome recent release on Dagger Records: Live At George’s Club 20. This CD captures Hendrix in his pre-Jimi days when he played guitar and did lead vocals in Curtis Knight’s band. The recordings were done at George’s Club 20 in Hackensack, NJ on December 26, 1965 and January 22, 1966. The live set includes tunes like “Land of 1000 Dances,” “What I Say,” “Mercy Mercy” and “Ain’t That Peculiar.” A double vinyl version will come out April 21 on Record Store Day

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On March 10, Volume Eight in the GarciaLive Series will be released on Round Records/ATO Records. It will be a double CD of the Jerry Garcia Band‘s November 23rd, 1991 concert at Milwaukee’s Bradley Center. It presents a cool portrait of this incarnation of Garcia’s band, which was his longest running lineup of players: Melvin Seals (keyboards), John Kahn (bass), David Kemper (drums), Gloria Jones and Jacklyn LaBranch (backing vocals) and . The show features renditions of JGB favorites (“Cats Under The Stars” and “That Lucky Old Sun”) classic covers (“Tangled In Blue” and “The Night They Drive Old Dixie Down”) and even the Manhattans’ ’80 R&B hit, “Shining Star,” which the Garcia Band frequently played in the early ‘90s.

College rock fans of the mid ‘80s and early ‘90s vintage know of the Sneetches (or at least should). This San Fran band had a fun, jangly, Anglo-y sound that you can get a fine sense of on the upcoming retrospective Form Of Play, a 22-track collection (with 5 previously unreleased songs) that Omnivore is putting out on April 29.

Sticking in the ‘90s, is an upcoming 4-song limited edition 7” release from that dog. Totally Crushed Outtakes (3/31 on Hello Records) holds rare material from this LA band featuring Rachel and Petra Haden, Anna Waronker and Tony Maxwell. One track, “Silently,” has Beck playing banjo. Another is entitled “Punk Rock Lobster” and here is link to another tune “Ms Wrong.”

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November Desk Clearing: Tift Merritt, Chuck Prophet, Wild Reeds And Morphine

The Grammy Museum has added 25 important songs to its Hall of Fame. The new tunes are:

Arlo Guthrie – “The City of New Orleans”
The Beach Boys – “I Get Around”
Billie Holiday – Lady Sings the Blues
Blind Willie McTell – “Statesboro Blues”
Bonnie Raitt – “I Can’t Make Your Love Me”
Cab Calloway And His Orchestra – “(Hep-Hep!) The Jumpin’ Jive”
David Bowie – “Changes”
Deep Purple – “Smoke of the Water”
Dion – “The Wanderer”
Elvis Presley – “Jailhouse Rock”
The Everly Brothers – “Wake Up Little Susie”
Jackson 5 – “ABC”
Lalo Schifrin – “Mission-Impossible”
Lesley Gore – “You Don’t Own Me”
Louis Armstrong And His Orchestra – “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Merle Haggard – Okie From Muskogee
Mills Brothers – “You Always Hurt the One You Love”
Mississippi John Hurt – “Stack O’Lee Blues”
N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton
Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Prince – Sign ‘O’ the Times
R.E.M. – “Losing My Religion”
Rod Stewart – “Maggie May”
Sly & The Family Stone – “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”
Sonny & Cher – “I Got You Babe

UMe continues its big Frank Zappa vinyl reissue with a handful of his most famous records Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (1968), Joe’s Garage (1979), Lumpy Gravy (1967), Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970) and We’re Only In It For The Money (1968) on Dec. 9. For those keeping score, Weasel was the last Mothers of Invention album and Lumpy was his first solo outing. Ruben & The Jets was a nod to the doo wop era and Money was one of Frank’s wickedest satire while the rock opera Joe’s Garage features his “hit” “Catholic Girls.”

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In honor of Capitol Records’ 75th anniversary, UMe has put together A Capitol Christmas, which mines holiday classics from Capitol’s vast catalog. Available now digitally, on CD and as a double LP housed in a gatefold package, the 24-track album brings together beloved Christmas songs from Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Bing Crosby and many more.

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s first album so a special deluxe edition of the band’s self-titled debut will come out on Jan. 20. Besides having the original album’s songs newly remastered, there will also be a bonus disc of the complete unreleased concert from July 29, 1966 and select cuts from July 30, 1966 performed at the P.N.E. Garden Auditorium in British Columbia. Also out that day will be a small batch (10,000 copies) of 12-inch picture discs of The Grateful Dead. Deadheads should make note too that 2017 will also see a limited-edition series of 7-inch singles starting March 1 with the band’s first single “Stealin'” b/w “Don’t Ease Me In.”

Trainspotting not only was a breakout, buzzed about film in 1996 but it also had a killer soundtrack. In honor of the movie’s 20th anniversary, Rhino has reissued the soundtrack on vinyl and CD. The 14-track set contains tunes like Iggy Pop’s “Lust For Life,” Brian Eno’s “Deep Blue Day,” New Order’s “Temptation,” Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” Elastica’s “2:1,” Pulp’s “Mile End,” Blur’s “Sing” and Damon Albarn’s “Closet Romantic.” Director Danny Boyle’s new Trainspotting film gets released in February.

Damon Albarn and New Order are also part of the new documentary 808. Due 12/9 on Apple Music, this film tells the story of the highly influential Roland TR-808 drum machine. There was even a band named 808 State after the drum machine. Afrika Bambaataa, Questlove, The Beastie Boys, Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) and Rick Rubin also are in the movie.

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Peter, Paul & Mary

One of the bands whose albums I remember seeing around my house growing up (and this does age me) is Peter, Paul and Mary. A new documentary 50 Years With Peter Paul and Mary (due 12/9 on MVD) will spotlight this seminal folk trio and feature some rare footage, such as an early ‘60s appearance on BBC TV.

MVD will also release on Dec. 9 Journey of Dreams, about the group Morphine and its leader Mark Sandman who died tragically young while performing on stage in 1999. This DVD documentary looks at the Boston band that created some distinct music that twisted blues and jazz into the ‘90s indie rock world. at the band and Along with archival footage and interviews with survivor bandmates saxophonist Dana Colley and drummers Billy Conway and Jerome Dupree, the doc also includes appearances by Henry Rollins, Joe Strummer and Steve Berlin.

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Sam Phillips

 

We just finished waiting the Gilmore Girls’ Netflix 4-part TV movie event, which offers a great opportunity to bring up the criminally underappreciated singer/songwriter Sam Phillips who did the show’s score. She also has just released Human Contact Is Never Easy, an 8-song EP with 4 new tunes, 2 live tracks and two cuts from her last album, 2013’a Push Any Buttons.

The Revelers have a fun EP coming out Dec. 16. The Revelers play Swamp Pop Classics Volume Two contains their versions of Gary U.S Bonds’ “Trip to the Moon,” Arthur Alexander’s “If It’s Really Got To Be This Way,” Spooner Oldham’s “Lonely Women” and Warren Storm’s “Nobody Would Know.”

A really cool CD for the whole family (really) is Let All The Children Boogie: A Tribute To David Bowie. I mentioned it briefly in an earlier post but after listening to it, I can thoroughly recommend it. This Bowie homage holds a wonderfully eclectic cast of contributors. For instance, Kindie star Justin Roberts’ wistful take on “Kooks” is followed by Antibalas’ funky “Let’s Dance.” Then kids musician Gustafer Yellowgold gets well-paired with “Space Oddity” and Ted Leo brings a rock edge to “Heroes.” Proceeds from this Spare The Rock Records release will benefit It Gets Better Project, an organization that works with LGBT youths.

In other news from the kids entertainment world (sort of), Steve Burns, the original host of Blues Clues has partnered in project with Flaming Lips guitarist Steven Drozd that they are calling as STEVENSTEVEN and their will release their debut all-ages album, Foreverywhere, in February.

On Dec. 2 Third Man Records will be an album of unreleased Leon Redbone recordings. Long Way From Home holds 18 tracks recorded in 1972; eight tunes are from a University of Buffalo’s coffee house performance and the other 10 come from a session for the university’s radio station WBFO. The label also is reissuing his 1975 Warner Brothers On the Track that is stocked with Redbone’s distinctive rendition of classic American tunes from early 20th century.

Nonesuch Records is the three-CD box set The Randy Newman Songbook on December 16. On top of covering the legendary songwriter’s five-decade career, it also holds five bonus tracks (“Feels Like Home,” “A Wedding in Cherokee County,” “Family Album: Homage to Alfred, Emil and Lionel Newman,” “A Few Words in Defense of Our Country” and “I’m Dreaming”).

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The Feelies

 

The fabulous Feelies, one of my longtime favorites, are celebrating its 40th anniversary by recording their first studio album in over 6 years. In Between is set to be released on Feb. 24 by Bar/None.

Son Volt’s new album Notes of Blue finds Jay Farrar exploring blues music in his own unique way. The Feb. 17 release (on Thirty Tigers) stands as one of the most anticipated Americana release in early 2017. Another is the much-anticipated album from Tift Merritt. Stitch of the World (due from Yep Roc on 1/27) is her first since solo effort since 2012’s Traveling Alone. The label has several significant releases slated to start the year. On Feb. 10, they will also put out Chuck Prophet’s latest offering of gritty “California noir” music, evocatively titled CD Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins. Wesley Stace’s new album, Wesley Stace’s John Wesley Harding comes out on Feb. 24. Not only does it contain a fine collection of wittily written songs but Stace is backed by the Jayhawks. Meanwhile, Yep Roc is releasing Northern Passages from the long-running Canadian alt-country outfit The Sadies on Feb. 10.

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Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

A couple other albums I am looking for forward to in 2017. Soul rockers Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears will put out their 4th CD Backlash, out Feb. 10 on INgrooves. Feb. 10 is also the day you can find a new album from Sallie Ford; Soul Sick (Vanguard) is a powerful set of songs that Ford describes as a “confessional” album. Nashville-based guitar maven Will Kimbrough has teamed with the talented soulful singer Brigette DeMeyer for a CD called Mockingbird Soul that has a Jan. 27 release date. The Charleston band Susto caught by attention this summer with their hilarious single “Chillin’ On The Beach With My Best Friend Jesus Christ.” That song isn’t on their upcoming album & I’m Fine Today (due 1/13 via Missing Piece/Caroline) but the CD does hold a potent set of Southern-bred rock (“Hard Drugs” is a current fave).

The cool SoCal Americana group The Wild Reeds has signed with the Dualtone so expect their next full-length arriving in 2017, while Compass Records will unveil Laws of Gravity from the adventurous bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters on Jan. 13.

Singer/songwriter Radney Foster will be taking to a different type of stage in January as he has been cast in the musical, Troubadour, by playwright Janece Shaffer (The Geller Girls, Broke) with original music by Grammy Award-winning recording artist Kristian Bush that is getting its world premiere at the Atlanta’s Tony Award® winning Alliance Theatre. The play will open Jan. 18 and run through Feb. 12.

Filmmaker Glenn Aveni is doing a documentary on the landmark 1982 US Festival, which boasted an all-star lineup featuring Ramones, B-52’s, Talking Heads, The Police, Santana, The Cars, The Kinks, Pat Benatar, Tom Petty & the HeartbreakersThe Grateful DeadJimmy Buffet, Jackson Browne and Fleetwood Mac. He has a Kickstarter campaign – http://kck.st/2fjAz8u – to help pay for all the music clearances he needs.

Jeff Antebi, the founder of Waxploitation, has produced an interesting book of adult “children’s stories” written by musicians like by Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Frank Black, Justin Vernon, Laura Marling, Devendra Banhart, Alison Mosshart and Kathleen Hanna and featuring illustrations by such artists as Anthony Lister, Dan Baldwin, Swoon, Will Barras, James Jean, Ronzo and Kai & Sunny. Proceeds from Stories for Ways & Means will benefit Room to Read and Pencils for Promise, two non-profits working to build schools in some of the poorest regions of the world so kids can learn to read and write. Learn more at SFWAM.org

Lastly, I want to leave with a song from the late, great Sharon Jones, who passed away earlier this month.

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