Lost Souls: Basho to Baker Edition

The world is full of strange stories, and the music scene is no exception. Pardon me if I skip over providing some examples – I’m sure everyone has their favorite tales. Let me skip more directly to a couple upcoming projects that shine the light on a couple musicians who could qualify as “lost souls.”

On Oct. 25, Light in the Attic Records is releasing a pair of albums from the singer/songwriter Jim Sullivan, who made two minor label albums (one in 1969; the other in 1972) before mysteriously vanishing in 1975. LitA, which re-issued Sullivan’s debut album, even did a short doc on Sullivan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsIouGN0Wr8) that looks into his life and disappearance in the New Mexico. And did I say that his debut album was entitled U.F.O.? Anyway, LitA is now putting out a deluxe version of Sullivan’s self-titled sophomore effort, a 1972 album that came out on Hugh Hefner’s short-lived Playboy label. They also are issuing If The Evening Were Dawn, a previously unreleased solo acoustic studio session (circa 1969) that features over a half dozen previously unheard compositions written by him.

Robbie Basho’s name is slightly better known – particularly if you are into the ‘70s so-called “primitive American guitar” movement (where John Faheyand Leo Kottkewere among the prominent players). Like Sullivan, Basho had a rather mysterious death as he died in 1986 due to a fatal fluke accident during a chiropractic session. The guitarist, who released albums on Takoma, Vanguards and Windham Hill labels, is the subject of the documentary Voice of the Eagle: The Enigma of Robbie Basho that features appearances by Pete Townshend, Henry Kaiser and Country Joe McDonald. Directed by Liam Barker, the film has been making the festival circuit in recent years and now MVD Entertainment will put out Dec. 13 on Blu-ray/DVD.

In February 2020, MVD will present a 50th anniversary Blu-ray and HD Digital “Ultimate Edition” of The Point! The Point! was an elaborate concept album by the eccentric Harry Nilsson that later became an animated ABC movie-of-the-week in 1971. It is rather amazing to think that this psychedelic-dosed, Seussian film was a network movie-of-the-week. But that’s the early 70s for you! This edition features a 2K HD scan from a rare 16mm print as well as being packed with extras – some vintage and some new (including an interview with voice-over cast member Mike Lookinland (yes, Bobby Brady!). Plus, Nilsson’s pal, a chap named Ringo Starr, provides the narration. 

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The Chet Baker revival was kick-started by the 1988 documentary Let’s Get Lost, which revealed the highly talented jazz musician who squandered so much of his talent. Craft Records has compiled a new vinyl boxset, The Legendary Riverside Albums, that contains Baker’s four albums – (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen To YouChet Baker In New YorkChet and Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe – that he made with the legendary jazz label along with a bonus disc of choice outtakes and alternates from Baker’s Riverside sessions. The recordings reveal an interesting musical summit between Baker’s west coast “cool jazz” style with east coast players who had a harder bopping sound. The sessions capture Baker before his drug use really overtook him in the early 60s.  

I won’t end this on some philosophical note that deftly ties all these artists together. The point (reference intended) is really just shine the spotlight a bit on these cult musicians whose followings (whether big or small) don’t match their talents.  I will leave you all instead with the trailer for The Point.

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Woodstock Flashbacks

Now that the plug has been pulled once and for all (hopefully) for Woodstock 50, attention can be turned just to celebrate the magic and mythology of the original “Aquarian Exposition.” And not surprising, there is a big lineup of new Woodstock products to experience.

If you want to really indulge those three days of peace & music, then you might want to get your hands on Rhino’s massive Woodstock: Back To The Garden – The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive. Consisting of 38 discs, this 432-track, 36+ hour compilation contains nearly every artist performance, along with announcements, stage banter and other material. I could go on and talk about the 267 previously unreleased audio tracks, the Blu-ray of the documentary film and other cool extras, but this limited-edition version is already sold out.

However, Rhino happily has assembled three smaller versions: the 10-CD collection, a 5-LP edition and a compact 3-disc set. The 10-CD holds 162 tracks, and is first Woodstock collection to include live recordings of every Woodstock performer. The 5-LP and 3-CD versions both have 42 tracks, featuring such acts as Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, the Band, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

mailThere are also several releases that focus on specific acts’ Woodstock sets. Craft Recordings has put out Live At Woodstock offerings for both Baez and CCR. Baez’s stirring 15-track set comes from the concert’s first day (well, it was actually 1 am Saturday) and it brought some calm to Woodstock’s rather chaotic start.

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CCR’s 12-song set is significant for several reasons. It not only captures in the midst of the band’s prime and includes 10+ minute jams of “Susie Q” and “Keep On Chooglin’,” but also because the group didn’t like their performance and declined to be on the first live album and the documentary. Happily, they’ve changed their minds but it is a smokin’ performance.

Real Gone Music will be releasing the Jefferson Airplane’s entire 2-hour Sunday-at-sunrise set on a limited edition “New Dawn” blue vinyl 3-LP set. They out-do CCR by doing an epic 21-minute version of “Wooden Ships.” The Airplane also weren’t part of the Woodstock documentary but that was only because the filming was subpar, not the band’s performances.

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Speaking of documentaries, there is a new Woodstock documentary that can be said to be about “everything but the music.” While there is music in Creating Woodstock: This Is How I It Really Happened, the documentary focuses its attention on the people behind the scenes who organized, constructed and ran the concert. This is obviously a labor of love for musician/filmmaker Mick Richards, who actually attended Woodstock as a teen. Over the course of nearly 30 years, Richards interviewed the four founders of Woodstock Ventures (John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Michael Lang, and Artie Kornfeld) along with many key production folks. While perhaps not the definitive, big socio-political Woodstock documentary, it is a highly interesting, very heartfelt movie for both the filmmaker and the participants, and give you a real sense of what it was like there (and gives you a clearer picture why it couldn’t be replicated today. One of the many entertaining anecdotes involves a Health Inspector and his wayward daughter offers a funny glimpse of the concert producers’ sit-of-their-pants operations, and also provides a clearer picture of how the original Woodstock vibe couldn’t be replicated today.

View From Woodstock Stage (c) Henry Diltz

Photo by Henry Diltz

 

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Something To Talk About: “Don’t Tell A Soul” Resurrected

Part of what made The Replacements famous – at least on their cult hero level – was their infamous mischievousness (perhaps to put it kindly) behavior. Around the time they were finishing up their Warner Brothers album, Don’t Tell A Soul, they took off with a whole bunch of tapes of their Paisley Park recording sessions.

Never happy with Soul’s “official” sound, the band has excavated these old tapes and had them mixed by Soul’s producer Matt Wallace the way that they wanted to have them sound. The result is Dead Man’s Pop. This 4-CD set, which Rhino will release on September 27, contains this remixed, reimagined album (Don’t Tell A Soul Redux), coupled with a disc containing previously unheard tracks (We Know The Night: Rare & Unreleased), and two CDs featuring a full concert from 1989 (The Complete Inconcerated Live).

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The 20 tracks on We Know The Night: Rare & Unreleased include nine previously unreleased demos from the aborted June 1988 Soul sessions that Paul Westerberg, Slim Dunlap, Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars did with producer Tony Berg at Bearsville Studios. There also are some rare and/or unreleased demos, outtakes, alternative mixes and alternative outtakes, but this disc’s highlights are the five tracks (four songs) that the Replacements recorded with Tom Waits (insert “Can’t Hardly Waits” joke here).

Discs 3-4 hold the group’s complete June 2, 1989 concert at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee done during the “Don’t Tell A Soul” tour. If you are one of the lucky few to have the ‘Mats’ 1989 promo-only Inconcerated Live EP, then you have a heard five of these live recordings. For everyone else, the show’s 29 performances (which have been freshly mixed by Brian Kehew) will be a new listening experience.

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In fact, 58 of the 60 tracks here are being heard (at least in an authorized, public sense) for the first time. Additionally, this boxset comes with a 12 x 12 hardcover book – complete with rare photos – detailing the Replacements’ Don’t Tell A Soul-era history, which was written by Bob Mehr, the author of The New York Times bestseller Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements. Mehr also co-produced Dead Man’s Pop with Rhino’s Jason Jones.

If this isn’t enough – and it’s certainly is a true treasure trove – the first 500 fans who buy Dead Man’s Pop on Rhino.com will also receive a 14-track cassette (yes, very 1989) that compiles key tracks from the box set along with two additional unreleased tracks: the outtake “Asking Me Lies” and an instrumental of “I Won’t” (Bearsville Version). The cassette also features Don’t Tell A Soul’s original, unused cover art.

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New Old Ramones Video: She’s The One

Today sees the release of the 40th anniversary editions of the RamonesRoad to Ruin album. Road to Ruin, the band’s fourth album (in just three years) contained the Ramones signature song, “I Wanna Be Sedated,” along with their cover version of “Needles and Pins.” Road to Ruin actually came out on Sept. 22, 1979, so it is pretty much coming out right on the real anniversary date.

To commemorate the occasion, Rhino has unveiled a previously unreleased video of the Ramones’ tune “She’s The One.”

The video apparently was found in a random film canister discovered during the work on putting together this reissue, and it is said to have shot at the same time of “Don’t Come Close” video.

Now the Road to Ruin reissue comes in two varieties. A straightforward, although newly remastered original 12 song album. The Deluxe Edition is a 4-CD package. There are two versions of the original album; the second one being original producer Ed Stasium’s newly stripped down, rawer mix of the album. The 20 unreleased recordings on Disc Three are highlighted by two unfinished outtakes: “I Walk Out” and “S.L.U.G.,” that Stasium completed for this boxset. The final disc is a recording of the Ramones’ 1979 New Year’s Eve concert (can we call it the “End of the Seventies” show?) at New York City’s Palladium. These 32 tracks also have not been released until now.

I was going to add the video for “Don’t Come Close” but it looking it up I came across a recording of Pete Yorn doing it in a rehearsal for a Johnny Ramone tribute concert, so I thought I’d include that.

 

the featured image is a photo by Chalkie Davies/Courtesy Rhino Records

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Archives Alives: MC5, R.E.M., Stax, New West, Nick Lowe, Led Zep & New Fave: the Beths

Where you were 50 years ago today? Well, if you were alive that is. If you were at the Gladsaxe Teen Club (yes, in Gladsaxe, Denmark) then you saw the first show that John Bonham, John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant played together. They were known at the New Yardbirds then, but later became slightly better known at Led Zeppelin. Nicely timed with this historic anniversary, Atlantic/Swan Song has compiled a Zeppelin-sized boxset of classic concert film The Song Remains The Same. The shows were recorded in July of 1973 and the film came out in 1976. I believe in my hometown is played at the then-still single-screened Colony Theater. (Dan, can you remember? It was long ago and far away).

 

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The super deluxe version includes remastered audio on two CDs and four 180-gram vinyl LPs; Two DVD set of the The Song Remains The Same featuring the full theatrical version of the film plus bonus content including four performance outtakes in the original film (“Celebration Day,” “Over The Hills And Far Away,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” and “The Ocean”); a 28-page book; A replica of the Japanese program from 1977 and a DVD of the entire album in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and PCM Stereo, plus photo gallery. The CD and LP versions also are available separately.

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Later this month, the Warner Bros. family is celebrating another 50th anniversary – the recording of the landmark MC5 debut, Kick Out The Jams (okay, it was recorded in Oct. 1968, so the Sept. 21 release date will be a few weeks early. MC5 Total Assault: 50th Anniversary Collection will be a limited-edition boxed set that features all three of the band’s albums: Kick Out The Jams, Back In The USA, and High Time. The records will all be pressed on colored vinyl: Kick Out The Jams (red vinyl), Back In The USA (white vinyl) and High Time (blue vinyl). MC5 co-founder and guitarist Wayne Kramer, who just released his memoir The Hard Stuff: Dope, Crime, the MC5, and My Life of Impossibilities, is going out on tour leading MC50, an all-star band that includes Soundgarden guitarist Kim Thayil, Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty, and Zen Guerrilla frontman Marcus Durant (Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron on drums and producer/bassist Don Was on bass at select dates).
Craft Recording is honoring the important year of 1968 by delivering Stax ’68: A Memphis Story, a 5-CD boxset filled with every single that was released that year by the fabled Stax Records company. The 120+ track collection contains every A- and B-sides, and featuring work by such soul greats as Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, William Bell, Booker T. & The M.G.’s, Sam & Dave, and Otis Redding.  The boxset, due on Sept. 21, also has a 56-page book, complete with in-depth liner notes by Andria Lisle, Robert Gordon, and Steve Greenberg.

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On Oct. 19 Craft Recordings is turning the spotlight on R.E.M., specifically the band’s performances on the BBC. R.E.M. at the BBC is a massive, rarities-packed 8-CD/1-DVD box set covering over 20 years of R.E.M. on the Beeb. The recordings scan from a 1984 live broadcast from Nottingham’s Rock City to a 2004 invitation-only 2004 performance at London’s St James’s Church. The DVD couples the first US commercial release of the BBC R.E.M. documentary Accelerating Backwards along with UK TV appearance including the complete 1998 Later….With Jools Holland episode devoted to the group. There will also be more compact versions (a 2-CD and a 2-LP version) entitled The Best of R.E.M. too.

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New West Records is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an extremely cool retrospective featuring 60 songs evenly divided over 3 CDs. One disc holds songs selected by owner of New West Records, George Fontaine, Sr. One disc contains tunes voted on by fans, and the third disc is stocked with songs chosen by past and present New West artist. Kris Kristofferson to John Hiatt, Rickie Lee Jones to Nikki Lane; Rodney Crowell to Vic Chesnutt; Old 97’s to Drive-By Truckers; Ben Lee to Ben Folds; Jerry Lee Lewis to Jason Isbell, Steve Earle to Justin Townes Earle; Buddy Miller to Buddy & Julie Miller. The list is an all-star lineup of Americana music. I have a soft spot for the act opening up the collection (and a George Fontaine, Sr. selection) Todd Thibaud since he was one of the first (if not the first) musician I interviewed. The collection, which is due on Oct. 12, also will be available on 6 red vinyl albums.

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Another artist I have a soft spot is Mr. Nick Lowe. When his solo debut came out in 1978, it was called the Jesus of Cool in the UK but Columbia Records re-titled it Pure Pop For Now People in the states. I had a button that proclaimed: “It’s Okay to Like Nick Lowe.” Guys I went to school with didn’t know if Nick Lowe was a politician or a punk rocker. They were wrong on both counts, I guess. Anyway, I bring up this great, great album not to remind myself that it came out 40 years ago, but to share that on Oct. 13 the fine folks at Yep Roc will be releasing Jesus Of Cool on cassette for Cassette Store Day. This limited addition will include the 11 tracks from the UK release plus the 3 songs that were just on the Pure Pop version (“They Call It Rock,” “Roller Show,” and a studio version of “Heart of the City.”

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Ska fans should circle Sept 21 on their calendars because that is the date Studio One is reissuing the important 1964 compilation Ska Authentic. This will be the CD debut of the album that features music from The Maytals, Lee Perry, and Tommy McCook’s “Freedom Sounds.”  Bluegrass fans, meanwhile, need to remember Sept. 28 because that’s when Modern Harmonic will be releasing a treasury of Louvin Brothers material entitled Love And Wealth: The Lost Recordings. The 29 songs (and one warm, spoken audio letter) songwriting demos from the late 1950’s that have never been released before.

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And it is not that I don’t like new music. Not by a long shot. There are many new and current bands that I can lavish praise on but I will just lavish praise on one right now. If you haven’t heard the New Zealand band The Beths, then you use yourself to check them out. I loved them from the first song I heard of them “Whatever,” and have loved every songs since. They just have a charming synthesis of 60s-ish power pop and late 80s college rock bolstered by crunchy guitars, some bashing drums, and the wonderful way front-woman Elizabeth Stokes balances an off-beat, slightly gawky sense of humor and honest emotions. Their debut album Future Me Hates Me is out now on Carpark, and they commence a big US tour at the end of September. Here is a link to “You Wouldn’t Like Me”

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Concert For George Returns To Cinemas

February 25 would have been George Harrison’s 75th birthday and in honor of this anniversary, the historic Concert For George will be available again in several different ways.

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The actual film of this concert, which took place November 29, 2002 (one year after George Harrison’s passing), will be shown again on the big screen for one day only, although the date varies from theater to theater. For complete cinema information, visit http://www.concertforgeorge.com/theatrical-listings/

Now remastered in 5.1 Stereo Surround Sound, the wonderful documentary lets viewers revisit this tribute concert that features many of George’s “dearest friends” (to quote his son Dhani from the film), who also happen to be some of rock’s biggest stars. The lineup includes his Beatles brethren Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton (who organized the concert) and his fellow Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.

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Concert For George presents a mixture of concert performances, a bit of backstage activity, and reminiscences about George from the performers. There are times when you might prefer to hear the songs without interruptions; however, the comments do generally offer interesting personal insights or anecdotes, such as Petty revealing that he saw Harrison as the “idea man” in the Wilburys and Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam saying that Harrison felt Monty Python carried on the spirit of the Beatles since the Pythons started the year the Beatles ended.

Yes, the Monty Python guys were there too. Harrison not only was a fan of the comedy troupe but also financed Monty Python’s Life of Brian, jumping in at the last moment (reportedly mortgaging his house) when EMI Entertainment withdrew their financial support.

While it is fun to see the Pythons do a couple skits, the big highlights come in the renditions of the many great Harrison tunes, both Beatles and solo compositions. Clapton takes center-stage on songs like “I Want To You,” “If I Needed Someone,” and “Beware of Darkness,” along with serving up passionate guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (he played lead guitar, of course, on the Beatles original too). Ringo sings “Photograph” (which he co-wrote with George) and “Honey Don’t,” saluting Harrison’s admiration for Carl Perkins. Paul talks about George’s love of ukuleles before playing one on “Something.” Petty performs “Taxman” and then Lynne joins him for “Handle With Care.”

 

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There also is a quite nice segment devoted to Ravi Shankar, who appears both in conversation and performance (which includes Ravi’s daughter, the esteemed musician Anoushka Shankar). “Isn’t It A Pity” gets covered by frequent Beatles sideman Billy Preston. American viewers might scratch their heads when an older gent named Joe Brown comes out to play “Here Comes The Sun,” but his place at the show is well-deserved. A long-time popular performer in Britain, Brown became friends with Harrison when he had the up-and-coming Beatles be his opening band in 1962. Harrison later was best man at Brown’s wedding in 2000. In fact, it is Brown, and not of the superstars in attendance, who closes the concert with a rendition of the old standard (and Harrison favorite) “I’ll See You In My Dreams.”

The documentary does not contain every performance from the concert, and even switches up the order some. For a complete Concert for George experience, you should  turn to the terrific new reissue of the Concert For George album, which Concord Music re-released on Feb. 23. It will come out in a range of versions: a 2-CD set, a 2-CD + 2-DVD, and 2-CD + 2-Blu-ray combo (the later format come with bonus material), as well as streaming platforms and, for the first time, on vinyl as a 4-LP box set. The 180-gram audiophile vinyl features a special, mandala-design etched on Side 8. And if none of these are satisfying, there is the 10-disc Deluxe Box Set (limited to 1,000 pieces worldwide) with the complete sound and film recordings from the concert (on 4 180-gram audiophile LPs, 2 CDs, 2 DVDs and 2 Blu-rays), a 12″x12″ hard-bound 60-page book, and even a cutting from the original hand-painted on-stage tapestry used as the backdrop at the 2002 concert!

 

 

 

 

 

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Archives Alive: Hendrix, Hayes, Harrison, Berry, Waits & Yung Wu

I wanted to catch up on some of the fine reissues that are coming out in the first part of this year. Yes, there are too many good ones for me to keep track of, but here are some that registered on my radar.

Let’s start with one of the fathers of rock ‘n’ roll, the late, great Chuck Berry. Geffen/UMe have paid tribute to Berry by reissuing, and upgrading, his historic greatest hits compilation, The Great Twenty-Eight, with The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition. This new vinyl boxset starts with the original 2-LP 28-song compilation and adds on another album, More Great Chuck Berry, which offers 14 more hits, rarities and B-sides not on the original. Additionally, the collection also contains the rare live album, Oh Yeah! Live in Detroit (recorded at the Walled Lake Casino, October 25 & 26, 1963) that has never been on vinyl before, as well as a four holiday-themed EP on “Rudolph-Red” vinyl (the song “Spending Christmas” also is debuting on vinyl). A limited edition version on “Chess Blue” vinyl (500 copies only!) is available exclusively via UDiscoverMusic.com. Order The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition now at https://lnk.to/Great28SDE

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Get ready for some Hot Buttered Soul! On February 23, Craft Recordings will be releasing three of Isaac Hayes’ finest albums Hot Buttered Soul, Shaft, and Black Moses, on vinyl. Each LP has had its audio remastered by leading engineer Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters from the original analog tapes. Plus, these reissues are presented in a faithfully reproduced packaging, including a replica of the legendary, iconic four-foot cross-shaped fold-out image of Isaac as Black Moses. These releases following last year’s big celebration of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary, which included the impressive deluxe 4-CD box set, Isaac Hayes: The Spirit of Memphis (1962-1976).

Craft Records has also excavated from the Stax vaults: The 24-Carat Black Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth. Due February 23, this rare but watershed release has been hailed as the first “soul opera.” It was composed, arranged, and produced almost entirely by longtime Isaac Hayes collaborator Dale Warren. Warren put together a band called 24-Caret Black for his project: Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth. While it received good reviews at the time, the band basically split apart following their initial showcase gig. This 180-gram vinyl album was cut at Ardent studios on the original Stax lathe and pressed in Memphis at Memphis Record Pressing.

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Rediscover How The West Was Won on March 23! Not the epic 1962 western, but Led Zeppelin’s epic 2003 live album. Recorded at the L.A. Forum and the Long Beach Arena on June 25 and 27, 1972, it captures the band at their prime – at least according to no less of an authority than Jimmy Page. The three-CD collection, which has remastered audio supervised by Mr. Page, features classic Zep performances, such as a 25-plus minute version of “Dazed And Confused” and a 21-minute medley based around “Whole Lotta Love.” The Atlantic/Swan Song release comes in the first ever vinyl (4-LP) and Blu-ray Audio editions (with the Blu-ray containing hi-res 5.1 surround sound). The Super Deluxe Boxed Set will hold a book filled with rare and previously unpublished photos of the band at each of the concert locations, plus memorabilia and ephemera, a high-quality print of the original album cover (the first 30,000 of which will be individually numbered), and a high-def download card of all stereo audio content at 96kHz/24 bit. 2018 marks the band’s 50th anniversary, which officially begins in the fall; this release will certainly whet your appetite.

The third and final volume showcasing the best and most significant unissued studio recordings remaining in Jimi Hendrix’s archive will drop March 9. Both Sides of the Sky contains 13 tracks recorded between January 1968 and February 1970, and 10 of them have never been released before! One of the songs is a cover of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy,” which you can give a listen to here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t0Qp9K_y6M Stephen Stills, Johnny Winter and Lonnie Youngblood all make appearances on this album. This project was co-produced by Eddie Kramer, the recording engineer on every Hendrix album made during his life, along with Janie Hendrix and John McDermott.

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Back in November, Columbia Records put out Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981, which explored Bob Dylan’s “Christian music” period. You can explore it more when MVD Entertainment Group reissues the DVD Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan on February 9. The documentary contains a 1980 Dylan performance of “When He Returns” as well as memorable performances and interviews with Aaron Neville, Shirley Caesar, Fairfield Four, Mighty Clouds of Joy, and Sounds of Blackness.

Dead-heads will have a double dose of archival excitement with a pair of upcoming releases. Volume Ten in the GarciaLive series will arrive on February 23. This offering features a 1990 Jerry Garcia Band performance (with Melvin Seals (keyboards), John Kahn (bass), David Kemper (drums), Gloria Jones (backing vocals) and Jacklyn LaBranch (backing vocals) at the Hilo Civic Auditorium. The 18-set stretches from some reggae numbers (Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come” and Peter Tosh’s “Stop That Train”) to the R&B standard “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” Los Lobos’ “Evangeline” and a handful of Dylan songs (“Tough Mama,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” “Forever Young,” “Tears Of Rage,” and “Tangled Up In Blue”

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If you had to pick 19 live Grateful Dead performances which ones would you choose? The folks at Rhino had that unenviable task for its The Best of the Grateful Dead Live. What did they select for this 2-CD collection coming out March 23?

Disc One

  1. “St. Stephen” – Fillmore West (2/27/69) from Live/Dead
  2. “Bertha” – Fillmore East (4/27/71) from Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses)
  3. “Wharf Rat” – Fillmore East (4/26/71) from Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses)
  4. “Sugar Magnolia” – Olympia Theatre (5/4/72) from Europe ’72
  5. “Jack Straw” – Olympia Theatre (5/3/72) from Europe ’72
  6. “Truckin'” – Lyceum Theatre (5/26/72) from Europe ’72
  7. “Morning Dew” – Lyceum Theatre (5/26/72) from Europe ’72
  8. “Brown Eyed Women” – Tivoli Concert Hall (4/14/72) from Europe ’72
  9. “The Music Never Stopped” – Great American Music Hall (8/13/75), One From The Vault
  10. “Estimated Prophet” – Barton Hall (5/8/77) from Cornell 5/8/77

Disc Two

  1. “Friend Of The Devil” – Radio City Music Hall (10/27/80) from Dead Set
  2. “Feel Like A Stranger” – Warfield Theatre (10/4/80) from Dead Set
  3. “Fire On The Mountain” – Radio City Music Hall (10/31/80) from Dead Set
  4. “Bird Song” – Warfield Theatre (10/14/80) from Reckoning
  5. “Ripple” – Warfield Theatre (10/4/80) from Reckoning
  6. “Eyes Of The World” – Nassau Coliseum (3/29/90) from Wake Up To Find Out
  7. “Touch Of Grey” – Rich Stadium (7/4/89) from Truckin’ Up To Buffalo
  8. “Blow Away” – JFK Stadium (7/7/89) from Crimson, White & Indigo
  9. “So Many Roads” – Soldier Field (7/9/95) from So Many Roads

A counterpart to Rhino’s 2015 The Best Of The Grateful Dead studio set, this live compilation features material from their live albums on Warner Bros. and Arista, plus a few tracks from their many archival live releases. A 2-LP version covering just CD 1 will be released on March 23, with the vinyl version of the second CD getting released at a later date.

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In honor of George Harrison’s 75th birthday (Feb. 25), Concord Music is re-releasing Concert For George on Feb. 23. It will be available on streaming platforms and, for the first time, on vinyl. A 4-LP box set will hold the complete sound recordings from the concert, which features performances of George’s songs by Eric Clapton, Dhani Harrison, Jools Holland, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Ravi and Anoushka Shankar. This is the first time that all songs from the performance have been available on an audio configuration. The 180-gram audiophile vinyl features a special, mandala-design etched on side 8. The release will also be presented as a 2-CD set, as well as newly issued 2-CD + 2-DVD, and 2-CD + 2-Blu-ray combo packages (the later format come with bonus material). The last, but most, version is the 10-disc Deluxe Box Set (limited to 1,000 pieces worldwide) with the complete sound and film recordings from the concert (on 4 180-gram audiophile LPs, 2 CDs, 2 DVDs and 2 Blu-rays), a 12″x12″ hard-bound 60-page book, and even a cutting from the original hand-painted on-stage tapestry used as the backdrop at the 2002 concert.

This year, Anti-Records celebrates Tom Waits’ early years by reissuing his first seven albums that he recorded for Elektra/Asylum Records in the 1970s. Kicking things off, quite appropriately, will be Waits’ 1973 debut Closing Time on March 9 (on vinyl and digital with the CD coming on March 23). The other albums that will arrive throughout 2018 will be Heart of Saturday Night (1974), Nighthawks at the Diner (1975), Small Change (1976), Foreign Affairs (1977), Blue Valentine (1978), and Heartattack & Vine (1980). It is a great opportunity to re-experience this tremendously creative time in Waits’ career.

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Uncle Walt’s Band is that may not be well-known today but it certainly was influential. Existing for around a decade in the early ’70 through the early ‘80s, the eclectic group was a trio composed of David Ball, Champ Hood and Walter Hyatt. They had a fluid Americana style that was ahead of its time but attracted a lot of admirers in their adopted home of Austin. After disbanding in 1983, all three moved on to successful careers. Sadly, both Hood and Hyatt died far too early. Hyatt tragically died in the 1996 ValuJet crash while Hood succumbed to cancer in 2001. All this is a preface to say that Omnivore is putting out the first-ever Uncle Walt’s Band anthology, Anthology: Those Boys From Carolina, They Sure Enough Could Sing….on March 9. The retrospective feature five previously unreleased tracks, along with a 16-page booklet with many rare photographs, memorabilia, and liner notes penned by Peter Cooper of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Give a look to the CD’s trailer at https://youtu.be/g7NKTcg0wEI

 Bar/None Records has a couple of cool projects of the cult variety. First up is The Langley Schools Music Project (due Feb. 23). This release is a definite curio of the “outsider music” realm. It is a mid-70s recording of a 60-voice chorus of school children from rural western Canada singing the songs of David Bowie, Beach Boys, Paul McCartney, Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac, among others. It was pressed on LP for the students, family and friends originally but Bar/None put together a compilation in 2001 that they will re-releasing this year.

Most exciting to me, however, is the reissuing on April 21 of Shore Leave, the only album by Yung Wu, which marks its first appearance on CD and digital downloading (it will also come out on vinyl again). Yung Wu was a Feelies spin-off that was fronted by the band’s percussionist Dave Weckerman. This 1987 release (originally on Coyote Records) also includes fellow Feelies Glenn Mercer and Bill Million on guitars Brenda Sauter on bass and Stan Demeski on drums as well as John Baumgartner (Speed The Plough, the Trypes). It’s certainly a must-have for fans of the Hoboken scene and ‘80s college rock. Here is the band doing a cover of Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” which is on Shore Leave. Not the finest video but you get the point…

 

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