You can welcome the new year with some “soap, soul and salvation.” The Southern California twang rock band Lone Justice were pioneers of the ’80s alt-country scene and a new CD of their pre-Geffen debut demos will reveal what made them such a buzzed about band. This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983, due out on Jan. 14, contains 9 tracks including several that they never put on album.
Another legendary Los Angeles band The Dream Syndicate will be releasing a 1982 live session recorded at KPFK-FM just before they went into the studio to make their signature album, The Days Of Wine And Roses. This CD, appropriately entitled The Day Before Wine And Roses, holds a mix of originals along with covers of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch”, Bob Dylan’s “Outlaw Blues” and Neil Young’s “Mr. Soul” and it will be released on February 4. On December 6, the Dream Syndicate will be part of a terrific, and probably never-again, bill with the Rain Parade, The Three O’Clock and the Bangles at the Education Through Music benefit at the Fonda.
Omnivore Recordings, the great label behind the Lone Justice and Dream Syndicate releases, will also honor another fabled ’80s rock band, Camper Van Beethoven by releasing deluxe editions of the group’s first two Virgin Records albums: Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart and Key Lime Pie on Feb. 4 Each features a bunch of bonus tracks, both live and studio material. If you are looking for “Take The Skinheads Bowling,” a live version can be found on the Key Lime Pie extras.
February 4 is also the date that Rhino Records pays tribute to two soul music legends: Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. The label has compiled two regal box-sets – Redding‘s The King of Soul and Franklin‘s The Queen of Soul – that are each packed with over 85 tracks of classic songs and album gems. These 4-disc sets, which come out during Black History Month, provide a wonderful retrospective on these two icon careers.
Bettye Swann might not be as well known a soul singer as Otis or Aretha but she made some enduring music. Real Gone Music has compiled her work for Atlantic Records for the first time ever. This 23-track disc contains all of her recordings for the label, including rarities and previously unissued songs. Swann’s set is one of several interesting releases Real Gone has for January. Blood, Sweat & Tears‘ complete Columbia singles have been collected into a 32-track 2-CD package (I have fond memories of listening to their self-titled album as a kid) and the label also is putting out My Music, the sole album by little known but often sampled soul/jazz keyboardist Samuel Jonathan Johnson.
Linda Perhacs is a name primarily known around the avant-folk circles for her 1970 album Parallelograms, which has become a cult classic in recent years. The recovery of her music has led her to start making music again. The Soul of All Natural Things, her first album in over 40 years, will be released on Sufjan Stevens‘ Asthmatic Kitty label on March 4.
Leo “Bud” Welch has waited over 80 years to do his first album. The Mississippi-based bluesman has played music for years (as well as working in the timber business) but only got his first album done after cold-calling Big Legal Mess Records. It’s a cool story that you don’t think would still happen these days but it has. His album, Sabougla Voices, arrives Jan. 7.
The Rentals haven’t been away for as long a time but the band will be putting out their first CD in 15 years. You may remember their fun hit “Friends of P” from the mid-90’s. Matt Sharp (who was in Weezer earlier on) has reformed the Rentals, which included contributions from the Black Keys’ Patrick Carney, for this disc that Polyvinyl will put out in 2014. Ah, Nineties nostalgia…