With the big Fare Thee Well concerts happening this weekend, it got me thinking about catching up on some news about classic rock acts.
So first off, let’s start with the Grateful Dead. Rhino will be releasing the three Chicago Soldier Field shows in a variety of formats (CD, DVD, Blu-ray, digital) on November 20
The Rhino’s archivists have been busy. They have boxed up Chicago’s 20 studio albums into a pair of 10-CD box-sets scheduled for a July 10 release. The following week, Rhino will unveil an 8-CD collection of America’s Warner Brothers work (seven studio albums and one live album).
On July 31st, Rhino celebrates that “school’s out” with a massive 15-CD boxed set of all of the albums that Alice Cooper made for Warner Brothers. If you just think of Alice Cooper for his stage shtick and his hits “I’m Eighteen” and “School’s Out,” you’re missing out on some other great songs – rockers like “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Elected.” “Hello Hooray” and “Under My Wheels,” and even “softer” tunes like “Only Women Bleed.”
Another act that I grew up listening to in Cleveland was David Bowie. Cleveland was one of the first U.S. cities (perhaps the first, if I’d want to boast) to fall under Bowie’s spell. In September, Warners will put out David Bowie Five Years 1969-1973, a huge 12-CD box-set that includes all of those early, landmark albums along with 2 live albums and a pair of rarities discs.
Another major reissue label, Real Gone Music has an interesting slate this summer. They will be releasing a Steppenwolf double-disc, The ABC/Dunhill Singles Collection, a 50-track Ben E. King set The Complete Atco/Atlantic Singles Vol. 1—1960-1966, the Carny Soundtrack featuring music by Robbie Robertson and Alex North and the Steelyard Blues soundtrack, which offers performances by Maria Muldaur, Mike Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites. However, the most intriguing might be of Come For A Dream—The U.K. Sessions 1970-1971 by Dusty Springfield. These are 17 recordings that Springfield did in England that never got a proper U.S. release.
Speaking of overlooked recordings, I wanted to make special mention of You Don’t Know Nothing About Love: The Loma/Atlantic Recordings 1967-1972, the recently released compilation of Carl Hall’s music. I wasn’t familiar with Hall, but Omnivore Recordings has put together another winner. This 19-track set comes packed with sweet soul songs, and most of this material has never been released before even though Hall was working with the great producer/songwriter Jerry Ragovoy. It’s a must have for any soul music fan.
By the way, going back to classic rock land, Omnivore will be putting out a pair of ‘80s-era Peter Frampton albums, Premonition and When All The Pieces Fit in August.
Back in his teen years, my brother Dan went through a prog rock period and among the vinyl he had were Yes albums. I was thinking of listening to “Roundabout” and “Starship Trooper” that other day when I read that Chris Squire had passed away. I hadn’t realized that the bassist had been the sole band member to stay with the group since it started in 1968.
And now some items that would fall in the category of “random notes.”
I don’t know if you are old enough to remember when KISS exploded in popularity for the first time. There was a slew of KISS merchandise – comic books, lunchboxes and a pretty forgettable film. Now the band has gone the cartoon route (insert your own aside here) and have done an animated film with Scooby Doo and the rest of the Mystery Inc. crew. The DVD, due out July 10 from Warner Brothers Animation, features 6 classic Kiss tunes plus a new original song.
This year not only marks the 50th anniversary of the Dead, but the Youngbloods as well. Founding member Lowell Levinger (aka Banana) has put together an album that revisits some of the group’s classic tunes. Joining him is his fellow Youngblood Jessie Colin Young as well as David Grisman and Ry Cooder.
On September 29, Roger Waters returns to The Wall yet again as it will be presented as a special cinematic experience. For theater and ticket information, go to www.fantomevents.com
And, finally, some rather odder tour news – there is word that Patsy Cline…or more precisely, a hologram of Patsy Cline will “tour” in 2016.