What’s Old Is New: Springsteen, King Curtis, Dictators And Garbage

Wanted to catch up on some recent news.

In case you haven’t heard, Bruce Springsteen is planning on a big reissue project for his The River album. The Ties That Bind: The River Collection will be a 4-CD set holding 52 songs. That breaks down to the original 2 CDs and 2 CDs of outtakes and rarities, including the 10 tracks that constitute The River: The Single Album (which was the original idea for The River). The collection will also contain a 60-minute The Ties That Bind about the making of The River and the double DVD concert film Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: The River Tour, Tempe 1980. It doesn’t top the new monstrous Dylan The Cutting Edge reissue but it is impressively massive in its own right.


New West Records has announced a major reissue campaign of Antoine Records albums. The first quartet of titles will get blues fans excited. The initial offers are two Pinetop Perkins records – Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie and Live At Antone’s Vol. 1 – and two from James Cotton‘s Mighty Long Time and Live At Antone’s Nightclub. These remastered reissues will come in CD, vinyl and digital formats.

Omnivore Recordings will salute another great American bluesman, Bobby Rush, with a 4-disc retrospective Chicken Heads that covers a half century of music-making. Due out Nov. 27, the near-100 song compilation spans the years 1964-2004 and it includes material that the 3-time Grammy nominee recorded for such labels as Checker, Galaxy, Philadelphia and Malaco/Waldoxy.

The influential folklorist Alan Lomax was born in 1915 and there have been a number of events to celebrate this occasion. This month, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections Research Center, the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, and the Association for Cultural Equity have launched the Lomax Kentucky Recordings online exhibition. This free streaming site features more than 70 hours of performances, interviews and narrative segments that Loxax recorded in eastern Kentucky between 1933-1942.


This year marks the 40th anniversary of Go Girl Crazy, the legendary album by the Dictators that has grown into a cult classic over the years. Real Gone Music will released a remastered, expanded version of the album on Dec. 4 with 9 bonus tracks including 4 previously unreleased tunes. Additionally, there will be a Black Friday 10” with material remixed by mega-Dictators fan Andrew W.K.

Real Gone will also be releasing the quirky solo outing by the eccentric Fleetwood Mac guitarist Jeremy Spencer. The reissue of this 1970 self-titled album, which featured appearances by John McVie, Danny Kirwan, Peter Green and Mick Fleetwood, includes the non-album track “Teenage Darling.” The other big Real Gone release is an impressive 3-disc collection of the great saxophonist King Curtis. The Complete Atco Singles contains 66 songs, including over 24 tracks that never appeared on an LP.

The Goo Goo DollsA Boy Named Goo turns 20 this year and the band has a special anniversary reissue that includes 7 previously unreleased live tracks recorded in 1995 (including the Plimsouls’ “Million Miles Away” and INXS’ “Don’t Change.”). Garbage’s big hit debut also has a 20th anniversary and a 20th anniversary reissue that holds 9 “g-sides” of unreleased material.


Tracy Chapman has compiled her Greatest Hits album that Elektra/Rhino Records will be releasing on Nov. 20. The 18-song will naturally include “Fast Car,” “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution” and “Give Me One Reason” and also her rendition of “Stand By Me” that she performed earlier this year on the Late Night With David Letterman Show. Another Tracey, Tracey Thorn of Everything But The Girl fame, has compiled a double CD Solo: Songs And Collaborations 1982-2015, which – as the title says – covers a variety of her solo work.

Alt. troubadour Cass McCombs has looked back at his career to date and gathered together a collection of rarities, b-sides and “space junk” to create an anti-greatest hits album. The 19-track A Folk Set Apart will be released on Domino on 12/11. Drag City, meanwhile, has created a faux greatest hits album for the faux soft rock band the Blue Jean Committee, which is actually a parody band put together by Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, on 11/20.


While these aren’t reissues, a couple of bands are back after long hiatuses with CDs of new material. Oct. 30 will see Silver Bullets, a new effort from the important New Zealand band, The Chills. Squeeze, with both Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford, puts out From The Cradle To The Grave on Nov. 13, the same day as Jeff Lynne’s reassembled ELO releases Alone In the Universe.

Film Chest recently released a 2-DVD set entitled Rock ‘n Roll Revue & Rhythm and Blues Revue, which includes 1955 performance clips of Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Sarah Vaughan and the Clovers as well as the 1956 film Rock, Rock Rock.

In literary news, yet another rocker is writing a book but X’s John Doe is doing things a little differently. With Tom DeSavia, he is putting together a look at the L.A. punk scene of the ‘70s and ‘80s entitled Under the Big Black Sun with different people from that world writing chapters.

About Michael Berick

I am a longtime writer, and lover, of music and pop culture. I have written for Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle, Cleveland Scene and more places (that I wouldn't take up more of your time mentioning now).
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