Sunday Desk Clearing: The Velvets, The Monkees & Loretta Lynn

As often happens, you post one thing and then you remember something else and two more things come in…so, here you go.

This year is the Year of the Monkey in the Lunar calendar. It is also the 50th anniversary of the Monkees. Their show debuted in Sept. 1966 and their first album came out in Oct. Rhino has honoring the band in a big way. This spring they will release the MonkeesThe Complete Series on Blu-ray in a limited edition boxset.


Rhino has also assembled a 10-CD Classic Album Collection as well as a fun Cereal Box Singles collection, offering reproductions of the singles that came out on cereal boxes. This set of four 7’ singles also are a limited edition.

These later two releases are part of Rhino’s “Start Your Ear Off Right” campaign. Among the awesome offerings are LPs of the Replacements’ Twin Tone titles (Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash, Stink, Hootenanny and Let It Be), the massive (and long out-of-print) The Complete Stax/Volt Singles (1959-1968) 9-CD Atlantic boxed set and color vinyl editions of The Cars’ self-titled album, Devo’s Freedom of Choice and the Jackie Brown soundtrack.

The standout one for me is the newly remastered CD (and 2-LP) of the Velvet Underground’s historic Live At Max’s Kansas City, which captures the last show Lou Reed played in the group. All of these are coming out on Jan. 19.


In more Max’s Kansas City news – the legendary New York City nightclub is celebrating its own 50th anniversary. Last week there was a celebration concert that also served as a Lou Reed tribute, since Reed and the Velvet Underground were prime players n the Max’s scene (the VU’s Live At Max’s Kansas City captured Reed’s last show with the band in 1970). Among the performers were Garland Jeffreys, Marshall Crenshaw, Lenny Kaye, Jenni Muldaur, Bongos co-founder Richard Barone, and former Wild Colonials’ singer Angela McCluskey as well as some of Reeds’ old bandmates.

Check out the rockin’ drinks that they used to serve at Max’s.


On Feb. 11, there will be a photo exhibit with a meet & greet that will take place at the Chelsea Hotel Gallery.

Max’s will be a role in the hotly anticipated HBO series Vinyl, which is set in the New York music scene of the early ‘70s. Hopefully the program will be as interesting as its first soundtrack (2/12, Atlantic/WB), which features David Johansen re-doing Dolls’ classic “Personality Crisis” and “Stranded In The Jungle,” rock gems like Mott the Hoople’s “All The Way To Memphis,” Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein” and Foghat’s “I Just Want To Make Love To You” and soul tracks from Ruth Brown, Otis Redding, Dee Dee Warwick and the Jimmy Castor Bunch (although not “Troglodyte”). Topping it off is Sturgill Simpson doing the show’s theme, “Sugar Daddy.” The soundtrack will be available on vinyl and there will be digital EPs released throughout the show’s 10-episode run.


John Cale (on the right)

And Reed’s VU compatriot John Cale has very intriguing sounding release coming out Jan. 22 on Domino. Cale has reworked his 1982 Music For A New Society into a new work he’s calling M:FANS. He has said that after Reed’s death, he wanted to tell the New Society’s story from a completely opposite point of view. In Cale’s words, “from sadness came the strength of fire!!!” The Domino 2-CD pairs these new recordings with remastered versions of the original songs.

In 1966, Loretta Lynn made history with being the first female country singer to hit #1 with a song she wrote (“You Ain’t Woman Enough”). 2016 should be a significant year for her too – especially March 4. That day offers a double dose of Loretta Lynn with the release of her new album Full Circle and the debut of her PBS American Masters documentary: Loretta Lynn: Still A Mountain Girl. The CD will hold new recordings of some of her old hits along with some new tunes.

Here is a video for one of the new ones, “Everything It Takes,” a Lynn co-write with Todd Snyder that features Elvis Costello on guest vocals.

In 1976, the radio will be dominated by Frampton Comes Alive! “Baby, I Love Your Way,” “Show Me the Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do” were a constant presence on the FM dial. All three of those tunes are among the 11 tracks included on Acoustic Classics, which Peter Frampton has coming out Feb. 26 through RED Distribution. I hadn’t realized that he went to the same school as David Bowie and later played on Bowie’s Never Let Me Down album and Glass Spider Tour. The guitar ace will be out doing an acoustic tour accompanied by his son (and guitarist/singer) Julian.

News out of Yep Roc-land is that they have signed Jeremy & The Harlequins, a NYC-based rock quintet that has Steve Van Zandt’s stamp of approval. The group’s tune “Trip Into The Light” was named the “Coolest Song in the World” on Little Steven’s Underground Garage radio show. The label also is releasing Grant-Lee Phillips’ new offering The Narrows (March 18), which the long-time California birthed in his new home of Tennessee.

One of my favorite new bands for 2013 Escondido will serve up their sophomore effort Walking With A Stranger on Feb. 2 on their own Kill Canyon label. Take a listen to one of their new tunes


Finally, Weezer has a new album that they are calling The White Album and its release date is April 1. Hopefully it isn’t a prank of them covering the Beatles’ album.

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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