July Desk Clearing: Bowie, Flamin’ Groovies, Black Oak Arkansas & Porter Wagoner

So the big music news this week probably is the announcement that Bruce Springsteen is releasing a companion CD to accompany the publication of this autobiography Born To Run on Sept. 27. The CD, entitled Chapter and Verse, is an 18-track set that spans Springsteen’s entire musical career. And I mean, “entire career!” It will include two tunes “Baby I” and “You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover” from his high school band, The Castiles, a song “He’s Guilty (The Judge Song)” from his band Steel Mill and the Bruce Springsteen Band tune “The Ballad of Jesse James.” None of these have been released before. The other rarity is previously unreleased demo of “Henry Boy.”

Here is the teaser trailer

Staying in the archives, Round Records & ATO Records will release the latest addition to the GarciaLive series (Volume 7, for those playing at home) on Aug. 19. This 13-track double disc captures the Jerry Garcia Band live at Sophie’s in Palo Alto, CA. The previously unreleased and uncirculated tapes were discovered recently by Donna Jean Godchaux, who was part of this band as well as the Grateful Dead. The rest of the group on this recording are one-time Elvis Presley drummer Ron Tutt, frequent Garcia collaborator John Kahn on bass and Keith Godchaux on keyboards.

Fans of early Pink Floyd will go into “interstellar overdrive” over the news of the upcoming big box set Pink Floyd The Early Years 1965 – 1972. This massive 27-disc collection, which will be available on 11/11/16 through Legacy Recordings, delivers around 12 hours of music along with more than 14 hours of audio-visual material. While too much to neatly summarize, I will give you some numbers: 20 unreleased songs, 7+ hours of previously unreleased live audio, plus BBC Radio Sessions, remixes, outtakes and alternative versions. If this is all too much, there will also be a 2-CD “best of” the boxset with 19 of the 27 tracks being previously unreleased.

A good way, at least chronologically, is the next David Bowie box set (due Sept. 23 on Parlophone). Who Can I Be Now (1974-76) is a 12-CD includes Diamond Dogs, David Live (in original and 2005 mixes), Young Americans, and Station To Station (in original and 2010 mixes) as well as Live Nassau Coliseum ’76 and Re:Call 2 (a compilation of single versions and non-album b-sides). It also contains the infamous The Gouster album, which was recorded in 1974 but hasn’t come out before as a complete album and has three previously unreleased mixes: “Right,” “Can You Hear Me” and “Somebody Up There Likes Me.” This collection will be released in various incarnations on various formats.

Led Zeppelin: The Complete BBC Sessions (due Sept. 16 on Atlantic/Swan Song) upgrades the 1997 BBC Sessions with 8 previously unreleased tracks. This includes 3 tunes (“I Can’t Quit You Baby,” “You Shook Me” and the only recorded performance of “Sunshine Woman”) from a 1969 “lost” session plus performances of “Dazed And Confused” and two separate versions of “Communication Breakdown” and “What Is And What Should Never Be.” This release, which will come in a variety of formats, also features all remastered material supervised by Jimmy Page and in-depth liner notes.

The Connells were an unfortunately underappreciated band from the “college rock” golden age of the late ‘80s and ‘90s. (well, underappreciated except by their loyal fan core, which includes my brother Dan). Hopefully, more folks will get introduced to the North Carolina’s smart, melodic music. Stone Cold Yesterday: Best of the Connells (due Sept. 16 on The Bicycle Music Company/Concord Music Group) collects 16 gems from the group’s career.

Here’s the video to one of my favorite Connells’ songs, “Something To Say”

Tompkins Square Records continues their deep crate digging and have put together a new installment in their Imagination Anthem series. Due Sept. 18, the compilation contains cuts from talented but obscure guitarists –  Perry Lederman, Joe Bethancourt and Kip Dobler – whose private pressed recordings came out between 1968-1995.

Soul, country, funk and punk – Real Gone Music has a real eclectic mix of music scheduled for their September releases. Dive knee-deep into the funky sounds of New Orleans on the 40-track collection A Message from The Meters—The Complete Josie, Reprise & Warner Bros. Singles 1968-1977. Featuring organist Art Neville, guitarist Leo Nocentelli, bassist George Porter, Jr., and drummer Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste, the Meters was one furious foursome of players. In 1980, the Isley Brothers recorded a “live” album at Bearsville Studios, complete with dubbed in audience reactions and a spirited intro by the energetic introduction of MC “Gorgeous” George Odell. It wasn’t what CBS was looking for so it was shelved. Now, Groove with You…Live! will get a belated CD release the way the brothers wanted it to be. Porter Wagoner’s The Definitive Collection holds 40 tracks from the Nashville great, including every Top Ten solo hit as well as songs from his adventurous concept albums, like Soul of a Convict and Other Great Prison Songs and The Bottom of the Bottle. Last but not least, is a British punk classic, Germfree Adolescents by X-Ray Spex. This limited edition offers this 1978 release in vintage (and pink!) vinyl.

Rhino will be celebrating “Rocktober” by releasing a batch of rockin’ albums on vinyl. On Oct. 18, for example, they’ll be putting out Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies on green, yellow, & orange marble colored vinyl with a “1 billion dollar bill” insert, the Faces’ debut album First Step on orange vinyl and The Stooges’s self-titled album on gold and brown colored vinyl. The next week T. Rex’s eponymous album will be issued on both vinyl and CD while the Flamin’ Groovies’ Groovies Greatest Grooves will come out as a 2-LP set.


If you are a vinyl-loving Ray Charles fan, then listen up. Rhino will be releasing a 7-LP boxset covering Charles’ Atlantic years. Due Sept. 23, this collection – in glorious mono on 180-gram vinyl – contains : Ray Charles (1957), The Great Ray Charles (1957), Yes, Indeed! (1958), What’d I Say (1959), The Genius Of Ray Charles (1959), The Genius After Hours (1961), and The Genius Sings The Blues (1961). Is this set a work of genius? Yes, Indeed!

Bubblegum aficionados are salivating over the the new Archies compilation. Cleopatra has packaged up all 5 of the band’s albums into one sugar-rush box-set, with each CD sleeve replicating the original LP artwork.

This year’s Monkees mania continues with Rhino releasing a pair of compilations on August 26. Monkees 50 holds 50 of the band’s top tunes on a 3-CD set, while there is also a 14-track single disc Forever. And, of course, there’s also the 10-disc Blu-ray collection of the Monkees TV series. Additionally, Dr. Rosanne Welch has written the book, Why The Monkees Mattered, not that I need convincing.


Another favorite childhood show was Hee-Haw, which (for better or for worse) was one of my biggest introductions into country music. If you are a Hee Haw fan (whether you admit it or not) you will want to circle Aug. 30 on your calendar. That is the that Hee Haw: The Collector’s Edition will be available. This 14-disc set is packed with plenty of the show’s signature cornpone humor as well as vintage performances by Country icons like Tammy WynetteGeorge Jones, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty.

On Sept. 16, the off-kilter Canadian instrument group Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet will get their three albums – Savvy Show Stoppers, Dim The Lights, Chill The Ham, and Sport Fishin’:  The Lure of the Bait, The Luck of the Hook – back in circulation via digital download courtesy of Yep Roc. The band might be best known in America for supplying music to the show Kids In The Hall.

Titus Andronicus has put together a live album S+@DIUM ROCK: Five Nights At The Opera, from their five-night stand last year at Shea Stadium (the Brooklyn club, not the former Queens stadium). Merge is streaming an accompanying full-length video companion on YouTube.


In other music movie news, the documentary on Miss Sharon Jones premieres this weekend in NYC, L.A. on Aug. 5, and should roll into other cities afterwards. The film’s soundtrack, which includes songs from throughout the career of Jones & the Dap-Kings plus the new tune “I’m Still Here,” comes out Aug. 19. And the wonderful documentary on Tower Records, All Things Must Pass, comes out on DVD Sept. 13 via MVD Entertainment. Directed by Colin Hanks, it offers a highly informative, quite colorful and even touching look at the fabled record store chain.

At the beginning of the 21st century, legendary songwriter Chip Taylor teamed up with an up-and-coming Americana performer Carrie Rodriguez for four terrific albums (plus one EP). They have partnered up again for a “10th Anniversary Red Dog Tracks Reunion Tour” that celebrates a deluxe reissue of their Red Dog Tracks album. Earlier this year, Rodriguez released an excellent album, entitled Lola, while Taylor last month put out a pair of CDs, Little Brothers and I’ll Carry for You, that serves as a reminder that he can write an interesting song about just about any topic.

This fall, Elvis Costello & The Imposters will come to America with their “Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers” tour, which will focus (not surprisingly) on Costello’s 1982 album, Imperial Bedroom.

Temple Of The Dog is celebrating the 25th anniversary of their one and only album with their first, albeit it short, tour. The Seattle supergroup, featuring Soundgarden‘s Chris Cornell, Pearl Jam‘s Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, and Mike McCready, and drummer Matt Cameron (who plays drums with both Soundgarden and Pearl Jam), will be performing in Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle this November, while Ume releasing Temple of the Dog on September 30th in various formats, including a four-disc Super Deluxe version

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Toad The Wet Sprocket’s breakout fear album and Toad’s frontman Glen Phillips will be putting out Swallowed By The New, his first solo album in a decade on Oct. 7

One of the more unusual tribute albums is now out. Quiero Creedence finds Latin rockers saluting the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival; the disc (from Rounder Picante) features acts like Juan Gabriel, Los Lonely Boys, Ozomatli, Andres Juanes and La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia.

“Go Jim Dandy, Go!” Musicians like Shooter Jennings, Greg Ginn, Jimbo Mathus, Eddie Spaghetti and Jello Biafra have contributed Mutants Of The Monster: A Tribute To Black Oak Arkansas. As you can tell, BOA busted out of the Southern Rock to influence a bunch of musicians. Saustex Records releases the CD on Aug. 19 and the vinyl on Sept. 19.

Here are the originals doing “Jim Dandy” on Midnight Special in 1975.

 Patti Smith and her son Jesse Paris Smith are involved in an upcoming tribute project too. They have collaborated with the experimental trio Soundwalk Collective on Killer Road, A Tribute To Nico. Due Sept 2 from Sacred Bones, the project features Patti Smith reciting Nico’s lyrics and poetry set against experimental soundscape.

Great songwriter Guy Clark passed away earlier this year, but his long-in-the-works biography on Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark will be published Oct. 18 on by the Texas A&M University Press. It written by Tamara Saviano, who utilized over 200 interview subjects to create this impressive book. She also is working on a documentary that looks at the lives of Clark, his wife Susanna and their friendship with another songwriting icon, Townes Van Zandt.guyclark Belated condolences go out the family and friends of Alan Vega, who was one half of the pioneering NYC band from the ‘70s Suicide. One thing I wasn’t aware of (or at least didn’t remember) is that Springsteen was a fan and has performed the Suicide song “Dream Baby Dream” over the years.

Check out this lo-fi video of Suicide doing that tune:

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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