I wanted to catch up on some of the fine reissues that are coming out in the first part of this year. Yes, there are too many good ones for me to keep track of, but here are some that registered on my radar.
Let’s start with one of the fathers of rock ‘n’ roll, the late, great Chuck Berry. Geffen/UMe have paid tribute to Berry by reissuing, and upgrading, his historic greatest hits compilation, The Great Twenty-Eight, with The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition. This new vinyl boxset starts with the original 2-LP 28-song compilation and adds on another album, More Great Chuck Berry, which offers 14 more hits, rarities and B-sides not on the original. Additionally, the collection also contains the rare live album, Oh Yeah! Live in Detroit (recorded at the Walled Lake Casino, October 25 & 26, 1963) that has never been on vinyl before, as well as a four holiday-themed EP on “Rudolph-Red” vinyl (the song “Spending Christmas” also is debuting on vinyl). A limited edition version on “Chess Blue” vinyl (500 copies only!) is available exclusively via UDiscoverMusic.com. Order The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition now at https://lnk.to/Great28SDE
Get ready for some Hot Buttered Soul! On February 23, Craft Recordings will be releasing three of Isaac Hayes’ finest albums Hot Buttered Soul, Shaft, and Black Moses, on vinyl. Each LP has had its audio remastered by leading engineer Dave Cooley at Elysian Masters from the original analog tapes. Plus, these reissues are presented in a faithfully reproduced packaging, including a replica of the legendary, iconic four-foot cross-shaped fold-out image of Isaac as Black Moses. These releases following last year’s big celebration of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary, which included the impressive deluxe 4-CD box set, Isaac Hayes: The Spirit of Memphis (1962-1976).
Craft Records has also excavated from the Stax vaults: The 24-Carat Black Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth. Due February 23, this rare but watershed release has been hailed as the first “soul opera.” It was composed, arranged, and produced almost entirely by longtime Isaac Hayes collaborator Dale Warren. Warren put together a band called 24-Caret Black for his project: Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth. While it received good reviews at the time, the band basically split apart following their initial showcase gig. This 180-gram vinyl album was cut at Ardent studios on the original Stax lathe and pressed in Memphis at Memphis Record Pressing.
Rediscover How The West Was Won on March 23! Not the epic 1962 western, but Led Zeppelin’s epic 2003 live album. Recorded at the L.A. Forum and the Long Beach Arena on June 25 and 27, 1972, it captures the band at their prime – at least according to no less of an authority than Jimmy Page. The three-CD collection, which has remastered audio supervised by Mr. Page, features classic Zep performances, such as a 25-plus minute version of “Dazed And Confused” and a 21-minute medley based around “Whole Lotta Love.” The Atlantic/Swan Song release comes in the first ever vinyl (4-LP) and Blu-ray Audio editions (with the Blu-ray containing hi-res 5.1 surround sound). The Super Deluxe Boxed Set will hold a book filled with rare and previously unpublished photos of the band at each of the concert locations, plus memorabilia and ephemera, a high-quality print of the original album cover (the first 30,000 of which will be individually numbered), and a high-def download card of all stereo audio content at 96kHz/24 bit. 2018 marks the band’s 50th anniversary, which officially begins in the fall; this release will certainly whet your appetite.
The third and final volume showcasing the best and most significant unissued studio recordings remaining in Jimi Hendrix’s archive will drop March 9. Both Sides of the Sky contains 13 tracks recorded between January 1968 and February 1970, and 10 of them have never been released before! One of the songs is a cover of Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy,” which you can give a listen to here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t0Qp9K_y6M Stephen Stills, Johnny Winter and Lonnie Youngblood all make appearances on this album. This project was co-produced by Eddie Kramer, the recording engineer on every Hendrix album made during his life, along with Janie Hendrix and John McDermott.
Back in November, Columbia Records put out Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981, which explored Bob Dylan’s “Christian music” period. You can explore it more when MVD Entertainment Group reissues the DVD Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan on February 9. The documentary contains a 1980 Dylan performance of “When He Returns” as well as memorable performances and interviews with Aaron Neville, Shirley Caesar, Fairfield Four, Mighty Clouds of Joy, and Sounds of Blackness.
Dead-heads will have a double dose of archival excitement with a pair of upcoming releases. Volume Ten in the GarciaLive series will arrive on February 23. This offering features a 1990 Jerry Garcia Band performance (with Melvin Seals (keyboards), John Kahn (bass), David Kemper (drums), Gloria Jones (backing vocals) and Jacklyn LaBranch (backing vocals) at the Hilo Civic Auditorium. The 18-set stretches from some reggae numbers (Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come” and Peter Tosh’s “Stop That Train”) to the R&B standard “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You),” Los Lobos’ “Evangeline” and a handful of Dylan songs (“Tough Mama,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” “Forever Young,” “Tears Of Rage,” and “Tangled Up In Blue”
If you had to pick 19 live Grateful Dead performances which ones would you choose? The folks at Rhino had that unenviable task for its The Best of the Grateful Dead Live. What did they select for this 2-CD collection coming out March 23?
- “St. Stephen” – Fillmore West (2/27/69) from Live/Dead
- “Bertha” – Fillmore East (4/27/71) from Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses)
- “Wharf Rat” – Fillmore East (4/26/71) from Grateful Dead (Skull & Roses)
- “Sugar Magnolia” – Olympia Theatre (5/4/72) from Europe ’72
- “Jack Straw” – Olympia Theatre (5/3/72) from Europe ’72
- “Truckin'” – Lyceum Theatre (5/26/72) from Europe ’72
- “Morning Dew” – Lyceum Theatre (5/26/72) from Europe ’72
- “Brown Eyed Women” – Tivoli Concert Hall (4/14/72) from Europe ’72
- “The Music Never Stopped” – Great American Music Hall (8/13/75), One From The Vault
- “Estimated Prophet” – Barton Hall (5/8/77) from Cornell 5/8/77
- “Friend Of The Devil” – Radio City Music Hall (10/27/80) from Dead Set
- “Feel Like A Stranger” – Warfield Theatre (10/4/80) from Dead Set
- “Fire On The Mountain” – Radio City Music Hall (10/31/80) from Dead Set
- “Bird Song” – Warfield Theatre (10/14/80) from Reckoning
- “Ripple” – Warfield Theatre (10/4/80) from Reckoning
- “Eyes Of The World” – Nassau Coliseum (3/29/90) from Wake Up To Find Out
- “Touch Of Grey” – Rich Stadium (7/4/89) from Truckin’ Up To Buffalo
- “Blow Away” – JFK Stadium (7/7/89) from Crimson, White & Indigo
- “So Many Roads” – Soldier Field (7/9/95) from So Many Roads
A counterpart to Rhino’s 2015 The Best Of The Grateful Dead studio set, this live compilation features material from their live albums on Warner Bros. and Arista, plus a few tracks from their many archival live releases. A 2-LP version covering just CD 1 will be released on March 23, with the vinyl version of the second CD getting released at a later date.
In honor of George Harrison’s 75th birthday (Feb. 25), Concord Music is re-releasing Concert For George on Feb. 23. It will be available on streaming platforms and, for the first time, on vinyl. A 4-LP box set will hold the complete sound recordings from the concert, which features performances of George’s songs by Eric Clapton, Dhani Harrison, Jools Holland, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Ravi and Anoushka Shankar. This is the first time that all songs from the performance have been available on an audio configuration. The 180-gram audiophile vinyl features a special, mandala-design etched on side 8. The release will also be presented as a 2-CD set, as well as newly issued 2-CD + 2-DVD, and 2-CD + 2-Blu-ray combo packages (the later format come with bonus material). The last, but most, version is the 10-disc Deluxe Box Set (limited to 1,000 pieces worldwide) with the complete sound and film recordings from the concert (on 4 180-gram audiophile LPs, 2 CDs, 2 DVDs and 2 Blu-rays), a 12″x12″ hard-bound 60-page book, and even a cutting from the original hand-painted on-stage tapestry used as the backdrop at the 2002 concert.
This year, Anti-Records celebrates Tom Waits’ early years by reissuing his first seven albums that he recorded for Elektra/Asylum Records in the 1970s. Kicking things off, quite appropriately, will be Waits’ 1973 debut Closing Time on March 9 (on vinyl and digital with the CD coming on March 23). The other albums that will arrive throughout 2018 will be Heart of Saturday Night (1974), Nighthawks at the Diner (1975), Small Change (1976), Foreign Affairs (1977), Blue Valentine (1978), and Heartattack & Vine (1980). It is a great opportunity to re-experience this tremendously creative time in Waits’ career.
Uncle Walt’s Band is that may not be well-known today but it certainly was influential. Existing for around a decade in the early ’70 through the early ‘80s, the eclectic group was a trio composed of David Ball, Champ Hood and Walter Hyatt. They had a fluid Americana style that was ahead of its time but attracted a lot of admirers in their adopted home of Austin. After disbanding in 1983, all three moved on to successful careers. Sadly, both Hood and Hyatt died far too early. Hyatt tragically died in the 1996 ValuJet crash while Hood succumbed to cancer in 2001. All this is a preface to say that Omnivore is putting out the first-ever Uncle Walt’s Band anthology, Anthology: Those Boys From Carolina, They Sure Enough Could Sing….on March 9. The retrospective feature five previously unreleased tracks, along with a 16-page booklet with many rare photographs, memorabilia, and liner notes penned by Peter Cooper of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Give a look to the CD’s trailer at https://youtu.be/g7NKTcg0wEI
Bar/None Records has a couple of cool projects of the cult variety. First up is The Langley Schools Music Project (due Feb. 23). This release is a definite curio of the “outsider music” realm. It is a mid-70s recording of a 60-voice chorus of school children from rural western Canada singing the songs of David Bowie, Beach Boys, Paul McCartney, Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac, among others. It was pressed on LP for the students, family and friends originally but Bar/None put together a compilation in 2001 that they will re-releasing this year.
Most exciting to me, however, is the reissuing on April 21 of Shore Leave, the only album by Yung Wu, which marks its first appearance on CD and digital downloading (it will also come out on vinyl again). Yung Wu was a Feelies spin-off that was fronted by the band’s percussionist Dave Weckerman. This 1987 release (originally on Coyote Records) also includes fellow Feelies Glenn Mercer and Bill Million on guitars Brenda Sauter on bass and Stan Demeski on drums as well as John Baumgartner (Speed The Plough, the Trypes). It’s certainly a must-have for fans of the Hoboken scene and ‘80s college rock. Here is the band doing a cover of Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” which is on Shore Leave. Not the finest video but you get the point…