NAZARETH - Loud & Proud! (2018) [32CD Box Set]
Nazareth are a Scottish hard rock band formed in 1968, that had several hits in the United Kingdom, as well as in several other West European countries in the early 1970s, and established an international audience with their 1975 album Hair of the Dog, which featured their hits "Hair of the Dog" and a cover of the ballad "Love Hurts". The band continues to record and tour. Formed in 1968, Nazareth rose from the pubs and clubs of their native Scotland to become one of the most successful rock bands in the world, notching up a string of hit records along the way. Hard-working, honest, sincere, and unaffected by the vagaries of fashion, this band of the people have influenced many great artists. Half a century later, and having sold in excess of 20 million albums around the globe, the legendary Nazareth are still rocking hard! This comprehensive box set is a celebration of Nazareth’s incredible career to date. It contains: their original studio albums, live albums, singles, rare and unreleased audio, a hardback book with new and previous band interviews, reproduced original memorabilia and a metal badge.
This box set is a limited edition of 5000 units.
SPIRIT - It Shall Be: Ode & Epic Recordings 1968-1972 [5CD Box Set] (2018)
In 2010, Sony presented Spirit's first five albums in a budget-priced box set. There wasn't anything extra, just five albums in a -looking slipcase. Great Britain's Esoteric Recordings felt the band deserved better. Spirit's first five albums are also included here with newly remastered sound -- alongside a slew of associated outtakes, singles, and alternate mixes offered in 1991 for Time Circle compilation. They also added the original mono mix of the band's self-titled 1968 debut album, and the group's soundtrack for French writer-director Jacques Demy's 1969 film Model Shop. As most fans know, Spirit's meld of jazz, blues, psychedelia, and pop proved highly influential, but was never quite sustainable commercially. Despite smoking and commercially viable singles such as "Fresh Garbage," "I Got a Line on You," "Uncle Jack," and "Nature's Way," the band's wildly eclectic sound never really connected with the masses. Listening to the band's Ode debut is a case in point. The strange mix of genres, while seamless, was unsettling and more often than not, regarded as dark, mysterious, and brooding -- check "Mechanical World," "Fresh Garbage," and "Taurus." This was enhanced by their appearance in the fragmented cover photo with 17-year-old guitarist Randy California (who'd played with Jimi Hendrix at 16), his stepfather, jazz drummer Ed Cassidy (Roland Kirk, Art Pepper, New Jazz Trio) -- whose waxy-looking bald pate looked downright strange, even in 1967 -- keyboardist John Locke (New Jazz Trio), vocalist Jay Ferguson, and bassist Mark Andes. The released stereo version of the debut album with 1968's The Family That Plays Together -- that netted the hit "I Got a Line on You" -- reveals a tale of two bands: The former seeking to express all the core elements in their sound, and the latter from an outfit that has found a way to make them gel. Disc two opens with the Model Shop soundtrack cut in 1968, followed by the slightly schizophrenic but nonetheless rewarding Clear, which was, in retrospect, deeply influenced by the experience of the film score yet contains some of the band's finest accessible tracks in "Dark-Eyed Woman" "Give a Life, Take a Life, and "New Dope in Town." Disc three contains not only their most commercially successful album in The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, but all of its attendant sessions. Disc four offers the mono mixes of Spirit as well as four bonus cuts from those sessions and Time Circle mixes. The final platter contains eight more Time Circle mixes, assorted outtakes from The Family That Plays Together and Clear, both sides of the "1984" and "Animal Zoo" singles, and other assorted mixes. It's all held together in a handsome clamshell package with a booklet chock-full of photos, liner notes by Malcolm Dome, and archival interviews with California and Cassidy. Though Spirit continued recording and touring in one way or another until California's death in 1997, It Shall Be: The Ode & Epic Recordings is a definitive aural portrait from a band whose influence continues unabated into the 21st century.
THE ACTION - Rolled Gold (2002) & Uptight And Outasight (2004)
The Action were an English band of the 1960s, formed as The Boys in August 1963, in Kentish Town, North West London. They were part of the mod subculture, and played soul music-influenced pop music. The band was formed as The Boys in August 1963, in Kentish Town, North West London. The original members were Reg King (lead vocals), Alan 'Bam' King (rhythm guitar, vocals), Mike "Ace" Evans (bass guitar, vocals) and Roger Powell (drums) as The Boys, who had a brief spell as a bar band in Germany, and then as a backing band for Sandra Barry, (sometimes referred to as Sandra Barry and the Boyfriends) including on her single ""Really Gonna Shake" in 1964.. After the stint with Barry, Pete Watson was recruited as lead guitarist, and in 1964 they changed their name to The Action. Shortly after their formation, they signed to Parlophone with producer George Martin. "Land of a Thousand Dances" b/w "In My Lonely Room" was well received by critics, but sold poorly. None of the Action's singles achieved success in the UK Singles Chart. After disastrous experiences with the Rikki Farr management, Peter Watson left the band in 1966. They continued as quartet, but were dropped from Parlophone in 1967. In the late 1960s keyboardist Ian Whiteman and guitarist Martin Stone joined the band and the Action moved toward a mid-tempo psychedelic ballad style, and then into folk rock. Reg King left the band in 1967, and Alan King took over as main lead vocalist. In 1969, when signing to John Curd's Head Records, the band was renamed Mighty Baby. Alan King later went on to form Ace, who had a US hit in 1975 with “How Long”. A 1980 compilation of the Action's Parlophone tracks came with sleeve notes by Paul Weller ("the Action had it in their soul") and did much for their profile, while the Rolled Gold album demos were hailed as genuine lost classics when they were reissued in the early 1990s. In 1998, the original lineup of the Action reformed for a concert on the Isle of Wight. The band played regularly over the next six years. Notably, they are one of the favourite bands of Phil Collins, who performed with the reunited band in June 2000. "For me it was like playing with the Beatles", he later commented on the experience.
THE AMAZING RHYTHM ACES - Stacked Deck (1975) + Too Stuffed To Jump (1976) 
The Amazing Rhythm Aces is an American country rock group, which has characterized its music as "American music" or "roots music" a blend of rock, country, blues, R&B, folk, reggae and Latino. The band is best known for its 1970s hit "Third Rate Romance". It has released 18 albums over 30 years (a period including a 15-year hiatus). The band's music is distinguished by its eclectic scope, literate and often quirky lyrics, and distinctive vocals by lead singer and songwriter Russell Smith.
Stacked Deck is the debut album by American country rock group the Amazing Rhythm Aces, released in 1975 on the ABC label. The album was recorded at the Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee and was produced by group member Barry "Byrd" Burton. Most of the material was composed by the group's lead singer Russell Smith. Stacked Deck reached #11 on the US country chart and #120 on the Billboard albums chart. It includes the group's biggest hit single, "Third Rate Romance", which peaked at #11 country and #14 pop, and did even better in Canada where it topped both the country and pop chart. "Amazing Grace (Used to Be Her Favorite Song)" was also released as a single and made #9 on the country chart, although it stalled at #72 on the pop chart. Stacked Deck has become a very highly regarded album, and has been given the maximum five-star rating on the Allmusic website.
Too Stuffed to Jump is the second album by American country rock group the Amazing Rhythm Aces, released in 1976 on the ABC label. Most of the material was composed by the group's lead singer Russell Smith. Too Stuffed to Jump reached #16 on the US country chart and #157 on the Billboard albums chart. The single "The End Is Not in Sight (The Cowboy Tune)" reached #12 on the country chart, and #42 on the pop chart. "Dancing the Night Away" was later covered by Crystal Gayle on her 1979 album Miss the Mississippi. "The End Is Not in Sight (The Cowboy Tune)" won the 1976 Grammy award in the category Country Vocal Performance by a Group.
JOHNNY WINTER - Live In NYC' 97 (1998) & Captured Live! (1976)
Johnny Winter assembled Live in NYC '97 with assistance of his fan club, drawing all of the recordings from an April 1997 performance at the Bottom Line. Produced by Winter's longtime colleague Dick Shurman, the record doesn't follow the predictable pattern of a live album -- instead of hits, it offers fan favorites and covers, which makes for a much more interesting listen. Throughout the album, Winter simply rips, tearing through all five songs with blistering energy. This is the live album hardcore fans have been wanting for years, and it doesn't fail to deliver on its promise.
On the back cover of Captured Live!, Johnny Winter's second live album (following 1971's Live Johnny Winter And), Winter is pictured with his band (second guitarist Floyd Radford, bass player Randy Jo Hobbs, and drummer Richard Hughes) from the back, playing before a giant, open-air sports stadium full of fans. The photograph is not identified, leaving the impression, along with the large cheering heard on the LP itself, that Winter was headlining such a venue -- but he couldn't have been, because he isn't that big a name. He must have been performing as part of a festival or opening for an act that can fill stadiums, like the Rolling Stones. The photograph encapsulates the dilemma of Johnny Winter's career, seven years after he signed a lucrative contract with CBS Records (his discs are now issued by its Blue Sky subsidiary). His early renown came as a fleet-fingered blues guitarist, but the music industry pitched him as a potential superstar performer. Instead, Live Johnny Winter And has turned out to be his only gold album, and he remains a fleet-fingered guitarist, as usual playing rock & roll as well as blues. One reason he hasn't satisfied the potential the business people saw in him probably is that he hasn't turned out to be a songwriter; here, the only song credited to him is the 12-and-a-half-minute slow blues number "Sweet Papa John" that closes the disc. Otherwise, he plays the standards "Bony Moronie," "It's All Over Now," and "Highway 61 Revisited," as well as songs written for him by his old bandmate Rick Derringer ("Roll with Me") and John Lennon ("Rock & Roll People"). All the songs are basically vehicles for his guitar playing, sometimes performed in unison with Radford. Winter plays fast, filling up measures with torrents of notes that must impress any guitar fan, and he earns the big cheers heard in between numbers. It's no surprise that his biggest seller is a live album, and this one is another accomplished effort. But there's nothing on it to sest that he will ever sell out a huge stadium on his name alone.
MATTHEW FISHER - Matthew Fisher (1979) & Strange Days (1981) 
Matthew Charles Fisher is an English musician, songwriter and producer. He is best known for playing the Hammond organ on the 1967 single "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum, for which he subsequently won a songwriting credit.
Digitally remastered edition of 2 original albums on a single CD. After a 3 year stint as Procol Harum's keyboard player (which included the recording of "A Whiter Shade of Pale") Fisher went on to produce Robin Trower's first three solo albums before he released his own in 1973. Both "Matthew Fisher" and 1981's "Strange Days" reveal that Fisher's talents as a keyboard player stretch far beyond that of Procol Harum's realm, while demonstrating his ability to write as well. Matthew Fisher employed Rod Argent on background vocals and session man Tim Renwick on guitar (Ace, David Bowie, Elton John). This album focuses more attention on Fisher's Hammond organ prowess than "Strange Days", while the songs are engulfed in a sturdier rock (and soft rock) habitat as well.
PETER FRENCH - Ducks In Flight (1978)
Renowned for fronting both Leafhound and Atomic Rooster, with this 1978 solo album Peter French took the somewhat surprising step of eschewing the heavy underground trademarks of both these bands and going for a more commercial approach. And it worked. There are influences from the likes of Bad Company, The Faces and Thin Lizzy here, on songs which are sharp with real melodic attitude. Moreover, French brought in a battery of highly proficient musicians to help out. From guitarists Brian Robertson and Micky Moody to drummers Henry Spinetti and Kenney Jones and keyboard player Tim Hinkley, the line-up gives the album a genuine feel of being a bunch of pals having fun, and in the process making a coherent sound. From the funk-fuelled opener Slipped And Stumbled, almost everything here has an upbeat momentum, with Shame, Shame, Schoolday and Hold Me Take Me having a swagger that even Rod Stewart would envy. Only on the rather mundane Without You does the pace slacken. Otherwise this is a purposeful success. The pity is that it’s French’s sole solo album.
PINK FLOYD - Meddle (1971) [Limited 4 CD Deluxe Edition, 2018]
Meddle is the sixth studio album by English progressive rock group Pink Floyd, released on 31 October 1971 by Harvest Records. It was produced between the band's touring commitments, from January to August 1971. The album was recorded at a series of locations around London, including Abbey Road Studios and Morgan Studios. With no material to work with and no clear idea of the album's direction, the group devised a series of novel experiments which eventually inspired the album's signature track, "Echoes". Although the band's later albums would be unified by a central theme with lyrics written entirely by Roger Waters, Meddle was a group effort with lyrical contributions from each member, and is considered a transitional album between the Syd Barrett-influenced group of the late 1960s and the emerging Pink Floyd. The cover has been explained by its creator, Storm Thorgerson, to be an ear underwater. As with several previous albums designed by Hipgnosis, though, Thorgerson was unhappy with the final result. The album was well-received by music critics upon its release, and was commercially successful in the United Kingdom, but lackluster publicity on the part of their United States-based label led to poor sales there upon initial release.
Limited Edition of 300 numbered copies.
ERIC CLAPTON - Transmission Impossible: Legendary Radio Broadcasts From The 1960s-1990s (2018)
Eric Clapton's musical output across a career spanning 55 years and counting, has been nothing short of extraordinary. But added to this, that the lion s share of his work has been of a quite staggering quality, with more than occasional brilliance displayed, has made Clapton one of a handful of musicians, composers and performers from the rock age who patently deserve their place at the top table of the industry. This 3 X CD set celebrates and champions the contribution Eric has made to the pantheon of intelligent rock music as it contains three broadcast recordings of live shows from the 1960s, the 1970s and the 1990s. Kicking off with a superb concert the great man gave as part of Cream, the super-group which also of course featured the talents of Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, recorded at the LA Forum in October 1968. Next up on disc two is a unique gig Clapton gave at Dallas s Convention Center in Texas towards the end of 1976, hot on the heels of his No Reason To Cry album. Concluding the collection, disc 3 takes EC forward more than 20 years, to his astonishing show at the Edmonton Coliseum in Alberta, Canada in September of 1998.
GROUNDHOGS - The United Artists Years (1972-1976) 
The Groundhogs are a British rock band founded in late 1963, that toured extensively in the 1960s, achieved prominence in the early 1970s and continued sporadically into the 21st century. Tony McPhee (guitar and vocals) is the sole constant member of the group, which has gone through many personnel changes but usually records and performs as a power trio.
This 3-CD set is a companion to the earlier ‘The Liberty Years 1968-1972' which charted the band’s transformation from blues to proto-heavy rockers. But it was only with ‘Split’ that the band hit proverbial paydirt. It is commemorated here with the inclusion of several tracks in a complete 1972 BBC In Concert. This BBC concert (and one from 1974) have been available on CD before (save for four tracks), originally on Windsong and later on the abbreviated 2002 release ‘BBC Live In Concert’. By 1972's ‘Hogwash’ (the first with Clive Brooks on drums) the band had lost their earlier frenetic blues rock drive as they honed the sound to an altogether more refined and produced situation. This is also evidenced in the “bonus” 7” edit of ‘Live A Little Lady’ from 1976's ‘Crosscut Saw’. This album and the same year’s penultimate UA release, ‘Black Diamond’, are also included here although they didn’t make any real impact at the time and perhaps even less so now on reinvestigation. It seemed then that Groundhogs were sounding less like themselves and more like others as they evidently jostled with changing musical tastes. In a similar way their contemporary Rory Gallagher was also facing an identity crisis at this time. The band will still be remembered for their light that shone bright for a relatively short two or three year window at the dawn of the seventies. And sadly, like Tony McPhee’s ongoing health problems, after several later reunions they never really recovered.
LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin (1969)
Led Zeppelin is the eponymous debut album by English rock band Led Zeppelin. It was released on 12 January 1969 in the United States and on 31 March in the United Kingdom by Atlantic Records. The album was recorded in September and October 1968 at Olympic Studios, London, shortly after the band's formation. It contains a mix of original material worked out in the first rehearsals, and remakes and rearrangements of contemporary blues and folk songs. The sessions took place before the group had secured a recording contract and were paid for directly, and took 36 hours and less than L2,000 to complete. The album showed the group's fusion of blues and rock, and their take on the emerging hard rock sound was immediately commercially successful in both the UK and US. Although the album was not critically well-received when first released, critics have since come to view it in a more favourable light.
Released on January 12, 1969 - 50 YEARS!!!
WALTER TROUT & THE FREE RADICALS - Live Trout (2000) & WALTER TROUT & FRIENDS - Full Circle (2006)
No overdubs, no sweetening, in fact, no extra music to flesh out this relatively slim double disc (available at a single price) that clocks in at a combined total of only 96 minutes: Welcome to one full Walter Trout performance, complete with between song patter as well as every note -- and there are a lot of them -- the guitarist played at this March 2000 show. Filled with blistering, unrefined, and unadulterated blues-rock, Trout has been playing shows identical to this for years in Europe where he is a fairly major star. The accomplished guitar slinger unfailingly delivers the sizzling six-string goods, especially in concert with his gritty yet undistinguished voice and frenetic leads. On his second live album, but first easily available in the States, Trout pulls out all the stops, shifting from the stinging slow blues and soft-loud dynamics of "Finally Gotten Over You" and "The Reason I'm Gone" to the all-out grinding swamp of "Gotta Broken Heart" and the meat and potatoes Chuck Berry by way of Johnny Winter rock and roll of "Good Enough to Eat." Tough, roughshod, and passionate, Trout, who had gone without sleep for 24 hours before this show, doesn't sound a bit fatigued. The liner notes state that this even adds an edge to this performance. A sideline into Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" adds some much needed subtly and a bit of gospel flavor to the proceedings, but Trout works best when his lightening fingers, brawny sustain, and hot dog fret runs are given free reign. It's all sweaty, powerful, and uncompromising, but without a unique voice, either vocally or instrumentally, Trout remains a gifted, hard working, undoubtedly scintillating live performer without the idiosyncratic edge to pull away from a pack of equally talented blues rockers.
In his mid-fifties at the time of this album's release in 2006, Walter Trout seemed to be in a reflective mood. His 2005 album was a collection of older, previously unreleased tracks from various stages in his extensive career. This follow-up finds him reconnecting with many artists he has worked with, laying down newly recorded originals. In fact, this is Trout's first studio recorded disc of fresh material since 2001's Go the Distance. As the Full Circle title implies, the guitarist rounds up some musicians/friends he has played with for a spontaneous set of performances. The liner notes explain that some of these tracks were unrehearsed first takes, and the heightened energy level throughout reflects that. Also impressive is that Trout was eye-to-eye with each artist, as opposed to projects where guests lay down solos at various times in different cities and never see each other. The disc kicks off in fine, heated form with John Mayall sharing vocals and guitar and adding harmonica to a fiery eight-minute slow blues workout "She Takes More Than She Gives." Trout restrains slightly his propensity to pummel more notes per minute than the next guy, infusing greater passion into his playing as evidenced by the swampy blues-rock of "Workin' Overtime," featuring Jeff Healey. Fellow fret shredders of his genre such as Bernard Allison, Coco Montoya, and especially Joe Bonamassa add predictable firepower with their contributions and seem to spur Trout to new heights. In this heavy company, it's refreshing to hear him shift into a jazzier mood with Junior Watson on "Slap Happy" and even go acoustic on "Firehouse Mama," where he trades hyperactive riffs with neighbor Eric Sardinas. Harp master/vocalist James Harman (who, with his burly face and long white beard looks more like Moses everyday) and organist Deacon Jones bring comparative subtlety to the proceedings and alter the groove to a less frenzied attack than when Trout is trading licks with his guitar buddies. Guitar Shorty, Little Feat drummer Richard Hayward, and noted DJ Larry Keene whose articulated fast talking can be compared to Trout's own style on guitar also appear, the latter for a spoken word title cut finale that could have been left on the cutting room floor. Deep blues fans will still probably shy away due to the album's guitar heavy appeal and Trout's tendency to overextend his furious solos. But for the blues-rocker who loves a red blast of electricity and barrages of notes played with no-frills intensity, this is arguably Trout's most listenable, impressive, and diverse album yet.
V.A. - Chicago Plays The Stones (2018)
They’ve been celebrating this music since the ’60s, but the Rolling Stones really amped up their adulation of the songs and giants of Chicago blues with their acclaimed 2016 album Blue and Lonesome. There was always an irony in the fact that it took a British band to introduce much of America to the kings and queens of Chicago blues, but it was with the utmost sincerity that the Stones first covered these songs and then came to Chicago to be at Chess Studios and hang out with heroes like Muddy Waters. The gritty, urban, amplified and electrifying sound of Chicago blues was tapped by the original rock ’n’ rollers of the ’50s and even more so by the Rolling Stones starting in the mid-’60s. Blues titans like Muddy and Buddy Guy recognized and benefitted from the Stones’ outspoken adoration of them and their Windy City brethren, and a long-lasting cross-continental kinship was born. This is what spawned the idea of Chicago Plays the Stones even before the Stones announced the coming of Blue and Lonesome. Producer Larry Skoller and co-producer/arranger Vincent Bucher had already been working up Chicago-blues covers of Rolling Stones songs dating from the ’60s to the ’90s. “In May of 2016, I was asked to produce Chicago Plays the Stones, timed to be released in conjunction with the Chicago opening of Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones in April of 2017,” says Skoller. “The idea was to bring a set of Stones songs ‘back home’ by playing them with a Chicago blues groove to imagine them as tunes played by Muddy, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed and the other Chicago blues icons the Stones have idolized and covered.”
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