V.A. - Dante's Inferno: The Divine Comedy Part I (2008) & Dante's Purgatorio: The Divine Comedy Part II (2009)
Musea’s collaboration with Finnish Colossus Society has been fruitful in these last years, and the newest release is the most ambitious so far: a 4 cd set, with a comprehensive booklet, featuring 34 bands to address the 34 cantos of the “Inferno” part of the legendary 14th century epic poem “The Divine Comedy” by Dante Alighieri (Purgatory and Paradise will be the concept of future releases, in order to complete the trilogy). With such an amount of bands coming from different grounds within the progressive aesthetics, it is only natural that the conducting line is only maintained by the story and by the usage of vintage instruments (moog, mellotron, etc) which are common to all the guest bands. In part, and besides the fact that this approach secures a wide array of styles and different musical perspectives, it is also true that it makes the album not being as cohesive and focused as the Epic Poem that muses it would deserve. But hey! There are 4hours+ of pure “regressive” symphonic rock to fully enjoy! With such heavy weight bands such as Little Tragedies, Consorzio Acqua Potabile, Ars Nova, Simon Says, Raimundo Rodulfo, Nexus, Groovector, Nemo & Nathan Mahl fronting this ambitious release, this time around Musea/Colossus have chosen to give opportunity to almost unknown bands to contribute to the huge package, and the truth is that some of those have grabbed that chance and trust to make themselves noticed and provide some new “voices” to the scene, which listeners will undoubtedly be waiting for confirmation in their (now awaited) own releases. In this pack I would (especially) consider (from the almost all instrumental third cd) Ozone Player with their instrumental swirling track that introduces slight psychedelia; Nota Bene, a folk band that has introduced a complex symphonic instrumental; Advent with their experimental eeriness; Contrappunto Project with a neo-classical approach on grand piano; Corte Aulica (in the 4th cd) with a modern keyboard/guitar cephalous based prog played in vintage style; Atlantis 1001 (1st cd) with an emotional approach and haunting tapestries in the background; and Willowglass (2nd cd) with great guitar lines and a soft Scandinavian symphonic feel. Overall, this is a very good symphonic rock showdown, introducing promising new bands entwined with some already respectable ones to provide the proghead listener with a gigantic sympho time capsule. Another winning project that will be most appreciated by those who like the return to the vintage sounds of the 70’s prog leanings.
Purgatorio is the second chapter of the trilogy, and, once again, is (expectebly) a bit unbalanced. Not only because of the quality of the bands involved, but also because each band has its own approach and so the album naturally gains in wideness and variety but also loses some focus and consistency.
CORKY LAING'S POMPEII - The Secret Sessions (2018)
In 1976, Mountain drummer Corky Laing put together a supergroup called Pompeii with Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople), Andy Fraser (Free) and others, but the project stayed uncompleted until now. As Laing explained in a press release, Pompeii were created as a way of salvaging his record deal after the disintegration of Mountain and as punk was on the rise. "In this environment, my record company, Elektra/Asylum, was preparing to bail on me, but before doing so, they asked if I wanted to form a so-called 'supergroup,'" he recalled. "I had no choice, and so began the journey into The Secret Sessions." He got together with Hunter and producer Bob Ezrin, and they were able to get Fraser, Steve Hunter (Alice Cooper) and singer and keyboardist Lee Michaels, who scored a Top 10 hit with "Do You Know What I Mean" earlier in the decade. They holed up in a studio outside New York City, but the sessions quickly fell apart, beginning with Ezrin, who left to produce The Wall for Pink Floyd. "Then Steve Hunter got a call from Bette Midler and became the musical director for her film The Rose," Laing explained. "Andy Fraser really did go south – to continue with his solo project, and Lee Michaels went, well, wherever Lee Michaels wants to go.” Laing and Hunter then called in reinforcements from their former respective bandmates, Felix Pappalardi and Mick Ronson. Clapton and Betts added guitar to "On My Way to Georgia," Todd Rundgren played organ and sang backup on "The Best Thing" and "The Outsider," Leslie West played guitar on three songs and John Sebastian blew harmonica on "Silent Movie." But the tracks still remained in the vault.
ERIC CLAPTON - Blues (1999)
There's a telling subtext to this retrospective of Eric Clapton blues sides. Culled from recordings cut between 1970 (the Layla sessions) and 1980 (when Clapton cut his final Polydor album, Another Ticket), these sides finds EC exploring his beloved blues while in a fragile state of mind and body. After all, he was on heroin when he concocted Layla, and though he kicked that habit in the early '70s, he continued to test his tolerance for alcohol throughout the decade. When you think of the Clapton of the '60s, you think of the fire and ice of his playing with the Yardbirds, John Mayall, and Cream. When you think of his '70s playing, it's wearier and perhaps more reflective. (It was easy to mistake melancholic for mellow at the time.) The 35 selections included on these two discs find the temporarily deflated rock superstar leaning on the blues for support as he draws on likes of Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and Little Walter for inspiration. Hardcore fans will appreciate previously unreleased versions of Bo Diddley's "Before You Accuse Me," a solo take on the traditional "Alberta," a 1974 cover of Willie Dixon's "Meet Me (Down at the Bottom), and a remixed live 1976 version of "Further on Up the Road" with Freddy King sitting in. Just about anyone, however, will be able to appreciate how this music reflects Clapton's strengths as a musician... and weaknesses as a man.
His best blues performances from 1970-1980-25 tracks, five previously unreleased! Vol. 1 is studio recordings, with The Sky Is Crying ; the unreleased Before You Accuse Me (Versions 1 & 2) , and more. Vol. 2 is all live, with Crossroads ; an unissued version of Further On up the Road , and more.
CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL - Mardi Gras (1972) & Creedence Country (1981)
Pared down to a trio, Creedence Clearwater Revival had to find a new way of doing business, since already their sound had changed, so they split creative duties evenly. It wasn't just that each member wrote songs they produced them, too. Doug Clifford and Stu Cook claim John Fogerty needed time to creatively recharge, while Fogerty says he simply bowed to the duo's relentless pressure for equal time. Both arguments make sense, but either way, the end result was the same: Mardi Gras was a mess. Not a disaster, which it was dismissed as upon its release, since there are a couple of bright moments. Typically, Fogerty is reliable, with the solid rocker "Sweet Hitch-Hiker," the country ramble "Lookin' for a Reason," a good cover of Ricky Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou," and the pretty good ballad "Someday Never Comes." These don't match the brilliance of previous CCR records, but they sparkle next to Clifford and Cook's efforts. That implies that their contributions are terrible, which they're usually not they're just pedestrian. Only "Sail Away" is difficult to listen to, due to Cook's flat, overemphasized vocals, but he makes up for it with the solid rocker "Door to Door" and the Fogerty soundalike "Take It Like a Friend." Clifford fares a little better since his voice is warmer and he wisely channels it into amiable country-rock, yet these are pretty average songs by two guys beginning to find their own songwriting voice. If Clifford and Cook had started their own band (which they did after this album) it would be easier to be charitable, but when held up against Creedence's other work, Mardi Gras withers. It's an unpretty end to a great band.
It could be argued that Creedence Clearwater Revival were the greatest American rock & roll band, and one convincing argument would be that no other of their peers had such a commanding grasp on a variety of American music and could synthesize them in such a bracingly original fashion. It's that synthesis that makes a genre-specific compilation like Creedence Country so difficult to pull off it's hard to single out one strand from that mix, particularly since CCR didn't so much perform country as absorb its influence. In fact, only a handful of songs could be appropriately classified as "country" the slow-crawling opener "Lookin' for a Reason," the peerless lament "Lodi," the similarly heartbroken "Wrote a Song for Everyone," maybe the bouncy "Lookin' Out My Back Door," which can sound like the streets of Bakersfield, and perhaps their driving cover of Leadbelly's "Cotton Fields," which winds up as rock & roll. The rest of it is either flat-out rockabilly, whether it's a cover of "My Baby Left Me" or John Fogerty's "Don't Look Now," or flat-out rock & roll like "Cross-Tie Walker" and it's hard to believe that anybody could call the elongated, menacing jam of "Ramble Tamble" country. That said, it's a thoroughly enjoyable listen, since nearly all the music is excellent, but it doesn't really present any insight into the band it's just a good mixtape.
KATE WOLF & THE WILDWOOD FLOWER - Back Roads (1976) & An Evening In Austin (1989)
Kate Wolf (1942 - 1986) was an American folk singer and songwriter. Though her career was relatively short, she had a significant impact on the folk music scene, and many musicians continue to cover her songs. Her best-known compositions include "Here in California," "Love Still Remains," "Across the Great Divide," "Unfinished Life," and "Give Yourself to Love." Born in San Francisco, she started her music career in the band Wildwood Flower before recording ten records as a solo artist. Her songs have since been recorded by artists such as Nanci Griffith and Emmylou Harris (whose recording of "Love Still Remains" was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1999). An important mentor, friend and touring companion was Utah Phillips. She died in 1986, at age 44, after a long battle with leukemia. Her remains are buried at a small church cemetery in Goodyears Bar, California.
Wolf's debut album introduced an approach that would, in most essential respects, vary little over the next decade: gentle, slightly mournful country/folk songs with a strong narrative voice, and a semi-rural Californian ambience with the frequent evocation of golden, natural landscapes. Even at this stage, Wolf stood out from the pack with her restrained, tasteful vocals, sincere compositions that avoided maudlin clichés, and careful, almost diligent arrangements.
Recorded for PBS' Austin City Limits program in November 1985, Evening in Austin includes the entire concert (only 25 minutes were broadcast on television). Kate Wolf presents good interpretations of 14 songs spanning her career, sticking mostly to original material, although four covers are also present, including a Robin Williamson tune and the '60s folk-rock warhorse "Let's Get Together." It has a couple of songs that weren't released on any of her records, but it's mostly for serious fans, as is the accompanying video of the event (which is available separately).
SKYHOOKS - The Collection (1998)
Skyhooks were an Australian rock band formed in Melbourne in March 1973 by mainstays Greg Macainsh on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Imants "Freddie" Strauks on drums. They were soon joined by Bob "Bongo" Starkie on guitar and backing vocals, and Red Symons on guitar, vocals and keyboards; Graeme "Shirley" Strachan became lead vocalist in March 1974. Described as a glam rock band, because of flamboyant costumes and make-up, Skyhooks addressed teenage issues including buying drugs "Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo)", suburban sex "Balwyn Calling", the gay scene "Toorak Cowboy" and loss of girlfriends "Somewhere in Sydney" by namechecking Australian locales. According to music historian, Ian McFarlane "[Skyhooks] made an enormous impact on Australian social life". Skyhooks had #1 albums on the Australian Kent Music Report with their 1974 debut, Living in the 70's (for 16 weeks), and its 1975 follow-up, Ego Is Not a Dirty Word (11 weeks). Their #1 singles were "Horror Movie" (January 1975) and "Jukebox in Siberia" (November 1990).
Symons left Skyhooks in 1977 and became a radio and television personality. Strachan had solo releases since 1976 and finally left the band in 1978 and was also a radio and television presenter. With altered line-ups, Skyhooks continued until they disbanded on 8 June 1980; they briefly reformed in 1983, 1984, 1990 and 1994. In 1992, Skyhooks were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. Lead singer, Strachan died on 29 August 2001, aged 49, in a helicopter crash while solo piloting. Their original lead singer, Steve Hill, died in October 2005, aged 52, of liver cancer. In 2011, the Skyhooks album Living in the 70s was added to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia's Sounds of Australia registry.
GRINDERSWITCH - The First 4...
Grinderswitch was a southern rock band formed in Warner Robbins, Georgia. They recorded for Capricorn Records, but never rose to same success as their label mates, The Marshall Tucker Band or The Allman Brothers Band. Grinderswitch was formed in 1973, while original members Dru Lombar, Larry Howard, Joe Dan Petty and Rich Burnett lived together in farm, practicing and writing songs. Joe Dan Petty was working for The Allman Brother Band at the time and financially supported other members of Grinderswitch, before they got a record contract.
After Capricorn Records signed them, first album “Honest to Goodness”, came out in 1974. It started never ending touring for them, taking brakes only to record new albums. Grinderswitch performed side by side with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Wet Willie, The Charlie Daniels Band and other southern rock’s greatest stars. Macon Tracks album came out in 1975 and contained their best known song “Pickin’ the Blues“. Pullin’ Together was released in 1976 with critical acclaim and included live favourites Higher Ground and You’re So Fine.
In late 70’s when disco started to rose its ugly head, like with many other bands, Grinderswitch’s record sales suffered and they finally broke up in 1982 after releasing 5 albums between 1974 and 1982. There is also 1977 recorded unreleased album under the name “Chasing Wild Desires”, that hopefully sees release in the future. After Grinderswitch, Dru Lombar formed Dr. Hector and The Groove Injectors in 1986 and released five albums. Larry Howard has also recorded several albums under his own name. In 2004 Dru Lombar put Grinderswitch back together with new members Wally Condon on drums, Eddie Stone (from Doc Holliday fame) on keyboards , Jack Corcaran on guitar and Steve Miller on bass. They released new album “Ghost Train From Georgia” in 2005, but Dru Lombar’s death in September 2005 put Grinderswitch back to rest for good.
ACDC - Live [2 CD Special Collector's Edition] (1992)
AC/DC Live is the second live album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC, released on 27 October 1992. It was released both as a single album and as a double album on LP and CD known as AC/DC Live: 2 CD Collector's Edition. The album is supported by a video, AC/DC: Live at Donington. The double album AC/DC Live: 2 CD Collector's Edition was released a month after the single-disc version, in a slipcased two-disc "book" (similar in shape to old CD longboxes) and containing an AC/DC dollar note. Both editions of the album were re-released in 2003 as part of the AC/DC Remasters series. The recordings on this live album are taken from several shows from AC/DC's 1991 The Razors Edge tour: Glasgow, Edmonton, Dublin, Birmingham and the Donington and Moscow "Monsters of Rock" shows. Barry Weber of AllMusic writes: "All too often, a live album is a cheaply made, rushed recording that only serves as a testament to a band's decline. AC/DC Live, however, shows what makes this band different from their peers - here they are still entirely capable of pulling off a great live show. This ranks among the best live metal albums of the '90s." The single disc would later become the tracklist for the Harmonix game "AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack".
V.A. - 94 Baker Street: The Pop-Psych Sounds Of The Apple Era 1967-1969 (2003)
A slight cautionary note here: although all of the artists on this compilation had affiliations with the Beatles' Apple company in the late '60s, just one (the Iveys, who later became Badfinger) actually recorded for Apple Records. The others -- Focal Point, Grapefruit, Paintbox, Ways and Means, and John Fitch -- released songs administered by Apple's publishing company, without actually releasing material on the Apple label. That clarification noted, this is a decent anthology of obscure late-'60s British rock (ten of the 18 tracks previously unreleased) that's pretty far toward the "pop" side of "pop-psychedelia," as well as bearing a tangential connection to one of the most interesting pop enterprises of the time, Apple. By far the most famous of the performers were the Iveys, and Badfinger fans will be excited by the appearance of five previously unissued Iveys demos here, only one of which ("Maybe Tomorrow") would be re-recorded for official release. Though these aren't as hook-ridden as the best of Badfinger, the promise is there, with a couple of songs boasting a late-'60s mod rock Who-ish sound that wouldn't be typical of Badfinger's eventual style. Serious Beatles fans will probably also be familiar with Grapefruit, the band built around songwriter George Alexander (older brother of the Easybeats' George Young). This CD has their minor British hit single "Dear Delilah," the B-side "Ain't It Good," and alternate non-orchestrated versions of two songs from their first LP ("Lullaby" and "Another Game"); perhaps unsurprisingly, they sound like a combination of the Easybeats and the Beatles' more fey-sounding pop-psych excursions. Also in the Easybeats mold are a couple George Alexander songs given to other artists, Paintbox's "Getting Ready for Love" (on which Easybeats George Young and Harry Vanda actually play) and Ways and Means' "Breaking Up a Dream." Rounding out the collection are a single and three previously unreleased tracks by Focal Point, who do perhaps the most precious and fairy tale-like pop-psychedelia here, and the less enjoyable heavy soul-rock of John Fitch & Associates. It's an interesting little-known chapter in Apple/Beatles lore, then, but the presentation could have been better. The liner notes are excellent, but a couple of the Focal Point songs play in an order different than the track listing, and the three numbers by the Misunderstood (all available elsewhere) that appear in the track listing somehow weren't included on the actual CD at all.
PROCOL HARUM - Grand Hotel (1973) [Expanded Edition, 2018] @320 + DVDRip [avi]
Released in March 1973 the album was the first to feature a line-up of Gary Brooker (piano, vocals), Alan Cartwright (bass), Chris Copping (organ), Mick Grabham (guitars) and B.J. Wilson (drums) and was remarkable for its musical diversity and was hailed as “A masterpiece of musical perfection and lyricism” by the NME weekly music paper. From the sumptuously orchestrated title track, to compositions such as ‘For Liquorice John’, ‘Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)’, ‘Bringing Home The Bacon’, ‘Toujours L’Amour’ and ‘Robert’s Box’ – “Grand Hotel” defied classification but remains one of Procol Harum’s best loved and most admired works.
This expanded two disc edition includes five bonus tracks, (three previously unreleased), taken from the early recording sessions, along with a DVD (NTSC / Region Free) featuring a previously unreleased performance filmed for RTBF television in Belgium from November 1973. The release also features a replica of the book included with the original LP of “Grand Hotel” and a further lavishly illustrated booklet featuring material from Gary Brooker’s personal archive and an essay by Procol Harum authority Roland Clare featuring comments from Gary Brooker.
PHANTOM - Phantom's Divine Comedy , Part 1 (1974)
This is an interesting album that has been the subject of much debate over the years. It's hard to separate the fact from the fiction, but the story appears to go as follows. Three years after the death of the Door's Jim Morrison this album appeared on Capitol Records - apparently after the Door's label Elektra had tried to suppress it's release. The vocalist who called himself Arthur Pendragon at this time - obviously a pseudonym, bore an uncanny vocal resemblance to a certain Jim Morrison. A Jim Morrison that a large number of grieving fans had convinced themselves was still alive and well and living in Paris having chosen to abandon the life of a rock star to work on his poetry and deal with his addiction issues. Several song titles seem to purposefully evoke earlier Door's works ( Calm Before The Storm, Stand Beside My Fire ). With the benefit of hindsight it seems hopelessly naive to think that people could assume this album would be the work of Jim Morrison but at the time social networking and the like were not even a twinkle in a programmer's eye so fans only had hazy news reports of Morrison's death to go on. The romance of the conspiracy theory was always going to win a few people over here. As it turns out Capitol signed them due to the fact that they sounded so much like the Doors, and let word of mouth do the rest. Arthur Pendragon turned out to be one Tom Carson ( not Iggy Pop as some decided once they'd worked out it wasn't Jim ), and the album turned out to have more in common with Black Sabbath than the Doors. Based mainly on Arthurian legend ( King Arthur's family name was Pendragon ) the lyrics are enjoyably preposterous occult mysticism ( Spiders will Dance on my Face indeed ) - and more Ronnie James Dio than Jim Morrison.
Line up: Phantom [aka Tom Carson] (vocals, guitar, piano), W [aka Gary Meisner] (bass), X [aka John Bdanjeck] (drums, percussion), Y [aka Dennis Craner] (bass), Z [aka Mike DeMartino] (piano, organ).
SCORPIONS - Gentle Power [Best Of The Ballads] (2018)
Known best for their 1984 anthem "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and the 1990 ballad "Wind of Change," German rockers Scorpions have sold over 22 million records, making them one of the most successful rock bands to ever come out of Continental Europe. Formed in 1969 by Rudolf Schenker, the original lineup consisted of rhythm guitarist/vocalist Schenker, lead guitarist Karl-Heinz Follmer, bassist Lothar Heimberg, and drummer Wolfgang Dziony. In 1971, Schenker's younger brother Michael joined the band to play lead guitar and good friend Klaus Meine became the vocalist.
Olaf Thulemann Productions, (Plätlin Mastering, KronStudoiLab), Hamburg, Germany. Unofficial remaster.
BILLY SQUIER - Reach For The Sky - The Anthology (1996)
Having gained valuable experience as guitarist in the power-pop group Sidewinders, Squier, who had also appeared in the less celebrated Magic Terry And The Universe, formed his own band under the name of Piper and recorded two albums for A&M Records during the late 70s. He dissolved Piper in 1979 and signed a solo contract with Capitol Records. Tale Of The Tape was released the following year and helped to establish Squier’s reputation as a sophisticated and talented songwriter and guitarist. Drawing inspiration from Led Zeppelin, Queen, Fleetwood Mac and Genesis among others, he has continued to release quality albums of hard rock/pop crossover material. In the UK Squier has largely been ignored, even though he toured with Whitesnake in 1981 and played the Reading Festival. The story in the USA is entirely different. There he has enjoyed major successes with Don’t Say No and Emotions In Motion, both of which made number 5 in the Billboard album chart. The former also produced hit singles in ‘The Stroke’ and ‘My Kinda Lover’. By the time he released his eighth studio album, Tell The Truth, in 1993, Squier could reflect on worldwide sales of over 11 million records. He had a lower profile by the end of the decade, allowing him to indulge himself with Happy Blue, an album which celebrated his long-standing love for the blues.
This double-disc collection is about as complete as can be expected, drawing the best material from Billy Squier's long (and it must be said, uneven) solo career, as well as a few nets from his late-'70s days fronting the rather boring band Piper. Except for these early blunders, disc one is quite impressive, featuring such hard rock radio staples as "The Big Beat," "The Stroke," "My Kinda Lover," and "Everybody Wants You." Disc two is a more challenging affair, with Squier obviously attempting to cater to changing musical tastes and trends. The results are dubious at best, and while "Stronger," "G.O.D." and "When It's Over" show some lasting power, much of the pop-inflected material has aged poorly.
MUNGO JERRY - The Albums 1976-81 (2018)
This 80 track 5 CD clam shell box set concentrates on the years 1976-1981 in the long lasting and highly successful career of Mungo Jerry. Disc one features the “Impala Saga” album from 1976, now with six bonus cuts. Features the singles ‘Hello Nadine’ and ‘Don’t Let Go’ plus two rare demos. The second disc is 1977’s “Lovin’ In The Alleys Fightin’ In The Streets” LP, making its debut on CD. Now with five bonus cuts and featuring the singles ‘Sur Le Pont D’Avignon’, ‘All That A Woman Should Be’ and ‘Heavy Foot Stomp’. The self-titled “Ray Dorset & Mungo Jerry” from 1978 can be found on Disc 3, again making its debut on CD. Two previously unreleased demos have been added to an album that features the singles ‘Hello It’s You Again’, ‘We’re O.K.’ and ‘Sugar Mama’. Disc 4 is the “Six A Side” compilation from 1980 which at the time collected a whole batch of non LP singles and B-sides and put them on an album! Seven bonus tracks have been added including rare solo 45’s by vocalist Ray Dorset. The final disc is 1981’s mainland Europe only “Together Again” album. This featured the singles ‘Stay With Me’ and ‘Rockin’ On The Road’ and has now been joined by six rare bonus cuts. The detailed booklet contains line notes by noted Rock historian Alan Clayson and is illustrated with numerous picture sleeves from across Europe of all the singles and albums from the time.
MUNGO JERRY - The Dawn Album Collection 1970-74 (2017)
Mungo Jerry is known primarily in the U.S., unfortunately, as a one-hit wonder for their No. 3 Billboard hit “In the Summertime,” an international smash. Overseas, however, they deservedly added many other Top 40 hits. The proof is right here, as The Dawn Albums Collection highlights songs from Mungo Jerry’s first five UK releases.
All five albums in this box set have been newly remastered, and each disc is generously loaded with bonus tracks of non-album singles, b-sides, single mix versions, and foreign-only singles. The picture disc each come in album-replica cardboard sleeves with no spines, and are all housed together in a laminated clamshell box along with a full color booklet of liner notes provided by Alan Clayson detailing some of those beginning years of 1970-1974. Note to collectors: There’s a plethora of seven-inch single sleeves pictured throughout the color booklet.
The “In the Summertime” line-up of Ray Dorset, Paul King, Colin Earl and Mike Cole was short lived. Cole, their original bassist, was replaced in 1970 by John Godfrey for Mungo Jerry’s second album, before the band acrimoniously split up into two factions in 1972. Dorset and Godfrey ended up on one side, with King and Earl on the other. Still, there’s a pure joy on their first three albums – Mungo Jerry, Electronically Tested and You Don’t Have to Be in the Army – as this group happily mashes up jug band, blues, early rock ‘n’ roll and folk styles.
The Dawn Albums Collection ends up showcasing so many great original and cover songs, including “Maggie,” “Johnny B. Badd,” “San Francisco Bay Blues,” “See Me,” “Mighty Man,” “Somebody Stole My Wife,” “Ella Speed,” “That Old Dust Storm,” “Have a Whiff on Me” and the raucous stomper “Baby Jump.” It’s hard to pick a favorite! Mungo Jerry’s update of “I Just Wanna Make Love to You” transforms the Muddy Waters/Willie Dixon original into a stomp n’ shout, call-and-response number that was built for live concerts. By the way, singer/guitarist Ray Dorset can first lay claim to using the phase “alright, alright, alright” – not only in concerts from 1970 onwards, but also as the title a catchy 1974 hit single included on Mungo Jerry’s fifth album.
Mr.BIG - Live From Milan (2018)
Following the release of their 2017 album, “Defying Gravity”, MR. BIG set out on a trek that took them all over the world to promote the new release in a live setting. Anyone who has ever had the distinct pleasure of seeing the band live knows that the virtuoso musicianship and incredible vocals are on full display in this setting. By this time, drummer Pat Torpey’s battle with Parkinson’s Disease had been made public, but Pat toured with the band regardless and sat behind the drum kit for select songs, while also providing background vocals, tambourine, etc. on other tracks when Matt Starr was taking his turn on the kit. Captured at a stop in Milan, IT, “LIVE FROM MILAN” has a tracklisting that will surely satisfy long-time and newer fans of the band, and of course contains bass and guitar solos from the always entertaining and awe inspiring Billy Sheehan and Paul Gilbert, respectively. Sadly, this would be one of Pat Torpey’s last performances with the band as he passed away from complications due to Parkinson’s in early 2018. The set captures a special moment in time for the band and also serves as a “greatest hits” of sorts as they hit on all their classic songs from the early albums as well as revered material from newer releases.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - Springsteen on Broadway (2018)
Never in rock & roll history has there been a production like Springsteen on Broadway. Following a busy 2016 which opened with him touring a revival of The River with the E-Street Band and concluded with the publication of his autobiography Born to Run, Springsteen decided to stay in one place for 2017 – New York City, to be specific, where he began a residency at the Walter Kerr Theatre in October 2017, performing a show based on his memoir. Springsteen on Broadway turned out to be a runaway success, staying on Broadway through December 15, 2018 and commemorated with a Netflix special supported by this double-disc document of the show.
All of the strengths of the production are apparent on the album: the clever construction of the show, where his story is closely tied to his songs, the good humor and earned sentimentality, the illusion of intimacy. What's striking about Springsteen on Broadway as an album, as compared to either its stage or screen version, is that it's possible to hear the pure theatricality of Springsteen's performance, both in his oversized spoken introductions and singing. It becomes very clear that Springsteen is playing the part of Springsteen, exaggerating certain aspects of his life and persona for dramatic effect. This has a ripple effect through the songs – many of which are quite familiar, with a couple of latter-day numbers thrown in for good measure – which, in this context, feel written instead of live. Perhaps that punctures the Boss' myth of authenticity for some listeners, but the net effect is a revelation of just how thoroughly and carefully Springsteen turns his life into art: first into song, then into verse, then finally onto stage.
PIPER - Piper (1977) & Can't Wait (1977)
Best known as the major label launching pad for early ’80s arena rock hitmaker Billy Squier, Boston-based Piper was a tuneful quintet whose two albums compiled here on one CD, balanced power-pop smarts and hard-rocking swagger, sometimes with quite memorable results. 1977’s self-titled effort was praised heavily by Circus Magazine upon its original release, where it was called the greatest debut album ever produced by an American rock band. While it certainly does not live up to that extreme level of hype, it’s still a solid record, with most everything written and sung solely by Squier. The highlights are two of the poppier numbers, the power-pop classic “Who’s Your Boyfriend? (I Got a Feelin’)” and the crunchy “Telephone Relation.” “Who’s Your Boyfriend” is slightly reminiscent of CCR’s “Hey Tonight” in spots and was an undeservedly unsuccessful single, while “Telephone Relation” boasts one of those insidiously catchy lead guitar riffs that’s impossible to shake.
Even though they were helmed by KISS’s management team, perhaps one reason why Piper never hit it big was due to the fact that it was difficult to discern if they wanted to grow up to be a power-pop act, a bluesy rock outfit (its version of the Stones’ “The Last Time” is decent, though no great shakes) or a standard-issue hard rock combo (flashy Eddie Van Halen-esque lead guitarisms abound on tracks such as “Sail Away” and “Can’t Live With Ya/Can’t Live Without Ya”). They mine the last two fields decently on Piper, but a bit more focus might have been helpful in the long term. 1977’s Can’t Wait found Squier and Co. delivering another timeless power-poppin’ jewel with the glorious title cut (also released as a single back in the day), while the simple-yet-effective ditty “Drop By and Stay” sounds like it could have worked as a single as well.
THE ROLLING STONES - Beggars Banquet (1968) [50th Anniversary Edition, 2018]
The Stones forsook psychedelic experimentation to return to their blues roots on this celebrated album, which was immediately acclaimed as one of their landmark achievements. A strong acoustic Delta blues flavor colors much of the material, particularly "Salt of the Earth" and "No Expectations," which features some beautiful slide guitar work. Basic rock & roll was not forgotten, however: "Street Fighting Man," a reflection of the political turbulence of 1968, was one of their most innovative singles, and "Sympathy for the Devil," with its fire-dancing guitar licks, leering Jagger vocals, African rhythms, and explicitly satanic lyrics, was an image-defining epic. On "Stray Cat Blues," Jagger and crew began to explore the kind of decadent sexual sleaze that they would take to the point of self-parody by the mid-'70s. At the time, though, the approach was still fresh, and the lyrical bite of most of the material ensured Beggars Banquet's place as one of the top blues-based rock records of all time.
The Rolling Stones went back to basics as their creator faded away. Their seventh album, Beggars Banquet, released on Dec. 6 1968, marked the beginning of the end for their founding guitarist, Brian Jones.
BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY - Sex, Dope & Cheap Thrills (2018)
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Big Brother & The Holding Company's iconic second studio album and major label debut Cheap Thrills, which featured and introduced the world to one of the most recognizable female vocalists in rock history, Janis Joplin. To commemorate this anniversary, Legacy releases Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills named after the originally intended title for the 1968 album which was rejected by the label for being too controversial for the time. Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills features rare performances from the original album sessions, 13 of which are previously unreleased, including unheard versions of favorites such as "Summertime", "I Need a Man to Love" and the smash hit "Piece of My Heart". Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills also features liner notes penned especially for this commemorative release by Jefferson Airplane front-woman Grace Slick and Big Brother & The Holding Company drummer David Getz.
ROY ORBISON - A Black and White Night Live (1989)
The best-recorded Roy Orbison live disc ever issued, taken from the soundtrack of the HBO concert from the 1980s with VIP guests like Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello. This was a sort of magical video, and the performances are splendid, along with the good feelings involved. On the other hand, the performances are extremely reverential to the established studio versions of the songs (all of the hits are here), and intended to mimic them, so this isn't quite the same as a live album as it would have been done back when. The pity is that neither Monument nor MGM ever taped any complete concerts by Orbison from the 1960s, and all that remains are TV appearances from Europe.
V.A. - The Many Faces Of Jimi Hendrix (2017)
2017 triple CD collection celebrating the music of guitar legend Jimi Hendrix. We start Disc One with Hendrix playing with Curtis Knight, a little-known Harlem artist, who had his own band, The Squires, in which Jimi played for a while. Next, we find Jimi playing with rock and roll pioneer Little Richard on the track 'I Do Not Know What You've Got But It's Got Me'. Then, we meet Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, bass player and drummer of Experience, the trio with whom Hendrix became a superstar, guided by the hand of producer and manager Chas Chandler. We can hear Mitch Mitchell playing with Bruce Cameron, a fantastic guitarist with a style very reminiscent of Hendrix. We also include in The Many Faces the band Cork, that Noel Redding created along Corky Laing (from Mountain) and with guitarist Eric Schenkman from the Spin Doctors. Before joining Band Of Gypsys as it's drummer (the brief group that Jimi set up after the dissolution of Experience) Buddy Miles had a solid career as member of Electric Flag. As a fun trivia fact we decided to include two songs performed by Betty Davis, who used to be a very close friend of Jimi (many say she was his lover). The second CD of The Many Faces consists of recording sessions prior to Jimi's rise to stardom, some alongside saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood, others with the very same Experience (a brilliant version of the song 'Red House') and also with Little Richard's band. Finally, on CD 3 we immerse ourselves in Jimi's repertoire, his fantastic songs, songs that sometimes have ended up being eclipsed by the fact that he was a guitar God. These recordings are performed by artists who in many cases have Hendrix's music as a starting point for their own career. Needless to say the versions are amazing. Now, let's just get comfortable and enjoy The Many Faces Of Jimi Hendrix.
JANUS - Gravedigger (1972) [1992, with bonus tracks] + [2CD Edition, Remaster & Remix, 2013]
There are many one album wonders that emerged from the heady days of the summer of love social phenomenom of the late sixties. Some bands even lost concept of time and prolonged it well into the '70s and to quote a line from This Is Spinal Tap ended up in " the where are they now? file". Janus was one such band and their 1972 album entitled Gravedigger was one of those wonder albums. Though it may not be up there with the Beatle's Butcher Album it has been known to fetch ridiculous prices (as much as $350) at record conventions and internet record trading sites. The early misadventures of Janus even rival the ficticious rock 'n' roll catastrophes of Spinal Tap. So, where are they now? One might ask. 7 albums have come to pass between 1990 and 2006. In 2012 mastermind and guardian of the Janus flame, Colin Orr, regrouped the band once more for another album that revisits the glorious '70s. 40 years after it's creation Janus came full circle, living up to it's namesake Janus, the Roman God who looks forwards and backwards.
Legendary band that produced a solitary inventive 1972 album that has achieved cult status as a Krautrock classic becoming a coveted collector's item. In the 1990s & 2000s the band returned with a new formula creating music that featured unusual stylistic fusions.
RORY GALLAGHER - Defender (1987) [Remastered, 2018] & Fresh Evidence (1990) [Remastered, 2018]
Released five years after his last effort (an eternity for the prolific Irish blues guitar slinger who had been churning out at least an album a year throughout the '70s), Defender is another quality blues-rock offering. Although Gallagher is in fine tough form here and it was his debut release for his own indie label, there is little difference between this and some of his less stellar '70s albums like Top Priority and Photo-Finish. The pounding, guitar-heavy opener "Kickback City" sounds more like hairy rockers Bad Company than anything approaching the deep Chicago and country blues Gallagher dearly loved. The quality picks up substantially as the volume subsides on "Loanshark Blues," but by-the-books crunch-rockers like "Failsafe Day" and the unfortunately titled "Road to Hell" don't bode well for Gallagher moving out from an increasingly formulaic pigeonhole. There are a few corkers here like "Continental Op," a blazing riff that stands with Gallagher's best work and revisits his familiar cloak-and-dagger theme. The swampy, less abrasive "I Ain't No Saint" also pushes the quality up a few notches, as does his gritty version of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don't Start Me to Talking," the bluesiest song on the disc and one of the few times he pulls out his greasy slide. "Seven Days" is the lone acoustic track and it's a good one, with piano and harp accompaniment and Gallagher singing like he means it as he takes the part of a criminal fleeing from the electric chair.
Fresh Evidence is Rory Gallagher's eleventh and last studio album, his fourteenth album overall. The album was unusual in that Gallagher used more additional musicians and spent more time recording than he normally did. Not as unusual, the songs show his love for blues artists such as Robert Johnson and Son House and for other genres such as Zydeco as well. The album explores themes of ill health, mortality, and fighting back against overwhelming odds. It shows the toll that Gallagher's health problems were starting to take on him.
Wild Life (1971) & Red Rose Speedway (1973) [Special 2 CD Ediitions, 2018]
Wild Life is the debut album by Wings and the third studio album by Paul McCartney following the breakup of the Beatles. The album was recorded during July–August 1971 at Abbey Road Studios by McCartney and his wife Linda along with session drummer Denny Seiwell, whom they had worked with on the previous album, Ram, and Denny Laine, formerly of the Moody Blues. It was released by Apple Records on 7 December, in both the UK and US, to lukewarm critical and commercial reaction. Special 2 CD Edition - the original 10-track album on the first disc, includes previously unreleased demos and non-album singles on a second disc.
Red Rose Speedway is the second studio album by Paul McCartney and Wings. The album was released in 1973 after the relatively weak commercial performance of Wings’ previous album, Wild Life. Red Rose Speedway reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States and "My Love" was a No. 1 single in the US and the most popular track from the album. Special 2 CD Edition - the original 9-track album on the first disc, includes previously unreleased demos and non-album singles on a second disc.
VAN MORRISON - The Prophet Speaks (2018)
The Prophet Speaks is Van Morrison’s 40th studio album and proves he remains in fine form. This fourteen-track album follows a recent run of hugely acclaimed albums (Roll With The Punches, Versatile and You’re Driving Me Crazy), each of which has delved deep into the musical styles that have continued to inspire Van throughout his life – vocal jazz and R&B. Here, Van takes on a series of unarguable classics by the likes of John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke and Solomon Burke (among others) and makes them unmistakably his own. Alongside these reinterpretations, The Prophet Speaks features six phenomenal new Van Morrison compositions.
The Prophet Speaks becomes a matter of his own personal preference. The rural backwoods Morrison of Tupelo Honey, Morrison, the celestial traveler of Astral Weeks and Morrison, the Celtic crooner that shared his ancient hymns throughout the ‘80s have clearly succumbed to his new persona as a timeless troubadour of a distinctly vintage variety. The prophet is speaking loud and clear and letting us know, he’s happy with the place where he’s arrived.
PAVLOV'S DOG - Prodigal Dreamer (2018)
8 years after the last Pavlov's Dog studio album the "prodigal dreamer" David Surkamp once again shares his poetic songs and musical tales with us. For a band that releases about one album per decade a new album is truly an extraordinary event. "Prodigal Dreamer" for David makes a special dream come true. The album contains a collection of songs that came together over the years, each one specifically picked and relating to a personal story. New compositions of the past eight years combine with just lately accomplished pearls of the past decades to a harmonious whole. Finally, the artwork closes the circle to Pampered Menial, the album that started it some 40 years ago. "Prodigal Dreamer" was recorded by method of room-miking. In this process the band performs together in one room, without clicktrack or similar appliances. The performance hereby is captured "for real". This recording method is an art for itself that today only few sound engineers are in control of. Paul Hennerich is an expert in this field, handling e.g. broadcasts and recordings of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra or monitoring renowned jazz projects. This procedure mostly passes on any post-processings. In this way an unequalled authenticity, warmth, dynamic and "in real character" is achieved, that interpret the sensitive songs on "Prodigal Dreamer" also soundwise in an appropriate way... and give the listener the feeling of being right in the middle.
JOHNNY CASH - Love, God, Murder (2000)
Each of the three CDs in this box set are comprised of 16 songs devoted to a single theme: love, God, and murder, of course. And each of the three CDs is available separately should you not have a yen for one or two of the discs. Certainly there is a lot of notable music on this box, as it was personally chosen by Cash himself from recordings spanning the mid-'50s to the mid-'90s, mostly heavily weighting the 1955-70 period. There are a few well-known classics here that virtually anyone considering buying this will already know (and probably have), like "I Walk the Line," "I Still Miss Someone," "Ring of Fire," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "The Long Black Veil." The emphasis, however, is on LP tracks, B-sides, and live recordings that probably won't be familiar to the moderate Cash fan; there are also three mid-'60s tracks previously unreleased in the U.S., though none of them are particularly outstanding. Some of those obscure songs are excellent ("Oh, What a Dream," the brutal hangman humor of "Joe Bean," "Mister Garfield") and almost all of them are worth hearing. And each of the CDs is decorated by liner notes from Cash and a celebrity (his wife June Carter for Love, Bono of U2 for God, and director Quentin Tarantino for Murder). The question still nags: who exactly will find this box wholly satisfying? Not the average Cash fan, who wants a smaller greatest-hits set with more familiar tunes. Not the rabid Cash fan, who probably already has much of this, and might want more well-balanced and thorough boxes, such as those issued on Bear Family of Cash's early material. It's for the in-betweeners, who certainly find the more conventional box retrospective The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 the essential first stop.
EAGLES - Legacy (2018)
The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971. The founding members were Glenn Frey (guitars, vocals), Don Henley (drums, vocals), Bernie Leadon (guitars, vocals) and Randy Meisner (bass guitar, vocals). With five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and six number-one albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California, were ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the United States according to the Recording Industry Association of America. By 2006, both albums were among the top three best-selling albums in the United States. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" and the band was ranked number 75 on the magazine's 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
Legacy includes all seven of the band’s studio albums, three live albums, and a compilation of singles and b-sides. It also includes two concert videos:Hell Freezes Over (DVD) and Farewell Tour: Live From Melbourne (Blu-ray). Legacy follows the Eagles through the different stage of the band’s storied career, from the country-rock of early albums like Desperado and the superstar success of Hotel California, to the band’s 1994 reunion Hell Freezes Over and its most-recent studio album, 2005’s Long Road Out of Eden. All of the band’s hits, deep cuts and fan favorites are here, including “Take It Easy,” “Already Gone,” “Hotel California,” “Please Come Home For Christmas,” “Heartbreak Tonight” “No More Cloudy Days,” and “Get Over It.”
V.A. - Confessin' The Blues (2018)
The Rolling Stones have always been the biggest champions of the blues, even taking their name from the Muddy Waters’ track ‘Rollin’ Stone’ – so who better to have hand-picked a special compilation album of the music that has inspired them throughout their career. Confessin’ The Blues collects together the greatest ever bluesmen, such as Chuck Berry, B.B King, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and Muddy Waters and provides a perfect education to the genre. The tracklisting on the various formats has been chosen by The Rolling Stones, in collaboration with BMG & Universal and will be released on November 9th 2018. Our very own Ronnie Wood hand painted the cover art, which depicts the raw passion and emotion the blues artists channeled into their music.
GAMMA - Discography 1979 - 2000
Gamma was a band formed by guitarist Ronnie Montrose and singer Davey Pattison in San Francisco in 1979. They released four albums: Gamma 1 (1979), Gamma 2 (1980), Gamma 3 (1982) (all on Elektra Records) and Gamma 4 (2000). Some of their best known songs are probably "Fight to the Finish" from their first album, and "Meanstreak" and "Voyager" from the second album. Ronnie Montrose put the band together after having released a solo album Open Fire in 1978, after having disbanded the hard rock band Montrose in 1977. Gamma were a far more AOR-oriented band than Montrose, and used a lot of the latest keyboard technology in their sound. Their debut album Gamma 1 was released in 1979 and reached No. 131 on the Billboard 200, totalling 17 weeks on the chart. Gamma scored a hit single with "I'm Alive" which got to No. 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The original lineup of Ronnie Montrose (guitars), Davey Pattison (vocals), Alan Fitzgerald (bass), Jim Alcivar (keyboards) and Skip Gillette (drums) recorded this album. Guitarist Montrose, bassist Fitzgerald and keyboardist Alcivar had all been members of the band Montrose. Gamma 2 was issued in 1980. Alan Fitzgerald (who later joined Night Ranger as their keyboardist) was replaced by bassist Glenn Letsch, and Denny Carmassi (another ex-Montrose member) came in on drums. The album had a cover design by Mick Haggerty, featuring two sharks with only their fins visible burrowing through a lawn that was being sprinkled. The album peaked at No. 65, and featured a heavier sound. (e.g. "Mean Streak" and "Cat on a Leash"). There was also a cover version of Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air". It was produced by Gary Lyons and Ronnie Montrose.
Keyboardist Jim Alcivar was replaced by Mitchell Froom and Gamma 3 was released in 1982. The album reached No. 72 and produced the single "Right the First Time" which reached No. 77 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 10 on Billboard 's Album Rock Tracks chart. In Canada, "Right the First Time" peaked at No. 27, making the song the band's only top 40 hit on their national pop chart. The album's opening track, "What's Gone Is Gone", and tracks like "No Way Out", were arena rockers, while others like "Condition Yellow" and "Moving Violation", continued the odd writing style and sounds that the band started with on their debut album. However, Gamma's label Elektra Records never really promoted the band, and with only moderate sales, they disbanded.
BOB DAISLEY AND FRIENDS - Moore Blues For Gary (A Tribute To Gary Moore) 
The sky was crying when Gary Moore passed away on 6th February 2011. From Thin Lizzy to Colosseum II, together with his solo hits ‘Parisienne Walkways’ and ‘Out In The Fields’, Gary influenced a whole generation of guitar players and guitar playing. The bass player/producer Bob Daisley had played with Gary since the 1980's, and is known for sesting to Gary that he should make a blues album - the rest is history, ‘Still Got The Blues’ was an immense hit, followed by a series of classic modern blues albums. Bob, also known for his contributions to Rainbow and Ozzy Osbourne, was the driving force behind “Moore Blues For Gary”.
“In my opinion, Gary was one of the best guitarists who ever lived”, says Bob Daisley. “It was an honour for me to have worked with him and to have known him so well. When Gary passed away in 2011 the world lost one of the all-time greats. I don’t think that enough was said or done at the time to acknowledge the loss of such a great player so I took it upon myself to pay personal tribute to the man and record some new versions of his music, mostly from his blues catalogue. I asked many members of the Gary Moore family tree, and some other great players, to contribute to the project. The response was not only encouraging, but very moving. It seems that the name Gary Moore is also synonymous with the words ‘respect’, ‘honour’ and ‘greatness’. I didn’t set out to recreate anything that Gary had done, or to compete in any way, these arrangements and performances represent a ‘hats off’ to Gary and nothing more. Long live the memory of Robert William Gary Moore. Yes, he was another ‘Bob’ - something that I wasn’t aware of for all of those years that I worked with him. I feel such gratitude towards the people who contributed to this album and I’m honoured to have worked with them all.” - Bob Daisley
TRACKS: 01. That's Why I Play The Blues 02. The Blues Just Got Sadder (Feat. Joe Lynn Turner & Steve Lukather) 03. Empty Rooms (Feat. Neil Carter) 04. Still Got The Blues (Feat. Danny Bowes, John Sykes & Don Airey) 05. Texas Strut (Feat. Brush Shiels) 06. Nothing's The Same (Feat. Glenn Hughes) 07. The Loner (Feat. Doug Aldrich, Eric Singer & Don Airey) 08. Torn Inside (Feat. Stan Webb & Darrin Mooney) 09. Don't Believe A Word (Feat. Damon Johnson) 10. Story Of The Blues 11. This One's For You (Feat. Gus Moore & Jack Moore) 12. Power Of The Blues (Feat. Joe Lynn Turner, Jeff Watson & Darrin Mooney) 13. Parisienne Walkways (Feat. Steve Morse & Ricky Warwick)
THE BAND - Music From Big Pink (1968) [50th Anniversary, 2018]
Music from Big Pink is the debut studio album by the Band. Released in 1968, it employs a distinctive blend of country, rock, folk, classical, R&B, and soul. The music was composed partly in "Big Pink", a house shared by Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson in West Saugerties, New York. The album itself was recorded in studios in New York and Los Angeles in 1968, and followed the band's backing of Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour (as the Hawks) and time spent together in upstate New York recording material that was officially released in 1975 as The Basement Tapes, also with Dylan. The cover artwork is a painting by Dylan.
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of The Band's landmark debut album, Music From Big Pink is released on a single CD featuring a new stereo mix of the album, produced by Bob Clearmountain from the original four-track analog master. This new mix achieves a striking clarity and incorporates some previously unreleased chatter from the studio sessions. The 50th Anniversary Edition CD also includes five outtakes and alternate recordings from the 'Big Pink' sessions and a previously unreleased a cappella version of "I Shall Be Released."
NEIL YOUNG - Songs For Judy (2018)
Songs For Judyis athoroughly engaging collection of live acoustic performances culled from Neil's November 1976 solo tour and features twenty-two songs recorded at various cities along the tour. This song cycle of live recordings is particularly powerful and unique. Young had spent much of the year traveling around the world on tour with Crazy Horse. When touring on his own, he recharged and focused on songs that would not surface in recorded form for several years. Of the albums many treasures, "No One Seems To Know" would not see the light of day until now and it remains unreleased in any other iteration. The raw versions of the tracks found onSongs For Judyreflect an artist completely unvarnished and unafraid to allow the songs to breath and to find their own shape when performed in a solo setting. Songs written in that era would come into focus and then seemingly disappear only to re-enter Young's orbit somewhere down the road. "White Line" and "Give Me Strength" are such examples of finding the light in 1990 and 2017 respectively. It's also fascinating to hear Young revisit early gems such as Springfield's "Mr. Soul" ('67), "Here We Are In The Years" ('68), and "The Losing End" ('69) from some of his earliest solo recordings which remain as timeless as ever.
RICHARD HARRIS - A Tramp Shining (1968)
Richard St. John Harris (1930 – 2002) was an Irish actor and singer. He appeared on stage and in many films, appearing as Frank Machin in This Sporting Life, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, King Arthur in the 1967 film Camelot and the subsequent 1981 revival of the show. He played an aristocrat captured by Native Americans in A Man Called Horse (1970), a gunfighter in Clint Eastwood's Western film Unforgiven (1992), Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator (2000), and Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), the latter of which was his final film role. Harris had a number-one hit in Australia and Canada and a top ten hit in the United Kingdom, Ireland and United States with his 1968 recording of Jimmy Webb's song "MacArthur Park".
A Tramp Shining is the debut album of Richard Harris, released in 1968 by Dunhill Records. The album was written, arranged, and produced by singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb. Although Harris sang several numbers on the soundtrack album to the film musical Camelot the previous year, A Tramp Shining was Harris' first solo album. "MacArthur Park" was one of the biggest singles of that year, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. The album as a whole was also highly successful, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for "Album of the Year" in 1969.
In his review in Allmusic, Bruce Eder gave the album four out of five stars, calling A Tramp Shining a "great record, even 35 years later, encompassing pop, rock, elements of classical music, and even pop-soul in a body of brilliant, bittersweet romantic songs by Webb, all presented in a consistently affecting and powerful vocal performance by Harris."
THE DOORS - Waiting For The Sun (1968) [(50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, 2018]
The Doors released their third studio album, Waiting For The Sun, in July 1968. It was the band's third platinum album in less than two years, and the first to top the album chart. Since its debut, the album has sold millions of copies around the globe and contributed to the Doors' legendary canon with classics like "The Unknown Soldier," "Five To One" and the #1 smash, "Hello, I Love You."
This 2-CD collection features a new version of the album's original stereo mix on both CD, which has been newly remastered from the original master tapes by Bruce Botnick, the Doors' longtime engineer/mixer. The set also includes a second disc of 14 completely unreleased tracks: nine recently discovered "rough mixes" from the album recording sessions and five live songs from a 1968 Copenhagen show.
McKENNA MENDELSON MAINLINE - Stink & McKenna Mendelson Mainline Blues (1969)
McKenna Mendelson Mainline is a Canadian blues band that has released four albums. In the spring of 1969, the band was signed to Liberty Records (United Artists). In the summer of 1968, in May, Toronto, Ontario, Canada blues guitarist Mike McKenna, formerly of Luke & The Apostles, placed an ad in The Toronto Star seeking musicians for a new project. In replying to the ad, acoustic blues artist Joe Mendelson sested to McKenna that the idea of searching for blues musicians through the want ad milieu was an exercise in naiveté. Nevertheless, the two worked well creatively and the basis of McKenna Mendelson Mainline's dynasty was formed. Former The Paupers bassist Denny Gerrard was invited to join, and The Spassicks' Tony Nolasco completed the quartet on drums. The band debuted at the Night Owl club in Toronto's Yorkville Village from August 5–10 and the following month recorded demos which later became the basis of a bootleg album, McKenna Mendelson Blues. Gerrard left the band in early October (immediately after a show at Massey Hall supporting The Fugs) because of artistic differences and was replaced by Mike Harrison bassist from popular Canadian R&B band Grant Smith & The Power. What came to be known as "the original line up" was now in place. Homesickness, dissension in the ranks, and the vagaries of youth facilitated a return to Canada in June 1969.
Shortly after the July release of Stink, Allied Records released the demos recorded in September 1968 as McKenna Mendelson Blues. MMM thus became Canada's first "major label" act to be the victim of a bootlegged album. However, while in Europe and England selections from the Stink album appeared on various blues samplers and compilations, notably Liberty's Gutbucket (1969), subtitled 'An Underworld Eruption', and Son of Gutbucket (1969). Following the success of Stink, MMM / Mainline had three subsequent releases of note - "Our Home and Native Land", "The Mainline Bump and Grind Review - Live at the Victory" (a well known, somewhat risqué Toronto burlesque theatre), and "No Substitutes". Following the release of "No Substitutes", Mainline disbanded and McKenna and Mendelson never played together again. In November 1968, MMM opened for The Jeff Beck Group at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, United States, and garnered several standing ovations.
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