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Archive for August 31st, 2011

Who’s Next? “Quadrophenia” Gets The “Director’s Cut” Treatment In November [UPDATED 8/31 WITH TRACK LIST]

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UPDATE: The full press release with track list is now after the jump.

Original post:After Tommy, there was Jimmy.  He’s the protagonist of Pete Townshend’s rock opera Quadrophenia, first a 1973 2-LP studio album by The Who, then a 1979 film and most recently a 2009 musical.   Never one for small ideas, Quadrophenia was Townshend’s way of working out the relationship between the band and its fans while telling the story of a prototypical Mod Who fan. The album yielded some of The Who’s most beloved songs: “The Real Me,” “Love Reign O’er Me,” “5:15.”  Now, after last year’s super-deluxe box set of Live at Leeds, it appears that the story of a mod youth will be receiving a similarly expansive treatment scheduled for the pre-Christmas release rush from Universal.  The auteur, composer, lyricist, writer and mercurial rock god hasn’t been blogging much lately, but he just did so to confirm plans for the new box.  As The Lifehouse Chronicles – Townshend’s sprawling, fascinating boxed anthology of the aborted album that eventually morphed into Who’s Next – attests, Townshend’s musical concepts often are too big for anything but a lavish box set, so this project seems just right!  UPDATE: It’s been confirmed that the release date for the 4-CD/1-DVD Quadrophenia: The Director’s Cut will be November 14 in the U.K. and a pre-order link is already active at Amazon U.K. here.

What can we expect?  Perhaps most exciting is the promise of “mind-blowing” surround sound mixes of eight songs by Bob Pridden.  Jon Astley, Townshend’s preferred mastering engineer, is remastering the original vinyl mix as well as re-evaluating his 1996 remix.  Townshend himself will contribute liner notes for a hardback book and has offered up 2 CDs of demos including songs that didn’t make the final album.  (Anyone familiar with Townshend’s Scoop demos knows they will be in for a treat!)  While the initial press release indicates that complete details will be revealed in the “coming months,” mention is made of “previously unseen personal notes, photographs, memorabilia, and other exclusive material.”  Quadrophenia will also be available in double vinyl, 2-CD digi-pak and digital versions.

Hit the jump for the complete text of Pete’s statement, and the full press release with the track list for all five discs! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 31, 2011 at 15:57

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues, The Who

Review: Charles “Packy” Axton, “Late Late Party: 1965-67”

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Were there a Stax family portrait, label founders Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton would undoubtedly be surrounded by any number of the famed artists they shepherded to fame: Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Eddie Floyd and the Wicked Wilson Pickett, to name a few.  And lurking somewhere near the corner of the frame, in the shadows, would be Charles “Packy” Axton, his saxophone in tow, looking for the nearest party.  Though Axton is far from a household name, those musical excavation specialists at Light in the Attic have made a substantial case that Charles “Packy” Axton is far more than a footnote to the Stax story.  Late Late Party: 1965-67 (LITA CD 067, 2011) brings together seventeen slices of greasy, delicious, deep Southern soul by largely unknown artists like The Martinis, Stacy Lane, L.H. and the Memphis Sounds and The Pac-Keys.  What do they all have in common?  It’s the sound of Packy Axton, wailing on his saxophone to wake the neighbors!

It’s appropriate that the vintage cover photo of Axton, Don Nix and Steve Cropper is in front of the Satellite Records address (later Stax), for Axton existed in the orbit of Stax, though none of this collection’s tracks were on that storied label.  Packy Axton was the son of Estelle Axton and nephew of her brother Jim Stewart, Stax co-founders.  He was musically at the ground floor of the label empire, too, playing on the Mar-Keys’ “Last Night.”  While he didn’t initially impress bandleader Steve Cropper, it was soon discovered that his mother owned a recording studio, and Packy was in the band!  Despite Stewart’s initial reluctance to release the track, “Last Night” went No. 2 R&B and No. 3 pop.  It positioned Stax on the road to success.  But Axton was ostracized from that inner circle, despite his mother having a role in calling the shots.  Stewart disapproved of his casual approach, eccentric manner and wild ways, and Packy found himself on the periphery of greatness.

What wild sounds will you find on Late Late Party?  Just hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 31, 2011 at 13:51

With A Little Help From His Friends: James Burton Anthology Features Everlys, Nelson, Hazlewood and Buffalo Springfield

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When James Burton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, no less a legend than Keith Richards delivered his induction speech.  Richards was just one of the many guitarists influenced over the years by Burton, a talent whose C.V. boasts names like Rick Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joni Mitchell, John Denver, and oh yeah, Elvis Presley.  Burton’s talent has transcended genre and classification, and at the age of 72, he continues to contribute musically to selected projects.  U.K. compilation experts Ace Records have turned the spotlight on this longtime sideman and occasional solo artist with the October 4 release of James Burton: The Early Years 1957-1969, the first of two volumes showcasing the guitarist’s titanic body of work.

A mainstay of Elvis Presley’s TCB Band and the lead guitarist on nearly all of Ricky Nelson’s classic recordings, Burton first appeared on record in 1956 on the small Ram label, backing Carol Williams on “Just For a While,” and that track appears on The Early Years.  It wasn’t long before Burton was an in-demand session musician, playing the famous and influential solo on Dale Hawkins’ “Susie Q” in 1957.  Within a year, Burton had taken his place alongside Ricky Nelson, building up a body of work that still endures; of his Nelson collaborations, “My Babe,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Stop Sneakin’ Around” and “Blood from a Stone” all appear.  His association with Nelson lasted until 1967; two years later, he would take the stage in Las Vegas with Elvis Presley, where “Play it, James” became a familiar catchphrase of The King’s.

Burton’s recordings of “Fireball Mail” and “Daisy Mae” as Jim and Joe (with fellow session stalwart Joe Osborn of the L.A. “Wrecking Crew”) have been included, as well as other solo tracks including “Cannonball Rag” and “Jimmy’s Blues.”  He appears as “Jimmy Dobro” on both sides of a 1963 single, “Swamp Surfer” b/w “Everybody Listen to the Dobro.”  Other familiar names making an appearance on the compilation include Lee Hazlewood, The Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard and the recently-reunited band Buffalo Springfield.  Even David Gates, later of Bread, is represented with the 1962 single by “David and Lee,” “Tryin’ to Be Someone.”

While touring with Presley in the 1970s, Burton found time to play with Emmylou Harris as a member of her “Hot Band,” and also began to work with John Denver that lasted 16 years and produced 12 albums.  A promised Volume 2 will collect Burton’s later years, including his work with Elvis Presley, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons and others.

Hit the jump for the complete track listing with discographical annotation, plus a pre-order link, for James Burton: The Early Years 1957-1969, which is due on October 4 from Ace Records! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 31, 2011 at 10:29