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Archive for October 11th, 2012

41 Years of Maximum R&B: UMe Plans Vinyl Box Set for The Who

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We’ve seen a lot of new product for fans of The Who lately: Eagle Rock released the Live in Texas 1975 DVD, UMe is planning a standalone release of the Hull show from 1970 that appeared in the Live at Leeds box set a short time ago, guitarist Pete Townshend’s memoir – and now, Universal announces a newly-remastered vinyl box set of The Who’s studio albums.

The simply-titled The Studio Albums features all 11 Who albums on 14 180-gram vinyl discs, from 1965’s My Generation to 2006’s Endless Wire. In addition to being remastered by the band’s longtime engineer Jon Astley and Miles Showell at Close to the Edge and Metropolis Studios, all the original artwork will be replicated for these reissues. That includes everything, down to the original posters inserted into The Who Sell Out and Face Dances.

Advertised as “strictly limited,” The Studio Albums is available November 19. Here’s a look at what’s included:

The Studio Albums (Geffen/UMe, 2012) (Amazon – U.S./U.K.)

Disc 1: My Generation (Brunswick LAT 8616 (U.K.)/Decca DL 74664 (U.S.), 1965)

Disc 2: A Quick One (Reaction 593 002 (U.K.)/Decca DL 74892 (U.S.), 1966)

Disc 3: The Who Sell Out (Track Record 612 002 (U.K.)/Decca DL 74950 (U.S.), 1967)

Discs 4-5: Tommy (Track Record 613 013/4 (U.K.)/Decca DXSW 7205 (U.S.), 1969)

Disc 6: Who’s Next (Track Record 2408 102 (U.K.)/Decca DL 79182 (U.S.), 1971)

Discs 7-8: Quadrophenia (Track Record 2657 013 (U.K.)/MCA 2-10004 (U.S.), 1973)

Disc 9: The Who by Numbers (Polydor 2490 129 (U.K.)/MCA 1579 (U.S.), 1975)

Disc 10: Who Are You (Polydor WHOD-5004 (U.K.)/MCA 3050 (U.S.), 1978)

Disc 11: Face Dances (Polydor WHOD-5037 (U.K.)/Warner Bros. HS-3516 (U.S.), 1981)

Disc 12: It’s Hard (Polydor WHOD-5066 (U.K.)/Warner Bros. 23731 (U.S.), 1982)

Discs 13-14: Endless Wire (Polydor 1709519 (U.K.)/Universal Republic B0007845-01 (U.S.), 2006)

Written by Mike Duquette

October 11, 2012 at 14:53

Wonderful Tonight: Clapton’s “Slowhand” Goes Super Deluxe This Winter

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Eric Clapton gained the nickname “Slowhand” from Giorgio Gomelsky in the 1960s, once recalling that the impresario and Yardbirds manager coined it “as a good pun. He kept saying I was a fast player, so he put together the ‘slow handclap’ phrase [when a restless audience claps slowly hoping the performer will arrive onstage] into ‘Slowhand’ as a play on words.”  Clapton fully embraced the name in 1977 as the title of his fifth studio album as a solo artist, following stints in the Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, and Derek and the Dominos.  Recorded for Robert Stigwood’s RSO Records, Slowhand yielded three hit singles and a No. 2 berth on the Billboard 200.  One of Clapton’s most beloved albums, Slowhand will receive the super deluxe box set treatment from Polydor on November 26 internationally, and in the U.S. on December 4.

Produced by Glyn Johns, Slowhand was recorded at London’s Olympic Studios in May 1977.  Released that November, it became Clapton’s most successful studio album of the decade, and eventually spent 74 weeks on the U.S. albums chart after five weeks at No. 2.  “Lay Down Sally,” “Cocaine” and “Wonderful Tonight,” the latter written for Clapton’s then-partner (and ex-Mrs. George Harrison) Pattie Boyd, all became hit singles.  Slowhand contained a number of songs written or co-written by Clapton (“Wonderful Tonight,” “Lay Down Sally” with Marcy Levy and George Terry, “Peaches and Diesel” with Albhy Galuten) alongside compositions by J.J. Cale (“Cocaine”), John Martyn (“May You Never”), Don Williams (“We’re All the Way”), and Arthur Crudup (“Mean Old Frisco”).  The blend of blues, rock, country and pop was arguably Clapton’s strongest assembly of songs by that point.

Slowhand will be available in five different formats.  Both the Super Deluxe Edition (3 CDs, 1 DVD and 1 LP) and Deluxe Edition (2 CDs) feature four session outtakes, three of which are previously unreleased: “Looking at the Rain,” “Alberta”, “Greyhound Bus” and “Stars, Strays and Ashtrays.”  Both editions feature selections from Clapton’s Hammersmith Odeon concert, recorded just one week before sessions began for the new album.  The complete, 14-track performance of April 27, 1977 is included on the Super Deluxe Edition on two CDs, while 9 highlights appear on one disc of the Deluxe Edition.  The Super Deluxe Edition adds the album on audio DVD in high-resolution stereo and surround, and on vinyl.  (It remains to be seen whether the surround mix will be a new one or has been derived from the existing SACD.)  Slowhand will also be available as a single-disc album-only remaster, a vinyl LP and digital download.

After the jump: exactly what will you find on each edition?  We have all of the specs, plus a complete track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 11, 2012 at 13:12

Review: The Beatles, “Magical Mystery Tour” on Blu-ray and DVD

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“Paul said ‘Look I’ve got this idea’ and we said ‘great!’ and all he had was this circle and a little dot on the top – that’s where we started,” Ringo Starr recalls in one of the special features included on Apple’s new DVD and Blu-ray of The Beatles’ 1967 BBC television film Magical Mystery Tour.  That McCartney-drawn circle, later transformed into a pie chart, is included in the accompanying booklet.  It epitomizes the loose, freewheeling nature of this largely improvised musical journey directed by Macca and his bandmates.  The new video releases are among the most lavish accorded any Beatles film, eclipsing even the fine Yellow Submarine from earlier this year, with over an hour of bonus material and a film-length Director’s Commentary from Paul McCartney.

The loopy musical travelogue Magical Mystery Tour found the Fab Four joined by a motley crew of performers including Ivor Cutler, Victor Spinetti, Jessie Robins, Nat Jackley, Derek Royle, and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, not to mention a bus full of fans-turned-extras.  The film’s nominal plot follows Ringo and his recently widowed Auntie Jessie (Jessie Robins) on a British tour bus headed for the English countryside. Ringo and Auntie Jesse are joined by tour director Jolly Jimmy Johnson (Derek Royle), hostess Miss Wendy Winters (Mandy Weet), conductor Buster Bloodvessel (Ivor Cutler), and of course, the other Beatles, who portray whimsical wizards alongside pal and road manager Mal Evans. (Remember Where’s Waldo?  Watching Magical Mystery Tour, you could play Where’s Mal?)  Spinetti, who also appeared in A Hard Day’s Night and Help! with the Fabs, portrays an unintelligible army drill sergeant in one amusing vignette, reprising an off-the-wall character from Joan Littlewood’s stage play Oh, What a Lovely War! (1963).

Of course, the film frequently seems as little more than excuse on which to hang music videos for Beatle songs, long before that term existed.  John, Paul and George’s songs all get a turn in the spotlight, with extended sequences for “I Am the Walrus,” “The Fool on the Hill,” and “Blue Jay Way” among the fun.  “Fool on the Hill” is quite literal, with Paul actually spinning round and round on a hill, while “I Am the Walrus” memorably has the boys in their most groovy finery, transforming into the Egg Man, the Walrus, etc.  There was a method to their madness, as McCartney remembers in his genial commentary: who was the walrus?  The Beatles didn’t want to give a definitive answer.  “Blue Jay Way,” appropriately, stars George in a swirling, psychedelic haze.

During the ride, passengers on the bus appear and disappear, and scenes and locales shift at the drop of a hat.  McCartney warmly recalls the chaotic spirit of fun that characterized the film’s making.  He frequently laughs at the absurdity of it all, while fondly remembering the band’s desire to disregard most conventions of filmmaking.  Much of Magical Mystery Tour was shot not at a film studio, but at an RAF airfield and hangar!  He also reveals some secrets: who knew that the footage seen during group song “Flying” was actually outtake material from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 Dr. Strangelove, enhanced with color filters?  McCartney naturally mentions the anarchic influence of Spike Milligan and the Goons, always a Beatle favorite.  When Ringo asks “Where’s the bus?” in a zany laboratory sequence, you might find yourself echoing the question!  Ringo has an easy presence onscreen, but the other Fabs acquit themselves well, too, particularly John Lennon as a waiter who wields a shovel in case of any food-related accidents that might occur…

Hit the jump to continue the Tour! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 11, 2012 at 10:12

Posted in Blu-Ray, DVD, Reissues, Reviews, The Beatles

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