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Archive for December 4th, 2012

Miles Runs The Voodoo Down: “The Bootleg Series Volume 2” Sheds Light on Third Great Quintet

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Miles Davis - Bootleg 2Where was Miles Davis at in 1968?

In a June 1968 interview with Leonard Feather of Downbeat, the journalist observed of Davis’ hotel suite, “I found strewn around the room records or tape cartridges by James Brown, Dionne Warwick, Tony Bennett, The Byrds, Aretha Franklin and the Fifth Dimension. Not a single jazz instrumental.”  Feather asked “Why?” but concluded that most likely, “when you have reached the aesthetic mountaintop, there is no place to look but down.”  Feather’s summation was harsh, perhaps, but Davis was operating on a different plane than his pop contemporaries.  Not necessarily a higher place, but a different place.  But even atop a lofty perch, Davis wasn’t content to merely look down.  So he picked himself up, dusted him off and started all over again.  Likely he took in all of the disparate influences around him in not only jazz but pop, rock and soul, and then forgot everything, ready to develop a new form of music as only he could.

Jump ahead one year.  Davis’ In a Silent Way was released on July 30, 1969, a mysterious tone poem of an album (well, two tone poems, one to each side of the LP) and a signature early work of Davis’ electric period.  Among the players on that album were Wayne Shorter (tenor and soprano sax), Chick Corea (electric piano), Dave Holland (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums).  Together with Davis, they formed the “third great Miles Davis Quintet,” but this relatively short-lived aggregation (1969-1970) was never documented on its own in the recording studio.  The players contributed to In a Silent Way and Filles De Kilimanjaro, and of course joined Davis among the musicians on his electric breakthrough Bitches Brew.  Now, the curtain rises on the first-ever official release by this line-up: The Miles Davis Quintet’s Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Volume Two.  Set for January 29 release, it follows 2011’s acclaimed first Bootleg volume which chronicled the Second Great Quintet in Europe, 1967.  Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings’ Live in Europe 1969, a 3-CD/1-DVD box set, presents the Third Quintet in four concerts: three on CD and one on DVD.  By the time of these shows in July and November, 1969, only Davis and Shorter remained from that seminal line-up.

What will you find on the new set?  Hit the jump!  Plus: the full track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 4, 2012 at 13:30

Posted in Box Sets, Miles Davis, News

Holiday Gift Guide Review: Johnny Cash, “The Complete Columbia Album Collection”

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Johnny Cash Box PackageAre you ready to add some Black to the red and green this Christmas?  If you are, you’ll be richly rewarded thanks to Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings’ Johnny Cash: The Complete Columbia Album Collection (88697 91047 2, 2012).  It’s no easy feat to distill the essence of an artist into one package, let alone when the artist in question is John R. Cash.   Yet this collection spanning 33 years (1957-1990), 61 albums and 63 CDs succeeds in revealing the man behind the black in all his many personas: God-loving spiritual truth-seeker, dedicated family man, empathetic folk hero, uninhibited wild man, outlaw cowboy.  So powerful a storyteller was Johnny Cash that many casual fans, even today, still believe he shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.  No matter that “Folsom Prison Blues” was “only” a song; to quote from Cash’s fourth Columbia long-player, Now There Was a Song!  There are many such triumphant songs here, along with many hidden gems and some missteps, too.  But once you immerse yourself in the three-plus decades of music created by this American original, you’ll likely find yourself thinking: “Now There was a Life!”

The Complete Columbia Album Collection by its nature only touches briefly on Cash’s first blush of fame at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records, and not at all on his dramatic rebirth as an elder statesman of rock and country at Rick Rubin’s American Recordings.  But it’s striking how consistent the artist was throughout his entire career.  His first few Columbia albums introduced a pattern that he would continue until the very end.  The Fabulous Johnny Cash (1958) blended J.R. Cash originals with songs of his contemporaries; Hymns by Johnny Cash (1959) took in sacred songs.  Songs of Our Soil (also 1959) focused on folk ballads, and Now There was a Song! (1960) explored the music of Cash’s forebears including Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb.  Ride This Train from later that year was his first true concept album, this one centering on the American west.  Each one of those album formats would be revisited by Cash time and time again, with all of those musical adventures included on the new box set.  There would be other excursions, too, into holiday collections, soundtrack recordings, live albums, and collaborative efforts with friends, family and friends who were close enough to be family.  But some things remained consistent through Cash’s 28-year tenure at Columbia Records: that resonant bass-baritone, love of God and country, and a refusal to capitulate to the times.  “To thine own self be true,” Cash quoted in a 1993 interview, and likely in others, too.  So there’s no Johnny Cash Disco Album here, and no Johnny Cash Sings the Swinging Hits of Today, either.  Instead, you’ll just find 63 discs of country-folk-rock-pop-gospel that might as well be filed simply under “Johnny Cash.”  Even if you own the exemplary, bonus-packed Bear Family box sets chronicling the artist’s first decade, this set is a necessary companion.

We’re diving in, after the jump!  Won’t you join us? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 4, 2012 at 10:06

Release Round-Up: Week of December 4

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Complete Johnny CashJohnny Cash, The Complete Columbia Collection (Columbia/Legacy)

Perhaps the biggest box set of the quarter (maybe the whole year?), this 63-disc set collects all of The Man in Black’s Columbia albums from The Fabulous Johnny Cash (1959) to Live at Madison Square Garden (recorded in 1969 and released in 2002), plus an expansion of the Sun album Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar (1957) and two discs of non-LP singles and other odds and ends.  Here’s Joe’s review of the whole set!   (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Mellon Collie deluxeSmashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness: Deluxe Edition (Virgin/EMI)

“Tonight, Tonight” (or today, today) is the day to get the latest Smashing Pumpkins catalogue project: four discs (three CDs and a DVD) of bonus material appended to the original double LP! (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) A triple-vinyl remaster of the original album is also available (Amazon U.S. / U.K.), as is a basic remaster of the album on two discs. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

The Who Studio AlbumsThe Who, The Studio Albums (Geffen/UMe)

Every one of The Who’s 11 main albums, newly remastered and replicated for vinyl. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

KISS Casablanca SinglesKISS, The Casablanca Singles 1974-1982 (Mercury/Casablanca/UMe)

Every A and B-side from KISS’ Casablanca years, replicated on CD (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) and, allegedly, vinyl singles, though we’ve never found a retail link for that version, outside of an outsize expensive link from Universal itself.

The Slider 40th Anniversary BoxT. Rex, The Slider: 40th Anniversary Edition Box Set (Edsel)

A super-deluxe take on T. Rex’s iconic LP, featuring the original album remastered by Tony Visconti, two discs of B-sides, demos and outtakes, a DVD, two books, a vinyl LP and three 7″ singles. (Amazon U.K. / U.S.)

Mary Wells Something NewMary Wells, Something New: Motown Lost & Found (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Two discs of rare and unreleased Mary Wells tunes from the fabled Motown vaults! (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Johnny Mathis - So NiceJohnny Mathis, So Nice/Johnny Mathis Sings / John Hatford, Aero-Plane/Morning Bugle: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 26–4/26/69 Electric Theater, Chicago, IL 4/27/69 Labor Temple Minneapolis, MN / Gene Harris, Gene Harris/The Three Sounds/Gene Harris of The Three Sounds / Bobbi Humphrey, Dig This / Jeremy Steig, Wayfaring Stranger (Real Gone)

Real Gone’s December slate includes the last of the Johnny Mathis/Mercury two-fers, another Dick’s Pick reissue and three Blue Note selections reissued on the resurrected Dusty Groove imprint! (Head here for pre-order links on all these sets.)

Prodigy Fat of the Land 15The Prodigy, The Fat of the Land: 15th Anniversary Edition (XL)

The Prodigy’s breakthrough album remastered and expanded with Added Fat, an EP of new remixes of tracks like “Firestarter,” “Breathe” and “Smack My Bitch Up.” (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) That EP is available separately on vinyl (Amazon U.S. / U.K.), as is a vinyl reissue of the original LP (Amazon U.S.).

Alice Cooper Old School 2Alice Cooper, Old School 1964-1974 (Bigger Picture)

Remember this box set? This is a condensed version – just CDs, no vinyl or extra swag. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Hooters 3ferThe Hooters, Nervous Night/One Way Home/Zig Zag (BGO)

All three of The Hooters’ Columbia albums on one handy two-disc set. (Amazon U.K. / U.S.)

And here are some vinyl reissues for your enjoyment!

Love, Forever Changes (180 Gram) (Elektra/Rhino)

The Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed (180 Gram) (Friday Music)

Linda Ronstadt, Heart Like a Wheel (RockBeat)

Sade, Promise (180 Gram) (Audio Fidelity)

WE HAVE A WINNER! A Complete Set of “Classic Christmas Album” Titles from Legacy Recordings Can Be Yours!

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Written by Mike Duquette

December 4, 2012 at 05:20