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Archive for March 8th, 2013

Turn It Up! Public Enemy Reissued on Vinyl in England

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Public Enemy vinyl boxWith a production team that lived up to their explosive name and a pair of unique vocal stylists at the helm, even the most seasoned rock purist might be able to give in to rap group Public Enemy’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this spring.

While fans pine for deluxe editions of Public Enemy’s hard-hitting discography on CD, Universal’s U.K. arm is releasing a box set of all six of their Def Jam albums on 180-gram vinyl next month.

Public Enemy was a deft combination of two Long Island MCs – the booming bass of Chuck D and the complementary flow of clock-wearing hype man William “Flavor Flav” Drayton – combined with “Minister of Information” Professor Griff, fleet-fingered DJ Terminator X and the production team of Keith and Hank Shocklee and Eric “Vietnam” Sadler, best known as The Bomb Squad. Their dense mix of vintage funk and R&B samples urgently chopped up into shreds, alongside Chuck and Flav’s insistent, socially conscious verses earned them a strong critical following  – with favorite tracks like “Bring the Noise,” “Don’t Believe the Hype” and “Fight the Power” – and increasing commercial success.

The group was no stranger to controversy – Griff was terminated in 1989 for anti-Semitic comments made in interviews, some mainstream audiences were uncomfortable with the band’s in-your-face approach to race relations and American politics, and then there was the whole “Flavor Flav on a reality show” thing – but the group (featuring Chuck D, Flav, Griff and DJ Lord, who replaced a retired Terminator X in 1999) continues to record and tour, releasing the albums The Evil Empire of Everything and Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp simultaneously in November 2012.

The 25th Anniversary Vinyl Collection features all of the band’s Bomb Squad-helmed albums on Def Jam, from 1987’s Yo! Bum Rush the Show to the 1998 soundtrack to Spike Lee’s He Got Game, newly repressed on 180-gram vinyl. Look for it in U.K. stores April 15, and check out the Amazon pre-order link below.

Public Enemy, The 25th Anniversary Vinyl Collection (Universal (U.K.), 2013)

LP 1Yo! Bum Rush the Show (originally released as Def Jam FC 40658, 1987)

LP 2: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (originally released as Def Jam C 44303, 1988)

LP 3: Fear of a Black Planet (originally released as Def Jam C 45413, 1990)

LP 4-5: Apocalypse 91…The Enemy Strikes Black (originally released as Def Jam C2 47374, 1991)

LP 6-7: Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age (originally released as Def Jam 314 523 362-1, 1994)

LP 8-9: He Got Game (originally released as Def Jam 314 558 130-1, 1998)

Written by Mike Duquette

March 8, 2013 at 16:01

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues, Vinyl

Put Your Hands Together: The O’Jays, Delegation, Black Slate, Donna Allen, George McCrae Arrive from BBR

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O'Jays - Ship AhoyThe many varied strains of soul and R&B have long found a home at Cherry Red’s Big Break Records imprint, and this week’s offerings from the label are no different, with five albums having just arrived from five very different artists on both sides of the Atlantic.

The most well-known release in this batch is The O’Jays’ 1973 opus Ship Ahoy, produced and largely written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff for their Philadelphia International label.  Though it yielded the hit singles “Put Our Hands Together” and “For the Love of Money,” Ship Ahoy was, in fact, one of the most intricate collections to come from the Philly team.  BBR’s deluxe 40th anniversary reissue includes three bonus tracks (a live version of “Put Your Hands Together” plus the single edits of “For the Love of Money” and the ballad “Now That We Found Love”) and a new essay from Christian John Wikane.  Ship Ahoy follows BBR’s past reissue of 1972’s Back Stabbers.  Watch this space for a full review of Ship Ahoy very soon!

George McCrae - Diamond TouchDiamond Touch is BBR’s third reissue from the TK Records catalogue of George McCrae, following his breakthrough Rock Your Baby and second, eponymous album.  1976’s Diamond Touch replaced the KC and the Sunshine Band production team of Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch with Gregg Diamond (Andrea True Connection’s “More, More, More”).  Diamond and McCrae set up shop in New York, away from the singer’s usual Florida home base, and the producer – whose influence even extended, obviously, to the album’s title – replaced the breezy good-time feel of KC’s productions with grandiose strings, horns and four-on-the-floor disco rhythms.  The gamble paid off when “Love in Motion” scored a No. 4 placement on the U.S. disco chart.  Yet the album didn’t fare well, and Diamond moved on to bring his touch elsewhere including to studio group Bionic Boogie.  McCrae soon returned to the tried-and-true and even reunited with Casey and Finch in 1979.  BBR revisits his bold experiment with two bonus tracks (singles of “Love in Motion” and “Givin’ Back the Feeling”) and new liner notes from J. Matthew Cobb.

After the jump: what’s just been reissued from Delegation, Donna Allen and Black Slate? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 8, 2013 at 10:17