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Archive for April 30th, 2013

Rhino Plans ZZ Top Albums Box with Original Mixes Bowing on CD

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ZZ Top Rhino boxThe Southern-smoked legacy of Texas blues-rock band ZZ Top will be celebrated this summer with a new box set from Rhino Records that features all of the band’s classic albums for the London and Warner Bros. labels.

The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 collects 10 great albums by the band in one box. The Texan trio – vocalist/guitarist Billy F. Gibbons, bassist Dusty Hill and drummer/sole beardless member Frank Beard – first rose to prominence through early blues-based classics (ZZ Top’s First Album (1971), Rio Grande Mud (1972)) before enjoying a bit of crossover rock success (from Tres Hombres (1973) to 1981’s El Loco). In the next decade, ZZ Top established themselves as unlikely commercial juggernauts, thanks to colorful clips on MTV for pop-rock classics from the albums Eliminator (1983), Afterburner (1985) and Recycler (1990).

While there are no bonus tracks, unlike Rhino’s previous expansions of Tres HombresFandango(1975) and Eliminator (released as a deluxe CD/DVD), what fans will find, for the first time ever on compact disc, are the original album mixes of ZZ Top’s First AlbumRio Grande Mud, and Tejas (1976). Fans may recall in 1987, at the height of their popularity as a guitar band with synths and sequencers, that Warner released The ZZ Top Six Pack, remixing five of the band’s early albums (1979’s Degüello and 1981’s sequencer-friendly El Loco were spared) and summarily using these modern-sounding masters in place of the original versions on subsequent CD pressings. (Parts of the original mixes were finally loosed on Rhino’s Chrome Smoke & BBQ (2003) box set and Rancho Texicano (2004) two-disc compilation.)

So if you’ve never enjoyed any of ZZ Top’s classic masters, now is the time to get them in this sharp-dressed package. Like previous Rhino album boxes, it will feature original album art replicated on individual CD wallets, with all original packaging (including gatefold sleeves for several of the discs) faithfully retained. The box is out June 10, not long after the boys hit the road again for a world tour.

After the jump, you can reacquaint yourself with the track lists for these original albums. (Pre-order links have yet to go live.)

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 30, 2013 at 17:15

Posted in Box Sets, News, ZZ Top

The Legacy of Harry Nilsson, Andy Williams, Johnny Winter, Jerry Lee Lewis and More Anthologized On “Essential” Releases

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Essential NilssonToday, Legacy Recordings issues a number of titles from some of music’s greatest artists as part of the label’s ongoing Essential series of anthologies.  We’re taking a look at the collections from Harry Nilsson, Andy Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Pete Seeger, Mott the Hoople and Midnight Oil!  Plus: we have track listings for all titles!

A 2010 documentary posed the question, Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?  Well, if you don’t already know the answer, The Essential Nilsson will go a long way in providing it for you.  Harry Nilsson was the songwriter’s songwriter, who enjoyed his two biggest hits with songs not written by him: Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” and Pete Ham and Tom Evans’ “Without You.”  He was the hard-partying pal of John Lennon’s capable of almost painfully tender moments in song like “Don’t Forget Me.”  He was the rocker who penned vaudeville tunes for The Monkees (“Daddy’s Song,” “Cuddly Toy”) and recorded an album of standards with legendary arranger Gordon Jenkins long before such albums were in vogue.  And he was the composer of effortless pop melodies like “You’re Breakin’ My Heart,” which he provided with a four-letter punch line as if to torpedo its chances for the Top 40.  Harry Nilsson was a man of many contradictions, but they’re all represented in this 2-CD, 40-track collection of his RCA years (1967-1977) produced by Rob Santos and Andrew Sandoval.  (Sandoval also contributes the essay.)

By the numbers, The Essential Nilsson falls short of the standard set by 1995’s 49-song survey Personal Best: The Harry Nilsson Anthology.  But even those who own Personal Best should invest in Essential, both for Vic Anesini’s revelatory remastering and for a couple of unreleased tracks and a handful of mono single rarities.  You’ll savor Nilsson’s perky melody in the new, previously unissued remix of “Girlfriend” (better known as “Best Friend,” the theme to TV’s The Courtship of Eddie’s Father), and the touching simplicity of “Life Line” in a never-before-heard piano-and-voice take.  There’s plenty of Harry’s trademark humor on The Essential (the aforementioned “You’re Breakin’ My Heart,” the novelty-esque hit “Coconut,” the offbeat television homage “Kojak Columbo”) as well as his tributes to pals Lennon and McCartney (“You Can’t Do That”) and Randy Newman (“Sail Away,” “Vine Street” and the sublime “Living Without You”).  That last-named Newman song boasts the lyric “It’s so hard, it’s so hard, living without you.”  For fans of intelligent, frequently stunningly-crafted pop, it’s been so hard living without Harry Nilsson.  The Essential Nilsson captures Harry –the angel-faced choirboy of his early albums and the bearded, vocally-battered figure of his later albums – in all his many colors.  Don’t miss it.

After the jump: plenty more on every title in this batch including full track listings and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 30, 2013 at 10:05

Release Round-Up: Week of April 30

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Shalamar Friends 2CD

Shalamar, Friends: Deluxe Edition / The Isley Brothers, Winner Takes All: Expanded Edition / Bootsy Collins Presents Sweat Band: Expanded Edition / The Gap Band, Gap Band VII: Expanded Edition / Billy Paul, Lately: Expanded Edition (Big Break)

The Big Break titles we covered yesterday include a double-disc expansion of one of Shalamar’s most enduring LPs, plus Isleys, P-Funk and albums from Total Experience Records. Full coverage/pre-order links here!

David Allan Coe

Blue Oyster Cult, Imaginos / Sea Level, Cats on the Coast/On the Edge Wilderness Road, Sold for the Prevention of Disease Only / David Allan Coe, Texas Moon / Eddy Arnold, Complete Original #1 Hits / Johnny Lytle, The Soulful Rebel/People & Love / Allspice, Allspice / Larry Williams, That Larry Williams (Real Gone Music)

Read all about Real Gone’s latest here.

Essential Mott

Midnight Oil, Essential Oils / Indigo Girls, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mott the Hoople, Harry Nilsson, Pete Seeger, Andy Williams, Johnny Winter, The Essential (Legacy)

Two-disc Essential sets for a bunch of artists! Unreleased tracks can be enjoyed on the Andy Williams and Nilsson sets, and the others are solid overviews.  Joe reviews ’em here!

Indigo Girls: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Jerry Lee Lewis: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Midnight Oil: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Mott: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Nilsson: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Seeger: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Andy Williams: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Johnny Winter: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

History of Eagles

Eagles, History of the Eagles (Jigsaw)

The new two-part documentary on the legendary rock band, coupled with an unreleased concert from 1977.

DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Blu-ray: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Super Deluxe Blu-Ray: Amazon U.S.

Tubes - Remote Control

The Tubes, Remote Control: Expanded Edition (Iconoclassic)

Four unreleased tracks complement this new version of the band’s final A&M album, a classic concept album produced by Todd Rundgren. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ambrosia - Life Beyond LA

Ambrosia, Life Beyond L.A.: Deluxe Edition (Friday Music)

Led by David Pack, this smooth album spun off the hit “How Much I Feel”; here, it’s expanded with an unreleased bonus live set. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Phyllis Hyman - Somewhere

G.C. Cameron, Love Songs and Other Tragedies: Expanded Edition / Phyllis Hyman, Somewhere in My Lifetime: Expanded Edition / Meli’sa Morgan, Good Love: Expanded Edition / Nancy Wilson, Music on My Mind / Life, Love and Harmony (SoulMusic Records) (Order all titles here from Amazon U.K.)

Here’s the latest batch from Cherry Red’s SoulMusic Records label!  Read Joe’s review of Somewhere in My Lifetime here!

James Taylor - JT Paper Sleeve

West, Bruce and Laing, Whatever Turns You On / West, Bruce and Laing, Live ‘n’ Kickin’ / Walter Egan, Fundamental Roll/Not Shy / James Taylor, JT/Flag/Dad Loves His Work (Culture Factory)

The latest in mini-LP replica remasters from Culture Factory.

Every Good Box Deserves Favour: Moody Blues Planning Exhaustive CD/DVD Set (UPDATED)

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Timeless Flight

ORIGINAL POST (3/18/2013): Although they’ve been passed over for accolades such as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the legacy of British rockers The Moody Blues will be celebrated in June with the release of Timeless Flight, a 17-disc deluxe career-spanning box set.

Although the Moodies started out as your typical English-American blues-rock band (with a lineup that featured future Wings guitarist Denny Laine), they soon found great success on both sides of the Atlantic fusing traditional rock archetypes to classical stylings – anticipating the psychedelic and progressive trends of the years to come. 1967’s Days of Future Passed was a lauded concept album that also spun off a hit single, “Nights in White Satin,” a No. 2 hit in America. Subsequent LPs like On the Threshold of a Dream (1969), A Question of Balance (1970) and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (1971) were also international hits; to this day, even after a brief hiatus in the late 1970s, the band (now a trio, with Days-era members Justin Hayward on lead vocals and guitar, John Lodge on bass and drummer Graeme Edge – a founding member of the band since 1964’s debut LP The Magnificent Moodies) still records and tours.

While a track list has not been unveiled, an official website confirms these details for Timeless Flight:

  • 11 remastered CDs, each “featuring key album tracks, previously unreleased mixes, outtakes and complete live concerts.” Based on this admittedly confusing description, it doesn’t sound like complete albums will be included, although that could be totally off the mark.
  • Three DVDs including “rare television performances from around the world, promotional videos and the previously unreleased live concert from Olympia, Paris in 1970”
  • Three more DVD audio discs featuring 5.1 surround mixes of the band’s complete Deram Records discography Days of Future Passed, On the Threshold of a Dream, To Our Children’s Children’s Children (1969), A Question of Balance, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and Seventh Sojourn (1972). These mixes were released in the mid-2000s and have been out-of-print for years.
  • A 120-page hardcover book of liner notes, including an essay by Moody Blues aficionado Mark Powell and rare and unreleased photos
  • Replicas of “full colour tour poster and discography” as well as a press packet
  • A specially-designed fabric patch

An as-yet unconfirmed limited edition variant of the box will also be available from Universal Music Group’s U.K. web store. We’ll share further details once we get closer to the box’s June 3 release date, so keep it here until then!

Timeless Flight product shot

UPDATE (4/30/2013): The official track list has been confirmed by Universal! The first five discs highlight the best of the band in studio, including hits, rarities, outtakes and even tracks from the group’s solo albums in the mid-’70s. Discs 6-11 are live, including three entirely unreleased shows (one of which is a Blue Jays-era show featuring Justin Hayward and John Lodge during their solo era in 1975). Discs 11-14 are DVDs brimming with live footage and promo videos, and Discs 15-17 contain the surround mixes on DVD.

Additionally, Universal will release slimmed-down four-disc and two-disc versions, as well as that aforementioned limited edition variant, featuring a collectible (albeit non-working) replica of a cassette tape featuring both Days of Future Passed and Seventh Sojourn on it as owned and carried by astronaut Robert “Hoot” Gibson, who took the tape on missions aboard the Challenger, Columbia, Atlantis and Endeavour shuttles. (Only 300 copies of this version will be made.)

After the jump, check out the complete track list as well as Amazon links for these sets.

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 30, 2013 at 06:41