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Archive for December 12th, 2013

British Invasion! The Beatles Unveil “The U.S. Albums” Box Set in January

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The Beatles - U.S. Albums Box

Get ready to revisit the original British Invasion: On January 21 in North America (and January 20 worldwide), The Beatles are coming to America with the release of The U.S. Albums, a 13-CD box commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Fabs’ arrival in New York City on February 7, 1964.  Two nights later, 74 million viewers watched the band make history on The Ed Sullivan Show, and Beatlemania was officially in full swing.  This new box set includes The Beatles’ U.S. albums from 1964’s Meet the Beatles! to 1970’s Hey Jude, and each title is presented in mono and stereo, with the exception of The Beatles’ Story and Hey Jude, which are in stereo only.  Five of these albums will be making their worldwide CD debuts including the original United Artists soundtrack album to A Hard Day’s Night and the audio documentary The Beatles’ Story.  All told, nine No. 1 albums are included.

The U.S. Albums contains the following thirteen albums, each packaged in a replica CD (and check out the dual Yesterday and Today covers in the photo, above!):

  • Meet The Beatles!  [Capitol Records:  released January 10, 1964; 11 weeks at No. 1]
  • The Beatles’ Second Album [Capitol Records:  released April 10, 1964; five weeks at No. 1]
  • A Hard Day’s Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) **  [United Artists:  released June 26, 1964; 14 weeks at No. 1]
  • Something New [Capitol Records:  released July 20, 1964; nine weeks at No. 2]
  • The Beatles’ Story [stereo only] **  [Capitol Records:  released November 23, 1964; peaked at No. 7]
  • Beatles ’65 [Capitol Records:  released December 15, 1964; nine weeks at No. 1]
  • The Early Beatles  [Capitol Records:  released March 22, 1965; peaked at No. 43]
  • Beatles VI [Capitol Records:  released June 14, 1965; six weeks at No. 1]
  • Help! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Capitol Records:  released August 13, 1965; nine weeks at No. 1]
  • Rubber Soul [released December 6, 1965; six weeks at No. 1]
  • Yesterday and Today ** [Capitol Records:  released June 20, 1966; five weeks at No. 1]
  • Revolver ** [Capitol Records:  released August 8, 1966; six weeks at No. 1]
  • Hey Jude [stereo only] ** [Apple Records:  released February 26, 1970; four weeks at No. 2]

After the jump: more details and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 12, 2013 at 12:12

Winter’s Coming: Legacy’s “True to the Blues” Boxes Johnny Winter

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Johnny Winter - True to the BluesJohnny Winter is turning 70 on February 23, 2014, and Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings aren’t about to let the occasion pass without celebration.  Two days later, on February 25, the label will release True to the Blues: The Johnny Winter Story.  This new 4-CD box set includes 56 tracks spanning Winter’s entire major-label career from 1968 to the present day (his most recent album having been released in 2011).  Though the two-time Grammy Award nominee is looking back with this comprehensive retrospective, he’s still very much an active artist, and will mark his birthday with a special February 23 performance at New York’s B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill.

“If it was not for Johnny Winter,” said Joe Perry of Aerosmith, “I would have never picked up the guitar!” Perry’s testimonial is one of nearly 20 that accompany the box set.  Others paying tribute to the blues-rock icon include Pete Townshend, 2013 Kennedy Center Honoree Carlos Santana, Gregg Allman, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Mountain’s Leslie West, Mark Knopfler, Charlie Daniels and others.

As we wrote when reporting on Legacy’s 2013 2-CD primer The Essential Johnny Winter, “When Johnny Winter was signed to CBS Records in February 1969, the sum paid to him was a record for a solo signing to the label: $600,000.00. Winter, who hailed from Texas, represented the vanguard of American blues-rock. Jimi Hendrix was riding high in ’69 with his psychedelic blues, and the idiom had been co-opted by any number of British guitar-slingers, too, but Winter brought his own virtuosic sound. Like his brother and frequent collaborator Edgar, Winter was born with albinism, and encouraged from an early age to immerse himself in music. Winter found an affinity with the great bluesmen, something that translated to his gutsy, howling, soulful reinterpretations of classic blues standards.”

Plenty of those can be sampled on True to the Blues.  The chronologically-sequenced (in order of recording, not release) box draws from 27 albums originally released on labels including Liberty/Imperial, Columbia, Blue Sky/Epic, Alligator, Point Blank/Virgin, Friday Music, Collectors’ Choice Music, Megaforce and Legacy.  These range from his independently recorded and released The Progressive Blues Experiment of 1968 (“Bad Luck and Trouble,” “Mean Town Blues”) up through the 2011 duets album, Roots (“Maybelline” with Vince Gill, “Dust My Broom” with Derek Trucks).  Gill and Trucks aren’t the only luminaries to appear on the new box.  Mike Bloomfield (himself being feted with an upcoming Legacy box set) introduces Winter to the Fillmore East audience at a “Super Session” gig with Al Kooper.  New Orleans’ own Dr. John appears on a 1991 performance of “Illustrated Man,” and a 1992 version of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” from Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Concert in New York City is featured on which Winter is joined by G.E. Smith, Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Anton Fig, and Jim Keltner.  Needless to say, Edgar Winter appears on numerous tracks on vocals and a plethora of instruments, while Johnny also teams with blues heroes such as Willie Dixon (from 1969) and Muddy Waters (from 1977).

Among the rare tracks included, True to the Blues presents music from the 1970 Atlanta Pop Festival.  Tracks from the concert – which also featured Poco, The Chambers Brothers, The Allman Brothers Band and Mountain – were released by Columbia as the 3-LP set The First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies – Isle of Wight/Atlanta Pop.  “Mean Mistreater” appears from that never-before-on-CD box, along with two more previously unreleased cuts from the concert, “Eyesight to the Blind” and “Prodigal Son.”

After the jump, we have more details on the new box, plus pre-order links and the full track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 12, 2013 at 11:06