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Release Round-Up: Week of March 4

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Little Feat boxLittle Feat, Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years 1971-1990 (Warner Bros./Rhino)

The eclectic rock band’s near two-decade run on Warner Bros. is celebrated in this new box set, featuring all the band’s original studio albums, an expanded edition of the live Waiting for Columbus and a bonus disc of recordings sourced from the band’s 2000 box set Hotcakes & Outtakes. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Dr John - Gris GrisThe Grass Roots, The Complete Original Dunhill/ABC Hit Singles / Irma Thomas, Full Time Woman — The Lost Cotillion Album / Professor Longhair, The Last Mardi Gras / Dr. John, The Night Tripper, Gris Gris / David Ruffin, My Whole World Ended/Feelin’ Good / David Ruffin, David Ruffin/Me ‘N Rock ‘N Roll Are Here to Stay / Marilyn McCoo, Solid Gold (Expanded Edition) / Charley Pride, The Gospel Collection (Real Gone Music)

Real Gone’s March madness features a host of titles, including two Mardi Gras-themed offerings from two New Orleans legends: Dr. John’s first album and a double-disc live set from jazz pianist Professor Longhair.

The Grass Roots: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Irma Thomas: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Professor Longhair: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Dr. John: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
David Ruffin #1: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
David Ruffin #2: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Marilyn McCoo: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Charley Pride: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Bob Dylan - 30th ConcertBob Dylan, The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration (Columbia/Legacy)

This multi-artist live tribute to The Bard, recorded at Madison Square Garden in 1992, is reissued as an expanded CD set as well as in a newly-restored DVD or Blu-Ray version with unreleased performances and behind-the-scenes footage.

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
BD: Amazon U.S.Amazon U.K.

A Beard of Stars DeluxeT. Rex, A Beard of Stars T. Rex: Deluxe Editions (Universal U.K.)

Before Marc Bolan hit the sweet spot, 1970 saw him cutting two albums – the last credited to “Tyrannosaurus Rex” and the first credited to “T. Rex,” respectively – that saw him moving from psych-folk to the kind of music that made him a legend. Both albums are expanded with unreleased demos, outtakes and single material (including beloved glam cut “Ride a White Swan”).

A Beard of Stars: 2CD (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.) / 2LP (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)
T. Rex: 2CD (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.) / 2LP (Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.)

Rufus VibrateRufus Wainwright, Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright (DGC/Interscope/UMe)

A greatest-hits compilation from the theatrical singer-songwriter, son of fellow-renowned musician Loudon Wainwright III.

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Bob FrankBob Frank, Bob Frank / Peter Walker, “Second Poem to Kamela” or Gypsies Are Important (Light in the Attic)

Light in the Attic kicks off its new Vanguard Vault series exploring the “obscure, non-traditional side of the legendary Vanguard Records archive” with the 1972 self-titled album from Bob Frank (“the best songwriter you never heard” per Big Star producer Jim Dickinson) and the rare 1968 follow-up to Peter Walker’s mystical psych-folk Rainy Day Raga LP.

Bob Frank: LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Peter Walker: LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) / CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Heart Magazine SACDHeart, Magazine / Peter, Paul and Mary, Peter, Paul and Mary (Audio Fidelity)

New, Steve Hoffman-mastered editions of two classic titles on hybrid SACD.

Heart: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Peter, Paul and Mary: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Written by Mike Duquette

March 4, 2014 at 08:32

Want, Too: Rufus Wainwright Announces First Compilation

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When I was about to listen to his tape, I remember clearly I was thinking, “Gee, if he has the mom’s musicality and smarts, and the dad’s smarts and voice, that’d be nice”…Then I put it on and I said, “Oh, my God, this is stunning.”

-Lenny Waronker on Rufus Wainwright

Rufus VibrateThe scope and longevity of Rufus Wainwright’s career is almost underserved by his own historic musical lineage. The eldest child of folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle (who would divorce when Rufus was three), his music is at times evocative of both but in a completely more adventurous direction. Rufus’ style is considerably more baroque than either of his parents, with a style that recalls theatrical tradition (Wainwright recently announced a second opera for performance in 2018) and a songbook overflowing with beautiful, yearning compositions.

After some 15 years of recording and touring, Wainwright will release Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright this spring in standard and two-disc deluxe editions. The standard edition covers 18 tracks, including songs from nearly all of his studio albums between his critically-acclaimed self-titled debut for DreamWorks Records in 1998 and 2012’s Out of the Game for Decca Records. That disc is augmented by a non-LP track (and arguably one of Wainwright’s most famous recordings) – a piano-driven cover of Leonard Cohen’s now-immortal “Hallelujah,” released on the hit soundtrack to the animated film Shrek in 2001 – and a new track, the perhaps-appropriately named “Me and Liza.” (Wainwright’s love for Liza Minnelli’s mother, Judy Garland, hit a fever pitch in 2006 when he performed a pair of shows in tribute to Judy’s acclaimed live set at Carnegie Hall in 1961; a resultant live album was released the following year.)

The deluxe edition, meanwhile, features even more rare and unreleased content, including soundtrack songs (“La Complainte de la Butte” from Moulin Rouge!, “The Maker Makes” from Brokeback Mountain, a stunning take on The Beatles’ “Across the Universe” for the film I Am Sam), several exclusive bonus cuts (such as “WWIII” from the Out of the Game sessions, making its physical debut here); another new track, “Chic and Pointless” and a host of unreleased live content, including tracks from a celebrated gig at London’s Kentwood House in 2010. (At least one of those tracks was released on House of Rufus, Universal U.K.’s mega complete box set of Wainwright’s career up to 2011.)

Both versions of Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright hit stores in the U.S. on March 4. Hit the jump for pre-order links and full track lists!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

December 11, 2013 at 16:55

“House of Rufus” Has Lots of Furnishings

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Just in case you were waiting on a track list to buy Rufus Wainwright’s mega-box House of Rufus, the wait is over.

The 19-disc box set, which encompasses all the albums and DVDs the baroque-pop tunesmith has released in his career, is packed with some intriguing extras, too. Many of the CDs are augmented with some sort of bonus tracks, either extra songs that were released as retail exclusives, old or new live performances and outtake material. And there are another four discs of rarities as well: a rarities disc augments more rare promo-only or international bonus tracks with unreleased outtakes, another collates Rufus’ best appearances on soundtracks (including the CD debut of his tune from the Canadian film Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller (1988), one of the earliest professional Rufus performances), a third collects guest tracks and collaborations (including material recorded with his illustrious family, including sister Martha, mother and aunt Kate and Anna McGarrigle and father Loudon Wainwright III) and another collects a clutch of unreleased demos.

It’s certainly a lush package, although one that, at upwards of $260 in the U.S., must be a tough sell for all but the most loaded of Rufus fans. (One could certainly take all the material therein and make deluxe reissues of each of Rufus’ LPs – although the singer/songwriter has criminally never been a sales juggernaut, so this one-shot deal is likely the best bet to obtain all these bonus cuts.)

House of Rufus, limited to just 3,000 copies, can be ordered here for a July 18 release. The full rundown is after the jump.

Rufus Wainwright, House of Rufus (Universal Music (U.K.), 2011)

Disc 1: Rufus Wainwright (originally released as DreamWorks Records DRMD-50010, 1998)

  1. Foolish Love
  2. Danny Boy
  3. April Fools
  4. In My Arms
  5. Millbrook
  6. Baby
  7. Beauty Mark
  8. Barcelona
  9. Matinee Idol
  10. Damned Ladies
  11. Sally Ann
  12. Imaginary Love
  13. Heartburn (from The McGarrigle Hour – Hannibal HNCD-1417, 1998)
  14. Goodnight Sweetheart (from The McGarrigle Hour – Hannibal HNCD-1417, 1998)

Disc 2: Poses (originally released as DreamWorks 0044-50237-2, 2001)

  1. Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk
  2. Greek Song
  3. Poses
  4. Shadows
  5. California
  6. The Tower of Learning
  7. Grey Gardens
  8. Rebel Prince
  9. The Consort
  10. One Man Guy
  11. Evil Angel
  12. In a Graveyard
  13. Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk (Reprise)
  14. Greek Song (KCRW-FM Session – 5/6/2001) *
  15. California (KCRW-FM Session – 5/6/2001) *
  16. Grey Gardens (KCRW-FM Session – 5/6/2001) *

Disc 3: Want One (originally released as DreamWorks Records B0000896-12, 2003)

  1. Oh What a World
  2. I Don’t Know What It Is
  3. Vicious World
  4. Movies of Myself
  5. Pretty Things
  6. Go or Go Ahead
  7. Vibrate
  8. 14th Street
  9. Natasha
  10. Harvester of Hearts
  11. Beautiful Child
  12. Want
  13. 11:11
  14. Dinner at Eight
  15. Es Mus Sein (bonus track from special edition – Polydor 450 504-1 (U.K.), 2003)
  16. Velvet Curtain Rag (bonus track from special edition – Polydor 450 504-1 (U.K.), 2003)
  17. What You Got *
  18. 11:11 (Studio Demo) *

Disc 4: Want Two (originally released as Geffen B0003716-02, 2004)

  1. Agnus Dei
  2. The One You Love
  3. Peach Trees
  4. Little Sister
  5. The Art Teacher
  6. Hometown Waltz
  7. This Love Affair
  8. Gay Messiah
  9. Memphis Skyline
  10. Waiting for a Dream
  11. Crumb by Crumb
  12. Old Whore’s Diet
  13. Coeur De Parisienne – Reprise d’Arletty (Live) (bonus track on special edition – DreamWorks 2103092 (U.K.), 2004)
  14. Quand Vous Mourez de Nos Amours (Live) (bonus track on special edition – DreamWorks 2103092 (U.K.), 2004)
  15. Southern Soul *
  16. Gay Messiah (Studio Demo)

Disc 5: Release the Stars (released as Geffen B0008767-02, 2007)

  1. Do I Disappoint You
  2. Going to a Town
  3. Tiergarten
  4. Nobody’s Off the Hook
  5. Between My Legs
  6. Rules and Regulations
  7. Not Ready to Love
  8. Slideshow
  9. Tulsa
  10. Leaving for Paris No. 2
  11. Sanssouci
  12. Release the Stars
  13. Do I Disappoint You (Instrumental) (bonus track on international pressings – Polydor 1733587 (U.K.), 2007)
  14. Low Grade Happiness (bonus track on Best Buy download card (U.S.) and iTunes (U.K.))
  15. Going to a Town (Live @ Kenwood House, London – 3/7/2010) *

Discs 6-7: Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall (originally released as Geffen B0010318-02 IN02, 2007)

  1. Overture: The Trolley Song/Over the Rainbow/The Man That Got Away
  2. When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)
  3. Medley: Almost Like Being in Love/This Can’t Be Love
  4. Do It Again
  5. You Go to My Head
  6. Alone Together
  7. Who Cares? (So Long As You Care for Me)
  8. Puttin’ on the Ritz
  9. How Long Has This Been Going On
  10. Just You, Just Me
  11. The Man That Got Away
  12. San Francisco
  1. That’s Entertainment
  2. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
  3. Come Rain or Come Shine
  4. You’re Nearer
  5. A Foggy Day
  6. If Love Were All
  7. Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart
  8. Stormy Weather
  9. Medley: You Made Me Love You/For Me and My Gal/The Trolley Song
  10. Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody
  11. Over the Rainbow
  12. Swanee
  13. After You’re Gone
  14. Chicago
  15. Get Happy
  16. Someone to Watch Over Me (featuring Martha Wainwright) *
  17. Everytime We Say Goodbye *

Disc 8: Milwaukee at Last!!! (originally released as Decca B0013238-02, 2009)

  1. Release the Stars
  2. Going to a Town
  3. Sanssouci
  4. Rules and Regulations
  5. Leaving for Paris No. 2
  6. If Love Were All
  7. Nobody’s Off the Hook
  8. Not Ready to Love/Slideshow
  9. Macushla
  10. Gay Messiah

Disc 9: All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu (originally released as Decca B0014192-02, 2010)

  1. Who Are You New York?
  2. Sad with What I Have
  3. Martha
  4. Give Me What I Want and Give It to Me Now!
  5. True Loves
  6. Sonnet 43
  7. Sonnet 20
  8. Sonnet 10
  9. The Dream
  10. What Would I Ever Do with a Rose?
  11. Les Feux D’Artifice T’Appellent
  12. Zebulon
  13. Les Feux D’Artifice T’Appellent (Alternate Version) (bonus track on British edition – Decca 2736309 (U.K.), 2009
  14. Who Are You New York? (Live @ Kenwood House, London – 3/7/2010) *
  15. Martha (Live @ Kenwood House, London – 3/7/2010) *
  16. The Walking Song (Live @ Kenwood House, London – 3/7/2010) *

Disc 10: Rufus Rarities

  1. Money Song *
  2. Ups and Downs (from French bonus disc included with Poses – Polydor cat. # unknown, 2001)
  3. Red Thread *
  4. St James Infirmary *
  5. London *
  6. A Bit of You (Rufus Wainwright Japanese bonus track – DreamWorks DRMD-50060 (JP), 1998)
  7. Ashes *
  8. In with the Ladies (from Want – Polydor 9887273 (U.K.), 2005)
  9. Miss Otis Regrets *
  10. Cowboy Song (Release the Stars iTunes (U.S.) bonus track, 2007)
  11. Patience is a Virtue (Release the Stars Wal-Mart (U.S.) digital bonus track, 2007)
  12. Shoes *
  13. Fame Into Love Into Death *
  14. One More Chance *
  15. Hankering *
  16. Dreams and Daydreams *

Disc 11: Rufus at the Movies 

  1. I’m a Runnin’ (from Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller, 1988) *
  2. Le Roi d’Ys (from The Myth of Fingerprints: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Velvet VEL 79705-2, 1997)
  3. On the Banks of the Wabash (from The Myth of Fingerprints: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Velvet VEL 79705-2, 1997)
  4. Complainte de la Butte (from Moulin Rouge: Music from Baz Luhrman’s Film – Interscope 490 507-2, 2001)
  5. Hallelujah (from Shrek: Music from the Motion Picture – DreamWorks Records 0044-50305-02, 2001)
  6. He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother (from Zoolander: Music from the Motion Picture – Hollywood Records 2061-62324-2, 2001)
  7. Across the Universe (from I Am Sam: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture – V2 Records 63881-27119-2, 2002)
  8. It’s Only a Paper Moon (from Stormy Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen – Sony Music SK-87888, 2003)
  9. I Wonder What Became of Me(from Stormy Weather: The Music of Harold Arlen – Sony Music SK-87888, 2003)
  10. I Eat Dinner (When the Hunger’s Gone) (from Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason – The Original Soundtrack – Geffen B0003566-02, 2004)
  11. I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise (The Aviator: Music from the Motion Picture – Sony Music SK-93628, 2004)
  12. King of the Road (from Brokeback Mountain: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Verve Forecast B0005604-02, 2005)
  13. The Maker Makes (from Brokeback Mountain: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Verve Forecast B0005604-02, 2005)
  14. Bewitched, Bothered, Bewildered (from The History Boys: The Original Soundtrack – Rhino R2 74754, 2006)
  15. Another Believer (from Meet the Robinsons: Original Soundtrack – Walt Disney D0000246-02, 2007)

Disc 12: Family and Friends

  1. What’ll I Do – Kate & Anna McGarrigle with Rufus & Martha Wainwright (from The McGarrigle Hour – Hannibal HNCD-1417, 1998)
  2. Au Fond du Temple Saint – David Byrne and Rufus Wainwright (from Grown Backwards – Nonesuch 79826-2, 2004)
  3. So Easy – Teddy Thompson (from Teddy Thompson – Virgin 49718, 2000)
  4. Old Paint – Rufus Wainwright with Loudon Wainwright III (bonus track on Release the Stars Best Buy download card (U.S.), 2007)
  5. Casanova in Hell (Live) – Pet Shop Boys (from Concrete – Parlophone 00946 377460 2 8 (U.K.), 2006)
  6. What Can I Do? – Antony and The Johnsons (from I Am a Bird Now – Secretyly Canadian SC-105, 2005)
  7. To America – Joan as Police Woman (from To Survive – Cheap Lullaby CLR-024, 2008)
  8. Tired of Wasting Time – Sloan Wainwright and Rufus Wainwright (from Life Grows Back – Sloan Wainwright 3, 2006)
  9. Chelsea Hotel No. 2 (Live) (from Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man – Motion Picture Soundtrack – Verve Forecast B0007169-02, 2006)
  10. Everybody Knows (Live) (from Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man – Motion Picture Soundtrack – Verve Forecast B0007169-02, 2006)
  11. More Wine – Julianna Raye (from Restless Night – Three Crows Music 4391, 2001)
  12. Lowlands Away – Rufus Wainwright and Kate McGarrigle (from Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys – Anti Records 86817, 2006)
  13. Scarecrow – Kristian Hoffman (from & – Eggbert Records, 2002)
  14. Albatross (from Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins – Wildflower 1313, 2008)
  15. Down Where the Drunkards Roll – Loudon Wainwright III and Rufus Wainwright *

Disc 13: Original Demos (all tracks previously unreleased)

  1. Foolish Love
  2. Danny Boy
  3. Beauty Mark
  4. Damned Ladies
  5. Liberty Cabbage
  6. Matinee Idol
  7. April Fools
  8. Get Out of Town
  9. Sally Ann
  10. Sweet Repose
  11. In My Arms
  12. Keep Cool Fool

Disc 14: Rufus Does Judy: Live from the London Palladium (DVD) (originally released as Geffen B0010319-09, 2007)

  1. Overture: The Trolley Song/Over the Rainbow/The Main That Got Away
  2. When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)
  3. Medley: Almost Like Being in Love/This Can’t Be Love
  4. Do It Again
  5. You Go to My Head
  6. Alone Together
  7. Who Cares? (So Long As You Care for Me)
  8. Puttin’ on the Ritz
  9. How Long Has This Been Going On
  10. Just You, Just Me
  11. The Man That Got Away
  12. San Francisco
  13. That’s Entertainment
  14. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
  15. Come Rain or Come Shine
  16. You’re Nearer
  17. A Foggy Day
  18. If Love Were All
  19. Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart
  20. Stormy Weather
  21. Medley: You Made Me Love You/For Me and My Gal/The Trolley Song
  22. Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody
  23. Over the Rainbow
  24. Swanee
  25. After You’re Gone
  26. Chicago
  27. Get Happy
  28. Hello Bluebird
  29. Someone to Watch Over Me
  30. Everytime We Say Goodbye
  31. San Francisco (Reprise)
  32. Credits

Disc 15: All I Want (DVD) (originally released as Geffen

A Portrait of Rufus Wainwright documentary

Live at Studio Frisson, Montreal

  • Gay Messiah
  • Crumb by Crumb
  • Rebel Prince
  • The Art Teacher
  • This Love Affair
  • Poses

Live at The Corn Exchange, Cambridge

  • Movies of Myself
  • Go or Go Ahead
  • I Don’t Know What It Is
  • Beautiful Child

Live at Central Park Summerstage

  • Beauty Mark
  • Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk
  • Dinner at Eight

Music Videos

  • The One You Love
  • California
  • April Fools
  • The Maker Makes

Disc 16: Prima Donna: The Story of an Opera (DVD) (originally released on Decca, 2010)

Disc 17: Milwaukee at Last!!! (DVD) (originally released on Decca, 2009)

  1. This is Me (interlude)
  2. Release the Stars
  3. Brooches 1 (interlude)
  4. Going to a Town
  5. Sanssouci
  6. Rules and Regulations
  7. Brooches 2 (interlude)
  8. Tulsa
  9. The Art Teacher
  10. Brooches 3 (interlude)
  11. Tiergarten
  12. Leaving for Paris No. 2
  13. Get Up to Dance (interlude)
  14. Between My Legs
  15. Interval (interlude)
  16. Do I Disappoint You
  17. A Foggy Day
  18. If Love Were All
  19. Nobody’s Off the Hook
  20. Beautiful Child
  21. Not Ready to Love
  22. Slideshow
  23. Macushla
  24. 14th Street
  25. Playing-out and Changing-up (interlude)
  26. Coming Out (interlude)
  27. I Don’t Know What It Is
  28. Pretty Things
  29. La Complainte De La Butte
  30. Glamming-up Onstage and Changing Backstage (interlude)
  31. Get Happy
  32. Gay Messiah
  33. Credits

Special Features:

  • Grey Gardens (Live in Milwaukee)
  • Rehearsing for a Wedding (Backstage Rehearsal)
  • Not Ready to Love (Live from Montreux Jazz Festival 2007)
  • 14th Street (Live from Montreux Jazz Festival 2007)
  • Get Happy (Live from Montreux Jazz Festival 2007)

Disc 18: Live at the Fillmore (DVD) (included with deluxe edition of Want Two – Geffen B0003716-00, 2004)

  1. Intro
  2. L’absence
  3. 14th Street
  4. Harvester of Hearts
  5. Natasha
  6. The Art Teacher
  7. Hallelujah
  8. Matinee Idol
  9. Vibrate
  10. Gay Messiah
  11. Want
  12. Greek Song
  13. Foolish
  14. I Don’t Know What It Is
  15. Dinner At Eight
  16. Beautiful Child
  17. Oh What a World
  18. Liberty Cabbage
  19. California
  20. As in Happy
  21. Credits

Disc 19: Release the Stars (DVD) (included with deluxe edition – Polydor 1733588 (U.K.), 2007)

  1. Track by Track interview
  2. The Art Teacher – Sympatico/MSN Presents Live @ The Orange Lounge
  3. Rebel Prince – Sympatico/MSN Presents Live @ The Orange Lounge
  4. Gay Messiah – Sympatico/MSN Presents Live @ The Orange Lounge
  5. Vibrate – Sympatico/MSN Presents Live @ The Orange Lounge

Written by Mike Duquette

June 1, 2011 at 14:14

Review: Loudon Wainwright III, “40 Odd Years”

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Lucky for us, Loudon Wainwright III is only “so damn happy” on an infrequent basis.   The singer-songwriter-humorist-satirist-actor (is that enough of a multi-hyphenate for you?) posited the question “Is it necessary to feel like shit in order to be creative?” He arrived at the final answer “yes!” but prefaced it with “unless you’re J.S. Bach.” Over the course of 91 songs on four CDs and another 38-plus on DVD, Shout! Factory’s new box set 40 Odd Years (82663-12189, 2011) – dig the double meaning of that title! – invites listeners on a journey through the singular world of the thankfully malcontented Wainwright.  What does such a trip entail?  Prepare yourself for songs alternately emotional and humorous (and frequently both!) reflecting on the subject’s favorite themes: childhood, parents, children, booze, death, the passage of time, and of course, show business.

40 Odd Years accomplishes one of the rarest feats of all, as it’s suitable for both the new fan seeking an entrée into the artist’s catalogue and the diehard looking for unheard rarities.  All phases of Wainwright’s body of work are covered, beginning with 1970’s self-titled debut for Atlantic Records and ending with 2009’s High Wide and Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project.  Even after taking in all 91 audio tracks, though, the question remains: Who is Loudon Wainwright III?  The artist abbreviated as LW3 has sometimes been compared to Randy Newman, and like Newman, had his biggest commercial success with an atypical song.  (For Newman, it’s the oft-misunderstood “Short People,” while Wainwright’s success came via the novelty-style “Dead Skunk.”)  But whereas Newman’s songs are almost exclusively sung in character, usually by a deviant of one stripe or another, Wainwright’s character is most often his own.

Upon the release of that 1970 debut, he was hailed as a “new Dylan.”  But who, then, wasn’t?  The comparison isn’t completely off-the-mark, given Loudon’s pinched, somewhat nasal voice as he accompanied himself on acoustic guitar.  But the lyrical content of Wainwright’s songs couldn’t be more far-removed from the favorite son of Hibbing, Minnesota.  Having been born to an affluent family (his father wrote the column “The View From Here” in Life) and raised in a New York suburb, Wainwright hailed from a different place.  Liza Minnelli was even a classmate of his!  In his terrific 2004 speech “My Cool Life: The Singer-Songwriter as Autobiographer” (reprinted in 40 Odd Years’ booklet), Wainwright name-checks classic Broadway songwriting teams, and in fact, he signed as a young songwriter to Frank Music, the publishing firm owned by Frank Loesser of Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying fame.  (It’s now owned by Paul McCartney.)  His understanding of the classic Tin Pan Alley and Broadway songwriting idiom is reflected in the considered structure and craft of his songs.  But the siren song of the burgeoning hippie and folk movements also called to Wainwright, a professed fan of Leadbelly, Tom Lehrer, Hank Williams and Louis Prima.  Talk about diverse influences!

The Shout! box covers those 40 odd years in chronological order, and adds one disc of unreleased and rare material as well as a 3+ hour DVD that may be the most comprehensive “bonus DVD” yet in a box set of this kind. Hit the jump to find out how well 40 Odd Years represents the music of a true eccentric, Loudon Wainwright III. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 3, 2011 at 13:45

Welcome to the “House of Rufus”

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Think Loudon Wainwright III’s Forty Odd Years box set is exhaustive? The singer-songwriter’s son, Rufus, just topped it – and then some.

We previously reported that Rufus Wainwright was planning a massive career-spanning box set, but Universal Music just revealed details on the scope of House of Rufus, due out this summer. Altogether, the set includes 19 – count ’em, 19! – discs, featuring every studio and live record Wainwright’s ever released and then some.

According to a post on Rufus’ Facebook page, House of Rufus will have:

  • Expanded versions of all six of Wainwright’s studio albums: Rufus Wainwright (DreamWorks, 1999), Poses (DreamWorks, 2001), Want One (Geffen, 2003), Want Two (Geffen, 2004), Release the Stars (Geffen, 2007) and All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu (Decca, 2010)
  • Expanded versions of both of Wainwright’s live albums: the two-disc Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall (Geffen, 2007) and Milwaukee at Last!!! (Decca, 2009)
  • Four discs of additional material – one devoted to rare and unreleased songs, one devoted to soundtrack appearances (to films like Shrek (2001) and Meet the Robinsons (2007), another consisting of collaborations with friends (Pet Shop Boys, Burt Bacharach, Leonard Cohen) and family (father Loudon, mother Kate McGarrigle, sister Martha and aunt Anna McGarrigle)
  • Six DVDs: concerts (Live at The Fillmore (2004), Rufus Does Judy! Live from the London Palladium (2007), Milwaukee at Last!!! (2009)), the deluxe album commentary DVD that came with some pressings of Release the Stars and two documentaries: All I Want (2005) and Prima Donna (2009), the latter of which chronicled Wainwright’s opera of the same name

Additionally, the packaging will be “a red velvet encased, 90-page hardback book containing rare and unseen photos, Rufus’ early hand-drawn tour posters, handwritten lyrics, four art prints and other memorabilia, extensive sleeve notes featuring interviews with Neil Tennant, Martha Wainwright, Linda Thompson and Lenny Waronker and an introduction by Rufus.”

Universal Music U.K. is offering pre-orders on the box – either with or without a limited canvas art print (50 of the 200 prints made will be signed by Rufus) – with a July 18 release. It’s not cheap; the set starts from £159 – approximately $260 in America – but if you’re a Rufus superfan with a deep pocket, your mind has probably already made itself up.

Keep it tuned here for more info on this box as it’s available.

Written by Mike Duquette

April 12, 2011 at 10:43

Short Takes: “Beauty and the Beat” Expansion, Another Wainwright Box, The Truth is Out There

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  • The Go-Go’s iconic Beauty and the Beat (1981) will be expanded in May by EMI, reports the band’s official site. The band, which recently announced a summer tour to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the chart-topping album (which featured Top 20 single “Our Lips Are Sealed” and No. 2 hit “We Got the Beat”), will see several versions of the album, including a hot-pink vinyl edition and a double-disc set on CD featuring a vintage live set.
  • Loudon Wainwright III’s 40 Odd Years box set is due from Shout! Factory in May – and he’s not the only member of his musical family with such a set forthcoming. His son Rufus, an accomplished singer-songwriter in his own right, reports from his official site that he “has spent the last few months trawling through various archives and listening to some cracking outtakes and demos” for a box set to be released later this year.
  • And one last piece of box set news: La-La Land’s long-promised box of music from The X-Files now has a release date. A post on the label’s Facebook page reads: “May 10th, 2011 1pm PST – The Music is Out There (finally).”

Written by Mike Duquette

March 28, 2011 at 11:15