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Archive for the ‘The Beatles’ Category

Release Round-Up: Week of January 21

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The Beatles - U.S. Albums BoxThe Beatles, The U.S. Albums (Apple/Capitol/UMe)

The centerpiece product of The Fab Four’s 50th anniversary celebration (thus far, anyway) is a 13-disc box featuring the original, unique American releases on Capitol/United Artists from 1964 to 1970 (including six titles from that first year alone). All but the spoken-word documentary album The Beatles’ Story will be available individually, and all but that and 1970’s stereo-only Hey Jude compilation will be available in mono and stereo on the same disc.

The U.S. Albums: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Meet The Beatles!: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Beatles’ Second AlbumAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
A Hard Day’s Night: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Something NewAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Beatles ’65Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Early BeatlesAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Beatles VI: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Help! Original Motion Picture SoundtrackAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Rubber SoulAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Yesterday and TodayAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Revolver: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Hey JudeAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Del Amitri TwistedDel Amitri, Waking Hours Change Everything Twisted: Deluxe Editions (Mercury/UMC)

Best known in the U.S. for peppy rock radio hit “Roll to Me,” the recently-reunited Glasgow rockers’ first three alternative-friendly albums for A&M are being expanded as double-disc sets with heaps of non-LP B-sides.

Waking HoursAmazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
Change Everything: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
TwistedAmazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.

Mike + The Mechanics The Singles 1986-2014Mike + The Mechanics, The Singles 1985-2014 The Living Years: Deluxe Edition (UMC)

To time with Mike Rutherford’s new memoir, the Genesis guitarist/bassist’s famed side-project (with vocals from Paul Carrack and Sad Café’s Paul Young) is first anthologized with a career-spanning double-disc hits and rarities set, and then an expansion of 1988’s The Living Years (whose title track was the band’s biggest worldwide hit), featuring a new version of the track with vocalist Andrew Roachford and a disc’s worth of live recordings from 1989.

The Singles 1985-2014Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
The Living YearsAmazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.

Off the GroundPaul McCartney, Off the Ground (MPL/Hear Music)

Sir Paul’s 1993 album gets a no-frills new remaster. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CharoCharo and The Salsoul Orchestra, Cuchi-Cuchi: Expanded Edition / Loleatta Holloway, Queen of the Night: Expanded Edition (Big Break)

Two more expanded albums from the Salsoul label on BBR – one from label queen Loleatta Holloway and the debut album from the famed singer-comedienne.

Charo: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
Loleatta Holloway: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.

Major HarrisMajor Harris, How Do You Take Your Love / Margie Joseph. Knockout: Expanded Edition (Funky Town Grooves)

FTG puts the first and only RCA album by ex-Delfonic/”Love Won’t Let Me Wait” singer Major Harris on CD for the first time, while expanding a 1983 album by Harris’ onetime labelmate Margie Joseph.

Major Harris: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Margie Joseph: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Simon and Garfunkel - PlaylistVarious Artists, Playlist: The Very Best Of (Legacy)

The latest wave in Legacy’s low-price hits series includes some converted greatest hits titles (Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits, Journey’s Greatest Hits LiveCloser: The Best of Sarah McLachlan) but also some new titles – chiefly some newly-curated compilations from Dean Martin, Ronnie Spector, Jermaine Jackson and Ray Parker, Jr. (All Amazon U.S. and U.K. links can be found in the link above!)

The Beatles and The Beach Boys Beat The Boots On “The Big Beat 1963” and “Bootleg Recordings”

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Beatles - Bootleg Recordings1963 was a landmark year for the favorite sons of Hawthorne, California.  During those twelve months, The Beach Boys released three Top 10 studio albums (Surfin’ USA, Surfer Girl and Little Deuce Coupe) and launched three Top 10 singles (“Surfin’ USA,” “Surfer Girl,” and “Be True to Your School”).  Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson, the outgoing David Marks and returning Al Jardine were perfecting their harmony-laden brand of surf rock and setting the stage for the next step in the band’s evolution.  Within one year, The Beach Boys’ music had grown leaps and bounds in sophistication with the likes of “All Summer Long,” “I Get Around” and “Fun, Fun, Fun.”  And greater stylistic changes would come with the fast and furious speed of any of the cars about which the band had so ardently sung.

Across the pond, 1963 was an even more key year for a certain quartet from Liverpool.  On March 22, The Beatles’ Please Please Me arrived on the Parlophone label.  On November 22, With the Beatles followed.  Both records topped the U.K. Albums chart, and songs like “Please Please Me,” “From Me to You,” “She Loves You,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” dominated the U.K. Singles charts during the year.   By the time Capitol Records’ Meet the Beatles arrived in the U.S. on January 20, 1964, John, Paul, George and Ringo were names known the world over, and “Beatlemania” was the word on everybody’s lips.

Now, however, the crucial music of 1963 is being revisited in two unusual digital-only compilations from Capitol Records.  Following in the footsteps of such projects as Bob Dylan’s The 50th Anniversary Collection or the multiple volumes of Motown Unreleased 1962, Capitol is issuing The Big Beat 1963 for Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, and Bootleg Recordings 1963 for The Beatles.  The impetus for these iTunes-exclusive releases is a simple one: to protect these recordings from entering the public domain in Europe.  Recent changes to copyright law in the E.U. have extended the copyright term of a recording from 50 to 70 years, but only if that recording has been released.  In other words, if a recording is not officially released within 50 years of its creation, it will fall into the public domain when the next (51st) calendar year begins.  If it is released, the term extends another 20 years.

Many would like to see the vintage recordings included in these sets released as physical titles with the usual bells and whistles, and indeed, these are intended as stopgap releases only.  It’s likely that these types of releases will become more common with each passing year; whether Capitol (and other labels) will reissue the material in a more deluxe manner down the road is still a matter of speculation.  After the jump, we’ll take a look at the recordings on both The Big Beat and Bootleg Recordings 1963!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 17, 2013 at 11:35

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

Review: The Beatles, “On Air: Live at the BBC Volume Two”

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Beatles - On AirMeet the Beatles…again.

The new Apple/Capitol/Universal release On Air: Live at the BBC Volume Two sets the Wayback Machine at Destination: 1963 and 1964, when four Liverpool lads named John, Paul, George and Ringo ignited a British Invasion that continues to this very day.  All 63 tracks (both spoken-word introductions and songs) on this new 2-CD time capsule date back to those two years, when the Fabs recorded unique performances for such BBC programs as Saturday Club and Pop Go the Beatles.  A belated follow-up to 1994’s Live at the BBC (which itself gets a remastered reissue today), On Air can’t help but flash back listeners to a simpler, pre-Sgt. Pepper’s time, when The Beatles could cause a firestorm of controversy simply because of the length of their hair.  Though Beatlemania was in full swing by the time Meet the Beatles arrived in the U.S. on January 20, 1964, the sense here is mostly of a hard-working, eager-to-please band.  Knowing the experimentation (sonic and otherwise!) that came next for the lads from Liverpool, one can’t overlook just how basic and primitive some of these recordings sound – how completely, wonderfully rock-and-roll!

These in-the-moment recordings – 40 musical performances, 37 of which are previously unreleased – are filled with youthful abandon and exuberance.  Most of the songs are far less polished than their studio counterparts, but largely follow the studio templates.  The result is a fine “alternate” listening experience, as the originals are so familiar.  One can hear The Beatles working, truly, as a band: Paul’s melodic bass; Ringo’s direct, clean and accessible drum style; George and John’s guitars spurring each other on.  Each part was essential to the whole.

Tune your radios to The Second Disc, and hit the jump for much more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 11, 2013 at 10:18

Posted in Compilations, News, Reviews, The Beatles

Tagged with

Release Round-Up: Week of November 11/12

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Beatles - On AirThe Beatles, Live At The BBC / On Air: Live At The BBC Volume 2 (Capitol)

What’s better than a remaster of The Fab Four’s 1994 double-disc set of live BBC sessions? How about another two-disc set of those sessions?

Live At The BBC (2CD): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Live At The BBC (3LP): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
On Air: Live At The BBC Volume 2 (2CD): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
On Air: Live At The BBC Volume 2 (3LP): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Live At The BBC: The Collection (4CD): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Hathaway Never My LoveDonny Hathaway, Never My Love: The Anthology (ATCO/Rhino)

A fine-looking four-disc anthology for the late, great soul singer, featuring his greatest hits and rare singles, a disc of unreleased studio outtakes, an unissued live performance at New York’s Bitter End in 1971, and his complete duets with Roberta Flack. Beautiful, beautiful stuff here. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Miles Davis - Original Mono RecordingsMiles Davis, The Original Mono Recordings (Columbia/Legacy)

A nine-disc set featuring a crash course in jazz education in glorious monaural sound! Classics ‘Round About Midnight (1957), Miles Ahead (1957), Milestones (1958), Porgy and Bess (1959), Kind of Blue (1959), Sketches of Spain (1960) and Someday My Prince Will Come (1961) are joined by two rare, out-of-print LPs: 1959’s Jazz Track (featuring a side of quintet recordings for a French soundtrack and a side of rarities from the sextet that cut Kind of Blue) and Miles & Monk At Newport (1964), featuring two live sets recorded five years apart at the Newport Jazz Festival. (Look for several of these albums on LP once again for Record Store Day’s Black Friday event!) (Amazon U.S. /Amazon U.K.)

Herbie packshotHerbie Hancock, The Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988 (Columbia/Legacy)

This 34-disc set features every one of the jazz pianist’s albums for Columbia/CBS, including 11 which have never been on CD in the U.S. before (eight of these albums were only released in Japan). (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Tommy SDEThe Who, Tommy: Deluxe Editions (Geffen/UMe)

Another expanded version of The Who’s magnum opus features the original album with an unissued spread of demos, outtakes and live bootlegs.

2CD Deluxe Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3CD/1BD Super Deluxe Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1CD Remaster: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP Remaster: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disney ClassicsVarious Artists, Disney Classics (Walt Disney Records)

A neat new four-disc box set spanning the entire Disney gamut (film, television and theme parks) in celebration of 90(!) years of musical magic. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Fisherman's BoxThe Waterboys, Fisherman’s Box: The Complete Fisherman’s Blues Sessions 1986-1988 (Parlophone)

After some delays, the six-disc version of this mammoth box (sans “influences” bonus disc or vinyl LP) is available this week. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

CCR Box 2013Creedence Clearwater Revival, Creedence Clearwater Revival (Box Set) (Fantasy)

A reissue of the band’s career-spanning six-disc 2001 box, featuring all nine of their studio and live albums and a disc of pre-CCR single sides, is now available in a new package not made of wood. (Amazon U.S.)

Ry Cooder boxRy Cooder, 1970-1987 (Rhino)

All 11 of the famed guitarist’s Warner-Reprise albums in one box. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Direct HitsThe Killers, Direct Hits (Island)

The Vegas modern-day New Wavers release their first compilation, with new single “Shot At the Night.” A deluxe edition adds a few more bonus tracks, including the original demo for hit single “Mr. Brightside.”

Standard: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Deluxe: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Super Deluxe CD/10″ edition: Amazon U.K.

KeaneKeane, The Best of Keane (Island)

Another Island act from the ’00s (albeit one from England), Keane too release a compilation in a variety of formats.

Standard 1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Deluxe 2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Super Deluxe 2CD/DVD (Amazon exclusive): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

P Montreal 1977Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Live in Montreal 1977 (Shout! Factory)

Welcome back, my friends, to a complete show in support of Works Volume 1 on two discs. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Lamb of God As The Palaces BurnLamb of God, As the Palaces Burn: 10th Anniversary Edition (Razor & Tie)

The thrash/groove quartet’s breakthrough 2000 album is remixed, remastered and expanded with three demos and a DVD documentary.

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

Grizzly Bear ShiledsGrizzly Bear, Shields: Expanded (Warp)

The Brooklyn band’s 2012 album, now with a bonus disc of demos and remixes.

Shields: Expanded (2CD): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Shields: B-Sides (LP): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Varese Offers Up Fab Pair with George Martin’s “Beatles to Bond” and Campbeltown Pipe Band’s “Mull of Kintyre”

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George Martin - Beatles to BondWith the upcoming release of The Beatles’ On Air: Live at the BBC Volume Two, there’s Beatlemania in the air once again.  And the Varese Sarabande label’s Varese Vintage imprint is at the ready with two recent reissues bearing ties to the Fab Four: George Martin’s Beatles to Bond and Bach (1974) and The Campbeltown Pipe Band’s Mull of Kintyre (1978).  Both of these are rather unexpected titles and all the more welcome for it!

Beatles to Bond and Bach, originally issued on the Polydor label, offered exactly what the title promised.  Legendary producer-arranger Martin and his orchestra tackled the songs of Lennon and McCartney alongside a James Bond suite inspired by Martin’s then-recent work on the film Live and Let Die, and two compositions from one of his earliest influences: Johann Sebastian Bach.  The LP, produced by his AIR Studios co-founder John Burgess, was the culmination of a decade-spanning series of instrumental releases from The George Martin Orchestra designed for the light classical/so-called “easy listening” market.  Many of these naturally drew on his work with The Beatles, either in whole or in part: 1964’s Off the Beatle Path and By Popular Demand: A Hard Day’s Night, 1965’s Help!, 1966’s And I Love Her and George Martin Instrumentally Salutes the Beatle Girls, 1968’s London By George, and so on.  Martin’s Guildhall-trained musicianship and impeccable ear kept these albums from becoming mere retreads of familiar songs.

For Beatles to Bond and Bach, Martin – recording at London’s AIR with none other than Beatle vet Geoff Emerick engineering – built the album around three extended suites.  “The Bond Suite” kicks off the album with Monty Norman’s original theme, before segueing into two of Martin’s cues from 1973’s Live and Let Die and of course, Paul and Linda McCartney’s thrilling title song.  Later on the album, Martin arranges “The Beatle Suite” of later Beatle tunes (“Sgt. Pepper’s,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life”) and a “Yellow Submarine Suite” containing four of his distinctive themes and the Lennon/McCartney title song from the 1968 animated feature.  In between, shorter pieces came from Bach’s pen (“Air on the G String” and “Prelude for Strings”) and Martin’s own.  Trivia: “Air” was the very first of Bach’s compositions to be recorded, back in 1902 – not bad for a piece written between 1717 and 1723!  Martin’s “Theme One,” written for BBC Radio 1 in 1967 ,and 1961’s “Elizabeth and Essex” (previously recorded by Ron Goodwin and His Orchestra) rounded out the diverse collection.  Fans of Paul McCartney’s Thrillington will likely find much to enjoy here, as will aficionados of Martin’s film score assignments.

After the jump, we’ll check out an even more surprising treat from Varese!  Plus: track listings and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 24, 2013 at 10:13

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! The Beatles’ “On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2” Rocks November

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Beatles - On AirThe worst-kept secret of this fall’s upcoming release schedule is finally out – and we’re shouting, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” After weeks of speculation, Capitol Records has finally confirmed the November 11 arrival of The Beatles’ On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 Its 63 tracks – encompassing 40 musical performances (37 of which are previously unreleased) and 23 selections of on-air, in-studio repartee – were all recorded for the Fab Four’s 1963-1964 BBC radio performances on shows such as Pop Go the Beatles and Saturday Club.

This new collection, available in 2 CD and 180-gram vinyl formats, is the eagerly-awaited sequel to 1994’s Live at the BBC, a U.K. No. 1/U.S. No. 3 release. [That title, too, arrives on November 11 in a newly-remastered edition.]  None of the tracks here overlap with those released on that original anthology. A full ten of the songs on On Air were not recorded by The Beatles for EMI in the 1960s, and two of these songs make their debuts here: Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talking About You” and Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer.” As The Fabs frequently revisited repertoire at the BBC, six songs heard on the 1994 set are reprised here in different performances: Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee,” Little Richard’s “Lucille,” Chan Romero’s “The Hippy Hippy Shake,” Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman,” and two tracks the band learned from Carl Perkins’ records, “Glad All Over” and “Sure to Fall.”

All told, no fewer than 275 unique performances by John, Paul, George and Ringo were broadcast over the Beeb’s airwaves between March 1962 and June 1965.  88 distinct songs were played, meaning that some songs were performed numerous times and others just once.  On Air takes listeners back to the period when the BBC primarily broadcast live music only; George Harrison once recalled that “we used to drive 200 miles in an old van down the M1, come into London, try and find the BBC and then set up and do the program. Then we’d probably drive back to Newcastle for a gig in the evening!”

Still on the ascendant, the group recorded songs for 39 shows in 1963 alone.  One marathon day that year – July 16 – yielded 18 songs for three Pop Goes the Beatles shows, recorded in less than seven hours!  Saturday Club was another BBC favorite.  One particular rarity here is The Beatles’ “Happy Birthday Dear Saturday Club.”  In 1980, John Lennon remembered, “We did a lot of tracks that were never on record for Saturday Club – they were well recorded, too.”  Paul McCartney concurred.  “We’d been raised on the BBC radio programs. One of the big things in our week was Saturday Club – this great show was playing the kind of music we loved, so that was something we really aspired to.”

There’s more after the jump, including the full track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 12, 2013 at 11:57

Release Round-Up: Week of June 25

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Help BDThe Beatles, Help! (Blu-Ray Disc) (Capitol/Apple)

The Fab Four’s second film gets the hi-def disc treatment. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Hidden World RevealedThe Three O’Clock, The Hidden World Revealed (Omnivore)

Early works by power-pop legends The Three O’Clock shine on this new compilation, featuring cuts from their early works on Frontier Records and 10 unreleased tracks. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Big Star - Nothing Can Hurt MeBig Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Omnivore)

Released on limited colored vinyl for Record Store Day this year, the soundtrack to this new Big Star documentary features 21 unreleased outtakes and new mixes of favorites from the legendary cult heroes.

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

Timeless Flight full boxThe Moody Blues, Timeless Flight (UMe)

Released in the U.K. earlier this month, this new anthology from the Moodies comes in two-disc, four-disc or 17-disc CD/DVD editions. Nothing like freedom of choice, right?

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
11CD/6DVD box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Scared to Get HappyVarious Artists, Scared to Get Happy: A Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989 (Cherry Red)

A new five-disc anthology that’s basically the Nuggets of its genre, from Creation to Rough Trade, The Jesus & Mary Chain to The Stone Roses. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Brothers and Sisters - Super DeluxeAllman Brothers Band, Brothers and Sisters: 40th Anniversary Edition (Mercury)

Four decades after “Ramblin’ Man” was an immense pop hit, the Allmans’ 1973 album comes back as a super-deluxe box featuring a disc of unreleased outtakes and a complete show from the Winterland Ballroom.

4CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. Amazon U.K.
1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

JB Apollo 50James Brown, Best of ‘Live at the Apollo’ 50th Anniversary (Polydor/UMe)

A single-disc compilation of the best of JB’s three King/Polydor live albums from the famed New York venue, along with two unreleased tracks from an unreleased fourth volume of material. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Hardcore DEVODevo, Hardcore Vols. 1 & 2 (Superior Viaduct)

Long out-of-print, these compilations of early Devo works make their debut on vinyl; a reissued CD edition with extra tracks will be released in two weeks.

Volume 1: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Volume 2 (2LP):  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Earle WBSteve Earle, The Warner Bros. Years (Shout! Factory)

This new box features Steve Earle’s three Warner albums from 1995 to 1997, plus two unreleased concerts on CD and DVD. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Going for the One SACDElvis Presley, King Creole / Yes, Going for the One (SACDs) (Audio Fidelity)

Yes’ 1977 album, the first with Rick Wakeman since 1973, and Elvis’ 1958 soundtrack album (featuring “Hard Headed Woman”), are the latest to get the Audio Fidelity SACD treatment, mastered by Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray respectively.

King Creole: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Going for the One: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Mighty RealSylvester, Mighty Real: Greatest Dance Hits (Fantasy)

The legendary disco performer is celebrated with a new compilation featuring his most classic hits and a new remix of “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).”

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

Magica DeluxeDio, Magica: Deluxe Edition (Niji Entertainment)

A new two-disc edition of the 2000 Dio album. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Legend RemixedBob Marley and The Wailers, Legend Remixed (Tuff Gong/Island/UMe)

New remixes of classic reggae favorites.

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

Review: Paul McCartney and Wings, “The Paul McCartney Archive Collection: Wings Over America”

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Wings Over America - Cover“Yesterday” and Today (1976)

With a burst of boogie woogie, Paul McCartney finally acknowledged the elephant in the room.  And then he made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t going to be standing in any shadow, even his own.  That moment came seven songs into the first disc of Wings Over America when Paul suddenly became Beatle Paul once again, tearing into “Lady Madonna” with Fats-inspired glee.  The Wings Over the World tour – taking in three continents, 66 concerts and roughly one million fans – was the most dramatic realization yet of McCartney’s reinvention.  It was also the first time he performed his Beatles back catalogue as the leader of Wings.  “You could seriously go down in history as a guy who tried to get as good as The Beatles and failed miserably,” he’s recently said.  “I felt, in the end, like the guy who tried to get as good as The Beatles – and didn’t.  But did awfully well.”  And he arguably never did better than the Wings Over America leg of the tour.

From May 3, 1976 in Fort Worth, Texas, through June 23 in Inglewood, California, Wings played 31 dates for 600,000 fans.  The massive arena rockshow party thrown by McCartney, wife Linda, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch, Joe English and a four-person brass section (Tony Dorsey, Steve Howard, Thaddeus Richard and Howie Casey, a fellow Liverpool native and longtime hero of McCartney’s who played the same venues as the young Beatles) translated to disc as one of the most electrifying live albums ever.  And now the chart-topping Wings Over America has been released as the fifth entry in The Paul McCartney Archive Collection – and the most dizzyingly lavish yet.

The remastered 2013 Wings Over America has flown into shops in multiple editions.  The original album is available as a standard 2-CD edition and a 3-LP set.  Retail giant Best Buy is offering a 3-CD version.  But the centerpiece is the individually numbered, slipcased set of 3 CDs, 1 DVD and 4 books.  This massive, heavy box dwarfs even last year’s Ram, which itself was significantly bigger than the book-style format of Band on the Run, McCartney and McCartney II.  Despite its larger size, though, its similar spine design and identical height still makes it possible to display on your shelf next to those volumes.  With this set, it’s likely that you’ll lose yourself in the not just the music, but in the overwhelming array of printed material relating to McCartney’s American jaunt.

After the jump: we dive into the various versions of Wings Over America! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 28, 2013 at 10:30

Hi-Def “Help!”: Beatles Film Coming to Blu-Ray

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The Beatles’ second feature film, 1965’s Help!, is making its Blu-Ray debut this June.

Reuniting with A Hard Day’s Night director Richard Lester with a bigger budget (for one, they shot in color), Help! finds The Fab Four in yet another set of wacky predicaments – this time, Ringo can’t seem to get a ring unstuck from his finger, and an evil cult want said ring for their own purposes. Silly stuff, for sure – and, at perhaps the most grueling heights of Beatlemania, not as fun a shoot for the band as A Hard Day’s Night – but a captivating chapter in the band’s catalogue.

The accompanying album remains one of the most drastically different in the band’s catalogue on both sides of the Atlantic. In the U.K. (now the standard version of the album, remixed by George Martin for its 1987 CD release), it featured chart-topping singles in “Ticket to Ride” and the title track as well as instant classics “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” “You’re Going to Lose That Girl,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” – all of which featured in the film – and “Yesterday” (a U.S. No. 1 hit). The U.S. version, released on the United Artists label, was a much more standard soundtrack album, featuring some non-Beatles orchestral passages arranged by Ken Thorne.

First officially released on DVD in 2007, this single-disc Blu-Ray ports over all of that two-disc set’s material into a new HD set. Features included are:

  • A 5.1 surround sound mix for the film
  • The Beatles in Help! – a 30-minute documentary about the making of the film with Richard Lester, the cast and crew, including exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of The Beatles on-set.
  • A Missing Scene – a film outtake, featuring Wendy Richard
  • The Restoration of Help! – an in-depth look at the restoration process
  • Memories of Help! – the cast and crew reminisce
  • 1965 Theatrical Trailers – two original U.S. trailers and one original Spanish trailer
  • 1965 U.S. Radio Spots (hidden in disc menus)

Help! arrives on Blu-Ray June 24 around the world and a day later in America. Pre-order links will be added as they are available.

Written by Mike Duquette

May 15, 2013 at 11:10