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The Kids Are Alright: The Who’s “My Generation” Reissued on CD

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“Belgravia, a rich neighbourhood where women in fur coats shoved me out of line as if I didn’t exist, only made more starkly apparent the generational divide I was trying to describe…The feeling that began to settle in me was not so much resentment towards those Establishment types all around my flat in Belgravia as fear that their disease might be contagious,” Pete Townshend writes in his new memoir, Who I Am, about the song “My Generation.”  He continues, “What was that disease?  It was actually more a matter of class than of age.  Most of the young people around me in this affluent area of London were working on transforming themselves into the ruling class, the Establishment of the future.  I felt that the trapping sof their aged customs and assumptions were like a death, whereas I felt alive, not solely because I was young, but really alive, unencumbered by tradition, property and responsibility.”

When Townshend’s band The Who released that sneering, stuttering salvo with its shocking credo “Hope I die before I get old,” its rebellious message was not heard just by the group’s audience of so-called mods, but by angry, disaffected youth everywhere.  The No. 2 U.K. single soon provided the title to very first album by Messrs. Townshend, Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon.  My Generation (issued in the U.S. by Decca Records in slightly altered form as The Who Sing My Generation) was released in December 1965, and blended Townshend originals with R&B covers from James Brown and Bo Diddley.  It remains a striking document of The Who’s primal power, and has been routinely recognized as one of the greatest albums of all time by sources on both sides of the Atlantic, such as Mojo, Rolling Stone, Q and NME.  The original British mono version, however, has been out of print for over three decades in both Britain and America, but that’s soon to change with Universal U.K.’s My Generation mono CD, due in November.

What’s different about My Generation in mono?  Hit the jump for more details, plus the track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 22, 2012 at 13:06

Posted in News, Reissues, The Who

41 Years of Maximum R&B: UMe Plans Vinyl Box Set for The Who

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We’ve seen a lot of new product for fans of The Who lately: Eagle Rock released the Live in Texas 1975 DVD, UMe is planning a standalone release of the Hull show from 1970 that appeared in the Live at Leeds box set a short time ago, guitarist Pete Townshend’s memoir – and now, Universal announces a newly-remastered vinyl box set of The Who’s studio albums.

The simply-titled The Studio Albums features all 11 Who albums on 14 180-gram vinyl discs, from 1965’s My Generation to 2006’s Endless Wire. In addition to being remastered by the band’s longtime engineer Jon Astley and Miles Showell at Close to the Edge and Metropolis Studios, all the original artwork will be replicated for these reissues. That includes everything, down to the original posters inserted into The Who Sell Out and Face Dances.

Advertised as “strictly limited,” The Studio Albums is available November 19. Here’s a look at what’s included:

The Studio Albums (Geffen/UMe, 2012) (Amazon – U.S./U.K.)

Disc 1: My Generation (Brunswick LAT 8616 (U.K.)/Decca DL 74664 (U.S.), 1965)

Disc 2: A Quick One (Reaction 593 002 (U.K.)/Decca DL 74892 (U.S.), 1966)

Disc 3: The Who Sell Out (Track Record 612 002 (U.K.)/Decca DL 74950 (U.S.), 1967)

Discs 4-5: Tommy (Track Record 613 013/4 (U.K.)/Decca DXSW 7205 (U.S.), 1969)

Disc 6: Who’s Next (Track Record 2408 102 (U.K.)/Decca DL 79182 (U.S.), 1971)

Discs 7-8: Quadrophenia (Track Record 2657 013 (U.K.)/MCA 2-10004 (U.S.), 1973)

Disc 9: The Who by Numbers (Polydor 2490 129 (U.K.)/MCA 1579 (U.S.), 1975)

Disc 10: Who Are You (Polydor WHOD-5004 (U.K.)/MCA 3050 (U.S.), 1978)

Disc 11: Face Dances (Polydor WHOD-5037 (U.K.)/Warner Bros. HS-3516 (U.S.), 1981)

Disc 12: It’s Hard (Polydor WHOD-5066 (U.K.)/Warner Bros. 23731 (U.S.), 1982)

Discs 13-14: Endless Wire (Polydor 1709519 (U.K.)/Universal Republic B0007845-01 (U.S.), 2006)

Written by Mike Duquette

October 11, 2012 at 14:53

Release Round-Up: Week of October 9

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The Beach Boys, 2012 Remasters / Greatest Hits Greatest Hits: Fifty Big Ones (Capitol/EMI)

The summer gets a little more endless with a new compilation (in two formats) and remasters of nearly all of the band’s ’60s albums. (A full breakdown of those albums is here, and a full review is coming up from Joe today!)

The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour (Apple/EMI)

The Fab Four’s kooky film is making its Blu-Ray debut in standard and deluxe box formats.

Deep Purple, Machine Head: 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI)

A five-disc box set devoted to this classic rock LP, featuring various different mixes of the album (including quad and 5.1 mixes) and other goodies.

Barbra Streisand, Release Me (Columbia)

The incomparable Barbra’s newest album is actually an offering of entirely unreleased performances from the vaults. Lots of great discoveries herein!

B.B. King, Ladies and Gentlemen…Mr B.B. King (Hip-O/UMe)

Available in four-disc and Amazon-exclusive 10-disc formats, these box sets are the latest way to honor one of the greatest living blues legends.

The Supremes, I Hear a Symphony: Expanded Edition (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Another Supremes classic expanded to two discs, featuring the original album in mono and stereo and a host of live and studio treasures from the vault.

David Ruffin, David: The Unreleased LP and More (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Out of print for years, Hip-O Select reissues this compilation of the Temptation’s unissued 1971 album and a host of outtakes from the album sessions.

Various Artists, The Best of Bond…James Bond: 50 Years, 50 Tracks (Capitol/EMI)

It’s been 50 years since Dr. No hit theaters and it’s only a few weeks until Skyfall is released, so it’s time for a new 007 compilation that features all the classic title themes on one disc and a sampling of other tracks from the Bond films on the other.

Level 42, Running in the Family: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Polydor/UMC)

This ’80s hit is available from the U.K. as a double-disc expansion or four-disc, extras-packed box set.

The Who, Live in Texas 1975 (Eagle Rock)

Their latest at the time was The Who by Numbers, but this newly-restored show, on DVD in its first official release, is anything but.

Old 97’s, Too Far to Care: Deluxe Edition (Omnivore)

A demo-packed reissue of the 1997 country-rocker.

Various Artists, Athens, GA – Inside Out (Omnivore)

A nice deluxe set featuring both the classic documentary on the colorful Athens, GA music scene in the 1980s on DVD (with new special features) and the expanded soundtrack on CD.

Vince Guaraldi Trio, A Charlie Brown Christmas: Original Sound Track from the CBS Television Special (Fantasy)

The classic holiday album gets a brand new remaster with three bonus tracks. Full review coming later today!

Glen Campbell and Jimmy Webb, In Session (Fantasy)

Two legends collaborate on this live performance from 1983, newly released as a CD/DVD set.

Adam AntDestiny’s Child, Shawn ColvinAlan Jackson, Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson, George Jones & Tammy Wynette, Carole KingTaj MahalRicky Martin, Johnny Mathis, Meat Loaf, Laura Nyro, Collin Raye, Starship, Porter Wagoner & Dolly PartonPlaylist (Legacy)

A surprisingly strong batch of Playlist titles includes a few neat surprises, too, from brand-new compilations for Destiny’s Child and Ricky Martin to rare and unreleased tracks on the Meat Loaf, Starship and Laura Nyro sets.

The Chipmunks, Christmas Collection (Capitol)

Because it wouldn’t be the holidays without some squeaky-voiced renditions of holiday classics, plus the immortal “Christmas Don’t Be Late.”

Edie Adams, The Edie Adams Christmas Album (Omnivore)

Another Christmas treat, sourced from rare kinescopes of Adams on television in the ’50s.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Anniversary Collector’s Edition (Universal Studios Home Video)

A timeless favorite at Second Disc HQ (in particular, Mike’s favorite movie!) comes home on Blu-Ray for the first time, featuring the restored original 1982 version of the film and a new retrospective consisting entirely of on-set footage shot by John Toll. Retail exclusives abound: Target’s offering a deluxe steelbook package (available internationally as a basic deluxe edition), Best Buy has a special book package with pages of full-color notes and artwork, Walmart throws in a free E.T. doll for the kids, and Amazon carried a limited deluxe package (now sold out) housed in a replica of E.T.’s spaceship.

Little Shop of Horrors: The Director’s Cut (Warner Home Video)

One of the most purely fun musicals of the past few decades, this loving musical adaptation of the Roger Corman cult classic features a killer, ’60s-flavored pop score from future Disney legends Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. For this special Blu-Ray release, the hilarious, 20-minute alternate ending (seen only on a quickly-recalled, highly-collectible DVD) has been fully restored and added to the end of the picture, and other great special features abound, too!

Who’s Ready for Two Live Releases from Legendary U.K. Rockers?

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If you’re sitting out next year’s tour from The Who (this time centered on playing Quadrophenia in its entirety) but you still want to experience them live somehow, you’re in luck, thanks to two upcoming catalogue titles for the holiday season.

Coming from Geffen/UMe on November 6, there’s the first-ever standalone release of Live at Hull. The band’s incendiary performance at Kingston Upon Hull on February 14, 1970 was considered by the group to be one of their best performances on the tour in promotion of their ambitious concept album Tommy. Unfortunately, despite great acoustics and a great reaction from the crowd, technical problems prevented John Entwistle’s bass lines at the beginning of the set (from “Heaven and Hell” to “Substitute”) from being properly recorded, and the decision was made to release a live album from the following night’s show at the University of Leeds. (Live at Leeds, of course, peaked in the Top 5 on both sides of the Atlantic, sold more than two million copies in the U.S. and is still known as one of the greatest live albums of all time.)

The beloved Hull show was finally resurrected as part of UMe’s super-deluxe version of Live at Leeds released in 2010 for the original album’s 40th anniversary. For that release, the missing bass lines were filled in by grafting Entwistle’s bass parts for the same songs at the Leeds show on the original recordings. This two-disc release – identical in set list to Leeds but for the omission of “Magic Bus” – now enables fans to listen to the show without going above budget on a super-sized box set.

After the jump, learn about a later live show from Eagle Rock that’s coming to DVD for the first time!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

October 1, 2012 at 13:33

Posted in News, Reissues, The Who

The Second Disc Buyers Guide: The 100 Greatest Reissues of All Time, Part 15 (#30-26)

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It’s time for another installment of our 100 Greatest Reissues list, taking Rolling Stone‘s list of the greatest albums of all time and investigating their many pressings and expansions as the catalogue industry has grown. Today, enjoy selections from three of the most beloved bands of all time, a pioneer in the blues field and our first selection, a singer/songwriter extraordinaire who proved that rock is not just for the guys.

30. Joni Mitchell, Blue (Reprise, 1971)

To read the entries that have come up thus far on the list, you’d think rock and roll was merely a man’s game. Not so, with Joni Mitchell’s fourth album Blue as an example. Inspired by a breakup with Graham Nash and a subsequent trip across the globe, Blue finds Mitchell embracing the most intimate arrangements and the most nakedly open feelings in her songwriting, from “Carey” to “River” to “A Case of You.” Add a host of legends from the 1970s West Coast music scene (James Taylor, Stephen Stills, Pete Kleinow, Russ Kunkel), and you’ve got an album that sounds as good as it looks on paper.

Blue bowed on CD in 1990 (Reprise 2038-2) and was remastered on gold CD by Steve Hoffman in 1996 (DCC Compact Classics GZS-1132); an HDCD version in mini-LP replica packaging followed in the 2000s (Reprise 7599-27199-2 (U.K.)/OPCD-8031 (U.S.)).

29. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin (Atlantic, 1969)

Led Zeppelin’s debut is a quickly-produced, self-funded killer of a debut that employed a lot of advances in the studio, from the “backward echo” present on Robert Plant’s vocals to the album’s release solely in stereo. That wasn’t enough to impress critics at first, who, post-Cream, were probably tired of being delivered overhyped British bands on a silver platter. Of course, time has since been kinder to the band and the album, widely regarded as a monster of a first effort.

As with previous Led Zep albums on the list, Led Zeppelin bowed on CD in 1990 (Atlantic 19126-2) mastered for CD by Barry Diament. Jimmy Page and George Marino at Sterling Sound remastered the entire Led Zep catalogue not long after; the final products ended up in the 1990 box set (Atlantic 7 82144-2) and its 1993 sequel (Atlantic 7 82477-2), the 1990 two-disc compilation Remasters (Atlantic 7 80415-2) and 1993′s The Complete Studio Recordings (Atlantic 7 82526-2), which sequenced all the material back into album order, ten discs strong. (Physical Graffiti, as mastered by Page and Marino, was released on its own in 1994, as Atlantic 82632-2.) A Japanese SHM-CD remaster used the same remasters (Atlantic WPCR-13130, 2008); those SHMs were compiled into The Definitive Collection in 2008 (Atlantic WPCR-13142; later released on standard CDs in America as Atlantic R2 513820).

Give a “yeeeeeeeeeeah!” after the jump for a great album by a killer British band, a blues icon and four Irish guys who became the biggest in the world.

28. The Who, Who’s Next (Track Records, 1971)

Built from the ashes of a failed rock opera, Lifehouse, Who’s Next is a rough and ready rocker that kept old and new fans under the band’s spell, from opening number “Baba O’Riley” to killer album closers “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” In typical Who fashion, it’s been reissued a few times. The first CDs came out on Polydor/MCA in 1983/1984 (Polydor 813 651-2 (U.K.)/MCA 37217 (U.S.)). Remasters from Andy MacPherson and Jon Astley followed in 1995 (MCA Records MCAD-11269), which featured seven bonus tracks (five of which were unreleased session takes and live tracks, two of which were previously released B-sides or outtakes from Odds and Sods). (That expanded program made it to a gold CD as well – Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UDCD-754, 1999. MCA issued a gold CD in 1995 without any bonus tracks as release 11312.)

A 2003 Deluxe Edition (MCA/Chronicles 088 113 056-2) included all those bonus tracks (newly remixed, at that), adding two more studio outtakes and expanding the two live tracks from the Young Vic to an entire show. A Japanese SHM-SACD (Universal International UIGY-9022) followed in 2010. Future reissues are dependent upon location of presentable master tapes, as the originals are considered lost or destroyed (a fact that prevented the album from being included as downloadable content in the Rock Band video game series).

27. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers (Columbia, 1961)

The two photographs and now-obsessively detailed mystique that surrounds blues legend Johnson, who died under mysterious circumstances at age 27, didn’t exist when Columbia hastily assembled King of the Delta Blues Singers in 1961. The image of the singer was merely a hazy painting, and the information provided in the liner notes was wildly inaccurate. But its popularity among a rising crop of British guitarists, including Eric Clapton and Keith Richards, can’t be understated. King of the Delta Blues Singers was the spark that lit a major flame under Johnson’s legend, which culminated in the Grammy-winning 1990 box set The Complete Recordings (Columbia C2K 46222), a double-disc set that featured all of these songs, as many alternate takes as could be found at the time and a far more academic stab at liner notes and discographical information.

While that was the definitive article, the original, 16-track King LP came out on CD twice: once in 1994 as a commemorative 24K gold disc (Columbia CK 52944) and again in 1998 (Columbia CK 65746) with – d’oh! – one alternate take that had been unearthed since the release of the box set. All 42 known recordings were compiled and released with new digital restoration and remastering by Seth Winner for The Centennial Collection (Columbia/Legacy 88697 85907 2, 2011).

26. U2, The Joshua Tree (Island, 1987)

It’s probably a coincidence that U2 were symbolically handed instruments by The Police – then the biggest rock band in the world – at a 1986 Amnesty International concert, one year before they released their iconic breakthrough The Joshua Tree. But there was no need for symbolism from the opening, ringing chords of “Where the Streets Have No Name” to the dark sorrow of “Mothers of the Disappeared.” This LP found U2 at a magical crossroad between European rock sensationalism and rugged American individuality, and the results were a gorgeous vista of sound.

The initial CD pressing of Joshua Tree (Island 7 90581-2) was known for one hideous visual anomaly: the striking, black and white panoramic shot of the band against the Mojave Desert was squished to fit most of the CD cover. That issue was first fixed with the 24K gold CD release (Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UDCD 650, 1996), which also uncovered a bit of extra material from the master tape of “Mothers.” That extension remained on the remastered disc released for the LP’s 20th anniversary in 2007 (Island B0010285-02); that disc was also included in two deluxe editions: one (Island B0010286-02) which featured a bonus disc of non-LP B-sides and outtakes, and a box (Island B0010304-00) containing those two discs with a DVD featuring a live concert from Paris, a documentary filmed on the subsequent Joshua Tree Tour and several promo videos.

Monday: the final 25 kicks off with Joe and stone cold classics by Fleetwood Mac, James Brown, Chuck Berry and more!

Written by Mike Duquette

December 16, 2011 at 17:34

Holiday Gift Guide Review: The Who, “Quadrophenia: Super Deluxe Edition”

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Welcome to our Second Disc Holiday Gift Guide, in which we review some titles we might have missed over the past few weeks! The titles we’re spotlighting in this occasional series just might be candidates on your own holiday shopping list!

It was a most unusual moment on June 6, 1993 when the winners of the Tony Award for Best Score of a Musical were announced. John Kander and Fred Ebb, the Broadway legends behind Cabaret, Chicago and “(Theme From) New York, New York,” picked up the statuettes for their work on Kiss of the SpiderWoman in a tie. Their company that evening in the winners’ circle was none other than Pete Townshend for his musical The Who’s Tommy. No doubt classic rock fans and theatre fans alike were a bit bewildered as the rock icon shared the stage with the elder statesmen of the musical. But the line from the work of Kander and Ebb to that of Pete Townshend wasn’t as difficult to draw as many might have thought. Townshend had been writing songs for characters and situations in long forms for roughly 25 years when he picked up the Tony Award. Never has his work as a dramatic craftsman come into as sharp focus, however, as it does now with the remastered reissue of The Who’s 1973 opus Quadrophenia. Widely seen at the time as the proper follow-up to the original 1969 Tommy, Quadrophenia also used the format of a “concept album” for a Townshend rock opera about a troubled youth. But, especially in its lavish 4-CD/1-DVD Super Deluxe Edition (Polydor/Universal 277840, 2011, a case can be made for Quadrophenia as the stronger, more compelling work, both musically and dramatically. This comprehensive “Director’s Cut” box set, produced and copiously annotated by Townshend himself, is one of the most engaging and revelatory sets of its kind yet. It’s also quite heavy, in both senses of the word! “Bigger is better” could be the music industry’s tagline nowadays, but in this case, it’s also true! (The original, remastered album and a small selection of the demos are also available in a basic Deluxe Edition from Universal.)

Through and through, the original Quadrophenia proved Townshend to be one of the rare composers who can marshal pure and true rock in service of a story (however intentionally sketchy, and he goes into detail about that in his notes.) In the beautiful new remastering by Jon Astley, crisp sound and stereo spatiality bring the story of Jimmy (the Mod) into sharp focus. Townshend envisioned telling the story of a mod youth’s coming of age through an examination of four of his personality traits, each trait corresponding to a member of The Who. (A four-channel surround sound experience was also envisioned from the earliest conception.) Jimmy experiences up and downs, including experiences with drugs and alcohol, as he seeks to find just who he really is.

The Opera: Is It In My Head?

In delving into Quadrophenia, it’s apparent how well-constructed the opera is, with use of recurring themes (or leitmotifs) for each band member, and each character. (If you only know “5:15” the single and are hearing the album for the first time, it’s a pivotal moment when the “Why should I care…” motif is introduced in “Cut My Hair,” early on! Similarly, the “finale” “Love Reign O’er Me” recurs.) When Roger Daltrey’s ghostly tone pierces from a distance in “I Am the Sea” as echoes of music we’ve yet to hear fill the soundscape, the effect is positively haunting. When the piece segues into the proper opening, “The Real Me,” Daltrey’s thunderous vocal, full of character and fire, practically explodes from the speakers. You can easily picture him taking the stage, spot-lit, in a prologue to the extended instrumental Overture. The visceral guitar and keyboard interplay is very much of the work of the same band that created the hard rock of Who’s Next, but the ambition of the music is lofty, indeed.

Townshend knew when to deploy each singer, including himself. His sensitive lead on “I’m One” (“Ill-fitting clothes/And I blend in with the crowd/Fingers so clumsy/Voice too loud/But I’m one)” enhances his honest adolescent anthem and perfectly complements John Entwistle’s rock-steady bass and Keith Moon’s perfectly controlled-yet-uncontrollable drums. For Townshend, acting as producer with the entirety of The Who, knew that the sound had to come first on a rock album, and made sure the instrumental interplay and textures were as exciting as the songwriting. The strings and piano on “The Dirty Jobs” will take you by surprise, much as the brass band interlude and piercing piano on “Helpless Dancer” will. Daltrey’s vocal travels on “Dancer” from speaker to speaker, the grand mock-operatic vocals contrasting with the ripples of Townshend’s guitar and the subtly-commenting horns.

Amazingly, even the lesser-known songs on Quadrophenia could have been singles, so melodically accessible and forcefully played are they. Lyrically, Townshend addresses themes of anger and paranoia, but he doesn’t condescend about youth and its confusions. In the disaffected “I’ve Had Enough,” Daltrey’s vocal grows more intense with each verse as he sings of a simply-expressed truth: “You were under the impression/That when you were walking forwards/You’d end up further onward/But things ain’t quite that simple.”

“5:15” might be the centerpiece of Quadrophenia, and it’s one of the most perfect Who songs ever, adding frenetic horns and pounding piano to the band equation. Amazingly, this most intricate of songs was written on the spot in the studio, based on some of the musical content found elsewhere in the opera. It captures Jimmy’s train journey in the story, those tight, ferocious guitars and drums keeping the anxiety level high. On “Sea and Sand,” which follows “5:15,” Townshend’s music adjusts as each verse depicts a changing state of mind for Jimmy. The verses beginning “The girl I love is a perfect dresser…” and “I see her dancing, across the ballroom…” are more reflective before the music returns to the crunchy rock chords; even without the lyrics the music would reveal the character.

Water is another major element of Quadrophenia, most explicitly in the desperate “Drowned” (“I want to drown…in cold water”) in which Jimmy loses himself to a spiritual flood. Although Townshend didn’t elect to do mod pastiche for Quadrophenia (effectively, he would have been pastiching his own sound from a few years earlier), there’s a touch of an even earlier style – vaudeville – in Keith Moon’s performance on “Bell Boy.” As Moon croons in his best Cockney drawl as an older man who Jimmy finds even more pitiable than himself, the keyboards shimmer.

“Doctor Jimmy” was reportedly inspired by Moon’s real-life rages (“What is it? I’ll take it! Who is she? I’ll rape it! Gonna bet there? I’ll meet it! Getting high? You can’t beat it!”) as Jimmy exposes his most unbridled, untamed and wild side. The character asks many questions throughout the album: “Is it me?,” “Is it in my head?,” “Why should I care?,” and so on. This track is an epic explosion.\

By the time the water washes over Jimmy as the opening piano chords to “Love Reign O’er Me” begin, the listener is both exhilarated and exhausted. Townshend has spoken of the importance of keeping the story sketchy enough so that listeners can insert themselves into it; one can conservatively say that he most definitely succeeded with the double album Quadrophenia.

We delve into Pete Townshend’s demo recordings, this box set’s raison d’être, after the jump!

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Written by Joe Marchese

December 8, 2011 at 12:17

Posted in Box Sets, Features, News, The Who

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The Second Disc Buyers Guide: The 100 Greatest Reissues of All Time (Part 1: #100-96)

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Welcome to our brand-new, exhaustive feature to take us to the end of another great year for reissues and box sets: our first-ever official Second Disc Buyers Guide! From now until Christmas, we’re taking you on a delightful trip through the 100 greatest albums of all time, as selected by Rolling Stone in 2003, through the filter of when and how these classic albums have been reissued, remastered and repackaged. If you’ve ever wondered to yourself which versions of these albums to buy for certain bonus tracks and the like, wonder no more.

Our first installment takes us from the smoky, jazzy style of Frank Sinatra to the New Wave heavy artillery of Elvis Costello, with a little bit of funk and rock opera thrown in for good measure. It’s all waiting for you after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 28, 2011 at 12:00

Release Round-Up: Week of November 15

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A brief note before we kick off the Release Round-Up: first, an apology for missing the last one. And second, a moment of crowd-sourcing from you, our beloved readers. As nice a service as the Round-Up is, it also seems….boring. Do you agree? How might one change it up? Sound off in the comments.

The Who, Quadrophenia: The Director’s Cut (Geffen/UMe)

Four discs of Quadrophenia goodness: the remastered album, demos, vinyl, a book of liner notes and, heaven knows why, part of the album remixed in 5.1 surround.

Ray Charles, Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles (Concord)

Five discs of the Genius’ single sides of the ’60s and ’70s, including “Georgia on My Mind,” “One Mint Julep,” “Hit the Road Jack,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “America the Beautiful.”

Frank Sinatra, Best of the Best (Capitol/Reprise)

The first compilation to span the Chairman’s best-loved eras, available as a single-disc set or a deluxe set with a rare live show.

The Supremes, More Hits by the Supremes: Expanded Edition (Hip-o Select/Motown)

The original album in mono and stereo plus scores of rarities for the discerning fan.

R.E.M., Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage 1981-2011 (Warner Bros.)

The American rock legends put a period on the end of their career with their first double-disc compilation, spanning both the I.R.S. and Warner Bros. years.

Various Artists, Cameo-Parkway Holiday Hits (Real Gone)

Eighteen rockin’ holiday hits from Bobby Rydell, The Cameos and…Bob Seger? A must hear in a slightly weaker season for Christmas catalogue titles.

Wall of Voodoo, Lost Weekend: The Best of the I.R.S. Years (Varese Vintage)

The first career-spanning compilation from the “Mexican Radio” band, bringing a lot of latter-day tracks to CD that many have probably not heard much, if at all.

Original West End Cast, The Phantom of the Opera: 25th Anniversary Box Set (Decca)

The cast albums for Phantom and its not-nearly-as-good sequel, Love Never Dies, plus a bonus DVD.

Written by Mike Duquette

November 15, 2011 at 09:19

Pink Floyd, Beatles, Nirvana, Doors Lead Off Record Store Day Exclusives On “Black Friday”

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For those of us who still savor the experience of shopping in a physical environment, Record Store Day has become a yearly tradition.  It’s sometimes frustrating and sometimes exciting, but few could argue with an event that spotlights the hard-working independent music retailers out there who believe that brick-and-mortar retail can still thrive in the iTunes era.  (Amen to that!)  A more recent offshoot of Record Store Day has been the mini-event held each Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving.  While crowds line up each year at Best Buy or Wal-Mart in the wee hours, a rare breed has been doing the same at the record shop in the hopes of obtaining a number of exclusive releases, most of which are on vinyl.  This year’s Black Friday crop boasts reissues from some of the biggest names in rock: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, The Doors and so many more.

With Black Friday just around the corner, Record Store Day has revealed the full list of exclusive titles.  Among the highlights are a number of 7-inch single releases.   From The Beatles, a box set will offer four picture sleeve singles in a sturdy flip-top box.  Pink Floyd’s singles box is dedicated to The Wall, and consists of three 7-inch singles in picture sleeves.  Both box sets feature a Record Store Day-branded adapter and a poster.  Pink Floyd fans might also be interested in a release from Mick Rock.  Syd Barrett is remembered with The Photography of Mick Rock.  The box includes photographs of the legendary Floyd member plus a 7-inch single of “Octopus” b/w “Golden Hair” on yellow vinyl.  A limited, numbered 7-inch set from Bob Dylan offers four singles and includes a sticker of the artist.  Janis Joplin also gets the 7-inch box treatment; her Move Over! offers four previously unreleased picture sleeve singles, including six never-before-released tracks and two rarities.  The box itself includes a photo print of Janis and a temporary tattoo replica of her tattoo.  Joplin is also the recipient of a 180-gram vinyl box set containing four original albums.  The Doors’ L.A. Woman set includes four singles, the fourth of which consists of studio chatter.

Sundazed is offering a number of 7-inches from its deep catalogue.  The Yardbirds’ “Ha Ha Said the Clown” b/w “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor”  is a 1967 U.S. single that never received U.K. release, and “Ten Little Indians” is another U.S. mono single from the same year showcasing Jimmy Page’s experimental studio work.  Two more singles come from The Byrds.  “The Times They Are A-Changin’” b/w “She Don’t Care About Time” was originally earmarked for single release but that never happened; now, the Dylan covers arrive in their originally intended format.  These are joined by “Eight Miles High” b/w “Why” in their mono RCA Studios versions.  The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Alley Oop” b/w “Night Owl Blues,” another “single that never was,” rounds out the label’s releases.

After the jump, you’ll find more Record Store Day titles revealed including those from Nirvana, John Lennon and Pete Townshend, plus the complete track listings to each and every one of these releases we’ve discussed above!  Read the rest of this entry »

Bruce Springsteen, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan, Metallica Join Neil Young For “Bridge School Concerts” CD/DVD

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Who but Neil Young could have brought The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sonic Youth, Ben Harper, Eddie Vedder, Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, and Los Lonely Boys together on the same stage?  Though Young is an easy target for what can appear as a capricious attitude towards his back catalogue – announcing, then delaying or cancelling titles with alarming frequency – one aspect of the man’s great legacy cannot be in dispute, and that is his philanthropy.  Since 1986, Young and his wife Pegi have offered annual support for The Bridge School, an organization dedicated to the education of children with severe speech and physical impairments.  That was the year Mr. and Mrs. Young created The Bridge School Benefit Concert. 

The very first line-up included Young with his friends Crosby, Stills and Nash, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Tom Petty and Robin Williams; the 2004 concert offered the diverse group including Bennett and McCartney.  This year’s shows, on October 22 and 23, will continue the generally all-acoustic ethos, and will offer faces both old and new.  Bennett and Vedder are to join Diana Krall, Dave Matthews, Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Los Invisibles featuring Carlos Santana, Beck, Jenny Lewis, and Mumford and Sons.

Held yearly at Mountain View, California’s Shoreline Amphitheatre, The Bridge School Benefit Concerts have welcomed artists including David Bowie, Willie Nelson, Sarah McLachlan, Elton John, Leon Russell, Sheryl Crow, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Brian Wilson, The Who, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor and Bob Dylan.  All of those names (and many more!) appear on The Bridge School Concerts: 25th Anniversary Edition, due on October 24 from Reprise Records in 2-CD and 3-DVD formats.  There has been one prior Bridge School CD (1997’s The Bridge School Concerts Vol. 1) and a number of digital-only offerings, but these sets mark the most comprehensive package of music from the Bridge School’s archives.

Though there is some overlap among the CD and DVD releases (which will be sold separately), each features a unique selection of music.  Contributions from David Bowie, Patti Smith, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Simon and Garfunkel, Tom Waits and Billy Idol only appear on the DVD set.  No Doubt, Jack Johnson, Sonic Youth, Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett, Nils Lofgren, Norah Jones and Jonathan Richman are among those artists only appearing on CD.  Both formats include tracks from Elton John and Leon Russell (“My Dream Come True”), Bruce Springsteen (“Born in the USA”), Brian Wilson (“Surfin’ USA”), Fleet Foxes (“Blue Ridge Mountains”), Metallica (“Disposable Heroes”), The Who (“Won’t Get Fooled Again”) and Paul McCartney (“Get Back”).  Neil Young himself is represented on CD with “Country Feedback” with R.E.M. and “Love and Only Love” with Crazy Horse.  “Country Feedback” reappears on the DVD, along with a Young solo performance of “Crime in the City.”

Whereas the first two DVDs in the set are exclusively devoted to performance footage, the third disc contains bonus material: two documentaries, Backstage at the Bridge School Benefit and The Bridge School Story, along with artist and student interviews.

Hit the jump to watch the video trailer, as well as for the complete track listing and pre-order links!  The Bridge School Concerts: 25th Anniversary Edition hits stores on October 24 from Reprise, and it’s important to note that “all profits from this release go directly to The Bridge School.”  The label has set up an official site for the project here! Read the rest of this entry »