Posts Tagged ‘50th Anniversary’

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‘Déjà Vu Alternates’ from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, is a recreation of their immensely popular second album, Déjà Vu featuring alternate versions of songs which appeared on the original album. The iconic album which featured “Teach Your Children,” “Woodstock,” “Our House,” and “Helpless,” will showcase these alternate versions on vinyl for the first time and feature a cover that mirrors the original album with an alternate photo from the cover shoot. Pressed on 180 gram black vinyl and limited to 10,000 copies, get yours in stores starting July 17th as part of Record Store Day Drops. https://recordstoreday.com/

One year after its actual golden anniversary, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Déjà Vu will be receiving a 50th Anniversary deluxe edition with hours of rare and unreleased studio recordings. The March 17th, 2021 announcement described the original as “the most-anticipated new album in America in 1970.” The album includes such legendary songs.  Rhino will be releasing an expansive 4-CD/1-LP collection on May 14th that includes a “pristine” version of the original album on both 180-gram vinyl and CD, plus hours of rare and unreleased studio recordings “that provide incredible insight into the making of the record.” 

You can also listen to the outtake “Ivory Tower” and the previously unreleased demo for “Birds,” recorded during the sessions. On the new edition, the March 11th, 1970 album’s original 10 tracks are joined by 38 more to add nearly two-and-a-half hours of music that includes demos, outtakes, and alternate takes – most of which are previously unreleased. Among them is “Know You Got to Run,” the first song the quartet recorded during its first session on July 15th at the house Stills was renting from Peter Tork in Studio City.

“Ivory Tower” was one of Stills’ contributions to the Déjà Vu sessions that was ultimately left off of the final album. The song morphed and changed over the years, and was eventually released on a later Stills’ solo project as “Little Miss Bright Eyes.”

Other unreleased highlights include the demo for Crosby’s “Almost Cut My Hair”; Stills’ outtake for “Bluebird Revisited”; and Young’s alternate version of “Helpless” featuring harmonica. Also making its debut on the set is a delightful version of “Our House” that features Nash singing with the song’s inspiration, Joni Mitchell.

This ad for the “Woodstock” single appeared in the March 28th, 1970, issue of Record World

See the source image

From the announcement: Déjà Vu: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition will be presented in a 12 x 12 hardcover book. The collection comes illustrated with rarely seen photos from the era and annotated by writer/filmmaker Cameron Crowe, whose revealing liner notes recount the making of the album through stories told by the people who were there, including David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young. On the same day, a deluxe vinyl version will also be available with the full content across 5 LPs of 180-gram vinyl. Crowe recalls in the liner notes that “Déjà Vu caught the zeitgeist perfectly” and “might just be the legendary band’s most accurate portrait of their fiery individualism.” Of this new Deluxe Edition, Crowe says: “50 years later, with the sonic aperture fully opened, it’s a wide-screen look at the big picture of Déjà Vu, with more music, including a batch of surprises, unseen photos, and a lot more clarity.”

In 2020, Nash, CSNY’s de facto archivist, said, “it will have a lot of stuff that people have never heard before. We found that the master tapes… are still fresh.”

Déjà Vu Alternates from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young is a recreation of their immensely popular second album,Déjà Vu, featuring alternate versions of songs which appeared on the original album.  The iconic album which featured “Teach Your Children,” “Woodstock,” “Our House” and “Helpless” will showcase these alternate versions on vinyl for the first time after appearing on CD as part of the box set due in May. It will also feature a cover that mirrors the original album with an alternate photo from the cover shoot.

Paul McCartney had always been one for a homespun album, whether it be his 1970 debut “McCartney”, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard from 2005, or McCartney III, which he recorded in lockdown (or rockdown, as he called it). Last year, McCartney was the first of his albums to receive a half-speed remaster at Abbey Road, which was pressed up for Record Store Day. The Paul McCartney Half-Speed Remaster series continues with the indie favourite “RAM”, due May 14th to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

Originally released in May 1971, “RAM” served as the follow-up to Paul’s 1970 debut solo album McCartney. The record was also the only McCartney album to be credited to both Paul and his late wife Linda.

RAM saw Paul and Linda taking to the heart of the country and recording most of the album at his Scotland farm following some traditional tracking sessions in New York. This lo-fi approach practically created the “cottagecore” aesthetic routinely explored by today’s most prominent artists. And it’s said that any indie-pop musician who’s recorded an album out of their bedroom owes something to RAMIndeed, with just one listen to “Dear Boy,” “Ram On,” “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” or “Back Seat of My Car,” it’s easy to draw the line through four-plus decades of indie-pop sounds.

But it wasn’t just Paul and Linda creating the music. The McCartneys also brought on Denny Seiwell, who’d go on to be part of the first incarnation of Wings, along with many other session musicians. As such, the album not only stands as a great piece of music, but also an important transitional piece in McCartney’s recorded history.

The RAM sessions were completed in early 1971, also yielding the standalone single “Another Day”, a worldwide hit that preceded RAM’s May 1971 release.

RAM’s singular sonic palette was unlike its predecessor—or anything else for that matter—and has grown exponentially in stature and influence over the decades. Critically polarizing at the time, the album was instantly beloved by fans, hitting #1 in the UK and giving Paul his first post-Beatles American #1 single, the GRAMMY-winning Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. In recent years the record has continued to solidify its standing as one of the most loved in Paul’s unparalleled output. Fans and critics alike continue to sing its praises: Rolling Stone has hailed the album as a “masterpiece” and “a grand psychedelic ramble full of divine melodies,” Pitchfork has praised it as “a domestic-bliss album, one of the weirdest, earthiest, and most honest ever made,” and Mojo, perhaps most accurately of all, has deemed RAM “quintessentially McCartney.”

RAM has gone on to become one of the most beloved of McCartney’s albums. Upon its release it was panned by critics, though it reached No. 1on the U.K. Albums Chart and yielded his first post-Beatles No. 1 in the States with the whimsical mini-suite “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.” Now the album has been deemed “quintessentially McCartney,” a career highlight worthy of reappraisal.

For it’s 50th anniversary edition, “RAM” has been pressed from a new master cut at half-speed sourced from the original master tapes at Abbey Road. The LP is available to pre-order now, and will also be available on indie record stores’ shelves on the May 14th release date. 

Paul and Linda McCartney, RAM 

Janis Joplin’s final studio album, “Pearl”, will be the subject of a variety of 50th Anniversary releases, overseen by the Joplin Estate and Columbia/Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music.  The album, her final studio LP, was originally issued on January 11th, 1971, via Columbia Records it was released three months after Joplin‘s passing on October 4th, 1970, and eight days before what would have been her 28th birthday on January 19th.

JanisJoplin.com will be releasing an exclusive capsule collection which includes a fine art collaboration with the estate of Barry Feinstein, the acclaimed celebrity photographer who lensed the iconic Pearl album cover; further details will be announced soon. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is also curating a special exhibit devoted to Joplin, “Pearl” and more, scheduled to open May 21st, 2021.

Genesis Publications has announced the upcoming publication of a new limited edition book, Janis Joplin: Days &Summers – Scrapbook 1966-68. During her career, Joplin created a personal record of her meteoric rise to fame and the flowering of Sixties counterculture, including posters, souvenirs, press clippings, photographs and records, and annotated them with her comments. Featured alongside are previously unpublished items from her personal archive, including letters she wrote home to her family and a preceding scrapbook from her senior high school years, 1956-59. The book’s in-depth text provides a new account of the singer’s extraordinary life. It’s available to order at Joplin’s above website.

From the January. 8th announcement: The only album Joplin ever recorded with the Full Tilt Boogie Band, the touring ensemble that had backed her on the Festival Express (a mythic 1970 concert tour by railroad across Canada with the Grateful Dead, the Band and others), “Pearl” included canonical studio recordings of songs she’d introduced to audiences on tour.

Peaking at #1, a position it held for nine weeks, Pearl showcased some of Janis’s most familiar and best-loved performances including her cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee” and the off-the-cuff a cappella “Mercedes Benz,” the last song she ever recorded.

Pearl has been certified 4 times Platinum by the RIAA with Janis Joplin’s overall album catalogue–including greatest hits compilations–accounting for 17 Platinum and 3 Gold certifications (approximately 18.5 million records) in the United States. Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits was RIAA certified 9x Platinum on November 22, 2019 while “Piece of My Heart” (her breakout single from Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills, one of 1968’s top-selling albums) More than 31 million Joplin albums have been sold worldwide.

Scheduled release for April 2021, Vinyl Me, Please, the “best damn record club out there,” in association with Columbia/Legacy, will release a collectible 50th anniversary limited edition of Pearl pressed on white “Pearl” colour 180g vinyl. 

In July 2021, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, in association with Columbia/Legacy, will also release a limited edition 50th Anniversary Edition of Pearl as an UltraDisc One-Step 180g 45RPM 2-LP box set. Mastered from the Original Master Tapes with Mobile Fidelity’s One-Step process.

Janis Joplin: Days & Summers

Janis Joplin: Days & Summers Scrapbook 1966-68

‘I’m sure you’ve heard that I’m a new breed swinger now, the idol of my generation, a rock’n’roll singer. Yes fans, yes, it’s true.’ – Janis Joplin

As the first-ever female rock star who dazzled listeners with her powerful voice and fierce uninhibited style, few musicians have attained the same iconic status as Janis Joplin. Now, Janis’s personal scrapbook is revealed for the first time, compiled between 1966-1968, as the singer found her star rising.

‘We’ve had Janis’s scrapbook for a long time. It was really important to her. Scrapbooks may sound quaint and old-fashioned today, but by sitting down, cutting these things out, sticking them in place and annotating them, Janis has given us a unique record of the period.’ – Michael Joplin

In her handmade scrapbook Janis Joplin created a personal record of her meteoric rise to fame and the flowering of Sixties counterculture in which she was to play a lead role. From the singer’s earliest intimate blues gigs in local coffee houses, to her first appearances with Big Brother and the Holding Company, to the band’s breakthrough performance at Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, Janis’s story is remarkable. Throughout it all, she collected posters, souvenirs, press clippings, photographs and records, and annotated them with her comments.

More than 50 years later, Janis’s scrapbook is revealed for the first time. Featured alongside are previously unpublished items from her personal archive, including letters she wrote home to her family and a preceding scrapbook from her senior high school years, 1956-59. Collectively, they offer a brand new perspective on the Port Arthur girl that transformed into a rock goddess, setting the world on fire with her talent.

‘Her voice was so powerful it would cut through a rock… Right away we knew she was the one. We said to her, ‘We’re working next weekend, hope you’re ready.’ – Peter Albin, Big Brother and the Holding Company

Written by the people who really knew Janis and those inspired by her, the book’s in-depth text provides a fascinating, new account of the singer’s extraordinary life. With an introduction by Grace Slick and an afterword by Kris Kristofferson, the book’s list of nearly 40 contributors includes Big Brother bandmates Peter Albin and Dave Getz, Jefferson Airplane members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen, musicians Mick Fleetwood, Chrissie Hynde, Tom Jones, Taj Mahal, Michelle Philips and Jimmy Page, talk show host Dick Cavett, as well as siblings Laura and Michael Joplin.

The Manuscript image 5

Other figures interviewed exclusively for the project include Woodstock Festival organiser Michael Lang, American artist Stanley Mouse, writers Ben Fong-Torres, Richard Goldstein and David Dalton, plus legendary rock photographers Henry Diltz, Bob Gruen and Elliott Landy.

‘An amazingly talented human tornado who just whirled her way into our consciousness. We try to describe her but, like being in love, it’s difficult telling someone else how stunning the impact is. You know when you feel it, and Janis was probably the best at translating those all-consuming emotions.’ – Grace Slick

Janis Joplin was an American singer, songwriter and arranger, from Port Arthur, Texas, who moved to San Francisco in 1966 to join local band Big Brother and the Holding Company and pursue her dream of becoming a musician. She died aged 27 on October 4th, 1970. She is one of the most influential icons from the Sixties and considered one of the best female blues singers ever. ‘There was just nothing else like her – total rebelliousness, abandon, musical excellence, and connection with everyone in the audience. Pure magic. Everybody just loved her. She gave us a voice that was anti-establishment, and I’ve lived by it ever since.’ – Chrissie Hynde

THE SIGNATORIES

Each book in the Days & Summers edition is estate-stamped with Janis Joplin’s signature, and hand-signed by the following contributors:

Laura Joplin: Janis Joplin’s sister
Michael Joplin: Janis Joplin’s brother
Peter Albin: American musician, guitarist and bassist. Founding member of Big Brother and the Holding Company
Dave Getz: American musician, teacher and visual artist. Drummer in Big Brother and the Holding Company
Jorma Kaukonen: American blues, folk, and rock guitarist. Founding member of Jefferson Airplane

THE COLLECTOR COPIES

Collector copies are numbered from 351 to 2,000, authenticated with the Janis Joplin estate stamp, and hand-signed by the contributors.

Limited to only 2,000 copies worldwide, each book in the Days & Summers edition is hand-numbered, estate-stamped with Janis Joplin’s signature, and hand-signed by her Big Brother bandmates Peter Albin and Dave Getz, Jefferson Airplane’s Jorma Kaukonen, and Janis’s siblings, Laura Joplin and Michael Joplin.

The large-format book (325mm x 305mm / 12¾” x 12″) is printed on heavyweight 200gsm paper with gilt and deckled page edging. Collector copies are quarter-bound in a navy, vegan leather, and light blue binding cloth blocked with gold, pink and blue foiling. Days & Summers is the name Janis Joplin gave to the scrapbook she kept during her high school years, and the book’s cover design is similarly inspired by Janis, featuring her own hand-drawn lettering and decorative linework.

All copies in the limited edition include a special 7″ single containing two exceptionally rare recordings: two blues tracks from The Typewriter Tape recorded in 1964 by Janis Joplin and Jorma Kaukonen (‘Daddy Daddy Daddy’ by Janis Joplin, and the blues standard ‘Trouble In Mind’). Capturing Joplin at a pivotal moment, before joining Big Brother & the Holding Company, The Typewriter Tape has attained mythic status among bootleg recordings. Given the historic nature of the two tracks, the single is pressed on 180-gram audiophile vinyl.

The Collector signed book and vinyl record set is presented in a navy, cloth-bound slipcase.

  • Extras:
    7″ vinyl with two blues tracks from The Typewriter Tape recorded in 1964 in Santa Clara, California by Janis Joplin and Jorma Kaukonen: ‘Daddy Daddy Daddy’ by Janis Joplin and ‘Trouble In Mind’. Foreword by Grace Slick and Afterword by Kris Kristofferson with a stamp of his signature.
Elton

Elton John celebrates 50th Anniversary of “Tumbleweed Connection” with release of unheard jazz version of “Come Down In Time” on a limited edition 10-inch vinyl record.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of his seminal album Tumbleweed Connection, Elton John has today unveiled a previously unheard jazz version of “Come Down In Time.” Limited to just 5,000 copies of 10” vinyl  ‘Come Down In Time (Jazz Version)’ hadn’t been heard for close to five decades until this year, it was uncovered deep in the archives whilst researching rarities for Elton’s forthcoming boxset Elton: Jewel Box (released 13th November on UMe).

Recorded on 20th March 1970 at London’s Trident Studios, “Come Down In Time (Jazz Version)” more than doubles the length of the final version (re-recorded three months later with different musicians) that appears on Tumbleweed Connection. Without the orchestral arrangements by Paul Buckmaster which coloured the album version, the track ends in the same way as the original with Bernie’s line “while some leave you counting stars in the night” before starting up again as an jazz-influenced instrumental. The track features some astonishing piano and guitar interplay between Elton and Caleb Quaye, supported by the Hookfoot rhythm section of David Glover on bass and Roger Pope on drums. ‘Very nice!’ producer Gus Dudgeon exclaims as the track breaks down, before resuming with yet more freestyle playing.

“Come Down In Time’” was originally taken from Elton’s seminal 1970 album Tumbleweed Connection which celebrated the 50th anniversary of its original release. Tumbleweed Connection is a much-loved album within Elton John’s back catalogue. Steeped in what was to become known as ‘Americana,’ it was written and recorded entirely in London from March 20th to June 6th, 1970, fitted in amongst Elton’s various promotional dates in U.K. and Europe for his previous, eponymous, album. Although released afterwards, it was made before “Your Song” had become a hit and Elton’s triumphant debut performances at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in late August – the first time Elton and Bernie stepped foot on the soil they had written about so eloquently about on the LP. Its iconic sepia sleeve evokes a long-forgotten West, and the album itself contains some of Elton and Bernie Taupin’s greatest early songs: “Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun,” “Burn Down The Mission” and “Amoreena.”

“Come Down In Time (Jazz Version)” is now available to buy here on 10” vinyl only. This release is restricted to 5,000 copies only

Side A – Come Down In Time (Jazz Version)

Side B – Ballad Of A Well-Known Gun (DJM Demo)

The Kinks lead guitarist Dave Davies has revealed some details about a 50th Anniversary reissue of the band’s 1970 album “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One” that’s being prepared for release later this year. Dave tells ABC Audio that his brother, Kinks frontman Ray Davies, finished mixing the collection, which will feature various unreleased bonus tracks, including demos, odd mixes and more. The package includes a matt laminated rigid slipcase featuring the original LP cover reproduced with foil and metallic silver finishes. Three CDs contain: The original album new remaster from original HD master tapes, singles (stereo and mono mixes), B-sides, alternate original mixes, new medleys with Ray and Dave Davies conversations, new Ray Davies remixes and original session out-takes, previously unreleased session and live tape audio, instrumental & acoustic versions, previously unreleased demos and BBC material.

Originally recorded 9th May 1970 at Morgan Studio 1, Willesden, UK for The Kinks classic ‘Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One’ original album sessions. This fresh, new 2020 remaster was done from the original HD master tapes by expert Kinks engineer Andrew Sandoval, overseen by Kinks frontman Ray Davies. ‘Lola’, which reached the #9 in the US, #2 in the UK and Germany, was the Kinks‘ biggest single success since ‘Sunny Afternoon’ in 1966 and marked the start of big comeback Stateside. The track, written by Ray Davies, allegedly details a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible trans-gender person whom he meets in a club in Soho, London.

The Kinks continuing the 50th anniversary celebration of their studio albums with various new editions of 1970’s “Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Pt 1”. The December 18th release via Sanctuary Records is produced in association with The Kinks, with audio and visual content curated by Ray Davies. The original album, released on November. 27th, 1970, included the worldwide hit single, “Lola,” as well as “Apeman,” a top 5 record in many markets.

On November 25th, the band premiered an animated video of “Lola,” telling the story of a romantic encounter between a young man and a possible trans-gender person whom he meets in a club in Soho, London.

From the new collection’s announcement: The concept album, their eighth studio release, is a satirical appraisal of the music industry, including song publishers, unions, the press, accountants, business managers, and life on the road. This classic album appeared during a transitional period for the Kinks, and was a critical and commercial success.

Dave also reveals that one interesting highlight of the deluxe reissue is a section dubbed “The Kitchen Sink Tapes” that features recently recorded conversations between Ray and him discussing various songs from the album. “It’s stuff we recorded before this weird pandemic thing,” he explains. “We met up at Ray’s house, and we just [had an] impromptu kind of conversation, [talking] about ‘Ape Man’ and what ‘Lola’ meant to us and how it came about, and how the ideas for ‘Strangers’ were born.”

Davies also reports that the Lola Versus Powerman reissue will include some demos of the song “Lola” that Ray recorded at his house, and an unreleased demo of the Dave-penned gem “Strangers.”

“Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One” was released in November 1970. The record featured the enduring hit “Lola,” which peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the U.K. singles chart. A second single, “Apeman,” only reached #45 on the Hot 100, but was a #5 hit in the U.K. The concept album, their eighth studio release, is a satirical appraisal of the music industry, including song publishers, unions, the press, accountants, business managers, and life on the road. This classic album appeared during a transitional period for the Kinks, and was a critical and commercial success.

Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, commonly abbreviated to Lola Versus Powerman, or just Lola, is the eighth studio album by The Kinks, recorded and released in 1970. A concept album ahead of its time, it’s a satirical appraisal of the music industry, including song publishers, unions, the press, accountants, business managers, and life on the road. One of the all-time classic Kinks albums. Although it appeared during a transitional period for The Kinks, Lola Versus Powerman was a success both critically and commercially for the group, charting in the Top 40 in America and helping restore them in the public eye, making it a “comeback” album. It contained two hit singles: ‘Lola’, which reached the #9 US, #2 UK and Germany – becoming the Kinks’ biggest success since ‘Sunny Afternoon’ in 1966 – and ‘Apeman’, which peaked at #5 in the UK and Germany.

Meanwhile, Dave says that he and Ray still haven’t got any concrete plans to release the new music that they’ve worked on together during the past few years. n m,.,m,.mnn m,jhgfduyfdsp-0“We’ve been talking about it,” he reports. “And we’re getting together [soon] with a view to maybe peruse stuff that we got and see if maybe we can and maybe we can’t. And we’ll see.”

The limited deluxe edition is lavishly packaged, with a 50th anniversary deluxe 10” book-pack of that album, containing many previously unreleased tracks and versions.

The December 18th release via Sanctuary Records is produced in association with The Kinks, with audio and visual content curated by Ray Davies. The original album, released on November 27th, 1970,

Lola Versus Powerman’ 50th Anniversary Box Set Available as a Deluxe 10” slipcased book pack (containing 60 page book, 3 x cds, 2 x 7” singles, 4 x colour prints) and on black heavyweight gatefold vinyl, 2CD and 1CD formats.

Derek and The Dominos‘ 1970 album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” is being reissued for its 50th Anniversary as a deluxe 4LP vinyl set and across two CDs.

The original album has been half-speed mastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios and, being a double, is pressed on two LPs. Two further records of bonus material (not half-speed mastered) make up this 4LP deluxe box set.

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs was celebrated back in 2011 with a deluxe, cross-format box set that featured the remastered original album (on CD, vinyl and in a 5.1 surround mix on DVD), 1973’s In Concert, and a disc of 13 bonus tracks, including new mixes of outtakes from the supergroup’s unfinished second album and a live set from The Johnny Cash Show. This new box strips things back somewhat, offering the half-speed mastered album and the 13 bonus cuts across four LPs along with the 12″ x 12″ book from the 40th anniversary set and a certificate of authenticity.  (The 2CD 40th anniversary edition will also go back into print as well, ostensibly for the 50th anniversary.) Alongside this is a further 2LPs of bonus material some of which has previously been unreleased on vinyl. All the bonus material across all of LP3 & LP4 is mastered normally (so is not half-speed mastered).

Layla was the end result of four members of Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett’s touring group – guitarist Eric Clapton (already well-known for work with Blind Faith, The Beatles and many more), singer Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon – coming together for a brief but fruitful series of sessions. (Their earliest session produced the briefly issued single “Tell the Truth,” produced by Phil Spector and featuring guitar work from Dave Mason and George Harrison.) The Layla sessions also featured scintillating guitar contributions from Duane Allman. Despite the album’s pedigree, the album never performed to expectations, and tragedy followed the group: Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1971, Radle died in 1980 after years of drug abuse, and Gordon remains institutionalized after killing his mother during a schizophrenic episode in 1983.

But gradually, Layla‘s title track took hold as one of Clapton’s crowning achievements: written about his insatiable infatuation with Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd (who indeed had a decade-long marriage with the guitarist after divorcing the Beatle), “Layla” became a Top 10 hit on both sides of the Atlantic in 1972; in 1990, its Gordon-led piano outro scored a pivotal scene in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas – and three years later, a striking acoustic performance for MTV’s Unplugged won a Grammy Award.

“That thing was like lightning in a bottle,” begins Bobby Whitlock talking about his short-lived band time with Eric Clapton, Derek and the Dominos. “We did one club tour, we did one photo session, then we did a tour of a bit larger venues. Then we did one studio album in Miami. We did one American tour. Then we did one failed attempt at a second album.” And all within about a year’s time in 1970.

So in this case, the oft-overused flash of lightning description is right on the money. And Whitlock was a key part of the kinetic energy behind what’s considered a genuine landmark in not just Clapton’s career but the entire classic rock genre: the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, co-writing six of the double album’s 10 original songs, and bringing his soul-soaked Deep South keyboard skills to the musical mix, taking the vocal lead on two tracks and doubling/trading off with Clapton throughout the rest of the album.

Now, five decades later, he is the keeper of the Dominos legacy. And the dedicated survivor of a star-crossed band if there ever was one. After the band’s short flash as a working act, he descended into some three years of heroin adduction and seclusion. Duane Allman, who played on most of Layla, was killed in a motorcycle crash on October 29th, 1971. Bassist Carl Radle recorded and played with Clapton later in the ’70s and died of a kidney infection, exacerbated by his alcohol and drug abuse, in 1980. Drummer Jim Gordon as well continued to engage in substance abuse, damaging his career with behavioural issues. In 1983, he murdered his mother, claiming a voice in his head had told him to do so. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and has remained incarcerated ever since.

Whitlock stresses “We were better than anybody.” One of the key elements that made them what he feels were the Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band for that all-too-brief time was Whitlock’s deep Southern musical soul. Growing up a preacher’s kid in a family poor as a church mouse, he was weaned on spiritual music (and did some cotton picking in his youth). Coming of age in Memphis, Whitlock was steeped in R&B in the city where white rock ‘n’ roll was born at Sun Studio.

Although Whitlock, only 22 years old at the time, helped Clapton all but define anguished unrequited love in the most profound rock ‘n’ roll terms and tunes on songs like “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad,” “Tell the Truth” and “I Looked Away,” his own ultimate love story is something quite different, and a rather delightful one at that. Though his post-Domino years were not without their struggles, today he’s blissfully married and in musical partnership with singer, bassist, guitarist, sax player, songwriter, recording engineer and producer CoCo Carmel.

Whitlock, Clapton, Radle and Gordon became part of the core crew on the sessions for Harrison’s post-Beatles debut, All Things Must PassWhen Harrison had business elsewhere for a few days, he told the four to use the studio time with producer Phil Spector to cut some tracks, which yielded the debut Dominos 45, “Tell the Truth” b/w “Roll It Over.”

Whitlock says of Clapton, “He wanted to be Derek not Eric. He wasn’t ready to step into his role of as a solo artist at that time.” The four musicians did a show at London’s Lyceum Theatre, and then set off on a tour of small English venues as Derek & the Dominos where the admission was £1, and Clapton’s name was forbidden to be used in any advertising. In late August of ’70, the Dominos arrived at Criteria Studios in Miami to record with producer Tom Dowd. He took them to see the Allman Brothers Band, Clapton and Duane Allman bonded, and the latter joined the Layla sessions to help create some of the most incendiary dual guitar rock ever recorded. The album was suffused with Clapton’s passionate longing for his best friend Harrison’s wife Patti Boyd – interestingly, while in England Whitlock dated her sister Paula – and even though it was only a middling hit on its release, over time its stature grew to become considered a rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece.

The vinyl box comes with a 12×12″ book of sleeve notes taken from the 40th-anniversary edition. A 2CD edition will also be made available which is effectively identical to the double-CD edition issued in 2011.

The big 40th anniversary box set (which was 4CD+DVD+2LP) featured a surround sound mix on the DVD. Since that is now very hard to get hold of, it’s disappointing that the DVD hasn’t been included as with the two CDs to make a triple disc package.

Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs will be reissued on 13th November 2020.

 

Buy Online Cat Stevens - Mona Bone Jakon

Back in 1970 and following a period of illness and recuperation, singer-songwriting troubadour Cat Stevens re-emerged with a new record deal with Island Records and a spiritual and artistic rebirth. ‘Mona Bone Jakon’, his first album for Island, showcased a markedly different change in direction for Cat, unveiling with it a remarkable set of new  compositions that included classics like ‘Trouble’, ‘Maybe You’re Right’ and the UK hit single ‘Lady D’Arbanville’.

To commemorate the album’s 50th anniversary comes this definitive super deluxe box set of ‘Mona Bone Jakon’. Sounding as fresh as the day it was recorded, the original album is represented here by a brand new 2020 remaster of ‘Mona Bone Jakon’ by Geoff Pesche at Abbey Road, overseen by original producer Paul Samwell-Smith 2020 on CD, as well as a new 2020 Mix by David Hefti on both CD and LP. The set also includes an exclusive third CD of previously unreleased demos, and a fourth featuring 18 live performances from 1970/71.

This box is rounded out with a live 12” etched vinyl E.P. of a rare audience recording of ‘Live At Plumpton Jazz & Blues Festival’ from August 1970, and with a BluRay disc featuring the original promo video of ‘Lady D’Arbanville’, plus eight live TV performances, and the HD audio of the new Mona Bone Jakon 2020 Mix. Also included is a 98-page beautifully illustrated hardcover book with extensive new sleeve notes. Finally there’s also a selection of memorabilia including Island Records press kit, two Island press photos, a replica 1970 Plumpton Jaxx and Blues flyer, a Cat Stevens tour sticker and ‘dustbin’ greetings card and pop art print in a card envelope. 

Hitting shelves that day will be 50th anniversary editions of Mona Bone Jakon and Tea For The Tillerman.  Released within 7 months in 1970, these albums saw Stevens redefining his sound.  Following a battle with tuberculosis and a lengthy stay at in the hospital, Stevens had begun looking inward, exploring literature and meditation, and reflecting on who he was as an artist.  Beginning on these two albums, he stripped away many of the production excesses of his late-’60s Deram albums in favour of a more soulful, introspective sound that would dovetail with the burgeoning singer-songwriter movement.  This metamorphosis began with Mona Bone Jakon, produced by ex-Yardbird Paul Samwell-Smith and featuring long time collaborator Alun Davies on guitar along with John Ryan on bass and Harvey Burns on drums.

The 4-CD/Blu-ray/LP 50th anniversary box set edition of Mona Bone Jakon features a new remaster of the original mix (overseen by Paul Samwell-Smith) on CD 1, a 2020 remix by David Hefti on CD 2, and on LP, unreleased demos on CD 3 (including the new single “I Want Some Sun”), and 18 live performances on CD 4.  Among the live performances are legendary television appearances on French TV, Beat Club in Germany, and two different BBC sessions.  Another highlight is a 6-song set from the Plumpton Jazz and Blues Festival in August 1970 which sees Stevens tackling songs from Mona Bone Jakon, the as-yet-released Tea For The Tillerman, and even “Changes IV,” which would appear on Teaser and the Firecat in 1971.  The Plumpton set is also featured on an etched LP in the set.  Rounding out the Mona Bone Jakon box is a Blu-ray disc featuring high-resolution audio of the 2020 mix, plus the original promotional video for “Lady D’Arbanville,” television appearances on Pop Deux and other French TV programs, as well as “Maybe You’re Right” from BBC’s In Concert series and “Lady D’Arbanville” on Beat Club.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a deluxe box set without some memorabilia.  Inside the Mona Bone Jakon box you’ll find a replica Island Records press kit, two Cat Stevens press photos, a replica flier for the 1970 Plumpton Jazz and Blues Festival, a tour sticker, greeting card, and a pop art-inspired dustbin print.

Slimmer editions of Mona Bone Jakon will also be available.  The 1-CD standard edition will feature the 2020 remaster of the original album mix housed in a book set.  A similarly presented 2-CD deluxe edition pairs this remaster with a disc of studio demos and live highlights.

The Doors went back to basics when they checked into Morrison Hotel for their 1970 studio album. The band’s fifth LP, it’s now being reissued by Rhino on October 9th as a 2-CD/1-LP 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. This release follows the label’s similar reissues for The Doors’ first four albums including The Soft Parade which expanded their sound to include orchestration. Morrison Hotel got them back to blues-rock in striking fashion.

The box set features original engineer Bruce Botnick’s remastered version of the 1970 album produced by Paul Rothschild on both CD and vinyl. While Morrison Hotel didn’t yield any major chart hits – “You Make Me Real” b/w “Roadhouse Blues” only made it to No. 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 – it’s since been recognized as a powerful full-length album statement. Henry Diltz’s cover photography has since become one of rock’s most familiar images. The LP made it to No. 4 on the albums chart, and became the band’s highest-charting album in the United Kingdom with its No. 12 berth.

The new box set expands the original album with a second disc of 19 outtakes – totalling more than one hour’s worth of session material. Botnick states in the press release, “There are many takes, different arrangements, false starts, and insightful studio conversations between the band – who were in the studio – and producer Paul Rothchild – who was in the control room. It’s like being a fly on the wall.”

Disc Two kicks off with three sessions for “Queen of the Highway” and continues with another three for “Roadhouse Blues,” arguably the album’s most beloved track. The latter song evolved with different bass players including Soft Parade veteran Harvey Brooks and Lonnie Mack. The pseudonymous John Sebastian (appearing as “G. Puglese”) appeared on the final take with Mack on bass. The disc concludes with the “Peace Frog”/”Blue Sunday” session. Along the way, the set presents the previously released outtake “I Will Never Be Untrue” (indicated here as in an unissued version or mix) and outtake jams on Barrett Strong’s Motown classic “Money (That’s What I Want)” and B.B. King’s “Rock Me Baby.”

David Fricke has penned the liner notes which place the album in the context of its creation, when legal troubles plagued Jim Morrison and threatened to curtail the band’s activity. The Morrison Hotel: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is due from Rhino on October 9th. You’ll find pre-order links and the track listing below!

The Doors, Morrison Hotel: Deluxe Edition (Elektra/Rhino, 2020) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)

CD 1: The Original Album (Elektra EKS-75007, 1970)

Side One: Hard Rock Cafe

“Roadhouse Blues”
“Waiting For The Sun”
“You Make Me Real”
“Peace Frog”
“Blue Sunday”
“Ship Of Fools”
Side Two: Morrison Hotel

“Land Ho!”
“The Spy”
“Queen Of The Highway”
“Indian Summer”
“Maggie M’Gill”
CD 2: Mysterious Union

Black Dressed In Leather (“Queen Of The Highway” Sessions)

First Session (11/15/68)

“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 1, She Was A Princess) *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Various Takes) *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 44, He Was A Monster) *
Second Session (1/16/69)

“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 12, No One Could Save Her) *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 14, Save The Blind Tiger) *
Third Session (Date Unknown)

“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 1, American Boy – American Girl) *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Takes 5, 6 & 9, Dancing Through The Midnight Whirlpool) *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Take 14, Start It All Over) *
“I Will Never Be Untrue” *
“Queen Of The Highway” (Take Unknown) *
Money Beats Soul (“Roadhouse Blues” Sessions)

First Session

“Roadhouse Blues” (Take 14, Keep Your Eyes On The Road) *
“Money (That’s What I Want)” *
“Rock Me Baby” *
Second Session

“Roadhouse Blues” (Takes 6 & 7, Your Hands Upon The Wheel) *
“Roadhouse Blues” (Take 8, We’re Goin’ To The Roadhouse) *
Third Session

“Roadhouse Blues” (Takes 1 & 2, We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time) *
“Roadhouse Blues” (Takes 5, 6 & 14, Let It Roll Baby Roll) *
Dawn’s Highway (Peace Frog/Blue Sunday Session)

“Peace Frog/Blue Sunday” (Take 4) *
“Peace Frog” (Take 12) *
LP Track Listing

Side One: Hard Rock Cafe

“Roadhouse Blues”
“Waiting For The Sun”
“You Make Me Real”
“Peace Frog”
“Blue Sunday”
“Ship Of Fools”
Side Two: Morrison Hotel

“Land Ho!”
“The Spy”
“Queen Of The Highway”
“Indian Summer”
“Maggie M’Gill”
(*) previously unreleased

Absolutely Free Cover

The 50th anniversary reissue of the landmark 1967 Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of  Invention album Absolutely Free was released last year. The expanded double LP edition features rare and previously unreleased recordings and will be released by Zappa Records/UMe

Originally issued by Verve Records on May 26th, 1967, Absolutely Free was the follow-up to Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention’s debut LP Freak Out! which came out the year prior. A series of four sessions with producer Tom Wilson featuring Frank Zappa, vocalist Ray Collins, guitarist Jim Fielder, bassist Roy Estradar, keyboardist Don Preston, drummers Jim Black and Billy Mundi and Bunk Gardner on woodwinds, were held in November 1966 in Los Angeles at the Sunset-Highland Studios of T.T.G. Inc. The resulting 13-track LP included such Zappa classics as “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It,” “Plastic People” and “America Drinks & Goes Home.”

Released 50 years ago on May 26th, 1967 on Verve Records, Absolutely Free was the Mothers of Invention’s follow-up to their landmark debut album, Freak Out! Brash, challenging and exhilarating, the record was revolutionary as it pushed the limits of what an album could be. A pop culture pastiche, the album leaps through genres – from psychedelic pop and progressive rock to free-form jazz and avant-garde noise to doo-wop and garage rock, often in the same composition as on album highlight “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It,” and is filled with Zappa’s trademark biting political and social satire. Hailed as a “fabulously inventive record” that is “by turns hilarious, inscrutable, and virtuosically complex,” the record is divided into two “oratorios” or song suites – “Absolutely Free” and “The M.O.I. American Pageant” – and is rife with complex instrumentation, cutting edge experimentation and unconventional editing.

Produced by Tom Wilson (Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, Sun Ra), who first worked with the band on Freak Out! the year prior, Absolutely Free featured an expanded cadre of musicians working with Zappa and vocalist Ray Collins and included Jim Fielder on guitar, Roy Estrada on bass, Don Preston on keyboards, Bunk Gardner on woodwinds, and drummers Jim Black and Billy Mundi. The album was recorded the week before Thanksgiving, November 1966 in Los Angeles at the Sunset-Highland Studios of T.T.G. Inc., in a series of four sessions. It was edited and re-mixed in New York City at the MGM Studios in five sessions the following week.

As Zappa wrote in the “libretto,” “The music of the MOTHERS speaks of the feelings of what might be described as THE VAST MINORITY. The feelings of the people on the fringe of everything . . . the ones who don’t care if they’re IN or OUT … don’t care if they’re HIP, HEP, SWINGIN’ or ZORCH. This is the audience the MOTHERS want to reach … those few have the power within themselves to cause or motivate social change but have never used it for one reason or another. If you are reading this and understand it (even if you have short hair and watch TV 18 hours a day), it is time that you realized WHO and WHAT YOU ARE. It is time you realized what the words to our songs mean.”

50 years later Absolutely Free resonates as strong as ever and has proven itself to be prescient and wildly ahead of its time.

Here are the details of the Absolutely Free 50th anniversary edition:

This double 180-gram LP version will include the original record mastered by Bernie Grundman cut directly from the original analog master tapes and a second disc with 20 minutes of rare and unreleased bonus material, including the “Why Don’tcha Do Me Right?”/“Big Leg Emma” single as well as vintage remixes and radio ads from The Vault on side one and a laser etching of Zappa’s visage from the album cover on side two. The package features Zappa’s original layout and a reproduction of the rare, highly sought-after “libretto,” an 18-page booklet with a foreword by FZ and lyrics to all the compositions, that was offered only by mail order when originally released.