Posts Tagged ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’

This limited edition and EXCLUSIVE bundle comes with a 14-track cassette featuring highlights from the box along with two additional unreleased tracks: the outtake “Asking Me Lies” and an instrumental of “I Won’t” (Bearsville Version). The cassette also features the original, unused cover art for Don’t Tell A Soul.

Former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson is the first to admit that his band’s sixth album is not his favorite. When the Replacements made 1989’s Don’t Tell a Soul, their record label was pressuring frontman Paul Westerberg to write songs that could get played on the radio, and the group ended up compromising on the mix of the album. Producer Matt Wallace’s mixes were dismissed, the tapes went missing for years, and the label hired hit-maker Chris Lord-Alge (Steve Winwood, James Brown) put his spin on it. The end result, Stinson and his bandmates felt, was an album that sounded overcooked.

Despite this, or maybe because of this, Don’t Tell a Soul was the group’s highest-charting release, and the jaunty “I’ll Be You” (with memorable wordplay like “dressin’ sharp and feelin’ dull”) and the gentle “Achin’ to Be” were some of the band’s biggest commercial hits. Stinson initially had mixed emotions when he saw the contents of a new box set built around the album, Dead Man’s Pop, but ultimately he came around on it. “The amount of unreleased stuff was surprising,” he tells us from his home in Hudson, New York. “Some of that stuff was seriously never meant to see the light of day for obvious reasons. But when you package it up and look at it in its totality, I get why fans would like that.”

Back in 1987, Minneapolis rock and roll renegades The Replacements famously stole their Twin/Tone master tapes and threw them in the Mississippi River. A year later—while wrapping up work on their Warner Bros. album, Don’t Tell A Soul—the group absconded with a collection of their reels from Paisley Park studios. Thankfully, those tapes were spared a watery fate, and instead stashed away for decades by the band. Now they’ve been recovered to form the basis of The Replacements first-ever boxed set, Dead Man’s Pop.

Although Don’t Tell A Soul ultimately became the group’s best-selling effort, The Replacements were unsatisfied with the sound of the record. The band has radically reimagined Don’t Tell A Soul to create a 4CD/1LP set that features the album mixed as it was originally intended (Don’t Tell A Soul Redux), along with a collection of previously unheard tracks (We Know The Night: Rare & Unreleased), and a classic concert from 1989 (The Complete Inconcerated Live).

The box features a newly completed mix of the album by Don’t Tell A Soul producer Matt Wallace (based on his 1988 Paisley Park mix); a disc of unreleased recordings (including a session with Tom Waits); plus the band’s entire June 2nd, 1989 show at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In total, the box includes 60 tracks–58 of which have never been heard before.

Dead Man’s Pop features a version of the album mixed the way they had originally intended it to sound, by Wallace. It makes the songs fuller — more like a band — without a lot of the production trickery of the time. There’s also a disc of outtakes, B sides and some radically different-sounding demos the band cut in Bearsville, New York with producer Tony Berg; the volume also features the band’s legendarily sloshy jam session with Tom Waits. It ends with two discs of the full University of Wisconsin performance that ended up on the promo release Inconcernated.

It’s meant for Replacements completists, and Stinson can respect that people would want to hear these things, even if they were a bit shocking to him. “I respect what we have left as a legacy,” he says. “And the diehard fans really appreciate all the bumps and barnacles, and there’s plenty of them out there. I think for a band of our stature — or lack thereof stature — it’s a cool thing. A lot of times, reissue stuff can be sort of trite. I think the ticket is really what Bob [Mehr, producer and Replacements biographer] unearthed and what the people involved thought would be a good thing to include. I think they used good judgment on it.”

Presented in a 12 x 12 hardcover book – loaded with dozens of rarely seen photos – the set features a detailed history of the Don’t Tell A Soul era written by Bob Mehr, who produced the box with Rhino’s Jason Jones, and also authored The New York Times bestseller Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements.

Mehr writes: “While it’s impossible to unhear a record that’s been around for three decades, this version, Don’t Tell A Soul Redux, is the album the band made and intended to release. In addition to Matt Wallace’s mix, Redux also restores several crucial elements from the sessions, including original drums tracks, vocal takes and tempos that were altered in post-production…[and] the band’s original sequence of the album.”

Wallace says: “The true spirit of The Replacements was always there on the recordings we did back in 1988, and now you can hear and feel it clearly…This was the project of a lifetime for me when we recorded it 30-plus years ago, and it’s even truer today as we’ve finally fulfilled our original vision.”

Paul Westerberg, Slim Dunlap, Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars started recording Don’t Tell A Soul in June 1988 with Tony Berg at Bearsville Studios, but the chaotic sessions were cut short and mothballed. Nine unreleased tracks from Bearsville appear on Dead Man’s Pop, including early versions of “I’ll Be You,” “Darlin’ One” and “Achin’ To Be” and the previously unheard “Last Thing in the World.” The collection also features tracks the band recorded with Tom Waits, five of which have never been officially released: among them, “Lowdown Monkey Blues,” “We Know The Night” and a cover of Billy Swan’s “I Can Help.”

The final two CDs of Dead Man’s Pop capture the band performing live in Milwaukee during the “Don’t Tell A Soul Tour.” A few songs from the concert originally appeared on the promo-only EP Inconcerated Live (1989), but the bulk of the 29 tracks included have never been released. The entire show has been newly mixed by Brian Kehew (Ramones, The Faces).

Additionally, Dead Man’s Pop will include Wallace’s Don’t Tell A Soul Redux mix on 180-gram vinyl.