Posts Tagged ‘Reprise Records’

Lucinda Williams recently sat down with Jessie Scott to talk about the 20th anniversary of her groundbreaking album ‘Car Wheels On A Gravel Road’. Williams is touring with her band in celebration of the 20 years of the songs like “Jackson” and “Drunken Angel” which she played and recorded for a session at Colin Linden’s Nashville studio.

It was her fifth studio album by the singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. It was recorded and co-produced by Williams in Nashville, Tennessee and Canoga Park, California, before being released on June 30th, 1998, by Mercury Records. The album features guest appearances by Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris. It was Willams’ first album to go gold, She also won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album, and received a nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the single “Can’t Let Go”.

Lucinda Williams makes this whole music thing seem so simple: Write in plain language about the people and places that crowd your memory; add subtle flavors of a mandolin here, a Dobro there, perhaps an accordion or slide guitar; above all, sing as honestly and naturally as you can. Of course, it took her six years to achieve this simplicity, an amazing achievement considering the number of knobs that were turned. Her exquisite voice moans and groans and slips and slides–she delivers a polished tone in a coarse manner. On the superb “Concrete and Barbed Wire”, soft acoustic guitars are punctuated by electric slide, accordion, mandolin, and Steve Earle’s harmony. Williams’s deeply personal stories are matched with bluesy rumbles, raunchy grooves, and plaintive whispers. The entire Deep South is reduced to a sleepy small town filled with ex-lovers, dive bars, and endless gravel roads.

Williams’s evocations of rural rootlessness–about juke joints, macho guitarists, alcoholic poets, loved ones locked away in prison, loved ones locked away even more irreparably in the past–are always engaging in themselves. And they mean even more as a whole, demonstrating not that old ways are best,

It isn’t surprising that Lucinda Williams‘ level of craft takes time to assemble, but the six-year wait between “Sweet Old World” and its 1998 follow-up, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”, still raised eyebrows. The delay stemmed both from label difficulties and Williams‘ meticulous perfectionism, the latter reportedly over a too-produced sound and her own vocals. Listening to the record, one can understand why both might have concerned Williams. Car Wheels is far and away her most produced album to date, which is something of a mixed blessing.

Its surfaces are clean and contemporary, with something in the timbres of the instruments (especially the drums) sounding extremely typical of a late-’90s major-label roots-rock album. While that might subtly alter the timeless qualities of Williams‘ writing, there’s also no denying that her sound is punchier and livelier. The production also throws Williams‘ idiosyncratic voice into sharp relief, to the point where it’s noticeably separate from the band. As a result, every inflection and slight tonal alteration is captured, and it would hardly be surprising if Williams did obsess over those small details. But whether or not you miss the earthiness of Car Wheels‘ predecessors, it’s ultimately the material that matters, and Williams‘ songwriting is as captivating as ever. Intentionally or not, the album’s common thread seems to be its strongly grounded sense of place — specifically, the Deep South, conveyed through images and numerous references to specific towns. Many songs are set, in some way, in the middle or aftermath of not-quite-resolved love affairs, as Williams meditates on the complexities of human passion.

The final version of Car Wheels on a Gravel Road was produced by E.Street Band Roy Bittan

Vinyl issue of a late 1973 recording from New York with the Santa Monica Flyers.

In the second half of 1973, Neil Young formed The Santa Monica Flyers, with Crazy Horse’s rhythm section augmented by Nils Lofgren on guitar and piano and Harvest/Time Fades Away veteran Ben Keith on pedal steel guitar. Deeply affected by the drug-induced deaths of Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry, Young recorded an album specifically inspired by the incidents, “Tonight’s the Night”. The album’s dark tone and rawness led Reprise to delay its release and Young had to pressure them for two years before they would do so; it finally came out on in June 1975.

By late ’73, Young and The Flyers were touring and performing songs, as yet unreleased, later to be included on Tonight’s The Night. On November 15th the ensemble performed at Queen’s College in Flushing, New York, for a show which remains quite staggering and is featured on this CD in its entirety. Including six cuts from Tonight….., plus a smattering of numbers from previous records, this concert, released here for the first time, is unlike any other Neil Young ever played.

Paradise And Lunch

Ry Cooder understands that a great song is a great song, whether it was written before the Depression or last week. Still, at the same time he isn’t afraid to explore new avenues and possibilities for the material. Like his three previous records, Paradise and Lunch is filled with treasures which become part of a world where eras and styles converge without ever sounding forced or contrived. One may think that an album that contains a traditional railroad song, tunes by assorted blues greats, and a Negro spiritual alongside selections by the likes of Bobby Womack, Burt Bacharach, and Little Milton may lack cohesiveness or merely come across as a history lesson, but to Cooder this music is all part of the same fabric and is as relevant and accessible as anything else that may be happening at the time. No matter when it was written or how it may have been done in the past, the tracks, led by Cooder’s brilliant guitar,

Truly a musician’s musician, guitarist Ry Cooder has been a bridge connecting contemporary audiences to a dizzying variety of traditional musics for almost half a century. His ongoing career includes a string of acclaimed albums for Reprise, of which Paradise And Lunch was his fourth release – and one of his best.

Produced by Russ Titelman and Lenny Waronker, the 1974 collection touches on blues, gospel, jazz and folk, with Ry applying his distinctive stamp to such highlights as “Jesus on the Mainline,” The album also includes Cooder’s updated arrangement of bluesman Washington Phillips’ song “The Tattler” that stands out for its guitar playing, It was subsequently covered by Linda Ronstadton her 1976 album Hasten Down the Wind

Other tracks like “Ditty Wah Ditty,” which features Earl “Fatha” Hines on piano. Here both musicians are given plenty of room to showcase their instrumental prowess, and the results are nothing short of stunning. Eclectic, intelligent, and thoroughly entertaining, Paradise and Lunch remains Ry Cooder’s masterpiece. Though there are other stellar instrumentalists (including saxophonist Plas Johnson and drummer Jim Keltner) supporting the headliner’s faultless fretwork, Cooder’s down-home vocals are just as important to the set’s soulful appeal, and Paradise And Lunch is heaven for roots rock fans.

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Wilco’s debut album, A.M., was released 20 years ago .

A.M. is the debut album of Chicago based alt-country rock band Wilco, released on March 28th, 1995. The album was released only months after the breakup of Uncle Tupelo, another alt-country band that was the predecessor of Wilco. Prior to the release of the album, there was debate about whether the album would be better than the debut album of Son Volt, the new band of former Uncle Tupelo lead singer Jay Farrar. Only days after the breakup, Tweedy had decided to form a new group. He was able to retain the lineup of Uncle Tupelo sans Farrar, and rechristened the new band as Wilco.

In mid-May, the band began to rehearse songs in the office of band manager Tony Margherita, and hired producer Brian Paulson, who produced Anodyne. Wilco first recorded demo tracks for the album at Easley studio in Memphis, Tennessee in June. Stirratt recommended the studio based on previous experience as a member of The Hilltops, and Jeff Tweedy had heard of the studio through a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion recording. Reprise Records, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers, signed Jeff Tweedy after hearing the tapes, and recording for the album continued through August.

Although A.M. was released before Son Volt’s Trace, critical reviews were modest and initial sales were low. The album was later regarded as a “failure” by band members, as Trace became a greater commercial success. It was the band’s last album to be recorded in a purely alternative country style, as following the record the band began to expand their sound across multiple genres. It is also the only Wilco album to feature Brian Henneman of The Bottle Rockets as a lead guitarist. Recorded June–Autumn in 1994 . Brian Henneman had to leave the band shortly after recording the album, and was replaced by former Titanic Love Affair guitarist Jay Bennett. Jeff Tweedy also attempted to create a more collaborative environment than Uncle Tupelo, requesting songwriting contributions from other members. John Stirratt submitted three songs, hoping to become a secondary songwriter for Wilco. However, although the songs were recorded as demos, only one (“It’s Just That Simple”) was selected to appear on the album, and was the only Stirratt song to appear on any Wilco album.

The album’s title is intended to reference Top 40 radio stations, and the tracks reflect a straightforward country-rock sound. The band members felt that they needed to establish themselves outside of the Tupelo fanbase. However, Tweedy later stated that in actuality, they were “trying to tread some water with a perceived audience.” Tweedy wrote a song about the Uncle Tupelo breakup, but decided that he didn’t want any material on that subject matter to appear on the album (It can be argued, however, that first single “Box Full of Letters”, as well as “Too Far Apart” allude to the dissolution of Farrar and Tweedy’s friendship and working relationship.) Tweedy attributes some of the straightforwardness of the album to his use of marijuana at the time. Shortly after the album, Tweedy stopped smoking pot, to which he credits the introspectiveness of further albums.

Wilco began touring before the album was released. Their live debut was on November 27th , 1994 at Cicero’s Basement Bar in St. Louis, a venue where Uncle Tupelo had first received significant media attention. The band was billed for that concert as Black Shampoo, a reference to a 1970s B-movie, and the show sold out.  Wilco continued to tour for two hundred shows, culminating in show at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas in March 1995. A.M. was released on Reprise Records on March 28th, 1995.

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Similar to Pink Floyd, The Bee Gees really didn’t become megastars until the next decade, though they did have a good deal of success as a psychedelic pop band in the late sixties. It’s not a stretch to say that Bee Gees 1st is the best album effort that the Bee Gees released during their entire career Bee Gees’ 1st was the group’s debut album for the UK Polydor label a psychedelic pop album. The album cover was designed by Klaus Voormann who had previously done the cover for Revolver .

The Gibb Brothers’ perfect harmonies match perfectly with the various psychedelic styles they use without any hiccups; in one album, the Bee Gees play off the Beatles, the Moody Blues, and the British pastoral style of the Kinks to keep your attention, but the Bee Gees were mainly focused on creating short, radio ready pop songs that were easily digestible and without any extended jamming or crazy instrumentation (no song on this album is over 3:45). For an album that’s based so strictly in pop, the Bee Gees have a surprising range of songs – from the Revolver-esque “In My Own Time” or the hazy “Please Read Me,” to the straight pop ballad “To Love Somebody,” to the gloomy “New York Mining Disaster 1941” or “Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You,” the Bee Gees do a great job in altering their sound over the course of just fourteen tracks.

Drummer Colin Petersen and lead guitarist Vince Melouney, both Australians, were hired to make the Bee Gees into a full band. Both played on the first English album and became official members of the group between its completion and release. Petersen had played with the Bee Gees at St. Clair studio in 1966 on the Spicks and Specks sessions and was officially added first,

Released 14th July 1967 (UK).

Reprise Records (sister label to Atco under Warner Music Group) reissued the album with both stereo and mono mixes on one disc and a bonus disc of unreleased songs and alternate takes. (This 2-CD set on Reprise corrected the fluttering on the lead-off stereo track “Turn of the Century”. The mono version never had this problem.)

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Bee Gees
  • Barry Gibb – lead, harmony and backing vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Robin Gibb – lead, harmony and backing vocals, organ
  • Maurice Gibb – harmony and backing vocals, bass guitar, piano, organ, harpsichord, mellotron, guitar
  • Vince Melouney – lead guitar
  • Colin Petersen – drums

Neil Young will release a new album, entitled EARTH, on June 17th via Reprise Records. The album features performances of songs from a range of Young’s albums, including last year’s The Monsanto Years, 1990’s Ragged Glory, and 1970’s After the Gold Rush. The audio was captured during Young’s 2015 tour with The Promise of the Real, fronted by Lukas Nelson (vocals/guitar) and Micah Nelson (guitar, vocals) – Willie Nelson’s sons. The tour Included Neil Young performing solo and with the band for a full electric show.
A new take on some of Young’s most beloved songs, EARTH features the live recordings, along with added musical overdubs, as well as sounds of the earth, such as city sounds like car horns, sounds of insects, and animal sounds from bears, birds, crickets, bees, horses, cows – creating a very strange, yet beautiful atmosphere.
“Ninety-eight uninterrupted minutes long, EARTH flows as a collection of 13 songs from throughout my life, songs I have written about living here on our planet together,” says Young. “Our animal kingdom is well represented in the audience as well, and the animals, insects, birds, and mammals actually take over the performances of the songs at times.”

CD 1
1. Mother Earth
2. Seed Justice
3. My Country Home
4. The Monsanto Years
5. Western Hero
6. Vampire Blues
7. Hippie Dream
8. After the Gold Rush
9. Human Highway

CD 2
1. Big Box
2. People Want to Hear About Love
3. Wolf Moon
4. Love and Only Love