Posts Tagged ‘Various Artists’

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Next up in the Grapefruit psychedelia collection and due for release January 31st is ‘A Slight Disturbance In My Mind – The British Proto-Psychedelic Sounds of 1966’!
This 3CD collection features 84 tracks examining the ‘experimental pop’ element of the British music scene during that epochal year with a dazzling mix of nascent psychedelia, introspective pop & freakbeat!
Housed in a clamshell box containing a 52-page booklet crammed with biographical information and priceless period photos and memorabilia.

While the likes of “Rubber Soul”, ‘See My Friends’ and ‘Still I’m Sad’ had served notice in 1965 of British pop’s heightened level of ambition, 1966 would prove to be an even more tumultuous twelve-month period as experimentation and innovation grew to new levels.

• The release that August of “Revolver” – whose cataclysmic closing track ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ landed amongst the record-buying public like an impenetrable missile from outer space – brought the concept of psychedelic music out of the margins and into the mainstream.

• However, psychedelia – condemned by national newspaper The Sun as “the new and dangerous sound in pop music” – had been percolating throughout the year. The word was already in subterranean use in America, adapted by the likes of The 13th Floor Elevators and Hollywood hustler Kim Fowley, who in late 1965 had become the first person to promote a record with the term “psychedelic”.

• Arriving in London in March 1966, Fowley became a proselytising influence for the new sound, instructing bemused young British bands to “act psychedelically”. His sojourn coincided with the relocation of Californian band The Misunderstood, whose incendiary sound and stage act was a major influence on a new generation of British acts.

• Meanwhile, serial pioneers The Yardbirds were making increasingly audacious music, their new manager Simon Napier-Bell instructed the young John’s Children to become “the first psychedelic group”, while mod band The Creation developed an intriguing pop-art approach.

• Featuring 84 tracks, A Slight Disturbance In My Mind: The British Proto-Psychedelic Sounds Of 1966 examines the “experimental pop” element of the British music scene during that epochal twelve-month period with a dizzying, dazzling mix of nascent psychedelia, introspective pop and what’s been retrospectively labelled freakbeat.

• We feature vital contributions from some of the era’s biggest names (The Kinks, The Yardbirds, The Hollies, The Animals etc), a bunch of highly collectable cult classics, a huge stash of unissued-at-the-time nuggets and early outings for such future legends as Bowie, Bolan, Slade and The Bee Gees.

• Housed in a clamshell box containing a 52-page booklet crammed with biographical information and priceless period photos and memorabilia, A Slight Disturbance In My Mind is a glorious snapshot of British pop storming the gates of a new, strange and wonderful dawn.

Custom etching of Mose Allison on Side D. Features performances by Taj Mahal, Robbie Fulks, Jackson Browne, The Tippo Allstars featuring Fiona Apple, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Chrissie Hynde, Iggy Pop, Bonnie Raitt, Loudon Wainwright III, Richard Thompson, Peter Case, Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin, Anything Mose, Frank Black, and Amy Allison with Elvis Costello. Includes Ever Since I Stole The Blues DVD, a Mose Allison documentary by Paul Bernays.

Wainwright remembers, “For many years I made a point of going to see Mose Allison play wherever I could -In London, Chicago, LA, and , of course, in my hometown of New York. I considered his gigs essential listening and going for me was, not to get too highfallutin’ , a pilgrimage. When I nervously would approach to say hello to him after a show I was always thrilled that he seemed happy to see me. Mose’s cover version of my song “I’m Alright” was an unparalleled highlight of my career and I can only hope he would have approved of my stab at “Ever Since The World Ended.”

Mose’s daughter Amy Allison teamed up with musician/producer Don Heffington to honor her father’s rich catalog of songs. “We were talking about my dad’s legacy and thinking about all the musicians who were fans, and how a tribute album featuring some of these artists would be cool, especially if it were to benefit a worthy cause. Don said “Let’s put it together ourselves” and introduced the idea (and me) to his friend producer/engineer /studio owner Sheldon Gomberg. Sheldon ALSO happens to be on the board of Sweet Relief Musician’s Fund, an organization started by Victoria Williams to benefit musicians in need. And so it began…”

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides assistance to career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. Grant recipients include recording artists, club and session musicians, and composers and songwriters from every musical genre. Since its inception, Sweet Relief has helped musicians with medical and living expenses, including insurance premiums, prescriptions, medical treatment and procedures, housing and food costs, utilities, and other basic necessities.

Born in 1927 in the Mississippi Delta, Mose John Allison grew up listening to jazz and blues greats such as Louis Armstrong, Memphis Minnie, Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan and the Nat Cole Trio. He learned to play piano and trumpet as a boy. After a stint in the army and then several years playing in clubs around the South, he moved to New York City to make his career as a pianist, songwriter, and performer fronting his own trio. Allison performed with jazz greats such as Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and Gerry Mulligan, and developed a distinctive style of playing that fused blues and jazz with succinct and timeless lyrics. Mose Allison became a favorite among his peers and his songs have been covered by other great artists such as Van Morrison, The Who, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, The Clash and many others. Allison passed away in 2016 at the age of 89.

More Oar - A Tribute To The Skip Spence Album (Black Friday 2019)

Robert Plant, Beck, Tom Waits, Skip! celebrating its 20th anniversary, modern harmonic presents the first ever vinyl edition of More Oar ‘ a Tribute to the Skip Spence album.

in addition to the full album’which features covers from Robert Plant, Beck, Mudhoney, and others’this edition features the wild skeletal recording of ‘Little Hands’ by the Flaming Lips that was originally intended as a collaboration with Robert Plant.

Great version of Skip’s amazing song…Plant praised Spence’s solo album OAR, thus the reason he agreed to contribute to the tribute album “More Oar”. Skip made magnificent song writing contributions to Moby Grape percussion to Jefferson Airplane and guitar riffs with Quicksilver Messenger Service but had a tragic life battling mental illness and was homeless in the last stage of his life dying way too young of lung cancer at 52.

A double LP pressed at Third Man, this set also includes liner notes from the original album’s producer.

Tracks: Robert Plant – Little Hands / Mark Lanegan – Cripple Creek / Alejandro Escovedo – Diana / The Durocs – Margaret Tiger-Rug / Jay Farrar & The Sir Omaha Quintet – Weighted Down (The Prison Song) / Mudhoney – War In Peace / Robyn Hitchcock – Broken Heart / Diesel Park West – All Come To Meet Her / Tom Waits – Books Of Moses / Greg Dulli – Dixie Peach Promenade (Yin for Yang) / The Ophelias – Lawrence Of Euphoria / Flying Saucer Attack = Grey – Afro / Alastair Galbraith – This Time He Has Come / Engine 54 – It’s The Best Thing For You / Outrageous Cherry – Keep Everything Under Your Hat / Beck – Furry Heroine (Halo Of Gold) / The Minus 5 – Givin’ Up Things / Skip Spence – Land Of The Sun / The Flaming Lips – Little Hands

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The truest testament to a song’s power is how it plays with others. Songs written by the performer are more likely to land in the singer’s stylistic and vocal wheelhouse; take away that crutch to witness the song’s true strength and character. So while Tom Waits’ genius has been beyond dispute for at least a quarter-century, hearing his songs performed by the dozen female artists of “Come On Up to the House: Women Sing Waits” casts new light on their brilliance.

Freed from Waits’ gravelly, way-down-in-the-hole brogue, his female interpreters discover dramatic new shapes and colors within them. Were the songs not almost literally cut from the same cloth, one might worry that the range were too wide, rather than marveling at the adaptability of the songs and their singers.

Waits’ songs are notable for their cast of real people, damaged in keenly observed ways (“broken China voice,” “weeds in your heart”), often lost and/or lonely, walking a thin line between hope and despair. Iris Dement’s voice feels especially well-suited to traffic such emotions. In one album highlight, she turns the loping blues of “House Where Nobody Lives” into a harrowing tears-in-your-beer country ballad as stark and empty as a Kansas horizon, the house’s advancing disrepair and neglect evoking a doomed relationship.

Corinne Bailey Rae also does an exemplary job of making “Jersey Girl” her own, even after the Boss put his imprint on it decades ago. Amplifying the song’s nostalgic ’50s sway, Rae takes the “sha la la” and runs down a well-lit doo-wop alley. She gives Waits’ rough-hewn swagger her own soft-focus coo from the lip of Juliet’s balcony, answering the testosterone-fueled come-on with fake eyelash flitter and skate-away shimmy that’s equally tender and alluring.

Newcomer Angie McMahon makes quite an impression on “Take It With Me,” transforming the world-wizened, Leonard Cohen-like piano meditation on aging into a bright airy alterna-pop number in a vein popular a decade ago (think Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson). The Aussie singer, who released her critically-acclaimed debut “Salt” in July, uses the spare arrangement to her advantage. She lets the silences linger, her mellifluous voice gliding over sustained, intermittent guitar strums, lyrics dropping in and out like station-hopping reflections. When she sings “All broken down by the side of the road, I was never more alive or alone,” you feel both.

Various-artists releases tend to have the discomfiting quality of a series of job interviews. But Waits’ compositions already tend to be so distinct that the different voices feel almost better to properly capture such varied, vividly conceived perspectives.

So even if sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer don’t necessarily deepen the emotional tenor of the much-covered “Ol’ 55,” the way their voices harmonize remains heavenly. Similarly, Patty Griffin doesn’t really need to do much tweaking to Waits’ haunting child-murder tale, “Ruby’s Arms,” but just to open her pipes, which effortlessly port the saddest payload, a first-rate bellhop of ache.

It doesn’t take much work for Aimee Mann to make “Hold On” hers either; something about Mann’s voice naturally conjures the tossed-off intimacy of a coffee shop confession between besties. The talent on the album is so thick, it’s taken this long to mention Roseanne Cash’s hypnotically matter-of-fact “Time.”

Such fine material in the hands of skilled interpreters is a delight. It isn’t even necessary to be familiar with the originals to enjoy this collection. There’s hardly a bad apple in the dozen and the sequencing seems to amplify the songs’ dogged, hopeful mien. If there’s a quibble, it’s that five of the 12 tracks are from “Mule Variations,” which feels like too much given the breadth, quality and depth of Waits’ catalog.

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This is such a terrific effort, it would not be surprising if it spawns a raft of imitators. Given the present-day wealth of talented female singers, it seems obvious to reinterpret a variety of feted male artists from a feminine perspective. “Women Sing Waits” sets the idea off to an inspiring start.

Various Artists
“Come On Up to the House: Women Sing Waits” Dualtone Music

released November 22nd, 2019

Fuzz Club Records “The Reverb Conspiracy, Volume 6” It’s a double LP on white vinyl.

The aim and a desire with the Reverb Conspiracy compilations are to uncover and celebrate the best in fuzz, reverb and drone from every corner of the globe. Where the first five volumes were hailed as a Nuggets-like documentation of the European psych scene, Reverb Conspiracy Vol 6 sees the compilation go global: bringing together bands from South Africa, Australia, the USA, Germany, Brazil, the UK, Italy and Russia.

Also including the label’s own Medicine Boy’s shadowy noise-pop (DE) and Nest Egg’s motorik “mood music for nihilists” (US), plus Steeple Remove’s dub-inflected post- punk (FR) and Crimen’s heady, repetitive psych-rock (IT) – there is Aussie garage-psych outfit Nice Biscuit, a new cut of Bikini Kill-meets-Oh Sees noise from Julia Robert (SA), as well as lo-fi garage-pop from Super Paradise (UK) and the double-barreled psych-blues wig-outs of Frankie & The Witch Fingers (US).

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In the compilations darker moments, though, there is the hypnotically face-melting “space-surf” of Japanese Television (UK), goth-tinged post-punk from Float (UK), murky psychedelic stoner-rock from Brazil’s Firefriend, relentlessly driving krautrock courtesy of Verstärker (USA), the heavy space-rock drones of Psychic Lemon (UK) and Moscow’s Selbram, who deal in a jagged alt-rocksound that takes its cues from No Wave, psych and the “pulse and noise” of city life.

Tracklist:
1. Julia Robert – Mud Girl
2. Nice Biscuit – Out Of Sight
3. Frankie And The Witch Fingers – Underneath You
4. Medicine Boy – Water Girl
5. Firefriend – Surface To Air
6. Nest Egg – DMTIV
7. Steeple Remove – Ferris Noir
8. Float – Watch
9. Crimen – Flahzz
10. Japanese Television – Tick Tock
11. Selbram – This City You Know
12. Super Paradise – 6:30
13. Verstärker – Mit Glück
14. Psychic Lemon – Interstellar Fuzz Star

Number 9.  Brown Acid is back, right on time, with a fresh batch of the dankest hard rock, heavy psych, and proto-metal bangers you’ve never heard before. As usual, all of these tracks were licensed legitimately and the artists were paid. It ain’t easy, but it’s the right thing to do! And although the quantity keeps rising, our quality control hasn’t suffered. You won’t find even one throwaway track here, or on any volume, just pure unadulterated heaviness from the after-Altamont era. This Trip is All-American, and in addition to the eight 45 sourced jams and one hard rock holy grail LP track, it includes a previously unheard song by a completely unknown band that’ll melt your mind. So crack a cold one, crank the volume knob, and let the Brown Acid seep into your skull yet again.

Garage turkeys have long been familiar with the Minnesota-based group The Litter, who have some very collectible 45s and LPs, but the related band, White Lightning, isn’t nearly as well-known. White Lightning released only one single and one LP (under the name Lightning), but they had far more recordings than they released, and “Prelude To Opus IV” is just one of the band’s many outstanding unreleased tracks. White Lightning took the chops the ex-members developed in The Litter and kicked it up a notch in the heaviness department. They were risk-takers and innovators and were the first Power Trio and first to play through Marshall full-stacks in the Upper Midwest. Their guitarist was the first to play a Flying V in the region. They also happened to be named after LSD. Brown Acid material all the way!

Jon Uzonyi’s Peacepipe released one single in 1969 on the eclectic California-based Accent label, and it’s one of the most scarce Brown Acid inclusions. It’s crunchy as hell from the get-go, and the psychedelic touches only add to its allure. Lyrically, it’ll empty your half-full cup in a heartbeat, and the thunderous drums and gigantic guitar riffs will make you want to refill your glass immediately… with the hard stuff.

In 1975, Tom Stevens and the rest of Magi went into Uncle Dirty’s Sound Machine in Kalamazoo, Michigan and recorded nine tracks. Just 1000 copies of the LP were pressed, and its title and lead-off track is “Win Or Lose” from their self-released 45. The long-player has been bootlegged at least twice, but until now, Magi’s recordings have never been legitimately reissued. This revved-up, rural proto-punk cut has enough snarl to start a fight, but the vibe leaves you with the impression that the brawlers will bond over beers no matter who comes out on top!

“The Rise of Flood” by the New York group, Flood, is one of the best LPs released in 1970. Its extreme rarity is the only logical explanation for its ridiculous underrated-ness. Before Flood, the same group released a 45 under the, obviously radical name, Fiberglass Vegetables. The laid-back heaviness on this rural banger will hook ya immediately. The B-side is a non-LP track which you’ll be hearing on a future Trip if you choose to stay turned on and tuned in!

Sid Bradley is Erik. Erik is Sid Bradley. And he self-released this 45 on his own Eden imprint back in ’73. “Rebel Woman” is an up-tempo banger that resides where hard rock and prog overlap. The composition, performance, and recording quality is exceptional. It probably sounds like a magnum opus compared to some of the other stuff we’ve included in this series, but it still fits. By the way, Sid is still writing and recording music, which is not surprising considering how accomplished he is. His recent releases can very easily be found online.

Stonewall’s story is one of the most tragic in rock history. These guys should have been huge, and to say that they were robbed, is the understatement of the century. A very different story of rock stardom could have been told if it weren’t for egregious mismanagement, and a loophole in the law at the time that allowed labels to blindly rip off bands in order to minimize their tax liability. However, like a phoenix from the ashes, the Stonewall record survived over 40 years of neglect, and it now holds its place in rock history as one of the greatest records that almost never saw the light of day. “Outer Spaced” is just one of the eight tracks that we could have included on here from their sole LP, which was recorded in 1972, and “released” on Tiger Lily in 1976. In 2019, Permanent Records legitimately issued it for the first time EVER on vinyl and digitally.

The Zukus 45 has been in the collection for quite some time, and for that amount of time, we’ve been “looking high, looking low” to track down the members of the band. If Zukus were a snake, they would’ve bit us! Right under our noses, Zukus had an online presence unlike any other band we’ve worked with before, but, under a different name: Ice, which is the preferred moniker of Jim Lee’s group. “For some reason,” they used the name Zukus (pronounced zuck-us) for their sole 45 on Toya Records back in 1972. Pack this organ-driven, break-beat-laden banger in your pipe and smoke it!

Space Rock was comprised of a group of Macedonian immigrants living in Detroit, Michigan, none of whom spoke English. At one time, the vocalist, George Bisinov, even won first place in a Macedonian music festival in Detroit! Despite the language barrier, they rocked like red-blooded Americans and both sides of their 45 are top notch. The A-side “Dark Days” is a dirgier affair, whereas “Going Down The Road” locks into a speedy riff fairly quickly after the bizarro circus intro, and it never lets up. According to George, Space Rock recorded numerous other original songs, but they’ve been lost to tape deterioration. If only we could have saved them!

On the phone, Jim Fulton of Buckshot is a very soft-spoken, polite, and humble Texan. Hard to believe considering how macho his delivery is on “Bar Star”! This track is generally cocky in the best possible way. Dual lead guitars take center stage on this shreddy groover and, at just over two minutes in length, it’s a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am jam if there ever was one. Hamilton St. Records out of Houston supposedly released this back in 1976, but based on how rare it is, it’s hard to believe it was ever released at all.

Brown Acid can be found in some of the least likely places, as long as you can pay close attention. One iota of distraction could’ve caused 29.9 to have remained in obscurity for another 50 years! This band came into our lives while watching the cult horror film Effects. The film is entertaining to say the least, but the star for us is a very short clip of background music in a scene where one of the characters is looking through a stack of bondage polaroids. As the photos are being flipped through, a boombox blasts a Pentagram-esque hard rocker that caught our attention immediately. We tracked down the director of the film, John Harrison. Turns out the song in Effects was by a band John played in with his brother, Doug, and a couple of other guys in the late-60s. They called themselves 29.9, and they recorded “Paradiddle Blues” and a few other tracks, but never released any of them, until now.
Thank YOU for supporting the Brown Acid series. The Tenth Trip is just around the bend.

Hey buds, dig into these summer jams and cool off your mind.

The BBiB 2019 Summer Jam Sampler is $5 minimum BUT all proceeds will be going to RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services; a nonprofit that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to under-served immigrant children, families and refugees in Central and South Texas.
AND anyone who pays $10 or more, will be entered to win several prizes that range from vinyl to BBiB t-shirts to tote bags to test pressings! We will have several winners. And you can feel good about your donation to RAICES. Obviously it’s money that is much needed right now.

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Released July 15th, 2019

Frightened Rabbit have announced the forthcoming release of “Tiny Changes: A Celebration Of The Midnight Organ Fight”, a re-imagining of their 2008 album, recorded last year by friends of the band to celebrate its 10th anniversary. Two lead singles, by Julien Baker and Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro’s renditions of the album’s opening track, “The Modern Leper.”

Scott Hutchison, who died last year, played a big role in piecing together the compilation. “This is a celebration of a record that connected thousands of people to Scott and connected thousands of people to each other and ten years on is still managing to do it,” the band wrote in the album announcement.

Our beloved brother and son Scott Hutchison was born in Edinburgh in 1981. He took his own life in Queensferry in 2018. In those 36 and a half years, Scott’s impact was far reaching and felt by many people. Through his music and art he made many thousands of tiny changes and encouraged other people around the world to do the same. The honesty of his lyrics and openness about his own mental health inspired people in all walks of life. It is a legacy that should be continued and nourished.

The album will include covers by the National’s Aaron Dessner, Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry, the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn, Katie Harkin, Sarah Silverman, Manchester Orchestra, and Ben Gibbard. A portion of the proceeds from album sales will benefit Tiny Changes, the mental health charity launched last month in Hutchison’s honor.

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Fifty years ago this summer, more than 400,000 fans convened at Max Yasgur’s farm for a music festival that would come to define not only the era, but the entire ethos of music festivals to come. With every passing decade, the magic of Woodstock has been celebrated and, indeed, re-marketed to new generations of music fans. The ’90s saw two new Woodstock-branded festivals and an array of 25th anniversary products, including a compilation called Woodstock Diary and a 4-CD box set. To mark the festival’s 40th anniversary in 2009, yet another box was compiled, this time with six discs. Along the way, labels released standalone collections of individual artists’ performances and the festival became a brand unto itself. Here we are, half a century on, and Rhino has released a new, chronologically sequenced 10-CD collection called Woodstock – Back To the Garden: The 50th Anniversary Experience. When news broke of yet another collection, the usual questions arose: “How much Woodstock is too much Woodstock?” “What could this box bring that the others didn’t?” Well, the answer is simple.

With better technology, new research, and a team of curators and audio wizards dedicated to presenting the festival as it was, Back To the Garden is the most comprehensive view yet of the iconic festival. Previous anniversary collections had left out artists entirely (in many cases due to a tangled web of rights restrictions), effectively erasing them from public perception of the festival. That issue is rectified here, as every artist who took the stage that weekend is present somewhere on the 10-CD, 162-track, 13-hour-long set. (And for those with deeper pockets, the entire weekend will be released on the mammoth 38-CD/1-Blu-ray “Definitive Archive” version on August 9th.) Compilation producers Andy Zax and Steve Woolard and their team of audio specialists have also made wise sonic decisions that remain more faithful to what’s really on the tapes than any Woodstock collection has before. In short, Back To the Garden brings listeners closer than ever before to being there at Yasgur’s Farm – minus the mud, the tent, and the traffic!

See, despite all the Woodstock-branded releases we’ve seen in the past fifty years, the general perception of the event is mostly based on the mythology that followed the concerts, shaped by the editing choices of director Michael Wadleigh’s documentary film crew and the often head-scratching audio decisions made for the original Woodstock soundtracks and other tie-in albums (to say nothing of the erroneous accounts that performers would tell in interviews for decades to come). While some box sets have attempted to set the record straight, a number of issues have remained, until now.

The original Woodstock soundtracks on Cotillion – Woodstock in 1970 and Woodstock Two in 1971 – sold in droves. Each sought to rekindle the feeling of being at the event, but tape research issues, faulty recording practices, and questionable curatorial decisions meant that the collections weren’t all they were cracked up to be. Fake applause was flown in, tracks were edited and overdubbed, and the compilers even used recordings that weren’t from Woodstock! Ravi Shankar also released what was purported to be a live album from the festival but – that’s right – they were all studio recordings dubbed over with canned applause and sold to an unsuspecting public.

As Woodstock’s anniversaries were celebrated over the years, and historians and compilation producers sought to present a more accurate view of the historic weekend, listeners have been treated to better collections. But the four-disc, 25th anniversary box set still relied heavily on Frankenstein’d creations, overdubbed additions, and non-Woodstock performances. The 6-CD, 40th anniversary collection from 2009 presented a more faithful overview of the three days and set the record straight with regard to who performed what and when, but some issues remained. Licensing frustrations meant that producer Andy Zax’s original vision for the set – to release every recording from the entire weekend – wasn’t to be. Some artists weren’t represented at all, despite the existence of their Woodstock recordings. The new Back To the Garden: The 50th Anniversary Experience adds some 7 hours more material than was present on the 40th anniversary set, and all the tracks sound better than ever before.

The commitment to authenticity is what has guided the team’s every move for each iteration of the Back To the Garden 50th anniversary sets. For example, the instrument placement in Brian Kehew’s new stereo mixes is based off extensive photo research that determined where members were situated onstage. The music is largely sourced from the existing multitrack masters, and the team has chosen to restore previously edited performances to their original, full-length glory.

The compilers also elected to leave in several fascinating stage announcements from John Morris and Chip Monck, as well as a lesser-known political speech from Abbie Hoffman before the famous Pete Townshend confrontation, plus banter, audience reactions, and other cinema verité elements caught by the all-important audience microphone. Check out the rain sequence at the end of Joe Cocker’s set. The beautifully constructed four-minute piece drops the listener right into the audience as a rainstorm engulfs the crowd. Between the sounds of the wind and rain, we hear panicked pleas from the MCs, audience members urging people off the teetering towers, Barry Melton keeping folks optimistic with the “No Rain” chant, stagehands covering equipment and cutting the power, and finally, the sound of a particularly squeaky-voiced spectator hollering out: “Hey, Joe Cocker! Isn’t the rain beautiful? Joe?!”

As a result of all the realism, listeners who are used to older, doctored-up Woodstock collections may wonder what happened to that extra reverb, the flown-in applause, the beefed-up “Fish Cheer,” or any number of studio effects that marred the presentation of the legendary recordings. The team’s resolve to strip away those unnecessary excesses – while keeping the occasional feedback and hums that really happened – has paid off, making Back To the Garden an indispensable and significant collection.

In some cases, the team had to utilize existing mixes. Melanie’s four songs are sourced from a mono soundboard tape, Richie Havens’ and Mountain’s sets come from vintage mixes, and the Jimi Hendrix material was prepared by Eddie Kramer for Experience Hendrix. Despite this handful of disparate sources, the sonic identity of Back To the Garden remains consistent throughout all 10 CDs. The set has been impeccably mastered by Dave Schulz, who chose to – you guessed it – remain faithful to the sound of the reels by avoiding peak limiting and only using compression when absolutely necessary. According to a post from Zax on a popular music forum, the team’s approach to mixing and mastering was “reparative and restorative when necessary, and try-to-leave-it-the-hell-alone the rest of the time.” For the first time, the goal has been to let the music of Woodstock speak for itself, and the results are revelatory – especially when it comes to those legendary performances that are forever a part of Woodstock’s mythology.

“Hello! Can you hear?” So asks Richie Havens before launching into his now-iconic opening set that brought him to the mainstream. Havens treated the audience to a medley of Jerry Merrick’s “From the Prison” and the peace-and-love anthem “Get Together,” alongside hits and improvisations. With increased fidelity and an engaging stereo mix, listeners can indeed hear all nuances of his performance. Even the most familiar songs, like “Handsome Johnny” and “Freedom,” remain fresh here.

But even more enjoyable are the tracks from lesser-known acts, like the energetic pop-rock sound of Sweetwater, the anti-establishment zaniness of Quill, and the folksy Bert Sommer. Sweetwater followed Richie Havens with a set of folk-rock that’s been largely forgotten to time. In fact, the first time they were included on a Woodstock collection was in 2009. The two cuts from that box set – energetic folk-rockers “Look Out” and “Two Worlds” – are repeated here, and supplemented with a brief and delicate, “Ruby Tuesday”-like slice of baroque pop called “Day Song.” Together, they show the range of a group that was long written out of the Woodstock mythology. In the same vein comes Sommer, whose lilting opener “Jennifer” and breathtaking, previously unreleased rendition of Paul Simon’s “America” are two gems from the collection.

Fantastic performances are at a surplus here, but some of the most noteworthy are Arlo Guthrie’s “Coming Into Los Angeles”; Mountain’s “Theme for an Imaginary Western”; and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young’s “Wooden Ships” and “Sea of Madness.” These tracks appeared on the original soundtrack albums, but the performances were not from Woodstock. Arlo’s iconic scene in the film incorporated audio from a performance at the Troubadour in L.A. from four months after the festival, while the CSNY came from the Fillmore East in September 1969 and Mountain from an unknown show. On the actual multi-track tape of Woodstock, Guthrie’s vocal mic feed is absent until the second verse. To remedy this, Kehew and company blended the mono PA mix with the stereo multi-tracks, yielding a convincing result that’s still 100% Woodstock.

Along similar lines, Ten Years After’s performance was subjected to technical issues so their powerful “I’m Going Home” received drum overdubs from Larry Bunker (not Corky Laing, as is often reported) to beef up Ric Lee’s performance for the soundtrack. Back To the Garden presents the track overdub-free, and it’s still just as incendiary.

Indeed, the most famous Woodstock performances – Sly and the Family Stone’s medley, CSN’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” and The Who’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It/See Me, Feel Me” medley among them – are present here in their definitive versions. But it’s the wealth of previously unreleased material that makes this set a must. For fans of folk, there’s Richie Havens laid-back, half-hummed “With a Little Help From My Friends,” Tim Hardin’s impassioned, jazz-inflected “Misty Roses” and “Reason To Believe,” Country Joe’s ode to a lovely lady called “Janis,” Joan Baez’s country-rock interpretations of “Last Thing on My Mind” and “I Shall Be Released,” and The Incredible String Band’s non-album track, “Gather ‘Round.” Horn rock mavens will savor the selections here from Blood, Sweat & Tears’ set, including the hits “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” and “Spinning Wheel,” both sounding better than ever thanks to advancement in polyphonic tuning technology.

Previously unheard highlights include Grateful Dead’s take on Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried,” Canned Heat’s slow-building, 11-minute jam on “On the Road Again,” The Who’s rollicking versions of “I Can’t Explain” and “Shakin’ All Over,” alongside a lengthy set-closing jam on “My Generation” that teases their not-yet-completed “Naked Eye.” Keef Hartley Band delivers the jazz-rock epic “Half-Breed Medley,” while The Band is represented by four unheard tracks: “Chest Fever,” “Tears of Rage,” “This Wheel’s On Fire,” and “I Shall Be Released.” In all, there are 35 tracks making their CD debut on Back To the Garden. Each offers a new glimpse into an event that we thought we knew.

Accompanying all the music is a beautiful hardbound book designed by Masaki Koike that houses the discs and liner notes. It’s illustrated with rare photos from official festival photographer Henry Diltz, memoribilia, press clippings, and tape box images. Inside, compilation producer Andy Zax details his mission for the set and the efforts that the team made to deliver such an all-encompassing set. Jesse Jarnow also contributes an essay detailing how the festival unfolded, placing the reader at the festival as expertly as Zax and Co. do with the music. It’s all wrapped together with a burlap strap, a key design component that’s meant to fray over time, evoking that mission to “Get ourselves back to the garden.”

Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More, a 3-LP set on half blue/half hot pink vinyl, along with its follow-up, “Woodstock Two”  on two LPs on half orange/half mint green vinyl.  On the same day, Rhino Records will release two brand-new collections of material previously unavailable on vinyl.  “Woodstock Three” (3-LP, 180-gram black vinyl) and “Woodstock Four” (2-LP, 180-gram black vinyl) showcase material that will be released on CD in the Back To The Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive box set.  As previously announced, Vinyl Me Please will be releasing a 10-LP bundle box set featuring all four Woodstock soundtrack collections on their own exclusive color vinyl variants

WOODSTOCK THREE and WOODSTOCK FOUR both feature performances by artists who didn’t appear on the original soundtracks (Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sweetwater, Blood Sweat & Tears), as well as additional recordings from artists featured on the original soundtracks (Canned Heat, Melanie, Arlo Guthrie and John Sebastian).

Between August 15th-18th, 1969, more than 400,000 people converged on Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in upstate New York for Woodstock. 32 turns performed over the weekend including Joan Baez, The Band, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, and The Who.

On the heels of their announcement of the expansive Woodstock 50 campaign, Rhino has announced a new series celebrating The Summer of ’69: Peace, Love, and Music.  Beginning on July 9th, the campaign will feature a three-week-long roll-out of limited-edition vinyl releases of classic recordings from the Woodstock era by the likes of Van Morrison; The Monkees; Grateful Dead; Crosby, Stills & Nash; and many more.

 

Woodstock – Music From The Original Soundtrack And More (3-LP, half blue/half hot pink vinyl)
Woodstock Two (2-LP, half orange/half mint green vinyl)
Woodstock Three (3-LP, 180-gram Black Vinyl)
Woodstock Four (2-LP, 180-gram Black Vinyl)

Various 'Sad About The Times' 2xLP

Have you ever felt sad about the times you are living in? You may not always be able to work it out, but you can sprinkle a little sugar on your sadness with songs like these. A follow up collaboration between Mikey Young (Total Control / Eddy Suppression Ring) and Keith Abrahamsson (Head of A&R at Anthology Recordings) to their 2017 compilation “Follow The Sun, Sad About the Times”, at its core, is a set of North American 70s jammers.

With a hint (at times) of West Coast jangle, these tracks traverse the border between the power pop of the times and a late-night coke jam. You can also hear echoes of folk rock, soft rock, and even detect some psychedelic flashbacks. But despite the genre jumping, the atmosphere of Sad About The Times is always dominated by a haunted human voice.

These songs come in the wake of the psychedelic sixties; after the high-flying idealism had run its course and singer songwriters were ascendant. After the party, reality kicks in. They all could have been hits. Each with a different flavour, all subtly conveying universal emotions that are hard to describe but easy to feel. It features Jode, Hoover, Jim Spencer, Antonia Lamb, Hollins Ferry, Willow and more.