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Sundazed Music continues their Paul Revere & The Raiders series with new expanded editions of four more Raiders ‘60s album classics. The new reissues include the group’s all-time classic album Midnight Ride (produced by Terry Melcher and recorded by the original group in ‘66), Goin’ To Memphis (the Raiders soul album released in (‘68), Hard ‘N’ Heavy (With Marshmallow) (3/69), and lastly, Alias Pink Puzz (7/69). Sundazed packs their new Raiders CDs with key information, original artwork and liner notes. As he points out in his new liner notes for Midnight Ride, original Raiders’ bass player Fang claims that while the group’s first two albums Just Like Us and Here They Come were basically covers albums, Midnight Ride (leading off with the Barry Mann composition “Kicks”) was the first album to showcase the group’s own considerable writing talents. The Raiders will always be remembered for great singles like “Just Like Me” and “Kicks”, yet as these album reissues point out, their talents were far more considerable.


It’s amazing when you consider that when he sung the lead vocals on “The Letter” Alex Chilton was just 16. Comparable in tone to the blue-eyed soul singing of Stevie Winwood, Chilton came to fame early on as the lead singer with The Box Tops, who were recently accorded the Sundazed reissue treatment. The Memphis-based Box Tops were carried to the top of the charts via the catchy pop anthems of group producer Dan Penn and his songwriting partner Spooner Oldham, who went on to pen other great BT’s tracks like “Neon Rainbow” and “Cry Like A Baby”. Sundazed has done an excellent job of restoring the Box Tops late ‘60s catalog on CD complete with bonus tracks, fab artwork and cool liner notes. The titles include the BT’s album debut The Letter / Neon Rainbow (issued 11/67), Cry Like A Baby (4/68), Nonstop (7/68) and Dimensions (9/69). The Box Tops would eventually become a favorite among oldies stations and Chilton would go on to his acclaimed solo career and become a name to know among pop cultists. But back in the late ‘60s, before the dust settled, The Box Tops proved their worth as a notable pop outfit, a fact plainly heard on these valuable classic pop reissues.


During the mid to late ‘90s, MCA Records delighted fans of U.K. rock legends, The Who with their fab expanded edition reissues of the group’s historic back catalog. The icing on the cake may be the recent arrival of BBC Sessions from guitar icon Pete Townshend and company. Still revered for trend-setting studio albums like Who’s Next and Tommy, The Who live unleashed a force which has yet to be equaled. Case in point is the 25 track BBC Sessions, which compiles a number of rare radio tracks The Who recorded for British Broadcasting between 1965-73. Every bit the ear-opening revelation that recent BBC Session CDs from Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles were, The Who’s BBC Sessions captures the band in classic form with sparkling live radio broadcasts of favorites like “The Seeker” (from 4/13/70), “I’m A Boy” (9/13/66), possibly the band’s best performance of “Shakin’ All Over” (recorded 4/13/70) and “The Relay” (1/30/73). Everything you wanted to know about the connection between The Who and the Beeb is documented in the fine liner notes from Andy Neill. The set is topped off by vintage cover art and fine period piece photos. Fans should note that The Who are currently putting together songs for a new studio album due out during 2000. Also worth checking out is Pete Townshend’s web site which is offering a number of limited edition Who and Townshend related CDs and more.

Several titles from the fabled ABC / Dunhill Records catalog have been recently reissued by the giant MCA / Universal Music Group. Among the latest ABC titles upgraded on CD are three albums from David Crosby & Graham Nash. The duo’s second album Wind On The Water (1975) and third studio album, Whistling Down The Wire (1976) were just reissued again now complete with original lyric sheets and detailed liner notes. Both albums find Crosby & Nash backed by a fine band of support players including guitarists Danny Kortchmar and David Lindley as well as Russ Kunkel (drums) and Leland Sklar (bass). Nearly 25 years after these albums were first issued they are ripe again for reevaluation as is a reissue of the 1977 Crosby/Nash release Live. Recorded at various Crosby/Nash concerts during ‘75-76, the set spotlights well known favorites like “Immigration Man” and “Deja Vu” along with two newly added bonus tracks and lengthy liner notes.


Also out on Universal / MCA is a fresh 18 track compilation from one of the ‘60s most influential rock groups, Steppenwolf entitled All Time Greatest Hits. The Steppenwolf story is a fascinating one and is well depicted in the in-depth liner notes by writer Scott Schinder. German-born and legally blind, singer-songwriter John Kay made his way to North America in the late ‘50s and by the late ‘60s had formed Steppenwolf and was poised to take the AM and FM radio waves by storm. Kay was assisted by some fine bandmates including the late Jerry Edmonton (guitar) and his brother Dennis Edmonton (who under the alias Mars Bonfire wrote Steppenwolf’s all time classic “Born To Be Wild”). MCA’s new All Time Greatest Hits compiles all the great Steppenwolf ‘60s hits recorded on Dunhill Records, from “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Rock Me” to the set closing “Straight Shootin’ Woman” released on the band’s 1974 album Slow Flux. All Time Greatest Hits offers a solid selection of great tracks and gives the Steppenwolf story a timely perspective.


The catalog of Spitfire Records continues to grow with a number of reissues from classic rock bands such as Deep Purple and Mott The Hoople as well as blues giant John Mayall. Collectors of ‘60s rock have waited a long time for proper reissues of the first three Deep Purple albums originally issued in the U.K. on Harvest Records. Spitfire has rescued these long sought after albums and have revamped them with bonus tracks, original art and new liner notes. Before they went the heavy metal route and even gaining acclaim as one of the first rock bands to record live with a symphony orchestra, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord (keyboards), Ian Paice (drums) and company were actually a gifted psychedelic hard rock group offering up smokin’, jazzy, pop covers of ‘60s pop anthems like (DP’s best known hit) “Hush” and “River Deep Mountain High”. Recently out on Spitfire is the Deep Purple debut Shades Of Deep Purple (recorded 5/68 with covers of “Hush”, “Help”, “I’m So Glad” and “Hey Joe”), The Book Of Taliesyn (recorded 8/68 with covers of “River Deep” and Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman”) and the self-titled Deep Purple (recorded 1/69 with a cover of Donovan’s “Lalena”). Complete with liner notes, new mastering from the original tapes and rare photos, each new CD features five bonus tracks including BBC sessions, live U.S. TV broadcasts, b-sides and various instrumental outtakes.

Another recent title from Spitfire is useful compilation from ‘70 rockers Mott The Hoople entitled Friends And Relatives. The 26 track double disc set takes in a number of live Mott tracks paired with various MTH offshoot bands including tracks by British Lions, Mick Ralphs (who departed to join Bad Company), Doc Thomas Group and Morgan (featuring Mott keyboardist turned New Age icon Morgan Fisher). The set features a good sampling of various sources, track-by-track data and detailed liner notes, including the humorous tale of how lead singer Ian Hunter came to join the Mott fold, by long time Mott drummer Dale “Buffin” Griffin.


  Spitfire is also offering two vital compilations from blues great John Mayall including The Masters and Live At The Marquee 1969. Both sets chronicle Mayall’s progression just before he recorded his album The Turning Point with acoustic guitarist Jon Mark and sax player Johnny Almond. The Masters is actually a double CD set containing music from the original soundtrack of The Turning Point, a rarely seen movie made about Mayall during his 1969 period. The music Mayall made with the duo that later went on to fame as Marc/Almond would be better documented on albums like The Turning Point (recorded in 7/69 at the Fillmore East), yet these recent reissue CDs still offer another view of Mayall & Marc/Almond in fine form. Live At The Marquee is just that, a live performance at the Marquee Club in London in early ‘69, while the The Masters adds in further live tracks from that period with an added disc of recorded interviews, instrumental jams and rehearsals. Long time Mayall fans should note that among the musicians interviewed on disc two of The Masters are long time Mayall chums Eric Clapton and Peter Green. The sound quality varies a bit, but the spirit and skill is there and is recommended to fans of Mayall’s late ‘60s/early ‘70s acoustic-based music. Another highpoint of both packages are the memorable liner notes by esteemed journalist Chris Welch.


His album and song titles are in German, and the liner notes are indecipherable by most English speaking music fans, yet the instrumental music of guitarist / composer Michael Rother transcends both language and nationality. Rother came to fame as a member of the German avant gard rock group NEU! and his early solo albums, especially his 1979 album Katzenmusik remains a work of sonic guitar architecture. Multi-layered guitar melodies are tested and reworked and come across like audio scenery on a high speed drive on the Autobahn. Imagine Mike Oldfield jamming with Kraftwerk and you begin to get an idea of Rother’s hypnotic Euro-pop guitar blend. Katzenmusik and Rother’s other engaging albums have recently been remastered and reissued by the German-based Random Records. Additionally, Random has tacked on a number of new tracks and remixes on each CD. Included are Rother’s ‘77 debut Flammende Herzen, Sterntaler (1978), Katzenmusik (1979), Fernwarme (1982), Lust (1983), Sussherz Und Tiefenscharfe (1985), Traumreisen (1987), a mid 90’s retrospective entitled Radio and his most recent album Esperanza (1996). Rother’s ambient guitarscapes remain anything but alien sounding to fans of late 20th Century European guitar music.  /

Some believe that The Byrds peaked after the controversial and undervalued 1968 album The Notorious Byrd Brothers. Yet for the second Byrds, or the Byrds featuring original Byrd brain Roger McGuinn, the late, great guitar ace Clarence White, Skip Battin (bass), and Gene Parsons (drums - no relation to Gram Parsons), the story didn’t stop with the departure of David Crosby and The Byrds of Notorious fame. The group went on to the fabled second half of their tenure as an incredibly gifted band in their own right blending cosmic country mixed up with hard rock bluegrass. Having seen the Byrds play around the time Untitled (Dave Mason was the opening act), I can attest to the fact that these Byrds were a most potent rock band, delivering one balls to the wall classic after the next along with their new stuff. McGuinn was a sight to behold, but guitarist Clarence White was another man to keep your eyes on. Standing like statue in blue light, White punched out one classic lick after the next and was simply spellbinding. The Byrds of those days can be heard to great effect on the latest round of reissues from Columbia Legacy Records. Their final three studio albums, Untitled / Unissued (1970 - complete with a bonus disc of uncovered outtakes and live tracks), Byrdmaniax ( 1971 - now with three bonus tracks including a studio take of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman”) and Farther Along (1971 - now with three bonus tracks) have just arrived along with a forth reissue CD entitled Live At The Fillmore - February 1969. The live CD features the newly paired McGuinn and White at the helm guiding the ‘69 group through 16 tracks of Byrd classics and newer material. They could never be as revered as the the first five albums with David Crosby, yet these new reissues still hold up just as well as any of their mid-60s classics. Each CD features faithful liner notes, rare photos and although missing lyric sheets, is a classy way for Legacy to round out their Byrds reissue series.


When punk-rock took over the airwaves back during the late ‘70s, it was clearly a case of attitude versus altitude. The pomp and circumstance of progressive arena rock took a back seat to cut-throat punk rockers like The Sex Pistols and The Clash. The back catalog of The Clash is the latest in the Epic Legacy catalog to receive the reissue upgrade treatment. The band will be best remembered for their punk-rock concept classics London Calling (released 12/79) and the double disc Sandinista! (a triple album set released 12/80). Both albums remain provide vital introductions to the group who bowed out following their 1982 swansong Combat Rock (featuring their only MTV hit “Rock The Casbah”). With the series overseen by Clash guitarist/vocalist Joe Strummer and group guitarist Mick Jones, the newly overhauled CDs include the group’s self-titled debut The Clash (from 1977 and now offered on two separate discs in both U.S. and U.K. versions), Give ‘Em Enough Rope (U.K. version from 11/78), London Calling, Super Black Market Clash (compilation from 10/80), Sandinista!, Combat Rock, The Story Of The Clash (2 CD compilation from 3/88), The Clash On Broadway (box set with live tracks from 1991) and lastly, The Singles (A ‘91 set with 18 A-side singles released in the U.K.).


The newly revived NYC-based Buddha Records continues to make collectors of vintage pop, rock and blues reissue CDs quite happy. Among the latest offerings from Buddha are no less than eight newly revamped CDs from blues-rock guitar legend, the late, great Rory Gallagher. Gallagher of course came to prominence as the leader of the blues-pop group Taste, who, back in 1969 supported Blind Faith on their summer tour. Actually, Taste alternated with Free who were also on that historic tour. As good as the first two Taste albums are, fans still point to his many solo albums as the definitive Gallagher sound. Although he passed away from a long illness back in June, 95, Gallagher’s stature as an amazing rock guitarist, vocalist and songwriting genius hasn’t diminished with time and it’s also apparent Buddha has done the right thing with Gallagher’s back catalog. Released earlier this Winter on Buddha were several mid ‘70s Gallagher albums including Live In Europe (1972), Against The Grain (1975), Calling Card (1976) and Photo Finish (1978). To get a good appreciation of Rory’s early career, check out Live In Europe which reprints an intriguing interview/article of Gallagher by Mick Rock back when the album first came out in ‘72. Approaching late Winter 99/00, Buddha has also just reissued another four Gallagher solo albums including include Tattoo (1973), Blueprint ( also 1973), Jinx (1982) and Stage Struck (1989). Remixed for top sound while also featuring newly penned liner notes by Rory’s brother Donal Gallagher and bonus tracks, these reissue CDs provide the proper setting from which to rethink the significance of the late, great blues guitar hero.


Pop greats The Lovin’ Spoonful were among the first American bands to seriously challenge the hold that The Beatles had over the Top 40 pop charts during the mid ‘60s. Singles like “Do You Believe In Magic”, “Summer In The City” and “Six O'clock” added to the groovy soundtrack of the ‘60s. There’s been many collections of the Spoonful’s greatest hits, but Buddha has finally set the record straight with their new Lovin’ Spoonful Greatest Hits CD, just released to coincide with the Spoonful’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Remastered from the newly discovered master tapes under the supervision of the group’s leader John Sebastian, Buddha’s new 26 track CD features all of the Spoonful’s best known hits and more with liner notes and rare photos. Also new from Buddha is the 30th anniversary edition of Nilsson Sings Newman from legendary singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson. The original album was Nilsson’s tribute to the then relatively unknown pop composer Randy Newman. In addition to five unreleased bonus tracks, Buddha has also loaded up their deluxe edition with new liner notes from composer Newman and Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean).


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