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April 2003









The mid ‘90s was a great time to be a Beatles fan. The Anthology television series, coupled with three double disc Anthology CD sets—featuring tons of outtakes and rare Beatles music—along with a hardcover / paperback book further exploring the series, made it the definitive story of the Beatles legacy. Apple / Capitol have now given Beatles fans what they’ve been waiting for in 2003 with a five DVD box set version of Anthology. The eight part series is represented on four DVDs while a fifth DVD containing an additional 81 minutes offers further reflections from the '90s reunion, especially focusing on the making the John Lennon tracks “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love”. The enhanced 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS soundtrack is quite impressive and—thanks to creative editing and track indexing—the entire thing makes for spectacular viewing. Presenting the entire Beatles story—encompassing their innovative singles and albums and pioneering music videos—is no simple feat, yet Anthology puts it perfectly into focus with vivid clarity.


The Essential Collection
(Epic / Legacy)

With 35 tracks taken from ten different Epic Records albums, The Essential Sly & The Family Stone is the group’s most comprehensive CD collection yet. Encompassing every Epic single (A sides + B Sides) recorded between 1968-75, plus over a dozen key album tracks, the 2003 double CD reissue set was expertly produced by Sundazed Records music guru Bob Irwin and Jerry Goldstein and features detailed liner notes by Tom Sinclair. As the liner notes put forth, the music created by Texas native, guitarist/keyboardist Sylvester “Sly” Stewart and company—including Sly’s brother Freddie Stone on guitars—was an unusual and completely catchy mix of rock, soul, jazz, pop and funk. All of Sly’s huge hits are here—including masterpieces such as “Stand”, “Everyday People” and “I Want To Take You Higher—from the group’s 1969 breakthrough album Stand! and their highest charting album There’s A Riot Goin’ On (1971). Check out The Essential Sly & The Family Stone and find out why Sly & Co. are still mentioned in the same breath as key rock and R&B figures like Jimi, Otis and Aretha.


Electric Warrior

Rhino bangs a gong and gets it on with their 2003 reissue of the T.Rex album classic Electric Warrior. Produced by Tony Visconti and released on Reprise Records here in the U.S., with the big FM hit “Bang A Gong”, Electric Warrior was the album that put Marc Bolan and T.Rex on the map here in the U.S. Rhino’s reissue features the original 11 track album remastered and reissued along and expanded with an array of bonus tracks released as singles and b-sides around the Electric Warrior era. The 18 track CD also closes out with a classic 20 minute studio interview between Bolan and NYC FM dj Michael Cuscuna just after the Lp came out here in Fall of 1971. Rhino’s booklet and reissue packaging is exemplary, complete with extensive notes, photos and lyrics. Along with Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Electric Warrior was probably the other innovative pillar of U.K. glam rock and there’s still never been anything quite like it since.


The Millennium Collection
(Motown / UMG)

Back in 1960, Barrett Strong burst on the pop scene with one of the most influential R&B hits of all time. Strong’s rendition of “Money”—composed by Berry Gordy—was soon after covered by The Beatles who really nailed it on The Beatles Second Album on Capitol. “Money” was one of the first big hits on the then fledgling Motown label. Interestingly Strong never released a full length album on Motown but forty three years later the label sets the “Money” man’s story straight with The Best Of Barrett Strong: The Millennium Collection. The twelve track CD compiles the six singles—A sides and B sides—Strong released on Tamla-Motown between 1959-1961. Before the end of the ‘60s Strong would co-write some huge pop gems like “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” but for those looking to find out the story behind “Money”—still one of the truly great R&B classics of all time—check out the Barrett Strong Millennium Collection.

Accept No Substitute
(Collector's Choice Music)

An influence waiting to happen, the southern, countrified, back to the roots rock sound of the legendary singing duo of Delaney & Bonnie had a major impact on George Harrison, Dave Mason and Eric Clapton, each of whom would tour and record with them. Released in 1969 on Elektra Records, the album that was supposed to come out on Apple found the Bramletts in prime form surrounded by superstars like Leon Russell, Bobby Keys, Carl Radle and arranger legend Jimmy Haskell. Hearing it decades later, the album really holds up well and in retrospect, it was sort of like a calm before the storm considering the heady music to come during the Autumn of 1969. Reissued in 2002 by Collector’s Choice, Accept No Substitute features fine liner notes and an interview with Delaney Bramlett.

Wild As The Sea

California-based surf-rock legends The Sandals are still remembered for their excellent guitar based instrumental music featured in the mid ‘60s surfing movie classic The Endless Summer. Featuring the combined talents of Walter Georis, Gaston Georis and guitarist John Blakeley, the still active group have a 40 year history, the early core of which is represented on a 2003 CD retrospective on Australia-based Raven Records entitled Wild As The Sea - Complete Sandals 1964-1969. Leave it to the reissue masters at Raven Records to put the early Sandals story into proper perspective. Their Complete Sandals 1964-1969 compiles 31 tracks taken from The Endless Summer soundtrack, their early Scrambler album, their underrated late ‘60s album Last Of The Ski Bums, along with several non-LP singles including several nifty pop vocal tracks suggesting the Sandals’ diverging musical directions. Described as one of the missing links in the surf and hot rod music canon, the Raven release of Wild As The Sea features an impressive 12 page booklet packed with up to date Sandals bio info and rare photos.

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