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February / March 2003








The Best Of 1990-2000
(Interscope / Island)

Spanning that first post-MTV decade, the ‘90s brought forth a number of U2 videos, single tracks, b-sides and remixes, the best of which is featured on The Best Of 1990-2000—released on November 5th 2002 as a double CD set, featuring the A-sides on disc one with a second CD consisting of b-sides and remixes, with an added bonus DVD. The words U2 and video go hand in hand and Interscope's DVD version of The Best Of 1990-2000 gives a good indication of just where the rock video would go as a creative art form. There’s never a dull moment on the 16 track DVD which concentrates on U2's‘90s A-side singles tracks. A bonus DVD entitled The History Mix, a four track DVD which nicely fits into the DVD packaging, is available as a bonus disc on the double disc CD version. The sound quality of both the CD set and DVD is quite amazing and for video buffs, the DVD features a mind-boggling array of special features and mini-documentaries. Best bet is to pick-up the double CD set, with the bonus DVD while the uninitiated must check out The Best Of 1990-2000 on DVD.


(Collector’s Choice)

During the late 1990’s, Collector’s Choice Music earned a solid reputation for their enormous reissue catalog of CDs. Their always updated catalog features the best vintage sounds from the past 50 years of music greatness while their Collector’s Choice label has also been booming of late. Each Collector’s Choice CD reissue features original artwork with liner notes that helps put each particular album into a fitting perspective. In late 2002 the catalog label reissued a pair of albums from the underrated American mid ‘60s folk-rock band The Beau Brummels. Best known for their mid ‘60s AM radio pop hit “Laugh, Laugh”, the group—featuring songwriter Ron Elliott and singer Sal Valentino—really branched out musically for a pair of albums recorded for Warner Bros. Records. Produced by Lenny Waronker, the first of ever CD reissue of Triangle (1967) is a great rediscovery for those into late ‘60s album-oriented artists like Harry Nilsson as well as Van Dyke Parks and Randy Newman, both of whom contribute to Triangle. A year after Triangle, The Beau Brummels released their final album Bradley’s Barn. Like Triangle, Bradley’s Barn was critically acclaimed yet it never translated to big sales. Collector’s Choice has done right by ‘60s pop fans, reissuing these two excellent Beau Brummels albums complete with original cover art and revealing, newly penned liner notes.


OOO Baby, Baby: The Anthology
(Motown / UMG)

Back in the days of the mid ‘60s when Motown and British Invasion pop ruled the Top 40 charts, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles were AM radio kings and to commemorate those golden days, Motown / UMG recently reissued OOO Baby, Baby: The Anthology. Spanning 1958-1972—the heyday of Smokey Robinson & The Miracles—the double CD set features 52 tracks including all 28 of the group’s Top 40 hits, first ever stereo mixes of the group’s B-sides along with a 24 page booklet filled with a number of color photos. Although he left The Miracles in 1972 to pursue a solo career, Robinson still remains a potent force in the music world. Filled with rocking soul-pop classics, ooo Baby, Baby: The Anthology proves these timeless gems will shine forever.


Rockin’ With Wanda!

One of the great Rockabilly singers of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, Wanda Jackson combined the musical personality of Buddy Holly with the excitement of Elvis, with whom she toured with in 1955 and ‘56. Back in the early ‘50s the Oklahoma singer had her own radio show and by ‘56 she was cutting incredibly hot sides for Capitol Records including “Mean, Mean Man”, “Honey Bop”, “Let’s Have A Party” and her ‘57 classic “Fujiyama Mama”. Some of the great country twang, rockabilly bop and rock and roll performances of the ‘50s, these tracks featured a number of musicians, arrangers and great guitar players like the late, great Joe Maphis, an up-and-coming picker, soon to be superstar Buck Owens (who went on to releases numerous country albums on Capitol) and Poe Kat Vernon Sandusky. In late 2002 Capitol finally set the record straight with Stateside CD reissues of Rockin’ With Wanda (1960) and the ‘56-58 singles and more that went in to making up her 1958 self-titled album Wanda Jackson. Both CD reissues feature historic liner notes, a range of bonus tracks and cool color photos—par for the course with so many of the great reissues on Capitol / EMI.

The Essential Leonard Cohen
(Columbia / Legacy)

A native of Montreal, Leonard Cohen is well represented on the 2002 Columbia Legacy release of The Essential Leonard Cohen. The 31 track double disc set spans tracks from his 1967 self-titled Songs Of Leonard Cohen through to tracks featured on his 2001 Columbia release Ten New Songs. Although primarily a folk-based favorite among the late ‘60s folk-poet crowd—he was discovered by Judy Collins who covered his early hit “Suzanne” in 1966 and which was also covered by Noel Harrison—Cohen’s pop leanings were evident especially on his 1988 album I’m Your Man and his 1977 album Death Of A Ladies Man, produced by Phil Spector (strangely the Spector sessions are unrepresented here). Early favorites like “Bird On The Wire”, various comebacks through the years like The Future (1992) to the four new tracks recorded with singer-songwriter Sharon Robinson make The Essential Leonard Cohen a fine overview of Cohen’s fabled career as a folk-rock innovator.

Great Ladies Of Rock & Roll - The '60s

Another great, well..collectible CD from PA.-based Collectables is Great Ladies Of Rock & Roll - The ‘60s. There was an amazing number of great female vocalists throughout the 20th Century but the ‘60s had to be the decade of the great pop female singer. This was especially true in the innocent world of pre-Beatles early ‘60s AM pop radio when singers like Little Eva (“Locomotion”), Lesley Gore (“It’s My Party”), Little Peggy March (“I Will Follow Him”) and girl groups like The Chiffons (“He’s So Fine”) and The Exciters (“Tell Him”) represented the best in American music. Balancing out the pre-1964 American girl group sound there’s also a number of early tracks by well established mid ‘60s singer legends like Petula Clark (“Downtown”), Aretha Franklin (“Respect) and Linda Ronstadt (“Different Drum”). The 25 track Great Ladies Of Rock & Roll features a fine range of classic chart-topping ‘60s pop and there’s even a tie-in with the famed NYC-based oldies station WCBS-FM 101.1

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