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January 2003








Left For Live Deluxe

Looking back on the last recorded live work with The John Entwistle Band, Left For Live: Deluxe - The Complete Live Performance further fleshes out the sessions from the original ‘99 release of Left For Live, and is now expanded to a double disc CD re-release on Koch Entertainment. For those still down over the loss of the late great Who bassist John Alec Entwistle, the double disc shines the spotlight on just how great he was as a singer-songwriter as well. In the fast paced world of rock super stardom, Entwistle’s solo career was often overlooked in all the hoopla (no pun intended). That said, the double CD set captures some spectacular group performances from the entire Entwistle band including his cohort, drummer Steve Luongo, guitarist Godfrey Townsend and keyboardist Gordon Cotten, who all share the vocal spotlight with Entwistle. Entwistle’s death on 6/27/02 (Who fans should factor in the death of Speedy Keene, who died a few months before Entwistle) was a real blow for those waiting to see the group reclaim their honor as one of rock’s great studio groups. Long time Entwistle fans will appreciate the line-up of tracks here including “Darker Side Of Night” (from his fabulous 2001 comeback CD Vampires), “My Size” (the lead of track from his 1971 solo debut Smash Your Head Against The Wall), “Success Story” (from Who By Numbers), “Heaven & Hell” (possibly Entwistle’s best Who track), “Whiskey Man” (from the second Who album in early ‘66) and of course his anthem, “Boris The Spider”. Reflecting on the tragic loss of his bass great buddy, Steve Luongo adds, “John Entwistle was a gift in my life the likes of which I will never know again”, further adding “When it thunders, think of John Entwistle.” Recorded live in concert on the group’s ‘98-99 Left For Dead tour, the 24-track CD set features a round of rare and classic Entwistle tracks and an assortment of acclaimed Entwistle-composed Who tracks. Well recorded and remastered, the sound quality (with obtrusive audience noise turned way down) is crisp and tight. Topped with eye-catching red, white and blue packaging, 6 panel photo montage and ironic liner notes by Luongo, the double CD is a fitting testament to Entwistle’s musical might. In related news, The Who’s keyboardist John “Rabbit” Bundrick released his own tribute to John Entwistle called The Quite One - Music For The Other Side. The 9 track keyboard-based instrumental CD was recorded by Rabbit during October 2002. Rabbit’s pensive and reflective solo keyboard soundscapes honor Entwistle’s spirit and the prominent album artwork is quite effective. /

The Very Best Of The K-Tel Recordings

Music fans who grew up in the late ‘50s / early ‘60s can attest to the magic of rock and roll pioneer Chubby Checker. Breaking on the scene with his really rockin’ Summer 1960 cover of Hank Ballard’s “The Twist”, Chubby—who’s real name is Ernest Evans—hit the chart with several other huge dance smash 45’s including “Let’s Twist Again”, “Popeye”, “Limbo Rock” and “The Fly” originally released on the Philly-based Parkway Records. Released on CD by PA.-based Collectables, Chubby Checker - The Very Best Of The K-Tel Recordings is actually 20 rerecordings of those huge hits and more which were made in for K-Tel Records in ‘71 and ‘75. Rivaling the sonic greatness of the original versions Checker recorded in that pivotal 1959-60 period, The Very Best Of The K-Tel Recordings will do fine until Parkway gets it act together and gets out the originals, and until his ‘69 recordings on Buddah and his early ‘80s sides with MCA come out. Having never really got just acclaim for his unique blend of rock and roll, pop and calypso sounds, Chubby is thankfully still out there pitchin’ his goal of recognition in the Rock and Roll hall of fame adding, “These songs are timeless. They represent all that we do in music today. Let the young people know who I am. Play it, share it, enjoy it.”


First Time In A Long Time
(Rhino Handmade)

Signed to Reprise Records in 1969, the girl group Fanny featured two Philippines-born, California-bred sisters, June Millington (guitar), her sister Jean Millington (bass) along with Alice de Buhr (drums) and Nicky Barclay (keyboards). Earning their reputation opening for rock pioneers like The Doors down on Sunset Strip, Fanny were roundly influenced by The Beatles, Cream and Little Feat. Featuring brilliant packaging and artwork, Rhino Handmade has done right on their four CD Fanny box set First Time In A Long Time - The Reprise Recordings. In addition to featuring the first four Fanny albums, 1970’s Fanny, 1971’s Charity Ball, 1972’s Fanny Hill (recorded at Abbey Road with Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick) and 1973’s Mother’s Pride (produced by Todd Rundgren), the 5+ hour four disc set adds in dozens of studio outtakes, unreleased tracks, demos, eleven live tracks and an amazing CD booklet. The band’s importance is best summed up by Fanny buff David Bowie, who (from a ‘99 Rolling Stone interview quoted in the booklet) adds “One of the most important female bands in American rock has been buried without a trace. And that is Fanny. They were extraordinary. They wrote everything, they played like motherfuckers, they were just colossal and wonderful. Revivify Fanny. And I feel that my work is done.” I think Bowie will approve.

Live 1975
(Columbia / Legacy)

The first ever 'legit' CD release of Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review tour of late 1975 was released as Bootleg Series Volume 5 by Legacy at the tale end of 2002. At the time, Dylan had just released his ‘75 classic Blood On The Tracks and was about to release Desire and fittingly The Rolling Thunder Review was Dylan’s platform for live tracks like “Tangled Up In Blue”, “One More Cup Of Coffee”, “Isis” and “Hurricane” in addition to classic Dylan standards such as “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”. Taken from concerts recorded in Boston and Montreal in late November, early December ‘75, the nicely restored concert retrospective finds Dylan in quite an upbeat mood supported by guitarists Bobby Neuwirth, T-Bone Burnett, Steven Soles, and the late, great Mick Ronson to name a few of the great players on hand. Also appearing with Dylan are his folk-poet confidant Joan Baez and Byrds’ guitar legend Roger McGuinn. Legacy’s Rolling Thunder mini box features 22 tracks and just over 100 minutes of music along with a 56 page CD booklet filled with rare photos and liner notes by the tour chronicler Larry “Ratso” Sloman. In addition to the two CDs, the initial pressing also comes with a DVD featuring tracks from the Rolling Thunder tour documentary Renaldo & Clara. Look for Legacy to continue their Bob Dylan bootleg series with the coming 2003 release of Dylan’s 1964 NYC concert at Philharmonic Hall.

(Chrysalis / Capitol)

War Child unravels the musical mystery that is Jethro Tull and preserves the image of a band in the throes of mass acclaim, shamelessly plugging the virtues of ‘70s FM rock radio. Following in the wake of Tull’s most ambitious albums ever—Thick As A Brick and Passion PlayWar Child, espousing huge FM hits like “Bungle In The Jungle”, “Queen And Country” and of course the anthemic title track literally woke the masses to the Tull phenomenon that started in ‘68. That pivotal 1974 period saw an explosion in popularity of British progressive rock in the U.S. and Tull—despite not exactly topping those ultimate rock moments on Benefit and Stand Up—were knowingly paving the way for a whole new musical movement with their ever inventive composite of folk, classical and hard rock sounds. Following War Child, Tull made a valiant return to their progressive folk/rock and jazz roots with 1975’s Minstrel In The Gallery, while the momentum changed again in '76 with Too Old To Rock And Roll, To Young To Die, an unusual and comic, cryptic concept album. There’s no denying the musical charms and staying power of each of these three albums—all of which really benefit with new for 2002 reissue CDs on Chrysalis / Capitol Records. Each features insightful new liner notes by Ian Anderson, while other key points are the detailed booklets and generous bonus tracks on all three albums (especially the instrumentals among the seven revealing rarities on War Child), and further sets the record straight regarding the wealth of albums, singles and eps Tull were releasing during those heady, heavy golden days of the mid ‘70s.

Reason To Believe
(Mercury / UMG)

As huge as he became during the ‘80s and ‘90s, Rod Stewart’s early solo albums on Mercury Records are still considered the ones that shaped his musical intellect and propelled his career. Universal Chronicles compiles every track Rod recorded for Mercury with the 2002 triple CD set Reason To Believe - The Complete Mercury Studio Recordings. The Rod Stewart Album (1969) and the May 1970 release of Gasoline Alley (two incipient pop classics featuring guitarists Ronnie Wood and Ronnie Lane) didn’t really prepare anyone for the major success that followed with Stewart’s all time classic, 1971’s Every Picture Tells A Story. Stewart’s remaining Mercury Records’ releases—Never A Dull Moment (1972) and Smiler (1973) were further milestones on the road to rock superstardom. All five of Stewart’s solo albums are here in their entirety while the triple disc set also adds in various singles, unreleased tracks and a nifty booklet filled with liner notes by Amy Linden and detailed musical credits on all the fine players participating.

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