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July / August 2003








A Passion Play
(Chrysalis / Capitol)

By 1971 Jethro Tull were so huge and Ian Anderson was such a rock cult hero that they could be so daring to invent a new musical language which resulted in their 1972 album Thick As A Brick and in a similar spirit, their 1973 follow of A Passion Play. Perhaps Tull decided one last time to create something that went beyond the 3 or 4 minute rock song, which of course they would return to with their next full length CD War Child. Blessed by Tull’s embryonic approach to progressive jazz and chamber rock, A Passion Play remains a high point among all their 70’s titles. The EMI/Chrysalis Records 2003 CD version sounds great and features the artwork from the Lp along plus an enhanced track with the never before seen video for “The Hare That Lost His Spectacles”. Tull bassist, Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond’s performance here is in a word, amazing. In a related windfall for Tull fans, Chrysalis have also done the right thing with 2003 reissues of of Tull’s 1977 and ‘78 albums Songs From The Wood and Heavy Horses, each repackaged with new liner notes by Ian and a pair of bonus tracks apiece.



(RCA / BMG Heritage)

From the liner notes of Lou Reed’s 2003 double CD retrospective David Bowie states, “Lou brought rock into the avant garde. He gave us the environment in which to put out our more theatrical vision.” Lou’s glam rock classic Transformer and his legendary live set from 1974, Rock And Roll Animal remain rock staples, but as this double CD clearly depicts, Lou Reed could rock and roll with the best of them. Instead of putting together a basic CD set of his biggest and best, Lou went one step beyond, sequencing past and present tracks with various live and alternate cuts. In Lou’s own words, “We’ve been trying to construct this double CD set from the point of view of which songs relate to each other in the best fashion, not from a chronological point of view”. There’s several key tracks—such as “Sweet Jane”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “I”m Waiting For The Man”—from his days with Velvet Underground and bringing the story up to date, disc one kicks off with a previously unreleased version of “Who Am I?” from Lou’s 2003 album The Raven. A fascinating overview of rock’s most compelling and pioneering singer-songwriters, NYC Man: The Collection—complete with track by track liner notes from Lou and 20 pages of illustrative memorabilia—will amaze devotees and newcomers alike.


(Columbia / Legacy)

A group of musicians long associated with The Grateful Dead, the New Riders featured the incredibly gifted vocals, songwriting and acoustic guitar work of John Dawson (a/k/a Marmaduke). The self-titled N.R.P.S. album debut was released in 1971 and it was an instant smash with the Dead heads and—with songs like “Dirty Business”, “Last Lonely Eagle” and the set closer “Louisiana Lady”—even today, the album remains one of the finest psychedelic country albums of the early ‘70s. In addition to the core group of Marmaduke, David Nelson (guitar) and Dave Torbert (bass), the N.R.P.S. album also spotlights contributions from Jerry Garcia (pedal steel, banjo) drummers Spencer Dryden and Mickey Hart along with the piano work of Commander Cody. Sporting an all-star musical crew and a memorable lineup of tracks, Legacy’s 2003 CD reissue of the fabled N.R.P.S. album is rounded off by three bonus tracks from a July 2, 1971 Fillmore West show and new liner notes from Rob Bleetstein. Coinciding with the Legacy reissue of the first New Riders album on CD comes New Riders Of The Purple Sage - Live: Worcester, MA 4/4/73. The double CD live release on the Santa Monica-based Kufala Recordings is a fine representation of just how effective the band sounded in concert. Decked out with cool bootleg-style artwork, the album benefits from quite decent sound quality. /


(Collector's Choice)

A company that’s turning out to be one of the great reissue record labels, Collector’s Choice Music reissued six albums from California rock legends The Association. The six CD titles include Renaissance (1966), Insight Out (1967), Birthday (1968), The Association (1969), The Association: Live (live concert from April 3, 1970), and Stop Your Motor (their last Warner Bros. record Lp 1971). In the spirit of great California pop harmony groups like The Beach Boys and The Mamas & The Papas, The Association are best known for their breakthru debut single “Along Comes Mary”—one of the great AM radio singles from the Summer of ‘66—along with other favorites like “Windy” and “Never My Love” (both featured on their Insight Out album). Missing from this bunch of CC CD reissues is the group’s first album And Then...Along Comes The Association, but these six 2003 reissues are the first ever U.S. CD releases of these titles and overall they should please fans no end. No bonus tracks, but the excellent CD mastering by Bill Inglot really improves the sound compared to the Japanese reissues from a few years back. The Association: Live features all their big hits while the five other titles—each complete with insightful liner notes by rock scribe Richie Unterberger and the group’s co-founder Jim Yester—offers valuable insight into just how influential the Association continues to be.

A's B's & EP's

Over in London, EMI continues to find interesting ways to market the back catalog of England’s greatest guitar instrumental group The Shadows. A’s B’s & EP’s features 24 Shadows tracks originally released on singles and their EP’s between 1961-1964. Back in the ‘60s, EP's were usually a 7" 45 record with 2 or 3 tracks per side that were usually produced to take advantage of the teenage market. With their prodigious output of guitar-based instrumentals and vocal tracks, The Shadows were always up for the task and these 24 tracks, featuring some of their great covers and originals, represent some of their best tracks taken from classic Shadows’ EP’s like Wonderful Land Of The Shadows and Shindig With The Shadows. Perhaps the most amazing thing here is how great these original mono masters have translated onto CD. Soundwise, EMI has come a long way since their early Shadows’ CDs from the mid ‘80s and A’s B’s & EP’s is a splendid introduction to their enormous legacy. Fans of EMI’s classic artists should also check out EMI's A’s B’s & EP’s from The Animals and Manfred Mann. /


Songs For A Tailor

Not too long after the break up of Cream, bass great and rock legend Jack Bruce released his first solo album in 1969, Songs For A Tailor. Nearly the opposite of the guitar-based power trio sound of Cream, Songs For A Tailor featured Bruce backed up by session guitar ace Chris Spedding, drummer Jon Hiseman, sax icon Dick Heckstall Smith and long time lyricist Pete Brown. Jack’s first solo album was more in the adventurous Cream spirit than the first solo album from Cream bandmate Eric Clapton, yet amidst all the musical greatness, this was 1969, the album was strangely overlooked. Bruce returned in 1971 for an album that some still think is his best solo album ever, Harmony Row. A full-bodied, brilliantly engineered musical extravaganza featuring Spedding, Brown with drummer John Marshall in tow, Harmony Row was an even more amazing album than Songs For A Tailor and it’s avant-gard pop edge further distanced Bruce from the mainstream. Bruce would return again in the ‘70s with solo classics such as Out Of The Storm (1974) and How’s Tricks (1977), but his first two albums remain monuments from the pioneering days of progressive jazz-rock. In 2003, through the auspices of Universal Music, Bruce’s original label, Polydor reissued Songs For A Tailor, Harmony Row, Out Of The Storm and How’s Tricks, along with a till now, unreleased Bruce studio album from 1978 entitled Jet Set Jewel. Recorded by Bruce with 1977’s How’s Tricks lineup, including guitarist Hughie Burns, Jet Set Jewel is a major rediscovery, now complete with historic liner notes. Commenting on his early solo career from the liner notes of Jet Set Jewel Jack comments, “I wasn’t looking for vast commercial success with any of my solo albums. The people I look up to are musicians like Duke Ellington and Count Basie who just carried on performing. I never wanted to be a star. I just wanted to make good music.” Each of these five newly remastered Jack Bruce albums are repackaged with extensive liner notes, lyrics, rare photos and—with the exception of Jet Set Jewel—bonus tracks. Released in 2003 in the U.K., these imported Jack Bruce reissue titles are available in the U.S. through the catalog of Collector’s Choice Music. /

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