Category Archives: Reissue

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Svenska Shakers

Album: Svenska Shakers: R & B Shakers, Mod Grooves, Freakbeat and Psychpop from Sweden 1964-1968)

Artist: Various Artists

Label: Cherry Red/RPM

Release Date: November 04, 2016

www.cherryred.co.uk

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The Upshot: Sweden in the ‘60s, who the hell knew?

BY TIM HINELY

That title is a mouthful but if you’re like me and thought that Swedish pop/rock started and ended with Abba (who I love) well, give this one a listen, 41 songs spread out over two discs and I can’t say I’ve heard of a single band on here, but I like most of this. Heck, look at that classic cover shot, five serious lookin’ dudes with capes. Here we’ve got some rockin’ combos like The Acts, Moonjacks, Tages, Darling, Bamboo, Mascots, The Cheers, Fools, Namelovers and and too many more.

You’ve got Annaabee-Nox doing “The Kids Are Alright” (no major departure from the original but still sounds great…on disc two the same band does “Always on My Mind”).  Moonjacks rockin’ up and out with “Come On,” Shakers doing “Hoochie Coochie Man” and Namelosers doing “Land of 1000 Dances” just to name a few. Wow—Sweden in the ‘60s, who the hell knew?! As it states proudly/boldly on the back cover, “Choice cuts from a period when Sweden’s world-class bands beat the musical imports at their own game.” The booklet has covers of singles and liner notes by Kieron Tyler. [Hey Kieron, how ya doin’? It’s been awhile. Greetings from NC! – Editor Mills]

Come on partner, I know you’ve got your own cape in the closet along with some glue-on sideburns, put ‘em on when no one’s home and freak out!

DOWNLOAD:  “The Kids Are Alright,” “Always on My Mind,” “Come On,” “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Land of 1000 Dances”

 

Incoming: Definitive Studio Recordings Collection by ’60s Legends The Creation

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You won’t be just making time with this particular visit to the wayback machine….

Archival specialists Numero Group continues its creative roll (raise your hand if you grabbed any of the label’s recent offerings, among them the definitive Scientists box set, A Place Called Bad; and the delightful various artists soul/funk compilations The 123s of Kid Soul). Aiming to make the new year a psych-rock year supreme, Numero has compiled for the first time ever the complete studio recordings of the English ’60s legends the Creation. The 2-CD set titled Action Painting will be released March 17. Let’s just cut to the chase and view the official album trailer:

Here’s the lowdown:

All 42 tracks the group recorded between 1965-1968 have been remastered from the original tapes by Shel Talmy, and given fresh stereo mixes where previously unavailable. New essays by music historians Dean Rudland and Alec Palao tell the Creation story while scores of previously unpublished photographs adorn the accompanying 80-page hardbound book. Numero Group has rounded out the package with four tracks by pre-Creation freakbeat quartet the Mark Four, making Action Painting the definitive collection of this legendary U.K. band.

The Creation were a dynamic quartet with an equally engaging image. They would burn brightly for just two years, yet would leave an indelible mark upon music history. With producer du jour Shel Talmy at the helm (The Who, Kinks, Easybeats, Cat Stevens, et al.) the Creation went on an incredible two-year tear of singles, including “Making Time,” “How Does It Feel to Feel,” “Tom Tom,” and “If I Stay Too Long.” By 1968 the paint was dry and the band split. Eddie Phillips’ trademark guitar bowing would be nicked by Jimmy Page and Boney M would cheese up “Painter Man,” the band’s highest-charting single.

Over the nearly five decades since, the Creation has seen a tremendous resurgence in interest. First it was the Jam flossing “Making Time” on the inner sleeve of All Mod Cons. A few years later Alan McGee formed the band Biff Bang Pow and his Creation record label. By the turn of the century a new generation had discovered the band via a strategic placement in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore.

According to legendary producer Talmy, “My biggest regret is that they didn’t achieve the standing they should have. I truly believe they could have been as big as the Who.”

With Action Painting, overdue recognition might be just around the bend.

Collector-geek alert! Separate from the 2-CD/2-LP collection, Numero will release a limited edition, break away spindle 45 featuring the Creation’s “Making Time” backed with a previously unissued instrumental version.

***

Tracklisting:

Disc 1

1          Making Time

2          Try and Stop Me

4          Biff Bang Pow

5          Sylvette (edit)

6          If I Stay Too Long

7          Nightmares

8          Life Is Just Beginning

9          Through My Eyes

10        How Does It Feel to Feel

11        Tom Tom

12        Can I Join Your Band

13        Midway Down

14        The Girls Are Naked

15        Bonie Maronie

17        For All That I Am

18        Uncle Bert

19        Cool Jerk

20        I Am the Walker

21        Ostrich Man

22        Sweet Helen

23        How Does It Feel to Feel (US version)

 

Disc 2

1          THE MARK FOUR – Hurt Me If You Will

2          THE MARK FOUR – I’m Leaving

3          THE MARK FOUR – Work All Day (Sleep All Night)

4          THE MARK FOUR – Going Down Fast

5          How Does It Feel to Feel (US version)  New stereo mix

6          Biff Bang Pow   New stereo mix

7          For All That I Am   New stereo mix

8          Can I Join Your Band  New stereo mix

9          Through My Eyes New stereo mix

10        Tom Tom New stereo mix

11        Midway Down New stereo mix

12        Nightmares   New stereo mix

13        Life Is Just Beginning  New stereo mix

14        Painter Man  New stereo mix

15        If I Stay Too Long New stereo mix

16        How Does It Feel To Feel (UK version) New stereo mix

17        Cool Jerk  New stereo mix

18        Hey Joe   New stereo mix

19        Like a Rolling Stone New stereo mix

20        Making Time (backing track) take 1 Previously unissued

21        Sylvette (full length)

22        Instrumental 1

23        How Does It Feel to Feel (version 1) (backing track – Previously unissued

 

 

 

THE DOORS – London Fog May, 1966 (10” box)

Album: London Fog May, 1966 (10” box)

Artist: Doors

Label: Rhino/Bright Midnight Archives

Release Date: December 16, 2016

www.rhino.com

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The Upshot: WWJS? (What Would Jim Say?) Yet another previously unreleased live set from the Lizard King archives, but given an eye-popping, collector-catnip treatment guaranteed to seduce even the most jaded Lizard King acolyte.

BY FRED MILLS

Well, I woke up this mornin’ and I got myself a beer… and sat down to compose this review. (In my head at least; in truth, it’s 3 in the afternoon, and I’m sipping a caramel frappuccino.) Allow me to introduce the latest in a long-running parade of posthumous Doors live releases, London Fog May, 1966. It summons from the mists of time a proverbial “recently discovered” live recording of the band, expertly cleaned up for the modern digital ear, in order to give acolytes a sense of what Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and John Densmore actually sounded like, onstage, around the time they were recording their debut album for Elektra Records but had yet to burst upon the national scene.

And it’s neither time capsule nor curio, but rather a valid projection into the collector-archival ether that should hold up for future generations. Vintage, if hard-edged, blues apparently dominated early Doors sets: Here, a lengthy workout on Willie Dixon’s “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” and a remarkably serpentine, sensual Muddy Waters’ “Rock Me” showcase not only Morrison’s intuitive embrace of the blues’ primal imperative, but his bandmates’ agility as translators of same. Also in the mix are covers of Big Joe Williams, Wilson Pickett, and Little Richard. Seminal Doors originals also make surprise appearances: a somewhat hesitant “Strange Days” (which would go on to be overhauled and polished in the studio to provide the second album’s title track), and a rowdy-bawdy-bluesy “You Make Me Real,” which subsequently went into hibernation until 1970’s Morrison Hotel.

Time capsule: well, actually… yeah. Rhino has pulled out all stops for this box, which houses both a CD and a 10” vinyl disc of the nine tracks, plus an assortment of memorabilia that includes reproductions of the evening’s setlist from the London Fog, a postcard and drink coaster from that Sunset Strip dive, and photos of the evening Nettie Pena, a UCLA Film School student who Morrison, also a student, enlisted that evening to document his band’s performance on a small reel to reel deck. In those photos, the musicians seem impossibly young, as yet unjaded by stardom, yet clearly determined as artists. Talk about a snapshot. (Pena, who also wrote a review of the gig, discloses that she cannot locate an additional reel of tape from the show that contained the band doing a 15-minute “The End,” but promises that if it ever surfaces, she’ll immediately pass it along to the Doors camp.) Worth additional note: a passionate remembrance in the CD booklet penned by Ronnie Harran, who at the time of the show was booking the nearby Whisky A Go Go and, acting on a tip, came to check out the Doors during their residency at the Fog, ultimately returning to the Whisky, eager to book them at her venue. Everything is housed in a 10-inch, thick cardboard box—pure collector catnip. Just the effort alone that’s been put into this project demands an above-average rating for archival releases; the mesmerizing music guarantees it a perfect score.

Commentary, artifacts, and nostalgia aside, London Fog May, 1966 ultimately brings the Doors—pardon the inside joke—reverse full circle. Prior to Morrison’s death in 1971, the group had reinvested itself in the blues that had originally spawned the combo back in the early ‘60s (as Rick and the Ravens), tackling both vintage material and primal original compositions on Morrison Hotel and on swansong L.A. Woman. And while it’s impossible to say if the Doors vaults have finally been combed clean (as this obsessive Doors collector’s CD library can testify, the band and its archivists have been diligent over the course of the past decade and a half; hats off to Rhino, Rhino Handmade, Bright Moonlight, Elektra and everyone involved), there’s something fitting about celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of the band’s debut LP by listening to an early Doors set comprising the blues, soul, and ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll that inspired the musicians in the first place.

DOWNLOAD: “Strange Days,” “Rock Me”

STICK MEN WITH RAY GUNS – Property of Jesus Christ LP / 1,000 Lives to Die LP

Album: Property of Jesus Christ LP / 1,000 Lives to Die LP

Artist: Stick Men With Ray Guns

Release Date: November 04, 2016

www.12xu.net

stick-men

The Upshot: Classic Tex-ass punk revisited via a pair of killer live sets.

BY TIM HINELY

Back in the day I’d heard about this band only in hushed whispers ….and that was from the friends of mine who’d heard of ‘em, which wasn’t many. I think my real Stick Men with Ray Guns education came from Tom Lax (Siltbreeze Records) more like in the late 80’s/early 90’s when he would talk about ‘em. How they’re not even as well-known/remembered as even The Dicks or Big Boys is a bit mystifying. They hailed from, where else, Texas and were led by one Bobby Soxx, a truly bent frontman who is no longer among the living (and after hearing all the stories you’d be shocked if he was). The 12XU label is offering them as separate vinyl reissues (though they were released on cd at one time). Each one is the product of two lives sets from the mid-80’s, one from 1984 in Houston and one from ’87, apparently the band’s final gig, in Dallas. On the intro to the opening cut, “What Am I?” Bobby rambles on a bit about “I don’t care if you don’t like us, I’m from Texas……….FUCK REAGAN!”  (they (he) antagonized the audience on a nightly basis and the audience did so back….at their own risk).

He and the band (Clarke Blacker, Scott Elam and Bob Beeman) then rumble into a heavy, distorted dirge that sounds beautiful to these ears. Other cuts that definitely make the cuts are “Christian Rat Attack,” “I Wanna Throw Up,” “Kill the Innocent” and the stone-cold classic, “Hate in the 80’s” (which I think later re-recorded under his own name). The Dallas set starts off with the same opener (“What Am I?”) while the band then blasts out other scabs of noise including “I Am the One,”  the relentless “Christian Christian,” the truly twisted “Shaggy Has AIDS” and the bashing “Two Fists.” Some of the quotes about this band from assorted Butthole Surfers are both hilarious and terrifying (Gibby said, “I fondly remember  Bobby Soxx on his back porch, chopping bibles with a meat cleaver and throwing a color television set at a Mexican family This band murdered Dallas.” You really can’t sum it all up better than that.

DOWNLOAD:  “Christian Rat Attack,” “I Wanna Throw Up,” “Kill the Innocent,” “Hate in the 80’s,” “Christian Christian,” “Two Fists”

 

TIM BUCKLEY – Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974

Album: Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974

Artist: Tim Buckley

Label: Omnivore

Release Date: November 18, 2016

www.omnivorerecordings.com

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The Upshot: Selective anthology of the late honey-throated folksinger/rocker that wonderfully showcases both his evolution and his maturation.

 

BY FRED MILLS

 

Sequenced exactly midway through a revealing new compilation is arguably—to these ears, at least—Tim Buckley’s greatest song. Originally appearing on 1967’s groundbreaking Goodbye and Hello, the songwriter’s second full length, and subsequently released as a U.K. single, “Pleasant Street” ushers forth on a bold descending chord progression similar to the Lovin’ Spoonful’s ’66 hit “Summer in the City” (a none-too-inconsequential fun fact: the Spoonful’s Jerry Yester produced GaH), the singer spinning a hazy narrative that, on the surface, seems to be about the thrills and perils of love. Buckley, in near-flawless voice, swoops and swoons in his signature high tenor, the subtly orchestral music swelling like a classic Motown arrangement while the lead guitarist emits upper-fretboard peals of delight. Sings Buckley:

 

At twilight your lover comes to your room
He’ll spin you, he’ll weave you ’round his emerald loom
And softly you’ll whisper all around his ear
“Sweet lover, I love Pleasant Street
I wheel, I steal, I feel my way down to kneel…

Down – down – down – down…

 

Cut to 2016: For the liner notes to Omnivore Recordings’ Wings: The Complete Singles 1966-1974, archivist/journalist/musician Pat Thomas is talking with the late Buckley’s close friend and lyrical collaborator, Larry Beckett, who chronologically discusses each of the set’s 21 songs—their origins, how some of them were written and recorded, their subsequent trajectory, etc. When they get to “Pleasant Street,” Beckett reveals that the song is actually about addiction, something Buckley would eventually come to know on intimate terms. “At twilight your lover comes to your room…” This knowledge may not necessarily be arcane, but it is unsettling, the same feeling you might have gotten when you finally learned that Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day” was not about the giddiness of romance, but about the warm, glowing cocoon of heroin. How could a song so melodic, so sonically majestic, so gorgeous, concern a topic so brutal, so destructive, so devastating?

 

Part of Buckley’s genius, of course, was his skillful balancing of the sacred and the profane in his songs, both in their musical arrangements and their lyrical agility. These skills are on ample display throughout Wings, which takes you from the title track (a 1966 single and also a key track on his self-titled major label debut for Elektra that same year) all the way through “Who Could Deny You” (from 1974’s Look at the Fool, released about six months before his untimely death, at the age of 28, from an overdose). In between one encounters both evolution and maturation as a songwriter in sufficient quantities to suggest that not only was Buckley an artistic peer to other, more acclaimed West Coast artists such as Love, the Doors, and Brian Wilson, Buckley also was nowhere near his peak yet, making his death at a criminally young age all the more tragic.

 

There are numerous other Buckley compilations you can pick up in order to explore his oeuvre and his genius, of course. Just recently, Light In the Attic issued Lady, Give Me Your Key: The Unissued 1967 Solo Acoustic Sessions, pure unreleased manna for Buckley fans; that album’s wonderful title track, in fact, is included on the Omnivore record. As Wings omits material from Buckley’s middle period due to his not releasing any singles from some of his albums, it’s more buffet than banquet. But the tunes that are included, along with the Beckett interview, still make this a musical feast, even if you already have all of the albums that were released during his short lifetime.

 

More Buckley on the web:

 http://www.alwaysontherun.net/tim.htm (Fan tribute page)

http://www.timbuckley.net/prime_page.shtml  (Official estate of Buckley page)

http://www.angelfire.com/ma3/rebopper/timmy1.html (Fan tribute page)

http://www.furious.com/perfect/larrybeckett.html (Perfect Sound Forever Larry Beckett interview)

 

DOWNLOAD: “Lady, Give Me Your Key,” “Pleasant Street,” “Move With Me,” “Dolphins”

 

PETER CASE – Peter Case

Album: Peter Case

Artist: Peter Case

Label: Omnivore

Release Date: September 16, 2016

www.omnivorerecordings.com

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The Upshot: An expanded reissue of the erstwhile Plimsouls leader’s 1986 solo debut cements the notion of its songwriting/arranging brilliance—and inherent timelessness.

BY MICHAEL TOLAND

In 1986 two albums captured my imagination so thoroughly they still reside in the firmament of all-time faves. One was David + David’s debut Boomtown. The other was ex-Plimsouls leader Peter Case’s self-titled debut.* A combination of record reviews and hearing “Welcome to the Boomtown” and “Steel Strings” on the radio drew me to both like the proverbial moth to the flame. While the former languishes in bargain bins and streaming sites, the latter gets a long-overdue reissue. Does it hold up? Boy howdy, does it ever.

The Upshot: As good as this record sounds, it’s all in service to the songs, and this is among the best set the erstwhile Plimsouls leader ever wrote.

 

BY

Produced by T Bone Burnett and Mitchell Froom at that distinctive time in the’80s when both men were trying to bring a modern aesthetic to roots rock, Peter Case sounds little like the Americana records that would come in its wake while citing it as an inspiration. Opening cut “Echo Wars” is a good example: a pop melody picked on swirling acoustic guitars and supported by swaying acoustic and electronic percussion lines that, at the time, sounded neither like the bands on the roots rock side of town (Jason & the Scorchers, the Long Ryders, etc.), nor the slicker ‘80s pop hitmakers. The whimsically introspective “More Than Curious” similarly rides a busy percussion groove, augmented by a rubbery bassline. The supremely catchy “Steel Strings” adds a burbling synthesizer riff under the irresistible hooks. Some might argue that these sounds and arrangements date the record – and plenty have – but to my ears they make it a more unique sonic experience that any other LP he’d go on to make.

 

That’s not to say there isn’t a more straightforward attack on many of the tracks. The guitar/harmonica simplicity of the menacing “Walk in the Woods” and the country blues stompin’ “Icewater” (which finds Case putting words to a tune from Lightnin’ Hopkins) need no extra instrumentation to be effective. “Old Blue Car” also uses the blues as a jumping-off point for a rollicking bopper, while the poppy folk-rocking “Horse and Crow” (featuring John Hiatt, a year away from revitalizing his career with Bring the Family, on harmony vox) is practically a blueprint for (the best of) the Americana movement 15-odd years later. Case even nods to his past life in power pop trailblazers the Plimsouls – the blazing “I Shook His Hand” hails from the last days of that band’s life, and “Satellite Beach” is just a hair’s breadth away from being power pop itself.

 

As good as this record sounds (and that’s as much due to Case’s near-perfect folk/rock/pop voice, cutting and soulful and winsome all at once, as the production and performances), it’s all in service to the songs, and this is among the best set he ever wrote. Rarely indulging in heart-on-sleeve emotion or bald confession, Case instead creates characters and plucks moments from their lives to celebrate, denigrate or simply inhabit. “I Shook His Hand” covers meeting a major political figure (JFK?), “Three Days Straight” describes the aftermath of a mining disaster, “Small Town Spree” (arranged and conducted by Van Dyke Parks) bares its teeth at a killer seemingly getting away with his crime. “Steel Strings” is the album’s anthem, a tribute to music and Case’s instrument of choice that never becomes sappy or clichéd. Case finishes the album with the Pogues’ masterpiece “A Pair of Brown Eyes” – aided by Roger McGuinn’s 12-string chime, Case burrows so deeply into the song’s soul he handily relieves its creators of it, making it forever his own. Case must agree with the continuing power and relevance of these songs – he still includes many of them in his sets thirty years later.

 

As is de rigeur for reissues, this one includes several bonus tracks. Stripped down acoustic versions of “Steel Strings” and “I Shook His Hand,” a mix of “Horse and Crow” that removes Hiatt’s vocal and adds clattering percussion and an early version of “More Than Curious” reveal what hardy songs they all are. Even better, there are three previously unreleased songs. The solo acoustic “North Coast Blues” and “Trusted Friend” deserve revival in his repertoire, while the full band pop tune “Toughest Gang in Town,” while perhaps a bit too close to the sound of “Horse and Crow” and “Satellite Beach” for inclusion on the original LP, scans well worth hearing.

 

Peter Case is one of those albums that, even thirty years on, is rarely out of my listening circulation for long. But this reissue is still a welcome chance to rediscover its brilliance. Indeed, if anything, Peter Case shines even brighter now than it did when it blew my mind the first time around.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Steel Strings,” “A Pair of Brown Eyes,” “Icewater,” “I Shook His Hand,” “Trusted Friend”

*I mention these two together not only for their impact on my future music nerd self, but also because they toured together in support of these records. I didn’t get to see any of those shows, alas.

 

LEVIATHAN – The Legendary Lost Elektra Album

Album: The Legendary Lost Elektra Album

Artist: Leviathan

Label: Cherry Red/ Grapefruit

Release Date: November 18, 2016

www.cherryred.co.uk

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The Upshot: Heavy ‘60s psych from the UK originally slated for release finally sees the light of day.

BY TIM HINELY

 Just the band name made these guys seem larger than life… and they were for a while. But on to the record: Where the hell did this come from?? This UK band hailed from Brighton, UK and got signed to Elektra in ’69 (all four members, vocalist Stuart Hobday, guitarist Brian Bennett, drummer Gary Murphy and bassist Roger McCabe, were previously in The Mike Stuart Span). The band released a few singles and then recorded this debut but…. alas. It was shelved for some reason and never saw the light of day; you’ll have to ask Jac Holzman the reason why. The band then lost all hope and broke up (geez, Jac… talk about crushing a band’s dreams however I can forgive you since you were the one who signed Love). Apparently a handful of copies did come out on vinyl just a few years ago but it never saw a full release and many fans were clamoring for it. The original 9 song record is here along with three bonus tracks, although they are just the single versions of songs; David Wells contributes extensive liner notes.

The band definitely fit into the UK psych scene at the time and after listening you’ll wonder what the hell Jac Holzman was on by not wanting to release it, but those were different times. The first cut “Remember the Times” is about as melodic as this band gets while they show their prog rock colors on the trippy “Second Production.” Movin’ on to “The War Machine” and this tune is just, well, plain weird, what with the military drums and lots of shouting/growling. Elsewhere, “Blue Day” would’ve fit in really well with the acid rock scene a few years later, while “Time” is a slower-tempo, folky number; and “Flames” gets real, real heavy. The band were all over the map and there was even talk of them coming to America before the plug was pulled.

This isn’t my favorite kind of stuff to listen to, but I know a talented band when I hear one and that’s Leviathan. Dive in for a piece of history.

DOWNLOAD: “Second Production,” “Blue Day,” “Flames”

 

JUNGLE NAUSEA – Jungle Nausea

Album: Jungle Nausea

Artist: Jungle Nausea

Label: Water Wing / Community Library

Release Date: September 16, 2016

www.waterwingrecords.com

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The Upshot: Early ‘80s Portland outfit has its funk/post-punk/no wave sound resurrected for one final curtain bow. Ed note, 3/17: I was just notified by Shirley (aka Mr. Mike) of a slight error in my band chronology in my review; he actually was the member who started the group, and then King was the one who recruited other members. A tip o’ the Blurt hat to all concerned!

BY FRED MILLS

Although the so-called “hidden history” of Northwest bands summarily had the veil pulled aside following the ascent of Nirvana, Sub Pop, and ‘90s  alt-rock, certain outfits have remained elusive and are known primarily to those who were actually on the pre-grunge scene at the time. Case in point: Portland’s Jungle Nausea, which issued but a six-song, self-titled 12” in 1982 and played out fairly infrequently before dematerializing into the ether of time.

Formed a year or so earlier by guitarist/horn player Rik Stewart of SMEGMA and featuring various intimates from the city’s punk/experimental/noise scene—among them:  poster artist Michael X King on keys and percussion, guitarist “Mr. Mike” Shirley (Bop Zombies) on guitar, Lesley Reece (Braphsmears) on bass and Tammy Cates on vocals; SMEGMA’s Michael Lastra held down production duties—the group had a kind of funk/post-punk/no wave sound not too far removed from the Pop Group, Gang of Four and the Slits. And as the in-depth liner notes (an oral history as related by the members) to this expanded reissue reveal, while the aforementioned scene was relatively small, clustered as it was around a couple of venues and practice spaces, it was wildly creative and energetic, allowing both the musicians and the fans to express themselves without feeling they had to conform to any expectations—including commercial ones. (Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the artistic mission of SMEGMA will understand this intuitively.) Jungle Nausea played roughly 20 gigs, cut the EP, and were outta there. (Below is the original hand-painted artwork to the 12”; you can see the rear cover and inserts HERE at Discogs.com.)

jungle-old

Hats off to Water Wing (in a collaboration with Community Library, plus distributor Mississippi), then, for rescuing both the EP and a handful of unreleased tracks from the ether. The original six tracks are alternately precise—as with the robotic, drum machine powered “Alternative,” featuring Cates in full Jon King declamatory mode and a bassline that’s pure Bootsy—and spazzy, such as “Eat,” a start/stop funk-fest made spicy by Stewart’s trumpet and trombone blasts; clearly a product of their time, but owing obvious debts to iconoclasts of the past, most notably Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band and, to a degree, Parliament/Funkadelic. The bonus material includes three unreleased studio tracks, among which I heartily recommend the Pylon-at-78rpm romp that is “Sympathy” and “Air Conditioner for Hell,” which not only earns points for the title but also for managing to turn what’s essentially a straightforward garage-rock number with a standard blues progression into a post-punk anthem (think a slightly less deadpan Flying Lizards). Also present are three tunes from a 1980 gig at the Urban Noize club, somewhat dubiously recorded but just whacked-out and tuneful enough to give the listener a sense of the delightful chaos the group must have been able to create onstage. The instrumental “Surf Riders” additionally demonstrates what happens when you cross the Ventures and the Surfaris with—you guessed it—a post-punk mindset.

“People might have liked Jungle Nausea if they could have heard us,” admits Reece, in the liners, “but recording and putting records out back then was vastly more difficult than it is now.” Adds Cates, “It’s a cliché now, but this was a very DIY time in Portland.”

Indeed it was—as it was in little musical pockets all over the country, operating in isolation, but laying the groundwork for what was to come in the latter half of the decade and on into the next.

DOWNLOAD: “Sympathy,” “Alternative,” “Eat”

JETHRO TULL – Stand Up: The Elevated Edition

Album: Stand Up: The Elevated Edition

Artist: Jethro Tull

Label: Parlophone/Chrysalis/Warner Music Group

Release Date: November 18, 2016

www.wmg.com

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The Upshot: One of the greatest albums of the Sixties gets the mega-mega-deluxe reissue treatment for CD and DVD geeks alike, and even the stray live bootleg aficionado.

BY UNCLE BLURT

Gather ‘round children, and ye shall hear, of Jethro Tull, and ’69, the year…

Although your ol’ Uncle was but a mere musical neophyte in 1969 and would not get to see England’s Jethro Tull until 1971 during the band’s groundbreaking Aqualung tour, rest assured I was already well-versed in all things Tull by the time of sophomore album Stand Up, released via Reprise in America in September ’69, and a month prior in the U.K., on Island.

Like tens of thousands of other Stateside fans, I was duly mesmerized by the LP’s artistic manifestations, from the heady collision of straight-up, harp/heavy guitar blooze (opening track “A New Day Yesterday”), tantalizingly textured trad Brit-folk (“Look Into the Sun,” which certainly was not out of place in the context of other Island artists such as Traffic, Fairport Convention, and Nick Drake), adapted classical compositions (“Bouree,” originally by Bach, here a flute showcase for extemporaneous frontman Ian Anderson), and unabashed Prog (the shape-shifting “For a Thousand Mothers”); to the album’s fascinating—and no doubt expensive—gatefold sleeve design, that featured cover artist James Grashow’s bandmember renditions folded in as pop-up characters when the sleeve was folded out; and even to the media-reported theatrical leanings that Anderson & Co. were increasingly embracing for live performances, what with their wildly hirsute, wooly-woodsmen persona. Anderson’s trademark codpiece had not yet made its appearance in concert, but the flautist/singer himself was already giving jazzman Roland Kirk and Russian ballet maverick Vaslav Nijinksy visual kudos via his one-legged antics at the mic.

Stand Up has been reissued countless times in the past, notably a 2001 expanded remaster that served fans well, both sonically and collectible-wise, what with the inclusion of four bonus tracks. So for some, the appeal of this new two-CD, one-DVD reissue will chiefly reside in the inclusion of a deluxe book (it truly is gorgeous, boasting an early history of the band, track annotations from Anderson himself, and firsthand reports from ’69, penned by an NME scribe), and a powerful live concert recorded at Stockholm’s venerable Konserthuset in January of ’69 (how powerful? they were opening for Jimi Hendrix, so the Tull-men had to be more than just merely on their game). Also included is a previously unreleased recording of the aforementioned “Bouree,” along with a few other bonus tracks not on the original album; although they’ve surfaced on previous reissues, it’s still nice to have them all under one musical roof.

It should be duly noted, however, that studio maestro Steven Wilson has remixed the entire original album for this “Elevated Edition,” so Tull trainspotters will no doubt thrill to the opportunity to debate, anew, the myriad sonic nuances, nooks, hooks, hobbit-holes and crannies afforded by contemporary studio technology compared to a decade and a half ago.

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In one sense, the Swedish show is the main draw here—it’s been bootlegged extensively, but never with sound quality this superior—and Tull fans get an additional treat by way of film footage of a pair of that show’s songs, which can also be found readily on YouTube but, once again, not this pristine. Those clips are on the DVD, and it should also be duly noted that the DVD includes, in addition to sundry goodies such as interviews with artist Grashow, rare photos and a tribute to original, late, Tull bassist Glenn Cornick (raise your hand if you, as did I, get to see Cornick perform in his post-Tull band, Wild Turkey), audio disclosures.

It includes Stand Up “remixed to 5.1 DTS and AC3 Dolby Digital surround sound and 96/24 LPCM stereo” (whew!); a “flat transfer of the original 1969 stereo master tapes” and “a flat transfer of the original 1969 mono and stereo mixes of ‘Living in the Past’ and ‘Driving Song’” (the latter two are among the CD bonus tracks, by the way). If you have the studio gear and the geekery to go with it, hell, go for it, fellow Tull fanatics! Me, I have only my battered-but-trusty Thorens turntable and aging Sony CD and DVD players, so I wouldn’t know DTS from DDT, but hey, it’s nice to know that everyone out here in Tull territory can scratch their Tull itch (with a flute, natch) anytime and in any format we desire.

DOWNLOAD: Don’t get me started. YOU start with the original album—it’s one of the greatest albums of the Sixties—and work your way forward.

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FAIRPORT CONVENTION – Live in Finland 1971

Album: Live in Finland 1971

Artist: Fairport Convention

Label: Real Gon

Release Date: June 03, 2016

www.realgonemusic.com

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BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

With a musical legacy that dates back nearly 50 years, there’s not enough that can be said about Fairport Convention’s role in reshaping traditional British folk music as a modern means of contemporary expression. They were, after all, the band that literally invented folk rock from the English perspective, and while they initially took their cue from America’s burgeoning West Coast sound — the Jefferson Airplane in particular — they quickly evolved into one of the most influential outfits of their era. The band’s gone through numerous permutations over the years, even to the point of completely fragmenting on more than one occasion, but they’ve always managed to bounce back and remain an essential outfit regardless.

When Live in Finland was recorded in 1971, the group was at the tail end of their creative peak. Having already released the landmark Leige and Leif and Full House albums, they had suffered the debilitating losses of singer Sandy Denny and guitarist Richard Thompson, the two most notable musicians in their collective musical stable. Nevertheless, the quartet that remained ably stepped into the breach and continued to carry on in a way that upheld the high standards established in those years prior to their principals’ departures. The album produced by this quartet — consisting of singer/fiddler Dave Swarbrick, guitarist/vocalist Simon Nicol, drummer Dave Mattacks and bassist Dave Pegg — was Angel Delight, an effort that now viewed in retrospect, remains as important to Fairport as any in their canon.

Live in Finland offers a rare opportunity to hear several of those recent tracks performed in concert, and the band’s lively, if occasionally ragged, delivery demonstrates a brash confidence and dexterity that belies the personnel losses they incurred only months before. Indeed, it boasts some of the best songs of that prodigious period — “The Journeyman’s Grace,” “Sir Patrick Spens” and the indelible “Matty Groves” in particular. The playing is superb, from Swarbrick’s frenzied fiddle to Mattacks’ precise percussion, and that in itself makes this a necessary addition to Fairport’s classic catalog. Fans of the band take note. It’s all but essential. Those unawares ought consider acquisition as well. Because as always, Fairport remains a forever extraordinary institution.

DOWNLOAD: “The Journeyman’s Grace,” “Sir Patrick Spens,” “Matty Groves”