Thursday, 7 April 2011
News, Views and Music Issue 94 (Intro)
Evening all. Or morning/afternoon/night, whenever you’re reading this in fact. Here we are back again with another cornucopia of delights from everyone’s favourite thesaurus-eating monkeynuts newsletter. Not much to fill you in on really this week, hope you enjoyed the third of our annual ‘april fool’s day’ columns and learning what’s set to happen in 15 years or so’ time. Meanwhile, back in 2011, Neil Young’s just released another of his testing solo albums, we’ve been hurting our eyes watching lots of music videos and there’s a bundle of new music re-issues to keep you up to date with. So, on with the news...
♫ Hollies News: Do you remember we moaned a while back that most of the superb Hollies albums from the 1960s were off catalogue and how that was strange considering EMI have been hastily re-issuing albums by all their over groups to cover up the holes in their finances? Well at long last they’ve done the decent thing and put out a box set containing every last morsel recorded by the Graham Nash group. Ok so the Nash period only covers five years or so (let’s hope there’s future sets in the works), but what a five years: that’s seven whole albums, no less than 19 top 20 singles plus their B-sides (16 of which never appeared on album) plus half an hour of outtakes (as heard on ‘Rarities’ the ‘Long Road Home Box’ and the ‘At Abbey Road’ sets) and – most interesting for the collector – a previously unreleased mini-concert from this first line-up’s dying days of 1968 (we’ve seen it on YouTube and it’s very good indeed). While we’d love to see more unreleased extras (there are millions of the things according to sessionography lists – did the Hollies never take a break during the 60s?!) this is still an exciting looking purchase and at the moment this six disc set is set to be sold on Amazon for an amazingly reasonable £18! (I paid something in the region of £130 for all my different releases!) The set, entitled ‘The Clarke-Hicks-Nash Years’, is due for release on May 9th.
♫ Kinks News: Another group getting the re-issue treatment just at the point where I’d manage to collect up all their CDs are The Kinks, whose 1960s albums will all be getting the ‘deluxe’ re-issue treatment over the coming year. First up are, naturally enough, Kinks albums 1-3. The re-issues are two CD sets in the manner of ‘The Village Green Preservation Society’ deluxe CD that came out a few years ago, with a first disc featuring the album and the second various A-sides, B-sides, rarities, demos, unreleased songs and BBC sessions. Alas, only the latter haven’t been released before on something – most of the outtakes and rarities were either released on the 1990s CD sets or on the Kinks box-set ‘Music Box’ – but there are still a handful of surprises, such as the unreleased song ‘Hide and Seek’ on ‘Kinda kinks’ and a few BBC sessions that didn’t turn up on the official set of 2001. The sets, which came out last week, will be joined by ‘Face To Face’, ‘Something Else’, ‘Muswell Hillbillies’ and best of all the under-rated AAA classic ‘Arthur’ later in the year around June. Strangely, though, only ‘The Kinks’ comes in the mono-stereo format of the ‘Village Green’ CD even though there are some very exotic mixes of all these albums doing the round from various CD re-issues over the years. Our recommendation is that, even at a fairly cheap price, there aren’t enough extra rarities here for you to buy the first three sets if you already own them and the box set – but if you don’t own them already then make sure you buy these albums because, even at this early stage, the Kinks are already the class of the field.
♫ Rolling Stones News: Well, BBC6 have done it again. We should have been looking forward this week to a rare repeat hearing of ‘Insight: The Rolling Stones on tour 1975’, a two-part series presented by the band’s old friend Alexis Korner about the band’s first tour with Ronnie Wood (who was a ‘guest’ rather than a full time member back then). Alas, however, it’s been taken off this week in favour of parts 6-10 of ‘John Lennon Remembered’,a doc that’s already been on once already this year. Let’s hope the series will be on next week instead – BBC6 haven’t updated their programme listing at the time of asking. More news if and when we hear it!
♫ Simon and Garfunkel News: Two bits of info for you this week. First up is the news that the duo’s classic and final album ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ is being re-issued in two new formats, supposedly for the album’s 40th anniversary (which was actually last year?! Has there been some delay from one or other of the partnership perhaps?) There’s a CD/DVD version that comes complete with the rare US-only TV special ‘Songs Of America’, the infamous Nixon-baiting programme that got the duo in an awful lot of trouble and helped divide the growing rift between Simon and Garfunkel. Which makes it all the more surprising that the pair have decided to revive it now, all these years on. There’s also a fascinating sounding doc featuring the pair recording songs from the sessions including the rare ‘Cuba Si, Nixon No’, another political Paul Simon statement that divided the duo during recordings but is actually a whole lot of fun! A second format adds a third disc comprising live performances from 1969, which mix new versions of most of the ‘Bridge’ record (where the title track only garners polite applause, interestingly) and all the hits of the day.
The second Simon and Garfunkel-related release is news about a new Paul Simon record due in June, his first of the decade and first for six years. ‘So Beautiful Or So What’ sports a nifty DNA-influenced cover to go with the nifty title and reads in other reviews like a continuation of Paul’s increasing interest in religion, death, the afterlife and modern music production, with the result a mix of gospel and ‘urban’ sounds (though sadly there’s no Brian Eno around to add ‘landscape’ this time around!) Perhaps surprisingly for Paul Simon, there’s only a standard single CD version around in contrast to the songwriter’s recent re-issue series containing 10 tracks. More news if and when we hear it!
♫ ANNIVERSARIES: Happy birthdays to all AAA members celebrating between April 2nd and 15th: Spencer Dryden (drummer with the Jefferson Airplane 1966-70) who would have been 72 on April 7th, Gene Parsons (multi-instrumentalist with The Byrds 1968-72) who turns 66 on April 9th and Jack Casady (bassist with Jefferson Airplane 1965-72) who turns 66 on April 13th. Anniversaries of events include: The two seminal Beatles compilations ‘red’ (1962-66) and ‘blue’ (1967-70) are released in the UK on April 3rd 1973; The Beatles occupy all five places on the top five American singles chart, a feat never equalled before or since (April 4th 1964: Can’t Buy Me Love/ Twist and Shout/ She Loves You/ I Want To Hold Your Hand/ Please Please Me – a further seven Beatles singles are also registered in the top 100 for that week!); The official first day in the office at the Beatles’ ‘Apple’ headquarters in London (April 6th 1968), the date in 1962 when two r and b loving teenagers called Mick Jagger and Keith Richards first meet Brian Jones in his guise as bluesman ‘Elmo Lewis’ and agree to form a band (April 8th), the premier of Neil Young’s ‘shakey’ film ‘Journey Through The Past’ (April 8th 1973), the death of ‘fifth Beatle’ Stuart Sutcliffe after suffering a brain haemorrhage aged 21 – an event that had huge ramifications for the bands’ music (April 10th 1962) and eight years later McCartney announces that the Beatles are to break up (well that’s what’s gone down in history anyway, he actually says that he can’t see a time in the near future when the four will play together again as part of a questionnaire released with copies of his first album ‘McCartney’ out on April 10th 1970); April 12th saw the premier of the film ‘That’ll Be The Day’ starring Ringo as a teddy boy and various members of the Who backing Billy Fury (1973); The Beatles record Help! on April 13th 1965, Pete Townshend performs his first ever solo concert at London’s Roundhouse on April 14th 1974 and finally the Rolling Stones release two very different LPs on April 15th ten years apart in 1966 and 1976 – ‘Aftermath’ and ‘Black and Blue’ respectively.