Friday 9 October 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 45 (Top Five): AAA Albums In Need Of Re-mastering

And so we move on to our farewell five. In honour of the Beatles box set we look at the other AAA groups desperately in need of the re-mastering treatment and wonder when they too will get the re-issues they deserve:

5) Lindisfarne: To be fair the ‘reunion’ (i.e. 1978-93 albums) did indeed receive a re-mastered re-issue about 10 years or so ago and the sound and packaging were fairly decent (even if they did lose a black mark or two for the lack of bonus tracks). But they died a death within a few months of their release (it’s taken me a long time to track most of them down and even then I’m still missing a CD copy of ‘Back And Fourth’). Even more worryingly, the ‘big three’ of Lindisfarne albums (‘Nicely Out Of Tune, Fog On The Tyne, Dingly Dell) disappeared some time ago and are currently off catalogue, despite containing about 90% of the Lindisfarne songs you’d really want to own. Charisma did a superlative job on the re-issue of the ‘Lindisfarne Live’ album (recorded 1971, released as a stopgap LP 1973), adding another 8 or so unheard performances and putting the track listing back in the right order for the gig. So what’s happened to their re-issue of the other albums? The original (late 80s/early 90s) CDs are showing their age now – ‘Nicely’ was always a muted album production wise but the old CD sound was ridiculous (even with two excellent bonus track B-sides as extras). And as for Fog On The Tyne it’s, well, foggy. 

4) CSN/Y: Similarly Atlantic did a fairly good job with their first batch of CSN remasters (the first album and Daylight Again), tweaking the sound a little (even if the bass on the first album still sounds fairly horrible unlike the CSN box-set) and adding four relevant and intriguing bonus tracks to each. So what’s happened to the albums in-between and after? ‘Deja Vu’ is a far more obvious candidate for re-issue and even if the band stuck with hard-to-find rather than unreleased material as bonus tracks they could double the running length of the album! ‘CSN’ (the 1977 version) is similarly deserving of re-mastering (can’t say I noticed much difference when they ‘remastered’ and reissued the set a second time in the early 90s) and that too has plenty of bonus tracks around even if there aren’t any more in the vault. And albums like ‘American Dream’ and ‘Live It Up’ could probably do with an over-hauling too.  

3) Nils Lofgren: Nils’ albums are always a bit of a minority interest so I can understand why I don’t see his albums every day in HMV. But surely they should have been agiven a second lease of life by now – even the most ridiculously obscure albums have been issued at least twice in their lifetime and I’m not too sure that all of Nils’ fine LPs made it to CD the first time around (has there ever been an issue of ‘Wonderland’ for example?) The trouble here is that from the late 70s onwards Nils recorded for a different record label with practically every album he produced. But surely they could be bought up by someone en masse (Rhino are an excellent label at putting split back catalogues back together) and reunited – preferably with better sound than the few Lofgren CDs I have managed to pick up. And I’m surprised that even the ‘core four’ made for CBS haven’t been around on CD for a decade or more – they at least have enough of a fan following to make the cost more than worth it.

2)The Kinks (especially the 1970-90s output): The Kinks were one of the biggest, best loved bands that ever lived and even if some of their catalogue sold better than others its stunning to think that most of it has been impossible to find for 5 years or more now. The 60s releases on Pye are stunning – oodles of bonus tracks, sensible sleeve notes and fair to glorious sound. The 1970s RCA releases fare less well, thanks to a lack of bonus tracks but they were at least around for a short while (it’s taken me an age to track them all down but now all I’m missing is ‘Muswell Hillbillies’ which was always something of a lesser LP for me anyway). But what’s happened to everything made after 1979 – I can’t find anything from ‘One For The Road’ onwards on CD and the extortionate prices on Amazon suggest that most other fans can’t find them either. Thanks to the Pye re-issues several collectors got right back into Kinks collecting in the 1990s but – typically Kinks – all that hard work and interest just got lost by the rarity of the later albums. I’d love to hear albums like ‘UK Jive’ and ‘Phobia’ in decent sound and I’m sure I’m not the only one. So where are they?!

1) The Rolling Stones (especially the 1960s Decca output): The Stones suffer from the opposite problem – their later, less loved albums are everywhere with the group of albums from ‘Goat’s Head Soup’ on now on their third of fourth re-issue (the sound is much better I’ve heard – though I’ve not bought any of them yet – but the lack of bonus tracks and the high price is worrying). As for the band’s 60s Decca product you can’t get them at all these days and even when you could they copied the American track listing and packaging, meaning that several fine album tracks are as rare as Keith Richards sober these days, junked in favour of hit singles that have been available 20-odd times already. And the sound – Decca were terrible for sound qualities in the 1960s and seemed to think that recording rock and roll in the same way they recorded classical music would be perfectly fine for the teenagers of the day. And yet even the original Moody Blues CDs (recorded from 1967 onwards for Decca subsidiary Deram) sound amazing, full of light and shade these murky Stones albums can only dream about, never mind the recent deluxe Moodies issues. So what’s the problem? The Stones would make far more money and gain far more respect re-hashing their 60s catalogue than they are re-hashing their 70s one. Or are they just waiting to see how the Beatles box fares so they can issue their own?

An honourable mention too, by the way, for Pink Floyd: yes the re-mastered box set from 2007 sounds amazing – but why oh why weren’t these CDs made available individually? I can’t afford £250-odd for a box-set that’s still missing a few albums out! (‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ is the only re-master currently available – the others all date back to the early 1990s). 

Right that’s enough moaning – and in fact that’s it for another issue. Join us next week for another exotic, eclectic, electric issue of everybody’s favourite Monkeynuts Newsletter. See you next time!
A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock