Saturday, 31 March 2012

News, Views and Music Issue 139 (Intro)

Welcome to another issue of news, views and music-coloured hues. Good news: we actually have some, err, good news on this site at last. Things are looking promising for AAA artists this year, after a rather barren three months, with news this issue of the next McCartney deluxe edition, a new B+S album (sort of...) and a much-waited-for Hollies BBC set. Let’s hope there are plenty more by the end of the year so we can keep up our run of strong ‘top five releases’ at the end of December. In website news we’re whistling past the 1500 mark and have welcomed yet more friends to Twitter so – deep breath – things really seem to be looking up here at the AAA (yes, we haven’t much chance to use that catchphrase recently, have we?!) Better still, David Cameron is out of the country – has anyone else noticed how better run things seem to be this week when he’s not here to interfere? – and he’s only angering me on every other news bulletin instead of each and every one. The only gloom on the horizon is yet another job centre appointment telling me that struggling to keep up to date with this site for nine hours a day while struggling with a heinous illness isn’t enough for them anymore (the fuss about ‘workfare’ may have died away but the policies haven’t – and that includes people in the ‘work’ group of employment and support allowance, despite medical evidence that work is impossible). Ah well, I knew it was too good to last to get through a whole introduction without a single complaint! Anyway, on with the news because b...


Beatles News: The much delayed fourth volume in a series of deluxe Paul McCartney re-issues has been confirmed as Ram, long rumoured to be the next in the set. The album will be available in single disc, double disc and deluxe-with-book sets on May 29th this year, although MPL havent yet released any info about what the extra tracks on the album and the DVD might be (Heart Of The Country is the only promo around and as far as we know there werent any TV tie-in programmes from the era, although there are a fair few outtakes and alternate versions of the songs knocking around on bootleg. Perhaps one of the discs will be a re-issue of the hard-to-find orchestral version of Ram Macca released under the pseudonym Thrillington in 1978?!

Belle and Sebastian News: The band, who have been quiet since the release of Write About Love in 2010, are back...sort of. A second volume of B+S Night Tales is ready for release on March 26th for those who dont know about the Late Night Tales brand its a compilation of songs from artists that different bands admire, usually remixed. (B+S have already made one compilation for the series in 2002, though sadly theyre the only AAA band to have done so to date). Traditionally bands record their own cover version of a song they cant get the rights to and/or want to do their way this time around its Crash by The Primitives the previous volume featured a rather dull cover of Cassico Marrom by Evinha.

Hollies News: Remember when we told you about how EMI had finally listened to our demands and issued the Clarke-Hicks-Nash box set, with lots of unreleased and hard-to-find tracks nestling amongst the usual suspects for a cheap price? We said what we wanted to see next was a set of the bands BBC sessions and nine months on thats what weve got! The Hollies Radio Fun is due out on May 4th and features lots of fascinating looking audio even over and above the wonderful 15 odd tracks out on Youtube. Highlights are set to include covers of Shake and Ride Your Pony (never recorded by the band), several tracks from the bands Butterfly album of 1967 (with the Hollies re-creating their exotic landscapes of sitars and sound effects on their everyday instruments) and some unreleased-and-rare-till-the-1980s/90s She Said Yeah Wings and Little Bitty Pretty One. Theres also a gorgeous front cover of the band circa 1964 that Ive never seen before and sleevenotes by the bands archivist and drummer Bobby Elliott. Roll on May!

Monkees News: We were expecting a heap of Monkees re-issues after Davy Jones untimely passing last month and here they are. Record label Rhino, who have so superbly handled the bands back catalogue in the past, have added a deluxe edition of three-way Monkee reunion Pool It! from 1986 onto their schedules. No news yet what the bonus tracks are, but they may include the 1983 reunion single That Was Then, This Is Now and its rare B-side Kicks plus a handful of songs we know were up for the running for the original album. The Davy Jones post-Monkees single for Bell Records are also set for a re-release and would make for quite a nifty 12-track album (Lady Jane,Davys only solo charting single, is a classic!) Both sets e due for release on April 24th this year. More news if and when we hear it!

Oasis News: Did you know that we have a national record store day in Britain? No, neither did I but there are quite few goodies lined up for the 2012 one on April 21st: Noel Gallagher is releasing an exclusive EP containing the B-sides from both of the High Flying Bird singles in a set that wont be made available on line. So far I only know two of the tracks but both of them are much better than Noels album, which got rather short shrift from us when it came out last year both are moody laidback songs akin to Noels B-sides for the last few Oasis singles, with Let The Lord Shine A Light On Me particularly strong. Noels always been a big activist for traditional record collecting activities and also came out in favour of bringing back Top Of The Pops in an interview for the Radio Times last month, saying that were he director general BBC hed bring it back in a shot. The other record store day exclusives? Lots of acts Ive never heard of and a new BBC set of Dr Who sound effects! (I own the 30 years at the radiophonic workshop CD and its one of the best things I ever bought now whenever I want to sound like a voord or a chumbley I can!)

Neil Young News: The surprise announcement that Neil had dropped his solo engagements in favour of a tour with Crazy Horse would most logically be followed by news that the band have split again. But no there in the Reprise schedules is word of a new album due in June 5th. The album has the working title Americana and get this feature electric re-workings of traditional American folk songs such as Tom Dooley Clementine Oh! Susannah! and (gulp) God Save The Queen (!) (although the one promising looking cover is High Flying Bird, a song fellow AAA members Jefferson Airplane made their own in the 1960s). Has Neil finally flipped or has he just been listening to too much Johnny Cash?!

Psst! Wanna learn about some AAA birthdays? Well, OK – here are the ones for between March 21st and 27th: Susanne Sulley (vocalist with The Human League 1981-present) who turns 49 on March 26th. Anniversaries of events include: Pete Best’s mum phones up Cavern Club DJ Bob Wooler and manages to get a slot for The Beatles to play at the venue that will forever be linked with their name (March 21st 1961); John and Yoko celebrate their honeymoon in true johnandyoko style, with a bed-in at the Amsterdam Hilton hotel promoting world peace (March 21st 1969); final Beatles single ‘Let It Be’ is released, a full year after it’s recording (March 21st 1970); the first batch of Beatles CDs are released and – unlike last year – hold down the first four spots on the US top 100 (‘A Hard Day’s Night’ is #1 by the way, March 21st 1987); The Rutles’ documentary ‘All You Need Is Cash’ is shown on television for the first time (March 22nd 1978); The Beatles are persuaded by Brian Epstein to drop their leather outfits for a gig at the Barnston’s Women’s Institute on March 23rd 1962 – they rarely use their old suits again; John Lennon’s first book ‘In His Own Write’ is published at the height of Beatlemania – Bless you, Lennon, you’ve got a lucky face (March 23rd 1964); Simon and Garfunkel release their latest single ‘Homeward Bound’, some three years after Paul Simon first composed it (March 24th 1966); The Who’s film version of ‘Tommy’ premieres 35 years ago (March 26th 1975) and finally, Ronnie Lane releases to the press the sad news that he is suffering with multiple sclerosis after checking into a Florida hospital for treatment (March 27th 1982).     uman HH      

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