Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Doors • The Doors [Mono Version]

Another Record Store Day Exclusive (for Black Friday, that is), The Doors' first LP, The Doors, has been re-released in a limited edition mono pressing. Previously only available in a vinyl box set from a few years ago (and its initial '67 release, of course), it's another great example of how songs can benefit from being mixed in mono.

The 180 gram audiophile pressing (made by the renowned RTI outfit) has the original Elektra catalog number and label, and is a godsend for those who've been trying to find a clean original pressing, let alone those who can't brave the typical $200 price tag you'd find on Ebay. I really like "Break on Through," which sounds like a different vocal take to me (though my hardcore Doors phase was over about twenty years ago so I could be high), "Alabama Song" sounds even more psychedelic since the carnival organ is equally in both speakers rather than primarily in one, and "The End" sounds easily as chilling in mono as it does in stereo. The drums in "Light My Fire" feel like they're being pounded a lot harder, too.

Maybe all this mono hype will convince Elektra or Sundazed or someone to release the first three Love albums in monaural...
4/5 (Elektra/Rhino)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bob Dylan • "The Times They Are A-Changin'" b/w "Like a Rolling Stone" (7")

Available as part of the under-marketed Record Store Day "Black Friday 2010" event, this Bob Dylan 45 showcases two songs from the Whitmark Demos box (side A) and from the Mono box (side B; best of CD reviewed below).

"The Times They Are A-Changin'" is a wacky little version, apparently a publisher's demo (what they used to use to transcribe the music/lyrics for sheet music), with somebody playing piano... and it ain't Al Kooper! The keys are so innocuous, you know it's gotta be some writer or accompanist who played along while Bob sang the tune with the best diction you've ever heard.

"Like a Rolling Stone" is the mono mix, which has more punch than the original stereo version, but lacks a bit in the excitement arena. If this 45 hadn't've come in a picture sleeve and on red vinyl (US-style big hole, too), you'd have to pass this one by. You still might...
2.5/5 (Columbia/Legacy)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bob Dylan • The Best of the Original Mono Recordings

Times are tough, times are hard, here's your f'ing Christmas card. There's no Christmas music on it, of course, but Bob Dylan's The Best of the Original Mono Recordings is definitely a gift, even if you gotta buy it for yourself. I almost didn't buy it, but decided "what the heck?" I can't afford the box set, which is comprised of Bob's first eight LPs from 1962 to 1968, so I thought I'd at least spring for this. (Nobody asks me what I want for Christmas these days, so I gotta take care of myself.)

I don't know the Dylan discography well enough to tell you how different these mixes are from the standard stereo ones, but I can tell you that, like The Beatles or The Stones in monaural, these tracks all feel much more forceful and in your face in mono than 2-channel. I also can't tell you whether the takes used for the mono pressings are the same ones as on the stereo releases (they don't mention it in the liner notes, by Greil Marcus). But "Subterranean Homesick Blues," "Like a Rolling Stone," "Tombstone Blues," and a dozen others all sound superior here. I wish they would have made this a 2CD set, 'cause now I might have to figure out a way to get the box set. Dang.
4/5 (Columbia/Legacy)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

John & Yoko, Plastic Ono Band with Elephant's Memory (et al.) • Some Time in New York City

Oh sure, I know what you're saying. You're saying, "Hey Gooch, I see you reviewed a bunch of those Lennon CDs there, but what about Some Time in New York City?" And you have proven how astute you are—I did, indeed, forget to include John & Yoko's 1972 release in my previous post. Well, forget isn't exactly true, because this often overlooked album, played by Lennon, Ono, the Plastic Ono Band with Elephant's Memory and the Invisible Strings (did I forget anyone?) is always there and yet rarely mentioned. When you start off an album with a song called "Woman Is the Nigger of the World," you're asking for trouble. But in '72 Lennon didn't give a shit whether he was asking for trouble or just your ear. He wanted to educate his fans and everyone else about what was going on in the world, so he decided to disseminate it the best way he knew how: in song.

Oh sure, I know what you're saying. You're saying, "Yeah, Gooch, okay. Premise accepted. But what about the quality of the album?" Well, well, well, mate, it's a mixed bag. First of all, it's the only album John & Yoko ever did where they're actually working and singing together, as band and wife. (You can't count Live Peace in Toronto because all Yoko did was sit in a bag and wail.) What's great about the record is it's pretty rockin' from beginning to end, "New York City" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" being the two most obvious rockers. The looseness of this record is also pretty cool, unlike any other record Lennon ever did. I think you could probably attribute Elephant's Memory with making this sound unlike yer typical Lennon. Lyrically, it leaves a bit to be desired. It feels like the words were written quickly and not really slaved over or edited to any degree, which may be part of the "here's what's happenin' today" vibe of the enterprise, but the seriousness of the songs is sometimes squashed by the lack of lyrical brilliance. On the other hand, you could look at it as Lennon's folk album, hinted at on "Crippled Inside" from Imagine and now delivered to your doorstep. You can choose to read any story you want (the lyrics are laid out like news stories on the cover), gloss over one, delve deep into another, or come back to one later as a different headline grabs your attention. Don't care about "John Sinclair"? Well, there's a story on "Angela" (Davis), "Attica State" (Prison), and much more.

Oh sure, I know what you're saying. You're saying. "But Gooch, I've been skipping over this album for years because I don't know much about it." And I say to you, why not pick up a copy now? If you don't want to shell out for the new reissue (restored to its original mix, thank you), pick up a used copy (this is its third time on CD) cheap. You may not have even been born in 1972 (I was nine), so it's all news to you. And there's some great music on this set, which includes a second disc of John, the POB and Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention recorded live for some added entertainment. Newspapers may be dieing, but Some Time in New York City will live on long after other living things have died.
4/5 (Capitol/Apple)

Monday, November 22, 2010

American Music Awards 2010!

Justin Bieber won Artist of the Year, Breakthrough Artist, Male Pop Artist of the Year, and his album won Best Pop Album. And old music fiends (some a lot like me) say there's no good music being made anymore!

John Lennon • Plastic Ono Band, Imagine, Mind Games, Walls and Bridges, Rock 'N' Roll, et al. [2010 Reissues]

Well, well, well. Here we have a new batch of remastered John Lennon albums, and this time the wife didn't remix them or do anything to mess with them. The ones that streamed out last decade were all right if you want to hear something a little different (I thought Rock 'N' Roll was worth remixing, and was made stronger by remixing), but really, you don't want these to be fucked with. That being said, some bonus tracks would be nice. You know, like contemporary B-sides, singles that didn't make an album, stuff like that. But I guess Yoko has heard enough complaints over the years, and this time she decided to leave things alone. Good on ya!

Plastic Ono Band is still Lennon's strongest album, and his first solo studio album, so it's kinda sad to think he didn't better himself after that. But at the same time, it's such an amazing LP that I'd doubt anyone could make a better effort. When you lay it all out on the line like John did with this album, it's gotta be like getting a big burden off your shoulders. You know? Like, okay, what do I do next? Imagine came next, in '71, and it's a sweet record, though nowhere near as powerful and focused as POB. Of course it was buoyed by the eponymous single, which truth be told, I can't really listen to much anymore. (And "All You Need Is Love," too. Perhaps my mind is trying to tell me something?) But "Crippled Inside" is still a brilliant folk rock workout, and "How Do You Sleep?" still feels as vitriolic as it did when it came out. And who can resist the photo of Lennon trying to hold back a pig, in mockery of Paul McCartney's Ram album photo?

Mind Games was another good one, again, no match for POB, but not too shabby either. "Mind Games" was a great single, and I can still remember how I felt when hearing it on the late great AM radio back when I was ten. Walls and Bridges came in 1974 and that one is one I really love, much more so than when I first heard it in the late '70s as a neophyte Beatles fan. I always loved "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night," with Sir Elton on piano and vocals, but it's the album's melancholy vibe that gets me. Sure, Lennon's kinda moping throughout (he was bestranged from Yoko around this time, hanging out with Harry Nilsson at the Troubadour in L.A. and getting tanked all the time), but there's a real feeling to this record that's not artificially bolstered by a "concept" or anything like that. It ends with John and his son Julian doing "Ya Ya," with the boy playing very rudimentary snare drum while dad bangs on the piano. That song appears in full band form on Rock 'N' Roll, the album of '50s era cover songs that Lennon cut in '73-'74 (released in '75) and which has always been a favorite of mine. There's something about hearing your idols take on the songs that helped form their mindset that is very appealing, and when they're done well (and different enough to warrant the doing of it in the first place), you can't lose. Like Bowie's Pinups, this is a solid page in the man's family album, even if it's not original songs.

Also reissued is Double Fantasy, which has been given the remix treatment (Double Fantasy... Stripped) but comes with both that and the original mix together in one package. Not too much is gained by backing off the strings and such, but Lennon's songs here are okay and you hear them in what amounts to demo form. And a couple of Yoko's tunes aren't bad either. I didn't bother with the Milk and Honey reissue (I'll wait to find a used copy), since the only real good song on there is "Nobody Told Me." And, of course, there are the boxsets and greatest hits compilations too. Yoko didn't get these all right (no "Move Over Ms. L." on any of 'em), and uses a live take of "Cold Turkey" (possibly it's the Live Peace in Toronto version?) instead of the single version on one of the compilations. (I didn't get any of these.) Again, I plead with you, Yoko: LET ME DO IT NEXT TIME.

That being said, I like hearing the albums the way they were meant to be heard, and I can even go along with the lack of extra cuts. I just kept my John Lennon Collection CD and the Lennon Legend 2LP compilation in order to make up for it. I listen to these when I'm down, really yin, and I don't know what I'm doing...
5/5 Plastic Ono Band; 4/5 Imagine, 3.5/5 Mind Games, 3.5/5 Walls and Bridges (Capitol/Apple)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Releases Update • November 21, 2010

THE FALL | Live at the Witch Trials [Deluxe Edition]
Their first—and to me, best—album gets the deluxe treatment 31 years after its original release. Live at the Witch Trials, which isn't a live album at all, was recorded in a day in 1979 and showcased the first of seemingly dozens of Fall lineups. This 2CD edition includes the Bingo Masters Break-out EP, a ton of BBC John Peel live tracks, and two live concerts.

XTC | Skylarking
Double vinyl and deluxe double LP versions of XTC's 1986 classic. This time Andy's made sure to supply the cover art the band originally intended (much more exciting, especially if you enjoy pubic hair on your album covers), and if you spring for the deluxe copy, lots of pictures and copious notes from Mr. Partridge and Colin Moulding themselves. The information I've seen doesn't confirm whether the tracklisting is the first version (without "Dear God"), the second one (with it but minus "Mermaid Smiled"), or a version which includes both. It doesn't appear that any of the stellar bonus tracks ("Extrovert," for one) are included. If vinyl's your deal, though, this ought to be pretty nice.

THE CLASH | The Clash [US Version]
Punk's best opening salvo, reissued on vinyl the way it came out in the boring old USA in 1978, almost two years after its UK release. The American version appeared after their second album, Give 'Em Enough Rope, because the import had been selling like the last gangbusters in town and Epic finally relented. The Clash had a very different track listing (it had "I Fought the Law," for instance, which was recorded long after the UK album had been released) and came with a 7" single that featured tracks from the band's then-latest single, "Groovy Times" and "Gates of the West." If you have the 1999 reissue, I'm not sure why you need this unless you just gotta have those two cuts on a 45.

THE WHO | Live at Leeds [40th Anniversary Edition]
If you think this is the best live album EVER, like me, then you may want to get this one. Not only does it come with the 2CD Leeds concert (as released in the most recent Deluxe Edition), it comes with the original vinyl LP (just six songs, but oh what songs!), a replica 7" single ("Summertime Blues" b/w "Heaven & Hell"), a 64-page hardbound book with photos, etc., AND a 2CD "Live at Hull" concert from the VERY NEXT DAY. Sure, Live at Hull sounds dull (I mean the title), but I bet the concert's a scorcher. Either way, the only Who fan I can think of who won't want this is Dick Rossetti, and that's because he can't stomach Tommy (which appears in its entirety, perhaps even twice)!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones • Rollin Binzer (director)

What makes a great concert film? Terrific music, for one. Great sound? Definitely. Interesting cinematography? Yeah. An historic event? Sure. And what makes a great concert film director? Someone who knows how to present the band, their music, and what it looks like on stage in a way that makes you want to see it more than once.

So who is this guy, Rollin Binzer? Well, he's the guy who directed Ladies & Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones. But I'm not sure he was the right guy for the assignment. This movie, now repackaged, remastered and remixed for 5.1 surround sound, has been out many times since the home video era began, and this time they even put it out on Blu-ray. A concert film about the Stones' classic Exile on Main St., it's certainly got great music. The performance of that music? About what you'd expect of Mick&Keefco in that era. The sound? It's alright—nothing to write home about. (Not that my parents would give a shit.) The cinematography is just okay. Not only would I decline to write home about it, I might even have bypassed the movie entirely if I'd heard that it was just a basic multi-camera shoot with nothing really special about it.

All of these gripes go a long way to answer the question: If it's such a dull, cookie-cutter concert film, why are they re-releasing it now? Well, duh. They just executed the marketing campaign for the reissue of Exile, so naturally they had to reissue the movie that went along with it. Can't miss an opportunity to milk the golden cow, now, can we? And what's more, as you'd excpect, there's an insert inside the case hawking official Rolling Stones t-shirts and the documentary DVD Stones in Exile, which tells all and sundry the story of how this magnificent, brilliant rock 'n' roll record was rendered. Well, I'll stand by the album as being a great one (though I like Sticky Fingers better), but I'm not a fan of this Blu-ray showcase for Rollin Binzer's vision of what made the Stones great. I'll bet my stepmom could've made a better concert film.
2.5/5 (Eagle Vision; DVD & Blu-ray)

Friday, November 12, 2010

David Bowie • Station to Station [Deluxe Edition]

The return of the son of the Thin White Duke...? Station to Station was one of the many times over his career where David Bowie sought to reinvent himself. In 1976 it was more rockin' than Young Americans, more soulful than Diamond Dogs, and even considered "modern" (whatever that meant then).

When I first came across this album (in the early '80s), I didn't really like much of it, save for "Golden Years," which upon release was the first record I was ever aware of that was by this "bisexual" guy Bowie. (In '74 I was eleven.) That single's always been one of my favorites, and over the years I've come to like most of the rest of Station to Station. "TVC 15" starts out with a Professor Longhair piano riff, and that barrelhouse vibe carries through the verses until you get to the chorus, which takes the tune into a very different realm. It's a successful transmogrification. "Stay" is a rock/funk jam that showcases the entire band, especially drummer Dennis Davis. Throughout the record, he, guitarist Carlos Alomar, bassist George Murray and pianist Roy Bittan back up Bowie with a muscular, sometimes tender sound that foreshadowed where DB would go with his music in the early Eighties. (Earl Slick also shows up here, as does "Warren Peace" on vocals, who if memory serves me, is Luther Vandross [?]) And "Word on a Wing" really captures that sweet, yearning thing that Bowie does so well.

This release, the third or fourth time Station to Station has been on CD, comes in a few different versions, ranging from the standard one CD to the absolutely over the top 5CD/1DVD/3LP box that only the richest, most trainspotting of Bowie's fans would buy. ($150!) I opted for the middle version, the 3CD one that has the original album on one disc, and then the oft-bootlegged 1976 Nassau Coliseum show on the other two. This live concert makes this the station from which to depart. The setlist is fairly imaginative for Bowie at this point, incorporating just the right amount of hits and other cool tunes, like "Waiting for the Man" (yes, the Velvets song), "Five Years" and "Life on Mars?" Almost the same band as on Station, these guys tackle Bowie's set with vim and vigor, and a few reinterpretations that make this show worth the ticket price.

Sure, we're all getting a little weary of these reissues—do we really need another rendition of a limited edition 7 CD box set of the Stooges' Fun House sessions?—but apparently they're almost the only thing keeping the major labels afloat these days. Still, the often nagginess (is that a word? well, it is now) of the thought "Do I really need this version?" that trails the purchase of such an endeavor can get to be taxing. But if music is the thing that floats your boat, then you need to keep that baby above water!
3.5/5 (EMI)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)? • John Scheinfeld (director)

One of the best music documentaries to come along in ages, Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)? shows all who see it just what made Nilsson the genius enigma he was. Director John Scheinfeld interviewed a zillion people who knew him (too many famous ones to note!), worked with him, were vexed by him, or just knew of him and put together a bio that is at once sad, ecstatic, melancholy, bewitching, and downright hilarious.

Nilsson, of course, was the guy who turned on The Beatles with his amazing voice and bizarrely unique yet totally accessible songs. He first came to prominence with his rendition of "Everybody's Talkin'," which became the theme song for the movie Midnight Cowboy, though he had already written the hit song "One," which became one of Three Dog Night's biggest tunes. Harry later took Badfinger's "Without You" to number one on the charts, wrote the near-novelty tune "Coconut" ("you put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up") as well as the crazed rockers "Jump into the Fire" and "You're Breakin' My Heart" ("...you're tearin' it apart/so fuck you"). His album Nilsson Schmilsson, produced by Richard Perry, won all kinds of awards, and the next one, Son of Schmilsson, nearly equalled that effort. Confounding pretty much everyone, he next did an album of pop standards (long before Linda Ronstadt and Rod Stewart used that concept as a career crutch) called A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night. By this time his crazy nightlife escapades were coming back to haunt him, and after some slightly sordid episodes with John Lennon and assorted rock 'n' rollers, his career slowly came to a halt. Eventually, he passed away at the young age of 53, partly forgotten and definitely missed.

This documentary, out on DVD courtesy of Lorber Films and Authorized Pictures, is so touching and vivid, you can't help but wish you had known the man. Liberal use of Nilsson's songs will make you want to snap up any disc you see with the bearded 'n' bereted one's likeness on it. Topping it off, the archival film of Nilsson with the London Philharmonic, the "video" for "Coconut" (with echoes of Ernie Kovacs' Nairobi Three), and countless more extras make this a movie to savor.
5/5 (Lorber/Authorized)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Badfinger • Magic Christian Music, No Dice, Straight Up, Ass

It's been almost twenty years now since the first time Badfinger's albums for Apple were released on CD, and nearly forty since they first came out on vinyl. That a couple of these are of the best power pop records EVER shouldn't be news to aficionados, but it may be for those who vaguely remember "No Matter What" or "Day After Day," the two biggest singles for the band Stateside. The four of them together make up the must-haves of a band who were the cream of the early '70s pop crop.

Made up of some Welsh and Liverpudlian musicians who had a Beatles jones, they started out as The Iveys and even released one album under that name for Apple, the Fabs' label. (Maybe Tomorrow, which only came out in the UK and Europe originally, was issued on CD in the early '90s.) Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Mike Gibbins and later member Joey Molland changed their name to Badfinger and carried out author Paul McCartney's instructions when he gave them "Come and Get It" and told them to record it exactly the way he did on the demo. That single charted high, and Apple put out Magic Christian Music, made up of some new Badfinger tunes as well as some that had been recorded and even released the year before by The Iveys. It's not a bad album at all, what with the rockers "Rock of All Ages" and "Midnight Sun," but it's weakened by the more mainstream pop tunes included via the Iveys.

Next up came No Dice, the album that spawned one of their biggest hits, "No Matter What," which every guitarist of my age has to figure out early on as a badge of honor. Here you get some great rockers ("I Can't Take It"), some nice folk-edged tunes ("Blodwyn") and the original version of a song that became a #1 for Nilsson, "Without You." If you think that song is too over the top in the emotion sweepstakes, well, you need to hear Pete Ham sing it the way he wrote it... pure and sincere with no schmaltz. No Dice is a brilliant record, but it's their next one that is a 5/5: Straight Up.

Straight Up is the one that every rock fan should own, with "Day After Day" and the less successful but mindblowingly awesome "Baby Blue" buoying up the hit side. Even without those two songs, this album is so brilliant it hurts! All sides of Badfinger show here to perfection, with "Sweet Tuesday Morning" (a tender little tune), "Name of the Game," "Perfection," and LP closer "It's Over."

Finally we have Ass. Their last album for Apple, and Badfinger's sayonara to the label that didn't quite deliver what a more put together one would have with a band of this caliber. Ass was kicked over to the label as it was winding down its non-Beatles roster, and was virtually unpromoted by Apple or its parent company, EMI. Too bad, because Ass is another amazing album. By the time it came out in 1974, Warner Bros. was promoting their new Badfinger record, their first for the label (and not too bad, either). Ham & Co. certainly had a sense of humor in naming the record, as well as in the cover artwork, but the songs are definitely solidly melancholy, which is kind of the overriding feeling you get when listening to Badfinger. I mean, they start the album with "Apple of My Eye," a Dear John letter to Apple, very sad and very pointed, and they end the record with "Timeless," a moody rocker with a lengthy ending that neatly closes the door on this chapter of Badfinger.

All four of these reissues feature some great bonus tracks, including demos that have never been released, but like all of these types of endeavors, these releases don't include all of the same extras that the last reissues did. So if you're a big fan you gotta keep both copies (or at least burn the stray extra tracks for safekeeping). Take it from a Badfinger fiend, these are the ones to have.
3/5 Magic Christian Music, 4/5 No Dice, 5/5 Straight Up, 4/5 Ass (Apple)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lynda Kay • Dream My Darling

Lynda Kay's debut country album, Dream My Darling, is one of those releases that feels like a record that got stuck behind the stereo console for forty years, only to be treasured once its existence was rediscovered. It's very Patsy Cline-esque, save for the syrupy strings and Owen Bradley backing singers that make Cline's records sound so dated today. Think of k.d. lang minus the kitsch (though Lynda does don some very serious wigs). Lynda's smooth voice stays that way most of the time, yet on occasion it just about cracks—in the good kind of way. The way that tells you she's singing her songs for real, like on "Ain't Good Enough" or "Graveyard Shift." She's joined by Billy Bob Thornton on "All I Ever Wanted," which is a pretty good song, though I'm not sold on BB's vocals. (I did like him as Mr. Woodcock though...)

The instrumentation, though, is right on the money throughout Dream My Darling, with just enough pedal steel and minimal violin (as opposed to fiddle), and the song selection is all originals. Which is a good move, Lynda, 'cause the songs are great and it keeps people like me from comparing performances of classic country discs with modern interpretations. Sure, we gotta trot out the comparisons for "in general" purposes, as above, but the dozen doozies on this disc make it stand out among the annual crop of copycat country chanteuses.
3/5 (Dreamphonic, available via LyndaKay.com)
Photo by Kevin Scanlon for L.A. Weekly

Paul McCartney & Wings • Band On The Run (Archive Series 2010)

When your team is losing 35-0 at halftime, it's time to turn to the stereogram. So I put on Paul McCartney & Wings' Band On The Run, the umpteenth reissue (albeit in "deluxe" fashion) of Macca's quintessential post-Beatles LP. Though I already had a CD reissue and the 25th anniversary reissue (which was released a year late) on both digital and vinyl media, I "needed" to get this one to add to McCartney's revered place in my LP patch. And though my purchase of this behemoth started a hailstorm of personal issues best left to the courts of the wondrous State of Washington, "that's just how true my love [is]" for this album.

Band On The Run was recorded amidst a hailstorm of issues for McCartney: his drummer and lead guitarist quit the band on the eve of their departure for Lagos, Nigeria, where McCartney decided to record the third proper Wings release; the studio in Lagos, though an EMI property, was substandard and in ill-repair; and McCartney's acne was flaring up. (Okay, I made up the last one...) And yet, this list of issues only aided in the completion of McCartney's greatest solo record, which spawned three top ten singles, including my all-time fave, "Jet," and "Helen Wheels" (which technically came out ahead of the album but was included on it here in the USA).

There's not a lot to say about this sublime record that hasn't already been said... But, let's say you're a newbie or a young 'un and you don't know a lot about it. Well, this was McCartney's proof that he could most definitely cut it without Lennon, Harrison and Starr. In fact, unlike his Beatle bros, he never featured his Beatlebuddies on his solo releases. It was his aim to put together a new band and to start from scratch, and though Wings got off to a less than stellar start, you can't argue with the greatness of their early singles like "Hi, Hi, Hi" and "My Love." (It's now 38-0.) Band On The Run was McCartney's earliest crowning achievement outside of Beatledom, and its greatness lives on unabated nearly forty years later.

That this release is on Starbucks' record label Hear Music is both comical and unsurprising. That McCartney would want to capitalize on reissue mania with an album that got the deluxe treatment barely a decade ago is also unsurprising, because this LP/CD/download is THE one to have if you have no others of his. And besides, you can buy the boring one-disc standard CD, the double CD+DVD, the 180 gram vinyl, or the deluxe 3CD+DVD plus hardbound book version. (Or you can just download it if you're one of those people...) Any guesses as to which version I chose?

I hope McCartney's partnership with Hear Music continues to spawn sweet archival reissues such as this. I'm told that Ram is coming down the pike, and that's one that could use an overhaul--it might just be the best album Wings didn't make (at least, in name). Ram on, Paul.
5/5 (Hear Music)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Special UPDATE for Mike Montgomery and Others Who Wonder Where I've Been

Here it is, the beginning of November, and I haven't made a new entry since August. Well, my life has taken some interesting turns in the last few months, and though I'm loathe to go into specifics here, suffice to say, I am now just about settled into a new apartment. I finally got the stereo set up, with the 5.1 surround working via HDMI.

I can finally get around to reviewing some stuff! On the horizon are reviews of the new Bowie Station to Station reissue, the McCartney & Wings Band on the Run deluxe edition, the Badfinger reissues on Apple, Elvis Costello's new one, and the BluRay of Ladies & Gentlemen The Rolling Stones.

Coming very soon — possibly as early as tomorrow — you will see some new reviews you can yiews...

Thanks for hanging on!