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Mark Barry "Mark Barry" (London)
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Warts 'n' Audience
Warts 'n' Audience
Price: £11.18

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...Oy! Oy!..." - Warts 'N' Audience [Live] by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS (2015 Edsel 'Casebound' CD Reissue), 28 May 2015
This review is from: Warts 'n' Audience (Audio CD)
Edsel of the UK have reissued six of Ian Dury's albums in these 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound sets – and natty looking things they are too. Here are the reasons to be cheerful...

UK released 2 March 2015 – "Warts 'N' Audience" by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS is a Limited Edition 1CD Deluxe Edition in Hardback Casebound packaging on Edsel EDSK 5035 (Barcode 740155503536) and pans out as follows (78:16 minutes):

1. Intro
2. Wake Up And Make Love To Me
3. Clevor Trevor
4. Inbetweenies
5. If I Was With A Woman
6. Billericay Dickie
7. Quiet
8. My Old Man
9. Spasticus Autisticus
10. Plaistow Patricia
11. There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards
12. Sweet Gene Vincent
13. What A Waste!
14. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
15. Blockheads
16. Reasons To Be Cheerful, Pt. 3
Tracks 1 to 16 are the LIVE album "Warts 'N' Audience" originally released March 1991 in the UK on Demon Records FIEND 777.

The 14-page booklet inside the gatefold 'hardback casebound' cover features a history of how Ian Dury & The Blockheads made their 1990 comeback - three incendiary and well-received gigs on 25, 26 and 27 September 1990 at the Town & Country Club in London’s Kentish Town. The reception was so good and the band enjoyed themselves so much that it was decided to record a gig at the Brixton Academy on 22 December 1990 using the Rolling Stones Mobile with Mick McKenna at the knobs. The results are this joyous CD issued originally in the spring of 1991 in the UK on Demon Records.

What’s evident right from the start (as the hits start to stack up) is that the band was tight – not just rehearsed but clearly worshipping the Funk likes of The Meters, Sly & Robbie and even the JB’s. This band cooked in a very funky groovy way. Live – overly familiar songs like “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”, “Wake Up And Make Love To Me” and “Sweet Gene Vincent” take on a new life – and you can ‘feel’ the audience and their bopping pleasure. As he does the spoken intro to “Billericay Dickie” the crowd joins in (still the funniest lyrics too). There’s venom in “Spasticus Autisticus” that was misunderstood at the time of its 1981 release – but again the band Funk their way through it and you sense play it with pride. The wicked B-side “There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards” and the fan-favourite “What A Waste!” elicit whoops from the crowd - and it all ends on my personal crave “Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3” still sounding like a Dance Record with Rock leanings (extended to seven minutes by a lead-in drum solo).

Forgotten masterpiece – I don’t think so. It’s a good gig but it’s not all genius for sure. Yet Ian Dury and his red hit band are remembered with affection for a reason. This wicked looking casebound reissue shows why...

PS: the IAN DURY March 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound CD Reissues on Edsel are:
1. New Boots And Panties!! (Edsel EDSK 7080, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708030)
2. Do It Yourself (Edsel EDSK 7081, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708139)
3. Laughter (Edsel EDSK 7082, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708238)
4. The Bus Driver's Prayer (Edsel EDSK 7083, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708337)
5. Mr. Love Pants (Edsel EDSA 5034, 1CD, Barcode 740155503437)
6. Warts 'N' Audience [Live] (Edsel 5035, 1CD, Barcode 74015550536)

PPS: Amazon lump all reviews together in the one place (a nasty habit of theirs) – so if you want the Hardback Casebound Book Edition I’ve just reviewed from 2015 – make sure to use the Barcode I’ve provided above to get the right issue...


Do It Yourself
Do It Yourself
Price: £12.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "... Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick..." - Do It Yourself by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS (2015 Edsel 'Casebound' 2CD Reissue), 28 May 2015
This review is from: Do It Yourself (Audio CD)
Edsel of the UK have reissued six of Ian Dury’s albums in these March 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound sets – and natty looking things they are too. Here are the reasons to be cheerful...

UK released March 2015 – "Do It Yourself" by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS is a Limited Edition 2CD Deluxe Edition in Hardback Casebound packaging on Edsel EDSK 7081 (Barcode 740155708139) and pans out as follows:

Disc 1 (66:21 minutes):
1. Inbetweenies
2. Quiet
3. Don’t Ask Me
4. Sink My Boats
5. Waiting For Your Taxi
6. This Is What We Find [Side 2]
7. Uneasy Sunny Day Hotsy Totsy
8. Mischief
9. Dance Of The Screamers
10. Lullaby For Franci/Es
Tracks 1 to 10 are the album “Do It Yourself” - released 18 May 1979 in the UK on Stiff Records SEEZ 14

BONUS TRACKS:
11. What A Waste – April 1978 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 27, A (“Wake Up And Make Love To Me” from “New Boots And Panties!!” was its B-side)
12. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick – December 1978 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 38, A – Number 1 Chart Hit)
13. There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards - December 1978 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 38, B – Number 1 Chart Hit)
14. Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3 – July 1979 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 50, A
15. Common As Muck – July 1979 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 50, B
16. Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3 [12” Version] – July 1979 UK 12” single on Stiff Records BUYIT 50, A

Disc 2 (71:27 minutes)
DEMO VERSIONS (Recorded November 1978 at Ian’s House, Rolvendon, Kent)
1. This Is What We Find
2. Boogie Woogie (Duff ‘Em Up)
3. Quiet
4. Inbetweenies (Backing Track)
5. Babies Keep Quiet
6. Blow (Instrumental)
FROM THE “STIFF’S LIVE STIFFS” TOUR, 1977
7. Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
8. I’m Partial To Your Abracadabra
9. Wake Up And Make Love To Me
10. Clever Trevor
11. Sweet Gene Vincent
12. Billericay Dickie
13. My Old Man
14. If I Was With A Woman
15. Blockheads
16. Plaistow Patricia
17. Blackmail Man

The 26-page booklet inside the hardback covers features full annotation by known expert WILL BIRCH, lyrics to all the songs (including the stand-alone singles), publicity photos, original artwork (including a few variants of the many wallpaper sleeves), singles and tour memorabilia and so on. These are the 2004 Edsel remasters done at Alchemy Mastering and they sound amazing.

Following on from their huge 1977 album “New Boots And Panties!!” and the number one single “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” in December 1978 – May and June 1979 saw “Do It Yourself” race up to Number 2 on the UK LP charts. The band had probably hit their peak and the infectious piano-bopping “Inbetweenies” opens the album on a winner. Tight, slick and yet somehow fun and loose – clever rhythms in “Quiet”, “This Is What We Find” and “Uneasy Sunny Day Hotsy Totsy” feature lyrics about “persistent louts and clowns”, forty year-old housewives of Lambeth Walk” and “the Landlord’s bent”. But the singles added on a bonus make a peerless run of hits and laughs. To this day I still think the 6:41 minutes of the 12” single “Reasons To Be Cheerful. Part 3” is an absolute masterpiece. The Demos (along with the live stuff was unreleased until 2004) are fun curios (not a lot more) but the Live Stiff material is a band on fire – on a mission - caught on the up and spitting confidence at an audience who are already know something special is going on.

“Up your bum!” our Ian says in “Uneasy Sunny Day Hotsy Totsy”. Better in your CD stack I think...

PS: the IAN DURY March 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound CD Reissues on Edsel are:
1. New Boots And Panties!! (Edsel EDSK 7080, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708030)
2. Do It Yourself (Edsel EDSK 7081, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708139)
3. Laughter (Edsel EDSK 7082, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708238)
4. The Bus Driver's Prayer (Edsel EDSK 7083, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708337)
5. Mr. Love Pants (Edsel EDSA 5034, 1CD, Barcode 740155503437)
6. Warts 'N' Audience [Live] (Edsel 5035, 1CD, Barcode 74015550536)

PPS: Amazon lump all the 2004 and 2015 reviews together in the one place (a nasty habit of theirs) – so if you want the Hardback Book Edition I’ve just reviewed from 2015 – make sure to use the Barcode I’ve provided above to get the right issue...


Laughter
Laughter
Price: £12.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "... Superman's Big Sister..." - Laughter by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS (2015 Edsel 'Casebound' 2CD Reissue), 28 May 2015
This review is from: Laughter (Audio CD)
Edsel of the UK have reissued six of Ian Dury’s albums in these 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound sets – and natty looking things they are too. Here are the reasons to be cheerful...

UK released 2 March 2015 – "Laughter" by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS is a Limited Edition 2CD Deluxe Edition in Hardback Casebound packaging on Edsel EDSK 7082 (Barcode 740155708238) and pans out as follows:

Disc 1 (49:12 minutes):
1. Sueperman’s Big Sister
2. Pardon
3. Delusions Of Grandeur
4. Yes And No (Paula)
5. Dance Of The Crackpots
6. Over The Points
7. (Take Your Elbow Out The Soup) You’re Sitting On The Chicken [Side 2]
8. Incoolohol
9. Hey, Hey Take Me Away
10. Manic Depression (Jimi)
11. Oh Mr. Peanut
12. F*****g Ada
Tracks 1 to 12 are the album “Laughter” - released 28 November 1980 in the UK on Stiff Records SEEZ 30

BONUS TRACKS:
13. I Want To Be Straight - August 1980 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 90, A
14. That’s Not All - August 1980 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 90, B
15. You’ll See Glimpses – October 1980 UK 7” single on Stiff Records BUY 100 – non-album B-side of “Superman’s Big Sister”

Disc 2 (52:53 minutes)
ALBUM OUTTAKES
(Recorded October 1980 at The Producer’s Workshop, Fulham, London)
1. Duff ‘Em Up And Do ‘Em Over (Boogie Woogie)
2. You Are Here
3. Come In No. 9
DEMO INSTRUMENTALS by THE BLOCKHEADS
4. Chicken (Take Your Elbow Out Of The Soup)
5. CC’s Rock
6. I Know Your Name
7. Public Party (Dance Of The Crackpots)
8. Black And White [Yes And No (Paula)]
9. Manic Depression
10. More Turns For Everyone
11. Blue Light (That’s Not All)
12. Back To Y-Front
13. Fatback
14. On The Spot (Do The Block)
15. Duff ‘Em Up And Do ‘Em Over (Boogie Woogie) [Oh Mr Peanut]
16. Peter Gunn

The 26-page booklet inside the hardback covers features full annotation by known expert WILL BIRCH (done in 2004), lyrics to all the songs (including the stand-alone singles), publicity photos, original artwork front and rear (including photos of the “Superman’s Big Sister” single and a montage of British trade magazines like NME and Melody Maker) and so on. These are the 2004 Edsel remasters done at Alchemy Mastering and they sound amazing while all of Disc 2 was Previously Unreleased at the time.

Following on from their huge 1977 album “New Boots And Panties!!”, the number one single “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” in December 1978 - and the No.2 album placing of “Do It Yourself” in June 1979 – LP number three for Ian’s Blockheads saw the beginning of the end for the band in the public’s eye and affections. “Laughter” scraped into Number 48 on the charts in December 1980 – a far cry from the huge popularity of their two predecessors – even with the involvement of Dr. Feelgood’s wild guitarist WILKO JOHNSON. That’s not to say that the song quality control had slipped in any way - far from it in my book.

“Superman’s Big Sister” shows Dury’s knack for catchy melodies aligned with witty lyrics and wacky themes. “Delusions Of Grandeur” struggles a bit to take flight for sure - but the wickedly good “Yes & No (Paula)” would have sat comfortably on 1977’s “New Boots & Panties!!” with its Ska-Rock rhythms and scat-spoken lyrics. Fun and anger collide on “Dance Of The Crackpots” with Davey’s Payne’s great harmonica playing warbling away in the back of the mix. The band starts to finally sound slightly manic Feelgood on the acidic “Hey, Hey, Take Me Away” while “F*****g Ada” finishes the album half-laughing, half-crying with its angry chorus offset by chorus line strings.

Disc 2 features the full-blown version of “Duff ‘Em Up And Do ‘Em Over (Boogie Woogie)” (a long sought after fan fave) while the Instrumentals it has to be said feel like good backing tracks but without the lyrics – they’re a curio more than anything else.

“I’m sick and tired of taking drugs and staying up late...” - our Ian sang on “I Want To Be Straight”. I never tire of Dury’s intelligence and wit and the fan/collector nerd in me is loving these gorgeous looking reissues...

PS: the IAN DURY March 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound CD Reissues on Edsel are:
1. New Boots And Panties!! (Edsel EDSK 7080, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708030)
2. Do It Yourself (Edsel EDSK 7081, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708139)
3. Laughter (Edsel EDSK 7082, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708238)
4. The Bus Driver's Prayer (Edsel EDSK 7083, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708337)
5. Mr. Love Pants (Edsel EDSA 5034, 1CD, Barcode 740155503437)
6. Warts 'N' Audience [Live] (Edsel 5035, 1CD, Barcode 74015550536)

PPS: Amazon lump all the 2004 and 2015 reviews together in the one place (a nasty habit of theirs) – so if you want the Hardback Book Edition I’ve just reviewed from 2015 – make sure to use the Barcode I’ve provided above to get the right issue...


The Bus Driver's Prayer & Other Stories
The Bus Driver's Prayer & Other Stories
Price: £8.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...Poo-Poo In The Prawn..." - The Bus Driver's Prayer & Other Stories by IAN DURY (2015 Edsel 'Casebound' 2CD Reissue), 28 May 2015
Edsel of the UK have reissued six of Ian Dury’s albums in these 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound sets – and natty looking things they are too. Here are the reasons to be cheerful...

UK released 2 March 2015 – "The Bus Driver's Prayer & Other Stories" by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS is a Limited Edition 2CD Deluxe Edition in 'Hardback Casebound' packaging on Edsel EDSK 7083 (Barcode 740155708337) and pans out as follows:

Disc 1 (47:04 minutes):
1. That’s Enough Of That
2. Bill Haley’s Last Words
3. Poor Joey
4. Quick Quick Slow
5. Fly In The Ointment
6. O’Donegal
7. Poo-Poo In The Prawn
8. London Talking
9. Have A Word
10. D’Orine The Cow
11. Your Horoscope
12. No Such Thing As Love
13. Two Old Dogs Without A Name
14. The Bus Driver’s Prayer
Tracks 1 to 14 are the CD album "The Bus Driver's Prayer & Other Stories" – released November 1992 in the UK on Demon Records FIEND CD 702

Disc 2 (36:21 minutes)
OUTTAKES / DEMOS
1. Amerlind
2. I Believe
3. Cowboys
4. One Love
5. Grape And Grain
6. The Writer
7. Whale
8. Itinerant Child

The 26-page booklet inside the hardback casebound cover features full annotation by known expert WILL BIRCH (done in 2004), lyrics to all the songs (including the outtakes/demos), unpublished photos, repros of his handwritten '5 poems', original artwork and so on. These are the 2004 Edsel remasters done at Alchemy Mastering and they sound amazing while all of Disc 2 was Previously Unreleased at the time.

The glory days of Number 1 singles (“Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” in 1978) and Number 2 LPs (“Do It Yourself” in 1979) were long past for IAN DURY by the time 1992’s reunion with Mickey Gallagher, Chaz Jankel, Davey Payne and John Turnball (The Blockheads) took place. Not that the public seemed to notice nor care. The original Demon album didn’t even crack the top 50 and it would be 1998 with “Mr. Love Pants” before Dury would see chart action again. But as expert/fan Will Birch argues (he wrote the liners notes) – “The Bus Driver’s Prayer & Other Stories” is a bit of an overlooked gem in a catalogue of witty winners.

While both openers “That’s Enough Of That” and “Bill Haley’s Last Words” gamely struggle to capture that “New Boots And Panties!!” magic – it’s not until “Poor Joey” comes along (a song about the most typical caged bird in the world – the budgie) that we get Dury’s genius for brilliant words fronting a happy-go-lucky tune. “Old mother nature’s left me right in the lurch...” he drones in that deadpan way of his as one of The Blockheads punctuates the tune with his best strangled Budgerigar voice - “Hello!” My other crave is the fabulously titled “Poo-Poo In The Prawn” – where “if you go swimming in the s***e-us...you’ll get worse than dermatitis...” where he waxes lyrical about all manner of turds coming at you through the plumbing and the briny. The lure of Ireland’s beautiful Donegal County floats rather prettily throughout “O’Donegal” where you will feel a need to holiday in Ireland right quick. Back to home ground and the “rent book/laundry” reality of “London Talking” where paying bills occupies your mind and a Chelsea Bun seems like a good way to soften the depression. It ends on the one-minute “Bus Driver’s Prayer” where he takes the Lord’s Prayer and substitutes every famous line to fit bus destinations like Kingston, Wimbledon and Ealing (short but so damn clever).

But what’s genuinely shocking is the quality of the eight cuts that didn’t make the album – fully finished songs (beautifully produced). To my ears both “Amerlind” and “I Believe” are better than some tracks that made the album. Maybe stuff like “Cowboys” and “The Writer” with their distinctive keyboard sounds was deemed to be too lightweight – but I listen to them more than the CD cuts – and the sheer melody/lyrical power of the quietly-moving and hopeful “Itinerant Child” is just plain brilliant (play this beauty a lot).

“I think my eyes were blurred with tears...” - our Ian sang on “Itinerant Child”. And many of us felt the same way when he sadly passed away in 2000. Take a chance on his genius with this wicked looking casebound reissue...there’s joy in them there hardbacks...

PS: the IAN DURY March 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound CD Reissues on Edsel are:
1. New Boots And Panties!! (Edsel EDSK 7080, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708030)
2. Do It Yourself (Edsel EDSK 7081, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708139)
3. Laughter (Edsel EDSK 7082, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708238)
4. The Bus Driver's Prayer (Edsel EDSK 7083, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708337)
5. Mr. Love Pants (Edsel EDSA 5034, 1CD, Barcode 740155503437)
6. Warts 'N' Audience [Live] (Edsel 5035, 1CD, Barcode 74015550536)

PPS: Amazon lump all the 2004 and 2015 reviews together in the one place (a nasty habit of theirs) – so if you want the Hardback Book Edition I’ve just reviewed from 2015 – make sure to use the Barcode I’ve provided above to get the right issue...


Mr. Love Pants
Mr. Love Pants
Price: £10.69

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “...Mash It Up Harry...” - Mr Love Pants by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS (2015 Edsel 'Casebound' Deluxe Edition), 28 May 2015
This review is from: Mr. Love Pants (Audio CD)
Edsel of the UK have reissued six of Ian Dury’s albums in these 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback 'Casebound' sets – and natty looking things they are too. Here are the reasons to be cheerful...

UK released 2 March 2015 – “Mr Love Pants” by IAN DURY & THE BLOCKHEADS is a Limited Edition 1CD Deluxe Edition in Hardback Casebound packaging on Edsel EDSA 5034 (Barcode 740155503437) and pans out as follows (51:16 minutes):

1. Jack S*** George
2. The Passing Show
3. You’re My Baby
4. Honeysuckle Highway
5. Itinerant Child
6. Geraldine
7. Cacka Boom
8. Bed O’Roses No. 9
9. Heavy Living
10. Mash It Up Harry
Tracks 1 to 10 are the CD album “Mr. Love Pants” released July 1998 on Ronnie Harris Records DUR 1

BONUS TRACK
11. Mash It Up Harry (‘Future Funk Squad’ Radio Remix)

The 26-page booklet inside the hardback casebound cover features full annotation by known expert WILL BIRCH (done in 2004), lyrics to all the songs (including the outtakes/demos), unpublished photos, repros of his handwritten ‘5 poems’, original artwork and so on. These are the 2004 Edsel remasters done at Alchemy Mastering and they sound amazing while all of Disc 2 was Previously Unreleased at the time.

The glory days of Number 1 singles (“Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” in 1978) and Number 2 LPs (“Do It Yourself” in 1979) were long past for IAN DURY – and wanting to forget (by his own admission) much of what he wrote in the 80s and the disappointment of 1992’s “The Bus Driver’s Prayer & Other Stories” not even charting despite being such a strong album (see separate review) – it was good to see 1998’s wonderfully upbeat “Mr. Love Pants” afford Dury see well-deserved chart action again. Sadly it was to be his last studio recordings with the Blockheads (he passed away in 2000) - but complete with Storm Thorgerson’s artwork intact and new liner notes from Alan Robinson (who worked the album’s promotion in 1998) – this 2015 CD reissue even gives us a half-decent stab at a bonus track in the guise of a ‘remix’ of one of the album’s highlights “Mash It Up Harry”.

It opens in suitably irreverent style with “Jack S*** George” which features a too-and-fro lyric battle between Dury and his Blockheads (he poses a question and they reply in a not so kind manner by being honest). Ian’s songwriting parent Chaz Jankel trumped up co-authored winners in the shape of the acidic “The Passing Show” (“...as we’ve grown jaded and corrupt...”) and the pretty (even sinister) “You’re My Baby”. You also notice the superb Production values (self done) - leagues ahead of anything that had gone before – full of warmth and quiet power – it lifted a lot of the songs and kind of forced you to listen/hear.

“Honeysuckle Highway” is a languid love song ala Ian Dury with lyrics like “...Evincing all the properties of rapture with a sybaritic disarray...” – but my heart is with “Itinerant Child” which has the most brilliantly written first-verse about a clapped out car “a psychedelic nightmare with a million leaks...It’s home-sweet-home to sweet arse freaks...” (if you’re interested there’s a gorgeous outtake of it on Disc 2 of “The Bus Driver’s Prayer & Other Stories” 2CD reissue in this 2015 series). “Geraldine” is a co-write with Mickey Gallagher where our hero is “...in love with the person in the sandwich centre...” (try not laughing as you listen to him going on about baguettes and coronation chicken). The bopper “Mash It Up Harry” is a updated throwback to the beats of old where Harry wants “...a bit of Wembley up his Rio Grande...” The whole album feels great in a way his records hadn’t done in years.

“He’s got his little bit of England to defend...” - our Ian sang on “Mash It Up Harry”. Well here’s one worth fighting for. Take a chance on his genius with this wicked looking casebound reissue...

PS: the IAN DURY March 2015 Deluxe Edition Hardback Casebound CD Reissues on Edsel are:
1. New Boots And Panties!! (Edsel EDSK 7080, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708030)
2. Do It Yourself (Edsel EDSK 7081, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708139)
3. Laughter (Edsel EDSK 7082, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708238)
4. The Bus Driver's Prayer (Edsel EDSK 7083, 2CDs – Barcode 740155708337)
5. Mr. Love Pants (Edsel EDSA 5034, 1CD, Barcode 740155503437)
6. Warts 'N' Audience [Live] (Edsel 5035, 1CD, Barcode 74015550536)

PPS: Amazon lump all the 2004 and 2015 reviews together in the one place (a nasty habit of theirs) – so if you want the Hardback Book Edition I’ve just reviewed from 2015 – make sure to use the Barcode I’ve provided above to get the right issue...


A Scene In-Between 1965-1967
A Scene In-Between 1965-1967
Price: £15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...If I Needed Someone..." - A Scene In-Between by THE STAINED GLASS [featuring The Trolls] (2015 Ace CD Remasters), 27 May 2015
Echoplex guitars, tinkling keyboards, swinging backbeat and layered vocals – snapping at the Psych boot heels of The Byrds and the sheer happy pop of The Mamas & The Papas – The Stained Glass (originally to be called The Stained Glass Window but someone made a typo on a letterhead and the short name stuck) are something of a genuine discovery. And although they managed only four US 45s (one as their former incarnation as The Trolls) – they are thoroughly deserved of this fabulous first-time-on-CD reissue.

Using their Big Beat Records label imprint – Ace Records of The UK have gone deep into the Nuggets From The Golden State on this South Bay Area one and come up with a doozy. You sit there listening to these 24 slices of Sunshine Music (San Jose in this case) and wonder just how the California State produced so much of this ‘should have made it big’ quality with apparent effortless ease. Here are the things in-between details...

UK released December 2013 – "A Scene In-Between 1965-1967" by THE STAINED GLASS (featuring The Trolls) is a first-time CD compilation (limited edition of 1500 copies) on Ace/Big Beat Records CDLUX 014 (Barcode 029667057226) and pans out as follows (64:44 minutes):

THE TROLLS
1. Walkin’ Shoes (January 1966 USA 7” single on Peatlore P-V 23267, A)
2. She’s Not Right (2013, Previously Unreleased)
3. How Do You Expect Me To Trust You? (January 1966 USA 7” single on Peatlore P-V 23267, B-side of "Walkin' Shoes")
4. No Rhyme Or Reason (2013, Previously Unreleased)
5. Sweeter Than Life (2013, Previously Unreleased)
6. Such Good Friends (2013, Previously Unreleased)
THE STAINED GLASS
7. Broken Man (2013, Previously Unreleased)
8. Lonely Am I (2013, Previously Unreleased)
9. If I Needed Someone (July 1966 USA 7” single n RCA Victor 47-8889, A)
10. My Buddy Sin (September 1966 USA 7” single on RCA Victor 47-8952, A)
11. Vanity Fair (September 1966 USA 7” single on RCA Victor 47-8952, B-side of "My Buddy Sin")
12. Revenge Is Sweet (2013, Previously Unreleased)
13. We Got A Long Way To Go (April 1967 USA 7” single on RCA Victor 47-9166, A – Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song – it’s B-side "Corduroy Joy" is not on this CD)
14.Inside Ouch (1 February 1967 RCA Recording UPA3-4225 – 2013, Previously Unreleased)
15. Too Fit To Be Tied (Demo) (2013, Previously Unreleased)
16. Dollar Sign Friends (Demo) (2013, Previously Unreleased)
17. Second Day (Demo) (2013, Previously Unreleased)
18. Bubble Machine (5 September 1967 RCA Recording UPA3-7536 – 2013, Previously Unreleased)
19. Mediocre Me (October 1967 USA 7” single on RCA Victor 47-9354, A)
20. A Scene In-Between (October 1967 USA 7” single on RCA Victor 47-9354, B-side of "Mediocre Me")
21. Mr. Martyr (5 September 1967 RCA Recording UPA3-7536 – 2013, Previously Unreleased)
22. You Keep Me Hangin’ On (Live) recorded end of 1966 in the San Francisco area, a cover of The Supremes hit written by Holland-Dozier-Holland
23. My Flash On You (Live) - recorded end of 1966 in the San Francisco area, a cover of an Arthur Lee song on Love’s 1966 self-titled debut album
24. 2120 S. Michigan Avenue (Live) - recorded end of 1966 in the San Francisco area, a Rolling Stones cover version
[Notes: Tracks 2, 4 to 8, 12, 14 to 18 and 21 to 24 are 2013, Previously Unreleased. "No Rhyme Or Reason" is a Roger Hedge song, "Lonely Am I" and "Dollar Sign Friends" are Bob Rominger songs – all others except the noted cover versions are by Jim McPherson.

THE STAINED GLASS (formerly known as The Trolls) was:
JIM McPHERSON - Vocals, Harmonica, Keyboards and Bass
BOB ROMINGER – Lead Guitar and Vocals
ROGER HEDGE – Rhythm Guitar and Vocals (Except on Tracks 18 to 21)
DENNIS CARRASCO – Drums and Vocals

Don Peake – Guitar on "If I Needed Someone"
Billy Mure – Harmonica on "My Buddy Sin"

Quality names like ALEX PAULO and WALLY SOUND produced the compilation in conjunction with surviving band members and relatives – hence the chockers 28-page booklet is festooned with personal detail and fab colour snaps of the boys in action at Fraternity gigs and the Coconut Grove, Santa Cruz in 1966, outside RCA Hollywood, in the studio at the microphones, those rare 45 labels on Peatlore and RCA Victor, Acetates, handmade flyers and even a photo of Jim McPherson and Dennis Carrasco with their enormous man-sized homemade bass cabinet. It’s beautifully done and features a dedication from Eve McPherson on her song-writing hubby that brims with pride and affection. Jim McPherson died in 1985 after a long illness – he’d gone on to be with Copperhead and contributed material to Quicksilver Messenger Service’s debut album on Capitol. NICK ROBBINS – long-time Engineer for Ace Records has done a stunning job with the largely Stereo tapes – all spangly and new – sounding so full of life and promise. There are times for sure that the channel separation is very one-sided - but I suspect that's to do with the original masters. That this stuff is back out there at all is a minor miracle...

It opens with their debut 45 as The Trolls - a driving Harmonica bopper called “Walkin’ Shoes” which is superb. Its B-side “How Do You Expect Me To Trust You?” is a pleading ballad that shows McPherson’s knack for a warm melody (he was their principal songwriter). The 4 other Trolls cuts on here are previously unreleased and sound so like Arthur Lee’s early Love albums (“Sweeter Than Life”).

George Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone” from The Beatles “Rubber Soul” LP had yet to see light of day in the USA (eventually showed on the American “Yesterday And Today” LP) even though it had surfaced in the UK in the winter of 1965. By the summer of 1966 – there was an opportunity to release their Beatles-esque soundalike version of it on RCA Victor and it did business in places like Rochester, New York. Its impossibly hip and Sixties cool with wonderful layered vocals and McPherson’s harmonica playing giving it such a commercial edge. Speaking of that mouth instruments - Billy Mure plays fabulous Harmonica wails on the upbeat “My Buddy Sin”. But what gets you is the excellence of the stuff that’s been in the can for nearly five decades - McPherson’s “Lonely Am I” is very impressive while there’s choppy pop rhythm in “Revenge Is Sweet” which reminds me of The Monkees on a roll. The silly-titled “Inside Ouch” is excellent too with lovely shaking guitars and ‘groovin’ vocals. The closest they get to The Byrds and that Roger McGuinn jangle comes with Rominger’s excellent “Dollar Sign Friends” and “Mediocre Man” is surely going to make someone’s day as a cool long-lost single that deserves re-airing.

Another fab release from Ace Records and surely one the reasons why this British reissue label (celebrating 40 years in the game in 2015) are held in such affection…


Specials (Special Edition)
Specials (Special Edition)
Price: £9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...A Message To You..." - Specials: 2CD Special Edition (2015 Chrysalis/2 Tone 2CD Set – Tim Debney Remasters), 27 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
*** A Review For The 2015 Special Edition 2CD Version ***

"...A Message To You...Don’t Call Me Scarface!"

There are some albums that just put a smile on your face – and a lot of them are debuts from British bands released in the late Seventies. There’s Derry’s finest "The Undertones" from May 1979 – Madness and their fab Nutty Boys opening salvo "One Step Beyond" from October 1979 – and of course those other 'very rude' boys – The Sex Pistols and "Never Mind The Bollocks..." from way back in October 1977 (my mum thought they were lovely chaps deep down and just needed a good meal). But for sheer joy-inducing affection – the November 1979 self-titled Ska Rock debut from Coventry’s "Specials" on the wonderful 2 Tone Records takes some beating.

I recall on many occasions when I worked in Reckless Records in Soho’s Berwick Street when the album would come in (a sure sign of a decent collection) - within minutes of purchase it would take pride-of-place on our display wall dressed up in a shiny new heavy gauge PVC sleeve and a natty display triangle. But we quickly learned that this was sort of futile - because milliseconds later some visibly animated punter would slap it down on the counter sporting the aforementioned smile on his 30-something kisser and say out loud, "I WANT THIS!" in an excitable fidgety way. You could even see he was already thinking of acquiring yet another 2 Tone button and skinny tie in Sister Ray just up the street. Ah...them was the days...still are...

Some 35 years after its first appearance on vinyl LP with that gorgeous laminate sleeve – Chrysalis have decided to do a solid by The Specials much-loved debut album and give it a 2015 Special Edition 2CD overhaul. And a lovely thing it is too. Here are contraceptive-married with a kid should be having fun details...

UK released 30 March 2015 (April 2015 in the USA) – "Specials: 2CD Special Edition" is on Chrysalis/2 Tone CDLTTR 5001 (Barcode 0825646336081) and it gangsters out as follows....

Disc 1 – The Album (47:43 minutes):
1. Gangsters
2. A Message To You Rudy
3. Do The Dog
4. It’s Up To You
5. Nite Klub
6. Doesn’t Make It Alright
7. Concrete Jungle
8. Too Hot
9. Monkey Man
10. (Dawning Of A) New Era
11. Blank Expression
12. Stupid Marriage
13. Too Much Too Young
14. Little Bitch
15. You’re Wondering Now
[Notes: Produced by Elvis Costello - the British LP is tracks 2 to 15 and was released 3 November 1979 on vinyl LP in the UK on Chrysalis/2 Tone CDL TT 5001. It was preceded by their debut 45 in the UK “Gangsters” (credited to The Special A.K.A.) released 28 July 1979 on Two Tone TT 1. The American variant of the album on Chrysalis FV 41265 came out in December 1979 as a 15-track LP placing the song “Gangsters” at the end of Side 1. Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders sings backing vocals on “Nite Klub”]

Disc 2 – Extra Specials (44:42 minutes):
Too Much Too Young EP by THE SPECIAL A.K.A. LIVE! Featuring Nico
1. Too Much Too Young (Live)
2. Guns Of Navarone (Live)
3. Skinheads Symphony (Live)
(a) Long Shot Kick The Bucket (b) Liquidator (c) Skinhead Moon Stomp
Tracks 1 to 3 released in the UK January 1980 on Chrysalis/Two Tone CHSTT 7

BBC In Concert – The Specials At The Paris Theatre (15.12.79)
4. (Dawning Of A) New Era
5. Do The Dog
6. Rat Race
7. Blank Expression
8. Rude Buoys Outa Jail
9. Concrete Jungle
10. Too Much Too Young
11. Guns Of Navarone
12. Nite Klub
13. Gangsters
14. Medley: (a) Long Shot Kick The Bucket (b) Skinhead Moon Stomp

CDLTTR 5001 comes in a four-way foldout card digipak like those Universal Deluxe Editions but without the bandana. On the inner flaps are the black and white photos of the band looking up at the camera – those most closely associated with the original vinyl LP’s rear sleeve. On the inner flaps are photos I’ve not seen before – on an estate with their feet on a pile of steel girders and on an Odeon sign. The CDs sport the distinctive Rude Boy 2 Tone logo and design. The 20-page booklet features affectionate new liner notes from Mojo’s LOIS WILSON along with more black and white photos of the boys in varying poses. There’s a singles page which shows those early 45s – The Special A.K.A. vs. The Selecter stamped sleeve of “Gangsters” and the Too Much Too Young Live EP and so on.

The remaster has been done by TIM DEBNEY at Fluid Mastering in the UK and to my ears it’s far better than the version I’ve had for years (as well as tracks on the “Stereo-Typical: A’s, B’s & Rarities” set). There’s ever so slightly more hiss on tracks like their cover of Dandy Livingstone’s “A Message To You Rudy” but the clarity of the organ and the brass is far better – and you can hear those drum cracks with a force now. When you play the Jerry Dammers cut “It’s Up To You” you can amplifiers buzzing and when that Bass and Terry Hall deadpan vocal kicks in – it packs an amazing punch. This time around you can almost discern Chrissie Hynde’s backing vocals on the “what am I doing here” dancer “Nite Klub” (well almost). It sounds fabulous to me. The reggae backdrop to their version of Cecil Campbell’s “Too Hot” features amazing clarity on those drums rolls and highhats as the boys moans about the temperature. The “court in session” vocal hijinks by Judge Roughneck on “Stupid Marriage” jumps out of the speakers at you – and what a great tune – utterly infectious stuff. Again there’s momentary hiss on Dodd Coxsone’s “You’re Wondering Now” and quite a bit during the Acapella finish – but I’d argue that it stills sounds fresher and more alive than before. And those lyrics about council estates lack of condoms and youth just wanting to dance still get me every time.

Everyone knows and loves the “Too Much Too Young” Live EP – it’s always been a total winner. But I was expecting the Paris Concert to be a bit of an Anniversary excuse roll out – but I’m thrilled to report that it’s brilliant and captures the band at the very top of their Ska Bopping crowd-pleasing best. To chants of “Rude Boy” – The Specials launch into an ubertight version of “(Dawning Of A) New Era” and immediately you’re hit with the great audio. Well produced by the BBC – it feels fantastically alive and fresh. They dedicate “Rat Race” to “all you students revising...” while the organ and Joe Jackson “Look Sharp!” guitar of “Blank Expression” are right in your face and bustling with newness. The Ska classic of “Guns Of Navarone” sends the crowd into a frenzy and why wouldn’t it (stunning brass and flicky guitar work) – but I have to say that my heart has always been with the magical “Gangsters” which to this day sends me pogoing around my living room like a Two Tone loon (not a good look at my age). The Medley of The Pioneers’ “Long Shot Kick De Bucket” with Symarip’s “Skinhead Moon Stomp” (both originally on the mighty Trojan label) finishes the crowd off proper – breathless, screaming and stamping the floor for more, more, more..

Britain has produced some extraordinary bands fronting a bewildering diversity of musical styles – but The Specials have always been (for the want of better words) that little bit...well special. Get this double-CD Rude Boy joy into your life pronto.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah...


Of Rivers And Religion / After The Ball
Of Rivers And Religion / After The Ball
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...Texas And Pacific Blues..." - Of Rivers And Religion/After The Ball by JOHN FAHEY (2015 Beat Goes On CD Remasters), 25 May 2015
Americana Guitarist JOHN FAHEY divides listeners – some worship him as an extraordinary innovator for the instrument – others call him a curio curmudgeon who couldn’t produce a commercial album to save his life. I love the idea of both – and man could he play. This was a man part Robert Johnson – part Django Reinhardt – and impressive on both genre fronts. But before we get into this gorgeous 2015 CD reissue from England’s Beat Goes On Records – some history on the great man...

Born in Takoma Park, Maryland, Washington in 1939 (he named his record label after his birth place - Takoma Records) – Fahey first put down tracks for the tiny Fonotone label in the USA in 1958 masquerading as a black musician called Blind Thomas (check out the fabulous Fonotone Box Set on Dust To Digital from 2009). A staggering 11 albums later (most on his own Takoma label and in the late Sixties with Vanguard) – he signed to the home of Ry Cooder and Leon Redbone – Reprise Records. And that’s where these overlooked LP nuggets from 1972 and 1973 come in (paired together on this CD).

UK released 25 May 2015 – "Of Rivers And Religion/After The Ball" by JOHN FAHEY on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1184 (Barcode 5017261211842) offers 2LPs on 1CD and breaks down as follows (68:12 minutes):

1. Steamboat Gwine ‘Round De Bend
2. Medley: Deep River/Ol’ Man River
3. Dixie Pig Bar-B-Q Blues
4. Texas And Pacific Blues
5. Funeral Song For Mississippi John Hurt [Side 2]
6. Medley: By The Side Of The Road/I Come, I Come
7. Lord Have Mercy
8. Song
Tracks 1 to 8 are his 12th album “Of Rivers And Religion” – released 1972 in the USA on Reprise RS 2089 and in the UK on Reprise K 44213

9. Horses
10. New Orleans Shuffle
11. Beverly
12. Om Shanti Norris
13. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
14. When You Wore A Tulip (And I Wore A Big Red Rose)/I Come, I Come
15. Hawaiian Two-Step
16. Bucktown Stomp
17. Candy Man
18. After The Ball
Tracks 9 to 18 are his 13th album “After The Ball” – released September 1973 in the USA on Reprise RS 2145 and in the UK on Reprise K 44246

The card wrap that’s now standard with all BGO releases lends the whole shebang a classy-feel - as does the 16-page booklet. You get album artwork, musician credits, Nat Hentoff’s original liner notes on 1972’s “Of Rivers And Religion” as well as superb new paragraphs on the man’s eccentric life and output by noted music writer JOHN O’REGAN. Both albums were produced by Fahey and Denny Bruce – and to say they’re audiophile is an understatement. These records sound awesome – so clear and warm – every instrument brought to the fore by ANDREW THOMPSON and his 2015 remasters – gorgeous stuff.

Every one of the 18 tracks on offer here is a highly produced acoustic steel-string guitar instrumental (6 and 12-string) featuring open tuning picking (a style he championed and is famous for). The music is very Ry Cooder Americana territory - Traditionals, Dixieland Jazz, Music Hall, Blues, Spirituals, Bluegrass and plenty of original picker tunes from Fahey’s own considerable talent (Tracks 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15 and 16 are his own). Even when tackling something like “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” (a tune made famous by Nina Simone), the Ragtime cover of Bill Whitmore’s “New Orleans Shuffle” or the Blues of Gary Davis on “Candy Man” – Fahey would arrange the songs in his own highly stylized guitar-picker way.

Both albums featured a stellar cast of players including Chris Darrow of Kaleidoscope fame on Fiddle and Guitar (also did stints with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and James Taylor) as well as people like Trumpeter and Arranged Jack Feierman who’d been with Count Basie’s Orchestra for years. “Texas And Pacific Blues” features the Dixieland Jazz of happy funerals while his own “Funeral Song For Mississippi John Hurt” is a lot more chipper that its title suggests (he makes one guitar sound like three). As you listen to the Medley of “By The Side Of The Road” and “I Come, I Come” - you can just see yourself sat back on a log barge as you float down the Mississippi in the summertime – ragged hat on your head and a straw in your mouth – not a care in the word as the world washes by. And again this track shows off that astonishing Production – the mournful strokes of Joel Druckman on his Double Bass giving it an epic and sad vibe. Dixieland kicks in for the Traditional “Lord Have Mercy” and it ends on the impossibly pretty and simple “Song”.

“After The Ball” continues in the vein of its predecessor with more emphasis on Ragtime than Blues. It’s never had a good rep as an album amongst fans or collectors and it’s easy to hear why some view it as dull and flat despite the excellence of the musicianship. Highlights however include the aloha hip-shuffle of “Hawaiian Two-Step” and the lovely yet lonesome “Beverly” where he bends and echoes those strings in the air that exits your speakers. He keeps “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” short at 2:36 minutes but I can’t help thinking that the Ragtime Band that kicks in halfway through does for the song – and not in a good way. Faring better is the pretty picking of the “When You Wore A Tulip (And I Wore A Big Red Rose)” The tired dance band on the Titanic feel of “After The Ball” ends the album with Trombone from Britt Woodman and Clarinet from Joe Darensbourg – but again feels oddly wrong somehow. Personally I like “Of Rivers And Religion” as an album better.

With Fahey’s music sometimes there’s a feeling that not a lot going on but guitar picking – and some of that feels ever so slightly laboured too. But there are other times when this is the most gorgeous music in the world – and even if it never dented a chart anywhere – statistics aren’t everything. I think a genius is allowed ups and downs – and this beautiful sounding CD offers both...


Hurricane Force! Rare, Live & Unissued
Hurricane Force! Rare, Live & Unissued
Price: £25.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “...Blame The Fascinators...” - Hurricane Force! Rare And Unissued by JOHNNY and THE HURRICANES (2015 Ace 2CD Ltd Edition), 25 May 2015
What a haul. Fans of instrumental Fifties and Sixties Rock’n’Roll and Pop are going to flip for this hugely impressive release by reissue kings Ace Records of the UK (celebrating 40 years of getting it right - 1975 to 2015). It features uber rarities from The Fascinators, Dave & The Orbits, Freddie & The Parliaments and The Dream Girls – all groups around Johnny Parish of JOHNNY and THE HURRICANES. But buy soon because it a limited edition of only 1500 copies and I suspect will sell out fast. Here are the groovy moves...

UK released April 2015 as a Limited Edition of 1500 copies – “Hurricane Force! Rare & Unissued” by JOHNNY and THE HURRICANES is a 2CD set on Ace Records CDLUX2 015 (Barcode 029667070720) and breaks down as follows...

Disc 1 – RARE & UNISSUED (66:11 minutes)
1. The Psychedelic Worm (1967 USA 7” single on Atila A 216, A)
2. Home Baby [aka “Comin’ Home Baby] (1987 LP on Teldec 8.26592)
3. Du, Du Liegst Mir Im Herzen (German 1963 7” single on Heliodor 4531, B-side of “High Voltage”)
4. Night Train (2015, Previously Unreleased cover of the James Brown hit)
5. You’re To Blame – THE FASCINATORS (1962 USA 7” single on Trans Atlas M688, A)
6. Cheetahs Uncle – DAVE & THE ORBITS (1965 USA 7” single on American Arts AA-14, B-side Of “Chilli Beans” – Track 19)
7. That Girl – FREDDIE & THE PARLIAMENTS (1959 USA 7” single on Twirl 1003, A)
8. Cannon Blast (2015, Previously Unreleased)
9. C’est Si Bon – THE FASCINATORS (1962 USA 7” single on Trans Atlas M 697, A – for B-side see Track 22)
10. Because I Love Her (1967 USA 7” single on Atila A 216, B-side to “Wisdom’s 5th Take”)
11. Ten Little Indians (1999 Repertoire CD compilation on Repertoire CD REP 4741)
12. Um Um Um (2015, Previously Unreleased)
13. Hurricanes Boogie (2015, Previously Unreleased)
14. Darlene – FREDDIE & THE PARLIAMENTS (1959 USA 7” single on Twirl 1003, A)
15. Rockin’ T (Alternate Version) (2015, Previously Unreleased)
16. Jamaican Moon (2015, Previously Unreleased)
17. Sax Man (2015, Previously Unreleased)
18. Revived – THE FASCINATORS (1962 USA 7” single
19. Chilli Beans - DAVE & THE ORBITS (1965 USA 7” single on American Arts AA-14, A, B-side is “Cheetahs Uncle” – Track 6)
20. Crying In The Night – THE DREAM GIRLS (1960 USA 7” single on Metro K20029, B-side of “I’m In Love With You”)
21. Strange (1987 Teldec LP 8.26592 ZP)
22. The Charmer – THE FASCINATORS ((1962 USA 7” single on Trans Atlas M 697, B-side of “C’est Si Bon” – see Track 9)
23. Judy’s Moody – JOHNNY (PARIS) and the HURRICANES (1967 USA 7” single on Atila A 214, B-side of “I Love You”)
24. Sand Storm (Alternate Version) (2015, Previously Unreleased)
25. Rocking Goose (Studio Rehearsal Of Live Arrangement) (2015, Previously Unreleased)
26. What You Know About Love (1968 USA 7” single on Atila 221, A)
[Notes:
Tracks 8, 12, 15, 16, 17, 24 and 26 are STEREO – all others are MONO
Tracks 4, 8, 12, 15, 16, 24 and 25 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED]

Disc 2 – RECORDED LIVE 1962-1990 (78:44 minutes):
1. The Sheik Of Araby (1995, Atila CD ACD 1034)
2. You Can’t Sit Down (1995, Atila CD ACD 1034)
3. Beatnik Fly (1966, Atila LP ALP 1030)
4. Down Yonder (1966, Atila LP ALP 1030)
5. Buckeye (2015, Previously Unreleased)
6. Old Smokey (2015, Previously Unreleased)
7. Ja-Da (2015, Previously Unreleased)
8. Oh De Lieber Augustin (2015, Previously Unreleased)
9. Rocking Goose (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
10. Red River Rock (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
11. You Are My Sunshine (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
12. Farewell Twist (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
13. Harlem Nocturne (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
14. Honky Tonk (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
15. The Hurricane (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
16. Night Fall (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
17. Reveille Rock (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
18. Paris Blues (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
19. Without You (1981, “Live In Hamburg” German LP on Strand 6.24522)
20. Home Baby (2015, Previously Unreleased)
21. Bye Bye Blackbird (2015, Previously Unreleased)
22. Sand Storm (2015, Previously Unreleased)
23. Time Bomb (2015, Previously Unreleased)
24. Come On Train (2015, Previously Unreleased)
25. Crossfire (2015, Previously Unreleased)
26. Red River Rock (Reprise) (2015, Previously Unreleased)
[Notes: All Tracks in STEREO – Tracks 4 to 8 and 20 to 26 are PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED. Tracks 4 to 8 recorded at the Fabrik Center, Hamburg in 1980 – Tracks 20 to 26 recorded in Belgium, 1981]

The 40-page colour booklet is as lovely as I’ve ever seen in a reissue – quality black and whites of Johnny Paris (Saxophone), Lionel Mattice (Bass), Dave Yorko (Guitar) and Paul Tesluk (Keyboards) and Tony Kaye (Drums) - as well as live/publicity shots of The Dreams Girls, The Orbits (circa 1957) and those rare American 45 labels – Atila, Trans Atlas, American Arts and Metro Records. Compiled by and featuring liner notes from experts DAVE BURKE and ALAN TAYLOR of the Pipelne Magazine – a UK fanzine given over to Instrumentals – the details come fast and furious and the whole thing is dedicated to the memory of the main – Johnny Paris. There are even colour photos of Dave Yorko, Lynn Bruce and Don Staczek at a Detroit Reunion in 2011. As you can imagine with 40 pages and 12,000 words – both writers get to stretch out into indepth histories of The Fascinators and the long history of the band right into Germany and Belgium in the 80s and 90s (with many unpublished photos peppering the text). It’s a proper fan-fest. NICK ROBBINS at Sound Mastering did the Transfers and Remasters with the Stereo Tracks rocking like a monster – in fact the whole thing reeks of class.

It opens on a winner – “The Psychedelic Worm” – a bopping instrumental that sets the pace and tone for much of the 52-track compilation. “You’re To Blame” is a wicked Organ driven dancer – a cover version of “You’re So Fine” done by The Falcons in 1959 in Vocal Group fashion but Soul Funked up by Wilson Pickett in 1966 on his “Exciting Wilson Picket...” album on Atlantic Records. The Hurricane’s version stays in keeping with the Wilson boogie - instrumentally funky and hip - it’s infectious stuff and will thrill fans. The first proper vocal doesn’t turn up until the fab Rock ‘n’ Roll of “That Girl” (Track 7) – a gal who “looked like something from the movie screen...” – Johnny Paris blowing up a storm.

Awful is “Canon Blast” which is an Eighties Synth, Sax and Guitar atrocity that tries to Rock Out in a Eurovision kind of way but feels like bad hair 80’s Rock that should have stayed in the can. Far better is “C’est Si Bon” which thankfully returns us to “Telstar” territory. The first genuine blast from the unreleased stuff comes in the shape of a Jerry Lee Lewis Piano and Drums Rock ‘n’ Roller called “Hurricanes Boogie” – a truly brilliant slice of instrumental piano boogie (the Killer would smile). “Rockin’ T” is great fun too – it arrives with a different guitar line from Dave Yorko and it sounds fabulously clear thanks to a ‘new high definition remix’ from Engineer maestro Tom Moulton (he also remixed “Sand Storm (Alternate Take)” which arrives minus its Tubular Bells overdubs). The liner notes are right to point out how good “What You Know About Love” is where Johnny does his best Blood, Sweat & Tears circa “Child Is Father To The Man”. It’s a dancefloor chugger with groovy guitar and complimentary brass and a fab drum break. Dave Yorko is also given freedom to Rock it out and does a blindingly contemporary Guitar Solo at the hip and happening groove fades out. Great stuff and not what you’d expect. It ends Disc 1 on a definite high. The live disc features the whole of the rare Strand Records “Live In Hamburg” LP – which to my knowledge is receiving a first-time-ever-on-CD release here. There’s amazing atmosphere on stuff like “Sand Bomb” where the crowd is lapping it up.

Eagle-eyed collectors will note that despite the quality on offer here to die-hard fans – the 2CD set isn’t complete by any means. His rare 1958 USA 45 “Crossfire” on Twirl 1001 and its flip “Lazy” is missing as is anything on Big Top between 1960 and 1963 (another compilation maybe).

The CDLUX Series by Ace is aimed purely at deep-level collectors and features artists that would probably never see reissue-light-of-day anywhere else. Having been starved of material for decades – fans of JOHNNY and THE HURRICANES finally have something worth jitterbugging about. Well done to all involved and another jewel in Ace’s well-endowed crown...

PS: Titles in this Ace Records Series so far are (each is a Limited Edition of 1500):
1. Detroit Rock 'n' Roll Began Here! – THE ROYALTONES (Ace Records CDLUX 001)
2. The Satintones Sing! The Complete Tamla And Motown Singles Plus – THE SATINTONES (Ace CDLUX 002)
3. Just A Little Bit: Federal's Queens Of New Breed R&B – TINY TOPSY & LULA REED (Ace CDLUX 003)
4. Exotic Guitars From The Clovis Vaults (Norman Petty Masters) – VARIOUS ARTISTS (Ace Records CDLUX 004)
5. Bandera Vocal Groups – VARIOUS ARTISTS (Ace Records CDLUX 005)
6. Outer Space, Hot Rods & Superheroes – THE MARKETTS (Ace Records CDLUX 006)
7. Big Sixties Frat Party!!! – SANDY NELSON (Ace Records CDLUX 007)
8. A-Ooga!!! Stamp & Shake With The Routers – THE ROUTERS (Ace Records CDLUX 008)
9. We're The Soul Girls! The Complete Volt Recordings – JEANNE AND THE DARLINGS and THE CHARMELS (Ace Records CDLUX 009)
10. Mannish Boys: The Stax, Volt & Truth Recordings 1969-1974 – THE NEWCOMERS (Ace Records CDLUX 010) [See REVIEW]
11. Classic Innocents: The Reprise, Decca, Warner Bros and A&M Recordings...Plus More – THE INNOCENTS (Ace Records CDLUX 011)
12. Sweet Sweetheart: The American Studios Sessions And More – CARLA THOMAS (Ace Records CDLUX 012)
13. Long-Lost Honkers & Twangers: Unreleased 60s Gems From The Ventures, Fireballs, Rondels, Titans and Reveliers And Many Other Instrumental Rarities – VARIOUS ARTISTS (Ace Records CDLUX 013)
14. A Scene In-Between 1965-1967 – THE STAINED GLASS (Ace CDLUX 014)
15. Hurricane Force! Rare & Unissued – JOHNNY & THE HURRICANES (Ace Records CDLUX 015 [2-disc set with 20 Unreleased]) [See REVIEW]
16. Baby Ain't That Love: Texas & Tennessee Sessions 1964-1974 – CLARENCE “FROGMAN” HENRY (Ace CDLUX 016) [See REVIEW]


Loving and Free/I've Got The Music In Me
Loving and Free/I've Got The Music In Me
Price: £8.78

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5.0 out of 5 stars "...I Will Untangle Myself..." - Loving & Free/I've Got The Music In Me by KIKI DEE (2015 Edsel Expanded 2CD Remasters), 25 May 2015
Back in June 2008 – EMI released six Kiki Dee albums (real name Pauline Matthews) onto Remastered Expanded CDs covering her catalogue between 1973 and 1987. Edsel have licensed four of those beautifully transferred titles (vinyl originally on Elton John’s Rocket Records) and doubled them up onto a series of two new 2014 releases - adding on a few more bonuses). The two missing titles are “Angel Eyes” from 1987 on Columbia and an unreleased album called “Cage The Songbird” (see 2008 CDs).

With those six EMI CDs long-since deleted and acquiring nasty price tags in the meantime – and with this particular issue featuring a hefty amount of exclusive Elton John/Bernie Taupin involvement – this new 2CD reissue in its card-wrap is both timely and welcome (not to mention beautifully presented). Here are the Loving and Free details...

UK released February 2015 – “Loving & Free + I’ve Got The Music In Me” is a 2CD Reissue on Edsel/Rhino EDSK 7078 (Barcode 740155707835) and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 “Loving & Free” by KIKI DEE (55:12 minutes)
1. Loving & Free
2. If It Rains
3. Lonnie & Joseph
4. Travellin In Style
5. You Put Something Better
6. Supercool [Side 2]
7. Rest My Head
8. Amoureuse
9. Song For Adam
10. Sugar On The Floor
Tracks 1 to 10 are Kiki Dee’s debut album for Elton John's newly formed Rocket Records "Loving & Free” - originally issued on vinyl in November 1973 on Rocket PIGL 5 in the UK.

BONUS TRACKS:
11. The Last Good Man In My Life
12. Hard Luck Story
13. Everyone Should Have Their Way
14. Six Days On The Road

Two 45s came off the “Loving & Free” album at the time - with one other single issued 3 years later as a belated hit. First up was "Lonnie & Josie" b/w "Last Good Man In My Life" - with both tracks written by ELTON JOHN and BERNIE TAUPIN. Released in June 1973 on Rocket PIG 2 - it unfortunately went the same as her earlier singles and didn't chart. The B-side “Last Good Man In My Life” has long been sought after by collectors as a non-album JOHN/TAUPIN track unavailable anywhere else. Apparently it was an outtake from the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" sessions. “Hard Luck Story” b/w “Everyone Should Have Their Way” was a stand-alone UK 7” single released March 1974 on Rocket PIG 10 (it didn’t chart either). The last bonus track turned up on the 2008 EMI CD and was Previously Unreleased at the time – a raucous cover of Dave Dudley's 1963 hit "Six Days On The Road" (and very good it is too).

The second 7" single finally hit pay dirt. "Amoureuse" b/w "Rest My Head" (both from the album) hit the UK shops in October 1973 on Rocket PIG 4 just before the album's release in late November. A beautiful song - it was an immediate hit with the public. Written by French singer VERONIQUE SANSON - its plaintive melody had lyrics added to it by the British composer GARY OSBOURNE. "Rest My Head" is a Kiki Dee original. "Amoureuse" peaked at Number 13 in the UK and introduced Kiki's great voice to the public. It really was a career-maker. Elton would put out his own version of his album contribution “Sugar On The Floor” as a B-side to “Island Girl” in September 1975 (DJM Records DJS 610).

The title track "Loving and Free" was finally released as a 4-track EP in a Picture Sleeve in September 1976 on Rocket ROKN 515 (sometimes referred to as the "Kiki Dee" EP). It followed on the back of the huge number 1 success of the "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" duet with ELTON earlier in June and July of that year. Its 4 tracks are: "Loving And Free", "Amoureuse", "I've Got The Music In Me" and "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am". Why it wasn't released immediately after "Amoureuse" is anyone's guess?

Disc 2 “I’ve Got The Music In Me” by THE KIKI DEE BAND (57:43 minutes):
1. I’ve Got The Music In Me
2. Someone To Me
3. Step By Step
4. Water
5. Out Of My Head
6. Do It Right
7. Little Frozen One
8. Heart And Soul
9. You Need Help
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album “I’ve Got The Music In Me” by The Kiki Dee Band – released October 1974 in the UK on Rocket Records PIGL 10

BONUS TRACKS:
10. Simple Melody
11. How Glad I Am
12. Peter
13. Once A Fool

Two 45s were released around the “I’ve Got The Music In Me” album – August 1974 saw “I’ve Got The Music In Me” b/w “Simple Melody” put out in the UK on Rocket PIG 12. It was a big hit and rose to 19 in the charts in September of that year (broke her on American Radio too). The flipside was non-album (hence a Bonus Track here) while the second single (the stand alone) “How Glad I Am” b/w “Peter” fared less well and didn’t chart (released April 1975 in the UK on Rocket PIG 16).

You have to say that the presentation here is top-class. There’s a card wrap for starters that gives the reissue a classy feel – but the 32-page colour booklet is gorgeous. It amalgamates the CHRIS WHITE liner notes that came with the 2008 EMI issues (he sadly passed away in 2014 and Kiki pays him personal tribute in her own notes on Page 3) – adds in a collage of rare 7” picture sleeves from around the world (Japan, Europe etc), produces track-by-track annotation for the first album and lyrics for the second record (only) and of course had credits for the reissue. Although it doesn’t say it in the booklet – these are the Geoff Pesche remasters of 2008 (done at Abbey Road) mastered in 2014 by Phil Kinrade at Alchemy Mastering. The Audio Quality is beautiful – so clear and warm. Tracks like “Amoureuse” and “Loving & Free” (with its beautiful guitar work by PAUL KEOGH) now sound astonishing - a treat to hear.

“Loving & Free” had its 10 tracks famously produced by ELTON JOHN with his house band of DAVEY JOHNSTONE on Guitars, DEE MURRAY on Bass and NIGEL OLSSEN on Drums featuring on many of the songs. Elton himself provided Keyboards and Backing Vocals on seven out of the album's ten tunes and on the non-album B-side – Tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 on Disc 1). GERRY CONWAY and DAVE MATTACKS of FAIRPORT CONVENTION fame filled in the drums on other tracks with LESLIE DUNCAN of "Love Song" fame providing backing vocals on the superb Kiki original "If It Rains". "Travellin' In Style" is a FREE cover, "Song For Adam" is a JACKSON BROWNE cover introduced to Kiki by Elton, while she gives a very soulful rendition of "You Put Something Better Inside Me", a Gerry Rafferty/Joe Egan written STEALER'S WHEEL song. "Supercool" is the third exclusive JOHN/TAUPIN track - a rocker - though not as good as the better B-side "Last Good Man In My Life". B.J. COLE provides Pedal Steel Guitar on “Rest My Head”

The Kiki Dee Band that played on “I’ve Got The Music In Me” consisted of JO PARTRIDGE (Guitar), BIAS BOSHELL (Keyboards), PHIL CURTIS (Bass) and ROGER POPE (Drums). Partridge provided the song “Out Of My Head” while Boshell stumped up a whopping five – “I’ve Got The Music In Me”, “Step By Step”, “Do It Right”, “Heart And Soul” and “You Need Help”. Kiki brought three originals to the table – “Someone To Me”, “Water” and “Little Frozen One”. Of the Non-LP stuff – Kiki also wrote “Simple Melody” and “Peter” while Larry Harrison and Jimmy Williams wrote “How Glad I Am” and “Once A Fool” is a Brian Potter/Dennis Lambert song.

Boshell had worked with Folk-Rock cult group Trees on CBS Records, Guitarist Partridge had worked with Colin Scott, Philip Goodhand-Tate and Joan Armatrading while Bassist Curtis had played with Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come, Spirit Of John Morgan and The Steve Gibbon’s band. Roger Pope was with Hookfoot and a regular member of Elton John’s Band. “I’ve Got The Music In Me” features CISSY HOUSTON and MARETHA STEWART on Backing Vocals with MIKE DEACON on Organ and String Arrangements by RICHARD HEWSON. Elton’s long-time Producing associate GUS DUDGEON did the honours at the desk. Musically the album is as strong as “Loving & Free” and hugely polished – songs like the ballads “Little Frozen One”, “Heart And Soul” and of course the title track being stands-outs.

A minor downside to this otherwise excellent reissue is that both "Lonnie & Josie" and "Amoureuse" were released in the States on MCA 40095 and 40157 respectively - and as advance radio promos, both singles sported a mono and stereo mix on either side. It's a damn shame that the exclusive "US Mono Mix" of each single wasn't included on here as bonuses when there was plenty of room. Niggles worth mentioning.

Other than that this is yet another exemplary Edsel reissue of music that deserves your renewed interest. You could of course argue that you simply buy the 2015 “Original Album Series” 5CD Mini Box Set for KIKI DEE and get five albums for a roughly a ten-spot. But I’d argue in favour of the extras and that amazing presentation (the second title on Edsel EDSK 7079 couples “Kiki Dee” from 1977 and “Stay With me” from 1979 – also with bonuses).

“...I will untangle myself...so I can be...loving and free...” Kiki Dee sang in 1973 in earnest. Way to go Pauline...


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