Music Features, Spotlights

Reissues Roundup: ABBA, Olivia Newton John, Marianne Faithfull



September’s selections also feature Roxy Music, Ladytron, Shakespears Sister, David Sylvian, Stereolab, Supergrass, Blur, Slade, House Of Pain, New Radicals, The Heptones and… Aqua

September 2022 reissues

September 2022 reissues

You know me. You know what to expect: a monthly romper through what looks and often is very exciting in the world of reissues and compilations. I’ve been at this lark a year now and it has brought me many riches and accolades lol. I’d like to thank you all for sticking with this and I hope I’ve illuminated some avenues and new ways to blow your money. Let us see what September brings…

*

ABBA - Gold

ABBA – Gold

It’s almost 12 months since the world in general started writing the word ABBA in a present tense again. It’s not that anyone had issued a fatwah on ‘writing the word ABBA’ prior to that but the giddiness of the announcement of their return, a new album and the then-forthcoming Voyage show felt like one of the most joyous days of recent years. One of, if not THE, factors in reawakening interest in all things ABBA was 1992’s compilation ABBA Gold which – OH HANG ON THAT WAS 30 YEARS AGO MY GOD HOW COINCIDENTAL – is being issued (not reissued, it’s the second biggest-selling album in the UK babes) on celebratory new formats.

Yep, the album that could’ve been even better had it contained Summer Night City on it (Let it go, Ian – Everyone) is coming out as a 2LP picture disc and gold vinyl edition, along with gold (and or black) cassette formats. Pleasingly, they’ve not gone down the shameless individual portrait four-sleeves vibe that Queen did, but it’s a very jolly way of celebrating the album’s status. Easy to forget now, but literally ten years before Gold arrived, ABBA’s stock was dwindling chartwise, but as ever, it was the gays that kept the faith. As Bjorn said in 2019, “We thought that was it, we go on and do other stuff and ABBA will be forgotten. Then it was the gay community who underpinned the comeback… we felt that we had the full support, and it made a lot of difference.” So there. Anyway, all that aside, they COULD have added Summer Night City as a bonus track and it would’ve made it a round 20 tracks, but hey… *police banging on the door* Hurrah for ABBA Gold being 30!

*

Olivia Newton John - If Not For You

Olivia Newton John – If Not For YouOlivia Newton John – If Not For You

Distraught wasn’t the word when the death of Olivia Newton John was announced last month. Oh man, just the sheer outpouring of grief and memories and love from fellow performers including ABBA, Barry Gibb, Cliff Richard and Kylie Minogue almost became too much as a genuinely beautiful and genuine force for good left us. Her catalogue is full of treasures, and doing the work of very wonderful beings to get it back out there (and primarily on streaming as an ONJ collection on Spotify is a bit of a minefield) Primary Wave are continuing their reissue campaign following last year’s superlative Physical reissue.

1971’s If Not For You is up next, which was her debut album (it was self-titled initially in the UK back in yore) which was produced by John Farrar and Bruce Welch, and features obviously the breakthrough title track (better than the Bob Dylan original, don’t @ me) alongside Banks Of The Ohio as well as Olivia’s takes on classics such as Me And Bobby McGee, Help Me Make It Through The Night, No Regrets and If You Could Read My Mind. The second CD of the 2CD package features 17 bonus tracks, including B-sides (several remastered from the original vinyl seeing as nobody saw fit to keep decent copies of these things back in the early ’70s), alternate takes, and two previously unreleased recordings, Round And Round, and Game Of Love. It’s a lovely little thing, all told, once you’re able to get through a listen without bursting into tears.

*

Marianne Faithfull - Songs Of Innocence And Experience

Marianne Faithfull – Songs Of Innocence And Experience

If anyone can call a compilation of their career Songs Of Innocence And Experience 1965-1995, it’s sho’ nuff Marianne Faithfull. What a woman, and my word what a life and catalogue. Emerging in 1964 as a folk-teen playing in coffeehouses in London’s then-very swinging Soho, she came to wider attention after Andrew Loog Oldham spotted her at a Rolling Stones party, and took her under his wing giving her the Jagger/ Richards-penned As Time Goes By for a debut single. By 1965 she was married with a young son and then a few months later absconded to live with Brian Jones and Anita Pallenberg while beginning a relationship with Jagger. By 1968, she’d been a muse to many a Stones number, but was hooked on heroin and homeless by this point and by the time she’d ended her relationship with him, things declined somewhat further with her living on the streets, her son taken into custody and battling anorexia. Bloody Nora.

Eventually she carefully edged back from a squat-dwelling bleakness with her 1979 album Broken English, and moved to New York, although her comeback still had its hurdles, after a stint in rehab in the mid-’80s she reinvented herself as a jazz/blues chanteuse. In recent years she’s worked with and had songs written for her by Jarvis Cocker, Blur and Etienne Daho and her renaissance has seen her finally celebrated as a genuinely great artist who perhaps went where others feared. Most recently she was hospitalised with covid and feared she’d be unable to sing again, but fortunately she’s been gently recovering and singing again as part of her therapy. So that puts things into perspective, does it not?

This compilation features four previously unreleased recordings including one completely unheard song, and 22 of the 29 tracks on the 2LP are making their first appearance on vinyl or first appearance since their original release, and on the 2CD set, nine recordings are making their CD debut. From Come And Stay With Me, Sister Morphine, Why D’ya Do It and As Tears Go By and The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, this is possibly the truest reflection of what made her an icon, and the first collection of this Decca/Island era in over 20 years. There will never be another artist like Marianne Faithfull, I can tell you that.

*

Shakespears Sister - Hormonally Yours

Shakespears Sister – Hormonally Yours

Going slightly more to town with their 30th anniversary is Shakespears Sister, whose chart-topping Hormonally Yours is coming out as a whole buffet of options. There’s both white and splatter vinyl in mirrored sleeves, another entitled the Sequinned Catsuit Edition, which comes in a, well, sequinned catsuit pouch. There’s a CD/DVD set which features all the videos from the album.

There’s a 7CD set with the album and six individual CDs of each single – Stay, I Don’t Care, Goodbye Cruel World, Hello (Turn Your Radio On), My 16th Apology and Black Sky – and all their attendant remixes and B-sides. Enough of my yakking, head on over to their site to engage with the multitude of exclusive offerings available with signed photos and the like.

Roxy Music - The Best Of Roxy Music

Roxy Music – The Best Of Roxy Music

One thing that continues to bring an old cove like me joy, is the knowledge that Roxy Music existed and continue to do so – they’re currently a-roaming the planet celebrating 50 years of being utterly fucking brilliant – and that their catalogue is so chock-full of marvels and magic that it’s almost a piss-take. If you haven’t wolfed down their lovingly-curated and reissued catalogue this year, and cash-strapped for art, sex and wonder, then good news boppers, their 2001 round-up The Best Of Roxy Music is being issued on vinyl for the first time this month!

It’s an 18-track reverse-trajectory compiled affair, starting with Avalon and going backwards to Re-Make/ Re-Model from their debut album (issued a couple of months ahead of their debut single Virginia Plain). There was an exclusive yellow vinyl edition available on their official store, but that’s gone so you’ll have to make do with the 2LP black vinyl instead. It’s so lush and fabulous and comes with songwords and everything. It deserves to sell billions. Amazing stuff.

Ladytron - Light & Magic

Ladytron – Light & Magic

Speaking of how influential Roxy Music are, Liverpool’s finest Ladytron are issuing their incredible album Light & Magic this month in a 20th anniversary edition. The band have become influential in their own right, with The Weeknd, Brian Eno and Christina Aguilera asked them to contribute to her Bionic album as a result. Light & Magic was widely acclaimed at the time, and has grown in stature ever since. Basically, if you’ve not cocked an ear to it before, do yourself a favour.

Slade - All The World Is A Stage

Slade – All The World Is A Stage

All The World Is A Stage according to a new Slade 5CD box out this month. Quite right too, Slade were on FIRE for a good few years in the ’70s and were the live band to beat as regards all the other glam-affiliated stomp merchants. This box contains the two previously released classics Slade Alive! from 1972 and 1982’s Slade On Stage which caught their December 1981 Newcastle City Hall show. The three previously unreleased discs: Live At The New Victoria (recorded on April 24 1975), Live At The Hucknall Miner’s Welfare Club from 1980 and Alive! At Reading when they were a last-minute replacement for Ozzy Osbourne and won over the angry bat-munching-keen metallers with a blasting set of classics and which was sort-of the beginning of their re-ascendancy. It’s five discs of shouting, full-on rock’n’rollin’ illiterate bangers.

*

The Wedding Present - The Hit Parade

The Wedding Present – The Hit Parade

Remember 1992? Yes of course you do, I’ve just banged on about it earlier. It was all a Rave Nation around these parts, and Take That were still giddying about with jelly in gay clubs. What a time to be alive, yeah? Also, that year, The Wedding Present were issuing limited seven-inch singles each month and racing into the Top 40 between No 10 and 26 before evaporating, yet also managing to break a record for the most chart entries in a year. It was a beezer wheeze and, dear reader, some of us bought all 12 singles in the hope that one day they’d buy them a house but alas looking at the average worth on Discogs, that’s kinda unlikely.

Well now, it’s time to relive all that excitement as the band have spent 2022 doing the same thing again, but also because The Hit Parade is coming out on 2LP and 2CD sets with the 12 singles and their B-sides. They’re limited because why not? It’s in keeping with the original project’s ethos (which actually wasn’t pre-meditated at all, as they only decided to do it the previous November and were soon driven loopy by having to find new tunes each month). Fancy that!

House Of Pain - Fine Malt Lyrics

House Of Pain – Fine Malt Lyrics

Speaking of 1992 YET AGAIN, House Of Pain who looked slightly gnnnfg for a short while with their frathouse goonery of Jump Around, they’re issuing the album Fine Malt Lyrics as a 2LP deluxe. They’ve missed a trick by not including the Famous mix of Shamrocks & Shenanigans that sampled David Bowie’s Fame though (the clots) but if you want to relive your ill-advised goatee’d hip hop era, then this is the package for you.

Joni Mitchell - The Asylum Albums

Joni Mitchell – The Asylum Albums

Joni Mitchell has a new box out this month, entitled The Asylum Albums (1972-1975) it’s a 4CD/ 5LP roustabout that features 1972’s For The Roses, 1974’s Court And Spark, 1975’s The Hissing Of Summer Lawns, and double live album, Miles Of Aisles from 1974.

This selection of landmark albums is an amuse bouche for volume three of her archive series which is due in 2023, and comes with a previously unseen painting by Mitchell and also includes an essay by friend and fellow Canadian Neil Young. There are only 20,000 copies of each format, and if you pre-order it from her website, it comes with limited edition 7×10 of the painting on the cover of the box. Well, isn’t that just sufficient enough allure to attract anyone? These are essential albums by any definition of the word, so if you don’t have them already, you could do worse than to obtain this.

*

I can hear some excessive revving up outside – which is bold for a moped – that can only mean that Dudley is approaching. I’ll shout down and see what ol’ hotpants has got for the Futurist Desk this month…

Ultravox - Rage In Eden

Ultravox – Rage In Eden

“Well good day to you, kind sir. Yus! There’s some rumbling of the forward-facers this month, with the news that Ultravox are bunging Rage In Eden out in a box. The 1981 album was their first post-Vienna effort when they were suddenly a big deal. The lads opted to go into the studio with no songs (an unkinder person could say they left the studio with no songs too, but they can bog off). The Conny Plank-produced effort featured the singles The Voice and The Thin Wall, and now comes as a large format 5CD+DVD deluxe edition which features the original version of the album, a new Steven Wilson stereo remix, a disc of singles, remixes, B-sides and rehearsals and two CDs with a previously unreleased concert recorded at Hammersmith Odeon in October 1981.

“The audio-only DVD contains a new 5.1 Surround Sound Mix of the album and B-sides by Steven Wilson, along with 24/96 hi-res audio of the new mixes and the original 1981 album/ B-sides audio. Phew. A 4LP clear vinyl box has the original version of the album, singles and B-sides and Hammersmith concert, while a 2LP half-speed mastered black vinyl edition features the original album plus singles/ B-sides. There’s even a picture disc option which is only via the official Ultravox online supermarket.

David Sylvian - Blemish

David Sylvian – Blemish

“Another set of David Sylvian vinyl reissues arrive this month, with the initially online-only Blemish from 2003 (a vinyl did come out the following year, but that’s now going for silly money) and 2009’s Manafon which both originally came out on Sylvo’s own samadhisound label. Both albums saw him voyage further into improvisational, glitchier and moodsome moods, with Derek Bailey on three tracks and Christian Fennesz on another on Blemish (1LP) and improv-ing with Evan Parker, Keith Rowe, Fennesz, Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide, John Tilbury and members of Polwechsel on Manafon (2LP). They’re both very fantastic albums tbh, if I may so myself.”

Cheers Dudley, see you down the clubs!

“They’re all closed, man. They’re all closed.”

Oh.

*

Stereolab - Pulse Of The Early Brain

Stereolab – Pulse Of The Early Brain

God knows I’ve tried to get people into Stereolab. There’s some who’ll entertain the key moments, but there are others who think they’re all mainly ‘Bleep! Bloop Warble! Buzzzz! Whirrr!’ while someone sings about smashing the system or to protest about the capitalist hegemony inherent in the tractor system. In French. To those I cock a snoot, and to the others who’ve longed for a bespoke Stereolab tray or tea towel (Hi), I impart fortuitous news as the groop are issuing Pulse Of The Early Brain (Switched On Volume 5) rounding up odds and sods that were limited editions (a pressing of 1000 flexi discs of Yes Sir! I Can Moogie, (for which I’m still applauding even now), songs written for Charles Long sculptures and other stuff pressed on limited run biscuits, split 7-inches and demos. It’s available as 3LP or 2CD and is as essential as breathing.

Blur - Bustin' + Dronin'

Blur – Bustin’ + Dronin’

After being slightly extortionate on coloured vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day, Blur’s Bustin’ + Dronin’ is back out again in a normal 2LP black vinyl and 1CD edition with stickers! The 1998 collection featured remixes from their 1997 eponymous album, where William Orbit, Adrian Sherwood, Moby, Thurston Moore and John McEntire reswizzled a track or two, however the original Peel Acres session isn’t involved on this reissue. We dig Blur here, so that’s all super.

Supergrass - Supergrass

Supergrass – Supergrass

Super you say? Hmmm, well it’s a tenuous link granted, but following from their album’s I Should Coco and In It For The Money, Supergrass are issuing their eponymous third album from 1999. It contains the bangers Pumping On Your Stereo, Mary and Moving and it maybe doesn’t get the dues that the first two album get, but is genuinely cracking. It’s now back out on vinyl (handy as the original is now £250) – both neon orange and black – and as a 2CD with a selection of remixes, demos, B-sides and live tracks and the treat that is the ‘lost’ single Out Of The Blue.

Manic Street Preachers - Know Your Enemy

Manic Street Preachers – Know Your Enemy

Manic Street Preachers news now, and they’re reissuing their 2001 album Know Your Enemy. It’s an interesting album, as the trio had originally planned to issue two albums: the rowdy Solidarity and a mellower affair called Door To The River, but decided against it and compiled those into KYE. Now they’ve revisited the idea, which Nicky Wire suggested after coming across a load of tapes and James Dean Bradfield agreed to as long as he could reswizzle them with longtime producer Dave Eringa.

So now they’ve put the two albums (with some bonus mixes) on two discs of the 3CD book-esque set, with the third full of demos, although there is a 2CD but that is sans the demos disc. The 2LP separates the two albums but strips away the bonuses. It’s all very handsome tbh, and is the sort of classy enterprise you’d expect from a Manics reissue.

*

Now 79 Yearbook

Now 79 Yearbook

There’s some kind of bunting festooned around the NOW desk, which has not been seen since that occasion when I proposed to the 1981 Yearbook. That is because, dear reader, the best has just got even better this month. First up is the arrival of the 1979 Yearbook, and WHAT a year – more singles were bought in 1979 than in any year before or since – and it’s a cornucopia of pop at its height: punk morphing into new wave, disco still proud and strong (in the UK at least, the US were… well) and the saplings of Synthpop starting to sprout.

Even looking at the Number 1s that year is giddying – Cars! Are ‘Friends’ Electric?! We Don’t Talk Anymore! Walking On The Moon! YMCA! Heart Of Glass! I Will Survive! Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick! (we’ll draw a veil over Bright Eyes being the biggest-selling single of the year) That’s without the tremendousness of Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight!) Good Times! September! Silly Games! Gangsters! Cool For Cats! Can You Feel The Force! Wow! One Step Beyond! Song For Guy! A Little More Love! Good lord I’ve come over all unnecessary. Naturally I advise you get all over this 85-track 4CD and gloriously orange 48-track 3LP.

Now That's What I Call 12 70s

Now That’s What I Call 12 70s

How can the NOW brand top that? Oh mate. MATE. NOW 12” 70S is the 4CD that all 4CDs will now have to tip their hats to from now on. This 42-tracker not only herds the cream of seventies full-lengthness (Pop Muzik! Life In Tokyo! Supernature! Native New Yorker! More, More, More! LIKE AN EAGLE BY DENNIS PARKER!!! etc) into an essential party-handy form, it also has a host of new-to-CD exclusives such as Wings’ Goodnight Tonight, Cliff Richard’s We Don’t Talk Anymore, Yvonne Elliman’s If I Can’t Have You, Dee D Jackson’s Automatic Lover, Leif Garrett’s I Was Made For Dancing, Cher’s Take Me Home, Diana Ross’s Love Hangover, The Flying Lizards’ Money and Meco’s Star Wars Theme / Cantina Band. If, when I round up the Top 10 best compilations of 2022 in a few months, the NOW brand doesn’t occupy a full house, I’d be very surprised. Cor blimey, I need another lie down.

*

Neu! - Neu!

Neu! – Neu!

From NOW to *checks* NEU! now. Hoorah! Finally! Celebrating 50 years of being deeply influential and (possibly) inspiring the likes of Wham! to use exclamation marks in their name, the Düsseldorf-ians Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother issued four albums during their time (Neu!, Neu! 2, Neu! ’75 and Neu! 4) and these, alongside a tribute collection featuring covers and remixes by Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, The National and Mogwai among others, and are collected on this new 5CD and 5LP box (although Neu! 4 isn’t part of the vinyl, the last two discs are the tribute collection). There’s a free stencil and it also comes with a lovely book! About Neu! (presumably). I once threatened to play E-Musik at a friend’s wedding disco once. He was up for it, although he feared that the rest of the reception (and, in fact, his new husband) might have got a bit aggy about it.

Patrice Rushen - Pizzazz

Patrice Rushen – Pizzazz

Strut are issuing an expanded version of Patrice Rushen’s 1979 masterpiece Pizzazz. The album is notable for storage of the incredible Haven’t You Heard which has been sampled and reswizzled countless times, and old queens may recall Daddy’s Favourite which basically wholesale sampled the thing. The new edition comes as a 2LP, with the second disc basically being a the 12-inch of Haven’t You Heard backed by Let The Music Take Me cut louder alongside an instrumental version of Givin’ It Up Is Givin’ Up. It’s fantastic stuff.

*

Aqua - Aquarium

Aqua – Aquarium

25 years ago, Danish quartet Aqua exploded into pop with their Barbie Girl toe-tap and the cartoon-y warblers promptly were the biggest-selling thing on the planet for a few months. Skip forward to the now, and 33 million albums sales later (not just of this, Jesus, can you imagine?) they’re now a trio and set to reissue the accompanying album Aquarium on (pink or white) coloured vinyl. We can all be a bit sniffy about the whole episode, but in all honesty it actually feels like a cheerier time and God knows we needed a novelty pick-me-up after Diana died a couple of months previously. Plus the Turn Back Time single was great too.

Jellyfish - When These Memories Fade

Jellyfish – When These Memories Fade

When These Memories Fade is the title of a 7X7-inch box set by the tremendous Jellyfish. The San Francisco-formed quartet, put together by founding members Andy Sturmer and Roger Manning Jr, brought a little powerpop and psychedelic joy to the early nineties and tickled the lower end of the Top 40 with albums Bellybutton and Spilt Milk before falling out due to a lack of sales, and lead singer Sturmer feeling discomfort at being a frontman.

Since they dissolved, Sturmer went on to be a songwriter for hire, guitarist Jason Falkner went off to have a successful career solo and as an in-demand session musician and Manning Jr has released albums as The Moog Cookbook, been part of Beck’s backing band and worked with Air and Jay-Z among others. If you fancy a bonus fact, I was even in one of their videos which was filmed at Norwich Waterfront. Touch me! Limited to 1,000 copies, When These Memories Fade offers up the singles from both albums plus comes with a 64-page booklet featuring essays, in-depth interviews with band members, previously unseen photographs and rare memorabilia and an exclusive 3D poster with custom Jellyfish 3D glasses. The coloured vinyl boxset has sold out, but there’s still some black vinyl editions left if you’re quick.

*

The Kinks - Muswell Hillbillies / Everybody's In Show-Biz / Everybody's A Star

The Kinks – Muswell Hillbillies / Everybody’s In Show-Biz / Everybody’s A Star

Oh honey, The Kinks have got TIME for superdeluxe-ing this month, with a joint superdeluxe box of 1971’s Muswell Hillbillies and 1972’s Everybody’s in Show-Biz / Everybody’s a Star bunged together. Initially when the albums were released neither charted in the UK, which is utterly barmy when you think about how enormous they’d been up to 1970. Hillbillies was akin to their legendary Village Green Preservation Society album by focusing on the rumness of British life but broadening the music palette somewhat, while Show-Biz was made with a view to soundtracking the amazingly-named unreleased film The Colossal Shirt which followed the band as they toured the states.

Now they have come together to be a thing, and what a thing. Shall we discuss formats? It’d be rude not to. The big 6LP/4CD/Blu-ray/Book/map/photos/badge set features the two albums as doubles, plus another two albums of bonus tracks, the 4CD effort has the albums, some Ray Davies remixes and The Kinks 1971 US Tour Travel Montage on the other two CDs. Good lord. Each album is also available separately in 1LP/2LP/1CD/2CD original and expanded variations too, so it’s an expensive old time for Kinks fans who seemingly didn’t give a fig about a pair of albums BITD.

*

New Radicals - New Radicals

New Radicals – New Radicals

Gadzooks! The one and only album by New Radicals, 1998’s Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too, is out on 2LP this month! Centred around Gregg Alexander, who wrote and produced everything, the Rads (as no one really got much of an opportunity to call them) burned brief but they burned HARD during the summer of 1999 when You Get What You Give was a massive hit, and split up just as they issued the follow-up single Someday We’ll Know, and only reforming for a one-off performance when Joe Biden was inaugurated.

During that time, Gregg popped off to write for literally everyone in the vicinity of a recording studio in 2000, and was also responsible for Ronan Keating’s sole highpoint Life Is A Rollercoaster. MYBBT is a spectacular album that chimed in with references to the rock’n’soul jinkery of the ’70s and was briefly reissued on vinyl in 2017. Go get it now and even if you’re too square to dig it all, You Get What You Give is SUCH a classic, you’d happily make the most out of the astronomical £38 its seemingly on offer for.

Fatboy Slim - Right Here, Right Then

Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Then

As the press release bugles for Fatboy Slim’s Right Here Right Then, ‘more than 250,000 concert goers gathered on Brighton Beach on July 13, 2002’ and reader, I was one of them. It was mayhem and you could barely hear anything due to the helicopters. What was meant to be a beach-bound rave-up for at least 70,000 ended up with Brighton’s population almost doubled for a few hours as Norman Cook spun some bangers. Anyway, look there’s some serious boxsetting to be had here, and oh boy this is some stuff.

Available as a box with deluxe 48-page hardback book with foreword by Fatboy Slim, a new 2022 DJ mix compilation, original concert film DVD, a DJ Mix from 2002 Big Beach Boutique 2, and another from 2012’s Big Beach Boutique 5 knees-up along with art cards and signed oomska. There’s a trimmed down 2CD/1DVD version which features the 2002 mix as a bonus too. With toe-taps from Groove Armada, All Saints, Mighty Dub Katz, X Press 2, Lo Fidelity All Stars, Midfield General, Armand Van Helden and a host of Fatboy Slim tracks and mixes, it will bring a tear to the eye, a gurn to the lips and a tremble to the joints of many a be-pebbled-marked shapethrower.

*

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

First released in 2002, Wilco’s fourth album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was hailed instantly as a masterpiece, scoring top marks in all the music mags (remember them?) for its blend of enigmatic songcraft and bursts of dizzying audio obfuscation. Almost soundtracking a post-shattered nation longing to care about stupid bullshit again. Now you could possibly not want for more with the new box comprising of 11LP (the original album remastered on 2LP, six albums of outtakes and demos and instrumentals, and a 3LP live show from July 2002) and a bonus 1CD WXRT radio show and interview from 18 September 2001. There’s obviously a significant booklet to accompany you through this plethora of Wilco-ness, with essays, recent interviews and a tranche of unseen live and studio photos. It’s a fantastic scene all round, and explores in close detail the album that made Wilco, um, Wilco.

The Heptones - Better Days & King Of My Town

The Heptones – Better Days & King Of My Town

The Heptones are one of reggae’s finest outfits, first formed in 1965 they initially specialised in ska and rocksteady flavours before settling into being the key equals to the Wailers and Maytals and, seeing as they’re still going, outlasting the lot of them. Better Days And King Of My Town concerns the reissue of two of their late-70s albums, produced by the go-to legend Niney. This being an expanded 2CD affair, it comes accompanied with Better Days’ counterpart Observation Of Life Dub as well as some 12-inch disco reswizzles of King Of My Town.

Lee Scratch Perry - King Scratch

Lee Scratch Perry – King Scratch

While I’m in an irie area, Trojan’s new compilation album King Scratch (Musical Masterpieces from the Upsetter Ark-ive) is a tasty round-up of the career of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. It’s a 37-track 4LP/74-track 4CD deluxe box set, or if that seems a bit too much Scratch for you (OH COME ON YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH DUB MOOING) a more compatible 40-track 2CD/ 22-track 2LP scene is also on hand. All the biggies are on here: Return of Django, Police & Thieves, Hurt So Good, Fire Fe The Vatican and more. All lovingly remastered and sounding fantastic, it’s just the tip of the Scratch iceberg and hopefully bodes well for more excavation of his archives.

*

Garage Psychedelique

Garage Psychedelique

From the fine people who brought you the Pop Psychédélique (The Best of French Psychedelic Pop 1964-2019) comp comes Garage Psychédélique (The Best of Garage Psych and Pzyk Rock 1965-2019). As with the first compilation, Garage Psychédélique whizzes you through a comprehensive array of jolly wonk and far outness, kicking off with the ur-text of all this lark, The Sonics’ Have Love Will Travel, and winding up at Tame Impala’s Half Full Glass Of Wine 24 tracks later. Pointing you along the way are blinders from Count Five, The Paragons, 13th Floor Elevators, Electric Prunes, Goat, Moon Duo and Pond. It’s an absolute trip of a celebratory collection that looks pretty damn fancy on 2LP lime or black vinyl or a resolutely quite silver 1CD.

Folk Funk & Trippy Troubadours

Folk Funk & Trippy Troubadours Volume One

If that’s a bit too hectic, then may I suggest Folk Funk & Trippy Troubadours Volume One? Compiled by Paul Hillery, who has mined the finest in ooohness while on his Trippy, um, trip. It’s probably best at this point to copy and paste what Paul himself has to say about the compilation, right kids? “So, what is this ‘Folk Funk & Trippy Troubadours’ thing anyway? Well, it’s tricky to put a finger on. Folk-funk had been around for a while, so I added ‘and Trippy Troubadours’ to give me a little wiggle room from the genre police. To me, the folk-funk groove sounds like it has one leg shorter than the other; let’s call it a funky limp. Feel The Spirit by Heaven & Earth, Taking So Long by Kathy Smith, Mountain Song by Penny Nichols, and Wooden Ships by Christine Harwood are all great places to start.” Thanks Paul* (*the press release). Readers, he’s spot on. He knows this onion through and through. It’s available on 2LP sky blue or black or as a reasonable 1CD. Support Paul’s voyage, for this album is comfort food for these wearying times.

*

Noah And The Whale - Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down

Noah And The Whale – Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down

2008 feels like yonks ago, doesn’t it? Okay I know that sounds a little mad coming from a column detailing releases from the last 50 years or so, but genuinely the recent-ish past feels like it was so fast and giddy that anything pre-2000 feels almost gentler by comparison. Take Noah And The Whale. You remember them – formed by Charlie Fink, offered up a cheering acoustic folk-pop blend on smash hits such as Five Years Time that became a soundbed for light comedies on Dave for about a decade. Laura Marling was in an early version of them! They toured with Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend! Appeared on loads of telly! Had four Top 16 albums! Now you remember?

Well, anywho, they called it a day in 2015, but those four albums – Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down, The First Days Of Spring, Last Night On Earth and Heart Of Nowhere – are coming out on vinyl (the first three this month and Heart Of Nowhere following in November) and tbh they’re best enjoyed on the format. The first two were briefly issued on vinyl in 2018, and now going for mildly nuts amounts on Discogs, so this is a chance to get them at a less insane price.

*

So that’s September. Well, a trolley dash around its highlights at least. I’d vowed not to get towards 5,000 words again on this occasion, but as top lungsmith Rachel Stevens trilled ‘(But Here We Are)’. Thanks for the plaudits, shares and general effort that’s gone into making the catering of this celebratory street party such a success. I’ll be back next month with words about Dexys Midnight Runners, David Bowie, The Cure, Recoil, Can, INXS, Marine Girls and more. In the meantime, you know where I am (@wadeywade), hotpants. Tell me about it, stud *bursts into tears again*


buy ABBA MP3s or CDs
Spotify ABBA on Spotify


More on ABBA
Reissues Roundup: ABBA, Olivia Newton John, Marianne Faithfull
Reissues Roundup: Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood, Daft Punk, ABBA
ABBA – Voyage
ABBA voyage back after 40 years with new album and digital arena show
ABBA, MØ, Despacio, Ari Roar …Weekend Reads