Music Features, Spotlights

Reissues Roundup: Prince, Diamanda Galás, Cabaret Voltaire

A Pride celebration rubs up alongside Moominland sounds, a Kylie anniversary, Lebanese fusion and one of the greatest albums of all time in this month’s deep dive into rereleases

Reissues Roundup: June 2022

Reissues Roundup: June 2022

May was alright, wasn’t it? Well, aside from war, and poverty in the post and a feckless fucking corrupt bunch of unrepentant shits orbiting in an ecosystem of bullshit running the country. Um, we did nearly win Eurovision and, um, that’s about it brightside-wise, but we could at least venture out into the outside without five layers on, so swings and roundabouts. Anyway, enough ‘intro’, let’s see what’s a-happening in the world of reissues and compilations this June. Right on.


David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

It’s the 50th anniversary of David Bowie’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, aka one of the most important albums of all time! It’s important as it was almost precision designed to make as big an impact as possible, and without it tbh, Bowie would’ve been a footnote in pop history rather than, well, David Bowie.

Fresh from his Starman performances on Top Of The Pops (well, technically Lift Off With Ayesha got the exclusive moves, but that was wiped from history (the clots)) where he peered down the camera, invented homosexuality, having red hair and caused no end of musicians to be inspired, Ziggy Stardust was also Bowie’s album chart debut, and fortunately as it caused such a rumpus, he had a few in the bag so that the kids who were most impacted by his arrival, could go and lap them up too.

You’d have thought such a milestone would’ve spent several months being resolutely unshiftable from the top spot, but it only ever managed Number 5 (!) about six months into its chart reign, which seems quite bonkers when you think about it. But by then he was an actual pansexual superstar who’d only become a pansexual superstar by pretending to be a pansexual superstar from outer space, and we were all so bulldozed (well, I wasn’t, I was like two years old) by his glittering majesty and gold spotted forehead and manwoman catsuits, that chart positions were an afterthought. So yeah, enough faffing: It’s coming out as a picture disc, as well as a half-speed remastered affair with a free poster, but frankly owning it on any format at all increases your sex appeal tenfold. 


Grandmaster Flash - Sugar Hill Adventures: The Collection

Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & The Furious Five – Sugar Hill Adventures: The Collection

“Broken glass EVERYWHERE! People pissing on the stairs you know they just don’t care!” Apologies, that’s not some lurid detail from Sue Gray’s report (topical), it’s just me celebrating 40 years since The Message (the greatest rap single ever) came out.

Spookily, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & The Furious Five‘s Sugarhill Adventures: The Collection is also on the case, as a full-on round-up of their combined output available as a comprehensive 9CD version with the albums The Message and Work Party (making its CD debut) as well as every full-length and edited version of The Message, White Lines, Step Off and The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel plus all the others that you could possibly want. There’s a more concise ‘just the hits’ 2LP version which is also pretty damn essential too.


Elton John - Madman Across The Water

Elton John – Madman Across The Water

Elton John’s 1971 album Madman Across The Water comes along this month, as a belated 50th anniversary reissue, with some plush extras. The album was his fourth and featured the iconic number Tiny Dancer and was the first album to feature his longstanding band set-up of Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson, Davey Johnstone and Ray Cooper, with Rick Wakeman hovering around to supply keys on a trio of tracks.

In all honesty, it did next-to-bugger all chartwise at the time in the UK (Number 41 for, like, a fortnight) but did do rather well in America and effectively launched him as thing over there. This time around it features 18 unreleased tracks and comes as a 3CD/blu-ray super deluxe with a bunch of rarities including piano demos of the album and the audio of the BBC Sounds For Saturday concert, broadcast on BBC in 1972, and the blu-ray has the video of the Sounds For Saturday concert and Elton’s 1971 The Old Grey Whistle Test performance. It comes with a book, alongside a poster as well as additional ephemera from that era. The CDs are replicated on a 4LP version, and a more concise 2CD has the album with the demos, and a D2C edition single vinyl comes as a propeller (or something). The Elton reissue programme has been a worthwhile reassessment of a wealth of a catalogue, and hopefully this new dust-off should fare better than bloody Number 41 for a fortnight.


Prince - Love

Prince And The Revolution – Live

“My name is Prince, and I’ve come to play with you.” *sigh* If, like me, you’re someone lucky to have been affected by Purple Rain and the sheer overwhelm that was Prince And The Revolution, you’d know about the double VHS that came out in 1985 which was recorded during his lap of honour, in Syracuse of all places, and the worldwide tour in support of his general amazingness concerning the fact that he was now a huge star.

The idea that something so sensational was televised too shows how humanity has lost its way in recent years. My god it was exciting, I’m almost whisked back to my friend Cameron’s house where we sat through it several times, completely enraptured. If David Bowie saying “That’s it, I’m off” when he killed off Ziggy Stardust was an iconic moment, every single moment of Prince And The Revolution Live most definitely was too.

Having already been released as part of the Purple Rain reissue a few years ago, the concert has been significantly restored from the original for the blu-ray element of this release. Indeed, it’s available as a 2CD/1 blu-ray edition and a 3LP version, and it’s not as obscenely priced as you might think. So that’s got to be a boon for anyone wanting to witness such utter genius on a budget. 


Vinyl> Modern> Pop>

Vinyl> Modern> Pop>

A quite exciting development now, as Vinyl>Modern>Pop is a quite delicious double vinyl affair rounding up some of the biggest hits of the last few years. Trying to reflect the current pop scene is bad enough as it is at the moment due to the massive delays in vinyl production, and while Now could feasibly barge ahead of the queue to issue each new volume on vinyl, you’re looking at a triple vinyl expedition which would probably be around £40 to reflect the hits in their best light as even the last Nows issued (they stopped using the format for the numbered volumes in 1995) began to suffer with sound quality.

ANYWAY. Hoping to address this and showcase the hits – pretty much each track on here has been an international smash – Vinyl>Modern>Pop offers 31 numbers from the likes of The Weeknd (Save Your Tears), Billie Eilish (Bad Guy), Dua Lipa (Levitating), Coldplay & BTS (My Universe), Sam Fender (Seventeen Going Under), Griff (Black Hole) and Måneskin (I Wanna Be Your Slave). It’s a brilliant idea especially when some of these numbers haven’t even been on vinyl as yet, and hopefully there’ll be sufficient interest so that I can rave about a follow-up later in the year too. Hurrah, then, for Vinyl>Modern>Pop.

DFA Compilation #2

DFA Compilation #2

For no other reason than it wasn’t originally issued on vinyl, DFA are releasing 2004’s DFA Compilation #2 as a 4LP box. Well worth the entry fee for LCD Soundsystem’s Yeah (both Pretentious and Crass versions – one of the few solid memories I have of my 40th birthday was dancing to it while swigging a bottle of champagne) as well as Beat Connection (Extended Disco Dub), it also showcased numbers from The Rapture, The Juan Maclean, Black Leotard Front and Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom, which all are standouts too, with special mention for Liquid Liquid’s Bellhead. It’s all been taken quite seriously – tracking down original tapes was an odyssey in itself apparently – and it’s a pre-LCD-becoming-huge snapshot of what was then one of the world’s hottest new labels. 


Django Django - Django Django

Django Django – Django Django

Django Django’s debut album is 10. I know, time really does fly. It was pretty great, too, and featured some cracking stuff in the form of the splendid Default and Hail Bop. Although I thought there was more to it success-wise than being Mercury nominated and appearing in a couple of end-of-year polls, but here we are. It’s now coming out as a triple vinyl set, with a Mad Professor dubly reswizzle of the whole thing. Anyway, it’s all jolly super.

Christine McVie - Songbird

Christine McVie – Songbird

Outside of her work as part of Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie has also carved out a decent solo path concurrently with her day job. Songbird (A Solo Collection) hopes to readdress this a bit, compiling some tracks from 1984’s Christine McVie and 2004’s In The Meantime, alongside two previously unreleased studio recordings including Slowdown, which was originally written for the 1985 film American Flyers, and an orchestral version of the title track. It comes as a 1CD/1LP affair and features sleevenotes of her in conversation with Johnnie Walker. 


Comet In Moominland

Comet In Moominland

Now, if you’ll pardon the terrible pun, we’re all bound for Moominland. Ahem. Yus, Graeme Miller’s soundtrack for Comet In Moominland is issued this month. Graeme was the in-house musician for the Moomins, using ocarinas, kalimbas, miniature squeak boxes, cornflake box shakers and a lot of studio trickery. This 1LP release marks the first time this music has been heard in its original full-length form in years. How lovely! (Tbh it was worth it for the KLF gag, eh readers?)

Mel Carter - When A Boy Falls In Love

Mel Carter – When A Boy Falls In Love

Mel Carter now, and, wait… you don’t know Mel Carter? Well, he was a child prodigy and mate of Sam Cooke who he first met when they were both on the gospel circuit, and reconnected with him when Cooke started his own SAR label.

Although Mel’s song When A Boy Falls In Love, and which this album takes its title from, wasn’t issued on SAR, but on the new Derby label that was geared towards more pop material, and the subsequent success made it the first crossover hit on the Billboard lists from a black-owned company (fancy that!) It led to this album, which is now back out on vinyl after years away and originals going for daft money. It’s sweet and soulful and joyous.

Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy presents Balearic Breakfast Volume 1

Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy presents Balearic Breakfast Volume 1

And what a truly special thing Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy presents Balearic Breakfast Volume 1 is. It’s a collection of 11 pumpers collected together by the Worldwide FM and Mixcloud legend and Classic Album Sundays mastermind. A hop around the genres with delights, as well as some new-to-vinyl treats, by Friendly Fires, Midlife, P’taah, Mike Salta and Marty Mortale and Lady Blackbird which has been expertly curated to bring pleasing vibes to everything from a field to a kitchen with a damp problem. It comes as a 2LP set, but watch yourselves hitting ‘buy’ on the download option as it’s £1,000 due to licensing issues, but a free download will be available when you buy the vinyl. Far out.


The Beach Boys - Sounds Of Summer: The Very Best Of

The Beach Boys – Sounds Of Summer: The Very Best Of

The Beach Boys have been going for 60 years, which is quite good going really isn’t it? The ecosystem for a pop group lasting more than five has basically had to be written on the go what with them, The Rolling Stones and soon The Beatles all hitting that landmark. That’s not to forget Cliff Richard, who spent his first 20 years basically seeing what Elvis Presley was up to and following suit, and then left in uncharted waters come the late ’70s.

So yeah, obviously to coincide with such an auspicious anniversary, the ‘Boys’ have expanded their Sounds of Summer compilation from 2003 and it now features every one of their US hits. It’s quite an array of product, too, with the original compilation available on 1CD or 2LP or expanded into a 3CD or 6LP versions. So, it’s a choice between 30 or 80 tracks, basically. Naturally it’s all very amazing, offering just the ‘high street’ or ‘entire town centre’ options depending on your tolerance on songs about surfing.

Steeleye Span - Good Times Of Old England 1972-1983

Steeleye Span – Good Times Of Old England 1972-1983

Turn on to folk rock now, as Steeleye Span have conjured up a 12CD box set of their entire Chrysalis output. They have! Good Times of Old England: Steeleye Span 1972-1983 features the nine albums they released during this period, all with a host of bonuses. This is alongside three live discs which, bafflingly, as there’s not been a full Span live album from the seventies era before, incorporate full shows from 1974, 1976 and one from 1982 (which had been available before but has been fleshed out here).

Among the outtakes is version 1 of Gaudete, which often crops up on Christmas compilations and sounded like some creepy folksome shouting when you were younger, but is actually is an enchanted work of frosted December morning greatness now. Marvellous stuff for the Span fan in your life. Or it could be you yourself. We don’t judge here babes. 

Habibi Funk 19

Habibi Funk 19

To the Lebanon now, and where there used to be some shops or something. Habibi Funk have pulled a cracker out of the bag this month with by Issam Hajali’s group Ferkat Al Ard, a Lebanese trio compromised of Issam Hajali, Toufic Farroukh and Elia Saba. First issued in 1978, Oghneya represents the meeting point of Arab, jazz, folk and Brazilian styles with the talent of Ziad Rahbani, who did the album’s arrangements.

It’s a rich soup of many flavours and genres not necessarily associated with Arabic music such as Baroque pop, psyche-folk and even Tropicalia. With songs based on political poetry by Mahmoud Darwish, Samih Al Qasem and Tawfiq Ziad, it’s a rich and rewarding listen and another triumph from the Habibi Funk stable.


The Rolling Stones - The 7 Singles 1963-1966

The Rolling Stones – The 7 Singles 1963-1966

There’s a distinct whiff of Father’s Day this month with some very Dad-rock energy. Obviously depends on how old your pop is. Mine was a James Last/ Klaus Wunderlich/ Fureys/ ‘whoever Geoff Love had decided to have a crack at’ kinda dude and so he was already ‘past all that’ as regards The Rolling Stones when they turned up.

Never mind that, their 7″ Singles 1963-1966 is fantastic, a limited-edition box of 18 vinyl singles and EPs (from Come On to 19th Nervous Breakdown) as originally issued by Decca and London Records. It comes with a 32-page book, and a set of five photo cards and a poster, all in a hard-shell box. It’s subtitled Part One, so you know what that means. Yes, that’s right ABKCO are going to do their best to cash in on the band’s 60th anniversary so keep ‘em peeled you Stoners.

Dire Straits - Money For Nothing

Dire Straits – Money For Nothing

More Dad Pop of a more recent vintage and Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing compilation from 1988. Now expanded from one disc to a 2LP vinyl package. The idea that it was a 1LP in the first place is absurd as the quality would’ve made it sound like Mark Knopfler and chums had been replaced by mice. Now it’s been remastered by Bob Ludwig (who also did the Stones box too, spooky!) and now adds Telegraph Road (Live) from the original album’s CD edition as well as a new mix of Portobello Belle (Live). So that’s nice. 


Now That's What I Call Pride

Now That’s What I Call Pride

Let’s go over to the Now desk and see what treats they have in store this month, and WHAT a treat as they’re issuing Now That’s What I Call Pride this, um, Pride month. Featuring 84 bangers across four discs celebrating all things and artists non-straight and their adjacent allies. And it doesn’t fuck about – Gloria Gaynor, The Communards, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Scissor Sisters, Divine, Liza Minelli, Cher, Steps, ABBA, Janelle Monáe, Tegan and Sara, Boys Town Gang, Hazell Dean, George Michael and Pet Shop Boys to name just a handful.

It’s a fantastic and lovingly put together compilation that means you can go to a neighbour’s barbecue and no longer have to put up with their array of Almighty selections (look, no shade here, but I have encountered such an event and was slightly put off by some regional diva trilling gamely over pumpsome versions of current hits – like a Top Of The Pops compilation on room odorisers – that forced me to drink and flirt – successfully, I’ll add – with a biker)

BUT. While I’m here, and sitting upon a high horse – about to be led into a disco serving Bianca Jagger realness obvs – here’s a tip to those populating this compilation’s socials whining about whether they’re ‘allowed’ to buy it or when Now will be putting out a Straight Pride collection. If you’re allowed to marry who you want, you’re not living in fear about your sexuality in a country where it’s illegal to be yourself or not finding yourself having to pretty much ‘come out’ daily due to narrow minds being alarmed at who or what you are, then well done you. Have you been thrown out of your family home for being straight? Have you suffered mental health issues because you’ve feared that you might be ostracised or beaten up for who you are? Are your fragile hard-won rights at risk of being rescinded at any moment in an increasingly backward world and arseholes who will vilify your existence for political gain? Then congratulations – Straight Pride is every fucking month for you, honey.

These songs and artists offered a sign that people weren’t alone, they’ve given support and warmth to anyone who has ever felt different, they’ve been acts that have blazed a trail and given no fucks to what people thought. This is a celebration of love, joy and wonder for all, and as a lovely bonus Now will be making a donation of £10,000 to akt, the LBGTQ+ charity that helps young people dealing with homelessness and hostility, helping them get into safe houses and allowing them to be their true selves and live their lives free of hate and bigotry. Applause and maximum respect to Now, quite honestly. Right, can someone help me down off this horse please? I may be no stranger to chaps, but I’ve still got another several thousand words to knock out.  


Amy Winehouse - Live At Glastonbury 2007

Amy Winehouse – Live At Glastonbury 2007

During her lifetime, Amy Winehouse released two albums which amount to about 90 minutes of material combined. Since her death, however, there have been countless collections that have seemingly charted every utterance she made in front of a microphone: expanded box sets of those two studio albums, collections of off-cuts, an At the BBC round-up, a box of seven inches, box sets of those box sets combined as well as a soundtrack.

Now to add to that pile is Live At Glastonbury. Recorded during her 2007 Pyramid Stage show, this 2LP set features the whole set taking in the biggies from Back To Black, alongside Valerie and covers of Toots & The Maytals’ Monkey Man and The Specials’ Hey Little Rich Girl. I bloody loved Amy so I’m merely here to inform you that it’s out this month.

Queen - The Platinum Collection

Queen – The Platinum Collection

Likewise, Queen’s The Platinum Collection debuts on vinyl this month. Consisting of their huge-selling and rather listenable Greatest Hits from 1981, the equally successful part two from 1991 and the, well, third volume which didn’t bother mopping up the singles they’d missed out on the previous volumes (such as Body Language, Backchat etc) favouring solo stuff from Freddie and Brian (although not Roger’s), pointless remixes and various collaborations made after Freddie’s death. Again, I’m here to inform you that it’s now out as a six-coloured vinyl all-in-one, should you find yourself with a spare £125 and a desperate need to own the Wyclef Jean remix of Another One Bites The Dust.


Cabaret Voltaire - The Crackdown

Cabaret Voltaire – The Crackdown

Fresh from last month’s adventures, it’s my pleasure to inform regular readers that Dudley is back. Back. BACK! Alright Dudlers, what choo got for us this month?

“Thank you, and yes, the scars have cleared up somewhat, and I’ve been given a quote for the conservatory. Ahem.

“Right. You know who are bloody amazing? Cabaret Voltaire are, that’s who. And what’s more they’re reissuing a trio of iconic albums from the ’80s. First up is 1983’s The Crackdown, which features the terrific floorfiller Just Fascination. It’s a-coming out on grey vinyl (with download codes, natch) which is quite industrial I think you’ll find.

Cabaret Voltaire - Micro-Phones

Cabaret Voltaire – Micro-Phones

“The fucking Cabs went more dancey on the 1984 follow-up Micro-Phonies which took their oppressive experimentation into new territories, and includes James Brown (a track named after him, not the actual Godfather of Soul) and Sensoria, and it is a pleasing turquoise colour too.

Cabaret Voltaire - The Covenant, The Sword And The Arm Of The Lord

Cabaret Voltaire – The Covenant, The Sword And The Arm Of The Lord

“Finally, and perhaps my personal favourite, The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord is a harder proposition from what they called their ‘pop period’ and is a right belter with standouts such as I Want You included. And it’s on white vinyl, colour fans. And I thoroughly recommend THE LOT.

Depeche Mode - Ultra

Depeche Mode – Ultra

“Somewhat now overshadowed by the sad and distressing news about Andy Fletcher, business and schedules continue for lontime futurist faves Depeche Mode, as they have another one of their 12-inch box sets due this month, this time it’s the turn of their 2001 long player Exciter to get the treatment. I recall once seeing a young man who had a flat that was full of Mode box sets, and this was a good 20 years ago, so Christ knows what space he has left for this latest batch, but I salute his perseverance in these matters.

“Anyway, the Exciter box has 8x12s, three of which are newly compiled as they were originally second CDs or somesuch, for singles I Feel Loved, Dream On Freelove and Goodnight Lovers, and all have the attendant remixes by the likes of Dave Clarke, Deep Dish and Josh Wink that came out at the time. Not cheap, but then if you’ve shelled out for the previous ones you’ll already know that.

Diamanda Galás - The Divine Punishment

Diamanda Galás – The Divine Punishment

“If you think I’m on a retainer for Mute this month, you’d be possibly correct, but no. However, I must tell you about the reissue of Diamanda Galás’ The Divine Punishment, which was the first part of her Masque Of The Red Death trilogy, and was made and released in response to the Aids epidemic. It’s not a knees-up, in all honesty, as it features the panphonic dirge work of Galás, and texts taken from the Old Testament, contrasting the hectoring lawmakers of Leviticus with the desperate appeals of the Lamentations and Book of Psalms (Psalm 22, 59, and 88).

“In doing so, she indicts those who use religion to instigate the witch hunts that inevitably accompany real and perceived plagues. Sometimes one requires art to question and reflect the hideousness of life, and The Divine Punishment is very much that. For its lack of choruses, it’s a harrowing but cathartic listen but not ideal on poppers. It’s back out on CD with vinyl to follow later in the year.

David Sylvian - Sleepwalkers

David Sylvian – Sleepwalkers

“And before I go, I must point out that one-time leader of effeminate futurists The Japan, David Sylvian is reissuing his 2010 compilation Sleepwalkers on 2LP and CD. The album collected together his work that happened alongside the release of his albums Blemish and Manafon, and featured work with nine horses (not actual horses but Dave with his ex-The Japan member and brother Steve Jansen and Stina Nordenstam) as well as collaborators such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Christian Fennesz, Arve Henriksen and Dai Fujikura. The original tracklisting has had a reswizz too, with additional tracks Do You Know Me Now? (first issue on CD), Modern Interiors (previously a download only release) and World Citizen added, and Ballad Of A Deadman and Playground Martyrs removed.

“So, all things considered, every shade of art ponce and futurism is coming your way this month.”

Thanks Dudley. Now, no picking up dodgy trade this next month, okay?

“Harrumph. I don’t know what you mean, philistine.”


Kylie Minogue - Fever

Kylie Minogue – Fever

A Kylie Minogue update now, and it would appear that her stellar 2001 album Fever, home to the deathless iconic singles Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, Come Into My World, Love At First Sight and In Your Eyes, is out on vinyl again. It has been before, this is true, but previously as a limited Sainsbury’s or HMV or Record Awareness exclusive. Now it’s back out on plain old black vinyl and now you don’t have to pull a sickie to obtain it from a supermarket. Hurrah!

Will Young - 20 Years: The Greatest Hits

Will Young – 20 Years: The Greatest Hits

Will Young is celebrating 20 years of being Will Young this year – well technically 20 years of being the popular singer Will Young as he’d already been Will Young for a while before that. He’s got his hits out for the lads, kicking off with the biggest-selling single of the 00ze Evergreen, the trembler Leave Right Now, the banger Jealousy and recent corker Daniel. There are two new tracks too, and it’s available on 2LP and 1CD variables, as well as a 2CD version with bonus session and radio tracks.

The Kills - No Wow

The Kills – No Wow

Is it really almost 20 years ago when I first witnessed The Kills supporting Primal Scream? It really is, pop-pickers. There they were, looking like they existed on a diet of fags and greasy own-brand crisps, rattling through a selection of numbers like some kind of busking Velvet Underground meeting a malnourished Royal Trux, or PJ Harvey staring at a fry-up. They were, I will admit, utterly incredible. That I was coming down with my first brush with bronchitis was neither here nor there. Now they’ve headed into the world of the reissue, celebrating 15 years since their second album No Wow. It’s a 2LP affair with the original album and a Tchad Blake reswizzle of it, both on ‘smoky gold’ vinyl, a print and a – steady on – four-page booklet. 

Kool & The Gang - The Albums Vol 1 1970-1978

Kool & The Gang – The Albums Vol 1 1970-1978

Shall we talk about Kool & The Gang? Yes, let’s for a superb box set entitled The Albums Vol 1 1970-1978 arrives this month featuring 13CDs from their 1970 eponymous debut to 1978’s Everybody’s Dancin’, with a bonus collection of single edits and non-album gear.

It’s effectively the Gang’s first phase, with crackers such as Hollywood Swinging, Summer Madness, Jungle Boogie, Funky Stuff and Open Sesame among the ‘stuff you’ll know’ area of the passing Kool fancier. A further box covering the ‘hits’ (Ladies Night, Get Down On It, Jones Vs Jones, Celebration, Fresh and the gloomy erection-sectioner Cherish etc) era is due later in the year, and I’ll report back on that as and when, but for now, this is a handsome and not too dear round-up of one of the most legendary acts ever.


Frank Sinatra - Watertown

Frank Sinatra – Watertown

Frank Sinatra’s Watertown album from 1970 has long been seen as something of a masterpiece for the doooby-doooby-dooer. It saw him depart from his more comforting big band gear and in effect was the last ‘proper’ album he made bookending a spectacular career of a lot of ups and occasional downs. Originally based on an idea by Frankie Valli, who got Frank to team up with Bob Gaudio to do something he hadn’t done before. Frank’s 1960s had seen him set up his own label Reprise after leaving Capitol, and then watching his chums Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, who he’d signed, carve out successful careers for themselves on his dime. A bit miffed but wanting to get with the now sounds, Watertown is basically a concept album about a man left by his wife, and who would pine for her to eventually return home to the family – that’s about the dimensions of it.

Despite being a bit of a departure for fans expecting Strangers In The Night, Watertown was almost impressionistic and more contemporary. He’d created a TV special for it, which was never shown, and the album was his worst performing title saleswise, and yet its influence and stature has grown significantly over the years. It really is one of his greatest works, and wounded by it being stapled to the shelves at the time, he pretty much retired before reemerging later in the 1970s as a shouty sort-of tribute to himself. Watertown was only issued on CD in 1994, and so this reissue sees it back and remastered with additional outtakes and a couple of radio promos. There’s also a vinyl edition minus the extras, and so hopefully a new audience can get a better impression of him and some of his groundbreaking earlier work with new ears – dude, he basically invented concept albums – and move him on from being the irritable lungsmith behind the wanker’s anthem My Way.

Al Stewart - The Admiralty Lights

Al Stewart – The Admiralty Lights

Do you like Al Stewart? No, I mean, REALLY like Al Stewart. Enough to drop £325 on a 50CD box set celebrating his entire career level? Well, I have good news for you, boppers, as The Admiralty Lights: Complete Studio, Live and Rare 1964-2009 is the box to end all others. Comprising 21 remastered studio albums, 18 discs featuring previously unreleased live concert recordings from 1970 to 2009, three discs of rare BBC Sessions from 1965 – 1972 and eight discs of demos, outtakes and rarities and a 160-page book (eat that, The Kills with your paltry ‘four’) with liner notes and unseen photos as well as being overseen art-wise by Colin Elgie, who did the sleeve for Al’s breakthrough album Year Of The Cat.

That’s a lot of Al by any definition, but fortunately it’s been done with so much love that it’s an essential item for any hardwired fan. Maybe not so much for a cursory drive-byer who quite liked Year Of The Cat though. It’s limited to 2000 copies and demand would suggest that it will probably be snapped up by his faithful hardcore in no time.

Bubblerock Is Here To Stay Volume Two

Bubblerock Is Here To Stay Volume Two

Bubblerock Is Here To Stay Volume Two, The British Pop Explosion 1970-73 is a 3CD compilation of what squares claim was the uncooler side of rock/pop music from the early seventies, where legendary songwriters cut their teeth as backroom hitmakers.

There are major names and icons of the era here (Slade, Clodagh Rodgers, Middle Of The Road, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Judge Dread, Lynsey de Paul, The Sweet, Hotlegs (aka a pre-10cc 10cc)), the one-off cheerers, (The Pipkins, Greyhound, Marmalade, Blue Mink) and the frankly I-MUST-HAVE-THIS-ALBUM-THIS-INSTANT titles of Drugtaker (by Drugtaker – amazing), White Plains’ Dad You Saved The World and Rockin’ Horse’s Julian The Hooligan.

It ends on what the notes here claim was ‘the novelty Number 1 Mouldy Old Dough by Lieutenant Pigeon’, and quite frankly whoever wrote that SLUR needs locking up. Mouldy Old Dough is basically ART, darling. Or as pop’s Bob Stanley calls it, ‘the brownest record ever made’. ‘Novelty’ I ask you. Tsk. Now you understand what Stravinsky had to contend with.


Okey dokey. That’s yer lot for June. Join me do next month for George Michael, Chemical Brothers, Orbital, Wu Tang Clan, Liars, Bob & Pete’s incredible Fell From The Sun compilation, House Of Love, Dio, Ash and lots more. Hit me up at @wadeywade for any tips, too. Toodle pip!

buy Prince MP3s or CDs
Spotify Prince on Spotify

More on Prince
Reissues Roundup: Prince, Diamanda Galás, Cabaret Voltaire
Prince – Welcome 2 America
Spotlight: What Prince Taught Us About Sexuality
Prince – HITnRUN phase two
Prince – HITnRUN phase one