Wendy Carlos, Neil Young, Rose Royce, Arthur Russell, XTC, Mercury Rev, Rick Astley and The Associates also feature in May 2022’s picks
Good day to you! It’s been another grim old time at the coalface of history and the dystopian penumbra hasn’t it? There’s only so much argh and urgh one can stomach in a 24 hour period, so let me touch your special area with what reissues and compilations and whatnot are coming out this month then. Go on… treat yourself.
Duet albums are an interesting thing aren’t they? Since the dawn of time we’ve had Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald, Diana & Marvin, Bobby Gillespie & Jehnny Beth from Sausages, Jay-Z & Kanye, Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett and Glen Campbell & Bobbie Gentry all hooking up together. If you were to compile the ultimate list of the best though, it would pretty much be Nancy & Lee at the pinnacle. Oh yes.
Originally released in 1968, the combination of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood was dynamite – the minxy pure pop of Nancy and the slept-in-his-clothes troubadouring Lee made for a fantastic couple. Essentially put together by her dad Frank who asked Lee to steer Nancy’s career, with Lee informing her – rather sleazily but quite gnnnfg-y – that “you can’t sing like Nancy Nice Lady any more. You have to sing for the truckers.”
Lee produced Nancy & Frank’s Somethin’ Stupid smash (which had been the only father-daughter duet to top the chart in the UK until that wretched Ozzy & Kelly Osbourne blather), and wrote a host of numbers for Nancy in general (such as These Boots Were Made For Walkin’) as well as working with Duane Eddy, Dean Martin and various others. And this? Well, Nancy & Lee is staggeringly good. Like, it’s a whole universe of its own, mainly down to the inclusion of the psychedelic country pop sultriness that was Some Velvet Morning, which sounds like Lee is singing through a hangover while Nancy appears like a glistening carousel vision. It’s utterly brilliant. In fact, they could have just left it there, but there’s also the Johnny & June Carter Cash knees-up Jackson and the woozy lysergic syrup of Summer Wine.
Now Nancy & Lee is back. Back. BACK on vinyl via Light In The Attic, who’ve been working with Nancy to reissue her catalogue in recent years, it comes as a deluxe vinyl with a booklet featuring new insights and interviews with Nancy, as well as CD, MC, 8-Track and also as a blanket(!) (AMAZING) and various extra coloured vinyl editions are available over on Nancy’s official site too. The album has been remastered and also debuts two extra tracks from the sessions, namely covers of Mickey & Sylvia’s Love Is Strange and The Kinks’ Tired Of Waiting For You. All hail this masterpiece, and scramble to get yourself a copy this instant. It’s perfect regardless of whether you’re a trucker or not.
Regular viewers may recall that last month, I paid frothy tribute to the genius of Billy Mackenzie. And with good reason – he was one of those sort of pop stars that shone bright yet briefly, and anyone looking at a career in pop music should take a good look at.
Okay, well, admittedly being addicted to chocolate biscuits and greyhounds is an expensive enterprise that anyone hoping to earn more than tuppence from 10,000 streams on Spotify can only dream of, but Billy was fortunate to rinse major label coffers for his extravagances. However, this approach also required talent, and as the owner of a mercurial voice, Billy could bat away the bailiffs when required.
So yeah, this month The Associates are issuing a 40th anniversary edition of their superb Sulk album, of which Billy accurately said “It had the essence of what I’m about. I realised I could create my own sunshine.” This 40th Anniversary limited edition 12” bookpack of Sulk has the original album remastered on 140g blue vinyl for the first time, alongside 3CDs featuring the original album, outtakes, monitor mixes, rarities, Peel sessions plus a previously unheard live show from Gigant in the Netherlands from 1981. It also features exclusive sleevenotes from Simon Reynolds with interviews from Alan Rankine, Michael Dempsey, Mike Hedges and Martha Ladly, plus previously unseen photography by Derek Reid, Tom Sheehan and Eveline Dröge. There’s also the option of getting that as a package with a bonus gold cassette of Love Hangover/ 18 Carat Love Affair, which was missed off Sulk, but followed as a single a few months later. These tracks are also on the second CD btw, so don’t panic – each facet of the bookpack is available separately. Look, I know I exhaust myself with saying this or that is essential, but by jingo this album really is.
Another album celebrating 40 years is The Clash’s Combat Rock, and instead of closing off the street for a party, they’ve gone and assembled a 3LP/ 2CD called Combat Rock / The People’s Hall, which teams the original album – the last to feature the four key members, and coincidentally their biggest international success as a bonus.
The 12 tracks were recorded when the band rehearsed at The People’s Hall in the squatted Republic of Frestonia near Latimer Road in London, and among the highlights are a new version of Know Your Rights, the previously unreleased instrumental He Who Dares Or Is Tired. Futura 2000 (an unreleased original mix of The Escapades of Futura 2000), Mikey Dread’s Radio One, and outtakes The Fulham Connection, previously known as The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too, as well as Idle in Kangaroo Court among the early and rare versions of other tracks offa Combat Rock.
Rick Astley is properly fantastic, isn’t he? He turned all the RickRoll nonsense on its head and took everything with great humour, and from power-washing his bins to serving David Byrne realness in New Kids On The Block videos, he’s become a beacon of jolly pop righteousness. To celebrate 35 years in showbusiness, he’s reissuing his debut album Whenever You Need Somebody. He is!
It now comes as a 2CD or 1CD set, across digital and as a limited coloured vinyl. The original album has been remastered and augmented with additional period remixes, B-sides as well as Rick’s reimagined versions of the album’s original singles, plus liner notes by Craig McLean, and quotes from Astley and two of the original album’s songwriting contributors, Mike Stock and Pete Waterman. There’s the possibility and demand enough for them to have really gone to town and box-setted the hell out of this, but as a celebration of a National Treasure it’s simply marvellous.
ABBA, yeah? They’re utterly brilliant, and anyone who doesn’t agree can leave now. Anyway, they’re been really going for it with their comeback these past few months, and ahead of their live Voyage knees-up, they’ve updated their Album Box Set. Originally released a few years ago, it’s now a 10 vinyl set with last year’s Voyage and a 10nth disc which is a round-up of non-album tracks such as the imperial Summer Night City, Gimme Gimme Gimme and Under Attack. It’s 10CD or 10LP, and a trove of some of the finest music ever made. Individual picture discs of the nine studio albums will also be coming out the following month too, so it’s an expensive old time for the superfans.
The Who are reissuing their first two albums on half-speed remastered vinyl this month. They are limited edition black vinyl efforts, mastered by long-time Who engineer Jon Astley. My Generation arrived in 1965 announcing the arrival of one of Britain’s greatest mod-adjacent rackets, and has regularly been cited as one of the best debut albums of all time.
Everything is here: The Kids Are Alright, I’m A Man and of course the elderly-baiting headbender title track. 1966’s A Quick One has bangers such as Boris The Spider, So Sad About Us on it as well as the nine-minute title track that pointed the way ahead for future Who operations.
In between being one of Britain’s greatest guitarists adding sublime noise to the likes of David Bowie and Blondie, being in King Crimson and tolerating his wife Toyah’s lockdown videos (although he appears to have got into the spirit of those, bless him) Robert Fripp has been digging through his crates to unearth superb new editions of his catalogue.
This month sees the release of his fantastic Exposure album from 1979. Being a fairly busy type, he followed this solo debut with two more albums that year – Under Heavy Manners/God Save The Queen and Let The Power Fall – and all those and, Christ, more besides make up this whopping 32-disc box set with 25 CDs, three DVDs and four blu-rays.
There are – busiest man in prog – Steven Wilson mixes of Exposure in (in two versions), Under Heavy Manners, The League Of Gentlemen studio recordings and numerous unreleased tracks from the albums’ sessions. There’s also David Singleton mixes of God Save The Queen, Let The Power Fall and the Washington Square Church Frippertronics album. There are loops from his work on the David Byrne/Brian Eno album My Life In The Bush of Ghosts, collaborations with Daryl Hall and, seriously, hours and hours of mixes and different versions plus live shows and stuff previously only available from his website. If that sounds like a bit too much Fripp for you, the original Exposure and Washington Square Park are coming out as 2LP sets. All essential stuff. Bloody Nora.
Dame Kim Wilde follows the success of her Pop Don’t Stop hits round-ups of last year with new splatter vinyl editions of her first three albums – 1981’s Kim Wilde (clear with black splatter), 1982’s Select (clear with white splatter), 1984’s Catch As Catch Can (clear with blue splatter) – all are remastered, and follow the previously issued expanded CD versions from earlier this year. As ever with Her Kimship, these are important artefacts and smashing releases to get your hands on.
The Sex Pistols news now, and the average human being may have been aware that there’s a new series a-coming based on Steve Jones’ tale of the band’s rise, and how the whole affair seems to have got John Lydon riled up somewhat.
Anywho, we’re not here to pass judgement on any of that, we’re just bringing to attention that there’s the inevitable soundtrack available this month called The Original Recordings. It features 20 of the turn’s numbers across 2LP, 1CD, and via the band’s D2C channels, FIVE different designs of cassette. FIVE. As well as coloured vinyl options there too. It’s basically the bulk of Never Mind The Bollocks and assorted bits and bobs from their brief if constantly exhausted career.
One of the greatest acts to emerge from the disco takeover, Rose Royce, have a Definitive Collection coming out this month. Across 3CDs, the collection takes in all the hits and more from their time at MCA, Warner Brothers and Epic.
Originally the pet project of producer Norman Whitfield, who’d steered The Temptations into cosmic waters and invented The Undisputed Truth back during his time at Motown, Rose Royce, um, rose to fame with their contributions to the film Car Wash, and were a hit machine from ’76-’82 with classics such as Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, Wishing On A Star, Is It Love You’re After and I Wanna Get Next To You, enjoying a Number 1 album with their Greatest Hits in 1980, such was their winning way with a single. This cracking compilation features the full lengths of those and more, and to borrow a lame platitude, will get any party started. Yes, I went there. Arrest me now.
It’s not all ancient stuff on here you know, for last year’s Amyl And The Sniffers’ 2021 album Comfort To Me is coming out expanded into a deluxe edition. It’s now a 2LP bundle with a live LP recorded on a dock outside of Melbourne, a fold-out poster and new artwork by graphic designer Bráulio Amado. So there you are. To address all this recentness, let’s fire back to yore again.
David Hepworth‘s Deep 70s is an impressive 4CD, 72-track collection which is divided into four themes. I could wang on about it in my own style, or I could just accept defeat and hand over to the man himself:
“Young Americans revisits classic rock icons in the fierce morning of their genius. Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers is unrepentant driving music from the days before the mandatory seat belt. Blue Boar Blues is dedicated to the legions of British groups who lived according to the white line on the M1. Finally, The Monstrous Regiment is a reminder of the female artists of the time, some of whom are just being recognised today. As my comprehensive notes modestly assert, more occurred between 1971 and 1979 than in any period of music before or since. This is not an opinion. This is a fact. This is a box set to prove it.”
Well, there you have it, if you’ve enjoyed any of David’s fantastic books, you’ll know he’s a pop onion knower of some repute, and the tracklisting on this set show that, with tracks from Crazy Horse, Big Star, John Prine, ZZ Top, Status Quo, Tim Buckley, Robert Palmer, The Motors, Marianne Faithfull, Bridget St John and Judee Sill, the ’70s still have riches for any curious passer-by to discover.
German studio project Saâda Bonaire have delved into their archive and found some stuff they’d done in the 1990s – we’ve all done it, I’m forever cursing myself these days for not stickering up my TDKs properly – anyway, having been the subject of a previous compilation on Captured Tracks that collected all their 1980s recordings back in 2013, the Saâdas thought that they’d rinsed everything they had and that anything after 1986 had been LOST TO TIME.
Not so, for founder Ralph “von” Richtoven was alerted to a cassette that was at a relative’s house, and so now long-story-short further music has been found. Yaroo! Entitled 1992, it features 12 tracks that were produced between Bremen and New York City and are a slightly updated vision of their early ’80s material. That these demos weren’t deemed good enough at the time shows how barmy the music industry can be. Anyway, fill your boots and catch up with the Saâda 30 years on.
Def Leppard are issuing a pair of albums back out onto vinyl this month, both of them originally released a decade apart. First up is the band’s third album, the breakthrough classic Pyromania from 1983, the album that kicked off their arrival into the upper leagues of rock legend selling over 10 million copies in the US alone (it would be their next album, 1987’s Hysteria, that would address such issues in the UK).
A departure from their heavier roots, they edged nearer to pop with bangers such as Photograph and Rock Of Ages. Also there’s the 1993 2LP compilation Retro-Active, which featured slightly touched up versions of their B-sides between 1984-93, including one track From The Inside, which they recorded with Hothouse Flowers. SPEAKING OF WHICH…
ALT were a supergroup consisting of Andy White, Liam Ó Maonlaí from Hothouse Flowers and Tim Finn of Split Enz/ Crowded House fame, who came together when Tim stayed at a flat that Andy and Liam shared in Dublin. Instead of sitting about in their pants and watching TV, the three lungsmiths began to collaborate on a series of songs which they then took over to Tim’s studio in Melbourne to complete and turn into an album which they recorded in July 1994.
The result was Altitude, which emerged the following year, and now those fine folks over at Needle Mythology are this month issuing a 2LP vinyl set for the first time. Mastered and cut by busiest man in showbiz Miles Showell at Abbey Road, and both the vinyl and CD feature five bonus tracks, three of which are previously unreleased. It’s basically the sound of three chums having a blast, and a joy to hear once more. In fact I’m almost envious of anyone who may be getting to experience it for the first time tbh. Lucky you.
One of the best singles of 2020 was in fact a then-42-year-old song called Nissodia by Idrissa Soumaoro et l’Eclipse de L’I.J.A., which Mike D reswizzled into a right ol’ banger for the Mr Bongo label. Now, the original 1978 album from where it originally came from, Le Tioko-Tioko, is getting properly released. I say ‘properly’ as the original was hardly a widespread affair as it was only independently distributed via the Malian Association for the Blind in Bamako.
Idrissa is a Malian musician who was inspired by a meeting with Amadou Bagayoko, of Amadou and Mariam fame, and eventually went on to form a blind orchestra in the early ’80s with the couple at the forefront, and he also teaches music to blind kids. It’s utterly joyful and harks back to a golden age of Malian music. All hail Idrissa Soumaoro et l’Eclipse de l’I.J.A.!
The fabulous and most groovy Horse Meat Disco are the latest to offer up an Back To Mine. The internationally renowned four horsemen of the Disco Apocalypse (or to give ‘em their non-showbiz handles Jim Stanton, James Hillard, Luke Howard and Severino Panzetta) have curated a 2CD or 2LP collection of sexy disco and crate-dug numbers from the likes of Marianne Faithfull, Alien Alien, Róisín Murphy and The RAH Band which will enable stay-at-home clubbers to recreate their own elegant scene in the comfort of their own homes.
Our resident futurist Dudley has gone to stare at exquisite boys on the Amalfi coast this month, serving some kind of Dirk Bogarde fantasy. Rumours that Duds had gone as far as to install a motorbike in his loft just so he can rev it up were dismissed as nonsense until a few months ago, when some vindictive bit of rough trade fiddled with the brakes, and a fully be-leathered Dudley went flying out and crashed into the conservatory downstairs. He’s left a note this month alerting me to mention ‘that pair of helmets Daft Punk are reissuing Random Access Memories on vinyl again, following that haphazard box set of all the other albums’. Make of that what you will.
Daft Punk ARE however also reissuing their Tron: Legacy soundtrack for its 11th anniversary (which, btw babes, 11th isn’t a thing) as well as the Tron: Legacy Reconfigured collection which saw the likes of The Crystal Method, M83 and Avicii reswizzling various tracks. Both albums are 2LP joints, with the Reconfigured version on green vinyl. BUT HOLD UP WAIT A MINUTE, the ORIGINAL Tron soundtrack is ALSO coming back out this month.
Originally envisioned by the legendary Wendy Carlos (who also scored A Clockwork Orange and The Shining – so there’s some serious electronic onions going on) as a synth-based score with string section overdubs, production delays forced the composer to reverse the original plan and produce a mostly orchestral soundtrack with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
The soundtrack includes two songs by Journey, but don’t let that put you off. It’s coming out on single black vinyl and good God if it means the start of some kind of reissue series of Carlos’ other work, then frankly, we’re here for it.
Dudley also asked me to remember to mention that Tangerine Dream’s The Dante Trilogy is being issued as a 6 Disc hardback book set, with the original three albums (Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso) spread across five discs and a bonus DVD of a 2002 concert filmed at Castle Nideggen, Cologne.
The ambitious project was said to be Edgar Froese’s life work, which he was inspired to create after meeting artist, and future wife, Bianca Froese-Acquaye at the start of the millennium. The package features lots of photos from the late Froese’s archive, and was remastered by his collaborator Harald Pairits.
21 this year, 21 this year – who’s got the key to the door? Never been 21 before. Er, yeah. Let’s just take a breather to remind ourselves of what a weird song that was. The key to the door? What door? The front door? The doors of perception? Admittedly it was some time before I had a front door key when I was nipper, but I sure as hell had one before I was 21 what with my roving ways. I can’t imagine my parents being terribly keen on their son banging on the front door at 2am after a night on the ales at an Ipswich niterie. I DIGRESS. Basically, this preamble is some way of polishing up the news that Mercury Rev’s 2001 album All Is Dream is a-coming out on a 2LP yellow and green marble coloured vinyl edition this month. Fancy that! It’s limited to 1,000 copies and filled out with B-sides and outtakes, so get to it, Rev-ellers.
Another 21-er now, and Marc Almond is a busy old sausage this year. Not only is he about to release the first Soft Cell album in a couple of decades, he’s also taken time out of turning 65 to reissue his 11th solo album, 2001’s Stranger Things. It now comes as a 3CD affair with a whopping 32 extra tracks including rarities, remixes and a live show recorded at Union Chapel in 2000. Bafflingly it didn’t chart at the time, which will puzzle future historians. Well, it’s baffling me anyway. What a weird lot the record-buying public are. Not YOU, obviously.
Speaking of Marc Almond (well, loosely) as anyone will recall, The Soft Cell had their chart breakthrough with Tainted Love which Gloria Jones lungsmithed magnificently and which became a Northern Soul staple. If you’re up for more of that gear, and by jingo you should be, this month sees the release of Northern Soul Anthems, a 2LP compilation surveying some of the great floor-fillers of that era. With stuff that was massively successful – Freda Payne’s Band Of Gold, Chairman Of The Board’s Give Me Just A Little More Time, Al Wilson’s The Snake, Dobie Gray’s Out On The Floor, etc. – and lesser known bangers by The Hesitations, Barbara Lynn and the marvellous My Baby’s Got ESP by Four Below Zero. It’s a sexing little package with 33 talcum-fuelled stompers for you to pretend your patio is Wigan or something.
There are three key acts that warrant a third E. The daddy of them all is Sir Leee John, of Imagination fame. Then there was Deee Lite, who were around about 10 minutes in the early 1990s and were utterly fantastic. But before all those were Freeez, with the seismic Southern Freeez before it all went to shit a bit. Anywho, having come up through the Britfunk ranks, the remaining remnants of Freeez hit big with the monstrous I.O.U. single in 1983, a deathless classic that’s gone on to be sampled and reswizzled over the last 40 years.
Now, lead Freeezer John Rocca has compiled the tracks he made with Arthur Baker over in New York on Once Upon A Time In N.Y.C., charting Rocca’s adventures over there between 1982 and 1987. It’s a smart little document of a fantastic era, and goes to show that there was more to the Freeez than just I.O.U., which only appears on this package as a bonus 7″ to the six-track 1LP; that has other tracks presented here in the form of dub or alternative mixes that show them in their best light and context.
Folk pioneer Norma Tanega is a name that might not mean an awful lot to many people, but if you’re a fan of What We Do In The Shadows, you’d recognise You’re Dead as the show’s theme. Fancy that! Anyway, aside from just that, she’d had a hit in the early ’60s with the number Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog, and became romantically linked with Dusty Springfield after appearing on her TV special and they were a thing for a few years until the early ’70s.
She went on to record a couple of albums that were literally nailed to the shelves and so obviously a bit miffed, she started to focus on painting instead. I’m the Sky: Studio and Demo Recordings, 1964–1971 is a round-up of her two commercially released studio albums and an unreleased album alongside a trove of unheard demos. It’s available as a 2LP (coloured or black) and a 2CD, and is a decent round-up of an artist who should be more known. Unfortunately she died in 2019 at the age of 80, so do yourself a favour and catch up and appreciate her legacy here.
Let us abscond now, to the Now Desk where there’s yet another fantastic Yearbook that we have heard word of. I know I’ve groaned on about the previous 1984 and 1982 sets being essential because they were the best years in pop ever, and, well, the new 1981 Yearbook might have edged even those with the genuinely incredible array of brilliance on offer. A 4CD/ CD Book pack has 85 tracks, and there’s a 46 track 3LP selection in glorious red vinyl too.
I mean you can’t argue with a collection that has Ghost Town, Love Action, Tainted Love, Prince Charming, Quiet Life, Favourite Shirts, Physical, Fade To Grey, Rapture, Wordy Rappinghood, Body Talk, Southern Freeez, You’ll Never Know, Spellbound, Reward, Hand Held In Black & White, Wired For Sound, Tears Are Not Enough, Begin The Beguine, One Of Us, Let’s Groove and Chant No.1 on it, can you? And that’s just a quarter of it.
This is so much the dream collection and perfect summary of 1981, that I fancy it rotten. I want to flirt with it awkwardly over a sustained period. I want to buy it dinner. I want to whisk it away for a romantic weekend where I can ask it to marry me. I want to wander around John Lewis buying cushions and lampshades with it. I want to send it nudes. I want to settle into a long and fulfilling relationship where we’ll spend the rest of our lives watching reruns of Top Of The Pops while eating Wotists off each other’s body parts together. It’s that good. *fans self* I’m genuinely not sure I can cope with much more of this majesty. It’s just PERFECTION.
One of the greatest-named albums of all time, Bow Wow Wow’s See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang Yeah, City All Over! Go Ape Crazy! is being reissued this month as yellow/green marbled vinyl edition. Wooh! Originally released in 1981, it catapulted the Bows into notoriety chiefly due to a 14-year-old Annabella Lwin being in the nip on the front cover, in a homage to Édouard Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe painting, because, apparently, her ears were in the wrong place for a polo-neck.
The majority of readers will no doubt recall that the band were Malcolm Maclaren’s brainchild after he’d half-inched Adam Ant’s band – not only devious, but a bit rum, seeing as Adam had once gone to Maclaren for career advice – and Boy George was at one point in the running to be part of the group. They’d originally signed to EMI, but in the grand tradition of Malcolm’s acts, were dropped sharpish and RCA picked them up just in time for some success. Anyway, the album is chock full of Yeah!ness and is standing on some scaffolding because SHOCK, right? Featuring the hits Go Wild In The Country and Chihuahua as well as the track Elimination Dancing that Frankie’s Mark O’Toole liked so much, he pinched the bassline and used it on Two Tribes.
Do you remember XTC’s Mummer? Well evidently you must, as it was an album released in yore (1983) and was the follow-up to the hugely successful English Settlement. However, it was the first album where Andy Partridge decided to stop touring and as a result the public weren’t having it, even if it did have the tremendous Love On A Farmboy’s Wages. However! It’s now coming back out with the original artwork which the label rejected, and as a 200g pressing via Burning Shed and after 40 years of fan-love and general acclaim, it should reach more appreciate ears this time around. Which is a happy ending of sorts, isn’t it?
Following last month’s recommendation of Duke Reid gear, this month sees Never Ending Songs Of Love – Hits & Rarities From The Treasure Isle Vaults 1973-1975, which is a 2CD set focusing on the end of the Treasure Isle label’s run. Basically Duke wasn’t particularly well and also got fed up with the way reggae was going and knocked the label on the head soon afterwards. This set features Pat Kelly, BB Seaton, Tinga, Roman Stewart and Smokey 007 who supplied the title track which was a global hit. So yeah, it looks dope and the second CD is full of dub versions which has got to be a boon.
Another release worth your time is In A Rocking Mood: Beverley’s Rock Steady 1966-1968, which is pretty much what it says on the tin, and is the first collection of the Beverley’s label of its kind. Owned by Leslie Kong, the label was behind acts such as Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, The Maytals, The Pioneers, The Gaylads, The Melodians and Bob Marley And The Wailers etc.
However this is an opportunity to check out some of the footsoldiers of the label, such as Winston & George, Austin Faithful, George Dekker (Desmond’s half-brother, even if Dekker wasn’t either’s real name), The Rio Grandes and The Spanishtonians. Disc two contains Roland Alphonso’s instrumentals, and, well, dear reader, there’s a track called Sausage. I REPEAT: THERE’S A TRACK CALLED SAUSAGE. Honestly, if THAT doesn’t woo you, then I’m abandoning this column forthwith.
Neil Young is fair chucking ‘em out this month. He really is. For there are not one but THREE releases by the grizzled genius following his The Official Release Series Vol.4 which rounded up Hawks & Doves, Re*Act*Or, This Notes For You and Eldorado in 4LP/4CD sets. Over in his unending Official Bootleg Series, there’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 1971, Royce Hall 1971 and the legendary Citizen Kane Jr. Blues at The Bottom Line 1974, all appearing on CD and LP. It’s all good stuff obviously, but the caveat is that there’ll probably be another batch of legendary bootlegs announced by the time you’ve finished reading this.
Carrying on with further reissues from his stellar catalogue, Arthur Russell fans will be quite keen on knowing that 2017’s Instrumentals, which he actually composed in 1974 when inspired by the photography of his Buddhist teacher, Yuko Nonomura. It was initially intended to be performed in one 48 hour cycle, but was only performed in excerpts a handful of times as a work in progress.
The 2004 compilation Calling Out Of Context rounds up then-mostly unreleased gear between 1973 up until his death in 1992, and is back out on vinyl after initially being a limited edition.
The entire output of Biff Bang Pow! has been herded into one big 6CD box affair entitled A Better Life – Complete Creations 1984-1991.
Formed by Alan McGee around the same time he created Creation Records in 1983, the Biffs rose from the wreckage of post-punk band The Laughing Apple, which he’d started in 1980 with friend Andrew Innes. They were quite the scene on the C86/ Indie circuit when it was all about fringes and comforting knitwear, releasing seven albums and a handful of singles.
This box has THE LOT – the albums Pass The Paintbrush Honey, The Girl Who Runs The Beat Hotel, Oblivion, Love Is Forever, Songs For The Sad Eyed Girl, Me and The Debasement Tapes plus abandoned album Sixteen Velvet Fridays. There’s a ton of unreleased extras, live stuff and The Laughing Apple album too. It’s been curated by McGee and the sleevenotes feature insights from everyone who sailed in him. It’s basically what Creation was mostly like before people started sniffing round the sonic advancements of My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream and House Of Love.
Composer, guitarist and later producer in South Africa, Almon Sandisa Memela was born in Donnybrook, KwaZulu-Natal in 1936. His first guitar was homemade, but his parents were not fans of this development and so he ended up teaching himself to play on borrowed instruments. Memela made his first recordings in 1959 and his early career included band work with the United Artists’ productions of King Kong.
Originally released in 1975, Funky Africa has become one of those albums that people go doolally for trying to find copies of. BUT NO MORE, as We Are Busy Bodies are bringing it out in a bid to quell the rioting. You can understand why though, with covers of Donny Hathaway’s The Ghetto, plus the groovin’ The Things We Do In Soweto, Big Mama, Hi-Jack and Telephone. Right ON.
Okey dokey. That’s yer lot for May. And it was quite a lot wasn’t it? Never fear, June looks just as chockablock with Prince & The Revolution, Beastie Boys, Frank Sinatra, Diamanda Galas, Kool & The Gang, Grandmaster Flash, David Sylvian, Amy Winehouse, Depeche Mode and numerous other bits and bobs that will no doubt hover into my inbox between now and then. Till then, don’t have nightmares – do sleep well. Throw canapés, adulation and tips to @wadeywade as usual.