Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
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uao is also a contributor to Blogcritics.org, Rhapsody Radish. and FIQL.com.

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Feel free to dig through the Deep Freeze for more, but stuff dated before mid-March 2005 is still formative and impressionistic, and not really worth the effort.

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Note: the copyrighted audio material on this site is for listening only, and is not downloadable. It is provided as illustrations to the articles, and to interest people in the legal purchase of these artists' material. Any copyright holder who would like their material removed should contact me, and I'll remove it.

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Friday, May 13, 2005
 

Weekend Reissue Roundup #7 05/14/05

Davie Allen & The Arrows: Cycle Delic Sounds Of... [Bonus Tracks]   Sonny Bono: Inner Views (1967)   Rank & File: Long Gone Dead (1984)   Gentle Giant: free hand [35th Anniversary Edition] (2005; original album: 1975)


Davie Allan & The Arrows: Cycle Delic Sounds Of... [Bonus Tracks] (Sundazed, May 10, 2005) ****
Sonny Bono: Inner Views (Collector's Choice, May 10, 2005) ***
Rank & File: Long Gone Dead (Collector's Choice, May 10, 2005) ****
Gentle Giant: Free Hand [35th Anniversary Edition] (DRT Entertainment, May 10, 2005) ****

This week's new re-issues are a mixed bag. Some of the bigger names getting a second go-round include Elvis Presley and Live In Las Vegas on Capitol, which collects live recordings from 1970-1972 just before the "fat Elvis" period. Dave Mason's 1973 release It's Like You Never Left, recorded with Graham Nash helping as Mason's commercial fortunes were declining precipitously; on Repertoire Records. NPG (Big Daddy) is giving Prince's 2001 album The Rainbow Children new life, which sees him fronting some cool jazz, while trumpeting his new faith since his conversion to Jehovah's Witnesses. Beat Goes On has released a number of useful two-fers, including Mr. Blues/Confessin' the Blues by B.B. King, Portrait of Merle Haggard/Keep Movin' On by Merle Haggard and the Strangers, and Straight Shooter/Passin' Thru by the James Gang (led by Joe Walsh).

Compilations include Flying in & Out of Stardom on Castle Us, and originally on Sanctuary. It collects the 3 rare Baker Gurvitz Army albums (featuring Ginger Baker, ex-Cream) from the 70's on a two-disc set. Billie Holiday gets a new compilation, the nicely inclusive Anthology [Deluxe Edition] on Cleopatra.

Among the most noteworthy re-issues this week:

Davie Allan & The Arrows: Cycle Delic Sounds Of... [Bonus Tracks] (Sundazed, May 10, 2005)
Davie Allen & The Arrows: Cycle Delic Sounds Of... [Bonus Tracks]
Davie Allan & the Arrows were the king of the teen exploitation flick soundtrack in the 60's. Like the films they scored, their music was raw and delinquent, and stands on its own merits. They even deserve a rather major footnote in rock history as a bridge between early 60's surf music and late 60's psychedlia; the surf influence would stick and inform a number of west coast psychedelic bands. Their primal rave-ups featured plenty of fuzz guitar and primal, elemental arrangements. Thier first hit was "Apache 65", from the album Apache 65, a remake of the Shadows' original "Apache". Their 1967 album Blues Theme, from the movie The Wild Angels, a Peter Fonda biker flick, reached the top-40. Both of those albums plus Cycle Delic Sounds Of... have been given re-release by reliable reissue label Sundazed, which specializes in psychedelic 60's. Cycle Delic Sounds Of... is arguable the best of the three, a space between Dick Dale and Link Wray on acid. Full of psychedelic multi-tracking, wah-wah, distortion, and stereo effects, it is a landmark stereophile album and a true nugget of the era.

Sonny Bono: Inner Views (Collector's Choice, May 10, 2005)
Sonny Bono: Inner Views (1967)
One half of Sonny and Cher, better remembered as a clown, and later Republican mayor of Palm Springs and then a congressman, Bono's achievements are often forgotten. Starting out as a promoter in the late 50's, he met Phil Spector in the early 60's and became an apprentice of sorts; the lessons he learned about production are evident on the wall of sound production Bono gives their mid-60's hits like "I Got You Babe". He wrote a hit for the Searchers in 1964, the classic "Needles and Pins" which had an influence on the embryonic folk-rock movement. Sonny and Cher had 12 top-40 hits from 1965 through 1973; Bono wrote most of them. In 1967, the duo's material took on some of the psychedelic trappings of the day, scoring with "The Beat Goes On", a trippy folk-pop number. In 1967 Bono also released what would be his only solo album, Inner Views, a full-blown quasi-psychedelic opus. The album consists of five tracks (this omits the 11 bonus cuts on Rhino HandMade's 1999 release). The opener, the 12-minute long "I Just Sit There" is like listening to Sonny Bono on acid; self-consciously hip, but as organic to psychedelia as a 60's episode of Dragnet. "I Told My Girl To Go Away" waxes topical, "I Would Marry You Today" appeared as a B-side twice on Sonny and Cher singles. He has a stellar crew behind him, including most of the Wrecking Crew amalgamation of L.A. sessionmen, who worked with Spector, Lou Adler, and Brian Wilson, and the groovy factor is played up. In short, a kitsch classic, but one you probably won't play often. Bono died in a skiing accident in 1998.

Rank & File: Long Gone Dead (Collector's Choice, May 10, 2005)
Rank & File: Long Gone Dead (1984)
Collector's Choice is also resuscitating three albums by Rank & File, a 1980's cowpunk outfit; Sundown (1982), Long Gone Dead (1984), Rank and File (1987). Brothers Chip and Tony Kinman had played in the L.A. hardcore band the Dils, who had one great single "Class Wars". Rank & File took them far from these roots, into a Byrds/Gram Parsons/Merle Haggard influenced country rock; too traditional to wear the "cowpunk" tag well, but too indie to be called "country/rock". They actually straddled a line btween jangle-pop and cowpunk, somewhat similar to the Long Ryders. They gained some good notice over their three-album career, even landing a spot on Austin City Limits on PBS. Long Gone Dead is the best of the three, recommended to Steve Earle farns.

Gentle Giant: Free Hand [35th Anniversary Edition] (DRT Entertainment, May 10, 2005)
Gentle Giant: free hand [35th Anniversary Edition] (2005; original album: 1975)
Usually considered the very best Gentle Giant album, Free Hand (1975) is rivaled only by In a Glass House (1973), also given re-release this week by DRT. While it's great to have these albums back in circulation again, it's a shame DRT ditched the weird original cover art for these bland covers; no bonus cuts also make this a less than magnificent anniversary celebration. The music here is still great though; "On Reflection" is a landmark progressive rock track, as the Renaissance/medeival vocal on this four-part fugue was a flawlessly executed revolutionary arrangement that absolutely nobody but Gentle Giant even attempted; it is the road not travelled in prog-rock history. Gentle Giant's complex form of prog-rock also tossed solid, well-placed slices of funk, R&B, blues, and classical to their medeival core, creating a completely parallel universe that somehow thankfully seems to find a place for good old fashioned hooks, too. Prog-rock aficianados can't be taken seriously until they at least try this band, which released 11 albums in its 10-year career. Docked a star for the unimaginative packaging; the original disc gets *****.


Weekend Reissue Roundup appears every Friday night/Saturday AM.


A slightly modified version of this article appears at Blogcritics.org