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

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Name: uao
Location: California

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

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A Sampling of Articles, Reviews, and Essays:

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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THE DEEP FREEZE:
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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, July 08, 2005
 

Weekend Reissue Roundup #15: 07/09/05

Blue Oyster Cult: Singles Collection (2005)   King Crimson: Earthbound (2002)   Bob Marley: Bob Marley Collection (2005)   Donovan: The Troubadour (2005)


Artist: Album (label, release date) 1-5 stars:

Blue Oyster Cult: Singles Collection (Sony International, July 5, 2005) *****
King Crimson: Earthbound (DGM, July 5, 2005) ***
Bob Marley: Bob Marley Collection {Madacy, July 5, 2005) ***
Donovan: The Troubadour (Prism Platinum, July 5, 2005) ***


Surprisingly, there is very little noteworthy this week; here's the best of a puny selection:

Blue Oyster Cult: Singles Collection
Blue Oyster Cult: Singles Collection (2005)
Blue Oyster Cult is not a band one would think would be well represented by a singles collection. They weren't hitmakers; in a career spanning back to 1972 and encompassing 15 albums, they reached the top-40 precisely twice: (Don't Fear) The Reaper was a surprise #12 in 1976, and "Burnin' For You" just sneaked in at #40 in 1981. Their best albums, Blue Oyster Cult (1972), and Agents of Fortune (1976) are atmospheric collections that work well as albums. The band's sound changed singificantly in 1976; their first three albums were sinister, dark affairs of post-psychedelic hard rock. In the late 70's, they specialized in a glossier, slicker product, but still produced some pretty good albums. The commercial failure of The Revolution By Night in 1983 marked the end of the band as a major league attraction; line-up changes followed, and their sporadic releases since have failed to garner much attention. Blue Oyster Cult: Singles Collection takes the bands singles from their years at Columbia through the 1986 Club Ninja album, and is a surprisingly good listen. Many of the band's best songs weren't singles, but some excellent ones were, including "Then Came The Last Days of May", "Astronomy", "Godzilla", the Patti Smith-penned "Shooting Shark", "Mirrors", "The Red & The Black". At 20 songs, with all of their Columbia albums represented except for their last, Imaginos, it's a concise introduction to a uniquely interesting band. It does unnaturally highlight the hooks, but this band had some great ones. Nice packaging and notes, too.

King Crimson: Earthbound
King Crimson: Earthbound (2002)
Earthbound, last seen on Polydor in 2002, is being given a new push by DGM. Earthbound has always been a strange album. Recorded live on cassette tape, its original incarnation was abysmal sounding. Polydor cleaned up the tapes digitally as best they could; DGM hasn't improved them. It still sounds like it was recorded on cassette, but this is the cleanest thusfar. As for the music, it is also fairly strange, even by King Crimson's standards. Recorded in late 1972, the lineup consists of Robert Fripp, Boz Burrell, Ian Wallace, and Mel Collins; the longest-lived in the band's long convoluted history (and short-lived by anyone else's standards). Musically, the playing is good, if atypical of the band's progressive leanings. Collin's saxophone dominates the album; Burrel's jazzy singing even crosses into some decent scat. The overall effect is more funky than progressive, particularly on cuts like "Peopria" and "Goon". A loose, 11-minute "21st Century Schizoid Man" gets a funkified treatment as well, breathing extra warmth into the chilly original. This isn't the place to start with this band; the sound quality doesn't do them justice. However, the completist is going to like this; a rare "official bootleg" you might actually play for pleasure. Released in England in 1972, it has always been tough to find in America.

Bob Marley: Bob Marley Collection
Bob Marley: Bob Marley Collection (2005)
Not a lot of care went into the packaging of this 3-CD set, which looks cheap and offers little in the way of notes. The material in this collection is of his early rocksteady recordings, mostly with the Wailers; Jamaica-only releases recorded long before Marley landed a major label deal in 1973. The tracks were recorded on less than state-of-the-art equipment in small studios; however, most rocksteady albums of the era shared the same lo-fidelity tendencies; so true devotees shouldn't mind the somewhat dodgy sound quality, although these same tracks have sounded better elsewhere. The 36 cuts cover a lot of ground, and include some standouts like "Soul Rebel", "Small Axe", "Go Tell It On The Mountain" and "Duppy Conqueror". The material is fine, and historic. The CD is what it is, a shoddy budget-priced collection of gray-area legality. This is a cheap way to get these essential recordings, but not necessarily the best way.

Donovan: The Troubadour
Donovan: The Troubadour (2005)
More cheapo product, the single disc The Troubadour should not be confused with the better but also flawed double disc Troubadour: The Definitive Collection 1964-1976. Neither a singles collection, nor a comprehensive collection, this collects a scattershot assortment of a dozen tracks from the 60's and 70's. Included are "Sunshine Superman" but no "Mellow Yellow", "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" but no "Season of the Witch", "Catch the Wind" but no "Jennifer Juniper", etc. "Cosmic Wheels" from 1973 is included, as are lesser known tracks like "Sadness" and "Young Girl Blues". Budget priced in England, it isn't a cheap deal in America and doesn't include much of his best work.

Weekend Reissue Roundup appears on Friday night/Saturday morning

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



   

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