Friday, March 05, 2021

New music out today: Neil Young; the Misunderstood; My Morning Jacket, more

Click the links to order from Amazon.

This is the second volume of theNeil Young Archives series of box sets produced by Neil Young. A definitive, comprehensive, chronological record of his entire body of released work.This box set covers the extremely productive period from 1972 through 1976. A prolific era for Neil when he released several classic albums including On The Beach, Tonight’s The NightandZuma. Homegrown, just released, is part of this history as well.The box set features a total of 131 tracks of which 62 are either unreleased songs or unreleased alternate versions, different mixes, rare or live tracks. The retail edition of the box set will be available on March 5th 2021, available to pre-order via Neil Young’s Greedy Hand web store and all retailers. This version of the box set includes the same 10 CDs and oversized fold-out ArchivesPoster as the deluxe edition, plus a 24-page booklet (replacing the hard-bound book). The retail edition is packaged in a cube-shaped slip-case box, smaller than the deluxe edition box. The 10 CDs, each in its own custom sleeve feature a total of 131 tracks from Neil Young solo, plus with bands Crazy Horse, The Stray Gators, The Santa Monica Flyers, the Stills/Young Band and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

The Misunderstood must rank as one of the greatest cult bands of the '60 psychedelia era. The band began forging their innovative sound in Riverside, California, where they were discovered by DJ John Peel (then working in the US as John Ravenscroft). Having cut a few recordings locally, the band relocated to the UK on Peel's recommendation. In London, The Misunderstood signed to Fontana Records to cut what are considered six landmark tracks. Issued that December, 'I Can Take You To The Sun' remains a high watermark of the original psychedelia era and was backed by an explosive version of Bo Diddley's 'Who Do You Love', but the band broke up soon afterwards when singer Rick Brown was drafted. A second single, the blistering psych rock of 'Children Of The Sun' (backed by the anti-war gem 'I Unseen') was belatedly issued in February 1969 when a new line-up of the band re-signed to the label. In 1982, Cherry Red released the landmark compilation LP, Before The Dream Faded, which not only unveiled two further Fontana recordings, the high octane 'Find The Hidden Door' and 'My Mind' but also collated seven archive tracks from the band's Riverside days. Since then, additional recordings have surfaced on various retrospectives. Children Of The Sun finally assembles The Misunderstood's entire known output from 1965-1966 onto one package, suitably re-mastered by Alec Palao. With incisive sleeve-notes from Mike Stax (Ugly Things) and involvement with various original band members, and a handsome design from Andy Morten (Shindig!), this is truly the definitive document of a legendary underground band, assembled by those who love their music.

In the teenage wastelands of grey early Seventies Britain, where the musical landscape was dominated by introspective singer-songwriters and dour rock bands, the emergence of the outrageous, androgynous, peacock-plumaged Glam Rock scene provided a vital spark in the dark. Sadly the genre was quickly hijacked by the backroom hustlers of the British music industry and their mutton-dressed-as-glam pop idol marionettes. However, Oh! You Pretty Things ignores such lightweight fripperies to concentrate on the real deal. We focus on the twin central strands of Glam Rock: the cerebral and the visceral, with the artier, experimental element of the scene joined by the Ladbroke Grove street rockers and the Steve Marriott-channelling chirpy Cockney geezer street urchins, many of whom had been to drama school and knew how to strike a pose. Big hits, inexplicable misses, seminal glam texts, cult classics, key album tracks, alternative versions and even a clutch of previously unreleased but essential recordings: Oh! You Pretty Things - housed in a clamshell box that contains a 40-page booklet of amazing photos and incredible stories - assembles all these and more to act as the definitive primer of a relatively short-lived but glorious musical and pop-cultural phenomenon.

An expanded 20th Anniversary Edition of My Morning Jacket's classic breakthrough record At Dawn with the added bonus of a complete Jim James live acoustic set of seven tracks recorded by Erik Wofford in the Radiology X-ray Room of the old Student Health Center, University of Texas, March 17, 2001, just three weeks before the release of At Dawn. The live performance was recorded and later broadcast on KVRX. Featured all together here for the first time are six previously unreleased tracks from the session, plus Bermuda Highway (Live KVRX) from the same, which is also featured on the compilation Chapter 2: Early Recordings. 

The name Leon Russell should evoke welcome memories for anyone old enough to remember that time in the late 60s-early 70s when rock and soul seemed to be sprouting wings and flying in all directions, with no boundaries to contain the flow of mad, wide-eyed creativity. With his flowing grey mane, stovepipe hat and stellar piano playing, Russell cut an imposing presence leading Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen circus as it's charismatic ringmaster and musical director, before stepping out on a solo career that went supernova as it rampaged through the first half of the 70s, directed from atop his Shelter empire. The collection comprises almost entirely songs from the period 1966 to 1979 and is packaged with a booklet featuring a 6,500-word essay by Kris Needs. The earliest selections - 'Before You Go' by Bobby Vee and 'The Loser (With A Broken Heart)' by Gary Lewis & the Playboys, both from Leon's time as producer Snuff Garrett's right-hand man, 'Raspberry Rug' by Bobby Whitlock and the Beatles-flavoured 'Land Of Oz' by Le Cirque - were all released before his name became well known to the public, although he was already established as one of the leading session musicians on the Los Angeles recording scene. His first major success came in 1969 with Joe Cocker's recording of 'Delta Lady', included here along with definitive versions of 'A Song For You', 'Groupie (Superstar)' and 'This Masquerade' by Donny Hathaway, Delaney & Bonnie and George Benson respectively. The one exception to the '69-'76 timeframe is 'If It Wasn't For Bad' from "The Union", the 2010 album Leon recorded in collaboration with Elton John, to whom he was an idol, mentor and inspiration. As Kris Needs writes in the booklet, "Elton deserves much credit for reminding the modern world what a major talent had once stalked among us. Hopefully, this collection will help to keep Leon Russell's flame burning, maybe even send a few rifling through the man's colossal catalogue, like the first nuggets at the entrance to a goldmine."

The singers featured here cover many shades of the musical spectrum, including pop - the Tony Hatch-produced 'You Can Be Wrong About Boys' by Mally Page; beat - Jeannie & the Big Guys' Merseybeat gem 'I Want You'; soul - Billie Davis' kitchen-sink cover of Gladys Knight & the Pips' 'Just Walk In My Shoes'; folk - Dana Gillespie's self-penned 'Adam Can You Beat That'; psychedelia - 'I Can't Break The Habit' by the Ferris Wheel featuring lead vocalist Diane Ferraz; and even a touch of jazz - Anita Harris' 'I Run To Hide'. Other highlights include Petula Clark's fantastic version of the Beatles' 'Rain', the title track from Sandie Shaw's iconoclastic "Reviewing The Situation" album, and Lorraine Silver's northern soul guilty pleasure 'Lost Summer Love'. Tracks: 1. Rain - Petula Clark, 2. Reviewing The Situation - Sandie Shaw, 3. I Can't Break The Habit - The Ferris Wheel, 4. Just Walk In My Shoes - Billie Davis, 5. Lost Summer Love -lorraine Silver, 6. Question - Sandra Barry, 7. The Life That I Lead - The New Faces, 8. Stop - Julie Grant, 9. I Run To Hide - Anita Harris, 10. Dark Shadows And Empty Hallways - Tammy St John, 11. Your Kind Of Love - The Breakaways, 12. Hollywood - Jackie Trent, 13. Hurtin' Me - Sharon Tandy, 14. Adam Can You Beat That - Dana Gillespie, 15. There He Goes (the Boy I Love) - Antoinette, 16. Thank Goodness For The Rain - Peanut, 17. How Can I Hide It From My Heart - Maxine Darren, 18. Run To Me - Glenda Collins, 19. Seven Letters - Margo & The Marvettes, 20. I Want You - Jeannie & The Big Guys, 21. You Can Be Wrong About Boys - Mally Page, 22. When You're Ready - The Satin Bells, 23. Trinity Street - Two Of Each, 24. Take Away The Emptiness Too - Pickettywitch, 25. Hurry On Home - The Feminine Touch

Compiled to give the listener an 80-minute frown-upside-down trip, the CD features 30 tracks recorded between 1966-1970 that sound like hits, but weren't. Artists include Bonni Long, The Guild, Donna Marie, Norro Wilson and many more. Package includes a 24 page booklet containing pictures, annotations and a 5,000+ word essay.

Yellow Moon: The Complete Recordings 1961-1962" contains the entire output from the correct master sources. The earliest tracks are drawn from recently discovered tapes and include the extremely rare B-side 'Real, True Love', the first disc on which Sly sang lead. There are also several unissued demo tracks produced by teen idol and Viscaynes mentor Gary Stites, as well as the sought-after Jasper Woods 45, featuring an incognito Richard Berry with the Viscaynes on vocal support. The package comes with an extensive liner note by compiler Alec Palao, with much heretofore unpublished information and fresh interview material from the group and associates, as well as commentary from Sly himself. "Yellow Moon: The Complete Recordings 1961-1962" is truly the last word on Sly Stone's very first phase. Tracks: 1. Real, True Love - The Viscaynes, 2. Yellow Moon (second Version) - The Viscaynes, 3. Stop What You Are Doing - The Viscaynes, 4. You're My Only Love - The Viscaynes, 5. Heavenly Angel - The Viscaynes, 6. Uncle Sam Needs You (second Version) - The Viscaynes, 7. Oh What A Night - Danny (sly) Stewart, 8. Help Me With My Broken Heart - Sylvester Stewart, 9. I'm Just A Fool - Danny (sly) Stewart, 10. A Long Time Alone - Danny (sly) Stewart, 11. Goodnight Brown Eyes - Gary Stites, 12. While I'm Gone - Sylvester Stewart, 13. Don't Cry Soldier - The Viscaynes, 14. I Guess I'll Be - The Viscaynes, 15. Yellow Moon (first Version) - The Viscaynes, 16. Uncle Sam Needs You (first Version) - The Viscaynes, 17. Do You Remember Aka I'm Just A Fool (alternate Version) - Danny (sly) Stewart, 18. Hully Gully Papa - Jasper Woods, 19. I'm Coming Home - Jasper Woods

This latest episode of the high-quality end of the Northern Soul world is as varied as the scene has become, featuring manic funk, Detroit grooves, doo wop-inspired ballads, neo-Motown and pure soul stompers. Los Angeles features strongly throughout. As a taster of the pleasures to come over the next couple of years, the opening tracks by ex-Motowners Carolyn Crawford and Kim Weston, along with the Joe Buckner & Major IV number, are from Mickey Stevenson's late 60s Los Angeles operation; and the Lovers' acetate-only 'She's Supreme' and John Wesley & the Four Tees' stomping version of the Williams & Watson LP track 'Love Is Such A Funny Thing' were recorded under the aegis of the city's great arranger Arthur Wright. Researching the tape vaults during lockdown has proved fruitful. The first version of Claude Huey's 'Why Would You Blow It' by the unknown Isaiah Smith was discovered among the Galaxy tapes, as was the Brothers Of Soul's 'I Need Your Love' - any previously unheard track by this redoubtable outfit is big soul news. I had originally thought that Buck Ram's group Two Cats & A Mouse would be 50s-sounding, like most of his acts, but 'Love In My Heart' proved to be a classy cover of the Oracles' 1967 rarity on OM. Includes many more great memories.

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