Category Archives: Vinyl

Bob Dylan once called Chuck Berry “the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll.” Take a listen to this VIP vinyl box set

In the heavens of rock ‘n’ roll’s first-generation creators, no artist looms larger than Chuck Berry. Bob Dylan once called Berry “the Shakespeare of rock ‘n’ roll.” John Lennon stated, “If you tried to give rock ‘n’ roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.'” Keith Richards: “Chuck Berry is the gentleman who started it all.”

In a consistently innovative recording career that spanned more than 60 years, the iconic singer-songwriter-guitarist, who passed away on March 18, 2017, laid much of the groundwork for modern rock ‘n roll, while creating some of rock’s most distinctive and enduring anthems, from “Johnny B. Goode” to “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Rock and Roll Music” to “Reelin and Rockin’,”.

Geffen/UMe pays tribute to the immortal spirit of Berry with the ultimate vinyl version of his landmark greatest hits compilation, The Great Twenty-Eight, as it celebrates its 35th anniversary, with The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition. The album will be released as a limited edition five-disc box set on Chess Blue vinyl, limited to only 500 copies worldwide and available exclusively via UDiscoverMusic.com. A wide release standard black vinyl edition will be available next year on January 26, 2018.

Housed in a textured box, the Super Deluxe Edition will complement the original two-LP, 28-song compilation with an additional LP, More Great Chuck Berry, containing 14 more hits, rarities and B-sides missing from the original, as well as a rare live album, Oh Yeah! Live in Detroit, available on vinyl for the first time. The collection will also include a newly created bonus ten-inch EP Berry Christmas, featuring four holiday-themed classics on “Rudolph-Red” vinyl, with one song on vinyl for the first time as well. Pre-order The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition now: https://lnk.to/Great28SDE

Berry’s classic recordings for Chicago’s seminal Chess label have been extensively anthologized in the CD era. But for many Berry devotees, the two-LP vinyl collection The Great Twenty-Eight remains both a sentimental favorite and a definitive document of Berry’s musical genius. It’s no wonder that The Great Twenty-Eight was ranked number 21 on Rolling Stone‘s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” the highest-ranking hits compilation on that list. For those interested in the original 28-track edition of The Great Twenty-Eight, it is now back in print in its original two-LP format for the first time since its initial release in 1982. Order The Great Twenty-Eight here: https://UMe.lnk.to/Great282LP

The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition also includes a handsome 12″ x 12″ book featuring a special introductory essay by Keith Richards, a new essay by best-selling author and SiriusXM host Alan Light, complementing Michael Lydon’s liner notes from the original version of The Great Twenty-Eight, and reminiscences from DJ Lee Alan, plus complete U.S. single, album and EP discographies. The text is enhanced by reproductions of Berry’s original LP cover art and rarely-seen photographs.

A survey of Berry’s first decade of recording on Chess, the original The Great Twenty-Eight contains 21 singles along with six of their b-sides and one album track from Chuck Berry in London. Of those singles, eleven were top ten hits on the Billboard R&B singles chart and ten were Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. During his Chess years, Berry created a massive—and massively influential—body of work that includes countless beloved classics, from “Maybellene” to “Roll Over Beethoven” to “Johnny B. Goode” to “Memphis, Tennessee” and beyond. Indeed, Berry’s music is so deeply ingrained into our culture that NASA launched “Johnny B. Goode” into outer space on the Voyager spacecraft as a representation of the sounds of the human race for the benefit of our cosmic neighbors. All of these songs are included on The Great Twenty-Eight, which also includes the ubiquitous hits “Rock and Roll Music,” “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “No Particular Place To Go” and many others that have become part of the collective consciousness.

More Great Chuck Berry comprises 14 classic Berry tunes not included on The Great Twenty-Eight, including the sultry, simmering number “Wee Wee Hours,” the original flip side of “Maybellene”; “My Ding-A-Ling,” Berry’s only No. 1 pop single; “Too Pooped To Pop (Casey),” the top 20 R&B A-side of “Let It Rock”; the Top 10 R&B hit “No Money Down”; the celebratory “Promised Land”; and the rollicking “You Never Can Tell,” which earned cinematic immortality as the accompaniment to John Travolta and Uma Thurman’s twist in the film Pulp Fiction.

Oh Yeah!: Live In Detroit is a thrilling, rare concert performance from October 1963, celebrating Berry’s return to the stage after a break from performing. With support from local DJ and TV host Lee Alan, Berry, backed by Motown’s Funk Brothers rhythm section and horn players, recorded the live album during a series of performances at Detroit’s Walled Lake Casino.

Returning to the spotlight after a year-and-a-half brought out an energy and intensity in Berry that can be heard clearly in this historic 12-song set, which launches with “Guitar Boogie”and includes “Let It Rock, “Too Much Monkey Business (available for the first time in the U.S.),” “Johnny B. Goode,” Sweet Little Sixteen” and a lengthy, edge-of-chaos medley, as Berry feeds off an audience that sings along with nearly every track. Throughout the show, Berry tells jokes that slyly address racial tensions. But the record was scrapped at the time and has been previously only available as part of a limited-edition CD set; this marks its first time on vinyl, and as any kind of standalone release.

The bonus EP Berry Christmas collects together four Christmas classics on “Rudolph-Red” vinyl. The 10-inch disc features Berry’s chestnuts, “Run Rudolph Run” and “Merry Christmas Baby” along with “Christmas” and “Spending Christmas,” the latter making its vinyl debut as it was previously available only in a limited-edition CD box set.

And if those testimonials aren’t convincing enough, one listen to The Great Twenty-Eight: Super Deluxe Edition will make the case for Chuck Berry’s singular, timeless rock ‘n’ roll brilliance.

 

Lou Reed and his velvet underground are (gulp!) 50 years old. For the record: Verve/UMe celebrate

To celebrate the Velvet Underground’s 50th anniversary, Verve Records/UMe is releasing The Velvet Underground, a limited-edition career-spanning box that collects all four of the pioneering band’s studio albums, Velvets collaborator Nico’s debut LP, Chelsea Girl, and a reconstruction of the fabled “lost” 1969 album, making it available on vinyl for the first time. The six albums housed in a special black slipcase will be pressed on 180-gram black vinyl and feature stereo mixes and meticulously reproduced original cover art. The box will also include an exclusive 48-page booklet, featuring vintage photos, lyrics and a new foreword penned by founding member Maureen “Moe” Tucker. Limited to 1,000 copies worldwide, the box set, which will be released February 23, is available for pre-order now exclusively at uDiscover: https://UMe.lnk.to/TVULPBox

Assembled by Grammy-winning reissue producer Bill Levenson, The Velvet Underground incorporates six classic records from the band’s vintage heyday including 1967’s The Velvet Underground and Nico, their landmark debut, produced by the band’s mentor Andy Warhol and includes such Velvets classics as “Sunday Morning,” “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Venus in Furs” and “Heroin;” Nico’s 1967 full-length solo debut Chelsea Girl, featuring songwriting and instrumental contributions from Velvets members Reed, John Cale and Sterling Morrison as well as a young Jackson Browne; 1968’s explosive White Light/White Heat, the group’s final album with co-founder Cale; 1969’s relatively restrained, introspective The Velvet Underground;and 1970’s Loaded, which was the band’s commercial breakthrough as well as its final studio album, with such beloved Reed anthems as “Sweet Jane” and “Rock & Roll.”

Wild side: Lou Reed pictured with singer-songwriter Garland Jeffries in New York, 1977
Reed: Always walking on the wild side, here in 1977 with Garland Jeffries

To honor the band’s half a century legacy, Levenson has loving recreated the Velvet Underground’s much-mythologized “lost” album, 1969, specially for this set. Nearly 50 years later, much remains unclear about these mysterious recordings. While there’s been reports that the album was intended to be the band’s fourth record only to be rejected by MGM, it’s also possible they were scrapped by the band or possibly shelved by them for being ahead of its time. Whatever the real story is, these songs, recorded just after their lauded self-titled album, which include many gems like “Foggy Notion,” “Ride Into The Sun,” and “I Can’t Stand It,” help to tell the band’s enigmatic story and shine a light on their creative restlessness and rapid evolution.

Image result for lou reed
Lou and David Bowie, as they once were, so many decades ago

For this new vinyl recreation, Levenson has assembled the album using 1969 and 2014 mixes. Although these recordings have been previously released, they’ve never been represented on vinyl in this expansive 2LP format. Side four of the second LP is rounded out with bonus tracks recorded in 1968 including “Hey Mr. Rain” and “Stephanie Says.”

The Velvet Underground’s gritty, fearless creative vision remains unique and unmatched. Although the band met with little commercial acceptance during its existence, the seminal New York foursome of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker, along with Doug Yule, is now considered one of most important rock and roll bands of all time, laying the groundwork in the ‘60s for punk, alternative, avant-garde, psychedelic rock, post-punk and shoegaze. The Velvets’ revolutionary body of work stands as a one of rock’s most distinctive catalogs and today their influence looms larger than ever.

“The Very Best of Diana Krall” reminds us just how brilliant she is

Verve Records/UMe are celebrating the legacy of the incomparable multi-platinum Grammy-winning singer and pianist Diana Krall by releasing The Very Best of Diana Krall on vinyl for the first time in the U.S., as the greatest hits collection nears its 10th anniversary. The album is available as a two-LP set on audiophile-favorite 180-gram vinyl and follows last year’s release of eight essential Diana Krall albums on vinyl as part of Verve’s 60th anniversary celebration.

Covering the years 1996-2006, this 15-track collection compiled by Krall in collaboration with her longtime producer, the late Tommy LiPuma, features highlights from her first decade as a recording artist, during which time the Grammy winning singer/pianist’s expressive vocals and delicate, soulful piano work gained her international stardom.

Krall has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide, making the Berklee College of Music graduate one of the best-selling jazz artists of all time. The Very Best on vinyl arrives as Krall celebrates the May release of her acclaimed new album, Turn Up the Quiet, and current tour that will last more than two years, and take her around the world.

The selections on The Very Best range from intimate trio work to pieces recorded live with a full symphony orchestra. Krall delivers some deeply personal moments and reimagines timeless vintage standards by some of her favorite composers as George and Ira Gershwin; Cole Porter; Irving Berlin; Rodgers and Hart; Van Heusen and Cahn; and Bacharach and David.

Overflowing with career highlights, the album includes several tracks from Krall’s towering 1999 international breakthrough,When I Look in Your Eyes: her mesmerizing interpretations of Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Let’s Fall in Love,” and “Pick Yourself Up.” That album, her Verve Records debut, was nominated for Album of the Year at the 42 Annual Grammy Awards, the first time in 25 years a jazz singer was nominated in that major category. It won for Best Jazz Vocal and Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical).

Throughout the album, Krall’s artistry is highlighted on the Gershwin standard “’S Wonderful” and the Bacharach and David-penned title track from her 2001 Grammy-winning album, The Look of Love.  This album put her atop her native Canada’s all-genre albums chart for the first time and gave her the Artist and Album of the Year trophies at the Juno Awards in her home country.

The collection is also notable for Krall’s imaginative take on Tom Waits’ “The Heart of Saturday Night” and the dark and seductive “You Go to My Head” taken from The Look of Love sessions, both previously unreleased. It also features beautiful live renditions of “East of the Sun (West of the Moon)” and “Fly Me To The Moon,” recorded with a symphony orchestra at Krall’s sold-out concerts at Paris’ Olympia Theatre for her remarkable live album, Live In Paris.

Included on Billboard’s Top Jazz Albums of the Decade list, The Very Best of Diana Krall is both the perfect sampler for the new listener and a reminder for her most passionate fans all the reasons Diana Krall is regarded as one of the greatest Jazz artists of her time.

 

Skip the New Year’s bubbly. Head straight for the “Fresh Cream.”

A most musically way to begin the New Year: The deluxe edition UMe release of Fresh Cream, the debut album by the British, blues boom power trio, Cream.

The 3-CD + 1 Blu-Ray audio disc come housed in a gatefold sleeve within a rigid slipcase and includes a 64-page hardback book, featuring new sleeve notes by respected Rolling Stone writer David Fricke. The set comprises various alternate and new stereo mixes plus several, previously unreleased BBC sessions. A special six-album 180g vinyl edition of Fresh Cream will also be released in April.

Can you name who was who?

Originally released in 1966, at the height of the UK blues bloom, Fresh Cream showcased the not inconsiderable talents of three of the then music scene’s brightest lights: Eric Clapton, fresh from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers; drummer, Ginger Baker, straight from the Graham Bond Organisation; Jack Bruce who, at the time, had just left Manfred Mann. Collectively the three had decided to give up their roles as much sought after sidemen to form their own super group.

Coming together as Cream in the early summer of 1966, the trio moved at impressive speed to make the release of Fresh Cream in December of the same year. Highlights include the racing harmonica work-out and the call and response excitements on Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’”; a spine-tingling vocal on the Willie Dixon classic, “Spoonful”; as well as the self-penned “Sleepy Time Time”, which gave Clapton a free hand to wake up all and sundry. Their rousing treatment of the traditional standard, “Cat’s Squirrel” alerted listeners to just how well Clapton, Baker and Bruce musically complemented each other.

 

Diana Ross self-titled album returns on vinyl. Shall we and she have a drink?

Tesla fans can feast, again, on ‘Psychotic Supper,’ hitting vinyl in July

It’s more than a supper. Think of it as a feast. Tesla’s third album, “Psychotic Supper”, the band’s third studio album (it was released on August 30, 1991), was the follow-up to the live “Five Man Acoustical Jam”. The album peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard 200, featuring an aggressive change in direction from the previous disc, landing an impressive five songs on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, including “What You Give” (which went to No. 7 and even cracked the Billboard Hot 100 at No. #86. Other memorable songs include “Edison’s Medicine,” which spotlights how its subject received credit for harnessing electricity over the band’s own namesake, Nikola Tesla, which climbed to No. 20 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks, along with “Call It What You Want” (No. 19), “Song & Emotion” (No. 13) and “Stir It Up” (No. 35).

Produced by Michael Barbiero–who also helmed the band’s first two studio efforts–the album was eventually certified platinum in 1993 by the RIAA, and was included in Germany’s Rock Hard’s book of “The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.” The band themselves have been quoted as considering “Psychotic Supper” their best record. To help mark the album’s 25th anniversary in August, UMe is reissuing the album for the first time as a two-LP standard issue vinyl set on July 22.

 TESLA

Tesla was formed in Sacramento in late 1981 by bassist Brian Wheat and Frank Hannon, with lead vocalist Jeff Keith, drummer Troy Luccketta and guitarist Tommy Skeoch joining them by 1984, settling on the name Tesla two years later. Their debut album, “Mechanical Resonance”, came out in 1986, with many of the band’s themes and song titles inspired by the electrical engineer who gave them their name. In the early days of their career, the band toured extensively, opening for David Lee Roth, Alice Cooper, Def Leppard and Poison.

On “Psychotic Supper”, the band largely eschewed the live album’s acoustic bent and let loose with a stripped-down production that enhanced the band’s bluesy take on rock and roll. “Edison’s Medicine” is highlighted by Jeff Keith’s frenetic, yet soulful vocals and some scorching guitar solos by Tommy Skeoch and Frank Hannon. Skeoch also rocks out on theremin, while Hannon straps on a bass for a memorable solo.

A quarter of a century after its release, “Psychotic Supper” still holds up for its impressive musicianship by the band and its mix of hard rock and anthemic ballads.