Review: Farther On Up The Road: The Chrysalis Years (1977-1983) – Robin Trower

Following the previously released 3CD album collection A Tale Untold: The Chrysalis Years (1973-1976), which contain some of the best known Robin Trower classics albums for fans, Chrysalis issues a continuance of the catalogue collection with Farther On Up The Road: The Chrysalis Years (1977-1983).  Just as the first collected set offered new remastering, and a few bonus tracks, so does Farther On Up the Road.

When Robin Trower came into his own with Twice Removed From Yesterday (1973), featuring the inimitable Jame Dewar on vocals and bass, there awaited a legion of dedicated fans, many of who would insist that Trower, as a guitar player, knew no equal.  While that is a subject open to debate among fans of super-guitarists, there is no denying the greatness of Trower.  You hear all of that on each album that Trower recorded.

Farther On Up the Road brings together In City Dreams (1977), Caravan To Midnight (1978), Victims Of the Fury (1979), B.L.T. (1981), Truce (1981), and Back It Up (1983).  After In City Dreams, each successive Trower release was noticed less and less although there was no musical reason to ignore the bluesy richness of these albums other than that times were changing.  But even the band was changing in small ways.  B.L.T., and Truce, both featured Jack Bruce of Cream fame.  Back It Up found Dewar reunited into the Trower fold, where he belonged all along.

Farther On Up The Road is a fan’s set.  With excellent remastering by Peter Mew (Abbey Road Studios), and two bonus tracks (a 7″ edit of “Bluebird” from In City Dreams, and the single-only b-side song, “One In A Million” from Victims Of The Fury sessions), this budget gathering of the Trower catalogue (with A Tale Untold) serves a suitable purpose.  There is no one quite like Robin Trower, and there never will be.  The two sets that cover the two periods of Trower’s “solo” career are discoveries waiting to happen for young searchers of greatness (to call the Trower albums a stage for Robin alone would be a travesty as it was a fully formed band with it’s own unmatched uniqueness of musicians).  This 3CD set offers a small booklet, with a short three-page essay, complete cover art of the six represented albums, photos, and full credits of each album.

Trower’s albums were wonderful issues, every last one of them.  You cannot go wrong with the newly remastered music of Robin Trower found here.  There’s a lot of damn fine magic found here.

Release Date: March 13, 2012

— Matt Rowe

TAPSheet: Release Notes – 04/30/2012 – US Report

There seems to be a strong uptick in the re-releases of older titles as well as the issuance of new titles in vinyl LPs this year.  Depending on where you stand in LP love, this news could make you happy…or you could care less.  Regardless of your current stance in LP issuance, these titles are expected over the next few months:

Volcano Records in conjunction with Legacy Recordings will re-release another 311 title, Music (1993).  Soundsystem (1999) has already been re-released on vinyl April 17.  Music is slated for May 22.

RCA Records will release the new Kris Allen album, Thank You Camellia, with a planned release date of May 22.

Epic Records plan the LP issue of the new crazily titled Fiona Apple album on June 19 (same date as the CD, standard and Deluxe).  The crazy title?  The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.  Yes.  If you plan on buying this album, I DARE you to ask for it by its full name.

Epic Records will release The Money Store by Death Grips on May 22.

Columbia will reissue Raw Power from Iggy and the Stooges on May 22.  Also being planned for May 22 of classic titles include Pearl from Janis Joplin (Columbia Records), Transformer, and Rock and Roll Animal from Lou Reed (RCA Records), Ozzy Live featuring Ozzy Osbourne (Epic Records), and Horses by Patti Smith (Columbia Records).  Not a bad selection of goodies I might say.

Graceland (25th Anniversary Edition) by Paul Simon will be release on vinyl LP with a scheduled date of June 5.

Uncle Tupelo fans have three titles on vinyl coming on May 22.  These Columbia classics include March 16-20, 1992 (1992); No Depression (1990), and Still Feel Gone (1991).

Coming back to CDs, DVDs, and other things, it’s important to know that Epic Records and Legacy Recordings plan a 3CD/1DVD definitive box set for Heart, which will be called Strange Euphoria, and is scheduled for release everywhere on June 5.  The set will offer not only the hits from the band, but will also collect demos, live recordings, and some rarities.  In addition to the three CDs, the box set will contain a DVD that offers a KWSU (The Second Ending featuring Heart) program from 1976.  The personally curated (by the Wilson sisters) will contain an invaluable (and essential) booklet with track by track annotations, photos, credits, anecdotes and commentaries from both Ann and Nancy.  The track-list follows:

Heart – Strange Euphoria – track listing:

CD 1
1. Through Eyes And Glass (by Ann Wilson & The Daybreaks)
2. Magic Man (demo)*
3. How Deep It Goes (demo)*
4. Crazy On You (demo)*
5. Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child) + Dreamboat Annie Reprise (edit)*
6. Love Alive
7. Sylvan Song
8. Dream Of The Archer
9. White Lightning And Wine (live at the Aquarius)*
10. Barracuda (live from BBC Radio Concert)*
11. Little Queen
12. Kick It Out
13. Here Song (demo)*
14. Heartless (demo)*
15. Dog & Butterfly (acoustic demo)*
16. Straight On
17. Nada One

CD 2
1. Bebe le Strange
2. Silver Wheels II
3. Even It Up
4. Sweet Darlin’
5. City’s Burning
6. Angels
7. Love Mistake
8. Lucky Day (demo)*
9. Never (live, with John Paul Jones)*
10. These Dreams
11. Nobody Home
12. Alone
13. Wait For An Answer
14. Unconditional Love (demo)*
15. High Romance (demo)*
16. Under The Sky (demo)*
17. Desire Walks On (“Beach demo” version)*

CD 3
1. Kiss (by The Lovemongers)
2. Sand (live) (by The Lovemongers)
3. Everything (live) (by Nancy Wilson)
4. She Still Believes (live)*
5. Any Woman’s Blues (demo) (with the Seattle Blues Revue Horns)*
6. Strange Euphoria
7. Boppy’s Back (demo)*
8. Friend Meets Friend (live)  (by The Lovemongers)*
9. Love Or Madness (live) *
10. Skin To Skin*
11. Fallen Ones
12. Enough
13. Lost Angel (live)
14. Little Problems, Little Lies (by Ann Wilson)
15. Queen City
16. Hey You
17. Avalon (Reprise)

* previously unreleased

KWSU “The Second Ending – featuring Heart” program
circa February-March 1976

1. Pre Show
2. Heartless
3. White Lightning & Wine
4. Dreamboat Annie
5. Silver Wheels
6. Crazy On You
7. Sing Child
8. Soul Of The Sea
9. Devil Delight
10. Magic Man

Ipecac Recordings plan a release of Laborintus II from Mike Patton, and Luciano Berio, scheduling for July 3.

Hip-O Select will release Renaissance (1973) with Do It Baby (1974) from The Miracles (with Billy Griffin) on June 26.

Review: The Essential Donovan – Donovan

There are many of you who can warmly remember when you heard (for the first time) the opening of “Sunshine Superman”, leading into the vocals of the man who would go on and leave us even warmer memories.  Donovan, who’s career began in the UK, adopted the psychedelic period to gain a foothold into the American consciousness.  After leaving a grand string of hits that include “Hurdy Gurdy Man”, ” Season of the Witch”, the incredibly fantastic “Mellow Yellow”, “Atlantis”, and a few lesser known tracks, Donovan left behind fewer songs that captured Top 40 imagination.  But then, music was changing so rapidly.

In 1978, Donovan released a self-titled album on Arista (US), and RAK Records in the UK.  That album was an excellent collection of music but yet, the mystique of Donovan had run its course for the current audience, which was more than ten years of age removed from Donovan’s most fruitful period.  However, this diminishing of one of the ’60s most talented singer/songwriters did not in any way reduce the charm of the early material that brought fame to Donovan.

This recent release of collected music from Donovan on Legacy’s noted Essential series heralds not only the singer’s earned induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it also brings a few previously unreleased on CD (in the US) tracks to light.  Those include an early mono version of “The Land Of Doesn’t Have To Be”, two live tracks (” Sunny Goodge Street”, “Sand And Foam”), and a previously unreleased in the US song, “Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)”.  It further explores Donovan from the earlier single CD release collection of the same name.

Much of the music found on The Essential Donovan, of course, can be found elsewhere in many forms.  This reasonably priced, Anesini-remastered, 36-track, 2CD set is a nice collection of Donovan music that delves fearlessly into his most accessible period with a little extra.

The included booklet contains a personal note by the singer himself, a four-page essay by Anthony DeCurtis, in-depth credits for each song, as well as dialogue from various artists on Donovan’s music and influence.  With a gathering of some nice photos, this booklet adds more value to The Essential Donovan.

For me, The Essential Donovan brings back not only great memories of that magical time, it also reconnects me to the singer that left behind an indelible mark on all our Rock and Roll hearts in a way that isn’t being done much these days.

Release Date: April 17, 2010

–Matt Rowe 

TAPSheet: Release Notes – 04/27/2012 – US Report

A noted – and prominent – DD reissue is on the calendar and deserves to be noted here.  I note it largely because, for now, it is only listed as a Digital release.  But I’m betting that this  title will see CD reissue shortly announced.  It is:

Geffen has a 40th Anniversary Edition of Neil Diamond‘s famed Hot August Night (first released on December 9, 1972) on the schedule for June 26.

Let’s wait and see where this one takes us.  Right now, we’re just CD speculatin’.

The addition of Uncle Meat (1969), which will increase the stakes for a complete Frank Zappa upgrade (not yet fully realized…yet), will certainly be a welcome add to an already burgeoning list of Zappa classics.  On the schedule for June 26, Uncle Meat brings hope for the rest of the unannounced FZ titles.

Polydor Records plan the US release of a UK issue, a 2CD The Essential Collection featuring music by ABBA, with a scheduled CD and DD release date set for June 12.

I think this smidgen of potentially BIG news adds a bit of sunshine to this upcoming weekend.  Don’t you?

Discoveries: The Black Angels – Austin

I may have brought The Black Angels up in conversation in the past, but listening to them again just revitalizes all of the cool feelings I get from listening to them all the way through their 2010 release, Phosphene Dream.

Formed way back in 2004, this Austin, Texas band has developed a nice little following.  In naming themselves, this four-member band used Velvet Underground’s tune, “The Black Angel’s Death Song”.  And I have to say that I like it.  Not only does it tie them firmly to the past with its rich history of Psychedelic bands like 13th Floor Elevators, and many others from the 1967-68 period, it sets them apart from a wealth of crazy names currently in use.  The Black Angels is a kind of Rock name you could expect back in the late ’60s as music prepared for entrance into the ’70s.

Psychedelic music, although short-lived, left a great impression on many FM listeners and underground connoisseurs back then.  It provided an audience with identity as opposed to the Top40 (which wasn’t bad) music of the time.  In fact, FM radio streams grew greatly out of such music.

The music is unmistakably built from a template of the past.  You want to call it fresh, but it’s hardly that.  Instead, we come up with something better.  The music style hardly left because we desired a better sound.  Rather, it left because music was too evolutionary too fast.

The Black Angels’ beautiful retro blast of warm and friendly times is the showcase of anything that comes from them.  Wonderfully nostalgic, The Black Angels craft new music that is as resilient and listenable as anything that Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized can come up with.  It can also be said that The Black Angels can run with the best of the originals.

I suggest that you reach into a bit of The Black Angels via methods like streaming services like Spotify, Last FM, SoundCloud, or YouTube to see if this band can do you proud.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  If you do, they have a wealth of availability including vinyl LP, CD, DD, and what is sure to be a rare collectible, a Record Store Day release of “Watch Out Boy” b/w “I’d Rather Be Lonely” on 7″ orange wax (which includes a free download of their cover of “She’s Not There”, originally by the Zombies).

Head off to their site and get introduced to the band by several videos that encompasses quite a bit of the page as you enter.  It’s all cool.

No More Politics

I regret the Bruce Springsteen post.  My posting of this was merely motivated by the fun it might bring to a musical discussion in a different bent than what we’re normally used to.  A shaking it up a bit post.

It began as a thought stemming from a letter written in RS in response to the Jon Stewart interview with Springsteen.  I found it interesting and thought…I don’t know what I thought.  But I was wrong to do it.  And so, while I think I should maintain a “I posted it; I’ll live with it” rule, I was tempted to take it down earlier.  Nevertheless, I decided to keep it up as a “remember, thou shalt not post any post with political side-streams”.  Unless a hacker pulls it out of existence, of course.

So, let this stand as my official apology to the readers of TAP.  There shalt no more be any politics within the pages of TAP…for ANY reason.

Let’s listen, instead, to The Black Angels (see tomorrow’s post, politics-free!).

Would Springsteen Make A Worthy President of The US?

In the latest edition of Rolling Stone (RS 1155, April, 26, 2012), a letter from a reader in regard to the Jon Stewart interview with Bruce Springsteen (RS 1154), states that Bruce Springsteen “…would make a great president.”  This is an interesting statement in more ways than one.

Over the decades, Bruce’s anger has slithered from a very personal one towards a more widespread, public one, all expressed within the framework of his albums.  The personal anger stemmed from the youthful anguish of direction, and from family issues to marital issues.  When those were worked out (if they ever were), Bruce began to see humanity from a different angle, like we understand in his underrated “Human Touch”.  His outrage over horrifically abused authority was spoken about in “American Skin”, and his empathy was heard in “Streets of Philadelphia”.

When 9/11 happened, Bruce spoke his piece with The Rising.  Over time, his views on humanity scraped the broken side.  On his most recent album, (Wrecking Ball), we hear Bruce with his thoughts directed toward the American trial as its inhabitants face ritual and crippling losses of their once proud faces.

In short, it’s safe to say that Bruce has had more than a casual interest in the well-being of his birth country.  And while it appears that America’s well-monied institutions, along with America’s toothless government (on all sides) are headed toward uncompromising disregard to the people who live within its borders, there is also a hope that the country can recover from its current funk.

Which brings us to this intended point of the conversation.  Might Bruce Springsteen make a good – even great – president of the US?

We know that transitions such as this have occurred.  Ronald Reagan was an entertainer who held the office for two terms.  But do you think that Springsteen has sufficient empathy and anger to govern the US back to a vision that he dreams of?  Or are his visions a bleak opinion of what Americans, perhaps even, the entire world can come to expect for the rest of our lives?

To be fair, there are artists who have no faith in governments at all.  Roger Waters is one of those.  The roster of the ’70s were largely distrustful of governments.  Should they be any different these days?  (My opinion?  I have no faith at all.  None!)

What do you think?

TAPSheet: Release News – 04/23/2012 – US Report

Rush and their latest album, Clockwork Angels, will get an LP release with a 2LP, 180g set expected on the same CD release date, June 12.

Nonesuch is planning on releasing Unity Band from Pat Metheny on June 12, and Election Special from Ry Cooder, planned for June 26.

Reprise Records is going to release a 2LP, 180g vinyl set for Neil Young & Crazy Horse of his upcoming Americana, both formats which releases on CD on June 5.

Eagle Rock Entertainment expects to release Mothership Returns 2CD by Return To Forever with a release date of June 19.

Interscope Records will release The Spirit Indestructible by Nelly Furtado on June 19.

ESL Records plan to release Moon People by Nickodemus with a scheduled date of June 19.

Universal Music Latino will release Tr3s Presents Juanes MTV Unplugged on May 29 fro Juanes.

Fantasy Records will release That’s My Story  – John Lee Hooker Sings The Blues (1960) by John Lee Hooker on vinyl LP, scheduling for July 3.

TAPSheet: Zappa Reissues Update – US Report

The Frank Zappa reissue campaign gets an uptick with new titles being added to the original six that we announced several days’ posts ago.  The complete set of CD and DD reissue titles now are as follows:

  • Absolutely Free (1967)
  • Apostrophe (‘) (1974)
  • Bongo Fury (1975)
  • Chunga’s Revenge (1970)
  • Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (1968)
  • Fillmore East – June 1971 (1971)
  • Freak Out! (1966)
  • Hot Rats (1969)
  • Just Another Band From LA (1971)
  • Lumpy Gravy (1967)
  • One Size Fits All (1975)
  • Over-Nite Sensation (1973)
  • Roxy & Elsewhere (1974)
  • The Grand Wazoo (1972)
  • Waka/Jawaka (1972)
  • Weasels Ripped My Flesh (1970)
  • We’re Only In It For The Money (1968)
  • Zoot Allures (1976)

All Zappa reissue titles have been scheduled for June 26.  Yes, people, you had BETTER be saving EVERY penny you can get your hands on.

In Memoriam: Levon Helm

They say ev’rything can be replaced
Yet ev’ry distance is not near
So I remember ev’ry face
Of ev’ry man who put me here
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

They say ev’ry man needs protection
They say ev’ry man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above this wall
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

Standing next to me in this lonely crowd
Is a man who swears he’s not to blame
All day long I hear him shout so loud
Crying out that he was framed
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east
Any day now, any day now
I shall be released

There are few words to speak about the passing of someone that factors into your life.  Sometimes, you can’t even find those few words.  This day is one of them.

Levon Helm’s distinctive voice, his memorable drumming, and his place in one of Rock’s most memorable groups will make his passing acutely felt throughout the world of music.  He will be missed.

Goodbye, dear friend.

“…I gotta go, but my friend(s) can stick around…”

Levon Helm