Don’t TOUCH This Song!

Songs get covered all of the time.  In fact, many of them can even sound much, much better than the original (subject of upcoming post).  We’ve heard them all, and fell in love with some of them.  But, you know, there are some that just simply should not be touched for every reason in the book.  And why?  Well…honestly, who can do “Stairway To Heaven” (and I don’t even like that song…at all).  But who can do it better?  I’m pretty sure it’s no one.  Now, I LOVE “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll”.  But still, no one can do them, nor should be allowed to look silly enough trying.

I have a list of such songs that belong in the realm of the original artist.  Lots of Springsteen songs should never be touched including “Born To Run”, “I’m On Fire”, and “Adam Raised A Cain”.  Similarly, who can possibly do justice to Don McLean’s “American Pie”?  The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”?  “Wishbone Ash’s “Ballad of the Beacon”?

There are easily hundreds, perhaps thousands, more.

Let’s hear your songs that should never be touched!

New Dead Can Dance Album, Anastasis

Who else in TAPLand is as excited as myself (and  a few TAP readers) about new Dead Can Dance music?

Well, after our long, long wait, fans of DCD will finally be rewarded with a new album of brand new Dead Can Dance songs.

Many of us can still remember our first introduction to the mesmerizing band that made us solid fans for even these sixteen years since 1996’s Spiritchaser.  While we accepted that the duo had gone as far as they were willing to go, we still secretly hoped that they’d come together again.

And they have.

The new album, Anastasis, is the duo’s first album of new music in sixteen years.

Anastasis will contain eight tracks:

  1. Children of the Sun
  2. Anabasis
  3. Agape
  4. Amnesia
  5. Kiko
  6. Opium
  7. Return of the She-King
  8. All In Good Time
The best part?  The band is currently streaming the entire album, which can be enjoyed at this link.
Dead Can Dance will tour to support the new album (AWESOME!!)
Anastasis will be made available for purchase on August 14 via PIAS America.  It will be distributed on CD, 2LP, and DD formats.  The new album will also be made available in a badass Super Deluxe Box.
We’re so lucky!

TAPSheet: Release Notes – 06/26/2012 – US Report

If you had been hoping tht the upcoming Mike Oldfield remasters expected in th UK on July 23 would hit American shelves, well, you’re a lucky sort.  On August 13, Hip-O Records will reissue these UK assembled classic Oldfield titles.  Platinum (1979), and QE2 (1980) as well as another album, a ‘best of’ called Two Sides: The Very Best of Mike Oldfield are all scheduled for the same date.


Dangerbird Records have Infinity Overhead from Minus The Bear planned for LP and CD release on August 28.  The label will also release Act Naturally from Royal Teeth scheduling for the same August 28th date.

Dangerbird Records will release Old World Romance from Sea Wolf on September 11.

Geffen Records will release the 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Hot August Night featuring Neil Diamond on July 31.

Eagle Rock Entertainment plan the CD release of 20/20 from Saga with a release date of August 28.

Eagle Rock will also release Intermission from Stratovarius on August 28 along with Intermission + Infinite, and Under Flaming Winter Skies from the band.  Under Flaming Winter Skies will also release on DVD, same date.

Mercury Records have Handwritten from The Gaslight Anthem planned for July 24.

Jemp Records will release Phish: Chicago ’94 on CD on July 31.

ATO Records will release Carry Me Back from Old Crow Medicine Show with a planned date of July 17.

Steamhammer US will release a 5-disc set featuring music collected music from Sodom.  The set will be called 30 Years Sodomized: 1982-2012.  This is slated for July 17.

A Question

Many of you have gotten older since you first began to listen to Rock and Roll way back when (ever).  Not only has the music changed since the early days, the way that we listen to it has changed.

From LPs and 45s, to transportable 8-tracks, and cassettes, the heralded (and reviled) Compact Disc, and finally (for now) in the widely varied digital format, distribution methods have come and gone (and, in the case of LP, resurged in popularity).

Yeah, all of these things are natural and expected, if not exactly appreciated.  But I do have an interesting question to pose, particularly to the older readers: how drastically have your listening changed from vinyl to now?

We all do utilize most features of digital music.  Of that there is little doubt that we all haven’t been impacted by the light-weight portability of the format.  At one time, most of you were sit-down listeners of LPs, both sides, start to finish.  Even in 8-track and cassettes, there was usually start to finish listening.  As a result, we invested in bands because we spent quite a bit of time with them.

This is a subject that we have discussed many time.  But this time, I’m more interested in the readers and their predominant form of listening to music.  So, if you don’t mind, hit the comments section and tell TAP how you primarily listen to your music these days.  If digital, do you still apply quite a bit of time to the entire album?  Do you create a playlist of favored tracks?

I’ll start it off:

I consistently use CDs but LPs (as my library grows again) is creeping up near the 50% mark.  I use YouTube to listen to bands that are new to me.  Once I discover that I liked them, I buy their albums, and listen to the whole thing.  In doing so, I hope to find cohesion and longevity.  I don’t often find it but I try.

Should ELP’s Catalog Be Reissued…Again? [Update]

With the recent news that wunderkind remix genius, Steven Wilson, has completed 5.1 and 2.0 remixes of Emerson, Lake & Palmer‘s eponymous first album (1970), and its followup, Tarkus (1971), internet buzz for the two ELP titles have escalated. A few short years ago, Shout! Factory revisited the famed trio with remastering and a ‘best of’ featuring the band’s entire catalog property.  And since those are relatively fresh, you have to (rightfully) ask the question…why again?

The answer is quite simple.  Steven Wilson is handling the job.

You don’t have to step back too far to remember the stunning remix of Aqualung by Jethro Tull accomplished by Wilson, which was revelatory in every way.

What I’m hearing is that these two UK titles will be three-disc affairs.  My question to you ELP fans is simple.  Despite the recent Shout! sets, will you be splurging for these Wilson-crafted remixes?

For me the answer is very simple…hell yeah!!!!!

[Update]: The following Steve Wilson post was posted in the comments section by reader, RT (thanks, RT), and bears to be up front and center:

“Hi folks!

The first 2 ELPs will be DVD releases with DTS 5.1 and LPCM stereo. But the level of interest in high res has been noted by Sony, and I think we may now be in a position to change this for future releases.

So ELP have not stood the test of time as other bands from the era ??? I couldn’t disagree with such comment more, but anyway that’s not a reason to “re-conceive” Tarkus. I will not try to make a competition between ELP vs King Crimson vs Genesis vs Yes to make a point, as I love them all, but any of those can be beaten to death by whoever is not willing to understand prog aesthetics and label it “dated” (and I’m not implying that did happen in the interview). Anyway, I really find this comment very awkward. ELP has indeed passed the test of time, and by that I mean it has never been nor will be ever under dispute that ELP is one of the best prog bands ever (in terms of ambition, influence, music levels, performance levels, technology, historical importance). If nowadays music has nothing to do with ELP, well that’s another discussion, but then maybe it’s a good sign that ELP has nothing to do with nowadays music.

Well I did say it was just my opinion! I love ELP, sometimes acknowledging that something is a part of its time is not a criticism at all. I found that some of the music belonged more to its time than say music from the same era by Pink Floyd and King Crimson. And yes we are certainly not in dispute over ELP being one of the greatest prog rock bands ever.

And Jeremy Bender/Are you ready Eddy are “fillers”?? I’m sorry, but I just can’t accept this. So why ELP played so much Jeremy Bender in public during the ’70s? And why “Are you ready Eddy” have such incredible piano lines?

Well for me, yes Are you Ready Eddy really is the epitome of filler – a drunken rock n roll jam recorded by the band in order to make up enough music for the LP. On the other hand a track they worked really hard on like “Oh My Father” was left off for reasons of band politics or personal reasons, which are no longer relevant. Jeremy Bender, point taken.

What comes next? Will “Benny The Bouncer” be considered a “filler”? Maybe the Second Movement of Emerson’s Concerto is also a “filler”. “Tank” from Works 1 is most probably a “filler”. So what? Fillers should be treated with respect, as someone who counts once decided they’d be in. I personally don’t like “C’est la vie”: what if someone who shares this opinion with me, and is given power, decides it’s a “filler”??

It depends – the whole idea grew out of the fact that for the first album the master tapes for Tank and two thirds of The Three Fates were missing, so with the caveat that the original album master was going to be included anyway, we came up with the idea of using some of the excellent out-takes to create a an alternative version of the album on the second CD with the new mixes. Having done this I thought it would be cool to extend the concept (with the band’s approval) to Tarkus and to include the 2 excellent ballads that were left off the album in the running order of the new mixes of CD2 (again the original album master is included on CD1). It’s only this second CD in the package that includes the alternate running order – Jeremy Bender and Are You Ready Eddy? are included in the correct place in the high res stereo on the DVD. Same is true of the 5.1 running order which matches the original album exactly (with Oh My Father as a bonus 5.1 mix at the end).

If we did carry the idea forward for a alternate running order to future albums, and replace one of the more (let’s use this word instead of filler) “frivolous” tracks (and I accept that humour was an important part of these records, I’m not trying to wipe that out!), then one of 2 things would have to be true: either the multi tracks would have to be missing to that track, or there would have to be an out-take that was so good it merited replacing it in the alternate track listing order. Once again this would only be done on the basis that the original album master is also a part of the package.

Isn’t the “Works 2″ an album made of fillers?

Yes, it is – I won’t be doing that one!

Is it difficult to understand the concept of respecting a band’s decision 40 years ago?

What about respecting the band’s decision now? This is all with their approval (in fact Greg wanted to change a lot more believe me!)

I just think things are being mixed-up here: there are musical/aesthetic decisions, and there are technical/audiophile decisions. Both are very important. But IMMO, there’s an inner part of the former activity which the latter should not step into.

I guess where you draw the line on that is a personal thing. For example some would say don’t even remix the material into surround sound, since it was never intended for it in the first place. Others would say leave out-takes unreleased since the band clearly didn’t want them released at the time…etc.. My own line with these releases is to always ask the record company to include the original mix too, so that if there is a new mix then it simply becomes an alternate perspective. For the very first (and possibly) last time this has also extended to trying to present an alternate running order too (in one case by necessity, in another by choice). All I would ask is wait until you hear it before telling me whether you think it works or not. By the way, if you’ve never heard “Oh My Father” I really think it’s astoundingly good, it’s really the main reason why I wanted to do the alternate Tarkus thing.

One other thing worth noting is that the creation of the new stereo mixes is actually a necessary step towards creating the 5.1 mixes – when I started doing the 5.1 mixes of the Crimson catalogue it never occurred to me that the new stereo mixes would also be included. But then we began to hear that sometimes the new stereo mixes had a degree of clarity sometimes missing from the original mixes, and so starting with Lizard this became something that was always an option. I certainly don’t think my ELP mixes are better than the originals (there’s only a couple of times I would claim that there was a notable and clear improvement – Lizard and Aqualung, but even then it’s down to taste), because the originals are fantastic – but they do sound different, and some people do seem to appreciate the alternative perspective.

Best! SW”

(Personally, I’m more than anxiously awaiting the revitalization of Trilogy! What about you?  Or is this update an unnecessary one?)

[As luck would absolutely have it, I’m writing this post on my phone.]

Poll: Which Album Is Best? – Frank Zappa

Over a short period, speculation has run rampant on the reissue status of Frank Zappa’s catalog.  Once unofficially announced, then silently retracted, then announced yet again, many have weighed in on their own thoughts of whether or not The Zappa Trust will do right by the new re-releases.

Obviously, that’s something only time will reveal.  But anything by Frank Zappa is always welcomed, if you’re a fan.

While we’re waiting, it’s a great time for us to say what our favorite Frank Zappa favorites are.  For me, and I have many Zappa loves, it has to be Zoot Allures.

I can’t explain it, but that album just seems to hit the right combination of Zappa craziness, and Zappa musical goodness for me.  Now, when I think Zappa, the Zoot Allures album pops into my head, songs, cover, and all.

There is the single-intended “Wind Up Workin’ In A Gas Station”, the wonderful nine-plus minutes of jazzy horror tune, “The Torture Never Stops”,  the notable “Black Napkins”, and “Find Her Finer”.  Then of course there’s the remaining tracks that does not disappoint (“Disco Boy”, :”Wonderful Wino”, “Friendly Little Finger”, “Ms Pinky”, and the title track, “Zoot Allures”).

I’d sure be interested in your choices.  Hit the comments.

TAPSheet: Release Notes – 06/18/2012

Elektra continues to revisit Pantera titles in vinyl LP with the announcement of more upcoming Pantera on plastic.  Releasing on July 24, along with the previously announced The Great Southern Trendkill (1996), are Reinventing The Steel (2000), and Official Live: 101 Proof (1997).  All LPs will be reissued on 180g weight vinyl, with Trendkill, and Official Live arriving over 2LPs.

Columbia Nashville, and Legacy Recordings plan a few Johnny Cash titles in a The Greatest series for release on August 8 that include, The Greatest (Deluxe CD/DVD Edition), The Greatest: Country Songs, The Greatest: Duets, The Greatest: Gospel Songs, The Greatest: The Number Ones, and slightly unrelated, The Very Best Prison Recordings of Johnny Cash Live.

Columbia Records plan the release of the upcoming Aerosmith album, Music From Another Dimension, for August 28.

Savoy Records will release Magic from Smash Mouth on September 4.

Roadrunner Records plan to release Antennas To Hell by Slipknot in both CD and 2CD Special Edition, as well as an obligatory Amended version, also on CD, all on July 24.

On July 31, Rhino will revisit David Sanborn with Then Again: The David Sanborn Anthology.

Newly remastered Are You Ready? featuring Atlanta Rhythm Section is planned as a UK Import title on July 17 via BGO Records.

Shout! Factory plan the release of Live + In Performance featuring Donny Hathaway, to be released on July 17.

Nonesuch Records plan the vinyl LP release of Sun Midnight Sun (May 2012) from Sara Watkins with a scheduled date of July 24.

Collective Sounds will release Havoc and Bright Lights by Alanis Morissette on August 28.

Real Gone Music will release two Clover titles,  Clover/Fourty Niner (1970/1971) in a two-fer package on July 31.  Prior to that release (and previously mentioned), the label will release The Complete Reprise Singles featuring the music of Electric Prunes.  It is scheduled for June 26.  Other July 31 two-fer reissues scheduled for July 31 include Don’t Go To Strangers / Softly, As I Leave You (1966/1967) from Eydie Gormé; Summer Holiday (1963) by pre-Bread, Jimmy Griffin; The Greatest Hits, Volume 1 featuring Steve Lawrence & Edie Gormé; and Smoke From a Distant Fire / Nail Me To The Wall (1976/1979) by Sanford & Townsend.

Columbia Records and Legacy dig a little deep to release a DD version of Honor Among Thieves (1976) from Artful Dodger.  Yay!  It’s a start.

Hip-O Records will release Rebirth from Jimmy Cliff with a scheduled date of July 17 for both CD and LP.

Psychopathic Records will release The Mighty Death Pop from Insane Clown Posse on August 14.

Oglio Entertainment will release The Piano Poems: Live In San Francisco by Ray Manzarek & Mic McClure on August 14.

MVD Visuals will release Live From Japan featuring Johnny Winter on DVD with a slated date of July 24.

Fantasy Records will re-release A Charlie Brown Christmas featuring Vince Guaraldi in a new vinyl LP edition, planned for issue on November 6 leading into the holiday season.  (It IS nearing July, right?)

The Criterion Collection version of Quadrophenia is planned for a Blu-ray and DVD reissue on August 28.  Planned for this ultimate film re-release is a hi-def restoration of the uncut version of the film, new audio commentary, interviews, and a Nick James essay in an included booklet.

And just so that you’re aware, a 3-disc reissue of the eponymous Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Tarkus are set for release on July 24.  The titles are currently being set as UK import titles.



Mike Oldfield Updates: Platinum and QE2 Deluxe Edition UK

Earlier, we knew that Mike Oldfield would release updated versions of Platinum (1979), and QE2 (1980) on July 23 of this year, both in Deluxe Edition formats.  We now know a little bit more (thanks again, Pat) about these upcoming releases.

Platinum, will, in addition to the classic album (and three bonus tracks), add in a second disc which will include Live at Wembley Arena 1980 heard in nine performance tracks.  The track-list, which includes the Oldfield arrangement of Philip Glass’ “North Star”, and a version of Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”, is found below.

01) Part One – Airborn

02) Part Two – Platinum

03) Part Three – Charleston

04) Part Four – North Star / Platinum Finale

05) Woodhenge

06) Into Wonderland

07) Punkadiddle

08) I Got Rhythm

09) Platinum (Live Studio Edition) – Bonus

10) North Star – Bonus

11) Blue Peter – Bonus

Disc Two (Live At Wembley Arena, 1980):

01) Platinum

02) Punkadiddle

03) I Got Rhythm

04) Polka

05) Incantations

06)Tubular Bells Pt II

07) Guilty / Tubular Bells Pt I Finale

08) Blue Peter / Portsmouth

09) William Tell

Platinum Deluxe Edition will also release as LP (Limited Edition Blue vinyl), and DD formats, all on July 23, in Europe (always).

The other Mike Oldfield classic, QE2, will also be released in 2CD Deluxe Edition, Limited Edition White Vinyl LP, and DD, all on July 23 in Europe.  The first disc includes the classic album along with three bonus tracks, while the second disc includes nine 1981 performance tracks (Live At European Adventure, 1981).  The album will contain the following track-list over the two CDs.

Disc One:

01) Taurus I

02) Sheba

03) Conflict

04) Arrival

05) Wonderful Land

06) Mirage

07) QE2

08) Celt

09) Molly

10) Polka – Bonus

11) Wonderful Land (Single Version) – Bonus

12) Shiva – Bonus

Disc Two: (Live From The European Adventure, 1981):

01) Taurus I

02) Sheba

03) Mirage

04) Conflict

05) Ommadawn

06) Punkadiddle

07) Tubular Bells, Part I

08) QE2

09) Portsmouth

Like its close sister, QE2 will release on July 23 of 2012.

Both Deluxe Editions will arrive via Mercury Records UK.

Zappa Updates

Our friends over at The Second Disc has done a fine, fine job of keeping readers abreast of the Zappa reissues that have been expected since we announced them some time back.  Yes, those discs kind of slipped off the radar, but as many of you already know, they’re back and ready for your purchase beginning in July.  (Read here for a complete update.)

But to give you further expectation, Hip-O Records will be releasing a few more titles on November 27 (and may just be a placeholder while the titles get sorted, unsorted, then sorted again, release-wise).  Those will be Ahead Of Their TIme (1993), Have I Offended Someone? (1997), Mystery Disc (1998), Playground Psychotics (1992), The Lost Episodes (1994), The Yellow Shark (1993), Tinsel Town Rebellion (1981), and You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, Volume 6 (1992).

As erratic as the release schedule is now, it wouldn’t surprise me to see adjustments on titles being made available on revised release date.  (I mean, why You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore, Volume 6, and not the previous five volumes to join it?)

No matter how you view this, updated Frank Zappa titles are coming.  Just speed up the reissue of Zoot Allures, please!

Review: DiscSox CD / Storage Solutions

If you’re at all like me (and I hope for your sake that you aren’t) you’re running short on everything these days.  Time, money, sanity…space, I am trying to organize a collection of hundreds of CeeDeez into a small room and it has posed quite the challenge.  I’m not ready to give up on CDs just yet for my preferred medium, as opposed to ripping all of my music to digital files on a hard drive.  I like the artwork too much, I dig my CD player and the actual physical discs. I have, however, decided that I can live without the thick plastic CD cases, and I have hundreds of them.  Recently I stumbled upon a product that looked like it might solve my dilemma.
Stuff a sock in it… or it in a sock.  DiscSox.
DiscSox are a creative solution to your media storage problems.  Created to store CDs, DVDs, photos and other media, it helped me to get 75 discs into a footprint that was much smaller than what I would expect, and yet let me keep all of the accompanying artwork with the discs.  The DiscSox protect my music collection in durable and Eco-friendly little Integrated Poly fabric pouches.  The pouches are then placed into a tray that hold them upright and are easy to access and organize. The tray allows for flip file access in a front to back motion, much like the way they do at a music store, all while allowing me to see the artwork/covers for easy identification.
Sometimes I see a cover and I want to hear that music, so seeing the cover is important to me.  The tray I have is made of a strong plastic, there is another version shown on their website that is constructed of a powder coated aluminum. During the review I gave about 5 discs the “sneaker test” in which I gave a firm kick to the tray in order to test the product for ruggedness (okay, I tripped and accidently kicked a few over.  Are you happy now?)  The discs stayed inside their pouches and remained unscathed and unscratched.  No discs were harmed during the writing of this review.
Sock it to me baby!
I am so thrilled with the performance of my review sample that I will be ordering the black model and saying goodbye to another 75 plastic cases (donate or recycle them please!).  Please note that removing 75 discs as well as the booklets (the back insert will require dismantling the plastic case) is very time consuming.  Grab a stack-o-discs, grab a frosty beverage of your choice and then repeat said process until all sleeves are filled.  Several braincells were destroyed during the writing of this review.  I can assure you that the end result of your effort will be well worth it, DiscSox are the perfect solution to my media storage needs.  They are easy to use, visually pleasing, and preserve discs and booklets in an archival-quality and scratch-free method.  The MMDesign website can provide you with more details and photos, including some nice “before and after”photos, so please check it out for yourself!
Thanks to the DiscSox system I am no longer short on space. The sanity however…
–Douglas Bice