I was a good kid this year. That is, if you like 53 year old kids. I kept my list from last year right at my computer and kept periodic tabs on it. Now that I am looking at my 2014 list for the last time this year, I have come to a realization. I did the baseball equivalent of batting below the Mendoza Line during 2014. I’m sure that there’s quite a few of you out there who have done the same in your hopes and wishes when it comes to record company releases.
I’m going to do this all over again and give it a shot to see if any of these things that I mention have a snowball’s chance in hell to get released. Before I dive in though, I do want to say that I am sure grateful that the Real Gone Music label has gotten a greater foothold in the market and that Iconoclassics is still continuing on. Plus, it appears that Sundazed is going to start making its presence known again soon. Between those that I mentioned and what’s left of the majors, I still hold out slivers of hope. I’m betting that some of you think I’m nuts for even bothering to bring a few of these titles up. Anyway, I hope all of you enjoy this list and that your 2015 will be filled with more beautiful music than you could shake a stick at.
1) Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds: the self-titled album with “Don’t Pull Your Love” needs to get reissued for here in the North American market by a U.S. label. It has only been available as a Japanese import for quite some time. This needs to end. I’d also be o.k. with a compilation of theirs too.
2) Five Man Electrical Band–Goodbyes & Butterflies: The hits compilation from Canada, Absolutely Right (on Polydor), covers ground. I want to actually hear “Signs” in context of the album from whence it came and in great sound.
3) Stampeders–Against The Grain (as it’s known in Canada) or Sweet City Woman (as it’s known in the U.S.): Here’s a second Canadian band from the early ’70s that could use a sweet sonic touch. As a consolation prize, I would accept a nicely done compilation of them.
4) King Harvest–Dancing In The Moonlight-I would really like to hear the full album from which the huge single came from. About 4 years ago, one of the members or an associate of King Harvest was in communication with me and some forum members of IMWAN and he was telling people about a digital release that he helped to assemble. I’d like to see it go one further and have us fans get a CD release.
5) Looking Glass–Looking Glass/Subway Serenade two-fer: Everybody knows about “Brandy”. In my eyes, the second big single of theirs, “Jimmy Loves Mary-Ann” proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was a seriously good band who got overlooked amid a sea of immense talent on AM & FM radio in the early ’70s. I’d love to see a two-fer of these two albums so that people can see just how valid they were.
6) B.W. Stevenson–My Maria: I want a wonderful sounding remaster of this album. If Carl Radle and Jim Gordon played on more than just the title track, then this album cries out to be presented once again to the world. I’d also take a Stevenson compilation.
7) Focus-North American/U.S. catalog presentation: This Dutch band was huge in Europe back in the day and they had their one big hit here in the United States with “Hocus Pocus”. I realize that the Red Bullet remasters exist as imports. I have to be honest with you people. I distrust Red Bullet because I have their remaster of the Moontan album from Golden Earring and I find it not to be up to par (in my ears) when it comes to the sonics. I would really like for somebody here stateside to take a serious crack at their catalog and get it right and make it so that the high-end (especially the vocals) gets tamed.
8) Cowboy Junkies–The Trinity Session: Gold disc SACD hybrid by Mobile Fidelity, Audio Fidelity or Analogue Productions-I know that Mike Timmins does not have fond memories of his time being on two major labels. I’m sure that something can be worked out with, likely, Sony/Legacy. They are the ones who own RCA material. If I am recalling correctly, there was a gold disc planned for this album and then it got pulled years ago. This is a 5-star album that deserves being given the best treatment because this is the one that turned so many of us on to the band in the first place.
9) The Velvet Underground-a reissue or a new box set for Loaded: Since we’ve gotten 3 magnificent box set reissues of the first three albums, I can’t see why Loaded couldn’t get one too. My question is thus: Does Rhino still own this or has Universal secured the rights to release this?
10) Dave Mason-Expanded and brand new masterings for Certified Live and Let It Flow: These two albums get overlooked in the wake of the love for his Alone Together album. They are both in desperate need of sonic overhauls. I have read a lot of complaints about the CDs that have been out there for years.
11) The Friends Of Distinction: Grazin’, Highly Distinct, Real Friends and the Whatever albums need to be presented individually or as two-fers. I’d even take a new compilation from somebody like the Real Gone Music label.
12) Jr. Walker & The All-Stars: I’d really like to see a really comprehensive catalog run for Jr. Walker & The All-Stars by Universal on the same order as the other Motown artists and bands that they’ve been doing recently. Please! And make it mono while you’re at it.
13) Skylark–Skylark: Here’s another one from Canada that needs to be done in a loving way by a U.S. reissue label. The album is supposed to be a really good one. Plus, over the years, I’ve heard complaints from people that the one CD that’s been out there is supposedly pretty brutal on the sound quality issue. If a low generation tape, or better yet, the original multi-track mix-down master for this album can be found, then it needs to get out there and done right. “Wildflower” deserves so much better.
14) Van Morrison–Astral Weeks: Super Deluxe Edition: Yeah, I know that Van got really pissed over the Moondance Super Deluxe, but it was exactly the kind of thing I wanted. If one could be done for the Astral Weeks album, I’d be over the moon.
15) Muddy Waters: More unreleased shows. I don’t care which periods they would come from. There’s no such thing in this world as too many live show releases from Muddy Waters.
16) King Curtis: Somebody has got to step up to the plate and do either individual album releases or a brand new multi-disc set release that would be comprehensive and have the best possible mastering. It’s criminal that King Curtis isn’t a household name except among music nerds.
17) Matthews Southern Comfort–Later That Same Year: I’d like to see somebody here in the United States reissue this album or else do a thorough compilation of them.
18) Billy Stewart–Unbelievable: Has anybody done what could be considered a definitive job on this album?
19) Lynyrd Skynyrd–Street Survivors: SACD hybrid release from Mobile Fidelity.
20) Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: The rest of their catalog done by Universal-After the Depend On Me: The Early Albums set, there’s a massive hole in my collection which has been screaming at me to get the rest of the albums into my collection. Universal? Could you please come to the white courtesy phone and get this taken care of? It’s the equivalent of putting your shirt on and then walking out of the house having forgotten that you didn’t put your pants on.