Saturday, October 10, 2015

Reissues revisit essential rock albums, soul singles

This year has seen a burgeoning number of wonderful reissues and deluxe collections celebrating bona fide musical riches. Among the most highly-recommended titles are those celebrating the groundbreaking debut album from Garbage, a trio of singer-songwriter-guitarist Peter Frampton's releases, a reissue of The Sneakers' late '70s EP, and an outstanding collection of '60s and '70s soul rarities.

Artist: Garbage
Title: Garbage - 20th Anniversary Edition (Almo Sounds)
You might like if you enjoy: Garbage, The Pretenders, 
Tell me more: Among the best and most influential albums from the 1990s, the 1995 self-titled debut from Garbage has been remastered and reissued as the expanded Garbage - 20th Anniversary Edition that will appeal to both hardcore and casual fans of the quartet. The 2-disc audio CD version reviewed here includes iconic hits (including "Only Happy When It Rains" and "Stupid Girl"), underrated rockers ("Supervixen," the electronica-tinged "As Heaven Is Wide," the edgy "Vow") and wonderful G-sides (the confessional rocker "Girl Don't Come," the electronica rocker "Driving Lesson" and haunting piano-anchored "Sleep" are terrific). Garbage - 20th Anniversary Edition is available in a number of formats including on vinyl and digital. Garbage is currently on tour in celebration of the band's debut and is performing the 1995 release in its entirety for the first time at all dates. Information:
Get 'Garbage [2 CD][20th Anniversary Edition]' here

Artist: Peter Frampton
Titles: Premonition, When All the Pieces Fit, Now (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Peter Frampton, Humble Pie
Tell me more: Listening to classic rock radio in 2015 it might seem that rocker Peter Frampton had only issued a single album (1976's Frampton Comes Alive!). In truth, the British-born artist has enjoyed a rich career stretching back to the 1960s when he was a member of the Herd and later Humble Pie. Frampton's three studio recordings stretching from 1986's Premonition to 2003's Now (sandwiched around 1989's When All The Pieces Fit) have been reissued complete with extensive liner notes that shed additional light on these overlooked discs. The material ranges from melodic pop-rock (including the mainstream hit "Lying" and synth rocker "Stop" from Premonition) to dance rock ("Holding On To You" from "When All the Pieces Fit") and a spirited anthem ("People All Over the World," with Frampton's top-tier vocals showcased). Frampton's guitar playing is always a joy, as evidenced by his remarkable cover of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and the instrumental original "Greens" (both featured on Now). Information:
Get 'Now' here

Artist: Sneakers
Title: Sneakers (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: The dB's, R.E.M., Wilco, Marshall Crenshaw
Tell me more: One of indie rock's earliest American heroes gets a well-deserved second look thanks to Omnivore Recordings' newly-issued Sneakers. The North Carolina-spawned Sneakers (notable for a lineup that included Chris Stamey and Will Rigby who went on to greater fame with the dB's, and Mitch Easter who would lead Let's Active) had a relatively brief run, but the 11-song reissue features bonus tracks and more than enough evidence to see how the band's influence stretched beyond record sales. Blending offbeat lyrics, driving garage rock, sweet vocal harmonies and intricate chord changes, the Sneakers' groundbreaking approach shines on the driving "Ruby," urgent "Condition Red," the tender baroque ballad "Story of a Girl" and a rollicking cover of the Grass Roots' "Let's Live for Today." Information:
Purchase 'Sneakers' here

Artist: Various
Title: Groove & Grind: Rare Soul 1963-1973 (Rockbeat Records / eOne Distribution)
You might like if you enjoy: Sam Cook, Bobby Rush, Betty LaVette
Tell me more: Amazing. That may be the best way to describe the vast range of wonderful recordings that grace Groove & Grind: Rare Soul 1963-1973, a collection of more than 100 tracks on a deluxe collection that stretches across four audio discs. From Don Gardner's uptempo "My Baby Likes to Boogie" and the Jelly Beans' lovely "I'm Hip to You" that kick off to disc 1, things never let up. Each of the discs has been grouped into specific categories: one disc looks at urban soul to emanate out of the five R&B capitals (just listen to Betty LaVette's yearning "Almost"), while another disc focuses on vocal harmony groups to emerge in the footsteps of the Tempations. Southern soul is the focus of yet another disc, while funk is front and center on the 4th disc. The real kicker about this collection is very few of these soul 45s have ever been available on CD. Information:
Get 'Rare Soul Groove & Grind 1963-1973' today

Robert Kinsler

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