Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Robert Kinsler's favorite 22 reissues, live albums, compilations and special releases of 2022

This year was a terrific one for lovers of expanded deluxe reissues, live sets and special editions...

The Beach Boys
Title: Sounds Of Summer  The Very Best Of The Beach Boys (Capitol/UMe)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Jan and Dean
Tell me more: Originally released back in 2003, the wonderful collection Sounds Of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys was an immediate commercial success remaining on the charts for 104 weeks and ultimately earning 4x platinum certification for sales of four and a half million albums. Fast forward to 2022 and that 30-track collection has been expanded to a total of 80 tracks in celebration of The Beach Boys' yearlong 60th anniversary celebration. It includes 26 new mixes, two first-time stereo mixes as well as 24 new-and-improved stereo mixes. The good news is that both casual and die-hard fans of the beloved group will be rewarded with this expansive title. The parade of stellar hits that spans disc 1 is certainly a great overview of the band's timeless radio favorites ("California Girls," "Surfing' Safari," "Don't Worry Baby," In My Room," "God Only Knows," "Good Vibrations" and so many more), but discs 2 and 3 provide a vast and wider appreciation of the Beach Boys via treasures from the '60s, '70s and '80s. Among the standout selections include the luxurious "All Summer Long," lovely "Disney Girls," tender "Forever," joyous "Sail on Sailor," shimmering "Baby Blue," ambitious "Wind Chimes," harmonies-filled "Add Some Music To Your Day" and rollicking garage rocker "All I Want To Do." Sounds Of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys is available in a variety of formats including digitally, 3CD soft pack and as a Super Deluxe Edition 6LP vinyl boxed set on 180-gram black vinyl in two options - a standard set or a numbered, limited edition version featuring a rainbow foil slipcase and four collectible lithographs. Information: TheBeachBoys.com.

The Beatles
Title: Revolver Special Edition (Capitol Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beatles, The Zombies
Tell me more: The Beatles' 1966 album Revolver is widely considered one of the British band's most beloved albums. The newly-released Revolver Special Edition showcases just how brilliant John LennonPaul McCartneyGeorge Harrison and Ringo Starr — along with producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick — were at creating one of the greatest recordings of the 20th century over the course of a few short months leading up to its release in August 1966. The range of material across the album astounds; listeners will be reminded how many light years ahead the Fab Four were compared to their contemporaries. The material ranges from Harrison's propulsive rocker "Taxman," yearning "I Want To Tell You" and Indian music-immersed "Love You To" to McCartney's beautiful Baroque gem "For No One" and rapturous R&B blast "Got To Get You Into My Life." Lennon's talents are showcased via the driving power pop nugget "And Your Bird Can Sing," rollicking "Doctor Robert" and experimental masterpiece "Tomorrow Never Knows." The expanded deluxe edition of Revolver (the Super Deluxe 5CD Edition is the title reviewed in this column) includes a new stereo mix of the album by GRAMMY Award winning producer Giles Martin (son of the late George Martin) and Sam Okell, two "Sessions CDs" of outtakes, rehearsals, demos and studio chat, the original 1966 mono album, along with a bonus EP with stereo mixes and the original 1966 mono versions of "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" (those two epic singles preceded the release of Revolver). The expanded Revolver Special Edition also includes a 100-page book with a foreword by McCartney, an essay by Questlove, detailed track notes, photographs and ephemera including handwritten lyrics, tape boxes and extracts from artist Klaus Voormann's graphic novel on the making of the GRAMMY-winning original album cover. Information: TheBeatles.com

Bobby Cole
Title: A Point Of View (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett
Tell me more: One of 1967's most legendary albums is finally available via a remastered and expanded version sure to please fans of jazz and '60s recordings. Bobby Cole's A Point Of View exceeds its legendary status thanks to the late artist's incredible talents as singer, songwriter and pianist as well as Grammy-winning producer Cheryl Pawelski and remastering from Michael Graves. The lovely "But It's Spring" is soaked in melancholy, Cole's vocal strengths showcased in each distinctive note of his delivery. Available on audio CD and digital now, a double-LP version is slated for Fall 2022. The inspired jazzy gems that are revisited on the collection include the fleet "Heat," affecting ballad "You Could Hear a Pin Drop," soaring "A Perfect Day," evocative "Elegy For Eve" and reflective "I'm Growing Old." There a number of of previously-unissued bonus tracks to discover too; the rollicking "Checkerboard Life," mournful "How The Lonely Spend Their Time," haunting "I Never Saw The Shadows," stirring "When She Was In Love With Me" and romantic "The Midnight Flower" shed abundant light on Cole's virtuosity. Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.  

Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: At The Royal Albert Hall (Craft Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: John Fogerty, Creedence Clearwater Revival
Tell me more: The long-awaited release of Creedence Clearwater Revival's legendary April 14, 1970 performance at London's Royal Albert Hall is an absolute joy. Grammy-winning producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell mixed and restored the original multitrack tapes; the result is a recording that spectacularly captures the legendary quartet (singer-lead guitarist John Fogerty, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, drummer Doug "Cosmo" Clifford, bassist Stu Cook) at the height of their powers. The fast-moving 12-song set on At The Royal Albert Hall finds the El Cerrito, California-spawned outfit tearing through a mix of timeless hits and lesser known nuggets with bona fide zeal. While casual rock fans will love the powerful takes on "Born on the Bayou," "Green River," Travelin' Band," Bad Moon Rising" and "Proud Mary," aficionados will be equally thrilled by the Lew Herman-penned blues-rock juggernaut "The Night Time Is the Right Time," rollicking take on Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly" and the ferocious Southern-fried closer "Keep on Chooglin'," the latter bolstered by John Fogerty's impressive work on both blues harmonica and lead guitar. In addition to the concert recording being available on audio CD and vinyl, Netflix subscribers can view the full concert that anchors the excellent Jeff Bridges-narrated documentary "Travelin' Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall." Information: CraftRecordings.com.

Marshall Crenshaw
Title: #447 (Shiny-Tone)
You might like if you enjoy: Marshall Crenshaw, The Smithereens, Gin Blossoms
Tell me more: In 2020, Marshall Crenshaw launched a series of reissues focused on a handful of his classic albums beginning with the release of his 1996 album Miracle of Science. On Feb. 4, 2022, a deluxe and expanded edition of his 1999 masterwork #447 was released. This was an ambitious effort featuring Crenshaw on lead vocals, guitar, bass, drums, percussion and vintage keyboards; the album was bolstered by the contributions of Bill LloydGreg LeiszAndy York and former E. Street Band member David Sancious. Remastered with perfection by engineer Greg Calbi, the new edition of #447 allows listeners to rediscover a parade of outstanding selections including the melodic "Television Light," Americana "Glad Goodbye," jazzy instrumental "Eydie's Tune," power pop gem "T.M.D." and Irresistible "Tell Me All About It" along with two new bonus tracks (the terrific roots rocker "Will of the Wind" and a wistful cover of Gregg Turner's "Santa Fe"). Information: MarshallCrenshaw.com.  

The Cure
Title: Wish: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Elektra/WEA)
You might like if you enjoy: The Cure, The Church
Tell me more: The Cure's 1992 outstanding Wish was reissued as a deluxe, must-have 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition in 2022. The expanded edition includes 45 tracks (all compiled by band leader Robert Smith), including 24 previously-unreleased tracks and four new to audio CD. CD 1 features the original album, newly remastered by Smith and Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. The second disc features 21 previously unreleased demos. The third disc includes the four tracks from the mail-order only cassette "Los Wishes" released in 1993 and a slew of other gems. A truly must-have celebration of one of the best albums of the 1990s. Information: thecure.com.

The Hagers
Title: The Complete Capitol Albums (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: The Everly Brothers, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard
Tell me more: Listening to the wonderful recordings that fill Omnivore Recordings' The Complete Capitol Albums by American country duo The Hagers, it defies belief that the team failed to ever score a top hit on the Billboard charts. Jim and John Hager recorded three albums for Capitol Records: The Hagers and Two Hagers Are Better Than One in 1970, and Motherhood, Apple Pie & The Flag in 1971. Additionally, the identical twins appeared 135 times on "Hee Haw" between 1969 and 1985. With the appreciation and explosion of Americana and roots music over the past decade, it's not a stretch to see there may very well be a new appreciation of The Hagers in 2022. The vocal talents of the twins shine across the 30-track collection. The lovely "Loneliness Without You," lively "I'm Her Fun," affecting take on Buck Owens' "Tender Loving Care," soaring "Give It Time," elegant "Flowers Need Sun Too" and nuanced cover of Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings" are early highlights. Late disc standouts include the lovely "Second Fiddle," lovely "I'm Miles Away," countrified "Motherhood, Apple Pie & The Flag," alluring "Four Strong Winds" and Everly Brothers-styled "California On My Mind." Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.

Janis Joplin & Jorma Kaukonen
Title: The Legendary Typewriter Tape: 6/25/64 Jorma's House (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna
Tell me more: Set for release on Dec. 2, The Legendary Typewriter Tape: 6/25/64 Jorma's House is an important and historical release featuring singer Janis Joplin and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson AirplaneHot Tuna along with Jorma's wife Margareta Kaukonen typing away intermittently in the background  recorded on a reel-to-reel machine at the beginning of their respective careers. Although the recording has previously been available via inferior bootlegs, the official version released by Omnivore Recordings today (Dec. 2, 2022) features restoration and mastering from Grammy-winner Michael Graves and sounds wonderful. There are a mix of originals and reworked blues standards. Joplin's own "Kansas City Blues," the evocative "Hesitation Blues," a moving take on Jimmie Cox's "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," and the fiery Joplin-penned "Daddy, Daddy Daddy" are among the winning performances captured back in the summer of 1964. Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.

The Kinks
Title: Muswell Hillbillies / Everybody's in Show-Biz  Everybody's a Star (BMG)
You might like if you enjoy: The Kinks, Blur
Tell me more: The 2CD version Muswell Hillbillies / Everybody's in Show-Biz  Everybody's a Star combines two classic albums from the Kinks. Both 1971's Muswell Hillbillies and 1972's Everybody's in Show-Biz  Everybody's a Star were remastered for the 50th anniversary reissue and several bonus tracks are included on the title. In edition to the 2CD version, the title is available via a deluxe box set, as well as a 1LP, 2LP, and via digital. Information: bmg.com.

Kris Kristofferson
Title: Live at Gilley’s - Pasadena, TX: September 15, 1981 (New West Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Michael Ubaldini, Johnny Cash 
Tell me more: Recorded at Gilley's in Pasadena, Texas on Sept. 15, 1981, Kris Kristofferson's latest release is truly a celebration of the 86-year-old Brownsville, Texas native's enduring and timeless songcraft. From the raucous opener "Me And Bobby McGee," poignant "Casey's Last Ride" and poetic mandolin-adorned "The Pilgrim" to the deeply affecting "For The Good Times" and tender "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)," the freewheeling concert event is a delightful trip back to a historic outing captured when Kristofferson was at the height of his powers. Other standouts on the 15-track Live at Gilley’s - Pasadena, TX: September 15, 1981 include the sparse "Here Comes That Rainbow Again" and "Nobody Loves Anybody Anymore," the country nugget "If It's All The Same To You" and bona fide classic "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down." Information: NewWestRecords.com.

The Left Banke
Title: Strangers on a Train (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: The Zombies, The Hollies, Badfinger
Tell me more: Best known for their hit singles "Walk Away Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina," the Left Banke's story extended beyond those '60s radio favorites as evidenced on a newly-released expanded edition of the troupe's third and final album Strangers on a Train. The new remastered collection rightfully celebrates the New York-spawned baroque pop group's final recordings gathered together on an essential disc of 16 outstanding cuts. Originally featuring the talents of songwriter/keyboardist Michael Brown, lead singer Steve Martin Caro, bassist/vocalist Tom Finn and drummer/singer George Cameron, the Left Banke recorded two LPs in the late 1960s (Walk Away Renée/Pretty Ballerina and The Left Banke Too) before breaking up in 1969. However, the world was reintroduced to the Left Banke via Strangers on a Train issued in 1986; that album was actually a collection recorded in 1978 by Caro, Finn and Cameron. The final chapter came in 2001 when Brown invited Caro to lay down vocals on demos for a hoped-for Left Banke reunion   six of those songs complete the new Omnivore Recordings title. The enticing title track, melodic "Heartbreaker," Beatlesque "Hold On Tight" and wistful "Yesterday's Love" are among the strong early selections on the set. The chamber pop gem "And One Day," gorgeous "I Can Fly," harmonies-filled "Only My Opinion" and funk-meets-disco "Queen of Paradise" along with previously-unheard bonus tracks (notably the lovely "Airborne," confessional "I Don't Know" and gorgeous "Until The End") help keep the momentum soaring high. Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.  

Lions & Ghosts
Title: Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime (Sparkle Plenty Records/Deko Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Simple Minds, Altered State, The Replacements, The Church
Tell me more: Signed to EMI for two albums that were issued in the late 1980s, Los Angeles-based Lions & Ghosts' wonderful 1987 debut Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime has been reissued digitally with bonus tracks and even a new single (the shimmering "Gurl I Luv You"). Thirty five years after it was originally released, Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime delights and will leave listeners wondering why the quartet didn't garner more attention. The enthralling opener "Passion," bouncy "Man In A Car," driving '80s-styled rocker "Mary Goes Round," and harpsichord-anchored chamber pop gem "Stay" are early standouts on the reissue. The jazzy detour "Girl On A Swing," propulsive "Love & Kisses From The Gutter," yearning "Wilton House" and funky "Contradiction" keep up the disc's power in its last half. Lions & Ghosts featured the talents of singer-songwriter Rick Parker, guitarist Michael Lockwood, bassist Todd Hoffman and drummer Micheal Murphy. Information: DekoEntertainment.com.

The Loud Family and Anton Barbeau
Title: What If It Works? (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Game Theory, Anton Barbeau, Big Star, The Three O'Clock
Tell me more: Founded by singer-songwriter Scott Miller in 1982, Game Theory released a number of outstanding albums and several EPs that secured the power pop band's hero status. After the end of Game Theory in 1990, Miller recruited a new group of players and formed The Loud Family. In 2014, Omnivore Recordings began to release a series of remastered and expanded reissues of Game Theory's complete catalog. That record label's ambitious effort to champion the work of Miller now includes an expanded and deluxe edition of The Loud Family's 2006 album What If It Worksan LP which found Miller teaming with rising singer-songwriter Anton Barbeau to create a true masterpiece (sadly, Miller passed away in 2013 at the age of 53).  The material across What If It Works? is melodic to be sure, but the surrounding layers made up of literate songwriting, sharp musical arrangements, great musicianship and experimental elements make for an action-packed listen with new discoveries to be heard with every listen. Just listen to original album track-list offerings "Rocks Off" (a Rolling Stones cover), "Pop Song 99," "Flow Thee Water" and the title track, as well as bonus tracks like the cascading "Don't Bother Me While I'm Living Forever," melodic "I've Been Craving Lately," and rocking "Little Daisy." The reissue features the original 10-track release, as well as more than a dozen bonus tracks. The wonderful packaging includes a 16-page booklet filled with photos, an essay from Stew Stewart, and a conversation between Barbeau and Scott Miller's widow (Kristine Miller) discussing the making of the album. Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com

The Muffs
Title: Really Really Happy (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: The Muffs, The Pandoras, Pixies
Tell me more: Nearly 18 years after its original release, an expanded and essential edition of The Muffs' 2004 album Really Really Happy was released May 13 through Omnivore Recordings. The original album's highlights include the catchy opener "Freak Out," yearning "A Little Luxury," tuneful "Something Inside," hard-hitting "And I Go Pow," heartfelt "How I Pass The Time," the introspective closer "The Story of Me" and a parade of other great songs. The lineup of 22 bonus tracks includes 16 of Kim Shattuck's original demos for the album along with the previously unissued "My Imagination," "Just The Beginning" and "I Hate Gym." The fusion of tight melodic punk rock, melody-anchored songcraft and strong production make for a fantastic listen across the double-CD title. In addition to Shattuck (vocals, guitar, harmonica), the Muffs' lineup includes Ronnie Barnett (bass, toy piano) and Roy McDonald (drums, percussion). Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.  

Title: Live From Hollywood (Frontiers Music Srl)
You might like if you enjoy: Orianthi, Nita Strauss, Michael Jackson's "This Is It" documentary
Tell me more: Singer-songwriter/guitar hero Orianthiis back with Live From Hollywood, a sharp 11-track set of hard-hitting melodic rock captured on Jan. 8, 2022 at the Bourbon Room in Hollywood, CA.  The release  available on audio CD/DVD and Blu-ray  sees the guitarist and her excellent five-member backing band playing songs from the Australia native's most recent release O (notably the hard rocking lead-off track "Contagious," soulful "Sinners Hymn" and edgy "Impulsive") and audience favorites like the kiss-off "What's It Gonna Be?" and stirring romantic cut "Blues Won't Leave Me Alone." Additional highlights include the AC/DC-styled "Think Like A Man," undeniable ear candy hit "According To You" and blues rock-mining album closer "How Do You Sleep?" Orianthi has a winning soprano and her astonishing guitar work impresses at every turn. Information: Facebook.com/Orianthi

The Rolling Stones
Title: Licked Live In NYC (Mercury Studios)
You might like if you enjoy: The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards 
Tell me more: Originally released in 2003 as an HBO special and as part of the Four Flicks package, The Rolling Stones' outstanding Licked Live In NYC has been fully restored and remastered with bonus material that shines a light on the legendary band's 40th Anniversary Tour; the legendary tour included 117 shows and was noteworthy for including the group's first-ever concert in Hong Kong. This title captures the Stones' Madison Square Garden show staged in January 2003; standout versions performed by the band include a fiery "Start Me Up," the melodic Mick Jagger track "Don't Stop," lively "Happy" featuring Keith Richards on lead vocals, magic "Gimme Shelter" (with Lisa Fischer trading vocals with Jagger), rowdy "You Got Me Rocking" and "Honky Tonk Woman" (the latter with guest Sheryl Crow) and fiery "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" and "Brown Sugar." The DVD+2CD version (reviewed in this column) looks and sounds terrific; it includes previously-unreleased performances of "Start Me Up," "Tumbling Dice," "Gimme Shelter" and "Sympathy For The Devil," along with three bonus performances from Amsterdam and rehearsal footage. Licked Live In NYC is also available via SD Blu-ray+2CD (wit includes the additional 51-minute documentary "Tip Of The Tongue"), as a standalone 2CD and 3LP. Information: rollingstones.com.  

The Police
Title: The Police: Around The World Restored & Expanded (Mercury Studios)
Tell me more: With record sales of more than 75 million, The Police are one of the best-selling bands of all time. More importantly, the English rock troupe was one of the most groundbreaking bands to emerge in the late 1970s. In fact, no band has ever blended punk, reggae, jazz and indie rock with the craft and swagger displayed by Sting (lead vocals, bass guitar), Andy Summers (guitar, backing vocals) and Stewart Copeland (drums, percussion, backing vocals). Seemingly at the height of the trio's popularity  following the release of their final studio album (1983's chart-topping Synchronicity they disbanded in 1986.

Now the release of The Police: Around The World Restored & Expanded casts a welcome spotlight on the rise of The Police and their ambitious beginnings and truly meteoric rise. The band's first worldwide tour that took them to six continents in 1979 and 1980 is revisited via a remastered and expanded set available in several different configurations. The Blu-ray+CD version reviewed her is a revelation; the remastered audio and restored visual elements are terrific and the overall quality of the title is sure to please casual fans as well as audiophiles. Bonus features on the Blu-ray include complete live performances of "Walking On The Moon," Next To You," "Message In A Bottle" and "Born In The 50's."

Watching Sting, Summers and Copeland perform is great, and the mix of performance footage with behind-the-scenes candid scenes of the members exploring he Great Pyramids in Egypt, exploring ancient ruins in Greece, jamming with traditional instruments in India and one sequence of Summers wrestling in Japan are fun to be sure.

Information: www.thepolice.com and www.mercurystudios.co.

Title: Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary Deluxe (Mercury Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Rush, Triumph, progressive rock
Tell me more: Rush's best-known album, 1981's Moving Pictures, has been reissued in several first-rate configurations. Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary Deluxe edition reviewed here is a 3-disc version featuring the 2015 remaster of the original album (available on audio CD for the first time) and the complete, unreleased Toronto concert from March 25, 1981. Also included is a booklet with new illustrations by Hugh Syme, plus liner notes by Kim Thayil, Les Claypool, Taylor Hawkins, Bill Kelliher and Neil Sanderson. It's clear that disc 1 features stellar versions of many of the rock trio's most beloved originals ("Tom Sawyer," "Red Barchetta," "YYZ," "Limelight"), and the aforementioned concert features a terrific track listing sure to please fans of the band. The audio quality of the historic concert in the band's hometown of Toronto includes outstanding sounding versions of classics such as "Freewill," "Limelight," "The Trees," "YYZ," "Xanadu" and "Closer To The Heart." Information: Rush.com.

The Smithereens
Title: The Lost Album (Sunset Blvd. Records)
You might like if you enjoy:The Beatles, The Who, Buddy Holly
Tell me more: When Pat DiNizio passed away in December 2017, it appeared that the Smithereens' aptly-titled 2011 would serve as the final statement from the original lineup of the top-tier band. Fast forward to 2022 and the release of the truly miraculous The Lost Album (released on Sept. 23 via Sunset Blvd. Records). Recorded in the fall of 1993 when the New Jersey-spawned quartet was between record labels, the full-length set of songs is a bona fide masterwork featuring a dozen melodic rockers courtesy of the aforementioned DiNizio on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, lead guitarist Jim Babjak, bassist Mike Mesaros and drummer Dennis Diken. The parade of great originals includes the tender "Dear Abby," melodic rocker "A World Apart" (bolstered by an especially tuneful guitar solo), heavy "Stop Bringing Me Down," fiery garage rocker "Monkey Man," Beatlesque "Face the World With Pride" and confessional closer "All Through The Night." My favorite track on the album is the wistful and haunting "Don't Look Down," with DiNizio's signature baritone probing self-doubt with the stylish candor that fueled many of the Smithereens' most beloved classics. Information: OfficialSmithereens.com.

Hank Williams
Title: I'm Gonna Sing: The Mother's Best Gospel Radio Recordings (BMG)
You might like if you enjoy: Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Gram Parsons
Tell me more: The 2022 Hank Williams collection I'm Gonna Sing: The Mother's Best Gospel Radio Recordings marks a perfect chance to discover (or rediscover) the art of Hank Williams. Although he died when he was only 29, Williams remains one of the most significant and influential American singer-songwriters of the 20th century even nearly 70 years after his passing. The track listing on I'm Gonna Sing never falters, with harmonies-adorned pre-20th century hymns ("I Am Bound For The Promised Land," "That Beautiful Home," "The Blind Child's Prayer"), early 20th century hymnals ("The Old Country Church," "I'll Fly Away," "I'll Have A New Life"), black gospel ("When God Dips His Love In My Heart," "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Precious Lord, Take My Hand"), 1940s material ("Thy Burdens Are Greater Than Mine," "Searching For A Soldier's Grave") and Williams originals ("I Saw the Light," "Jesus Died For Me," "I'm Gonna Sing," "Jesus Remembered Me") collectively showcasing Williams' deep and life-long connection with gospel and religious music. The audio 2-CD digipak version reviewed here comes with an informative 12-page booklet that includes detailed liner notes by Williams biographer Colin Escott. The set has also been released via a three-LP triple-gatefold album pressed on 140g vinyl, marking the first time these recordings have been issued on vinyl. The 40 tracks recorded at the dawn of the 1950s sound fantastic; the collection was produced by Cheryl Pawelski while the recordings were restored and mastered by Michael Graves. Information: HankWilliams.com.

The Zombies
Title: The Zombies - Live From Studio Two (Red House Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Zombies 
Tell me more: Concertgoers attending any of The Zombies recent tour dates will want to pick up a copy of The Zombies - Live From Studio Two, a CD+DVD release that features the group's live performance captured at Abbey Road Studios in London on Sept. 18, 2021. The only performance staged by the British rock group in 2021, the 90-minute performance shines as both a concert film and audio-only affair. At the Sept. 18, 2021 concert, the quintet thrilled with a mix of enduring classics, artful covers, deep cuts as well as the live premiere of new songs set to be included on an as-of-yet untitled album likely to be released sometime this year. Led by founding members Rod Argent (keyboards, vocals) and Colin Blunstone (lead vocals), the group also includes guitarist-backing vocalist Tom Toomey, drummer Steve Rodford and bassist-backing vocalist Søren Koch. The five members have a strong chemistry and together display top-tier musicianship and resplendent harmonies bringing the Zombies signature masterful style blending classic rock, baroque pop, jazz and blues to life throughout their 90-minute performance. Blunstone's vocals defy time, and his soaring tenor remains a true wonder. The release is also available for purchase on the group's website. Information: TheZombiesMusic.com


Phil Lynott, Thin Lizzy
Titles: "Phil Lynott Songs For While I'm Away"; "Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978" (Mercury Studios)
You might like if you enjoy: Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, music documentary films
Tell me more: Regardless if you are a hardcore or casual fan, or know very little about Irish singer-songwriter-bassist Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy fame, a wonderful new dual title marks the perfect chance to learn more about the groundbreaking artist. Available as a Blu-ray+DVD+CD (reviewed here) or as a 2xDVD+CD, Mercury Studios' release of "Phil Lynott Songs For While I'm Away" and "Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Like At The Sydney Opera House October 1978" is one of the year's most important classic rock-minded titles"Phil Lynott Songs For While I'm Away" is a compelling feature-length documentary that explores the rich life and music of Lynott, a black boy raised in Dublin who became one of the Emerald Isle's most beloved music artists. Written and directed by Emer Reynolds, the film uses film footage, new and historic interviews, and Lynott's memorable songs to chronicle his life (sadly, he passed away at the age of 36 in January 1986). Among the notables who share insights into Lynott are bassist Adam Clayton (U2), Huey Lewis (Huey Lewis & The News), James Hatfield (Metallica) members of Thin Lizzy, and Lynott's wife and two daughters. "Thin Lizzy The Boys Are Back In Town Live At The Sydney Opera House October 1978" was previously released via VHS, Laserdisc and DVD, but the new version on this title presents the concert with cleaned up video and remixed audio from multi-track recordings. Additionally, five songs from the performance never-before-seen are among the bonus features. Thin Lizzy is seen in a rousing performance with Lynott, guitarists Scott Gorham and Gary Moore and drummer Mark Nauseef delivering powerful versions of "Jailbreak," "Bad Reputation," "Waiting For An Alibi," "The Boys Are Back In Town" and other winning originalsInformation: MercuryStudios.co or ThinLizzyOfficial.com


Robert Kinsler

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