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ELVIS COSTELLO & THE ATTRACTIONS/Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook-Deluxe Edition: Of course, leave it to the angry old man to bring you a go go dancer with glasses. The deluxe edition is a cd and a dvd, with the dvd having a few extra songs because of the extra length it can accommodate. Whipping through the greatest hits with hard rock energy and punk aplomb, Costello serves up a pleaser for the fans, highlighted by The Attractions not showing their age while playing. It's true, the punk generation's Leonard Cohen knows how to give his fans what they want.

EARL VAN DYKE/The Motown Sound-The Complete Albums and More: Prior to the 60s, the busman's holiday album was a covers album, but after Beatles hit, originality was the key and of you were just doing what someone else already did...meh. Cool cats, like Funk Brother Van Dyke, were given solo shots as a way to slip a few extra bucks into their pockets and so uber fans would have one more thing to plunk down cash for if they liked someone they saw on tour or were inveterate liner note readers. Whither cats like Van Dyke and all the great session/sidemen of the era that were given the chance to make records that weren't meant to succeed but they played their hearts out any way. Two utterly groovy albums plus loads of live takes and singles fill out this twofer and if the music business wasn't in the midst of such heady expansion, these hidden jazz/soul/funk gems would have gotten greater, real time recognition. A piano man second to none, he brought the funk to Jimmy Webb as only Isaac Hayes could, and he didn't flinch. For anyone whose dug what they've dug up from under the shadows of Motown, this is a delightful find, especially the generously packed in previously unreleased cuts. Stuff like this is why the 60s still live and Northern Soul won't rollover and die. Check it out.

MARLEY/soundtrack: The cleffer to the Marley bio pic doesn't mess around and goes as far back in his back pages as recordedly possible. It's wasn't always about skanking riddims, but there was a message in his music right from the start. A fascinating audio without the rest of the pic in tow, after all the Marley repackaging that's been done, this set seems to take it to the next level of the game and opens the door like the Elvis Sun masters does. Just when you thought you've heard it all, along comes some essential stuff that any real fan will certainly groove to. Hot stuff from the literal start to the finish.

GEORGE HARRISON/Early Takes V. 1: Talk about a family business! George Martin's kid works with Harrison's estate to dig up demo versions that have never been released to give the fans something to talk about. There's going to be an avalanche of McCartney marketing this summer so if Scorsese wants to give Harrison some love, why not go along for the ride if you are a fan? These are demos versions of known songs so there's nothing "new" here, but he won't be coming this way again, and there was once a time when the uber fan couldn't be stopped. But that was before they could just steal it.

Volume 35/Number 199
May 8, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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