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ROLLING STONES/Grrr: Believe it or not, 50 years in and the Stones can still release anthologies that people will bitch about. There's not enough of this, there's too much of that, this was left off... Available in several configurations, including one that is filled with their earliest demos, this is the new face of contemporary, American history. A textbook of riffs and licks these limeys originally stole from us and then sold them back at inflated prices, the self proclaimed world's greatest rock and roll band have pretty well wrapped it up with a big, red bow. If this is your entry point to the Stones then you are a yuppie that missed the 60s and just wants to show off his ability to buy over priced tickets and let the world know you'll by cool at any price (very uncool) just to show you're hep to the jive. On the other hand, if you want new sonics brought to old classics with everything you need under one roof, the Glimmer Twins are here to oblige.

THE WHO/Live at Hull 1970: Hard to believe that by 1974 they were releasing albums of out takes and by 1978, Moony would be dead, but in 1970, this double live album shows they had quite the résumé already built up, and that's with a release schedule that made it feel like they were releasing either a group or solo album once a week for years. No wonder they were burnt out. This is a break out set form the Live at Leeds super terrific edition so uber fans may or may not need this depending on how their coins were jingling at the time of the set's original release. Recorded after Leeds, their shows were constants so there isn't the kind of variation you find in the Dead doing the same song over and over (sort of), but uber fans are uber fans---and those who want to rock shall not be denied. A few years later, if this was released then, this could have kick started the whole double live album avalanche of the mid 70s.

MARY WELLS/Something New-Motown Lost and Found: Here's the proof that the music business and the record business are separate entities that sometimes have interests that intersect. 50 years after they were originally recorded, here comes almost 50 rare songs by one of the labels first solo stars, and almost half of it is previously unreleased. Can you imagine what a motherfucker the Motown "quality control" lab was if they spent good money on this stuff and sat on it for 50 years? Crazy. Hard to say now if these would have been competitive as hit record potentials, but it sure is damn great music. First class stuff all they way, even when it shoots a few misfires that were basically experiments for the times, how can you call yourself a Motown junkie and not Hoover up a copy of this? C'mon, Chalkie, get your head in the game! Even when they sent her into supper club mode, the true pro didn't let anybody down. Hot stuff that you can only say ‘better late than never'. Check it out and remember why their catch phrase was ‘the sound of young America'.

MARVIN GAYE/Trouble Man 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition: Now, for the first time anywhere in the same digipak, all the music from Gaye's blackspoitation soundtrack are together under the same shrink wrap. The movie died a quick death but the music lived on well beyond the celluloid shelf date. Rousing stuff that only hinted at what was to come, there was a golden age of blackspoitation movie music in effect when this came out, and the cleffers often did better than the pics, like this one here. The music has had a circuitous past but now it will all make sense to everyone. Not the kind of completeist package you have to be an uber fan to appreciate, you just have to love churning soul and funk that makes a solid enough statement that even underscore riffs are solid enough to be stand alone tracks. This is an important part of Gaye's legacy.

ELVIS COSTELLO/In Motion Pictures: Personally selected by Costello, the tracking here is themed by the thread that these are songs that have appeared in pictures that Costello liked. Hard core fans will have all these tracks already on the original albums and the choppy nature of the tracking might not make this the ideal places for the newbie to start, unless movie placements are what kicked off their Costello journey. Not a dicey proposal, but because he hasn't had anything new for a while and because anthologies like this always leave off something that sets the vocal to bitching, you can proceed with your own judgment about the price of admission. This is a set of known quantities, and if anything, it finds the angry young man moving into elder statesman mode.

ALICE COOPER/Old School 1964-74: A condensed version of the uber fan set released last year and now only available on EBay, this cuts it right down to the guts of it all for the uber fan that couldn't part with the bucks of the super deluxe version of this the first time around. The band takes you behind the scenes of their Zappa years with demos and rarities et al, the journey in their own words and more. Sure to make you feel old, this is timed to celebrate the 40th anni of their break out and the journey they took (and all the abuse that went with it) as they thumbed their noses at au courant hippie values and set the stage for arena rock to follow. Seriously hard core stuff.

WAR/The World is a Ghetto 40th Anniversary Edition: This is one of those sets you don't pick up for the bonus tracks unless you are a first rank uber fan. This is one of those sets you pick up because it was the ground zero classic of low rider funk that set the standard that still is the standard. It should be more than obvious this stuff has never gone out of style. Classic, killer stuff.

FRANK ZAPPA/The Lost Episodes: This, one of the last things Zappa worked on before he died, is a tribute to himself, his fellow travelers and his fans, as he opens his back pages up to include recordings that span back to 1958, show what him and Beefheart were as young bucks, tip the cap to the various all stars that he rubbed elbows with, open up a police bust at his house for noise (he left he tape on when they showed up) and more that totally humanize him to his fans as he shuffled off this mortal coil. A left field starting place for the newbie that wants to be inoculated by dada weirdness from the start, Zappa somewhat steps out from behind the curtain and shows he ain't such a controversy generatin' weirdo after all. Sad to say, but this is something an artist can really be sincere and energized about when he knows he's a-headin' for the last round up. The kind of recording the hard core can enjoy with both a tear and a laugh.

Volume 36/Number 48
December 18, 2012
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2012 Midwest Record

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