I.B. BAD ON A VIBRANT BUT BIFURCATED MARKETPLACE
What's growth got to do with it? (1/19a)
BRUCE GIVES OBAMA
A SEND-OFF SHOW
How fitting is that? (1/19a)
BBC RADIO 1 HOSTS FUTURE STARS
...including DIY up-and-comer Jorja Smith. (1/19a)
THE PRESIDENT-ELECT ON STREAMING
Political performance battle A companion piece to the SNL cold open. (1/19a)
“Come on and dance, somebody—let’s go,” commands Jim Morrison during the opening strains of “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” one of several blues workouts on The Doors London Fog 1966, the fan-servicing dream of a new package from Rhino. It’s startling, frankly, when the jam ends to a smattering of lukewarm applause, as though it were a soundcheck. But the L.A. band was still months away from its injection into the pop mainstream—at which point The Doors’ swirling saturnalia of sex, poetry, revolt and hallucinatory revelation would conquer the charts and fill much larger venues with writhing, screaming acolytes.
For now, they were a hard-working blues-rock combo paying dues in local dives—of which London Fog was among the skeeviest. But Whisky-a-Go-Go booker Ronnie Haran Mellen, whose reminiscence appears in the booklet for the CD in this set, saw them there, and the rest is history.
In addition to the aforementioned CD, the gig in question is presented on 10-inch vinyl in a treasure box with photos and clever keepsakes (like a rumpled repro of the setlist, a London Fog drink coaster with Pamela Courson’s smeared-out phone number on the back, a UCLA film-school program and more). The seven-song set is all covers except for “You Make Me Real” and “Strange Days,” as old blues tunes were more likely to motivate the ragged, beer-besotted attendees.
Though the sparse crowd isn’t quite hip to what it’s witnessing, the band’s signature sound is in full effect: Ray Manzarek’s inimitable organ tones, which now sound like the very signature of night; Robby Krieger’s slicing, Delta-driven guitar lines; John Densmore’s urgent, Latin-accented grooves; and of course Morrison’s galvanizing, throaty vocals. It’s a gimpse into the moment before The Doors exploded—not to mention a larky triumph of creative packaging—and will undoubtedly gladden the hearts of many a rock aficionado over the holidays.
Sometimes a project is so huge it takes two burly major label outlets to lift it. Such is clearly the case with the two hefty Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 40th anniversary box sets, The Complete Studio Albums, Vols. 1 & 2—two glorious testaments to some of the finest rock and roll ever committed to vinyl (more of the details here). The nine-disc Vol. 1 (1976-91) and seven-disc Vol. 2 (1994-2014) are being delivered via UMe and Reprise/Warner Bros., and they sound like a million bucks—not only because of the outrageous catalog of great music but because they’ve been lovingly reissued on 180-gram vinyl. Several of the albums have been out of print for years (vinyl of the great Wildflowers, for one, has been fetching a pretty penny on eBay and elsewhere). In addition to the cavalcade of giants hits—“American Girl,” “Refugee,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Breakdown,” “Last Dance With Mary Jane,” “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” and so on—the non-aficionado can discover a world of brilliant, incisive songwriting. Those of us who strive to write good songs tend to ask “What would Tom Petty do?” Here’s why.
Twas the month before Christmas
And all through the shops
The vinyl was spinning,
The needles were dropped.
The crush at the doors causes such a clatter
As everyone scurries for their favorite platter.
No CDs for this crew, it’s LPs or bust
A limited edition spurs feelings of lust.
This year’s bounty means sacks are all full,
With records once treasured and a new one from Tull.
The vaults keep giving, that never stops.
Now Universal, Now Rhino! Now Sony’s Legacy,
To the endcaps! To the racks! To the rest of the store!
With armfuls of records, music to adore.
So check the list,
Review it once or twice,
Record Store Day’s for everyone
Whether naughty or nice.
Here's a rundown of highlights for Record Store Day's Black Friday this week. Among Sony Legacy’s offerings are: Run-D.M.C.’s “Christmas In Hollis”/”Peter Piper” 12-inch picture disc; Alice In Chains' Live Facelift; Bob Dylan’s double-album The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert; Jimi Hendrix’s Morning Symphony Ideas 10-inch LP.
The Rolling Stones will release a one track limited edition electric blue 10-inch featuring Eddie Taylor’s “Ride ‘Em On Down.” The Interscope release is limited to 3,000 copies.
Rhino has a series of limited editions: Blue Man Group’s Three (1,200 copies); Foreigner’s 10-inch The Flame Still Burns (3,250 copies); Jethro Tull’s 7-inch “Ring Out, Solstice Bells” (2,000 copies); Ramones’ Live at the Roxy, Hollywood, CA (8/12/76) (9,500 copies); an expanded edition of The Afghan Whigs’ Black Love (3-LP, 5,000 copies; 2-CD, 4,500 copies); The Cars’ picture disc of “Just What I Needed” (4,000 copies); The Monkees’ 10-inch Good Times! Plus! (4,500 copies); and a split 7-inch of The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper's Delight” and Chic’s “Good Times” (3,500 copies).
To whet the appetite of Frank Zappa fans awaiting the 12/9 release of five early Zappa and the Mothers of Invention LPs, UMe/Zappa will release a 7-inch of "How Could I Be Such A Fool?" b/w "Help, I'm A Rock 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here."
The five-track bonus CD of Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger (UMe/A&M) is being released as an EP Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas (aka SOMMS); it’s limited to 3,000 copies.
Several labels are going with live albums. Republic’s James Bay is releasing a nine-track live album, Chaos and the Calm Live, recorded at London's Hammersmith Apollo in March. Concord’s Stax has a two-LP version of the six-CD set Otis Redding: Live At The Whisky A Go Go: The Complete Recordings. EMI Nashville is issuing a 10-inch EPfrom Eric Church, On The Rocks—Live and (Mostly) Unplugged.
Real Gone Music has two live albums: Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Got a Mind to Give Up Living—Live 1966 and a 1978 live LP from Todd Rundgren & Utopia, Live at the Old Waldorf. Modern Harmonic is releasing a triple LP of a 4/20/1991 show by the Sun Ra Arkestra at the Inter-Media Arts Center in New York.
Caroline, meanwhile, has a solo acoustic version of James Vincent McMorrow's forthcoming third album We Move. Butch Walker’s contribution is the vinyl-only Cassette Backs.
Omnivore continues its Alex Chilton reissues with Big Star Complete Third Vol. 1: Demos to Sessions to Roughs.
From the film side, Walt Disney Records is releasing Shag Kava’s 10” Star Wars Headspace track “Jabba Flow” and "The Mickey Mouse Club Theme" on a picture discs, and Light In The Attic’s Cinewax has Jerry Goldsmith’s score to Chinatown.
And the land of limited edition singles finds Third Man Records issuing the 7-inch of The Raconteurs "Steady As She Goes" b/w "Store Bought Bones" and Yusuf/Cat Stevens "I Love My Dog" b/w "Matthew And Son."
Also being released are LPs from The Bangles, Iggy & the Stooges, Iron Maiden, The Turtles, James Brown’s Funky People, Muddy Waters and others. The Kinks, Conor Oberst, Mike Watt and The Fleshtones are among the acts you’ll find in the 7-inch bins.
Click here for a list of participating stores and here for a list of titles. Most of us at HITS would love to score that Sun Ra album pictured to the right, but we'll be lucky if we can scrape up bus fare to get to Amoeba.