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I.B. BAD: RISE OF THE
NEXT-GEN BALLERS
A hot list of buzzing execs and entrepreneurs (8/17a)
TOP 20: KESHA
AND CARRY
Just how big is Rainbow's pot of gold? (8/17a)
GREER HEADING TO DEF JAM AS EVP MARKETING & COMMERCE
The times (and labels) they are a changin'... (8/17a)
RATING THE BRITS
Ferdy on fire. (8/17a)
GREER HEADING TO DEF JAM AS EVP MARKETING & COMMERCE
The times (and labels) they are a changin'... (8/17a)
HITS' 31ST ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
WHAT'S FOR LUNCH
What we're eating. How long it took to arrive. How cranky we got.
A MASSIVE MIXTAPE?
Two giants of the form are rumored to be collaborating.
THE RETURN OF ROCK
Turns out it was just napping.
Critics' Choice
RHINO GOES DEEP WITH THE CARS,
WBR REISSUES STEVE EARLE
8/16/17

By Bud Scoppa

 

Lavish box sets and career-overview compilations have long been the sexy attention-getters for catalog labels, but the album-by-album reissuing of the discographies of important artists is just as significant for music lovers who want to delve deeper.

Rhino, which has quietly been doing a quality job on this front, has begun working through the six LPs cut by The Cars for Elektra, releasing the band’s second and third albums, Candy-O and Panorama. Both were part of 2016’s The Elektra Years 1978-1987, remastered under the supervision of Ric Ocasek, but these two new reissues add outtakes, B-sides, alternate mixes and demos for a more in-depth look into the recording process of the great Boston band.

Candy-O’s seven extras include four songs cut at Northern Studios in Boston suburb Maynard, where The Cars had been demoing material since their formative stages. Early takes of “Candy-O’ and “Dangerous Type” underscore the band’s signature fidgety intensity, their dynamic immediacy comparing favorably to the more streamlined final versions produced by Roy Thomas Baker at Cherokee in L.A.

The three previously unissued Panorama tracks—“Shooting for You,” “Be My Baby” and “The Edge”—as well as B-side “Don’t Go to Pieces,” are suffused with the dark melancholy of the released album and performed with taut, sinewy energy, making the expanded reissue even more of a complete thought. If the CD rather than the vinyl LP had been the configuration of choice in 1980, all four might well have made the original album—they’re definitely strong enough.
          


Coming in September are a half-dozen albums Steve Earle released on E-Squared/ Artemis between 1999 and 2004, as Warner Bros. undertakes a reissue program on the writer/artist’s catalog following his return to the label. For my money, the essential LPs in this batch of extra-free re-releases are 2002’s Jerusalem and 2004’s The Revolution Starts…Now, each seething with the accrued frustration and bitterness that beset much of the nation during the first term of Bush the Younger.

Co-produced by Ray Kennedy and featuring a core band comprising guitarist Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, drummer Will Rigby, bass player Kelley Looney and percussionist Patrick Earle (Steve’s kid brother), the two records rock as hard as anything in Earle’s bountiful discography. Just as significantly, the sociopolitical payloads of songs like Jerusalem’s “Ashes to Ashes” and “Amerika v. 6.0 (The Best We Can Do)” as well as The Revolution’s title song and “F the CC” are startlingly relevant today.

So are Earle’s original liner notes. “We are a people perpetually balanced on a tightrope stretched between our history and our potential, one faltering step away from a headlong tumble from the most dizzying of heights,” he writes in the notes for Jerusalem. “But fear not—we’re working with a net.” That net Steve’s referring to is the U.S. Constitution.

PERSONAL PLAYLISTS FOR ELVIS WEEK
8/14/17

Thirty years ago, Mojo Nixon sang “Elvis is everywhere/Elvis is everything/Elvis is everybody/Elvis is still the king.” He could not have predicted that, three decades later, the owners of Elvis Presley’s catalog would have the power to take his music and spread it everywhere for everybody under the title of Elvis for Everybody. 

As part of the annual Elvis Week, the August ritual that includes the date of his death—8/16/77—Sony Legacy has created a playlist generator that takes into account a fan’s level of interest in the King and their current state of mind. Our first shot at the list opened with “Hurt”—does that give you a hint about our early Monday temperament?

THE DEAD RE-LIVE THE SUMMER OF '89
8/8/17

The Grateful Dead did 74 shows and released their final studio album in 1989 and in the middle of the summer landed at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, D.C. Heavy rain and oppressive humidity greeted the band, but the performances they delivered there are considered among the tour’s best.

Those shows are being released 11/10 as a six-CD set titled Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington, D.C., July 12 & 13, 1989 via Grateful Dead Records/Rhino. The set is taken from the band's master 24-track analog recordings, which have been mixed by Jeffrey Norman at TRI Studios and mastered in HDCD by David Glasser.  The set will also be available as a digital download in Apple Lossless and FLAC 192/24 exclusively at Dead.net

David Lemieux, Grateful Dead archivist and the set's producer, notes, "RFK Stadium '89 fell right in the middle of one of the best tours of the last 15 years of Grateful Dead performances, with these shows being the sixth and seventh of an 11-show tour. This tour is widely considered the start of a nine-month period of sustained excellence, which ran from summer '89 through spring '90.

“The RFK shows are as good as any of the more famous shows from this period, including July 4 in Buffalo, July 7 in Philadelphia, and the Alpine run. When Bob Weir has asked me to provide copies of Grateful Dead songs to give to his bandmates to learn and rehearse, he almost always requests summer '89, and I've often drawn upon the RFK shows for this purpose.”

Some trivia about the shows: The first set on 7/12 features at least one song sung by each of the band's four lead singers; "Sugaree" appears in the second set instead of the first; and Bruce Hornsby is a guest at both shows. More D.C. trivia: Rhino President Mark Pinkus continues to roll blunts in the shape of the Washington Monument.