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January 15, 2021

Neil Young, Nick Cave, Ahmet Zappa, John Lee Hooker, Kathy Valentine and The Staples Singers

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On November 6th, the John Lee Hooker Estate and Eagle Rock Entertainment released John Lee Hooker Live at Montreux 1983 & 1990 as a 2-LP set, digital video & digital audio. Four-time Grammy Award® winner and Grammy® Lifetime Achievement Award recipient John Lee Hooker will forever be hailed as a legend of the blues genre. His storied career continues its impact on modern music even today — with fans spanning generations and transcending borders. Hooker was responsible for molding the blues into a sound that was entirely his own, dispensing with 12-bar blues in favor of an intensely deep, funky groove. 

Neil Young and Reprise Records announced the 50th Anniversary Edition of Young’s classic record After the Gold Rush, which arrived on CD/Digital on December 11. The deluxe vinyl box set will follow on March 19, 2021. Originally released September 19, 1970, After the Gold Rush is cemented in the annals of music history — the album has often been rightly recognized as one of the finest ever made. 

The collection combined Young’s poetic lyricism and wistful melodies, driven by both dreamy folk arrangements and ferocious rock ‘n’ roll, and in the decades since has been certified double platinum in both the U.S. and the U.K. 

The 50th Anniversary Edition vinyl box set features a variant of the artwork, originally created by Neil’s long-time art director Gary Burden, made in collaboration with Grammy Award®-winning artist Jenice Heo. The set also includes a 7” single in a picture sleeve with two versions of album outtake “Wonderin’.” Side A, originally included in The Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972, was recorded in Topanga, California, in March 1970, and Side B is a previously unreleased version recorded at Sunset Sound in Hollywood in August 1969. A litho print of the album’s front cover is exclusively included in this vinyl box set. The CD format of the 50th Anniversary Edition includes the new artwork and both versions of “Wonderin’.” 

The first-ever full-length documentary chronicling the 60-year career of
The Ventures, The Ventures: Stars on Guitars debuted on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD to cable providers and streaming platforms on December 8th via Vision Films Inc. Outlets for viewing include iTunes, Vimeo, Comcast, Spectrum, DirecTV, and Amazon. It’s the definitive history of the instrumental rock ‘n’ roll band from director Staci Layne Wilson, daughter of the Ventures’ founder Don Wilson and features 35 interview subjects including Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Randy Bachman, John Fogerty, Jimmy Page and composer Lalo Schifrin.

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Following the extraordinary response to the online streaming event in July, Nick Cave releases the album of the performance, Idiot Prayer – Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace, out now on vinyl, CD and streaming services worldwide. Idiot Prayer – Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace was recorded in June 2020 as the UK slowly emerged from lockdown, and was conceived as a reaction to the confinement and isolation of the preceding months. In Idiot Prayer, Cave plays his songs alone at the piano in a rarely seen stripped back form, from early Bad Seeds and Grinderman, right through to the most recent Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album, Ghosteen. The performance was filmed by award winning Cinematographer Robbie Ryan (The Favour-
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Marriage Story, American Honey) in Alexandra Palace’s stunning West Hall. It was edited by
Nick Emerson (Lady MacbethEmmaGreta). The music was recorded by Dom Monks

FOCAL International (The Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries International), the trade association that helps its members facilitate the use of library footage, images, stills and audio in all forms of media production, has awarded the 2020 Footage Library of the Year Award to Reelin’ In The Years Productions. RITY, founded and headed by David Peck is the world’s premier source for footage of musical artists, entertainers and history makers. David Peck commented, “We are so honored that we have won FOCAL’s 2020 Footage Library Of The Year award. Reelin’ In The Years Productions has been in this business for nearly three decades, and while we have won numerous awards for various projects, this one is very special because it speaks to the work we’ve done (and continue to do) to preserve this filmed history and make it available to an ever-growing community of filmmakers.” Reelin’ in the Years has also directed and produced over 70 historical music documentaries and programs focused primarily on the giants of jazz, blues and rock and roll.

There’s a new book out Somewhere You Feel Free: Tom Petty and Los Angeles by Christopher McKittrick which explores the artistic life of Tom Petty through his career-long relationship with Los Angeles and the many colorful characters and venues that inspired him and his music — including his work with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Johnny Cash, Roger McGuinn, Leon Russell, Rick Rubin, and Del Shannon. 

Also check out All I Ever Wanted: A Rock ’n’ Roll Memoir, by Kathy Valentine which chronicles her path from a childhood in Texas to the top of the rock charts with The Go-Go’s and redemption after the group disbanded. 

During 1974 Ian Hunter bandleader of Mott the Hoople published Diary of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star, his delightful ‘74 tour memoir. In 1996 it was republished, and Q Magazine touted the title as “the greatest music book ever written.” During 2018, Omnibus Press issued another expanded edition. In 1999, All The Young Dudes, by Campbell Devine, the official Mott the Hoople biography, was published. On February 25, 2021, Omnibus Press will publish Rock ‘n’ Roll Sweepstakes: The Authorized Biography of Ian Hunter Volume Two by Devine. 

Ahmet Zappas L.A.-based entertainment company, Monsterfoot Productions, has acquired the rights to develop and create new shows and media based on the classic Weird-Ohs monster hot rod model kits of the 1960’s. Weird-Ohs is the brainchild of William “Bill” Campbell, who in the early ‘60s set out to design a wild cast of ‘monsters in hot rods’ along the lines of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s designs. The Hawk Model Company released the first line of Weird-Ohs based on Campbell’s designs in 1963 spawning a hit model toy line with licenses extending from board games, masks, trading cards, records, puzzles, lunch boxes and action figures to an animated series which aired on Fox Family in 2000.

Award-winning custom headphone creator VMODA just announced it is honoring American guitar icon, musician, singer, and songwriter Jimi Hendrix in the first installment of its new Artist Series. Looking to capture his vast impact on music, V-MODA translated critical moments from the musician’s life into three stunning designs. The exclusive designs, named “Peace, Love and Happiness,” “Wisdom,” and “Soul” allow Hendrix fans to wear their admiration proudly on their V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones. “We’re thrilled to have the privilege of showcasing an icon such as Jimi Hendrix as the first in our new Artist Series, and to be incorporating these three new designs into our acclaimed headphones,” says Luca Bolognesi, VP of Marketing Technology of VMODA. “With the addition of the quality and versatility of the Crossfade 2 Wireless, this line is perfect for music-lovers who want to extend their appreciation to what they wear, rather than just what they listen to.” “Peace, Love and Happiness” (XFBT2-PLH) This exclusive design is inspired by Hendrix’s famous “peace, love and happiness” quote. The “Peace, Love and Happiness” exclusive designs can be found at authorized independent V-MODA retailers in the U.S. for $219.99. 

Elvis Presley’s monument-al 1970 marathon sessions with the “Nashville Cats” has been issued by RCA/Legacy Recordings. From Elvis in Nashville, a 4-CD collection with rare and unreleased outtakes was recently released. There’s a smaller package available in a 2-LP edition. Recorded live in RCA’s Studio B in Nashville over the course of an epic five day/night run in June 1970 (with an additional session on September 22), Elvis’ performances from those sessions formed the core of three of his most successful studio album releases from the 1970s: Elvis: That’s the Way It IsElvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old) and Love Letters from Elvis. On From Elvis in Nashville, Presley’s studio tracks from the 1970 sessions are presented in pristine audio, newly mixed by acclaimed engineer Matt Ross-Sprang without added overdubs or orchestration from earlier releases.

Pictured: (L-R) Stax Records owners Al Bell and Jim Stewart with Pops Staples

Pictured: (L-R) Stax Records owners Al Bell and Jim Stewart with Pops Staples

Craft Recordings is thrilled to announce a deluxe CD edition of Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection that shipped to retail outlets this past November. The acclaimed box set presents one of music’s greatest gospel and soul groups, The Staple SingersCome Go With Me presents all of the group’s studio albums released on the iconic Memphis label, spanning 1968–1974, and features the Staples’ biggest hits, including “I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself” and “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me).” Each album was remastered from the original analog masters by Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl, while the seventh disc offers rarities, non-album singles and live recordings from the legendary 1972 Wattstax music festival. 

VMP (Vinyl Me Please) partnered with the label imprint Jazz Dispensary to reissue a series of often-overlooked LPs from artists that have inspired generations of boom bap rappers, lofi beatmakers and acid jazz producers. Remastered from the original tapes on 180-gram vinyl and pressed at world-class record plating and pressing plant Record Technology Incorporated, these five records show the influence of R&B, rock, funk and soul on jazz as a genre. Go investigate David Axelrod’s Heavy Axe, Jack DeJohnette’s Sorcery,
Bernard Purdie’s Purdie Good! Idris Muhammad’s Black Rhythm Revolution! and Leon Spencer’s Where I’m Coming From.

In January there are new releases coming from Real Gone Music. Grateful Dead Road Trips Vol. 2 No. 4 Cal Expo ‘93 Their three-night run from May 25-27 in 1993 at The Cal Expo Amphitheater at the State Fairgrounds in Sacramento. Also from the label is Blue Oyster Cult: Live ’83. The band’s complete July 24, 1983 concert at Perkins Palace in Pasadena, Ca. 

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MEAN MAN: The Story of Chris Holmes is coming to Blu-ray, DVD and VOD on January 15th. Iconic W.A.S.P. guitar player Chris Holmes has lived a life of highs and lows. This musical journey draws parallel stories of his rise, fall, and rebirth with live performance, interview, behind-the-scenes, and archival footage. Written and directed by French filmmakers Antoine de Montremy and Laurent Hart (whose Music production career includes televised interviews with Scorpions, Deep Purple, Slayer, Guns N’ Roses and more), MEAN MAN: The Story of Chris Holmes was a project that was born in 2014 after they had an opportunity to meet and direct Holmes in a music video for the Holmes-penned song “Let It Roar” in Cannes, France. At that time, the former W.A.S.P. guitarist had more or less disappeared from the music scene, leaving his home in the U.S. to seek a new beginning with his wife Sarah in France. Not content with merely directing a music video for the re-born Holmes, de Montremy pursued his bigger dream of writing and directing a documentary film about this iconic metal guitar legend and for the next several years shadowed him throughout Europe while filming everything from band rehearsals, to recording sessions to live performances.

Released only seven months apart in 1970, Cat StevensTea for the Tillerman and Mona Bone Jakon just celebrated as a 50th anniversary Super Deluxe Collector’s Edition Boxes, with both classic albums issued on December 4, 2020 via A&M/UMe. The Super Deluxe Collector’s Editions includes plenty of previously unreleased songs, alongside other rarities. The new Mona Bone Jakon set will include 24 previously unreleased songs, and Tea For the Tillerman will feature 21 unreleased tracks. The studio albums are remastered editions. If you dig Cat Stevens you’ll feast on all the studio demos, BBC Radio live tapes, and audio recordings from TV concerts from Germany and France. 

Legendary comedy group The Firesign Theatre and Stand Up! Records present a new double-LP compilation, Dope Humor Of The Seventies: a two-record set including 83 minutes of previously uncollected funny bits from the Firesign Theatre’s “Dear Friends” era of freeform Los Angeles radio broadcasting,1970-1972. Called “The Beatles of Comedy” by The Library of Congress, the four-man Firesign Theatre wrote and performed together for over 40 years, but their early studio work (1968-1975) for Columbia Records remains their best known and most influential. Now out, it’s an belated sequel to Firesign’s 1972 double-LP Dear Friends — a freewheeling demolition derby of old-time radio tropes seen through the subversive lens of Nixon-era Los Angeles freeform radio. The record will be Firesign’s first new vinyl release since Eat or Be Eaten in 1985. Dope Humor Of The Seventies contains 34 tracks spread over four record sides. Meanwhile the download version of the record is greatly expanded, and includes 46 tracks totaling over two hours. 

The Firesign Theatre, whose founding members were  Philip Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman, and Philip Proctor, came together on Los Angeles radio station KPFK in 1966 on Bergman’s program Radio Free Oz, and subsequently released 35 albums including Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers.

Currently celebrating their 40th anniversary of the innovative record label Independent Project Records (IPR), founder Bruce Licher and partner Jeffrey Clark (singer of the late ’80s LA band Shiva Burlesque) confirmed today the relaunch of the label with an extensive release program featuring remastered, expanded and long out-of-print titles from their back catalog alongside previously unavailable recordings from an exciting range of artists from the creative underground. IPR will relaunch with influential underground albums from Half StringA Fascination with Heights, Scenic’s Incident at Cima and Shiva Burlesque’s Mercury Blues and will be distributed worldwide by Darla Records. All forthcoming titles will be released on vinyl and CD utilizing the label’s iconic hand-fed letterpress artwork designed by Grammy® -nominated artist Bruce Licher of Independent Project Press. All titles were released digitally, many for the first time ever in December 2020.

MVD Entertainment Group in late December issued an 8-disc set (7 CDs + DVD) with all Skydog’s Iggy and the Stooges releases From KO to Chaos. Liner notes and booklet by Paul Trynka. 

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Kudos to Real Gone Music who on February 5, 2021 will be releasing a marvelous Dusty Springfield product, The Complete Atlantic Singles 1968-1971 which presents the A- and B-sides of all dozen singles she recorded for the label in their original mono single mixes, only eight of which have previously appeared on CD. That’s right … only eight (the ones that were on Dusty in Memphis) of these 24 tracks have been on CD, and these singular sides highlight how the move to a more R&B sound at Atlantic (also aided by producers Gamble & Huff and Jeff Barry with such players as The Memphis Boys and The Sweet Inspirations) brilliantly capitalized on the smoky tones of Dusty’s mezzo-soprano to create some of the most potent blue-eyed soul ever recorded. Mastered by Mike Milchner from original tape sources, annotated by Joe Marchese, and featuring copious photos, The Complete Atlantic Singles 1968-1971 is an absolute must for any Dusty devotee or any soul fan to boot.

We’re sad to report the passing of legendary engineer Bruce Swedien at age 86 known for his many collaborations with producer Quincy Jones on his landmark albums with Michael Jackson, including Thriller. In the sixties Swedien was behind the mixing console at Universal Studios in Chicago for some of the terrific sonic efforts by Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, and Lesley Gore. He later moved to Brunswick Records engineering hit singles for Jackie Wilson, the Chi-Lites, Gene Chandler, and Tyrone Davis. In the last 60 years he worked with Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and George Benson.






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