THE FIFTY BEST REISSUES OF 2014-PART 4.
THE FIFTY BEST REISSUES OF 2014-PART 4.
By 1973, Terry Reid’s contract with Mickie Most was over. Now Terry’s career could resume. He signed to Atlantic Records and began work on his third solo album, River, which was rereleased by BGO Records during 2014. Produced by Yes’ Eddy Offord and Tom Dowd, River was the long awaited third album from Terry Reid.
When River was released in 1973, it was well received by critics. Many critics preferred the looser sound of River. They saw River as Terry and his band were jamming and experimenting, seeing where the tracks took them. This was very different to his first two albums. Sadly, River wasn’t a commercial success. It stalled at just number 172 in the US Billboard 200 charts. For Terry Reid, this was hugely disappointing. Having signed to Atlantic Records and with Tom Dowd producing River, this could’ve and should’ve been the start of the rise and rise of Terry Reid. Sadly, that wasn’t to be.
While Terry Reid enjoyed a successful career, he never quite fulfilled reached the heights he could’ve and should’ve. Things could’ve been very different. However, then Terry Reid would never have recorded River, a hugely underrated album, which shows the two sides of Terry Reid.
TODD RUNDGREN-RUNT AND THE ALTERNATE RUNT.
Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer describes Todd Rundgren. His career has spanned over forty years. During that period, Todd Rundgren released three albums with Nazz, and over twenty solo albums. His debut solo album was Runt which was released in 1970. Runt marked the debut of the man many thought would be be crowned King.
Although Runt was Todd’s debut album, he had matured as a singer and songwriter. This is apparent on Runt. It marked a coming of age from Todd Rundgren. He wrote, arranged, produced and played on Runt. It was the perfect showcase for Todd Rundgren’s talents. However, not everyone realised this. On its release in 1970, Runt wasn’t a commercial success. It divided the opinion of critics. Somewhat belatedly, they’ve changed their minds. Now, quite rightly, Runt is now perceived by critics as one of Todd Rundgren’s finest solo albums.
FRANK SINATRA-IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS OF THE MORNING AND SONGS FOR SWINGIN’ LOVERS.
It’s hard to believe that by the early fifties, Frank Sinatra’s career had stalled. Frank Sinatra’s career was at a crossroads. He hadn’t released an album since Sing and Dance with Frank Sinatra. Released in October 1950, Sing and Dance with Frank Sinatra was the final album he released for Columbia. This marked the end of an era for Frank Sinatra.
In 1953, Frank Sinatra signed to Capitol Records. This was one of the best decisions of his career. He was now thirty-eight and too old to be a teen idol. His music had to change direction. However, he couldn’t do this on his own. Fortunately, Capitol Records had the man who could rejuvenate Frank Sinatra’s career, arranger, Nelson Riddle, who was one of Capitol Records’ top arrangers. Almost single handedly, Nelson Riddle transformed and reinvented the career of Frank Sinatra. With Nelson Riddle’s help, Frank Sinatra recorded music that was much more grownup, darker, emotive and sometimes, melancholy. This included several classic albums, including In The Wee Small Hours and Sons For Swinging Lovers which were rereleased by Black Coffee Records.
LONNIE LISTON SMITH AND HIS COSMIC ECHOES-ASTRAL TRAVELLING.
Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman was the perfect label for Lonnie Liston Smith and His Cosmic Echoes’ unique brand of cosmic jazz. Through working with some of the most innovative and creative musicians in the history of jazz, Bob must have realised that often, large record companies aren’t the best environment for innovative and creative musicians. Often, these musical mavericks didn’t thrive within such an orthodox environment. Their creativity is restricted, meaning they’re unable to experiment and innovate like they’d like. So when Bob parted company with Impulse, who he’d transformed into one of jazz’s pioneering labels, he founded Flying Dutchman Productions. This was the label that Lonnie Liston Smith and The Echoes would release a quintet of groundbreaking albums. Their debut was Astral Travelling, which was rereleased by BGP Records, an imprint of Ace Records. Astral Travelling is a cosmic jazz classic.
Innovative, influential and way ahead of the musical curve, describes Lonnie Liston Smith. Proof of this is the music on Astral Travelling. It shows that Lonnie Liston Smith was way ahead of his time. Here was a musician determined to push musical boundaries to their limits, and sometimes, beyond. That describes what Lonnie Liston Smith was trying to achieve. On Astral Travelling, he drew inspiration from all the jazz greats he’d worked with. He borrowed from each of these artists, and the result was his unique brand of cosmic jazz. It’s gone on to influence several generations of musicians and music lovers. Despite this, Lonnie Liston Smith’s music wasn’t the huge success it deserved to be.
With its fusion of avant garde, experimental, free jazz and orthodox jazz, Lonnie Liston Smith’s music never found the wider audience it deserved. Maybe the problem was, that people didn’t understand Lonnie Liston Smith’s music? That’s why his music has only enjoyed a cult following, and never enjoyed the critical acclaim and commercial success enjoyed that came John Coltrane and Miles Davis’ way. Hopefully, now, somewhat belatedly, Lonnie Liston Smith’s music will be understood by a wider audience.
SUPERTRAMP-CRIME OF THE CENTURY.
For Supertramp, success didn’t come overnight. It wasn’t until Supertramp released their third album, Crime Of The Century, the commercial success and critical acclaim came their way. With a new lineup in place, Crime Of The Century, which was recently released by A&M Records, was the start of the rise and rise of Supertramp.
Their new lineup, proved to be the one that brought commercial success and critical acclaim Supertramp’s way. Crime Of The Century was certified gold in America and Britain. Critics hailed Crime Of The Century the finest album of Supertramp’s three album career. Fast forward forty years, and Crime Of The Century is a stonewall classic. It features in Rolling Stone’s 500 best albums of all time. However, Crime Of The Century wouldn’t be the last classic Supertramp released. Supertramp would release a series of classic albums, and become a member of the art-rock royalty.
SWAMP DOGG-RAT ON.
It’s not the music that Swamp Dogg’s 1971 sophomore album Rat On! is remembered for. Instead, it’s remember for having one of the worst album covers of all time. Rat On! features Swamp Dogg sitting on the back of an oversized white rat. That epitomises Swamp Dogg since his lysergic awakening. As the sixties drew to a close, Jerry Williams dropped acid. It was a life changing experience. The Doors of Perception, as Aldous Huxley said, had been well and truly opened. Jerry Williams changed. Psychedelics became his drug of choice. This stimulated his creativity. However, he desperately needed an outlet for this heightened creativity. So he adopted an alter ego Swamp Dogg. He was obsessed by sex, drugs, politics, culture and class. All these subjects came out in his music. His music was funny, prickly, gritty, acerbic and angry. Often, politicians felt the wrath of Swamp Dogg. The newly enlightened Jerry Williams made his debut on his 1970 album Total Destruction Of Your Mind.
When Total Destruction Of Your Mind was released in 1970, it wasn’t a commercial success. Only the single Mama’s Baby, Daddy’s Maybe charted, reaching number thirty-three in the US R&B Charts. For the newly enlightened Swamp Dogg, this was disappointing. Despite Total Destruction Of Your Mind being a groundbreaking album, it passed almost unnoticed. So Swamp Dogg set about working on his sophomore album Rat On! which was recently rereleased by Alive Naturalsound Records.
Just like Total Destruction Of The Mind, Rat On! which was recently rereleased by Alive Naturalsound Records, failed to chart. Since then, Rat On! has remained a hidden gem, better known for its record sleeve than its music. Rat On! reinforces that Swamp Dogg was one of the creative and groundbreaking musicians of the seventies. Comparisons have been drawn with Sly Stone. No wonder. Swamp Dogg, just like Sly Stone, could fuse musical genres and social comment, creating some of the most innovative music of the early seventies. That’s no surprise. After all, Rat On! finds Swamp Dogg at his creative zenith, producing music other musicians could only dream of.
THE BEATLES-RUBBER SOUL (US REISSUE).
Rubber Soul was the first album that The Beatles recorded during one recording session. Recording took place between 12th October to 11th November 1965. This was unlike previous albums. They’d been recorded quickly during a number of sessions. The new approach worked and resulted in a much more focused album which flowed. Another change was the music. On Rubber Soul, The Beatles moved away from the three chord pop of their previous albums. Everything from doo wop, folk rock, garage, Indian rock, pop, psychedelia, soul. Rubber Soul was a much more sophisticated and grown up album of eclectic music. In some ways, Rubber Soul marked a coming of age for The Beatles.
Rubber Soul is quite simply one of the finest albums The Beatles recorded. That’s saying something given the quality of music they released. Their American career began in 1963 and lasted until 1970. However, Rubber Soul saw The Beatles come of age. The music on Rubber Soul is slick, sophisticated, pensive, wistful and melancholy. This marked the start of the second chapter in The Beatles career. During the next five years, they released the best music of their career. From Rubber Soul, The Beatles went on to release classic albums like Revolver, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart’s Club Band and The White Album. However, without Rubber Soul, The Beatles would never have released these albums. Rubber Soul was a stepping stone in their career and is one of the most important, innovative and influential albums of The Beatles career.
THE BLACK HIPPIES-THE BLACK HIPPIES.
One of Nigerian music’s best kept secrets, are The Black Hippies. They only ever released two albums. Their finest moment was their 1977 debut album The Black Hippies. It was released in 1977, on EMI. Sadly, by then, disco and funk were flavour of the month. They’d replaced The Black Hippies’ captivating fusion of Afro-beat, fuzzy rock, psychedelia and voodoo funk. It was a case of a year too late.
If The Black Hippies had been released in 1976, commercial success and critical acclaim would’ve come The Black Hippies way. Instead, The Black Hippies disappeared without trace. It was a case of what might have been. Since then, a new generation have discovered The Black Hippies. It’s come to be regarded as a lost classic. However, copies of The Black Hippies are being increasingly hard to find. So, Academy LPs decision to rerelease The Black Hippies earlier this year was a welcome one. After all, The Black Hippies’ eponymous debut was, without doubt, their finest hour.
THE BLUE NILE-PEACE AT LAST (DELUXE SET).
The Blue Nile were no ordinary band. They did things their way. Enigmatic, reluctant and contrarian are words that best of describe the Blue Nile, whose third album Peace At Last was released as a Remastered Deluxe Set in March 2013. This reissue has been a long time coming. When The Blue Nile’s first two masterpieces 1984s A Walk Across the Rooftops and 1989s Hats were reissued back in November 2012, we were told a remastered version of Peace At Last would be released soon. As any Blue Nile fans knows, time moves slowly in the world of The Blue Nile. So a gap of fifteen months isn’t excessive. After all, there was a gap of seven years between The Blue Nile’s sophomore album Hats and 1996s Peace At Last. Whilst much is made of newly remastered albums, the remastered version of
Peace At Last is truly stunning. Previously unheard subtleties, secrets and nuances. Layers, textures and hidden depths can be heard. This was the case with the remeasured versions of A Walk Across The Rooftops and Hats. Now it’s possible to hear The Blue Nile’s underrated classic Peace At Last in all its glories. This Remastered Deluxe Set is worth every penny. It’s not unlike an old picture that after years covered in grime, is cleaned suddenly, a new picture emerges. That’s what remastering process has done to Peace At Last has done. Never again, will you reach for your original copy of Peace At Last, as the remastered version breathes new life into Peace At Last, which was The Blue Nile’s penultimate album.
THE DETROIT SPINNERS-MIGHTY LOVE.
Earlier this year, Rhino rereleased a about twenty soul and funk albums. One of them, was The Detroit Spinners’ sophomore album Mighty Love. Produced by Thom Bell, Mighty Love was the followup to Spinners, which was The Detroit Spinners’ breakthrough album. This success continued with Mighty Love.
The stars it seemed, were perfectly aligned for The Detroit Spinners. Producing them was Thom Bell, who brought onboard M.F.S.B., one of the legendary house bands. Add to this, backing vocalists the Sweethearts of Sigma, and its no wonder that Mighty Love reached number one in the US R&B charts and number sixteen in the US Billboard 200. Add to this three top ten US R&B singles, including the title track, Mighty Love, then 1973 had been a hugely successful year for The Detroit Spinners. Both Spinners, their first album for Atlantic Records, and Mighty Love reached number one in the US R&B Charts and were certified gold. This was the start of a three year period where The Detroit Spinners could do now wrong.
- Posted in: Funk ♦ Philadelphia Soul ♦ Pop ♦ Psychedelia ♦ Rock ♦ Soul
- Tagged: Ace Records, BGP Records, Black Coffee Records, Crime Of The Century, Frank Sinatra, Lonnie Liston Smith and His Cosmic Echoes, Peace At Last, Rubber Soul, Supertramp, Swamp Dogg, Terry Reid, The Beatles, The Black Hippies, The Blue Nile, The Detroit Spinners, Todd Rundgren