Beatles. Mono. Vinyl. Big box set.

It's back to mono, again, for the Beatles, but this time there's a twist that's worth shouting about. A September release is set for Apple's presentation of the vinyl box set "The Beatles in Mono." The difference, other than format, is the mono results from a pure analogue mastering sequence (AAA) -- or at least as close as is possible in 2014. There are 14 records, cut onto 180-gram vinyl, the weight of choice for most audiophile releases these days. They're being pressed in Germany. The covers are full size, with sleeve artwork "identical to the (U.K.) originals." Those who come up with the $400 or so will get the nine British mono albums, plus the U.S. "Magical Mystery Tour." The non-album-track wrangling is done on "Mono Masters," a three-disc collection. "Abbey Road" and … [Read more...]

‘Miles at the Fillmore’: uncut 1970 brew

"Miles Runs the Voodoo Down," the song title went. And so he did, playing dark and spellbinding music in Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditoriums over a two-year period in the early 1970s. "You can hear that anger and darkness and the craziness of everything that was still in the air from the '60s when this music was made," says the guitarist Carlos Santana, a Fillmore regular and witness to the eruption of the electric Miles Davis. Even today, Santana remains awestruck by Davis' psychedelic proto-funk, as is made clear in his liner notes to a significant restoration of the old live album "Miles Davis at Fillmore" that's due from Columbia/Legacy in March. Davis' psychedelic period began, more or less, when "Bitches Brew" was recorded in 1969. He'd been absorbing psychedelic soundscapes, … [Read more...]

Here come the Small Faces, boxed up

The Small Faces are getting a big box set. "Here Comes the Nice: The Immediate Years Box Set, 1967-1969" is due Jan. 27 in an edition limited to 3,000 copies. These sets are "personally signed" by Kennedy Jones and Ian McLagan, the surviving members of the quartet who "supervised and curated" the project. The Small Faces, led by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. The ambitious box set wraps Charly Records' celebratory Small Faces rerelease campaign of the band's albums, which were rereleased using the original masters. "Here Comes the Nice" had been expected for the holidays, but was pushed back. The box set will go for about $145 in the U.S. -- Amazon appears to have the exclusive -- and apparently won't be sold in the U.K. … [Read more...]

‘Moondance’ rises again: 5-disc set

After years of neglect, Van Morrison's "Moondance" album comes skipping back via a full-blown "deluxe edition." The five-disc box set, due Sept. 30, includes four CDs and a Blu-ray version of the album with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio. Much of the Warner Music box set is dedicated to multiple studio takes of songs from the 1970 album. To no one's surprise, an angry Morrison immediately distanced himself from the release: Yesterday Warner Brothers stated that "Van Morrison was reissuing Moondance." It is important that people realize that this is factually incorrect. I did not endorse this, it is unauthorized and it has happened behind my back. My management company at that time gave this music away 42 years ago and now I feel as though it"s being stolen from me … [Read more...]

Moody Blues prep ‘Timeless’ box set

With almost a half century of music-making to their credit, the Moody Blues have been long overdue for the sort of sprawling retrospective usually accorded rock royalty. That oversight is history with the June 11 release of an 11-CD box set. "Timeless Flight: The Voyage Continues" also contains three audio DVDs, three video DVDs and assorted memorabilia. Preorders are going for about $350. The "Timeless Flight" audio DVDs feature 5.1 surround mixes of six Moody Blues albums on Deram Records, including the psychedelic music classics "Days of Future Passed," "On the Threshold of a Dream" and "To Our Children's Children's Children." Group leader Justin Hayward oversaw the surround-sound remastering. The last Moody Blues reissue project of note came in 2008. Those expanded releases of … [Read more...]

Sly & Family Stone set to take us ‘Higher!’

A multi-CD box set of Sly and the Family Stone recordings called "Higher!" is set for Aug. 27, Sony Legacy says. The label's announcement was keyed to the 70th birthday of Sly Stone on March 15. "Nearly one-fourth of the contents will be previously unissued material," Legacy said in its press release. Stone biographer Jeff Kaliss, who contributed liner notes, says the set will include "pre-Family Stone material," mono hits "as they were played on AM radio" as well as "some stuff you never heard." The collection "will revive and expand your admiration of the brightness and breadth of Sly's talent," Kaliss says. Memorabilia curated by Neal Austinson and a timeline are part of the package, he says. Sony Legacy said specifics will be unveiled in several months. It did not say … [Read more...]

Beatles vinyl box set drops Nov. 13

Details are sketchy, but the Beatles catalog appears to be returning on audiophile vinyl this fall, straight from Abbey Road Studios. The Beatles Stereo Box Set and the 14 individual album titles begin shipping Nov. 13, Acoustic Sounds said. The audiophile recording distributor announced the product in an email to customers Friday, Sept. 21. Links to the individual titles yielded nothing but a note that an announcement was coming Oct. 1. The company's web site also had a prominent teaser about a "major vinyl announcement" that couldn't be unveiled because of "legal concerns." Update: Here are the details of the Beatles vinyl collection, as provided by Acoustic Sounds. /update Abbey Road Studios, home of the Beatles, copied the original master tapes into 24-bit/192 Khz files … [Read more...]

Dead’s ‘Euro ’72’ box set sells out, but …

That big gooey box set of the Grateful Dead's European tour of 1972 is gone and nothing's going to bring it back. Sort of. The limited-edition box set -- stuffed with "memorabilia and ephemera" -- sold out in four days, but Dead.net now offers a "music only" collection for the same price: $450. The sets should ship in the fall. Dead.net still promises that no more than 7,200 copies of the original box set will be created. The first lucky 3,000 Deadheads who preordered will get box sets personalized in some way. A hardcover coffee table book goes along with the memorabilia and more than 60 discs. (Update: As of 2013, those sets were going for a grand on Amazon.) "Although perhaps not as cool as the boxed set, the bottom line is that the most important aspect of "Europe '72: The … [Read more...]

‘Love Is the Song We Sing’: CD review

San Francisco more or less created psychedelic rock in the 1960s, although it can be argued that the first song worthy of that tag came from London, where the Yardbirds cooked up "Happenings 10 Years Time Ago." "Love Is the Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970" tracks the progression of the local sounds starting with bands influenced by the promise of the "Rubber Soul"-era Beatles and running through the golden era of psychedelia. Rhino's four-CD set comes in a box-sized package, with the essays and a photo gallery contained in a 120-page book. This is a coffee table CD set, if there ever were one. There are 77 tracks, more than four hours of music. The audio is outstanding, up to Rhino's standards in every way. "Seismic Rumbled" (disc 1) features early contributions … [Read more...]

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