Psychedelic year in review: Top titles

A half century hasn't dampened demand for the psychedelic goodness of the 1960s. The year 2015 found record labels still stuffing bins with high-quality releases, carefully crafted to take you higher. Here's a review of the year's top reissues of music connected with the psychedelic era. All are still available as 2015 fades to black, although some remain specialty items worth grabbing before the collector's price gouging gets under way. Jimi Hendrix: Completists welcomed the CD release in 2006 of "Burning Desire," the Dagger label's collection of "authorized bootlegs" from the master guitarist's final years. Now Sony Legacy has the expanded vinyl version, on two LPs. Tracks were recorded at the Record Plant in late 1969 and early 1970 with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. Listen for … [Read more...]

Black Friday books Hendrix, Joplin

Sets from Jimi Hendrix, Big Brother, the Zombies, Frank Zappa, Ween, and Stardeath and White Dwarfs top the psychedelic menu for Record Store Day's holiday edition, 2015. Other 1960s-vibed fare for Black Friday comes from Jeff Beck, Funkadelic, the Alan Parsons Project, NRBQ, MGMT and the Kinks. Also sure to interest collectors of the era's output is the 15th anniversary release of the "High Fidelity" soundtrack. Releases are all on vinyl and are Record Store Day exclusives unless noted (top section). Jimi Hendrix: Completists welcomed the CD release in 2006 of "Burning Desire," the Dagger label's collection of "authorized bootlegs" from the master guitarist's final years. Now Sony Legacy has the expanded vinyl version, on two LPs. First 5,000 are numbered. The Hendrix tracks were … [Read more...]

‘Astral Weeks’ tops flood of Morrison titles

Van Morrison's psychedelic folk classic "Astral Weeks" finally is getting an expanded reissue via Warner Bros. Sony, meanwhile, has launched a massive revival of the singer's catalog. "Astral Weeks" comes out Oct. 30 via WB/Rhino, on CD and digital files. Morrison's rocking "His Band the Street Choir" also is due from Rhino at the end of October. And 33 Morrison albums have just been made available digitally via Sony, some of them long unavailable in the market. Sony's Legacy label also has released a double-disc compilation of Morrison's works. 1968's "Astral Weeks" produced no hits, but its dreamlike quality influenced generations of left-of-center musicians. Morrison, known chiefly at the time for the top 40 hit "Brown Eyed Girl," had taken to working with acoustic music, … [Read more...]

Waters, Gilmour have Q3 in the pink

Solo works from Pink Floyd veterans Roger Waters and David Gilmour highlight the psychedelic music releases coming to market in 2015's third quarter. Other key releases come from Steppenwolf, Procol Harum, the Nice, Tame Impala, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Roger Waters' long-awaited -- and frequently delayed -- rerelease of "Amused to Death" will finally happen July 24 on all major formats, including 200-gram vinyl, Blu-ray Audio and hybrid SACD. Analogue Productions' revival of the Waters concept album features remastered audio by longtime Waters-Pink Floyd collaborator James Guthrie. The Blu-ray and SACD boast a 5.1 surround remix. The Blu-ray double-disc edition includes a CD with a straight version of the album, as well as the surround and stereo … [Read more...]

Quad Doors, live Yes, EL&P spark Q2

Classic but freshly repolished goods from the Doors, Yes, the Yardbirds, EL&P and Miles Davis promise a strong second quarter in the psychedelic music world. The Doors' music remained in strong demand a few years after the death of singer Jim Morrison. Elektra looked to give the music new spark with a "Best Of" collection in quadraphonic. The four-channel format fizzled, and Doors marketers moved on to other repackaging jobs, but the quad collection was never forgotten by the early adopters of long ago. Ace audio revivalist Steve Hoffman delivers the goods June 2 with a hybrid SACD containing the original quad mix and his re-do of the two-channel stereo mix. Tracks include the usual suspects as well as "Who Do You Love," "Take It As It Comes" and "Moonlight Drive." "I think that … [Read more...]

Record Store Day ’15: Zombies, Doors, Sly

The Zombies, the Doors, Sly and the Family Stone, Captain Beefheart and Hawkwind lead the freak parade for Record Store Day 2015. Other goodies for psychedelic bin flippers include vinyl by Country Joe and the Fish, Todd Rundgren, Jeff Beck, the Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Procol Harum, Tomorrow, Sun Ra, Robert Plant, the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, the Flaming Lips and Frank Zappa. The eighth-annual event promoting indie record stores is now an unabashed celebration of the old-school vinyl format. Record Store Day is Saturday, April 18. The Zombies: What was to be the follow up to the psychedelic classic "Odessey and Oracle" never was. Officially. Now the "R.I.P. Album" has been unearthed for its "first legitimate vinyl release" by the Varese Sarabande label. The band had broken up the … [Read more...]

Beach Boys’ audiophile vibrations

The Beach Boys' classic albums are returning to market in various audiophile formats, beginning this month and running through 2015. Psychedelic-era works include "Pet Sounds," "Surf's Up," "Smiley Smile" and "Sunflower." Analogue Productions' series begins Dec. 16. with early band titles "Surfin' Safari" and "Surfin' USA" and three others, on 200 gram mono vinyl. The reissues are mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, "most from the original master tapes or best sources available." "These are the best sounding and best-looking versions of the Beach Boys records that have ever been produced," said Chad Kassem, owner and CEO of label parent Acoustic Sounds. Jan. 6 sees the rerelease of the early albums in stereo. The later-period Beach Boys titles are coming "later in … [Read more...]

Black Friday stars Hendrix, Iron Butterfly

Iron Butterfly, Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young dish out some tasty vinyl for this Thanksgiving weekend's edition of Record Store Day. Black Friday 2014 falls on Nov. 28. It's the little-brother event to the main Record Store Day in April. Both celebrate independent record stores, with the emphasis on the resurgent vinyl format. Here are the psychedelic servings for RSD Black Friday: Iron Butterfly's 1968 debut album returns in mono, cut into 180-gram vinyl in a Record Store Day exclusive release from Atco/Atlantic. The San Diego-area band would undergo significant membership changes before finding global fame with "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," but the heavy psycho-metal starts here: "Possession," "Unconscious Power" and the epic "Iron Butterfly Theme." Remastered from the original analog … [Read more...]

6 Harrison albums in ‘Apple Years’ set

George Harrison's first six albums are being packaged in the box set "The Apple Years 1968-75." The eight-disc set drops Sept. 23. The albums, digitally remastered from the "original analogue masters," are "Wonderwall Music," "Electronic Sound," "All Things Must Pass," "Living in the Material World," "Dark Horse" and "Extra Texture (Read All About It)." The Harrison titles also be available individually, on CD and as digital downloads. The late Harrison's son, Dhani, teased the project on Twitter a month ago, followed by speculation amongst fans as to whether the first two albums -- both unconventional -- would be part of the package. Fans had been waiting on the official release of Sept. 2 to confirm what exactly would be in the package. "Some of these records have long been … [Read more...]

‘Cry of Love,’ ‘Rainbow Bridge’ return

The first two posthumous Jimi Hendrix albums, "The Cry of Love" and "Rainbow Bridge," are to resurface in September via official CD and vinyl editions. The 1971 albums include now-familiar tracks earmarked for the guitar god's "First Rays of the New Rising Sun" project, never completed or fully formed during Hendrix's lifetime. "Rainbow Bridge" has never been officially released on CD. "Cry of Love" was last issued on CD in 1992. Both have been newly remastered. The tracks from these two albums haven't exactly been MIA, however, as they've been released on various compilations, notably the 1997 "First Rays of the New Rising Sun" reconstruction. They include "Freedom," "Ezy Ryder," "Straight Ahead" and "Angel" ("The Cry of Love") and "Dolly Dagger," "Earth Blues," "Room Full of … [Read more...]

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