Ray Thomas of the Moody Blues dies

Ray Thomas, a founding member of the Moody Blues, has died at age 76. The singer, songwriter and flute player "passed away suddenly" at his home in England, his label said. Thomas' compositions for the group included "Dear Diary," "Legend of a Mind," "Eternity Road," "And the Tide Rushes In," "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" and "For My Lady." Thomas and the rest of the Moody Blues are to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. He retired from the group in 2002 due to health issues. Moody Blues bass player John Lodge tweeted Sunday: "Ray and I have been on this magical journey through life together since we were 14 ... two young kids from Birmingham who reached for the stars ... and we made it together." Thomas and keyboardist Mike Pinder formed the Moody Blues … [Read more...]

Country Joe, Procol Harum boxes in Q1’s stash

The year 2018 starts off with a bang for psychedelic music lovers, with carefully crafted archival releases on the horizon from Country Joe and the Fish, Jimi Hendrix, Procol Harum and Todd Rundgren. Other psychedelic/1960s product set for the year's first quarter includes vintage works from Spirit, Ultimate Spinach, Hawkwind and Moondog. Country Joe and the Fish weren't exactly one-hit wonders, but it's fair to say they never revisited the highs of their groundbreaking debut album -- a stunning and seminal slab of psychedelic rock. "Electric Music for the Mind and Body" received a splendid and much-needed reissue on CD mid-decade. Now comes a box set chronicling the band's breakout year of 1967. The four LP "The Wave of Electrical Sound" includes both mono and stereo versions of … [Read more...]

Christmas list: Beatles, Stones, Doors, Moodies

It's December: The rotund fellow in cranberry red prepares to make his rounds, sled laden with gifts. That psychedelic gleam in his eyes reflects the age-old mystery of just what's in that pipe he tokes. Fortunately, we know what's in the pipeline for fans of psychedelic music. Read on for a list of box sets and expanded editions with release dates in the year's final quarter. All titles have that something special -- no bare-bones CDs here -- every one perfect for gifting or just grabbing. The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" got a new coat of aural paint midyear with Giles Martin's controversial remix of the classic psychedelic music album. The expanded CD versions included well-received alternate takes and assorted studio bits. Now comes a straightforward vinyl … [Read more...]

Moody Blues on threshold of Rock Hall

Psychedelic classicists the Moody Blues have made the short list for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is the first nomination for the long-running English band, first eligible for the Hall way back in 1989. The Rock Hall's lack of recognition for the Moody Blues had long been perceived as a snub similar to those of leading progressive rock acts Yes (inducted in 2017) and King Crimson. Also making the list for 2018 were the Zombies, whose "Odessey and Oracle" is considered a landmark album of the psychedelic music era. This is the third nomination for that British band, best known for the hits "She's Not There," "Tell Her No" and "Time of the Season." Update: The Moody Blues made the cut and will be honored in April. The Zombies did not. /update. Other acts of interest among … [Read more...]

Dead & Co., King Crimson fall in for tours

The golden road continues to woo Dead & Company. The Grateful Dead spinoff band announced a 15-concert extension of its 2017 touring activity, beginning with a two-night stand at Madison Square Garden in New York. Other major cities include Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas and New Orleans. And more tour stops are set for Austin, Philadelphia, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, King Crimson's big band returns to the road, with a 22-date fall adventure that stretches from Austin on Oct. 19 to Milwaukee on Nov. 26. Other major ports of call include Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Cleveland. King Crimson spent June and July on the road with its rapturously received "Radical Action" concerts featuring a trio of stage-front … [Read more...]

Live Yardbirds tracks coming home to roost

No bull: The long-lost Yardbirds live recording of 1968 is making a comeback. Due Nov. 5, "Yardbirds '68" contains the Anderson Theatre recordings of late March 1968. That NYC set -- complete with bogus audience cheers reputedly taken from bullfights -- was released in 1971 as "Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page" and later withdrawn after protests from group members. "Yardbirds '68" also contains eight "studio sketches" tracks from the period. The new 18-track album was produced by Jimmy Page. The mastering is credited to John Davis, who worked with Page on the Led Zeppelin remasters of several years back. The Anderson Theatre songs are highlighted by "Dazed and Confused" -- the famed psychedelic Led Zeppelin track developed while Page was a Yardbird -- as well as his guitar … [Read more...]

‘Satanic Majesties’ gets 50th-year deluxe set

The Rolling Stones' "Their Satanic Majesties Request" can't get no respect. Still. The wannabe rival to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" receives its own 50th anniversary release Sept. 22, coming on the heels of an ambitious rerelease of the Beatles' psychedelic masterpiece. But while "Sgt. Pepper" was celebrated at the half century mark with surround sound, a new stereo mix, a plethora of alternate tracks and generational hoo-hah, the Stones' album returns to market with a modest yet respectable offering. "Their Satanic Majesties Request: 50th Anniversary Special Edition" features SACD and LP versions of both mono and stereo versions of the 1967 album. The stereo LP and SACD appear to have a brand-new mix while the mono dates back a year. Fans looking for studio rareties … [Read more...]

Mothers, Doors, Spirit rereleases heat up Q3

Frank Zappa and Mothers, the Doors, David Gilmour and the Beach Boys help keep the Summer of Love alive in 2017. Here's a roundup of the best psychedelic/1960s music due for rerelease in the third quarter. The Mothers of Invention's second album, "Absolutely Free," will cost you $35 as it returns in a 50th anniversary edition Sept. 29. The group's second album comes in a two-LP package: three sides host the audio; the fourth has a laser etching of bandleader Frank Zappa. Witness the strange and the borderline psychedelic on numbers such as "Plastic People," "Call Any Vegetable," "Son of Suzy Creamcheese" and, of course, "Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin." The "Absolutely Free" album comes "mastered by Bernie Grundman and cut directly from the original analog master … [Read more...]

Dueling Yes bands will tour U.S.

Yes, it's a battle of the bands. In a situation that brings to mind casino-touring oldie acts, dueling versions of prog rockers Yes will be hitting the road in North America this summer and fall. The simmering dispute came to a boil in recent days as the ARW group -- Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin and Rick Wakeman -- announced that they would adopt the classic-rock name of Yes for the U.S. tour. The official name, however, is Yes Featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Rick Wakeman. That news no doubt isn't going down well in the other Yes camp, the group headed by guitarist Steve Howe. The official "Yes" statement says: "While Jon Anderson has rights to use the name as one of the co-owners of the trademark, Yes' position is that every effort should be made by promoters, ticket … [Read more...]

‘Sgt. Pepper’ deluxe set due May 26

Apple Records has unveiled the most ambitious reissue of a Beatles title to date, with a "super deluxe edition" of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The May 26 release celebrates the 50th anniversary of the psychedelic music classic. Highlights include a new stereo mix of the album, 5.1 surround via Bluray/DVD discs, a "lost" version of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and two CDs full of studio outtakes. Sorry, it's a "no" for the long-sought-after experimental Beatles track "Carnival of Light," which dates back to the period. Here's what's coming based on materials released April 4 and 5 by the Beatles' label (updated content): A new mix of the 1967 album by Gils Martin and Sam Okell from the original master tapes. Two CDs of outtakes, with almost three dozen … [Read more...]

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