King Crimson, Zappa, Santana top Q4

Classics from King Crimson, Frank Zappa and Santana rule the list of psychedelic music rereleases for 2016's final quarter. Other key artists unwrapping product for the holiday season include the Doors, the Beatles, John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Pink Floyd, Funkadelic and Yes. King Crimson delivers another floor-buckler with the massive "On (and Off) the Road" set -- 11 CDs, three DVD-A's, three Bluray audio discs and a pair of DVDs. "A complete overview of the enduringly popular 1980s incarnation of King Crimson." Set revolves around the albums "Discipline," "Beat," "Three of a Perfect Pair," which appear in several forms, including new Steven Wilson and Robert Fripp stereo mixes and 5.1 surround. Live tracks, outtakes, studio chatter, memorabilia, etc. Streeting for about $150. Also … [Read more...]

Live Zeppelin, Beatles, Crimson for Q3

Got live if you want it: Stand by for in-concert recordings by Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, King Crimson, Iron Butterfly, Yes and ELP. Other key releases for 2017's third quarter include works by Frank Zappa, Gong, the Byrds, the Turtles and Sun Ra. Led Zeppelin's formative years are celebrated on "The Complete BBC Sessions," the return of a 1997 set being expanded and remastered. The rest of Zeppelin's catalog just enjoyed similar treatment, and guitarist Jimmy Page again supervises the audio on the new set. The "BBC" collection -- spanning 1969 through 1971 -- will feature eight unreleased tracks, including several versions of "Communication Breakdown" and "What Is and What Should Never Be." Of particular interest to collectors will be three tracks from the "previously 'lost' … [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...]

Gail Zappa dies; oversaw Frank’s legacy

Gail Zappa, a fierce and creative guardian of the legacy of her husband Frank Zappa, has died. She was 70. Gail Zappa died "peacefully at her home ... surrounded by her children," the Zappa family said in a statement. The cause of death reportedly was lung cancer. Frank Zappa died in 1993. Several months ago, Gail Zappa turned over day-to-day management of the Zappa Family Trust to her son Ahmet. Her other children with Frank Zappa are Moon Unit, Dweezil and Diva. (Dweezil fronts the acclaimed tribute act Zappa Plays Zappa.) "Married to Frank Zappa at age 22, Gail was a doe-eyed, barefooted trailblazer, giving equal value to her domestic and professional responsibilities as matriarch of the family and overseer of all Zappa enterprises," the family's statement said. "Gail, … [Read more...]

Zappa revival via new deal, documentary

Frank Zappa's musical legacy is back for a lube job with news that the the Zappa Family Trust and Universal Music Enterprise have inked a new global licensing deal. The late musician also will be the subject of a feature-length documentary in development with participation of the Zappa family. Meanwhile, Zappa's son Ahmet has taken over day-to-day operations of the family's company, with the blessing of sometimes-controversial catalog guardian Gail Zappa. The Frank Zappa documentary comes from actor-filmmaker Alex Winter ("Deep Web"). A 2017 release is envisioned. The first Zappa Records/UMe release under the new deal will be a remastered 40th anniversary edition of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention's "One Size Fits All" on vinyl, due Aug. 14. More unspecified 2015 … [Read more...]

Ray Collins of the Mothers dies

Singer Ray Collins, who helped Frank Zappa forge the sound of the Mothers of Invention, has died. Collins, who was in his mid-70s, suffered a catastrophic heart attack. He sang and played on the Mothers' first two albums, "Freak Out!" (1966) and "Absolutely Free" (1967). Known for his odd but strong falsetto, Collins (center in top photo) was an early songwriting partner of Frank Zappa and later a key contributor to the Mothers' brew of satire, doo-wop and experimental music. He grew tired of the clowning and quit the band to pursue more traditional music. "Too much comedy, too much making fun of stuff," he told a local newspaper. In 1968, he performed on Zappa's doo-wop album "Cruising With Ruben & the Jets." Collins occasionally would pop up on other Zappa projects over the … [Read more...]

New CDs, vinyl: A psychedelic swarm

CD and vinyl rereleases from Jethro Tull, Iron Butterfly, the Doors, Led Zeppelin and the combined Jefferson Airplane & Starship should keep the psychedelic vibes flowing through the holidays. Other 1960s acts serving up new or reheated product include the Grateful Dead, the Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart, the Who, Keith Emerson and King Crimson. November's major release, of course, is the rerelease of the Beatles' catalog on 180 gram audiophile vinyl. The Beatles rereleases come from audiophile label Analogue Productions (aka Acoustics Sounds). The box set goes for $350 with the albums at $23 each. (Related: Check out exclusive titles for the Black Friday edition of Record Store Day) Jethro Tull's 40th anniversary version of "Thick as a Brick" arrives Nov. 6. The … [Read more...]

Time to freak out: Zappa albums back

The first dozen Frank Zappa albums have been unleashed under a new deal between the late musician's family and Universal Music Group. The rereleased CDs include the Mothers of Invention works most closely identified with psychedelic music: "Freak Out!" (1966), "Absolutely Free" (1967) and "We're Only in It For the Money" (1968). "It is a win-win for all of us, but mostly for Frank Zappa," his widow Gail said. "Long may his baton wave." The exclusive catalog deal replaces the turbulent distribution pact the estate made with Rykodisc in 1993. The Zappa family and Rykodisc battled over the catalog for years. Rykodisc was a respected indie at the time, but is now owned by UMG rival Warner Music Group. Rykodisc, a pioneer in CD audio, used the latest Frank Zappa-approved mixes of … [Read more...]

Jim Sherwood of Zappa’s Mothers dies

Jim Sherwood, a saxophone player known for his work with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, has died at the age of 69. The multi-instrumentalist, who shared Zappa's love of the avant-garde and the nonsensical, worked on all Mothers albums, including the classics "Freak Out!" and "We're Only in It for the Money." Sherwood died Dec. 25 of undisclosed causes. Although Sherwood can be heard on the early Mothers records, he started out as a their roadie and didn't join the band full-time until 1968. Sherwood also contributed vocals, vocal effects and the onstage comedy bits expected of all members. In the 1950s, Sherwood attended high school with Zappa in California's Inland Empire. Sherman played in several rock 'n' roll bands with the guitarist before the Mothers of … [Read more...]

No. 28: ‘Help, I’m a Rock’

Frank Zappa took no drugs, but his headphone masterpiece "Help, I'm a Rock" launched zillions of LSD trips back in 1966. That's "Rock" as in acid rock. Zappa explained this nine-minute serving of madness as the result of a bunch of people fooling around in the studio. "It was just a thing that spewed out," Zappa said a decade later. "What was happening was what was in the air that night." Those madmen happened to be ace musicians, making the extended piece as much an exercise in free-form jazz as in psychedelic music. "Note the interesting formal structure," Zappa deadpans in the liner notes. Update: Zappa albums reissued by UMG, Zappa family. "Help, I'm a Rock" delivered the goods to wannabe hipsters drawn to the Mothers of Invention's first album by the promise of a … [Read more...]

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