Cream, boxed and served on vinyl

Universal's refresh of the Cream catalog continues in November with a box set containing all of the original supergroup's albums on vinyl. "Cream 1966-1972" promises "exact reproductions" of the English band's albums with the recordings on 180 gram vinyl. The completist approach to the box set apparently is a first for the band, best known for its power-trio explorations and the psychedelic music hits "Sunshine of Your Love," "Badge" and "White Room." "Cream 1966-1972" comes out Nov. 24, and will be available to U.S. buyers as an import. The prerelease price (converted from pounds) is about $135. Update: Amazon has a Dec. 16 shipping date on the Cream box set in the U.S. /update Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker made only two proper studio albums -- "Fresh Cream" (1966) … [Read more...]

No. 18: ‘Happy Trails’

Bo Diddley didn't do psychedelic. Yet, somehow, the primal rock 'n' roller received credit for writing most of one of the hippie era's darkest and most imaginative albums. Diddley and Quicksilver Messenger Service were strange bedfellows -- Diddley claimed decades later to never had heard of the psychedelic rangers -- but the arm's-length collaboration produced more than a half hour of mindbending rock, spread across two songs. While 1969's "Happy Trails" is mostly a live album, it's considered an important original work from the San Francisco ballroom scene, along the lines of the Grateful Dead's 1968 "Anthem of the Sun." The albums were breakthroughs for both sophomore bands. As with "Anthem," the "Happy Trails" live recordings were spiced & spaced with studio overdubs. The … [Read more...]

‘Lotus’ flowers again: Santana live classic

Santana fans' loyalties are rewarded in October and November with a quartet of 180 gram vinyl releases -- paced by a 40th anniversary edition of the live adventure "Lotus." That triple-disc recording made in the summer of 1973 captures the "Welcome"/"Caravanserai" band ("the New Santana") in its jazz-rock-fusion glory, performing in Osaka, Japan. Some critics consider "Lotus" among the best live recordings made in the rock era. Of the dozens of Santana albums, Rolling Stone gives five stars to only two -- "Lotus" and "Abraxas." "Lotus" long was a sought-after import, initially released as a triple-LP set out of Japan (1974). It featured superb art direction with a multilevel fold-out cover of psychedelic bent, reflecting Carlos Santana's immersion in spirituality. (The set … [Read more...]

‘New’ Hendrix album: ‘People, Hell & Angels’

A "new" album of unreleased studio recordings by Jimi Hendrix is due in March. The compilation is billed as "a musical companion piece and successor" to 2010's well-received "Valleys Of Neptune." The 12 recordings on "People, Hell & Angels" show Hendrix developing his music outside the hitmaking group the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the guitarist's estate said in announcing the March 5 release. The tracks were created between 1968 and 1970, mostly at New York's Record Plant and Hit Factory. The album offers "a variety of unique sounds and styles incorporating many of the elements -- horns, keyboards, percussion and second guitar -- Jimi wanted to incorporate within his new music," Experience Hendrix LLC and label Legacy Recordings said. News of the Hendrix album was released Nov. … [Read more...]

No. 39: ‘Song for a Dreamer’

"Song for a Dreamer" wasn't really a Procol Harum song. The lyrics weren't about meeting the recently departed Jimi Hendrix "on the far side of the moon." And while Robin Trower wrote the music in tribute to Hendrix, he wasn't all that familiar with the master's music at the time. Rock myths aside, "Song for a Dreamer" remains one of the best evocations of Hendrix ever recorded. Beautiful and mysterious, elegiac and seemingly profound, it is among the great dark works of psychedelic rock. "I couldn't believe I did that," guitarist Trower said of the 1971 recording, essentially a solo effort on which he sang and played most of the instruments. Thus inspired, the guitarist left Procol Harum for a long and fairly successful solo career -- one, ironically, that drew … [Read more...]

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