Features

Saturday Deluxe / 23 July 2016

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Summer lull, what summer lull?

Seven days since last week’s Saturday Deluxe and we’ve had announcements of big releases from artists such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Oasis… plus a David Bowie teaser…

Led Zeppelin / The Complete BBC Sessions 3CD Edition

Led Zeppelin was the first big news. Exciting though the Complete BBC Sessions may be, you do roll your eyes slightly at Warner’s ability to take an original 2CD set and turn it into a £100 box, even though they’re only adding 8 unreleased tracks! I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised, it follows exactly the same pattern as all the album box sets which duplicated audio across CD and vinyl, failed to offer physical hi-res and delivered books which, photos aside, had no real content.

• Read more about Led Zeppelin: The Complete BBC Sessions

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With The Beatles release, the recurring complaint from many (including SDE) is to do with how bad the cover of the new version of The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl is. Actually, it’s not called that anymore, it’s now called LIVE at the Hollywood Bowl, which is fine, but the cover art, which is a variation on the poster for Ron Howard’s documentary Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years, is awful. Typographically, it’s a mess, with far too much text. ‘The Beatles’ is too big and the whole thing is as subtle as a brick.

beatles_hbThe album feels like a promotional device to advertise the film, rather than a reissue of a long-out-of-print live album. Tail wagging dog. George Martin worked on the original release back in 1977, trying to knock everything into shape as best he could and it’s obviously very positive that his son Giles has worked on the new version. But with no official soundtrack album to go with the film, Apple have pushed a square through a round hole and dressed up At The Hollywood Bowl as if it was the soundtrack. Well it’s not. It’s a near 40-year old live album. The four Beatles may well have not liked or even approved the original cover (or album?), but that’s how it was released and it has historical significance. These things shouldn’t be casually discarded at the whim of some marketing executive to help promote a movie. I mean, what exactly is Ron Howard’s name doing on the front of a Beatles album. Anyone?

What’s worse, is that fans have craved an official CD edition of this album (and compilations like Love Songs) for decades. It feels like Apple have put it out to solve a problem (“we need an album to go with the movie”) rather than as a wholehearted celebration of those Hollywood Bowl concerts. If the documentary hadn’t been released, would they have still issued this set?

• Read more about The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl

Oasis / Be Here Now reissue and box set

For some reason there has been a two year gap between Oasis reissuing (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? and Be Here Now. Unfortunately this hasn’t prompted a value-for-money rethink and the super deluxe box (like the Led Zeppelin sets) is massively overpriced.

The good news is that the vinyl, and in particular the 3CD deluxe edition, are great value. Although if you’ve bought the other boxes, it will take a will of iron *not* to buy this one. Bonus audio is great too, with tons of unreleased material including a whole disc of demos.

• Read more about the Oasis Be Here Now reissue

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Finally David Bowie. If you saw SDE yesterday you’ll have noted that a previously unreleased album will be part of the next box. It’s called The Gouster, but what exactly is all this ‘Gouster’ business? What does the word mean? Over to Tony Visconti to explain…

Gouster was a word unfamiliar to me but David knew it as a type of dress code worn by African American teens in the ‘60’s, in Chicago. But in the context of the album its meaning was attitude, an attitude of pride and hipness. Of all the songs we cut we were enamoured of the ones we chose for the album that portrayed this attitude“.

So now you know. We will have more details on The Gouster and the new box set very soon, but suffice to say that the ‘unreleased’ album is an early version of Young Americans. How the long-player may have sounded if Bowie and Lennon hadn’t hooked up to record Fame.

• Read more about The Gouster

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28 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 23 July 2016

  1. Brian says:

    Another photo of the Bowie box has emerged. Looks like two versions of S2S one with the colour sleeve and one with the original cover. Plus the David Live album, the Nasau album and another Re: Call album.

  2. Fat Old Bloke says:

    Hope Jimi Hendrix is next, we have not had much real unreleased Jimi stuff in a long time

    • Philip Cohen says:

      Normally “Experience Hendrix” releases two new CD’s of new material per year, but this year we got nothing for the first half of the year.

  3. rob deighton says:

    I would happy if the Beatles Hollywood release used an outer slipcase with the film artwork and the case and disc itself used the original artwork as per the 1970s vinyl release. That way you can bin the slipcase if you don’t like it.

    I bet this will be a digipack like all new Beatles releases seem to be nowadays

  4. James Beresford-Wylie says:

    I will as a long time Bowie collector of course buy the vinyl box, however I think it’s Led Zeppelin who have consistantly had the best deal. Vinyl / Cd and high res download is excellent for me .
    Disappointed with the Bowie content ( I have S2S box from 2010 already) as to the average collector there’s very little new at all, and I’m not sure cobbling together some previously available team as a concept album really warrants much to get excited about .

  5. Rob says:

    Paul –

    On the subject of summer deluxe editions…. Do you know if Mirage’s release date is being pushed back? Amazon UK still has it listed as July 29 but Amazon US is now saying September 23.

    • Neil says:

      Mirage is definitely coming out on the 29th July here because if it had been delayed the likes of HMV and Amazon would have changed the release date a lot earlier than this.

  6. Rodney says:

    The amount of vitriol over this sleeve is a bit baffling. I have to disagree with you, Paul: the logotype does not need to be reduced in size (but toning down its opacity would make a dramatic difference for the better). While the typography is overkill, Apple/Calderstone/affiliated parties &c. have long used a rigid uniformity in design: 1, Love, the Yellow Submarine Songtrack (and even Early Takes v. 1) are set up to function from poster size to mobile thumbnail with minimal adjustment. That can be aesthetically unfortunate, and I don’t disagree that the film credits would be better suited to a hype sticker on the physical product. Howard’s credit is not something I would have elected to feature, but I wouldn’t have used Ad Lib on a Beatles record either, and that Bruce “Windows ’95” mockup with the Cesar Romero colour scheme and the era-inappropriate type is not preferable to what we have here.

    It is not up to the standards of the canonical UK catalogue designs, but the Live at the Hollywood Bowl cover is streets ahead of any of the faceless executive/committee jobs on Beatles sleeves from the mid-1970s to the CD era, including the 1977 Hollywood Bowl with its all-caps-in-a-display-font liners to its truly unfortunate inner sleeve.

  7. Paolo says:

    Paul, full details for the Bowie box set are already public, you can find them in the news section of his official site.

  8. Don says:

    This was announced months ago and therefore not really in keeping with the “new announcement” theme of this post, but it’s worth noting that Simple Minds’ “New Gold Dream” super deluxe box comes out this week!

  9. Rob says:

    I also just noticed……both Amazon US and Elusive Disc are listing Crowded House LP reissues from Capitol for September 16. First five LPs (including Afterglow.) All look to be single LPs with no bonus content. Could the deluxe reissues be coming soon as well?

  10. Julian Hancock says:

    Have to say that I find the original Hollywood Bowl album impossible to shift second hand.

    Be Here Now or Played Once Only as I seem to recall it being called at the time. Perhaps it has managed to improve with age.

  11. Michel D. says:

    I hope Panic In Detroit (live) on RE:CALL 2 is the full version this time and not the edit!

    • Seth Hollander says:

      Judging by placement on Recall2, I would guess the live Panic In Detroit there is the original B-side version from the Knock On Wood single that was incorporated into the reworked David Live in 2005, also in this box.
      Redundancies abound in this box.
      I passed on the first box, and will pass on this. But REALLY want a little bit from each one, just not enough to justify anything near the cost of the whole boxes… That’s the new standard for me and “Super Deluxe” releases. Pity for me…

  12. Jean Christophe DERRIEN says:

    3 new official remixes for Wings 1985 available on Itunes.

    – Kerri Chandler Kaoz 623 vocal mix
    – Paul Woolford rework
    – Tim Green Remix

    In France, the price is quite expensive, more than 10 euros for 3 remixes !!

  13. Philip Cohen says:

    Recently, I was observing that the classic rock archival scene was in a serious slump, but this autumn that situation is going to change for the better.

  14. John Hirst says:

    Why we need two copies of a live Bowie album I don’t know – if the remaster was all that then include only that. An entire expensive 13 LP boxset to cover a period of three studio albums sounds like overkill, especially with the duplication on offer. At least the previous one was five years – this one is only three. How many more of these boxes are going to come out before they are done fleecing us? The tragedy is I will still buy it.

    • granata says:

      The anticipated but yet unexpected nature of the contents of this set has thrilled most fans. Yet the moaning minority are predictably spoiling proceedings. Have some patience.

  15. Mic Smith says:

    As a Beatles, Zeppelin and Bowie fan its been a memorable week for announcements and an equally disappointing one from negativity expressed through the comments on here. In the end its the music that is important to me and while I would certainly prefer to have – for an example – the full length version of Whole Lotta Love form the 1971 Led Zeppelin In Concert recording – if it turns out they’ve decided to stick with the edited version then I respect Page’s decision – its his music and he can do with it as he sees fit. We can all claim to be fans that put him where he is but the truth is he did the work, he earned his crust and he’s still around curating that work and offering it for sale.

    Bowie isn’t around any more to oversee his legacy but I’m sure that there are people taking control of these reissues that care every bit as much as any die hard fan claims to do. More so in fact as they have the responsibility to deliver what the fan base believes should be done with this material. As a curio I’d like them to have included the Record Mirror Flexidisc somewhere in some sort of reissue but if they don’t it isn’t going to affect my decision to buy what on balance looks like another impressive box that wraps up this period of his career.

    Again not all of the Beatles are around to ensure that everything is perfect in God’s perfect plan, but here is a long out of print live album getting its first reissue since it appeared on the History of Rock set of albums in the mid-eighties (Volume 26 if memory serves) and for the first time officially on CD. For authenticity I would certainly have preferred either the original cover or one using live photographs taken at the gigs in question but at least the music is available again, and with added content too, handled by people who have been entrusted to take care of the Beatles legacy.

    Given the choice of perfect packaging and pointless music over pointless packaging and perfect music I know which I’d rather have. It’s only when the music is in my hands though will I be able to judge the complete package, and personally I have enough patience to reserve judgement until then,

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Don’t disagree, but what’s wrong with great packaging AND great music? A ‘perfect’ product combines both. If that doesn’t happen then it’s not really perfect and it’s totally legitimate to say so.

      • Mic Smith says:

        Nothing wrong with perfect packaging and perfect music but we can’t judge anything properly (positively or negatively) until we have it to play. All this speculation about what is in the reissues and what should be is just that. Speculation. When I have the full package I’m happy to offer an opinion. Too many people seem to want to judge a book by its cover. Fair enough. Don’t buy the book then, but allow those that wish to retain an open mind that privilege at least until the object is available to properly critique it.

        • CJ Feeney says:

          But if the packaging and content don’t appeal then we will not spend the required money in order to “have it to play”.

          Most of us are actually selective about what we buy and won’t dish out up to £100 on a deluxe product unless we are fairly sure we will like the contents. That’s why people like to see packaging details and know how the remastering/remixing was done in advance.

          People are entitled to say that they don’t like a product and why, and can only base these comments on the information given by the record companies/other official sources. It’s not about “speculation” it’s about having an informed decision based on the available info.

          (It’s also the whole point of having the comments section on this blog,)

    • RJSWinchester says:

      You can’t expect people to go around giving each other virtual high fives when they see just how unimpressive the new Bowie box set is.

      • Mic Smith says:

        Again based on viewing the track listing alone. These just might be the best set of remasters these albums have ever received. Until we’ve all heard them then we can’t possibly know either way. All I’m saying is be open minded until the product is out there. If you have no intention of buying this stuff (which based on your postings on this site is the impression you give) then why visit here and post an opinion and more importantly (to me) is why do you seem to want to question everyone else’s motivation or judgement for doing so?

  16. Eamonn says:

    Perhaps The Gouster is a typo for “The (Price) Gouger”. I guess it’s my and other people’s own faults for hoping Bowie sets like this will contain unreleased music when it’s clearly a mopping-up of released stuff in fancy presentation with a couple of exclusive s to tempt those of us not swayed by the aesthetics.

    Including hand-written Bowie notes with names of holy grail songs not included like Shilling The Rubes which do exist is a piss-taker to rile the hardcore that bit more though.

  17. Philip Cohen says:

    There has indeed been a “summer lull” with respect to classic rock archival product(excepting a few notable releases such as “The Rolling Stones-Totally Stripped” Blu-ray box, “The Beach Boys-Pet Sounds 4-CD+ Blu-Ray Audio, the “Chicago-Quadio” Blu-ray Audio box, the “Esoteric” label’s expanded series by “The Move”, a few Beach Boys SACD’s from “Analog Productions”, and Audio-Fidelity’s SACD releases of some vintage Columbia/EPIC Quadraphonic mixes), but obviously, things are looking much better for this autumn: Archival releases by the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Yes, King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Alan Parsons Project, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney and (Possibly) Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones…..and, who knows, maybe some more Bob Dylan. (It’s unlikely that Sony will allow Dylan’s 1966 tour recordings to become public domain material in the UK & Europe. The problem: excepting one show in Australia, the shows all feature the exact same song line-up.)

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