The Ballad Of Jethro Tull

In addition to a massive 50th anniversary tour Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull has announced the first official book.The Ballad of Jethro Tull’— a lavishly illustrated history of the band  is now available.

There are two editions of book one of which comes with a seven-inch vinyl record of frontman Ian Anderson reading a specially written poem called ‘The Ballad of Jethro Tull. The B-side of the 7″ features Anderson reading an 1808 Walter Scott poem titled ‘Marmion’ alongside a cathedral organ. It will only be available with the ‘signature’ edition, limited to 500 copies and signed by Anderson himself. Two art prints are also included.

Tull’s kicked off its 50th anniversary in 2018 and extended the shows well into 2019.

“In the USA – many would argue – 2019 is really the 50th Anniversary for US fans since we first visited in early 1969,” Anderson said.

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Cream 1968 Farewell Tour Box Set Due

A four-disc box set of Cream’s farwell 1968 tour will feature previously unreleased concert recordings from 1968.

Goodbye Tour Live 1968 features performances at the Oakland Coliseum Arena; the Forum in Los Angeles and the San Diego Sport Arena during their final trip to California, along with the famous farewell show at London’s  Royal Albert Hall. While some of the material has been around before and bootlegged, 19 of the 36 tracks have not previously been released in full.

“Cream was a shambling circus of diverse personalities who happened to find that catalyst together” said Eric Clapton in a statement. “Any one of us could have played unaccompanied for a good length of time. So you put the three of us together in front of an audience willing to dig it limitlessly, we could have gone on forever.  And we did – just going for the moon every time we played.”

Goodbye Tour Live 1968 also marks the first time the Albert Hall show has been available on CD, having only been released on DVD in the past. It’s the first authorised launch of all four shows, and the recordings have been remastered from the original tapes. The set will be released on February 7th.

Ten days later, on February 17th, Clapton will lead a tribute concert to drummer the late Ginger Baker who did in October 2019.

 The tribute show will take place at London’s Hammersmith Apollo and will feature music the pair worked on in both Cream and Blind Faith.

Cream – ‘Goodbye Tour Live 1968’ Track List

Disc 1: Oakland Coliseum Arena
1. “White Room”
2. “Politician”
3. “Crossroads”
4. “Sunshine of Your Love”
5. “Spoonful”
6. “Deserted Cities of the Heart”
7. “Passing the Time”
8. “I’m So Glad”

Disc 2: The Forum, Los Angeles
1. “Introduction”
2. “White Room”
3. “Politician”
4. “I’m So Glad”
5. “Sitting on Top of the World”
6. “Crossroads”
7. “Sunshine of Your Love”
8. “Traintime”
9. “Toad”
10. “Spoonful”

Disc 3: San Diego Sports Arena
1. “White Room”
2. “Politician”
3. “I’m So Glad”
4. “Sitting on Top of the World”
5. “Sunshine of Your Love”
6. “Crossroads”
7. “Traintime”
8. “Toad”
9. “Spoonful”

Disc 4: Royal Albert Hall, London
1. “White Room”
2. “Politician”
3. “I’m So Glad”
4. “Sitting on Top of the World”
5. “Crossroads”
6. “Toad”
7. “Spoonful”
8. “Sunshine of Your Love”
9. “Steppin’ Out”

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Swamp Pop Spectacular – London 19th April 2020

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Howlin’ Wolf Live At Big Duke’s Flamingo, Chicago 1971

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Zappa’s Iconic ‘Hot Rats’ Album To Be Reissued As Six CD Box In December

December 20thwill see the release of a 6 CD box set of Frank Zappa’s ‘Hot Rats’ to mark the  50th anniversary of the release of perhaps Zappa’s best known album.

The Hot Rats Sessions, compiles every composition recorded during the July 1969 studio sessions, including an “abundance of rare and unedited mixes, work mixes, relevant Vault nuggets and complete basic tracks mixed from the original multi-track master tapes,” according to a release.

The first four discs include the studio sessions, showcasing the creative process behind Hot Rats tracks like “Peaches En Regalia,” “It Must Be A Camel” and the Captain Beefheart-featuring “Willie The Pimp,” plus non-LP songs like “Transition” and “Natasha.”

The Hot Rats Sessions also comes with a 28-page book featuring never-before-seen photographs from both the recording sessions and the Hot Rats album cover shoot; an alternate image from the cover shoot appears on the reissue. The Simpsons‘ Matt Groening also contributes a written tribute to Hot Rats, an album he says “spun me around like a propeller beanie, and melted my brain.”

Additionally, the original Hot Rats album will also be available as a single-LP reissue pressed on translucent hot pink 180-gram vinyl on December 20th, one day before what would have been Zappa’s 79th birthday.

 The Hot Rats Sessions Track List

1. Piano Music (Section 1)
2. Piano Music (Section 3)
3. Peaches En Regalia (Prototype)
4. Peaches En Regalia (Section 1, In Session)
5. Peaches En Regalia (Section 1, Master Take)
6. Peaches Jam – Part 1
7. Peaches Jam – Part 2
8. Peaches En Regalia (Section 3, In Session)
9. Peaches En Regalia (Section 3, Master Take)
10. Arabesque (In Session)
11. Arabesque (Master Take)
12. Dame Margret’s Son To Be A Bride (In Session)

1. It Must Be A Camel (Part 1, In Session)
2. It Must Be a Camel (Part 1, Master Take)
3. It Must Be a Camel (Intercut, In Session)
4. It Must Be a Camel (Intercut, Master Take)
5. Natasha (In Session)
6. Natasha (Master Take)
7. Bognor Regis (Unedited Master)
8. Willie The Pimp (In Session)
9. Willie The Pimp (Unedited Master Take)
10. Willie The Pimp (Guitar OD 1)
11. Willie The Pimp (Guitar OD 2)

1. Transition (Section 1, In Session)
2. Transition (Section 1, Master Take)
3. Transition (Section 2, Intercut, In Session)
4. Transition (Section 2, Intercut, Master Take)
5. Transition (Section 3, Intercut, In Session)
6. Transition (Section 3, Intercut, Master Take)
7. Lil’ Clanton Shuffle (Unedited Master)
8. Directly From My Heart To You (Unedited Master)
9. Another Waltz (Unedited Master)

1. Dame Margret’s Son To Be A Bride (Remake)
2. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (Take 1)
3. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (Master Take)
4. Big Legs (Unedited Master Take)
5. It Must Be a Camel (Percussion Tracks)
6. Arabesque (Guitar OD Mix)
7. Transition (Full Version)
8. Piano Music (Section 3, OD Version)

1. Peaches En Regalia (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
2. Willie The Pimp (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
3. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
4. Little Umbrellas (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
5. The Gumbo Variations (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
6. It Must Be A Camel (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
7. The Origin Of Hot Rats
8. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #1
9. Peaches En Regalia (1969 Mono Single Master)
10. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #2
11. Little Umbrellas (1969 Mono Single Master)
12. Lil’ Clanton Shuffle (1972 Whitney Studios Mix)

1. Little Umbrellas (Cucamonga Version)
2. Little Umbrellas (1969 Mix Outtake)
3. It Must Be A Camel (1969 Mix Outtake)
4. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (1969 Mix Outtake)
5. More Of The Story Of Willie The Pimp
6. Willie The Pimp (Vocal Tracks)
7. Willie The Pimp (1969 Quick Mix)
8. Dame Margret’s Son To Be A Bride (1969 Quick Mix)
9. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #3
10. Bognor Regis (1970 Record Plant Mix)
11. Peaches En Regalia (1969 Rhythm Track Mix)
12. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (1969 Rhythm Track Mix)
13. Little Umbrellas (1969 Rhythm Track Mix)
14. Arabesque (Guitar Tracks)
15. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #4

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Blues Kings From Baton Rouge



2-CD (Digisleeve) with 52-page booklet, 53 Tracks. Total playing time approx. c. 148 minutes.

• A taster of the blues from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on two compact discs.

• Like New Orleans, Memphis or St. Louis alongside the Mississippi river, Baton Rouge was a blues hotbed.

From the first commercial recordings made in 1954, the story goes back to 1971.

• For the first time the story of the blues from Baton Rouge is told in all its facets.

• Blues expert Martin Hawkins tells the story of local blues singers and players that got onto records.

• The story goes beyond the Excello sound and the music of Lightnin’ Slim, Slim Harpo, and also features folk music by Willie B. Thomas, Robert Pete Williams and others.

• A detailed introduction to the topic and artist biographies for each individual performer can be found in the extensive 52-page illustrated booklet.

• The recordings have been carefully remastered for this edition.

• Limited edition of 1,000 copies worldwide!

These two CDs contain a more or less chronological taster of the blues from Baton Rouge, one of the several cities alongside the mighty Mississippi that has been thought of or thinks of itself as a blues town. Like New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis and some smaller places, Baton Rouge’s local blues players made a big contribution to the recorded legacy of the blues.

We really don’t know what the blue sound of Baton Rouge was before about 1954, when its first bluesman was recorded, and by the 1970s the blues as current, recorded, black music was dying out, melding with R&B and the sounds of soul. Those newer sounds were still a part of black culture and, increasingly, of white culture locally and internationally, but a different muse, a different music, a different story.

We concentrate on the period between 1954 and 1971, featuring here, together for the first time, those Baton Rouge singers and players who got onto records, one way or another. Some were aspiring professionals aiming for the stars, or at least for a local juke box spin, while others were local ‘folk’ performers plucked from their everyday life to sing for the man with the remote tape machine and a microphone. The blues from Baton Rouge has tended to be seen as synonymous either with the sound of Excello Records, the label that issued the music of Lightnin’ Slim, Slim Harpo and others, or, as the revived, endangered, folk music of the likes of Willie B. Thomas or Robert Pete Williams. Baton Rouge was home to all these men, and many others, during the post-war heyday of the recorded blues.

The first blues singer and guitarist to be recorded was Otis Hicks, Lightning Slim (later spelled Lightnin’ Slim). The man who put Lightning onto records was J. D. Miller, a white songwriter, entrepreneur, and recording engineer based in Crowley, Louisiana. Miller had worked out a deal with Excello Records in Nashville, Tennessee, whereby Miller would make master recordings for Excello to release through their better distribution networks. Lightning Slim introduced James Moore to Miller. Moore became known as Slim Harpo. He was much more of a stylist than Lightning Slim or Lazy Lester, but in the end the man whose music became most identified with the Excello label and with Baton Rouge blues, the ‘swamp-blues.’

Other men who found their way to Miller included Lazy Lester, Schoolboy Cleve, Lonesome Sundown, Jimmy Dotson, Tabby Thomas, Jimmy Anderson, Silas Hogan, Moses ‘Whispering’ Smith, and Arthur ‘Guitar’ Kelley.

In a parallel universe, northern college audiences and folk festival attendees were able to listen to blues players from Baton Rouge on LP discs that were far removed from the jukebox fare of Excello. They were recorded between 1958 and 1961 by Harry Oster and released on his Folk Lyric label.

So sit back and enjoy a chunk of blues history from the deep south of the USA on the Mississippi River, as told by UK blues expert and historian, Martin Hawkins.


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New Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes You Tube Clip For ‘Catfish Blues’

The official video for Catfish Blues by Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes, from his upcoming Easy Eye Sound release ‘Cypress Grove’, out October 18th

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60th Anniversary Reissue of John Lee Hooker’s 1959 Riverside Records Debut

Craft Recordings are to reissue (on vinyl) John Lee Hooker’s 1959 debut album ‘The Country Blues of John Lee Hooker’ for Riverside Records with all-analog mastering from the original stereo tapes will be available August 2nd on 180-gram vinyl.

The album was cut with Hooker unaccompanied and playing acoustic instead of his usual amplified guitar, He recorded a wonderfully varied set of Delta blues, boogies, one field holler, and even a bit of hokum. Due out August 2nd, ‘The Country Blues of John Lee Hooker’ was cut from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio.

Pressed on 180-gram vinyl and housed in a tip-on jacket, these recordings are stripped down so the listener can hear the details and nuances from the original recording.

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The Day The Music Burned – The 2008 Universal Fire

A New York Times investigation has revealed that decades of Universal Music Group treasures burned in 2008.

By Niraj Chokshi

From The New York Times. June 12th 2019

Eleven years ago this month, a fire ripped through a part of Universal Studios Hollywood.

At the time, the company said that the blaze had destroyed the theme park’s ‘King Kong attraction and a video vault that contained only copies of old works.

But, according to an article published on Tuesday by The New York Times Magazine, the fire also tore through an archive housing treasured audio recordings, amounting to what the piece described as “the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.”

The fire started in the early hours of June 1st, 2008.

Overnight, maintenance workers had used blowtorches to repair the roof of a building on the set of New England Street, a group of colonial-style buildings used in scenes for movies and television shows. The workers followed protocol and waited for the shingles they worked on to cool, but the fire broke out soon after they left, just before 5 a.m.

The flames eventually reached Building 6197, known as the video vault, which housed videotapes, film reels and, crucially, a library of master sound recordings owned by Universal Music Group.

Almost all of the master recordings stored in the vault were destroyed in the fire, including those produced by some of the most famous musicians since the 1940s.
In a confidential report in 2009, Universal Music Group estimated the loss at about 500,000 song titles.

The lost works most likely included masters in the Decca Records collection by Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland. The fire probably also claimed some of Chuck Berry’s greatest recordings, produced for Chess Records, as well as the masters of some of Aretha Franklin’s first appearances on record.

Almost of all of Buddy Holly’s masters were lost, as were most of John Coltrane’s masters in the Impulse Records collection. The fire also claimed numerous hit singles, likely including Bill Haley and His Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” Etta James’s “At Last” and the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie.”

A master recording is the one-of-a-kind original recording of a piece of music. It’s the source from which other vinyl records, CDs, MP3s and all other recordings are made.

According to the article, documents show that the vault contained masters dating back decades, including multitrack recordings on which individual instruments remained isolated from one another. There were also session masters, including recordings that had never been commercially released. The recordings within the vault came from to some of the most important record labels of all time.

Audiophiles and audio professionals view such recordings with special regard.

“A master is the truest capture of a piece of recorded music,” Adam Block, the former president of Legacy Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment’s catalog arm, told the magazine. “Sonically, masters can be stunning in their capturing of an event in time. Every copy thereafter is a sonic step away.”

Why are we only finding about this now?

At the time, the fire made news around the world, and the vault featured heavily in that coverage. But most articles focused only on the video recordings in the archive and, even then, news outlets largely characterized the disaster as a crisis averted.

Jody Rosen, the writer of the article, described the successful effort to play down the scope of the loss as a “triumph of crisis management” that involved officials working for Universal Music Group on both coasts. Those efforts were undoubtedly aimed at minimizing public embarrassment, but some suggest the company was also particularly worried about a backlash from artists and artist estates whose master recordings had been destroyed.

The real extent of the loss was laid out in litigation and company documents obtained by Mr. Rosen, a contributing writer for the magazine.

Mr. Rosen described the loss as historic, and even Universal Music Group itself — privately — viewed what happened in bleak terms: “Lost in the fire was, undoubtedly, a huge musical heritage,” reads one 2009 internal assessment.

Record companies have had a troubled history with such recordings and have been known to trash them in bulk. Decades ago, employees of CBS Records reportedly took power saws to multitrack masters to sell the reels as scrap metal. In the 1970s, RCA destroyed masters by Elvis Presley in a broader purge.

Because of that history, industry professionals have long questioned how committed the major music labels are to preserving what they see as priceless artifacts.

Today, most commercial recordings from the past century and beyond are controlled by only three giant record companies: Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and, of course, Universal Music Group.

Read the full investigation here: “The Day The Music Burned.

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter based in New York. Before joining The Times in 2016, he covered state governments for The Washington Post. He has also worked at The Atlantic, National Journal and The Recorder, in San Francisco.
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