The Greedies "A Merry Jingle" (1979)

The Greedies were a short-lived late-‘70’s supergroup featuring three members of Thin Lizzy (Phil Lynott, Scott Gorham, and Brian Downey) and two refugees from the Sex Pistols (Steve Jones and Paul Cook). It certainly seemed like an odd mixture, considering that the Sex Pistols and other punk rockers were seen as rebelling against arena rockers such as the Irish hard rock band Thin Lizzy. However, the late Thin Lizzy frontman Phil Lynott took an interest in the late-‘70’s punk rock scene, befriending a number of its bands and acting like a sort of “elder brother” to the movement. Lynott formed the Greedies (that name was shortened from the less marketable Greedy Bastards) with Jones and Cook, and the three of them – along with other prominent musician friends – performed a few club gigs playing Thin Lizzy songs and post-Johnny Rotten Pistols songs.

The only Greedies recording was a Christmas single titled “A Merry Jingle”, released in 1979 in the U.K., the Netherlands, and Australia…

Y Kant Tori Read (with Tori Amos) 1985 demo tape

As someone who takes an interest in the availability -- or lack thereof -- of certain recordings, I've seen many long-lost, out-of-print albums reissued on CD or iTunes over the years, but I never expected to see a reissue of the self-titled 1988 album by a band called Y Kant Tori Read. This band was fronted by singer/songwriter/pianist Tori Amos, and their one album was released about four years before Amos became an arty alternative icon in the '90's. It was very unlike the piano-based music that Amos would later become known for. Instead, it consisted of synth-heavy '80's pop-rock, with occasional signs of Tori's future persona trying to break out. Here is my review of the album on my website.

The album was a failure in its day, but it now has its admirers among Tori's fan base. Until this year, its previous lack of availability made it something of a "holy grail" among her following. Amos had disowned the album, and it was long kept out of pr…

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 33: Icky Thump X

The 33rd set of exclusive vinyl items offered to Platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in September of 2017. For those who are unaware, Third Man Records is the label owned by Jack White, who is the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, and is now a solo artist as well. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (one full-length album and one 7” single) to its Platinum members every three months.

The 33rd Vault package contained a colored vinyl pressing of the White Stripes’ 2007 album Icky Thump, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the release of the album which would turn out to be the duo’s studio swan song. Instead of a 7-inch single, the package contained two 12-inch records containing a passel of bonus tracks related to the album.

The tenth anniversary vinyl pressing of Icky Thump comes in the form of two discs pressed in stunning “contained explosion” colored vinyl. It’s a s…

Tom Petty and Mudcrutch early singles

It has sadly become very common over the last two years to hear about the deaths of rock's superstars, but I was still not prepared to hear about the sudden death of Tom Petty earlier this week. The vintage rocker had recently been touring and performing with his longtime backing band the Heartbreakers, playing his last show at the Hollywood Bowl on September 25th. He said in a recent interview that this 40th anniversary tour might be his "last big one". Alas, that statement is now all too definite. The 66-year-old Petty was found unconscious in his Malibu home on October 2nd after suffering a full cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead late that evening. (I could rant about how certain irresponsible media outlets prematurely reported his death, but I'll save that rant for another day).

Before the formation of the Heartbreakers, Petty began his recording career as a member of Mudcrutch, a Gainesville, Florida band that played a seemingly eclectic brand of Southern …

Dave Grohl as Late!

Way back when Dave Grohl was the new drummer for an obscure indie-label band called Nirvana, he recorded a low-budget, low-profile solo album under the pseudonym of Late! (yes, the exclamation point was part of the spelling). Over the course of two sessions that took place several months apart, the then-unknown drummer recorded the album -- or, perhaps we should say, the cassette -- titled Pocketwatch. This cassette-only album was distributed by a now-defunct indie label called Simple Machines, as part of their Tool Cassette Series. The recordings in this series were only made available on cassette, not on CD or vinyl, and were reproduced on a just-in-time, as-needed basis when copies were ordered. The cassette was issued in 1992, after Nirvana hit the big time, and it wasn't long before word began to get around that Late! was actually Nirvana's drummer. A few years later, after Grohl had become the singer/guitarist/leader of the Foo Fighters, there was eventually such an incr…

Truly "Heart And Lungs" EP (1991)

It's hard to believe that the movie Singles was released 25 years ago today, on September 18, 1992. Cameron Crowe's romantic comedy was set against the backdrop of the legendary Seattle grunge rock scene when it was at its peak, and now serves as a time capsule item for that vital time and place in rock and roll history. Its soundtrack album was a who's-who of Seattle grunge artists, featuring songs from many of the genre's giants (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains) alongside tracks from Mother Love Bone (featuring members-to-be of Pearl Jam), Mudhoney, and Screaming Trees. It also featured songs by pre-grunge Seattle icons like Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart (as the Lovemongers) and Jimi Hendrix (who, by the way, died on this date in 1970). To top it all off, it contained two solo tracks from Paul Westerberg (shortly after the breakup of the Replacements), and one of the best Smashing Pumpkins songs ever, "Drown", which was not included on any Pumpkins …

Black Sheep with Lou Gramm

Before he attained major stardom as the lead singer of Foreigner, Lou Gramm -- who was then known as Lou Grammatico -- fronted a Rochester, NY band called Black Sheep. This quintet (not to be confused with a '90's hip-hop outfit with the same name) recorded two albums for Capitol Records, both released in 1975. The band was plagued by bad luck at that time, just when they seemed to be on the brink of success. After former Spooky Tooth guitarist Mick Jones heard Black Sheep's self-titled album, he invited Gramm to join his new band Trigger, which soon became Foreigner. Gramm did eventually collaborate again with two of his ex-bandmates. Black Sheep bassist Bruce Turgon and guitarist Don Mancuso both participated in Gramm's late-'80's solo albums. Turgon also played in Gramm's short-lived band Shadow King in 1991, and then joined Foreigner in 1992; Mancuso took part in Gramm's later solo touring.

Before the release of their first album, Black Sheep rele…

Jean Michel Jarre "Musique Pour Supermarché" (1983)

There are rare records, and then there are rare records, some of which have only ever had one legitimate physical copy made. One of those rare-as-it-gets recordings was a 1983 album called Musique Pour Supermarché, aka Music for Supermarkets, recorded by Jean Michel Jarre. The French electronic music composer (the son of famed film soundtrack composer Maurice Jarre, who was a pioneer in using electronic music in films) recorded the instrumental album near Paris during the Spring of '83, and then had only one LP copy pressed. On July 6th of that year, the sole copy was sold at an auction, where the master plates were publicly destroyed. It sold for 69,000 francs -- roughly equivalent to 9,000 U.S. dollars at the time. Jarre said that the point was to create "a single copy for a single buyer, like a painting with a single owner.” The inner sleeve artwork showed 11 photographs illustrating the story of the making of the record, while the 12th space was left blank for the buyer t…