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Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 31: Margo Price live

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The 31st set of exclusive vinyl items offered to Platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in March 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 thirty-first Vault package featured three items by Margo Price, the Illinois-born, Nashville-based country singer whose moving debut album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter was released by Third Man Records one year ago today, on March 25, 2016. It’s easy to understand why Jack White’s label became the album’s distributor, because it has an authentic old-school country sound that recalls Loretta Lynn, but with a modern lyrical outlook. Price has a pretty voice that suggests vulnerability, but her bruta…

David Bowie "Bowpromo" (2017 Record Store Day special release)

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As of this writing, we are still awaiting the complete official list of special releases for Record Store Day 2017. However, details of some of the releases have been reported. Two David Bowie recordings have been excavated from the vaults, and will be issued on limited edition vinyl by Parlophone. One of them, titled Cracked Actor, is a previously unreleased 3-LP set documenting a 1974 live show performed in Los Angeles. (The concert figured into a 1974 Bowie documentary film of the same title, which was never released commercially). The other Record Store Day item is a reissue of a rare 1971 promo LP called Bowpromo.

Thr RSD edition of Bowpromo is a single-sided 12-inch LP, limited to 5,000 copies, containing alternate mixes of seven Bowie songs from the early ‘70’s: five songs that were released on his classic 1971 album Hunky Dory, an outtake (“Bombers”) from that same album, and “It Ain’t Easy”, Bowie’s glam-rock rendition of Ron Davies’ blues song which was released on the 197…

The Distractions "Kindly Leave The Stage" and "Go Dark" (2017)

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The Distractions were an unjustly overlooked band from Manchester, England, who recorded only one full-length album, 1980's Nobody's Perfect, during their original run. They broke up in 1981 after failing to achieve commercial success, but there have been a number of Distractions reunions in recent years, featuring original singer Mike Finney and original guitarist Steve Perrin. A new lineup released a second Distractions album, titled The End Of The Pier, in 2012 -- 32 years after the debut album. And now, the Distractions are about to issue their third -- and, they say, final -- album, titled Kindly Leave The Stage, on May 12, 2017.

Although the album’s official release date is two months away, the album can be pre-ordered from the Occultation Recordings website. Some of the packages offered also include a 10-inch vinyl EP called Go Dark, which is limited to 250 copies. There might still be time to obtain one!

Kindly Leave The Stage was recorded over the course of three day…

INXS B-sides and rarities 1980 - 2012

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As an adjunct to my INXS rarity reviews page, I’ve put together a YouTube playlist of even more obscure INXS songs, spanning their entire recording career from their first single in 1980 to their apparent last recording in 2012. Most of these songs were B-sides to the band’s singles. The surprising thing is that many of these songs did not feature their late frontman Michael Hutchence – not necessarily because they were recorded after his death, because 32 of these 37 tracks were recorded before Hutchence’s 1997 passing. Many of INXS’ little-known B-sides were written, produced, and performed by one member of the band. Some were instrumentals, while others featured vocals by band members who usually did not sing the lead.

Beneath the embedded playlist below, I’ve written short explanations for each track. I hope you enjoy this playlist as much as I do.





1. Simple Simon (1980) -- The A-side of the first INXS single, released in Australia the same year as the band's self-titled de…

Feelies "Uncovered" (2016 Record Store Day EP)

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The Feelies are about to release a new album on February 24th, titled In Between, on Bar/None Records. This is certainly big news for followers of the New Jersey indie-rock band, whose albums are few and far between. In Between is only the sixth full-length Feelies album to be released since 1980 (the year of their debut LP Crazy Rhythms), and it is their first album in six years, since they issued Here Before in 2011 – after a two-decade hiatus.

Although it has been six years since their last full-length album, the Feelies did issue a four-song EP titled Uncovered for Record Store Day 2016. Limited to 1,200 copies, the 12-inch, 45 rpm vinyl EP contained covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, the Doors, and Patti Smith. It’s a decent little record that delivers exactly what it promises, rendering the four covered songs through the Feelies’ guitar-based garage rock sensibilities. Glenn Mercer’s vocals sound less restrained on this EP than on most Feelies album tracks, suggesting t…

Andrew Ridgeley “Son Of Albert” (1990)

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Sadly, December 25th of 2016 truly was the “Last Christmas” for George Michael. One of many pop icons who passed away that year, Michael was found dead in his Oxfordshire home on Christmas Day at the age of 53. As of this writing, the cause of his death has still not been officially determined. Michael was one of Britain’s biggest music stars, achieving tremendous success as a solo performer and as one-half of Wham!, an '80's pop duo he formed with his former schoolmate Andrew Ridgeley.

And what ever happened to Andrew Ridgeley? After the breakup of Wham! in 1986, Ridgeley recorded only one solo album, titled Son Of Albert, in 1990. The album was a flop, and Ridgeley left the music business shortly after. There were rumors about a possible Wham! reunion during the years just before Michael's passing, but it never happened.

The Son Of Albert album suggests that Ridgeley would rather have been part of Def Leppard or Poison. Its sound is very un-Wham!-like, having more in …

Orion The Hunter (1984)

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Orion The Hunter was a short-lived band led by Barry Goudreau, who was an original guitarist for Boston. Their only album was the self-titled Orion The Hunter, released in 1984. Boston lead singer Brad Delp sings background vocals on three of the tracks (“All Those Years”, “Stand Up”, and “Joanne”), and had a hand in co-writing five, but you would think his role was bigger than that. Orion’s lead singer was Fran Cosmo, who sounded similar to Delp, but with a higher vocal range. Cosmo had previously sung on Goudreau’s self-titled 1980 solo album, and later joined Boston’s lineup, performing on the albums Walk On (1994) and Corporate America (2002). The quartet was rounded out by bassist Bruce Smith and former Heart drummer Michael De Rosier.

Orion The Hunter was cut from the same cloth as the aforementioned solo album by Goudreau, which sounded so Boston-like that it was hard to believe Tom Scholz was not involved with it. Orion The Hunter is just a shade less Boston-like than that alb…

Distractions “And Then There’s…” EP (1981)

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Great news for the lucky few of us who know of the existence of the Distractions, the Manchester band who recorded only one album in 1980, titled Nobody’s Perfect, before disbanding and being unjustly forgotten. Those of us in the know are aware that the Distractions – led by original singer Mike Finney and original guitarist Steve Perrin – eventually reunited and released a second album titled The End Of The Pier in 2012 – a whole 32 years after their long-lost treasure of a debut album. Now, a third and reportedly final Distractions album – titled Kindly Leave The Stage – has been completed, and is scheduled for release this spring. Also, a much-delayed box set titled Parabolically Yours – which hopefully will contain the tracks from the Nobody’s Perfect album – is now scheduled to be released this summer by the U.K. Hidden Masters label.

After the Nobody’s Perfect album proved to be a commercial failure in 1980, the Distractions were dropped from Island Records, reportedly in fav…