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Showing posts from May, 2006

Big Star tribute album

Big Star Small World, a long-lost tribute album featuring various artists' recordings of songs by Big Star, was released last week on the Koch label. This album was originally intended to be released in 1998, but its original distributor folded before its release date, and it is now finally seeing the light of day. It was executive-produced by Jody Stephens, Big Star's drummer. Time has not been kind to this collection; four of the participating bands (Gin Blossoms, Afghan Whigs, Whiskeytown, and Idle Wilds) have since broken up, and a few of the other artists (Juliana Hatfield, Teenage Fanclub) have undeservedly faded into indie-label oblivion.

Tribute albums in general tend to be tired exercises that end up making their subjects seem trivial, usually because the participants are less talented than the original artist, and they simply bring the subject's music down to their level. Big Star Small World is fortunately not one of those cases, but it's also no unearthed tr…

Emmylou Harris "Gliding Bird" (1969)

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Rarebird's Spotlight Album Review #11 is completed. The subject is the forgotten 1969 debut album by Emmylou Harris, titled Gliding Bird. It was recorded a few years before Harris met Gram Parsons, her supposed mentor. Here is the review:

http://rarebird9.net/glidingbird.html

Flying Burrito Brothers mid-'70's albums coming to CD

The albums Flying Again (1975) and Airborne (1976), the first two albums that were recorded by a "reunited" version of the Flying Burrito Brothers, are being released as a 2-on-1 CD by the Acadia label on June 27th. Flying Again was available on CD in Europe in the past. To the best of my knowledge, this will be the first time on CD anywhere for Airborne.

The lineup that recorded Flying Again featured two original FBB members: pedal steel guitarist "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow and bassist Chris Ethridge. The rest of the quintet was made up of latter-day Byrds drummer Gene Parsons (no relation to Gram), ex-Canned Heat guitarist Joel Scott Hill, and veteran session fiddler Floyd "Gib" Guilbeau (who was involved in most of the FBB lineups that came after this one).

Flying Again was released two years after the death of Gram Parsons, and some considered it a form of sacrilege for this quintet to release an album under the FBB's name, especially without Chris Hillm…

Doors documentaries and other items coming soon

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the formation of the Doors, two documentary films are in production, and at least one of them is intended for theatrical release. Here are details:

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117941135?categoryid=13&cs=1

The article points out that the documentaries are being co-produced by the Doors Music Co. as part of a concerted effort by the surviving band members and their manager to maintain the enduring popularity of their work. Other upcoming items are mentioned in the article:

A new box set encompassing every studio album and the concert album "Absolutely Live," to be released by Rhino in October. Box will contain two-disc sets of each studio album -- a CD with new stereo mixes by original producer Bruce Botnick as well as freshly remastered classic mixes, and a DVD with 5.1 and 96k stereo mixes along with outtakes, alternate takes and video clips. Apple's iTunes is expected to offer digital albums, virtual box sets and downloads of l…

Def Leppard "Yeah!"

Yeah!, the new album by Def Leppard, was released this week. It's an album of covers, on which the pop-metal quintet pays tribute to bands and songs they grew up listening to in England. To American listeners, several songs may seem like obscure choices, but the original versions of all 14 tracks were Top 20 hits in the UK. Not surprisingly, many of the selections are from the early-'70's glam period, which the band once sang a song about (remember "Rocket"?). Songs by David Bowie, T. Rex, Sweet, Mott The Hoople, and Roxy Music represent that genre. Some other UK-based bands covered include Badfinger, Free, Thin Lizzy, and the Faces. Speaking of which, that last band's song "Stay With Me" is sung by guitarist Phil Collen, and the Leps cleverly recreate its raucous vibe while remaining in firm control.

One of the more surprising choices is the Kinks' "Waterloo Sunset", which gets a faithful yet Leppard-like treatment. It's just what …