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Showing posts from December, 2009

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 2

Last week I received the second pair of exclusive vinyl items offered to platinum members of Third Man Records’ Vault service. For those who are unaware, Third Man Records is the label owned by Jack White, the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather. 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. According to the postmark, the records were sent on December 18th. I received mine on the 22nd.

This second set of items consists of a 2-LP live album from the Raconteurs on 180g vinyl, and a White Stripes single featuring alternate versions of two early songs. The package also included a screen-print poster of the Dead Weather’s Horehound album cover image, designed by Rob Jones, which fits neatly inside the LP’s 12-inch sleeve.

The White Stripes single contains alternate takes of the two songs which were released on the duo’s first single in 1998 (Italy Records 0…

Alan Mann “Christmas On The Block” (1983)

Rarebird’s Rock and Roll Rarity Reviews would like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, or whatever you personally call this time of year.

I’m sure that most of you have been hearing plenty of holiday music lately. I’d like to share with you a Christmas song that most of you probably haven’t heard lately, if ever: “Christmas On The Block” by Alan Mann, from 1983.

This song was released only as a 7” single by a small indie label, and it is now very hard to find. However, the miracle of YouTube enables you and me to hear the song and watch its video right here and now.

Alan Mann was a musician based in the Philadelphia, PA area who was little-known outside of that region. But he did gain wider fame during the Christmas seasons in the mid-1980’s, when the then-young MTV network would air the video for “Christmas On The Block”. It’s a moving, one-of-a-kind song inspired by the people who then lived in a group house for the blind in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darb…

Bryan Adams’ 1979 disco single

The first single Bryan Adams recorded as a solo artist (following his departure from the Canadian band Sweeney Todd) was called “Let Me Take You Dancing”. The surprising thing is that it was a disco single! The original version of the song, released in Canada in 1978, sounded much like a recording by Nick “Hot Child In The City” Gilder. (Adams had replaced Gilder in Sweeney Todd). The 18-year-old Adams sang in a higher pitch than he did in his later recordings. For the single’s 1979 American release, the song was given a disco remix by John Luongo. Luongo sped up Adams’ vocals to the point where he sounded like a chipmunk! (Luongo was probably aiming to make Adams sound like Off The Wall-era Michael Jackson). For that reason, Adams has always distanced himself from the song, even though it was a minor disco hit, and soon led to Adams being fully signed to A&M Records. Adams has refused to allow the song to be included on any of his subsequent releases.

The single was released in bo…

Attila with Billy Joel

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Rarebird's Spotlight Album Review #19 is complete. The subject: the self-titled 1970 album by Attila, a heavy metal duo featuring singer/organist Billy Joel. (You read that right). The review is here:

http://rarebird9.net/attila.html

The Cure "Fade Away: The Early Years Vinyl Box Set" (2009)

For those who are extreme lovers of vinyl and extreme lovers of the Cure, the Vinyl Lovers label is serving up a pricey limited edition package called Fade Away: The Early Years Vinyl Box Set on December 15th. The 7-LP set is limited to 1,000 copies, and contains 180g vinyl discs of the first four Cure albums: Three Imaginary Boys (1979), Seventeen Seconds (1980), Faith (1981), and Pornography (1982). The other three discs in the set contain a total of 29 bonus tracks (including the epic instrumental Carnage Visors), all of which are available on the 2-CD Deluxe Editions of the three latter albums which were released in 2005. A complete track listing for the Fade Away box set can be found here. For those who intend to shell out nearly $200 USD for the set, it can be pre-ordered at Amazon.com.