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The Stooges (John Cale Mix) (2020)

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The Stooges, the Ann Arbor, Michigan band that launched the career of Iggy Pop, are widely regarded as progenitors of punk rock, much like their fellow ‘60’s fashion-resistors in the Velvet Underground. How fitting it seems, then, that the Stooges’ self-titled 1969 debut album was produced by John Cale, who had recently left the Velvet Underground. The first two VU albums recorded with Cale were groundbreaking creations that inspired legions of musical innovators despite their lack of commercial success; the remaining VU albums recorded after Cale’s departure were mellower and less groundbreaking. It is therefore not surprising that Cale’s original mix of The Stooges was rejected by Elektra Records for being “too raw”. The album was subsequently remixed by Iggy Pop (then known as Iggy Stooge) and Elektra president Jac Holzman for its 1969 release. Cale’s mixes of the songs remained unreleased for over 35 years, until four of them appeared on a 2005 expanded edition of the album, albei…

David Bowie “I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74)” (2020 Record Store Day LP and CD)

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By now, I’m sure you are aware that Record Store Day 2020 has been postponed until June 20th due to the coronavirus. Certainly this is a sad circumstance, but hopefully we will be able to safely browse through the bins in independent record stores two months from now. Whatever happens, we will get through this terrible pandemic together.

In the meantime, I would like to talk about one of two Record Store Day 2020 releases from the late David Bowie. I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74) will be issued in both 2-LP and 2-CD editions, in limited quantities. This live double-album mostly documents Bowie’s October 20, 1974 concert at the Michigan Palace in Detroit, with three added encores from his show at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville on November 30th of that year (marked with an asterisk in the track listing below).

The “soul tour” which the title refers to took place in late 1974, during a break in the Diamond Dogs tour. This “soul tour” added then-unreleased songs from the Philade…

David Bowie "ChangesNowBowie" (2020 Record Store Day LP and CD)

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By now, I’m sure you are aware that Record Store Day 2020 has been postponed until June 20th due to the coronavirus. Certainly it is a sad circumstance, but hopefully we will be able to safely browse through the bins in independent record stores two months from now. Whatever happens, we will get through this terrible pandemic together.

In the meantime, I would like to talk about one of two Record Store Day 2020 releases from the late David Bowie. ChangesNowBowie will be issued on both LP and CD in limited quantities. The album's nine tracks were recorded and mixed at Looking Glass Studios in New York in November 1996. Bowie was accompanied by bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, guitarist Reeves Gabrels, and keyboardist Mark Plati. Although the album's physical release has been delayed, it is now available for streaming, one day before the originally planned Record Store Day date. Here is the description from the Record Store Day website:

"CHANGESNOWBOWIE is a 9-track session recorded…

Grey Daze with Chester Bennington

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Before the late Chester Bennington became the frontman for Linkin Park, he was the frontman for an unsigned Arizona-based grunge band called Grey Daze. In April 2020, an album titled Amends is set to be released, containing 11 songs from Grey Daze’s ‘90’s repertoire, using Bennington’s original recorded vocals but with the music rerecorded by surviving Grey Daze members Sean Dowdell (drums, backing vocals) and Mace Beyers (bass), and new guitarist Cristin Davis.

Grey Daze originally self-released two independent CD’s in the ‘90’s: Wake Me (1994) and …no sun today (1997). On both CD’s, Bennington co-wrote the lyrics with Dowdell. These two CD’s have long been unavailable, and have been much-bootlegged in the past two decades following the success of Linkin Park.

The 1994 CD Wake Me mostly has the type of Seattle-style grunge sound which was then fashionable, and is particularly reminiscent of Alice In Chains. The guitarist on this CD was Jason Barnes, and the bassist was Jonathon Kr…

Billie Eilish "Party Favor" (2018 Record Store Day single)

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On Record Store Day 2018, Billie Eilish issued a 7-inch single, pressed in pink vinyl and limited to 2,000 copies, featuring an acoustic version of her song “Party Favor” on the A-side, and a similarly acoustic cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” on the B-side. The teenaged alternative pop artist often performs these two songs together live, presumably because cell phones figure prominently in the lyrics of both songs. Now that Eilish has become a chart-topping, Grammy-winning sensation, this limited-edition single has become quite pricey on the collector’s market.

The acoustic version of “Party Favor”, the original version of which appeared on Eilish’s 2017 EP dont smile at me, finds Eilish strumming her ukulele and singing without the studio effects, with mild musical accompaniment by her brother/producer Finneas O’Connell (who makes his own recordings under the name FINNEAS). This track presents a scaled-back variant of the EP’s Lorde-meets-Lana Del Rey aesthetic; Eilish sounds part…

The true tales of D.A. and DA!

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I have long been an enthusiastic collector of rare recordings. Searching out a musical rarity has always been something I’ve enjoyed doing, although it can sometimes get frustrating when a song or record takes a long time to track down. But, so far, I can’t say it has ever taken me 37 years to track down an elusive song.

It did, however, take some record collectors that long to find a mysterious song from 1979. That song was titled “Ready ‘N’ Steady”, by an unknown recording artist called D.A. One person who tried for decades to find this song was music historian Joel Whitburn, who has written numerous books compiling chart data from Billboard magazine. This song showed up on the Billboard singles chart for 3 weeks in 1979, peaking at #102, meaning that it was “Bubbling Under The Hot 100” in official terms.

But there seemed to be no sign of this single’s actual existence on the planet. Whitburn and other collectors were unable to track down any copy of this record, even after the int…

The first Rush single from 1973

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Neil Peart, the long-time drummer and lyricist of the Canadian rock band Rush, died in January 2020 after a long battle with brain cancer. Peart had announced his retirement due to health issues in late 2015, and Rush has since been declared defunct. Peart is widely regarded as one of rock’s greatest drummers, by his peers as well as his fans, and his lyrics had a literary intelligence that matched his musical virtuosity.

All of the official albums from Rush’s catalogue are currently available, but their very first single from 1973 has remained in obscurity. This rare single was recorded before Peart joined Rush in 1974 in time to record their second album. The band’s original drummer was John Rutsey, who rounded out the 1973 lineup with usual singer/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. Rutsey also played on Rush’s self-titled 1974 debut album before leaving the band due to health issues related to diabetes. Sadly, Rutsey died in 2008 from apparent diabetes complications.