In recent years, the sight of a porkpie hat has inspired most people to think of one word – Heisenberg – but prior to the premiere of Breaking Bad, it used to be the chapeau of choice for rude boys... and if you don’t know what a rude boy is, then, boy, do you need to run out and pick up our latest 180-gram vinyl releases!
First and foremost, we’d recommend The Best of 2-Tone, because it’s evident that you need a proper education in ska, and when it comes to a solid sampling of the genre, you need look no further than this set, which features material from The Beat (“The Tears of a Clown,” “Ranking Full Stop”), The Bodysnatchers (“Let’s Do Rock Steady”), Madness (“The Prince”), Rico (“Sea Cruise”), The Selecter (“The Selecter,” “On My Radio,” “Three Minute Hero,” “Missing Words”), The Special AKA (“Gangsters,” an edited version of “Nelson Mandela,” a live version of “Too Much Too Young,” and “The Boiler”), and The Specials (“A Message to You Rudy,” “Rat Race,” “Stereotype,” “Do Nothing,” and “Ghost Town”).
If you’ve seen an exorbitant number of pieces being posted about Twin Peaks lately and have been wondering why everyone’s suddenly gotten excited again about a 24-year-old TV drama, then... well, first of all, we can only presume that you have a problem where you only read the least important portion of every headline, because it shouldn’t be all that hard to work out that the renewed media attention is due to the series and its feature-film prequel (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me), being released on Blu-ray – along with numerous special features, including almost an hour and a half of deleted and extended scenes from the film – in a new set entitled Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery.
Produced And Newly Remastered By Jimmy Page, Each With Previously Unreleased Companion Audio Multiple CD, Vinyl, And Digital Formats, Including Limited Edition Super Deluxe Boxed Set, Available October 27/28
The second round of reissues begins with one of the most artistically influential and commercially successful albums in the history of music, Led Zeppelin IV, and continues with 1973's chart-topping Houses Of The Holy. As with the previous deluxe editions, both albums have been newly remastered by guitarist and producer Jimmy Page and are accompanied by a second disc of companion audio comprised entirely of unreleased music related to that album.
Each album is now available for pre-order in the following formats:
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that there was once a time when instrumental artists could find significant chart success on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s not as though it’s completely unheard of nowadays, but if you look back at the number of instrumentals that hit the charts during the early days of rock ‘n’ roll and follow that number through to present day…well, we’d hate to use the word “plummet” to describe how quickly it drops off, but it really is a spot-on description. (Then again, given that the majority of those instrumentals were by Kenny G, maybe it’s for the best.)
Thankfully, this week’s Mono Monday release is a reminder of the glory days of rock ‘n’ roll and R&B instrumentals, when bands could get their groove on without having to worry about dealing with the ego of a frontman…unless you consider Booker T. Jones to be the frontman of The M.G.s, since his first name and initial come in front of theirs. When you listen to Green Onions, though, Booker T.’s organ playing may be prominent, it’s far from the only memorable instrumental performance going on in the grooves of the album: you’ve got also got Steve Cropper’s guitar, Al Jackson, Jr.’s drums, and Lewie Steinberg’s upright bass, too. In short, this is just all-around great music…and there’s not a single word to be found anywhere.
Between late 1979 and early 1980, four brothers from Ohio took their band into a studio in Detroit and laid down some serious funk, and 34 years ago today, Warner Brothers put that funk out, throwing their substantial corporate weight behind Zapp’s claim that, if given the chance, Larry, Lester, Roger, and Terry Troutman were more than capable of providing listeners with “more bounce to the ounce.”
It’s fair to say that Zapp might never have come to prominence were it not for the assistance of Bootsy Collins and his brother, Catfish, who – in addition to their membership in Parliament-Funkadelic – were also tight with the Troutman family. After the Collins brothers invited the Troutman brothers to visit United Sound Studios in Detroit, Zapp wrote and recorded the demo for the “More Bounce to the Ounce,” which George Clinton persuaded the band to present to Warner Brothers.
Townes Van Zandt has had many acolytes over the past 40 years, but it's Lyle Lovett who grabbed, and held, my attention. A lover, and performer, or various genres - from country, jazz, blues and Tejano - to standards from the American Songbook, Lovett, to the causal observer, may not immediately connect the Van Zandt dots. But they are there, and none more so than on Lovett's 1998 double record, Step Inside This House, his tribute to fellow Texan songwriters, prominently featuring the music of Townes.
This week's playlist pulls from the first seven Lovett albums, beginning with 1986's self-titled and closing out with the aforementioned Step Inside This House, from 1998. A mighty twelve year stretch. Also included is Lovett's take on the standard "Blue Skies", culled from his Smile collection, which gathers cuts from his various soundtrack work.