Graham Reid | | 5 min read
By any measure 1968 was yet another remarkable year in rock history, it built on the astonishing debut albums of '67 and established artists like the Beatles and the Stones unleashed some of their most seminal work.
So needless to say the next few weeks sees the remaster/reissue and expanded anniversary treatment of some of that stuff.
But then also factor in – not attached to any anniversary – the same treatment accorded to John Lennon's Imagine and Bob Dylan's classic Blood on the Tracks and . . .
Just so much more.
This – for those who care about hearing the work behind the scenes and screens for these albums – is going to be an expensive time.
Elsewhere will be digging deeply and with considerable specifics about some these sets as they arrive, but right now we offer a consumer guide and warning about what is coming roaring down the highway in a semi-trailer of music.
Get out of the way, or check the mortgage.
John Lennon: Imagine; The Ultimate Collection
The original album – few than 40 minutes long – gets the massive overhaul as a four CD and two Blu-Ray (plus book) box set of demos, rehearsals, string or piano only mixes, interviews and so on. Those who have had bootlegs of the spare demos or heard the jams by the band which included George Harrison on guitars, Nicky Hopkins (piano), Klaus Voorman (bass), Andy White, Jim Keltner and Jim Gordon (drums), King Curtis and a couple of members of Badfinger will attest that while this might look like a massive overkill in terms of a reissue there is much to dig into, and dig.
It also comes in the more modest two CD and two vinyl record editions.
Due October 5
Bob Dylan: More Blood, More Tracks; The Bootleg Series Volume 14
Dylan's '75 album Blood on the Tracks was not just considered his return to serious form but one at least some level about his slow separation from his wife Sara (albeit coded and oblique). He recorded a number of songs in New York in September '74 but then after Christmas while in Minnesota he decided some of them weren't right so he puled in some local players (whom he'd never met) and did a number of the songs again in Minneapolis over a couple of days.
The big box of six CDs (and the booklet of course) contains every rehearsal and take of every song that appeared on the subsequent album, and a few which didn't. Only four of these outtakes have appeared elsewhere in the Bootleg Series, and a couple on the Biograph album.
It also comes as single disc or double vinyl of different takes.
Due November 2
The Beatles: The Beatles (aka The White Album)
It was a double album anyway – they'd written so many songs while on their meditation retreat in Rishikesh in early '68, but strap yourself in for the Giles Martin-remix stereo edition which comes as a double vinyl replica, as a three CD and four LP box set (with 27 of their early demos recorded at George Harrison's home in Esher) or as the whopping box set of seven discs: two of the stereo album mix, 19 demos from Esher, two further discs of sessions and rehearsals, and a Blu-ray of the album in various audio iterations (PCM stereo, 5.1, mono and so on), Plus a 164-page hardback book of photos, handwritten lyrics and more
It is a wide sweep of remarkably diverse music, due November 9
Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland
Another 50thanniversary double album given expanded and enhanced treatment (remastered by Eddie Kramer). This was the last album to appear in Hendrix's lifetime and he was shedding his old Experience skin and in the studio was working with other musicians, and experimenting with styles and sounds. Again you get to hear the working drawings in the studio in a three CD and Blu-ray edition or a six LP and Blu-ray. The Blu-rays have a making of doco as well as 5.1 surround sound mix and the original stereo mixes.
Due November 9
The Rolling Stones: Beggar's Banquet
This was the album which saw the Stones broaden and deepen their styles by keeping a base of rock'n'roll rhythm'n'blues but also delving into American country and British folk. It set them up for the career which followed. It's a classic Stones album and it also seems the Blu-ray of their Rock'n'Roll Circus television event wi.l be released around the same time. Yoko screaming is either a high or low point depending on your tolerance levels.
For its 50th anniversary Beggar's Banquet gets a remastered vinyl re-presentation with a single of Street Fighting Man (in mono) and a limited edition bonus seven-inch flexi-disc (!) of an interview at the time between Mick Jagger and someone in their Japanese record company. There is a CD version available (not being released in New Zealand but you can get it through https://store.digitals.co.uk), it also will be available digitally and the vinyl edition (in a gatefold sleeve as per the original) comes with a download for the album and the interview.
The original "toilet wall" cover is also restored to its rightful place with the "invitation" sleeve as an overwrap. This anniversary edition will be released on November 16. There is a full consideration of the album at Elsewhere here.
The Doors: Waiting for the Sun; 50thAnniversary Edition
Although far from their finest album, this did contain The Unknown Soldier and the hit Hello I Love You. This has now reappeared – remastered and with rough mixes – with an extra 14 tracks across two CDs and one LP with five songs recorded live in Copenhagen.
The Band: Music from Big Pink 50thAnniversary Edition
The album which – along with Dylan's John Wesley Harding – recalibrated musical thinking in the late Sixties and offered a new path out of psychedelic rock and into more deep and dark areas of country music and Americana. Timeless music in many ways and this reissue comes as a new stereo mix (by Bob Clearmountain) with outtakes and such.
For the hardcore fan this comes as a five CD set and also as a limited edition double vinyl (pink, of course).
Bobbie Gentry: The Girl from Chickasaw County
Great though Bobbie (Ode to Billie Joe) Gentry is, perhaps only absolute loyalists will pony up for this seven disc collection of her albums on Capitol and another disc of outtakes and live material.
We mention it here so we can point to this from our archives. If that is to your taste then this big box set attests that there's more where that came from.
Bob Marley: Kaya 40
The album placed between periods of militancy and anger which provided a breathing space and sprung delights like Is The Love, Satisfy My Soul and so on. Forty years on it gets re-presented with additional new mixes by son Stephen who uses demo tracks. Niceness for summertime?
There are many other reissues of course but we though these might be of most interest to Elsewhere readers. Sign up for overtime.