50th Collection: Workingman’s Dead

The Grateful Dead released the 50th anniversary edition of the American rock classic recording, Workingman’s Dead today. I have a special connection with this album through the Capitol Theatre Howard Stein days.

Latest T-Shirt in my collection!

My first experience witnessing the Grateful Dead live occurred at the Capitol Theatre in Portchester NY on November 7, 1970. I first heard the track “New Speedway Boogie” over the loudspeaker system from Workingman’s Dead on June 14, 1970 in the balcony waiting for Santana to perform the late show. This was the release day in the U.S. for the album. I loved what I heard so fervently I was motivated to run down to the box office where I bought a pair of 7th row center seats (six months before the show) for their November 7, concert.

New Speedway Boogie B-side to the Uncle John’s Band single

The Dead loved the Cap and Jerry Garcia said it was his favorite venue to play after the Fillmore West (this is according to Warren Haynes who has played the Garcia guitar role in the latter day Dead unit.)

The 50th anniversary edition features the live concert from the Dead at The Capitol Theatre recorded February 21, 1971. Which is fitting and appropriate as the Dead played the Capitol Theatre many times in the early 70s. If you combine that with how I discovered Workingman’s Dead its simpatico. Peter Shapiro, promoter and Capitol Theatre owner booked the last Grateful Dead concerts, the “Fare Thee Well” shows at Soldiers Field in Chicago, July 3-July 5, 2015. So the Grateful Dead/Capitol Theatre partnership lives on!

Bobbie Gentry’s Reissues

Record Store Day, Black Friday 2018 shopping yielded this 1967 classic reissue.

This Bobbie Gentry song brings back memories of summertime listening to the transistor radio while “Ode to Billie Joe” became a natural number one hit.

According to Mojo Magazine (January 2019 issue), the Reissue of the Year is Ms. Gentry’s extensive eight CD box set, The Girl From Chickasaw County: The Complete Masters by Bobbie Gentry

Bobbie Gentry- The Girl From Chickasaw County box-set cover art by David Downton

Automatic For The People – 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Automatic 25

Approximately 25 years ago I purchased R.E.M.’s 16-bit audio CD based on a recommendation. Little did I realize it would become my favorite recording of my extensive music collection. It never fails to satisfy through repeated listenings, shuffled tracks, etc. I reach for it often to fill the void.

R.E.M. and Craft Recordings are reissuing Automatic for the People as a 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition in various editions and packages on November 10th. The edition that has my interest is the four-disc box set.  R.E.M.’s Automatic For The People, Blu-Ray Disc 4 is the first album to be commercially released in the expressive, breathtaking format known as Dolby Atmos.

Been waiting for Automatic for the People in high resolution for some time now, soon it will be here…

“It speaks of the fragility and beauty of life and living life to the fullest in the present moment” – Michael Stipe reflecting about Automatic for the People.


ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery – Super Deluxe Edition

The Emerson, Lake and Palmer catalogue has several progressive rock “gold standards”. A highlight of their recording achievements is Brain Salad Surgery which celebrates its 40th+ Anniversary this year. This recording has been given the super deluxe edition remastering and repackaging treatment by Manticore Records and Sony Legacy Recordings UK.

All three members of Emerson, Lake and Palmer have been directly involved in the remastering process. Initial customer reviews are glowingly positive that the sound quality has been drastically improved over past editions.

1. Original album remastered (CD)
2. Alternate album (CD)
3. New stereo versions (CD)
4. Super sonic audio (DVDA)
5. Extra brain salad – documentary/photo gallery (DVD)
6. 180 gram LP original album remastered

Replica poster
20 page 12×12” booklet
Hardcover slipcase and vinyl gatefold

I have always struggled with this recording. It has never measured up to the excitement that builds within me when I hold it in my hands. I find this epic recording, imbalanced. It contains true gems such as “Still You Turn Me On” and “Karn Evil 9 1st Impression, Part 1”. It also has the clunker track, “Benny the Bouncer” which denies the recording masterpiece status.

I love the album graphic art design. The cover of this album has one of the most compelling works of art ever created. The H.R. Giger “Alien” mask is multi-dimensional and layered. It is truly a beguiling science fiction design.


Prog Magazine, Issue 44, “Cerebrum Eruptus!”, Author: Mike Barnes, Copyright 2014, http://www.progrockmag.com

Reissue: Dylan’s Gospel

Gospel music and singing in the choir hold a reverent spot in the music of our heart. I sang for several years in the church choir growing up. I find myself at peace when I sing hymns at the weekly celebration of mass. It stands to reason that Bob Dylan‘s music lends itself to a church music setting. After all you “Gotta Serve Somebody” 😉

Something tells us you haven’t heard anything like Dylan’s Gospel by The Brothers and Sisters, a choir of Los Angeles session singers brought gloriously to the fore for a very special, one-off record.

Originally released in 1969 on Ode Records, this rare and sought-after album finds the California collective covering a clutch of Dylan classics in the era’s revolutionary gospel style. Produced by Lou Adler, soon to work his magic on Carole King’s mega-successful Tapestry, and arranged by Gene Page, noted for his work for Motown, the performers were largely unknown, but many went on to find great acclaim. Merry Clayton, the powerhouse singer best known for sparring with Mick Jagger on Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” (and star of the recent documentary 20 Feet from Stardom), appears here, as does Edna Wright of The Honeycones and Gloria Jones who recorded the original version of “Tainted Love” in 1965.

Record producer Lou Adler
Record producer Lou Adler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The genesis of the project was Lou Adler, the music business visionary who staged the legendary Monterey International Pop Festival. He imagined a project that joined the songs of Dylan with L.A.‘s most sought after session singers, most of which began their singing in the Baptist churches of South Los Angeles. “Listening to Dylan’s songs, I felt there was a gospel-like feel to them, both spiritually and lyrically,” Adler says in the liner notes. “So those two ideas, to work with these singers and to explore that side of Dylan – came together.” (Background and publicity information courtesy of The Light In The Attic Records).

The album drops on April 1, 2014. You may place a pre-order here.

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The Year of The Doors Starts Today

2102, The Year of The Doors is upon us. The 40th Anniversary of L.A. Woman is being celebrated in high fashion today, January 9th. The World Premiere of the first completely new and unreleased track by The Doors in 40 years, “She Smells So Nice” can be heard on Sound Cloud here.

This unique gem was found by co-producer Bruce Botnick when he was reviewing the L.A. Woman session tapes for the upcoming reissue.

The Doors L.A. Woman 40th Anniversary merchandise will start shipping on or about January 20th, 2012.

There will be a two CD re-issue of the original album, remastered, with an extra disc of bonus material. Disc two has previously unreleased alternate versions of songs featured on the original album along with studio chatter by the band from the recording sessions. Liner notes written by David Fricke, Sr. Editor of Rolling Stone magazine, and original album producer Bruce Botnick.

There will also be a DVD, Mr. Mojo Risin’: The Story of L.A. Woman. Eagle Rock Entertainment has created this documentary detailing how The Doors created their last studio album. Mr Mojo Risin’ goes into detail of how the album came about, its recording and what was happening to the band at the time. The story is told through new interviews with the three surviving Doors: Ray Manzarek, Robbie Krieger and John Densmore plus contributions from Jac Holzman, founder of their label, Elektra Records, Bill Siddons, their manager, Bruce Botnick, engineer and co-producer of the album and others associated with the Doors at this time. The show includes archive footage of the Doors performing both live and in the studio, classic photographs and new musical demonstrations from the Doors.

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