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Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 1:17pm

"Aqualung,""Thick As A Brick,""Cross Eyed Mary,""Locomotive Breath"... Who wants to hear the best of Jethro Tull (and some new tunes from Ian Anderson!) live this fall? Enter to win a pair of tickets to hear their hits in a city near you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 - 4:22pm

New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:

We’ve only got two artists to tackle in this week’s Digital Roundup, and one of them has nine – count ‘em – nine titles being added to our digital catalog, so before we dive into discussing those efforts, let’s talk about the lone addition from the other artist first, just to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Savatage, Fight for the Rock: It may not be the reason why it’s taken this particular entry from the band’s back catalog to make into our digital catalog, but the members of Savatage have referred to this, their third album, as Fight for the Nightmare, with lead singer John Oliva declaring outright on the band’s website, “I’ve never really been fond of that album,” only to quickly upgrade his statement to state, “We’ve never fond of that album.” It’s not hard to see why: between the album’s artwork, which found the band echoing the pose of the soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima, the unlikely inclusion of cover versions of Badfinger’s “Day After Day” and Free’s “Wishing Well,” the placement of a lyrically-unnecessary parental-advisory sticker on the front cover to make metal fans think there might be something outrageous contained therein, and, of course, a title track prominently featuring the word “rock,” the whole affair was clearly Atlantic Records’ attempt to break Savatage into the mainstream. Did it work? Well, the album made it onto the Billboard Top 200, if only at #158, but it was their subsequent album, Hall of the Mountain King, that proved to be the bigger seller, and it did so while delivering a collection which was far more in line with the real Savatage. Still, if you’re a fan of the band, you really need to hear Fight for the Rock, if only to confirm that rocking properly is something that’s worth a fight with your label.

Okay, now that we’ve given Fight for the Rock a fair shake, it’s on to the substantial number of additions to our catalog from our other artist of the week.

Al Stewart:

Thursday, August 7, 2014 - 4:10pm

This week, we’re offering a 180-gram vinyl reissue of the sophomore full-length effort by the Waterboys, the first one featuring songs recorded with what is generally viewed as the definitive lineup of the group: Mike Scott, Anthony Thistlethwaite, Kevin Wilkinson, and Karl Wallinger, who would later go on to form his own band, World Party.

Sharing its title with an Edna O’Brien novel which Mike Scott, who named the album and wrote the title track, has never actually read, the first sessions for A Pagan Place took place in November 1982, but they only featured Scott, Thistlethwaite, and Wilkinson. By the time the band returned to record the remainder of the album, almost a year had passed (the second sessions didn’t take place until September 1983), and in addition to having added Wallinger to the lineup, the band had also released their self-titled album and scored their first chart hit with “A Girl Called Johnny.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 3:51pm

Fans of the Original Album Series box sets, rejoice: we bring unto you our latest effort, this time spotlighting five albums from the late ’70s / early ‘80s period of Jethro Tull’s discography. You will please note that this spotlight shines strictly upon the band’s studio output, which is to say that you’ll have to look elsewhere if you’re interested in obtaining a copy of their 1978 live album, Bursting Out. You may also wish to recall that there are some critics who would argue that this timeframe will literally provide you with the highest of Tull’s creative highs as well as the lowest of their lows, but, hey, everybody’s got their own opinion. (Personally, we find that there are merits to all of the albums included in the collection...but, of course, that’s just the sort of thing a label would say.)

If you don’t happen to have the Jethro Tull discography memorized, here’s the quintet of albums that you’ll find in this Original Album Series set:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 3:33pm

New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:

Chic & Aristofreeks, Le Freak Remixes EP: Who or what is Aristofreeks? Well, to quote directly from their SoundCloud profile, “Aristofreeks is the name of the funky beast that comprises DMC mixing championship finalist Max Martire and the internationally renowned musical chameleon Lenny Ibizarre.” If you’re questioning if these upstarts have got the goods to remix such a classic song, then you’ll be interested to learn that they’re contributing to a new single, “Everybody Get On Up,” by Next Step, a group consisting of former Chic singers Norma-Jean Wright, Luci Martin, Alfa Anderson and featuring Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge. Hello, instant dance-floor credibility!

Various Artists, Woodstock – Music from the Original Soundtrack and More / Woodstock 2: Just in time to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the musical festival to end all music festivals – or, at the very least, the one to inspire more people than any other to claim they were there whether they actually were or not – both the original soundtrack (and more) from the original film and its sequel have been added to our digital catalog.