New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Booker T. and the MGs, Green Onions: This week’s Mono Monday release is one of the most fondly-remembered instrumental albums of the rock era, and that’s not just because of the groove of the title track, although goodness gracious knows that it sure doesn’t hurt. Any band who can shift from covers of “I Got a Woman” and “Twist and Shout” into their own take on Acker Bilk’s “Stranger on the Shore” clearly has a lot of range, and they show it off throughout the course of the record. A tiny bit of trivia to close: the last track, “Comin’ Home Baby,” was co-written by Bob Dorough, the same fellow who wrote every song featured in Schoolhouse Rock’s “Multiplication Rock,” from “My Hero Zero” all the way through to “Little Twelvetoes.”
Ronnie Dyson, Phase 2 / Brand New Day: Although he first came to musical prominence as a result of his role in Hair (if you’ve heard “Aquarius,” that’s him singing, “When the moon is in the seventh house / And Jupiter aligns with Mars...”), Ronnie Dyson spent a decent amount of the ‘70s as a success on the R&B charts, even earning a few pop hits in the process. Although his commercial glory days may have been over by the ‘80s, Dyson nonetheless kept at it, releasing two optimistically-titled albums on Cotillion Records: 1982’s Phase 2 and 1983’s Brand New Day. Neither made so much as a ripple on the pop charts, but the former found R&B success with the singles “Heart to Heart” and “Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong,” while the latter provided “All Over Your Face,” which hit #23 on the R&B charts and proved to be his last hit single.
It’s not exactly a battle on the level of Beatles vs. Stones, but if you’re a fan of the legendary ska outfit known as the Specials, then you’ve likely indulged in this particular question: which is better, The Specials or More Specials? Both certainly have their merits, but for the purposes of today’s discussion, we’re just going to casually throw it out there that, if it’s been awhile since you’ve listened to the albums and you find that you’d kind of like to revisit the band’s sophomore effort, today would be a really great day for that, as it’s just been reissued on 180-gram vinyl.
Was that too blatant a plug? If so, well, what are you gonna do? We had to draw your attention to it one way or the other, because not only is it a pretty great album, but we’re really excited to be able to bring this new vinyl reissue to you.
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Big Wreck, In Loving Memory Of / The Pleasure and the Greed: Aficionados of Canadian rock – or at least of Canadian frontmen (stand up, please, Ian Thornley) – will be pleased to see that the first two albums by Big Wreck have been added to our digital catalog. Their debut, 1997’s In Loving Memory Of, remains the band’s most popular effort by far thanks to tracks like “The Oaf (My Luck is Wasted),” “That Song,” “Blown Wide Open,” and “Under the Lighthouse,” all of which were top-40 hits in Canada. Unfortunately, while there’s considerable merit to their 2001 sophomore effort as well, The Pleasure and Greed didn’t get much in the way of proper marketing, so sales were disappointing…but, on the other hand, that also means that you might not yet have had the good fortune of hearing songs like “Inhale,” “Ladylike,” and “Knee Deep,” so, hey, now’s your chance!
Corona, “Rhythm of the Night”: In case you’ve noticed the use of quotation marks around the title rather than the usual italics, that’s because this is a single rather than the 13-track album of the same name. It must be said, though, that this is a case where, if you only own one song by Corona, then this is the one to own. (It was their only top-40 hit.)
The Cars,Studio Album Collection: 1978-1987: Knowing that some of you may be among those folks whose Cars collection only features one of their best-of collections and nothing more, you may be interested in this offering, which compiles all six of the studio albums the band released during their tenure on Elektra in one handy, dandy, reasonably-priced package. Of course, that means you don’t get “Tonight She Comes,” which was originally exclusive to their 1985 greatest-hits album, but if you’ve already got a greatest-hits disc, anyway (and it’s turned up on every one that’s ever come out), then what’s the problem?
Okay, so maybe the headline kind of says it all in this instance, but we’re still gonna spell it out for you, just in case: if you’re a Pantera fan who’s also a vinyl purist, you heard about the live album that was added to the 20th anniversary reissue of Far Beyond Driven, and you thought, “Man, I sure wish they’d release that thing on vinyl,” this is your lucky week.
Yes, Far Beyond Bootleg: Live from Donnington ’94 is now available on vinyl.
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