According to the supercomputer Deep Thought, 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, a revelation which we can only presume must somehow be tied to why Genesis has decided to release R-KIVE, a new box set which covers 42 years of music from not only the band but also the various members of the band, including three selections each from the discographies of Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, and Mike Rutherford…and in case you’re wondering, yes, in this instance, when we say “Mike Rutherford,” we do mean “Mike + The Mechanics.” (Sorry, fans, there’s no “Maxine” to be found here.)
This is far from the first box set to emerge from the Genesis camp, of course, but it is the first time they’ve put something together which covers the members’ work inside and outside the band, thereby providing a fuller picture of what each individual brought to the table.
It was a dark day in pop music when Robin Gibb, one of the founding members of the Bee Gees, succumbed to cancer on May 20, 2012, but for those still mourning the man who sang and co-wrote “I Started a Joke” (not to mention numerous other classic tracks), we can bring a little bit of bittersweet sunshine to your day with the release of 50 St. Catherine’s Drive, Robin’s final solo album.
Compiled by Robin’s widow, Dwina, and his son R.J., 50 St. Catherine’s Drive – named for the address where Robin was born – features 17 tracks, including the majority of the material he recorded for the album, along with a demo of “Sydney,” the last track he wrote and recorded in his lifetime.
As our effort to reissue classic albums on 180-gram vinyl continues ever onward, we’re bringing you two very different albums this week: one’s a unique blend of folk, rock, and jazz from a singer-songwriter who’s never been afraid to challenge audiences, while the other is a country-inspired side project from the man who once sang of “Sultans of Swing.”
Joni Mitchell, Hejira: Originally released in November 1976, Mitchell wrote the majority of this album while on a car trip from Maine to Los Angeles, hence the inclusions of songs with titles like “Blue Motel Room” and “Refuge of the Roads.” While not a hit-single machine – only one song, “Coyote,” made even the slightest inroads on that front, and the only place it charted was in Canada, and only at #79 at that – Hejira is generally viewed as one of Mitchell’s classic ‘70s efforts, featuring a more jazz-influenced sound than any of its predecessors but still providing listeners with outstanding material, including the aforementioned favorites as well as “Amelia” and “Black Crow.” It’s perhaps not the best entry point to her career, but for those fans whose musical sensibilities had grown and expanded along with Mitchell’s, Hejira is a very fine piece of work.
This week’s Mono Mondays release is one of those albums that you can hold up to the faces of any of your snarky hipster friends who try to tell you that the only cool performers are the ones who sing their own songs: when you hear the way Otis Redding sings soul on Otis Blue, you realize that the coolest performers are the ones who can take other people’s songs and make you forget that they ever belonged to anyone else.
Originally released on September 15, 1965, Otis Blue was Redding’s breakout album, the one that took him beyond the R&B charts and into the hearts and minds of mainstream audiences, which makes it all the more amazing that he more or less managed to knock out the entire album in 24 hours. With Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Isaac Hayes on piano, and members of the Mar-Keys and the Memphis Horns behind him, Redding reportedly recorded from10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on July 9, picked up again at 2 a.m. on July 10 (after Booker T. and the boys returned from the local gigs they’d already had booked), and finished up at around 2 p.m.
Monkees fans, it’s time to stop singing “This Doesn’t Seem To Be My Day.” We know you’ve been chomping at the bit to find out more specifics about the so-called super deluxe edition of the Monkees’ self-titled debut ever since our pal Andrew Sandoval acknowledged its impending arrival during the band’s official convention earlier this year, but your long wait is at an end: you’re finally getting all the details on the three-disc, 100-track set.
If you’ve ever owned a copy of The Monkees in the past, then you’ll obviously recognize the first 24 tracks on Disc 1, a.k.a. the original mono and stereo albums, and if you’ve enough of a fan that you’ve invested in the various solo efforts by the members, then you’ll also be familiar with quite a lot of Disc 3, which contains Davy’s The David Jones Album (in mono and stereo) and a pair of singles along with some of Mike’s early work, when he was still calling himself Michael Blessing. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of stuff you haven’t heard before, including mono TV versions of songs, alternate takes, remixes, rehearsals, demos, and even a pair of songs by the aforementioned Mr. Blessing that’ve never been released before: “Who Do You Love” and “Get Out of My Life Woman.”