If you never travel far without a little Big Star, then not only do you likely already know who Chris Bell is, but you probably already own the lone solo album by the late Mr. Bell, who played guitar and sang on Big Star’s boldly-titled debut album, #1 Record, before departing the band’s ranks for a solo career which ended abruptly when, at the age of 27, he was killed in a car crash. It was a sad, sudden end for a songwriter who’d already begun to earn respect from his peers, and it seems all the more tragic in retrospect, given how many artists have found inspiration in I Am the Cosmos since it finally received its belated release on Rykodisc in 1992.
In 2009, Rhino Handmade offered up a two-disc deluxe edition of I Am the Cosmos, pairing the album’s original 12 tracks on the first disc with a second disc featuring three tracks by Bell’s pre-Big Star bands (two by Icewater, one by Rock City), nine alternate and extended versions and mixes of songs from the album, collaborations with Keith Sykes (“Stay with Me”) and Nancy Bryan (“In My Darkest Hour”), and concluding with the instrumental “Clacton Rag.” Here’s the full track listing for your perusal:
This week’s Mono Monday release features a title track which has gone on to become known to quite a few classic-rock aficionados as a really great ZZ Top song, but if you’ve never heard the original, then get ready to thank us.
Sam Moore and Dave Prater had been a hot commodity in the world of rhythm and blues since Hold On, I’m Comin’, their 1966 debut album on Stax Records, which they took to the top of the Billboard R&B Charts, but it was their third studio effort, 1967’s Soul Men, that served as their full-fledged mainstream breakthrough, hitting #2 on the Billboard Top 200. As such, one might’ve expected I Thank You, which was the duo’s Atlantic Records debut, to build on that success, possibly even providing them Sam & Dave with their first chart-topper, but it was not to be: the album didn’t even crack the Billboard Top 200, and as it was, it only made it to #38 on the R&B chart.
But let’s get back to that title track, which was a hit, providing Sam & Dave with another top-10 success on the Billboard Hot 100 (#9) while also taking them to #3 on the R&B singles chart. And while we’ve already mentioned how ZZ Top brought the song to a whole new generation of listeners as well as into a new musical genre, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the similar success of the B-side, “Wrap It Up,” which – in addition to being on the I Thank You album as well – provided The Fabulous Thunderbirds with a minor hit (#50) in 1986.
This weekend, the world of music lost one of the great rock ‘n’ roll bassists of all time…and that’s not intended to dismiss his efforts in other musical genres – in particular, he really knew his way around jazz – but simply to underline that Cream was one of the best British bands of the ‘60s, and a lot of that had to do with the work of Jack Bruce.
Born on May 14, 1943 in Lanarkshire, Scotland, John Simon Asher Bruce – known to his mates and the music world at large as Jack – was born to musical parents, and their gifts were apparently passed on to their son, who actually won a scholarship to study cello and musical composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. One can only guess in what direction Bruce’s life might have gone if he’d actually managed to graduate from the Academy, but that never came to pass: to support himself while he was in school, he played in Jim McHarg’s Scotsville Jazzband, but as the Academy censured any students who dared to play jazz, he was given the ultimatum to stop playing it or leave the school, and…well, we all know how that story ends.
Produced And Newly Remastered By Jimmy Page, Each With Previously Unreleased Companion Audio Multiple CD, Vinyl, And Digital Formats, Including Limited Edition Super Deluxe Boxed Set
The second round of reissues begins with one of the most artistically influential and commercially successful albums in the history of music, Led Zeppelin IV, and continues with 1973's chart-topping Houses Of The Holy. As with the previous deluxe editions, both albums have been newly remastered by guitarist and producer Jimmy Page and are accompanied by a second disc of companion audio comprised entirely of unreleased music related to that album.
Each album is now available in the following formats:
Exclusive Releases From The Afghan Whigs, The Doors/Peter LaFarge, Grateful Dead, Hüsker Dü, Iron Butterfly, New Order, Ramones, Velvet Underground, Plus A Ronnie James Dio Tribute
Available At Participating Independent Record Stores On November 28
Rhino has nine limited edition releases set for Record Store Day Black Friday 2014. A variety of colored vinyl options, multi-LP sets, and an epic picture disc are sure to captivate fans and collectors alike. All roads lead to November 28 when these releases will be available exclusively at select independent music retailers. For a list of participating stores, please visit www.recordstoreday.com.