The Genesis reissue campaign soldiers on, this time with the band’s studio output during the half-decade between 1976 and 1981, all of which you can now hear individually with the remastering that was done for the Genesis catalog back in 2007. The 1976-1981 era was a transitional period for Genesis on a couple of different occasions, but the music that emerged within those years helped take a prog-heavy gang of musicians and turn them into proper pop/rock heroes. Now, whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is all down to individual opinion, but we know for a fact that all of these albums have their fans, which means that we also know that you’re going to love how they sound.
Nowadays, all the kids love Phoenix: thanks to the success of their singles “1901” and “Lisztomania,” their 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix went gold in the US, and their fanbase was such that the 2013 follow-up Bankrupt! provided the band with their first top-five album. What sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, however, is that the band’s big commercial breakthrough was actually their fourth album.
If this is news to you and is a revelation that makes you want to dig a little deeper into the origins of Phoenix, well, now’s the perfect time, because we’ve just reissued the band’s 2000 debut, United, on 180-gram vinyl for your listening enjoyment.
Midge Ure is one of those musicians for whom your frame of reference depends heavily on when you first started paying attention to music: he had his first #1 hit in 1976 as the frontman for a teeny-bop band called Slik, teamed up with former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock and future Public Image Ltd. Guitarist Steve New to front The Rich Kids, saw top-10 success as a member of Visage (“Fade to Grey”), found further chart action when he took over at the lead singer of Ultravox (“Vienna,” “Dancing with Tears in My Eyes”), co-wrote Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” with Bob Geldof, and has had a formidable solo career as well, earning a top-10 hit with “No Regrets” and topping the UK charts with “If I Was.” A few years ago, Ure reunited with Ultravox to record a new album (2012’s Brilliant), but most recently he’s been peddling his top-notch solo wares again, having released his most recent full-length effort, Fragile, last year.
Rhino: First things first: let’s talk a bit about your new album, since that’s how we came to chat in the first place. What are the origins of Fragile? Did you start stockpiling songs until you had enough to make an album, or did you go in with the intent of making an album?
Midge Ure: No, I think it’s been the slowest album I’ve ever undertaken. Ever! I started compiling ideas and started the recording process probably 10 years prior to finishing the record. For a whole slew of reasons, it just took me forever to get ‘round to finishing the thing.
After our Digital Roundup made its grand return for 2015 a couple of weeks ago, you may have noticed that we promptly followed that up with a week of radio silence. Look, people, it’s a slow roll-out. We’ve got to build, you know? But we’re back this week, and although it’s only a small showing (the sum total of our additions is three digital 45s, which makes for a whopping six songs), we dare say it’s a good week for Betty Harris fans.
“Cry to Me” / “I’ll Be a Liar” – The A-side is, as R&B fans probably already know, a cover of a Bert Berns song which was famously recorded by Solomon Burke, but Harris slowed down the tempo of the track and earned a top-10 R&B hit and well as a #23 single on the Billboard Hot 100. Both Burke’s version and Harris’s take on the song were produced by Berns, which is fair, since who would’ve known better how the song should’ve sounded than the man who wrote it?
It’s a New Orleans kind of week here at Rhino, with a pair of classic ‘70s albums from folks who hail from the Big Easy getting the 180-gram vinyl treatment.
Dr. John, In the Right Place: He was born Malcolm John Rebennack, his friends call him “Mac,” but you probably know him as Dr. John, and if you’re familiar with his music at all, then you know this album, which remains the most commercially successful effort of his career. Produced by Allen Toussaint, In the Right Place also includes the good doctor’s biggest single, “Right Place, Wrong Time,” which kicks off the proceedings in suitably funky fashion. For many, this album was their first introduction to the sounds of Nawlins, and all we can say to that is that there are plenty of worse places to start: songs like “Traveling Mood,” “Life” (a Toussaint composition), and “Shoo Fly Marches On” aren’t just the perfect soundtrack to your next Mardi Gras party, they’re a gateway drug into Dr. John’s discography, and, boy, are they addictive. Plus, it’s on colored vinyl, so it looks pretty awesome, too.