New this week in the iTunes Rhino Catalog Room:
Graham Central Station, Graham Central Station (1974) / Release Yourself (1974): Man, could there possibly be a better opening track to Graham Central Station’s self-titled debut? When you consider how long the band’s fans have been waiting for this material to get the digital-release treatment, it’s almost a little too apropos to hear them singing, “We’ve been waiting for so long / Waiting to play for you some of our songs.” Well, now’s their chance, as both of the band’s 1974 albums, Graham Central Station and Release Yourself, have joined Rhino’s digital catalog, giving you new access to such classic tracks as “It Ain’t No Fun to Me,” “Feel the Need,” “Release Yourself,” and “Can You Handle It?” Oh, but that’s far from all the funk we’ve got for you this week…
Larry Graham & Graham Central Station, My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me (1978) / Star Walk (1979): We’re jumping ahead a bit with this next batch, but we’ve also added the first albums to be released after Graham Central Station frontman Larry Graham decided it was time to put his own name in front of the band’s…and why not, really? Given his history as one of the key members of Sly and the Family Stone, he’d certainly earned the right. The title tracks from both of these albums scored some airplay, as did the singles “Sneaky Freak,” “(You’re a) Foxy Lady,” and “Is It Love?” There’s plenty of outstanding bass-slapping going on in these grooves…and yet, if you can believe it, there’s still even more funk to come!
Rhino’s rolling out a box set today that collects Black Sabbath’s studio albums from 1970 through 1978... and if that announcement is giving you a strange sense of déjà vu, allow us to freely acknowledge that, yes, we have done this before. But it’s been awhile since we released the so-called Black Box, which collected the band’s output from the same time frame, and that was also a set designed to appeal to both to fans and collectors. This set, meanwhile, is more for those who want the kick-ass music but don’t necessarily care about the kick-ass packaging offered by the previous box. (Also, the other one’s out of print, so if you missed out on that one, this is the only way to get all of the albums in one handy-dandy package.)
There’s a new box set hitting stores today that’ll thrill fans of Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb while also serving to offer a fuller picture of the Bee Gees’ chart comeback after the death of disco, a seismic shift in mainstream music tastes which led the record-buying public at large to mistakenly believe that the group’s career had died, too.
It hadn’t, of course. But it took awhile for the band to convince American audiences of that fact.
Prior to beginning their stint at Warner Brothers, the last real Bee Gees album to be released was 1981’s Living Eyes, although they subsequently contributed five new songs to the soundtrack of the sub-par Saturday Night Fever sequel, Staying Alive, released in 1983. After taking a bit of time off as a group, with Barry and Robin doing some time as solo artists, the Bee Gees reunited and recorded their Warner debut, 1987’s E.S.P., an album which took them into the UK top five for the first time since 1979’s Spirits Having Flown and gave them a chart-topping single with “You Win Again.”
Led Zeppelin today revealed the first video teaser for LED ZEPPELIN (DELUXE EDITION), the newly remastered debut album with previously unreleased companion audio. Check out this taster of "Good Times Bad Times/Communication Breakdown (Live in Paris 1969)". Pre-order LED ZEPPELIN (DELUXE EDITION, LED ZEPPELIN II (DELUXE EDITION) and LED ZEPPELIN III (DELUXE EDITION) at Ledzeppelin.com.
New this week in the iTunes Rhino Catalog Room:
Big Mountain, Unity / Free Up: Were it not for the success of the soundtrack to Reality Bites, it’s highly possible that Big Mountain would only be remembered today for having scored a minor hit in 1992 with “Touch My Light,” but as it is, most people know them because of their reggae-fied cover of Peter Frampton’s “Baby I Love Your Way,” which became a top-10 hit in 1994. You can find that track on Unity, along with “I Would Find A Way” and “Sweet Sensual Love.” Those interested in expanding their knowledge of Big Mountain beyond their biggest success may also wish to check out 1997’s Free Up. Precious few were interested in buying what the band was selling by that point, but if you’ve been desperately searching for a reggae cover of Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver,” you’ll be pleased to know that your quest is at an end. Why they released their take on Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” as a single instead, we can’t begin to guess.
Force M.D.’s, Love Letters / Touch & Go / Step to Me / For Lovers and Others: Force M.D.’s Greatest Hits / Let Me Love You: The Greatest Hits: If you attended a school dance at any point during the mid-1980s, then it’s inconceivable that you aren’t already familiar with the Force M.D.’s most substantial success, “Tender Love” (even if “Love Is a House” was a #1 R&B hit, far more people heard “Tender Love” as a result of that song hitting #2 on the Adult Contemporary charts), but now that the group’s entire Tommy Boy catalog is available digitally, it’s high time you dug a bit deeper into what they have to offer. Sure, either of the greatest-hits collections would probably the best place to start (although Let Me Love You is the more substantial of the pair), but if you like smooth, soulful, dancefloor-friendly sounds, you can’t really go wrong with any of these albums. Also, while we here at Rhino cannot officially confirm the existence of alternate dimensions, we’d like to believe that, if there are such things, there’s one out there where “Are You Really Real?” – from 1990’s Step to Me – was as big a hit as Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison.”