Digital Roundup: 3/5/14

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Digital Roundup: 3/5/14

Every week, a few more releases join the Rhino digital catalog. Here’s a quick look at the latest LPs to join the club!

Hank Crawford, Introducing Hank Crawford: Despite its title, this isn’t the debut album by the noted Ray Charles sideman: it’s actually a compilation of high points from his solo recording career. (We can certainly understand how people could get confused, though: the photo on the cover is, in fact, the very same photo that emblazons his actual debut album, 1960’s More Soul.) If you’ve been curious about Crawford’s career but found the double-disc Heart & Soul compilation too intimidating, this is definitely the way to go.

Kenny Garrett, Happy People: This 2002 album found Garrett doing his best to straddle the worlds of contemporary jazz, i.e. the material that actually sells (it’s no coincidence that the smooth “Song for DiFang” was the first thing listeners heard when they put on the record), and the old-school stuff that caused him to fall in love with the genre in the first place, best exemplified by the tellingly-titled “Monking Around.”

Rickie Lee Jones, Rickie Lee Jones: This classic 1979 debut from the so-called Duchess of Coolsville doesn’t need any help from us to make you see it a must-download: “Chuck E.’s in Love” does that all by itself. (There’s plenty of other great material, too.)

Earl Klugh, Soda Fountain Shuffle: Klugh’s 1985 album – his first of the eight studios albums he recorded for Warner Brothers during his stint on the label – found the jazz guitarist working with a six-man band rather than his usual orchestral accompaniment, with songs like “One Night (Alone with You)” and “Rainbow Man” quickly turning into fan favorites.

Morrissey, Kill Uncle / Viva Hate / Bona Drag: At last, the remastered versions of the former Smiths frontman’s first three albums finally make their digital debut in the States, which is wonderful news if you want to hear the remastered sound but slightly less so if you prefer the original U.S. track listings of the albums. For Viva Hate, “Hairdresser on Fire” – the “Suedehead” B-side which was an American-only addition to the album – has been omitted, and “The Ordinary Boys” has been replaced with “Treat Me Like a Human Being,” an outtake from the Viva Hate sessions. Kill Uncle, meanwhile, has a new running order which now features the B-sides “Pashernate Love” and Herman’s Hermits cover “East West” in the mix, along with what’s described as a “live in the studio version” of “There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends.” Lastly, the singles and B-sides collection Bona Drag now includes half a dozen additional tracks, including outtakes, demos, and the so-called “Long Mix” of “Let the Right One Slip In.”

Morrissey, The Best of Morrissey: We’re giving this one its own entry because it’s the first time it’s ever been made available digitally. Obviously, fans will already have the majority of these songs in their collections, but as a 21-track summary of Morrissey’s career up through 2001, it’s top-notch.

Peter, Paul and Mary, Peter,Paul & Mommy,Too: In 1970, famed folkies Peter, Paul & Mary recorded an album of songs for the kiddies, Peter, Paul & Mommy, that went on to earn them a Grammy Award for Best Album for Children. More than two decades later, the trio decided to do a sequel of sorts, releasing an album’s worth of material from two live performances in 1992 at the Harvey Theater in Brooklyn, New York. Yes, there’s one song that appears on both albums, but, c’mon, are you really going to complain about hearing “Puff (The Magic Dragon)” again? It’s a classic!

Prince Paul, Psychoanalysis: What Is It? / Prince Among Thieves: Not the one from Yugoslavia, who - based on most historical documents – rarely brought the funk, but the DJ, producer, and rapper who one could easily argue helped change the face of hip-hop. Between producing De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising and serving as a member of the Gravediggaz, Prince Paul earned more than enough street cred to step out on his own for these two solo albums, released in 1996 and 1996, respectively. The latter album is likely the better known of the pair, thanks to the hit single “More Than U Know” (which, as it happens, featured De La Soul), but both are considered hip-hop classics in their own right.

Renaissance, Live at Carnegie Hall: Released between the Scheherazade and Other Stories and Novella albums (and recorded before the former had even hit stores, although it includes material that ended up on it), this live album shows the folk / rock / classic combo firing on all thrusters and remains an invaluable document of Renaissance’s second incarnation.

Stereolab, Sound-Dust: Although it’s arguably the least of the albums Stereolab recorded during their tenure with Elektra Records, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some lovely pop songs to be found within the grooves of 2001’s Sound-Dust. Certainly, “Captain Easychord” is as good as anything they’ve ever done, and both “Space Moth” and “Double Rocker” were deemed strong enough for inclusion on the band’s Elektra anthology, Serene Velocity, which surely ought to count for something.