Digital Roundup: 4/9/14

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Digital Roundup: 4/9/14

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.”

Goo Goo Dolls, Warner Sound Sessions: If you missed out on the Goo Goo Dolls’ Magnetic album when it hit stores last year – or, heck, even if you didn’t – the band has released a new EP featuring Live Room performances of four songs from that record: “Rebel Beat,” “When the World Breaks Your Heart,” “Come to Me,” and “Keep the Car Running.” And just in case you need a little something else to entice you into picking this thing up, they’ve thrown in a new performance of “Slide,” too. You’re welcome.

Sam Kinison, Louder Than Hell / Have You Seen Me Lately? / Leader of the Banned: At long last, the Warner Brothers work of the late, great, and – no, it’s not just a clever album title – louder than hell comedian has finally made its way into Rhino’s digital catalog. Bill Hicks once said of Kinison, “He was the first guy I ever saw to go on stage and not in any way ask the audience to like him,” which is a sentiment that one should probably keep in mind when revisiting the material contained on these three albums. Have You Seen Me Lately? may be the best remembered of the bunch, due to the increased profile Kinison received through the video for his cover of the Troggs’ “Wild Thing,” but if you have to select only one album to be deemed as the must-own, it’s absolutely his debut, Louder Than Hell. Conversely, Leader of the Banned is far more of a for-fans-only affair…but, hey, at least it’s in print again, right?

Bob Woodruff, Dreams & Saturday Nights: What the...? ABC newsman Bob Woodruff recorded an album? No, no, this is a completely different Bob Woodruff. That said, his is definitely a name you should know if you're a fan of "Hard Liquor, Cold Women, Warm Beer" and country music. The phrase in quotation marks is the title of his first single, by the way, just in case you aren't familiar with the song. It was a minor hit in 1994, as was the follow-up single, "Bayou Girl," but neither proved successful enough to give Woodruff the breakthrough album he deserved. Since then, though, it's become a bit of a cult classic, and deservedly so. If you prefer your country music to sound a bit more alt- than mainstream, then there's a lot of great twangin' going on here that you should definitely check it out.