Digital Roundup: 6/4/14
New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Big Wreck, In Loving Memory Of / The Pleasure and the Greed: Aficionados of Canadian rock – or at least of Canadian frontmen (stand up, please, Ian Thornley) – will be pleased to see that the first two albums by Big Wreck have been added to our digital catalog. Their debut, 1997’s In Loving Memory Of, remains the band’s most popular effort by far thanks to tracks like “The Oaf (My Luck is Wasted),” “That Song,” “Blown Wide Open,” and “Under the Lighthouse,” all of which were top-40 hits in Canada. Unfortunately, while there’s considerable merit to their 2001 sophomore effort as well, The Pleasure and Greed didn’t get much in the way of proper marketing, so sales were disappointing…but, on the other hand, that also means that you might not yet have had the good fortune of hearing songs like “Inhale,” “Ladylike,” and “Knee Deep,” so, hey, now’s your chance!
Corona, “Rhythm of the Night”: In case you’ve noticed the use of quotation marks around the title rather than the usual italics, that’s because this is a single rather than the 13-track album of the same name. It must be said, though, that this is a case where, if you only own one song by Corona, then this is the one to own. (It was their only top-40 hit.)
The Cars,Studio Album Collection: 1978-1987: Knowing that some of you may be among those folks whose Cars collection only features one of their best-of collections and nothing more, you may be interested in this offering, which compiles all six of the studio albums the band released during their tenure on Elektra in one handy, dandy, reasonably-priced package. Of course, that means you don’t get “Tonight She Comes,” which was originally exclusive to their 1985 greatest-hits album, but if you’ve already got a greatest-hits disc, anyway (and it’s turned up on every one that’s ever come out), then what’s the problem?
Dr. John, The Atco Studio Albums Collection: If you’re someone who enjoys a good bayou boogaloo (providing that boogalooing is legal in your particular bayou, of course), then you can’t hardly beat this seven-album soundtrack. Included in the set are the good Doctor’s entire studio-album output from 1968 through 1974, which means that you get Gris-Gris(1968), Babylon(1969), Remedies (1970), The Sun, Moon & Herbs (1971), Dr. John’s Gumbo (1972), In the Right Place (1973), and Desitively Bonnaroo (1974). Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun reported said of Dr. John’s debut, “How can we market this boogaloo crap?” Given the overall sales of the seven albums, it’s arguable that the label never actually managed to answer the question, but there’s really not a bad effort in the bunch, with some of them – most notably Gris-Gris and In the Right Place – entering into absolute-must-own territory. Basically, what we’re saying is that you might as well just cut to the case by buying this set and being done with it.
The Faces, The Complete Faces: 1971-1973: Man, we’re rolling out a lot of complete-album sets this week, aren’t we? This one might be the smallest of the bunch, but it’s easily as impressive – and contains material that’s at least as influential – as the other two sets we’ve spoken of. For all the flack that Rod Stewart’s gotten over the years, there are at least four reasons to cut him some slack, and these are them: First Step (1970), Long Player (1971), A Nod Is as Good as a Wink…to a Blind Horse (1971), and Ooh La La (1973). The camaraderie between Stewart, Ronnie Lane, Ronnie Wood, Ian McLagan, and Kenney Jones is about as good as early ‘70s rock got, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to experience it in all its glory, then we envy you the opportunity to pick up this set and bask in it for the first time.
Isaac Delusion, “Children of the Night”/“She Pretends”: You may not be familiar with the single by this Paris-borne group, but to set the sonic stage for you, singer/songwriter Loic Fleury has cited his influences as Pink Floyd, Elliott Smith, and Sufjan Stevens, while his collaborator, Jules Paco, is more of an Aphex Twin / Gang Starr / Pharcyde kind of guy. If the combination of those sounds colliding sounds good to you, then have at it.
The Modern Folk Quartet,The Modern Folk Quartet: We’re particularly happy about this album finding its way into the catalog, as the group features a longtime friend to Rhino: Henry Diltz. (If you haven’t seen Henry’s photos around our various reissues over the years, then you just haven’t been paying attention.) Diltz formed the MFQ along with fellow bandmates Cyrus Faryar, Stan White, and Chip Douglas, a name which should immediately ring a bell with fans of the Monkees and the Turtles, as he produced some of their biggest hits. Walking the tightrope between folk and pop with their sound and the new and the traditional with the song selections, The Modern Folk Quartet earned more critical acclaim than it did sales, but the arrangements and performances make it a must-hear for fans of the genre.
Ronya, “Flame”: We don’t get many opportunities to reference artists who are “big in Finland” without adding, “Nah, we’re just kidding, they’re not big anywhere,” so we’re kind of excited that this single from the Helsinki-born singer has gotten a U.S. release. Plus, it’s got “future dancefloor filler” written all over it, so you’ll be pleased to know that there’s also a Femme En Fourrure Remix of the track available as well.
Sheila E., Sheila E./Sex Cymbal: Prince protégé and percussionist Sheila E. kicked some serious chart butt in 1984 and 1985, earning a #1 dance hit with the title track of her debut album, The Glamorous Life, and then scoring another one with “A Love Bizarre,” from her sophomore effort, Romance 1600. This, of course, explains why those two albums were the first to arrive in our digital catalog, but now they’ve been followed by the two subsequent albums, 1987’s Sheila E., and 1991’s pun-tastically-titled Sex Cymbal, which also found some chart success, if not quite as much as their predecessors. Sheila E.’s self-titled effort will probably sound the most familiar, as it contains her #4 R&B hit “Hold Me,” as well as “Koo Koo,” which wasn’t as big a hit but still received a certain amount of airplay. Sex Cymbal, however, may have cursed itself by following its title track with a single called “Droppin’ Like Flies,” a song which – in an unfortunate coincidence – proved to be Sheila’s lowest-charting R&B single as well as her last charting single. (It did do pretty well on the dance charts, though.)
Ben E. King, Don’t Play That Song! (Mono): This week’s Mono Monday release comes from the man who brought you “Stand by Me.” Released in 1962, Don’t Play That Song! was King’s third album and featured no less than five hit singles: the title track, “Ecstasy,” “First Taste of Love,” “Here Comes the Night,” and…oh, hey, what are the odds? This is actually the album that features “Stand by Me”! Well, will wonders never cease…
Sweet Water, Sweet Water: We actually wrote about Sweet Water’s self-titled effort at the beginning of last month, when – hand on heart – it really was available for purchase, but apparently it disappeared at some point. Anyway, we just wanted to let you know that it’s available again, so…there you go.