Sunday, November 08, 2015

adventures in "new" music

hello there

well, look you see, in an unusual set of circumstances i've had the chance to listen to some newly released music. some of it was even recorded this year, too, not just this century. but no, none of it features anyone that did not have a career which started in the 1960s.

as usual, when it is the case that i do this sort of thing, links are for ease of reference, and the worldwide grocer has been selected purely as they deliver around the world (mostly). it's not done out of affiliation, endorsement or preference. far from it, as point of fact, as i didn't use these people to buy any of this stuff, now that their UK delivery charges are too high.

first off, one that i ummed, hummed, aaaahed and ooohed about whether or not to get. i wanted it, certainly, but the complexities and challenge was which version did i want.

yep, the 1 collection by The Beatles. i went for the CD & DVD combo at £12.99, despite already having the CD from the first (or possibly 2nd) time this was issued. the reissued CD only version at £9.99 is a complete waste of everyone's time, and the Blu Ray only (i.e. no CD and just the video elements) at £14.99 seemed silly when i could have a shiny new CD of it and the same quality videos (there are no extras on the blu) for £2 less. online there are all sorts of further variations - 2 x Blu Ray, 2 x DVD, 1 x Blu & 1 x DVD, etc - but they are all going for north of £30.

thoughts? normally i think this "remastered" business for re-re-re-rereleased CDs is nonsense, but i must confess the quality here makes me very glad that i got a version that came with the CD. it's a clear and crisp (hello, Faye) as i have ever heard these songs - far better than the original issue 1 CD, which was good, and just a tough better than the Red & Blue "best of" 2 disc sets i got the reissues of a couple of years ago.

the DVD? amazing. it has taken far, far, far too long for them to get around to releasing at least some of the archive footage of the band they are sat on. it's lovely quality. no, i have not braved either the Ringo introductions or the McCartney commentary track; the videos themselves are a joy to watch.

even if you are sat with the original CD of 1, i would strongly suggest getting this set, or at the least the Blu Ray only of the videos. well worth it.

if the cover in the UK for If I Can Dream was as cool as this then i could, like, totes understand why it was number one this week. this is presumably the US or "download" version of the cover, and it is way better than what we have on the shelves in the UK. rubbish it is, as you will see if you click the link.

that said, yes of course it is the case that all recordings by The King, Elvis Presley, should sell so many copies that they go to number one. even if, as is the case here, they are recordings which make little sense.

the reason i praise this release is the reason i damn it. basically, as i am sure you can work out from the title of the release, the premise has been to lift the vocals of The King, Elvis Presley and slam them on top of some newly recorded music, in this case an orchestra of some description. nothing new here, as even Barbs has done this to The King, Elvis Presley recently, but for some reason this one has hit a note with the people and they are buying it.

the praise comes for the mix. the vocals of The King, Elvis Presley have been mixed all the way up to the front. as in it's the case that whatever the orchestra is doing, there are times where you can barely hear it. that's awesome, and really does show off what an incredible vocalist He is, but makes the new musical recordings rather pointless. why not just mix the as is original recordings in such a way and release them?

i find myself in the curious and rather unexpected position of writing to tell you that the great Rod Stewart has delivered what at this stage i think i am going to name as the best album of the year. wow. i mean, i expected to enjoy it, but it's really taken hold of me.

Another Country is once again a welcome return to new songs by Rod. for several years he said he was only going to be doing covers, stating that audiences "didn't want to hear anything new".  that approach changed a couple of years ago with the magnificent Time album; one written and recorded not long after he engaged in the business of doing an autobiography. it would seem that this autobiography was something we should all be thankful for, as it's clearly refreshed and rejuvenated his approach to music and what he can be doing. i mean, yes, all them American Songbook covers were great, but there's not much in this world to rival the passion and enthusiasm a singer who sings their own songs has. and that's very much the case here.

there is not a single bad track on this, and i would wholeheartedly encourage you to spend the extra £2 or so on the "special edition" version - the extra 5 or so songs are worth it, in particular Last Train Home and Every Rock N Roll Song To Me.

finally, then, Tom "bloody" Jones and Long Lost Suitcase, an album he seems to have sneaked out in a somewhat low key way whilst he engages in concerts, TV shows, rugby watching and all that sort of thing.

every great album in the world is one which has been played and recorded to the relative strengths of the artist involved. in the case of Tom, that would be that big, burly, booming voice of his. and that's exactly what you get across this album.

as with Rod above, this is the album of an artists doing what they want rather than having a guess at what the audience might want, and in so doing has delivered the kind of album that the fans, us humble lot, really, really love. in the case of this album, that means you get an interesting cross-section of styles of music that Mr Jones clearly has a passion for, rather than doing a whole load of stuff some suit at the record label had reckoned would perform well in terms of sales with certain demographics.

any highlights? all of the songs, really. a word of warning, though - the heavy, gregorian monk style gospel worshipping on display in Elvis Presley Blues might treat The King, Elvis Presley with even more reverence and praise than even the most obsessed fan would expect to be on the go.

a look at the inside of that whole 1 thing off of The Beatles to finish? sure. i will play the Ringo introductions to the videos eventually, but alas no, not today.

so, on the horizon to look forward to are a new album from Derek Bowie, and the perpetual threat of The Stone Roses releasing new music. no, there's no whine or groan from me about how there's no so-called new artists doing any decent albums any more. one or two things released this year have been good, and anyway most of what i don't like by so-called new bands isn't aimed at me anyway. i'm just glad that there are recordings which are, and that i most certainly do dig.

happy listening if you try any or all of these ones!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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