Author Archives: Steve Matteo

Graded on a Curve:
The Kinks,
Muswell Hillbillies / Everybody’s in Show-Biz Everybody’s A Star

Ever since the 50th anniversary reissue of The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society (2018), considered the first concept album from The Kinks, the group has been rolling out some box sets befitting its exalted place in the pantheon of rock and pop music history.

The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society was followed by Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) in 2019 (the group’s last ’60s concept album) and Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One, in 2020, its first concept album in the ’70s. Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One was a biting critique of the music industry and cast a jaundiced eye on the pitfalls of musical stardom, or obscurity, clearly from first-hand experience. It would be the group’s last album released by Reprise in America, surprisingly a very artist-friendly record label at that time.

While Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One is certainly a bitter album from a veteran pop music insider, it isn’t heavy. Davies conceives these albums as conceptually thematic, but unlike some others who created concept albums in this period, he avoids the weighty pretentiousness and grandiose egotistical bombast that often mars otherwise ambitious and worthy works. Also, Davies does not write about working-class people from the lofty perch of a rich and famous pop star, or simply paint the rich and famous as bad either, but instead brings empathy to the writing of both kinds of characters.

Between Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One and Muswell Hillbillies (1971), its RCA debut, the group was involved in the soundtrack for the film Percy, released in 1971. It was directed by Ralph Thomas and was based on the novel by Raymond Hitchcock, and the screenplay was co-written by Michael Palin.

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TVD Radar: “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!” exhibition running now through 6/25 at NJ’s Prudential Center

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On November 17th at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, the Grammy Museum Experience previewed its new Beatles exhibit, “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!” for the press and other invited guests. The exhibit will run through June 25th, 2023 and will also feature various events, including several author events. It covers The Beatles’ invasion of the United States from 1964 through 1966.

The exhibit showcases some priceless collectibles, such as Paul McCartney’s Hofner bass and the suit he wore at the group’s first historic Shea Stadium concert, gold records, ticket stubs, posters, clothing, and other ephemera. It’s a Beatles fan’s dream come true and also offers various video and interactive displays.

The evening included a short, informal Q&A between Beatles author and scholar Kenneth Womack and May Pang. After the talk, Pang’s film, The Lost Weekend: A Love Story, was shown. This was the first screening of the film since its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in June. The riveting film depicted Pang’s time with John Lennon, during his so-called “lost weekend” period. It also provided some depth and context by including background on Pang’s upbringing and her time at Apple and touched on her life since her relationship with Lennon ended. It’s great to see a Beatles exhibit in the tri-state area that will have such a long run and that comes with a very affordable admission price.

Future confirmed events include Allan Kozinn and Adrian Sinclair, co-authors of the The McCartney Legacy (Volume 1: 1969–73), will appear at the exhibit on December 14, the day after the publication of their book. The world’s foremost Beatles scholar, Mark Lewisohn, will appear on March 30, 2023, concurrent with the New York The Fest for Beatles Fans, happening nearby at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City from March 31 through April 2. Lewisohn will actually be appearing at the White Eagle Hall in Jersey City.

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Graded on a Curve:
Black Friday Recommendations

The Record Store Day 2022 Black Friday event is November 25th. The following round-up is led by a Record Store Day jazz reissue, and also includes a bespoke audiophile jazz vinyl companion to a PBS television special on a celebrated jazz bassist; a three-CD tribute to one of the key American artists of the ’60s folk and ’70s singer-songwriter scenes; a two-CD collection of 1950s singles from a legendary Chicago blues harmonica-player, and concludes with what may be the album of the year from Father John Misty.

Tony Williams, Play or Die (MIG Music) Gone 25 years, Tony Williams was one of the key drummers during the salad days of jazz fusion in the ’70s and left an indelible mark on jazz history with his work with Miles Davis. It’s rare that any previously released or out-of-print music surfaces from Williams of late, but Record Store Day fans will be able to pick up a recording from 1980 that for some reason was only released in a limited edition of 500 copies. Now, 2,000 copies will be released of a trio outing that also included two alumni of the drummer’s group Lifetime: Tom Grant and Patrick O’Hearn.

O’Hearn has also worked extensively in the new age genre, with his first breakthrough as a member of Frank Zappa’s band and as a founding member of Missing Persons. The album begins with a very synthy, electronic feel but sounds surprisingly organic on side one, with touches of Keith Emerson of all people. There is almost a sense that this album could be a lost link between fusion and techno. There is a spiky, almost new wave feel on “Jam Tune” that almost hints at the sound of Devo and The Police. There are mellower moments, some jazz-rock, and even some sweet vocals on “There Comes a Time.” The album was pressed in Germany and has a natural analog groove. It’s great to see this rarity back in print. B

Ron Carter, Finding the Right Notes (IN + OUT Records) This is a companion album to the PBS documentary Finding the Right Notes on jazz bassist Ron Carter. Carter is the most recorded bassist in jazz history and this album works as a nice television soundtrack, but it is also a bespoke audiophile release. The highlights here include concert recordings from the Newport Jazz Festival, at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and at the Blue Note club in New York. Some of the collaborators include Stanley Clarke, Bill Frisell, Christian McBride, and Jon Batiste. This double-album, audiophile deluxe edition was mastered and pressed in Germany on 180-gram virgin vinyl and comes in a gatefold jacket, with poly-lined inner sleeves and a resealable outer sleeve. The album and television special mark a valedictory lap that celebrates one of the true legends in jazz history. B+

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Graded on a Curve: The Beatles, Revolver Special Edition Super Deluxe 4LP + 7” Vinyl EP

Since 2017, Apple Records through Capitol/Universal, under the Parlophone and Apple labels, has been releasing deluxe reissues marking the 50th anniversary of albums from The Beatles. Released so far are Sgt. Pepper, the “White Album,” Abbey Road, Let It Be, and now Revolver. Revolver, however, is not a 50th-anniversary reissue as it was released on August 5, 1966. Other reissues related to The Beatles have also come out in this period.

These five releases have been reissued in various configurations, but it is the deluxe packages that have been most anticipated by fans of the group and historians alike. Each reissue has been different from the others, with varying degrees of repetition of formatting and presentation. Although the Sgt. Pepper deluxe box was only available in a CD/DVD/Blu-ray configuration with a two-LP set also available, the “White Album,” Abbey Road, and Let It Be have all been available as both deluxe vinyl and CD/Blu-ray reissues. The “White Album” and Abbey Road deluxe sets offered a hardcover book in only the CD/Blu-ray packages. Let It Be was the first deluxe reissue to offer the hardcover book in both deluxe packages, giving vinyl fans the opportunity to buy only the deluxe vinyl configuration and still get a book.

The new Revolver deluxe CD set is the first time that no physical optical media (DVD or Blu-ray) will be included, thus not providing a 5.1 Surround Sound or Dolby Atmos mix of the album, which has been the case on all of the deluxe reissues in the series so far. This has been a major disappointment for surround sound fans and those interested in cutting edge optical audio formats.

The Beatles have really been at the forefront of the innovative Atmos format and it’s surprising in some ways that they are not including a Blu-ray with the CD set. It may be part of the general overall reduction of physical optical media being released, particularly in the Blu-ray format. It appears there are many people that don’t have a Blu-ray player, even though they are easy to find and extremely inexpensive. The decline of DVDs and Blu-rays being released seems to be the result of physical optical media being superseded by the proliferation of streaming.

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Graded on a Curve:
Pink Floyd,
Animals 2018 Remix,
LP & Blu-ray

One of the most anticipated reissues of the last few years is the 2018 stereo remix of Animals from Pink Floyd. The project has been delayed for a variety of reasons, most recently over differences of opinion on the thrust of the liner notes.

That difference of opinion was between David Gilmour and Roger Waters. While the two will no longer work together in the studio or live, there is a cooperative if uneasy working relationship when it comes to the various reissues of the group’s music and trying to coordinate solo touring schedules so as to not conflict with each other. This distant cold war escalated to very sharp disagreements over liner notes that may or may not have given one or the other more credit than they deserved for the creation of the album. Regardless of who one agrees with or which side is right, we now finally have the various editions of the reissues of the group’s 1977 follow-up to Wish You Were Here.

Differences of opinion over whether one likes or dislikes this reissue compared to previous versions of the album—particularly the original—will be as varied as the opinions of Waters and Gilmour about the liner notes. Nonetheless, it’s doubtful there are any fans of Pink Floyd who aren’t thrilled this reissue has emerged from the darkness and finally seen the light of the day.

Animals is an album in the latter Pink Floyd canon that has often sparked not so much criticism, but misunderstanding. Any album coming after Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here is bound to be viewed through the prism of elevated expectations. Animals is also an album that appeared just as punk and new wave were brashly superseding the progressive rock of monoliths like Pink Floyd and it was the first album recorded at the group’s own recording studio Britannia Row.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Beatles, Get Back and The Beatles and India

Fans of The Beatles continue to be treated to projects that look back and refresh, reimagine, and add to their musical legacy with projects that take a deep dive into key passages in their musical and personal evolution, while often offering deep social, political, cultural, and musical context.

The most significant visual project to appear since Ron Howard’s 2016 film Eight Days A Week is Peter Jackson’s Get Back. The three-part series, that looked at the Let It Be period and used a healthy amount of material from the Let It Be film shoot, appeared on the Disney Plus channel in November of 2021. The series is now available on DVD and as a 3-Disc Blu-Ray Collector’s Edition.

The only difference between the two, other than the format, is the Blu-ray edition comes with four color collector photo cards of each Beatle. The box is well designed and sturdy. In every way, it has the feel of a Criterion Collection box. That company would have known how best to integrate extras and create a product that would have received more attention and sold more copies. There are no extras on these packages. The box was originally released on February 8th this year, but it was immediately pulled from release due to technical issues with the audio. This was not fully resolved in the short term and it took months before it was finally released on July 12, despite an announcement stating it wouldn’t come out until December 31 of this year.

The Get Back series is a monumental work and may be the most close-up view of the group since the 1995 Anthology film series. The segmentation into three parts works well. Part one chronicles the beginning of the Get Back project. It shows the band at Twickenham studios in London, in early January of 1969, rehearsing for what was to be some kind of televised concert featuring new music performed in a stripped-down, back-to-basics approach. This part most reflects the group’s fractured relationship, uncertainty about its new direction, and ultimately its near dissolution with George Harrison walking out on the group near the end of this section. There are moments in this part that can be a bit tedious, but for die-hard fans of The Beatles, it’s fascinating.

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Graded on a Curve: Contemporary Records 70th Anniversary Jazz Reissues

2022 continues to be another banner year for audiophile jazz reissues. While the Blue Note and Verve label reissues from the last few years have paved the way for bespoke jazz archival releases, the recent series from Craft Recordings of reissues of albums from the Contemporary Records jazz label to celebrate its 70th anniversary, as part of the Acoustic Sounds Series, are just as welcome.

All of the albums are mastered from the original analog tapes by Bernie Grundman. The records were pressed on 180-gram vinyl at QRP with Stoughton old-style, tip-on jackets, include the iconic black-and-gold Contemporary label of the period, and come with archival sleeves. The key to why these particular recordings sound so good is the superb original engineering of Roy DuNann. All three reissues boast the original liner notes from the legendary jazz scholar, author and journalist Nat Hentoff.

Contemporary Records was founded in 1951 in Los Angeles by Lester Koening. The label’s heyday lasted until the early 1960s. It became very identifiable with the cool school of West Coast jazz. Those artists included Chet Baker, Howard Rumsey, and several artists that are part of the Craft reissue series, including Art Pepper, Shelly Manne, Hampton Hawes, Barney Kessel and others. Rumsey and Manne were also integral to two key West Coast jazz clubs—The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, California, which Rumsey got off the ground in 1949 and which featured his All-Star’s, but which was owned by John Levine, and Shelly’s Manne-Hole, which opened in 1960 in Hollywood.

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Graded on a Curve:
Sun Records 70th Anniversary Reissues

2022 marks the 70th anniversary of the birth of Sun Records. The label was founded in Memphis, Tennessee by Sam Philips. The independent label essentially put rock ‘n’ roll on the map and launched the careers of some of the most important rock ‘n’ roll, blues, country, and R&B artists. It was the label’s rock ‘n’ roll recordings of Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and especially Elvis Presley, among others, that forever enshrined the label in popular music history. To mark the label’s anniversary, a wide variety of albums are being reissued on 180-gram vinyl and in most cases have been curated by Chris Isaak. The albums are also very affordably priced, with beautiful era packaging.

A great place to start for the novice is Sun Records’ 70th Anniversary Compilation, Vol. 1. The album is curated by Chris Isaak and includes his liner notes. This album gives a fine overview of groundbreaking, legendary, and popular Sun artists, including the aforementioned, along with Johnny Cash, Patti Page and others. Staples of the foundation of rock ‘n’ roll are here, such as “Mystery Train” from Little Junior’s Blue Flames and “Breathless” by Jerry Lee Lewis, along with country classics like “I Walk the Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues” from Johnny Cash. The album does not include any of the music Elvis recorded for Sun, which occurred before he signed with RCA.

Other than maybe Johnny Cash, the Sun artist whose career lasted the longest was Roy Orbison. Orbison’s voice and the accompanying production have made his recordings some of the most beloved in popular music history. His rebirth and eventually joining the Traveling Wilburys attest to his timeless music and the respect he commands among musicians. The Original Sound, released in 1969, is one of Orbison’s more obscure albums, but it includes such classics as “Ooby Dooby.” While the album came at a stage in his career when the hippie rock culture was ascending and his influence and popularity were waning, it’s still an excellent album and one worthy of such a well-conceived reissue. This reissue includes liner notes by Orbison’s son Alex.

Like Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins had a long career and his influence on other musicians is incalculable. George Harrison of The Beatles was heavily influenced by the way Perkins played guitar. Perkins is perhaps the most important rockabilly artist in popular music history. Perkins was also a member of the famed Million Dollar Quartet, with Elvis, Cash, and Lewis. The King of Rockabilly is a collection of his hits, including an alternate version of “Honey Don’t,” famously covered by The Beatles. “Matchbox” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” also covered by The Beatles, are  included here as well. This reissue includes liner notes by Carl’s son Stan Perkins.

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Graded on a Curve:
New Music Books Roundup

It’s September and time to hit the books. That doesn’t have to mean textbooks and studying. There are some wonderful books on music to either keep close to your couch on the coffee-table or for reading as the nights grow longer and colder.

First up is A Life in Focus: The Photography of Graham Nash (Insight Editions) by Graham Nash. Along with releasing his solo albums, recordings with David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young and the Hollies, Nash has pursued photography. This book brings together a lifetime of work from behind the lens. Nash is not just a musician who dabbles in photography.  This book clearly proves that with works that feature people, places and things, captured in mostly stark, evocative, black-and-white moods, but there are also plenty of stirring color images.

Nash includes many photos of his musical collaborators and contemporaries, including Allan Clarke, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Judy Collins, Cass Elliot, J.D. Souther and many more. There are photos of a very young Kris Kristofferson and some of the folk artists that presaged the British Invasion such as Phil Ochs. Those behind the scenes, such as Bill Graham, Ahmet Ertegun, and David Geffen, are also featured. Fellow photographers and visual artists Henry Diltz, Joel Bernstein, Elliot Landy, and Gary Burden, who created some of the most iconic album covers and rock images, are represented as well.

Nash moved in the worlds of Swinging London, Laurel Canyon, Hollywood, and New York, which are all represented with photos of Twiggy, Dennis Hopper, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, and Leon Russell (captured at the famous Bangladesh concert). Musicians from many styles, including the likes of Taj Mahal and Johnny Cash, are also included. Many images of a geometric nature, while others are abstract, almost surrealistic thought-provoking photos to linger over and ponder. This is a book that tells the story of a musical life from a searching wanderer whose eyes are wide open.

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Giles Martin previews The Beatles Revolver reissue in private New York City media event

A small gathering of the press, experts on The Beatles from a wide variety of media, and some music industry members gathered at Republic Studios in Chelsea, in downtown Manhattan on Tuesday, September 13th for a sneak listen to the new Revolver reissue from The Beatles, due on October 28th.

The throng was treated to the new sounds at the intimate state-of-the-art facility by none other than Giles Martin. Martin, the son of The Beatles’ producer George Martin, has overseen this new reissue project, as he did for those for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album, Abbey Road, and Let it Be. Martin began his involvement with these remix projects back with the Cirque du Soleil Love release in 2006. Since 2018, Martin has also served as Head of Audio & Sound for Universal Music.

Martin, resplendent in his trademark waistcoat (that’s a vest for you Yanks), talked about how the latest reissue project got off the ground and played some outtakes that will appear on the reissue in October, as well as the entire new remix of the album and the single “Paperback Writer”/”Rain” in Dolby Atmos. At the end he answered questions.

Work on Revolver was very different than on previous reissues, as the nature of the recording and particularly mono mixing of the original album made it difficult to go back and remix from scratch. The technology that Peter Jackson’s audio team used on the Get Back series provided the springboard to do with Revolver what was needed. Emile de la Rey led Jackson’s team and became the person that Martin collaborated with to “demix” the musical instruments and vocals.

It is reminiscent of Martin’s then more primitive approach, when he worked with Ron Howard on the Eight Days A Week movie and, in particular, on The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl reissue in 2016. The team’s new technology uses Artificial Intelligence to recognize all the elements of sound in the mono mix and then basically to separate out all the ingredients with no bleed-through of instruments or vocals. This method becomes absolutely needed when creating the Dolby Atmos mix.

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Graded on a Curve: Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, Nancy & Lee & Marianne Faithfull, Vagabond Ways

Two recent reissues from female artists who began their careers in the 1960s reflect how their talent and longevity transcend their ’60s image and early musical persona.

First up is Nancy & Lee from Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood from Light in the Attic, part of the Nancy Sinatra Archival Series. The 1968 album is a collection of the “hits” of the two and the fourth in a series from the label featuring Sinatra, with two of the releases a collaboration with Hazlewood.

Nancy Sinatra is, of course, one of the two daughters of Frank Sinatra, from his first marriage. Hazlewood was a producer, songwriter, and vocalist who was somewhat in the mold of Phil Spector, Sonny Bono, Kris Kristofferson, Jimmy Webb, and Burt Bacharach. While he didn’t have the name recognition, hit success or longevity of any of those artists, he was a cult figure in ’60s pop whose musical stature continues to grow. He is most known for his work with Sinatra, and their hit “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” an iconic ’60s pop single with feminist lyrical undertones, that for all its brash, campy style, has become a timeless anthem.

Hazlewood’s production on this album mixes glossy pop, baroque folk-rock, and romantic loner cowboy country pop. It’s a somewhat unlikely mix, but it works. This production setting allowed Sinatra to shake off her ’60s sex kitten image and make serious sophisticated music with accessible hit potential. It also provided Hazlewood, with his limited vocal range, a chance to begin a career that stretched beyond his work with Sinatra.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dirt Does Dylan
& V/A, Bob Dylan Uncovered, Vol. 3

Bob Dylan may be the most covered artist of the rock era, although the combined covers of songs written collectively by John Lennon and Paul McCartney would certainly give him a run for his money. Two recent collections of Dylan covers are about as good as it gets, and in many instances, come at his songs from a similar stylistic point of view.

Dirt Does Dylan is the first NGDB album since 2009’s Speed of Life, the last album for original member John McEuen. Original members Jeff Hanna and Jimmie Fadden are still on board for this new album and Bob Carpenter has been in the band since 1979. Jaime Hanna, Jeff’s son, is now a member. The group’s recording career began back in 1967.

This album has a very organic feel, as if it was mostly recorded live, or with few takes or overdubs. There’s a very sparse country feel and the group makes many of the songs all its own. “Girl From the North Country,” from the 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, has a very mournful feel and the group really nails it. “Country Pie,” from Nashville Skyline from 1969, has old-time music overtones and one could imagine that if Bob Dylan heard this cover, it would put a smile on his face.

“I Shall Be Released,” best known from the Music From Big Pink version from The Band, but which was included on the 1971 Bob Dylan Greatest Hits Vol. II album, features Larkin Poe. Like “Forever Young,” which appeared on Planet Waves in 1974, it eschews a weighty arrangement and can be listened to in a new light.

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Graded on a Curve:
Pink Floyd,
Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets

When the name Pink Floyd comes up, most people immediately think of the group’s iconic and record-breaking album Dark Side of the Moon. Other post-Dark Side albums like Wish You Were Here and The Wall also are well known. Yet, for some fans of the group, its first two albums—Piper at the Gates of Dawn and A Saucerful of Secrets—are coveted as landmark albums of 1960s psychedelia.

The two albums do have much in common, but in some cases are vastly different. Both have been recently reissued on vinyl in glorious mono. Both had been previously reissued on vinyl as Record Store Day releases, in 2018 and 2019 respectively, with the record store release of the group’s 1967 debut, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, at some points commanding on average $80 on the used market.

Piper at the Gates of Dawn is very representative of that golden, multi-colored year of 1967, the height of the psychedelic sound. It was, of course, the same year The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and both groups were part of the EMI family and recorded their respective albums at Abbey Road Studios, with Sgt. Pepper coming out in June and Piper in August.

The album is very much a showcase for the group’s then de-facto guiding force Syd Barrett. Barrett’s trippy, whimsical and child-like pop songs dominate the album. The other founding members were Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason. The group’s debut was preceded by the equally psychedelic, Syd Barrett-styled singles “Arnold Layne” in March and “See Emily Play” in June.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Beach Boys, Sounds Of Summer: The Very Best Of The Beach Boys (Expanded Edition Super Deluxe 6 LP)

The Beach Boys have arguably created the most fulsome and legendary canon of hit songs by any American group in popular music history. While most of those hits are confined to one decade (the ’60s), they are unmatched in durability, cultural relevance, artistry, sound and being perfect examples of post-war, popular American music.

While the youthful themes of the group’s songs of surfing and especially cars have lost most of their luster over the years, the themes of yearning love, girls, and the beach still endure. The group’s peak run (from roughly 1962 until 1966) ended with the release of its most important album, Pet Sounds, but the group continued to make more fine albums. While certain of those later songs were not bona-fide chart hits, they are key parts of the group’s unmatched legacy.

At this point in history, with the long procession of music formats that have come and gone, from singles, albums, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs and downloads to streaming, one would think that for a group whose biggest hits have been packaged and re-packaged, yet another greatest hits collection would be redundant. Disabusing that notion is the mostly welcome new updated and expanded edition of the group’s Sounds of Summer best-of package.

Originally released in 2003 as a single-CD, 30-track compilation and a digital, best-of package, it was the de-facto replacement of the group’s analog Endless Summer vinyl set, as the definitive hits collection of the group. Before and since both Endless Summer and the new Sounds of Summer, there have been many other worthy greatest hits packages of the group’s music, but these two are the most acclaimed and representative of their respective eras. This new expanded version of Sounds of Summer, now must be considered the most comprehensive and as far as packaging, design, and collectability, it can’t be beat.

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Graded on a Curve: Oasis, Knebworth 1996 & Amy Winehouse, Live At Glastonbury, At The BBC

The following, is part six of our live concert releases series.Ed.

The UK music scene has morphed from one trend to another. In the 1960s it was the British Invasion and its aftermath that dominated. In the 1970s it was glam, punk, and eventually new wave, which only grew bigger in the 1980s. Synth-pop was also big in the ’80s. The ’90s was dominated by Brit Pop. It was also the decade that saw the arrival of Radiohead.

Proving the health of the UK pop music scene, the beginning of the century once again saw the emergence of a slew of artists that exhibited all the best traits of British pop music, including Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Keane, Amy Winehouse, Adele, and Sam Smith, to name just six. Only artists from the latest wave remain, with two that are most missed from the ’90s and from the early part of the century being Oasis and Amy Winehouse, respectively. Thankfully, several new live archival releases will delight the ardent fans of these British legends from iconic performances.

First up is one of the most famous concerts in British pop history: the performances of Oasis at Knebworth in 1996 on August 10th and 11th. We will review the 3-LP set and the film, Knebworth 1996, directed by Jake Scott. The film is as much a movie about the British fans of Oasis as it is a concert documentary. The core lineup for Oasis at this time was Liam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher, Paul Arthurs, Paul McGuigan, and Alan White. Thirteen other support and guest musicians also appear on these releases, including John Squire, formerly of the Stone Roses, who plays guitar on “Champagne Supernova” and “I Am the Walrus.”

Few filmed concerts so perfectly capture the love affair between a British group and its fans with 250,000 in attendance. Aside from the bracing performances of the group—at the top of its game—there are also interviews with its fans who were there to witness British pop music history. Other interviews include members of the band and those who put on the show.

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