Remember the halcyon days of flannel shirts, Seattle bands and Grunge Rock? How fast the '90s have faded away.
Now, you can relive those hard rock days with a compilation from Alice in Chains, who when they went on hiatus a decade ago, were one of the core bands of the Seattle grunge scene. After a brief reunion in 1999, the band talked of coming together again, but leader Layne Staley's death in 2002 sealed the book on AIC. Columbia/Legacy has now unearthed "The Essential Alice in Chains," a two-CD collection that includes key tracks from all their albums, EPs and MTV "Unplugged" set, and ironically leads off with the track "We Die Young."
Epic/Legacy continues its Electric Light Orchestra catalog reissue and restoration campaign with three of the band's mid-'70s albums. Newly reissued are 1973's "On the Third Day," which yielded the hit "Showdown," 1975's "Face the Music" which offered "Evil Woman," and "Strange Magic," and 1976's "A New World Record," which truly lived up to its name, offering the mega-hits "Telephone Line," "Livin' Thing," and "Do Ya." All three re-issues offer bonus tracks from the period, most alternative or instrumental mixes of songs from the albums, and most of them previously unreleased.
Columbia/Legacy is celebrating the 80th birthday of crooner Tony Bennett, who continues to perform to packed houses decades after his radio popularity faded away and the "rock" age took over. He boasts the amazing career record of selling more than 50 million copies of more than 100 albums. The label has repackaged some of his classic albums in a special An American Classic Celebrates 80 sleeve. The label offers both Tony Bennett's Greatest Hits from the '50s and Tony Bennett's Greatest Hits from the '60s which include 16 tracks each, many of them cultural cornerstones. Included are "Because of You," "Stranger in Paradise," "Blue Velvet," "Put on a Happy Face," "The Best is Yet to Come," "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words" and "My Favorite Things."
Also repackaged is his 1962 album, I Left My Heart in San Francisco, which includes the title track as well as “Candy Kisses,” “Have I Told You Lately,” and “The Best is Yet to Come” among other tracks. Bennett enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the ‘90s, and Legacy has reissued his tribute to Frank Sinatra, Perfectly Frank, originally released in 1992. The disc includes two dozen swing classics, from “I've Got the World on a String” and “The Lady is a Tramp” to “Call Me Irresponsible” and “One For My Baby (And One More For the Road).”
While the other re-issues do not include any new bonus material, Legacy has reissued Bennett's 1994 MTV Unplugged album with two additional tracks. The disc offers a sampling of Bennett's classic songs in intimate piano, brushed cymbal and walking bass arrangements, from “Old Devil Moon” and “It Had to be You” to “Rags to Riches,” “When Joanna Loved Me,” “The Good Life/I Wanna Be Around,” “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “They Can't Take That Away from Me” and “Autumn Leaves.” It also features duets with k.d. lang ("Moonglow") and Elvis Costello ("They Can't Take That Away From Me"). The previously unreleased bonus tracks from the session included on the new version of the album are "(Just a) Little Street Where Old Friends Meet" and "When Do the Bells Ring for Me."
In the '60s and '70s, Memphis' Stax Records offered an R&B/soul alternative to the branded soul of Detroit's Motown Records. Fantasy has gotten into the "remember these old hits" act recently and has opened the Stax classic catalog to produce the new collection Top of the Stax: Twenty Greatest Hits.
The disc offers Booker T & The MG's "Green Onions," Shirley Brown's "Woman to Woman," Eddie Floyd's "Knock on Wood," Isaac Hayes' "Theme From 'Shaft'," Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," The Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There" and more.