You can already see the retail stores gearing up for Christmas (which is ridiculous – the red and green decorations have already begun to crowd out the Halloween stuff…and Halloween is still two weeks away as I write this!) The recording industry is also gearing up, with dozens of reissues and “Best Of” collections hitting the shelves over the past few weeks. Here are a few of them:
After a major reissue campaign of The Clash's album catalogue a couple years ago, Sony has pulled together a four-disc collection of their best-known songs. The new set, simply titled The Singles features 56 tracks, from “White Riot,” “Pressure Drop,” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go” to “London Calling,” “Clampdown,” “Lost in the Supermarket,” and “Train in Vain.” There are also the 12” versions of “The Magnificent Seven” and “The Magnificent Dance” and an “Interview with The Clash on the Circle Line.”
Columbia and Geffen have teamed up to offer a new Aerosmith hits collection spotlighting two new tracks. Devil's Got a New Disguise: The Very Best of Aerosmith includes the classic ‘70s staples “Dream On,” “Back in the Saddle,” and “Sweet Emotion,” and the ‘80s remake of “Walk This Way” with Run D.M.C. The last 20 years of Aerosmith are represented by “Dude (Looks Like a Lady),” “Rag Doll,” “Love in an Elevator,” “Janie's Got a Gun,” “What it Takes,” “Jaded,” “Livin' On the Edge,” and “I Don't Want To Miss A Thing.” While the recent work of the band has focused on rootsy blues-rock, the new “Sedona Sunrise” takes a countrified twang approach, while the collection's title song, “Devil's Got a New Disguise” recalls the straight-ahead pounding rock style of their “Love in an Elevator” period.
The Epic/Legacy label offers a new entry in its “Essential” series of best of collections, this time from Gloria Estefan. The Essential Gloria Estefan includes 37 songs and a dozen #1 chart hits, including “Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” “Get On Your Feet,” “Turn the Beat Around,” “Conga,” “Cuts Both Ways,” “Coming Out of the Dark,” and more.
If you're looking for something a little silkier, Columbia also offers a new set of the Romantic Classics from Julio Iglesias featuring 11 tracks, including “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?,” “I Want to Know What Love Is” and “It's Impossible.”
If you need to get even softer, here's another one: fans of New Age piano music are very familiar with George Winston, who is one of the originators of the genre. Now his first album, Ballads and Blues 1972 The Early Recordings has been reissued on Windham Hill/Legacy with a handful of bonus tracks. And, if you put the disc in your computer, you can print the sheet music for one of the songs, “New Hope Blues.” The disc has a collection of rootsy rags and piano blues, as well as contemplative “sitting in the garden” style instrumentals, all performed on solo piano.
Rhino Records has been reissuing a number of old albums on CD from a variety of big-name artists over the past few years, and the latest offerings come from Pretenders, Chicago and Jeff Beck .
The Pretenders reissues, 1979's debut Pretenders and 1980's Pretenders II are must-haves for fans of the band, as each original album is joined by a second CD of demo and live versions of songs from the band during its formative period, most of them previously unreleased. And the albums themselves include the band's biggest hits, “Stop Your Sobbing,” “Brass in Pocket,” “Message of Love,” “Talk of the Town,” “Mystery Achievement,” and classics like “Precious” and “The Adulteress.” The bonus disc of The Pretenders also includes the popular B-sides “Cuban Slide” and “Porcelain.”
The reissues of Chicago's 16 and 17 from the early ‘80s only include a single bonus track each, but the discs feature some of the band's key tracks in “Stay the Night,” “Hard Habit to Break,” “You're The Inspiration,” “Hard to Say I'm Sorry” and “Love Me Tomorrow.”
Rhino also offers Jeff Beck's Truth from 1968 and Beck-Ola, his last recording with the Jeff Back Group from 1969. Both discs featured appearances from Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, and include at least a handful of bonus tracks in addition to the original album material.