Heart's first studio album in 10 years, Jupiter's Darling, hit stores this week, and to capitalize on the renewed interest it should bring to the band, Epic's Legacy arm has reissued the band's first three Epic albums, Little Queen, Dog & Butterfly and Bebe Le Strange. Released between 1977 and-1980, these discs offer most of the band's classic '70s rock hits, from "Barracuda," "Kick It Out," "Love Alive," and "Dog & Butterfly," to "Bebe Le Strange" and "Even It Up."
Each reissue also includes a couple of bonus live tracks recorded during the band's heyday — Little Queen offers a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and Dog & Butterfly offers a live version of "Heartless," from its third CD of the same name.
Heart will play the House of Blues in Chicago Aug. 15, promoting its new disc.
Another classic rock band from the '70s that has remained a road warrior ever since its last big hit almost 20 years ago is celebrating its 30th anniversary as a band this year. Kansas, from 1976 to 1986, notched more than a dozen hits, from "Dust in the Wind" to "Fight Fire With Fire." The band will be issuing its first true career-spanning greatest hits set later this summer. In the meantime, Epic/Legacy has reissued the band's first two albums, Kansas and Song for America. Both were remastered by longtime Kansas producer Jeff Glixman.
Kansas features a previously unreleased, nine-minute live version of "Bringing It Back" recorded in 1974, and Song for America offers a previously unreleased live version of "Down the Road" recorded in 1975, as well as the single edit of the title track, a strangely chopped-up mix of the song that only proves there is no good way to edit an expansive 10-minute opus into a three-minute radio single.
Kansas will be playing Navy Pier in Chicago on July 22.
Morris Day hasn't had much of a profile in the past decade or two, but with Prince on the road this summer celebrating his career of hits, the former frontman for The Time has issued a new album, It's About Time, on Hollywood Records. The disc includes four new funky studio tracks and eight live recordings of his past hits, from "The Bird" and "Jungle Love" to "Ice Cream Castles" and "Fishnet."
Day sounds just a little tired on the live efforts, and the new material doesn't quite have the punch to break into the Top 40 anytime soon. But old fans may want to visit the album for a dose of nostalgia.
C. and the Truth
Led by a gravelly voiced singer who sounds like he should be fronting a blues band (he's also a boxer and Mensa member), Tony C & The Truth turn up the amplifiers and crank out some fiery delta blues-colored rock 'n' roll.
The disc opens with the atmosphere-setting, sliding blues riff of "Who I Are," before a funky second guitar cuts in, and the rough-and-tumble vocals of Tony C. start revving up the pace.
By the time the band hits the chorus, the song has evolved from swampy warm to AC/DC hot. After some high-pitched guitar solo squeals, the disc settles down to the easier shuffle of "Good Lookin' Out," a biographical tale of Tony's rise from broke bar punk to big label recording artist who sticks with the pals who "watched his back" in the old days:
"I've made a record deal
got some money to spend
and fools I've never heard of
all of a sudden my friends
they're good for nothin'."
With the strutting crunch riffs of the first single, "Little Bit More," Tony extols the "virtues" of a girl who can tie a knot in a cherry stem with her tongue, while in "Ball & Chain," he tells the opposite side of the love/lust story. With a tight-picked guitar, in "Ball & Chain," he sings of a guy who used to be "wild and free," but now sits home on Friday nights waiting for the phone to ring from a woman who's using him. Tony sings "man this girl, she does you wrong, wrong, wrong … hey what's up now/it's a shame/it's a ball and chain."
"Weight of the World" is a total high-octane romp of distortion, while "Someday" is an amusing, whimsical, braggadocio fest where Tony talks trash about all that he's going to do:
"I'll maybe even cure the common cold
find an answer for the cancer, wipe it out like polio
be mixing up a magic vaccine …
I'll even win a Nobel prize
for my pioneering work teaching tough guys to cry
I know it sounds like a lot
you think that's all I got?
I says, Absolutely not."
In "No Pain," the band offers a melancholy bit of late-night blues with classic Hammond organ tones and a chorus of background singers who sound like they're channeling a '70s Pink Floyd song, at one point.
The band continues its low emotion vibe with the swamp blues tone of "Gravity" ("what doesn't kill you makes you strong/or it drags you down," he sings) before building volume again with the menacing metallic blues anger of "Medusa."
Demonophonic Blues — which closes with a punked-out cover of the Beastie Boys' "Fight for Your Right (to Party)" — could easily rank as one of the highlights of 2004.
Check the band's Web site for song samples and updated tour information at www.tonycandthetruth.com.