Wednesday, October 18, 2006

classicwack! reviews: ELO, George Harrison, Ronnie Wood

Since CMJ is headed toward us like a runaway freight train, I've been preparing for the onslaught of new music by cleansing my palate with a whole bunch of interesting reissues and compilations of classic stuff.

I've really enjoyed the recent batch of Electric Light Orchestra reissues, particularly Face The Music and A New World Record. Although they sold tons of records back in the day, I've always thought that they really didn't get their due in terms of how influential their sound was, and continues to be to this day.

This pair of remastered CD's, complete with bonus tracks and expanded booklets featuring notes from ELO leader Jeff Lynne, features this amazing bunch of singles:
"Evil Woman", "Strange Magic", "Telephone Line", "Livin' Thing", "Rockaria!", and the amazing "Do Ya"...there's more quality tunage there than on most bands' career-spanning hits albums.

And also unlike a lot of reissues, the bonus tracks are damn fine. In fact, one of A New World Record's added tracks, "Surrender", could totally be a radio single today.

Electric Light Orchestra - "Livin' Thing" mp3 buy

Another nice package is the new "special limited edition" reissue of George Harrison's Living In The Material World. This fancy little box set contains the original album remastered with two bonus tracks, a DVD featuring live performances and photos and footage set to unreleased songs, and a beautiful forty page booklet to wrap it all up.

I'm one of the minority of music fans who mostly prefer Beatles members' solo stuff to actual Beatles records (in fact I'm the biggest Wings fan I know...), so this album appeals to me in a way much of the earlier stuff doesn't. If I was a hardcore Harrison fan, I'd be putting this one on my list for Santa this year for sure.

A set that I know I'll be giving as a gift this year is the Ronnie Wood Anthology - The Essential Crossexion. This 2-CD set includes a disc of Wood's criminally underappreciated solo stuff, and a second disc containing an excellent sampling of his work with The Birds, The Creation, The Jeff Beck Group, Faces, Rod Stewart, and The Rolling Stones.

Like the albums above, remastering has really served these tracks well, and I especially have enjoyed Wood's guitars leaping out of the speakers in my car on windows-down-turn-it-up tracks like "Stay With Me", "Maggie May", and "Every Picture Tells A Story".

Every band from Brooklyn or London who think they are "Boogie Rock" need to sit down with this set and re-assess their roots.

Faces - "Stay With Me" mp3 removed buy

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