2007 digitally remastered 4CD retrospective set of Manfred Mann recordings for EMI from 1963-66. And you know what? I still don’t really know what ‘digitally remastered’ really means. Whenever a label dispenses the phrase ‘digitally remastered’ I always get this mental image of boffins in white suits and goggles cleaning up tapes and discs with no end of cutting-edge dusters and anti-static guns and removing all the grease, the scum and debris that have accumulated over the years. But something in me suspects this is not the case – and yet even though I know this, whenever I listen a ‘digitally remastered’ recording I always feel like someone has ripped the gauze from my ears, shoved in a couple of ear-buds and given them a good old scouring. Beginning life as a jazz band before moving onto better paying schemes, Virtuoso keyboardist, Manfred Mann and smiley, throaty ‘shouter’ Paul Jones and his harmonica for hire had a sizeable glory box of tunes in the charts from 1963 to 1966 and here’s a thoroughly exhaustive slab of them: ‘5-4-3-2-1’, ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’, ‘Sha La La’, ‘Come Tomorrow’, ‘If You Gotta Go, Go Now" and ‘Pretty Flamingo’ plus blues standards like ‘Smokestack Lightning’, ‘I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man’ and ‘I've Got My Mojo Working’. The release includes sleevenotes written by Tom McGuiness as well as a sessionography and illustrated discography. 'Down The Road Apiece' (EMI Recordings 1963-1963) is out August 13.
Justified Release? A resounding yes, really. Obstensibly a rootsy blues band, the public rarely gets to see this side of them plus there’s a bakers dozen or so genuine rarities and previously unreleased recordings. Also, you get a chance to glimpse the ‘Mann’ before one of ‘em got his ‘Earth Band’ and one of ‘em joined 6 Music. Tidy and handsome release and what retrospective are really all about.
Junior Boys is the labour of love of Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus, a couple of Anglophiles from Hamilton, Ontario, a band as eager to demonstrate their love of electro-pop bands like Scritti Politti as they are to embrace the free-ranging designs and lo-fi approaches of producers like Timbaland and Pharrel. 2006’s shockingly well-received album, ‘So This Is Goodbye’ is Jeremy and Matt’s first fully realised work; poignant, precise and impeccably well crafted and bringing to mind a flood of comparisons that include Brian Eno, David Sylvian, Japan, the album wrestled free of its urban grip and slipped down an adjacent alleyway of dreamy, hypnotic vapour-pop, tearing a page from another rulebook that it just so happened to be carrying. Only this time it’s roped in a number of remix collaborators: Carl Craig, Hot Chip, Tensnake, Kode 9 and Marsen Jules, Morgen Geist and Alex Smoke. Re-released on Domino on June 11th.
Justified release? Well pretty divided on that one. Personally I think Domino could have produced the bonus disc of remixes a little sooner. Also if you haven’t been formally introduced already to this album, the 2-disc proposal might be a little confusing. That said it’s still a bonny package.
The casual tongue of sleeve-notes writer, Simon Reynolds slips them alongside some of the accredited classics that defined the postpunk era: Public Image Ltd’s ‘Metal Box’, Talking Heads’ ‘Fear Of Music’ and Gang Of Four’s ‘Entertainment’: sometimes botched, sometimes substandard and sometimes misconceived. But then, that was the whole point of postpunk anyway, wasn’t it? But who are they? Young Marble Giants: Alison Statton and brothers Stuart and Phil Moxham. They released one album, a handful of singles and a Peel Session. And they’ve also been covered by bands as diverse as Belle and Sebastian and Courtney Love’s Hole. Sparse, bony, acidic yet haunted by a grey, miraculous beauty ‘Colossal Youth’ is a modus operandi for all your nourish, spectral heroes of today. Re-released by Domino Records on July 2nd.
Justified Release? By god, yes! Crazy to think this was recorded as far back as 1980 – a year otherwise defined by that dastardly Rubik’s Cube, the death of John Lennon and the unaccountable of success of Dallas. The Collected Works of the Young Marble Giants draws together the band’s album and singles for the first time on a CD Set including a whopping great 32-page booklet. In addition a limited Edition 3 disc set includes the 6 tracks the band recorded for John Peel.
Eat To The Beat was Blondie’s forth studio album, originally released on 13th October 1979, the day before a major Gay Rights March took place in Washington DC featuring thousands of angry campers. It was also the month a tsunami hit the coast of Nice in France killing 23 people and the month that saw the release of Bob Marley’s penultimate album, ‘Survival’ was released. But Eat To The Beat marked another momentous occasion, as it was the first ever ‘video album’, meaning it was commercially released on home video simultaneously with the audio album. Every song on the album has a corresponding music video. And now it’s all here on a sumptuous 2 disc collection: one audio, one DVD. ‘Eat To The Beat: Collectors Edition (CD+DVD) is released July15 2007.
Justified release? Absolutely. The video was long since deleted and who could fault wanting to hear (or indeed see) the likes of ‘Dreaming’, ‘Union City Blue’ and ‘Atomic’. The album just before Blondie lost their touch. And their relevance. Downside? Last re-released in only 2001 with additional live-recordings but without the vids. Bonus events include feeling very very horny.
Alan Sargeant for Crud Magazine 2007©