WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
(First of two parts)
The Rock Music Menu Holiday Gift Guide is still months away, but there are so many first-rate box sets and collections about to be released on the immediate horizon that I’d be remiss to not get around to at least putting them on the radar for early-bird shoppers.
From a classic crooner to an R&B legend to punk revival to a pair of Faces, there’s something for a variety of tastes to dig into, and it’s hard to believe the summer’s end is still a month away. Here are some of the more notable ones to keep an eye out for and their scheduled release dates.
Frank Sinatra — Ultimate Sinatra
The defining voice of the 20th century, Sinatra enjoyed a legendary recording career that spanned six decades, beginning with his earliest session in 1939 and culminating with his last in 1993, for his world-renowned, multi-platinum “Duets” and “Duets II” albums.
The “Ultimate Sinatra” four-disc and digital deluxe edition boasts 100 tracks celebrating 100 years, plus a never-before-released bonus track, including many more luminous recordings that reinforce Sinatra’s well-deserved moniker, “The Voice.” The chronological collection dives deeper into Sinatra’s musical world of iconic recordings, before closing with a previously unreleased rehearsal version of “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” recorded in 1979.
The deluxe edition also features an 80-page booklet with a new essay by Sinatra historian and author Charles Pignone, as well as rare photos and quotes from Frank Sinatra and his children, Nancy, Tina and Frank Jr., as well as Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Quincy Jones, and others.
The Jam — Six studio albums on 180-gram vinyl
Out: Aug. 28
Combining the ferocity of punk-rock with the stylistic flair of the ’60s mod movement, The Jam, led by singer/guitarist Paul Weller, known as “The Modfather,” were one of the leaders of the mid-’70s cultural explosion in the U.K. that continues to fascinate and engage to this day, musically, politically, stylistically.
Formed in Woking, Surrey, they championed their working-class roots and an “angry young man” outlook that was updated from the late-’50s/early-’60s English school of kitchen-sink realism. Adopting the high-speed punk, and attaching it to their mod revival roots in soul and R&B, The Jam scored 18 consecutive Top 40 singles in the U.K., including four chart-toppers: “Going Underground,” “Start!,” “Town Called Malice” and “Beat Surrender.”
The power trio was widely regarded as one of the top bands of its era, with an impressive catalog of six ground-breaking studio albums recorded in five years: “In the City” (1977), “This Is the Modern World” (1977), “All Mod Cons” (1978), “Setting Sons” (1979), “Sound Affects” (1980) and “The Gift” (1982).
All six will be re-released at the end of this month with audio newly re-mastered on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl and original packaging.
Faces — “You Can Make Me Sing, Dance or Anything” (1970-1975)
Out Aug. 28
Faces squeezed a lifetime’s worth of rock ’n’ roll into just five years. But despite their relatively short time together, the Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood-led outfit earned a spot on the short list of the world’s greatest rock bands.
Rhino Records will release a boxed set with newly remastered versions of all four of the Faces’ studio albums, plus a bonus disc of rarities at the end of this month. All of the music has been remastered from the original analog tapes, making the collection the best-sounding version of the band’s music ever released.
To deliver superior audiophile quality, each album was cut from the original analog master tapes directly to lacquers and pressed on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl. The records will come packaged in sleeves that accurately recreate the original release. For instance, when you push the sleeve for “Ooh La La,” the man’s eyes move and his mouth opens, creating a look that’s reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s animation work with Monty Python.
The collection’s bonus disc gathers up nine essential tracks that didn’t appear on proper albums, including the 1973 single “Pool Hall Richard,” a live performance of the Temptations’ “I Wish It Would Rain” from the 1973 Reading Festival, and “Dishevelment Blues,” a song that came free as a flexi-disc in copies of the British music publication, New Music Express.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, send an email to email@example.com. Also check out his blog at our sister publication www.delcotimes.com