All You Need is Now

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paul McCartney Archive Collection

Wings at the Speed of Sound

Paul McCartney is set to release his entire solo catalogue over the next year or two. All EMI editions are out of print, and CD copies are getting expensive, even pirates. Band on the Run, the largest-selling solo ex-Beatle album, was reissued this November in a number of editions. It may be after New Years that a cluster of albums will be remastered by Hear Music. The albums McCartney, Ram, Wild Life (which I'm sending Boris, replacing my old EU copy with a newer one, Red Rose Speedway, and Venus and Mars. The next batch could be the albums from Wings at the Speed of Sound (above) up to McCartney II, and the pattern should continue all the way to Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard. A new studio release is also being considered, and a boxed set is also a possibilty according to a source. There may even be more bonus tracks than the 1993 editions (which were not released in the US) or even iTunes. Compilations, live releases, and perhaps even the classical albums will be included. Side projects like The Fireman, Twin Freaks, Liverpool Sound Collage, and Thrillington could even be in the cards for the diehard fans. Watch this space!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Best CD Deal - Russias Best Kept Secret Missing

Wild Life/Venus & Mars
Unofficial pairing of two Wings albums once carried on

Best CD Deal, a rare site I happened to find the other week, has 404'ed. It specialised in selling pirated CDs from Russia at wholesale, mainly catering to retail dealers, indie shops, and collectors. You had to buy at least 50 titles (counting quantity) which is worth $250 or a whopping 7,798.61 rubles! If you have a long enough laundry list like I do, then it shouldn't be too hard to decide. They had some of the biggies from AC/DC to ZZ Top (possibly with the original LP mixes of their pre-MTV years). These were almost all on the seminal Russian label CD Maximum, which used to pirate western releases, often putting two shorter albums onto one CD, imitated by staid labels in the UK, but now are a legit indie sticking to their own legal signings, which are all heavy metal, though it is probable that the pirates are pirated by others to look the same, just as much as EU releases are now almost identical to their poor-mans counterparts past the former Iron Curtain.
It is getting harder to find these illicit albums outside the Commonwealth of Independent States and other ex-commie countries over that way without spending too much time or money.
Getting back to the dead link, I had picked 50 titles I would order when I had the money, but I didn't go to the site for a few days as I had other things to tend to, and when I go back, its gone. It says that it could be renewed or deleted, so there may be a chance for it to return, or maybe retailers are a bit weary of having such CDs in their shops, even though some indies have no qualms of stocking bootlegs if they don't use the computer to see if they can take it (those that do check might not buy, only taking regulation product in good condition that will sell).
I could see a Kiss pirate at a car boot sale, see Dio on eBay (though this is actually against their policy and he would turn in his grave) and I buy Paul McCartney at a shop in Cambridge, MA last May. A trader I have in Ukraine says he has a connection to a similar dealer but hasn't told me who they are. Like Boris, this guy is trying to avoid unauthorised versions of official releases which I get in return along with RoIOs for sending him the real McCoy. In many of these countries, pirates are on the ready on the streets selling for pennies. However, the cost of P&H can outweigh that of the contents in the package, especially if its going overseas. Best CD Deal included it in the price. They also leave out jewel boxes to save money on shipping, but I have some to spare and the dollar store might have them.
A real possibilty could be that the authorities have told these people that they cannot do this anymore because of pressure from the trade organisations like RIAA and the major music markets. Most piracy in the old bloc is now down to those mp3 sites, but those are too easy to use, and even with their too-low prices or lack of cost, can't compete with iTunes.
The sites domain registar GoDaddy may have pulled the plug because it may have violated their policy. Sites registered with GoDaddy have been cancelled for various reasons, but I think I may have found this out for myself.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bootlegs - The Albums They Wan't Want You to Hear!

The Beatles at the Star-Club (front)

Thought to be legal, but was found not to be!

Possibly as far back as the mid-'60s, there have been bootlegs in one form or another. In early days, they were of very poor quality with cheap covers, and sold at head shops or back alleys. When record plants made the records, the artist name wasn't always on the label so they wouldn't get caught (the sleeves were made elsewhere). The Beatles and Led Zeppelin were amongst the first and most bootlegged acts and remain so to this day. Zeppelin's late manager Peter Grant would destroy these records the minute he found out. The Beatles' solicitors would try stop the manufacture of their early Star Club show (seen above), but even after winning in High Court, it is still out there with the rest.
The Grateful Dead and their spinoffs had a liberal taping policy allowing Deadheads to tap into large mics or soundboards just as long as their recordings were only traded or shared and not sold.
Greg Lake on the other hand gave a stern warning on Facebook saying that the artists own their performances and if he and ELP are bootlegged and they find out who did it, they'll ring their solicitors and maybe even their barristers.
Bootlegs can be unreleased live or studio recordings. Even now, the sound quality can be a far cry from an official product as the bootleggers don't have the resources of the real record companies.
These days, bootlegs can be downloaded, traded on CD-Rs (blanks and postage), found through networks, or be bought online, at sales and indie shops. It's much easier now than it used to be.
People used to sneak in tape machines and possibly wires, but now there are pricey digital recorders that are used, or occasionally, an artist will have their show on the radio and people record it at home, whether it's the BBC in the UK, Live at the Wireless on JJJ in Australia, or FM in the States.
Many Pink Floyd fans prefer the term RoIO (recording of illegitimate or indeterminate origin) since the term bootleg can be a throwback to Prohibition and Al Capone. There are also VoIOs (videos), where the picture quality can vary and are often done with camcorders or mobile phones.
Bootlegs can fill the void that the authorised releases can't fill. Often, artists will release shows themselves in order to stop being ripped off by the underground labels who sometime cheat the fans if what they parted their hard earned cash on isn't halfway decent. There are downloads and even flash drives you can order, depending on who you like. There used to be magazines listing what was out there.
I wish I could get recordings of the shows I got to see. I managed to get some Yes, Asia, and solo Paul McCartney. I know there's one of Duran Duran, but it'll cost me dearly. Also holding out for Def Leppard. I can't get myself to record a show in case I get busted for it. There has to be a way. Maybe in a future post, I'll list the shows I'm looking for. Not now 'cos I can't remember all the dates, but I do the year, town, and venue. It'd be nice to have video 'cos I don't have the best photographic memory, but I'll be lucky to get audio if it exists. If not, at least I tried. I have many bootlegs here, including ones of shows I attended which someone else managed to capture for posterity.
Remember that piracy involves copying official releases (including needle drop), so see earlier post for more on that.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Beatles - Songs for Eleanor

Beatles - Songs For Eleanor 2CDs

This is a bootleg of The Beatles' Help! sessions in 1965. Eleanor is the film's co-star Eleanor Bron, not Eleanor Rigby, who was launched the following year. Producer George Martin or the engineer says the title of each track as it starts. The sound quality is grotty at best as usual, but worth a listen for diehard fans. Other bootlegs that came with this in the post are already on other sites, so this is a world exclusive, innit?

CD 1
CD 2

Thursday, November 11, 2010

EMI: Endangered Musical Institution

The symbol means the label is no longer used for new releases.

EMI, one of the pillars of the music industry, are in a state of flux. Under corporate parent Terra Firma, they have been slated as being owned by bean counters and losing touch with their artists and the public. This has been reported elsewhere, but since many of my favourite artists have had releases on EMI labels one time or another. Many of the big names have formed a diaspora and have gone indie or moved to Universal. The Rolling Stones and now Queen haved moved albums that they own to UMC. Paul McCartney has taken his solo catalogue off Parlophone and onto Universal affiliate Hear Music/Concord, and we wait for all his solo albums to return to shops. The Beatles remasters may have helped EMI's portfolio some. Radiohead let fans name their own price for 2007's In Rainbows after their contract was done. Pink Floyd left Harvest outside Europe in 1975 for CBS (Sony now) and may have their work with Columbia (Sony in Japan) worldwide, but nothing has been announced yet, though a side project of David Gilmours was (The Orb) is. Many of these elder statesmen have ducked Capitol in the States at one point in time and collectors note the different licences. When I buy something on an EMI label, it's usually used anyway to save money.
Liberty, revived as a label for heritage acts, may now be way on the backburner. Marillion released their 2001 album Anoraknophobia on it. They have also been seen as pariahs by the media, but thats another story.
Scottish neoproggers Fish (formerly of Marillion) and Pallas licence their early albums from EMI onto indie labels. They too have felt betrayed by the conglomorate. Duran Duran also have expressed dissatisfaction with their former home.
EMI used to be the biggest and the best, having survived two world wars and a depression, postwar period, all the way to todays struggling music industry. Could they ever have another golden age? Maybe if they get their act(s) together, they just might.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

INXS - Switched On: 2007

INXS today
Post Michael Hutchence INXS online at last. Paris 2007

Intro (TNT)
Suicide Blonde
Devil's Party
Hot Girls
By My Side
Original Sin
Need You Tonight
What You Need
Folsom Prison Blues
Devil Inside
Pretty Vegas
God's Top Ten
New Sensation
Never Tear Us Apart
Don't Change


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New for 2011

The Living Tree

Thought I'd get a head start!

Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman - The Living Tree (US release) (Voiceprint/Gonzo)
Asia featuring John Payne - Americana (Devgel/*/Sony Music Japan)
Beady Eye (oasis spinoff) - Different Gear, Still Speeding (Beady Eye Recordings/Dangerbird)
Bush - Everything Almost Now (Zuma Rock/Edel/E1)
Def Leppard - Mirrorball (Bludgeon Riffola/Mailboat)
Jim Diamond - * (*)
Duran Duran - All You Need is Now (Tapemodern/S-Curve)
Emerson, Lake and Palmer - High Voltage Festival (Shout! Factory)
Fish - A Feast of Consequences (Chocolate Frog/*)
Fleetwood Mac - * (Reprise)
George Harrison - Dark Horse** (Apple/Parlophone)
George Harrison - Extra Texture** (Apple/Capitol [US])
INXS/Various Artists - Original Sin (US release) (Petrol Electric/MGM Australia/Sony Music [Canada]/Atco-Rhino [US]/Polydor [France])
Michael Jackson - Michael [Wacko Jacko's farewell album out in December] (MJJ/Epic)
Lisa LaRues 2KX - Fast and Blue (First Peoples Music)
Julian Lennon - Everything Changes (*)
Marillion - * (Intact/Eagle)
Paul McCartney - Studio albums from 1971-79, 1982-2005 (Band on the Run out now)** as well as new one * (MPL/Hear Music)
Stevie Nicks - In Your Dreams (Reprise)
Pallas - XXV (Music Theories/Mascot)
Ph.D. - Is It Safe?** (PhD/Gonzo/Voiceprint)
Queen - back catalogue** (Island/UMC except US and Canada where they're already on Hollywood)
Alan Reed - * (3 Hobbits)
Yes - Fly from Here (Frontiers)

** - Remaster/Reissue

Subject to change.