This past Record Store Day we saw the release of some nifty gems from several of original 1960s British Invasion artists which not only look groovy, and sound real nice, but which also remind us of just how fertile a period it was for artistic creativity. It wasn't just about The Beatles (though I will talk about them in a later article). Accordingly, I did find some great releases from two of my other favorite bands from the period:
The Zombies have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, putting out fine new recordings and touring the world to near universal acclaim for the first time since the 1960s. In celebration of their 50th anniversary they issued several releases on Record Store Day, two of which I actually got my hands on. "A Rose For Emily" (from their amazing Odessy and Oracle album) features a previously unreleased-on-vinyl alternate stereo mix of that song which showcases a gorgeous Cello part -- its really stunning when the (likely) Mellotron-played flute sound comes in to the mix in harmony (gorgeous, I tell you!). The B-side is one of the greatest songs from that same album in a lovely Mono album mix of "This Will Be Our Year" i.
Pressed on translucent pink vinyl -- sort of the color of the old cliche of rose tinted glasses -- the 45 RPM disc sounds great for the most part. My only complaint is that my pressing is a little off center which impacts the sound negatively (wavering notes) but I'm still glad to have found a copy of this for my collection.
"I Want You Back Again" is a cool and genuinely unique single in that it is a hybrid release: one side features the original 1965 version of this song -- a non album track -- and the flip-side includes a newer re-make the band recorded in 2015.
The really curious thing about this release is how much I prefer the new version! The original is fine, no doubt. But the band was young and that recording barely hints at the mature arrangement the latest incarnation of the group would eventually give it. I'm pretty sure they did this live the last time I saw the band in concert and it's a pretty dramatic reading, with Rod Argent's lovely Brubeck-esque solo taking up the lion's share of the song and the stinging guitar riffs by Tom Toomey.
Fine fine stuff, kids...
The Kinks are also celebrating their 50th anniversary with the release of ultra-rare EPs from around the world. On Record Store Day this year, two obscure French picture sleeve EPs were reissued in lovely living color. Out of print since 1965, these are a welcome addition for any Kinks fan, most of us who have never had the good fortune to see these rare records in the flesh, much less own a copy; especially here in the US, you rarely if ever see these things in the collectors shops at any price. So in that regard alone I'm in full support of this fine reissue series.
Both of these discs are nicely pressed, quiet and well centered.
The songs on these two fine EPs provide a handy snapshot of the essence of The Kinks' early glory including their smash hit "All Day And All Of The Night" as well as rockers like "I'm A Lover Not A Fighter" and "Long Tall Shorty." The other EP features the bluesy rave up "Got Love If You Want It," as well as the rollicking "Cadillac" and "I Took My Baby Home."
Even though on the surface these sorts of release may seem a novelty curio to some, the underlying psychology of the "Extended Play" release still makes some sense in these 21st Century times. If you don't have the money for a full album -- or you simply just want the big hits by a particular band and some other tracks in your collection, then a four song blast like this may be all you need.
Of course then there are completist geeks like myself who want every note the band played and then some, so we gather up all the singles and B-sides and picture sleeve variants we can get our hands on. Its the collecting bug in action and many of us have got it bad.
Whatever your rationale, you should probably get these sooner than later as they'll probably not be reissued again any time soon.
Get 'em up while you can!