DELUXE EDITION DREAMLAND: Elton John – Madman Across The Water

In 2008, Universal Music reissued both of Elton John’s 1970 albums (‘Elton John’ and ‘Tumbleweed Connection’) as part of their ongoing Deluxe Edition series. These classic albums joined an excellent 2CD edition of ‘Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy’ and a long-out of print double disc Super Audio CD of the much loved ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, giving hope for future reissues.

A decade later, the only further reissue to hit the shelves was a multi-disc box set version of ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’, reprising the earlier material and expanding it with two some excellent live material, some pointless – and unwelcome – modern day covers by other artists and a DVD.

Elton has only ever looked forward and embraced new projects, which has left other potentially worthy deluxe sets – including ‘The Fox’ – unlikely to appear.

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GRAHAM BONNET – Back Row In The Stalls

For most people, Graham Bonnet will be best known for his brief stint as Rainbow vocalist between 1979 and 1980. Although he didn’t get to spend long as Ritchie Blackmore’s singer of choice, his talents drove two of the band’s biggest singles – ‘All Night Long’ (a UK #5 hit) and the brilliant radio staple ‘Since You Been Gone’ (UK #6) – and he also performed with Rainbow when they headlined the first Monsters of Rock Festival in August 1980. You could definitely make a case for him being the band’s best-known voice.

Bonnet’s career as a professional singer started over a decade earlier and he achieved a brief spell of fame as one half of pop duo The Marbles, whose ‘Only One Woman’ (an oft-overlooked UK top 5 hit from 1968) showcased a voice that would later become an instantly recognisable talent. Following The Marbles’ early demise, Graham embarked on a solo career, but as careers go, it was rather slow to get off the ground. In 1974, he recorded material for what was to be his first solo album, but the recordings were shelved at the last moment. These were subsequently believed lost until they turned up on a cassette four decades later. Most of these songs were issued digitally as ‘Private-i (The Archives, Vol. 1)’ in 2015, but given the age of the average Bonnet buff, a bunch of digital files would never suffice. Thankfully, the bulk of the material – plus bonus tracks – appeared on CD the following year. With its original title reinstated, Graham’s debut LP finally became a reality.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS – Living On The Hill: A Danish Underground Trip 1967-1974

Europe’s love of progressive music has been well documented. The Italian record buying market was one of the only territories to take to Genesis before 1973 and The Netherlands’ own mark on the psych and prog genres became legendary thanks to bands like Ekseption, Trace and omnipresent yodellers Focus. Greece bore Aphrodite’s Child which, in turn, gave the world the talents of Vangelis, while the Germans’ own brand of progressive music took a much more experimental turn with Krautrock. Despite being fairly marginal from a commercial, both Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream were taken to heart by a broad spectrum of UK record buyers in the 70s.

 Despite so many different progressive subgenres breaking into the album charts from and wide, the Scandinavian contingent got far less of a look in. Sweden’s Kaipa latterly became one of the best known exports thanks to Roine Stolt’s later success with The Flower Kings and Anglagaard were loved by a few die hards, but outside of John Peel’s influence, Scandinavian prog never really found a true champion in the 60s and 70s or scored any genuine chart action.

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PORCUPINE TREE: The Delirium Years – A 13CD box set due in November

At the beginning of 2020, Porcupine Tree fans were given reason to celebrate when their popular ‘In Absentia’ album was given the box set treatment and a four disc super deluxe version of one of their best-known works hit the shelves.

The year hasn’t brought much to celebrate, but here’s ome more good news… On November 20th, Transmission Records will issue a massive thirteen disc set of Porcupine Tree’s early – and best material.

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THE FALL – Fall Sound Archive Vol 5: Imperial Wax Solvent

Following the tour for 2007’s ‘Reformation! Post TLC’ album, The Fall underwent yet another radical line up change. The hastily assembled American band were no more and by the time Mark E. Smith and keyboard player/vocalist/wife Eleni Poulou returned to the studio, they were joined by British musicians Dave Spurr (bass), Kieron Melling (drums) and Peter Greenway on guitar. It seemed, at first, that this was just yet another in a long line of rotating band members, but unbeknown to everyone at the time, this Fall line up was special. It would be the final line up – one that would go on to be the band’s most stable, lasting the next ten years.

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