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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PROCOL HARUM – Something Magic

Procol Harum’s ninth album, the prosaically titled ‘Procol’s Ninth’, is hugely disliked by some fans. A far cry from the pomp, adventure and bombast of their early work, it took them in more of a pop-rock direction under the influence of producers Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller. Against the band’s wishes, the record included covers of Leiber/Stoller’s ‘I Keep Forgetting’ and The Beatles’ classic ‘Eight Days A Week’. Although, in many ways, it remains a true oddity within the Procol canon, its an album to which time has actually been very kind, sounding better decades on. …And regardless of what you may have thought of the original LP, the two discs’ worth of live material appended to the Esoteric Records deluxe reissue in 2018 created a fine package.

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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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DELUXE EDITION DREAMLAND: Chris Rea – Tennis

Chris Rea’s extensive catalogue has never been given the credit it fully deserves. While many of his albums have remained available in various territories, only a few have been reissued in a deluxe format. In many cases, that’s not even because there isn’t a lot of non-album material. There are live shows sitting in Euro TV archives, which could be used for both audio and visual extras alongside various b-sides and other material. With a few of the bigger albums receiving 2CD editions in 2019, it would be a real treat to see Rea’s third album, 1980s ‘Tennis’, afforded an expanded reissue. Continue reading

TRAPEZE – You Are The Music, We’re Just The Band

For a lot of rock fans, Glenn Hughes first came to prominence when he joined Deep Purple in 1974. In the few years leading up to that big breakthrough, he’d spent time working as bassist/vocalist with British rock band Trapeze. Although not big sellers, their first two albums were solid affairs, that showcased some talented musicians. 1970’s ‘Trapeze’ (produced by Moody Blues man John Lodge) presented a five piece band indulging in 60s freakouts and although enjoyable in its own way, almost felt dated by the time of its release in the May of that year. With Black Sabbath’s debut (released three months earlier) opening up new avenues for rock and the release of Deep Purple’s ‘In Rock’ literally a few weeks away, it was clear that Trapeze already sounded like yesterday’s men. By November, Trapeze had undergone an overhaul in both line up and sound and for their second album,‘Medusa’, the band’s core of Glenn Hughes (vox/bass), Mel Galley (guitar) and Dave Holland (drums) had reinvented themselves as a hard rocking power trio, cranking riffs in a style that often sounded like a tougher version of Free. With the previous hazy psychedelia having morphed into something harder and clearer, Hughes’s vocals were allowed to truly soar for the first time. A solid album, ‘Medusa’ showed a band who were truly on their way, but the best was yet to come…

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