As is their tradition, Cherry Red Records and their many associated subsidiaries have dozens of fantastic box sets and reissues lined up for the year’s second and third quarters. As we move firmly into Spring, Real Gone picks a few essentials lurking just over the horizon.
THE FALL – Live At The Witch Trials & Dragnet reissues (released 24.5.19)
At the end of the 70s, The Fall were in a primal state. Their ‘Witch Trials’ debut presents a lot of relatively lo-fi noise combined with the ferocities of punk and remains a firm favourite among fans. Cherry Red’s three disc clamshell reissue pairs the album with two discs’ worth of period recordings, including an essential Peel Session. Fans of analogue formats will be pleased to note the album will also be released as a very limited coloured vinyl pressing.
By 1979, The Fall were into their third line up and ‘Dragnet’, introducing bassist Steve Hanley, has a much dirtier feel. Against the grubbier mix, Mark E. Smith’s lyrical barrage becomes even more obtuse and the origins of the “classic Fall sounds” of ‘Perverted By Language’ begin to take root here. A new 3CD clamshell box presents the original album, period rarities and two very different (but rough ‘n’ ready) live shows. A limited vinyl repressing will also include a bonus 7″.
PROCOL HARUM – Broken Barricades: 3CD deluxe edition (released 31.5.19)
Procol Harum’s first three albums might be the ones that gain the most retrospective attention, but it’s 1974’s ‘Broken Barricades’ that ranks among their best. The last album to feature guitarist Robin Trower for many years, the record takes in a range of pop and rock styles, but it’s Trower’s contributions that really make the record. This new reissue features live material from three different sources – and 32 of the 36 bonus tracks are previously unreleased. A must have!
GLENN HUGHES – The Official Bootleg Box Volume 2 (released 31.5.19)
When Glenn’s first box set of bootleg recordings was released in June 2018, some fans bemoaned the bootleg quality of some of the shows that had been included. Surely the clue was in the name? A second volume will certainly be just as rough around the edges, but since it includes a full length show from Stockholm capturing Hughes around the time of ‘Addiction’s release, it’s almost certainly going to be savoured by those who value a sense of history over sheen. With six discs of unreleased material (including a selection of unreleased demos and works in progress), it’ll be a valued collection filler.
DARTS – The Albums: 1977-1981 (released 21.6.19)
In the late 70s, doo-wop revivalists Darts were massive. The music history books have totally forgotten this fact and they hardly ever get mentioned, even in discussions regarding the pop music of the era. They had a string of hit singles and a couple of big selling albums and for a time, their throwbacks to a musical past appealed to a very broad audience. In the early years, the presence of the eccentric Den Hegerty gave them a distinctive focal point, and even though the clips are mimed, the joy they gave audiences – and themselves for a time – is more than obvious if you check out old Top of The Pops footage. This budget-priced 4CD box rounds up all of their recordings for Magnet Records and includes a wealth of bonus tracks. For the vaguely curious, it’s worth having just for the debut – a top ten UK hit album that includes spirited renditions of ‘Daddy Cool’, ‘Too Hot In The Kitchen’ and ‘Sh-Boom’, along with an ugly medley of stuff with Hegerty at the helm.
JOHN RENBOURN – Unpentangled: The Sixties Albums (released 31.5.19)
In recent times, Grapefruit and Cherry Red have released lots of great stuff from the 60s, including a trilogy of psycheldia themed boxes and even more curious explorations into orchestral and folk rock. Here’s something else just as essential! John was the guitarist with folk-prog ensemble Pentangle and along with bandmate Bert Jansch, he inspired a generation of budding guitarists with his complex and distinctive style. As the title suggests, this box set rounds up all of his non-Pentangle work from the 60s – and it’s all very much worth hearing. Between Renbourn’s fascination with Tudor themes and the joint effort with Jansch, there’s something great to be (re-)discovered at almost every step.
RAVEN – Over The Top!: The Neat Albums 1981-1984 (released 28.6.19)
Not so long ago, Cherry Red/Hear No Evil Recordings celebrated the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with ‘Winds of Time’ a fantastic scene overview, with three disc’s worth of denim and leather bangers (although Saxon’s definitive ‘Denim & Leather’ was AWOL). Tracks by some of the scene’s heaviest hitters – Diamond Head, Samson, Girlschool and Tygers of Pan Tang – shared space with some forgotten heroes and neglected gems by Gaskin, Stormtrooper, Savage and White Spirit.
Here’s a great companion set that brings together all of Raven’s recordings for Neat Records showing how and why the band brought together a loyal fanbase. Copies of ‘Wiped Out’ could often be found in the vinyl bargain bins at record fairs back in the 90s, but decent CD pressings of the classic albums have always been hard to come by. Retailing at under twenty quid, this should appeal to all those looking to replace worn out vinyl LPs or re-live their youth. Includes the career-defining double live set ‘Live At The Inferno’ alongside three studio albums and a host of bonus tracks.
More info and track listings for these titles can be found at the Cherry Red website.