Music Week's round-up of the latest album reissues and catalogue releases. This week we take a look at Pink Floyd, Planet Mod and Marty Robbins.
Pulse (Pink Floyd Records/Parlophone PFRLP 17)
The vinyl revival is in full swing with the once moribund format accounting for 17.86% of paid-for sales and a substantially larger share of spending a fortnight ago, boosted by Record Store Day releases. In the last year, more vinyl has been sold than in any 12 month period since the 1990s, with David Bowie, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and Oasis, in that order, generating most sales. It is, then, a perfect time for Pink Floyd’s 1995 No.1 album Pulse to return to availability. Recorded live on the band’s Division Bell tour in 1994, at dates in London, Rome and Hanover, it features every track from their classic Dark Side Of The Moon and other favourites from throughout their career to that point, even containing a rousing version of Syd Barrett’s space rock classic Astronomy Domine, which had hitherto been absent from their live shows – like Barrett – for more than 20 years. Panned by critics at the time, Pulse is now widely regarded more favourably, and fans of the band love it, hence its 4.7 out of five rating across 336 customer reviews on Amazon. Although Pulse has performed well since release, with upwards of 450,000 sales, the vinyl edition has been out of print for more than 20 years – until now. This heavy and handsome box set remedies that situation, with the album on four 180gm discs of heavyweight virgin vinyl, housed in a chunky slipcase alongside a 52 page hardback book. Newly remastered from the original analogue tapes by James Guthrie, Joel Plante and Bernie Grundman it is everything that fams would hope it to be, with immaculate, deep, resonant sound and breathtaking performances creating an item that will surely make a big splash – even at around £100 a copy.
Planet Mod: Brit Soul, R&B And Freakbeat From The Shel Talmy Vaults (Big Beat CDWIKD 336)
US-born Shel Talmy produced a considerable number of acts in the 1960s, including The Fortunes, Chad & Jeremy, The Easybeats and even The Bachelors but his biggest successes were with The Who and The Kinks, so it understandable both that he therefore produced a number of other tracks with mod appeal, and that Big Beat should have gathered together 24 of them for this new compilation. Now 80 and living back in the USA, Talmy was based in The UK in the sixties, and had his own independent record label, Planet, which released seven of the tracks hereon, though most of the rest are newly rescued from his vaults and are appearing for the first time here. Listeners seeking more familiar Talmy material should check out Making Time: A Shel Talmy Production, a companion volume to this album that was issued a year ago by Ace. Despite the album’s title, there are several cuts here by American acts, though they sneak under the wire by dint of being recorded here. John Lee Hooker, who offers a splendid Mai Lee; and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins forging a loose remake of his earlier song Stone Crazy are among them, as is cabaret singer and actor Kenny Miller, who offers a cool, jazzy version of early David Bowie effort Take My Tip. John Lee’s Groundhogs – who provided the backing for the John Lee Hooker track – were among the earliest signings to Planet, and impress with a soulful take on Sly Stone’s I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, and leader Tony McPhee’s own Over You Baby. Life’s Too Good To Waste is a very early (1966) and pleasant Tony Christie track penned by Barbara Ruskin, on which he is rather more restrained vocally than on his big 1970s hits like Is This The Way To Amarillo. Little-known Beckenham group The Preachers included a young Peter Frampton in their line-up and make a great job of obscure Bill Wyman track Goodbye Girl, which his own group – The Rolling Stones – had already recorded but rejected. Overall, the standard is remarkably high, and augers well for the further investigations of Talmy’s archives that are in the pipeline.
The Drifter/Saddle Tramp/What God Has Done/Christmas With Marty Robbins (Morello MRLL84D)
Late country legend Marty Robbins made 52 albums in a lengthy career, and four of them make their CD debuts on this new two disc set from Morello, namely a trio of 1966 releases and a Christmas album from 1967, all of which were originally released on Columbia. Although Robbins was already over 40 at the time of their release, he was yet to have the most successful period of his career, which came in the 1970s. Although Robbins’ country roots are obvious throughout, these are stylistically diverse sets, with The Drifter and Saddle Tramp – which was released only through Columbia’s record club at the time and thus failed to chart – providing traditional C&W fare, while What God Has Done takes a more devotional path with songs of faith, and Christmas With… is suitably seasonal and fetchingly festive. Best track Mr Shorty, from The Drifter, is a lilting ‘gunfighter ballad’ along the lines of the better-known El Paso, and despite being unusually lengthy – it clocks in at five minutes, about twice the average for a country song at the time – it was a major hit for him, making the Top 20.