Music Week's round-up of the latest album reissues and catalogue releases, including Pink Floyd, Bobbie Gentry and The Spinners...
The Best Of Pink Floyd – A Foot In The Door (Pink Floyd Records PFRLP 21)
A No.14 album in 2011, since when it has achieved consumption of 283,629 units on CD and digitally, A Foot In The Door is released on vinyl for the first time as a 180gsm. heavyweight double disc set, with 16 songs spread across its four sides, all newly remastered for vinyl. A distillation of Pink Floyd’s phenomenally successful career, with all tracks being selected by the band itself, A Foot In The Door naturally includes their best known singles Another Brick In The Wall and See Emily Play as well as more cerebral tracks like The Great Gig In The Sky – a wordless, wailed masterpiece from Dark Side Of The Moon – and the wonderful Comfortably Numb, which contains not one but two extraordinary guitar solos from David Gilmour. The LP differs from the CD/digital release in that it features the reinstated version of Time, with the ringing alarm clocks at the start of the track restored, after being omitted from earlier incarnations of the album. With artwork from long-time collaborator Storm Thorgerson, - the last before his 2013 death - it’s a perfect present for fans old and new.
The Girl From Chickasaw County (UMC 5383971)
An American singer/songwriter, Bobbie Gentry cut seven albums for Capitol between 1967 and 1971 – six solo and one with Glen Campbell - and all seven are newly remastered and gathered together alongside no fewer than 75 previously unreleased contemporaneous recordings in this deluxe eight CD box set, which also includes an 84 page booklet and eight postcards. Gentry is best-known for her chart-topping 1969 version of Burt Bacharach’s I’ll Never Fall In Love Again and her gripping introductory hit, Ode To Billie Joe, a sparsely-instrumented and beautifully observed song of suicide, death from a viral infection, despondency and a mysterious something that was thrown off a bridge. Small wonder it inspired a 1976 film of the same name. The first comprehensive Gentry retrospective, The Girl From Chickasaw County also includes a significant number of her other story songs including Mississippi Delta, Lazy Willie, Delta Man and Pappa’s Medicine Show, as well as nicely executed covers of Beatles songs Fool On The Hill, Eleanor Rigby and Here, There And Everywhere. Gentry was very popular in the UK and for three years had her own BBC TV series, from which the audio for many of the bonus tracks is derived. Alternate versions, demos, and even foreign language recordings also form part of their excellent collection which also proves that although she had country roots, Gentry was a versatile performer, with pop, soul, swamp funk, jazz and blues influences all discernible on what is a surprisingly strong and intriguing collection.
While The City Sleeps (Kent CDTOP 481)
Always known simply as The Spinners in their US homeland but initially as The Motown Spinners and later as The Detroit Spinners in the UK, to avoid confusion with the popular Liverpool folk group of the same name, The Spinners recorded just two albums for Motown before going on to greater fame and fortune under the auspices of Thom Bell at Atlantic. The second of those albums, 2nd Time Around, emerged in 1970, in the wake of the success of their first hit single, the splendid It’s A Shame, which Stevie Wonder, co-wrote with Syreeta Wright and Lee Garrett. 2nd Time Around forms the basis of When The City Sleeps, with its 12 original tracks being supplemented by a further 13 bonus tracks, of which 10 are previously unreleased. The original album finds the Detroit group in fine fettle vocally, although their fusion of I Can Sing A Rainbow and Love Is Blue rather slavishly follows The Dells’ hit version. Many of the others are unexpected gems, while the bonus tracks are hugely impressive, and should have been liberated from the archives long ago. Among the highlights are the stomping Sunshine Train, co-penned by Ricky Matthews, who was later to find fame as Rick James; Gonna Keep On Tryin’ Till I Win Your Love, a song which was recorded by no fewer than five other Motown acts but fits The Spinners best; and the vibrant Just A Little Part Of Love, a rare Edwin Starr nugget. A heavily-annotated 16 page booklet completes a fine package.