Ron Hart Poop 2017

2017: The Year in Reissues

25. Judas Priest Turbo 30 (Legacy Recordings)
Judas Priest has made a career out of making music that flies in the face of industry convention and societal etiquette. But perhaps the most polarizing move they ever made was flying too close to the synthpop sun with 1986’s Turbo. The utilization of guitar synthesizers plus the incorporation of lyrics more romantic in nature in lieu of the scorched earth Sci-fi of their earlier work at the time we’re more in line with OMD than Ozzy, and caused many of their fans to question their status as the metal gods. The album also features some of the group’s strongest songwriting as well, temporarily shifting gears from Dungeons and dragons to the flowers of romance in a way that only metal fans with a penchant for the Bronski Beat and Heaven 17 could appreciate. Yet the bonus material on this 30th anniversary edition, an excellent full concert recording from the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, MO, from ’86 spread across two CDs, nevertheless proves no sonic deviation could quell their strength as one of the best live metal acts of all time.

24. Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes (XL Recordings)
The Radiohead frontman’s second solo album was the first release by a major music artist to be made available exclusively via BitTorrent when it came out on September 26, 2014. Critics were cranky about the record, entitled Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, more than likely because it wasn’t as easy as calling the publicist for a copy; you had to get it the way the real hardcore music nerds of the Internet have been scarfing up sounds since the Napster era. It was also the closest thing to a straight-up electronic record Yorke has ever made. But for those of us who’ve been enjoying the singer’s gradual descent into the matrix since “Fitter Happier” 20 years ago, Boxes is a work of gorgeous glitch. It’s what A Moon Shaped Pool should have sounded like, and it was a great early Christmas surprise in December when XL Recordings finally made it a widespread release on CD and vinyl. So good it doesn’t even need bonus tracks.

23. Art Pepper “West Coast Sessions!” Vol. 1-6 (Omnivore Recordings)
In the wake of his ’77 comeback, alto sax legend Art Pepper cut some albums on a small label out of Japan called Yupiteru (later Atlas), mainly because he was still under an exclusive contract with Fantasy Records here in America, preventing him from recording as a leader. So to skirt around the dilemma, Pepper would direct from behind, choosing such fellow jazz luminaries as fellow saxophonists Lee Konitz and Sonny Stitt, trombonist Bill Watrous, pianist Pete Jolly, trumpet great Jack Sheldon and drummer Shelly Mann to headline this series of six albums of classic West Coast style bop he recorded for Yupiteru/Atlas between 1979 and 1982. This collection, released throughout 2017 in three different pairings, was lovingly put together by Pepper’s widow Laurie and serves as a stellar and revelatory testament to the last five years in the life of this unsung icon of California jazz.

22. Buffalo Tom Let Me Come Over: 25th Anniversary Edition (Beggars Arkive)
If you are going to exist in both the worlds of rock and rock journalism, you better have the tunes to back the bite of your criticism. And no other living artist conveys that balance as beautifully as Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom. Let Me Come Over is the Boston band’s best album, hands down. And for its 25th anniversary, Beggars Arkive has made the LP even better with a deluxe edition that adds a complete live performance from London in early 1992, a scorching, rowdy set that showcases the fiery middle ground between Pavement and the Afghan Whigs in where Buffalo Tom existed.

21. Wilco A.M./Being There Deluxe Editions (Rhino)
Wilco have evolved so much from the group they were upon the dissolution of Uncle Tupelo in 1994, opting to stick close to the country-rock script from which they were conspired. Nevertheless, the sunny side of the mid-90s provided a seed of what kind of transcendent songwriter Jeff Tweedy is, further revealed in the expanded edition of their Sire debut A.M., amended with such rare material as an early version of “Outtasite (Outta Mind),”, the super twangy session outtake “Myrna Lee” and Uncle Tupelo’s last studio recording, “When You Find Trouble.” Being There, meanwhile, remains Wilco’s grandest opus even 21 years later–a double LP loaded with raw nerves, broken hearts and heaping spoonfuls of Crazy Horse-at-Big Pink soul fire that rattled the trees of rock’n’roll in 1996. It’s an American classic that only gets better in its deluxe edition, with an extra disc of B-sides and outtakes and the complete version of Live at the Troubadour, previously released as a cassette-only promo for college radio. Remember college radio?

20. REM Automatic for the People: Deluxe Edition (Craft Recordings)
Only R.E.M. could follow up their sunniest LP with their darkest one and yield an equal amount of success from both. 1992’s Automatic for the People indeed marked a left turn into the somber territory of Out of Time‘s “Low” and “Country Feedback”, yet continued to serve as a showcase for the band’s increasingly diversified sonic palate and further expansion of their appetite for new arrangements and instrumentation. This outstanding 25th anniversary edition of the record includes a disc of stripped down demos and the official issue of the only concert the group performed in support of Automatic at the 40 Watt Club in their hometown of Athens, GA. It’s been one of the best bootlegs out there of R.E.M. for the last quarter century, thanks to its crystal clear sound quality, resplendent renditions of such early faves as “Fall On Me” and “Radio Free Europe” and a rowdy cover of “Funtime” by The Stooges.

19. Alan Parsons Project Eye In The Sky: 35th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Legacy Recordings)
It’s a beautiful thing to live in a modern age where the Alan Parsons Project are hailed as an influential act for young musicians looking to extract pop warmth from old 80s synthesizers. And 1982’s Eye In The Sky was the album which thrust the band beyond the realms of prog, spearheaded by the runaway success of the album’s title cut, the first pop song ever about casino surveillance out there. And in 2017, the song takes on an entirely new resonance as the global addiction to social media grows to pandemic levels with the existence of such self-surveilling websites as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. But what makes this 3-CD/2-LP box set so utterly fascinating is the breakdown of the APP sound through the wealth of bonus material presented here; particularly the songwriting diaries of the group’s late singer Eric Woolfson, whose pop heart is exposed in all its purity once the Oberheims and electric guitars are peeled away, revealing a sensibility closer to the craft of the indie artists they are inspiring in the 21st century.

18. The Verve Urban Hymns Deluxe Edition (Universal)
In a year that saw Radiohead, Blur and Oasis release arguably their best albums, it was the intrepid English underdogs The Verve who won 1997 with Urban Hymns, which 20 years later remains the quintessential signpost intersecting mid 60s Stones and early 90s shoegaze. The reason why Mick and them even went after them for nicking a bit of “The Last Time” for their hit single “Bittersweet Symphony” was because it was a better Stones song than anything off Bridges to Babylon. This anniversary edition expands the original LP into a 5-CD/1-DVD box set with an emphasis on killer live material that includes a BBC Evening Session from August of 97, a January 11th appearance on Jools Holland from that year and the complete performance of their concert at Haigh Hall on May 24, 1998.

17. Various Artists Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Deluxe Edition (Legacy Recordings)
It’s still quite hard to process the sudden death of Chris Cornell. But if you ever wanted to pinpoint the exact place where the singer’s status transcended from underground grunge luminary to international rock icon you have to bypass Badmotorfinger and go right to the soundtrack for Cameron Crowe’s time-in-a-bottle rom-com Singles. And while there is so much to celebrate on this 25th anniversary deluxe edition (including all that great live stuff from the movie and unreleased Paul Westerberg!), it’s the inclusion of Cornell’s Poncier EP that makes it such gold. Originally recorded as a mock demo tape for Matt Dillon’s character Cliff, these four folk-rooted songs, which include an early version of the Superunknown smash “Spoonman” and the haunting “Flutter Girl”—especially when coupled with the original album track “Seasons”— are the blueprints to the man who would become one of the last of the great American rock gods right up until the day he died. Eight months after his passing, it’s still unacceptable that he is gone.

16. Sly and Robbie Sly & Robbie Present Taxi Gang In Discomix Style 1978 – 1987 (Cree Records-Bear Family)
When disco hit the shores of Jamaica, Sly and Robbie were among the first to run the genre across the dirt floor of Dub reggae. Drawn from the vaults of Jamaica’s Taxi label, this is essential Sly and Robbie, painted with fantastic reggae covers of soul songs by Little Willie John, Al Wilson, Brook Benton, Tony Joe White, The Delfonics, The Impressions and Marvin Gaye, featuring vocalists Tinga Stewart, Marcia Griffith and Delroy Wilson. Kudos to British reggae historian, writer and producer, Steve Barrow for making such an eye catching and ear pleasing set, complete 24-page booklet with extensive liner notes by reggae expert, Noel Hawks. For fans of the Taxi era, this is essential Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare.

15. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: 50th Anniversary Edition (Capitol)
Sarge might not be the Fabs’ best record. But it certainly is their best sounding. The bonus material we get for this 50th anniversary edition leaves a little bit much to be desired (especially for those of us who hold their Anthology trilogy close to our hearts). Wouldn’t have this been the optimal time to finally reveal “Carnival of Light”? But alas, no such luck this time out. Yet what makes this version of Pepper so wonderful , however, is the magical remix of the original tapes by Giles Martin, who reveals textures and feels you never heard before as if he unlocked a secret chamber hidden in plain sight for a half century. It is the most beautiful tribute he could have given to his father, the album’s original producer George Martin and that is what makes this anniversary edition do special.

14. Frank Zappa Civilization Phaze III/Halloween ‘77 (Zappa/Universal)
The creation of Zappa Records in the wake of wife Gail’s relentless wresting of her husband’s catalog from Rykodisc stands as a towering testament to her unshakable faith, love and devotion to the man she joined in Heaven in October of 2015. And in the wake of Universal’s loving right priced reissue campaign that’s revamped most of the stuff Mrs. Zappa began putting out in the 00s, the acme remains Civilization, two discs’ worth of Frank’s final recordings on his newest toy the synclavier. Only he could have been able to churn out such genius pieces of classical music on a piece of tech that was basically antiquated upon arrival and create something that is only now being understood for its distinctive complexity. Make sure you listen to the dialogue, which jumps between studio chatter from the Uncle Meat era and vocals recorded in 1991 by actor Michael Rappaport and Zappa’s daughter Moon Unit, which foreshadow the times we are currently living in with a strange accuracy. Even better, however, is the set celebrating the 40th anniversary of the maestro’s historic Halloween week run at the Palladium in New York City, housed in a replica Ben Cooper costume box with all six shows found in a “fun-size” USB candy bar designed to look like an Oh Henry!. Politically correct social justice warriors will find much to be shocked about within its confines, but longtime FZ fans will find this to be most essential listening.

13. Alex Chilton A Man Called Destruction (Omnivore Recordings)
For many of us who grew up in the late 80s/early 90s, the first time we heard the name Alex Chilton was thanks to the Replacements and their homage to the late, great power pop pioneer on 1987’s Pleased to Meet Me. So by 1995, the singer and guitarist was already instilled in the hearts of young fans, especially so if they picked up the 1993 Big Star reunion LP Columbia: Live at Missouri University. And that renewal of interest in his career is exactly what constituted Chilton’s triumphant return to the rock format that year with the release of A Man Called Destruction, an album which saw the singer return to Ardent Studios, the Memphis studio where he recorded with both the Box Tops and Big Star in the 60s and 70s. Named in honor of former Howlin’ Wolf pianist William “Destruction” Johnson, Chilton bashes out six originals and six covers, including wild versions of Jimmy Reed’s “You Don’t Have To Go” and Jan & Dean’s “The New Girl in School”, which showcased his roots in maximum R&B better than perhaps anything else in his solo catalog. This incredible expanded edition expands the original Ardent Records edition by seven tracks, including such previously unreleased bonus goodies as the previously unreleased original blues number “Please Pass Me My Walkin’ Shoes” and an alternate mix of the horn-laced album highlight “Don’t Know Anymore”, plus expert liner notes by esteemed music journalist Bob Mehr.

12. Willie Nelson Teatro: The Complete Sessions (Light In The Attic)
“It was very beautiful, almost like a Cuban nightclub setting,” explains producer Daniel Lanois about the way he set up the room in his California studio where he recorded Willie Nelson in 1998. “And I think it really helped to set the tone if this album.” And with Teatro, named after the historic movie house-turned-recording space run by the producer in the 90s, does for Willie what Time Out of Mind did for Dylan and Le Noise for Neil Young. As Lanois utilizes his instinctive mastery of atmosphere to expand upon the sparse sound Nelson was exploring on 1994’s Spirit, assisted by an amazing ensemble that included Emmylou Harris, Brad Mehldau and Rodney Crowell alongside such Willie lifers as Mickey Raphael and sister Bobbie Nelson to create a fantastic hybrid of Ennio Morricone and Roger Miller that sounds like nothing else in the legend’s catalog. This complete edition of Teatro features seven unreleased bonus tracks and a DVD containing a Wim Wenders directed documentary on the making of the album.

11. Paul McCartney Flowers in the Dirt: Deluxe Edition (MPL-Capitol)
1988 was the year Macca met MacManus, two of England’s finest pop songwriters coming together for a brainstorming session that defined the greatness of rock ‘n’ roll in the late 80s. This super deluxe edition of McCartney’s best album of the 80s contains two CDs’ worth of material from those songwriting powwows at the Beatle’s Hog Hill Studio in Sussex, England, that would yield material for not only Dirt but also Costello’s 1989 LP Spike and its underrated 1991 follow-up Mighty Like A Rose as well as Paul’s underwhelming 1993 effort Off The Ground, all of which sound even better in embryonic form before all the spit and polish. “These demos are red hot, hot off the skillet,” McCartney said in the Flowers liners. “And that’s why we wanted to include them on this boxed set. What’s great about these songs is that they’ve just been written. So there’s nothing more hot off the skillet as I say. So that was the kind of great instant thing about them; I hadn’t listened to them in ages, but when I did I knew we had to put them out. We made a little tape and sent them to Elvis, who loved them, too. We said we should put out an EP or something, and now the moment’s finally arrived.” For an elite group of Macca fans, Flowers is the one we’ve been waiting for in the bassist’s archive series. And with the beautiful artwork by his late wife Linda as the focal point of this set’s design alongside the wealth of rare and unreleased music amending this wonderful album of prime Paul pop, Flowers is arguably the best one yet.

Buy John Lee Hooker King of the Boogie New or Used via Amazon
Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
10. John Lee Hooker King of the Boogie (Craft Recordings)
This past August 22nd marked the centennial of the dark prince of the blues, the late, great Mr. John Lee Hooker. And there wasn’t a finer way to celebrate the milestone of this man and his massive influence on the sinister edge of rock n roll than with the long awaited release of a proper box set anthology that, for the first time, chronicles the entirety of his career from the crude storefront acetates he recorded in Detroit after WWII right up through his final recordings in 1998, the sum of its five CDs bookended with different versions of his signature song “Boogie Chillen”. Hardcore Hook-heads will certainly not be trading in their well-worn copies of Serves You Right To Suffer, Endless Boogie and Never Get Out of These Blues Alive for King of the Boogie. But all fans will certainly agree, after seeing so many weird and random compilations of JLH’s music come through the circuit over the decades, his 100th birthday was celebrated in style with a quintessential primer for the youngbloods looking to get hooked on Hooker.

Buy Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1: Deluxe Edition New or Used via Amazon
Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
9. George Michael Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1: Deluxe Edition (Legacy Recordings)
In a year that saw both Harry Styles and Niall Horan shed the boy band image of their respective tenures in One Direction with albums favoring artistic merit over demographic appeasement comes a box set celebrating the ultimate act of rebellion by a multi-platinum pop star. Label execs wanted George Michael to make a sequel to his 1987 smash debut Faith. What he gave them, however, was a collection of dark, torchy songs that explored his roots in Joni Mitchell, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Night Beat-era Sam Cooke. He also gave ’em one killer dance track, the gospel laced “Freedom ’90”, which doubled as a stinging indictment of the hit making machine and their exploitative ways. This four-disc set includes his 1996 appearance on MTV Unplugged, perhaps the finest distillation of Michael’s genius as a songwriter than anything else out there through acoustic renditions of not only Prejudice faves as “Praying For Time” and “Cowboys & Angels” but stripped down versions of such iconic hits as “Father Figure” and the Wham! single “Everything She Wants”. The third disc, meanwhile, contains perhaps the closest impression of what we could have gotten out of this album’s intended follow-up, Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 2, through the inclusion of such rare tracks as “Too Funky”, the Nile Rodgers-assisted “Fantasy” and a lovely version of the 1959 Jobim composition “Desafinado” with Brazilian jazz great Astrud Gilberto, in addition to alternate versions of such Vol. 1 gems as “Soul Free” and “Heal The Pain” (featuring Paul McCartney). “It’s been so obvious I wanted to be a star since day one”, Michael stated on the South Bank Show, whose 1990 episode on him is featured in the DVD portion of this collection, “that people found it hard to believe I also wanted to be a musician.”

Buy DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince He’s The DJ…I’m The Rapper New or Used via Amazon
Buy New or Used via Amazon
8. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince He’s The DJ…I’m The Rapper (Real Gone)
It was never heard of upon its release in early 88: a four sided hip hop album at 80 minutes long. But once “Parents Just Don’t Understand” hit radio and MTV like a bomb, everybody knew who DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince were. But despite blowing what remained of the doors off rap music’s entrance into the mainstream, He’s The DJ I’m The Rapper, as an album, remains one of the most underrated records of the era. This deluxe edition marks the first time the LP is presented in its unedited form on CD with the inclusion of a second disc to let the original track list breathe properly to its 85:10 length but also as a handy catchall for the multiple versions of such hits as “Nightmare On My Street”, “Brand New Funk” and “Parents Just Don’t Understand”, whose lyrics sadly have not aged as gracefully as the beat behind them (TBT the whole 12-year-old runaway scenario is just plain creepy in 2017). Beyond that, however, Will Smith would never sound nicer on the mic than he did on such deep cuts as “Time to Chill” and of course the six-minute title cut. With the Netflix sci-fi film Bright on everyone’s queue and the album’s 30th anniversary on the horizon in March of 2018, there’s no better time to revisit the roots of Will Smith and recognizing He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper as the hip-hop classic for which it deserves to be known.

Buy Whitesnake Whitesnake 30th Anniversary Edition New or Used via Amazon
Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
7. Whitesnake Whitesnake 30th Anniversary Edition (Rhino)
When people try and make their obnoxious little digs at the rock style decreed as “hair metal”, Whitesnake is one of their biggest targets because of the way their eponymous 1987 LP shook the ground upon its arrival on radio and MTV. But what made this album such a juggernaut was on account of the songwriting team of David Coverdale and Jon Sykes, who combined their pedigrees in Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy respectively to craft such enduring pop classics as “Is This Love” and “Here I Go Again”. And then to hear it compounded by the magnificent studio lineup of Whitesnake during this time, rounded out by the money hard rock rhythm section of Aynsley Dunbar on drums and Neil Murray on bass, and you experience the full might of the group’s intent to update the sound of Led Zeppelin for the Thatcher/Reagan era. It’s a process so brilliantly dissected across this 30th anniversary four-disc set through demos, alternate mixes and scorching live material, one that finally does due diligence in celebrating the flash of lightning that was the Coverdale/Sykes lineup.

Buy Dion Kickin' Child: The Lost Album 1965 New or Used via Amazon
Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
6. Dion Kickin’ Child: The Lost Album 1965 (Norton Records)
For 50 years, the great transformative rock LP from Dion DiMucci has been preserved in the Columbia Records vault. But thanks to Norton Records, in conjunction with the folks at Legacy Recordings, Kickin’ Child now exists in the outside world. The acetate on Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home wasn’t even cooled yet, but that didn’t stop Dion to feel inspired by what he heard as he and his band The Wanderers implemented a loving spoonful of Bob’s “Thin Wild Mercury” sound to augment the singer’s golden throat, even taking on three Dylan faves in “Baby, I’m in the Mood for You”, “Farewell” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”. He even got Al Kooper to play the same organ he used on Highway 61 Revisited on a couple of cuts. Meanwhile, “Two Ton Feather” shows that Dion was also paying close attention to the noise being made in the UK by the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Kinks all the same. What’s more, Kickin’ Child signals the triumphant return of Norton, who survived Hurricane Sandy and the passing of its founder Billy Miller to come back with its best release since Hannibalism!. There’s a reason Dion is on the cover of Sgt. Pepper, and that reason is all on this outstanding collection.

Buy Fleetwood Mac Tango In The Night: Deluxe Edition New or Used via Amazon
Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
5. Fleetwood Mac Tango In The Night: Deluxe Edition (Rhino)
This year marked the release of the first official Buckingham McVie album. But the roots of their micro union within the grand scheme of Fleetwood Mac began 30 years ago with Tango in the Night, an album that dives into the dance grooves of 1987 with the same sense of adventure they displayed when toying with new wave on Tusk and Mirage. This deluxe anniversary edition of Tango includes a disc of all the 12-inch remixes from such house heavyweights as Arthur Baker and Jellybean Benitez, while a third disc of outtakes, b-sides and session jams reveal the purity of the Buckingham-McVie mode that continues to build strength three decades later.

Buy Alice Coltrane World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda New or Used via Amazon
Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
4. Alice Coltrane World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (Luaka Bop)
Perhaps the greatest gift John Coltrane gave to us before he passed was introducing the world to Alice McLeod, a brilliant musical mind from Detroit who worked hand in hand with her husband in bringing out the spirituality in jazz music like no two people before or since their times on Earth. And though this year marks the 50th anniversary of her solo debut A Monastic Trio, David Byrne’s Luaka Bop celebrates a lesser known but no less important stage of her career in the 80s and 90s when she recorded a series of privately released collections of spiritual music created exclusively for the 48 acre ashram she established upon relocating to Los Angeles from Long Island in 1983. World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda is deep, happy and uplifting music filled with rhythms and mantras for both small ensembles and 24 piece choirs, with rare vocal performances from Coltrane herself. The era-appropriate studio gloss only enhances the otherworldly grooves, even perhaps bringing her closer to the science of her great nephew Flying Lotus than anything else in her amazing catalog.

Buy Thelonious Monk Les Liaisons Dangereuses, 1960 New or Used via Amazon
Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
3. Thelonious Monk Les Liaisons Dangereuses, 1960 (Sam Records/Saga)
The beautiful jazz of Thelonious Monk was always tailor made for cinema. But the idea of the pianist cutting music specifically for film was never a fully realized notion. That is until the discovery of this amazing session from 1959 was discovered containing music the pianist crafted for Roger Vadim’s French New Wave masterpiece Les Liaisons Dangereuses 1960, the director’s risqué twist on the 1782 epistolary novel. Recorded at NOLA Penthouse Studios in New York on July 27th of that year, these sessions have never been released before in the USA and feature a wholly unique lineup rounded out by Charlie Royse and Barney Wilen on tenor saxophones, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Art Taylor. And the versions of such renowned Monk fare as “Rhythm-a-ning”, “Pannonica” and “Well You Needn’t” are injected with a new kind of energy wholly unique to this special quintet. The team of Monk and Vadim proved to be pyre movie magic, and producer Zev Feldman has done jazz fans a grand service by making this music finally available for purchase.

Buy Hüsker Dü Savage Young Dü New or Used via Amazon
Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
2. Hüsker Dü Savage Young Dü (Numero Group)
Few losses impacted the world of indie rock in 2017 quote like the passing of Grant Hart, who died of complications from liver cancer on September 13. In Husker Dü, he was the McCartney to Bob Mould’s Lennon, a dynamic that came to full fruition right as they split up in 1987. But when you listen to the sum of Savage Young Dü, the hotly anticipated box set chronicling the band’s earliest years released only a couple of weeks after the drummer’s death, Hart, Mould and bassist Greg Norton were a singular three headed monster of DIY Twin Cities punk whose passion for melodic viscera rivaled their fellow Mlps upstart Prince Rogers Nelson’s flair for funk. The material on these three discs, coupled with the masterful hardcover book designed by Henry Owings loaded with old fliers, photos and well-written insight, present like the ultimate history book chronicling Minnesota hardcore scene and the clubs that incubated it like 7th St. Entry and Duffy’s. Grant’s death remains one of the most painful passings in a year filled with music greats being called up to the sky. But in lieu of ashes in an urn, fans have his soul in a box with Savage Young Dü, which I made even more punk rock by spilling coffee on it and writing in the S and A that were scratched off in my failed attempt to clean it with a black Sharpie.

Buy Prince & The Revolution Purple Rain Deluxe New or Used via Amazon
Buy New or Used via Amazon    Rent via iTunes [?]
1. Prince & The Revolution Purple Rain Deluxe (NPG-Warner Bros.)
The first posthumous reissue from the Prince vault is absolutely everything you’d expect to emerge from its catacombs. In addition to the 2015 Paisley Park remaster supervised by the man himself of the original soundtrack to the 1984 smash film that rivals the Sgt. Pepper remix, the 3CD/1DVD version of Purple Rain also includes a disc of all the b-sides and single mixes, another disc that essentially chalks up to a completely unreleased LP from the era (featuring the 11-minute “The Dance Electric” and the minimalist demo-esque “Velvet Kitty Kat”) and a complete pro-shot concert filmed at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY, from March 30, 1985 that should have been released in movie theaters in lieu of Under The Cherry Moon quite honestly. If this is what we are going to be expecting from the late guitar genius’s mythical vaults, all we can do is hope and pray that Prince’s estate gets its act together in 2018, for the bar has indeed been set sky high with Purple Rain.