A number of new releases featuring classic artists came out this week. Whether you get your music via downloading, online ordering or going to an actual store and buying it, here’s some music that’s available now.Though Gordon Lightfoot has logged a few decades since his last Top 40 hits, the bard of Orillia, Ontario remains a much loved concert performer. Bearing witness to that fact, Warner Music Canada drops a new set called All Live into the record, or virtual, bins this week. Logging in at a solid 70 minutes, the 19-cut set makes certain to visit all the important hits from the Lightfoot catalog: “Sundown,” “If You Could Read My Mind” and “Carefree Highway” are meticulously groomed readings, perfectly delivered. Beyond his best known songs, Lightfoot lays out a buffet of tunes that have become classics among his hardcore fans: highlights include an expansive 7 minute treatment of “Canadian Railroad Trilogy,” the thoughtful “A Painter Passing Through” and the much loved “Rainy Day People.”
At the other end of the planet, Jamaica represents this week with a new Bob Marley release. Marley is a 24-track companion piece from Tuff Gong/Universal, released in sync with the new documentary of the same name.
Along with the oft-repackaged studio tracks that seem to find their way onto every Marley collection, this soundtrack adds a few notable highlights. Listen for a Kindred Spirits remix of “Exodus” and a performance of “Jammin‘” from the famous 1978 “One Love Peace Concert,” wherein Bob joined the hands of political rivals Michael Manley and Edward Seaga as they joined him onstage.
In between Orillia and Kingston, we land at the Kokua Music Festival, Jack Johnson’s annual concert to support schools and communities in Hawaii. Along with a quintet of Jack tunes, Best Of Kokua Festival sees Jackson Browne contribute a version of “Take It Easy,” Eddie Vedder pitches in with the fervent “I Shall Be Released,” Taj Mahal sings of going “Further On Down The Road” and Willie Nelson offers the classic “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain.”
Long considered her definitive album, Janis Joplin’s Pearl gets the deluxe treatment with a re-release this week. It’s a two CD package covering a fair amount of ground beyond the album’s original 1971 edition. On the first disc, of course, there are the requisite original ten songs, supplemented with six mono single versions of cuts like “Move Over” and “Cry Baby.” Disc two offers the more interesting material. Along with a handful of studio chatter segments, there are three different versions of “Move Over,” a demo take of “Me & Bobby McGee” and a live version of “Half Moon” from The Dick Cavett Show.
On the heels of Donovan’s Hall of Fame induction, Sony Legacy releases a set called Essential Donovan. Though it bears the same name as a 2004 release — and includes the same 14 songs as its predecessor — Essential Donovan 2012 plumbs deeper into the legend’s catalog. Included here are a mono version of “The Land Doesn’t Have To Be” plus two cuts — “Sunny Goodge Street” and “Sand And Foam” — from a 1967 Anaheim, CA concert. Unlike a similar two CD set — Troubadour — this collection focuses on his hippier side. If you dig “Mellow Yellow,” this might be a good addition to your library.
From Shout! Factory comes a massive DVD collection from the Grateful Dead called All The Years Combine: The DVD Collection. Spread across 14 discs are 38 hours of concert performances ranging from the closing of Winterland in 1978 to Oakland 1987. Beyond the convenience of a complete package there are five previously unreleased performances, a ’92 documentary called “Backstage Pass” and 40-page book by Dead maven Blair Jackson.
Next week, we’ll have new releases that mine the vaults of Carole King and the late Davy Jones, as well as live recordings from Peter Gabriel, Deep Purple, Joe Satriani and Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes.
— Michael Verity