Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck, Elvis Presley, Shuggie Otis and Swamp Dogg
Bands and labels love to remaster, remix, revisit and rejigger previously-released music and we love to listen to the new versions. Here are some of the best ones that have been released lately.
Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck
Bennett/Brubeck: The White House Sessions Live 1962
Some of the music here was available on a couple of long out-of-print Brubeck releases but for the most part these sides have never been released before. The show starts with Brubeck playing a few songs, including his signature tune "Take Five" where sideman (and "Take Five" songwriter) Paul Desmond trades alto sax licks with Dave's piano riffing. Bennett, who at the time had attracted a young audience with his current hit "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," then takes his turn with his own band, performing the aforementioned "I Left My Heart…" along with "Rags to Riches" and "One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)." Bennett and Brubeck team up to close the show with four numbers including "That Old Black Magic" and "There Will Never Be Another You."
Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite-Legacy Edition
When Aloha from Hawaii was first released in 1973 it had the distinction of knocking Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon out of the #1 spot on the Billboard chart and has since gone platinum five times over. This 2-CD set features the entire 23-song original show, stacked with cuts like "Hound Dog," "Suspicious Minds," "Fever," "Blue Suede Shoes" and "An American Trilogy" packaged with the (almost identical in set list) dress rehearsal show that was released as The Alternate Aloha in 1988. The Alternate CD is also appended with five bonus cuts including the island-centric "Blue Hawaii," "Ku-U-I-Po" and "Hawaiian Wedding Song." The included 24-page booklet features rare photos and new liner notes.
Inspiration Information + Wings of Love
After decades of mostly being ignored the soulful pop music made by Shuggie Otis has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. This 2-CD set has the vintage (1974) Inspiration Information in its entirety plus four previously-unreleased bonus cuts including the Curtis Mayfield-like "Miss Pretty," the slow jam "Things We Like to Do" and the psychedelic groove "Castle Top Jam." Wings of Love is a compilation of 14 previously unreleased cuts recorded from 1974 through 2000, so some sounds are similar to those on Inspiration Information while a live version of "Black Belt Sheriff" finds Otis playing acoustic guitar and singing unaccompanied in a folk style. All in all, a good place to start for new fans.
Total Destruction to Your Mind/Rat On!
Alive Natural Sound
Soul man Swamp Dogg got branded as a maverick when he hit the scene in the early '70s, perhaps because critics didn't dig the somewhat nonsensical lyrics to songs like "Dust Your Head Color Red" from Total Destruction. But the fact of the matter is that Dogg (real name Jerry Williams, Jr.) is a pretty good singer, writing many of his own tunes and performing them mostly in either a James Brown or Sly Stone style. These two reissue albums, available separately, prove Dogg to be an overlooked treasure, with Rat On! being particularly strong, all dressed up with a big horn section and catchy self-penned tunes like "Do You Believe" and an impressive cover of the Bee Gees' "Got to Get a Message to You."