Sixties Sounds Celebrated in the 21st Century

by Robert Kinsler

A slew of the Sixties’ most enduring and celebrated rock artists are highlighted via outstanding recent releases, while singer-actress Doris Day’s wonderful 1967 collection “Love Album” has been reissued as a deluxe edition with bonus tracks.

The MonkeesArtist: The Monkees
Title: Good Times! (Rhino)
You might like if you enjoy: The Monkees, Weezer, Fountains of Wayne, XTC

Tell me more: The magic that plays out across the Monkees’ aptly-named “Good Times!” is the mythical likes of which conjures up smiles and tears all at the same time. Guided and produced with a master’s touch by the gifted Adam Schlesinger (of Fountains of Wayne fame), “Good Times!” is the Monkees’ first new collection in nearly 20 years and ranks as one of the group’s best albums ever. The infectious power-pop selections “She Makes Me Laugh” (penned by Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo) and “Our Own World” (written by Schlesinger), as well as the piano-anchored baroque pop masterpiece “Me & Magdalena” penned by Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard) are the most accessible tunes on the 13-song set, but to be sure brilliant songcraft abounds everywhere.

Pete Tork’s original “Little Girl” is a wistful and affecting ballad; the late Davy Jones’ tenor shines on a cover of Neil Diamond’s “Love to Love” (work on the track began in early 1967, and was completed earlier this year). For those who admired the Monkees deepening artistry showcased on “Headquarters” and the “Head” soundtrack, just get a listen of the amazing “Birth of an Accidental Hipster” (co-written by Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller) and the deeply-affecting Michael Nesmith-sung original “I Know What I Know.” Information: rhino.com.

The ZombiesArtist: The Zombies
Title: The BBC Radio Sessions (Varèse Sarabande Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Zombies, the Beatles

Tell me more: The Zombies’ “The BBC Radio Sessions” is a 2-disc CD set that collects the groundbreaking British band’s entire known BBC Radio broadcast recordings (many have sadly been lost), including five previously-unreleased tracks not included in a limited edition vinyl-only 2015 release. The set includes the Beeb’s earliest recordings of the Zombies (a Sept. 29, 1964 session that thrills with versions of the blues gem “Road Runner,” and their own “You Make Me Feel Good” and “She’s Not There”). Among the other stunning musical performances is a 1965 take of the Chris White-penned original “What More Can I Do,” a sweeping version of Gene Vincent’s “I’m Going Home” and several versions of their timeless hit “Tell Her No.”

Those interested in checking out the legendary Zombies in concert can catch them in Southern California when they perform in Pasadena on Sept. 2 and at the legendary Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Sept. 3. The quintet will also perform at the Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA on Sept. 8. Information: VareseSarabande.com.

Rolling StonesArtist: The Rolling Stones
Title: Totally Stripped (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger

Tell me more: Even casual fans of the Rolling Stones will want to grab “Totally Stripped,” an amazing collection featuring gems mined at a series of recording sessions in Tokyo, Japan and intimate European concert dates in 1995. The material on “Totally Stripped” reveals the legendary rockers exploring the core of many of their most beloved classics and masterfully reworking a couple of covers, the entire affair featured on a 14-track audio CD (with an accompanying DVD providing performance footage and interviews providing insight into the project).

The performances here are flat-out awesome, from a potent “Dead Flowers,” countrified “Shine a Light” and inspired “Gimme Shelter” to the speedy blues rocker “Rip This Joint” and rollicking “Street Fighting Man.” “Totally Stripped” is available as a DVD or SD Blu-ray containing the newly-revised documentary on a DVD+CD or DVD+LP. Additionally a DVD or SD Blu-ray deluxe edition available, packaged with a 60-page hard book set containing five discs, is available. Information: eagle-rock.com.

Mitch RyderArtist: Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
Title: All-Time Greatest Hits (Varèse Sarabande Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Bruce Springsteen, Vintage Trouble, Bob Seger

Tell me more: Raw. Explosive. Infectious. The recordings featured on Mitch Ryder & Detroit Wheels’ “All-Time Greatest Hits” truly capture the excitement of the ensemble’s 1960s recordings in all their unbridled glory. Blending British Invasion rock, soulful Motown and blues styles like no other artist of the era, the Detroit-based group (featuring singer William Levise Jr., rhythm guitarist Joey Kubert, bassist Earl Elliott, drummer Johnny Badanjek and lead guitarist Jim McCarty) was only together from 1964 to 1967 (after which Levise/Ryder embarked on a solo career) but left an indelible legacy and lasting influence on popular music.

Listening to stirring “Jenny Take a Ride!” and the rousing “Devil With a Blue Dress On & Good Golly Miss Molly” medley is to be swept up in the power of rock music’s spectacular youth. Information: VareseSarabande.com.

Pure McCartneyArtist: Paul McCartney
Title: Pure McCartney (Concord Music Group)
You might like if you enjoy: Paul McCartney, The Beatles

Tell me more: If Paul McCartney’s career had ended with the demise of the Beatles in 1970, the Liverpool, England native would still be considered among the greatest singer-songwriters of the last 100 years. But the fact that McCartney has gone on to create an incredible body of songs as a solo artist is also clear, thanks to the wonderful collection “Pure McCartney” that strengthens the case that even apart from the Fab Four, Sir Paul remains a master singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer.

The remastered and carefully positioned songs on “Pure McCartney” include everything from early standouts (“Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”) to Wings hits (“Live and Let Die,” “Jet,” “Band on the Run”) to more recent gems (“Only Mama Knows,” “Jenny Wren,” “Hope for the Future”). “Pure McCartney” is available via three different formats, including as a 2-disc CD set that includes 39 songs, a 4-disc CD set including 67 songs and a 4-disc vinyl set featuring 41 songs. Information: PaulMcCartney.com.

Doris DayArtist: Doris Day
Title: Love Album (Varèse Sarabande Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Doris Day

Tell me more: Singer-actress Doris Day was 43 but still at the height of her vocal powers when she recorded the tracks that would eventually comprise “Love Album” in May and June 1967. As music writer Will Friedwald notes in the liner notes on the outstanding 2016 reissue of “Love Album,” changing priorities of the music industry as well as the death of Day’s husband Marty Melcher shortly after the tracks were recorded seemed to forecast the incredible versions of Irving Berlin’s “All Alone,” the Victor Young-Samuel Lewis composition “Street of Dreams” and a range of other popular classics from the 1920s and ’30s might never be heard.

Fortunately, audiences who adore the Great American Songbook as well as one of the most acclaimed singers of the 20th century will want to get this release. Bonus tracks include three songs Day recorded for a television special broadcast, including a beautiful rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” Information: VareseSarabande.com.

The HappeningsArtist: The Happenings
Title: The Very Best of The Happenings (Varèse Sarabande Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beach Boys, the Association

Tell me more: Paterson, New Jersey’s the Happenings enjoyed a string of tuneful pop hits in the mid-1960s. Now the Happenings’ best recordings have been gathered on a disc featuring memorable and breezy material such as the quartet’s “See You in September,” “Go Away Little Girl” and a wonderful reworking of the timeless George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin song “I Got Rhythm.” The range of material is rich, with the group’s final hit (“Hare Krishna” from the rock musical “Hair”) also included here. Information: VareseSarabande.com.

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments

This entry was posted in CD Review and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.