Violent Femmes Collection, ‘Add It Up (1981-1993),’ Available on Vinyl For The First Time Since Initial Limited Pressing

Violent Femmes Collection, ‘Add It Up (1981-1993),’ Available on Vinyl For The First Time Since Initial Limited Pressing

Craft Recordings

Offering fans more than just a compilation of hits, ‘Add It Up’ also spotlights Violent Femmes’ energetic live performances—captured at the height of their career

As Violent Femmes celebrate their 40th year together, Craft Recordings is pleased to honor the band’s enduring catalog of cult classics with the long out-of-print vinyl reissue of Add It Up (1981–1993). In stores May 21st and available for pre-order today, the popular 1993 collection will also make its return to digital and streaming platforms.

The 23-track compilation features Violent Femmes’ biggest hits, including “Blister in the Sun,” “American Music,” and “Gone Daddy Gone,” plus live recordings of favorites like “Add It Up,” and “Kiss Off,” alongside a trove of demos, B-sides, interstitial voice recordings, and rarities. Housed in a gatefold jacket, the 2-LP set was pressed at Memphis Records Pressing, with lacquers cut by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. In addition to the standard black 2-LP, a special “Blister Red Marble” edition will be available exclusively via the Violent Femmes and Craft Recordings webstores (limited 500 worldwide). Meanwhile, Indie Retailers will offer an exclusive “Aqua” pressing, and Urban Outfitters will offer a “Violet” variant.    

 Formed in 1981 by Gordon Gano (vocals, guitar), Brian Ritchie (bass), and Victor DeLorenzo (percussion), Violent Femmes caught the ears of America’s underground with their special blend of teenage angst, jittery folk-rock, and punk sensibilities. The Milwaukee group had their first big break later that year while busking outside of the city’s Oriental Theatre, where new wave stars The Pretenders were set to play that evening. The latter band’s guitarist, James Honeyman-Scott, took a liking to the young group and invited them on stage. A year later, New York Times music critic Robert Palmer wrote a glowing review of the band’s live show, comparing Gano to Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Jonathan Richman. Amid the growing buzz, Violent Femmes signed to legendary punk label Slash Records (home to The Germs, X, and The Blasters) and, in 1983, released their self-titled debut. 

Primarily written while Gano was still in high school, Violent Femmes would become the band’s most iconic album, with Gen X anthems like “Blister in the Sun,” “Please Do Not Go,” “Gone Daddy Gone,” and the urgent “Add It Up.” Although Violent Femmes failed to chart upon its release, it was a steady seller, eventually becoming the group’s most successful and critically lauded title. Nearly a decade later, it hit the Billboard 200 (landing at No.171 in 1991) and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

The band followed with 1984’s Hallowed Ground. While most material on Hallowed Ground is contemporaneous with the first album songs—all recorded by the Milwaukee-based producer and composer Mark Van Hecke—the tone of these songs was vastly different from their pop-forward predecessors. Instead, Hallowed Ground took an experimental turn and found Gano particularly inspired by his Christian upbringing. The band also incorporated country and American roots influences into songs like “Jesus Walking on the Water” and the unnerving “Country Death Song,” and added unexpected instrumentation into such tracks as “Black Girls,” which featured the avant-garde saxophonist, John Zorn. 

1986’s The Blind Leading the Naked found the band taking yet another sharp turn—this time towards both mainstream pop and avant-garde. Produced by the Talking Heads’ Jerry Harrison, the album featured a variety of high-profile guests, including guitarist Leo Kottke, the Stooges’ Steve Mackay, and the acclaimed experimental artist, Fred Frith. Featuring the breakneck protest song “Old Mother Reagan” and the lively “I Held Her in My Arms,” The Blind Leading the Naked brought Violent Femmes wider commercial success—both at home (where it peaked at No.84 on the Billboard 200) and abroad (landing at No.81 in the UK and No.31 in Australia).

Following a brief hiatus, the trio reunited in 1989, returning to their stripped-down roots with the acoustic 3, which featured such jaunty tracks as “Lies” and “Nightmares.” Meanwhile, 1991’s Why Do Birds Sing?, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, marked the Femmes’ final album with DeLorenzo. Co-produced with Michael Beinhorn (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hole, Soundgarden), the LP included one of the group’s most commercially successful singles, “American Music,” which hit No.2 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart.

Add It Up (1981–1993) draws from these first five albums—documenting the trailblazing band’s stylistic development as they rose to become one of alt-rock’s most commercially-successful acts. Offering fans more than just a compilation of hits, Add It Up also spotlights Violent Femmes’ energetic live performances—captured at the height of their career. Additionally, nearly half of the collection is devoted to rarities, including demos, B-sides, and imports that were previously unavailable in the US, at the time of Add It Up’s release. These include “I Hate the TV,” “Gimme The Car,” and “Dance, M.F., Dance!

For the remainder of the ’90s, Violent Femmes continued to record new material, while their earliest songs remained in the zeitgeist, thanks to popular shows and films like My So-Called Life, Reality Bites, and Grosse Pointe Blank. After taking an extended hiatus in the late aughts, the band’s original members briefly reunited for a handful of live appearances, including a highly anticipated set at the 2013 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. This led to extensive touring and one of the Femmes’ most productive recording eras, which yielded EP Happy New Year, full LP We Can Do Anything, and radical live double LP 2 Mics and the Truth (recorded at radio station sessions and in-store performances). Most recently, Gano, Ritchie, and newcomers John Sparrow and Blaise Garza released Violent Femmes’ tenth studio album, Hotel Last Resort, in 2019.

Add It Up (1981-1993) vinyl tracklist:

Side A:

  • Intro
  • Waiting for the Bus
  • Blister in the Sun
  • Gone Daddy Gone
  • Gordon’s Message
  • Gimme the Car
  •  Side B:

  • Country Death Song
  • Black Girls
  • Jesus Walking on Water
  • 36-24-36
  • I Held Her in My Arms
  •  

    Side C:

  • I Hate the TV
  • America Is
  • Old Mother Reagan
  • Degradation
  • Dance, M.F., Dance!
  • Lies (Live)
  • American Music
  • Out the Window
  •  

    Side D:

  • Kiss Off (Live)
  • Add It Up (Live)
  • Vancouver (Live)
  • Johnny (Live)
  •  

    Listen/order

     

    *Feature image credit: Francis Ford

     

     

     

    Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Pendulum’ and ‘Mardi Gras’ Set for Half-Speed Mastered 180-Gram Vinyl Reissues

    Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Pendulum’ and ‘Mardi Gras’ Set for Half-Speed Mastered 180-Gram Vinyl Reissues

    American Blues Scene Staff

    CCR’s sixth and seventh studio albums include classic hits “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” “Hey Tonight,” and “Sweet Hitch-Hiker”

    Craft Recordings continues their salute to the enduring musical legacy of Creedence Clearwater Revival with the release of half-speed mastered editions of the band’s two final albums: Pendulum, their closing studio album released 50 years ago, and 1972’s Mardi Gras.

    Pressed on 180-gram vinyl and set for release February 12th, both records were mastered by the award-winning engineer Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. Available for pre-order now, these audiophile-quality LPs come housed in beautifully crafted jackets (tip-on gatefold for Pendulum and embossed for Mardi Gras), replicating the albums’ original packaging.

    Photo courtesy of Aaron Feterl/Chummy Press

    Pendulum, which marked CCR’s second release of 1970—following Cosmo’s Factory—was a unique title in the band’s catalog for several reasons. First, the album was the group’s sole LP to feature all original material. Typically, CCR sprinkled covers of blues songs, traditional material, and rock ‘n’ roll standards into each of their albums, putting their own spin on classic favorites. Pendulum also found the guitar-heavy group expanding their sonic palate—experimenting with new sounds (including the use of saxophones, vocal choirs, and keyboards) and even venturing into psychedelia.

    The quartet’s musical explorations paid off. Not only was Pendulum a critical success, but it also spawned two global Top Ten hits: the reflective “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” and the upbeat “Hey Tonight.” The singles, released as a double A-side in 1971, peaked at No.8 on the Billboard Hot 100. Other highlights included the stomper “Molina,” the bluesy “Pagan’s Groove” and the twangy “Sailor’s Lament.”

    Recently, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” gained renewed popularity with the 2018 launch of a new official music video featuring Sasha Frolova, Jack Quaid, and Erin Moriarty (the latter two also featuring in Amazon’s smash hit series, The Boys), introducing the song to a new generation. To date, the video—available on the official CCR YouTube channel—has received over 61 million plays.

    Creedence Clearwater Revival’s seventh and final studio album, 1972’s Mardi Gras, followed the departure of founding member and rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty. The album, however, found the remaining trio of musicians taking a more collaborative approach to songwriting. Prior to Mardi Gras, frontman John Fogerty was the band’s creative leader—writing, arranging, and producing the majority of every album.

    For Mardi Gras, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford not only penned many of the tracks (including Cook’s hard-driving “Door to Door,” and Clifford’s rollicking “Tearin’ Up the Country”) but also sang on them. Other highlights off the album include a cover of the rockabilly classic “Hello Mary Lou,” as well as the Fogerty-penned rocker “Sweet Hitch-Hiker”—a Top Ten hit in the US, Australia, Canada, and across Europe. The poignant “Someday Never Comes,” meanwhile, marked the group’s final single.

    While the band members went their separate ways after Mardi Gras, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s legacy only continued to grow. Today, CCR remains one of the best-selling groups of all time, thanks to their trove of generation-defining hits and their singular, roots-rock sound.

    Roughly half a century later, CCR fans can enjoy a new vibrancy when they revisit Pendulum and Mardi Gras, thanks to the exacting process of half-speed mastering. Using high-res transfers from the original analog tapes, the process involves playing back the audio at half its recorded speed while the cutting lathe is also turned to half the desired playback speed. The technique allows more time to cut a micro-precise groove, resulting in more accuracy with frequency extremes and dynamic contrasts. The result on the turntables is an exceptional level of sonic clarity and punch.

     Both of these special pressings were previously released only as part of Creedence’s collectible, seven-LP The Studio Albums Collection box set, and follow standalone reissues of the band’s first five albums—available here.

     Earlier this year, the three surviving members of CCR spoke with Uncut and reflected on their time in the band. “We didn’t get to where we got just falling off a log,” said John Fogerty, as he spoke of the band’s tireless work ethic. “It’s a wonderful thing to have a goal and then to attain it, more or less.”

     Stu Cook compared the band’s rise to “a rocket ride, we went up so fast. We burned until we burned out, in three-and-a-half years from start to finish.” But, while brief, those years together brought the group unparalleled creative achievement and global success. “We had a magic band,” recalled Doug Clifford. “We got high playing the music.” Fogerty added that he was “humbly pleased” knowing that, 50 years later, CCR’s music “is still relevant, that people still care about it. That’s just so satisfying.”

     Pre-order Pendulum or Mardi Gras half-speed masters, with special bundles offered via the Craft Recordings store. A limited gold vinyl edition of Pendulum is also available exclusively via Vinyl, Me Please.

     

    Tracklist – Pendulum:

     Side A:

  • Pagan Baby
  • Sailor’s Lament
  • Chameleon
  • Have You Ever Seen the Rain
  • (Wish I Could) Hideaway
  • Side B:

  • Born to Move
  • Hey Tonight
  • It’s Just a Thought
  • Molina
  • Rude Awakening #2
  • Tracklist – Mardi Gras:

    Side A:

  • Lookin’ for a Reason
  • Take It Like a Friend
  • Need Someone to Hold
  • Tearin’ Up the Country
  • Someday Never Comes
  • Side B:

  • What Are You Going to Do
  • Sail Away
  • Hello Mary Lou
  • Door to Door
  • Sweet Hitch-Hiker
  • Craft Recordings Releases Timely Video For The Staple Singers’ ‘Respect Yourself’

    Craft Recordings Releases Timely Video For The Staple Singers’ ‘Respect Yourself’

    Craft Recordings

    Animated video premieres ahead of 7-CD box set ‘Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection’ available November 13th

    Craft Recordings is pleased to release a new lyric video for The Staple Singers’ soulful 1971 anthem “Respect Yourself.” The captivating visualizer pairs archival photos from the Civil Rights Movement with contemporary images from the Black Lives Matter protests — because now as then, this song’s message of self-respect, tolerance and empowerment provides a compass for navigating times of political tumult and upheaval.

    “Respect Yourself,” which originally appeared on the Staple Singers’ 1972 album Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, resonated with listeners and became the group’s biggest hit to date—landing at No. 2 on the Billboard Soul chart and No. 12 on the Hot 100. The eerily prophetic tune—which even included the lyric “Keep talkin’ bout the president, won’t stop air pollution/Put your hand on your mouth when you cough, that’ll help the solution”—was a perfect fit for the Staple Singers, who were formidable voices in the Civil Rights Movement and often incorporated politically charged messages of racial equality into their songs. Featuring members of the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and Memphis Horns, the song was penned by Luther Ingram and Mack Rice, and produced by Stax Records executive Al Bell.

    GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement winners and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, the Staple Singers stand tall as one of the most important gospel and soul acts in history. Helmed by patriarch Roebuck “Pops” Staples, the Chicago group began performing in the late ’40s as a family gospel outfit, featuring Cleotha, Pervis (later replaced by sister Yvonne) and Mavis—who, at just seven years old, became the breakout star with her deep, soulful vocals.

    By the ’60s, the Staple Singers were a sought-after act in the folk and counterculture scenes, and significant voices in the Civil Rights Movement. But when they signed to Stax in 1968, they became mainstream stars—thanks in part to a fruitful creative partnership with executive Al Bell. At Stax, they scored their first of many hit singles, released multiple bestselling albums and offered a memorable performance at the 1972 Wattstax Festival.

    While Stax closed its doors in 1975, the Staple Singers continued to tour and record well until the ’80s, and Mavis Staples continued to have success as a solo artist. Since 2004, Staples has released nearly 10 studio and live albums, including You Are Not Alone (2010), Livin’ on a High Note (2016) and We Get By (2019). Embraced by a new generation of fans, the Kennedy Center Honoree has collaborated with the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Arcade Fire, Hozier and the Gorillaz; graced the stages of Glastonbury, Bonnaroo and Outside Lands; and was the subject of a documentary (2016’s Mavis!).

    The new lyric video comes ahead of a comprehensive 7-CD box set celebrating the Staple Singers and their legendary output at Stax Records. Spanning 1968–1974, Come Go With Me: The StaxCollection is available November 13th and includes many of the Staples’ most iconic recordings, including “I’ll Take You There,” “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me),” “Long Walk to D.C.,” and, of course, “Respect Yourself.” The collection was also released earlier this year on vinyl and digital formats, both available now.

    Click here to pre-order the 7-CD set for Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection. Plus, special exclusive bundles (including a Stax t-shirt) are available via the Stax store.

     

    Expanded Edition of George Thorogood and The Destroyers’ ‘Live in Boston, 1982’ Set For Reissue

    Expanded Edition of George Thorogood and The Destroyers’ ‘Live in Boston, 1982’ Set For Reissue


    Craft Recordings

    ‘Live In Boston, 1982: The Complete Concert’ features 12 unreleased tracks, including fan favorites “Who Do You Love?” and “Bad to the Bone”

    Craft Recordings announces a comprehensive reissue of George Thorogood and The DestroyersLive in Boston, 1982. Newly remastered by the GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Blakemore, the 27-track Live in Boston, 1982: The Complete Concert captures the band’s fiery set in its entirety, including spoken introductions. Plus, the release includes 12 previously unreleased tracks (including performances of “Bad to the Bone,” “Who Do You Love?,” and “Cocaine Blues”) and marks the first time the set will be available on vinyl.

    Available to pre-order now, Live in Boston, 1982: The Complete Concert will be available December 4th as a four-LP set on 180-gram vinyl, a two-CD set, and across digital platforms. Complementing the collection are new liner notes by longtime Boston Globe music critic and Berklee College of Music professor, Steve Morse, who spoke with Thorogood about that incredible evening. In addition, a special deluxe edition of the new collection (pressed on red marble vinyl, including an eye-catching poster, and limited to a 1,000 units) will be released exclusively for Record Store Day’s Black Friday event on November 27th. Coinciding with this announcement is the release of the first instant grat track, “Bad to the Bone,” available today to stream or download on all major digital outlets.

    George Thorogood and The Destroyers were hometown heroes when they played to a packed audience at Boston’s Bradford Ballroom (now the Royale Nightclub) on November 23, 1982. Hailing from Wilmington, Delaware, Thorogood and his band had settled in Boston in the late ’70s, where they became mainstays in the scene—releasing their 1977 self-titled debut and their 1978 follow-up, Move It on Over, with the then-locally based Rounder Records. By the fall of 1982, the blues rockers were fast-rising stars on a national level. Just one year prior, they scored a supporting slot on The Rolling Stones’ tour, while that October, they appeared on Saturday Night Live, promoting their fifth studio album, Bad to the Bone. As the busy year came to a close, the album’s hard-driving title track—which would become one of Thorogood’s most iconic songs—was getting steady airplay on the radio and its video was a mainstay on the burgeoning MTV.

    After a non-stop year, the triumphant band returned to Boston, where they were embraced by their longtime fans. Full of energy, power, and focus, Thorogood and The Destroyers played a blistering set that included original material (“Kids from Philly,” “Bad to the Bone,” and “Miss Luann”) blues classics (John Lee Hooker’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” and Elmore James’ “The Sky Is Crying”), early rock ’n’ roll and R&B covers (Chuck Berry’s “No Particular Place to Go” and Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?”), and a few country tunes that The Destroyers had already made their own (Hank Williams’ “Move It on Over” and T.J. “Red” Arnall’s “Cocaine Blues”). In addition to Thorogood’s legendary guitar riffs, the songs are accentuated by the incendiary Hank Carter, who played saxophone with The Destroyers for 23 years. Luckily for fans, the incredible evening was captured in exquisite clarity by the award-winning engineer Guy Charbonneau, known for his “Le Mobile” remote recording truck.

    For his liner notes, Steve Morse also interviewed Scott Billington, a longtime Rounder Records producer who oversaw the original, 2010 edition of Live in Boston, 1982. “It was exciting to revisit the entire show,” Billington told Morse. “Listening back to these recordings also reminded me of how George had taken the original rock ’n’ roll blues aesthetic and brought it back into the mainstream at a time when that was not a particularly popular aspect of rock. Hearing a manifestation of that in the early ’80s was a breath of fresh air.”

    Reflecting on Live in Boston, 1982: The Complete Concert, Thorogood says, “1982 was an absolute high-water mark for us. Everything was going our way and it shows in this recording from the Bradford Ballroom. This is George Thorogood and The Destroyers at our best!”

    George’s peers also lauded the album. Legendary Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash declared, “George Thorogood has been a hero of mine since I first heard his music in the ’70s. One of the baddest rock ’n’ roll songwriters/electric slide guitar players ever and The Destroyers are a kick-ass, tight rhythm section. This recording proves it!” Blues rocker Jared James Nichols added, “Power, attitude, emotion! I feel the energy and spirit, as if I’m actually at the show. George and band are undeniably at the top of their game this rockin’ night in Boston. Above all, this recording further solidifies the legend that is George Thorogood. Crank it up and get ready to boogie!”

    Since forming in 1974, Thorogood and his band—which currently consists of Jeff Simon (drums, percussion), Bill Blough (bass guitar), Jim Suhler (rhythm guitar), and Buddy Leach (saxophone)—have released 16 studio albums, played more than 8,000 ferocious live shows, and sold over 15 million records. For more than two generations, George Thorogood and The Destroyers have remained one of the most consistent—and consistently passionate—progenitors of blues-based rock in pop culture history.

    Showing no signs of slowing down, Thorogood returned to Rounder Records to release his solo debut, Party of One, in 2017 and he continues to tour regularly with The Destroyers.

    Looking ahead, the band is excited to return to the road with a 27-date global tour, kicking off May 4, 2021 at the Revolution Place in Grande Prairie, AB, Canada.

    Pre-Order Live in Boston, 1982
    George Thorogood and the Destroyers
    *Feature image courtesy of Craft Recordings

    The Staple Singers ‘Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection’

    The Staple Singers ‘Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection’


    Craft Recordings

    Acclaimed collection celebrates The Staple Singers’ Stax years, including all of their studio albums on the iconic label, plus live recordings and rarities. Out November 13th on Craft Recordings.

    Craft Recordings is thrilled to announce a deluxe CD edition of Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection. The acclaimed box set, which was previously released on vinyl and digital formats, celebrates one of music’s greatest gospel and soul groups, The Staple Singers. Set for a November 13th release, Come Go With Me presents all of the group’s studio albums released on the iconic Memphis label, spanning 1968–1974, and features the Staples’ biggest hits, including “I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself” and “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me).” Each album was remastered from the original analog masters by Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl, while the seventh disc offers rarities, non-album singles and live recordings from the legendary 1972 Wattstax music festival. Housed in a slipcase, the seven-disc collection also includes a booklet with archival photos and liner notes from American music specialist and curator Levon Williams (formerly of the Stax Museum and the National Museum of African American Music), and folklorist, ethnomusicologist and writer Dr. Langston Wilkins.

    Released on vinyl and digital platforms earlier this year (in February), Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection received strong praise from such outlets as Uncut, Mojo and Paste, the latter of which wrote, “this marvelous run of records sound brand new in these new all-analog pressings, with the earthy tang of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and the Bar-Kays horn section ripping out of the speakers with hip-shaking fervor… This is a milestone of American musical history, treated with the appropriate levels of respect and reverence.” All six of the Staple Singers’ albums with Stax were also made available in hi-res 24-bit/192 kHz and 24-bit/96 kHz formats for the first time.

    By the time that the Staple Singers signed to Stax in 1968, the family quartet—helmed by patriarch Roebuck “Pops” Staples, with daughters Cleotha and Mavis, and son Pervis (later replaced by his sister Yvonne)—had long graduated from the gospel circuit. The Chicago group had become well known in the counterculture and folk scenes and were performing alongside major rock acts like Big Brother and the Holding Company and the Grateful Dead. The Staples had also become formidable voices in the Civil Rights movement, and many of their songs preached a message of empowerment and racial equality.

    In the fall of ’68, the group went into the studio to record their first album for Stax, Soul Folk in Action, working with producer Steve Cropper and songwriter Homer Banks. The sessions were set against a backdrop of social and political turmoil, which climaxed with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis. The Staple Singers were known for writing politically charged “message songs,” and the year’s events certainly inspired many of the tracks on this album, including “Long Walk to D.C.” and “The Ghetto.” In their liner notes, Levon Williams and Langston Wilkins write that both of these songs “Truly tapped into the experiences and emotions of Black America at the close of the ’60s. The former is a tribute to the 1963 March on Washington told from the perspective of a poor yet hopeful African American person willing to use their last dimes to make it to the rally … Conversely, the somber and haunting ‘The Ghetto’ takes listeners deep into the isolation and despair of inner-city life.” Also notable to this album are stunning covers of The Band’s “The Weight” and Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” recorded in tribute to the fallen Stax star, who died tragically just a year earlier in a plane crash. The Staple Singers returned to the studio with Cropper the following year to record We’ll Get Over (1970). Highlights include the standout message song “When Will We Be Paid,” as well as covers of tracks like Sly & the Family Stone’s “Everyday People” and Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “The End of the Road.”

    Though both Soul Folk in Action and We’ll Get Over carried powerful messages and tight-knit harmonies, neither had commercial success. And so, for the band’s third album, Stax co-president Al Bell (who signed the band) took the helm as producer. Williams and Wilkins note that “As a long-time DJ, Bell’s ear for what moves Black listeners, both literally and metaphorically, had been keenly crafted over several years. Bell hosted shows that had both sacred and secular followings and had amassed a wealth of experience from watching, noting and deeply understanding the impact music has on varied audiences. His ear was essentially priceless.”

    Photo Courtesy of Stax Archives. (L-R) Al Bell, Jim Stewart, Pops Staples.

     

    With support from the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (also known as “The Swampers”), the Staple Singers found a winning team with Bell, and the resulting album, 1971’s The Staple Swingers, would be their first charting record, peaking at No. 9 on Billboard’s top R&B albums. The LP offered a funkier sound from the group, with high-energy singles like “Heavy Makes You Happy (Sha-Na-Boom Boom)” and the Smokey Robinson cover “You’ve Got to Earn It.”

    The group reunited with the Swampers and Bell for 1972’s Be Altitude: Respect Yourself, an album that transformed the Staple Singers into mainstream stars. Peaking at No. 19 on the Billboard 200, the groove-filled album featured the Staples’ first No. 1 hit—the infectious “I’ll Take You There,” and “Respect Yourself,” a song which Williams and Wilkins declare “encapsulates the Staple Singers’ entire career.” The powerful message song not only resonated with African Americans but also with many women across the country as they, too, fought for equal opportunity.

    The group’s 1973 follow-up, Be What You Are, featured the Top Ten hit “If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me),” popular single “Touch a Hand, Make a Friend” and the sweetly harmonized “Love Comes in All Colors,” while the Staple Singers’ final album with Stax—1974’s City in the Sky—includes such highlights as the politically charged “Washington We’re Watching You,” “Back Road into Town” and “Who Made the Man,” which marked a return to the group’s gospel roots.

    The final disc in Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection offers a selection of live tracks from the Staple Singers’ energetic performance at Wattstax, as well as B-sides like “Stay With Us,” non-album singles like “Oh La De Da” and rarities that include “Walking in Water Over Our Head” and “Trippin’ on Your Love.”

    Following their time at Stax, the Staple Singers continued to tour and record throughout the ’70s and early ’80s. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 and received a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. In recent years, Mavis Staples has been back in the spotlight—headlining tours and reaching a new generation of fans with her solo records. In 2016, she was the subject of a documentary (Mavis!) and ended the year as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

    Click here to pre-order the 7-CD set Come Go With Me: The Stax CollectionSpecial exclusive bundles, including a Stax t-shirt, available via the Stax Store*Feature image courtesy of Stax Archives. (L-R) Pops, Cleotha, Pervis, and Mavis Staples.

    CD Release For Charlie Parker, ‘The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection,’ out 11/6

    CD Release For Charlie Parker, ‘The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection,’ out 11/6


    Craft Recordings

    Celebrating the centennial of Charlie “Bird” Parker with The Savoy10-inch LP Collection from Craft Recordings

    Craft Recordings is proud to announce the release of the compact disc edition of The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection. The collection, which spotlights Charlie Parker’s groundbreaking bebop sessions for the legendary jazz label (spanning 1944 to 1948), is already available on vinyl and digital formats. The CD edition features 28 tracks from the four legendary Savoy 10-inch LPs, presented with newly restored and remastered audio and a deluxe 20-page booklet containing vintage photos, rare ephemera and liner notes from GRAMMY® Award-winning journalist and author Neil Tesser. These historic recordings, reissued as the world celebrates the 100th anniversary of Parker’s birth, feature such jazz greats as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Lewis, Bud Powell and Max Roach. The compact disc edition of The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection, set for a November 6th release date, is available to pre-order today.

    When saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker and his contemporaries introduced bebop in the ’40s, they were ushering in a bold new style that would influence modern music for decades to come. Nowadays, as Neal Tesser argues in the box set’s liner notes, it’s easy to forget that bebop was considered avant-garde. “Bebop undergirds such a vast swath of American music that its revolutionary nature recedes into the background. It is now so familiar and comfortable, such an ever-present part of the family history, that non-historians can hardly envision it ever being ‘revolutionary.’” However, when listeners heard this new sound for the first time, it was unlike anything they had experienced before. Up until this point, the general public enjoyed swing-era big bands performing standards from the Great American Songbook, led by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman. It’s also worth noting that—to those who were not entrenched in the jazz scene—this new style of music seemingly came out of nowhere. Though bebop evolved in the early part of the decade—cultivated in New York’s late-night jazz clubs—it didn’t appear on record until the mid-’40s, following a two-year strike by the Musicians’ Union, which banned commercial recordings for labels, due to royalty disputes.

    The 28 tracks that make up The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection are some of the world’s earliest bebop recordings, including takes from a November 1945 date that is often referred to as “The Greatest Jazz Session Ever,” featuring Davis, Roach and Curley Russell appearing as “Charlie Parker’s Reboppers.” The tracks were compiled by Savoy and released over the next several years as the four LPs reissued in this box set: New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 1 (1950), New Sounds In Modern Music, Volume 2 (1951), as well as Volumes 3 and 4 (both released in 1952). Nearly all of the compositions heard in this collection are originals by Parker, with a few contributions by Davis, and an original tune from guitarist Lloyd “Tiny” Grimes—who led Parker in the session for “Tiny’s Tempo.” Highlights include the upbeat “Now’s the Time,” the bluesy “Parker’s Mood” and “Constellation,” which Tessler notes “seems to anticipate the free-jazz energy solos of the 1960s.” Also notable is “Ko-Ko,” featuring an impressive improvisation from the saxophonist, as well as one of Bird’s most recognizable tunes, “Billie’s Bounce,” which was inducted into the GRAMMY® Hall of Fame in 2002. Though multiple styles of bop would become mainstream by the end of the ’50s, these recordings mark the beginning of a new era and a radical shift in musical trends. It was a sound that, Tesser declares, was “at once liberating but also threatening. Charlie Parker and his fellow instigators…sparked a cultural earthquake that upended the music landscape for decades.”

    Though his life and career were all too brief, Charlie “Bird” Parker (1920–1955) was ahead of his time, altering the course of music in his wake, and paving the way for hard bop, free jazz, fusion and beyond. Like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and John Coltrane, Parker was a pioneering composer and improviser who ushered in a new era of jazz and influenced subsequent generations of musicians, writers and artists. 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the saxophonist’s birth, and to celebrate his legacy, a variety of special events, performances, as well as music and art releases—collectively celebrated as “Bird 100”—are taking place throughout 2020. Many of the events planned to celebrate Parker have taken new forms.

     

    Craft Recordings

    *Feature image Photo Credit: William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

    For Father’s Day CCR Releases New Video For “Long As I Can See the Light”

    For Father’s Day CCR Releases New Video For “Long As I Can See the Light”


    Press Release

    This Father’s Day, the hope is that this “Long as I Can See the Light” video will help remind families just how deeply they’re connected.

    Continuing the 50th anniversary of America’s all-time greatest rock ‘n’ roll band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Craft Recordings is honored to unveil a special fan-generated video for the beloved Cosmo’s Factory closer, “Long as I Can See the Light.” In the lead-up to Father’s Day 2020, Creedence fans worldwide were encouraged to submit videos and photos documenting cherished memories with their fathers, grandfathers or other guiding lights in their life.

    One of many hits on Creedence’s legendary fifth studio album, “Long as I Can See the Light” was released in 1970 as part of a double A-side single with “Lookin’ out My Back Door.” Both songs peaked at number two in the U.S., and despite Creedence having never played “Long as I Can See the Light” live, it became a fan favorite. Over the years, the song has taken on different meanings, but John Fogerty has stated that the song is “about the loner in me. Wanting to feel understood, needing those at home to shine a light so that I can make my way back.”

    Released on July 16, 1970, Cosmo’s Factory remarkably stood as Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fifth full-length in two-years. The album, which borrowed its name from drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford (who often referred to the band’s practice space as “The Factory”), followed a highly prolific year for CCR, in which the Berkeley, CA band released three Billboard Top Ten albums in 12 months. Cosmo’s Factory would continue the group’s momentum, taking Clifford, frontman John Fogerty, guitarist Tom Fogerty, and bassist Stu Cook to the height of their success. For the second time, Creedence topped the album chart in the US, while they scored their first No. 1 in the UK, Canada, and Australia, among other territories, firmly cementing their status as international rock stars.

    Now, a half-century after its release, Cosmo’s Factory will gain a new vibrancy, thanks to the exacting process of half-speed mastering. Using high-res transfers from the original analog tapes, the mastering process involves playing back the audio at half its recorded speed, while the cutting lathe is turned at half the desired playback speed. The technique allows more time to cut a micro-precise groove, resulting in more accuracy with frequency extremes and dynamic contrasts. The result on the turntables is an exceptional level of sonic clarity and punch. This special pressing was previously available only as part of CCR’s collectible, seven-LP Studio Albums Collection box set.

    The tradition of musical inheritance is strong among CCR appreciators: The band’s timeless albums have been proudly passed down from generation to generation. Music’s capacity to draw people together is more important now than ever, so while many may be unable to be physically near their loved ones this Father’s Day, the hope is that this “Long as I Can See the Light” video will help remind families just how deeply they’re connected.

    Available for pre-order now, the audiophile edition of Cosmo’s Factory comes housed in a tip-on jacket, replicating the original packaging.

     

    Craft Recordings Welcomes Victory Records to Its Label Family

    Craft Recordings Welcomes Victory Records to Its Label Family


    Press Release

    Celebrating 30 years of formative music:Victory Records celebrates a new era with a new website, special reissues and more announcements coming soon.

    Concord’s catalog team, Craft Recordings, is proud to welcome Victory Records to its label family. Victory was acquired by Concord in 2019 and their formidable repertoire is now managed by Craft, who also oversees the catalogs of Nitro, Razor & Tie, Stax, Vanguard, Wind-up and more. Signaling a new chapter for the legendary rock, metal, punk and hardcore label, a new Victory Records website launched on May 7th. The site celebrates 30 years of formative music with a line of Victory merchandise featuring both new and throwback designs, as well as special edition vinyl and artist merchandise. Artist pages for all Victory Records alumni will be added as the site expands, so check back for more coming soon.

    Victory’s master recording catalog includes artists such as A Day to Remember, Hawthorne Heights, Thursday and Silverstein. The completion of this deal also brings all of Victory’s incredible legacy catalog under one roof at Concord with the likes of Taking Back Sunday, Atreyu, Bayside, Counterparts, and Between the Buried and Me.

    Formed in 1989, Victory separated itself from the pack as the definitive independent label for punk, hardcore, emo, metal and alternative. Supplying decades of formative music to diehard audiences everywhere, the Chicago-bred-and-based label cranked up the voices of three generations of iconoclasts and built a culture without compromise.

    Victory’s 30 years of enduring music encompasses sales of 15 million records, six RIAA gold-certified full-length albums, six RIAA gold-certified singles, one RIAA platinum-certified single, two BPI silver-certified albums and one Canada Music gold-certified album, in addition to billions of streams as of 2020. From the early days of basement shows, fliers on walls and street teams passing out physical swag during MySpace’s heyday to finally the streaming age, the music of Victory resounds with the same power it did back in the beginning.

    In 1989, in suburban Illinois, a 17-year-old Tony Brummel founded the label. From day one, Victory always paid homage to the DIY hardcore spirit of bands throwing down in basements, VFW halls and anywhere with a mosh pit. Throughout the nineties, Brummel’s signings reflected the pulse of the streets and the indie scene at large. Building an artistic-centric platform, Victory served as home to the likes of Earth Crisis and Hatebreed—who unleashed their seminal 1997 breakout Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire on the roster. 2001 represented a major moment for the company with the arrival of Thursday’s Full Collapse. The latter eventually sold over 400,000 copies, with NME going on to credit the influential album as one of “20 Emo Albums That Have Resolutely Stood the Test of Time” and Rolling Stone ranking it high on their list of the “40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time.”

    Tenacious marketing, innovative branding, DIY work ethic and a focus on the music above all defined a golden age for Victory. In 2002, Taking Back Sunday unveiled Tell All Your Friends, which sold 2,300 copies in its first week, enough to make tastemakers take notice. Album sales grew steadily—and mightily—over the course of the year and would be a testament to the grassroots efforts of the band, their fanbase and their label. Thanks to nonstop touring and the emerging power of online communities like Yahoo Groups and MySpace, Taking Back Sunday soon found themselves selling out headlining shows. One year after its release, Tell All Your Friends had surpassed 100,000 units and was certified Gold by 2006. Meanwhile, its 2004 follow-up Where You Want to Be bowed at #3 on the Billboard Top 200, marking Victory’s highest chart debut.

    Various other roster acts leapt from Victory’s launchpad to stardom. As part of the roster, Hawthorne Heights served up a pair of gold albums—The Silence in Black and White (2004) and If Only You Were Lonely (2006)—and a gold single “Ohio Is for Lovers.” The group went from tiny gigs to big stages across the country and developed a discography of fan favorites. Leading the metalcore movement, Atreyu flourished on the label with the trifecta of Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses (2002), The Curse (2004) and A Death-Grip on Yesterday (2006). Upon impact, the latter seized #9 on the Billboard Top 200. Among other influential releases, Between the Buried & Me’s 2007 opus Colors would be universally lauded on KERRANG!’s “The 21 Best U.S. Metalcore Albums of All Time,” Prog’s “Top 100 Greatest Prog Albums of All Time” and Loudwire’s “Top 100 Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Albums of the 21st Century” and “Top 25 Progressive Metal Albums of All Time.”

    Alongside the band and a fervent audience, Victory helped augment the rise of A Day to Remember into an arena-headlining platinum juggernaut. Coming out of Ocala, FL, with a vengeance, the group pioneered a one-two punch of metal and pop-punk unlike anything else out there. Honing this signature style, the band went on to deliver three gold singles—“All I Want,” “Have Faith in Me” and “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?”—and the platinum single “If It Means a Lot to You.” Additionally, Homesick (2009) and What Separates Me From You (2010) both reached gold status. Rock Sound pegged Homesick among the “Greatest 101 Albums of the Past 15 Years,” and What Separates Me From You landed at #11 on the Billboard Top 200.

    In the end, Victory’s history remains entwined with three decades of impactful and inimitable sounds with worldwide mainstream implications. The underground eventually drives the mainstream.

    Craft Recordings looks forward to working with the label’s alumni to preserve the legacies they have built. Stay tuned for more announcements coming soon.

    About Craft Recordings
    Craft Recordings is home to one of the largest and most prestigious collections of master recordings and compositions in the world. Its rich and storied repertoire includes legendary artists such as Joan Baez, Ray Charles, John Coltrane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Vince Guaraldi, John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, Nine Inch Nails, Thelonious Monk, Otis Redding, R.E.M. and Traveling Wilburys, to name just a few. Renowned imprints with catalogs issued under the Craft banner include Concord Records, Fania, Fantasy, Fearless, Milestone, Musart, Nitro, Prestige, Riverside, Rounder, Specialty, Stax, Sugar Hill, Vanguard, Vee-Jay and Victory, among many others. Craft creates thoughtfully curated packages, with a meticulous devotion to quality and a commitment to preservation—ensuring that these recordings endure for new generations to discover. Craft Recordings is the catalog label team for Concord Recorded Music.

    Victory Records