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Next Week in Music | Dec. 2-8 • The Short List: Four Releases I Want to Hear

Here are the albums I care about — as opposed to the ones everybody else does.

Upcoming albums generally fall into two categories for me: The Ones I Care About, and The Ones Everyone Else Cares About. This week offers a fine example of that dichotomy. One the one hand, you have new releases from pop hottie Camila Cabello, former boy bander Liam Payne and dance-music douche-bros The Chainsmokers. On the other, you have the new Who album, along with box sets from British art-rockers Be-Bop Deluxe, tragic jazzman Chet Baker, Bruce Springsteen mascot Little Steven and others. Can you guess which albums go in which category? If not, read on:

Be Bop Deluxe
Modern Music Deluxe

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Recorded in June and July 1976 at Abbey Road Studio Three, Modern Music was the fourth album by Be Bop Deluxe and the second to feature the line-up of Bill Nelson (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Charles Tumahai (bass, vocals), Andy Clark (keyboards) and Simon Fox (drums). This expanded reissue has been newly re-mastered from the original master tapes and features an additional 55 bonus tracks, a stunning new 5.1 surround sound & stereo mixes from the original multi-track tapes by award winning engineer Stephen W. Tayler, previously unreleased out-takes from the album sessions, a BBC Radio In Concert performance from October 1976, along with a bonus CD of a previously unreleased performance at The Riviera Theater in Chicago in March 1976 — recorded for FM radio on Be Bop Deluxe’s first US tour — which features a rare jam entitled Bill’s Blues. The set also includes visual material taken from a session for BBC TV’s Old Grey Whistle Test show broadcast in November 1976. Another highlight of this limited-edition boxed set is the lavishly illustrated 68-page book with many previously unseen photographs and an essay of recollections by Bill Nelson. Additionally, the set includes postcards and a replica poster. This special deluxe limited-edition boxed set of Modern Music is a fitting tribute to a fine band and the creative vision of Bill Nelson.”

Chet Baker
The Legendary Riverside Albums

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Few musicians have embodied the romantic, and ultimately tragic, jazz figure as totally as Chesney “Chet” Baker (1929-88). Unschooled yet eloquent in his music, the Baker mystique has only reinforced one of the most haunting trumpet styles and ingenuous approaches to jazz singing. The Legendary Riverside Albums is a collection that features four legendary Chet albums released in the late ‘50s on Riverside Records, plus a bonus LP with choice outtakes and alternates from Baker’s Riverside sessions. The four legendary albums are (Chet Baker Sings) It Could Happen to You, the 1958 essential album featuring Chet’s vocals covering standards; In New York, released in 1959 and including the stellar lineup of Al Haig (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums); Chet, released in 1959 and featuring all instrumental performances by Chet with flautist Herbie Mann, saxophonist Pepper Adams, pianist Bill Evans, guitarist Kenny Burrell, bassist Paul Chambers, drummers Connie Kay and Philly Joe Jones; Chet Baker Plays The Best Of Lerner And Loewe, a 1959 concept album featuring timeless show tunes.”

Little Steven
RocknRoll Rebel

THE PRESS RELEASE:Little Steven has opened the doors on his personal archive of recordings to present an in-depth look at his solo career with a brand new boxed set. RockNRoll Rebel – The Early Work collects the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s solo work from 1973-1999 – including Artists United Against Apartheid’s landmark 1985 LP, Sun City – together with 51 bonus tracks spanning previously unreleased demos, B-sides, rehearsals, outtakes, classic concert performances, and a number of never-before-heard Steven Van Zandt compositions. “It’s been a blast going through the archives and finding all these hidden gems,” says Van Zandt. “In addition to demos in various stages of completion, there are entire songs I’d completely forgotten about, and we found some really early things pre-Jukes like Southside Johnny and the Kid (the kid being me!). I’m excited to have my stuff back on vinyl for the first time in decades!” The set includes remastered editions of five long-out-of-print classic albums – Men Without Women (1982), Voice Of America (1983), Sun City (1985), Freedom – No Compromise (1987), Revolution (1989) and the vinyl debut of Born Again Savage (1999) – across seven-colored vinyl LPs alongside four CDs of rarities and bonus tracks.”

The Who

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Fifty-five years after they made their first recordings, The Who are back with their first new album in thirteen years entitled Who. The 11-track album was mostly recorded in London and Los Angeles during Spring and Summer 2019 and was co-produced by Pete Townshend & Dave Sardy (who has worked with Noel Gallagher, Oasis, LCD Soundsystem, Gorillaz) with vocal production by Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers, Roger Daltrey, Wilko Johnson). Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend are joined on the album by long-time Who drummer Zak Starkey and bassist Pino Palladino along with contributions from Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap. The songs on Who cover a myriad of subjects including the Grenfell Tower fire, musical theft, spirituality, reincarnation, the power of memory and ‘an old rock star that has lost his marbles’.” I’ve already reviewed the album; you can read it HERE.