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Back in Action | Five New Reissues Worth Checking Out

Clapton & King, Alanis, SY and more refurbished oldies making their return.


Everything old is new again. Eventually. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of reissues and anthologies among the 300-plus albums released this week. Here are some of the ones that caught my eye … um, ear. Whatever. You get the idea.


Belfast Gypsies
Them Belfast Gypsies Expanded

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Though it received little attention at the time of its Swedish/Netherlands-only release in 1967, the album Them Belfast Gypsies has long been established as a stone-cold classic of rabid British garage punk/R&B. The album had been recorded over four sessions in May/June 1966 in London and Copenhagen (where the band had relocated for several months), a year or so after brothers Pat (aka John) and Jackie McAuley had left Them and put together a new band of that name. However, a court case left the McAuley group only able to use the name Them outside of the UK, although they were allowed to call themselves The Other Them while on home territory. As a flag of convenience, they were christened The Belfast Gypsies by their producer, Hollywood hustler Kim Fowley, although the band themselves never used that name. Previous releases of this material have grappled manfully with the lack of master tapes and solid information regarding this most elusive of bands. However, the recent unexpected discovery of the master tapes for the London recordings (which constituted seven of the album’s twelve tracks) means that this latest anthology is a sonic upgrade on previous releases. It is also the most comprehensive anthology of the band’s work, featuring the first CD release of pre-Fowley, February 1966 demo recordings I Want You and an early attempt at It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue as well as an alternative mix of People! Let’s Freak Out that was issued (without the band’s knowledge) under the pseudonym The Freaks Of Nature. Featuring rare photos and memorabilia, this release also includes a new 6,000 word essay on the band’s labyrinthine existence with new quotes from Jackie McAuley as well as reminiscences from the band’s guitarist, the late Ken McLeod.”

Eric Clapton & B.B. King
Riding with the King 20th Anniversary

THE PRESS RELEASE:Eric Clapton and B.B. King first performed together in NYC in 1967. Over 30 years later, in 1999, the two longtime friends joined forces to create a collection of all new studio recordings of blues classics and contemporary songs. The resulting album Riding with the King would be released in June 2000 and go onto sell over 2 million copies in the U.S. and win the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this classic album, two additional previously unreleased tracks have been added: The blues standard Rollin’ and Tumblin’ and King’s Let Me Love You. Both tracks were recorded during the original sessions and were produced and mixed especially for this release by Simon Climie, who produced the original album with Clapton.”

Alanis Morissette
Jagged Little Pill 25th Anniversary

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The digital deluxe version of Jagged Little Pill pairs the original 13-track album, produced by Glen Ballard, with a new acoustic live album from Alanis’ performance at Shepherd’s Bush from March 2020. Alanis’ groundbreaking album Jagged Little Pill celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this month on June 13. Upon its release in 1995, the album was a cultural phenomenon and a critical smash. It has now been certified 17x Platinum by the RIAA, selling more than 33 million copies worldwide, making it the 16th best-selling album of all time in the U.S.”

Philip Rambow
The Rebel Kind Anthology 1972-2020

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Born in Canada, singer-songwriter Philip Rambow came to the UK in the early 1970s and co-formed pub rock band The Winkies, who found themselves as backing band to Brian Eno and supporting Lou Reed and Wishbone Ash, as well as recording an album for Chrysalis. Rambow was retained by the label for a solo single, Dem Eyes, but a planned album was abandoned. After a brief sojourn in New York at the height of punk (supporting Television at CBGB’s and appearing on one of the Max’s Kansas City LPs), Philip returned to the U.K. in 1978. Having appeared on Pub Rock’s chart-bound swansong, The Hope And Anchor Front Row Festival album, he signed to EMI for two wonderful solo albums. Both Shooting Gallery (1979) and Jungle Law (1981) were critically acclaimed and Rambow became something of a musician’s musician. He also enjoyed significant success with his songs for others, including There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis, which he co-wrote with singer Kirsty MacColl, and Night Out and Young for Ellen Foley. Thereafter, he continued to write, record and perform but wouldn’t commit to his third album until 2015 with the impishly-titled Whatever Happened To Phil Rambow? In 2020 he is as active as ever, with a brand new album Canadiana, issued this April. The Rebel Kind is the first retrospective of Rambow’s illustrious career, curated by the man himself. His three albums are joined by rare and previously unissued recordings, including his first-ever solo demo from 1972, an early demo of Chip Shop, unreleased sessions with Mick Ronson and Hans Zimmer, and an unissued original demo of Big Tears with Glen Matlock, James Stevenson and James Hallawell, with the late Gary Holton singing. With a booklet boasting sleeve-notes by journalist and long-time admirer Dave Thompson and a plethora of rare photos, The Rebel Kind is the ultimate tribute to one of the most fondly regarded if unsung musical talents around. And the compilation ends with two tracks from Philip’s new album Canadiana, including the new single Oceans Apart.”

Sonic Youth
Silver Session (For Jason Knuth)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “we didn’t really know jason knuth — its possible we had met him, or had been in the same room as him, but we didn’t recal… we heard about his passing on the internet — a flurry of grievous and surprised reaction — people were asking us if we were aware of how much he identified and championed our music — as music director for kusf he seemingly used sy as a standard for playlisting — indeed at his memorial his friends played the diamond sea in acknowledgment of his enthusiasm towards us — he was affectionately referred to as ‘sonic knuth’ …here in nyc, so far from the sf community, we were touched and more than intrigued. we learned jason was a vibrant, well loved guy on the music scene w/ a completely genuine exhuberance towards art & music. his demeanor obviously shroued a complex inner life which led to suicide. what jason’s feelings were towards his own human existence we may never know but we do know he will be missed by many as a companion. sonic youth wanted to make some gesture towards him as well as focus on suicide prevention. proceeds from this cd will help fund the san francisco suicide prevention hotline (415-781-0500). a note on the music: silver sessions were taken from an evening when sy had to do vocal overdubs for a thousand leaves — the band upstairs was hammering out some funky metal overdrive and we couldn’t “sing” properly (?!) — we decided to fight fire with molten lava and turned every amp we owned on to 10+ and leaned as many guitars and basses we could plug in against them and they roared/HOWLED like airplanes burning over the pacific — we could only enter the playing room with hands pressed hard against our ears and even then it was physically stunning — we ran a sick outmoded beatbox through the p.a. and it blew out horrendous distorted pulsations. Of course we recorded the whole thing and a few months later we mixed it down into sections, ultra-processing it to a wholly other “piece” — in a way, it’s my favorite record of ours — I hope jason digs it.— keep on keep on keep on — thurston/sonic youth/nyc 1998.”