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Albums Of The Week: Wilco | Summerteeth Deluxe Edition

Demos, outtakes and live fare give the alt-roots icons' third album a shot in the arm.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: Wilco’s third album Summerteeth arrived in March 1999 to glowing reviews for its daring arrangements, lush harmonies and revealing lyrics. More than 20 years later, the Chicago-based band is expanding one of its best with hours of unreleased studio and live recordings. Summerteeth Deluxe Edition is a four-CD set that includes a Bob Ludwig 2020 remastered version of the original album (making its CD debut), along with an entire disc of unreleased studio outtakes, alternate versions and demos that chart the making of the album from songwriting demos to alternate studio arrangements to finished masters.

Summerteeth introduced many fan-favorite classic tracks that the band continues to play live today, including I’m Always In Love, A Shot In The Arm and Via Chicago. The 24 previously unreleased recordings that debut on the Deluxe Edition explore the making of the critically acclaimed album with demos No Hurry and I’ll Sing It, outtakes I’m Always In Love (Early Run Through) and Viking Dan, and alternate versions Summer Teeth (Slow Rhodes Version) and Pieholden Suite (Alternate).

The two remaining discs in the CD version of Summerteeth Deluxe Edition feature a previously unissued live show. The concert took place late in the Summerteeth tour, on Nov. 1, 1999 in Colorado at The Boulder Theatre, when the new songs had been road-tested and the band was in top form. Sourced from an uncirculated soundboard recording, it features band members Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Ken Coomer and Jay Bennett. Most of the songs on Summerteeth were performed during the show, along with several tracks from the band’s two previous records, Being There (1996) and A.M. (1995), as well as Mermaid Avenue (1999). The latter was the first in a series of albums that Wilco recorded with Billy Bragg, where the group wrote music for and sang previously unheard lyrics penned by folk icon Woody Guthrie.

A limited-edition vinyl version of Summerteeth Deluxe Edition will also be released. Limited to 6,500 copies, the five-LP set features the remastered studio album as well as the unreleased demos, alternates and outtake recordings pressed on 180-gram vinyl. However, instead of the Colorado concert included in the CD package, the LP version contains a special, exclusive performance from early 1999 titled An Unmitigated Disaster, a previously unreleased live in-store performance at Tower Records on March 11, 1999, just two days after the album was released. The 10-song set, which was broadcast on Chicago radio station WXRT-FM, highlights several tracks from Summerteeth (We’re Just Friends, How To Fight Loneliness and Can’t Stand It). This show will only be available in the LP collection. All versions of Summerteeth: Deluxe Edition are designed by original Summerteeth art director and Grammy winner Lawrence Azerrad. The iconic cover art is revisited and re-imagined with deluxe treatments, including metallic foil packaging. Additionally, a special 180-gram colored-vinyl version will also be released the same day.”