SOME STUFFS: Audio Fidelity to release two volume “Legends” CD compilation

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Steve Hoffman has released a wide range of CD remasters and compilations that have demanded his expertise, and how he’s handling a new compilation, this one a two volume series in cooperation with Time-Life Music. Called Legends, one volume is called Crank It Up while the other is called Get It On, bringing together 34 of some of the best classic rock ever made, most of which were radio staples back then, as they are now.

A few of these tracks have been remastered by Hoffman before while others are brand new to the scene. The compilations feature music from the likes of Chicago Transit Authority, Grateful Dead, Foghat, Elton John, The Doobie Brothers, Phil Collins, Alice Cooper, Bad Company, T. Rex, Deep Purple, and many more. If you haven’t bought the full album remasters Hoffman has gone recently for some artists, consider these tracks a preview of what you’re missing out on.

Each album will be released on a hybrid SACD, which means they’ll play on standard CD players as they will on Super Audio CD players. All of these were taken from the original master tapes, which means they may be the best you’ll ever hear these songs. Both volumes will hit stores on June 4th.

SOME STUFFS: Audio Fidelity to release audiophile Deep Purple 4CD box set

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Audio Fidelity has always been about quality remasters, and for the first time in their history, they’re releasing a box set, in this case 4CD box set honoring the music of Deep Purple. Deep Purple: The Audio Fidelity Collection looks at four albums from the Ian Gillan period of the band, highlighting the biggest albums in their 45 year career.

1970’s Deep Purple In Rock was the start of what is known as the Mach II lineup of Deep Purple, which was Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Ian Gillan, and Roger Glover, with Glover and Gillan being the two new additions to the group. The album would help spark the worldwide craze for the band with such songs as “Into The Fire”, “Child In Time”, and “Speed King”.

1971’s Fireball came out in two different ways, with the North American and Japanese pressings featuring “Strange Kind of Woman”, which was not on the original UK version. The Audio Fidelity remaster caters to the U.S./Japanese edition. The album also contained “Anyone’s Daughter”, “The Mule”, and the title track.

1972’s Machine Head is the one everyone knows. The band’s sixth album ended up doing wonders for the group from the moment it was released, and every song on it receives massive classic rock radio airplay to this day. “Smoke On The Water”, “Highway Star”, “Space Truckin'”, “Lazy”… you know (or should know) this album by heart.

Following the success of Machine Head, the band released Who Do We Think We Are in 1973, which would be the last album under the Mach II lineup. The album is known for featuring the hit song “Woman from Tokyo”, but also features such favorites as “Smooth Dancer”, “Place In Line”, and “Super Trouper”. The album reached the Top 5 around the world, while getting as high as #15 on Billboard‘s Pop album chart.

Each of these Deep Purple 24K gold CD’s were remastered by Steve Hoffman, and individually they are out of print. This box set will be the last time these discs will be made available before they are retired for good. While it would have been cool for Audio Fidelity to have included the Live album they released a few years ago, taken from a performance the band did live on the BBC, the disc is still available in places like Amazon and CD Universe. The CD’s will be packaged in an embossed metallica box, each one with its own limited edition number, all being packaged as they were originally sold. Suggested retail pride for the box will be around $130, but you maybe able to find them at lower prices if you look around a bit. The box will be perfect for the classic rock fan in your family/on your friend’s list.
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REVIEW: “Re-Machined: A Tribute To Deep Purple’s Machine Head”

Photobucket There was a time when I was obsessed with tribute albums. Didn’t matter if it was Sonny Bono, Love, The Damned, Alice Cooper, R.E.M., Captain Beefheart, The Outsiders, The Troggs, Leonard Cohen and I can go on and on and on, I loved them because it was one way to not only hear new interpretations of songs, but a way to hear your favorite artists covering a song that may or may not have been one of their own influences. For awhile, it seemed Sonic Youth was everywhere. Marking the 40th anniversary of Deep Purple’s Machine Head, Re-Machined<: A Tribute To Deep Purple's Machine Head (Eagle Rock Entertainment) is a way to revive the greatness of that album by having a number of artists record it, song by song.

Since “Smoke On The Water” became the big FM radio hit, the song is covered here twice, first by Carlos Santana & Jacoby Shaddix. Santana’s guitar work is still top notch while Shaddix does the song respectively. Sammy Hagar: say what you want but regardless if its his own band, joining a group that needs a replacement, or hooking up on a new project, he remains one of the best rock vocalists of all time. He gets to do what he does best with Chickenfoot as they take on “Highway Star” in a live setting and make the crowd literally piss on themselves from the excitement.

Glenn Hughes & Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith handle “Maybe I’m A Leo”, Black Label Society punch up “Pictures Of Home” with grace, while Kings Of Grace get “Never Before” into a bluesy Bryan Adams-type motif. Flipping to side two…

The second cover of “Smoke On The Water” is handled by Flaming Lips, and if you know what these guys have been capable of doing for almost 30 years, then you know that you must expect the unexpected. Wayne Coyne and crew flip the song into an mushroom-tinged political manifesto, complete with thick and fat Moog’s and… this would be that record you’d find in the back of a used record store, praised not by the owners but mold and ring wear.

The wicked “Lazy” is turned up to 11 when given into the hands of Jimmy Barnes & Joe Bonamassa, and the late Jom Lord would be extremely proud by the B-3 solo that dominates this version.

Iron Maiden offers up the album’s proper ending with their cover of “Space Truckin'”, and hearing Bruce Dickinson singing this definitely takes the song back home to the grittiness of England, where it originated.

Then things get interesting. When I had heard Metallica were offered a chance to cover a song, I actually thought “watch them do the B-side that was recorded during the Machine Head sessions”, and they did. “When A Blind Man Cries” had always been a song some fans found difficult to find, especially Americans. It was the N-side to “Never Before”, released as a single in the UK and other European countries, but U.S. radio had taken to “Smoke On The Water”, “Highway Star”, “Lazy”, and “Space Truckin'”. James Hetfield becomes a sweet balladeer in the song’s first half before he, Kirk Hammett, Rob Trujillo and Lars Ulrich deliver the crunch that fans have loved for 30 years. As shown in the Cliff ‘Em All home video, Metallica have been Deep Purple fans since the beginning so hearing them do this (and expecting for them to do the non-LP track many still have never heard) is a treat.

The album ends with another cover of “Highway Star”, this time the team of Glenn Hughes and Chad Smith returning with guitarist Steve Vai who, I have to say, is just fucking wicked when he honors Ritchie Blackmore with his solo. I also want to say that I’m glad that he wasn’t given the task to do “Smoke On The Water”, because while everyone knows of his origins with Frank Zappa, it would have been too appropriate for him to play in the song that features the line “Frank Zappa and The Mothers”. Yet when it’s his time to do the solo in “Highway Star”, the former “stunt” guitarist flies into space (as many fans did when Machine Head came out) until the right moment.

While there are a few covers on this that could’ve been better, I still feel Re-Machined was organized properly and executed in fine fashion. Having name artists also helps give this a push, making this more than a casual tribute CD attached to a copy of Mojo magazine. I’m also glad that the producers behind this album didn’t go overboard by asking artists who would have messed up the integrity of this recording, although I’m someone who generally doesn’t mind that but this is a record that means something to hard rock and heavy metal, along with generations of guitarists, singers, bassists, drummers, and organists who made this one of their personal favorites. The twists from Metallica and Flaming Lips are great, and Iron Maiden ending with a bit of pride for the United Kingdom seems only right.

SOME STUFFS: Flying Colors are off themselves with debut album

Flying Colors is a bold name for a band, but so is the reason they’re together. Well, outside of wanting to play, the members of Flying Colors come from bands you may already be familiar with:

Steve Morse (Deep Purple)
Michael Portnoy (Dream Theater)
Casey McPherson (Alpha Rev)

Along with Neal Morse and Dave LaRue, this is Flying Colors, and it’s the first project Portnoy has worked on after his departure from Dream Theater. You can find out what they sound like, as their debut album was released today on Music Theories/Mascot Label Group/MRI. Are they going to be one of the best supergroup’s of the 10’s? Find out for yourself.