More perfect Perhacs
Just a few years ago, reissue labels (both the legit kind and the sketchy grey-area operators) could get by with simply recirculating reasonable facsimiles of sought-after recordings dubbed from vinyl sources. But lately, a greater premium is being placed on releases sourced from the the original master tapes that include loads of bonus recordings, thoroughly researched liner notes and the artists' stamp of approval.
The latest example of this new paradigm in archival reissues is Sunbeam's re-reissue of Linda Perhacs's trippy folk-psych cult classic, Parallelograms
, which trumps the Wild Places version in sound quality and bonus material. Eight extra tracks include alternate takes, two delightful demos of Chicmacum Rain
and a clip of a BBC interview from 2005, in addition to informative notes in which the former dental hygenist tells the story of how her amazing album came together. Time for an upgrade. sunbeamrecords.com.
Further evidence that even the greatest artists can be their own worst enemies when it comes to quality control can be found on the fascinating eighth instalment of Bob Dylan's ongoing Bootleg Series gathering outtakes and oddities recorded between 1998 and 2006.
While previous volumes have offered cleaned-up versions of well-known performance documents from the ancient past, the two-disc Tell Tale Signs focuses on the great recent recordings that got away. Along with some intriguing first takes and early demos of songs that are actually superior to the final album versions, there are also a few amazing "lost" tunes like Red River Shore
that will leave you wondering, much like Jim Dickinson, what could've possessed Dylan to leave it off Time Out Of Mind. bobdylan.com.
Most of the Time (Alternative Version, Oh Mercy)
The Lonesome River (With Ralph Stanley)
In the rush to celebrate all things 80s, the great rock 'n' roll holdouts of the period who refused to go disco or digital have largely been overlooked in favour of the trendier post-punk, cold wave and synth pop artisans. But thanks to Chicago's Bloodshot label, the ass-kicking work of Miami roots rocker Charlie Pickett is being made available once again.
Admittedly, not everything Pickett cut with the Eggs was pure gold, and wisely enough, the 19-track Bar Band Americanus: The Best Of Charlie Pickett anthology cherry-picks the best songs from his singles, like If This Is Love
, Can I Get My Money Back? and his scorching cover of the Flamin' Groovies' Slow Death
, along with choice selections from his fantastic Cowboy Junkie Au-Go-Go EP, and tops it off with album cuts from Route 33, The Wilderness and his tough-to-find 1982 debut, Live At The Button.
If you thought Jason Ringenberg and Alejandro Escovedo were all alone exploring the combustible mix of country and punk back in your bad hair days, you really need to check out what Pickett was putting down in Florida. Bloodshotrecords.com.