New music releases for Tuesday, August 11: How To Speak Hip and other discerning advice.

[image-1]Fanny - Rock 'n Roll Survivors


The first re-issue of this classic 1974 album by the pioneers of female rock, often quoted as the original ''godmothers of chick rock." Rock 'n Roll Survivors was originally released in 1974 on Casablanca Records and was to be the band's final album. This is the first time the album has been made available on CD., a re-issue that features all the tracks from the original album, the original artwork, and a CD booklet with sleeve notes and full discography. It can't be underestimated how important this band is in rock music history. Their reputation was as musicians first and women second. This album was made without two of the original members, June Millington and Alice de Buhr, who'd moved on and were replaced by Brie Howard and Suzi Quatro's sister Patti. In a 1999 interview, David Bowie stated, "One of the most important female bands in American rock has been buried without a trace. And that is Fanny. They were one of the finest...rock bands of their time, in about 1973. They were extraordinary... they're as important as anybody else who's ever been, ever, it just wasn't their time."


Fat Mattress - Fat Mattress


Recorded in 1969, Fat Mattress was the eponymous debut album by the band formed by Jimi Hendrix Experience bass guitarist Noel Redding. Recorded in late 1968 through early 1969, the album evoked the influences of the time, touching upon styles pioneered by groups such as Traffic (whose member Chris Wood guested on the record). This re-issue has eight bonus tracks comprising non-album singles, mono mixes, studio out-takes and an unreleased solo single by Fat Mattress’ Jim Leverton.


Fat Mattress - Fat Mattress II


Recorded in late 1969, Fat Mattress II followed the style of the band’s debut. Issued in 1970, the album failed to get the attention it deserved at the time of release but has subsequently been hailed as a classic of the era. This re-issue has six bonus tracks taken from the unreleased third Fat Mattress album.


Hawkwind - Chronicle Of The Black Sword


The conceptual album Chronicle Of The Black Sword (based on Michael Moorcock’s Elric books) was recorded in 1985 and was arguably one of Hawkwind’s finest albums of later years. Deleted for many years, this re-issue has been remastered from the original tapes and includes the bonus track “Arioch,” along with all four tracks from 1984’s Earth Ritual EP.


[image-2]Metros - The Sweetest One (on Dusty Groove)


One of the greatest Northern Soul albums ever and filled with songs that have been burning up dancefloors for years! The vocals are incredible -- soaring harmonies that hold together perfectly, even when the grooves are hard and heavy. The instrumentation is great too -- handled by the Pied Piper team, who were kind of a Motown offshoot that featured Jack Ashford on vibes and percussion, Dave Hamilton and Ray Monette on guitar and Joe Hunter on piano. Hunter and Ashford handled the arrangements with a pitch-perfect sound that's completely sublime -- sweet and grooving at the same time -- and put together with the same kind of care you'd find at Motown, but with all the harder-edge qualities that made indie works from Detroit so great. Every cut is a winner, and the set is the only full album ever done by the group.


Willie Nelson - Lost Highway


Lost Highway covers nearly a decade's worth of music from over 12 albums, including three previously unreleased gems. Encompassing a broad spectrum of musical styles, Lost Highway features an amazing roster of collaborating artists while showcasing Willie's songwriting as well as his ability to take classic songs and truly make them his own. Artists featured on this compilation include: Rob Thomas, Lee Ann Womack, Ray Price, Lucinda Williams, Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, Merle Haggard and Shania Twain.


Robert Pollard - Elephant Jokes


Latest solo album from the prolific singer/songwriter and former leader of Guided By Voices. A clutch of these songs started out live in the studio with Mr. Pollard on guitar. All the secret ingredients go into the mix -- even Mr. P's brother, the estimable outside shooter Jimmy Pollard, returns to tweak a few knobs -- and the result is music that comes alive with that Dayton grit. Check out the needling, obsessive riff on the intro to ''When a Man Walks Away'' or the distortion-drenched start of ''Epic Heads'' where one can just about smell the heat rise from the solid state circuit.



The Reigning Sound - Love And Curses


New album. You really don't need me to tell you anything more.


[image-3]Sagittarius - Present Tense


Remastered version of the original 1968 release, Present Tense features a whole raft of single mixes (so radically different), out-takes and demos. Virtually a collaboration between Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher, both in their own right near-geniuses of pop-psych, the album also features a plethora of stars and strange bedfellows, from The Firesign Theatre to The Millennium, from Glen Campbell to The Wrecking Crew, from Beach Boy Bruce Johnston to future Bread man Jimmy Griffin.


Various Artists - Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm 6xCD


A 77-song, 6-CD boxed set that features the most comprehensive collection ever available of artists who performed at the original festival, sequenced in chronological order of performance, and featuring 38 previously unreleased recordings including The Grateful Dead, The Who, Tim Hardin, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe & The Fish, and others.


Vinyl:


Willie Nelson - Lost Highway


See above.


The Nerves - One Way Ticket (on purple wax)


Formed in 1975 by guitarist Jack Lee, bassist Peter Case, and drummer Paul Collins (NO relation to Phil!), The Nerves are one of the most influential garage/punk pop outfits to come out of the mid-70's LA scene, and certainly one of the least documented. Here's a video performing what was their original version of the Blondie hit, "Hanging on the Telephone".



Pisces - A Lovely Sight LP+7” (on Numero)


Combines homespun psych and secondhand studio trickery, resulting in a diverse, haunted rock headspace. Now available on vinyl. First 1000 copies include bonus 7”.


Robert Pollard - Elephant Jokes


See above.

Recommended New Releases for August 11, 2009

We're doing something a little different and recommending some of what we consider to be the better and/or more unusual new music you'll find at Vinyl Fever this week.

Del Close & John Brent - How To Speak Hip

I'd been on the hunt for this record ever since hearing "Basic Hip" on The Beat Generation box set that Rhino put out 20 or so years ago. Finally found one on eBay last year for a mere $80 only to have Vinyl Feverite Gabe E. tell me, "I think I have that." And he generously gave it to me!

Timeless while still very much of its time, this brilliant disc both satirized and cashed in on the “How To…” and “Teach Yourself…” album craze that hit America in the late 1950’s, combining some great “knowing” humor with a couple of fantastic characters and concepts.  John Belushi called Del Close "My biggest influence in comedy"

Del Close plays the "square" instructor who relies on the guidance of a Mr. Geetz Romo, beatnik. Here's a clip: "Ladies and gentlemen ... each hip word or phrase carries with it an implication of the speaker's background and involvement in hip society. In other words the phrase, 'I dig' not only means 'I understand,' but 'I am a special sort of person who understands in a very special way.' In other words saying, 'I am hip.'"

The CD even comes on with a "mini-book," the "Hip Manual," which came with the original 1959 side. It's a ball, and nutty to imagine that this album is FIFTY years old!

Fall in — here's a stream.

Some other recommended CD releases of this week:

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