Breakfast with: Original Album Collections

Nov 2019 Breakfast with: Original Album Collections

By James Stewart

LAST MONTH, Graham Hunter told us of the pleasure and satisfaction compiling retrospective collections for RPM Records had given him.

Their policy had allowed him to go beyond the regular size sets you would expect for the artists and include one, possibly two extra discs of either rare, unissued or alternative takes that would normally have been ignored. But it’s not just compilations that go the extra mile that the parent company Cherry Red release.

One of my favourite series of theirs is the ‘Original Album Collections’ where artists have an era of their work made available within a clam-shell box, including not just the albums presented with original artwork, but many also have bonus tracks from the period, with a fully informative booklet, everything you’ve come to expect from Cherry Red.

Jazz saxophonist GROVER WASHINGTON Jr was one of the genres journeymen having successful spells at Kudu, Motown and Elektra before signing with Columbia in 1986. ‘SACRED KIND OF LOVE: THE COLUMBIA RECORDINGS’ (SMCR5186BX) is a five-disc set featuring six albums he recorded for the label between 1986 and 1996 plus four bonus tracks.

Disc One features ‘Strawberry Moon (1986)’, followed by six tracks from ‘Then And Now’ (1988) which continues into Disc Two, plus ‘Time Out Of Mind’ (1989). Disc Three contains ‘Next Exit’ (1992) and four cuts from 1994’s ‘All My Tomorrows’ which continues on Disc Four.

The final CD contains his most successful album from this era, ‘Soulful Strut’ (1996), 63 tracks in total.

THE EMOTIONS were also well established having built a strong following and reputation during their spell at Stax.However, when they joined Columbia in 1976, and began working with EW&F’s Maurice White, their fortunes soared. Three albums were released on Columbia with two more on White’s label Arc. All five of those albums plus eight bonus tracks are included in Soul Music’s 3CD set ‘DON’T ASK MY NEIGHBOURS: THE COLUMBIA/ARC RECORDINGS (1976-81)’ (SMCR5187BX).

Flowers (1976) and ‘Sunbeam’ (1978) went Gold, with 1977’s ‘Rejoice’ which features ‘Best Of My Love’ plus Arc’s ‘Come Into Our World’ (1979) and ‘New Affair’ (1981) completing the set with single edits and their monster hit with Earth, Wind & Fire ‘Boogie Wonderland’, LP and 12” versions among the bonus tracks. Another superb release.

POCO should be revered alongside Country Rock bands The Byrds, Allmans and Eagles, but due partly to constant struggles within the ever-changing line-ups, the band never seemed to catch the listeners attention in the same way as those acts. ‘THE EPIC YEARS 1972-76’ (HNEBOX121) picks up the bands career on their 5th album, ‘A Good Feelin’ To Know’ (1972) with the following years ‘Crazy Eyes’ followed by two from 1974 ‘Seven’ and ‘Cantamos’ closing with their second ‘live’ album, recorded in ’74 but released in 1976.

If you love West Coast rock with more than a touch of country, this could well be a great set to explore, five solid albums plus a handful of bonus tracks.

Finally, a bulging eight-album box set ‘THE ALBUMS’ (CDLEMBOX237) covering the full career of THE SUTHERLAND BROTHERS & QUIVER, from the brothers’ Island days as a folk duo before joining up with folk-rock band, Quiver, and moving to CBS.

Each album has a CD to itself with six having bonus tracks, from the self-titled debut, and ‘Lifeboat’ both from 1972. The bonus tracks include three that feature the brothers first recordings with Quiver, plus the non-album single ‘Sailing’.

Then, an album a year with ‘Dream Kid (1973) followed by my two favourite albums I purchased back in the day ‘Beat Of The Street’ and ‘Reach For The Sky’ which includes the hit ‘Arms Of Mary’, followed by ‘Slipstream’ and ‘Down To Earth’ before the remaining member of Quiver left the Sutherland’s to return to recording as a duo for their final album ‘When Night Comes Down’ in 1979.

Four very different great value box sets covering Jazz-Funk, Chicago Soul, West-Coast Rock and UK Folk-Rock, just a small selection from the Cherry Red family, featuring a number of albums that have either not been made available on CD or are long out of print, with the later two giving me plenty to carry on exploring.

Jim Stewart 2019