Due to the arcane anti-trust laws that nobody understands, including those that wrote the legislation in the first place, Universal Music had to divest itself of some spare record labels after their takeover of...er, "merger" with EMI Records. Universal subsequently grouped a bunch of old label imprints together under the "EMI Classics" name and sold the whole kit 'n' kaboodle to Warner Music Group earlier this year for a truckload of cash (well, a reported $765 million). Included as part of the deal were the back catalogs of the Parlophone Records and Chrysalis Records labels, minus the earlier albums by the Beatles (who originally recorded for Parlophone).
Universal's loss is our gain, as Warner Music has decided to release a couple of very cool albums of interest to blues-rock fans on their Rhino Records archival label. First up is the October 8th, 2013 release of Ten Years After's Recorded Live album. Originally released in 1973, Recorded Live found the band still riding high after the unexpected success of its A Space In Time album a couple years previous.
Recorded in early 1973 on the band's European tour, using the Rolling Stones mobile studio, Recorded Live was pieced together with performances from concerts held in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Paris. The original album's tracklist was more blues than rock, featuring covers of the Sonny Boy Williamson gem "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" and Al Kooper's "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes" as well as a brace of Alvin Lee's guitar-driven original tunes. The upcoming Rhino reissue features seven previously-unreleased performances by the band, including raucous covers of Lightnin' Hopkins' "I Woke Up This Morning" and Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen," which is more than enough reason for fans to grab up the new version of Recorded Live.
The other archival release announced by Warner Music is Robin Trower's State to State: Live Across America 1974-1980. The two-disc compilation is scheduled for October 1st, 2013 release and collects two-dozen previously-unreleased live performances from the esteemed British blues-rock guitar god. After Trower left Procol Harum after the release of that band's Broken Barricades album in 1971, the guitarist struck out on his own with Twice Removed From Yesterday, his 1973 solo debut. The following year's Bridge of Sighs proved to be Trower's commercial breakthrough, a Top Ten charting album that subsequently led to a number of successful releases like For Earth Below (1975) and Long Misty Days (1976) that propelled Trower to the pinnacle of the arena-rock mountaintop.
The two-dozen tracks collected on State to State haven't appeared on record before (not even on 1976's Robin Trower Live!) and offers up performances from various American concerts throughout the decade, including ten songs from Philadelphia and California from 1974; six songs from Illinois in 1976; three Oklahoma performances from 1977; and five songs from Missouri in 1980. Among the songs included are scorching live takes on "Bridge of Sighs," "Too Rolling Stoned," "Day of the Eagle," "Rock Me Baby," "Messin' With The Blues," and many more. State to State is certain to be a "must have" release for the hardcore Robin Trower faithful, a guitar-happy mix of rock 'n' blues and an unexpected gift just when you thought that the archives had been emptied years ago!
Photos courtesy Rhino Records