This week’s new reissues (label, release date), ratings, 1-5 stars, follow:
The Rolling Stones: Made In The Shade (Virgin, April 5, 2005) ***
The Rolling Stones: Sucking In The 70’s (Virgin, April 5, 2005) ***
Stiff Little Fingers: Go for It [Bonus Tracks] (Restless, April 5, 2005) ****
Brandy: Best of Brandy (Rhino, April 5, 2005) ***
Fairly slim pickin’s in re-issue land this week; the most noteworthy releases include a pair of redundant Rolling Stones compilations, a useful reissue-with-bonus-cuts from seminal Belfast punk group Stiff Little Fingers, and a brand-new Brandy compilation.
The Rolling Stones: Made In The Shade
Originally released in 1975, this was a stopgap release while the Stones changed guitarists; as such, one can consider this as a best of the Mick Taylor years compilation. Taken that way, this is a handy overview. Taken any other way, it is utterly useless. It collects all but one of their hits of the era, including “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” (both available on the Hot Rocks 1964-1971 compilation), “Happy” and “Tumblin’ Dice” (from Exile On Main Street), “Angie” and “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)” from Goat’s Head Soup, and “It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll (But I Like It)”. Missing is the Temptations cover “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”. Mick Taylor was a Rolling Stone for four studio albums (plus the live Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out, not represented here) The first two are essential in their own right, Sticky Fingers and Exile. The later two albums are not among the Stones’ best work, but those seeking only the hits can find them in better packages than this one.
The Rolling Stones: Sucking In The Seventies
The Stones didn’t exactly suck in the 70’s, but they were a lot more hit-and-miss than they were during their classic period. This compilation, originally released in 1981, is a rather strange overview of the era. It goes back as far as 1974, including “Time Waits for No One” and extends through Emotional Rescue (1980). It’s not a greatest hits collection, missing such hits as “Miss You”, “Emotional Rescue” and “She’s So Cold”. The programming jumps all over the place. It is the only place to get the live “When The Whip Comes Down” and the disco outtakes “Everything Is Turning To Gold” and “If I was A Dancer (Dance Part 2)”, which is a continuation of an Emotional Rescue cut. It had the reputation as something of a rip-off when it came out; in retrospect it is a fairly interesting, if bumpy, overview of the era. Those looking for the hits should stick to Rewind or 40 Licks. Hardcore completists will have to shell out the dough, but that’s the price collectors pay.
Stiff Little Fingers: Go For It [Bonus Tracks]
Stiff Little Fingers, from Belfast, combined harcore punk with a reggae beat, earning them comparisons with The Clash, which was a mixed blessing. While there were some similarities in sound, Stiff Little Fingers never had the complexity and variety the Clash achieved; they were, essentially, just an excellent punk group. Their classic period extended over four albums, from 1979-1981; Go For It, their fourth album, came out in 1981. “Silver Lining” and “Just Fade Away” were hits in England, and many fans consider this ambitious album their best; the album opener, “Roots Radicals Rockers and Reggae” stands as a statement of purpose. The reissue sounds good, and adds a few goodies, including a live “Doesn’t Make It Alright” (the B-side to “Just Fade Away”), “Back To Front” (a single from 1980), and an interview.
Brandy: Best Of Brandy
All of 26 years old now, this 11-year veteran of recording has earned her very first best-of. Surprisingly, this album’s track selection gives an impression that Brandy is an artist in terrific decline; no less than 10 of the 18 tracks come from her 1994 debut and four come from the follow-up, leaving a mere two tracks apiece from her two most recent releases. Still, it includes all of her major hits, and digs up an obscure cover of Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You”. As an R&B performer, Brandy’s talents are adequate, but not especially memorable, making this a handy way to get the hits without having to shell out for her four albums.
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