In 1995, Oasis ruled the world thanks to their second album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? It was one of the best records of the decade, and the perfect remedy for music lovers weary of the post-grunge hangover. When the band reached their 20th anniversary, Big Brother Recordings began reissuing their albums in a variety of deluxe packages. Their debut Definitely Maybe received the treatment last May, and now we have (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? If you remember this one as fondly as I do, it is a must.
There are actually four Big Brother Recordings versions to choose from. The Super Deluxe Box Set is one of those major-league packages that come out this time of year, and it is pretty spectacular. The oddball items are the ones that really caught my attention. In the glory days of the record business, all sorts of strange promo items were sent out by publicists to generate interest. For the song “Roll With It,“ some lucky folks in radio and retail were sent special Oasis “Roll With It” cigarette rolling papers, and a replica of them are included here. Another replicated item is of the original advance promotional cassette, which included the song “Step Out.” That song was later removed, and never made the final cut of the album.
The box also includes some vinyl, including a copy of a promo-only 12-inch single featuring “Cum on Feel the Noize” b/w “Champagne Supernova (Lynch Mob Beats Remix).“ The seven-inch single of “Hello” (demo) b/w “She’s Electric (demo) is exclusive to the set. Also included is a double 180-gram vinyl copy of the album. With vinyl and cassette covered, all that remains are compact discs, and we get three. The first is a remastered version of the album, plus two discs of live, demo, and B-side material. While listening to all of this, the lucky customer can browse the 56-page coffee table book, as well as a set of postcards and a 12” x 12” print of the cover art.
If the Super Deluxe Box Set is a little above your pay grade, the alternatives are not bad at all. As the music press never tires of telling us, vinyl is back. I would call that a definite maybe, but just about all of the major reissues are coming out on 180-gram vinyl these days. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? is no exception, and it also includes a digital download of all the bonus material. There is a standard CD edition with digital download included as well.
Of the four versions though, I think that the Special Edition triple-CD set will be the one that most fans will opt for. The price is very reasonable, and it includes a lot of cool stuff. The three-CDs come in a digi-book with lyrics, pictures, and liner notes. The notes are especially useful for the two discs of rarities, which add up to 28 additional tracks.
Disc one features a remastered edition of the original album, and it sounds as great as ever. The battling Gallagher brothers really seized the moment with this one, and it remains an all-time favorite of mine. The only problem is that I have listened to it so many times over the years that I know practically every note by heart. It is their finest moment by far, at least for this fan.
Disc two is B-sides and extra tracks. A cynic might call this all the crap that did not make the cut, and I suppose that is partially true. But Oasis were at their peak during this time, and their leftovers are pretty damned good. “Step Out” and “Cum on Feel the Noize” have already been mentioned as part of the Super Deluxe package, and they are included here. What really caught my attention though is a song that was originally the B-side to “Wonderwall,” titled “The Masterplan.” Another really cool extra is their version of “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” by The Beatles. The full-length 4:32 version of “The Swamp Song” is here also. I understand why this instrumental did not really fit the album, but it is nice to have here.
Disc three contains unreleased demos and live recordings, and is probably my favorite of the three. I never had the chance to see these guys live, so maybe that is part of it, but they sound like a phenomenal band on stage. “Some Might Say” is killer, as are “Roll With It” and “Morning Glory.” All were recorded at the Roskilde Festival in June 1995, and captured the group at the peak of their powers.
At this point, Oasis were probably the biggest band in the world, and everyone handles that type of success in their own way. Whatever one thinks about them after (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the album itself cannot be denied. I think Big Brother Recordings did a marvelous job with the reissue. Then again, how could they miss with music this good.
It would be fun to have Oasis rolling papers and all of that, but it is the unreleased music on the second and third discs of the set that makes this one worthwhile for me. It seems that the record industry’s bread and butter these days are reissues of one form or another. Believe the hype, Big Brother Recordings got it right with this one.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00LCT48TC]