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R.E.M.'s debut is getting expanded, but is it getting better?

R.E.M. Remasters, Expands Murmur For November Release

I've been waiting for the Deluxe Re-issue announcements to start pouring in for Christmas 2008.  Of course if you watch TV or read the news, you're probably under the impression that Christmas has been canceled this year.  You lot isn't going to buy anything, so why bother celebrating?

Anyway, I've been waiting for an announcement from Camp Springsteen that a 30th Anniversary Darkness On The Edge of Town would be released.  That looks very unlikely.  Instead, we have a 25th anniversary Murmur being released November 25.

Disc 1 is the album, remastered.  I'm crossing my fingers that the remaster has been done by somebody other than Jacknife Lee on a Pogo Stick or one of these other assclowns who thinks remastering is code for jack up the volume.  I'm not optimistic, though.  It seems every remaster gets louder and more compressed.  I've looked for information about who did the remaster but so far have come up empty.  We'll keep an eye on this.

The treasure of this set, the only reason anyone is going to buy it, is the second disc.  Disc 2 is a 16-track performance from Larry's Hideaway in Toronto from the Murmur tour.  In addition to most of Murmur being played, we get early performances of songs that would later surface on Reckoning and Life's Rich Pageant. There are a couple songs from Chronic Town and a Velvet Underground cover.  This second disc has the potential to be a real gem of a historical audio document for R.E.M. obsessives.  I can't wait to hear it.

Now, let's bring out Debbie Downer, as 11 calls her.  The Larry's set was 20 songs the night it was played, meaning 4 have been trimmed and "Wolves, Lower," "Moral Kiosk," and "Pretty Persuasion" among them.  That is fucking criminal.  Shenanigans.  The reason the four songs were cut is that, presumably, the show went something on the order of 80+ minutes, more than a conventional CD can hold.  Of course, Disc 1 had plenty of room for the first 4-5 songs.  They could have given us the full show.  They should have given us the full show.  Shenanigans!

This is still likely a recommended purchase, but it could have been a whole lot more.


Disc 2 (Live at Larry's Hideaway):


01. Laughing
02. Pilgrimage
03. There She Goes Again
04. 7 Chinese Bros.
05. Talk About the Passion
06. Sitting Still
07. Harborcoat
08. Catapult
09. Gardening at Night
10. 9-9
11. Just a Touch
12. West of the Fields
13. Radio Free Europe
14. We Walk
15. 1,000,000
16. Carnival of Sorts (Box Cars)

Larry's Full Set List:
01. Wolves, Lower
02. Moral Kiosk
03. Laughing
04. Pilgrimage
05. Moon River
06. There She Goes Again
07. 7 Chinese Brothers
08. Talk About the Passion
09. Sitting Still
10. Harborcoat
11. Catapult
12. Pretty Persuasion
13. Gardening at Night
14. 9-9
15. Just a Touch
16. West of the Fields
17. Radio Free Europe
18. We Walk
19. 1,000,000
20. Carnival of Sorts

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