Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Soul Asylum - Welcome To The Minority Box

On August 10th Hip-O Select will re-release Soul Asylum's two A&M albums along with a CD of previously unissued live material from 1990 in a box set called Welcome To The Minority. Both Hang Time and ...And The Horse They Rode In On have been out-of-print for years now, so it is good to see this material coming back into print, even if only in a limited edition, internet only form.

I do have one major complaint about the set. It seems that the bonus material from Horse that I posted here earlier ("One Way Conversation," "Little House On The Edge" and "Village Idiot") will not be included in the set. It is a curious omission considering the promo-only material from Hang Time is included on the first disc. I sent an email to Hip-O asking about the oversight, and will let you know if I hear anything back. It's hard to imagine there is a good reason for this, but you never know. It seems like a missed opportunity to include everything in the UMG vaults that would be of interest to hardcore fans of the group. A remix of "Something Out Of Nothing" is on the Horse disc, for those who have been dying to hear that.

The third disc looks to be fairly representative of the band's live shows at the time, and includes covers of "The Tracks Of My Tears," "I Put A Spell On You," and "To Sir With Love" as well as a smattering of tracks from their indie days that were always highlights of any Soul Asylum show ("Freaks," "Closer To The Stars," "Made To Be Broken"). The live disc will no doubt be quite welcome to old-school fans of the band like myself who find the slickness of After The Flood off-putting (although you gotta love "Rhinestone Cowboy"). Soul Asylum were in my opinion one of the best live acts around during the late eighties and early nineties. (I am holding out hope that Hip-O Select will release a similar set for the Feelies, because I would love to hear a vintage live show from them as well--if you feel the same way, send Hip-O Select an email).

"James At 16 (Heavy Medley)" is a bonus track on disc one of the set, having originally been issued as a b-side to a promo only 12" for "Standing In The Doorway." It is an absolute killer medley that goes a long way toward suggesting just how much fun a Soul Asylum live show could be. Any band that can segue seamlessly from The Nuge into The Gap Band deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest of all time. I'm only leaving this track up for a couple days since it will soon be available commercially.


adam silverman said...

I know you and I have talked about how disappointing Hip-O's releases can be. It seems a strange set to release given the limited audience and pressing it will have - why not clear the vaults. Though given the state of my Hang Time vinyl I'll end up buying a copy.

What would really be nice is a comprehensive set of the Twin/Tone material. Though it wouldn't surprise me if those tapes are just missing.

Pete Bilderback said...

If they do a good job on the remastering and add good liner notes and packaging it would certainly sweeten the deal. I really don't get leaving off the Horse bonus tracks though--seems like a no brainer.

I would love to see a similar set from the Feelies. A&M released a lot of great material as promo b-sides (some of which I have featured here). I think I have all of them except for a cover of "White Light/White Heat." A Feelies live disc circa 1990 would be most welcome. Also, the Feelies A&M albums are pretty hard to find on CD these days. Actually all of them are.

jaw said...

I just heard about this today. First two things I thought about being on it were James at 16 and those three songs from the promo. Oh well.

I agree with the other two folks who posted. Why not do something like this with the Twin Tone stuff (Made To Be Broken & While You Were Out are two of my all-time faves) and a Feelies comp of the A&M stuff with all those b-sides, etc. would be great.

Scene-Stealers said...

Omitting those tracks is silly. I'll buy it anyway, but it peeves me. Here's an idea-- as much as I love those records, they are mixed like shit. (Not as bad as the Twin/Tone albums, which need re-mixing AND a sweet remastering job!) Horse needs more guitars, fuller drums and Hang Time needs less processed everything. We all loved their live act, but let's face it, they have some of the most misrepresentative-sounding albums of any band I know.


Anonymous said...

I hate to be the bringer of bad news, but it looks like the "James At 16" Medley ISN'T being released on the set now. According to the site (I have it open right now in another browser), the Hang Time disc is now only 15 tracks-the 13 already on the orginial cd plut "Just Plain Evil" & "It's Not My Fault". They removed it! Boy, this set gets more incomplete everyday!

Pete Bilderback said...

Hmmm. That is very strange, especially since the track was listed up until the release date. Maybe it is on there as a hidden bonus track? I'll look into it. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

I got the James at 16 twelve inch. Dave Pirner handed to me when I saw them on the Hang Time tour. The band walked throug the club and handed them out to everyone there, about 50 of us who braved a huge ass Cleveland blizzard to see them play. As i remember, they were fucking awesome.

Pete Bilderback said...

I finally picked this up and it is a disappointment. The live disc is great, but the remastered sound of Hang Time and Horse is terrible. This is another case of a remaster being compressed to death. The sound is very dull and lacking in impact compared to the original CDs. Add to that the "missing" bonus tracks and his was a missed opportunity all around.