Thursday, August 13, 2009

Finally! Feelies Reissues Coming Sept. 8!

You might remember that I passed on the news that The Feelies classic first LP, Crazy Rhythms, was going to be reissued by a label called Water Records back in early 2008. To the disappointment of many, that reissue never materialized (although a worthwhile reissue of the group's third album, Only Life, appeared in its place). But good things come to those who wait, and I am very pleased to announce that The Feelies first two albums are going to be reissued by Bar-None Records with full approval of the newly reunited band.

I made an inquiry with the band's management and got the following details about the upcoming reissues.

First of all, the really important part:

Release date for both The Feelies re-issues on Bar None: September 8, 2009.

No fooling around this time, this is really happening (honest).

The albums will be reissued on both CD and LP. Bonus tracks will be download only:

Both albums will be issued in original sequence with download cards included in each package that will give purchasers access to bonus tracks as well as the original albums. The band felt that the original records functioned as discrete works on their own that should not be compromised with additional tracks not part of the original sequence, hence offering bonus tracks thusly

Crazy Rhythms CD/LP reissue track listing:
Side One:
1. The Boy With The Perpetual Nervousness
2. Fa cé-La
3. Loveless Love
4. Forces At Work
Side Two:
5. Original Love
6. Everybody's Got Something To Hide (Except Me And My Monkey)
7. Moscow Nights
8. Raised Eyebrows
9. Crazy Rhythms
*** NOTE: Their cover of "Paint It Black" was left off the reissue as per the band's request. A&M added it without the band's permission and it was a recording from the late 80s with a different line-up than what was the "Crazy Rhythms" line-up.

Crazy Rhythms bonus tracks:
1. Fa cé-La [single version] - originally released as a 7" on Rough Trade.
2. The Boy With The Perpetual Nervousness [Carla Bley demo version]
3. Moscow Nights [Carla Bley demo version]
4. Crazy Rhythms [Live] - From the 9:30 Club (Washington D.C.), recorded March 14, 2009.
5. I Wanna Sleep In Your Arms [Live] - From the 9:30 Club (Washington D.C.), recorded March 14, 2009. Modern Lovers cover.

The Good Earth CD/LP reissue track listing:
Side One:
1. On The Roof
2. The High Road
3. The Last Roundup
4. Slipping (Into Something)
5. When Company Comes
Side Two:
6. Let's Go
7. Two Rooms
8. The Good Earth
9. Tomorrow Today
10. Slow Down

The Good Earth bonus tracks.
1. She Said, She Said - originally on the "No One Knows" vinyl EP on Coyote Records through Twin/Tone Records (US). Beatles cover.
2. Sedan Delivery - originally on the "No One Knows" vinyl EP on Coyote Records through Twin/Tone Records (US). Neil Young cover.
3. Slipping (Into Something) [Live] - From the 9:30 Club (Washington D.C.), recorded March 14, 2009.

Download cards will be included in each respective CD & LP reissue. The full album + bonus tracks will be included on each. Domino will be the hosting site for the downloads as they have the rights to the albums outside the U.S. & Canada.

I have heard some grumbling about the fact that the bonus tracks will not be included with the physical packages, but I agree with the band's decision. The Feelies have always had their own way of doing things, whether it was only playing holiday and weekend gigs in the early years, taking 6 years before releasing their sophomore album, or refusing to sell t-shirts ("because a t-shirt is something you wear under a shirt"). The band is very sincere about not wanting bonus tracks to interfere with the artistic integrity of the albums. Some might find it pretentious, but the band really thinks of their albums as complete artistic statements (and having listened to these albums hundreds of times over the past decades, I happen to agree). The Feelies probably consider offering bonus tracks as downloads a pretty big artistic compromise.

Personally, I have always found The Feelies' absolute commitment to their artistic vision (even if it meant less money) refreshing, and inseparable from the their overall appeal. If this is the way they want to present their work to the public after it's been out-of-print for so long, I respect that absolutely. Just because there is space on a CD for bonus tracks doesn't mean they belong there, and these albums really do work best as cohesive entities, or "discrete works," if you prefer. Just because it sounds pretentious to say so, doesn't mean it isn't also true. I also agree that "Paint It Black" was best left off
Crazy Rhythms altogether. It never made any sense to include a track recorded so much later by a different line up. I always strongly suspected that A&M tacked the track onto the album without approval from the band, and we now have confirmation that was the case.

I also got a few details on the vinyl pressings:

Bar/None's LP reissues were mastered by Andy VanDette at Masterdisk in NYC
Pressings will be handled by Rainbo Records and will be 180 gram

Now for a little bit of bad news:

Original tapes were unfortunately not found. Andreas Meyer from Tangerine Mastering used digital files for both.

Tapes obtained from the band were used for the Fa cé-La [single version], The Boy With The Perpetual Nervousness [Carla Bley demo version] and Moscow Nights [Carla Bley demo version]. The live tracks were recorded by their live sound engineer Andy Peters.

It's disappointing to know the original analog tapes for these albums could not be located, but if mastered properly (and Masterdisk usually does a good job) they should still sound very good. Honestly, I've always felt that because of the extremely quiet and long intros, that
Crazy Rhythms was best appreciated on CD anyway (that's not something you will hear me say often by the way). I also really appreciate that the band's management was so forthcoming with information about the sources used for the reissues, as that is not always the case.

Collectors will want to keep their eyes open for a limited edition reissue of the "Fa cé-La" single:

Insound will be exclusively carrying a limited
edition 7" reissue of the original "Fa cé-La" single.
Side A:
Fa cé-La (single version)
Side B:
Raised Eyebrows (album version)

Pressing for this single will also be handled by Rainbo Records.

Steet date for the single is October 8, 2009, and it is available for
pre-order from Insound now.

All in all, this is fantastic news. Not only are two of the best albums of the 80s finally being reissued, but long-time fans can also get some interesting bonus material.

Crazy Rhythms and The Good Earth are two of my favorite albums and it is great to see that they will be available again after being unavailable for far too long. I only hope that the reissue of Crazy Rhythms does not overshadow the reissue of The Good Earth. The first album has acquired more critical cache over the years, and the band will be performing it live in its entirety at an upcoming All Tomorrow's Parties event. But perhaps because it was my introduction to the band, but I've always felt The Good Earth was the artistic equal of its more celebrated predecessor. The album has its own pastoral charm that stands as a nice counter-balance to the jumpy nervousness of the debut.