Previewing new releases from Pam Tillis, the Replacements, and more.
On her debut album for Sony's Lucky Dog label, "It's All Relative -- Tillis Sings Tillis," Pam Tillis is carrying on the family tradition. For this tribute to her legendary father, Mel, Tillis puts her own creative stamp on some of his best-loved classics as well as reviving lesser-known gems from his catalog.
Tillis enlisted participation from family, friends, and musical heroes for this labor of love. Asleep At The Wheel's towering frontman Ray Benson co-produced four tracks with Tillis in Austin (she produced the rest solo), and "It's All Relative" features guest appearances from Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, who lends her vocals to "The Violet and a Rose," which also features Marty Stuart on mandolin.
Tillis also covered "So Wrong," a Mel Tillis song recorded by Patsy Cline. The Jordanaires, who sang on Cline's recording, appear on this new version as well. Trisha Yearwood and Rhonda Vincent contribute vocals to "Honey (Open That Door)," while "Dad and the whole family sang on 'Come On and Sing,'" she says. "The whole album is a real family affair."
The artist admits it was daunting to record songs previously cut by Cline, her dad, Ray Price, and other legends. "How do you do something that Ray Price and Dad sang?" she says of "Burning Memories." "It was scary to do something like that and the one that Patsy Cline had done. You can't beat those versions, but you just try to sing it with all the feeling and passion that you have."
After a series of delays, the first four albums by Minneapolis rock legends the Replacements will finally be reissued this week through Restless Records and Rykodisc. Originally released by Minneapolis independent label Twin/Tone, the new CD pressings of 1981's "Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out the Trash," 1982's "Stink," 1983's "Hootenany," and 1984's "Let It Be" were digitally remastered by noted engineer Greg Calbi with frontman Paul Westerberg's approval.
Although the reissues -- which were originally slated for release in July 2001 but inexplicably delayed -- house no bonus material or additional artwork, they do chronicle the Replacements' steadfast gestation from punk upstarts to rock'n'roll heroes. "Sorry Ma..." and the "Stink" EP -- recorded simultaneously but released a year apart -- possess the raw energy that would define the band's live shows throughout its 10-year run, while "Hootenany" captures the group reaching outside the confines of punk.
Westerberg, bassist Tommy Stinson, drummer Chris Mars, and lead guitarist Bob Stinson had found the perfect blend of snotty energy and melodic beauty by the October 1984 release of "Let It Be." The set was the Replacements fourth and final album before exiting Twin/Tone for Warner Bros. subsidiary Sire and is regarded by most fans and critics as the band's artistic peak.
Twin/Tone co-founder Peter Jesperson -- who currently runs Los Angeles-based New West Records -- reportedly has more than 70 hours of rarities that he hopes to use in the future for a comprehensive Replacements box set. Potential material for that project includes the band's 1980 demo tape and outtakes from all four of the Twin/Tone discs, including "Let It Be"-era tunes such as "Who's Gonna Take Us Alive" and "Temptation Eyes."
Additional titles hitting stores this week include:
-- Eagle Rock/WHV's Janet Jackson DVD "Live in Hawaii," culled from a prior HBO special of the same name.
-- A live set from hard rock act Cradle Of Filth, "Live Bait for the Dead" (Snapper).
-- The debut album from U.K. rock act Sing-Sing, "The Joy Of..." (Manifesto), featuring former Lush vocalist Emma Anderson.
-- Derek Trucks Band's "Joyful Noise" (Columbia).
-- Veteran U.K. electronic music outfit Nightmares On Wax's "Mind Elevation" (Warp).
-- Singer/songwriter Alice Peacock's self-titled Columbia debut.