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    Vinyl Releases of the Week: April 4, 2012

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    There are some serious must-have reissues this week for both Madonna fans and Smiths fans, not to mention exciting live releases from Rush, Iron Maiden, and Portishead.

    Rush ABC 1974 (Rock Classics Import)
    The legendary Canadian prog-rocker’s first American radio broadcast featuring their (often bootlegged) August 1974 performance at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio. It is also Rush’s first recorded performance with Neil Peart on drums and contains the early, unreleased tracks “Fancy Dancer” and “Garden Road” in addition to songs from the band’s self-titled debut album, two early versions of songs from Fly by Night, and a cover of Larry Williams’ 1950s rocker “Bad Boy.” Imported double LP.

    Iron MaidenEn Vivo! (PID Import)
    Double vinyl pressing of Iron Maiden’s new live album, recorded in front of 50,000 fans at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile during the British heavy metal band’s 2011 Final Frontier World Tour. What’s especially great about this album (and surely redeeming for the band) is the way fans respond to new material from The Final Frontier album as enthusiastically as they do to Iron Maiden’s cult classics (“The Number of the Beast,” “2 Minutes to Midnight,” “The Trooper,” “Hallowed Be Thy Name”).

    Madonna Madonna, Like a Virgin, True Blue, Like a Prayer, Erotica (Warner Bros UK Import)
    Limited vinyl reissues of Madonna’s first five albums: her 1983 debut, Madonna (“Lucky Star,” “Holiday,” “Borderline”); 1984’s Like a Virgin (“Material Girl,” “Dress You Up,” “Like a Virgin”); 1986’s True Blue (“Papa Don’t Preach,” “Open Your Heart,” “Live to Tell”); 1989’s Like a Prayer (“Express Yourself,” “Cherish,” “Like A Prayer”); and 1992’s Erotica (“Rain,” “Erotica,” “Deeper and Deeper”).

    The SmithsThe Smiths, Meat Is Murder, The Queen Is Dead, Strangeways, Here We Come, Hatful of Hollow, Louder Than Bombs, The World Won’t Listen, Rank (Warner Bros UK Import)
    UK vinyl reissues of the Smiths’ four studio albums (1984’s The Smiths; 1985’s Meat Is Murder; 1986’s The Queen Is Dead; and 1987’s Strangeways, Here We Come) plus four Smiths compilations: 1984’s Hatful of Hollow, a collection of singles and rarities, several of which are BBC versions of songs from the band’s self-titled debut; 1987’s Louder Than Bombs, a double LP collection of singles, B-sides, album tracks, and BBC sessions assembled for the American market; its UK counterpart, The World Won’t Listen; and the 1988 live album Rank, recorded at the National Ballroom in London in the fall of 1986.

    Portishead Roseland NYC Live (Music on Vinyl Import)
    Double 180-gram vinyl pressing of this exquisite 1998 live album from the British trip-hop band, recorded with a 35-piece orchestra at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. Often these new orchestral arrangements are even more breathtaking than their album counterparts.

    Bright EyesEvery Day and Every Night, Letting Off the Happiness (Saddle Creek)
    Continuing the series of 180-gram Bright Eyes vinyl reissues, Saddle Creek brings us two oldies but goodies this week: Conor Oberst’s 1998 lo-fi sophomore album, Letting off the Happiness, featuring musical contributions from members of Neutral Milk Hotel and Of Montreal, and its follow-up 5-song EP, Every Day and Every Night, originally released in 1999. Both include a copy of the album on CD.

    Sam Cooke Mr. Soul (Music on Vinyl Import)
    For the first time in over 30 years, Music on Vinyl is re-issuing this great soul album from the King of Soul, Sam Cooke, on 180-gram audiophile vinyl with re-mastered audio. Mr. Soul is seen as the more adult counterpart of Cooke’s classic album Night Beat, both recorded in 1963.

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