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    Vinyl Releases of the Week: July 12, 2012

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    From Elvis’ triumphant mid-career return to Memphis to ’60s pop icon Scott Walker’s more recent voyage into the obscure, there are vinyl releases to suit just about any taste this week.

    The Jimi Hendrix ExperienceLive at Berkeley (Sony Legacy)
    In tandem with the Blu-Ray and DVD release of the newly expanded Jimi Plays Berkeley (a documentary film chronicling the two concerts Jimi Hendrix performed with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell at the Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970), Sony Legacy is releasing this 200-gram double vinyl LP featuring the evening’s second set in its entirety and original sequence. In addition to the more intimate setting of the venue and the rare early takes of “Straight Ahead” and “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun),” what makes this album so unique is that Hendrix didn’t tune his guitar down his usual half step, so classics like “Hey Joe,” “Foxy Lady,” and “Purple Haze” are all performed in standard tuning.

    Guns N’ Roses Use Your Illusion I and II (Universal)
    Guns N’ Roses’ twin 1991 albums, Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II, are presented as double 180-gram LPs in exact replica packaging with digital download coupons. Regarded as the more hard-rocking of the two, Use Your Illusion I features the hits “November Rain,” “Don’t Cry,” and the Wings cover “Live and Let Die,” as well as vocals from guests Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon) and Alice Cooper. Use Your Illusion II features the popular tracks “Civil War,” “You Could Be Mine,” “Estranged,” and G N’R’s hit cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

    Elvis Presley From Elvis in Memphis (Friday Music)
    Next up in Friday Music’s Elvis Presley 180-gram audiophile vinyl series is this 1969 soul and country classic presented in a first-time gatefold cover. The album finds the King returning to Memphis – at this point a soul mecca – after a 14-year absence and features some of the most captivating performances of his career including the chart smash “In the Ghetto.”

    Scott Walker The Drift (4AD)
    Double vinyl reissue of the 2006 avant-garde release from the former Walker Brother, Scott Walker. Raw, terrifying, and beautiful, this is a cult favorite and its creation (which involved the beating of raw meat as percussion) is superbly captured in the 2006 documentary film 30 Century Man.

    Yes Open Your Eyes (Sireena Records)
    First-time 180-gram vinyl pressing of this 1997 album from the prog-rock band featuring classic members Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, and Alan White, plus new keyboardist Billy Sherwood. Open Your Eyes fuses Yes’s prog-rock legacy with a strong pop songcraft, resulting in one of the group’s catchiest albums to date. Double LP in gatefold cover.

    Thin Lizzy Thin Lizzy (Light in the Attic)
    Deluxe vinyl-only reissue of the Irish rock band’s tragically overlooked self-titled 1971 debut. Thin Lizzy captures the band as a street-tough power trio – before its signature twin-guitar sound was established and songs like “The Boys Are Back in Town” became international hits – and fuses folk, hard-rock, and Celtic lore. This 180-gram vinyl pressing is presented in a gatefold jacket featuring the original album art (both the UK and US versions) and including rare archival photos, extensive liner notes, and an over-sized poster.

    Jeff Beck There and Back (Friday Music)
    First-time 180-gram vinyl pressing of this 1980 career highlight from the renowned English guitarist who Rolling Stone called “one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock.” There and Back is the final pure fusion outing from Beck’s instrumental jazz-rock fusion era.

    Blackmore’s NightA Knight in York (EMI Import)
    Limited triple vinyl import of this 2012 live album from the Renaissance-inspired folk-rock band led by legendary rock guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow). The album was recorded on September 30, 2011 at the Opera House in York, England.

    Tangerine DreamRicochet, Stratosfear (EMI Import)
    180-gram vinyl reissues of two phenomenal albums from the influential German electronic music group Tangerine Dream: the 1975 ambient live album Ricochet, whose use of pulsing rhythms foreshadowed the trance genre, and 1976’s Stratosfear, which found the band moving away from its synthesizer experiments in favor of a more melodic sound.

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