Each month we handpick a collection of reissues, limited editions or just straight classic long-players that deserve a place in any record collection.
Words | Paul Jones, Amy Flower and Zoë Radas
JB HI-FI AU EXCLUSIVE TRANSLUCENT BLUE/CLEAR VINYL
The must-have staples for most vinyl collections generally include a copy of Zeppelin IV, Sgt. Pepper’s, The Dark Side of the Moon, Thriller, and a solid entry from Ol’ Blue Eyes. And that’s exactly what we have here on this cracking vinyl reissue.
This compilation was originally released in 2008 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Francis Albert Sinatra’s passing, and is predominantly comprised of songs recorded on his own label, Reprise Records, during the ‘60s. The double album features 22 tracks; most, if not all, are recognisable even if you’re not overly familiar with Sinatra’s work, such was his success as a singer and the ubiquity of this material. As an entry point – or a singular essential for the collection – this is the ideal Sinatra compendium.
TOP TRACK: Come Fly With Me
FAST FACT: In an unorthodox move for the time, Sinatra left Capitol Records and formed Reprise Records to have greater creative freedom.
50th ANNIVERSARY VINYL REISSUE
Intent on breaking into the UK market, Australia’s Masters Apprentices were given a golden opportunity in 1969 upon winning the ‘Battle of the Sounds’, the prize being a boat trip to England. The six-week voyage yielded a bevy of new songs, which they recorded at Abbey Road Studios with producer Jeff Jarratt, who’d worked on later tracks by The Beatles.
Simply named Masters Apprentices, but renamed Choice Cuts in Australia (as their first local release was self-titled), the record reflected the band’s increasing array of influences, from the Latin shuffle of Side A opener Rio de Camero to the genuine Australian classic ballad – and first single from the album – Because I Love You (which features Paul McCartney’s white grand piano).
TOP TRACK: Because I Love You
FAST FACT: Jimi Hendrix was an idol of Masters’ vocalist Jim Keays, and Song for a Lost Gypsy was penned soon after the legendary guitarist’s death.
When Roger Waters exited Pink Floyd in 1985, guitarist Dave Gilmour took the reins and began shaping an album the fans yearned for, using the band’s classic DNA. Released in 1987, A Momentary Lapse of Reason was followed by a 200-date tour where The Delicate Sound of Thunder was recorded during a five-night stint at the Nassau Coliseum in New York.
This three-record, 180gm vinyl set captures the majesty of Floyd live, which, despite the absence of Waters, is sonically awe-inspiring. Gilmour cleverly interlaced A Momentary Lapse of Reason with back catalogue killers including songs from The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall. This was Gilmour letting Waters know in no uncertain terms that there was life without him.
TOP TRACK: One of These Days
FAST FACT: Before the tour started, Roger Waters rang several promoters and told them he would sue them if they promoted the show using the Pink Floyd name.
The Beatles, Abbey Road (1969)
50th ANNIVERSARY VINYL EDITION
The Beatles’ 11th studio record, Abbey Road, is now a few years past its Nifty Fifty anniversary, and a Genesis-level flood of ink has been spilled writing about this most seminal of albums. With spectacularly good reason, of course: it was the last LP the Fab Four would release while still publicly together. John Lennon had privately left the group six days before the album dropped, though fans wouldn’t know of The Beatles’ disbandment until seven months later. But its revered status is also about the music: the band’s then-radical decision to use a Moog synthesizer amongst the record’s blues and pop-rock sounds sent many purist critics into hysterics, though fans loved it; Abbey Road hit number one around the world and has reached multi-platinum status in numerous countries (including 12 x platinum in the US). Worldwide, the album’s total sales are estimated to have exceeded 31 million.
TOP TRACK: Here Comes the Sun
FAST FACT: There’s a free, continuous livestream online from a webcam set up at the Abbey Road zebra crossing in London, where the album’s cover image was shot.
10th ANNIVERSARY EDITION VINYL
Australia was already familiar with Sarah Blasko’s fragile, husky and totally self-assured folk-pop stylings when she released her third album, As Day Follows Night (her previous album, What the Sea Wants, the Sea Will Have, had won an ARIA two years prior). But it was this record – launched with the single All I Want, an intriguingly moody lament on self-discovery – that made Blasko’s bed in the constellation of Oz music stars, and netted her an ARIA, a J Award, and an ARIA nom for Album of the Year.
Produced by Bjorn Yttling of Swedish pop powerhouse Peter, Bjorn and John, As Day Follows Night was described by Blasko as a reflection on her own life in “heightened reality”, which she attributed to her love of musicals. It is fitting, then, that this 10th anniversary edition devotes a whole second disc to the ‘Cinema Blasko’ bonus songs of the original Special Edition CD release, featuring stunning, stripped-back covers of tracks from The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, Xanadu, Cabaret and more.
TOP TRACK: Bird on a Wire
FAST FACT: The original Special Edition CD release included four black and white ‘magic ink’ cards, which would reveal coloured patterns when painted with water.
Massive Attack, Mezzanine (1998)
After the phenomenal double whammy of their Blue Lines and Protection albums, it took a few years for Massive Attack to get around to creating a third long-player, spread lavishly over two slices of vinyl. On Mezzanine their sound delved into darker spaces, no better demonstrated than by the relentless, bass-driven slow build of album opener – and eventual single – Angel. It was A-side closer and second single Teardrop, however, that captivated the most. From the heartbeat-reminiscent rhythm and the stunning vocals from Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser, to its strange video featuring a miming animatronic foetus, it stunned and delighted all the senses. A few years later, it also meant that we never skipped the opening credits to House!
TOP TRACK: Teardrop
FAST FACT: Liz Fraser wrote and sang the lyrics for Teardrop, having beaten out Madonna as guest vocalist for the track in a band vote.
The Arctic Monkeys, AM (2013)
Between the edgy and explosive debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and the Arctic Monkeys’ fifth album, the quite brilliant AM, the band’s transmutative odyssey has witnessed development and growth with every release.
On AM, Alex Turner still trades in his unique, concise and vibrant urban poetry, if not a little tempered, but his songwriting draws upon a more mature and brooding tone; it’s an album for the witching hour. Weaving irrepressibly cool bluesy rock, stylistic R&B and dark pop riffs into his unique indie formula, Turner is in full control here, exuding confidence in his craft. AM is the Arctic Monkeys’ transitional record and a marker of how far the band had evolved in seven short years.
TOP TRACK: Do I Wanna Know?
FAST FACT: Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme sings backing vocals on two tracks.