It’s no big miracle that as the Christmas holiday season approaches the number of special releases and box sets start to multiply – even decades ago, albums were released to attract holiday shoppers. This year it’s no different, and there are at least three newly announced special releases and box sets that deserve attention.
Certainly at the top of the list is another special Grateful Dead release. Following the 50th anniversary reissue of its classic Workingman’s Dead album, comes reissue/remaster of their equally classic album American Beauty. It comes with a live concert recording from their February 1971 run at Port Chester, NY’s Capitol Theatre (the 2/18/71 show). In a recent essay for Vinyl Me, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James said, “American Beauty was ‘for me, the grand gateway arch into the wide, weird world of the Grateful Dead.'”
Equally notable is the announcement that Rhino will be starting a series titled Joni Mitchell Archives. It seems it’s going to be quite a massive collection, which will begin with Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967). Set for release in October 2020, it’s going to be a five-CD collection that will include Joni Mitchell’s earliest-known recording, a 1963 in-studio radio performance for CFQC AM in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
It is yet another 50th anniversary, this time celebrating the five-decade existence is The Doobie Brothers. It is again Rhino, which is releasing four-channel remixes of four of their albums: Toulouse Street, The Captain and Me, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, and Stampede. The band may have not been big critics’ favorites, but had quite a few fans, who’ll need some nifty quadraphonic equipment to get the best of this box set.