Friday, May 23, 2008
So far 2008 has been an amazing year to be a fan of The Replacements- (‘the Mats’ for the faithful.) In addition to Jim Walsh’s comprehensive book, All Over But the Shouting, the news had broken earlier this year that the full back catalogue would be getting the ubiquitous remastered/bonus track/’fancy pantsedness’ treatment this year. The first round of these reissues, now on store shelves are the albums originally released on Minneapolis’ Twin/Tone Records. As I mentioned in an earlier posting, in addition to a wealth of unreleased material, these seminal albums have finally received a complete sonic remastering; The quality of which far surpassing previous cd incarnations from Twin/Tone or Ryko in 2000. To quote Paul Westerberg: “Hallefuckinglujah…” For the fans, at last they’ve done it right.
Needless to say, the quandary remains. As a good friend recently lamented… “How many copies of the freaking White Album does one person need?” To turn the phrase then, are the Replacements remasters worth adding to your collection (in some cases again)? -Without question. One listen to their 1984 masterpiece Let It Be and I was completely sold yet again. This could be the best thirty three minutes you will spend this week. Hearing the opening notes of I Will Dare in all its renewed glory actually caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand on end. Primal stuff and so very affecting, The Replacements have played the soundtrack to my life and this was almost like hearing it again for the first time.
What really makes this a truly worthwhile venture though is the plethora of bonus tracks accompanying each original disc. Thirty songs spread out over the four original albums, these are the true musical treasures. On Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash the original basement demo tape recordings that Paul Westerberg gave to Peter Jesperson back in 1980 are included for the first time ever. You’re Getting Married from 1982’s Stink bonus disc is perhaps the highlight of the entire lot though. The song is a testament to the promise of what would be to come from Westerberg. The Let It Be release also includes a set of bonus material with a slate of fantastic covers (20th Century Boy, and Heartbeat - It’s a Lovebeat). That’s right dear Pop reader, T-Rex and the DeFranco Family.
In the interest of full disclosure, this is the music of my youth. The stuff that made me love music and the stuff that got me through it all. If you’ve never taken the Replacements plunge before, now would be the perfect time to start. If you like your music passionate and more than a little torn and frayed you will not be disappointed. I am a little envious though, this music has already changed my life.
Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash – PPPP
Stink – PPPPP
Hootenanny – PPPP
Let it Be - PPPPP