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New from classic rockers in February 2013

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I'm pretty certain that none of the new releases coming in February 2013 will be called "major" but there is a handful of material for those who like to explore classic rock's backwaters and pan for rare gems.

With albums bearing names like Syd Barrett, Justin Hayward, The Allman Brothers Band, and Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys, you have to admit that it promises to be an interesting month.

Syd Barrett - solo album catalog

Syd Barrett - Madcap Laughs, Opel, Barrett
Capitol Records

Syd Barrett's story is a sad one. He burst on the scene as the songwriter and vocalist responsible for virtually all of Pink Floyd's debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. But because of mental health issues compounded by heavy drug use, his first Pink Floyd album would also be Barrett's last.

After leaving the band, he took a stab at a solo career, releasing two studio albums in 1970 before retreating to his boyhood home where he led the life of a recluse until his death in 2006. Those two albums -- The Madcap Laughs and Barrett and a 1988 compilation of previously unreleased recordings and outtakes, Opel are being reissued on CD by Capitol Records on February 5, 2013.

Watch clips from a 1967 performance of "Astronomy Domine" with Barrett as lead vocalist

Read a review of The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Justin Hayward - 'Spirits of the Western Sky'

Justin Hayward - Spirits of the Western Sky
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Justin Hayward. Now, there's a familiar name. Of course, he is most familiar as guitarist-vocalist for The Moody Blues since 1966. He is also well known for having written classic rock standards like "Nights in White Satin", "Tuesday Afternoon" and "The Story in Your Eyes".

While performing with the Moodies, Hayward has also managed a simultaneous solo career since 1975. He has released nine albums, the latest of which, Spirits of the Western Sky will be released on CD by Eagle Rock Entertainment on February 26, 2013.

Watch a promotional video of Hayward performing "Forever Autumn"

The Allman Brothers Band - three vintage live concerts

The Allman Brothers Band - Nassau Coliseum, New York 5/1/73
Allman Brothers Band

The Allman Brothers Band drill way down into their archives for two double-live albums, being released on the band's own label on CD and MP3 on February 12, 2013.

The ABB performance captured on Macon City Auditorium 2/11/72 came just four months after the death (in Macon, in a motorcyle accident) of Duane Allman, co-founder of the band and standout guitarist.

Nassau Coliseum, New York 5/1/73 followed on the heels of the death of bassist Berry Oakley, who died in a motorcycle accident in November 1972 in Macon, just a few blocks from the scene of Allman's fatal crash a year earlier.

On February 19, 2013 the double live album, Fillmore East, released in 1971, is being reissued on LP vinyl.

Watch a live 1970 performance of "Whipping Post" showcasing Duane Allman on guitar

Richard Thompson - 'Electric'

Richard Thompson - Electric
New West Records

Rolling Stone once described Richard Thompson as "a perennial dark-horse contender for the title of greatest living rock guitarist." You might remember him as a founding member of Fairport Convention, for whom he played lead guitar and wrote songs from 1967 until 1971.

Since 1972 Thompson has released 16 solo albums, the latest of which, Electric is being released by New West Records on CD, MP3 and LP on February 5, 2013. In addition to his solo work, Thompson released six albums between 1974 and 1982 with his former wife, Linda as lead vocalist, and five with Fairport Convention.

Watch a 1967 Fairport Convention performance featuring Richard Thompson on lead guitar

Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys - debut album reissue

Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys
Real Gone Records

Aside from having one of the most original band names in classic rock, Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys also have an interesting history.

Two of their founding members had performed with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay in Au Go Go Singers before the latter broke off to form Buffalo Springfield.

A single from Cat Mother's debut 1969 album (which was produced by Jimi Hendrix) "Good Old Rock N' Roll" peaked at #21 on the Billboard chart. The band went on release three more albums and toured, often as Hendrix's opening act, until 1977.

The debut album, The Street Giveth and the Street Taketh Away is being reissued on CD by Real Gone Records on February 26, 2013.

Watch a 1968 TV performance of "Good Old Rock N' Roll"

Joan Armatrading - 'Starlight'

Joan Armatrading - Starlight
429 Records

429 Records releases Joan Armatrading's Starlight on February 26, 2013. The singer-songwriter is a three time GRAMMY Awards nominee, and has a catalog of 22 studio and live albums dating back to 1972.

Armatrading's greatest commercial success came with a series of rock albums in the '70s, but her repertoire also includes blues, folk, pop, and jazz.

Watch Joan Armatrading perform "Women in Love" at the 2012 Cambridge Folk Festival

Read a review of Steppin Out

Roxy Music - 'The Complete Studio Recordings'

Roxy Music - Complete Studio Recordings
Virgin Records

Were they punk? Progressive? Glam? New Wave? Yes, to all three, and several more genres into which some people have tried to put Roxy Music over the years. The band, best known in Europe and Australia during the '70s, earned a spot on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list.

The Complete Studio Recordings is a 10-CD box set consisting of the eight studio albums the band released between 1972 and 1982, plus two discs of bonus tracks which are appearing on CD for the first time.

Watch Roxy Music perform "Virginia Plain" in 1972

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