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Top new releases and reissues in September

There must be a holiday season coming up


Box sets, books, reissues and new releases by A-list artists signal the approach of the holiday gift giving season, and "a most wonderful time of the year" for fans of all flavors of classic rock.

New music

Elton John - The Diving Board
Capitol Records (Universal)
Elton John - The Diving Board
This album sounds as much like those Elton John recorded in the early '70s as any he has released since. "I needed to strip away the excesses and get back to the core of what I do as an artist," he says in the album release announcement. There are 19 new John/Bernie Taupin compositions, three new live tracks, and a bonus studio track from the recording sessions for the album.
Available 9/24 on CD, and vinyl LP

Sting - The Last Ship
The album title is also the title of a Broadway play due to debut in the fall of 2014, a musical that Sting has spent the past several years writing. The play and the music are based on the artist's early life, growing up near the shipyards in Wallsend, England.
Available 9/24 on CD, MP3 and vinyl LP

Elvis Costello & The Roots - Wise Up Ghost
You're going to have to be a serious fan of either Elvis Costello or The Roots in order to appreciate this album. The combination of Costello's eclectic style and The Roots' fusion of jazz, rap and hip-hop is pretty far from anything traditional or mainstream.
Available 9/17 on CD and vinyl LP

Mark Knopfler - Privateering
If you're a serious Mark Knopfler fan it's very possible you've already heard this album. It was released overseas this time last year, but the U.S. release has been delayed until now, by a recently resolved contract dispute between Knopfler and his label. This is the former Dire Straits guitarist-vocalist's first double album, and is a study in roots music, weaving its way through rock, to folk, to country, to Celtic.
Available 9/10 on CD and vinyl LP

Sammy Hagar & Friends
It isn't that Sammy Hagar needs a lot of help to make a memorable album, but collaborating with artists like Journey guitarist Neal Schon, Nancy Wilson (Heart) and his former Van Halen bandmate Mike Anthony gives Hagar's latest solo album added value for classic rock devotees.
Available 9/24 on CD

Starship featuring Mickey Thomas - Wordless Fascination
Mickey Thomas was one of the lead vocalists for both Jefferson Airplane and its spin-off, Jefferson Starship, between 1979 and 1989. Since 1992, he has fronted a touring-only version of Starship featuring Mickey Thomas (to differentiate it from the reconstituted Jefferson Starship, which is fronted by Thomas's former Airplane/Starship bandmate Paul Kantner. Confused yet?) This is Starship's first album of original music since Love Among the Cannibals in 1989, and has the edgier more-rock-less-pop sound reminiscent of the original Jefferson Airplane.
Available 9/17 on CD and MP3

Live gigs, box sets, books, reissues

The Band - Live at the Academy of Music 1971
Capitol Records (Universal)
The Band - Live at the Academy Of Music 1971
You may be inclined to look at the title and say, "been there done that" but you'll be missing a lot if you skip this edition of The Band's four concerts at the Academy of Music in New York City in December 1971. What's new? Recordings of all four concerts, including 19 previously unreleased performances, some newly discovered film footage, new stereo and Surround mixes, a documentary, and as 48-page book with photos that are being seen for the first time. It's a big package, but well worth the cost for serious fans of The Band.
Available 9/17 in a 4-CD + 1-DVD box set

Jefferson Starship: Live in Central Park NYC May 12,1975
This would be an interesting companion to the new Starship studio release mentioned above. This 1975 performance in Central Park was a free concert that attracted a crowd of more than 100,000. It came just days before the release of Jefferson Starship's Red Octpus, which was the most successful of all of the albums released by Jefferson Airplane and its various Starship reincarnations. What's new? This is the first non-bootleg release of this performance, and includes parts of the concert that weren't included in the bootleg version.
Available 9/3 on CD

Grateful Dead - Sunshine Daydream
Grateful Dead did so many live performances, so many of which were recorded, Deadheads always have something new to look forward to. This benefit performance, which was recorded on audio tape and shot on film, is being released for the first time, long after becoming the most often requested Grateful Dead performance.
Available 9/17 in 3-CD + 1-DVD box set

Jon Lord - Concerto for Group & Orchestra
Jon Lord didn't live to see the release of his final work. The former Deep Purple instrumentalist-composer died just two months before the CD release of his orchestral rock studio recording with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The album is being reissued on CD, along with a Blu-ray release that includes a video on the making of the album, bonus interviews and video, and the album audio.
Available 9/3 in a CD + Blu-ray package

Peter Gabriel - Live in Athens 1987
Again you ask, "so what's new?" This was the first Peter Gabriel concert captured on film, and it has been remastered and enhanced with additional performances, music videos and interviews. This concert in Greece was part of the tour that followed the 1986 release of Gabriel's most successful solo album, So.
Available 9/17 on Blu-ray

Willy DeVille - Live in the Lowlands
As frontman for Mink DeVille from the mid-70s to mid-80s, Willy DeVille presided over a musical melange of rock, punk, blues, soul, Cajun and cabaret music, enshrined on six studio albums. As a solo artist from 1986 until his death in 2009, DeVille continued with that heady blend of traditional American musical styles. This 2005 performance in Amsterdam showcases his diverse and compelling style.
Available 9/10 on Blu-ray and DVD

The Alan Parsons Project - I Robot
When some folks think of Alan Parsons, they think of the guy who produced and engineered albums like Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon and The Beatles' Abbey Road and Let it Be. Others may think first of The Alan Parsons Project, which Parsons launched in 1975 and which, with an ever-changing lineup of vocalists and instrumentalists, released 10 progressive rock-ish concept albums over the next 12 years. The remastered reissue of APP's 1977 album, I Robot includes nine previously unreleased tracks.
Available 9/17 on CD

Nothin' to Lose: The Making of KISS (1972-1975)
For your list of rock reading, this chronicle of KISS's early years, co-authored by rock biographer Ken Sharp, and band members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. This is the first in-depth documentation of the band's struggles during their formative years. If you like getting the insider's view of life as a '70s rock band, read this one.
Available 9/10 in hardcover, paperback and Kindle editions

Beyond September

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - Unvarnished
Release announcements for the final quarter of the year are starting to dribble in. Save these dates:

October 1
Joan Jett and The Blackhearts - Unvarnished (new studio release)
Van Morrison - Moon Dance (deluxe edition reissue)

October 15
Paul McCartney - New (new studio release) - (listen to the title song, "New")

Coming in November, the release of recently discovered "lost" BBC recordings of The Beatles, and sometime around the holidays, a partial reunion of The Runaways in the form of a single, "Let's Rock This Christmas Down" with Lita Ford and Cherie Currie.
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