After years of hints, rumours and speculation, Universal Music have announced today that Roxy Music‘s eponymous 1972 debut album will be reissued as 3CD+DVD super deluxe edition in February 2018.
This four-disc anniversary set consists of the original album on CD 1 (which interestingly uses the 1999 Bob Ludwig remaster), a further disc of demos and outtakes, a CD devoted to BBC radio sessions (including the January ’72 Peel Sessions that featured the unsigned Roxy Music with David O’List on guitar) and a DVD that includes a brand new Steven Wilson 5.1 surround sound mix, along with rare video footage of TV appearances and live performance.
All the discs are presented in a large-format 12″ x 12″ 136-page hardcover book which features some fantastic notes by author and journalist Richard Williams, who first wrote about Roxy Music in Melody Maker back in 1971! The book also delivers an incredible array of rare photos, including many outtakes from the famous Karl Stoecker cover shot of model Kari-Ann Muller (each disc in the set uses a variant from the session).
The second disc in this set is an incredible insight into this era, with four demos recorded (on Brian Eno’s Ferrograph reel-to-reel tape recorder at his flat in Camberwell) just over a year before the album came out. At this point in time, the band had played no gigs at all and included Roger Bunn on guitar and Dexter Lloyd on drums.
Talking to SDE about these demos, band member Andy Mackay said “The drumming and guitar playing were quite noodley, quiet and fiddly. And interestingly, by the time we got Paul [Thompson] and Phil [Manzanera] in, the Roxy sound was much stronger – it had that rock ‘n’ roll element, which I always thought was absolutely crucial to our continued success… that tipped us across from being just an art-school experimental band, to a proper pop group.”
Outtakes from the actual album sessions (which lasted just over two weeks) are also included. Every track is represented in some form or another and there’s the odd snippet of studio chatter and laughter to really take you back to Command Studios in Piccadilly, in London where the album was recorded, in March/April 1972. Non-album single Virginia Plain also features on this disc (the song was included on the album when issued in America and on some later pressings).
Two Peel Sessions (from January ’72 and May ’72) feature on CD 3 along with five tracks (including the then new single Virginia Plain) for a BBC In Concert broadcast in August of the same year.
Finally the DVD features Steven Wilson’s ‘new’ 5.1 mix (it was actually created back in 2012) in DTS 96/24 and Dolby AC3 Sound. For some reason, there isn’t a hi-res stereo version on the DVD (something that was promised for 2012’s Complete Studio Recordings box set, but eventually not delivered (without explanation). Steven Wilson has noted this omission too. Commenting on Facebook today, about this reissue, he says “Back in 2012 I also remixed the album and several out-takes in stereo, and 2 years ago 2 of these mixes were released on a record store day 10 inch single, including an extended version of Ladytron. However, please note that none of these stereo mixes are included in this new deluxe set, so hang on to that 10 inch if you have it!”
This DVD also has video content, including the band performing Ladytron on The Old Grey Whistle Test, their first Top Of The Pops appearance doing Virginia Plain (according to Phil Manzanera, Brian Eno was “really pissed off that all you could see was his gloved hand”) and rare footage of Roxy Music at the Bataclan Club in Paris in November 1972, apparently “the only surviving visual document of this line up live on stage”.
There is also a two-CD deluxe edition of Roxy Music, but the record companies know what they are doing and they haven’t included any of the demos or the outtakes on this edition. Disc 2 is the BBC Sessions disc (disc three on the super deluxe edition). The packaging does look very nice though – you can see a photo of the hardcover casebound book package above, which comes with a 24-page booklet. The album is also being reissued on 180g vinyl LP.
We must address the issue of pricing. Amazon in the UK currently have a pre-order price of £172, which is insane. This price will inevitably come down to at least the £130 mark before the release date because that is the price it is for sale on the official Roxy Music store. Amazon France currently have a price of around £137. Obviously, none of these are particularly cheap and you wonder if the executives at Universal have been chatting with Scott Rodger and Paul McCartney about price points. Worth it? Only you can decide, but the content is excellent and presentation looks very good. Update: Amazon Canada now have the super deluxe listed at CA $116 which is only £68!! But obviously people in Europe have to factor in shipping/import duty etc.
Re-Make/Re-Model – The Royal College Of Art, 6/6/72
Ladytron – The Old Grey Whistle Test, 20/6/72
Virginia Plain – Top Of The Pops, 24/8/72
Re-Make/Re-Model – Full House, 25/11/72
Ladytron Full House, 25/11/72
French TV, Bataclan, Paris, 26/11/72:
Would You Believe
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