RSD Black Friday – A Dark Horse Extra? (Plus Dark Horse Collecting – The Hard Way)

Is it just us who completely missed this, or did Dark Horse Records surreptitiously slip an additional title into Record Store Day Black Friday last Friday?

We’re pretty sure when we published this heads-up post back in September detailing which records might be of interest to Beatle completists, this listing definitely wasn’t there:

But when we looked on 25 November, there it was: a Joe Strummer LP Live at Music Millennium, 3600 copies, on the Dark Horse label:

This is a soundboard recording of Strummer’s solo acoustic in-store performance at a record store called Music Millennium in Portland, Oregon on November 2, 1999. It is getting its first ever release for RSD Black Friday and features the songs “Junco Partner,” “X-Ray Style” “Island Hopping,” “The Road to Rock N Roll,” and “Trash City.” The record continues the ongoing celebration this year of what would have been Joe Strummer’s 70th birthday.

While on the subject of Dark Horse, their other title for RSD, Dark Horse Records: The Best of 1974-1977, looks like a great collection:

Side A
1. Ravi Shankar – I Am Missing You
2. Ravi Shankar – Dispute & Violence
3. Splinter – Costafine Town
4. Splinter – Lonely Man
5. Attitudes – Ain’t Love Enough
6. Attitudes – Sweet Summer Music

Side B
1. Stairsteps – From Us To You
2. Stairsteps – Time
3. Keni Burke – Give All You Can Give
4. Henry McCullough – Lord Knows
5. Henry McCullough – Mind Your Own Business
6. Jiva – Take My Love

One of our long-time readers and avid Beatles and Beatle-related collector – see his selection of McCartney III variations for example! – has sent us this photo with the simple caption:

Dark Horse Records: Best of 1974-1977 THE HARD WAY”

Enough said!

Record Store Day – Black Friday 2022

The complete list of Record Store Day Black Friday 2022 titles has been issued and there are a couple of Beatle-related items of interest for collectors.

Black Friday titles will go on sale Friday, November 25 and are only available through at brick and mortar independent record stores.

For Dark Horse Records fans there’s an interesting LP Dark Horse Records – The Best Of 1974-1977 (not to be confused with an album with a similar title by George Harrison from 1989 called The Best of Dark Horse 1976-1989).

This one is a newly-curated selection exclusive to RSD Black Friday of the artists discovered by, and in some cases produced by George Harrison, and includes two tracks each from Ravi Shankar, Stairsteps (formerly known as The Five Stairsteps), Splinter, Attitudes (featuring Jim Keltner, David Foster, Danny Kortchmar and Paul Stallworth), and Henry McCullough (Wings and Joe Cocker’s Grease Band). There’s also one track each from Keni Burke, and the band Jiva.

Ringo Starr fans are well-catered for this time around. There’s not one but five Black Friday releases.

The most interesting of these is the re-issue of a fairly obscure Ringo release called Old Wave. This originally came out in 1983, but only in limited places. Looking at the Discogs site it appears to have been released on vinyl only in Germany, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Japan, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil. It did get a CD release in the US in 1994. But that’s about it. Critically known as “Ringo’s most overlooked album” and “Ringo’s solo masterpiece”, it was produced by Joe Walsh and Russ Ballard. It is set to be re-issued in 2022 on CD and on LP. The vinyl package includes an OBI strip, single album jacket, printed inner sleeve, original record labels and comes in a special brown and white smoke color vinyl. It also includes a bonus track available for the first time on vinyl “As Far As We Can Go (Early Version)”:

Here’s the CD image for Ringo’s Old Wave. It gets the bonus track as well and, as yiu can see in the list above there will only be 500 copies made available (in the US at least):

Another RSD Exclusive is Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band with a double LP Live At The Greek Theatre 2019:

The other two RSD Black Friday releases on the list for Ringo are what is becoming the obligatory coloured vinyl editions of his 1977 LP, Ringo The 4th. This time they’ve announced two different colours. One in translucent orange (1000 copies) and the other in translucent blue (also 1000 copies). We are told the LP’s will be house in a gatefold cover with rare photos and lyrics.

But hey. Wait just a minute. Didn’t they also announce this exact same thing for RSD proper on April 23 this year!?

More Billy Idol on Dark Horse

For those label completists among us, Billy Idol is set to issue another four-song EP called The Cage on the Dark Horse Records label. 

The EP will be released on September 23. It follows the release of Idol’s 2021 The Roadside EP, and a re-issue of his Christmas LP Happy Holidays, also on Dark Horse.

For The Cage Idol is again joined by longtime collaborator, co-writer and guitarist Steve Stevens.

For those who like physical formats, the new EP is available for pre-order on exclusive red vinyl from the Billy Idol website (though this is already showing as sold out):

And there are signed black vinyl editions – though these are showing as sold out too:

CD fans are not left wanting, with signed copies (also now showing sold out), and standard editions available:

The Billy Idol announcement comes hot on the heels of Dark Horse announcing a major box set for Joe Strummer called Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years.

New Joe Strummer – The Mescaleros Years – Box Set Available For Pre-Order

Dark Horse Records have just announced a new Joe Strummer box set, Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years. It will be released on September 16th as part of the celebrations honouring Joe’s 70th birthday year.

The press release says the set is “….the first-ever comprehensive collection highlighting Joe’s work with his post-Clash band, The Mescaleros. The collection includes remastered editions of all three of the band’s studio albums, plus 15 rare and unreleased tracks spanning the first demos Joe wrote for the Mescaleros, and outtakes of several tracks of Joe’s final recordings with the band.”

The box set was executive produced by Lucinda Tait (Strummer) and produced by David Zonshine and features exclusive new interviews with Joe’s friends, collaborators and Mescaleros band mates, plus never-before-seen handwritten notes, lyrics, and drawings by Joe taken from the Joe Strummer Archive. All the albums are remastered by three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks (The Beatles, John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie) and are packaged with extensive new liner notes, unreleased images, and four reproduction lyric sheets and chord charts.

Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years will be available as a 4CD with 72-page book box set, and 7LP with 32-page book, special edition packaging and exclusive 12”x12” art print.

The first track from the collection, the previously unreleased version of ‘The Road To Rock ‘N’ Roll (Demo)’ is available to stream now. The video for the song was created using Strummer’s drawings and handwritten lyrics found in the Strummer archive:

If you’re wondering about the title it’s because this is the second installment in what looks to a series of career-spanning compilations. The first, Joe Strummer 001, was released in 2018 by Ignition Records. Since then, Dark Horse has taken over publishing and distribution rights for the Stummer legacy.

“There’s so much great music that Joe left us in his archive,” says Joe’s widow and the executive producer, Lucinda Tait. “We started this work with 001, so to focus on Joe’s work with The Mescaleros was the natural second step on 002 because those songs he made with them just seemed to resonate so strongly and reinvigorated his connection with his audience at a level he hadn’t experienced since his days with The Clash.”

Harrison Estate and Dark Horse Sign Further Publishing and Album Release Deals with BMG

You might recall that back in 2020 the mega music distributor and publisher BMG announced that it had formed a multi-faceted, worldwide distribution partnership with Dark Horse Records, the George Harrison-founded record label now led by his son, Dhani Harrison.

Well, there have been some developments.

Last week there was a rather intriguing press release from BMG announcing that they’ve now secured the publishing rights to the entire George Harrison song catalogue, including his Beatle, solo, and Traveling Wilbury compositions.

Plus the company has secured the rights to distribute some existing – and additional – interesting legacy artists on the the Dark Horse record label.

Here’s the official 2-page press release. We’ve highlighted those bits that grabbed our attention:

So, while there’ll be new publishing deals being done by BMG/Dark Horse for George Harrison’s compositions, it also looks like we can expect a range of interesting physical releases on the Dark Horse label.

These will include another EP from Billy Idol, and the new studio album from former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench. There’s also likely to be a slew of back-catalogue re-issues from the great Leon Russell.

Interesting times indeed.

See also our articles on the six BMG/Dark Horse Records already released so far: Joe Strummer’s Assembly LP, Billy Idol’s The Roadside EP, the Billy Idol Happy Holidays Christmas album, Ravi Shankar’s Chants of India LP, and Joe Strummer’s two Record Store Day 12″ singles: ‘Junco Partner’ and ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

Shankar Family ૐ Friends to get an Audiophile Release

The 1974 Dark Horse Records title Shankar Family ૐ Friends is to get an audiophile vinyl pressing in 2022.

The Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs site has it listed only as “Coming Soon” so far – but it will be on 180 gram vinyl under their Original Master Recording imprint. This will be the first time the record has been re-issued on vinyl since 1974.

An album by Indian master musician Ravi Shankar, Shankar Family ૐ Friends was recorded primarily in Los Angeles during the spring of 1973, but not released until late 1974. It features a host of top-flight Indian players.

The album was produced by George Harrison and also features western musicians like Tom Scott, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann, Nicky Hopkins and Jim Keltner. It was last re-issued on CD in 2010 as part of the Collaborations box set. Check out our unboxing here.

What is a little confusing is that on the MoFi website the release is listed as being a 180 gram numbered single LP, while in the Music Direct store catalogue it says it will be a 180 gram, 45rpm 2LP pressing…..

Dark Horse to Release Billy Idol Christmas LP

Dark Horse Records have struck again – this time with another Billy Idol release.

Just in August the label, now headed by George Harrison’s son Dhani, issued a new four-song EP by Idol called The Roadside.

Now comes a remixed and remastered version of the singer’s 2006 Christmas album, Happy Holidays. It the first time the disc has been on vinyl and streaming platforms.

As the title suggests, Happy Holidays features Idol performing a variety of Christmas classics as well as one new original called ‘On Christmas Day’ as a bonus track.

It’s available on limited edition white vinyl (now sold out):

Happy Holidays is also on standard black vinyl. It comes in a gatefold sleeve and is available now:

And it’s also available on CD:

We think it’s interesting and a little unusual that Dark Horse is taking artists like Billy Idol under their wing and are releasing a mix of new and back-catalogue music like this. Maybe it’s just not what we expected would happen when the revamp of Dark Horse was first announced. What do you think?

Just as an FYI, for Record Store Day Black Friday this year the label will be issuing another 12″ single taken from Assembly, the Joe Strummer ‘Best Of’ compilation that Dark Horse released earlier this year. It’ll be on limited edition pink vinyl with ‘Johnny Appleseed’ on the A-side and ‘At the Border, Guy’ as the B-side.

Another Joe Strummer for Record Store Day

Dark Horse Records has just announced there’ll be a further single taken from the Joe Strummer ‘best of’ compilation, Assembly, from earlier this year.

The label will be releasing, as part of Record Store Day Black Friday, a limited edition pink vinyl 12″ single with ‘Johnny Appleseed’ as the A-side and ‘At the Border, Guy’ as the B-side.

The 12″ will be limited to 4,500 copies worldwide and is out on 26 November. The single celebrates the 20th anniversary of Strummer’s album Global A Go-Go.

Both included tracks are remastered by Paul Hicks (The Beatles/John Lennon/The Rolling Stones/David Bowie) and will be cut at 45rpm on 12” vinyl for maximum audio quality.

The first single from Assembly was the picture disc 12″ of ‘Junco Partner’, released for Record Store Day Drop 1 on June 12.

Billy Idol to Join the Dark Horse Records Stable

Billy Idol is set to issue a new four-song EP called The Roadside — and it will be on none other than the newly resurrected Dark Horse Records label.

Produced by Butch Walker (Green Day, Weezer) and featuring Idol’s longtime lead guitarist and co-writer Steve Stevens, the EP will be Idol’s first new release in nearly seven years.

Dhani Harrison, who runs the label with David Zonshine, said in a statement “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Billy Idol to the Dark Horse Records family. Billy is a legend, and his music couldn’t fit the Dark Horse persona any better. I’ve loved his music throughout my whole life, so to be able to give this new music a home on our historic label is a massive honour.”

It’s interesting to read that Idol fits the ‘Dark Horse persona’. When the label was re-launched with a distribution deal with BMG in January last year, Dhani said “Future releases in 2020 will include compilations, live albums, and box sets featuring rare and unreleased recordings from the Dark Horse label, many of which will be available digitally for the first time. From the Indian classical Ragas Of Ravi Shankar to the rock and roll of Attitudes I look forward to reintroducing, to a new audience, all of those artists that my father loved so much. We will also be expanding the Dark Horse family with new artists and classic catalogues in the coming years to include a rich and varied roster of incredible musicians whom we love. Please watch this space!”

So, under those criteria, Billy Idol is a perfect candidate.

For those who like physical formats, the EP is available for pre-order on exclusive blue vinyl from the Billy Idol website – though it is showing as Sold Out already. Hopefully more copies will be pressed. Orders will ship on September 17:

It’s also avaiable on black vinyl:

And on CD:

The lead single from the EP, ‘Bitter Taste’, has been previewed on YouTube. It’s a pretty good track:

Billy Idol joins Joe Strummer and Ravi Shankar as the most recent physical releases on Dark Horse.

Joe Strummer ‘Junco Partner’ 12″ Picture Disc for RSD Drop 1

It’s June 12, and that means the first of two Record Store Day Drops for 2021.

We weren’t aware (until we saw it just now) that there was anything of much interest for the “must have it all” completists among us – but there is!

The first is from Dark Horse, the label owned and operated by the George Harrison estate. The Dark Horse Records revival continues with a Limited Edition 12″ picture disc single of Joe Strummer’s ‘Junco Partner (Acoustic)’/’Junco Partner (Live)’:

It is available as part of Record Store Day – Drop 1 on June 12. There are just 3,500 copies available worldwide apparently.

The A-side features the home recording of the song ‘Junco Partner’, taken from Strummer’s latest LP called Assembly which is a compilation released earlier this year on the Dark Horse label. The B-side features a non-LP track, a live recording of the same song from Strummer and and his band The Mescaleros at London’s Brixton Academy in 2001.

The second release is a little more obscure. This is the first release on newly set up War Child Records and it is only available as part of UK Record Store Day Drop 1, and only 1000 copies have been pressed.

Back in 1995 as part of a fundraising effort, the HELP EP and ‘Come Together’ single were released by Go! Discs. These were associated with the iconic HELP album, which helped change the lives of children affected by the Yugoslavian civil war. Now they’ve been put on vinyl together as a very special 12-inch for the first time.

The EPs have been remastered by John Davis at Metropolis Studios. Side A features Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Guru and Portishead. Side B features the Smokin’ Mojo Filters (with Paul McCartney, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller), The Beautiful South, Dodgy and Black Grape. Cover art is by 3D (Massive Attack), which featured on the CD inner sleeve of the original 1995 HELP album, updated exclusively by the artist for this release. The back cover is the orignal John Squire piece which featured on the Help EP original cover in 1995, reshot for this release.

The cover for the RSD Help EPS