After 2 Record Store Releases in a row up for review, we are now on our third in a row and 6 total RSD releases from this band and all fantastic. Cheap Trick’s ‘Out to Get You! Live 1977’ is pretty freaking cool. This was very early on between the debut album and only months away from the release of their second album, In Color, which came out 3 months later. We get basically every song from those two albums (and one the crowd hadn’t even heard yet) as well as a couple from their third album (which hadn’t even been recorded or thought of yet), plus a handful of tracks that wouldn’t show up again for years.
They were hungry, energetic and fresh and yet still a little green. The release is from Record Store Day 2020 and is an exclusive release…well, not that exclusive since you can stream it but physically it is currently only available on vinyl. And there were only 4,700 on this limited release. The show is recorded over 4 performances over two days on June 3rd and 4th at The Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles and we get 22 tracks of pure and utter joy.
These four unassuming gentlemen were a cross between rockers, nerds and plain quirky looking guys. Meshed together, they were a force to be reckoned with. The albums didn’t necessarily match the power that came from the stage and when you saw them, you had no idea the type of music that would flow from them. In 1977, this was pre-Budokan so the world wasn’t truly hip on them yet, but these performances captured here let us know that we had one of America’s greatest bands waiting to blow up on the world…and they did just that.
For Record Store Day on Black Friday, November 29, 2019, Cheap Trick was releasing a limited edition 7″ Single of a new song and limited to only 1,500 copies. It was a RSD First Release which means they were going to release it again sometime and wasn’t exclusive, but it didn’t stop me from picking it up. The funny thing is it said it was a new song off it’s latest album which actually didn’t come out until 18 months later, but I am okay with that as I love my 7″ Singles. The song was “Gimme Some Truth” which is a of course, not really a new song as it is a cover of the John Lennon classic. But I guess it is new to Cheap Trick.
The B-Side is a live version of a song that was truly on their latest album at the time which was their Christmas album called ‘Christmas Christmas’. The studio version is on the album and this is live which is cool as the song is the Wizzard cover of “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” written by Roy Wood. Well, Roy Wood is featured on this live version from the band. How cool is that!! And the packaging was great as I like the Uncle Sam on the cover and then on the back is the Cheap Trick logo morphed in to the Union Jack. Cheap Trick was always called the American Beatles and with covering a Lennon song, we get the British side of them as well.
Cheap Trick has hopped on the Record Store Bandwagon with 3 previous releases for each Volume of The Epic Archives and now for the 2019 Record Store Day they dug in to the archives and are finally releasing their New Year’s Eve concert from the Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles from 1979 in full. Some songs were released on the Expanded Edition of the ‘Dream Police’ album, but never the full show. This is the first time it has been released on vinyl, the first time the full show has been released giving is new mixes from the original master tracks. The only issue is the first reel of the master tapes could not be found, so the first four songs aren’t as clean and crisp as the rest of the album. They had to source those songs from a high resolution tape of the official radio broadcast. You can tell the difference in the listen, but honestly, it has zero impact on the listening pleasure.
RSD has it listed as an exclusive release, but only exclusive in the fact it is the only way to get the vinyl. The show has been released on CD and digitally so the vinyl release isn’t truly exclusive. The package is a 2 LP set in a beautiful gatefold. After getting the Epic Archive albums in multiple colors, here we get the standard black vinyl. I have read a lot of reviews and/or comments that they feel the sound sucks, but it is a personal taste. If you like a live album that sounds live, then this will be great. I wasn’t bothered by any of the sound quality and that won’t be mentioned at all as it was a non-issue for me. I was listening to the music and what we got and we got a lot. Let’s walk through it.
I know this is The Cheap Trick Collection Series, but I have to do this one album even though I don’t actually own a copy (yet) so I am able to complete an album rankings of all their studio albums. The album I don’t own is their Christmas album called ‘Christmas Christmas’. I am not a massive fan of Christmas albums so I will do my best to not be too biased on this one…I can’t promise anything. The album was released on October 20, 2017 and actually has 3 original songs written by the band which is Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson with Daxx Nielsen on drums. The remaining 9 tracks are covers with only one of those being a full on traditional song. The album is their 19th Studio album and went to #93 on the Top Album Sales and #5 on the Holiday Charts…not too bad for a Christmas album.
And one other thing. We are reviewing this in May for a posting in June and it is so not time for Christmas music, so getting in that frame of mind is difficult. I watched some Christmas movies, wore a Santa hat, wrapped some presents to give to my kids, made some eggnog and all that jazz to get in the mood and it worked!! So, let’s get going…(note: none of that is true!!)
The album kicks off with an original, “Merry Christmas Darlings”, and let me tell you…it is a great Christmas song. Robin sounds amazing, joyful and all in the Christmas spirit. The song is bouncy and has little rocking edge so don’t expect sleigh bells but lyrically it does touch on a lot of the cliches and there are a lot of “la la la las”. Robin, Rick and Tom actually wrote a decent song. And to keep it the rocking edge going we get “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” by Roy Wood and the Wizzards. Another upbeat track that sees Cheap Trick go full glam with lots of angst and yuletide fun.
Cheap Trick is the fine wine of Rock & Roll…they keep getting better with age. Okay, that was extremely cheesy if not entirely true! They are now on their 18th Studio album after 44 years together. To top it off, it has only been around 15 months since their last one, ‘Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello’. The new album picks up right where that album left off. ‘We’re All Alright!’ even takes it to the next level.
The album title, ‘We’re All Alright!’, is a line straight out of their classic song “Surrender” and the whole album is classic Cheap Trick. The album is a fast paced, juggernaut of pure Cheap Trick rock. The songs are generally around 3 minutes and the album flies by at only 33 minutes (45 for the deluxe edition). The album consists of new songs and some old songs that were never recorded or released.
It has been seven years since Cheap Trick’s last studio album. A lot has happened. They did release a live album here or there and the three volume set of The Epic Archives, but the biggest change was with the line-up. Bun E. Carlos decided to stop recording and touring and as a result, the band pushed him to the side or moved on without him, however you want to look at it. There were lawsuits back and forth and in the end all was settled. Bun E. Carlos wasn’t in the band anymore, but he was still a part of it. In 2015, he helped write the liner notes for all three of The Epic Archive albums. But when it came to the 17th studio album, ‘Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello!’, Bun E. Carlos was not to be found.
Instead new drummer, Daxx Nielsen, was part of the band. Hmm…that last name sounds familiar. Oh, that’s right, he is the son of guitarists Rick Nielsen. It was the first studio album of their career without Bun E. Carlos and it was the first studio album for the band with a major label in 20 years and that label was Big Machine. When the album was released on April 1, 2016 the album went to #31 on the Billboard Charts and was their highest charting album since 1988’s ‘Lap of Luxury’. Don’t worry that it dropped of the chart in a couple weeks…oh well.
Back on November 27, 2015, Cheap Trick released a 3 Volume set called The Epic Archives, yet they were only released digitally. There was no physical product at the time. That has since been corrected as they eventually did release these on vinyl for Record Store Day on three separate occasions. I was lucky enough to get all 3. And since we been through ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 1 (1975-1979) and ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 2 (1980-1983), it is now time to review ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 3 (1984-1992) and did they save the best for last? We will see.
My copy is the 2019 Record Store Day Release on April 13, 2019 and let me tell you it is yet another quite stellar release. As the sticker below says, it is a 2-LP Gatefold Set that is limited to 2,000 copies and both LP’s are on a beautiful flame red vinyl. And Bun E. Carlos might not be in the band anymore, but he was involved as the liner notes on the inside of the Gatefold are track-by-track commentary by Mr. Carlos as well as Rick Nielsen and this time around Robin Zander as you can see below. This Volume didn’t have the “Golden Ticket” like the Vol. 1 where you received a band picture autographed by all four original members. Nope, nothing like that in here.
Last time around we reviewed ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 1′ and like that one all 3 Volumes were released on November 27, 2015 digitally. There was no physical product at the time. That has since been corrected as they eventually did release these on vinyl for Record Store Day on three separate occasions. I was lucky enough to get all 3. And since we started with ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 1 (1975-1979) since that is the first one in the series, it is now time to review ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 2 (1980-1983).
My copy is the 2018 Record Store Day Release and let me tell you it is quite stellar. As the sticker below says, it is a 2-LP Gatefold Set that is limited to 1,500 copies and both LP’s are on a beautiful clear translucent vinyl. And Bun E. Carlos might not be in the band anymore, but he was involved as the liner notes on the inside of the Gatefold are track-by-track commentary by Mr. Carlos as well as Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson as you can see below. This Volume didn’t have the “Golden Ticket” like the last one where you received a band picture autographed by all four original members. Nope, nothing like that in here.
But what I did get was a beautiful set of vinyl and a great collection 16 tracks spanning from 1980 to 1983, which includes demos, live recordings, early studio recordings of later released songs and alternate versions. I would say this is for the more hardcore fan and maybe not the casual listener so I believe I qualify for the more hardcore fan, I mean I am doing a whole review series on the band. I don’t think that makes me a casual listener.
But before we get to the music, let us take a look at the vinyl. I actually really think they are stunning. Hard to believe that the absence of color could be so cool…but it is…
Okay, Okay, enough already…on to the music…
SIDE 1 & 2:
The first three tracks are from the E.P. ‘Found all the Parts’. The first track is a live version of the Beatles song “Day Tripper” recorded live on their 1978 US Tour. Only that it wasn’t. Nope! They planned on using that version, however, it sucked so they went back in to the studio and re-recorded it while still using the crowd noise from the live version though. I do like the fact that they kept the studio version rough around the edges and gave it a live feel. If I wouldn’t have told you, you probably wouldn’t have noticed. Next up is “Such a Good Girl” and it is a happy little track that feels like sunshine. Meaning it is uplifting and bright in its sound. The final track from Found All the Parts E.P. is “Take Me I’m Yours” which is a lot slower and more bluesy almost lounge-singer style. Rick sings it in a weird way almost gimmicky. Think early Roy Orbison style except not as high in the vocal range as Roy can get. Lastly on Side 1 is the Vocal Version of “Oh Boy”. Intended for the first album, but Jack Douglas didn’t like it. He thought it was too poppy and not hard or edgy enough and I would agree.
Side 2 kicks off the demo of “Loser” which is a very simple song with only 3 chords because that is what Rick wanted. A song you didn’t have to look at your guitar to play. It is a slower song and doesn’t feel flushed out fully. Robin sings it with a gritty tone and sounds a little sad and lonely to keep in line with the loser theme. The chorus is pretty simple as well and maybe is sung badly on purpose, who knows. The next two tracks are live from the L.A. Forum from December 31, 1979 when the headlined the arena after playing it before as an opening act with Kiss. First is “The House is Rockin’ (with Domestic Problems)” which has “Goodnight Now” included at the end which I have always loved when the do that one and then we get “Way of the World” which is one of the rare times that song has been played as there some very hard vocal parts to do live. The last track is the single edit for a song I really like called “World’s Greatest Lover” off 1981’s ‘All Shook Up’. It knocks about 30 seconds off trimming a little bit and there. The band loves this one for how different it sounds to their other songs and Rick loves the chord changes.
SIDE 3 & 4:
Side 3 kicks off with “Everything Works if You Let It” (Single Version). The song was written for the movie “The Roadie” and released as a single. It is a great, high energy track and deservedly released as a single. Then we get two tracks from the Heavy Metal Movie Soundtrack. First is “Reach Out” which to me is not very heavy or metal. Way too much on the keyboards, but that was the time. The cool thing is I don’t have to get the soundtrack for these two songs…although I probably want it for all the other songs. The next one from the movie is “I Must Be Dreamin'” and the first half is an instrumental with lots of keys and I am sure fits the animated movie it was used for, but the second half has Robin and helps the song find its groove. The last track on Side 3 is the demo version of “If You Want My Love” and do I really need to anything. We already know it is a great song and the demo proves it was great from the beginning.
Side 4 kicks off with a song I would love to just skip. It is A Super New Dance Remix of the song “Saturday at Midnight” and you lost me at Dance Remix. It is over 6 minutes of 80’s keyboards and fake ass drums and a total waste of my time. Then we get a cover of the Motors song “Dancing the Night Away” (Short Version). The album version is the long version. The label forced this one on the band and Todd Rundgren was so pissed, he refused to produce it so it was produced by the band with Ian Taylor. The label even forced this to be the first single and it flopped…big time!! The suits know nothing!! However, the song really isn’t bad as it is quite catchy. It is a decent cover and since I was unfamiliar with The Motors song, I thought this was a Cheap Trick song all along. The we get the song “Spring Break” from the movie of the same name. Let us just say this song is just as bad as the movie. Inspired by the Beach Boys, it is an upbeat, energetic track, but thankfully was not on a Cheap Trick album as it doesn’t work. Lastly we get “Get Ready” which was the B-Side to the “Spring Break” single and I like it so much better. Inspired by a Humble Pie song, it rocks out so much more and sees a heavier edge of the band.
There are no unreleased tracks on here. These are all released in some other form, mostly on expanded editions, B-Sides or soundtracks. But if you don’t have all those, then this set will compile them for you nicely. I think the Record Store Day release really did a great packaging job and those clear translucent vinyl are simply beautiful. The 80’s started to be an uneasy time for the band and some of the songs on here show that. But I love demos, live songs, B-Sides and all that stuff is just great for a collector. I really like these releases as sometimes I like to just hear the more obscure rarer tracks like demos and alt arrangements, I’m strange that way. And this compiles them up nicely, but I don’t like it as much as Vol. 1 . I will give this one a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.
UP NEXT: ‘THE EPIC ARCHIVE VOL. 3 (1984-1992)’ (2015)
After the last studio album, 2009’s ‘The Latest’, Cheap Trick went a little quiet. The did release a a live album, ‘Sgt Pepper Live’ in 2009, but that album is not in my Collection and this is “The Collection Series” so it won’t get reviewed at this point. Then in 2010, Bun E. Carlos stopped touring and he ended up suing the band in 2013 as they weren’t allowing him to record or participate in anything with the band. The lawsuit was settled and the band continued on without Carlos as a 3-Piece. Of note, Rick Nielsen’s son, Dax, has filled in for Bun E. as the drummer. And in 2014, they did release a compilation album called ‘The 70’s’, but again, not in the collection.
So, what is in the Collection that can be reviewed next? I will tell you. We have ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 1 through Vol. 3 to review that were all released in 2015. All three albums were released on November 27, 2015 digitally. There was no physical product at the time. That has since been corrected as they eventually did release these on vinyl for Record Store Day on three separate occasions. I was lucky enough to get all 3. We will start with ‘The Epic Archive, Vol. 1 (1975-1979) since that is the first one in the series.
We are now to the band’s 16th Studio album. The album was released on June 23, 2009 and only went to #78 on the Billboard Charts and sadly sales only reached 24,000 records as of 2016 which is an absolute shame as this is a hidden gem. The Latest is the last studio album to feature all four members of the original band of Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson and Bun E. Carlos. In 2010, Bun E. Carlos stopped touring with the band and it led to him not recording with the band. There were lawsuits back and forth and it was ugly. But that is another discussion for another day.
Cheap Trick really lost their way in the mid to late 80’s and early 90’s. But with ‘Woke Up With a Monster’ up to ‘Rockford’, Cheap Trick was slowly remembering who they were. With ‘The Latest’, the band was back in full form and putting out their best album in years. Cheap Trick was back baby, but sadly, no one knew it. This was the Cheap Trick sound I loved. They band sounded refreshed, rejuvenated and reborn. ‘The Latest’ is the best we’ve seen from them in a very long time.
The version of the album I have is a digipak CD with a fold out cover (as seen below). There was no booklet inside as everything was printed on the reverse sides of the flaps below. One thing cool the band did for this release is they released a version of the album on 8-Track. This was 2009 and 8-Tracks were not a blip on anyone’s radar (except maybe Tim Durling).