This Month's Vinyl Picks: December 2021
The songs of Paul Weller get an orchestral reimagining and a newly-restored live album from Can gets its first release on vinyl - all this and more coming to our vinyl racks in December...
Paul Weller with Jules Buckley & BBC Symphony Orchestra
From the spiky, mod-revivalist stylings of The Jam to the blue-eyed soul of The Style Council and his impressive body of solo material, Paul Weller is rightly regarded as one of the finest songwriters of his generation and this month some of his finest songs are given an orchestral touch on a new album created in collaboration with composer Jules Buckley and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
An Orchestrated Songbook arrives on December 10 and sees 18 of Weller’s finest compositions re-arranged for a full orchestra, from The Jam’s ‘English Rose’ to solo favourites such as ‘You Do Something to Me’ and ‘Wild Wood’. Available as a 2LP set on black vinyl, the album also includes guest appearances from Celeste, James Morrison and Boy George.
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Raise the Roof
After the multi-Grammy-winning success of their first collaborative album Raising Sand, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant returned in November for a second outing that sees the odd couple delivering more of the same magic that made their debut a huge surprise hit.
Featuring a series of unique and affecting takes on classic by Merle Haggard, The Everly Brothers, Bert Jansch and more – as well as some original material – Raise the Roof made its arrival on most of the available formats last month, but if you’ve held off buying your copy until now and want to add some colour to your record collection, you might want to hang on a little longer until December 17 for the arrival of this limited edition version pressed on yellow vinyl.
Jamiroquai – Travelling Without Moving (25th Anniversary)
Sony Music CMG
Undoubtedly one of the most successful bands to emerge from the Acid Jazz stable in the early 1990s, Jamiroquai enjoyed early success with their debut album Emergency on Planet Earth and its follow-up Return of the Space Cowboy, but by the time of their third album Travelling Without Moving their sound had evolved into something even more funky, enjoying their first Top 5 singles with hits like ‘Virtual Insanity’.
Their third LP makes a return to stores this month in celebration of its 25th anniversary, with a new, limited edition reissue set to arrive in stores on December 17. Pressed onto yellow vinyl, the new 2LP edition also features additional bonus tracks, including ‘Do You Know Where You’re Coming From' (with M-Beat) and a Dimitri From Paris remix of their single ‘Cosmic Girl’.
Claudio Simonetti's Goblin - Suspiria: Live Soundtrack Experience
Italian prog-rock outfit Goblin are perhaps as well known for their soundtrack work as they are for their studio albums, having struck up a partnership with director Dario Argento in the 1970s that saw them produce several soundtracks for his films, including Profundo Rosso, Tenebre and his supernatural horror Suspiria, as well as others including George A. Romero’s zombie masterpiece Dawn of the Dead.
Keyboardist Claudio Simonetti leads one of Goblin’s many current incarnations on a pair of new live albums, both recorded at a 2019 concert in Finland, where the band performed the soundtracks for both Profundo Rosso and Suspiria in full. Mixed at Simonetti’s studio in Rome, each performance gets its own standalone release on black vinyl this month, with both due to arrive in stores on December 17.
Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue
Even amidst Nina Simone’s outstanding discography, her 1959 debut album Little Girl Blue still stands out as one of her finest. Backed by a band that featured Jimmy Bond on bass and Albert Heath on drums, its tracklist includes her seminal rendition of ‘My Baby Just Cares for Me’, which became a UK Top 10 hit some 30 years after it was originally recorded.
A newly-remastered reissue of Simone’s debut arrives in stores on vinyl this month, with a new pressing of Little Girl Blue set to return to stores on December 17.
Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers – First Flight to Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings
Legendary jazz drummer and bandleader Art Blakey first made a name for himself playing alongside some of the genre’s all-time greats, including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan and Charlie Parker, to name a few, but Blaley is often best-known as the leader of The Jazz Messengers, a collective with an ever-shifting line-up that became a platform for up-and-coming jazz musicians – many of whom, such as Winton Marsalis and Keith Jarrett, subsequently became stars in their own right.
A newly-discovered live recording from the group’s first ever Japanese tour forms the basis for a new live LP First Flight to Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings, which arrives in stores this month. Recorded at a show performed at Tokyo’s Hibiya Public Hall, the new LP features nine tracks from a band that features Wayne Shorter on saxophone, Lee Morgan on Trumpet, Bobbie Timmons on piano and Jymie Merritt on bass. Pressed onto black vinyl and released on the Blue Note Records imprint, First Flight to Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings lands in stores on December 10.
Can – Live in Brighton 1975
Krautrock pioneers Can were not only one of their era’s most groundbreaking bands; they were also one of the most prolific, releasing 11 studio albums over their first decade, but they also recorded much more music than they released, some of which has emerged in recent years in the form of live compilations and box sets such as 2012’s The Lost Tapes.
Another of their legendary live concerts, recorded in Brighton in 1975, has been carefully restored from the original tapes and becomes the second in a curated series of their live concerts to arrive on vinyl this month. Due to arrive on December 3, Live in Brighton 1975 features seven improvisational tracks spread across three discs on black vinyl.