Saturday, November 15, 2014

Neil Innes: How Sweet to Be an Idiot

I used to feel bad about this whole LP restoration obsession of mine. Then I met Neil Innes after a gig at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, and we talked about how he and so many artists have to deal with the fact that they don’t control the master recordings to their seminal works. “I rip it from the records,” he said. “It’s the magic of ProTools.” And rip he did: he’s currently selling a multi-CD set of his own making, Recollections: Le Duck’s Box Set, with a big selection of tunes from his old LPs. He's also offering four single-disc CD titles in his Back Catalogue series of reissues, which in turn were preceded by his three Recollections CDs that he put out in 2001. All these self-produced CDs included material sourced from vinyl, because as fate would have it Innes’ four solo albums from 1973-1982 were all recorded for different labels. There’s no one giant mother company that owns it all and is interested in shepherding a remastered box set. 

Innes fans of course need the Le Duck’s box, but for those curious about the order and presentation of these songs in the context of their original packaging, in this post and the next three posts I’ll be uploading restored artwork from Innes’ four solo LPs. First up is How Sweet to Be an Idiot from 1973: the first LP credited solely to Innes after the Bonzo Dog Band faded away and Innes had collaborated in bands The World and GRIMMS. The good news: it’s still easy to score a copy of the out-of-print EMI CD Re-Cycled Vinyl Blues, a real corker that includes this entire 1973 LP plus five non-album single sides that Innes recorded for United Artists in 1974.

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