Half Notes: Rick Nelson – The Complete Epic Recordings (2012)

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It’s tempting to think that Nelson’s 1972 flip-off single “Garden Party” — written after the former teen popstar was booed off the stage at Madison Square Garden, he says, for daring to play some of his newer stuff — was the end of the road. But Nelson, in fact, was quite productive into the late 1970s, though little of the music saw the light of day before he was lost in a mid-1980s plane crash. Of the three album’s worth of material that he completed for Epic, only 1977’s Intakes was released before Nelson’s death. It’s a shame. There are, inside these long-lost sessions, some of his most vital work: Nelson had a fruitful pairing with Al Kooper on a follow-up project called Back to Vienna, then returned to his roots for Rockabilly Renaissance. Of those two, only the latter was issued — though that came in 1986 and with a lather of overdubs, as The Memphis Sessions. This Real Gone Music compilation collects all three albums in one setting — 11 of the 41 songs here have never been released stateside — and strips away Renaissance’s tacked-on production touches. Nelson expert James Ritz handled production duties on The Complete Epic Recordings, and also provides new annotation.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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