Missing In Action

These records (or artists) are missing in action from the streaming world (at least Google Play and Spotify). Now I’m not going to really care about obscure albums and bands before 1980 or so, because I know about licensing and all that rot – and a lot of these missing bits and pieces are due to licensing, but they licensed most of them for CD, so why not streaming? Anyway:

MAJOR LOSSES:

Fleetwood Mac – I ranted and ranted, and somehow, most every FM album showed up. STILL, though, Then Play On is missing. Now, that may be just being readied for a big re-issue.  It’s annoying right now though, and a major loss for streamers.

Ray Charles – Um, excuse me MCA or whoever owns Charles’ ABC albums and recordings. WHY AREN’T ALL OF THEM STREAMING??? One of THE most important records of the 60’s was Charles’ groundbreaking Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, released in 1962. IT’S. NOT. STREAMING. There are collections around with songs from that period on there – but Charles’ albums deserve to be heard in full. Atlantic has released the session masters and outtakes from the 50’s. Why not Charles on ABC?

Peter Gabriel – None of his solo work is streaming. That’s a big loss to the streaming community, as it deprives folks the chance to really explore his earlier solo work, which wasn’t given much airplay in the US.

Def Leppard – Ok, guys. You made your point. I think you had a point. Now, will you PLEASE put your great ORIGINAL albums for sale on MP3 and for streaming? Else, we’re just going to buy used CDs of them and you’ll get nuthin’. I’m sure a lot of people have Pyromania that they’d get rid of for a buck or rip it and burn it for a friend.

Blondie – I suspect there’s record company skulduggery with Chrysalis (and A&M) for many titles. Parallel Lines and Autoamerican, the two record packed with the most best songs, aren’t streaming in full. Yeah, you can put ’em mostly together, but even then, you’re missing “Pretty Baby” from Parallel Lines, which is a hell of a tune.

Captain Beefheart – His discography is kind of a mess, especially for streamers. There are a lot of semi-and-quasi legit releases out there. Avoid them. But….many of his legit releases are missing from the streams. Strictly Personal, Trout Mask Replica (!),  Unconditionally Guaranteed and Blue Jeans and Moonbeams are all missing, as is the Legendary A&M Sessions and the recently released Bat Chain Puller (the early version of Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)). You Tube is probably your best bet for on-demand listening.

King Crimson – Robert Fripp is miserly about his intellectual property. I still don’t think you can download King Crimson on-line except through his King Crimson site. You certainly can’t stream it on a commercial; site. Which is fine – he’s got a shit-ton of live Crimson out there and you can buy the CDs. However, I don’t know if the no streaming policy will alienate younger music buffs who may want to explore his great works.

The Yardbirds – I am sure this has to do with licensing agreements and arrangements, but on Google Play, their two US only releases (For Your Love and Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds) are missing. You CAN put them together using other streaming entities, but that’s still work you shouldn’t have to do. On Spotify, Five Live Yardbirds ain’t there. Wow.

Also, there was a great Rhino collection called Ultimate!, which had almost everything you’d need. That’s not the same as the Ultimate Collection. The big issue is that the Yardbirds had a lot of single-only releases and those are just hard to corral into a cohesive unit.

Scorpions – Their RCA catalog is woefully underserved by their compilations, and even the compilations aren’t streaming in full. Why not stream all of their 70’s records, especially Tokyo Tapes?

Joan Jett – Her early work disappeared from streaming just recently, which means either a licensing issue or re-releases will happen soon. Let’s hope the latter. (Bad Reputation just came back…FYI)

Bob Seger – It took forever and a day to get his catalog released on CD, and now he’s not streaming. What hurts him most is trying to explore his earlier work, which, flaws and all, are more interesting than his later, safer albums.

Happy MondaysPills ‘n’ Thrills ‘n’ Bellyaches is the one album you really need by them, especially to understand them and Madchester – not streaming. Everything else is. WTF, Factory?


MINOR INCONVENIENCES:

Quiet RiotQuiet Riot and Quiet Riot II have had no official US release thanks to the request from the family of Randy Rhoads. That may say something… (NOTE: I’m not reviewing them, either.)

Matthew SweetInside, his 1986 debut was released on Sony Records. It’s not on Google Play nor Spotify. It did stiff, but Sweet has a decent size cult that would guarantee some plays, I think. (NOTE: Some tracks are on You Tube but not the whole thing, so I’m passing for now.)

Pantera – Their first four albums aren’t anywhere to be found on a streaming site. Now I know they rather much disowned them but for historical purposes they should be out there somewhere. (NOTE: I’m not going to review them, because it’s not really relevant to making a library with Pantera in it.)

Nick Lowe – The Godfather of New Wave, and witty writer of some excellent tunes has a big hole in his catalog streaming. Namely every album between 1979’s Labour of Lust and 1994’s The Impossible Bird aren’t to be found on Google Play or Spotify. Mind you, those records in between were a bit spotty, but they had some great tunes and deserve to be available. To top it off, these were issued on Columbia (except one on Reprise), so it’s not like it’s some obscure label that is hoarding the tapes.

The Fall – With the gazillion releases out there, some of the Fall’s albums were bound to come up missing on Google Play and Spotify. Curiously, it’s not the early ones on small independent labels, but their 1990-2001 output that has some holes in it. The three Phonogram albums (Extricate, Shift-Work, Code:Selfish) are missing, along with their two Artful albums (Levitate and The Marshall Suite – though the latter was released on an expanded CD in 2011.) Are You Are Missing Winner is gone, too. The record companies on the last three releases went belly up, but someone has to own the assets and licenses, right?

John Prine – His long career is well represented, especially for a cult artist that didn’t move a lot of units after the mid-70’s. However, his two Arista releases, Storm Windows and Pink Cadillac, are MIA on Google Play and Spotify.

The Tubes – Their debut album isn’t on Google Play nor Spotify, which is very odd since it has “White Punks on Dope”, their most infamous song. Their other A&M albums are there, and songs from that album are streaming on compilations. Also missing is their last major label record (Love Bomb) from their first go-round. They do have a 2009 album available to stream, and two live albums released in the 2000’s but you wonder why you’d want THOSE instead of their debut.

Thank You Friends: The Ardent Records Story – This two CD set of thus and so from Ardent Records (home of Big Star) was just released in 2008. It’s surprising that it’s not streamable on Google or Spotify, especially since the documentary on the band was released and is on Netflix now.

The Chairmen of the Board – I think this is a licensing problem with the Invictus / Hot Wax labels. They had two big hits and other minor ones, and were well reviewed as well. “Give Me Just a Little More Time” is one of the soul songs of the 70’s, and the part where everything drops out but the bass, drums and General Johnson is sublime. We want the Chairmen!

Dwight Twilley – His catalog’s a mess. It was even in 1976. However, Shelter came out with a collection of the unreleased tracks in the 90’s and added bonus tracks to albums. Those went missing on Google Play and Spotify – and that’s a shame.

.38 Special – Their first self-titled album isn’t streaming, that’s no loss really. But the oddity is that 1981’s Wild-Eyed Southern Boys doesn’t exist on Google Play nor Spotify. That has two bona-fide hits plus a crowd favorite title cut. Meanwhile, their 1991 and 1997 releases are out there for your streaming “pleasure”.

Curve – OK, not a household name, per se. However, they were on the leading edge of the shoegaze movement in the UK (along with Ride, Lush and Swervedriver). Their first two albums charted well in the UK and got some play here in the US. It may be a record company / licensing thing but those first two albums are MIA on Google and Spotify.

Nazareth – It’s not like we’re missing the greatest albums in the history of the world, but the licensing mess (has to be) between Vertigo, Castle, A&M and Lord knows who else means that a few prime Nazareth albums are missing, especially Loud ‘N’ Proud, which had a US hit in “This Flight Tonight”. Yes, it’s the Joni Mitchell song.

Funkadelic – All of Parliament’s albums (except Osmium, and that’s really hard to find anywhere) are streaming, and the Westbound records Funkadelic made are extant online. But the Warner Brothers late 70’s Funkadelic records aren’t around. I have some of the cuts thanks to a Russian web site, but that’s not the same and the fidelity and legality is sketchy. Uncle Jam Wants You and especially One Nation Under a Groove are desperately needed to teach the youngsters about funk.

American Music Club – Marc Eitzel and his crew released four albums from 1985-1989, and all have been re-issued with bonus tracks. But none are streaming on Google Play or Spotify. Why?

Henry Rollins / Rollins Band – Nothing at all from Rollins spoken word records are streaming. Nothing from his indie releases, and only two of his major label releases are out there streaming. Henry, I think people need to hear your stuff (unless there’s licensing issues – but Rollins has always been very conscious of his material).

Sam and Dave – The great soul artists didn’t release a lot of albums (and frankly their hits collection is good for novice listeners) but one album, Double Dynamite, isn’t streaming. It doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry either. It contains “Soothe Me” and “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby” so it’s not just dross, either.

Dr. Dre – Yeah, he’s one of the investors in Tidal. But Compton and 2001 are on Google Play. I want The Chronic. We all want The Chronic! Where’s The Chronic?

Bad Religion – 1983’s Into the Unknown was a bold step for the band, but it was a huge failure in terms of keeping the fan base happy, and the band soon distanced itself from it and it faded out of print, and never was released on CD. But a few years ago they re-issued it as part of a vinyl box set, and for a band that is historically important, it would be nice if it was out there. You can find it on You Tube and that’s how I’ll review it.

John Grant – He became a big deal in the UK and an underground sensation here, but the first record from him, Queen of Denmark, isn’t available on Spotify or Google Play. It’s on YouTube, so that’s where I heard it for review.

Bikini Kill – Nothing on Google Play nor Spotify (except tracks on label comps and soundtracks). That’s frustrating because if nothing else, they should be listened to and admired by today’s generation as they were groundbreaking. You can hear it on You Tube though.

The Pretty Things – I wasn’t expecting much, really, since they were more seminal in the US than popular. Spotify has two albums that Google Play doesn’t, and then no one has their 70’s output.

Dream Theater – Yes, it’s mostly songs they wrote while under the name Majesty, and yes, it has a vocalist that they soon 86’d, but Dream Theater’s first album, When Dream and Day Unite, is missing. Probably because the band want it to be missing (or maybe it’s a record company thing…)

The Mysteries of Life – They may be obscure, but they were on RCA, a major label. Their second RCA record Come Clean isn’t streaming, and neither is their independent Distant Relative, released in 2001.

Al Green – Everything before he went religious is streaming, which is good. However, there were two secular albums released in the 2000’s – 2003’s I Can’t Stop and 2005’s Everything’s OK, which while not masterpieces, were quite good. But they’re not streaming although 2008’s Lay It Down (on the same record label) is.

George Jones – Technically, you can find all of this important stuff streaming. But, because of licensing issues around his Musicor output, you really have to cobble together a comprehensive hits collection. He has a decent collection from 1955-62 and post-1972, but that Musicor era is tough to gather.

The Beautiful South – Their hits collection is streaming, plus five other original albums and their BBC collection. Yet four of their Top 10 UK albums, Choke, Miaow, Painting It Red, and Blue Is the Colour, are missing on Spotify and Google Play, along with 2003’s Gaze. I don’t know if it’s licensing or Go! are being potty-heads.

Robyn Hitchcock – I don’t know who has the digital and streaming copyrights for A&M Records, but I’ve noticed a lot of things missing and Hitchcock is the first I’ve run into. His most popular work was in the late 80’s, and except for a greatest hits record none of those works are streaming. It’s quite perturbing to have an artist like him have his crucial work missing. So whoever holds these rights, unleash them!

Pavement – The compilation of their early EP’s, Westing by Musket and Sextant, is not available for streaming, which is odd because most of the real true hipsters loved those early EPs.

The Dead Milkmen – It wasn’t that great, but Metaphysical Graffiti isn’t streaming. That had the hit “If You Love Somebody, Set Them on Fire”

The Zutons – One of their three albums is streaming on Google Play and Spotify. It may be a UK/US licensing deal, but they sold a lot of records in the UK in the 2000’s and deserve a listen on this side of the ocean.

Richard & Linda Thompson – The classic albums by the duo are streaming, but three albums from mid-career (when they were living in a Sufi Muslim commune in England) are missing. Two are OK, but Pour Down Like Silver is one of their best.

The Fixx – Their catalog is spotty, and it’s kind of odd that some titles aren’t streaming. For example, their debut Shuttered Room is nowhere. In fact, even though it was on MCA like their other records, their hits package used live versions of their two big hits from that album (“Stand or Fall”, “Red Skies”) when it was first issued. Weird.

The Jesus LizardShow is missing from streaming, which is sad, because we all need to some live Jesus Lizard to annoy friends and loved ones from time to time.

UFO – Chrysalis Records is annoying when it comes to streaming. Phenomenon and No Heavy Petting aren’t streaming on Google Play (but on Spotify). Some of the songs from those albums are streaming on the hits package. Yeesh.

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