This month’s Uncut magazine celebrates 50 extraordinary albums that are not officially on sale right now.
Starting with Tin Machine, ‘Tin Machine II’ (1991). David Bowie had formed Tin Machine in 1998 with guitarist Reeves Gabrels and rhythm section Hunt and Tony Sales. EMI dropped them on the eve of this second album. Expect to pay: £20 for the CD.
49: Bill Drummond ‘The Man’ (1986). The erstwhile visionary behind Liverpool’s Zoo label stepped out as an unbashedly Scottish singer-songwriter with this remarkable LP, created to mark his turning 33-and-a-third. Expect to pay: Quite a lot – sellers are asking £30 to £50 online
48: Lotion, ‘Nobody’s Cool’ (1995). While the bright and wry college rock of their second LP didn’t quite match its predecessor, its current unavailability has resulted in a significant piece of literary ephemera being lost. Expect to pay: Very, very little…
47: Buckingham Nicks, ‘Buckingham Nicks’ (1973). What is remarkable is that there has never been a CD repress of this cult record. Perhaps the duo (Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks), who own the rights, would rather it stays that way. Expect to pay: £30 for a mint vinyl copy
46: Sandy Bull, ‘Demolition Derby’ (1972). This was the last recording he made before heroin addiction sent him lurching off the radar for 16 years, and it was a strange mix of rarefield improvs and disposable cheeseballs. Expect to pay: No more than £20
45: Richard & Linda Thompson, ‘First Light’ (1978, 1992-CD). Released after the couple’s three-year sabbatical to follow their recently adopted Sufi Muslin faith, this was a cautious return that doesn’t hold a candle to their Island albums or the intensely brilliant ‘Shoot Out The Lights’. Expect to pay: A tenner for the album, quite a lot more for the CD
44: Eire Apparent, ‘Sunrise’ (1969, 1992-CD). The Hendrix connection – Jimi produced it, and plays on a number of tracks – has long made this a collectable. But Errnie Graham’s fine songwriting makes this band’s sole LP more than a footnote on the great guitarist’s discography. Expect to pay: Around £20 for the CD, over £100 for the original vinyl
43: Frank Zappa & The Mothers, ‘200 Motels OST’ (1971, 1997-CD). Most of Zappa’s catalogue is owned by his estate, but not this. The 90-plus minutes of music on the now-deleted ’90s reissue confirmed this as typically ornery Zappa. Expect to pay: £20-£40. The new issue of Uncut is on sale now.
42: Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, ‘The World We Knew’ (1987, 1994-CD). Late Big Star legend Alex Chilton hooked up with Dada-inspired video artist Panther Burns in 1979. This was their definitive statement: a wondrously sloppy, swampy and spooky collection of obscure, even mysterious covers. Expect to pay: £30-£50
41: Adrian Henri, Roger McGough & Andy Roberts, ‘The Incredible New Liverpool Scene’ (1967). Following the successful poetry anthology, The Liverpool Scene (1967), writers Henri and McGough recorded an LP with guitarist Andy Roberts. Legal wrangles and lost tapes notwithstanding, a CD release is being plotted. Expect to pay: £40
40: The Searchers, ‘Play For Today’ (1981). This was the second and final LP The Searchers cut for New Wave label Sire, but it’s pretty great – superior, chiming powerpop that acknowledged, albeit tastefully, that punk really did happen. Expect to pay: £15, although copies are getting rarer
39: Rainy Day, ‘Rainy Day’ (1984). The Paisley Underground supergroup! Dream Syndicate, Opal, The Bangles and The Three O’Clock pooled resources to cut an album of immaculately chosen covers of their musical heroes. Expect to pay: Difficult to find, but £25, maybe?
38: Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen, ‘Edge Of Darkness OST’ (1985). An atmospheric six-track score for the BBC’s landmark conspiracy drama, different from anything else in Clapton’s canon. First issued on vinyl, cassette and – unusually for 1985 – CD, it has never been reissued. Expect to pay: £15, more for the CD
37: Dion, ‘Wonder Where I’m Bound’ (1968). A US-only LP comprised mostly of outtakes released to cash in with 1968 hit, ‘Abraham, Martin & John’, is long due reappraisal. Largely recorded in 1964/5, and buried among the expected doo-wop material were some good surprises. Expect to pay: £10 or so, plus postage from the States!
36: British Electric Foundation, ‘Music For Stowaways’ (1980). Following their exit from the Human League, Sheffield synth-stabbers Martyn Ware and Ian Gregory unleashed this album of icy instrumental electronica. Only ever issued on cassette in the UK – although a limited export vinyl version was pressed. Expect to pay: £20, worth it if you’ve still got a working tape player…
35: The Pop Group, ‘For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?’ (1981). This 1981 follow-up album, never officially reissued on CD, was the stuff of direct action. Poetry took a back seat to polemic. Expect to pay: £40 for a decent vinyl copy, as long as it’s got the four original posters
34: Johnny Thunders, ‘Hurt Me’ (1983, 1995-CD). The New York Doll never sounded more exquisitely alone than on this, recorded in Paris in the winter of 1983. Almost entirely acoustic and spellbindingly intimate, although it sounded like it was recorded in a derelict attic. Expect to pay: £50 for the vinyl, £30 for the CD
33: Spring, ‘Spring’ (1972, 1994-CD). One of Brian Wilson’s esoteric projects away from The Beach Boys, the group known variously as The Honeys, Spring and American Spring were perhaps closest to his heart. Expect to pay: £40-60, maybe less for the CD, if you can find one…
32: Dave And Toni Arthur, ‘Hearken To The Witches Rune’ (1970). Just before launching her career as a BBC children’s TV presenter, Toni Arthur and her hubby were hanging out in the coven of Britain’s king of the witches. This selection of super-natural ballads was sung with stark, Celtic-tinged accompaniments. Expect to pay: Around £40
31: The Fall, ‘The Marshall Suite’ (1999). This ushered in a new phase of The Fall that continues to this day: Smith hiring apparently random musicians who sound identical to those they replaced. Expect to pay: £30 or so, The new issue of Uncut is on sale now.
30: Various, ‘Concerts For The People Of Kampuchea’ (1981). Paul McCartney teamed up with UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim and UNICEF to organise four nights, post-Christmas ’79, at the Hammersmith Odeon, in aid of a Pol Pot-ravaged Cambodia. Like so many charity records, there was a legal tangle with artists, so this was a one-off pressing. Expect to pay: £15 or so
29: The Sound, ‘From The Lion’s Mouth’ (1981, 2001-CD). While their second LP still sounds like a crucial document of the era, the success never arrived. Adrian Borland tragically died in 1999, and The Sound’s sic great albums have only briefly been available on CD since. Expect to pay: £25 for the vinyl, more like £60 for the CD
28: My Bloody Valentine, ‘Ecstasy And Wine’ (1989). A comp of an EP (‘Strawberry Wine’) and a mini-album (‘Ecstasy’), both from 1987, it showcased a band scurfing off their goth past and moving towards something more original. Expect to pay: £25
27: Viv Stanshall, ‘Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead’ (1974). After the decline and fall of his Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Stanshall surprised everybody with this unexpectedly swampy Afro-funk tinged solo debut. An online petition, begging the label to re-release it on CD, has been signed by 2200 names to date. Expect to pay: A rather surreal £70
26: American Music Club, ‘California’ (1987, 1993-CD). This was the record on which Mark Eitzel found his voice, and he still plays several songs from the album in his live set. Eitzel believes securing a reissue is more important than the historic rifts within the band. Expect to pay: £25 if you just can’t wait
25: The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, ‘1987 (What The Fuck’s Going On?)’ (1987). Considering the notoriety they’d later achieve as the KLF, it’s sometimes easy to forget the significance of The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. In October, they issued the album with the offending samples removed. Expect to pay: £10 for the legalised recut. Don’t tell Abba if you’ve got an original
24: Alex Chilton, ‘Bach’s Bottom’ (1981, 1993-CD). Chilton never fully endorsed producer Jon Tiven’s decision to release these creepy remakes and covers, ywt when four songs filtered into the punk underground via a 1977 Ork Records EP, listeners found the results quite punk rock. Expect to pay: Depends on the version. £10-20, maybe?
23: David Stoughton, ‘Transformer’ (1968). Never on CD, vinyl copies are becoming scarcer – but it is scheduled for digital re-release in the summer ahead of Elektra’s 60th anniversary. Expect to pay: £15, if you find one!
22: Jean Ritchie, ‘None But One’ (1977). Here Ritchie adheres to the expected traditional songs and instrumentation, as Mary Travers, Susan Reed and Janis Ian add their voices. Only discontinued on CD last year – grab one while you can. Expect to pay: £15
21: New Kingdom, ‘Paradise Don’t Come Cheap’ (1996). For their ominous second LP, New Yorkers Nosaj and Sebastian took hip hop out of the city and dragged it into the dusty Southwestern hinterlands, adding opiated brass and wah-pedalling guitars. A work of urban outsider art, too long neglected. Expect to pay: Paradise might not come cheap, but this will, as £5…
20: Jimmy Page, ‘Death Wish II – Original Soundtrack’ (1982). The Zep guitarist was asked by his Buckinghamshire neighbour Michael Winner to soundtrack the second of his new shoot-em-up franchise starring Charles Bronson. Apart from a long-gone late ’90s import, this feverishly composed Zeppelin footnote has never been reissued. Expect to pay: £20, ballpark
19: Virginia Astley, ‘From Gardens Where We Feel Secure’ (1983, 2003-CD). Originally issued on Astley’s own Happy Valley via Rough Trade, Geoff Travis’ operation finally put out a CD in 2003; now deleted, it, too, has become highly collectible. Expect to pay: £40 should do it
18: XTC, ‘Apple Venus Vol 1’ (1999). Presently only available second-hand, this was XTC’s first material after the band broke free of their contract with Virgin. Meanwhile, all of XTC’s Virgin-era catalogue is freely available. Expect to pay: £5 for the CD, £30 for the vinyl, and £50 for the lovely Apple Box
17: The Who, ‘Join Together’ (1990). This odd live double caught The Who in one of its stranger incarnations, trundling across America in 1989. The album peaked at 188 in the US and barely scraped the Top 60 over here. Which, with another 10 live LPs since, hardly makes its reissue a top priority. Expect to pay: £20 for the CD, the vinyl has sold for double
16: The Undisputed Truth, ‘The Undisputed Truth’ (1971). It was with his own group, The Undisputed Truth, that Norman Whitfield embarked on far more radical experiments into psych soul and political commentary. Expect to pay: £25 for the UK vinyl
15: Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls, ‘Pauline Murray and the Invisible Girls’ (1980). With sublime guitar from The Durutti Column’s Vini Reilly and a Peter Saville sleeve, this album drew on dub, Eurodisco and brittle funk. Expect to pay: Still good value at £50
14: Paul Quinn & The Independent Group, ‘The Phantoms & The Archetypes’ (1992). A film noir of a record, this has never been re-released, possibly because Alan Horne reckons the words simply don’t deserve it. Expect to pay: £40 if you’re lucky
13: Lal & Mike Waterson, ‘Bright Phoebus’ (1972). Responding to new directions in folk-rock, the two Waterson siblings hired folk luminaries Martin Carthy, Maddy Prior, Ashley Hutchings, Tim Hart and Dave Mattacks for this chamber folk with an uncanny twist. Expect to pay: £30, with a bit of luck
12: T-Bone Burnett, ‘Truth Decay’ (1980, 1997-CD). T-Bone Burnett was unknown before Dylan recruited him for 1975’s Rolling Thunder Revue. This was his first solo album and he returned to the roots music he grew up with in Texas and with which he has since become indelibly associated as an award-winning producer. Expect to pay: A tenner for the vinyl, much, much more if you find it on CD
11: Various Artists, ‘Silver Meteor’ (1980). Subtitled ‘A Progressive Country Anthology’, this excellent set might be noteworthy solely for its brace of rootsy – and rare – 1969 cuts from The Everly Brothers, as well as four won’t-find-’em-anywhere-else tracks from The Byrds’ preternaturally talented guitarist Clarence White. Expect to pay: £30, including shipping – it’s a US-only release
10: John Cale, ‘Music For A New Society’ (1982, 1994-CD). This was daunting, a blasted requiem for an unravelling world and the victims of insane times. Not currently in catalogue, Rhino US licensed the album from Cale, but the term of that license expired in 2004. Expect to pay: £70-plus from some chancers online, unless you fancy a cassette copy on eBay?
9: Big Black, ‘Atomizer’ (1986, 1992-CD). Big Black’s debut took the rage of hardcore punk and fused it with the harsh mechanics of the electronic age. ‘Atomizer’ has been unavailable for a while because Touch & Go ran out of stock, and Albini and co took the opportunity to remaster it. Expect to pay: £15 for the vinyl
8: Sandy Denny & The Strawbs, ‘All Our Own Work’ (1973). Hallmark is not known for its reissue programme, so this seems unlikely to get a re-release soon, although Fairports producer Joe Boyd did compile some other, differently orchestrated material from the Copenhagen sessions in 1991. But now that’s out of print, too… Expect to pay: £15. But search hard enough and it’ll turn up cheaper
7: Kraftwerk, ‘Kraftwerk’ (1970). This debut, where Florian Schneider and Ralf Hutter embarked on four capricious avant-jams, the heavy-weight electronics were at a putative stage. Expect to pay: Approaching £100
6: Tom Waits, ‘Night On Earth OST’ (1992). Jim Jarmusch’s underrated portmanteau movie perhaps helps explain why Waits’s soundtrack – at the time, his first new material in five years – has fallen off the radar. Expect to pay: Up to about £50. Even the cassette is worth a tenner…
5: Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, ‘It’s Time For…’ (1986). Showcasing Richman’s love of early rock’n’roll and doo-wop, it’s nostalgic without being sentimental, as warm and true as an old valve amplifier. Expect to pay: A high-end £50
4: The Beatles, ‘The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl’ (1977). Astonishing to think that, save some stuff on the Anthologies, there is no Beatles live material available on CD. Clearly audible among the soprano screams and general hysteria are 13 raw, R’n’B-weighted tracks. Expect to pay: £10. It did hit No. 1!
3: Van Morrison, ‘St Dominic’s Preview’ (1972, 1997-CD). This album saw Morrison reach back toward the beat visionary ground of Astral Weeks. Warners started to reissue their Morrison titles in 2008, but the project seems to have stalled. Expect to pay: A reasonable £20
2: Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, ‘Lick My Decals Off, Baby’ (1970, 1989-CD). Like many albums released on Frank Zappa’s Straight label, Decals was released on CD in 1989, but was withdrawn for legal reasons. While re-released on vinyl in 2007, other considerations make a re-release on CD unlikely. Expect to pay: CDs change hands for £40 or so
1: Neil Young, ‘Time Fades Away’ (1973). Neil called it his “worst album”. But his most elusive release is also one of his most important. The album reflects the strains, tensions and conflict of the then-recently completed tour with painful honesty. Expect to pay: £25. You won’t be disappointed. The new issue of Uncut is on sale now.