Details about a new box-set edition of the Replacements' 1989 album "Don't Tell a Soul" ironically could not be kept a secret.
After information on the Minneapolis rock legends' reissue leaked Thursday via Amazon U.K. — and music blogs subsequently geeked out over it — Rhino Records pushed the official announcement up to Friday morning.
The reveal had been planned for next Tuesday, a day to which the band's social media accounts have cryptically teased in recent days. And yes, the mere fact that the Replacements have social media accounts was news in and of itself to a lot of people.
So here's the pre-scooped scoop: The expanded version of the band's most slickly produced and commercially touted record for Reprise/Warner Bros. is titled "Dead Man's Pop" and will be released Sept. 27. List price: $79.98.
It will feature a newly mixed version of the original album (on both vinyl and CD), a CD of alternate studio versions from earlier, shelved sessions in Bearsville, N.Y., and two more discs featuring a concert recording from the "Don't Tell a Soul" tour stop at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on June 2, 1989.
"Don't Tell a Soul," which featured the single "I'll Be You," was released with a "radio-ready" sound mix that frontman Paul Westerberg reportedly disdained. The new version was crafted by the album's producer, Matt Wallace, in the spirit of the original mix he made at Paisley Park in 1988.
"The true spirit of the Replacements was always there on the recordings we did back in 1988, and now you can hear and feel it clearly," Wallace said in a release from Rhino. "This was the project of a lifetime for me when we recorded it 30-plus years ago, and it's even truer today as we've finally fulfilled our original vision."
But probably the biggest attention-getter will be the six tracks made in the Bearsville studio with kindred spirit Tom Waits, only one of which ("Date to Church") has seen daylight before. Foremost among those is a Waits-spiked version of "If Only You Were Lonely," a twangy drinking song that frontman Paul Westerberg recorded as the acoustic B-side to the band's rip-roaring debut single for Twin/Tone Records, 1981's "I'm in Trouble."
Much of the Milwaukee recording will be new to fans, as well. Much like the "Live at Maxwell's" Replacements double-LP that Rhino put out in 2017, the concert audio has been cleaned up for release.
While that earlier set showcased the chaotic firepower of the band's original guitarist, Bob Stinson, shortly before he was kicked out of the band in 1986, the 1989 Milwaukee gig shows off the sturdiness and groove that Stinson's replacement and friend Bob "Slim" Dunlap brought to the band on a good night.
In addition to tunes from "Don't Tell a Soul" including "I'll Be You," "Achin' to Be" and "Talent Show," the Milwaukee set boasts many older — but none of the oldest — Replacements favorites with Dunlap's input, including the show opener "Alex Chilton," "Left of the Dial," "Can't Hardly Wait," "I Will Dare" and "Unsatisfied."
It also includes some fun oddities, including a strutting version of the "101 Dalmatians" antagonist anthem "Cruella De Vil" (recorded for a Disney tribute album) and a cover of the Only Ones' "Another Girl, Another Planet" (a live set staple featured on the rare, live promo EP, "Inconcerated").
The set also includes a 12-by-12 hardcover book with dozens of rarely seen photos and a detailed history of the era written by Bob Mehr, who authored the band's definitive biography, "Trouble Boys," and co-produced the box with Rhino's Jason Jones.
"While it's impossible to unhear a record that's been around for three decades, this version ... is the album the band made and intended to release," says Mehr in the album notes. The remix "also restores several crucial elements from the sessions, including original drum tracks, vocal takes and tempos that were altered in post-production … [and] the band's original sequence of the album."