The Replacements themselves are being tight-lipped for the moment, but there’s plenty for fans to chew on as the year winds down. Foremost among them, New West Records announced details this week of the two-CD “Songs for Slim” collection, titled “Rockin’ Here Tonight” and available Nov. 12 with 18 songs from the 7-inch series benefitting Slim Dunlap, plus 10 more unreleased bonus tracks. Also, First Avenue unveiled the game plan for this year’s ‘Mats tribute on the night after Thanksgiving, and Twin Cities rock scribe/musician Jim Walsh has helmed another, photo-driven book on the band publishing this month.
SONGS FOR SLIM TWO-CD SET
It opens with the track that originally kicked off the series as well as the Replacements tribute, “Busted Up,” and ends with a version of “Love Lost” by something called the West Saugerties Ale & Quail Club, featuring none other than John Sebastian of Lovin’ Spoonful fame. In between are 26 more all-star recordings of former ‘Mats guitarist Slim Dunlap’s many unsung classics. That includes all 18 tracks issued in the auction-only singles series, featuring Dunlap covers by the likes of Jeff Tweedy, Jakob Dylan, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Joe Henry, John Doe, Deer Tick, Lucero, Craig Finn, Tim O'Reagan and Jim Boquist, Patterson Hood, Curtiss A, Lucero, and Frank Black with the Suicide Commandos.
The second CD is made up 10 more unreleased Slim tributes from Soul Asylum, Chan Poling (the Suburbs), Peter Hoslapple (dB’s), Young Fresh Fellows, Frankie Lee, John Eller, the aforementioned Sebastian ensemble and Gary Louris with most of the Jayhawks (curiously billed here as LP.ORG; long story). Former Replacements drummer Chris Mars’ self-released tribute to Slim, “When I Fall Down,” also appears on the bonus disc, and the cover art is also once again Mars’ handiwork. There's also a verson of "Two by Two" by a trio billed as Bee, Louie & Brien -- which is Dunlap's two children and pal Brien Lilja.
Having heard the collection piecemeal and been impressed all along, I have to say it’s all the more impressive hearing the songs in order in one big wallop. This seriously should go down as one of the best albums of the year, whatever the cause or backstory. Click here to see the full 28-song track list.
The set will only be available on CD for now. Price will be a mere $15, and all proceeds will go toward Dunlap’s ongoing home care following his severe stroke in February 2012. Today actually marks the one-year anniversary of his return home from the hospital.
FIRST AVENUE TRIBUTE
As promised, the tribute show will go on despite this year’s ‘Mats reunion. Hell, why wouldn’t it?! It’s happening Nov. 29, and tickets are already on sale for $10, proceeds of which also go toward Slim’s medical fund.
The centerpiece this year will be a 30th-anniversary live recreation of the band’s second and most playful full-length album, 1983’s “Hootenanny,” once again anchored by the Melismatics with rotating vocalists yet to be confirmed. Surely, this will finally be the year a Twin Cities rapper gets involved (see: “Lovelines”). The show will also include the second installment of the Walsh-led Mad Ripple Hootenanny Slimboree tribute, plus mini-sets by Ol' Yeller, the Blackberry Brandy Boys, Fury Things, Vandy & Friends (Chooglin/Eleganza’s Brian Vanderwerf), blues-rockers Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders, teen band Stereo Confession, Myotis and more.
“WAXED UP HAIR & PAINTED SHOES”
That’s the title of the new Voyageur Press book by Walsh with Voyageur editor Dennis Pernu, due to publish Nov. 16. A follow-up to Walsh’s 2007 oral-history book “All Over But the Shouting,” this one is subtitled “The Photographic History” and features 200-some photos (dated 1979-1991) by local lens vets Dan Corrigan and Greg Helgeson, and many other shooters from all over. It could’ve been subtitled “Photographic Evidence,” because some of the shots literally are incriminating. Some are damn touching, too. There are loads flyers, album art and other random images, too. Walsh contributed a series of essays to go with each chapter.
You can catch a special presentation from the authors as well as the spotlight-shy Corrigan at Magers & Quinn bookstore in Uptown on Nov. 11, 7 p.m.