It’s great to go into an indie record store these days and see that the vinyl shelves are expanding to accommodate the increasing amount of music that’s being pressed on 12″ these days. Boosted no doubt by the popular Record Store Day event a great many new releases are getting at least a limited pressing while there is a growing market for vinyl reissues of classic, rare and “lost” albums. While labels such as Sundazed and Rhino have been doing this for some time Demon Records have recently thrown their hat into the ring with a run of limited edition of heavyweight vinyl releases from the likes of Ian McCulloch, Jim Croce, Foghat The Beat, Sugar, T.Rex and Deacon Blue.
The Jim Croce album, I Got A Name, was the one that caught our eye with memories of hearing his albums being played almost ad nauseam in the wake of his death (in 1973) at various parties (we didn’t dance in those days, we listened to albums, man…) flaring up. Our knowledge of him over the years was eventually whittled down to just three songs, Time In A Bottle, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim and Big Bad Leroy Brown all of which pop up from time to time on oldies radio and occasional soundtracks. In fact a soundtrack might be the reason for Demon choosing this release, Croce’s third and last album (which was released posthumously) as the title song recently featured in Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie Django Unchanged.
So having listened to the album the verdict is that Croce was an accomplished writer and singer and the songs are all well performed, polished and shiny and very radio friendly. You can hear why he hit the charts in the States at a time when the likes of Loggins and Messina and America were considered rootsy while a bunch of folk in the UK bought his albums in the wake of his appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test. He doesn’t sound dated mind you and the title song and I’ll Have To Say I Love You In a Song are superior soft rock ballads. However without the above mentioned three songs present it’s likely that this reissue will only appeal to diehard fans and collectors with the general public happy to pick up a greatest hits CD. Those diehards will have to move fast however as this vinyl reissue is limited to 500 copies on red, 180 gram vinyl also including a download card.