Arthur Alexancer draws top reviews with reissue of "Lonely Just Like Me"

EXPANDED EDITION REISSUE ‘LONELY JUST LIKE ME: THE FINAL CHAPTER,’ TELLING THE WHOLE STORY OF THIS MODERN CLASSIC WITH UNRELEASED MATERIAL, INNOVATIVE PACKAGING AND COPIOUS NOTES, 
EXPANDED EDITION REISSUE ‘LONELY JUST LIKE ME: THE FINAL CHAPTER,’ TELLING THE WHOLE STORY OF THIS MODERN CLASSIC WITH UNRELEASED MATERIAL, INNOVATIVE PACKAGING AND COPIOUS NOTES, AUGURS SECOND ROUND OF CRITICAL RAVES

Original package album gleaned four-star lead review in Rolling Stone. New edition, out September 25, adds live and radio performances, and hotel room demos and more with in elaborate dossier-style package.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Arthur Alexander was the only songwriter to be covered by the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. The Beatles and Stones both modeled their early sound after him. “When the Beatles and The Rolling Stones got their first chance to record,” says Keith Richards, “one did ‘Anna’ and the other did ‘You Better Move On.’ That should tell you enough.” Yet by 1980 he had mysteriously vanished. Alexander was driving a bus in Cleveland when he was rediscovered in the early ’90s, and was convinced to make a new album following his long absence. The resultant Lonely Just Like Me on Nonesuch Records received some of the highest critical praise given to a pop music album in the year 1993.
 
And now with HackTone Records’ expanded reissue, Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter, set for September 25, 2007 release, Arthur Alexander appears headed for similar media citations. Sadly, however, he died shortly after the release of the 1993 Nonesuch volume, just as critics were filing their appraisals. With the reissue set to break shortly, now might be a good time to reflect on some of those 1993 reviews.

Rolling Stone, in its four-star lead review of Lonely Just Like Me, called it “a stunning album.” Added Billboard: “Any way you cut it, this is beautiful material.” The Los Angeles Times deemed it “Pick of the Week,” stating: “It’s a comeback album that makes you believe in happy endings.” And the All Music Guide concluded: “One could have hardly asked for a better summation of what (Alexander) did so well as one hears on this album.” The critics are joined by many musicians who claim Alexander as a primary influence — Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Kris Kristofferson among others.
 
The album’s warm reception won Alexander performances at the South by Southwest (SXSW) music conference and a full on-air set for NPR’s “Fresh Air,” (included in its entirety on this package).  The excitement culminated with a concert in Nashville. Sadly, the show did him in. Alexander was checked into the ER of the city’s Baptist Hospital the next day, having collapsed literally within minutes of signing the final documents giving him back the publishing rights to his classic songs. Within days he had, as producer Ben Vaughn notes, passed on to the next life. Lonely was still a new release with reviews breaking daily. A major comeback was tragically cut short.
 
The core of the album’s new incarnation on HackTone Records is the original Nonesuch album Lonely Just Like Me, A&R-ed by Elektra executive Danny Kahn and produced by Ben Vaughn. Musicians included a number of Alexander’s accompanists from the ‘60s — Dan Penn, Donnie Fritts, Reggie Young, Thomas Cain and Mike Leech, augmented by session stalwarts Gary Nicholson, Tommy Spurlock, Ashley Cleveland and Jim Spake. Additional material includes the interview and live set from Alexander’s “Fresh Air” appearance, along with album demos cut in a Cleveland hotel room with Vaughn (boasting a lonesome cover of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man” a full decade before Johnny Cash would revive the song) and a 1991 performance of  â€œAnna” recorded at New York’s Bottom Line during the very performance that Danny Kahn saw Arthur perform for the first time and was inspired to sign him to Elektra/Nonesuch.

The album boasts innovative packaging, exploding the very idea of a CD booklet in favor of a collection of separate pieces that combine to tell the story of this remarkable album: The portfolio contains reproductions of Elektra’s original press release, press photo, a page from Vaughn’s session notes, several photos from the sessions and even Alexander’s funeral program. In addition, the set contains pamphlets with new liner notes from Vaughn, full credits and the original liner notes from by Ben Sandmel. All of this is packed in to a heavy cardboard sleeve with a hole cut out in front to display the original cover photo through the front like a picture in a frame.

The following is a track listing for Lonely Just Like Me: The Final Chapter:

1 If It's Really Got To Be This Way 03:59
2 Go Home Girl 03:49
3 Sally Sue Brown 02:41
4 All The Time 03:22
5 Lonely Just Like Me 03:07
6 Every Day I Have To Cry 02:42
7 In The Middle Of It All 03:54
8 Genie In The Jug 02:31
9 Mr. John 03:47
10 Johnny Heartbreak 03:31
11 There Is A Road 04:23
12 I Believe In Miracles 03:38
(1-12 from Lonely Just Like Me, re-ordered by Ben Vaughn)
 
13 Intro 00:10
14 Go Home Girl 03:44
15 Interview 1 02:51
16 Genie In The Jug 02:13
17 Interview 2 00:36
18 You Better Move On 02:58
19 Interview 3 01:35
20 Every Day I Have To Cry 02:51
(13-20 recorded live on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” May 7, 1993)

21 Solitary Man (Demo) 02:02
22 Johnny Heartbreak 01:45
23 Genie In The Jug (#2) 01:56
24 Lonely Just Like Me 02:41
(21-24 from original cassette of hotel room demos featuring Arthur Alexander, vocals; Ben Vaughn, guitars)

25 Anna 03:19
(#25 recorded live at the Bottom Line in New York during “In Their Own Words: A Bunch of Songwriters Sitting Around Singing,” September 5, 1991)

26 Glory Road (exerpt) 00:48
(#26, hidden track, from hotel room demos)
  
HackTone was founded by a pair of crate diggers who believe there’s no such thing as “good music whose time has passed,” and their new distribution deal with Rhino represents a return to the fold. Before launching design and marketing firm HackMart, co-founder David Gorman was Rhino’s “Creative Czar,” winning an Art Direction Grammy for the Beg, Scream & Shout: The Big ’Ol Box of ’60s Soul collection in 1998. Co-founder Michael Nieves served as head of Rhino’s music licensing and publishing departments before founding licensing company Sugaroo!

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