Hot Tuna

In a Can

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In a Can (1996) doesn't offer the complete Hot Tuna catalog in one place -- nor does it profess to. Missing are Phosphorescent Rat (1973), Yellow Fever (1975), and Double Dose (1978) for enthusiasts to locate à la carte. What is contained -- within the limited-edition package -- are remastered editions of the "classic" long-players Hot Tuna (1969), First Pull Up, Then Pull Down (1971), Burgers (1972), America's Choice (1975), and Hoppkorv (1976). As a logical extension of RCA/BMG's mid-'90s upgrade of the Jefferson Airplane's recorded legacy -- by industry veteran and producer extraordinaire Paul Williams -- the same was done to the Airplane spinoff combo that was co-founded by bandmates Jorma Kaukonen (guitar/vocals) and Jack Casady (bass/vocals). The results were uniformly lauded by fans and critics alike not only for the overall excellent audio quality, but also for the updated text. Perhaps most important was the addition of previously unissued versions of "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning," "Candy Man," "True Religion," "Belly Shadow," and "Come Back Baby" onto the combo's self-titled debut -- all of which were taken from the same cache of mid-September 1969 gigs at the New Orleans House in Berkeley, CA. However, these tracks weren't exclusive to In a Can and are likewise available on the single-CD upgraded version of the album as well. Although the remaining four titles are presented sans bonus tracks, the overall improvement in fidelity and 24-page full-color liner notes booklet, not to mention the novelty of the packaging -- which houses the compact discs in an actual metal can with a certificate of authenticity -- were certainly enough to make the 5,000 numbered copies disappear from retail shelves within months of release. One interesting manufacturing sidebar is that, in a concerted effort to place all 5,000 copies in the hands of the fans, RCA/BMG pressed another batch for promotional purposes that yielded editions with numbers exceeding 5,000. This is worth mentioning for parties who might question the legitimacy of pre-owned or second-hand items.

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