Released in 1985 on the Fan Club division of the French New Rose record label, this double disc is packaged in bright yellow with a gatefold and superb liner notes/memories by J. Geils Band frontman Peter Wolf along with additional information by Remains bassist Vern Miller. With a whopping 28 tracks, it is seven cuts deeper than the 1991 Epic/Legacy re-release, at least five of those bonus tracks from the Capitol Records demos included here, material released on Sundazed in 1996 as Session With the Remains. The inner sleeve contains songwriter credits as well as the year, studio, and city where each tune was recorded as well as information on who produced each track. It is really exquisite, and sounds great to boot. The eternal debate from those who saw the band in their heyday opening for the Beatles in 1966 is "what if they had been recorded properly." William Briggs III said that he felt the Session With the Remains CD did capture that spirit. "Talking 'Bout You" certainly has a groove, while "Hang On Sloopy" is one of those fly-on-the-wall kind of moments, the band displaying much more of that garage aura than is revealed on the cut from the classic Nuggets compilation, "Don't Look Back," though that track helped perpetuate their legend. Peter Wolf's 1985 letter on the back cover giving the band credit for "power and control" of amplification, comparing them to the Who, is worth the price of admission. Wolf should know; Barry Tashian lived in the same apartment complex and was present when the former Peter Blankfield recorded the famous "bathroom tapes" of his own band, the Hallucinations. The essay by Vern Miller Jr. sheds even more light on the group history, noting that one of the songs here, Gram Parsons' "Luxury Liner," was recorded in Long Island during a brief 1976 reunion. For collectors of vinyl and hardcore fans of the band, of which there are many, this one is essential.
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