Rick James’ Motown Catalog Re-Released, New Biography ‘Glow’ Out [Video]
Rick James is the “Super Freak” hitmaker singer, producer, innovator and pioneer in the fusion of funk, R&B, rock and soul.
Today, Universal Music Enterprises is reissuing James’ entire Motown catalog in a 109-track “Complete Motown Albums” digital box set, which includes all nine of his albums. The music reissues coincide with publication of his biography, “Glow,” written by David Ritz and published by Atria Books, a Simon & Schuster imprint.
A vagrant hippie from Buffalo in the 1960s who wandered to Toronto, he ended up playing with Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, only to end up a hybrid superstar in the ’80s thanks to his hit song, “Super Freak.”
An incorrigible bad boy caught up in bad boy ways, since his death at the age of 56 years old from heart failure in 2004 he has remained an icon whose contributions to music can be felt in the likes of Prince, Jay Z and Snoop Dogg, among countless others.
Five of James’s nine Motown albums are getting separate digital releases. Three of them — 1983’s No. 1 R&B gold-certified “Cold Blooded, 1985’s top 10 R&B effort “Glow” and 1986’s “The Flag” — are being reissued for the first time. Two additional albums – 1978’s double-platinum “Come Get It!” and 1979’s platinum No. 2 R&B release “Bustin’ Out of L Seven” — have been remastered and re-released digitally with new bonus tracks.
James’ four other Motown releases, also available individually – 1979’s top five R&B gold-certified “Fire It Up,” 1980’s gold “Garden of Love;” 1981’s top three pop, triple-platinum “Street Songs,” which includes “Super Freak;” and 1982’s No. 2 gold “Throwin’ Down” are part of the collection.
In addition, six new James-associated never available digitally, including three from his back-up band Stone City Band – “Rick James Presents Stone City Band In ‘N’ Out” (1980), “The Boys Are Back” (1981) and “Out from the Shadow” (1983) –- as well as “Rick James Presents Bobby M.: Blow” (1982) and Val Young’s 1985 album, “Seduction,” which features her hit “If You Should Ever Be Lonely,” are all being released.
Also out is the super rare Great White Cane album, “The Great White Cane,” originally released by Lion/MGM, will be available for the first time since 1972 on July 15. The Canadian-American horn-rock outfit featured James, who wrote or co-wrote all the songs and sang lead; with the album co-produced and engineered by Jimmy Ienner, who was then also producing The Raspberries and would go on to an illustrious producing and consulting career.
A previously unreleased Mary Jane Girls album, “Conversation,” featuring the single “Walk Like A Man,” will follow this summer. These digital albums join three already-available James productions, including Teena Marie’s 1979 bow “Wild and Peaceful” along with Mary Jane Girls’ pair of gold albums, their self-titled 1983 debut and the 1985 follow-up, “Only Four You.”
Rhino Records is releasing two albums from James’ stint at Reprise Records, including the fabled album “Kickin’,” which was shelved in 1989 and is now available for the first time in any format, and 1988’s “Wonderful,” featuring the No. 1 R&B duet with Roxanne Shanté “Loosey’s Rap.”
James anticipated the synthesis of funk and rock.
“My journey has taken me through hell and back,” he said in “Glow.” “It’s all in my music — the parties, the pain, the oversized ego, the insane obsessions.”