Christmas in England

Here are some releases from U.K. artists to make one feel like one is spending the Christmas season in England.

Viva La Coldplay

Coldplay has its third live release, Coldplay: Live 2012 (Capitol), out. It features the group on its Mylo Xyloto tour at stops in Scotland, France and Canada. It is available as a CD/DVD or a Blu-ray package. The CD includes 23 performances and the Blu-ray and DVD package includes two bonus tracks and a photo gallery. As great as the Viva La Vida tour was, anyone who attended both tours knows the Mylo Xyloto shows were somehow even better. As I said about the group’s Mylo Xyloto stop in New Jersey, a Coldplay concert is a joyous experience. The group’s songs are filled with hope and empathy. They bring the same kind of triumphant sense of celebrating life groups like The Who and U2 display in concert.

High Flying Birds

Prior to Coldplay’s success, the group’s predecessor in carrying the torch as one of the best U.K. groups was Oasis. Noel Gallagher of Oasis released his debut solo album High Flying Birds in 2011. Mercury has released a deluxe edition of the album with a bonus DVD on the making of the album. It’s good that Gallagher has done this documentary, as it reminds listener of how strong an album he produced. It’s easy to be sad that Oasis has broken up, but the result has been a great Noel Gallagher solo album and an excellent new project from his brother Liam with his band Beady Eye.

Diamond Live

After a relatively long period of inactivity, Sade is back again with her second release in two years, a new live CD/DVD or Blu-ray release, Bring Me Home Alive 2011 (Epic), her first live outing since 2002. The concert was recorded in 2011 in California. The CD includes 13 performances. The DVD or Blu-ray boasts 21 performances. There is also a documentary, backstage footage, outtakes and other bonus material. Sade dose not make music very frequently. She has only released one studio album (in 2010), since her previous album in 2000. This is a breathtaking concert performance that will remind everyone of what a great singer Sade is and how timeless her music is.

Which One’s Pink?

Pink Floyd’s albums Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall are always considered two of the greatest albums ever recorded, but the group’s Wish You Were Here album, released in 1975, is also a rock classic. Eagle has issued The Story of Wish You Were Here. The Blu-ray contains new interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason and archival interviews with the late Richard Wright. The Blu-ray includes many interviews, including with Storm Thorgerson, legendary album artist who created many of the Pink Floyd album covers, and musician Roy Harper. There is also footage from Abbey Road studios and lots of bonus material not on the original DVD release.

ELP Audio Surgery

Prog rock fans will be thrilled by the recent reissue from Razor & Tie of the first two albums of supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer. These reissues are an audiophile’s delight. The group’s self-titled debut, originally released in 1970, is a three-disc set. Disc one contains the original album and disc two features bonus tracks, new stereo and extended mixes and a solo version by Greg Lake of “Lucky Man.” The third disc is a DVD audio disc with 5.1 mix and high-res mixes. The group’s second album Tarkus, released in 1971, is also reissued on three discs. Disc one includes the original album and disc two includes bonus tracks and new stereo mixes. Disc three is a DVD with a 5.1 mix and new stereo mixes.

Green is Blue

The former Bluesbreaker and founding member of Fleetwood Mac Peter Green was plagued by years of substance abuse and mental problems. While many of Green’s demons still haunt him, he occasionally still performs and even records, with surprisingly good results. Blues Don’t Change (Eagle) is an album of blues classics from Green and his Splinter Group from 2001. It was originally only available on Green’s website and at his rare gigs. This is a superb album of British blues interpretations of American blues masters and a happy sign of Green’s musical attempt to re-enter the real world.