Hell audio merchandise:
Spurts: The Richard Hell Story
Destiny Street Repaired [deluxe limited]
Destiny Street Repaired [trade digipak]
Dennis story -- song
Go Now, chapters 1-2 SOLD OUT
Destiny Street SOLD OUT
3 New Songs vinyl EP SOLD OUT
Blank Generation EP SOLD OUT
Other Hell Merchandise pages:|
Rare Hell Lit
BLANK GENERATION 12-track expanded CD version of 1977 album
Sire/Warner Bros. 1990 $11.95 Audio Special: signed by Richard Hell
This is Richard's first LP and the release he's best known for. It's generally acknowledged to be one of the best and most important albums in the musical genre it helped to create -- classed with the best albums of the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Patti Smith, the Ramones, and Television. The New York Times (Robert Palmer, to be precise, who was -- along with Lester Bangs -- the finest of '70s music critics) rated it one of the ten best albums of the whole decade of the '70s. Spin magazine, in its 2001 feature "The 50 Most Essential Punk records," put this album at #12. Mojo magazine's 2001 list of the top 100 punk singles placed "Blank Generation" backed with "Love Comes in Spurts" (which two tracks are featured on this release) at #6. Lester Bangs wrote about it:
The music on this album is some of the strongest, truest rock & roll I have heard in ages. Like most great rock & roll, it stands alone; there are influences, not all of them musical and many of them literary, but he is no arty poseur, in fact this is also some of the most honest music I have heard in some time. As we trail out of the age of artifice (I don't think I have to mention any names), artifice itself rides on the coattails of most of those who proclaim themselves an alternative. Richard Hell is different. ... The toughness of the music is just defensive armor, courtesy the searchlight-destructive tagteam of Robert Quine and Ivan Julian on guitars. In this album they have slashed out some of the most fitfully dangerous rock & roll I've heard this decade. If you think I say that lightly you don't know me. But at the center is Hell himself, his own ninth circle, pretending to be blank when his every move and word reveals a naked, impassioned intelligence in the throes of the only truly rock & roll artistic convulsion, which is to be driven so far into and paradoxically, simultaneously outside of yourself that you create as a matter of frenzy, instead of lowering your eyelids before the world in shame and loneliness. Get me? ... This album rocks with a vengeance. Which is Richard Hell's main concern, and, I hope, yours. Its sound is as urgent as its message and its message is not what you think. Just let the sound avalanche on you.The original album (which had this notorious cover art) contained ten songs: "Love Comes In Spurts," "Liars Beware," "New Pleasure," "Betrayal Takes Two," "Down at the Rock and Roll Club," Who Says (It's Good To Be Alive?)," "Blank Generation," "Walking on the Water," "The Plan," and "Another World." The CD substitutes an almost imperceptibly different alternate take for the original "Down at the Rock and Roll Club," and adds a bonus two tracks at the end which were recorded in the same sessions (at Electric Lady studios in New York), but not included on the original album: "I'm Your Man" and "All the Way" (a cover of the Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Huesen tune that Frank Sinatra sang in The Joker Is Wild). We have up an MP3 of "Love Comes In Spurts" from the album. The CD booklet includes lyrics and adds a wonderful essay by John Piccarella evoking the milieu of New York -- CBGB's and Max's Kansas City and the creatively crazed punk slums-- in the mid-70's when this music was being created.
TIME double CD of expanded R.I.P. (1984) plus two live sets
Matador 2002 $16.95 Audio Special: signed by Richard Hell
This release comprises two CDs: a disc of an expanded (by three songs), superior remaster of the 1984 ROIR cassette R.I.P.; and a live disc of: 1) a show from the Music Machine in London 1977 and, 2) a short set from a few months later at C.B.G.B.'s. There's also Hell's exceptional liner-note essay that not only details the background of all the recordings, but includes a moving and funny line-by-line analysis of his song "Time" (some critics have said the liners are practically worth the price of the package in themselves). The R.I.P. disc collects all the recordings that weren't originally intended for release that Richard thought were worth saving. They're demos, outtakes, variants, and live material from 1975-1985, that, as Hell says in his liner notes, end up "making a kind of shadow retrospective." We have up at our Audio page RealAudio and an MP3 of "Crack of Dawn" from Disc One, a 1978 demo with the Voidoids. The live disc includes some very lo-fi recording, but the playing is so frenzied and brilliant, the consensus is that it must be heard. We made a page you can check of reviews (and a song list).
SPURTS: The Richard Hell Story 21-track career retrospective
Sire/Rhino 2005 $18.95 Audio Special: signed by Richard Hell
This CD is the collection that Richard conceived as his only recording, as if he'd never put out anything else. He hasn't actually put out much else: two studio recordings -- Blank Generation (1977) and Destiny Street (1982) -- and one collection of the outtakes, demos, and live tracks that he thought were worth preserving when he retired from music in 1984, R.I.P. (which was expanded by a couple of cuts and a live disk to make the Time double CD in 2002). Then there was the one-off three-week emergence from retirement in 1992 to write and record Dim Stars with Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and Don Fleming of Gumball. Apart from the Neon Boys, which pre-Television three-piece with Tom Verlaine and Billy Ficca never played a gig (but recorded three Hell demos), and two or three stray singles, that's it for his recordings. Not only is the output small, but no one of the collections fully satisfied Hell. He's always wished he could use that full set of his output as raw material to compile a more or less two-record set (by vinyl standards) that was as good as he could make it, disposing of any regrets and all excuses. It took a few years of maneuvering to recover rights and get required go-aheads, but he's been able to fulfill this wish with Spurts. Richard regards it as his only true record -- the others being the equivalent of bootleg versions of the studio sessions that went into the recording of Spurts. If technically a "best of," it contains about half the songs Richard ever wrote. All songs have been scrupulously remastered, a third of them have been remixed, and a couple have been re-edited. This is the ur Richard Hell album, the Platonic ideal, the only one, for whatever it's worth. We've compiled some reviews, and a detailed song list.
DESTINY STREET REPAIRED deluxe signed/limited LP/CD/poster
revised re-release of 1982 album
Insound 2009 $29.95 Deluxe edition limited to 1000 12-inch LPs, with jackets sticker-numbered and signed by Hell, and including a color 18" x 24" poster with a 1982 photo of him by Roberta Bayley on one side and color painting/collage by Josh Smith including the recording's liner notes on the other, as well as a CD of the whole album that includes two previously unreleased -- and unavailable on the trade release -- bonus tracks.
Richard Hell has made only three studio albums -- Blank Generation (1977), Destiny Street (1982), and Dim Stars (1992). Destiny Street contains some of his best and most popular songs, such as "The Kid with the Replaceable Head" and "Time," but Richard always felt dissatisfied with the sound of the album. He was in the worst depths of his drug dependency at the time it was made, and couldn't muster enough commitment to bother showing up for many days of the recording sessions. He'd call in and order more guitar tracks. Then in 2004 Hell was able to recover rights to the album. He deliberately let it go out of print, pending a hypothetical improved version to re-release. Two years later he discovered a two-track mix of original 1982 rhythm tracks -- bass, drums, and two rhythm guitars -- without any vocals or solos or further guitar. Hell realized this created an opportunity to re-make the record on the foundation of the original band. Destiny Street Repaired is the result. It's a freshly recorded, edited, and mixed version of Destiny Street, using players of the highest caliber to replace the undifferentiated multi-overdubbed, extended guitar solos of the original, and presenting all new vocals, and some new edits and arrangements, by Hell. Relevant too is that the new guitar players -- Bill Frisell, Ivan Julian, and Marc Ribot -- were all greatly admired by, and share musical values with, Robert Quine, the deceased main soloist in Richard's original band, the Voidoids. In an unprecedented move, Hell has grabbed the best part of a twenty-seven year old recording, and mixed in fresh guitar genius, and brilliant new vocals and production, to fulfill the original music's tremendous potential: Destiny Street Repaired. We've made a page on which you can see the bonus material as well as read reviews and song credits [and check links to reviews there where three songs are available as streaming mp3's].
DESTINY STREET REPAIRED trade digipak CD
revised re-release of 1982 album
Insound 2009 $16.00 Audio Special: signed by Richard Hell
This is the simple trade digipak release of the above-described Destiny Street Repaired. It doesn't have the two bonus tracks or the poster that come with the deluxe LP/CD version, but it contains an eight-page booklet featuring an excerpt from Hell's autobiography-in-progress that is not included in the deluxe package. As a Hell site bonus, each copy is signed by Richard Hell, as well. You can read reviews and hear three mp3's of songs from the CD.
DENNIS story -- song 2006 CD compilation limited edition of 542 copies
Don Waters $20.00 (publication price) Audio Special: signed by Richard Hell
Dennis is a collaborative art piece, limited to 542 numbered copies (500 for sale, 42 signed by Cooper for the contributors). Cooper's original short story "The Ash Gray Proclamation" (named for a Robert Pollard song) was passed around in manuscript to a number of musicians chosen by Dennis. The CD booklet (cover pictured above) presents the story's first appearance in print. The songs were donated to the project by the musicians in tribute to Dennis. In some instances the songs were directly inspired by the story, one of the freakiest of the writer's freaky oeuvre. The contributors supplying the fourteen tracks on the CD include Robert Pollard, Xiu Xiu, Kennedy, and, of course, Hell. Richard's composition (lyrics: Hell; music: Ivan Julian of the Voidoids), "She'll Be Coming (for Dennis Cooper)," was written and recorded for this in 2004, but, as the CD's release kept being postponed, the song appeared first on Hell's Spurts retrospective. You can see a detailed listing of all Dennis's songs (and their lyrics, if you click on the titles) at the label's website. The package is beautifully printed in letterpress with artwork by Amy Sarkisian. Ours are signed by Hell beside his song listing on the back cover.
GO NOW 1995 CD EP of Hell (w/ R. Quine guitar) reading from '96 novel
Tim/Kerr 7.95 Audio Special: signed by Richard Hell
This is a CD EP (21:34) of Richard reading the first two chapters of his 1996 novel Go Now [reviews of and excerpts from the novel] with guitar accompaniment by Robert Quine. The chapters have the main character, Billy Mud, describing waking up junk sick, injecting an inadequate bit of leftover drug, reminiscing about his boyhood exploring caves in the fields of Kentucky, and then a scene with his quasi-soulmate Chrissa from whom he's borrowing enough money to get through the day. Robert Quine plays pretty, moody guitar intros and outros to the chapters as well as atmospheric effects dropped in with the voice in places during the course of the reading. To check the former here's a RealAudio file of the opening 1:27 of the reading, and for the latter, this one about life in the fields and caves. Here are some reviews.
DESTINY STREET 1997 CD release of 1982 Red Star vinyl LP
Castle/Essential [SOLD OUT] Audio Special: signed by Richard Hell
In 1982 Destiny Street demonstrated how Richard had improved as a songwriter since his Blank Generation album of five years previous, but it also demonstrated how "preoccupied" he'd gotten (as he put it in the liner notes to the Time CD). It has great songs such as "The Kid with the Replaceable Head," "Time," "Ignore That Door," and "Lowest Common Dominator," presented in outrageously casual productions featuring guitars shoveled on top of guitars on top of guitars. (You can listen to "Lowest Common Dominator".) The guitarists, Robert Quine and Naux, are spectacular, though, and the drummer, Fred Maher, skilled, and the bass player Hell, as usual. The band's version of Dylan's "Going Going Gone" is the first Dylan cover since the Byrds to rival its original. Richard's bizarre liner notes will annoy some and delight others, with lines like, "Most of my records sound to me like artifacts of corrupt cultures. Like little cross-eyed statuettes, earnest but inept [correction]." For a review and more data, check the entry at the All Music Guide. This CD is now out of print because Richard has taken legal steps to prevent Martin Thau (Red Star Records) from continuing to license it without fulfilling contractual terms. Our copies are the British Castle/Essential pressing.
ORDER Destiny Street via: N/A SOLD OUT
3 NEW SONGS 1992 vinyl EP of Hell with Dim Stars band
Overground (U.K.) [SOLD OUT] Audio Special: signed by Richard Hell
This is the Don Fleming mix of two great songs,"The Night Is Coming On" and "Baby Huey," from the Dim Stars CD, plus a strange, ominous novelty outtake from the sessions called "Frank Sinatra." Dim Stars was the one-off group comprising Sonic Youth members Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley, plus Don Fleming (of Gumball, Velvet Monkey, and many other credits), along with Richard. The group was democratic but since Hell had a role in it similar to his role in his previous groups -- singer, bass player, composer of the lyrics, melodies, and often music (though the music was mostly collaborative in Dim Stars) -- this one single was released under his name. It's really great. This and the out of print limited CD EP released simultaneously with it are the first and only releases of this material in this mix. The vinyl was limited to 3000 copies, now out of print.
ORDER 3 New Songs via: N/A SOLD OUT
BLANK GENERATION 1994 CD re-release of '76 Ork Records EP
Overground (U.K.) [SOLD OUT] Audio Special: signed by Richard Hell
This is the now out-of-print British limited edition CD EP version (1500 copies -- there were 2000 of their 45 RPM vinyl) of Hell's first release, which had been an Ork Records 45 RPM in the U.S. as well as a Stiff Records 45 in the U.K. in 1976. It's the original Voidoids lineup of Hell with Robert Quine, Ivan Julian, and Marc Bell, heard fewer than six months after they formed. There are three songs: "Blank Generation" (2:53) and "Another World" (5:59), which are the first studio recordings of songs that were re-recorded a few months later for the Sire/Warner Blank Generation album; and "You Gotta Lose" (3:29), which was also re-recorded for the Sire record, but wasn't used on the album. (That second studio version of "You Gotta Lose" only ever appeared on a Sire compilation LP called The Sire Machine Turns You On in 1978.) Clinton Heylin, in his book From the Velvets to the Voidoids (Penguin, 1993), says of the EP that "it may well be Hell's finest fifteen minutes." We'd take issue with that, but it's true that it has an innocent and crude power as well as a distinctness in its arrangements and mixes that are hard to beat.
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