“And these are observations I have made.”
After the release of new LP ‘Hot Wax’ at the tail end of 2009, Hart has plundered his back catalogue for two reissues, both with their own merits.
First off is the long awaited re-issue of the Nova Mob debut LP ‘The Last Days of Pompeii’. Back in January 2007 in the very early days of the blog I did a retrospective on Grant and wrote the following about the ‘Pompeii’ LP:
“Not everyone will agree but I’m prepared to argue that LDP is musically Grant’s strongest set since 1988. The lyrics (about Nazi scientists escaping from the fall of the Third Reich back in time to, well, have a guess) are certainly on the preposterous side. But sonically it’s a rewarding record with Tom Merkl’s inventive bass helping distinguish it from the crowd.”
Which is all you need to know other than it features a lot of classic Hart tunes. The record seems to be under-rated in certain quarters, perhaps because it was only available for a short time due to the collapse of Rough Trade. But its reputation is undeserved and is absolutely in the top 3 post Hüskers’ releases by either Bob or Grant. At least IMHO.
The reissue on Cond’or came out early this year. It’s not the original LP but a remixed version and the remixes are most noticeable on the likes of ‘Admiral of The Sea (79 AD) version’. Otherwise it’s a pretty fine rendering of the record. Play often and play loud.
There are also half a dozen bonus tracks – 5 demos and a rough mix of the title track. The most interesting of the lot is a funky intro with Merkl’s bass almost the lead. The songs from the LP though sound a little more retro than they eventually did on record and the rough mix of the title track is close to pointless.
Also out on Hazlewood at the tail end of 2010 was the rarities compilation ‘Oeuvrevue’. The set draws from both the Nova Mob back catalogue and Grant’s solo releases including a number of E.P. tracks. But it’s not a comprehensive retrospective and the most obvious omission is the original ‘2541’ E.P. (odd since there is SST released material on here). As compensation though both sides of the rare ‘Evergreen Memorial Drive’ single are included.
Perhaps surprisingly the ‘Shoot’ E.P. is represented given that Grant was always critical of its release. One of the best things on the CD though is a brilliant Nova Mob version of the Hüskers’ ‘No Promise Have I Made’.
Full details of the tracks on ‘Oeuvrevue’ are here on Paul Hilcoff’s superb Hüsker Dü resource.
Although it was supposedly issued only in a limited edition in support of his European tour last year, you can get copies of the CD from Amazon here and it’s also available for download.
Finally, Grant is apparently working on a version of John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ – expect it sometime before 2025!
Here’s a couple of Nova Mob performances of songs which feature on ‘Oeuvrevue’:
Update: Approaching this from the angle of it being a collection of rarities is misleading. A lot of the versions on the CD are better than the originals, the material from the ‘Nova Mob’ LP in particular being more sparky than the LP versions. And initially it looked like I owned more of the tracks on here than I actually did – as some of the songs taken from EPs are actually alternative (and often superior) versions. This is a cracking compilation which is well worth getting a hold of for Grant fans.