The Who: New releases this year

THE WHO:  Vintage releases on the way 

Two vintage items from The Who will be out on April 20th.

Live at Fillmore East 1968 has long been a popular bootleg, but has never been officially released. The double-CD or triple-vinyl set includes live performances of "I Can't Explain," "Happy Jack," "My Generation" and "I'm a Boy" as well as five covers (three of them Eddie Cochran songs) and a complete rendition of the band's mini-opera, "A Quick One While He's Away."

Pete Townshend's first official solo album, Who Came First, was originally compiled from songs he'd put out on privately released albums dedicated to his spiritual avatar, Meher Baba. The new two-CD or double-vinyl 45th anniversary edition will add more songs from that period, as well as some alternate versions.

MORE BIG 95 MUSIC NEWS:  Tuesday, February 20th

CHICAGO:  New lineup this year

Robert Lamm says "Chicago sounds better than ever!" Heading into the final three shows of their residency at the Venetian in Las Vegas, he's got warm words for the band's new and newly promoted members.

He praises Neil Donnell -- who sings the '80s power ballads originally voiced by Peter Cetera and Bill Champlin -- as "very knowledgeable about our repertoire. [He] came in ready to sing backgrounds or anything where the tenor is the lead voice."

Robert talked recently about the deep experience vocalist Neil Donnell brings:

"Our vocalist Neil Donnell has had a long career in Canada. You can see him performing Chicago tunes on YouTube with various tribute bands. He not only sings the great ballads from the '80s, you know, 'Hard Habit to to Break' or 'You're the Inspiration'."

Walfredo "Wally" Reyes Junior, whose resume includes stints with Carlos Santana, Smokey Robinson and Steve Winwood, was recently promoted from percussionist to drummer.

Lamm is very excited about the promotion for Walfredo Reyes Junior:

"Reyes had been our percussionist for the past decade or so, but it turns out he's the most inspiring lively and joyful drummer... I've ever played with."

Brett Simons, the new bassist and backup vocalist adds "pizzazz."  Lamm talked about the addiiton of Simons to the Chicago lineup:

"We have Brett Simons on bass. A young player, who's been around, has lots of experience. And he walked into rehearsals about a month ago and he just blew me away with how he was reproducing great bass recorded performances from Chicago II and even adding a little more pizazz to his playing. He's a great background vocalist."

THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS:  New management expected to raise profile

Michelle Phillips and the estates of her long-ago band mates in The Mamas and the Papas have signed a deal with Jampol Management, a company that represents The Doors, Janis Joplin, The Ramones, Otis Redding and Jefferson Airplane. She says, "We finally agreed on something!" And that something is big. 

Phillips, the foursome's last surviving member, is clearly excited.  She says,  "Jeff Jampol is a big, big fan of The Mamas and the Papas and when we got together a couple years ago and he made it very clear to me that he wanted to really ignite the base. It's not being attended to. I couldn't have been happier, you know, than to just to turn it over to him."

Admitting that relations with the estates have been contentious, the singer-actress says they needed someone to promote and exploit the group's work, name and story:

"The Mamas and Papas have to be managed. I do not have that kind of experience. They have to be front and center, or else, they'll be forgotten."

Michelle agrees with Jeff Jampol, that the first project should be a film about the group:

"He really feels, as I do, that there's a wonderful film in this. A really fun and marvelous story to be told."

Cass Elliot's daughter Owen says, "One of the lovely things that we will enjoy as a group is being united in our energy to preserve the legacy! I trust Jeff Jampol and his company to guide us in the right direction!"

Stevie Wonder will perform May 4th at the Trifecta Derby Eve Gala, a Louisville charity event founded by former NBA star Junior Bridgeman. Sinbad will host the benefit for local autism and prep-school charities the night before the Kentucky Derby.

Steve Van Zandt says he hopes to release a live album in May.

We hear that Tommy James is "still writing new songs and having a grand time in the studio" as he works on his upcoming album.

The Zombies have found a replacement for their late bassist, Jim Rodford. Danish musician Soren Koch got the gig after auditioning last week in the U.K. He’ll be on the band’s winter tour when it begins next week in New York.

Another veteran hitmaker is stepping out of the spotlight: Marshall Thompson, the last original member of The Chi-Lites still active, says he’ll retire from performing at the end of 2019.

Stevie Wonder, Billy Idol and Ricky Martin were among the musical notables at last week's 50th anniversary party for L.A. restaurant Mister Chow's. Quincy Jones, Anjelica Huston, Adrien Brody and Jerry Hall also stopped by the famed celebrity hangout.

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