This is the debut of new regular column at Glide devoted to reissues, remasters and expanded editions of archival recordings. It is designed to serve as a reminder all good music is timeless, no matter when it was originally recorded or when it’s being (re-) introduced to new musiclovers.  This edition focuses on THE REPLACEMENTS

Stink (Rhino) ***1/2: 1982  Originally released as an EP, these recordings exhibit an incremental increase in production values in exact proportion to a self-conscious indulgence in the profane.  This ambivalence no doubt at the root of their fans own love-hate relationship with The ‘Mats (see various liner notes in these packages), it’s almost as if Westerberg and co are fighting the inevitability of maturity when they shred their way through “Hey Good Lookin’.” But the piano based demo of “You’re Getting Married.” the absolute best of bonus cuts (that in some cases double the length of tracks on the original releases) is a bridge to the empathy and self-awareness of their last indie release.

Sorry Ma, I Forgot to Take Out The Trash (Rhino) ***1/2:  1981  –  Unlike much of what passed for punk, even in its finest form (Ramones, The Jam), The Replacements in hindsight are more about structure than caricature. As on “Takin’ A Ride’ and “Kick Your Door Down,” they were hard-core and then some, in many cases self-deprecating in a way no posing would really allow. “Otto” suggests just how much the band simply loved the sound of rock and roll while the melody alone of “Johnny’s Gonna Die” precludes nihilism or a truly mean-spirited attitude.

The Replacements/Hootenanny (Rhino) ***:  1983 – Following the title track and a drunken reel called “Run It,” the second ‘Mats cd comes into focus by its third track, “Color Me Impressed. ” More about a band than just a collection of songs, this album constitutes a recognition of the roots of pop: on “Treatment Bound, ” to name just one cut, The Replacements evince a sense of history that includes, but is not limited to The Beatles—hear the teases of ‘“Oh Darling.” The sum of this sincere process belies the modest-to-a-fault interview comment included at the very end of these twenty-two tracks.

Let It Be (Rhino) ****: 1984 – Echoing a precision that crept into the previous recordings almost unbeknownst to the band, musicality dominates this material right from the opening “I Will Dare.” While the self-challenge falters in some cases –the Kiss cover (“Black Diamond”) and “Gary’s Got A Boner” sound nothing if not forced– The Replacements nevertheless attain a new level of polished expertise here: the chiming guitar of “Sixteen Blue” isn’t all that far removed from the sound of their major label work just around the corner. If the previous three albums are the sound of a band struggling to be understood, Let It Be is the sound of a band struggling to understand, its emotional complexity rendering meaningless glib labels like power pop or punk.

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