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Best of 2023

Phil Ranelin, Wendell Harrison

A Message From A Tribe Boxset (6 LP + 17 Magazines + Poster)


Super Tip! *Cover design A* Tribe’s inaugural release in 1972 would see three editions released in as many years. 1972’s first edition featured a photo of the ocean on the front, the following year’s second edition had a drawing of the Earth, while 1974’s third edition had a colorful illustration of Tribe founders Wendell Harrison and Phil Ranelin’s faces. Each version is unique.

A Message From The Tribe 1st version (LP + 7")

The inaugural release from Tribe is getting its first ever analog reissue. The Tribe collective was focused primarily on live performances, and as an extension often included theatre and poetry. This first edition features a recording of one of their first performances, a musical entitled An Evening With The Devil, performed at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Highlights include original takes of “Where Am I”, a tune that morphs from fiery free jazz to breezy jazz fusion, and “What We Need”, a politically conscious jazz-funk number. The bonus 7-inch includes “Where Am I” and “How Do We End All Of This”, available only on this release.

A Message From The Tribe 2nd version (LP + 10")

Perhaps the best known version of this album, the second edition is adorned with an illustration of the Earth. Despite a track list overlapping with the first edition, each take is different from the prior edition, with a level of sophistication that was lacking from the previous disc. The A-side features music by Phil Ranelin, with precise grooves and a tight band making these renditions particularly funky. B-side features music by Wendell Harrison, offering forward more groove-forward tracks that are simultaneously thought and dance provoking. The second edition is smoother, groovier, and more modern than its predecessor but no less political. The attached 10-inch includes never before heard instrumental versions, available only on the attached 10-inch disc. Highlighting the immense talent of the musicians that played on these recordings, the expansive horn section playing on these instrumental tracks makes for an almost big band-esque jazz funk sound. This is an important part of jazz history that you must listen to for yourself.

A Message From The Tribe 3rd version (45rpm Double LP)

The final edition is remixed and remastered, with special care taken during the mastering and cutting processes to ensure that the audio would be of the highest quality. Featuring a colorful illustration of Harrison, Ranelin, and vocalist Jeamel Lee on the front cover, the third edition sounds like a whole new record. Take “What We Need”, where the louder bass and kick drum has turned the funkiness up to 11, a mix that would be right at home at any club. Some of the grooves are almost hip-hop-esque, like the repetitive bassline and fender Rhodes on “How Do We End All Of This Madness” or the hi-hats and snares of the Harrison-penned jazz-funk “Beneficent”. We took special care to ensure that the audio quality would remain as originally intended, cutting the record as a double LP on 45rpm, heavyweight vinyl. 

Cat. number: VGA5008
Year: 2023

■2 box design options
■Includes faithful reproductions of 17 issues of the legendary TRIBE MAGAZINE
■Limited serial numbered edition
■Deluxe editions of all three versions of A Message From The Tribe housed in special edition gatefold jackets with OBI
■(LP+7") + (LP+10") + (45RPM 2LP)
■Includes the world’s first analog pressing of recently uncovered instrumental tracks
■180g heavyweight vinyl!
■A poster featuring album and magazine artwork
(The back side is TRIBE x Pharoah Sanders or Herbie Hancock from Tribe Magazine.)