Atlanta Rhythm Section ‘Polydor Years’ Box Due

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Caroline International is releasing an eight-CD Atlanta Rhythm Section boxed set, The Polydor Years. The set contains all of the albums the band recorded for Polydor Records (1974-1980). Fully remastered by Andy Pearce and Matt Wortham for this set, it also includes a raft of edits of some of their best-loved songs on CD for the first time, and it is housed in a clamshell box with an extensive booklet with new notes and album annotations. The set contains the following albums;

Disc one – Third Annual Pipe Dream
Disc two – Dog Days
Disc three – Red Tape
Disc four – A Rock N Roll Alternative
Disc five – Champagne Jam
Disc six – Underdog
Disc seven – Are You Ready?
Disc eight – The Boys from Doraville

Formed in the spring of 1970 by three former members of the Candymen and Classics IV, Atlanta Rhythm Section (ARS) became the session band for the newly opened Studio One recording studio in Doraville, Ga.

The Atlanta Rhythm Section in the early ’70s

After playing on other artists’ recordings, the Atlanta Rhythm Section was formed. The group’s name was conceived by Studio One’s owner Buddy Buie and his two partners in the venture, J.R. Cobb and Bill Lowery.

Originally signed by Decca Records, the band released its first album, Atlanta Rhythm Section, in January 1972, which was followed with Back Up Against the Wall the following year. Third Annual Pipe Dream was their third record and their first for Polydor and it was released in August 1974. Though considered a Southern rock band, the addition of Ronnie Hammond as front man (who replaced original lead singer Rodney Justo), says a press release, “led them toward a more laid-back sound, incorporating Barry Bailey’s distinctive lead guitar and bassist Paul Goddard’s use of a flat pick, with Dean Daughtry’s acoustic and electric piano frequently at the forefront.”

Related: 11 great Southern Rock albums

Third Annual Pipe Dream was followed by the albums Dog Days in 1975 and Red Tape in 1976. The group’s next album, A Rock and Roll Alternative (1976), rose to #13 on the Billboard chart and was certified gold in the spring of 1977. In January 1978 they released what would turn out to be their most successful album, Champagne Jam (1978), which led off with the song “Large Time,” a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd, some of whom had lost their lives in a plane crash the previous October.

The eighth ARS album (and sixth for Polydor), Underdog, was released in June 1979 and produced Top 20 U.S. hits “Do It or Die” (#19) and “Spooky” (#17). The final two albums on Polydor Are You Ready? and The Boys from Doraville, marked the end of the band’s relationship with the label. They went on to record five more albums and continue to play live.

Watch the Atlanta Rhythm Section perform their version of “Spooky”

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