Following on the heels of 2014’s deluxe edition of the early 90s alt-rock masterwork Gentlemen dubbed “Gentlemen at 21,” the Afghan Whigs have announced the 20th anniversary edition of that record’s fan-favorite follow-up, Black Love. Set for release on Record Store Day’s Back to Black Friday, November 25, the newly remastered album features nine bonus tracks comprised of studio jams, outtakes, demos and a cover of New Order’s “Regret,” which frontman Greg Dulli performs accompanied only by a piano. The Whigs infamously covered the track live at The Paradise in Boston on the tour to support Gentlemen in April of 1994, later appearing on the bootleg Time for a Bavarian Death Waltz.
The bonus disc kicks off with an acoustic/demo version of the album’s second single, “Going to Town,” called “Go to Town,” which can be heard below. Elsewhere on the bonus disc is a track titled,”Mick Taylor Jam,” a demo of the epic Black Love closer “Faded” and one called “Staring Across the River.”
Surprisingly, especially in the wake of the B-sides available on Gentlemen at 21, none from the Black Love era are included. Missing in action are bare bones covers of “If I Only Had a Heart” from The Wizard of Oz, Billie Holiday’s “You’ve Changed,” Henry Mancini’s “You’ve Changed” and a funked up take on TLC’s “Creep.”
Inspired by Dulli’s work on a film noir screenplay that never came to be, Black Love is by far the most cinematic of all the Afghan Whigs releases, and also the darkest. While it’s predecessor explored being stuck in a vicious and draining codependent relationship, Black Love deals with the aftermath of said relationship’s demise with lines like, “Out of your mind bent on revenge/To think I once called you my friend.” Opening and closing with the sound of a train pulling in and out of the station, it demands a front to back listen in order, leaving little room for cherry-picking singles
The 20th anniversary edition of Black Love will be available as a double-CD ($19.98) and a triple-LP ($49.98) exclusively at indie record stores and digitally on the same day. Currently, the Afghan Whigs are in the studio working on their eighth album, the follow-up to 2014’s Do to the Beast, expected to drop in spring of 2017.