NRBQ Marks 50 Years With 4-Disc Box Set, Including Unreleased Song 'It's Not Too Late': Exclusive Premiere

Billboard

NRBQ's 50th anniversary has come as something of a surprise to keyboardist and sole remaining founding member Terry Adams.

"A friend of mine reminded me that 50 years was coming up. I was surprised. I hadn't thought of it with a real number," Adams tells Billboard. "The time has gone by fast, like a long weekend. I know it's a lot compared to other bands, but when you believe in what you are doing and also have fun doing it, it's easy."

NRBQ will be commemorating its lengthy career with an appropriately sizable box set. High Noon: A 50-Year Retrospective comes out Nov. 11 on Omnivore and features 106 songs -- several of them unreleased, including "It's Not Too Late," premiered exclusively below -- across five carefully curated discs. The spread is wide, from "hits" such as "Me and the Boys," "Ridin' in My Car,"  "Christmas Wish" and "Captain Lou" with professional wrestler Captain Lou Albano to live tracks and side projects such as the Seven of Us and Adams' duo work with guitarist Steve Ferguson.

"It's must made to convey the spirit of the band," says Adams, who was fully involved in putting High Noon together. "We had a lot of fun putting it together, and in doing so we had to go back to the beginning. It has enabled me to come into direct contact with the original intent...I can feel the spirit of every year of the 50. I've never heard the stuff sound so good."

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The unreleased material came from all over, according to Adams, included reel-to-reel tapes of lost acetates. "It's Not Too Late," for instance, was a song he wrote in 1971 and was recorded with producer Eddie Kramer at Electric Lady Studios in New York during sessions for the 1972 album Scraps" and its follow-up, Workshop.

"I remember how much fun it was to record in New York City," Adams recalls. "We loved working with Eddie Kramer; he had become good friends with us and really got a good sound. We had a lot of stuff; we might've recorded 28 songs. The record company [Kama Sutra] sort of took control over what would be on the records, so a lot of songs didn't come out -- and that's one of them. I think it should've come out. It's funny that it's called 'It's Never Too Late' -- and here it is, now. I'm glad."

Adams has seen the Louisville-formed NRBQ through all 50 years, including 17 members and 21 albums -- right up to 2014's Brass Tracks -- and collaborations with the likes of Carl Perkins, and Skeeter Davis as well as Albano. The current edition is now out on the road touring with Los Straitjackets and has been recording a new album for release in 2017. NRBQ may not see a next 50 years, but it's certainly not stopping any time soon.

"Sometimes I tell other musicians that whatever they're doing, they should never lose what got them excited about music in the first place," explains Adams, whose battle with throat cancer put NRBQ on hiatus from 2004-2011. "NRBQ started as a band that played at home, only making tapes on a Webcor tape recorder. Friends in the neighborhood would stop by. We liked all music and 1966 was a good time to be feeling that way. We didn't want to sign up with some pre-existing category; we just played what felt right at the time. That's the most important thing, I think, keeping the excitement in your soul. It's got to feel like I did when I was eight or 10 and first listened ot music. You've got to keep that. If it starts becoming a job or a means to an end, you lose touch with that original inspiration. That hasn't happened yet -- at least not for me."

The full High Noon track list includes:

Disc One: Everybody Say Yeah! (2005-2016)

1. Love In Outer Space
2. Never Cop Out (Live)
3. Waitin' On My Sweetie Pie
4. Ruby, My Dear
5. I'd Like To Know
6. Boozoo And Leona (Live)
7. I'm Alone
8. Can't Wait To Kiss You
9. Everybody Say Yeah!
10. In Every Dream
11. Here I Am
12. The Animal Life
13. Getting To Know You
14. Talk
15. Snowfall (Live)
16. Keep This Love Goin'
17. Fightin' Back
18. Let Go (Live)
19. Dutchess County Jail  Terry Adams & Steve Ferguson

Disc Two: Ain't It All Right (1966-1970)

1. Ain't It All Right
2. Rocket Number 9
3. Tina
4. I Say Gooday Goodnite
5. Down In My Heart
6. Have You Heard
7. Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard
8. Get On The Right Track Baby (Live)
9. You Move So Fast (Live)
10. Flat Foot Flewzy
11. You Got Me Goin'
12. On The Farm
13. You Can't Hide
14. Step Aside (Live)
15. Benellie
16. I Feel Good (Live)
17. Fergie's Prayer
18. C'mon Everybody
19. Stomp
20. Stay With We
21. Heartbreaker (1966 Home Recording)
22. The Waiting Song  The Seven Of Us
23. We Are Brothers (Live)

Disc Three: Do You Feel It? (1971-1978)

1. That's Neat, That's Nice
2. Green Lights
3. Help Me Somebody
4. Only You
5. This Old House
6. Ridin' In My Car
7. Things To You
8. Do You Feel It?
9. Howard Johnson's Got His Ho-Jo Workin'
10. Electric Train
11. Magnet
12. Honey Hush (Live)
13. Get That Gasoline Blues (Unedited Single Version)
14. It's Not Too Late
15. It Feels Good
16. Still In School
17. Be My Woman Tonight (Live)
18. RC Cola And A Moon Pie (Single Version)
19. Get Rhythm
20. You And I And George (Live)
21. It's Not So Hard

Disc Four: Me And The Boys (1977-1990)

1. Captain Lou with Lou Albano
2. Me And The Boys
3. Talk To Me
4. I Love Her, She Loves Me
5. Smackaroo (Instrumental)
6. This Love Is True
7. Feel You Around Me
8. Crazy Like A Fox (Live)
9. Rain At The Drive-In
10. S'posin' (Live)
11. Wacky Tobacky
12. The One And Only
13. How Can I Make You Love Me
14. I Got A Rocket In My Pocket (Live)
15. Boy's Life
16. Never Take The Place Of You
17. Want You To Feel Good Too
18. I Want You Bad
19. She Got The House (Live)
20. 12 Bar Blues
21. My Girlfriend's Pretty
22. Christmas Wish

Disc Five: Puddin' Truck (1989-2004)

1. Little Floater
2. Sail On Sail On
3. Next Stop Brattleboro
4. What You Mean To Me
5. If I Don't Have You
6. One Big Parking Lot
7. Love Came To Me
8. Dummy
9. Terry Got A Muffin
10. It's St. Patrick's Day
11. 21-50 To Headquarters
12. Do The Primal Thing
13. Goodbye
14. Puddin' Truck
15. Ain't No Horse
16. Blame It On The World
17. Imaginary Radio
18. Always Safety First
19. Advice For Teenagers
20. Paris (Live)