‘Boys’ just keep their hits comin’

When a record company finds itself with a surprise hit album on its hands, is it overkill to put out a follow-up release with 75% of the same songs -- and just two weeks after reissuing the original album in expanded form?

At least as it applies to Texas roots-rock trio Los Lonely Boys, that scenario isn’t quite as mercenary as it might seem.

The group’s new album features nine of the same songs found on “Los Lonely Boys,” the 2003 release that slowly but steadily won admirers on its way to selling, according to Nielsen SoundScan, nearly 2 million copies in the U.S.

The difference is that it’s a concert album that aims to cement the group’s newfound popularity with a record of its celebrated live show, on which it built its reputation in Austin, Texas.


“Live at the Fillmore” will enter the sales chart this week, and its showing should indicate whether this is canny strategy on the heels of the band’s recent Grammy win for group pop vocal performance, or just too much of a good thing so soon after the Feb. 8 release of the DualDisc version of “Los Lonely Boys.”

That release includes the full original album, with a DVD on the flip side featuring a 5.1 surround-sound mix of the entire album, plus video footage of an acoustic performance, the video for the single “Heaven” and other extras.

So who would need a live audio-only CD?

“This might [sell] a little bit slower because the DualDisc came out so recently and that has some live visual material to help fans get the full impact of their live show,” says Stephanie Ford, rock buyer for Virgin Entertainment Group, North America.


“That’s been doing fairly well for us right out of the box. I think the live CD with different packaging might get someone’s attention, and we’re hoping Sony is doing a sufficient job of letting consumers know that a different version is available.”

Despite the potential for consumer confusion, the DualDisc format -- audio CD on one side, DVD with extras on the other -- appears to be catching on, Ford says.

Like others in the industry, she will be watching Jennifer Lopez’s new album “Rebirth” closely when it hits stores Tuesday to see how it performs as both a conventional CD and in the DualDisc configuration, which usually costs $3 to $5 more.

“People are starting to understand it a little better,” Ford says.


“But it’s going to take a little more education for the consumer, so they’ll understand that they’re not just buying another version of the same album they bought two months ago.”