Yes, it’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is here, and with each Thanksgiving comes another Black Friday, the day for consumers to start off the holiday shopping season on a mad, frenetic note. This year is just in the latest one in which numerous retailers in the U.S. have made headlines by blackening Thursday, or Thanksgiving Day itself, with sales starting on the holiday. So many might give thanks that the folks behind Record Store Day are waiting until the traditional Friday for the second of their twice-yearly events.
In keeping with tradition, Mike and I have once again selected our picks for the crème de la crème of titles being released this Friday from many of our favorite labels, including Legacy Recordings, Omnivore Recordings, Rhino Records, Varese Sarabande, Blue Note, Sundazed and more. Don’t hesitate to head over and drop by your local independent record store, and don’t fear the crowds. With everybody at the mall and the big boxes, the Black Friday RSD event is usually a bit more manageable than the April festivities. You can find a full list of RSD Back to Black Friday exclusives (and a list of participating shops) here.
Without further ado, we’ll kick things off with five of Joe’s favorite slabs of vinyl due tomorrow…
American Hustle: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Columbia/Legacy)
Writer-director David O. Russell’s 2013 motion picture American Hustle transported viewers to the era of bell bottoms and disco with a cast of oddly irresistible con artists, mobsters and feds. Though the Academy Award-nominated production and costume design were crucial to revisiting the film’s time period of 1978, much of the heavy lifting was accomplished thanks to the movie’s impeccable soundtrack. In fact, the movie was so stuffed with music that a number of the film’s songs weren’t included on the original CD release of the soundtrack. Legacy has rectified that with a new 150-gram double-LP release on red and blue vinyl containing six tracks not on the original soundtrack CD. To the era-defining hits by America (“A Horse with No Name”), the Bee Gees (“How Can You Mend a Broken Heart”), Wings (“Live and Let Die”) and Elton John (“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”), the album featured surprising tracks like Duke Ellington’s “Jeep’s Blues,” Mayssa Karaa’s Arabic rendition of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and a new recording by Jack Jones of the Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh standard “Real Live Girl.” It also had three tracks from Jeff Lynne and ELO including the exclusive instrumental “Stream of Stars” and the rare Japan-only Zoom bonus track “Long Black Road.” This deluxe vinyl presentation – with red Columbia 360 Sound labels – adds key recordings by Todd Rundgren (“I Saw the Light”), Steely Dan (“Dirty Work”), The Temptations (“Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”), David Bowie (“The Jean Genie”), Ella Fitzgerald (her 1956 treatment of Cole Porter’s “It’s De-Lovely”) and Frank Sinatra (his 1946 Columbia version of “The Coffee Song”). The end result is a perfect accompaniment to the film and an incredibly entertaining listen in its own right which both avoids kitsch and celebrates a memorable musical era.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 (Marvel Music/Walt Disney Records)
American Hustle has an unlikely companion on this list. The music of the seventies played a far more surprising part in Marvel Studios’ 2014 blockbuster superhero space epic Guardians of the Galaxy. With a mix tape playing a prominent role in the film – and providing a source of both great emotion and humor – it’s only appropriate that Disney/Marvel is actually releasing the Star Lord’s favorite tunes on cassette as depicted in the film! Rupert Holmes’ “The Pina Colada Song,” The Raspberries’ “Go All the Way,” Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” and Blue Swede’s version of B.J. Thomas’ “Hooked on a Feeling” are just four of the, well, awesome hits you’ll hear on this must-have tape (which doubles as a cool collectible for fans of the smash hit movie).
Wham!, Last Christmas (Legacy)
Can it be that “Last Christmas” is really 30 years old? Since its original release in 1984, the song by writer-producer George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s Wham! has become a staple of every holiday season, spawning covers by such latter-day pop stars as Hilary Duff, Ashley Tisdale, Ariana Grande and even the legendary Carole King. For Black Friday, however, the original recording is back on a special 12-inch vinyl release co-produced by our very own Mike Duquette! And that’s not all. “Last Christmas” will be backed with a special, previously unreleased instrumental mix of the song – and it’s all on red and green vinyl! Hands down, this is the most festive item of the Black Friday RSD line-up – you know you want to give it your heart!
Game Theory, Pointed Accounts of People You Know / Distortion (Omnivore Recordings)
Earlier this week, Omnivore unveiled the first U.S. release of the alternative pop band’s compilation Dead Center. That original French release gained 11 bonus tracks in Omnivore’s U.S. edition and featured new music along with selected tracks from the EPs Pointed Accounts of People You Know and Distortion (produced by Michael Quercio of Paisley Underground greats The Three O’Clock and featuring Earl Slick on guitar!). On Black Friday, listeners will have the chance to experience those two EPs in complete form, as originally heard. Both will be reissued on 10-inch vinyl, with a customary Omnivore twist: the latter will be on green vinyl, and the former on clear vinyl! These EPs provide a fine introduction to the beguiling music of the late Scott Miller’s California band.
Miles Davis, Blue Xmas (Legacy) and Enigma (Blue Note)
The late Miles Davis is being recognized by both Legacy and Blue Note, two of the keepers of the trumpeter’s immense musical flame, on this Black Friday. In 1962, Davis, Gil Evans and bebop singer Bob Dorough turned the holiday season on its ear with “Blue Xmas,” an original tune mocking the crass commercialism of the Christmas season. This recording, along with “Devil May Care,” another Dorough tune recorded by Davis and Evans, is being released by Legacy on a 7-inch 45 RPM blue vinyl single. Blue Note turns the clock back even further – to 1952-1953. Four previously unreleased Davis performances have been unearthed from the Blue Note vault for a black 10-inch single designed in the same style as Miles’ original Blue Note 10-inch discs; Enigma features Take 2 of the title track plus “Kelo (Take 1)”, “Chance It (Take 3), and “Chance It (Second Alternate) (Take 4).”
After the jump: Mike has his five picks for RSD Must-Haves! Read the rest of this entry »
In a career spanning five decades, producer-musician-songwriter David Foster has virtually become a brand name in himself. After making his name in bands like Skylark and Airplay, the Canadian multi-hyphenate contributed as sideman, writer and arranger to albums by George Harrison, Diana Ross, Donna Summer and Earth Wind and Fire; he won one of his sixteen Grammy Awards for co-writing that band’s “After the Love is Gone.” Beginning in the 1980s, he launched a solo career and also established himself as a marquee producer for artists as diverse as The Tubes, Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Chicago. Today, he heads up the venerable Verve Music Group. The Foster oeuvre, ranging from R&B to AOR and MOR, has been anthologized in the past, but Starbucks is putting a spin on a “Foster’s greatest hits” CD with a new, exclusive holiday compilation. Merry and Bright samples the holiday music recorded by producer Foster over the years with contributions from artists including Celine Dion, Michael Bublé and Rod Stewart.
Unsurprisingly, Merry and Bright leans heavily on the adult contemporary balladeers that have become Foster’s stock in trade. Michael Bublé kicks off the compilation with Meredith Willson’s classic “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” from the fellow Canadian’s chart-topping 2011 holiday release. Mel Tormé and Robert Wells’ standard “The Christmas Song” is rendered by Celine Dion from her 1998 Grammy-nominated These Are Special Times. Dion shared a duet on that album with Italian crossover tenor Andrea Bocelli, who is featured on two songs here: “O Tannenbaum” and a duet on “Jingle Bells” with Jim Henson’s famous Muppets. A major break for Josh Groban was subbing for Bocelli on a rehearsal of his Dion duet, “The Prayer,” for the 1998 Grammy Awards. Groban became another associate of Foster’s. “Little Drummer Boy” is heard here from Groban’s 2007 quintuple-platinum release Noël, the best-selling album in the U.S. for the entire year.
After the jump: more details including the complete track listing! Read the rest of this entry »
Klaatu barada nikto. With those three words, Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) saved the world from certain destruction at the hands of the eight-foot robot Gort in the 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. Director Robert Wise’s film remains one of the most chilling and effective Cold War-era films, wrapping its plea for peace in a compelling, documentary-style sci-fi narrative. Chief among its assets was a score by maestro Bernard Herrmann (Psycho, Taxi Driver). Herrmann’s intense, exciting themes will soon be reissued on CD by Kritzerland in a newly-remastered edition which is currently available for pre-order.
Reissue producer Bruce Kimmel notes, “It’s no surprise that every fantasy filmmaker—including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, John Carpenter, Peter Jackson, James Cameron and Christopher Nolan—has cited the influence of this picture upon their own. The film did everything right – from a superb screenplay by Edmund H. North (from a story by Harry Bates), to the beautiful cinematography by Leo Tover, to the stellar cast of Michael Rennie [as humanoid alien Klaatu, whose name later inspired a cult band – JM], Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe and Billy Gray (having a cast of great actors playing the reality of the story is what helps ground the film and make it timeless). The Day the Earth Stood Still, simply put, is a masterpiece and one of the most important science fiction films ever made. “
To accompany the film, Herrmann crafted his score to utilize unusual instrumentation – and most notably for the composer renowned for Psycho, no traditional strings. Instead, Herrmann employed electric violin, cello, and bass, Hammond and pipe organs, various percussion instruments (including vibes, glockenspiels, marimbas, timpani and gongs) and brass (such as trumpets, trombones and tubas), and most notably – two theremins. Herrmann also eschewed woodwinds to create a score unlike any other.
Hit the jump for details on what to expect on this new CD! Read the rest of this entry »
In the annals of underrated R&B vocalists, Ronnie Dyson (1950-1990) was among the greatest. A versatile singer equally comfortable with smooth soul, pure pop and showbiz pizzazz, Dyson left behind a small but rich catalogue for the Columbia and Cotillion labels. With the recent release of Phase 2 and Brand New Day from 1982 and 1983, respectively, Real Gone Music and SoulMusic Records have filled in two of the major holes in Dyson’s CD discography (RGM-0294). With the release of this stellar two-on-one disc, 1979’s If the Shoe Fits remains the late soul man’s lone album not yet on CD. (Dyson’s first and highest-charting album, 1970’s (If You Let Me Make Love to You Then) Why Can’t I Touch You?, will be included on SoulMusic’s Lady in Red: The Columbia Sides, Plus, now available from Cherry Red. Watch for our full report soon.)
Ronnie Dyson was already a seasoned performer before he turned 20 years old; at the age of 18, he was selected to lead the company of Broadway’s groundbreaking Hair in introducing the future standard “Aquarius.” The Washington, DC-born actor/singer soon turned his attention to recording, scoring a Top 10 hit with a song from another rock musical (“(If You Let Me Make Love to You) Then Why Can’t I Touch You” from 1969’s Salvation) and inking a deal with Columbia Records. In 1973, Columbia sent Dyson to Philadelphia to work with Thom Bell in the hopes that Bell’s lush productions would prove a match with Dyson’s silky-smooth yet powerful falsetto vocals. Bell composed and produced a number of sides for the album that became One Man Band, and the LP was rounded out with remixed versions of past recordings including Barry Mann’s “When You Get Right Down to It” from 1971. Among Bell and lyricist Linda Creed’s contributions to One Man Band were the irresistible title track (No. 28 Pop, No. 15 R&B) and the wistful “I Think I’ll Tell Her,”) both as strongly melodic and lyrically memorable as the team’s best for the Stylistics and the Spinners. Thanks to the Bell/Creed productions, One Man Band remains one of the most criminally unknown albums in the R&B canon.
One of the Bell-produced tracks was written by the team of Bobby Eli, Vinnie Barrett and John Freeman. “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” earned Dyson a No. 60 Pop/No. 29 R&B hit, and years later, Dyson turned to Eli for the production of his Cotillion debut album, appropriately entitled Phase 2. Guitarist-arranger Eli, of course, was a member of MFSB, the veteran crew of Sigma Sound house musicians so frequently utilized by Bell for his majestic productions. In addition to his dynamic session work for Philadelphia International, Salsoul and other labels, Eli had also come into his own a producer for such artists as Atlantic Starr and Keith Barrow. Recording at studios in New York and Philly and splitting the arrangement chores with fellow Philly veteran Richie Rome, Eli crafted a set for Dyson that subtly updated his sound for a new decade.
On Phase 2 as well as its follow-up LP included on this disc, Dyson’s voice is a bit rougher around the edges than on his earlier Columbia recordings, but it’s still a recognizable and powerful instrument. The brassy uptempo dancer “Bring It on Home,” written by Eltesa Weatherby, Frank Fuchs and Gavin Spencer, opens Phase 2. It adds a 1980s production sheen to the classic Philly soul formula; its opening drum pattern echoes that of The Spinners’ “One a Kind Love Affair,” and elsewhere Don Renaldo’s Horns and Strings swing as female backing vocalists coo sensually. A similar sound with then-modern keyboard flourishes and big drums is achieved on a contemporary makeover of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Soul Survivors oldie “Expressway to Your Heart.”
Dyson was always comfortable with ballads, and Eli – co-writer of Blue Magic’s stunning “Side Show,” among other songs – naturally knew his way around softer material. Eban Kelly and Charles Williams’ “Heart to Heart” is a slickly insinuating mid-tempo groove, and Dyson pleads with intensity on Samm Culley’s “Say You Will.” He conjures similar vocal fire on Allee Willis and Patrick Henderson’s “Now” and keeps things smooth and romantic on the album’s closing track, Timothy Wright’s “I Found Someone.”
After the jump: more on Phase 2, plus a look at Brand New Day! Read the rest of this entry »
Before Thunder, there was Terraplane. Thunder, the British hard-rock act that notched a No.2 record on the UK charts in 1992 with Laughing On Judgment Day had previously existed as Terraplane. Under that incarnation, the band released two albums in the 1980s. Cherry Red imprint HNE Recordings recently released an expanded edition of Terraplane’s debut effort, Black and White.
Hailing from South London, Terraplane’s membership was initially made up of Danny Bowes (vocals), Luke Morley (guitars), Gary James (drums) and Nick Linden (bass and piano). The group formed out of Bowes and Morley’s college band Nuthin’ Fancy and recorded a single for independent label City Records. In addition, they performed at many venues around London including numerous gigs at the Marquee Club which helped to garner the attention of Epic Records. Terraplane signed with Epic in February of 1984 and began work on their debut.
Finding a producer proved to be difficult but one was eventually decided upon: Liam Henshall, who had previously worked with the band King. Several guests were brought in for the album, including Jools Holland on “I’m The One” and Ruby Turner on “Couldn’t Handle the Tears.” Henshall would take the band to 10 different studios during the recording process and the production time for the album began to grow. During that period, they became a support act for Meat Loaf’s tour in 1985 and brought in an additional member: guitarist Rudi Riviere who contributed to “Talking to Myself” on the record.
The album was finally finished and ready for release but Terraplane and Epic could not agree on a title. The band members wanted to name the album Talking to God Down the Great White Telephone, but Epic found the title too obscure and called the album Black and White. This disagreement between band and label would prove to be an omen of things to come.
When Black and White was released in 1985, it only hit No. 74 on the U.K. charts. The singles which followed did not fare well, either. In Malcolm Dome’s new liner notes for this edition, Morley, Bowes and Henshall are interviewed. They candidly recount the tensions between the band and Epic, who wanted Terraplane to go in a more pop direction. A second album, Moving Target, was released in 1987, but fared even more poorly on the charts than its predecessor. After that, Terraplane was over. Bowes, Morley and James regrouped and reformed with two new members as Thunder, signing to EMI in 1989. Their first album under the new name, Backstreet Symphony, was released in 1990, hitting #21 in the U.K. and #114 in the U.S.
What will you find on the new Terraplane reissue? Hit the jump for more! Read the rest of this entry »
This 12-CD box includes all five of Simon & Garfunkel’s stereo studio albums released between 1964 and 1970, newly remastered from first-generation analog sources plus first-time remasters of The Graduate soundtrack and 1981’s The Concert in Central Park; 1972’s Greatest Hits album (which contained some unique performances unavailable elsewhere); and the live concert albums from 1967, 1969 and 2004, as first released in 2002, 2008 and 2004, respectively.
UMe continues its series of deluxe, hardcover book-style editions of The Velvet Underground’s discography with this 6-CD edition of the band’s 1969 release including live and studio rarities. Highlights are also available in a 2-CD edition.
Capitol is reissuing and expanding the Neil Diamond compilation first issued this past July, and this time it jumps from 23 tracks on one CD to 42 tracks on two CDs. You can expect additions from Diamond’s new Melody Road and 2005 “comeback” 12 Songs as well as classics that didn’t make the cut on the original version such as “Heartlight,” “Desiree” and “Yesterday’s Songs.”
This 2-CD/2-DVD set features
- The original album and bonus tracks (three previously unreleased), remixed in 5.1 surround and stereo by Steven Wilson
- 10 orchestral pieces (nine previously unreleased) written for the proposed film’s soundtrack, four of which are remixed in 5.1 surround and stereo by Steven Wilson
- Flat transfers of the original LP mix at 96/24, and the original quadrophonic mix (with 2 bonus tracks) in 4.0.
- “The Third Hoorah” promo footage, and footage from a January 1974 photo session/press conference where the WarChild project was announced.
Bryan Adams, Reckless: Super Deluxe Edition (A&M)
Bryan Adams is marking the 30th anniversary of his breakthrough Reckless with a variety of reissues including a super deluxe set with 2 CDs (featuring both studio outtakes and a previously unreleased live concert), 1 DVD (Reckless: The Movie) and a BD-Audio disc with stereo and surround mixes in high resolution.
Dave Mathews Band, Under the Table and Dreaming (Legacy)
Legacy reissues and remasters Dave Matthews Band’s 1994 studio debut in time for its 20th anniversary on both CD and vinyl. The CD has three unreleased bonus tracks, including the original studio version of live favorite “Granny” and acoustic versions of “Dancing Nancies” and “The Song That Jane Likes,” and the bonus tracks will also be included on a download card with the vinyl LP.
The Legacy Collection – The Little Mermaid: Original Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )
Disney continues its Legacy Edition series of deluxe expanded hardbound reissues with a 2-CD set dedicated to Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s The Little Mermaid!
The Bing Crosby Archive titles (Bing Crosby Enterprises/UMe)
The Bing Crosby Archive returns with four discs, every one of which is packed with previously unreleased material! Click on the “Bing Crosby Archive” link above for track listings and full details on each title!
The 1982 greatest-hits compilation arrives in high-resolution stereo on Audio Fidelity’s new hybrid SACD remastered by Kevin Gray.
For decades, The Disney Channel has served as a launching pad for the pop stars of tomorrow, from Justin Timberlake to Britney Spears to Selena Gomez and many more. One of the earliest shows to have stars emerge was Kids Incorporated which aired on The Disney Channel from 1986-1994 (after having moved there from syndication). Kids introduced audiences to, among others, Fergie and Jennifer Love Hewitt. But it was another cast member from the show who had early success stemming from her time on the program: Marta Marrero, or as she was billed on her self-titled debut album, Martika. This album has recently been reissued by Cherry Red imprint Cherry Pop in an expanded edition.
After having gotten her big break playing an orphan in 1982’s movie musical Annie, Martika played Gloria on Kids Incorporated for the show’s first three seasons from 1983-1987. During that time, she met producer/songwriter Michael Jay (Five Star). He recognized her talent and approached her about collaborating. Martika signed a record deal with Columbia in 1987 with Jay inked as the producer. Her debut recording for the label was the song “We Are Music,” issued only in Japan as a promotional release.
Martika and Michael Jay began work on what would become Martika. Jay wrote or co-wrote 6 of the 10 songs on the album. He was joined as a co-writer on two of the songs by Martika herself, who Jay had encouraged to begin writing. (She also co-wrote two other songs on the album.) The album was released in October of 1988 with the lead-off single “More Than You Know” coming in November. It hit No. 18 in the U.S. and No. 21 in the U.K. The next single would prove to be an even bigger success and become the song most associated with Martika: “Toy Soldiers.” Released in 1989, the single climbed to No. 5 in the U.K. but reached pole position in the U.S., going gold. The album itself also went gold, peaking at No. 15 in the U.S. and No. 11 in the U.K. Two other singles were released: the Carole King cover “I Feel the Earth Move” (No. 7 U.K.) and “Water” (No. 59 U.K.).
After the jump, we have more on Martika including the complete track listing with discography and order links!