The inviting cover image of Lesley Gore’s 1964 LP features the teenage star on the telephone, poised for some Girl Talk with her best girlfriends. Ace Records, following its expanded version of Gore’s shelved album Magic Colors, has recently reissued Girl Talk in similarly lavish fashion, with thirteen bonus tracks (Ace CDCHD 1383).
Ace’s disc spotlights one of the great, largely unheralded “triangle marriages” in pop music – artist Lesley Gore, producer Quincy Jones and arranger Claus Ogerman. With engineer Phil Ramone in the mix, the trio crafted music that transcends the “teenage” tag. With background singers Jean Thomas and Mikie Harris prominent on Girl Talk, the LP has a girl-group feel that was quintessentially American at the height of the British Invasion. Yet, as a result of Beatlemania, the sound of music was changing faster than ever. Would Lesley Gore be able to keep up with the times? The answer was a resounding “Yes!” as this eclectic album and its bonus tracks proves.
Two Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich songs on Girl Talk kept Gore prominent on the Top 40. Their stunning pop confection “Look of Love” packs a range of emotions in just under two minutes, during which the lovelorn Lesley wistfully reflects on “the way he looks at her, the way he smiles…I remember when he was mine, I remember when things were fine/Look at the way he looks at her now…isn’t that the look of love?” Lesley’s winsome yet grounded delivery keeps the tune from being bitter or maudlin, in perfect synch with the bright melody. “Maybe I Know” (No. 14) from the same team became another quintessential Gore classic. It finds the singer in a familiar setting, lamenting that “Maybe I know he’s been cheating/Maybe I know he’s been untrue…but what can I do?” as she insists “deep down inside, he loves me, though he may run around…” The character voiced by Lesley might be delusional, but the catchy record, unsurprisingly, struck a universal chord.
Though overshadowed by “Look of Love” and “Maybe I Know,” the album’s lesser-known tracks are worthy of rediscovery. Sonny Gordon’s mod, swinging, hand-clapping “Hey Now” was a perfect opening salvo to a collection of songs that paint Gore in transition, poising her for the career that continues to this very day. Larry Marks, a mainstay on both the A&M and Lee Hazlewood Industries (LHI) labels, wrote the dark and dramatic ballad “Say Goodbye.” Lesley and producer Jones turned to “You Don’t Own Me” songwriters John Madara and David White for “Live and Learn” (“I’m an expert loser/No more sweet little girl now, I’ve learned my lesson and I vow/I won’t make the same mistakes now…”). Like “Maybe I Know,” its bright, dreamy melody stands in sharp contrast to the lyrics. The groundbreaking “You Don’t Own Me” itself is echoed in Ogerman’s haunting arrangement for Jeffrey Davis and Curtis Mann’s “Little Girl Go Home,” not to mention Steve Donroy and John Gluck’s “Sometimes I Wish I Were a Boy.” Though the song is far from the most mature on Girl Talk and was never a favorite of Lesley’s, it has an undeniably pointed message as Gore confidently sings of her frustration that a woman could not make the first move in a relationship.
Gore became a successful, Oscar-nominated songwriter, and her lone song on Girl Talk, the melodramatic “I Died Inside,” received a spicy Latin flavor from Ogerman. More standard teenage fare came with “Wonder Boy” and “Movin’ Away, but R&B great and future “Hustle” man Van McCoy supplied the soulful “You’ve Come Back” and lush album closer, “It’s About That Time.” Ogerman, whose arrangements graced numerous bossa nova albums including Frank Sinatra’s first and best collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim, adds a bossa flavor to the song.
What bonuses will you find here? Hit the jump for that and more! Read the rest of this entry »
“Keep an eye out for the funniest movie about growing up ever made,” read the poster to 1982’s raunchy comedy Porky’s. It depicted the eye of a Peeping Tom, looking onto a woman showering. “You’ll be glad you came!” Despite – or more likely, because of – its puerile humor, the modestly-budgeted teen sex comedy Porky’s became a runaway hit and spawned two theatrical sequels by 1985. The third Porky’s film, Porky’s Revenge, was the least successful, grossing just $20 million compared to the first movie’s $100+-million take. But if the film hasn’t endured, its soundtrack certainly has, thanks to the efforts of its chief contributor, Dave Edmunds. Varese Vintage has reissued Porky’s Revenge for the first time in a decade on a new, remastered compact disc.
The Porky’s films took place at Florida’s fictional Angel Beach High School, casting a raunchy eye on the not-so-squeaky-clean 1950s. Whereas the first two movies were scored with era-appropriate oldies, Welsh rocker Edmunds was approached to contribute an original soundtrack for the third film. Unlike director James Komack’s movie itself, Edmunds’ soundtrack featured an all-star cast. He enlisted Jeff Beck, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Clarence Clemons, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and one true 1950s hitmaker: Carl Perkins. The icing on the cake was a rare appearance by none other than George Harrison. Serving as a de facto “house band” for the project was Chuck Leavell on keyboards, Kenny Aaronson on bass and Michael Shrieve on drums.
Edmunds performed four songs himself – two originals and two revivals of classic hits. In the former category, the album’s opening track, “High School Nights,” blended a rock-and-roll spirit with a decidedly eighties modern production style recalling Edmunds’ collaboration with ELO’s Jeff Lynne on the album Information. Edmunds’ pulsating instrumental “Porky’s Revenge” was another gleaming creation seemingly intended to give a contemporary touch to the otherwise nostalgic album. His two covers, of Bobby Darin’s “Queen of the Hop” and Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Want to Dance,” were in the back-to-basics, straight-ahead rock-and-roll style that Edmunds perfected with his band Rockpile.
The typically flashy guitar hero Jeff Beck delivered an affectionately straightforward take of Santo and Johnny’s 1959 laconic hit “Sleepwalk,” and Carl Perkins revisited his own “Blue Suede Shoes” with all of the fire he had back in 1955. (Perkins and Edmunds had previously worked together on the Class of ’55 album which reunited the Sun recording artist with his pals Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison. Edmunds was among the guest musicians on that project.) Willie Nelson surveyed “Love Me Tender,” co-written by another famous Sun alumnus, Elvis Presley, in a new recording helmed by Class of ’55 producer Chips Moman. The Fabulous Thunderbirds, on the cusp of their breakthrough with the Edmunds-produced Tuff Enuff, offered up the brash “Stagger Lee,” and Robert Plant joined Edmunds on guitar, Paul Martinez on bass and Phil Collins on drums as The Crawling King Snakes to tackle Charlie Rich’s “Philadelphia Baby.” Clarence Clemons visited Angel Beach High by way of E Street for Henry Mancini’s deliciously menacing “Peter Gunn Theme.”
The most remarkable track on Revenge, though, was undoubtedly George Harrison’s premiere of a then-unheard Bob Dylan song. “I Don’t Want to Do It” was written by the Bard of Hibbing back in 1968 but was unreleased at the time of Harrison’s soundtrack recording. The former Beatle had been experimenting with the song as far back as the All Things Must Pass sessions in 1970, and nailed it for Porky’s. (An alternate mix of the song was released as a single; the standard soundtrack version appears here.) “I Don’t Want to Do It” was also notable for its appearance during what would end up a 5-year recording hiatus from Harrison, between his studio albums Gone Troppo and Cloud Nine.
After the jump, we have more details on the new Porky’s Revenge, plus order links and the complete track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »
Joe Satriani, The Complete Studio Recordings (Epic/Legacy)
Yes, The Yes Album (Panegyric)
The prog group’s breakthrough third LP gets expanded and remixed in surround by Steve Wilson, who worked similar magic on Close to the Edge and XTC’s Nonsuch.
XTC, Skylarking: Corrected Polarity Edition (Ape House)
Speaking of XTC, the band’s Todd Rundgren-produced 1986 effort, presented with intended album art and running order (with “Dear God” integrated into the track list), was remastered for vinyl in 2010; now, that superior presentation makes its way to CD. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Toto, Toto / Hydra / Turn Back (Rock Candy)
Get ready to “Hold the Line” with these new remasters from Rock Candy of Toto’s first three albums (their debut includes a 12″ mix of “Georgy Porgy”).
The third, flop installment in the Porky’ franchise nonetheless had a killer soundtrack assembled by Dave Edmunds and featuring contributions from George Harrison, Jeff Beck, Willie Nelson and more. Joe’s full article will run later today! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
The details are out on Real Gone Music’s June 3 release slate, and it’s so eclectic and so packed with rarities that you might find yourself exclaiming of the Real Gone team, “It must be them!” Of course, “It Must Be Him” was Vikki Carr’s signature hit, and Vikki is featured on not one, but two, releases from her Columbia Records tenure – including one with a full seventeen previously unissued recordings! If you like your female artists a bit more rocking, Real Gone has an expanded edition of Charity Ball, the 1971 sophomore album from Fanny, the first all-female rock band to find a major label home. And if it’s R&B ladies you’re after, you’ll find some of the best on The Complete Atlantic Singles Plus of the legendary Sweet Inspirations featuring Cissy Houston. And that’s not all. The disco trio Faith, Hope and Charity’s 1975 RCA long-player, produced by “Hustle” man Van McCoy, makes its worldwide CD debut, as does Color Me Country from groundbreaking African-American country vocalist Linda Martell. Real Gone continues its series reissuing Grateful Dead’s Dick’s Picks. And if the Dead isn’t enough to take you to a higher level of consciousness, you might want to check out the first-ever compilation of the New Age recordings of Robert Bearns and Ron Dexter’s Golden Voyage.
After the jump, you’ll find full details on this eclectic, expansive group of titles courtesy of Real Gone’s press release – plus pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »
Our RPM Records round-up continues with news of two anthologies sure to interest any fans and collectors of mid-sixties British pop.
The Scorpions of Hello, Josephine – 30 Rhythm and Beat Classics 1964-1966 aren’t to be confused with the German metal band or even the British instrumental trio from the early sixties. These Scorpions were a beat band from Manchester, the same stomping ground as The Hollies. But Peter Lewis (vocals), Tony Briley (bass), Mike Delaney (drums), Tony Postill (lead guitar) and Rodney Postill (rhythm guitar) didn’t find success in their native England. Instead, they made a name for themselves in Holland! RPM’s new collection sheds light on this “lost” beat group.
Just months after the band was formed, Dutch audiences discovered The Scorpions on the country’s stages in summer 1964. They were signed to the CNR label almost immediately, and released their first single (“Bye Bye Johnny” b/w “Rip It Up”) in August. With their selection of songs by Chuck Berry and Little Richard, The Scorpions revealed their roots in American R&B, and the group followed up the 45 with covers of songs by Doris Troy (“Just One Look”), Ray Charles (“What’d I Say”) and Berry again (“Johnny B. Goode”). In late ’64, The Scorpions endured some personnel shifts: Tony Briley left the band, Rodney Postill took over on bass, Tony Postill switched from lead to rhythm guitar, and Terry Morton joined on lead guitar. But the new line-up scored big with December’s release of Fats Domino’s “Hello, Josephine.” It remained in the Dutch charts for 33 weeks, peaking at No. 2. Its follow-up was naturally also titled after a gal, and “Ann-Louise” also made the Top 40.
Further troubles plagued The Scorpions after this initial burst of success, however. Mike Delaney was replaced in 1965 by Ian “Skins” Lucas (who, like Morton, was an alumnus of Wayne Fontana and The Jets). A third hit record – an adaptation of “Greensleeves” inspired by the arrangement of The Country Gentlemen, another old band of Morton’s – made No. 22 in the summer, but soon, the band was forced to return to England when the members’ work permits expired. Morton and the Postills both gave up, leaving Peter Lewis and Ian Lucas to soldier on with new members Graham Lee (guitar/vocals), Dave Vernon (bass) and Roy Smithson (organ/vocals). This group of Scorpions recorded the optimistically-titled album Climbing the Charts, and the single “Balla, Balla” b/w “I’ve Got My Mojo Working” gave them another Top 20 hit. Still more comings and goings threatened to derail The Scorpions’ career, and the group was briefly rechristened The New Scorpions by its record label. Another album arrived in late 1966, but the band finally called it a day the next year when they were once again forced to return to England.
After the jump, there’s more on The Scorpions – plus The Complete Recordings of the Pied Piper himself, Crispian St. Peters! Read the rest of this entry »
If you’ve been following these pages for the past few weeks, you’ve likely noticed an awful lot of coverage about Record Store Day! Well, the day is nearly here! Tomorrow, Saturday, April 21, music fans and collectors will flock to their local independent record stores to celebrate both the sounds on those round black platters and the very concept of shopping in a physical retail environment. To many of us, both are a way of life. We’re doubly excited this year because one special title was co-produced by our very own Mike D.: Legacy Recordings’ Ecto-Green glow-in-the-dark vinyl single containing four versions of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters.”
Each year around this time, we here at Second Disc HQ take a few moments to count down the titles to which we’re most looking forward to picking up! I’ll take my turn first, and then after the jump, you’ll find my colleague’s picks for some of the finest offerings you might find at your local retailer! And after you’ve picked up your share of these special collectibles, don’t hesitate to browse the regular racks, too…there’s likely even more treasure awaiting you.
You’ll find more information and a link to a downloadable PDF of the complete Record Store Day list right here, and please share your RSD 2014 experiences with us below. Don’t forget to click on the Record Store Day tag below, too, to access all of our RSD ’14 coverage. Happy Hunting!
- Henry Mancini and His Orchestra, The Pink Panther LP (RCA/Legacy Recordings)
On April 16, 2014, the great composer/conductor Henry Mancini would have turned 90. To mark the occasion, the all-new HenryMancini.com was launched, and Legacy announced plans for a yearlong celebration of the maestro’s enduring, engaging ouevre. The label has major plans including an 11-CD box set of Mancini’s soundtracks as well as a newly-curated retrospective, but the festivities kick off on Saturday with the release on eye-catching pink vinyl of Mancini’s original album of music from Blake Edwards’ all-time classic comedy caper The Pink Panther.
This soundtrack album (slated for expansion later this year for the movie’s 50th anniversary) was, as per Mancini’s custom, a re-recording of the film’s major themes for the record-buying audience. In addition to the now-famous, sly ‘n’ slinky title theme with saxophone by Plas Johnson (which went Top 40 as a single; the soundtrack itself went Top 10), other highlights of the score include “It Had Better Be Tonight,” an Italian-style love song recently covered by Michael Bublé and performed in the film by Fran Jeffries (and on disc by Mancini’s chorus), and “Something for Sellers,” a great example of Mancini’s feel for what we today think of as lounge music. Mancini’s “The Pink Panther” is currently the single most-streamed song in the entire Sony Music catalogue – a testament to the ongoing power of the gifted composer Henry Mancini.
- Randy Newman, Randy Newman (Mono LP) (Rhino)
Prior to the release of 1968’s self-titled debut, Randy Newman was a staff songwriter for Los Angeles’ Metric Music, a West Coast answer to the Brill Building where he worked alongside the likes of Jackie DeShannon honing his skills. The back of the LP, now being reissued for RSD in its original mono edition, read: “Randy Newman creates something new under the sun!” And while intended ironically (irony being one of Newman’s favorite weapons, always at the ready!), it wasn’t far from the truth. Produced by his childhood friend Lenny Waronker and quirky wunderkind Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman featured some scathing social commentary sheathed in large, gorgeous orchestrations by the composer himself. Even this early on, it was evident that Randy learned something from his uncles, Lionel and Alfred Newman, two of the most illustrious composers in Hollywood history. The young Newman was the rare talent equally gifted in both melody and lyrics. “Davy the Fat Boy” and “So Long, Dad” are uncomfortably hysterical, while “Love Story” plainly tells the story of a couple from marriage to death, playing checkers all day in a Florida nursing home. Newman’s unique humor was already in full bloom, to wit this exchange from “Love Story”: “We’ll have a kid/Or maybe we’ll rent one, He’s got to be straight/We don’t want a bent one.” All of these songs were delivered in his off-hand, growl of a drawl, providing a contrast to the beautiful arrangements. When Randy Newman turned serious, the results were heartbreaking and simple (though far from simplistic): “Living Without You” or the oft-covered “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today,” which managed to be both cynical and achingly sad. A major new talent had arrived.
- Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Transcriptions (Real Gone Music)
Vintage music from the pre-rock-and-roll era gets an airing on Record Store Day thanks to releases such as this one, along with other key releases from Omnivore Recordings and Blue Note Records. Here, Real Gone Music unearths 10 tracks from the King of Western Swing, four of which will remain exclusive to this vinyl release. These have been drawn from the more than 200 songs recorded by Wills for Tiffany Music, Inc. which remained under lock and key for years. (Wills recorded a total of almost 400 songs for Tiffany in 1946 and 1947.) This remastered release has been painstakingly designed after an original transcription disc. The vinyl is housed inside a replica package in the style of the actual mailers in which Tiffany discs were sent to radio stations in the 1940s – with “pre-distressed” trompe l’oeil wrinkles and wear on the record jacket and a cutaway hole infront showing the vintage Tiffany logo on the vinyl label, whichcontinues the Tiffany numbering system of assigning a recordnumber to each side. Furthering this tremendous attention to detail, the back cover also presents vintagegraphics from the period, and the records are pressed in the style of some of the original discs on 150-gram red vinyl. This release precedes Real Gone’s upcoming 2-CD set drawn from Wills’ Tiffany Transcriptions, and tracks include such songs as Cole Porter’s “Don’t Fence Me In” and Johnny Mercer’s “I’m an Old Cowhand.” Count me in!
- Various Artists, Live from High Fidelity: The Best of the Podcast Performances (Omnivore)
It wasn’t easy to choose from Omnivore Recordings’ great slate, including rare music from late legends Hank Williams and Jaco Pastorius, but Live from High Fidelity encapsulates the label’s dedication to preserving great music from all eras and genres. This 14-track translucent green vinyl release is drawn a podcast hosted by L.A.’s High Fidelity Records, and features contributions from some TSD favorites like Sam Phillips, Rhett Miller of The Old 97’s, members of Spain, and most especially, appearing for the second time on this small list, Mr. Van Dyke Parks. It’s about time podcast performances went physical, isn’t it?
- Ronnie Spector and the E Street Band, “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” b/w “Baby Please Don’t Go” / Eric Carmen, “Brand New Year (Alternate Mix)” b/w “Starting Over (Live 1976)” singles (Legacy)
Two of Legacy’s 7-inch singles caught our fancy this year. The label has followed up this year’s Playlist: The Very Best of Ronnie Spector with a replica 45 of “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” b/w “Baby Please Don’t Go,” on which the former Ronette is backed by none other than Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Arranged and produced by a certain Mr. Van Zandt – that’s Little Steven now, and Sugar Miami Steve circa this single’s original release – these 1977 sides are blazing rock-and-roll at its finest. Billy Joel’s A-side was a stunning Phil Spector homage in its original recording; with Ronnie on lead and Clarence Clemons honking on the sax, it became transcendent. Eric Carmen’s new “Brand New Day” also arrives on vinyl in a previously unreleased alternate mix supporting The Essential Eric Carmen, on which the song first appeared. Featuring Carmen supported by Jeffrey Foskett, Darian Sahanaja, Nick Walusko and Mike D’Amico of Brian Wilson’s band, this 2013 composition is vintage Carmen – lush, gorgeous and memorably melodic. You won’t want to miss these.
Honorable Mentions go to Rhino’s first-ever U.S. release of Fleetwood Mac’s 1970 single “Dragonfly” b/w “Purple Dancer” and its excavation of the 1968 LP The Birthday Party from Jeff Lynne’s psych-pop pre-ELO band The Idle Race; plus Legacy’s painstakingly-recreated stereo LP of “King of Cool” Dean Martin’s romantic long-player Dream with Dean on which he’s joined by a quartet for his most intimate jazz stylings; and Sundazed’s vinyl debut of two tracks by The Sunrays, the band that Murry Wilson intended to groom in the style of his former charges The Beach Boys. Murry’s own song “Won’t You Tell Me” features the legendary L.A. Wrecking Crew, and the band’s Rick Henn supplies new liner notes for this 45!
After the jump: take it away, Mr. Duquette! Read the rest of this entry »
Since The Second Disc’s founding in 2010, fans of the artist once and currently known as Prince have had to content themselves with catalogue news from various corners of The Purple One’s universe, as reissues of Prince’s own music as a solo artist remained the most distant of possibilities. Over these past four-plus years, we’ve seen the deluxe treatment afforded titles by Andre Cymone, Wendy and Lisa, even The Lewis Connection. And now, at long last, we can confirm that a remastered catalogue campaign isn’t a distant possibility any longer: it’s coming,
This morning, Warner Bros. Records – long embroiled in a contentious relationship with the artist – announced that it had come to terms with Prince and entered into a global licensing partnership. Though complete details have yet to be revealed, the agreement grants the singer ownership of his master recordings, and allows Warner Music Group to digitally remaster and reissue Prince’s albums from 1978 through the 1990s. (Prince’s final album for the label was 1996’s Chaos and Disorder. He then marked his freedom from the Warner empire with his next release that year, Emancipation. That album launched a new label, NPG.) The press release added that “long-awaited, previously unheard music” would be on the way.
This a particularly well-timed announcement, of course, as the recent New Girl guest star will mark the 30th anniversary of his watershed release Purple Rain on June 25. This morning’s press release confirmed that the 13-times platinum Purple Rain would be the first album to get the reissue treatment. Prince also indicated that a new studio album is, indeed, “on the way.” The artist commented in his own unique manner, “Warner Bros. Records and Eye are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful relationship.”
While there aren’t any further details to share as of this writing, watch this space for more Prince news as it becomes available! The Revolution is coming!