Archive for January 26th, 2011
The mystery has finally been solved: it was La La Land Records, on the Internet, with a batch of CDs. Well…in other words, it’s been confirmed that one of the label’s most hotly-anticipated releases is happening soon: the world-premiere release of John Morris’ score to Clue (1985).
Clue, of course, comes from a simpler time when movies based on board games and television shows weren’t the only ideas circulating throughout Hollywood. In fact, as high-concept films go, it was initially a box-office failure, only earning accolades when released on home video. (Chief among the laughs is the presence of no less than three endings for the film, each depicting a different culprit in the murder of Mr. Boddy.) There’s no reason to skip it, though; the ensemble cast (including Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn and Michael McKean) is a knockout, and the film boasts a very funny script from the pen of director Jonathan Lynn (who conceived the story with the equally funny John Landis).
A snappy comedy needs an equally snappy score, and Morris, best known for his scores to the films of Mel Brooks, delivers. This release has been on La La Land’s horizon since last year, and it’s their release for February 1. It will be limited to 3,000 copies and will feature nearly an hour of music (including 17 minutes of bonus tracks).
Keep it here next week when a pre-order link and track list are available.
What do we know about The Rat Pack, that famed group of celebrity rogues and rapscallions that defined American cool in the early ’60s? You might not know that only a third of the classic members of the group were initially included; The Rat Pack was initially made up of actor friends of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, including Frank Sinatra but not Dean Martin or Sammy Davis, Jr.
But after Bogart’s death and the subsequent release of Ocean’s 11 in 1960, the classic image of The Rat Pack – Sinatra, Martin, Davis and actors Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop – crystallized in the eyes of the American public. On the musical side, Frank, Sammy and Dean were the darlings of the Las Vegas strip, often dropping in on each other’s scheduled performances to the glee of patrons. Though the trio never performed together after a short-lived tour in 1987 and would be gone within the next decade or so, they left behind an image of group-related cool that’s been emulated for years, whether the pack be brat or frat-oriented.
Rhino’s new compilation, The Very Best of The Rat Pack (Reprise/Rhino R2 526241), is amazingly only one of a very select few compilations compiling the best of these three men in one place. (Capitol released Eee-O 11: The Very Best of The Rat Pack in 2001, and a Christmas compilation followed on the same label some years later.) Though each man had careers on many different labels – all three were signed to Sinatra’s self-created label Reprise, Frank and Dean had stints on Capitol and Davis started out on Decca – it’s not really the licensing that proves difficult, so much as it is capturing the feeling of the group dynamic on disc.
How well does Rhino’s set succeed? Find out after the jump.
I see a little silhouetto of the track lists of the forthcoming U.K. Queen remasters, as released on the band’s official site today. There was a track list posted on the Steve Hoffman forums that was taken from a Japanese Web site and perhaps too heavily devoted to the remixes from The eYe (that odd 1998 computer game with five discs’ worth of remixes and instrumental tracks built into the CD-ROMs and suitable for ripping to one’s iPod). Those track lists were mostly wrong, thankfully. So what are fans going to get? Let’s talk after the jump.
Can’t wait for that massive 11-CD/1-DVD box set, Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia? Or maybe you’re just looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?
Either way, Legacy may have the disc for you. Next Tuesday, February 1, will see the under-the-radar release of Aretha Franklin‘s The Great American Songbook from Columbia/Legacy, compiling 18 of the tracks from that massive box set on one CD. Oddly, this release features the same cover art as the upcoming box, not due for release until March 22. (The decision to release a “highlights” package before the box itself is unusual, but is likely a product of the label’s desire to have “Great American Songbook” product in time for the February 14 holiday when it’s frequently a major seller to casual fans. It is not being marketed as a highlights disc, per se.)
The Great American Songbook’s tracks encompass standards written by Cole Porter (“Love for Sale”), Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael (“Skylark”), Irving Berlin (“How Deep is the Ocean?”) and even Hank Williams (“Cold, Cold Heart”). All are, of course, drawn from Franklin’s pre-Atlantic period at Columbia; hopefully the upcoming box will grant this era some long-deserved recognition. The soon-to-be Queen is in stellar vocal form throughout; as eminent jazz critic Will Friedwald astutely pointed out, “the only sin of the Columbia sides is that they sound nothing like the records that eventually made Franklin famous.”
Is this set worth picking up? Hit the jump for one answer, plus the track lineup and discographical information! Read the rest of this entry »