Archive for March 18th, 2011
Roger Waters is bringing Pink Floyd’s The Wall Live tour to Europe this spring, and to celebrate, Sony is reissuing a good amount of his work at an affordable price.
On March 28, the compilation Flickering Flame: The Solo Years Volume I (2002) will be repressed. This set collected the best of Waters’ solo material from 1983 to what was then the present, with two unreleased demos added to the mix. Unfortunately, this disc has a rather unsavory legacy, as it was released with a rather extreme form of copy protection that prohibited it from playing on a PC or Mac (it was listed as such on the front sleeve). No online retailers’ listings indicate if that condition has been removed for this new pressing – most seem to replicate the details of the original listing – but we can certainly hope otherwise!
Then, on April 4, Roger Waters: The Album Collection will be released. The eight-disc set will consist of The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking (1984), Radio K.A.O.S. (1987), Amused to Death (1992), In the Flesh – Live (2000) (presented as the two-CD/one-DVD version) and the two-disc, operatic Ça Ira (2005). While no new material will be provided, nor has there been any indication of new mastering, this pretty affordable set is the way to go if you’ve been thinking of diving headfirst into Waters’ work.
The rundown of the track listings and pre-order links are below.
Whether recording jazz, pop or funk, the soulful Marlena Shaw has made her mark. The first female vocalist signed to Blue Note Records, Shaw has had an impressive career with tenures not only at the venerable jazz imprint but also Chess’ Cadet subsidiary, Columbia, Verve and Concord. Included in her outstanding discography are searing takes on Goffin and King’s “Go Away, Little Girl” (as “Go Away, Little Boy”), Ashford and Simpson’s “California Soul” and a discofied “Touch Me in the Morning.” Big Break Records continues its exploration of Shaw’s Columbia catalogue with the April 25 (U.K.)/May 3 (U.S.) release of Shaw’s second album for the label, 1978′s Acting Up. This is just one of Big Break’s stellar line-up scheduled for April/May.
The follow-up to Sweet Beginnings, Acting Up was once again helmed by producer Bert De Coteaux, while Abe Laboriel (bass) and Quentin Dennard (drums) made significant musical contributions. Shaw contributed a couple of songs herself while other notable tracks came from the pens of Billy Tragesser, Ken Stover and the team of Kathy Wakefield and Ken Hirsch. Like many of Shaw’s recordings, Acting Up features her in musical settings ranging from the romantic to the deeply funky. Big Break’s new edition features two bonus tracks, the single version of “Places” and the rare original soundtrack version of “Don’t Ask to Stay Until Tomorrow,” from the film Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Connors, of course, co-wrote the famous theme from Rocky, “Gonna Fly Now,” and under her given name of Annette Kleinbard was the voice of Phil Spector’s “To Know Him is to Love Him” for The Teddy Bears. Hit the jump for pre-order link and track listing, with discographical information! Read the rest of this entry »
If kicks just keep getting harder to find, fear not! The deep catalogue of Paul Revere and the Raiders has just gotten much easier to find, thanks to two new releases. Legacy’s The Essential Paul Revere and the Raiders has just hit stores, while Raven Australia has brought to CD the band’s final released album for Columbia Records, Country Wine. The Essential spans 1963 and 1972 and covers “where the action is” (though ironically not the song “Action!”). Country Wine reflects the sound of a band adapting with the disappearing AM radio format that afforded them so many hit records.
The Essential Paul Revere and the Raiders (Columbia/Legacy 88697 81565-2) represents the best domestic release on the group currently available. While single-disc compilations are available as imports, this does Raven’s Kicks: The Anthology and Rev-Ola’s Hungry for Kicks: Singles and Choice Cuts 1965-1969 one better. Over its thirty-six tracks compiled by producer and mastering engineer Bob Irwin of Sundazed, The Essential takes listeners from the Raiders’ garage roots in 1963 to the polished pop sheen of their latter-day singles including the 1971 chart-topper “Indian Reservation,” surprisingly the group’s first No. 1 single.
Dominic Priore’s fine new liner notes recount the story of the Raiders, anchored by Paul Revere (organ/piano) and Mark Lindsay (vocals/saxophone). And yes, that really was Paul Revere’s real name; he was born Paul Revere Dick and simply dropped his surname. One of the most successful bands to come out of the fertile Pacific Northwest music scene, the Raiders first came to national recognition in 1963 on the strength of their rendition of Richard Berry’s “Louie, Louie,” the first track on the new compilation. Unfortunately, The Kingsmen got to it around the same time (it’s lost to time as to which version was released first), and reached No. 2 on the charts. The Raiders’ version stalled at No. 103. Revere’s recording is somewhat less primal than the Kingsmen’s, but established the group’s garage punk sound, rooted in hard-driving rhythm and blues. The band’s tastes were eclectic, though; Allen Toussaint’s “Over You” and “Ride Your Pony” deftly display a funky side. 1965’s “Steppin’ Out,” co-written by Revere and Lindsay and produced by Terry Melcher, really set the wheels in motion for the group’s biggest successes, and coincided with the band being selected by Dick Clark to appear on his ABC after-school program, Where the Action Is!
Revere and the Raiders defied the British invasion, going so far as to make Revolutionary War costumes (inspired by Revere’s name, natch) their de facto attire. And while their music had similarities to British acts like The Kinks and The Animals, those bands were influenced by the same tough American R&B as Revere’s group. After “Steppin’ Out” and its No. 65 chart placement, the hits just kept on coming, and so Disc 1 of The Essential is all-killer, no-filler. “Just Like Me” topped its predecessor at No. 11, with a prominent organ part keeping the band true to its garage sound. Much as he helped foment the folk-rock sound with The Byrds, Terry Melcher surely deserves much of the credit for shaping the sonic signature of Paul Revere and the Raiders, although he never boxed them into one style. Continue reading after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
Back on March 1, we reported on Arista and Legacy’s The Essential 5th Dimension (88697 82702-2), compiling 36 of the group’s most delectable tracks in a format similar to 1997’s Up, Up and Away: The Definitive Collection (Arista/BMG Heritage 07822-18961-2). With The Essential’s release on Tuesday, we can finally confirm what’s different about this release: one different track, a new sequence and fresh remastering. Read on for a recap of the original post with newly updated information!
For a golden period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, few groups had as winning a streak as The 5th Dimension. Jimmy Webb wrote an entire album for the group, The Magic Garden, after having supplied them with their first hit, the five-time Grammy winner “Up, Up and Away.” The 5th Dimension appeared to be the muse of Laura Nyro, as well, turning Nyro’s brilliant and idiosyncratic material like “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Sweet Blindness” into hit gold. The group discovered Burt Bacharach and Hal David late in the game, yet recorded the definitive version of the team’s little-known song “One Less Bell to Answer,” which Keely Smith had debuted in 1967. Their 1970 recording hit No. 2 on the pop charts and is well-remembered today. They took a mini-medley from the Broadway musical Hair all the way to the top when “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)” spent 16 weeks on the chart, six of them at No. 1. Neil Sedaka, Ashford and Simpson and Tony Macaulay all benefitted from the group’s “champagne soul” stylings. Even Frank Sinatra sought them out as an opening act and as guest stars on his well-regarded television special Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing. The original quintet disbanded in 1975 after the release of Earthbound, a reunion album with Jimmy Webb on the ABC label which unfortunately still remains unavailable on CD. There were a couple of Motown albums in 1978 from the group’s new lineup and another unsuccessful comeback effort in 1995. But it’s the classic 1967-1974 period that has been collected by Legacy on The Essential 5th Dimension, which was released on March 15.
The Essential 5th Dimension contains 36 of the group’s finest moments. These reflect a true embarrassment of songwriting riches, not to mention sophisticated arrangements, both vocally and musically. All of the above-mentioned songs are included, of course. But you’ll also hear tracks such as the hit cover of The Mamas and The Papas’ “Go Where You Wanna Go,” great Neil Sedaka songs (“Puppet Man,” also recorded by Tom Jones, and “Workin’ on a Groovy Thing”) and Jimmy Webb perennials (“The Worst That Could Happen,” recorded before Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge, plus “Carpet Man,” “Paper Cup,” “The Girls’ Song” and “Orange Air”). There’s of course, plenty of Laura Nyro, who’s represented by songs both ubiquitous (“Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic”) and unfamiliar, though no less great (“Black Patch,” “Blowing Away”). The great Bones Howe, who went on to helm Tom Waits’ earliest LPs, was seated in the producer’s chair for every LP after the debut album, Up, Up and Away. (That LP was produced by Johnny Rivers and Marc Gordon.) Howe created a smooth and instantly recognizable sound for the group, aided by the stellar arrangements of Bob Alcivar and others. The Wrecking Crew lent able support as the house band. But the stars were the five individual singers whose distinctive blend was capable of both pure pop and impassioned soul: Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, Lamont McLemore and Ron Townson. How does The Essential differ from its 1997 counterpart? Hit the jump for the revised track listing and more! Read the rest of this entry »