Archive for April 19th, 2011
The Supremes aren’t the only Motown act getting a little bit of reissue love today from Hip-o Select!
William “Smokey” Robinson has lived up to his nickname in a staggering seven decades now, setting the charts ablaze with particular frequency in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. So it was with a deep catalogue already behind him – and yet more hits ahead of him – that Robinson recorded the double live album Smokin’, which arrived in stores in October 1978.
Back in January, The Second Disc confirmed the news that Volume 5 of Hip-o Select’s ongoing Smokey Robinson: The Solo Albums series would be dedicated to Smokin’. This was a relief to fans and collectors who found the album skipped over when Volume 4 included the albums directly before and after the live set, Love Breeze and Where There’s Smoke. The label will restore to print this sprawling live document in a remastered edition on June 14.
Smokin’ wasn’t the first live album recorded by Robinson, but it was his first without the Miracles. (All three of the group’s live albums have been released on CD in various configurations by Hip-o Select.) As such, he drew most heavily on current material, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to also revisit some of the classics that defined the Sound of Young America.
Smokey Robinson spent much of the 1970s concentrating on his behind-the-scenes role as Vice-President at the rapidly-growing Motown corporation, but he stretched himself as producer and composer of the film Big Time and still pursued solo projects. 1975’s A Quiet Storm spawned an entire genre marrying soulful vocals to mellow, slow R&B grooves. A Quiet Storm definitively proved that Robinson was just as musically groundbreaking as he had been in the previous decade. Three tracks off that seminal album were performed during the 1978 concert stand (“Baby That’s Backatcha,” “The Agony and the Ecstasy” and the title cut). The LP released directly before Smokin’, 1978’s Love Breeze, was the most well-represented on the live set, with five songs (“Love So Fine,” “Why You Wanna See My Bad Side,” “Daylight and Darkness,” “Madam X” and “Shoe Soul”). 1973’s solo debut Smokey and 1977’s Deep in My Soul yielded one track each, “Baby Come Close” and “Vitamin U,” respectively.
Robinson paid homage to his former group, The Miracles, with renditions of “The Tracks of My Tears,” “The Tears of a Clown,” “Bad Girl/(You Can) Depend on Me,” “Here I Go Again,” “Mickey’s Monkey,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” “I Second That Emotion” and “Ooo Baby Baby.” Many of these songs still form the backbone of Robinson’s concert repertoire.
Hit the jump for pre-order information, track listing and more! Read the rest of this entry »
There comes a time in every music collector’s life where we utter, “Another (name of artist) compilation?!” The time has come to put Poison in those parentheses; their latest collection is due in stores on May 3.
Double Dose: Ultimate Hits does have a lot of worthy material for new fans. In addition to collating all the band’s notable singles, it includes a fair amount of album cuts and at least one or two non-LP tracks that were scooped up on reissues or prior compilations. But for hardcore fans, there’s nothing new – this is yet another in a long line of compilations, particularly after one that came out not too long ago. But if you need a primer for the band’s upcoming tour – or a reminder of something other than Bret Michaels’ questionable musical activities at present – here you go.
Double Dose is yours to buy at Amazon; check the track list after the jump.
Let Yourself Go: The ’70s Albums, Vol. 2 1974-1977 – The Final Sessions fills in part of the story that hardcore Supremes fans know – that the group didn’t just disappear when Diana Ross embarked on her stunning solo career. Jean Terrell replaced Ross on lead vocals on five Supremes LPs between 1970 and 1972. This era saw the last of the group’s charting singles, including “Up the Ladder to the Roof,” “Stoned Love” and “Floy Joy,” and was duly chronicled in Hip-o Select’s out-of-print This is the Story: The ’70s Albums, Vol. 1 1970-1973 – The Jean Terrell Years in 2006.
Afterwards, the trio endured a shift in personnel, losing Terrell and Lynda Laurence (who’d replaced original member Cindy Birdsong on 1972′s The Supremes Produced and Arranged by Jimmy Webb); Birdsong would return alongside Wilson and new lead vocalist Scherrie Payne (younger sister of singer-actress Freda Payne, of “Band of Gold” fame), only to leave again in 1976, to be replaced by Susaye Greene for one last album before the trio quietly disbanded.
Now, Let Yourself Go collects all three of those original albums in the post-Terrell era – 1975′s The Supremes, featuring Payne, Birdsong and Wilson; 1976′s High Energy, featuring the same trio and two tracks with contribution by Greene and 1977′s Mary, Scherrie & Susaye - on three discs, alongside a boatload of alternate takes, mixes and material from Motown’s famed vaults. An entire alternate mix of High Energy, done by Motown legend Russ Terrana, is released in full, along with several tracks featuring alternate lead vocals and more. Only five of these tracks have been released anywhere before – one on a single and the rest on a 2002 compilation of Supremes material in the ’70s – so you’re getting quite the bang for your buck.
Hip-o Select’s pre-order page is here (as of this writing it appeared to be down – leave a comment if that’s changed), and the track list, with full annotation, is after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
Ravagers was a brooding post-apocalyptic film featuring Richard Harris as a vigilante safeguarding against the titular band of marauders hell-bent on killing any survivors they can find. Art Carney and Ernest Borgnine co-starred in this forgotten thriller, and the score was composed by Fred Karlin, a jazz arranger who gained prominence in the ’70s for film work including scores to Yours, Mine and Ours, the Emmy-winning TV-movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and the Oscar-winning “For All We Know,” which hit the Top 5 in the U.S. when recorded by The Carpenters in 1971. His intense score for Ravagers, considered by Karlin to be one of his best, is presented complete (including several source cues) from 1/4″ scoring session safety masters in mono – the last surviving copy of the music! It sells at $19.99 and is limited to 1,000 copies.
On the other side of the scale, Stay Tuned featured the late John Ritter as a TV-addled suburban dad who has to fight for his family – and his life – when a devilish salesman (Jeffrey Jones) traps him inside a wacky and dangerous television world. While the film was not a critic’s favorite, it has earned cult status for its silly riffs on pop culture touchstones of the age, a particularly inspired sequence featuring the legendary animation of Chuck Jones and one of the funnier examples of a television actor satirizing his most famous character (Ritter’s meta-anguish when stumbling on a replica of the Three’s Company set is consistently humorous). Morgan Creek Records released a soundtrack largely devoted to pop and rap songs from the film (including the ridiculous “Start Me Up” by Salt-N-Pepa), which also featured two tracks of score by noted composer Bruce Broughton; Intrada brings his whole score to life, complete and in stereo, including a series of funny mini-suites for the television shows Ritter journeys through. That set, also priced at $19.99, is limited to 1,500 copies.
Order links and track information are, as always, after the jump.