Archive for July 19th, 2012
If news of the super deluxe edition of Freddie Mercury’s Barcelona album didn’t have enough Queen in it for you, you’re in some luck now: a new compilation of the band’s videos is headed to DVD at the end of the month.
The band’s Greatest Video Hits is a new repackaging of two earlier compilations on disc - Greatest Video Hits 1 (2002) and Greatest Video Hits 2 (2003). Together, they chronicle just about all of the band’s promo videos from the 1970s and 1980s. All clips were remastered and remixed in 5.1 DTS surround sound and feature commentary consisting of archival audio interviews with the late Mercury and retired bassist John Deacon as well as new interviews with guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor.
Some words of caution to buyers, however: while the sets are of course not complete (omitting promo footage from the band’s final LP, 1991′s Innuendo), fans have previously taken to task the video improvement; specifically, several of the clips have been converted from their original full frame aspect ratio (4:3) to a new widescreen (16:9) image. To achieve this, the original framing was cropped, which to some robs the videos of their original impact. Both original compilations were two-disc sets, as well, and this double-disc package omits those bonus discs and the bonus material they each carried.
If you’re looking for a simple set of Queen videos, though, this could be the one to get when it hits American shores on August 28. Hit the jump for the full program; Amazon links will be provided as they are available. Read the rest of this entry »
Everyone remembers David Cassidy, the bubblegum pop king and teen idol supreme. But Cassidy – still an active entertainer, singer, and actor today – was also a persuasive and versatile vocalist who stepped out of, and prospered beyond, the shadow of the fictional Partridge Family. Far from being simple fodder for the teenybopper crowd, the records he released as a solo artist were in many ways a continuation of the sophisticated pop sounds of the 1960. Cassidy enlisted top-tier songwriters, arrangers and musicians, including Los Angeles’ fabled Wrecking Crew. Cherry Red’s 7Ts label is letting everyone in on this secret with the reissue of the singer’s first two albums for Bell Records, both recorded in 1972: Cherish and Rock Me Baby. This marks the second bit of Cassidy news to arrive this week; across the Atlantic, in the U.S., Real Gone Music is planning its own Cassidy campaign.
If David Cassidy was seeking to establish an identity of his own removed from television’s Partridge Family, one would have been hard-pressed to tell, based on his solo debut Cherish. Cassidy, the son of Tony Award-winning actor Jack Cassidy and actress Evelyn Ward, teamed with Partridge producer Wes Farrell and the same crème of the L.A. session corps from the Partridge records for Cherish. Wrecking Crew stalwarts like Hal Blaine (drums) and Tommy Tedesco (guitar) contributed musically, while Farrell joined Bobby Hart (sans Tommy Boyce), Tony Romeo, Danny Janssen and Cassidy himself in penning the songs. Although Cassidy considered himself an actor first, The Partridge Family revealed a strong voice ready-made for the pop charts; his real-life stepmother and television co-star Shirley Jones was the other bona fide singer cast in the onscreen musical group. But Cassidy sang lead on the Partridges’ No. 1 hit “I Think I Love You” plus other successful chart entries like “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted” and “I Woke Up in Love This Morning.” A solo record seemed inevitable, and it didn’t disappoint.
You might just cherish what we have after the jump, including the track listing for the new two-fer, and an order link! Read the rest of this entry »
INXS’ Kick is a favorite around The Second Disc parts. We envisioned another deluxe reissue (after two on both sides of the Atlantic) in one of our first Reissue Theory posts, and its slinky, perfectly-crafted blend of pop, R&B and hard rock – combined with a host of non-LP material – makes it a perfect candidate for the growing trend of super-deluxe box sets.
So when such a set was first reported and then recently confirmed, you can imagine our excitement at bringing on the news to you. So what can one expect inside the 3 CD/1 DVD box, beyond the hardback book, poster and stickers previously discussed? Thanks to a few well-placed online retail sources (first reported by Slicing Up Eyeballs, to which we tip our hats), we have an answer.
First off, the good news: if you’ve ever been torn between which version to get – either Rhino’s American expansion in 2002 with four unreleased demos or Mercury U.K.’s long out-of-print 2004 deluxe set – you’re in luck. Every track from both of those versions has been reinstated for the new deluxe version. So that’s four demos, three non-LP B-sides, three dance remixes and three live cuts from an American show in 1988.
The not-as-great news? Well, it might seem like there’s not much beyond that – particularly in the way of “unheard tracks” promised by the initial news release. The bonus disc houses five tracks that didn’t appear on either edition, including non-LP tunes “Do Wot You Do” and “Different World” and edits of “New Sensation” and “Devil Inside.” The only “unheard” tracks, however, looks to be an unreleased remix of “Calling All Nations” by Nile Rodgers and a “soul version” of “Never Tear Us Apart.”
Things get better on the DVD, though, with “various band footage” accompanying performance footage from Denmark’s Midtfyns Festival and three of Kick‘s iconic promo videos. A red vinyl edition of the album and a two-disc distillation of the deluxe set have also been announced, but no details about the latter have been confirmed. All formats are due out in the U.K. only on September 17, and that full track list with annotations is after the jump.
To call the career of Sam Phillips a varied one is a colossal understatement. The singer and songwriter born Leslie Ann Phillips has played a mute terrorist opposite Bruce Willis, placed several singles in the contemporary Christian Top 10, and today can be found scoring the exploits of a headstrong dancer and her imperious mother-in-law on ABC Family’s drama Bunheads. Though Phillips has hardly slowed down in the intervening years, fans still hold close the creative period she shared with then-husband T Bone Burnett beginning in the late 1980s and continuing through the next decade. Phillips’ third secular rock album, 1994’s Martinis & Bikinis, may still be her strongest statement yet on record, and it’s just received a loving, deluxe treatment from the folks at Omnivore Recordings (OVCD-24, 2012).
Martinis & Bikinis was the sound of a songwriter coming into her own, aided by sympathetic production and a crack team of musicians. It built on the eclectic sound of its predecessors, but placed a razor-sharp aural focus on the sounds of the late sixties, and in particular, The Beatles. Yet Phillips was the rare artist who could channel her influences while avoiding outright pastiche. The sonic signature of Martinis & Bikinis owes a great debt to the sounds pioneered by the Fab Four (and even more specifically, though not exclusively, the songs of John Lennon) from 1966’s Revolver on.
Why would an exceedingly original artist like Phillips choose to pay such clear homage to icons of the past? Why not? It’s difficult (certainly for this writer!) to argue with the assertion that the mid- to late-1960s was the most consistently creative, fertile and fascinating time for popular music in the last half of the century. Yes, the form of expression was different. But in John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Brian Wilson, and Bob Dylan, pop and rock music finally found an answer to the greats of the first part of the century: George and Ira Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein, and so on. Like that earlier generation, those sixties writers created enduring songs that would be performed and recorded well into the next century. Phillips’s melodies aren’t as effortless as her forebears, her lyrics not as direct (though their cryptic quality may be an essential part of the Phillips mystique) – but Martinis, all the same, is a richly rewarding listen that deepens with each play. Why wouldn’t an artist want to play on that playground? To capture even a fraction of the same creative frisson as The Beatles is no small accomplishment.
We’ve got much more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »