Archive for August 6th, 2012
La-La Land’s latest catalogue title, released last week, is a pleasant surprise: the premiere release of the score to the cult-classic comedy Used Cars.
The 1980 picture, starring Kurt Russell as an unscrupulous salesman willing to go to any lengths to shut down his competition, was a particular surprise for anyone familiar with the talent behind the production. It was the second film to be directed by Robert Zemeckis, and was written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale and produced by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg had a proven track record as a director – his most recent film, 1979′s blustery World War II farce 1941 (also written by Zemeckis and Gale), was his first commercial and critical misstep since hitting it big with JAWS – but he was still only getting his feet wet as a producer, serving as an executive producer on Zemeckis’ directorial debut, the Beatles-centric I Wanna Hold Your Hand 1978. After further branching into producing following the worldwide success of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982, Zemeckis and Spielberg would again collaborate to much greater success, with the latter executive-producing Zemeckis and Gale’s Back to the Future trilogy and the Disney comedy Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
While Zemeckis’ collaboration with composer Alan Silvestri is often celebrated, the Used Cars disc features work from two other unique composers. First, there’s the main body of score composed by Patrick Williams, noted for his work on such screen fare as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the Oscar-nominated Breaking Away as well as arrangements for Frank Sinatra and others. Williams’ score appropriately captures the spirit of the film, with hints of rock, country and blues peeking through the themes (including an eponymous song performed by noted country veteran Bobby Bare).
But Williams’ wasn’t the first composer for the job; Ernest Gold, he of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Inherit the Wind fame, was first tasked with score duties for the picture. Ultimately, all that made it to the final film were arrangements of Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” as well as “Hail to the Chief,” so much of this music is being heard for the first time anywhere.
The disc, limited to 2,000 copies, can be yours today. Hit the jump to see the track list!
Pop-punk legends Green Day are looking forward thrice over for the rest of the year, releasing three albums (¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré!) in September, November and January. But before they put those out, they’re releasing a box set to get new fans up to speed in one fell swoop.
The trio are releasing The Studio Albums 1990-2009 later this month around the world (and in September in the U.S., as a Best Buy exclusive). It’s a pretty simple set, including all eight of the band’s studio efforts, from the 1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours compilation (combining the band’s first LP and two EPs on the Lookout! label) to 2009′s ambitious 21st Century Breakdown. As such, it doesn’t contain certain studio keepers, like the non-LP tracks on the International Superhits! compilation or the rarities disc Shenanigans – nor either of the band’s live discs from 2005 and 2011. But if you’re looking for new copies of these albums at once, you could do worse.
The hinged box features all discs in CD-sized wallet cases. It’s out August 27 ex-U.S. and September 4 in the States.
Green Day, The Studio Albums 1990-2009 (Reprise, 2012)
Disc 1: 1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours (originally released as 1,000 Hours - Lookout! EP LK 17, 1989; 39/Smooth - Lookout! LP LK 22, 1990; Slappy – Lookout! EP LK 35, 1990; reissued as Lookout! CD LK 22CD, 1991 and Reprise CD 43307, 2007)
Disc 2: Kerplunk (originally released as Lookout! LP LK 46, 1991)
Disc 3: Dookie (originally released as Reprise LP 45529, 1994)
Disc 4: Insomniac (originally released as Reprise LP 46046, 1995)
Disc 5: Nimrod (originally released as Reprise LP 46794, 1997)
Disc 6: Warning (originally released as Reprise LP 47613, 2000)
Disc 7: American Idiot (originally released as Reprise LP 48777, 2004)
Disc 8: 21st Century Breakdown (originally released as Reprise LP 49802, 2009)
Like a Rhinestone Cowboy: Glen Campbell “Live Anthology” Plagued by DVD Playback Problem, “American Treasure” Box Set Delayed [UPDATE 8/6]
Even when faced with Alzheimer’s, you can’t keep a good rhinestone cowboy down. Glen Campbell continues to make headlines on his Goodbye Tour, recently packing the Hollywood Bowl with a special show featuring Lucinda Williams, Jackson Browne, Kris Kristofferson, Jenny Lewis plus Dawes and the Dandy Warhols. Yes, Glen Campbell’s music transcends all generational and genre lines, as his classic songs continue to invite record labels to repackage, reissue and anthologize the great man’s catalogue. Three recent projects all take different looks at Glen Campbell’s legacy: Cleopatra’s Live Anthology 1972-2001; Readers’ Digest Music’s The Legendary Glen Campbell; and Surfdog’s An American Treasure box set.
Cleopatra’s 1-CD/1-DVD Live Anthology might be the most surprising of the three releases, as the label is often associated with budget titles and re-recordings from the days far past an artist’s prime. But this compilation looks to be promising, with over 2 hours, 20 minutes of Campbell in his natural environment onstage in front of a live audience. Though the track listing does differ on the CD and the DVD, both boast performances of Campbell’s most enduring hits including “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Gentle on My Mind” and “Southern Nights.” Interestingly, Cleopatra is promising “over 20 additional tracks” on the DVD as bonus material, featuring television duets with Wayne Newton, Anne Murray, Helen Reddy, Seals and Crofts, and other artists. The label also indicates that the set will include a “shiny foil booklet,” which one hopes will provide the origin of each track. In any event, Live Anthology is due on July 31 from Cleopatra.
UPDATE 8/6: Since this report was initially published on July 9, Live Anthology has been released. The good news? The DVD in this collection offers a staggering 46 performances. In addition to the artists named above, Campbell duets with the stellar likes of songwriters Jimmy Webb and David Gates on an amazing array of material drawn mainly from BBC television programs. We have the full track listing with the origin of each track after the jump. The bad news? Despite being labelled as a region-free DVD, this American release is apparently incompatible with standard U.S. DVD players! (It will, however, play on most computers.) Thanks to super-reader Rich Dudas for pointing this out before we had a chance to play our own copy; we have since personally experienced the playback problem, as have two purchasers over at Amazon.com. We are attempting to contact Cleopatra/Goldenlane Records for comment and resolution. Watch this space for more details!
Earlier this year, Readers’ Digest Music unveiled a 3-CD, 60-track compendium of its own. The Legendary Glen Campbell differs from previous Readers’ Digest releases dedicated to Campbell, and brings the artist’s career up to date, with the inclusion of modern tracks like his cover of Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” from 2008’s Julian Raymond-produced Meet Glen Campbell. Though all of the big hits are present, the set includes a number of rather rare singles such as Albert Hammond, Mike Hazelwood and Tony Macaulay’s “Oklahoma Sunday Morning” (1971), Joe Allen’s “Manhattan, Kansas” (1972), “Bring Back My Yesterday” and “Wherefore and Why” (both 1973), “God Must Have Blessed America” (1977) and “Another Fine Mess” (1978), written by Paul Williams. The inclusion of these hard-to-find tracks might make this a worthwhile purchase for Campbell diehards. Most of the tracks are from Campbell’s lengthy tenure at Capitol Records, though a few songs come from his MCA years. (His Atlantic Records and contemporary Christian periods aren’t represented.) The three discs are not presented in strict chronological order, and over 20 tracks here don’t appear on Capitol’s 2003 box set, The Legacy: 1961-2002. The Legendary Glen Campbell is available now at Amazon.com.
Hit the jump for details on the upcoming box set dedicated to Glen Campbell, An American Treasure, plus track listings with discographies, where available! Read the rest of this entry »
Not long before R.E.M.’s surprise breakup last year, the iconic Athens, Georgia-based quartet had just put out the latest in an ongoing series of 25th anniversary edition packages, pairing 1986′s excellent Lifes Rich Pageant with a disc of unreleased demos. After the split, surely there were fans worrying whether that series would continue – particularly since the next album on the list was their fifth album Document (1987), not only one of their best works but one of their first brushes with major commercial acclaim.
Happily, it was revealed late last week that an expanded Document is indeed coming out this September. The bonus disc looks to be an unreleased but heavily bootlegged concert from the band’s Work Tour of 1987, one that sees the band playing their biggest hits at the time before a captive audience in Utrecht, Holland. (The show is, unfortunately for superfans, not complete, missing four covers, including fan favorite “Superman” – originally performed by The Clique and recorded for Lifes Rich Pageant – and punk group Wire’s “Strange,” recorded for Document.)
From the thunderous, pulsating opening of “Finest Worksong,” it’s easy to see why David Fricke called Document “the sound of R.E.M. on the move.” It was urgent and angry, reacting to the twilight of the Reagan presidency on tracks like “Exhuming McCarthy,” but the jangly guitar figures and propulsive hooks that made the band the darling of American college radio were still there, aided for the first time by co-producer Scott Litt, who would collaborate with the band on their next five LPs.
While R.E.M. were no stranger to critical plaudits during their tenure on the I.R.S. label, Document yielded a heavy payload on the sales side of things. Lead single “The One I Love,” an upbeat track hiding lyrics of emotional abuse, became the band’s first of three U.S. Top 10 hits; the LP itself went platinum, further strengthened by radio-ready tunes like iconic, rapid-fire rocker “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine).” Bolstered by its success, the band would part ways with I.R.S. Records and sign to Warner Bros., where they remained for the rest of their careers.
Like R.E.M.’s previous deluxe expansions with Capitol/EMI, both discs are housed in a lift-top box with four art prints on postcards. Look for this one (as well as a vinyl reissue from Mobile Fidelity) on September 25, and hit the jump to pre-order your copy.
Stax Records and Concord Music Group have brought the cool to this hot summer. Music simply doesn’t come much cooler than the hip Green Onions, from Booker T. & the M.G.s. The landmark album is being celebrated for its fiftieth anniversary in an expanded edition (STX-33960-02, 2012) as part of the ongoing Stax Remasters series that last delivered a new edition of Albert King’s I’ll Play the Blues for You.
The main attraction is doubtless the title song, a favorite of the Blues Brothers which has also been covered by everybody from Henry Mancini to The Ventures. It’s the perfect convergence of organist Booker T. Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Lewis Steinberg and drummer Al Jackson, Jr., who also doubled as the Stax house band. (Donald “Duck” Dunn would later assume the bass reins from Steinberg.) For two minutes and 55 seconds, these sophisticated and versatile cats offer a deceptively simple instrumental master class. Three-note riffs and key changes abound in the effortlessly sophisticated, and altogether irresistible, tune. It was whipped up via improvisation as the other three members built on Jones’ central blues riff redolent of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me,” and created a classic in the process. Even if the group was torn over the title and still can’t definitively state who suggested it, something about “Green Onions” just stuck. There, apparently, was a consensus that onions were funky, if stinky – and the resulting song and album was indeed, funky, though certainly not stinky!
The original 1962 LP’s twelve tracks conclusively prove that instrumental music can have as much soul as that coming from a powerhouse vocalist. It’s not an exaggeration to state that the backing of Booker T.’s band further inspired the supremely passionate singers at Stax; the group was every bit as solid as the Funk Brothers or the Wrecking Crew. Under their own name, Booker T & the M.G.s played on some 23 singles and 11 albums for the Memphis label.
Hit the jump to keep reading! Read the rest of this entry »