In 1967, Monkeemania was sweeping the country. “I told people I would outsell The Beatles, and they laughed at me,” impresario Don Kirshner once recalled. “Then the first album sold four million.” That first album which led the television foursome to outsell The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys and, well, everybody else in 1967 is the subject of a new 3-CD Super Deluxe set arriving from Rhino Handmade on November 11.
The Monkees – Super Deluxe Edition rewinds the series of box sets that has already encompassed the group’s sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth albums: The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees, Head, The Monkees Present and Instant Replay, respectively. (A previous box set collected the sessions for Headquarters, Album No. 3.) This new box features a whopping 100 tracks, 45 of which are previously unreleased, and includes the original album in both mono and stereo as well as Davy Jones’ 1965 solo debut David Jones in both mono and stereo versions.
The first disc of the set features the mono and stereo versions of The Monkees, featuring seven compositions by Tommy Boyce, six with Bobby Hart and one with Steve Venet, including “(Theme from) The Monkees,” “I Wanna Be Free” and the No. 1 hit “Last Train to Clarksville.” The album also has tunes from Mike Nesmith (“Papa Gene’s Blues”) David Gates (“Saturday’s Child”), Carole King and Gerry Goffin (“Take a Giant Step,” “Sweet Young Thing,” co-written with Nesmith) and Goffin and Russ Titelman (“I’ll Be True to You”). This disc is rounded out with 12 bonus cuts including unique television versions previously unreleased on CD.
The 31 tracks on the second disc are all previously unreleased, as well. This disc of session material boasts the master backing tracks for “Let’s Dance On,” “This Just Doesn’t Seem To Be My Day,” “(Theme From) The Monkees” and “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day” plus various alternate versions of songs from the debut album, including an alternate vocal take by Nesmith on “The Kind of Girl I Could Love,” rehearsal recordings and multiple takes of songs like “I Wanna Be Free,” Goffin and King’s “So Goes Love” and Nesmith’s “Mary, Mary.”
The third disc puts the spotlight on the early solo endeavors of Monkees Davy and Mike. Jones’ 1965 Colpix debut David Jones is presented in both mono and stereo along with two single sides, while six single sides from Michael Blessing a.k.a. Nesmith are also here, two of which have never been released before in any format. This disc concludes with four rare demo recordings of “I Wanna Be Free.”
After the jump: more on The Monkees including the complete track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »
Following 2013’s deluxe box set reissue of Tears for Fears’ The Hurting, Universal U.K. has announced the November 3 release of a similarly-impressive box set dedicated to the group’s 1985 album Songs from the Big Chair. This 4-CD/2-DVD box brings together a remastered edition of the original album and its single B-sides, two discs of rare period remixes and edited single versions, a DVD-Audio containing high-resolution stereo and 5.1 surround mixes courtesy of ace engineer Steven Wilson, and a DVD of promotional videos, BBC performances and a documentary film about the making of the album. The campaign will also feature a 2-CD distillation of the box set, a new vinyl reissue of the album, and a standalone Blu-ray Audio release with the high-resolution mixes.
In assessing the catalogue of the band led by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, our own Mike Duquette wrote, “The group’s first three LPs – 1983’s The Hurting, 1985’s Songs from the Big Chair and 1989’s The Seeds of Love – are not only engaging for their songs, but for their evolution as well. The Hurting was a dark, New Wave type album heavy on introspection and psychoanalysis. This gave way to Big Chair, [which] contextualized those themes on a bigger playing field, both lyrically (not just self against self, but self against others) and sonically (keyboards now mixed with heavier guitars and fresher drum sounds). The Seeds of Love would take that evolution even further (way more live instrumentation, more big-picture lyrics).” So, here is a lavishly expanded edition of Tears for Fears’ sophomore album of that early, triumphant trio. Mike continued to describe Songs as “the high watermark of not only Tears for Fears, but the mid-’80s as well. It spun off a good amount of singles, but it’s a thoroughly cohesive album both musically (the track “Broken” spins off both “Head Over Heels” and “Mothers Talk,” if you know what to listen to) and aesthetically. Rather than gaze inward as on The Hurting, TFF took the current climate of fear, [the] bad economy and nuclear paranoia and sung outward about it.”
Two previous reissues preceded this super deluxe iteration of Songs from the Big Chair. The 1999 remastered edition added seven bonus tracks including some Hurting-era leftovers. In 2006, it was expanded once again, this time with more B-sides and remixes but sans two of the tracks from the 1999 version. Neither of these versions was complete, however, leaving out key tracks such as the U.K. 12-inch mix of “Shout” and the remix “Everybody Wants to Run the World” created for Sport Aid in 1986. The upcoming box set promises to include every commercially issued B-side and remix from the era.
After the jump: a closer look at what you can expect on the new box set, including the complete track listing with discographical annotation and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »
As part of ABBA’s 40th anniversary celebration, the band unveils this 2-CD, hardcover book-style set preserving its 1979 concerts at Wembley Arena. The 25-track set features the first-ever release on record of Agnetha’s “I’m Still Alive” along with perennials like “Dancing Queen,” “Waterloo,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and “Fernando.” Live at Wembley is also available on vinyl.
Oasis, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (Big Brother)
Britpop’s favorite battling brothers have their seminal 1995 record remastered and reissued in various editions including vinyl, a single-disc edition, a 3-CD set with 28 bonus tracks and a super deluxe CD/LP edition loaded with swag!
Here’s the 3-CD set bringing together selections from 4o+-years of Genesis and its individual members – Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett.
The final solo recordings of the late, great Robin Gibb are collected on this new 17-track collection, including a new version of his Bee Gees favorite “I Am the World.”
Stories: Stories Untold — The Very Best of Stories (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. ) / Barbara Lynn: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. ) / Ronnie Dyson: Phase 2/Brand New Day (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. ) / Faith Hope & Charity: Life Goes On (Expanded Edition) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. ) / Kerry Chater: Part Time Love (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. ) / Kerry Chater: Love on a Shoestring (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. ) / Grateful Dead: Dick’s Picks Vol. 15 — Raceway Park, Englishtown, NJ 9/3/77 (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. )
Real Gone Music has a whole batch of rare titles coming to CD – click on the cover collage above for full details!
Now Sounds excavates a lost psych-pop classic from Detroit, circa 1968, produced by Motown’s Clay McMurray! This remastered edition features the original album and bonus singles, all in typically lavish Now Sounds fashion! Watch for a full review coming soon.
The eight-time Grammy-winning album from the late Ray Charles (featuring duets with Elton John, Diana Krall, James Taylor, Van Morrison, Johnny Mathis and others) is expanded with two bonus tracks on CD – “Mary Ann” with Poncho Sanchez and “Unchain My Heart” with Take 6 – plus a DVD of the hourlong “Making of Genius Loves Company.”
Gap Band, IV and V: Jammin’ / Yarbrough and Peoples, Heartbeats: Expanded Editions (Big Break)
BBR continues the story of the Gap Band and Yarbrough and Peoples with three more deluxe, expanded and remastered editions! Look for our full rundown coming soon!
Motown 25 various editions (StarVista)
6-DVD Set: StarVista
3-DVD Set: Amazon U.S.
3-DVD Set with exclusive bonus content: Best Buy
The classic 1983 television special that reunited The Supremes and introduced the world to Michael Jackson’s moonwalk finally appears on DVD in a variety of formats including an online-exclusive 6-DVD box set available only from StarVista and a 3-DVD set with bonus disc available only at Best Buy. (A 6-DVD/8-DVD set is also listed at StarVista as “backordered,” but no details are available at the website.)
The Monty Python troupers have a new 9-CD set boxing up all of the band’s original U.K. albums from 1970 to 1983!
Tom Jones reportedly rejected the invitation, but Engelbert Humperdinck snagged duets with Elton John, Dionne Warwick, Neil Sedaka, Lulu, Olivia Newton-John, Willie Nelson and others on his new album, receiving its belated U.S. bow this week.
Stage Door Records premieres the first complete recording of the 1999 West End musical Tess of the D’Urbervilles with music by Stephen Edwards and lyrics by Justin Fleming. This release brings together tracks from the 1999 original London production alongside the previously unreleased 1998 studio cast recording, and includes performances by Philippa Healey, Alasdair Harvey, Jonathan Monks, Cathy Sara, Martin Crewes, Mark Umbers, Heather Craney, Eliza Lumley and an ensemble of forty singers.
Prince, ART OFFICIAL AGE / Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL, PLECTRUMELECTRUM (Warner Bros.)
Prince has not one, but two, new albums due this week – as always, the favorite son of Minneapolis is doing things his way!
Herb Alpert, In the Mood (Shout! Factory) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)
The great trumpeter follows up his acclaimed 2013 Steppin’ Out and returns with a new set of various standards including “Begin the Beguine,” “Let It Be Me,” “Blue Moon,” “Spanish Harlem” and “All I Have to Do is Dream” – and even better, the Amazon-exclusive edition features two additional tracks!
The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts – Complete Collection (StarVista) (Amazon U.S. )
This staggering 25-DVD collection features ALL 54 Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts, pally, with such legendary showbiz icons as Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Jack Klugman, Tony Randall, Jack Benny, George Burns, Sammy Davis, Jr., Betty White and more – plus over 15 hours of bonus material: 11 newly-produced featurette interviews with former participants and fans: Don Rickles, Betty White, Jackie Mason, Phyllis Diller, Tim Conway, Rich Little, Norm Crosby, Carol Burnett and many others; 4 classic TV Specials including Dean’s Place and Red Hot Scandals of 1926, featuring Dean and friends including Jonathan Winters, Dom DeLuise, Robert Mitchum and more; rare, exclusive home movies from Dean’s private collection; bonus comedy sketches; 2 Dean Martin Variety Show DVDs featuring Bob Hope, John Wayne, Peggy Lee, Rodney Dangerfield and many others. A 44-page book rounds out this package which is arriving now to general retail after a period of online exclusivity.
On November 10, Queen returns with a new anthology – available in both single- and double-CD iterations with 20 and 36 songs, respectively – that intends to live up to its title, Queen Forever. While the collection eschews a traditional “greatest hits” approach (and with it, hits like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “We Will Rock You”), it premieres three songs including a long-anticipated collaboration with the late Michael Jackson. In addition to the three “new” tracks available on both editions, Queen Forever also includes album tracks and favorites selected by Roger Taylor and Brian May to be “representative of our growth rather than the big hits,” per May.
The Virgin Records/UMe release introduces the Queen/Michael Jackson debut song “There Must Be More to Life Than This,” first written by the late Freddie Mercury during sessions for Queen’s 1981 album Hot Space. At the time, the band recorded a backing track, but the song remained incomplete. Mercury later recorded Michael Jackson on the song at the King of Pop’s home studio in Los Angeles. Queen revived the track during sessions for 1984’s The Works, but again it was shelved prior to completion, and in 1985, Mercury released a solo version on his debut LP Mr. Bad Guy. This new version fuses Queen’s original backing track with both Mercury and Jackson’s vocals, and has been produced and remixed by producer William Orbit.
The second previously unissued track is May’s composition “Let Me in Your Heart Again.” Initially recorded by Queen for The Works, it, too, was shelved. The version on Queen Forever presents the original live-in-the-studio band performance with newly-recorded guitar parts from May and new backing vocals from May and Taylor. The third new track, “Love Kills,” was composed by Mercury and producer-songwriter Giorgio Moroder in 1984 for Moroder’s new pop soundtrack to the 1927 silent movie Metropolis. Mercury’s dance version of the song became his first solo hit in 1985, but the production may have obscured the fact that all four members of Queen played on the original track. Prior to Queen embarking on their recent tour with lead singer Adam Lambert, Brian May proposed performing an acoustic ballad version of the song; this ballad arrangement is the basis for the recording that premieres on Queen Forever. It features the original band performance and Mercury vocal, augmented by newly recorded guitars and drums by May and Taylor.
There’s more after the jump, including the complete track listing with discography, and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »
Our mini-Power Pop Festival begins here! Next, look for our reviews of new reissues from The Posies and Game Theory!
O My Soul! Big Star is back! Despite an amazingly small catalogue – four studio albums, a handful of live releases, an even bigger handful of compilations, a key soundtrack, and one stunning box set – there never seems to be a shortage of releases for the biggest band that never was. Two of the most recent have arrived from Stax Records and Concord Music Group, and they’re back to basics. The label has recently reissued the band’s first two albums, 1972’s # 1 Record and 1974’s Radio City, as stand-alone CD releases after years of being twinned on a two-for-one album. (Similar standalone reissues arrived in the U.K. in 2009.) For Big Star completists, these simple reissues allow both original LPs to stand on their own; for those not yet acquainted with the magic of singer-guitarists Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, bassist Andy Hummel and drummer Jody Stephens, these provide a happy and affordable entrée to the world and mystique of Big Star.
Big Star frontman Alex Chilton’s closest turn as a “big star” came in his youth, as he led The Box Tops through a series of southern-soul-flecked pop hits including “The Letter,” “Cry Like a Baby” and the aptly-titled “Soul Deep.” 1972’s optimistically-titled # 1 Record, as perfect a record as any, was recorded in Memphis, and though Chilton’s voice had the smoky grit of a Memphis soul man, it was aglow with the sounds of Los Angeles and London. # 1 Record – largely written by the team of Chilton and Chris Bell – was a textbook example of power-pop. Pete Townshend coined the term circa 1967 to describe “what the Small Faces used to play, and the kind of pop The Beach Boys played in the days of ‘Fun, Fun, Fun.” Power-pop was bold, melodic, guitar-driven, catchy and pulsating, all words which describe Big Star’s debut. It should have galvanized listeners. Yet it went all but unheard.
A California record made in Memphis – a touch of the Byrds here, a dash of the Beach Boys there, a dollop of San Francisco heaviness a la Moby Grape – all by way of The Beatles, # 1 Record brims with energy, abandon, joy, vulnerability and a hint of recklessness. It also augured for a new, important team in Chilton and Bell. Bell’s high, punky voice filled with a near-glam swagger that contrasted with Chilton’s burnished pop tones on this ebullient set of sing-along, take-home tunes. It had to be intentional that the album almost strictly alternated between Chilton’s and Bell’s lead vocals, culminating in a pair of tracks on which they shared the lead. And whenever the group harmonies kick in, as they frequently do, the album soars into the stratosphere.
The Byrds’ influence might be the strongest on # 1 Record, best captured in the defiant, not to mention defiantly melodic “The Ballad of El Goodo.” Its bizarre title masked a gorgeous, anthemic melody and Roger McGuinn-inflected lead from Chilton; it’s followed on the original LP sequence by “In the Street,” with the vibrantly snarling vocals of Chris Bell. Never has the mundane sounded so exciting (“Hanging out, down the street/The same old thing we did last week/Not a thing to do/But talk to you!”). Nearly every track on # 1 Record could have been selected as a single, making its initial lack of success even more utterly puzzling – whether the perfect pop of “When My Baby’s Beside Me” or the unbridled, simple rock and roll of “Don’t Lie to Me.”
After the jump: more on # 1 Record plus Radio City! Read the rest of this entry »
In 2006, Frank Sinatra Enterprises took listeners to New York with a 4-CD/1-DVD box set chronicling many of the legendary entertainer’s greatest performances in the city that never sleeps. In 2009, Vegas was the destination for a similar set recorded at iconic venues like Caesars Palace, the Golden Nugget and The Sands. On November 25, you can set your GPS to London for the latest stop on Ol’ Blue Eyes’ trip around the world. This deluxe box set, coming from FSE and Universal Music Enterprises, is a 3-CD/1-DVD swingin’ affair spanning 1953-1984 with over 50 previously unreleased tracks on CD and DVD. (This set will also be available in digital format.) At its heart is a newly remastered edition of Sinatra Sings Great Songs from Great Britain, the Chairman’s only studio album recorded outside of the United States.
This deluxe new collection’s more than 50 previously unreleased audio recordings include session alternates from the Reprise album, a 1962 BBC “Light Programme” radio special with introductions to each song by Sinatra, a 1953 live session for BBC Radio’s “The Show Band Show,” and a Royal Albert Hall concert from 1984. The collection’s DVD features a previously unreleased filmed 1962 concert from another venerable venue, Royal Festival Hall, plus a 1970 concert from the same venue with a never-before released performance George and Ira Gershwin’s standard “A Foggy Day.”
Unlike that foggy day, however, this set shouldn’t have you low or have you down. The first disc features Great Songs from Great Britain, arranged and conducted by Robert Farnon, four-time Ivor Novello Award winner and renowned composer of so-called “light music.” Recording at CTS Studios in Bayswater in June 1962, Farnon provided a lush setting for Sinatra on such classic British songs as “The Very Thought of You,” “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” “We’ll Meet Again” (so closely associated with Dame Vera Lynn) and Noel Coward’s “I’ll Follow My Secret Heart.” Two songs on the album, “London by Night” and “If I Had You,” marked the third time Sinatra had recorded them, in each case previously at both Columbia and Capitol Records, but Farnon’s orchestrations may well stand the test of time as the definitive ones. The London box adds the previously-released outtake “Roses of Picardy” as well as spoken radio introductions to each of the original ten songs by Sinatra.
The second CD features never-before-released outtake versions of six of the Great Britain songs plus Sinatra’s earlier, 1953 BBC recordings of “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Day In-Day Out” and “London by Night,” which he revisited a decade later on Great Songs from Great Britain. The third CD features Sinatra’s September 21, 1984 concert at Royal Albert Hall in which he brought “New York, New York” and “L.A. Is My Lady,” among many others, to London. The DVD has two earlier concerts from Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank of the Thames. The 1962 show, conducted by Sinatra’s longtime pianist Bill Miller, has a staggering 33 tracks including a couple of introductions and two tracks of bows; the second, a television broadcast from 1970 which has previously been available on DVD, has thirteen songs including one more Great Song from Great Britain – George Harrison’s “Something.” (As noted above, “A Foggy Day” from this concert special is new to DVD.)
What else will you find on this set? Hit the jump for more, including the complete track listing! Read the rest of this entry »
In the midst of the usual catalogue activity for Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Cherry Red’s Esoteric Recordings imprint has a new treasure for fans of keyboardist Keith Emerson. The 3-CD box set Keith Emerson at the Movies collects Emerson’s scores for seven motion pictures originally released between 1980’s Inferno and 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars. The set was originally released in 2005 on the Castle label, but has since gone out-of-print. This version features the same tracks, but adds new packaging and a fresh remastering.
Following the (first) break-up of Emerson, Lake and Palmer in 1979, Keith Emerson made his solo debut with the soundtrack to the Italian film Inferno, and the transition into the world of film scoring wasn’t much of a stretch for Emerson. With ELP, he had already been working on a widescreen canvas as a musical storyteller, incorporating orchestral and conceptual elements into the group’s brand of progressive rock. In Malcolm Dome’s fine essay accompanying At the Movies, Emerson recalls his first exposure to the power of the cinema, when his parents took him as a youngster to see Walt Disney’s Bambi. Then The Magnificent Seven, so memorably scored by Elmer Bernstein, opened his eyes (and ears) to the power of music on the big screen. Certain ELP compositions – such as “Tank” and “The Three Fates,” both from the group’s 1970 debut – were even conceived by Emerson as having “a very soundtrack type of appeal.”
After nearly landing assignments for such high-profile pictures as Chariots of Fire (he turned it down) and The Elephant Man (he “didn’t get the gig,” in his own words), Emerson landed his first scoring gig for Inferno. For the Dario Argento-directed horror film, Emerson enlisted conductor-arranger Godfrey Salmon who had worked with ELP on their 1977 American orchestral tour. The presentation here adds a track of “Inferno Extras.” Soon, he was able to bring his talents to American cinema, as well, nabbing the composer slot for the Sylvester Stallone/Rutger Hauer action film Nighthawks in 1981. He even performed a cover of The Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m a Man” at the request of his record label, taking lead vocals himself! This edition replicates the sequence of the long out-of-print LP version of the Nighthawks soundtrack. For the 1984 movie Best Revenge starring John Heard and The Band’s Levon Helm, Emerson provided a title song featuring Helm on vocals and Helm’s Band-mate, Garth Hudson, on accordion. Alas, the LP’s Levon Helm showcase track, “Straight Between the Eyes”, has been replaced here by “For Those Who Win.”
In addition to those pictures, Keith Emerson at the Movies also features his scores to two more Italian horror flicks – 1984’s Murderock and 1989’s La Chiesa (The Church) – and two Japanese films: 1983’s animated Harmagedon and 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars.. Ben Wiseman has remastered all of the scores contained in this set produced by Mark Powell for Esoteric. Each disc is housed in the clamshell box in a paper sleeve.
After the jump, we have more, including the complete track listing and links to order! Read the rest of this entry »