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Burn, Baby, Burn! Career-Spanning Anthology Arrives For The Dictators

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Dictators - Faster LouderWho will save rock and roll?

The Dictators posed the question on their 2011 reunion album D.F.F.D. (that’s “Dictators Forever, Forever Dictators,” in case you were wondering), but many listening might have felt that The Dictators themselves could have been the saviors. Yet despite recording three well-received albums between 1975 and 1978, and gaining such high-profile fans as Bruce Springsteen and Little Steven Van Zandt, The Dictators’ anarchic, acerbic brand of rock-and-roll never garnered the group mainstream success. But Raven Records believes in The Dictators, and has just celebrated the band with its first-ever career-spanning, multi-label anthology. Faster…Louder: The Dictators’ Best 1975-2001 draws on all four studio albums for a fast and furious introduction to the group Van Zandt asserted was “the missing link between The New York Dolls and punk.”

Vocalist/bassist/chief songwriter Andy Shernoff joined lead guitarist Ross “The Boss” Friedman, rhythm guitarist Scott “Top Ten” Kempner, drummer Stu Boy King and lead vocalist “Handsome” Dick Manitoba in the first lineup of The Dictators. This quintet unleashed The Dictators Go Girl Crazy! on Epic Records in 1976, produced by Murray Krugman and Sandy Pearlman, known for their work with hard rockers Blue Öyster Cult. With its humorously biting lyrics and full-throttle garage-style musical attack, Girl Crazy is often considered one of the building blocks of the punk sound. Six tracks are culled from Girl Crazy for Raven’s anthology, including “California Sun,” one of the original LP’s two covers. (The other was “I Got You, Babe,” nodding to the punks’ affection for – and satire of – sixties pop.) Of Shernoff’s originals included here, “(I Live For) Cars and Girls” was the songwriter’s tribute to Brian Wilson; “Master Race Rock” wasn’t quite as malevolent as the title might indicate, opening with “Hippies are squares with long hair/And they don’t wear no underwear” and going from there!

After a brief breakup, The Dictators reconvened with Manitoba, Friedman and Kempner joined by drummer Richie Teeter and bassist Mark “The Animal” Mendoza. Shernoff stayed on to play keyboards and write most of the group’s 1977 Asylum debut Manifest Destiny. Four tracks, including a live cover of The Stooges’ “Search and Destroy” from CBGB’s, are reprised here. Though the musicianship was as savage as ever, Manifest presented a more diverse hard-rock sound encompassing arena rock, punk, metal, and even power ballads. One more album followed for Asylum, 1978’s Bloodbrothers, from which five songs have been extracted. Shernoff once again handled the lion’s share of songwriting, even enlisting an uncredited Bruce Springsteen for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it vocal cameo on “Faster and Louder,” the track which gives this compilation its title. “Slow Death” was a cover of the Flamin’ Groovies’ anti-drug song from 1972.

Don’t miss a thing – hit the jump to continue reading! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 24, 2014 at 12:47

WIN! WIN! WIN! The New, Remastered “Porky’s Revenge” Soundtrack Can Be YOURS!

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JUST CLICK ON THE BANNER ABOVE TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN BE ONE OF 15 WINNERS!

Written by Joe Marchese

April 24, 2014 at 10:16

Hold On to Your Friends: Morrissey’s “Vauxhall and I” to Be Expanded

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Vauxhall and IOn June 3, Morrissey is picking up where he left off.  Parlophone Records will follow the February CD/DVD reissue of 1992’s Your Arsenal with the next album in his considerable catalogue, 1994’s Vauxhall and I.  Like Your Arsenal, the remastered CD of Vauxhall will be packaged with a previously unreleased live concert performance, this time also on CD.

Vauxhall and I was a very different animal than its predecessor.  Since the release of Arsenal, the artist had suffered the loss of that album’s producer, Mick Ronson.  He paired with producer Steve Lillywhite (U2, Big Country) for Vauxhall.  Lillywhite crafted a spare, often acoustic aesthetic to match the dark, somber and introspective songs written by Morrissey with his collaborators Alain Whyte and Boz Boorer.  Whyte and Boorer both contributed guitar to the LP and were joined by Jonny Bridgwood on bass and Woodie Taylor on drums.  The result was a stripped-down, elegiac, less heavily guitar-oriented LP.

Parlophone’s press release describes it as follows: “Vauxhall and I signaled an acceptance of ageing amidst the tyranny of time, casting off the shackles of the past, with a will to embrace the future. Along the way the album visits a cast of characters, including, references to Brighton Rock – gorgeous, exhilarating album opener ‘Now My Heart Is Full’ – those whom disregard all social conventions and ‘take life at five times the average speed’ (‘Spring-Heeled Jim’) and rejected romantics (‘Billy Budd’ – also a Herman Melville character). It also lays waste to ignorant and selfish tourist whom are ‘jaded by stagnation’ (‘The Lazy Sunbathers’), the unthinking and unquestioning (‘Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself’ – later covered by The Killers), and tackles the inevitable loss of innocence (‘Used To Be A Sweet Boy’), amongst other inimitable themes.”

Despite the personal nature of the material, however, the artist scored an unexpected hit.  Lead single “The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get” became his only song – either solo or with The Smiths – to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., where it reached No. 46.  It also reached No. 1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. In his native United Kingdom, the track went all the way to No. 8, and was the artist’s only Top 10 of the decade.    The album itself was also a success.  In the U.S., it made the Top 20 of the Billboard 200; in the U.K., it became Morrissey’s second No. 1 album after his 1988 solo debut Viva Hate.

After the jump, we have more on Vauxhall and I including pre-order links and the full track listing of both CDs! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 24, 2014 at 09:55

Posted in Morrissey, News, Reissues

Isn’t That The Look of Love: Ace Reissues and Expands Lesley Gore’s “Girl Talk”

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Lesley Gore - Girl TalkThe inviting cover image of Lesley Gore’s 1964 LP features the teenage star on the telephone, poised for some Girl Talk with her best girlfriends. Ace Records, following its expanded version of Gore’s shelved album Magic Colors, has recently reissued Girl Talk in similarly lavish fashion, with thirteen bonus tracks (Ace CDCHD 1383).

Ace’s disc spotlights one of the great, largely unheralded “triangle marriages” in pop music – artist Lesley Gore, producer Quincy Jones and arranger Claus Ogerman. With engineer Phil Ramone in the mix, the trio crafted music that transcends the “teenage” tag. With background singers Jean Thomas and Mikie Harris prominent on Girl Talk, the LP has a girl-group feel that was quintessentially American at the height of the British Invasion. Yet, as a result of Beatlemania, the sound of music was changing faster than ever. Would Lesley Gore be able to keep up with the times? The answer was a resounding “Yes!” as this eclectic album and its bonus tracks proves.

Two Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich songs on Girl Talk kept Gore prominent on the Top 40. Their stunning pop confection “Look of Love” packs a range of emotions in just under two minutes, during which the lovelorn Lesley wistfully reflects on “the way he looks at her, the way he smiles…I remember when he was mine, I remember when things were fine/Look at the way he looks at her now…isn’t that the look of love?” Lesley’s winsome yet grounded delivery keeps the tune from being bitter or maudlin, in perfect synch with the bright melody. “Maybe I Know” (No. 14) from the same team became another quintessential Gore classic. It finds the singer in a familiar setting, lamenting that “Maybe I know he’s been cheating/Maybe I know he’s been untrue…but what can I do?” as she insists “deep down inside, he loves me, though he may run around…” The character voiced by Lesley might be delusional, but the catchy record, unsurprisingly, struck a universal chord.

Though overshadowed by “Look of Love” and “Maybe I Know,” the album’s lesser-known tracks are worthy of rediscovery. Sonny Gordon’s mod, swinging, hand-clapping “Hey Now” was a perfect opening salvo to a collection of songs that paint Gore in transition, poising her for the career that continues to this very day. Larry Marks, a mainstay on both the A&M and Lee Hazlewood Industries (LHI) labels, wrote the dark and dramatic ballad “Say Goodbye.” Lesley and producer Jones turned to “You Don’t Own Me” songwriters John Madara and David White for “Live and Learn” (“I’m an expert loser/No more sweet little girl now, I’ve learned my lesson and I vow/I won’t make the same mistakes now…”). Like “Maybe I Know,” its bright, dreamy melody stands in sharp contrast to the lyrics. The groundbreaking “You Don’t Own Me” itself is echoed in Ogerman’s haunting arrangement for Jeffrey Davis and Curtis Mann’s “Little Girl Go Home,” not to mention Steve Donroy and John Gluck’s “Sometimes I Wish I Were a Boy.” Though the song is far from the most mature on Girl Talk and was never a favorite of Lesley’s, it has an undeniably pointed message as Gore confidently sings of her frustration that a woman could not make the first move in a relationship.

Gore became a successful, Oscar-nominated songwriter, and her lone song on Girl Talk, the melodramatic “I Died Inside,” received a spicy Latin flavor from Ogerman. More standard teenage fare came with “Wonder Boy” and “Movin’ Away, but R&B great and future “Hustle” man Van McCoy supplied the soulful “You’ve Come Back” and lush album closer, “It’s About That Time.” Ogerman, whose arrangements graced numerous bossa nova albums including Frank Sinatra’s first and best collaboration with Antonio Carlos Jobim, adds a bossa flavor to the song.

What bonuses will you find here?  Hit the jump for that and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 23, 2014 at 09:19

Posted in Lesley Gore, News, Reissues, Reviews

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“Porky’s” Is Back! “Revenge” Soundtrack Features George Harrison, Dave Edmunds, Robert Plant, More

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Porky's Revenge OST

“Keep an eye out for the funniest movie about growing up ever made,” read the poster to 1982’s raunchy comedy Porky’s. It depicted the eye of a Peeping Tom, looking onto a woman showering. “You’ll be glad you came!” Despite – or more likely, because of – its puerile humor, the modestly-budgeted teen sex comedy Porky’s became a runaway hit and spawned two theatrical sequels by 1985. The third Porky’s film, Porky’s Revenge, was the least successful, grossing just $20 million compared to the first movie’s $100+-million take. But if the film hasn’t endured, its soundtrack certainly has, thanks to the efforts of its chief contributor, Dave Edmunds. Varese Vintage has reissued Porky’s Revenge for the first time in a decade on a new, remastered compact disc.

The Porky’s films took place at Florida’s fictional Angel Beach High School, casting a raunchy eye on the not-so-squeaky-clean 1950s. Whereas the first two movies were scored with era-appropriate oldies, Welsh rocker Edmunds was approached to contribute an original soundtrack for the third film. Unlike director James Komack’s movie itself, Edmunds’ soundtrack featured an all-star cast. He enlisted Jeff Beck, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Clarence Clemons, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and one true 1950s hitmaker: Carl Perkins. The icing on the cake was a rare appearance by none other than George Harrison. Serving as a de facto “house band” for the project was Chuck Leavell on keyboards, Kenny Aaronson on bass and Michael Shrieve on drums.

Edmunds performed four songs himself – two originals and two revivals of classic hits. In the former category, the album’s opening track, “High School Nights,” blended a rock-and-roll spirit with a decidedly eighties modern production style recalling Edmunds’ collaboration with ELO’s Jeff Lynne on the album Information. Edmunds’ pulsating instrumental “Porky’s Revenge” was another gleaming creation seemingly intended to give a contemporary touch to the otherwise nostalgic album. His two covers, of Bobby Darin’s “Queen of the Hop” and Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Want to Dance,” were in the back-to-basics, straight-ahead rock-and-roll style that Edmunds perfected with his band Rockpile.

The typically flashy guitar hero Jeff Beck delivered an affectionately straightforward take of Santo and Johnny’s 1959 laconic hit “Sleepwalk,” and Carl Perkins revisited his own “Blue Suede Shoes” with all of the fire he had back in 1955. (Perkins and Edmunds had previously worked together on the Class of ’55 album which reunited the Sun recording artist with his pals Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison. Edmunds was among the guest musicians on that project.) Willie Nelson surveyed “Love Me Tender,” co-written by another famous Sun alumnus, Elvis Presley, in a new recording helmed by Class of ’55 producer Chips Moman. The Fabulous Thunderbirds, on the cusp of their breakthrough with the Edmunds-produced Tuff Enuff, offered up the brash “Stagger Lee,” and Robert Plant joined Edmunds on guitar, Paul Martinez on bass and Phil Collins on drums as The Crawling King Snakes to tackle Charlie Rich’s “Philadelphia Baby.” Clarence Clemons visited Angel Beach High by way of E Street for Henry Mancini’s deliciously menacing “Peter Gunn Theme.”

The most remarkable track on Revenge, though, was undoubtedly George Harrison’s premiere of a then-unheard Bob Dylan song. “I Don’t Want to Do It” was written by the Bard of Hibbing back in 1968 but was unreleased at the time of Harrison’s soundtrack recording. The former Beatle had been experimenting with the song as far back as the All Things Must Pass sessions in 1970, and nailed it for Porky’s. (An alternate mix of the song was released as a single; the standard soundtrack version appears here.) “I Don’t Want to Do It” was also notable for its appearance during what would end up a 5-year recording hiatus from Harrison, between his studio albums Gone Troppo and Cloud Nine.

After the jump, we have more details on the new Porky’s Revenge, plus order links and the complete track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 22, 2014 at 08:53

Real Gone Has Sweet Inspiration(s) For June With Vikki Carr, Fanny, Grateful Dead, More

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Vikki Carr - The First Time I Ever Saw Your FaceThe details are out on Real Gone Music’s June 3 release slate, and it’s so eclectic and so packed with rarities that you might find yourself exclaiming of the Real Gone team, “It must be them!” Of course, “It Must Be Him” was Vikki Carr’s signature hit, and Vikki is featured on not one, but two, releases from her Columbia Records tenure – including one with a full seventeen previously unissued recordings! If you like your female artists a bit more rocking, Real Gone has an expanded edition of Charity Ball, the 1971 sophomore album from Fanny, the first all-female rock band to find a major label home. And if it’s R&B ladies you’re after, you’ll find some of the best on The Complete Atlantic Singles Plus of the legendary Sweet Inspirations featuring Cissy Houston. And that’s not all. The disco trio Faith, Hope and Charity’s 1975 RCA long-player, produced by “Hustle” man Van McCoy, makes its worldwide CD debut, as does Color Me Country from groundbreaking African-American country vocalist Linda Martell. Real Gone continues its series reissuing Grateful Dead’s Dick’s Picks. And if the Dead isn’t enough to take you to a higher level of consciousness, you might want to check out the first-ever compilation of the New Age recordings of Robert Bearns and Ron Dexter’s Golden Voyage.

After the jump, you’ll find full details on this eclectic, expansive group of titles courtesy of Real Gone’s press release – plus pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 21, 2014 at 12:16

RPM’s British Invasion Continues with The Scorpions, Crispian St. Peters

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Scorpions - Hello JosephineOur RPM Records round-up continues with news of two anthologies sure to interest any fans and collectors of mid-sixties British pop.

The Scorpions of Hello, Josephine – 30 Rhythm and Beat Classics 1964-1966 aren’t to be confused with the German metal band or even the British instrumental trio from the early sixties. These Scorpions were a beat band from Manchester, the same stomping ground as The Hollies. But Peter Lewis (vocals), Tony Briley (bass), Mike Delaney (drums), Tony Postill (lead guitar) and Rodney Postill (rhythm guitar) didn’t find success in their native England. Instead, they made a name for themselves in Holland! RPM’s new collection sheds light on this “lost” beat group.

Just months after the band was formed, Dutch audiences discovered The Scorpions on the country’s stages in summer 1964. They were signed to the CNR label almost immediately, and released their first single (“Bye Bye Johnny” b/w “Rip It Up”) in August. With their selection of songs by Chuck Berry and Little Richard, The Scorpions revealed their roots in American R&B, and the group followed up the 45 with covers of songs by Doris Troy (“Just One Look”), Ray Charles (“What’d I Say”) and Berry again (“Johnny B. Goode”). In late ’64, The Scorpions endured some personnel shifts: Tony Briley left the band, Rodney Postill took over on bass, Tony Postill switched from lead to rhythm guitar, and Terry Morton joined on lead guitar. But the new line-up scored big with December’s release of Fats Domino’s “Hello, Josephine.” It remained in the Dutch charts for 33 weeks, peaking at No. 2. Its follow-up was naturally also titled after a gal, and “Ann-Louise” also made the Top 40.

Further troubles plagued The Scorpions after this initial burst of success, however. Mike Delaney was replaced in 1965 by Ian “Skins” Lucas (who, like Morton, was an alumnus of Wayne Fontana and The Jets). A third hit record – an adaptation of “Greensleeves” inspired by the arrangement of The Country Gentlemen, another old band of Morton’s – made No. 22 in the summer, but soon, the band was forced to return to England when the members’ work permits expired. Morton and the Postills both gave up, leaving Peter Lewis and Ian Lucas to soldier on with new members Graham Lee (guitar/vocals), Dave Vernon (bass) and Roy Smithson (organ/vocals). This group of Scorpions recorded the optimistically-titled album Climbing the Charts, and the single “Balla, Balla” b/w “I’ve Got My Mojo Working” gave them another Top 20 hit. Still more comings and goings threatened to derail The Scorpions’ career, and the group was briefly rechristened The New Scorpions by its record label. Another album arrived in late 1966, but the band finally called it a day the next year when they were once again forced to return to England.

After the jump, there’s more on The Scorpions – plus The Complete Recordings of the Pied Piper himself, Crispian St. Peters! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 21, 2014 at 09:41

The Second Disc’s Record Store Day 2014 Must-Haves

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RSD '14 Banner

If you’ve been following these pages for the past few weeks, you’ve likely noticed an awful lot of coverage about Record Store Day!  Well, the day is nearly here!   Tomorrow, Saturday, April 21, music fans and collectors will flock to their local independent record stores to celebrate both the sounds on those round black platters and the very concept of shopping in a physical retail environment. To many of us, both are a way of life.  We’re doubly excited this year because one special title was co-produced by our very own Mike D.: Legacy Recordings’ Ecto-Green glow-in-the-dark vinyl single containing four versions of Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters.”

Each year around this time, we here at Second Disc HQ take a few moments to count down the titles to which we’re most looking forward to picking up! I’ll take my turn first, and then after the jump, you’ll find my colleague’s picks for some of the finest offerings you might find at your local retailer! And after you’ve picked up your share of these special collectibles, don’t hesitate to browse the regular racks, too…there’s likely even more treasure awaiting you.

You’ll find more information and a link to a downloadable PDF of the complete Record Store Day list right here, and please share your RSD 2014 experiences with us below. Don’t forget to click on the Record Store Day tag below, too, to access all of our RSD ’14 coverage.  Happy Hunting!

Pink Panther OST

  1. Henry Mancini and His Orchestra, The Pink Panther LP (RCA/Legacy Recordings)

On April 16, 2014, the great composer/conductor Henry Mancini would have turned 90.  To mark the occasion, the all-new HenryMancini.com was launched, and Legacy announced plans for a yearlong celebration of the maestro’s enduring, engaging ouevre.  The label has major plans including an 11-CD box set of Mancini’s soundtracks as well as a newly-curated retrospective, but the festivities kick off on Saturday with the release on eye-catching pink vinyl of Mancini’s original album of music from Blake Edwards’ all-time classic comedy caper The Pink Panther.

This soundtrack album (slated for expansion later this year for the movie’s 50th anniversary) was, as per Mancini’s custom, a re-recording of the film’s major themes for the record-buying audience. In addition to the now-famous, sly ‘n’ slinky title theme with saxophone by Plas Johnson (which went Top 40 as a single; the soundtrack itself went Top 10), other highlights of the score include “It Had Better Be Tonight,” an Italian-style love song recently covered by Michael Bublé and performed in the film by Fran Jeffries (and on disc by Mancini’s chorus), and “Something for Sellers,” a great example of Mancini’s feel for what we today think of as lounge music.  Mancini’s “The Pink Panther” is currently the single most-streamed song in the entire Sony Music catalogue – a testament to the ongoing power of the gifted composer Henry Mancini.

Randy Newman Mono

  1. Randy Newman, Randy Newman (Mono LP) (Rhino)

Prior to the release of 1968’s self-titled debut, Randy Newman was a staff songwriter for Los Angeles’ Metric Music, a West Coast answer to the Brill Building where he worked alongside the likes of Jackie DeShannon honing his skills.  The back of the LP, now being reissued for RSD in its original mono edition, read: “Randy Newman creates something new under the sun!” And while intended ironically (irony being one of Newman’s favorite weapons, always at the ready!), it wasn’t far from the truth. Produced by his childhood friend Lenny Waronker and quirky wunderkind Van Dyke Parks, Randy Newman featured some scathing social commentary sheathed in large, gorgeous orchestrations by the composer himself. Even this early on, it was evident that Randy learned something from his uncles, Lionel and Alfred Newman, two of the most illustrious composers in Hollywood history. The young Newman was the rare talent equally gifted in both melody and lyrics. “Davy the Fat Boy” and “So Long, Dad” are uncomfortably hysterical, while “Love Story” plainly tells the story of a couple from marriage to death, playing checkers all day in a Florida nursing home. Newman’s unique humor was already in full bloom, to wit this exchange from “Love Story”: “We’ll have a kid/Or maybe we’ll rent one, He’s got to be straight/We don’t want a bent one.” All of these songs were delivered in his off-hand, growl of a drawl, providing a contrast to the beautiful arrangements. When Randy Newman turned serious, the results were heartbreaking and simple (though far from simplistic): “Living Without You” or the oft-covered “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today,” which managed to be both cynical and achingly sad. A major new talent had arrived.

Bob Wills - Front Cover

  1. Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Transcriptions (Real Gone Music)

Vintage music from the pre-rock-and-roll era gets an airing on Record Store Day thanks to releases such as this one, along with other key releases from Omnivore Recordings and Blue Note Records.  Here, Real Gone Music unearths 10 tracks from the King of Western Swing, four of which will remain exclusive to this vinyl release.  These have been drawn from the more than 200 songs recorded by Wills for Tiffany Music, Inc. which remained under lock and key for years.  (Wills recorded a total of almost 400 songs for Tiffany in 1946 and 1947.)  This remastered release has been painstakingly designed after an original transcription disc.  The vinyl is housed inside a replica package in the style of the actual mailers in which Tiffany discs were sent to radio stations in the 1940s – with “pre-distressed” trompe l’oeil wrinkles and wear on the record jacket and a cutaway hole infront showing the vintage Tiffany logo on the vinyl label, whichcontinues the Tiffany numbering system of assigning a recordnumber to each side. Furthering this tremendous attention to detail, the back cover also presents vintagegraphics from the period, and the records are pressed in the style of some of the original discs on 150-gram red vinyl. This release precedes Real Gone’s upcoming 2-CD set drawn from Wills’ Tiffany Transcriptions, and tracks include such songs as Cole Porter’s “Don’t Fence Me In” and Johnny Mercer’s “I’m an Old Cowhand.”  Count me in!

High Fidelity Omnivore RSD

  1. Various Artists, Live from High Fidelity: The Best of the Podcast Performances (Omnivore)

It wasn’t easy to choose from Omnivore Recordings’ great slate, including rare music from late legends Hank Williams and Jaco Pastorius, but Live from High Fidelity encapsulates the label’s dedication to preserving great music from all eras and genres.  This 14-track translucent green vinyl release is drawn a podcast hosted by L.A.’s High Fidelity Records, and features contributions from some TSD favorites like Sam Phillips, Rhett Miller of The Old 97’s, members of Spain, and most especially, appearing for the second time on this small list, Mr. Van Dyke Parks.  It’s about time podcast performances went physical, isn’t it?

Eric Carmen - Brand New Year

  1. Ronnie Spector and the E Street Band, “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” b/w “Baby Please Don’t Go” / Eric Carmen, “Brand New Year (Alternate Mix)” b/w “Starting Over (Live 1976)” singles (Legacy)

Two of Legacy’s 7-inch singles caught our fancy this year.  The label has followed up this year’s Playlist: The Very Best of Ronnie Spector with a replica 45 of “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” b/w “Baby Please Don’t Go,” on which the former Ronette is backed by none other than Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  Arranged and produced by a certain Mr. Van Zandt – that’s Little Steven now, and Sugar Miami Steve circa this single’s original release – these 1977 sides are blazing rock-and-roll at its finest.  Billy Joel’s A-side was a stunning Phil Spector homage in its original recording; with Ronnie on lead and Clarence Clemons honking on the sax, it became transcendent.  Eric Carmen’s new “Brand New Day” also arrives on vinyl in a previously unreleased alternate mix supporting The Essential Eric Carmen, on which the song first appeared. Featuring Carmen supported by Jeffrey Foskett, Darian Sahanaja, Nick Walusko and Mike D’Amico of Brian Wilson’s band, this 2013 composition is vintage Carmen – lush, gorgeous and memorably melodic.  You won’t want to miss these.

Dream with Dean

Honorable Mentions go to Rhino’s first-ever U.S. release of Fleetwood Mac’s 1970 single “Dragonfly” b/w “Purple Dancer” and its excavation of the 1968 LP The Birthday Party from Jeff Lynne’s psych-pop pre-ELO band The Idle Race; plus Legacy’s painstakingly-recreated stereo LP of “King of Cool” Dean Martin’s romantic long-player Dream with Dean on which he’s joined by a quartet for his most intimate jazz stylings; and Sundazed’s vinyl debut of two tracks by The Sunrays, the band that Murry Wilson intended to groom in the style of his former charges The Beach Boys.  Murry’s own song “Won’t You Tell Me” features the legendary L.A. Wrecking Crew, and the band’s Rick Henn supplies new liner notes for this 45!

After the jump: take it away, Mr. Duquette! Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Going To Be A “Purple” Summer: Prince, Warner Bros. Strike Agreement For Upcoming Reissues

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Purple Rain PrinceSince The Second Disc’s founding in 2010, fans of the artist once and currently known as Prince have had to content themselves with catalogue news from various corners of The Purple One’s universe, as reissues of Prince’s own music as a solo artist remained the most distant of possibilities.  Over these past four-plus years, we’ve seen the deluxe treatment afforded titles by Andre Cymone, Wendy and Lisa, even The Lewis Connection.  And now, at long last, we can confirm that a remastered catalogue campaign isn’t a distant possibility any longer: it’s coming,

This morning, Warner Bros. Records – long embroiled in a contentious relationship with the artist – announced that it had come to terms with Prince and entered into a global licensing partnership.  Though complete details have yet to be revealed, the agreement grants the singer ownership of his master recordings, and allows Warner Music Group to digitally remaster and reissue Prince’s albums from 1978 through the 1990s.  (Prince’s final album for the label was 1996’s Chaos and Disorder.  He then marked his freedom from the Warner empire with his next release that year, Emancipation.   That album launched a new label, NPG.)  The press release added that “long-awaited, previously unheard music” would be on the way.

This a particularly well-timed announcement, of course, as the recent New Girl guest star will mark the 30th anniversary of his watershed release Purple Rain on June 25.  This morning’s press release confirmed that the 13-times platinum Purple Rain would be the first album to get the reissue treatment. Prince also indicated that a new studio album is, indeed, “on the way.”  The artist commented in his own unique manner, “Warner Bros. Records and Eye are quite pleased with the results of the negotiations and look forward to a fruitful relationship.”

While there aren’t any further details to share as of this writing, watch this space for more Prince news as it becomes available!  The Revolution is coming!

Written by Joe Marchese

April 18, 2014 at 12:20

Posted in News, Prince, Reissues

Review: The Everly Brothers, “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us” Expanded Edition

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Songs Our Daddy Taught UsWhen Phil Everly passed away earlier this year, his legacy was celebrated by both those who knew him and those who were influenced by him. Chanteuse Norah Jones commented, “The high harmonies Phil sang were so fluid and beautiful and always sound effortless in a way that just washes over the listener.” Jones’ partner on the tribute album Foreverly, Billie Joe Armstrong, wrote, “Those harmonies will live on forever.” Iggy Pop observed, “The Everlys were the real deal when it comes to American music.” Brother Don eloquently stated, “I loved my brother very much. The world might be mourning an Everly Brother, but I’m mourning my brother Phil Everly.” Don and Phil’s contribution to American popular song can’t be underestimated. With hits like “Bye Bye Love,” “Wake Up, Little Susie” and “When Will I Be Loved,” they merged classic country and rock-and-roll into an inspirational whole, while their longing, ethereal vocal blend on “All I Have to Do is Dream” established them as timeless balladeers. At the beating heart of The Everly Brothers’ sound was their deep respect for the music of the land, the rough-and-tumble, hardscrabble, homespun ballads they had learned as children in the Midwest. Their 1958 album Songs Our Daddy Taught us was a concept album at a time when only Frank Sinatra was turning them out with regularity, and was Americana before the phrase was in vogue. It wasn’t their most popular album, but may well be their most personal and most important. It’s just been reissued by Varese Vintage in an expanded compact disc edition with six previously unheard bonus tracks (Varese 302 067 253-8, 2014), and as a limited-edition vinyl replica sans bonus tracks for Record Store Day.

In August 1958, the goofy novelty “Bird Dog” was ascending the pop charts, but far from repeating the formula, Don and Phil had something completely different and far more somber in mind. They entered RCA’s Nashville studios armed with just two guitars and their own vocal instruments plus producer/Cadence Records owner Archie Bleyer and bassist Floyd T. “Lightnin’” Chance. Rock and roll was not on their minds. Instead, they looked to assemble a collection primarily of traditional, often tragic, folk ballads, all rendered in seamlessly tight harmony. The album, to be titled Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, was rounded out with a few non-traditional cuts. These songs fit right into the low-key, acoustic tone of the album, including one co-written by the Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry (“That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine”), and another by Memphis songwriter Bob Miller (“Rockin’ Alone in My Old Rockin’ Chair”). The duo also revived Tex Ritter’s 1946 hit “Long Time Gone.” Everly patriarch Ike was credited with the arrangements for two of the tracks, “Barbara Allen” and “Put My Little Shoes Away.”

Don and Phil (aged just 21 and 19, respectively) connected with this material on a deep level. No matter that the songs were about gambling, cold-blooded murder, incarceration and mortality. The angelic harmonies of The Everlys were never more chillingly deployed than on the Appalachian murder ballad “Down in the Willow Garden,” which was first written in the nineteenth century, first professionally recorded in 1927, and popularized by Charlie Monroe in 1947. (Monroe gets the writing credit for The Everlys’ version.) In the song, the narrator poisons his lover, stabs her and finally throws her into the river. Reissue co-producer Andrew Sandoval’s fine liner notes reveal a quip from Phil on the session tapes: “Two easy lessons to slay your pregnant girlfriend is what this story is about!” Levity was likely needed behind-the-scenes to create the note-perfect, beautiful yet utterly haunting rendition here. The same goes for “Put My Little Shoes Away” which also confronts the specter of death head-on. Compared to the darkness of “Willow Garden” and even “Shoes,” the traditional country-and-western kiss-off of “Long Time Gone” (“You’re gonna be sad, you’re gonna be weeping/You’re gonna be blue and all alone…”) seems positively benign. Another quintessential C&W song is “I’m Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail” with a light, almost ironic bounce applied to its woeful tale. It even scored the brothers a minor hit single in its edited version.

There’s plenty more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 18, 2014 at 09:52

Posted in News, Reissues, Reviews, The Everly Brothers

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