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Archive for the ‘Box Sets’ Category

Give Me Love: George Harrison’s “Apple Years” Are Collected On New Box Set

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Harrison Box Cover

George Harrison’s years at Apple Records were among his most productive.  The Quiet Beatle inaugurated Apple’s LP series with 1968’s Wonderwall Music soundtrack and nearly closed out the label with its final album of original material (1975’s Extra Texture (Read All About It)).  In between, Harrison released a series of solo records, oversaw the soundtrack to his groundbreaking Concert for Bangla Desh, and lent a helping hand to Apple artists including Badfinger, Jackie Lomax, Billy Preston, Doris Troy and Lon and Derrek Van Eaton.  Following the 2004 Dark Horse Years box set and 2010’s box of Collaborations with Ravi Shankar, the Harrison family has announced the release of The Apple Years 1968-1975 via Apple and Capitol/UMe.

This 7-CD/1-DVD box set, arriving on September 22 in the U.K. and September 23 in the U.S., includes expanded and newly-remastered versions of Harrison’s Apple albums beginning with 1968’s Wonderwall Music – the very first solo album by any Beatle – and continuing with the even more experimental Electronic Sound as issued on the Zapple label (1969), the acclaimed triple-album All Things Must Pass (1970), Living in the Material World (1973), Dark Horse (1974) and Harrison’s Apple swansong Extra Texture (Read All About It) (1975).  The all-star Concert for Bangla Desh is not included; it last saw a deluxe reissue in 2005.  All of the individual CDs will also be available as standalone releases, while the DVD will remain exclusive to the box set.

All Things Must Pass was last expanded and reissued on CD in 2001 with Harrison’s participation.  After his November 2001 death, a reissue arrived for Living in the Material World in 2006.  Dark Horse and Extra Texture haven’t been revisited on CD since Capitol’s reissues in 1992.  After the jump: we’ll look at the contents of each disc! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 2, 2014 at 10:33

Texas Flood: Legacy Collects Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble Albums

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Stevie Ray Vaughan - Complete

The late guitar hero Stevie Ray Vaughan is getting an epic release from Epic Records and Legacy Recordings. On October 28, Legacy will unveil Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: The Complete Epic Recordings Collection, a 12-CD box set compiling, for the first time, the entirety of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s official studio and live album canon at Epic. The box set will include the first commercial release of A Legend in the Making, a promotional recording of the band’s landmark 1983 performance at Toronto’s El Mocambo club, and will also feature two discs of SRV’s odds and ends.

The late Vaughan, who tragically perished in a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990, built his reputation on the Texas club scene in the 1970s as one of the most exciting and innovative guitarists around.   Younger brother of another blues great, Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie Ray played in The Nightcrawlers with Leon Russell’s onetime Asylum Choir partner Marc Benno and famed Austin singer/songwriter Doyle Bramhall, and joined Denny Freeman in The Cobras. But it was the Triple Threat Revue that morphed into Double Trouble, the unit with which Vaughan would set off a blues revival in, of all decades, the 1980s.

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – Stevie Ray (guitar, vocals), Tommy Shannon (bass) and Chris “Whipper” Layton (drums) – caught the ear of David Bowie at the 1982 Montreux Jazz Festival, and the ever-astute artist enlisted the blazing guitarist for his Let’s Dance album. Naturally, word spread. Jackson Browne was impressed enough to offer the band use of his Los Angeles recording studio, leading to the recordings which found their way to a man who knew a little about the blues: venerable record man John Hammond, Sr. The elder Hammond played a major role in the careers of artists from Benny Goodman and Count Basie to Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan, and he brought the Texas trio to Epic Records. The recordings were remixed and remastered, and Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were off and running.

Executive produced by Hammond, the Texas Flood LP was produced by the band with engineer Richard Mullen. With both originals (hit single “Pride and Joy,” “Love Struck Baby”) and covers (The Isley Brothers’ “Testify,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “Tell Me”), Texas Flood caught on with record buyers. “Pride and Joy” reached No. 20 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and the album made it all the way to No. 38 on the Billboard 200. Grammy nominations soon arrived, too, for the album’s title track and “Rude Mood.” Yet Texas Flood – beginning Vaughan’s series of gold, platinum and multiplatinum releases over the years – is actually the fourth album on this new box set, preceded by three live recordings.

Within the box, you’ll find:

  • Disc 1: In The Beginning (KLBJ-FM radio broadcast produced by Wayne Bell, recorded April 1, 1980; Austin, Texas)
  • Disc 2: Live At Montreux 1982 (July 17, 1982; Montreux International Jazz Festival)
  • Disc 3: Live At Montreux 1985 (July 15, 1985; Montreux International Jazz Festival)
  • Disc 4: Texas Flood (1983)
  • Disc 5: A Legend in the Making—Live at the El Mocambo (recorded Toronto, Canada, July 20, 1983)
  • Disc 6: Couldn’t Stand the Weather (1984)
  • Disc 7: Live at Carnegie Hall (October 4, 1984)
  • Disc 8: Soul to Soul (1985)
  • Disc 9: Live Alive (1986) (Recorded July 16, 1985, Montreux International Jazz Festival; July 17-18, 1986, Austin, Texas; July 19, 1986, Dallas, Texas)
  • Disc 10: In Step (1989)
  • Disc 11: Archives, Disc One
  • Disc 12: Archives, Disc Two

Collectors will note that Texas Flood and Couldn’t Stand the Weather have both been expanded for Legacy Edition releases; only the original album sequences are presented in this box set.  However, the bonus tracks from Disc One of the CSTW Legacy Edition can be found on Archives.  Family Style by the Vaughan Brothers isn’t here, but the contents of the posthumous outtakes collection The Sky is Crying have also found a home on Archives.

After the jump, we have more details – including pre-order links and the complete track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 29, 2014 at 13:17

UPDATE 8/27: Listen To What The Man Said: Paul McCartney Announces “Venus and Mars,” “Wings at the Speed of Sound” Archive Sets

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Venus and Mars Box Set

UPDATE 8/27/14: We can now confirm that “due to production issues, the release of the latest albums in the Grammy Award-winning Paul McCartney Archive Collection will be delayed. The classic Wings albums Venus and Mars and At The Speed of Sound will now be released on November 3 in the U.K. and November 4 in the U.S. and not the previously announced September dates.”  Links provided below are still active for the new release dates.

7/28/14: BREAKING NEWS!

Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed links that appeared on Amazon this morning for the rumored upcoming Paul McCartney Archive Collection editions of d Wings’ 1975 and 1976 albums Venus and Mars and At the Speed of Sound, respectively.  Well, the rumor is now a fact, as Concord Music Group’s Hear Music label and McCartney’s MPL have confirmed the September 23 November 4 arrival in the U.S. of both titles.

True to form, both albums will be available in a plethora of formats including 2-disc standard editions, 3-disc (2-CD/1-DVD) hardbound book editions, gatefold vinyl and digital, each with a disc of rare and previously unreleased bonus material.

Venus and Mars, released in May 1975, had the unenviable task of following the phenomenally successful Band on the Run.  Though Band had been recorded by the slim, three-person line-up of Paul and Linda McCartney and Denny Laine, Macca made the decision to bolster the group with the addition of Jimmy McCulloch on guitar and Geoff Britton on drums.  Before settling on Allen Toussaint’s Sea-Saint Studios as the recording venue of choice, Wings entered Abbey Road where early versions of three songs were cut for the new album.  After just six months in Wings, however, Britton departed the band, and American drummer Joe English completed the sessions for Venus and Mars.  Toussaint, Dave Mason and Tom Scott all guest-starred on the album which delivered on its promise of a true “Rock Show.”  If McCartney, indeed, had worried about building on the success of Band on the Run, he needn’t have.  Venus and Mars spawned a No. 1 single – the rollicking “Listen to What the Man Said” – and went to the top spot on both the U.S. and U.K. album charts. It also provided a platform for Wings to launch the Wings Over the World tour – which, of course, included the Wings Over America leg and album.

Between the Australian and European legs of Wings Over the World, McCartney and Wings entered Abbey Road to record the album that would become Wings at the Speed of Sound.  It was Macca’s first album wholly recorded in the U.K. since 1973’s Red Rose Speedway (still awaiting a deluxe Archive Collection reissue) and featured a number of lead vocals from singers other than Paul – Denny on “The Note You Never Wrote” and “Time to Hide,” Jimmy on “Wino Junko,” Linda on “Cook of the House,” and Joe on “Must Do Something About It.”  Of course, it was two songs sung by Paul that catapulted the album to another smash success: the endearing, childlike “Let ‘Em In” (No. 2 U.K./No. 3 U.S./No. 1 U.S. Easy Listening) and the unapologetically buoyant “Silly Love Songs” (No. 1 U.S./No. 1 U.S. Easy Listening).  The latter was a record-breaking 27th No. 1 for Paul the songwriter.  Released in March 1976, Speed of Sound went to No. 2 in the U.K. and the top spot in the U.S. for seven non-consecutive, becoming McCartney’s most successful album ever in America and setting the stage for the Wings Over America tour to take flight that May.

After the jump, we have more details courtesy the complete press release, plus pre-order links, the full track listings, and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 27, 2014 at 12:15

They Shall Be Released: Bob Dylan and The Band’s “The Basement Tapes, Complete” Arrives In November

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Dylan and The Band - Basement Tapes Complete

Come all without, come all within, you’ll not see nothing like The Basement Tapes, Complete.  On November 4, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings will grant an official release to perhaps the most coveted collection of songs in Bob Dylan’s storied catalogue.  The eleventh installment of Dylan’s acclaimed Bootleg Series presents, for the very first time, six discs of The Basement Tapes – as recorded in the summer of 1967 by Dylan and the group that would later become The Band, and per the label, including “every salvageable recording from the tapes, including recently discovered early gems recorded in the ‘Red Room’ of Dylan’s home in upstate New York.”  In addition, this set – meticulously restored by The Band’s Garth Hudson and Canadian music archivist Jan Haust – is being presented “as intact as possible.  Also, unlike the official 1975 release, these performances are presented as close as possible to the way they were originally recorded and sounded back in the summer of 1967.  The tracks on The Basement Tapes Complete run in mostly chronological order based on Garth Hudson’s numbering system.”

In addition to the 6-CD, 138-song box set, a 2-CD, 38-song highlights version of The Bootleg Series Volume 11 will be released as The Basement Tapes Raw.  This iteration will also be presented as a 3-LP vinyl set.  All versions are due on November 4.

After the jump: a look further into the world of The Basement Tapes, plus the full track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 26, 2014 at 12:15

Review: Nils Lofgren, “Face the Music”

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Nils Lofgren - Face the Music Contents

I. See What a Love Can Do

Nils Lofgren was just seventeen years old when Neil Young called upon him to play piano on his third solo album, After the Gold Rush. The guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and onetime child prodigy joined Jack Nitzsche and the men of Crazy Horse – Danny Whitten, Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina – on an instrument which was largely unfamiliar to him. He added the understated, stark and raw piano parts that Young and producer David Briggs were looking for, and also supplied harmonies and acoustic guitar to the Top 10 album. Young had discovered Lofgren with his band Grin, and Lofgren would parlay his credits with Young into a deal for the band. Though Grin disbanded in 1974 after just four albums, Lofgren’s prolific career hasn’t let up since. Over 20 solo records have followed, as well as guest appearances, soundtrack recordings and various one-offs, not to mention membership in Bruce Springsteen’s legendary E Street Band since 1984. The Detroit native hasn’t yet penned an autobiography, but as a chronicle of the story of his life, chances are one wouldn’t top the massive new box set from Concord Records dedicated to his singular career. Face the Music encompasses 9 CDs and 1 DVD, all in service of an artist whose own music has long taken a supporting role to higher-profile music with the likes of Young and Springsteen. The limited, numbered edition, compiled and annotated by Lofgren, is a quirky yet personal journey with a true musician’s musician.

By the numbers, Face the Music features 169 audio tracks, 40 of which are previously unreleased, and 20 video clips, along with a 132-page softcover book – in other words, a whole lotta Lofgren. It’s far too sprawling to serve as an effective introduction to Lofgren’s art and career, but then, that isn’t the point, is it? For longtime fans who have followed his career, with and without Grin, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, Face the Music is manna. Those fans should carve out the time to explore this set in depth, as it’s not designed for casual listening and is best experienced in chunks, one disc at a time. Following Dave Marsh’s introduction, Lofgren provides comprehensive liner notes – blending autobiography (“I was born in Chicago, on the south side, June 21, 1951,” they begin) with recollections about each and every album represented, plus track-by-track commentary. Testimonials from Lofgren’s famous friends – many of whom are, of course, present on Face the Music – are also included.

Sensibly, the set is organized in chronological fashion beginning with a disc of 21 prime cuts from Grin. (This would be the most comprehensive single-disc Grin compilation available, though there’s one notable omission.) The second CD chronicles the beginning of his solo career and collaborations with producers Briggs, Al Kooper and Andy Newmark from 1975-1977, with the third CD covering 1979-1983 and notable works with co-writers Lou Reed and Dick Wagner, producer Bob Ezrin, and even a guest appearance by Del Shannon. Disc Four commences in 1985, around the time Lofgren began his tenure with E Street, and continues through his two Rykodisc albums from 1991 and 1992; Young, Springsteen, Levon Helm and Ringo Starr all drop by. The next three discs feature the least well-known material, recorded independently of the major labels between 1993 and 2011. Lofgren was completely free to follow his muse, releasing film soundtracks, live albums, and studio efforts including a tribute to Neil Young. Bonnie Bramlett, Willie Nelson, Paul Rodgers, Lou Gramm, Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave) and the duo of David Crosby and Graham Nash show up along the way. The final two discs are dedicated to completely unreleased music – “songs, demos, obscure tracks left behind from recording sessions, back rooms and basements,” as Lofgren describes it. These odds and ends date as far back as the Grin days and feature oddities like tributes to Yankee Stadium and The Washington Bullets from the longtime sports fan, and a song inspired by Lofgren’s close pal, the author Clive Cussler. As is always the case with anthologies, it’s not inconceivable that a favorite track might be missing, but Face the Music admirably covers all of the bases.

Plug in with us after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 21, 2014 at 13:32

Ziggy Played Guitar: David Bowie’s “Sound + Vision” to Be Reissued

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Bowie - Sound and Vision CoverGround control to Major Tom: Sound and Vision is back for a third go-round.

As part of the breakup of EMI that left most – but not all – of the former monolith controlled by Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group acquired the venerable Parlophone label, founded in 1896 and onetime home to The Beatles. Though Universal kept the Fab Four, Warner obtained current artists like Coldplay and the back catalogues of classic ones like The Hollies and Matt Monro…and a certain David Bowie. Parlophone hasn’t announced any major plans for Bowie’s albums as of yet; in-print titles such as The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars were simply repressed with the new label logo (replacing that of EMI label Virgin Records, now controlled by Universal). Parlophone has also offered a number of Record Store Day vinyl exclusives bearing the Bowie imprimatur. On September 23, the label has a repackaged version of the artist’s out-of-print, 4-CD Sound + Vision anthology returning to stores.

Named for the track on Bowie’s album Low, Sound + Vision was first issued in 1989 by Rykodisc. That independent label, now also controlled by Warner, had just gained the rights to the Bowie-controlled masters of his pre-1983 albums formerly available on RCA. Housed in an LP-sized box, the original Sound + Vision boasted three CDs (or six LPs or three cassettes) spanning the period between Bowie’s second, self-titled album in 1969 and 1980’s Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). It blended familiar songs and rare or previously unissued alternate versions of familiar songs with rarities, and also included a CD-Video disc with three previously unreleased recordings and the video of “Ashes to Ashes.” This impressive set won a Grammy Award for Best Album Package and racked up staggering sales for an expensive box set, eventually being certified Gold in the U.S. (and entering the Top 100 of the Billboard 200), Platinum in the U.K., and 4x Platinum (!) in Canada.

Rykodisc reissued Sound + Vision in 1995, streamlining the packaging and replacing the disc in the defunct CD-V format with a standard CD-ROM. The next iteration of the set came in 2003, by which time Bowie had moved his catalogue from Rykodisc to EMI’s Virgin Records label. This version of Sound + Vision dropped the “Vision” (the CD-V/CD-ROM!), added a fourth CD to cover the period of 1982-1997, and moreover, tweaked the original track listing. Though the original’s 50 tracks (including the bonus video disc) had grown to 67, a few of the original tracks were replaced with alternate versions of the same songs (“The Wild-Eyed Boy from Freecloud,” “London Bye Ta-Ta,” “Round and Round,” “Fascination”) and all four performances from the CD-V were dispensed with entirely.

What can you expect on the new version?  Hit the jump for details including the complete track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 19, 2014 at 09:44

Shine Her Light: “The Midnight Special” Box Set Arrives In September with Fleetwood Mac, Bee Gees, ELO, More

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Midnight Special Box Set

Between August 1972 and May 1981, late night television was a little more rockin’.  Producer Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special followed Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show on Friday evenings, welcoming viewers with Johnny Rivers’ rousing rendition of the traditional tune (a Top 20 hit for Rivers in 1965).  Over the course of 450 episodes, The Midnight Special presented a staggering array of music’s top talent on network television with most songs performed live for the majority of its run.  The program, featuring announcer Wolfman Jack and a variety of guest hosts, premiered as a one-off special in August 1972 but was promoted to full-time status in February 1973.  It first arrived on DVD in 2006 with episodes available as mail order exclusives, heavily promoted via infomercials.  On September 9, however, StarVista/Time Life will make The Midnight Special more widely available for the first time with 11-DVD, 6-DVD and 1-DVD releases.  With the resurgence in many of the ‘70s’ greatest pop hits thanks to the hit Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack the time couldn’t be better!  (Indeed, many of the Star Lord’s favorite songs were performed on The Midnight Special and will be included on these DVDs.)

The 11-disc Midnight Special Collectors’ Edition is now available to order exclusively online at MIDNIGHTSPECIALDVDS.COM for just under $100.00; while it’s expected that this set may eventually arrive to general retail (in the tradition of other StarVista sets for The Carol Burnett Show, Mama’s Family and The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts), it will remain a website exclusive for the foreseeable future.  This edition features roughly 10 hours of musical performances plus 5 hours of newly-produced bonus material and a 32-page booklet.  The single-disc and 6-disc versions will be released on September 9 to stores everywhere. The Midnight Special played host to artists from the many genres that occupied the Top 40 slots on the Billboard Hot 100 during the 1970s, including Fleetwood Mac, The Bee Gees, Linda Ronstadt, The O’Jays, Dolly Parton, David Bowie (who broadcast his final television appearance as Ziggy Stardust on the program), Alice Cooper, Electric Light Orchestra, Neil Sedaka, Barry Manilow, Alice Cooper, frequent host Helen Reddy, and countless others who are featured on StarVista’s new sets.  The Midnight Special also gave the spotlight over to the era’s top comedians like Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal, George Carlin, Andy Kaufman, Steve Martin and Freddie Prinze.

After the jump: a look at what you can expect to find on these collections! Read the rest of this entry »

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