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Release Round-Up: Week of June 10

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Chicago Hit Factory

Various Artists, Chicago Hit Factory: The Vee-Jay Story 1953-1966 (Charly) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This import box set tells the story of great R&B label Vee-Jay Records via a whopping 10 discs, 269 tracks (including 112 hits) by more than 120 different artists, and a 72-page book.  Artists include Jerry Butler, The Four Seasons, The Beatles, Gene Chandler, Little Richard, Betty Everett, The Dells and The Standells!  Jazz, gospel, blues and doo-wop all figure prominently along with the label’s trademark soul and R&B sounds.  The full track listing can be found here.

Louis Armstrong and His Friends

Louis Armstrong, Louis Armstrong and His Friends (Ace) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ace has a straight reissue of Satchmo’s 1970 album for the Flying Dutchman label on which the jazz legend was joined by producer and label owner Bob Thiele (co-writer of “What a Wonderful World”) and arranger-conductor Oliver Nelson for a set including standards (“My One and Only Love,” “Mood Indigo”), contemporary material (“Give Peace a Chance,” “Everybody’s Talkin’”) and, yes, a new recording of “What a Wonderful World.”  Of special note is the star-studded rendition of “We Shall Overcome” with a chorus including Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman and Tony Bennett!  Armstrong’s ill health prevented him from playing his horn on this LP, but his message of peace and brotherhood came through loud and clear.

Brownie Speaks

Clifford Brown, Brownie Speaks: The Complete Blue Note Albums (Blue Note) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The latest Blue Note Select release brings together the jazz trumpeter’s three 10-inch albums from 1953 as recorded with trombonist J.J. Johnson (Jay Jay Johnson with Clifford Brown), saxophonist Lou Donaldson (New Faces New Sounds) and his own sextet (New Star on the Horizon), and adds live recordings from New York’s Birdland.  The 3-CD set presents the three original 10-inch album sequences for the first time since the mid-1950s, with the Birdland shows in their original performance sequence for the first time ever.  Look for more details later today!

Colour My World

Tony Hatch, Colour My World: The Songs of Tony Hatch (Ace) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Look for Joe’s review tomorrow of this hit-packed anthology from Ace dedicated to the British hitmaker behind “Downtown,” “Call Me,” “Sugar and Spice” and so many other songs that defined the sound of the Swingin’ Sixties!  Colour My World features tracks from Petula Clark, Scott Walker, The Searchers, Jack Jones, Chris Montez, and more!

Arthur Prysock - Too Late Baby

Arthur Prysock, Too Late Baby: The Old Town Singles 1958-1966 (Ace/Kent) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Ace delivers the very first CD compilation of the R&B baritone’s classic singles for New York’s Old Town label. Many of these 24 tracks have never been reissued at all, in any format. A versatile singer who might bring to mind Lou Rawls or Billy Eckstine, Prysock was equally comfortable with R&B and smooth balladry; all sides of his talent are on display on this collection of some of the rarest material in his considerable catalogue.

 

The Who - Quadrophenia Live Box Contents

The Who, Quadrophenia: Live in London various formats / Quadrophenia (Original Album) Blu-ray Pure Audio (Universal)

Quadrophenia: The Original Album Blu-ray Pure Audio Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London Deluxe Metal Box Set: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London Single-Disc Blu-ray: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London Single Disc DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Live in London 2-CD Soundtrack to the Concert Film: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend bring their epic 2013 concerts celebrating Quadrophenia to Blu-ray, DVD and CD, and also unveil the first-ever complete 5.1 mix of the original 1973 Who album on Blu-ray Pure Audio!  Full details can be found here.

Written by Joe Marchese

June 10, 2014 at 08:32

Bad Medicine is What You Need: Bon Jovi Expands “New Jersey”

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Bon Jovi Super DeluxeWith the summer fast approaching, New Jersey stalwarts Bon Jovi are celebrating their 30th anniversary by, 25 years later, revisiting one of their biggest hits: fourth album New Jersey.

Released in the fall of 1988, New Jersey was the follow-up to 1986’s Slippery When Wet, the band’s commercial breakthrough which spun off the No. 1 hits “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer,” plus the Top 10 stadium classic “Wanted Dead or Alive.” Working again with producer Bruce Fairbairn and songwriters Desmond Child, Holly Knight and Diane Warren, New Jersey - originally conceived as a double album called Sons of Beaches – was an expert repetition of the emotional and musical beats that made its predecessor such a touchstone of ’80s rock. And the results were even more stellar: the album spawned five Top 10 singles – “Bad Medicine” (No. 1), “Born to Be My Baby” (No. 3), “I’ll Be There for You” (No. 1), “Lay Your Hands on Me” (No. 7) and “Living in Sin” (No. 9) – and was certified seven times platinum.

To commemorate this milestone, New Jersey is being remastered and expanded in two different formats: a standard double-disc deluxe edition includes three original B-sides and 13 unreleased demos and outtakes from the Sons of Beaches sessions, and a super deluxe box adding expanded book packaging and a DVD of two rare features: Access All Areas: A Rock & Roll Odyssey, a Wayne Isham-directed feature on the band from 1990, and seven promo videos, including a live version of album cut “Blood on Blood” and two versions of “Bad Medicine.” (A single-disc straight remaster will also be available.)

The New Jersey celebration kicks off July 1. Hit the jump to check out the track list and pre-order your copies!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 9, 2014 at 13:39

I Just Can’t Help Believin': “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” Goes Super Deluxe In 8-CD/2-DVD Box Set

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Elvis - That's the Way It Is Box

The title of the 1970 documentary That’s The Way It Is might have been plain-spoken, but nothing else was plain about the chronicle of Elvis Presley’s return to the concert stage.  And there’s certainly nothing plain about the extravagant treatment being accorded the film and its companion album this summer.  Why, we’d even say it’s fit for a – make that, The King.  On August 5, Legacy Recordings will team with Warner Bros. Home Video for a massive 8-CD/2-DVD box set including six full-length concerts, rehearsals and rare recordings on compact disc plus two complete versions of the film on DVD.

This new box set has more than twice the audio content of the previous 3-CD Special Edition, released in 2001 by RCA Victor.  Whereas that set included the original album with bonus material, the complete August 12, 1970 midnight concert and rehearsals/unreleased tracks, the new box features:

  • CD 1 – The Original Album plus outtakes and single versions
  • CD 2 – August 10, 1970 Opening Night concert at Las Vegas’ International Hotel
  • CD 3- August 11, 1970 Dinner Show
  • CD 4 – August 11, 1970 Midnight Show
  • CD 5 – August 12, 1970 Dinner Show
  • CD 6 – August 12, 1970 Midnight Show
  • CD 7 – August 13, 1970 Dinner Show
  • CD 8 – The Rehearsals

The August 11 dinner show and August 12 dinner show are both being released in full for the very first time.  The August 10 opening show, August 11 midnight show and August 13 dinner show have only been made available in the past from the collector-oriented Follow That Dream label on, respectively, One Night in Vegas, Live in Las Vegas, and The Wonder of You.

In addition, the two DVDs boast:

  • DVD 1: 2001 Special Edition, Restoration Featurette, Elvis Career Highlights, Director/Restorer Filmographies, Theatrical Trailer
  • DVD 2: 1970 Original Theatrical Version, Outtakes

An 80-page book, with photographs, memorabilia, recording data and more, accompanies the set.  Also on August 5, Legacy will issue a 2-CD highlights edition of That’s the Way It Is as part of the ongoing Legacy Edition series of Presley reissues.

After the jump, you can read the full contents of Legacy’s press release plus the complete track listing!  We also have provided pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 5, 2014 at 10:25

Release Round-Up: Week of June 3

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LZ BoxLed Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin I / Led Zeppelin II / Led Zeppelin III: Deluxe Editions (Swan Song/Atlantic)

Anyone ever heard these albums? Interesting stuff. I don’t know about you, but I’d predict big things for these guys.

Led Zeppelin
1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD/3LP Super Deluxe: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Led Zeppelin II
1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD/2LP Super Deluxe: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Led Zeppelin III
1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
1LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD/2LP Super Deluxe: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Superunknown 20 boxSoundgarden, Superunknown: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (A&M/UMe)

This grunge-pop classic comes back with a vengeance as a bonus-filled box set featuring demos, outtakes, rare tracks and a surround mix on Blu-ray.

1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD/1BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Vauxhall and IMorrissey, Vauxhall and I: 20th Anniversary Definitive Master (Parlophone/Rhino)

It would appear that Moz and I share the same opinion of this record: so good, the track list doesn’t need to be played with. Add an unreleased live show from 1995 on a bonus CD, and this is a heck of a set for the discerning fan.

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Earthbound OriginalThe 5th Dimension, Earthbound/ Vikki Carr,  Love Again – The Lost Columbia Masters / Vikki Carr, The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face) (Expanded Edition) / Robert Bearns & Ron Dexter, The Best of the Golden Voyage / The Sweet Inspirations, The Complete Atlantic Singles Plus / Faith Hope & Charity, Faith Hope & Charity (Expanded Edition) /Fanny, Charity Ball (Expanded Edition) / Linda Martell, Color Me Country / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 18 – Dane County Coliseum, Madison, WI 2/3/78 Uni-Dome, University of N. Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 2/5/78 (Real Gone Music)

Another great Real Gone slate features two titles with liner notes from our own Joe Marchese – The 5th Dimension’s Earthbound and Vikki Carr’s The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face)!

The 5th Dimension: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Vikki Carr/Love AgainAmazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Vikki Carr/The First Time Ever (I Saw Your Face)Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Robert Bearns & Ron Dexter: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Sweet Inspirations: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Faith Hope & Charity: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Fanny: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Linda Martell: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Grateful Dead: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Extraordinary Nat King ColeNat “King” Cole, The Extraordinary Nat “King” Cole (Capitol)

This new compilation – available as a two-disc deluxe edition with a host of rare and newly-discovered tracks – does a pretty darn good job of living up to its name.

Standard 1CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Deluxe 2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Blu-ray Audio: Analogue Productions

Bossa Nova BabyElvis Presley, Bossa Nova Baby: The Ultimate Elvis Party Album (RCA/Legacy)

A new Elvis compilation for your summer party features some of the usual hits plus a few tracks from the Cirque du Soleil Viva Elvis show to rediscover. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Lectric LadyCarol Williams & The Salsoul Orchestra, ‘Lectric Lady: Expanded Edition (Big Break)

An expanded version of the debut album by Carol Williams, the first female solo act signed to the Salsoul label! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

UPDATE 6/2: Meet The Beatles, Japan-Style: New Box Set Collects Fabs’ Original Japanese Albums, U.S. Edition Coming In July

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Beatles - Japan Box

UPDATE 6/2: It now appears that Capitol Records will be releasing this box set in the U.S. on July 15!  See below for updated Amazon links and more! 

ORIGINAL POST (5/5/14): Attn: Beatle collectors – you know who you are! On June 25, Universal Music Japan is extending an invitation to Meet the Beatles as you would have fifty years ago in that country. The new Meet the Beatles box set presents mini-LP CD replicas of five albums released by the Fab Four in Japan in 1964 and 1965. As with the recent release of The U.S. Albums, it is indicated that this box set will be sourced from The Beatles’ approved 2009 remasters:

  • Meet the Beatles! (1964, mono)
  • The Beatles’ Second Album (1964, mono)
  • A Hard Day’s Night (1964, stereo)
  • Beatles No.5 (1965, stereo)
  • Help! (1965, indicated as “original stereo mix”)

Each mini-LP replica “faithfully replicates the original Japanese album artwork, including OBI and inner sleeve.” These are available on legitimate CD for the first time anywhere in the world, and longtime Beatlefans will notice a number of variations from the U.S. and U.K. editions of these albums. Not included in this set is 1965’s Beatles for Sale, which would have functioned as Beatles No. 4 and mirrors the track listing as the original British album of that name. Also a number of Japanese compilations have naturally been excluded, like 1964’s The Fresh Sounds from Liverpool (which joined Beatle tracks with those by Peter and Gordon, The Hollies, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, and others) and 95 Million People’s Popular Request (with the Fabs plus Matt Monro, The Dave Clark Five, Cliff Richard and more).

The Beatles’ Japanese releases arrived via the Toshiba-owned Odeon label. Titles were initially released on both black and red vinyl, with the highly desirable red vinyl indicating the first pressing of a title. Meet the Beatles was the first Fab album to hit Japan, with a release date of April 1964. The group’s first two U.K. long players, Please Please Me and With the Beatles, weren’t released in Japan until 1966 – after the country had already received Rubber Soul – when the group toured there. As is still the custom today, the LPs were issued with OBI strips wrapped around the covers.

Beatles - Hard Day's Night JapanMeet the Beatles! resembles the American album but has a different track listing with 14 tracks instead of 12, orange and red lettering on the front cover (instead of blue and brown) , and a unique back cover. Second Album (or Beatles No. 2! per its back cover) follows suit, with 14 songs vs. the U.S. version’s 11, and red lettering rather than brown on the cover, and different rear artwork. The Japanese A Hard Day’s Night replicates the original U.K. album’s track listing, but varies in its art. Beatles No. 5 shares “She’s a Woman” and “I Feel Fine” with its U.S. counterpart Beatles ’65, but little else. Help! , like A Hard Day’s Night, maintains the original U.K. album track listing. It also retains the familiar U.K. front cover artwork, adding a gatefold and a color back cover image.  Even the OBI strips are being replicated, with the first three albums having shorter strips that didn’t cover the entire length of the album cover.

Those first three albums will be presented in mono, with the final two in stereo.  Help! is surprisingly listed as being in its “original stereo mix.”  The U.S. Albums, in contrast, utilized producer George Martin’s 1987 stereo remix in assembling the U.S. version of the album.

Hit the jump for more on this Japan-exclusive box set, including the complete track listings and current pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 2, 2014 at 12:26

Posted in Box Sets, News, The Beatles

Review: Billy Joel, “A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia”

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Billy Joel - A Matter of Trust CoverBilly Joel has been famously prickly in recent years about many of the archival releases bearing his name. But one hopes that the troubadour, currently in the midst of his tenure as a “franchise” at New York’s Madison Square Garden, is beaming with pride at A Matter of Trust – The Bridge to Russia. This set, available in a variety of audio and video formats from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings, not only splendidly chronicles Joel’s historic 1987 trek to the Soviet Union but vividly rehabilitates the oft-derided (sometimes by the artist himself) live album KOHUEPT. Much like the current MSG shows, The Bridge to Russia is a potent reminder of the power and longevity of the body of work created by Joel in roughly two decades (1971-1993) as a recording artist. The troubadour might not have seemed the most obvious choice to break down doors previously not available to rock-and-rollers, but in retrospect, his uniquely American brand of scrappy tenaciousness – and his place in the tradition of the great Tin Pan Alley melodists – made him an ideal herald of the rock revolution.

When Joel and his entourage traveled to the Soviet Union as a result of Mikhail Gorbachev’s new policy of glasnost (openness and transparency) for six stadium shows in Moscow and Leningrad (plus one small acoustic show in Tbilisi), he had just two more studio albums ahead of him – not that anybody knew that at the time. It’s no wonder, then, that so much of the setlist as performed in Russia still resembles what you could expect to hear at a Joel concert today. (“Uptown Girl” is a notable exception as it’s only rarely performed now.) The Leningrad concert performance of A Bridge to Russia is available in audio form as a 2-CD set or in video form on DVD and Blu-ray; in addition, combination packages are available in CD/DVD and CD/BD formats, with these “box set” versions also including a new documentary film about the groundbreaking tour.   The audio version of the concert is substantially longer than the video, and the songs are in a different sequence on each program.

For many, the centerpiece will be the audio presentation which expands KOHUEPT. The choppy, truncated original album is now a more vibrant and accurate representation of Joel at his stadium-filling peak with band members Liberty DeVitto (drums), Doug Stegmeyer (bass), Mark Rivera (saxophone), Dave LeBolt (keyboards), Russell Javors and Kevin Dukes (guitars). KOHUEPT was just Joel’s second live album after Songs from the Attic. As Songs was drawn from multiple performances in various venues and largely designed to reintroduce older material with Joel’s new, regular band, however, it wasn’t a full concert release. Expectations were high for this first-time genuine live-at-one-venue album, and upon its releases, those hopes were all but dashed. KOHUEPT put its best foot forward with a stunning solo piano rendition of “Honesty” which the artist dedicated to the great Russian actor/singer/songwriter Vladimir Vysotsky. After that, however, the vocal strain which affected Joel on the U.S.S.R. tour was even more evident on disc than it had been in person. There were other factors, too. The audience reportedly didn’t respond well to ballads, preferring the more rhythmic, uptempo tracks – a response to repression, perhaps? If Joel’s energy and voice were flagging from time to time, it was likely because of the high-octane setlist with few breathers.

He also sounded somewhat stilted in his onstage banter addressing an audience that not only wasn’t primarily English-speaking, but also wasn’t necessarily familiar with the Piano Man. The one official state-owned record company, Melodiya, also controlled the country’s record stores. Joel was not a Melodiya artist, and commercial rock music was not a major part of the culture in the Soviet Union at the time. There was, of course, none of the familiar applause for Joel’s mention of “Oyster Bay, Long Island” in “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” or recognition applause at the start of a hit song. The Soviet people couldn’t know the places and share the experiences chronicled in the American everyman Joel’s songs. Though the audiences warmed to Joel (as dramatically seen in the accompanying documentary), their natural inclination was to be reserved if appreciative. As a result, Joel worked even harder, and likely did even more damage to his voice.

What few knew at the time, however, is that much of the best material was left in the vault – until now. Eleven songs have been added to the audio release – eight in the concert proper, and three as bonus tracks. An a cappella doo-wop of Don and Juan’s oldie “What’s Your Name” introduces a very loose voice-only version of Joel’s homage to the genre, “The Longest Time,” and it’s a pivotal inclusion here. Joel and his band learned traditional Russian a cappella from the Georgians, and reciprocated by teaching doo-wop to the people. Though Joel had performed the “What’s Your Name/The Longest Time” sequence before, the performance in Leningrad took on added meaning. The newly-discovered “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” is a powerfully charged reading of the song. “You May Be Right,” if gravelly, is utterly swaggering. “Pressure” boils with excitement. “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” is a lesser-known moment in a set packed with hits plus new songs from 1986’s The Bridge; back-to-back with another previously unissued song, “She’s Always a Woman,” the album takes on a more distinctive shape.

In this new context, much of KOHUEPT sounds stronger: the tough, robust “Sometimes a Fantasy” (the song which sparked an onstage tantrum from Joel at an earlier performance in Moscow), a strong, surging “Angry Young Man,” a gritty and an emotional performance of “Allentown.” When Joel’s streetwise, no-nonsense brand of rock and pop cedes to a simple, guitar-and-voice rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” a song that would have long been off-limits to performers in the U.S.S.R., it’s a well-earned, poignant moment.

After the jump, we’ll explore the new documentary film and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 30, 2014 at 10:08

Posted in Billy Joel, Box Sets, Reissues, Reviews

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WE HAVE A WINNER! Billy Joel’s “A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia” Goes to One Lucky Winner!

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Billy Joel Russia Fb bannerCONGRATULATIONS TO OUR CONTEST WINNER, FABIO TURSI! He’s won a copy of Billy Joel’s A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia 2CD/1DVD set from Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings!

Written by Mike Duquette

May 28, 2014 at 13:41

Release Round-Up: Week of May 27

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H-D-H Box Cover

Holland-Dozier-Holland: The Complete 45s Collection: Invictus/Hot Wax/Music Merchant 1969-1977 (Harmless)

The H-D-H compositions/production didn’t stop after the trio left Motown; they in fact created several labels and did an awful lot of work for them, as evidenced by this massive eight-disc box set of their works for three labels through the late ’60s and ’70s. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

KISS 40KISS, KISS 40 (UMe)

You wanted the best, you got the best, in the form of a double-disc hits compilation representing every KISS studio, live and compilation album with some rare tracks and an unreleased demo for collectors. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Getz-Gilberto 50thStan Getz and Joao GilbertoGetz/Gilberto: 50th Anniversary Edition (Verve)

The 50th anniversary edition of the landmark bossa nova classic presents the album in both mono and stereo, with the mono version appearing on CD for the first time.  It also adds two original single sides and new liner notes from Marc Myers. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Adam Lambert PlaylistVarious Artists, Playlist: The Very Best of (Legacy)

Legacy’s long-running Playlist series now features new single-disc compilations for American Idol contestants Adam Lambert and Kellie Pickler (both featuring unreleased performances from the TV series) and a very diverse collection for Rick Derringer (“Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,” “Hang On Sloopy” and “Real American” on one disc?!).

Johnny Cash duets: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Rick Derringer: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Celine Dion (All the Way…A Decade of Song): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
The Fifth Dimension: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
George Jones duets: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Adam Lambert: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Kellie Pickler: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Elvis Presley – Movie Songs: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Edgar Winter: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

REO Box Set SeriesREO Speedwagon, The Box Set Series (Epic/Legacy)

Part of Legacy’s four-disc budget series, this title sets itself apart with a really cool gem: the inaugural release of the original studio version of live favorite “Ridin’ the Storm Out,” with Kevin Cronin’s vocal (he was replaced briefly by singer Mike Murphy following creative disputes). (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Patti LaBelle - Tasty

Patti LaBelle, Tasty / Carolyn Franklin, If You Want Me (Big Break)

The latest from BBR: Joe’s full rundowns are coming soon!

Patti LaBelle: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Carolyn Franklin: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Swan EstherSwan Esther: Original Concept Album  (Stage Door)

Stage Door Records has the CD premiere of Nick Munns and J. Edward Oliver’s 1983 British musical retelling of the Biblical story of Esther, starring Denis Quilley and Stephanie Lawrence.  This special edition adds a number of never-before-released demos recorded in 1985 for the revised show’s touring premiere as Swan Esther and The King. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Doom Tour, Doomed No More: CSNY Confirms July Release of Lavish 1974 Tour Box Set

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CSNY 1974

You no longer need feel “helpless” waiting for the official announcement of Crosby Stills Nash and Young’s mega-box set celebrating the band’s legendary – and notorious – 1974 tour.  On July 8, CSNY 1974 arrives with 40 live tracks and bonus video footage in a variety of formats, including:

  • a 3-CD/1-video DVD set;
  • a Pure Audio Blu-ray (192kHz/24-bit)/1-video DVD set;
  • a 16-track single CD distillation;
  • a 12-track Starbucks-exclusive single-CD; and
  • a limited edition set featuring a coffee-table sized book and six 18o-gram 12″ vinyl records, limited to 1,000 copies.

It’s been a bumpy road to this release with squabbles over release date, audio format and quality, and even the title of the album.  Back on April 22, 2013, we published the following:

In 1974, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young embarked on a highly-publicized reunion tour of their own, although their first performance was a mere five years earlier, in 1969.  The tour was marred by rock star excesses, but the legend of “The Doom Tour” has loomed large for fans of the supergroup.  Now, nearly forty years later, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and Neil Young have finally agreed to the release of an album of tour performances originally scheduled to arrive decades earlier.  Neil Young told Jimmy McDonough that “the tour was disappointing to me…they [CSN] wanted to put out a live album, and I wouldn’t put it out.”  But Graham Nash and David Crosby have confirmed to Rolling Stone that the as-yet-untitled album is finally due for release on August 27.

Crosby, who wishes to call the album What Could Possibly Go Wrong?, calls the recordings “startlingly good” in Rolling Stone, and Nash agrees that the recordings are “fuckin’ magic” before adding “it is true there were so many drugs and it was chaotic.”  With Young finally on board, fans can expect the album to be in pristine sound quality, or at least as much as is possible in the standard CD format.  Crosby confirms, “[Young’s] got it at two million bits.  He’s a fanatic.  You can get him mad by just saying ‘MP3.’ This is getting mastered at the highest quality available in the world.”

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young haven’t toured in seven years. “What do we do after this live album comes out?” Nash pondered to Rolling Stone. “Do we just let it lie there and fucking die, or do we do limited promotion? That’s not cowardly, but that’s not the way to do it. In my perfect world – and I’m only talking about what I would do – I would delay the release of this until the spring of 2014. I would ask David and Stephen and Neil to take three months off their busy lives and go out on tour to promote this record.”  As such a turn of events seems unlikely – though hardly as unlikely as another Beach Boys reunion – the as-yet-untitled 1974 live album is currently on the schedule for August 27.  We’ll have more details (such as a track listing and pre-order link) as soon as they’re confirmed by the CSNY camp, so watch this space!”

August 27, 2013 came and went, but the package that will arrive this July 8 looks like it will prove worth the wait.  After the jump, we have a full rundown of specs for all formats including the full track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 22, 2014 at 15:48

Posted in Box Sets, CSNY, News

Ring Them Bells: Pink Floyd Celebrates 20 Years of “The Division Bell” with New Box Set

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Division Bell Box

All has largely been quiet on the Pink Floyd front since the early 2012 release of the Immersion (mega-box) and Experience (trimmed-down but still deluxe) Edition sets for 1979’s The Wall.  The releases for The Wall concluded a campaign that also saw Discovery Edition (standard) remasters of all of the group’s albums and lavish sets for The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here.  Today, the Floyd camp announced a new 20th anniversary box set for the band’s fourteenth and final studio album to date, 1994’s The Division Bell. Though there’s no mention of Immersion or Experience anywhere, the Division Bell box, due on July 1 from Parlophone, will feature an array of music and swag to make it a fitting companion to the previous Immersion boxes.

Originally released in the U.K. by the EMI label and in the U.S. by Columbia Records, The Division Bell was the second Pink Floyd studio album following the departure from the band of Roger Waters.  Though the musical auteur Waters was not involved, the album was very much in the vein of the classic-era Floyd concept albums.  This time, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason explored the importance of communication.  Gilmour co-produced the album with Bob Ezrin (The Wall, Alice Cooper, KISS) and had a hand in writing all but one track.  Wright co-wrote a number of the tracks with Gilmour, and one with Anthony Moore, and also provided his first lead vocal on a Pink Floyd album since The Dark Side of the Moon.  Other lyrics were provided by Gilmour’s wife Polly Samson and Nick Laird-Clowes; Ezrin co-wrote music for one song.  Michael Kamen contributed orchestral arrangements to the album.

The Division Bell reached a peak of No. 1 in both the U.K. and the U.S., where it has been certified three-times platinum.  Just two days after the album’s release, Pink Floyd launched a tour in support of it.  The Pulse live album (1995) documented this tour.  When the tour ended on October 29, 1994, it was Floyd’s final live performance until the 2005 Live 8 concerts which reunited the band with Roger Waters.

After the jump: what will you find on the new box set?  (Hint: you won’t find any marbles.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 20, 2014 at 12:58

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