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And Now for Something Completely Different: A Monty Python Box Set (and More)

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Monty Python CD boxHere’s something that’ll hit your doorstep like a giant animated foot: Virgin is releasing a CD and vinyl box set of albums by the iconic comedy troupe Monty Python.

The classic BBC comedy sketch series, which ran from 1969 to 1974 and made stars of John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, has had an immeasurable influence on pop culture ever since, from films (Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life) to instant quotables and images (dead parrots, silly walks), to music (“Lumberjack Song,” “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life“) and stage (Holy Grail was adapted into the smash Broadway musical SPAMalot). The five surviving members (sans Chapman, who died in 1989) will reunite at London’s O2 Arena for a limited run of sold-out reunion shows (despite some public protests from Gilliam).

Fans who can’t make the shows can at least enjoy a new nine-disc compilation encompassing all of the band’s original U.K. albums from 1970 to 1983. (The U.S. only Live At City Center (1976) is omitted.) Both boxes (the CD edition featuring a folder to keep all the discs in, and the vinyl version replicating each original LP sleeve), according to an official statement,
were cut with an all analogue signal path from the original 1/4″ master tapes where available. Both editions also contain a case bound book with new liner notes with a foreword by Michael Palin, original Monty Python artwork, archive photos and an original Terry Gilliam-designed full colour slipcase.” (The CD edition also features all the included bonus tracks from a series of U.K. reissues in 2006.)

As a special bonus, each version contains a 45 RPM single of Monty Python’s Tiny Black Round Thing, originally released as a flexidisc in 1974 to promote the release of Monty Python Live At Drury Lane.

If this is too much Python for you, however, there’s still products to pique your interest after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 24, 2014 at 13:28

Steven Wilson Has “Passion” For Jethro Tull’s “Play” With New Box Set

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Jethro Tull - Passion Play Contents

Jethro Tull continues its series of deluxe reissues with producer/engineer Steven Wilson on July 1 with the release of the (slightly belated) 40th anniversary edition of 1973’s A Passion Play.  Following the reissues of Aqualung, Thick as a Brick and Benefit, the deluxe A Passion Play: An Extended Performance will include 2 CDs and 2 DVDs – containing new stereo and 5.1 surround mixes of the original album and previously unreleased material – along with an 80-page book.  As with Thick as a Brick, the set is priced affordably; as of this date, it’s available for pre-order at a cost of less than 30 dollars.

A Passion Play was the band’s sixth album, and arrived on the heels of the U.S. chart-topping Thick as a Brick.  Whereas that album featured one lengthy, continuous composition (split on two sides of vinyl, of course), A Passion Play featured separate songs, though the original LP did not identify them.  Part I occupied Side One of the LP, with Part II on Side Two.  The same line-up as Thick as a Brick played on its follow-up: Ian Anderson on flute, acoustic guitar and saxophone, Martin Barre on guitar, Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond on bass, Barriemore Barlow on drums and John Evans on keyboards.

The quintet began work at Château d’Hérouville.  The studio, located near Paris, was the Honky Château of Elton John fame, and was also utilized by artists from Cat Stevens to Pink Floyd.   Yet the band found that it was not the ideal setting to bring their new album to life.  Despite recording roughly an hour of music, the band was dissatisfied with both the studio’s technology and its living accommodations.  The group returned home to the U.K. where work began on an all-new set of songs and recordings.

Recorded in a whirlwind of activity before the band was set to begin a new tour, A Passion Play was composed (primarily by Ian Anderson) to explore the notion that choices might still be faced in the afterlife.   Taking the form of a four-act play, it began with the character of Ronnie Pilgrim’s death and funeral (which he attended in spectral form) and followed him through the afterlife, to Heaven, Hell and beyond.  Par for the Tull course, it combined poetry and rock, and melded rock, jazz, and folk sensibilities into an intricate whole.  Though it didn’t meet with critical acclaim at the time, the prog-rock opus followed Thick as a Brick to the top of the U.S. charts upon its release in July 1973.

After the jump: more details on what to expect from the new box set, plus the full track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 18, 2014 at 09:25

Now They’re Here: Queen Prep Unreleased Shows for “Live At The Rainbow ’74”

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Queen Live At The Rainbow 74After a 40-year wait, a pair of pivotal early shows by Queen will see official release, it was announced yesterday.

1974 saw the British quartet release their second album, Queen II, earn their first U.K. Top 10 single (“Seven Seas of Rhye”) and embark on their first headlining tour. While some critics found a headlining slot at The Rainbow a daunting challenge for such a new band, Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor sold even the most skeptical observer at their March date in the fabled venue. Queen would quickly record and release their third album, Sheer Heart Attack, that same year, and reappeared at The Rainbow in November, the same month the album was released.

Hardcore fans, of course, might know that the March 1974 show was recorded by producer Roy Thomas Baker with an intention to release a live album later that year. That never materialized, though the November show was filmed and released in part on VHS in the Box of Tricks set issued in 1992. Now, however, audio of both shows, as well as video from both sets, will be available on Live At The Rainbow ’74. Together, they mark some of the earliest live Queen performances officially heard, with several tracks making their first appearances on a live release, making it quite the boon for collectors.

And the band, along with their distributing labels (Virgin in the U.K. and Hollywood in the U.S.) is going all-out in releasing this set. A single-disc edition features the November show in full, while the two-disc version features both the March and November shows. The November show (and four tracks from the March show) will be featured on DVD and Blu-ray Disc editions, to be released through Eagle Rock Entertainment. (A U.S. exclusive will pair the November show on CD with the Blu-ray.) Two vinyl packages will be available: a double-vinyl set that features “album presentations” from both shows and a quadruple-vinyl set with both shows in full. Finally, a super-deluxe box includes all the CD, DVD and Blu-ray content plus the following extra swag:

  • A 60-page hardback book featuring previously unseen photographs, and reproductions of vintage reviews and articles
  • Two replica tickets from the March concert (the seats, in fact, were that of Brian May’s parents)
  • A reproduction of the tour itinerary folder for the March concert from promoter Mel Bush
  • A replica of the eight-page tour program
  • Two replica souvenir button badges
  • A tour poster
  • Reproduced photos from a shoot for The Telegraph
  • A replica sticker backstage pass for the March concert

The Live At The Rainbow ’74 packages are available September 8 and 9, respectively. Amazon U.K. links are live, with additional information expected to follow. Hit the jump for a full track list!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 17, 2014 at 10:54

Posted in Box Sets, News, Queen, Vinyl

When Two Tribes Go To Pledge: ZTT Crowdfunds Deluxe Frankie Goes to Hollywood Box

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Frankie Deluxe BoxThere was very little about Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s debut album, Welcome to The Pleasuredome, that wasn’t grandiose. From their outsized, obsessively cultivated image (thanks to ZTT Records, the No. 1 home for bizarrely cultivated musical images in the 1980s), to their peppy British dance-pop hooks and glistening production by Trevor Horn to their stunning two-year run of hit singles, including the No. 1s “Relax,” “Two Tribes,” and “The Power of Love” (and the spectacular title track, a near career-ender at “only” No. 2), Frankie did it in a big way for quite some time.

Now, 30 years later, ZTT are making Frankie big again with an exhaustive deluxe box set edition of the band’s first album planned for release. This 5LP box features bonus material in the form of a cassette, a DVD and digital FLAC files, too, and should theoretically offer the last word on the album (the most recent words of which was a deluxe reissue issued by Salvo/Union Square Music weeks after The Second Disc started).

Inside The Pleasuredome will feature:

  • The original album, newly remastered on 12″ 180-gram vinyl by Trevor Horn at SARM Studios
  • Three 10″ EPs of unreleased sessions, alternate takes and remixes
  • A C90 cassette featuring 14 versions of iconic hit “Relax,” six of which are unreleased
  • Original promo videos and new surround mixes on DVD
  • Digital FLAC files of all the vinyl as well as an EP of unreleased instrumentals
  • Various paper goods and book content
  • All housed in a custom lidded box

A set this expansive is also likely to be expensive; in fact, it’s being fundraised/sold through PledgeMusic, a crowdsourcing music service. The whole box goes for about $200 in U.S. dollars – sort of ironic, considering licensing restrictions prevent the set’s release in America, Canada or Japan. (The box has still been well-received; with 40 days to go as of this writing, the project has been 92% funded.)

Sound enticing? Head to the PledgeMusic link to reserve your copy, and hit the jump for full specs on what’s inside, including the just-announced track list!

Inside The Pleasuredome (ZTT, 2014)

  • “Come Inside”: flipbook of Lo Cole’s Welcome To The Pleasuredome artwork
  • “Tumbometer Nine”: info sheet of contents/sources of all tracks + Element Series discography
  • And Suddenly There Came a Zang! The Art of Frankie Goes to Hollywood: 48-page hardbound book “with contributions from Paul Morley, designers David Smart, Lo Cole and photographers Anne Yvonne Gilbert, John Stoddart, Steve Rumney, AJ Barratt and Peter Ashworth”

LPs 1-2: Welcome to The Pleasuredome (originally released as ZTT IQ1 (U.K.), 1984)

  1. Well….
  2. The World is My Oyster
  3. Snatch of Fury (stay)
  4. Welcome to the Pleasuredome
  5. Relax (come fighting)
  6. War (….and hide)
  7. Two Tribes (for the victims of ravishment)
  1. Ferry (go)
  2. Born to Run
  3. San Jose (the way)
  4. Wish (the lads were here)
  5. Including The Ballad of 32
  6. Krisco Kisses
  7. Black Night White Light
  8. The Only Star in Heaven
  9. The Power of Love
  10. Bang

LP 3: “Lovers and Haters” – Studio Sessions (previously unreleased)

  1. Relax (9/4/1983: Rough Mix)
  2. Relax (9/10/1983: CMI Backing Track)
  3. The Only Star in Heaven (8/29/1984: ’Gary’s Mix’ with Keys and BD)
  4. The Only Star in Heaven (8/29/1984: ’Gary’s Mix’ Dub Bits)

LP 4: “Cowboys and Indians” Alternate Takes (previously unreleased)

  1. Two Tribes (10/4/1984: Bit 4)
  2. War (10/4/1984: Man Has a Sense for the Discovery of Beauty)
  3. Two Tribes (5/31/1984: Rough 12” Mix)
  4. Two Tribes (6/1/1984: Rough 12” Mix)

LP 5: “Doctors and Nurses” Mix/Remix (previously unreleased)

  1. War (5/17/1984: ‘War! III’)
  2. Welcome to the Pleasuredome (8/10/1984: ‘Pleasuredome II’)

C90 Cassette: “Suck It Up”: “Relax” Singlette (* denotes previously unreleased material)

  1. Relax (Bit 1) *
  2. Relax (Sex Mix) (12″ A-side – ZTT 12 ZTAS 1 (U.K.), 1983)
  3. Relax (New York Mix) (12″ A-side – ZTT 12 ISZTAS 1 (U.K.), 1983)
  4. Relax (Greatest Bits) (from ZTT cassette single CTIS 002 (U.K.), 1983)
  5. One September Monday (Bit 1) *
  6. Relax (Bit 2) *
  7. Relax (Sex Mix, Edition 2)
  8. Relax (Sex Mix, Edition 3)
  9. Relax (Video Version) *
  10. One September Monday (Bit 2) *
  11. Relax (Greek Disco Mix) (12″ A-side – ZTT 200 086-6 (GR), 1983)
  12. Relax (The Last Seven Inches!) (from ZTT promo 7″ single ZTAS 1 (U.K.), 1983)
  13. Relax (Bonus, Again)
  14. Relax (Bit 3) *

DVD: “Brothers and Sisters”

Features the Pleasuredome promo videos and 5.1 mixes of key tracks. The disc will feature NTSC region 0 on one side and PAL region 0 on the other.

Promo videos:

  1. Relax (Version 1)
  2. Relax (Live Version)
  3. Relax (Laser Version)
  4. Two Tribes (Version 1)
  5. Two Tribes (Video Destruction)
  6. The Power of Love (Version 1)
  7. The Power of Love (Version 2)
  8. Welcome to The Pleasuredome (An Alternative to Reality)
  9. Welcome to The Pleasuredome (The Escape Act)
  10. Relax – No. 1 and Guiltless (Version 1)
  11. Relax – No. 1 and Guiltless (Version 2)
  12. The Power of Love (Win Hearts and Minds)
  13. Welcome to The Pleasuredome (The Event of the Decade)

5.1 mixes:

  1. Relax
  2. Two Tribes
  3. Ferry Cross the Mersey
  4. The World is My Oyster
  5. Welcome to The Pleasuredome
  6. San Jose
  7. War
  8. Born to Run
  9. The Power of Love

FLAC EP: Voiceless, Vol. 1(previously unreleased)

  1. Welcome to The Pleasuredome (A Remade World – Voiceless)
  2. War (Hide Yourself! – Voiceless)
  3. Two Tribes (Carnage 7″ – Voiceless)
  4. Relax (Come Fighting – Voiceless)
  5. The Power of Love (Voiceless)

Written by Mike Duquette

June 16, 2014 at 17:41

Ramble On! Review: The Led Zeppelin Remasters – “I,” “II” and “III”

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Led Zep 1Led Zeppelin wasn’t built in a day.

“Good Times Bad Times,” the first track off the hard rock combo’s first album, today sounds very much of its time and also unusually forward-thinking. The crunchy riff that introduces the track augured for the amped-up sound of metal to come, but the opening verse and chorus still have one foot in mod pop. Yet the sheer attack that marks Zeppelin’s best work was already there. Jimmy Page’s guitar cuts loose at about the minute-and-a-half point, John Bonham’s intense drums drive the entire song. John Paul Jones does so much more than just anchor the song with his bass, while Robert Plant can’t help but sound like a man possessed once he hits his stride. Recorded in just 36 hours and produced by Page, Led Zeppelin built on the foundation of the British blues boom and took heavy blues-rock to the next level.

Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III have just arrived in their first-ever expanded editions, available in a plethora of formats from Rhino and Atlantic Records: 1-CD, 1-LP, 2-CD, 2-LP and 2-CD/2-LP box sets. These are among the most eagerly-awaited reissues of the compact disc era, and miraculously, both the remasterings and the previously unheard music live up to expectations. These decades-old recordings sound fresh and vividly crisp, with increased clarity, presence and detail, and pronounced stereo separation. Longtime fans are likely to be seized with the excitement of rediscovery at the classic albums in upgraded sound, but the 2-CD editions are also ideal primers for those exploring the band’s compact catalogue of just nine “core” albums for the first time. This first wave of reissues traces the early arc of the band from swaggering, upstart blues-rockers to metal pioneers to creators of an original sound all its own.

I: Your Time Is Gonna Come: Led Zeppelin I

Jones’ funereal organ introduced “Your Time is Gonna Come,” with Page on steel guitar. Like “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You,” the song has the both the light and the dark sides of the band on display. It’s almost “hard folk” with a sing-along chorus and a pronounced soul influence. Just plain hard is the frenetically pulsating “Communication Breakdown,” a two-and-a-half minute nugget of fast and dirty proto-punk rock and roll. On the other end of the spectrum is the album’s longest track, “How Many More Times,” with its shifting jam reinvention of the bolero blueprint.

The storming, urgent “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” was based on Anne Bredon’s folk song which also attracted the attention of folk heroines (Joan Baez), teen stars (Mark Wynter), San Francisco rockers (Quicksilver Messenger Service) and harmony pop bands (The Association). It took until the 1980s for Bredon to be credited, along with Page and Plant, for providing the basis of the Zeppelin transformation. “Babe” showed the band’s versatility, with passages of quiet beauty juxtaposed with rage and thunder. “Dazed and Confused” was written and recorded by Jake Holmes in 1967 but Zeppelin’s recording of the song with new lyrics and a modified melody was credited solely to Page. Following a 2012 settlement with Holmes, the credits on the new discs read, “Jimmy Page inspired by Jake Holmes.” Regardless of its authorship, “Dazed” is a furious showcase for Page’s bowed-guitar technique, with the band melding psychedelia with deep blues. The beguiling, short instrumental “Black Mountain Side,” featuring Indian drummer Viram Jasani, was inspired by a traditional song but followed the (uncredited) arrangement of folk artist Bert Jansch. Willie Dixon, on the other hand, received full credit for two covers on the album: the torrid twelve-bar blues-based “You Shook Me” (with turns for Jones on organ and Plant on harmonica) and “I Can’t Quit You Baby” inspired by the performance of bluesman Otis Rush.

Though Led Zeppelin was formed from the ashes of The Yardbirds, there could be no doubt after the release of Led Zeppelin I that the group had found a style far removed from that of the band in which Page once served.  After the jump: more on Led Zeppelin II, III and beyond! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 16, 2014 at 12:11

Posted in Box Sets, Led Zeppelin, News, Reissues, Reviews

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The Beatles Go Mono Once More – on Vinyl

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Beatles in Mono box front

It sure has been quite a year for Beatlemaniacs looking to fill their shelves with catalogue wares from The Fab Four. Last winter saw the CD release of a second volume of BBC recordings (coinciding with a remaster of the first from 1994) and a digital-only, copyright-saving official bootleg; this year, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the band’s first appearance on American shores, Apple/UMe recreated (sort of) the band’s U.S. discography on CD, and will in July do the same for the group’s first five Japanese albums. Which begs the question: what’s next? That answer has finally taken shape with the announcement that the Beatles’ highly sought-after monaural discography will be reissued on vinyl.

As fans well know, a few months before The Second Disc launched, the gem of The Beatles’ extensive remastering campaign in 2009 was the premiere of the band’s complete mono discography on CD. (Only the band’s first four albums, when first released on compact disc in 1987, were presented in mono.) The band’s first ten U.K. albums (counting the U.S. LP program of Magical Mystery Tour, now part of the “official” discography) were compiled in one box, along with a Mono Masters compilation collating all of the group’s mono singles (including unreleased true mono mixes of the songs featured in Yellow Submarine for an EP that never came to light).

Now, exactly five years after that fabled, platinum-certified box was released (remember when we all thought it was a limited edition affair?) Apple/UMe is putting the same contents out on vinyl, both separately and boxed together (the box, of course, will feature a hardback book with essays by Kevin Howlett and rare photos and memorabilia).

Well…maybe not exactly the same contents. The press release offers this tantalizing tidbit that will surely set audiophiles ears to maximum discretion (emphasis ours):

n an audiophile-minded undertaking, The Beatles’ acclaimed mono albums have been newly mastered for vinyl from quarter-inch master tapes at Abbey Road Studios by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Sean Magee and GRAMMY®-winning mastering supervisor Steve Berkowitz. While The Beatles In Mono CD boxed set released in 2009 was created from digital remasters, for this new vinyl project, Magee and Berkowitz cut the records without using any digital technology. Instead, they employed the same procedures used in the 1960s, guided by the original albums and by detailed transfer notes made by the original cutting engineers.

Working in the same room at Abbey Road where most of The Beatles’ albums were initially cut, the pair first dedicated weeks to concentrated listening, fastidiously comparing the master tapes with first pressings of the mono records made in the 1960s. Using a rigorously tested Studer A80 machine to play back the precious tapes, the new vinyl was cut on a 1980s-era VMS80 lathe.

So, five years after fans debated the quality of The Beatles in mono and stereo, mastered in the ’60s or in 2009, it looks like the debate shall continue!

The Beatles in Mono vinyl box, and its individual contents, can be pre-ordered below.

The Beatles in Mono (Apple/UMe, 2014) Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)

  • Please Please Me (Parlophone, 1963) Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
  • With The Beatles (Parlophone, 1963) Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
  • A Hard Day’s Night (Parlophone, 1964) Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
  • Beatles for Sale (Parlophone, 1964) Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
  • Help! (Parlophone, 1965) Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
  • Rubber Soul (Parlophone, 1965) Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
  • Revolver (Parlophone, 1966)  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Parlophone, 1967) Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
  • Magical Mystery Tour (Capitol (U.S.), 1967)  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
  • The Beatles (2-LP) (Apple, 1968) Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)
  • Mono Masters (3-LP) (Apple/EMI, 2009)  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. (TBD)

Written by Mike Duquette

June 16, 2014 at 10:38

Who Loves You: Rhino Celebrates “Jersey Boys” With Box Sets For Frankie Valli and Four Seasons, First Bob Gaudio Anthology

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Four Seasons - Classic AlbumsNext Friday, June 20, marks the highly-anticipated opening of director Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of the smash 2005 Broadway musical Jersey Boys.  With John Lloyd Young reprising his Tony Award-winning performance as Frankie Valli opposite a cast of theatre and film veterans including Christopher Walken as Jersey mobster Gyp DeCarlo, Eastwood’s film promises to bring the gritty story of Valli and The Four Seasons (Nick Massi, Tommy DeVito and Bob Gaudio) to an even wider audience than ever.  Rhino is marking the occasion of the film’s release with four sets covering every aspect of the group’s immense legacy: an original soundtrack recording featuring new and vintage recordings alike; two career-spanning album collections for The Four Seasons and the solo Frankie Valli, respectively; and the first-ever compendium of the songs of songwriter-producer and founding Season Bob Gaudio.  The soundtrack arrives on June 24, while the remaining three collections hit stores the very next week, on July 1.

Most exciting might be The Classic Albums Box from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.  This 18-CD box set includes nearly all of the group’s original albums released between 1962 and 1992:

  1. Sherry & 11 Others (1962)
  2. Big Girls Don’t Cry And Twelve Others (1963)
  3. The 4 Seasons Sing Ain’t That A Shame And 11 Others (1963)
  4. Folk-Nanny (1963)
  5. On Stage With The Four Seasons (1965)
  6. Dawn (Go Away) And 11 Other Great Songs (1964)
  7. Born To Wander (1964)
  8. Rag Doll (1964)
  9. The 4 Seasons Entertain You (1965)
  10. The 4 Seasons Sing Big Hits By Burt Bacharach… Hal David… Bob Dylan (1965)
  11. Working My Way Back To You (1966)
  12. New Gold Hits (1967)
  13. The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette (1969)
  14. Half & Half (1970) – one side of the Four Seasons, one side of Valli solo
  15. Who Loves You (1975)
  16. Helicon (1977)
  17. Streetfighter (1985)
  18. Hope + Glory (1992)

The Classic Albums Box is the first time the group’s catalogue has been available in one package.  It contains all of the group’s core albums with the exception of 1962’s The Four Seasons’ Greetings (also known as The Four Seasons’ Christmas Album), the 1968 compilation Edizione d’Oro (which features unique stereo mixes and alternate takes), 1972’s Motown-controlled release Chameleon and 1981’s Reunited Live.  (Of these, Edizione is still awaiting a definitive compact disc reissue.)

Frankie Valli - Selected Solo WorksA complementary box is being released for the solo albums of Frankie Valli, and includes all of his studio LPs with the exception of the Motown release Inside You (1975) and his most recent LP, Romancing the Sixties (2007).  Frankie Valli’s 8-CD Selected Solo Works box set includes:

  1. The 4 Seasons Present Frankie Valli Solo (1967)
  2. Timeless (1968)
  3. Closeup (1975)
  4. Our Day Will Come (1975)
  5. Valli (1976)
  6. Lady Put The Light Out (1977)
  7. Frankie Valli…Is The Word (1978)
  8. Heaven Above Me (1980)

After the jump, we have more details including the full scoop on Bob Gaudio’s Audio with a G and pre-order links and more for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 11, 2014 at 12:42

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

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