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Thank You, Friends: Omnivore Readies Live Big Star, Complete Works of Queen’s Roger Taylor

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Big Star - LiveOmnivore Recordings is greeting autumn with projects from a couple of, well, big artists. By big, we mean perhaps the biggest cult band of all time – Big Star – and if that’s not big enough, how about the drummer from one of the biggest rock bands in the world? As in, Roger Taylor of Queen? On October 27, Omnivore will issue the first-ever retrospective of Taylor’s solo work in anticipation of the November 11 U.S. release of his complete, all-encompassing solo box set, The Lot. On November 4, the label brings fans the only professionally-filmed complete concert from Memphis’ favorite power-poppers with Big Star – Live in Memphis.

Live in Memphis continues the Big Star story with the premiere on DVD, CD, DD, and 2-LP vinyl (with download card) of the band’s performance of October 29, 1994. That evening, Alex Chilton, Jody Stephens, and Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow of The Posies ran through a packed set of Big Star classics and covers in front of an appreciative hometown audience. Filmed at the New Daisy Theatre, Live in Memphis includes Big Star favorites such as “Thank You Friends,” “September Gurls,” and “The Ballad of El Goodo,” plus the late Chris Bell’s “I Am The Cosmos,” and songs from T. Rex (“Baby Strange”), The Kinks (“Till the End of the Day”), Todd Rundgren (“Slut”) and even Antonio Carlos Jobim (“The Girl from Ipanema”). All told, the audio editions have 19 songs, and the DVD has 18, eliminating “Fire.”

Though the concert was billed as Big Star’s farewell, it was far from it – the band continued to tour together for another 16 years until Chilton’s untimely death in 2010. Big Star – Live in Memphis includes liner notes from filmmaker Danny Graflund, Ardent Studios’ producer John Fry, Jody Stephens, Jon Auer, and Ken Stringfellow in the CD, LP, and DVD packages. In addition, the first pressing of the LP will be pressed on colored vinyl, with standard black to follow. This once-in-a-lifetime chronicle of the one and only Big Star is due on November 4.

After the jump, Omnivore is going ga-ga with Queen’s Roger Taylor! Plus the full track listings and pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 22, 2014 at 10:16

Make It Fast, Make It Urgent: Foreigner Box Up Atlantic Albums

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Foreigner - Complete

You’ve been waiting for a box like this.

On October 14, Rhino will unveil the 7-CD collection from Foreigner, The Complete Atlantic Studio Albums 1977-1991.  As the classic rock band’s discography has amounted to just three albums since its departure from Atlantic in 1991, this box brings together Foreigner’s prime material including five U.S. multi-platinum smash LPs and hits like “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” “Feels Like the First Time,” “Cold as Ice,” “Hot Blooded,”  and “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Foreigner, founded by vocalist Lou Gramm, guitarist Mick Jones, drummer Dennis Elliott, bassist Ed Gagliardi and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, was a hot property from the time of its very first release.  1977’s 5x platinum Foreigner reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and yielded the hit singles “Feels Like the First Time,” “Cold as Ice” and “Long, Long Way From Home.”  The album began an unabated string of hits for the British/American band, straight through 1987’s Inside Information.    By the time of Foreigner’s Atlantic swansong Unusual Heat (1991, and the last CD in this box set), only Jones and Elliott remained from the original line-up.  Rick Wills had replaced Gagliardi as of the group’s third album, 1979’s Head Games, while Unusual Heat marked the debut of Wild Horses singer Johnny Edwards, replacing Lou Gramm.  (Gramm returned to the fold in 1992, and was with Foreigner for its 1994 Arista debut, Mr. Moonlight.)

Rhino expanded Foreigner’s first four albums in 2002, fleshing out each release with demos, live tracks and outtakes.  Happily, this box will replicate the contents of those four releases, adding a total of nine bonus tracks to the original album sequences.   Typical of this program of complete albums from Rhino, it doesn’t appear that The Complete Atlantic Studio Albums 1977-1991 will include a booklet with any liner notes or additional credits beyond those which appeared on the original LP sleeves.  All albums will be presented in replica mini-LP jackets and retain the most recent prior masterings.

After the jump, we have more information including the complete track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 17, 2014 at 10:32

Wonderful, Wonderful: Johnny Mathis’ “Complete Global Albums” Box Coming From Legacy

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Mathis - Global Box Set

Chances are, Johnny Mathis fans are going to be counting down until November 17.

On that date, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings will release The Complete Global Albums Collection, a first-of-its-kind set compiling the entire recorded output of Mathis during his Mercury Records period. A Columbia artist since 1956, Mathis departed his label home just once – recording some eleven albums (ten of which were released) under the imprimatur of his own Global Records production company between 1963 and 1967, at which time he returned to Columbia. Legacy’s new clamshell-design box set collects all eleven LPs plus two discs of singles and previously unissued rarities, plus a booklet containing album-by-album notes from Mathis.

The Complete Global Albums Collection features these ten LPs originally released on Global/Mercury, all remastered and in mini-LP jacket replicas:

  • The Sounds of Christmas (1963) – first-time reissue on CD in its original, unaltered form
  • Tender is the Night (1964)
  • The Wonderful World of Make-Believe (1964)
  • This Is Love (1964)
  • Olé (1965)
  • Love Is Everything (1965)
  • The Sweetheart Tree (1965, also contains all unique tracks from international edition, Away From Home, for first time on CD)
  • The Shadow of Your Smile (1966)
  • So Nice (1966)
  • Johnny Mathis Sings (1967)

The box then adds:

  • Broadway (a “lost” album largely consisting entirely of previously unreleased covers of classic Broadway showtunes, recorded 1964-1965 and first released in 2012 by Real Gone Music as part of Real Gone’s landmark series of first-time Global reissues); and
  • The Global Singles and Unreleased (2 CDs and 28 tracks: non-album singles and unreleased songs)!

After the jump, we have much, much more on The Complete Global Albums Collection including the track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 15, 2014 at 16:07

Rocky Mountain High: Legacy Remembers John Denver With New Box Set

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John Denver - All of My MemoriesRandy Sparks was right. ”Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.” likely wouldn’t have commanded attention on a marquee. “John Denver” would – and did. The beloved troubadour, who perished in 1997 at just 53, took the advice of the New Christy Minstrels’ leader. Choosing a new name from his favorite state, which he would immortalize numerous times in song, Denver went on to a career encompassing seven multi-platinum, thirteen platinum and 20 gold albums. During that sadly-curtailed career, he also penned some of the most beloved and indelible works in the canon of American song: “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High.” On November 4, RCA Records and Legacy Recordings will celebrate the enduring music of John Denver on a new 4-CD career spanning anthology, All of My Memories: The John Denver Collection.

All of My Memories chronicles the two-time Grammy Award winner’s career from 1964 to 1997 over the course of 90 songs recorded between 1964 and 1997 by Denver solo, as member of The Chad Mitchell Trio, and with duet partners including Emmylou Harris, Olivia Newton-John, Placido Domingo, Sylvie Vartan, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and that inimitable song stylist, Miss Piggy! With his boyish good looks, gentle voice and enthusiasm for music and nature, Denver was one of the preeminent pop voices of the 1970s, incorporating folk and country influences into his popular material. He charted more than 40 Billboard Hot 100, AC and Country songs from 1971 to 1988, and this box set features a number of them alongside key album tracks, live performances, and rarities including promotional-only and privately-pressed tracks. In addition, six songs make their first appearances anywhere on this set:

  • Cover versions of “The Road” and “Far Side Of The Hill,” both demos recorded for Capitol Records in Hollywood, 1964, prior to Denver’s tenure with the Mitchell Trio;
  • “Rhymes And Reasons,” an original composition cut in early ’69 for Reprise Records, re-recorded as the title track of Denver’s RCA debut later that year;
  • “Spirit,” first recorded on 1975’s Windsong LP, as recorded live at the Sydney Opera House in 1977, but not included on the 1999 concert album release;
  • An alternate take of “Eli’s Song” from 1976 with a lyric described by the record label as “prophetic”: “See the airplane fly, see the trees rush by/ Be brave and strong when you hurt yourself/ Don’t you have a worry in the world…”; and
  • An alternate version of the vintage tune “It’s A Sin to Tell a Lie” from 1973. Denver’s mother’s favorite song, he famously performed it on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show one year earlier.

Many of Denver’s own compositions are, naturally, featured alongside tracks composed by Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert (who co-wrote “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “I Guess He’d Rather Be In Colorado”), Buddy Holly (“Everyday”), John Prine (“Blow Up Your TV (Spanish Pipe Dream)”), Joe Henry, and others.

After the jump, we have more details on this set from the onetime Poet Laureate of Colorado, including the complete track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 15, 2014 at 10:15

Release Round-Up: Week of September 9

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Beatles in Mono box front

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

Here it is – a massive white box filled with 14 newly-remastered vinyl LPs from the Fab Four, all in original mono – just the way the boys intended all those years ago!

Midnight Special Box Set

The Midnight Special various editions (StarVista/Time Life)

Deluxe 11-DVD Box Set: StarVista

6-DVD Set: Amazon U.S.

1-DVD: Amazon U.S.

The groundbreaking late-night music show is celebrated on a variety of releases featuring live performances from a galaxy of seventies superstars!

Queen Live At The Rainbow 74

Queen, Live at the Rainbow ’74 various formats (Virgin/Hollywood)

1CD: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S. (TBD)
2CD: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
DVD: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
Blu-ray: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
CD/Blu-ray: Amazon U.K. (TBD) / Amazon U.S. 
2LP: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S. (TBD)
4LP: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
2CD/DVD/Blu-ray: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.

Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor stormed London’s Rainbow Theatre forty years ago for concerts in March and November ’74; now, these pivotal concerts have been released in a variety of audio and video formats!

Super Session SACD

Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills, Super Session SACD (Audio Fidelity) (Amazon U.S.)

Al Kooper’s long-awaited 5.1 mix of this quintessential jam record is finally here on hybrid SACD, courtesy Audio Fidelity!

Seeds - Singles

The Seeds, Singles As and Bs 1965-1970 (Ace/Big Beat) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

This release marks the culmination of Big Beat’s Seeds reissue series – a 24-track anthology of every A and B side released by the band for GNP Crescendo and MGM including the Top 40 nugget “Pushin’ Too Hard” (which is also presented in its original, unedited form as a bonus track).  Most of these tracks have never appeared on CD in these versions, all sourced from original single masters!

Ringo

JL Icon

Ringo Starr, ICON / John Lennon, ICON (Capitol/UMe)

Two Fabs headline this month’s batch of budget-priced 11-song ICON compilations – also including entries from Iggy Pop, The Ohio Players, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Slaughter, and Chante Moore.  The Ringo comp, on the Apple/Capitol label, is a fun one for completists, with a couple of recent, rarely-anthologized tracks (“Walk with You” with Macca, “King of Broken Hearts” with George Harrison) along with the expected hits and a live version of “Yellow Submarine.”  The Lennon title lacks some big hits (“Whatever Gets You Through the Night,” “Woman”) but both titles have new remastering credits.

Ringo Starr: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

John Lennon: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Ian Matthews - Stealin Home

Iain Matthews, Stealin’ Home (Omnivore) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Omnivore gives a lavish expansion to the 1978 breakthrough LP from Iain Matthews (Fairport Convention, Matthews Southern Comfort), adding a 9-track live concert set previously available only in Japan!  Stealin’ Home features an eclectic tunestack ranging from John Martyn to Rodgers and Hammerstein, all filtered through Matthews’ folk, rock and pop sensibilities – plus new liner notes, rare photos and more!

GD - Wake Up

Grateful Dead, Wake Up To Find Out: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY 3/29/1990 (Rhino) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Rhino revisits the Dead’s memorable 1990 show – featuring saxophone great Branford Marsalis sitting in – on a new 3-CD set!

Don't Make Me Over

Treat Me Nice

Various Artists, Don’t Make Me Over: The Songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David / Treat Me Nice: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller (Jasmine)

Bacharach and David: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Leiber and Stoller: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

In case you missed them: U.K. public domain label Jasmine has a couple of packed 2-disc sets drawing on pre-1963 recordings from two legendary songwriting teams.  The Bacharach and David set includes songs from the duo separately and together for a total of 60 tracks by artists including Dionne Warwick, Gene Pitney, The Shirelles, Johnny Mathis, Don Gibson and Sarah Vaughan.  The Leiber and Stoller package has 64 songs from Elvis Presley, Jay and the Americans, The Coasters, The Isley Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis.  Both sets contain new liner notes and track listings with discographical annotation.

Movie Stars Sing

U.K. PD label Sepia has another quartet of vintage releases with many tracks and albums making their first appearances on CD.  The label has a two-fer of arranger Don Costa’s orchestral LPs Theme from ‘The Unforgiven’ and Hollywood Premiere featuring Costa-ized versions of popular movie themes.  Lawrence Welk’s Last Date is two-fered with the bandleader’s Moon River; the first LP features pop hits and the second collects Broadway and Hollywood themes.  A third two-fer comes from the great Bobby Troup.  Do-Re-Mi features Troup singing his own compositions such as the inevitable “Route 66,” while Here s To My Lady features standards like “That’s All” and “The Nearness Of You.”  Lastly, Sepia offers Movie Stars Sing!, collecting rare sides from expected (Julie Andrews, Rita Moreno) and unexpected stars (Mae West, Bette Davis) from Hollywood’s Golden Age!

Don Costa, Theme from ‘The Unforgiven’ / Hollywood Premiere : Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Bobby Troup, Do-Re-Mi / Here’s to My Lady: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Lawrence Welk, Last Date / Moon River : Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Movie Stars Sing! : Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Written by Joe Marchese

September 9, 2014 at 08:59

It’s Gotta Be Rock and Roll Music: Bear Family Unveils Ultimate 16-CD Chuck Berry Box Set

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Chuck Berry - Rock and Roll Music

This fall, Bear Family Records is releasing the ultimate tribute to perhaps the ultimate rock and roll artist. On October 17, the label will unveil Chuck Berry’s Rock and Roll Music – Any Old Way You Choose It – The Complete Studio Recordings Plus! –and its title isn’t the only mammoth thing about it. The 16-CD box set is even lavish by Bear Family’s gold standard, containing within its 28 x 28 x 6 cm clothbound box every single and LP track recorded in the studio by Chuck Berry, starting with a rare pre-Chess single with Joe Alexander from 1954 and continuing with:

  • All of Berry’s Chess singles and album cuts from 1955 to 1966 and from 1969 to 1974;
  • All of his Mercury recordings from 1966-1969, and lone Atco album from 1979;
  • Every surviving alternate take;
  • Bonus live recordings from 1956 to 1972 including BBC performances;
  • Two hardcover books totaling 356 pages and including an exclusive introduction by Sir Paul McCartney!

All of Berry’s classics, needless to say, are here – some in multiple versions – on this set containing over 21 hours of music and 20 full studio albums. When assessing the single-disc anthology The Great Twenty-Eight back in 2011, I wrote, “’Maybellene,’ ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ ‘Rock and Roll Music,’ ‘Sweet Little Sixteen,’ ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ ‘No Particular Place to Go.’ If you ever have to explain rock and roll to an alien, you might as well hand the little green man a copy of The Great Twenty-Eight and go to town. The otherworldly creature would get it right away!” Indeed, Berry played an almost incalculable role in developing rock-and-roll, from its sound to its lyrical content to its style. Ironically, his sole No. 1 hit was “My Ding-a-Ling” – a double entendre-laden Dave Bartholomew novelty that’s hardly worthy of his legend.

This massive box goes even further than Hip-o Select’s acclaimed three-volume series which presented Berry’s complete Chess recordings by continuing the Kennedy Center Honoree and first class Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s story with his Mercury and Atco recordings. 1979’s Rock It, for Atco, remains Berry’s last studio album to date, but the 87-years young rocker still performs one Wednesday each month at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant and bar in St. Louis, Missouri.

Bear Family’s Rock and Roll Music tells the Chuck Berry story in words and music. The label explains, “Expatriate British photographer Bill Greensmith lives in St. Louis and a few years back he found the photo archive of Chuck Berry’s uncle, Harry Davis. Included are many previously unseen images of Chuck performing in St. Louis and hanging out with friends and family. In these images, Chuck is unguarded and relaxed. We also see him performing at blues nightspots in and around St. Louis before he was famous. These photos, included with this set in a high quality 104-page hardbound book, will open your eyes to Chuck Berry as you’ve never seen him.” The Bear team adds, “Plus, there’s a second 252-page hardbound book with a definitive essay from Chuck’s biographer, Bruce Pegg, additional texts by Mike Snow and Roger Fairhurst, a comprehensive discography by Fred Rothwell, [and] hundreds of published and unpublished photos, including several images made by respected French photographer Jean-Marie Perrier in 1964.”

We have more details, including the full track listing, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 8, 2014 at 11:15

High Time: Henry Mancini’s Film Music Celebrated On 9-CD, 18-Score Box Set

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Henry Mancini - Classic CollectionIt’s been a good year to be a fan of Henry Mancini. And it’s about to get even better!

The career of the composer, arranger and conductor – the rare artist for whom the word “legendary” is not only apt, but perhaps an understatement – has been recognized on disc in 2014 by labels including Varese Vintage, Vocalion, Intrada and Sony’s Legacy Recordings. Legacy previously marked the 50th anniversary of Mancini’s iconic music of The Pink Panther with a limited edition pink vinyl release for Record Store Day (this author’s top RSD pick!), and promised the release of a deluxe box set culled from Mancini’s long association with RCA Records and beyond. That box set has just been announced, continuing the celebration of what would have been the maestro’s 90th year. The Classic Soundtrack Collection, scheduled for November 19, features 18 of Mancini’s seminal soundtrack albums for RCA, Columbia and Epic Records on nine CDs, spanning the period between 1960’s High Time and 1978’s Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (That latter soundtrack received its first-ever CD reissue earlier this year from Varese.) Even better, bonus material – including Julie Andrews’ previously unreleased vocal version of “Nothing to Lose” from 1968’s The Party and songs from Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis – has been appended.

While eschewing Mancini’s television scores like Peter Gunn and Mr. Lucky as well as his numerous pop albums for RCA, The Classic Soundtrack Collection is the most comprehensive overview yet of the composer’s vintage scores. Many of Mancini’s most beloved themes can be heard here (“Moon River,” “Charade,” “Baby Elephant Walk,” “The Pink Panther”), and for many years, these soundtracks were the only available audio presentations of these scores. Mancini re-recorded his classic music for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, The Pink Panther and more in frequently swinging, pop-friendly LP packages that achieved incredible popularity in the 1960s; only in recent years have a number of his true original film soundtracks (including Tiffany’s, Charade and Hatari!) seen release. Mancini’s lyricists on these many albums include Johnny Mercer, Leslie Bricusse, Rod McKuen and Don Black.

In his career, Mancini received 20 Grammy Awards and four Academy Awards. A master of cinematic scoring, he could turn out expert work for thrillers, romances, dramas, adventures, noirs, westerns, and even science-fiction pictures. In fact, you’ll hear many of those styles on this box set, all filtered through Mancini’s melodic sensibility. But the idiom most associated with Mancini may be comedy. A full ten scores here represent the roughly 35-year collaboration between Henry Mancini and director-screenwriter Blake Edwards. The partnership of the versatile composer and the comic master endured until Mancini’s death. These soundtracks include all-time classics such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Pink Panther, of course, but also the crime adventure Gunn (based on Peter Gunn), the zany Peter Sellers vehicle The Party, the Bing Crosby-starring college romp High Time, and the ambitious musical Darling Lili. The latter film, starring Edwards’ wife Julie Andrews, threatened to derail the Mancini/Edwards team, but the two men were far too in tune to let their collaboration languish for too long. For one of the most unusual works from the Edwards/Mancini team, look no further than the chilling Experiment in Terror. Its vivid score – filled with Mancini’s trademark sixties lounge sound yet with an undercurrent of tension – is included here in its RCA album presentation.

What can you expect to find on this new set? Hit the jump for a full list of included albums, complete rundown of the bonus material, and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 5, 2014 at 13:41

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