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Archive for the ‘Box Sets’ Category

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

Rhino Makes Magic: New Box Set Features Remastered and Expanded Albums From Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band

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Beefheart - Sun Zoom SparkOn November 11, Rhino Records will celebrate the music of avant-garde iconoclast Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, with a new four-CD box set.  SUN ZOOM SPARK: 1970 to1972 focuses on the period following the release of his career-defining 1969 album Trout Mask Replica.  During that creatively fertile patch, Beefheart released three albums that have long lingered in the shadow of Trout Mask and even of Beefheart’s Richard Perry-produced debut Safe as MilkSUN ZOOM SPARK revisits these three albums – Lick My Decals Off, Baby, The Spotlight Kid, and Clear Spot- in freshly remastered editions, and adds a fourth disc containing fourteen previously unreleased outtakes and alternates from Beefheart and his Magic Band cohorts.  The limited edition box set will be available in CD, vinyl and digital formats.

Recorded in summer 1970 for frequent Beefheart collaborator and sparring partner Frank Zappa’s Straight label in summer 1970, Lick My Decals Off, Baby was released later that year.  Regarded as one of the good Captain’s personal favorites of his recordings, the title referred to his desire to see objects for their merits rather than according to labels (or “decals”) placed upon them.  Beefheart was joined by Bill Harkleroad on guitar, Mark Boston on bass, Art Tripp on percussion, and John French on drums.  Decals continued on Beefheart’s experimental path fusing psychedelia, blues, rock and jazz-style freeform improvisation.

Decals was followed by The Spotlight Kid, which was recorded at Los Angeles’ Record Plant during the summer of 1971 and issued in early 1972 on Reprise. The only album credited solely to Captain Beefheart rather than with his Magic Band, it features Harkleroad, Boston, French and Tripp, plus Elliot Ingber on guitar and drummer Rhys Clark (on one track).  Produced again by Van Vliet, this time in collaboration with Phil Schier, the album featured slower, simpler compositions, perhaps in pursuit of a (slightly) more commercial blues-rock sound.

The third album in this collection, Clear Spot, was recorded in summer 1972 and released that autumn.  Produced by Van Vliet with Ted Templeman (Harpers Bizarre, The Doobie Brothers), Clear Spot might have been his most accessible album yet with succinct and even somewhat conventional tracks including love songs (to a fashion), soulful ballads and driving rock and roll.  Harkleroad, Boston and Tripp all played on the album along with onetime Mother of Invention and Little Feat founding member Roy Estrada.

The fourth and final disc in SUN ZOOM SPARK premieres 14 previously unreleased tracks drawn from the sessions for The Spotlight Kid and Clear Spot.   It traces the evolution of the recordings, with the press release noting among the highlights a sung version of “I Can’t Do This Unless I Can Do This/Seam Crooked Sam,” which became a spoken-word performance on 1978’s Bat Chain Puller; an early version of “Dirty Blue Gene” that pointed the way to the final version on 1980’s Doc at the Radar Station; and an embryonic instrumental rehearsal of “The Witch Doctor Life,” completed for 1982’s Ice Cream For Crow.

After the jump, check out pre-order links and the complete track listing for all of the magic you’ll find on SUN ZOOM SPARK! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 4, 2014 at 13:04

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

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