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Archive for the ‘Compilations’ Category

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

Golden Years: “Nothing Has Changed” Compiles 50 Years of David Bowie’s Best, Plus New Song

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Bowie - Nothing Has Changed Promo ArtLess than a month ago, we reported on the upcoming reissue of David Bowie’s Sound and Vision, the box set covering the artist’s career from 1969 to 1997.  Today, Bowie’s official website has confirmed the November 18 release of NOTHING HAS CHANGED, an all-new career-spanning retrospective which for the first time collects music from the entirety of his 50-year career: 1964 to 2014.  In the U.K., this package – available in 2-CD, 3-CD and 2-LP configurations – will arrive from Parlophone; in the U.S., the label is Columbia/Legacy.

To sweeten the pot, NOTHING HAS CHANGED will feature the first new music from Bowie since his critically-lauded 2013 album The Next DayHis new single “Sue (or In a Season of Crime)” was recorded with longtime producer/collaborator Tony Visconti specifically for this project.  It will also be featured (along with a never-before-heard B-side, “‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore”) on a special Record Store Day vinyl release set for the annual Black Friday RSD event on November 28; this 1o-inch release will be available at general retail in the U.K.!

“Sue” isn’t the only previously unissued music on NOTHING HAS CHANGED.  The set will also premiere the 2001 versions of 1967’s “Let Me Sleep Beside You” and 1971’s “Shadow Man,” both reportedly from sessions related to the as-yet-unreleased album Toy.  The download-only track “Your Turn to Drive,” from that same album/period, makes its CD debut on NOTHING HAS CHANGED.  (The official press release confirms “Let Me Sleep Beside You” as a part of Toy but oddly, not the other two tracks.)

The 3-CD version of NOTHING HAS CHANGED (which takes its name from “Sunday,” from the album Heathen) is arranged in reverse chronological order, while the truncated 2-CD edition (which begins with 1969’s “Space Oddity,” dropping five earlier songs) is presented chronologically.  The 2-LP set jumps around, beginning with “Let’s Dance” (1983) and ending with “Where Are We Now” (2013).  A number of remixes and edits are included on the anthology, further distinguishing the set from a standard “best-of.”  (Alas, “The Laughing Gnome” is absent from all iterations!)  Mix variations also occur between the various editions such as on “Young Americans.”

After the jump, we have more on this new retrospective, plus the complete track listing for all three editions! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 9, 2014 at 13:07

Starbucks Serves Up Cocktails with Mel, Serge and Judy, and Folk with Nick, Sandy and Eliza

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Fall apparently wasn’t arriving early enough for the folks at Starbucks, so the international coffee giant moved it up – to this past August 25 – with the early arrival of its familiar fall drinks. But when ordering up that pumpkin spice latte, you might want to check out two recent musical offerings, both curated with the Starbucks Entertainment label’s customary care.

The simply-titled British Folk emphasizes the current crop of troubadours who currently follow in the footsteps of Nick Drake and Sandy Denny, both of whom are represented here with “Hazey Jane” and “Listen, Listen,” respectively. The British folk revival of the late 1960s – which also encompassed artists like Davy Graham, Martin Carthy and John Martyn, and groups such as Pentangle and Fairport Convention – clearly inspired the young singers on British Folk. Yet the compilation incorporates many sounds and styles, some more indebted to the rock side of folk-rock but all rooted in the love of traditional, acoustic music.

Modern spins on folk come from Stokes, William’s “In/Of the World,” Beth Orton’s “Call Me the Breeze” and Eliza Carthy (daughter of folk heroes Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson)’s “Train Song.” Johnny Flynn is heard twice, once with Laura Marling on “The Water” and once solo with “Lost and Found.” Sam Lee rearranges a traditional tune with “Goodbye, My Darling,” and Kat Flint offers a striking political comment with the bitterly ironic “Christopher, You’re a Solider Now.” British-American band Treetop Flyers’ 2013 “Things Will Change” taps into the strains of both countries’ folk-rock styles. The late Drake and Denny’s contributions still sound fresh within the context of these musicians who followed them.

After the jump: take a little time to enjoy a swingin’ Cocktail Hour with many famous names – plus we have track listings for both albums! Read the rest of this entry »

Ace Soul Round-Up, Part One: Label Unveils Lost Treasures From Sounds of Memphis, Mary Love

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More Lost Soul GemsWhen it comes to vintage soul, no stone is left unturned by the team at Ace and Kent Records.  A number of recent releases hit points from Miami to Memphis, and just about everywhere in between.  In today’s Part One of our Ace Soul Round-Up, we’ll look at releases from the Sounds of Memphis label and vocalist Mary Love!

Memphis is a long way from Hollywood, but the famous MGM lion adorned the releases of the Sounds of Memphis label, subject of Kent’s new More Lost Soul Gems from Sounds of Memphis.  The SOM story began in the early 1960s with entrepreneur Gene Lucchesi, whose family of independent labels struck gold in 1965 with a little song called “Wooly Bully.”  The Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs track caught the attention of the Hollywood giant, who picked the record up and guided it straight to the top of the charts.  Within the next couple of years, the massive success of the danceable garage-rocker had paid for Lucchesi’s Sounds of Memphis studio.  Top quality soul sounds were de rigeur for the studio; its house band was even lured away by Atlantic’s Jerry Wexler to become The Dixie Flyers.  Lucchesi’s studio right-hand man Stan Kesler used SOM as a home base for outside productions, and Lucchesi brought Dan Greer on board as the in-house producer and A&R man.    When Lucchesi and MGM entered into a deal in the early 1970s to team up, the Sounds of Memphis label took flight with releases from The Minits, Barbara Brown, the Ovations, Spencer Wiggins, and others.  When SOM and MGM went their separate ways, the label continued to issue smoldering southern soul from George Jackson, Billy Cee and The Ovations.

More Lost Soul Gems continues Kent’s definitive series reissuing (and in many cases, issuing for the first time) music from Lucchesi’s labels including XL and Sounds of Memphis.  Of its 22 tracks, all but four are previously unissued.  Those four tracks, of course, are genuine rarities: both sides of Carroll Lloyd’s Memphis-recorded single released on Capitol’s Tower subsidiary including a bluesy cover of Johnny Rivers’ chart-topping “Poor Side of Town”; Tommy Raye (later Tommy Tucker)’ s “You Don’t Love Me” as released on XL 101 in 1964; and Willie Cobbs’ 1973 “Hey Little Girl” from the Bracob label. The unreleased material – all recorded in the 1960s and 1970s – includes tracks from George Jackson and the group he produced, The Jacksonians (named for their hometown, not for George, on the Marvin and Tammi classic “If I Could Build My World Around You”), as well as Dan Greer, Stax and Hi veteran keyboardist Art Jerry Miller, and Barbara and the Browns (like George Jackson, subject of their own SOM anthology).  Billy Cee and the Freedom Express’ “Don’t Matter if It’s in the Past” is an Al Green-esque find.  The Donald O’Connor here is, of course, not the MGM star of days gone by, but a soulful singer with “You Don’t Understand Me.”  Dean Rudland has compiled and annotated this collection of deep soul treasures, which has been remastered by Duncan Cowell and includes a 12-page booklet.

After the jump: the scoop on Mary Love, plus track listings and order links for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 28, 2014 at 10:21

Look Through Any Window: The Hollies Mark “50 At Fifty” For Golden Anniversary

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Hollies - 50 at FiftyThe rich harmonies of 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Hollies will be celebrated by the Parlophone label on September 22 in the U.K. and October 21 in the U.S. with the release of 50 at Fifty, a new 3-CD career-spanning anthology of 50 songs originally released between 1963 and the present day (including one previously unissued recording).

The new anthology, officially announced on The Hollies’ website, includes material from the band’s various lineups as originally released on the Parlophone, Polydor, EMI, WEA and Columbia labels. The first disc handily chronicles the band’s classic line-up of Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Bobby Elliott and Tony Hicks with bassists Eric Haydock and Bernie Calvert, with the remaining two CDs spotlighting the important contributions of future Hollies like Terry Sylvester and Mikael Rickfors. The collection kicks off with every one of the group’s U.K. A-sides between 1963’s debut single “(Ain’t That) Just Like Me” and 1974’s “The Air That I Breathe” save one: 1966’s quirky Burt Bacharach/Hal David film theme “After the Fox,” a duet with Peter Sellers released on the United Artists label. The first six A-sides are presented in mono; every other track on this set is in stereo.

“The Air That I Breathe” was the band’s final U.K. Top 10 hit until 1988, when the reissued “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” reached the chart’s zenith. So from that point on, 50 at 50 offers a selection of key A-sides, flips, live versions and album tracks including a 1976 live performance of “Too Young to Be Married,” Tony Hicks’ hit which wasn’t even released as a single in the U.K.; the reunion single “Stop! In the Name of Love” with Graham Nash and its comparatively rare New Zealand B-side “Let Her Go Down”; tracks from two recent albums featuring current (since 2004) lead vocalist Peter Howarth; and one brand new song, “Skylarks.”

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

Written by Joe Marchese

August 27, 2014 at 13:58

Review: Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, “Riding Your Way: The Lost Transcriptions for Tiffany Music 1946-1947″

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Bob Wills - Tiffany Transcriptions“Pull another chair at the table,” comes the invitation that opens Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys’ Riding Your Way, the new deluxe 2-CD set from Real Gone Music (RGM-0244). “Make room in your heart for a friend,” goes the second song on this collection featuring 50 of the never-before-released Lost Transcriptions for Tiffany Music circa 1946-1947. You’ll want to pull up that chair, and make room for Wills, with this remarkable (and remarkably entertaining) historical find filled with good, old-fashioned cowboy music. Real Gone has given the royal treatment to the King of Western Swing.

Songwriter, fiddler and bandleader Bob Wills carved out his niche in the realm of western swing, playing the music before it even had a name and continuing to do so until his death in 1975. Wills and his band The Texas Playboys flourished in the era of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Sammy Kaye, Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. They fused acoustic and electric country-and-western guitars, fiddle and banjo with prominent steel guitar, drums, piano, horns and reeds to create music that combined the excitement of urbane big-band with the rural, downhome charm of country and folk – and above all, was danceable.

1940’s “New San Antonio Rose,” written by Wills, propelled his group to widespread fame.   A recording by Bing Crosby – onetime band singer for Paul Whiteman – sold over one million copies. Wills and the Playboys travelled to Hollywood to star in films like Take Me Back to Oklahoma opposite singing cowboy Tex Ritter, and challenged conventions by bringing horns and drums onto the hallowed stage of the Grand Ole Opry. In 1946 and 1947, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys recorded almost 400 full songs for Tiffany Music, Inc., a body of work that came to be known simply as “the Tiffany Transcriptions.” (Wills was a partner in Tiffany Music.) These recordings were distributed only to radio stations on 16-inch transcription discs, intended for airplay as part of a syndicated radio program featuring Wills and his band.

Recorded by the busy band on Mondays in between tour stops, these recordings consisted of largely on-the-spot arrangements of a wide variety of material from familiar Wills hits to standards, ballads, blues and swing instrumentals. In addition, the 16-inch, 33 1/3 rpm recording format allowed the arrangements room to breathe beyond the standard, three-minute limitation of the era’s typical 10-inch, 78 rpm commercial records. Many of these “Tiffany Transcriptions” were uncovered over the years. Vinyl LPs arrived from the Kaleidoscope label, followed by CDs from Kaleidoscope and Rhino. Then, all of the material on those discs was released in box set form by Collectors’ Choice Music in 2009. The 10-disc box, the label’s first, has since become so rare that a second-hand copy can’t even be found on the usually-redoubtable Amazon.com!

Before 2014, however, less than half of Wills’ transcriptions had been released. For Record Store Day 2014, producers Gordon Anderson, Patrick Milligan and Mike Johnson unveiled a limited-edition EP with ten never-before-released sides – yes, its tracks were never even pressed on transcription discs! Six of those songs appear on Riding Your Way, plus 44 more, drawn from thirteen sessions in 1946 and 1947. (Four songs remain exclusive to the EP, at least for now.) All are sequenced chronologically and grouped by session, with the sessions having taken place between March 25, 1946 and December 30, 1947.

Swing along with us after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 26, 2014 at 10:38

Posted in Bob Wills, Compilations, News, Reviews

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Turn It On Again: New Genesis Anthology Features Greatest Hits, Solo Tracks From Collins, Gabriel, More

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Genesis - R-Kive

Earlier this year, the BBC confirmed plans for the feature-length documentary film Genesis – Together and Apart, chronicling the ups and downs of the 2010 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.  On the heels of that project which featured the cooperation of Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett, Rhino (for North America) and Universal (for the rest of the world) have announced the September release of R-Kive, a 3-CD collection continuing the “together and apart” theme.  R-Kive will present a selection of Genesis’ greatest cuts alongside solo and band tracks from each member.  If you were ever looking for one compilation with “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” alongside “Easy Lover,” this is the release for you.

R-Kive is culled from a 42-year period (1970-2012) in which the members of Genesis racked up 14 No. 1 albums in the U.K. alone, and some 300 million records sold worldwide.  The chronologically-sequenced anthology is the first to combine band and solo tracks, but the third overall for the band following 1999’s Turn It on Again: The Hits (reissued and expanded in 2007) and 2004’s three-disc Platinum Collection.  (Mention should also be made of Starbucks’ career-spanning Opus Collection volume, 14 from Our Past, which arrived in 2007 to coincide with the Banks/Collins/Rutherford reunion tour.)  It surveys the band’s entire prog-to-pop journey.

In addition to 22 songs pulled from all of Genesis’ studio albums, each member is represented with three “side” tracks.  From Collins, you’ll hear the hit Philip Bailey duet “Easy Lover” plus “In the Air Tonight” and more surprisingly, “Wake Up Call” from 2002’s Testify.  Gabriel’s solo catalogue has yielded “Solsbury Hill” plus “Biko” and “Signal to Noise.”  Hackett is represented with “Ace of Wands” (1975), “Every Day” (1979) and “Nomads” (2009); Banks with “For a While” (1975), “Red Day on Blue Street” (1991) and the collection’s most recent track, “Siren” (2012); and Rutherford with three songs from Mike and the Mechanics: “Silent Running,” “The Living Years” and “Over My Shoulder.”

Hit the jump for more details including the complete track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 25, 2014 at 11:25

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