Archive for the ‘Diana Ross’ Category
Diana Ross is well-known as the Queen of Motown, but for real record geeks and catalogue enthusiasts, it’s her post-Motown works – released in the U.S. on RCA Records and on Capitol/EMI worldwide – that deserves a revisitation, thanks to its high energy dance grooves supplied by several very famous collaborators. This fall, Funkytowngrooves is doing what Diana’s fans have wanted for years: remastering and expanding her six albums from 1981 to 1987 for the first time ever.
After two decades with the famed Detroit label, as a member of The Supremes and an increasingly popular solo starlet and actress, Ross left Motown on a high note with 1980′s diana, featuring backing and production from CHIC founders Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. (The duo were initially slated to produce her first RCA effort, but bowed out due to other commitments.) With a $20 million dollar deal in hand, Ross’ first effort was a modest dance record, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, anchored by the title track (a cover of Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers’ immortal doo-wop classic), a new solo version of “Endless Love” (her No. 1 duet with Lionel Richie) and “Work That Body,” co-written with Donna Summer collaborator Paul Jabara and noted session man Ray Chew. (The latter was a Top 10 U.K. hit.) “Muscles,” off of follow-up Silk Electric (1982), was another Top 10 hit, one written and produced by Michael Jackson right before Thriller took off. (Muscles was the name of his pet boa constrictor.)
1983′s Ross saw production duties divided between Ross, Steely Dan producer Gary Katz and Ray Parker Jr., a year before “Ghostbusters.” Swept Away, issued a year later, was an all-star affair, boasting production, vocals and songwriting from Lionel Richie (“Missing You”), Bernard Edwards (“Telephone”) Daryl Hall and Arthur Baker (“Swept Away”) and Julio Iglesias (“All of You”). Eaten Alive, from 1985, boasted near full writing and production from the Bee Gees (Michael Jackson returned to write the killer chorus to the title track alongside the Gibbs’ verses). Her final effort for RCA, Red Hot Rhythm and Blues (1987), was a considerably greater success in Europe than the U.S., as evidenced by the heavy presence of single mixes on the EMI label as well as several tracks that didn’t make the album Stateside. In 1989, she rejoined Motown with the Nile Rodgers-produced Workin’ Overtime.
Funkytowngrooves has remastered all six of these underrated albums with the help of Sean Brennan at Battery Studios. All will feature single mixes and/or B-sides as bonus tracks (including all U.S. and U.K. mixes for Red Hot and one unreleased outtake); the first three albums are single-disc presentations while the latter three are double-disc sets. The label has opened up discounted pre-orders on their site, anticipating to receive their stock for September 29; after that date, the price will go back to normal and will be open to buy through Amazon.
Now looks the time to get in on this exciting set of releases by one of soul music’s most beloved divas. Hit the jump for specs and links!
Pull back up to the bumper with a generously expanded version of the almighty Jones’ most beloved album.
Diana Ross & The Supremes, Sing and Perform Funny Girl: Expanded Edition (Motown Select)
A digital-only expansion of The Supremes’ 1968 album of the Jule Styne-Bob Merrill musical, featuring the original LP alongside a brand-new remix and a pair of live cuts. (Amazon U.S.)
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, Riding Your Way — The Lost Transcriptions for Tiffany Music, 1946-1947 / Vanilla Fudge, The Complete ATCO Singles / Rick Wakeman, White Rock / X, Under the Big Black Sun: Expanded & Remastered Edition / Cannonball Adderley, The Black Messiah
The latest Real Gone slate is quite the eclectic one! Read all about it here.
Rush, Rush: ReDISCovered Box Set (Mercury/UMe)
The neo-blues vocalist’s breakthrough album, featuring stirring interpretations of tracks by Robert Johnson, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and others, is reissued with three unreleased live tracks. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
The ’80s dance diva’s second and third albums are expanded as two-disc sets with plenty of rare and unreleased remixes and B-sides, plus an all-new remastering for each original album.
Now Sounds presents the Chicago band’s 1967 sunshine pop-flavored album for the first time on CD in mono, adding a plethora of bonus tracks! Joe’s full review is coming soon! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Joe’s full writes-ups on three more Salsoul/BBR reissues are coming soon!
- Fanny Brice, Funny Girl
Back in 2012, while reviewing Hip-o Select’s splendidly expanded edition of The Supremes at the Copa, I wrote of the “altogether enjoyable [and] still inexplicably not on CD” album The Supremes Sing and Perform Funny Girl. Indeed, that 1968 LP, featuring Motown’s greatest stars tackling the showstoppers from Jule Styne and Bob Merrill’s score, has long been one of the rarest and most-requested titles in the Supremes discography. Yet Funny Girl has remained unavailable throughout the entirety of the compact disc era…until now. The good news is that the long-awaited reissue will arrive in lavishly expanded form, with twelve bonus tracks, on April 29. But with every parade must come some rain: this deluxe edition of Diana Ross and the Supremes Sing and Perform Funny Girl is currently only scheduled for release as a digital download. It will appear the same day that the 50th anniversary of the Broadway production of the musical is celebrated with a new CD/LP box set of its original cast recording from Capitol Records, sister imprint of Motown Select within Universal Music Enterprises (UMe).
The eight-time Tony-nominated musical by librettist Isobel Lennart, composer Styne and lyricist Merrill opened in March 1964 at New York’s Winter Garden Theatre, sealing the deal on superstardom for its leading lady, Barbra Streisand. Streisand’s tour de force as Ziegfeld Follies comedienne Fanny Brice became the stuff of legend, and Styne and Merrill’s score yielded the near-instant standards “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and, of course, “People.” Funny Girl didn’t go unnoticed by Motown chief Berry Gordy. In concert, Diana Ross rendered the sweetly upbeat “I Am Woman (You Are Man)” to coquettish perfection while Florence Ballard belted the dramatic “People” from the heart.
It wasn’t unusual for The Supremes to switch gears back and forth between Holland-Dozier-Holland’s explosive Top 40 R&B and classic Broadway and standard repertoire. It was all part of Berry Gordy’s plan to make his artists true stars, appealing to the affluent supper club set as well as the teenagers buying the latest 45s. In early 1965, The Supremes began work on There’s a Place for Us, so named for Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story lyric to “Somewhere,” for which they recorded both “People” and “I Am Woman.” That summer, Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard made their debut at the Copacabana, singing live many of the songs they had recorded for There’s a Place for Us. With the release of The Supremes at the Copa, the studio album was shelved, eventually arriving on CD in 2004. Other Broadway-themed Supremes recordings were made, however, some even with Holland-Dozier-Holland at the helm. 1967’s The Supremes Sing Rodgers and Hart, produced by Berry Gordy and arranger Gil Askey, reached back to the Broadway of decades before Funny Girl.
In 1968, however, Gordy and Askey had good reason to turn their attention back to the Styne and Merrill musical. Its big-screen adaptation was arriving from Columbia Pictures; Streisand would win an Oscar for reprising her role as Fanny. Hitting record stores on August 26, 1968 (other sources say May) in advance of the movie’s September 19 release, Diana Ross and the Supremes Sing and Perform Funny Girl – performed by the new line-up of Diana, Mary and Cindy Birdsong – included nine Styne and Merrill songs (eight from the stage score and the movie’s title song) plus “My Man,” a signature song of Brice’s that was replaced in the stage score by the ravishing “The Music That Makes Me Dance.” (The movie featured “My Man” instead of “Music,” but Diana and the girls did both!) The Supremes promoted the album with a medley on The Ed Sullivan Show, and even Jule Styne gave his stamp of approval to the project by writing an adoring, appreciative note for the sleeve. The great composer (Gypsy, Bells Are Ringing) observed, “Although the girls are young and new and part of the now world, they have always showed great respect towards composers Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin (and now Jule Styne). Thank God. They are always aware of what’s new by their appreciation of the sounds of Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb, etc. What Diana Ross does…is something else again. If I sound excited, I am…My life is now complete. From Frank Sinatra, to Barbra Streisand, to Diana Ross and the Supremes. What a parlay!”
Despite the enormous success of the motion picture, the Supremes’ Funny Girl album only reached No. 150 on the Billboard 200 and No. 45 on the R&B chart. The motion picture soundtrack featuring Streisand fared rather better with a No. 12 peak, but Diana, Mary and Cindy didn’t have to wait long to return to chart supremacy. The very next month after the Funny Girl LP’s arrival, the group released the single “Love Child.” By November, it had reached No. 1. And that wasn’t all. Their collaborative album Diana Ross and the Supremes Join the Temptations, released the same month of November, reached No. 2 and its single “I’m Gonna Make You Loved Me” became a Billboard No. 2 Pop smash on 45. Miss Ross kept some of the Funny Girl music in her live repertoire well into her post-Supremes solo years.
What will you find on this new Funny Girl? Hit the jump for that and more!
First up, Rhino’s reissuing the new Nile Rodgers/CHIC compilation Up All Night. The double-disc set, originally compiled by Wayne A. Dickson of Big Break Records and mastered by Dickson and BBR engineer Nick Robbins, with liner notes from Christian John Wikane, was released in July to capitalize on Rodgers’ highly enjoyable wave of success this year. (The legendary guitarist/producer played and co-wrote several tracks on Daft Punk’s critically-acclaimed album Random Access Memories, including international chart-topper “Get Lucky,” and played several key dates in Europe. Since then, CHIC has been once again nominated for induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)
Up All Night: The Disco Edition features a slightly rearranged track list, with several lesser-known hits dropped in favor of five newly-added tracks: the CHIC-produced “Frankie” by Sister Sledge; two Rodgers-produced ’80s hits (Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and Duran Duran’s “The Reflex”), a megamix of CHIC Organization tracks and a live cut from Rodgers’ performance at the Glastonbury Festival this summer.
The fine folks at Big Break (Dickson along with compiler Malcolm McKenzie) have also produced another forthcoming discofied Rhino set: 12″ Disco: The Collection compiles 34 tracks – mostly from the Warner Bros., Elektra, T.K. and Atlantic vaults, naturally – including four cuts that have never been released on CD before. In addition to CHIC and Sister Sledge, tracks from Chaka Khan, The Trammps, Ben E. King, The Spinners, Change, George McCrae and Narada Michael Walden are all featured herein.
12″ Disco: The Collection is available in U.K. shops today, while Up All Night: The Disco Edition is out next Monday, October 28. Pre-order links, full track lists and U.K. discographical info for both titles can be found after the jump!
CHIC and Various Artists, Nile Rodgers Presents The CHIC Organization: Up All Night – The Greatest Hits (Rhino U.K.)
A new batch from Wounded Bird includes a compilation of rarities from Blood, Sweat & Tears (featuring, among other things, their soundtrack to The Owl and The Pussycat) and a disc featuring all three of Herbie Hancock’s albums for Warner Bros., before joining Columbia in the ’70s.
The latest hybrid SACDs from MoFi.
Hackamore Brick, One Kiss Leads to Another (CD/LP) / Russ Giguere, Hexagram 16 / The Browns, Complete Pop & Country Hits / Ahmed Abdul Malik, Spellbound / George Braith, Musart / Stan Hunter & Sonny Fortune, Trip on the Strip / Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 22 – Kings Beach Bowl, Kings Beach Lake Tahoe, CA 2/23-2/24/68 / Fire on the Mountain: Reggae Celebrates the Grateful Dead Vols. 1 & 2 (Real Gone Music)
Among the highlights of Real Gone’s release slate this week is the expanded reissue of the long-lost One Kiss Leads to Another by cult Brooklyn band Hackamore Brick.
Various Artists, Los Nuggetz: 1960s Punk, Pop, Psychedelic from Latin America (RockBeat)
America and Europe weren’t the only happening scenes in the ’60s, as this new box showcases.
Patty Duke, Don’t Just Stand There/Patty / Sings Songs from Valley of the Dolls/Sings Folk Songs (Time to Move On) (Real Gone Music)
All four of Patty’s United Artists albums released on a pair of two-fers, including 1968′s unreleased Sings Folk Songs.
A bunch of Supremes classics – six albums from 1966′s The Supremes A Go-Go to 1969′s Cream of the Crop, their last with Diana Ross – all get the mini-LP treatment from Culture Factory.
Culture Factory also brings Miss Ross’ long out-of-print concert disc back to CD, along with a new, mini-LP edition of the Ashford and Simpson-helmed favorite The Boss.
Julia Fordham, Porcelain / Swept: Deluxe Editions (Cherry Pop)
The second and third LPs by U.K. singer Julia Fordham are expanded and remastered for the first time.
The soundtrack to the anticipated new documentary about the best backup singers you might not have known, from Darlene Love to Merry Clayton. (Legacy’s releasing Clayton’s first-ever best-of compilation next month.) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Various Artists, Woody Guthrie at 100! Live at the Kennedy Center (Legacy)
Not sure if this concert kills fascists, but this CD/DVD tribute to a folk legend, featuring John Mellencamp, Lucinda Williams, Rosanne Cash and more is a fitting way to honor one of the century’s best songwriters. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
With CHIC co-founder/co-producer/guitarist Nile Rodgers back in the musical spotlight where he belongs – his distinctive funk guitar anchors Daft Punk’s chart-topping single “Get Lucky,” the arguable song of the summer – Rhino’s U.K. arm has done well to introduce another CHIC-oriented compilation to stores.
Up All Night: The Greatest Hits (cheekily named after a lyric in “Get Lucky”) is more than just a set of tracks by the immortal disco band. Sixteen of the album’s 25 tracks are classics produced by Rodgers and late bassist Bernard Edwards on behalf of The CHIC Organization. These include mega hits by Sister Sledge (“We Are Family,” “He’s the Greatest Dancer”) and Diana Ross (“Upside Down,” “I’m Coming Out”) and awesome deep cuts by Norma Jean (“Saturday”), Debbie Harry (“Backfired”) and Carly Simon (“Why”). The title track to the legendary I Love My Lady, a shelved 1981 album produced by CHIC for Johnny Mathis, also makes an appearance. (Though I Love My Lady has yet to be released in full, several tracks from the sessions turned up on 2010′s Rodgers-assembled CHIC box set, which only came out in France, because the rest of mainland Europe or the U.S. apparently have gone insane.)
In fact, one can easily view this as a double-disc distillation of that box – although we have a few familiar names to thank for this compilation: the set’s been compiled by Wayne A. Dickson of Big Break Records and mastered by Dickson and BBR engineer Nick Robbins, with Christian John Wikane providing liner notes. “You will note that these are all the versions released on 12″ or LP,” Dickson posted on BBR’s Facebook page, “and that the the pitch/speed of the tracks is that of the original vinyl releases and not the slower versions on most CD releases up ’til now.” (On this point, we have retained the supplied timings in the track list.)
Up All Night: The Greatest Hits gets the party started on July 1. After the jump, pre-order your copy and check out the full track list!
Paul McCartney and Wings, Rockshow (Eagle Rock)
ZZ Top, The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990 (Warner Bros./Rhino)
So not only are you getting all of ZZ Top’s London/Warner-era albums in one convenient box, but you’re getting a fair amount of them in their original mixes for the first time ever on CD. Win? Win. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Various Artists, The Complete Motown Singles Volume 12A: 1972 (Hip-O Select/Motown)
Richard Pryor, No Pryor Restraint: Life in Concert (Shout! Factory)
Burt Bacharach, Anyone Who Had a Heart: The Art of the Songwriter (U.K.-only box set) (UMe)
From the U.K. comes a new six-disc anthology of Bacharach’s best works as a writer or performer – easily more comprehensive than the double-disc set U.S. audiences got recently. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Icehouse, The 12 Inches Volume 1 (Repertoire)
From Miss Ross to a Friend of the Boss: Legacy’s Latest Wave of “Playlists” Offer Hits and Deep Cuts
Playlist, Legacy Recordings’ series of single-disc anthologies spotlighting “The Hits plus the Fan Favorites,” keeps on rollin’ with a new, typically eclectic group of artists covering a wide swath of genres and styles. Today, May 21, Legacy releases volumes in the series dedicated to the best of R&B (Diana Ross, Donna Summer), pop (Billy Ocean), country-and-western (Chet Atkins, Patty Loveless, Restless Heart, Mindy McCready), Latin jazz (Tito Puente) and the many strains of rock (Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Warrant, Jeff Buckley, Switchfoot, Iggy Pop). All Playlist titles are now housed in traditional jewel cases, and each title includes a booklet with a historical essay and discographical annotation. Some of the titles even include new-to-CD and previously unissued rarities.
Playlist: The Very Best of Diana Ross kicks off with three seminal tracks from Miss Ross’ late period at Motown: “Love Hangover” from her second eponymous album in 1976, and “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out” from 1980’s CHIC-helmed smash diana. (Don’t miss a loving and truly comprehensive tribute to diana from one of our favorite scribes, Christian John Wikane, over at Popmatters.) Following that Motor City appetizer, the set kicks into high gear with eleven tracks from the legendary singer’s oft-overlooked tenure at RCA, released between 1981 and 1985. Highlights such as “Chain Reaction” and “Eaten Alive” are derived from the Barry Gibb production Eaten Alive, with the latter track providing a reunion between Ross and Michael Jackson. Four songs have been taken from 1981’s Why Do Fools Fall in Love, including Ross’ solo version of “Endless Love.” Silk Electric, Ross and Swept Away are also represented, with every track in pristinely remastered sound from Mark Wilder. The No. 2 AC hit “All of You” with Julio Iglesias is among the Swept Away tracks you’ll find in this tasty survey of Ross at RCA.
The late Donna Summer gets feted with Playlist: The Very Best of Donna Summer. Unlike most entries in Legacy’s series, this Playlist volume isn’t derived from the superstar diva’s original recordings but rather from a concert performance. Summer’s blazing 1999 show at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom was previously captured on disc as VH1 Presents Donna Summer Live and More Encore, but Playlist premieres four previously unissued tracks from that concert (“Is There Music There,” “Riding Through the Storm,” “Don’t Wanna Work” and “Nobody”). It adds up to a live summary of the legendary vocalist’s hit-filled career, with “MacArthur Park,” “On the Radio,” “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” (with Tina Arena filling in for Barbra Streisand), “She Works Hard for the Money,” “Bad Girls,” “Hot Stuff” and the inevitable “Last Dance” all making appearances. Vlado Mellor has remastered at Sony Studios New York. Those who already own Live and More will likely wish to grab this for the four newly-released songs and the remastered sound, but both discs are essential for the full program. “My Life,” “Love is the Healer” and “I Will Go with You (Con te partirò)” are absent from the new Playlist. The latter two songs were studio recordings added to the Live and More CD; Grammy nominee “I Will Go with You” was a No. 79 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and fared even better in the U.K., with a No. 44 chart berth. In addition, both of the studio tracks reached the top spot on the U.S. dance chart.
Though he’d been charting hits in the U.K. for nearly a decade prior, the Trinidad-born singer made his first major splash on the U.S. Hot 100 when “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” shot to No. 1, the same berth it occupied on the R&B chart. The song began a hot streak for Ocean, the results of which are captured on Playlist: The Very Best of Billy Ocean. The non-chronologically-sequenced 14-track set kicks off with “Caribbean Queen,” and also finds room for “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going” (No. 2 Pop/No. 6 R&B), “Loverboy” (No. 2 Pop/No. 20 R&B), “Suddenly” (No. 4 Pop/No. 5 R&B) and “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” (No. 1 Pop/No. 1 R&B). In all, six albums are represented, and every track has been remastered by Tom Ruff.
After the jump: details on Jeff Buckley, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Chet Atkins, Iggy Pop and the rest – plus full track listings with discography and order links for each and every title! Read the rest of this entry »
The Beach Boys, Live: The 50th Anniversary Tour (Capitol)
Townes Van Zandt, The Late Great Townes Van Zandt / High, Low and In Between (Omnivore)
You heard the demos, now rediscover these great country albums, on CD or vinyl!
A dozen or so new entries in the Playlist series are coming your way this week. Watch this space tomorrow for a full breakdown on them all!