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Better Treat Her Right: Latter-Day Donna Summer Albums Expanded in the U.K.

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Donna Summer - CD Collection

1979 could have been called “The Year of Donna Summer.”  In the last year of the 70s, Summer became the first female artist in the history of to have three number 1 singles in a calendar year:  “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls” and “No More Tears (Enough is Enough),” a duet with Barbra Streisand.  She would have had four, but alas, “Dim All the Lights” stalled at No. 2.  But despite reaching the top of the charts consistently with disco records, Summer decided that she wanted to try a new sound.  Her record label, Casablanca, reportedly disagreed.  This led to an acrimonious split, and lawsuits ensued between the singer and label.  She left Casablanca and went to David Geffen’s newly formed Geffen Records, becoming that label’s first signee.  Now. Donna Summer’s catalogue for Geffen and, later, Atlantic Records is being newly reissued in expanded editions from Driven by the Music on December 1 in the U.K., and one week later stateside.

Although Donna wanted to try out a new sound, she stuck with the producers who had brought her so much success in the past:  Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte.  The Wanderer was released in 1980 as Geffen Records’ first LP.  Unsurprisingly, the diva’s instincts proved correct.  It continued Summer’s streak of success going Gold in the US and spawned a No. 3 hit with the title song.  “Cold Love” and “Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?” made it to the top 40.  For this reissue, the album has been expanded with single edits of the latter two songs.

In 1981, Donna returned to the studio to begin work on the follow-up album, I’m A Rainbow.  Before the album could be completed, however, it was cancelled by David Geffen due to his feeling that the material was not strong enough.  It would remain on the shelf until 1996 when it was eventually released by – Casablanca!  It has been expanded for this campaign to two discs, with the original album on the first disc and other tracks recorded around the same period (previously released in various places over the years) on the second.

For Summer’s next effort, Geffen brought in Quincy Jones to produce.  The result was the self-titled Donna Summer released in 1982 after a six-month recording period.  Although Jones and Summer apparently didn’t get along during the making of the album, it was still a success and achieved Gold status in the U.S., yielding the top 10 single “Love is In Control (Finger On the Trigger).”  Driven by the Music has added seven bonus tracks to the album:  the B-side “Sometimes Like Butterflies,” three versions of “Love Is In Control” and three versions of “State of Independence” (No. 41 Pop).

Summer and Geffen were then informed by Polygram (Casablanca’s parent label) that she still owed them an album to complete her previous contract.  She Works Hard for the Money, with its indelible title track, was released in 1983 on Mercury and the title track went to No. 3.  Geffen was reportedly not happy with the album’s success but wanted to capitalize on it, so he enlisted Money’s producer, Michael Omartian, to helm Summer’s next album for Geffen:  Cats Without Claws.  Unfortunately for Summer and Geffen, the album did not match Money’s success and failed to go gold in the U.S., her first album in the U.S. to fail to make that certification.  It also did not garner a top 10 single, with its highest chart entry being a cover of The Drifters’ “There Goes My Baby” stalling at No. 21.  It was not all bad news though:  Summer earned a Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance for “Forgive Me” from the album.  The new edition has been expanded with five songs:  two versions of “Eyes,” an extended version of “Supernatural Love,” an extended version of “I’m Free” and the B-side “Face the Music.”

That’s not all!  Hit the jump for details on the rest of the editions in this series, plus complete track listings with discography and pre-order links for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 14, 2014 at 12:11

Donna Summer and John Barry Go “Deep” On New Hot Shot Reissue

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The Deep OSTEverything about The Deep was big.  Jaws author Peter Benchley was guaranteed over half a million dollars by impresario Peter Guber for film rights to his unpublished follow-up in a deal which seemed justified when The Deep finally arrived and quickly became a bestseller.   For his big screen-ready underwater adventure, Guber had a big budget, big locations for shooting, and a big partner in Neil Bogart’s Casablanca Records.  Bogart wasn’t known for doing anything small, and as the inaugural production of Casablanca FilmWorks, The Deep didn’t disappoint.   The film starring Nick Nolte, Jacqueline Bisset, Eli Wallach and Jaws’ Robert Shaw also needed a big soundtrack.  Casablanca disco queen Donna Summer was tapped, as was one of the true deans of film scoring, multiple Academy Award winner John Barry.  Their collaboration was released on Casablanca Records in July 1977, and that original album has just been reissued for the first time as a standalone compact disc by Big Break Records’ Hot Shot imprint.

The Deep, directed by Peter Yates, centered on several people vying with one another to reclaim medical supplies from a sunken World War II ship as well as treasure from the remains of an eighteenth-century Spanish vessel.   Jaws’ John Williams was an early favorite to compose the score to this aquatic adventure, but the honors instead went to John Barry.  By 1977, three-time Academy Award winner Barry had proven his versatility over and over again.  Though still closely associated with the thrilling, swinging spy sound of the James Bond films – an oft-imitated, never-duplicated style largely of his own making – Barry was also a master at elegantly incorporating influences both classical and contemporary into his work.  His muse as a composer would eventually lead him to a sweeping, lush and grandly romantic style for such films as Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves, but his score to The Deep combines the excitement of the Bond films with the sprawling widescreen approach of those later pictures.  While Barry was occupied with The Deep, scoring duties for 1977’s Bond flick, The Spy Who Loved Me, went to another Oscar winner, Marvin Hamlisch.  It was only the second time Barry hadn’t wielded the baton for a 007 episode since taking over the series as composer with 1963’s From Russia with Love.  (Barry had, of course, been on the ground floor of the Bond series as arranger of Monty Norman’s “James Bond Theme” for Dr. No.)

After the jump, go Deep with us! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 19, 2014 at 13:32

Release Round-Up: Week of October 22

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TFF The Hurting boxTears for Fears, The Hurting: Deluxe Edition (Mercury/UMe)

The landmark debut album from the U.K. hitmakers celebrates its 30th anniversary with a new double-disc deluxe edition stocked with rare single-only material and a deluxe box set version with a bonus disc of John Peel sessions and the In My Mind’s Eye live concert film on DVD.

2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
3CD/1DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Van Morrison - Moondance BoxVan Morrison, Moondance: Expanded Edition (Warner Bros./Rhino)

Though Van would rather you not buy this box, it features his classic 1970 album (newly remastered and in a new 5.1 surround sound mix on the Blu-Ray) plus three discs of session outtakes.

1CD remaster: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
4CD/1BD:  Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Fisherman's BoxThe Waterboys, Fisherman’s Box: The Complete Fisherman’s Blues Sessions 1986-1988 (Parlophone)

This six-disc set features every take from the making of this celebrated album from Mike Scott’s band. A deluxe version features the original album on vinyl and a further bonus disc of songs that influenced the album – all of which will be broken down in full in a post later today!

6CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
7CD/1LP: Amazon U.K.

Chrysalis FB bannerTen Years After, Recorded Live: Expanded Edition / Robin Trower, State to State: Live Across America 1974-1980 / UFO, “Hot ‘N’ Live”: The Chrysalis Live Anthology 1974-1983 (Chrysalis/Rhino)

These three hard-rockin’ releases from the Chrysalis vaults are ready to purchase this week – or you can win them from us!

Ten Years After: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Robin Trower: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
UFO: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

XTC - NonsuchXTC, Nonsuch: Expanded Edition (Panegyric)

The band’s 1992 album, featuring modern rock hit “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead,” features a new stereo and surround mix by Steven Wilson, plus a host of audiovisual extras.

CD/DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
CD/BD: Amazon U.K.

Sparks BoxSparks, New Music for Amnesiacs: The Ultimate Collection (Universal U.K.)

One of the pioneering acts in quirk rock have a swag-filled five-disc career-spanning box set tangible object in the market. (Amazon U.K.)

Woody Guthrie American Radical PatriotWoody Guthrie, American Radical Patriot (Rounder)

A stunning 6CD/1DVD/1LP box set includes, for the first time, all of Guthrie’s historic recordings for Alan Lomax, plus scores of rarities – including a rare early Bob Dylan recording, too. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Freddie Tribute BDQueen, The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert: Deluxe Edition (Eagle Rock)

The life of the late Queen frontman was celebrated in one of the greatest benefit concerts of all time – and this expanded version features, for the first time on DVD or Blu-Ray, tribute performances from the first half of the concert.

3DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Monro RaritiesMatt Monro, The Rarities Collection (Parlophone)

Three discs of rarities from the legendary crooner; most were originally released on The Rare Monro and/or Matt Uncovered: The Rarer Monro, but many have been sonically upgraded, with more rarities included herein! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Laura Nyro - SmileLaura Nyro, Smile: Expanded Edition (Iconoclassic)

Nyro’s 1976 release, issued after a four-year absence, is expanded with three rare demos. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Love to Love You DonnaDonna Summer, Love to Love You Donna (Verve)

Classic Donna Summer tracks, newly remixed by modern dance acts and producers, plus an unreleased collaboration between Summer and longtime producer Giorgio Moroder.

CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

TLC 20TLC, 20 (Epic)

A new compilation from the acclaimed ’90s R&B girl group features a new track, “Meant to Be,” penned by R&B singer Ne-Yo. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Hot Stuff: Donna Summer’s Legacy Celebrated with New Remix Album

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Love to Love You DonnaThe sudden passing of Donna Summer in 2012 had fans old and new flocking to her music to hear some of the finest disco music imaginable. This fall, Verve Records will bring that legacy into a new era with Love to Love You Donna, a set featuring new remixes of her most enduring tracks.

Happily, Love to Love You Donna features more than its share of enduring remixers to give Summer’s hits the respect they deserve. Electronic funk duo Chromeo tackles her 1982 hit “Love is in Control (Finger on the Trigger),” England’s Hot Chip reconfigure “Sunset People,” a deep cut from the Bad Girls LP and Afrojack (who remixed Michael Jackson’s Bad for Legacy’s 25th anniversary edition of the album) lends his talents to “I Feel Love.”

But the most notable collaborator is one of the most famous in Summer’s career. Giorgio Moroder, the Italian songwriter/producer who established his career in the States as one of Summer’s primary collaborators, from 1974’s debut Lady of the Night to 1980’s The Wanderer (plus unreleased 1981 project I’m a Rainbow, which finally made it to CD in 1996), provides a new mix of “Love to Love You Baby” with producer/remixer Chris Cox. An unreleased Summer/Moroder collaboration, “La Dolce Vita,” closes out the 13-track disc.

Love to Love You Donna is out October 22. Track list (courtesy of Idolator) and Amazon U.S. link are after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

September 3, 2013 at 16:13

From Miss Ross to a Friend of the Boss: Legacy’s Latest Wave of “Playlists” Offer Hits and Deep Cuts

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Playlist - Diana RossPlaylist, 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.

Playlist - Donna SummerThe 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.

Playlist - Billy OceanThough 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 »

Release Round-Up: Week of May 21

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Beach Boys LiveThe Beach Boys, Live: The 50th Anniversary Tour (Capitol)

Brian, Mike, Al, Bruce and David may not be touring again anytime soon, but at least we now have two discs of live memories to play. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

TVZ-Late-Great-CD-and-LPTownes 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!

Late Great CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.), LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
High, Low CD (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.), LP (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

FM Soundtrack - Culture FactoryVarious Artists, FM: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Culture Factory USA)

The hit-filled soundtrack, featuring the Steely Dan single of the same name, is the latest to get the Culture Factory LP replica treatment. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Southside Johnny PlaylistSouthside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Jeff Buckley, Chet Atkins et al., Playlist: The Very Best of (Legacy)

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!

What a Feeling: Giorgio Moroder Rarities Due from Repertoire

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What could be cooler than the recent news that disco super-producer Giorgio Moroder joined music-sharing site SoundCloud and started posting high-quality rare and unreleased tracks for fans to stream? How about Moroder making not one, but two more accounts holding such audio treasures?

But what could be cooler than that for fans of physical discs? Simple: Repertoire Records is releasing a double-disc set of rare gems produced by the man who gave us the greatest hits of Donna Summer, Blondie’s “Call Me” and the soundtracks to FlashdanceTop Gun and Scarface.

On the Groove Train Volume 1: 1975-1993 focuses on some of the least-known works Moroder had a hand in during his early and later career, including producing singles for artists on his Oasis Records label, including Trax, Roberta Kelly and Munich Machine, as well as a handful of instrumental tunes under his own name. That’s not to say his most famous collaborators are ignored on this compilation, though; the first disc closes with the sought-after 1975 Netherlands-only single “Virgin Mary” by the late, great Donna Summer (included on Dutch pressings of The Queen of Disco’s Love to Love You Baby album), while the second CD features “Carry On,” Summer and Moroder’s collaboration for the producer’s Forever Dancing album in 1992. (That track was included on a U.S. compilation, The Donna Summer Anthology, the following year.)

Also present is Keith Forsey, who cut two solo singles produced by Moroder in 1981 but was of course far better known as a drummer on Summer’s recordings, a co-writer of Summer’s “Hot Stuff,” Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feeling” and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds and a producer for Billy Idol. Helen St. John makes a few appearances, including her “Love Theme from Flashdance,” as does Paul Engemann, best known for the Moroder-produced “Push It to the Limit” from Scarface but featured as a vocalist on the European single “Shannon’s Eyes.”

This 33-song compilation has an October 30 release date in America, but a November 12 street date in the U.K.; odd, considering Repertoire is a European label. Order it from Amazon U.S. and U.K. and hit the jump for a detailed look at the track list. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

October 29, 2012 at 14:52

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