Archive for the ‘Reissues’ Category
Sid Selvidge, The Cold of the Morning (Omnivore)
A long out-of-print classic, produced by Big Star producer Jim Dickinson and featuring a killer set of tunes written or arranged by the late Memphis folk master (and father of Steve Selvidge, current guitarist of The Hold Steady, who produced this new reissue) and featuring six unreleased bonus tracks.
Bayeté, Worlds Around the Sun (Omnivore Recordings)
The debut album by jazz keyboardist Todd Cochran, known for his work with names as diverse as Carl Palmer, Peter Gabriel and Joey Scarbury, is released on CD for the first time with two bonus tracks from the vaults. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Varese expands the classic Everlys collection – recently covered song for song as Foreverly by Norah Jones and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong - with six previously unissued alternate takes of tracks including “Barbara Allen,” “Roving Gambler,” “Down in the Willow Garden” and “Put My Little Shoes Away.” Expect a review from Joe soon! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
Sepia collects 27 rare sides from singing comedienne and Republic Pictures star Judy Canova beginning with tracks recorded in 1928 and ending with her final recordings made in 1962. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
This 1962 album by Lena Horne makes its CD debut outside of Japan with eight bonus tracks! All bonus tracks are rare singles also making their CD debut, including four songs from her Broadway musical Jamaica that were recorded with Neal Hefti in pop arrangements! (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
There was a lot more to Leon Haywood than his 1975 hit “I Want’a Do Something Freaky to You.” Texas native Haywood played keyboards for Sam Cooke, masqueraded in studio bands The Packers and The Romeos and scored his first solo pop hit with 1967’s “It’s Got to Be Mellow.” When he began incorporating funk and disco sounds into his brand of soul, however, Haywood found his niche. Big Break has recently celebrated the Haywood ouevre with expanded editions of his 1980 platter Naturally and the 1981 self-titled album by Carl Carlton (“Everlasting Love”) which Haywood produced.
The first track of Naturally, “Don’t Push It Don’t Stop It,” paid homage to the central horn riff from Blood Sweat and Tears’ “Spinning Wheel,” weaving it into a mélange of funk and R&B with light electronic textures. The track – like most of the album itself – pointed in the sleek direction soul music would take as the decade progressed, with tight, danceable grooves bridging the gap between disco and eighties R&B. Producer Haywood was joined by Rick Jones (bass), James Gadson (drums), David T. Walker (guitar), Tony Coleman and future superstar James Ingram (keyboards) and Maxine and Julia Waters (backing vocals). Coleman and Haywood arranged most of the album, ceding a couple of charts to Gene Page and Tom Tom 84.
After the jump: more on Leon Haywood’s Naturally, plus a look at Carl Carlton’s 1981 comeback! Read the rest of this entry »
Welcome Back: Edsel Reissues John Sebastian’s Reprise Catalogue, Adds Previously Unreleased Live Concert DVD
Edsel is saying “welcome back” to John Sebastian with the recent release of a quartet of albums in one deluxe package: John B. Sebastian, The Four of Us, Tarzana Kid and Welcome Back. Edsel has bundled these releases, representing the Lovin’ Spoonful founder’s complete Reprise studio recordings, with a live concert DVD making its very first appearance anywhere. In Concert: John Sebastian Sings John Sebastian was broadcast by the BBC in October 1970, months following the release of John B. Sebastian.
New York native Sebastian fused pop and folk when he joined with Zal Yanovsky, Steve Boone and Joe Butler as The Lovin’ Spoonful, and as their chief songwriter penned the era-defining hits still in rotation on oldies radio today: “Do You Believe in Magic,” “Daydream,” “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind,” “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice” (with Boone), “Summer in the City” (with brother Mark Sebastian and Boone). A solo career might have seemed inevitable, and indeed, in 1968, Sebastian left the group. He didn’t remain idle for long, though. He wrote songs for Murray Schisgal’s Broadway play Jimmy Shine starring Dustin Hoffman and Rue McClanahan, and in 1969, his impromptu solo set at Woodstock became a festival highlight. But few at Woodstock knew that Sebastian’s first solo album was already completed and awaiting release.
A contractual snafu led MGM Records to claim ownership of the album, and in fact MGM released a version of the John B. Sebastian album in 1970. Reprise, to whom Sebastian felt he was rightfully signed, was forced to sue MGM. When the smoke cleared, the Reprise edition of John B. Sebastian prevailed, eventually becoming Sebastian’s best-selling solo record. On the album, Sebastian revisited his first solo single “She’s a Lady” as well as The Spoonful’s “You’re a Big Boy Now,” and welcomed a variety of guests including all three members of Crosby, Stills and Nash as well as CSN drummer Dallas Taylor, Buzzy Linhart on vibes and The Ikettes on backing vocals.
Another studio recording arrived in 1971, The Four of Us. It was a concept album chronicling Sebastian’s meeting with, courtship of, and marriage to his wife Catherine, culminating in the 16-minute epic title track. Produced like its predecessor by Paul A. Rothchild of Doors fame, Sebastian enlisted Dallas Taylor, Mountain’s Felix Pappalardi, CSNY bassist Greg Reeves, The Turtles’ Johnny Barbata and the Esso Trinidad Steel Band to play on The Four of Us. In addition to his new songs, the album featured a traditional tune (“Well, Well, Well”) arranged by Josh White and a cover of Clifton Chernier’s “Black Snake Blues.”
Following a hiatus to raise a family, Sebastian returned to Reprise with 1974’s Tarzana Kid. The LP also reunited him with Lovin’ Spoonful producer Erik Jacobsen. Jacobsen and Sebastian co-produced this set featuring contributions from Toto’s David Paich, Little Feat’s Lowell George, Ry Cooder, Buddy Emmons, Emmylou Harris, David Lindley, The Pointer Sisters and even Phil Everly. On Tarzana Kid, Jacobsen and Sebastian revisited The Spoonful’s “Sportin’ Life” and “Wild About My Lovin’,” both of which had appeared on the Spoonful’s first long-player, as well as Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken.” Alas, Tarzana failed to chart, and Sebastian found himself at odds with Reprise. That would soon change.
You know what to do…hit the jump for more! Read the rest of this entry »
Everybody Loves Somebody: Legacy Acquires Dean Martin’s Reprise Catalogue, Launches Reissue Campaign
Dean Martin is said to have once observed that the two smartest decisions he ever made were partnering with Jerry Lewis…and breaking up with Jerry Lewis. When the split occurred, Martin was 39 years old, but convinced that a successful solo career was still ahead of him. Was he ever right! The former Dino Paul Crocetti was among the lucky few to have a successful second act in showbiz, and his career as just Dean Martin even eclipsed the first act as one-half of the beloved Martin and Lewis team. Martin first took flight as a singer at Capitol Records beginning in 1948, eight years before dissolving his partnership with Lewis. He remained at the Tower through 1961, making his final recordings there in December of that year. On February 13, 1962, he entered United Western Recorders on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard to begin his tenure alongside pal Frank Sinatra as one of the flagship artists for the Chairman’s Reprise Records label. Over the years, Martin’s Reprise catalogue has changed hands numerous times, and last week, it was officially announced that its new home will be Sony’s Legacy Recordings.
In partnership with The Dean Martin Family Trust, Legacy has begun remastering titles from Martin’s Reprise (1962-1974) and Warner Bros. (1983) periods for an ongoing reissue campaign. The first title to emerge under the Legacy deal was the recent Playlist: The Very Best of Dean Martin, which was newly remastered by Vic Anesini. The Reprise period, of course, includes many of Martin’s most enduring hits. He famously took on The Beatles – and triumphed! – in 1964 when Ernie Freeman’s contemporary arrangement of “Everybody Loves Somebody,” a 1947 song by Sam Coslow, Irving Taylor and Martin’s frequent collaborator Ken Lane, knocked the Fabs’ “A Hard Day’s Night” right off the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 at the height of Beatlemania! Despite Dino’s protestation that “I do not like rock singers, rock is out with me, I can’t stand rock,” Freeman’s heavy rock-influenced backbeat gave Martin the edge to introduce his laid-back croon to a new generation.
More major hits followed including “I Will,” “The Door is Still Open to My Heart” and Lee Hazlewood’s “Houston,” and by the beginning of 1966, Martin had notched seven Top 40 pop hits and six Top 40 albums – in addition to juggling the demands of his popular variety show! Dino remained with Reprise for most of the rest of his recording career. Even considering the seismic shifts in musical styles as the sixties continued, Martin’s hits hardly waned, with “In the Chapel in the Moonlight” and “Little Ole Wine Drinker Me” both going Top 40 in 1967. When Reprise issued two greatest-hits collections in 1968, both achieved gold status. In 1971, he re-signed with the label for another three-year contract, and in 1974, he would record his final music for the House That Frank Built although legal wrangling would prevent the songs’ release until 1978. Martin gracefully bowed out of the recording business, smartly refusing to subject himself to disco and other styles that affected the music of so many of his contemporaries. Not that Martin completely avoided pop and rock in his years at Reprise; quite to the contrary. He recorded songs by Jimmy Webb, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, The Bee Gees, Kris Kristofferson, John Hartford, Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and even Smokey Robinson. Martin also built up a considerable catalogue of country music at Reprise.
Dino continued to appear on television and onstage during his retirement from the recording studio, and in 1980 purchased back his Reprise recordings from the label (which had itself purchased fourteen albums from Dean in 1971). Yet most of these albums remained incredibly difficult to find in the CD era until the release of Bear Family’s definitive complete Dean Martin series of box sets (four, in total, with two each dedicated to Capitol and Reprise) and Collectors’ Choice’s series of Reprise two-fers.
In 1983, Martin was coaxed by his longtime producer Jimmy Bowen, head of Reprise parent Warner Bros.’ Nashville division, to record one more album. My First Country Song became a respectable No. 49 entry on the Country Albums chart, and its title track – a duet with Conway Twitty – also became a Top 40 country hit. Though the album would turn out to be Martin’s last, he did record one last song, “L.A. is My Home,” which was released in 1985 on the MCA label. (It was also the closing theme song to the television show Half Nelson on which Dean appeared.) There’s no mention of whether “L.A.” is included in the current Legacy deal.
What can you expect from Legacy’s Dean Martin series? Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
Venerable jazz label Blue Note Records celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, and they’re celebrating well into the next year with an ambitious campaign that will see parent company Universal Music Group reissue dozens of titles on vinyl through 2015.
Founded in 1939 by mogul Alfred Lion and musician Max Margulis, Blue Note started as your average traditional jazz label before 1947, at which point the company started to focus on innovations in the genre, namely bebop and hard bop. Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Art Blakey, Fats Navarro, Hank Mobley, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock are just a few names that recorded for the label at some point in their storied careers. The label began to fade by the late ’60s, when it was acquired by Liberty Records, which was in turn acquired by United Artists (the conglomerate of which was bought by EMI in 1979). However, an early CD-era reissue program saw the name revived in the mid-’80s, and the label became associated with many of Capitol-EMI’s jazz ventures since – most notably Come Away with Me, the Grammy-winning 2002 debut album by Norah Jones.
Of the ambitious venture to release classic albums from the Blue Note repertoire on vinyl, five at a time, between this March and October of 2015(!), label president and noted producer Don Was issued this statement:
Two years ago, we decided to begin remastering the jewels of the Blue Note catalog in hi-def resolutions of 96k and 192k. In order to develop a guiding artistic philosophy for this delicate endeavor, we donned our lab coats, ran dozens of sonic experiments and carefully referenced every generation of our reissues. Ultimately, we decided that our goal would be to protect the original intentions of the artists, producers and engineers who made these records and that, in the case of pre-digital-era albums, these intentions were best represented by the sound and feel of their first-edition vinyl releases. Working with a team of dedicated and groovy engineers, we found a sound that both captured the feel of the original records while maintaining the depth and transparency of the master tapes…the new remasters are really cool!
While these new versions will become available in Digital Hi Def, CD and the Mastered for iTunes formats, the allure of vinyl records is WAY too potent to ignore. This year, Blue Note – along with our friends at Universal Music Enterprises – is launching a major 75th Anniversary Vinyl Initiative that is dedicated to the proposition that our catalog should be readily available at a low cost – featuring high quality pressings and authentic reproductions of Blue Note’s iconic packaging. Beginning in March 2014, we’ll start rolling out five remastered vinyl reissues every month. Although this program begins in celebration of Blue Note’s 75th Anniversary, our catalog runs so deep that we will faithfully be reissuing five albums a month for many years to come!
The first two batches will be available in stores March 25 and April 22, featuring titles by Coltrane, Rollins, Hancock, Adderley, Wayne Shorter and more. Pre-order links for these vinyl reissues are after the jump; click here for the full list of planned titles!
Rock’s back pages are littered with “creative differences.” Such differences split Paul Revere and the Raiders into two warring factions – Paul Revere and Mark Lindsay on one side; Phil “Fang” Volk, Mike “Smitty” Smith and Drake “The Kid” Levin on the other. The Volk-Smith-Levin triumvirate bristled at the more pop direction that the onetime garage band had been taking, and were none too pleased with the studio musicians being enlisted to beef up the Raiders’ recordings. In early 1967, the trio departed the band, leading to litigation and acrimony. But both parties soldiered on. Revere and Lindsay were joined in The Raiders by Freddy Weller, Joe Correro, Jr. and Keith Allison, and Volk, Levin, and Smith formed The Brotherhood. But while Revere continued to notch hits, The Brotherhood wasn’t quite so lucky. Its small three-album discography for RCA has gone all but forgotten in the ensuing years. Luckily, Real Gone Music has found this missing link in Raiders history. Brotherhood’s The Complete Recordings (RGM-0220, 2014) brings together all three of these fascinating LPs in one deluxe 2-CD set.
With a new label and newfound autonomy, bassist Volk, guitarist Levin and drummer Smith took few cues from their old band when they formed Brotherhood. Organist Ron Collins rounded out the group which tried to live up to its name; on the first album, every songwriting credit was shared by the three core members. Brotherhood’s first, self-titled long-player from 1968 began hopefully with the sound of applause, but despite the wealth of possibilities in its twelve tracks, a listener could be forgiven for wondering, “Just who are these guys?” The versatile talents of Brotherhood failed to create a cohesive album for their debut, but succeeded in showing off the many musical styles they had mastered, gleefully jumping from genre to genre – at times in the same song! The opening track “Somebody” veers from snarling garage rock to showbiz brassiness with a dash of reggae for good measure, but it gets even stranger from there. Levin’s “Pastel Blue” is a gently wistful bossa nova tune, while “Lady Faire” is a decidedly Parisian cabaret jaunt. “Box Guitar” is a slightly twee soft-shoe vaudeville track with enjoyable tack piano from Collins, but none of these tracks could have satisfied expectations of a new band built around the talents of the Raiders’ rhythm section.
Despite the smiling faces on the album cover, darkness permeates much of Brotherhood, too. One rocking track pleads to “Close the Door” (“before they find us…”), and the specter of Vietnam looms over the tense, slow and lysergic “Doin’ the Right Thing (The Way),” featuring Levin on sitar. (Volk’s brother Capt. George Francis Volk of the U.S. Army was killed in Vietnam in 1967.) “Love for Free” begins on an ominous note before ceding to harmony-psychedelia. The band indulged its baroque, impressionistic sensibilities on “Seasons” (with a guest cello spot) and the lyrically-cryptic “Ice Cream.” Brotherhood was an album in search of a single, as the band was aware. They settled on “Jump Out the Window,” with the LP’s most straightforward and enjoyable pop-rock melody. The lyric urges the title act as a kind of liberation, and most of it is innocuous enough: “I’m a hip Mary Poppins/I fly so naturally/I go where the wind blows/And the wind knows I’m free…” But the plea to jump out the window likely didn’t help it climb the pop charts. Bill Kopp’s comprehensive liner notes find Phil Volk confessing that he found the song’s message “irresponsible.” By the time of the album’s finale, the hypnotic, Moog-splashed “Forever” as sung by Levin, it was still difficult to discern what kind of band Brotherhood was, and wanted to be.
Where did the band head next? Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
Little Feat, Rad Gumbo: The Complete Warner Bros. Years 1971-1990 (Warner Bros./Rhino)
The eclectic rock band’s near two-decade run on Warner Bros. is celebrated in this new box set, featuring all the band’s original studio albums, an expanded edition of the live Waiting for Columbus and a bonus disc of recordings sourced from the band’s 2000 box set Hotcakes & Outtakes. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)
The Grass Roots, The Complete Original Dunhill/ABC Hit Singles / Irma Thomas, Full Time Woman — The Lost Cotillion Album / Professor Longhair, The Last Mardi Gras / Dr. John, The Night Tripper, Gris Gris / David Ruffin, My Whole World Ended/Feelin’ Good / David Ruffin, David Ruffin/Me ‘N Rock ‘N Roll Are Here to Stay / Marilyn McCoo, Solid Gold (Expanded Edition) / Charley Pride, The Gospel Collection (Real Gone Music)
Real Gone’s March madness features a host of titles, including two Mardi Gras-themed offerings from two New Orleans legends: Dr. John’s first album and a double-disc live set from jazz pianist Professor Longhair.
The Grass Roots: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Irma Thomas: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Professor Longhair: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Dr. John: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
David Ruffin #1: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
David Ruffin #2: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Marilyn McCoo: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Charley Pride: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
Bob Dylan, The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration (Columbia/Legacy)
This multi-artist live tribute to The Bard, recorded at Madison Square Garden in 1992, is reissued as an expanded CD set as well as in a newly-restored DVD or Blu-Ray version with unreleased performances and behind-the-scenes footage.
Before Marc Bolan hit the sweet spot, 1970 saw him cutting two albums – the last credited to “Tyrannosaurus Rex” and the first credited to “T. Rex,” respectively – that saw him moving from psych-folk to the kind of music that made him a legend. Both albums are expanded with unreleased demos, outtakes and single material (including beloved glam cut “Ride a White Swan”).
Rufus Wainwright, Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright (DGC/Interscope/UMe)
A greatest-hits compilation from the theatrical singer-songwriter, son of fellow-renowned musician Loudon Wainwright III.
Light in the Attic kicks off its new Vanguard Vault series exploring the “obscure, non-traditional side of the legendary Vanguard Records archive” with the 1972 self-titled album from Bob Frank (“the best songwriter you never heard” per Big Star producer Jim Dickinson) and the rare 1968 follow-up to Peter Walker’s mystical psych-folk Rainy Day Raga LP.
New, Steve Hoffman-mastered editions of two classic titles on hybrid SACD.
He’s called it “the worst record I ever made,” but Neil Young’s putting his 1973 live album Time Fades Away back into print for only the second time, as part of a limited box set for Record Store Day.
The Neil Young Official Release Series Discs 5-8 box set, limited to 3,500 copies at participating independent retailers on this year’s Record Store Day events on April 19, will feature 180-gram reissues of Time Fades Away, On the Beach (1974), Tonight’s the Night (1975) and Zuma (1975), newly remastered at Bernie Grundman Mastering, pressed at Pallas MFG Germany and featuring reproduced artwork overseen by Young’s longtime designer Gary Burden. (In 2009, the first volume in this box set series was released, featuring similarly lush vinyl reissues of Neil Young (1968), Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (1969), After the Gold Rush (1970) and Harvest (1972).)
Time Fades Away, for its own part, remains a crucial link in Young’s early career. A live album backed by Young’s Harvest-era band The Stray Gators (pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith, pianist Jack Nitzsche, bassist Tim Drummond and drummer Johnny Barbata) and consisting entirely of new material, Time Fades Away was recorded on a lengthy tour marred by alcohol abuse, erratic behavior and, by the trek’s end, a throat infection that required David Crosby and Graham Nash to supply some much-needed support. Recorded directly from the soundboard to 16-track by a Quad-8 CompuMix, the first digital mixer of its kind, the album retained a murky, uncertain quality, but critics were quick to praise it. Despite this, Young has largely disavowed its existence, dismissing the “audio verite” approach in a liner notes passage that was cut from the beloved Decade compilation in 1977. A 1995 HDCD release was scrapped late in development, and despite constant petitions there appear to be no plans to issue the album anywhere other than vinyl. (Young did indicate that a “sequel” drawn from alternate selections on the same tour would appear in the long-gestating Archives Vol. 2 box set.)
A little over four decades after its first release, Canadian rockers Rush will reissue their first album on high-quality vinyl in April.
Rush, the band’s self-titled debut on the band’s own label Moon Records, was a primitive but promising start for the band. Singer/bassist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer John Rutsey (who, within a year’s time, would be replaced by current drummer Neil Peart) turned out a low-fidelity but enthusiastic batch of originals bearing a stronger resemblance to other ’60s and ’70s hard rock bands like Led Zeppelin and Cream than their later, more progressive, genre-defining works.
Only 3,500 copies of the album were pressed on first run, but one of those made their way to Cleveland disc jockey Donna Halper of WMMS-FM, who added album cut “Working Man” to her playlists. The album was quickly repressed and reissued by Mercury Records from the same album master; later pressings featured a remix by producer Terry Brown, who would helm several of the band’s classics including 2112 and Moving Pictures.
This special box set reissue, part of UMe’s “ReDISCovered” vinyl series, goes back to the original analog stereo master, “cut to copper plates using the Direct Metal Mastering (DMM) process at the legendary Abbey Road Studios.” The 200-gram audiophile vinyl pressing will be packaged in a recreation of the original Moon Records sleeve, down to the original matrix number etched into the disc, and will also feature “a 16″ x 22″ reproduction of the first Rush promo poster, three 5″ x 7″ lithographs of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and John Rutsey, a 12″ x 12″ Rush Family Tree poster, and a digital download card,” all in a lidded custom box.
You can pre-order the set at the link below; it’s available on April 15.
Rush: ReDISCovered Box Set (originally released as Moon Records MN-100, 1974 – reissued Mercury/UMe, 2014)
- Finding My Way
- Need Some Love
- Take a Friend
- Here Again
- What You’re Doing
- In the Mood
- Before and After
- Working Man
Talk about fusion! For “Hands Down,” the opening cut of his 1979 album Relight My Fire, Dan Hartman enlisted rock and roll great Edgar Winter to weave his alto saxophone licks throughout the Latin-flavored disco track, and Stevie Wonder to provide his instantly recognizable harmonica. Hartman wasn’t just a dilettante, but a regular musical renaissance man. A veteran of the Johnny Winter Band and the Edgar Winter Group, he wrote the latter’s smash hit “Free Ride,” and successfully completed the transition to solo stardom with 1978’s “Instant Replay,” a No. 1 Disco hit that also reached the Pop Top 30. In the eighties, he revitalized James Brown’s career with “Living in America” and gave blue-eyed soul a contemporary makeover with “I Can Dream About You.” The title song of “Relight My Fire,” on which Hartman was joined by Salsoul queen Loleatta Holloway, proved that he could capture the disco magic twice, as the song remained atop the Billboard dance chart for six weeks. In 1993, it became a hit all over again for Take That and Lulu. Now, thanks to Hot Shot Records, Hartman’s Fire has once again been relit.
Over just six tracks – all written by Hartman, who also played keyboards, guitar, bass, drums and percussion on the album – Relight My Fire pulsates with the energy of the era as filtered through Hartman’s pop sensibility. It was a catholic sensibility that made the musician and songwriter adaptable to pop, rock and soul settings. For the album centerpiece “Vertigo/Relight My Fire,” Hartman traveled to Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound Studios and enlisted veteran Norman Harris (Blue Magic, The O’Jays) to arrange and conduct. Harris brought his sublime orchestrated style to the introductory “Vertigo” as well as to the main body of the sizzling, catchy “Relight My Fire,” with a typically passionate duet vocal from Loleatta Holloway. (Harris had also frequently produced Holloway at Salsoul.) Whether in the original, nearly 10-minute album version of “Vertigo/Relight My Fire” or the 3+-minute single edit of “Relight” (among the six bonus tracks on Hot Shot’s reissue), Hartman and Holloway’s musical invitation can’t be denied.
“Just for Fun” (“Just do what makes you feel all right…If you’re hungry for some good times now, don’t be late, let me show you how!”) is lyrically in the good-time, hedonistic vein expected of a disco record, and the singer’s enthusiasm is infectious, as is his boogie piano solo. (The piano has a bit of the flavor of another disco anthem, Peter Allen’s “I Go to Rio.”) The same goes for the bubbly “I Love Makin’ Music,“ which flows out of “Just for Fun” and epitomizes what could have been Hartman’s personal credo throughout his all-too-short 43 years. “Love makin’ music, love makin’ love,” the female background vocalist coo during the track, but on Relight My Fire, the two acts seem synonymous. Hartman’s disco remake of his own “Free Ride” is surprisingly effective. If it doesn’t replace the original, it succeeds on the strength of the song’s abundant melody, signature riff and energetic performance here.
After the jump, we have more on Relight My Fire, plus a look at Hot Shot’s rediscovery of actress-singer Sheryl Lee Ralph’s foray into contemporary R&B! Read the rest of this entry »