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RPM Revisits Landmark Music of Brazil’s Milton Nascimento

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Milton NascimentoAs one of the leading lights of the Brazilian MPB movement (Música popular brasileira), singer-songwriter Milton Nascimento has been a creative force for nearly fifty years. Cherry Red’s RPM label has recently reissued two of the artist’s earliest, and most acclaimed, albums – 1969’s eponymous album and 1972’s Clube da Esquina (with Lô Borges) – in newly-remastered editions.

Milton Nascimento was actually the artist’s third album, following his 1967 debut and a 1968 set recorded in America by Creed Taylor for his fledgling CTI label. That album, Courage, featured arrangements from Brazil’s Eumir Deodato and many remakes of songs from Nascimento’s Brazilian debut, albeit recorded with the higher production values made possible in American studios. Quite an assemblage of talent supported Nascimento on Courage, from pianist Herbie Hancock to the young lyricist Paul Williams. His next album would prove just as remarkable.

In keeping with the style of MPB, one of the post-bossa nova idioms to arrive in Brazil, Milton Nascimento blended jazz, pop and rock textures. It was notable as Nascimento’s return to his home country in a time of great artistic oppression that saw other artists like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil exiled by the military dictatorship. Producer Milton Maranda of Odeon Records had also worked with Marcos Valle at the label, another envelope-pushing musician who built on the blocks of bossa nova to forge a new sound and style. The album also was the first to feature all new material, as Nascimento had tapped into his stockpile of songs for the first two LPs. As such, it was timely, and his most soulful and intimate work to date. One track came from the pen of bossa nova pioneer Dori Caymmi, but the other songs were all written by Nascimento and his close circle of friends including Fernando Brant and Marcio Borges. Luiz Eca (of the Tamba Trio) and saxophonist Paulo Moura contributed arrangements and orchestrations for a group of musicians including Toninho Horta on guitar, Ze Rodrix (organ and flute), Robertinho Silva (drums) and Novelli (bass).

There’s more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 30, 2014 at 10:24

Sound Chaser: Steven Wilson Revisits Yes, Jethro Tull In Stereo and Surround

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RelayerWhen it comes to new surround-sound mixes, one name has become closely associated with the format: Steven Wilson. Keeper of the progressive-rock flame and frontman for Porcupine Tree, Wilson has in recent years created definitive 5.1 remixes for artists like King Crimson, Yes, XTC, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Gentle Giant, and Jethro Tull. It was recently announced that Wilson would be extending his talents to an upcoming reissue from (non-prog!) rock band Tears for Fears, and we can also confirm that he is continuing his work with the catalogues of Yes and Jethro Tull. On November 4, Wilson’s new surround and stereo remixes will be featured on CD/DVD-A and CD/BD editions of Yes’ 1974 album Relayer, and on November 17, he will revisit another 1974 prog classic, Jethro Tull’s WarChild.

The upcoming Relayer arrives on the heels of other recent Yes reissues of The Yes Album and Close to the Edge. Relayer was the seventh studio album from Yes, and the band’s only studio album featuring keyboardist Patrick Moraz; he joined in August ’74 following Rick Wakeman’s departure to pursue a solo career. With just three lengthy tracks, Yes upped the free-form jazz quotient on Relayer without sacrificing the band’s accessibility. Relayer proved to be a Top 5 success on both sides of the Atlantic, earning a Gold certification in the United States. The Panegyric reissues, available in CD/DVD-A and CD/BD iterations, will both feature Wilson’s new stereo and surround mixes as well as a host of bonus material. As in the past, the Blu-ray editions will feature additional music not present on the DVD-A.

Contents are as follows:

The region-free NTSC DVD-Audio disc includes:

  • The original album mixed in high resolution 5.1 surround from original multi-track sources.
  • New album mix and original album mix (flat transfer) in high resolution stereo
  • Alternate album presentation comprising demos and studio run-throughs

The region-free Blu-ray Audio disc includes:

  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Surround (24bit/96khz) mixed from the original multi-channel recordings.
  • New stereo album mix in DTS-HD Master Audio (24bit/96khz).
  • Original album mix in a DTS-HD Master Audio flat transfers from the original master tape source (24bit/192khz)
  • Needledrop of an original UK vinyl A1/B1 pressing transferred in 24bit/96khz audio.
  • Exclusive instrumental versions of all new mixes in DTS-HD Master Audio stereo (24bit/96khz).
  • More audio extras in high-resolution stereo, including demos and studio run-throughs of album tracks making for an alternative version of Relayer.
  • Additional BD-exclusive demo/studio run-throughs, full album instrumental mixes, a full album needledrop of an original UK A1/B1 vinyl pressing, singles edits, live tracks and needledrops of the banded tracks from the original US vinyl promo album.

As on The Yes Album and Close to the Edge, the CD (included in both versions) features Wilson’s new stereo mix. It also adds two single edits. In all packages, Sid Smith provides new liner notes and original artwork elements are also preserved.

After the jump: details on Wilson’s deluxe WarChild plus track listings and pre-order links for both titles!

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Written by Joe Marchese

October 29, 2014 at 13:49

WIN! WIN! WIN! The New Reissue of Ian Hunter’s “All American Alien Boy” From Varese Sarabande!

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15 LUCKY WINNERS WILL TAKE THIS CD HOME!  CLICK ABOVE TO FIND OUT HOW TO WIN!

Written by Joe Marchese

October 29, 2014 at 10:44

Here’s Your “Vehicle,” Baby! Real Gone Expands Ides of March Debut

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IdesNever judge a book by its cover…or an album, for that matter.

In his illuminating new memoir Through the Eye of the Tiger, Jim Peterik writes of the moment he first bore witness to the cover artwork of his debut album with his band The Ides of March, 1970’s Vehicle: “When we saw it there was an audible gasp and then an ‘Oh shit! This stinks!’ We wondered out loud what some perverted ‘genius’ was thinking when on the cover of our life’s work he put an image of a naked baby doll abandoned carelessly in a field with an ominous black sedan lurking in the background…We were apoplectic.” Indeed, the offbeat cover– which Peterik recalls kept the album off the shelves at the retail chain Korvette’s due to its “tasteless” imagery – hardly calls to mind a hot, young Chicago band with a set of brassy, muscular pop-rock originals inspired by Blood, Sweat and Tears. Real Gone Music has restored to print the band’s first Warner Bros. album on a new, expanded reissue with four bonus tracks.

Jim Peterik (lead vocals/lead guitar), Larry Millas (keyboards/guitar/bass/vocals), Mike Borch (drums/percussion/vocals) and Bob Bergland (bass/saxophone/vocals) had, since 1965, been steadily working on their craft, first as The Shondels and then as The Ides of March. Recording for the Parrot label and playing venues from sock hops to clubs, the band developed its own sound from roots in Hollies and Kinks-inspired white R&B. Peterik was finding his own voice as a songwriter, too, honed from years of performing covers of songs by James Brown, The Beatles, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, Traffic and the Buffalo Springfield. Joined by Ray Herr (guitar/bass/vocals), John Larson (trumpet/flugelhorn) and Chuck Soumar (trumpet/vocals), the band entered Chicago’s Columbia Studios to record an album of both originals and time-tested covers that had worked well onstage and fit into the “heavier” sound the band was cultivating.

The title track of Vehicle, of course, was destined to be the band’s calling card. With its indelible blast of brass offering up a killer riff, it was also the first major hit song for Peterik (No. 2 in the U.S.) who would go on to pen further anthems like “Eye of the Tiger” (No. 1, 1982) and “The Search is Over” (No. 4, 1985) for his later band Survivor. With crack support from Millas’ organ, Borch’s drums, and the three horns, Peterik channeled BS&T’s David Clayton-Thomas on the title track, tearing into its over-the-top, sexually-charged lyrics. He candidly admits in Richie Unterberger’s excellent liner notes that the Canadian soul man was his vocal “idol,” and appropriately enough, it was an American Idol that helped push “Vehicle” back into the spotlight in 2005. Though “Vehicle” had been covered previously by everybody from Shirley Bassey to Chet Baker, Bo Bice’s performance of the song catapulted it back into the popular culture and onto classic rock radio, where it remains today. “Vehicle” was one of four songs recorded by the Ides of March on the demo that was sent to Warner Bros.; the searing, similarly brass-infused “The Sky is Falling” from the same tape also made the cut for the album. (A third of the demo tracks, “Lead Me Home Gently” was released as a single and is also included here by Real Gone.)

But Vehicle, the album, isn’t a one-trick vehicle. The wealth of experience Peterik and the Ides had gained playing everybody else’s hits allowed them to create a group of diverse songs drawing on varied influences. While “Bald Medusa” traded in the same double entendre and horn-fuelled sound as “Vehicle,” “Factory Band” was an homage to Creedence Clearwater Revival. The Ides captured that band’s signature chooglin’ rhythm and Peterik traded his David Clayton-Thomas belt for a John Fogerty yelp without resorting to imitation.  The beautifully-arranged ballad “Home” has an early Neil Diamond feel crossed with The Righteous Brothers’ Goffin/King hit “I Can’t Make It Alone,” with sympathetic strings giving added lift to the yearning track. (The Ides of March once opened for Neil Diamond. In his book, Peterik recalls the solitary man advising him succinctly if sharply: “Next time, boys, only play your best material.” The Ides took the message to heart.) “One Woman Man” was released prior to Vehicle, the album, and was the Ides of March’s first single. It remains a mystery why the band didn’t catch fire with such a strong selection. Melding the rich harmonies of The Association with the Ides’ developing horn sound (and another memorable trumpet riff), it’s one of the strongest tracks on Vehicle.

Hit the jump for more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 29, 2014 at 10:24

Posted in News, Reissues, Reviews, The Ides of March

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Review: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, “The Complete Epic Recordings Collection”

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Stevie Ray Vaughan - Complete

It may seem unbelievable, but it’s been nearly 25 years since Stevie Ray Vaughan perished at the age of 35, victim of a helicopter crash. Yet it’s a testament to the guitar slinger’s blazing talent that his musicianship even today remains a high watermark for those playing his instrument. A six-time Grammy winner and inductee into the Blues Hall of Fame and Musicians Hall of Fame, the Texas native created music that is as vibrant and stirring today as when it was first committed to tape. The Legacy Recordings/Epic Records release of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s The Complete Epic Recordings Collection (8884 309142 2) makes the guitarist’s core catalogue available in one package for the first time. The 12-CD set contains nine albums on 10 CDs (including the 2-disc Live at Montreux) all recorded between 1980 and 1989, the year before his untimely death. These albums are sequenced, for the most part, in order of performance, not of release. Two Archives CDs of odds and ends (outtakes, alternates, jams and more) culled from various compilations and reissues round out the set.

As Vaughan and Double Trouble only left behind four studio albums (Texas Flood, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, Soul to Soul and In Step), much of this compendium is dedicated to live material. But seeing as how Vaughan’s talent shone most brightly in a live setting, this is far from a handicap. When David Bowie saw Vaughan at Montreux in 1982, he promptly enlisted him to play on his smash “Let’s Dance.” The first track on the first disc in this box – Freddie King and Sonny Thompson’s “In the Open” from 1992’s posthumous In the Beginning, recorded for radio in 1980 with a line-up including Jackie Newhouse on bass and Chris Layton on drums – has an apropos title. Once Stevie (he hadn’t yet acquired the Ray) Vaughan played his axe in the open, there was no going back. Even in this embryonic set from his home state of Texas, Vaughan had all of the ingredients that would lead to his eventual success: inventive and deeply felt phrasing, technical skill, a distinctive tone, and the ability to bring joie de vivre to the blues. Throughout his career, Vaughan also used effects pedals conservatively, giving him a pure, raw sound.

At the Texas show preserved on In the Beginning, original songs sat comfortably alongside those by the masters like King, Willie Dixon, Otis Rush and Howlin’ Wolf, with Vaughan’s style recognizably in blues tradition but with enough edge and immediacy to captivate a modern audience. With a seemingly endless supply of lacerating licks, Vaughan showed off his innate swing on the boogie-woogie strut of “They Call Me Guitar Hurricane” and conjured up high-octane Chuck Berry riffs of “Love Struck Baby.” He could also bring things down and still rivet as on “Tin Pan Alley (a.k.a. Roughest Place in Town).” Besides his instrumental skills, Vaughan could also belt the blues convincingly. Having the “whole package,” it’s no wonder that legendary A&R man and producer John Hammond, Sr. (veteran of artists from Benny Goodman to Bruce Springsteen!) championed the young artist at Epic.

There’s more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 28, 2014 at 09:59

Rhino Gets The Led Out, Wave Two: “Led Zeppelin IV” and “Houses of the Holy” Arrive TODAY!

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Led Zeppelin - IV Box

 

The wait is over!  The second wave of Led Zeppelin reissues arrive in stores today!  Led Zeppelin IV premieres an entire alternate version of the album, including the Sunset Sound Mix of “Stairway to Heaven,” the U.K. mix of “When the Levee Breaks” and the basic track with guitar overdubs of “Black Dog.”    Houses of the Holy has seven of its eight tracks in bonus form, primarily rough or working mixes.  This is your place to sound off on this pair of remastered and expanded releases from Messrs. Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham!

JULY 29, 2014 – It may be the dog days of summer, but that hasn’t stopped Led Zeppelin from adding a little more heat.  Following yesterday’s news of the next two reissues in Paul McCartney’s Archive Collection series, the legendary blues-rock band has announced the two next installments in its own definitive reissue program.  On October 28, Rhino/Atlantic – in conjunction with Zeppelin’s Swan Song label – will release Led Zeppelin IV and Houses of the Holy in a variety of CD, vinyl and digital formats.

The album referred to as Led Zeppelin IV arrived in late 1971, bearing no album title or even the band’s name on its cover.  Not that anybody was confused; with songs like “Stairway to Heaven,” “Black Dog,” “Rock and Roll” and “Going to California,” sales soared.  Though it peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, it’s currently the second-best selling album ever in the U.S., nestled between Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.  How to top that?  Houses of the Holy, consisting of all original material, arrived in spring 1973, and moved the band even further away from its blues-based brand of hard rock.  Its layered production and intricate compositions of “The Rain Song,” “The Song Remains the Same” and the reggae-based “D’yer Mak’er” a chart-topping album on both sides of the Atlantic.

Both albums will be available in the style of the recent Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III reissues, in the following formats:

  • Standard CD – Remastered album packaged in a gatefold card wallet.
  • 2-CD Deluxe Edition (2CD) – Remastered album plus previously unreleased companion audio disc.
  • Standard LP – Remastered album on 180-gram vinyl, packaged in a replica sleeve of the album’s first pressing.
  • Deluxe Edition Vinyl (2LP) – Remastered album and previously unreleased companion audio pressed on 180-gram vinyl.
  • Digital Download – Remastered album and companion audio will both be available.
  • Super Deluxe Box Set featuring the remastered original album and companion audio on both CD and 180-gram vinyl, plus a high-resolution digital download card for all content, housed in a hardbound 80-page book with a high-quality print of the album cover (the first 30,000 of which are individually numbered) also included.

After the jump, we have more information including the complete track listings and pre-order links for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 27, 2014 at 10:30

Soul Masters: BBR Reissues Edwin Starr, Gap Band, Yarbrough and Peoples, Boys Town Gang

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Edwin Starr - Soul MasterFor its latest batch of reissues, Big Break Records travels back in time to the days when The Sound of Young America ruled the airwaves with two vintage titles from the late, great Edwin Starr, and returns to the catalogues of two more label favorites – The Gap Band and Yarbrough and Peoples!

Ultimately, Edwin Starr (1942-2003) will forever be best-known for his incendiary 1970 recording of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong’s “War,” a scorching protest song that tapped into the growing unrest of the American public in the Vietnam era.  Starr’s intense, no-holds-barred delivery transformed a Temptations album track into one of the most indelible recordings of all time.  “War” went all the way to the top of the pop chart in the U.S. and earned its vocalist a Grammy nomination, and spawned cover versions by everybody from Frankie Goes to Hollywood to Bruce Springsteen.  Starr was a late comer to the Motown family, joining the label roster in 1968 when Berry Gordy purchased local rival Ric-Tic Records.  Big Break has lavishly expanded his first album at Motown, Soul Master, along with the 1971 record featuring “War,” Involved.

Soul Master contained both tracks recycled from Ric-Tic and more recent songs cut at Motown.  From the Ric-Tic catalogue, the album boasted the R&B hits “Agent Double-O Soul” and “Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S.).”  Unusually for Motown at the time, Soul Master also included numerous songs written or co-written by Starr, including “Oh How Happy,” first recorded by The Shades of Blue and later covered by The Jackson 5.  Other recognizable Motown songwriters represented on Soul Master include Smokey Robinson, Henry Cosby, James Dean and William Weatherspoon, and Nick Ashford and Valarie Simpson.  BBR has added a whopping 17 (!) bonus tracks to the original 12-track album, primarily single releases.

Edwin Starr - Involved1971’s Involved was Starr’s fifth album.  By the time of its release, Motown – like the world – was a very different place.  1971 was the year of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, which was released just weeks before Involved.  While Involved lacks the personal vision of that classic, it also very much reflects its time and place with heightened social consciousness.  “War” is joined on the LP by another Whitfield/Strong composition, “Stop the War Now,” and an epic revival of their psychedelic soul masterworks for The Temptations, “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)” and “Cloud Nine.”  Sly Stone’s equally fiery call to action “Stand!” was also sharply current, but Involved also found room for less urgent material like George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” and a classic Motown throwback with Smokey Robinson’s 1960 Miracles song “Way Over There.”  One more Whitfield/Strong song on the album, “Funky Music (Sho’ Nuff Turns Me On)” could have been Starr’s mantra.  BBR’s reissue, remastered like Soul Master by Kevin Reeves, packs in 13 bonus tracks.  Both titles have new liner notes from Justin Cober-Lake.

With its new reissues of Gap Band IV and Gap Band V: Jammin’, BBR boasts five titles from The Gap Band in its label discography.  Brothers Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson had quite a run.  In 1967, the Oklahoma boys formed the Greenwood, Archer and Pine Street Band, which in 1973 morphed into The Gap Band.  Under that moniker the brothers Wilson remained together until 2010.  Following a short and ultimately disappointing time at Leon Russell’s Shelter Records, the band found initial success on Mercury before transferring to Lonnie Simmons’ Total Experience label with the release of 1982’s Gap Band IV.  The funk outfit was revitalized on IV, with three of the album’s eight songs scoring mightily on the U.S. R&B chart.  “Early in the Morning” and “Outstanding” both reached pole position, while “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” did almost as well with its No. 2 berth.  Like Mercury swansong Gap Band III, the album achieved platinum sales.  It peaked at No. 1 on the R&B album chart and went Top 20 Pop.

After the jump, more on The Gap Band plus Yarbrough and Peoples, and The Boys Town Gang! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 24, 2014 at 10:28

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