Archive for the ‘Reissues’ Category
This week, Scott Walker released his latest studio album, Soused, a predictably unpredictable collaboration with drone-metal band Sunn O))). To mark the occasion, we’re reviewing the musical iconoclast’s complete discography in this two-part Back Tracks series originally presented in June 2010 and freshly updated!
The music business is famous for hyperbole, but it’s no exaggeration to say that few have had a career anything like that of Scott Walker. An American who skyrocketed to fame on British shores in the heady time that was the mid-1960s, Walker (born Noel Scott Engel in 1943) turned his back on the world of a pop idol. He became one of the first major performers to embrace and champion the dark musical melodramas of Jacques Brel but that, too, didn’t last long. After some largely-undistinguished albums recorded during his self-described “lost years” and a period of relative seclusion, Walker emerged, creating provocative soundscapes that dispensed with any traditional notions of melody or songwriting. Whatever other labels may be used to describe him, Scott Walker remains an artist true to himself. Back Tracks takes a look at the solo recordings of one of music’s true eccentrics, just one click away. Read the rest of this entry »
Fourteen-time Grammy winner Chet Atkins (1924-2001) was a man of many hats. At RCA Victor between 1947 and 1982, as a performer, producer and executive, he was a key player in the creation of the “Nashville Sound” which made country palatable to crossover audiences. Indeed, though the style has changed, the pop influence on the country genre certainly hasn’t, and fans of Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney and Carrie Underwood all owe something to Chet Atkins. Also one of Nashville’s most pioneering and virtuosic guitarists, Atkins notched a number of hit singles while at RCA and embarked on a series of collaborative albums with other guitar greats including Les Paul, Mark Knopfler, Jerry Reed and Tommy Emmanuel – all four of which are represented on a new 2-CD set from Australia’s Raven Records. Chet Atkins – Four Master Class Albums 1978-1997 collects four Atkins LPs originally released on the RCA and Columbia labels and continues Raven’s series of Atkins reissues.
The earliest album here, 1978’s Guitar Monsters, was the second full-length collaboration of Atkins and Les Paul following 1976’s Grammy-winning Chester and Lester. Though Atkins pioneered the “countrypolitan” sound of Nashville, the tracks on Monsters are stripped-down and tight with no strings anywhere in sight. Randy Goodrum (piano) and Larrie London (drums) returned from Chester, and were joined by Paul Yandell (rhythm guitar), Buddy Harman and Randy Hauser (drums) and Joe Osborn (bass). As on that first duo album, a loose, informal atmosphere prevailed on Guitar Monsters. You’ll want to turn your volume up to hear the faint in-studio comments preserved. Sometimes the gents are calling out chord changes; other times, they’re just laughing or making wry observations. But of course, the main attraction here is the music – standards like “Over the Rainbow,” “I Want to Be Happy,” “Limehouse Blues” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa classic “Meditation.” There’s plenty of breathing room for tasty solos from both men over these eleven tracks, with friendship as well as competition likely keeping Chet and Les at the top of their respective games.
The set then jumps to 1990 with Atkins’ Mark Knopfler collaboration, Neck and Neck. The elder statesman and the hotshot Dire Straits leader/axeman picked up two Grammy Awards for this joint effort, on which they were joined by Guy Fletcher on drums, bass and keyboards, Edgar Meyer and Steve Wariner on bass, Larrie Londin on drums, Mark O’Connor on fiddle and mandolin, and Paul Franklin on steel, with guest spots from legendary Nashville pianist Floyd Cramer and vocalist Vince Gill. Knopfler supplied the original song “The Next Time I’m in Town,” with other repertoire coming from the classic country (Don Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams” and “Just One Time”), pop (Gus Kahn and Isham Jones’ “I’ll See You in My Dreams”) and jazz (Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt’s “Tears”) songbooks.
There’s more after the jump including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »
Ray Parker Jr. & Run-DMC, Ghostbusters: Stay Puft Edition Super Deluxe Vinyl (Legacy)
The Marshmallow Man is back! The Stay Puft Super Deluxe Edition Vinyl is a limited edition collectible that every Ghostbusters fan will want to take home! Co-produced by The Second Disc’s Mike Duquette, this set contains the No. 1 hit single “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. and the “Ghostbusters” rap by Run-DMC for the film’s hit sequel, with both tracks on a white 12” single in a deluxe, puffy, package that smells like marshmallows!
Cherry Red has a 4-CD, 82-track overview of the glam rock icon (and Happy Days star)’s career, including her early, 60s pop sides, her prime hitmaking period, and even her forays into musical theatre! Joe will have a full review up soon!
This new 3-CD Hollies anthology, marking the harmony purveyors’ 50th year of recording, arrived in the U.K. last month but today gets its American release from Rhino.
Rhino boxes up eight Oldfield albums in one CD box set, including three Tubular Bells variations.
Spandau Ballet, The Very Best of Spandau Ballet: The Story (Rhino)
The New Romantic hitmakers behind “True” look back on their career with this set, available in 1-CD and 2-CD iterations.
Varese is restoring the second solo album from Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter to print in the U.S. with the six bonus tracks first appended to the 30th anniversary edition. The 1976 album features personnel including Jaco Pastorius, David Sanborn, Lew Soloff, Auyn and the members of Queen! Watch this space for an exciting opportunity to WIN a copy of this reissue!
The singer-songwriter and Dancing with the Stars contestant has an 11-track compilation, featuring producer Max Martin’s previously unreleased version of “In Love with a Girl” and a new version of “Finest Hour.”
Neil Diamond returns with his 32nd studio album and first for Capitol, and its 12 songs in the artist’s vintage style add up to a warmly nostalgic trip for longtime fans. Target has an exclusive edition with two bonus tracks which may be outtakes from his 2010 covers project Dreams: renditions of George Harrison’s “Something” and Harry Nilsson’s”Remember,” and this edition is also available as an import at this link. Look for my review of Melody Road soon!
The venerable R&B outfit offers its first-ever holiday album, with favorites like “Winter Wonderland” and “Sleigh Ride” alongside reworked versions of “September” (yup, it’s “December”!) and “Happy Feelin'” – which this joyous celebration just might give you!
The sixties pop crooner-turned-avant garde hero Scott Walker teams up with California drone metal band Sunn O))) for a 5-track, 50-minute record that pushes the envelope for both artists. We’re marking this unusual release this week with a look back at the entirety of Walker’s career in a special two-part Back Tracks retrospective beginning tomorrow!
The Queen of Soul reunites with Clive Davis for her latest studio album, a tribute to her fellow divas – then and now – including Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Dinah Washington and Adele!
Billy Idol is back with his rebel yell and sneer intact on his first album since 2005, produced by Trevor Horn and Greg Kurstin!
Annie Lennox usually hasn’t been one to bask in nostalgia, but here she is, bringing her own spin to such Great American Songbook standards as “Summertime” and “God Bless the Child.” The Amazon U.S.-exclusive edition has a bonus disc featuring a Lennox interview and a live version of blues staple “I Put a Spell on You.”
O-o-h Child! Real Gone’s December Line-Up Features Five Stairsteps, Grateful Dead, B.J. Thomas and More
O-o-h Child! Real Gone Music has announced its December 2 release slate, and following the label’s holiday offerings set for November 4, it’s packed with rare soul, classic rock and folk!
The Real Goners have a complete collection of Linda Jones’ recordings for not one, not two, but three labels – Warner Bros., Atco and Loma –marking the most comprehensive collection yet for the “Hypnotized” songstress, including tracks new to CD! Joining the Linda Jones set is a two-for-one release of two Buddah albums from The First Family of Soul, The Five Stairsteps: 1968’s Our Family Portrait and 1970’s Stairsteps, the latter of which introduced the Top 10 hit “O-o-h Child.”
On the rock front, you’ll find two collections from western-themed bands! Real Gone continues the story of Cowboy with 5’ll Getcha Ten, the band’s 1971 album featuring the legendary Duane Allman sitting in; and the label adds a couple of tracks to the lone album from the 1980s’ wild roots-rockers The Unforgiven! And speaking of roots-rock of a kind, the ongoing Dick’s Picks reissue series for Grateful Dead continues with two 1973 shows from the Boston Music Hall!
The legendary Theodore Bikel makes his first appearance on Real Gone with a long out-of-print collection originally issued on Rhino Handmade. Theodore Bikel’s Treasury of Yiddish Folk and Theatre Songs contains 26 tracks from Bikel’s seminal Elektra recordings made between 1958 and 1964 at a time when popular music was rapidly changing, and will remind listeners, even today, of the enduring power of Bikel’s classic repertoire.
These six titles will be joined by two more releases originally scheduled for November 4. In the mid-1970s, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” icon B.J. Thomas became one of the most successful artists ever in the field of contemporary Christian music, recording a series of record-breaking, Grammy Award-winning albums for the Myrrh label that reflected the style and high production values of his pop material but with a spiritual emphasis. Home Where I Belong/Happy Man and You Gave Me Love/Miracle, with two albums on each CD, reveal a major chapter in the career of B.J. Thomas. I’ve written new liner notes for both titles, with fresh contributions from B.J. himself!
After the jump, we have the contents of Real Gone’s full press release plus pre-order links for all eight releases! Read the rest of this entry »
When Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles transformed into Labelle, the change was more than merely cosmetic. The quartet was reduced to a threesome when Cindy Birdsong headed to Hitsville USA to replace Florence Ballard in The Supremes. Moreover, under the direction of British manager, producer and songwriter Vicki Wickham, the girls ditched their traditional repertoire to pursue a gutsy new direction. Their first album as Labelle, a 1971 self-titled effort for Warner Bros., had songs written by all three members – Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx – as well as Carole King, Laura Nyro and The Rolling Stones. 1972’s Moonshadow saw Hendryx’s songwriting talent blossom alongside compositions from Dash, Pete Townshend (a searing cover of The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again”) and Cat Stevens (the title track). Post-Moonshadow, Wickham and Labelle decamped for RCA. SoulMusic has just reissued Labelle’s first and only RCA album, 1973’s Pressure Cookin’.
Nona Hendryx continued to shine on seven of the album’s nine tracks, and she was particularly concerned with social issues of the day. In A. Scott Galloway’s fine essay which accompanies this reissue, Hendryx relates, “I was inspired by artists…like Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Stephen Stills and Joni Mitchell. There was so much racism, sexism, drugs…there needed to be a revolution of the mind.” Hendryx and Labelle provided one with the scorching title song, and even the album’s cover material reflected that raised consciousness. A medley melded Thunderclap Newman’s “Something in the Air” with Gil Scott-Heron’s spoken-word “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” with all three women taking raps. Hendryx found room for the personal, too. “(Can I Speak to You Before You Go to) Hollywood” took aim at the people who might later have been deemed poseurs: “There were many people we knew who went from being new to major stars, i.e. divas, and things went to their heads…These were the same people that at one time you’d shared dressing rooms and chicken legs with on the chitlin circuit!” (Some have suggested Cindy Birdsong was a possible inspiration for the song.) On “Mr. Music Man,” Hendryx addressed the rapidly-changing musical climate, specifically the marginalization of certain artists from Top 40 radio. (The more things change…!) The funky “Goin’ on a Holiday” was co-produced by Wickham and an uncredited Stevie Wonder, and Wonder also wrote “Open Up Your Heart” for Labelle.
After the jump: more on Pressure Cookin’, plus Cheryl Lynn and Johnnie Taylor! Read the rest of this entry »
From “Last Christmas” To “Blue Xmas”: Legacy’s Black Friday Slate Features Wham!, Miles Davis, Hendrix, Kinks, Elvis, More
It’s that time of year again!
Announcements are finally coming in for Record Store Day’s annual Black Friday event happening on Friday, November 28. Rather than storming malls and big box stores, maybe you’ll want to pay a visit to your favorite local independent record store for an assortment of exclusive vinyl goodies. Legacy Recordings certainly hopes you will; the label’s roster for Black Friday’s RSD event includes titles from heavy-hitters including David Bowie, Joe Satriani, Miles Davis, Dave Matthews Band, Elvis Presley, The Kinks and Jimi Hendrix!
And that’s not all! Longtime readers know that Christmas is our favorite time of the year at Second Disc HQ! We’ve already filled you in on Joe’s two holiday-themed projects due on November 4 from Real Gone Music – Robert Goulet’s Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings and the long-awaited reissue of The Williams Brothers Christmas Album featuring Andy and his brothers – and today, it’s Mike’s turn! Fresh from his work on a pair of exciting Ghostbusters-related projects – the sold-out glow-in-the-dark EP of Ray Parker Jr.’s immortal title song and a brand-new, Stay Puft super deluxe marshmallow-scented (yes, you read that right!) vinyl release from Ray Parker, Jr. and Run-DMC – Mike is delivering a little Wham! for the holidays as co-producer of a 12-inch red and green vinyl single featuring both the classic “Last Christmas” and a previously unreleased instrumental mix! Trust me – no Christmas party will want to be without this one!
Hit the jump to explore Legacy’s full slate of Black Friday Record Store Day titles, all of which will be available at a participating RSD retailer on Friday, November 28! And watch this space for more announcements coming soon! Read the rest of this entry »
Fans might have been forgiven for wondering that when Peter Kingsbery and Anna LaCazio went their separate ways after the release of 1989’s First Love/Last Rites, the band’s third album. Yet, in 2006, Cock Robin returned with a new album, and since then, they’ve sporadically recorded and toured. Now, Cherry Red’s Cherry Pop imprint is celebrating the legacy of the San Francisco-formed band with deluxe, generously expanded reissues of Cock Robin’s first and second albums, 1985’s Cock Robin and 1987’s After Here Through Midland.
Songwriter/bassist/keyboardist Peter Kingsbery, originally of Texas, formed Cock Robin with California native Anna LaCazio, bolstering the group with English guitarist Clive Wright and Pennsylvanian drummer Louis Molino III. Signed to Columbia Records in the U.S. and parent CBS internationally, Cock Robin enlisted Steve Hillage – a veteran of genres from progressive rock to dance – as producer of the band’s eponymous debut. Hillage brought the goods in terms of contemporary, synth-driven eighties new wave luster, with the twin lead vocal approach of Kingsbery and LaCazio adding dimension. Kingsbery’s varied musical background was an asset in creating songs that would endure; a student of classical music in his youth, the multi-instrumentalist had toured with country-pop dynamo Brenda Lee and would go on to sing on Tim Rice’s musical-theatre concept album Tycoon. In addition to the core band members, Cock Robin featured contributions from guest musicians including ubiquitous percussionist Paulinho da Costa and Hillage himself on guitar.
Yet from the start, Cock Robin had difficulty cracking the lucrative U.S. and U.K. markets. Most unexpectedly, the band became sensations elsewhere in Europe! The pulsating “The Promise You Made” gave Cock Robin its only British hit when it reached No. 28 in May 1986. Though it failed to chart in the U.S., the track beautifully blending Kingsbery and LaCazio topped the chart in Belgium, was a No. 2 hit in the Netherlands, and also went Top 10 in Germany and France! In America, “When Your Heart is Weak,” a Kingsbery solo mixed by Val Garay (Kim Carnes, The Motels), peaked at No. 35 Pop; it missed the U.K. chart, but went Top 10 in Germany and France. The album’s third single release “Thought You Were By My Side” was a Top 5 hit in Belgium and the Netherlands, and just missed the Top 20 in Germany. Though it only reached No. 61 in the U.S., the album went Top 10 in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, setting the stage for a sophomore effort.
After Here Through Midland arrived in 1987 on Columbia, with engineer-turned-producer Don Gehman taking the production reins from Hillage. Gehman had scored big hits for John Mellencamp with the likes of “Jack and Diane” and “Hurts So Good,” and also helmed R.E.M.’s Lifes Rich Pageant in 1986. He brought a somewhat grittier texture to the album, again penned entirely by Peter Kingsbery and anchored by an autobiographical title song. Cock Robin itself was slimmer this time around, though, with Wright and Molino having left the band. To compensate for their departure, more session musicians were enlisted including Tim Pierce (Foreigner, Rick Springfield) and Denny Fongheiser (Belinda Carlisle, The Rembrandts). Producer Dennis Herring (Elvis Costello, Camper Van Beethoven) supplied guitar on “The Biggest Fool of All,” and Brian Kilgore added congas to “Precious Dreams.” Wright couldn’t stay away for long, though; he supplied guitar for the uptempo “Dreams,” as well.
Gehman didn’t radically alter the band’s sound, however, blending guitars and synths on the sparkling “Just Around the Corner,” which missed the charts in the U.S. and U.K. but continued Cock Robin’s winning streak in Europe with Top 20 placements in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The second single, “The Biggest Fool of All,” was inspired by country epics like Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” and Gene Pitney’s Bacharach/David-written “24 Hours from Tulsa.” It, too, charted in those four European countries, with its best showing a No. 23 placement in Belgium. Third single “El Norte” took its name from the 1983 Oscar-nominated drama; it didn’t make any chart impression. After Here impressively made the Top 10 in a host of European countries, among them France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands and Sweden despite stalling at No. 166 stateside. Some of the album’s tracks like “Every Moment” looked forward to the more “adult contemporary,” sophisti-pop approach Cock Robin would take on their third album (and final release before disbanding), 1989’s First Love/Last Rites.
We have much more on these reissues after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »