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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!

Review: The Beach Boys, “Live – 50th Anniversary Tour”

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Beach Boys LiveWater has always played a key role in the California myth of The Beach Boys – whether via the inviting waves of “Surfin’ USA,” the blue seas of “Hawaii,” or the dark imagery of “Surf’s Up.”  But the water onstage for the group’s 50th anniversary tour was of a different sort: it was water under the bridge.  If perhaps only for three or so hours each night last summer, all of the oft-publicized tensions that have beset America’s Band over the years seemed to melt away in full view of the audience.  So it’s only fitting that Capitol Records’ souvenir of the landmark reunion, Live – 50th Anniversary Tour, is bathed in a warmly nostalgic glow of family and friends adding some music to their day and yours.  That this 2-CD set could be preserving the final shared appearance of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks adds a bittersweet note to the celebration, but then again, the exuberant and the melancholy have always co-existed in the music of the boys from Hawthorne.

When 50th anniversary tour concluded last September in London, it was on a triumphant note despite the confirmation that the group would again splinter.  For the second-to-last performance of September 27, the Boys played a staggering 61 tunes. And for the final Wembley Arena show on September 28, the total number was a rather still impressive 55.  The new CD set presents just 41 songs for over two hours’ of music – not bad, but not quite a representation of the marathons played last year.  But needless to say, these discs have plenty to offer, and not just for those who were in attendance.

The Boys’ first current live album since 1973’s The Beach Boys in Concert, 50th Anniversary features a larger array of onstage talent than any of their previous live recordings.  The five core members are joined by guitarist/vocalist/co-musical director Scott Totten and guitarist/vocalist John Cowsill of Love and Johnston’s Beach Boys band, plus seven members of Brian Wilson’s own remarkable collective: Jeffrey Foskett (guitar/vocals), Scott Bennett (keyboards/vocals), Nelson Bragg (percussion/vocals), Mike D’Amico (bass/vocals), Probyn Gregory (guitar/vocals), Paul Mertens (horns/vocals/co-musical director) and Darian Sahanaja (keyboards/vocals).  The versatile multi-instrumentalists of Wilson’s band bring a new dimension to the live performances, one imbued with youthful energy as well as a deep knowledge of the original record productions.  Taken as one fourteen-person unit, this Beach Boys line-up was filled with reverence and yes, nostalgia, but the group never approached the music like museum pieces.

The two discs, largely adhering to the concert tour’s two-act format and setlist running order, offer a well-sequenced blend of the timeless surf/car/teenage-themed songs and the later, more introspective and adventurous material.  The crisp, bright sound of the new album might confirm that there has been some post-concert in-studio sweetening, but it’s hardly a deterrent.  Though the sound here is much more polished than that of the raw, harder-rocking unit on the 1973 live album (with Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar joining Love, Jardine, and the late Carl and Dennis Wilson), there’s plenty of spirit from the get-go.

Catch a wave with us after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 21, 2013 at 10:51

Posted in News, Reviews, The Beach Boys

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That’s Why God Made Harmonies: The Beach Boys, CSNY Plan Live CDs

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Beach Boys LiveIf The Beach Boys are the all-time torchbearers for harmony, surely Crosby, Stills, Nash & (sometimes) Young aren’t far behind.  Both of these legendary groups have recently announced live recordings of landmark concert engagements.

When The Beach Boys’ acclaimed 50th Anniversary reunion tour concluded last September in London, the band’s triumph was marked by a note of sadness.  Acrimony had once again arisen, and it appeared clear that the tour would likely be the last together for Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks.  Love and Johnston immediately took to resuming dates with their own band (including John Cowsill and Scott Totten, both of whom participated in the tour) while Wilson entered the studio with his remarkable troupe of musicians (the core backing band for the reunion tour).  It’s recently been announced that Wilson, Jardine and Marks will perform some dates this summer even as Love and Johnston continue their Never-Ending Tour.  But with the May 21 release of Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour, fans can relive the good, good, good – if short-lived – vibrations of the sold-out concert tour.

Live culls 41 tracks from the expansive set lists played by The Beach Boys last summer.  This whopping number is still far from representing all of the songs played by the group during the tour, however.  For the second-to-last London performance of September 27, the Boys played a staggering 61 tunes.  And for the final Wembley Arena performance on September 28, they tackled a none-too-shabby 55 songs!  Of the 41 selected by Capitol Records for release, many of the group’s most beloved hits are naturally included: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “God Only Knows,” “Sloop John B” and the title track from Pet Sounds; “Heroes and Villains” from SMiLE; classic surf songs like “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfin’ USA,” and car tunes like “Shut Down” and “409.”  A number of the lesser-known gems played during the tour have also been retained, such as “Marcella,” “All This is That” and “California Saga: California.”  Two songs from the band’s 2012 album That’s Why God Made the Radio appear: the title song and “Isn’t It Time.”  (The prophetic “Summer’s Gone,” played at the final two tour dates, hasn’t been selected for inclusion.)

Alas, there are many surprising omissions.  Brian Wilson’s heartfelt performance of Pet Sounds’ “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times” hasn’t been included.  Nor has Wilson’s rocking “This Whole World,” or the ravishing “Please Let Me Wonder” and “Kiss Me Baby.”  Even the hit “Don’t Worry Baby” is missing from this truncated program.

Still, at 41 tracks over two CDs, Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour is a solid sampling of the musical magic of The Beach Boys, doing it again for one final (?) time.  It’s also nearly double the length of the 2012 DVD/BD release Live in Concert, which only included 21 songs.  (“God Only Knows” didn’t make the cut for that one!)  Unfortunately, that release doesn’t include any songs not on the CD set.  Surf’s up for the Capitol Records release of Live – The 50th Anniversary Tour on May 21.

You’ll find a full track listing after the jump.  Plus: CSNY heads back to 1974! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 22, 2013 at 10:14

“ICON” is Now a Capitol Idea

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Belinda Carlisle ICONAnother few batches of Universal’s eye-rolling ICON series are on the way – and while they offer a few genuine surprises, there’s a lot, perhaps even more than usual, to shake one’s head over.

The big surprise right off the bat is that the mid-price compilation series will now chronicle not only Universal-controlled catalogue artists, but EMI-controlled ones as well. This is hardly a surprise, given the past year’s big story of music business restructuring that’s leaving the world with three major music labels including a Universal/EMI conglomerate.

But the budget compilation idea is nothing new for EMI artists – and frustratingly, ICON is starting off by covering those EMI artists with more than enough compilations to go around, including The Beach Boys, Poison and Pat Benatar. While we have a few surprises to go around on the Universal side of the ICON list – Liberace and Captain & Tennille are prime examples on the “didn’t see that coming” list – there’s very little new or exciting in these batches. (The ICON entry for Bon Jovi is, in fact, a clone of the band’s 1994 compilation Cross Road with the cover art poorly repurposed.)

The only real boon for collectors is the ICON title for Go-Go’s frontwoman (and recent acquisition by Demon Music Group) Belinda Carlisle, whose set will feature a brand-new recording, “Sun,” her first recording to hit U.S. stores in 15 years.

These new batches kick off tomorrow with five EMI-controlled gospel artists (including Amy Grant, whose biggest pop hits were ironically on Universal’s A&M label). Another 15 follow the next week, and two more (Jimmy Cliff and Bon Jovi) follow the week after that. And they’re all yours to consider after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 11, 2013 at 12:36

“Ram,” “SMiLE,” Woody Earn Catalogue Credits At Grammys

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Ram Box SetLet’s start the day with a quick, annual reminder of the hardworking people in the catalogue music business who were recognized for their efforts by way of nominations at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.

Three such box sets were nominated for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: Paul McCartney’s Ram: The Paul McCartney Archive Collection, The Rolling Stones’ Some Girls: Super Deluxe Edition and Woody Guthrie’s Woody At 100: The Centennial CollectionRam and Woody At 100 also shared nominations for Best Historical Album alongside the beautiful SMiLE Sessions box set by The Beach Boys, while three writers of notes for reissues and box sets were given nods in the Best Album Notes category.

The full list of relevant nominees are below, while the entire list (including an impressive six-way tie for most nominations by a single artist or band) is here.

Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Soundtrack From The Motion Picture)
Rob Sheridan, art director (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)
(Null/Madison Gate Records)

Go Fly A Kite
Liz Kweller, art director (Ben Kweller)
(The Noise Company)

Ram – Paul McCartney Archive Collection (Deluxe Edition)
Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors (Paul And Linda McCartney)
(Hear Music)

Some Girls: Super Deluxe Edition
Stephen Kennedy, art director (The Rolling Stones)
(UMe/Universal Republic)

Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection
Fritz Klaetke, art director (Woody Guthrie)
(Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)

Best Album Notes

Banjo Diary: Lessons From Tradition
Stephen Wade, album notes writer (Stephen Wade)
(Smithsonian Folkways)

First Recordings: 50th Anniversary Edition
Hans Olof Gottfridsson, album notes writer (The Beatles With Tony Sheridan)
(Time Life)

The Pearl Sessions
Holly George-Warren, album notes writer (Janis Joplin)
(Columbia/Legacy)

Piazzolla In Brooklyn
Fernando Gonzalez, album notes writer (Pablo Aslan Quintet)
(Soundbrush)

Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles
Billy Vera, album notes writer (Ray Charles)
(Concord)

Best Historical Album

He Is My Story: The Sanctified Soul Of Arizona Dranes
Josh Rosenthal, compilation producer; Bryan Hoffa & Christopher King, mastering engineers (Arizona Dranes)
(Tompkins Square)

Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music: 34 Historic Songs, Ballads, And Instrumentals Recorded In The Great Smoky Mountains By “Song Catcher” Joseph S. Hall
Kent Cave, Michael Montgomery & Ted Olson, compilation producers; John Fleenor & Steve Kemp, mastering engineers (Various Artists)
(Great Smoky Mountains Association)

Opika Pende: Africa At 78 RPM
Steven Lance Ledbetter & Jonathan Ward, compilation producers; Michael Graves, mastering engineer (Various Artists)
(Dust-to-Digital)

Ram – Paul McCartney Archive Collection (Deluxe Edition)
Paul McCartney, compilation producer; Simon Gibson, Guy Massey & Steve Rooke, mastering engineers (Paul And Linda McCartney)
(MPL/Hear Music/Concord)

The Smile Sessions (Deluxe Box Set)
Alan Boyd, Mark Linett, Brian Wilson & Dennis Wolfe, compilation producers; Mark Linett, mastering engineer (The Beach Boys)
(Capitol)

Woody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection
Jeff Place & Robert Santelli, compilation producers; Pete Reiniger, mastering engineer (Woody Guthrie)
(Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)

Written by Mike Duquette

December 6, 2012 at 10:10

Black Friday 2012: Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa Lead Off Packed Slate of RSD Exclusives

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Here in the U. S. of A., Black Friday is almost upon us: that unusual date following the prior day of giving thanks, in which consumers make a mad dash to the local big-box store, mall or shopping center to procure bargains for the holiday season ahead.  Retailers are controversially beginning Black Friday “festivities” even earlier than usual this year, with many sales starting on Thanksgiving Day itself and not even at midnight but in the early part of the evening.  For a number of recent years, music buyers have had our own Black Friday, that day in April known as Record Store Day in which the aisles of our independent retailers are filled with hunters of collectible vinyl and CD releases.  Record Store Day has in the past sponsored a mini-RSD event on Black Friday, but this year, the titles on offer are as enticing and nearly as plentiful as those on the main RSD itself.  For some, this will be a source of frustration, for others, excitement.

This year’s line-up for Record Store Day – Black Friday brings titles from some of the biggest names in rock including The Beach Boys, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Nirvana, plus cult favorites like Leonard Cohen, Lee Hazlewood and Frank Zappa, and country-and-western legends such as Wanda Jackson and Buck Owens.

After the jump and without further ado, we’ll fill you in on the crème of the reissued crop come this Black Friday!  Just click for your full list of the catalogue releases to watch! Read the rest of this entry »

Release Round-Up: Week of November 19

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Led Zeppelin,Celebration Day (Swan Song/Atlantic)

The one-off reunion nobody expected and everyone loved – a 2007 gig at the O2 in London – is now available in a variety of formats for your listening enjoyment. (Odds are this isn’t the last LZ catalogue bit you’ll see in the next year.) (2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (2CD/1DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (2CD/Blu-Ray: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (2CD/1DVD/Blu-Ray: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (Blu-Ray Audio: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (3LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Frank Zappa, 8 album reissues (Zappa/UMe)

A good chunk of the fifth and final wave of Zappa album remasters (the other three in the wave have been moved back to December 18), including the first-ever CD release of the Mothermania compilation and four volumes of You Can’t Do That on Stage Anymore. The link above has more info and pre-order links!

The Jam, The Gift: Deluxe Edition (Polydor/UMC U.K.)

A lavish deluxe version of The Jam’s final album, augmented with B-sides, unreleased demos, live tracks and video footage, all in a fancy “gift” bag. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

10cc, Tenology (UMC U.K.)

One of the more underrated bands of the ’70s, 10cc finally gets their due with a multi-disc CD/DVD box set. Hits, album cuts and B-sides abound. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

ABBA,ABBA: Deluxe Edition (Polydor/UMC U.K.)

Mamma Mia! The Swedish legends’ 1976 album is reissued as a CD/DVD set with rare archival video. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Naked Eyes, Burning Bridges: Expanded Edition (Cherry Pop)

The album that gave us hits like “Always Something There to Remind Me” and “Promises, Promises” is expanded by Cherry Pop with B-sides and bonus remixes. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Kelly Clarkson, The Hits: Chapter One (RCA/19)

The first true greatest hits collection from an American Idol winner. That crushing feeling is the sands of time upon you. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Elvis Costello, In Motion Pictures (UMe)

If E.C. had a song in a movie, it’s probably here. Probably. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

The Beach Boys, Live in Concert: 50th Anniversary (SMC)

Good news: a live Beach Boys show from this year’s tour! Bad news: hugely edited. Like, more than half. (DVD: Amazon U.S. Blu-Ray: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

AC/DC, Live at River Plate (Columbia)

The band’s 2009 set in Argentina, released on DVD a few years back, is now available on two CDs or three red LPs. (2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.) (3LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

Art Pepper, Neon Art Volume 3 (Omnivore)

The third and final volume of Omnivore’s Art Pepper colored vinyl series; this one features part of a 1981 live show on yellow wax.

3 Doors Down, The Greatest Hits (Universal Republic)

A greatest hits compilation we only just found out about, like, two days ago. Full story coming up later. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

t.A.T.u., 200 Km/H in the Wrong Lane: 10th Anniversary Edition (Cherrytree/Interscope/Universal Russia)

Wait, what? Yup. (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.)

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