The Second Disc

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“Weird Scenes Inside” Rhino’s Record Store Day Slate

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Doors - Weird ScenesWith April 19’s Record Store Day a little more than a week away, it might be time to start making those checklists! We’ve already filled you in on exciting releases from Legacy Recordings, Real Gone Music, SundazedOmnivore Recordings, Varese Sarabande and many others, but today it’s all about Rhino! The Warner Music Group catalogue arm has a bumper crop of more than 25 exclusive offerings from some of the biggest names classic rock, vintage R&B and beyond – including The Doors, Grateful Dead, Ramones, Randy Newman, and, as previously reported, R.E.M.! And that’s not all.

A number of new titles are at the heart of Rhino’s RSD campaign. The Dead premieres Live at Hampton Coliseum for the first time on double vinyl, preserving the band’s Virginia concert of May 4, 1979. Another live set getting a first-ever vinyl issue is Donny Hathaway’s Live at the Bitter End 1971, first issued last year on the Never My Love: The Anthology box set. The Pogues with Joe Strummer Live in London 1991, was like the Donny Hathaway release, first issued on CD in a recent box set (last year’s 30 Years complete albums box) and makes its first appearance in the LP format. It dates back to the period when the Clash frontman filled in for Shane MacGowan in the Pogues line-up. Rhino’s new releases are rounded out by a collection of new-to-vinyl outtakes from country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons, a new Greatest Hits from rapper and longtime Law and Order: SVU star Ice-T, and of course, R.E.M.’s eagerly awaited Unplugged 1991/2001: The Complete Sessions.

Randy Newman - Randy NewmanRhino continues its Side by Side series of 45s featuring two versions of the same song with pairings of Devo and The Flaming Lips (“Gates of Steel”), Dinosaur Jr. and The Cure (“Just Like Heaven”), Pantera and Poison Idea (“The Badge”) and two Mystery Artists– and Mystery Song, natch.  The label is also bringing a number of classic LPs back into print. These rare treats include The Birthday Party from Jeff Lynne’s pre-ELO psych-rock band The Idle Race, Randy Newman’s stunningly original debut solo LP – on which he created something new under the sun! – in its original mono version, Otis Redding’s mono Pain in My Heart, and classics from The Everly Brothers, The Velvet Underground, Hüsker Dü and many others.

Last but not least, Rhino has an array of compilations and singles on tap. Perhaps the most unexpected title is The Doors’ Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine, the band’s first compilation following the untimely death of Jim Morrison. First released in 1972, Gold Mine will also get a first-time CD reissue in May. A rare Ramones EP (1980’s Meltdown with the Ramones) and the first-ever U.S. release of Fleetwood Mac’s 1970 single “Dragonfly” b/w “Purple Dancer” join titles from Joy Division, The Specials, The Stranglers and even a reissue of Elektra’s 1964 multi-LP box set The Folk Box. The latter even comes with a bonus single featuring Judy Collins and Tom Paxton!

We wouldn’t leave you hanging with all of this tantalizing information; just hit the jump for the full specs (including limited edition numbers, vinyl details, etc.) as helpfully provided by our very own Mike D. for every title mentioned above and more! Look for Rhino’s releases at your finest local independent record retailer on Saturday, April 19. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Linda Ronstadt, “Duets”

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Linda Ronstadt - DuetsTonight, Linda Ronstadt receives her long-overdue recognition into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But rock and roll, of course, played only a small – if key – role in Ronstadt’s career. The breadth of that career is revealed on Rhino’s new release of Linda Ronstadt – Duets (Rhino R2 542161), containing fourteen tracks originally released between 1974 and 2006 plus one previously unreleased performance. While there are no duets here from Ronstadt’s Tony-nominated turn in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta The Pirates of Penzance or her Mexican recordings , her immersions into the realms of country, folk, jazz, R&B, and of course, Southern California rock are all here. She’s joined by a “Who’s who” of artists including Frank Sinatra, James Taylor, Bette Midler, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Aaron Neville, James Ingram, and J.D. Souther.  Ronstadt won’t be attending tonight’s ceremony, but her music speaks for itself.

Compiled and remastered by her longtime manager, John Boylan, Duets is a reminder of just how catholic Ronstadt’s tastes were. From her earliest days as a member of country-rock band The Stone Poneys (“Different Drum”), she refused to be pigeonholed in one genre. On Duets, the songs of Irving Berlin and Warren Zevon are performed with the same sympathetic understanding and respect for the art of the song. Boylan has neatly sequenced the compilation as a musical travelogue from folk to country to rock to standards, both modern and vintage.  The sound changes along with the style of song, building and growing from acoustic to orchestral.

Three selections from Ronstadt’s final studio recording, 2006’s Adieu False Heart with Cajun singer Ann Savoy, open Duets. Their tight harmonies on the low-key opening cut, “Adieu, False Heart,” are adorned with light acoustic flourishes, and the already-poignant song takes on additional meaning when placed in context as likely the concluding chapter of Ronstadt’s career as a vocalist. Of the three Savoy duets, however, the most revelatory is their reinvention of The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee.” This folk reinterpretation of Michael Brown’s song can’t help but bring to mind Ronstadt’s famous recasting of “oldies” from Motown to Buddy Holly and The Everly Brothers into her own style.

Though Bette Midler is the partner on the fun, Barry Manilow-arranged recording of Irving Berlin’s “Sisters,” Ronstadt’s truest sisters in song might be Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. Though there are no recordings here from their Trio recordings, each is represented on one track. On the traditional “I Never Will Marry,” accompanied by just acoustic guitars (Waddy Wachtel and Ronstadt) and dobro (Mike Auldridge), Ronstadt and Parton’s voices blend with a beautiful simplicity. More boisterous is the delightfully bright bounce of Ronstadt and Harris’ take on Hank Williams’ familiar “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You).” Peter Asher’s clean production, featuring the tireless Andrew Gold on guitar, piano and ukelele along with “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow on steel guitar and David Lindley on fiddle, made no concessions to the sound of rock circa 1974. Ronstadt’s affinity for classic country recurs throughout her catalogue, and she blends exquisitely with Carl Jackson on a 2003, fiddle-and-dobro-flecked rendition of The Louvin Brothers’ chestnut “The New Partner Waltz.”

Keep reading after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 10, 2014 at 10:45

Ain’t No Stopping Them Now: Sony Acquires Entire Philadelphia International Catalogue, Box Set Coming Soon [UPDATED]

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Philadelphia International Box

UPDATED 4/9 WITH NEW INFORMATION, LINKS AND IMAGES: The love train is pulling back into the station.

Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records, distributed by CBS Records, began life in 1971 with the release of Billy Paul’s Going East on LP and The Ebonys’ “You’re the Reason Why” on 45.  (Trivia fans, take note: Gideon Smith’s single “Arkansaw Wife” – yes, you read that right – has an earlier catalogue number, but the quintessentially Philly track by The Ebonys appears to have been released first.)  The R&B empire, which had built a catalogue of some of the most iconic soul music of all time, continued to be distributed by CBS until 1984.  At that time, control of the label’s post-1975 masters went to Gamble and Huff, with initial reissues (as well as new albums) coming under the EMI umbrella.  Pre-1976 recordings remained with CBS successor Sony Music Entertainment.  In 2007, Sony’s Legacy Recordings announced regained rights to the post-1975 recordings, and now, Sony and PIR have come full circle with the announcement that Sony has gained global ownership of all post-1975 PIR masters.

What this means for Sony is clear: the music industry giant now adds key titles to its roster from artists including Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, Jean Carn, The Jones Girls, The Stylistics, Archie Bell and the Drells, Jerry Butler, Phyllis Hyman, and others who began recording for PIR in 1976 and beyond.  What does this mean for fans and collectors?  In 2014, Legacy will launch a series of new physical and digital releases created from the combined PIR catalogue including “a definitive Philadelphia International Records box, budget single artist anthology titles, 12-inch and 7-inch vinyl replica collectibles and more.” 

In recent years, numerous PIR album reissues have arrived from Cherry Red Group’s Big Break Records (drawing on the pre-1976 recordings controlled by Sony) and Demon Music Group (the post-1976 recordings controlled by Gamble and Huff).    In early 2012, Legacy thrilled fans with the archival release of Golden Gate Groove, a Don Cornelius-hosted concert that brought together many of the label’s biggest and brightest stars, from the O’Jays to Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass.  In 2013, Demon’s Harmless imprint issued a comprehensive (if oddly arranged) 10-CD box set drawing on the entire discography plus rare recordings from Gamble and Huff’s pre-PIR labels including Neptune, Gamble and North Bay and sister labels like TSOP, Golden Fleece, Tommy and Thunder.

The new catalogue activity from Sony starts in May!  What can you expect?  Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 9, 2014 at 13:21

Masterworks Premieres Lost Album By Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy, Brings Rare Richard Rodgers and Ed Ames To CD

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Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy - Marriage Type LoveSony’s Masterworks Broadway division has announced its spring slate, and it’s filled with surprises. The label is kicking it off with next week’s first-ever release of a shelved album from Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy recorded in 1959 and unreleased until now, and following that in May with the first-ever reissue of a “lost” Richard Rodgers score written for television. That gem, Androcles and the Lion, will be followed in June by a pair of albums from one of its stars: Ed Ames, formerly of the Ames Brothers.

In her 2013 memoir, Academy Award winner and Partridge Family matriarch Shirley Jones chronicled her rocky marriage to the debonair, troubled Broadway star Jack Cassidy. Though the couple broke up before his untimely death in 1976, Jones concluded, “Both [her companion of 36 years] Marty [Ingels] and I know the truth: I still love Jack Cassidy, and I will carry on loving him until my dying day.” In 1959, the love they shared was in full bloom. The bright young couple had recorded a pair of albums for Columbia Records in 1957 and 1959 (Speaking of Love, with Percy Faith’s orchestra; and With Love from Hollywood, with Frank DeVol’s orchestra). Also in 1957, they co-starred in a studio cast recording of Brigadoon that remains among the score’s finest renderings. In 1959, they announced a new duet album, to be entitled Marriage Type Love after the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from the musical Me and Juliet. Yet for reasons that are still unclear today, the mixed and completed LP was shelved.

Now, after more than fifty years, Marriage Type Love is being unveiled on digital download and CD-R from Masterworks. The 12-song set features Marty Gold and His Orchestra backing up the on this loose concept album built around the themes of love and marriage. In addition to the Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen tune “Love and Marriage” (best known to one generation as the theme song to television’s Married…with Children), the album contains showtunes and standards by Frank Loesser, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, George and Ira Gershwin, and Cole Porter. Marriage Type Love will be released exclusively for purchase via MasterworksBroadway.com on April 15 in a limited quantity of Manufacture-On-Demand CD-Rs as well as digital download. The CD-R gets wider release through Arkiv Music on May 13, and downloads through other digital service providers will become available the same day.

After the jump: full details on Androcles and the Lion and the Ed Ames two-fer! Plus: track listings for all titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 9, 2014 at 12:16

Would You Believe: Three Records From The Hollies’ Allan Clarke Collected By RPM

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Allan Clarke - SideshowRPM Records, an imprint of Cherry Red Group, continues to leave no stone unturned in its explorations of every corner of the British pop-rock map with three recent collections from Hollies leader Allan Clarke, “Pied Piper” Crispian St. Peters and beat combo The Scorpions. Today, the spotlight is on Sideshow from Allan Clarke, who began singing in Manchester as a youth with his pal Graham Nash and never looked back.

Sideshow: Solo Recordings 1973-1976 collects three early solo albums from Allan Clarke on two CDs. The Hollies had not only survived the departure in late 1968 of founding member Nash, but had thrived thanks to singles like “Sorry, Suzanne” and the international smash “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” But soon, Clarke felt the same urge that Nash had, to explore life outside of The Hollies. His songwriting partnership with Roger Cook on the Hollies hit “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress” inspired him to leave the band in late 1971, to be replaced by Mikael Rickfors. Following a debut solo effort for RCA in the U.K. and Epic in the U.S. (My Real Name is ‘arold), Clarke returned to the band’s home base of EMI for the three albums included in this set.

Headroom was released in 1973, just prior to Clarke’s return that year to The Hollies. Almost entirely written by Clarke and guitarist Ray Glynn, Headroom found Clarke joined by a band including Tony Newman on drums, Elton John Band member Dee Murray on bass and Kirk Duncan on keyboards. In addition to the clutch of original songs, Clarke revisited “Would You Believe” from The Hollies’ Butterfly album. He also recorded a fine version of Mentor Williams’ “Drift Away” after having heard it on a demo. But by the time of the album’s release, Dobie Gray had already scored the hit record.

Ensconced in The Hollies once again, Clarke persevered with another solo set. The self-titled Allan Clarke reteamed him with Roger Cook (of the Cook and Greenaway team behind such pop favorites as “You’ve Got Your Troubles”) as well as with Glynn and Newman. Herbie Flowers assumed bass duties and Peter Robinson took over piano, while future Nashville transplant Cook also added the great B.J. Cole on steel guitar for a country-rock flavor. Flowers and Cook also welcomed their Blue Mink bandmate Madeline Bell to the album sessions. Clarke’s compositions were curiously absent from the LP, but Cook contributed five songs, three co-written with Flowers. In John Reed’s liner notes, Clarke confesses, “I felt a little like I should have had some of my songs on the album, but…Roger had other ideas about how to showcase me. [Allan Clarke] was Roger’s baby.” Clarke did bring a song by the young, pre-Fleetwood Mac team of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to the project (“Baby Don’t Let Me Down Again,” from the infamously out-of-print Buckingham Nicks LP). It also featured songs by Randy Newman (“I’ll Be Home”), Little Richard (“Send Me Some Lovin’”) and Bruce Springsteen (“If I Were the Priest”). Clarke was an early champion of the future Boss’s, also recording “Fourth of July Asbury Park (Sandy)” with The Hollies in 1975.

There’s more on Allan Clarke after the jump, including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 9, 2014 at 10:06

You Must Remember This: TCM, Masterworks Compile “Classic Sound of Hollywood” From Mancini, Williams, Morricone, More

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Play It Again - Classic HollywoodOn April 1, Sony’s Masterworks division and Turner Classic Movies marked the cable network’s twentieth anniversary with a new 2-CD collection of vintage Hollywood movie themes. Play It Again: The Classic Sound of Hollywood continues the Masterworks/TCM series that has previously encompassed archival releases from Doris Day, Mario Lanza and Fred Astaire. Composers represented include Bernard Herrmann, Max Steiner, Maurice Jarre, Elmer Bernstein, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Henry Mancini, Ennio Morricone and John Williams.  Most of the tracks on Play It Again aren’t derived from the original film soundtracks, but rather from renditions played by the likes of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Boston Pops.

The first disc is drawn entirely from RCA Red Seal’s series of Classic Film Scores as recorded by conductor Charles Gerhardt and London’s National Philharmonic Orchestra in the early 1970s. It includes three suites from composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold featuring his themes from Of Human Bondage, Between Two Worlds, and The Sea Hawk. Underscoring the diversity of this set, the disc also contains cues from the sensationally steamy Peyton Place (Franz Waxman), the creature feature The Thing (From Another World) (Dimitri Tiomkin) and even the Biblical epic Salomé (Daniele Amfitheatrof).  In 2010, Masterworks reissued this series as it originally appeared on LP, orphaning a handful of recordings.  The three of these “stray” recordings are the Peyton Place main title, the “Dance of the Seven Veils” from Salomé and the suite from The Thing.  In addition, the Korngold suites for The Sea Hawk and Of Human Bondage are different edits from those contained on the reissued Korngold CD in the Gerhardt series; this disc marks their first appearance on CD in over a decade.

What will you find on Disc 2?  Hit the jump for that, and more – including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Nils Lofgren “Faces the Music” with Massive, Career-Spanning 10-Disc Box Set

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Nils Lofgren - Face the Music CoverThis Thursday evening, Nils Lofgren joins the esteemed ranks of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers when he’s inducted into the institution as a member of The E Street Band. But Lofgren’s work as one of Bruce Springsteen’s resident axemen is only one facet of his exhilarating 45-year career in music. On May 27, 2014, Fantasy Records will deliver the ultimate celebration of Lofgren’s creativity and longevity with Face the Music. This definitive 9-CD/1-DVD box set contains 169 tracks drawn from Lofgren’s major-label and independently-released solo albums (including with his early band Grin), not to mention his own archives. Two of the CDs feature 40 previously unreleased recordings, while the DVD includes 20 diverse video clips.

The Chicago-born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist had been immersed in music since his childhood, and was still in his teenage years when Neil Young called upon him to add piano and guitar to his now-classic 1970 album After the Gold Rush. It began an association between Lofgren and Young’s music that continues to this very day, and the young musician even briefly joined Crazy Horse, playing on the 1971 self-titled album by Young’s frequent collaborators. Lofgren’s own band, Grin, recorded four well-received albums of melodic yet edgy rock-and-roll between 1971 and 1973 on the Epic and A&N labels, before Nils launched his own solo career with 1975’s eponymous debut on A&M.

That solo career has lasted to this very day, even as Lofgren continues as a member of The E Street Band, a position he has held since 1984. Between 1975 and 2011, he’s released over twenty solo albums on labels including MCA, CBS, Rykodisc and his own Cattle Track Road Records. Many of these recordings are difficult to find today; as Lofgren notes in the press release for Face the Music, “If it takes 45 minutes of work on the Internet to find one track from 40 years ago, that’s not really available in my eyes.” Needless to say, many of Lofgren’s friends dropped in during his studio sessions, and so the box set features contributions from such luminaries as Young, Springsteen, Ringo Starr, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Levon Helm, Al Kooper, Buddy Miles, Aynsley Dunbar, Willie Nelson, Lou Gramm and Sam Moore of Sam and Dave. A testament to Lofgren’s prolific songwriting, the box also makes room for songs co-written by Lofgren and the late Lou Reed as well as with Alice Cooper’s associates Dick Wagner and Bob Ezrin.

Lofgren himself was instrumental in selecting the 169 tracks, stating, “[Fantasy parent Concord Records] had their good ideas, and then they said, ‘It’s your boxed set, so you pick.’ They asked me to make the final choices and decisions, including every song.” Grin is represented with such tracks as “Like Rain,” “White Lies,” “Slippery Fingers,” and “Beggar’s Day” (the last of which he also recorded with Crazy Horse), plus solo tracks like “Back It Up,” “The Sun Hasn’t Set,” “You’re the Weight,” “Incidentally … It’s Over,” and “Dreams Die Hard.”  Of his later-period material, Lofgren has tapped his records of original compositions plus live recordings, the soundtrack to the 1993 film Every Breath, his 2001 all-instrumental release Tuff Stuff! The Best of the All-Madden Team Band and 2008’s The Loner, a tribute to his longtime friend Neil Young. Besides the stellar Young covers of favorites like “Mr. Soul” and “I Am a Child,” there are also songs from Del Shannon (“I Go to Pieces”) and Bruce Springsteen (“Wreck on the Highway”).

The two CDs of previously unreleased music starts with Lofgren’s pre-Grin days with Paul Dowell and the Dolphin, and also features never-before-heard nuggets from Grin. Lofgren says, “The piece de resistance for me was finding an old master tape of Neil Young singing and playing piano on ‘Keith Don’t Go’ with Grin, and getting his permission to use it after we remixed it.”

After the jump, we have much, much more on Nils, including the complete track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 8, 2014 at 10:35

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