In 2014, Guy Clark netted the Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for My Favorite Picture of You. Dedicated to his wife and muse of 40 years, Susanna Clark, My Favorite Picture proved that the years hadn’t dulled the ability of the Texas-born pioneer of the progressive country movement to craft a moving, tender, keenly-observed and well-crafted collection of songs. Following its release of the Clark anthology Hindsight 21/20 (1975-1995), Australia’s Raven Records label has revisited his catalogue for An American Dream: 4 Classic Albums 1978-1992. This new 2-CD set features four Clark albums originally released under the Warner Music Group umbrella. The first three arrived consecutively from the less-than-prolific artist on the Warner Bros. label: 1978’s self-titled album, 1981’s The South Coast of Texas and 1983’s Better Days. Following Better Days, Clark didn’t release another album until 1988 when he re-emerged with Old Friends on the Sugar Hill label. An American Dream resumes, however, with his next Warner release, 1993’s Boats to Build, on the just-reactivated Asylum label.
Alongside such artists as Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson, Tom T. Hall, Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark was at the vanguard of so-called progressive country. The sub-genre rebuffed the lush Nashville Sound and edged country-and-western into the present day by blending traditional honky-tonk style with newer elements influenced by rock and the burgeoning singer-songwriter sound. Progressive country also spawned outlaw country, which took the rock attitude even further. In fact, it was Walker (“Mr. Bojangles”) who helped raise Clark’s profile considerably when he recorded Clark’s songs “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” (Three early Walker albums have also been recently reissued in one package by Raven.)
Mentoring talents like Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle while nurturing his own solo career, first at RCA and then at Warner Bros., Clark also befriended contemporaries like fellow Texan Van Zandt whom he considered a major influence; in fact, he included Van Zandt songs on numerous LPs including two of the albums presented here. Clark’s third album, 1978’s self-titled Guy Clark, opens Raven’s set with seven Clark compositions, one by Van Zandt, one by Crowell and one Jimmie Rodgers cover. Many familiar sidemen joined Clark for his Warner Bros. debut including Willie Nelson’s long-serving harmonica man, Mickey Raphael, plus “Nashville” David Briggs on piano, Buddy Emmons on steel guitar, Albert Lee on guitar, and Don Everly and Rodney Crowell on background vocals. “Fools for Each Other” cracked the Billboard country chart at No. 96.
Clark followed the album three years later with The South Coast of Texas, on which Crowell played a much larger role. The former member of Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band had launched his own solo career in 1981 to acclaim. Proving Oscar Hammerstein II’s adage that “by your pupils you’ll be taught,” Crowell became as much an influence on Clark as Clark had been on Crowell. For South Coast, the younger artist co-wrote a couple of songs with Clark in addition to taking over production duties from Neil Wilburn. Crowell’s then-wife Rosanne Cash and future superstar Vince Gill joined the sessions to contribute vocals, and Crowell assembled another top-tier band including Glen D. Hardin on keyboards, Emory Gordy on bass, Richard Bennett on piano, Hank DeVito on guitar, and Ricky Skaggs on fiddle. One year later, in 1982, bluegrass master Skaggs would earn a No. 1 C&W hit with Clark’s “Heartbroke.” The Clark/Crowell co-write “The Partner Nobody Chose” reached No. 38 on the C&W singles chart, while “She’s Crazy for Leavin’” – their other co-composition – was revisited by Crowell in 1988 on his Diamonds and Dirt album. It went to No. 1 and remained on the chart for fourteen weeks!
Don’t miss a thing – there’s more on this set after the jump, including the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »
In a career that placed him among the most legendary of film composers, Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004) penned the scores to more than 200 films in what seemed like every genre conceivable –comedies (Airplane!), dramas (Sweet Smell of Success), musicals (Thoroughly Modern Millie), fantasies (Ghostbusters) and of course, westerns (The Magnificent Seven). But among his most beloved scores is 1962’s Academy Award-nominated To Kill a Mockingbird. Cherry Red’s él imprint has paired the re-recorded soundtrack album, originally released on Ava Records, with Bernstein’s long out-of-print 1956 Decca album Blues and Brass – two things Bernstein certainly knew all about! The two-fer will arrive on September 15 in the U.K.!
Director Robert Mulligan made many inspired choices in his film adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), but chief among them was selecting Elmer Bernstein to compose the score. Bernstein’s sensitive, multilayered score captured the essence of the rich cast of characters– the noble lawyer Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), his children Scout and Jem (Mary Badham and Philip Alford), the unfairly accused Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), the misunderstood Boo Radley (Robert Duvall). The music of Mockingbird evoked Americana through the eyes of the children at the film’s heart, particularly via the subtle, gentle piano lines that recur throughout. But the dramatic score, one of Bernstein’s finest accomplishments, also encompasses tension and fear (“The Search for Boo,” “Tree Treasure”), pulse-pounding danger (“Children Attacked”), triumph (“Jem’s Discovery”) and stately beauty (“To Kill a Mockingbird,” the string-laden “Footsteps in the Dark”).
The 11-track album presentation was recorded by Bernstein for Ava Records, of which Bernstein was one of the founders alongside Fred Astaire, Jackie Mills and Thomas Wolf. Conducting his own score at United Recorders for credited producers Mills and Wolf, Bernstein employed many of the same players who actually performed on the original film soundtrack. The orchestrations of Hollywood vets Leo Shuken and Jack Hayes were used for the album, as well. Fans interested in this period of the prolific Bernstein’s career are advised to seek out Intrada’s recent 3-CD set The Ava Collection featuring all six of Bernstein’s LPs for the label. In addition, the Intrada release presents Mockingbird – and the other five albums – remastered for the first and only time from the original stereo session masters.
The él release, however, has been paired with the CD debut of Blues and Brass. With twelve smoky, seductive compositions composed, arranged, orchestrated and conducted by Bernstein and a stunning Saul Bass-designed cover (reprinted in the booklet of él’s new release), Blues and Brass was an extension of the hard-boiled jazz style utilized by Bernstein for his Academy Award-nominated score to 1955’s The Man with the Golden Arm. The West Coast “cool school” of jazzmen turned out in full force for this LP, with artists including Shelly Manne, Bud Shank, Maynard Ferguson, Andre Previn, Pete Candoli, Bill Holman, Dave Pell and Ted Nash all contributing. The original liner notes – reprinted in this reissue – cite the influence of Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton and Count Basie on these sophisticated, urbane “city blues.”
Hit the jump for more, including the complete track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »
Less than a month ago, we reported on the upcoming reissue of David Bowie’s Sound and Vision, the box set covering the artist’s career from 1969 to 1997. Today, Bowie’s official website has confirmed the November 18 release of NOTHING HAS CHANGED, an all-new career-spanning retrospective which for the first time collects music from the entirety of his 50-year career: 1964 to 2014. In the U.K., this package – available in 2-CD, 3-CD and 2-LP configurations – will arrive from Parlophone; in the U.S., the label is Columbia/Legacy.
To sweeten the pot, NOTHING HAS CHANGED will feature the first new music from Bowie since his critically-lauded 2013 album The Next Day. His new single “Sue (or In a Season of Crime)” was recorded with longtime producer/collaborator Tony Visconti specifically for this project. It will also be featured (along with a never-before-heard B-side, “‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore”) on a special Record Store Day vinyl release set for the annual Black Friday RSD event on November 28; this 1o-inch release will be available at general retail in the U.K.!
“Sue” isn’t the only previously unissued music on NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The set will also premiere the 2001 versions of 1967’s “Let Me Sleep Beside You” and 1971’s “Shadow Man,” both reportedly from sessions related to the as-yet-unreleased album Toy. The download-only track “Your Turn to Drive,” from that same album/period, makes its CD debut on NOTHING HAS CHANGED. (The official press release confirms “Let Me Sleep Beside You” as a part of Toy but oddly, not the other two tracks.)
The 3-CD version of NOTHING HAS CHANGED (which takes its name from “Sunday,” from the album Heathen) is arranged in reverse chronological order, while the truncated 2-CD edition (which begins with 1969’s “Space Oddity,” dropping five earlier songs) is presented chronologically. The 2-LP set jumps around, beginning with “Let’s Dance” (1983) and ending with “Where Are We Now” (2013). A number of remixes and edits are included on the anthology, further distinguishing the set from a standard “best-of.” (Alas, “The Laughing Gnome” is absent from all iterations!) Mix variations also occur between the various editions such as on “Young Americans.”
After the jump, we have more on this new retrospective, plus the complete track listing for all three editions! Read the rest of this entry »
Here it is – a massive white box filled with 14 newly-remastered vinyl LPs from the Fab Four, all in original mono – just the way the boys intended all those years ago!
The Midnight Special various editions (StarVista/Time Life)
Deluxe 11-DVD Box Set: StarVista
6-DVD Set: Amazon U.S.
1-DVD: Amazon U.S.
The groundbreaking late-night music show is celebrated on a variety of releases featuring live performances from a galaxy of seventies superstars!
Queen, Live at the Rainbow ’74 various formats (Virgin/Hollywood)
1CD: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S. (TBD)
2CD: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
DVD: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
Blu-ray: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
CD/Blu-ray: Amazon U.K. (TBD) / Amazon U.S.
2LP: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S. (TBD)
4LP: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
2CD/DVD/Blu-ray: Amazon U.K. / Amazon U.S.
Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor stormed London’s Rainbow Theatre forty years ago for concerts in March and November ’74; now, these pivotal concerts have been released in a variety of audio and video formats!
Al Kooper’s long-awaited 5.1 mix of this quintessential jam record is finally here on hybrid SACD, courtesy Audio Fidelity!
This release marks the culmination of Big Beat’s Seeds reissue series – a 24-track anthology of every A and B side released by the band for GNP Crescendo and MGM including the Top 40 nugget “Pushin’ Too Hard” (which is also presented in its original, unedited form as a bonus track). Most of these tracks have never appeared on CD in these versions, all sourced from original single masters!
Ringo Starr, ICON / John Lennon, ICON (Capitol/UMe)
Two Fabs headline this month’s batch of budget-priced 11-song ICON compilations – also including entries from Iggy Pop, The Ohio Players, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Slaughter, and Chante Moore. The Ringo comp, on the Apple/Capitol label, is a fun one for completists, with a couple of recent, rarely-anthologized tracks (“Walk with You” with Macca, “King of Broken Hearts” with George Harrison) along with the expected hits and a live version of “Yellow Submarine.” The Lennon title lacks some big hits (“Whatever Gets You Through the Night,” “Woman”) but both titles have new remastering credits.
Omnivore gives a lavish expansion to the 1978 breakthrough LP from Iain Matthews (Fairport Convention, Matthews Southern Comfort), adding a 9-track live concert set previously available only in Japan! Stealin’ Home features an eclectic tunestack ranging from John Martyn to Rodgers and Hammerstein, all filtered through Matthews’ folk, rock and pop sensibilities – plus new liner notes, rare photos and more!
Rhino revisits the Dead’s memorable 1990 show – featuring saxophone great Branford Marsalis sitting in – on a new 3-CD set!
Various Artists, Don’t Make Me Over: The Songs of Burt Bacharach and Hal David / Treat Me Nice: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller (Jasmine)
In case you missed them: U.K. public domain label Jasmine has a couple of packed 2-disc sets drawing on pre-1963 recordings from two legendary songwriting teams. The Bacharach and David set includes songs from the duo separately and together for a total of 60 tracks by artists including Dionne Warwick, Gene Pitney, The Shirelles, Johnny Mathis, Don Gibson and Sarah Vaughan. The Leiber and Stoller package has 64 songs from Elvis Presley, Jay and the Americans, The Coasters, The Isley Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis. Both sets contain new liner notes and track listings with discographical annotation.
U.K. PD label Sepia has another quartet of vintage releases with many tracks and albums making their first appearances on CD. The label has a two-fer of arranger Don Costa’s orchestral LPs Theme from ‘The Unforgiven’ and Hollywood Premiere featuring Costa-ized versions of popular movie themes. Lawrence Welk’s Last Date is two-fered with the bandleader’s Moon River; the first LP features pop hits and the second collects Broadway and Hollywood themes. A third two-fer comes from the great Bobby Troup. Do-Re-Mi features Troup singing his own compositions such as the inevitable “Route 66,” while Here s To My Lady features standards like “That’s All” and “The Nearness Of You.” Lastly, Sepia offers Movie Stars Sing!, collecting rare sides from expected (Julie Andrews, Rita Moreno) and unexpected stars (Mae West, Bette Davis) from Hollywood’s Golden Age!
This fall, Bear Family Records is releasing the ultimate tribute to perhaps the ultimate rock and roll artist. On October 17, the label will unveil Chuck Berry’s Rock and Roll Music – Any Old Way You Choose It – The Complete Studio Recordings Plus! –and its title isn’t the only mammoth thing about it. The 16-CD box set is even lavish by Bear Family’s gold standard, containing within its 28 x 28 x 6 cm clothbound box every single and LP track recorded in the studio by Chuck Berry, starting with a rare pre-Chess single with Joe Alexander from 1954 and continuing with:
- All of Berry’s Chess singles and album cuts from 1955 to 1966 and from 1969 to 1974;
- All of his Mercury recordings from 1966-1969, and lone Atco album from 1979;
- Every surviving alternate take;
- Bonus live recordings from 1956 to 1972 including BBC performances;
- Two hardcover books totaling 356 pages and including an exclusive introduction by Sir Paul McCartney!
All of Berry’s classics, needless to say, are here – some in multiple versions – on this set containing over 21 hours of music and 20 full studio albums. When assessing the single-disc anthology The Great Twenty-Eight back in 2011, I wrote, “’Maybellene,’ ‘Roll Over Beethoven,’ ‘Rock and Roll Music,’ ‘Sweet Little Sixteen,’ ‘Johnny B. Goode,’ ‘No Particular Place to Go.’ If you ever have to explain rock and roll to an alien, you might as well hand the little green man a copy of The Great Twenty-Eight and go to town. The otherworldly creature would get it right away!” Indeed, Berry played an almost incalculable role in developing rock-and-roll, from its sound to its lyrical content to its style. Ironically, his sole No. 1 hit was “My Ding-a-Ling” – a double entendre-laden Dave Bartholomew novelty that’s hardly worthy of his legend.
This massive box goes even further than Hip-o Select’s acclaimed three-volume series which presented Berry’s complete Chess recordings by continuing the Kennedy Center Honoree and first class Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s story with his Mercury and Atco recordings. 1979’s Rock It, for Atco, remains Berry’s last studio album to date, but the 87-years young rocker still performs one Wednesday each month at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant and bar in St. Louis, Missouri.
Bear Family’s Rock and Roll Music tells the Chuck Berry story in words and music. The label explains, “Expatriate British photographer Bill Greensmith lives in St. Louis and a few years back he found the photo archive of Chuck Berry’s uncle, Harry Davis. Included are many previously unseen images of Chuck performing in St. Louis and hanging out with friends and family. In these images, Chuck is unguarded and relaxed. We also see him performing at blues nightspots in and around St. Louis before he was famous. These photos, included with this set in a high quality 104-page hardbound book, will open your eyes to Chuck Berry as you’ve never seen him.” The Bear team adds, “Plus, there’s a second 252-page hardbound book with a definitive essay from Chuck’s biographer, Bruce Pegg, additional texts by Mike Snow and Roger Fairhurst, a comprehensive discography by Fred Rothwell, [and] hundreds of published and unpublished photos, including several images made by respected French photographer Jean-Marie Perrier in 1964.”
We have more details, including the full track listing, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
The career of the composer, arranger and conductor – the rare artist for whom the word “legendary” is not only apt, but perhaps an understatement – has been recognized on disc in 2014 by labels including Varese Vintage, Vocalion, Intrada and Sony’s Legacy Recordings. Legacy previously marked the 50th anniversary of Mancini’s iconic music of The Pink Panther with a limited edition pink vinyl release for Record Store Day (this author’s top RSD pick!), and promised the release of a deluxe box set culled from Mancini’s long association with RCA Records and beyond. That box set has just been announced, continuing the celebration of what would have been the maestro’s 90th year. The Classic Soundtrack Collection, scheduled for November 19, features 18 of Mancini’s seminal soundtrack albums for RCA, Columbia and Epic Records on nine CDs, spanning the period between 1960’s High Time and 1978’s Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (That latter soundtrack received its first-ever CD reissue earlier this year from Varese.) Even better, bonus material – including Julie Andrews’ previously unreleased vocal version of “Nothing to Lose” from 1968’s The Party and songs from Andy Williams and Johnny Mathis – has been appended.
While eschewing Mancini’s television scores like Peter Gunn and Mr. Lucky as well as his numerous pop albums for RCA, The Classic Soundtrack Collection is the most comprehensive overview yet of the composer’s vintage scores. Many of Mancini’s most beloved themes can be heard here (“Moon River,” “Charade,” “Baby Elephant Walk,” “The Pink Panther”), and for many years, these soundtracks were the only available audio presentations of these scores. Mancini re-recorded his classic music for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, The Pink Panther and more in frequently swinging, pop-friendly LP packages that achieved incredible popularity in the 1960s; only in recent years have a number of his true original film soundtracks (including Tiffany’s, Charade and Hatari!) seen release. Mancini’s lyricists on these many albums include Johnny Mercer, Leslie Bricusse, Rod McKuen and Don Black.
In his career, Mancini received 20 Grammy Awards and four Academy Awards. A master of cinematic scoring, he could turn out expert work for thrillers, romances, dramas, adventures, noirs, westerns, and even science-fiction pictures. In fact, you’ll hear many of those styles on this box set, all filtered through Mancini’s melodic sensibility. But the idiom most associated with Mancini may be comedy. A full ten scores here represent the roughly 35-year collaboration between Henry Mancini and director-screenwriter Blake Edwards. The partnership of the versatile composer and the comic master endured until Mancini’s death. These soundtracks include all-time classics such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Pink Panther, of course, but also the crime adventure Gunn (based on Peter Gunn), the zany Peter Sellers vehicle The Party, the Bing Crosby-starring college romp High Time, and the ambitious musical Darling Lili. The latter film, starring Edwards’ wife Julie Andrews, threatened to derail the Mancini/Edwards team, but the two men were far too in tune to let their collaboration languish for too long. For one of the most unusual works from the Edwards/Mancini team, look no further than the chilling Experiment in Terror. Its vivid score – filled with Mancini’s trademark sixties lounge sound yet with an undercurrent of tension – is included here in its RCA album presentation.
What can you expect to find on this new set? Hit the jump for a full list of included albums, complete rundown of the bonus material, and more! Read the rest of this entry »
Back in 2010, Cherry Red Records rescued Tracie Young’s 1984 debut Far from the Hurting Kind from obscurity. Four years later, the label has returned to the British pop singer’s discography for the first-time release of No Smoke Without Fire. Intended as the follow-up to Hurting Kind, No Smoke was slated to be issued in 1985, only to be consigned to the vaults. Cherry Red’s new edition includes ten songs from the original album plus seven rare bonus tracks from Young’s catalogue.
Tracie Young – sometimes billed just as Tracie – was discovered by “The Modfather” Paul Weller when the singer placed an advertisement seeking singers for his Respond Records label. Young’s demo stood out from the rest, and Weller made her signing a top priority. Before recording solo work for Respond, however, Weller brought the soulful young singer into the fold of The Jam. Young provided background vocals for the band’s final single, “Beat Surrender.” Released in November 1982, it became the group’s fourth Number One hit. Young appeared with Weller and co. on television to promote the single, and when Weller moved on from The Jam to The Style Council, Young was right there with him.
Tracie sang on “Speak Like a Child,” the first single from Weller’s new band, and appeared in its music video, as well. She toured alongside The Style Council, and as promised, Weller launched her as a solo artist on Respond, taking full advantage of her powerful, expressive pipes. In March 1983, Respond released her first single, Paul Barry and John Robinson’s “The House That Jack Built” (no relation to the Aretha Franklin hit). It reached the U.K. Top 10. Her next 45, “Give It Some Emotion,” reached a very respectable plateau of No. 24 in July. In between, NME proclaimed her “the girl star Paul Weller would build” in a March cover story, and Far from the Hurting Kind was issued in June.
Young reunited with The Style Council to add vocals to “Boy Who Cried Wolf” in 1985, and when Respond shuttered the following year, she signed with Polydor to record No Smoke Without Fire. A handful of the album’s tracks (among them Paul Barry’s “Italian Girl,” Paul Weller’s “(When You) Call Me,” KC and the Sunshine Band’s “I Can’t Leave You Alone”) snuck out on 45, but the album was never released until this edition from Cherry Red.
What will you find on this new release? Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »