Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up – one of the year’s biggest!
Featuring performances spanning 1953 to 1982, this new live collection boasts more than four hours’ worth of rare audio and video from the legendary Chairman of the Board – over 90 tracks on CD alone including such Sinatra favorites as “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Witchcraft” and “Bewitched” right up through “Strangers in the Night,” “”My Way” and “(Theme From) New York, New York.” Read all of the specifics right here!
Miles Davis, The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Freedom Jazz Dance (Columbia/Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada Links TBD)
Freedom Jazz Dance, the fifth installment of Miles Davis’ Bootleg Series, traces the great trumpeter’s evolution in the studio from 1966 to 1968, tapping the original session tapes for rehearsals, partial and alternate takes, studio chatter and more. The 3-CD set includes the master takes of performances which appeared on Miles Smiles (1967), Nefertiti (1968) and Water Babies (recorded 1967, released 1976) alongside over two hours of previously unreleased studio recordings from original sessions! Read full specs here!
Prior to her her Broadway return in a revival of Hello, Dolly!, Bette Midler revisits her roots on a reissue of her debut album The Divine Miss M. The 1972 classic, with production by Joel Dorn, Barry Manilow and Ahmet Ertegun, features the original album remastered on the first disc together with a second disc of nine bonus tracks including five previously unreleased tracks and new liner notes by Miss M herself. Get the full scoop here!
David Bowie and Enda Walsh’s 2015 musical Lazarus receives an original cast album! This deluxe release showcasing an array of Bowie reinterpretations performed by Michael C. Hall, Cristin Milioti, Sophia Anne Caruso and others will feature a bonus disc with the late artist’s own recordings of the musical’s four new songs: the previously released “Lazarus” (from his final studio LP, Blackstar) as well as the never-before-released “No Plan,” “Killing a Little Time” and “When I Met You” – Bowie’s final studio recordings. Read more here!
Elvis Presley, The Wonder of You: Elvis with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RCA/Legacy)
This new collection follows the pattern of last year’s chart-topping If I Can Dream, grafting vintage Elvis Presley vocals to newly recorded orchestral settings. Produced by the same team of Don Reedman and Nick Patrick, with the Royal Philharmonic recorded at Abbey Road Studios, The Wonder of You features 15 songs from several of Elvis’ preferred genres from country to gospel to rock all in new arrangements. It spans nearly all of Presley’s career from 1958 to 1973 and contains big hits such as “Suspicious Minds” and “Kentucky Rain” alongside some more slightly obscure tracks like “Memories” and “Just Pretend” (featured here as a duet with Russian singer Helene Fischer). Read more here!
Prince’s 1987 classic returns to vinyl!
Chart-topping country artist Donna Fargo (“The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.,” “Funny Face”) is celebrated on this new 16-track collection from Varese Vintage spotlighting her Warner Bros. years. These 1976-1981 recordings are drawn from six WB albums plus two non-LP singles, including tracks penned by Fargo, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Paul Anka. Dawn Lee Wakefield has penned new liner notes for this superb new compilation co-produced by Fargo herself.
Frankie Valli has reunited with producer and fellow Four Season Bob Gaudio for an all-new Christmas album. ‘Tis the Seasons, says Gaudio, “is definitely eclectic by most standards – conventional in choice of material but not treatment…So if you guess this effort is a little of what you haven’t heard from Frankie, your guess would be a lot right.” Tracks include favorites such as “Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” and “Frosty the Snowman” plus “Merry Christmas Baby” with guest Jeff Beck on guitar.
Various Artists, Joyful Jazz! The Vocalists and Joyful Jazz! The Instrumentals (Verve/UMe)
Verve offers two volumes of classic Christmas tunes from an illustrious line-up of its famous vocal and instrumental talents! The Instrumentals includes one previously unreleased track, “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” by The Oscar Peterson Quartet!
When Seals and Crofts hit their commercial stride, their label – Warner Bros. – hit upon the notion to repackage their first two, lesser-known albums in one package. Wounded Bird now reissues this 2-record set with Seals & Crofts (1969) and Down Home (1970) on one CD.
David Crosby returns for a new, intimate 9-song solo set highlighted by “Things We Do for Love,” “Somebody Other Than You,” and “Paint You a Picture,” the latter co-written with Marc Cohn. Available on CD and vinyl.
The eternal troubadour, now in his eighth decade, returns with a new collection of nine timely and mordant songs produced by his son, Adam Cohen.
Chrissie Hynde returns with the first Pretenders album in eight years. Alone was recorded with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach at his Easy Eye Studio in Nashville, and features Hynde on vocals and guitar joined by bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn), pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl (Blake Shelton), guitarist Kenny Vaughan (Lana Del Rey), keyboardist Leon Michels, and drummer Richard Swift.
Bruce Springsteen, Mavis Staples, Aaron Neville, John Fogerty, and the late Allen Toussaint are among those artists celebrating Dr. John on this new release preserving a 2014 concert held at New Orleans’ Saenger Hall. Dr. John himself also joins in the performances! Available on 2 CDs or DD or 1 DVD.
Omnivore reissues the first Christmas album by Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley in its first American release, adding three bonus tracks! The Christmas Album features classic yuletide standards as well as original songs and some off-the-beaten-track choices – from Irving Berlin and Sammy Cahn to Chuck Berry, Greg Lake, Keane and Butch Walker and Pat Monahan of Train!