Farewell, Barbara Cook: The legendary original star of Broadway’s The Music Man, Candide, and She Loves Me has passed away at the age of 89. Cook’s enchantingly pure soprano made her a favorite ingénue of the Broadway stage, and her indelible performances in the above musicals as well as Flahooley, Plain and Fancy, The Gay Life, The Grass Harp, Follies in Concert, and others – including her final Broadway appearance in 2010’s Sondheim on Sondheim – are happily preserved on original cast recordings. In the 1970s, Cook reinvented herself as a cabaret and concert artist, recording a pair of acclaimed albums for Columbia Records (Live at Carnegie Hall and As of Today) and going onto record for other labels including MCA (The Disney Album) and most notably, DRG Records. Even as her vocal quality changed over the years, Cook’s interpretive skills only deepened, and she became a sought-after instructor of master classes. One of her final performances came in New York in 2015 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room. Challenged by difficulty walking and lapses of memory, Cook nonetheless delivered an intimate performance that will long be remembered by all who were in attendance, as she movingly revisited the songs of Stephen Sondheim, Billie Holiday, and even John Lennon. Barbara Cook’s voice was one of clarity, comfort, and enormous beauty. She will be remembered, even as her legacy of music lives on.
On September 8, Neil Young will once more dip into his fabled archives for a wholly unreleased album. Hitchhiker was recorded by Young and co-producer David Briggs in one session on August 11, 1976 in Malibu, California. During the solo session, Young performed ten songs, the majority of which subsequently appeared in various forms on albums throughout the years: “Pocahontas,” “Powderfinger,” and “Ride My Llama” on Rust Never Sleeps; “Captain Kennedy” on Hawks and Doves; “Campaigner” on Decade; “Human Highway” on Comes a Time; “The Old Country Waltz” on American Stars ‘n Bars; and the title track on Le Noise. Two tracks from the Hitchhiker session, “Hawaii” and “Give Me Strength” have remained unreleased until now. Look for this intimate offering from the ever-prolific singer-songwriter on September 8 on CD, vinyl and digital formats from Reprise Records at Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada!
The Rolling Stones are continuing their From the Vault series on September 29 with the release of Sticky Fingers: Live at the Fonda 2015. Recorded at Hollywood’s Henry Fonda Theatre on May 20, 2015, the concert inaugurated the Stones’ Zip Code tour of North America, and found the band performing their classic 1971 album for the first and (so far) only time in its entirety onstage. Sticky Fingers: Live at the Fonda will be available in various formats in various territories:
The DVD and Blu-ray editions include interviews with the bandmates intercut with full-length performances. The CD and 3-LP vinyl versions feature the complete, 16-song show in sequence as performed at the Fonda; the concert film has 13 of those songs. Bonus Features on the DVD and Blu-ray include the songs cut from the concert film: “All Down the Line,” “When the Whip Comes Down,” and “I Can’t Turn You Loose.”
Run Out Groove has announced its next title to be released on vinyl, as voted on the label’s website by fans: Marshall Crenshaw’s Thank You, Rock Fans!! This previously unreleased live performance was recorded while the power-pop hero was touring his self-titled Warner Bros. debut album in 1982, and discovered 35 years later in the Warner vaults. Sourced from the original analog master tapes and mixed by Chris Stamey of The dB’s, the album will have lacquers cut at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis by mastering engineer Jeff Powell. In ROG’s press release, Crenshaw comments, “I just got the word that my live album, recorded in 1982, Thank You, Rock Fans!!, has won the vote and will be released soon on Run Out Groove vinyl. So much winning!! It’s amazing. I’m grateful to everyone that showed interest, and want to give a huge thanks to Matthew Block for putting the whole thing in motion in the first place, and for striving for ultra-high quality at every step.” This exciting discovery is available now to order exclusively through Run Out Groove until September 2, and will be limited and numbered based upon the total orders received by the end of the pre-order period. After the pre-order closes, the only way to purchase a copy will be via participating music retailers across the U.S., while supplies last.
And don’t forget to VOTE HERE on ROG’s next batch of titles! Which would YOU like to see released on vinyl?
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends – Motel Shot Expanded: Out-of-print on vinyl since the original 1971 release, the 2-LP set would include a second disc of acoustic outtakes making their debut on vinyl, be pressed on 180g vinyl, and come with rare alternate cover art released only in France.
Band of Susans – Here Comes Success: Out-of-print since 1994 and never released on vinyl in the U.S., the band’s swan song would be pressed on 180g color vinyl and come in a deluxe tip-on Stoughton gatefold sleeve.
Tuff Darts – Tuff Darts! : Out-of-print self-titled 1978 debut on Sire Records from punk mavericks. LP will include 2 unreleased tracks as a bonus single if voted in.