While The Second Disc continues to champion physical media, we recognize that some labels have begun to issue digital-only releases that bring together rarities from the vault or spotlight long-out-of-print albums. From annual copyright extension releases to vault-clearing initiatives, we figured our readers would like to know about some of the treasures that have been released online and on streaming services. So, from time to time, we will shed some light on the best of these digital compilations and reissues. Here’s today’s installment!
UPP, UPP (Epic, 1975)
First up is UPP, whose 1975 self-titled debut introduced audiences to their funk-rock fusion. UPP featured the song “Give It To You,” which would be sampled in hip-hop in the decade to follow. Jeff Beck not only plays guitar on the album, but also produced the collection, which at times recalls his funk-tinged Wired and Blow By Blow albums. More than 40 years since its original LP release, UPP finally officially arrives to digital download and streaming services, allowing more listeners to encounter and enjoy the quirky, funky jams within.
Pete Seeger, Live At Yale University, 1960 and Live at Camp Woodlawn, 1962 (Smithsonian Folkways, 2019) (Spirit of Seeger)
To celebrate the centennial of Pete Seeger’s birth, Smithsonian Folkways has published two previously unheard concerts from the music legend, available as YouTube videos at their Spirit of Seeger website. These concert releases are companions to Smithsonian Folkways’ Pete Seeger box set that arrives tomorrow, May 3. (Stay tuned for further coverage of the mammoth collection!)
The first concert is a set recorded at The Indian Neck Festival, hosted by Yale University on December 10, 1960. Seeger and his manager had scheduled several such “community concerts” during this time, as he was blacklisted as a result of the Army-McCarthy Hearings. These shows typically took place at college campuses with little fanfare and weren’t announced until a couple days before the event, as to prevent protests from those who didn’t agree with his politics.
Smithsonian Folkways has also unearthed a 1962 concert from Camp Woodlawn in the Catskills in New York. According to the label’s description, Camp Woodlawn was a progressive summer camp that was run by Norman Studer. “Campers were encouraged to collect stories and songs from the many lifelong local residents. Some of these local treasures came to the camp and taught the children, many of whom went on to music careers during the folksong revival.” The July 15, 1962 recording is a document of one of Seeger’s many stops at the camp and features many of his most well-known original songs and interpretations. From “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “Abiyoyo” to the folk standards “Old Joe Clark” and “John Barleycorn,” not to mention the enduring “This Land Is Your Land” and “We Shall Not Be Moved.” In all, the two shows demonstrate Seeger’s talents for bringing people together through music.
Clyde McPhatter, The Amy Singles (Legacy, 2019)
As a member of The Drifters in the early ’50s, Clyde McPhatter became one of the most influential vocalists to come out of the doo-wop era. But his solo career was unfortunately brief due to financial mismanagement and personal struggles. Legacy’s new digital compilation collects 10 original sides from the later years of McPhatter’s career, recorded for Amy Records in 1965. Such classics as “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool,” “A Shot of Rhythm and Blues,” “I Dreamt I Died” are accounted for, along with four alternate takes from the vault.
Elvis Presley, From The Vaults – ’50s (RCA/Legacy, 2016) (Amazon U.S. / Spotify)
Elvis Presley, From The Vaults – ’60s (RCA/Legacy, 2016) (Amazon U.S. / Spotify)
Elvis Presley, From The Vaults – ’70s (RCA/Legacy, 2016) (Amazon U.S. / Spotify)
Elvis Presley’s recorded legacy is a wonder to behold, with nearly 60 albums to his name and 100 singles on Billboard‘s Top 40 charts during his lifetime. But there’s more to the story, as evidenced by the three From The Vaults collections that make their digital download and streaming debut.
Originally compiled for the mammoth 2016 box set The Album Collection, these compilations feature outtakes and rarities from across The King’s career — from Sun-era gems, rare demos, duets, covers, and the “laughing” version of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” from a 1969 Las Vegas show. Altogether, the From The Vaults sets bring together 59 hard-to-find tracks. Now available across digital download and streaming platforms for all fans to enjoy.
Aretha Franklin, Aretha (Expanded Edition) (Arista, 1980) (Amazon U.S. / Spotify)
Aretha Franklin, Love All The Hurt Away (Expanded Edition) (Arista, 1981) (Amazon U.S. / Spotify)
Aretha Franklin, Get It Right (Expanded Edition) (Arista, 1983) (Amazon U.S. / Spotify)
When Aretha Franklin left Atlantic Records for Arista, she hadn’t had a Top 40 single in seven years. She and label founder Clive Davis were set to get back on the right track. Aretha, from 1980, featured a Top 5 R&B hit “United Together,” plus scorching versions of “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and “What A Fool Believes.” Love All The Hurt Away followed in 1981 and became her first Top 40 Pop LP since 1974. Another Atlantic alum, Arif Mardin, produced the collection, which included rock and soul covers, the title track duet with George Benson, and new tracks written by such heavyweights as Michael Masser and Carole Bayer Sager, and Rod Temperton. Get It Right from 1983 marked her second collaboration with Marcus Miller and Luther Vandross (after 1982’s Jump To It). The album featured two Top 10 R&B hits and led the way to her Platinum-selling Who’s Zoomin’ Who? in 1985. These classic titles have now been expanded with single edits, rare dance versions, instrumental cuts, and other contemporaneous rarities, and are available to download and stream in their expanded editions (previously released on CD via Big Break/Cherry Red) for the first time ever!
John Denver, Live In London (RCA Victor, 1976)
In 1976, the U.K. arm of RCA Victor released this live album, recorded over several nights at the London Palladium in April that year. It features live versions of some of his most beloved hits, including “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” Take Me Home Country Roads,” and “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” (not to be confused with the live hit released Stateside on An Evening With John Denver in 1974). Live In London will now reach more audiences than ever with this worldwide digital release.
Eddie Kendricks, Something More (Expanded Edition) (Arista, 1979)
Eddie Kendricks soared to fame as a member of The Temptations. His falsetto graced such classics as “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)” and “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” not to mention countless other legendary tracks. After departing Motown, he signed with Arista where he recorded two long-players. Something More was the second of the pair and featured disco-leaning production from Patrick Adams, including lost treasures like “Your Love Has Been So Good To Me” and “I Just Want to Be the One in Your Life.” Both tracks were released in edited form on singles. Those edits — and the 7″ edits of “I Can’t Let You Walk Away” and “I Never Used to Dance” — round out the expanded edition (available on CD from Funky Town Grooves) which makes its digital download and streaming debut.
Steve Howe, Turbulence (Relativity, 1991)
Steve Howe was on a roll as the ’80s turned into the ’90s. He spent the latter part of the decade leading Asia and GTR and in 1991, after a decade away from Yes, he returned to take part in their Union project, which reunited the then-current Yes lineup with the “classic” Yes members Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, and Howe. But before hitting the studio with Yes, he released an entirely instrumental solo album called Turbulence. On the album, Howe demonstrates his considerable talents as a master guitarist, and also appears on dobro, mandolin and koto. Joining him is a band featuring Ultravox keyboardist Billie Curie and Yes drummer Bill Bruford. Nearly thirty years after its original release, Turbulence now makes its debut on digital download and streaming services.
Eddie Heywood, Piano Moods (Columbia, 1951)
Eddie Haywood’s piano playing graces recordings by Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and Coleman Hawkins. But after making his mark as a session musician, Heywood began a solo career that earned him a gold record for his version of Begin the Beguine (recorded with the Eddie Heywood Sextet). His Piano Moods EP includes many of the jazz standards, along with a remarkable version of “Try A Little Tenderness,” recorded more than a decade prior to Otis Redding’s classic vocal version.
J.J. Johnson, First Place (Expanded Edition) (Columbia, 1957)
Stream: Spotify and other streaming services
One of the finest trombonists of jazz, J.J. Johnson first made waves as a member of Benny Carter’s orchestra in the mid-’40s. In 1944, hw took part in Norman Granz’s first of many Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts, which propelled him into the mainstream. After a stint with Dizzy Gillespie, Johnson began to master his rapid-fire technical prowess and became an early adopter of the be-bop style. By the mid-’50s, he had had launched a solo career and found success on the Columbia label. First Place was one such Columbia effort, which saw him teaming up with all-star instrumentalists Tommy Flanagan on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Max Roach on drums for a collection of standards and originals. The enduring jazz classic has now been expanded for its digital and streaming debut to the tune of seven bonus tracks!