Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
Real Gone Music has the first-ever collection of never-before-heard music from Andy Williams’ Columbia Records years. Emperor of Easy: Lost Columbia Masters 1962-72 boasts 20 selections direct from the Columbia vault encompassing 16 previously unreleased studio outtakes and four rare singles. Every track on Emperor of Easy is new to CD including Andy’s renditions of “Two for the Road,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” “This Guy’s in Love with You,” and a never-before-heard Burt Bacharach/Bob Hilliard song, “A Question of Love.” TSD’s Joe Marchese has written the liner notes including new interviews with producer Jerry Fuller and Andy’s friend Johnny Mathis, and John Sellards has designed the deluxe package. Read more here!
To coincide with an upcoming run of live performances (at the time of this writing, scheduled to begin in July), The Monkees bring the acclaimed Mike and Micky Show to CD. The 25-track package features Nesmith, Dolenz, and a stellar band on hits and deep cuts alike from The Monkees’ debut right up through their most recent (non-holiday) studio album, Good Times! It’s a rocking, uplifting live album to savor.
Joni Mitchell’s final album to date, the 2007 Hear Music release Shine, makes its long-overdue vinyl debut from Craft Recordings in a deluxe pressing newly mastered by Bernie Grundman from the original hi-res digital sources and pressed onto 180-gram black vinyl at RTI. The heavyweight disc will be housed in a gatefold sleeve. Read our review here!
Robbie Basho, Songs of the Great Mystery: The Lost Vanguard Sessions (Real Gone Music)
Real Gone Music has a new collection of rarities from late acoustic guitarist Robbie Basho. At Vanguard Records, Basho released two well-regarded LPs in 1972 and 1974 – but those albums weren’t all he left behind for the label. Songs of the Great Mystery has some tracks Basho would subsequently rework for other labels: 1978’s Visions of the Country featured “A Day in the Life of Lemuria” (re-titled “Leaf in the Wind”) and “Night Way,” while “Laughing Thunder, Crawling Thunder” was eventually reworked as “Crashing Thunder for 1981’s Rainbow Thunder. The new album features all of these, alongside some never-before-heard compositions that are a welcome addition to the Basho discography. Vanguard briefly released some of these sessions digitally, but Songs of the Great Mystery: The Lost Vanguard Sessions marks their physical debut. The alternate take of “A Day in the Life of Lemuria,” meanwhile, has never been released anywhere. Available on CD or 2 LPs.
The Alan Parsons Project’s 1984 album is about to get super-sized. Esoteric Recordings’ definitive deluxe reissue of Ammonia Avenue has the original album remastered on CD from the original tapes; a new stereo remix by Alan Parsons on two 45 RPM LPs; an entire disc of Eric Woolfson’s “Songwriting Diaries;” a disc of studio bonus tracks; and more. The Blu-ray (NTSC/region free) has the entire album in 5.1 surround and high resolution stereo remixes by Parsons from the original multi-tracks, as well as two music videos. The whole thing is packaged with a lavish book, a replica press kit, and replica poster. The Blu-ray will be available as a standalone release, as well.
Nina Simone, Fodder on My Wings: Expanded Edition (Verve/UMe)
Nina Simone’s Fodder On My Wings, a 1982 album originally released on the small French label Carrere, returns from Verve/UMe on CD, vinyl, and digital platforms. In addition to the album’s original ten tracks (including a scorching reinvention of Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally)” and the intimate title track), the 2020 edition will feature three bonus tracks from the sessions that were briefly available on a re-sequenced 1988 reissue of the album. Read more here.
Motown/UMe revisits Marvin Gaye’s 1972 score to the blaxploitation film Trouble Man with this new vinyl release. More Trouble collects nine alternate versions from Gaye’s exciting soundtrack, all of which were released on CD in 2012 but are making their vinyl premieres now. Read more here.
Omnivore Recordings unearths a never-before-heard live recording from late troubadour Steve Goodman. Recorded at the University of Illinois, Live ’69 finds the solo Goodman reinterpreting disparate songs by The Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Willie Dixon, and others – and making them all his own in the process.
This 21-track digital version of En Vogue’s 1990 debut (which yielded the chart-toppers “Hold On,” “Lies,” and “You Don’t Have to Worry”) features a remastered version of the original album plus nine rare mixes, seven of which are premiering on digital services.
Harbinger and The Musical Theater Project have brought the original Broadway cast album of the cult classic musical Celebration back to CD as newly remastered by Alan Silverman. Written by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt (The Fantasticks, 110 in the Shade), the conceptual musical starred Susan Watson, Ted Thurston, Keith Charles, and Michael Glenn-Smith. This handsome reissue is slipcased and contains a deluxe 24-page booklet with new essays by reissue producer Bill Rudman and author Tom Jones as well as a plot synopsis and commentary from Susan Watson and Michael Glenn-Smith. The reissue adds one bonus track, a 1992 recording of Jones and Schmidt performing “Celebration” live in New York.
The Prince of Egypt: Original London Cast Recording (Ghostlight) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. Links TBD / Ghostlight)
Until COVID-19 closed the West End’s theatres, the stage adaptation of the animated classic The Prince of Egypt was packing houses eight times a week at London’s Dominion Theatre. Now, the cast recording has arrived of this epic musical from librettist Philip LaZebnik and composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin). Performed by a cast and orchestra of nearly 60 artists, the soaring score features five favorites from the film – including the Academy Award-winning “When You Believe” – and brand-new songs. The stirring 23-song recording, produced by Dominick Amendum and Stephen Schwartz, reflects the grandeur and sweep of the show. Streaming and download formats are available today, and a physical CD will be released later this year.
From all of us at The Second Disc to all of you, we wish you health, safety, and comfort during this difficult time. – Joe, Mike, Sam, and Randy