Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
Joe Grushecky, Have a Good Time But Get Out Alive! 40th Anniversary Edition (Cleveland International)
Joe Grushecky and The Houserockers’ bar-band classic is returning to print in a newly expanded edition adding a second disc with 16 previously unreleased tracks including demos and rarities. The 40th anniversary edition of Have a Good Time But Get Out Alive! arrives from the reactivated Cleveland International Records label today in digital formats, and June 19 for CD and vinyl formats. Grushecky, who wrote or co-wrote all but one of the album’s tracks, welcomed an illustrious guest roster. Mick Ronson played piano on “Rock Ola” and mandolin on “Old Man Bar” while Ian Hunter produced and arranged “Hypnotized” as well as arranging “We’re Not Dead Yet.” The uncredited Van Zandt, fresh off production work for Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes and then co-producing and recording with Bruce Springsteen forThe River, reportedly produced and arranged five tracks (“Junior’s Bar,” “Angela,” “Running Scared,” “Blondie,” and “Don’t Let Them Push You Around”) in addition to playing lead guitar on “Junior’s Bar.”
This collection features 20 tracks from late troubadour Phil Ochs, primarily drawn from his demos made for Warner-Chappell Music. Six of the recordings are previously unreleased: versions of “Sailors and Soldiers,” “I Wish I Could Have Been Along,” “Take It Out of My Youth,” “War Is Over: 20 November 1967,” “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and a rehearsal of “No More Songs.”
Two posthumous albums of material from late Canadian rocker Jeff Healey (1966-2008), Heal My Soul and Holding On, are brought together on this new release. The first set primarily consists of studio material with The Jeff Healey Band, while the second set has more studio material as well as selections from a live show from Oslo, 1999.
This 2-CD set draws on the legendary crooner’s Philco Radio Time series as originally aired between 1946 and 1949, and features Bing’s renditions of popular songs of the day including duets with Al Jolson, Ezio Pinza, Peggy Lee, Burl Ives, Dick Powell, Rhonda Fleming, and Dorothy Kirsten. This release is made possible via current U.K. public domain laws.
Sepia presents two original Capitol albums from comedic titan and part-time mood music conductor Jackie Gleason. 1958’s Riff Jazz has only been on CD once before in a long out-of-print Dutch edition, while 1960’s Lazy Lively Love makes its debut in the format. This release is made possible via current U.K. public domain laws.
Sepia rounds up 28 popular selections from French composer-conductor-arranger Franck Pourcel including “Chariot (I Will Follow Him),” better-known in Little Peggy March’s 1963 chart-topping English adaptation. The 1963 Capitol album Pourcel Portraits is included in full. This release is made possible via current U.K. public domain laws.
Former Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung returns with an all-new studio album featuring numerous collaborations with Jim Peterik (Survivor, The Ides of March) as well as a duet with Julian Lennon. The sessions went so well that fans can expect a Volume 2 in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future! Available on CD, LP, and digital/streaming.
Composer-lyricist Elizabeth Swados may be best-known for her groundbreaking 1978 Broadway musical Runaways – a show for which she not only provided the score, but also the book, direction, choreography, and even the guitar in the band. She went on to write one more Broadway show – an adaptation of the comic strip Doonesbury – but those two pieces are just the tip of the iceberg of the Swados oeuvre. The newly-recorded anthology The Liz Swados Project draws on Runaways as well as other Swados works like The Beautiful Lady (1984), Alice in Concert (1981), Nightclub Cantata (1977), and more. Her eclectic repertoire, ranging in styles from pop and rock to blues and classical-tinged art songs, has been interpreted for this release by such artists as Sophia Anne Caruso (Beetlejuice, Lazarus), Damon Daunno (Oklahoma!), Ali Stroker (Glee, Oklahoma!), Jo Lampert (David Byrne’s Joan of Arc: Into the Fire), performance artist Taylor Mac, and composer-lyricists Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop) and Shaina Taub (the upcoming The Devil Wears Prada with Elton John). The disc also features special appearances by Swados (1951-2016) and another composer-lyricist inspired by her, Michael Friedman (1975-2017). This exciting release is available today on digital platforms only. Watch this space for a full review as well as news of a physical release.
Earlier this year, Steve Earle participated in a new documentary-music theatre piece at New York’s famed Public Theater. Coal Country chronicled the true story of the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion in West Virginia – a tragic accident which took the lives of 29 men. Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen’s play was derived from actual first-person testimonies of the accident, with their powerful words punctuated by original songs written and performed onstage by Steve Earle. Now, Earle has taken the play’s seven songs and added three more for the release of Ghosts of West Virginia. Whereas he played the songs solo in the show, he’s joined for the recording by his band The Dukes. It adds up to another visceral collection of hard-hitting songs from this unflinching artist. Available on CD, LP, and digital/streaming.
From The Second Disc family to all of you, we wish you health, comfort, and safety during these difficult times. – Joe, Mike, Sam, and Randy