While The Second Disc prides itself on connecting people to reissues and box sets they can keep on their shelves, it's no secret that listening audiences are also digital - catalogue music lovers, too - and our passion is connecting people to music from the past that they might adore. So we're introducing a new Saturday feature: The Weekend Stream, which focuses on hidden gems that recently made it to digital channels that might make your playlists a little brighter!
Marilyn Maye, Girl Singer (RCA/Legacy) (iTunes/Amazon U.S./Spotify)
Happy Birthday, Marilyn Maye! Today, Marilyn Maye turns 93. But she's not quietly celebrating at home. The song stylist nonpareil is doing what she does best and loves most - performing - in front of a socially distanced crowd at the Wick in Boca Raton, Florida. Maye has enjoyed an extraordinary career including a record-breaking 76 appearances as musical guest of The Tonight Show, a 1966 Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, and an induction by the Smithsonian Institution for her recording of "Too Late Now" into the museum's registry of historically significant recordings of the 20th century. No less a legend than Ella Fitzgerald proclaimed her "the best white female singer in the world" while esteemed critic Gene Lees recognized her as "the best singer I ever heard of either gender, in any language, in any style, and in any idiom." While she's best known today for her cabaret performances and roles in stage musicals nationwide including Hello, Dolly!, Maye recorded seven LPs for RCA Victor between 1965 and 1970. In the digital age, Legacy Recordings has been reissuing them for streaming and download. (Only two of her RCA albums, Meet Marvelous Marilyn Maye and The Lamp Is Low, have been released on pressed CD as a two-fer from Collectables; a couple more have been made available as CD-Rs via Amazon.com.) Legacy has recently completed its Maye series with 1970's Marilyn Maye, Girl Singer. It features eleven examples of her pop period as arranged by stalwarts such as Ray Ellis, Marty Manning, Nick Perito, and Don Sebesky. Whether commandingly swinging a rapid-fire "I'm a Woman," empathetically offering the admonition to "Make Your Own Kind of Music," taking Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's "Brand New Me" to the pop side of the tracks, or gently promising "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," Marilyn Maye was - and is - simply Marvelous. Jimmy Fallon, are you reading this? The time is right for a 77th visit to NBC Studios...
The Intruders, When We Get Married (Gamble/Legacy) (iTunes/Amazon U.S./Spotify)
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records. But before PIR, there was Gamble Records. In 1966, Eugene "Bird" Daughtry, Phil Terry, Robert "Big Sonny" Edwards, and Samuel "Little Sonny" Brown signed to the fledgling label. They had sung together since 1960, but at Gamble, The Intruders found richly deserved success. "(We'll Be) United" became a top 15 R&B success in 1966, and after a string of R&B and Pop chart entries, The Intruders scored a chart-topper with 1968's "Cowboys to Girls." Gamble and Huff's sweet, irresistible song also welcomed The Intruders to the top ten of the Billboard Top LPs chart. When Gamble and Huff launched PIR, the group joined them on the reactivated Gamble imprint and, later, on TSOP. While The Intruders' 1967 debut album The Intruders Are Together remains absent from digital platforms, their second and third LPs are both available. Cowboys to Girls (1968) has been up digitally for some time, but When We Get Married (1970) - featuring the top ten R&B title track - is a new addition well worth a listen. (Bobby Starr replaced Little Sonny in the line-up as of When We Get Married.) Both albums were produced and largely written by G&H (including a rendition of "Brand New Me"), and recorded at the renowned Sigma Sound Studios. These records laid the groundwork for the Philly soul sound, with lush harmonies layered over killer rhythm tracks from the future members of MFSB (including Thom Bell, Vince Montana, Norman Harris, Roland Chambers, Bobby Eli, Ronnie Baker, Earl Young, and Lenny Pakula) and rich orchestral backdrops arranged by A-listers such as Bell, Bobby Martin, and Richie Rome. The style was still developing, but the charm, musical sophistication, and adventurous spirit were already in place. Neither album has ever been released on CD, making these digital reissues all the more essential.
Mike Reams says
Thank you for highlighting digital only releases. They are so easy to miss as there is generally little, if any promotion done to let the public know they are out there.