Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
Just days before her sudden passing, Mary Wilson promised that her 1979 Motown solo debut would finally see reissue. Universal Music and Wilson’s estate have made good on that promise with this new digital release. Mary Wilson: Expanded Edition will include the original Mary Wilson album produced by Motown great Hal Davis; three single versions of the album’s disco anthem “Red Hot;” the four bonus tracks produced by Gus Dudgeon; and an all-new single streaming now with special relevance to the world in which we live, “Why Can’t We All Get Along.” The latter was produced by Richard Davis of Gold Forever Music, a publishing company established by Mary’s old friend and collaborator Eddie Holland. The poignant song was written by Davis and Angelo Bond, co-writer of Freda Payne’s 1971 anthem “Bring the Boys Home.” Watch this space for any news of a physical release, and in the meantime, enjoy the music as a download or on your preferred streaming service. Read more here.
Rhino and Chrysalis continue the ongoing Jethro Tull reissue series with A (A La Mode): The 40th Anniversary Edition, a 3-CD/3-DVD set featuring new stereo and surround versions of the 1980 album, bonus tracks, a 2-CD live show, and original Slipstream video – all newly remixed by Steven Wilson. Read more here.
Tom Petty, Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions) (Warner Records)
Warner Records is breaking out one disc of the super-deluxe version of Tom Petty’s 2020 Finding Wildflowers box for this standalone release. Finding Wildflowers (Alternate Versions) features 16 songs from the Wildflowers sessions. It’s available on 1CD, 2LP, and digital platforms. Read more here.
Donna Lewis rose to fame 25 years ago with her first single, “I Love You Always Forever.” The single peaked at No. 2 on the charts, staying there for nine weeks and dominating the airwaves. As a result, Lewis’ Atlantic debut album Now In A Minute reached the Top 40 on the Billboard albums chart. Real Gone gives it a vinyl debut with an orange-hued pressing limited to 1,000 copies as well as an exclusive black marble edition limited to 500 copies and available from U.S. retailer Barnes and Noble.
The Miami hard-rock band’s self-titled debut is reissued on vinyl from Real Gone Music. The LP featured their classics “Coming Home” and “Ugly” which boasted a unique blend of alt-rock, grunge, metal, and hard rock influences. Originally released in 1991, the album saw a brief run on vinyl but only in Europe. Now it returns worldwide on white vinyl, limited to only 900 copies, complete with a printed inner sleeve and lyric sheet. Read more about both RGM vinyl releases here.
Last year, Elvis Costello revisited his 1979 album in super-sized format as an online exclusive. Today, that slipcased 9-disc vinyl set with three 12-inch LPs, three 10-inch LPs, and three 7-inch singles arrives to general retail. The box contains a new remaster by Bob Ludwig and EC of Armed Forces from the original tapes; Sketches for Emotional Fascism 10-inch, with four previously issued bonus tracks; Riot at the Regent: Live in Sydney ’78 10-inch, with six previously unreleased live tracks; Europe ’79: Live at Pinkpop 12-inch, with 13 previously unreleased live tracks; Christmas in the Dominion: Live 24th December ’78 10-inch, with four previously unreleased live tracks; Live at Hollywood High and Elsewhere 12-inch, with the 10 live tracks included on the 2002 Rhino/Edsel deluxe edition of Armed Forces; and three 7-inch singles. It’s all accompanied by seven notebooks including Costello’s updated liner notes of nearly 10,000 words and handwritten lyrics; a replica poster; and a new postcard set of EC and The Attractions. The contents of the vinyl set will also be available digitally. Read our full review here.
Paul McCartney, McCartney III-Imagined (MPL/Capitol)
Digital/Streaming: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Your Local Record Shop
CD with alternate art insert: Target
2-LP black vinyl: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Your Local Record Shop
2-LP red vinyl: Newbury Comics [pre-orders sold out, may be available on release date in store]
2-LP gold vinyl: Your Local Record Store
2-LP splatter vinyl: Paul McCartney Online Store [sold out]
2-LP “Spotify” green vinyl: Paul McCartney Online Store US / Paul McCartney Online Store UK / Music Vaultz
2-LP silver vinyl with alternate art insert: Target [pre-orders sold out, may be available on release date in store]
Paul McCartney is re-, um, III-imagining his 2020 album McCartney III. This new set arrives today in digital formats and then on July 23 in physical CD and LP editions. It features remixes, covers, and reworkings of the album’s tracks from Beck (who’s featured on a reworking of “Find My Way”), Anderson .Paak (offering a remix of “When Winter Comes”), Phoebe Bridgers (featured on “Seize the Day”), Josh Homme (covering “Lavatory Lil”), and many more of today’s talents. Read more here.
Various Artists, Ben Bagley’s Rodgers and Hart Revisited Vol. 4 (Kritzerland)
Kritzerland continues its Revisited series with this enjoyable volume featuring lesser-known Rodgers and Hart gems as performed by the eclectic cast of Blossom Dearie, Elaine Stritch, Johnny Desmond, Anthony Perkins, Nancy Andrews, and Lynn Redgrave. Dennis Deal provided the arrangements. This title is a limited edition of 500 copies, and will ship by the end of May. Pre-orders directly from Kritzerland typically arrive much earlier.
Jean-Michel Damase, Colombe: A French Opera (Kritzerland)
French composer Jean-Michel Damase’s 1961 opera based on a play by Jean Anouilh is described by Kritzerland as “as much musical theatre as opera” with its accessible and melodic score sung in French. The CD is sourced from a reel-to-reel tape of a broadcast of the opera from October 6, 1967. Damase’s ballet Piege de Lumiere has been added as a bonus score. This 2-CD set is limited to 500 copies, and will ship by the end of May. Pre-orders directly from the label usually arrive much earlier.
Guitarist John Pizzarelli was hit hard by COVID-19; he lost both of his parents – father and legendary guitarist Bucky and beloved mother Ruth – to the virus within one week of each other. As he worked through the immense grief, he turned to his guitar and to the music of another virtuoso on the instrument, Pat Metheny. Better Days Ahead is Pizzarelli’s first album of solo guitar music and features his interpretations of songs from The Pat Metheny Group’s 1978 debut all the way up through 2020’s Grammy-nominated From This Place. Metheny offered his seal of approval: “I have admired John for years as a fantastic musician with an amazing ability to communicate. His love and understanding of classic song forms runs deep, almost as a birthright, thanks to having grown up on the knee of one of the greatest guitarists ever, his dad Bucky. His vast reserve of knowledge into the nuts and bolts of why those Great American Songbook tunes have the musical impact they do continually give his performances an insightful edge that connects him with a deep tradition. His life in music brings authority and insight that is increasingly rare as time moves on. To say it was flattering to have John address these tunes, knowing all the great music he has been around his whole life, is an understatement. It is an incredible honor for me.” Better Days Ahead will be available on digital/streaming with a CD to follow.
Freda Payne, Let There Be Love (The Sound of LA) (FredaPayne.com)
The incomparable Freda Payne returns with a new 6-song studio EP featuring classic songs and an all-star line-up of guests including the legendary Johnny Mathis, Kurt Elling, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Kenny Lattimore. Let There Be Love has been produced by Rodrigo Rios. It’s available on all streaming/digital services today, and CDs are for sale at Freda’s online store.
Recorded in New York just before the pandemic, this new EP from Cole Quest and The City Pickers is a modern-day homage to the classic sounds of bluegrass. The group is fronted by Cole Quest, grandson of Woody Guthrie. Woody is saluted with “Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key” (featuring a Guthrie lyric set to music by Billy Bragg) while the band tips their collective hat to bluegrass legends Flatt and Scruggs when the original “7-11” segues into “Foggy Mountain Rock.” The EP was recorded by Jason Borisoff, mixed by Tom Camuso, and mastered by Michael Graves. Available on CD and digital/streaming.
Singer-songwriter-guitarist James Holvay might be best known as the writer of “Kind of a Drag,” the timeless 1966 oldie from Chicago’s The Buckinghams. But his C.V. goes deeper: he toured with artists such as Brian Hyland and Dee Clark, and also spent over a decade with The Mob, a Chicago big band rock-and-soul outfit that inspired Chicago (Transit Authority) and recorded albums for Philadelphia music man Jerry Ross’ Colossus label and, later, Private Stock. Now, the veteran musician is back with the five-track EP Sweet Soul Song which channels the authentic sound of the Chicago soul he loved – think The Impressions, whose leader Curtis Mayfield inspired the teenaged Holvay when they met in Vee-Jay Records’ offices. Sweet Soul Song captures all of the ingredients – from the arrangements to the harmonies, not to mention the heart and soul – of those timeless, romantic Windy City soul records. It’s a short and breezy throwback to savor.
Harbinger Records/The Musical Theater Project has teamed with teenaged vocalist Anais Reno for a moving recital of songs composed by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn (and their various collaborators). Reno and a small band featuring pianist-leader Emmet Cohen tackle classic standards such as “Lush Life,” “Take the A Train,” “Mood Indigo,” and “Caravan” with disarming and precocious sophistication. Great American Songbook historian Will Friedwald has penned the liner notes.
Brazilian guitarist and leader Ricardo Silveira – who has played with Wayne Shorter, Ivan Lines, Milton Nascimiento, Vanessa Williams, and many others – releases his first truly solo album today. Solo features his intimate arrangements of romantic classics from Antonio Carlos Jobim, Marcos Valle, and Rodgers and Hart alongside original compositions.