Welcome to this week’s Release Round-Up!
Get On Board the Soul Train: The Sound of Philadelphia International Records Vol. 1 is the first in a series of box sets from the U.K.-based United Souls label, an imprint of Snapper Music, which will ultimately collect the entire Philadelphia International albums discography on CD. The slipcased, 8-CD/1-12″ single hardcover book-style set will feature the following eight albums, originally released between 1971 and 1973:
- Billy Paul, Going East (Philadelphia International Z 30580, 1971);
- Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, I Miss You (Philadelphia International KZ 31648, 1972);
- The O’Jays, Back Stabbers (Philadelphia International KZ 31712, 1971);
- Billy Paul, 360 Degrees of Billy Paul (Philadelphia International KZ 31793, 1972);
- Dick Jensen, Dick Jensen (Philadelphia International KZ 31794, 1973);
- The Intruders, Save the Children (Gamble KZ 31991, 1973);
- MFSB, MFSB (Philadelphia International KZ 32046, 1973); and
- Billy Paul, Ebony Woman (Neptune NLPS-201, 1970 – reissued Philadelphia International KZ 32118, 1973).
The set is rounded out by a 12-inch vinyl single of the O’Jays’ “Back Stabbers” b/w MFSB’s “Back Stabbers” and an exclusive poster. Read more here.
On the domestic front, Legacy Recordings issues its first Philadelphia International anniversary release today with The Best of Philadelphia International Records, a 12-track overview of some of the finest moments from the label founded by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. That vinyl-only title (available on standard black vinyl everywhere and on hot pink vinyl exclusively at Walmart) is prelude to six more LPs due in July, each spotlighting a different artist. Read all about those titles here!
Rhino continues the celebration of the 50th anniversary of David Bowie’s 1970 classic The Man Who Sold the World with The Width of a Circle, a new 2-CD “companion” collection of related live tracks and singles (many previously unreleased) including the complete premiere of Bowie’s music for the television drama The Looking Glass Murders (Pierrot in Turquoise) and two BBC sets.
Parlophone reissues David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the World (released 1970 in the U.S. and 1971 in the U.K.) as a 12-inch picture disc with its 1972 reissue artwork and a bonus poster. Read more about both Bowie titles here.
Demon is revisiting Belinda Carlisle’s catalogue on vinyl this year with A Woman and a Man following in August and Live Your Life Be Free in October. The 2-LP 35th anniversary edition of Carlisle’s debut Belinda features all five of the bonus singles from the 2014 expanded CD plus audio of five live cuts from her 1986 concert film (included on DVD in the 2014 edition). Amazon U.K. has a pink color variant. Watch this space for more on this release!
Demon also celebrates the legacy of Fawlty Towers with Fawlty Towers: For The Record. This limited edition box set features six 140-gram white LPs containing the original TV soundtracks of all 12 episodes as narrated by Andrew Sachs. The first four LPs are replicas of those originally issued by the BBC – Fawlty Towers, Second Sitting, At Your Service, and A La Carte – while the newly-created Plat du Jour and Enjoy Your Stay complete the set. Each LP is presented in a new jacket; inside the jacket is a replica of the original BBC Records LP cover, plus a faux period cover for the two new LPs. A four-page booklet recounts the history of Fawlty Towers as well as a history of the albums by Tim Worthington, author of the BBC Records chronicle Top of the Box. A 12-inch portrait of Basil Fawlty has been signed by John Cleese and is included in the rigid box with lift-off lid. This set is limited to 1,500 copies. Read more here.
Following limited edition releases from Vinyl Me Please and ORG Music (the latter for Record Store Day 2020), Philly Groove Records and Chrysalis brings The Nat Turner Rebellion’s Laugh to Keep from Crying to wide release on CD, vinyl, and download/streaming. This is the lone full-length collection from the Philadelphia group that broke up before their first LP could be completed. Laugh to Keep From Crying compiles their sought-after singles and a wealth of outtake material. The Rebellion recorded at the crossroads of the Philly soul explosion of the early 1970s and the Black Power movement of the late 1960s. The majority of the tunes were penned by frontman Joseph Jefferson (The Spinners’ “Mighty Love,” “One of a Kind (Love Affair), “Games People Play”) with a couple from the team of Allan Felder and Norman Harris. Much of Laugh to Keep from Crying is grittier than the usual plush Philly style, but there are flashes of that smooth soul sound, too.
Jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln’s 1959 album Abbey Is Blue, on which she was supported by the illustrious likes of her then-husband Max Roach, Stanley Turrentine, and Philly Joe Jones, gets a 180-gram vinyl reissue remastered by Kevin Gray. The album’s songs were chosen with social conscience in mind and include such classics as Kurt Weill and Langston Hughes’ “Lonely House,” Weill and Maxwell Anderson’s “Lost in the Stars,” and Lincoln’s original “Get Up.” High-resolution digital audio will also be available from HD Tracks, Qobuz, and similar services on release day. Read more here.
Donald Fagen’s 1982 solo debut The Nightfly picked up where his work with Steely Dan left off, albeit with a more autobiographical lyrical bent. The recording by producer Gary Katz, engineer Roger Nichols, and mixing engineer Elliot Scheiner took full advantage of early digital capabilities to bring Fagen’s sly, jazz-pop compositions to life. The album yielded the hits “I.G.Y.” and “New Frontier,” netted seven Grammy nominations, and was certified Platinum in the U.S. and in the U.K., as well. Rhino returns it to vinyl today in a new 180-gram edition.
Beyond the Pale Horizon: The British Progressive Pop Sounds of 1972 takes a 3-CD, 65-song deep dive into the year and sound in question with a blend of top ten hits and near-complete obscurities. The Moody Blues, Argent, Roxy Music, Mott the Hoople, ELO, The Move, Roy Wood, Uriah Heep, Status Quo, and Hawkwind are among the artists featured. Read more here.
Nonesuch is collecting 14 of k.d. lang’s dance remixes originally issued between 1992 and 2000 on this new collection. Tracks include “(Theme From) Valley of the Dolls” and a pair of Dance chart No. 1s, “If I Were You” and “Lifted by Love.” Available on CD, LP, and digitally.
As the title indicates, Moby is reprising some of his songbook favorites – but with a twist. He’s signed with venerable classical label Deutsche Grammophon for this album of orchestral and acoustic reinventions featuring an eclectic roster of guests including Kris Kristofferson, Jim James, and Gregory Porter. A cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” rounds out the album.
Cleopatra Records delivers a tribute to Pink Floyd’s 1975 classic Wish You Were Here with a line-up of musicians including Todd Rundgren, Ian Paice, Joe Satriani, and Rick Wakeman. Available on CD and vinyl.