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’ve introduced a new feature: The Weekend Stream, which focuses on hidden gems that recently made it to digital channels that might make your playlists a little brighter!
And today’s is a bit super-sized, bringing together releases from this week, last week and even a few that might’ve missed your release radars!
This week’s super-sized Weekend Stream is hardly about nothing: today sees the premiere release in any format of music from the long-running, critically-acclaimed NBC sitcom Seinfeld. Wolff’s instrumental theme song, based around sampled synth slap bass and mouthy beatboxing, is a staple of TV history, and the accompanying album features score from across the show’s entire run – including favorites like George Costanza’s “Believe It or Not”-esque answering machine music!
Following Legacy’s collaboration with Third Man that started with a White Stripes greatest hits album, Jack and Meg White’s breakthrough third album – which featured the standout tracks “Fell in Love with a Girl” and “We’re Going to Be Friends” – has been digitally reissued, paired with a live set at Detroit’s Gold Dollar club on June 7, 2001. White Blood Cells is one of three White Stripes albums (alongside their 1999 debut and 2003’s Elephant) that are also available to download in HD, with additional titles made available later this year.
For the 25th anniversary of this stellar sophomore album, Nas’ It Was Written has been rewritten with two bonus tracks making their digital debuts. A vinyl/cassette bundle is also being released this fall through Get On Down.
Roberta Flack, Chapter Two / Quiet Fire: 50th Anniversary Editions (Atlantic/Rhino)
Last year, Roberta Flack opened the vaults for a 50th anniversary edition of her 1969 Atlantic Records debut First Take. The song stylist, working with producer Joel Dorn, followed up First Take in 1970 and 1971 with Chapter Two and Quiet Fire, respectively. Now, those two LPs have also received the expanded edition treatment – albeit (for now) in the digital domain only. Chapter Two, originally released in August 1970, featured Flack’s interpretations of songs by Bob Dylan (“Just Like a Woman”), Jimmy Webb (“Do What You Gotta Do”), and Gene McDaniels (“Reverend Lee”) along with classic ballad material ripe for rediscovery such as “Let It Be Me” and Man of La Mancha‘s “The Impossible Dream.” The latter was only four years old but already had entered the pantheon of American standards; Flack eschewed bombast in favor of the quiet intensity that marked her finest work. The remastered Chapter Two has been expanded with just one bonus track, but it’s a significant one: “Midnight Cowboy.” Joni Mitchell’s evocative song, written for but not used in the film of the same name, makes its debut here in Flack’s cool, sly rendition – while Mitchell’s own recording will appear this fall on her Archives Vol. 2 box set.
Quiet Fire, first released in November 1971, offered more from Webb (“See You Then”) and McDaniels (“Sunday and Sister Jones”) as well as Carole King and Gerry Goffin (“Will You Love Me Tomorrow”) and the Bee Gees (“To Love Somebody”). Pop, R&B, jazz, folk, and gospel all intersected in Flack’s discography as she stripped the soul of each song bare. The remastered Quiet Storm gains a remarkable seven bonuses including such familiar titles reinvented Flack-style as “What’s Going On,” “Here, There, and Everywhere,” “O-o-h Child,” and an epic, moody, 15-minute-long deconstruction of Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett’s “Superstar.” Shortly after the release of Quiet Fire, Flack’s 1969 recording of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” would ascend the charts to No. 1 Pop and AC, and No. 4 R&B. The rest is history – hopefully soon to be addressed in further expanded editions from this singular, uncompromising vocalist.
Various Artists, Casablanca Classics (Casablanca/UMe) / Philadelphia International Records: The 12″ Mixes Vol. 1 (PIR/Legacy)
Casablanca Classics has just five tracks but runs almost an hour long. Why? These five tracks are all extended 12″ dance mixes from the vaults of one of disco’s most famous labels. Collectively they’re a floor-filling grab bag with Donna Summer’s immortal “I Feel Love” in Patrick Cowley’s definitive megamix; Teri DeSario’s Bee Gees-penned and -produced “Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Keep Me from You;” Meco’s deliciously kitschy medley of John Williams’ soaring Superman themes; Giorgio Moroder’s “The Chase” from his soundtrack to Midnight Express; and a sizzling medley from producer Bruce Weeden’s studio group Ultimate.
Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records has taken a similar approach for another newer release. The 12″ Mixes Vol. 1 is even more expansive, with 21 tracks and over two hours of music from the City of Brotherly Love’s finest artists. These mixes represent PIR’s biggest names (Lou Rawls, Teddy Pendergrass, The O’Jays, McFadden and Whitehead) and some of the label’s most unknown (Jocko, Frantique, The Force). This selection represents The Sound of Philadelphia at its absolute funkiest, with the irresistible rhythms emphasized and the grooves extended. Philly soul paved the way for disco; these tracks show the label’s artists, producers, arrangers, and musicians embracing the dance genre on their own terms.
Another recent hip-hop expansion is The Roots’ sophomore album, originally released in 1995. It’s more than doubled in length with a selection of remixes and outtakes curated by the rap band’s drummer Questlove (whose Summer of Soul documentary is now streaming on Hulu).
The ongoing plan to digitally expand all of Lionel Richie’s non-Motown material continues apace with last month’s expansion of Time. The 1998 album, featuring production by longtime collaborator James Anthony Carmichael as well as soft-pop king David Foster, got a muted reception upon initial release, but features some standout tracks like “I Hear Your Voice,” “Closest Thing to Heaven” and Richie’s own take on “Lady,” the country-pop smash he penned for Kenny Rogers in the ’80s. Bonus cuts include mixes of the title track as well as a then-modern remix of “All Night Long (All Night),” plus some intimate live versions of “Easy” and “Stuck on You.”
The Art of Noise’s 1986 sophomore album came at a critical juncture for the dance-pop collective, with members Trevor Horn and Paul Morley exiting the group over a dispute in direction. Continuing as the trio of Anne Dudley, Gary Langan and J.J. Jeczalik, In Visible Silence found success through novelty, namely through the U.K. hits “Peter Gunn” (a cover of the Henry Mancini theme with guitarist Duane Eddy) and “Paranoimia” (featuring Matt Frewer as digital TV gadfly Max Headroom). This deluxe edition, originally released on CD in 2017, features a host of single mixes, B-sides and then-unreleased outtakes.
If you wanted access to the demos included on the 7″ that came with the super deluxe edition of Fleetwood Mac’s Live album without adding another box set to your shelf, this is your chance: they’re now available digitally.