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!
Madonna fans have been well satiated by dozens of digitally unavailable remixes delivered as EPs, but last week offered a real surprise: an expanded edition of the pop icon’s third album from 1986. With a double-sized track length – nine remixes and instrumentals of hits “Live to Tell,” “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Open Your Heart,” “True Blue” and “La Isla Bonita” – and the ability to download as well as stream (a strange 30th anniversary edition of Like a Prayer that swapped album versions for remixes was streaming-only in 2019), it’s a must-have if you’re a Madonna fan who’s alright with a digital-only project. (The Second Disc holds out hope for a more substantive physical reissue program someday.)
Tina Turner, Look Me in the Heart (The Singles) / Steamy Windows (The Singles) (Parlophone)
Tina Turner’s expanded edition of 1989’s Foreign Affair, released last month, offers a trove of remixes and rarities (including a killer live show on CD and DVD). But let’s face it: a product with as many tracks as this box might be a little impenetrable as a digital offering. Thus, Parlophone has released two EPs – another two were released in 2019 – apportioning the various B-sides and remixes from the Affair era. (The “Steamy Windows” EP actually includes one track that’s not in the box: a 7″ house mix of the song.)
The penultimate in a five-volume set from the Chairman of the Board includes 15 hard-to-find, digitally unavailable odds and ends recorded between 1973 and 1986, including a killer version of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).”
Already made available as a hi-res digital product last month, Don Van Vliet’s 1969 avant-garde masterpiece (produced by Frank Zappa) is finally available to stream or download.
Taken from original multi-tracks on a tour date to promote In Visible Silence – that album’s “Paranoimia,” “Peter Gunn” and “Legs” are on the set list, along with earlier hits “Beat Box,” “Moments in Love” and “Close (to the Edit)” – this unreleased live album (also available on CD) proves that The Art of Noise were as potent on stage as they were on vinyl.
Ben E. King / Bobby Darin, Hits & Rarities (Warner Music/X5)
Here’s some intriguing algorithmic offerings from two legends of the Atlantic label. These oversized collections feature the songs you’d expect – King’s has “Stand by Me,” “Spanish Harlem” and even The Drifters’ “This Magic Moment” and “Save the Last Dance for Me,” while Darin’s has “Mack the Knife,” “Beyond the Sea,” “Splish Splash” and “Dream Lover” – and a handful you might not. (Darin’s features covers like “Nature Boy,” “I Got a Woman,” “Minnie the Moocher” and even a demo of “Dream Lover,” while King’s offers “Moon River,” “Besame Mucho” and – you better believe it – “Dream Lover.”)
For those who thought Living Colour was too polished, South Bronx genre-benders 24-7 Spyz combined metal, funk, punk and reggae with an unapologetically Black perspective. Debut album Harder Than You (1989) gained some notoriety for its cover of Kool and The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie,” which earned some airplay on MTV.
Various Artists, Warner Archives – Pop / Hip-Hop / Soul (Warner Music/X5)
A fascinating grab-bag of tracks that had been issued as streaming one-offs here and there, these three compilations ably test the limits of the genre tags they work under, offering fascinating stuff that was barely in print physically. The pop volume includes ’90s B-sides by Robert Palmer, dance mixes by the late Nick Kamen (and, uh, Uncle Kracker), a Japanese bonus track from Scarlett Johansson’s album of Tom Waits covers, and a Japanese-only single by England Dan and John Ford Coley. On the hip-hop volume (the only one available to download), there’s remixes of tracks by MC Lyte, the Quad City DJ’s, and Snow; an acoustic mix of The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money, Mo Problems”; rare B-sides by Busta Rhymes and a radio edit of Ice T’s single from one of the three soundtracks released to promote Dick Tracy. And for soul fans, there’s plenty of throwbacks in tracks by Tevin Campbell, Faith Evans, Danity Kane, Brian McKnight and many more.