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!
Rick James, Glow (Deluxe Edition) / Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James (Motown/UMe)
UMe are givin’ it to ya (baby) this week with a pair of releases from the late, great funk legend Rick James. The newest is a companion album to Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James, a new documentary about the artist premiering on Showtime this weekend (featuring songs by Rick, Teena Marie, The Mary Jane Girls and more). Additionally, an expansion of James’ 1985 album Glow – previously only available in a digital box set compiling expansions of all his albums – is now available to download on its own, packed with bonus remixes and tracks issued on his 1984 compilation Reflections.
Wow! A trio of new remixes of Mary Wilson’s 1979 disco single keeps the former Supreme’s memory alive, just a few months after a digital expanded edition of her sole Motown album was released on what would have been her 77th birthday. (Fans should keep an eye on The Second Disc for more Mary Wilson news in the near future!)
Originally released as a 2CD set by the U.K.’s Spectrum Music in 2013, here’s a fine overview of the sibling funk hitmakers behind “I’ll Be Good to You,” “Strawberry Letter 23,” “Stomp!” and more – including some rare 12″ and single versions.
Various Artists, Romeo Must Die / Exit Wounds / Aaliyah, Are You That Somebody? (Blackground/EMPIRE)
Blackground’s latest in their catalog rollout cover two popular soundtracks the label issued in 2000 and 2001: Romeo Must Die, an action flick starring Jet Li and the label’s star artist Aaliyah (featuring her chart-topping “Try Again” plus rarities by Timbaland & Magoo, Ginuwine and Destiny’s Child) and Exit Wounds, a hip-hop heavy affair featuring the film’s co-star DMX and cuts from Nas, Three 6 Mafia, Memphis Bleek and others. There’s also a standalone release of Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody?” – a hit single from the soundtrack to the Eddie Murphy remake of Dr. Doolittle in 1998.
Miracle Legion, Gladder (Mezzotint) (Bandcamp)
One of our favorite bands at Second Disc HQ, Miracle Legion has been generously expanding their catalog (along with rare and unreleased offerings by frontman Mark Mulcahy) with special digital releases over 2020 and 2021’s Bandcamp Friday initiative. (To date, there’s been three collections of demos, including their first release, the cassette A Simple Thing; four unreleased live sets and some B-sides from a late ’80s 12″ single.) The latest is one of the most exciting yet: Gladder offers a fuller presentation of the band’s 1987 set at The Ritz in New York that was utilized for the Glad EP a year later. Highlights include a spontaneous, energetic version of “Closer to the Wall” with avant-garage group Pere Ubu, who were headlining that particular tour.
When Decca released Engelbert Humperdinck’s Complete Decca Studio Albums Collection box set in 2017, many lamented the absence of the vocalist’s numerous non-LP singles and rarities. Now, the label is somewhat remedying the situation with Forgotten Promises, a new 13-track collection featuring many of those “lost” tracks including “That Promise” (flipside of “The Last Waltz”), “A Hundred Times a Day” (the flip of the Richard Rodney Bennett and Paul Francis Webster-penned film theme “Too Beautiful to Last” from Nicholas and Alexandra), the Paul Anka co-write “Lady of the Night,” and “Our Song (La Paloma),” the B-side of “My Marie.” Every one of these lush tracks has been newly remastered at Abbey Road from the original tapes, making this set an indispensable one for fans of the big-voiced romantic crooner.
If you found The Furs’ Made of Rain (2020) as nice a surprise as we did after nearly 30 years out of the studio, then you’ll dig this surprise release from earlier this week: a new track from the same sessions!
From ZTT’s ongoing back catalog restoration comes this newly-compiled, extended EP collecting 7″, 12″ and bonus track versions of “Doctor Mabuse,” the debut single German synth-poppers Propaganda.
Bernard Herrmann, Marnie (Complete Original Score) / Jack Marshall, Munster, Go Home! (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) / Jerry Goldsmith, The Don is Dead (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) / Stephen Warbeck & Shirley Walker, Mystery Men (Music from the Motion Picture) (Back Lot Music)
It’s always a pleasant, welcome surprise when film studios get archival soundtrack releases licensed to third-party labels on other platforms too. Universal’s Back Lot label has four such expansions this week, including Bernard Herrmann’s work on Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie, Jack Marshall’s neat Munster, Go Home! and others.
Joe gleefully covered the surprise announcement of the first ABBA album in 40 years coming later in 2021 – but we want to close out The Weekend Stream with a heartfelt urge to check out the two songs if you haven’t already. New ABBA material is already unbelievable enough; that it’s comparable to the sound and catchiness of the band’s classic material without sounding overly sweetened or modern…I mean, this stuff almost never happens. It put a smile on our face this week and we bet it might do the same for you today.