Welcome to The Weekend Stream, a relaxing weekly review of notable digital-only catalogue titles. There may be no CD or vinyl, but there's plenty of great new/old music to discover! This week features some new remixes for Marvin Gaye and Teddy Pendergrass, a revisit of Josh Groban's debut and some great rarities for soul and alt-rock fans.
From remixer SaLaAM ReMi - who helped organize Gaye's aborted You're the Man into proper release in 2019 - comes a new suite drawn from rarities in the What's Going On era (part of the ongoing 50th anniversary celebration for the album). The EP includes new mixes of "Save the Children," non-LP sides "Sad Tomorrows" and "I Want to Come Home for Christmas," and an unreleased instrumental called "No Need."
Nancy Wilson, The Sound of Nancy Wilson / Nancy / Son of a Preacher Man / Music on My Mind / Life, Love and Harmony (Expanded Edition) (Capitol)
Five albums from soul stylist Nancy Wilson make their digital debuts! Though she was a few years removed from her biggest chart hit, "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am," she brought the magic to interpretations across these LPs, all recorded and released between 1968 and 1979. (The last one, Life, Love and Happiness, features two single edits as bonus cuts.)
A special digital expanded edition of the iconic baritone's debut album - which cannily mixed adult contemporary pop with classical and operatic numbers - features two bonus tracks: a Japanese-only bonus track, "Mia Per Sempre," and Groban's first demo recording, "Roma Nun Fa' La Stupida Stasera."
Teddy Pendergrass, The More I Get, The More I Want (D-Nice Remix) / Various Artists, Philadelphia International Records: The 12" Mixes, Vol. 3 (Philadelphia International Records/Legacy)
Legacy's Philadelphia International Records 50th anniversary celebration continues apace with a new mix of a track off Pendergrass' solo debut for the label, and a new digital collection of 19 rare extended versions of tracks by Pendergrass, The O'Jays, Phyllis Hyman, Silk and more.
The Scottish singer's ninth studio album found her delving even deeper into R&B/dance territory thanks to tracks written and produced by the likes of L.A. Reid and Babyface (the No. 2 smash title track, "No Deposit, No Return"), Angela Winbush ("Without You," "Fire and Rain") and her "U Got the Look" duet partner Prince (contributing the tracks "101" and "Cool Love" under the pseudonym Joey Coco). A mid-'00s reissue from Cherry Red added four bonus edits and remixes, which now appear on this digital set.
On the way to becoming a juggernaut of electronic and disco production in the late '70s, Giorgio Moroder released this 1972 platter of psychedelic pop, bolstered by the title track, a No. 1 hit for U.K. group Chicory Tip.
Bell Biv DeVoe, Do Me! (Geffen) / Another Bad Creation, Coolin' At the Playground Ya Know! (Motown)
Have you heard former MTV VJ Dave Holmes' podcast Waiting for Impact? It details the obsessive minutiae of his quest to learn more about Sudden Impact, an all-white boy band signed to Motown subsidiary Biv 10 Records and part of the "East Coast Family" alongside better-known soul acts like Boyz II Men, Bell Biv DeVoe and Another Bad Creation. Perhaps because of this captivating podcast, we're seeing UMe backfill a pair of East Coast Family-oriented releases this week. There's an EP of remixes of BBD's Top 5 hit "Do Me!" and the debut album by ABC, which featured the Top 10 hits "Iesha" and "Playground."
The sole album from synth-soul trio Plush was a notable stepping stone for its female member: Siedah Garrett, who'd later have star turns on R&B duets with Dennis Edwards ("Don't Look Any Further") and, more famously, Michael Jackson ("I Just Can't Stop Loving You," the first of five No. 1 hits from Bad; she also co-wrote the album's fourth, "Man in the Mirror"). A maxi-single version of focus track "Free and Easy" is the bonus cut.
Easterhouse, Contenders / Waiting for the Redbird (Columbia)
Founded by brothers Andy and Ivor Perry, British indie-rockers Easterhouse combined strident leftist politics with reverb-heavy guitars that recalled a band they'd open for in the local clubs: The Smiths. Fascinatingly, two almost entirely different bands cut the studio albums: 1986's Contenders was followed three years later by the more programming-heavy Waiting for the Redbird, which featured only Andy Perry returning on vocals. (Ivor, ironically, was considered as a replacement for The Smiths after Morrissey and Johnny Marr's acrimonious split.) Despite the wild change in sound, Redbird spawned a minor U.S. hit in "Come Out Fighting."
Remembered for his out-of-nowhere chart-topper "Bad Day," a piano ballad popularized as a theme for departing contestants on the fifth season of American Idol in 2006, this digital collection offers a deeper look at Daniel Powter, the Canadian singer-songwriter behind that tune.