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!
Michael Giacchino, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack/Expanded Edition) (Walt Disney Records) (iTunes / Amazon)
A genuine, out-of-nowhere surprise: a generous expansion of Oscar-winner Giacchino's score to the first Disney-era Star Wars spin-off in 2016, about the ragtag group of Rebels who stole the plans for the Death Star right before the original movie. The composer subtly mixes in some of series composer John Williams' themes in this work, now featuring 30 unreleased cues and six unheard alternates.
Stoney & Meat Loaf, Stoney & Meat Loaf (Rare Earth/Motown) (iTunes / Amazon)
Released in 1971 (without the space between Marvin Lee Aday's stage name), this duet recording with singer Shaun "Stoney" Murphy is the beginning of Meat Loaf's storied musical career, six years before Bat Out of Hell took the world by storm. Never before available digitally, it's a fitting tribute to the recently-deceased rock legend - and, dare we say, not the last involving this hard-to-find album. Stay tuned...
Roberta Flack, Bustin' Loose (Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (MCA/Geffen) (iTunes / Amazon)
Newly digitally distributed in honor of Flack's 85th birthday this past Thursday, this soundtrack album to a 1981 Richard Pryor comedy of the same name also features contributions from Peabo Bryson (two years before they had a hit with "Tonight I Celebrate My Love") and Luther Vandross (who'd sing his composition "You Stopped Loving Me" on his own a few months later on debut album Never Too Much).
Otis Redding, Try a Little Tenderness (Crazy Cousinz Remix) (Atlantic/Rhino) (iTunes / Amazon)
Just in time for Valentine's Day, a new spin on an Otis favorite with a hypnotic beat underscoring Redding's iconic, impassioned vocal.
Sting, Por Su Amor (Cherrytree/Interscope) (iTunes / Amazon)
A reinvention of "For Her Love," a track from Sting's strong 2021 album The Bridge, with new Spanish lyrics from co-writer/producer Martin Kierzenbaum. Hardcore Sting collectors know he's been fond of singing in Spanish in the past, so this is a fine link between phases of his storied solo career.
Lobo, Let Me Leave You / That Shows You What I Know / Why is It Me (Time-Life)
Leave: iTunes / Amazon
Shows: iTunes / Amazon
Why: iTunes / Amazon
'70s hitmaker Lobo ("Me and You and a Dog Named Boo," "I'd Love You to Want Me") remained an enormous draw in Asia during the late '80s and '90s, recording a handful of albums released only in the East. Now, material from those albums have been re-compiled by the singer (and producer Billy Aerts) into these three new digital collections.
Barry White, Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up (Bossmen Remix) (Mercury/UMe) (iTunes / Amazon)
A lush re-take on the Maestro of Love's second Top 10 hit from 1973, with soft keys and that classic backbeat amped up by Diggin' in the Crates Crew legend Lord Finesse.
Blind Melon, No Rain (Super Duper Remix) (Capitol/UMe) (iTunes / Amazon)
An unusual but captivating reimagining of the immortal 1993 alt-rock hit, retaining the late Shannon Hoon's vocals and Rogers Stevens' guitar work and adding some epic percussion hits and haunting echo.
Suzanne Vega, Solitude Standing / Men in a War / Sessions At West 54th (A&M)
Solitude: iTunes / Amazon
Sessions: iTunes / Amazon
An interesting triplicate of things from the engaging folk-rock hero: the title track to breakthrough album Solitude Standing (1987) features a rare live track as a B-side; 1990 single "Men in a War" (from Days of Open Hand) offers a unique remix and two live tracks; and a 1997 EP-length appearance on the beloved public television rock show Sessions At West 54th.
David Lasley, Missin' Twenty Grand (Expanded Edition) (Capitol/UMe) (iTunes / Amazon)
If Charles Donovan's recent feature on the late, great Lasley has your interest piqued, then you'll want to check out this expansion of his acclaimed 1982 album, featuring the U.S. Top 40 hit "If I Had My Wish Tonight" plus, as bonus tracks, four Don Was-produced single sides issued two years later.
Richard Thompson, (Guitar, Vocal) A Collection of Unreleased and Rare Material 1967-1976 (Island) (iTunes / Amazon)
In and out of print in recent years and often chopped up for parts on various reissues or expansions of albums by both Fairport Convention and Richard & Linda Thompson, this odds-and-ends double album has been recently pressed to vinyl, and so gets a digital release as well.
Meco, Encounters of Every Kind (Casablanca/Republic) (iTunes / Amazon)
A lightning-fast follow up to debut album Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk (featuring the chart-topping disco version of John Williams' classic theme), Meco Monardo's Encounters of Every Kind features one track you'd guess from the title - an arrangement of Williams' 1977 theme to Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind - and several you wouldn't, including covers of jazz/swing instrumentals ("Crazy Rhythm," "Topsy") and original pieces by Broadway legend Harold Wheeler (Promises, Promises, The Wiz, Dreamgirls, Hairspray). Alas, Meco's "Encounters" was countered by a disco arrangement by Williams himself, which was the higher-charting single in 1978.
Hank Williams, The Last Picture Show: Music from the Original Soundtrack (Republic) (iTunes / Amazon)
Though hardly an essential release - with nine previously-released hits by the late country icon Williams, plus Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys' "Faded Love" - getting The Last Picture Show's soundtrack digitally is a nice tribute to the film's unforgettable director/co-writer Peter Bogdanovich, who passed away in January.
Doc Severinsen, Doc (RCA) (iTunes / Amazon)
Renowned by jazz lovers and TV viewers alike as the bandleader for NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson from 1967 to 1992, Severinsen put his talents on record through the '60s on the Command label before moving to RCA Victor shortly before the show moved to Burbank. (He'd record two great albums with Henry Mancini during this phase of his career.) Doc, released in 1972, is rife with soundtrack themes and standards from the era, including Nino Rota's "Speak Softly, Love" (from The Godfather), Roberta Flack's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and Bread's "Baby, I'm-a Want You."
Dr. John, When I First Saw Your Face (Warner Music/X5) (iTunes / Amazon)
One of those unexpected joys that shows up digitally out of nowhere: a 1992 track from the New Orleans jazz-rock icon, released only in Japan at the time.
Thanks for these weekly digital updates. Really love them!
Rob M says
Roberta Flack is 85?! That’s crazy.
I recall seeing the 1978 reissue of Stoney & Meatloaf in the stores, but I have never heard it.
Wow news of that Rogue One Expanded Edition is phenomenal. Too bad a boutique label couldn't put out a great physical, multi-disc release - we know Disney won't. But settling for the flac's is better than nothing.