Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up, featuring a selection of the week's new titles!
Christine McVie, Songbird: A Solo Collection (Rhino)
Christine McVie releases her first-ever solo compendium. Songbird (A Solo Collection), available in CD, 180-gram vinyl, and digitally, is a lean 10-track anthology remastered by producer Glyn Johns who worked in tandem with McVie on the release. Songbird is mainly drawn from 2004's In the Meantime with two selections from 1984's Christine McVie: "The Challenge," featuring background vocals by Lindsey Buckingham and lead guitar by Eric Clapton; and "Ask Anybody," co-written by McVie and Steve Winwood, who sings backgrounds and plays piano. (No material has been culled from her 1970 debut Christine Perfect.) While Christine McVie's chart-topping hit "Got a Hold on Me" (No. 1 AC/No. 1 Rock/No. 10 Pop) is curiously absent along with its moderately successful follow-up "Love Will Show Us How" (No. 32 AC/No. 24 Rock/No. 30 Pop), the collection includes the top 40 AC hit "Friend" from In the Meantime. It also premieres two previously unreleased songs. "Slowdown," originally written for director John Badham's 1985 film American Flyers, is now available on digital/streaming services. "All You Gotta Do" was recorded for In the Meantime with late bassist George Hawkins. It was unfinished at the time, but Ricky Peterson (Hammond organ) and Ethan Johns (drums and guitar) have fleshed out the track. The set concludes with a new, previously unreleased Orchestral Version of Fleetwood Mac's "Songbird," melding McVie's original vocal for the Rumours track with a new orchestral arrangement by Vince Mendoza (Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell). Read more here.
Madonna, Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones (Warner/Rhino)
The first in a planned series of catalogue reissues through Warner Music Group, the new compilation Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones tracks every one of Madonna's record-setting singles to reach the top of Billboard's dance charts, from 1982 debut "Everybody" to "I Don't Search I Find," one of four tracks off latest album Madame X (2019) to have reached the peak. In a considerable boon to collectors, this multi-format set doesn't merely replicate the familiar versions heard on her albums: every track is presented in a rare remix or edit, with nearly half making their debut on a commercial and/or physical release and a handful released for the first time anywhere. (Mike Dean, producer of Madame X and Madonna's 2015 effort Rebel Heart, has remastered this new set.) The collection will come out in several formats across the summer. Today, a 16-track abridged edition is available to stream - just in time for your local pride celebrations. Then, on August 19 - three days after the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer's 64th birthday - that 16-track version will come out on CD and double vinyl alongside the complete 50-track set, on three CDs or six red and black vinyl LPs. (The vinyl will be available exclusively through Madonna's official store or Rhino's storefront.) Read more here.
Barbra Streisand famously introduced Walter Becker and Donald Fagen's "I Mean to Shine" on her Barbra Joan Streisand album. It was La Streisand's second consecutive album of contemporary material with producer Richard Perry, and the song's inclusion gave a much-needed boost to its fledgling writers. But another artist almost debuted the song: Linda Hoover, a 19-year old with a wispy but altogether engaging voice not unlike that of television star-singer Peggy Lipton. In spring-summer 1970, Hoover joined producer Gary Katz and songwriter-musicians Becker and Fagen at New York's Advantage Sound Studios to record an LP for Roulette Records. Long story short, the 11-song album was shelved by Roulette, never to be heard again...until now. Omnivore has unearthed this lost gem, in the process proving that it's more than just another footnote to the Steely Dan story. Yes, Becker and Fagen's songs are all treats here; they wrote five of the six songs on Side One including "I Mean to Shine." These compositions are very much in the mold of their early work both for artists such as Denny Doherty and their baby steps as Steely Dan: well-crafted, literate, filled with clever wordplay and appealing chords and melodic hooks. It's no coincidence that these songs sound like early Dan, with Katz producing and Denny Dias and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter among the musicians. Eric Weissberg ("Dueling Banjos," Bob Dylan) also appeared on guitar. A light touch of orchestration graces the record as played by moonlighting members of the Dick Cavett Show orchestra. Linda herself penned three youthful, earnest cuts in period singer-songwriter style while the album was rounded out with solid covers of The Band's Richard Manuel, Stephen Stills, and Becker & Fagen associate Kenny Vance. This is Linda Hoover's time to shine; Omnivore's classy premiere of this poignant, understated LP includes new liner notes by Scott Schinder (drawing on interviews with Hoover and Katz) and mastering by Michael Graves. I Mean to Shine is out today on CD and digitally; the LP iteration arrived last weekend for Record Store Day's Drop 2.
The Animals, The Mickie Most Years and More (ABKCO)
Vinyl Bundle: ABKCO Store
The Animals on Tour
After a short delay, ABKCO is reissuing a quartet of The Animals' original MGM albums in mono on CD and vinyl; a bundle of the vinyl releases is also available including a bonus EP. You'll find all of the details right here!
Eric Clapton, Nothing But the Blues (Reprise)
Nothing But the Blues features 17 previously unreleased live performances from Clapton's tour supporting his From the Cradle album, all newly mixed from the original multitracks and including songs unique to the tour. Available today on CD, while a vinyl version follows July 24. The Nothing But the Blues film, first aired on PBS in 1995, is also out today on Blu-ray and DVD, and as part of a Super Deluxe box set also containing the 2-LP vinyl, single CD, a four-track bonus EP of more previously unreleased performances, and assorted swag.
Ella Fitzgerald, Ella at the Hollywood Bowl: The Irving Berlin Songbook (Verve/UMe)
Verve/UMe unearths a complete, never-before-issued 15-song live performance on August 16, 1958 at the Hollywood Bowl in which Ella Fitzgerald and original conductor-arranger Paul Weston brought her Irving Berlin Songbook album to life. The tapes for Ella at the Hollywood Bowl: The Irving Berlin Songbook were discovered in the personal archive of Verve founder and Fitzgerald producer/manager/confidante Norman Granz. It wasn't typical for Fitzgerald to perform the Songbook arrangements in concert; this was the only time she performed live with Weston, and her only full-length Hollywood Bowl concert to be released to date. The live tracks were mixed from the original tapes by Grammy Award-winning producer and drummer Gregg Field who played with Ella late in her life. Will Friedwald provides the package's new liner notes. Available on CD, LP, and digital formats.
Eleri Ward has brought Stephen Sondheim's indelible songs into the realm of indie folk-rock with this deeply personal, introspective set of songs from the master songwriter. A Perfect Little Death makes its vinyl debut today after a digital and on-demand CD release; the album features her stripped-down, intimate, acoustic renditions of such Sondheim classics as "Children Will Listen," "Send in the Clowns," "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd," and "Being Alive."