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 we've got continuing celebrations of Bob Marley and Roger Miller, a lost country trailblazer, a rare early classic from a turn-of-the-millennium hip-hop hero, and Cyndi Lauper singing for a cause.
The final piece of UMe's 45th anniversary celebration of Marley's Exodus comes in the form of a new digital deluxe version of the album, joining the original album with a heap of bonus material (including two unreleased alternate takes).
A few years on from his triumphant solo resurrection of The Beach Boys' Smile and an earnest return to regular performance, Brian Wilson and co-writer Scott Bennett (with a little help from the poetry of Van Dyke Parks) put together That Lucky Old Sun, a new song cycle about Wilson's beloved California, in 2008. A new digital edition brings to all services a pair of tracks that were iTunes exclusives during the original release cycle.
A new acoustic version of Lauper's 1993 song, written about the death of a friend following a back-alley abortion, couldn't come at a more bitterly ironic time.
Roger Miller, A Tender Look At Love / Roger Miller / Roger Miller 1970 (Capitol)
Another batch of classic Roger Miller titles gets their digital due - something that'll be happening all summer. This trio was originally released between 1968 and (you might guess) 1970.
Stoney Edwards, A Country Singer / Down Home in the Country / Stoney Edwards / She's My Rock / Mississippi You're on My Mind / Blackbird (Capitol Nashville)
Stoney Edwards' story may be one of the most fascinating you'll read about this week. An Oklahoma-born Black man with dreams of making the Grand Ole Opry, Edwards temporarily put his ambitions on hold after a freak accident at his day job as a forklift operator in which he suffered poisoning from carbon dioxide levels. After recovering, he was signed to Capitol in the wake of Charley Pride's popularity; he wouldn't score nearly as big hits, but his biggest - the Top 20 country devotional "She's My Rock" - became Top 10s for Brenda Lee and George Jones. And now, all six of his Capitol Nashville albums, issued between 1971 and 1976, are digitally available.
Another surf-rock rarity makes its way to digital services after last week's Ventures avalanche. This time, it's a 1965 live album recorded and released only in Japan, available in both mono and stereo mixes.
Five years before the late, legendary rapper barked his way to the top of the charts with five straight No. 1 albums and a host of party anthems, he was a raw, hungry emcee signed to a singles deal on the Ruffhouse label that didn't quite capitalize on his unsigned hype. That moment in hip-hop history is now commemorated with a digital drop of his original 12" single from 1993.
The Temptations, Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) (slenderbodies Remix) (Motown/UMe) / Don McLean, American Pie (L'Tric Remix) (Capitol/UMe) / Minnie Riperton, The Edge of a Dream (AG Remix) (Capitol/UMe) / Lee Dorsey, Yes We Can, Pt. 1 (O.M.G. Remix) (Republic/UMe)
UMe is constantly doing quirky new remixes of catalogue classics for sync licensing and playlist purposes - and today, four very different tracks all got that treatment.
The alt-rock icon followed his highest-charting album (2005's Guero) with this rework of the entire album, featuring the non-LP track "Clap Hands." This new digital version features five mixes not on the original release.
Puff Johnson, Miracle / Forever More EP / Over and Over EP (Work)
Another lost artist gets found thanks to digital backfill. In the late '90s, Ewanya "Puff" Johnson was positioned as one of R&B's next big things; her 1996 album Miracle boasted a multitude of styles from pop and soul to hip-hop, with some of the biggest producers of the era to boot (Walter Afanasieff, Narada Michael Walden, Tim & Bob and Jermaine Dupri). It didn't catch on in America, though, and while single "Over and Over" became a cult hit off the soundtrack to The FIrst Wives Club (and she opened for Michael Jackson on one of his last tours), her career was cut too short with her death from cancer in 2013. Nearly a decade later, Miracle and maxi-singles of "Forever" and "Over and Over" help reintroduce Puff to a new audience.
Finally, it's almost the Fourth of July, and what better way to celebrate than with this lively arrangement of some of the country's best marches, as arranged and performed impeccably by one of the most legendary Hollywood composers.