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! From new remixes of old favorites and throwback remixes of new hits, to deep dives into '80s alt-rock, mid-century easy listening, '70s live folk and '90s tracks to run on the beach in slow motion to...we're pulling out all this stops this Sunday!
Queen Bey had a busy month gearing up for the July 29 release of her new album Renaissance - her first proper solo studio album since 2018. She received critical raves (and endured some controversy along the way), while also releasing a quartet of remixes of her Top 10 hit "Break My Soul." A fifth mashes up the killer dance track with another classic throwback: Madonna's "Vogue." It's a great link of two really solid songs, and also a nice little backdoor promo as Madonna gets ready to release a new compilation. (She appeared on another dance single this weekend as well: a remix of Saucy Santana's "MATERIAL GWORRLLLLLLL!")
It's been 40 years since the late George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley first came together to take Britain by storm as pop duo Wham! - and while fourth single "Club Tropicana" might be one of their weakest, it was still (like all their singles except the "Club Fantastic Megamix") a U.K. Top 10. Now, Ridgeley has commissioned this beachy new dance version of "Tropicana," with new synth-driven rhythms by producer Dru Masters surrounding George's pristine original vocal.
Speaking of summer vibes, Legacy's issued this digital throwback: a 1994 collection of songs from and inspired by the campy syndicated lifeguard series that made stars out of Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff (who sings no less than four songs here, including a duet with Laura Branigan). Other highlights include the Beach Boys rarity "Summer of Love" (off the maligned Summer in Paradise album) and Jimi Jamison's iconic title theme, "I'm Always Here."
The Waitresses, Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? / I Could Rule the World If I Could Only Get the Parts (Expanded Edition) / Bruiseology (Expanded Edition) (Polydor/UMe)
One of the most striking bands of the early '80s, Akron, Ohio's The Waitresses turned heads thanks to the sneering vocals of the late Patty Donahue and the arch songwriting of guitarist Chris Butler. "I Know What Boys Like" was a minor pop hit and teens of the time certainly remember their theme song to the cult comedy Square Pegs - but today, it's probably "Christmas Wrapping," their rollicking, too-good-for-just-the-season chestnut, that gets the most play. Their complete works were compiled by Omnivore many years ago, and now they exist in their original forms: debut album Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful? (1982), the bubbly EP I Could Rule the World If I Could Only Get the Parts (featuring "Wrapping" B-side "Hangover 1/1/83" as a bonus cut), and 1983's Bruiseology (featuring two remixes of Parts cut "Bread and Butter" and a rare alternate of the title track with bassist Tracy Wormworth on vocals).
After a late-period MCA album was backfilled, we're getting to the good stuff with the Minneapolis sibling octet. Their debut featured the inescapable soul-pop gem "Crush on You" and the Rupert Holmes-penned ballad "You Got It All," both of which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Middle and high school dances lit up with the dark dance-rock of 2002's "All the Things She Said" (co-written and produced by Trevor Horn). Russian duo t.A.T.u. also certainly turned a lot of heads for their stage and video antics, dressing up like schoolgirls and coyly inviting speculation about their sexuality. Several of these four remixes were never released in the U.S. or Europe, so they're worth checking out if you happen to be a hardcore fan.
Les Baxter, The Passions (feat. Bas-Sheva) / Kaleidoscope / Les Baxter's La Femme (feat. Franck Pourcel and His French Strings) / Caribbean Moonlight / 'Round the World with Les Baxter / Midnight on the Cliffs / Les Baxter's Teen Drums / Broadway '61 / Sensational! (Capitol)
Passions: iTunes / Amazon
Kaleidoscope: iTunes / Amazon
La Femme: iTunes / Amazon
Moonlight: iTunes / Amazon
World: iTunes / Amazon
Cliffs: iTunes / Amazon
Drums: iTunes / Amazon
Broadway: iTunes / Amazon
Sensational!: iTunes / Amazon
An arranger and conductor whose most notable credits included Nat "King" Cole's "Mona Lisa" and "Too Young," Les Baxter was a consistent presence for Capitol thanks to his ability to quickly record easy listening and orchestral pop in the then-popular style known as "exotica" - co-opting vague musical concepts of Eastern and Pacific nations and fusing them to Western ideas. These nine albums were released between 1954 and 1962, and offer a fascinating window into what your parents or grandparents had on their hi-fi at the time.
Roger Miller, Words and Music by Roger Miller / Walkin' in the Sunshine / Waterhole #3 (Capitol Nashville)
Another trio of country king Miller's newly-delivering discography. These albums - his fourth, fifth and sixth - were released between 1966 and 1967 and feature the Top 10 country hits "Husbands and Wives" and "Walkin' in the Sunshine."
A European-only 2008 collection of one of Motown's most beloved acts, their history shared across 50 classic tracks.
The penultimate album by the beloved British alt-rockers (named by critics as one of the greatest albums of 1997) is finally available to stream outside of Europe for its 25th anniversary.
A year after their 1988 debut album took a trio of songs to the Top 10 of the R&B charts - and made member/songwriter/producer Teddy Riley a new face to watch in the coming years - Guy put "My Fantasy" out as part of the soundtrack to Spike Lee's powerful Do the Right Thing. Enjoy a handful of remixes of this, their sole No. 1 hit on the soul charts.
Another entry in the Con Funk Shun discography to get a digital release, this 1982 album was a Top 10 on the R&B charts and featured the single "Ms. Got the Body"; two remixes of the track are appended as bonus cuts.
Another treasure from Gilley's Epic years, the title track - a cover of The Miracles classic - continued his hot streak of Top 10s on the country charts.
Tanya Tucker, What's Your Mama's Name / You Are So Beautiful (Columbia)
A teen country music sensation in the '70s, the title track to 1973's What's Your Mama's Name netted Tanya Tucker her first No. 1 single on the genre chart. After signing to MCA in the mid-'70s, Columbia would reach back into their vaults and assemble 1977's You Are So Beautiful, including the Billy Preston-penned title track (later a hit for Joe Cocker), the Billy Sherrill chestnut "Almost Persuaded," and "Spring," a Top 20 single released two years earlier.
Finally, a long-unavailable document of the eighth and final Big Sur Festival in 1971, part of a low-key series of outdoor concerts that in this iteration featured festival mainstay Joan Baez, plus performances by Kris Kirstofferson, Taj Mahal, Mickey Newbury and Blood, Sweat & Tears.