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 usher you into the weekend. This week, we've got a treasure trove from the great ladies of song, a Fab mega-box, and much more!
On November 15 of this year, Petula Clark celebrated her milestone 90th birthday. The legendary performer was hardly sitting idle; she's still performing eight shows a week at London's Prince Edward Theatre as the Bird Woman in Mary Poppins, bringing down the house nightly with her impassioned plea to "Feed the Birds." Clark has always been an artist of enormous range and variety, and in 1975, she recorded one of her most special albums in Nashville with producer Chips Moman (Elvis Presley, B.J. Thomas). Blue Lady was intended for release in 1976 on ABC Records with such songs as Bacharach and David's "Don't Make Me Over," Paul Francis Webster and Jerry Livingston's "The Twelfth of Never," Clark's own title track, and Bobby Emmons' "It's Midnight (Do You Know Where Your Baby Is)." But despite being completed and assigned a catalogue number, ABC opted to leave the LP on the shelf. It remained there until 1995 when Varese Sarabande released it in full for the first time along with three single sides helmed by Tony Scotti and Phil Gernhard. Now, that expanded edition is itself getting expanded. This newly-remastered digital edition adds the previously unreleased Blue Lady outtake "Another Major Tragedy" written by Toni Wine ("A Groovy KInd of Love") who also wrote the album's single "Gimme a Smile." The only other major tragedy here would be if you don't give a listen to this remarkable album from the one and only Ms. Petula Clark.
Though the CD box set doesn't hit stores until January 27, the digital edition of Elvis on Tour is now streaming. This 50th anniversary presentation offers six discs' worth of concerts and rehearsals shot for the 1972 MGM concert film, all freshly mixed by Matt Ross-Spang. As an official soundtrack album for Elvis on Tour was never issued at the time of the movie's original release, so this set promises to fill in a major gap in the Presley discography.
The sold-out vinyl edition of Paul McCartney's gargantuan singles box set - with 163 tracks representing 80 singles, 65 of which replicate original releases and the remaining 15 of which are new/exclusive to this collection - has begun shipping. While no CD version was offered, Macca has put the audio up digitally. Spanning A-sides "Another Day" (1971) through "Women and Wives" (2020), this set adds up to an alternate history of McCartney's solo years via more than 10 hours of music.
UMe has brought this 1995 Reader's Digest collection to streaming. Her Greatest Hits traces Page's career from 1948 to 1972 (two tracks from the CD set, 1965's "Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" and 1981's "No Aces," have been dropped from the digital version due to licensing reasons). From "Tennessee Waltz" and "Old Cape Cod" to "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window," Page's greatest hits are all here as a reminder of what made her such a beloved vocalist in the classic pop and country genres.
This week saw the release on CD and vinyl of a box set containing seven Humble Pie albums originally released on the A&M label plus a rarities disc. That rarities disc is now streaming, with fourteen cuts including five previously unissued tracks.
Two late-period albums from the Chicago R&B group come to digital platforms today: 1980's I Touched a Dream and 1981's Whatever Turns You On, both of which were produced by Carl Davis and Eugene Record and originally released on the 20th Century Fox label. Neither album has ever been on CD in the United States, making these digital releases a treat.
Looking for some holiday cheer, jazz-style? Legacy has reissued Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's swinging 1960 adaptation of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite in an expanded edition which adds The Girl's Suite including "Sweet Adeline," "Lena," "Dinah," "Clementine," and "Peg o' My Heart."
Legacy also has a digital expanded version of the 1992 double-CD collection celebrating the career of Kitty Kallen, the singer voted the Most Popular Female Singer in both Variety and Billboard in 1954. That was the year she had the number one song of the year, "Little Things Mean a Lot." This set has 31 songs vs. the 24 on the original collection, including "It's Been a Long, Long Time," "I'll Walk Alone," "Misty," and "My Coloring Book." However, the non-Sony tracks have been dropped from this digital version, meaning "Little Things Mean a Lot" (originally on Decca) isn't included. While The Kitty Kallen Story is far from complete, it's still an enjoyable hour-and-a-half of musical nostalgia.
Madonna's "Bye Bye Baby," the sixth and final single off 1992's Erotica, is the subject of a digital EP today with the original version plus seven remixes.
Various Artists, Red Hot + Riot (Red Hot) (iTunes Link TBD / Amazon)
Red Hot reissues its Fela Kuti tribute album Red Hot + Riot for its 20th anniversary in a digital expanded edition offering extended versions of numerous tracks, early mixes, a cappella renditions, and more. This sizzling album - now clocking in at over three hours - features performances of Fela classics by Common, Macy Gray, Meshell Ndegeocello, D'Angelo, Questlove, CHIC's Nile Rodgers, Roy Hargrove, Archie Shepp, and Fela's son Femi Kuti.