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. Today, we've got more Madonna, Peggy March in German and easy-listening versions of Neil Diamond hits - plus a way you can help out a local venue!
As rumors of a Madonna 40th anniversary tour heat up, we've got another treat to stream and download: the international deluxe edition of her last studio album, 2019's Madame X. This 18-track edition includes three ex-U.S. tracks making their digital debuts, including the originally-released version of the Pharrell Williams co-write "Back That Up to the Beat" (the demo of which was part of our last Weekend Stream).
This pint-sized Pennsylvanian is best-known to Americans for the chart-topping "I Will Follow Him" (which reached the summit when she was only 14) - but she had an impressive amount of chart success singing schlager songs in Germany, where she eventually moved for most of her life. A 12-track album of these songs was made available in America in 1965; it's now practically a digital box set, stretching to 60 tracks in this language and including favorites like the local No. 1 smash "Romeo & Julia."
As you might've guessed from the title, this 1973 record find's RCA Victor's longtime easy listening bandleader romping through instrumental versions of Neil Diamond favorites ("Sweet Caroline," "Cracklin' Rosie," "Song Sung Blue," "I'm a Believer," "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon") as well as some more obscure selections ("Porcupine Pie," "Hurtin' You Don't Come Easy").
This 1965 live album, recorded over three dates in San Francisco by the acclaimed jazz clarinetist and his big band, got remixed and expanded by Mosaic Records in 2007 with another eight tracks later released on other albums. Now the whole affair at San Francisco's Basin Street West can be heard digitally.
While this collection from the jazz piano giant features plenty of covers, like "Hang On Sloopy" "The 'In' Crowd" and the spiritual "Wade in the Water," all of them notably were major chart hits for the Ramsey Lewis Trio in the mid-'60s, and are cut anew with an all-new trio.
Finally: help a local venue!
Bar Freda is a quirky little space not far from Second Disc HQ. They opened at the height of COVID-19, which is obviously a tricky proposition - but they remain afloat and committed to putting on great local shows and serving good drinks as well. (I have enjoyed both there.) Recently, one of their managing partners - a friend from college and incredibly tenacious booker of live music - tipped us off that they're looking for investors to help them make some renovations and enhancements. If you happen to have the means to contribute some money their way in the name of keeping independent music going in a part of New York City that we happen to like a lot, you should click that link in the last sentence!