Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up, featuring a selection of the new titles available today!
Iconoclassic Records is bringing Carole Bayer Sager's star-studded 1981 album Sometimes Late at Night back to CD, for the very first time from the original Boardwalk Records master tapes. Featuring Burt Bacharach, Michael Jackson, Marvin Hamlisch, Neil Diamond, Melissa Manchester, David Foster, and many others, this lush, extraordinary (and extraordinarily personal) set co-produced by Bacharach and Brooks Arthur gets the treatment it deserves. The album (remastered by Vic Anesini) is accompanied by a 24-page booklet designed by John Sellards which features photos, memorabilia, and a 5,600-word essay by The Second Disc's Joe Marchese, drawing on fresh and previously unpublished interviews with Carole Bayer Sager, Burt Bacharach, Melissa Manchester, and the late Brooks Arthur. Read more here!
Legacy brings the soundtrack to "Weird Al" Yankovic's hilariously-exaggerated biopic to CD. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, co-written by the artist and starring Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter himself) as the legendary pop parodist, has picked up a number of awards (including two Critics' Choice Awards and a trophy from the Toronto International Film Festival) and is still in the running for more (including nods from the Producers' Guild of America and Directors' Guild of America). Al re-recorded five of his enduring hits plus a new end credits song ("Now You Know") for the film, and the soundtrack - already on digital platforms and coming to vinyl in May - also includes a heap of score cues from Cobra Kai composers Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson, plus some other polka ephemera.
Real Gone goes back to the very beginning of Grateful Dead's Road Trips series with this 2-CD volume featuring excerpts of five shows from the band's Fall 1979 tour. This period, which fell during the recording of the album Go to Heaven, welcomed new keyboardist Brent Mydland. Highlights include the fourth-ever performance of "Alabama Getaway," a reggae-inspired "Morning Dew" (for the only time in a two-year span) and a boogieing take on Martha Reeves and the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street" (leading into "Franklin's Tower" for one of just three times ever).
Released in conjunction with tenor saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis' (1922-1986) centennial, Cookin' with Jaws and the Queen showcases the soul-jazz partnership of Davis and organist Shirley Scott. The 4-CD box brings together the Prestige albums Smokin' and Cookbook, Vols. 1-3 (all recorded in 1958) in a clamshell case with a book.
Dorothy Ashby was a jazz harpist who made her first headlining album in 1957 on the Regent label. For her third album (now on the New Jazz label), she was joined by flautist Wess who was a member of Count Basie's band and who had made several solo recordings himself. In a Minor Groove is one of two albums Ashby made in 1958 with Wess; the duo is backed by Herman Wright on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. For this black vinyl repressing of Real Gone's first-ever domestic vinyl reissue of In a Minor Groove, the label has utilized the original mono sources, not the re-channeled stereo and resequenced track listing that showed up on Prestige's later repackaging called Dorothy Ashby Plays for Beautiful People.
Real Gone has excavated the oft-sampled second album from Washington, D.C.-based funk outfit The Soul Searchers, originally released on the Sussex label. Led by the "Godfather of Go-Go," guitarist and singer Chuck Brown, the other members of the band included John "J.B" Buchanan (trombone, piano, synth, percussion), Donald Tilley (trumpet, percussion), John Euwell (bass guitar), Kenneth Scoggins (drums, percussion), Lino Druitt (congas, bongos, percussion), Lloyd Pinchback (flute, saxophone, percussion), and Bennie Braxton (organ). The nine-song LP is composed mostly of original material written by Buchanan, Brown, Tilley, or Pinchback, plus a cover of Bacharach and David's "(They Long to Be) Close to You." Real Gone's release is the first new vinyl reissue in North America, and it's pressed on "coke clear" vinyl.
Real Gone also has the vinyl premiere of the soundtrack to the 1996 romantic comedy starring Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney. The soundtrack came out a little over a week before the film's premiere and featured new and old recordings from artists including The Chiffons, Natalie Merchant, Harry Connick, Jr., Tony Bennett, Van Morrison, Keb' Mo', The Ad Libs, The Shirelles, and Ella Fitzgerald. Its biggest hit, though, was Kenny Loggins' "For the First Time," written by the film's score composer James Newton Howard, Jud J. Friedman, and Allan Rich. It peaked at No. 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 but hit the top spot for two weeks on the trade paper's AC chart. It is Loggins' only number one hit on that chart. The soundtrack album itself peaked at No. 57 on the Billboard 200. Real Gone's reissue is pressed on "coke clear with yellow swirl" vinyl. Read more about all of RGM's new releases later today!
The country-pop queen returns with her first new album since 2017. Queen of Me, featuring the lead single "Last Day of Summer," is available in a variety of formats including CD, LP, Target-exclusive CD (with two extra songs), Target-exclusive pink vinyl, cassette, and digital/streaming.