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. A short round-up this week, featuring expanded albums from the Godfather of Soul and a late '90s R&B star, another ZTT rarity, a classic rock remix and an LP from a screen legend.
James Brown, Gravity (Expanded Edition) (Volcano/Legacy) (iTunes / Amazon)
The success of "Living in America" - the Godfather of Soul's Top 5 single from 1985's Rocky IV - all but guaranteed a new album for new label Scotti Brothers, which landed in stores nearly a year later. Gravity was, like "America," written entirely by Dan Hartman (who also produced) and Charlie Midnight and featured both funk rock numbers ("Gravity," "Goliath") and even the odd ballad ("How Do You Stop"). This reissue program, put out on CD by Big Break Records in 2012, nearly doubles the length of the album with remixes and more, including three bonus versions of "America."
Glenn Gregory & Claudia Brücken, When Your Heart Runs Out of Time (ZTT) (iTunes / Amazon)
The latest ZTT 40th anniversary digital release focuses on the one off collaboration between Glenn Gregory of Heaven 17 and Claudia Brücken of Propaganda. Written and performed for the soundtrack to Nicholas Roeg's alternate-history film Insignificance, this EP includes at least two mixes of the track (some tracks appear to be excluded in certain regions) as well as a score piece by composer Stanley Myers.
Mya, Mya (Deluxe) (Interscope/UMe) (iTunes / Amazon)
Late into her teens when her debut was released 25 years ago this month, Mya combined smooth R&B with a hip-hop edge on hits like the Top 10 pop crossover "It's All About Me," featuring a guest appearance from Dru Hill singer Sisqó - the first of a few Top 10s she'd enjoy in the late '90s and early '00s. This anniversary edition includes six bonus remixes.
Philip Steir feat. Steppenwolf, Magic Carpet Ride (Steir's Mix) (UMe) (iTunes / Amazon)
Yes, it's a modern remix of a classic rock track to boost sync licenses - but it's not new, having been commissioned for the 1999 crime comedy Go and later appearing in ads for Dodge and Skechers.
Mae West, The Fabulous Mae West (Decca) (iTunes / Amazon)
No stranger to stage and screen (or even the recording booth) in the '30s, '40s and beyond, this 1956 collection of recorded standards with Milt Gabler served as the sultry starlet's first long-player after years of singles and shellacs. Features standards like "All of Me," "Frankie and Johnny" and "I'm in the Mood for Love."
The Lennon Sisters, Pop Country (Mercury) (iTunes / Amazon)
Kathy, Janet, Peggy, and Dianne Lennon - a.k.a. The Lennon Sisters - rose to fame as part of the Lawrence Welk Show family. These sweethearts of song captured hearts everywhere with their silken, smooth vocal harmonies on albums for labels including Brunswick, Coral, Dot, Ranwood, and Mercury. 1969's Pop Country followed the previous year's The Lennon Sisters Today!! and like that album was produced and arranged by the estimable team of Snuff Garrett and Al Capps, respectively. Much as the Sisters had injected vivacity into such contemporary top 40 fare as "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "Different Drum," and "What the World Needs Now Is Love" on Today!!, they turned their attention on Pop Country to modern tunes from Music City's best writers including Willie Nelson ("Funny How Time Slips Away"), Bill Anderson ("Still," "Tips of My Fingers," "When Two Worlds Collide"), and Bill and Dottie West ("Here Comes My Baby Back Again"). The sweet and delightful Pop Country has never been on CD anywhere in the world, making this digital debut all the more welcome.
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