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. Two soul legends, a soundtrack from one of Hollywood's greatest composers, and a never-before-heard single from the ZTT vaults are all ready for you to hear!
To commemorate 50 years of Diana Ross' sixth solo album - an anything-goes affair that blended pop, soul and even jazz and country influences - a long out-of-print deluxe edition issued by Hip-o Select in 2007 is now available digitally! In addition to the hit title track and fare like a cover of Charlie Rich's crossover country chart-topper "Behind Closed Doors," highlights include a handful of unreleased cuts from the album sessions as well as an exciting stereo fold-down of the album's Japanese-only quadraphonic mix, featuring extended songs and alternate vocal takes.
Another danceable single from The Godfather of Soul's 1993 outing Universal James makes its way to stream and download. Like many of the others on the album, "Just Do It" was co-written and produced by Jazzie B of Soul II Soul fame. This period of Brown's career is not well-remembered, but the cover art - featuring the soul/funk icon's head pasted over several extreme sports outings - might be enough to grab a listen or two.
Steven Spielberg's final film of the '80s was an oddity in his filmography: a loose remake of A Guy Named Joe in which a daredevil firefighting pilot (Richard Dreyfuss) has to offer spiritual guidance to his lover (Holly Hunter) after he dies in an accident. With co-starring turns from John Goodman and Audrey Hepburn (in her final film role), the film was (perhaps rightly) dinged by critics and audiences as too sentimental, but John Williams was, as he has for nearly every one of the director's films, on hand to craft a thoroughly memorable score. While recently expanded by La-La Land Records in 2021, this digital release offers what was heard on the original soundtrack album, including six pop tracks by the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Lyle Lovett and J.D. Souther, who contributes a cover of the romantic standard "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."
After 1970's celebrated debut Entrance (which was expanded last week), Edgar Winter would form two eponymous groups to showcase his blues keyboard skills: Edgar Winter's White Trash and The Edgar Winter Group (who had an unlikely No. 1 hit with the instrumental stomper "Frankenstein"). While this 1975 album was recorded under his own name, it features the Group's members - guitarist Rick Derringer, bassist Dan Hartman and drummer Chuck Ruff - as well as guest appearances by Edgar's equally adored bluesman brother Johnny on guitar. This digital expanded edition offers three of the album's singles in their original 45 versions, heard in both stereo and mono.
It's the fifth anniversary of the neo-soul singer/guitarist's second album, and to accompany its reissue on vinyl, it's also been redelivered to digital services with an extra track initially only released in Japan.
A lot of practice, a killer repertoire (including Chick Corea's "Windows," James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" and Bach's "Passacaglia in C minor") and a seasoned combo - featuring the likes of Bob James on electric piano, Ron Carter on bass, and drummers Billy Cobham and Freddie Waits - make this live set from the beloved jazz flautist worth a rediscovery.
Connie Smith's sweet contralto was a joy to behold on '60s and '70s country radio. Though her streak of Top 10s on Billboard's C&W charts would cool by the mid-'70s after leaving RCA Victor, she was still placing respectable hits all the way to the end of her tenure with Columbia Records, including "I Don't Wanna Talk It Over," the title track of her final album for the label, and a cover of The Everly Brothers' "So Sad (to Watch Good Love Go Bad)." This expanded digital album features "I'm in the Middle of a Losin' Streak," released on a best-of after Smith departed Columbia's roster.
Precious little is known about how this electronic duo, who recorded one single for ZTT in 1992, came together. But their names are well-known: Claudia Fontaine was a celebrated background singer and member of Afrodiziak (heard on singles by The Specials, Elvis Costello and Howard Jones), while Alan Moulder logged plenty of studio time as a producer, engineer or mixer for acts like My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins, U2, Nine Inch Nails, The Killers and many more. Now, an unissued second single of theirs, featuring four mixes, finds its way to your stereos.