Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up, featuring a selection of the new titles in stores today!
Carole King, Home Again: Live in Central Park (Ode/Legacy)
Coinciding with the documentary/concert film of the same name, Carole King's Home Again: Live in Central Park captures her concert - the first-ever free concert at New York City's Great Lawn - in front of a reported 100,000 people. King opened the show with a solo set at the piano before welcoming her 11-piece band onstage. The selections encompassed half of Tapestry ("Beautiful," "Way Over Yonder," "Home Again," "Smackwater Jack," "It's Too Late," "You've Got a Friend") plus already-beloved tunes from its follow-ups, Music ("Sweet Seasons") and Rhymes and Reasons ("Been to Canaan"), and an only slightly abbreviated version of the entire Fantasy album, played in sequence. Already available digitally; out today on CD and as a wide-release 2-LP set. A DVD of the concert is also in stores today.
Just in time for his triumphant return to the Radio City Music Hall stage and in anticipation of the fall opening of his Broadway musical Harmony, Music on Vinyl revisits Barry Manilow's debut album in its original 1973 mix featuring versions of "Could It Be Magic," "Sweet Life," "One of These Days," and "Oh My Lady" not heard since that first pressing. The reissue is limited and numbered, and pressed on gold vinyl. A numbered red vinyl pressing of Manilow's third album, 1975's Tryin' to Get the Feeling, will follow on July 7. Read more here.
Steely Dan, Countdown to Ecstasy (Geffen/UMe)
Following the recent release of Steely Dan's debut album Can't Buy a Thrill in vinyl, audiophile vinyl, and hybrid stereo SACD formats, the jazz-rock heroes' second set will be receiving the same treatment. 1973's Countdown to Ecstasy will be reissued by Geffen/UMe on 180-gram black vinyl as remastered from the original tapes by Bernie Grundman at 33-1/3 RPM. A 200-gram, 45 RPM version on Ultra High-Quality Vinyl (UHQR) is already shipping from Acoustic Sounds with the SACD (playable on all CD players) to follow. All formats have been overseen by Donald Fagen. Read more here.
1961's Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane was recorded in 1957 but not issued until Trane (already a veteran of Davis' and Dizzy Gillespie's bands) had become a jazz superstar in his own right. The album was recorded not long after pianist Monk, already a titan of the jazz genre, and Coltrane began a summer residency at New York's Five Spot Café. Now, it returns as one of the first titles in the relaunched Original Jazz Classics series. The album has been pressed on 180-gram vinyl, cut from the original master tapes in an all-analog (AAA) chain by Kevin Gray at Cohearant Audio. it will also be reissued digitally in 192/24 HD Audio. Read more about both OJC titles here.
Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells: 50th Anniversary Edition (Virgin/EMI)
Mike Oldfield was just 19 years old when he recorded Tubular Bells, the 1973 album consisting of just two long, primarily instrumental tracks for which he played almost all of the instruments himself. The debut album on Richard Branson's fledgling Virgin Records label, Tubular gradually found its audience. When its opening theme was used in director William Friedkin's horror film The Exorcist, sales skyrocketed. Beginning in March 1974, the LP remained in the top ten of the U.K. Albums Chart for a year, including a one-week stay at No. 1. It reached the top in Canada and Australia, too, and peaked at No. 3 in the United States. It has since sold an estimated 15 million copies worldwide, and has received numerous reissues, remasters, remixes, and sequels. Today, the Grammy-winning Tubular Bells returns as a 2-LP set to mark its 50th anniversary, containing a half-speed mastered version of the original album and five bonus tracks. The CD version has the new mastering of the album plus three of the five bonus cuts. Read more here.
Ace releases the first volume of a new series compiled by Richard Hawley, bringing together many of his favorite singles. This inaugural edition includes tracks by The Troggs, Bobby Darin, Link Wray, Bobbie Gentry, Sanford Clark, and the young Jimi Hendrix with Curtis Knight and the Squires - the first time the Hendrix estate has consented to a license request for the track. Out today in the U.K. and next Friday in North America.
Igor Stravinsky's longtime assistant conductor Robert Craft (1923-2015) would have celebrated his 100th birthday on October 20, 2023. On the occasion, Sony Classical has collected his complete albums for Columbia Records on 44 CDs, with 68 works appearing in the format for the first time. This box has been produced in association with the Robert Craft/Igor Stravinsky Foundation.
Art-rock duo Sparks, recently the subject of a documentary from director Edgar Wright, return with a new album featuring such songs as "Veronica Lake," "The Mona Lisa's Packing, Leaving Late Tonight," and "Gee, That Was Fun." Available on CD, LP, and digitally.