Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up, featuring a selection of the new titles available today.
Disco Heat: The Fantasy Years 1977-1981 celebrates the late disco/dance music pioneer with 26 tracks on two CDs drawn from all six of his albums for the label, as well as the rare 12-inch Disco Versions that kept the dancefloors burning. In addition to crossover smashes including "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" and "Dance (Disco Heat)," the collection offers an array of remarkable covers. Every one of Sylvester's charting songs for Fantasy is represented here. Featuring the production of Motown veteran Harvey Fuqua and the vocals of Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes Armstead (a,k.a. Two Tons o'Fun and later known as The Weather Girls) as well as groundbreaking synth work from Patrick Cowley, Disco Heat traces Sylvester's Fantasy career with an emphasis on the bold dance music he made, underscoring the significance of black and gay artists to the creation of disco itself. The deluxe 24-page booklet features new liner notes by TSD's Joe Marchese, an introduction by soul historian Sharon Davis, and numerous rare photographs of the artist. Audio has been newly remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision. Read more here.
Working Our Way Back to You: The Ultimate Collection tells the story of Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, Nick Massi and other members of the legendary Four Seasons in deep detail: 44 CDs and one vinyl LP, packed with rare, out-of-print, and unreleased material from the group's entire history. It goes so much deeper than "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man," "Rag Doll," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "Beggin'," "My Eyes Adored You," "Who Loves You," "December 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" and "Grease," to name just 10 songs from the group (and their frontman)'s canon. The box includes all of The Seasons' and Valli's solo albums, released on the Vee Jay, Philips, Motown, Private Stock, Warner Bros., MCA, Curb, and Rhino labels between 1962 and 2017. Mono and stereo mixes have been preserved - including the first-ever mono release of the 1969 cult classic The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette (available on CD and vinyl) - along with single sides, demos, alternate mixes and other rarities. A few of the discs are completely unreleased, including a group of long-coveted mid-'70s Seasons sessions for Motown Records, a lost late '70s disco album and three live sets recorded between 1972 and 1974. Three new compilations of rarities, unreleased tracks and ephemera are also included. (There's even Jersey Babys, a 2008 collection of recordings of Seasons material for young listeners, ostensibly inspired by the runaway success of musical Jersey Boys.) It's topped off with a 144-page hardcover book with liner notes by Paul Sexton and interviews by Ken Sharp. Read more here, and watch this space for our full review!
Bob Dylan, Shadow Kingdom (Columbia/Legacy)
Those of you who missed out on Bob Dylan's pandemic-era Shadow Kingdom: you're in luck. The troubadour's concert film event, which was first streamed in stark black-and-white in July 2021, is now available on CD, 2LP, and digital formats for its audio-only premiere. Shadow Kingdom, the film, will be available for digital download and rental beginning Tuesday, June 6. The setlist concentrates on Dylan's '60s era (with a few exceptions) and features stark, often intense reinventions of such classic songs as "Queen Jane Approximately," "Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)," "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues," "To Be Alone with You," "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." Read more here.
Kenny Rogers, Life Is Like a Song (UMe)
Kenny Rogers' first posthumous studio release, Life Is Like a Song is built around eight never-before-heard recordings spanning 2008-2011 and two rarities. Among the selections, the superstar brought his familiar, distinctive, and lived-in vocals to Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" and The Temptations' "I Wish I Would Rain" (both of which feature new instrumentation from producers Kyle Lehning and Viktor Krauss) and to a perhaps more unexpected cover of "I Will Wait for You," the Academy Award-nominated tune by Michel Legrand, Jacques Demy, and American lyricist Norman Gimbel from director Demy's film musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. He sings old friend Kim Carnes' "Love Is a Drug" and revisits Larry Keith and Jim Hurt's "Am I Too Late." Australian country singer Jamie O'Neal appears on the new duet "Straight Into Love." The most high-profile collaborator on the set is Rogers' longtime friend Dolly Parton, on a remix of "Tell Me That You Love Me," which was first issued on the 2009 Time Life box set The First 50 Years. The poignant, Lionel Richie-penned "Goodbye" (also helmed by Brown) hailed from that same box; it was reissued as a digital single following Rogers' 2020 death and also gets a reprise on this new album. Two additional tracks will be available only on the Target-exclusive CD and digital edition: a cover of Mack Gordon and Harry Warren's "At Last" (a No. 2 hit for Glenn Miller in 1942 that's perhaps best known today in Etta James' bluesy 1960 reinvention) and Buddy Hyatt's original song "Say Hello to Heaven." Get more details here.
Black Sabbath, Live Evil: 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (Warner/Rhino)
Live Evil, Black Sabbath's 1983 double album that followed new lead singer Ronnie James Dio, guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Vinny Appice as they toured in support of Mob Rules and Heaven and Hell the year before, gets the super deluxe treatment. The 4CD or 4LP sets include the original album newly remastered by Andy Pearce, plus a remix of the same program by longtime band associate Wyn Davies. Both sets will come with a hardcover book including both new liner notes about the album and replicas of the Mob Rules tour program and poster. Read more here.
Norah Jones revisits her fifth studio album, the 2012 Danger Mouse collaboration Little Broken Hearts, gets the 2-CD or 3-LP expanded treatment with 19 bonus tracks (demos, alternate versions, remixes, and a live set).
BMG's Montreux Years series continues with this volume featuring highlights from the good Doctor's performances on the Montreux Jazz Festival stage between 1986 and 2012.
Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings produce Tanya Tucker's first album of new music since 2019. Sweet Western Sound's ten tracks promise to evoke the sound of classic West Coast country-rock. Available on CD, LP, and digitally.
Ben Folds returns with his first album in eight years and his first solo album since 2008. What Matters Most was recorded in Nashville with co-producer Joe Pisapia and includes the lead single "Winslow Gardens." Available on CD, LP, and digital formats.
Rufus Wainwright reinvents folk standards on his new studio album which welcomes guests including Brandi Carlile, Van Dyke Parks, John Legend, Chaka Khan, David Byrne, Martha Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche, and others. Available on CD, LP, and digitally.
Legacy gives a physical release to Roger Waters' 6-song EP recorded during the COVID-19 lockdown, including a new recording of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." Available on CD and LP.
Bob Ezrin helms this live set from The Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, and Tommy Henriksen) featuring guests Duff McKagan, Zak Starkey, and others. Its many familiar songs include "Billion Dollar Babies," "School's Out," "My Generation," "7 and 7 Is," "Brown Sugar," "Whole Lotta Love," and "I'm a Boy." Available on CD/Blu-ray and 2LPs.
The Foo Fighters have pressed on following the death of Taylor Hawkins with this new album which they channel the pain of their bandmate's death into a moving song suite. Available on CD, LP, and digitally.
Reba McEntire, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill, and others are featured on this 16-track collection of '90s country party-starters. Available on CD and "lemon and spring green" 2LP vinyl.