Welcome to The Weekend Stream, a relaxing review of notable digital-only catalogue titles. There may be no CD or vinyl, but there's plenty of great new/old music to float you into the weekend. Our latest round-up brings you deep cuts from Pat Boone, rarities from Nat "King" Cole and a brand-new series diving deep into the works of Duke Ellington.
A century ago this year, pianist Edward Kennedy Ellington played his first gigs as a bandleader; by the end of the decade, he'd be established as one of the premiere purveyors of dance and jazz music in a career that spanned some 50 years. This summer, Legacy Recordings will undertake an ambitious project of streamlining all the primarily single-only material of Ellington's in their vast catalogue, in a series of releases featuring original masters and alternate takes in chronological order. Keep an eye on The Second Disc for more information about this series in the coming months!
The latest in Pulp's summer-long digital EP reissue campaign is a non-album EP from 1994 featuring an edited and remixed version of "Babies," a single from two years prior, and three outtakes from the His N' Hers sessions.
The Offspring, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace (15th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (Round Hill/UMe) (iTunes)
Just released on vinyl with a bonus 7" of live tracks for its 15th anniversary, punk outfit The Offspring's last Top 10 pop album, featuring the minor hit "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid," is digitally available with those bonus cuts as well.
Welsh singer Donna Lewis' "I Love You Always Forever" was an indelible hit of the mid-'90s, peaking at No. 2 for a stunning nine weeks in America (held from the top by Los Del Rio's novelty dance track "Macarena"). Now, it's been recast as a deep house track by Swiss/South African DJ Nora En Pure - part of Rhino's ongoing digital remix series to honor the 75th anniversary of Atlantic Records.
Singer-songwriter Carolyn Franklin - younger sister of Aretha but a talented recording artist in her own right - recorded I'd Rather Be Lonely for RCA in 1973. On her penultimate album for the label, Carolyn wrapped her considerable pipes around her own compositions (including album opener "Boy, I Love You," co-authored with sister Erma and sister-in-law Earline) as well as tunes by David Gates (the Bread hit "Baby I'm-a Want You"), Charles Strouse and Lee Adams (the yearning "I Want to Be with You" from their musical Golden Boy), James Taylor ("Fire and Rain"), and Bill Withers ("Sweet Wanomi"). With production by Motown veteran Wade Marcus, I'd Rather Be Lonely will leave you wanting more from the talented Ms. Franklin.
UMe issues another 14 Nat "King" Cole rarities on this new digital package, the fourth in a series. This volume rounds up various singles and B-sides encompassing standards ("You Are My Sunshine"), novelties ("The First Baseball Game" b/w "Goodnight, Little Leaguer"), and more, all rendered in the velvety Cole style. It's a grab bag for sure, but another worthwhile addition to the late singer's digital catalogue.
Producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown would have done well to proceed with their original idea of a third film based on Peter Benchley's shark novel being made as a comedy. Instead, a different set of producers - plus Joe Alves, production designer of the first two films, making his only film as director; and a script co-written by Richard Matheson and Carl Gottlieb (who co-wrote the screenplays to the first two films as well) - set the next great white terror tantrum in SeaWorld and shot it in 3-D, enjoying a brief if trashy revival in theaters at the time. Alan Parker's first feature film score, incorporating the iconic motif that John Williams wrote for Steven Spielberg's immortal original, may be the best part of the film, and the original soundtrack LP is now available digitally everywhere after only being on iTunes and Apple Music for some time.
Pat Boone, Sings Guess Who? / The Star-Spangled Banner / Tie Me Down Kangaroo Sport / Near You / My 10th Anniversary with Dot Records / Winners of the Reader's Digest Poll / Great Hits of 1965 (Dot/UMG)
Guess Who: iTunes / Amazon
Star-Spangled Banner: iTunes / Amazon
Kangaroo Sport: iTunes / Amazon
Near You: iTunes / Amazon
10th Anniversary: iTunes / Amazon
Reader's Digest: iTunes / Amazon
Great Hits of 1965: iTunes / Amazon
Between 1955 and 1968, Pat Boone was a mainstay of the Dot Records label, during which time he charted a dozen Top 40 albums and over 20 Top 10 singles including the chart-toppers "Ain't That a Shame," "I Almost Lost My Mind," "Don't Forgive Me," "Love Letters in the Sand," "April Love," and "Moody River." As the singer prepares to celebrate his 90th birthday next year, UMe has reissued approximately 800 (!) of Pat's 2,500 or so recordings as part of a massive playlist called "Kaleidoscope." Among the new additions are the contents of these seven albums originally released between 1963 and 1966 on Dot. Sings Guess Who? is Boone's tribute to his friend Elvis Presley; Winners of the Reader's Digest Poll rounds up all-time classic songs from "Tea for Two" to "You'll Never Walk Alone." Boone was in a more contemporary bag on Great Hits of 1965 (with covers of "England Swings," "As Tears Go By," "King of the Road," and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'") and My 10th Anniversary with Dot Records ("The Girl from Ipanema," "Release Me," "Dear Heart," "Pass Me By"). Much of this material hasn't seen reissue in any form, making these digital premieres from Boone's early pop days all the more welcome.
Patti Page, Patti Page / Folk Song Favorites / Romance on the Range (Mercury)
Patti Page's arresting country-pop style made her the bestselling female artist of the 1950s, and the fruits of that labor are restored in part to stream and download! This self-titled album and follow-up Folk Song Favorites were her first-ever long-playing records, and Romance on the Range, released some years later in 1955, rather interestingly features all of the material from Folk Song Favorites and some non-LP material.
Another talented singer/songwriter, Lee Griffth's debut was produced by ZTT co-founder Trevor Horn in the '00s, who also oversaw the material on this debut EP; it's now available to stream as part of the label's ongoing 40th anniversary digital series.
Fourth wave from the Fynsworth Alley catalogue (Concord Theatricals)
Concord has digitally reissued another dozen titles from the shuttered Fynsworth Alley label, including many titles spearheaded by producer Bruce Kimmel of Kritzerland. You can find the full list of titles here, but highlights include a host of Broadway stars singing their favorite Paul Simon tunes on The Paul Simon Songbook; Randy Graff (City of Angels, Mr. Saturday Night) paying homage to jazz and Broadway legend Cy Coleman on Doing Something Right: Randy Graff Sings Cy Coleman; the solo LP Alone Together from actress-singer Linda Purl (Happy Days, The Office); and The Trotter Trio's jazz exploration of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's score to The Fantasticks on the accurately-titled The Fantasticks in Jazz.