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. From Prince's vault to a classic Talking Heads live performance and rarities from Doris Day and Duke Ellington, you've got plenty to choose from today!
Prince, All a Share Together Now / 7 (E Flat Version) (NPG)
It's been nearly two years since the Prince estate released any music from the late icon's storied vault. In that time, the estate's affairs changed hands and a seemingly-planned expansion of Diamonds & Pearls failed to materialize. (Here's an insanely thorough blow-by-blow.) The clouds finally lifted when two tracks were given to attendees of the latest Celebration at Paisley Park (albeit on a USB drive encoded at a fairly low bit rate to bamboozle bootleggers); those two tracks - a sprightly 2006 jam and an alternate take of the 1992 Top 10 hit "7" - are now available for general consumption, with an announcement on more unreleased music promised next month.
Ahead of next month's expanded vinyl and digital reissue of the legendary Stop Making Sense (slated for a remastered theatrical reissue at some point this year), one of the two unreleased tracks - included on the original VHS/laserdisc release of the concert film but relegated to the extras on DVD and Blu-ray - is now available, on its own and newly remastered.
You can make a case for Pulp's U.K. No. 2 "Common People" as one of the best tracks that Britpop or the '90s in general had to offer: an acidic but catchy send-up of the rich making cultural chic out of working class values. As part of the band's ongoing digital EP deliveries, "Common People" now features on an EP with the original album and radio edits of the track, B-side "Underwear" and three acoustic cuts, all taken from two CD singles but included here as one.
The fifth Counting Crows album, released in 2008, was an ambitious affair split between rock and country songs and featuring production from a team of heavyweights including Gil Norton (who helmed the group's lauded Recovering the Satellites) and Brian Deck (who produced Modest Mouse's The Moon and Antarctica). While it was long available to stream, it's been redelivered on several digital services with a U.K. bonus track, "Baby, I'm a Big Star Now." The track recently gained some notice when it, like R.E.M.'s "Strange Currencies," was licensed in the second season of FX's acclaimed series The Bear.
Legacy has released the second volume of a series which will eventually bring every one of Doris Day's Columbia singles to the digital realm. Volume 2 picks up where its predecessor left off in 1948 and continues into the next year, for a total of 43 songs and over two hours of music from the late superstar. The collection boasts such hit records as "Powder Your Face with Sunshine" with Buddy Clark (No. 16), "Again" (No. 2), "Let's Take an Old-Fashioned Walk" with Frank Sinatra (No. 17, and also featured in an alternate version), "(Where Are You) Now That I Need You" (No. 20) and "Canadian Capers (Cuttin' Capers)" (No. 15) as well as Doris' renditions of timeless standards including "That Old Feeling," "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered," "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," and "Sometimes I'm Happy." Appropriately for Christmas in July, the yuletide sides "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Ol' St. Nicholas" are also part of this essential set.
Duke Ellington, The Third Sacred Concert (RCA) / Eastbourne Performance (Expanded Edition) (RCA/Legacy)
Having recently begun a series of Duke Ellington's earliest recordings in chronological order, Legacy is also filling in gaps from other eras of the jazz legend's career. The Third Sacred Concert - the last in a series of three performances meant to meld the Cotton Club style with the sounds of a cathedral - and Eastbourne Performance were all recorded in the last months of his life, but showcase how capable he still was of delivering the goods to a rapt audience.
Even by the typical boundary-pushing standards of Zang Tuum Tumb, Andrew Poppy was a real outlier: a pianist and composer who'd gained acclaim in the neoclassical music world as member of The Lost Jockey, a collective whose style called to mind Phillip Glass or Steve Reich. "32 Frames for Orchestra," provided here in a number of edits and mixes, was the single from his first of two LPs for ZTT, The Beating of Wings.