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. This week, ABC and Steven Wilson shoot a "Poison Arrow" our way, plus rare albums from Bobby Darin, Pat Boone and others - including a lost '60s soul-pop classic you don't want to miss!
Ahead of the new 40th anniversary vinyl box set of ABC's debut The Lexicon of Love, Universal has put out its first of several related digital products: an EP related to the single "Poison Arrow." This isn't a collection of remixes or B-sides, however; it's the track three ways. You get both the new stereo and instrumental mix by Steven Wilson, as well as the live version from the box set itself.
Bobby Darin, The Shadow of Your Smile / In a Broadway Bag / If I Were a Carpenter / Inside Out / Sings Doctor Dolittle (Direction)
As first revealed last month, Bobby Darin's own Direction Records label has been reactivated. Its slate of releases kicks off this weekend with the digital premiere of five mid-'60s albums recorded by Bobby for Atlantic Records. While all five albums have been previously available on CD, these digital editions mark the albums' first appearance on download/streaming services. All five albums are heard in their original sequences, with no bonus material, and are highly recommended - you especially can't go wrong with the delights of In a Broadway Bag (featuring Darin's brash, showstopping "Don't Rain on My Parade") and Sings Doctor Dolittle (on which he invested Leslie Bricusse's "After Today," "At the Crossroads," and "When I Look in Your Eyes" with deep emotion). Those who prefer Bobby in a folk-rock bag will savor If I Were a Carpenter and Inside Out, while The Shadow of Your Smile is an enjoyably mixed bag of contemporary movie tunes and classic standards.
As a songwriter, Lori Burton had her compositions covered by Patti LaBelle and The Bluebelles ("All or Nothing"), The Rascals ("Baby, Let's Wait," "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore"), Mitch Ryder ("I Need Loving You"), The O'Jays ("It Won't Hurt"), Lulu ("Try to Understand"), and Gene Pitney ("Never Had No Toys"). She and her frequent co-writer Pam Sawyer - who'd go on to cement her status as a Motown legend as co-writer of "If I Were Your Woman," "Love Child," "Love Hangover," and "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)" - teamed in 1966 as The Whyte Boots for "Nightmare," a, well, nightmarish "death disc" that's the best Shangri-Las record that girl group never made! Burton's lone long-player, 1967's Mercury release Breakout!, has just been splendidly remastered for its digital premiere. (Rev-Ola released it on CD in 2005.) Breakout! is one of those beguiling albums that could only have come out of the 1960s. Imagine putting Cher, Sandie Shaw, and Evie Sands in a blender, and you've got a slight hint of what to expect here. Written and produced by Sawyer and Burton, Breakout! showcases Lori's husky, breathless voice against a backdrop of dense orchestrations and background voices. Even the ballads here are seemingly on the edge of desperation. In addition to the deliriously gonzo "Nightmare," the LP also includes the driving, Motown-esque "Gotta Make You Love Me," dramatic "The Hurt Won't Go Away," and insistent "There is No Way (to Stop Lovin' You)." Blue-eyed soul meets pop and New York rock-and-roll on this lost gem.
Another two years of Duke Ellington's complete recordings is standardized in a two and a half hour collection.
Pulp's double A-side follow-up to "Common People" - another U.K. No. 2 hit, which here includes a live version and two remixes of said track from a promo 12" - is the latest Pulp single to get delivered digitally.
Pat Boone, Pat Boone (Expanded Edition) / Howdy! (Expanded Edition) / Pat (Expanded Edition) / Sings Songs from Friendly Persuation (Expanded Edition) / The Touch of Your Lips / The Golden Age of Country Hits / Christmas is A Comin' (Dot/UMe)
More digital debuts (and a few expansions) from one of the biggest crooners of the '50s. Included here are expanded reissues of his first three albums for Dot Records and more!
Leo Kottke, Mudlark / Greenhouse / Ice Water / Dreams and All That Stuff (Capitol)
The first four albums the celebrated acoustic folk guitarist recorded for Capitol between 1971 and 1974 were most listeners' earliest exposure to his unique style. Now they're here to stream and download.
The only proper single from the pioneering dance-rock band is the latest in ZTT's digital Definition Series, featuring five versions of the 1986 single from 7" and 12" singles (plus the video mix) and rare CD single B-side "Wooba Wubaa."
Neither the sequel to legendary blaxploitation flick Super Fly nor its soundtrack - done by British-Caribbean rock band Osibisa instead of Curtis Mayfield - is quite as memorable as the original. But that doesn't mean it should be forgotten! A curio of Black rock music from an international group who enjoyed several charting albums in the U.S. up to that point, it can finally be heard digitally some 50 years later.