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 New Age to New Wave to creepy sound effects, children of famous songwriters and a whole lot more, there's a lot to enjoy.
The 40th anniversary vinyl box of The Lexicon of Love is finally available - but if you just wanted to hear Steven Wilson's new stereo and instrumental remixes, you're in luck! They're available to hear digitally on their own.
While De La Soul getting their catalog available physically and digitally was a nice, bittersweet moment, it's equally nice to see them go the extra mile and start putting some non-LP content out there, too. A 12" remix of 3 Feet High and Rising cut "Buddy," featuring guest verses from Queen Latifah, the Jungle Brothers, Monie Love and future A Tribe Called Quest members Q-Tip and the late Phife Dawg, is now available as a digital single, backed by two cuts from the album.
Founded by acoustic guitarist William Ackerman in 1975, the Windham Hill label was one of a kind, releasing a melange of jazz, folk, and classical-inspired music - often acoustic, frequently instrumental, and always mellow - that became its own genre: New Age. In 2006, the label paid tribute to itself with this soft-focus collection, split into acoustic and electric halves. While the vagaries of licensing have removed three tracks from the running order (including one from George Winston, whose December was the label's most popular release), you'll hear sounds from Jim Brickman, Tuck & Patti, Alex De Grassi, Mark Isham, and even Ackerman himself.
Also released today is a digital collection dedicated to one of Windham Hill's most enduring artists: jazz pianist Liz Story, who recorded for the label for over two decades beginning in 1983. The set, which features an unreleased live version of her song "Unaccountable Effect," is also the first step in an incredible comeback after years of hardship, including the loss of her husband in an accident and putting her career on pause first to care for her dying parents and then to undergo surgery for bilateral subdural hematomas in her brain that rendered her unable to play her instrument. (The surgery apparently went well: she's performing at Carnegie Hall in November. Keep an eye on The Second Disc for more about this story in the future.)
Pulp's digital EP reissues move into the period surrounding the group's 1998 album This is Hardcore. Lead singer "Help the Aged," a sarcastic musing on Jarvis Cocker's journey through adulthood, was the lead single from that album and is somewhat infamous within the band's history for being so disliked by guitarist Russell Senior that he attempted to sabotage the sessions and quit shortly thereafter.
Chuck Mangione, Save Tonight for Me / Eyes of the Veiled Tempress (Columbia)
In 1988, jazz flugelhornist Chuck Mangione ("Feels Go Good") teamed with Philly soul maestro Thom Bell for a one-off album collaboration, Eyes of the Veiled Temptress. Its seven (mostly instrumental) songs encompassed new compositions from Mangione as well as his co-producer/arranger Bell, writing both with the LeRoy Bell/Casey James team and the late Linda Creed. Medeski Martin & Wood's Billy Martin played percussion at the Sigma Sound sessions, while Bell and Casey James jumped in on keyboards and synths. The smooth jazz-pop sound is a far cry from the lush orchestral stylings for which Bell is best-known, but the composer-producer's ever-melodic sensibility was beautifully captured in Mangione's leads. (Bell had a longtime affinity for the flugelhorn, also a favorite instrument of one of Bell's "leaders," Burt Bacharach.) Too bad the extended and edited versions of lead single "Long Hair Soulful" weren't included here. For more Mangione, Legacy has also brought 1986's Save Tonight for Me to digital platforms today. For more Bell, check out TSD and Real Gone Music's brand-new 2CD collection from The Spinners, The Complete Atlantic Singles: The Thom Bell Productions 1972-1979.
"The Sound Effects Department of the Walt Disney Studio has been collecting all kinds of noises since 1927. The first sound film which Walt Disney made and the first sound cartoon made by anyone was Steamboat Willie starring a little mouse named Mickey. This picture, like every other one Walt Disney has made, whether short subject or feature, animated cartoon or live action, contained many sound effects. Drawing upon this enormous library of sound, Disneyland Records has produced this LP." So went the introduction to 1964's Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House, one of the most unusual yet most beloved Disneyland albums. Its gallery of spooky sound effects was later used on 1969's The Story and Song from The Haunted Mansion (a tie-in to the Disneyland attraction which, in turn, inspired the film romp currently playing in theatres), and then, in 1979, the label decided to give the album an even more substantial sprucing up. The result was identically-titled but otherwise almost entirely different. These Chilling, Thrilling Sounds - with one side of the original LP dedicated to Frightening Situations and one side to Eerie Sound Effects - debut this weekend on digital platforms even as a vinyl reissue has hit independent record stores as part of the RSD Essentials line. "This album will scare your socks off. Parental guidance suggested," read a warning on the 1979 album. When hinges creak in doorless chambers, and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls....whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still -- that is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight. Welcome, foolish mortals!
John Powell's score to the Star Wars spinoff may be one of the best of its kind, in part because series composer John Williams (who composed music for the proper "sequel" trilogy after Disney purchased Lucasfilm) offered a newly-recorded theme for the swashbuckling smuggler. This deluxe edition, issued digitally and on vinyl in 2020 and believed to be in the works from Intrada for a CD release, was recently updated to include Williams' concert arrangement of that theme, "The Adventures of Han," as heard on the original shortened soundtrack album.
Zang Tuum Tumb briefly met up with second-generation would-be pop royalty in 1994, issuing one single by Tara Newley, the daughter of famed British songwriter Anthony Newley and future Dynasty actress Joan Collins. Afterward, she embarked on forays into British journalism, visual media production and even poetry - but her sole proper appearance as a frontline musician - featuring remixes by Gregg Jackman and Apollo 440 - is now available wider than it's ever been.