Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up, featuring a selection of the many titles available today in the final "big week" of the holiday release season. We are an Amazon affiliate and earn on qualifying purchases.
We're kicking things off with our two Christmas releases from Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music! While Amazon's orders are unfortunately delayed, both of these titles are shipping now from Real Gone's webstore!
Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops' The Ultimate Pops Christmas Party! lives up to its title with 2 CDs and 35 tracks of yuletide cheer in the grand and lavish Boston Pops fashion. Spanning 1949-1971, The Ultimate Pops Christmas Party! includes two full albums: the original 1959 Pops Christmas Party in RCA's Living Stereo splendor and 1969's new-to-CD Christmastime in Carol and Song. The latter found Fiedler away from Boston and conducting in New York with some very special guests: legendary soprano Leontyne Price and beloved pop duo Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. The Ultimate Pops Christmas Party! premieres the original recording of "Sleigh Ride" on CD as well as numerous festive rarities from various singles and albums over the years including such classics as the Pops' original version of Leroy Anderson's "The Christmas Festival," "The Toy Trumpet" with Al Hirt, and highlights from Babes in Toyland and The Nutcracker Suite. TSD's Joe Marchese provides the new liner notes, and everything has been beautifully remastered by multiple Grammy winner Andreas K. Meyer and Ben Hadley at Swan Studios NYC. In addition, the 24-page booklet designed by John Sellards features original album artwork and previously unpublished photos of Fiedler in a festive mood.
The Great Songs of Christmas: Masterworks Edition brings together 18 lush selections primarily drawn from the original, long out-of-print series of LPs, featuring the most beloved carols of all time as performed by the greatest classical artists of the 20th century. These legends include Leonard Bernstein and The New York Philharmonic, Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, opera greats Richard Tucker, Robert Merrill, and Anna Moffo, cellist-conductor Pablo Casals, and Erich Leinsdorf and The London Symphony Orchestra with The Roger Wagner Chorale. Half of the tracks are new to CD, and most of the rest can be fiendishly tough to find on out-of-print compilations. This volume of The Great Songs of Christmas has been freshly remastered by Mike Milchner at SonicVision, and the deluxe 24-page booklet designed by John Sellards features new, track-by-track liner notes by Joe Marchese and rare photos of the artists.
Bob Dylan, The Complete Budokan 1978 (Columbia/Legacy)
The Bob Dylan camp is re-examining the artist's time in Japan with a brand-new box set showcasing two of the sets from Budokan in full. The Complete Budokan 1978 offers four CDs of Dylan and his band's sets on February 28 and March 1, 1978, with 36 of the 58 tracks released for the first time and everything newly remixed from the original 24-track analog tapes. (In a simple, delightful twist of fate, the remix was done by the sets' original recording engineer, Tomoo Suzuki, supervised by the album's original Japanese product manager, Heckel Sugano.) The luxe 12" x 12" packaging features a 60-page book offering new liner notes by Edna Gundersen, unpublished images of Dylan in Japan and replicas of original posters, flyers, tickets and other vintage paper goods. A double LP, Another Budokan, will be available the same day, offering 16 of the unreleased tracks on vinyl, packaged in a gatefold jacket with an OBI and a four-panel liner notes insert. (An 8LP version of the full box will only be available in Japan.) Read more here, and watch this space for our full review!
Frank Zappa and The Mothers, Over-Nite Sensation: 50th Anniversary Edition (Zappa/UMe)
The first of Frank Zappa's two Gold albums returns for its 50th anniversary in a new deluxe edition in various formats: a 4CD/1Blu-ray super deluxe edition, 2LP and 3LP "highlights" editions, and digital and Dolby Atmos releases. The five-disc (4CD/1Blu-ray Audio) Super Deluxe Edition features a whopping 88 tracks in total, including 57 previously unreleased tracks and mixes. The set also includes the 2012 Over-Nite Sensation album remaster by Bob Ludwig and two previously unreleased live concert recordings from 1973 showcasing the same Mothers line-up that recorded the album: one from Los Angeles' Hollywood Palladium, and another from Detroit's Cobo Hall. The Blu-ray Audio disc contains Over-Nite Sensation as newly remixed into 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos by Karma Auger and Erich Gobel at Studio1LA (the same team responsible for the Dolby Atmos and surround mixes of the recent Waka/Wazoo collection) plus the original 1973 quadraphonic (4.0) surround mix and the 2012 stereo remaster in both 24-bit/192kHz and 24-bit/96kHz. Get the track listing and more here, and stay tuned for a review!
Arthur Baker Presents Dance Masters: John Luongo - The Classic Dance Remixes (Edsel)
The Arthur Baker-presented Dance Masters series follows generous box sets on Shep Pettibone and Baker himself with a new overview of John "T.C." Luongo, who parlayed working in and around the Boston club scene into more than a decade of 12" remix work, first for some of the greatest R&B artists crossing over into disco, and then fusing cutting edge dance sounds to a new generation of MTV-savvy rock acts. The list of cuts given the extended treatment here is formidable, from Dan Hartman's influential "Vertigo/Relight My Fire" and soulful sides by Johnny Mathis, Melba Moore, and Patti LaBelle to takes on Huey Lewis and The News' "I Want a New Drug," Billy Idol's "Eyes Without a Face," ABC's "The Look of Love," Tina Turner's "The Best" and so much more. As with the other volumes in the Dance Masters series, this one has been coordinated and compiled by catalog producer Wayne A. Dickson and Baker (who also writes a foreword to the set's liner notes essay by Alexis Petridis). Luongo offers track-by-track commentary along with rare photos from his personal collection. The 4CD set will feature 43 tracks in total, with a 6LP box set showcasing 36 tracks (some of which are different mixes or songs entirely) and a double vinyl featuring 16. (Amazon U.K. will have limited quantities of the box set editions with a signed print.) Read more here!
Sony Classical unveils the massive follow-up to 2021's The Columbia Legacy. That 120-disc box (the second largest in the label's history) collected the legendary conductor's mono recordings for Columbia Records; this set follows him into the stereo era. The Columbia Stereo Collection (1958-1963) offers a comparatively modest 88 discs - all in new or best recent remasters - of orchestral stereo splendor. Much of the major classical repertoire is included here as well as a number of lesser-known gems, all rendered in the plush, velvety Philadelphia Sound. One more box would likely get up to 1968 when Ormandy left Columbia for RCA (also under the Sony Classical umbrella); hopefully such a set will follow. In the meantime, classical majesty doesn't get much better than this. While Amazon U.S. appears to be out of stock, Amazon U.K. both have the box in stock; online classical specialty stores should also have availability.
Iconoclassic Records brings a long-lost album from E Street Band charter member David Sancious to CD. After playing piano, organ and keys on Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ; The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle; and the title track of Born to Run, Sancious founded Tone with bassist Gerry Carboy and another former E Streeter, drummer Ernest "Boom" Carter. Fans expecting the Jersey Shore sound were in for a surprise: Tone were influenced by prog and jazz fusion, and Dance of the Age of Enlightenment - a four-movement ballet - was no different. The album was awash in painstakingly overdubbed keyboards and synths and featured vocals from Mahavishnu Orchestra/Return to Forever singer Gayle Moran and another vocalist on the shore scene named Patti Scialfa (who would later marry Springsteen). Despite its artistic merits, Sancious' label Arista projected little commercial fortunes, and the album was shelved after a rare promotional issue squeaked out. That all changes with this CD premiere, newly remastered from the original tapes by Sancious himself. (He's also penned liner notes for the package, which features John Sellards' restoration of the original album artwork.) Fans of '70s prog and fusion will find this one irresistible. Get more details here!
Klark Kent: Deluxe Edition (BMG)
From the twisted minds of one of rock's most celebrated drummers came a burst of tongue-in-cheek post-punk by Klark Kent, a mysterious presence who made a brief cameo on the U.K. pop charts. Now, Stewart Copeland's Klark Kent album - out of print for over 25 years - gets a generously expanded double-CD reissue next month with 14 previously unreleased bonus tracks. The 18-track expanded album will be complemented by a bonus CD of Copeland's Kent demos, released here for the very first time. A double vinyl edition will include the contents of the first disc. Read all about it here!
At long last, the Grammy-winning, Platinum-selling Original Broadway Cast Recording of 2005's Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys, the musical celebration of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, comes to vinyl. The recording was produced by original Season, composer-producer Bob Gaudio, and stars John Lloyd Young, Daniel Reichard, Christian Hoff, and J. Robert Spencer as the original quartet of Valli, Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi, respectively. In addition to a standard release, Barnes and Noble will be offering the album on red vinyl.
Following the March release of The Journey - Part I, BMG returns to The Kinks' catalogue for another 2CD or 2LP entry in the series. Ray Davies, Dave Davies, and Mick Avory have curated Part 2, which is arranged as a series of thematic suites rather than in chronological order. Drawing on single A- and B-sides and album tracks alike, the second part of The Journey also premieres six new mixes by Ray Davies: "Artificial Man," "Money Talks," and "Where Are They Now?" plus three previously unreleased live tracks recorded at England's New Victoria Theatre in 1975 ("Everybody's a Star," "Slum Kids," "(A) Face in the Crowd"). The set boasts numerous hits ("Lola," "A Well Respected Man," "Sunny Afternoon," "Dedicated Follower of Fashion") and draws on the albums Face To Face, The Kink Kontroversy, Something Else, The Village Green Preservation Society, Lola Versus Powerman and The Moneygoround, Muswell Hillbillies, Everybody's In Show-Biz, Preservation Acts 1 & 2, and A Soap Opera. Kevin Gray has remastered all audio under the supervision of Andrew Sandoval. An HD digital version will also be available in addition to the standard 2CD, 2LP, and digital issues.
Jewel, Spirit: 25th Anniversary Edition (Craft Recordings)
The 25th anniversary edition of Jewel's sophomore outing Spirit features the original album - including the Top 10 hit "Hands" - plus a raft of bonus material appended to the first disc and spilling over into the second. Extras include original single mixes, rare live B-sides and eight unreleased demos and outtakes. The original album will also be released on double vinyl on the same day.
MCA/UMe marks the 45th anniversary of Olivia Newton-John's Totally Hot by returning the Platinum-certified LP to CD, vinyl (black and exclusive red), and digital formats. Produced by John Farrar, the album features the hits "A Little More Love" and "Deeper Than the Night" as well as covers of The Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'" and Eric Carmen's "Boats Against the Current."
Josh Groban, currently packing houses as Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at Broadway's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, is looking back to his 6x Platinum sophomore album, 2003's Closer, for a new 2CD or 2LP anniversary reissue. Like his self-titled debut, Closer featured songs in English as well as other languages: in this case, Italian, Spanish, and French. It yielded an AC No. 1 with the David Foster production of Rolf Lovland and Brendan Graham's "You Raise Me Up" (which also made the Hot 100) and topped the Billboard 200 in its ninth week of release. Foster was joined by a host of other producers including Walter Afanasieff, Jochem van der Saag, and Eric Mouquet. The 20th anniversary deluxe edition of the pop-classical triumph - reportedly the best-selling classical album of the 2000s - adds six bonus tracks including four songs originally included as bonus tracks on various editions ("She's Out of My Life," "Mi Morena," "You're the Only Place," and "My December") and two previously unreleased cuts (an extended mix of "You Raise Me Up" and the vocal/piano version of "Broken Vow" featuring Foster on piano). It's out on 2 CDs or digitally as well as a limited edition 2LP set pressed on orange vinyl.
Mark Farner, Rock 'n Roll Soul 1989 (Liberation Hall)
Ex-Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner delivers this energetic live set (recorded at Carson, California's Woodstock: 20 Years Later festival in 1989, during Farner's second hiatus from the band he co-founded) on both CD, DVD and digital formats; vinyl follows on December 15. He was supported at the concert by Arnie Vilches on guitar, Lawrence Buckner on bass, Mike Blair on keyboards, and Mike Maple on drums for a set featuring many Grand Funk staples including "Heartbreaker," "Footstompin' Music," "The Loco-Motion," "Some Kind of Wonderful," and the title track "Rock 'n Roll Soul." Randy Perry has remastered the CD audio and Farner has provided new liner notes.
Milli Vanilli, The Best of Milli Vanilli: 35th Anniversary (Arista/Legacy)
One of pop music's most notorious strange-but-true tales has been memorialized in a gripping new documentary - and there's a new compilation to go with it, too. The Best of Milli Vanilli (35th Anniversary) offers 14 tracks (and three remixes) from the infamous European duo, who shot to international acclaim with a slate of classic pop tunes and crashed back to earth when it turned out that neither member sang a note on the records. It's not the first time the duo have been immortalized on a CD compilation: there was a 2006 disc, Greatest Hits, released in Europe, and a budget compilation issued by Sony Music in Europe in 2013 and even in America two years later. But this is, for all intents and purposes, one of the more "official" audio retellings of that story. You'll find more details here!
Thin Lizzy, Vagabonds of the Western World: 50th Anniversary Edition (Island/Universal U.K.)
2LP (Purple Vinyl): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
4LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
3CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
1BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Thin Lizzy's campaign celebrating 50 years of Vagabonds of the Western World kicks off today with 2LP and 4LP vinyl editions. The 2LP version has the original album plus a selection of live bonus tracks from the 4LP edition. Next Friday, November 24, a Blu-ray will arrive with Dolby Atmos and 5.1 surround mixes, and on December 15, the 3CD box (equivalent to the 4LP set, with studio bonuses in addition to the live cuts) hits stores.
Earlier this year, Columbia and Legacy released a 10th anniversary expanded edition of Daft Punk's critically and commercially successful swansong, the Grammy-winning, Double Platinum Album of the Year Random Access Memories. Now the album which merged contemporary and classic disco sensibilities, and boasted an array of guests including Paul Williams, Nile Rodgers, Julian Casablancas, Pharrell Williams, Todd Edwards, and Panda Bear, is back - again! - in a Drumless Edition. This new, stripped-down release removes all of the drums and percussion from the album's mix, in effect reinventing the dance-oriented album by concentrating on its compositions and arrangements. The Drumless Edition will arrive on CD, 2 LPs, digitally, and in Dolby Atmos spatial audio, as well.
JSP Records celebrates the legacy of Judy Garland with another top-notch archival find. The Two-a-Day Is Back in Town, preserving the closing night of the superstar's 19-week run at New York's storied Palace Theatre (a vaudeville mecca that went "legit" in 1966 with the opening of Sweet Charity; Judy returned for a final engagement there in 1967) on February 24, 1952, has been beautifully restored from a new transfer of original transcription discs and other sources by audio engineer John H. Haley. This complete recording of the evening features such classics as "Get Happy," "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody," "A Couple of Swells," and "Over the Rainbow." Liner notes author Lawrence Schulman has also recently penned two illuminating tomes reflecting on the entertainer's life and career. Both Volume 1 and Volume 2 of Garland: That's Beyond Entertainment - Reflections on Judy Garland are available now at Amazon.com for those seeking a deeper dive into Garland's artistry.
Windstar reissues John Denver's final recordings from 1996 in which the late troubadour re-recorded his classic hits including "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Leavin' on a Jet Plane," "Rocky Mountain High," and "Sunshine on My Shoulders." Adorned with new cover art, the session will be released on CD, LP, and digitally.
Music on CD returns Blue Angel, the 1980 self-titled album from the band fronted by a pre-fame Cyndi Lauper, to print. After spending the '70s in cover bands and dive bars that strained her vocal cords and required coaching to regain her instrument, Lauper finally seemed poised for success when she met keyboardist/saxophonist John Turi and formed Blue Angel. (Guitarist Arthur Nelson, bassist Lee Brovitz and drummer Johnny Morelli rounded out the line-up.) The group blended a punk/New Wave style with the bright pop styles of the '60s, and those styles were fused to perfection with the help of producer Roy Halee, known for his work with Simon & Garfunkel. Yet Blue Angel failed to find an audience when Polydor issued it. A subsequent legal battle with then-manager Steve Massarsky (who'd previously managed The Allman Brothers Band) sent Lauper into bankruptcy; she struggled through menial jobs trying to pick up the pieces, while pursuing the solo career which finally took off in 1983 with the electrifying She's So Unusual. Read more here.
Dolly Parton, Rockstar (Butterfly/Big Machine)
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
4LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Target-Exclusive 4LP: Target.com
VMP-Exclusive 4LP: Vinylmeplease.com
Indie-Exclusive 4LP: RoughTrade.com
HSN-Exclusive 2CD with 3 bonus tracks: HSN.com
Vols Edition with 1 bonus track: Dolly Parton Store
Dolly Parton has unveiled the rock album she promised us...and it's no small affair! Rockstar, a whopping 2-CD or 4-LP collection with 30 songs, welcomes Sting, Lizzo, Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, Simon Le Bon, Steven Tyler, Stevie Nicks, Miley Cyrus, Steve Perry, John Fogerty, Peter Frampton, Joan Jett, Michael McDonald, and many more...oh yeah, and Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, too. Featuring nine original songs and 21 covers of classic rock anthems, the album will be available in CD, LP, and digital formats. Target has an exclusive gold LP edition while Vinyl Me, Please will carry the title on white vinyl with an alternate cover. The U.K. has a pink vinyl variant with another different cover. There's still more: independent record stores including Rough Trade will carry an opaque "deep purple" LP with an alternate cover. HSN and Vols have exclusive editions with bonus audio. All formats are available now for pre-order at the links below. The lead track "World on Fire" featuring Richie Sambora hits digital services this Thursday, May 11. Various bundles and a pink vinyl variant are available at Dolly's official store. Read more here.