We are more than 35 years into the practice of record labels utilizing compact discs to sell a venerated artist's catalogue while also telling a story through the format's expanded capacity and clarion sound capabilities. The one-two punch of Bob Dylan's Biograph (1985) and Eric Clapton's Crossroads (1988) helped legitimize the idea of the CD box set and put both artists' bodies of work in sharper focus at a time when both of them were, should we say, not as relevant to the cultural
Let There Be Love: SoulMusic Collects, Expands Shirley Murdock's Elektra Albums
As a member of the extended family of funk group Zapp, Shirley Murdock memorably added her vocals to the 1986 hit "Computer Love" (for which she also shares a co-writing credit). Concurrently, Murdock was launching her own solo career at Elektra Records, where she would release three solo LPs through 1991. Now, Cherry Red's SoulMusic Records imprint has revisited and expanded that trio of albums on As We Lay: The Elektra Recordings (1985-1991), a new 3-CD collection that's an essential
Everlasting: Edsel Collects Steve Ellis, Love Affair on "Finchley Boy" Box Set
The voice of Steve Ellis first burst out of radios on The Love Affair's 1967 recording of "Everlasting Love." A chart-topper in the U.K. and a hit throughout Europe, it failed to chart in the U.S. but set Ellis on a path of music-making that continues to this day. Edsel has taken a deep dive into his extensive career for an impressive new box set. Over 10 discs, Finchley Boy chronicles the Steve Ellis story both as a solo artist and with the groups Love Affair, Ellis, and Widowmaker. In
Release Round-Up: Week of May 6
Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up, featuring a selection of the new titles out today including a very special pair from Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music! Melissa Manchester, Live '77 (Second Disc Records/Real Gone Music) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Real Gone Music) Second Disc Records and Real Gone Music proudly present the premiere release of Melissa Manchester's Live '77, recorded by Arista Records in October 1977 at Gainesville, Florida's Great Southern
Vinyl Me, Please Releases Lavish "Story of Philadelphia International Records" Anthology
The legacy of Philadelphia International Records is as mighty as the famous three men most associated with the label: co-founders and songwriter-producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and songwriter-producer-conductor-arranger Thom Bell. The three men didn't do it alone, though; the PIR story involves the dozens of talented artists, musicians, songwriters, producers, and arrangers who passed through the doors of engineer Joe Tarsia's Sigma Sound Studios on North 12th Street in Philadelphia,
A Million Stars: Vinyl Me, Please Teams with Aloha Got Soul for Hawaiian Classics from Mackey Feary Band, Eddie Suzuki and New Hawaii
"Grin, even when you're at your lowest, grin," implores Mackey Feary on the opening track of his 1978 solo album Mackey Feary Band. "You're Young" is all sun and breeze, making it near-impossible to suppress the requested grin. It's languid yet funky, with shimmering guitars, wending saxophone, and sweet female background voices adding to the luster. As a founding member of Kalapana, Feary had been at the vanguard of Hawaiian pop in the 1970s; alongside such artists as Cecilio and Kapono and
Review: Aretha Franklin, "Aretha"
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Otis Redding may have written the song, but Aretha Franklin owned it. The singer was only in her mid-20s when she left Columbia Records after five years and seven albums but she wasted no time in making music history when she signed with Atlantic Records in December 1966. By the middle of 1967, she'd had long-sought-after hits with "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" and "Respect" and was proclaimed The Queen of Soul by a Chicago disk jockey. Some reports indicate the
To Groove You: Cherry Red's Robinsongs Boxes Kleeer's Atlantic Albums
Richard Lee (guitar), Norman Durham (bass), Paul Crutchfield (percussion/keyboards) and Woody Cunningham (lead vocals/drums) united in 1972 as The Choice 4 before evolving into The Jam Band, Pipeline and, under the aegis of Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael, The Universal Robot Band. After flirting with R&B, funk, disco and even straight-ahead rock, the quartet settled as Kleeer and signed to Atlantic Records. Between 1979 and 1985, Kleeer released seven albums on Atlantic, proving worthy
This Is Niecy: Cherry Red, SoulMusic Box Deniece Williams' Complete Columbia Albums on "Free"
Let's hear it for Deniece Williams. Since making her first big splash 45 years ago with debut album This is Niecy, the daughter of Gary, Indiana has scored 27 Billboard R&B hits and 14 Pop successes including two crossover Number Ones, won four Grammy Awards (and amassed another nine nominations), and recorded over fifteen albums blurring the lines between soul, pop, and gospel. Between 1976 and 1988, Williams made Columbia Records her home, both with Maurice White's ARC imprint and with
Bohemian Rhapsodies: A Closer Look at Vinyl Me Please's Reissues of Queen's "A Night at the Opera" and Al Green's "Call Me"
In April, record club Vinyl Me Please announced that it would be restoring some previously out-of-print titles to the catalogue to celebrate 100 releases in the club's Essentials series. (See the list of all ten titles here.) We've given a spin to the re-presses of Queen's A Night at the Opera and Al Green's Call Me. For Queen, too much was never enough. That attitude is perhaps best embodied by the band's fourth album, 1975's A Night at the Opera. While the title was derived from the Marx
A Song for You: Recent Ace Collections Spotlight Songs of Leon Russell, Kris Kristofferson
Ace Records' two most recent entries in its Songwriter Series of collections both spotlight artists who bucked tradition to forge their own paths at the end of the 1960s and the dawn of the 1970s: Leon Russell and Kris Kristofferson. As we wrote upon his passing in 2016 at the age of 74, Leon Russell was an extraordinary talent unlike any other: A true renaissance man and an extraordinary talent as composer, musician, arranger, producer, and artist, The Master of Space and Time led many
The Year In Review: The 2020 Gold Bonus Disc Awards, From A to Z
Happy 2021 and welcome to The Second Disc's 11th Annual Gold Bonus Disc Awards! The past year has presented any number of unprecedented challenges. But music has filled a more important role than ever, providing solace, comfort, and escape in a time unlike any other. With that spirit in mind, The Second Disc once again wishes to recognize 2020's cream of the catalogue music crop - those exemplary reissues and box sets big and small that proved to be truly outstanding for music lovers
Holiday Gift Guide Stax Spotlight: The Staple Singers' "Come Go with Me" and "The Gospel Truth: Complete Singles Collection"
UPDATED DECEMBER 2020: Earlier this year, Craft Recordings released The Staple Singers' Come Go with Me: The Stax Collection in vinyl and digital editions. The set compiled all of the famed gospel group's 1968-1974 albums for the Stax label plus a volume of rarities, non-LP single sides, and live recordings. Now, that box has come to CD as beautifully remastered from the original analog tapes by Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl. Come Go with Me: The Stax Collection features the following
Holiday Gift Guide Spotlight: Cherry Red Box Set Bonanza - Evelyn "Champagne" King, "The RCA Albums 1977-1985"
Perhaps no label this holiday season has offered such a bonanza of box sets as Cherry Red. Today we kick off a three-part feature on five of these sets (any of which just might make the perfect stocking stuffer!) with a Holiday Gift Guide spotlight on Evelyn "Champagne" King's The RCA Albums 1977-1985. Bronx-born, Philadelphia-raised vocalist Evelyn "Champagne" King came from a showbiz family including her uncle Avon Long - perhaps best known as Sportin' Life in multiple productions of Porgy
Holiday Gift Guide Review: Kiki Dee, "The Fontana and Motown Years"
UPDATED DECEMBER 2020: Kiki Dee rocketed to worldwide stardom (no pun intended) on Elton John's Rocket Records in 1976, imploring "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" to John on the chart-topping duet. She had been recording for Rocket since 1973, scoring such U.K. hits as "Amoreuse" and "I've Got the Music in Me," the latter of which also went to the top 20 of the U.S. Hot 100, as well. Anyone familiar with Dee's Rocket recordings knows her to be a singer of both power and sensitivity, and last year,
Holiday Gift Guide: Vinyl Me, Please - A Year in Review
Over the past few months you've probably heard us mention Vinyl Me Please. The subscription-based record club frequently partners with the major labels to create exclusive pressings from across genres. They also curate Records of the Month for subscribers - available in three tracks: Classics, Essentials, and Hip Hop - specially selected by their staff to spotlight albums of importance in pop, rock, soul, world music, jazz, and beyond. This year, the offerings ran the gamut from The Stooges,
Holiday Gift Guide Review: Donna Summer, "The Wanderer: 40th Anniversary"
A new beginning - Donna Summer was certainly ready for one when she signed as the first artist on David Geffen's upstart record label in 1980. She had clashed and litigated with her longtime home of Casablanca Records over her artistic direction, and on a personal level had become a born-again Christian. Her first album for Geffen would build on her success at Casablanca but confidently introduce a new Donna Summer, as well. The Wanderer, her eighth studio album, became a top 20 success in
It Must Be Love: New Box Set Celebrates Labi Siffre's Solo Work
Back in 2015, Demon Music Group's Edsel label revisited five albums from British singer-songwriter Labi Siffre in a series of expanded editions. The reissues showcased the timelessness of his writing and the versatility of his performances. Now, Edsel has returned to the Siffre discography to complete it. My Song is the new 9-CD box set bringing together those five previously reissued albums and bonus tracks along with four more to paint a full portrait of Siffre's artistry. Despite a
Cherry Red, RPM Get "Right Back Where We Started From" With New '70s Female Pop Collection
Cherry Red's long-running RPM imprint announced earlier this year that 2020 would be its final year of operations - but that hasn't kept RPM from going out with a bang. One of the final titles to arrive from the imprint, Right Back Where We Started From, is a joyous 3-CD celebration of Female Pop and Soul in Seventies Britain. The title is drawn from Maxine Nightingale's irresistibly bouncy 1975 single, a top ten entry in the United Kingdom and a top five in the States. Not every track on
Whatcha Gonna Do for Me: Average White Band Releases "On the Strip: The Sunset Sessions," Reissues "Cupid's in Fashion"
The opening track of Average White Band's new/old release On the Strip: The Sunset Sessions couldn't have a more apropos title: "Let's Go Round Again." Following a successful run of albums with producer-arranger Arif Mardin, the funky big band outfit was re-establishing itself. 1979's Feel No Fret was a self-produced affair on which the band was joined by co-producer Gene Paul; it yielded hit singles in "Atlantic Avenue" and a revival of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Walk on By." For a
Review: Prince, "Sign 'O' The Times: Super Deluxe Edition"
Tell Me Who in This House Know About the Quake Would a look into Prince's Crystal Ball ever have predicted this? For the third of its deluxe album reissues - following a 3CD/DVD expansion of Purple Rain and a 5CD/DVD deluxe box of 1999 - Warner Records and NPG have unveiled the most lavish archival project yet to emerge from the Prince archive. In terms of both physical size and its contents, the new Sign "O" The Times Super Deluxe Edition box set is larger in every sense than its
Wild Mountain Honey: Ace's "76 in the Shade" Features Steve Miller Band, Jefferson Starship, Smokey Robinson, Gilbert O'Sullivan, More
Producer-compiler Bob Stanley's last couple of compilations for Ace have placed him squarely within the 1970s. Earlier this year, Saint Etienne Present Songs for the Fountain Coffee Room (compiled by Stanley, Sarah Cracknell, and Pete Wiggs) conjured "the soundtrack for a bar in mid-'70s Los Angeles," or a St. Etienne-style spin on "yacht rock" with Stephen Bishop, Ned Doheny, Boz Scaggs, and Seals and Crofts among those featured. Stanley has followed Fountain Coffee Room up with a trip to a
This Is Soul: Ace Collects "The Soul of The Memphis Boys" with Elvis, Dusty, Box Tops, More
We've already filled you in on Ace's recent anthology collecting works by Philly soul maestro Thom Bell; now we're looking to the American South with another release! Way back in 2012, Ace Records collected the multifaceted sounds of Chips Moman and Don Crews' American Studios on Memphis Boys: The Story of American Studios. The 24-song tribute collection featured such visitors to Memphis as Dusty Springfield, Wilson Pickett, B.J. Thomas, and Solomon Burke as well as Elvis Presley, one of the
Review: Donna Summer, "A Hot Summer Night"
"This isn't just my show...this is your show!" Donna Summer exclaimed during "MacArthur Park," the opening song of her August 6, 1983 concert at Costa Mesa, California's Pacific Amphitheatre. Now, that memorable concert dubbed A Hot Summer Night truly can be yours, as Driven by the Music and Crimson Productions have debuted it on CD and DVD as well as on a separate vinyl release. A Hot Summer Night, part of Summer's Hard for the Money tour, was filmed in the wake of the She Works Hard for
Cherry Red, SoulMusic Release 'Anything You Want,' Three-Disc David Sanborn Salute
Whether you've heard his albums or not, chances are you've heard the music of David Sanborn. The alto saxophone great has played on classic records by Steely Dan, Paul Simon, Elton John, Billy Joel, James Taylor, David Bowie, and dozens of others. Now, Cherry Red's SoulMusic Records imprint has delivered a comprehensive survey of Sanborn's 20+ years for the Warner family of labels. Anything You Want: The Warner-Reprise-Elektra Years 1975-1996 draws on 17 of his albums as a leader and showcases
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