50 years ago, two of American music's greatest talents proved they were still venturing into new territories. Elvis Presley, some decade and a half after he first took the world by storm, was setting up shop in Nashville for a marathon session that saw him pulling from the new popular songbook and many songs written just for him. These sessions delivered several albums' worth of material and are now presented chronologically in a new box set, complete with exciting new mixes on From Elvis In
If there's one good thing we can pull from 2020's reissue slate, it's diversity. The end of the year's biggest box sets focused less on the typical classic-rock heavy-hitters and more on genres, eras and artists that typically don't get the red carpet treatment. It's a trend that would surely be nice to continue. The new "Diamond Edition" of Shania Twain's The Woman in Me (Mercury Nashville/UMe B0032601-02) checks off all three of those boxes, yet it's initially an odd sell. After all, isn't
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
UPDATED DECEMBER 2020: 7a Records' announcement earlier this year of a deluxe remastered and expanded edition of Peter Tork's only solo album, 1994's Stranger Things Have Happened, marked a major milestone for the label. Over the years, 7a has already delivered a treasure trove of releases from Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, and Michael Nesmith on CD and vinyl, but with the inclusion of the late Tork, its roster of artists finally seems complete. The path to Stranger Things Have Happened was a
The Replacements' Pleased to Meet Me marked the moment when Minneapolis met Memphis. For their second major label album, fifth overall, first without founding member Bob Stinson, and lone offering as a trio, the 'Mats called upon Jim Dickinson. The producer and Memphis mainstay entered the picture after abortive demo sessions in the band's hometown during which time Bob had been dismissed from the band, leaving Paul Westerberg to pick up the lead guitar duties, Tommy Stinson on bass, and Chris
Think back to your days listening to pop music in the '80s - say, for the sake of argument, 1985. Thriller's wrapped up its run of seven hit singles. Bruce Springsteen's Born in the U.S.A. is in the middle of its own seven-hit stretch. Purple Rain made Prince a juggernaut - and Tears for Fears, the British duo behind the moody, electronic The Hurting (1983) have broken into the mainstream with the progressive psych-pop of 1985's Songs from the Big Chair, including back-to-back chart-toppers
As our Holiday Gift Guide continues with a fourth and final look at Cherry Red's recent box set offerings, we wanted to bring to your attention two collections that would look great underneath the tree, whether for a prog-rock enthusiast in your life or for yourself (we won't tell!). First up: Barclay James Harvest's And Other Short Stories, recently reissued as a 2-CD/DVD set. The English prog rock outfit Barclay James Harvest had already made a name for themselves as part of Harvest
Prepare to elevate your soul with this 20th anniversary box set edition of U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind. Twenty years into their career, U2 rang in the new millennium with a career-redefining recording that saw them return to the upper echelons of the Billboard charts, with Grammy nominations and worldwide hits to boot. With enduring instant classics like "Beautiful Day," "Walk On," "Elevation," and "Stuck in a Moment That You Can't Get Out Of," it's no wonder the album remains a
Welcome to the third part of our Holiday Gift Guide Spotlight - Cherry Red Box Set Bonanza! Click here for Part One, featuring Evelyn "Champagne" King, and here for Part Two featuring Graham Bonnet! When one thinks of bands assembled by audition, The Monkees usually spring to mind. Davy, Micky, Peter, and Michael had been assembled by Screen Gems for the purposes of starring in a new television sitcom, and by sheer force of will became a "real" band making some of the era's most
Perhaps no label this holiday season has offered such a bonanza of box sets as Cherry Red. Yesterday, we looked at Evelyn "Champagne" King's The RCA Albums 1977-1985. Today, we're turning the spotlight onto Graham Bonnet's Solo Albums 1974-1982! Cherry Red's Hear No Evil (HNE) imprint has long been a home for archival releases from singer Graham Bonnet of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Alcatrazz, and The Michael Schenker Group. Now, HNE has brought together Bonnet's first four solo albums,
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
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,
For The Doors, 1970 should have been a new beginning. Upon the February 1 release of the band's fifth album, Morrison Hotel, Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger, and John Densmore were still recovering from the events of the prior year. On March 1, 1969, Morrison famously (or infamously?) exposed himself onstage in Coconut Grove, Florida. The Lizard King's "indecent exposure" led to the cancellation of over two dozen concerts and some radio stations' refusal to play The Doors' music.
Holiday Gift Guide Reviews: Cat Stevens, "Mona Bone Jakon" and "Tea for the Tillerman" 50th Anniversary Editions
1970 was a defining year for pop music, and few stars ascended to quite the same heights as Cat Stevens, whose Mona Bone Jakon and Tea For the Tillerman re-introduced the songwriter and singer to audiences. Gone are the production excesses of his late-'60s pop recordings. Here, Stevens' songs are stripped-down as he looks inward and embraces a soulful sound. Fifty years on, these two albums have been revisited by Yusuf through his aptly titled Cat-O-Log Records imprint, in coordination with
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,
As a founding member of The Moody Blues, Ray Thomas (1941-2018) played the haunting flute solo on the band's 1967 hit "Nights in White Satin." He also was responsible for writing many of the Moodies' most beloved songs including "Twilight Time," "And the Tide Rushes In," and "Legend of a Mind." A multi-instrumentalist and singer, Thomas recorded two solo albums for the group's Threshold Records label: 1975's From Mighty Oaks and 1976's Hopes, Wishes, and Dreams. This fall, Cherry Red's
Omnivore has served up one of the year's most festive treats with the first-ever CD reissue of A Merry "Hee Haw" Christmas from Buck Owens and The Buckaroos. The 1970 Capitol release collected both of Buck and his band's Christmas albums - 1965's Christmas with Buck Owens and His Buckaroos and its 1968 follow-up, Christmas Shopping - as a double-album tie-in with Owens' starring role on television's Hee Haw. The country-themed variety show was midway through its 1969-1971 run on CBS-TV; it
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
"Sorry - only one group like this to a generation," renowned engineer-producer Phil Ramone wrote on the back cover of The Free Design's 1968 sophomore album You Could Be Born Again. After over 50 years, The Free Design are still a singular group, difficult to pigeonhole. Their gentle, even childlike style has frequently landed them in the sunshine pop genre, but that match was never quite right: not only were they from New York, but their sound lacked the brightness and even brashness that
"I'll take Manhattan in a garbage bag with Latin written on it that says "It's hard to give a shit these days..." Indeed, Lou Reed always gave off the vibe of someone who didn't give a shit - and moreover, someone who didn't take any shit. But beneath that hip veneer was an artist who cared deeply, and had the talents to express himself and his keenly-felt beliefs in song. He was ready for a new start in 1988 when he began recording his first album for Sire Records after his second stint at
Welcome to The Second Disc's first Holiday Gift Guide Review of the season! Between now and Christmas, we'll be spotlighting various titles that just might make ideal holiday gifts for the music lovers in your life. Watch this space for the upcoming launch of the full Holiday Gift Guide! Flying hospital beds, laser-eyed pigs, and fire. No, it's not a sci-fi flick, it's Pink Floyd. Long known for their spectacular blending of stage displays, props, and music, the band kicked it up a notch
A SECOND DISC INTERVIEW: All I Need In Just A Song - Dave Mason Reflects on 50 Years With "Alone Together Again"
Magic was in the air in 1970 and it certainly reached Los Angeles' Sunset Sound, where Dave Mason, along with an array of new friends and some of the top session musicians around, recorded Alone Together. Though only 24 years old, Mason had plenty of experience under his belt. The multi-instrumentalist made a name for himself as part of Traffic, penning some of their best crossover material ("Hole in My Shoe," "Feelin' Alright?"). He also participated in sessions with The Rolling Stones
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'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
Welcome to today's first installment of our Ace Records Round-Up featuring a number of the label's latest titles! Helen Shapiro sang her way into the hearts of Britons as a teenager. Inspired by the success of Alma Cogan, Helen was just 14 when she scored a No. 3 hit on the U.K. Singles Chart with "Don't Treat Me Like a Child." The same year of 1961, she charted not one but two No. 1 singles, "You Don't Know" and "Walkin' Back to Happiness." Soon, she was appearing in films and appearing