Welcome to our second feature today spotlighting artists of the Philadelphia International label! First we looked at The O'Jays' pre-PIR period! Now it's time to look at a lost post-PIR album from Dexter Wansel! Philadelphia-born Dexter Wansel made quite an impression in the City of Brotherly Love, becoming one of the leading lights of the Gamble and Huff organization's "second golden age" of 1976-1983 and playing a key role in shaping the latter-day Sound of Philadelphia. A keyboard
Review: Tom Northcott, "Sunny Goodge Street: The Warner Bros. Recordings"
Extra! Extra! Lost Folk Singer Found! His name is Tom Northcott, and had things turned out a little differently, he might be remembered in the same breath as Joni Mitchell or Gordon Lightfoot, fellow Canadian troubadours. After founding the Tom Northcott Trio, he headed for California during perhaps the most fertile period ever for creative, boundary-breaking musical exploration, the mid-1960s. Northcott opened for The Who, The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, and was signed to Warner Bros.
My Huckleberry Friend: El Records Offers Variations on Mancini's "Moon River and Me"
Quick - think of your favorite Blake Edwards movie. Okay, now be honest: when conjuring up an image of one of Edwards' signature comic set pieces, didn't you automatically start hearing a famous theme? If you did, chances are it was composed by Henry Mancini. Edwards and Mancini worked hand in hand for some 30 projects over a 35-year period, from 1958's groundbreaking television series Peter Gunn through 1993's Son of the Pink Panther, Edwards' final motion picture. One of the most cherished
Guitars A Go-Go: "Fender: The Golden Age" and Jerry Cole's "Psychedelic Guitars" Celebrated by Ace
If you've got guitars on the mind, look no further than a pair of new releases from those compilation experts at the Ace label! Fender: The Golden Age 1950-1970 (Ace CDCHD 1315) is a new 28-track anthology that manages to be both comprehensive and the tip of the iceberg, where the famous guitar is concerned! A new companion to the 2010 book of almost the same name (Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970 by Martin Kelly), this set offers a rare chance to appreciate both the talent on the record label
Broadway Babies: Sony's Masterworks Label Reissues Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett Classics on CD
In 1962, Carol Burnett was one of America's fastest-rising comedy stars, having reigned on Broadway as a brassy princess in Once Upon a Mattress and endeared herself to the rest of America as a regular on The Garry Moore Show. Julie Andrews shared a stage pedigree with Burnett, a performer since childhood and the originator of iconic roles in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's My Fair Lady and Camelot. When Andrews teamed with Burnett as a guest on Moore's program, the chemistry was all too
Wes Montgomery's Lost Recordings Discovered On "Indiana Avenue"
Though Wes Montgomery died in 1968 aged just 45, the Indiana-born jazz guitarist made such an impression that his body of work has influenced an entire generation of guitar players, from George Benson to Pat Metheny, Jimi Hendrix and everyone in between. In a period of roughly ten years, Montgomery had three distinct periods at different labels: Riverside (1959-1964), Verve (1964-1966) and A&M (1967-1968), the latter two under the aegis of producer Creed Taylor. Maverick producer Taylor
In Memoriam: Hey, Hey, It's Davy Jones!
UPDATE 2/29/12: Today at The Second Disc, we join music fans all over the world in mourning the loss of Davy Jones, who died this morning at the age of 66. The worlds of music, stage and screen all lost an icon with the passing of the actor, singer, comedian and beloved Monkee. Davy brought a little of the British Invasion to the California band, as well as lot of talent, sweetness, heart and chutzpah. New York DJ Cousin Brucie Morrow took the airwaves on Sirius/XM satellite radio early
Review: Judy Garland, "The Historic Concert Remastered"
The applause started even before Mort Lindsey lifted his baton to conduct the Overture. By the time Judy Garland took the stage at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961 for "When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)," it didn't seem too far-fetched that the whole world was smiling, even beyond the corner of New York's 57th Street and 7th Avenue. Such was the power of Judy Garland. Only the greatest of live albums, in any genre, can translate the grip of a performer on his audience. Judy at
Goin' For High Coin: Harpers Bizarre's "Anything Goes" Returns in Expanded Mono Edition
In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking! Now heaven knows, anything goes...Good authors, too, who once knew better words now only use four-letter words writing prose! Anything goes! When Cole Porter wrote "Anything Goes" in 1934, could he have had any idea that his commentary would prove just as relevant more than thirty years later, and indeed, even today? In 1967, three years after the esteemed songsmith's passing, the members of Harpers Bizarre unleashed
Aces High! "The London American Label: 1957," "Mod Jazz Forever" and "Smash Boom Bang: Feldman-Goldstein-Gotteher" Available Now
Smash! Boom! Bang! The ace compilation experts at, well, Ace Records are offering up plenty of Smash, Boom and Bang (both in impact and in label name!) for your buck with their diverse slate of February releases. You'll find top-drawer pop, rock and soul for connoisseurs and beginners alike among the label's latest. Perhaps the most unexpected is the new entry in the label's long-running Songwriters and Producers series. Smash Boom Bang! The Songs and Productions of
Back Tracks: Whitney Houston
Music was in both the bloodline and the spirit of Whitney Elizabeth Houston (1963-2012). The native of Newark, New Jersey called Cissy Houston of The Sweet Inspirations her mom, while Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick were her beloved cousins. Aretha Franklin was a close family friend and honorary aunt. Following in her mother's footsteps, she began performing at Newark's New Hope Baptist Church, singing in the gospel choir as a featured soloist, and began to make inroads in the music
Review: Frank Sinatra, "The Concert Sinatra" (2012)
There have been countless recordings of Frank Sinatra…but only one Concert Sinatra. So named for its full concert orchestra (and not for a live performance), the 1963 album remains a career triumph. It’s perhaps the pinnacle of Sinatra’s long association with conductor/arranger Nelson Riddle, a vivid display of the singer’s gifts as a dramatic actor, and the ultimate valentine to the American theatrical songbook. Make no mistake, The Concert Sinatra is serious symphonic music, and it’s back
Gonna Take a Miracle: Deniece Williams Trio Coming From BBR and FTG
Let's hear it for Deniece Williams. By the time of her debut album in 1976, the resilient singer with the remarkable range had already recorded a Northern Soul favorite ("I'm Walking Away" on the small Lock Records label), performed with Minnie Riperton and Roberta Flack, and been a member of Stevie Wonder's versatile backing group Wonderlove. This is Niecy, on Columbia Records, was produced by Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire and Charles Stepney of Chess Records fame, and their
When The Lovelight Starts Shining: Lost Brit Girl Pop of Beryl Marsden Returns
If you peruse enough collections of Merseybeat, chances are you'll be familiar with the name of Beryl Marsden (no relation to Gerry, of Pacemakers fame). A product of the same Liverpool club scene that birthed the career of Beatle pal Cilla Black, Marsden played a number of recognizable Fab haunts, including the Cavern Club and the Star Club, and even supported the Beatles on their 1964 U.K. tour. But Marsden had never received a career-spanning anthology...until now! Changes: The Story of
Chicago Reissues Return From Friday Music, "Hot Streets" Kicks Off Campaign
On 1971’s Chicago III, one of the band's passionate anthems went, “I just want to be free…” But it took until 1978 for the band to be truly free, and that year’s Hot Streets was an album of firsts. The freedom largely came as a result of the group having severed its ties with longtime producer/manager James William Guercio; hence, Hot Streets was Chicago’s first album in many years not recorded at Guercio’s famed Caribou Ranch. It was also the first to lack a number in its title and first to
Reissue Theory: Whitney Houston, "Whitney"
We remember Whitney Houston (1963-2012) and her timeless legacy of song. We're sharing this feature in her memory, and will return with a tribute to this musical legend, gone too soon. Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on notable album and the reissues they could someday see. Today's entry: a 25th anniversary spotlight on one of the best dance-pop albums of any era, and a tribute to a powerhouse R&B voice. In a word: Whitney. Around this time in 2010,
Short Takes: "Meet Glen Campbell" and "Matter of Time" Reissued, A Rare Earth Curio and More From Impulse!
The legendary Glen Campbell has seen a number of his classic albums reissued this year by labels including BGO, Real Gone Music and New Haven. Our friends at Rockbeat Records have lined up the next Campbell release, revisiting his 1985 LP for the Atlantic label, It’s Just a Matter of Time. Produced by Harold Shedd, the album found Campbell revisiting some of his past triumphs. Longtime collaborator and friend Jimmy Webb contributed three songs: the oft-covered “Do What You Gotta Do,”
Movin', Kickin', Groovin': A Barry White Classic Expanded by Hip-o Select
Hip-o Select turns its focus away from Motown for some more satin soul from the inimitable Barry White, with a nicely-expanded release of his 1976 LP Let the Music Play. By the time the title track from the album - an underrated plea for music to soothe the pain of a lost love over some of the lushest strings from The Love Unlimited Orchestra - was released as a single in late 1975, White was virtually his own brand. He'd recently come off a triplet of Top 10 singles in 1974 and
Review: Hugh Martin, "Hidden Treasures: Songs for Stage and Screen 1941-2010"
Did a cork pop? Did the world stop? Am I just in love…with the music and lyrics of Hugh Martin? Even if you don’t know the name of the late Mr. Martin, you certainly know his songs: “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “The Trolley Song,” and a little song heard every season, year after year, by the name of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” But these songs from the MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis are just the tip of the iceberg of Hugh Martin’s catalogue, a few highlights of a career that lasted
A Grande Cup of Burt: Starbucks Brews "Music By Bacharach"
If you see me walking down the street, and I start to cry…or smile…or laugh...there’s a good chance I might be listening to a song by Burt Bacharach. Since beginning his songwriting career with 1952’s instrumental “Once in a Blue Moon” as recorded by Nat King Cole, Bacharach has provided the soundtrack to many of our lives, often in tandem with lyricist Hal David. (Their first collaborations date to 1956, including The Harry Carter Singers’ “Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil,” and Sherry
Review: The Monkees, "Instant Replay: Deluxe Edition"
When The Monkees' Instant Replay was released in February 1969, less than three years had passed since the band's vinyl debut in October 1966. But the pop world of 1966 might have been a lifetime ago. Five days before Instant Replay's February 15 release, The Beach Boys unveiled the album 20/20, on which America's band surreptitiously recorded a song by Charles Manson. Two days after, The Temptations skyrocketed to Cloud Nine, meeting psychedelia head-on. By the year's end, the dream of
Andy Gibb's Greatest Hits Reprised, and Flashback with Iron Butterfly
Two long out-of-print greatest hits collections are back in print today thanks to the fine folks at Rhino Records. Iron Butterfly’s Evolution: The Best of Iron Butterfly arrived on the Atco label in 1971 and brought together 11 tracks from the hard rock pioneers’ first four albums. Andy Gibb’s 1991 Greatest Hits, originally on the Polydor label, differed from the 1980 RSO Records hits compilation, and offered 12 prime pop cuts from the youngest of the Brothers Gibb. Although Rhino’s Light
Edsel January Preview: Rundgren, Chapin, Gosdin, Manhattan Transfer, Jo Jo Gunne Kick Off 2012
What kind of year will 2012 be? If the first batch of releases, slated for January 30 release, from the Edsel label is any indication, there's plenty of rare and well-done music on the way! A three albums-on-two-CDs package collects the entirety of Todd Rundgren's Warner Bros. Records period. A Cappella/Nearly Human/2nd Wind continues Edsel's definitive series which brings Rundgren's solo and Utopia output on both Bearsville and Warner Bros. under one umbrella. The studio wizard's decision
Review: Elvis Presley, "Elvis Country: Legacy Edition"
The title of Elvis Presley's 1969 double album said it all: From Memphis to Vegas, or if you turned the jacket over, From Vegas to Memphis. Both sides of the singer were on display both on the album and in its title: the superstar showman who had triumphed at Las Vegas' International Hotel and the onetime Sun Records prodigy who'd periodically returned to his R&B roots. Though no studio album was released in 1970, the singer returned in January 1971 with Elvis Country: I'm 10,000 Years Old,
Holiday Gift Guide Review: Tony Bennett, "The Complete Collection"
Welcome back to our Second Disc Holiday Gift Guide, in which we review some titles we might have missed over the past few weeks! The titles we’re spotlighting in this occasional series just might be candidates on your own holiday shopping list! Tony Bennett’s heart may be in San Francisco, but his soul can be found in a case measuring roughly 11 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches. For within those modest dimensions is housed some 65 years of music, spanning 1946 to 2011, over 73 CDs and 3 DVDs. And
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