If you're a catalogue soundtrack fan, you doubtlessly know the name and work of Mike Matessino. For decades, Matessino has been among film score elite, serving ably as a producer, editor, mixer and writer for some of the best soundtrack catalogue titles. The New York University graduate first rose to prominence restoring the music of The Sound of Music and The King and I for 20th Century-Fox, then assembled with Nick Redman the most definitive CD releases of John Williams' scores to the Star
Reviews: First Family of Soul - Rare Albums From Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, Cissy Houston Reissued and Expanded
If there's such a thing as a First Family of Soul, it might as well be the combined Houston/Warwick clan. Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1933, Emily "Cissy" Drinkard sang gospel with her family as part of The Drinkard Singers, which counted Cissy's sister Lee Warrick among its members. Marie Dionne Warrick was born in 1940 to Lee and her husband Mancel; Delia Mae "Dee Dee" Warrick followed in 1942. Though The Drinkard Singers remain an important part of the history of gospel music, said to
Leaders of the Pack: Ace Celebrates Legendary Songwriters Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry
The union of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry was a brief one. Married in 1962, the same year that they began a songwriting partnership, they were divorced in 1965. Their professional partnership only continued for a short time thereafter. And to this day, the team of Greenwich and Barry is spoken of in the same breath as two other successful Brill Building husband-and-wife teams, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil (married 1961, still going strong!) and Gerry Goffin and Carole King (married 1959,
Back Tracks, In Memoriam: Robin Gibb
May 20, 2012: We're deeply saddened to report that Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees passed away this morning in England at 10:47 a.m. (5:47 a.m. ET) at the age of 62. Gibb's passing comes following a brave battle with cancer, courageously fought in the public eye. Robin Gibb will always be remembered for his great gift of song, with his angelic voice having provided comfort to so many of us in our saddest times and pure joy in our most upbeat moments. Robin, we will miss you. In honor of this
Review: A Quartet From BBR - The Pointer Sisters, Buddy Miles, Pharoah Sanders, Greg Phillinganes
Among the most recent reissues from Big Break Records is a 1974 album from Electric Flag founder and Jimi Hendrix drummer Buddy Miles entitled All the Faces of Buddy Miles. But one could easily title any given batch of music from the Cherry Red-affiliated label as All the Faces of BBR, so reliably diverse is each group of the label's releases. Today's capsule reviews look at four of the latest from the Big Break team! Buddy Miles, All the Faces of Buddy Miles (Columbia KC-33089, 1974 -
Just As He Was: Bill Withers' 1971 Debut "Just As I Am" Reissued By Big Break
Bill Withers titled his 1971 debut album Just As I Am, and the raw, simple and understated cover photo seemed to support that title. Withers, with an ingratiating smile on his face and a lunch pail in his hand, is standing against a brick wall at California's Webber Aircraft facility. The US Navy aircraft mechanic turned guitar-slinging singer/songwriter was somewhat of an anomaly on the music scene, and in his understated manner wrote on the album's jacket, "It matters not where I came from
Ram On: Paul McCartney Archive Collection's "Ram" Coming In May [UPDATED WITH FULL TRACK LISTING AND DETAILS]
We're gonna keep this one short and sweet, dear boys and long-haired ladies. Yes, the oft-rumored Paul McCartney Archive Collection of Paul and Linda McCartney's 1971 album Ram is very close to becoming a reality. On March 22, it was officially announced that Ram will be reissued in multiple formats on May 22. But one of those formats will be a bit surprising to collectors of previous Archive Collection titles. It appears that Ram will not follow the hardcover book format of those past
Review: Carole King, "The Legendary Demos" and "Something Good from the Goffin and King Songbook"
Though there's no one formula for creating a great song, there's no denying the success of the method that flourished first in New York's Tin Pan Alley (28th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, for those wondering) and later a bit uptown in and around the Brill Building (1619 Broadway near 49th Street). A couple of blocks away at 1650 Broadway at 51st Street, during the halcyon days of the 1960s, you would have found the home of Aldon Music, and the team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
Step Inside Love: Cilla Black's Historic Recordings with George Martin Collected In Complete 5 CD/1 DVD Box Set [UPDATED 4/23]
What's it all about, Cilla? Though "Alfie" and "Anyone Who Had a Heart" are very much the property of Ms. Dionne Warwick in the United States, Liverpool's Cilla Black can fairly stake claim to them across the pond. Born Priscilla Maria Veronica White, the protégé of Brian Epstein and close Beatle pal scored a string of beloved hit singles at the height of Swinging London, though her profile has long remained under the radar in America. Well, not if The Second Disc has anything to say about
Review: Janis Joplin, "The Pearl Sessions"
One dictionary defines "pearl" as an object both "hard" and "lustrous," synonymous with "gem" or "jewel." Couldn't all of those words also describe Janis Joplin? Pearl was, of course, the name bestowed upon the singer by her final group, The Kozmic Blues Band, and the title of her final, posthumously released album from 1971. Pearl has arrived on CD once more from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings under the title The Pearl Sessions (88697 84224 2), expanding the original 10-track album
King of Cool: Career-Spanning Dean Martin Box Set "Collected Cool" Coming in June, Uncut Dino DVDs Arriving in May
How lucky can one guy be? Although Dean Martin's exhaustive catalogue has been definitively anthologized on four massive box sets released by Germany's Bear Family label between 1997 and 2001, unheard material from the King of Cool continues to be discovered. Reporting in February 2011 about the then-recent Cool Then, Cool Now 2-CD/book box set, this writer opined: "A true career retrospective box with material from each label and era would be essential for those Martin fans looking for more
Love So Fine: Nick DeCaro's "Works" Features James Taylor, B.J. Thomas, Andy Williams, More
Though the A&M stands for (Herb) Alpert and (Jerry) Moss, A&M Records has meant a great many things to a great many people since its founding in 1962. Those who came of age in the 1980s may think of the famous logo adorning records by Sting, Janet Jackson or Bryan Adams. In the 1970s, the label was home to The Carpenters, Cat Stevens and Joe Cocker. In the 1960s, A&M was not only a label but a “sound.” That sound was a certain, beguiling style of sophisticated adult soft-pop
Philadelphia Freedom: Dexter Wansel Is "Captured" By Robinsongs
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
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