If ever an album was lost in the shuffle, it was the 1968 debut LP by The Holy Mackerel. The LP, assigned as Reprise 6311, fell smack in between Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland (Reprise 6307) and Neil Young's eponymous solo debut (Reprise 6317). But adventurous listeners would find themselves rewarded if they picked up the album by the oddly-named group, with its cover sleeve of five gents and a lady smiling for the camera under three-dimensional comic book-style lettering proclaiming them "The
Back Tracks: The Spielberg-Williams Connection Part II
Our look at the work of John Williams for Steven Spielberg's filmography continues with this look at the rest of the 1990s and beyond. Also featured are a few compilations of performances devoted to one of the best partnerships in film music history. Enjoy after the jump!
Review: Harry Nilsson and John Stewart, "Spotlight on Nilsson/Willard"
Whenever the temptation exists to get depressed about the state of the catalogue business, a reissue comes along as a reminder of a couple things. One, that good things, indeed, do come to those who wait. Two, that sooner or later most everything will see the light of day. One such reissue arrived from DRG Records on June 29 to sadly little fanfare. This totally unexpected set joins albums by two disparate artists, yet stands as a cohesive and altogether rewarding listening experience. Harry
Review: "Promises, Promises: Original MGM Broadway Cast Recording"
The Fourth of July isn’t usually a holiday known for gifts. But your humble reviewer felt as if he got a gift, and what a gift!, on July 3 when Kritzerland’s limited edition deluxe 2-CD reissue of the original cast album of Promises, Promises (KR 20015-9) arrived in the mail. As a result, much of the weekend was spent listening to an album I’ve known for years, but hearing it as if for the first time. For background on this release, see The Second Disc’s post of June 14 and join us after
Review: John Fogerty, "Centerfield: 25th Anniversary"
John Fogerty can be called many things. Prolific, though, isn't one of them. Fogerty's 1985 Centerfield, originally issued on Warner Bros. Records, marked the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman's return to a prominent place in the rock pantheon after a near decade-long absence. After acrimoniously parting ways with his famous band, Fogerty recorded a collection of rootsy country covers (1973's The Blue Ridge Rangers) for CCR's longtime label, Fantasy Records. Yet Fogerty was locked in
Box Set Round-Up: Hank Williams and Level 42
There's a pair you'd never expect to see in the same title. A few bits of news around the way regarding a few box sets coming up. First up, Time-Life has got a really large box set of Hank Williams material coming out. The Complete Mother's Best Recordings...Plus! is a 16-disc box set (including a DVD) of all Williams legendary, surviving recordings for Nashville radio station WSM (where he had his own show sponsored by Mother's Best Flour). These 72 acetates were recorded through 1951, two
Review: The Rolling Stones, "Exile on Main Street" Deluxe Edition
Few records hold the mystique of the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St. Myths have grown and books have been published in an attempt to explain the sprawling album. The story generally goes that 1972 found the band, literally, as tax exiles, seeking refuge across the English Channel in France. A villa in Villefranche-sur-Mer named Nellcote is rented. Music is made. Sex and drugs abound. Somehow in all this debauchery a record is produced, and that record is Exile on Main St. When Universal Music
If You've Been Seeking P.F. Sloan...
"I have been seeking P.F. Sloan/But no one knows where he has gone..." With those lyrics, Jimmy Webb immortalized the reclusive songwriter, admonishing listeners, "Don't sing this song, it belongs to P.F. Sloan." But when Webb wrote those words in 1971, Sloan had only been away from the music scene for three or four years; in fact, he was a quite prolific writer in the years between 1964 and 1967, often in collaboration with Steve Barri. Sloan, already an established writer of pure pop songs
Review: Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim, "Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings"
"Tall and tan and young and handsome..." Those lyrics to Antonio Carlos Jobim's "The Boy from Ipanema" kicked off a bossa nova boom that saw virtually every noteworthy vocalist and jazz musician of the 1960s recording in the mellow Brazilian style. Frank Sinatra, though, was hardly one to follow a trend for hipness' sake. By 1967, the label he founded, Reprise, was turning its sights to Laurel Canyon and Haight-Ashbury, and the bossa craze was on the wane. Sinatra would, as always, record on his
Review: "Batman - The Movie: Original Motion Picture Score"
It's somewhat ironic that a man so closely associated with the lush, timeless music of Frank Sinatra would find such great fame (or notoriety?) as a composer scoring one of the most over-the-top television series ever. Yet such was the case of Nelson Riddle, who as arranger and conductor was a chief sonic architect of Sinatra's unprecedented run of Capitol concept albums and beyond. His television credits included such groundbreaking programs as The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Naked City and Route
Review: Carole King, "The Essential Carole King"
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman.” “Up on the Roof.” “You’ve Got a Friend.” All of these songs have found a permanent home as part of The Great American Songbook, and all come from the pen of one Carole King. Her repertoire as both singer and songwriter is celebrated with this week’s release of Legacy’s The Essential Carole King (Ode/Epic/Legacy 88697 68257 2), the first set to focus on both aspects of King’s now 50-plus year career. Producers Lou
Review: Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, "Live at the London Palladium"
Leave it to Bob Dylan. In his 2004 memoir Chronicles Volume One, he writes about the experience of listening to Judy Garland: "A couple of times I dropped a coin right into the slot and played 'The Man That Got Away' by Judy Garland. The song always did something to me...listening to Judy was like listening to the girl next door." He writes of the song's composer, Harold Arlen: "In Harold's songs, I could hear rural blues and folk music...there was an emotional kinship there." He continues,
Review: Elvis Presley - "On Stage: Legacy Edition"
When Elvis Presley took the stage of the newly-built Las Vegas International, "the world's largest resort hotel," on July 31, 1969, few predicted that a new era would start for the entertainer. Presley had been absent from the concert stage for eight years and the Vegas community still harbored memories of his poorly-received 1956 stint at the New Frontier Hotel. Despite the recent success of singles "In the Ghetto" and "Suspicious Minds," not to mention the hallowed '68 Comeback Special,
Review: David Bowie - "David Bowie" Deluxe Edition
David Bowie circa 1966 was an artist in search of an identity. He had flirted with theatre, the mod movement, and even mime. When signed by Decca's Deram arm, he had already released six unsuccessful singles on three different labels and fronted a number of quickly-vanishing bands. The Decca contract came shortly after his recordings for Pye, which had been shepherded by British hitmaker Tony Hatch of "Downtown" and "Call Me" fame. The Deram album, simply titled David Bowie, was all but
Lena Horne Soars, The Lion Roars
As previously mentioned, Hip-O Select had yet another release up their sleeve: Lena Horne Sings: The M-G-M Singles Collection. It's a set of 16 early Lena Horne classics cut for M-G-M Records in the '40s and '50s and largely unavailable on CD until now. There's a heap of standards, including "'Deed I Do," "Where or When," "I've Got the World on a String" and "The Lady is a Tramp," plus liner notes from Horne biographer James Gavin. Pre-order it here and hit the jump for some specs (culled
Reissue Theory x2: Phil Collins - "No Jacket Required" and Peter Gabriel - "So"
It has been encouraging to see, in light of Genesis' impending induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a number of commenters showing their respect for the Phil Collins-led, pop-savvy incarnation of the band. The group's output was always listenable - one could argue the 1990s was largely an exception - but it always seemed popular opinion was against them around the Invisible Touch era. This is ironic, since the same year Invisible Touch was released, former Genesis frontman Peter
Back Tracks: James Horner
As this post is being written, the Oscars have wrapped up. Exciting, right? Of course not. The Oscars are perhaps as ridiculous as the Grammys, and usually don't have a heck of a lot to offer fans of any music in general. Perhaps this year was a bit of an exception - it was very exciting to see Michael Giacchino score his first Oscar for the excellent score to Up - but for someone raised on ultra-thematic scores such as John Williams' work for Star Wars, Jaws and others, there's usually not much
Reissue Theory: a-ha, "Hunting High and Low"
Here's a new feature I'm really excited about on The Second Disc. I'm calling it Reissue Theory (which was very nearly the title of this blog). Herein, I plot out what I think would be excellent plans to expand great catalogue titles. Using the best research skills I can muster, I'll try to put together the perfect playlist for that sorely missing deluxe title. First up is Hunting High and Low, the debut album by pop legends a-ha. Though their chart-topping "Take on Me" was the biggest
New Review - Whitney Houston: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition
Need a cure and tonic from the truly dismal Grammys, currently invading airspace across the East Coast? The inimitable Matt Rowe at MusicTAP has been kind enough to post another catalogue review of mine. This time it's Legacy's neat reissue of Whitney Houston's 1985 debut LP. While I can't yet confirm if I "might just be the next MusicTAP," as Matt very kindly speculates, I am more than happy to try. To that end, check out the review here and keep reading The Second Disc for all the expanded