As we here in the U.S. head into Labor Day weekend, we have a shorter Release Round-Up than usual! To all our readers - wherever you might be - please have a safe and happy weekend! Shania Twain, Not Just a Girl: The Highlights (Mercury Nashville/UMe) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada) Not Just a Girl (The Highlights), a new companion album to the documentary coming to Netflix, features 17 of Shania Twain's classic pop and country hits plus the new title track. Read more
Yesterday, we looked at Ace Records' recent anthology dedicated to West Coast producer Gary Usher. Today, we're heading east... Stanley Robert Crewe of Newark, New Jersey studied architecture and tried his luck as a fashion model before turning full-time to music. Though the handsome young man was a teen idol-in-the-making, he found his truest calling behind-the-scenes. With writing partner Frank Slay, Crewe gifted "Silhouettes" to The Rays and "Tallahassee Lassie" to Freddy "Boom Boom"
Ace's long-running Songwriters and Producers series has recently yielded two stellar entries celebrating two gentlemen equally versed in both crafts: Gary Usher and Bob Crewe. Part One of our Ace Round-Up today looks at Happy in Hollywood: The Productions of Gary Usher. Gary Usher (1938-1992) would have gone down in pop history as one of his neighborhood pal Brian Wilson's earliest collaborators, penning lyrics for both a popular hot rod tune ("409") and one of Wilson's most introspective,
Though Heroes and Villains is the title of Grapefruit's new 3-CD anthology chronicling The Sound of Los Angeles 1965-68, that famous Beach Boys song isn't among its 90 selections. Not that Brian Wilson and co. are absent; the compilation instead presents another SMiLE tune, "Do You Like Worms (Roll Plymouth Rock)" as part of its portrait of a place and time in music history when it truly seemed anything was possible. U.K.-based compiler David Wells persuasively makes the case here that L.A.
In recent weeks, Ace Records has made two new additions to its ongoing Producers Series, and both titles spotlight the versatility of the respective talents, Todd Rundgren and Gus Dudgeon. The Studio Wizardry of Todd Rundgren is, in many senses, an update of Rhino's 1992 compilation An Elpee's Worth of Productions. Like that set, it paints a portrait of the singer-songwriter largely in service of others' songs, though a handful of his own compositions appear, too. Ace's collection spans
The fourth season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is now underway, with two episodes arriving each Friday on Amazon Prime Video for four weeks. The series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls, Bunheads) chronicles the colorful life of Midge "Mrs." Maisel (portrayed by Emmy Award winner Rachel Brosnahan) as she carves out a career in New York in the rough-and-tumble world of stand-up comedy; the current season finds her in 1960, working at a seedy burlesque house and navigating the
Happy 2022! Welcome, friends, to Part Two of The Second Disc's 12th Annual Gold Bonus Disc Awards! Once again, we've all faced unprecedented challenges over the past twelve months. A year that began with hope and promise has ended with further uncertainty for many of us. But music continues to fill a significant role in our lives, providing solace, comfort, and escape in a time unlike any other. With that spirit in mind, The Second Disc wishes to recognize 2021's cream of the catalogue
Happy 2022! Welcome, friends, to The Second Disc's 12th Annual Gold Bonus Disc Awards! Once again, we've all faced unprecedented challenges over the past twelve months. A year that began with hope and promise has ended with further uncertainty for many of us. But music continues to fill a significant role in our lives, providing solace, comfort, and escape in a time unlike any other. With that spirit in mind, The Second Disc wishes to recognize 2021's cream of the catalogue music crop -
Ace Records has had quite a 2021, from collections spotlighting the songs of Lou Reed and Donovan through this past week's releases from Petula Clark, late producer Norman Whitfield, and the ladies of Motown. Today, we're taking a look at a pair of recent releases from the venerable label. Lincoln Wayne "Chips" Moman (1937-2016) may never have become a household name, but the music he helped create certainly did. A guitarist, producer, songwriter, and engineer, Moman pioneered the sound of
Producer-DJ Arthur Baker has brought his magic touch to recordings by everybody from Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to Tina Turner and Diana Ross, turning pop, rock, and R&B hits into dance floor-fillers. Now, Baker is looking back and taking stock of his fellow Dance Masters with a new series from Demon Music Group. Arthur Baker Presents Dance Masters: The Shep Pettibone Master Mixes is an expansive salute from one legendary remixer to another. Available on 4 CDs (47 songs in one box
Today, we're looking at three recent releases from Cherry Red's Grapefruit imprint! Grapefruit is continuing its series of 3-CD clamshell cases with two titles spotlighting the 1970s. Riding the Rock Machine: British Seventies Classic Rock, available now, is certainly one of the broadest such releases in Grapefruit's series. Compiler David Wells sets out his mission statement in straightforward fashion: "[Such] is the reductive nature of radio station playlists and Spotify recommendations
David Hepworth's 2017 book Never a Dull Moment: The Year That Rock Exploded set forth the author's belief that the year crystallized the "rock era," producing more enduring recordings than any other year in the genre's history. It's difficult to argue with any year that yielded John Lennon's Imagine, The Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers, Carole King's Tapestry, Joni Mitchell's Blue, Elton John's Madman Across the Water, Carly Simon's Anticipation, Sly and the Family Stone's There's a Riot Goin'
Since 1968, Trojan Records has been synonymous with the reggae, rocksteady, dub, and ska genres. The U.K. label founded by Lee Gopthal and Island Records' Chris Blackwell was instrumental in spreading those Jamaican sounds throughout the world and popularizing such key artists as Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and The Maytals. By 1971, Trojan - with its focus on 45 RPM singles - had amassed enough hit records to release a label anthology. On June 18, that seminal release,
Last year, Cherry Red's RPM imprint closed up shop after almost 30 years and some 600+ releases. But a new imprint was announced to pick up where RPM left off: Strawberry. Its inaugural collection, Halcyon Days: '60s Mod, R&B, Brit Soul, and Freakbeat Nuggets has proved an auspicious debut for the imprint with big shoes to fill. The 3-CD collection traces the development of '60s British soul and R&B from the mod period to the first flowering of psychedelia featuring a blend of names
While The Bee Gees have never truly faded from the popular consciousness, it's fair to say the group founded by Barry Gibb and his late brothers Maurice and Robin is currently experiencing a renaissance. Director Frank Marshall's documentary How Can You Mend a Broken Heart earned acclaim for its candid chronicle of the group's ups and downs while Barry has reaffirmed his legacy with the new album Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol. 1. On the latter, he's joined by an array of country
Earlier this year, The Second Disc shared news of Rock, Pop and Doo Wop, a 7-DVD collection from Treasury Collection and executive producer-director TJ Lubinsky. Now, with the holidays upon us, a new set featuring dozens of classic hit-makers has just been released: '60s Rock, Pop and Soul. This 4-DVD package has been culled from two decades of Lubinsky's historic television concerts, with 130 hit songs from a "Who's Who" of legendary performers including Frankie Valli ("Can't Take My Eyes
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
Let me take you down... The Beatles' songs were so sturdy and well-crafted that artists such as Matt Monro and Ella Fitzgerald became early adopters. But from the start, John, Paul, George, and Ringo's contemporaries had been just as likely as the older generation to mine their songbook. As the sixties continued and the Beatles ushered in the shift from pop to rock (minus the "and roll"), similarly youthful artists brought their own increasingly adventurous spins to the lads' material.
Earlier this year, Craft Recordings kicked off its celebration of Stax Records' Gospel Truth imprint with a weekly digital album campaign. That series wrapped up on August 28, opening the door for the November 13 release on CD and LP of The Gospel Truth: The Complete Singles Collection. Stax chief Al Bell launched Gospel Truth in 1972, working in close coordination with radio promotions guru/producer/songwriter Dave Clark and Stax staffer Mary Peak Paterson. Early press materials for the
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
Welcome to this week's Release Round-Up! Willie Nelson, First Rose of Spring (Legacy) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada) Willie Nelson's latest studio album emphasizes love and positivity at a time when we all need it most. First Rose of Spring features new Nelson originals co-written with producer and longtime associate Buddy Cannon, as well as new songs from Toby Keith and Chris Stapleton and covers such as "Yesterday When I Was Young." Available on CD, LP, and
By any estimation, 1966 was a pivotal year in rock. On one side of the Atlantic: Pet Sounds, Blonde on Blonde, Sounds of Silence. On the other: Revolver, Fresh Cream, Aftermath. Those albums merely represent the tip of the iceberg, however. 1966 was a year in which psychedelia emerged from the fringes and onto the charts via such artists as The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, and yes, The Beatles with "Tomorrow Never Knows." The underground scene continued to grow and increasingly attract the
After having previously celebrated two of his musical inspirations - Burt Bacharach and Teddy Randazzo - with their own volumes, Ace's Songwriters and Producers series is turning its attention to legendary soul maestro Thom Bell. On June 26, the label's Kent imprint will release Ready or Not: Philly Soul Arrangements and Productions 1965-1978. As the title indicates, all 23 tracks were either produced or arranged (or both!) by the multi-hyphenate musician-composer-producer-arranger-conductor who
It's time to break out the piña coladas. This Friday, the long-running NOW series will release its second volume of NOW That's What I Call Yacht Rock. This collection of classic songs in the "yacht rock" genre - think: seventies and early eighties soft rock with memorable melodies, sparkling productions, and plenty of saxophones - arrives on CD and in digital/streaming formats, with a 2-LP vinyl set arriving on July 3. With eighteen songs, NOW That's What I Call Yacht Rock 2 boasts return
Today, we're looking at another trio of recent releases from the team at Ace Records! If you missed Part One of our Ace Round-Up, click here! While The Beatles are no doubt Liverpool's most famous musical export, Merseyside - spanning 249 square miles (or 645 square kilometers) bordering Lancashire to the northeast, Greater Manchester to the east, Cheshire to the south and southeast, and The Irish Sea to the west - yielded an abundance of groups like The Cryin' Shames, Gerry and The