If you’re reading this, you’re in the right place, wrong time – as Dr. John might have put it!
This morning, January 14, we launched The (new) Second Disc, loaded with a new design, new features and new announcements, including the launch of Second Disc Records!
Please bookmark http://theseconddisc.com and head over there to visit our remastered site – and please let us know what you think! We’re all ears.
Enjoy the music!
Stage Door Revisits Anthony Newley’s “Good Old Bad Old Days” With Previously Unreleased Demo Recordings
Stage Door Records is taking another dip into the archives of the late, beloved entertainer Anthony Newley with its first release of 2015: an entire disc of Newley’s previously unreleased recordings of his own score to the 1973 musical The Good Old Bad Old Days! The January 26 release, produced in conjunction with the Anthony Newley Society, features never-before-issued 20 recordings, almost all of which were made during the development of the musical co-written by Newley and his longtime collaborator Leslie Bricusse.
The partnership of Newley and Bricusse dated back to 1961 and the premiere of Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, co-written by the pair, directed by and starring Newley. Yielding the instant standard “What Kind of Fool Am I?,” Stop the World completed Newley’s transformation into an international star of stage, screen and records. Newley and Bricusse followed Stop the World with The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd, another allegorical musical with an infectious score, this time introducing “Who Can I Turn To?” and “Feeling Good” to the standard repertoire. Newley and Bricusse also found time to co-write “Goldfinger” with John Barry and work individually, although when Bricusse alone wrote the score to 20th Century Fox’s Doctor Dolittle, Newley was on hand as an actor in the film! Following their Academy Award-nominated work on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Newley and Bricusse returned to the stage with The Good Old Bad Old Days.
Bricusse described it as “a modest little saga about Man, Life, Death, God and The Devil, with the history of the world thrown in.” It tells of Bubba (Newley), who tries to persuade God not to destroy the world, and makes the case for humanity by presenting a pageant of mankind through the ages (including scenes of The Mayflower, The French Revolution, The American Civil War, etc.). When New York producer James Nederlander declined to continue his participation with the musical, it looked like it might never get off the ground, but reigning West End impresario Bernard Delfont stepped in and booked The Good Old Bad Old Days for a tour to culminate with a London opening in December 1972. Though it only ran for 309 performances at Delfont’s Prince of Wales Theatre, it left behind a memorable and enjoyable score highlighted by “The People Tree,” also recorded by Sammy Davis Jr. on the heels of his success with “The Candy Man” from Willy Wonka! Davis – always the most prolific interpreter of Newley and Bricusse’s work – covered a number of songs from the score, including “I Do Not Love You,” “Tomorrow” and “It’s a Musical World. “ Tony Bennett, Petula Clark and Frankie Vaughan all took their turns performing songs from the score, as well.
After the jump: more details on this exciting new release! Read the rest of this entry »
This 4-CD presentation of Walt Disney’s animated masterwork features both the Leopold Stokowski and Irwin Kostal recordings of the complete score, plus bonus material, in a deluxe hardbound format.
Friday Music celebrates the late, great Johnny Winter with this new set licensed from his estate. Disc One culls tracks from the artist’s Live Bootleg Series, and Disc 2 presents the first-time CD release of his vinyl Live Bootleg Special Edition. The third disc has previously unreleased Live Rarities. The 3-CD set is housed in a digipak with notes from Edgar Winter and Gregg Allman.
As the title indicates, Neal Hefti wore many hats. Perhaps best known today for his themes to the 1966 Batman television show and the film and TV versions of The Odd Couple, Hefti was so much more. This 4-disc set (sourced from European public domain material) promises to take a deep look at his early years, with tracks from artists including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Doris Day, Mel Torme, Buddy Rich, and of course, Count Basie, with whom Hefti began a fruitful association in 1950. If Acrobat’s past Nelson Riddle collection is any indication, this will be a nicely-packaged, affordably-priced and reasonably comprehensive overview – but beware: the Riddle set was released on CD-Rs, not pressed CDs.
This new 2-CD set presents, in their entirety, Woody Allen’s three stand-up comedy albums originally recorded and released between 1964 and 1968 including such classic routines as “The Moose.” It adds an audience Q&A, which was left off previous CD reissues of the original recordings. Allen biographer/documentary filmmaker Robert Weide provides new liner notes.
This new 2-CD release captures last fall’s New York concerts based around the sounds of the Coen Brothers’ acclaimed, sixties-set film Inside Llewyn Davis. Joan Baez, Elvis Costello, Bob Neuwirth, Jack White and the film’s stars Carey Mulligan, Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver all take the stage for this cross-generational folk music salute overseen by T Bone Burnett.
Way back in the fall of 2013, our very own Mike Duquette reported on the release of Mike + the Mechanics’ The Singles 1985-2014, a two-disc compendium for the band founded by Genesis’ Mike Rutherford. He teased, “This set has been pushed back to January 20, 2014…to better coincide with some more Mike + The Mechanics events in the coming year, including a U.K. tour in the winter of 2014, a forthcoming memoir from Rutherford and a planned reissue of Living Years for its 25th anniversary.” Well, that year-old anniversary reissue of Living Years is finally receiving a U.S. pressing to coincide with a new tour.
Featuring guitarist/bassist Rutherford, vocalists Paul Carrack and Paul Young, keyboardist Adrian Lee and drummer Peter Van Hooke, Living Years marked an impressive sophomore release for the band. It was, of course, bolstered by the strength of the U.S. No. 1/U.K. No. 2 title track written by Rutherford and B.A. Robertson. No less than Burt Bacharach hailed the track as featuring “one of the finest lyrics of the last ten years,” and the song picked up the prestigious Ivor Novello Award in the United Kingdom. Paul Carrack sang lead vocals on the song, one of his six leads on the album. Bandmate Paul Young (not to be confused with the solo singer of “Everytime You Go Away”) handled the other four tracks’ leads. The album’s two other singles, “Nobody’s Perfect” and “Seeing is Believing,” reached No. 63 and No. 62, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100.
The original Mechanics line-up remained intact for one more album, 1991’s Word of Mouth. By 1995’s Beggar on a Beach of Gold, Lee had departed the band, though he played on the album as a session musician. That album would also be Van Hooke’s farewell. 1999’s self-titled Mike + the Mechanics, also known as M6, was the last of the group’s records to feature Paul Young, who died the following year. Carrack and Rutherford soldiered on for 2004’s Rewired, but Rutherford alone put together a new line-up of Mechanics for 2011’s The Road. Click the jump to keep reading! Read the rest of this entry »
When the venerable Goddard Lieberson, President of Columbia Records, announced the ascendancy of Clive Davis to a veep position at the label in 1965, the promotion of the younger man heralded for a new sound at Columbia. Lieberson had made Columbia the leader in the fields of classical and Broadway cast recordings, and was looking to position the label at the vanguard of rock, too. A number of new signings followed. Among those acts signed to the industry leader was The Cryan’ Shames, favorites on the Chicago live scene. The Shames – Tom “Toad” Doody on lead vocals, Jim “J.C. Hooke” Pilster on percussion, Dennis Conroy on drums, Jerry “Stonehenge” Stone on rhythm guitar, Jim Fairs on lead guitar and Dave “Grape” Purple on bass – released their Columbia debut, Sugar and Spice, in October 1966. It’s recently been reissued by Now Sounds in an edition which premieres the album’s original mono mix on CD. Now Sounds’ Sugar and Spice (CRNOW51) follows the label’s 2014 mono reissue of the Shames’ sophomore effort, A Scratch in the Sky.
Whereas A Scratch in the Sky was in large part inspired by the sunshine pop sounds emanating from California, Sugar and Spice was straight-ahead rock and roll with a decidedly British Invasion-esque bent. The LP was named after its straightforward revival of Tony Hatch’s “Sugar and Spice,” a hit for The Searchers three years earlier. “Sugar,” a local Chicago hit which reached the top 50 of the national Billboard pop chart, was one of seven covers to populate the album. Both it and its B-side, Jim Fairs’ original “Ben Franklin’s Almanac,” were initially released on the small Destination label and picked up by Columbia for inclusion on the band’s first long-player. Another cover from the Destination sessions was the band’s rendition of George Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone.” The Shames had heard the Beatle tune on the U.K. release of Rubber Soul and planned to give it a U.S. debut, but someone in Harrison’s camp got wind of it, and the single was scotched. Columbia rescued it for inclusion on Sugar. (Another Fab track here is The Shames’ rendition of Lennon and McCartney’s “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl,” first released on the 1970 various-artists compilation Early Chicago released on the Happy Tiger label and included as a bonus track.)
The Fabs, like the Shames, found inspiration in the music of Motown, and so a brisk, muscular run through Martha and the Vandellas’ hit “Heat Wave” also was included on Sugar and Spice. The rave-up “Hey Joe” shows the band’s garage-rock roots. Dame Vera Lynn’s 1939 anthem “We’ll Meet Again,” on first blush appears to be an odd choice from the Great British Songbook, but it had gained popularity among the younger set thanks to its inclusion in director Stanley Kubrick’s bitingly satirical 1964 film Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The Shames recorded it with a spot-on Byrds-style arrangement; of course, Roger McGuinn and co. recorded it on their own Columbia debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man. (The Turtles were another notable pop act to record the standard.) The Shames never hid their affection for their Columbia label mates, hence the equally strong cover of Gene Clark’s “She Don’t Care About Time,” the B-side to The Byrds’ hit “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
There’s more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »
When considering the history of Walt Disney Studios, Mickey Mouse is always front and center. Lovably scrappy Mickey became a breakout smash with 1928’s Steamboat Willie, setting the company on the path to becoming the all-encompassing entertainment conglomerate it is today. The character himself, however, has had several ups and downs over the years. One of these down periods was during the late 1930s when Walt Disney felt that Mickey wasn’t reaching the same heights of popularity he had previously. To remedy this, Disney decided to go back to the format of his earlier Silly Symphonies (which would feature a different character in each short subject) – but this time, with Mickey Mouse. Disney intended to craft a less-comedic-than-usual short with Mickey entitled The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, set to the music piece by composer Paul Dukas of the same name. When the short ran over-budget, however, Disney elected to craft an entire film of shorts of similar nature. This groundbreaking collection became the studio’s third full-length animated feature: 1940’s Fantasia. Now, to celebrate its 75th anniversary, Walt Disney Records is continuing its Legacy Collection series with the 4-disc release of The Legacy Collection: Fantasia on January 13, 2015.
Fantasia features eight segments (directed by different directors), each set to a different classical piece by composers including Bach, Stravinsky and Beethoven. The entire effort was overseen by Disney as well as story men Joe Grant and Dick Huemer. Composer and music critic Deems Taylor introduces each piece in a live action segment. For the all-important soundtrack, Disney brought in Leopold Stokowski to conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra on seven of the eight parts (Stokowski conducted a group of musicians from Los Angeles on “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”). A new multi-channel recording system was invented to capture the orchestra. Deemed Fantasound, it pioneered many techniques for recording multiple channels still in use today.
Fantasia was first released in roadshow presentations in 1940 and 1941. The first began on November 13, 1940 at the Broadway Theatre in New York City. Each roadshow employed the Fantasound set-up. The demands of World War II shortened a planned 5-year run of roadshows and Fantasia was given to RKO to distribute in a more traditional manner. RKO presented the film with a mono soundtrack and edited it down from its initial running time of 2 hours and 5 minutes to, at one point, a short one hour and 20 minute run time. Upon its 1946 re-release, Fantasia was edited to run one hour and 55 minutes, becoming the standard for all subsequent re-releases. Following that 1946 re-release, Fantasia has had seven more runs in theaters, in varying aspect ratios and eventually in stereo sound.
For the 1982 re-release, Disney had the entire soundtrack re-recorded in digital sound. Irwin Kostal (West Side Story, Mary Poppins) conducted a 121-piece orchestra for the new recording. This recording took into account the various edits that had been used over the years. This new edition was also re-released in 1985. But for the film’s 50th anniversary in 1990, the original soundtrack conducted by Stokowski was digitally remastered for the first time and the film negative was restored.
Upon its initial presentation in 1940, Fantasia did not have a soundtrack release. (Disney had actually spearheaded the concept of the commercial soundtrack release in 1937 with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.) It would take until 1957 when the full score (sans spoken intros) was released on a mono 3-LP set by Disneyland Records. A stereo version would follow. In 1982, Irwin Kostal’s digital re-recording received a 2-LP release. Both versions of the soundtrack have since been released by Walt Disney Records on CD.
What will you find on the new Legacy Collection edition? Hit the jump for that info, plus pre-order links and the full track listing! Read the rest of this entry »
For almost 50 years, between 1948 and 1994, The Staple Singers stood at the crossroads of gospel and soul, preaching messages of peace and positivity through music. In April 1965, The Staples – “Pops,” Mavis, Yvonne and Pervis – were joined by drummer Al Duncan and bassist Phil Upchurch at Chicago’s New Nazareth Church to record the album that became Freedom Highway. The LP, originally released on Epic Records, recognized that year’s historic civil rights marches from Montgomery to Selma, Alabama. Now, some fifty years later, Legacy Recordings has remixed, remastered and expanded this landmark recording as Freedom Highway Complete – Recorded Live at Chicago’s New Nazareth Church. On Tuesday, March 3, the reissue will be available as a single CD, a 2-LP set or a digital download.
The recording of Freedom Highway followed a tumultuous, important month in American civil rights history. Three landmark marches were held in March 1965 along the 54 miles connecting Selma, Alabama with the state capital of Montgomery. The March 7 march became known as “Bloody Sunday” when 600 marchers were violently confronted by state and local police forces. The March 9 event, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., likewise reached a standoff between police and protesters. The climactic March 21 protest found the marchers protected by a staggering 2,000 U.S. Army troops, 1,900 Alabama National Guard members, and other law enforcement personnel. In the years since, the marchers’ route has been proclaimed the “Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights Trail” and deemed a U.S. National Historic Trail. The acclaimed, new motion picture Selma, which opens nationwide tomorrow, January 9, dramatizes these dramatic events which led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Preacher, guitarist and singer Roebuck “Pops” Staples, along with his children Pervis, Cleotha, Yvonne and Mavis, was inspired by Dr. King and the actions of the protesters. On April 9, 1965, his group took the opportunity afforded by its status on the Epic Records roster to record a service inspired by the actions of the marchers. The set preserved on Freedom Highway features familiar civil rights anthems (“We Shall Overcome”), traditional gospel melodies (“When the Saint Go Marching In”) and religious pleas (“Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” “Help Me, Jesus”) along with the Staples’ newly-written “Freedom Highway.” Pops plays his six-string guitar throughout the service – the same sound that made the passionate preacher an unlikely soul music star. The original album was produced by country music superstar producer Billy Sherrill, who signed the Staples to Epic.
After the jump: we have more details including the full track listing and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »