The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for February 2010

Reissue Theory: Novelty Edition

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One of the potential hazards of being a music collector is that sometimes, if you’re feeling adventurous, you spring for an all-too-dangerous impulse buy. I’m guilty of this all the time, especially when the music in question is cheap. Put me within 25 yards of a garage sale or a cutout bin at a supermarket and I’m probably going to walk away having bought at least one disc.

Sometimes this strategy works out in my favor: a random purchase of Squeeze’s Singles 45 and Under from my local ShopRite grocery lit a fire of true fandom within. Other purchases…well, they’re not guilty pleasures (I can’t stand that term – if you like something you shouldn’t have guilt over it), but who honestly has a need for things like the soundtrack to Coneheads?

Fortunately, this almost never happens in the world of digital music. Well, it did for me, for a time. My college had utilized this (now-defunct) downloading service called Ruckus. It was kind of like a cut-rate iTunes (not quite as wide a selection), although it was was free (with limitations – the music couldn’t go onto an iPod without cracking digital rights management). It was good enough to enable me to test-drive catalogue purchases that I’m now glad I own. But it was also a breeding ground for finding the most out-there tunes I could imagine, and sharing them with whomever would listen (usually my forgiving roommates).

Such novelties almost never get remastered or even compiled for that matter (unless they have a lot of genuine love behind them, like from Dr. Demento or someone like that). But who’s to say they shouldn’t? The beauty of the reissue market is that it’s enough of a niche that you can find an audience for just about anything nowadays. And with a bit of time and attention, stuff even more out-there than these next two releases may see some sort of release.

Hit the jump to see the two LPs I’m referring to, and add your own unusual reissue suggestions if you’d like. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 26, 2010 at 13:20

Stones Material Coming Out of “Exile”

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NME reported today that The Rolling Stones have set a May 17 (that would be the 18th for us Americans) release date for a new deluxe edition of Exile on Main St. The 1972 double album, which confused critics upon release but is now seen as a Stones classic, will be released in a few formats: a single-disc reissue, a double-disc version with ten unreleased tracks and a deluxe box with both CDs, a vinyl copy, a new half-hour documentary on DVD and a 50-page collector’s book.

What the NME report doesn’t say is what’s on the DVD. Luckily, Hollywood Reporter gossip columnist Roger Friedman does, and it might turn out to be something of a find for hardcore fans. Says Friedman:

Ten minutes of “Cocksucker Blues” are being included officially in a 30-minute documentary that the Stones will release in May. The other 20 minutes comprise 10 minutes of a film that was released but few saw called “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones” (out of print and unavailable since 1974) and 10 more minutes of a new full-length doc called “Stones in Exile,” made by director Stephen Kijack. That latter title will also be released as a full-length doc at the same time in a format still to be determined.

So, ten minutes of Cocksucker Blues, the infamous, debauched, unreleased documentary of The Stones’ Exile on Main St. tour. It’s something, I guess (albeit something only attached to an expensively padded box set at the moment). And a part of Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones, too (which, as far as I can tell, was never officially released on DVD – “officially” being the operative word). That could open the door for a full-length version of each someday, though one wonders why it’s not done now.

Stay tuned as always for more info as it comes.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 25, 2010 at 21:33

Back Tracks: Tears for Fears

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Not many people dig music from the 1980s. To a degree, I understand why. Sandwiched between the monstrous artistry of album-oriented rock bands of the ’70s and the mainstream-busting advances of grunge and rap in the ’90s, most of the music of the ’80s was characterized by an emphasis on image (i.e.: MTV) and artifice (why hire a drummer when you can buy a Linn LM-1?).

But a good song – whether it’s a hit or not – will transcend its labels and packaging and hopefully turn into something you’ll want to hear over and over again. I can think of no better example of this phenomenon than Tears for Fears.

I got pretty fiercely hooked on TFF in college – and who wouldn’t be, really? The group’s first three LPs – 1983’s The Hurting, 1985’s Songs from the Big Chair and 1989’s The Seeds of Love – are not only engaging for their songs, but for their evolution as well. The Hurting was a dark, New Wave type album heavy on introspection and psychoanalysis. This gave way to Big Chair, contextualized those themes on a bigger playing field, both lyrically (not just self against self, but self against others) and sonically (keyboards now mixed with heavier guitars and fresher drum sounds). The Seeds of Love would take that evolution even further (way more live instrumentation, more big-picture lyrics).

The group’s core members, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, would split up after Seeds, leaving Orzabal to carry the TFF moniker through a pair of good-but-not-great albums in the 1990s. But the duo would reconvene in the 2000s, releasing Everybody Loves a Happy Ending in 2004 and playing gigs here and there around the world.

Along the way, the band’s catalogue has seen its share of reissuing and remastering. If nothing else, the handling of the catalogue proves that Tears for Fears is much more than an ’80s synth-pop band – although for every catalogue title it seems there’s some material that could have been.

Now, in honor of Songs from the Big Chair, which was released a quarter-century ago today, The Second Disc presents a look back at the catalogue titles of Tears for Fears. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 25, 2010 at 13:29

Release Round-Up: In Case You Missed Them

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Here are a couple of catalogue release tidbits, one that I’m certain is fairly new and a few stragglers I’ve neglected to mention thus far:

  • Rhino has started taking pre-orders for The Prague Sessions, a new Peter, Paul and Mary compilation. The set features previously unreleased live versions of the folk group’s best-known songs, backed by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Should be an interesting new way to hear these songs.
  • On March 23, Eagle Records is releasing Live at Knebworth, a two-disc live set originally released (as Knebworth: The Album on Polydor) in 1990. Recorded during a widely-celebrated concert to raise money for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and the Brit School Of Performing Arts, this title features live performances by Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Status Quo, Elton John, Genesis, Tears for Fears and more.
  • Spandau Ballet fans, fire up your credit cards: two of the band’s records are getting expanded reissues, but as of now they only look to be U.K. imports. Journeys to Glory (1981) and Diamond (1982) will each come with a bonus disc packed with B-sides, remixes and previously unreleased live tracks. (Anyone else find it as funny as I do that the sets are arranged not unlike the Duran Duran remasters of late?) Have a look at the track list for both over here.
  • A previously reported release, the Legacy Edition of Elvis Presley’s On Stage, has been given a formal track list. The set combines the original On Stage live LP from1970 with four bonus tracks and adds an expanded version of Elvis in Person at the International Hotel, a live record released in 1969 as part of the set From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis. (The other half of that set, the studio album Back in Memphis, was reissued last year on the Legacy Edition of From Elvis in Memphis.)

Written by Mike Duquette

February 25, 2010 at 10:34

Rumor Mill: More Def Leppard Reissues Coming?

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Tonight I was given an interesting tip from a friend, Kevin Alba of Metal Asylum, concerning a potential next wave of reissues from Def Leppard. According to the story (scroll down a bit more than halfway to read), Japan is getting SHM-CD remasters of the band’s first two albums, On Through the Night (1980) and High and Dry (1981). Now of course this kind of stuff happens all the time, but what makes it interesting is that both sets are supposed to feature bonus discs with as-yet-unannounced material.

In 2006, the band’s 1987 LP Hysteria was given the classic Universal Deluxe Edition treatment, adding a bonus disc filled with B-sides and other bonus tracks. Last June, similar sets were issued for Pyromania (1984) and Adrenalize (1992). Could these SHM-CDs indicate a pair of deluxe editions of the first two Def Leppard records are coming from UMe?

It would benefit hard rock fans nicely; after all, there is a bit of material relevant to these records that could help flesh out the bonus discs (particularly a handful of single-only tracks and remixes as well as an independent EP), and who knows what else could be lurking in the vaults?

As always, keep reading The Second Disc for more info as it comes.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 25, 2010 at 00:48

Posted in Def Leppard, News, Reissues

Reissue Theory: Was (Not Was), “What Up Dog?”

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I’ve got to be the only twentysomething I know that’s this excited over Pick of the Litter 1980-2010, the new compilation by pop-funk band Was (Not Was). Quirky aficionados may know them for left-field, late-’80s hits like “Walk the Dinosaur” and “Spy in the House of Love.” Others may know them as the band that put producers Don Was and David Was on the map (they would, either separately or together, work on such albums as Cosmic Thing by The B-52’s, Nick of Time by Bonnie Raitt and Bob Dylan’s odd Under the Red Sky). But no matter how you know them, there’s little to deny their place as one of the funniest, funkiest bands that time almost forgot.

The core of Was (Not Was) – David on keyboards, Don on bass and the dual soul vocals of Harry Bowens and Sweet Pea Atkinson – was as smooth, funky and soulful as they come. It was their unconventional songwriting (telling creepy slice-of-life stories in “Out Come the Freaks,” the thinly-veiled masturbation references in “Walk the Dinosaur”) and their amazing penchant to nab big guest stars (Ozzy Osbourne, Mel Tormé, Marshall Crenshaw, Leonard Cohen) that turned them into the cult-rockers they are today. And their pop success, however fleeting, was the icing on the cake.

Part of the Was (Not Was) discography has been reissued before. The band’s 1981 self-titled debut LP was expanded by ZE Records (under a new title, Out Come the Freaks) in 2004 with a host of remixes and non-LP tracks; that same year a 1984 compilation, The Woodwork Squeaks, was drastically reconfigured to fit a bunch of non-LP cuts left off of the Out Come the Freaks reissue (together, they essentially function as a two-disc set). But no deluxe treatment has ever been given to the band’s third record, What Up Dog?, the one that yielded those big hits in the ’80s. So in traditional Reissue Theory style, here’s a track list to make you open the door, get on the floor, and walk the…well, you get the idea. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 24, 2010 at 12:57

Posted in Features, Reissues, Was (Not Was)

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I’ve been listening to Pet Sounds a lot lately. Maybe it’s the dreary weather; whenever I put on some Beach Boys things feel a bit sunnier. But it’s a heck of a record (as I’m sure most of you know) – one of those rarified few that’s hard to chop down entirely.

It’s also fascinating that it’s one on a rather short list of pop albums that have supported its own box set. The sprawling The Pet Sounds Sessions, released in 1997, chronicles the process of the album through alternate mixes, outtakes, other session excerpts and – perhaps most notably – the first-time stereo mix of the record. It was and is a fascinating listen.

So much so, in fact, that I’ve scoured many a discography lately trying to think of some albums that are worthy of such a treatment. There are already several album/box sets out there I can immediately think of. The Stooges had a few album boxes: Rhino Handmade released the massive 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions box in 1999, and Raw Power was tackled twice (one six-disc set by Easy Action Records in 2005 and the triple-disc box coming from Legacy this April).

Legacy has done a few album boxes based on some of their best-known singer-songwriters. Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run got the deluxe treatment in 2005, adding two DVDs to the mix. A similar approach was taken for Billy Joel’s The Stranger in 2008, which added an unreleased live set and a DVD. (Lightning will strike again soon, as Springsteen has discussed plans to do a similar box set for Darkness on the Edge of Town.)

I’m sure there are more. But as with most remastered-music discussions on The Second Disc, I’m interested as much in what can be as I am in what already is. To that end, I offer just a few ideas to the album/box set idea pile. As always, though, I would love to hear your ideas, too. Read on after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 23, 2010 at 20:46

So Much to Give

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Another late breaking release announcement: Hip-O Select has announced the reissue of I’ve Got So Much to Give, the first record by Barry White. Out of print for years, this remastered disc comes with new liner notes by BW collaborator Jack Perry (who also worked on last year’s killer Unlimited box set) and two bonus cuts making their CD debut. And collector’s rejoice: it’s unlimited!

Check out the tracks after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 22, 2010 at 23:40

Posted in Barry White, News, Reissues

J is Indeed for Jackson 5

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Awhile back I’d posted on the existence of a “new” Jackson 5 title, J is for Jackson 5. My guess was that, like the similarly titled B is for Bob set done for Bob Marley, the CD would be a kid-friendly compilation of J5 tunes (not that they really recorded that many kid-unfriendly tunes). Thanks to an Amazon listing, my beliefs have been proven correct.

The tracklist offers nothing new for J5 acolytes, unless you don’t have any of the officially-released, now out-of-print Motown karaoke CDs. Some of the instrumental backing tracks that appeared on those sets are present here, so if you’re craving instrumental Jackson 5 and can find this disc for cheap, you might as well go for it when it streets on March 30.

Full track list after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 22, 2010 at 16:11

Reissue Theory: Peter Gabriel, “Deutsches”

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On this day 42 years ago, Decca Records released a single, “Silent Sun,” by a new band, Genesis. It was the first single off From Genesis to Revelation, an album that would not be released until nearly a year later. Neither the single nor any material from that first album would resemble anything near the forms of Genesis we know and love today. The sound was less prog and more psychedelia, and the teenaged band members – lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, keyboardist Tony Banks, guitarist Anthony Phillips and bassist Mike Rutherford (there was no full-time drummer at the outset) – had much musical development to experience.

Of course, after a few years and lineup changes (Steve Hackett replaced Phillips as a guitarist, and short-lived drummer John Mayhew was replaced by Phil Collins), Genesis became a prog-rock tour de force. And then, for better or worse, they became a lean, mean pop band after Gabriel and Hackett left the fold and Collins took double duty on drums and vocals (alongside Rutherford’s balancing of bass and guitar). No matter which version of Genesis you prefer, there’s no denying that the band left a long musical legacy, one that’s nabbed them induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month.

The brash youngster in me first gravitated toward the MTV-ready Genesis of the ’80s, but over time I’ve come to appreciate the kind of wacky genius Peter Gabriel bought to the fore. And that genius kept shining throughout his solo career, whether he was recording screwy New Wave-esque records with worldbeat influences or orchestra-backed covers of indie-rock (that would be his most recent record, the recently-released Scratch My Back).

The oddest entries in the Gabriel catalogue, however, have got to be a pair of records released in the early ’80s and more or less unheard in America. After his 1980 and 1982 records (known either as Peter Gabriel and Peter Gabriel or Melt and Security, depending on who you ask), he released a special version of each of them in German. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 22, 2010 at 14:01

Posted in Features, Peter Gabriel

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