The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for February 9th, 2010

Carnival of Sound is Coming!

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Here’s an exceptional treat for rock fans from Rhino Handmade: the first official release of Carnival of Sound, the legendary lost album from Jan & Dean.

Intended for release in 1968, the psychedelic Carnival of Sound was the first material that Jan Berry worked on after his debilitating car accident in 1966. It was never released, but after much bootlegging and three years of research the record is ready for release. The new set features 15 finished tracks from the sessions (no official track list was ever set, so the sequencing is brand new), all presented in both the original mono mixes. Additionally, there are 14 new stereo mixes, demos and outtakes included as well.

And here’s the home run for collectors: the label is offering a special collector’s edition with a vinyl version of the mono album in a hardbound package. Preorders are starting now – get it while it’s hot!

Written by Mike Duquette

February 9, 2010 at 16:37

Posted in Jan & Dean, News, Reissues

Grant Us an Extension

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The other day I was talking about how us catalogue fans can sometimes end up wanting that one missing track to add to our collections. I used the 45 version of Billy Joel’s “Sometimes a Fantasy,” which runs well past the fade-out on the LP, as an example. Interestingly enough, I realized that the track also adhered to another concept I realized I’m enamored of concerning music in general.

When I was a kid, I was always interested in the idea of a fade-out. You’d be listening to a song, getting all excited, and then gradually the song quiets down to nothing, even though the music was still going. That drove me nuts! I frequently risked hearing damage to listen to as much of those fade-outs as I could, quickly turning the sound back down before the next track blared in.

As I became more well-versed in the world of catalogue music, I realized that some artists and compilers seemed to share my opinion on the fade-out. As I got more and more into 12″ remixes, where other bits of the master recording could be utilized, I was hooked. Michael Jackson could be good for that sometimes (notably the 12″ to “Billie Jean,” which is just an unedited version of the song). So could Prince – the grossly underrated “Mountains,” off the Parade album, lets you hear another six or seven minutes of jamming. (This didn’t always work for The Purple One, as anyone who’s heard the 26-minute version of “America” or the unreleased half-hour jam on “I Would Die 4 U” – later edited to ten minutes on the 12″ single – can attest.)

I’ve also earned some vindication from the Rock Band series of video games. I could write a whole series of posts on how it’s opened me up to new acts and let me rediscover songs I’d heard a million times before. But one of the simplest pleasures in those games have been hearing a song that usually fades out come to a complete stop instead. Sometimes the goal is met through obvious editing, but sometimes a concrete ending, or otherwise unheard material, can be unearthed. (Cases in point: Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up,” Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69,” Squeeze’s “Tempted” and David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”)

So the next time you hop up to turn up your speakers to get those last sounds out of a song, don’t feel bad – you’re in good company. And what fade-out songs do you find yourself turning up? Let’s talk in the comment section.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 9, 2010 at 11:58

Reissue Theory: Madonna, “Like a Virgin”

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For someone so obsessed with image, it’s kind of unusual that Madonna has such an uneven back catalogue preservation behind her. In 2001, her first three albums – Madonna (1983), Like a Virgin (1984) and True Blue (1986) – were remastered with a pair of bonus tracks each (all 12″ dance singles). Nothing from that point on, including her crowning achievement Like a Prayer (1989), has been given even a remastering.

As for her hits, they can be found on one of a few compilations. There’s The Immaculate Collection (1990), a solid offering of material from the first eight years of her career, albeit a set that is heavily remixed, edited and overdubbed; Something to Remember (1995), a ballads disc with a few new tracks to boot; GHV2 (2001), a straightforward run-through of her material from 1992 to 2000 and Celebration, last year’s first career-spanning Madonna compilation, albeit one plauged with editing and mastering issues.

I’m not sure why someone with as much influence on popular music (not to mention a viselike grip on how her work is presented) as Madonna gets such short shrift on the catalogue side of things. Perhaps she’s one of those artists who “doesn’t like to look back” (the classic dreadful comment that tries to justify less-than-stellar catalogue presence). But she is worth it. And while the day a Madonna box set is announced is a day yet to come, one can hope that someday the heavy hitters in the Madonna catalogue will get some sort of royal treatment.

And coming off the fact that Like a Virgin, her first fully satisfying record, hit the top of the Billboard 200 exactly 25 years ago today, I got to thinking how a special edition of the LP might look. Have at it after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 9, 2010 at 11:38

Posted in Features, Madonna, Reissues

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