The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for April 3rd, 2010

The (Original) Sound of Philadelphia

leave a comment »

Long before the triumvirate of Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell immortalized “The Sound of Philadelphia” as silky, smooth soul, Cameo-Parkway Records supplied the soundtrack to the City of Brotherly Love.  The label may be best known for dances like the 81, the Twist, the Hully Gully, the Wah-Watusi and the Mashed Potato, or for teenage icons like Bobby Rydell.  But Cameo-Parkway’s roster was in fact much more diverse, from garage rockers ? and the Mysterians to doo-wop legend Johnny Maestro and even the Kinks.

Cameo Records was founded in 1956 by songwriters Bernie Lowe and Kal Mann, with Dave Appell by their side.  In 1958, Parkway Records joined their budding empire.  By late 1961, Cameo-Parkway had become the first independent record label to go public on the stock market, and they handily lived up to their slogan “The big ones are on Cameo-Parkway!”  The hits dried up post-British Invasion, though, and controversial manager/ impresario Allen Klein acquired a controlling interest in the company in 1967.  By 1969, Klein had renamed the company ABKCO Industries, and Cameo’s original recordings became scarce as Klein focused on higher-profile clients such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Cameo-Parkway’s vaults weren’t opened for the CD era until 2005 when ABKCO released Cameo-Parkway: 1957-1967 (ABKCO OX01-92232), a four-disc box set charting the company’s rise and fall.  A series of seven individual artist compilations and a single disc distillation of the box set followed, but no further titles ever materialized, until now.  ABKCO and Collectors’ Choice Music are joining forces to embark on an extensive Cameo-Parkway reissue campaign, and the first six CDs are scheduled for release on or about April 20 directly through Collectors’ Choice.  A street date will be announced shortly for general retail.  These titles range from the expected (Chubby Checker’s original, sought-after twist albums) to the wildly unexpected (Clint Eastwood sings!) and all boast new liner notes and extensive packaging.  Which albums have gotten the deluxe treatment?  Click to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 3, 2010 at 22:29

Posted in Compilations, News, Reissues

Review: David Bowie – “David Bowie” Deluxe Edition

with one comment

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 forgotten once international superstardom beckoned for Bowie.  His Decca period became most notorious for the single “The Laughing Gnome,” a Chipmunks-style, pun-littered novelty single that met a rather ig-gnome-inious fate.  So it was a great surprise that Universal bestowed the Deluxe Edition treatment on David Bowie in 2010 (UMC/Deram 531 792-5 UK pressing), and even greater surprise that the album is more than worthy of re-evaluation.

No expense appears to have been spared on this lavish two-disc package, which will be hitting US stores on Tuesday, April 6 including Amazon.  The album’s fourteen songs are heard in both mono and stereo versions, and have been appended with no fewer than twenty-five related tracks, including singles, alternate mixes and a previously-unreleased BBC Radio session.  A twenty-four page full-color booklet is filled with complete discographical information, an essay and Deram chronology.  Peter Mew and Tris Penna (the team also behind EMI’s recent deluxe reissue of Space Oddity on Virgin DBSOCD 40) have remastered the tracks “to ensure they sounded as good, if not better, than when they were first released,” according to Penna’s sleevenote.  It’s no exaggeration to say that they fully succeeded.  Read on… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 3, 2010 at 22:29

Posted in David Bowie, Reissues, Reviews

Tagged with

You’ve Still Got A Friend: “The Essential Carole King”

with 2 comments

The Second Disc is pleased to introduce our first contributor, Joe Marchese.  Joe is a NY/NJ-based writer, theatre director and music enthusiast, and is thrilled to be on board.

For many of her fans, Carole King’s career begins and ends with Tapestry. It’s not hard to see why; the seminal 1971 album spent fifteen weeks perched at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart, remained on the chart for six years, spawned two chart-topping pop singles, and influenced an entire generation of introspective female singer/songwriters. It also launched Carole King to performing stardom. At the time of its release, though, the former Carole Klein was already a seasoned music industry veteran – one week shy of the age of 29! She had spent most of her twenties at an upright piano in the smoke-filled cubicles of 1650 Broadway writing some of the most famous songs of the ‘60s with then-husband Gerry Goffin: “The Loco-Motion,” “Up on the Roof,” “I’m Into Something Good” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” to name just a few. When she relocated to California’s Laurel Canyon as a newly-single mother at the dawn of a new decade, her 1960 hit “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” must have seemed a quaint, distant memory.

Yet, despite all of the Carole King retrospectives available over the years, no release had ever united both distinct eras of her career. Sony’s Legacy division rectifies that with the latest addition to their Essential series, The Essential Carole King. This looks to be an exciting addition to the library of any fan of great pop music. Disc One covers King’s solo career, beginning with her 1962 single “It Might As Well Rain Until September” but primarily focusing on her prime 1970s material recorded for Lou Adler’s Ode label. Rounding out the disc are more recent collaborations with Babyface and Celine Dion. Disc Two showcases the best of Carole King, songwriter, as performed by other artists.  The track listing for this disc has been in flux.  It was originally reported that the Beatles’ cover of “Chains” would be featured, but it now appears that the Cookies’ original has taken the Fabs’ place.  In addition, Steve Lawrence’s “Go Away Little Girl,” which hit Billboard’s pole position in 1962, looks to have given way to the Byrds’ country-flavored recording of “Wasn’t Born to Follow.”  Still, a Who’s Who of rock and soul is confirmed, including Dusty Springfield, Gene Pitney, The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers, The Monkees, Aretha Franklin and even Billy Joel.

Sound enticing? The Essential Carole King streets on April 27 from Legacy.  Check out its Amazon listing here, and the full track listing can be found after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 3, 2010 at 22:28

Posted in Compilations, News, Reissues