The Second Disc

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Archive for April 10th, 2010

Reissue Theory: Malcolm McLaren, “Duck Rock”

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The recent passing of music impresario Malcolm McLaren has led to a lot of emotions. Some hate McLaren for his self-aggrandizing ways and mismanagement of The Sex Pistols’ supernova career. Others laud him for his contribution to music history as not only a tastemaker and agent provocateur, but as a semi-successful musician as well.

There’s something to be said about some of that music, too. McLaren’s debut LP, 1983’s Duck Rock, has been championed – thanks to both the quality of the music and McLaren’s near-unmatched gift of self-promotion – as one of the first records to bring hip-hop culture and technique to the masses. It mashed up worldbeat and Stateside DJ prowess (cutting and scratching and such) and packaged it in a way that reflected the excitement of old-school New York dance music (down to the sleeve art by Keith Haring). The record also had a considerable staff at hand, including synth whiz Thomas Dolby and all of the members of The Art of Noise (Duck Rock producer Trevor Horn in fact formed the group with Anne Dudley and J.J. Jeczalik not long after the making of the record).

While McLaren would later dabble in other genres in subsquent years, including funk and opera(!), it’s probably Duck Rock that will end up as his signature work. And with the rising trend of reissuing great, off-the-wall U.K. dance LPs from the ’80s (hello, ZTT!), maybe it’s only a matter of time before Duck Rock gets the deluxe treatment. And there’s a lot of material there, too – not only the various single tracks and remixes (some of them compiled on the 1998 remix album Buffalo Girls Back 2 Skool), but a hard-to-find record of Duck-inspired material recorded on tour and released very quickly in 1985 (even the press release cheekily dismissed it as filler – but it’s never been pressed to CD, which might be at least fair to give it a whirl).

Your buffalo girls go round the outside after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 10, 2010 at 11:46

Review: Elvis Presley – “On Stage: Legacy Edition”

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When Elvis Presley took the stage of the newly-built Las Vegas International, “the world’s largest resort hotel,” on July 31, 1969, few predicted that a new era would start for the entertainer.  Presley had been absent from the concert stage for eight years and the Vegas community still harbored memories of his poorly-received 1956 stint at the New Frontier Hotel.  Despite the recent success of singles “In the Ghetto” and “Suspicious Minds,” not to mention the hallowed ’68 Comeback Special, Elvis’ success was far from assured.  But when the series of shows was instantly hailed as classic, defining a new image of the King as jumpsuit-clad Vegas showman, Presley’s longtime label RCA was on hand to record a number of the August 1969 sets.  The first album of this material to emerge was the October 1969 release of the live/studio hybrid double LP set From Memphis to Vegas – From Vegas to Memphis (RCA LSP 6020).  The live portion of that album was reissued in November 1970 under the new title Elvis – In Person (RCA LSP 4428).  A subsequent stand at the International in February 1970 yielded a June release of Elvis – On Stage (RCA LSP 4362), and now, some forty years later, both the On Stage and In Person LPs have been afforded the royal treatment by Sony as a combined and expanded On Stage – Legacy Edition (RCA/Legacy 88697 63213 2).

Following in the tradition of last year’s Legacy Edition of From Elvis in Memphis (RCA/Legacy 88697 51497 2), producer and Elvis guru Ernst Mikael Jorgensen has assembled a package worthy of the King.  The 22-page full color booklet includes an essay by Ken Sharp, numerous photos and full discographical and recording information.  A nice, welcome touch is the presence of RCA orange labels on each disc with the period logo, and reproductions of the front and back cover art of the original LPs.  Disc One represents the original On Stage album, with a set list concentrating primarily on contemporary covers such as “Release Me,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Proud Mary” and “Yesterday.”  Elvis was unable to overtake the original performers in attempting these cover versions, but it’s fascinating, nonetheless, to hear his takes on such familiar hits.  In the case of Joe South’s “Walk a Mile in My Shoes,” though, Elvis made the song his own.  The Legacy Edition expands the original track lineup with versions of “Don’t Cry, Daddy,” “Kentucky Rain” and “Long Tall Sally” from the same February 1970 shows as well as a revealing composite of attempts at “The Wonder of You” from an afternoon rehearsal.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 10, 2010 at 10:47

Posted in Elvis Presley, Reissues, Reviews

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