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Archive for April 16th, 2010

Unforgettable – I Think

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For someone with such an iconic tune in “Unforgettable,” there seems to be a lot of Nat “King” Cole’s discography that gets lost in the shuffle. While he’s known for his work as founder of The Nat “King” Cole Trio, and later a pop crooner with few equals, for Capitol Records starting in 1943 (indeed, the label’s famous Hollywood offices are informally called “the house that Nat built”), he did a great deal of work for other labels – not only with The King Cole Trio, but as a piano man for other jazz luminaries.

These recordings have been released in various configurations over the years largely through Universal Music Group (owners of much of the pre- and non-Capitol material), but there’s never really been an ultra-definitive take on this work altogether – at least, not along the lines of, say, Mosaic’s 18-disc The Complete Capitol Recordings of The Nat King Cole Trio (1991). (Discographical information regarding these years is even harder to find online.)

That is, until now. Hip-o Select, through the burgeoning Verve Select imprint, has announced Riffin’: The Decca, JATP, Keynote and Mercury Recordings, a lavish triple-disc box that covers this early and often overlooked period in Cole’s career. The program includes those early King Cole Trio singles for Decca as well as studio tracks in which Cole backed jazz masters like Lester Young, Willie Smith, Buddy Rich and Dexter Gordon, plus Cole’s live ivory-tickling at the first-ever Jazz at the Philharmonic concert in 1944. The package includes lots of rare photos (including little-seen album and single sleeves) and liner notes by famed music writer David Ritz.

Pre-order it here and hit the jump for the full track list. (Sorry, no in-depth discographical notes herein – there’s too much information and too little of it can be found online.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 16, 2010 at 23:36

Review: Two by Mancini

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Henry Mancini would have gone down in film history had he only composed the instantly recognizable “Pink Panther Theme,” or supplied the melody to Johnny Mercer’s wistful lyric “Moon River.”  But those accomplishments are mere tips of the iceberg for the man who scored over 80 films and recorded over 90 albums, garnering 20 Grammys and 4 Oscars along the way.  Hardly a year goes by without a CD reissue of one of his classic scores, and 2010 is no exception, with 2 very different works given new life in recent months: The Hawaiians (1970) and Married to It (1991). 

Due to a persistent pop sensibility that rewarded him richly with hit albums and singles, Mancini insisted on re-recording most of his scores for LP presentation.  These LPs were often wonderful and still stand the test of time.  But Mancini usually rearranged his already-melodic cues into more easily accessible short tracks.  Both Intrada’s The Hawaiians (Intrada Special Collection 124) and Kritzerland’s Married to It (KR 20015-0) offer the first presentations of the original, complete film recordings, and as a bonus, The Hawaiians also includes the re-recorded United Artists score LP on a second disc.  (Married to It receives its first-ever album here, as no soundtrack LP was issued at the time of the film’s release.)  Details follow after the jump!  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 16, 2010 at 14:37

Posted in Reissues, Reviews, Soundtracks, Uncategorized

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Reissue Theory Three-Peat: The Stray Cats

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Musical inspiration can come from anyone, anywhere – even if you’re not a musician.

Consider the notion of talking with friends about evolving musical tastes. The conversation shifts to music enjoyed during early adolescence – when suddenly, you discover a revelation: a friend secretly spent their early middle school years enamored of the swingin’ sounds of The Brian Setzer Orchestra.

You laugh and joke about it – because what pre-teen in the past decade could possibly jazzed by Setzer’s swing revival? – but then you start thinking. And researching. You remember Setzer was excellent in his previous band, the rockabilly revivalists The Stray Cats. An hour later, you’re scratching your head, because for all their popularity in America, the band’s discography is incredibly spotty on compact disc.

You see, Setzer, Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom wisely predicted their throwback style – down to the leather jackets and greaser haircuts – would play much stronger in England. With producer Dave Edmunds, they cut a pair of relatively successful albums, Stray Cats and Gonna Ball, both released in 1981. Just as the novelty started to wear off, EMI America released Built for Speed, an album cobbled from those two records, in 1982. It was a smash hit, as was the follow-up, 1983’s Rant N’ Rave with The Stray Cats.

For such considerable hit records – “Rock This Town,” “Stray Cat Strut” and “(She’s) Sexy + 17,” it was a surprise to find out that not only are Built for Speed and Rant N’ Rave next to nonexistent on CD, but no label has ever treated those original U.K. LPs to a Stateside release. That may not seem as odd to you, but at The Second Disc we like to celebrate any musical movement, no matter how small.

So, shoring up the resolve to research (and inspire), The Second Disc’s continuing Reissue Theory series proudly presents you with a look at three hypothetical reissues of The Stray Cats’ early rockabilly recordings. Rock ’til you pop and/or drop after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 16, 2010 at 13:40

EXCLUSIVE: More Info on the Bon Jovi Reissues

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It is with great pleasure that The Second Disc can divulge a few more details on the forthcoming Bon Jovi reissues due on May 11 from Island Records and Universal Music Enterprises. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time any of this information is coming out – something of an exclusive!

Some of these details are more on the technical side, but anyone wondering for more Bon Jovi tidbits (including how much of the promised live content is unreleased) will be in for a nice surprise. Find it all after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 16, 2010 at 11:32

Posted in Bon Jovi, News, Reissues

The Chairman from Ipanema

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Frank Sinatra. Antonio Carlos Jobim. Two great musical tastes that taste great together. Ol’ Blue Eyes brought his inimitable voice to the smooth bossa nova compositions of Jobim in 1967 with the LP Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, in which the two teamed up on Jobim’s best tracks (“The Girl from Ipanema,” “How Insensitive”) and some great standards as well (Berlin’s “Change Partners,” Porter’s “I Concentrate on You”). Four years later, another Sinatra-Jobim session yielded one side of the 1971 release Sinatra & Company.

Now, on May 4, all the Sinatra-Jobim tracks (including a few hard to find offerings) will be available on one compilation. Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings is the first American compilation of these 20 great hits (a Brazillian double-LP, Sinatra-Jobim Sessions (1979), had 19 of these tracks and two bossa nova cuts not featuring Jobim).

Pre-order from Amazon and have a look at the tracks after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 16, 2010 at 00:35