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Archive for May 2010

Hip-o Loves Lofgrin

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A late announcement for readers: Hip-o Select has begun taking pre-orders for another reissue from Nils Lofgren.

Since 2007, the label has been remastering and reissuing the solo works of Lofgren, of course best known as one of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band members for the past quarter-century. Thus far, his original band Grin’s final LP, Gone Crazy (1973) and solo efforts Nils Lofgren (1975), Back It Up!! Live-An Authorized Bootleg (1975) and Cry Tough (1976) – all originally released on the A&M label, have been put back into print by Hip-o Select.

That reissue trend continues with I Came to Dance (1977), a solid pop-rock effort featuring a cover of “Happy,” from The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main St., as well as contributing vocal turns from R&B singers Patti Austin and Luther Vandross.

The usual pre-order link is here, and the track list can be read after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 29, 2010 at 00:16

Posted in News, Nils Lofgren, Reissues

Friday Feature: A Discful of “Dollars”

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Blame the continuing heat in the Northeast. Blame the recent release of video game Red Dead Redemption. But it’s just a good time for some great music from the “spaghetti Westerns,” that subgenre of film where the Italian film community emulated and built upon the traditions of the American Western picture. Ask any film scholar and they’ll likely tell you that few directors contributed more for the genre than Sergio Leone – and futhermore, that his best works had Ennio Morricone providing a musical score.

Leone and Morricone would become a team not unlike Hitchcock and Hermann or Spielberg and Williams, although their first meeting would never have tipped you off. In 1964, Leone’s producers asked him to consider Morricone, an avant-garde composer who also did many Italian pop arrangements, to score his newest film, Per Un Pugni di Dollari. Leone was reluctant (he wasn’t a fan of Morricone’s few other film scores), but ultimately the two hit it off, especially after Morricone’s realization that the two had attended the same elementary school.

Morricone’s contributions to the film were heavy. Both men were tired of the typical sweeping orchestral score that augmented such Westerns, so Morricone decided to sweeten it with some unorthodox arrangements and instruments, including wood flute, harmonica, solo and choral voices (sometimes providing deliberately atonal sounds) and a lone Fender Stratocaster. The style of the music enhanced the film greatly (it already had a lot going for it, with a plot borrowing heavily from Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, a unique, close-up-oriented cinematographical style and a relatively unknown American actor, Clint Eastwood, as the antiheroic “Man with No Name”), and A Fistful of Dollars (as it would ultimately be known in America) was a rousing success.

After the jump, read about the style of the other films in the so-called “Dollars” trilogy and the many albums they spawned. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 28, 2010 at 13:44

Posted in Features, Reissues, Soundtracks

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Back Tracks: Billy Idol

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Lately, I’ve been unable to turn the radio dial to a rock-oriented radio station without happening on the music of Billy Idol. There’s nothing wrong with that – Idol was one of the best artists of the ’80s – but it’s a bit jarring, if only because it’s hard to think of Billy Idol as a rocker, in the truest sense.

Sure, his music is dominated by some excellent guitar (usually from the axe of the fantastic Steve Stevens), and it has a bit of an edge thanks to Idol’s irrepressible snarling vocals. But Idol is not a rock guy. He’s a very overtly pop guy. He covered a few ’60s pop and R&B songs, and released them as singles. That blond, spiky hair atop his head, the skintight leather get-up and even his punk-rock past can’t disguise that he’s got as big a heart, musically, as that tough-looking guy in shop class that also sang in the glee club.

In honor of the one Idol I have no problem hearing this week (sorry, FOX Network), here’s a look at Billy’s (semi-)rockin’ catalogue from the past two decades or so. Take a look after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 27, 2010 at 15:35

Posted in Billy Idol, Compilations, News, Reissues

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Paying the Price

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Next week is going to be much more comfortable when it comes to posting on The Second Disc. After several months of bitterly typing and researching over a creaky, aging Dell PC (having lost a nearly-just-as-creaky Thinkpad T60 laptop), the weekend should see your humble correspondent upgrading to a Macbook. As a lifelong Windows user (barring my time writing and editing for my newspaper in college), it’s an unusual but worthwhile transition, and I can’t wait to regain simple pleasures like posting outside, from the deck in the backyard, cold drinks and music by my side.

What does this have to do with anything catalogue-oriented? By my count, I will be paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 for my computational upgrade. That is roughly half of what I would have to spend to buy Legacy’s newly-announced The Genius of Miles Davis box set. The latter is a 43-disc box set housed in a trumpet case, with a lithograph, t-shirt and replica trumpet mouthpiece, all housed in a replica trumpet case. The box will not be able to play music. It could not check your e-mail, or organize your personal discography, and certainly won’t be able to post on The Second Disc. So why would one be paying more for the computer, which can do all these things?

It’s been discussed before that lavish box sets may be a way to attract hardcore CD buyers, even in the face of the ongoing economic and music industry slump. Some of last year’s box sets were in fact the impetus behind creating The Second Disc in the first place. Last September’s Beatles box sets and the super-deluxe edition of Pearl Jam’s iconic Ten were just two such examples of this growing trend.

An increasing amount of labels and genres have been rolling out such box sets, which were once limited only to jazz or sophisticated pop acts (i.e.: Frank Sinatra’s 20-disc The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings, Clifford Brown’s The Complete EmArcy Master Takes). Recently, the trend has spilled over into the rock world; Rhino did a “brick” comprising all of The Talking Heads’ DualDisc remasters in 2005, while EMI quickly issued a box set of all of Radiohead’s catalogue for the label, to compete with the then-forthcoming “discbox” version of In Rainbows (the first LP the band released after leaving EMI).

The trend may have hit its zenith last year, with the aforementioned sets for Pearl Jam (two CDs, a DVD, four vinyl LPs, a cassette and a collector’s booklet in one package) and The Beatles (two boxes of remasters – one compiling all the band’s albums and singles in stereo, one compiling everything they released in mono and a few other rarities), not to mention sets for Michael Jackson (Hello World: The Motown Solo Collection, which assembled four solo LPs, two compilations and some mixes from the vault) and Miles Davis (the 71-disc The Complete Columbia Album Collection).

“So what?” some may ask. “What’s the harm in asking $2,000 for another Miles box set?” And the answer is: it’s too damn much. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 27, 2010 at 13:10

Our Castle and Our Keep

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After yesterday’s Miles Davis pricing madness, The Second Disc brings you some much more appreciable madness, through another set of reissues by Madness, one of the best-known ska acts of the ’80s.

Continuing the band’s ongoing reissue project, Salvo and Union Square Music has prepped the band’s fourth and fifth LPs, The Rise & Fall (1982) and Keep Moving (1984), as double-disc deluxe reissues. Both sets will feature various remixes, B-sides and promo videos to boot.

It’s notable that The Rise & Fall, which spawned the beloved single “Our House,” never got a U.S. release; the song (and several other tracks from that album) was incorporated into a self-titled compilation released only in North America on Geffen Records.

Put on your Sunday best and check out the track lists (and pre-order links here and here, courtesy of Amazon U.K.) after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 27, 2010 at 11:03

Posted in Madness, News, Reissues

Review: Otis Redding, “Live on the Sunset Strip”

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“Are you ready for star time?” Considering that the star in question was “the one and only, Volt recording star Otis Redding,” the answer was bound to be in the affirmative. That was the introduction granted Redding by emcee Al Brisko Clark at West Hollywood’s Whisky A Go Go on the evenings of April 8, 9 and 10, 1966. The Whisky was the happening nightspot on the Sunset Strip in ’66, immortalized by Johnny Rivers on a 1964 LP and frequented by a who’s who of the Los Angeles music scene. (See Dominic Priore’s excellent 2007 book Riot on the Sunset Strip for the definitive account of this heady time and place.) The 24-year old Redding’s stint at the Whisky was captured by Wally Heider’s mobile recording unit for the posthumously-released In Person at the Whisky A Go Go (Atco LP 33-265, reissued as Atco/Rhino R2 70380) which drew on different sets to create a composite performance. This perpetually in-print LP was joined by a companion volume in 1982, Otis Redding Recorded Live: Unreleased Performances (Atlantic 19346), which was itself expanded for the 1993 Stax CD Good to Me: Recorded Live at the Whisky, Volume 2 (Stax SCD-8579-2). Now, more than 40 years after Redding’s 1967 tragic death, Stax/Concord offers Live on the Sunset Strip (STX-32046), a 2-CD collection comprising the final 3 consecutive sets of Redding’s Whisky run. While some of this material is duplicated on the prior releases, this is the first time the sets (Show 2 – Set 3, Show 3 – Set 1 and Show 3 – Set 2) can be experienced as heard by the crowd at the corner of Sunset and Clark on those April nights. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 27, 2010 at 09:36

Posted in Otis Redding, Reissues, Reviews

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Miles More

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Eighty-four years ago today, Miles Dewey Davis III was brought into the world. His contributions to the fabric of American music – jazz, pop, rock, whatever you want to call it – are immense. Accordingly, he has been celebrated often by the label with which he had his greatest successes, Columbia Records. Last year, the label released The Complete Columbia Album Collection, a 70 CD/1 DVD box set which captured just that: every one of the LPs Davis recorded for the label from 1957 to 1985.

It ended up setting quite a precedent for massive box sets on CD (at a time when wildly enormous box sets were common), and now Legacy Recordings is slated to repeat that precedent with Davis’ catalogue once more. The Genius of Miles Davis is a 43-disc compilation that collates eight box sets – the previously-released “sessions” boxes released between 1996 and 2007 – all packaged in their original limited edition metal slipcases (except The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions, which never had one of those metal cases) in a collector’s trumpet case packed with other swag (most notably a replica of Davis’ own trumpet mouthpiece).

All 21 pounds of this set should be available for pre-order sometime today, per a notice from Legacy (the same notice that gave us this), at Davis’ official Web site. Check back often, since it’s not there last I checked before hitting “publish.”

And here are the boxes included in The Genius of Miles Davis. The track lists are far too complex to post (even for The Second Disc), but you can read some fantastic round-ups of them (as well as other session info and reissues done for Miles by Legacy) right here. Not sure if they’re being placed inside the box in chronological or release order, but we’re opting for chronology here.)

Discs 1-6: The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis with John Coltrane (Columbia/Legacy C6K 65833, 2000)
Discs 7-12: Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings (Columbia/Legacy CXK 67397, 1996)
Discs 13-19: Seven Steps: The Complete Columbia Recordings of Miles Davis 1963-1964 (Columbia/Legacy C7K 90840, 2004)
Discs 20-25: The Complete Studio Recordings of The Miles Davis Quintet 1965-1968 (Columbia/Legacy C6K 67398, 1998)
Discs 26-28: The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions (Columbia/Legacy C3K 65362, 2001)
Discs 29-32: The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (Columbia/Legacy C4K 65570, 1998)
Discs 33-37: The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions (Columbia/Legacy C5K 86359, 2003)
Discs 38-43: The Complete On the Corner Sessions (Columbia/Legacy CK 706239, 2007)

Written by Mike Duquette

May 26, 2010 at 13:03

Put Him Back In, Coach

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It’s been known for awhile that John Fogerty’s 1985 album Centerfield was slated for a reissue by the folks at Geffen and UMe. Now, the bonus tracks are known.

According to both the press release and this story from Billboard, Fogerty – who, in a perfect stroke of timing and publicity, is being honored in July by the Baseball Hall of Fame for the album’s iconic title track – will include two B-sides released during the Eye of the Zombie era, “My Toot Toot” and “I Confess,” in addition to the original nine-track album. (Sorry guys, it doesn’t look like “Zanz Kant Danz,” Fogerty’s famous slight against Saul Zaentz – formerly of Fantasy Records and a legal foil for Fogerty during his CCR days – is making the cut.)

View the full track list for the reissue – available June 29 – after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 25, 2010 at 15:10

The Setlist Situation

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When Legacy announced a new compilation series called Setlist, featuring some of their roster’s greatest hits in a live setting, some fans understandably started scratching their heads. The label’s Playlist series, from which this new series obviously drew inspiration, made sense on a few levels. They were compilations priced for the budget-conscious, and sometimes had a few bones thrown to hardcore collectors in the form of single-only mixes or edits.

For Setlist, however, the premise seems confusing. A compilation of live tracks? How many have been previously released? Will venue and date information be properly given on the package, or is this going to be a series similar to the low-budget Extended Versions titles? This seems like something fans need to ease into.

As part of that easing-in process, The Second Disc has compiled a thorough (if not entirely comprehensive – I’m sure some vintage live cuts have slipped through the cracks somewhere) list of the artists announced for Setlist titles – and the live material those bands have already released. Keep these existing title in mind when the first wave of the Setlist series comes out on July 13.

Check out the list after the jump, from Alabama to REO Speedwagon. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 25, 2010 at 14:11

SRV Track List Unveiled

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Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble’s second LP, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, was recently confirmed to be reissued as a Legacy Edition title from Sony. Now, it has a track list.

The two-disc set will feature the original LP and 11 outtakes on Disc 1. (Three of them are unreleased, the others are from a previous reissue and/or the posthumously assembled LP The Sky is Crying.) Disc 2 captures the complete late set from the band’s performance at Montreal’s Spectrum in August 1984.

Pre-order this set through Amazon and hit the jump to check out the track lists. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 25, 2010 at 09:38