The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for May 27th, 2010

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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