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Archive for June 2010

They’ll Be Compiled, in a Week or Two

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The a-ha reissue/compilation frenzy continues. The band’s official Web site just announced another compilation from Rhino Records, just months after last compilation The Singles 1984-2004 got a domestic release.

This new set, 25, features two discs’ worth of hits and favorite album tracks from every one of the band’s albums, including the new farewell single “Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah).” Pretty much everything that’s on The Singles 1984-2004 (and reaching a bit further, the 1991 comp Headlines and Deadlines: The Hits of a-ha) can be found here, so if you’ve been waiting to get some sort of a-ha comp (and why have you been waiting? these guys are great), this might be the one to get. There’s also a few rare single mixes and things for collectors too. (Speaking of collectors, the site also posted a photo gallery of the packages for the soon-to-ship deluxe editions of Hunting High and Low and Scoundrel Days.)

The set is due out in Norway on July 19 and should hit other markets “in the coming months.” Hit the jump and take on another a-ha anthology. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 30, 2010 at 15:37

Posted in a-ha, Compilations, News

Reissue Theory: The Tubes, “Outside Inside”

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The music industry is a crazy place. One year your band’s putting on a crazy stage show that equally satirizes and utilizes the grandest excesses of rock, the next minute you’ve got a hit single with most of the members of Toto for support.

Such is the tale of The Tubes, one of many ambitious, underappreciated bands from the ’70s and ’80s. During the band’s early tenure on A&M from 1975 to 1981, they had a significant following thanks to their funny songs (first single “White Punks on Dope” hit the Top 30 in the U.K. and was covered by Motley Crue) and outsize stage productions (directed by Kenny Ortega, known for other outsize productions like the High School Musical series and Michael Jackson’s This is It). Their biggest LP on A&M, 1979’s Remote Control, was a biting concept album jabbing at T.V. culture with Todd Rundgren in the producer’s chair.

But they left the label broke and dejected after their follow-up to Control was shelved. The Tubes made the sweeping decision to retool their image: the stage show was toned down and the songs were poppier, thanks to the production efforts of David Foster, who’d become famous in the ensuing decades for some of the most delightfully bombastic pop ever (Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Josh Groban). Their debut for Capitol Records, The Completion Backward Principle, cracked the Top 40, setting the stage for Outside Inside. Lead single “She’s a Beauty” was the band’s biggest hit ever, at No. 10 on the Billboard charts. The song had the band dovetailing nicely with Foster’s production and the co-songwriting abilities of Toto’s Steve Lukather (he penned the song alongside Foster and Tubes frontman Fee Waybill), who bought most of his bandmates along for the ride as well – David Paich and Steve Porcaro are credited on the record, and Bobby Kimball’s unmistakeable voice can be heard singing on the chorus. (In another bit of Toto-related irony, the well-received video for the single starred Robert Arquette – now Alexis – who is the sibling of Rosanna, the namesake of one of Toto’s biggest singles.)

Two other singles were spun off the record but were far less successful. However, final single “The Monkey Time” is notable for being slightly re-recorded for single release; vocalist Michelle Gray replaced Martha Davis of The Motels for the single (which would find its way on some CD pressings in place of the album version).

There was one more LP for Capitol afterward, the Rundgren-produced Love Bomb, and then no activity from The Tubes until 1996. In that time, Waybill became a valued collaborator to another soft-pop heavyweight, the one and only Richard Marx. But the band sure went out after a hell of a high note, and one that should earn the special treatment on CD someday. (Maybe it would start a reissue campaign for the band on both sides of the fence, Capitol and A&M.)

Step inside another world after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 30, 2010 at 10:53

Posted in Features, Reissues, The Tubes

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So Much News

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Apologies if The Second Disc is flooding your Web space with posts today. I, for one, am thrilled; it’s nice to see great news getting us catalogue enthusiasts through the week. And here are three little briefs to further your excitement for all things reissues:

  • Steven Van Zandt recently talked to a U.K. radio station about the long-in-development reissue of Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978). It looks like it might follow the format of this year’s Exile on Main St. reissue; Van Zandt said that at least ten outtakes not included on the Tracks outtake box set have been found – and Springsteen is doing “a little bit of fixes” on them. “I’m not sure how many we’ll put on there,” he said. “We’ll go back and he might finish a lyric on one or two, or finish a harmony on one or two, but we’ll keep them intact pretty much.”
  • EMI has given out a few streamable goodies from the upcoming reissue of R.E.M.’s Fables of the Reconstruction (1985). Hear the demo of “Auctioneer (Another Engine)” at Consequence of Sound and the demo of “Can’t Get There from Here” at Entertainment Weekly‘s Music Mix blog.
  • And some grist for the rumor mill: David Wild, one of your catalogue correspondent’s favorite journalists, is penning liner notes for something related to Barry Manilow. Last time I recall him mentioning liner notes, it was Bon Jovi-related, months before the reissues were announced. So this might be a hint at something. Stay tuned, as always.

Written by Mike Duquette

June 29, 2010 at 15:11

Reissue Theory: Solo Folds

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Could this man have been the heir to Randy Newman’s hysterically biting throne?

The Second Disc’s coverage of Randy Newman’s reissues from last week got your catalogue correspondent thinking about the possibilities lately that Folds – the definitive indie-pop pianist and one-time leader of Ben Folds Five, one of the best acts of the 1990s – should have ascended to that same jaunty position Newman commanded in the prime of his pop career. Sadly, this didn’t happen – and admittedly, it isn’t hard to see why.

As a songwriter, Folds knew how to create a narrative that could draw pure emotion out of you. Casual fans know (and in many cases over-exaggerate the virtues of) “Brick,” the band’s most commercially-successful single despite being an incredibly tragic, true-life tale of Folds taking a high-school girlfriend to get an abortion. Dig deeper through the Ben Folds Five discography (all three albums and one compilation worth) and you’ll discover plenty of other biting tunes that fuse you-are-there lyrics with eminently hummable melodies (“Steven’s Last Night in Town,” “Underground,” “Don’t Change Your Plans”).

It’s a fascinating output, and simultaneously an upsetting reminder of how far the guy’s gone. Proper solo debut Rockin’ the Suburbs, released a year after the Five imploded, continued that trend of well-written, occasionally ornate pop songs, but it was lost on most audiences thanks to an unfortunate release date (September 11, 2001). Folds went indie for a string of EPs in 2003 and 2004, but some of the songs felt too dashed-off or bloated. Songs for Silverman (2005) had its moments, but not enough. And his most recent effort, Way to Normal (2008), was elevated by material that wasn’t on the record; Folds leaked “fake” versions of several of the songs that were brilliantly anti-funny.

And that’s just the music; Folds is even more insufferable as a personality, making ridiculous videos on ChatRoulette and judging ridiculous music shows for NBC. None of these things have polarized much of his fan base, though, making one wonder what Folds would have to do to alienate listeners – and if he should consider doing it, just for kicks.

Folds’ newest record, Lonely Avenue, is set for release in September on a new label, Nonesuch Records (his first effort away from Epic Records, his home for 15 years). Encouragingly, it features lyrics from another, less-tired pen: that of Nick Hornby, the British author/music enthusiast famous for novels like High Fidelity and Fever Pitch. Time will tell if Hornby becomes the much-needed Bernie Taupin to Folds’ Elton John, but in the meantime, it might do well for Epic to start considering what they can do with Folds’ catalogue. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 29, 2010 at 14:53

EMI to Give Us Some Truth

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Whether you’re more of a John Lennon or Paul McCartney fan, it’s hard to overstate the contributions these two made to the pop-rock world, first as the principle songwriters of The Beatles and then as solo artists in their own right. Last year, of course, saw The Beatles’ discography get remastered for the first time since the original releases of the records on CD in 1987. The McCartney catalogue is slated to come back out on CD through Paul’s new homebase, Concord Records, starting with a new reissue of Band on the Run this August.

And now, EMI has announced the Gimme Some Truth campaign, a massive catalogue overhaul for John Lennon in celebration of what would have been his 70th birthday (if you can believe that). This wave of product includes a lot of remastering, compiling and vault hunting, so hit the jump and take a look at what’s going to happen. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 29, 2010 at 13:01

Posted in John Lennon, News, Reissues

A Catalogue to Last, Always and Forever

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Here’s some under-the-radar, in-case-you-missed-it news concerning the discography of Heatwave, the multi-national soul/disco group famed for killer cuts like “Boogie Nights” and “Always and Forever.” It looks like these records are getting their due on CD thanks to two indie labels, with one title already available and another few on the way.

First up, Edsel U.K. has combined and released a double-disc set comprising their first two LPs, Too Hot to Handle (1976) and Central Heating (1978). Both records were Top 5 R&B and Top 20 Pop hits and spun off hits like “Boogie Nights,” “Always and Forever” and “The Groove Line.” The set features six B-sides and original dance remixes plus new liner notes featuring an interview with the band’s original producer, Barry Blue.

Jumping ahead, it looks like Big Break Records (another U.K.-based label owned by the Cherry Red Group) is prepping a reissue of the band’s final work, Current (1982). The band looked considerably different; for starters, keyboardist Rod Temperton had left (though he still wrote almost every song for the group, not to mention a handful of cuts on Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall and Thriller LPs). Plus, following several unfortunate accidents, original bassist Mario Mantese had been replaced by Derek Bramble (later the co-producer of David Bowie’s Tonight) and founding member Johnnie Wilder, having been paralyzed in an auto accident, could only do so much in the studio, prompting the addition of several guest vocalists. Still, the band put together a powerful disc to close their career, and BBR promises to honor that with a remastered version of the record bolstered by in-depth liner notes and three bonus cuts. Look for the reissue of Current on August 10.

Order Too Hot to Handle/Central Heating here (no pre-order info for Current yet – the label’s Web site and/or Facebook page will likely have order info as it comes), and take a look at the sets after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 29, 2010 at 10:39

Posted in Heatwave, News, Reissues

Review: John Fogerty, “Centerfield: 25th Anniversary”

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John Fogerty can be called many things. Prolific, though, isn’t one of them. Fogerty’s 1985 Centerfield, originally issued on Warner Bros. Records, marked the former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman’s return to a prominent place in the rock pantheon after a near decade-long absence. After acrimoniously parting ways with his famous band, Fogerty recorded a collection of rootsy country covers (1973’s The Blue Ridge Rangers) for CCR’s longtime label, Fantasy Records. Yet Fogerty was locked in battle with Fantasy’s larger-than-life owner Saul Zaentz, whom he blamed for a number of bad business deals. Adding insult to injury was Fantasy’s ownership of the publishing rights to Fogerty’s famed compositions for Creedence. Yet the fact remained that Fogerty owed the label more albums on his contract, which he found himself unable or unwilling to produce. To extricate himself from this deal and sever all ties with Fantasy, Fogerty signed over an even larger portion of his royalties to Zaentz, and decamped for David Geffen’s artists’ haven, Asylum. His self-titled Asylum debut arrived in 1975, a mixture of originals (including “Rockin’ All Over the World,” later popularized by Status Quo) and covers (“Sea Cruise,” “Lonely Teardrops”). But a 1976 follow-up, Hoodoo, was deemed by both Asylum and Fogerty as unfit for release, and to this day remains fodder for underground music traders only. Fogerty would remain silent until 1985, refusing to play his Creedence hits and generate any more money for Zaentz.

Centerfield’s title had a double meaning, not only referring to baseball but to the position of prominence in the music biz Fogerty so clearly hoped to reattain. And did he ever.  Geffen Records celebrates the 25th anniversary of this chart-topping classic with an expanded CD reissue, arriving in stores today. Fogerty sang, wrote, arranged, produced and played all of the instruments on Centerfield, making an honest, definitive artistic statement. Run the bases after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 29, 2010 at 09:00

Posted in John Fogerty, Reissues, Reviews

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Rhino’s Next Hand(made Title)

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The latest Rhino Handmade title is up for sale, and it’s an expanded version of “Live” Full House, the 1972 concert chronicle from The J. Geils Band.

The group’s third release (after two relatively well-received studio LPs for Atlantic) was a tight set recorded over two nights at Detroit’s Cinderella Ballroom in April 1972. That eight-track selection is now being expanded to include both shows from both nights.

“Live” Full House, which starts shipping in August, also features six collectible playing cards with each member of the band (an extension of the original album sleeve, naturally) and liner notes from Ben Edmonds, who wrote for Creem at the time of the album’s original release.

As always, pre-order here and check the tracks out after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 28, 2010 at 20:29

Rhino Handmade Redux: Introducing Tartare

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One would think Collectors’ Choice Music would have had its hands full with July’s release of the complete Allan Sherman catalog. Not so. The fine folks at Collectors’ Choice have joined forces with Warner Music Group to introduce a new label designed to reissue LPs so rare, even WMG’s Rhino Handmade wouldn’t tackle them. With that in mind, the new label is named Tartare, and its first 10 releases are all due to ship on July 6. Any new reissue label is cause for readers of The Second Disc to rejoice; what makes this announcement particularly exciting is that many of the initial 10 LPs have long been coveted in a digital format, and all are making their worldwide authorized CD debuts according to Collectors’ Choice. It’s not yet known whether Tartare’s releases will include new liner notes; only original album artwork has been confirmed. It’s also indicated that the label is actually making the CDs to order for their customers, so it’s a fair guess that these may not be released to stores. To find out which titles from the WMG vaults are receiving the Tartare treatment, click to read more after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 28, 2010 at 15:30

Posted in News, Reissues

It is Spartacus

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Confirming months of rumor and speculation, Varese Sarabande Records has announced the full specifications for a lavish box set version of the music to Alex North’s score to the classic sword-and-sandal epic Spartacus.

The honchos at Varese weren’t kidding; the venerable score label’s latest limited release (the 1000th to be produced by longtime producer Robert Townson) is easily the largest set ever devoted to a single film score. A jaw-dropping six CDs and a DVD make up the set, featuring the entire film score in monaural sound, all the surviving stereo mixes of the music, 22 preliminary, alternate or unused cues and two discs of reinterpretations of the film’s love theme led by some of the most successful composers in film (and a few other musical luminaries, as well). The DVD includes eight unedited conversations with film music luminaries about the significance of North’s career. The set also comes with a 168-page, hardcover book featuring detailed analysis on the score, film and composer.

Orders are being taken for this set, priced at $109.98 and limited to 5,000 copies. Get it through the label’s official site here (it’s expected to ship in August) and hit the jump to take a look at the enormity of this set. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 28, 2010 at 11:24

Posted in Box Sets, News, Soundtracks