The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for June 24th, 2010

News Round-Up: Prince Possibilites, Soundtrack Bits, Plus Bon Jovi Reaction

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  • Here’s something that’ll get tongues wagging: gossip blogger Dr. Funkenberry, known for his commentary and scoops around the Prince camp, reported that The Artist partook in a meeting at the headquarters of former label, Warner Bros. The idea is that his upcoming album, 20Ten, will get a release with several European publications (similar to the release of 2007’s Planet Earth), but will be released through WB in the U.S. PLEASE let this mean that reissues are in the cards somewhere.
  • Pitchfork provides some more details on the upcoming reissue of Queens of the Stone Age’s Rated R, now scheduled for August 2. The two-disc set will feature all the B-sides previously speculated here (plus another, a live version of “Monsters in the Parasol”). They will fill the second disc of the set, alongside the band’s 2000 set at The Reading Festival. (What, is Pitch
  • We’ve been saying that Alex North’s music to the film Spartacus will get the deluxe treatment this year, and it looks like it’ll be announced next week. Varese Sarabande has set June 28 as the day to announce producer Robert Townson’s 1,000th set with the label. “Never has there been as elaborate a production of a single film score in all of film music history,” the brief goes on to say. (Rumors abound that the set will include a thorough presentation of the original score plus a set of tribute cues conducted by other luminous film composers.)
  • The La-La Land score label has also clarified its release dates for the remainder of 2010. On July 15, the label (which will have some both space at this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con) will reveal two new limited edition titles (one set at 3,000 units, another at 5,000). Another set of limited sets will follow on August 10 and titles will be announced every two weeks afterward through November 26, which will see three major titles announced. Guesses as to what the sets may be are more than welcome (one massive rumor for Comic-Con is a reissue of Danny Elfman’s iconic score to Batman).
  • Feeling like the Bon Jovi reissues were mostly ignored by critics? The die-hard Bon Jovi fans at Metal Asylum (good friends of The Second Disc) have turned in a thoughtful review of the first four LPs in the series.

Written by Mike Duquette

June 24, 2010 at 14:26

Reissue Theory: DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, “Homebase”

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We continue our summer set of Reissue Theory posts with a big star whose musical career is now just a footnote. But that footnote gave us, in part, one of the best-loved summer songs of the ’90s. Of course, we’re talking about DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince.

Sure, the latter is now known worldwide by his real name, Will Smith. And he’s a mega-movie star whose box-office power is relatively unmatched. He’s even better known for his star-making turn as the lead in the still-funny NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But let’s not forget that Smith started as a rapper, and a rather intriguing one, too.

When Smith and Jeff Townes burst onto the national scene in 1987, they were already celebrities in the West Philly rap scene, having been signed to local label Word Up Records for two years (amazing trivia: the A&R man who signed them was Paul Oakenfold, world-class remixer). Townes’ proficiency at the turntables, combined with Smith’s quick-paced, laid-back and youth-friendly flow, was a lethal combination. When the pair was signed to Jive in 1987, they found nothing but success, including the smash hit He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper (rap’s first double album) and the first-ever Grammy for a rap song, “Parents Just Don’t Understand.”

Although backlash and controversy were imminent – “serious” rap fans trashed the group’s clean, profanity-free image, follow-up LP And in This Corner… stiffed and Smith developed a pretty serious spending problem that got the I.R.S. involved – the duo managed to bounce back. Smith paid off his debts with his salary for a new TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (in which Townes also had a recurring role), and the two recorded a new LP, Homebase, in 1991.

That record spawned a massive hit in “Summertime,” one of the definitive hot-day pop classics. It won the pair another Grammy and kept the flame burning for their brand of pop-rap. Of course, Smith would move on to blockbuster films and his own, relatively successful solo rap career (with occasional input from Jazzy Jeff, who continues to be a successful DJ). But there’s no supplanting those early, innocent years from our minds.

In fact, given Smith’s star power, it’s unusual that DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s discography hasn’t gotten a “before-the-mega-fame”-type treatment; only a late-’90s greatest-hits record serves as the duo’s catalogue presence. So let this be the first suggestion to revisit this great material, Reissue Theory-style. Sit back and unwind after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 24, 2010 at 13:47

Back Tracks: Michael Jackson Part 1 – The Motown Years

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With Friday being the year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death, The Second Disc would be at fault for not commemorating The King of Pop’s recording career and its representation through catalogue preservation. But to quote a dusty outtake from The Jackson 5, we’re gonna change our style.

Your humble correspondent cannot possibly say anything about Jackson’s career that hasn’t already been said in the year since he passed away. There are plenty of other resources for such a thing – I recommend Popdose’s ongoing multi-part retrospective – but here will be simply devoted to the work as it has been presented for reissue and remaster enthusiasts.

Obviously, for someone with as long and prolific a career as Jackson’s, this is going to be a long set. Today presents the Jacksons’ reissues on Motown, and tomorrow will showcase the Epic years as well as a review of the brand-new J5 Live at The Forum from Hip-o Select.

Get it together and hit the jump for a tidal wave of Jacksonmania! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 24, 2010 at 12:25