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Archive for July 2010

The Times, They Are Indeed A-Changin’: Mono Dylan Reissues Coming

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It’s been bandied about for a little bit now, but it looks like it’s true: there’s an Amazon listing for Bob Dylan’s The Original Mono Recordings. It’s an eight-disc set of the first eight Dylan LPs – his 1962 self-titled debut to 1967’s John Wesley Harding in their original mono mixes (or more specifically, according to this Rolling Stone article: “reportedly mastered using ‘first issue copies of the mono LPs’ in order to recreate the sound of the original LPs”) – with a new 60-page book of liner notes by Greil Marcus and discographical information.

It’s not the only catalogue project planned from Dylan’s camp: The Bootleg Series Vol. 9 is also set to drop in October, alongside the mono box. A purported track list from the RS article – as well as reminders of the track lists for each record in the box – can be found after the jump. (Thanks to Pause & Play for the dates.)

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 30, 2010 at 13:47

A Wounded Bird Bonanza (EVEN MORE ADDED 7/30)

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Wounded Bird Records has just opened the floodgates and got a couple of interesting obscurities released or reissued on CD. There’s a couple of notable names here, and at least one that looks to have bonus tracks. Hit the jump to see them all.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 30, 2010 at 12:50

FSM to Catalogue Soundtrack Buyers: Start Saving!

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Film Score Monthly has been a soundtrack fan’s haven for two decades running, and has been a quality home for vintage soundtrack expansions and reissues for nearly 15 of those years. Almost anyone who collects scores has a favorite, whether it’s early works by John Williams, expansions of scores to Star Trek sequels, or box sets full of film music devoted to Superman.

FSM founder Lukas Kendall recently took to the Web to make a rare set of pre-announcements of product – and some of them are rather big, even though they’re on the small screen! Full details after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 30, 2010 at 11:59

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Friday Feature: “Predator”

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If you went into theatres in the summer of 1987 to see Predator, you might have expected a rote action film with Arnold Schwarzenegger and nothing more. On the surface, there’s nothing that would have you expect anything else. The Austrian Oak leads a team of soldiers through an attempted rescue mission in South America. Sounds like any other action movie from the ’80s, right?

But then you catch those quick bursts of infrared images. The distorted sound. The unearthly snarling. And you realize there’s another element at play. When Arnold’s men start falling to mysterious weaponry, it’s a definite: this isn’t your garden variety action film. When the killer hunting arnold through the jungle reveals itself as a hulking, masked, dreadlocked creature from space? We’re definitely not in Val Verde anymore.

Predator may not be a classic. It’s essentially The Most Dangerous Game crossed with Alien, with none of the sociopolitical undertones that made Alien and Aliens classics of the genre. But as a pure popcorn flick, it succeeds on almost every level. The ace direction from John McTiernan (who followed this picture with another defining ’80s action film, Die Hard) face-melting testosterone (the death-grip/arm-wrestling handshake when Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers reunite early in the film), the presence of not one but two future governors (wrestler Jesse Ventura as Blaine, the soldier who “ain’t got time to bleed”) and the creepy subliminal body part resemblance in the Predator’s face (think about it – then shudder) – all of these things contribute to a thrilling experience for a Saturday afternoon.

Upon repeated viewings, one may be quick to realize how much the music helps drive the action and suspense of the film. Its composer, Alan Silvestri, had just made a name for himself in a big way with the rousing score to Back to the Future two years prior – but it was his first major score to 1983’s Romancing the Stone that set the template for the music of Predator. Relying heavily on ethnic percussion – including that classic bongo motif that continues to define the character – it is one of the strongest entries in Silvestri’s filmography, an amazing feat considering how hot his streak was at the time (between the Back to the Future trilogy and his frenetic score to Disney’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988).

Astoundingly, the music of Predator only recently got the appraisal it deserves on CD – but the results have been satisfactory. Hit the jump to find out more – and remember: if it bleeds, we can kill it.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 30, 2010 at 11:11

Posted in Features, Reissues, Soundtracks

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REO Speedwagon Will Keep on Loving You

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A short note from a Billboard story: REO Speedwagon are looking to commemorate the 30th of Hi Infidelity with a deluxe reissue and tour.

Released at the end of 1980 and one of the biggest sellers of 1981, Hi Infidelity was something of a renaissance for the band, taking them from lower Top 40 success to chart-topping dominance. Aided by a clutch of hits including the undying No. 1 ballad “Keep on Loving You” and the Top 5 follow-up “Take It on the Run,” Hi Infidelity went nine times platinum.

Although the record was given a straight remaster in 2000, frontman Kevin Cronin told Billboard that the band recently found old acoustic studio demos from the original sessions and hope to include them in a deluxe reissue. The band is also planning some commemorative performances of the whole LP for their 2011 tour.

Keep it here at The Second Disc for more info as it develops.

Written by Mike Duquette

July 30, 2010 at 08:47

Rhino Handmade Releases Unreleased Tony Joe White

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The latest Rhino Handmade title is That On the Road Look “Live,” a rumored live album by Tony Joe White – finally revealed to be true.

White was a Louisiana-bred guitarist famous mostly for his compositions rather than his own performances. “Polk Salad Annie” was his biggest hit, but it’s primarily known as a concert staple during Elvis’ last decade. “Rainy Night in Georgia” was also his composition, though Brook Benton made it a gold-seller in 1970. But this live set – the recording date and venue of which are unknown – is all White’s. Thirteen tracks, recorded alongside Sammy Creason on drums, Michael Utley on keyboards and Donald “Duck” Dunn on bass guitar, of White burning through his own tunes available on LPs from Warner Bros. and Monument Records, and a cover of “Stormy Monday” to boot. This sounds like it should be a hit for the swamp-rock, Creedence Clearwater Revival-esque crowd (White speculates in the liner notes that the show may indeed come from a show where White opened for CCR).

Pre-order here and read the track list after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 29, 2010 at 15:03

REMINDER: The Second Disc Ticket Giveaway Ends Friday

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Just a quick heads-up that The Second Disc’s giveaway for a decidedly non-catalogue (but still pretty notable) live show ends this Friday, July 30.

Thanks to Sony’s RED Distribution, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to see Chris Shiflett and The Dead Peasants. Shiflett, currently the lead guitarist for The Foo Fighters and also known for his work with Me First and The Gimme Gimmes and others, released a roots-oriented LP with new band The Dead Peasants (hear here).

The pair of tickets is for a show at TT the Bear’s Place in Cambridge, Massacusetts, and all you have to do to win e-mail to us at theseconddisc (at) gmail (dot) com. Entries close on July 30 and the winner will be selected at random.

Continued luck to our entrants!

Written by Mike Duquette

July 28, 2010 at 14:10

Reissue Theory: Sting – “The Art of the Heart”

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This week’s Reissue Theory is something a bit different: a proposal to reissue a record that’s never actually been released!

When people talk about phenomenal live artists, the conversation doesn’t often turn toward Sting’s solo career. The Police were a hell of a live act – they built their career on constant touring all over the world – but Sting’s solo career, however good, always has an air of stuffiness to it. How could the same singer currently on tour with a symphony orchestra ever be considered a loose, must-see live act?

There’s a few pieces of evidence to the contrary; unsurprisingly, they’re from the beginning of the onetime Gordon Sumner’s solo career. It’s all too easy to forget that in 1985, when recording The Dream of the Blue Turtles, Sting had some of the best jazz-fusion sidemen in his camp. Having moved to guitar from his usual bass, he employed then-twentysomething Darryl Jones, from Miles Davis’ backing band, to keep the bass grooves limber. (Jones would of course become the unofficial bassist for The Rolling Stones after Bill Wyman retired in 1993.) Omar Hakim, who’d played in Weather Report and on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance LP, was given the heavy task of banging the skins after Stewart Copeland gave The Police its inimitable rhythm. Kenny Kirkland, the bespectacled, youthful keyboardist, was plucked from Wynton Marsalis’ ensemble to play piano and synths (he in fact held down this duty during The Police’s last shows in 1986).

It’s known that Wynton Marsalis was vocally upset about a white Briton co-opting so many jazz musicians for pop purposes. Part of that anger may have stemmed from the fact that Sting recruited not only Kirkland from the elder statesman’s employ, but his older brother Branford on saxophone. Branford Marsalis became Sting’s secret weapon, capable of drawing out the most smoldering solos on not only Sting’s new songs (“If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” “We Work the Black Seam,” “Fortress Around Your Heart”) but some of the many second-tier Police songs Sting brought from hibernation on his new tour.

That tour was rather greatly chronicled on the double-live set Bring On the Night in 1986. While Sting was the main draw for most concertgoers, it’s safe to guess that many of them left with some of the other musicians’ names on their tongues. When most of that core ensemble reconvened for the follow-up, …Nothing Like the Sun (1988) (less Jones and Hakim – Sting went mostly back to bass alongside Mark Egan of Pat Metheny Group fame, while Manu Katche – still a close collaborator with Sting – began his tenure at the drum kit), the result was less commercial but even better – arguably some of Sting’s strongest work lives on this record.

What less people discuss was the tour – a sprawling affair that saw Sting take many diverse side players along with him. In addition to Marsalis, Kirkland, percussionist Mino Cinelu and vocalist Dolette McDonald (all of whom had worked with Sting on at least one of his first two solo LPs), Sting had drummer J.T. Lewis (an early drummer for Living Colour), Tracy Wormworth (ex-bassist for The Waitresses), session guitarist Jeffrey Lee Campbell and Delmar Brown as a second keyboardist. The sets were long, focusing mostly on …Nothing Like the Sun material but also delving into interesting covers and even solo turns from other members.

When the ensemble performed at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles on July 27, 1988, Sting apparently decided that this show should get a good recording for possible release as a live record. As a result, the band were in rare form, diving into an hours-long set with plenty of vigor. Of course, as is usually the case, the live record – provisionally titled The Art of the Heart by some – never happened, but in the early 1990s the soundboard feed was leaked and heavily bootlegged.

Releasing the complete set – itself about three discs as a bootleg – would probably be a stretch. But an edited portion from these shows would be a fitting tribute to the underrated nature of Sting’s prowess as a live artist. Have a look at the track list after the jump and share what you’d want to release in the comments.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 28, 2010 at 08:45

Posted in Features, Reissues, Sting

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Back Tracks: The Cars

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The above picture is a bit of a shock, if you haven’t seen it yet: all four of the surviving members of The Cars – Ric Ocasek, Elliott Easton, Greg Hawkes and David Robinson – in a recording studio. It was posted to the official Facebook page for the Boston-based rockers on Thursday. No caption, no explanation. Just the members of The Cars, possibly gearing up for some new music.

And who’d have thought? Since the band broke up in 1988, chances seemed slim where a reunion was concerned. The death of bassist Benjamin Orr in 2000 seemed to make a reunion impossible – who would sing “Drive,” “Let’s Go” or “Just What I Needed”? – although Hawkes and Easton partook in the ridiculous New Cars project with Todd Rundgren on lead vocals. (Ocasek, for whatever reason, gave his blessing.) It’s a shame, though – there were few bands that could fuse synths and guitars like The Cars, and their perfectly crafted power pop/rock singles are the stuff of rock radio perfection to this day.

While The Cars’ future might not be so touch-and-go, we at least have a bit of catalogue titles here and there to fall in love with. Let’s go after the jump to look back at them, shall we?

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 27, 2010 at 14:51

Iconoclassic to Reissue Solo Carl Wilson and Guess Who in September

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If sensitive composer/producer Brian Wilson was the soul of The Beach Boys, and brash frontman Mike Love the voice, passionate singer/guitarist Carl Wilson was no doubt the heart. There was little Carl Wilson couldn’t do, vocally, whether the angelic tones of “God Only Knows,” the soulful shouting of “I Was Made to Love Her” or the dreamlike psychedelia of “Feel Flows.” And when brother Brian wasn’t able to guide the band through the tumultuous 1970s, Carl stepped up to the plate with an amazing run of songs bringing the band’s sound into a new decade: “Long Promised Road,” “Trader,” and the aforementioned “Feel Flows” among them. He channeled a nostalgic sound to co-write 1974’s “Good Timin’” with Brian, and also assumed the production reins to finish many of Brian’s lost masterworks, including “Surf’s Up” from the aborted SMiLE sessions.

Yet as the 1980s dawned, the Beach Boys found themselves a fractured unit. Carl, once the glue that held the group together, made the decision to embark on a solo recording career. He signed with James Guercio’s CBS-distributed Caribou label, home to Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue, and in March 1981, Carl Wilson was released. Despite the presence of the gorgeous ballad “Heaven” which was a Top 20 Adult Contemporary single, the album only reached No. 185 on the Billboard 200. Nearly two years later, in February 1983, the singer released his second and last solo effort, Youngblood. This Caribou release is being reissued for the very first time on CD on September 21 courtesy of the fine folks at Iconoclassic Records, who on the same date will be reissuing the Guess Who’s 1973 Artificial Paradise.  Hit the jump for more on the story behind these two albums, as well as the track listings and pre-order info! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 27, 2010 at 09:26