The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for July 26th, 2010

The Second Disc Interview #1: A Soulful Chat with Harry Weinger

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It is with the greatest pride that The Second Disc presents its first-ever interview, bringing you closer to the catalogue music world we all love so much.

Our first interviewee is one of the most notable names from the world of reissues. Harry Weinger, vice-president of A&R for Universal Music Enterprises, has been part of the music business for more than 30 years, writing for publications like Rolling Stone, Vibe, Billboard and Cashbox before becoming a staff writer for PolyGram’s publicity team. After some time penning press releases and liner notes, Weinger became part of the creative force for Star Time, a sprawling four-disc overview of James Brown’s influential discography. It won him a Grammy, and it’s been strength to strength since then. The early 2000s saw Weinger, by then a full member of the Universal Music Group family, not only continue to maintain the catalogue of Mr. Brown, but a wide range of artists on the Motown and Verve labels. He’s since picked up another Grammy (for the Standing in the Shadows of Motown soundtrack) and a NAACP Image Award and continues to compile fantastic product for casual and hardcore fans (notably the Complete Motown Singles box sets).

After the jump, Weinger shares some great stories and news about Michael Jackson, Barry White, some great upcoming projects and the future of the catalogue industry.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 26, 2010 at 15:45

Elvis is Alive…Sort of

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A quick heads-up on the awaited pre-order for Elvis Presley’s The Complete Masters box set: just got word from Legacy that the pre-order date is now August 2 rather than tomorrow. A track list will be available when it’s up. Rest easy, friends – this is still happening!

Written by Mike Duquette

July 26, 2010 at 15:25

News Round-Up: Dead on Vinyl, Closer to Elvis, Deluxe Duran Rearranged and More

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  • The Grateful Dead is releasing a five-LP box set containing reissues of the band’s first five studio albums for Warner Bros. records. Collectors will want to take note that this box will include the original mixes of Anthem of the Sun and Aoxomoxoa, which have not been released since the original LPs came out. The set is due on September 21; pre-orders placed now get a bonus reproductions of a 7″ single and a vintage promo poster.
  • While we await tomorrow’s pre-order date for a crazy-enormous Elvis box set; Legacy has announced another Elvis catalogue project: Viva Elvis, the soundtrack to the forthcoming Cirque du Soleil event. Due out in November, the album promises to be a project very similar to The Beatles’ Love, with literally tens of thousands of Elvis samples abounding in new musical contexts.
  • Based on EMI’s news release through the official Duran Duran Web site, the finalized track listings for September’s reissues of Notorious and Big Thing actually look a bit different from what was previously reported. The remixes are arranged before the live material on the Notorious bonus disc (and one previously-available-on-CD remix will be featured as a digital bonus track) while the Big Thing reissue will present the original album with the band-approved B-side remix of “Drug” in place of the original album version, which will be added to the second disc. They’re still due out September 28 in America.
  • Neil Young informed his fanbase (or warned, depending on how much money you have) that Archives, Vol. 2 is in the works. Four unreleased albums look to be dug up in the process, including Chrome Dreams, Homegrown, Oceanside-Countryside and a vintage live recording.
  • Finally, anyone wondering how much unreleased material was slated for Warner’s Tim Burton & Danny Elfman 25th Anniversary Music Box can at least help determine the answer: producer Richard Kraft is taking requests on the Film Score Monthly message board.

After the jump, enjoy the track listings for the Dead box and the upcoming Duran sets.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 26, 2010 at 11:39

Breaking News: More “Promises” Kept from Kritzerland

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We catalogue music enthusiasts just can’t get enough. Near-universal acclaim greeted Kritzerland on its re-release of the original cast album of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s Promises, Promises, including from your humble correspondent. Yet many of those cheers were quickly followed in the fan community by: “Now, when are you going to release the London Cast Recording?” The long-lost United Artists LP was recorded in 1969 with the stars of the production at the Prince of Wales Theatre: Tony (then Anthony) Roberts (Annie Hall, How Now Dow Jones, Xanadu) as Chuck Baxter, Betty Buckley (known to television viewers from her role on Eight is Enough and to the theatre world as the star of Cats, Sunset Boulevard and the infamous Carrie) as Fran Kubelik, James Congdon as J.D. Sheldrake, Donna McKechnie (repeating her role as Vivien Della Hoya from the Broadway production) and Jack Kruschen, reprising his Oscar-nominated turn as harried Dr. Dreyfuss from Billy Wilder’s original film The Apartment. Roberts and Congdon would later assume their roles on Broadway, while New York understudy Kelly Britt recreated her showstopping Marge MacDougall (“A Fact Can Be a Beautiful Thing”) for the London production and LP. Broadway stalwart Ronn Carroll and a host of British performers rounded out the cast. The album has a very different feel and sound than its American counterpart. Rights issues have long kept the LP from seeing its CD debut, but just last week, Kritzerland miraculously solved those problems, and this morning the label announced a 1,000-copy limited edition of Promises, Promises: The Original London Cast Recording.

Hit the jump for more information including the complete track listing and how to order your copy, plus a link for sound samples! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 26, 2010 at 10:39

Of Panthers and Baby Elephants: “The Essential Henry Mancini” Coming Soon

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Henry Mancini’s film score work has been anthologized numerous times, and the latest such release is due August 24 from Legacy as part of their ongoing The Essential… series. The Essential Henry Mancini is a 2-disc overview containing 36 tracks, dating between 1958 and 1983. During that time, Mancini was one of Hollywood’s most prolific composers, creating memorable themes for the big and little screens alike. Mancini’s longterm collaboration with Blake Edwards ranks with the Danny Elfman/Tim Burton and John Williams/Steven Spielberg teams as among the most influential ever in the annals of film music.

Based on the track listing, The Essential Henry Mancini appears to be a solid 2-disc Mancini primer, touching on the most famous songs and themes composed by the gentleman. These are expected to be drawn from his large catalogue at RCA Victor, where he re-recorded most of his film scores as listener-friendly albums. (Soundtrack buffs still await the release of many of Mancini’s most famous scores as actually heard in the films, such as The Pink Panther or Charade, but record company contracts make such releases unlikely.) There is, expectedly, considerable overlap with past Mancini anthologies such as Days of Wine and Roses (RCA CD 66603) and Henry Mancini: Greatest Hits (RCA CD 67997), though are some unique selections here. (Hopefully new liner notes and a respectful remastering will sweeten the deal.) In addition, with such a large body of work, there were bound to be omissions, and there are many: in the television arena, Mancini’s recognizable themes to What’s Happening? and Newhart are absent, just to name two. On the film side, it’s easy to miss the haunting “Whistling Away the Dark” from Darling Lili and “Wait Until Dark” from the movie of the same name, not to mention the groovy title tune to The Party.

To do this esteemed composer true justice, one would have to assemble a cross-licensed set combining actual score recordings (Film Score Monthly, Kritzerland and Intrada have all released impressive Mancini albums in recent months), the RCA cuts and vocal renditions of his memorable songs by artists like Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis and Julie Andrews. Some of those aforementioned artists can actually be heard on a previous Legacy release, The Music of Henry Mancini (Legacy CD 66505).  In the meantime, The Essential Henry Mancini should be a solid introduction to one of the all-time greats of the soundtrack world.  It includes most of his best-loved compositions, and of course his hit recording of Nino Rota’s “A Time for Us (Theme from Romeo and Juliet),” the only track on this set which wasn’t composed by Mancini.

Pre-order here, and hit the jump for the track listing with source information for each track! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 26, 2010 at 10:33

British Invasion, Redux: New Sets Due from The Searchers and Petula Clark

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While the original British Invasion is now just a few years south of 50, its music continues to endure. The Second Disc is pleased to report on a trio of new releases coming our way from two of the U.K.’s seminal artists, The Searchers and Petula Clark.

One of the best and most successful bands to come out of Liverpool, The Searchers may have toiled in the shadow of that other band from Liverpool, but hits like “Sugar and Spice,” “Pins and Needles” and “When You Walk in the Room” remain some of the strongest recordings to come out of the mid-1960s. Now, Universal U.K.’s Sanctuary arm is bestowing the band with the lavish box set treatment. Entitled Sweets, Spice, Sugar, Pins and Needles, the box turns the spotlight on 120 tracks over four discs. Those tracks include rough demos, BBC recordings, solo turns by group members and material from the late-1970s power pop discs released here in the USA on the Sire label, not to mention all of those classic hit singles.

This box set comes hot on the heels of a recent single-disc anthology which saw the band back in a Top 10 position on the British pop charts, but this box set should satisfy fans both abroad and stateside. The Searchers may have suffered for a lack of original songwriting, but the cover versions they chose were almost uniformly top-notch, whether emanating from the East or West Coasts of America. Sun-kissed songs like Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono’s “Needles and Pins” and Jackie DeShannon’s “When You Walk in the Room” both were reworked a la Merseyside, while the Brill Building catalogs of Pomus and Shuman (“Sweets for My Sweet”) and Leiber and Stoller (“Love Potion No. 9”) were likewise beneficiaries of the Searchers’ hitmaking prowess. Release date information and the track listing for Sweets, Spice, Sugar, Pins and Needles hasn’t been revealed to the public yet (although favorable reviews have shown up at both Record Collector and Mojo), but watch this space for such news when it arrives.

Under the pen name Fred Nightingale, Pye Records staff producer Tony Hatch wrote and produced one of The Searchers’ most enduring hits, “Sugar and Spice.” But Hatch’s biggest claim to fame may be the landmark recordings he wrote and produced for Petula Clark, often in tandem with then-wife and collaborator Jackie Trent, and sometimes with Petula herself. Clark was to Hatch what Dionne Warwick was to Burt Bacharach, or Nancy Sinatra to Lee Hazelwood: a muse and perfect interpreter. The Petula Clark Newsletter is reporting some most exciting news: Collector’s Choice is said to be preparing an entry for Petula in its acclaimed Complete Singles series. Past volumes have seen the singles of Paul Revere and The Raiders, Tommy James and The Shondells, Jan and Dean, and Gary Lewis and The Playboys collected; Clark’s large, diverse body of work is the perfect candidate for this expansive treatment.

The 2-CD set will comprise all of Petula’s American singles released on the Warner Bros. label, with many tracks different than their album counterparts. The B-sides frequently featured Clark’s own compositions, with strong production from Hatch and company. (Hatch isn’t the only producer represented, however.) Like Collector’s Choice’s past complete singles sets, this should be a must-buy for any fan of the era. It’s currently unknown whether Warner-era EPs, promos or other ephemera will be included. But the label has offered exclusive Clark releases in the past, including last year’s collection of Christmas recordings and a love songs compilation, and neither release disappointed, so this set is likely to be filled with whatever material is available. The release date is rumored to be this fall, and more updates will be posted as they arrive.

But this isn’t the only exciting news for Petula Clark fans. Clark actually began her recording career in 1949 while in her teenage years, reinventing herself as the exciting mod girl of “Downtown” and “I Know A Place” under Hatch’s aegis in Swinging London circa 1964. After her impressive run of hit singles concluded, Clark remade herself yet again, turning her talents to the musical theatre stage. While in recent years she has starred in such productions as Blood Brothers and Sunset Boulevard, and even written a musical of her own (Someone Like You), Petula’s first stage triumph was headlining a 1981 London revival of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. While CBS/Epic recorded the production, it’s remained unreleased in the compact disc era. Joe Boy Records, typically devoted to the “Rehab Soul Movement,” has unearthed this long-lost LP and will be releasing it via “Pet Sounds International” on September 27 in the United Kingdom. As Maria, the role originated by Mary Martin and immortalized on film by Julie Andrews, Petula sings on 10 of the album’s 18 tracks. Other cast members include June Bronhill, Michael Jayston and Honor Blackman. As a special bonus, the CD will include both sides of the Epic single pressed to celebrate Petula’s run in the show: “Edelweiss,” from the musical, b/w the non-LP side “Darkness.”  The B-side is especially rare, and a welcome surprise.

Hit the jump for a look at Petula Clark’s Warner Bros. singles, plus the track listing and discographical information for Petula’s The Sound of Music! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 26, 2010 at 08:27