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Archive for September 1st, 2010

Lennon Reissue Updates: “Power to the People,” Kind Of

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A few details have crossed the wires regarding the upcoming John Lennon reissue campaigns due for domestic release October 5.

The aforementioned track lists for the new Power to the People: The Hits compilation, the Gimme Some Truth box set and the bonus discs in the John Lennon Signature Box we wrote about a few weeks ago is accurate (although the discs in Gimme Some Truth are presented in a different order – the set kicks off with the “Roots” disc thought to be Disc 4 then continues in proper order from there). It should be noted, however, that the “Experience Edition” of Power to the People has a bonus DVD of all the videos to each song heard on the CD. Also, the “live jam” material has been properly reinstated back to Some Time in New York City, as a second disc to that reissue. Have a look at all the new packaging here, including the high-end “Box of Vision” project similar to the one commissioned for last year’s Beatles remasters.

Thanks to Vintage Vinyl News for the tip about the Some Time live material, but we first found this story through the sadly-departed Paste magazine.

Written by Mike Duquette

September 1, 2010 at 23:52

“Beauty and the Beast” Reissue Adds Something There That Wasn’t There Before

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Given The Walt Disney Company’s notorious penchant for avoiding most soundtrack releases on CD – Michael Giacchino’s score to Up is probably one of the few Oscar-winning scores in history to never have been pressed on CD, and Randy Newman’s Toy Story 3 soundtrack is another digital-only affair – it’s nice to see Walt Disney Records reissuing the soundtrack to Beauty and the Beast, one of their crowning achievements, on CD once more. However, it’s far from the best presentation the music has ever received.

Beauty and the Beast was a smash hit when it premiered in the winter of 1991. Following the equally-stunning The Little Mermaid from two years prior, Disney ushered in a silver age of hand-drawn animated features that continued well into the 1990s. It’s Beauty that may be the most decorated film from this time period, though; it was the first (and, next to Up, one of the only) full-length animated feature to receive a Best Picture nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the first to win a Golden Globe for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy.

The Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy-winning score, with its blend of eminently singable tunes including “Be Our Guest,” “Belle” and the majestic title song, was composed by the winning team of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, who’d already struck gold at Disney with The Little Mermaid and became highly respected film score forces when their musical adaptation of the cult film Little Shop of Horrors was turned into a successful film in 1986. Unfortunately, it was one of the duo’s final collaborations; Ashman died shortly after completing the lyrics to Beauty (he was also working on lyrics to 1992’s Aladdin, which were completed by lyricist Tim Rice). The soundtrack was also a big hit thanks to the Oscar-winning pop radio version of the title track, sung as a duet by Peabo Bryson and a relatively unknown Celine Dion.

The soundtrack has been reissued once before, preceding an IMAX reissue in 2001. That CD added a song from a newly-completed musical sequence (“Human Again”) and three demo tracks as bonuses. Unfortunately, those tracks (including “Human Again”) have been dropped for this new release – tied to the forthcoming Blu-Ray release of the film – and replaced by a new pop version of the title track by American Idol winner Jordin Sparks. Ultimately, this set, due September 14, is only worth it if you’ve never managed to pick up the soundtrack and can do without the songs from the vault. Pre-order it here and hit the jump for the track list.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 1, 2010 at 15:51

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

News Round-Up: Stripped Smokey, Another QotSA Reissue and An Unsurprising Delay

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  • If you were looking for a bit of a change, musically, today might be the day to check out yesterday’s digital release from Motown, Smokey Robinson’s The Stripped Mixes. Not unlike a Michael Jackson set that was rush-released after his death last summer, Stripped puts an emphasis on The King of Motown’s inimitable voice through ten acoustically-minded remixes. Call it a cash-in if you want, but the MJ set revealed some buried treasure in those new mixes. Plus, come on, it’s Smokey Robinson. He sounds like an angel.
  • Queens of the Stone Age, having recently done a 10th anniversary reissue of major-label breakthrough Rated R, are going even further back this holiday season. QotSA frontman Josh Homme’s own label, Rekords Rekords, is going to reissue the band’s self-titled 1998 debut LP on November 26 as a vinyl and CD set (followed by a CD-only release December 7). This version features three tracks cut from the original version of the album.
  • EMI has rescheduled the upcoming deluxe reissues of Duran Duran’s Notorious and Big Thing yet again to October 12. This is the third time these titles have changed release dates, which must mean they’re going as smoothly as the other sets.

Written by Mike Duquette

September 1, 2010 at 10:10

Review: Frank Sinatra, “September of My Years”

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Frank Sinatra was always one to face the world head-on. So it was with his turning 50. The man who had pioneered the “concept album” with a string of themed records for Capitol began thinking of an LP that would allow him to plant his feet squarely in the present, 1965, and reflect with every ounce of experience he’d acquired in the many lives he’d led over a mere 50 years. The album that would become September of My Years began its life inspired by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson’s “September Song.”  Introduced by Walter Huston in the 1938 musical Knickerbocker Holiday, it may be the ultimate musing on mortality, delivered by an older man addressing a young woman.  With the rueful “September Song” in his mind, Sinatra enlisted Gordon Jenkins to arrange and conduct, and the team began to craft an album which would stand among Sinatra’s finest, whether at Capitol or Reprise. It also may be one of the quintessential late-night albums, perfect for listening while nursing a nightcap in the dark. The fruit of Sinatra and Jenkins’ labors has been reissued this week in a deluxe edition by Concord and Frank Sinatra Enterprises (CRE-32415) as part of their ongoing Frank Sinatra Collection.

Jenkins’ approach was a straight-ahead one: match Sinatra’s resonant vocals with a lush bed of strings, strings and more strings. This style is laid out on the album’s first two tracks, and it’s immediately clear that this would be a different kind of Sinatra album. Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen’s title song has none of the brash swing of their “The Tender Trap,” “Come Blow Your Horn” or “Come Fly with Me.” (Nor is it as bleak as two of their torch songs which also gave Sinatra album titles, “Only the Lonely” and “[When] No One Cares.”) Instead of boasting finger-snapping brio, “September of My Years” is a truly lovely, elegiac meditation, sung with sensitivity. Jenkins’ own “How Old Am I?” follows, with Sinatra answering wistfully.

Yet the album’s centerpiece was a song which epitomized one of Sinatra’s central dichotomies. The man was a forceful, larger-than-life personality, yet he sang with an intimacy so real, you believed he was singing to only you. “It Was a Very Good Year” was a gentle folk tune penned by Ervin Drake (best-known for Broadway’s What Makes Sammy Run? starring Sinatra pal Steve Lawrence) in 1961 for The Kingston Trio’s Bob Shane. Jenkins’ grandiose and anthemic resetting added tension and color to the song, replacing simple guitar strumming with majestic violins. It would have hardly been believable for most singers, but Sinatra was never “most singers.” Nobody could have been surprised when the transformed “It Was a Very Good Year” won Sinatra a Grammy for Best Male Vocal Performance and Jenkins a trophy for arranging. (The top prize, Album of the Year, would also be snagged by Sinatra and producer Sonny Burke for September of My Years.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 1, 2010 at 09:35

Posted in Frank Sinatra, Reissues, Reviews

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