The Second Disc

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Archive for September 13th, 2010

How Does “West Coast Seattle Boy” Stack Up?

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So, just in time for Christmas, Jimi Hendrix fans are getting rewarded for their patience (a good half-dozen or so CD/DVD reissues and only one compilation of unreleased material since Legacy Recordings took distributorship of the Experience Hendrix catalogue) with the full specs for West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology. This five-disc set includes a disc of rare tracks from Hendrix’s days as an R&B sideman, three discs of what looks like almost entirely unreleased material (more on that in a minute) and a new documentary DVD. Daaaaaaamn.

Of course, it remains to be seen exactly how much is “unreleased” – some of these tracks look like they were released on some of the many, many posthumous compilations that sprung up in the years following Hendrix’s death in 1970 (many of which had controversial overdubs by producer Alan Douglas, leading to the lawsuit that created Experience Hendrix, LLC in the first place). That said, this set looks to be stuffed to the gills with relatively unfamiliar material; if you consider the official press release on what’s previously unreleased, you’d come up with 43 tracks. There were 56 tracks in total on MCA’s 2000 box The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and none of them considered the period that this set’s first disc looks at.

It looks like there will even be options for less-diehard collectors, too – the press release mentions a single-disc “best-of” from the box,either with or without the DVD. (Of course, there’s an eight-LP vinyl box, too, so hardcore fans are getting their due, too. Now if only we could get the mono mixes of Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold as Love released…)

Amazon pre-order pages are here for the box set, the best-of set, the best-of set with DVD and the vinyl box. All sets are due November 16, per the press release (Amazon listings are still saying November 2). Also, if you like what you read, you can head over to the official press release and download 10 of the tracks for free. Hit the jump to see the track list for the full box and the compilation. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

September 13, 2010 at 15:39

Reissue Theory: “Super Mario Bros.”

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On September 13, 1985, Japanese game manufacturer Nintendo released one of the most revolutionary products in history: the game Super Mario Bros. for the Family Computer System (or Famicom, for short). It’s nowhere near an exaggeration to call this release historical for popular culture. Sure, video games were known entities since the early 1970s, when Nolan Bushnell’s Atari manufactured some of the first coin-operated arcade machines. And even home consoles were nothing new (the Atari Video Computer System had been out for a decade).

But when Super Mario Bros. made its debut, the home video game market in America was a shambles. Too much product and not enough quality control led to an unprecedented crash in 1983, and Nintendo was met with hostility when it tried to break the Famicom in America. They met this problem by doing everything to not refer to their product as a video game, retitling it the Nintendo Entertainment System and marketing the product to retailers as more of a toy (a distribution deal with Worlds of Wonder, the company behind Teddy Ruxpin and Laser Tag, helped sell that angle).

The NES was a massive success, thanks in no small part to quality games like Super Mario Bros. Considered to be the first major “platform game” – a genre of game that expanded upon the action by including massive, side-scrolling levels and tons of hidden secretsSMB was given a tremendous boost by being packed in with almost every configuration of NES product. Guinness World Records has listed Super Mario Bros. as the highest-selling video game of all time, having moved more than 40 million units in 25 years. (Recently, according to The Guardian, the game has slipped to second place, behind another addictive packed-in game from Nintendo: Wii Sports. But Mario still leads the pack in terms of franchise sales, what with all the sequels he’s been a part of.)

One of the secrets to Mario’s success, other than the innovative and addictive gameplay, is the innovative and addictive musical score by Koji Kondo. A classically-trained pianist with an interest in jazz-fusion and synthesizers, Kondo was hired by Nintendo in the early 1980s to compose small bits of music for various projects. While most games would just require fanfares, Kondo created whole songs for SMB – tunes that could repeat through entire levels without sounding repetitive. The tunes he created for the game – particularly the “Ground Theme” which played over most levels, is as instantly an iconic piece of music as anything the American rock scene has spawned. Thanks to Kondo’s work, the video game industry earned the musical care that film scores could provide; to this day, video game score enthusiasts are everywhere, providing remixes and arrangements with all the fervor of the major labels.

Given the presence of almost any vintage sound on CD, it’s odd that the notion of video game music seems to be a well-hidden niche. The Super Mario Bros. series has had plenty of attention on CD, mostly in Japan (in fact, another such compilation is forthcoming) – but it couldn’t hurt to get just a few compilations out in the States. The brief nature of the music means lots of music could fit on such a CD, so the track list could probably extend beyond what you’ll see after the jump. (For now, it makes sense to keep it to the 8-bit NES era, the time closest to the game which earns our plaudits on this day.)

Warp to the track list after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 13, 2010 at 13:32

Queen Complete the Circle with Fourth Singles Box

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The fourth and last box set in Queen’s Singles Collection series will bow on October 18 in the U.K. from EMI/Parlophone.

In this 13-disc set, which recreates vintage Queen 45s and CD singles (and only some material from 12″ singles, making it a not-quite-complete set), the last chapter of the venerable rock band’s career will be chronicled – from The Miracle (1989) and Innuendo (1991) to all the singles released after lead singer Freddie Mercury’s death at the end of 1991.

Expect a few rarer tracks on this set, including some live cuts, remixes and the humorous “Queen Talks” interview collage from The Miracle era. The full list is available after the jump, and you can pre-order it from Amazon U.K. here.

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 13, 2010 at 12:11

Posted in Box Sets, News, Queen, Reissues

Tartare and Cameo Parkway Heat Up: Morris Day, Ric Ocasek, Dee Dee Sharp, Dino, Desi & Billy On Tap

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On September 9, The Second Disc sadly reported on the axe falling on more of the beleaguered Rhino Records staff, and the company’s plans to delve further into the on-demand CD realm. One such initiative is the Tartare imprint being offered by WMG/Rhino in conjunction with Collectors’ Choice Music. Another 20 Tartare titles are on the way from Collectors’ Choice, and this group again spans decades, from the 1950s through the 1990s. Track listings are not available (indeed, not every title has even been listed on the label’s website, only in the print catalogue so far; it is likely that all titles will be up on the Web site any day now) but the lineup is typically eclectic, including CD(-R) debuts for two Dino, Desi & Billy albums, and titles from Morris Day, Air Supply, Mick Jones of Foreigner and the Cars’ Ric Ocasek returning to print.

In more Collectors’ Choice news, three more titles have been added to the burgeoning Cameo Parkway collection. The Dovells’ For Your Hully Gully Party (1962) and You Can’t Sit Down (1963) will be joined on one CD; the disc offers no less than four variations on the Hully Gully, all performed by Len “1-2-3” Barry’s great vocal group. You’ll also be able to do the New Continental and the Madison by disc’s end! Recipient of a recent Edsel three-fer, Dee Dee Sharp has It’s Mashed Potato Time (1962) and Do the Bird (1962) comprising another two-fer. Finally, John Zacherle’s Monster Mash and Scary Tales will be released on one disc. These are just in time for Halloween and make a much better treat than candy for all fans of the Cool Ghoul. Being of Cameo Parkway origin, the Zacherle disc has a number of songs spoofing the Philadelphia label’s famous dance crazes, so get ready to do “The Pistol Stomp” and “The Weird Watusi,” have “Gravy with Some Cyanide” and of course, “Let’s Twist Again (Mummy Time is Here).” Who could resist?!? All three titles are due on September 21.

You can find the full list of Tartare’s 20 newest additions along with track listings for the Cameo Parkway titles after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 13, 2010 at 11:29

Sixties Girl Bonanza: Complete Petula Confirmed, Plus Connie, Joanie, Shelby and Julie

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I know a place where we can go to finally hear the complete Warner Bros. singles of one of the most acclaimed singers of all-time, Petula Clark. On July 26, The Second Disc reported on Collectors’ Choice’s complete singles collection for Clark’s swinging tenure on Warner. Well, that auspicious project has finally been confirmed, but Collectors’ Choice has sweetened the pot: also coming are Complete Warner Bros. Singles sets for fellow 1960s female icons Connie Stevens and Joanie Sommers, and a Complete Valiant Singles disc for a lesser-known but no less talented lady, Shelby Flint. With the recent news of Rhino’s downsizing, it’s heartening that Rhino/WMG (controlling the Warner Bros. and Valiant catalogues) is still actively licensing to labels like Collectors’ Choice who still have such an interest in getting collector-oriented sets like these to the public when major labels have turned their backs on such releases. All of the singles in every set will be heard in their hard-to-find original, mostly mono mixes; the Petula set has 40 tracks in mono and six in stereo.

Another sixties female superstar is getting a deluxe reissue this fall: none other than Julie Andrews. The hills will be alive yet again when Sony/Legacy reissues the record-breaking soundtrack to The Sound of Music for yet another go-round, this time in celebration of the beloved film’s 45th anniversary. (The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic soundtrack has been reissued on CD with a new track lineup every five years, like clockwork!) Legacy’s latest crack at the soundtrack is timed to coincide with Fox Home Entertainment’s Blu-Ray bow of the film, and the single-disc release is said to contain 24 tracks including a bonus of Glee’s Lea Michele singing “My Favorite Things.” Amazon has a (tentative?) track listing up which appears to eliminate “Edelweiss” as performed by Christopher Plummer (Captain von Trapp) and Charmian Carr (Liesl), including only the shorter reprise near the film’s end.

It’s also unclear whether this edition has been remastered. The Sound of Music‘s track listing has had many iterations; 1994’s gold CD version from Fox (20th Century Fox 4267-02) had 29 tracks, while the 1995 single disc reissue (RCA Victor 665872) only offered the original 16 tracks from the LP. A two-CD expansion in 2000 (RCA Victor 67972) contained 31: the 16 from the original soundtrack LP and a further 15 expanded tracks from the actual soundtrack tapes on its second disc. Then there was the 40th Anniversary CD in 2005 (Sony, catalog numbers vary), with 27 tracks including interviews with cast and creatives. In various territories, this was released with a second disc containing that country’s dubbed soundtrack. If Legacy opted for 25 tracks including the Lea Michele bonus, the core lineup would be identical to the 40th Anniversary edition. The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition is due November 2. This CD will also appear in Fox’s Blu-Ray Limited Edition Collector’s Set.

Collectors’ Choice is notorious for falling behind on ship dates, but the Petula, Connie, Joanie and Shelby sets are all available for pre-order in the company’s current catalogue or at the above links, for estimated shipping around September 21. In addition, the label is offering free shipping for all orders placed by October 9.

If any of these artists’ recordings are a few of your favorite things, click on the jump for an only-slightly-amended but now finalized track listing to Petula’s Warner Bros. collection, now known to contain two promotional single tracks: “Imagine” and “The Windmills of Your Mind.” We’ve also got track listings with selected discographical information for all titles mentioned! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 13, 2010 at 09:40

UMe Brings the Goods in the U.K. with New Deluxe Editions

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If you have a sinking suspicion that more and more reissues are going to come from foreign shores, the next batch of titles aren’t going to convince you otherwise. Universal Music Enterprise’s U.K. arm has announced several new deluxe edition titles from The Who, The Jam, Supertramp and Cast.

First up, it looks like The Who’s iconic Live at Leeds is getting the super-deluxe treatment in England on November 8 (a U.S. date has not been locked down). The set will include the complete Leeds show on two discs (previously released as a basic deluxe edition in the U.S.), another two CDs of the previously unreleased Hull performance from the following night (very nearly released instead of Leeds), vinyl reproductions of the original LP and a single (“Summertime Blues” b/w “Heaven and Hell”), a hardcover book of photos and liner notes and more.

The Jam will see a deluxe reissue of penultimate album Sound Affects, the 1980 record that yielded U.K. chart-topper “Start!” and fan favorite “That’s Entertainment” (famously covered by Morrissey). It will feature a disc of B-sides and alternates, including eight previously unreleased demos. (A nice complement to Hip-0 Select’s full reissue of the compilation Snap! some years back!) Look for that on November 1 in the U.K.

Before that we can expect a re-release of All Change, the debut album by British band Cast. Cast, formed by John Power of The La’s and Peter Wilkinson of Shack, were one of the many darlings of the Britpop movement (the album remains one of Polydor’s highest sellers); this double-disc set will complement their legacy (and provide a good commemoration of their impending reunion tour in Europe) with a clutch of demos and live material. That comes out October 18.

Last (well first, technically), Supertramp’s seminal Breakfast in America (1979) will be expanded on October 4. This record spawned four U.S. hit singles (“The Logical Song,” “Take the Long Way Home,” “Goodbye Stranger” and the title track) and was, oddly enough, the only hint of success the band had in their native England. (When rap-rock band The Gym Class Heroes released the single “Cupid’s Chokehold” in 2006, the U.K. single was retitled to reflect the “Breakfast” sample, as “Cupid’s Chokehold/Breakfast in America.”) The set will be expanded with a live disc recorded about the same time as the band’s 1980 live LP Paris.

Pre-order links exist for Breakfast in America, All Change and Sound Affects; the rest will be provided as available. Hit the jump for all the track lists!

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Written by Mike Duquette

September 13, 2010 at 09:39