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Archive for November 2010

Review: “Michael Jackson’s Vision”

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When Michael Jackson was declared dead on that fateful Thursday in June of 2009, most of us healed our pain through the songs. Compact discs flew off store shelves and MP3s funneled through Internet connections in an attempt to recall those days when MJ was the King of Pop. It was these kinds of public celebration – I recall at least one set of speakers blaring “The Way You Make Me Feel” that week in midtown Manhattan – that took center stage for most of us. As a result, it seemed that the music videos got short shrift. It’s easy to understand why – it’s not as easy to publicly watch and bond over a bunch of short films – but the moving image was as much a part of Jackson’s iconography as any studio session ever was.

So how do you properly commemorate this monolithic portion of Michael’s oeuvre? The answer lies in Michael Jackson’s Vision, a new triple-DVD box set that collates just about every piece of video footage you could ever want. Like so many Jackson catalogue projects from Sony/Legacy in the past decade, it doesn’t attain absolute perfection…but it gets closer than any other set the label has released in a long, long time.

There’s more to discuss after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 30, 2010 at 22:23

A Wave of Melba Moore Reissues Coming in 2011

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Fans of R&B singer and Tony winning actress Melba Moore have got some good news coming their way: nearly all of her LPs from the ’80s are coming out on CD between now and March.

Moore, the daughter of jazz bandleader Teddy Hill, rose to prominence on Broadway as a cast member in Hair and won a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in Purlie in 1970. Five years later, she began a recording career on Buddah and Epic – but it wasn’t until the early ’80s and a switch to Capitol that her career started to smoke. Most of these records and singles, including the U.S. dance hit “Love’s Comin’ at Ya,” were produced by Kashif, one of the writers/producers behind Whitney Houston’s debut album.

One record has already been released; PTG Records has done a straight reissue of Moore’s swan song for Epic, Closer (1980). Between January and March of 2011, however, Funky Town Grooves will release the first five of Moore’s LPs for Capitol, each with bonus B-sides and remixes. Closer can be ordered on Amazon now and the others are already up for pre-order on FTG’s site.

The track lists are after the jump, as always. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 30, 2010 at 14:50

Posted in Melba Moore, News, Reissues

Details on the Graham Parker Box

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To clarify from a post from earlier today, we present some info on Offical Bootleg: The Bootleg Box, the new box set from Graham Parker.

It’s six discs of bootleg shows from the British singer’s career, all previously released for download by Parker himself. Most of the shows are solo, save for the first disc, an ill-quality but widely traded show with The Rumour in 1975. It looks to be a nice treat for fans of Parker and his music, and the set is actually quite a steal, particularly for an import (Amazon lists it for $37.85).

The track list is after the jump. (Thanks to Parker’s official forum for the tip.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 30, 2010 at 14:01

Review: Paul Williams, “Someday Man: Deluxe Expanded Edition”

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There are certain albums a person returns to, over and over again. These albums often transcend time and genre, and chances are you can name a few of them that reside in your own music collection. I’m talking about that special album you might play when you’re down, or when you just need a visit from an old friend to remind you of another time. At The Second Disc, we frequently strive to remind you of those albums.

Through the years, one such record for me has been Paul Williams’ Someday Man. No matter how many times I listen, it still strikes me as a perfect pop album. Yet upon its release in May 1970 as Reprise 6401, Someday Man appeared and disappeared, and that was that, for roughly 30 years. One of its songs is entitled “Mornin’ I’ll Be Movin’ On,” and both Paul Williams (lyrics/vocals) and Roger Nichols (music/production) did indeed move on. Before dissolving their songwriting partnership in 1972, Williams and Nichols composed hits for a number of artists but perhaps most memorably the Carpenters: “Rainy Days and Mondays.”  “We’ve Only Just Begun.”  “I Won’t Last a Day Without You.” “Let Me Be the One.” While those songs practically created the soundtrack of the seventies, they in fact owe a great debt to the sounds developed on Someday Man.

Following up its recent deluxe reissue of The Holy Mackerel’s only LP (Now Sounds CRNOW 21), Williams’ early band, Now Sounds has delivered an expanded edition of Someday Man (CRNOW 22) and it won’t disappoint both longtime fans of the album and those who have only just begun (pun intended) to discover the charms of this great lost sunshine pop classic.

Now Sounds’ new Someday Man offers twelve additional tracks (two more than are actually on the album itself!) including four mono single mixes, two demos, four revealing instrumental backing tracks (check out the optimistic horn punctuation after the title song’s chorus), and most fascinatingly, the sessions for “Someday Man” and a song that didn’t make the album, “The Drifter.” The latter song did appear as a single by Nichols’ group Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends in a version apparently utilizing the same backing track as heard here. The infectiously jaunty “Drifter” also received a number of cover versions from artists as disparate as Kenny Lynch and Steve Lawrence. Of course, Rev-Ola’s expanded reissue of Small Circle of Friends (Rev-Ola CRREV 86) is another must-have for any fan of vocal harmony, sunshine pop or just great songs played with superb musicianship. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 30, 2010 at 10:30

Posted in Reissues, Reviews

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Release Round-Up: Week of November 30

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Dinah Washington, The Fabulous Miss D! The Keynote, Decca and Mercury Singles 1943-1953 (Verve/Hip-o Select)

The early, pre-LP singles of Dinah’s pre-Mercury career, on four discs in Verve Select style. (Hip-o Select)

The White Stripes, The White Stripes / De Stijl / White Blood Cells (Third Man/Warner Bros.)

Everyone’s favorite garage-blues band puts their first three albums back in print on 180-gram vinyl. (Amazon)

Tim McGraw, Number One Hits (Curb)

A straightforward package of McGraw’s thirty-something country chart-toppers, including a new remix of early hit “Indian Outlaw” and new single “Felt Good on My Lips.” (Amazon) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 30, 2010 at 09:31

Reissue Theory: Band Aid

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on well-known albums of the past and the reissues they could someday see. Twenty-six years after its release, this newest installment takes you back to Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

Exactly 26 years ago, for better or worse, the British supergroup Band Aid released “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” a single that kicked off a flurry of activity to raise money, aid and awareness for African famine and relief. Monday, November 29, 1984 saw the release of the single that would ultimately top the British charts thrice in two decades and become the coveted Christmas number-one hit each of those years.

While not everyone is a fan of the yuletide song – Morrissey famously derided it upon release and Bob Geldof, who put together Band Aid and co-wrote the tune with Midge Ure, went on record today with his embarrassment – it should be remembered, if nothing else, as a somewhat earnest attempt at a good cause, and a collision of the British ’80s pop cosmos. And in the interest of catalogue affairs, there are a few tracks associated with the project that have yet to see a release outside of vinyl.

Learn the story of Band Aid and its lone smash hit after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 29, 2010 at 16:03

Posted in Compilations, Features, Reissues

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Taylor, King, Vaughan, Joel, More Due from MoFi in 2011

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Start saving your pennies now. In an eye-opening move, audiophile specialty label Mobile Fidelity has announced a massive slate of releases across the CD, SACD and LP formats scheduled for 2011.  Longtime collectors of audiophile masterings may get a thrill at seeing the “Original Master Recording” banner above the works of classic artists ranging from Tony Bennett and Ray Charles to Carole King and James Taylor.

While this writer has some quibbles (why no CDs or SACDs for Bennett, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Costello’s releases?) and some questions (will the reissue of Billy Joel’s Turnstiles include the unaltered “New York State of Mind,” for one thing?) the lineup offers something for everyone. Among the most exciting releases are SACDs for Carole King, James Taylor and Joel, all of whom had titles released when Sony was releasing titles regularly in the format. The MoFi campaigns for artists such as The Band, The Pretenders and Ray Charles also continue, and the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan is the recipient of no fewer than five reissues. Joel, the recipient of a major reissue campaign from Legacy in 2011, interestingly sees his audiophile catalogue make a jump from Audio Fidelity to Mobile Fidelity with Piano Man and Turnstiles, joining The Pretenders and The Band among the artists in this batch with audiophile discs from both specialist labels.

All titles are mastered from the original tapes, and the SACD versions present the original stereo mixes only. Hit the jump for the full list of titles with track listings, and thanks to our friends at MusicTAP for the heads-up on this exciting roll-out. All titles can be pre-ordered here. Read the rest of this entry »

“Nowhere” Goes Somewhere for 20th Anniversary (UPDATED 11/29)

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Another deluxe title is on its way from Rhino Handmade next month, and it’s a good one for any shoegaze fans out there: Pitchfork reports that the label is reissuing Nowhere, the debut LP by Ride, for its 20th anniversary.

Ride were a British alt-rock band in the tradition of The Cocteau Twins, The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. All of those outfits were deemed “shoegaze” bands by the British music press, a term which would describe bands heavy on distorted but melodic guitars. (Some say the term itself came from most of those bands’ postures, which were still and introspective as the band focuses intently on their instruments; others say it came from the heavy usage of effects pedals, which are of course placed on the ground for guitarists to manipulate with their feet.)

Whatever the origin, Ride, hailing from Oxford, are considered one of the best-loved bands from the subgenre. Nowhere, a Top 20 U.K. hit which followed three successful EPs, is considered by some critics to be second only to My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless as the best example of the scene and its sound. Ironically, Ride would spend the rest of their careers attempting to leave that label behind, experimenting with power-pop and AOR styles before splitting in 1996. The band briefly reunited in 2001 and its members have worked together since, but each has enough projects on their plates to never have to worry about a proper reunion: drummer Laurence Colbert has lent his skills to the recently-reformed Jesus and Mary Chain, vocalist Mark Gardener has eked out a moderately successful solo career, and guitarist Andy Bell became the bassist for Oasis in 2000. (He remains a member of Noel Gallagher-less splinter group Beady Eye, who recently released their first single.)

This deluxe edition of Nowhere features one disc of the original LP and the extra tracks from EPs Fall and Today Forever. (The Fall tracks were added as extra-value content on the original CD version of the album; the Today Forever EP was appended to the album for a 2001 remaster on Ignition Records in England.) It also features a bonus disc of a live show at Hollywood’s Roxy Theatre, which was only ever released in part on a promotional disc. The deluxe packaging includes a lenticular version of the album cover and an essay by noted critic Jim DeRogatis.

The whole set will be available on December 21. (You can order it from Rhino now.) Hit the jump to read the track list.

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 29, 2010 at 11:08

Posted in News, Reissues, Ride

Review: Bruce Springsteen, “The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story”

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In 1978, Bruce Springsteen famously mined the darkness on the edge of town, but it was unknown until recently that he considered living in the light of those same New Jersey streets. Flush with the success of Born to Run but drained from a prolonged battle with his former manager, Springsteen considered all avenues in creating the follow-up to the album that changed everything. And much like the eventually-resulting Darkness on the Edge of Town upped the ante from that 1975 landmark, the newly-released The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story (Columbia 88697 76525-2/88697 78230-2) dramatically improves on the earlier album’s 2005 anniversary box set. Let me put it this way: if I were conducting a class on Springsteen, as some forward-thinking institutions indeed have, The Promise would be a core textbook. And unlike most textbooks, it doubles as a spiral-bound notebook…

Housed in a sturdy slipcase based on the original Darkness LP art, The Promise box set contains three CDs and three Blu-Rays or DVDs in a replica of Springsteen’s tattered, blue Eagle notebook in which he created the songs known so well today. Each disc is in its own mini-LP jacket with protective sleeve, stored in slits on thick cardboard pages. It’s hard to imagine anybody disappointed with this packaging, which may be a high point for Columbia’s Legacy label; it offers a unique and immersive context for the music contained within. It’s a major, and worthwhile, undertaking to digest everything available here. Springsteen’s handwriting isn’t always the most legible, but there’s something remarkable about being able to read draft upon draft of lyrics as well as assorted thoughts on the album’s artwork, arrangements, running order and just about everything else. Photographs, film negatives, period ads and articles also appear.

This is the kind of snapshot into an artist’s process that is rarely afforded a listener, especially by an artist such as Springsteen, who has eschewed essays of critical analysis in his past reissues. The treasures are many to behold; among the most fascinating pages is a list of songs favored by Springsteen, many of which were covered by the E Street Band. These range from a large number of Buddy Holly songs to Goffin and King’s “Goin’ Back,” Peter and Gordon’s “I Go to Pieces,” Jackie DeShannon’s “When You Walk in the Room,” Dusty Springfield’s “Stay Awhile” and the Crystals’ “Then She [sic] Kissed Me.” This page alone offers countless insights into the songs that form the centerpiece of this box, the two-CD set of (mostly) Darkness outtakes entitled The Promise, and now being rightfully trumpeted as an addition to Springsteen’s core catalogue, not just a mere rarities collection. It is the Boss’ great lost album, even if nobody (including him) knew it existed…hit the jump to read all about it! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 29, 2010 at 09:43

Posted in Bruce Springsteen, Reissues, Reviews

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You Like Us! You Really Like Us!

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Well, we knew that already. But a quick note to all readers that also use Facebook: The Second Disc is there too! Located under the deceptively simple name “The Second Disc,” you can now get all sorts of post updates and fun stuff from us there, too! Click the “like” button and consolidate your Internet experience today!

Written by Mike Duquette

November 28, 2010 at 14:46