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Archive for November 15th, 2010

Back Tracks: Menken at Disney

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This week will see the release of Disney’s newest animated feature, Tangled, a quirky retelling of the Rapunzel tale. As has been custom for the best of Disney’s animated features, the film will feature songs and score from Alan Menken, the musical genius who gave Disney some of its greatest music of the past 20-plus years.

Menken came to Disney in the late 1980s after his musical with lyricist Howard Ashman, a peppy, Wall of Sound-inspired take on Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors, was adapted into a successful film in 1986. The duo’s knowledge of writing pop-inspired Broadway showstoppers made them perfect choices for The Little Mermaid, the Disney studio’s first serious foray into full animation in some time.

The rest, as they say, is history. Over time, Menken – with lyricists Ashman, Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz, David Zippel and Glenn Slater – has crafted some of the most unforgettable animated feature songs that have been sung for generations now and to come. Along the way, Menken has become one of the most prolific Oscar winners in history (he has taken home eight statues – tied with costume designer Edith Head, one behind composer Alfred Newman and behind 26 won by Walt Disney himself) and was named a Disney Legend in 2001.

In honor of the songs that Menken has inspired us all to sing on behalf of Walt Disney’s pictures, here’s a look at Menken’s most successful works with the studio, and some of the reissues they’ve inspired, in a new installment of Back Tracks.

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 15, 2010 at 15:44

New Compilation to Prove N.E.R.D is Cool

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The new N.E.R.D album, Nothing, only just came out two weeks ago, but that’s not stopping a new compilation due from the group early next year.

Of course, there’s a pretty simple reason for it: Nothing and its predecessor, Seeing Sounds (2008), were released on Universal’s Interscope label. Meanwhile, the first two LPs by the band – comprised of superproducers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo (better known as The Neptunes, the duo behind Wreckx-N-Effect’s “Rump Shaker,” Jay-Z’s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It to Me)” and Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot”) with vocalist Shay Haley – were released on EMI’s Virgin Records. Those two discs will form the bulk of The Best of N.E.R.D, along with some B-sides and hard-to-find remixes.

The Best of N.E.R.D comes out January 11. Check the track list after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

November 15, 2010 at 13:45

Posted in Compilations, N.E.R.D, News

Your Black Friday Wishlist

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The more-or-less official start of the holiday shopping season kicks off next Friday, November 26. (You’ve probably seen decorations up in department stores by now. Even this huge Christmas fan can’t blame you for shaking your head.) But giving the gift of music is important. You probably know that, and your local indie music store knows that, too. That’s why this Black Friday will see a gaggle of special releases at all stores that participate in Record Store Day.

There’s a lot of neat vinyl stuff coming out for the collectors in your life, and while the entire list can be read here, The Second Disc wanted to give you a look at the reissues and other catalogue titles you might want to keep an eye out for. Check out special titles and singles from Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and more below.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, “Nowhere” b/w “Surrender” 7″ single (Geffen/UMe)

Two outtakes from the Damn the Torpedoes sessions in 1979 – also available on the recently-released Deluxe Edition of the album – are being pressed onto a 7″ single for you turntablists.

Soundgarden, “Telephantasm” b/w “Gun (Live)” 7″ single (A&M/UMe)

Telephantasm is the title of the recently-reunited grunge band’s new compilation, but it’s also the title of another previously unreleased outtake from the band’s early years. It’s being released on its own with a previously unreleased live take of “Gun,” from the band’s A&M debut Louder Than Love (1989).

The Black Keys, Brothers: Deluxe Edition (Nonesuch)

This reissue of the album The Black Keys released earlier this year is expanded with a bonus 10″ EP of live tracks.

The Doors, The Doors (Elektra/Rhino)

The Doors’ iconic 1967 debut album comes to record stores in its original mono mix on 180-gram vinyl.

George Harrison, All Things Must Pass: 40th Anniversary Edition (EMI/Capitol)

Another 180-gram vinyl reissue, this one of the classic solo album from the not-so-quiet Beatle.

Frank Sinatra, A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra (EMI/Capitol)

The first vinyl release of The Chairman of the Board’s first holiday LP in more than 40 years will brighten your Christmas parties (and is a neat little consolation prize for those who can’t afford that box set).

Bruce Springsteen, “Save My Love” b/w “Because the Night” 7″ single (Columbia/Legacy)

Another sampler single from a deluxe reissue – in this case, two of the many tracks featured on The Boss’ expansive box set edition of Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Jimi Hendrix, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (Experience Hendrix/Legacy)

Hendrix’s holiday EP, available on CD tomorrow, is available on 10″ green vinyl exclusively at indie record stores.

Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Witmark Demo)” b/w “Like a Rolling Stone” 7″ single (Columbia/Legacy)

And another two tracks from a recent catalogue set. Dylan’s demo of “The Times They Are A-Changin'” comes from The Bootleg Series Volume 9: The Witmark Demos 1962-1964, while “Like a Rolling Stone” is the original mono mix featured on the new box set The Original Mono Recordings.

Pantera, Cowboys from Hell: The Demos (Atco/Rhino)

A sampling of the demo tracks released on this year’s deluxe reissue of Pantera’s commercial breakthrough.

FSM Readies “North Dallas Forty”

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Film Score Monthly has another release ready to go for soundtrack collectors: the premiere release of the score to North Dallas Forty by John Scott.

Released in 1979, North Dallas Forty was a fact-based account of novelist Peter Gent’s five-year stint in the NFL. The film got much of the details right, and critics and fans were both pleased. John Scott – a session player from England – drummed up a soundtrack that had jazz and blues undertones while keeping the entire orchestra intact for the action and drama both on and off the football field. (Scott would later pen such scores as Greystoke, which was also reissued earlier this year.)

This complete score presentation includes a handful of alternate and unused cues as well. It’s limited to 2,000 copies and can be ordered here.

Check out the specs on North Dallas Forty after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 15, 2010 at 12:35

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Kritzerland Debuts “Carrie” Score

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It may be closer to Thanksgiving, but Kritzerland is ready to scare the daylights out of you with their latest release – the premiere of Pino Donaggio’s complete score to the horror classic Carrie.

The film, based on the first published novel by acclaimed writer Stephen King and directed by Brian De Palma, centers on a shy high school senior with a big secret: telekinetic powers. When the abuse she suffers daily, from both her classmates and her maniacally religious mother, prove to be too much, those powers take control in a most evil and violent way.

Donaggio, who had only scored one major film (Don’t Look Now) before Carrie, created a soundtrack that recalled one of De Palma’s favorite composers, Bernard Hermann, while maintaining a sense of light elegance and beauty (notably the opening title theme) in a sly counterpoint to the horror portrayed onscreen.

This new release from Kritzerland is the first time the original score as heard in the film is released; it’s augmented by a bonus disc featuring the remastered original soundtrack LP (previously released on CD by Rykodisc and Varese Sarabande). This set is very limited at 1,200 copies, so head over to Kritzerland quick to get your copy.

Check out the track list after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

November 15, 2010 at 11:36

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Review: The Apple Records Remasters, Part 1 – A Quartet by Badfinger

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Welcome to Part 1 of a five-part series in which we’ll take an in-depth look at the recently-released Apple Records reissue campaign, comprised of 16 Apple albums recorded between 1968 and 1974 plus the first-ever label anthology. We’ll begin with the albums of Badfinger.

It’s almost impossible to write about Badfinger without mentioning their mentors, employers, producers and influences, The Beatles. Signed in 1968 by the Apple label at the instigation of The Beatles’ confidante and “roadie,” Mal Evans, Badfinger (then known as The Iveys) became a radio staple thanks to hits like “Come and Get It,” gifted to them by Paul McCartney, and “Day After Day,” produced by George Harrison. Between 1969 and 1973, Badfinger recorded four landmark LPs for Apple, all of which received the remastered treatment this year. (The group’s actual first album, 1969’s Maybe Tomorrow, was released under The Iveys’ name by Apple in Japan, West Germany and Italy; U.K. and U.S. releases never materialized until the CD era as the now out-of-print CDSAPCOR 8. These four albums are the crown jewels of The Apple Box Set.

Magic Christian Music (SAPCOR 12) marked the debut of Badfinger even though all of its tracks were recorded while the band – Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Mike Gibbins, Ron Griffiths – still considered themselves The Iveys. The title alluded to the film The Magic Christian, a wild, surreal romp starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr based on Terry Southern’s novel of the same name; it’s also a movie that, even today, needs to be seen to be believed. Trust me that you’ll never hear “Come and Get It” the same way again! Paul McCartney contributed production to three songs for the film: the haunting anthem “Carry On Till Tomorrow,” the infectious, harder-edged “Rock of All Ages,” and of course, “Come and Get It,” which he also penned. When contractual issues precluded Apple from releasing the film’s soundtrack (released in the U.S. on Commonwealth United Records, cat. no. CU 6004 and in the U.K. on Pye as NSPL 28133), the label maneuvered to release Badfinger’s contributions on this similarly-titled set. (The Badfinger tracks also did appear on that official soundtrack release, which has not seen a CD issue.) The LP was rounded out by seven Iveys tracks remixed from the Maybe Tomorrow LP as well as four originals making their recorded debuts: three Pete Ham songs (“Crimson Ship,” “Midnight Sun” and “Walk Out in the Rain”) and one group co-write (“Give it a Try”). Iveys bassist Ron Griffiths, despite playing on the album and writing “Dear Angie,” didn’t remain in the band long enough to see the album’s release as a member.

The colorful, offbeat artwork for Magic Christian Music reflected the spirit and tone of the music contained within its sleeve. The album’s collection of quirky and varied pop songs still endures today, with more than a little Beatles influence readily detectable. The failings of this debut LP, however, would follow the band through its tenure at Apple. Three producers contributed (McCartney, Mal Evans and Tony Visconti, who helmed the original Maybe Tomorrow sessions) and Badfinger was never able to find one producer a la George Martin who would steer them to stylistic consistency. The band’s variety of musical influences, too, sometimes makes Magic Christian Music sound like the work of different bands. The Maybe Tomorrow tracks, for instance, have a much “lighter” feel. And while all of the tracks can fairly be labeled as Beatles-esque pop, they range from baroque to psychedelic to rock to folk. Still, Magic Christian Music is a delightful LP and makes for just as fun a listen in its sparkling new CD incarnation, remastered (like all of these discs) by Guy Massey, Steve Rooke and Sam Okell under Allan Rouse’s supervision at Abbey Road Studios.

Two bonus tracks, “Storm in a Teacup” and “Arthur,” made their debut on the 1991 CD issue (CD SAPCOR 12). While both were dropped for the current reissue, they can be heard in alternate mixes on the box set’s bonus discs. (All material referred to as “on the bonus discs” is also downloadable from the usual sources.) In their place are five new bonus tracks: an alternate version of B-side “And Her Daddy’s a Millionaire,” a remix of unreleased single “Mrs. Jones” (this song first heard as a bonus track on the Maybe Tomorrow CD), mono mixes of Maybe Tomorrow’s “See-Saw, Granpa” and “Sali Bloo,” and finally, an extended, unedited version of the Maybe Tomorrow album closer, “I’ve Been Waiting.”

Every track on the original Maybe Tomorrow album is now represented on the Magic Christian Music reissue in one form or another, but that LP itself is still conspicuously absent from this campaign; it would have been a welcome inclusion and truly made this round of reissues the last word on Badfinger’s tenure at Apple. (For the record, CDSAPCOR 8’s bonus track “No Escaping Your Love” is available on the box set bonus disc in an alternate mono mix, while “Looking for My Baby” is missing from this round of reissues. More on that bonus disc in Part 5!)

We move onto No Dice after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 15, 2010 at 10:35

Posted in Badfinger, Reissues, Reviews, The Beatles

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