The Second Disc

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Archive for November 29th, 2010

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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