The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for January 17th, 2011

Reissue Theory: Stevie Wonder, “Hotter Than July”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, here we reflect on well-known albums of the past and the reissues they could someday see. With today being a national holiday in honor of an iconic civil rights leader, we take a look at an album with a song written to make that holiday a reality.

Today is a day off for many people in the United States, in observation of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the great civil rights leader born on January 15, 1929. It was King’s methodology of peaceful protest and the steadfast belief in equal rights for all citizens that put a positive, determined face on the civil rights movement of the 1960s. While few can argue that Dr. King’s dream has truly been realized – even with the barrier-breaking election of a black U.S. president in 2008 – we remember him as a way of looking back from where we came as a country, and where we will hopefully continue to move forward.

All but the most devoted music junkies may not realize this, but one of the most devoted keepers of King’s flame in the 1980s was Stevie Wonder. “Happy Birthday,” the closing track to 1980’s Hotter Than July, was an upbeat song dedicated to King’s memory, and the idea that his birthday should be observed as a national holiday. (Ronald Reagan ultimately signed a bill putting Martin Luther King Day into effect in 1983, and it would first be observed in 1986.)

“Happy Birthday” was but one of a few notable tunes off one of Wonder’s most notable albums of the 1980s, and in honor of Dr. King’s special day, it is the subject of today’s Reissue Theory post. Read on after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 17, 2011 at 15:31

Posted in Features, Reissues, Stevie Wonder

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Short Takes: 40s Aplenty, Kinks Konfusion, QotSA Date Change and Big Star Reissue Due

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  • The magic numbers for reissues this year looks to be 40: we have no less than three different 40th anniversary sets with release dates in March. We’ve already mentioned the CD/DVD edition Bridge Over Troubled Water (1971) on that date. And the same day will see the release of the promised new deluxe editions of Derek and The Dominos’ Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (a remaster, a double-disc deluxe edition, a double vinyl edition, and a 4 CD/2 LP/1 DVD super deluxe box). And Amazon is listing Japanese imports for the same day of the first five Queen albums, meaning that March 22 (or 21) could be the release date for Island’s promised U.K. reissues of the first five Queen albums. (From the looks of the pre-order pages for Queen, Queen II, Sheer Heart Attack, A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races, it looks like these sets will be double-disc editions.)
  • One of the first things The Second Disc ever reported on was some upcoming reissues by The Kinks. Now, nearly a year later, there are U.K.-only deluxe editions of several Kinks albums coming in February. Kinks (1964), Kinda Kinks (1965) and The Kink Kontroversy (1965) will be presented in double-disc editions with non-LP singles and other bonus cuts. (Amazon’s U.K. pages all have track lists, but we’re still trying to nail down all the discographical info; a full post will follow once we have.)
  • Queens of the Stone Age’s previously-announced reissue of their self-titled debut album has shifted on the calendar, owing to a change in distribution from Ipecac Recordings to Domino Records. It will now be available March 1 in the U.S. and March 7 in the U.K.
  • There’s not much info yet, but Big Star’s official Facebook page and blog recently posted placeholder cover art for what looks to be a new reissue of Third/Sister Lovers (1978), the power-pop band’s penultimate record. It was previously reissued and expanded by Rykodisc in 1992. This new reissue is only listed as “coming soon;” it is not known who will handle distribution.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 17, 2011 at 13:45

Soundgarden Go Vintage to Release First-Ever Live Album

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Recently-reunited grunge rockers Soundgarden did well with last year’s Telephantasm compilation, which shipped platinum thanks to being included with every copy of the latest Guitar Hero game. Now, the band is going back to the vaults to release their first live album.

Live on I-5 consists of 17 performances taken from the band’s final tour, in support of 1996’s Down on the Upside. (True to its name, all the performances were taken from venues along the West Coast, near the band’s native Seattle.) Happily, the track list (available, as always, after the jump) looks to devote equal attention to hits and lesser-known album cuts, not to mention covers of The Beatles and The Stooges.

The disc comes out on March 22 and can be ordered here.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 17, 2011 at 11:54

Posted in News, Soundgarden

Be Their Baby: Legacy Preps Releases for Crystals, Ronettes and Darlene Love (UPDATED 1/17)

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When Sony announced in September 2009 that rights had been acquired from EMI Music Publishing to reissue Phil Spector’s Philles catalogue after years of neglect from the ABKCO label, great anticipation was in the air. A major campaign was planned by Sony’s Legacy division with projects in development including “Artist’s Playlists, Best-of collections, and first-ever releases of Philles studio rarities – as well as facsimile reproductions of original singles and albums,” but since that heady announcement, no product has materialized other than a remastered, straight reissue of 1963’s classic A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector.

After a year-plus of silence, Legacy’s program finally appears to be kicking off on February 22, hot on the heels of both Darlene Love’s induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a lawsuit filed by Love and members of The Ronettes against Spector for payment of royalties. (The plaintiffs won a similar lawsuit in 2006.) On that day, Legacy will release four new compilations honoring the best-known artists of the label: The Sound of Love: The Very Best of Darlene Love, Da Doo Ron Ron: The Very Best of the CrystalsBe My Baby: The Very Best of the Ronettes and Wall of Sound: The Very Best of Phil Spector. The Darlene Love release is particularly welcome, as so many release dates for this title had been bandied throughout 2010. (Enthusiasts had to be content with Ace’s superlative 2008 So Much Love: A Darlene Love Anthology 1958-1998, rounding up the best of her non-Spector sides.) Are you ready to go “back to mono,” friends? Hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 17, 2011 at 08:13