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Archive for January 2011

La La Land to Get a “Clue” in February

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The mystery has finally been solved: it was La La Land Records, on the Internet, with a batch of CDs. Well…in other words, it’s been confirmed that one of the label’s most hotly-anticipated releases is happening soon: the world-premiere release of John Morris’ score to Clue (1985).

Clue, of course, comes from a simpler time when movies based on board games and television shows weren’t the only ideas circulating throughout Hollywood. In fact, as high-concept films go, it was initially a box-office failure, only earning accolades when released on home video. (Chief among the laughs is the presence of no less than three endings for the film, each depicting a different culprit in the murder of Mr. Boddy.) There’s no reason to skip it, though; the ensemble cast (including Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Madeline Kahn and Michael McKean) is a knockout, and the film boasts a very funny script from the pen of director Jonathan Lynn (who conceived the story with the equally funny John Landis).

A snappy comedy needs an equally snappy score, and Morris, best known for his scores to the films of Mel Brooks, delivers. This release has been on La La Land’s horizon since last year, and it’s their release for February 1. It will be limited to 3,000 copies and will feature nearly an hour of music (including 17 minutes of bonus tracks).

Keep it here next week when a pre-order link and track list are available.

Written by Mike Duquette

January 26, 2011 at 18:08

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Review: “The Very Best of The Rat Pack”

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What do we know about The Rat Pack, that famed group of celebrity rogues and rapscallions that defined American cool in the early ’60s? You might not know that only a third of the classic members of the group were initially included; The Rat Pack was initially made up of actor friends of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, including Frank Sinatra but not Dean Martin or Sammy Davis, Jr.

But after Bogart’s death and the subsequent release of Ocean’s 11 in 1960, the classic image of The Rat Pack – Sinatra, Martin, Davis and actors Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop – crystallized in the eyes of the American public. On the musical side, Frank, Sammy and Dean were the darlings of the Las Vegas strip, often dropping in on each other’s scheduled performances to the glee of patrons. Though the trio never performed together after a short-lived tour in 1987 and would be gone within the next decade or so, they left behind an image of group-related cool that’s been emulated for years, whether the pack be brat or frat-oriented.

Rhino’s new compilation, The Very Best of The Rat Pack (Reprise/Rhino R2 526241), is amazingly only one of a very select few compilations compiling the best of these three men in one place. (Capitol released Eee-O 11: The Very Best of The Rat Pack in 2001, and a Christmas compilation followed on the same label some years later.) Though each man had careers on many different labels – all three were signed to Sinatra’s self-created label Reprise, Frank and Dean had stints on Capitol and Davis started out on Decca – it’s not really the licensing that proves difficult, so much as it is capturing the feeling of the group dynamic on disc.

How well does Rhino’s set succeed? Find out after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 26, 2011 at 15:34

How Killer Are the Queen Reissue Track Lists?

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I see a little silhouetto of the track lists of the forthcoming U.K. Queen remasters, as released on the band’s official site today. There was a track list posted on the Steve Hoffman forums that was taken from a Japanese Web site and perhaps too heavily devoted to the remixes from The eYe (that odd 1998 computer game with five discs’ worth of remixes and instrumental tracks built into the CD-ROMs and suitable for ripping to one’s iPod). Those track lists were mostly wrong, thankfully. So what are fans going to get? Let’s talk after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 26, 2011 at 11:08

Posted in News, Queen, Reissues

Aretha Opens “The Great American Songbook”

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Can’t wait for that massive 11-CD/1-DVD box set, Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia?  Or maybe you’re just looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?

Either way, Legacy may have the disc for you. Next Tuesday, February 1, will see the under-the-radar release of Aretha Franklin‘s The Great American Songbook from Columbia/Legacy, compiling 18 of the tracks from that massive box set on one CD. Oddly, this release features the same cover art as the upcoming box, not due for release until March 22. (The decision to release a “highlights” package before the box itself is unusual, but is likely a product of the label’s desire to have “Great American Songbook” product in time for the February 14 holiday when it’s frequently a major seller to casual fans. It is not being marketed as a highlights disc, per se.)

The Great American Songbook’s tracks encompass standards written by Cole Porter (“Love for Sale”), Johnny Mercer and Hoagy Carmichael (“Skylark”), Irving Berlin (“How Deep is the Ocean?”) and even Hank Williams (“Cold, Cold Heart”). All are, of course, drawn from Franklin’s pre-Atlantic period at Columbia; hopefully the upcoming box will grant this era some long-deserved recognition. The soon-to-be Queen is in stellar vocal form throughout; as eminent jazz critic Will Friedwald astutely pointed out, “the only sin of the Columbia sides is that they sound nothing like the records that eventually made Franklin famous.”

Is this set worth picking up? Hit the jump for one answer, plus the track lineup and discographical information! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 26, 2011 at 09:48

Reissue Theory: Hall and Oates, Extended

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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. Today’s post might be out of touch, but we remind fans that Sony’s not out of time to release a collection of remixes for one of their greatest acts of the 1980s.

There are so many artists who have a lot of great 12″ mixes that are either out of print on compact disc or entirely unavailable on the format. Oddly, some of the brightest stars of the MTV era suffer from such a condition – Prince and Michael Jackson have had welcome if not thorough compilations of remixes, and Madonna is amazingly still M.I.A. on that front. One other perfect example of a dance-pop artist with a lot of mostly unavailable remixes are Daryl Hall & John Oates – at least, that’s the case depending on what territory you call home.

As Hall & Oates’ stock rose from the early 1970s (where they were a Philly-soul duo with pop leanings on Atlantic Records) to the latter part of the decade and the ’80s (where they jumped to RCA and released increasingly soul-oriented pop/dance music), the label began commissioning extended versions and remixes to earn club play. Beginning with 1980’s Voices and culminating with 1984’s Big Bam Boom, Hall & Oates were a danceable force to be reckoned with, garnering three chart-toppers on Billboard‘s Dance chart (“I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” “Say It Isn’t So” and “Out of Touch”). While they still had some hip-shaking hits in the late ’80s, having moved from RCA to Arista, the first half of the decade boasted their best cuts for the dance floor.

In 2004, when BMG reissued most of the RCA albums on CD, they included some of those remixes as bonus tracks. Yet despite a good handful of themed compilations from BMG and later Legacy (which has the luck to have the RCA and Arista albums in their collective catalogue), there’s never been one devoted to those remixes. Granted, H&O fans should rejoice for what is out there, as it’s often made with a lot of love (from 2009’s box set to the rarity-packed Playlist disc) – but a remix collection would be welcome.

At least, it would be welcome on American shores. A year before the BMG reissue campaign, the label’s Japanese Funhouse arm released not one but two Hall & Oates remix collections, spanning all the major A-sides of the ’80s, a few modern-day remixes and both (somewhat rare) sides of the “Jingle Bell Rock” single (each side bearing a different vocal for the song, one by Daryl and one by John). Perhaps one day a similar set will come to light in the U.S.; until then, though, let’s take a look at that set, Reissue Theory-style, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

January 25, 2011 at 15:53

More Smokey Reissues Cruisin’ Your Way (UPDATED)

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(UPDATE 1/26: This set is now available to order direct from Hip-o Select.)

Usually, the first place to hear about Hip-o Select titles is through Hip-o Select themselves. They keep a semi-frequent newsletter and an active Twitter feed which usually gets the links out to their new reissues and box sets.

It’s strange, then, that there hasn’t yet been a peep about their forthcoming installment in the long-running The Solo Albums two-fers from Smokey Robinson. Meanwhile, Amazon has put up a full track list, something which rarely happens before Hip-o gets theirs up.

The fourth volume in the successful series collates Smokey’s last two studio LPs of the 1970s: Love Breeze (1978) and Where There’s Smoke… (1979). The latter of the two was Robinson’s first Top 40 album since 1975’s A Quiet Storm, thanks largely to the delightful “Cruisin’,” which would be the singer’s highest-charting solo single at the time, peaking at No. 4. (It earned the adoration of a new generation in 2000, when it was covered by Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow for the largely forgettable film Duets.)

A bonus track will also be included in the form of an instrumental version of “Get Ready,” a tune Smokey wrote for The Temptations in 1966. It appeared on the 12″ single of the song in 1979. There’s also no word yet on any Hip-o Select release of Smokin’, the 1978 double live album released in between these studio efforts. (UPDATE: We just got off the phone with Motown reissue guru Harry Weinger, who confirmed that The Solo Albums Volume 5 is going to be Smokin’.)

The Solo Albums Volume 4 is out February 15, per Amazon. View the track list after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

January 25, 2011 at 12:16

Short Takes: Soundtracks on Tap from Barry, Horner and Mancini

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It’s already been a busy week here at Second Disc HQ, and the news just keeps on comin’. Three more soundtracks are due from some of the finest composers in film score history: John Barry, James Horner and Henry Mancini.

  • Before becoming an eminence grise in the world of film scoring, John Barry was best-known as the leader of the John Barry Seven, an association which led him to one of his earliest film projects, the score to the 1960 British film Beat Girl. The long-unavailable soundtrack to Beat Girl, with performances by Barry’s group and singer Adam Faith (for whom Barry had produced and arranged a number of hit records), will be reissued on February 21 by El Records, part of the U.K.’s Cherry Red group. El’s edition, likely available due to British copyright law and therefore an “unauthorized” release, will be expanded from the original LP. It will include a whopping 36 tracks, its bonus tracks encompassing three French singles (A-sides and B-sides) performed by the film’s star, Gillian Hills, seven tracks by Barry and five by Faith. Beat Girl holds the distinction of being the first British film soundtrack to be pressed in the LP format, and its reissue is a welcome one. Beat Girl is available for pre-order at Amazon U.K. here.
  • By anyone’s estimation, James Horner is one of the most phenomenally successful film composers of all time, with Avatar and Titanic just two of the blockbuster scores under his belt. Kritzerland has just reissued Horner’s score to Gorky Park in a remastered deluxe edition limited to 1,000 copies. Horner’s score to Michael Apted’s 1983 thriller was originally released on LP and CD by Varese Sarabande; Kritzerland’s edition showcases the original soundtrack in two versions. The first is in soundtrack order as originally selected by the composer; the second is a new presentation in film order. Both make a substantial case for Horner’s taut, gripping suspense score. Gorky Park is due the first week of March from Kritzerland, but pre-orders are likely to arrive an average of four weeks early. Gorky Park can be pre-ordered here.
  • Last year, Quartet Records did a splendid job releasing Henry Mancini’s score to Curse of the Pink Panther for the first time in any format. The label follows up this project with the debut of another Mancini “hidden gem,” the score to Harry and Son. This 1984 film told the story of the relationship between a blue-collar worker (Paul Newman) and his aspiring writer son (Robby Benson). Newman also directed, and starred alongside his real-life wife, Joanne Woodward, and Ellen Barkin. In addition to 23 score tracks making their first appearance in any audio format, Quartet’s limited edition release of Harry and Son includes an alternate cue, an instrumental of the song “Aerobic” and a radio promo version of “Harry’s Theme.” It can be pre-ordered here.

Hit the jump for track listings and discographical information for all three releases! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 25, 2011 at 11:44

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Intrada Partially Finds Missing “Link”

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It’s always a cause for celebration in the soundtrack community when a Jerry Goldsmith score is put into print. Today is no different; one of Goldsmith’s scores from the 1980s is one of the two new releases from Intrada.

Link was a strange 1986 horror film from England in which Elisabeth Shue and Terence Stamp were pitted against a super-intelligent orangutan. Goldsmith was in his typical ’80s form – orchestra augmented with synthesized instruments, not unlike another favorite at Second Disc HQ – but fans and critics were kind. The composer received a Saturn Award nomination (in recognition of sci-fi entertainment) for his work, and Varese Sarabande released a soundtrack album on LP and CD. That title quickly went out of print and commands high prices on the aftermarket. Intrada’s reissue fills a nice gap in many collections, even if it does not expand upon the original album (Intrada producer Roger Fiegelson had mentioned on the label’s message board last year that Intrada had licensed the score but could not find any additional material).

The reissue of that album at 2,000 copies is accompanied by a world-premiere two-fer of two scores from Marilyn Monroe’s early time at 20th Century-Fox. A set of the scores to River of No Return (1954) and Niagara (1953), composed by Lionel Newman, Leigh Harline, Cyril J. Mockridge and Sol Kaplan and limited to 1,000 copies, is also available from the label. It includes a main title song to River performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford (Monroe’s vocals could not be licensed for this set).

Order Link here and River of No Return / Niagara here and read the track lists after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

January 25, 2011 at 10:18

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Billy Joel’s Shea Play on Its Way to Disc in March

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The Billy Joel floodgates are about to burst open with the release of Live at Shea Stadium: The Concert, an audio scrapbook of the Piano Man’s show-stopping concerts at Shea Stadium, the last major events held at the iconic sporting arena before its closure and demolition.

Already documented in Last Play at Shea – a multifaceted documentary on the longtime home of the New York Mets and the Long Island-raised rocker who performed there (to be released on DVD next month) – Columbia/Legacy will release a multi-format distillation of the two nights in July 2008 in which Joel held court alongside some of the biggest names in classic and modern pop and rock, including Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, John Mayer and, in an historic moment, Paul McCartney, no stranger to Shea himself.

The set will be released as a CD/DVD package – the DVD featuring three extra performances with guests Steven Tyler, Roger Daltrey and John Mellencamp – as well as a standalone DVD and a standalone Blu-Ray disc – Billy Joel’s first release on the high-definition video format. All three packages will be available on March 8, and PBS will air a broadcast version of the DVD content for its Great Performances series later that month.

This is the first volley of Legacy’s promised catalogue blitz for Joel – but if you’ve been checking pre-order pages lately, it looks like the best may be yet to come…

The set can be pre-ordered at Amazon now (CD/DVD, DVD and BD). Read the full track list after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

January 25, 2011 at 09:10

Release Round-Up: Week of January 25

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Thin Lizzy, Jailbreak / Johnny the Fox / Live and Dangerous: Deluxe Editions (Universal)

A trio of long-awaited deluxe editions from the U.K., featuring bonus tracks, non-LP sides and (in the case of Live and Dangerous) a DVD. (Amazon U.K.)

Santana, The Swing of Delight / Zebop! / Shango: 30th Anniversary Editions (Friday Music)

Though only one of them is truly a 30th anniversary edition (each album dates back from 1980, 1981 and 1982, respectively), these remasters are more than welcome for fans of classic Santana. (Friday Music)

Various Artists, The Very Best of The Rat Pack (Reprise/Rhino)

Frank, Sammy and Dino’s greatest hits on one disc, along with a previously unreleased outtake by the Chairman of the Board. (Rhino)

Bing Crosby, Bing Sings the Sinatra Songbook / Bing & Rosie: The Crosby-Clooney Radio Sessions / A Southern Memoir (Collector’s Choice)

Three new archive titles for Bing from Collector’s Choice, including some choice materials from the vault. (Official site)

Edwin Starr, Clean: Expanded Edition / Marlena Shaw, Sweet Beginnings: Expanded Edition / Tom Browne, Love Approach: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

As detailed in yesterday’s post, three of a dozen or so expanded soul reissues from the U.K.-based label. (BBR)

Various Artists, Playlist (Sony/Legacy)

A huge chunk of Playlist titles for a number of Sony artists, easy on the wallet and a few of them packing some rarities. Consult here for more info. (Legacy)

Written by Mike Duquette

January 25, 2011 at 08:13