The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for February 1st, 2011

Reissue Theory: George Michael’s Different Corners

with one comment

Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on well-known albums of the past and the reissues they could someday see. With the reissue of George Michael’s most flawless pop album, today’s installment takes you into the corners of the world pop music scene to prove how part of the musical culture he really was.

The reissue of George Michael’s iconic Faith album has your humble catalogue correspondent excited. Really excited. So excited that today’s Reissue Theory talks about two albums from the same time period he managed to contribute to despite being inescapable with the singles off of his own album. They involve one of Michael’s best side musicians and a strangely satisfying (and successful) family connection. And they’re yours to read about after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 1, 2011 at 16:19

Review: George Michael, “Faith: Legacy Edition”

with 7 comments

It won’t make any sense in today’s media-saturated world, but in 1987 and 1988, George Michael was inescapable. The idea that one single artist could grab multiple genders, races, cliques and generations by the shoulders with his or her music is all but impossible today, but the man born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou did just that. Faith, released by Epic Records in the fall of 1987, put six tracks in Billboard‘s Top 5 (two-thirds of them No. 1 hits), netted him a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, sold in excess of 25 million copies worldwide (10 million of those in the U.S. and one million of that 10 million in a single week) and turned him into one of pop’s hottest lightning rods, thanks to the controversial single “I Want Your Sex” and the racy video, both banned by the BBC. He also accomplished all of this in a year where Michael Jackson was at his most monolithically famous, Prince at his most artistically ambitious and U2 at their most Spider-Man-free.

Of course, all those accolades belie the most important facts behind the album: that Michael was at his most personally tortured as a human being, and that the resultant album is really as good as all the hype would have one believe. That latter point is the main thesis of Legacy’s deluxe edition of the album, available as a two-disc with DVD set (Epic/Legacy 88697 75320-2) or a deluxe box with vinyl and other bonus swag. The songs of Faith are still radio staples today, and enduring reminders of Michael at his best, rather than the more unfortunate stories that have surrounded him in the last decade (the most recent of which actually resulted in this set being delayed from September to now).

With years of hindsight, how does Faith stack up as an album? And how does this new reissue treat the material? These answers are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 1, 2011 at 14:53

Posted in Box Sets, George Michael, Reissues, Reviews

Tagged with

Cherry Pop Reissues Wendy & Lisa Album

with 6 comments

Cherry Pop has announced details for a new reissue that will have Prince fans excited: an expansion of Wendy & Lisa’s sophomore album, Fruit at the Bottom.

Childhood friends, band mates, lovers, soundtrack composers – Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman have had a lengthy, prolific career in the music industry. Both daughters of session musicians, Coleman was approached by Prince in 1980 to play keyboards for his Dirty Mind album. Three years later, with the exit of Dez Dickerson from the band, Prince recruited Melvoin to be his second guitarist. Her first night with the band was a trial by fire: a benefit concert at Minneapolis’ First Avenue in 1983, where the newly formed Prince and The Revolution first played the songs that would form the basis for Purple Rain. (Several of the tracks that ended up on that iconic album were overdubbed versions of live recordings from that very night.)

Though The Revolution was tragically short-lived – tensions particularly mounting between Prince and Wendy & Lisa led to the band’s dissolution in 1986 – the girls soldiered on, releasing their self-titled debut on Columbia Records (Virgin Records in the U.K.) in 1987. That album had the incredibly underrated, moderate U.K. hit “Waterfall.” Though Fruit at the Bottom fared even less on the charts, it still showcased the duo’s talents as crafters of danceable pop. And the guest list was impressive: the duo’s sisters, Susannah Melvoin (also an ex-Prince associate, having been a member of The Family and one of Prince’s more notable girlfriends) and Cole Ynda, contributed extensive background vocals, and Jesse Johnson of The Time lent his guitar skills. (In an incredible display of musical friendship – or marketing savvy – Prince himself actually remixed the album’s “Lolly Lolly” for single release.)

Fruit at the Bottom, previously expanded in the U.S. on Wounded Bird Records in 2006, includes the original 10-track album remastered alongside five bonus tracks: remixes of singles “Satifaction,” “Lolly Lolly” and “Are You My Baby?” and two non-LP B-sides. (One of them, “Hip Hop Love,” did not appear on the Wounded Bird CD, making this one vital for completists and collectors.) This disc is out in the U.K. on February 21 and can be ordered at Cherry Pop’s Web site. Full track details are after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 1, 2011 at 13:05

Feel Good Music: Flying Burrito Brothers Live Set Coming from Hip-o Select

leave a comment »

Hip-o Select has put up a new release for order at the top of the week: a live set by country-rock pioneers The Flying Burrito Brothers.

The FBB were the brainchild of Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, upon leaving The Byrds. The duo were the initial nucleus of the multi-musician ensemble. At the time of the recording of Authorized Bootleg: Late Show, November 7, 1970 The Fillmore East, New York, NY, Parsons and original bassist Chris Ethridge had left and were replaced by Rick Roberts and Bernie Leadon (this was before Leadon became a founding member of The Eagles). Byrds drummer Michael Clarke and renowned session pedal-steel player “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow rounded out the ensemble.

The release of this authorized bootleg, overseen by Hillman (who contributes a note to the set and approved its mastering), makes for one of the earliest officially-released FBB shows on the market, predating even the band’s first live LP, Last of the Red-Hot Burritos (1972).

This new set is limited to 7,000 copies and is yours to order at this link. Check out the track info after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 1, 2011 at 11:20

Dionne, Natalie, Nancy Reissues Coming from Soulmusic Label

with 4 comments

Cherry Red’s got soul.

Mike and I reported last week on the impressive slate planned by Cherry Red’s Big Break Records label. A smaller yet equally rich line-up is on the way from another Cherry Red division, Records.On February 14 in the U.K. and one week later stateside, the label will reissue five classic albums from a trio of accomplished vocalists: Nancy Wilson, Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole.

Perhaps most exciting is the two-on-one CD release of Wilson’s 1974 Capitol LP All in Love is Fair and its follow-up, 1975’s Come Get to This. After a successful career at Capitol as a premier jazz vocalist interpreting many great standards and songbooks from both Broadway and Hollywood, Wilson began experimenting with more modern sounds. While some of her late-’60s efforts consisted of the titles being covered by so many of her contemporaries (“Spinning Wheel,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Little Green Apples”), she hit her soulful stride with 1970’s Now I’m a Woman. For that LP, she set up shop with Gamble and Huff in Philadelphia. Thom Bell notably contributed his typically-lush and sophisticated charts, and Wilson effortlessly matched them with her vocals. After that significant effort, Wilson’s repertoire continued to include both jazz-leaning “adult” pop and more recent songs, setting her up for the triumph of All in Love is Fair. Working with Larkin Arnold, the head of Capitol’s Black Music department, Wilson teamed with arranger Gene Page for this successful album and its follow-up. Wilson and Page returned to Thom Bell’s catalogue with “You’re as Right as Rain,” which scored Wilson her first Top Ten R&B hit in a decade, and turned to Stevie Wonder for the supreme title track. The following year’s Come Get to This featured a Marvin Gaye title song and a beautiful reworking of James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.” Clearly Miss Wilson had found her groove. Both of these albums have been long unavailable, making this a must-own for fans of Wilson, Page or classic soul. (Now can we please get Now I’m a Woman reissued on CD? Pretty please?)

Catch up with Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole after the jump, along with full specs and track listings for each release! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 1, 2011 at 09:38

Release Round-Up: Week of February 1

with 2 comments

George Michael, Faith: Legacy Edition (Epic/Legacy)

There’s going to be a review of the two-disc/one-DVD edition of this album (also available as a deluxe box set) coming up later today, but let me say right now: Damn. If you forgot how good this record was – how it makes a lot of ’80s pop look temporarily flawed and full of effort – go buy this immediately. I’ll wait. (Official site)

Bob Marley and The Wailers, Live Forever: September 23, 1980 – The Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA (Tuff Gong/UMe)

A two-disc set of Marley’s final concert, presented in full to honor the reggae immortal. Note that this is the first catalogue set of the year with some retail exclusives: Best Buy’s version comes with a bonus disc (exact content has not been confirmed), while Target’s exclusive is a T-shirt. Of course, hardcore fans can skip both and get the super-deluxe version of this set. (Official site)

Aretha Franklin, The Great American Songbook (Columbia/Legacy)

A single-disc teaser for March’s exhaustive box set covering her entire Columbia tenure, before the Queen joined Atlantic. (Amazon)

Kiki Dee, I’m Kiki Dee: The Fontana Years (RPM)

Before she promised Elton John not to go breakin’ any hearts, Kiki Dee was a soulful pop singer on Fontana Records; a good chunk of her work is collected herein. (RPM)

Rod Stewart, The Best of the Great American Songbook (J)

Zzzzzzzzzz…..oh! Sorry. A compilation of the five Great American Songbook albums Rod has released in the past decade. (Official site)

Written by Mike Duquette

February 1, 2011 at 08:48