The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for February 10th, 2011

The Price of Box Sets: How Much is Too Much?

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The revelation of The Rolling Stones’ CD singles box set is pretty cool, and living proof that the catalogue music business is still thriving. It’s a year that’s given or will give us a box set of Danny Elfman’s music for Tim Burton, all of Aretha Franklin’s Columbia-era material and an enormous run-through of The Grateful Dead’s European tour of 1972.

But how much is all of this worth?

The Stones set, when one converts from pounds to U.S. dollars, is nearly $300. How worth it is that for some nice packaging and a few dozen largely-unavailable tracks (among a host of album cuts we’ve all bought more than once)? Will Deadheads ever get the opportunity to shell out less for a set that has the best of the Europe ’72 tour, rather than 60+ discs for a few hundred clams? What if an Elfman fan just wants the soundtrack to Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure instead of another round of Batman to go with it?

Of course, the mega box set caters to a very small group, but I worry sometimes that the trend could hurt music buyers even more. Think of all the artists you might have got into or the CD collections that started with early box sets by James Brown, Phil Spector and the like – simple, four-disc overviews that cost maybe $50 to $100. Such sets are more viable options, economic crunch or no economic crunch, and they’re low-risk and high-reward. That’s not to say mega-boxes shouldn’t exist, but it’s tough thinking of all the possible riches some people won’t be afforded – Stones dance remixes, Aretha’s great live LP, the theme to the Beetlejuice cartoon show on CD – just because they can’t spend scores of money.

What’s your take, readers? Sound off in the comments and vote in our poll below.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 10, 2011 at 17:35

Reissue Theory: “Purple Rain”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on great albums and the reissues they could someday see. One of the biggest-selling albums of all time. A rock and roll classic. Soon to be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Still un-reissued in any way, shape or form. This is Purple Rain.

With the Grammy Awards on Sunday, there’s been some thought at Second Disc HQ regarding some of the Grammy Hall of Fame inductees. While there are more single recordings on the list than actual albums, one LP sticks out: Prince and The Revolution’s Purple Rain.

You know the story (we’ve even told it before): a new band, new ambitions, a film project, the top single, album and film of the week in the same week; four Top 10 hits, two Grammys, an Oscar and a place in pop cultural history from now until forever. You likely also know that, in spite of basing his current live reputation off of hits, Prince “doesn’t like to look back,” the classic excuse for not revisiting a lauded music catalogue. There have been reports to the contrary, but as of now, it doesn’t look like WB is going to honor Purple Rain‘s legacy (or Grammy HoF accolade) with a reissue.

But if they did… Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 10, 2011 at 15:02

More Gerhardt LPs Coming from Masterworks in March

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In October, to the delight of film score fans everywhere, Sony Masterworks reissued a portion of the Classic Film Scores series, vintage RCA LPs of great soundtracks as recorded by Charles Gerhardt and The National Philharmonic Orchestra. In March, the second installment of the reissue series is happening, covering some of the greatest composers in motion picture history, including Hermann, Waxman, Korngold and Steiner.

Masterworks’ reissue campaign, announced today, covers compilations devoted to soundtracks by Max Steiner, Erich Wolfgand Korngold, Franz Waxman, Bernard Hermann, Miklós Rózsa and David Raskin (the last of which is led by the composer himself, and would technically fall out of the Classic Film Scores series proper, as conducted by Gerhardt). There’s also a volume devoted to the films of Bette Davis featuring music by Steiner, Korngold, Waxman and Alfred Newman.

Of course, Gerhardt recorded many more albums that RCA could either dust off or license for reissue – the series technically also counts a 1978 volume devoted to John Williams’ work on Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind and a 1978 compilation, The Spectacular World of Classic Film Scores, that included fanfares for the great film studios and tracks from the prior RCA releases – but seeing a second batch of Gerhardt in rare form is a treat for the serious film score enthusiast.

All the titles will be available on CD and digital download on March 1. Check the track lists below. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 10, 2011 at 12:50

Procol Harum Shine On Brightly in New U.K. Compilation

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While Salvo Music has gotten a lot of coverage on The Second Disc for expanded reissues of ZTT artists and Madness, there’s more to the U.K. label than that. Salvo produced an impressive run of reissues for U.K. prog group Procol Harum in 2009, which were expanded with B-sides and alternate takes from the vault. (Most notably, alternate stereo versions of tracks from the band’s self-titled debut were found – the first time those songs were ever heard in true stereo.)

Next week, Salvo continues their successful campaign of Procol Harum releases with a single-disc compilation of the band’s greatest hits. Then & Now: The Best of Procol Harum features at least one track from each album the band released between 1967 and 1977 – including single-only tracks “Homburg” and the band’s enduring “A Whiter Shade of Pale” – as well as two previously unreleased live tracks recorded in Europe in 2009.

The set is due in U.K. shops on February 15. The official order page from Salvo is here, while the track list is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 10, 2011 at 11:38

Get Up Offa That Thing! New Volume of JB Singles Ready for Order

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The tenth volume of Hip-o Select’s ongoing James Brown singles series is ready to order.

The Singles Volume 10 collects each side of all the 45s J.B. released from 1975 to 1979. At a time when disco was taking hold of pop music’s conscience, the Godfather of Soul soldiered on as the self-proclaimed “Minister of New Super Heavy Funk,” and delivered just that with classics like “Get Up Offa That Thing,” “Hot (I Need to Be Loved, Loved, Loved, Loved),” “Bodyheat” and “It’s Too Funky in Here.” Some choice rarities abound, including some James Brown-ified covers of popular standards and The J.B.’s “Everybody Wanna Get Funky One More Time,” the final single released on People Records (all other selections bowed on the Polydor label).

As always, the set will feature a nice, thick booklet full of rare photos and memorabilia and detailed notes from the J.B. guru himself, Alan Leeds. It’s yours to order at Hip-o Select; hit the jump to check out the track list! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

February 10, 2011 at 09:38