The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for March 1st, 2011

Back Tracks: Aerosmith, Part II – The Geffen Years and Beyond

with 8 comments

Way back in January we did a Back Tracks feature on Aerosmith’s Columbia discography, just as Steven Tyler was beginning to crazy it up on American Idol. However, since then Tyler has become a solid asset for Idol fans, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the end of the show’s current season didn’t dovetail into some sort of Aerosmith resurgence.

With that in mind, let’s take a look from where we left the band in the last Back Tracks special. 1982’s Rock in a Hard Place saw original guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford gone (Whitford appeared on one track), Tyler almost irreparably strung out and the music taking a nosedive. Nonetheless, the group continued to tour, and had something toward success when, in 1984, Perry and Hamilton reunited with the band. A resultant tour, Back in the Saddle, was a moderate success tempered by the fact that the band hadn’t released a new album in several years, and the band were still battling their substance-based demons.

Things were only looking so good for the band. But they’d about to reach a second plateau of success that most bands can only dream of.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 1, 2011 at 17:31

La-La Land Boards “Money Train”

leave a comment »

The newest scores to order from La-La Land are from films both old and new: Mark Mancina’s score to Money Train (1995) and Abel Korzenlowski’s soundtrack to Copernicus’ Star (2009).

Money Train was an action-comedy flick starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as New York City two transit cops. The film was not a success, but is known for being one of the earliest mainstream appearances of Jennifer Lopez and its killer action score by Mark Mancina, who at the time was making quite a mark on the genre (the score was squeezed between his excellent soundtracks for Speed and Twister). This is the music’s first release, and will be presented in a 3,000 unit limited edition featuring liner notes by film music writer Daniel Schweiger.

The other film represented in the batch is Copernicus’ Star, a Polish animated feature about the life of Nicolaus Copernicus, the Dutch astronomer whose contribution to science – the definitive model of a solar system with the sun, not Earth, at its center – kickstarted a scientific revolution of unmatched magnitude. Korzenlowski, whose recent work includes the Golden Globe-nominated score to 2009’s A Single Man, composed this score, a solid, moving orchestral affair. This set will be limited to 1,000 copies.

Pre-order links and full track information are after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 1, 2011 at 16:16

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Joan Baez to Reissue “Play Me Backwards” With Additional Tracks

with one comment

Joan Baez recently announced the reissue of her 1992 album Play Me Backwards as a nicely expanded set – but you’ll have to pony up if you want it in the States.

Play Me Backwards marked a lot of firsts for the folk singer: her first album in Nashville since Come from the Shadows (1972), her first of many collaborations with songwriters/producers Kenny Greenberg and Wally Wilson, her main collaborators for most of the 1990s and her first music video, for the track “Stones in the Road.” The album was a considerable success in its own right, earning a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Recording.

But it turns out there was more to the record, as this new edition from Proper Records suggests. The set will be expanded with no less than 10 previously unreleased demos, including “Seven Curses,” a long-unreleased song written by Bob Dylan. (His own demo was only recently released!) It will also feature new artwork and a new essay by Arthur Levy.

Now here’s the rub: Proper will only release the CD in the U.K. and Europe, so you’ll have to import the disc if you want a copy. However, another label, Diverse Records, will release the expanded set as a 180-gram double LP that will be available in all territories. The sets are out March 14, and you can see the track list after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 1, 2011 at 14:34

Posted in Joan Baez, News, Reissues, Vinyl

New Compilation to Highlight Fania Records

with one comment

Here’s something a little bit different that came our way courtesy of MusicTAP: a compilation coming out later this month to highlight the early years of Fania Records.

The New York-based label, founded by artist Johnny Pacheco and lawyer Jerry Masucci, was a pioneering force in the salsa genre, a perfect storm of traditional Latin rhythms fused with the modern sounds of rock and soul music. The label made stars out of Latin musicians like Pacheco, Bobby Valentin, Celia Cruz and Ruben Blades and remains one of the most influential Latin labels in history.

The forthcoming two-disc set, to be released on Strut Records, collects 29 definitive tracks released by the label between 1964 and 1980. It will also include, according to a press release, “a thick 32-page booklet including a full Fania label history, memorabilia, album artwork and many previously unpublished photos from the Fania archive.” It’ll be out on March 29, and you can find the track list and pre-order link after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 1, 2011 at 12:15

Posted in Compilations, News, Reissues

Release Round-Up: Week of March 1

leave a comment »

James Brown, The Singles Vol. 10 1975-1979 (Polydor/Hip-o Select)

The Godfather of Soul’s penultimate complete singles compilation from Select. One more to follow! (Hip-o Select)

Carole King and James Taylor, Troubadours: The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter (Hear Music)

A new documentary on the California singer/songwriter scene of the 1970s, coupled with a bonus disc of some of the best songs from that period. (Amazon)

Various Artists, Icon (UMe)

Budget compilations from artists across the Universal spectrum, from Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly to War and The Four Tops. (Original post with Amazon links)

Metallica, Garage Inc. (Vinyl) (Warner Bros./Rhino)

A three or six-LP audiophile reissue of the band’s covers compilation, featuring newly recorded takes on Metallica’s favorite bands and previously released B-side covers from the ’80s and ’90s. (Official site)

Written by Mike Duquette

March 1, 2011 at 10:43

Up, Up and Away: Tracks on “Essential 5th Dimension” Revealed

with 6 comments

For a golden period in the late 1960s and early 1970s, few groups had as winning a streak as The 5th Dimension. Jimmy Webb wrote an entire album for the group, The Magic Garden, after having supplied them with their first hit, the five-time Grammy winner “Up, Up and Away.” The 5th Dimension appeared to be the muse of Laura Nyro, as well, turning Nyro’s brilliant and idiosyncratic material like “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Sweet Blindness” into hit gold. The group discovered Burt Bacharach and Hal David late in the game, yet recorded the definitive version of the team’s little-known song “One Less Bell to Answer,” which Keely Smith had debuted in 1967. Their 1970 recording hit No. 2 on the pop charts and is well-remembered today. They took a mini-medley from the Broadway musical Hair all the way to the top when “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (The Flesh Failures)” spent 16 weeks on the chart, six of them at No. 1. Neil Sedaka, Ashford and Simpson and Tony Macaulay all benefitted from the group’s “champagne soul” stylings. Even Frank Sinatra sought them out as an opening act and as guest stars on his well-regarded television special Francis Albert Sinatra Does His Thing. The original quintet disbanded in 1975 after the release of Earthbound, a reunion album with Jimmy Webb on the ABC label which unfortunately still remains unavailable on CD. There were a couple of Motown albums in 1978 from the group’s new lineup and another unsuccessful comeback effort in 1995. But it’s the classic 1967-1974 period that will be collected by Legacy on The Essential 5th Dimension, scheduled for release on March 15, the same date when the label drops The Essential Paul Revere and the Raiders.

The Essential 5th Dimension contains 36 of the group’s finest moments. These reflect a true embarrassment of songwriting riches, not to mention sophisticated arrangements, both vocally and musically. All of the above-mentioned songs are included, of course. But you’ll also hear tracks such as the hit cover of The Mamas and The Papas’ “Go Where You Wanna Go,” great Neil Sedaka songs (“Puppet Man,” also recorded by Tom Jones, and “Workin’ on a Groovy Thing”) and Jimmy Webb perennials (“The Worst That Could Happen,” recorded before Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge, plus “Carpet Man,” “Paper Cup,” “The Girls’ Song” and “Orange Air”). There’s of course, plenty of Laura Nyro, who’s represented by songs both ubiquitous (“Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic”) and unfamiliar, though no less great (“Black Patch,” “Blowing Away”). The great Bones Howe, who went on to helm Tom Waits’ earliest LPs, was seated in the producer’s chair for every LP after the debut album, Up, Up and Away. (That LP was produced by Johnny Rivers and Marc Gordon.) Howe created a smooth and instantly recognizable sound for the group, aided by the stellar arrangements of Bob Alcivar and others. The Wrecking Crew lent able support as the house band. But the stars were the five individual singers whose distinctive blend was capable of both pure pop and impassioned soul: Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, Lamont McLemore and Ron Townson. What’s the scoop on The Essential? Hit the jump for the full track listing and more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 1, 2011 at 09:08