The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for March 2nd, 2011

Short Takes: Stevie and Stones Go High-Def, Jascha Heifetz Box Breaks Records

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  • One of the greatest albums of all time is coming to Audio Fidelity! Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life will bow as a two-disc 24K gold CD set, complete with the “A Something’s Extra” EP tracks. No street date yet, but the page to order is here.
  • The Rolling Stones have their own high-definition project to speak of: their ABKCO material is being released in FLAC format. Read more about the process at CNN.
  • Sony Classical has another megabox coming out on March 22. Jascha Heifetz: The Album Collection will compile all of the famed violinist’s recordings for Victor, RCA Red Seal, Columbia Masterworks and Vox Cum Laude across 103 CDs and a DVD. It’s already set a Guinness World Record for its scope! Get it March 22 in the States.

Written by Mike Duquette

March 2, 2011 at 16:05

Reissue Theory: Debbie Harry, “Rockbird”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on notable albums and the reissues they could someday see. What does the most ridiculous celebrity meltdown at the moment have to do with the second solo LP by the leader of Blondie? The answer may shock you.

“Fools and trolls.” “Gnarly gnarlingtons.” “Winning!” The ongoing, eminently quotable, six-cylinder meltdown of Charlie Sheen is a bizarre conversation starter around the world. (Your mileage may vary of course: to this author, the whole thing is slowly decaying from funny to funny-sad – though I still stand by my earlier personal comments that Sheen is, indeed, the Mozart of crazy.)

The source of Sheen’s megalomania (other than, possibly, drugs) is a seething anger at Chuck Lorre, the prolific television producer and creator of the currently-shutterered Two and a Half Men, for which Sheen is the highest-paid actor on television. Lorre gained prominence as a writer and co-producer on Roseanne in the 1990s before creating hit sitcoms like Grace Under Fire, Dharma & Greg and The Big Bang Theory.

But creating high-rated television was not the first phase of Lorre’s professional life. No, Lorre first chased his muse through songwriting – and one of the end products was a run-in with Debbie Harry, on a song that, to quote the writer, “ended her solo career.”

The story of Rockbird is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 2, 2011 at 14:52

Ray Charles “Live in Concert” to Be Expanded

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Ray Charles took the Shrine Auditorium by storm in 1964, following a tour of Japan. That fiery show was recorded (unbeknownst to the Genius himself) and released as Live in Concert in 1965. Now, Concord is prepping an expanded edition of the concert with several unreleased bonus tracks from the same show.

Though the original 12-track LP touched on some great hits and standards as only Ray could sing them – “What’d I Say,” “I Got a Woman” and “Hallelujah, I Love Her So” chief among them – the expanded set list includes several more of Charles’ most famous cuts as played at the show, including “One Mint Julep” and “Georgia on My Mind.” The set includes new liner notes by Bill Dahl on the show (and the man in concert), and is presented in a new 24-bit digital remaster.

This new package will be out April 5; order it here and hit the jump for the track list.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 2, 2011 at 11:12

Posted in News, Ray Charles, Reissues

A Song (or 16) for You: New Leon Russell Compilation Due in April

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He’s one of the all-time great rock and rollers of the early ’70s, a session player turned superstar who finally earned his due with a new generation thanks to Elton John and a well-timed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction next month. Now, Capitol Records will release The Best of Leon Russell on April 5, to commemorate the pianist’s legacy.

This 16-track compilation will feature mostly hits and classic compositions from Leon’s solo tenure on Shelter Records from 1970 to 1975 (including one early track with musician Marc Benno, as The Asylum Choir). Three tracks from other labels have been licensed for the set: the live “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”/”Youngblood” medley from George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, a live cover of “Heartbreak Hotel” released on a collaboration with Willie Nelson in 1979 and “If It Wasn’t for Bad,” the lead single from last year’s The Union, the lauded collaboration between Russell and Elton John.

The set can be ordered here; the track list is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 2, 2011 at 09:18