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Archive for March 21st, 2011

Reissue Theory: Elton John, “To Be Continued…1992-2010”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on notable albums and the reissues they may some day see. It’s been over two decades since Elton John released his career-spanning To Be Continued… box set, and so much has happened with his career since then. How do you cover such ground? Simple – make another one!

It’s only appropriate that Elton John titled his 1992 album The One. It was a major first for the superstar: his first album recorded in all too many years without any drugs or alcohol. It took the 1990 death of 18-year old Ryan White, a victim of AIDS acquired through a blood transfusion to treat hemophilia, to inspire John to embark on the road to sobriety. (Two years after White’s death, John created The Elton John AIDS Foundation and today remains a tireless champion in the fight against the disease.) In the very same year of 1990, John released one of the most lavish compact disc box sets released up to that time. Despite the LP-sized, four-disc collection’s title To Be Continued…, it’s likely that John didn’t realize just how drastically his life would change in the ensuing years. After all, the future brought more hits, Academy Awards, Tony Awards and a drug and alcohol-free life that, indeed, continues to the present day.

Today’s Reissue Theory posits what an expanded, up-to-date edition of To Be Continued… might look like. Very few career-spanning box sets have been updated in this manner; a notable exception is 1991’s Forty Years: The Artistry of Tony Bennett, which gained a fifth disc to become Fifty Years in 2004. If anyone is deserving of this accolade, however, it’s the original Rocket Man. Once disc couldn’t possibly cover the amount of ground John has travelled since 1990, so we’ve created To Be Continued…1992-2010, an sequel to that seminal box. Our first two discs take us on a journey from 1992 to 2010, encompassing John’s Adult Contemporary smashes of the 1990s and the more rootsy, back-to-basics sounds he’s embraced in the past decade. The third disc is dedicated to John’s theatre and film work, a surprisingly large part of his current career in music. Finally, we have an entire disc devoted to the singer’s collaborative guest appearances, as he may be the most frequent duet partner in modern recorded music! (This disc would be the most difficult to assemble due to licensing restrictions, but such an effort is far from unprecedented.) Our goal is to encompass both studio and live recordings, released and unreleased, familiar and unfamiliar.  We hope to have crafted a definitive latter-day retrospective to follow the already-exemplary original box set.

Let’s begin after the jump, okay? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 21, 2011 at 14:21

Bowie Plays with “Toy” and a Thought on Bootlegs

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Here at Second Disc HQ, this author has had a nuanced take on digital downloading, particularly as it relates to catalogue music. The hard, fast rule I tend to hold myself to is this: if material is excessively difficult or impossible to find on CD, then it’s fair game. The original mix of Billy Joel’s Cold Spring Harbor? The excellent vinyl rips I’ve found in my travels will stay on my iPod until Legacy releases it officially. (And I will happily buy a copy that day!) On the other hand, I wouldn’t seek a torrent of a James Brown singles set if the real thing is a few clicks away.

Keep this in mind as we discuss David Bowie’s Toy after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 21, 2011 at 13:30

Pearl Jam’s Orpheum Track List Revealed

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Among the many treasures of Pearl Jam’s forthcoming reissue of Vs. and Vitalogy is a bonus disc of the band’s set at Boston’s Orpheum Theater in Boston on April 12, 1994. That set is heralded by hardcore PJ fans as one of the best they ever did, and its inclusion was simultaneously a source of excitement and trepidation – the latter condition thanks to a fear that the show in all its glory would be trimmed down for CD. Those fears were confirmed when it was revealed that deluxe editions would have a download code to get six of the live tracks as a digital download.

Now, with about a week to go before the reissues hit stores, this seemed like a good time to pass along the track list for that third disc, as included in the deluxe and super deluxe packages. And, from the looks of it, hardcore fans who were hoping for the whole show being presented will probably have something to yell about. Come on in for the rundown.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 21, 2011 at 12:31

Posted in News, Pearl Jam, Reissues

Love Makes the World Go Round: London Cast “Carnival” Hits CD

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Priscilla: Queen of the DesertSister ActCatch Me If You Can. Today’s Broadway is populated by adaptations of familiar movies; in 1961, such screen-to-stage transfers were rare. When they did occur, the authors usually changed the title of the film to signify that their musical version was, indeed, a new work. (Imagine producers today allowing authors to diverge from a famous property’s title!) Such creative freedom resulted in some of the most inspired musicals in stage history, and one such musical was that year’s Carnival. Based on the 1953 MGM film Lili, Carnival told the story of the orphaned heroine who becomes entangled with the misfits of B.E. Schlegel’s “Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris,” among them a tortured puppeteer and his creations. Today, Kritzerland has just announced the first-ever CD release of the 1963 Original London Cast Recording of this unique musical.

For its Broadway premiere at the Imperial Theatre (today the home to the movie-turned-musical Billy Elliot), Carnival was directed and choreographed by Gower Champion, fresh from his triumph on Bye Bye Birdie, and featured a book by Birdie‘s Michael Stewart (who would later collaborate with Champion as author of Hello, Dolly!) based on the 1953 MGM film Lili. Bob Merrill was enlisted to write both music and lyrics, and his work on New Girl in Town and Take Me Along proved that the pop songwriter of “Mambo Italiano” and “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?” had the chops for theatrical writing. Presiding over the entire enterprise was David Merrick, the so-called “Abominable Showman” whose musical credits included Gypsy, Do Re Mi, Irma La Douce and Merrill’s Take Me Along. Anna Maria Alberghetti starred as Lili opposite Jerry Orbach’s puppeteer Paul, Kaye Ballard’s Rosalie and Henry Lascoe’s Schlegel.

Carnival was a bona fide hit, and its original cast album on MGM Records opened at No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Merrill must have had great trepidation about writing a new song to compete with “Hi Lili, Hi Lo,” the Bronislau Kaper/Helen Deutsch tune from Lili that captivated listeners in renditions by Caron, Dinah Shore, Roger Williams and even The Everly Brothers! But he more than compensated with the waltz “Love Makes the World Go Round,” which became a standard itself. (Ironically, Don and Phil Everly’s recording of “Hi Lili” from August 1961’s Both Sides of an Evening was followed in January 1962 by “Love Makes the World Go Round,” from Instant Party!)  Merrill’s score was one of great depth and emotion, perfectly matching Stewart’s book. After all, Carnival was a sophisticated musical comedy with decidedly dark overtones (which have been emphasized to the detriment in the material in any number of recent productions).

Although Carnival‘s London production did not repeat its Broadway success, the HMV cast album gave fans another chance to appreciate Merrill’s fine score, with James Mitchell (later of All My Children) recreating his key role of Marco the Magnificent. Most excitingly, some bits of the score excluded from the Broadway Cast Recording were included.  Kritzerland’s reissue has been sparklingly remastered from the original album masters housed in EMI’s U.K. vaults, and it’s due for release the first week of May. Pre-orders, however, are likely to ship an average of four weeks early.

Carnival: The Original London Cast Recording is limited to 1,000 copies and is available directly from the label for $19.98 plus shipping.  Hit the jump for the full press release, pre-order link and track listing with discographical annotation! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 21, 2011 at 11:21

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks