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Archive for March 24th, 2011

Review: “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: Original MGM Motion Picture Soundtrack”

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Close your eyes for a moment and pretend you’re on Jeopardy! The answer: “This 1963 widescreen epic opened Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome.” The question: “What is It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World?” Raise your hand if you got it right! Yes, Mad World, as we’ll abbreviate it for expediency’s sake, is this author’s epic film to end all epic films (sorry, Ben-Hur!) and certainly one of the only Hollywood epic comedies! While the designation “all-star” has been applied before and since, perhaps no film ever lived up to that billing just as much. Witness: Spencer Tracy. Milton Berle. Sid Caesar. Edie Adams. Ethel Merman. Jonathan Winters. Mickey Rooney. Buddy Hackett. Phil Silvers. Dick Shawn. Jimmy Durante. Peter Falk. Not good enough for you? Jack Benny. Stan Freberg. Sterling Holloway. Arnold Stang. Buster Keaton. Don Knotts. Still not starry enough? Jerry Lewis. Carl Reiner. Jim Backus. And the Three Stooges. And there are more, but I’ll spare you. Mad World is one of the most legendary films of all time, a wild comic romp through the state of California in which the cast of thousands embark on a chase for $350,000.00. The visuals of sites long-vanished or altered are as priceless as the cast, the likes of whom won’t be seen again. The story of the film’s various edits and running times is almost as interesting as the movie itself; I direct the curious to writer Mark Evanier’s exemplary pages on the film for as much as a discerning Madphile could want to know. (And much like the film has endured to the present day, so has the Cinerama Dome as a first-run venue. If you’re in Hollywood, see a movie there…and then walk a few steps down Sunset Boulevard to Amoeba Music. You’ll thank me later!)

Part of the Mad World mythology is the terrifically fun score by Ernest Gold (1921-1999), Academy Award winner for Exodus and father to Andrew “Thank You for Being a Friend” Gold. La-La Land has just released the third CD incarnation of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World: Original MGM Motion Picture Soundtrack (La-La Land LLLCD 1167), following editions by Rykodisc (RCD 10704, 1997) and Kritzerland (KR 20014-7, 2010). Rykodisc’s Deluxe Edition treatment added dialogue tracks and an interview with Gold and Kramer, whereas Kritzerland restored the original LP running order, vastly improved the sound quality and added bonus tracks. La-La Land’s is the most complete presentation yet of a delicious score on two discs, with the first containing (for the first time on CD) the score as actually heard in the film and the second devoted to that original LP.

So why is the new It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World a mixed blessing? Hit the jump to find out!

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 24, 2011 at 15:30

Posted in Reissues, Reviews, Soundtracks

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Coming to a Record Store Near You…

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Mark your calendars if you haven’t already, music fans: April 16 is the fourth annual Record Store Day! What started as a small declaration of independence for brick-and-mortar, mom-and-pop record stores in the face of industry decline has blossomed into a worldwide celebration with goodies provided by major and independent labels.

And because lots of record store fans are also big into catalogue stuff like you and me, a lot of the RSD exclusives focus on reissues or anniversary repressings in both single and album form. Yesterday, the full list of exclusives was finally released by the RSD committee – but we’ve pored through the list to bring you the biggest, brightest and best of catalogue Record Store Day exclusives.

We’re so excited, we’re not even going to put in a jump. Here’s the best of the best below.

AC/DC (Columbia): a 7″ of Back in Black favorite “Shoot to Thrill” backed with “War Machine” from the band’s most recent album, Black Ice (2008).

Big Star (Omnivore): a “test pressing” edition of Third, recreating the original 14-track test pressing of the album in 1975, down to the master tape box and tracking sheets. (Five copies of original, un-recreated test pressings will be mixed into the 1,000 copies pressed, each signed by Jody Stephens and original engineers Larry Nix and John Fry.)

Kate Bush (Audio Fidelity): 1,000 copies of The Hounds of Love will be pressed on limited edition, 10″ pink vinyl.

John Mayall and Eric Clapton (Sundazed): a 1,000-copy reissue of the 1966 non-LP single “Lonely Years” b/w “Bernard Jenkins.” This single was issued a month after the iconic Blues Breakers album.

Deftones (Warner Bros.): Covers captures some of the Sacramento band’s most beloved studio covers, from Sade and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Duran Duran and The Cars. 3,000 copies will be pressed.

Derek and The Dominos (Polydor/UMe): a 7″ single of “Got to Get Better in a Little While” b/w “Layla” will be released to commemorate the upcoming Layla box set. 2,500 copies will be made.

Dio (Niji): The late singer’s own label will reissue 2002’s Killing the Dragon on 2,000 vinyl picture discs.

Bob Dylan (Columbia/Legacy): a vinyl version of Live at Brandeis University 1963 will be exclusively available at RSD-participating outlets for four weeks; it makes its own CD debut (after being the bonus disc with Amazon orders of the latest Bootleg Series entry) earlier that week.

Foo Fighters (RCA): Medium Rare, a compilation of covers, will be released on 120-gram vinyl as a nice companion piece to the band’s forthcoming album, Wasting Light.

Jimi Hendrix (Experience Hendrix/Legacy): a vinyl single of the alternate version of “Fire” from the West Coast Seattle Boy box backed with an unreleased track, “Touch You,” will be one release (“Cat Talking to Me,” the B-side of last year’s “Valleys of Neptune,” appears on the CD single). Another CD single will feature Cee Lo Green’s “Foxey Lady” and Santana’s “Spanish Castle Music,” from the Power of Soul compilation alongside an unreleased live version of “Purple Haze” by Robert Randolph and The Slide Brothers.

Michael Jackson (Epic): a 7″ of tracks from 2010’s Michael will be pressed, featuring new single “Hollywood Tonight” and “Behind the Mask.”

Jimmy Eat World (ORG): a 10th anniversary triple-vinyl edition of 2001’s Bleed American will be released with B-sides and other rarities added to the mix. 1,500 copies will be available. (This may be the same track list as the deluxe edition released on CD in 2008.)

Joan Jett and The Blackhearts (Blackheart Music): 1,000 copies of a limited clear-vinyl edition of the I Love Rock & Roll album will be released.

Nirvana (Geffen/UMe): the rare 1992 EP Hormoaning, released in Australia and Japan, will be repressed 4,000 copies strong.

Roy Orbison (Monument/Legacy): a 7″ single of “Only the Lonely” b/w an unreleased live version of “Pretty Woman” will be pressed.

Ozzy Osbourne (Epic/Legacy): the ambassador for this year’s Record Store Day will see the vinyl reissues of Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman into independent stores, about a month before expanded CD editions come out.

Pearl Jam (Epic/Legacy): Single and double-vinyl editions of Vs. and Vitalogy (to be released in a deluxe box next week).

Queen (Hollywood): the “Long Lost Retake” of “Keep Yourself Alive” will be released as a 7″ single to promote the new reissues. It will be backed with “Son and Daughter.”

Sonic Youth (Geffen/UMe): another Geffen artist with an Australian EP (with a similar name, even). 1993’s Whores Moaning will also receive a 4,000 copy reissue.

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band (Columbia/Legacy): two outtakes from The Promise on 10″ vinyl: “Gotta Get This Feeling” and “Racing in the Street (’78).”

Television (Rhino): a white double-vinyl version of the 1978 show at San Francisco’s Old Waldorf (released by Rhino Handmade in 2003), limited to 3,000 units.

The Beach Boys (EMI/Capitol): to capitalize on the forthcoming Smile box, a double 10″ 78 RPM set will be released, with one disc containing the original “Good Vibrations”/”Heroes and Villains” sides and the other containing alternate takes. There will be 5,000 copies of this one.

The Flaming Lips (Warner Bros.): the Heady Nuggs box set, limited to 5,790 copies, features the band’s first five Warner Bros. LPs on vinyl.

The Velvet Underground (Sundazed): latter-day outtakes on a 7″ single: “Foggy Notion” b/w “I Can’t Stand It.” Limited to 1,000 copies.

The Yardbirds (Sundazed): a reproduction of 1968 single “Goodnight Sweet Josephine” b/w “Think About It,” limited to 2,000 copies.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (Reprise): 2,500 copies of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (1976) on white vinyl and another 2,500 of You’re Gonna Get It! (1978) on blue vinyl.

Various Artists (Kill Rock Stars): the grunge classic Kill Rock Stars compilation will be repressed for its 20th anniversary.

Wait for It, Wait for It, Give It Some Time: Howard Jones Box Delayed to April

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If you’ve ordered the upcoming Howard Jones box set featuring remastered versions of his first two EPs plus a bonus disc of rare and unreleased remixes, you have more time to savor the anticipation than originally expected.

While the set was due to ship at the end of March, a manufacturing error which necessitated a disc repress resulted in the box’s ship date being pushed back to April.

As of this reporting, no one is to blame.

Jones’ label, Dtox Records, put this statement out on their news page:

We are sorry to report there will be a small delay in dispatching the much anticipated new box set.

There has been an error in the manufacturing process of one of the discs which will require them to be repressed. We are confident that this will only take a few days to resolve and we are working as hard as possible with the manufacturers to resolve this issue.

We will send out more news as soon as we have it.

This is extremely frustrating for us as you can imagine and we thank you for your patience.

All the best

The Dtox Shop

Written by Mike Duquette

March 24, 2011 at 12:05

And Now…Along Comes The Association, Expanded and Remastered!

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UPDATE 3/24: The track listing on this release has been amended slightly. You can find it after the jump, of course.

What makes the perfect pop song? The ingredients, of course, vary. In a weighty tome that can easily be viewed through a cynical lens today, Herb Hendler (of Capitol Records’ publishing arm Beechwood Music) offered How to Write a Contemporary Song to prospective songwriters in 1967. He included a worksheet where one could ask a number of questions of his or her favorite song: Is the title melody strong? Can you easily remember most of the melody of the song? Is the lyric out of the ordinary? Is the song edited as tightly as possible? Does your melody suggest (or have you written) a good background figure for it? Is your lyric conversational, honest and sincere? While the idea of ascribing a “formula” to songwriting is cringe-worthy, many of the greatest pure pop songs do indeed follow Hendler’s principles. One such song is The Association’s “Cherish,” as of the millennium the 22nd most-played song in American radio history according to BMI. (For those curious, the group’s “Never My Love” was No. 2, second only to the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” while “Windy” was a still-impressive No. 61!) Many, including this author, would make a solid argument for Terry Kirkman’s beautiful song as one of the most perfect pop offerings of the 1960s. Yet too few know that it originates on an LP that’s equally impressive.

And Then…Along Comes The Association remains a benchmark in the sunshine pop genre. Helmed by legendary cult producer Curt Boettcher, the album also boasts Tandyn Almer’s psychedelic “Along Comes Mary” and Kirkman’s underrated anthem “Enter the Young,” which should have followed “Cherish” to No. 1 on the pop chart. And on April 25 in the U.K. and one week later in the U.S., Now Sounds will release a deluxe expanded edition of And Then…Along Comes The Association, following the label’s acclaimed reissue of 1968’s Birthday. Now Sounds doesn’t kid around when it comes to “deluxe.” The album will be remastered in its original mono mix directly from the original master tapes, bringing this mix back in print for the first time since 1967. Twelve bonus tracks have been appended to the original twelve-track album, including two outtakes (one never-before-heard!), five unreleased instrumentals, both sides of a rare non-LP 45, and three single versions of album cuts. Whew! Hit the jump for all of the details plus full track listing and discographical information! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 24, 2011 at 10:40

Here They Come…Monkees Reissues Coming from Friday Music

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Monkees fans didn’t have a lot to complain about in 2010; Rhino Handmade released acclaimed box sets dedicated to the band’s albums The Birds, The Bees and the Monkees and Head, while Micky Dolenz paid tribute to Carole King with his solo King for a Day. The news got even better as 2011 began, with Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork confirming the rumored plans that they would reunite for a 45th anniversary Monkees tour. (Michael Nesmith, as expected, chose to sit the May/June/July tour out.) Yet the Monkees catalogue, once sparklingly remastered and generously expanded by Rhino, was in a state of disarray, with many titles no longer available. Rhino itself reissued The Monkees, More of The Monkees, Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. in bare-bones, low-priced editions last month, dropping even the liner notes from the last Rhino expanded single-disc reissues. Friday Music will soon be coming to the rescue of some latter-day Monkees classics, however.

Full information isn’t in yet, but Friday (known for both CD reissues and an impressive line of 180-gram vinyl reissues) has dropped tantalizing news on its Facebook page as to some Monkeemania to come. What do we know? The Monkees Present (1969) and Changes (1970) are coming on May 24, both freshly remastered by Friday’s Joe Reagoso and with new liner notes. It appears that the track listings may be identical to the 1994 Rhino reissues produced by Bill Inglot and Andrew Sandoval, annotated by Sandoval and remastered by Inglot and Ken Perry.

This should be a perfect opportunity for fans who missed out on the exemplary Rhino discs, now out-of-print and fetching high prices. Even more exciting, though, is the not-too-subtle hint about a first-ever CD debut for Davy Jones’ Colpix solo LP from 1965 (CP-493) with bonus tracks!

We’ll let Friday take over from here via the label’s Facebook page, and we’ll be back to fill in the details and complete track listings as soon as they’re officially released!

MONKEES REUNION PRE-RELEASE NEWS!!!! EXCLUSIVE MONKEES CD REISSUE:  The Monkees Present will be available on May 24th! This 1969 pop masterpiece includes the great “Listen to the Band” as well as eleven more great Monkees tunes, plus 5 bonus tracks, original artwork elements and new liners and great mastering from the original Colgems Records tapes!

EVEN MORE MONKEES REUNION PRE-RELEASE NEWS!!!! EXCLUSIVE MONKEES CD REISSUE: Changes will be available on May 24th! This 1970 pop classic includes the great “Oh My My” as well as eleven more great Monkees hits, plus 3 bonus tracks including the super rare Bell Records 45 of “Do It in the Name Of Love.” Original artwork elements, new liners and new impeccable mastering by Joe Reagoso from the original Colgems Records tapes make this a incredible revisit to MONKEEMANIA!

MORE MONKEEMANIA: [David Jones (yes, Davy Jones) and his first Colpix Records single “What Are We Going To Do”] was the first of several singles from his first album simply called DAVID JONES……..hmmm….sounds interesting…..hmmm…it’s never been on a CD before…..hmmmmmm……stay tuned!

[ David Jones… Davy Jones…”The Girl From Chelsea” written by David Gates of Bread] has never been officially released on any CD or LP….Released in 1966…….It would be a nice bonus track if someone ever decides to release his first album from Colpix……Hmmmmm……

Stay tuned to The Second Disc for updates, same Monkee-time, same Monkee-channel!

Written by Joe Marchese

March 24, 2011 at 09:51

Posted in News, Reissues, The Monkees