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Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for March 30th, 2011

Tom Waits Has Other Sonic Problems

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Tom Waits’ voice may not be for everyone, but there were bigger problems than that to notice on the recent repressings of his first four albums on red vinyl from Rhino.

The reissues, put out several months back, have been plagued with sporadic problems that seem to lie with the mastering or transfer onto vinyl. Fortunately, Anti- Records has begun an exchange program and promised their customers that these problems will be corrected and avoided for future vinyl reissues of the Waits catalogue.

Here’s their full statement, which we’ve reposted after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

March 30, 2011 at 15:27

Posted in News, Reissues, Tom Waits, Vinyl

Reissue Theory: Aretha Franklin, “Sweet Passion: The Lost Atlantic Years”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on great albums and the reissues they could someday see. Aretha Franklin began her groundbreaking stint at Atlantic Records in 1967 and it wasn’t long before a legendary star was in the ascendant. Yet the final chapter of Aretha’s Atlantic story has been all but forgotten.  Today’s Reissue Theory takes us back to 1974 as we revisit the “lost albums” of Aretha Franklin.

There are plenty of adjectives that can be used to describe Aretha Franklin. Columbia Records used a great many of them for early album titles: tender, moving, swinging, electrifying. Heck, let’s add the title of her Dinah Washington tribute: Unforgettable. Atlantic described her on a 1968 album as Lady Soul, while a 1971 LP was entitled Young, Gifted and Black. The young, gifted, unforgettable Queen of Soul has no doubt been well-represented in the compact disc era. After innumerable compilations, Legacy last week released the remarkable box set Take a Look collecting Franklin’s entire Columbia output (a review is forthcoming). Rhino reissued Franklin’s Atlantic tenure from 1967-1974 as individual discs and also anthologized the artist’s best with a box set, 1992’s Queen of Soul: The Atlantic Recordings. But even that four-disc treasure trove all but ignores the final five studio albums recorded by Aretha Franklin for Atlantic between November 1974 and September 1979.

Franklin’s last five Atlantic releases have never appeared on CD, which remains quite staggering considering the magnitude of the artist and the importance of her groundbreaking Atlantic catalogue. With Everything I Feel in Me (1974), You (1975), Sweet Passion (1977), Almighty Fire (1978) and La Diva (1979) each have something unique to offer even if they don’t stack up to the peak Atlantic LPs. But then again, what albums could live up to the lofty heights of I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You or Lady Soul? With that in mind, today’s Reissue Theory presents the hypothetical Sweet Passion: The Lost Atlantic Years. Our three-CD box set collecting these five albums features a “Who’s Who” of songwriter and producers, among them Lamont Dozier, Jerry Wexler, Curtis Mayfield, Barry Mann, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Van McCoy, Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager. True, none of these LPs were pop smashes, but all were successful on the R&B charts (the first three going Top Ten) and most importantly, all have something to offer not only for fans of Aretha but all pop and soul enthusiasts.

If you’re not familiar with these albums, you’re in for a treat. And if you don’t know the story of the tantalizing almost-collaboration (or was it?) between Aretha Franklin and CHIC, look no further. Hit the jump to begin our exploration of Aretha Franklin’s Sweet Passion: The Lost Atlantic Years! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 30, 2011 at 15:10

Legacy Provides Relief for Japan

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Now here’s a surprise. iTunes, in concert with the major record labels, put together a 38-song compilation called Songs for Japan, the proceeds of which would go to relief funds for the ongoing crises in Japan following a massive earthquake and tsunami that left the country in a state of peril.

And now, Amazon has a listing for the compilation on CD from Legacy. (This two-disc set actually omits some of the tracks heard on the iTunes version, namely tracks by Madonna and David Guetta.) While it’s not a boon for collectors – collecting notable tracks by John Lennon, U2, Sting, Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen and almost every other famous rock artist one can think of – it’s certainly worth the $10 for a good cause, and we would be remiss if we didn’t pass on to our loyal readers that one can help by simply buying some music – something you and I likely do a lot!

Order Songs for Japan here and hit the jump for the track list.

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Cherry Red Fills in Gaps for April

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The Cherry Red label group has been insanely busy in recent weeks prepping expanded and remastered albums for consumption in England. We’ve already seen new releases from their Now Sounds, Big Break and Soul Music labels, but April will see a few other worthy titles for your consideration on the Cherry Red, Cherry Pop, El and Iron Bird labels.

First up is a reissue of How Long: The Very Best of Ace, one of the surprisingly few career-spanning sets by pub-rockers Ace. The band’s brief brush with success manifested through the excellent single “How Long,” a No. 3 hit in America. Ace, of course, was the first of many bands to feature vocalist/keyboardist Paul Carrack, who would later lend his talents to Squeeze’s East Side Story (1981) and Mike + The Mechanics in the mid-’80s and ’90s. This compilation, featuring a newly expanded and updated booklet, looks to be the start of a reissue campaign by the label. This one’s due out April 11 in the U.K. and a week later in America.

Coming from the same label on April 25 (again, a U.K. date) is an expansion of The Fall’s The Marshall Suite (1999). Not too dissimilar to the band’s early albums put out as “Omnibus Editions” by Beggars’ Archive, the chaotic post-punk band’s long-out-of-print techno-influenced semi-concept album will be augmented by a disc of B-sides, remixes and BBC sessions and another disc of a live concert for XFM Radio in 1999. This set will feature new liner notes by Daryl Easlea of MOJO.

Cherry Pop has a delightful oddity in a reissue of the debut album by Pepsi & Shirlie. The singing and dancing duo were best known as part of the back-up band for WHAM! in the mid-’80s, but All Right Now (1987) saw the girls collaborating with pop producers Stock Aitken Waterman on a mostly original set featuring U.K. Top 10 hits “Heartache” and “Goodbye Stranger.” In traditional Cherry Pop fashion, B-sides and remixes are the order of the day as expanded material goes, along with two mixes of a previously-unreleased tune from the era, “Who’s Gonna Catch You?” The expansion of All Right Now is also due April 25 in England.

The Iron Bird label, which specials in hard rock and metal reissues, has a “three-fer” collecting the first three albums by Warrant. The Hollywood-based hair-metal rockers rose to fame in 1989 with the No. 2 power ballad “Heaven,” but most fans know them for the poppy, eyebrow-raising “Cherry Pie,” a Top 10 hit from a year later. This two-disc set includes straight reissues of the band’s first three LPs for Columbia – Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (1988), Cherry Pie (1990) and Dog Eat Dog (1992) – but omits the bonus demos included on previous remasters by Legacy Recordings in the States. Still, for those looking for a bargain way to acquire all of these albums, this is your opportunity when it arrives in the U.K. on April 18.

Finally, an interesting early rock classic comes to El Records with some interesting (if not exactly relevant) bonus material. The Ventures might not be a household name to casual rock fans, but their influence is massive. The Tacoma, Washington duo were instrumental (no pun intended) in the development of guitar-based rock, experimenting with various effects and textures that would become staples of various rock genres. Their hit “Walk, Don’t Run” – easily one of the best surf-rock songs of all time, and an overall favorite of this author – was a deserved success, and set the band on a path of continued popularity and legacy, culminating with an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. El reissues the Walk, Don’t Run album in both the original stereo and mono mixes, but also adds eight selected sides by Bert Weedon, an influential English jazz-rock guitarist who was one of the first to take a rock instrumental, “Guitar Boogie Shuffle,” toward the top of the U.K. charts. It’s a pretty neat history lesson, and it’s out April 18 in the United Kingdom.

Track lists and pre-order links are all available after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

March 30, 2011 at 11:36