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Archive for April 2011

More McCartney: “The Family Way” Soundtrack Coming From Varese

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“The directors, the Boulting Brothers, actually approached me, one of them, Roy, and he was interested in some of the music we’ve been writing.  He said, ‘Would you be interested in actually writing something for film?’  I said, ‘Wow, great honour.’  And they’re very good directors, quite famous English directors, so I knew they’d be good and the film would be good, and a very good cast with John Mills and Hayley Mills and Hywell Bennett.  So I said, ‘Yeah, okay!'”  So told Paul McCartney to Michel Laverdiere when recounting the genesis of his soundtrack to the 1966 film The Family Way.

For The Family Way, McCartney composed a central theme to the comedy/drama and George Martin produced and arranged the score, the first time McCartney composed outside of the Lennon/McCartney credit.  Its soundtrack recording makes its American CD debut from Varese Vintage on July 26, following the June 14 release of McCartney and McCartney II, part of the deluxe reissue campaign at Concord/Hear Music.  The original 1967 soundtrack recording to The Family Way begins with McCartney’s theme, “Love in the Open Air,” and contains twelve more (untitled) score cues suited to the onscreen action.  For his composition, McCartney was initially inspired by the sound of brass bands, familiar to his childhood in the North of England.  Under Martin’s direction, the score was recorded at CTS Studios in November 1966.

Varese’s reissue will be mastered from the original mono stereo master tapes, and features one bonus track, “Theme From The Family Way,” as recorded by The Tudor Minstrels for single release.  A previous 2003 release of the soundtrack album (which also contained a 1995 re-recording and 1999 theme variations) on the Disques XXI-21 label is long out-of-print, so Varese’s surprise release of this lost McCartney gem makes a welcome addition to the catalogue!  Hit the jump for the track listing with discographical information!  A pre-order link is not currently available; watch this space! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 29, 2011 at 16:05

Dusty Springfield’s Lana Sisters Years Compiled By RPM

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At last, the remaining piece of the Dusty Springfield puzzle hits CD.  On May 23, Cherry Red label RPM will reissue the complete recordings of The Lana Sisters, the late-fifties girl group formed by Ris Chantelle, Lynne Abrams and Mary Catherine O’Brien, later to find fame as soul queen Dusty Springfield.  Between 1958 and 1960, The Lana Sisters released seven singles on the U.K.’s Fontana label, all of which are included on RPM’s Chantelly Lace: Complete Singles Plus Bonus Tracks.

Despite their brief time in the limelight, The Lana Sisters had an impressive CV, touring with Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and famed British comedians Morecambe and Wise.  They were part of Tommy (Half a Sixpence) Steele’s Spectacular Christmas program, and appeared with Faith and his musical director John Barry on the BBC’s Drumbeat.  “Seven Little Girls Sitting in the Back Seat” came close to hit status, and was featured on the Steele program as well as reaching the Top Ten in Ireland.  Still, major success was elusive for The Lana Sisters, and Mary left the group in 1960 to join her brother Dion O’Brien and his friend Tim Field to form folk-pop trio The Springfields.  Dion became Tom Springfield, Mary became Dusty, and the rest became history!  (RPM has previously anthologized The Springfields’ career as RETROCD820, On an Island of Dreams: The Complete Philips U.K. Recordings, which is well worth seeking out for those interested in Dusty’s formative style.)  While with The Springfields, Dusty met producer Johnny Franz of Philips, who would play a pivotal role in her solo years.

RPM rounds out its Lana Sisters anthology with choice bonus material.  Both sides of five 1965-1966 singles by The Chantelles are included; Ris Chantelle formed the group with Sandra Orr and Jay Adams after the break-up of The Lana Sisters.  They were introduced in the film Dateline Diamonds, sharing the screen with Kiki Dee!  “London Is My Home Town” became a favorite thanks to Radio London, and “There’s Something About You” is a Northern Soul classic today.  “I Want That Boy” bears the production influence of Phil Spector.  The final two tracks are performances by Nola York, a later member of The Chantelles who also enjoyed some success in the West End theatre scene.

Hit the jump for the complete track listing, pre-order link and discographical annotation. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 29, 2011 at 10:37

Reissue Theory: Bell Biv DeVoe, “Poison”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we reflect on notable albums and the reissues they may someday see. One of the biggest R&B hits of 1990 is still an earworm today – but is there more lurking underneath the surface? The debut of Bell Biv DeVoe is reassessed.

Girl. I. Must. Warn youuuu…that if you listen to “Poison” by Bell Biv DeVoe one too many times, those herky-jerky New Jack beats will affix themselves to your brain. And they won’t let go. Since its release more than two decades ago, BBD’s first album remains a pioneering LP in the New Jack Swing genre, itself one of the most insanely addictive musical genres of the 1990s. It spawned three Top 40 singles and moved some 4 million units in the U.S., and provided one of the better “second acts” in late ’80s/early ’90s R&B.

While you may not want to trust a big butt and a smile, we hope you find today’s Reissue Theory look at Bell Biv DeVoe a fun read, after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 28, 2011 at 16:24

Even More “ICON” Titles on the Way

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Mark your calendars, friends: a new batch of ICON budget compilations are due from Universal.

Between May 3 and 24, UMe is releasing a clutch of ICON sets that run the gamut from country (Willie Nelson, Hank Williams) to R&B (New Edition, Kelly Price), from classics (The Mamas & The Paps, Louis Armstrong) to modern day heroes (Gin Blossoms, Rob Zombie). As usual, there’s not much in the way of brand-new or rare material, although some titles have some one-off tunes to their credit. Others, namely Willie Nelson and Louis Armstrong, cover the lesser-known periods of each artist, so that’s certainly notable.

Really, the only set that might have something unreleased is the double-disc ICON from Rob Zombie. The All Music Guide listing states that the 2-CD version of “Mars Needs Women” is a “new version”; whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but it would be a rare moment of welcome vault material for the series. Both single and double-disc versions of the Rob Zombie set are due out May 3, while the remainder are out on May 24. Read the track lists after the jump and order them at Amazon here. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 28, 2011 at 14:19

Keeping Score on a Soundtrack Label Controversy

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Anyone who thinks the world of soundtrack reissues is a simple one hasn’t been keeping up with the tempest brewing over Perseverance Records. The indie soundtrack label is coming under heavy fire for what many perceive as an improperly licensed release of Elmer Bernstein’s score to Slipstream.

Interestingly, the charge is being led not by fans but by another label head: Film Score Monthly’s Lukas Kendall, who posted on his label’s message board a pair of messages pulling the curtain back on charges that the long-desired soundtrack was not properly licensed.

Kendall first explained the permissions necessary to release a film soundtrack: clearances from the film company for album rights, permission to utilize the master recordings and publishing rights. Typically, these all usually lie within one film company; however, Bernstein owned his own publishing to Slipstream, while the production company owned album rights and the master tapes. Kendall’s accusation – which has apparently manifested into a cease and desist from Bernstein’s estate after he tipped them off to potential wrongdoing – is that Perseverance merely secured publishing rights and acquired the master tapes (which, along with much of the composer’s work, resides in the library at the University of Southern California) without securing the other necessary rights.

Perseverance head Robin Esterhammer soon took to the FSM boards to tell his side of the story: the assumed owners of Slipstream, U.K.-based Entertainment Films informed him they did not have the rights to the title, while Bernstein’s estate claimed both publishing and master rights. When Esterhammer contacted Bernstein’s estate after being made aware of Kendall’s declaration of a cease and desist, he was informed of “two contradicting paragraphs in the licensing agreement that we both should have been aware of.”

Esterhammer’s argument is weakened somewhat by his admission that Kendall “was right in one point, however: It is not enough to put a © and “Released Under License From Elmer Bernstein Enterprises Inc”. I guess I should have put a (P), as well.” (A similar omission occurred in a recent reissue of Red Sonja.) But something tells me the dust hasn’t settled on this one just yet. Granted, it is unusual that a smaller label like Perseverance achieved what Intrada or FSM were repeatedly denied – the rights to release the score to Slipstream – but I have my doubts that the issue is just as clear-cut; it is certainly colored by some sort of bad blood between Kendall and Esterhammer (cease and desist talks began after Kendall chose not to help Esterhammer secure some releases from Warner Bros., citing bad conscience in the wake of what he believed was essentially a bootleg of Slipstream), and, since this is the music industry, there are usually more facets to the story behind closed doors or quieted by legal contracts.

So what’s the takeaway here? At the very least, two things, both of which we already knew: first, that the hoops through which one has to jump to make reissues of any kind happen are pretty impressive; second, that the sanctity of the business rests largely on doing everything properly on the legal side. However, what this means for Peseverance in particular – and indie soundtrack labels in general – is still something for the future.

Written by Mike Duquette

April 28, 2011 at 12:53

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

We’re Into Something Good: ABKCO Reissues Two From Herman’s Hermits In May

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“Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.”  “There’s a Kind of Hush (All Over the World).”  “A Must to Avoid.”  These chart hits from Herman’s Hermits have stood the test of time, but how many reading this remember the films in which those songs were featured?  Upon signing to MGM Records in the U.S., Herman’s Hermits were groomed for a Hollywood film career, and why not?  At the height of the group’s fame, they rivaled the Beatles for popularity, even topping them as the biggest-selling pop act in the U.S. in 1965.  1966’s Hold On! and 1968’s Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter, two of the band’s three big-screen musical comedies, have just received made-on-demand DVD release in remastered editions from Warner Archive.  Alongside these releases, ABKCO will reissue on one CD the soundtracks to both films on May 17.

Herman’s Hermits burst onto the scene with their 1964 revival of “I’m Into Something Good,” a Carole King and Gerry Goffin composition originally recorded by Earl-Jean of the Cookies earlier that year.  “Something Good” topped the U.K. charts and placed a respectable No. 13 in the U.S.  It launched a successful series of singles on both sides of the Atlantic revealing the British Invasion in full swing: “Silhouettes,” “I’m Henry the VIII , I Am,” “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat,” “Listen, People,” “Dandy” and of course, “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.”   Led by Peter Noone (or Herman), the band boasted the considerable talents of Keith Hopwood, Derek Leckenby, Karl Green and Barry Whitwam.  While session players including John Paul Jones and Jimmy Page contributed to the Hermits’ records, producer Mickie Most has confirmed that the band played on many of their own most successful recordings.  All told, they scored eleven Top 10 hits between 1964 and 1967.

Hit the jump to go back to 1966 when The British Invasion infiltrated Hollywood, U.S.A.! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 28, 2011 at 10:34

UPDATE: Macca Mania: Paul’s “McCartney” and “McCartney II” Expanded Editions Coming in June [NOW WITH COMPLETE CD/DVD TRACK LISTS]

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“Do you foresee a time when Lennon/McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again?” That question was one of many posed on a press release enclosed with advanced copies of Paul McCartney’s 1970 solo debut, McCartney. With the Cute Beatle’s one word response, the world knew that The Beatles were irreparably broken. McCartney’s simple “no” spoke volumes. His other answers didn’t help matters. And so while the world’s most beloved band was fracturing, a solo career that flourishes to this day was beginning. On June 14 (updated), Concord’s Hear Music label continues The Paul McCartney Archive Collection with reissues of 1970’s McCartney and its ten-years-later sequel, 1980’s McCartney II. (Thanks to our good friends at MusicTAP for the heads-up!) Both releases will be made available in 2-CD Deluxe Editions and 2-LP packages. In addition, McCartney will be released as a 2-CD/1-DVD set and McCartney II as a 3-CD/1-DVD set.  These will resemble the hardbound book-style box set Band on the Run and feature 128 pages of text, memorabilia and photographs. Maybe you’re amazed by this news? If so, hit the jump for more! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 28, 2011 at 00:50

Beware! La-La Land Expands “The Blob” Remake Score

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It can fill up a room in seconds, gets unexplainably bigger every day and can consume anything it touches. No, not your music collection – The Blob! The ectoplasmic entity – as remade in 1988 – is the latest expanded soundtrack to come from La-La Land Records today.

A remake of the classic 1958 sci-fi/horror flick, The Blob finds the titular monster consuming the helpless population of a California town – but rather than some space creature, this blob is a military bio-weapon gone horribly wrong. With a screenplay written by Frank Darabont and the film’s director Chuck Russell (also the director of Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors) and a cast that includes future stars Kevin Dillon of Entourage and Shawnee Smith of the Saw series, The Blob remains a cult classic today. The score, composed by Michael Hoenig (who at the time had a nice scoring gig on the television show Max Headroom and had also, briefly, been a member of Tangerine Dream), is typical, top-notch horror stuff, with plenty of atmospheric percussion and otherworldly tones. The soundtrack, resequenced and expanded by about 15 minutes from its original 1988 presentation on Filmtrax Records, is limited to 2,000 copies.

The label is also selling a new double-disc set of music from the new video game Crysis 2, featuring a score written by several composers, most notably Oscar winner Hans Zimmer of The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean and Inception fame. Order pages and track listings for each set are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 27, 2011 at 16:04

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Review: Roy Orbison, “The Monument Singles Collection (1960-1964)”

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It’s frequently been said that image is everything in the music business.  And surely one of the most recognizable images in all of music is that of Roy Orbison, the loner behind dark sunglasses, clad in black.  If one could see his eyes, wouldn’t they surely betray his lifetime of heartache?  His wife Claudette (the inspiration behind the song) was killed at his side in a motorcycle accident, his two young sons perished in a fire at his home.  There was more than meets the eye to Roy Orbison, though.  In an era of rockers threateningly flaunting their masculinity, Orbison was quietly, subtly dangerous.  His darkness was tinged with an aching vulnerability that was all too human.  Despite his reputation as a solitary man, his final chart hits were the product of true camaraderie.  As Lefty Wilbury, he made a joyful noise alongside famous friends and admirers Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.

Like his reputation, his music was filled with contradictions.  He was frequently described as operatic due to an ability to hit stratospheric notes with his booming voice.  But he was also capable of quiet moments, too, capturing loneliness and solitude in a tender whisper.  All of these qualities are on display in The Monument Singles Collection: 1960-1964, a joint release of Monument, Orbison Records and Legacy Recordings (88697 84158 2).  Released to coincide with what would have been the singer’s 75th birthday (April 23), The Monument Singles Collection racks up every A- and B-side recorded by Orbison during his tenure with Fred Foster’s pioneering Nashville label, plus a DVD of rare concert footage.  (For the record, a single-disc abridgement containing just the A-sides is available, as well.)  All tracks have been presented in the original mono single mixes, many of which are appearing for the first time on CD.

Listening to its 39 songs over two compact discs, it’s difficult to believe that The Big O departed this earth at just 52 years of age.  He fit a lifetime of music into that short period, and most of the crème de la crème was recorded for Monument, including what may be his signature song, 1964’s “Oh, Pretty Woman.”  (Orbison followed his Monument years by going Hollywood with MGM, both in film and on record.  In a nice but of synergy, his film for the studio, 1967’s The Fastest Guitar Alive, has just been released on DVD-on-demand from Warner Archive in a newly-remastered edition!  He remained with the MGM record label through 1973.)

Roy Orbison has been extensively anthologized on CD before, most notably in a typically-sprawling 7-CD Bear Family box set, Orbison: 1955-1965.  A 1998 U.K. compilation from Sony, The Big O, covered similar ground as this new release, compiling the artist’s Monument singles (though not in mono).  Is The Monument Singles Collection an essential companion volume to these collections or just a starting point for new fans?  Hit the jump to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 27, 2011 at 14:41

Posted in Compilations, Reissues, Reviews, Roy Orbison

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The Aeroplane Flies Higher: EMI Preps Three Years of Smashing Pumpkins Reissues

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For Generation X, fewer names inspire emotions quite like Smashing Pumpkins. The Chicago-based alt-rock outfit, anchored primarily by singer, songwriter and sole remaining original member Billy Corgan, made rock music that was dark, atmospheric and ambitious – and yet somehow maintained commercial as well as critical success – before splintering in 2000 and reforming some six years later.

While Corgan continues to lead Smashing Pumpkins through some interesting projects – he’s been working on a 44-song cycle, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, since 2009, mostly releasing one song at a time (save for a planned “album within an album,” Oceania, this fall) – the pages on the calendar indicate that it’s been 20 years since the band’s first LP, Gish, was released in 1991. To celebrate, Corgan took to the Internet to announce that this fall, EMI/Virgin will begin the first step in a series of ambitious reissues for the band.

By the holiday rush of 2011, EMI will unveil remastered editions of three Pumpkins albums – 1991’s Gish, 1993’s Siamese Dream and 1994’s B-sides and rarities compilation Pisces Iscariot. Then in 2012, the label will prep reissues of the ambitious double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1996), the coveted 1996 box set The Aeroplane Flies High (featuring expanded versions of the singles from Mellon Collie) and the electronica-tinged Adore (1998). The program will conclude in 2013 with an expanded version of 2000’s Machina/The Machines of God – which will feature the first physical release of the online-only sequel, Machina II/The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music – and a new greatest hits package.

It remains to be seen whether the reissues will feature any of the vast amount of non-LP material not accounted for on the discs that will be remastered. (A 2005 digital-only box set, collating nearly all of the band’s EMI-controlled B-sides and rarities, totaled some 114 songs!) Corgan, in a video posted to Facebook, explained that the band is in total control of any extra material they wish to release – including unreleased rehearsal tapes, outtakes and live material. (This was apparently the linchpin of the band’s agreement with EMI; Corgan proudly said in the video that the label was “thinking forward into the future” over the rights management of these vault tracks. Not a statement to be taken lightly by such an outspoken artist over a troubled label!)

This author would speculate (all the more to incite purchases) that some of the discs may be partially expanded – perhaps adding EP tracks or certain rarities where applicable – and the band will handle the rest of the material as agreed with EMI. While Corgan’s motives have often been questioned before – remember Zwan? – things are looking pretty interesting for Pumpkins fans in the next couple of years.

Written by Mike Duquette

April 27, 2011 at 11:20