The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for April 5th, 2011

Back Tracks: Nirvana

with 3 comments

Seventeen years ago today, Generation X lost an icon when Kurt Cobain, the talented, troubled frontman for Nirvana, took his own life in his Seattle home. Nirvana were three albums into their career, but had already redefined music for an entire cachet of disaffected youth. The genre that came to be known as grunge music, based on frequently alternating dynamics, heavy distortion and angst-filled lyrics, was forged largely under the songwriting tactics of Cobain, who very reluctantly accepted (and consequently struggled under) his mantle as the voice of a generation.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the band’s major-label debut, Nevermind, which spawned the iconic single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and, famously, became the album that dislodged Michael Jackson’s Dangerous from the top of the Billboard charts (a landmark that’s come to signal the defining moment of the grunge movement). This author finds it inconceivable that the powers-that-be at Geffen/UMe wouldn’t be thinking of reissuing the album for the two-decade mark (especially with the exact anniversary falling in November, just in time for the box set frenzy associated with the fourth quarter) – but in the meantime, let’s honor one of rock’s fallen icons with a Back Tracks devoted to the music of Nirvana. It’s a journey that takes us from a burgeoning indie label to a thriving major, through a few challenging records, and peaks not only after Cobain died but with a protracted legal battle that held off catalogue action for a considerable length of time.

We discuss all the pretty songs of Nirvana after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 5, 2011 at 22:29

Musicals Are Busting Out All Over: Masterworks Announces Next Wave of Vintage Releases

leave a comment »

Sony’s Masterworks Broadway label has announced the next three titles it will rescue from the vaults of Columbia and RCA Victor, and the albums have one person in common: Richard Rodgers. Still one of the most-recorded composers of all time (Rodgers’ “My Funny Valentine,” co-written by Lorenz Hart, was the third most-covered song of 2010 according to ASCAP, no small feat considering the song was written in 1937!), Rodgers’ collaborations with both Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II are represented in this next wave of releases, as well as one cast album of a musical Rodgers produced. As usual, all three titles will be available as discs-on-demand from Arkiv Music and digital downloads from the usual suspects.

First up on April 26 is the 1953 Studio Cast of On Your Toes, featuring Tony Award winner Jack Cassidy and cabaret icon Portia Nelson, remastered from the original mono tapes. The 1964 Music Theater of Lincoln Center Cast Recording of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow follows on May 17; Rodgers produced for Music Theater of Lincoln Center, and soprano Patrice Munsel starred. Then, on June 14, the 1955 Studio Cast of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel receives the remastered treatment, also starring Munsel along with the Metropolitan Opera’s Robert Merrill and the young Florence Henderson.

That’s not all. Beginning today, April 5, Masterworks will release in the digital format a number of diverse cast recordings previously available on CD, all derived from the original master tapes. Christine, First Impressions, Juno and Oh! Captain! all arrive today. May 17 sees the release of Irving Berlin’s Mr. President, The Happiest Girl in the World, the 1964 New York World’s Fair Cast Recording of To Broadway, With Love, and the 1957 Studio Recording of Brigadoon, starring Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones. On June 28, the label delivers The Girl in Pink Tights, Kean, Maggie Flynn (also starring the married couple of Cassidy and Jones) and Runaways.

Hit the jump to raise the curtain on complete track listings with discographical information of the three new-to-CD titles, plus the stories behind the shows! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 5, 2011 at 17:18

He’s Got What It Takes: Marv Johnson’s Motown Years Coming from Kent

leave a comment »

Had Marv Johnson (1938-1993) accomplished nothing else, he would still go down in history as the first artist heard on a Motown single. The very first release to come out of Berry Gordy’s mighty empire in January 1959, Tamla 101, was Johnson’s “Come to Me” b/w “Whisper,” both sides of which were written by Gordy and the artist. Thankfully, Johnson did accomplish much more musically, and as a testament to his legacy, Ace’s Kent label will release I’ll Pick a Rose for My Rose: The Complete Marv Johnson at Motown 1964-1971 as part of its ongoing series of releases in association with Motown.

While Gordy’s enterprise wasn’t yet ready for prime time, Johnson certainly was. After the single took off locally, Gordy leased it to United Artists for national distribution. Johnson stayed with UA, and Gordy produced his follow-up singles, most notably 1960’s Top Ten hit “You Got What It Takes.” But with this inauspicious debut, a classic sound was born. Eddie Willis and Joe Messina, two members of the Funk Brothers guitar section, played on “Come to Me,” as did James Jamerson (bass) and Benny Benjamin (drums) of that classic aggregation. In the background were the Rayber Voices, including Robert Bateman, the renowned songwriter Brian Holland and Raynoma Liles, Berry’s second wife.

Johnson remained with UA until 1964. When Berry Gordy became too busy with his own business to work with Johnson for a rival label, the singer was paired with top names like Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and Bert Berns. Upon release from his UA contract in April 1964, Johnson signed directly with Motown. This is where Kent’s compilation picks up Marvelous Marv’s story. The 1965 single “Why Do You Want to Let Me Go” b/w “I’m Not a Plaything” was Johnson’s first Motown release upon his return to the company, this time on the Gordy imprint. The A-side was actually a Berry Gordy song previously recorded at UA by Eddie Holland!

1966’s “I Miss You Baby (How I Miss You)” b/w “Just the Way You Are” went Top 40 R&B and would be his final U.S. chart placing. Clarence Paul and Luvel Broadnax wrote the A-side while Johnson contributed his own B-side, a sophisticated track with an arrangement and string line right out of the New York soul playbook. Johnson’s next 45 for the company would be his last. 1968’s “I’ll Pick a Rose for My Rose” was paired with “You Got the Love I Love,” and while it didn’t make an impression on our shores, the reaction was quite the opposite in the U.K. where it went Top Ten early in 1969. It was so successful there that Tamla’s British arm built an entire LP around “Rose” containing both sides of the single and a number of tracks unreleased in America. (For Kent’s CD release, the original LP has been remastered from the original stereo tapes used by Tamla Motown U.K.)  James Dean and William Weatherspoon wrote “Rose” with Johnson, while “You Got the Love” was co-written by Marv and Johnny Allen, a prominent arranger who was the orchestrator of Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft.” Hit the jump for more on Marv, plus full track listing and discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 5, 2011 at 16:54

Intrada Premieres Classic Film Soundtracks from Friedhofer, Newman, Small

leave a comment »

Fans of Hugo Friedhofer and Alfred Newman have had much to applaud lately, thanks to Kritzerland’s recent reissues of Friedhofer’s One Eyed Jacks and Newman’s The Counterfeit Traitor. Our friends at Intrada last night delivered more for fans of those Golden Age titans with the release of the scores to Two Flags West (1950) and North to Alaska (1960) on one CD; Friedhofer composed the former while Alfred Newman conducted. For the latter, Alfred’s brother Lionel handled scoring duties and also shared the conducting chores with Harry Sukman.

The Civil War-era western Two Flags West was helmed by Robert Wise (The Sound of Music, West Side Story). Wise directed a cast including Joseph Cotten, Jeff Chandler, Linda Darnell and Cornel Wilde. Ten cues have been remastered from 20th Century Fox’s original stereo tapes.  Another ten cues from 1960’s North to Alaska round out the CD, also from the original stereo tapes. This Henry Hathaway (True Grit, How the West Was Won) film starred John Wayne and Stewart Granger, and Johnny Horton sang Lionel Newman’s title theme. The Horton vocal version has been included here. Julie Kirgo contributes liner notes. Both soundtracks are appearing for the first time.

This limited edition of 1,000 copies quickly sold out, and as of this writing on Tuesday, April 5 is unavailable from Intrada and Screen Archives. Copies may be still be found from other dealers.

Have no fear, though, film score fans. Intrada also announced a release of Michael Small’s 1984 score to Kidco in a 1,000 copy edition that is still available. This little-known Ronald F. Maxwell comedy featured Scott Schwartz and Tristine Skyler, and Small (Marathon Man, The Parallax View) integrated the sound of Americana and the great outdoors into his orchestral score, with added color from guitars and synthesizers. The 19 tracks, including one bonus alternate cue, have been remastered from the original tapes at 20th Century Fox. Kidco is a world premiere release.

Nick Redman, who also contributed liner notes to Kritzerland’s edition of One Eyed Jacks, produced both releases for Intrada. Kidco is still available directly from the label. Hit the jump for track listings and discographical information!

Hugo Friedhofer and Lionel Newman, Original Motion Picture Soundtracks: Two Flags West/North to Alaska (Intrada Special Collection Vol. 168, 2011)

  1. Main Title/Frontier Theme
  2. The Broken South
  3. The Major
  4. I Can’t Let You Go
  5. Frustration
  6. Dream of Home
  7. The Fort
  8. Satank
  9. Grim Dawn
  10. Finale
  11. North to Alaska
  12. Go North
  13. Angels Theme
  14. Scenic View
  15. Plie D’Amour
  16. Baked Alaska
  17. Love in the Air
  18. Northern Lights
  19. If You Knew
  20. End Title

Michael Small, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Kidco (Intrada Signature Edition ISE 1044, 2011)

  1. Main Title
  2. The Feds
  3. Stephen Foster
  4. Colt Roping
  5. Balls
  6. We’re in Business
  7. June No. 1
  8. Manure Time
  9. Betty and Neil
  10. Hot Dog
  11. Seller’s Permit
  12. June No. 2
  13. All for One
  14. Night Ride
  15. The Reporters
  16. Sentences
  17. Finale
  18. End Credits
  19. Main Title (Alternate)

Written by Joe Marchese

April 5, 2011 at 16:30

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Release Round-Up: Week of April 5

with 7 comments

Rush, Moving Pictures: 30th Anniversary Edition (Mercury/UMe)

A CD/DVD remaster of one of the Canadian rock band’s most beloved albums, featuring a 5.1 surround remaster of the album and some rare music videos on the DVD. If you’re in the U.S., Best Buy is currently the only place you can get the set on CD/Blu-Ray; it’ll be available to general retail on May 3. (Amazon)

Material Issue, International Pop Overthrow: 20th Anniversary Edition (Hip-o Select)

An underrated power-pop classic gets expanded with rare B-sides and other unreleased content. (Hip-o Select)

The Tubes, The Completion Backward Principle: Expanded Edition (Iconoclassic)

A remaster of the New Wave band’s first Top 40 album and first record for Capitol, with bonus tracks and new liner notes. (Amazon)

Daft Punk, TRON: Legacy R3C0NF1GUR3D (Walt Disney)

One of the best soundtracks of last year gets the remix album treatment, the same day both TRON films are released on DVD and Blu-Ray. (Official site)

Ray Charles, Live in Concert: Expanded Edition (Concord)

The Genius’ 1965 live LP for ABC Records is expanded and remastered on Concord, keepers of much of Ray’s catalogue. (Amazon)

The Originals, California Sunset: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

An underrated, underground soul album from Motown’s vaults – already released in the U.K. last week – comes to U.S. shores today. (BBR)

Leon Russell, The Best of Leon Russell (EMI/Capitol)

A new compilation honoring the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, from his solo and sideman days to his latest victorious album with Elton John. (Amazon)

Miles Davis, The Definitive Miles Davis on Prestige / Bill Evans, The Definitive Bill Evans on Riverside and Fantasy / Albert King, The Definitive Albert King on Stax (Concord)

Some new double-disc compilations from Concord that compile some of the best jazz and blues artists of the 20th century. (Amazon: Miles, Evans, King)

Sergio Mendes, Celebration: A Musical Journey (Verve/UMe)

Brazil’s most legendary musician is anthologized in a new two-disc set. (Amazon)

Marshall Tucker Band, Greatest Hits (Shout! Factory)

A reissue of the band’s original greatest hits compilation, with the added presence of some rare single edits. (Shout! Factory)

Various Artists, ICON (UMe)

A lot of traditional rock acts get added to the budget compilation series, including Eric Clapton, B.B. King, The Who, Cat Stevens, Sublime, Joe Cocker and others. (A full list, with Amazon links, is here.)