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Archive for April 11th, 2011

Black Sabbath is “Born Again” on New U.K. Reissue

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England has gotten more than its share of great expansions of the Black Sabbath catalogue – even the lesser known material – and now we can add another title to the list. The metal ensemble’s Born Again (1983) is coming back into print in May in a new double-disc deluxe edition.

Black Sabbath were in a period of transition in the months leading up to Born Again. Vocalist Ronnie James Dio had left the band to form his own successful band, and took Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice with him. Remaining members Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler were fortunate to reconvene with original drummer Bill Ward, whose health had forced his intermittent leave from the group. Now all they needed was a vocalist, which they found in a most unusual place: Ian Gillan, the bluesy singer for Deep Purple. Perhaps wanting to strike while the iron was hot enough, the band quickly wrote, recorded and mixed a record, which almost nobody found satisfying. Critics felt Gillan clashed far too much with the Sabbath sound, fans were left cold by the hastily-prepared set and the band particularly disliked the mix and the ensuing tour. (On that tour, the band took an oversized Stonehenge set piece on the road that occasionally had trouble fitting on stage. This incident was parodied in reverse in one legendary sequence in Rob Reiner’s This is Spinal Tap a year later.) That said, the album was somewhat of a commercial success, peaking at No. 4 in the U.K. (the band’s highest chart placement in a decade) and denting the U.S. Top 40.

The Born Again reissue comes with its share of nice extras, though. One disc features the remastered album (there is no indication yet if the album has been remixed, despite the desire of the band to do so), and another features two heavily bootlegged outtakes and a BBC broadcast of part of the band’s performance at the Reading Festival in 1983. (Fans may recall that there is a widely-known bootleg of the entire Reading set, but Universal informed this Black Sabbath fan site that their sources from the full show were in too inferior quality to release; thus, the label opted for the better-sounding (if shorter) BBC recording.

All in all, though, it’s a pretty neat tribute to an album that fans have likely wanted to reappraise for some time. The set comes out on May 30 in the U.K. and one week later as a U.S. import. Order it from Amazon here and hit the jump for the full scoop on the track list!

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 11, 2011 at 17:49

No Gloomy “Sunday” with Complete Les Baxter Debut

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Les Baxter sure gets around. The past year has seen reissues of the maestro’s scores from a number of labels including Intrada, La-La Land and Kritzerland, and the latter ups the ante today with the release of the exotica master’s score to 1960’s infamous Black Sunday (La Maschera del Demonio, or The Mask of Satan). Mario Bava’s Italian horror classic stars Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Arturo Dominici and Ivo Garrani in the tale of a vampire/witch put to death by her brother who is reborn 200 years later to feed on her descendants. Yet what made La Maschera del Demonio so notorious was its untamed scenes of violence and carnage. A burning letter was branded into Steele’s flesh, blood spewed from the mask as it was hammered into her face, an eyeball was impaled and flesh peeled while Garrani burned to death. For its 1961 U.S. release, the B-movie mavens at American International Pictures trimmed roughly three minutes from the film and retitled it Black Sunday. AIP had it redubbed into English (most of the actors had already spoken their dialogue in English) and commissioned Les Baxter to write a new score, replacing the Italian score by Roberto Nicolosi. Baxter, perhaps best-remembered for his lounge and exotica albums, wrote over 100 scores for AIP including Sadismo (recently reissued by Kritzerland), Hell’s Belles and Beach Blanket Bingo (both reissued by La-La Land).

In 1992 at the Bay Cities label, producer Bruce Kimmel gave Baxter’s score to Black Sunday its first CD reissue as BCD 3034 in the form of a 34-minute suite with no separate tracks in non-film order. This release was derived from a 7½ ips tape of variable quality. Now, almost twenty years later, Kimmel is revisiting Baxter’s classic horror score in complete form for the very first time. He and mastering engineer James Nelson have utilized the original two-track session masters for this new CD. Black Sunday will be presented in crisp mono and in proper film order. Every note of Baxter’s score will be released, save one 30-second piano solo played by the character of Katia.

Intrada’s recent edition of Baxter’s 1960 score for American International’s House of Usher was a quick sellout, so don’t hesitate if you’d like to experience the chilling terror of Les Baxter’s Black Sunday! Kritzerland’s Black Sunday is a limited edition of 1,000 copies and is priced at $19.98 plus shipping and handling. It is scheduled for release during the third week of May. Pre-orders directly from the label arrive an average of four weeks early. Black Sunday can also be ordered in a special bundle with Les Baxter’s Sadismo while supplies last! Hit the jump for the full press release, track listing, pre-order links and discographical information! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 11, 2011 at 16:52

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Rhino Knows What Time It Is: Chicago “Live in ’75” Coming from Handmade (UPDATED 4/11)

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UPDATE 4/11: The link just before the jump takes you directly to the order page for this set.

Original post: Billboard has certified them as the second-most successful American rock band in music history, only following The Beach Boys. The RIAA places them handily in the Top Ten of all-time album sales from an American group. So it’s fair to say that Chicago is still perhaps the most successful American rock band to have been wholly ignored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band has endured a variety of personnel and stylistic changes over the years; even this many years later, it’s hard to believe that the same band recorded both “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry.” But Chicago’s music endures to this very day, and the band – still containing original members Robert Lamm, Walt Parazaider, Lee Loughnane and James Pankow – remains a viable live act worldwide. Rhino Handmade will soon offer a special treat for fans of Chicago’s classic line-up with the release of Live in ’75, a lavish 2-CD set housed in a hardbound slipcase due on May 24. Recorded at Largo, Maryland’s Capital Centre on June 24-26, 1975, Live includes cuts from all of the group’s albums through its then-current Chicago VIII.

While there is no mention in the press release, those dates were part of the “Beachago” tour featuring Chicago and The Beach Boys. Based on the set lists from those dates, it’s possible that “Wishin’ You Were Here” will feature The Beach Boys on background vocals and “Feelin’ Stronger Every Day” will present Mike Love sharing the lead with Peter Cetera. (Other songs performed by Chicago with The Beach Boys during the Capital Centre Beachago stand and not included on Rhino’s release are “Saturday in the Park,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “God Only Knows,” “Darlin”,” “California Girls” and “Fun Fun Fun.”)

Live in ’75 is available Monday, April 11 for pre-order exclusively at Rhino for $39.98 and ships on May 24.  Hit the jump for the full press release and track listing for this exciting new release!
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Written by Joe Marchese

April 11, 2011 at 16:20

Back Tracks: The Shirelles on Scepter

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Diana Ross, Martha Reeves and Mary Weiss – and even Joan Jett, Victoria Beckham and Nicole Scherzinger – all owe a debt to Shirley Owens, Doris Coley, Addie Harris and Beverly Lee. That quartet doesn’t have the name recognition of those that followed them, but those four young women from Passaic, New Jersey ignited the girl group phenomenon when they joined forces as The Poquellos, soon to be renamed The Shirelles. Were The Shirelles the first girl group? Probably not. Were they the first to gain national prominence? Unquestionably.

The first major female group of the rock and roll era, The Shirelles claimed the first girl group No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Discovered in New Jersey by Florence Greenberg’s daughter Mary Jane, the group laid the cornerstone for Greenberg’s Scepter Records empire – later home to Dionne Warwick, B.J. Thomas, Chuck Jackson, Maxine Brown, Ronnie Milsap and The Kingsmen – and paved the way for the Motown revolution with their blend of uptown soul, pop, and street corner harmonies. This potent combination, of course, found them “crossing over” to the predominantly white audience and quietly breaking down barriers of gender and race with an intoxicating series of pop songs from some of the greatest songwriters of all time. Yet The Shirelles have unaccountably been overlooked as the years have passed despite induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The songs written for them by Luther Dixon, Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Burt Bacharach and Hal David and others have endured, but the voices behind the songs have receded into the background.

The new Broadway musical Baby, It’s You!, named after the 1962 hit penned by Bacharach, Mack David and Barney Williams (actually Dixon, writing under his brother-in-law’s name), redresses this, giving The Shirelles some overdue attention. The Floyd Mutrux/Colin Escott musical (readers here may recognize Escott’s name from the innumerable CD liner notes he has penned) utilizes the Shirelles’ deep back catalogue and that of other period artists to illustrate the dramatic dual stories of Greenberg’s founding of Scepter Records and The Shirelles’ rise and fall. It may have taken fifty-odd years, but The Shirelles are back on Broadway, where their career began at Greenberg’s 1650 Broadway offices just seven blocks away from the musical’s home at the Broadhurst Theatre. Only Shirley Owens (now Shirley Alston-Reeves) and Beverly Lee are still alive to enjoy the accolades, but in celebration of the remarkable body of work recorded by The Shirelles, we offer today’s Back Tracks.

The Shirelles’ catalogue hasn’t been particularly well-served on CD, other than by numerous compilations. Sundazed reissued a small handful of the original albums almost twenty years ago as straight reissues with no bonus tracks; Ace has improved on these editions with a copiously-annotated series of two-on-one CDs containing bonuses where possible, and utilizing stereo mixes where they exist. Ace’s four-volume series now has collected the entire eight-album Scepter output of The Shirelles.

Whether you’ve seen the musical and are looking to find your favorite songs on CD, or you’re a longtime fan of the group hoping to fill some gaps in your collection, have we got a musical tour for you! Hit the jump to begin with 1960’s Tonight’s The Night. We’ll go through 1967’s Spontaneous Combustion and then take a detour to all of the key anthologies and rarities discs! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 11, 2011 at 13:45

Let’s Hear It for the Big Break May Slate

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Not long after the Cherry Red labels update their calendars for April, their ever-busy Big Break Records imprint preps a set of R&B reissues for May. And there are quite a few hits contained therein.

No less than six new expansions are on the label’s schedule in the next month, most of them from the Sony catalogue. The biggest hits by far would be Back Stabbers, the sophomore release by The O’Jays and the album that spun off the immortal chart-topping hit “Love Train,” and Deniece Williams’ Let’s Hear It for the Boy, the title track of which featured as one of many hits in the 1984 film Footloose. Each of those albums will be expanded with single edits and remixes. There are two other dance-heavy titles on the roster, too. The Gap Band’s Gap Band VI had the Top 10 R&B hits “Beep a Freak” and “I Found My Baby,” while the relatively obscure Linx had a raft of U.K. hits with debut album Intuition, newly expanded with six bonus remixes.

If full-on dance/funk isn’t your thing, there are the chilled-out sounds of Jon Lucien, the singer from the Virgin Islands whose Song for My Lady album is due for expansion from the label (his second, after an expansion of hit album Rashida for the label last year), or Linda Lewis, the British singer-songwriter whose Woman Overboard, featuring production by Allen Toussaint and Cat Stevens, will be expanded with non-LP material (again, following an expansion of her first album for Arista from Big Break last year).

The O’Jays, Lucien, Lewis and Linx all drop in the U.K. on May 23, with Williams and The Gap Band following a week later on May 30. And of course, each of them come to the U.S. through Amazon a week after their British release dates (May 31 and June 7, respectively). Order them from the label here and hit the jump for the track lists!

The O’Jays, Back Stabbers: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records CDBBR0051, 2011)

  1. When the World’s at Peace
  2. Back Stabbers
  3. Who Am I
  4. (They Call Me) Mr. Lucky
  5. Time to Get Down
  6. 992 Arguments
  7. Listen to the Clock on the Wall
  8. Shiftless, Shady, Jealous Kind of People
  9. Sunshine
  10. Love Train
  11. 992 Arguments (Single Version)
  12. Who Am I (Single Version)
  13. Love Train (A Tom Moulton Mix)

Tracks 1-10 from Philadelphia International Records LP KZ-31712 (U.S.)/PIR-65932 (U.K.), 1972
Track 11 from Philadelphia International Records 7″ single ZS7-3522, 1972
Track 12 from Philadelphia International Records 7″ single S PIR-2213 (U.K.), 1972
Track 13 from Philadelphia Classics promo compilation – Philadelphia International Records PZG-34940, 1977

Jon Lucien, Song for My Lady: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records CDBBR0052, 2011)

  1. Soul Mate
  2. Dindi
  3. You Are My Love
  4. Creole Lady
  5. Song for My Lady
  6. Mother Land
  7. Maiden Voyage
  8. Follow Your Heart
  9. Creole Lady (Single Version)
  10. Follow Your Heart (Alternative Version)

Tracks 1-8 from Columbia LP PC-33544, 1975
Track 9 from Columbia single 3-10232, 1975
Track 10 possibly from Love Everlasting: The Very Best of Jon Lucien (BMG 74321 66043-2 (U.K.), 1999)

Linda Lewis, Woman Overboard: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records CDBBR0053, 2011)

  1. You Came
  2. Shining
  3. Bonfire
  4. Come Back and Finish What You Started
  5. No. 1 Heartbreaker
  6. Dreamer of Dreams
  7. Moon and I
  8. Light Years Away
  9. My Love is Here to Stay
  10. My Friend the Sun
  11. So Many Mysteries to Find
  12. Flipped Over Your Love
  13. Never Been Done Before
  14. Can’t We Just Sit Down and Talk It Over

Tracks 1-11 from Arista LP SPARTY 1003 (U.K.), 1977
Track 12 from Arista single 100 (U.K.), 1977
Track 13 from Arista single 125 (U.K.), 1977
Track 14 from Arista single 170 (U.K.), 1977

Linx, Intuition: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records CDBBR0054, 2011)

  1. Wonder What You’re Doing Now
  2. I Won’t Forget
  3. Intuition
  4. There’s Love
  5. Rise and Shine
  6. Throw Away the Key
  7. Together We Can Shine
  8. Count on Me
  9. You’re Lying
  10. Don’t Get in My Way
  11. You’re Lying (U.K. 12″ Mix)
  12. Throw Away the Key (U.K. 12″ Mix)
  13. Together We Can Shine (U.S. Recording)
  14. Wonder What You’re Doing Now (U.S. Remix)
  15. You’re Lying (U.S. Remix)
  16. Throw Away the Key (U.S. Remix)

Tracks 1-10 from Chrysalis LP CHR 1332 (U.K.), 1981
Track 11 from Chrysalis 12″ A-side CHS 12 2461 (U.K.), 1980
Track 12 from Chrysalis 12″ A-side CHS 12 2519 (U.K.), 1981
Tracks 13-16 from The Last Linx – Chrysalis CHR 1409 (U.K.), 1983

Deniece Williams, Let’s Hear It for the Boy: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records CDBBR0055, 2011)

  1. Let’s Hear It for the Boy
  2. I Want You
  3. Picking Up the Pieces
  4. Black Butterfly
  5. Next Love
  6. Haunting Me
  7. Don’t Tell Me We Have Nothing
  8. Blind Dating
  9. Wrapped Up
  10. Whiter Than Snow
  11. Let’s Hear It for the Boy (12″ Dance Mix)
  12. Next Love (12″ Dance Mix)
  13. Black Butterfly (Single Version)
  14. Let’s Hear It for the Boy (Instrumental)
  15. Next Love (Instrumental)

Tracks 1-10 released as Columbia LP FC 39366 (U.S.)/CBS LP 26010 (U.K.), 1984
Tracks 11 and 14 from Columbia 12″ single 44-04988 (U.S.), 1984
Tracks 12 and 15 from Columbia 12″ single 44-05043 (U.S.), 1984
Track 13 from Columbia 7″ single 38-04641 (U.S.), 1984

The Gap Band, Gap Band VI: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records CDBBR0056, 2011)

  1. Interlude – The Sun Don’t Shine Everyday
  2. Video Junkie
  3. Weak Spot
  4. The Sun Don’t Shine Everyday
  5. I Believe
  6. I Found My Baby
  7. Beep a Freak
  8. Don’t You Leave Me
  9. Disrespect
  10. The Sun Don’t Shine Everyday (Vocal)
  11. Beep a Freak (12″ Dance Mix)
  12. I Found My Baby (12″ Dance Mix)
  13. Disrespect (12″ Dance Mix)

Tracks 1-10 from Total Experience Records LP FL-89426, 1984
Track 11 from Total Experience Records 12″ A-side TED1-2606, 1984
Track 12 from Total Experience Records 12″ A-side TED1-2613, 1985
Track 13 from Total Experience Records 12″ A-side TED1-2615, 1985

Written by Mike Duquette

April 11, 2011 at 12:50

Another Barrel Full of Monkees from Friday Music?

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So you want to be a rock ‘n’ roll star?  Then listen now to what I say…Just get an electric guitar, then take some time and learn how to play…

Those acerbic lyrics from The Byrds’ 1967 “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star” were admittedly aimed at The Monkees, according to the song’s co-writer, Chris Hillman. Yet from the vantage point of over forty years later, the pop and television stars have more than proved their true musical credentials. They’re taking their act on the road this summer for an eagerly-anticipated 45th anniversary tour, with only Michael Nesmith skipping the trek. Each announcement of new catalogue product inevitably brings excitement to a dedicated group of fans and collectors. Manufactured or not, The Monkees came into their own and left behind an enormous body of quality music. Yet when the group disbanded (for the first time) in 1971, its members were left to find their own musical identities. Davy Jones had quick success out of the gate with a Top 40 single of Howard Greenfield and Neil Sedaka’s “Rainy Jane.” Mike Nesmith continued his own quirky, trailblazing recording projects. Micky Dolenz recorded a series of singles for MGM and its related labels, while Peter Tork didn’t successfully launch a solo career till years later.

When it comes to the group’s landmark anniversary, the good folks at Friday Music haven’t been sitting idly. The label plans on celebrating in style. Reissues of The Monkees Present (1969) and Changes (1970) have been confirmed for May 24 release, and the label offered a tease that Davy Jones’ pre-Monkees album recorded in 1965 for the Colpix label may soon join those two releases on CD. Over this past weekend, the label sweetened the pot, dropping the two following not-so-subtle hints on its Facebook page:

THE MONKEES’ Micky Dolenz made some very cool albums several years ago…BROADWAY MICKY……it would be nice if some label would release that again…..don’t ya think?

MORE MONKEEMANIA: The great Micky Dolenz recorded a brilliant acoustic masterpiece called Puts You To Sleep…..His rendition of “Blackbird” by The Beatles is brilliant, as is his revisit to “Porpoise Song,” plus Harry Nilsson’s “Remember”…….it would be a cool thing if some hip label would release this again………hmmmm…… just never know…..hmmmmmm.

Well, needless to say, we here at Second Disc HQ think it would, indeed, be nice if some label would reissue these two albums! Hit the jump for a look at both albums plus track listings! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 11, 2011 at 10:29

Posted in News, Reissues, The Monkees