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Archive for April 13th, 2011

In Case You Missed Them: Soundtrack Smashes from La-La Land, FSM

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Our apologies for not getting these titles to you earlier, but there’s been a lot of action on the indie soundtrack label front, with two titles announced by Film Score Monthly late last week and three from La-La Land that went on sale yesterday and are selling briskly.

Over at FSM, the label released Friday a short but powerful score to the film Testament, a 1983 drama featuring Jane Alexander as a mother coping with the fallout from a nuclear blast outside their California suburb. The heartbreaking drama, which also starred rising talent Lukas Haas and had turns by then lesser-known actors Kevin Costner and Rebecca de Mornay, featured a stirring, subdued score by James Horner, composed and conducted with a 10-piece ensemble between the sessions for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The premiere release of this score, recorded onto 1″ 32-track 3M digital master tapes at Walt Disney Studios’ now-defunct scoring Stage A and transferred on one of the world’s remaining 3M multitrack digital machines at Walt Disney Imagineering, is limited to 2,000 copies and sells for $19.95.

The other FSM release is as big as Testament is small: two scores over three discs from Italian composer Piero Piccioni. Piccioni’s style recalls Lalo Schifrin in its blend of traditional Hollywood symphonics and jazz, and the two scores here – 1967’s More Than a Miracle, starring Sophia Loren and Omar Sharif, and 1969’s Kenner – are as action-packed and romantic as they come. The set features a disc of the Kenner score with alternate cues, all complete and in stereo, and two discs’ worth of Miracle, including the complete score, alternates and the original MGM soundtrack LP. There is no limit on this set, priced at a decent $34.95.

Over at La-La Land Records, their three promised releases – the eight-disc Medal of Honor Soundtrack Collection, an expansion of Jerry Goldsmith’s score to First Knight and the DC Showcase scores for Warner Bros. animated DC Universe shorts – have all sold briskly. La-La Land head honcho MV Gerhard posted earlier today that less than 600 of the 2,000 copies of the Medal of Honor box set remained, so we’ll not mince words. Head to the jump to see pre-order links and track information for all these releases!

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 13, 2011 at 17:05

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Fallin’ All Over Again: Alicia Keys’ Debut to Be Reissued This Summer

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Has it really been a decade since that rich, soulful voice broke through the radio with a heartfelt “I keep on fallin’….i-i-i-i-in…and out…”?

It was the voice of one Alicia Keys, the Hell’s Kitchen-raised singer/songwriter/pianist, all of 20 years old at the time. She had a stunningly impressive resume for her age – a classically-trained pianist who started writing songs at 14, the valedictorian of New York City’s Professional Performing Arts School at 16, two failed record deals with Columbia and Arista that led to only one song buried on the Men in Black soundtrack by 18.

But she didn’t give up, and with a rather respectable guardian angel in the music industry – super-producer Clive Davis, who built the J Records label out of the ashes of Arista – she recorded her first album, Songs in A Minor, a massive crossover hit in the summer of 2001. The album moved more than 6 million copies and spawned two Top 5 hits, including the chart-topping “Fallin’,” which spent six weeks in the pole position, and “A Woman’s Worth.” Keys wrote or co-wrote nearly every tune herself alongside some top producers and songwriters, including Jermaine Dupri and Kandi Burruss. (One notable exception was her smoldering cover of “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore?,” the great B-side to Prince’s “1999.”) Keys’ reputation was sealed the next year, when newspapers all over the world reprinted photos of her, topped with a black fedora and tightly braided hair, clutching the five Grammys her album won.

Now, ten years later, J Records is reissuing Songs in A Minor in a variety of formats in June. The first format, a two-disc deluxe edition, will feature the original album alongside a raft of as-yet-fully-unannounced bonus material. Keys’ official site has confirmed that demos, alternate takes, remixes and live material will be included, and specifically mentioned several songs by name, including a remix of “A Woman’s Worth” featuring rapper Nas, an alternate version of “Fallin’” from the soundtrack to Ali and previously unreleased cuts “Typewriter,” “If I Was Your Woman (Original Funky Demo)” and “Butterflyz (The Drumline Mix).”

Serious fans are going to want to get their hands on a three-disc collector’s edition, which takes the two CDs and puts them in specially-sized packaging alongside a new documentary on DVD of the making of the record. And vinyl-heads rejoice: a double-LP version will be released, too, marking the first time the album has ever been pressed to vinyl.

The celebration kicks off on June 28 in stores everywhere, and Keys will take the celebration a few steps further; tickets go on sale in May for Piano & I, a one-night-only performance at New York City’s Beacon Theatre in which Keys will perform the album in its entirety and more. A special on Songs in A Minor is also planned to air on BET in June.

Stick with us for the track lists as they arrive, and go to Amazon’s pre-order links here (Deluxe Edition), here (Collector’s Edition) and here (vinyl version).

Written by Mike Duquette

April 13, 2011 at 14:39

Posted in Alicia Keys, News, Reissues

Right On: Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” Receives 40th Anniversary Box Set (UPDATED WITH TRACK LIST)

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Smokey Robinson has called it “the greatest album of all time.” Rolling Stone ranked it in the Top Ten in its survey of the Greatest Albums of All Time, at No. 6. Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On broke the Motown mold as Gaye delivered one of the most personal albums of all time: impassioned, outraged, haunting, beautiful and altogether unexpected. That seminal LP was released on May 21, 1971 and has remained in print since. Ten years ago, for its thirtieth anniversary, Motown reissued What’s Going On as a two-disc Deluxe Edition, bolstering Disc 1 with a rhythm-and-strings mix of the title song and the album’s original, darker “Detroit Mix” as created by Steve Smith in April 1971. (The eventual mix was the work of Lawrence Miles in Los Angeles early in May.) The second disc featured a May 1, 1972 performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., reprising much of the album along with a lengthy ’60s medley, as well as three rare single versions and an early version of “Distant Lover,” developed more fully on Let’s Get It On.

Today, Motown/UMe has confirmed details for a major box set due on May 17 celebrating this classic album’s 40 years. What’s Going On – Super Deluxe Edition includes two CDs and one vinyl LP, 14 unreleased tracks and copious rarities, plus an oversized booklet with two essays and rare photos from the original cover shoot. The original album graphics have also been reproduced, as they were a landmark, too, showcasing lyrics and identifying musicians for the very first time at Motown. Disc 1 adds to the album several outtakes and demos from sessions leading up to the recording of What’s Going On as well as the A- and B-sides of the album’s three mono single releases. Disc 2 documents Gaye’s jams in the period immediately post-What’s Going On where he developed mostly instrumental ideas with young guitarists Ray Parker Jr. and Wah Wah Watson, and 20-year-old bassist Michael Henderson. Disc 2 is rounded out by Gaye’s final sessions in Detroit including the politically-oriented non-LP single “You’re the Man,” which went R&B Top 10 in Spring 1972. Also included are two alternate takes of the song. The LP will premiere the “Detroit Mix” on vinyl.

What’s Going On: Super-Deluxe Edition will arrive in stores on May 17.  Hit the jump for Motown’s complete press release as well as the track listing with discographical information!

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Written by Joe Marchese

April 13, 2011 at 11:29

That’s Amore: Capitol Releases More from Dean Martin in June

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Dean Martin once implored in song, “Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone.” Dino has been gone since 1995, but I doubt he’d mind that fans and collectors alike haven’t stopped talking about him since. Part of this is due to the seemingly endless stream of repackaged “greatest hits” collections – and guess what? Not one, not two, but three such sets are on the way this June, just in time for Father’s Day. Now ain’t that a kick in the head!

Back in February, we reported on Hip-o’s two-CD, 28-track volume Cool Then, Cool Now, which arrives in stores on June 7. In what may be an unprecedented move, two more hits collections will arrive the very same day, both from Capitol/EMI. First up is Classic Dino, a brief 14-track compilation apparently designed for the budget-conscious or those who only need a little Martin in their collections. Then there’s an updated edition of 2004’s The Essential Dean Martin. The 2004 release boasted a generous 30 tracks on one disc; the new version adds six more and spreads them over two discs. (Not to confuse matters, there was actually a 2005 special edition of this title adding a second live disc from Martin’s performance of June 7, 1962 in Lake Tahoe. This concert has been orphaned!) Without a doubt, the 2004 edition is the best single-CD survey of his career.  All of the hits and key album tracks are present; the only thing missing is the 1964 Reprise version of “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You.” Martin’s original 1960 Capitol version was selected instead.

The only bait for collectors will be found on the updated Essential. An April 28, 1950 recording of the perennial “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody” was absent even from the massive Bear Family box sets collecting Martin’s complete output. The master was thought lost until recently, when it was discovered in the Capitol vaults. It makes its first appearance ever on The Essential Dean Martin.

The Hip-o set is drawn mainly from Martin’s Reprise recordings (1962-1973), now controlled by the Dean Martin Family Trust and under license to Universal Music Enterprises, Hip-o’s parent. The Capitol sets, naturally, are heavier on material from Martin’s time at the label (1948-1961); Martin’s Capitol masters are still controlled by EMI. All three sets, however, have licensed appropriate tracks to give fair overviews of all periods of Martin’s long recording career. Cool Then offers one real rarity in the form of the 1985 MCA single “L.A. Is My Home,” only otherwise available as part of Bear Family’s Lay Some Happiness on Me box.

On another note, fans of the late crooner might also want to take notice of Time-Life’s three new DVD collections featuring The Best of the Dean Martin Variety Show. Released on May 24 in single-disc, double-disc and six-disc configurations, these sets reprise material from the show’s lengthy run of 1965 to 1974, and feature guest stars galore, including musical friends Duke Ellington and Tony Bennett. Interested? You can find more details here.

If you’re a Dino completist, or are just looking for a great Father’s Day gift for Dad, one of these upcoming sets might just be for you. Hit the jump for the complete track listings for Classic Dino: The Best of Dean Martin and the new two-CD Dino: The Essential Dean Martin, both with discographical annotation!  Both collections will be available everywhere on June 7. Pre-order links are not yet active. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 13, 2011 at 10:31