The Second Disc

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Archive for April 22nd, 2011

Friday Feature: “Night Shift”

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Fate works in mysterious ways.  Dionne Warwick was home one evening, half-asleep while the 1982 film Night Shift played on her television set.  “I didn’t really pay attention to the names that were going up on the credits,” Warwick recounted, “but I knew that was Burt Bacharach’s melody.  There was no way in the world it could be anybody else’s.”  She was speaking of “That’s What Friends Are For,” an all-but-forgotten song written for the 1982 film Night Shift, Ron Howard’s major big screen directorial debut.  “Friends” set lyrics to Bacharach’s main love theme for the film, and was performed by Rod Stewart.

Warwick had recently reconciled with Bacharach after a decade-plus of estrangement; the catalyst was producer Aaron Spelling, who wished to have a Bacharach/Warwick collaboration as the theme to his 1984 television drama Finder of Lost Loves.  The very next day after hearing “Friends,” Warwick phoned Bacharach and his then-wife and principal lyricist, Carole Bayer Sager.  She let them know that she wished to cut the song herself.  “And they were thrilled,” said Warwick.  “They figured that nobody had heard the song, except the two of them – and Rod Stewart!”  Warwick then hit upon the idea of inviting some of her famous friends to join the recording sessions, and a groundbreaking No. 1 record (both pop and R&B!) was born.  “That’s What Friends Are For” by Dionne and Friends (Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder) would be the biggest hit of Warwick’s career, a feather in the cap for Bacharach and Sager, and perhaps most importantly, a major rallying cry and fundraiser for AIDS awareness.  Arista Records, the artists, producers, publishers and respective unions all donated their proceeds to the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AMFAR).  When Rhino Records included the song on its 1998 box set The Look of Love: The Burt Bacharach Collection, Rhino followed suit.

“That’s What Friends Are For” is the major musical legacy of Night Shift.  The original soundtrack version remains a hidden gem in Rod Stewart’s deep catalogue.  But for today’s Friday Feature, we look not only at the original “Friends,” but the soundtrack contributions from Quarterflash, Al Jarreau, The Pointer Sisters, Marshall Crenshaw, Talk Talk and more!  Hit the jump to join Henry Winkler, Michael Keaton and Shelley Long on the night shift! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 22, 2011 at 12:10

Now Boarding: Jefferson Airplane Reissues Take Off On BGO and Friday Music

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Now departing from San Francisco: it’s Jefferson Airplane! While the classic band’s live reissue series launched by Collector’s Choice Music remains in limbo, fans of the classic rock line-up of Grace Slick, Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Spencer Dryden don’t have to fear! Both BGO Records and Friday Music have a rich slate of Airplane projects to keep the group flying high!

Friday Music kicks things off with a 180-gram vinyl LP remastering of the ironically-titled 1970 collection The Worst of Jefferson Airplane. Its fifteen tracks cover the band’s first six albums including the era-defining singles such as “Somebody to Love,” “White Rabbit” and “Volunteers.” (All three songs were played at the band’s blazing set at Woodstock just months before the release of this collection.) Friday’s Joe Reagoso has teamed with Kevin Gray to remaster The Worst for its 180-gram debut for pristine sound quality. Friday will present the album in a replica of its original gatefold including artwork of RCA Victor’s famed Nipper. The vinyl will be housed in a poly sleeve, and the LP itself in a poly cover.

At the time of the initial release of The Worst, the band was still an active unit.  Jump forward a few years, and the Airplane had fractured. Casady and Kaukonen created a whole new revolution with Hot Tuna, their back-to-the-blues band, which debuted as a side project in 1970. That same year, Paul Kantner released Blows Against the Empire, credited to “Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship.” (The actual band, Jefferson Starship, wouldn’t officially form until four years later.) Kantner and Slick would record 1971’s Sunflower under their own names, and Slick struck out on her own in 1973 with Manhole. The same year, Slick teamed with Kantner and David Freiberg for another sci-fi epic, Baron von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun. It couldn’t have come as much of a shock when Jefferson Airplane disbanded in 1974 (with Casady and Kaukonen devoting their attention to Hot Tuna) and Jefferson Starship rose from its ashes.

1977’s Flight Log (1966-1976) chronicles the heady ups and downs of the Jefferson Airplane family over that decade-long period. BGO has remastered the original Flight Log as a 2-CD set. The 21 tracks mark the only compilation of its kind, including tracks fom the Airplane and Starship plus Hot Tuna and the Kantner, Slick and Kaukonen solo projects. One track, “Please Come Back,” is heard in a 1976 live version from Winterland which made its premiere on Flight Log. BGO’s new edition boasts a 20-page color booklet reprinting the original LP’s copious scrapbook-style notes and photos, plus a new 2010 essay by John Tobler.

BGO complements Flight Log with a standalone reissue of Baron von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun. This Kanter/Slick/Freiberg collaborative effort featured guest appearances from the other Airplane members but featured Jerry Garcia playing lead guitar on most tracks (as well as steel guitar and banjo) and Chris Ethridge, of the Flying Burrito Brothers, on bass. Mickey Hart participated in the sessions, and frequent Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter penned the words to “Harp Tree Lament.” David Crosby lent his angelic voice to “The Ballad of the Chrome Nun.” Baron von Tollbooth is still available in 1997’s RCA version but completists can expect a new remastering for the BGO edition.

Hit the jump for the track listings for all three releases plus the usual discographical information and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 22, 2011 at 09:43

LAST CHANCE REMINDER! Contest: Win Bob Dylan’s “The Other Side of the Mirror” on Blu-Ray

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Hey, friends!  Our Bob Dylan contest ends tonight at 11:59 p.m. EST.  Mike and I couldn’t be more thrilled to give you the opportunity to win The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 on Blu-Ray!  Don’t delay; details are below.  Enter now! 

We’ve got some very exciting stuff for fans of Bob Dylan: a contest to win a reissue of a Dylan documentary on Blu-Ray from Legacy Recordings!

We’re giving away a copy of The Other Side of the Mirror – Bob Dylan Live at The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 – originally released in 2007 and available on Blu-Ray Disc this Tuesday, April 26 – to one lucky fan. Directed by Murray Lerner, a respected rock-doc director who helmed Festival, a 1967 feature about the Newport Folk Festival, Mirror uses Lerner’s original footage, along with then-unseen sequences, to chronicle the Bard’s evolution as seen through Newport, culminating with his highly controversial performance in 1965, when he played a brief set with an electric guitar and full backing band.

Now how do you enter? Simple. All you have to do is send an e-mail to theseconddisc (at) gmail (dot) com, with the subject line “Bob Dylan.” We’ll be keeping the lines open until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, and we’ll announce the winner Monday morning. We hope to garner a lot of interest, so good luck to all of you out there!

And just in case you need a primer, Legacy’s official press release for the set is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

April 22, 2011 at 08:29