The Second Disc

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Archive for April 26th, 2011

“Get Back” To The Beatles With Ace’s “Black America Sings Lennon and McCartney”

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“Yesterday” is considered the most-covered popular song of all time, but might The Beatles also be the most-covered band of the rock era?  I’ll leave that one to the Guinness folks, but needless to say, there are thousands of cover versions of songs introduced by The Fab Four, most of which were written under the “Lennon and McCartney” umbrella.  On June 7, Ace will release a follow-up to its acclaimed 2010 collection How Many Roads: Black America Sings Bob Dylan, turning the spotlight onto the much-covered catalogue of the boys from Liverpool.

Come Together: Black America Sings Lennon and McCartney brings together 24 such examples.  While this may be considered a soul compilation in the broadest sense, the songs encompass a wide variety of genres: blues, gospel, pop and funk among them.  The artists selected are a virtual “Who’s Who” of popular music: Al Green, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Little Richard, “Fifth Beatle” Billy Preston, and lesser-known but no less respected artists like Maxine Brown, Mary Wells, The Chairmen of the Board and The Main Ingredient.

As is expected from Ace, there are many rare treats awaiting discovery.  Mary Wells makes a post-Motown appearance with “Please Please Me” while Scepter/Wand goddess Maxine Brown implores, “We Can Work It Out.”  Chubby Checker takes on The White Album with a 1969 recording of “Back in the USSR” on the Buddah label, and the sweet soul harmonies of The Moments enliven “Rocky Raccoon” from that same seminal Beatles set.  “Paperback Writer” shows that there was more to R.B. Greaves than “Take a Letter, Maria,” while the Chairmen of the Board appear with the title track, “Come Together.”

Come Together features versions of The Beatles’ first major U.S. hit (“I Want to Hold Your Hand,” courtesy Al Green) and their last (“The Long and Winding Road,” via The New Birth).  More than one half of the tracks are from the period between 1965 and 1969; the earliest cut is Wells’ “Please Please Me” (1964) and the latest is “The Long and Winding Road” (1976).  (The B-side of Wells’ single was actually the “My Guy” girl’s take on “I Should Have Known Better.”)  Ace’s tribute is only appropriate as The Beatles openly admitted their great debt to the music of Black America.

Hit the jump for the complete track listing plus discographical annotation for each track.  Come Together: Black America Sings Lennon and McCartney is due in the U.K. on June 7 and in the U.S. shortly thereafter. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 26, 2011 at 13:44

Elton, CSN, Costello, Taylor and More Salute Neil Young on Tribute DVD and Blu-Ray

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What do David Crosby, Luciano Pavarotti, Bono and Neil Diamond all have in common?  Each gentleman is a past honoree as MusiCares Person of the Year.  Administered by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and chosen by the MusiCares Foundation, the title is bestowed upon artists to commend both artistic achievement in music and commitment to philanthropy.  A tribute is to paid to the recipient with an evening of eclectic performances celebrating his or her legacy.  In 2011, the award went to Barbra Streisand, and one year earlier, Neil Young was the honoree.  On May 31, Shout! Factory will bring to DVD and Blu-Ray the gala concert celebrating Neil Young’s career as musician and philanthropist, at which Young was joined by such luminaries as Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Elton John, Jackson Browne, and of course, his bandmates David Crosby (the first-ever MusiCares Person of the Year, back in 1991), Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.

A MusiCares Tribute to Neil Young features all of those performers and more.  It will also be featured on MTVs’s HD channel Palladia on Memorial Day Weekend 2011.  Hit the jump for the full program line-up and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 26, 2011 at 12:12

Release Round-Up: Week of April 26

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Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Universal)

The 2-CD remastered/expanded 40th Anniversary Edition (previously a Best Buy exclusive) and super deluxe 4-CD/2-LP/1-DVD box set of the seminal album both arrive in stores today.  Read more here.  (2-CD – Amazon, Box Set – Amazon)

Bob Dylan, The Other Side of the Mirror: Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 (Columbia/Legacy)

Murray Lerner’s film chronicling Dylan’s incendiary performances at Newport is released on Blu-Ray for the first time. (Amazon)

Ella Fitzgerald, Ella in Japan (Verve Select)

Hip-o and Verve resurrect two nights of previously unreleased concerts from January 1964 in Tokyo.  The Roy Eldridge Quartet supports the legendary jazz chanteuse.  Read more here.  (Amazon)

Florence + The Machine, Lungs: Deluxe Edition (Universal Republic)

An expanded edition of Florence + The Machine’s impressive 2009 debut Lungs arrives in America.  Read more here.   (Amazon)

Jefferson Airplane, The Worst of Jefferson Airplane (Vinyl) (Friday Music)

From “Somebody to Love” to “Volunteers,” this compilation offers the best of the San Francisco rock pioneers, remastered on 180-gram vinyl.  Read more here.  (Amazon)

Robert Johnson, The Centennial Collection (Legacy)

Robert Johnson would have turned 100 this year, and Legacy celebrates in style with this update of 1990’s The Complete Recordings.  42 tracks are included on two discs.  A deluxe box set is also available.  Read more here.  (Amazon)

Roy Orbison, The Monument Singles Collection (1960-1964) (Monument/Orbison Records/Legacy)

This 2-CD/1-DVD set compiles on CD every A- and B-side from Orbison’s career-making tenure at Monument Records in original mono mixes, plus rare concert footage from 1965 on DVD.  A booklet with detailed discographical information is included!  Read more here.  (Amazon)

The Rolling Stones, The Complete Singles: 1971-2006 (Hip-o/Universal)

Yup, this 45-CD set (!) brings together 173 tracks representing the Stones’ singles output beginning in 1971, and 80 tracks debut on CD.  A 32-page hardback book sweetens the deal.  Read more here.  (Amazon)

Studio Cast Recording, On Your Toes (Masterworks Broadway/Arkiv Music)

Jack Cassidy and Portia Nelson star in this 1953 studio cast recording of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s great score.  Tracks include “There’s a Small Hotel,” “Glad to Be Unhappy” and “Slaughter on 10th Avenue.”  Available in mono as a disc-on-demand or download.  Read more here.  (CD – Arkiv, Download – Amazon)

Jimmy Webb & The Webb Brothers, Cottonwood Farm (Proper US)

Webb’s 2009 collaboration with his sons and other family members receives a belated American debut on Proper.  (Amazon)