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Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for April 27th, 2011

Beware! La-La Land Expands “The Blob” Remake Score

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It can fill up a room in seconds, gets unexplainably bigger every day and can consume anything it touches. No, not your music collection – The Blob! The ectoplasmic entity – as remade in 1988 – is the latest expanded soundtrack to come from La-La Land Records today.

A remake of the classic 1958 sci-fi/horror flick, The Blob finds the titular monster consuming the helpless population of a California town – but rather than some space creature, this blob is a military bio-weapon gone horribly wrong. With a screenplay written by Frank Darabont and the film’s director Chuck Russell (also the director of Nightmare on Elm Street III: Dream Warriors) and a cast that includes future stars Kevin Dillon of Entourage and Shawnee Smith of the Saw series, The Blob remains a cult classic today. The score, composed by Michael Hoenig (who at the time had a nice scoring gig on the television show Max Headroom and had also, briefly, been a member of Tangerine Dream), is typical, top-notch horror stuff, with plenty of atmospheric percussion and otherworldly tones. The soundtrack, resequenced and expanded by about 15 minutes from its original 1988 presentation on Filmtrax Records, is limited to 2,000 copies.

The label is also selling a new double-disc set of music from the new video game Crysis 2, featuring a score written by several composers, most notably Oscar winner Hans Zimmer of The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean and Inception fame. Order pages and track listings for each set are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 27, 2011 at 16:04

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Review: Roy Orbison, “The Monument Singles Collection (1960-1964)”

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It’s frequently been said that image is everything in the music business.  And surely one of the most recognizable images in all of music is that of Roy Orbison, the loner behind dark sunglasses, clad in black.  If one could see his eyes, wouldn’t they surely betray his lifetime of heartache?  His wife Claudette (the inspiration behind the song) was killed at his side in a motorcycle accident, his two young sons perished in a fire at his home.  There was more than meets the eye to Roy Orbison, though.  In an era of rockers threateningly flaunting their masculinity, Orbison was quietly, subtly dangerous.  His darkness was tinged with an aching vulnerability that was all too human.  Despite his reputation as a solitary man, his final chart hits were the product of true camaraderie.  As Lefty Wilbury, he made a joyful noise alongside famous friends and admirers Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne.

Like his reputation, his music was filled with contradictions.  He was frequently described as operatic due to an ability to hit stratospheric notes with his booming voice.  But he was also capable of quiet moments, too, capturing loneliness and solitude in a tender whisper.  All of these qualities are on display in The Monument Singles Collection: 1960-1964, a joint release of Monument, Orbison Records and Legacy Recordings (88697 84158 2).  Released to coincide with what would have been the singer’s 75th birthday (April 23), The Monument Singles Collection racks up every A- and B-side recorded by Orbison during his tenure with Fred Foster’s pioneering Nashville label, plus a DVD of rare concert footage.  (For the record, a single-disc abridgement containing just the A-sides is available, as well.)  All tracks have been presented in the original mono single mixes, many of which are appearing for the first time on CD.

Listening to its 39 songs over two compact discs, it’s difficult to believe that The Big O departed this earth at just 52 years of age.  He fit a lifetime of music into that short period, and most of the crème de la crème was recorded for Monument, including what may be his signature song, 1964’s “Oh, Pretty Woman.”  (Orbison followed his Monument years by going Hollywood with MGM, both in film and on record.  In a nice but of synergy, his film for the studio, 1967’s The Fastest Guitar Alive, has just been released on DVD-on-demand from Warner Archive in a newly-remastered edition!  He remained with the MGM record label through 1973.)

Roy Orbison has been extensively anthologized on CD before, most notably in a typically-sprawling 7-CD Bear Family box set, Orbison: 1955-1965.  A 1998 U.K. compilation from Sony, The Big O, covered similar ground as this new release, compiling the artist’s Monument singles (though not in mono).  Is The Monument Singles Collection an essential companion volume to these collections or just a starting point for new fans?  Hit the jump to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 27, 2011 at 14:41

Posted in Compilations, Reissues, Reviews, Roy Orbison

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The Aeroplane Flies Higher: EMI Preps Three Years of Smashing Pumpkins Reissues

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For Generation X, fewer names inspire emotions quite like Smashing Pumpkins. The Chicago-based alt-rock outfit, anchored primarily by singer, songwriter and sole remaining original member Billy Corgan, made rock music that was dark, atmospheric and ambitious – and yet somehow maintained commercial as well as critical success – before splintering in 2000 and reforming some six years later.

While Corgan continues to lead Smashing Pumpkins through some interesting projects – he’s been working on a 44-song cycle, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, since 2009, mostly releasing one song at a time (save for a planned “album within an album,” Oceania, this fall) – the pages on the calendar indicate that it’s been 20 years since the band’s first LP, Gish, was released in 1991. To celebrate, Corgan took to the Internet to announce that this fall, EMI/Virgin will begin the first step in a series of ambitious reissues for the band.

By the holiday rush of 2011, EMI will unveil remastered editions of three Pumpkins albums – 1991’s Gish, 1993’s Siamese Dream and 1994’s B-sides and rarities compilation Pisces Iscariot. Then in 2012, the label will prep reissues of the ambitious double album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1996), the coveted 1996 box set The Aeroplane Flies High (featuring expanded versions of the singles from Mellon Collie) and the electronica-tinged Adore (1998). The program will conclude in 2013 with an expanded version of 2000’s Machina/The Machines of God – which will feature the first physical release of the online-only sequel, Machina II/The Friends and Enemies of Modern Music – and a new greatest hits package.

It remains to be seen whether the reissues will feature any of the vast amount of non-LP material not accounted for on the discs that will be remastered. (A 2005 digital-only box set, collating nearly all of the band’s EMI-controlled B-sides and rarities, totaled some 114 songs!) Corgan, in a video posted to Facebook, explained that the band is in total control of any extra material they wish to release – including unreleased rehearsal tapes, outtakes and live material. (This was apparently the linchpin of the band’s agreement with EMI; Corgan proudly said in the video that the label was “thinking forward into the future” over the rights management of these vault tracks. Not a statement to be taken lightly by such an outspoken artist over a troubled label!)

This author would speculate (all the more to incite purchases) that some of the discs may be partially expanded – perhaps adding EP tracks or certain rarities where applicable – and the band will handle the rest of the material as agreed with EMI. While Corgan’s motives have often been questioned before – remember Zwan? – things are looking pretty interesting for Pumpkins fans in the next couple of years.

Written by Mike Duquette

April 27, 2011 at 11:20

Funky Town Preps Reissues From GQ, Melba Moore, Evelyn “Champagne” King and More

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And the great soul music just keeps on comin’.  Our friends at Funky Town Grooves have announced quite a slate of dance classics sure to keep your feet moving this May.  The varied line-up has been drawn from the vaults of Sony (CBS, Arista and RCA) and EMI (Capitol) and includes both artists new to the label and returning favorites.  In addition, a number of titles are making their first-ever CD debuts and some editions have been expanded with rare dance mixes.  Intrigued?

Ron Banks of The Dramatics sees his 1983 CBS effort Truly Bad rewarded with its first CD release.  On Truly Bad, Banks applies classic soul vocals over modern keyboards and drums.  “Let Love Flow” is a beautiful slow groove while “Make It Easy On Yourself” is a cover of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David standard.  Another CD debut is Beau Williams’ Bodacious.  Williams was another underrated talent from the Capitol soul stable and Bodacious again marries strong vocals to a slick, beat-laden modern production.  Paul Laurence’s 1985 Capitol LP Haven’t You Heard gets the expanded treatment from Funky Town with four rare single cuts, and Melba Moore’s 1986 A Lot of Love, also on Capitol, continues the label’s series of Moore reissues.  A Lot of Love is bolstered by five rare mixes including duets with Freddie Jackson and Kashif.

Like Melba Moore, Evelyn “Champagne” King has been celebrated of late with reissue love from not only Funky Town but also the fine folks at Big Break Records.  Funky Town takes on King’s 1979 RCA Victor LP Music Box and expands it with three 12-inch mixes and one 7-inch.  Also from RCA’s archives comes Fonzi Thornton’s 1983 Pumpin’, which boasts three alternate versions, and Esther Williams’ Inside of Me (1981).

GQ’s 1981 Arista LP Face to Face is also due, adding the non-LP track “Try Smurfin’.”  Face to Face is another stellar blend of Chicago soul and disco beats from the Bronx group.

Hit the jump for full track listings and discographical information as well as pre-order links for the entire Funky Town slate for May!  The release dates may vary by title, and while we have provided Amazon links below where available, all titles can also be obtained direct from the source.  Just pay a visit to! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

April 27, 2011 at 10:07