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Archive for May 5th, 2011

Dionne Warwick “Playlist” Includes CD Debut of Isaac Hayes Duet

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A couple of weeks back, Mike filled you in on the track listings for Sony’s upcoming slate of Playlist releases.  This eclectic bunch – including Muddy Waters, Dave Brubeck, Janis Ian and the Psychedelic Furs – hits stores next week on May 10.  Only one title’s track listing proved elusive, and now we can reveal that, too.  Most happily, it’s worth the wait.  Playlist: The Very Best of Dionne Warwick is, like many of the titles, an odd collection.  It’s not a “greatest hits” but more a random selection of key tracks and under-the-radar favorites.  And though Sony controls Warwick’s Arista catalogue, tracks have been licensed to make this more than just another “Dionne in the 1980s” compilation.

Warwick’s Playlist boasts one new-to-CD song, and it’s a keeper, the nearly 8-minute duet between Warwick and Isaac Hayes on two Burt Bacharach and Hal David classics, “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself” and “Walk On By.”  Taken from the 1977 ABC Records live release A Man and A Woman, this long-unheard epic track finds Hayes and Warwick melding their distinct (and very different!) renditions of the songs into one harmonious whole.  Kudos to Playlist for going the extra mile to license this track.  Now, would a reissue of the entire album be too much to ask…?  (If you like what you hear, the Warwick/Hayes duet of “By The Time I Get to Phoenix/I Say a Little Prayer” made an appearance on CD via the 2005 Stax compilation Ultimate Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It?. )

Other duets appear, as well.   The Thom Bell-produced Philly soul chart-topper “Then Came You,” with The Spinners, makes an appearance, licensed from Warner Bros., while The Shirelles reprise “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” with their former Scepter labelmate.  Smokey Robinson turns up on 1987’s “You’re My Hero,” and of course, “That’s What Friends Are For” is present, with Dionne singing alongside Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder.

The lone Scepter-era track is “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” not the Elton John song but rather a bossa nova-flavored Bacharach and David original from 1966’s LP Here I Am.  Two songs from 1980’s No Night So Long, only recently reissued in a wide release as an import, take a place on Playlist, though not the hit title track.  Three songs have been selected from Warwick’s 1979 Arista debut Dionne, including “Deja Vu,” written by Isaac Hayes and album producer Barry Manilow’s frequent lyricist Adrienne Anderson, and the radio staple “I’ll Never Love This Way Again.”  The Bee Gees-penned hit “Heartbreaker” has also been included, from the album of the same name.

Hit the jump for the full track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 5, 2011 at 11:38

This Charming Man: Artists on Their Reissues

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vHere’s some food for thought regarding a trend that seems to be popping up here and there on the reissue front.

One can never expect Morrissey to shy away from expressing his opinion on anything, and he won’t let anything – even the sake of his relationships on the catalogue side of things. The mercurial singer recently took to his beloved fan site True to You to vent about, among other things, the poor presence of his latest compilation, The Very Best of Morrissey. “To top off all the pageantry, ‘Very best of Morrissey’ (EMI/Major Minor) has yet to tunnel its way into what we older types refer to as Record Shops – six days after intended release,” Moz wrote. “The gallant HMV has yet to stock it, and did not manage to stock the ‘Glamorous glue’ single until four days after its scheduled release. In fact, the CD of ‘Glamorous glue’ did not EVER make it to HMV. With ‘Very best of’ I face my first ever non-chart placing – which I shall bear with dignity, although I could never be unkind enough to express my views on EMI’s failings. It was John Lennon who coined the phrase ‘Every Mistake Imaginable’. I shall not repeat it here.”

It’s an awkward stance to make in public – there have been rumors of more early catalogue action from Moz on EMI that may very well be sabotaged by the artist’s missive – but it brings into perspective the nature of artists even bothering to address their catalogue projects in public. Sure, sometimes an artist will engage in some sort of publicizing – check out our good friend Jeff Giles’ interview with Loudon Wainwright III on the occasion of his new box set – but often times a musician will be indifferent or, at worst, nearly hostile over the decisions of a label with regards to their back catalogue.

For instance, Elvis Costello told Alan Light a few years ago that he was only “nominally involved” with Universal’s reissues of his back catalogue – the third time his albums had been reissued since their original releases – and suggested that, “with these live albums, they’ve gotten off on the wrong foot.” By opposite design, sometimes artists will complain about the lack of relations with their catalogue; both Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze have detailed their struggles with getting Universal to pay any attention to their albums.

Does an artist’s involvement shape your opinion on the ever-expanding slate of reissues and box sets out there? Do you think an artist’s participation improves a package in general? Your thoughts are, as always, greatly welcomed.

Written by Mike Duquette

May 5, 2011 at 09:22