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Archive for May 20th, 2011

Who Loves Them? Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons Mix Hits, Rarities On New U.K. Comp

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Could anyone have expected the resurgence of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons that occurred in 2005 when the musical Jersey Boys opened at the Virginia Theatre on Broadway?  Suddenly, Valli’s profile was higher than it had been at any time since the mid-1970s, and today he continues to reap the rewards of the musical’s exposure in multiple cities in America, Canada, England and Australia.  Collector’s Choice launched a comprehensive album reissue program in 2007 which was the best such campaign since Ace’s splendid, if now nearly impossible-to-find, reissues of the mid-1990s.  (Alas, many of the Seasons’ albums are still only available in budget releases from Curb, some with altered track listings.)  Rhino commemorated the rich musical legacy of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees in 2008 with the release of the 3-CD/1-DVD box set Jersey Beat, and Hip-o Select unveiled the long-awaited The Motown Years the very same year.  Valli even returned to the recording studio in 2007 for Romancing the Sixties, and he maintains a busy schedule on the road with a new, young group of Seasons.

Despite an increase in catalogue attention, the most readily available Seasons packages remain compilations.  (Is it time for another installment of Greater Hits, friends?)  And so it’s no surprise that Rhino U.K. has unveiled another such anthology, over four years into Jersey Boys’ run in London’s West End.  Working My Way Back to You features 40 tracks over two compact discs, performed by both the Seasons and Valli, solo.  The selection consists of both the familiar hits and a number of harder-to-find B-sides and album tracks, although there is no unreleased material and every song has appeared on CD before.

Building on a foundation of doo wop and traditional pop vocals honed on the mean streets of New Jersey, the Four Seasons’ catalogue contains some of the most enduring pop songs of all time.  Most were the result of the collaboration between Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe, both accomplished songwriters and producers.  The majority of these are featured on Disc One: early 1960s favorites like “Sherry,” “Dawn (Go Away)” and “Rag Doll” take their place alongside hits from the following decade like “December 1963 (Oh What a Night),” “Grease” and “My Eyes Adored You,” the latter two by Valli alone.  The second disc begins with “Who Loves You” and includes two songs more familiar to the U.K. audiences than those here, “The Night” and “Beggin’.”  There are a handful of tracks from 1985’s Streetfighter and 1992’s Hope + Glory that will be unknown to all but the most dedicated Seasons diehards, and a number of cuts from Valli’s solo LPs including “Lady Put the Light Out,” “Fallen Angel” and covers of “Walk Away Renee,” “Sunny” and “By The Time I Get to Phoenix.”  From the long out-of-print Seasons LP Big Hits by Burt Bacharach…Hal David…Bob Dylan comes a recording of Bacharach and David’s “Anyone Who Had a Heart.”

Hit the jump for more, including the full track listing and pre-order link plus discographical annotation! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 20, 2011 at 12:02

Posted in Compilations, News, Reissues

“The Berlin Affair” Arrives From “Carrie” Composer Donaggio

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In a rare Friday announcement, Kritzerland this morning unveiled its latest soundtrack reissue/restoration.  From Pino Donaggio, the renowned composer of Carrie and Dressed to Kill, comes the score to 1985’s The Berlin Affair in its first-ever CD release.

Liliana Cavani’s film was based on Junichiro Tanazaki’s novel The Buddhist Cross and dealt with its controversial themes head-on.  In 1938 Berlin, Louise, the wife of a young Nazi, enters into a romantic relationship with artist Mitsuko Matsugae, the daughter of a Japanese ambassador.  Their torrid affair spirals into a web of jealousy, blackmail and intrigue set against an increasingly frightening political backdrop.

Donaggio’s score was one of many he penned for Golan-Globus and Cannon Films, one of the most controversial production companies of the 1980s.  This new edition adds approximately eighteen minutes of previously unreleased cues to the 42 minute running time of the existing LP release, and has been remastered from the original two-track mixed masters housed at MGM.

The Berlin Affair is a limited edition of 1,000 copies and is due to ship the first week of July, but pre-orders from Kritzerland average an arrival of four weeks early.  Hit the jump for the label’s press release, plus track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 20, 2011 at 10:45

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks