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Archive for May 26th, 2011

Legacy Sets Simon to Rhymin’ for June 7

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Legacy has finally set a date for their new batch of Paul Simon reissues. New editions of Paul Simon, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin’ and Still Crazy After All These Years are coming out surprisingly soon, on June 7, according to a press release issued today.

Many have speculated on these reissues ever since Simon’s solo catalogue was licensed back to Columbia last year (where they were originally released) after years of existing in Warner Bros.’ catalogue. The constant question is simple: what’s going to be different? The answer? Not much. The three studio albums will boast the same mastering and bonus tracks as the expanded editions released by Rhino in 2004. The major addition is, of course, Live Rhymin’. The album was not reissued by Rhino last time around, and this release includes two previously unreleased live cuts.

One would expect, as the year continues, further reissues of the Paul Simon catalogue. Whether those sets are different or not, in terms of content, packaging or mastering, remain to be seen.

Hit the jump for the full discographical breakdown.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 26, 2011 at 18:20

Posted in News, Paul Simon, Reissues

Review: Rosanne Cash, “The Essential Rosanne Cash”

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It should come as no surprise to fans of Rosanne Cash that she believes “at the heart of all country music lies family, lies a devotion to exploring the boundaries of blood ties, both in performance and songwriting.”  In her revealing 2010 memoir Composed, Cash acutely puts her finger on the qualities missing from modern country, finding it lacking in “desperate loss” with even the stories of family fading from sight.  Where are the stories of grievous loss, dead babies, even dead dogs that inspired the epic musical storytelling of the past?  While Cash is far from a pure traditionalist in her music, embracing modern textures almost from the first, she possesses keen understanding of her lineage – both as the daughter of Johnny and more broadly, the daughter of Hank Williams and Carl Perkins and Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs.  All facets of Cash’s long career are fully on display on the career-spanning anthology The Essential Rosanne Cash (Columbia/Legacy 88697 82710 2) which was compiled by the artist and released on Tuesday to coincide with her 56th birthday.

Cash’s high standards and respect for the craft of songwriting has led her to be one of the few artists equally skilled as a singer/songwriter and an interpretive singer.  As such, The Essential showcases both deeply personal songs written by Cash in addition to those composed by John Hiatt, Rodney Crowell, John Stewart, Steve Goodman, Tom Petty and even John Lennon and Paul McCartney.  The earliest track on the collection is also its most rare.  “Can I Still Believe in You” hails from Cash’s 1978 German-only debut for Ariola Records, an eponymous affair that’s remained unavailable in the CD era.  Much of Cash’s sound is already intact on this song written by Rosanne and produced by her future husband, Rodney Crowell .  Even early in her career, Cash had exacting standards and a sense of her musical self.  A gentleman by the name of Bernie Vonficht pleaded with her to record a song called “Lucky” for the Ariola album.  She refused, feeling the song totally wrong for her.  Vonficht had a hit with the song, but Cash had already proven that she could stick to her guns and persevere.

The following year she was signed to Columbia, her father’s longtime label, and set out to assert her own musical identity.  She and Crowell married during the mixing of Right or Wrong, and that album’s “Baby, Better Start Turnin’ ‘Em Down,” with its hint of Motown, already revealed a strong and confident voice beyond her 24 years.  She had able support from Emory Gordy Jr., Brian Ahern, James Burton and even Hal Blaine, and impressed in this illustrious, diverse company. 

If Right or Wrong was a triple, then Seven Year Ache, its follow-up, was a home run.  Three chart-toppers are included here, two of which were written by Rosanne: the irresistibly melodic, heartbreaking title song and “Blue Moon with Heartache.”  Seven Year Ache paved the way for the modern country superstar, employing 1981 production values (with synthesizers, big drum sounds and rock band backing) on a collection of future standards.  Combining a punk attitude with a classic approach to songwriting, Cash showed off her ability to make personal themes ring true for a universal audience.  Not every track on The Essential sound explicitly autobiographical yet most are idiosyncratic and indeed rooted in her own experiences.  (Cash’s rebellious side can be heard frequently over these two discs; it’s too bad that “Second to No One” from 1985’s Rhythm and Romance wasn’t included, as it shattered some barriers when Cash sang the word “whore.”  How times have changed!  Still, Cash calls the album “a painful memory” despite its Grammy-winning success.  )  Trivia note: Seven Year Ache was mastered shortly after John Lennon’s murder, and Rosanne had “Goodbye, John” engraved into the run-out groove of the original 25,000 LPs.  Continue reading after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 26, 2011 at 12:12

Carly Simon Goes For The Gold: “No Secrets” Coming In 24K

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Only yesterday, we shared the speculation of our good buddies at MusicTAP that big things might be in store for the catalogue of Carly Simon.  Well, we’ve got a start, just one day later!  On June 21, Audio Fidelity will drop a remastered, limited 24K Gold edition of the songstress’ third – and some say, best – album, No Secrets.

1971’s Carly Simon announced a major new talent, offerings songs like the epic and hauntingly personal “That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be,” the folk-rock of “Alone” and country of “One More Time.”  She followed her debut with the unforgettable Anticipation.  Aided by super-producer Richard Perry, Simon refined her sound for the breakthrough No Secrets.  Simon was often compared to Carole King, despite their very different backgrounds.  Carole was a modest Brooklyn girl who practically grew up in the Brill Building scene, whereas the folk-singing Carly was daughter of the mighty Simon and Schuster publishing empire.  Carole was an earth mother while Carly exuded sex appeal.  Let’s not be disingenuous; among other things in common, Carly married one of Carole’s most sympathetic collaborators, James Taylor, and they frequently employed the same crop of LA musicians.  But No Secrets definitively proved that Carly Simon was her own liberated woman.

Like her first two albums, 1972’s No Secrets was deeply autobiographical.  It remains a testament to her sophisticated and timeless songwriting.  Album opener “The Right Thing to Do” is a piano-driven pop song that marries one of Simon’s brightest, most infectious melodies to a perfect (and perfectly simple) horn and string arrangement subtly enhancing the tension under the surface.  When she intones “Hold me in your hands like a bunch of flowers,” what man could resist?  It’s joyful, inviting and sensual.  The fierce “You’re So Vain” launched one of rock’s most enduring mysteries and will forever be Ms. Simon’s calling card.  “We Have No Secrets” not only gave the album its title, but it has a typically clever lyric of self-discovery.  James Taylor provided the bluesy “Night Owl.”  “The Carter Family” and “His Friends Are More Than Fond of Robin” are poetic yet accessible art songs.

Hit the jump for more on No Secrets, plus the track listing with discographical information and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 26, 2011 at 10:11

Posted in Carly Simon, News, Reissues