The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for May 31st, 2011

Beatles’ “Anthology” Receives a Very Digital Remaster

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So here’s some good news for Beatlemaniacs: the Anthology series, the three-volume clearinghouse of Beatles outtakes and vault material released in 1995-1996, is getting digitally remastered. The bad news? You’re not going to find it in your local record shop.

This new remaster of each two-disc set is actually going to be an iTunes exclusive – quite a difference from years ago, when no Beatles material was sold digitally. Not only did Apple Computer crack the code for Apple Records, they also offered unreleased bonus tracks when the Love soundtrack for the Cirque du Soleil show was offered through the digital retailer earlier this year.

EMI has already confirmed that this remaster will not be available physically, nor will the iTunes albums include the Anthology documentaries, either. For those whose interest in The Beatles was piqued by finally having the catalogue accessible on iTunes, this is obviously a good thing, but most collectors aren’t going to care one way or another. And isn’t a digital remaster in an uncompressed format a contradiction in terms?

A physical product would have made perfect sense for collectors or anyone still missing those sets – I don’t believe all three Anthology entries were ever packaged as a six-disc box set (nor were they ever combined with the Anthology documentaries on DVD for a whopper of a 10-disc set) – but it is what it is, at the moment.

The Beatles’ Anthology is on iTunes June 14. The full details for the digital sets are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 31, 2011 at 18:04

Miles Davis’ “Tutu” Is Expanded and Remastered By Warner Jazz

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1986’s Tutu marked a rebirth for Miles Davis.  It was his first album after nearly 30 years as a Columbia Records recording artist, and appeared on the Warner Bros. label.  Producer Marcus Miller was Davis’ chief foil, composing nearly every track and playing multiple instruments, while Jason Miles, George Duke, Paulinho da Costa and Michal Urbaniak all made appearances.  Duke’s “Backyard Ritual” was covered on the album as well as pop group Scritti Politti’s “Perfect Way.”  Tutu was very much a product of its time, emphasizing mid-1980s R&B textures and utilizing synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines.  Although controversial at the time of its release, Tutu has been recognized of late as somewhat of a Davis classic.  The European Warner Jazz label is giving listeners the opportunity to rediscover its riches via a 2-CD deluxe edition which is already in stores in the U.K. and due on our shores today, May 31.  It comes on the occasion of what would have been Davis’ 85th birthday on May 26.

Though the album could be considered more pop-fusion than jazz, its modern, funk-influenced sound proved that the trumpeter was determined to continue evolving as a relevant artist.  He was rewarded for his troubles when Tutu earned two Grammy Awards.  The album was named for Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the first black Anglican Archbishop of South Africa, and also featured the track “Full Nelson,” a tribute to Nelson Mandela with a nod to Davis’ own “Half Nelson.”  The jazz titan’s move to Warner Bros. also paid off commercially, as the album crossed over into the pop and rock markets. 

What new material has been added to Tutu?  And what does Prince Rogers Nelson have to do with the whole thing?  Hit the jump to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

May 31, 2011 at 13:43

School’s Out, Alice Cooper Box is In

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We’ve got less than a month until the new Alice Cooper mega box set starts shipping, so now’s as good a time as any to take a look at the track list for the set.

As previously reported, Old School 1964-1974 encompasses four CDs and a vinyl LP and single, each of which chronicles Vincent Furnier’s time as the frontman for Alice Cooper, the band which gave him his stage name. (Beginning in 1975 with Welcome to My Nightmare, Cooper’s albums were largely solo efforts.) Only about three of these tracks have been released before – one by Furnier’s high school band The Spiders (which also featured Alice Cooper members Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce and Dennis Dunaway), and a reproduced vinyl single by The Nazz, which was The Spiders’ line-up with drummer Neal Smith. (The Nazz would later change their name to Alice Cooper.)

The majority of the CDs consist of vintage live material (chief among them a show from the Killer tour in 1971, also reproduced on vinyl), demos, outtakes and radio ads. There’s also a bonus CD of Cooper’s memories of the band’s early days and a 64-page hardcover yearbook, packed with rare photos and other swag in a desk-shaped box.

You can enroll with Old School through Alice’s official website (orders ship June 20) and hit the jump for discographical info. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 31, 2011 at 10:48

Posted in Alice Cooper, Box Sets, News

“Masada”! Intrada! Another Soundtrack Holy Grail Comes to CD

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One word describes a television movie event that harkened back to epics like Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments. That same word is the title of a soundtrack from one of film’s great musical legends that’s become one of the most-desired archival releases. And now, the wait is over: Intrada Records today announced the release of the complete original score to Masada (1981).

Masada was based on the siege of the titular Jewish citadel in Israel in A.D. 73. The defenders of the citadel held bravely against the looming Roman army, but Rome’s empire was too strong and numerous. However, rather than admit defeat, the freedom fighters took their own lives en masse. The story may have been one for the history books, but the parallels with current events were all too evident; some three years prior to the broadcast, Jim Jones and 909 members of his cult committed mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana – the largest non-natural disaster-induced loss of life at the time.

The four-part series had impressive pedigrees, chief among them a script adapted from the novel The Antagonists by Ernest K. Gann and star turns by Peter O’Toole and Peter Strauss (the latter of which was a star on the miniseries circuit thanks to programs like Kane and Abel and Rich Man, Poor Man). Both men would be nominated for an Emmy for their roles on either side of the conflict – but the trophy went to another stellar actor in the program: David Warner, a Shakespearean actor best known to American audiences as the photographer who uncovers some terrible secrets in The Omen (1976). The win cemented Warner’s breakthrough in America, and he would continue playing notable parts in films like TRON (1982) and Titanic (1996), not to mention considerable voice work.

The music of Masada came from two men with considerable pedigrees. One was Jerry Goldsmith, the iconic composer behind some of film’s greatest scores. (At the time, his most recent hits included Alien, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (both 1979) and Outland (1981).) Goldsmith’s sweeping, adventurous themes and action cues were classic Goldsmith – but even though it netted him an Emmy, he wasn’t the only one behind the music.

While Goldsmith did write the score and conduct the first two parts of the series, conducting duties for the last two parts went to Morton Stevens, one of Goldsmith’s protegees. Stevens had an impressive resume on his own, namely the theme to Hawaii Five-O and music for Gunsmoke, and his work on Masada was essential. That material – along with many of the bigger action cues done by Goldsmith – were curiously left off the original soundtrack album released by MCA Records. (The album, consisting of re-recorded cues, was released on CD by Varese Sarabande.) This two-disc release, however, features every cue from all four parts of the series, sourced from the immaculate four-track stereo session masters. The package is augmented by liner notes by prominent film music historian Jon Burlingame.

Masada, limited to 5,000 copies, is available to order now but will start shipping this Wednesday, June 1. Hit the jump to read the full track list! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

May 31, 2011 at 09:40

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Release Round-Up: Week of May 31

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Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard of Ozz / Diary of a Madman: Legacy Edition (Epic/Legacy)

The Prince of Darkness’ first two LPs, finally put back into print with the original drum and bass tracks and expanded with bonus material (including a previously unreleased live disc for Diary). A box set packs all the CDs in with vinyl, a commemorative book and the new documentary Thirty Years After the Blizzard. (Official site)

Twisted Sister, Under the Blade: Deluxe Edition (Eagle)

Another welcome hard-rock reissue that restores the original mix of Twisted Sister’s debut LP to CD and adds some bonus EP tracks and a DVD of the band’s gig at the Reading Festival in 1982. (Official site)

Kate Bush, Director’s Cut (Fish People/EMI)

The magnificent singer/songwriter’s latest album project – her first in six years, and already released in the U.K., where it hit No. 2 – features remixed and re-recorded versions of tracks from The Sensual World (1989) and The Red Shoes (1993). A deluxe set features those original albums remastered as well. (Official site)

James Taylor, JT (Mobile Fidelity)

One of Taylor’s most satisfying albums gets the hybrid SACD treatment. (Mobile Fidelity)

The Guess Who, Flavours: Expanded Edition (Iconoclassic)

The Guess Who reissue series continues with the band’s penultimate LP for RCA. (Iconoclassic)

The O’Jays, Back Stabbers: Expanded Edition / Jon Lucien, Song for My Lady: Expanded Edition / Linda Lewis, Woman Overboard: Expanded Edition / Linx, Intuition: Expanded Edition (Big Break Records)

The latest crop of BBR reissues makes its way to U.S. shores. Back Stabbers looks like it’s gonna be a good one, what with one of the best Philly soul songs ever in “Love Train.” (Big Break Records)

Written by Mike Duquette

May 31, 2011 at 08:30