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Archive for June 6th, 2011

Les Baxter’s “Marco Polo” Follows “Black Sunday” and “House of Usher” To CD Release

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Rory Calhoun as Marco Polo?  The California-born star of films like How to Marry a Millionaire and camp cult classic Motel Hell was cast in the title role of 1962’s freewheeling Italian historical epic (shot in CinemaScope, no less!) Marco Polo.  When the film was picked up for release in America, it was courtesy the wild ones at American-International Pictures!  This Marco Polo was directed by Hugo Fregonese and featured a multi-cultural cast with Calhoun playing opposite Yoko Tani.  And like many of American International’s best or most notorious pictures – Sadismo, Black Sunday, House of Usher – the score was provided by the versatile exotica legend Les Baxter.  He replaced the original Italian score by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino.  Kritzerland is adding to its growing Baxter library with its latest release, Marco Polo.

The New York Times wasn’t particularly kind to the movie, noting that Calhoun, clad in doublets and tights, “is as dauntlessly American as Gary Cooper, who acted the role in an equally foolish Hollywood version a couple of decades ago.”  The review asserted that “the swashbuckling saga from American International is predictably juvenile, colorful and harmless.”  But Baxter’s score has aged rather better!

Kritzerland has uncovered mono tapes of all of the music Baxter composed for the film, and best of all, none of it has been previously released!  So the label’s limited edition of 1,000  is a treat for even those fans who are most familiar with Baxter’s oeuvre.  Marco Polo is available for $19.98 plus shipping and handling directly from Kritzerland and will ship by the third week of July, but pre-orders from the label usually arrive an average of four weeks early.  A special offer is also available at the CD’s order page  for those who purchase Marco Polo.  Hit the jump for the track listing plus the full press release and order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 6, 2011 at 10:10

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

UPDATED 6/6: Some Trouble in Meat Loaf’s “Neighbourhood” As Error Found On Deluxe Edition Disc

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Whether quarreling with Gary Busey on The Celebrity Apprentice or taking the stage beneath a giant bat, Meat Loaf has never done anything in a small way.  So it’s not surprising that EMI’s just-announced 2-CD/1-DVD deluxe reissue of 1995’s Welcome to the Neighborhood looks to be a weighty package!  It’s due in the U.K. on June 6, and the original 12-track line-up has been augmented with some choice bonus material.  Four bonus tracks have been added to the original album on Disc 1, plus another twelve live cuts on Disc 2 and a DVD containing Top of the Pops appearances, promo clips and interview footage.

UPDATE (6/6): Welcome to the Neighbourhood has dropped in the United Kingdom, but in true Meat Loaf fashion, its arrival hasn’t been a quiet one.  Listeners quickly noticed an error on the second disc of the expanded edition.  Disc 2 promises a live version of the song “Runnin’ for the Red Light” among its tracks.  In its place, however, is the studio version of the song (co-written by Meat Loaf himself) duplicated from Disc 1.  As Meat Loaf did not perform “Red Light” during his 1995 Neighbourhood stand at the Beacon Theatre, it’s likely that the song’s inclusion was an error in the first place.  (He did perform Diane Warren’s “Not a Dry Eye in the House,” however, which is oddly absent.)  EMI has been made aware of the problem, and will delete the current edition.  Subsequent pressings will eliminate the studio “Red Light” from the track line-up, and the packaging will reflect only 11 tracks on that disc.  It is doubtful, however, that replacement discs will be issued for those who purchased the first edition.

Welcome to the Neighborhood was Meat Loaf’s first effort after his colossal 1993 comeback Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, which spawned the hit single “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).”  That song, like all of Bat II, came from the theatrical pen of Jim Steinman, who has built a lengthy career on his unique blend of drama, humor and bombast.  For Neighborhood, Meat Loaf turned not to producer/writer Steinman, but rather to Diane Warren and Sammy Hagar, among others, to provide new material.  (Steinman was represented by two older songs: “Left in the Dark,” originally recorded by Steinman himself in 1981 but better known in a  1986 rendition by Barbra Streisand, and “Original Sin,” debuted in 1989 by his pet project Pandora’s Box.)

Warren credibly aped Steinman on the single “I’d Lie For You (And That’s the Truth)” which had a respectable showing in the U.S. at No. 13 and fared even better in the U.K., climbing all the way to No. 2.  Warren also supplied “Not a Dry Eye in the House,” another showstopper which hit No. 7 in the U.K.  Meat Loaf even unexpectedly covered Tom Waits on “Martha.”  Welcome to the Neighborhood remains his most successful album outside of the two Steinman-created Bat albums.  (2006’s Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster is Loose featured no involvement from Steinman, although Meat Loaf again recorded some of his songs.)

What rarities are included on the new Collectors Edition?  Hit the jump to find out! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 6, 2011 at 09:08

Posted in Meat Loaf, News, Reissues