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Archive for June 7th, 2011

La-La Land Bows Basil and Baxter Archival Releases

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La-La Land Records has a great slate of archival soundtrack titles up for order today.

First up is a big one: the score to Breakdown, a 1997 thriller written and directed by Jonathan Mostow (who would later become a moderately successful action director with films like U-571 (2000), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and Surrogates (2009)). It starred Kurt Russell as a husband whose wife is abducted in a small midwestern town en route to California. The score, previously , was composed by Basil Pouledoris (the late composer noted for such scores as Conan the Barbarian (1982), RoboCop (1987), Lonesome Dove (1989) and Starship Troopers (1997)) and has been a hotly-requested title. Fortunately, La-La Land came through in spades! The three-disc set features not only the final, revised film score on one disc, but two discs of alternate cues leading up to the taut action score audiences enjoyed.

There’s also a fun two-fer from Les Baxter, whose work has been represented greatly on CD this year (one other title announced this week alone). The surviving elements to his scores to the Roger Corman flicks “X”: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes and the “Morella” segment of the Poe compilation Tales of Terror are presented on one disc for a haunting good listen.

Breakdown is limited to 3,000 copies and can be ordered here, while the Baxter set tops out at 1,200 units and can be ordered here. View the track lists after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 7, 2011 at 17:14

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Review: Frank Sinatra, “Ring-a-Ding Ding!: Expanded Edition”

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Frank Sinatra - Ring a Ding Ding

Ring-a-ding ding!  It can be used as an adjective or an interjection.  But when Frank Sinatra chose the expression to title his very first album for his very own label, it was simply an ecstatic expression of pure joy.  Sinatra was no longer tethered to Capitol Records, the label at which he’d made history with a series of “concept” albums.  He had the freedom to make some new history, his way, when he launched Reprise.  And Ring-a-Ding Ding!, now definitively reissued and sparklingly remastered for its 50th anniversary as part of Concord’s ongoing campaign (Concord CRE-32929), didn’t merely reprise the Capitol sound.  Nelson Riddle, arguably Sinatra’s most renowned collaborator, was unavailable due to a contract over at the Tower.  For the same reason, Billy May was out of the question.  And Sinatra instinctively knew that Gordon Jenkins’ lush, reflective string charts wouldn’t fit the bill to usher in a new decade on a new label.  So when it was decided to reach out to young jazz composer Johnny Mandel to arrange and conduct, there was excitement in the air.

The Chairman’s intentions were anything but subtle when Mandel’s thrilling, brassy introduction to the first track began.  The delicious cut was the latest in a line of title songs made to order for Sinatra by his pallys Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen.  “Don’t know if it’s morning, nighttime, winter or spring – what’s the difference?  Ring-a-ding ding!” announces Sinatra.  When he asserts that “life is swell,” accompanied by swaggering horns, trilling bells and tinkling keys, who could argue?

What follows is a tour of Sinatra’s favorite songwriters in the pantheon.  These names are legendary now, and were legendary then, even though many were still active writing for Hollywood, Broadway or even television.  A trio was selected from Irving Berlin (“Be Careful, It’s My Heart,” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” and one standard now most played at the holidays, “I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm”) and a duo from Cole Porter (“In the Still of the Night,” “You’d Be So Easy to Love”), with whose music Sinatra always evinced a sympathetic sensibility.  “In the Still of the Night,” in fact, may be the most enduring track on the album, with an arrangement that remained in Sinatra’s book throughout his lifetime.  The Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields songbook yielded “A Fine Romance,” a worthy precursor to the singer’s immortal reading of “The Way You Look Tonight” a few years later.  The George and Ira Gershwin catalogue was tapped for “A Foggy Day,” with its evocative introduction and playful vocal.  Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz’ moody, jazz standard “You and the Night and the Music” as well as Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler’s “Let’s Fall in Love” seriously upped the romantic ante.

Sinatra never sounded more assured and confident, and he was ready to take risks even beyond the launch of a new label.  There’s famously the extended two-bar pause in “Let’s Fall in Love.”  (Was Brian Wilson listening when he similarly inserted a dramatic silence into his sophisticated pop song, “The Little Girl I Once Knew,” to the chagrin of Capitol executives?)  The pause gives listeners more time to savor what had come before.  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s famous orchestrator Skip Martin was one of two arrangers brought in to augment Mandel’s work.  (Dick Reynolds was the other, and he handled “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.”  Reynolds was a major arranger for the Four Freshmen and in another Beach Boys connection, arranged Side Two of their Christmas album.)  Martin took on Irving Berlin’s “Be Careful, It’s My Heart.”  The mood on the album is so bold and so bright that the idea of anyone raining on Sinatra’s parade seems an impossibility, but that voice – indeed, The Voice – was incapable of dishonesty.  And so a spot-on note of vulnerability creeps into the song.  When Sinatra admits that it’s “the heart with which so willingly I part,” he effortlessly makes Berlin’s poetry sound conversational.  But he was equally ready for some fun.  Bob Hilliard and Dick Miles’ “The Coffee Song,” first recorded by Sinatra in 1946, is a bit goofy, to say the least: “Why, they put coffee in the coffee in Brazil!”  But in Mandel’s freewheeling, wild arrangement,  it’s one of the singer’s best, most hard-swinging performances and made an instant (pun intended) classic of the delightful tune.

Hit the jump to find out what’s new on this 50th anniversary edition! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 7, 2011 at 12:22

Posted in Frank Sinatra, Reissues, Reviews

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Lalo Schifrin Score To Gene Roddenberry Flick Arrives From FSM

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Argentinian composer Lalo Schifrin has never been one to be boxed into any single genre.  He created one of the most memorable television themes of all time with his “Mission: Impossible,” recorded jazz albums for labels like Verve and Creed Taylor’s CTI, and scored innumerable films, racking up six Oscar nominations in the process.  Now, after the recent release by Quartet Records of Schifrin’s score to Pussycat, Pussycat, I Love You, another one of living legend Schifrin’s most unknown scores is being issued by Film Score Monthly in a new, complete edition.  1971’s Pretty Maids All In A Row was the first theatrical film written and produced by the creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry.  But it wasn’t a science-fiction epic.  Always one interested in relevant topics, Roddenberry devised Pretty Maids, based on Francis Pollini’s novel, as a commentary on the then-current sexual revolution.  His choice to direct was inspired.  Acclaimed French filmmaker (and Jane Fonda’s then-husband) Roger Vadim, no stranger to films dealing with sexual mores, made his American directorial debut.  The (very) black comedy took place at a California high school, with Rock Hudson starring as a married guidance counselor and football coach who offers much more than mere guidance.  Hudson’s Michael “Tiger” McDrew also has the habit of sleeping with his students – and oh yeah, he might just be a serial killer, too, when many of his young female charges start turning up dead!

Opposite Hudson was bombshell Angie Dickinson as a substitute teacher at Oceanfront High, and Telly Savalas of Kojak fame as the police captain investigating the murders.  Keenan Wynn portrayed another member of the police force while James Doohan, forever Star Trek’s Scotty, was beamed up for an appearance, too.  Schifrin’s score was intense and moody, prominently employing Fender Rhodes piano and cimbalom.  However, the film also called for a large amount of source music which gave him the chance to compose in a groovy pop style.  He even co-wrote “Chilly Winds” with lyricist Mike Curb for the main title, and the song was performed by The Osmonds!

Film Score Monthly’s limited edition of 1,000 copies contains Schifrin’s complete score including music not actually heard in the film’s final cut.  Jeff Bond and Alexander Kaplan contribute liner notes including track-by-track annotations.  It is available for order now at Screen Archives for $19.95 plus shipping.  Hit the jump for the complete track listing and order link!  Track samples are available at the link. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 7, 2011 at 10:17

Release Round-Up: Week of June 7

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Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On: 40th Anniversary Edition (Motown/UMe)

Two CDs feature the original album and a host of rarities, single mixes, and all the best outtakes leading up to the making of this R&B classic (almost a dozen of which are unreleased). The deluxe package is rounded out by the great Detroit mix of the album on vinyl. (Check out our two-part interview with Harry Weinger on the set!) (Amazon)

Paul Simon, Paul Simon / There Goes Rhymin’ Simon / In Concert: Live Rhymin’ / Still Crazy After All These Years (Columbia/Legacy)

The Rhino reissues (plus Simon’s first live album with two unreleased tracks, which was never released when Warner reissued his catalogue) are back in print, only on Legacy instead. Plenty of worthwhile stuff if you missed it the first time around, and not a total loss thanks to Live Rhymin’. (Official site)

Frank Sinatra, Ring-a-Ding-Ding! Expanded Edition (Concord)

The Chairman’s first release for his own label, Reprise, comes out on Concord with two bonus tracks (including the unreleased “Have You Met Miss Jones?”). (Joe has a review coming up later today.) (Official site)

INXS, INXS Remastered (Universal U.K.)

A 10-disc boxset featuring straight remasters of all the band’s albums, from INXS (1980) toElegantly Wasted (1997). Don’t forget, though, that expanded reissues of some of these albums exist – and another reissue of Kick is allegedly in the works. (Official site)

Suede, Suede: Expanded Edition (Demon Music Group)

The Britpop band’s first album was reissued in the U.K. last week as a 2 CD/1 DVD package, and it’s now available on U.S. shores. The remainder of the band’s catalogue shall be expanded over the next month. (Official site)

Dean Martin, Classic Dino: The Best of Dean Martin / Dino: The Essential Dean Martin (Capitol/EMI) / Cool Then, Cool Now (Hip-O/UMe)

On the very day of Dino’s birth, three(!) compilations are released: a single-disc set, a double-disc reissue of Martin’s 2004 compilation (with an unreleased track), and another two-disc CD with book from Hip-O featuring some rarer tracks. (Official site)

Depeche Mode, Remixes 2: 81-11 (Mute)

A hefty collection of remixes old and new, including some mixes by Vince Clarke and Alan Wilder – essentially reuniting the band’s original lineup. (Official site)

Joy Division/New Order, Total: The Best of Joy Division and New Order (Rhino U.K.)

The first commercially-available compilation of both bands on one package. Outside of the one New Order track on the set, though, there isn’t much for anyone but brand new fans. (Rhino U.K.)

David Bowie, Golden Years (Digital EP) (Virgin/EMI)

Some new digital-only remixes of the Station to Station classic. (iTunes)

AC/DC, Let There Be Rock (Warner Bros.)

The DVD/Blu-Ray debut of the Aussie rockers’ 1980 concert film, shot in Paris at the end of 1979, mere months before original lead singer Bon Scott died. (Official site)

Iron Maiden, From Fear to Eternity: The Best of 1990-2010 (EMI)

Two discs of Iron Maiden from 1990 to now, including one rare live B-side. (Official site)

Black Sabbath, Born Again: Deluxe Edition (Sanctuary/UMC U.K.)

The only Sabbath album with Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan on lead vocals, this import reissue – already available in the U.K. – comes with an unreleased live show and a few outtakes. (Amazon U.K.)

Roger Waters, Roger Waters Collection (Sony Music U.K.)

Remasters of all of Roger Waters’ solo studio LPs plus the live CD/DVD set In the Flesh from 2000. Worth picking up if you’d like to catch up with all of the ex-Pink Floyd member’s solo work at once. (Official site)

Justin Bieber, My Worlds Acoustic (Island)

Nope, not making this one up! This cash-grab EP is making its debut to general retail, having been a Wal-Mart exclusive since last Christmas. (Official site)