The Second Disc

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Archive for June 15th, 2011

Reissue Theory: Two for the Big Man

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on notable albums and the reissues they could someday see. As we wish a speedy recovery to one of rock’s most beloved sidemen, we present a special look at a rare moment in the spotlight for the Big Man, Clarence Clemons.

To many, the saxophone is just one of those embellishments that can can spice up a pop song or dull its taste. It’s hard to deny, however, the tastiness of a tune garnished with the saxophone work of Clarence Clemons. The Norfolk, VA native has long earned his place in history as the saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, not to mention session work for living legends like Aretha Franklin, Darlene Love, Janis Ian and The Four Tops. (Clemons recently crossed over into the consciousness of a new generation by contributing to several tracks on Lady Gaga’s Born This Way.)

Hearts froze all over the world, then, when it was announced earlier this week that the Big Man had suffered a stroke. Reports place the musician in serious but stable condition, with fans openly invited to send well-wishes his way. Allow us, then, to take a special look back at Clemons’ work outside of the E Street Band – namely, the first two solo albums he recorded for CBS Records in the early 1980s.

For rock and roll enthusiasts, it isn’t hard to think of Clarence Clemons and say, “you’re a friend of mine.” He’s yours to read about after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

June 15, 2011 at 18:13

Rhino Handmade Going to “Bradley’s Barn” (UPDATED)

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Another Rhino Handmade title is coming out this summer – a two-disc expansion of Bradley’s Barn, the seminal 1968 album by The Beau Brummels.

Considered one of the first early successes of the burgeoning San Francisco music scene in the ’60s, The Beau Brummels were early adopters of the British Invasion sound on their first two hit singles, “Laugh, Laugh” and “Just a Little.” By the time the band released their psych-folk classic Triangle in 1967, the band, originally a quintet, was reduced to a trio. And after Triangle, only singer Sal Valentino and guitarist/songwriter Ron Elliott would remain. Undeterred, the band recorded with producer Lenny Waronker and a host of legendary session players, including Bob Dylan drummer Kenny Buttrey, guitarist Jerry Reed and others and recorded an album in a converted barn in Nashville owned by an Owen Bradley – the same barn that a young Buddy Holly used to lay down his first professional recordings.

Energized by the country-tinged sessions, the compositions primarily written by Elliott and Valentino (closing track “Bless You California” was of course penned by a young Randy Newman!) and the energy of the studio, The Beau Brummels named the LP after the location. While it was not a commercial success, it has since been regarded highly as an early pioneering step in the country-rock genre. Now, Rhino Handmade presents a double-disc version of the original stereo album with 26 bonus cuts, 14 of which are previously unreleased.

Featuring demos, alternate takes and other non-LP material making its CD debut, as well as a vintage radio interview – all mastered by Dan Hersch and Andrew Sandoval – the package is rounded out with new liner notes by Alec Palao that draws from commentary by Elliott, Valentino, Waronker and lyricist Bob Durand. It’s available for pre-order now, and the set is due out July 26. The press release and track list are after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

June 15, 2011 at 17:03

Review: Paul McCartney, “The Paul McCartney Archive Collection: McCartney and McCartney II”

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Paul McCartney is still on the run, as his just-announced concert tour of the same name attests.  But one thing the former Beatle doesn’t have to run from is his own legacy.  Last year he inaugurated The Paul McCartney Archive Collection with his 1973 Band on the Run, making the title available in multiple platforms and prices.  The next two releases in the non-chronological series have just arrived, and though the formats are slightly tweaked, the same hallmark of quality is evident on the deluxe reissues of his two “D.I.Y.” albums, 1970’s McCartney and its 1980 sequel, McCartney II.  Rather than offering single disc remasters, both titles are available in standard 2-CD or 2-LP editions.  For the true aficionado, lavish coffee table books contain both discs plus a DVD for McCartney, and both discs plus a third CD and DVD for McCartney II (catalogue numbers vary by edition).

The April 1970 release of McCartney was a shock heard ‘round the rock world, thanks to a Q&A sheet distributed with advance copies of the album.  McCartney had answered the question “Do you foresee a time when Lennon/McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again?” with a blunt “No.”  His solo career was officially launched, as was his intention to stand firm with the LP’s release date despite it conflicting with The Beatles’ swansong, the Phil Spector-doctored Let It Be.  (The Beatles album eventually arrived one month later.)  Now think of hearing album opener “The Lovely Linda” with The Beatles’ last release, Abbey Road, still fresh in your mind.  The fully-produced production techniques of the late period Fabs were nowhere to be found.  This was a ragged, raw, homemade McCartney, his playful fragment left unembellished.  There were no majestic statements (though “Maybe I’m Amazed” comes close) though those would be present on Let It Be, even more majestically (over?)produced by Spector.  What had happened to Paul McCartney, the studio innovator, pushing the envelope of orchestration and production?  Whether he knew it or not, he was innovating in a completely different style.

The album is ramshackle on the surface, a hodgepodge of song forms, from the percolating rock of “Oo You” to the light acoustic pop of “That Would Be Something.”  The lovely “Every Night,” with its memorable wordless refrain, complements another ballad classic, “Junk,” covered by artists as diverse as John Denver and Paul’s old Liverpool mate Cilla Black.  A number of tracks hover around the 2-minute mark, and there are instrumentals, like “Valentine Day,” “Momma Miss America” and “Singalong Junk.”  McCartney played every instrument on the album himself: organ, mellotron, toy xylophone, piano, Premier drum kit, various guitars, wine glasses, and bow and arrow to name a few!  But the lovely Linda McCartney joined in on harmonies.  When she adds her voice to the sing-along chorus of the gentle “Man We Was Lonely,” it’s hard even today not to read into the lyrics: “I used to ride on my fast city line/Singing songs that I thought were mine alone/Now let me lie with my love/For the time I am home/Home.”

The two poles of McCartney are most in evidence on the final two tracks.  “Kreen-Akore” is an experimental mélange, driven by harsh percussion.  “Maybe I’m Amazed” is the most fully-realized production on the album and its one bona fide standard.  It’s passionately and unabashedly melodic and announced that the widescreen Paul McCartney hadn’t disappeared entirely.

What bonus material has been released?  What about McCartney II?  Hit the jump to continue reading! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 15, 2011 at 13:33

Posted in Paul McCartney, Reviews, The Beatles

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Legacy Preps “Young Man With The Big Beat” 5-CD Box For Elvis Presley’s 1956 Breakthrough

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Back in 1956, a promotional poster billed Elvis Presley as a young man with a big beat.  Chances are the ad’s designers didn’t realize just how big that beat was, and how far it would take the boy from Tupelo, Mississippi.  Freshly poached from the Sun Records roster, Presley was about to embark on a career at RCA Victor, the label with which he’d remain for the rest of his life.  On September 13, celebrating the 55th anniversary of Presley’s RCA debut, Sony Legacy will release a comprehensive look at the singer’s seminal year in music.  Young Man with the Big Beat is a 5-disc box set containing all of the 1956 RCA Victor masters including the complete albums Elvis Presley (RCA Victor 1254) and Elvis (RCA Victor 1382).  (These two albums will be available as one Legacy Edition, too.)  A previously-unreleased live show, outtakes and rare interviews with the artist will also be included, along with an 80-page book with a day-by-day chronology plus replicas of memorabilia.  Tracks have been remastered, with many making their debuts outside of the Complete Elvis Presley Masters box set.

Young Man with the Big Beat will be available everywhere on September 13, but those who order from Sony’s MyPlay Direct and the official Elvis 1956 site will receive a 7” replica vinyl of Presley’s first 45 RPM EP for the label (RCA EPA 747) containing four songs.  Both releases are also currently available for pre-order at finer retailers everywhere, including!

Hit the jump for the press release plus track listing for the box set and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 15, 2011 at 12:36