The Second Disc

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Archive for July 7th, 2011

Bobby Charles’ “Homemade Songs” Become Handmade Project

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Rhino Handmade has announced their latest title, to be released toward the end of summer. Appropriately, it’s a hot, swampy one: an expanded edition of Bobby Charles’ 1972 debut album for Bearsville Records.

While he’s best known as the songwriter of “See You Later Alligator” and “Walking to New Orleans,” Charles cut his first solo album in Woodstock, New York with the help of an all-star team that included Dr. John, David Sanborn and four-fifths of The Band.

The set’s bonus material features 25 bonus tracks, including unreleased songs, demos and single versions. Of those tracks, only four have been released on CD before, on a rare 1996 box set devoted to the Bearsville label. There’ll also be a third disc devoted to a vintage interview with the singer, recorded at the time of the album’s release and conducted by Barry Hansen – who would be better known by another name throughout the decade: Dr. Demento. An added bonus rounds out the first 500 copies: a reproduction of Charles’ Bearsville single to promote the album, “Small Town Talk” b/w “Save Me Jesus.”

The whole set is available on August 16. You can pre-order it here and hit the jump for the full press release and track breakdown. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 7, 2011 at 18:47

Two, Rolling Stoned: Taylor and Trower Classics Coming From Iconoclassic

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One of the most buzzworthy music events of 2010 undoubtedly was Mick Taylor reuniting on disc with The Rolling Stones to contribute new guitar parts to their expanded Exile on Main Street. Even years after leaving the Stones, Taylor remains beloved for his contributions to such classic albums as Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and of course, Exile. Iconoclassic Records has announced a project sure to excite fans of the incendiary axeman with the July 26 reissue of his solo 1979 album, Mick Taylor. But that’s not all. On the same date, the label will reissue Robin Trower Live, a document of another blues-rock guitar god in his prime.  (Iconoclassic’s third July release is Mark, Don and Mel 1969-1971, which compiles the early hits of Grand Funk Railroad.)

Mick Taylor first rose to prominence on a number of recordings by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, so when the Rolling Stones emerged from their dabbling in psychedelia and were reconnecting with their blues roots, it was Taylor whom they called. Taylor’s contributions to the Stones catalogue are appreciable; just play Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out or watch Gimme Shelter to experience how electrifying he could be. Taylor has even claimed to have co-written songs including “Moonlight Mile” and “Sway,” although the Glimmer Twins ceded no credit to him. So in 1975, Mick stunned the music world by announcing his departure from the band. After a brief stint in the Jack Bruce Band and a number of guest appearances, Taylor began his solo career, proper, with the release of 1979’s Mick Taylor. As Iconoclassic so accurately describes, “Mix Stonesy rock and blues with Jeff Beck’s Blow by Blow and the resulting stew will sound something like Mick Taylor’s eponymous debut.” Though his fluid, vibrant playing takes center stage on the album, he was supported by a number of fine musicians in the best 1970s supergroup style. These include Lowell George (Little Feat), Pierre Moerlen (Gong) and keyboardist Jean Roussell (Cat Stevens). Taylor also wrote every track on the album solo, excepting one co-write with Colin Allen. Taylor retreated from the studio after this album, however, and didn’t emerge until 1990 with a new blues collection including a take on “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.” Iconoclassic returns Mick Taylor to print on CD in an edition remastered by Vic Anesini. Kris Needs contributes new liner notes, and the promo-only single version of “Leather Jacket” (with different guitar parts) has been added to the line-up as a bonus track.

For all the news on Robin Trower Live! plus track listings and discographical information for both titles, just hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 7, 2011 at 12:55

You Don’t Mess Around With Jim: Croce Classics Arrive In The U.K.

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When Jim Croce died in September 1973, the victim of a tragic plane crash, he was only 30 years old. He truly was in the prime of his career, riding the wave of the singer/songwriter movement with his sensitive, personal brand of storytelling. Croce’s vivid songs were alternately upbeat and sorrowful, introspective and AM radio-ready. Before his death, Croce only recorded four proper studio albums, the first in collaboration with his wife Ingrid. Those remaining three albums, originally released in the U.S. on the ABC-Paramount label, will be collected on July 25 by Edsel Records as The Original Albums…Plus, a 2-disc set also containing sixteen posthumously-released rarities. Croce is frequently underrated today or thought of as strictly a pop singles artist.  (Not that there’s any shame in that!)  So Edsel’s set is a potent reminder of his many incisive compositions which have survived him. One champion of the young musician was Frank Sinatra, who made Croce’s “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” a centerpiece of his Main Event concert and LP.

Croce began to take music seriously during his college years, and after travelling on the folk and coffeehouse circuit, he recorded a 1969 LP for Capitol Records with his wife, Ingrid.  (Croce was reissued earlier this year by Cherry Tree.  Even earlier recordings from a self-distributed 1965 album have been released as Facets.)   But his career took off for the stratosphere with the July 1972 release of You Don’t Mess Around With Jim. The album produced three hits, all among his most beloved works. The boisterous story-song of the title reached No. 8 and “Operator” reached No. 17 in the US when issued as singles, and the album itself eventually got to No. 1. So did its melancholy, haunting ballad “Time in a Bottle,” though not right away. Yet album tracks “Photographs and Memories” and “New York’s Not My Home” were as good as anything released on a 45, both of them hauntingly evocative, personal ruminations in song.    Croce’s album cuts also often revealed a playful, even raucous side not always evident on the mellow singles.

Croce’s ABC follow-up, Life and Times, was issued in February 1973. With Croce’s first album still fresh in listeners’ minds, it placed at No. 7 and featured the No. 1 hit “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” Jim Croce had always had a grueling tour schedule, and planned to take a break and spend time with his wife Ingrid and infant son Adrian James (now known as AJ, a talented recording artist in his own right). Unfortunately Croce’s plans were cut short when his plane crashed in Natchitoches, Lousiana. Croce and bandmate Maury Muehleisen were among the five killed in the crash.

A sad irony is that Croce’s career soared even higher after his death. “I Got a Name” was released as a single in the singer’s lifetime, but the album of the name same didn’t arrive until after his death. So did “Time in a Bottle,” which had been released as a single off 1972’s You Don’t Mess Around with Jim but peaked posthumously. “I Got a Name” and “I Have to Say I Love You in a Song” also became hits and eventually, popular standards. (The former is unique in that Croce didn’t write it. “I Got a Name” is the work of Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel, also responsible for Barry Manilow’s “Ready to Take a Chance Again,” Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly” and the theme to Happy Days, among many other more-than-recognizable songs.) A hit 1974 collection, the aptly-titled Photographs and Memories, proved that demand for Croce’s music was still high, and it wasn’t long before his archives were tapped for the first of many collections of vault material.

Hit the jump for more details plus the complete track listings and discographical information! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 7, 2011 at 09:27