The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for July 12th, 2011

La-La Land’s “Golden Child” Ready to Order

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La-La Land’s newest title, a three-disc expansion of The Chosen One, is ready to order.

By now you already know the story behind this new release (a sort-of fake-out following La-La Land’s scheduling shift ahead of Comic-Con), so it’s worth noting instead the kind of music we’re dealing with on this set. Barry’s epic, James Bond-esque score was largely rejected by the producers for Michel Colombier’s atmospheric, synth-heavy score. But elements of Barry’s work did figure into the movie, not only in terms of instrumentals but in the form of “The Best Man in the World,” a pop song he co-wrote for Ann Wilson of Heart to sing. Some of both composers’ material ended up on the original Capitol Records soundtrack LP, alongside pop and rock tracks by Ratt, Ashford & Simpson, Marlon Jackson(?!) and Martha Davis of The Motels.

Not only does the new set restore all of both orchestral scores on CD for the first time, but it also includes all of those LP tracks, as well as another Barry-penned pop tune (sung by fellow film composer Randy Edelman!) and the instrumental version of “The Best Man in the World” that appeared on the B-side of the eventual single release. If you know someone who’s a superfan of this movie (I’m sure they’re out there), this looks like a must have.

The set, limited to 5,000 copies and featuring extensive liner notes by Jon Burlingame, is yours to order after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 12, 2011 at 16:31

Review: Tony Bennett, “The Best of the Improv Recordings”

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Clive Davis had made his mind up.  According to his autobiography, he considered Tony Bennett’s career “in jeopardy” by the late 1960s and felt that “new vitality was needed.”  As recently-appointed head of the venerable Columbia Records, Davis brought that new vitality to the label, but at what price?  In actuality, Tony Bennett’s contributions to the storied label were more vital than ever as the 1960s came to an end.  He was carrying the torch for unassailable adult pop with sophisticated collections of the finest songs of past and present.  Titles such as The Movie Song Album (1966), For Once In My Life (1967), Yesterday I Heard the Rain (1968) and Something (1970) offered a cross-section of recordings that made it all too easy to remember why Frank Sinatra called Bennett his favorite singer.  But Bennett and Davis didn’t see eye to eye.  Within three years of 1969’s controversial Tony Sings the Great Hits of Today! , the album which made the singer physically ill, Bennett was off Columbia.  After a brief stint at MGM Records, he followed in the footsteps of Sinatra and formed his own label, Improv Records.  Only ten or so albums were released by Improv in its short lifetime, only five of which featured Bennett.  On the occasion of the singer’s 85th birthday, Concord has released The Best of the Improv Recordings (CRE-32955), collecting sixteen of the finest tracks recorded between 1973 and 1977 for the little label that could.

The new collection is culled from all five albums, and feature Bennett primarily in three settings: solo piano with Bill Evans, jazz quartet with Ruby Braff and George Barnes, and orchestral with Torrie Zito.  Two live tracks recorded at Buffalo, New York’s Downtown Club in 1977 round out the new disc.  However different these accompaniments are, however, all display the great refinement in Bennett’s style of singing.  Jazz historian Gary Giddins opined that “all of the crooners [preceding Bennett] were casual baritones.  Bennett was a tenor and ‘casual’ was not in his makeup.”  The melodramatic quality of many of Bennett’s early records added a potent gravitas to those singles, many of which were aimed squarely at the pop charts by Columbia A&R chief Mitch Miller.  (“Every hit song was a fight with Tony,” the sing-along king once quipped.)  The earliest recordings here were committed to tape in 1973 though not released until 1976, and these recordings of Rodgers and Hart classics are refined and restrained.  Bennett’s full-throated, operatic quality isn’t so readily apparent, and his restraint made the “money” notes all the more magnificent.  Young singers in today’s American Idol crop might take note.

This fall, Bennett will release his second collection of Duets.  But he was a generous musical collaborator long before these all-star salutes.  His first major statement as a jazz singer, 1957’s The Beat of My Heart, was a unique percussion-driven effort featuring top-flight names like Herbie Mann, Kai Winding and Nat Adderley.  Of Bennett’s two joint albums with Count Basie, Harry Belafonte observed that “no white man ever stood in front of a black crew and sang with more credentials and belonging.”  And Tony had recorded two piano-centric albums with Ralph Sharon, Tony Sings for Two (1959) and When Lights Are Low (1964).  All of his past works in a jazz vein led to the personal breakthroughs at Improv.  Hit the jump to continue! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 12, 2011 at 11:25

Soundtrack Round-Up: Reissues and Premieres from Varese, Intrada and More

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Why should La-La Land and Intrada/Disney have all the fun? We’ve got five new soundtrack catalogue titles for your perusal from Varese Sarabande, Intrada and BSX Records. The wares range from the golden age of film composition (with two heavyweights of the film score world collaborating on a special score restored as a strictly limited title) to an underrated gem of a horror soundtrack from last year.

Varese Sarabande released two intriguing limited edition titles for release in the wee hours of Monday morning. First up, continuing on a theme for the label in celebrating the 100th anniversary of Bernard Herrmann’s birth, a double-disc, complete presentation of the score to The Egyptian, a 1954 20th Century-Fox epic with a score divided between Herrmann and legendary Fox composer Alfred Newman. This sweeping score is presented in its entirety (with alternate cues, too) for the first time anywhere, sourced from newly-discovered original masters. (A generous single-disc presentation was released by Film Score Monthly a decade ago.) Act fast: it’s limited to just 1,500 copies.

Next up for Varese Sarabande is the score to Devil. Though the suspense flick was likely damaged at the box office thanks to the shrinking goodwill against the film’s producer, M. Night Shyamalan, horror aficionados were taken by the stirring music from relative newcomer Fernando Velasquez (who composed the music to 2007’s The Orphanage). This special soundtrack CD is even more limited than The Egyptian, at just 1,000 units.

Intrada stunned everyone with the great release of Up weeks ago (a review from both myself and Joe is forthcoming). But don’t think they haven’t got time for the little premieres anymore. The label’s new releases this week are Deja Vu, a supernatural 1985 horror film with a killer score composed by Pino Donaggio of Carrie and Don’t Look Now fame, and a two-fer from Fox: House on Telegraph Hill, a brassy noir score from Sol Kaplan, and Ten North Frederick, a bittersweet, heavily thematic score by Leigh Harline to a 1958 drama that starred Gary Cooper. Each disc is limited to 1,000 copies.

Finally, the underappreciated BSX label does a new reissue of Battle Beyond the Stars, the 1980 cult-classic sci-fi flick produced by Roger Corman and featuring one of the first major scores from James Horner. While the original soundtrack album is no stranger to CD (and not likely to be expanded – apparently Horner is not too fond of the final product), this disc adds two bonus tracks (including an arrangement of themes performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra) and a host of original sound effect tracks from the film. This set is also limited at 1,000 copies.

Track lists and order pages from each label are available after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 12, 2011 at 10:12

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Release Round-Up: Week of July 12

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R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant: 25th Anniversary Edition (EMI)

The latest R.E.M. deluxe edition set features the original LP remastered alongside a bonus disc of demos, all of which are currently available for your streaming pleasure here. (Official site)

Megadeth, Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? 25th Anniversary Edition (EMI)

The metal heroes’ breakthrough LP, remastered and featuring a live bonus disc…and for the adventurous super-fan, a deluxe box set adds two additional alternate mixes of the album along with the album and live show on hi-res audio and vinyl. (That’s five discs and three vinyl LPs!) (Official site)

Tony Bennett, The Best of the Improv Recordings (Concord)

A single-disc distillation of the 2004 Concord box set that collected all of the songs Bennett released on his own label in the mid-’70s. (Official site, Concord page)

Lesley Gore, Magic Colors: The Lost Album with Bonus Tracks 1967-1969 (Ace)

Far beyond “It’s My Party,” this lost Mercury album (with extras) brings to light a lesser-seen, soulful side of Lesley Gore. (Ace)


Written by Mike Duquette

July 12, 2011 at 08:35