The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for July 25th, 2011

Miles Ahead: Legacy Launches “Bootleg Series” For Davis

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Move over, Bob Dylan.  Another legendary Columbia Records artist just a couple of spaces over on the CD shelf is receiving the Bootleg Series treatment with the September 20 release of The Miles Davis Quintet – Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series Volume 1.  And this release looks every inch as lavish and essential as the releases in Dylan’s similarly titled, long-running series.  It’s drawn from original state-owned television and radio sources in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and Sweden, and covers five European festival performances recorded over nine days in October to November 1967.  Every track is previously unreleased commercially, and features Davis’ “Second Great Quintet” with the leader joined by a veritable “Who’s who” of jazz greats: Wayne Shorter (tenor saxophone), Herbie Hancock (piano), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums).  The 3-CD + DVD package will be joined on September 20 by a “highlights” disc, Miles Davis Quintet – Live in Europe 1967: Best of the Bootleg Volume 1.     

Davis’ “First Great Quintet” was a tough act to follow despite the group’s short time as a permanent unit.  John Coltrane (tenor sax), Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Philly Joe Jones (drums) were all largely unknown when they joined Davis in 1955, but they quickly established themselves as giants of the field.  This was the group immortalized on five Prestige albums as well as Davis’ first Columbia long-player, the 1957 hard-bop masterpiece ‘Round About Midnight.  By the time of the release of the Columbia platter that March, the Quintet had already broken up.  Davis experimented with a number of personnel changes before the five gentlemen reunited to become The Miles Davis Sextet with the addition of Cannonball Adderley (alto saxophone) in late 1957.  But ultimately, the door continued to revolve around Davis.

The “Second Great Quintet” heard on The Bootleg Series took form in 1965, lasting until 1968.  On such albums as E.S.P. (1965), Miles Smiles (1966), Sorcerer (1967), Nefertiti (1967), Miles In the Sky (1968), and Filles De Kilimanjaro (1968), the group supported Davis through one of his most fertile, imaginative periods.  E.S.P. was the first album by Davis to concentrate entirely on new compositions by group members, a change from the standard Great American Songbook repertoire.  This was also the period in which Davis transitioned from bop to jazz fusion and his electric period.  Miles in the Sky utilized electric piano, electric bass and electric guitar on a Davis album for the very first time.  The chemistry between group members was obvious, but perhaps never more so than when they performed live as Miles’ “leaderless” ensemble, adept at varied jams.

For a look at diversity of material and performances on The Bootleg Series, plus track listing and additional information, go ahead and hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 25, 2011 at 13:37

New Cooke Digital Box is Really Keen…If You’re in the U.K.

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Sam Cooke fans were really in for a surprise a short time ago, when Legacy released a box set of eight of his original RCA LPs on CD through their PopMarket outlet. Almost as tantalizing – if not for the format or the territorial limits placed upon it – is a new digital box set collecting Cooke’s earlier material for Keen Records.

Cooke’s material for the Keen label – recorded from 1957 (after seven years as lead tenor in the gospel group The Soul Stirrers) to 1960 (the year he signed with RCA Victor and recorded classics like “A Change is Gonna Come,” “Bring It on Home to Me,” “Cupid” and “Twistin’ the Night Away”) – was just as fruitful as any other phase of his career. It was the Keen era that gave Cooke his very first smash single (the highest-charting of his career), with “You Send Me,” not to mention R&B hits like “I’ll Come Running Back to You,” “You Were Made for Me” and “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons.”

And now, ABKCO Records, controllers of Cooke’s Keen output in the U.K., present digital-only reissues of four of Cooke’s LPs for the label, as well as a digital box set collating virtually every single and album side the singer made for the label. The Remastered Keen Collection is three discs – one featuring Cooke’s self-titled debut and a handful of early singles, all in mono; one featuring second and third albums Encore and Tribute to the Lady and another featuring various single sides and a few compilation tracks (several of these tracks are in stereo).

ABKCO will also reissue four Cooke albums on their own – Sam Cooke, Encore, Hit Kit and The Wonderful World of Sam Cooke – with the latter three featuring bonus tracks. Of all the tracks on these individual albums, it seems the only tracks that don’t feature on the digital box are three tracks cut in stereo.

All of these sets are available from your favorite digital retailer today – but only in the U.K. (perhaps to make up for all the time international fans get stuck trying to buy our domestic catalogue products). Hit the jump to taunt yourself (if you’re an American reader) with all the riches you can’t have right now. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 25, 2011 at 13:11

Icehouse Catalogue Heats Up with New Aussie Compilation

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Sometimes reissues happen in the most unexpected places. This is nowhere more true than in Australia, where Universal Music is gearing up for a thus-far well-received catalogue expansion for Australian rockers Icehouse.

If you’re an ’80s pop fan – or grew up in the U.S. with a radio tuned to a pop station in your house – you’ll easily remember “Electric Blue,” the band’s biggest Stateside hit (and only one of two Top 40 singles on these shores). The hook-laden tune, written by bandleader Iva Davies with avowed Icehouse fan John Oates, rocketed to No. 7 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 in 1987. But in Australia, where “Electric Blue” went to the top of the charts, it was only the peak of a lengthy, hit-filled decade. The band’s first album, called Icehouse and credited under the band’s original name, Flowers (leading some to mistakenly call the album Flowers), was the highest-selling debut album in Australia until Savage Garden broke the record in the 1990s, and there were plenty of hits to go around, like “Love in Motion,” “Great Southern Land,” “Hey Little Girl,” “Crazy” and more.

The Icehouse train started rolling anew in 2011 with the announcement of a new deluxe edition of Icehouse/Flowers for its 30th anniversary (following a series of remasters of the band’s full catalogue by Chrysalis/EMI Warner Music in 2002). This set would feature a new remaster, three bonus tracks and two bonus discs (a CD and a DVD) of unreleased live material. The reissue was a stunning success in its native country, peaking at No. 10 (when does a reissue do that in America, sad to say). Now, a new compilation has been announced for release in Australia at the end of August. White Heat: 30 Hits collects nearly all of the band’s singles (and some album cuts), from Icehouse/Flowers to 1993’s Big Wheel, on two discs and adds a bonus DVD of the band’s music videos, many of which boast alternate edits for Australian and international markets.

Two additional details sweeten the deal for hardcore fans: first, anyone who pre-orders the set before August 12 will have their copy’s liner notes signed by Iva Davies; second, more catalogue activity is to follow, with another expansion of sophomore album Primitive Man in the works.

White Heat: 30 Hits is available to order here and will be released on August 27. Hit the jump for the full track list! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 25, 2011 at 11:34

Posted in Compilations, Icehouse, News

BGP Mines Moulton’s “Disco Gold” On Scepter

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Long before there was a disco inferno, the genre was finding its footing in the clubs of New York in the early 1970s as a reaction to the ascendancy of heavy rock and the marginalization of dance music.  Those early, heady days of disco are being chronicled by the U.K.’s BGP label (part of the Ace Records family) with the August 29 reissue of the seminal 1975 compilation Disco Gold.

Those only familiar with Scepter Records from the sweet soul of The Shirelles, Dionne Warwick and Maxine Brown might be surprised to find the familiar logo on Disco Gold.  (The founding of Scepter is currently being depicted eight times a week in the musical Baby, It’s You! on Broadway.)  Scepter’s owner Florence Greenberg tapped into the nascent disco market when she hired Tom Moulton to do some of his earliest remixing for Disco Gold.

BGP notes that “in New York in the early ‘70s, clubs such as the Sanctuary and the loft parties run by David Mancuso were creating a more open, mixed (both racially and sexually) dance scene, created in part by the loosening of social mores.”  The notorious Sanctuary was housed in a church on West 43rd Street and according to Peter Braunstein of The Village Voice, “epitomized the post-Stonewall era, when gay men had won the right to dance intimately together without worrying about the police. But the early gay discos were not only pleasure palaces, they were also sites of liberation free from the prying eyes of the suspect straight world.”  Disco was the voice and sound of that liberation.

And Tom Moulton (born 1940), a former fashion model and record biz employee for King, RCA Victor and United Artists, had an instinctive ear for what would work on a club dancefloor.  He’s credited with creating the concept of the remix, the 12-inch extended single and the continuous-play LP side, and Ground Zero of the Moulton movement is his Disco Gold.  BGP’s reissue contains the entire original album plus five cuts from Disco Gold Volume 2.  It soon became clear that the appeal of disco was widespread, and indeed, it caught the ear of a wider audience, but not before evolving further.  These early tracks epitomize the formative sounds of disco, and the original tracks are the work of a number of great and familiar songwriters. 

What were Tom Moulton’s Disco Gold picks?  Just hit the jump!  We’ve also got the full track listing and pre-order link! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 25, 2011 at 10:25

Posted in Compilations, News, Reissues

Omnivore to Sting Fans with Jellyfish Vinyl Reissues

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The reign of Jellyfish was a devilishly short one. Yet with only two albums and a cataclysmic lineup change at the halfway point, Jellyfish’s output deserves a place in the edifice of power pop, alongside such luminaries as Badfinger, Cheap Trick and XTC. And now, fans will be able to enjoy those two albums on vinyl – one for the first time in the U.S. and one of them for the first time anywhere – thanks to the good folks at Omnivore Recordings.

Jellyfish was the brainchild of singer/drummer Andy Sturmer and keyboardist Roger Manning, both former members of San Francisco outfit Beatnik Beach desperate to perform their own songs. The duo hooked up with Manning’s brother Chris on bass and an underrated luminary on guitar: Jason Falkner, a member of underground L.A. band The Three O’Clock, whose final album, Vermillion (the only one he contributed to) was released two years prior on Paisley Park Records. (Prince, under the pseudonym “Joey Coco,” wrote the LP’s lead single, “Neon Telephone.”) Falkner and Manning had nearly joined forces on a musical project after the breakup of The Three O’Clock, but ultimately decided not to.

Though the band’s debut Bellybutton, released in 1990, was a moderate success, spawning a modest hit in bubblegum-sweet single “Baby’s Coming Back,” Chris Manning and Falkner would depart after the completion of their first tour. (Ironically, Falkner left because his songwriting contributions were not getting used – the same reasons behind Sturmer and Manning’s formation of the band in the first place.) A rotating cast of musicians filled out the band’s sophomore album, Spilt Milk (1993), including producer Jon Brion, Lyle Workman and T-Bone Wolk, but the band folded not long after finishing a tour to promote that record. Nonetheless, their popularity lasts among power-pop connoisseurs; an extremely sought-after rarities box set was released independently in 2002, and a proper hits compilation was released in 2006, not long before U.K. band McFly took “Baby’s Coming Back” to the top of the U.K. charts the next year.

Omnivore’s reissues of both albums (Spilt Milk making its vinyl debut) feature both albums in their entirety; the first 1,500 copies of each album will be pressed on translucent vinyl (blue for Bellybutton and purple for Spilt Milk) and, in the case of Bellybutton, those limited copies will also feature the original gatefold sleeve. Each are available on September 27 and can be ordered at Amazon after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

July 25, 2011 at 09:46

Posted in Jellyfish, News, Reissues, Vinyl