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Archive for August 2011

Who’s Next? “Quadrophenia” Gets The “Director’s Cut” Treatment In November [UPDATED 8/31 WITH TRACK LIST]

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UPDATE: The full press release with track list is now after the jump.

Original post:After Tommy, there was Jimmy.  He’s the protagonist of Pete Townshend’s rock opera Quadrophenia, first a 1973 2-LP studio album by The Who, then a 1979 film and most recently a 2009 musical.   Never one for small ideas, Quadrophenia was Townshend’s way of working out the relationship between the band and its fans while telling the story of a prototypical Mod Who fan. The album yielded some of The Who’s most beloved songs: “The Real Me,” “Love Reign O’er Me,” “5:15.”  Now, after last year’s super-deluxe box set of Live at Leeds, it appears that the story of a mod youth will be receiving a similarly expansive treatment scheduled for the pre-Christmas release rush from Universal.  The auteur, composer, lyricist, writer and mercurial rock god hasn’t been blogging much lately, but he just did so to confirm plans for the new box.  As The Lifehouse Chronicles – Townshend’s sprawling, fascinating boxed anthology of the aborted album that eventually morphed into Who’s Next – attests, Townshend’s musical concepts often are too big for anything but a lavish box set, so this project seems just right!  UPDATE: It’s been confirmed that the release date for the 4-CD/1-DVD Quadrophenia: The Director’s Cut will be November 14 in the U.K. and a pre-order link is already active at Amazon U.K. here.

What can we expect?  Perhaps most exciting is the promise of “mind-blowing” surround sound mixes of eight songs by Bob Pridden.  Jon Astley, Townshend’s preferred mastering engineer, is remastering the original vinyl mix as well as re-evaluating his 1996 remix.  Townshend himself will contribute liner notes for a hardback book and has offered up 2 CDs of demos including songs that didn’t make the final album.  (Anyone familiar with Townshend’s Scoop demos knows they will be in for a treat!)  While the initial press release indicates that complete details will be revealed in the “coming months,” mention is made of “previously unseen personal notes, photographs, memorabilia, and other exclusive material.”  Quadrophenia will also be available in double vinyl, 2-CD digi-pak and digital versions.

Hit the jump for the complete text of Pete’s statement, and the full press release with the track list for all five discs! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 31, 2011 at 15:57

Posted in Box Sets, News, Reissues, The Who

Review: Charles “Packy” Axton, “Late Late Party: 1965-67”

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Were there a Stax family portrait, label founders Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton would undoubtedly be surrounded by any number of the famed artists they shepherded to fame: Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Eddie Floyd and the Wicked Wilson Pickett, to name a few.  And lurking somewhere near the corner of the frame, in the shadows, would be Charles “Packy” Axton, his saxophone in tow, looking for the nearest party.  Though Axton is far from a household name, those musical excavation specialists at Light in the Attic have made a substantial case that Charles “Packy” Axton is far more than a footnote to the Stax story.  Late Late Party: 1965-67 (LITA CD 067, 2011) brings together seventeen slices of greasy, delicious, deep Southern soul by largely unknown artists like The Martinis, Stacy Lane, L.H. and the Memphis Sounds and The Pac-Keys.  What do they all have in common?  It’s the sound of Packy Axton, wailing on his saxophone to wake the neighbors!

It’s appropriate that the vintage cover photo of Axton, Don Nix and Steve Cropper is in front of the Satellite Records address (later Stax), for Axton existed in the orbit of Stax, though none of this collection’s tracks were on that storied label.  Packy Axton was the son of Estelle Axton and nephew of her brother Jim Stewart, Stax co-founders.  He was musically at the ground floor of the label empire, too, playing on the Mar-Keys’ “Last Night.”  While he didn’t initially impress bandleader Steve Cropper, it was soon discovered that his mother owned a recording studio, and Packy was in the band!  Despite Stewart’s initial reluctance to release the track, “Last Night” went No. 2 R&B and No. 3 pop.  It positioned Stax on the road to success.  But Axton was ostracized from that inner circle, despite his mother having a role in calling the shots.  Stewart disapproved of his casual approach, eccentric manner and wild ways, and Packy found himself on the periphery of greatness.

What wild sounds will you find on Late Late Party?  Just hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 31, 2011 at 13:51

With A Little Help From His Friends: James Burton Anthology Features Everlys, Nelson, Hazlewood and Buffalo Springfield

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When James Burton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, no less a legend than Keith Richards delivered his induction speech.  Richards was just one of the many guitarists influenced over the years by Burton, a talent whose C.V. boasts names like Rick Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joni Mitchell, John Denver, and oh yeah, Elvis Presley.  Burton’s talent has transcended genre and classification, and at the age of 72, he continues to contribute musically to selected projects.  U.K. compilation experts Ace Records have turned the spotlight on this longtime sideman and occasional solo artist with the October 4 release of James Burton: The Early Years 1957-1969, the first of two volumes showcasing the guitarist’s titanic body of work.

A mainstay of Elvis Presley’s TCB Band and the lead guitarist on nearly all of Ricky Nelson’s classic recordings, Burton first appeared on record in 1956 on the small Ram label, backing Carol Williams on “Just For a While,” and that track appears on The Early Years.  It wasn’t long before Burton was an in-demand session musician, playing the famous and influential solo on Dale Hawkins’ “Susie Q” in 1957.  Within a year, Burton had taken his place alongside Ricky Nelson, building up a body of work that still endures; of his Nelson collaborations, “My Babe,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Stop Sneakin’ Around” and “Blood from a Stone” all appear.  His association with Nelson lasted until 1967; two years later, he would take the stage in Las Vegas with Elvis Presley, where “Play it, James” became a familiar catchphrase of The King’s.

Burton’s recordings of “Fireball Mail” and “Daisy Mae” as Jim and Joe (with fellow session stalwart Joe Osborn of the L.A. “Wrecking Crew”) have been included, as well as other solo tracks including “Cannonball Rag” and “Jimmy’s Blues.”  He appears as “Jimmy Dobro” on both sides of a 1963 single, “Swamp Surfer” b/w “Everybody Listen to the Dobro.”  Other familiar names making an appearance on the compilation include Lee Hazlewood, The Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard and the recently-reunited band Buffalo Springfield.  Even David Gates, later of Bread, is represented with the 1962 single by “David and Lee,” “Tryin’ to Be Someone.”

While touring with Presley in the 1970s, Burton found time to play with Emmylou Harris as a member of her “Hot Band,” and also began to work with John Denver that lasted 16 years and produced 12 albums.  A promised Volume 2 will collect Burton’s later years, including his work with Elvis Presley, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons and others.

Hit the jump for the complete track listing with discographical annotation, plus a pre-order link, for James Burton: The Early Years 1957-1969, which is due on October 4 from Ace Records! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 31, 2011 at 10:29

Someday, Somehow, Someone’s Gotta Play

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La-La Land Records has a one-man army for their latest film score reissue: James Horner, for his score to the hit action film Commando.

Unless you’ve been living in a particularly nonviolent box these past 26 years, Commando was one of the first major starring vehicles for bodybuilder/actor/future governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yes, Schwarzenegger was certainly in the national consciousness in two killer sci-fi/fantasy roles, as the title characters in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and The Terminator (1984). But Commando was special because it was the first picture to create the actor’s now-exhaustively-familiar archetype: a thinly-characterized good guy, perhaps of military descent, who single-handedly destroys a cadre of bad guys to save some good guys. (In this case, he’s pitted his turncoat ex-Marine partner and an ousted South American dictator, who’ve kidnapped his teenage daughter.)

The action, sick humor, one-liners and general over-the-top atmosphere was greatly aided by a strange if active score from James Horner, well-established with his work for the Star Trek sequels and a year away from his work on Aliens. Horner relied heavily on electronics for the soundtrack, scattering keyboards and drum machines heavily into the mix. The real kicker, though, is the presence of some heavy-duty steel drums and saxophones throughout – not nearly the first choices for an action score, but adding to the overall fun of the score.

While the original score was released in part on a limited edition, long sold-out CD by Varese Sarabande in 2003, this release remasters and expands the score to completion, breaking up all the individual cues and including four bonus tracks – two alternates, an alternate mix of a track and “Someday, Somehow, Someone’s Gotta Pay,” the upbeat end-credits pop song written and performed by Duran Duran side-project The Power Station.

The disc, limited to 3,000 units, is ready to order now. Full information is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 30, 2011 at 18:31

Gone, Baby, Real Gone: New Label From Collectors’ Choice and Hep Cat Founders To Launch November 8

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It was a mere three weeks ago that we reported on the formation of Real Gone Music, a new venture between Collectors’ Choice Music’s Gordon Anderson and Hep Cat Records’ Gabby Castellana.  That announcement generated a great deal of excitement around these parts, and you can read that initial story (along with the spirited discussion that ensued) at the link above.  Well, we’re bursting at the seams to pass on the news that Real Gone is up and running!

On August 26, Real Gone Music updated its website, complete with a spiffy logo and the news that its first batch of releases would be coming November 8, with details to come “VERY soon,” natch.  A July 31 posting at the site indicates the label’s only criteria for a potential reissue candidate: “What makes a piece of music real gone? It can be from any era, any genre, from superstar acts or the most esoteric artist—but if it’s REAL GONE, it’s an essential recording coming to you with excellent sound and packaging, designed to make you feel like you did the first time you bought an album or single at your local record store.”

Real Gone is the brainchild of Anderson and Castellana, two music lovers from Ohio with a wealth of experience in the reissue business.  The label plans on “licensing repertoire from major and independent labels, artist estates and other sources for release on CD, vinyl and digital formats,” according to co-founder Anderson.  He hails from Collectors’ Choice Music, the label he founded.  (Collectors’ Choice still operates as a retail/catalogue concern only, having suspended its label operations.)  Castellana founded roots-rock, rockabilly and punk specialist label Hepcat, which was sold to Collectors’ Choice back in 2005. 

Hit the jump for more on this exciting new label! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 30, 2011 at 13:25

Posted in News, Reissues

I Can’t Wait for Saturday! Classic CHIC Production to Receive CD Expansion

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Anyone who knows the story of CHIC (told quite well in last year’s box set and to be told on the printed page in guitarist/producer Nile Rodgers’ memoir in October) knows that their success was not limited to their roles as lead performers but writing and production as well – not just for themselves, but for a host of luminaries from Sister Sledge to Diana Ross.

The first step in that direction, though, was a solo album for CHIC singer Norma Jean Wright, the first extracurricular project produced by Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards. Next month, U.K. label Edsel Records is remastering and expanding the set with a host of bonus cuts, giving fans a chance to discover that early stop on CHIC’s road to massive success. Read all about it below! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 30, 2011 at 11:36

Posted in CHIC, News, Norma Jean, Reissues

From Monro With Love: “The Singer’s Singer” Box Set Due From EMI

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Matt Monro never met a genre of music he didn’t like.  Whether covering standards, tackling contemporary pop hits or singing in Spanish, that reassuring, velvet croon, unerring interpretive skills and all-around good taste made Matt Monro “the singer’s singer.”  A 2001 EMI box set of that title was a limited edition of 3,000 copies, and quickly disappeared from store shelves, but EMI will re-offer that 103-track box set in a budget-priced reissue due in the U.K. on September 12. 

And it gets better.  Not only will the 2011 edition of The Singer’s Singer be priced affordably (as of this writing on August 30, it’s currently selling on Amazon U.K. for under 7 pounds!) but the set has been completely remastered, too!  38 tracks have been derived from the 2010 and 2011 remasters created for EMI’s acclaimed The Complete Singles Collection and Words and Music reissues, while of the remaining 65 tracks, 60 have been transferred by engineer Richard Moore from the first generation mixdown tapes!  In addition, two tracks erroneously included on the 2001 version, duets between Monro and his son Matt Monro, Jr., have been corrected with the original solo versions.

Richard Moore has catalogued his amazing journey assembling and mastering this new edition of The Singer’s Singer at his website, and we urge you to read it!  Then return here, as we’ve got much more on Monro coming up, including the complete track listing.  Just hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 30, 2011 at 09:43

Release Round-Up: Week of August 29

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Spin Doctors, Pocket Full of Kryptonite: 20th Anniversary Edition (Epic/Legacy)

The “Two Princes” guys…hey, stop laughing…have their hit debut album remastered and expanded – cut that out! – with a bonus disc of demos and rarities. (Official site)

Aerosmith, Celine Dion, The Byrds and Carole King, The Essential 3.0 (Columbia/Epic/Legacy)

Four Essential compilations get the third-disc treatment. Note that the Celine Dion title is identical to 2008’s My Love: The Essential Collection and the Aerosmith set is identical to 2002’s O Yeah! Ultimate Aerosmith Hits. (Amazon: Aerosmith, Celine, Byrds, Carole)

Jill Scott, The Original Jill Scott: From the Vault – Volume 1 (Hidden Beach)

The R&B singer’s original label, having recently lost her after a nasty court battle, decides to raid its vaults and finds 14 good tracks. (Official site)

The Association, Renaissance: Deluxe Expanded Mono Edition (Now Sounds)

Another great Association LP, nearly doubled in length by bonus tracks! (Now Sounds)

Alberta Hunter, Downhearted Blues: Live at the Cookery (RockBeat)

The legendary blues singer with a great story (Hunter sang from the ’20s to the ’40s before leaving the music scene to become a nurse – and then made a surprise comeback after retiring from that career in the ’70s) is represented on CD with this hard-to-find performance from 1981. (Amazon)

Ice Cube, Kill at Will (RockBeat)

Cube’s beloved 1990 EP is now available on CD and vinyl from one of our new favorite reissue labels. (Amazon)

Written by Mike Duquette

August 30, 2011 at 08:09

The Aeroplane Flies High: Vinyl Box Coming from Neutral Milk Hotel

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As principal singer, songwriter and driving force between darling indie outfit Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeff Mangum has spent much of the last decade as one of the most mysterious and low-profile of respected musicians. It looks like things may be changing, however, thanks in part to a vinyl box set curating Neutral Milk Hotel’s discography.

Ruston, Lousiana-born Mangum began recording in earnest under the Neutral Milk Hotel moniker in the mid-1990s. The collective nature of his albums (early works essentially featured whatever side musicians were available, although friends Scott Spillane, Jeremy Barnes and Julian Koster eventually formed the official nucleus of the group) and lo-fi, eclectic style attracted great critical praise, although the group took an extended hiatus not long after the 1998 release of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, one of the most critically-acclaimed records in recent history.

While Mangum has performed on a very small scale on and off since then, this year is one of his busiest of late, with nine shows planned in the U.S. through the end of the year. Mangum will also curate the U.K.’s famed All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in December, performing as well as curating the 40-plus bands that will play.

The gem for collectors, though, is a new self-released vinyl box set that contains the essential Neutral Milk Hotel discography. Included are two full LPs, 1996’s On Avery Island, 1998’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea; a 10″ LP featuring the group’s Everything Is EP with four bonus tracks; a set of unreleased tracks titled Ferris Wheel on Fire and three 7″ singles, two of which feature previously unreleased tunes.

The box set will be available on November 22, along with the 15 non-LP tracks (which will be available through the indie-band site Bandcamp – fans will be able to name their own price for the tracks). A dollar for every box set sold will be donated to the Eternal Blue Sky of Mongolia charity.

Pre-order links and a full track list are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 29, 2011 at 12:01

A(nother) Man and a Woman: Vintage Francis Lai Coming From Kritzerland

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Had Francis Lai only composed the immortal (and for a time, ubiquitous) themes to Un Homme et Une Femme (A Man and a Woman) and Love Story, his name would have gone down in the annals of both film and popular music.  Thankfully, Lai – born in 1932 in Nice, France – has offered us much, much more.

Un Autre Homme, Une Autre Chance (Another Man, Another Chance) arrived from director Claude Lelouch (the director of A Man and a Woman, and the director with whom Lai has had one of the longest-lasting director/composer teamings in film) in 1977.  Like so many other films released that year, it languished in the shadow of George Lucas’ game-changing Star Wars, with the year an altogether stellar one for the movies: Saturday Night Fever, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goodbye Girl and Annie Hall all arrived during that fruitful 12-month period.

The melodic, hypnotic score to Another Man, Another Chance is arriving on CD for the very first time courtesy the fine folks at Kritzerland.  Lai’s score, much of which was arranged by Gabriel Yared (Academy Award winning composer of The English Patient), beautifully illustrates Lelouch’s Old West story starring Genevieve Bujold as a French baker’s daughter who leaves her homeland at the end of the Franco-Prussian War and travels by sea with her husband to America.  There, she meets a widowed veterinarian, portrayed by James Caan, in the frontier town.  After a distressing prophesy comes true, he and she are brought together.  In The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, “The plot sounds like vintage James Michener, give or take a couple of generations, and indeed it has the makings of a good yarn.”  Maslin had kind words for both Bujold and Caan even if she was harder on the film itself, and questioned why Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony punctuated so many scenes.  Perhaps she would have preferred more of Lai’s delicious original score!

Kritzerland’s Another Man, Another Chance follows the original import LP program, though the track titles have been renamed to correspond with the actual titles found on the original French two-track stereo tape boxes.   The fully remastered, 1,000-unit limited edition soundtrack is available for pre-order now at Kritzerland for $19.98 plus shipping, and although officially scheduled for the second week of October, pre-orders usually average arrival of four weeks early.  Hit the jump for the press release and track listing! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 29, 2011 at 11:10