The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Archive for August 3rd, 2011

Crom Smiles Upon Intrada (But Not Surround Fans)

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Fans of Basil Pouledoris’ scores to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984) had a reason to be excited when the Tadlow label recorded the City of Prague Philharmonic performing the complete score to each film (the first score has already been released, the second is forthcoming). The late composer had expressed disappointment with the original film recordings (particularly that of Destroyer), and his family participated in the release in full. Plus, with the persistent notion that the original master recordings were missing from Universal’s vaults, this new recording was very likely the most complete performance fans would hear.

Imagine the surprise, then, when Intrada’s Roger Feigelson announced on Monday that not only were the masters not lost, but were being utilized for new CD presentations of the score! (The original Conan scores were released on LP by MCA Records released on CD by Varese Sarabande in 1992.)Label honcho Douglass Fake further confirmed matters, reporting that the original 24-track masters boasted material never heard in the finished film. While there’s certainly room for debate over which set is most worth your money (fan consensus seems to be in favor of Tadlow’s impending Destroyer re-recording over the original film score, which Pouledoris all but disowned), our hats are certainly off to Intrada for making two of the composer’s most popular scores available as they were originally recorded.

While neither title has a release date set, Conan the Barbarian is expected to be added to the label’s unlimited MAF collection, with a limited Destroyer expected to follow.

For non-score fans, it is worth noting Fake’s comments when an Intrada forum poster suggested a 5.1 surround mix from the Conan elements:

I must admit the multi-channel CD around our parts is pretty much a dead animal. I realize my view comes from just our narrow little corner of the movie music world but – at least for Intrada – the complaints about the audio quality of Varese’s THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY far outweighed any compliments it received. I don’t recall any major feedback on TIMELINE but during that era we sure got a lot of comments from customers saying they preferred to listen to music in a two-channel stereo format rather than anything multi-channeled. We recorded JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS in the Genex 5.1 format (as well as a live two-track format) with the plans to do a multi-channel release and found very limited interest at the time. The economics vs. the potentially dismal sales prospects made our decision process simple. I’m just not convinced there’s an audience willing to support the extreme finances of mixing, mastering and manufacturing a multi-channel disc for either of the two CONAN scores. I’m guessing people would prefer the efforts be made to produce the best possible stereo CD, then if the expenses warrant it, include alternate takes, perhaps a rehearsal of the main title or some of the battle music, maybe some mixes without the chorus and so forth instead. But keep in mind… I don’t know. I just work here.

What do our many surround fans think? There have been some great SACD releases of film scores (Isaac Hayes’ Shaft and John Williams’ E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial spring to mind) – but do they have a place in the film score world? Sound off below.

Thanks to super reader Charlie for the tip!

Written by Mike Duquette

August 3, 2011 at 18:46

Posted in News, Reissues, Soundtracks

Pop-Punkers Yellowcard on Yellow Vinyl (and More) in New Box Set

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If you’re a vinyl collector or have an incredibly strong sense of nostalgia for recent things, this one’s for you: pop-punk band Yellowcard are compiling their discography onto a collector’s vinyl box set.

The Florida-formed, L.A.-based outfit enjoyed mainstream success with the upbeat “Ocean Avenue” (once expertly described by SPIN magazine as the song that plays right after Hoobastank’s “The Reason” at school dances nationwide). The band’s sound was pure pop with clean production and a skate-rat edge, but what set them apart was the presence of a violinist, longtime band member Sean Mackin. The band cut three albums for Capitol Records before taking a brief hiatus and returning with this year’s strongly-received When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes.

Now, current label Hopeless Records will release that album, the band’s three Capitol LP and the 2002 Underdog EP both separately and as a limited colored vinyl set (The Underdog EP on red vinyl, Ocean Avenue on blue, Lights and Sounds on gold, Paper Walls on green and When You’re Through Thinking… on purple marble). Fans can order all this here (the sets are available September 13), and you can reacquaint yourself with the albums after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 3, 2011 at 17:36

Review: The Beau Brummels, “Bradley’s Barn: Expanded Edition”

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Before Abbey Road or Caribou, The Beau Brummels immortalized a famous recording studio as the title of Bradley’s Barn, their 1968 album for Warner Bros. Records.  The San Francisco pop-rock outfit had travelled to Nashville, Tennessee to record at Owen Bradley’s storied venue at roughly the same time their contemporaries, The Byrds, were on the other side of town cutting Sweetheart of the Rodeo.   Though the “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” hitmakers beat the Brummels to the punch with a release date of a few months earlier, Bradley’s Barn made similar strides in defining the sound of what would become known as “country-rock.”  Finally, Bradley’s can be put in perspective with the release of Rhino Handmade’s lavish tribute to what may be the Brummels’ finest LP.  Housed in a sturdy hardbound book, the expanded Bradley’s Barn (RHM2 524919) makes the case for a band that ultimately looked forward by looking back.

Strictly speaking, however, this wasn’t the Bay Area-vs.-the-British-Invasion band of “Laugh, Laugh” and “Just a Little” fame.  That lineup of Ron Elliott, Sal Valentino, Dec Mulligan, Ron Meagher and John Petersen had scaled the heights of fame (and even were immortalized in animated form as The Beau Brummelstones on The Flintstones!) before dissolving, bit by bit, after those early glory days.  Meagher departed during sessions for the psychedelia-tinged Triangle in 1967, leaving Valentino and Elliott as the architects of Bradley’s Barn.  The third major influence was that of producer Lenny Waronker, who was building the rosters of Warner Bros. and Reprise in A&R while spearheading the careers of artists like Randy Newman and Harper’s Bizarre, a founding member of which was the Beau Brummels’ John Petersen.  After producing Triangle, Waronker hit on the notion that Elliott and Valentino should record in Nashville.  (He says he was partially inspired by Dylan’s travels there – but then, who wasn’t?)  Other acts had a similar “back-to-the-land” trajectory after experimenting in psychedelia, some spurred on by the success of The Band’s first album, released in July 1968.  But a country-rock synthesis was long ingrained in The Brummels, as could be heard on their 1965 cut “Dream On” and even on Triangle with its Merle Travis cover, “Nine Pound Hammer.”  Bradley’s brought those tendencies to the fore.  But the sophisticated Waronker didn’t equate country with simplicity; instead, he envisioned a “guitar orchestra” that would still push the sonic envelope while embracing the best that the Nashville sound had to offer.

Hit the jump to join us down at Bradley’s Barn! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 3, 2011 at 12:21

Sit Down I Think It’s Van Dyke Parks: Music Man’s “Arrangements” Arrive on CD

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Forgive the hyperbole, but there’s nobody quite like Van Dyke Parks.  Composer, arranger, producer, singer, musician, actor, author, raconteur, Parks is one-of-a-kind.  Known for his dazzling, sometimes oblique wordplay, and sheer musical invention, Parks has contributed production, arrangements and songs to an incredible number of renowned artists over the years, often blazing new trails while harnessing his vast knowledge of popular music.  For the first time, the renaissance man’s work as a multi-hyphenate is being collected.  Fifteen tracks are being compiled for September 20 release by the artist’s own label, Bananastan, as Arrangements, Volume 1.

Arrangements is drawn primarily from the catalogue of Warner Bros./Reprise, where Parks toiled as artist, producer, arranger and A&R man, often working closely with his good friend Lenny Waronker.  While at Warner Bros., Parks lent his considerable skills to Randy Newman, The Beau Brummels, The Mojo Men, Ry Cooder, Little Feat, and others.  Still, these names just scratch the surface.  Consider some of his other musical cohorts: The Byrds, Tim Buckley, Harry Nilsson, U2, The Everly Brothers, Carly Simon, Gordon Lightfoot, and Cher.  Parks’ work isn’t exclusive, though, to classic artists.  He’s lent his expertise to a younger generation of musicians including Rufus Wainwright, Joanna Newsom, Silverchair, Inara George and Fiona Apple.

Did I forget something?  Oh, yeah.  Parks also was the co-architect of The Beach Boys’ SMiLE, playing lyrical foil and inspiration to Brian Wilson’s limitlessly creative composer.  (Though Capitol Records has been quiet in recent months, plans are still afoot to finally release that legendary lost album later this year.)  Though Arrangements spotlights some of his favorite collaborations, Parks has also included a number of his own performances, making a collection of material, both familiar and tantalizingly rare, that is a veritable tour of American music.  (The emphasis, however, is not on cuts from Parks’ solo albums, but rather singles and rarities.  Anybody who’s read this far shouldn’t hesitate to explore 1968’s Song Cycle – in many ways a further exploration of the modular songwriting employed on SMiLE – and his other offbeat solo confections for some of the wildest, most devilishly creative music out there.)

Hit the jump to find out just which Arrangements have been included, plus discography and pre-order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 3, 2011 at 09:12