The Second Disc

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Archive for August 11th, 2011

Out Of Control: Light in the Attic Invites You To Axton’s “Late Late Party”

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Light in the Attic is having a party, and you’re invited!  Fresh from the success of Our Lives Are Shaped by What We Love: Motown’s MoWest Story (review here), the label has announced another exciting anthology.  You might not know Charles “Packy” Axton now, but chances are, you’ll want to get to know him.  Born in Memphis, Tennessee into the Stax Records family (his mother Estelle Axton and her brother Jim Stewart founded the Stax label!), “Packy” picked up the saxophone at a young age and continued to make sweet music until his untimely passing in 1974 after an unsuccessful battle with alcohol and his own demons.  The life of “Packy” Axton is celebrated by Light in the Attic with the August 23 release on both CD and vinyl of Late Late Party 1965-1967.  Axton supports such acts as The Martinis, The Pac-Keys, Stacy Lane, The Packers and L.H. and the Memphis Sounds on these seventeen slices of classic Southern soul.

After the jump, we’ll flash back to the formative days of Stax Records circa 1961.  We’ve also got a complete track listing with discographical information waiting for you! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 11, 2011 at 14:10

More Garland: First Hand Reveals “The London Studio Recordings 1957-1964”

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The British Film Institute describes Ronald Neame’s 1963 film I Could Go on Singing as a “made-to-measure portrait of a singer grappling with her many demons before a London Palladium concert.”  With the singer in question portrayed by the incandescent Judy Garland in what would turn out to be her final film role, it’s only natural to wonder just how much of the film was art imitating life.  Or was it the other way around?  Garland herself had performed triumphantly on the famed London stage as early as 1951, with one stand preserved for posterity as the 1964 LP Live at the London Palladium (with her daughter Liza Minnelli co-headlining).  Indeed, the streets of London played a crucial role in the career of the beloved entertainer.  Years before four Liverpool lads named John, Paul, George and Ringo immortalized EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, Judy Garland was making her own singular magic there.  The London recordings of Judy Garland – primarily three sessions taking place in 1960, 1962 and 1964 – are being compiled this fall by First Hand Records as a 2-CD set, The London Studio Recordings: 1957-1964.  (The 1957 session yielded just one track.  It, appropriately enough, was Roger Edens’ “It’s Lovely to Be Back in London.”)

By mid-1960, Judy Garland had completed sessions for her Capitol LP That’s Entertainment! with arranger and conductor Jack Marshall.  She was on the mend from a stressful 1958 and 1959, and travelled to London to both recuperate further and prepare for a series of concert and nightclub appearances throughout Europe.  While there, she stayed at the home of producer and bandleader Norrie Paramor (1914-1979) who would perhaps become best-known for guiding the career of Cliff Richard.  Paramor was slated to conduct Judy’s tour, but he also guided her into Abbey Road for a series of sensational performances.  The studio’s soon-to-be-famous sound quality was in evidence on these tracks which showed off Garland’s remarkable voice in its full splendor on such favorites as “The Man That Got Away,” “Over the Rainbow” and a reprise of her 1951 Palace Theatre medley.

The London recordings were mixed down to 2-track and duly sent along to the Tower in Hollywood.  Yet, for reasons perhaps lost to time, Capitol allowed them to languish until 1962, when six selections (out of twenty) appeared on the LP The Garland Touch.  It took another decade for the rest of the sessions to emerge, and even then only on a limited Capitol Record Club release.  The twenty cuts were finally brought into the digital realm in 1991 via Capitol’s The One and Only box set (D 217007).

To those original twenty recordings, First Hand is adding much more.  Hit the jump to find out just what’s being included, as well as what’s not! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 11, 2011 at 10:39