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Archive for August 25th, 2011

Speaking of Monkees: Rhino Announces Very Limited “Head” Vinyl

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A no-nonsense brief on this story, because the product may be gone by the time you read: Rhino’s taking orders on a special vinyl repressing of Head for you Monkeemaniacs out there.

It’s not as involved as last year’s box set, but this 180-gram clear vinyl pressing of the album will feature a bonus 7″ single of two tracks from the Rhino Handmade deluxe edition, “Circle Sky (Live)” and “Can You Dig It (Mono Mix).” There’s only 500 of them going to be made, though, so act fast!

Here’s the link, and the track list is below.

The Monkees, Head (Clear Vinyl Reissue) (originally released as Colgems LP COSO-5008, 1968)

  1. Opening Ceremony
  2. Porpoise Song (Theme from “Head”)
  3. Ditty Diego-War Chant
  4. Circle Sky
  5. Supplicio
  6. Can You Dig It?
  7. Gravy
  8. Superstitious
  9. As We Go Along
  10. Dandruff?
  11. Daddy’s Song
  12. Poll
  13. Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?
  14. Swami–Plus Strings, Etc.

Bonus limited 7″ single: Circle Sky (Live) b/w Can You Dig It? (Mono Mix). Both tracks originally released on deluxe edition – Rhino Handmade RHM2 525670, 2010.

Written by Mike Duquette

August 25, 2011 at 14:16

Review: Original Cast, “Half-Past Wednesday”

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Anyone have a little love for Rumpelstiltskin?

The Brothers Grimm popularized the story of the mischievous imp in the early part of the 19th century, but he has never received the same kind of commercial fame as many of the Grimms’ other creations. No wonder, then, that Rumpelstiltskin was so ornery when he appeared as the villain of Shrek Forever After.  And how many indignities did he survive as the titular character of a 1996 grade B horror film!  Rumpelstiltskin has had a few moments in the spotlight, however, and one of the most unlikely of them has been revived on CD and digital download by Sony’s Masterworks Broadway division.  Take a look at how wild-eyed the little guy looks on the cover…

Half-Past Wednesday opened off-Broadway in New York City on April 6, 1962, which was a Friday.  It closed that Saturday, April 7, after its second performance.  So why was Half-Past Wednesday recorded by the prestigious Columbia Records the following month of May over three days?  Perhaps album producer Clifford Snyder saw something in the musical’s score by Robert Colby and Nita Jones, though it’s hardly spoken of in the same breath as, say, Stephen Sondheim’s Anyone Can Whistle.  That show was one notable for being preserved by Columbia President and leading cast album producer Goddard Lieberson, post-closing.  (The unconventional Whistle folded after nine performances in 1964.)  In fact, Half-Past Wednesday has barely been spoken of at all, and the title of the show is all but forgotten even on its own LP jacket, where “The New Musical Version of RUMPELSTILTSKIN” dominates.  And its obscurity makes us all the more grateful that Masterworks Broadway has given a new life to this footnote in off-Broadway history, perhaps most notable for the presence of a young actor named Dom DeLuise.

The little, five-person musical retells the familiar story of the Miller’s beautiful daughter (Audre Johnston) who strikes up a deal with a devilish elf (David Winters).  In exchange for his help turning straw into gold, he is promised her first-born with the Prince (Sean Garrison), and the only way out of the bargain if she can discern his name, represented in the show by musical notes played on an xylophone.  Dom DeLuise played the greedy King who threatens Erelda if she can’t spin straw into gold, and Robert Fitch (the future originator of Rooster in 1977’s Annie) completed the cast as Erelda’s father, the miller.  The show’s title was derived from the bargain with Rumpelstiltskin: “if by half-past Wednesday they cannot think what name his [musical] notes stand for, he will carry the baby away with him to the forest to keep him company forever,” according to Curtis F. Brown’s original liner notes, reprinted in the new reissue.

Hit the jump to meet me on Wednesday! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 25, 2011 at 13:36

Posted in Cast Recordings, Features, News, Reissues, Reviews

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What’s the World? James Offer Up New Rarities Box

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Manchester’s James have been going strong for nearly 30 years, amassing some 19 Top 40 singles in their native England. It’s kind of a surprise, then, that the recently-announced The Gathering Sound is only their first box set. But it sure is a good one.

The set chronicles James’ discography, from their earliest recordings in 1982 to last year’s EPs The Night Before and The Morning After, across three CDs, one DVD, a vinyl record and a USB stick. The three CDs feature a program of studio rarities, most of which are entirely unreleased or haven’t seen the light of day on compact disc, a set of live tracks and those aforementioned EPs collected on one disc. The 12″ vinyl features four unreleased demos, while the DVD contains the first release of the band’s 1991 Come Home Live video in the disc format.

To top it all off, an 8 GB, J-shaped USB drive contains all of the band’s studio albums, from 1986’s Stutter to 2008’s Hey Ma, as well as a small helping of non-LP material (the band’s non-LP singles later released on 1990’s Gold Mother and four tracks from greatest-hits compilations) – all in hi-res FLAC files or 320 kpbs MP3s. The drive also includes 24 of the band’s promotional music videos. (Completists take note: the bonus tracks from the band’s remastered editions of their 1990s albums are not present here. However, all tracks from Gold Mother, including the single tracks from the 1991 repressing, are present.)

Everything is encased in a 12″ x 12″ box with a 44-page liner notes booklet, badges and replicas of backstage passes. Additionally, the first 500 pre-orders get a special signed art print; all pre-orders will receive three exclusive demos as digital downloads. The Gathering Storm can be ordered here (expected to arrive October 17); the full track breakdown is after the jump. (Due credit to Slicing Up Eyeballs, who reported this while this author was on vacation!) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

August 25, 2011 at 13:02

UPDATED 8/25: Daydream Believing: “The Monkees” Returns To DVD

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When the winner of Outstanding Comedy Series was announced at the 1967 Emmy Awards, it came as quite a shock.  It wasn’t the timeless magic of Elizabeth Montgomery and co. in Bewitched, nor the homespun sweetness of The Andy Griffith Show.  Agent 99 and Agent 86 of Get Smart didn’t win the prize, and Colonel Klink and the gang at Hogan’s Heroes were similarly empty-handed.  The winner that year was The Monkees, a kooky and wildly irreverent comic romp starring those crazy kids, Micky, Davy, Peter and Mike.  And while show depicted the foursome as constantly struggling to make it as musicians, life had done art one better. 

It was no matter to America that The Monkees had been hired as actors playing musicians, first and foremost.  (The original casting announcement that kicked off the exhaustive talent search was seeking “Folk & Roll Musicians-Singers for acting roles in new TV series.”  The groundwork was already laid for the group’s eventual rebellion and fight for creative freedom.  While the audition notice is for “acting roles,” the producers were seeking musicians and singers from the outset, and the four Monkees eventually blossomed into fine songwriters and producers, too.) The group’s first album, released in October 1966, yielded the hit single “Last Train to Clarksville,” penned by the in-house team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.  A scant three months later, More of the Monkees arrived, replacing its predecessor at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and remaining at the top spot for a staggering eighteen weeks on the strength of another smash, Neil Diamond’s “I’m a Believer.”  (It took Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’ Sounds Like… LP to dislodge the Monkees!)  When The Monkees took home the top prize at the Emmys, Monkeemania was in full swing.  And now you can relive it.  TVShowsonDVD.com reported earlier this month that, with Rhino’s 2003 releases long out-of-print and commanding exorbitant prices, Eagle Rock is bringing The Monkees back to DVD on September 27 with the release of The Monkees: Season One and Season Two.  Now, that esteemed site has confirmed the complete details of the set from the label.

If you’re like us, and can’t get enough of The Monkees’ unique brand of musical mayhem, hit the jump for the full scoop! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 25, 2011 at 10:22

Posted in DVD, News, Reissues, The Monkees