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Archive for September 14th, 2011

The Last Payback: Hip-o Select Releases 11th and Final Singles Set for James Brown

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Five years after Hip-o Select’s first exhaustive volume of James Brown’s complete singles discography was committed to compact disc (and, incidentally, two decades after the Star Time box set first attempted a definitive overview of Brown’s greatest musical moments on the format), the announcement of the 11th volume of the set brings the series to a close.

On The Singles Volume 11: 1979-1981, the end of Brown’s tenure on Polydor Records is detailed. While none of the material had the chart impact of “It’s Too Funky in Here,” the big hit from the last volume, there’s some interesting material to be had here, including rare B-sides, material from a 1980 live album, and the international hit “Rapp Payback,” cut for the independent label T.K. Records.

As a bonus, the second disc of the set features all of Brown’s Polydor 12″ single mixes, including lengthy versions of “Get Up Offa That Thing,” “It’s Too Funky in Here” and others. As has been the custom for the singles sets, J.B. staffer/historian Alan Leeds provides in-depth liner notes and track-by-track commentary, putting the figurative cape on the shoulders of the legend of James Brown, now and forever The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.

The limited edition set, 5,000 copies strong, is taking orders now. A link to Hip-o Select and the full track list is after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

September 14, 2011 at 16:35

UPDATED: Short Takes: “Some Girls” Super Deluxe Set Due In November, Seger Goes Digital…and Beatles in 5.1?

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  • Mick Jagger has been hitting the promotion trail to hype his upcoming SuperHeavy album (a group consisting of Jagger, Joss Stone, Damian Marley, Dave Stewart and A.R. Rahman) which is due in stores on September 20.  But the moonlighting Rolling Stones frontman let slip the news of a deluxe edition of the band’s 1978 classic Some Girls, in the style of last year’s revamp of 1972’s Exile on Main Street.  That news has since been made official.  (Thank you to the dynamite folks at MusicTAP for the heads-up!)  A remastered and expanded Some Girls will arrive in the U.K. on November 21 and most likely the following day in the United StatesLike Exile, it will be available in numerous formats, including a Super Deluxe box set and “standard” Deluxe Edition, as well as digitally.   Jagger told German television network ZDF that “I’ve just been in the studio finishing some outtakes from 1978 … They’re going to be released [on] a rerelease of Some Girls.  So these are going to be some 10 extra tracks from that time [that] were never released. Some of them had no vocals, so I had to do the vocals again. I did the same thing on Exile on Main Street.”  The expanded Some Girls reissue will follow the release of the concert film Some Girls Live in Texas 1978, previously announced to arrive on DVD and Blu-Ray on November 21, 2011, on DVD and Blu-ray.   Deluxe versions of the DVD and Blu-ray releases will include CDs, and the film will be shown for one night only in cinemas in October.  Stones fans, start counting those pennies!

  • Tomorrow sees the arrival of the long-delayed Bob Seger reissues Live Bullet (1976) and Nine Tonight (1981), but these titles also mark the first Seger releases to be made available for digital download on both iTunes and  Also making its iTunes debut is Early Seger Vol. 1, a collection of rare material circa the early 1970s.  Seger told USA Today that the rest of his catalogue “will come out in dribs and drabs,” and promised that he will use the digital realm to debut more vault music.  “There’s just so much of that stuff,” he told the newspaper. “I’d love people to finally hear it.”  On both the physical and digital editions, Live Bullet will feature a version of Albert King’s “I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s House,” performed in 1976 by Seger and his Silver Bullet Band at the Pontiac Silverdome, as a bonus track. Nine Tonight will be expanded by a 1980 version of the song “Brave Strangers.”

Hit the jump for some Beatlenews! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 14, 2011 at 14:30

It Moves Us All: “Lion King” Compilation Coming Soon

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Walt Disney Records builds upon the excitement of the forthcoming Blu-Ray release (and 3-D theatrical reissue) of the studio’s classic The Lion King by releasing a new compilation, available now, in honor of the timeless film.

Anyone with a shred of doubt in The Walt Disney Company’s ability to turn out great animated features after Disney’s passing in 1966 had their fears allayed in 1989, with the release of The Little Mermaid, a high watermark of animated storytelling and musical scoring. Within the next five years, the company would release two more modern classics: 1991’s Beauty and the Beast (the first traditionally hand-drawn feature nominated for Best Picture) and 1992’s Aladdin, and the magic of Disney was firmly reasserted.

But even the biggest fan of Mickey Mouse couldn’t have predicted what was in store in 1994, with the release of The Lion King. Featuring gorgeously recreated interpretations of the African savannah and its animal inhabitants and a stirring narrative (loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet) about a young lion prince whose treacherous uncle steals the throne, forcing him to grow up and reclaim his birthright, the film would have succeeded on those merits alone.

Of course, Disney added that extra magic in the form of tremendous, Broadway-ready music to add further color to the film. But rather than seek out the work of Alan Menken – the Little Shop of Horrors composer who won Oscars for his work on MermaidBeauty and Aladdin (alongside late, great lyricist Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, already legendary for his lyrics to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) – Disney sought a megastar in Elton John. The singer-songwriter’s star was beginning to rise after battling vocal troubles and other personal issues during the latter portion of the ’80s, and with Rice penning the lyrics to “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” among others, The Lion King‘s soundtrack went to the stratosphere, winning Oscars, Golden Globes and Grammys and selling some 15 million copies.

The film’s musical legacy has endured, past the work of John, Rice, score composer Hans Zimmer and arranger Lebo M. The latter, a South African arranger/composer, oversaw a 1995 follow-up album, Rhythm of the Pride Lands, and John and Rice expanded their score (including some of Zimmer’s work) for the Tony-winning Broadway adaptation that opened in 1997 and continues to run. (Additionally, Lebo M contributed to portions of the scores to direct-to-video sequels The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride (1998) and The Lion King 1 1/2 (2004).)

The new compilation, simply titled The Best of The Lion King, collects tunes as heard in the three films, the Rhythm of the Pride Lands album and the Broadway musical, giving new listeners a good chance to hear this great music for the first time.

Order your copy and check the track list out after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Mike Duquette

September 14, 2011 at 11:26

Review: Jimi Hendrix, “Winterland” and “Hendrix In The West”

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“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again.”  That poem, reportedly written by Jimi Hendrix some hours before his death, has added to the guitarist’s mystique over the years, but as usual, the restless musician was prescient.  Although his entire recorded solo catalogue amounts to the work of a mere four-year period between 1966 and 1970, we’ve continued to say hello to Jimi Hendrix’s music many years after having said goodbye to the man.

The fourth wave of releases arising out of the partnership between Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings has just arrived in stores.  The centerpiece of this wave is undoubtedly the deluxe box set Winterland, and it’s joined by a newly reconfigured release of the 1972 LP Hendrix in the West as well as two DVDs, Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix Live at the Isle of Wight and Jimi Hendrix: The Dick Cavett Show.  Both DVDs feature material new to these editions.

When Hendrix took the stage on August 30, 1970 at The Isle of Wight, could anyone have imagined the incendiary young talent would be gone in less than three weeks’ time, on September 18?  The retooled Hendrix in the West (88697 93622 2, 2011) – available on single CD or double LP – opens with the artist’s only pairing of “(God Save) The Queen” with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”  The performances were unexpected, with “Pepper” not a regular staple of Hendrix’s set at that time.  (He famously performed it for the first time with two Beatles – George and Paul – in attendance in London, 1967, and McCartney still savors the moment in recollection today.)  Hendrix was joined by Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (bass), a group that brought more than requisite power to the “power trio” concept.  The two-song opening salvo is the only material from the Isle of Wight stand, available in filmed form on the Blue Wild Angel DVD.

Other performances on the new In the West are drawn from concerts held at the San Diego Sports Arena on May 24, 1969, Berkeley Community Center on May 30, 1970 and San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom on October 12, 1968.  The original LP also contained two tracks from the famous Royal Albert Hall stand of February 24, 1969, but those performances of “Little Wing” and “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” have been replaced with new renditions from Winterland and the San Diego Sports Arena, respectively.   (Although the Albert Hall tracks are reportedly in legal limbo at present, both are available on the Experience Hendrix/MCA Jimi Hendrix Experience box set.)  Three tracks are wholly original to this new version of the album: “Fire,” “I Don’t Live Today” and “Spanish Castle Magic,” all from the May 25, 1969 stint in San Diego.

Despite the disparate recording sources, In the West makes for a cohesive listen, with dialogue sprinkled throughout for the illusion of one complete performance.  In addition to the Hendrix/Mitchell/Cox triumverate, it also presents the Jimi Hendrix Experience line-up of Hendrix, Mitchell and Noel Redding on the Winterland and San Diego tracks.    The renowned Wally Heider Recording truck captured the majority of the songs at both Winterland and Berkeley; sound designer Abe Jacob, who later pioneered the concept of sound design on Broadway, engineered at Berkeley.

In the West is an attention-grabbing set.  Perhaps most exciting are two unusual cover versions, “Johnny B. Goode” and “Blue Suede Shoes.”   There’s great respect but zero nostalgia in both electrifying tracks. “Blue Suede Shoes” is even more dramatically reinvented than “Johnny,” kicking off with a riff that’s unmistakably Hendrix and completely unique for the Carl Perkins song legendarily co-opted by Elvis Presley.  (The performance actually came from the afternoon sound check!)   For a bit of fun, listen carefully for the audible “thank you very much” as part of Hendrix’s pre-song comments.

There may be no better example on the album of the band’s interplay than “I Don’t Live Today,” with Mitchell’s drum solo, Redding’s bass and Hendrix’s scorching lead guitar taking their instruments into the stratosphere.  The track almost sounds like an exorcism of some very powerful demons!  Hendrix works in a few notes of “The Star-Spangled Banner” while pushing rock to its most primal limits.  Mitchell tears through another solo on “Spanish Castle Magic,” which features snatches of “Sunshine of Your Love.”

Just as good is a definitive, 13+ minute take on Hendrix’s blues “Red House”: “There’s a red house over yonder…that’s where my baby stays…”  It’s a simple blues, delivered in a measured yet smoking performance.  His improvisations rarely took a song in an expected direction, whether lyrical or fiery.  Sure, the replacement of the Royal Albert Hall tracks makes Hendrix in the West far from a straight reissue, and it’s still oddly titled, seeing as the Isle of Wight tracks are still there, among the other performances actually recorded “in the west.”  But it’s nonetheless a treat to have one of the original posthumous Hendrix releases (with which so many fans grew up) back on vinyl and CD in a form resembling the original.

Just days after The Jimi Hendrix Experience took the stage on October 10, 1968 at Bill Graham’s San Francisco palace Winterland (the venue immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s film The Last Waltz), the group would release the double album Electric Ladyland.  Yet even that sprawling collection couldn’t contain the boundless energy and ferocious talent of Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding.  Thankfully, Wally Heider’s mobile recording unit was dispatched to Winterland to capture an aural document of the three night/six show stand.  This was, after all, the period in which Hendrix most fervently pursued opportunities to stretch his music and jam, completely conscious and in control of his improvisational abilities that were pushing the envelope of what was commonly accepted as rock music.

Visit Winterland, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 14, 2011 at 10:20

Posted in Features, Jimi Hendrix, News, Reissues

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