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Archive for October 6th, 2011

Stay Awhile: Dusty Springfield Box Set Packed With Rarities, Due This Month In Two Editions

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UPDATE 10/6: We’re just a few short weeks away from the release of Goin’ Back: The Definitive Dusty Springfield, a super deluxe box set by any standards.  With its four CDs, three DVDs and two hardback books, Goin’ Back may be the ultimate holiday gift for the Dusty diehard.  Of its 92 audio tracks, 22 are previously unreleased, 10 are making their U.K. debut and five are appearing for the very first time on CD.  Of its 98 video performances, a full 32 are premiering on DVD.

But if Goin’ Back offers too much Dusty for you (is such a thing possible?), Universal is accompanying its release with that of a more compact set.  The Magic of Dusty Springfield distills the larger box set into a 3-CD/1-DVD format, including The Hits, Rarities and Stage and Screen CDs but jettisoning the BBC disc.  (Exclusive mixes of “Goin’ Back” and “The Look of Love” can be heard on both boxes.)  Only one of the three DVDs from the mega-collection has been retained, Dusty Springfield – Live at the BBCThis set appears to be in the hardback book format of recent Universal box sets such as the Jim Capaldi anthology Dear Mr. Fantasy and Steve Winwood retrospective Revolutions.  Lois Wilson’s historical essay and a number of photographs are included.

With the retailer SpinCDs listing a price tag of £35.99 for The Magic of Dusty Springfield vs. £101.99 for Goin’ Back: The Definitive Dusty Springfield, the decision for many just might come down to dollars and cents.  SpinCDs is listing the box sets for October 31, while Amazon U.K. shows October 24 as the date for The Magic Of.  (Amazon has no listing yet for Goin’ Back.)  Spin has even appropriated The Second Disc’s original post for the “Product Details” for the super box!  But whichever box set you choose, it should prove a fitting reminder of the legend of Dusty Springfield.

You can reacquaint yourself with that original post, below, including the complete track listing for Goin’ Back: The Definitive Dusty Springfield with discographical annotation!


I can hardly wait to hold you, feel my arms around you/How long I have waited/Waited just to love you, now that I have found you/Don’t ever go…

Dusty Springfield’s breathy plea lingers in the air like a plume of smoke, her tones sultry, sensual and sophisticated.  Who could resist?  In her all-too-short 59 years, Springfield became a white soul queen, gaining entrance into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, notching eighteen singles in the Billboard Hot 100 and recording one all-time classic LP, 1969’s Dusty in Memphis.  Perpetual insecurities and substance abuse problems couldn’t derail the former Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien, who continued to produce music of great beauty and depth even in her lean years.  She was finally rewarded with a 1980s comeback courtesy of her admirers, The Pet Shop Boys, as well as an OBE from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II immediately before her death from cancer in 1999.  Springfield’s enormous legacy will be celebrated with the release of Goin’ Back: The Definitive Dusty Springfield, a 4-CD/3-DVD deluxe box set from Universal’s U.K. arm.

A “singer’s singer” and renowned interpreter of the works of Goffin and King, Bacharach and David, Jerry Ragovoy, Randy Newman and countless others, Springfield has already been celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic with countless compilations (many containing unique mixes and edits) plus two career-spanning box sets.  The Legend of Dusty Springfield was a 2,000-copy limited edition 1994 box from Philips, containing previously unreleased material and grouped into four volumes:  Hits and Bits, Pearls and Rarities, Downright Dusty and The Look of Love.  2000’s Simply Dusty was another four-disc anthology, compiled by Paul Howes and Mike Gill on the Mercury label, and containing new-to-CD mixes and live tracks.  One of the true keepers of the Springfield flame, Howes (author of the indispensable, exhaustive discography The Complete Dusty Springfield from Reynolds and Hearn Ltd.) has compiled the new box set which again will introduce material both new to CD and never-before-released.

Hit the jump to find out exactly what you can expect from the new box, including the complete track listing with discographical annotation! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 6, 2011 at 18:30

Greater Hits: Going Barenaked

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In one of our newest features, Greater Hits, we pit two greatest hits compilations by the same artist against each other and see which one comes out on top. Today’s installment: we take one of Canada’s most successful alt-rock bands, compare their compilations and figure out which one’s most worth your time, whether you have $1,000,000 or not.

It’s been just more than one week since the Barenaked Ladies’ Hits from Yesterday & The Day Before (Raisin’ Records/Warner Bros./Rhino R2 528614) hit stores. It’s been a little while since BNL were the darlings of rock radio – arguably, their commercial period began to wane with their exit from Reprise Records and took even more of a hit with founding member/vocalist Steven Page’s exit in 2009.

But when they were among the upper echelon of pop/rock artists – and jokey nature of their singles aside, they were an excellent band – they did a good job of closing off their first decade on a major label with Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001) (Reprise 9 48075-2). The question, of course, is how do these sets, a decade apart, satisfy the new BNL fan?

The answers are after the jump, under there. (Hopefully, I just made you say “underwear.”)

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 6, 2011 at 18:01

The Takeover, The Break’s Over: Jay-Z Reissues “The Blueprint” on Vinyl

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Timing is everything, especially in the hip-hop world. So what does it say about Jay-Z that he somehow managed to make a positive out of one of the darkest days in American history? A vinyl reissue of his landmark The Blueprint may provide some answers to that question.

The man born Shawn Carter had already established himself as a rapper/entrepreneur of the highest order. The grit and realism of his first album, 1996’s Reasonable Doubt, placed him high on the list of rappers to watch, particularly due to the implicit support of fellow Brooklynite The Notorious B.I.G. (Add to that his bold move of creating his own label, Roc-a-Fella Records, to release his work instead of waiting for a major label contract.) By 2000’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, he was enjoying crossover success with the hit “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me),” produced by The Neptunes.

But his next effort, The Blueprint, was a conscious step in a different direction. Jay abandoned the pop sounds of recent albums, opting for a soul sample-based group of beats primarily helmed by two upstart producers, Justin “Just Blaze” Smith and Kanye West. (West later used Jay’s momentum and guidance to engineer his own majorly successful solo career, turning out a great album, Watch the Throne, with his mentor this past August.) There were poppy moments, including the Jackson 5-sampling “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” and the Timbaland-produced “Hola Hovito,” but the album was characterized better through tracks like “Takeover,” a scathing address to Carter’s rap rivals, primarily Nas (this track incited one of the biggest rap feuds in recent memory, although it was settled peacefully in 2005).

The Blueprint was a critical and commercial success, moving 426,000 copies in its first week out. What makes that number so stunning was it was made the week after September 11, 2001. (The album was released that Tuesday.) Despite the unfortunate timing, the album lives on as a classic of the rap genre. And to celebrate its ten year mark, Jay-Z has overseen a 180-gram double-vinyl reissue of the album, available exclusively through his webstore. It’s limited to 2,001 copies, so speed and flow is of the essence.

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 6, 2011 at 15:09

Posted in News, Reissues, Vinyl

What’s in Ben’s Vault?

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As if getting a set of Ben Folds Five rarities on disc with next week’s Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective wasn’t enough, Folds, along with Legacy Recordings, vowed to open the vaults even further with the Ben Folds Fifty-Five Vault, a 55-track digital companion, five tracks of which would be given away free with purchase of the new compilation. Today, all the tracks were announced from the vault, and while not all of it is entirely unreleased, there’s more than enough to satisfy the biggest Ben Folds fans out there.

Of the tracks, 35 of them are entirely unreleased. There are lots of live takes – both with and without Ben Folds Five along with another live track with The Bens – additional demos, including beloved early songs like “Protection,” “Silver Street” and “Lonely” as well as unheard ones like “I Knew That Cha Could,” from the Rockin’ the Suburbs sessions; and a few other studio goodies. Two more tracks from Ben Folds Five’s fourth album sessions with Mitch Easter in 2000 (the sessions which yielded one of the set’s standout tracks, “Amelia Bright”), will be revealed – a Robert Sledge-penned (and sung!) track called “Prince Charming” and an unheard tune called “It’s All Right with God.”

There are another 20 tracks from various compilations and CD singles, and while not all of them are rare (there are some tunes from Folds’ Over the Hedge soundtrack in 2006 and B-sides which appeared on Epic’s reissue of Whatever and Ever Amen in 2005), there are a few songs of interest. Most of Ben Folds Five’s studio B-sides, including a jokey cover of “All Shook Up” and “Birds” (a Sledge-written tune from The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner), are collated, as well as some live tracks, like a hilarious, countrified cover of Oasis “Champagne Supernova,” touted as “an American standard” to an audience in a London club. There’s also “Bizarre Christmas Incident,” an over-the-top track written for a Christmas film Folds knew nothing about (the film turned out to be the live-action adaptation of The Grinch (2000), prompting him to quickly write a far less bawdy tune), and an alternate mix of the new Ben Folds Five track “House.”

The Ben Folds Fifty-Five Vault looks like it will be available to everyone, not just buyers of the new set. While it does have a price tag of $29.99, it certainly looks worthwhile if you’re a fan. Parse the track list after the jump!

Ben Folds Fifty-Five Vault (Epic/Legacy, 2011)
  1. Adelaide (Live in Adelaide 2011) *
  2. Air  – Ben Folds Five (from Godzilla: The Album – Epic Soundtrax EK 69338, 1998)
  3. All Shook Up – Ben Folds Five (B-side of “Kate” – Epic/550 Music 664536 5 (U.K.), 1997)
  4. Ascent of Stan (Live in New York City 2002) *
  5. Birds – Ben Folds Five (B-side of “Army” – Epic/550 Music 36-79186, 1999)
  6. Bitch Went Nutz (Live in Amsterdam 2008) *
  7. Bizarre Christmas Incident (from Maybe This Christmas – Nettwerk 0 6700 30295 2 0, 2002)
  8. Brick (Live Acoustic 2003) – The Bens *
  9. Champagne Supernova (Live @ LA2, London – 11/22/1996) – Ben Folds Five (B-side of “Battle of Who Could Care Less” – Epic/550 Music 664230 2 (U.K.), 1997)
  10. Cologne (Piano Orchestra Version) (from “fake leak” of Way to Normal, 2008)
  11. Dr. Yang (Live in Leuven, Belgium – 11/23/2008) *
  12. Evaporated (Demo 1992) *
  13. Family of Me (from Over the Hedge: Music from the Motion Picture – Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax 82876 83669-2, 2006)
  14. For All the Pretty People – Ben Folds Five (B-side of “Kate” – Epic/550 Music 664536 2 (U.K.), 1997)
  15. Free Coffee (Live in Germany 2008) *
  16. Girl (B-side of “Rockin’ the Suburbs” – Epic 671849 2 (U.K.), 2001)
  17. Golden Slumbers (Live in NYC 2001) *
  18. Hava Nagila (Live @ The Marx, Hamburg – 11/5/1996) – Ben Folds Five (B-side of “Battle of Who Could Care Less” – Epic/550 Music 664230 5 (U.K.), 1997)
  19. Heist (from Over the Hedge: Music from the Motion Picture – Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax 82876 83669-2, 2006)
  20. Hiro’s Song (Shaker Version) (Live in Melbourne 2011) *
  21. Honey Don’t – Ben Folds Five (Alternate Take 2000) *
  22. Hospital Song – Ben Folds Five (Live in Philadelphia 1999) *
  23. House – Ben Folds Five (Original Mix) *
  24. I Knew That Cha Could (Demo 2000) *
  25. In Between Days (Live 2005)
  26. In Love (Demo 1998) *
  27. It’s All Right with God – Ben Folds Five (Mitch Easter Sessions 2000) *
  28. Jesusland (Live in Jakarta 2011) *
  29. Jesusland (Stadium Version) (Live in London 2005) *
  30. Lonely (Demo 1996) *
  31. Lost in the Supermarket (from Over the Hedge: Music from the Motion Picture – Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax 82876 83669-2, 2006)
  32. Make Me Mommy (B-side of “Rockin’ the Suburbs” – Epic 671849 2 (U.K.), 2001)
  33. Mitchell Lane – Ben Folds Five (B-side of “Kate” – Epic/550 Music 664536 5 (U.K.), 1997)
  34. Mess (with Neil Hannon) (Live in Boston 2007) *
  35. Narcolepsy (Live in Brussels, Belgium – 11/21/1999) – Ben Folds Five) *
  36. One Down (B-side of “Rockin’ the Suburbs” – Epic 671849 5 (U.K.), 2001)
  37. Prince Charming – Ben Folds Five (Mitch Easter Sessions 2000) *
  38. Prologue (outtake from Over the Hedge soundtrack) *
  39. Protection (Demo 1992) *
  40. Radio Jingles for Inter-FM (from Songs for Goldfish EP – Attacked by Plastic EL 94452, 2005)
  41. Rockin’ the Suburbs (“Over the Hedge” Version) (from Over the Hedge: Music from the Motion Picture – Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax 82876 83669-2, 2006)
  42. Say Yes (Live at The A.V. Club 2010) *
  43. She Don’t Use Jelly – Ben Folds Five (from Lounge-a-Palooza – Hollywood Records HR-62072-2, 1997)
  44. Side of the Road (Alternate Cello Version) (original version from Songs for Goldfish EP – Attacked by Plastic EL 94452, 2005) *
  45. Silver Street (Demo 1994) *
  46. Smoke (Demo 1994) *
  47. Song for the Dumped (Demo 1996) *
  48. Steven’s Last Night in Town (Demo 1996) *
  49. Theme from “Dr. Pyser” – Ben Folds Five) (B-side to “Army” – Epic/550 Music 667218 2 (U.K.), 1999)
  50. Underground (Demo 1992) *
  51. Video Killed the Radio Star – Ben Folds Five (from expanded edition of Whatever and Ever Amen – Epic EK 86082, 2005)
  52. Where’s Summer B? (Live at WNEW 1996) – Ben Folds Five *
  53. Wild Mountain Thyme (Alternate Take 2010) *
  54. You to Thank (Live in Adelaide 2011) *
  55. Your Cheatin’ Heart (Live 1996) – Ben Folds Five *
  56. Your Redneck Past (Live in London 1999) – Ben Folds Five *

Written by Mike Duquette

October 6, 2011 at 13:39

Review: Pink Floyd, “The Dark Side of the Moon: Immersion Box Set”

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At what point in a super deluxe – or Immersion – box set does the music itself become, if not irrelevant, an afterthought?

It’s hard not to wonder, sifting through the treasure chest – or toy chest, perhaps – that’s the Immersion Box Set of Pink Floyd’s landmark 1973 rock opus The Dark Side of the Moon (EMI 50999 029431 2, 2011).  It’s not hard to imagine many Floyd devotees finding themselves over the rainbow with this package, and of course that famous rainbow is everywhere in this box set.  It’s emblazoned on the glass marbles, housed in a compact pouch; on the Roy Lichtenstein-styled art print; on a lyric booklet; and on a natty black scarf!  That’s not all.  The 29 cm box (which sets it apart from the traditional LP-sized Super Deluxe packages of late) also includes a set of nine coasters, two more books (one of tour photographs and another of credits) and three simple black envelopes of assorted shapes and sizes.  One offers replicas of a concert ticket to February 18’s Rainbow Theatre performance, another contains four “anti-cigarette cards” from a set of 57, and the third offers a print of the handwritten “Questions for Assorted Lunatics.”  For those keeping score, I haven’t even yet mentioned the ostensible raison d’être for this collection of odds and ends: six discs, each illuminating a different aspect of the complete Dark Side mythos.

This set, by its very nature, is designed for those who already know and love the album itself.  For a generation waiting to discover it, comparatively simple one- and two-disc Discovery and Experience Editions are also available.  The band-produced album, with lyrics by bassist/vocalist Roger Waters and music by Waters, vocalist/guitarist David Gilmour, percussionist Nick Mason and keyboardist/vocalist Richard Wright, remains as singular an entity as it was upon its initial release.  Heartbeats, sprinkled dialogue, ringing bells, the clinking of coins, the layers of VCS3 synthesizer lines and roaring guitars add up to a hypnotic barrage of sounds that vie for the listener’s attention.

The six compact discs of the Immersion Box Set are tidily organized.  On the first disc is, of course, the original Dark Side, which needs no introduction.  James Guthrie and Joel Plante have subtly remastered the album which crystallized the ambition and studio prowess of the ever-evolving unit.  Compared to previous albums, Dark Side offered more focused songs, with fewer lengthy psychedelic “trips.”  Its seamless flow of one song into the next, sans any pauses save for the original LP’s side break, is a model of construction and argument for the power of an album as a cohesive single thought, or whole, rather than a mere collection of disparate songs.   (That said, “Money” was extracted to become a Top 20 single.)  The album’s power is heightened by its tight, roughly 43-minute running time.  Whereas so many artists today are unfortunately compelled to fill a CD’s nearly 80-minute capacity, Waters, Gilmour, Wright and Mason had no place for filler in their cerebral vision,.  A lysergic fusion of tape effects and anthemic rock songs, it’s not hard to see why Dark Side of the Moon spellbound so many listeners.  In fact, it remained in the charts for a mind-blowing 741 weeks between 1973 and 1988!  Its human journey, touching on themes of greed, time, mortality and insanity, is still relevant today.  Though the album sometimes sounds as if it’s speaking to a disaffected generation, those themes have continued to resonate on a wider level.

The first verse of joint band composition “Time” could describe the album’s effects on its listeners, with its vocals flowing from pained screams to disaffected acceptance: “Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day/Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way/Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town/Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.”  Dark Side of the Moon undoubtedly showed many the way.

To immerse yourself in the other discs, hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 6, 2011 at 13:08

Posted in Features, News, Pink Floyd, Reissues

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Gorillaz to Release First Compilation in November

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Gorillaz don’t look 10 years old, do they? Granted, it’s not easy to assess the age of a band made almost entirely out of cartoons. Adding to the confusion, the band’s future-forward hip-hop doesn’t sound much like a product of any time period. Regardless, the band is indeed at the decade mark – and they’re being commemorated with a new compilation.

The fictitious members of the band – vocalist/keyboardist 2D, bassist Murdoc Niccals, guitarist Noodle and drummer Russel Hobbs – actually have a rather excellent musical and artistic pedigree behind them. Blur frontman Damon Albarn and Tank Girl comic creator Jamie Hewlett were roommates in London, watching a lengthy stretch of MTV in 1998, and decided to create a project that would subtly comment on what they saw as a lack of substance. The band incorporated rock, rap and electronic influences in its sound, and Albarn has recruited a stable of stars to contribute to the project, including rappers Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Snoop Dogg, De La Soul and Mos Def, producer Dan the Automator and musicians including Bobby Womack, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of The Clash and Ike Turner. With a captivating backstory for each member of the band and a stable of hits that includes the U.K. Top 10 singles “Clint Eastwood,” “19-2000,” “DARE” and the worldwide hit “Feel Good Inc.,” Gorillaz have every reason to celebrate this milestone.

And whatever the exact reason of this milestone – rumors are floating that the project may be finished, with the Twitter account of Murdoc himself doing little to disavow the rumors (sample tweet: “Gorillaz are TEN. Ten years old, eh? T.E.N. What’s that stand for? The End is Nigh…!” – he has since gone onto create other acronyms from “ten”) – The Singles Collection 2001-2011 looks to be a taut collection of their singles from three of their albums: Gorillaz (2001), Demon Days (2005) and Plastic Beach (2010). (There’s nothing from the iPad album The Fall (2010).) Two classic remixes of “Clint Eastwood” and “19-2000″ round out the 15-track set.

The set will be available as a CD, CD/DVD, vinyl LP and collector’s vinyl 7” box set, all of which are available to pre-order here. The standard track list is after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 6, 2011 at 12:41

Posted in Compilations, Gorillaz, News

Bernstein Bonanza: Intrada Goes On A “Rampage,” It’s “Summer” at Kritzerland, and La-La Land is “Trading Places”

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If Elmer Bernstein had only composed the indelible theme to The Magnificent Seven, the composer would have been considered a legend.  How lucky for us, then, that Bernstein (1922-2004) wrote the scores for more than 200 films and television shows including Sweet Smell of Success, The Ten Commandments, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Airplane! and Ghostbusters, contributing memorable themes to each.  The music of Bernstein has been incredibly well-represented on compact disc this year.  Kritzerland has been leading the charge with Drango, Kings Go Forth, The Tin Star, Fear Strikes Out and Men in War all recently reissued.  Film Score Monthly delivered The Great Santini just last month.  Not to be outdone, La-La Land and Intrada both have Bernstein on tap, and Kritzerland is returning to the Elmer ouevre for its landmark 100th release!

Now available for pre-order from Intrada is the 1963 score to the Warner Bros. adventure Rampage.  Directed by Phil Karlson, Rampage starred Robert Mitchum and Jack Hawkins as two hunters enlisted to track down a rare breed of panther in the wild of Malaysia.  Elsa Martinelli and Sabu, plus a passel of rhinos and jungle cats, joined them!  Rampage offered Bernstein the opportunity to write sweeping love themes, propulsive action cues and even a title song!  This is prime Bernstein, written during the same fertile period that produced The Great Escape and To Kill a Mockingbird.  The packed compact disc offers the complete score and an array of bonus material, clocking in at 78 minutes.  Producer Lukas Kendall of Film Score Monthly has created the album from the original mint condition mono scoring session masters.  Jeff Bond supplies the new liner notes.  Rampage, an Intrada Special Collection title, is available for pre-order now!

Two years before Rampage, Bernstein scored the Paramount film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ stage play Summer and Smoke.  Though unsuccessful in its 1948 Broadway premiere, Williams’ drama was critically reappraised when Jose Quintero revived it four years later at the Circle in the Square Theater, then at the vanguard of the young off-Broadway scene.  Geraldine Page starred in Quintero’s production, and in 1961 was tapped to recreate her stage triumph for the inevitable film version.  With Page starring opposite Laurence Harvey (The Manchurian Candidate), Peter Glenville’s film received Academy Award nominations for both Page and co-star Una Merkel as well as Best Art Direction – Best Set Direction and one for Best Original Score.  Bernstein’s memorable theme captured the essence of Williams’ haunted dramatis personae , “a swirling, sinuous, delirious melody” in the words of reissue producer Bruce Kimmel.  For its Kritzerland debut, Summer and Smoke has been expanded to over 77 minutes’ length, more than twice as long as the original RCA Victor soundtrack LP.  Kritzerland had access to two rolls of 1/2′ three-track masters that were sent by Paramount to RCA Victor at the time of the film’s release.  And for reference, Kimmel also had the complete scoring sessions archived from 35mm scoring mag on 2′ tape in the Paramount vaults.  This deluxe presentation is sequenced in film order, with a section of bonus cues including the Glorious Hill band music, a source cue and even the original album versions.  The CD premiere of the complete Summer and Smoke is a limited edition of 1,500 and is available now for pre-order at Kritzerland.  It’s scheduled to ship the second week of November, but pre-orders average an arrival of four weeks early!

Hit the jump to find yourself Trading Places! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 6, 2011 at 09:07