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Archive for October 11th, 2011

Review: Johnny Cash, “Bootleg Vol. III: Live Around the World”

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The legend of Johnny Cash has been told and retold since the man’s passing in 2003, and so much is often made of his demons over the years.  But as the old folk song goes, “the old account was settled long ago.”  Intrinsic though those troubles are to Cash’s mythos, his devotion to family and God were both just as deeply ingrained.  Whatever may have lurked beneath the surface is largely absent from the 53 joyous songs that make up Bootleg Vol. III: Live Around the World (Columbia/Legacy 88697 93033 2, 2011).  The Bootleg Series designation has been reserved for legends the likes of Cash, Miles Davis and Bob Dylan; Cash’s first volume from 2006 presented solo guitar-and-voice demos, while the second from earlier this year offered previously unreleased studio material and singles new to American CD.  This volume, then, brings to light Cash’s time on the world’s stages, with tracks from 10 different concerts recorded between 1956 (by “Sun recording artist Johnny Cash”) and 1979 (by an internationally established superstar).

Though he lived long enough to see presidents from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush, Cash’s signature sound remained constant.  It was sometimes reassuring and other times provocative, but always honest and uniquely American.  The dichotomy of Cash’s music, as well as its consistency, is on display in Bootleg III, produced by Gregg Geller and Steve Berkowitz.  It’s a worthy successor not only to Bootleg I and II but other recent Cash archival projects like The Johnny Cash TV Show and the expanded boxes of At Folsom Prison and At San Quentin.  Only 16 of the 53 tracks on Live Around the World have seen prior release.

The consistency wasn’t just of songwriting.  Bassist Marshall Grant, who died on August 7 of this year, appears on every concert here save one.  His bandmate in the Tennessee Two, guitarist Luther Perkins, is present on the first three sets.  (Perkins died in 1968.)  Two became Three with the addition of W.S. “Fluke” Holland on drums, but the hiring of W.S. was no fluke.  With the exception of the drum-less Newport Folk Festival gig of 1964 and the voice-and-piano recital from the Carter Fold circa 1976, Holland is heard on each set from 1962 on.

After the jump, join the jamboree in Dallas, Texas, 1956! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 11, 2011 at 12:42

Williams, Herrmann, Conti Join Varese Club

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The sleeping giant that is Varese Sarabande’s CD Club awoke for the second time yesterday, announcing four killer soundtracks from the film score vaults for your perusal.

Chief among the surprises in this week’s batch was the announcement of a John Williams score from the Universal Pictures film Midway (1976) – a major coup for fans of the Maestro. A gripping World War II drama starring Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, Toshiro Mifune and a host of A-list actors, Midway sees Williams in true form, with heroic marches and romantic motifs. Until this disc, Midway remained Williams’ only score since 1975’s JAWS to not have a soundtrack release, having existed in full solely through a 1998 rerecording released by Varese. The 3,000-unit release is remastered almost entirely from the original master tapes (two tracks are sourced from mono music stems).

Varese’s other heavy hitter in the batch is the second and final volume of music composed and conducted by Bernard Herrmann for the iconic television series The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. In honor of the composer’s 100th birthday, this three-disc set presents in full the last nine episodes that Herrmann wrote music for the successful anthology series. (Volume 1 was sold during the last CD Club batch.) This one’s limited to 2,000 copies.

Composer Marco Beltrami is getting applause for his score for the upcoming prequel to 1982’s The Thing, and with a director’s cut Blu-Ray release of another film he scored, Mimic, having hit store shelves recently, Varese expands their original album for the CD Club. Beltrami scored the Guillermo del Toro film with the horror/suspense panache that made scores like Scream so popular. The deluxe Mimic will be capped at 1,000 copies.

The set closes out with a straight reissue of Bill Conti’s great score to The Karate Kid Part II, originally released as part of a box set in 2007 but available on its own in a limited run of 1,000 units.

All titles will ship the week of October 24 and can be ordered after the jump.

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Written by Mike Duquette

October 11, 2011 at 11:47

Release Round-Up: Week of October 11

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Ben Folds, The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective (Epic/Legacy)

Ben Folds-mania – at least around Second Disc HQ – hits a fever pitch with the first compilation from everyone’s favorite piano-playing smartass. You have your single-disc version, the excellent three-disc version and the digital vault, featuring another 55 tracks at 320 kbps MP3s. (Five of those tracks are yours free when you buy the three-disc set.) (Official site)

James Brown, The Singles Vol. 11 (1979-1981) (Hip-o Select/Polydor)

The end of an era: the last Hip-o Select compilation of singles from The Godfather of Soul. (Hip-o Select)

Todd Rundgren, Runt + The Ballad of Todd Rundgren / Something/Anything?…Plus / A Wizard, A True Star + Todd / Initiation + Faithful / Utopia, RA / Oops! Wrong Planet (Edsel)

A host of Rundgren-oriented catalogue action:  a heap of Bearsville two-fers, many with bonus tracks. (Edsel)

Johnny Cash, Bootleg III: Live Around the World (Columbia/Legacy)

Rare and unreleased live tracks from the Man in Black. Aren’t there more full shows that could make an appearance on CD, too? (Official site)

Judas Priest, The Chosen Few (Columbia/Legacy)

The newest Priest compilation includes hits as chosen by famous fans of the band, with liner notes from everyone who picked. (Official site)

Britney Spears, B. in the Mix: The Remixes, Vol. 2 (RCA)

Remixes of tracks from Blackout to Femme Fatale, some of which are on a commercial CD for the first time. (Official site)

Written by Mike Duquette

October 11, 2011 at 09:04